I rarely write book reviews. However, once in a while, I come across a book that deserves my attention and gratitude. Amber K’s True Magick is one such wonderful book.
True Magick is seriously about the practice of real life magic. It is a book that can convince even the non-believers of magic to reconsider their position. How does Amber K achieve this seemingly impossible task? It is the structure, content and extraordinary level of knowledge, delivered in a very well-written prose, that allow her to put the magic(k) into the magick.
Very few books, even amongst academic texts, nowadays possess a kind of structure that allows the reader to be clearly and gradually led into a topic. Amber K seems to be a master of it. First, she clearly defines magick, explaining what is magick, what is not magick and what purpose magick serves. She offers a historical lesson and properly connects magick with the disciplines of science and religion. Soon, both the possibilities and ethical boundaries become very clear to the reader. Then, Amber K describes the types of magick a person can practice and takes the reader step by step through the safe, practical and ethical application of it. By the time the reader finishes the book, all basic questions are answered and the person can confidently become lost in the world of beginner’s magick. Hence, the book is so well-structured that there are no questions or puzzles left either in any area Amber K deals with, as she moves from one section to the next, or at the conclusion of the book.
The structure also supports the clearly presented content. The challenge for any teaching book is usually to find the appropriate level of the readers’ understanding and the appropriate amount of material included in the book. Amber K definitely wins that challenge. The language and the material are at a level that supports the understanding of the general public but still allows for complex material to be presented even about quantum physics, humanistic psychology and metaphysics. It is a remarkable achievement that, even in the academic world of teaching books, very few professors can ever master. The proper balance between the overly technical presentation at the risk of losing the audience and the oversimplification of a topic for the sake of understanding is usually a losing battle. It is remarkable that Amber K manages–shall we say magically?–get it just right.
In this book, she also does something that she neglects to do in her other books. She actually shows how much knowledge she has, not just about magick, but also about other topics. It is stunning to see her high level of knowledge in the area of epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, mythologies, eastern philosophies, quantum physics, chemistry, alchemy, humanistic psychology, astronomy, astrology, religion and, of course, paganism in general. The author is so well-educated and learned that this level of knowledge is usually seen in older professors whose job is to spend their lives reading books! It would be wonderful if she could let her readers know about her hidden knowledge in areas other than in paganism in all her books!
Critics of True Magick often point out that even though she is trying to write a book about magick in general, she often falls into the trap of offering the Wiccan interpretation of the subject material. It may be true that she falls back on her tradition when she is giving advice on the practical application of magick. However, this criticism is too harsh. Magick is not without tradition. Simply, magick does not exist in a vacuum. It is not possible to present both a theoretical and a practical application of magick without situating it into one or another tradition. Trying to present the subject of magick without any tradition is like trying to talk about angels without any religion or trying to offer a particular quantum explanation of reality without any school of physics behind it. It just cannot be done! In fact, thinking about the impossibility of presenting without a tradition, Amber K actually does a great job keeping the topic general with her background in paganism as a Wiccan priestess.
There is just one shortcoming of this book. Amber K presents five types of magick: nature magick, intrinsic magick, ceremonial magick, hermetic magick and kitchen witch magick. She works out the first three types of magick in details, covering them in individual chapters. Unfortunately, for an unknown reason, she refuses to work out the details of hermetic magick and kitchen witch magick. Thus, the philosophically inspired people, like me, and potential everyday kitchen magicians never learn about the source that makes them happy to get up in the morning!
Despite this small shortcoming, True Magick is truly magic(k)al. It is the most remarkable book anyone can read about real life magick. It is also one of the most well-designed, well-created and well-written books a person can have on the book shelf. University professors can truly be envious of this masterpiece!
To see all her books and to sign up for her courses, please, go to: https://www.ardantane.org/
With gratitude to Amber K,