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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique and facinating book!,
This review is from: Out of the Shadows: An Exploration of Dark Paganism and Magick (Paperback)This is by far one of the most amazing books I have read in a long time and VERY different from anything else out there. Actually it is two books in one. The first part explores darkness and what it means in a pagan context where "evil" just does not fit anymore. The author reclaims the word "dark" and despite the title, advocates balance of light/dark. As the author puts it, balance is not necessarily "equal" but a healthy interaction of polarity that works for the individual according to their nature. Also covered in this part of the book is a chapter on Shadow Work (discovering our "dark aspects" and learning to use them positively) it is a fascinating topic that is very important to the student of the occult. Overall the "Darkness" section of the book is packed with ideas on what darkness is, and how it fits into certain lifestyles and spiritual paths.
The second part of the book is on magick and again this is very unique and profound. Instead of just listing spells and meditations, the author actually makes sense of what is going on behind it all. It can get very deep sometimes, but Mr. Coughlin has an interesting writing style and wit that makes it easy to understand and actually enjoyable to write!
Basically this is a must for any pagan or student of magick who is tired of the same old things. The title may scare some people away, and I must admit read the book expecting a major let-down, but what I discovered was a very intriguing book that I have already read twice!
Since the book covers so much, probably the only bad part is it left me wanting more! As the author mentions in his introduction, the book was meant as an exploration on many topics. Unfortunately there are no other books like this. On the bright side (no pun!) the author has created a site that not only has information on his book but articles from other people on the topic and a discussion board.
I truly hope Mr. Coughlin considers a second book soon!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great exploration of the allure of darkness,
This review is from: Out of the Shadows: An Exploration of Dark Paganism and Magick (Paperback)This is a great book. John divides the book nicely in two- the first looking at the psychology and spirituality of a dark pagan path and the second acting as a primer for those wanting to express such a spirituality via magick.
Both sections are excellent with the first examining the intersect between dark paganism and other dark subcultures- Goth, Vampire, BDSM. Considerable space is given to what attracts us to dark aesthetics and how such an attraction is in keeping with depth psychology. John thoughtfully looks at the parralels with contemporary forms of Satanism, and it was great to see a section on Taoism in relation to left-hand path spirituality.
The magickal primer in the second section is worth the price of the book alone, and I would recommend his clear and thorough introduction to all.
If the book lacks anything (and you can't have it all!) it would have been great to have had more reference to the historic timeline of Dark paganism- Crowley, Spare, Gardner, LaVey etc, but such information can be readily gleened elsewhere.
A great book written in a clear and engaging style.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of the Shadows,
This review is from: Out of the Shadows: An Exploration of Dark Paganism and Magick (Paperback)This is a well thought out and re-readable book. The author is experienced in this field and not afraid to express his opinions, he does not seem concerned what others think of his ideas and I admire that. It was nice to see in print a put down of all those irritating "fluffy pagans" who seem to think that everything is rosy and wonderful and that mystical forces are for beneficial use only.
There has to be a balance and a logical approach to the use of Magick and this book is very adept at getting this point across.
Suitable for the beginner and the experienced pagan or occultist.
5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting,
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This review is from: Out of the Shadows: An Exploration of Dark Paganism and Magick (Paperback)I read this book some years ago and it was a catalyst in my pagan studies. I have many times recommended this book for my wiccans friends who are "too dualistic" in nature, but anyone who has the dualistic concept, or misguided idea about dark vs light, evil vs good, etc, should learn something from this book.
Darkness is a very creative aspect of the Divine.
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Out of the Shadows: An Exploration of Dark Paganism and Magick by John J Coughlin (Paperback - 1 May 2001)