Fri May 25, 2012, 07:20 PM
PufPuf23 (3,711 posts)
Franz Bardon is boring and hard and a limb on a tree.
Wicca is a modern construct born of the Golden Dawn and Crowley's OTO and romanticism. Adler in "Drawing Down the Moon", Doreen Valiente, and academics have documented Crowley's influence (to the degree of perhaps ghost writing for or plagerism by) on Gerald Gardner. Gerald Gardner was a frequent visitor to Crowley in his last years, was initiated by Crowley into OTO, paid Crowley $$$, and received a Charter for an OTO Lodge from Crowley who expected Gardner to continue his work in England as OTO.
"My bottom line is that Wicca is not related historically in any way other than literary inspiration to any aboriginal pagan religion. It is, in fact, a product of the 1930s and '40s, hugely influenced by the rituals of Freemasonry, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO). It, in fact, is a errant direct descendent of an OTO encampment in London chartered by Aleister Crowley, then the OTO Grand Master General, and under direction of Crowley's student and would-be successor, Gerald Gardner. It is interesting to observe that Crowley's Acting Master of Agape Lodge OTO in America in the same period also wrote extensively a few years later on a "revival of witchcraft".
The present revision includes newer insights into the early claims concerning Gerald Gardner relative to his status in the OTO. Several letters published by Bill Heidrick, International Grand Treasurer General of the OTO, exchanged between Lady Frieda Harris and both Karl Germer and Frederic Mellinger, immediately after Aleister Crowley's death, add new insight. Br. Heidrick was kind enough to provide me with copies of these letters in my preparations for the previous revision of this essay. There is also an important letter by Gerald Gardner to Vernon Symmonds, written during the same period. A copy of the latter was kindly provided by Sabazius X°, the present U.S. Grand Master General of the OTO. I have also carefully examined the correspondence between Crowley and the Gnostic Bishop W.B. Crow, in which Crowley explicitly refers to Gardner's encampment, indicating it had a future as an OTO Lodge and urging Crow to work with it.
I have additionally had occasion to closely examine the aforementioned writings of John Whiteside Parsons on the subject of modern witchcraft, written during at the end of the same period. It is of more than passing interest that Ye Book of Ye Arte Magical, the OTO Charter granted to Gerald Gardner by Aleister Crowley, the writings by Parsons on witchcraft, the publication of High Magic's Aid and the public emergence of Wicca all date from the same period, circa 1945-1950."
Two authors I would recommend as intelligent and extremely accessible for the topic of magick are Dion Fortune and Lon Milo DuQuette.
"Violet Mary Firth Evans (6 December 1890 – 8 January 1946), better known as Dion Fortune, was a British occultist and author. Her pseudonym was inspired by her family motto "Deo, non fortuna" (Latin for "by God, not fate"), originally the ancient motto of the Barons & Earls Digby.
From 1919 she began writing a number of novels and short stories that explored various aspects of magic and mysticism, including The Demon Lover, The Winged Bull, The Goat-Foot God, and The Secrets of Dr. Taverner. This latter is a collection of short stories based on her experiences with Theodore Moriarty. Two of her novels, The Sea Priestess and Moon Magic, became influential within the religion of Wicca, especially upon Doreen Valiente.
Of her works on magical subjects, the best remembered of her books are; The Cosmic Doctrine, a summation of her basic teachings on mysticism, Psychic Self-Defense, a manual on how to protect oneself from psychic attacks and The Mystical Qabalah, an introduction to Hermetic Qabalah which was first published in England in 1935, and is regarded by many occultists as one of the best books on magic ever written. Though some of her writings may seem dated to contemporary readers, they have the virtue of lucidity and avoid the deliberate obscurity that characterised many of her forerunners and contemporaries.
Fortune fell out with Moina Mathers, head of the Alpha et Omega, and claimed she was coming under magical attack. In 1922, with Moina's consent, Dion Fortune left the Alpha et Omega and with her husband, Penry Evans formed the Fraternity of the Inner Light as an offshoot of the Alpha et Omega. This brought new members to the Alpha et Omega. Fortune's group was later renamed "The Fraternity of the Inner Light", and was, later still, renamed "The Society of the Inner Light". This society was to be the focus of her work for the rest of her life. The work that is considered her masterpiece by occultists and occult sympathizers is The Mystical Qabalah, first published in England in 1935."
Moina Mathers was the wife of S.L. MacGregor-Mathers who was the dominant personality, original initiator of Crowley, and one of the founders of the Golden Dawn. I love Dion Fortune's novels, esp. the two mentioned as influential on Valiente and her Mystical Qabalah is a most accessible book on western Qabalah still.
I recommend Angels, Demons & Gods of the New Millennium by Lon Milo DuQuette as an easy entertaining introduction to the western hermetic tradition and then any of his other books pertaining to specific topics. I have not read them all but have not read a bad book by an author who is also warm and funny in person, should you get the chance.
From a review by Sam Webster, GNOSIS MAGAZINE at Amazon:
DuQuette writes with a different voice from those of the greater lights of early in this century. His style has the personal qualities of Israel Regardie's but in the '90s it is just not possible to speak with such certainty. Instead DuQuette writes from experience, from successes and failures. He digests all this down to what he feels is important, even if the outcome doesn't fit the usual interpretations. For example, DuQuette plays with both conceptions of the AA (Argenteum Astrum): the group of people who worked with Aleister Crowley and his students on the one hand, and, on the other, the body of initiates that has been guiding humanity towards enlightenment since time immemorial. DuQuette raises the logical point that if this organization has been present "since the dawn of consciousness" and has been embodied in such great souls as Lao-Tse, the Buddha, and Pythagoras, then how can access to it be limited to those with pieces of paper signed by Crowley and his heirs? DuQuette moves the AA to a more immediate plane, where any student with right aspiration can find herself in the great chain of initiates.
DuQuette's chapter on the Kabbalah is more basic than most others in this book, but it is pithy enough to give anyone a leg up on the study and practice of the discipline. He avoids the usual formulaic definitions of the sefirot and other components of this tradition by speaking from the distilled essence of his experience. One excellent display of his skill is his presentation of the Shem ha-Mephorash, the 72-fold divided Name of God from which a series of spirit names are generated. DuQuette boils down the abundance of turgid writing on this subject to a few pages accompanied by a chart, which Weiser obligingly prints in color in a foldout sheet. This, combined with the methodology presented in the later chapter "Demons Are Our Friends," provides a sufficient, though sparse, basis for sorcery, the practice of spirit conjuring.
A practice more common in theology than in magick is textual exegesis. DuQuette engages this discipline by explicating the Emerald Tablet of Hermes in light of the doctrine of the Holy Guardian Angel, the practice of seeking contact with the divine through a personal source, one's own angel. In his analysis DuQuette interprets the alchemical process of the Tablet as a way of attaining to knowledge and conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel - a key component of Crowley's magick.
Such analyses are a necessary step in the evolution of magickal thought and practice. We can only improve on our methods by engaging with classical texts and practices in the light of our own experience; doing so illuminates the depths that we have intuited in these sources. Having no formal academy in which to share our insights, we are aided by DuQuette's book. He has moved our understanding of magick forward.
BTW I am a book collector and "accidental" scholar and not a practioner. Austin Osman Spare, Andrew Chumbley, Kenneth Grant, and some Crowley are quite entertaining for reading about modern western hermetic arts.
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