a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


"Notes to a Neophyte" -- A Review

Newsgroup: alt.magick.moderated,alt.magick.tyagi
Subject: Re: Notes to a Neophyte
Summary: Review of my only Eternal Enemy's text.
From: (mordred)

Kali Yuga 49950409 [Happy Birthday Buddha Baby]

My only Eternal Enemy, (Christopher Ward), writes:

|                        Notes to a Neophyte [v1.1]

My review of said document.

|...If you are looking to draw closer to God and explore the "occult" 
|without losing your soul.  

I don't see that you necessarily give a means of doing these things.  YOu
point to some places which appear more safe to you, but you haven't really
explained why what you are suggesting will benefit the reader and what you
consider dangerous (other than with fancy labels).

|...If you have any constructive criticisms, I'm interested in those ...

I'll hope to do your work justice, mine enemy.

|Q1: How do I get started in the study of magic?
|While this is a common question, it's not the first one you should ask
|yourself.  First ask yourself, "Should I take up the study of magic?",
|and "Why do I want to study magic?".  What is your goal?

Without knowing what magic is, one cannot truly derive benefit from any
of these questions.  The first questions should be 'What do *I* think that
magic is?' and then 'Why do I want to study it?'

|...A maze of pathways is awaiting you. Some will take you closer to 
|your goal, others perhaps in a more roundabout route, still others away 
|from your objectives and quite a few will take you into dangerous peril.  

While the new to magic typically do have goals/objectives (often merely
to 'obtain power'), in the long run these tend to change and/or disappear.

|This small document is meant as a help to those True Seekers who desire 
|to develop in themselves the skills, attributes and knowledge necessary to 
|become an Initiate in the Western Mysteries.  

No knowledge is necessary, though it can be helpful and it has for many
who tread those paths proven useful on at least a temporary basis.

|The Western Mystery Tradition of the esoteric Orders is not the Path for 
|the dilettante or the dabbler!  

On the contrary, those who tend to indulge themselves in the occult and
succeed are typically generalist dabblers who have scratched the surface
more than once.  The only difference between a dabbler and a 'dedicant'
in these caes is how directed and resolute upon a single tool or tradition 
they are or were.

There are entire schools of dilettante-dabblers who revivify the Western
tradition by means of analysis, hypothesis and synthesis.  Given a long-
term effort, most of the originators of these schools were able to
generate a new stream or current in the field of magick, sometimes moving
beyond what we might consider 'Christian' or 'orthodox'.

|Initiation requires a serious dedication to take your own evolution in 
|hand and become fully responsible for your own actions.  

Well, this is true, though it is not necessarily a support for involvement
with the Western Mystery tradition per se.  Even the Buddha is said not to
have settled for other people's standards, creating his own and achieving
the Great Work (Nirvana and, perhaps, Parinirvana).

|So, how do you get started?  First answer these three questions:
|1. What is your goal?
|2. What do you want?
|3. Why do you seek Initiation?

1 is overly focussed upon goals and reinforces the beginner to think in
these terms.  I would restructure to: 

Q1. What do you think magic is? 
Q2. Why do you want to learn this?

3 is a blind or some call to organized efforts.  I realize that many people
associate the Mysteries with Orders and social mechanisms, but it is not
necessarily the case that they will be the most effective.  The trouble
aspect of question #3 is that you are using 'Initiation' (capitalized for
some reason) without explaining for the reader what you mean.

|Q2: What Books do you recommend for the beginner?

This should NOT be the next question put forward for the beginner.  It
should be preceded by: 'How best do you typically learn?'  If the response 
is 'through reading', then the followup could include the above.

[schlock regarding the New Age Movement (NAM), which you do not define and
 only succeed in infusing your bias about, omitted.  I recommend that you
 focus on the positive aspects of magical endeavor and refrain from the
 condemnation, though I know that it may be difficult for you, mine enemy]
|...which among the tens of thousands of titles are worth the paper their 
|printed on?  

