Blessings Darlings - it's time for a Book Review!
I must have bought J. H. Brennan's "Magick for Beginners" a decade ago. I don't recall WHY I bought it, I suppose it's because I know that Brennan did at least one book with Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki and I like her classes and books. Earlier this month I decided it was long past time for me to read the book.
I did not enjoy the book. I do not think it is a particularly good book for beginners at magick. I THINK he intended it as an intro to Ceremonial magick, but it's too disjointed to be that, and it has so little 'how to do' magick in it that a simple spellbook would be more practically useful.
The author says that he's starting readers off with 'low magick'. However .... he actually starts readers off with the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram - pure theurgy, not practical, low-magical thaumaturgy. Then he moves into chapter after chapter on the 'clairs' - clairvoyance and such. Those, in my world view, are not magical skills, rather they are psychic skills. The one 'practical magical' working is to bring in $100 ... but he drags the reader thru' 'inadequate explanation and knowledge of the Kabala" to do it.
Then it's off to how magic isn't really magic, it's psychology, and we head to theurgy for the rest of the book. But not just any theurgy - it's Intro to Enochian, where one is supposed to do invocations in a language you don't know (and he doesn't always include translations). Then ... off to assumption of Godforms, the Rose Cross ritual (with no explanation of any of the Divinities the reader is calling!), etc.
Nothing practical in it's thaumaturgy. Nothing beginner in its theurgy. I simply cannot recommend the book.
Oh, let me look at how long it would take to 'work' the book, given it's exercises. Two weeks of doing the LBRP. Tatvva work - no clear idea how long that is supposed to take. Several weeks of the color version of the Middle Pillar. Then add the 'fountain of light' for an unmentioned amount of time. So - two months, THEN you spend a month on getting that $100. Total - over three months on what he calls 'low magick', only one of which is actually doing low magick.
Onward to High Magick - several exercises of self-awareness given, no time frame for how long they will take. Then a ritual to charge a Talisman, which requires the reader to prepare for two months (but anyone the reader gets to join in .... doesn't have to prepare that long? Because it's really only about the reader? very odd....), etc. No preparatory times given for these rituals, nor any word on how long to take between them or if you should/could do them all in one day. So, let's say another over three month period for theurgy.
Bah. And Humbug.