To help get into the spirit of the season I picked three occult books to read over the month. I actually picked out four but quickly DNF’d one, so we will call it three. I may or may not get to writing about all of them but I did just finish the first on my list and I was pleasantly surprised. Seal, Sigil, and Call : A New Approach to Ritual Magic by J.R. Mascaro was not at all what I was expecting and I really wanted to talk to you about it.
I should first start off by saying that I got to meet him at the Sacred Space | Between the Worlds conference over the spring. J.R. and his partner were absolutely lovely people, but I had not had a chance to read the book until now. (He could be a total delight and I still might not like his book, which has happened before, so I went in with no expectations.)
I am not a ceremonial magickian, but I do love me some ceremonial magick. I once fancied myself an DIY Magickian so when I realized that this was more of a manual for how to hack your own magick system, I was quite pleased. After warming you up with the intro stuff, it takes this really cool turn into working with what he refers to as eidolons, which are kinda like egregores but not. It being his work, he explains it all eloquently so let him do so in his own words when you read the book; I am only going to butcher his theories in a post like this. It was an easy-to-understand philosophy and the exercises I tried didn’t take long to jump into. All in all, yeah, you should read it on those merits alone. But that isn’t what made me purr.
When I wrote The Witch’s Book of Spirits, I set out to create a grimoire that would give the everyday person access to occult elements usually left obscured by tradition. I created my own conjuration system with the help of several spirits, and spilled the beans in the pages about how I did it before handing that system over to the reader. It was a monumental undertaking that took years, and it is a damn good system.
Seal, Sigil, and Call reminds me a lot of it.
I’m not at all suggesting that J.R. copied anything, quite the opposite. It is super clear that his inspirations lay elsewhere and that the work is his own. I am suggesting that as someone who has done something similarish, I could feel the magic(k) in everything he wrote. It has the hallmarks of being a real-flushed out magick system that was made by a real magickian. It is meant to be digestible and practical, meant to lure you into trusting that thing that I refer to as “the witch power.” While it is based in stuff you probably know, it is proof that you can create new things from that foundation. In many ways I think this book is a triumph, for J.R. as a magickian, but also of us as a culture who is so clearly ready to move forward into the next aeon.
Note: This is a book recommendation based on my own experience with the title and is not sponsored by the author or publisher. Witchcraft, the occult, and mysticism are subjective. This is especially true when discussing projects that members of the community create. As an author, I wanted to bring awareness to books that stand out in the crowed when I read them. Only those that I feel excited about make it on the blog, however a book’s absence does not mean it was not recommended.