The Devil’s Dozen: Thirteen Craft Rites of the Old One – Gemma Gary
Troy Books – 2015
This one was alright. It’s a book about communing with the Devil. The Devil here isn’t quite what some might expect. He’s an old Pagan god with a more complicated set of morals than the Biblical Prince of Evil.
While this book does outline the procedure for summoning the Dark Man, it leaves it up to the reader to decide what to do if that summoning is succesful. Other grimoires I’ve read give fairly specific instructions on what to do and say when in the presence of Satan, but this one leaves it up to the magician. I liked this. It made Satan seem like an affable sort, the kind of guy you can talk to.
As far as grimoires go, this one is quite cool. It’s dark enough that you don’t feel like a wuss when you’re reading it, but it also has a kind of a natural, folky feel to it that actually makes it seem far more sincere than other over-the-top sinister grimoires. (This is more Black Widow than Black Witchery.) This is the second book by this author that I have read recently, and while I can’t speak to its efficacy, I definitely get the sense that Gary knows what she’s talking about.
Reading this book made me reflect on my own relationship with the Devil. I’ve never met the lad, but I’m sometimes surprised by how much I am drawn to books about him. It’s been 15 years since my parents last forced me to go to mass. Why do I still think that Satan is so cool? I guess this whole blog is just a desperate last act of rebellion as I approach middle age. Oh well.
5 thoughts on “The Devil’s Dozen – Gemma Gary”
Funny that. I personally have a real dislike for any horror films about possession or the devil, because I reject that whole Christian dualist thing as a load of nonsense. It’s almost like you’re being fed Christian theology in a disguised form. Probably both of our approaches are rooted in the rejection of Christianity. There the resemblance ends. Middle age was such a long time ago I can hardly remember it …
This book isn’t about Satan though as she clearly distinguishes the witches devil from Satan or as she calls him in the grimoire, the devil of churchianity, I have a working relationship with the witches devil and this is not Satan we are working with hear, it’s much older than that, after all he is the old one, the bucca, old janicot
Ah yes, “Tradititional” Witchcraft. I recently got a copy of her book of Cornish Witchcraft. Being from the Westcountry myself this all felt rather cosily familiar to me. She evokes the aura of this kind of witchcraft rather well I think.
Another author you may enjoy is Nigel Jackson, or at least his early works before he started losing the plot completely and turned into some kind of puffed up neo-reactionary religious mystic nutjob. But his first three books are really evocative, and full of his wonderful line drawings.
At the time he wrote them he was just crazy enough to have style AND substance, before going completely off the deep end. My personal favourite of his is The Compleat Vampyre which appears entirely absent of praise on the internet(bunch of bloody philistines), although digital copies of all of them are availaible if you don’t wish to commit valuable funds to securing a physical copy. I discovered them shortly after publication in the nineties and became utterly infatuated, and is probably why I am still such a bloody weirdo today.
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I have tracked those books down and will take a look soon. Are they meant to be read in sequence or are they totally separate?
I really appreciate the suggestion. I haven’t read much occulty stuff recently. This looks quite interesting indeed!
You can read them in any order, they stand alone. I read Call of the Horned Piper first, which was published first, and which pairs nicely with Masks of Misrule. The Compleat Vampyre is more it’s own thing really, although very similar in style. They’re not big books, but definitely have their charm. I found them quite refreshing as the first “Traditional” type craft books I’d encountered, and a welcome change from all the fluffy Wicca books out there. Even rereading them more recently I found they still hold up ok, and I have grown more discerning since then.