cover image The Night School: Lessons in Moonlight, Magic, and the Mysteries of Being Human

The Night School: Lessons in Moonlight, Magic, and the Mysteries of Being Human

Maia Toll, illus. by Lucille Clerc. Running Press, $24 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7624-7

“Magic is everywhere. To see it and the effects it has on your life, change the way you perceive the world,” contends spiritual teacher Toll (Maia Toll’s Wild Wisdom Companion) in this fun exploration of magic. Toll structures the volume as a curriculum split into two “semesters,” with such classes as “Divination Lab,” “Alchemy 101,” and “Energetic Engineering 101” covering the basics of night-related magic and how to interact with it. In “Philosophy 101,” the author lays out the beliefs that undergird her style of magic and posits, for example, that science and magic are two similar systems for describing the same phenomena and that energy flows toward the object of one’s attention. Toll suggests readers apply concepts with “homework” assignments that include using the moon to tell time, divining the future by interpreting the movement of smoke, and researching cultures that developed an equivalent of the “four elements” (fire, air, earth, water). The author affects the voice of a compassionate professor, charmingly addressing readers by the nickname “Firefly,” and the discrete “lessons” offer a clever way to organize the bounty of insight and exercises, even if the night theme sometimes gets lost. Additionally, the celestial illustrations of psychedelic night skies by Clerc wonderfully evoke the cosmic wonder of the material. The result is a delightful program with magic to spare. (Aug.)