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"Time-waster, party game, fake divination device, staple of urban myths, horror movie trope, conjurer of the dead, devil's gateway -- these terms indicate the extraordinary variety of opinions inspired by the ever-controversial Ouija Board. Part fascinating history and part practical manual, this engaging guide takes the position that the Ouija Board is indeed as powerful as its detractors claim. Author J. Edward Cornelius shows how anyone armed with the proper knowledge can use the Ouija to communicate with invisible beings and other worlds. Drawing on the writings of Aleister Crowley, aka the ‘Great Beast,’ and other magicians who advocated the Ouija's use as an occult tool, Cornelius examines the long history of "talking boards" and the power of the planchette, an ancient symbol believed to act as an invisible doorway. Entertaining and enlightening, Aleister Crowley and the Ouija Board reveals the dark secrets and hidden truths of this curious, enduring game.”
The following blurb by J. Edward Cornelius appears on the Thelemic News and Culture website LASHTAL.com This is the home of The Aleister Crowley Society (England)
“Advocates who scream that the Ouija board is dangerous will most likely find this the most contemptible book ever written. They will ague that the Ouija board is well known for causing obsessions, possessions, unleashing poltergeists and creating hauntings; claiming it to be a portal into Hell. But what they fail to realize is that these tragedies prove beyond a shred of a doubt that the board is capable of bridging the invisible world with our own. Instead of fearing this concept why not learn to use it more effectively? One of the greatest ceremonial magicians of all time, Aleister Crowley, actually advocated the Ouija board’s use. If it were only a child’s game would he have given the implement any consideration at all? He strongly believed that the board utilizes the same principles which were practiced by the famed Elizabethan magician John Dee. He used a crystal ball as a means of skrying or seeing into the invisible realms. Within these realms Dee encountered entities who communicated their messages by pointing to one letter at a time on huge boards of letters. According to Crowley, the same principle holds true for the talking board but, instead of going within the invisible realms, we summon the entities into our world in order for them to move the triangle from one letter to another to spell out messages. One of Crowley’s earliest students, Frater Achad (Charles Stansfeld Jones), had great success when using the Ouija board. In fact, Crowley was so pleased with the outcome that he wrote, “You see how very satisfactory it is, but I believe things improve greatly with practice.” We agree and this book will attempt to show how anyone, with the proper knowledge, can bring invisible beings through an Ouija board. It’s actually quite simple, often so simple that it eludes people. Magicians have long known that the triangular shape of the planchette is a unique magickal symbol that automatically acts as an invisible doorway. In fact, it’s so unique that when someone places their hands on the triangle and asks, “Is Someone there?”, it enacts a simplistic but never-the-less magical command for an entity to be summoned through the portal. This book will teach you how to cast open the invisible gates and you’ll learn for the first time anywhere the truth about dark secrets regarding the talking board which have only been whispered behind closed doors for centuries."
Aleister Crowley and the Ouija Board by J.Edward Cornelius
Reviewer: Andrew Drylie, noted author and Crowley scholar (England)
A Crowley Cross-Index by Will Parfitt & A. Drylie (Agape 1976)
and numerous other books and pamphlets ...
Anyone interested in occult matters, psychic phenomena or paranormal activity will pursue that interest largely through reading and, perhaps after some initial trepidity, attempting experiments. The field is too broad and various to try out, or even properly look at, everything. It doesn’t take long to realise that most of what is written is idiotic trash, churned out, rehashed, embellished, intrinsically implausible, repugnant to common sense and very light on proof. Submersion in nonsense can be injurious to self-respect. Life is short, books are fat and money doesn’t grow on trees.
These are my reasonable reasons for treating ouija boards hitherto with utter disdain. I also had a few unreasonable reasons. I felt I already knew all I needed to know about ouija boards. They were the tool of loony old women who didn’t even realise they shoved them about themselves. They were the toys of borderline psychotic teenagers too dim to work out for themselves the best route from balcony to car park. This sort of background wisdom comes free if you live long enough and involves no investment in active investigation.
How wrong I was and the clues were there all along. Firstly Christians abhor ouija boards and this alone is usually a strong indicator of merit. And then there are those in favour including, for me at least, a few surprises. Dee and Kelly led the way albeit without the modern gadget. Aleister Crowley, bastion of decency and diligence in all areas arcane, surprised me most but he’s there with chapter and verse as is his erstwhile sidekick Frater Achad.
This book by Jerry Cornelius is not only thorough and competent; it is friendly. The author respects and trusts his readers. The history is well researched and digs up some surprising and amusing material. The practical section proposes methods that are safe, coherent and based on experience rather than theory. This book could well change minds. It is neither fat nor expensive. Buy it.
Magickal principles applied to the "talking board
Reviewer: Chuck Furnace, noted occult author.
November 29, 2005
If your interest is strictly in the Ouija Board itself, the 1st 2 chapters will give you the history of the Board, the Game and it's media press. But this book is really about applying consistent control in all forms of divination to focus the type of Spirit called. Rather than repeat well worn (and well published) truisms, the author seems to have concentrated on what Aleister Crowley and his disciples actually DID, whether it was thru Tarot, Astrology, Ceremonial Magick or Enochian. The common factor was exerting their Will and concentration to calling forth specific Results. Remakable.
