Title: The Complete Magick Curriculum of the Secret Order G.B.G.: Being the Entire Study, Curriculum, Magick Rituals, and Initiatory Practices of the G.B.G
Author(s): Louis T. Culling
Published 2010 by Llewellyn
ISBN: 0738719129
ISBN-13: 978-0738719122
Paperback, 351 pages
List: $29.95
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Reviewer: Mike Gleason

I have to admit to a prejudice. Before I even began reading this book my hackles were raised . The subtitle is: "Being the Entire Study, Curriculum, Magick Rituals, and Initiatory Practices of the G..B..G.. (The Great Brotherhood of God)." Below that, it says: "A Shortcut to Initiation & the Most Efficient Program for Union with the Holy Guardian Angel." My my problem was with the first four words of that second description - "A Shortcut to Initiation..." Call me old- fashioned (I plead guilty), but to my way of thinking, initiation is something which is earned through adhering to the rules, studying and learning the practical matters inherent in the subject. If one is unwilling to put in the time and effort to do this, they are short- changing themselves. Anything which you get is worth the price you pay for it. If you want bargain rates, you get lesser quality, whether you are talking housewares or magickal training. Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that this book is of little value. What I am saying is that no book, no DVD, no weekend seminar can substitute for practical experience. Until you have stood in a temple, pronounced the words, and had feedback from others with more experience (and done this over a period of time), you cannot begin to know whether, in fact, you have accomplished your goals. Even the most fair-minded individual cannot effectively evaluate their own success.

So, if you expect this book to have all the answers, you don't know the correct questions to ask. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a guidebook to help you during your travels into the magickal world, this may be what you are looking for.

One of the reasons I really enjoy reviewing books which I anticipate I will not enjoy is that periodically I find myself proven entirely wrong. This was one of those times.

Carl Weschcke has a very different approach to magickal training. It is one which has worked for him for decades, and that informs his presentation of facts. He has been the driving force behind Llewellyn Publications since he purchased it in the 1960s, and has been active in occult fields even longer. While my understanding of "shortcut" and his are vastly different, they are equally valid. Therefore, although my hackles were still raised, I found myself enjoying both the magickal material and the "extras" which have gone into making this updated classic so valuable in today's world. He has added a commentary and discussion points to the end of each chapter which help to clarify some of the more uncommon words and concepts which the reader may have encountered.

I do not consider myself to be an active magician, although I have received some training in the subject over the years. My training was "old school" and that has definitely affected my perceptions of the more current writings on the topic. Had I continued my training, I am sure they would be very different now. Therefore, I found myself having difficulty accepting some of the concepts contained in this book, despite the fact that a great deal of it is derived from Golden Dawn and similar organizations. That is strictly a reflection on my attitudes, not on the validity of the material being presented.

Carl Eschew has taken a complex, frequently misunderstood subject and rendered it comprehensible for the modern reader. He has not simplified the material presented in the original work (originally presented to the world in 1969), but he has expanded it with some explanatory work which makes things clearer. He has brought it into the 21st Century.

If you want flashy rituals and dramatic presentations, you can put your charge card back in your wallet. If you have a sincere interest in the topic of Ceremonial Magick; if you aspire to the Knowledge and Conversation of one's Holy Guardian Angel; if you wish to undergo initiation in a magickal sense, but find yourself in circumstances which inhibit your ability to join a magickal lodge, this book NEEDS to be in your library. It will not replace years of study, nor will it grant you instant success in all life's endeavors. What it will do is to place your feet on a path which, once begun sincerely, cannot help but lead you to your goal.

I have seldom been so glad to be disappointed in my own preconceptions. I was sure, before I began reading, that I would be able to dismiss this book easily. I was sure it would have nothing to offer me. Instead, I found myself in agreement more often than not

If you can put your own preconceptions aside, and be willing to admit that what you think you know about Ceremonial Magick may need to be updated, take the time to read and absorb this book. It isn't a "Cliff's Notes" version of the subject, but it isn't a "Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage" version either. It is a nice middle-of-the- road presentation which fills a need in today's society. It should definitely find a place in every aspiring Ceremonialist's library.


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