Interview with occult writer Paul Weston

Recently I had the chance to interview occult  Author Paul Weston. In this interview, he speaks about the life of Aleister Crowley, as well as his book The occult battle of Britain.

Weston tells us about Crowley and Yeats, and the writing of Diary of a Drug Fiend, as well as the early years of the Golden dawn. 

1.How did you become interested in the life of Aleister Crowley, Paul, to write your book Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus?

1975 was the centenary of Crowley’s birth. I was 16 years old. I’d seen Led Zeppelin live twice that year and learned of Jimmy Page’s interest in some mysterious controversial figure. BBC Radio then featured a programme on Crowley and I made a point of listening. I was utterly fascinated by the diversity of his life: world-record mountaineer, yogi, mystic poet, occultist, sexual and drug pioneer, but also big-game hunter, writer of banned pornography, possessor of a formidable legend of infamy. From that point on, I was on the lookout for more information.

Colin Wilson’s summary of his life in The Occult and John Symonds biography The Great Beast told me a lot but were fairly hostile and contemptuous. It was reading the enormous autobiographical Confessions that really got me going as it was clear to me that Crowley was far more intelligent, interesting, and humorous than his critics. The seemingly strident egotism of it didn’t bother me in the slightest.

Robert Anton Wilson’s Cosmic Trigger opened me up to the extent of Crowley’s presence in the psychedelic sixties. I first heard of the episode involving Timothy Leary in the Algerian desert, where he seemed to follow in Crowley’s footsteps, which would later be heavily featured in my book. Robert Anton Wilson is undoubtedly the main inspiration for it. The Leary/Wilson eight-circuit map of consciousness provided the foundation of the section The Psychology of Thelema. RAW sometimes gets criticised by Thelemites but I think it’s important to remember that his ideas about Crowley were developed from his connections with Grady McMurty and Israel Regardie, who had both known Crowley and had important interaction with him. The Eye in the Triangle was a very important book, whatever people think of it now, and Regardie’s anthology of Crowley’s writing on drugs and his Gems From the Equinox were influential then. All of that formed part of my inspirations.

My book seemed to have its own agenda. I was writing my autobiographical Avalonian Aeon, which featured a lot of Crowley material, and I realised it was getting far too big and needed pruning. The idea came for a separate book. The scope of it just kept expanding. Having fully engaged in the project, I found myself in Cairo, on the feast days of The Book of the Law and even recited some of it in front of the Stele of Revealing that is so important a part in the story of how it came to be written. This was a wild outcome.

2.Many great names of the twentieth century are mentioned in the book. How did Crowley come to attract all of these famous names?

Crowley had a period of considerable fame in the twenties, albeit through a legend of infamy, so he stood out and got the attention of the naturally rebellious. I suggest in my book that, regardless of any personal failings, Crowley was an authentic prophet of the twentieth century in its diverse agony and ecstasy and his statements concerning how to navigate it: that we are unique Stars who must find our True Wills and act accordingly. I feel some people with remarkable gifts recognised that in his work and directly connected with it. Rocket scientist Jack Parsons was perhaps the most notable case. Avant-garde film-maker Kenneth Anger was another. Founder of modern Wicca Gerald Gardner inevitably looked into Crowley and met the Beast in person. Timothy Leary would have initially placed him in a lineage of drug experimenters but a more mysterious deeper connection eventually revealed itself.

3.What was Crowley’s relationship like with Yeats?

Crowley and Yeats were members of the Golden Dawn during the same period and were on opposite sides in a power struggle involving the Orders’ autocratic chief, Samuel Liddell Macgregor Mathers. Yeats thought of Crowley as a morally degenerate criminal type. Crowley felt that Yeats’ hostility to him was based on his jealousy of the Beast’s superior poetic gifts, a claim most would consider to be absurd. They appear to be very different characters but there are some strong similarities in the deeper passions that ruled their lives.

Yeats was obsessed with the idea of the daimon or higher genius. It was central to his consideration of himself as a poet and what true inspiration consisted of. It also informed his understanding of the Golden Dawn Kabbalistic teachings. Neshamah concerns what might be more generally thought of as the Soul, its higher aspects that allow one to have awareness of God. This is the Higher Genius. Its physical seat is the brain and its Kabbalistic placing is in the upper realms of the Tree of Life sephiroth Chokmah and Binah.

Crowley was stirred by the same concerns but in his case was particularly taken by the term Holy Guardian Angel. Mathers had translated some of the now legendary Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, detailed instruction for a six-month retreat intended to achieve communion with the HGA. Crowley famously purchased the house at Boleskine at Loch Ness to enable him to give over to the procedure. This primarily involved strict adherence to Abramelin but he incorporated Golden Dawn details such as his own versification of a document dealing with the same material on the Neshamah that inspired Yeats in his daimon quest. People will argue as to whether HGA and daimon are essentially the same. For Yeats and Crowley, I look at where these ideas led them.

The main event of Crowley’s life was the reception from an allegedly non-human source of a text, supposedly dictated audibly to both he and his wife Rose, indicating the advent of a new epoch for the human race. There are great cycles, Aeons, in history and we have seen one where the Great Mother was the dominant religious form, followed by an era of the dying and resurrected God. Now we enter a time of the Crowned and Conquering Child, when our unique true identities are affirmed, free of constraint. Crowley believed that the source, named Aiwass, was his Holy Guardian Angel. The whole episode was considerably facilitated by the sudden onset of powerful psychism in Rose, who he had married the previous year.

