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on 10 January 2011
After a decade of ill-informed customer reviews, here is the REAL background to my book "Tower of Alchemy"

Regarding my use of a Castle, the Round Table, the Grail, and Arthurian myth, etc - I was introduced to the `Interior Castle' of St Teresa of Avila in my teens; and later, as a priest in the Liberal Catholic Church (as was W. E. Butler), I received the teachings and lineage of Bishop Robert King re: the Round Table formula, etc. During my training in the Western Mystery Tradition, I studied Khunrath's: The Hermetic Fortress, Fludd's Fortress of Health, and the Paracelsian Castle of Health. And, of course Dion Fortune - and later Gareth Knight - also worked with the Arthurian mythos - with Spiral staircases, etc (see `The Arthurian Formula', and `Magical Images', and `The Secret Tradition in Arthurian Legend: the archetypal themes, images and characters of the Arthurian Cycle, and their place in the Western Magical Traditions' - all by Gareth Knight).

So, the symbols of Arthur, Grail Round Table, and Tower have long been used in the Western Tradition, and do not `belong' to any single Order or School. These eidola have been used by masters of the Tradition since medieval times. As Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki (the present head of SOL) herself wrote about the magical image of the Castle:

"Students working in my own school of the SOL will recognize the idea of working through the chambers of a castle as being part of their own course work, and indeed the SOL is far from being the only school that uses such a method." Page 132, `Highways of the Mind', Aquarian Press, 1987.

Any instructed practitioner in the Mysteries knows that, the image and use of the Ten-chambered Castle (tower, citadel, or palace) is the Hekaloth discipline of the Qabalah, which dates from the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE.

For several years I was a Supervisor, the Master of Lodges and the Assistant-Director of Studies of the SOL. At a meeting of British supervisors Dolores asked me to rewrite the SOL course - but I declined. And later, in the 1990's, like hundreds of other members, I left SOL.

The SOL course is an introduction to Qabalah. In the 50 lessons of the SOL course W. E. Butler mentions Alchemy just twice - only a sentence on each occasion. "Tower of Alchemy" it is not a copy of the SOL course. It is the praxis of Alchemy and the Fiery Serpent Power.

The Alchemical teachings in "Tower of Alchemy" were taught to me by other Western and Tibetan sources, and directly from Inner Plane Contact. The only real connection is that the `Master of Magic' who was W. E. Butler's Inner Plane contact (Maggid) later became my own. In truth, it is He alone who is the true `author' of all these teachings, and has been so down the centuries.
Dr David Goddard
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on 1 August 1999
Goddard's book is an excellent practical manual of The Great Work. Alchemy and its symbols can be quite difficult territory to navigate without a guidebook. I believe that Tower of Alchemy is the best such guidebook written to date. By use of practical exercises and contemplations, the complex imagery of the alchemical tradition is absorbed into the psyche of the practitioner, where the science of alchemy is really worked. If you are looking to unleash the potent powers of the Qabalisitic-Hermetic tradition, this is the advanced manual you need.
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on 12 August 1999
The Tower of Alchemy is in a class of its own because it accomplishes two goals. First, the reader is introduced to the core Praxis or practices of applied Esoteric work. The book is not a tiresome reworking of fundamental ideas and basic practices as presented by other popular souces on western esotericism. Rather, it delivers a seasoned balance between theory, direct application and integration, and takes the dedicated and experienced practitioner to new levels of experience in the work. It also does not attempt to mire the reader in a bewildering array of symbols and complex "academic" associations typical of many books on esoteric Alchemy. The practices are presented in language that is clear and direct, with the goal of guiding the reader through a personal experience with the work. Readers will discover that the exercises in the book will provide a treasure house of tools that are fundamental to personal growth. Second, Goddard attempts to bridge traditions by drawing from symbolisms, methods and philosophies from a variety of traditions including classical Qabalah, the Grail legend, Yoga, and Tibetan Buddhism. Most importantly, he builds bridges between western and eastern esoteric traditions. This synthesis brings clarity to the technique, and emphasizes the universal nature of the divine work. In this sense, the book initiates dialogue between worlds. This reader hopes that this dialogue will be the lasting legacy of the book.
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on 14 February 2011
I was a very early student of the SOL when it was called the Helios Course in the Practical Qabalah- I hold no brief for the current SOL; I left them a long time ago and felt that they had lost connection with Ernest Butler's work. I worked with W E Butler and Tom Oloman one of the founding supervisors of the training. I like the Tower of Alchemy very much but I have to say that is directly derivative from the Helios Course.

It is not true to say that the only similarity between the book and the SOL Course is that they both use a tower-Ernest Butler's course was based around the inner Golem working in which first of all the round table and great Hall and later the Tower are projected out of the inner substance of the worker worked on and then reabsorbed into the body. The point of the work was to induce an alchemical transformation within the body of the worker. This is the same methodology used in the Tower of Alchemy.

