***** "Finally, a Western Ceremonial Magical text from Llewellyn that delivers!"
Reviewer: Brother Moloch
Finally, a Western Ceremonial Magical text from Llewellyn that delivers! Well all I can say is "It's about damn time!"
Aaron Leitch, aka Khephra, is a practitioner of grimoiric Sorcery as outlined in the Book of Abramelin the Mage, Key of Solomon, Lemegeton and others. I first learned of Aaron from a friend who suggested I visit Khephra's website. There I discovered a young lad who was keen on digging into the old books to learn how they did it back then. I discovered his more inner musings on various Occult lists on the Net and struck up an acqaintance with him. His significant other is a practitioner of the African Traditional Religions and this has helped Aaron learn more about how Medieval practitioners may have conducted themselves.
The book itself is not your typical Llewellyn fare. Unlike many of their CM authors, Llewellyn allowed Aaron to put forth his hypothesis concerning the true nature of many of the classical texts of Sorcery such as mentioned in the previous paragraph. While this text is scholarly, let it be known that it's not coming purely from an academic's point-of-view for Aaron is an admitted Occultist. He has performed the six month long rite of Abramelin as outlined in that Medieval text. Further he has created pantacles found in the Clavicula Solomonis aka the Greater Key of Solmon which is also a Medieval text on making talismanic pantacles used to gain wine, women and song. Thus Aaron is knowledgeable on how these books work and that is what he outlines in this work of his.
Secrets goes into a vast array of subjects including: Shamanism, Biblical Prophets, Magical Timing, Elective Astrology, Finding Obscure Ritual Items, Purifications, Creating Invocations, Ritual Bathing, Theurgy, Natural Philosophy & Goetia Conjuring. Each section offers you quite a lot of footnoted material that Aaron has cross referenced where available.
The finding of obscure ritual items is quite handy as the author discusses the pitfalls of finding a virgin to spin your wool, metals for the pantacles, blood from winged creatures, and the like. He offers you some alternatives yet explains the need to go the distance to obtain such ritual items and how that impacts your grimoiric workings.
In the chapter on Magical Timing, Aaron shows the pros and cons of using such a thing even though the debate over its effectiveness has raged for years. Though he settles it with elucidation from a passage found in the Clavicula Solomonis and offers some anecdotal thoughts on its relation to the practitioner as well.
Is this a 'how-to manual'? No it isn't. The scope of the book is more scholarly and digging to help you understand the fundamental reasons of HOW & WHY the classical texts were written the way they were. Further, Aaron offers you modern parallels where applicable in an effort to make things seem clearer and less fuzzy.
Even though this isn't a cookbook, the theory & ideas presented in this text should make picking up a classical grimoire much easier to comprehend and understand. That alone, causes the value of this book to remain high. I dare say that with this book and an English copy of the clavicle, one could easily make a pantacle that would be a smashing success or learn to summon an entity from the Goetia without fear of reprisal.
All in all, the book is an extremely handy reference. While Aaron could not hope to cover every topic, he has done a fine job in those areas in his book. I for one am grateful he has publsihed this material as it gives me a deeper understanding of the traditions and mindset of the Medieval Magician.
I rate this book 5 out of 5 possible stars and highly recommend it to any serious student of either Evocation or Devotional Magics.
Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires
Copyright © 2005 C "Aaron Jason" Leitch.
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