Yeats married George Hyde Lees. Within days she suddenly gave over to prolonged psychism in the form of automatic writing from which enormous amounts of material emerged. The most notable outcome was Yeats work A Vision. This was a mystic view of enormous cycles of history and their significance in the destiny of individuals as revealed by their birthdates in relation to the phases of the moon. Yeats believed that his daimon was somehow collaborating with that of his wife in this production.

There are considerable differences between The Book of the Law and A Vision. The similarities are there, however. Yeats was driven by the daimon idea, Crowley by the Holy Guardian Angel. In each case, their wives developed a psychism that led to the creation of texts that each man considered to be their most important works. Both productions were framed by the concept of great historical cycles and concerned with establishing one’s true destiny.

4.Could you tell us about Crowley and the order of the Golden Dawn?

The most famous of all occult groups, The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, was founded in London in 1888. The centre of gravity of their system was the Kabbalah, with its well-known glyph of the so-called Tree of Life, with its ten spheres, known as Sephiroth, linked together by twenty-two paths associated with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. On this framework, into what Crowley later called a kind of filing cabinet, was attributed an enormous amount of material from what could be called the Western Mystery Tradition, including a lot of Egyptian details.

The twenty-two trumps of the tarot cards, the famous picture images of Death, the High Priestess, Wheel of Fortune and so on, were placed on the linking paths with their related Hebrew letters. A system of grades allowed practitioners to ascend the tree as their learning advanced. Each sphere involved particular studies and practices and initiatory rituals signified passage between them.

Although Mathers was undoubtedly aware of the masonic traditions of unknown superiors, the recent fame of Madame Blavatsky and her tales of contact with Himalayan Masters had brought the issue of Secret Chiefs some publicity. The single biggest point of contention around the Golden Dawn is Mathers’ assertion that he himself had met some of them. His story could easily be seen to be following the Blavatsky template. Some of these encounters were psychic. He worked with his clairvoyant wife Moina to obtain much of the higher level Golden Dawn material. Other meetings were allegedly physical. He believed that ‘they are human beings living on this Earth, but possessed of terrible and superhuman powers.’ His story of an encounter in Paris with a group of three of them can be seen as a strategy to confirm his complete authority over the Order. He claimed that terrific energy emanated from the mysterious beings that only an advanced adept could handle for more than a few minutes. It was strong enough to kill. Various intense physiological symptoms were reported during his different encounters such as problems with breathing, ‘cold sweats and bleeding from the nose, mouth and ears.’

Aleister Crowley joined the group in 1898 when he was twenty-three years old. Rich from a family inheritance and with no need to earn a living, he was able to dedicate a lot of time and energy to learning the material and working through the lower grades. He was initially very impressed by Mathers and undoubtedly took him as a style template for the modern magician.

Although Crowley felt that his contact with Aiwass and the inauguration of a New Aeon annulled the authority and relevance of the original Golden Dawn, its basic structure and curriculum remained extremely important to him. There were certainly adjustments but the continuity is clear. He had taken oaths to keep the material secret but published much of it in his regular hefty journal The Equinox. This resulted in a court case with Mathers. Crowley’s subsequent claiming of various grades of attainment was always based on Golden Dawn ideas and terminology.

He was obviously willing to believe in the idea of Secret Chiefs as the 1904 Cairo episode shows. In the late collection of letters Magick Without Tears, he says of them, ‘They can induce a girl to embroider a tapestry or initiate a political movement to culminate in a world-war; all in pursuit of some plan wholly beyond the purview or the comprehension of the deepest and subtlest thinkers…But are They men, in the usual sense of the word? They may be incarnate or discarnate: it is a matter of Their convenience…’.

5.What is the UFO connection to Crowley?

Crowley’s 1919 drawing designated ‘Lam’ is the central focus of this contentious connection.

It’s important to be clear about the history of this image. In 1918, during a period when he was living in America, Crowley engaged in an extensive six-month long magickal episode known as the Amalantrah Working, primarily with the aid of his Scarlet Woman of the time, Roddie Minor. A combination of sex and drugs helped induce repeated consistent visionary material focused on a being named Amalantrah. Crowley was satisfied that the imagery and names produced were authentic in as much as they met his Qabalistic checking criteria. Towards the end of the written records of the working, Amalantrah made the enigmatic statements “It’s all in the egg”, “Thou art to go this Way.” Unusually for Crowley’s magickal records there appear to be details missing during the final phase.

The drawing seems to originate from the same period and depicts a being with an elongated egg-shaped head and no ears. It was publicly displayed in an exhibition of Crowley’s artwork in New York in 1919. It also featured as the frontispiece for an edition of HP Blavatsky’s short mystical work The Voice of the Silence with an extensive running commentary from Crowley. There it was designated as ‘The Way’ and given this explanation: ‘LAM is the Tibetan word for Way or Path, and LAMA is he who Goeth, the specific title of the Gods of Egypt, the Treader of the Path, in Buddhistic phraseology. Its numerical value is 71, the number of this book.’ It was later stated that the figure was Crowley’s ‘guru’ and ‘painted from life.’ That appears to be all that Crowley ever had to say about it. It is by no means clear that the word Lam is a name belonging to the being in the picture.

Decades later, in the final years of his life, he gave it to Kenneth Grant who featured it in his 1972 The Magical Revival, describing it as ‘Lam, an extra-terrestrial intelligence with whom Crowley was in astral contact.’ It became an iconic part of his Typhonian Trilogies, works promoting, amongst other things, ‘Extra-Terrestrial Gnosis’. This is not necessarily physical ETS in nuts and bolts spaceships. In this context, it designates experiences and intelligence not confined to the consensus three-dimensional coordinates of planet Earth. Higher-dimensional realms coterminous with 3D may well be the spaces these mysteries move through.

