I dare you to be real
To touch a flickering flame
The pangs of dark delight
Don’t cower in night fright
Don’t back away just yet
From destinations set
I dare you to be proud
To dare to shout aloud
For convictions that you feel
Like sound from bells to peal
I dare you to despise
Bureaucracy and all its lies
And avoid their stare
They never dare to dare
I dare you you
Aleister Crowley: The Face of Modern Western Esotericism by Christopher Wilke was released least year, but I hadn’t heard of this one before. I thought I’d mention it in case it was of interest, or if someone wanted to review it and let me know what they think. Of course, I hope the typo in the description isn’t indicative of the contents …
“Writer and artist Christopher W. Wilke explores the man and the myth of Aleister Crowley in this engaging introduction. Filled with illustrations inspired by period-photography, Aliester [sic] Crowley: The Face of Modern Western Esotericism illuminates the public and private life of this noteworthy character of, ironically, both the esoteric and pop culture.”
“The book, an 102 page introduction to Crowley and his works, features digitally-modified illustrations inspired by period photography, finally illuminating for the modern reader the many members of such orders as The Golden Dawn and Crowley’s A∴A∴, along with images of Crowley from boyhood to old age.
A frank, open-minded, and scholarly treatment of the material and the man, Wilke’s Aleister Crowley features extensive notes and bibliographic information to lead the beginning student of the Western Esoteric Tradition to many engaging texts.” [via]
“An occult sex thriller set in an international environment. Unearthed plans and designs stemming from radical inventor Nikola Tesla could solve the world’s energy problems. These plans suddenly generate a vortex of interest from various powers. Thrown into this maelstrom of international intrigue is Victor Ritterstadt, a soul searching magician with a mysterious and troubled past. From Berlin, over Macedonia and all the way to Nepal, Ritterstadt sets out on an inner quest. Espionage, love, UFOs, magick, telepathy, conspiracies, LSD and more in this shocking story of a world about to be changed forever.
‘We haven’t really met, ever. Yet you are my mother. As far as I understand, we’re both victims of an American psychedelic rock group, America’s then in many ways most wanted renegade chemist, a brainwashing Hindu love cult or, who knows, maybe we are living gods? Can you understand why I’m slightly hesitant about going back to Nepal?'”
The Zero Point Agreement: How to Be Who You Already Are by Julie Tallard Johnson, from Destiny Books, has arrived at the Reading Room, courtesy of Inner Traditions.
“We all want to experience purpose and inspiration in our lives, but the search for meaning often leaves us seeking instead of finding what we want. Drawing from the Heart Sutra, the I Ching, indigenous wisdom, the teachings of the Dalai Lama, quantum physicist David Bohm, and the Kadampa master Atisha, Julie Tallard Johnson outlines a practice centered on the Zero Point Agreement. It is a practice based on the understanding that you yourself are the zero point of your life and that life’s purpose and meaning come from within. You discover who you truly are by naming what you want to be and creating meaning from any circumstance. The 11 core principles of the zero point agreement show how to break free from negative habitual states and move through resistance, be liberated from attachment to the behaviors of others, experience gratitude, live intentionally, and learn to co-create with the natural world around you.” — back cover
Heinrich Tränker als Theosoph, Rosenkreuzer und Pansoph: (unter Berücksichtigung seiner Stellung im O.T.O und seines okkulten Umfeldes) [Henry Tränker as Theosophist, Rosicrucian and Pansophist (taking into account his position in the O.T.O. and Occultism)] by Volker Lechler and Wolfgang Kistemann [HT William Thirteen], is a 2013 work, in standard and limited numbered editions, about one of the figures in the original pre-Crowley Ordo Templi Orientis, and may be of interest.
“Wer war der Theosoph, Rosenkreuzer, Okkultist und Pansoph Heinrich Tränker? Dieses Buch geht den Spuren nach, die er in der ersten Hälfte des 20zigsten Jahrhunderts in den okkulten Kreisen Deutschlands hinterlassen hat. Welche Rolle spielte Tränker als Landesoberhaupt des Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) in Deutschland? Warum kam es zur Auseinandersetzung mit Aleister Crowley auf der sogenannten Weida-Konferenz? Und wieso wendete sich ein Teil der Pansophen von Tränker ab und gründete daraufhin die Fraternitas Saturni?
Auf Grund der Auswertung zahlreicher, bisher unbekannter Quellen, entsteht ein neues Bild von Heinrich Tränker und seinen „okkulten“ Weggefährten (dazu gehörten u.a.: Franz Hartmann, Otto Gebhardi, Martha Küntzel, Hans Fändrich, Theodor Reuss, A. Krumm-Heller, Albin Grau, Eugen Grosche (Gregor A. Gregorius), O. W. Barth, Aleister Crowley, Hugo Vollrath, Harvey Spencer Lewis, Walter Studinski (Waltharius) u.v.m.). Viele in der gedruckten Literatur und im Internet verbreitete angebliche Tatsachen entpuppen sich auf einmal als Mythen, Verdrehungen und Unwahrheiten.”
