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By Names and Images: Bringing the Golden Dawn to Life [Paperback]

Peregrin Wildoak
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

21 Mar 2012
The Golden Dawn (GD) system of magic is the main source of the esoteric and magical wisdom and techniques practiced in the West today. While the rituals and bare teachings of the tradition have been published for sixty years, the inner workings and esoteric keys that empower those rituals have largely remained unpublished or unexplored in contemporary works. By Names and Images remedies this lack by providing detailed and clear instructions for the visualisations, spiritual connections and energetic practices required for every major GD practice and ritual, as well as several unpublished techniques. Focusing on the meanings and use of sacred names and practical techniques of visualisation, the book thoroughly explores meditation and divination, purification ritual, invocation and evocation, grades of initiation, and direct experience of the inner realms. Also covered is an explanation of the Qabalah and its use as a magical framework. While the book is sufficiently practical and clearly explained to be of huge benefit to a newcomer to magic, its primary aim is to allow people already practicing the Golden Dawn system to do so more effectively, and to be touched by the amazing spiritual blessings the rituals offer.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Skylight Press (21 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908011505
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908011503
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 565,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Peregrin's reader-friendly style of teaching displays a joyous sharing of knowledge that demystifies complex teachings, revealing the 'heart and soul' of the Work. This book will be a treasured addition to every Golden Dawn magician's library.' - Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero

About the Author

Peregrin Wildoak was born in Warwickshire, UK and emigrated to Perth, Western Australia at age 12, where he has lived ever since. In his youth he came into contact with the western mystery traditions and was initiated into the Golden Dawn. He has also received initiation and training in several other traditions including Wicca and an Isis Mystery School. Peregrin is a former editor of Pagan Times and Greenspirit, and co-founded the EarthDreaming tradition and the Golden Dawn Society of Western Australia.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Peregrin Wildoak undertakes a remarkable effort to bring some aspects of the Golden Dawn system of magick down to earth and make it palatable for interested persons without over-simplifying it. Thus he tries to fill in some background to more comprehensive works (see below) which is laudable and would have filled a really existing need had he succeeded - which unfortunately, though, he has not.

Wildoak falls way short of his intentions and pretenses. He delivers a very uneven product that reads more like an unfinished draft manuscript than a finished publication. While it begins quite pleasantly in terms of literary style, the text soon degenerates to rather sketchy notes and incomplete information. Obviously, the text did not profit from review by an editor other than Wildoak himself. While the book begins seemingly well-structured, in its later parts it completely loses form and focus, and gets disorganized into fragmentary notes that lack cohesion. Thus his descriptions of rituals and ceremonies become so incomplete that for practical purposes as he expressly intended them, they are virtually useless for a student without prior knowledge - and such a student would not need them at all.

Sure, there are some quite elegant and polished parts of the text in the earlier sections of the book that make it that much more obvious that in later parts the language appears extremely clumsy, adding to the impression that one is reading unfinished and incomplete notes that in this form could certainly not have been intended for publication. Also very annoying are the author's largely futile efforts at gender-neutral language which apart from inconsistency often border on - and sometimes cross over into - the ridiculous, e.g.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing the GD to life... 19 April 2012
Format:Paperback
This review was originally posted on my blog, Mishkan ha-Echad:

Peregrin Wildoak's first book, By Names and Images: Bringing the Golden Dawn to Life, is an aptly-titled exploration of the Golden Dawn system of magic from a unique perspective. It delves into the inner workings of the rituals and techniques utilised by the Order and provides an accessible guidebook and manual for working with and within the Golden Dawn tradition.

At 371 pages this is a comprehensive text, exploring many of the important teachings of the Order in some detail, with chapters on purification, meditation, divination, aura control, invocation, evocation, inner plane work, and initiation. The material on auras and dramatic invocation is particularly good, showing a wealth of experience and insight in this area.

I do not always agree with some of the things Wildoak suggests, such as drawing up the light from the Earth in the Qabalistic Cross, but it is interesting to see another approach to this thriving magical tradition. There are also a couple of Hebrew errors, but these are relatively minor and do not detract from the overall quality of the work.

Perhaps the biggest strength of this book is the fact that it highlights the importance of the inner workings that actually make the Golden Dawn rituals and ceremonies operate effectively. The original Order left behind a wealth of material, but there are definite gaps in the system which need to be filled by modern adepts. While many of Wildoak's suggested inner workings are not strictly traditional, they do provide a workable system for enhancing ritual practice and show how other magicians can instil more life into their magical work.

