Occult Author Spotlight: Jan Fries
I picked up all of Fries works a few years ago at Edge of the Circle, an occult bookstore in Seattle, which happens to stock these otherwise hard to find books. The main reason these books are hard to find is they are published by a U.K. publisher and have to be special ordered. However, it’s well worth your while to special order these books, as there is a wealth of information in them about diverse topics including Norse Runes, Seith shamanic practices, freestyle shamanic practices, in sights on the Tao, and practical magic experiments and exercises.
Fries is from and resides in Germany, and is apparently a musician, as well as a writer. For his books, he draws on Taoism, Celtic magic, Thelema, Maat Magic, and Austin Osman Spare’s techniques for automatic drawing as inspirations and sources which inform his own approaches to magic.
I have only read two of Fries works at this time: Visual Magick, and Living Midnight: Three Movements of the Tao. I found both works to be informative and filled with exercises that could easily be incorporated into a magician’s practice. At the same time, Fries definitely shows that he is able to provide his own perspective to the material. While he draws on Taoist and Buddhist material, he also makes it clear that he has his own approach to using the material, which is informed by a desire to make it as practical as possible. This is a very useful approach for any magician to utilize and Fries models it admirably.
I haven’t read his other three works, though I do have them. However, having spoken to some other magicians who have read his works, I’ve been told that they are of a similar quality as the other two works I mentioned, and I definitely believe it. What also impresses me about this author’s works is the bibliography and level of research that clearly has gone into each work. While I’d like to see more overt in-text citations, Fries does make an active effort to quote the works of others, which adds to the overall efficacy of the writing.
I highly recommend getting copies of Fries work. It’s a worthy investment for any magician’s library and will provide you a unique perspective on magical practices.
Below is a list of Fries’s works. It’s definitely in the interest of any magician to pick up Fries’s writing and incorporate it in your personal practice.
- Visual Magick: A Handbook of Freestyle Shamanism (Mandrake, 1992, 2001)
- Helrunar: Manual of Rune Magick (Mandrake, 1993 & 2002)
- Seidways: Shaking, Swaying and Serpent Mysteries (Mandrake, 1996)
- Living Midnight: Three Movements of the Tao (Mandrake, 1998)
- The Cauldron of the Gods: Manual of Celtic Magick (Mandrake, 2003)
Taylor Ellwood is the author of Space/Time Magic, Inner Alchemy: Energy Work and the Magic of the Body, and Pop Culture Magick, among other works. You can visit his blog at http://magicalexperiments.wordpress.com/ and his website at http://www.thegreenwolf.com/.
©2009 Taylor Ellwood
Edited by Sheta Kaey