A collection of ConjureMan Ali's thoughts about magic, the occult, and spirituality.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Book Review: Crossed Keys

As a scholar I have a natural love of books; one might even call me a bibliophile. However, like most practicing magi who are also scholars there are a few books that I keep close to me at all times and refer back to regularly. These select and cherished few are what I consider the peak of occult scholarship and the most lucid and thorough exploration of magical practice. The works of Nicholaj Frisvold and Jake Stratton-Kent are among some of whom I have placed this category. Michael Cecchetelli’s Crossed Keys has quickly ascended to these ranks.

I have spent the past several days absorbing the book from cover to cover and am delighted to find that in an era of shoddy scholarship and a plethora of armchair occultists, Michael Cecchetelli has broken away from the dross to enter the sphere of occult gold.

Like the works of the authors above, Crossed Keys is a text written by someone with solid scholarly sensibilities, but written by and for the practicing magus.

Crossed Keys combines two rather disparate texts in a manner that is seamless, yet also spiritually impactful. The book begins with the notorious Black Dragon, reputed to hold the keys of the infernal realms. The rendition of the Black Dragon is amazing in its depth, yet remains highly accessible. Here, the aspiring magus can find a thorough account of undergoing spiritual initiation with the infernal powers and gaining mighty allies. The Black Dragon includes within its ranks familiar spirits from the Grimorium Verum and other grimoires of the same vein. Not only is the text written in a clear and articulate manner, but what allows it to stand apart is the inclusion of notes and experiments directly from the journal of a magician who has successfully undertaken the rites within: the author himself. While the inclusion of the author’s magical journal seems to be a logical choice, it is one that is entirely revolutionary in the world of evocation and grimoire magicks.

Crossed Keys does away with the typical impression of incomplete grimoires and near-impossible requirements to undertake the rewarding and dangerous endeavor of spirit evocations by presenting a grimoire that offers a straight-forward and highly practical system whose potential truly seems to hold the keys to the underworld.

Michael Cecchetelli takes the study of evocation through the girmoires and returns the Art back into the hands of the magus and out of the hands of the theorist.

After presenting a high quality rending of the Black Dragon and sections from its own working journal, the author goes on to include The Enchiridion of Pope Leo III, a text revolving around the folk magic of European Catholicism touching upon the mysteries of the Psalms. Channeling the spirit of Albertus Magnus and The Book of Gold, The Enchiridion of Pope Leo, seems at first to be in opposition to the infernal powers of the Black Dragon. Yet upon closer speculation the logic of including these two texts together is stunning in its insight.

I was pleasantly surprised to see in The Enchiridion not only a large compilation of highly pragmatic folk magic formulae, but also a spell referring back to that most obscure of saints—and my favorite—Saint Cyprian.

Crossed Keys is bound together beautifully in another flawless edition from Scarlet Imprint and as the name suggests is a powerful cross between precise scholarship and practical experience and a cross between the power of the infernal and the might of heaven. Truly, Crossed Keys offers to the magus the keys to the kingdom of power.


M.C. said...

Very happy that you like the work brother, and I truly appreciate the review. I've received a lot of great feedback thus far, but hearing it from someone who walks the walk is the best feeling of all...

ConjureMan Ali said...

Trust me, it is very much well deserved. I am happy to offer this review to my readers.