Saturday, January 2, 2016

Sidereal Journey

Holmes, Leo (2013) LeMULgeton - Goetia and the Stellar Tradition. Fall of Man, 105 p.

Humanity had once walked with the gods, learned many sciences from them, developed civilization and then was left alone to commit atrocities and terrible mistakes, like children without a supervising adult.

Leo Holmes' LeMULgeton - Goetia and the Stellar Tradition is the first installment in the Nox Sine Occasu series published by Fall of Man;  a series dedicated to works which are short of a book lenght, but still too long to be published in a magazine or journal.

Personally, I have cherished the basic idea of Nox Sine Occasu since the very beginning. By limiting the page count up to hundred or so, there's enough space and words available for writers to scale both heights and depths of their subject matter in an essayistic way, but there's also enough strain to force the study to a focused and dynamic form. LeMULgeton by Leo Holmes is a fine example of this.

According to the information offered on Fall of Man's website, the author of the present work, Leo Holmes, "has been studying and practicing magic for over fifteen years." It's rather easy to take their word for this, as there is, clearly, a solid and well-researched basis to this work. It's also worth to mention that the author has not limited his study to just readily available occult sources, but has, in fact, done quite a lot research beyond the occult confines, e.g. the works of controversial author and theorist Zecharia Sitchin.

Even though LeMULgeton is very heavy on theory and, conversely, very light on practice, it's not an academic study on Goetia and its relation to Stellar Tradition - or, more precisely, on Lemegeton and its relation to Mul.Apin. There is a rather extensive listing of source materials at the end of the book (pp. 103-105), but those are presented as Further Reading; in the actual text sources are quoted in a loose, non-academic manner. There are same exact source references, but most of the time those are evaded and only authors and their works are mentioned. That's hardly a major problem when considering the nature of the work at hand, but, nevertheless, exact source references have their undisputed virtues, which should be taken into account, e.g. saying that Kenneth Grant has written something about the mysterious LAM in his Typhonian Trilogies is information, alright, but it's not very practical information, whereas the exact source reference would give an interested student a shortcut to actual resources.

As for the actual aim of the work at hand - that is, linking 72 Goetic demons to Sumerian astronomy - well, Holmes builds up a very meticulous study, to say the very least. He admits that it isn't possible to establish a logical order in which those two can be related (p. 28), and goes on from there to gather all the circumstantatial evidence to construct his case, e.g. similarities in the names of Goetics and constellations. Accordingly, there's a wealth of valuable details to be mined here for someone with an interest of going deep in his personal studies.

Even though it is rather easy to recognize the fact that there is a solid research behind this work, it is just as easy to pinpoint those passages where the author has gone from where the fence is the lowest. A prime example of this being the seventh chapter: Crowley, Grant, Lovecraft and Others (pp. 72-83). To me, personally, this could have been one of the most interesting chapters in the whole book, but then Holmes gets his "quote mode" on and cites H. P. Lovecraft's short story Polaris in its entirety, after which he cites a long passage from The Call of Cthulhu. And that's not the end of all quoting - he sums it all up with a quote from Anton LaVey! The thing is, direct quotations have their well-grounded uses, but to build almost a whole chapter on nothing but quotes goes far beyond those justified uses and makes a rather lame impression.

The criticism notwithstanding, LeMULgeton - Goetia and the Stellar Tradition is nevertheless an intriguing and valuable contribution to its subject matter, and will be a fine acquisition for those interested in expanding their knowledge on what has been termed The Grimoire Tradition. It is, as already stated, very light on practice, but there's enough cues for the intrepid and intelligent to build up his own praxis. There are some imperfections both in the text and in the layout, but nothing amounting to a major problem. Basically, they are errors which could have been evened out by an extra round of proofreading, and thus nothing to worry too much about.

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