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.