One Star

One Star

Monday, March 28, 2022

Review: Consorting With Spirits


I had the opportunity to read a draft of  Jason Miller’s new book, _Consorting With Spirits_  a few months back, before it went to the publisher. Since then there have been so many times where I have wanted to recommend it to people asking questions in forums or posting things to their timelines. We've finally hit the point where I can talk about what a great book it is, and I'm super excited to do so. 

It is a wonderful book which explains many things and answers many questions magicians frequently have. I’m excited that it’s about to be available because of how well it addresses many of these concerns and questions that crop up as people begin to explore spirit work in a way which is accessible, comprehensible, and in my opinion – correct. It is, therefore, a book which you should probably have on your bookshelf.

Jason notes in the beginning of the book that he wouldn’t recommend it as a first book on magic because it doesn’t address some of the protection elements and a few other basic elements which magicians may need for this work. Jason has of course addressed those various elements people may need in _Protection and Reversal Magic_, _The Sorcerer’s Secrets_ and _Elements of Spellcrafting_. (Despite that, Jason still addresses these subjects in this book, while maintaining the focus on the actual subject – spirit work). Even with the suggestion that the reader might want to read a book or two before this one, if I had a close friend curious about what magic was this book is what I’d hand them. The book is such an easy brisk read. Jason’s conversational approach makes the material simultaneously accessible to a beginner and interesting for an experienced magician. The book writes about spirits in a way which inspires excitement, wonder, and approachability while depicting vibrant living magical practice grounded in real experience. It presents something tenable that the reader can hold onto and say “Yes, this sounds awesome, I want to do this, I feel like I can do this.”

While reading it to give feedback I ran into points where I didn’t have much that was meaningful to say because the book was so good as it was. Telling potential readers “this is wonderful, it’s fun to read and easy to understand and is full of information, ideas and instruction that you can use,” is helpful for a potential reader trying to decide if they want to read it. It’s not super useful for an author if they want thoughts about stuff they might be considering revising. The book was so easy to read and engaging, the ideas were sensible and the advice and instruction it gave were correct to the point that sometimes I almost forgot I was putting together notes for feedback, because the only feedback I had was “this is great, I like this.”

I spend more time with academic books and translations of historical magic books than I do with contemporary magic books. I’ve been studying and doing magic most of my life. It’s not super frequent that I walk away from a magic book or a magic class with a bunch of ideas for things I want to try out and explore. _Consorting With Spirits_ gave me some new ideas for stuff to try, gave me some clarity on things I’d been considering, and also showed me much simpler answers to things people frequently ask which I probably answer with too much complexity.

The only criticism I really had was that there were points where I felt like a particular subject could be addressed with more depth. As I continued reading I found that most instances that left me feeling that way were addressed as these subjects were returned to and more depth was provided in later parts of the book. The way Jason lays it out, things are introduced with the depth they need at first, and then if appropriate, explored more deeply later. This is probably better than just tossing a bunch of info at the reader. The reader can let the comprehension of the material grow as they read.   

Jason includes some great vignettes from his personal history. These are interesting cool stories which are informative. They also show the reader that this is stuff Jason hasn’t just done once or twice in the past, but these are experiences that Jason has lived and is currently living. They aren’t puffed up exciting stories to impress the reader. They’re very real, very clear examples of what real interactions with spirits are like. Jason illustrates what it’s like to navigate a living world interwoven with real spirits who we don’t always recognize until we learn to engage that component of our reality.

The book doesn’t lean heavily into exploring the history of spirit practices. It references them where appropriate. It references different perspectives and cultures where appropriate. The book isn’t about the history of grimoires, or who conjured what in which monastery or royal court. The book is about running around with your cadre of spirits and working with them to learn things and accomplish things in the present.  

One thing I think a lot of people will like is that Jason gives you options. He shows multiple approaches and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each. He presents different styles that will fit different spiritual persuasions and he talks about what’s similar and what’s different. He gives you the tools to decide for yourself how you want to do things and what you want to do, he gives you things to think about as you explore the options he presents or if you choose to explore other options, and he gives you permission to explore and personalize. The reader walks away fully knowing that they can take pieces of this and leave others and build the approach that is right for them.

Jason is also honest and clear about what approaches fit his experience and maintains his standard of not trying to explain methods or how to work with spirits outside the scope of his own work. As he does this it still leaves the reader open to explore how these techniques and ideas can work in other spiritual contexts. 

If you want a well written, engaging and easy to understand book to help you explore a variety of approaches from a variety of perspectives to engage with spirits while having an experience driven explanation of what that engagement looks like and what considerations to explore while building your practice, read _Consorting With Spirits_.

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If you’re curious about starting conjuration pick up my new book – Luminarium: A Grimoire of Cunning Conjuration


If you want some help exploring the vast world of spirits check out my first book – Living Spirits: A Guide to Magic in a World of Spirits

Now Available: An Audio Class and collection of texts on the Paracelsian Elementals 

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