by Donald Michael Kraig
Llewellyn, 2002 $17.95 US
ISBN 0-87542-324-8 (republication)
Review by Erin
Many would find the sheer size of this book to be daunting. I mean it’s 10 inches tall and 6 inches wide and better than two inches thick. It would put anyone off who realized just what those numbers translate into in real dimensions. There are almost 600 pages of information sitting there on the shelf of your bookstore. Waiting for you to pick it up. It’s not surprising that many would shudder and pass it by.
That would be an inexcusable mistake. This is one of those rare books that is a seminal work of magick. I understand that when this book was first published, tens of thousands of people bought it and learned about magick for the first time. With its reissue, I think this phenomenon could easily repeat itself.
Normally when I review a book, I skim it. I may not read every word; I may read a sentence per paragraph to try to get a feel for the content of that paragraph. Then I read bulleted lists, I go back through it and I generally finish a book in a night. This book breaks all the rules. I want to read and absorb every word on the page, and read it two or three more times.
Like other workbooks, this tome cannot be read in one sitting. One must practice the contents in order to get their full effects. There are 11 lessons in all, and each is incredibly detailed.
I teach a class in Magick, highlighting various traditions, allowing my students to delve into the meat of that tradition if they choose to. This book, presents one of the most complete references on the Kabala that I have ever seen outside of the Jewish religion. Impressively it does so without going too deeply into the history of the Kabala and Judaism. This is the Kabala for the non-religious.
Because of this, the book fills in multiple gaps that appear in various other works, also considered to be seminal. I have found explanations for things that have puzzled me in the Key of Solomon and other Kabalistic works from the same period. In fact, in many ways this could be considered a companion and guide to the Key of Solomon since many of the same ceremonies that appear in such works are laid out here, demystified and explained so that anyone can do them.
The type is easy to read without strain. The illustrations are similarly well done and easy to read.
Like all other books, this has a few flaws. Finding something in this book can be daunting. The Table of Contents only has page numbers for the main chapters, not the topics within the chapters. The Index, is full of references, so once again, your specific topic need could be lost.
This is one of those books that I take a highlighter to simply because there are so many pages that yield up information for the prospective magickian. I would recommend this book without hesitation to anyone who is just starting his or her investigations in Magick.
I rate this book at 4 1/2 stars out of 5. The only reason that it’s not higher is because of the problems with the Table of Contents and Index. They both could be laid out better. I believe this is a must have for anyone who is involved with magick and occultism. I could only wish I had this book several years ago, when I was first starting out.
Originally posted 2011-02-15 23:36:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter