Starting a Magical Library
Some of the listed books below appear in an appendix to my book Ogdoadic Magick, which was in turn taken from a list of recommended readings as once given to members of the Lapis Lazuli Lodge in California. Others are new additions as many excellent new texts and reprints of old texts have been published since that appendix was written. Some of the books listed are out of print, but none are difficult to find in stores dealing in used books. I have made links to Amazon.com for each book for those who are not fortunate enough to live near a magical bookstore they'd like to support or live in a place where one would rather not be seen going in and out of one. Some of these books aren't to be found in a typical magical bookshop, or even most traditional bookstores.
In general, for out of print books I recommend the excellent Bookfinder network.
The books listed here are in no particular order, and are certainly not meant to constitute a shopping list for your next paycheck. There is a tendency among many students, I have observed over the years, to confuse the acquisition of books with the acquisition of knowledge. Resist all such ideas, the abilities and accomplishments of a magician are not measured by their library, but rather by what has been absorbed and can be put to use from that library.
Aurum Solis Texts - These are basic texts that should be in the library of every Ogdoadic practitioner.
- Foundations of High Magick: The Magical Philosophy, Denning and Phillips
- The Sword and the Serpent (Magical Philosophy, Vol 2), Denning and Phillips (out of print)
- Mysteria Magica: Fundamental Techniques of High Magick (Llewellyn's Aurum Solis Series), Denning and Phillips - These three volumes represent the heart of the Aurum Solis system as published by Denning and Phillips in the 1970's and 1980's. The first and third volumes are currently in reprint through Llewellyn. The second volume, containing Melitta Denning's masterwork of Aurum Solis psychology remains out of print and internet pirates are charging ridiculous prices for the few copies on sale.
- Planetary Magick (Llewellyn's High Magick Series), Denning and Phillips - A very accessible book with simplified Aurum Solis approaches to the field of planetary magick. Good reading, and can be used by a group as the foundation for a complete magical system.
- Magical States of Consciousness (Llewellyn Inner Guide Series), Denning and Phillips - This is the Aurum Solis text containing techniques and theory on Qabalistic pathworking. Long out of print, it is worth the effort to find a copy.
- The Llewellyn practical guide to astral projection, Denning and Phillips - A beginner's text on astral projection. In my opinion one of the best purely practical books on the subject.
- Entrance to the Magical Qabalah, Denning and Phillips - A beginner's text on Qabalah, and Melita Denning's final work before her passing in 1997. An excellent primer on Qabalistic thought and practice in the Aurum Solis tradition.
- The Aurum Solis Initiation Ceremonies and Inner Magical Techniques, Osborne Phillips - Aurum Solis initiation rituals and other inside information about Aurum Solis for the advanced beginner or intermediate student.
Understanding the Ogdoadic World - Aurum Solis and the Ogdoadic Tradition grew out of a larger world of neoplatonic thought and renaissance energy. These texts delve into those fascinating years and give insight into the philosophers and magicians who found the original Ogdoadic Current.
- Planets Within: The Astrological Psychology of Marsilio Ficino, Thomas Moore - A good introduction to the world of Marsilio Ficino and the Platonic Academy in Florence. Thomas Moore gives a good overview of the planetary astrology of the renaissance and its link to modern depth psychology.
- Three Books on Life (Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies), Marsilio Ficino, Carol V. Kaske, John R. Clark - An excellent and clear translation of Ficino's Three Books on Life, perhaps the best currently in print. Highly recommended.
- Meditations on the Soul: Selected Letters of Marsilio Ficino, Marsilio Ficino - A good collection of letters exploring neoplatonic philosophy, theology and astrology.
- Commentary on Plato's Symposium on Love, Marsilio Ficino - Ficino and his group spent a great deal of effort translating and commenting upon the works of Plato. This is one representative work, one of Ficino's most interesting for the Ogdoadic practitioner.
- Friend to Mankind : Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499), Michael Shepherd - A good overview of the contributions made by Ficino to various fields of study.
- Oration on the Dignity of Man, Pico Della Mirandola - One of the best known works by this member of the Careggi Circle.
- Pico Della Mirandola: Of Being and Unity (Medieval Philosophical Texts in Translation, No 3), Pico Della Mirandola - Another of Pico Della Mirandola's masterworks. Very useful toward understanding the traditions that eventually became the Ogdoadic tradition and Aurum Solis.
- On the Art of the Kabbalah/De Arte Cabalistica, Johannes Reuchlin - This student of the Careggi Circle wrote this work on Qabalah during what became the Northern Renaissance. An interesting approach to the literature, quite different in many ways than the Golden Dawn style Qabalistic texts available today.
Tarot - The Tarot contains a great deal more than the potential for fortune-telling. Each tarot deck is a small magical textbook and encyclopedia of correspondences. Like books on magick, each deck serves a different purpose. Several are listed here as good starting places.
- Aleister Crowley Thoth Tarot Deck. One of the most beautiful decks, rich in imagery and correspondences. This deck is often confusing to those beginning magical studies, but intermediate and advanced students can learn much from it.
- Cosmic Tarot Deck (78 Tarot Cards/Cs78). This is the deck recommended in Denning and Phillips Magick of Tarot book (below).
- Visconti Tarots. A beautiful deck using images from the Italian renaissance. A wonderful link through imagery back to the world of Ficino and the Platonic Academy.
- The Magick of the Tarot (The Llewellyn Practical Guides), Denning and Phillips - This book is the standard Aurum Solis text on tarot. It's worth having as the card meanings used in Aurum Solis are somewhat different than those used in traditional tarot books. In an appendix there is also an interesting discussion of the circuitry of tarot spreads.
- The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages, Paul Foster Case - I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in tarot. Many modern books on tarot are little more than restatements of Case's work.
