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

treasurespirites

THE BOOK OF TREASURE SPIRITS
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

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elementalsmThis review of “Practical Elemental Magick” by David Rankine and Sorita d’Este recently appeared in “The Equinox – British Journal of Thelema”  – so we thought we would share.  Check out The Equinox here

Practical Elemental Magick
Working the Magick of the Four Elements in the Western Mystery Tradition

By Sorita d’Este and David Rankine

“This is a very impressive book from two prolific and respected occult authors.  The concept of Elemental Spirits is encountered frequently in occultism, but there has been until now no comprehensive guide to working with them.  I say comprehensive advisedly, for one of the great virtues of this book is it traces origins and alternatives very thoroughly, rather than laying down dogmatic rules with no background.  At the same time as offering in-depth information the book also retains considerable clarity.  The range of sources consulted is astonishing, and the work thus provides an invaluable resource for further research by the individual reader.  The material is usefully synthesised into a thoroughly workable practical system of magic; while offering sufficient alternatives for the reader who is so inclined to evolve distinct methodologies based on their own preferences.”

Note* Practical Elemental Magick is a companion volume to “Practical Planetary Magick” by the same authors.  Both these books are available from Amazon (USA / UK etc) and directly from the publishers http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalogue/titles/elemental_magick.htm

The Magickal Beginnings of the Practices – an introduction to the book Wicca, Magickal Beginnings

By Sorita d’Este and David Rankine

More information available from www.avaloniabooks.co.uk

Over the last few months, many people – some of whom have not yet read our book Wicca Magickal Beginnings have written to us, or asked us in passing why we wrote it. This is a complex question and one which can probably in part at least, be answered by this extract from the introduction we wrote for the book.

All books have a moment of conception, and this book was born out of a discussion on the origins of the Wiccan Tradition as known today, with some of our students in late 2001. Whilst debating the possible starting point of this magickal tradition, we realised that all the evidence being presented was focused on the people who were the early public face of the tradition and their contemporaries. Yet this is a tradition which is also called a ‘Craft’ and which is an experiential tradition where personal experience is paramount for the understanding of the practices and beliefs. So why were we debating the origins of the tradition in terms of who said or did what?

Has Wiccan history tied itself into knots of personalities in an effort to conceal its true origins? Was there something we were missing? Why was it that whilst some people claimed that the tradition was the continuation of a very ancient Pagan religion, others stated that it was created (or compiled) in the 1950’s or 1940’s in England? Why was it that Gerald Gardner was greatly respected as the ‘Father’ of the modern movement and simultaneously viewed as a charlatan? Could it be that in an effort to cover up the ludicrous and unsubstantiated claims that the tradition originated in the Stone Age (or thereabouts) the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction and got stuck? We agree that an academically sound historical foundation will provide more credibility to a tradition and its practitioners, but did that come at a price? What was being sacrificed in order to lend credibility to the tradition? What really made Wicca, Wicca?

Having asked ourselves all these questions again and again over the years, sometimes obtaining different answers to the same questions based on changes in our perspective, we found that ultimately Wicca remained a mystery tradition at its heart. The practices and beliefs could only be fully understood through direct experience thereof and it was through this that the tradition could be best defined, not through the endless debates about lineages, initiations and personalities!

We set about systematically researching the origins of the practices and beliefs which were passed to us through our initiators and colleagues. Our preconceptions were constantly challenged as we explored the origins of the practices and beliefs from different angles in an effort to find possible solutions to the question of when and where the tradition may have originated. We separated the rituals into their component parts, then looked at each individually and even divided them up into smaller parts, before finally putting it all back together creating a colourful mosaic with our findings.

Faced with several possible interpretations based on the evidence we correlated, it became clear that although it remained possible that Gerald Gardner may have created the tradition, it was certainly not that plausible in comparison to some of the other conclusions that we reached. In fact, at this stage of our research we feel that it is most likely that Gardner was not that much of a charlatan after all, but that his accounts of initiation into an existing tradition, upon which he later expanded, were truthful. When stripped right back, without the many additions and evolutions it has undergone since the 1950’s, Gerald Gardner’s ‘Witch Cult’ appears to predate him by at least some years.

