A Review: Kali Magic by Mike Magee

“Women are divinity, women are life, women are jewels.”
Yoni Tantra

“Within, a Sakta; outwardly a Saivite; in the world a Vaisnava. This is the rule.”
Kaula Upanisad

Regular readers of this blog will be aware of my previous explorations of the contribution that Mike Magee has made to development of the Thelemic current within the world of contemporary occultism here. Via the impact of the Amookos Order that he founded (the Arcane and Magickal Order Of the Knights Of Shambhala), and his accessible but scholarly translation of core Sanskrit texts, Mike has helped lay a significant foundation for how we as magical practitioners in the 21st Century integrate non-western sources into our practice.

The genesis of Amookos is often considered to be the result of Mike’s initiatory relationship with Sri Mahendranath (Dadaji) and the seismic impact that this had on his personal magical universe. While the encounter with Dadaji was undoubtedly powerful, it also came within the context of his work with Kenneth Grant and his Typhonian Order. Grant himself was significantly influenced by Eastern teaching and source material (as depicted within At the Feet of the Guru) and Mike is quite open about how the presence of this material in his work with Grant catalyzed his own journey eastwards. Prior to travelling to India and encountering Dadaji, Mike had already begun mantra work, embarked on in-depth studies of Sidereal astrology and Sanskrit, and was familiar with Kashmir Shaivism. While Dadaji’s relationship with Mike and Amookos sadly deteriorated due to the on-set of dementia at the end of Dadaji’s life, Mike was able to utilize his own significant skills as both a translator and interpreter to move forward on the path and this current volume is a prime example of his contribution.

For me, this book represents a brilliant distillation of over 40 years of practice, translation and interpretation of the Tantric Shri Vidya (Goddess focused) tradition. For those in the know, Mike’s work held over at shivashakti.com has long represented some of the highest quality translations of primary texts relating to the Kaula Nath path (upon which Amookos is based) and wider tantric traditions. This book provides us with an excellent drawing together of material relating to the darker aspects of the Goddess and specifically the Great Mother Kali.

The book has a forward by Phil Hine and contains numerous beautifully illustrated line drawings by Jan Bailey. The introduction by Mike contains a superb overview of the central themes, methods and approaches that are often utilized in approaching “the primordial Devi who is the root of all Great Knowledges….She destroys time, is time, and is the night of eternity”. Blimey! And we are only on page 4! As both a practitioner and scholar, Magee does not shy away from the complexity of the terrain he is seeking to depict and the differing cultures and historic periods that this material has emerged from. While this is far from a simplified attempt to reduce the Great Mother to a few bullet points, it does offer the determined explorer with a vital portal through which we can appreciate the contradiction and theological complexity that her traditions embody.

Kali Magic is at once scholarly and highly practical with sections on Sadhana that explore core techniques and technologies such as mantra, yantra and nyasa. The book contains helpful explanations of the major Kali Yantras and how their insights might provide vital keys as to how our practice might be earthed in the body and within the ritual space (whether actual or imagined) of the cremation grounds. In the latter portion of the book Mike provides us with vivid translations of primary source material that will allow our practical exploration to be based firmly within the depths of historic traditions. Personally I found these Goddess Upanishads and Tantras both powerful and shocking in their physical frankness. As Mike stresses, the way of the Great Mother and the Left Hand Path is raw and unapologetic in its exploration of how bodily fluids and sexual practices can be skillfully utilized in promoting the most profound alchemical processes:

“The miraculous Yoni Tattva Tantra is the best of all tantras. Because of love for you, this very hidden tantra is revealed. The only evil in sexual intercourse is disgust for blood and semen. He who mixes them with wine is discriminating in worship.” Yoni Tantra, Third Patala.

This is a truly significant work that represents a lifetime of scholarship and devotion, and while deep and demanding it also captures the raw beauty of Kali and pulls no punches in opening a door way to her mysteries. Highly recommended for those magical practitioners wishing to work with Tantric currents in a way in that is profoundly aware of the original source material so as to avoid either reductionism or consumerist appropriation. As we as Pagans and Occultists seek to evolve and strengthen our theology and sadhana in order to highlight the potent validity of our chosen spiritual paths, works such as Kali Magic offer a vital and valuable contribution to such processes of growth.

Steve Dee

Purchase Kali Magic by Mike Magee


Coming Up Next…

There are still a few places left on our Sacred Space Holder Program for people looking to develop their practice of working with Sacred Mushrooms. Join Nikki, Julian and the fabulous Fungi Academy crew in October on the shores of Lake Atitlán for a hands-on adventure into the science and spirituality of psychedelic ceremony.

For people who can’t make it in person to Fungi Academy HQ in Guatemala there is the Psychedelic Journeywork course, use the code ‘Julian’ to get a discount!

