Originally posted on LJ on Sept 2, 2010
You can download this book for free from the Chicago OI web page found here. If you scroll down the page, there are two versions you can pick from. I read the 4th edition/printing.
As for the book: Mechanics of AE Magical Practice by Rittner. This book gets a lot of hype amongst Kemetics. People seem to rave about this book being the be all and end all of AE magic/heka. Honestly? I thought it should have been called The Mechanics of Execration Rites in AE. To me, most of the book was about one of three things- Execration rites (and the components thereof), the tracing of linguistics from AE to Coptic (and how it defines “magic”), or how Heka and magic aren’t really the same- in other words, how our definition of magic can’t properly describe AE magic. Really? The book was sort of boring, IMO. I learned more from Pinch’s book (which I didn’t learn a whole lot from), and her’s was easier to follow. Many times, I’d find myself glassing over- eyes only sort of soaking up what was on the page, because he wasn’t concise and to the point, IMO. He takes the long route to describe things, and to get his point across. Maybe due to my previous exp. with magical whatnot, it was kind of “duh” to me, and didn’t require a lot of explanation (as opposed to someone with no background).
Even so, it was interesting to read about execration rites. However, I don’t like execration rites, and would never perform one. So in the end, I didn’t really take anything away from the book that I can use in the future. I would have liked to have seen him talk about the forms of heka (licking, spitting, binding, etc) in other examples that weren’t related to execration. Sure, that one rite may have all of the components, but I feel it would have been better if we could have seen more examples from a wider cross-section of AE heka practices.
When I talked with others on forums about this book, they made it sound like he covered EVERYTHING in relation to AE heka practices. However, unless I’m reading the wrong book, I really don’t see how this is the case. Unfortunately, I had high hopes for this book, and was somewhat disappointed by what it contained. Considering I didn’t pay for it, it’s a good free resource to have, esp. if you have no background in heka, or it’s practices (or modern magical practices). But in the end, I’d love to see a book that goes more indepth, and covers a wider range of heka practices in the future.