There are a few authors whose occult works I make sure to purchase every time they release a new one, and Jonathan Sousa is one of them. Their work, A Star From Heaven, was recently released around the beginning of this year.
Jonathan Sousa is a votary of the goddess Diana through the initiatory framework of the Italian Traditional Craft, and writes on a number of topics pertaining to witchcraft, classical polytheism, and spirituality. Their writing style is informal, easygoing–very much written as if you were sitting in front of them over coffee or tea (Sousa’s preference would be for chai) and engaged in personal, casual conversation. For some this may be off-putting, but for a work that I would describe as both dense and intensely intelligent, I would say that it’s an advantage. Sousa has a lot to say on a myriad of topics and has clearly researched them all at a level that may be intimidating to some. A work like this in someone else’s hands might be stuffier, much less approachable, and definitely a lot less fun of a read.
A Star From Heaven takes you on a whirlwind tour through the origins of the concept and meaning of the term angel ranging from Judaism to various ancient polytheistic religions across the Mediterranean and Middle East. It does not stop there; it continues through the Middle Ages up through today and its modern influences in various existing occult traditions. Though this tour one can readily see that angels are not just spirits only available to Abrahamic faiths, but pagan and even Eastern ones as well. The concept has its echoes in a stunning array of religions and traditions both past and present. The book also covers all sorts of angels including archangels, guardian angels, Grigori and fallen angels, Nephilim, planetary angels–you name it.
In addition to digging deep into angelic lore, Sousa also talks at length about the necessary foundations of magical practice. If you either skip or breeze through this part, you are doing yourself a vast disservice. Their words on the subject in this book are absolutely required reading for any novice or advanced occultist. Not only are the basics of practice outlined, but a great deal of practical advice is given on psychic hygiene–something which I’ve also written about–in addition to providing some very necessary guides to spirit work and personal development in general.Jonathan Sousa also gets into magical ethics, personal responsibility, and what it means to be held accountable as a proper person and occultist. One of their best lines on that last bit I’ll quote here:
“To be a proper person does (not) mean that you are perfect. Rather, it means that you are continually striving for greater self-awareness and greater self-mastery. Further, it means that you epitomize certain qualities that are aids to magical work.”
Throughout the book you’ll find footnotes and additional references to a wide variety of excellent resources and material. I recommend taking the time to read all of them and follow up on what interests you. Just the footnotes alone could be a well worthwhile document all on their own and are an absolute treasure trove of valuable information, not to mention the bibliography and online resources included at the end.
One thing I deeply appreciate about this work is their willingness to discuss their personal experience and ideas and yet clearly delineate them from their research into the topics at hand. Academic honesty is something I cherish, and I feel that this book is enriched by having that personal perspective put in. Sousa also has a lot of wit, wisdom, and even some tough love for their readers.
This is definitely a book approachable to any regardless of faith; any polytheist, monotheist, pantheist etc. would feel at home with this text. Much is covered which illustrates the universality of the practices surrounding angelic magic and how to approach it from your own background–not to mention why you would or would not in the first place. If you are at all interested in angelic magic from any level or perspective, this book is a required read and belongs on your bookshelf.