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High Magick

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Member Reviews

Rarely do I recommend finding access to both the written and audiobook version of a book, but with HIGH MAGICK I do. The book itself is a manual meant to be explored over time. It's not a quick read. The audiobook becomes useful during Echols explanations of how to vibrate certain refrains. I borrowed it from my local library when I got to those sections.

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Part memoir, part magical introduction, High Magick chronicles how Damien Echols discovered and used magic to keep his sanity during his twenty years on death row as part of the West Memphis Three. Echols distinguished between "low magick," that used for worldly needs, and "high magick," that used as a means to further one's spiritual journey. Written in down-to-Earth language, High Magick is approachable and easily understood by anyone interested in practicing magic or enhancing their current path. Echols doesn't simply supply a bunch of theoretical practices and rituals; he provides tried and true methods garnered over years of study. Overall, High Magick is a worth addition to any magical library.

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A good introduction to Golden Dawn style magic, which Damien Echols has adapted to the unique circumstances he had to live through. His experience has made these techniques more accessible to those who might be limited on time, space, or materials, giving those interested the opportunity to participate in practices going back around 150 years.

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I really appreciate how Damien broke everything down so that it can be understood easily. These are teachings I've had too short of an attention span to learn without simple explanations. This guy really gets it!

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There's also nothing groundbreaking in the book. You won't find any "advanced" magick material within it's pages. The same rituals you'll see countless times in other tomes from Israel Regardie, Aleister Crowley, Donald Michael Kraig, etc. As one of the people below mentioned, this feels like footnotes to a DMK book. He does do you the favor though of making the rituals easy to understand and makes them comprehensible for those that walk different religious paths, even those of other pagan faiths. He also gives a few variants which I think were fun and interesting to such things as the "four-fold breath" like his 2 solar and 2 lunar and seasonal variants.

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An interesting read. No new information but some basics from a person who went through a lot. I didn't know who the author was prior to reading this book. I would recommend people look him up for a brief overview to avoid being triggered while reading or after.

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To start out with, I am interested in Magick but yet not a practitioner.
Therefore, I can't say whether he is accurately portraying Magick or if his versions of the techniques work.
I will say that this is one of the clearest of the Magick books I've read. He covers the standard practices and does a good job of explaining why one would do them. That being said, he seems a bit too woo woo for my Magick. There are talks of things like energy that put me off. Based on some of the authors comments I imagine that he too would be put off by woo woo material so perhaps I am misreading things. That being said, I've only read a couple of Magick books that managed to explain Magick in a way I found relatable.

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I have been following the case of the West Memphis three since the beginning and it is exciting to see that Damien Echols is making a name for himself while trying to separate himself from the miscarriage of justice that occurred. I requested this title knowing it wasn't necessarily in my wheelhouse, I have been a curious spectator to people who practice magick but never have myself. Alas this book wasn't for me but there is an appeal in the market I work and I am excited to handsell this excellent introduction. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with this arc.

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This is a very good book about ceremonial magick, a sort of introductory guide.
I requested it because I knew about the West Memphis Three and was curious to read this book.
It's well written and there are some interesting anecdotes about mr Echols wrongful imprisonment.
As I'm not very well versed in ceremonial magick this was an interesting and instructive read.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC

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When I first took a deep dive into paganism, I read a little bit on whatever I could find. Admittedly, it wasn’t much. After trying to read a few Aleister Crowley books, I quickly determined that ceremonial magick wasn’t for me. The Abrahamic overtones and strict ceremonial structure didn’t jive with my free-spirited, earth momma, give-me-a-cottage-in-the-woods vibe. With that in mind, Damien Echols book High Magick does the impossible, it got me to appreciate the value and techniques of ceremonial magick.

Echols distinguishes between high magick and low magick by noting the intentions of the work, with high magick referring to the development of the self and soul and low magick referring to the use of energy and spellwork to influence the environment around the practitioner. However, the techniques given in the book seem most in line with ceremonial magick. Echols gives detailed steps in performing the works, complete with those same Abrahamic influences that I found so off-putting years ago.

But here’s where it got me; Damien Echols takes great care in presenting the idea of individualization. Rather than presenting the meditations as immutable, the author encourages individuality. Although he encourages exploration and embracing of angels and the like, this focus on individuality makes the spellwork presented more accessible to those who cringe at the thought of strict ceremony and masculine heavy soul work. I can easily take Echols’ instruction and apply it to my personal practice and reap the benefits.

Knowing Echols personal history of wrongful imprisonment, I had hoped for more reflection on how magick helped him through that difficult time. While he does provide some anecdotes, it is brief and to the point. I think I was expecting more of a magickal memoir (for which I believe there is a dire need), it reads more like a Magick 101 with periodic personal anecdotes.

With this in mind, High Magick is a great introductory book and acts as a standout by imbuing a sense of personality and honesty that is often missing when we talk magick with each other.

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Damien Echols was wrongfully convicted of murder in the early 1990s.

The small town of West Memphis, Arkansas, faced a gruesome murder case. Damien Echols was a teenager at the time. Authorities took his fascination with heavy metal and the occult as a sign of his guilt.

This was during a particularly troubled time in America. You might consider this “Satanic Panic” era as a modern day witch-craze, not unlike Salem.

Despite his 1995 death sentence, Mr. Echols walked away from the Arkansas death row a few years ago. This was after a long court battle, but he finally went free.

If you’re curious about the history of the the Satanic Panic, check out this article. For more information on the West Memphis case, watch the documentary, West of Memphis.

This book is a primer on ceremonial magick techniques. The subjects covered are basic and fundamental. They’re approached with an uncommon inch-wide mile-deep flair. Mr. Echols’s own unique experiences infuse every part.

This will no doubt hold the reader’s interest. It also provides the aspiring mage everything necessary to build their own nascent ritual practice.

In the past, I’d always had a bit of a conundrum. When newbie witches came to me, I had many books to recommend.With ceremonial magick? Not so many, sadly.

There’s a definite dearth of ritual magick material for absolute beginners. Mr. Echols has given us a book we’ve needed for decades. High Magick is a great contemporary introduction to ritual magick, recommended for any aspiring mage.

Mr. Echols waited on death row for eighteen years in a hostile environment. At one point, he remarks that he kept getting hit in the face, which speaks to the sort of daily siege he faced.

If you find yourself in a very negative place, Mr. Echols’s work in this book will be inspirational. It was for me.

For this reason, I recommend this book to mages who are in difficult situations. It’s good for those experiencing hardships that influence their practice.

This book would also be very appropriate for curious witches. Many people come to magick through witchcraft first. Yet, plenty end up wanting to incorporate ritual magick as well.

Beginning that can be a daunting prospect, but Echols’s book suits the task. If you’re a witch curious about ritual magick and what it involves, this book is for you.

I’ve studied ceremonial magick off and on for the past eight years. In short, I didn’t learn very much new information from this book. Still, Mr. Echols includes unique descriptions of familiar workings like the LBRP. They definitely spoke to me in a very visceral way.

One gets the sense of someone who went diving into ceremonial magick as if his life depended on it. This is likely because, for Echols as a death row inmate, it did. Now, the story does, as noted, have a happy ending. Still, one can’t help but shudder thinking of all those years spent in prison.

I’m giving this book four out of five stars.

The last star’s absence is mainly because I wish the book were longer. I also found it a bit limited in scope. The heavy focus on banishing and invoking is understandable.

Yet, I couldn’t help wishing there were even more nuances explored. I would love to see a work where Echols tackles a greater spectrum of the Work. This is one magical author you should watch!

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