The introduction to the book states that “The purpose of this work is to condense into a single document all of the knowledge and techniques necessary for any Practitioner to work safely in a Hermetic Spiritual Community.” The material is divided into three parts: 1. Knowledge; 2 Technique; and 3. Attunements [sic] for Ritual Work.

The book suffers from an excess of information, and would benefit from a more contained content arc divided into several discreet chapters containing related information. Sub-headers (and links to these) aren't given in the Table of Contents, so the material is difficult to access. There’s also a conflict about the kinds of information that would supply practical help. The initial sections offer scholarly and theoretical information, followed by superficial tidbits about magical and ritual practices. Is this a practical how-to book or a scholarly treatise?

According to their bios, both authors have accumulated unique real-life experiences with spiritual groups. Yet they share none of their experiences, thus keeping readers at arm's length. Personal anecdotes would have made text more human, practical, and coherent.

The Kindle formatting made the text difficult to read. Headers are widowed and paragraphs are orphaned at page breaks. The fonts used in information grids are itty-bitty.  Breaks between paragraphs and quotations are inconsistent. And any Word that could Possibly Be Considered Important is Capitalized, a dubious and irritating literary affectation when words aren't titles or proper names.

The text is the product of a great deal of effort that is a credit to the authors. The writing is good but swings to extremes from scholarly to superficial, hence an editorial issue.  A more coherent presentation of similar material can be found in The Magician's Companion by Bill Whitcomb, an oldie but goody that is rigorously organized for ease of use.

This book's greatest appeal will be to those who don't wish to dedicate the time to ingesting the swath of primary resource materials indicated in the bibliography.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Authors: Katessa S. Harkey and Jonathan Mooney
Megalithica Books (Immanion Press), 2016
pp. 245, $