Mike Gleason


A Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, Over? by Collen A’Miketh © 2009 Megatlithica Books ISBN 978-1905713301 132 pages Paperback $19.99 (U.S.)

Are you under the impression that magick must be a serious business? Are you sure? You may have doubts by the time you finish this book.

You deserve fair warning. This is not a “Magick 101” book. The author assumes at least several years of experience and at least a moderate competence in magickal work and philosophy. He also assumes that you have the determination to follow through without someone to baby-sit you.

Like many of the titles from this publisher, this one comes at seemingly ordinary topics (okay, I’ll concede non-ordinary) from extraordinary perspectives.

The author presents his perceptions with humor and real world observations. Will you agree with his perceptions? Possibly…especially if you have been working magick as opposed to only theorizing about it. Theories are nice, experience is invaluable.

Even if you don’t agree with Mr. A’Maketh (especially if you don’t agree with him), you might find unexpected insights and useful ideas. For those critics who say that you must show results in the real world, Mr. A’Maketh counters that living successfully (however you define that) in the real world is all the proof needed. If you want garish special effects, talk to the folks at Industrial Light and Magic. ®

The basic premise of this work is that one needs to balance magickal workings with real world work. Mr. A’Maketh offers ideas which have worked for him and which may work for you. He encourages the reader to concentrate on working magick every day and everywhere.

An advantage to this work is that it is both easy to understand and fun to read. Although the ideas are obviously serious, their presentation is light-hearted. This is an enjoyable change from the usual magickal book which can be tedious and overwhelming. In fact, the light-heartedness makes it more likely that you will refer back to it periodically.

Obviously, I won’t recommend it for beginners, but for those with experience (even those with LOTS of experience) it is a refreshing approach and an enjoyable look at a different way of approaching the magickal life.

Drawing Down the Spirits by Kenaz Filan and Raven Kaldera © 2009 Destiny Books ISBN: 978-1-59477-269-6 352 pgs Paperback $18.95 (U.S.) $22.50 (Canada)

This book tackles a subject which is often relegated to theoretical discussions in the average Neo-Pagan group, if it gets discussed at all. It is often dismissed as either a remnant of “older, less civilized” belief systems or a sign of “evil forces” at work. If the idea of possession frightens you, as it does many individuals in and out of the Pagan community, you really need to read this book

This is not a how-to manual, nor is it an anthropological text. It consists of events recounted by those who actually work with possession in various traditions (some with an extensive uninterrupted history of possession, some with large gaps in their histories). It makes it clear that divinities do not (necessarily) abide by our expectations, and that it is incumbent upon those who wish to interact with them on a personal basis to have a thorough understanding of what is involved.

Kenaz and Raven discussion the various levels of possession – ranging from overshadowing to full possession, even if there isn’t full agreement on what, if anything, separates these various levels of experience. They give examples from their own experiences as well as those from other workers in the field.

They also make it abundantly clear that while some things can be learned by almost anyone, there are some aspects which an individual either IS or IS NOT, and this is a result of heredity, genetics, or some other cause beyond the control of an individual. This may upset some folks who feel that every person is capable of doing everything, but it is reality. In a simple example, everyone can learn basic mathematics, but not everyone can grasp the mathematics involved in quantum physics.

They also risk offending those members of the Neo-Pagan community who feel that the gods always have the best interests of humanity in mind; that the gods are always kind and forgiving; or that the gods are simply concepts or archetypes and not individuals with their own preferences and requirements. Members of some traditions (notably the Afro-Caribbean traditions) will have few problems with the ideas put forth in this book, but many European-derived traditions may feel differently.

Although the topic is both controversial and complex, the authors have produced an extremely readable book, which should serve as a good starting point for those who wish to learn more. Ultimately, of course, there is no substitute for personal experience. By the same token, before one opens oneself to such experiences, there is a need for a foundation and some background information. This book fills that need nicely.

Quite honestly, before I started reading it I expected that I would spend the better part of a week slogging through it. Once I began, however, it became obvious that the authors were dedicated to making it move at a fairly rapid pace. The writing is concise, the meanings are clear, and the information is easily understood.

Whether you are involved in a tradition which uses possession, or if you simply want to learn more about the topic, I highly recommend this book.


Raising Hell: Subversive Spirituality, Insurrectionist Witchcraft & Black Magic by Kali Black © 2009 Megatlithica Books ISBN 978-1905713-39-7 136 pages Paperback $19.99 (U.S.)

The author has an unorthodox view of Black Magic (if that isn’t an oxymoron) when compared to standard views. She sees Black Magic as encompassing most, if not all, forms of rebellion. She is not hesitant about sharing her opinions (ranging from anti-consumerism to the vegan life-style). But, while sharing these opinions, she is adamant about informing the reader that “Your mileage may vary.”

She sees things in a very different light than I do. But that is what makes life interesting.

While I most assuredly do not agree with everything she has to say, I have to admire both her courage in stating her position, and her ability to present her ideas without alienating her readers.

While I found a few minor editing errors (unfortunately common-place in today’s publishing markets), there was no misunderstanding what she meant. Her views and experiences may be uniquely her own, and her comparisons have some readers scratching their heads, but she has no difficulty making them abundantly clear and comprehensible. At the end of the book you may not find yourself nodding in agreement (I know I didn’t) but you will have a clear understanding of her approach to life and magick.

I honestly feel that, assuming you are generally well-grounded in reality, you can benefit from this book. It will make you question your perceptions (and hers, as well), and make you think about what you “know” and why and how you know it. That is a valuable thing in today’s world. Agree or disagree with Ms. Black’s approach, you should find yourself more comfortable with your own decisions.