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Magic/k After Crowley.......


 Anonymous
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I think it is a testimony to Crowley's significance as a magician that there is such a lack of worthwhile writers and theorists out there post-Crowley.

I think Regardie deserves credit for a few of his books, including The Tree of Life, Garden of Pomegranates, Middle Pillar and one or two others.

Gareth Knight is worth noting.

Even though I am somewhat critical of Kenneth Grant, it is fair to say that no one I can think of has approached his level of originality and output.

There are a few others that I think have made decent contributions to the literature of magic/k, but aside from Grant (and a few artists such as Kenneth Anger) not many people have risen to carry the torch of Crowley's Magick - in my personal opinion.

I'm looking at boxes of books published by Llewellyn, Falcon, Weiser, etc. on "Magick" the qabala, etc. that would have been better off having never been written, that are mostly flawed regurgitations of the original Crowley/GD/OTO material.

Who, in your PERSONAL opinions, have substantially added to the practice of Magic/k and/or Thelema?

I think they are few and far between.

P.


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joe93
(@joe93)
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Genesis P-Orridge. Especially Throbbing Gristle, one of the best Conceptual Art statements/acts of Magick of the last 50 years. Their work has many coded references to Crowley, and uses his methods in the way he meant [metaphorically]. I agree with you about too many same old-same old books out there: too many, too boring!


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Michael Staley
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I agree with Poelzig about the dearth of creative writers in our field. However, I think that in the years to come, there will be more, and I think that Grant will prove to be a catalyst - not in the sense that people will wish to fall into line with Grant's views, but that they will be encouraged to earth their own vision without being concerned that it should fall within the parameters of some Great Man's vision.


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Palamedes
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Dear Poelzig, I find your quarry very interesting but it is also somewhat contradictory, or at least inconsistent: first you ask about "writers and theorists" and later you inquire about those who "have substantially added to the practice of Magic/k and/or Thelema." So I will express my opinion about both theorists and practitioners, to say it crudely.

There is a whole field of academic research focusing on what is often called "Western Esotericism" and in my opinion all these people (who sometimes, maybe even often, are also practitioners - one way or another) represent the strongest and most important instance of theoretical engagement with magic/k and related disciplines since the Renaissance. Frances Yates, Antoine Faivre, Arthur Versluis, Lee Irwin. Wouter Hanegraaf, Joscelyn Godwin, Henrik Bogdan, Claire Fanger, Christopher Lehrich ... these are some just randomly remembered names that spring to my mind - there are many others as even a simple googling and Library catalogues searching will reveal (not to mention Bibliographies in the books). I consider this type of work extremely important, despite the fact (lamentable, as Hugh Urban recently argued in one of these forums) that many 'occultists' shrink in horror at the mention of the name of academia. This is unfortunate, especially in the light of remarks by non other than Crowley, that magick needs to be studied on scientific principles. In the similar vein, there is a bunch of great scholars working on ancient gnosticism, Hebrew kabbalah, Eastern tantra (both Buddhist and Hindu), yoga, Daoism, etc. If however one were to select one name among these and one book, my choice would be Ioan Couliano and his "Eros and Magic in the Renaissance."

As an example of a practitioner, with clear and innovative approach to magick, I would select Bill Heidrick, whose work (and much more) is available online: http://www.billheidrick.com/

Then, there is a small but often highly original body of work by Janez Trobentar, but if you do not know Slovenian you may find it difficult to understand.

I have always considered the writings of Hymenaeus Beta as gems of scholarship and clarity.

I have mentioned several times on these forums that I think Kenneth Grant is a genius.

I like very much Michael Staley's writings.

Kenneth Anger is, IMHO, one of the greatest living representatives of Thelema: both through his films and through his lifestyle.

Peter Lamborn Wilson would never agree to this, but to me he is Thelema incarnate. In any case, he wouldn't mind being called shaman and a magician. His writings are, to my taste, living light of gnosis.

Well, I guess this was a rather comprehensive answer.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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Gordon, I agree wholeheartedly with your praise for the academic historians that you mention, but how many of them are writing as practicing magicians?

Maybe that is the distinction I needed to make more clear.


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Palamedes
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As you say, it was not quite clear from your original post whether you meant both theoretician and practitioner in mind, so I assumed both.
I cannot honestly say how many of the people I mentioned are also practitioners. but some probably are. Especially among the scholars of Buddhism there is a great number of those who are pursuing the dharma through meditation, social action, and also scholarship. Robert Thurman is a good example, but there are many more. Some of them have done initiations, conducted retreats, etc. (See for example Miranda Shaw's intro to her "Passionate Enlightenment," where she mentions her gurus and retreats done - in wilderness or caves, if I remember correctly.) Robert Buswell. who is an expert on korean Zen, has done some three months intensive meditation retreats, where every day is spent pretty much in constant sitting (and walking) meditation. Many scholars of tantra are also engaged in practice and sometimes gone through initiations. Stella Kramrish was among the first to do so, as was Alain Danielou. I am mentioning all this from a conviction that meditation and yoga are related to magick.

Now it is quite probable that the situation is somewhat more unclear with the scholars of western esotericism, and there are few good reasons why this is a more secretive affair (there is still a negative stamina surrounding the study, not to mention practice, of the occult). Some people claim that West has also lost the initiatic chain of living tradition. It is difficult to say.

But I also think that the binary opposition between theory and practice is somewhat flawed. Pursuit of theory is also a form of practice. Crowley, for example, was a great adept not only because of his occult experiences but also because of his ability to forge the resulting insights into a powerful doctrine.

I also think that there is too much validity assigned to practice and experience. Even a very significant experience is fleeting. Much more important, in my opinion, is a totality of one's life-style, which reflects on the way we live and love and work and share our journey with the others. Crowley mentions somewhere that a person may have all the A.'. A.'. grades and achievements and still not necessarily be any better or more worthy than the next man, one's neighbour, who has none of these.

