Sunday, June 21, 2009

Spirit Speak: Knowing and Understanding Spirit Guides, Ancestors, Ghosts, Angels, and the Divine.

Book Review:

Spirit Speak: Knowing and Understanding Spirit Guides, Ancestors, Ghosts, Angels, and the Divine.

By Ivo Dominguez Jr.

Living in and around Philadelphia, I had heard a lot about Ivo Dominguez over the years, but never got to meet him personally until just recently. I ran in Buddhist and Ceremonial Magick circles, he ran more with the Pagan crowd. There was a lot of overelap, and people kept telling me that we should meet, but it just never happened. When I saw that my publisher, New Page Books, had picked up Ivo’s book Spirit Speak, I figured this would be a good chance to see what this guy is all about. If I had only known how good he really was, I would have made a special effort to meet him years ago.

Spirit Speak is exactly what it says it is and more. Many books like this tend to try to make encyclopedic lists of spirits and mythical creatures that stem from different cultures the world over. These occult taxonomies are interesting to read but have little to offer in the way of practical information. Dominguez avoids this pitfall by dealing with large general groups of spirits that the practitioner is likely to encounter, and than makes subdivisions within each category. Rather than rely exclusively upon tradition for these divisions, the author parses on the basis of the observable qualities of the beings. In so doing he provides a genuinely useful taxonomy of the occult that describes the nature, behaviors, and ways in which we can communicate with the spirits.

But the book offers more than just information on spirits. In the first four chapters he presents his vision of the subtle body, examples of various levels of spirit contact, common impediments to communication, and exercises for facilitating contact and for dealing with problems that can arise from spirit contact. These potent exercises are original and won’t be found anywhere else. The emerald heart technique alone is worth the price of admission. These exercises and rituals are fleshed out further in the appendixes of the book.

The book is not written in the voice of a Witch or Ceremonial Magician, though it is clear Dominguez has a profound understanding of both. This book is written simply from the perspective of one who knows. Spirits are spirits after all, and tech is tech no matter what tradition of magick or witchcraft you approach from. Not to be smug, but after twnty plus years of intense study and practice, there are few occult books that I learn a lot from anymore. I learned quite a bit from this book, which is the highest recommendation that I can give.

Jason Miller,

Summer Solstice 2009


Kenaz Filan said...

Ivo was a huge influence on my writing. He taught me that it's possible to write books which challenge their readers. After all the reams of pap churned out by the various Pagan presses, it's easy to forget that.

IMHO, Ivo is one of the real unsung treasures of the East Coast Pagan scene: he's one of the most profound thinkers and writers out there, and a damn fine ritual leader to boot. If you ever get a chance to see him in action, I highly recommended you check out one of his ceremonies.

Jason Miller, said...

I will soon. I finally met him a couple months ago and lectured at his shop.