This brings up two issues which I find incredibly valuable to discuss
within the context of occult study:

* the notion of value
* the problem of volume

The question above implies that there are standards approaching absolute
wrt value and an approach to the study of the occult or magic.  Now given
that you have ambiguously defined this file as directed toward those who
would like to draw closer to God and/or protect themselves from losing
their soul, I can see a narrowing could be helpful, especially if you
feel that certain behaviors/activities are more dangerous than others.  In
such a case, I would recommend a hitlist of things to AVOID, and then
specify that you did not find those items within these books, additionally
making it clear that you found value in the works listed.  Of course, if
you truly think that the list you give will satisfy everyone, then I think
you err by virtue of fanaticism.
The proble of volume is ever-expanding, and it can only be addressed by
instructing on the qualities of 'good works', secondarily through booklists
such as you have presented below.

|Beginner Books

Gareth Knight has mixed reviews from the general magical community.

|2. "Apprenticed to Magic", W. E. Butler

Butler is widely respected for his work.

|3. "First Steps In Ritual", Doloris A. Norwicki

That's 'Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki'.  This work in particular is considered
one of the best introductions to magick.

|General Occult
|1. "The Esoteric Orders and Their Work", Dion Fortune

Fortune is best-loved for her work on QBL, followed closely (by the fearful)
with Psychic Self-defense.  The work you mention is seldom reviewed, and I
have read parts of it myself, finding it rather extreme.  I am not your
target audience, however, and I can see the value of including this work here.

|2. "The Training and Work of an Initiate", Dion Fortune
|3. "Sane Occultism", Dion Fortune

Thank you for mentioning these.  I don't think I've heard of them very
often and your reviews were valuable.

|4. "The Complete Book of Spells, Ceremonies & Magic", M. Gonzalez-Wippler

G-Wippler has a tarnished reputation among the academics, if memory serves,
though her work is somewhat popular.

|2. "Highlights of the Tarot", Paul F. Case
|3. "The Tarot - Key to the Wisdom of the Ages", Paul F. Case
|...Case is perhaps the best author on the Tarot presenting it's deep 
|mysteries with clarity and balance while still preserving it's mystical 

I'm surprised you didn't mention more, especially Case's "Book of Tokens",
though this is perhaps not a beginner's work.  Again, there are other
writers on the subject who present as valuable an introduction.  I don't
know why they would prove objectionable to orthodox Christians, however.
Example: Rachel Pollack.  She presents a rather Jungian though quite
lovely analysis of the tarot which deals with the esoteric principles in
a respectful manner ("Seventy-eight Degrees of Wisdom").


Gareth and Fortune again?  Aren't there others who provide additional
perspective here?  I guess you don't like Levi or Papus?  Luria or
some other more traditional folks?
|An Outside Perspective
|These books present some balanced perspectives on the occult and thebroad 
|range of NAM beliefs and groups....  

[bulk removed]

Again, I think you do yourself a disservice by perpetuating the 'NAM'
category.  I'd suggest more reasonable categorizations, such as 'heretical'
or even 'unorthodox'.  If you wish to portray the confluence and confusion
inherent in many unorganized occult endeavors, then perhaps this can be
described well with 'eclectic'.

|1. "America, The Sorcerer's New Apprentice", Dave Hunt & T.A. McMahon
|...NAM cults and snake oil...  The authors ask probing questions and show 
|how much of the NAM is hype, how much is dangerous, and what positive 
|aspects it might hold as well.

Here's an example.  Do the authors really use 'NAM'?  Please understand
that not everyone who is coming from a Christian background will understand
this easily, so you may be turning away those who could really benefit from
your advice if put in a less judgemental and generalizing manner.  I would
suggest at LEAST defining with more precision what you mean by the term.
All I can get from it thus far is that it may be heresy and it may just be
things which offend your own sensibilities.

|2. "The Fringes of Reason"
|...debunking of ...NAW myths.  It provides documented, scientific evidence
|showing how much of the NAM is snake oil and how much might have merit.