It was Grant who suggested that the Parsons-Hubbard-Cameron Babalon Working had perhaps ripped a hole in the fabric of reality through which the modern UFO era manifested, an idea that has now become quite widespread. In Outside the Circles of Time, he stated that ‘Parsons opened the door and something flew in. The flavour of that something is indicated by a strange episode that occurred in March 1946 at the time of the conclusion of the Babalon Working. Marjorie Cameron saw an unidentifiable aerial phenomenon. She was exhilarated, considering it to be a Thelemic sign, a ‘war engine’ mentioned in The Book of the Law. This event inevitably predisposed her to be particularly interested in a phenomenon that erupted into popular consciousness the following year.

Grant instigated a specific Cult of Lam after coming to feel that the portrait was a focus of an increasingly intense extra-terrestrial energy that would be of great importance. The basic Kenneth Grant position was that firstly Lam is a name and image of something that gives access to Extra-Terrestrial gnosis, a state of consciousness. Lam was intrinsically part of the Amalantrah Working which opened a portal of some kind to other dimensions. This makes Crowley the first modern-style ET contactee. It also opens up a consideration of what is the real nature of the Secret Chiefs of Occultism and in particular, Aiwass.

In the Cult of Lam, as initiated by Kenneth Grant and developed by his closest long-term associate Michael Staley, Lam is not necessarily a distinct entity but a trans-aeonic portal to gnosis outside of the circles of time. Something about his visual appearance potentially serves to stimulate aspects of consciousness otherwise dormant. He could be a mask for the experience of the Hidden God/Holy Guardian Angel…

The basic method of Lam meditation consisted of sitting silently in front of a copy of the Crowley picture staring into its eyes. The name was then repeated internally in the manner of a mantra. This process was considered sufficient to potentially stimulate an altered state of consciousness. As mood shifted an imaginative attempt would be made to enter into Lam’s head, the Egg of Spirit, and then look out from his eyes. Profoundly alien zones might be thus encountered or general mutations of consciousness allowing download access to previously unknown realms of being.

An extension of this procedure formulated by Michael Staley begins with the fact that the name Lam also happens to be a Sanskrit seed syllable featured in some Kundalini yoga systems referring to the base chakra wherein the great serpent power resides that can be raised up the spinal column through a progressive expansion of consciousness until climactic enlightenment at the top of the head. Staley’s development involves visualising a serpent with the head of Lam ascending the spine through the chakras. The process does not directly identify Lam with Kundalini but may produce similar results.

The 1977 Cosmic Trigger by Robert Anton Wilson connected Crowley and Kenneth Grant’s ideas with the increasingly ET themed work of Timothy Leary and his Starseed Transmissions, a text full of Book of the Law nuances. Leary already felt connected with Crowley. Jack Parsons was also featured. The recent publication of Robert Temple’s The Sirius Mystery led Wilson on a journey that seemed to uncover a tradition of ‘contact’ ultimately sourced at the star that was important to the Egyptians. With this material, it became possible to speculate as to whether the fabled Secret Chiefs might be ETs or Inter-Dimensional Ultra-Terrestrials.

The Crowley UFO association intensified with the publication of Whitley Strieber’s hugely successful Communion in the eighties. The famous cover art instantly established a template for the depiction of the kind of entities that were supposedly involved in mass abductions at that time. It was soon increasingly publicised that there was a strong resemblance to Lam. With the Strieber impetus, Crowley, and occultism in general, particularly the Babalon Working, increasingly became part of a dense internet culture that often plays loose with the facts and is not helped by the baleful reputation of Crowley and Parsons having taken of the Oath of the Antichrist!

What we are left with is that reading books like Cosmic Trigger, and hopefully, my Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus can set the reader off on a profitable journey that might encourage Extra-Terrestrial Gnosis. The path may lead into a hall of mirrors and delusion. The modern internet age provides greater possibilities than ever before for such an outcome. I will point to one example of the efficacy of the Cult of Lam. It was immediately after a Lam working with Michael Staley that Andrew Collins experienced what might be termed a download that led to his book The Cygnus Mystery. This in turn led to his rediscovery of a lost cave system on the Giza plateau detailed in his book Beneath the Pyramids.

6.could you tell us about Crowley writing Diary of a Drug Fiend? Did Crowley believe that using certain drugs could open doors for him creatively?

In the second chapter of 1904 The Book of the Law we find this evocative passage. ‘I am the Snake that giveth Knowledge & Delight and bright glory and stir the hearts of men with drunkenness. To worship me take wine and strange drugs whereof I will tell my prophet, & be drunk thereof! They shall not harm ye at all. It is a lie, this folly against self. The exposure of innocence is a lie. Be strong, o man! lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee for this.’ Believing as he did that it was dictated by a non-human intelligence, this statement carried authority for Crowley.

He was a graduate of fin-de-siecle decadence, producing a translation of the French poet Baudelaire’s writing on hashish. By the period following 1904, he had combined wide-ranging drug experimentation with extensive magical mystical discipline. The epic journey across the Algerian desert in 1909 exploring the angelic system of John Dee produced some astonishing visions. There may have been a chemical component occasionally involved. The 1910 public presentations of the so-called Rites of Eleusis included the passing round of a drink it has been suggested contained a mild amount of peyote. It’s clear that Crowley felt that the mystery cults of antiquity made use of drugs. All of this is exceptionally interesting and decades ahead of the sixties enthusiasms.

