Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic: The Essential Ida Craddock, by Vere Chappell, with an introduction by Mary K. Greer
Weiser Books, 978157863476, 258 pp. (incl. appendix and references), 2010
Described as an anthology embedded in a biography, Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic contains most of Ida Craddock’s published writings edited, annotated and placed in context by Vere Chappell.
Ida Craddock was a nineteenth century American sexologist, feminist and mystic who was persecuted by Anthony Comstock’s Society for the Suppression of Vice. Her contribution to conventional sex reform, and her mystical writings on sex with spiritual beings are exceptional for the period. Continue reading
Frances Yates and the Hermetic Tradition, by Marjorie G. Jones
Ibis Press, 9780892541331, 262 pp. (incl. end notes, bibliography and index), 2008
Frances Yates and the Hermetic Tradition is the first full-length biography of Frances Yates, who was among the first wave of late Victorian female historians. Notes were compiled for an autobiography, but it remained incomplete at her death, though she did leave instructions for future biographers.
The account of Yates’ early years are taken in part from the unfinished autobiography, and the journal her father kept about her growth and progress from birth to a young child, with notes on her character and conduct.
Jones traces her personal and scholastic interests through Continue reading
Fire Child: The Life & Magic of Maxine Sanders ‘Witch Queen’, by Maxine Sanders
Mandrake, 9781869928780, 309 pp., 2008
I have been waiting for this book to be written for years, if not decades. As I have said in previous reviews, we need more autobiographies (as well as biographies) concerning those people who helped to bring our religion out of the broom closet. We already had Gerald Gardner: Witch and King of the Witches: The World of Alex Sanders as well as several books relating the life and works of George Pickingill, Doreen Valiente, Sybil Leek, and more modern practitioners such as Fiona Horne. The Internet has made it easy to find out about individuals’ actions. Their motivations, however, may not be so easily determined.
One of the things I enjoyed Continue reading
Stewart Farrar: Writer On A Broomstick, The Biography of Stewart Farrar, by Elizabeth Guerra
RJ Stewart Books, 9780979140273, 227 pp., 2008
I have, over the past several years, bemoaned the fact that there has been a steady erosion of knowledge about the inner thoughts and attitudes of those people most influential in the Pagan movement in the earlier days of the twentieth century. Many of them have entered the Summerland and left us no records. Others are known only by their public writings.
Ms. Guerra has undertaken the gargantuan task of chronicling the life of a very influential, very well respected, and yet very private man. She is owed a large debt of gratitude for doing so. Continue reading
The Weiser Concise Guide to Aleister Crowley, by Richard Kaczynski, edited and introduced by James Wasserman
Weiser Books, 978157634569, 126 pp. (incl. appendices), 2009
Richard Kaczynski is the author of the acclaimed biography, Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley (sadly out of print), and it’s not surprising that he is able to sketch the outlines of Crowley’s life so. Naturally, the book begins with a biography of Crowley, briefly describing his early life, his time at Cambridge, poetry, the Golden Dawn, the reception of Leiber AL vel Legis, the OTO and the A.’. A.’., the Abbey of Thelema and his end. The section concludes with an annotated list of twelve books of Crowley’s work as recommended reading.
Part I deals with “Mystical and Magical Societies”, specifically Continue reading