Tag Archives: New Age & Spirituality

Ask Baba Lon

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Ask Baba Lon: Answers to Questions of Life and Magick [Amazon, Bookshop, Abebooks] by Lon Milo DuQuette.

DuQuette Ask Baba Lon

Ask Baba Lon is Lon DuQuette’s entry in the microgenre of occult collected instructional correspondence, following such classics as Eliphas Levi’s Letters to a Disciple and Aleister Crowley’s Aleister Explains Everything (published as Magick Without Tears). A significant difference is that Baba Lon’s book covers answers to a wider number and variety of correspondents than those addressed by Constant and Crowley. He does not even scruple to bar a little representative “crank mail.” 

Baba Lon boasts that he has improved on the format established by his predecessors, because he includes the letters from querents along with his own responses. He fails, however, to include the dates of his own letters. This information would be of interest because he has been teaching about magick for three decades, and he freely admits that his opinions change over time. What’s more, he repeatedly emphasizes that the virtue of magick (and freemasonry) involves the gradual improvement in the perspective of the effective aspirant.

The omission of dates is also significant in that the letters are not arranged in chronological sequence, but rather by topic. A peculiar feature of this scheme is the last section consisting of a single letter on the topic of “Reincarnation.” Although that arrangement may look a bit goofy in the abstract, the final letter itself is especially wonderful and deserves its privileged position. Besides, the various portraits of Baba Lon by his wife St. Constance of the Well demonstrate that looking a bit goofy is in fact part of his magical modus operandi.

While Baba Lon’s answers are not always the ones I would give (and I confess to answering questions at least as often as I ask them in recent years of occult correspondence), they all show the sort of wisdom and humanity that his readers and students have come to expect of him. “It’s funny because it’s true” so often here. Readers of this book who have not met Lon DuQuette or heard him speak should seek out one of the YouTube videos that show him in informal conversation, to get a sense of his voice and pacing, so as to be able to mentally construct the whole “Baba Lon” effect. 

I recommend this book heartily to all Thelemites, and to any sincere students of the occult. It provides constructive replies (if not always “answers”) both to questions we are repeatedly asked, and to those we should perennially ask.

Lamaseries and lodges, orders, monasteries, convents, and places of refuge have been established, where people might strive to attain a higher life, unimpeded by the aggressions and annoyances of the external world of illusions. Their original purpose was beyond a doubt very commendable. If in the course of time many such institutions have become degraded and lost their original character; if instead of being places for the performance of the noblest and most difficult kind of labour, they have become places of refuge for the indolent, idle, and superstitious; it is not the fault of that principle which first caused such institutions to be organised, but it is the consequence of the knowledge of the higher nature of man and his powers and destiny having been lost, and with the loss of that knowledge, the means for the attainment, the original aim, was naturally lost and forgotten.

Franz Hartmann, With The Adepts [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library, Hermetic Library]

Hermetic quote Hartmann With the Adepts places refuge established strive attain higher life unimpeded external world illusions instead indolent idle superstitious original aim lost

“One cannot be careful enough in selecting one’s guides,” continued the stranger. “There are at present so many false prophets and guides. All the world is at present crazy for poking their noses into the mysteries of the astral world. Everybody wants to be taught witchcraft and sorcery. Secrets, which for thousands of years have been wisely kept hidden before the eyes of the unripe and profane, are now bawled out from the housetops and sold at the market-place as objects of trade. Hundreds of self-appointed ‘masters’ and guides speculate upon the selfishness and ambitions of their disciples, and, the blind leading the blind, they both come to grief. If only all the seekers for truth were like you, they would not be deluded by false promises held out to them for attaining adeptship.”

Franz Hartmann, With The Adepts [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library, Hermetic Library]

Hermetic quote Hartmann With the Adepts if only all adepts would not be deluded false promises attaining adeptship