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The Mabinogion (Oxford World's Classics)
The Mabinogion (Oxford World's Classics)
by Sioned Davies
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.17
91 used & new from $6.09

72 of 81 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ya pays ya money, ya takes ya choice., February 11, 2010
" `Lady,' asked he, `whence comest thou, and whereunto dost thou journey?' "I journey on mine own errand," said she, "and right glad am I to see thee." `My greeting unto thee,' said he. Then he thought that the beauty of all the maidens, and all the ladies that he had ever seen, was as nothing compared to her beauty." - Lady Charlotte Guest's translation (1838).

" `Lady,' he asked, `whence comest thou, and where art thou going?' "I go mine own errands," said she, "and glad I am to see thee." `My welcome to thee,' said he. And then he thought that the countenance of every maiden and every lady he had ever seen was unlovely compared with her countenance." - Jones & Jones (1948).

" `Lady,' he said, `where do you come from, and where are you going?' "Going about my business," she said, "and I am glad to see you." `My welcome to you,' he said. And then he thought that the face of every maiden and every woman he had ever seen was unattractive compared with her face." - Sioned Davies (2007).
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 20, 2014 7:23 PM PDT


Magic and Superstition in Europe: A Concise History from Antiquity to the Present (Critical Issues in World and International History)
Magic and Superstition in Europe: A Concise History from Antiquity to the Present (Critical Issues in World and International History)
by Michael David Bailey
Edition: Paperback
Price: $23.37
59 used & new from $6.14

8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect too much!, February 12, 2009
In his introduction, the author writes `My approach is not philosophical (that is, theoretical) or scientific; still less is it legal or theological. Rather, it is historical, seeking to trace the development of magic and superstition in Europe from antiquity to the present'.
The author is true to his word, in the sense that readers must not expect anything in the way of theory or philosophy, and very little in the way of description (full details of what magic entailed during every period under consideration). The book is more an example of what a history can be in its narrowest and least rewarding sense: a list of names and dates.
Even within these self-imposed limits there are perplexing holes in the account. The author does not include words like `grimoire', and `Zohar', but manages to include mention of Newton, Diderot and Hobbes.
The low point of the book for me is the central section describing the witch trials. The author's attention is devoted entirely to a history of the beliefs and practices of the authorities of the inquisitions, and shirks the effort of attempting a fuller description of the accused and their beliefs and practices, i.e. a history of magic and superstition in Europe.


The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses
The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses
by Joseph H. Peterson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $39.15
44 used & new from $29.05

58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait!, June 14, 2008
The volume presented here under the title of `The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses', is in fact a collection of texts of German "folk" magic dating from the mid- eighteenth century. They were collected together under this title by Johann Scheible in the mid- nineteenth century; and it is the 8th edition of his German work, published in 1865, as well as an English version of Scheible's text published in the U.S. at the end of the 19th century, which form the basis for Peterson's English edition.
In this volume, Joseph H. Peterson presents the English speaking public with a scholarly and conscientiously produced edition, as we have come to expect from this dependable author. He has not only compared the two editions mentioned above, but has endeavoured to correct both by referring to older Hebrew and European authorities.
The backbone of the book is a group of 7 texts, which all claim to be presenting arcana from the lost books of Moses, usually in the form of incantations and amulets in Hebrew. Peterson supplements these 7 texts with 9 appendices of related texts, again mostly taken from Scheible. He also reproduces an introduction on `The Magic of the Israelites' by Joseph Ennemoser (1844), plus several useful indices.
The volume has been produced by the Ibis Press of Lake Worth, FL; the same people who did such a commendable job on Dehn's Abramelin. This book is up to that same high standard. The numerous magical diagrams and illustrations are well laid out and nicely produced, one section even being printed in red and black.
In the interests of writing a more balanced review, I tried hard to discover some negative points to make about the present edition, but failed to find any.


The Book of Abramelin: A New Translation
The Book of Abramelin: A New Translation
by of Worms Abraham ben Simeon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $33.09
41 used & new from $24.65

51 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity., May 9, 2008
The book of Abramelin is a highly important and original book of magic, which describes a process for getting in touch with one's Holy Guardian angel. It was rediscovered and published for the first time by Macgregor Mathers, a co-founder of the Golden Dawn. It obsessed Aleister Crowley, who was unable to carry through the ritual it describes. Mathers only had a French exemplar of the text. More reliable German versions were discovered and published by Dehn in 1995/2001, in German. This is the English translation of that work.
Dehn has based his text on several manuscripts which were unknown to Mathers. But this is not a critical text, as no manuscript readings are reported by Dehn, and we do not know how he weighed the different readings, or how he decided which reading was correct.
A completely new feature of the present edition is the inclusion of "Book Two", a collection of medieval magical recipes. The original manuscripts contain a total of 160 recipes, but Dehn only includes 36 representative examples in this edition.
"Book Four" contains the famous magical squares. It is here that Dehn's textual methods are most obscure and disappointing, as many of the problems posed by the squares remain unresolved. As an example, the first word of square 1\8 should read "EKDILUN", and we can arrive at this corrected reading quite easily by approaching the squares as though they were Sudoku puzzles. But Dehn does not correct any of the squares in this way, and he remains silent as to which manuscript his chosen reading came from. Many other squares can be resolved logically by the Sudoku method. Other squares, such as 4\1 or 4\6 can only be resolved up to a certain point, after which we need to choose a reading from one or other of the manuscripts, which Dehn, as mentioned, does not report.
In conclusion, we can say that Mathers did a commendable job considering the paucity of his sources; while Dehn, despite his many manuscripts, has let us down.
The Ibis Press has made a sterling effort with this book: the type-setting and binding and over-all design are top-notch. Bravo!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 6, 2014 4:29 PM PST


