Lyam Thomas Christopher: Kabbala, Magic and the Great Work of Self-Transformation: a complete course
Book review for Wiccan Rede
This very American-style Llewellyn book gives a full course of self-initiations based on the system of the Golden Dawn. As such, the mindset is a mixture of Christian spirituality, Western Kabbalah, Enochian Magic, Indian Chakra-system, material of medieval grimoires, gnosticism, and various other practices and philosophies.
The positive side of this book is that it is very thorough. First, there is an elaborate part describing the principles of Magic, the mindset necessary for such an undertaking, stressing the importance of willpower, persistence, rituals, and above all, practice. It also puts an emphasis on the practical aspects of the work, enthusiastically nudging the reader to actually do the rituals, instead of just reading about them. After this, he goes on with the grades from Neophyte to the Portal - everything that needs to be done and known for that level, in great detail. Each grade takes at least six months to complete with a list of books, excercises, thoughts, instructions for making ritual weapons and tools.
The negative side of the book is just this. It is hard to imagine such an individual, who buys a book, suddenly finds the willpower to do all the excercises, rituals, initiations, turns magic into a daily practice - and still requires a nifty checklist for each grade to remember what was done and what remains. Also, the language is way too "professional" for the layman, the text quite dry, while the structure has the hallmarks of a book for grammar-schools. It would have done a world of good if Mr. Christopher chose an audience for which to write and stuck with it - it feels he wanted to write a book for everyone, and ended up with one for noone in particular. On the other hand, if he wanted to publish a schoolbook for his own courses, to be used as additional material to his personal tutoring, mission accomplished.
However, I do recommend this book for all who are interested in the practices of a Golden Dawn / Thelemic style self-initiation system, provided they have a good basic knowledge on the subject, and are willing to read the required books.