- Book of Tokens-Tarot Meditations, Paul Foster Case - A wonderful system for learning the tarot through meditation on its Qabalistic correspondences.
Other Magical Traditions - Clearly there are thousands of books on this subject, and more published almost every day. The books listed below have proven useful or at least interesting to many students.
- Modern Magick: Eleven Lessons in the High Magickal Arts (Llewellyn's High Magick), Donald Michael Kraig - An excellent introductory text to any practice of magick, with a particular emphasis on the Golden Dawn approach. Highly recommended.
- The Magick of Thelema: A Handbook of the Rituals of Aleister Crowley, Lon Milo Duquette - A Crowley apologist, and a very good one, Duquette has written an entertaining and comprehensible introduction to the rituals and magick of the Ordo Templi Orientis. He has also authored many other excellent works.
- Dion Fortune's Esoteric Orders and Their Work and the Training and Work of the Initiate, Dion Fortune - This was once required introductory reading in Dion Fortune's Orders. A brief and good introduction to the history of Western magick from the Society of the Inner Light point of view.
- Cosmic Doctrine, Dion Fortune - This book represents the foundation of Fortune's teachings.
- Magick, Aleister Crowley - A landmark work in the field, though it makes difficult reading for the beginner. In reading this one, be sure to keep your sense of humor handy, and try not to take Crowley too seriously.
- Attainment Through Magic: Evoking the High Self (Llewellyn's New World Magic Series), William Gray - Gray's book is an introduction into a system of magick descended from Dion Fortune. It is an excellent discussion of magick, and most importantly delves deeply into the "why" of magick as much as the "how."
- Light in Extension: Greek Magic from Homer to Modern Times (Llewellyn's Western Magick Historical Series), David Godwin - One of the few books to examine the contributions of Greek magic and thought to modern magical thinking. This book is very useful to any Aurum Solis student.
- Godwin's Cabalistic Encyclopedia: A Complete Guide to Cabalistic Magick (Llewellyn's Sourcebook), David Godwin - For many years, 777 was the standard for qabalistic correspondences. David Godwin's work is excellent, comprehensive and filled with information that goes far beyond anything available in previous years.
- 777 And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley, Aleister Crowley - A basic work on qabalistic correspondences and gematria, in the style of the Golden Dawn. Numerology is much less emphasized in the Aurum Solis tradition than in the Crowley-based traditions, but a familiarity with the basic technique is necessary.
- Magical Use of Thought Forms: A Proven System of Mental & Spiritual Empowerment, Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki and J.H. Brennan - The single best book on developing astral skills. Highly recommended.
- Astral Dynamics: A New Approach to Out-of-Body Experiences, Robert Bruce - This is not a book by a magical author, but Robert Bruce has produced a solid textbook of Astral travel and out-of-the-body experiences. The techniques in this book, when used within a traditional magical framework, are effective and useful. Beginners should, however, take care in starting with this text before gaining at least a basic understanding of how the astral realms function.
Psychology and the Mind
- Psychology and Alchemy (Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 12), Carl G. Jung
- The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche (Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 8), Carl G. Jung
- Mysterium Coniunctionis (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.14), Carl G. Jung
- Alchemical Studies (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.13), Carl G. Jung
- The Myth of the Birth of the Hero: A Psychological Exploration of Myth, Otto Rank
- Art and Artist: Creative Urge and Personality Development, Otto Rank
- The Act of Will, Roberto Assaglioli, M.D.
- The Psychology of Ritual, Murray Hope
Symbolism of Attainment
- Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: A Critical Edition (Victorian Literature and Culture Series), Omar Khayyam - A classic of spiritual attainment in poetry.
- The Holy Books of Thelema, Aleister Crowley - Crowley's thelemic poetry of attainment is some of the most beautiful written in modern times. Highly recommended.
- Living Flame of Love (Triumph Classics), St. John of the Cross
- The Collected Works of Saint John of the Cross, St. John of the Cross - St. John of the Cross is recommended reading toward understanding more about the dark and light aspects of the soul.
Historical and Philosophical Background
- The Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. 1, E.A. Wallis Budge
- The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Papyrus of Ani in the British Museum, E.A. Wallis Budge - These books form the basis of much of the Egyptian magick found in the modern world. They are somewhat dated and contain some mistakes, but are still respected and worth a read.
- The Histories (Penguin Classics), Herodotus - Essential reading toward an understanding of the Greek world. Herodotus is the father of modern history.
- The Greeks and Their Gods (Ariadne Series), W.K. Guthrie - A solid introductory work on early Greek religious thought.
- Astrology and Religion Among the Greeks and Romans, Franz Cumont - An interesting work, somewhat specialized.
- The Rhetoric, Poetic And Nichomachean Ethics Of Aristotle: The Works Of Aristotle, Aristotle - One of the more complete presentations of Aristotelian thought.
- Aristotle for Everybody: Difficult Thought Made Easy, Mortimer Adler - Aristotle can be challenging reading. The infamously grouchy Adler helps readers new to Aristotle understand the core of his system.
- Plato's "Republic", Richard Kraut. Professor Kraut's commented edition of the Republic is one of the most complete.
- The Collected Dialogues of Plato, Plato. Especially Crito, Phaedo Ion and Meno - These are dialogues essential to understanding his philosophical system and where it fits into the system of Aurum Solis.
- The Enneads (Penguin Classics), Plotinus - Plotinus is a good representative of neo-platonic thought, heavily influenced by the Gnostics. Plotinus is very much a part of the ideas from which Aurum Solis was eventually born.
- Marsilio Ficino: The Book of Life (Dunquin Series), Marsilio Ficino, any edition. Essential book toward understanding the roots of Aurum Solis, and the environment and thinking of the Italian Renaissance.
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