I’ve got a pile of review stuff and an upcoming holiday weekend, so that works out for the best for everyone. The first item on the list is Invocating by Magic Crystals and Mirrors by Frederick Hockley, which Teitan Press was kind enough to send to me as a review copy.
Most of my readers should know who Hockley is (and those who don’t should go here) and will know that Teitan has put together a complete publishing program based on a number of his manuscripts that have come to light. This book, the latest in their series, is a full-color facsimile with transcription and commentary of a short manuscript Hockley gave to spiritualist Barbara Honywood in 1869. Therein, Hockley states that this is his preferred divination ceremony, which he had been using for the past seventeen years. The work is rounded out with a description of one of Hockleys’ seances with the Crowned Angel, his personal guardian, in which he attempts to contact a deceased seer.
This book answers what has been a key question about Hockley’s procedures. We’ve seen that he had access to the spirit operations for Vassago and Agares from the Sibley Clavis (review here), and the Crystaliomancy ritual that he might have composed (review here), but we’ve seen precious little indication of what Hockley himself practiced. What we find in Invocating is that, at least in the latter part of his life, Hockley’s divination was a procedure inspired by ceremonial magic but much simpler than the elaborate rites found in these other works. For example, the invocations and dismissals are brief, and no special tools aside from the divining surface are called for. Also of interest is that Hockley, by this time, saw crystals as merely instruments for the beginner before he or she graduated to mirrors.
The book is gorgeous, as is the case with all of Teitan’s releases, with Hockley’s color cover page to his treatise presenting in all of its boldness. If I do have one qualm about the book, it is that the commentary does not include references to the other Hockley discoveries and publications made to date. I think that a page or two talking about Hockley and discussing the work’s context might benefit readers who might pick this up separately from other works in the series.
At any rate, this is an excellent book if you’re interested in Hockley, crystallomancy, or the history of divination. Those interested in the history of spiritualism might also find it of interest.