Monday, August 31, 2015

Review of the "Encyclopedia Goetica" at Gods and Radicals

I just published a review of the full Encyclopedia Goetica by Jake Stratton-Kent over at Gods and Radicals. Check it out if you are interested, here is the first paragraph of my review:
Jake Stratton-Kent’s Encyclopedia Goetica is a monumental achievement, but more than that it is of vital importance for practicing occultists, pagans, and all those who fall into both categories. A work spanning three official volumes stretched across five actual books, it is an invaluable addition to occult history, theory, and practice. I intend to offer, in this review, an extensive and careful consideration of the full sweep of the project but if you are waiting for the bottom line allow me to say at the beginning that anyone interested in western occultism and paganism must read these books. They are probably the most impressive occult works to be written in my lifetime.
I will likely have a bit more to add here on this blog as I see what other folks have to say in response to my review and mull over the issues and questions raised (some interesting ones have been raised in the comments already).

I do, however, want to stress how one can pick up the books if one wishes to. Do not try to buy them on Amazon, rather go directly through the publisher Scarlet Imprint. If you are looking for the affordable versions you want the Rouge edition, which comes as well with an e-book version.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Linda Falorio's "Shadow Tarot" and some Reflections on the Nature of the Tarot Itself

Linda Falorio took a difficult task upon her shoulders when she decided to attempt to create a Qliphothic Tarot deck, the Shadow Tarot. I have had the deck for a few weeks now and would like to share some thoughts about it along with some general reflections on the nature of the Tarot. Let me start my reflections by stating what I take to be the near unassailable challenge this task faced. Falorio's Tarot drew its original inspiration from the Qliphothic correspondences of the 22 paths of the Tree of Life as derived from Aleister Crowley's Liber CCXXXI and further investigated in Kenneth Grant's The Nightside of Eden. In other words, it started from a clearly defined system for presenting the Major Arcana of the Tarot, the most famous 22 cards frequently understood to correspond to the 22 paths of the Tree of Life and 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. It was this portion of the Shadow Tarot which has been floating around the internet for years. The challenge is figuring out how, having started with a clear Major Arcana, was the deck to present the Minor Archana - the 56 cards from which our standard 52 card deck is derived? For this purpose Falorio drew on two sources, stars of Qliphothic importance and the spirits of the Lesser Key of Solomon or Goetia. I believe this to be, for various reasons I will explain, an inadequate solution to a very difficult problem.