Disinfo.com favorite and frequent podcast guest Duncan Trussell interviewed James Wasserman, the author of In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult, 1966-1989. Wasserman is a longtime member of Aleister Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientalis and a serious scholar of the magickal arts.
Tag Archives | Aleister Crowley
L&M Arts presents The Bartzabel Working, a performance by filmmaker and artist Brian Butler, on December 4th, 2012. Based on a ceremonial evocation of the spirit of Mars, first written and performed in London in 1910 by the famed British occultist Aleister Crowley, the ritual later became part of Los Angeles history in 1946 when Jack Parsons conducted his own version of this rite with the intention of placing a Martial curse on a pre-scientology L. Ron Hubbard.
Did Crowley channel an alien being called LAM, long before the modern UFO movement? Via Who Forted?, Patrick Fennelly reveals:
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Throughout Crowley’s years as a magus, he often attempted to contact intelligences of the non-human variety. Through the uttering of ‘barbarous’ names, incantations, and ancient inscriptions and veiled verses, Crowley called forward all manner of spirits, daemons and invisible masters.
One particular ‘entity’ is the character known as ‘LAM’. Around 1917, in New York, Crowley drew the image of this ‘praeter-human intelligence’, after performing a ritual now known as the ‘Alamantrah’ working. During this experiment, a discarnate entity urged Crowley to “find the egg”, and it seems, at some point, Crowley experienced contact with this large headed entity we have come to know as LAM.What’s interesting about LAM, or, at least, Crowley’s drawing of large headed, small featured alien LAM, is the stark resemblance it bares to the popular image of aliens we have come to know since the UFO boom following the Roswell incident in the 40s.
The Infinite and the Beyond — Podcast: Episode 028 — O.T.O. / AC 2012In the latest episode of The Infinite and the Beyond, it’s election time! Are you a voter? Are you voting? Well, before you decide, you should explore your options by checking out our interview with Joseph Thiebes. Joseph tells us about the Ordo Templi Orientis as well as the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, The Gnostic Mass, and what goes into making the Cakes of Light. Later we discuss his Aleister Crowley 2012 presidential campaign as we learn more about Crowley's views and debunk some of the current myths surrounding him. The final part of the interview with Joseph deals with the ideas regarding authority. In A Corner in the Occult we learn about occultist and Thelemite Major Grady Louis McMurtry aka: Hymenaeus Alpha and find out how important he was to the O.T.O. Later in the show we discuss Sympathetic Magick and how it effects our everyday lives as we look into The Essence of Magick. And throughout the episode we get to hear some great music by our featured artist Ralph Buckley!
To message the show please go here.
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
Revolt of the Apes has posted a fascinating interview with John Gillanders of the psych-metal band Black Science. Gillanders delves into some fascinating territory: Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, Aleister Crowley, sex magick, psychedelics and more. Definitely worth a read even if the music isn’t your thing.
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Despite the eye-rolling that may occur, what can you tell us about your interest in psychedelic substances – substances like “drugs”? Which psychedelic substance had had the most enduring influence on your life, what is that influence and why do you believe it has made a lasting impact on your life? What do you think is the most harmful preconceived notion that non-initiates carry regarding psychedelic substances?
I certainly touched on that earlier, but I think it’s of incredible import. My favorite psychedelic drug is weed. What, say, Robert Anton Wilson was trying to tell us in books like Cosmic Trigger and Sex, Drugs and Magick is that at the heart of all these occult conspiracies, what almost never comes up and is kind of the elephant in the room is the idea that through weed-induced sex magick you can communicate with forms of intelligence hitherto unknown.
Ohio State professor Hugh Urban is no stranger to esoteric religions, and The Village Voice blog Runnin’ Scared is no stranger either to the professor or to his other pet project: well-deserved exposés of that most modern of esoteric religions, Scientology.
Regular Disinfo readers would be familiar with the following slightly paranoia-inducing fact, as the post puts it: “that after his involvement in WWII, Hubbard shacked up with Jet Propulsion Lab rocket scientist Jack Parsons, a man heavily into the occult, and in particular the teachings of The Great Beast, British occultist Aleister Crowley.”
Many a conspiracy theory has been launched from this outlier. However, blogger Tony Ortega latest Scientology post ‘paraphrases’ Urban’s new piece for the pay-walled journal Nova Religio, which is a thorough, academic study of the ways that Crowley’s “magick” found parallels in what would become Hubbard’s most famous creation, Scientology.… Read the rest
Aleister Crowley, an early 20th century occultist, asserted that “Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law.” (Crowley 1978). Crowley’s statement is the closest maxim I have found to be representative of human ethical theory. By acting upon this maxim, each individual is forwarding the well being of all humanity. This is because through the process of competing forces the most useful for that specific set of circumstances will arise as the victorious force. However, this does not mean that any issue contains any inherent ethical meaning, rather in the context of the specific “game” that is being played pragmatic value can be assigned.
Eastern philosophical theories highlight the illusory nature of human existence. For instance, if we look at early Indian traditions, we inevitably recognize that the world has no logical basis for being “real.” Early Hindu thought had various different darsanas, which ranged in thought on a variety of issues.… Read the rest
In post-WWI London, the public’s attention was gripped by a string of mysterious deaths of people linked in one way or another to the unsealing of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Was the “pharaoh’s curse” in fact carried out by Aleister Crowley? Via the Telegraph:
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Six mysterious London deaths famously attributed to the ‘Curse of Tutankhamun’ were actually murders by notorious Satanist Aleister Crowley, a historian claims in a new book. Incredible parallels between Crowley and Jack the Ripper have also been discovered during research by historian Mark Beynon.
Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, London was gripped by the mythical curse of Tutankhamun, the Egyptian boy-king, whose tomb was uncovered by British archaeologist Howard Carter. More than 20 people linked to the opening of the pharaoh’s burial chamber in Luxor in 1923 bizarrely died over the following years – six of them in the capital.
Victims included Carter’s personal secretary Captain Richard Bethell, who was found dead in his bed from suspected smothering at an exclusive Mayfair club.
Victorian Gothic on Aleister Crowley’s White Stains:
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Readers will likely be familiar with Aleister Crowley, the notorious English occultist, bisexual libertine, recreational drug user, founder of the Thelemic religion, leader of the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), and all-around scary wicked person. Those familiar with Crowley strictly through his esoteric writings, however, may be interested to know that one the “Great Beast’s” first forays into publishing consisted of a perverse little volume of erotic poetry entitled White Stains.
It was issued in Amsterdam in 1898 by Leonard Smithers; a leading publisher of English pornography, but also of controversial literature. His clients included Aubrey Beardsley, Arthur Symons, and Oscar Wilde. White Stains was published in a print run of one hundred copies which, according to rumors in the book world, Crowley is said to have white-stained himself. Most of these were destroyed in 1924 by British Customs; the surviving first editions currently sell for around $4,000 – $10,000.