Phil Hine reviews Dreamtime Is Upon Us, The Second Annual Report of the Association of Autonomous Astronauts, in the Bkwyrm archive.
The AAA is a worldwide network dedicated to local, community-based space exploration programs. Dreamtime is Upon Us is the second annual report of what the various AAA groups have been doing in order to further their goals. My initial impression was that of ‘anarcho-situationists in space’ but the AAA is much more than that. Particularly intriguing is Luther Blissett’s contribution “Sex in Space” and the XXX Foundation’s $1 million prize offered to the first privately-funded group to send a craft into sub-orbital space (about 60 miles up) and engage in sexual intercourse! Also of note is the report from Raido AAA who tell us that commercial ‘space tourism’ is being predicted by 2010 and that the Catholic Church is looking forwards to meeting with aliens – in order to convert them to Christianity!
If you’re interested in space, but depressed by the thought that the final frontier has been already sewn up by the military-industrial combine, the AAA offers several alternative directions. Get Dreamtime is Upon Us and get with the program!
Note: this and other annual reports are available on ASAN’s annual reports page.
Phil Hine reviews Dark Knights of the Solar Cross by Geoffrey Basil Smith in the Bkwyrm archives.
In this fascinating little book Geoffrey Basil Smith sets out to untangle the roots of modern occult movements. Beginning with a look at Benjamin Creme’s “Maitreya” movement, he launches into an exploration of the beginnings of the Theosophical Society and its offshoots. He then goes on to explore the unfolding of the Rosicrucian organisations, particularly the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the Ordo Templis Orientis. Mr. Smith manages to deal with a most convoluted subject with a precise brevity of phrase which is to be applauded. Anyone interested in the history of modern occultism will find this a worthy addition to their library.
Bkwyrm reviews Condensed Chaos: An Introduction to Chaos Magic by Phil Hine in the Bkwyrm archive.
I really don’t have all that much to say about this book. But, hey, I’m reviewing it anyway. It’s readable – the concepts are presented in a logical fashion, the material inside is interesting, it’s not filled with goofy illustrations. If I had to pick one book that I thought was the best introduction to chaos magic that was currently in print, I’d choose this one. I’m sure there are arguments for Carroll’s books, for other author’s works, but I’m sticking with Phil Hine.
Ten chapters, appended by a reading list, contain most of the information that anyone learning about chaos magic would want. Whether chaos is magic, or if it’s just random; why people practice magic in a world that is increasingly scientific; what a magician is, and what s/he does; the D.R.A.T. (discipline, relaxation, attention, transformation) formula for magical working; specific information on chaos magic, on chaos servitors, and on ego magic. There’s a chapter on evocation, which is well worth reading and an excellent introduction to the topic of why anyone would evoke a godform in the first place. Finally, there is information on self-examination and personal transformation. The book does contain specific instructions for ritual and meditation, exercise, relaxation, etc. Even absolute beginners will get something out of Hine’s book. Well worth reading, even if you aren’t interested in chaos magic.
Find this book at Amazon, Abebooks, or Powell’s
Phil Hine reviews Carnal Alchemy: A Sado-Magical Exploration of Pleasure, Pain and Self-Transformation by Crystal Dawn and Stephen E Flowers in the Bkwyrm archive.
Like many other occultists, my first introduction to group magical work was through my local Wiccan group. A curious blend of “traditions”, they nevertheless gave much prominence to scourging, “knots and cords”, blindfolded initiations and other elements which of course, had nothing whatsoever to do with s-e-x. If only the High Priestess had access to a book like Carnal Alchemy – who knows, I might just have retained my enthusiasm for Wicca!
Given the current vogue for S&M, body play and “modern primitivism”, this is a very timely release. Good books dealing with sexual magic generally are rare enough, which makes this one all the more interesting. Printed under the imprimatur of “The Order of the Triskelion,” Carnal Alchemy explores the magical implications of sadomasochistic sexuality with both boldness and directness. Eschewing the symbolism which some magical authors use to gloss over sex-magic “secrets”, Dawn & Flowers have produced a very practical guide to S-M techniques and relationships. Included in Carnal Alchemy is a historical overview of notable examples of the pleasure-pain gnosis; sado-magic themes in the works of famous magi (Crowley, LaVey, Gardner); useful tips on creating the ambience of one’s chamber/dungeon, and an extensive bibliography of Sadean works. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with a serious interest in sexual magic or personal transformation. Or, if you want to be kind – buy a copy for your local neighbourhood neo-Wiccans!
Find it at Amazon, Abebooks, or Powell’s.
I don’t remember if I’d mentioned this before or not, but I was reminded about this volume recently which you may also have interest in checking out. I think I posted about this to the Fb page when there was a bunch of news about Austin Osman Spare a while back, but anyhow, it’s worth mentioning.
Phil Baker’s Austin Osman Spare: The Life and Legend of London’s Lost Artist, with an introduction by Alan Moore, is available from Strange Attractor.
“London has harboured many curious characters, but few more curious than the artist and visionary Austin Osman Spare (1886-1956).
A controversial enfant terrible of the Edwardian art world, the young Spare was hailed as a genius and a new Aubrey Beardsley, while George Bernard Shaw reportedly said ‘Spare’s medicine is too strong for the average man.’
But Spare was never made for worldly success and he went underground, falling out of the gallery system to live in poverty and obscurity south of the river. Absorbed in occultism and sorcery, voyaging into inner dimensions and surrounding himself with cats and familiar spirits, he continued to produce extraordinary art while developing a magical philosophy of pleasure, obsession, and the subjective nature of reality.
Today Spare is both forgotten and famous, a cult figure whose modest life has been much mythologised since his death. This groundbreaking biographical study offers wide-ranging insights into Spare’s art, mind and world, reconnecting him with the art history that ignored him and exploring his parallel London; a bygone place of pub pianists, wealthy alchemists and monstrous owls.
This richly readable and illuminating biography takes us deep into the strange inner world that this most enigmatic of artists inhabited, shedding new light while allowing just a few shadowy corners to flourish unspoiled.”
You may also be interested in reading the review of the book by Phil Hine.
Of course, there’s also the Austin Osman Spare section at the library, which you may want to check out as well.