I think I started to ramble, so better to desist.


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joe93
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"MichaelStaley" wrote:
I agree with Poelzig about the dearth of creative writers in our field. However, I think that in the years to come, there will be more, and I think that Grant will prove to be a catalyst - not in the sense that people will wish to fall into line with Grant's views, but that they will be encouraged to earth their own vision without being concerned that it should fall within the parameters of some Great Man's vision.

Absolutely, Michael. Because his work has more in common with Rimbaud's "systematic derangement of the senses", with Blake, with Strindberg etc etc than with the caretaking of holy relics. His vision is much broader than yet another rehearsal of the same old, same old...
Thelema is about following your own Genius. See Graham Chapman's speech in Life of Brian. It's not meant to be an army of simulacrums following Orders: "How shall we fuck off, oh Lord?" [did you know that John Cleese is into Gurdjieff, by the way?!]
“The Cyclops of Culture. — When we behold those deeply-furrowed hollows in which glaciers have lain, we think it hardly possible that a time will come when a wooded, grassy valley, watered by streams, will spread itself out upon the same spot. So it is, too, in the history of mankind: the most savage forces beat a path, and are mainly destructive; but their work was nonetheless necessary, in order that later a gentler civilization might raise its house. The frightful energies—those which are called evil - are the cyclopean architects and road-makers of humanity.” [Nietzsche, 1878]


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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Who, in your PERSONAL opinions, have substantially added to the practice of Magic/k and/or Thelema?

This may be contentious, but I would say Peter J. Carroll. He is about the only writer out there who can write sensible books about magic without being simple regurgitation or unnecessary complication.

If I had to choose three magical books for a time capsule, it would definitely be Magick without tears, Book 4 and Liber Null.


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the_real_simon_iff
(@the_real_simon_iff)
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93!

The works of Jerry (and Marlene) Cornelius, although some may call them regurgitations, also provide original new ideas and developments. But then, every writer regurgitates past influences in certain ways, and originality should not be the only measurement for the value of a work.

Love=Law
Lutz


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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not specifically magick as such, but if you ask me coming from a magickal viewpoint are the works of alan moore, terence mckenna, william burroughs and robert anton wilson.

i too appreciate gareth knight and israel regardie, but would put kenneth grant way above those. as i recently read on another forum, i think reading grant is like "pornography for occultists". either that or a "fighting fantasy" book which actually seeps into your reality...


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warriormonk93
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93! I find it remarkable that no one mentions the works of Nevill Drury. Around the time I was reading the first KG trilogy I discovered his works and found them in the same vein as KG but with scholarly notes and source citations... This from Wikipedia: "Nevill Drury (born in England in 1947) is an editor, publisher, and professional in many aspects of the publishing business, as well as the author of over forty books on subjects ranging from shamanism and western magical traditions to art, music, and anthropology. His books have been published in fifteen languages. He holds a Master of Arts (Honours) degree in anthropology from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He has lived in Australia since the age of ten." 93, 93/93. WM


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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Another thing I appreciate about Kenneth Grant is the respect he accords Dion Fortune. While I'm sure most here share my distaste for some of her Christian overtones, occasionally I go back to her writings and always find some new gem of insight - although in the context of this thread I don't think she qualifies as "post-Crowley."


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
The works of Jerry (and Marlene) Cornelius, although some may call them regurgitations, also provide original new ideas and developments.

I second Jerry Cornelius. His current Cornelia publication is refreshing and insightful.

If you look in the right places, James Eshelman has written quite a bit and I think there's a lot in there to be gained.


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 Anonymous
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Benjamin Rowe. We talked a bit online in 2000 or so. 91 parts of the earth is a wonderful document. I'd have corresponded more with him if I'd known he hadn't long left.


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James
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Does 'new' mean 'improved'? Surely it is more to do with affinity for one sort of magic(k) rather than another. In my teens I was bowled over by Regardie and GD style magic. In the latter years of my thirties it was Chaos magic then AO Spare. Each time it seemed like a revelation. However, in retrospect it is that at that time it was the vehicle for the mystery that I am now beginning to accept is always going to be veiled and is supposed to be.


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James
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I think there is a trap in looking for the next best thing after all even if Kenneth Grant has great insight what difference does it make to me unless I am prepared to go as deeply as he? Even if I never go beyond practicing with the system of five elements as long as I go all the way then sooner or later the tunnels of Set will open before me how can they not? The danger, as I see it, is to become sidelined by hopping about from one system to another or one writer to another. This is not to say that good writers cannot help me along this path by inspiration and example but if I jump around too much then somehow my practice becomes superficial.

I realise this is not quite 'on topic' but it seems a good place to raise this point.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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The danger, as I see it, is to become sidelined by hopping about from one system to another or one writer to another. This is not to say that good writers cannot help me along this path by inspiration and example but if I jump around too much then somehow my practice becomes superficial.

I see your point, but to use the example of conventional science, let us say a science student picked up a book about the now-defunct ether theories and said "right, I am going to work with this alone until I develop an etheric device"

He would be trying for a long time, to put it bluntly.


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James
(@james)
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"LittleAlickGrewUp" wrote:
I see your point, but to use the example of conventional science, let us say a science student picked up a book about the now-defunct ether theories and said "right, I am going to work with this alone until I develop an etheric device"

He would be trying for a long time, to put it bluntly.

He would indeed! However a system like the elemental system has quite a pedigree with quite a lot of work in that field already. But the system is perhaps incidental. The system is used as a device to explore and categorise magical & mystical experience. In this way what is being explored are these aforementioned realms of magic & mysticism using a system as a way of navigation.


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