Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Shem Grimoire by Nick Farrell (Book Review)

Table of contents page from the Shem Grimoire.
The first thing that a reader needs to know about this book is that this book is not for beginners. This is not a history of the Shem ha-Mephorash and the evolution of its associated angels, nor is it heavy on theory and philosophy. No, this is a grimoire with just enough history and theory to orient a Zelator Adept Minor (Z.A.M.) before turning them loose on actual working with the Shem Angels.

The second thing that a reader needs to know about this book is that it is meant to be used. One of its center pieces is a ritual to actually get in contact with a Shem angel (one of the 72 angels created from the so-called 72 lettered name of God...which actually has 216 letters in it, but who is counting?). There is also an interesting Middle Pillar ritual, complete with head movements inspired by Abraham Abulafia (a mystic of the Kabbalah bent).

(I might write a blog entry about the rituals contained in this book after I work with them for awhile. Or maybe is always hard to tell with me.)

Having worked with some of the Shem angels previously (using a combination of techniques grabbed from Golden Dawn, the Franz Bardon school, and ancient paganism), I mainly focused on the listings for the angels--the place I start with most books that list the uses and powers of spirits that I have previously worked with...because if they get that section wrong, then I have to wonder about the accurancy of the rest of the material.

Based on Nick Farrell's descriptions of the Shem angels, I am confident that he has actually worked with them. While there are minor differences in the functions of the angels as Farrell describes them compared to my own experiences, the differences are so insignificant that one can see that they are based on differences in perception of the operators involved, and not ignorance.

But one does not have to have extended working experience to double-check the general function of the angels. One of the things that I learned while working with the Bardon system was that the angels ruling the important positions of one's birth chart has a certain amount of influence over the individual. If one sits down with their birth chart and look at the position of their rising sign and their planets, one can often see how those planets and sensitive points of one's birth chart is colored by the influence of the angels that rule those astrological degrees. (This is a point that Farrell also mentions in his book--he suggests what order one might want to work with the angesl ruling one's birth chart.)

(Important note--remember to round up when doing this. For instance, Leo 20 degrees, 33 minutes is actually the 21st degree of Leo, not the 20th.)

Take for instance, the position of Mercury in my own birth chart, Leo 20 degrees, 33 minutes. This places my Mercury, the planet of communication and writing, in the section of the zodiac ruled by the Shem angel Meheshiiah (Mem-Heh-Shin-Yod-Heh). Given that I am one of the less evolved types, the influence of this angel tends to be more dubious and negative than positive. One of the things that Farrell says about Meheshiiah is, "There is little in the way of conciliation about him and Meheshiiah is unhappy to make a peace which does not involve total capitulation." Many people who have dealt with me will nod knowingly at this point, because I will not accept partial peace offerings, preferring to remain at war with people instead--a trait that often shows up in my writing.

I am giving this book five out of five stars.

The Shem Grimoire is limited to two hundred hard-cover copies, and is available from Lulu. 

[Disclosure: This review is based on a pre-proof stage file copy given to me by the author for review purposes.]


Parzival418 said...

216 is also 6*6*6

Anne North said...

I have just ordered my copy of this book, really looking forward to something that sounds so practical. I am also a BIG fan of anything Abulafia. He is pretty much known for being in the know of correct pronunciation of god names and also meditation on the sefirot. Cant wait.