Out of the Shadows: An Exploration of Dark Paganism and Magick Paperback – 1 May 2001
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Reclaiming the word darkness from its evil associations, this book explores the aspects, imagery, and spirituality of darkness.
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Darkness is a very creative aspect of the Divine.
The author describes some sub-cultures -- Goths, vampires, BDSM devotees -- so-called "darksiders" that are not necessarily, or even usually, considered to be pagan; he even includes Taoism into the mix. He talks about the shadow self, the need for balance between your dark and light side, how to protect yourself from evil spirits. He lists "dark" gods and goddesses. He shows you how to do an invoking and banishing pentagram. He tells you how to meditate and how to use ritualised movements ..... and so on, and on.
If you have any interest in magick, you will probably have read all of this before. I can only assume the glowing reviews come from the author's friends, or from total beginners. If you belong to the latter category - get surfing. It's all out there.
Perhaps I should have checked the author's webpage before purchasing. "Nail care for Goths" -- really?
This one won't be added to my magickal library.
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.
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!