Tag Archives: Donald Traxler

The Light of Sex

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Light of Sex: Initiation, Magic, and Sacrament by Maria de Naglowska, translated and introduced by Donald Traxler, foreword by Hans Thomas Hakl, from Inner Traditions.

Maria de Naglowska The Light of Sex from Inner Traditions

This volume of Maria Naglowska’s writings is principally a translation of La Lumiere du sexe, a book that the Parisian sybil dispensed to entrants into her sex-magical Order of the Golden Arrow. After eight preliminary essays, the final three chapters provide a narrative account of idealized ceremonies beyond the scope of Naglowska’s actual resources. In this respect, it is reminiscent of the technical paper “Energized Enthusiasm” by Aleister Crowley. The story is told in the first person, and purports to give an accounting of the initiation of a male aspirant from his own perspective.

Throughout the book, there are many references to the “Satanic,” often characterizing the work of Naglowska and her order with the term. Translator and editor Donald Traxler is at extreme pains, footnoting every instance of such terminology, to clarify that Naglowska’s sort of identification with the Satanic (understood as the negating power of spirit, and associated with critical reason and sexual control) should not be taken in the sense of vulgar Satanism.

Overall, the teachings contained in the book are of a Neo-Joachimist character, and promote an immanentist theological concept. The paired chapters (5 & 6) on “The Heart” and “Sex” are especially apposite for initiates of the Thelemic O.T.O., although Naglowska seems to have somehow avoided noticing (and the notice of) Aleister Crowley. Despite her own attested routine of contemplative Roman Catholic churchgoing, she casts aspersions on the historical influence of Popes, and opposes them to initiated Knights (74), which is doctrinally reminiscent of the work of Julius Evola, with whom she was personally acquainted. (Opinions differ on the extent and intimacy of the acquaintance.)

The book is a short one, but highly valuable for students of modern sex-magical lore. A couple of appendices consist of excerpts from other Naglowska books translated by Traxler. [via]

Initiatic Eroticism

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.

Maria de Naglowska Donald Traxler Julius Evola Initiatic Eroticism from Inner Traditions

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]

The Crossing excerpt from The Sacred Rite of Magical Love

Here’s an excerpt of chapter 6, “The Crossing,” from The Sacred Rite of Magical Love: A Ceremony of Word and Flesh by Maria de Naglowska, translated by Donald Traxler, which is offered at the Reading Room with permission from Inner Traditions.

 

Maria de Naglowska's The Sacred Rite of Magical Love from Inner Traditions

 

The Crossing

We set out, hand in hand. Misha had said:

“Come, Xenia, it’s time.”

And I followed him without saying a word. We knew the path well, he and I. Misha held the lantern in his right hand, its red light spread a weak glow around us, and in the thick night it was as if we were going through a tunnel.

At the same time, as we advanced, the space gained closed again behind us, like a black wall.

When we arrived at the end of the great walk on the grounds that surrounded my ancestral home, after which it would be a matter of dealing with unkept paths, Misha stopped and said to me:

“Rest a little, my friend. I’ll take advantage of it to tell you certain things.”

The manifest change in Misha’s whole attitude did not surprise me, since I knew the reason for it, but what seemed astonishing to me was my completely new feeling with regard to my companion.

This feeling was very different from the mystical love that I had felt for the Unknown: he effaced me more in my own eyes and was spread through me, as an overwhelming influence.

When I was seated upon the trunk of an overturned pine, well wrapped in my big, black cloak, elbows resting on my knees and forehead in palms, Misha, who had remained standing, said to me:

“Xenia, I know now that he who is waiting for us in the forest is neither a rival nor an adversary. He is a friend, and the teaching that He shall give us bears upon a sacred mystery. That is why it is appropriate for us to prepare in a worthy fashion for the solemn meeting.”

He stopped talking and gathered himself into a deep meditation.

