Tag Archives: diaries

Jane Wolfe

Jane Wolfe: The Cefalu Diaries 1920 – 1923 by Jane Wolfe, commentary by Aleister Crowley, compiled and introduced by David Shoemaker, the 2008 deluxe edition from College of Thelema of Northern California (now International College of Thelema), is part of the collection at the Reading Room. The papercover version is still available via print on demand.

David Shoemaker Aleister Crowley Jane Wolfe The Cefal├╣ Diaries from College of Thelema of Northern California

“A fascinating look into the training undertaken by Jane Wolfe, a student of Aleister Crowley, at the Abbey of Thelema in Cefalu, Sicily. This book collects the bulk of Wolfe’s surviving diary entries from Cefalu, most of which were typed, complete with handwritten commentary from Crowley on many pages. The diary is presented in grayscale facsimile format. Compiled and Introduced by Dr. David Shoemaker.” [via]

The Drug

The Drug by Aleister Crowley is the fifth new edition from 100th Monkey Press, available in a hand-bound limited edition.

Aleister Crowley The Drug from 100th Monkey Press

‘The Drug’ was originally published in Great Britain in the January 1909 issue of The Idler, an illustrated monthly magazine that printed various light pieces and sensational fiction.

This work is one of Aleister Crowley’s earliest published short stories and highlights his power as an author of fiction as well as poetry.

It has been said that this short story is one of the first, if not the first fictionalized account of ingesting a hallucinogenic substance. Crowley certainly experimented with a wide variety of mind-altering substances throughout his life, and it is not too far-fetched to consider the possibility that this story may be based, at least in part, on personal experience.

‘The Drug’ may be based on Crowley’s experiences with Anhalonium Lewinii, a now obsolete name for Lophophora Williamsii, commonly known as the peyote cactus. The active constituent of peyote is mescaline, a well-known alkaloid that can produce hallucinogenic effects when ingested.

References to Anhalonium Lewinii by Crowley are found as early as 1907. Crowley’s diary entry for 12 March 1907 seems to indicate that he was using a commercial preparation of Anhalonium Lewinii. He writes that he has taken 10 drops of the preparation and will take no more since this was the maximum dosage mentioned on the label. Crowley also seemed to have had a relationship of some sort with Parke-Davis and even mentions an October 1915 visit to the company in his confessions:

‘They were kind enough to interest themselves in my researches in Anhalonium Lewinii and made me some special preparations on the lines indicated by my experience which proved greatly superior to previous preparations.’

According to Perdurabo, Dr. Richard Kaczynski’s excellent biography on Crowley, the Abbey of Thelema’s copy of Diary of a Drug Fiend contains a marginal note by Crowley stating that he had conducted numerous experiments on people with Anhalonium Lewinii in 1910 and afterwards. These experiments may have formed the basis for Liber CMXXXIV, The Cactus, described as ‘An elaborate study of the psychological effects produced by Anhalonium Lewinii (Mescal Buttons), compiled from the actual records of some hundreds of experiments.’ Unfortunately The Cactus was never published and is now considered lost to history.

Whether ‘The Drug’ is truly a fictionalized account of the use of peyote is, of course, open to debate, but, the story does stand on its own as a very early piece of psychedelic literature. [via]

Songs for the Witch Woman

Songs for the Witch Woman by John Whiteside “Jack” Parsons and Marjorie Cameron, with commentaries by William Breeze, George Pendle and Margaret Haines, from Fulgur, is due to release on March 17th, 2014, in limited hardback and even more limited, 156 hand-numbered, deluxe editions, which will be of interest.

John Whiteside 'Jack' Parsons Marjorie Cameron Songs for the Witch Woman from Fulgur Esoterica UK

“There are few modern love stories as passionate and poignant as the relationship between rocket scientist Jack Parsons and his artist lover, Marjorie Cameron. At once a muse, occult student and primal force of nature — a woman he proclaimed as his ‘elemental’ in a letter to Aleister Crowley — Cameron fascinated, troubled and inspired Parsons.

Songs for the Witch Woman is a project born from this turbulent love story. A series of poems written by Parsons reveal his feelings toward his often absent lover. And beside these words are images from the hand of Cameron, illustrating and echoing the intimate themes.

After Parsons’ tragic death in June 1952 we find the notebook in which this work was recorded continues, as a bereaved Cameron keeps a diary of her magical working in Lamb Canyon, California. In the dark desert her words become a raw lament as she attempts to gain contact with her Holy Guardian Angel. And throughout the working, the memory of Jack is never far from her mind.

Now published more than sixty years after it was written, Songs for the Witch Woman stands as a testament to lasting power of love and loss.

This book represents a creative collaboration between two of the most important names in 20th century occultism. It includes:
· The poems, drawings and diary entries published together for the first time.
· A facsimile of the original 1950s notebook with text by Parsons and illustrations by Cameron.
· The texts have also been corrected and typeset alongside a second suite of pen and ink drawings that Cameron produced for the work after 1952.
· Contextual commentaries from William Breeze, George Pendle and Margaret Haines.” [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.

The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley

The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley: Tunisia 1923 edited, with additional material, by Stephen Skinner, the 1996 paperback from Weiser Books, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Stephen Skinner's The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley from Weiser Books

“The complete diaries of Aleister Crowley cover his entire career in magic, from his initiation into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1898, to his death in 1947. These diaries record the development of Crowley’s synthesis of traditional Western ritual magic with Eastern yoga, tantra and sexual magic—culminating in the creation of Crowley’s ‘Thelemic Magick.’ The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley: Tunisia 1923 show one year in Crowley’s life. This particular year was a major turning point in his life—he and his followers has just been banished by Mussolini from their beloved Abbey of Thelema in Cefalu, Sicily. It marks a time of introspection for Crowley. In it he fully records his magical acts, the internal and external influences surrounding these acts, and their results. Also included are references to the commentaries on the Book of the Law, passages detailing drug use, the practice of sexual magic, descriptions of how he derived Qabalistic meaning from his works and life, interpretations of ‘Yi King’ (I Ching) divination, and other thoughts of a philosophic, religious, and magical nature. In these candid glimpses into Crowley’s mind the reader can see both the egocentric, self-aggrandizing ‘Beast 666’ and the doubts and misgivings of a man dedicated to the spiritual path.”


 

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.

Sorcerer

Sorcerer: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth’s Alchemist by Geoffrey James, from Grand Mal Press, arrived at the Reading Room courtesy of the author.

Geoffrey James' Sorcerer from Grand Mal Press

 

“Based on actual diaries and historical accounts, Sorcerer: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth’s Alchemist breaks the barrier between fantasy and historical fiction, recreating a long-hidden real-life world of death, sex, politics and ritual magic.

The year is 1584. John Dee, the greatest scholar of his age, has turned from reputable science to forbidden magic. In partnership with a visionary rogue, an ex-nun and a court beauty, he’s flees across Europe, dogged by the Inquisition and a relentless assassin.

Finally, Dee’s magic seems to yield fruit. Angels (or are they demons?) promise to reveal the secret of transmuting lead into gold. There is only one hitch: Dee and his companions must first commit an unforgivable sin.” [via]

 

 

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.