Regular visitors to LAShTAL.COM will know that I take my reviewing responsibilities very seriously. On the one hand, the creative mind behind the product deserves a considered reaction; on the other, the potential purchaser deserves to know whether an investment in the product is, at least to my mind, warranted. To this end, I will not write a review of a book until I’ve read it at least twice – and taken the time to consider it in detail. To be honest, that can sometimes be a bit of a chore! On other occasions, though, the pleasure can be enormous. And so to the subject of this brief review: The 30 Trials Of Ix And The Angels by Mark Durant. A 227-page softcover novel available through Amazon (.com or .co.uk), published by iUniverse and with a cover price of $16.95. Amazon.co.uk sells it for just £9.44. It’s also available as a remarkably cheap Adobe PDF format download, at just £3.92. iUniverse is a “print-to-order” publisher, which often means shoddy or at best “homely” production values. But not in this case. The book is very nicely produced and has survived three readings without significant harm. So, what’s it about? Well, the “hero”, Ix Pantheos is born into a line of Greek Catholics but, like so many others, looks elsewhere for his “self-liberation”, including “Taoism, Discordianism, Thelema” and the rest. The book is an account of his visions and experiences on the path of initiation. It’s a tale of redemption. And, by the gods, it’s good. Imagine, if you will, Crowley’s The Wake World and The Vision And The Voice re-written by Clive Barker, using Robert Anton Wilson as technical adviser. RAW fans will recognise such lines as: “Who is the master who makes the grass green?” The eloquence of the resulting discussion is remarkable: “He found that he could choose not to separate color from form and contemplate the new mysteries of the division he’d imposed.” And how about this for a crystal-clear yet poetic description of a central Thelemic truth: “The starry sky was a blue-violet flesh, for Ix beheld Nuit clearly now, and he was the shining spark of Hadit at her center. They were lovers, divided for Love’s sake…” There are countless passages of the sublimest beauty in this book and many sentences that you will read again and again when you’re struck by their wisdom. The 30 Trials is unorthodox in form and style. It discards plot and pace to become a hypnotic-poetic stream of consciousness and insight that I can’t help but suspect was written while the author experienced for himself the initiation described. There’s ample evidence – at least to my satisfaction! – that the author has spent much time skrying the 30 aethyrs of the Enochian system. By the way, I was wrong: this is not a book about the path of initiation. This faultless book is itself a part of the path of initiation. And I gurantee that when you reach the end of this wonderful, wise, beautifully written exploration of the highest degrees of initiation, you will close the book, breathless with the impact of the visions you have shared with the author. You’ll then open the tome again and read it once more with the same sense of wonder.