A Treatise on Angel Magic: Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourceworks
A Treatise on Angel Magic: Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourceworks
by Adam McLean
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.69
34 used & new from $9.48

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Dr Rudd, May 7, 2008
The various books published by Adam McLean, mostly on alchemical subjects, were first self-published by the author in Scotland, and sold through his journal and website. Many of them were produced in quite limited runs, were often essentially pictorial in nature, and sometimes even hand-coloured by McLean himself. Much of this work is now reproduced on the Alchemy Website at levity.com. In the USA, these same titles were published by the Phanes Press, at Grand Rapids MI, to a higher professional standard.
The present book is advertised as a complete transcription of a late 17th century manuscript MS Harley 6482 in the British Library. This MS, a magical miscellany, belongs in a group of 6 manuscripts on various magical, astrological and alchemical subjects, copied by Peter Smart from originals owned by Dr Rudd or others of his circle.
The contents of the present volume are as follows:
Ten names of GOD, Anima mundi, Clavis tabulae sanctae, Characters of the 16 figures of geomancy, Seven Enochian tables, Schemhamphoras, Names of some of Solomon's spirits, Hours of the spirits, Angels good and bad, Incubi and succubi, Power and authority of necromancers and witches, Hobgoblins &c, Orders of wicked demons, Clavis Enochi tabularum, Astromantic and geomantic gamahes, Talismans, Clavis magicae (seu Enochi tabularum explanatio), Images of the fixed Behenian stars, Alphabet of the angels, Numbers, Little tables of the planets, Sun and moon, Anima mundi, Intelligences and demons, Mansions of the moon, More hobgoblins, Witches and enchanters, Devil, Dreams, Nymphs &c, Gnomes, Presaging, Nine hierarchies of angels in 6 sections.


Elizabethan Magic: The Art and the Magus
Elizabethan Magic: The Art and the Magus
by Robert Turner
Edition: Paperback
26 used & new from $8.95

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Three important texts from Dr Dee, April 25, 2008
Like a previous important volume by the same author (see Robert Turner 1986, The Heptarchia Mystica of John Dee, Aquarian Press), the present work gives the impression of being a slightly motley collection of independent short articles, forced into uneasy proximity to create the semblance of a book.
The second half of the volume, pages 90 to 190, is taken up with short sketches of Simon Forman, Robert Fludd, and Thomas Jones of Tregaron. This last article, penned by the author's wife, is the farthest removed from the main centre of interest of the book, and is obviously included to pad out the text.
The centre of interest is John Dee and his Angelic Manuscripts. Three short texts are reprinted here:
(1) 49 Angelic Keys (pages 31 to 47)
(2) Book of Knowledge, Help and Earthly Victory (pages 48 to 58)
(3) Book of Supplications and Invocations (pages 59 to 80).
The layout of the book does not make this arrangement clear, and Turner is not very transparent about his sources. In fact he is transcribing everything from the British Library manuscript Sloane 3191. Unfortunately, his transcription is not reliable: in the Angelic Keys, for example, "i" and "l" are sometimes confused, and accent markings are often omitted. At the time of writing this (April 2008) interested readers can search the internet for "Sloane 3191" and download photos of the original manuscript.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 6, 2010 4:30 PM PDT


The Lesser Key of Solomon
The Lesser Key of Solomon
by Joseph H. Peterson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $35.84
53 used & new from $31.81

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best edition in English, April 25, 2008
A definitive edition of this work would require separate critical editions of its 5 parts, based upon a thorough examination of all extant manuscripts in many languages. That such a Herculean task might ever be accomplished seems set to remain a rather improbable eventuality, and until such a time we are lucky to have Peterson's slightly less ambitious volume.
Peterson has produced a reliable English version based on Sloane 3825 in the British Library, giving some variant readings from other manuscripts in the same collection, and testimonia from such authorities as Trithemius. The result is an edition superior to any previously published. The Ars Notoria section, however, is just a reprint of Turner's widely available translation. At the back, the index omits the many Angelic names which comprise the essence of the text. You can get a preview of this edition at his website esotericarchives.com.
Aside from the question of scholarship, the physical book is quite a nice production. One might wish that the many sigils had been professionally redrawn for this publication; or, failing that, at least some regularity might have been brought to their size. The text might have benefitted from wider outer margins also, but these are minor quibbles.
At the time of writing, April 2008, this edition has just gone out of print. Second hand prices have skyrocketed. Perhaps this will give incentive to the publisher to bring out a second edition.


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