“Who was the theosophist, Rosicrucian, occultist and pansophist Heinrich Tränker? This book traces the marks he left in occult circles in Germany during the first half of the 20th century. Which role did Tränker play as head of Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) in Germany? What lead to the dispute with Aleister Crowley at the so-called ‘Weida Conference’? And why did some pansophists turn away from Tränker and founded the Fraternitas Saturni?
The analysis of numerous, hitherto unknown sources has changed the picture of Heinrich Tränker and his ‘occult’ companions (among others Franz Hartmann, Otto Gebhardi, Martha Küntzel, Hans Fändrich, Theodor Reuss, A. Krumm-Heller, Albin Grau, Eugen Grosche, O. W. Barth, Aleister Crowley, Hugo Vollrath, Harvey Spencer Lewis, Walter Studinski and many more). The analysis of historical sources shows the reader, that many alleged facts circulating in printed literature and the internet are merely myths, misrepresentations and untruths.” [via]
Aleister Crowley and the Temptation of Politics [also] by Marco Pasi, a 2013 paperback from Acumen Publishing, with a cover featuring The Vulcan of Fortune by Fredrik Söderberg, has arrived at the Reading Room courtesy of the publisher.
“Aleister Crowley (1875–1947) is one of the most famous and infamous individuals in the history of western esotericism. But the stories of magical and sexual practice that circulate about Crowley have served to obscure both the man and his influence. Aleister Crowley and the Temptation of Politics looks at the man behind the myth and the development of his ideas through his extraordinarily varied writings.
Crowley was a rationalist, sympathetic to the values of the Enlightenment, but also a romantic and a reactionary. His search for an alternative way to express his religious feelings led him to elaborate his own vision of social and political change. Crowley’s complex politics led to his involvement with many key individuals, organizations and groups of his day — the secret service of various countries, Nazi sympathizers, Russian political activists, journalists and politicians of various persuasions, as well as other writers — both in Europe and America.
Aleister Crowley and the Temptation of Politics presents a life of ideas, an examination of a man shaped by and shaping the politics of his times.” — back cover
Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Initiatic Eroticism: and Other Occult Writings from La Flèche introduced and translated by Donald Traxler from articles in Maria de Naglowska’s La Flèche. This is the fourth volume in the series of Maria de Naglowska material being released by Inner Traditions and Donald Traxler.
In common with most Anglophone occultists, my principal knowledge of Parisian sybil Maria de Naglowska prior to the appearance of Donald Traxler’s translations was occasional brief mention as a French translator of some writings by Victorian American sex magician Paschal Beverly Randolph. As it turns out, she occupied a vital node in the esoteric communications of 1930s Paris, maintaining her own small “Brotherhood of the Golden Arrow” while also being actively engaged with Traditionalists, Surrealists, Theosophists, and individual occultists such as William Seabrook. Traxler presents this volume as the fourth of five in his major translation of Naglowska’s work, but it was my starting place, and I would recommend it as a worthy point of entry.
The book presents articles from the twenty numbers of Naglowska’s periodical La Flèche (“The Arrow”), an “Organ of Magical Action,” as she subtitled it. These represent the way in which she chose to express her esoteric ideas to the general public at the time that she was also composing book-length works addressed to formal aspirants and initiates. In addition to expository articles, there are a small number of poetic and narrative pieces, and a final section gives two essays written for La Flèche by Julius Evola. All of this material is quite interesting, and my favorite pieces are probably “The Magic Square,” “The Priestesses of the Future,” and “Masculine Satanism, Feminine Satanism.”
Naglowska’s central doctrine of the “Third Term” is a pristine example of twentieth-century occult neo-Joachimism. In Joachim of Fiore and the Myth of the Eternal Evangel in the Nineteenth Century, scholars Reeves and Gould demonstrate in the world of modern letters a revival of the medieval Joachim’s trinitarian prophetic theory of history, with proponents such as Yeats and D.H. Lawrence. This phenomenon was so widespread that by the 1930s, when Naglowska was writing, it is hard to know how mediated (and by what thinkers) any specific instance might be, even when it is as clear a reflection as the one found in Naglowska’s Third Term. Her Holy Spirit (the Third Term of the Trinity) is emphatically female, and so her teachings also align with the French Neognosticism of Jules Doinel and his successors.
In Evola’s Metaphysics of Sex, he pairs Naglowska with Aleister Crowley as examples of sexual mystics in the contemporary world. Seeing the errors in Evola’s presentation of Crowley’s ideas, I am leery of his reading of Naglowska, although he was certainly on more familiar terms with her. It seems almost unbelievable that Naglowska and Crowley could not at least have known of one another, and yet I’ve seen no evidence that either took such note. In any case, Naglowska’s “Third Term” teaching of the Golden Mass is, I think, a useful way for adherents of Crowley’s Gnostic Catholic Church to understand the role of our own Mass: a synthesis that transcends the white and black masses of the previous age.
