Thursday, May 22, 2008

Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism update

In response to a recent query from Paul in Ireland it seems worth repeating what I wrote some time ago when I started this web-site. This concerns various comments I made in A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO QABALISTIC SYMBOLISM which many feel somewhat outdated, not to say pontifical and repressive in light of current social and moral attitudes. This is because, like any other book from human hand, it never was infallible, and almost 50 years after it was written is not unnaturally showing the effects of its age. (Like me!) For reasons of publishing economics it has not been possible to revise the text but in the latest one-volume paperback edition from Red Wheel Weiser I have been able to insert a foreword that covers some of these issues as best I may. If anyone does not have a copy of this edition but would like to read the foreword I will be happy to send it by e-mail.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Magic and the Power of the Goddess

First review of Magic and the Power of the Goddess has just come to my notice, and sums up what I had in mind for the book very well. I quote:

“Over the years, Gareth Knight has been very much an innovator and opener of new ways in the Western Mysteries. At a time when this stuff was generally reserved for secret lodge meetings and when many groups frowned upon individual thought and inner work, he was one of the first to encourage people to meet and practice magic in living rooms and public workshops. Magic and the Power of the Goddess – perhaps the best in the list of impressive titles that have flowed from Knight’s prolific pen – is very much an expression of this original, initiating spirit.

“Originally published in 1985 as The Rose Cross and the Goddess, then later substantially revised and expanded under the title Evoking the Goddess, this latest edition has a new preface by the author. In many ways the book was, and still is, ahead of its time. For it presents the Western Mystery Tradition not as an inalterable secret “system” controlled by a hierarchy of reticent adepts, but as a dynamic, living approach to sacred lore. It is a way of transformation and spiritual service.

“The book is divided into two main parts, which taken together provide a rare opportunity to work magic from beginning exercises to advanced levels of service. Indeed, the book could well be taken as a course of training in and of itself and I would certainly wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone interested in the Magical Way.

“Part One, entitled The Magic Circle Maze Dance, is a masterful résumé of magical practice. Here you will learn about treading the sacred spiral, becoming one with the earth, invoking the fourfold elemental powers, working with the cycle of time and the central flame. The section concludes with a consideration of the need to balance oneself in the Three Worlds or Realms, a vision of the Goddess and a call to respond to her. There are times in this book, particularly in the practical segments, where Knight’s literary style, already accomplished and impressive, seems overshadowed by yet a greater voice. A poetic muse of spiritual contact seems to speak with unusual power from those passages.

“Part Two deals with the application of this practical instruction to the figure of the Goddess as she appears in various traditions. Gareth Knight offers insightful analyses of the myths and legends of Andromeda, Isis, Mary, Alchemical Venus, and the Queen of Faery – each followed by a visionary practice.

“In the chapter on the Queen of Faery, Knight remarks more fully on an important theme running through the book. This is “the democratization of the Mysteries”, which he rightly links to the power of the Goddess. He mentions the current spate of books and workshops on once secret doctrines and practices as evidence of this process, and from my own experience as a teacher of magical ways, it does indeed seem as if the roles of priest and priestess are moving with equal haste away from confinement in both conventional religion and traditional mystery lodges into wider, more accessible and integrated expressions in the daily lives of spiritual people.

“The book closes with a chapter on the Initiation of the Earth, in which Knight gives visionary examples of how this new priest and priestess-hood is undertaken in the context of the Goddess and sacred sites. Effective participation in this kind of spiritual service requires, the author tells us, “breadth of vision and largeness of soul” – a phrase which aptly applied to both the work and person of Gareth Knight.”
C Y H Brown

This appears on Colestone Brown’s website which is worth a visit not least for a view of the current activity and publications of this highly active and promising former student of mine.
The book itself ISBN 978-159477235-1 is published by Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, 224 pages, 9 b&w illustrations, at $14.95. Further details from