I’m not entirely sure why I went through this one, to be quite honest with you, aside from my tendency to read some weirdness here and there. There’s nothing new in it. Perhaps that statement will require some qualification before it has any weight or authority for purposes of this review.
“Magick with a k” is a pretentious way of saying “science that science hasn’t quite embraced yet” despite the fact that it’s a conditioned response that you program into yourself, is repeatable as a result, and has been known in other communities under far more accepting terms. Perhaps you’ve heard of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP? Self-hypnosis? Altered states of consciousness through brainwave frequency hopping? Or perhaps you’ve heard of people who practice martial arts who can channel their chi to do some rather impressive things? Or Hindi or Buddhist monks who use mantra to affect some extraordinary change in the world? Same thing. It’s the acknowledgement that there are forces outside of yourself just as there are forces inside, and one set affects the other. It’s the world’s oldest recorded law in observable action: “As above, so below; as within, so without.”
Back in the early 90s, I was a very bored individual, so you see, not much has really changed on that front. Then, as now, I was prone to finding some new obsession and learning all that’s learnable about it, often burning myself out in the process. And of course I can’t do just one thing at a time. I have to try a half dozen or so such things all at the same time. That’s what happens when you live in the country with nothing to do in the days before the internet. Some in my position might discover booze and go cow tipping, but I took a bit different tact. To be fair the internet kicked all of this into overdrive, but that’s another story. Before Harry Potter became the juggernaut it did and before Wicca became all the rage again thanks to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other such shows, I devoured books like this one in all such camps, from a variety of eras and points of view, ranging from the scientific to the esoteric, and I put them together the way the old school Hermetic explorers did. This had the side effect of making me even more bored stupid by the young wizard’s adventures. It had other effects too, but I won’t discuss those here. Met some *ahem* interesting people along the way too. Anyway… the point is that I know what I’m talking about on this front. I can say beyond the shadow of a doubt these concepts are the exact same thing with a different coat of paint and a different angle of approach. It’s all about the trappings, which for some serve the purpose as subconscious anchors. You say potato, I say spud. You ask how to prepare it, I offer up baked, mashed, julienned, scalloped… the list goes on. It’s still a potato no matter how you slice and dice it, and you can dress it up however you like.
This book not only says as much, but it strips away about as much of the Harry Potter as can be and still be “magick,” offering the basics in plain language. In short, it’s an examination of the potato. The result is a complete demystification of how and why “magick” works. So if you’re predisposed to this angle of approach, it’s not a bad book. You could certainly do a lot worse (and those who walk that path probably have, frequently). This probably isn’t the most fun approach to it, but it’s practical, which is the author’s intent. Mission accomplished on that front. The only question I still have is why I picked it up. Not sure I’ll have an answer to that one anytime soon, but as a refresher course in all that back there… not bad at all.