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Familiars in Witchcraft: Supernatural Guardians in the Magical Traditions of the World, Maja D’Aoust, Destiny Books. LIKE MANY modern occult authors, Maja D’Aoust has been studying and teaching alchemy, occultism and Witchcraft for quite some time, now. This reviewer first met her over a decade ago at Manly P. Hall’s Philosophical Research Society, a gem of an institution nestled within the controlled madness of Los Angeles, not far from picturesque Griffith Park. At the time she was doing an in-depth study on the works of Paracelsus, and she instantly impressed me with her vast knowledge and ability to parse more complex theories into delectable brain morsels. Her most recent book, Familiars in Witchcraft, certainly follows suit
A delightful survey of all things “familiar,” D’Aoust takes the reader on a trip through the ebbs and flows of folklore and historical record into this bizarre and fascinating world. Much less about pets and far more about the mischievous shape-shifting spirits who have ensnared, fascinated and occasionally troubled magical practitioners throughout time, Familiars in Witchcraft lucidly interweaves the lore of dozens of disparate cultures into a colorful quilt, and then points out the threads most common to all. Maja writes with the sweeping knowledge of a historian, but with much less of the snooze factor usually associated with said moniker. She is also adept at packing a slim cover with a massive amount of information, each bit more fascinating than the last. So if the odd spirits who torment and treat with magick users are your fancy, no matter where your tradition may stem from, there should be plenty of tantalizing tidbits within.
As if the above weren’t reason enough to recommend this title, it is also is replete with black and white photos of the author’s original raw, symbolic, haunting and surreal artwork. Snap this one up if you can.