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Out of the Shadows: An Exploration of Dark Paganism and Magick (英語) ペーパーバック – 2001/5
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So often darkness is associated with evil. Since the term evil has no place in a nature-based religion, we Pagans are forced to look beyond such stereotypes.
But what then is "darkness"? Why are so many of us drawn to themes associated with darkness such as death, mystery, wisdom, magic, and the night? These themes and symbols are empowering to many of us because they tap into the deepest reaches of our unconscious.
The goal of this book, which is a culmination of over 16 years of study and practice, is to not only share with you the author's views on Dark Paganism and spirituality, but to encourage you - if not challenge you - to personalize your own belief system.
While the first part explores the aspects and spirituality of darkness, the second part of this book discusses the nature and practice of magic by exploring the underlying principles at work.
John Coughlin, also known by his Internet handle Dark Wyccan, has been involved in the craft for over 16 years. In that time, he has worked with several groves and covens, although he primarily prefers to walk a solitary, eclectic path.
Also associated with the Gothic scene, John has incorporated his personal aesthetics and ideals into his spirituality giving him an often unique perspective on Wicca and Paganism in general.
Currently, John is Editor of the NYC Pagan Resource Guide and has created many other web-based projects for both Pagans and Goths on waningmoon.com such as the Pagan Personals, Gothic Personals, Corporate Goth and Gothic Guide to Nail Care.
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It is also a joy to read; I really enjoyed the conversational style of writing that Coughlin used. He defines and clarifies several aspects of dark spirituality/goth subculture that I would not normally have read about, such as Vampirism and Satanism. He also goes into depth about subjects that would never see the light of day in other books: blood, pain, insanity, sex magic, curses, and drugs. Always there, though, is a reminder of the need for balance and responsibility. The final chapter on haunting was superb; it made sense of the hauntings that I have experienced and caused me to see them in a new way. This book tops my list of favorite pagan books; I reccomend it to everyone who can handle the subject matter and wants a full course meal in magic.
rebuild the balance 'Light Paganism' has created. He
gives an easy and understandable description of what
the Darkness and 'Dark Paganism' actually are. Though
the focus of this book is 'Dark Paganism', the author in
no way tries to deny or degrade Light Paganism. In
fact, Coughlin actually describes it's benefits and
necessities in modern paganism.
In his explanation of the Darkness, Coughlin gives
information on "dark siders" including the Gothic and
Vampiric Sub-Culture. He gives a clear and understandable explanation of "The Shadow" in psychological terms, as well as symbols, images, and archetypes associated with darkness. I found the section on dark deities to be especially interesting,
where Coughlin offers information on specific deities
from various pantheons including Celtic,Egyptian,
Greek, and Hindu.
Part Two is an explanation of the nature and structure of magick. This section explains how and why magick works as well as it's limitations and psychological factors. Coughlin takes you through each step of the
spellcasting process by describing what and how to conduct ritual. This section also contains information on psychic abilities, chaos magick, and sex magick.
Out of The Shadows is really two books in one.
It is and exploration of Dark Paganism, but it is also
a guide to magick. Because so many books are focused
on Light Paganism, this text is truly ground breaking.
This book does an excellent job of providing the
seeker with the proper tools to explore yourself. It's
goal is to suggest, if not test, you to personalize
your belief system. You will learn the truth about the Darkness and Dark Paganism. It was an excellent read and I'd
highly recommend it to all Pagans.
There are numerous topics explored in this book, and the author rightly says in the introduction that each could have filled several chapters or even a whole book! It's an introduction and primer, and highly recommended to all Pagans and Wiccans to gain a deeper and more balanced understanding.
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It's best to also keep in mind that while the issue of balance within earth-based pagan paths, especially Wicca, is emphasized; the book is about Dark Paganism. To paraphrase the author, balance does not always mean equal. Such is the case with this book. Beyond challenging us to personalize our paths and to bring back balance, the book's focus is to prime the reader on the darker side.
Personally I found the best parts of this book to be the chapter on the Shadow, the exploring of emanations such as "auras" (free of New Age influence), a pagan/nature-based look at ghosts and a refreshing take on possessions and hauntings. But the best is saved for the second half, the chapters on magic theory. By far the best I've seen, it's both powerful and simple.
Run a search on the author: his website has a preview to the book. Also, if you liked the book and want to go a little further the website has more beyond the pages! Including: essays by several authors, a list of recommended books (very excellent if a bit short in this reviewers not-too-humble opinion), and links to other resources.
I hope that this review has helped those it can, and I wish all you seekers a pleasant day.
I especially liked how the author stressed the importance of balance but that each of us can find our OWN balance based on our personal taste. As the author says, balance is not necessarily equality or neutrality. Each path can find balance within itself.
The second section on magic was also very informative and useful as well. Unlike most books, instead of listing spells and rituals, the author explains what makes them work so that we can design our own or tweak existing ones to work better for us.
This book is strongly recommended for ANYONE who is either attracted to the concepts of "darkness" or who are pagan and want a more well-balanced approach to their spirituality. The author has some related articles on darkpagan.com for those interested.
I wish there were more books like this!! You could tell the author really had a passion for his work.