by Jan Fries, Mandrake of Oxford, £10.99, 340pp, p/bk.
I must say that I found Jan Fries’ new book, Seidways, hard going. Not that this is any fault of Jan’s - but each chapter gave me so much ‘food for thought’ that I had to keep putting the book down to give my brain a rest! Once again, Jan Fries shows himself to be one of the most innovate and creative of contemporary magical authors, and Seidways is, in my opinion, his best effort yet. This is the definitive study of magical trance states - brimming with information on the use of trance in different cultures, as well as a very ‘hands-on’ guide to exploring the ‘seething’ techniques which Jan has demonstrated at the Oxford Thelemic Symposium - and much more. This is the best book on practical magick that I have seen for some time. I really admire the way Jan ‘dances’ across the paradigms, blending historical accounts with contemporary personal accounts of trance states, drawing together perspectives as diverse as Japanese Shamanism to Crowley, NLP to the Typhonian Current. His perspective on the Finnish & Nordic magical practices is fascinating, and his stance on the ‘seidr - seething’ debate is equally instructive. Whilst the purists pick over the shards of history, Jan Fries has given us a very practical body of techniques which any practically-minded magician will be able to use. Buy it, you won’t be disappointed!- Phil Hine