One time I was in a cafe in the heart of London, talking to Earl Marlowe, my voodoo mentor featured in my bestselling Doktor Snake’s Voodoo Spellbook. This was in the mid-1980s. We were discussing grimoires (magic books). I’d just bought a new edition of Aleister Crowley’s Magick In Theory & Practice, and was extolling the virtues of it.

Earl, however, was not impressed. He picked up the book, skimmed through it, then said: “It don’t have power. It’s by a pretender.”

He then looked me in the eye and said, “You wanna know the greatest conjure book in the world? It’s the Holy Bible.”

Being young at the time, I started arguing, saying, “Come on, no-one is into the Bible anymore – except God-squad types.”

Earl dismissed this with a wave. “I’ll tell you something else,” he said. “Moses was the greatest conjure man that ever lived too. The names Moses knowed to call God by… well, that was what gave him the power to conquer Pharaoh and divide the Red Sea.”

Earl then picked up Crowley’s Magick In Theory & Practice and threw it in the bin.

“Christ,” I said. “That cost me twenty quid.”

“It ain’t no use to you,” replied Earl. “There’s more power in that prayer book you was telling me about – the one given to you as a kid in church.”

Earl was referring to a Book of Common Prayer (pictured above) given to me when I was five by an old lady in church – the Norman church in a village called Stewkley, north-west of London. it was inscribed ‘To a good little boy…'”

“The way to look at it,” continued Earl, “is that most of these fancy modern magic books is intellectualizing. They all clever words. But no power. Whereas that prayer book has power spilling out of it – your own personal power. And that’s what you should be seeking. The clever words is empty. But the deep-rooted emotion in the prayer book will reach your soul.”

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