Pagan Studies - Reviews
Mastering the Art of Ritual Magick
Volume One: Foundation Frater Barrabbas
Megalithica Books, 2008
Mastering the Art of Ritual Magick, Volume One: Foundation provides readers with an intense and deep deconstruction of high magick ritual practices. Frater Barrabbas believes that his book gives a magician the tools to “write from scratch a complete system of ritual magick.” That, in fact, is the goal of this book — the ability to create one’s own magickal craft. The reader is then taken through nine topics that, when put together, should help aspiring students to create their own systems. These topics are: the Divine Tetrad (four elements), magickal power, magickal persona, mind control, sacred space, ritual structures, ritual performance, transformative initiation, and mysteries. The rest of the book dedicates one chapter to each one of these nine topics.
Barrabbas’s ideas are presented almost in a classroom style, which guides the reader through each of the nine topics with ease. This volume builds oﬀ his earlier book, The Disciple’s Guide to Ritual Magick, and does refer to that book (and other esoteric titles) quite often. The introduction lays out goals for the reader, and explains what they should take away from each chapter. The chapters in turn delve into each topic by explaining how it works, relating the item back to ritual magick, and — where applicable – giving suggestions or exercises for the proper use of each item described. Each section is clearly labeled, and reminds me of a well-written technical manual.
I enjoyed the depth Barrabbas brought to the studies in Mastering the Art. Often, he connects with his readers by using metaphors. For example, in the “Magickal Ritual Structures” section, Barrabbas deconstructs each step of the ritual design using the metaphor of language. I found this relationship between magick and language to be an excellent tool for getting across the concepts of ritual, using interplay to layer and create intricate rituals of an intensely personal nature.
The book is not an easy read, however, and sometimes the author’s archaic English gets in the way. I would have liked to have seen more practical examples, as well as a walk-through devoted to showing readers exactly how to use the material to create their own system. Did the book inspire the author’s students? If so, how did they use his lessons to compose their own systems and rituals? The book primarily caters to readers interested in esoteric magickal studies, or those who want more explanations about advanced magickal circles. KALISPELL.