Tag Archives: articles

The Magic Bishop

The Magic Bishop – Hugo Ball is an essay written by Anne Crossey, an artist and student of esotericism working in Cork, IE, which may be of intererest.

“Dada was an attempt to return ‘through the innermost alchemy of the word’ to a more magical, playful reality through overturning of all the conventions associated with civilized adult society—drawing on African, Nordic and Sanskrit traditions, the Cabaret Voltaire was a riot of nonsense, play, colour, and noise—a giant, noisy incantation against all the ills of the world.

Dada was ‘the heart of words’.

It was a fight. It was a magical battle.” [via]

The Golden Dawn Source Book

The Golden Dawn Source Book [also, also], Golden Dawn Studies Series Number 2, edited with introduction by Darcy Küntz, preface by R A Gilbert, the 1996 first edition paperback from the Holmes Publishing Group, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Darcy Kuntz The Golden Dawn Source Book from Holmes Publishing Group

“The author has compiled the most important Golden Dawn letters and articles which illuminates the creation, foundation and growth of the Golden Dawn. This volume contains articles and essays by Ron Heisler, Ellic Howe, Richard Kaczynski, Francis King, Gareth Medway, R.T. Prinke and Gerald Suster. A complete cross-index is compiled for the first time of all Golden Dawn members and their mottoes including members from the Temples in England, New Zealand and North America.

Some Highlights of the Volume:

  • ‘From the Ashes of the Cipher Manuscript to the Creation of the Golden Dawn’—an original introduction by Darcy Küntz.
  • ‘A supplement to ‘Providence Unknown’: The Origins of the Golden Dawn’ by R.A. Gilbert, created for this volume.
  • The Early Letters written before the foundation of the Golden Dawn plus the complete Fraülein Sprengel letters as originally translated by Albert Essinger.
  • Westcott’s personal diary chronicling the founding of the Order, printed for the first time, together with his ‘Historical Lecture.’
  • The Later Golden Dawn Letters written by initiated members, with a special letter from Paul Foster Case to Israel Regardie.
  • THe Published Histories of the Golden Dawn as well as many modern articles and essays on the Order’s Early History.
  • The Golden Dawn Grades and the Tree of Life‘ is just one of the rare illustrations included in this volume.
  • A comprehensive Cross-index of Golden Dawn Members and Mottoes with a translation of the names of the Initiates.”


The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

“invócame bajo las estrellas”, el amor bajo voluntad de aleister crowley

Recent article “invócame bajo las estrellas”, el amor bajo voluntad de aleister crowley by Lucia Ortiz Monasterio links to the chapter “Love” in Aleister Crowley‘s Little Essays Towards Truth.

This article begins with the statement that few things are as hidden as the true meaning of “will” and “love” in the work of Aleister Crowley, which seems to me to be widely off the mark. Maybe I’m missing something in the translation. However, in spite of the author’s admission to being only minimally familiar with the work of Crowley, the rest of the article does go on the talk about one of the most common mistakes of confusing the concept of Will with whim, as well as some other core concepts. Perhaps it is this mistake to which the author is alluding to in the opening.

“En sus muchos ensayos al respecto, Crowley concluye que nuestra misión es conocer nuestra voluntad, y luego llevarla a cabo con puntualidad y desapego. “Ahí, y sólo ahí, estas en armonía con el movimiento de las cosas, tu voluntad parte de, y por lo tanto es igual a, la voluntad de Dios”. Quizá mi infatuación con esta extensión del concepto de voluntad, y con su decreto “Haz lo que tu quieras será toda la ley” tenga que ver con que la única verdadera confianza que tengo (dudo de todo lo demás) es en las decisiones que tomo guiada por una “sensación” (¿cómo podemos amar si no podemos percibir la luz oculta?). En otras palabras, y muy a pesar de mis sentimientos encontrados con Mr C., creo que si se desarrolla una especie de sabiduría perceptiva, de poder escuchar el susurro de esa estrella que escoges, entonces todo lo que hagas será toda la ley.” [via]

Mel Smith and other fond farewells in wake of Snoo

Michael Coveney missed out hearing Simon Callow regale a funeral going audience with tales of his adventures while researching Aleister Crowley in Sicily. How’s that for passing mention of Aleister Crowley in “Mel Smith and other fond farewells in wake of Snoo“? I know about the abysmal Bruce Dickinson film where Simon Callow played a surprisingly good Crowley, but I wasn’t aware of an as yet unmade film. Cowell was pretty much the only thing worth watching in Chemical Wedding but, even then, you’d best just stop watching in the middle to avoid the unnecessary death of brain cells entailed by a full viewing. But, what is this about some other Crowley film, as yet unfilmed?

“I was out of town on Friday and unable to attend Snoo Wilson’s funeral, but my friend Peter Ansorge assures me that Simon Callow was on fine form, in a purple suit, singing Snoo’s praises and recounting their hilarious adventures while researching in Sicily the film about Aleister Crowley they never managed to make.” [via]

Kenneth Anger: how I made Lucifer Rising

Kenneth Anger: how I made Lucifer Rising” is an article in the Guardian UK, part of a “How We Made” series of articles, with Kenneth Anger talking with Chris Michael about the making of Lucifer Rising. Aleister Crowley and Ordo Templi Orientis both get mentioned, along with the actors Marianne Faithfull and Bobby Beausoleil and other bits of history which may be of interest.