Jumping ahead to Diary of a Drug Fiend in 1922, things have seriously changed for the worse. We have a century of hindsight to understand that not all drugs are the same. Crowley felt that his great Nietzschean True Will, which enabled him to set world-mountaineering records, write voluminous works at fever-pitch, and engage in yoga practices for hours on end, could easily follow the admonitions in The Book of the Law and no harm would result. When it comes to heroin and cocaine unique problems result. During the time of the Sicilian Abbey of Thelema, Crowley became hopelessly addicted to both. It was a torment to him that his Will was struggling with the challenge.

Diary of a Drug Fiend emerges from that context. The novel concerns a couple who are very much characters we can see as typical of the Roaring Twenties. Peter Pendragon is of noble birth and fought in the Great War. He is left depressed and unable to find meaning in his life. He meets Louise Laleham, who is a follower of Basil King Lamus, a heavily idealised Crowley self-portrait. The couple falls in love and engages in a prolonged drug binge across Europe. They can easily be imagined at one of Jay Gatsby’s parties or enjoying the nightclubs of Weimar Germany to a jazz soundtrack. Hitting rock bottom in terms of addiction and financial ruin, suicide beckons, but a retreat to the Abbey of Thelema under the guidance of King Lamus and his tutelage in magick restore them by enabling them to find their True Will.

Those hostile to Crowley can easily find the work displays appalling egotism from an author dispensing high wisdom on how to handle drugs when hopelessly addicted himself. I believe that he was invoking his higher genius, his daemon, in his portrayal of King Lamus in an attempt to fully solve his own problems. He was passionately idealistic and wanted his Abbey of Thelema to fulfil its greatest potential so he told a story of how he imagined such a thing could come about, the kinds of people he sought to attract, and the help he hoped to give. In that, we could get a feeling for what was best about Aleister Crowley. The enormous autobiographical Confessions was also written during the heroin period and that has never gotten in the way of my appreciation of it. He did eventually conquer his addictions and only returned to heroin in later life for medicinal reasons.

7.Could you tell us about your magical journey to Glastonbury, Paul? Through your book The Occult battle of Britain.

I’ve given over nearly a thousand pages to my journey to Glastonbury in my books Avalonian Aeon and Atargatis. It is a comprehensive story concerning all sides of the place, its history and multi-levelled mythos. The Dion Fortune aspect is one part of it but an extremely important one in both of those books and the occult war required a book to itself that did not feature my personal story.

I’d been fascinated by the subject of Nazi occultism from the early eighties and was fortunate to be able to write a dissertation on it towards my Degree in Comparative Religion in 1983. I discovered the Glastonbury-centred British side of the story, the Tor visualisations when I read Alan Richardson’s Dion Fortune biography in 1988. The selection of her wartime letters, published as The Magical Battle of Britain followed in 1993.

Monday, May 8th 1995 was a national holiday to accommodate the climax of large-scale commemorations of the fiftieth anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe) Day that were happening across Europe. It was my habit in those days to shuffle my tarot cards shortly after breakfast and ask for a one-card key to the day ahead. I drew the Lightning Struck Tower. This is considered to be a powerful card, indicative of tumultuous processes. I wondered what on earth the day might deliver that could be considered a definite result?

BBC TV broadcast lives from London from early in the afternoon as all manner of events played out to a crowd estimated at 250,000 in front of Buckingham Palace and down the adjacent Mall. The climax of the celebrations was going to be a huge event in Hyde Park. At sunset, there would be a nationwide two-minute silence after which the Queen would preside over the lighting of the first of a thousand beacon fires across the country.

I felt a desire to more fully emotionally engage in the day. I was very conscious that the generation who had actually participated in these events, my parents included, were not getting any younger. This might be the last time they could be out in large numbers for such a huge event. It was, on one level, a massive acknowledgement that was also a farewell.

I had a copy of Avalon of the Heart out from the local library at that time. It was an edition that had a photograph of Glastonbury Tor on the cover. I had been glancing through it over the previous few days and it was resting on the floor. The afternoon had been slightly overcast. Briefly, the sun came out from behind clouds and a shaft of light shone through a side window down onto the book, stopping just beyond it. My attention was thereby suddenly focused on the cover and I instantly knew what I was going to do to fulfil my intention of connecting with the day’s events.

I realised that the coming evening’s two-minute silence and subsequent beacon lighting, including one on Glastonbury Tor, was really quite a unique event. In terms of what was going on in the mass mind at that time, the solemnity and silence and a sense of the past with veneration for it would all be present at that moment and the potential channelling of that through the landscape and into people’s consciousness through the means of the beacon fires was something you’re not going to get very often in any circumstance. I remembered what I knew about Dion Fortune’s 1940 visualisations. She had believed that they were as much about the future as the drama of the time. Surely now was as good a time to recreate them as one could ever hope for?

I contacted as many people by phone as I could who I thought might be interested and about a dozen agreed to try the basic visualisation of being inside Glastonbury Tor with Arthur and Merlin during the two-minute silence. About a dozen people participated.

As twilight approached, I began my preparations, lighting lots of candles in my living room. The phone was unplugged. I performed the same modest ritual preparations engaged in by the London Centre of the 1940 workings. The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram consists of drawing pentagrams at the cardinal points, imagining the appearance of angels beyond them and the recitation of their names. I tried to visualise a rapid approach to Glastonbury Tor and entry to a large cavern within. Within moments of starting to contemplate the Arthurian archetypes and the idea of them still potentially inspiring the nation, I found extraordinary emotions arose and overwhelmed me. In combination with the idea of the last parade of the golden generation, I started crying my eyes out. This state of emotional extremes was sustained for a number of minutes. I had never felt anything quite like it in the whole of my life.

