A lifelong bookworm, I’ve been known to check out more books than I can carry from the library and, in bookstores, sometimes require physical restraint to keep from buying stacks of books I can’t justify or afford. As a writer, I’m intensely curious about anything pertaining to the various stories I write or anything that sounds like it could make a good story. Add my interest in herbology, tarot, magick, and alternative medicine and working at Magus becomes an exercise in not spending my paycheck before I make it.
As in any exercise in willpower, in order to keep from snapping and going on a buying spree, I have to occasionally allow myself some leeway. To this end, when my paycheck rolled around, I picked up a couple books I had my eye on. All four can be considered research for the urban fantasy book I’m working on so I’m feeling positively saintly about the whole thing.
The first two are on Santeria, a religion that has growing importance in this draft of my story. Previously, the grand total of my knowledge on the subject came from internet searches and the Sublime song of the same name which has nothing at all to do with the religion. So I picked up The Santeria Experience by Migene Gonzalez-Wippler and Cuban Santeria: Walking with the Night by Raul Canizares.
Both are written by initiates in the religion. They approach it with academic interest, but give slightly different versions of the secretive cult. Gonzalez-Wippler focuses more on her experience with Santeria, weaving her knowledge of the orishas and rituals in a memoir-style narrative. Meanwhile, Canizares, who also brings his personal experience in, approaches it from more of an anthropological angle, exploring the history of the religion and its evolution. However, as Canizares adapted Cuban Santeria from his doctoral thesis, this is hardly surprising. Both books are well-written, compelling and informative. I would recommend them for anyone interested in learning more about Santeria.
In the name of further research into other magick styles, especially ones linked to Judaism, I also bought two books on Qabalah. The Chicken Qabalah by Lon Milo Duquette and Practical Qabalah Magick by David Rankine and Sorita d’Este, which both came recommended by the very knowledgeable Kyle Ford, are turning out to be just as informative as she promised.
The Chicken Qabalah is about as serious as it sounds and probably one of the funniest educational books I’ve read in a long time. Duquette has a talent for conveying information through parody and I would recommend it for anyone with a casual interest in Qabalah. Practical Qabalah Magick is much more serious, and while fairly easy to understand, it can get a little dense. However, it feels like it will be a great reference book and will give me the tools to get a good handle on the uses and theory of Qabalah.
Hopefully, between these books and the ridiculously large stack of library books currently taking up a corner of my dinner table I will be able to keep myself well occupied for another couple weeks.
-Katta, Magus Minion