The Ritual Chaos Magic Workbook by Philip Harper
Phil Harper will be a new name to most of you, so the quality of information offered in this slim book may come as a surprise. Opening with the big questions - What is Magic and Why Do It? - he proceeds to an overview of Classical Western Magic and Chaos Magic. From the start, Harper writes with the authority of practical experience, in a competent no-nonsense fashion. The topics covered include reviews of basic Qabalah, basic magical training in the skills that will be familiar to anyone who has followed a well-rounded training scheme, the temple and tools, banishing rituals, sigils, divination and servitors.
This selection of material is, of course, not entirely original; if you are writing about using Qabalah as your main magical model, you have to give at least a review of a tradition of at least a couple of centuries' worth of magical literature. So the book goes over ground you could find in other books, but brings it all together in this one highly readable volume - adding the dimension of a rigorous Chaos Magick approach. The mix reminds me a bit of USA writer Steven Mace's blend of Thelemic qabalah with a critical, evidence-based CM approach (for samples of Mace's work see early editions of Chaos International).
Neither is this a mere flavour, the shallow eclecticism of the chaos magick dilletante - Harper is clearly serious about going the whole way, attaining all that can be attained on the magical path, and he shows abundant common sense in evaluating the magical orders on the market in the final chapter, Orders, Initiations and Grades.
So who is Mr Harper writing for here? Basically, a beginner, because it brings it all together in one book, but an intelligent beginner who does not want spoon feeding, and is not afraid of doing some disciplined magical work. In other words, a proper aspirant to the magical knowledge that can only be gained by working on yourself.
In other words, this book is sufficiently serious to put off most armchair magicians.
If this, his first book, is anything to go by, Philip Harper is likely to be heard of again. Check out his informative and courageous blog at http://ritualchaosmagic.blogspot.com/
I say courageous because how many magicians do you know who would post up a video of themselves skrying the Enochian 29th Aethyr? And he writes that:
'On the 10th of May 2010, at about 1:10am I successfully gained the Knowledge and Conversation of my Holy Guardian Angel....'
Phil's main website, http://www.ritualchaosmagic.co.uk/ is a treasure trove of resources for the curious magician and well worth a visit.
The Ritual Chaos Magic Workbook is available on lulu.com as ebook or printed copy.