When I recovered I turned the TV back on to check out what was happening in Hyde Park. I knew about the beacon fire lighting but nothing about the way in which it would commence. It happened within barely a minute of my turning on the TV. The Queen was standing at ground level, in front of a control panel. She pressed a button and a green laser beam shot out from it and hit the Post Office Tower, which I realised had lights wound around it all the way to the top. When the beam hit, the lights went on and fireworks erupted from the summit. I immediately knew that this was the Lightning Struck Tower par excellence.

The day had been extraordinary for me but I was obviously curious to hear how things had gone for the others who had tried the visualisation as well. Within a week I had received all the feedback. Everyone reported powerful experiences. My favourite involved a female friend who lived in Somerset and was very familiar with the Arthurian corpus and in particular Marion Zimmer Bradley’s hugely successful novel Mists of Avalon. She often went into visionary spaces inspired by the book involving journeying into the Tor to meet groups of priestesses. On this occasion she found herself confronting a naked Arthur Pendragon with an impressively erect phallus which she promptly grabbed hold of and immediately felt as if some kind of circuit was completed and enormous dragon current serpent power energy was pumping out of Glastonbury Tor and going all over the landscape. This was not the staid Victorian gentleman portrayed by Tennyson and such details were certainly not reported by Dion Fortune and her associates. I was totally convinced that the workings were carrying some voltage and relevancy for the modern world.

This event was undoubtedly a huge catalyst in my move to Glastonbury. I was already hoping to live there and the way was made clear. Within a month I had arrived. Inspired by the potency of the Tor visualisation, I fully familiarised myself with the wartime letters and the Qabalistic foundation of the imagery. By 1996 I had created an enhanced version of the 1940 imagery, a full Glastonbury Qabalah, and began putting on some public events using it.

Many years later, in 2010, saw the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. I convened a group visualisation again on September 15th, considered to be Battle of Britain Day, and the feedback was so strong that it catalysed me into starting to write the book.

What I found really striking, and it seemed to me that nobody had fully noticed this before, was that Glastonbury, with its Arthurian associations, represented a remarkable polarity with Himmler’s Grail Castle at Wewelsburg, a location that Dion Fortune would not have been familiar with. I realised that what she brought into the 1940 visualisations was the climax of a long story of the rebirth of Glastonbury, involving many other interesting people and ideas. Wewelsburg likewise represented the climax of the development of so-called Ariosophical ideas.

My lightbulb moment was to contemplate putting the two long-term timelines against each other and seeing if anything interesting might be revealed. I created an excel spreadsheet with vertical columns for Glastonbury and Germany set against horizontal year lines from 1875 to 1939. I set myself up to read The Avalonians by Patrick Benham, a superb account of the rebirth of Glastonbury, featuring Dion Fortune, Frederick Bligh Bond, Wellesley Tudor Pole, and others. I followed it up with The Occult Roots of Nazism by Nicholas Goodrich Clarke, a ground-breaking academically credible study of the subject. I entered anything I felt was important from both books on the spreadsheet. Once I’d finished, I started looking across the lines and immediately felt that I was seeing a clear convergence towards 1940 that began even before the Great War. The richness of comparisons and synchronisations astonished me. I added Rudolf Steiner to the mix. Having written Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus, I originally intended to create Dion Fortune and the Age of Michael as a complementary work in the spirit of a Robert Anton Wilson meta-programming experiment. The project outgrew that conception.

It was an immensely intense process to immerse myself for months at a time in Nazi occultism. I kept stepping back and other book projects appeared. Eventually, in 2018, I resolved to finish it in time to launch at the Glastonbury Occult Conference in February the following year.

8.What will your next book be about, Paul?

I am currently writing The Colin Wilson Work. This project began shortly after he died in 2013. I conceived it with the sense of it being like one of the many introductions he wrote to important thinkers like Gurdjieff, Jung, Steiner, and Crowley. 100-150 pages in length maybe. I made a good start but other projects intervened. With the onset of the first lockdown in March 2020, I felt it was an ideal time to return to it. As I did so, my conception of it massively expanded so that I now see it as likely to be of a size similar to one of the titles in Wilson’s Occult Trilogy. I’m approaching it in the spirit of what Wilson called ‘existential literary criticism’. I have often seen people praising his books for having expanded their minds, even changed their lives. What I want to see in cases like that are detailed accounts of what that really means. As a long-term Wilsonian with a rich inner life, I’m able to weave into the text a lot of varied personal examples of how his ideas have been alive for me. The title is a reference to Gurdjieff and the ‘work’ associated with him. Gurdjieff and Ouspensky were immense influences on Wilson so I’m examining at some length how that becomes part of a broader conception of Wilson’s new existentialism. I’ve undoubtedly set myself a major challenge but that is exciting and in keeping with the Wilson outlook.

