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Home > Books & Reviews > Pagan > The Inner Temple of Magick Search

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Book Review:
The Inner Temple of Magick

Author: Phillip Cooper
Trade Paperback, 186 pages
Publisher: Spiral Publishing
Publication date: 2004
List: US$12.99, C$15.93
ISBN: 0975540343
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 exact opinion.

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 well.

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 dissonances.

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 directions.

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

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