By Names and Images is more than just a theoretical text, however.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly brings the Golden Dawn's rituals to life. 23 Aug 2012
By Joel
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has really rounded out, or in fact fertilised, my understanding of Golden Dawn practises. Since applying the inner work described in Pergrin Wildoak's book to the rituals he describes, the transformative power of my daily devotions has increased greatly.

I found the book an easy and absorbing read start-to-finish: something I cannot say about certain other wonderful and necessary tomes for this path, such as Regardie's Golden Dawn. Names and Images works extremely well for me when used in conjunction with those sorts of books: it truly brings the Golden Dawn to life.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing the GD to life... 19 April 2012
By Yechidah - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This review was originally posted on my blog, Mishkan ha-Echad:

Peregrin Wildoak's first book, By Names and Images: Bringing the Golden Dawn to Life, is an aptly-titled exploration of the Golden Dawn system of magic from a unique perspective. It delves into the inner workings of the rituals and techniques utilised by the Order and provides an accessible guidebook and manual for working with and within the Golden Dawn tradition.

At 371 pages this is a comprehensive text, exploring many of the important teachings of the Order in some detail, with chapters on purification, meditation, divination, aura control, invocation, evocation, inner plane work, and initiation. The material on auras and dramatic invocation is particularly good, showing a wealth of experience and insight in this area.

I do not always agree with some of the things Wildoak suggests, such as drawing up the light from the Earth in the Qabalistic Cross, but it is interesting to see another approach to this thriving magical tradition. There are also a couple of Hebrew errors, but these are relatively minor and do not detract from the overall quality of the work.

Perhaps the biggest strength of this book is the fact that it highlights the importance of the inner workings that actually make the Golden Dawn rituals and ceremonies operate effectively. The original Order left behind a wealth of material, but there are definite gaps in the system which need to be filled by modern adepts. While many of Wildoak's suggested inner workings are not strictly traditional, they do provide a workable system for enhancing ritual practice and show how other magicians can instil more life into their magical work.

By Names and Images is more than just a theoretical text, however. It is, in many ways, a detailed manual, giving step-by-step instructions for the performance of ritual magic. This is primarily aimed at solitary magicians, but temple members can equally benefit from seeing how a fellow Frater does things. Instructions at the end of the book for connecting with the Golden Dawn egregore provide a workable alternative or supplementary material to existing approaches of self-initiation.

This book was supposed to be released many years ago, but a delay at the previous publisher means that this material has only now come to light. This is a pity, as I can see how beneficial something like this would have been to aspiring magicians several years ago, but it is good to see small publishing companies like Skylight Press ensuring texts like this are made available.

