Thursday, August 12, 2010

Book Review: The Black Arts


Buy The Black Arts: A Concise History of Witchcraft, Demonology, Astrology, and Other Mystical Practices Throughout the Ages


Technically speaking, I'm breaking with the thesis of this blog by reviewing a book for which cinema has nothing to do. However, we all love films pertaining to witchcraft, don't we? Need I mention Rosemary's Baby? No, of course not. I procured this text as a means to further separate the facts from the fiction, hence, better appreciate the films of the occult. No, I don't believe in witchcraft, or any ritualized religion, but I find it irresistible the people who act on darker thoughts to produce a prescribed effect. And so it is with great necessity that I write this review.
Richard Cavendish has written the most unbiased account on the actual practice of witchcraft that I have ever read. The language avoids academic jargon yet maintains a professional and approachable tone. I often find this type of book to be either too academic or just plain sensational, but Cavendish has escaped both these pitfalls. The Black Arts isn't a history so much as it is an explanation of the differing philosophies and rituals of black magic. All bases are covered from Hebrew numerology to Satanism. Each chapter delves into a distinct understanding of the subject while providing a storied back round of the particular practice, illuminating the way rituals were performed and the whys of the witches themselves. Some rituals, such as mimicry (the act of replicating events for protection, etc.), are just downright absurd while others that aim to produce sickness, or worse, are consciously frightening. What you'll find in reading this great book is the sociological, psychological, and evolutionary reasons magic exists. I cannot recommend this book enough. If you are interested in the truth behind the creation and practice of black magic from early times to the present, do yourself a favor and click on the link above.

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