by Richard Webster
Llewellyn Publications, 2001
A review by Daven
I requested this book from Llewellyn to see if this would be appropriate for a text in a magick class that I have been asked to give in the near future. Sadly, it is not appropriate for my uses at all.
However, this does not mean that it is not useful for anyone. I found it informative and interesting. However, the title is somewhat misleading.
At first I thought it would be a book talking about the structure of spells, the use of ritual in those spells, what components go into spells and so on, and as such it would have been perfect for what I needed it for. However, it is a book on the magick of the written word.
Mr. Webster takes the book and starts giving suggestions for using writing as a critical component of spellcasting, and he suggests that one write down goals and so on and empower those words on the paper with the magickal energy that one wishes to use in the spell. He teaches how to use script and letters to empower spells that we need to cast.
I must say that his approach is somewhat innovative. I have not seen the likes of this particular work ever before. It is full of discussions of how the letters fit together, numerology as it relates to the words, symbols as they relate to the words and speech, and some truly innovative ways to write spells out and have those spells affect us in profound ways.
There are two that I remember from my reading, and one was to write the spell on bone china, let the ink dry on the china, meditate on the spell, wash the words off the china and into a glass, and drink the resulting ink /water combination. Needless to say one must use water-soluble ink. It is an interesting method of using the written word to cast this spell and one that intrigued me enough that I will probably use it at some future time.
There are other similar suggestions in there.
The first few chapters read like something from a Franklin/Covey seminar, full of daily journals, scheduling and so on and how to cast your magick into the spaces of scheduling your life. He advocates making long term plans and breaking them down into components that can be accomplished a piece at a time. Now there is nothing wrong with that, but I see this kind of action as simple logic and the law of consequences rather than magick. If I want 100,000 by the time I’m 40, and I make plans to get a high paying job making that much, and break that down into steps (college, specialty school, more practice and so on) that I can accomplish a little at a time, and I actively work toward those steps, then the consequence is that I will get that 100,000 when I need it and want it. That’s like saying “B” comes after “A” and before “C”. It’s logical and necessary.
However, I tried some of the techniques in there on my own, and I must say that some of what he puts in this book is highly useful and good. He does give a short breakdown of magick, what he sees as “required” elements (although I know of many magickians who would disagree), ritual and symbology in magick and so on. But that part is short and not enough by itself for my class.
Along the way there is a similar look at mandalas, talismans and amulets, prayer wheels and making magick with stones. I was surprised that he decided to omit magick of runes, but he does include magickal alphabets.
I find this book to be a good reference and one that will be looked at again, but useful in a limited number of ways. The written word IS important and necessary to all spells, but this is a highly specialized book. It is an easy read and the average reader can probably finish it in about a week. The techniques are clear, the spells concise and to the point. Some of what he talks about I would probably never teach or do personally, but I am only one person and there are many out there who would.
All in all, I give this book 3 1/2 stars. It’s useful for the magickian who wants an in-depth study of the aspects of the written word, but not very useful to the novice.