by Gordon White,
This is a book that will probably not get the attention it deserves because it is written by a self described Chaos magician.
I was first introduced to Chaos magic in 1990 by a young guy I met on a drilling rig in the North Sea. We would spend many a coffee break and evening discussing the occult. This was in the day’s before we had satellite TV and decent telephone’s. The only form’s of communication were ship to shore radio telephone via Montrose 2182 or via snail mail sent to Sedco Forex’s Aberdeen office.
I have a bad habit of surrounding myself and building a life around people who run contrary to what I want. A history of trying to fit into a pigeon hole that society has pre-determined for me. The drug addled teenager and the wannabe outlaw biker phases were already behind me. This was going to be the flowering of my occult phase which had started in my early teens. Not to be unfortunately. All too soon I succumbed to the pressure from my boss’s, the alcoholic Dundonion AA and the equally obnoxious failed Premier league footballer PS. So I slotted myself into a culturally suitable pigeon hole. Next came many years of happily and unhappily married life, followed by life as the globe trotting rig pig with a pocket full of cash and a hard-on in his pants. Before long that gave way to a life of an expatriate and then back to married domestication. It was only in mid-life that I started to take control of the forces around me and understand who I really was. Sadly 25 good years lost, 25 years of potential study lost, 25 years of development lost.
Maybe… Possibly the experiences of the previous 25 years were probably necessary to produce who I am today, no short cut was available. As Gordon say’s in the book The pirates of the classical age were not only necessary but also improved the British navy and speeded up its development and the development of the British Empire. It also quickened the independence of many Caribbean nations.
The fact that this book in just a few short hours of reading has evoked such reactions and reminiscence’s in me is testament to the power in Gordon’s words.
By definition a chaos magician is somebody who through practical experimentation dismisses that which does not work and adopts that which does. This book takes me back all those years to the long discussions I had with a now unknown person, name, address, telephone numbers long since forgotten and now would be utterly useless.
At this point I’ve said precious little about the book. It’s a collection of thought provoking essays that will stimulate your mind into further explorations on the subject’s. Fifteen essays that occupy about 2 thirds of the book followed by section with some practical exercises and the last few pages with an interesting further reading/ study list.
Whether you are biased against chaos magic or not will determine if you read this book. I hope that this book is the start of the re-imagining of chaos magic that Gordon envisions. That changes the perception of chaos magicians from snot nosed undisciplined kids (young and old) into disciplined, practical, experimental magicians, independent of snotty noses or age.
I’ll leave this review here with a couple of quotes from the book…
“Terence McKenna once famously said that science asks “Give us one free miracle and we’ll explain the rest.” That miracle is the instantaneous arrival of all the laws of nature and all the matter and energy in the universe, appearing out of nowhere at the moment of the Big Bang, before going on to expanding uneven and unexplained ways. Quite the miracle. Sounds like magic. Bad magic.”
“The very best magicians are scavengers of the useful and banishers of the useless.”
I hope this book fires you up like it has done me.
Edited by Nick Farrell.
Jake Stratton-Kent – Ariton
Chris Newton – Teachings of an Unknown Golden Dawn Order
Tony Fuller – Before the Portal
Aaron Lietch – Grimoire Hopping
Jayne Gibson – Abrades and Baphomet
Joāo Pedro Feliciano – Agates Daimon in Greco-Egyptian Religion
Nick Farrell – Introduction to Homeric Magic
Tony Fuller – The Missing Flying Roll
Annie Horniman – A Short Earth Ritual
Ina Cüsters-Van Bergen – A powerful God does not need a Goddess does he?
Morgan Drake Eckstein – Rooted in the Physical
Spencer M Graves – Coptic Names in the Golden Dawn
Tony Fuller – Israel Regard’s Golden Dawn
Nick Farrell – Harry and Nicola Wendrich’s Sephirothic Odyssey
One of the reason’s I love the Hermetic Tablet, apart from the gem’s always to be found in it, is the fact that I can pick an essay and fill a spare 30 to 40 minutes on a subject. One of the problems of my unusual life is the constant interruptions which can hinder getting into a heavy magic book.
The “Teachings of an Unknown Golden Dawn Order” I found very interesting. A year long correspondence course which has an interesting take on initiation into the Golden Dawn. I’ve been studying the MOAA’s correspondence course now for a year so this was of significant interest to me.
Tony Fuller has 7 essay’s from 1894, believed unpublished before. These are from members of the Isis Urania Temple of the Hermetic order of the Golden Dawn. The 7 articles represented address’s to prospective members of the Adepts Minor grade. Having suffered some very strange consequences of my own magical work I read these with interest. The warnings are clear, if you think you’re not read then you’re not ready. However is also renewed my vigour in continuing my practice, perfect timing as I was contemplating giving up.
