one precaution is necessary, failing which it were better to leave untrodden all steps on the path to higher knowledge. It is necessary that the student should lose none of his qualities as a good and noble man, or his receptivity for all physical reality. Indeed, throughout his training he must continually increase his moral strength, his inner purity, and his power of observation.
I moved forward and out of my embracing surroundings, taking in a deep breath, knowing I was being admired by both good and evil.
Layden Robinson, Chameleon
There are elements of good and elements of evil in every man, and it depends on ourselves which class we desire to develop. From a cherry stone nothing can grow but a cherry tree, from a thistle seed nothing else than a thistle; but man is a constellation of powers in which all kinds of seeds are contained
Disappointed both in love and in friendship, and looking upon human learning as vanity, he had come to a conclusion that there was but one good thing in the world, videlicet, a good dinner
Thomas Love Peacock, Nightmare Abbey
I am that very being who shaped my body out of thy good and evil achievements. My spectral form is woven out of thine own life’s record.
Rudolf Steiner, How to Know Higher Worlds
“Rebel Angels is a digital-first comic book series about a revolution in Hell ten thousand years after Eve bit into that juicy apple and Satan took on The Big Guy. The demon masses are wising up and asking themselves “What the hell were we thinking?” Join fallen angel Balthazar on his quest for meaning and redemption in a mad, morally inverted world where the bad rule the good and hope is a sin.” [via]
“A university professor discovers the notes of a little-known 12th century alchemist detailing the creation of a mystical substance called Universal Matter. This substance is capable of generating unlimited energy and has the power to either end humanity’s greatest problems, or destroy us all. The ancient documents claim that, when the time is right, one human soul will be given the ability to create Universal Matter. His name is Ethan King.” [via]
“An emotionally-charged tale of fantasy, the supernatural and the unexpected.
The Destiny of Ethan King has all the elements of a modern fantasy, but nothing is as straightforward as it first appears. Ethan’s life is turned upside-down by a series of events which are out of his control. And to top it all, he learns that he is the only person on the planet capable of creating a mystical substance with infinite power which could either end humanity’s greatest problems … or destroy us all.
Thrown into a world in which the boundaries between good and evil are blurred, Ethan is left with no choice but to embark on a cosmic adventure with potentially global consequences. The Liverpudlian teenager quickly learns that good and evil is a sliding scale present within each of us and that big words such as ‘destiny’ and ‘morality’ are a smoke screen when dealing with real matters of family, friendship and love.
The Destiny of Ethan King can be read on several levels. To the uninitiated, it reads as a modern fantasy in the style of The Magicians by Lev Grossman. To those adept at peeking behind the veil, however, this is an occult novel containing true esoteric knowledge drawn from Hermeticism and Kabbalah.”
“I would classify this book as an ‘occult novel’ in the traditional sense of Zanoni or The Red Lion for example; books that try to convey essential ‘truths’ about magic in a fictional context, often revealing actual occult practices and beliefs. That is what The Destiny of Ethan King is, a true ‘occult novel'” — Rawn Clark
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.
On Friday, April 13th, 1934, the Manchester Guardian published “Mr. Aleister Crowley, the author, declines to make himself invisible in court” and today The Guardian has brought the article back from the archives.
“The ‘black magic’ libel action again came before Mr. Justice Swift and a special jury in the King’s Bench Division yesterday.
Mr. Aleister Crowley, the author, claimed damages against Miss Nina Hamnett, authoress of a book entitled ‘Laughing Torso,’ and Messrs. Constable and Co., Limited, the publishers, and Messrs. Charles Whittingham and Briggs, the printers.
Mr. Crowley complained that the book imputed that he practised ‘black magic’ and he said this was a libel upon him. The defence was a plea of justification.
At the material time Mr. Crowley had a villa on the mountain-side at Cefalu, Sicily, which was known as the ‘Abbey of Thelema.’ He denied that he practised ‘black magic’ there. He also denied that a baby mysteriously disappeared, as the defence alleged, from the ‘Abbey.’
Mr. Martin O’Connor (for Miss Hamnett) resuming his cross-examination yesterday, invited Mr. Crowley to try his magic in court. ‘You said yesterday,’ said Mr O’Connor, ‘that, as the result of early experiments, you invoked certain forces with the result that some people were attacked by unseen assailants. Try your magic now on my learned friend (pointing to Mr. Malcolm Hilbery, K.C.). I am sure he will not object.’ ‘I would not attack anyone,’ replied Mr. Crowley. ‘I have never done wilful harm to any human being.’
When invited again Mr. Crowley replied: ‘I absolutely refuse.’
‘On a later occasion,’ continued Mr. O’Connor, ‘you said you succeeded in rendering yourself invisible. Would you like to try that on now for, if you don’t, I shall pronounce you an imposter? – You can ask me to do anything you like. It won’t alter the truth.’
Counsel then dealt with the ritual observed in the ceremonies at the villa at Cefalu. Mr. Crowley denied that a cat was killed in the ceremony and that part of the cat’s blood was drunk by a person taking part. ‘There was no cat, no animal, no blood, and no drinking,’ he declared.
In re-examination Mr. Crowley agreed that he had studied black magic, though only as a student. He had never practised black magic, and had always written about it in terms of strongest condemnation.
When Mr. Crowley’s evidence was concluded Mr. Justice Swift asked him to tell the Court ‘the shortest, and at the same time comprehensive, definition of magic which he knew.’
Mr. Crowley: Magic is the science of the art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will. White magic is if the will is righteous and black magic is if the will is perverse.
Mr. Justice Swift: Does that involve the invocation of spirits? – It may do so. It does involve the invocation of the holy guardian angel who is appointed by Almighty God to watch over each of us.
Is it in your view, the art of controlling spirits so as to affect the course of events? – That is part of magic. One small branch.
If the object of the control is good then it is white magic? – Yes.
When the object of the control is bad what spirits do you invoke? – You cannot invoke evil spirits. You must evoke them and call them out.
When the object is bad you evoke evil spirits? – Yes. You put yourself in their power. In that case it is possible to control evil spirits or blind spirits for a good purpose as we might if we use the dangerous elements of fire and electricity for heating and lighting, &c.”