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 19th 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
William Blake’s Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Martha Keith Schuchard
Inner Traditions, 9781594772115, 415 pp., 2006, 2008
This is the first US edition of a book originally published in 2006 in the UK. It had its origin in scholarly research but has been diminished in size and complexity, although not in quality, to produce a book more likely to appeal to a non-academic audience.
There is a large amount of background data provided on the subject of 18th and 19th century esoterica. This is important to provide a solid base for the understanding of William Blake and his works.
As I have commented in previous reviews of books issued by Inner Traditions, this is not a book for the casual reader. It presupposes a certain level of familiarity with the general topic right from the outset. If you know nothing about William Blake or the esoteric milieu of his time, you will find yourself playing catch-up from the start. Continue reading
Ecstatic Ritual: Practical Sex Magick, by Brandy Williams
Immanion Press, 978-1-905713-25-7, 145 pp., 2008
This is a revision of a book originally published 20 years ago. During the intervening decades there have been many changes. Some of these changes have had a major impact on the world of sex magick (the AIDS epidemic is one example) while others are less obvious (more works by female writers). Nonetheless, they have all contributed to changes. Williams did an excellent job the first time around, and has made only minor changes to this second edition.
Williams has produced a very usable introductory book on a topic which is slowly gaining acceptance within the magical community. For far too long the topic of sex magick (or, in my opinion, more properly, sexual magick) has been hidden away from the average magick worker, restricted to “higher initiates” and often relegated to the left-hand path or dark magick (don’t even get me started on that topic). Whether or not one uses sexual magick, everyone should be familiar with the concepts and tenets. Continue reading
Radical Ecstasy: SM Journeys to Transcendence, by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy
Greenery Press, 189015962X, 215 pp., 2004
Radical Ecstasy is the sixth book Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy have written together, though the first one I have read by them.
Early in it becomes clear that each have something different to offer, and without the other the book wouldn’t be nearly as strong. Dossie, who usually subs, tends to view things from a more spiritual and Pagan perspective, whereas Janet, who usually tops, approaches the same material from a more secular or agnostic angle. Both are delightfully frank and forthright in expressing their beliefs and experiences. Continue reading
One issue that occurs with both Western and Eastern sex magick is the polarization of the sexes. This kind of thinking about the sexes can be found in nineteenth century occultism (and even further back), “One calls the forces positive and negative, and one rediscovers them in good and bad, emission and reception, life and death, idea and action, man and woman (positive and negative magnetic poles) in the material plane and, conversely the woman (active pole) and man (negative pole) in the mental plane.” Continue reading