Aleister Crowley and the 20th Century Synthesis of Magick: Strange distant gods that are not dead today, by Dave Evans
Hidden Publishing, 9780955523724, 108 pp. (incl. appendices), 108 pp. (incl. appendices)
Aleister Crowley and the 20th Century Synthesis of Magick is based on Evans’ master’s thesis from Exeter University and represents the second, revised edition (the first being an e-book published in 2001).
Evans writes that “Crowley is a particularly attractive person to study, as, apart from the Elizabethan magician John Dee, no leading occultist has left such comprehensive personal diaries and writings. It is this intimate and minutely detailed material that facilitates deep engagement with the subject.” This certainly seems to be the case. Continue reading
This list of chaos magick books was first published in an information pamphlet created for the Hamilton Pagan Harvest Festival in September 2007.
Read these for a taste of the philosophy surrounding chaos magick:
Chaos magick is first and foremost about achieving results, therefore, don’t merely read these, do them: Continue reading
Postmodern Magic: The Art of Magic in the Information Age, by Patrick Dunn
Llewellyn Publishing, 0738706639, 251 pp., 2005
It’s been years since I spoke with Dunn via an online mailing list – indeed, I didn’t even realize he’d published a book! It was the book’s sensible tone, straightforward approach and material that lead me to connect the dots and finally recognize why it seemed so familiar. The list was a central focus for a chaos magick group which began in the mid to late 1990s that remains active today, in an sense, though most of the core members have moved on, as Patrick seems to have done, after a fashion, though echoes of its influence are still heard. Continue reading
Two Tracts on Cartomancy, by Austin Osman Spare, with an introductory essay by Gavin W. Semple
Fulgur Limited, 1558183442, 38 pp. (incl. list of illustrations), 1997
Gavin Semple’s introductory essay makes up the main portion of this booklet. It, rather helpfully, gives an account of Spare’s introduction to cartomancy, and subsequently, his understanding and use of forecasting cards, placing it in context.
Semple describes Spare’s fondness for gambling on the horse races, and how this lead to the creation of his own ‘Surrealist Racing Forecast Cards’ (among others); explaining that that ‘Spare was not about to swallow anyone else’s gnosis wholesale – the challenge for him was to formulate a symbolic arcanum which would elucidate the most abstract principles of magic in terms uniquely his own’.
The first of the two brief articles written by Spare is merely the instructions initially included with the ‘Surrealist Forecasting Cards’; which describes the general purpose of the cards, and methods for using them. In the second essay, ‘Mind to Mind and How’, Spare offers a method for creating one’s own deck from a pack of ordinary playing cards.
Though perhaps more interesting than the short treatises are the pictures that accompany the texts; self-portrait, photographs, and reproductions of Spare’s divination cards. However, it seems unlikely this will appeal to any but the die-hard Spare collector.
One of the most fascinating aspects about pop culture magick is the adaptability it grants you. Case in point, recently I’d been reading Disinfo’s Book of Lies, particularly the essays on Austin Osman Spare. The ideal state to be in to charge a sigil is one where the mind is blank, vacuous, and thus open to the influences of the sigil. I began to think about that and how pop culture could be applied to charging and firing sigils. Continue reading