Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Required Reading: Sorceror's Secrets

I just finished reading Jason Miller's Sorceror's Secrets, and it is now on my list of books that Should Be Read By Everyone. Jason presents techniques that have never been published, as well as techniques that you may have been using for years... with hollow results. He provides exactly what the title promises, the secrets that empower the practices that you might have learned when you were a teenager browsing the "Metaphysical" section of Walden Books at the mall.

I mean, he teaches things that I only learned after conjuring the spirits. He reveals details of the breathing techniques and meditative practices I learned when I was first starting out that open the gateways to the power of the occult. He taught me things that I didn't even know I didn't know. It's a great book.

More than technique though, and maybe more importantly, he teaches a philosophy of magic that takes years of actual practice to develop on your own. Most occultists I know get interested, study some, do some magic, have it fail, and move on, never realizing what they're missing that would make their magic actually work. The rare magician who spends the time devoting themselves to figuring out why they failed and what to do instead will eventually reach the process he reveals, but man, I wish I had read this book and put the lessons into practice years ago.

As our friendship has developed, I've often compared myself to Jason in terms of magical attainment. I don't know many magicians that actually do magic, honestly, and when I find them, I can't help but compare myself to them. Some I'm obviously ahead of, and others I'm obviously behind. With Jason, I've always felt like I'm almost at the same level. I think his initiations into Tantric magic and his memberships in several organizations gives him an edge, but more than that I think what sets him above me as a magician/sorceror is his experience doing magic. After reading his latest book, I'm more convinced than ever that I'm right, he's better, maybe not by much, but the trick to attainment is practice.

And he teaches the things about magical practice that you need to do to be effective in your Work. While he's a practical magician and talks a lot about manifestation and magic focused on obtaining things in this world, he also teaches spiritual attainment techniques that will aid in the transformation of your soul. His understanding of the material world is excellent, and the chapter on wealth magic alone is worth the price of the book. I really enjoyed the book, enjoyed the lessons, and felt a resonance in what I do and what I've learned from the spirits.

Honestly, the man teaches things in this book that will result in blowing your effectiveness as a magician out of the water. I was concerned when I saw he'd be covering the same things I've already learned and thought I knew, but the keys he provides to even such simple techniques as breathing and looking out at the world are empowering. He provides so much more than the regurgitated bullshit you usually get. In addition, I strongly suspect he's managed to reveal secrets he received as part of his initiations into several Western orders and  his Tantric training without actually breaking any vows. He definitely goes over things I only learned from the Spirits themselves. Very cool stuff, and it should be on every magician's list of books to buy, read, and apply to their lives.

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know how highly I think of my own teachings and insights. Bear that in mind when I say I couldn't have written a better, more comprehensive system that touches on all the aspects I've learned and lays it out practically and usefully for everyone with the calling to be a magician.

That said, I do have one huge criticism of the book, but it's aimed entirely at the publisher. The typos and grammatical errors are gruesome. I had a chance to copy edit a couple of chapters, and those are perfect (of course), but the rest... well, let's just say New Page did a huge disservice to the book and the author by not doing a better job editing the manuscript (if they edited it at all). There were misspellings in the section headings in the chapters, for Christ's sake. As a writer, it was annoying, but as a magician it pissed me the fuck off.

Jason's given the occult community a doctrine that perfectly encapsulates the role of the magician as I understand it, and he goes over everything I've learned to do and then some in a book I devoured in two days. It's awesome. But the typos and bad grammar detract from the overall impact the book could have had, and it's a shame.

My final word? Buy the book, and see past the errors in presentation to the perfection of the system he provides, and you'll be well served.