Well, that didn’t take long. A wonderful suggestion re which “back to basics” book I should read and practice, the subject of my last entry here. —I just checked my Twitter account and two friends — Polyphanes who writes the blog The Digital Ambler and Balthazar Blacke who writes Conjure Gnosis — both strongly suggested Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy. Everything since, they say, is derivative of that. And the thought would never, ever have occurred to me. I even own the book, though I’ve used it thus far only as reference. I like the idea. That’s really going back to basics. I think I just may give it a try…

Well, that didn’t take long. A wonderful suggestion


10 thoughts on “Well, that didn’t take long. A wonderful suggestion

  1. Kalagni says:

    If you’re not already reading it, I suggest TUM’s blog, he’s doing a series on the Three Books, basically paraphrasing/explaining stuff chapter by chapter, and considering the language and the complexity and the obscurity of some parts of the text any help is good.


    • Rachel Izabella says:

      Thanks, Kalagni. I first looked at The Unlikely Mage’s blog, or rather I looked at it for the first time since he began his series on Agrippa, just yesterday. He’s doing a darned good job, isn’t he? And I know him personally, so I can also just ask if there’s something he doesn’t cover that puzzles me and when I get further in Agrippa that he has so far in his blog. (All I need to do is avoid becoming a pest!)

      You need to comment more often! I know from our exchanges on Twitter that you’re one very smart human!

      Love, Rachel

  2. Jesse Dollar says:

    I definitely agree with their suggestion of Agrippa for knowledge that is foundational to Western magic. For practical exercises, I recommend either IIH by Bardon, ‘High Magic’ by Frater U:.D:. (I remember you said you own copies of both), *or* “Hands-On Chaos Magic” by Andrieh Vitimus.

    Out of the three, given where I’m at right now, I’d be more apt to go with Vitimus’s book, simply because it has a more free-form approach that covers a wide range and is designed to help the practitioner figure out what works best for them. If you’re feeling especially adventurous (or masochistic) you could work through IIH AND HOCM at the same time! 😉

    Also, if you’re reading through Agrippa, I recommend The Unlikely Mage’s Agrippa series of blog posts: http://theunlikelymage.blogspot.com/

    • Rachel Izabella says:

      Hi Jesse! I’m definitely not up to tackling more new material than just Agrippa right now. Trying to read him (and to experiment with practicing him, more on that in a sec) is enough and more than enough for me given my present circumstances. I’m favoring IIH, when the dust of divorce has settled and when I’m done as I can be at the moment with Agrippa. The Unlikely Mage informs me that as Agrippa is theoretical in nature, one has to experiment a lot with actually putting Agrippa into practice. That means it can be done! (And I love experimenting, it keeps things interesting).

      Much love. —Rachel

  3. I think that makes some sense, since everyone reads Agrippa occasionally. You might want to take note of the fact that there’s a new translation of Book One now, with the next two coming by summer’s end, so I hear: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1105898792/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1105898792&linkCode=as2&tag=freesrevi-20

    but reading Agrippa isn’t a way to find out how people practice magic now. One might as well say to start with Picatrix … I think maybe Frater U .’. D.’.’s book is worthwhile, and there’s also a book by JMG that might be better for you (but I don’t have a copy of it to be sure).

    • “everyone reads Agrippa occasionally” (Damn you, autopilot!) was supposed to be “everyone reads Agrippa eventually.”

      • Rachel Izabella says:

        Given circumstances, I hope that this proposed project of mine proves to be more than just an idle dream. If it turns out to be so, well … eventually, I guess.

        Much love. —Rachel

    • Rachel Izabella says:

      Thanks, Freeman. I don’t believe my pockets are deep enough to afford all three volumes of the new translation, so I’ll be sticking with my Tyson revision of the original translation. I know Agrippa is theoretical in nature, but I’m assured that with experimentation one can learn to practice Agrippa. And the basics I skipped aren’t just practical, they’re also theoretical. There’s no way I can exhaust Agrippa in my first go at reading him and my first experiments at practicing him. So soon enough I’ll pick up probably Introduction Into Hermetics and read and attempt to really do everything that’s in Bardon’s book. I’m told it’s possible.

      Much love. —Rachel

  4. By the way, Book One of Agrippa will burn out your BS filter in places. Natural history from Pliny in plenty. Picatrix has a fair amount of that too. You can try planting the shavings from a ram’s horn to harvest asparagus if you want …

    • Rachel Izabella says:

      I’m told on good authority that New World practitioners of the ATRs find much that’s familiar and congenial when they read or are introduced to Agrippa Book One. So it would seem that it’s not one hundred percent BS, that some of the magic in Book One actually works. My BS filters will definitely be getting a workout though!

      Love, Rachel

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