The symbolism of the Tower began with the projection of the Round Table with zodiac signs and 12 chairs; just beyond it was a Chapel of the rose cross with the sword Excalibur on the altar. There was also spiral stairs which represented the ida and pingala which if you ascended took you to a turret room in which can be found a book and a table with a black stone upon it engraved with the symbol of the Tree of Life and the four worlds-below the great Hall is a Hall of Power and further down again the Hall of Malkuth. I could go on- the similarity in symbolism is unmistakable and specific.

At the heart of this course was an alchemical process designed to awaken the serpent power- in those early days when Ernest Butler was in charge of the course this process was developed through 4 levels beginning with Atziluth and extending through Briah Yetzirah ahd Assiah increasingly transforming body and mind. It was explicitly thought of as an alchemical process and Ernest spoke of it in those terms. I have worked with it for over 30 years and still find new levels of meaning in it.

As I said I like the Tower of Alchemy and I wish David would acknowledge his debt to W E Butler- a remarkable and extraordinary teacher- it would not diminish his work to do that and would show that he honours the source of the work

I would rate the book for content at five stars but I regret that the absence of acknowledgement of the source of the work rates just 1 star. I want to be clear that I have no connection to the servants of the light and no interest here other than to ensure that the work of W E Butler is respected.

best wishes

Ian Rees
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on 8 October 1999
Goddard's book has lifted the mists of confusion from this seemingly impenetraable subject, and provided the reader with a workable fully explained system of development. The difference between this and other alchemical literature is that the 'Tower of Alchemy' reveals rather than conceals the meaning of the subject. Particularly useful is the comparison to Eastern techniques, revealing a similar system which is used there. Rational and informative. Excellent.
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on 24 July 2014
Very disappointing - the material that has any worth is clearly copied from other sources such as E. Butler's course, and Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki's SOL materials. The rest is a bizarre mixture of poorly digested and understood Tibetan Buddhism, Hindu 'philosophy' and the Arthurian cycle. This might have been interesting if the author demonstrated some real understanding of alchemy, Buddhism or yoga (or even just the history of ideas), but it is a mish-mash which clarifies very little - apart from the Western Mystery Tradition (which are not original). But there are much better books on that subject by authors with deep knowledge and experience, and most importantly, humility.
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on 22 November 2009
This is a book I will probably never finish. It is truly a life's work with a clear and wise author to take you by the hand through the Western esoteric mysteries. But it is written in a very accessible way and an invaluable tool for those who are committed to the journey to enlightenment.
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on 14 November 2009
Firstly, dont get me wrong - this is a very good book - looking primarily at Alchemy as an inner transformative art. The author does a reasonable job of bringing together a process of inner alchemy using the symbolism of the Qaballa, the Arthurian mythos and aspects of Eastern Yoga. Working in stages in the development of ones own symbolic tower of the art. However, I did not feel that it was an advanced manual. The reason being that there were only a few references to the genuine western alchemical symbolism that is found in such books as by Flamel etc. It seems to more a personal interpretation of Alchemical Qaballa. The other disappointing aspect of this book is that it completed ignored physical alchemy - spyrgarics and speculations on what the metallic stone might be. It also made some very bold statements about how alchemical symbolism should be interpreted, ie the tantric sexual-spiritual interpretation was shot down by the author in the first chapter. I found this to be beginning of a rather over authoratitive tone which ran through the text demonstrating the authors limited view and understanding of the alchemical art. I also found the author made little reference or mention of Taoist, Hindu or Arabian alchemy seeming more to concentrate upon Tibetan buddhism and nothing else in its eastern parallel. The book seemed to be three things - qaballa, tibetan buddhist tantra, arthurian mythos and only a very few vague limited references to actual published alchemical texts and symbolism in west.

So in summary, it is a good book but limited in its view of Alchemy. I would recommend it for people looking to explore alchemical symbolism and the qaballa, with a bit of arthurian mythos thrown in. I read in another review this material comes from a particular well known magical school, it does not surprise me - very much the presence of the Dion Fortune / Butler current of magic and inherent attitudes come through in this work. Much of the practical work is based upon visualisation/pathworking - methods so favoured by these influences.
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on 15 May 2005
This book was a revelation because of what it unlocked within me. Goddard has a unique ability to convey Western mystical principles with clarity, in a down to earth and easy to understand manner. It is a practical manual and relies on the ancient wisdom, understood in modern times by giants such as Freud and Jung, that the subconscious is the gateway to higher knowledge and understanding. The language of the subconscious is not of logic and rationality but that of myth and metaphor. This book speaks this language and in it, combining psychlogy and spirituality, Goddard takes us on a voyage of exploration of our inner selves from which we emerge transformed.
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on 10 November 2015
A good researcher, but philosophically wayward, despite his Tibetan Rimpoche/guru. Or perhaps because of? As I say, research OK. Not class A.
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