He was truly superb, illuminated by the red glow against the black background of the night. His eyes seemed enormous and powerful, and his tall, vigorous Cossack’s stature reflected an indomitable will.

I looked at him, and I didn’t think about anything. I waited for everything from him now.

“Xenia,” he said at last, “have you anything to reproach me about?”

If the earth had opened and swallowed me up, if the Kasbek had bowed down in front of the sea, I would have been less shaken in my being: I, reproaching anything in this man!

In a single bound I was on my feet, with my arms around Misha’s neck, like a mad woman. I pressed against his body, hard as granite, I wrapped my legs around his; I ruined my clothes in rubbing against his daggers.

From time to time I threw my head back to see if he was smiling.

Misha allowed me to continue for a few moments. He took me into his arms then and hugged me tenderly.

I wish I could express the happiness I felt, feeling his strength and rigidity turn to tenderness for me.

I was aware, I felt the need to sacrifice myself. Oh! The voluptuousness of the sacrifice!

“You are right,” Misha whispered, lightly caressing my ear with his lips, “you are right: you can’t reproach me for it … Xenia is mine, because I have won her. Xenia belongs to no one else … the Other is not an enemy … we shall see Him soon … together … kiss me again, my little bluebird … give me the kiss that I need now … I’m not the same person that I was this morning … we shall see Him together, soon.”

Saying that, he lifted me like a child, without effort, as if I had no weight, and, when my head was at the level of his, our lips united in a marvelous kiss, which seemed to unite heaven and earth.

There was no hell in that kiss, for hell had already been crossed.

Hell’s kiss is humid, because it is the beginning of the great crossing of the Sea. Heaven’s kiss is airy and radiant, because it is the first step taken on the new shore.

But one does not cross over the Sea, if one does not reach the limit of the first land … and the man will not pass over the region of the waves, if the waves do not make way for him … The woman is the wave and the man is the land.

“Yes, I’m yours, Misha, yours alone …”

I was elated and without strength.

Misha plunged a caressing look into my eyes and said to me:

“It’s true.”

He placed another kiss on my forehead, between my eyebrows, a kiss charged with thoughts, and slowly, as if I were a fragile and precious object, he put me back on the trunk of the pine.

“Now, rest peacefully and don’t move, no matter what happens. What I have to do now is for me and because of me. Don’t be concerned, stay completely calm.”

Without effort, I obeyed. I found it sweet to obey him. I crossed my hands on my knees, and I waited.

Misha backed up a few steps. He extended his arms before him, presenting his palms to the sky, as the priest does in front of the altar, when he implores the divine powers, for Christ to descend into the bread and wine of the Mystery.

He immediately brought about a concentration of spirit and of formidable forces.

He resembled a red statue of transparent stone. The light lost itself around him in the immense darkness, but the force that was in him seemed still more immense. It was the center that dominated the night.

 

 

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 Sacred Rite of Magical Love

The Sacred Rite of Magical Love: A Ceremony of Word and Flesh by Maria de Naglowska, translated by Donald Traxler, has arrived at the Reading Room courtesy of Inner Traditions.

This work was released in February, earlier this year, and follows other recent books by the same author and translator from Inner Traditions including last year’s The Light of Sex: Initiation, Magic, and Sacrament and Advanced Sex Magic: The Hanging Mystery Initiation, and also a new issue of Magia Sexualis: Sexual Practices for Magical Power, widely attributed to Pascal Beverly Randolph but which survives only from Naglowska’s French translation and which was possibly supplemented by her, re-translated to English by Traxler, which last was just released subsequently in August.

