Last night, on one of the Golden Dawn Facebook groups, David Griffin's book, The Ritual Magic Manual, came up during a discussion. I had reviewed this book back in March 2009 when I was doing the "page view" sites (basically, you wrote articles and got paid by the number of page views that the article generated). The review ended up on three sites---it was one of my test articles to see what site was getting the most traffic, and was giving out the best payment.
At the time, I gave The Ritual Magic Manual "two or three stars." If the sites would have required a solid decision (like Amazon does), at the time, I would have given it three stars (rounding up). David Griffin promptly took issue with the fact that I reviewed his book. Being an out of print book, he thought that it should not be reviewed. Why did I review it? Well, David Griffin started to brag that it was selling for a thousand dollars in the used market, which in my mind made it "review worthy."
A question came up last night that prompted this post today. Someone asked how the printing and binding quality of the book was. Honestly, I seen worse, and I have seen better. It was basically the average for the time period. The pages are stitched---looks like machine work. I didn't use my copy a whole lot, having came from a Temple culture that required you to memorize the rituals that you were doing---but I think that the book would have held up to the abuse of daily use.
Is it worth a thousand dollars? Hell, no. But then again, I have never seen an out of print occult book that I thought was worth a thousand. I do know that following the occasional eBay auction and the listings on Amazon that I have never see a copy move for that price. And personally, no one has offered me loads of money to part with my copy....which makes me believe that the true market value is much lower than the thousand dollars I see in the listings.
If you really want a copy of the book, just ask David Griffin. A few years ago, someone scanned the book into a PDF, and Griffin will give a copy of it to anyone that asks him for it. (I do not know who made the PDF, but I know that it was not Griffin---it is a scan, not a conversion from the original files.)
[If anyone wants to read the original review, it is archived on my inactive book review blog---the sites that the review was originally on have dropped off the internet.]
So would I still give it three stars? Probably not. Today, it would probably be two stars---I honestly do not agree with the premise of the book, and was taught that swapping godforms multiple times during a ritual to be dangerous. I still believe that you should memorize the rituals you are using, and should be able to work out the variations on your own.
Of course, you do not need to take my opinion on this book. Griffin will give a copy of the PDF to anyone who asks for it.
And just so you know, Griffin as a writer, does not benefit one dime from the used sales of his book---so do not think that you are somehow robbing him by not buying an used copy of the book.