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The Temple of High Magic: Hermetic Initiations in the Western Mystery Tradition
Title: The Temple of High Magic: Hermetic Initiations in the Western Mystery Tradition
Author(s): Ina Custers-van Bergen
Published 2010 by Destiny Books
Paperback, 383 pages
View this Book on Amazon
Reviewer: Mike Gleason
There is an individual who responds to many of my reviews by disparaging writing on the subject of magick by basically saying that none of the authors are capable of performing "real" magick (which he asserts [with no verifiable proof] that he is) and that they are all delusional, since his contention is that one cannot learn magick by means of the written word. I agree, to an extent. Written material and theory can only take you so far. On the other hand, why reinvent the wheel? Written sources can provide verification of half- remembered data, as well as inspiring further work. Much like the foundation of a building, the underpinnings determine the existence of the resulting structure.
Ms Custers-van Bergen clearly delineates the difference between Low (sorcery) and High (spiritual) Magick. While some may disagree with this delineation, it is a basic assumption in most (if not all) ceremonial magick systems, and is thus not debatable.
If you are looking for clear cut curriculum fore advancement to the highest (or deepest) levels of spiritual development you will be disappointed. If you are looking for a method of acquiring vast (material) wealth, boy will you be disappointed. If, on the other hand, you are looking for guidance to slowly transforming your life, this is a book you need.
There are tables of correspondences, although they are only a minor portion of the work. There are path workings. And there is background information in a depth which will intimidate the less-than- serious seeker. Amazingly, these all come through the transition from Ms Custers-van Bergen native Dutch thought patterns without seeming stilted or overly contrived.
As anyone conversant with more than one language can tell you, patterns of phraseology and expression can cause all manner of difficulties even in an informal setting. In a book such as this, it can easily lead to confusion. That is NOT the case here.
She makes a very clear distinction between her perception of sorcery (low or practical magick) and Hermetic (high or spiritual magick) types and states her preference for the latter and her feelings of dismissal (or possibly disdain) for the former. Not everyone will agree with her, I am sure, but this book is not written for everyone. If you are unwilling to commit yourself to a regimen of hard work and dedication - save your money and pass this book by.
Samples of ritual behavior are drawn from multiple sources, including some fictional ones. Remember that at one time fictionalized accounts were the only safe way to covey basic magickal concepts outside of the Mystery Schools, so these fictionalized accounts reveal a great deal.
The symbology which serves us as the underpinnings of High Magick is explained lovingly, carefully, and fully, yet in a manner which easily penetrates the rational layers of the mind so that its work can begin to transform your thoughts. This transformation is subtle and may pass unobserved for a period of time. For all of its subtlety, it is pervasive. You will begin to see things in a fresh way.
Each of the ten emanations which comprise the basis of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life is examined in detail and a meditation or ritual is given for each. These are not fluffy pieces; they are not so deep as to be overwhelming; instead they offer a balance which provides a starting point for your own investigations and explorations.
This book will not take the place of individualized study, nor will it replace the interpersonal action which takes place in a temple of school setting. It will provide a good starting point and help the student to evaluate the information they will encounter in their own research.
Legal Notes: Some description text and item pictures in this post may come from Amazon.com and are used by permission. The Cauldron is an Amazon Affiliate and purchases made through the Amazon links in this message help support The Cauldron. List Price is as of the date this review was originally written and may not be current. The reviewer may have received a free copy of this book to review.
Discussion of this book is welcome. If you've read the book, please tell us what you think of it and why.
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