12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2011
Josephine McCarthy's `The Initiate' is one of the very few books on Magick in the past 50 years which is completely original, eminently practical, and totally refreshing. I wish I'd known about the Void when I was in my nobbut-a-lad stage. I wish I'd had her take on angels, deities, demons, ancestors, faeries and inner contacts. I'd have been a helluva holy guru by now, believe you me!
Her practical methods, her descriptions about how to enter and exit from the innerworlds, are all described in simple, flowing lucid prose. She doesn't use obscurity and pretend it's profundity; she has great learning which is worn very lightly. And best of all she describes her own experiences, so that you can feel in your bones that she's not just another of the Outer Plane Ineptii making it all up as she goes along.
If this had been given to me as a bolshy teen I'd have thought: 'Good grief, this is brilliant!'. Now that I'm entering the decade which makes me somewhat venerable I finding myself intoning instead: 'Blimey, she knows her stuff.'
`The Initiate' is in a different class to anything I've read, I've learned an awful lot.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2012
Great book which will not impress those who think magic is all Key of Solomon and a literal adherence to a mythic Golden Dawn tradition that never was. McCarthy's book is at the bleeding edge of magic in a way that terrifies the snot out of those who look to some grade pooh-bah to confer some title on them before they do a battery of rituals that they don't understand.
There is nothing light or fluffy about the techniques here, but anyone who is serious about magic in any tradition needs to read and understand them. I say serious about magic because people often think they are and have no idea what it is like to actually live a system.
This sort of approach is mostly inner work, which makes it more useful to those who cannot get into a group or do not want to deal with the glass egos, which swell in the presence of the lightest of magic.
When you read this, and other books in this series, you can't help feel that the majority of modern magicians are just waiting their time and would be better off reading Harry Potter novels. The very people who talk the loudest about magic are clearly not doing it.
These books forced me to change some notions I had about my own (Golden Dawn) tradition and start looking at it with new eyes. That is not to say I agree with those who think it is all dead. It just needs the sort of work that McCathy shows in this book. McCarthy is blunt, funny and above all real.
You are reading a book from someone who does not muck about and gets to the source of things. As a result she has earned a place as a highly respected magician who has therefore annoyed some of the more pretentious in the esoteric community. It seems that the best in this game are usually going to hack people off.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2011
This book is a compendium written by an obviously advanced Occultist who is interested in many things. Here you will find information which is hard to find in other books.
The author discusses Sleepers in the land, Astral Parasites, Exorcism, Working with Ancestors, Notes on workings with Signs, Seals and Sigils, notes upon Angelic work etc. Packed full of interesting and unusual information you will not find in a bulk standard book and for this reason is highly recommended. Its written in a generalist way so its not a book tied into one tradition maybe other than the western mystery tradition plus other things of interest.
Whilst the book is written in a friendly style, I found the odd use of expletives here and there in the book rather brought the whole tone of the book down - perhaps this authors writes like she speaks (some authors tend to) but it does help in the book in that the high philosophy being discussed doesn't come across too snooty. But for this reason - it lost a star !
The author has obviously been involved in many occult groups and has witnessed some of the fall outs which do occur and hence it contains good information for those getting into things for the first time and old hands which have new things to learn.
Very interesting read, recommended and would like to see more from this author.