Julian is also going to be teaching again with Treadwell’s Books in the autumn this year with lectures and workshops, online and in-person, on subjects including The Meaning of Witchcraft, Queer Magic, Applied Chaos Magic, Aleister Crowley’s Magick and The Thoth Tarot

For more details of one-to-one mentoring and support, psychedelic integration services, tarot readings and online courses with Julian please visit julianvayne.com

Nikki and Julian will be running a ceremony at Medicine Festival and will also be speaking at Trans-States.

Steve Dee’s new book Chaos Monk: Bringing Magical Creativity to the New Monastic Path is out now!

Chaos Monk

The prolific Steve Dee has written a third book! Chaos Monk offers an unexpected fusion of New Monasticism and Chaos Magic, demonstrating that it is possible to simultaneously be devout and fully embedded in the everyday world…

Steve writes: This book is an invitation to spiritual intensity. In the face of life’s brevity, it seeks to offer a challenge to consider what truly matters and how we might find skilful means for exploring such a question. As the pace and pressures of daily living seek to crowd out our ability to find space and silence, I believe that those traditions and techniques associated with monasticism provide vital keys for regaining our balance. While some may view such paths as ones of restriction or severity, as we travel together I hope to demonstrate the profound value of what simplicity, faithfulness and accountability might bring us when viewed through dynamic and responsive lens of Chaos magical practice.

This book is a deeply personal one, and unapologetically so. The impulse to engage with the monastic current runs strongly in my veins and it continues to be a deep personal obsession. When I started my spiritual journey at age 10, I was captivated by images of orange clad ascetics from both Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Now, as an adult, I ask: Why do I continue to be drawn to a path that emphasizes asceticism and discipline? What draws so many people to the form of stark spirituality that monastic traditions represent? How might contemporary explorers distil its essential components? This book seeks to explore such questions and describes how my own journey into contemporary magical practice continues to include monastic dimensions within it.

Sitting still is where it all starts. Only by ceasing to move can we gain access to the state of mind necessary to begin moving. Both in our psyches, and in our lives, we carve out a space which is our own to pause, to take stock, to commune with our higher Self. And then, with our feet in the right place, we take the steps necessary towards our goals, in fellowship with our communities. The modern monk constructs their cell within the everyday world.
This book helps to model some of these processes for you. It contains personal examples, historical reviews of Monasticism through the ages, gentle prods to keep things moving, and reflections upon what such a pilgrimage might mean. The alchemy of transmutation applied to the soul takes time, but gives us gold.

“A profoundly beautiful exploration of spirituality, magic and self that I consider to be one of the most important books I have read on the subject in many years. Particularly relevant to this era, Chaos Monk is intellectually satisfying whilst presenting an eminently practical approach. This book examines internal and external realities and the tensions they generate; acknowledging wider relationships that impact upon magical and spiritual development. Referencing Tantra, Thelema, Monastic Traditions, Chaos Magic and psychology, ‘Chaos Monk’ structures a template for the development of a long term, pertinent, spiritual approach to the self and the times, and as such should be an essential component of every committed practitioner and seeker’s library.” Charlotte Rodgers, creator of sculptural art works, writer of books which include P is for Prostitution: A Modern Primer, The Sky is A Gateway Not A Ceiling, and The Bloody Sacrifice.

“An exhilarating journey through chaos monasticism, a mystical practice informed by chaos magic. Accessible and clearly written, yet informed by a deep knowledge of the history of spiritual movements in both East and West, decades of magical practice, psychotherapy and art, this is a book for anyone with mystical leanings who wants to put them into practice. The first part describes the theoretical basis of chaos monasticism, and the second part shows how to put it into practice. Steve offers genuinely original spiritual exercises to help you develop your practice and introduces an element of play into the inner work. He also taps into the important mystical streams of apophatic theology and the dark night of the soul, and offers an exploration of one of my favourite spiritual practices, lectio divina. Other practices offered here include pilgrimage, psychogeography, and pathworking, all of which are great ways of engaging with sacred space and time.” Yvonne Aburrow, author of All Acts of Love and Pleasure: Inclusive WiccaDark Mirror: The Inner Work of Witchcraft; and The Night Journey: Witchcraft as Transformation.

Chaos Monk is a book I’ve been looking for for quite some time as it helps fill an often neglected area in the Chaos Magick approach—Mysticism! Steve Dee has an in-depth look at what a modern day monastic approach to Chaos Magick might look like. He draws from the past and other approaches but ultimately supplies the reader with some practical and useful ways of actually going out and doing it in a modern world setting. His thoughts on Chaos Mysticism, and his approach, ideas, and insights really resonated with me. I can only imagine that there will be a large number of people in the Chaos Magic community who will be well served by this book.” Tommie Kelly, Irish artist. musician, and writer, best known for his oracle deck The Forty Servants.

An Invitation
This is a call to come to the Quiet,
Those spacious places of the deep self.
This is a desert place found by the few
And others may laugh and call your journey madness.
Darkness is here
And only the brave can see that it holds the most brilliant of lights
Come, come my friends,
Come sit with those who are seeking the other side of silence.