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Mystery School Review

Official Review

September 2nd, 2003 11:28am
Reviewed by Tracy Atteberry
I have to admit that when I first heard rumblings of a Mystery School book four years ago at the final Mystery School (1999) that I was a little skeptical. I mean the Mystery School was billed as an experiential magic retreat after all. How could a book ever hope to do justice to that? Well to the extent to which that is possible, Jeff McBride, Eugene Burger, Todd Karr, and the rest have succeeded.

The Mystery School book contains contributions from the Mystery School faculty, honored guests, alumni, and appendices with a chapter from "The Death and Resurrection Show" by Rogan Taylor (with a new preface) and a transcript from Terrance McKenna. The book also contains a discussion of how The Mystery School started, evolved, and finally concluded. Though some will undoubtedly complain that the book is heavy on the essay side, I believe that many of the items offered would be worth the price of admission. As a hint, allow me to engage in a little name dropping.

The Mystery School book contributors include, from the faculty: Jack Adams, Eugene Burger, Jeff McBride, and Robert Neale; from the guests of honor: Dan Harlan, Max Maven, Ormond McGill, Stephen Minch, Charles Reynolds, and Peter Samelson; and from the alumni: David Abrams, Jen Adams, Tobias Beckwith, Katlyn Breene, Kevin Dunn, Mont Dutson, Bob Fellows, Bob Fitch, Adam Fleischer, Paul Harris, Brad Henderson, Jay Inglee, Jade, Kevin James, Just Alan, Todd Karr, Bryce Kuhlman, Joe Lantiere, Vito Lupo, Patrick Martin, Sean Masterson, Dan Mindo, Alain Nu, David Parr, Dr. Jennifer Pauls, Father Daniel Rolland, Samina, Luna Shemada, Abbi Spinner McBride, Margaret Steele, John Tudor, and Newell Unfried.

No doubt you will recognize many of those names and will already be excited about such a collection, but did you recognize the names of the chemistry professor from Virginia, the CEO and former tennis pro from California, and the physicist from Arizona? No? Well let me tell you, they too have "flax-golden tales to spin."

Some wrote essays, most contributed effects, and many contributed both. From my four year course at the Mystery School I'm happy to say that I know many of the above contributors and it's a tribute to Jeff and Eugene that when they were asked to contribute to the Mystery School book they did not just pull some rejected notes out from the bottom drawer and dust them off. This is great stuff and there's just no way to describe all of it here. So I'll just describe one.

Kevin Dunn's "Alchemy of Originality" was a favorite lecture of almost everyone who attended The Mystery School. In it he presents a compelling way of approaching magical creativity using chemical and alchemical processes. It certainly changed the way I looked at creating new magic and integrating ideas from others. Kevin, if you didn't know, is the chemistry professor I mentioned earlier and an amazing performer (of both magic and Celtic music).

In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that something I wrote did, in fact, appear in this book. At the very end of the book are some goodbye notes written by students at the final Mystery School. We wrote these anonymous notes as bits of advice to others and as an indication of what the Mystery School has taught us. One of the things I learned at Mystery School, and which appears first in this list of eclectic quotes is this: "You cannot give a magical experience unless you've had a magical experience. You cannot give a gift you do not possess." That is something that Jeff McBride and the rest of the Mystery School taught me and it is the written echo of the Mystery School experience which makes this book so unique.

Five stars.
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Product info for Mystery School

Author: Various
Publisher: Miracle Factory
Average Rating:  (2)
Retail Price: $100.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Mystery School - An Adventure Into The Deeper Meaning of Magic

In Eugene Burger and Jeff McBride’s first collaborative work, you may at last peer into the shadowy conclave known as Mystery School.

Featuring Jeff McBride stage masterpieces revealed for the first time, new pieces by Burger, and essays by Mystery School faculty member ROBERT NEALE.

Plus magic and writings by some of the world’s most magical thinkers, including: Bob Fitch, Dan Harlan, Paul Harris, Kevin James, Vito Lupo, Patrick Martin, Max Maven, Stephen Minch, Alain Nu, and Peter Samelson.... and featuring the exotic art of Katlyn Breene.

Over 400 pages on large-format acid-free satin-finish pages, hardbound, with 16 color pages and beautiful full-color dustjacket.

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