 

Maria de Naglowska's The Sacred Rite of Magical Love from Inner Traditions

 

“The first English translation of Maria de Naglowska’s sexually magical novella, Le rite sacré de l’amour magique

• Contains autobiographical material from Maria de Naglowska’s life

• Continues, in symbolic story form, the sexual initiatory teachings expounded in Naglowska’s The Light of Sex and Advanced Sex Magic

• Includes a summary of Naglowska’s religious doctrine in her own words

Available for the first time in English, The Sacred Rite of Magical Love is a mystical, sexually magical novella written by Maria de Naglowska—the Russian mystic and esoteric high priestess of 1930s Paris. Her religious system, called the Third Term of the Trinity, taught the importance of sex for the upliftment of humanity.

A natural continuation of Naglowska’s The Light of Sex and Advanced Sex Magic, this volume also contains autobiographical material from Maria de Naglowska’s life. Full of symbolic language and hidden meanings, the story follows a young woman named Xenophonta as she experiences the apparition of a dark force, whom she calls the Master of the Past and to whom she dedicates her heart and her service. En route to a midnight rendezvous with him, Xenophonta encounters a young Cossack, Micha, who sexually accosts her. Telling Micha that she already belongs to another, she escapes to keep her rendezvous. Micha, now jealous, follows her and ends up taking part in a strange, mystical ceremony that transforms him, through the magic of word and flesh.

With a preface discussing the Sacred Triangle and the magical symbol of the AUM Clock, both central symbols in Naglowska’s religious system as well as in the story, the book also includes a summary of the doctrine of the Third Term of the Trinity in de Naglowska’s own words—important to any student of the Western Mystery tradition.” [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.

The Sacred Rite of Magical Love: A Ceremony of Word and Flesh

The Sacred Rite of Magical Love: A Ceremony of Word and Flesh by Maria de Naglowska, from Inner Traditions, is a translation by Donald Traxler of Le rite sacré de l’amour magique. Naglowska not only provided the translation in French of B. P. Randolph’s Magia Sexualis: Sexual Practices for Magical Power, which was the only surviving source of that text, but authored a series of books which have recently been translated and published through Inner Traditions, such as The Light of Sex: Initiation, Magic, and Sacrament and Advanced Sex Magic: The Hanging Mystery Initiation.

Jenna Kraus, whom you may be familiar with as Hermetic Library anthology artist Whip Angels, offered a review of Naglowska’s, also recently available, The Light of Sex: Initiation, Magic, and Sacrament, over on David B Metcalfe’s blog, at “The Light of Sex: Initiation, Magic, & Sacrament by Maria de Naglowska, a review by Jenna Kraus“. You may also remember a previous post about the Whip Angels track The Light of Sex.

In the same vein, perhaps, as the series of fictional novels by Dion Fortune, such as the Sea Priestess and others, and of works in the library’s Cadaver Synod: Esoteric Fiction and Fictional Esoterica section, this is a novella by Naglowska which is inspired by the esoteric work of the author in the real world and should be of interest.

 

“Available for the first time in English, The Sacred Rite of Magical Love is a mystical, sexually magical novella written by Maria de Naglowska—the Russian mystic and esoteric high priestess of 1930s Paris. Her religious system, called the Third Term of the Trinity, taught the importance of sex for the upliftment of humanity.



A natural continuation of Naglowska’s The Light of Sex and Advanced Sex Magic, this volume also contains autobiographical material from Maria de Naglowska’s life. Full of symbolic language and hidden meanings, the story follows a young woman named Xenophonta as she experiences the apparition of a dark force, whom she calls the Master of the Past and to whom she dedicates her heart and her service. En route to a midnight rendezvous with him, Xenophonta encounters a young Cossack, Micha, who sexually accosts her. Telling Micha that she already belongs to another, she escapes to keep her rendezvous. Micha, now jealous, follows her and ends up taking part in a strange, mystical ceremony that transforms him, through the magic of word and flesh.



With a preface discussing the Sacred Triangle and the magical symbol of the AUM Clock, both central symbols in Naglowska’s religious system as well as in the story, the book also includes a summary of the doctrine of the Third Term of the Trinity in de Naglowska’s own words–important to any student of the Western Mystery tradition.”