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Gerald Suster's Talking Stick Review From 1997
on 13 February 2009
THE FOLLOWING REVIEW WAS WRITTEN BY GERALD SUSTER (AUTHOR OF 'THE LEGACY OF THE BEAST' AND 'CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE') IN THE WINTER 97/98 EDITION OF TALKING STICK MAGAZINE:
Way back in 1980, Pete Carroll, of Chaos Magick fame, wrote to me: "I'd really like to see some talented youngsters to give us oldies a kick up the arse."
"Wonderful!" I replied "but where are they? Anyway I'm much too young at present to feel old."
Seventeen years later, it has been for me an incredible delight to witness an occult explosion of young talent that truly gratifies a middle-aged man who is young at heart. In my opinion the best is George T. Mortimer, whose 'The Key Of It All' written as Frater IHI AVD 418, is the finest analysis of the Riddle of Liber AL - 'The Book of the Law' Riddle II 76 - ever expounded.
Now he has given us 'The Probationer's Handbook'. I wish to high heaven that there had been a book like this when I seriously started practising magick at the age of 15. It would have saved me so much time and trouble, for I swore my Probationer's Oath then. Unfortunately, I found so much of Crowley's 'Magick In Theory And Practice' to be virtually incomprehensible (experience later opened the gates) and authors such as Dion Fortune, Gareth Knight and W.E. Butler hectored one and moralised in the tones of a minor prep school housemaster. Fortunately I discovered Israel Regardie, who was clear.
But if only I had had a book like that of George T. Mortimer, my year as a Probationer would have been much less painful. I was blundering about in the dark on my own, bumping into things, experimenting with Crowley since I like strong meat, burning my fingers and stubbing my toes.
If you have the slightest sincere interest in Magick and human evolution, you really must get hold of this book. If you have done your period as a Probationer, you will still be amazed by the clarity, common sense and wisdom. If you are a student thinking of taking the plunge, it would be impossible to find a better guide through the early but vital stages of the Great Work.
One likes to think that intelligence increases with each succeeding generation. Mortimer's book is firmly grounded in that of Crowley, yet he goes beyond it and I think that the Master Therion would applaud. He tackles issues, obviously based on experience, which have never been satisfactorily tackled before - such as, what to do when, inevitably, you are have the black dog of depression.
The rituals he proposes are very good; you can learn how to use talismans too. Everything you need is here to bring you into an ecstatic state.
The author's acid wit regarding New Age garbage adds spice to this excellent work. Do you sincerely want to make Magick? If so, you must beg, borrow or steal a copy of this wonderful book.
Gerald Suster - Winter 97/98.