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This is my first book written by Penczak, and I liked it so much that I went ahead and bought two more of his books by the time I had read up to the third chapter.
Anyone who reads books about magick knows that the market is flooded with authors that are all fluff and no substance. And then of course, there are those on the other extreme that write about magick in a manner that is utterly dry, condescending, and devoid of everything that makes magick worth learning in the first place.
Similar in style to Scott Cunningham, Penczak is one of those rare authors in the field that can take a potentially complicated subject and present it to the reader in a delightfully simple and practical manner, while clearly speaking from a wide breadth of knowledge and experience. He maintains a fast and friendly pace throughout each chapter that not only explains the concepts of Instant Magick but inspires you to START USING THEM INSTANTLY!
More than once I found myself torn between putting down the book to try out the next sample spell or meditation, or reading on to the next chapter.
Although more experienced practitioners are sure to find a lot of familiar material here, I doubt they'll find such a wide variety of it, contained in such an easily digestible package.
For newcomers, especially Wiccans, this book is simply a "must have." I certainly wish I it had been around when I started out!
So why only 4 stars? Well, I want to make clear that in my opinion, Penczak is a 5 Star Author. I just felt that he missed the mark slightly with this title.
First and foremost, a fair amount of the book is actually a collection of meditations and breathing exercises that are probably best (or most easily) performed at home or at least with some level of privacy. In this sense, the title is perhaps a little misleading.
I wanted to see more examples of how Penczak himself performs Instant Magick in "real world" situations - while stuck on a crowded subway car or standing in shopping lines, etc. While he certainly provides the tools and the encouragement to do so yourself, I would have liked to hear more from his own day-to-day experiences in which spells are cast "instantly" while dealing with the hustle and bustle of the external world.
Which leads me to my next minor criticism, while he encourages the reader to find their own personal and spontaneous style of practice, the contents of the book are predominantly restricted to innovations on Wiccan traditions. This is of course great for Wiccans, but I would have liked to see a little more variety and creativity in his examples. I think some mention of Chaos Magick or perhaps a little advice on how one could employ popular culture as part of their spellwork (if the reader is so inclined) would have been appropriate here. For a book that is meant to present a new, adaptive approach to magick, it lacked some of the modern creativity I had hoped for.
Lastly, there was, in my opinion, an over-abundance of traditional magickal correspondence lists (astrological, herbal, stones, Deities, etc) throughout the book followed by a whole section of Correspondence Charts in the Appendix. Although he includes these lists with the intention of giving the reader a variety of options to pick and choose from, in my opinion, these lists may potentially divert the reader from far more vast resources - their own imagination and creativity.
For most experienced practitioners, these lists are already well-known territory. For beginners, they are probably better learned elsewhere, more throughly, and prior to employing them with the techniques of "Instant Magick."
I personally felt these last pages would have been much better spent discussing in more detail the potential of using one's imagination to forge new paths in the realm of magickal practice rather than picking and choosing from already well-traveled routes.
If I sound excessively critical, it's only because this book is in fact so well written, that for me, the few imperfections it has were all the more noticeable.
But all criticism aside, this book is just too good to pass up. Don't miss it!