Kenneth Anger: how I made Lucifer Rising
“Technicolor hellcoat … Leslie Huggins as Lucifer in Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising. Photograph: Sprüth Magers Berlin London”

A Report on Current Magical and Esoteric Blogs

“A Report on Current Magical and Esoteric Blogs” by Laura Mitchell in the Spring 2013 issue of the Societas Magica Newsletter (PDF Link) includes mention of the Hermetic Library Blog. [HT Sarah Veale]

Societas Magica Newsletter for Spring 2013 (PDF)

I won’t lie: I’m in pretty good company on this short list.

When Mitchell writes that the library blog “is a combination of the more academic-minded and the experiences and thoughts of those engaged in esotericism as a living tradition,” I feel gratified that I’ve apparently been successful in trying to do my little part to bridge some of the traditional divides between town-gown and praxis-theory, and certainly I agree that my musings on the blog are not particularly academic, though I sometimes I do try a bit harder than others, that isn’t my goal necessarily for the blog itself, per se, as much as adding value to the canonical library site as well as having a place for some personal reflective practice, content curation and promotion, and, well … whatever else it is I do!

I’m grouped under the heading of “Hermeticism” along with the blog of the Ritman Library in Amsterdam. One might quibble about the variety of what people mean by “Hermeticism” as opposed to my intentional, personal use of “Hermetism” to generally differentiate between a former modern and a latter historical, or Latin, traditions; just as I’ve tried to be clear about carving out an even additional space for the use of the word “Hermetic” that is distinct, especially as used in the name, and thus prima facie mission statement, of the Hermetic Library; but, ultimately, using “Hermeticism” as the umbrella is fair, pretty normal usage, and certainly matches one aspect of the scope I cover on the blog and at the library, and either way I’m certainly quite flattered, pleased and proud to be included in the list.

You may want to check out Societas Magica itself as well as the other short list of blogs other than this one which are featured.

Mitchell discusses some of the advantages and benefits of the medium in general in the article:

“For those who are not already engaged with the genre, blogging has several advantages as a mode of exchange for scholars. Most importantly, academic blogging is much faster than traditional scholarly media, not only in terms of publishing speed (virtually instant), but also in terms of enabling quick feedback from the reading public. This can make it a good venue for advancing new theories and ideas as well as posting short pieces of the “notes and queries” type. Part and parcel of their greater speed, academic blogs tend to be informal in style, which makes them quick and easy to write, and can be more inviting for readers too. For me, blog posts have sometimes had unexpected professional benefits of various kinds. As a (fairly new) active participant in the academic blogging community, I have found that writing posts gives me a unique opportunity to test out new ideas or examine a subject that I might otherwise avoid because it falls outside of my area of expertise.”

Egil Asperem notes with amusement that this is a round-up of blogs in a newsletter. But, I have to be honest and say the most amusing part for me is when Mitchell says that my blog is “run by an anonymous practitioner (who refers to him or herself as ‘the librarian’)” … which boggles me a little bit, since I think it’s pretty clear who it is behind the mask, so to speak. But, as I have been identified at various times as anonymous, enigmatic and of indeterminate gender as well as being an egotistical self-promoter (based on the same evidence natheless!), I clearly and definitely now have accumulated the necessary mystique and hidden-in-plain-sight misdirection to carry off a double life as both the mild-mannered alter-ego as well as the caped mastermind known as The Librarian. Well, it’s time for me to be off and start that League of Evil now, I suppose! Work, work, work …

Five new items by Aleister Crowley from Vanity Fair 1916

I added five new items by Aleister Crowley from the pages of Vanity Fair in 1916. There’s a couple of articles, some written pseudonymously, and some more poetry I think hasn’t been collected anywhere before. One of the articles is a historical political piece which will probably be of interest to a variety of people; another is a kind of review of Ratan Devi’s performances in New York by Crowley, which is Crowley promoting the work of a love interest under a pseudonym; the final article is an odd little spoof piece purporting to detail the scientific management of blondes (which also includes an interesting fake comment from the Editor chidding the piece for appearing to favour the Germans). Then there’s two poems, one begins “A cigar is like a wife!” and the second “When first your raven beauty made me fond” seems to be related to the article about blondes.

You can read a bit more about Aleister Crowley, his affair with Ratan Devi, and this period of time when Crowley was in New York in Chapter 12 of Richard Kaczynski‘s Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley and also, I happened onto this today, for another perspective in “The savant and the occultist” by Richard Boyle. Of course, don’t forget that the Confessions of Aleister Crowley are online at the library.

Three Great Hoaxes of the War
Blessed Are They That Have Not Seen and Yet Have Believed
By Aleister Crowley
Vanity Fair, January, 1916, p 37,118

Anna of Havana
By Aleister Crowley
With Drawings by Reginald Birch
Vanity Fair, January, 1916, p 43

To a Brunette
Addressed to His Beloved, after a short absence
By Aleister Crowley
Sketches by Reginald Birch
Vanity Fair, February, 1916, p 63

Ratan Devi: Indian Singer
By Sri Paramahansa Tat (Aleister Crowley)
Vanity Fair, May, 1916, p 79

On the Management of Blondes
Prolegomena to Any System of Philosophy Devoted to Their Treatment and Care
By Dionysus Carr (Aleister Crowley), Professor of Eugenics in the University of Tübingen
Vanity Fair, May, 1916, p 85