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The Book Of Ceremonial Magic * Arthur Edward Waite (isbn 1853263559)

I don’t understand why someone would republish a book as famous as Waite’s Ceremonial Magic under a different title. I bought this book as The Wordsworth Book Of Spells in which Wordsworth is of course the publisher. This is Waite’s 1911 famous book about magic and is definately a much better history of magic than Levi’s book under this title. Already early in the book it becomes obvious that Waite is working towards black magic. He distincts white and black, but keeps emphasizing that black magic is mostly a myth and that there is too much overlap to tell them apart. He treats a couple of famous texts at length, some even translation in its entirety. Very nice elaborations of texts such as the Arbatel Of Magic, the larger and smallers keys of Solomon and blacker works such as the Grimorium Verum and the Grimoire Of Honorius can be found. Waite compares the texts, says where are crossbreeds in information, rituals, names, etc. The last part is ‘the complete grimoire’ with detailed information about rituals and translations of texts. Here Waite really works towards the blackest of black magic.

Some people say that Waite proves himself as a black magician working with sacrifices involving human sacrifice, others says that Waite wrote this work as an anti-magic book. Things can be said for both theories. The rituals and explanations are detailed enough to bring people the idea to do their own experiments, but also Waite is often very sceptical and ironical.

All in all an interesting work speaking about the best-known magical texts from the Middle Ages, also showing sides that other writers prefer to avoid. Detailed enough to continue your investigations or compare Waite to other writers, but not always too clearly written.

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