Mastering the Art of Ritual Magic Book 3: Greater Key
Author: Frater Barrabbas
published 2010 by Megalithica Books
ISBN-10: 1905713371
ISBN-13: 978-1905713370
Paperback, 203 pages
$20.99 (U.S.)
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Reviewer: Mike Gleason

This is the conclusion of a series of books dedicated to “Mastering the Art of Ritual Magick” (hereafter abbreviated to MARM). It, like its predecessors ( MARM Volume 1: Foundation and MARM Volume 2: Grimoire, both available from the same publisher) is designed for use by the intermediate student. It is necessary to have a solid foundation and working knowledge of magick theory, technique , and practice before beginning the work laid out in this series. This boon is designed to help the magician build a key of correspondences and the apply that key to the rituals put forth in the series. It also contains suggestions for setting up and maintaining a working group.

For those critics who insist that a TRUE magician doesn't need books to learn, all I can say is “Why reinvent the wheel?” Books can, and should, serve as inspirations and jumping off points. They are not intended to be followed slavishly, but to provide background. As one of my instructors told me decades ago “I will teach you what has worked for others through the years. If it works for you also, great; if not, we will find what works for you.” My personal correspondences are colored by my own growth and experiences and depart from “standard” in many aspects.

Frater Barrabbas feels that the idea of a magician working in isolation is a bad idea, and I agree with him. It is not necessarily desirable that such an individual be a member of a magical order or lodge (although there are some advantages), but it is desirable that they have contact with others of like mike and varying ability. Feedback (aka “peer review”) keeps one from wandering off into dangerous (on many levels) territory without having backups on call.

Newcomers to the field of Ritual Magick will be well advised to either hold off on purchasing this book, and its predecessors, or else hold off on reading them, as confusion is likely to result. Because a working knowledge of the subject is assumed, explanations are kept to a minimum, or else are couched in terms which could be unfamiliar to the novice.

The author presents three basic forms of the keys: Pagan/Wiccan, Qabbalistic, and Gnostic, thus providing frameworks which should work for the vast majority of practitioners. His position is that SOME form of religious orientation is absorbed by everyone living, and that to make your magick work you need to account for that orientation in your rituals.

The Glossary provided at the end of this book is composed primarily of words used in the MARM series, and thus is not as extensive as many. Still, it is concise and clearly written. The bibliography is relatively short, but is divided into eleven separate categories which even include some good Pagan fiction. Lest you think this is strange, I will remind you that Dion Fortune (a member of the Golden Dawn) once stated that her non-fiction books contained all the theory while the practical information was in her novels.

For those students who are “mid-level” in their studies this book will be a valued resource. The newbies and the more advanced practitioners will find less of use.