“Magic is a calling that offers few rewards, mainly because any glory in the occult world is, by definition, hidden. Magic attracts those who were destined to be part of its ways from the beginning, and deters those who should not be involved.’’
Thus says Gordon Strong in his foreword to The Way of Magic, not so much to warn the would-be seeker with those ominous signposts so familiar to esoteric studies but to put them on the ‘way’ in the right frame of mind and spirit. For this is an introductory work meant to weave together the multiple strands which make up the Western Mystery Traditions, honouring each in turn, then showing how they can work collectively to light the way for a singular journey. The Way of Magic is an esoteric roadmap, a magical GPS if you will, providing clarity and insight for those new to the expedition – or those simply seeking more guidance.
Gordon Strong is not new to such themes and has written various books on the Arthurian legends, the Tarot, the goddess and sacred stone circles. Indeed he is uniquely placed to offer this journeyman’s guide to magic, offering expertise on divination, meditation, the Qabalah, shamanism, rituals, the Tarot, the ancient mystery schools as well as the contemporary Western Mystery Tradition. The Way of Magic explores the path of ancient secrets as well as more modern adaptations of them, winding through the enigmatic codices of Egypt and the early shamen through to the modern usages of the Qabalah and practical magic today. Strong follows an established path with the fervour of a pioneer, making new connections and bringing fresh insights to age-old teachings. He contends that “wisdom does not automatically follow in the wake of a great deal of information, no matter how comprehensive” and proceeds to offer a practitioner’s manual for ritual magic that emphasises commitment and self-discipline. Yet through all the multifarious milestones and markers on the journey Strong takes great care to marry path to purpose with a sense of destination that he allows to be deeply personal and individual to the reader. The Way of Magic is not just survey of the mysteries – it is the calling to an internal and mystical pilgrimage.
One of the strong points (no pun intended) of the book is that Strong approaches all these traditions and practises with a sense of openness and inclusiveness, always willing to find the connections and analogues between schools and lodges that are often thought to rival each other. In such he offers a ‘comparative religion’ or co-spiritualist approach that dares to explore the machinations of philosophical thought behind various phenomena, showing how they shaped both Eastern and Western thought equally. There is no spiritual or magical regionalism here, nor any deference to a particular practice or tradition, only an ongoing conviction to get at the unifying truth behind all the different approaches. He also offers basic meditations and rituals that have their roots in various traditions to help a new student develop the discipline needed for further exploration. In that sense this book will appeal to those seeking a comparative study of various traditional approaches and a forthright historical overview at how spiritual ideas have been shared, even between strictly secretive groups. The book will also be an invaluable guide to any student of the mysteries seeking to heed the call to find their own personal ‘way.’
The Way of Magic is available from various retail outlets such as Amazon, Amazon UK, or direct from the Skylight Press website.