Review by Mike Gleason
Ecstatic Ritual: Practical Sex Magic by Brandy Williams © 2008
This is a revision (perhaps enhancement is a better word) of a book issued in its original form twenty years ago. During the intervening decades there have been many changes. Some of these changes have had a major impact on the world of sex magick (the AIDS epidemic is one example) while others are less obvious (more works by female writers). Nonetheless, they have all contributed to changes. Ms. Williams did an excellent job the first time around, and has made only minor changes to this second edition. Unfortunately, there are numerous dropped words in the text which should have been caught during the revision process, but which slipped through.
Ms. Williams has produced a very useable “101” book on a topic which is slowly gaining acceptance within the magickal community. For far too long the topic of sex magick (or, in my opinion, more properly, sexual magick) has been hidden away from the average magick worker, restricted to “higher initiates” and often relegated to the Left-Hand path or dark magick (don’t even get me started on that topic). Whether or not one uses sexual magick, everyone should be familiar with the concepts and tenets.
One of the few major alterations to the text is in Chapter Seven dealing with bodily fluids. AIDS has caused major changes in attitudes and understanding. Appendix Three deal with ethics which is a topic that is seriously under-dealt with in most books on magick. Most authors dismiss the topic with a few words or sentences. At three pages this is a good beginning, but could still benefit from a further expansion.
My overall impression of this book is quite favorable. It covers the subject well, while still allowing for further explorations. Ms. Williams’ style is very readable and her work definitely stands the test of time.
For those readers who are uncomfortable with the topic of sexual magick all I can say is “Don’t buy this book.” For those looking for all kinds of salacious suggestions, I say “Don’t buy this book.” If, on the other hand, you want some sound ideas on the use of sexual energy in your magick, this is the book for you.
Ms. Williams does her best to be gender- and judgment-neutral in terms of the various potential partnerships, although she has a few “unacceptable” scenarios (which should be upheld by any competent, caring individual).
Although it is not an area of great interest to me, I found the book well-written and informative.