A Practical guide to Attainment in Aleister Cowley's System of Magick
by Dr. David Shoemaker
|Publisher:||Anima Solis Books 2013|
Reviewed by Frater U.I.F.
Living Thelema: A Practical guide to Attainment in Aleister Cowley's System of Magick is instantly a definitive instructional book for the practical aspects of Thelema. Dr. David Shoemaker has done a service to those just beginning this or similar brands of attainment by creating a clear, concise and rational approach to undertaking the Great Work. Dr. David Shoemaker is a Clinical Psychologist and has been a member of O.T.O. since 1993 having studied directly under Phyllis Seckler (Soror Meral) in California. He is also a member of A:.A:. and Chancellor of the International College of Thelema. His broad experience in initiatic esoteric systems alongside his background in psychology contributes to the wonderfully pragmatic feel of this work as in his other projects.
Living Thelema is threefold consisting of sections on Tools, Paths, and Life outside the Temple. Each section consists of any number of essays regarding methodology, philosophy, integration techniques as well as common pitfalls and general advice. The first collection, "Tools for the Journey," contains fourteen chapters pertaining to the basics of Thelemic philosophies (the core concepts) and the standard rituals and practices associated with them. It introduces the Qabalah, the True Will and the HGA, along with an exposition on the need for and practice of a basic daily Magickal regimen. Instruction in practices that relate to these concepts follow and in turn elucidate performance of banishing and invoking rituals of the pentagram and hexagram, Liber Resh, General meditation and Yogic practices, Astral projection, Liber Samekh and even basic Sex Magick. Each set of instruction and comment thereupon is 44 Behutet Magazine clear, concise and holds interest and/or new perspectives to even the most jaded practitioner. This is the true feat of this work, that it equally applies to and can benefits old veterans as much as it does neophytes.
"Perspectives on the Path of Attainment," the second section, deals with various lenses through which attainment can be seen and worked. From comparing spiritual progress to the trumps of the Tarot to using internal alchemy to transform consciousness itself, "Perspectives" steps back and allows the reader to view occult philosphy from many viewpoints, providing a clearer and more robust picture of the whole.
The final part of the book provides what many other writings in this genre typically lack. There is discussion on how to fully integrate your Magickal practice with the "other" parts of your life. Most practitioners at least begin Magick in a compartmentalized fashion, so assisting seekers in fully integrating themselves is of prime importance.
One cannot complete this excellent book without feeling quite good about the prospects of new practitioners who can begin their Magickal career with this guide, And for those of us who have been at these syttems for some time, we can also be pleasantly surprised that there is yet more to learn about even the most basic practices which we tend to take for granted