The short form: This is a really, really good book. Highly recommended.
What makes it a good book (and particularly a good chaos magic book) are a number of things.
1. Context. The context in which we work now is different from the one in which I first came in contact with chaos magic. Gordon References Stephen Mace’s Stealing the Fire from Heaven which was an early influence on my own work. I bought my copy after reading some of Mace’s articles in Chaos International, sending cash to Mr. Mace who sent me what I think I recall as a velo bound book obviously hand typed with illustrations hand set & then photocopied. I think the process took about six weeks in total. A very different time! Consider this again when we look at Crowley, Carroll, Levi, etc. Things change fast. We live & work in a different setting, and our work should reflect that while not rejecting what is effective from the past, which this book does in spades.
Whether you agree 100% with Gordon’s assessment of the current state of the world (I’m probably in the high 90’s personally), this is a damn good thing for most anyone with a magical worldview to read. More important than the technical aspects in most cases.
2. Focus. The book is focused on ‘success’ in a particularly weird economic time, the work & working contained are very much pointed in this direction, in appropriately lateral ways. At the same time, it is a good generalist work, as really all work ‘should’ be pointed towards success, yes? We are not enchanting to fail, right?
3. Technical approaches. In a nice variation from a lot of views on chaos magic, much of the ‘ritual’ bits are modifications of or use parts from VERY old texts, from the PGM, Treatise of Solomon, and Orphic Hymns. These things just work, and to me chaos magic has always been about using what works. Also no fear of of using Judeo-Christian bits, and correcting some of the whack around that.
4. Actual ritual bits. These are well devised, and will certainly work if applied intelligently. A nice section on sigils that while mostly available on the Rune Soup blog would have been an error to leave from the book. This stuff works if you work with it, and this is a nice, simple, wank-free approach. Good stuff. If you aren’t already using Gordon’s shoaling & robofish methods, perhaps this will get you to try them. They work.
5. Probability. This is one of the cornerstones that often gets ignored and causes folk’s metaphorical houses to get all wonky and dropped pens to roll from the living room off into the garage where they are swallowed by a giant crack never to be seen again. Metaphorically speaking.
In closing, the strategic approaches and explanation of working with probabilities, luck generation, and Becoming Invincible are all gold. The ritual and technical bits are very good, and give a nice, compact tool set to do nearly anything that one would want to approach from a magical perspective. Some of these will be brought into my own work to see how they play with what I already do, and that really almost never happens, and that is about the highest praise I can give a book.
This one gets added to Visual Magick: A Manual of Freestyle Shamanism by Jan Fries, The Oracle Travels Light by Camelia Elias, and Protection and Reversal Magic by Jason Miller, and Draja Mickaharics books as my top suggestions for general books on magic as I see it in practice.
Aidan Wachter, April 4, 2016