4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2010
This is more than a mere "historical curiosity", as the other user seems to suggest.
If you practice and study the occult, you should definitely familiarize yourself with Spare and his philosophy.
I tend to place Spare and his writings on the same level of importance to modern occultism and magic as the classical Golden Dawn system and Crowley's Thelema.
Here you will find four of Spare's writings, all in a delightful format. Micrologus si a collection of Spare's ideas and personal views.
Than there is The Book of Pleasure that is practically the central text of Spare's system. Here you will find Spare's philosophy concerning beliefs and how they affect our lives and free will, the origin of our deepest desires, how we perceive reality by dual association and how we are subjected to the law of duality, as well as means and principles by which to overcome all these- the Neither-Neither principal (which is in part inspired by Zen philosophy of the East), and the concepts of Kia and Self-Love. These things are far too complex to discuss in this simple review- the reader must discover them by himself. The book of pleasure also contains Spare's theories regarding the cycle of incarnation, the subconscious, symbolism, automatic drawings, and means to obtain desire through his system of sigilisation. In this version, the Book of Pleasure contains chapters that are in other works omitted. There are still some chapters omitted here too, but as far as I am aware of, this is the most complete version of the Book of Pleasure on the market...
There are two more writings : The Witche's Sabbath- a magical formula and ritual employed by Spare and Mind to mind which describes practical instructions for Divination, though not very helpful if you ask me.
What is missing from this book is The Focus of Life, which I think is the second most important text of Spare's writings, right after the Book of Pleasure. You will find the Focus of Life in other editions of Spare's writing's. (see here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Writings-Austin-Osman-Spare-Automatic/dp/1595477683/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1271415816&sr=8-1)
In conclusion, I would point out that Austin Osman Spare is not for beginners, one must have some basic knowledge of magic and the occult in general in order to understand him. His writing style is very ambiguous, reading this material becomes rather difficult at times, however, once one starts to understand little by little, the reward is great. Spare is certainly not for those wishy-washy wiccan type of magicians, but for magicians who are not afraid to challenge their own reality and destroy it as they see fit and to search into the darkest, most hidden aspects of the mind.
13 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Ethos contains 4 works by Spare; Micrologus, The Book of Pleasure, The Witches' Sabbath and Mind to Mind and How by a Sorcerer. The whole thing is very well produced.
I purchased this as Austin Spare is often credited by chaos magicians regarding the use of sigils. The writing style is very strange which makes reading it rather hard work. It's an interesting historical curiosity but there are other more accesible works on sigils.