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On Becoming an Alchemist: A Guide for the…

On Becoming an Alchemist: A Guide for the Modern Magician

by Catherine Maccoun

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8315145,226 (3.23)5



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Having read several self-help and personal-improvement books over the past few years, the recent trends are hard to ignore. Most of the books on the market covering these themes tend to simplify life changes and introspective reevaluation to the point of claiming it is as easy as saying ‘Yes I Can’. With the popularity of The Secret and guided imagery, even talking to yourself is taken out of the equation, and simply wishing or imagining personal improvements is supposed to be enough to bring about radical change.

So reading Catherine MacCoun’s book, On Becoming an Alchemist: A Guide for the Modern Magician, is a much needed breath of fresh air in what has always seemed a cliché and uninspired genre.

MacCoun’s title and subject matter may at first put some readers off with its references to arcane alchemical arts and magical properties. But what she has actually managed is to offer a fresh perspective into how people make choices, perceive the world around them, and live their lives. She does so by introducing us to an innovative blend of spiritualism and psychology, in much the same way that Alchemy itself blends scientific observation with objective mysticism.

Granted, chapters like the one that uses scenes and terminology from Harry Potter to illustrate a point may take the magician aspect of the book a tad too far for some people. But the message within is much more grounded in reality than some of the ‘guided imagery’ feel-good books cluttering the bookstore shelves these days.

The true test of any book of this nature is the ability of the reader to glean something constructive and useful from its pages, even if they do not buy into the author’s overall message. Readers of MacCoun’s latest will undoubtedly have no trouble walking away wiser and more aware, no matter their take on becoming a Modern Magician. And that, as they say, is magic. ( )
  smichaelwilson | Jan 5, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Couldn't get into it. The worst of pretentious wicca mixed with pop self-help. ( )
  archphoenix | Dec 5, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

I'd posted a review of this when I first received it, but then I gave the book away and removed it from my library, as this was prior to the 'Collections' capability.

Of course, my review went away, and now LT wants a review from me because I received this as an Early Review copy. I can't recall what I wrote in my first review, but I can recall enough to post the following review:

This book has nothing to do with alchemy. It has nothing to do with the evolution of science. This has nothing to do with modern practices. It has nothing to do with changing any material into any other material. The title is a lie. This is a poorly written self help book, which only embraces the work alchemy as an allusion to transformation. The book itself is filed with platitudes and poorly conceived pop culture references. In some ways this is like a web page that drops hundreds of terms at the bottom of the page in an attempt to get more search engine hits. I read this book because I promised to read it and review it, and then I gave it away to the first person who expressed any interest at all, and the shipping was on me. ( )
  laurion | Oct 2, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I didn't find this book all that interesting. It really just seems like a re-hash of many other books of it's ilk. If you haven't read endless books on the subject, you may really enjoy it. I would recommend it to those who just want to know more about the subject. ( )
  CherylsPearls | Aug 6, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book changed my life and opened up for me ways of seeing differently. It helped me along some paths I had already started down, opened up some new paths, and showed me some paths better avoided. I highly recommend it for anyone wishing to improve and grow. ( )
  the_blue_danube | Jul 19, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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Each of us has the ability to perform magic and to transform our lives and our world for the better. True magicians don't recite incantations or spells says Catherine MacCoun, a modern-day alchemist. They don't cause things to appear or disappear. Instead, they take what already exists - whatever they're presented with - and transmute the harmful into the helpful, the useless into the valuable. Here is a guide to recognizing, cultivating, and using the magic of your inner wisdom and intuitive power. This book helps readers to understand how the alchemical transmutation is achieved - not through trying to change circumstances, but through changing themselves. At its essence, practising alchemy involves developing an understanding of our relationship to the situation, person, or object in question-and realizing that by changing our viewpoint, we can exert influence over people and events. The alchemical principles presented by MacCoun can be applied to all the ordinary challenges of life including relationships, family life, work, health, finances, and creative endeavours.… (more)

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