|I haven't looked at Liber Lilith. Donald Tyson is quality though. You don't edit and annotate Agrippa without knowing not just your onions, but your shallots, garlic and more besides. If he's decided to express certain aspects of his personal understanding of the mysteries through a fictional grimoire rooted solidly in experiential work - then I'm sure it will be interesting and worth a look. |
I think my only criticism would be directed towards the people who buy this book and view it exclusively as a textbook that they can follow from A to B, effectively working Mr Tyson's "system" as a thing in itself, rather than appreciating it as an expression of someone's personal truth uncovered through working their magic. I think the same criticism applies to Kenneth Grant and his followers. Crowley and Thelema as well, really.
I think you can learn a lot from studying someone else's magic, both in terms of inspiration and practical workable gear. But I think it's problematic to think that anyone else's 'grimoire' can or should be replicated to the letter with no intervening space for direct insight and gnosis of your own. These things are perhaps like knitting patterns or recipe books, that give you an idea of the basics of how someone else has done it and made it work, so that you can go off and make it work for yourself bringing your own creativity, heart and soul to the mix.
"Created grimoire" could mean a lot of things. I'd give shorter shrift to the creative grimoire of a 24-year old chaos magician who has sat down with a pad of paper and devised a complete "system" of magic (exactly like they would devise a roleplaying game scenario) and then published it as a grimoire - having missed out the important bit of actually doing the fucking work and finding out if any of your speculations are true.
Magic is unpredictable. You might have an intellectual idea of how something might conceivably work, but often when you put it into practice, take it before the Gods or Spirits, bring it into the heat of the moment, it all falls apart and you have to revise your opinions in the light of the results it gives you. This has happened to me countless times, and I'd go as far to say that this living process of trial and error is how you actually learn magic.
If your "created grimoire" has been through this process, and is the creative elucidation of your magical experiences over many years, then I think its a totally different ball game. Based solely on Donald Tyson's other work, I'd be more inclined to think that this book is a product of the latter process. That he didn't just knock it together on a saturday night after a few beers, but its rooted in magic lived. Sometimes fiction is a good avenue for putting down essential truths that resist factual exposition.
From a fiction magic and chaos magic perspective, everything is fair game.
I'm a bit uncomfortable with that as a blanket statement. There's been a lot of interesting debate on barbelith over the last couple of years about the experiential differences that people have observed from working with purely fictional magic (Batman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc) and magic that has the weight of history behind it and has developed organically within a culture over thousands of years. I don't personally think the chaos magic approach to utilising fictional characters as if they were no different from established deities is without its flaws and blindspots - but its a debate that comes up from time to time.