DIY Magic: A Strange and Whimsical Guide to Creativity
by Anthony Alvarado
|Publisher:||Perigee Books, 2015|
Reviewed by Frater Neo
"Daily Affirmations." "365 Prayers." "365 Deep Thoughts." These were the types of horrible stinking mounds of so-called books that I envisioned when I received DIY Magic: A Strange and Whimsical Guide to Creativity by Anthony Alvarado. Outside of the 365 Sexual Positions book, I find all of these types of works to be pedestrian, shallow, and generally useless (except perhaps to steady an extremely wobbly table.)
I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book, while retaining the light, whimsical, and simple language of the aforementioned works in contrast supplied with reader with an array of potentially profound and unique exploratory magical exercises.
The opening practice in the book presents a good idea of the types of exercises contained throughout the rest of the work. This was invented and used by Salvador Dali as a means of reaching a state of Hypnagogia, which led to the visions which inspired his artwork. This simple method consists of sitting when you are tired, holding a spoon over a bowl on your lap. Each time you begin to doze off you are woken by the spoon clanking inside the bowl at which point you take the spoon back and repeat the process. The concept here is that by inducing and maintaining a state between sleep and wakefulness, your subconscious creative mind becomes dominant and shows you wondrous images. While practitioners may consider this to be astral travel, the book focuses on using slightly more mundane language related to psychology and creativity.
It is this versatility in each exercise which makes this deceptively simple book a worthwhile tool for modern magicians. Many of the further exercises are as simplistic and easily disregarded as the first, but do highlight some methods of self exploration that can be deep and meaningful for the user. This is a well presented, simple, clear and whimsical collection of mental, psychological, and Magickal practices rooted in the exploration of the creative self.