Raising Hell: Subversive Spirituality, Insurrectionist Witchcraft and Black Magic
by Kali Black
reviewed by Nina Lazarus for the Esoteric Book Review

This book is not really about black magic, rather it is another offering about Chaos Magic dressed up with different thrills (or is that paradigms?).  The initial material on behaviour patterns and how to ensure you are not influenced unduly by the media and others is reasonable.  It presents an interesting précis of much that is worthwhile and gives many leads and insights.  However the terminology is clearly a sign of the times, as in the 80s we used to call the ideas portrayed here cultural terrorism.  The chapter arguing against the consumption of meat and promoting vegetarianism was heartfelt and the sort of thing more books on magic should discuss.  However none of this material is really black magic, it is simply magic!

The NLP material emphasises the author’s preference for deprogramming and taking control, which is never a bad thing.  However the Toontra and anarchashamanism material both indicate the chaos magic roots of this material.  It seems there is a trend with some writers to present the ideas of chaos magic as if they were something new, which they aren’t, and they weren’t when chaos magic first appeared wearing its new clothes and championing eclecticism.  For example, as this book and many others seem keen to declare, the principle of reduction sigilisation invented by Austin Osman Spare, a favourite of Chaoists – yet this technique may be found centuries ago in Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy.

So although this book is not really as radical or new as it would like to present itself, it is nevertheless worth reading, as it brings together a good range of ideas and material which should give the reader food for thought.

Defences Against the Witches’ Craft

By John Canard

(An english root magician)

Published by Avalonia, 2008

Review by Herb Woman for The Esoteric Book Review

As a regular reader of the Esoteric Book Review I have found myself reading reviews by John Canard on this site many times and have learned a great deal from his wit and dry sense of humour.  When I found out that he had his first book published by a friend of mine who runs Avalonia Books, I decided that I should review the book.  It was difficult to try and remain neutral and impartial, I am a herb worker of many years experience.  Not a herbalist, just someone who performs magick with herbs and plants, so when I found out the author was an English Root Magician my ears pricked and I sat up to listen and find out more.

This, his first published book, is focussed on curses.  He provides down to earth and practical advice on how to find out if you have been cursed, how to detect the perpetrator and how to destroy magickal links.  He explains traditional methods for nailing footprints and how to work with Church Grimms, construct charms and how to grow herbs and other plants to protect your home.  His work draws both from his own research into the subject, as well as his training and experience.  As one of only a small group of practicing English Root Magicians today John provides an insight into a world otherwise unknown to the thousands of people who have an interest in the magick and spiritual beliefs of our ancestors.

So is it worth the £9.99 cover price?

Absolutely.  I found some of the charms and practical advice invaluable and most of all unique.  The book covers the subject of curses in a way that does not induce paranoia, he is throroughly practical and honest.  He gives a “check list” against which one could check for “too many coincidences” – as a sign for a curse.  This is not something I have seen anywhere else.

Cursing might be rare, but many of the techniques provided by Canard in this book would be very effective to defend against general negativity too.  Some of it is preventative in its nature.

Defences Against the Witches’ Craft is a book which I think all people who practice magick should be open to reading and it is likely to become a “cult classic” like many of the books published by Avalonia as it covers a subject that is simply not written about in this way.

So if you think you have been cursed?  Want to make sure that you are protected against curses and negativity; if you want to find out who cursed you or even how to curse and do it well, then this book has something to offer you.  I am recommending it to all my friends.