Tag Archives: James Wasserman

To Perfect This Feast

To Perfect This Feast: A Performance Commentary on The Gnostic Mass by James and Nancy Wasserman will be available in October, 2013, in a further revised third, and they say final, edition.

James and Nancy Wasserman's To Perfect This Feast 3rd edition

“The Gnostic Mass is a hymn to the wedding of scientific truth and religious aspiration. It offers a truly modern spirituality. The celebrant is encouraged to leave superstition and dogma behind and join in an ecstatic tribute to the glorious nature of reality. Aleister Crowley wrote the Gnostic Mass in 1913. He described it as the central ritual—public and private—of Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.). Today it is being performed on a regular basis throughout the world.

The authors of this performance guide to the Mass are both longtime O.T.O. members and consecrated bishops of the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica (E.G.C.). They share between them over half a century of diligent practice and training with this rite. Their devotion has been rewarded with long-sought-after insights into its complex choreography.

The detailed instructions presented here not only provide missing keys to the geometrical puzzle of the Mass, but offer a wider window into the workings of magical ritual. This book will thus be of value to spiritual aspirants, as well as to scholars and students of ancient myth, modern religious movements, and contemporary Gnosticism. The authors believe the Gnostic Mass to be a doorway into the highest realms of spiritual development and make a compelling case for that assertion.

In addition to a detailed commentary, they offer a corrected, uninterrupted Mass Missal suitable for use by individuals and groups interested in working with the ritual, along with valuable insights into magical ceremonies in general, and the Gnostic Mass in particular.

From the new edition:

‘The primary insight we received that prompted the first edition of this book in 2009 e.v. began in December 2005. It is described in the Commentary to Section VI, starting on page 93. It perfectly resolved the mathematical imbalance that had troubled me for over two and a half decades. We were humbled and felt compelled to share it with the wider Thelemic community. We then worked diligently to solve some of the other performance puzzles of which we were aware in Crowley’s stage directions. That quest led us through two previous editions of this book.

“We feel we have here solved problems that remained in our understanding of the choreography of the children and Deacon in Sections III, IV, and elsewhere. We noted the occurrence of two additional ‘X-switches’ during a training session conducted in 2012 e.v. They are mentioned on pages 94 and 102. We have refined and explained our version of the Communion in Section VIII better than ever before. We ‘road-tested’ this text twice with a group of five officers who had never done the Mass (three were not even O.T.O. members). That led to several important improvements in the instructions, and to the creation of the Temple diagram on page 52. We hope Mass teams will find the checklist useful on pages 125–127. There are another myriad of minor changes and refinements throughout.'” [via]

In the Center of the Fire: Aeons

In the Center of the Fire: Aeons” from Imperium Pictures is a video with James Wasserman discussing the concept of Aeons, and the New Aeon of Horus.

James Wasserman is the founder of the Ordo Templi Orientis’ (O.T.O.) NYC Tahuti Lodge and one of the foremost practitioners of the magical system of Aleister Crowley. His most recent book is In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966-1989, which chronicles the occult scene in New York City in the 1970s and ’80s. In this segment, he elucidates the Thelemic conception of history as a progression of aeons, represented by the Egyptian gods Isis, Osiris and Horus.

In the Center of the Fire: Invocation

In the Center of the Fire: Invocation” from Imperium Pictures is a video with James Wasserman discussing the concept and practice of invocation.

James Wasserman is the founder of the Ordo Templi Orientis’ (O.T.O.) NYC Tahuti Lodge and one of the foremost practitioners of the magical system of Aleister Crowley. His most recent book is In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966-1989, which chronicles the occult scene in New York City in the 1970s and ’80s. In this segment, Wasserman describes the process of invocation — the identification of oneself with a deity or archetype — in reference to the gods, Pan and Tahuti.

In the Center of the Fire

In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966-1989 by James Wasserman, the 2012 hardcover edition, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

James Wasserman's In the Center of the Fire

“In this daring exposé by a survivor of a unique era in the New York occult scene, James Wasserman, a longtime proponent of the teachings of Aleister Crowley, brings us into a world of candlelit temples, burning incense, and sonorous invocations. The author also shares an intimate look at the New York Underground of the 1970s and introduces us to the company of such avant-garde luminaries as Alejandro Jodorowsky, Harry Smith, and Angus MacLise. A stone’s throw away from the Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol’s Factory, William Burroughs’ ‘bunker,’ and the legendary Chelsea Hotel was a scene far more esoteric than perhaps even they could have imagined.

When James Wasserman joined the O.T.O. in 1976, there were fewer than a dozen members. Today the Order numbers over 4,000 members in 50 countries and has been responsible for a series of ground-breaking publications of Crowley’s works.

The author founded New York City’s TAHUTI Lodge in 1979. He chronicles its early history and provides a window into the heyday of the Manhattan esoteric community. He also breaks his decades of silence concerning one of the most seminal events in the development of the modern Thelemic movement — detailing his role in the 1976 magical battle between Marcelo Motta and Grady McMurtry. Long slandered for his effort to heal the temporary breach between the Orders of A∴A∴ and O.T.O., James Wasserman sets the record straight. And, he meticulously chronicles the copyright contest over the Crowley literary estate—of which he was an important participant.

