By Lon Milo DuQuette -- It is extremely difficult to properly address the highly esoteric aspects of ceremonial magick in a documentary film format. Perhaps that is why there are so few videos and DVDs currently available on the topic. There are several obvious reasons for this. First of all, the number of authorities qualified to comment upon the subject is exceedingly small. Secondly, among those who are qualified there are almost none who are able, willing or blessed with the talent and sense of audacious showmanship required to produce such projects. There is no question that Poke Runyon possesses in abundance that rare and magical combination of qualities, or that the world of the Hermetic arts and sciences is immeasurably enriched by his willingness to share so generously his knowledge, wisdom, and personality through the medium of sight and sound.
However, Runyon's newest offering, The Rites of Magick, is more than a visual textbook of magical theories and techniques (although there is a wealth of that in this DVD - so much in fact that the viewer will wish to review it several times to glean its precious jewels). It is quite literally an historic document - a record of real magick dramatically celebrated at the dawn of the late 20th century neo-pagan explosion. This window on magical history, in and of itself, makes this documentary a unique treasure.
Although I'm not a member of the Order of the Temple of Astarte, or the Church of Hermetic Sciences, Inc., I've admired Poke and his work for over 30 years. Like all pioneers of vision and genius he attracts his share of critics and detractors. This is to be expected, even welcomed by a man of Runyon's stature. In my opinion, The Rites of Magick is a beautiful and profound testament to the art of western magick, and perhaps the finest DVD of its kind ever produced.