Witch School Second Degree
Lessons in the Correllian Tradition
by Rev. Donald Lewis-Highcorrell
Llewellyn, PB, 460pp
reviewed by John Canard for The Esoteric Book Review
Having read the various comments on my review of the First Degree book of Witch School, I decided to embark on a review of the Second Degree book. This is a natural progression.
The second book in this series has a very different emphasis to the first degree book. The intention of this book is to give the student as wide a knowledge base as possible, which may be why several completely irrelevant subjects areas are covered, to the detriment of subjects which really should have been covered in depth. So to the chapters with their in-depth study of the important areas.
The first chapter on the Tarot gives a basic history lesson, and then goes into a very bizarre set of attributions, attempting and failing to simplify the Trumps into elemental groups, and then attributing planets to the Minor Arcana in a way that does not fit with any system of western magick I have come across. The second chapter covers Physiognomy, an interesting choice but one I feel should have been ignored for a decent section on the elements, for example. Chapter 3 is a basic introduction to astrology, which is fine as a simple primer.
Chapter 4 covers the magickal alphabets, and is one of the better chapters in the book, though I was left slightly bewildered by the Correllian alphabet, with its modern and superficial symbolism from the perspective of why bother? Or should that be Gate-Side Street-City Gate bother? The next chapter gives a simple primer to numerology, followed by a simple explanation of death, spirits and spirit guides.
The chapter on sex magick gives a good overview of the different major schools, such as Chinese, Tantra, ancient world, Wiccan, etc, and does a reasonable job of presenting the information in a concise and easy to understand way. If the rest of the book were to this standard and relevance it would have made it a great deal better. For example the next chapter on calendars is largely irrelevant, with a big chunk on Chinese zodiacal animals which seems to have no real relevance and to have been included as a space filler. A section on a useful topic like colours in magick would have been far more relevant and useful.
The advanced chakra chapter is a big one, as you would expect with a system that places so much emphasis on their use. The material draws on the work of Peter Binder, and focuses on sub-dividing chakras into multi-level psychological and emotional states. It ignores the base and sacral chakra and includes chakras such as the ears and mouth. This model did nothing fo rme, but I can see that as part of the Correllian tradition it is perhaps part of what gives it a unique flavour, so I applaud its publication even if I don’t want to use it.
The chapter on ley lines is a bit piecemeal, though it does contain an interesting remark to the effect that the Correllians are keen on space travel to work with the ley lines of space. This continues with another puzzling inclusion, a chapter on the I Ching, which again could be more usefully replaced by something more appropriate.
The chapter on group dynamics is the most interesting as it tells you a lot about the Correllian way of looking at things and doing things. It would be too easy to be negative, rather than focus on the fact that this chapter actually has a lot of positive advice and ideas in it. The final section on comparative religion offers a perspective over a wide range of systems, and is a reasonable way to tend the book as it points out the opportunities for further adoption of useful material from elsewhere.
There is nothing new, but then that is true of the Correllian system generally, which is eclectic to the ninth degree. However, as I stated before, this product has been crafted very effectively to appeal to a wide audience, so people shouldn’t be surprised when it does. The good is good, the bad is awful and the rest is inappropriate knowledge product placing.