I missed the mid-February general release date for this book for a simple reason: I got way too involved with it. This is the kind of book you want to add to your list of “non-101,” real magic books for established practitioners. There is some introductory material on sensing and making use of energy, and on magical models of reality, then the book dives into a catalog of ways to establish different kinds of sacred space for various uses. It finishes with a chapter on the problems of large rituals, and features a set of appendices which are summaries of the different castings from earlier chapters. The discussions are intelligent and lively; the reading level of the book is solidly adult: the author writes like I think, so I had many moments of appreciation along the way for fine turns of phrase or nicely structured paragraphs.
I would not point to the philosophical material in this book as any sort of “last word” on anything, but that is not what Dominguez is trying to do. He is setting the stage for the actual work and showing how the way we think about reality can shape how we shape it. One of the great values of this book is his demonstration of how we properly do operations like the familiar LBRP from the inside out: the more centered one is, and the deeper one’s meditative practices, the more fluently one can cast a space or do anything else in magic.
He did leave out hip-gnosis as a royal road to the Center; maybe he needs to go out West and visit Poke Runyon …
Ivo is a long-term esoteric student and magician, and currently part owner of an esoteric store in Delaware. You can tell from the writing that his home system is Wicca, but he has also explored the Western Esoteric Tradition in some detail.
One casting in the book, the Square of Abeyance (p. 113), is unusual in that it creates a volume of space in which subtle, magical currents are damped out, thus isolating the caster (like a Faraday cage, but for magic instead of E&M). This is not something one would generally want to do in one’s usual working space, so I tried it out in a private restroom away from home. The space was already a good size for containing the Square (which is actually a cube or square prism, but it is cast by visualizing the square at the base). It worked very well: it feels quite strange inside (I.D. warns about this). I spent a few minutes standing inside the thing (which I think I will rename the “Prism of Abeyance” for accuracy and since it sounds like “Prison,” which fits with the whole Carcer vibe). I gently tested the limits of psychic connections, then spent some time going over my energetic bodies and sweeping anything unwanted into the fuzzy black floor. It was also very natural and easy to see and feel the dismissal of the Prism. The next time I do this, I’m going to refine it slightly by providing a path for the residuua to be safely disposed of. I can probably count on good old Entropy to take care of this first one.
I have very few suggestions for improving this book, it was so well done in general. I see a little issue with some of the notes on mythology, such as trying to graft the Grail Hallows onto the Goddess Nemesis. One can find four such objects in Her iconography, surely; but they are not all seen together, nor are they exclusive to Her. I am not sure why the book is unindexed; perhaps the appendices were expected to cover most of what one would want to look up after an initial reading.
In all, I call this book a triumph, and a volume every Mage should own. Every page validates itself as the voice of experience to anyone who has eyes to see.
Casting Sacred Space: The Core of All Magickal Work
Ivo Dominguez, Jr., Foreword by T. Thorn Coyle
6 x 9
February 1, 2012
[Complimentary review copy from Red Wheel/Weiser gratefully acknowledged, opinions my own, your mileage may vary, etc.]