Arcana Cover“Balzador was once a mighty Demon, but after opposing his master Coronzon he found himself exiled on Earth inhabiting a human body. Only one way remains for him to return home – binding together the world’s magick and joining in a war against the Archons, sworn enemies of the Demons, that would upset the cosmic balance of power. Standing in his way is the Guild, a magical order founded during the European Renaissance that holds the secrets of practical magick he desperately needs to complete his task.

After a terrible magical accident the Guild is divided and distracted. Guild initiate Michael Niemand and A.’.A.’. initiate Samantha Davis must unite the members of their respective magical orders against Balzador’s machinations if any of them hope to survive. Complicating their task further, the government magick office has taken an interest in the Demon and the Guild and seeks to use both for its own purposes. As Balzador’s plans unfold, the two magicians struggle to stop the binding spell and find a way to destroy the immortal Demon. But will their efforts prove too late?”

Arcana is my first published novel. It was released in December 2009 by Pendraig Publishing.

It 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 published version 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.

Trivia: 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.

Click here to buy a copy of Arcana now. You can also check out my photo essay of locations in the novel by chapter here. In modern web browsers you can access it from the pull-down menus at the top of the page.