Fox Magic – Handbook of Chinese Witchcraft and Alchemy in the Fox Tradition
978-1-914153-07-5 (pbk) 168pp
Special “Altar” edition, jacketed case laminate, colour images
978-1-914153-08-2 (Jacketed cased laminate) 172pp
£30 UK Order
$40 USA Order
Fox Magick is both delightful and unusual in that it covers a fascinating and rarely discussed Fox spirit/deity rooted in China and Japan and which is honoured as both. To clarify the Fox goddess began as an animistic spirit which, in various places and forms was later also worshipped as a goddess. I am pleased to review and recommend this fascinating book because I am particularly interested in this entity because I lived in Japan for four years, studied and then wrote a book about Shinto, and became intimately familiar with the Fox spirit Kitsune and her deity form Inari Sama.
Kitsune was seen there as Inari’s avatar or familiar but sometimes Inari appeared in the form of the nine-tailed Kitsune fox. I knew that this remarkable divine spirit had originally come from China, but knew nothing much about its origins and was delighted to get this book and learn so much more about her and her ancient origins and connections with the Taoist magick of China.
Jason Read has done an expert job walking the reader through the vast kaleidoscopic myths, legends and magical practices of the ‘Fox Magic’ cults and sorcery as well as the beliefs, myths and practices still alive today in China by a variety of sects and lineages. Spirits and deities do evolve in time and his description of this is well done and fascinating for I am a devotee of such things.
The beginning drops us right into the legends of the fox spirit in China and then offers a related segway into the fox spirit in Japan, showing one of the Inari shrines with fox guardians I know so well. As is common in Asia, such spirits and deities are not all good or all bad, and the dark fox spirits are discussed both thoroughly and in-depth as entities that can possess and manipulate people. Mr Read really dives deeply into the subject of many sorts of legends and continually broadens and organizes what is clearly his vast knowledge of the subject in a clear and interesting manner. He weaves this with his knowledge of Taoism, Chinese magic and much more. As a Tantric, I was surprised to discover that the Fox spirit originated with the Dakini which had never occurred to me! This was a fantastic and important intercultural connection and was riveting. I was also amazed by his explanation of the evolution of the fox spirit as it was elevated to being a deity, the fox goddess Hu Xian (later Hu Li Jing). As such evolution is common in Shinto and other spiritual practices. The stories about the Japanese Kitsune and the kitsunebi were familiar to me, but seeing the interconnections between earlier Chinese beliefs and their spread into Japan was particularly fascinating. Mr Read’s writing style is clear, concise, full of information and also easy to follow as he navigates complex myths, legends, practices and histories. A big plus for me were the rites and spells associated with The Fox spirit/deity in both China and Japan, all were completely new to me! This final section of the book is filled with clear, applicable and fascinating glyphs, sigils, rites and clear instructions and explanations of the various magickal systems for the working with Fox deity. I can not recommend this book highly enough and this book should become part of your library.
I am thankful to be given a chance to read and interview this book! I have recently written books on the animistic wolf spirit and its evolution into wide-ranging cults and magick and will admit that this book delighted me to no end as a fellow devotee of feral spirits and entities