 

Author Paul Weston was interviewed by John Wisniewski

ראפ לפאן

בתאוות אור קסומה 

!הו גבר

!איש שלי

בוא וצא בסערה מהלילה 

!של פאן! יו פאן 

! יו פאן! יו פאן

בוא וצא 

!משאמבלה וגן עדן 

משוטט כמו בכחוס 

עם שומרים ובנות לוויה 

זכרות נוקשה על אתון לבנה 

בוא וצא מהים 

!ובוא אלי, אליי

בוא עם כוהנת בשמלת כלה (פיתונית ורועה) 

בוא עם ארטמיס

בנעלי משי

ששטפה את ירכך הלבנה 

אל יפיפה  

בקרחת היער 

על הלוטוס דרכת 

בלשונך המוזהבת 

אותי ברכת 

סגול התפילה הנלהבת

הוטבל במקדש ארגמן

חשוף ונחשק

נשמתך יוקדת 

עין כחולה צופה

באקסטזה שלך 

מחלחלת

בסבך החורש העתיק

העץ והחי 

עם רוח ונפש, גוף ושכל 

בוא מעל הים 

!יו פאן! יו פאן

שטן או אל 

אליי, אליי 

!שלי! שלי

!האיש שלי! האיש שלי 

בוא עם חצוצרות 

!מעל הגבעה

בוא עם תופים רועמים 

!מהאביב 

! בוא עם חליל ובוא עם מקטרת

?האם אני כבר בשל 

אני, שמחכה רועד ונאבק 

עם נשימה מפרפרת

שלא מוצאת את הדרך 

ליישב את גופי 

עייפה מחיבוק ריק 

חזקה כמו אריה 

חלקה כנחש 

!בואי, בוא 

אני קהה 

מתאוות השטן 

הבודדת 

דחוף את החרב דרך כבלי הברזל 

זולל-כל, בורא כל 

תן לי את אות 

העין הפקוחה 

ואת הסימן שעוררה 

ירך התשוקה

ואת מילת הטירוף והמסתורין 

!הו פאן! יו פאן 

!יו פאן! יו פאן פאן! פאן פאן! פאן 

אני האהבה 

עשה בי כרצונך, כפי שהאל

הגדול יכול

!הו פאן! יו פאן 

!יו פאן! יו פאן פאן

אני מתעורר באחיזת הנחש 

במקור ובטופר הנשרים חותכים 

האלים נסוגים 

החיות הגדולות באות 

!יו פאן 

נולדתי לבוא ולמות על הקרן 

 של חד הקרן

!אני פאן! יו פאן 

!יו פאן פאן! פאן 

אני בן זוגך, אני האחד שלך 

עז מצאנך 

אני זהב 

אני אלוהיך 

בשר לעצמותיך 

פרח למטיך 

עם פרסות פלדה אני מקפץ

על סלעים 

מזריחת השמש  ביום המפנה

ועד ליום השוויון 

ואני משתולל; ואני מיילל ואני קורע 

ואני הנצח, עולם ללא סוף 

אחוז דיבוק מלא בסודות 

אישה, גבר, בעוצמתו של פאן 

!יו פאן! יו פאן פאן! פאן! יו פאן

מוקדש באהבה למאסטר ט’ריון, עשיתי כרצוני

Rap to Pan

Featured

Thrill with lovely lust of the light,

O man! My man!

Come charging out of the night Of Pan!

Io Pan! Io Pan!

Io Pan! Come over the sea

From Shambala and paradise!

Roaming like Bacchus, with his guards

Companion females and males all hard

On a milk-white ass, come over the sea

To me, to me! Come with priestess in bridal dress

(Shepherdess and pythoness)

Come with Artemis, who in wildwood trod,

And wash your white thigh, beautiful god,

In the moon of the woods, on the lotus press,

The golden tongue my jewel to bless!

Dip the purple of passionate prayer

In the crimson shrine, lusty & bare,

Your soul that startles with eyes of blue

As we watch your ecstasy seeping through

The tangled thicket, the ancient grove

Of the living tree that is spirit and soul

And body and brain — come over the sea,

Io Pan! Io Pan!

Devil or god, to me, to me,

My man! my man!

Come with trumpets sounding shrill

Over the hill!

Come with drums low thundering

From the spring!

Come with flute and come with pipe!

Am I not ripe?

I, who wait and tremble and wrestle

With breathe that has no way to settle

My body, weary of empty embrace,

Strong as a lion and smooth as a snake —

Come, O come!

I am numb

With the lonely lust of devildom.

Thrust the sword through iron fetters,

All-devourer, all-begetter;

Give me the sign of the Open Eye,

And the token aroused of horny thigh,

And the word of madness and mystery,

O Pan! Io Pan!

Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! Pan Pan! Pan,

I am one love

Do as you will, as a great god can,

O Pan! Io Pan!

Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! I am awake

In the grip of the snake.

The eagle slashes with beak and claw;

The gods withdraw:

The great beasts come.

Io Pan! I am borne

To come on the horn

Of the Unicorn.

I am Pan! Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! Pan!

I am your mate, I am your one,

Goat of your flock, I am gold, I am god,

Flesh to your bone, flower to your rod.

With hoofs of steel, I race on the rocks

Through solstice sunrise to equinox.

And I rave, and I howl and I rip and I rend

Everlasting, world without end,

Maenad, Mystoi, Woman, Man,

In the might of Pan.

Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! Pan! Io Pan!

 

(found after AC)

Moore on Aleister Crowley

I, Mogg Morgan continue my exploration.

Photoshop Crowley by Richard Cole

So Crowley, lots of books written about him, biographies, lots of them done already, so not really much to say that hasn’t been said, though having said that, I can think of a few things that to my mind could still be explored, but that’s another story. John Moore managed to come up with a few new angles, lets start there. John Moore died a year or so back, so I thought I’d talk to his son Alistair about John’s research.

I asked Alistair to first tell me a little about himself, as I know people enjoy the personal touch, well I do anyway. Was he perhaps named after Crowley? 

I’m John’s younger son (I have an older brother, Simon). I’m a freelance analyst and also a writer myself – I had a novel (The Release, Candy Jar Books) published in 2018. I grew up in London and studied Russian at Exeter University. As for being named after Crowley – people often ask, but my parents both assured me I wasn’t – my mother wanted to call me Alexander but finally they decided upon Alistair, the Scottish variant.

