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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of Gathering the Magic by Nick Farrell, 4 Feb 2010
By 
Niall Jordan (Leitrim, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gathering the Magic: Creating 21st Century Esoteric Groups (Paperback)
This book became a useful aid while establishing a small working group in local area. I found it highlighted many of the issues facing the group and provided practical methods towards overcoming them. As an amateur sociologist I would have liked to see more in terms of the terminology used on a mundane level but in retrospect I have come to realize that saturating the book in fancy words would have only aided in the confusion. Instead I found that sharing the book with other founding members led to a shared understanding and we would be able to understand the process more. This allowed us a new group leaders to appreciate the nuances of such an exciting time while it also allowed new members to be comfortable with the guiding principles of the group.

I also felt that the book could be a life-long aid to the group and as such have kept a copy on hand since. There is always room for addition and improvement but Nick's book certainly gives a strong framework for anyone setting up a new group whether they are new to the system or dab hands. Would certainly recommend this book to others and have done already to other eclectic groups and even to some long established group leaders. :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insights for setting up a working magical group, 19 April 2012
This review is from: Gathering the Magic: Creating 21st Century Esoteric Groups (Paperback)
This review was originally published on my blog, Mishkan ha-Echad, on July 16, 2009:

When starting up an order, temple, coven, or other magical group in the modern world, there usually is not much in the way of resources. Not knowing how to attract other members, build a system of study and ritual, and deal with the inevitable conflicts that occur when more than one person comes together can spell doom for any start-up magical group. One exception to this lack of resources is Nick Farrell's Gathering the Magic, which attempts to give a would-be group leader some of the advice needed to succeed in this endeavour. While John Michael Greer's Inside a Magical Lodge still has much to offer in this regard, Nick's book is a bit more up to date, dealing with the issues that a group in the 21st Century will have to face.

The book numbers 188 pages and has a number of chapters dealing with the group itself, the leadership, the practical elements, bringing in new people, conflict and crisis, and then growth or death of the group. These are further divided into shorter sub-sections that make for easy reading.

Nick offers some useful insights into the minds of those who join and work with magical groups, including whether someone is a leader or a follower, how they will fit in with the egregore, what to do with grades, and what kind of leadership role (guru, round table, panel, three chiefs, etc.) will work best. This latter section is dealt with extremely well, with a number of advantages and disadvantages given for each possibility.

On the practical side of things essential elements like a name, location, and fee structure are addressed, along with ritual work to be carried out at each meeting, and all of the various tools and regalia that may be required, depending on the nature of the group.

The leadership role is given quite a bit of attention given how important it is (and how detrimental a bad leadership can be), but Nick stresses the importance on spreading the work load and strongly encourages the individualising of each member of the group. The section detailing the "warning signs" when someone is about to individualise (which is a good thing, but not without its own painful and sometimes destructive process) is particularly good, especially considering that Nick is advising that potential leaders aid the individualising person as opposed to simply expelling them from the group because of what seems like trouble-making at first.

One problem with the book is the large number of typos, which shows that the editor did not really give it the attention it deserved. Luckily enough these aren't bad enough to distract from the material. Another obvious error occurs with the citing of a book that has not been released yet. In a footnote on page 157 Nick cites Peregrin Wildoak's By Names and Images (information on which can be found here) as being published in 2004. Unfortunately due to delays at Thoth Publications this book still has not been released. Since the copy of Gathering the Magic that I am reading has been updated to a second edition in 2007 I wonder why this footnote wasn't ammended to be more accurate.

Gathering the Magic is mainly focused on ceremonial magic groups, but the advice is generally applicable to all, whether it's a Freemason lodge, a Golden Dawn temple, or a Wiccan coven. Some of the information and advice is fairly common-sense, but it's the kind of common-sense that only occurs when someone highlights it, while many other guidelines Nick gives will not have occured to most group leaders. It is clear that he does not base these things on speculation but on a number of years experience, and thus this book will be of great benefit to those lacking in the experience required to create and grow a successful magical group.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just finished reading, 28 Jun 2009
By 
Pauline Hamilton (ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: When a Tree Falls (Paperback)
"When a tree falls" is a delightfully humorous journey as Andrew, the slightly nerdish main character, seeks to find his place in the universe. When Andrews' Bulgarian flat is demolished by two time traveling hit men, he begins to discover the truth about himself and his place in time.. across time is probably more correct. In places, When a tree falls is laugh out loud funny, irreverent and a thoroughly enjoyable read. Can't wait for the sequel..
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete and simple, yet funny., 30 May 2011
This review is from: Gathering the Magic: Creating 21st Century Esoteric Groups (Paperback)
When I first got the book I though that it wasn't goingt to be very useful as I was not going to fund any esoteric group. After some weeks I saw it again on my library and decided to give it a chance. Farrel caught me with the first joke.

It is very hard to find an actual book regarding any esoteric subject that you actually enjoy reading. And with enjoy I do not mean just enjoy intellectually, but as a common lecture itself.

Yet we can not call this book 'simple' regarding its content but the way it is explained: with short chapters, describing and concrete title, and a human point of view. You will not encounter a chapter called 'Magic' with 345 pages without a single double space, but, rather, a 'How to Z Magic in A situation.'

It must be also said that this books give to the non-adept a glimpse of how the inner work of an esoteric order or school might be like, and what kind of situation he might encounter when approaching one, not just situations involving the leadership or his future group colleagues, but his own changes, and the mistakes he could commit.

Just because of the funny jokes in every chapter ( that, I have to say, are not random at all and do make you think as weel as the non funny content) you should get this awesome piece ;)
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Gathering the Magic: Creating 21st Century Esoteric Groups
Gathering the Magic: Creating 21st Century Esoteric Groups by Nick Farrell (Paperback - 21 Aug 2007)
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