Winter has started here on the Sea of Trees in Southern California. We’ve had the heaviest rainfall in a decade and it’s been quite cold (for us), dipping down below freezing. So I’ve got the heater on and I’ve been enjoying a lot of great reading with some fairly recent books. I’d like to share some of them with you.
First, I’ve been overwhelmed with the amazing books by Stephen Skinner and his Golden Hoard Press titles. I especially like The Goetia of Dr. Rudd and the Veritable Key of Solomon (with David Rankine), but all of his books are excellent and highly recommended. These have never been published before and have information crucial to anyone doing evocation magick, especially using Goetic or Solomonic magick. They certainly will add to your use of my Modern Magick.
Next is a novel by my friend, Devin O’Branagan. Years ago, when I lived in San Diego, there was a group of occultists who were friends and who became writers. I shared an apartment with Scott Cunningham and learned from Raven Grimassi. Other members of the group included deTraci Regula and David Harrington. Others became leaders in the occult but not writers…yet! (Are you reading this, Marilark?)
Rather than non-fiction, Devin expresses her ideas through fiction. One of her first novels, Witch Hunt, was very popular two decades ago, but as with many novels published by large companies, went out of print. Due to popular demand, she re-wrote it the way she wanted it to be, and it shows. This is an exciting story about religious fanaticism that is more apropos today than ever. The main character, Leigh, discovers that the family she married into are Witches. When a preacher comes to power stressing a worldwide crusade to wipe out Witches, she is confronted with life and death decisions. Most importantly, the characters have literally come to life. They are real people who you like or hate, real people whom you know. I think you’re going to love the tension and excitement and not be able to put down this page-turner!
For those of you more interested in hard-core occultism, there is an unsung hero who has quietly been assembling some of the most important historical documents concerning the Golden Dawn and affiliated groups. His name is Darcy Küntz, and most of his books are published through the Golden Dawn Research Trust. Many of his books and booklets contain information that has never previously been published and they are an important contribution to understanding the history and practices of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the pivotal occult group of the past 150 years.
Early member of the Golden Dawn were also members of the S.R.I.A. (Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia or Rosicrucian Society in England), and that earlier group heavily influenced the Golden Dawn. Darcy’s newest book is The Origins of the Rosicrucian Society in England. It includes original documents about the SRIA and will add to anyone’s knowledge of Golden Dawn history. I highly recommend it for those interested in the historical development of the Golden Dawn.
I would add that there was another SRIA almost as old as the British version. This is the American version of that order. Little known, it has been working and evolving for decades. It is currently undergoing major changes with new leadership, but you might want to keep track of what they’re doing through their website.
When I was in high school, I was one of the first student of the Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics course, one of the first modern courses in speed reading. I loved being able to read so fast (2,000 words per minute easily), but then I discovered Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, “The Bells.” I loved the sounds of the words, the way they made me feel, and the emotions they brought out. This was something you simply couldn’t experience with speed reading. Some writings are simply like that.
An amazing book that fits into that category is Kala Trobe’s Spiritus. I’ve enjoyed her previous novels, but this one is totally different. It’s about the effect of a strange ship moored on the docks of Amsterdam and the people who visit it. The parties there are amazing, the talk of the town. The people come from all walks in life. And as you visit the ship with the characters in this novel you’ll find yourself trolling the depths of your own psyche, with fear and awe, pride and dismay. In this book Kala shows that she has mastered the use of simile and metaphor, in a way that reminds me of Dennis Miller’s out-of-the blue references and Umberto Eco’s depth of knowledge. Blending myth and symbolism, occultism and existentialism, pop culture and mysticism without being pompous is a difficult skill, but Spiritus succeeds. I took a loooong time reading this (sorry, Kala) because I was quite literally savoring the luscious language. I’m going to be reading it again, too.
For fans of on-line works, I just received the latest issue of Hermetic Virtues journal. Available through their website, the current issue has articles on a Golden Dawn Winter Solstice ceremony by Darcy Küntz, an Invocation of the Spirit of Christmas by Joseph Max, A Ritual Drama by Sandra Tabatha Cicero on The Soul’s Celebration of The Sun, the secrets of the Golden Dawn technique of invisibility, and several more articles. It’s 120 pages in length, and you can order the current issue or past issues through the site’s store. You can also order through them Golden Dawn tools (Water Chalice, Fire Wand, Air Dagger, Earth Pentacle, and the Rose Cross Lamen) that have been hand crafted by Chic Cicero.
Finally, if you’re looking for an exciting occult novel that takes place today with realistic characters (and realistic magick), don’t forget my own book, The Resurrection Murders.