We are talking about your father whose untimely death robbed us of a chance to talk to him about his interesting books about Crowley. Before we get into would you like to share some personal reflections about your father. 

With John being an intellectual I grew up surrounded by thousands of books. He introduced me to literature at a young age, so I read many of the Russian greats – Turgenev, Bulgakov, Dostoevsky. One of my favourite novels is Sanine, by a little-known writer called Artzibashev – my dad bought me an original hardback of this, I think dating back to when it was published in the early 20th century. Even Russian friends haven’t heard of the book or the writer, but it’s a fantastic novel, similar in some ways to Lermontov’s Hero of Our Time, with an antihero theme. John didn’t have any Russian ancestry btw, he was just a real fan of the literature.

Being exposed to all this led to me studying Russian, and definitely influenced me in my own path to becoming a writer. Dostoevsky was one of John’s favourite writers, and his favourite novel of Dostoevksy’s was The Devils. John was a philosopher, so he especially enjoyed novels dense with philosophical ideas, common with Dostoevsky. 

John was a good father, perhaps not a typical dad, but then he wasn’t a typical person either. He could never have endured a life working in an office. Philosophy and ideas were central to his life, so it was inevitable I’d absorb these influences growing up, and I’m grateful for that. He left quite a legacy with his own writing, in print and online, much of which I am discovering now. His writing is packed with ideas, this is very apparent even in the accessible format of the graphic books on Crowley and Bulwer-Lytton.

We weren’t ready to lose him, and he certainly wasn’t ready to go – there was much more he wanted to do, to write, experience and live. I’m grateful I was able to play a part in the production of his two graphic books Crowley: A Beginners Guide and more recently Bulwer-Lytton: Occult Personality, helping get these ideas and visions of his into print – with your help, of course.

Tell us more about John and his interest in philosophy. One of his books is Aleister Crowley: A Modern Master so I’m guessing from this that he had some professional interest in the world of ideas, tell us something about that. 

 

Definitely – philosophy was his world. As I mentioned he especially enjoyed philosophical novelists like Dostoevsky, and the world of ideas in general. His favourite philosopher was Nietzsche. He was a member of the Nietzsche Society and read several papers at their international conferences. In 2011, he published his own book on Nietzsche called Nietzsche – An Interpretation, which contains 10 of these papers. For many years he also ran and moderated an online Nietzsche discussion forum. He also admired Schopenhauer. One project he sadly never got to complete was a compendium of what he felt were the most significant philosophers, named A Trip Around Philosophy

More specifically he was obviously interested in Crowley – do you know anything about how he got into that, was he a magician? 

I don’t know too much about how and when he first got into Crowley, but he was an admirer of Crowley’s writings and personal philosophy, which as I understand it is tied into certain ideas like Nietzsche’s revolving around free will. To an extent I think it’s fair to say he subscribed to the creed of ‘Do What Thou Wilt’. As for being a practitioner – no, despite his interest in the occult and ideas relating to it, his interest and involvement there was intellectual only. 

John’s Aleister Crowley: A Modern Master was his first book on the topic. How did this title come about ?

While a lot has been written about Crowley, I think John’s contributions to the field have been original. The reason for the title A Modern Master was that he felt Crowley’s ideas, rather than being only of their time, have relevance today in the modern age, perhaps more than ever. That’s one aim of the book – to explain how Crowley’s ideas are linked to modernity and current thought.

As for pitching previously – although he got very positive feedback both from Fontana for this book, and from Icon (graphic guide publishers) for Crowley: A Beginners Guide I know one barrier was that Crowley was seen as a bit of a risky subject, perhaps too controversial or unsavoury for some readers. John talks about the book in this video from 2009.

Can you summarise the book in a nutshell? 

An argument for Crowley’s importance in the modern age, a defense of what has been criticised as the more contemptible side of Crowley’s character, an exploration of some of his creative achievements, and an attempt to render his ideas more accessible. 

What do you think is the book’s essence ? 

Without doubt John was one of Crowley’s biggest fans. While I’m sure he didn’t agree with everything Crowley said or did, he always felt Crowley deserved more recognition for his ideas and writings, so I think in large part the book is a defense of Crowley and his work.

Turning to John’s sequel to Aleister Crowley: A Modern Master, was Crowley: A Beginners Guide – very unusually in graphic book format, how did this project come about? 

I believe the idea was originally suggested by a friend of John’s, a Sikh he worked with back in the eighties, who thought an illustrated graphic guide along the lines of Icon Books’ popular ‘Introducing’ series based on Crowley, could do well. It took John some time to get round to it, but when he got started on the text, I introduced him to John Higgins, an illustrator acquaintance of mine. John Higgins produced a great number of original ink drawings for the book, which I then combined with John’s text and some free-for-use imagery to produce formatted illustrated pages ready for publication by Mandrake.

It was an immensely fun project to work on, and I’m very proud of what we all created – a lovely little graphic guide filled with very entertaining artwork to accompany all the ideas inside it.

The format is unusual , why did he choose this, perhaps as an antidote to the normal heaviness of its topic?

Mainly accessibility. As you say there is a density of ideas there, but John wanted to open them up to as wide an audience as possible. That’s not to say it’s dumbed down – not at all. Although some Crowleyites might bristle at the ‘Beginners’ part of the title, it’s packed with content and exploration of his key ideas, influences and legacy. It just happens to be in a very novel and entertaining format. Beginners Guide has the potential to reach a wider audience than Modern Master, something like a primer.

