The net.goth scene of the Internet world is very familiar with the works of John J. Coughlin, aka the Dark Wyccan. From his web based projects at waningmoon.com such as the NYC Pagan Resource Guide, Corporate Goth and the Encyclopedia Gothica to name a few, John has infused himself into the net.goth scene as a major contributor whose efforts are wide reaching and provide excellent resources for the scene.
This time around however, John steps offline to deliver his book Out of the Shadows, sub-titled An Exploration of Dark Paganism and Magick. Within this volume he discusses things he's learned and picked up along the path of magick work, condensed and delivered here as a culmination of over fifteen years of study and work within this scene and craft.
John's Out of the Shadows is a book that covers many topics besides dark magick and Paganism. It also delves into darker scenes with discussions of goth, vamp, etc. and touches upon psychological aspects that move beyond magick and borrow - as well as lend themselves to - the know thyself credo. If one is expecting to find spells, incantations or any such within Out of the Shadows they are going to be sorely disappointed.
Also those that have been within and practicing such crafts for some time will find disappointment within these pages for it is written with a beginner's thoughts in mind. Refreshing in its simplicity, it attempts not to provide power but understanding. While the ten million or so "magic" books available on the market strive to "arm" modern warlocks and witches with spells and ritual explanations, Out of the Shadows instead touches on the inner workings of the person rather than the outer workings around them. While I myself didn't find anything particular that was helpful within these pages, that is because I'm somewhat experienced with this type of subject. Those that are looking towards darker paths will, however, benefit greatly with reading this before setting their feet on that path.
I also found the discussions of grounding and closure very refreshing. Many of today's half-assed "magic" books rarely touches upon proper grounding techniques and closings, and those that follow these types of situations will only find themselves snagged by rampant energy left "lying around" to be tripped over.
Out of the Shadows is however not a complete book for modern dark pagans or practitioners - it is instead a beginner's guide and first-step manual. While some of it's psychological aspect explanations, and scene explanations, might find themselves a bit pedantic and steeped deeply in personal experiences that may find themselves hard to lend to others, the book accomplishes it's goal overall of being a beginner's handbook and guide to help them determine not so much as where to go, but whether or not they're headed in the correct direction.
"Out of the Shadows: An Explanatio
of Dark Paganism and Magick" by John J. Coughlin
Published by 1stBooks Library
Copyright © 1997, 2001 by John J. Coughlin