'Scientific evidence'?  What if the person who comes to the occult from a
Christian slant doesn't trust modern Science?  I would suggest that this
is only of limited value to the Bible-believer.

|3. "Straight Answers On The New Age", Bob Larson

Larson is an interesting individual.  He was intereviewed in one of the
Church of Satan's publications and carried himself very well, I thought.

|4. "Unmasking the New Age", Douglas Groothius
|...the more societal rather than specifically personal aspects of the NAM.  
| of the NAW cults or Eastern religions and converted to Christianity.  

Perhaps a small list of NAM cults would be in order.  EST?  Scientology?
Moonies?  I'd love to hear what you include in it.  Thelema?

|5. "The Bible", God
|	It is perhaps the most esoteric and powerful of spiritual books.

I suggest that this be at the TOP of your reading list, stated flat out
as the most important reference available to Bible-believing Christians.
|1. Any works by Dion Fortune.

What fiction has she written?  I think I remember 'Demon Lover'.  Is this
something a Christian ought to read?

|2. "The Seed Bearers", Peter Timlett
|	An Atlantis story with it's facts based on esoteric teachings.

This is actually the first in a trilogy.  I read that work and found it
interesting and somewhat simplistic.  It reminded me of Burroughs or the
Conan novels, with a little esoterica thrown in for good measure. :>  If
you would like I can fetch the other titles in the series from the Library.

|4. "Lammas Night", Katherine Kurtz

I thought that this was Neopagans attempting to overthrow Nazis and Hitler.
Are you saying Christian esotericists were involved also?  The term 'Lammas'
is a throwback to pre-Christian religion, so I think the question is well-

|Q3: Holy smokes! There's no way I can afford all those books!

Or, again, 'Holy smokes!  I don't like to read that much!' :>

|2. Free Books
|Perhaps one of the more important magical tools you will need to
|obtain in your initial pursuit of magical texts is a Library Card.

Well said!  That is, in my estimation, the first place one ought go.
It will enable one to discover their tastes and sculpt their studies
prior to moving on to any procurements.

|There is a wide variety of occult related material available on Usenet
|and via anonymous FTP.  The same warnings apply to materials found
|there as in your local bookstore or only more so.  Most of what I've
|found are the poorly organized musings and questionable practices of
|occult dabblers who are apparently neither skilled Initiates nor
|accomplished writers.  

A very interesting review.

|	"Notes on Kabbalah", Collin Low
|	[/pub/magick/Qabalah/Others/collin_low.gz at] 
|In many ways it's a net version of Knight's book.

That's 'Colin Low'.  I'm surprised you'd compare Low's QBL with that of
Knight.  I'm woefully ignorant re: the subject, but I'd thought that
Low was more broad-based.  

|Here are some other FTP sites:
| 	/pub/magick has lots of stuff. Fairly
|				well organized but really only a few gems.
|		/pub/bota a few BOTA related files.
|The references and locations I cite are the latest ones I've found.

You can also list some location of the MaGI, if you like, though I do
admit it is a more comprehensive directory.

|If you have trouble locating these texts or systems, these things
|occasionally move around and systems get shut down.  Please let me
|know via email. I will email you a copy of what I have or might be
|able to cite an alternate location for anonymous FTP.

That is very kind of you, mine enemy.

|Q5: What about on-line discussion groups?
|	alt.magick	News group free-for-all on magick. Not a great
|			place for beginners so browse a while before
|			posting.  Even then, you'll get flamed.

Time to add alt.magick.moderated? :>

|	Fiat L.V.X.	A Mailing list for discussing Magic and
|	B.O.T.A.	A list mainly for BOTA members.  Subscribe by
|There are others, some I just can't recommend and others I haven't had
|time to check out.  If you come across a good FTP site or mailing list
|please drop me a line and I'll see if it's worth adding to this document.

