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Circles of Power: Ritual Magic in the Western Tradition Paperback – 1997

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Michael Greer (Western Maryland) has been a student of occult traditions and the unexplained for more than thirty years. A Freemason, a student of geomancy and sacred geometry, and a widely read blogger, he is also the author of numerous books, including Monsters, The New Encyclopedia of the Occult and Secrets of the Lost Symbol, and currently serves as the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA), a contemporary school of Druid nature spirituality. Greer has contributed articles to Renaissance Magazine, Golden Dawn Journal, Mezlim, New Moon Rising, Gnosis, and Alexandria.



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Product Details

  • Paperback: 362 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications; 1st edition (1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1567183131
  • ISBN-13: 978-1567183139
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,167,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Born in the gritty Navy town of Bremerton, Washington and raised in the south Seattle suburbs, I began writing about as soon as I could hold a pencil. SF editor George Scithers' dictum that all would-be writers have a million words of so of bad prose in them, and have to write it out, pretty much sums up the couple of decades between my first serious attempt to write a book and my first published book, "Paths of Wisdom", which appeared in 1996. These days I live in Cumberland, Maryland with my spouse Sara; serve as presiding officer -- Grand Archdruid is the official title -- of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA), a Druid order founded in 1912; and write in half a dozen nonfiction fields, nearly all of them focused on the revival of forgotten ideas, insights, and traditions of practice from the rubbish heap of history.

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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Brother MOLOCH 969 on January 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Probably Greer's best work to date. I have to say I'm a fan of Greer's even though I have disliked a couple of his other works but this book should be read and studied by those who're interested in working ritual magic. I say should be because every ceremonial magical text is generally suggested to be obtained and read by the novice if you take a look at the average website on this topic. Sadly though many of those sites don't mention this book and I'm not sure why.

The book is from a straightforward Golden Dawn approach to the Western Mystery Tradition & ritual magic. Oh I hear the groans now but let me say that the rites are pared down to their core and stripped of all that ballyhoo traditionally associated with the G.: D.: material! That alone is worth the time to read thru this manual. Also like Kraig's

"Modern Magick", "Circles of Power" is intended to be a manual used by the solitary practitioner though it can be adapted easily enough for group workings.

Is there anything in here that's not covered elsewhere? Not really and yet he does touch on some interesting aspects regarding the Telesmatic Imagery techniques usually only mentioned in other works. Also he does a nice job of explaining the rituals and why they're used instead of just saying "practice this three times a day for the next two years" and leave it at that.

One of the best things about this book is the simple language the author uses to express his views and understanding of the subject which in most cases one has to really struggle at first to get the gist of. Not so here.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J. Worthen on October 27, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Written by a true practicing magician, Circles of Power is a marvelous modern occult text full of practical advice and formulae based on the Golden Dawn tradition, founded on Cabalistic Magick.

Greer synthesizes the Golden Dawn system concisely and clearly into an outstanding modern Magickal Manual. It compares favorably to, if not better than, Kraig's Modern Magick or Frater U.D.'s High Magick, two excellent similar books.

Like those other books on Ceremonial Magick, Greer covers the basics from theory to practice and offers exercises to learn the systems. Unlike other books, however, he doesn't stop his book and suggest that you commit a month to some exercise before turning a page. Though regular work and experimentation will reward the practitioner, it's refreshing not to be asked by an author to stop reading a book in the middle of it.

Greer's excellent writing offers the reader no-nonsense, straight forward instruction like a well written text book. Never is the reader in doubt as to the writer's genuine knowledge of the material.

Greer's commitment to excellence is shown in his choice to edit out all the Enochian elements from the Golden Dawn Rituals he's presenting. Rather than just parrot what others have said, (including the GD itself), he refrains because he feels his understanding and experience of that part off the work is inadequate. The removal of these elements, by the way, detracts nothing from the rituals and work he presents. He substitutes Cabalistic elements skillfully and effectively in their stead. (I personally like the Enochian system and hope Greer eventaully delves into it and shares his insights.)

The weakest part of the book is Llewellyn's publishing.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
For the intellectual student who wishes a complete explication of the purposes of a rite. Each ritual is designed for solo performance, although he strays a bit from Regardie's tome. (If you want something closer to Regardie's rituals try "Modern Magick" by Donald Michael Kraig). Not written for the layperson, this dense book nevertheless will prove to be a complete handbook for the beginning practical theurgist. The only misgiving I have is that he makes no reference to what order the rituals should be practiced. One should not busy themselves with the Greater Hexagram Ritual without first perfecting the LBRP, etc. But Greer does not mention this. This book could be read in tandem with the Kraig book referred to already. In short, this is not a "course" like Kraig's but rather a "handbook" of rituals.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have one complaint with this book, and that is John Michael Greer's approach to the explination of the rituals he highlights in his book. They combine discussion with the steps, which I found more confusing than perhaps spliting each ritual into steps and then discussion of the steps. But this is hardly more than a gripe when you look at the way Greer has opened up magic in a real way. He doesn't hold back, letting people know what magic is really about and encouraging those who are truly interested in magical studies to dive in for themselves. Also, when supplemented with Paths of Wisdom, his book on the magical cabala, the full complexities of the Golden Dawn system becomes very accessible.
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