A buddy gave me a copy of Angel Tech. Is it worth the $10? Sure. Hyatt likes it, as does Leary.

The good side is that the book is extremely accessible. The bad side is that the book is also a not that deep rehash of the Eight Circuit Model. The Eight Circuit Model is fine by itself but the author clearly didn’t want to call it that, so he calls it the “Gear Model” and he supposes that gears are either working and engaged, or they’re not working. Or they’re overspinning which the author refers to as a euphoric state. I can sort of understand this, but the first circuit being ecstatic… I don’t quite know where that would take someone. I suppose those cuddle parties which were all the rage awhile back. While this is a good introduction to psychology, it has less of a practical application than a magician would want. Also the states tend to be over emphasized, so it made the first 150 or so pages a bit of a slog. While I can understand this is intended to be used as an internal model, the book really goes only so far as to say “this is how you should be experiencing these things” and then just drops them on the floor. Once you hit about 30 I would venture people have enough life experience to not really need to understand how this works. It might help someone who still feels emotionally drained or otherwise cannot observe those things about themselves, but conspicuously missing is the paradigm of self denial. Not in the sense that we’re supposed to ignore our needs, wants, and feelings, but that objective assessment can’t happen until we become passive observers of ourselves. Crowley has students start with meditation to try to force themselves into that state, but in my mind this is far easier to achieve if we understand that everything is a mirror.

If you’re angry at something, why are you angry at it? More importantly, what does the anger do for you? How does it affect your handling of the situation? Does it make it better or worse for everyone involved, including yourself?

Books and meditations tend to fall into two categories. This book has everyone living in the emotional moment, which is fine, except when those emotions aren’t justified and are simply reactionary. We live in the age of Cats Who Look Like Hitler. Some people might be offended, but it’s not the cat’s fault it looks like Hitler. Acknowledge the emotion, and let it pass in the river. Other books just have the denial of self, and while that’s great, it also sort of assumes that people’s opinion doesn’t count, which is just as bad. The book errs on the side of acknowledging the emotion, which is in my opinion the better direction. The authors move is calculated.

Later in the book the author supposes that everything in creation is seated on a throne. Our souls sit on the throne of our bodies. The author’s opinion is that DNA is the actual God of this plane, and our souls merely ride around on our DNA. The author goes to great lengths to present the DNA-soul interface, but I think this would make a much more interesting book and only a short chapter gets devoted to this idea. The DNA acts like robots (bodies) from our perspective, so his argument is that it’s important to take care of our robot, but ultimately our interaction with this plane is futile. I’m not huge on this idea, I do think our souls interact with out bodies, but I also think just as our bodies can touch each other, so can our souls. Really the idea here is the sand-on-a-beach idea. A beach is made of individual grains of sand, but until we see a grain of sand individually, we only think of it as a beach. We see that grain of sand because of motion or movement, which we cannot perceive as separate from the object it acts on. The gears spin, or the sand moves.

Later in the book there’s some (dated) cultural commentary, but the book was printed in 1988, so what’s fresh for the author and a good practical idea requires a bit of porting forward for the current time. Things like making a tarot deck are described, and the reader is encouraged to cut out magazines to make each card. Nowadays it would be “fire up photoshop and grab pictures”. Similarly there’s cultural jokes about JFK, and even I had to dig deep to get the joke.

Sprinkled through the book are neat exercises, but I wish the author had written about them more in depth than passing. The exercises aren’t always related to the material immediately at hand, but rather are supposed to be applied over the course of the book. The problem is that the ones in the back tend to be better than the ones in the front, and I really wish an early chapter had discussed them and then gotten into the nuts and bolts. Not everyone can meditate the same way, for instance. My right knee is a replacement, I can’t do the Lotus to save my life. However this is presented early on as a meditation form, and just a bit more effort could have been made to introduce the reader to other asana forms. Anyway, the meditations in particular are a neat approach to well-worn occult topics. The chapter on synchronicity is also a good one, and while I don’t think that synchronicity happens because of “reality selection” in a quantum sense (yes this is another book that uses pop quantum mechanics to try to explain things), I do think it’s important to treat every event as a dialogue between oneself and the Godhead.

Was is worth the $10? Sure. But, if you’re an experienced magician, be ready to skip around to find the good stuff.