The Little Work: Magic to Transform Your Everyday Life (Llewellyn, 2020) by Durgadas Allon Duriel is exactly the kind of book I want to see more of. A fresh, modern take on inner alchemical work, this primer text will help you weave magic into the mundane. On that count, Duriel begins by reminding us that there is no such thing as the mundane. Rather, it’s about seeing the magic in what we otherwise have always perceived as the mundane.
Well-researched, thorough, and the kind of beginner text on contemporary magic that we should be sharing with those new to the craft, The Little Work builds confidence, knowledge, practical experience, and gives you the tools to approach the craft with intelligence, discipline, and also compassion. Duriel also inspires you to trust your intuition and lean in to your very personal, unique connection with Spirit.
You get the basics of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life and it’s an #ownvoices book on the subject, which I appreciate. For instance, I love the Lurianic Kabbalah principle that Duriel shares: All things hold a divine spark within them, and it is our sacred duty to liberate these sparks, which we do through awakening spiritually and serving others. That sums up the thesis of The Little Work, and how that little work becomes your Great Work.
Duriel provides a wide swathe of magical education in an easy-to-ready, digestible text. Learn about chakra work, Hermetic philosophy, and how we can look at magical practices through basic psychology. He explores the intersection of magic and the subconscious mind, for instance, and the psychological power of symbolism. The basics he offers on cognitive behavioral therapy is indispensable. Duriel is a licensed clinical social worker and holistic health practitioner with a diverse portfolio of knowledge and experience to offer, which you’ll find fully accessible to you in this book.
There are step by step guides for High Magic rituals that aren’t hard to incorporate into daily life. Duriel walks you through the fundamentals of ritual magic, and one of the easiest ways to get started is through the tarot. Artful rituals using a deck of tarot cards will help you amplify intent and manifestation.
One of my favorite parts of the book is what Duriel presents on the Holy Dark. This is the dark of the new moon. This is the underworld journey, the Plutonian-Scorpio force. The Holy Dark is what drives alchemical transformation.
Sigil magic for beginners, color correspondences, correspondence reference tables galore in fact, and instructions on designing your own spells will give any beginner witch the confidence to practice the sacred arts. There’s so much in here to help you get started on your first grimoire or book of shadows.
He also talks about how to navigate failure, when magic fails, meeting your own ego and dealing with it. Duriel coaches you through ways for overcoming your own doubt. How do you navigate suffering with magical practice in a way that keeps you grounded, balanced, and hopeful?
To integrate magical practice into the mundane in a seamless way, The Little Work examines the various types of magical practice for mundane concerns, subdivided into Fire, Water, Air, Earth, and then Spirit, with Spirit being the Great Work. These elemental understandings of a personal magical practice become the basis of your spirituality.
The insights he offer are simple, yet powerful. For instance, commit to a few moments of relaxation in ritual space every day. Learn progressive muscle relaxation. That in itself is deeply magical. He shares banishing rituals, like the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.
A great way I would recommend working through The Little Work to augment your personal magical practice is to use a form of bibliomancy to guide what you read every day from the book. In the morning, sit with the book in your ritual space, relax, ground yourself, feel yourself connected energetically to the physical book itself, and then let it direct you to what to focus on today. The page you open to will indicate the section of the book to study. Read a little ahead or a little after to find the closest section title and start there.
I received a digital ARC of the text for prospective review and I’m proud to recommend this to anyone new to the exploration of modern witchcraft, ceremonial magic, or psychic development. Duriel is a gentle mentor who will inspire you to be more proactive with your magical practice. This book is as wise as it is practical.
What is magic? Duriel’s definition: the science and art of causing change in conformity with will through subtle means. And that is exactly what The Little Work teaches.
FTC Disclosure: In accordance with Title 16 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Part 255, “Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” I received an ARC of The Little Work from the author for prospective review. Everything I’ve said here is sincere and accurately reflects my opinion of the book.