Destined to be an occult classic
Reviewer: Kenneth Robinson
December 4, 2005
It is appropriate that an important contribution to occult literature is to be found in a slim volume with an unassuming and quirky title.
The author presents sufficient theory and practice that will allow even a neophyte to access in a reasonably safe and suprisingly convenient manner the astral realms. Quite an accomplishment. But this is by no means only a book for beginners. Advanced practitioners (assuming they have an open mind) will find a great deal to ponder and benefit from in this volume. Anyone serious about magickal practice or even just magickal theory should acquire this book and consider its contents carefully. They will be well repaid for their efforts.
Aleister Crowley was the baddest of bad boys. He made great advancements in the magickal realm while sending shock waves through the clubby and largely ineffectual grade system of traditional occult fraternities, It is no small irony that the magickal orders that profess to be Thelemic are as full of pretentious poseurs as those that Crowley blasted with his extraordinary talent and application. I suspect that his book will not be well liked by those in authority in Crowleyian magickal orders. The author reveals too many secrets for comfort. I believe Crowley would have approved of this book that captures the spirit of authentic Thelemic magickal theory and practice.
Aleister Crowley and the Ouija Board
Reviewer: Frater Adonus-ai 854
New York, New York
December 5, 2005
Bravo! It is about time someone gave us a real book on ‘Objective Magick’ and stopped filling our local bookstores with subjective rehashed old drivel. Thumbs up for having a spine!
Aleister Crowley and the Ouija Board
Reviewer: Keith Richmond, noted Crowley scholar and author of such works as:
The Rites of Eleusis by Aleister Crowley, Introuction by Keith Richmond (Mandrake 1990),
The Forbidden Lecture, Gilles de Rais by Aleister Crowley, Intro by Keith Richmond (Mandrake
1990).Three Macabre Stories by Rosaleen Norton, Edited & Introduced by Keith Richmond
(Typographeumc 1996) Progradior & The Beast, Frank Benett & Aleister Crowley by Keith
Richmond (Neputune 2004) The Magical Record of Frater Progradior by Keith Richmond (Neptune
2004) etc & etc ... (Maine)
December 7, 2005
As befits a book that makes frequent reference to those notorious ethereal tricksters known as elementals, Aleister Crowley and the Ouija Board is not at all what it might at first glance appear to be. Readers familiar with the book’s author, J. Edward Cornelius, would most likely recognize him as the co-publisher and principal author of Red Flame, a journal that has brought both scholarship and innovation to the study of Aleister Crowley, his works and circle. Given this, and the title of his new book, one might expect the work to be an earnest, theoretical discussion of the Great Beast and his thoughts on the Ouija Board.
Instead we find what would once have been termed a grimoire: an occult textbook, in this case carefully composed for aspiring students by a modern-day ceremonial magician. The book is not devoid of theoretical discussion: Cornelius provides an interesting overview of the history of the Ouija Board, and a thoughtful analysis of the different schools of thought about the nature of the forces that respond to the summons to move the planchette, but the core of the book consists of practical instruction in the use of the board.
Not surprisingly the approach to the Ouija outlined by Cornelius is very different to that of the Spiritualists who first brought fame to the implement. Drawing from his own practical experiments – and some little know writings on the subject by Crowley – Cornelius suggests that sitting with the Ouija should never be a passive undertaking. To be safe it should only ever be performed as a serious magical operation, with the practitioner in total control of the situation, paying utmost attention to every detail of the process, and remaining fully focused on his or her goal. This need for rigor and control naturally extends to knowledge of the nature of the entity or entities summoned, and Cornelius examines this in detail, in the context of the Enochian system of magic articulated by the Elizabethan magus John Dee.
This book has many charms, not least of which the easy-going authority with which it is written. Cornelius has been a ritual magician for most of his adult life, and the elementals, angels, and other entities of which he writes are as much a part of his daily world as the sky above him or the pavement below his feet. Clearly he does not feel it is his task to persuade doubters as to the reality of his observations. Rather he is intent on chronicling them in a way that will allow other aspirants to set forth firmly, and safely, on their own journeys of exploration. This he does with the simple but powerful conviction of one who knows.
Aleister Crowley and the Ouija Board is not a book for skeptics, but it is a fascinating and valuable resource for anyone with an interest in the theory and practice of ritual magic.
Jingle Books, Have yourself a literary holiday
with some unusual small-press publications
Artcile by Jarret Keene, Tucson Weekly, Arizona, December 8th 2005
"When it comes to getting your stocking stuffed, it's hard to top an iPod, the ultimate high-tech gift item. But not everybody has a few hundred dollars lying around to ensure Aunt Edna enjoys the latest Madonna video. So why not go low-tech this holiday season with an array of Gutenbergian splendor? And we're not talking about what the big publishing houses in New York want you to buy (although Kim Cattrall's new book, Sexual Intelligence, looks so yummy, we can't blame you for picking it up). Instead, we're talking about the small presses in America that consistently produce the tastiest writing, especially compared to today's rather bland mainstream offerings. .... Feral House is simply one of the best publishing houses in America--period. Their books are beautiful-looking and always fascinating. If you enjoy outré subjects like black magic (Aleister Crowley and the Ouija Board) and black metal (Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of Satanic Metal Underground), then Feral House has your deviant fix. Their 2005 catalogue is rich ..."