As a practicing pagan, Flowers brings a practical understanding to the table that non-practicing scholars lack, while his academic credentials give him stronger insight than a non-academic author could muster, as it allows him to read primary sources in their original languages and apply a deep understanding of historio-cultural context.
In the past, Flowers published pagan practice books under his pseudonym, Edred Thorsson, reserving his given name for his academic work. However, he has indicated that he has reached a stage in his career where it is not necessary to do so. And, this book is a great representation of the synthesis of scholarly detail merged with spiritual practice.
There has been some confusion in the Germanic pagan community, as many people were under the impression that Icelandic Magic was simply a repackaging of a previous work, “The Galdabok: An Icelandic Book of Magic.”
It’s not. That was an annotated translation of one authentic Icelandic magical manuscript.
This book is rather a discussion on Icelandic magical tradition and a how-to instruction manual that is informed by the author’s study of numerous Icelandic texts.
To provide a deeper understanding of the tradition presented, Flowers devotes the first part of his book introducing the reader to the historio-cultural context the magical tradition evolved in.
He then moves into methodology of the craft, to equip the reader to tackle preparation and ritual in an informed way.
Finally, Flowers presents a basic set of spells taken both from authentic manuscripts as well as some that were devised by him. All have been tested, he says, for their efficacy (potency) prior to selection.
While this book will appeal to people interested in the magical arts, I would also recommend it to people who are interested in Icelandic culture, more broadly in indigenous Germanic belief, and to those interested in human anthropology and world religions.