"Hume and Drury explore magical experience and offer an intriguing, ambitious work that is well-researched, well-written, and entertaining."
"As William James's Varieties of Religious Experience is to religion (as a value rather than a doctrinal or rational formulation), Lynne Hume and Nevill Drury's Varieties of Mystical Experience is to magic (as a direct spiritual experience incorporated into paganism, witchcraft, and shamanism and involving a variety of techniques for altering one's consciousness and fathoming the unfathomable). By combing worldwide traditions past and present, the authors determine the pragmatic and even necessary roles of the emotional, intuitive, and imaginative in the development of energy patterns between material and nonmaterial realities. Following in the line of Susan Greenwood, Hume and Drury explore an often neglected and mostly ridiculed mental process concerning the non-ordinary as a possibly additional source of vital and useful knowledge. As with its Jamesian predecessor, this solidly researched and fascinatingly provocative book is and will remain a classic."
"This book is an excellent review of magical and mystical practices from those of indigenous peoples to those present in cyberspace today. A fascinating and detailed history that covers several thousand years from ancient Egypt through to contemporary Paganism, this book belongs on the shelf of every serious scholar of the occult who wants to understand how practitioners understand their experiences and the similarities in these practices that transcend time and place."
"Lynne Hume and Nevill Drury take the reader on a fascinating tour of all sorts of exotic cultures and esoteric texts in their quest to document and comprehend the varieties of magical experience from within. By privileging the experiential over the rational, and imagination over explanation, their senses-wide-open approach uncovers patterns and potentials that are bound to spark wonder. This is an enchanting book."
"The primeval human need to believe in things intangible is brought to life in an engaging and respectful series of surveys of the varieties of magic or, more specifically, magical experiences chronicled by Drury and Hume. From the multifarious notions and experiences of other worlds, to the sub-field of sensory anthropology through to cybermagic, this book offers a useful introduction to the concepts and realities of magic traversing cultures and historical eras."
"The authors of The Varieties of Magical Experience provide a fascinating look at the development and range of magical practices around the world—from indigenous varieties of shamanism and magic to the intricate history of the Western Hermetic tradition to modern magical and religious practices such as Wicca and Thelema. This tremendous range of practices and perspectives is grounded in solid anthropology, examining the ways in which humans have historically and still do interact with Other-than-Human Persons in alternate—and even virtual—realities that include both the familiar worlds of mainstream religions and the less familiar worlds of more remote or exotic communities. Beginning with a discerning analysis of transcultural somatic techniques and core experiences including dance, breathing, posture, sound, and rhythm, the authors explore the various ways these experiences are interpreted and given value and meaning. Their discussion of the role of participant observation and the vital need for honesty and reflexivity in collecting fieldwork within religious communities will surely become a standard for future studies. The Varieties of Magical Experienceis both rigorous and accessible, sure to become a classic for scholars and students of magical and religious communities."