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Gathering the Magic: Creating 21st Century Esoteric Groups [Paperback]

Nick Farrell , Storm Constantine

Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Feb 2005
Gathering the Magic is the absolute must-have guide to group
dynamics specifically aimed at 21st-century pagan and occult organizations,
whether they're small covens or international lodges. Nick Farrell has
applied years of experience in groups dynamics to the writing of this book,
and delivers it in an easy-to-read style with a good sense of humor. Highly
recommended for anyone interesting in joining or starting a magical group!

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Review

...a definite asset to all interested in joining or setting up an
occult group or order. -- Psyche of SpiralNature.com (also appeared in newWitch magazine #13)

The author writes with great candor without throwing around a lot
of jargon. It's like discussing things over coffee. -- MotorCityPagans.net, reviewed by Morningbird

This book shows how to make the systems work. -- Shade Oroboros, Silver Star magazine #5

This is a book that will be immensely useful to anyone who has any
kind of group. -- Daven of davensjournal.com

From the Back Cover

Many people on the spiritual path spend their lives looking for
an esoteric order or school to join. If they find one they will inevitably
find it a hotbed of intrigue and egos that eclipses any spiritual work.

Despite this, Nick Farrell believes that esoteric groups are the way
forward in the Aquarian Age provided there are fundamental changes in the
way they run. The book applies the rules of group dynamics and conflict
resolution to set up organisations that not only work but are fun to be
involved with.

The Author calls on seekers to set up working esoteric groups of their own
instead of waiting to find that perfect group, organisation, or teacher.

As the title suggests, the book is written light-heartedly with plenty of
humorous case studies of what happens when things go wrong.

It provides seekers with a window of what is happening within esoteric
groups and the unique dynamics that take place when two or more gather to
look at new age subjects.

This book will prove invaluable to magicians, Wiccans and members of the
new age who want more information about how esoteric groups work, and those
who are members of organisations and want to know what is going on!

Included in this book is a correspondence course designed to help people
integrate with a group mind. There are also practical suggestions for a
structure, how to set up a group that creates individuals rather than
followers. The author also reveals the secret techniques used by different
esoteric groups to connect themselves to the spiritual reality that is
behind everything.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive guide to magical groups 16 Oct 2005
By Lupa - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've been working my way through Immanion's small-but-quickly-growing catalog of occult nonfiction, and "Gathering the Magic" is yet another excellent example thereof.

The modern magical community is full-to-exploding with all types of groups ranging from the very informal to the detailed-formal. They last anywhere from one ritual to many years, and work with every possible paradigm.

Unfortunately, forming and maintaining a magical group, be it a Wiccan coven, a modern Golden Dawn temple or a druidic grove, presents a series of unique challenges. This is why the vast majority of groups seldom last more than a few years before something explosive (or implosive) occurs to kill it off.

In this book, Farrell pretty much attacks every type of problem that can occur. An obvious veteran of many magical groups (he doesn't even really need to give credentials; it's obvious in his writing), he has pretty much seen it all and lived to tell the tale. No stone is left unturned once it's landed from being thrown, and this makes "Gathering the Magic" an invaluable guide.

Farrell goes through the entire process of group creation and maintenance, from designing a purpose and a group egregore to deciding who the best candidates are (and why discrimination based on race, sex, sexulity, etc are all really stupid ideas) and even how to gracefully end a group once its time has come. He has an excellent section on conflict resolution and also stresses the extreme importance of how groups are meant to train individuals, not sag into mindless masses of followers.

His writing style is superb, and his sense of humor had me laughing out loud every few pages. What could have been a dry, boring text is instead a highly enjoyable journey into his experiences and advice. The anecdotes are well-placed and not overdone. The footnote "It was supposed to be a vulture" had me howling, and you've got to read the book to find out why.

It's also apparent that he's very much in touch with the magical community today. While he acknowledges the good and bad points of group structures that were created in the 19th and 20th centuries, his directions take into account the way the community is in this day and age.

Occasionally I disagree with a point he makes, usually things like "There's a reason you do magic this way and not that way," coupled with a disastrous story. But given his background it's not surprising, and it's also a good warning to newbies that magic isn't always a well-oiled machine--sometimes it does backfire if you're not careful.

Overll, this is by far one of the best books I've read overall, and is a definite must-have for anyone even contemplating starting a group or who already has one. In fact, any magical practitioner who has any contact with any others will get something out of this.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff, but not NeoPagan 2 Feb 2007
By R. Blake - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I chose this book because I seemed to be an absolute failure at holding together any group; much less an esoteric one and I found it to be very helpful in many ways. And yet, it was not exactly what I was hoping for.

I believe this is largely because the author is coming from a European paradigm and his experience was with Occult groups, not covens, circles and groves, which is what I am generally dealing with. There is quite a difference in dynamic between European and American Egos and Magickal Neophytes and Fluffy Bunnies, if you know what I mean. For example, when he suggested all members pay dues monthly, whether or not they attend the meetings, my first thought was "Oh yea, like that's going to happen" and when he suggested members be given a correspondence course and written tests to make sure they fit with the dynamic of the group, thought, "Now there's a good way to make sure no one joins my group." And yet, by the time I was done with the book, I knew he was right, and that it could be done. The examples and scenarios he provided were very simple and easy to follow.

This book is an extremely easy read all around, even if you're not interested in forming a group but just want to read about esoteric group dynamics in general. The author writes with great candor without throwing around a lot of jargon. It's like discussing things over coffee. The boring, procedural parts are softened with anecdotes about the author's experiences and those of people he knows to illustrate the importance of this or that concept and examples are presented for the extremely slow among us, like me. It is an entertaining and enlightening book if nothing else.

One concept he explained that I found very interesting was the idea of a group Eregore. That is, the independent personality of the group, quite separate from its individual members. With this concept firmly in mind, one can understand some of the weirdness that goes on in esoteric groups and the underlying tensions that nobody seems to be responsible for.

All in all I found Gathering the Magic to be an extremely useful book. Granted, a lot of the concepts need adaptation to the American Neo-Pagan viewpoint but the differences are really minor. People are still people not matter where they are. And I don't agree with some of what he has to say about magic, but that's pretty common. The useful insights as to group structure, dealing with conflicts, etc. are very valuable and, perhaps most valuable of all, I now have a better understanding of where I have personally screwed up in the past.
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