Author: Phillip Cooper
Trade Paperback, 186 pages
Publisher: Spiral Publishing
Publication date: 2004
List: US$12.99, C$15.93
Price & More Info: Click Here
I wasn't sure what to expect when I ordered this book and, as I got started
reading it, I still wasn't sure what I had gotten. Mr. Cooper's approach to
magick is uniquely his own, as is his perception of life and its journey. I
am not sure, even now, how much I agree with his premise and conclusions.
Which is not to say that I disagree with this book, but rather that I haven'
t made a final decision regarding it.
Mr. Cooper definitely feels that his perceptions represent "truth," but that
is an opinion shared by each and every author in the known universe. He
stresses that everyone must find truth within themselves, and then proceeds
to indicate what, in his opinion, you should be finding. That is the thing
about human beings as unique individuals - no two people will share the same
His assertion (which I happen to agree with) that magick should produce
tangible results is sure to upset some practitioner; as well his assertion
that it NOT wrong to use magick to achieve material gains (again a position
with which I agree). So many traditions downplay materialism and focus only
on "spiritual advancement" and followers of those belief systems will find
little of value in this book.
If you are reluctant to try new things; if you distrust viewpoints which
conflict with the world "as we know it"; and if you think magick is all
about discipline and hard work, you will probably want to pass this book by.
If, on the other hand, you are willing to open yourself to alternate thought
processes, you will probably benefit from this book. You may not become a
"great magickian" (however YOU define that term), but you will learn other
ways of perceiving the world, and that is a definite plus.
There are numerous, individually unimportant, grammatical errors in this
book. Were this a novel, I would simply leave it at that. However, Mr.
Cooper is supposed to be teaching the reader how to accomplish anything they
put their mind to. How about putting his mind to writing a book without a
bunch of distracting errors (incorrect punctuation, twisted syntax, etc.)?
Mr. Cooper's presentation, at times, seems to be composed of equal parts of
Christianity and Church of All Worlds. He stresses the role of the "Divine
Originator" in the creation of all that exists and then follows up with some
vintage Norman Vincent Peale "Power of Positive Thinking." Some of the old
"standards" of magick have been reworked - the Inner Temple has been
transformed from a Greco-Roman temple to a medieval fortress complete with
towers; the approach to the temple appears to owe at least a bit to Plato's
description of the lost land of Atlantis; and there are other tweaks as
I know that I am a nit-picker when it comes to the written word (I am as bad
with the spoken word, but it is much easier to spot errors [and illustrate
them] in writing), but it seems to me that an author who is attempting to
teach readers to overcome self-imposed perceptions of reality would be more
careful about correct syntax, punctuation, etc. I find it disconcerting to
read (as on page 53) ".God is only in one place - heaven, and that only in
Gods (sic) mind does there exist." This isn't the only time such
carelessness occurs, but it is representative. There are, in my opinion,
for too many sentence fragments trying to pass as complete thoughts. For
instance: "Because of the sheer number of sleights, effects, and 'mental
magick' that can be made to appear miraculous by virtue of its seeming
impossibility." Because of that, WHAT? Such carelessness undermines the
purpose and value of the entire work, as far as I am concerned.
The sheer bulk of the difficulties outlined above made it difficult for me
to evaluate the contents of this book in an objective manner. I kept
finding myself being jarred from the flow of what I was reading by the
While I understand the use of symbols to program the subconscious mind as a
basic step towards accomplishing magick; and while Mr. Cooper acknowledges
that the subconscious can influence things both positively and negatively;
the one factor that Mr. Cooper fails to mention is that the subconscious
doesn't understand negatives. It is necessary to convey "I am rich" (if
that is your desire) and not "I am no longer poor." The subconscious will
interpret the latter statement as "I am poor," and act accordingly.
I understand that the author's approach to magick is minimalist (i.e.,
things don't have to be perfect, as long as you are making a sincere effort;
the magick comes not from the tools, but from the magickian, etc.), but
sometimes I feel that it is too bare-bones (e.g., pick any direction and
call it East). I have always worked in a minimalist way, and I have never
found it too difficult to use an inexpensive compass to determine the
There are numerous asterisks used which, to my way of thinking, would seem
to indicate the existence of explanatory material (either as footnotes, end
of chapter notes, or at the back of the book in the "The Inner Temple of
Magick Notes" section). Such material is NOT included anywhere I can find.
I'm not sure whether they were written and failed to make it through the
printing process, or if the author never got around to writing them in the
first place. In any case, it is very disconcerting .
Reviewed by Mike Gleason