As promised, here’s my review of the new book Occult Spells by Frederick Hockley, published by Teitan Press. Hockley, as those who have been following this blog know, was a 19th century mystic who engaged in crystal-gazing. Whereas his Complete Book of Magic Science seems to have been created for the clients of bookseller John Denley, Occult Spells seems to have been written at about the same time, but for different purposes.
The book includes sections devoted to planetary talismans, crystal-gazing, love spells, divination, and all manner of charms. This doesn’t seem to have been a handbook intended for practice; instead, it appears to be a collection of magical lore that caught Hockley’s fancy while examining works on magic. In many cases, for instance, Hockley omits the seals, amulets, or illustrations that accompany an incantation, leaving space for them to be inserted later. Likewise, a number of incantations from the Petit Albert are copied near the end, apparently to satisfy the reader’s curiosity. Overall, it appears to be the notebook of someone casually interested in a topic and seeking to learn more about it.
Silens Manus – whoever he might be – has done an excellent job with this text. We receive a thorough introduction that positions this book within what we know about Hockley’s interests and practices, as well as numerous footnotes which identify the origin of many of the incantations therein. The whole is followed by a black and white facsimile of the original manuscript.
Overall, I’d say that this book is intended for historians and collectors rather than those seeking an edited collection of spells. Still, it sees much material that is not available to modern readers, so even practitioners might find something of worth here.