Angels, Demons & Gods of the New Millennium
Review by Sam Webster ©1997
Angels, Demons & Gods of the New Millennium. Lon Milo DuQuette. Samuel Weiser, Inc. York Beach, Maine, 1997. 179 pages, $16.95
Finally, an advanced book of magick. So much of what we get from the publishers today are works for beginners, but now the shelves are filled with them. In Lon Milo DuQuette’s ‘Angels, Demons & Gods of the New Millennium’ we are fortunate to receive a work written for those who have more than a passing knowledge of Qabalah, Sorcery and other arts of magick. Here is a book written with the authority of experience and without the overbearing weight of “received truth.” Rather DuQuette speaks to us like we were a guest in his home who shares his love of magick and, knowing that the ground work is already covered, he shares the fruit of long thought about, and experience of, magickal practice.
DuQuette is writing with a voice so different from the greater lights of the turn of the century. He has the personal qualities of Israel Regardie’s style but he is writing in the ’90s; it is just not possible to write with the certainty of his forbears. No one would believe it, especially DuQuette. Rather he writes from experience, from successes and failures, from many long years of doing ritual, initiations, meditations and innumerable other practices. He digests all this down to what he feels is important even if the outcome doesn’t exactly fit the usual interpretations of tradition. For example, he plays with both versions of the A∴A∴; the group of people who worked with Aleister Crowley and their lineal students on the one hand, and on the other, the body of initiates that has been guiding humanity towards its eventual enlightenment since time immemorial. He raises the logical point that if this organization has been present ‘since the dawn of consciousness’ and has been embodied in such great souls as Lao-Tze, Gautama, and Pythagoras, then how can access to the A∴A∴ and membership in its order be limited to those with pieces of paper signed by Crowley and his heirs and assigns? DuQuette moves the A∴A∴ to a more immediate plane where any student with right aspiration and dedication could well find herself in the great chain of initiates working for the ultimate evolution of humanity.
DuQuette’s chapter on the Qabalah is more ‘basic’ than most other chapters but it is pithy enough to give anyone a leg up on the study and practice of the discipline. He avoids the usual formulaic definitions of the Sephiroth and other components of this repository of western esoterica by speaking from the distilled essence of his experience. One excellent display of this is in his presentation of the Shem ha-Mephorash, the 72-fold divided ‘Name of God’ from which a series of spirit-names are generated. DuQuette boils down the abundance of turgid writing on this subject to a few pages and a chart which Weiser obligingly prints in color in a fold-out sheet. This, combined with the methodology presented in the later chapter “Demons Are Our Friends” provides a sufficient, though sparse, basis for sorcery, the practice of spirit-conjuring.
A practice more common in theology than magick is exegesis, the detailed analysis of a text. DuQuette engages this discipline seeking to explicate the famous alchemical Emerald Tablet of Hermes and takes as his point of entry the doctrine of the Holy Guardian Angel. This is the practice of seeking contact with the divine through a personal source, one’s Angel. By analyzing the one on the basis of the other he develops an interpretation of the alchemical process of the Tablet as a way of attaining to knowledge and conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel.
This is a necessary step in the evolution of magical thought and practice. We can only improve on our methods by engaging with classical texts, doctrines and practices in the light of each other, what we have learned since they were written, and our own experience. Doing so illuminates the depths that we have intuited in these inherited sources and which gives them the character of classics. Having no formal Academy in which to gather and share our insights, DuQuette aids us with his by publishing this book of gems. He has moved our understanding of magick forward.
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