by Donald Tyson
Llewellyn, 2001 $17.50 US
Review by Erin
The Magician’s Workbook is definitely a workbook. This is laid out as a series of lessons, one per chapter. These are not the standard “learn these facts and this information and then answer these questions”. They are practical exercises, concentrating on being able to demonstrate the skill before moving on to the next lesson. Each chapter is meant to illustrate one idea. It is critical to learn the exercise before moving on since the next lesson will be built on the previous lesson you just mastered.
Mr. Tyson does a good job of condensing the practices The Golden Dawn uses in a series of lessons for the average person. They are well laid out. Each lesson and exercise builds on the previous one, exploring concepts in depth throughout the work.
Warning to those who think this book will be easy. Do not expect to learn everything about The Golden Dawn from it. That is not the purpose of the book, nor is all the information made available here. It is necessary for the reader/practitioner to do the work to derive the most this book has to offer. It will require a commitment of nearly a year to complete the exercises and it will mean a lot of practice and meditation as well.
There are some flaws with this work. Each chapter is extremely short. During this time, you are supposed to be keeping a journal of what you experience during the exercises. It is not until much later that you learn the actual rituals of The Golden Dawn. For example, the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. This ritual is treated as another exercise to do, something I found a bit disconcerting.
One great advantage of this book is that the exercises and explanations are detailed and through. I looked at the exercise for grounding and centering, and found it one of the most complete examples of its kind. Additional rituals for the various “spells” of the Golden Dawn are also complete. Anyone can find the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram online with some patience and a good search engine these days, but this work actually has clear explanations of what “Vibrate Ateh” means and how to do it. It’s rare to find something like this.
I will say that I personally found this book very difficult to get into. Normally I read things like this for research, and I can generally go through them in about a week. I have had this book for a year and a half, and despite going back to it multiple times, I was unable to get sufficiently motivated to finish it. Even though I was simply reading for content and not practicing the exercises laid out.
All in all, I give this book 3 stars out of 5. I think it is good for the information it contains, but there are times it reads like a technical manual for speaker assembly. This work is also limited in scope, so the contents won’t apply to everyone who purchases it. I do advise anyone who is studying the Golden Dawn to purchase it, as it is clear. It may fill in holes in the practice for others who are studying magick. I think that it would be an decent addition to anyone’s reference library if that person is also a student of ritual magick.
Originally posted 2015-03-09 01:16:02. Republished by Blog Post Promoter