On my way back from McNeil Island today, I stopped by Edge of the Circle books in Seattle browse around. I was tired from driving and needed coffee and some moving around to keep me from nodding off... (That would be bad while driving.)
While I was there, I noticed that John Michael Greer's new book, Learning Ritual Magic, is out. As many of you know, JMG and I were once close friends and went to college together. He was one of the main individuals behind the founding of the Companions of the Stone, the Hermetic order that I was a part of from 1994 through 1998, when it dissolved its only body (but, like an undead zombie, apparently maintained some kind of continuing life to this day as a Rosicrucian order).
One of the things that the order did very early on was create a course of study in Hermetic practice and thought for neophytes (or at least aspirants) of the order. This was to provide basic training for people who wished to join that they had to complete before initiation into the organization. It was relatively thorough and, as the person with no Hermetic magical background at the time, I was one of the main guinea pigs for training. My background at that point (1993-1994) was all in Wiccan and Asatru practice, which is hardly a hotbed of cabalistic thinking.
With the dissolution, one way or the other, of the order in 1998, this course of study went away, obviously. I still have copies of the original material. With the publishing of this book, I know of one place where it went now. The book is an edited version of the original lesson material, pretty much left "as is" and intact other than, from what I could see glancing through it, minor editing and clean up. The authors are John Michael, his wife, and my good friend, Earl King Jr. The three of them did the original course material. The book is laid up in a 16 lesson format, with quizzes, exercises, etc. for each lesson that progressively build on each other. As such things go, it's pretty good and if I was running a basic Hermetic study group as I did a few years ago, I'd probably use it as a training text and then follow it with Greer's Circles of Power, which I am still quite fond of.
So, if you have no background in Hermeticism and want to learn a bit, this book might be for you or, perhaps, you have a cousin, uncle, nephew, who has need of such things.
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