The Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult
Philip Bonewits
Sphere, 1974

You would like to be able to practise Magic? Well, here’s your chance. This treatise is by Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits. He holds the world’s first Bachelor of Arts degree in Magic and Thaumaturgy; so there is good reason to suppose that he knows quite a lot about his subject.

That the University of California should give such a degree is of very special interest. No doubt similar distinctions were conferred on priests in ancient Egypt, Chaldea, India, Mexico and even on Druids in England who had passed certain tests, but I think that for the best part of two thousand years no such official recognition has been bestowed by a learned body approved by any State in the Western World.

For many centuries the Christian Church forbade all forms of investigation into supernatural phenomena. Even in Victorian times doctors dared not acknowledge a belief in hypnotism without risking denunciation by the bigoted pundits of their profession and risking the loss of many of their patients who were regular church-goers. So this granting of a BA and Major in Magic is a tremendous breakthrough.

If you want to cast spells or put a curse on someone Mr Bonewits will tell you how to do it. If you would like your mother-in-law to die a horrid death, induce your wealthy and handsome boss to marry you, or cause a beauteous maiden who hates your guts to lead you by the hand to her bed, this is your book—perhaps?

But there is just one little snag—as I have often pointed out in my own writings. To become capable of wielding occult power in a big way is a lifetime’s work. Just following procedures when you have an hour or two to spare won’t get you very far.

In his book Mr Bonewits tells tells you all about Achromatics, Apopsi, Chakra, Dharanis, Empaths, Iatromancy, Kachinas, Mandala, Mantra, Mudra, Placebo and scores of other mysterious matters, but even when you have learned all this by heart it will not even enable you to harm a rabbit unless you make the right use of your own mental and physical powers.

You must learn to empty your mind, to sit motionless for hours on end, to deny yourself certain things for long periods and, above all, to concentrate to the exclusion of all other thoughts on your objective.

In the East fakirs still sit on beds of nails for days on end, or have themselves buried alive for a week or two, and thereby do acquire occult power. But in the West things are very different. We simply cannot give the time to such mortification of the flesh. We must go to the office or travel for our company, cook the dinner, go shopping or change the baby’s nappies.

But do not let those obstacles to causing your rival’s hair to drop out overnight discourage you from reading Mr Bonewits’s book. One does not have to aspire to be a painter to enjoy reading about the lives of great artists, nor does reading accounts of the amazing feats now performed by astronauts necessarily make one crave to visit the moon.

Although I, personally, do not agree with all the author’s beliefs, Real Magic is packed with interesting information. Moreover, it has the great merit of being, easy to read, vigorously cheerful and enlivened by touches of down to earth humour.