Suggestions (excerpted from the MaGI): 


Listserv/Other (Email Groups)

Note for Mailing Lists

Unless otherwise specified, send the following one line email
message, making sure that he subject line is blank:



** Astrology (ASTROL-L)
Subscription: listserv.brufpb.bitnet
Reference: (Merci Erskine-Richmond)

** Hebrew Language (HEBLANG)
Reference: (Yesod Aia)

** History and Theory of the Occult (ARCANA)
Subscription: (text: SUB ARCANA )

** Thelema93-L
Moderator: (Marianne Sarkis)

Usenet (Posts to Newsgroups)

**      alt.astrology; FAQ: FTP - /pub/astrology
                Reference: (Maggie McPherson)
**      alt.divination
**      alt.dreams
**      alt.dreams.lucid
**      alt.folklore.herbs
**      alt.tarot; FAQ: none
                TarotFAQ: (Mark Danburg-Wyld)

You might also list IRC channels like #jesus or #christ or #christian,
but these may not often include occult discussion.  Actually #thelema and
#magick do incorporate Christian discussion upon occasion, and there is
always the '/ignore  all' command. ;>

|Q6: Can you recommend any correspondence courses and/or esoteric Orders?
|There are lots of "mystery schools" out there who will gladly take your 
|money in exchange for telling you what you could discover with a little 
|patients and a good bookstore....  The advantage of belonging to a group 
|is that you can network with others on a similar Journey.  So, the best 
|Order to join would be one which is a true mystery school (a la Dion 
|Fortune's description in "The Esoteric Orders"), which has members 
|locally you can interact with directly and which work in a style 
|acceptable to your discernment.

Excellent advice!!

|There are some "schools" I would warn against but are too numerous to mention 
|here.  Instead, I will offer two recommendations I can vouch for:
|1) My highest recommendation goes to The Fraternity of the Hidden Light (or 
|Fraternitas L.V.X. Occulta - FLO)....  

|They have the best correspondence course I've found and are the most balanced 
|Order of any I've come across.  There are others better known and certainly 
|richer but none truer to the Western Esoteric Tradition.

[rest of info deleted - interesting]

How about prices and expected style of instruction?

|2) Second on my list would be The Builders of the Adytum (BOTA)....  
|BOTA is very similar to FLO in its goals and teachings as you can tell
|from the above FLO description.  Founded by Paul Case and continued by
|Ann Davies after Case's death in 1954, BOTA is a recognized and
|respected Mystery School.  

I think there is some controversy over the connection to Case here.
I could be mistaken, but I've seen it argued in alt.magick a time or two.

|Q7: There are an awful lots of terms thrown about there.  What do they
|all mean?

Now this is an IMPORTANT QUESTION, and I think it ought be placed as #1.
Always define your terms before presenting information, lest we be led
astray by our own prejudice and ignorance.

|definitions are provided though there is no guarantee that all authors
|will use them the same.

Very humble of you.

|Kabbalah - the esoteric system of Jewish mysticism and basis for
|	much of the Western Esoteric Tradition.
|Occult - literally "hidden", typically of or pertaining to hidden or 
|	secret knowledge or lore In many Christian circles this also
|	implies forbidden, even sinful, knowledge or work but not
|	necessarily here.

Why isn't it forbidden/sinful?  I haven't noticed how you can justify
your involvement and presentation in these matters when some of the
authors you've mentioned concerning the 'NAM' would surely classify
the entirety of what you seem to be calling 'Western Mystery tradition'
within it.

I suggest that you add the terms 'Initiation' and 'New Age Movement (NAM)'
to this list.


In terms of reading materials this is a very valuable file.  It does
focus overly heavily on the reading of texts as compared to experimenta-
tion and suggestions regarding practice (LBPR, for example, or the
QBListic Cross might prove beneficial to reference for protection before
proceeding to other studies).

On the whole you were not too controversial to get typical mages (esp.
seasoned ones) in an uproar and expressed your own preferences rather
clearly (excepting the above-mentioned).  

Thank you oh mine eternal enemy, for this work of yours.

tyagi nagasiva

"In the beginning, there was nothing.
 A void of Darkness...

 When the Void was corrupted by Light,
 A great wailing was heard,
 And all the brethren fled in terror...

 What is Light without Darkness?
 I am part of you all.
 You can never defeat Me.
 We are brothers eternal..."

                                  - Darkness, 'Legend'

The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy and sacred geometry
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century occultist
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races