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.
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]