||There was a tiny voice in the back of head that hoped that I wouldn’t like this book; that tiny voice was wrong. But it had occured to me a few days after I admitted on this blog that I was a contributor, that no matter how objective I was about this book, no reader happening upon this review would believe I was anything other than biased if I gave it a rave review. Well sod the cynics, its a bloody good read and I would be lying if I suggested other wise.
Ive read a few devotional anthologies and literary offerings from the world of the Occult over the years and mostly I think they are “nice”. Yes I learn from them, yes they help to see other points of view, and from time to time I may even change my own perspective as a result, but mostly they are just “nice”.
But what astounded me about this book was that although there were a few personal views I didn’t agree with, there was actually nothing I disagreed with, and believe me there is a huge difference between those two statements. And Considering the blurb on the back, I really thought there would be more than one or two contributions that left me spitting, after all, that is the nature of personal gnosis, it is personal and each person is different, and I don’t live in a rose hued world where I think it is possible for everybody to agree with each other.
Yet here in the pages of this devotional offering I could see common threads, themes, words of truths and most definitely Keys to Hekate’s mysteries, mysteries I myself have studied, some I have learnt, some it seems I have yet to learn. And these contributors were from just about every Tradition imaginable, each with thier own peice of the puzzle, some apparently from so diverse Traditons you could barely imagine a common ground holding exactly the same peices and carefully putting them together side by side, in open communion.
Whilst a lot of this book is about personal experiences, rather than practical exercises and rituals (although some are included), it would be a blind idiot who couldn’t glean some knowledge and inspiration from between these covers to enhance thier daily praxis.
In my personal opinion several contributors were worthy of special note.
Firstly I want to point out Yuri Robbers for his wonderfully fresh translations of Theocritus’ Idylls II in his essay “Ancient Rites, Modern Times” and the translation of the curse tablet that had me holding my sides and crying with laughter.
Micheal Ellis, for giving me a whole new perspective on Liber AL, I shall be dusting it off and looking at it afresh with slightly less jaded eyes; Oh and for showing me that I’m not the only one who from time to time refers to the Greek Qabalah, I genuinely thought I was the only one.
Shani Oates who shared the bare bones of a deeply powerful ritual and has hopefully (along with a number of other contributors) made people think more closely about the use of caves in their workings with Hekate. I know it is something I have wanted to do for a long while and her essay has spurred me on to do so.
And Henrik Holmdahl, if you read this, you didn’t eat all the olives, I did washed down with a large glass of Mavrodaphne. 😛
If I had to criticise anything, then a few minor points spring to mind, some of the images are a little dark (and the artwork by Georgi Mishev is particularly spectacular), but I am given to understand by the publisher that this is being rectified.
Also I was saddened that Vikki Bramshaw chose not to include the mentioned trance exercise at the end of her most excellent and thought provoking essay, Im thinking of writing to her in the hopes that she may share it with us here, as I suspect it might be a bit of a good ‘un if her essay is anything to go by.
This book has left me touched, it took me on an emotional and intellectual rollercoaster, some of the experiences shared are so profound, so raw and often deeply personal, only a true devotee and sacred flame would have the courage to share them.