Tag: dave evans

Reivew: Aleister Crowley and the 20th Century Synthesis of Magick, by Dave Evans

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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

Kaostar!, by Francis Breakspear

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Kaostar, by Francis Breakspear Kaostar! Modern Chaos Cunning Craft, by Frances Breakspear
Hidden Publishing, 97809555523717, 118 pp., 2007

The early and mid-nineties saw a number of fresh and innovative books on chaos magick by the likes of Phil Hine, Jaq Hawkins, Jan Fries and, of course, Peter Carroll, but this seems to have petered out by the nills. More recently the rise in print-on-demand publishing companies like Lulu.com and CafePress.com have facilitated a revival in the classic texts, making titles such The Book of Results and The Theatre of Magick by Ray Sherwin available once more.

Chaos magick has never been an especially popular area of occultism; it places itself on the fringe of the fringe, occulted even amongst the occultists – it’s a glamour that suits it well, but there have never been chaos magick books published in the numbers seen by those relating to Golden Dawn style magick, for example. The chaos current has been proclaimed dead numerous times, but there’s life in ‘er yet. Continue reading

Review: The History of British Magick After Crowley, by Dave Evans

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The History of British Magick After Crowley, by Dave EvansThe History of British Magick After Crowley: Kenneth Grant, Amado Crowley, Chaos Magic, Satanism, Lovecraft, The Left Hand Path, Blasphemy and Magical Morality, by Dave Evans
Hidden Publishing, 97895523700, 435 pp. (incl. appendix, bibliography and index), 435 pp. (incl. appendix, bibliography and index)

I’ve known Dave online for a number of years, so I was excited when he said his book had finally been published, and looked forward to reading it. His doctoral dissertation in history forms the basis for The History of British Magick After Crowley, and as such it is structured in an academic format, opening with a detailed explanation of his methodology, and his involvement with both magick and academia.

Magickians are not known for strict adherence to objective truths and much of the tradition is oral or relies on in-person contact. The academic approach taken with his work may seem threatening to some, challenging myths and records which have endured simply because they’re oft repeated. Evans has done an admirable job sifting through the available data to bring us what can be verified, and provided a detailed record of his sources.

This is a study in magickal thought in the sixty years since Crowley’s death. Evans writes that “…although Ronald Hutton makes the excellent point that in the last 50 or so years Britain gave Wicca to the world, I would add we also gave it Chaos magick and Thelema.” Indeed, chaos magick, a more recent current which emerged about thirty years ago, and the philosophy behind seems to subtly inform much of the work – not terribly surprising as Evans comes from this background.

Elusive figures are tracked down and put into perspective, such as Evans’ exploration of what’s known of the life and works of Kenneth Grant, and devotes a significant amount of time to critically examining the claims of “Amado Crowley”, self-proclaimed son of Aleister Crowley. Though in the latter case the space dedicated seems excessive, and indeed it sounds like there is enough to be a book’s worth on its own, and may have served better elsewhere, as Amado’s contributions to modern magick have been, to be generous, negligible.

In conclusion, Evans writes “I trust that this work has performed several tasks, not the least that it shows the utility of investigating such a subject, which although a minority activity, informs many wider beliefs and societal activities, such as interests in folklore, the urge to religious belief in general, superstition and in the realm of self-understanding, we live in a society and culture in Britain which is steeped in magical history, and to understand more about the nature of magic allows us to understand more about our own histories, our own culture, and to a large extent, our own selves”. In this he has succeeded well.

The stylistic inconsistencies can sometimes be confusing, but do not detract from the text. It is also repetitive at times, but for those not familiar with the characters involved, this may be helpful.

Evans, that strange and rare combination of magickian and historian, has produced a useful source book for students of both disciplines.

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