2. Important Announcements

Dear Visitor,

This blog has 200+ interviews, reviews and other (hopefully) interesting blog articles dating from between 2000 and 2010.  The content here is an archive of material which was created originally for: Avalonia / WWL and the Esoteric Book Review.

Avalonia was a Pagan / Witchcraft resource website, which hosted an online community of around 1500 people during the same period, in two incarnations: Avalonia Forums, and WWL [Wiccans & Witches in London].  The community hosted monthly moots in London’s Bloomsbury; Summer Picnics in the Park; Creative Days and visits to Museums.  Lapis Companions, a monthly open ritual circle was also born from this community, and was hosted by Sorita d’Este and David Rankine between 2003-2006.

Sorita and David received a high volume of books for review as part of their work with the Avalonia online community, and it became increasingly difficult to manage by themselves.  Friends and other esoteric practitioners and scholars soon offered to take on some of the books and other interesting items which arrived and review them.

The old interviews and reviews were archived here, and the admin was handed to Nina Lazarus, an avid bookworm and academic who was keen to expand this project and make it a resource for the Pagan and Esoteric community.  Unfortunately, due to longterm illness Nina passed away soon after – and with her this project came to an abrupt end.

“And so when the first star of the night rises I honour you.  Mistress divine, Goddess of my sacred altar, with my naked body, I dance and sing… And when the offerings I make are accepted by your brilliance I know that I too am worthy of your love.  Worthy of your blessing. Queen of my beloved blood, I pour forth my life blood into your sacred stream, I lift my sword to the heavens and scream your name… And I honour you beloved of Zeus.

When every mortal man shuns your light and the women of the world fear your power, I shall remain standing and I shall remain the vessel for your holy blood.  When she who called your name in anger stands in fear, when they who speak your name without understanding no longer have your blessing, I shall speak words of encouragement and I shall give them pathways through which they can honour you.  Bright Goddess, do not strike the ignorant with Zeus’ thunderbolts, let them remain in the world of mortals for an eternity instead. Life upon life they will suffer amongst the mortals without knowing your true name, let them pretend, but Goddess I implore you to show me your true face so that my tongue may speak true words and my mind may find the pathways to wisdom and knowledge…  ”
– Dr. Nina Lazarus, in ‘Scary Dark Crone’, Hekate: Keys to the Crossroads, 2006

Thank you to David Rankine, Nina Lazarus, Kim Huggens, Payam Nabarz, Agrotera, Root Magician John and all the contributors who made this project possible.  Thank you to the publishers, authors and everyone else who encouraged us, and to all members of the WWL community who shared in a community spirit of learning, questioning and friendship based in knowledge, wisdom and creativity.

Many blessings on your respective paths, may we continue to know each other in friendship for the rest of this life,  Sorita d’Este


Dear Readers,

We would like to welcome you to our new home here at https://esotericbookreview.wordpress.com – you may have found us by following a link to our old website, or maybe your browser redirected you here.

The Esoteric Book Review was created by the occult author Sorita d’Este as part of her Avalonia website which was founded in 1997.  It moved to its own seperate website about two years ago during some reorganisations of Avalonia by Sorita.  At that time she appointed me as the Reviews Editor and with her help I have been able to learn more about internet technology and gain the confidence to be able to now take on the massive task of administering this website by myself.

The Esoteric Book Review is a peer review.  The reviews you will find here have been written by people who have many years worth of experience as practitioners of magick, devotees of the old gods, readers of tarot and weavers of the webs of sorcery.   They include amongst them esoteric scholars and academics, authors, writers, teachers of wicca and members of large and prestigious magical organisations and traditions.   They share their genuine opinion on the books they review, good or bad.  They are volunteers who share a passion for the occult, for magick, paganism and spirituality, for witchcraft, voodoo, root magic and the old gods.

So if you are with us now, in the words of Aleister Crowley:

“Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us.”

156, 93, BB, LVX and all the fraternal and sororal blessings

Nina Lazarus


PS. Please note, the reviews previous to the this message have all been imported from the original reviews website.  They are all posted as “UnicursalStar” though they were written by a variety of authors over the last few years.  In most instances the name of the author is contained within the message body itself.

This is an exciting new release due out from Avalonia and David Rankine:


With Introduction & Commentary by David Rankine

Conjurations of Goetic spirits, old gods, demons and fairies are all part of a rich heritage of the magical search for treasure trove.  During the Middle Ages and Renaissance the British Monarchy gave out licenses to people seeking treasure in an effort to control such practices, and this is one reason why so many grimoires are full of conjurations and charms to help the magician find treasure.

