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Stealing Fire From Heaven: The Rise of Modern Western Magic

Reviewed by Jason Mankey

Nevill Drury was the rare Pagan studies writer who wrote for both a lay and an academic audience. Stealing Fire From Heaven: The Rise of Modern Western Magic is in many ways a reflection of Drury; it’s thorough enough to be taken seriously by scholars, and so thoroughly accessible that it should appeal to those without an academic
background. Stealing Fire works on two different levels. Much of it is simply an introduction to many of the various Western magical traditions that have become popular over the last two hundred years. The second level of the book is focused on how those traditions perceive “deity.”

The title of the book comes from a quote by English artist and occultist Austin Osman Spare who once said “the aim of magic is to steal fire from heaven.” (3) Drury himself elaborates on that point in the book’s introduction, telling the reader that his aim in Stealing Fire “is to show that, for many practitioners, the practice of magic has an essentially spiritual intent.” (3) Drury doesn’t always succeed in this task with every tradition he outlines, but when he does the results are enlightening.

Read the full review [NOTE: Opens as a pdf.]

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