We did of course realise from the outset that this would be a controversial conclusion for some readers and as such we present the practice-based evidence in this volume in a way which allows for individual interpretation. We also focused on the component parts which were common to all the traditions, both esoteric and exoteric, that we have personal knowledge of. This means that whilst we touch on the subject of deity, it is important for the reader to understand that theological debate is not within the scope of the work presented here. The individual beliefs in the Goddess and God vary, in some instances significantly so, between traditions in existence today. Additionally, we have not included evidence or debate on the inclusion of many of the folk practices which are found in some Wiccan groups today, such as May pole dancing at Beltane or making Brighid crosses for Imbolc. These practices were well known throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as the countless books and magazine articles published in those eras attest to. As such their inclusion might be incidental. Moreover, they are not considered relevant by all of the traditions and as such, though of extreme importance to some, are not even considered by others.

The bulk of the material presented in the book is aimed at practitioners, be that of the esoteric (ie. initiatory) or exoteric traditions of Wicca. The book does not aim to cover in detail all aspects of Wiccan history, in fact we have for the most ignored the modern developments. The material presented can be used in a variety of ways, but will benefit those who are seeking to deepen their understanding of the practices the most as knowing more about their original context can of course help deepen the symbolic understanding of their place in our ceremonies today. It is possible that practitioners of other related pagan traditions who draw their inspiration for rituals by incorporating circle casting, the invocation of the elemental guardians at the four cardinal point and drawing down the moon, might also find this book of interest.
For more information, as well as for examples of some of the reviews this book has already received, visit www.avaloniabooks.co.uk

The Veritable Key of Solomon

By Stephen Skinner and David Rankine

Published by Golden Hoard, http://www.goldenhoard.co.uk (October 2008) available in a half-leather collectors edition (limited to 350), and a full leather Deluxe edition (limited to 25).

The Key of Solomon is the most famous and infamous of all the Grimoires and books of magic ever produced. Yet amazingly only one version of it has ever been published, which was compiled from diverse sections drawn from seven different manuscripts in 1889 by S.L. MacGregor Mathers, the occult scholar who was one of the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Stephen Skinner and David Rankine have explored the labyrinthine trail of manuscripts of the Key of Solomon around the world, and after studying dozens of manuscripts, decided on the two which best represent this grimoire tradition to provide the widest range of material in their new work, The Veritable Key of Solomon. The book reproduces the Keys from Wellcome MS 4669 and MS 4670, two previously overlooked French manuscripts scribed for a French aristocrat in 1796, and here translated into English for the first time. They are not the earliest, but they are the most detailed,containing three separate Keys which cover a wealth of material not found in the Mathers’ edition. These Keys are The Keys of Rabbi Solomon, The Key of Solomon King of the Hebrews and The Universal Treatise of the Keys of Solomon. One of these manuscripts was the one referred to by Bulwer-Lytton in his classic nineteenth century magical novel of initiation, Zanoni, and another one contains an early version of the material later found in the Grimorium Verum.

Example of a colour plate from the Veritable Key of Solomon by Skinner and RankineThe fame of the Key of Solomon probably stems from the fact that it was the closest thing available to a manual for the aspiring or practising magician wishing to evoke angels and demons during the Renaissance. Everything from how to construct the magic circle, how to determine the most auspicious times, what perfumes were most conducive to burn, how to prepare your tools, what prayers and conjurations should be used, how to make and use the pentacles which acted as magical foci for the appropriate intent, indeed all aspects of the process and practices were included. The Veritable Key of Solomon shows the influence of the Heptameron on these practices more clearly than the previous Mathers text, through such elements as magic circles, perfumes, seals and including all the planetary circles for the seasons. It is illustrated in colour, with more than twice as many talismanic pentacles as were produced in the nineteenth century text, and also is more inclusive of earlier material such as the Olympic Spirits, Planetary Intelligences and Spirits. These Keys contain the most comprehensive collection of practical planetary grimoire material ever seen in a book and greatly expand the scope of information available to students and practitioners.

The Veritable Key of Solomon also features a commentary on the provenance of the different families of Key of Solomon manuscripts, tracing their use through Renaissance Europe, and exploring the effects they had on society around them as they were copied and transmitted into ever wider circles. The Introduction includes commentary on all the families of manuscripts including the earlier Greek manuscripts, as well as a study of the other books attributed to Solomon. The appendixes include a list of the known Key of Solomon manuscripts and incorrectly attributed manuscripts. The huge number of extant manuscripts (more than 120) clearly demonstrates that the Key of Solomon was the most significant magical book for several hundred years from the late sixteenth through to the nineteenth century, and this work finally restores the Key of Solomon tradition back to its place in the heart of the magical revival.

