With this book, as RL Burnside liked to say, “we’re cooking with gas!”
I’ve not read a book on magic in a single day in twenty years, until today. I have read, I’d guess, several hundred books on or related to magical theory & practice, some directly, some indirectly. If asked to recommend a book, while the context is nearly always important, the first thing that has come to mind is Visual Magick: A Manual of Freestyle Shamanism by Jan Fries. This has been the case for decades. While there may be others books in this class, I really haven’t run across them. Until now.
The Oracle Travels Light: Principles Of Magic With Cards by Camelia Elias is simply the best book I’ve read in ages on magic. Not a ’101’, not an ‘advanced text’, not a ‘complete system’, not a grimoire, how to, or a guide to doing it the right way…this books is the actual real deal.
This is a book for those who would risk a finger at the loom with the Weavers.
What I mean by that is that The Oracle Travels light is one of the few books that actually is about magic. Not how it once was, how it should be, how to do it safely, how to walk the well trod-path. It speaks to walking the path as you might actually find it (you, not me, Aunt Edna or Cousin Jack, or that Supreme Magus who lives down the lane), and to asking real questions (instead of the usual ones that lead to a forgone conclusion to suit yourself or the writer’s perception of what is ‘right and good’).
This book is a stick of dynamite disguised as a cigar waiting to be lit with three matches from the hands of a dead man.
As such, it won’t be for all. Like anything exquisite, it will not suit all palates. As it should be.
While the whole book is fantastic, I’ll only address the contents of the last two chapters:
“The Natural Magic: Four Rituals and a Soul” chapter gives examples of elemental workings based upon three card draws that might seem cryptic upfront, but taken together are a beautiful guide. Guide, not recipe. And that is perhaps what I love about this book. There is no hand holding, babying, recipes. Examples, yes. Food for thought, yes. Pure brilliance in spades.
The last chapter of the book “Spellcraft: Basic Principles’ is a goldmine for those who approach it openly and without prejudice. There is far, far more here than meets the eye, a depth of touch and most importantly breath that is again, a fantastic guide for the one ready to do their own work. Bits on binding, blessing, bidding, invocation, love spells, all perfect, all enough to lure the reader in and stir them to their own creations. Elias recommends three writers on spell craft- Jan Fries, Paul Huson, and Austin Osman Spare- which should give an idea of the angle of approach that she takes. But her methods are quite her own, sharp and incisive.
The Oracle Travels Light is nearly a joke of a title, as the books is so very dense with magic! Not heavy, but outright heady.
This is a beautiful book. Beautifully written, with clear photographs from the ultimately rare Marseille deck of Carolus Zoya (ca. 1790) and illustration and sigils in Elias own hand.
More on the book at Camelia's site here: The Oracle Travels Light
Or order it through Amazon.
Aidan Wachter, September 5, 2015