Anyone fancy a signed, first edition Scented Garden, or a numbered first edition White Stains? Simply the most extraordinary catalogue of Aleister Crowley books and ephemera I’ve seen in many years. My congratulations to Weiser Antiquarian…
The catalogue offers an extremely broad selection of material, ranging from paperbacks and comics (with Crowley related material), to two of the rarest Crowley first editions: his famously pornographic White Stains (ca. 1898) and The Scented Garden of Abdullah the Satirist of Shiraz [The Bagh-i-Muattar] (1910). Also of great rarity is the small eight-page California-published booklet The Oriflamme, Vol. I, No. I (1943) which was edited and included contributions by Jack Parsons, and would appear to be the only magical work published by Parsons during his lifetime. Amongst an interesting selection of other ephemera are two autograph letters, signed, from Aleister Crowley to Frieda Lady Harris, one of which is largely devoted to the Thoth Tarot, on which they were then both working, but which also includes a request that she provide him with a drawing for a magickal work aimed at putting “and end to the war.” There are also three autograph letters, signed, from Harris to Crowley, all of which attest to their close, if sometimes tempestuous relationship. A lovely copy of the handsomely produced Order of Service for Crowley’s funeral Aleister Crowley. October 18th. 1875 – December 1st, 1947. The Last Ritual, with Frieda Harris designs for the frontispiece, front cover, and back cover (the latter of which reproduces the design on her letter head) provides a fitting symbol for their parting.
Scattered throughout the catalogue are also a number of rarities relating to Marcelo Motta and his Society Ordo Templi Orientis [ S.O.T.O.]. These include spiral-bound photocopies of the 1984 Maine Court Trial and the 1985 California Court Trial which resulted in the defeat of the S.O.T.O. and the formal recognition of the O.T.O. as the legal heirs of the original O.T.O. in the USA. The California trial papers are particularly interesting, as they were obviously made from Motta’s own set, and reproduce a number of his annotations. Also from the library of a former senior of the S.O.T.O. are a number of spiral bound copies of sets of documents from the Yorke collection. These include a copy of an early typescript of “The Amalantrah Working,” a copy of the page-proofs of “Golden Twigs,” copies of a series of letters and postcards from Leah Hirsig to Aleister Crowley and others, and copies of a series of letters and postcards from Norman Mudd to Aleister Crowley, Dorothy Olsen, Jane Wolfe and others. Far more elegant is one of the deluxe volumes of The Equinox. Vol. V, No. 2 (1979) limited to 200 specially bound signed copies, this copy signed twice by Marcelo Motta – once as ‘666’ and once with his normal signature. Various other ephemeral items relating to the S.O.T.O., including a printed card announcing the death of Marcelo Motta, along with a later circular letter with some details of his death, are also listed.