I learned a number of useful things from this book, and it was entertaining into the bargain. I will read further in Traxler’s translations of Naglowska. [via]
Salomanic Magical Arts translated and introduced by Fredrik Eytzinger, is available from Three Hands Press. The special leather-bound and deluxe hardcover editions are both sold out, but a standard hardcover edition are still available.
“Amid the great genres of European magical books are the Scandinavian Svartkonstböcker or ‘Books of Black Arts’, the privately-kept practical manuals of magic used by rural charmers and practitioners of folk magic. Incorporating charms, prayers, and curses, as well as medicine, alchemy and physical experiments, many of these books survive today in universities and private collections. While bearing some relationship to the corpus of European grimoires which feature angelic and demonic magic, the Svartkonstböcker as texts of magic are in a class all their own.
Salomonic Magical Arts consists of two such volumes, originally handwritten in the early eighteenth century. Named The Red Book and The Black Book by one of their owners, they passed through the hands of priests and cunning men before coming to rest in academic institutions. Invoking a variety of spirtual powers ranging from Christ to Beelzebub, its magical formulae, numbering in excess of 450 individual receipts, serve as a testament to the endurance of sorcery in the early modern era. First published in Swedish in 1918, Salomonic Magic Arts is here published in English for the first time.
Introducing the work is a substantive introduction by the translator, which places the book in its cultural and magico-historical context, including Swedish cunning-folk traditions (trolldom) the European grimoire tradition, traditional magical healing, pagan belief, and the relationship between folk magic and the church.” [via]
The Afflicted Mirror: A Study of Ordeals and the Making of Compacts by Peter Hamilton-Giles, is available from Three Hands Press. The special leather-bound edition is sold out, but deluxe and standard hardcover editions are still available.
“A shared feature of genuine magical practice and religious experience is the impression of ‘Otherness’, an entic arena of alienation and unfamiliarity. Contrasted with the more comfortable and known spheres of the Self, this ‘state apart’ provides not only inspiration and wonder, it is the dwelling-place of the gods and the prime source of gnosis, direct experience with the divine.
The Afflicted Mirror, based on a research paper presented at the 1996 AAA Anthropology of Religion inaugural conference in Kansas, suggests that for the metaphysical domain to become significant it must distort its appearance so as to attract our attention. This leads not only to validating the existence of the ‘Other’ but also illustrates its influence on how we shape the world. Providing groundbreaking insight on the magician’s actuated relationship with spirits and Gods, The Afflicted Mirror offers a pioneering examination of a topic often overlooked by scholars. As an original phenomenological model, Peter Hamilton-Giles’ The Afflicted Mirror unites such diverse spiritual states as the mysticism of the Seer, the religious ecstasy of the Saint, and the spirit-conjurations of the sorcerer.” [via]
Idolotry Restor’d: Witchcraft and the Imaging of Power by Daniel A Schulke, from Three Hands Press, was scheduled for release in November 2013, but appears to still be in pre-order. The special leather-bound edition is sold out, but deluxe and standard hardcover editions are still available.
“The translation of magical power to image is a matter well understood in so-called ‘primitive’ sorcery, in which occurs a mutual embodiment of re-presentation and the Represented. The Fetish, for example, apprehends a reciprocal process between Object and Creator that often begins long before chisels and adzes are set to wood, participating in its own reification. Many of these eldritch forms of image-making were concerned with accessing power, and it was only later, in the context of religious devotion, that their forms densified into ‘mere’ idols. With increasing levels of religious control over art, a Moiré pattern arises between the Artist and the forces of the Divine, which may either suppress individual visionary power in favor of canonized icons, or, when correctly accessed, give rise to an ‘heretical creativity’.
Witchcraft, because of its syncretic nature, partakes in multiple infusions of traditional image-making lore, including not only sorcery and religious iconography, but also science, craftsmanship, and the fine arts. However, because much of its images are used privately, and indeed created for a limited set of observers, they participate in a concentrated alembic of exposure wherein all who experience them do so in the context of magical practice and devotion. This intensity of private magical interaction provides a locus which enables the image to transcend its medium—and indeed that fetish known as ‘icon’—and generates living numen.
First published as an essay in the British folklore quarterly The Cauldron in 2009, Idolatry Restor’d drew upon the experiential arenas of magical practice and Image-Artistry which came to inform Schulke’s book Lux Haeresis (Xoanon, 2011). Here substantially expanded with illustrations prepared especially for the work, Idolatry Restor’d is a book of engaging fascinum for both Artists and Beholders alike, and strikes at the heart of magical image-aesthesis.” [via]