Author Archive | Mark Reynolds

In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966 – 1989

Occult memoirs are uncommon, interesting ones even moreso.  With In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966 – 1989 (Ibis Press, 2012), author James Wasserman has added to the small canon of the latter.

Wasserman will be known to many of the Disinformed as the gent with enviable facial hair who has written and edited dozens of books (and regularly appears in documentaries) on Freemasonry, the Templars, Aleister Crowley, and other such esoterica.  He is also a long-time practicing magician and member of the Ordo Templi Orientis, and was a key player in some of the events which have led to the O.T.O.–currently celebrating its one hundredth anniversary–still going strong today.

The years covered in this memoir begin with him as a freewheeling hippie, dabbling with decreasing commitment in political activism, and with increasing zeal in the occult (and, separately, drugs).  Against the backdrop of late-sixties and early-seventies New York City, Wasserman chronicles his winding path through the occult with stops including yoga, Voodoo, and other, more obscure practices.… Read the rest

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Stealing Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Modern Western Magic

stealing-fire-from-heaven-the-rise-of-modern-western-magicIn Stealing Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Modern Western Magic, author Nevill Drury attempts to chronicle and contextualize contemporary magical practices and practitioners.  For the most part he succeeds, and offers the, um, uninitiated an introduction to current magical thought.  He covers ground from the (relatively) well-known to the fairly obscure, stopping along the way to probe a little deeper into some of the philosophies and personalities involved.  It is only as his history approaches the current day that his choice of subjects begins to appear arbitrary and his arguments unsupported, almost as if he wrote his conclusions prior to seeking any evidence to support them.

Drury’s focus is on the “Western esoteric tradition in the twentieth century,”  but of necessity begins with a crash course in the overall history of western magic.  This includes primers on kabbalah, alchemy, and tarot, as well as introductions to some of the key players, such as Eliphas Lévi and MacGregor Mathers.  This is perhaps the strongest portion of the book, with balanced discussions of magical theory and its practitioners, resulting in a solid introduction to Western magic.… Read the rest

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