Portable Magic, by Donald Tyson

I wax hot and cold on Donald Tyson.  First, I remember strongly disliking The New Magus when I first read it many and many a year ago.  But I developed a stronger fondness for him after his editing job on Agrippa.  Portable Magic seems like a really cool idea — using tarot cards as vehicles for magic.  And the execution is excellent.  He sets up a whole ritual system that seems very well-thought-out and clever.

My only criticism is that it’s a system that could be explained (at least to someone familiar with ritual magic) in a five or ten page pamphlet.  There are other interesting uses of the cards that he never touches on (like, what about using them to develop the siddhi associated with the paths?  What about using them in conjunction with the Hebrew letters to make sigils or words of power?  What about invoking them as archetypes?).

I’ve tested the system, and it works pretty well.  It just seems to leave so much depth unplumbed.  Ah, well.  For what it is, it’s worth the money, and I recommend it.


One Response to “Portable Magic, by Donald Tyson”

  1. Just yesterday I was thinking I need to purchase a new deck to spark my exploration of the symbolic domain. (My old deck is missing “The Chariot” and “Strength”.)

    However, I will probably put my purchase on hold since I just bought Dreamlands – Roleplaying Beyond the Wall of Sleep, based on the H.P. Lovecraft’s mythos. It’s a wonderful book – full of gods and servitors and magical beasts and artifacts. Much to explore here. (Funny how I came to this… somewhere recently I read that some mages use Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulhu in their work. I got curious and read the story online. Then I had a series of dreams wherein I was in the depths of the mythos – drippy, gooey stuff. So I ordered the Xbox game Call of Cthulhu, which arrived last week. The reviews sound promising. I intend to take a look this weekend. Oh, this leads me to another thought. I read somewhere on the net the, to me novel idea, of charging and firing a sigil by way of a video game. http://www.spiralnature.com/magick/chaos/sigilvideogame.html
    Because I play quite a bit, I intend to fire up my favorite sniper rifle and give it a shot.)

    Finally, I had another idea, perhaps a bit of whimsy. I’ve been reading Rolling Stone’s 40th anniversary edition. There’s a special foldout section titled 40 Songs That Changed the World. Each song has three sections – Why the world needed it: Why it matters: and Without this song no:

    So I’m thinking, is there something here I can riff on in my magical pursuits? Hmmm…

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