The Guild Series is the story of a modern-day magical order that simply calls itself The Guild. The Guild’s magick dates back to the original Rosicrucian age during the European Renaissance and is based on Liber Iadnamad, a fictional lost Enochian grimoire compiled by Dr. John Dee of England following his work with seer Edward Kelley in the late sixteenth century. My non-fiction works also explore Dee and Kelley’s system of Enochian magick, and the story of the Guild is informed by various elements of real magical practice.
The first book in the series, Arcana, began its life during the 1988-89 school year at Saint Olaf College, and the original draft consisted of a fairly conventional fantasy novel that happened to be set in modern-day Minneapolis. The magick in the story was pretty much at Role-Playing-Game levels as opposed to anything resembling realism – fireballs, teleportation on demand, and so forth.
The version published in 2009 by Pendraig Publishing is the third full rewrite of the story, and one of most significant changes is that while the power of the magick is still turned up a bit for dramatic purposes I made an effort to connect those practices with the real Western Esoteric Tradition and rituals that modern-day magicians actually perform. It introduces The Guild and its basic structure, explains how its magical system works, and tells the tale of the order’s battle with a powerful demon.
My longtime study and practice of what is commonly known as Enochian magick is reflected in a number of places in Arcana. This system of magick was revealed to Doctor John Dee and Edward Kelley during a seven-year series of magical operations that took place in the latter part of the sixteenth century.
- “Coronzon” is the name of “that mighty devil” according Dee’s spirit diaries.
- All of the incantations in the book are written in the Angelic language that was revealed to Dee and Kelley.
- The Guild’s greatest magical secrets are said to reside in the lost grimoire of John Dee, which Balzador must obtain in order to perform his binding spell.
- John Dee is said to have been the first Guildmaster.
- The spell that Elspeth casts in the second chapter to empower her magical dagger calls upon Kings and Princes from Dee’s Heptarchia Mystica.
- The Guildmaster installation ceremony in chapter 14 calls upon the Kings of the four directions according to Dee’s Great Table.
- The Angels of Transportation called upon by Michael in chapter 15 are summoned using Dee’s Angelic Keys and conjurations.
While the Guild itself is fictional, its story dovetails with a number of events drawn from the history of the Western Esoteric Tradition.
- The “Rosicrucian scare” really did happen in seventeenth century France.
- The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was a real magical order founded during the late nineteenth century. Today numerous Golden Dawn groups exist that practice rituals based on those of the original order.
- The story of Anna Sprengel is part of the history of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as related by its founders in order to trace the group’s lineage to an older Rosicrucian order operating in continental Europe.
- The A.’.A.’. is a real magical order founded by Aleister Crowley in the early part of the twentieth century that exists to this day.
- During the 1970’s and 1980’s the Central Intelligence Agency did have a “remote viewing” program in which they attempted to train psychics to spy on the Soviet Union using paranormal powers. If there really ever was a “CIA Magick Office” the remote viewing project would have been the perfect cover for it.
In 2011 I wrote the first draft of a second novel in the series, titled Ipswich. After many years,Ipswich is now available from Moonfire Publishing after my original publisher, Pendraig Publishing, made the decision to move away from fiction in order to focus on occult and esoteric titles. Ipswich introduces a new main protagonist and some of the alternate history of the Guild universe, along with a send-up of “tourist magick” such as that found in towns like Salem and New Orleans.