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on August 4, 2012
I haven't read anything by Peregrin Wildoak before, but I liked "By Names and Images" very much and will watch for future titles from this author. This is a particularly good book for students who are approaching Golden Dawn ritual for the first time, because it takes some of the most challenging Golden Dawn rites and practices and puts them in a personalized, easy-to-understand context.

While Peregrin Wildoak clearly has an affinity for the practical work of the Golden Dawn, I'd caution students to take some of the author's theories with a grain of salt. For example, the author states that the use of Judeo-Christian god-names in Golden Dawn ritual might be offensive to goddess-worshipers, and seems to suggest that the divine names in these rituals can be casually replaced; this point of view seems to completely miss the Golden Dawn's Qabalistic perspective on the godhead-- namely, that God is both masculine AND feminine, and that the spiritual aspirant must embrace the divine in ALL of its aspects. The divine names invoked in various Golden Dawn rites were selected with great care and specificity, and the serious practicioner shouldn't haphazardly replace them without having both good reason and a clear understanding of any change's Qabalistic implications. While the author is undoubtedly correct in stating that certain Golden Dawn rituals are suitable for adaptation (or even wholesale appropriation) for use in ceremonial worship services, this isn't something that should be done lightly or without a great deal of consideration. A more traditional Golden Dawn approach would be to invoke, say, the goddess Isis through contact with the Qabalistic Sphere of Yesod, or the goddess Venus through contact with the Qabalistic Sphere of Netzach-- balancing feminine aspects of deity with masculine aspects of deity, and always remembering that ALL is really ONE, anyway. It seems strange to me that a book titled, "By Names and Images," would seem to miss the deeper significance of the divine names and images invoked in the context of Golden Dawn ritual. There are several other places in the text where the author clearly either misunderstands aspects of Golden Dawn Qabalistic philosophy, or chooses to dismiss this point of view due to a personal bias against it. This doesn't mean that Peregrin Wildoak is "wrong" in some of his assertions, but readers should be aware that there are other perspectives to be considered.

That note of caution aside, however, "By Names and Images" has a lot to commend it to beginning students. While Peregrin Wildoak's Qabalistic theory may occasionally be at odds with traditional Golden Dawn systems of magic and mysticism, his approach to Golden Dawn ritual as a personal, living system is right on the money! This book is the latest in a series of books which attempt to break down the complex symbolism and imagery of Golden Dawn ritual, explaining the deeper significance and meaning of each step, and putting each portion in a context where it can be understood and appreciated by the would-be student. Wildoak's continual reminder to FIND THE INNER MEANING OF THE RITUAL should be an essential part of any student's individual practice, and Wildoak does an excellent job of guiding the student step-by-step through several GD techniques, in an effort to reveal their rationale, purpose, and deeper significance. I concur with Wildoak's suggestion to experiment, following one's intuition, and taking careful note of the results. The whole idea here is to help the student internalize this work, making it a part of his or her being, instead of simply repeating a few words by rote memory with little practical understanding of that ritual's "what's," "why's," or "how's."

I can imagine that "By Names and Images" will remove several obstacles for solo practicioners who may be struggling to grasp the deeper meaning of Golden Dawn rituals, allowing them to stop READING ABOUT Golden Dawn spirituality and finally start LIVING IT. At several points as I was reading this book, I had to stop and ask myself, "Do I agree with that? Is this right?," which was a valuable exercise in and of itself! "By Names and Images" would also be an excellent book for group discussion, because there are many ideas here which would benefit from collaborative discussion and analysis-- and in this context it might even be an invaluable resource for small working-groups which are thinking about operating as a Golden Dawn-style lodge. While "By Names and Images" occasionally delves into an unconventional approach to Golden Dawn ritual and magic, it's a fresh and new approach to this subject matter and deserves to be considered in this light.

Blessed be!
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on May 23, 2012
Readers of Peregrin Wildoak's Magic of the Ordinary blog will be familiar with one of the Golden Dawn's wisest, experienced and most compassionate voices, a man who has been bringing the Golden Dawn to life in his own way for years. Despite this being his first published book, By Names and Images has the fluency and veteran insight of someone who has a thorough knowledge of the material.