Wildoak's passion for the Golden Dawn and spiritual growth pervades this work, which constantly affirms a connection to the divine, something that cannot be accessed by just going through the motions in our ceremonies and rituals. We might know the names and images that are used in Golden Dawn work, but Wildoak highlights some of the inner work that really brings the system to life.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By names and images is cake rather than icing 11 April 2012
By Mr. Nicholas Farrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In his review of Names and Images by Peregrin Wildoak, the British esoteric writer Gareth Knight said that the book shows that there is a magical substance in the Golden Dawn after all.
The Golden Dawn has become a bit of a joke in land of its birth. It is forever associated with people claiming high grades, flame wars, court cases, using shedloads of magical gear, and wearing the silliest of robes. In the UK magical scene you would never see a trained magician shove 7=4 under their name in public even if they were entitled to it.
It is one of the reasons that the US Golden Dawn orders have had a limited impact in the UK, because phrases like "Power Week" and other hard sell language is seen as belonging to the other side of the pond.
Many of the perceptions of the Golden Dawn are based on what has been written and its teachings. So British adepts look at this material and say "interesting... so what?" The rituals, if seen on their own, use dated language and lack magic.
In the Golden Dawn, the serious magic was printed in the 5=6 and it is that material which forms the basics of British magic today. But that is the point. It is just the basics. If you were so minded you could go through the pile of 5=6 material and understand it in a weekend. You could probably construct some pretty good experiments to try it out. But it is not magic in the way that the British magic scene works these days. They look at the GD with its huge equipment requirements and think that it is a dinosaur from the past.
To be fair they are not the only ones. There are those within the Golden Dawn community who see holes in what is available. There are calls to expand the curriculum and add material which was lacking or under developed.
In my early days of training I can't say I ranked the GD system particularly highly either. I liked the more inner approach of godforms and inner work which was touted by the Inner Light tradition. It was not until I read Pat Zalewksi's Z5 book that I saw that what the Golden Dawn did and what I was doing in the Inner Light Tradition was the same thing. Bits of what I had been told by the Whare Ra people suddenly made sense and the Golden Dawn always had an inner tradition which had never been talked about before.
Later when I became involved with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn I started to understand that the written material which was given was just the tip of an incredibly complex iceberg. Those who thought it was all about gadding about in robes and calling yourself the Heirophant fast run aground on its unseen depths, and break up to the horrific strains of Celeon Deon.
This was not something that was just more intellectual information and none of it was written down. It was the idea which lurked behind all the written words which inspired people like Dion Fortune. But even these people missed some important stuff which can only be seen when you have the order and its methods working in front of you.
Making those techniques real is a lifetime's work, if you look at the implications of what is said and, like Pat's Book, Peregrin's book is a good starting place for those who want to make the system real.
Peregrin's book shows the sort of work that people need to do bring the system magically to life. True at times he adds stuff, there is something on the unicursal hexagram which I have never seen before (although the Whare Ra people used it for planetary force, they did not use it the way Peregrin suggests). There is also a lot more material bringing the modern charkra system into the Golden Dawn rather than the Sphere of Sensation method which was used. Peregrin brings these in and explains them so that they are not alien.
But in my view where Names and Images is vital is when it is telling you what you are doing at this point and why.
It differs from Pat's approach, which was tied to the rituals, and instead branches out into the magical system of the 5=6. Ideas related to the INRI formula for example.
There are also rituals for the solo practitioner to try and feel the system as well as aspects. The material here is solid and is peppered with stories about Peregrin's experiences.
Yes it is a book to study, but equally it is a book to do. You can't read it but have try out stuff.
That is something which has been sadly lacking within the Modern Golden Dawn. There are systems, upon systems and then sub-systems upon sub-systems within the GD, but that becomes a trap.
All golden dawn work has to be seen on four different levels and only a hint of what magic is really about.
Peregrin's book is the harbinger of what the Golden Dawn will become. It is an introduction to the idea of a magical Golden Dawn which is firmly rooted within the Inner. It might even be a Golden Dawn which appears new to many, certainly it is a Golden Dawn which many will want to suppress because it requires expertise that many "high graders" lack.
Nevertheless for the next generation of Golden Dawn student "By Names and Images" is a vital part of any collection.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Personal Look at GD Ritual 4 Aug 2012
By LVX - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I haven't read anything by Peregrin Wildoak before, but I liked "By Names and Images" very much and will watch for future titles from this author. This is a particularly good book for students who are approaching Golden Dawn ritual for the first time, because it takes some of the most challenging Golden Dawn rites and practices and puts them in a personalized, easy-to-understand context.

While Peregrin Wildoak clearly has an affinity for the practical work of the Golden Dawn, I'd caution students to take some of the author's theories with a grain of salt. For example, the author states that the use of Judeo-Christian god-names in Golden Dawn ritual might be offensive to goddess-worshipers, and seems to suggest that the divine names in these rituals can be casually replaced; this point of view seems to completely miss the Golden Dawn's Qabalistic perspective on the godhead-- namely, that God is both masculine AND feminine, and that the spiritual aspirant must embrace the divine in ALL of its aspects. The divine names invoked in various Golden Dawn rites were selected with great care and specificity, and the serious practicioner shouldn't haphazardly replace them without having both good reason and a clear understanding of any change's Qabalistic implications. While the author is undoubtedly correct in stating that certain Golden Dawn rituals are suitable for adaptation (or even wholesale appropriation) for use in ceremonial worship services, this isn't something that should be done lightly or without a great deal of consideration. A more traditional Golden Dawn approach would be to invoke, say, the goddess Isis through contact with the Qabalistic Sphere of Yesod, or the goddess Venus through contact with the Qabalistic Sphere of Netzach-- balancing feminine aspects of deity with masculine aspects of deity, and always remembering that ALL is really ONE, anyway. It seems strange to me that a book titled, "By Names and Images," would seem to miss the deeper significance of the divine names and images invoked in the context of Golden Dawn ritual. There are several other places in the text where the author clearly either misunderstands aspects of Golden Dawn Qabalistic philosophy, or chooses to dismiss this point of view due to a personal bias against it. This doesn't mean that Peregrin Wildoak is "wrong" in some of his assertions, but readers should be aware that there are other perspectives to be considered.