For more information on this exciting new work, visit http://www.goldenhoard.co.uk for more information

The ordinary hardback edition can also be pre-ordered from Llewellyn – this is a black and white edition, as opposed to the full colour editions available from http://www.goldenhoard.co.uk

The Guises of The Morrigan
Irish Goddess of Sex & Battle – Her Myths, Powers & Mysteries
David Rankine & Sorita D’Este

Published by Avalonia

Review by Dr Nina Lazarus
From Bestower of Sovereignty to Earth Goddess, Goddess of Sex & Battle to Lady of the Beasts & Faery Queen and through the potent magic and sorcery which she uses to assume a variety of animal forms, the Morrígan is the most powerful of the Celtic Goddesses.

This book brings together for the first time the myths, powers & mysteries of the Morrígan to weave a complex tapestry showing her parallels to many other Goddesses and figures from both British and Gallic folklore, including Morgan Le Fay, the Banshee, Black Annis, Dana, Epona, the Glaistig, Grián, Modron, Nantosuelta and Rhiannon to name but a few.

Her roles in the territorial wars with the Fir Bolgs & the Fomorians, and as tutelary Goddess to the ill-fated Cú Chulainn are explored in detail. Her many guises, including that of Badb, Macha and Nemain, as well as that of the wise crone, the Cailleach, together with her roles in shaping the land, as the Washer at the Ford and as Faery Queen are explored alongside her better known roles as Goddess of Sex & Battle, are brought together in this volume for the first time.

The continued dominion of The Morrígan in mythology, folklore and literature shows the significant status that she held in the ancient Celtic world and continues to enjoy today.

This book will be of interest to anyone with an interest in Irish and British folklore, and of course to Pagans and Witches who work with The Morrigan!

The Guises of The Morrigan
Irish Goddess of Sex & Battle – Her Myths, Powers & Mysteries
David Rankine & Sorita D’Este

Published by Avalonia

Review by Dr Nina Lazarus
From Bestower of Sovereignty to Earth Goddess, Goddess of Sex & Battle to Lady of the Beasts & Faery Queen and through the potent magic and sorcery which she uses to assume a variety of animal forms, the Morrígan is the most powerful of the Celtic Goddesses.

This book brings together for the first time the myths, powers & mysteries of the Morrígan to weave a complex tapestry showing her parallels to many other Goddesses and figures from both British and Gallic folklore, including Morgan Le Fay, the Banshee, Black Annis, Dana, Epona, the Glaistig, Grián, Modron, Nantosuelta and Rhiannon to name but a few.

Her roles in the territorial wars with the Fir Bolgs & the Fomorians, and as tutelary Goddess to the ill-fated Cú Chulainn are explored in detail. Her many guises, including that of Badb, Macha and Nemain, as well as that of the wise crone, the Cailleach, together with her roles in shaping the land, as the Washer at the Ford and as Faery Queen are explored alongside her better known roles as Goddess of Sex & Battle, are brought together in this volume for the first time.

The continued dominion of The Morrígan in mythology, folklore and literature shows the significant status that she held in the ancient Celtic world and continues to enjoy today.

This book will be of interest to anyone with an interest in Irish and British folklore, and of course to Pagans and Witches who work with The Morrigan!

Becoming Magick

By David Rankine

Published by Mandrake of Oxford

This is a very exciting book, which would interest anyone with a modern and progressive approach to magickal practise. The systems presented are given to be explored, and to inspire other new ideas.

The book is a collection of essays and ideas – this includes What is Magick and How does it work?; The Importance of Maat; A ritual opening; The 9 gates and the Magick Sphere; Angle Webs; Mantra Webs; Nightside Squares; The Prime Qabalah (a system of English Gematria); Beyond the Numberical Horizon – Inspirational Gematria; The Esoteric Symbolism of the Hebrew Alphabet, A New Analysis of IAO; The Kalas; KiaLiaMiaNiaSia – The Mantra of Becoming; The Mass of the Feather and the Scale; Eating your Words – Magickal Ingestion; The Trans-Uranian Magick Squares; There are also appendixes for Prime Qabalah Attributions; Hebrew Symbolism and more.

This book is aimed at people with some knowledge and experience of magickal work, and is suitable for intermediate / advanced students. If you have an interest in ceremonial magick, qabalah, gematria, thelema, Ma’at or related subjects you will probably find something that interests you in this book!