The Book of Results
Ray Sherwin, Lulu Publishing 2005, p/bk, 86pp, ISBN 1-4116-2558-7
The Book of Results was first released (by Ray Sherwin's own publishing venture The Morton Press) in 1978, and it has the dual distinction of not only being the first book to explain and refine the now infamous sigil magic method of Austin Osman Spare, but also to be one of the earliest texts of the nascent Chaos Magic movement. I bought my first copy of Results in 1979, and was immediately impressed by its lucidity and down-to-earth practicality, and soon after reading through it, went off and began my first experiments with sigils.
This new edition, published through the good offices of magical author Phillip Cooper, is basically a re-presentation of the 1987 Revelations 23 Press edition of Results, with the addition of six essays by Ray, most of which originally appeared in occult magazines such as Chaos International or Nuit-Isis, and some of which found a home on this very website. Only one of these - "Hocus Pocus" - which deals with aromatic substances both in antiquity and contemporary aromatherapy - is entirely new to me, but its nice to see all these essays - a fine selection of Ray's ability to mix erudition, wit and practicality - gathered together in one place.
Ray's contribution to the development of Chaos Magic - and indeed contemporary magic in general, has been to some extent elided by the work of those who followed him, so hopefully this reissue of Results will see his contributions being reassessed. Perhaps we can look forwards to a new edition of Ray's other major work - The Theatre of Magick?
The art and practice of sigil magic has received a good deal of attention (some might say too much) over the last twenty-odd years. As the work which did so much to popularise the technique of sigil magic, The Book of Results, to my mind, still forms the best possible introduction to this method, and with the added bonus of the selected essays from Ray, ranging from his observations on the use of aromatics in ritual to "Demons of Habit", makes this a definite 'must have' for the practising magician. - Phil Hine