David Shoemaker – Living Thelema

(Anima Solis Books, 2013)

Dr. David Shoemaker is propably the most down-to-earth lecturer on Aleister Crowley’s system of Thelemic Magick I have come across. In an ocean of sloppily written or overly (unnecessarily) obscure works on all things Magical (or Occult for that matter), one might seek decades for a book to summarize these themes in an intelligent and lucid way. Also, considering a subject such as Crowley’s Magickal techniques and philosophy, the Great Beast himself might not be the best source for a beginner (still highly interested in the Great Work itself).

To someone (like myself) expecting an intelligent and “scientific” explanation for some so-called Occult topic, David’s background as a clinical psychologist (specializing in for example Jungian psychotherapy) is perhaps the best kind of platform on which to build an instructional book like this. All his experience in tutoring, counseling and observing patients and students alike shines it’s clear light upon every chapter and topic of this book. His over 20 years of experience in supervising students in the O.T.O., A∴A∴, the International College Of Thelema and the Temple Of The Silver Star (being trained by his friend, the late Soror Meral, Phyllis Seckler) gives this book the illuminating touch which makes it one of the most important and aprroachable books on these subjects out there today.

The topics David goes through in this book include the basics of Qabalah, working towards your Holy Guardian Angel, discovering and nurturing your True Will, the basic daily Meditative practices, the most common Banishing and Invoking Rituals, Methods of Ritual Construction, Sexual Magick, Tarot, Alchemy as well as a multitude of examples and tips on living the Magickal life (in accordance with your Will) in a modern world with it’s commonplace everyday aspects.

The system of Thelema Crowley developed is full of rituals and customs which are (to the Thelemite) meant to be taken seriously and practiced on a regular basis. David deals with these (usually banishing or invoking) customs with much respect and emphasis in the discipline demanded of practicing them daily, like a true Thelemite would. Still, it is obvious one can learn much from these daily practices without actually following them sheepishly (altho creating a flock of sheep was definitely not Crowley’s intention), in a sense of creating ones own rituals, an important point that pops up often in this book. So, whether you are beginner interested in Magic(k)al work or Thelema in general, or an experienced Magician looking for something to spice up your daily Great Work, this book truly is one of the best ones out there you can find today. Highly recommended.

Living Thelema

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