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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-8 of 8 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 14 reviews
on December 8, 2016
As expected, a good reference book for off & on referral to various symbols within magic and language ideas. Prompt delivery service from seller.
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VINE VOICEon October 5, 2008
Overall, I was fairly impressed by this book. I think Dunn does an excellent job of explaining a lot of the theories behind language and magic, as well as showing how theories can be made into practice. He explores concepts of gematria, glossalia, metaphor, semiotics and much more and in the process makes all the concepts approachable and easy to understand. In fact, I think that's the strength of this book. It's written so that anyone can pick up the book, read about the concepts, and put them into practice, though at least in the case of gematria, readers will probably need to have a decent familiarity with Quabala.

I also liked his explanation of the semiotic web and the Defixio. In both cases he not only explains the theory, but also provides personal anecdotes and suggestions for how the reader can incorporate those practices into his/her work. I think his latest book is a good introduction to linguistics and magic, and he provides the reader some other works to explore once they finish his work.

I did have two minor issues which made this book a four out of five for me. The fourth appendix of the book has a bunch of practical exercises for the book. It seems odd that the exercises are placed at the end of the book, instead of incorporated into the book. I'm not sure if that a decision of the publisher or the author. The other issue is that while he does cover a lot of the connection between linguistics and magic, he doesn't cover much of the contemporary work occurring with linguistics or magic. He dedicates only a small section to the contemporary work. That said, this a good primer for linguistics and magic and how the two disciplines can be brought together. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in branching outward from more conventional approaches to magic.
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on April 15, 2014
Along with Stephen Flower's Alu, this book opens up the magical and philosophical impact of Austin's speech theories. I am so impressed with it I am including it in the "Suggested Reading" of the next magical book I write. Very well done!
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on December 4, 2008
The author covers the basics of linguistics, touches on chaos magic, and briefly explores some older magical alphabets, particularly Enochian. There is little here that any language major or well-read layman hasn't encountered on alphabet formation, language families and history, and linguistic theory. Dunn revisits the elements of Jewish magic, skims the surface of Greco-Egyptian necromantic sorcery, and briefly discusses sigilization and its discontents. Metaphor is addressed, but a better understanding of how metaphor lies its way to truth may be better appreciated by reading Lakoff and Johnson's original work.

I have never quite understood why matching the letters of the Hebrew alphabet with the major arcana of the tarot is thought to be meaningful. The Judeo-Christian tradition held that Hebrew was both a language of divine revelation and mankind's original form of speech, hence magical. Neither claim could be entertained by any informed person, least of all a pagan. If the author enjoys doodling in Hebrew, so be it. Whatever works. For those with little or no interest in Hebrew, however, some sections of the book can be skipped. It is my guess that orthodox Jews invested so much energy in playing speculative games with the Hebrew alphabet because Judaism frowned on representational art. Obviously modern magicians labor under no such restrictions. Give me art over alphabet any day.

For those beginning to feel their way through the magical maze, this book offers some useful information and tools. Certainly our (mis)use of language deserves careful reflection and Patrick Dunn has many relevant if not particularly original observations to make on this subject. Since magic in the Western tradition is tightly language-bound, attention must be paid to the pitfalls. The book is therefore recommended with the above reservations.
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on December 4, 2016
Comparing magic to linguistic "performatives" seems interesting at the outset, but a performative is an action that can only be enacted by being uttered. It has a consequence: people are married, a criminal is found guilty, a ship is christened, a bid is accepted. If you are trying to seek a girlfriend through an uttered charm (an actual example given!), where's the perlocutionary effect of the "performative"? How does the charm "perform" GIRL FRIEND FOUND? All it does is perform NEED GIRLFRIEND.
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on January 5, 2015
The book has lots of knowledge but it is a bit boring. I will read it again when I am more in the space for an essay.
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on July 24, 2015
This book has me thinking about the spoken word alot differently. Recommended.
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on March 19, 2013
This book covers various types of magic including verbal spells, gematria, Enochian, written spells, mantras and more. I would describe it as a young hipster's guide to modern magic. I expected something more scholarly and serious in tone and was surprised. Best for beginners, I think; I found it pretty glib and not what I was looking for but perfectly fine for newbies in the modern magic space.
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