Published here for the first time, from a long-ignored mid-seventeenth century manuscript in the British Library (Sloane MS 3824), is the conjuration said to have been performed at the request of King Edward IV, with other rites to reveal treasure, to have treasure brought from the sea, and to cause thieves to bring back stolen goods.  Conjurations to call any type of spirit are also included, recorded by the noted alchemist and collector Elias Ashmole, as is an extract on conjuration practices from the Heptameron, transcribed into English for practical use by a working group of magicians, before its first English publication by Robert Turner in 1655.

These conjurations demonstrate the influence of earlier classic grimoires and sources, with components drawn from the Goetia, the Heptameron, and Reginald Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft. The material includes spirit contracts for the fallen angels Agares and Vassago, and the demon Padiel, as well as techniques like lead plates for binding, and summoning into a glass of water, which hark back to the defixiones of Hellenistic Greece and the demonic magic of the Biblical world.

This material forms part of a corpus of conjurations all written in the same hand and style of evocation, linking Goetic spirits and treasure spirits with the archangels and planetary intelligences (Sloane MS 3825), and demon kings and Enochian hierarchies (Sloane MS 3821), making it a unique bridge of style and content between what are often falsely seen as diverse threads of Renaissance magic.

Soon available from www.avaloniabooks.com

Priestesses, Pythonesses & Sibyls is the latest anthology to be released by Avalonia Books.  It is already causing a lot of excitement, so we are pleased to be able to include this announcement here on the Esoteric Book Review.

Priestesses, Pythonesses & Sibyls
Edited by Sorita d’Este, with 20 Phenomenal Women and modern day Priestesses

Available for order now at Avalonia Books (free P&P worldwide)

Priestesses Pythonesses Sibyls lifts a veil to reveal the mystery of trance as experienced by female magickal practitioners today. Through happiness and sorrow, myth and legend, art and poetry, through ritual and dance each woman expresses her own unique and personal transformative experiences of trance. Whether through trance possession, mediumship, Drawing Down the Moon, oracular or mantic states, dance, dreams or formal ceremony the experiences and knowledge gained during trance states can bring dramatic changes to one’s life. The practices represented in this volume are drawn from the experiences and research of more than twenty women from around the world, each providing a unique vision of their own experiences of the Divine.

The book begins with “Ecstatic Histories” a section of three scholarly essays. The first, Mantic Voices by Sorita d’Este provides an overview of the role of mantic priestesses in the major oracles of the ancient world, with a consideration of the resurgence of the role of the priestess in the modern Western magickal traditions. This is followed by Caroline Tully’s The Pythia exploring the history and role of the Oracle at Delphi and Kim Huggens’ Silent Priestesses which looks at female priests and prophetesses in early Christianity.

Then in “Sacred Utterances”, the second part of this anthology, eighteen modern day Priestesses, Pythonesses and Sibyls share their own personal experiences, wisdom and research on the practice of trance. These women come from a wide spectrum of magickal and pagan traditions, including Goddess Spirituality, the Western Mystery Tradition, Thelema, Wicca, Candomble, Voudou and Seidr. Sharing, sometimes for the first time, deep spiritual experiences and insights gained through the work they have performed as Priestesses serving in their own unique way, they provide the reader with insights into their practices which could not be found anywhere else.

This section includes essays by authors such as Janet Farrar, Naomi Ozaniec and Vivienne O’Regan, Wiccan Priestesses Galatea, Diane Champigny, Yvonne Aburrow, Emily Ounsted and Sorrell Cochrane, and Priestess of Avalon Jacqui Woodward-Smith. It also includes Seidr practitioner Katie Gerrard, Priestess of Apollo Bolina Oceanus, Cathryn Orchard a Priestess of the Gnostic Catholic Church, Voudou hounsi bossal Sophia Fisher, Healer and Psychic Medium Kay Gillard, Orixa devotee Andrea Salgado-Reyes, Teacher and Priestess Connia Silver, and dancers Mariëlle Holman and Nina Falaise.

Unique, powerful and insightful, this book expresses the liminal world of trance in an accessible way for the first time.

Available now from Avalonia Books

The Transparent Tarot

By Emily Carding

Published by Schiffer Books / November 2008

The Transparent Tarot is unlike any Tarot method you have used before! A must have for both readers and collectors, this highly innovative deck consists of simple yet striking images displayed on clear plastic, which are designed to be read in layers. This method creates a new dimension to Tarot, revealing combinations of images that can be used to unlock intuition and help discover hidden depths as you read. The book offers in depth definitions of the cards, original spreads, and suggestions for methods which have never before been possible. Whether a Tarot expert or total beginner, The Transparent Tarot offers a fun, original, and insightful tool for divination, meditation, brainstorming, magic, and more!

Available now for order directly from the UK distributors www.bushwoodbooks.co.uk

For more information on the artist Emily Carding see www.childofavalon.com

(if you click on Tarot on her homepage it will take you through to a page where you can view her other tarot work, but also images of the Transparent Tarot deck)