Jayne Gibson has an excellent article on Abraxas and Baphomet that deals with composite nature of these Godforms. Are these Godforms representative of the Macrocosmic and Microcosmic forces or the origin of the spiritual seed and the theurgic way of return to this origin? Jayne list’s over two pages of sources so there is plenty of sources for further study.
Nick Farrell’s article is on gives an introduction to Homeric Magic and a complete system of planetary days and hours attributed to Pagan Gods rather than the classic planets. The article is not just about Pagan attribute’s for the days and hours but about using Greek as a magical language. Combined with gematria you can uncover the deeper meanings to Homer. There is a lot of detail and information packed into this short article. Definitely one I’ll need to reread several times to fully understand.
Morgan Drake Eckstein’s article on the physical vs the astral in relation to mental health issues. Having suffered from depression in the past I know how hard it can be to talk of such issues and the usual cranks who will just tell you to ‘pull yourself together’. In this day and age it can still be a taboo subject. I agree with Morgan that the Malkuth of Assiah is not the end but merely the start once everything has coalesced into the physical. To quote the great Dion Fortune, “Every magical operation must come through to Malkuth before it can be reckoned to have attained completion, for only in Malkuth is the force finally locked into form”
I was going to review a couple of more articles in the book but I started watching Stranger Things last night… Needless to say I was hooked and crawled into bed very late.
That is just five out of the twelve articles contained in this edition, not counting the book reviews). Excellent work from the team involved and I’m looking forward to the next edition.
I’ll admit straight up, this book beat me. Mainly because I know nothing about astrology and this is not a beginners book. I knew this going in and assumed I’d be able to figure it out but no… I’d suggest being a bit familiar with charts and terminology before reading this book.
The book did come highly recommended to me by a very popular and well respected magician. If you are experienced with the basics there is quite a lot of information on offer. I just need a simpler introduction and then to reread this book.
My friend Morgan Drake Eckstein recently wrote a blog post on the importance of magicians learning astrology.
This book has been on my radar for quite a while but as I have plenty of unread books here I always gave it a by. After several months of struggling to complete a couple of books I threw the towel in and bought a copy.
I can’t begin to describe what it is about Pomba Gira that attracts me. What little you find on the web does not paint a pretty picture, with epithets such as the Devil’s mistress and warnings about the uninitiated and untrained working with this spirit it should have put me off. Yet, like a moth drawn to the flame I kept checking this book out and regularly searching the web to see if there was anything that would satisfy my curiosity.
Unfortunately, there is very little about Pomba Gira or Exu in English on the Internet. If you can read Portuguese good, otherwise your choices are very limited. The daily Portuguese lessons from 15 years ago when I worked there are of little use now. I can just barely ask for specific tools and order a round of beer now in Portuguese.
First, I enjoyed Nicholaj’s writing style. Plain and direct which made it for me an enjoyable and easy read, unlike the previous 3 books that I gave upon. One reason I’ve not read anything and suppressed interest in ATR’s and regional variations is that in someway I didn’t want to be seen as some privileged white European jumping on the ‘bandwagon’. Nicholaj briefly touches on this in the book when he traces the influences in Catholicism, traditional European witchcraft along with roots in the Congo. Even highlighting similarities with Polish folk stories of vampires.
There is plenty of warnings throughout the book about doing any workings with Pomba Gira. Some simple workings are given but proceed with caution. It would be better to be introduced to Pomba Gira by an initiate of the cult and then build up a relationship with her first. Failure to do this could result in burnt fingers, or worse.
Quimbanda is not a system you can casually practice, there is a high level of commitment and involvement required. Again, there are warnings about this.
There is an extensive section in the book covering some of the more common manifestations of Pomba Gira, with her history, Pontos Contados and Ponto Riscado’s. There is also a brief Glossary with the translation and explanations of the Brasilian Portuguese terms used.
Despite my initial reservations about I really enjoyed this book and my only complaint was that it was over all too soon. There is a dearth of information in English on Pomba Gira and this book will leave you wanting more. When I worked in Basil 15 years ago I did not enjoy the country, now I’m hoping for an assignment there in the near future and might just dust off the old language course that I never did much with.
If you think Quimbanda is for you, a good starting point would be to have a consulta with Nicholaj.
My review is based on the PDF that Scarlet Imprint sends free with every book purchase. When I receive the book I’ll update the review with some additional pictures.
If you wish to read more, Peter Gray’s essay on Pomba Gira is excellent
Salvé Pomba Gira Rainha!