It's a difficult book to describe because it's similar to what's gone before in that it revisits a lot of the same rituals and techniques used in the Golden Dawn that you'll be familiar with if you have one of the Regardie books, but it's also completely different in terms of what it emphasizes. It may be the first of its kind to really stress visualization with a series of exercises that really should be in any manual designed to be used. In an era where magic is often confused with Harry Potter movies, curses and spells, it stresses the point that the rote repetition of a ritual will get you nowhere, what's important is what is going on in one's imagination.

Every ritual and meditative technique written about from this point onwards is wonderfully descriptive in what a person should be concentrating on as they perform, say, a Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. Perhaps the only close correlate already published would be the lengthy visualization instructions in Israel Regardie's The Middle Pillar (in particular the Cicero edited version).

But despite what might be some of the best annotated ritual descriptions in print, there are some chapters and sections in this book that go deeply into areas less touched upon elsewhere. The (qabalistic) four worlds model, in particular, is reiterated often as a framework for other subjects and Wildoak has a fluency with it that pops up in numerous places, such as the amazing chart that shows which part of the tree each ritual intends to affect. The sections on Aura Control and Dramatic Invocation are both revelationary, expanding techniques only touched upon in the major starter books.

Wildoak explains the purpose of the Golden Dawn in his introduction. He says "The Golden Dawn is one of the many invitations by God to seek our active participation in a joint venture to heal the world, or as some Christian traditions put it, to affect the divinization of the Earth." There is no part of this book that doesn't continually reflect this purpose, the same compassion and spiritual insight I've been used to at Magic of the Ordinary. Those who find themselves allied with this outlook and purpose will find this book indispensable.
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on December 26, 2015
I feel this book plays a singular role within the GD tradition, and it's so good that it came to be published after a long delay. This book was very much missing from my earliest days of exploring GD, when I knew there was something inside the tradition that spoke to me, but couldn't complete the connection. Even after reading somewhat widely within Regardie, who seemed the most humane, humorous, appealing and thorough of these writers, I was unable to get "inside" rituals like the LBRP and eventually abandoned them because clearly, I was working in shallow waters with scant understanding and not going deeper. More importantly, it's obvious that people are drawn to GD for disparate reasons, but I've never read any straight talk on the difference between these desires and how they affect one's practice. In short, I wanted GD to work solely on my own consciousness, to clear it, and for it work in a service-to-others capacity, but could not find any clear route to this within GD. Peregrin seems to focus on this orientation -- the purification of consciousness more or less -- as the center of GD, and does so with what is clearly a lifetime of knowledge and comparative experiences poured into one book.

I previewed this at length in Google Books before coming to conclusion that this was *the* GD book I've been looking for and realizing I needed to own, study, read and re-read in its entirety. I find this book completely unlike the modern GD texts I've read, which seem to treat GD more like a hodgepodge of techniques while lacking depth and seriousness. Yet, I also feel this has a more explicit heart than the classic texts. Even the rare cautions found here are valuable. I really feel it's alone in this field and hope that anyone considering a serious exploration of GD, especially by themselves, will find this early on.
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on November 17, 2012
Good magic books are like good cooking books. There's probably 10 billion cooking books, most of which are rehashes of popular recipes, the majority of which just list the ingredients and put up a pretty picture and expect you to know what you're doing. This might work for something like pancakes, but it falls flat cooking a three course feast. However, all the cooking books assume you know what a pancake is. How does anyone approach the topic without knowing what a pancake is? Well, perhaps the pancakes are sweet, and fluffy, and light, and golden. How should anyone know this?

This is what sets this book out from the rest. Peregrin has made pancakes before. OK more seriously, Peregrin has practiced the Golden Dawn tradition, and because he has accomplished the work, he is uniquely equipped to describe the work and process. There's a lot of magic books out there with don't discuss what the internal process is supposed to be like. Those books simply assume that if you throw some ingredients together and speak some words, the magic happens. This isn't how magic works at all, but it seems to be the pervading opinion.

Peregrin's writing style is easy to read and understand, and he also walks the reader through the mundane aspects of the ritual. The real gold comes after the description of the ritual - Peregrin explains the symbolism and what the magician is actually supposed to feel. While to some it might feel cheap to not let the reader make up their own feelings and experience, for most of us these examples serve as guideposts to the internal work. It's particularly effective for those of us who don't have access to a temple or lodge.

