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on 23 December 2010
As a practising occultist of over 40 years I have read many books, maybe too many books which profess to give you an insight into a world seemingly closed to all but a few 'learned' people many years ago, most have been copied from previous documents and give the reader less in gained knowledge than the loss of the financial outlay! This book, despite its numerous detractors, does aim to give you a clearer insight into the workings of practical black magic and even though I agree with many other reviews about its expansion of Waites previous book 'Ceremonial Magic' I do not agree with his ideas or writings being 'pompous'. Waite, despite Crowley (a man more interested in size of penis just look at his so-called demon drawings and you will see what I mean) derisory comments, genuinely knows his subject and I found that his writing is balanced with information and explanation even if it is technical. If read in tandem with 'Ceremonial Magic' you can clearly see the 'plagarism' aspect of this work but it does build on it and gives one a better understanding of the magikal systems needed to progress in this particular discipline. On the down-side however, there are many areas where he misses symbols out saying 'not available' as in 'not known to him' yet they are found in other writers tomes so a bit of extra reading on his part may well have expanded this book by a few extra pages, also, we all know the saying 'as above so below' referencing the heirarchy in both heaven and hell, so why does he (plus the majority of other supposed occult books) continue to use invocations which only uses 'heavenly' terminology to force spirits to act for you! Calling demons through invocation using black-mail words of heavenly power detracts from the reality that hell exists and has as much power, if not more than heaven, and seems to me to smack of the 'i'll confess my sins on my death bed and all's forgiven' when believing in and interacting with demonic beings has been his lifes work. All in all i'd recommend this book to anyone interested in Occult literature but would state that reading Dee and Rudd in conjunction with it will fill in the few gaps there are.
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on 8 March 2005
I bought this book for it's information on ancient magical grimoires such as the key of solomon thinking it would be facinating to find out where golden dawn and gerald gardner got their ideas from, being a literature student i thought it wouldn't be that heavy a read. It was, it was not informative either on the history and origins of the grimoires or for inspiration on any actually magical or ritual works.
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on 6 May 1997
The so-called "Book of Black Magic" is more or less a compendium of some of the more infamous medieval grimoires such as the Red Dragon, the Grimoire of Honorius, etc. The book is worth the price for the sheer ammount of knowledge contained within. The general occult public is sometimes hardpressed to gain access to medieval manuscripts and grimoires or is not willing to pay an exorbitant fee for copies form the Bristish Museum. Even then, one must contend with the Middle English dialect (although a company called IGOS sells translated copies of many noteworthy grimoires) and the occaisional swear, crack, or scorch mark on the document. It is for this reason that the "Book of Black Magic" is a worthy addition to your shelf. Although the information is presented lucidly and translated the reader must still contend with the horrible illustrations of Waite (a true disgrace to produce a book with such poorly drawn sigils and seals), not to mention his sheer verbosity. In effect it is a trade-off......we gain this pure compendium knowledge at the high price of reading the pompous (and often inane) outpourings of A.E. Waite. Had this book been written as a sheer compilation without the annoying commentaries by Mr. Waite it would have been a 10. If you can filter his footnotes (which are longer than the book) it is a most worthwhile experience.

--Maofas
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on 10 March 1998
Possible purchasers of this should actually consider the Book of Ceremonial Magic, since it is a revised an enlarged version of this.
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on 24 February 1999
A.Crowley had his sights set in the right direction every time he knocked A.E.Waite. Waite's terminology is outdated and his "Squaring of the Circle" being a "Mathematical Impossibility" shows Waite's lack of Magickal knowledge. Truly an unstudied fool.
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