This is also a saga with a very human tableau filled with tender romance, passionate friendships, an abiding spiritual hunger, danger, passion, and ecstasy. It also explores several hidden magical byways including the rituals of Voodoo, Tibetan Buddhism, and Sufism. Finally we are given a bird’s eye view of the 1960s hippie culture and its excesses of sex and drugs, and rock n roll—along with the personal transformations and penalties such a lifestyle brought forth.

Reconstructed from personal memories, magical diaries, multiple interviews, court transcripts, witness depositions, trial evidence, and extensive correspondence, this book elucidates a hitherto misreported and ill-understood nexus of modern magical history. It also shares tales of a mythical moment in American life as seen through the eyes of an enthusiastic participant in the hip culture of the day.”

 

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A Modern History of the O.T.O.

“This is the video record of a talk given on December 16, 2012 at Swirling Star Lodge of Ordo Templi Orientis. It includes numerous photos of influential figures in the development of Thelema as well as the early years of TAHUTI Lodge in New York City. James Wasserman shares his experience in the development of the modern Thelemic movement and his enthusiasm for the spiritual teachings of Aleister Crowley.”

Review: In the Center of the Fire

Hermetic Library fellow Colin Campbell has posted a review of James Wasserman’s In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966-1989 [also] over on his blog at “Review: In the Center of the Fire

“Wasserman’s In the Center of the Fire: Memoirs of the Occult, 1966-1989 strings together like a fantastic rough and tumble road movie, an occult version of Easy Rider. Wasserman lays it bare; everything — personal, professional, sacred and profane. A long time advocate of the practice of keeping a magical diary, the work clearly shows the fruits of Wasserman’s careful notes in reconstruction.” [via]

“I found it a fantastic read to peek (perhaps just a bit) into a historical period in the emergence of the modern OTO, a time that few speak about even now.” [via]

In the Center of the Fire, A Memoir of the Occult 1966 – 1989.

In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966-1989 by James Wasserman is available now, published by Ibis Press.

“An autobiographical account of life in the New York occult underground of the 1970s and 1980s. The author was a central figure in the vibrant occult scene that blossomed in Manhattan during that period and played a significant role in the development of interest in Aleister Crowley in the United States, being actively involved in the publishing Crowley’s works and in the struggle between Marcelo Motta and Grady McMurtry, as well as being the founder of Tahuti Lodge of the O.T.O. In addition to offering a detailed historical view of events, the book also presents “a bird’s eye view of the 1960s hippie culture and its excesses of sex and drugs, and rock ‘n roll-along with an account of some of the personal transformations and penalties such a lifestyle brought forth.” An interesting and entertaining first-person perspective on this vital period of occult history, by Jim Wasserman, who has gone on to become well-known as a writer and speaker on the occult, Templars, esoteric Freemasonry and kindred subjects.” [via]

The Egyptian Book of the Dead

You may be interested in a hardcover of James Wasserman’s The Egyptian Book of the Dead, with an offer for free shipping worldwide from Thelesis Aura, publisher of several items of interest including the new printing of Lon Milo DuQuette’s Tarot of Ceremonial Magick deck, which latter, a little bit surprisingly to me, is still not sold out.

I have the paperback version of The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day from 2000, and it is quite nice as a large format 14×7 book with full color images, including fold-out pages and side-by-side translations of the text. I haven’t seen this new hardcover printing, but if it is at least as good at the paperback, and more durable for being hardcover, then I think it would be worth having for reference.

The Temple of Solomon: From Ancient Israel to Secret Societies

Scheduled for October 15th, 2011, you may be interested in The Temple of Solomon: From Ancient Israel to Secret Societies, a new book by James Wasserman. Pre-ordering is already available through Amazon for the Hardcover and Paperback. You can also see more about the book at James Wasserman’s site and Inner Traditions’s page.

“The spiritual heart of many esoteric societies, the Temple of Solomon was located atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, a site venerated by the three great monotheistic religions as the intersection of Divine and human. Built by King Solomon at the peak of ancient Israel’s power, the Temple of Solomon housed the golden Ark of the Covenant in its Holy of Holies, a sacred chamber where the High Priest could communicate directly with God. Centuries after the temple’s destruction, the Temple Mount was used as the headquarters for the Knights Templar during the Crusades, and countless legends have come down through the centuries about the secrets they may have uncovered there, including discovery of the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant.

Richly illustrated with biblical and Masonic illustrations, photographs, and classical and modern paintings—many from rare archives—this book explores the Temple of Solomon in the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, and the Apocryphal writings as well as its role in the rites of Freemasonry, the legends of the Knights Templar, the doctrines of the Kabbalah, and Muhammad’s visionary journey through the heavens. Seeking to understand the powerful desire of many religions and secret societies to re-create the temple through ritual and prayer, James Wasserman explains why it was built, what its destruction has meant for Jews and Christians alike, and why the Knights Templar as well as several modern secret societies have centered their teachings around this vibrant archetype. Detailing the sacred architecture of this perfectly proportioned mystical edifice through words and art, the author reveals the Temple of Solomon as the affirmation of God’s presence in human affairs, the spiritual root of Western culture, and an important monument to the Divine—nearly forgotten in today’s secular times—that may serve to bridge the divide between our ancient past and our spiritual future.” [via]