The book is similar to Modern Magick: Twelve Lessons in the High Magickal Arts, except that Kraig himself seems to be more OTO and less Golden Dawn. If you enjoyed Modern Magick, this books is the better of the two in my opinion but they both represent excellent work in the same vein.
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on September 24, 2012
Peregrin Wildoak's book is a valuable contribution to the corpus of the Golden Dawn material. Since the publication of Israel Regardie's tome in the 1930's, there have been a plethora of publications on the Golden Dawn and Magic in general. Many are a re-hash of the same material, but a few have expanded these teachings and even some of the "unpublished" material has been gradually revealed to the public.

Peregrin's book goes further than most. In this book he actually reveals the detailed inner workings behind most of the published rituals, much as an Adept would who reveals the hidden workings behind the outer forms to his student as part of the oral tradition. Even authors like the Ciceros and others omit some of these details, and it was not until authors like Donald Michael Kraig or John Michael Greer that more information was beginning to be given out. However, neither is as comprehensive as Peregrin in this book!

If you are an initiate who is already part of an established group, this book will give you much to work with and teach you the more intricate details behind the rituals you might already be doing; if you are working alone, this book will guide you along the self-initiatory journey, and provide years of practise and guidance.

Another unique and valuable addition to this book is its inclusion and acknowledgement of the Earth and our connection to her when we work this magic. For those of us who live in Australia, Peregrin also shows recognition and respect for the Aboriginal people whose Soul infuses this land. Dion Fortune talks about the Three Rays of Wisdom, Love and Power. These equate to the Orange Ray (the Hermetic path of Ceremonial Magic), the Green Ray (nature worship and the Pagan path) and the Purple Ray (the contemplative path of the Mystic). Unlike most books on the Hermetic Path, Peregrin's approach touches upon on all three, promoting a balanced development in spiritual practise.

As for the author himself, I can personally testify that he is an individual who selflessly promotes the Golden Dawn Tradition, wanting to help spread its light to all who have an inner calling for the Great Work. The true spiritual integrity of Peregrine is reflected in his afterward titled "An Invitation To Share your Spiritual Blessings". Here, Peregrin goes against the more popular Western notion which is centred on the advancement of the "individual" and the ultimate and final escape from the "Wheel of Birth and Death" as the Buddhists call it. Instead, he advocates for a more universal approach that includes the community in which we live and the humanity that we are all a part of. This and this alone is what the tradition is about. The catch phrase of the Mysteries is "I desire to know in order to serve". If we perfect ourselves, it is not only for the purpose of unfolding our own latent inner powers and potential, but to act as a vehicle for the upliftment of all sentient beings. The more Adepts who know and acknowledge this, the quicker will the coming age of universal brotherhood and sisterhood be unfolded upon this earth. Peregrin is one of these special few.

I look forward with anticipation to what Peregrin will publish in the future! May the Lord of the Universe and his own Higher Soul prompt him to write more and more!

Steven Tsaliki
Director of Probationers and Studies
Fraternity of the Hidden Light Australia
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on April 10, 2016
One of the best introductions to magic that I have read. I liked the author's personal approach without making the book about himself. The author managed to stay humble (a rarity among occult writers) except when he was talking about traditions outside of the Golden Dawn which he frankly sounded quite ignorant about and dismissive of.

I would definitely recommend this over a book like Modern Magic (which I do not recommend at all).

I will buy another book from this author if he writes one.
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on October 5, 2014
Excellent and concise overview of the outer-order and early 2nd order work. Peregrin also did a wonderful job of getting at the Rosicrucian moral core of it and what drives a person on this path when they're there for the right reasons.
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on November 9, 2014
This book by far is one of the better books when it comes to practicing ritual magick. It is very thorough and easy to understand plus there's some extra tips and techniques in here that other books don't mention
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on July 27, 2016
Greetings Peregrin...
Thank you so much for producing the book: "By Names and Images - Bringing the Golden Dawn to Life". Not only is it appropriately titled, it has been vital to my understanding of key components for my ritual practice, and propelled me to new dimensions of energetic connectivity. Kindest wishes! ☆ L.V.X. ☆
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on April 1, 2016
This book is amazing. I am using so many of the exercises in here. Even the teachings are very easy to understand and help really bring together GD work and GD philosophy, however some folks will say that this is not PURE GD ala Chic and Tabby Cicero, but heh, the esoteric tradition is full of roads that can eventually lead to the Summum Bonum.
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