That note of caution aside, however, "By Names and Images" has a lot to commend it to beginning students. While Peregrin Wildoak's Qabalistic theory may occasionally be at odds with traditional Golden Dawn systems of magic and mysticism, his approach to Golden Dawn ritual as a personal, living system is right on the money! This book is the latest in a series of books which attempt to break down the complex symbolism and imagery of Golden Dawn ritual, explaining the deeper significance and meaning of each step, and putting each portion in a context where it can be understood and appreciated by the would-be student. Wildoak's continual reminder to FIND THE INNER MEANING OF THE RITUAL should be an essential part of any student's individual practice, and Wildoak does an excellent job of guiding the student step-by-step through several GD techniques, in an effort to reveal their rationale, purpose, and deeper significance. I concur with Wildoak's suggestion to experiment, following one's intuition, and taking careful note of the results. The whole idea here is to help the student internalize this work, making it a part of his or her being, instead of simply repeating a few words by rote memory with little practical understanding of that ritual's "what's," "why's," or "how's."

I can imagine that "By Names and Images" will remove several obstacles for solo practicioners who may be struggling to grasp the deeper meaning of Golden Dawn rituals, allowing them to stop READING ABOUT Golden Dawn spirituality and finally start LIVING IT. At several points as I was reading this book, I had to stop and ask myself, "Do I agree with that? Is this right?," which was a valuable exercise in and of itself! "By Names and Images" would also be an excellent book for group discussion, because there are many ideas here which would benefit from collaborative discussion and analysis-- and in this context it might even be an invaluable resource for small working-groups which are thinking about operating as a Golden Dawn-style lodge. While "By Names and Images" occasionally delves into an unconventional approach to Golden Dawn ritual and magic, it's a fresh and new approach to this subject matter and deserves to be considered in this light.

Blessed be!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring 23 May 2012
By Michael K. Mclatchey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Readers of Peregrin Wildoak's Magic of the Ordinary blog will be familiar with one of the Golden Dawn's wisest, experienced and most compassionate voices, a man who has been bringing the Golden Dawn to life in his own way for years. Despite this being his first published book, By Names and Images has the fluency and veteran insight of someone who has a thorough knowledge of the material.

It's a difficult book to describe because it's similar to what's gone before in that it revisits a lot of the same rituals and techniques used in the Golden Dawn that you'll be familiar with if you have one of the Regardie books, but it's also completely different in terms of what it emphasizes. It may be the first of its kind to really stress visualization with a series of exercises that really should be in any manual designed to be used. In an era where magic is often confused with Harry Potter movies, curses and spells, it stresses the point that the rote repetition of a ritual will get you nowhere, what's important is what is going on in one's imagination.

Every ritual and meditative technique written about from this point onwards is wonderfully descriptive in what a person should be concentrating on as they perform, say, a Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. Perhaps the only close correlate already published would be the lengthy visualization instructions in Israel Regardie's The Middle Pillar (in particular the Cicero edited version).

But despite what might be some of the best annotated ritual descriptions in print, there are some chapters and sections in this book that go deeply into areas less touched upon elsewhere. The (qabalistic) four worlds model, in particular, is reiterated often as a framework for other subjects and Wildoak has a fluency with it that pops up in numerous places, such as the amazing chart that shows which part of the tree each ritual intends to affect. The sections on Aura Control and Dramatic Invocation are both revelationary, expanding techniques only touched upon in the major starter books.

Wildoak explains the purpose of the Golden Dawn in his introduction. He says "The Golden Dawn is one of the many invitations by God to seek our active participation in a joint venture to heal the world, or as some Christian traditions put it, to affect the divinization of the Earth." There is no part of this book that doesn't continually reflect this purpose, the same compassion and spiritual insight I've been used to at Magic of the Ordinary. Those who find themselves allied with this outlook and purpose will find this book indispensable.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brings the Golden Dawn into the 21st century 23 April 2012
By Winston.S - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Lately the modern Golden Dawn seems to be full of people who use Israel Regardie like a Bible. But Regardie tended to think that everything was psychological and that visualization was only a tool rather than the visualization of an actual inner reality. Wildoak is one of the growing GD writers who are putting it back. Once you start with this book you soon realize that there is so much more to the Golden Dawn that the flame wars over imagined lineage. This shows you that there is an inner reality which brings the Golden Dawn right up to date with modern methods rather than shackling it to the past.
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