“No spiritual development begins without that person having a mystical experience,” claimed my friend Hans in recent conversation. We had been discussing mysticism and he made a few points that made me pause. He continued, “Mystical experience connects a person to the higher states of being. Without this, no one make any serious progress on the spiritual path.” I thought this was a rather provocative statement and asked him to clarify. He said that only once someone has tasted the ultimate can they really begin to direct themselves and their actions towards it. Until then it is like trying to create a trail with no guide or point of reference in sight.
I must admit I was taken aback by such a frank assertion, one he was quite adamant was universal. Additionally, I take seriously Aleister Crowley’s warning about the ways mysticism can delude a person and have thus always been suspicious of it. I pointed out how Crowley noted that mysticism was all subjective and lacked any kind of objectivity. Hans countered that this is wrong and that all true mysticism connects to a universal higher reality to which all humans share access. Humans, he claimed, were “wired” for these mystical states. He then pointed to all the great religions and mystics and said they all went up different paths to the same mountain peak.
I asked then, why did each of these mystics have such different responses to the same experience. Why did Jesus appear as the sole son of God after his time in the desert while the Buddha, Mohammed, Theresa Avilla, and so many others had different responses? Continue reading
Enochian Vision Magick: An Introduction and Practical Guide to the Magick of Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley, by Lon Milo DuQuette
Weiser Books, 9781578633821, 261 pp. (incl. appendices, notes, bibliography and index), 2008
Lon Milo DuQUette is the author of more than a dozen books on esoteric subjects, and has served as the OTO’s United States Deputy Grand Master since 1994 This is his second book on Enochian magick, his first being Enochian World of Aleister Crowley: Enochian Sex Magick, co-written with the late Christopher Hyatt.
Enochian Vision Magick opens with an introduction by Clay Holden founder of the John Dee Publication Project, an online archive whose “major purpose of this site is to distribute primary-source materials relevant to the “Enochian” work of John Dee and Edward Kelly”,. Two prologues follow by DuQuette outlining his interest in and involvement with Enochian magick for the past thirty years. Continue reading
John Dee’s Occultism: Magical Exaltation Through Powerful Signs, by Gyorgy Szonyi
State University of New York Press (SUNY), 0791462234, 362 pp. (incl. notes, bibliographies and index), 2004
In John Dee’s Occultism Szyoni argues that, contrary to popular sentiment, Dee’s interest in occultism was not separate from his scientific investigations, but a logical extension of his philosophical studies.
The book is arranged in three parts, with the Part I provides an overview of Dee scholarship and perspectives on occultism in the Renaissance from Frances Yates to the modern era, contextualizing the various historical interpretations in their periods, concluding with the angle Szyoni is pursuing with the present text – a fascinating study in how the lens of history is focused at various points. Part II looks to Dee’s influences, relying heavily on catalogues of Dee’s vast library, and inferring other texts not mentioned, but with which he would have likely been familiar, from the Corpus Hermeticum to Paracelsus to various medieval texts. Part III examines Dee’s output, the books he wrote, diaries and letters, and the public opinion of the time. Continue reading