Flash Review: The Devil’s Raiments

The Devil’s Raiments, from Three Hands Press, is a book dedicated to the various ways in which clothing (or the lack thereof) becomes part of spiritual practice.  We have sections devoted to the body, the head, the face, the hand, the waist, and the foot.

Briefly: The book has quite a lot of Chumbley, Cochrane, Manly P. Hall, and other recent authors.  Now, if you like your books with a good dose of these guys, and if you’re more interested in mythopoeic associations between vastly disparate traditions, you’ll want to get this.  On the other hand, if you’re like me and you want to see less “filtered” folklore, primary sources, and references to more than a couple grimoires, you probably won’t want to shell out for it.

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Published in: on August 5, 2013 at 10:13 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’ve read your blog and listened to your podcast. Very interesting.
    And now I’m wondering … those users of the grimoires in the 16th century … did they really expect to see a daemon materialize because of their incantations? I guess that if they tried they failed. How did they they handle that experimental failure?
    And the writes of the grimoires … did they simply copy other books? And if they innovated, did they just write down variations or did they really try them in practice? And then how did they handle the (inevitable) failures?
    Is there any historical data on that? How did it really work in those times? It is very difficult to understand.
    I know that people made a lot of jokes about alchemy, and didn’t Always take it seriously, even in the 16th century. But even alchemy had some basis in demonstrable fact (real chemical processes). But this cannot be said of magic.
    I hope my question is somewhat clear …

  2. Thank you! The first book looks especially promising.

  3. I have to say, that’s a very fair and even-handed review of a book that’s obviously not your cup of tea! Just to clarify my own rationale for writing my book, it’s certainly never been my intention to produce any sort of definitive ‘history’ of anything, and neither do I ever claim such – I’m guessing anyone looking for a ‘proper’ historical book with fully annotated sources on the subject of ritual clothing wouldn’t be purchasing one that describes itself as an exploration of the mystical arcana that might be enciphered in the exterior arrayments of the witch!

    Being first and foremost a practitioner, with the intent of writing for other current and future pracitioners of a certain bent, I am more focussed on function than the history of forms, being forever reminded of the admonition to be careful of clinging to forms as though they were the very thing of magic itself. Accordingly, I approach these remnants as ‘vessels’, and seek to perceive what magical current might inform them, ever aware that such understandings, being subject to evolution of thought and exportation from culture to culture, have never been and never will be ‘fixed’. Moreover, it is quite certain that my perceptions will be coloured by the lens of my own eye, and subject to the flame of my own mind, which I don’t pretend to hide. For these reasons, and many more besides, I fully expect that it will not be to everyone’s tastes – after all, what is!


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