John also wrote in similar format a book on Bulwer Lytton: Occult Personality – very unusual but neglected topic. There is a Crowley connection, I think I’m right that his esoteric novel Zanoni, made it onto Crowley’s reading list for all aspiring students of magick. But what’s the story behind this? 

Again, the Bulwer book was something he’d been wanting to do for a while. John got to know Lytton’s great-great-great grandson Henry Lytton-Cobbold, and was an occasional guest at Knebworth House, the ancestral home of the Lyttons (and well known rock concert venue) after Henry came across an article on John’s website about Bulwer-Lytton

John admired Bulwer-Lytton’s writing, feeling it was unfairly derided (I was myself surprised to hear that at one point, he was the best-known novelist in the English-speaking world). Again, with this book John aimed to explore and bring to a wider audience Bulwer-Lytton’s key role in esotericism, philosophy, and key cultural movements in the Victoria era, as well as showing the relevance of much of these ideas today. He talks about the book and the ideas in it here (filmed around late summer 2018 at the Canonbury pub in Islington). 

The format of the book is similar to Beginners Guide, a graphic introduction. It contains a lot of artwork by John Higgins and another artist named Paul Campbell, a friend of my brother Simon. 

John was already ill when he started work on this, so there was a little more urgency to the project. Happily he lived to see and enjoy the book’s publication.

Again, he opted for a very unusual, unique format – what do you think about that? Something I’ve noticed, I wonder if the magical people who mostly read this kind of stuff, are they open to this kind of graphic approach – they can be a bit serious, perhaps too much so? 

I can’t claim to know these magical people well enough to know how serious they are, or they might feel about the approach! However, as with Crowley: A Beginners Guide I’d say that despite the format, designed to be accessible as well as original and entertaining, both books are packed with ideas and pretty rigorous explorations of both men and their ideas.

Even though I have no special interest in the occult or esotericism myself, I find Bulwer-Lytton: Occult Personality really educational, especially in regard to the Victorian era – religion, philosophy, antiquity, artistic movements and so on. It’s a bit like a springboard, making you want to go off and explore these topics in more depth.

As for humour, I think done properly it works well in these contexts as long as you don’t trivialise the subjects, and I think both the graphic guides get this balance right. A world without humour would be a depressing place indeed!

Thanks, you’ve been great, anything else you would like to add that you think I should have asked but forgot?

The last thing John published was this selection of his own poetry, 100 Poems, the earliest of which I think he wrote when he was 15. I recorded this interview with him talking about the book in April 2019, a couple of months before he died. Getting this collection out was important to him, and I know he’d be happy for it to get a mention here.

A lot more of John’s writing is online – his websites are here
http://www.mith.demon.co.uk (his main original site, up since the 90s)
http://john-jsm.wikidot.com/
http://johnsmoore.co.uk/




Crowley peak moments

 

 

 

 

For me, the story of Aleister Crowley’s moment of truth in Cairo 1904 is one of the most interesting in a lifetime graced by perhaps a half dozen such experiences. 1904 was the pivotal year in Crowley’s career, he was 29 years old and therefore well into what is popularly known as the “Saturn Return”. Difficult as it is to believe, Crowley had more or less given up on magick at this point in his life and concentrated on having a good time with what remained of his inheritance. I think we can surmise that he was disillusioned by his experiences as an unwanted member of the famous Victorian occult society we know as the Golden Dawn. Like any hierarchical organisation, internal reveries often blow things apart and in this case, the conflicts had ended in litigation and even, so it is said, deadly magical battles. Its autocratic master Samuel Liddell Macgregor-Mathers said to be overwhelmed by megalomania, locked in conflict with other former friends but also wannabe masters and mistresses. Crowley, still a relatively young upstart, had taken his chances with the boss. Significantly he had cut short his magical retreat in Scotland, for which he had obviously made lavish preparations – this was the famous Abramelin practice. 

In the version he was following, the practice began on Jewish Passover and continued for six months. From a more recent and complete published version, we now know this should actually be 18months. In the 15th century, Abraham began his retreat at Easter (Jewish Passover) itself a very important ancient feast connected with demons and angels of death. These myths make use of doorways of one kind or another, the ancient Hebrews supposedly inscribing magick signs on their lintels, a signal for the angel of death to pass over the house.

It terminated on the old feast of Tabernacles or “Booths”. The modern interpretation tells us this was originally a reminder of the temporary dwellings used by the early Hebrews during their flight from Egypt.  

Crowley’s short gambit with the Golden Dawn did not go well and he was either expelled or left the sanctuary under a cloud. As for The Book of Abramelin, the magical moment had passed and there was no point in returning to his house at Boleskine until the following Easter. So Crowley travelled to Mexico and as often happens, did not return for several years. When he did he was again distracted by his future wife Rose Kelly. 

He eloped with and married Rose Kelly. It was for her patrician family, an unsuitable match, though he was a former family friend. Perhaps to escape the bad family vibe, they set out together on a world tour as a honeymoon. Their cruise ship arrived in Alexandra, a short hop from Cairo, where they planned some sightseeing in the fascinating metropolis. They no doubt took in the sites and the nightlife. Crowley, who already knew the city, having visited a few years earlier, paying a little baksheesh to the local family for special access to the pyramids at night, where in the King’s chamber, he was able to show off some of his old tricks, with a handy copy of the Goetia, which has a preliminary invocation taken from ancient Egyptian magical papyri. 

The results cannot fail to have impressed Rose Kelly, who later, back in their lavish hotel room, no doubt having imbibed perhaps a little too much of the local Omar Khayyam vintage, fell into a light trance and said: “They are waiting for you”. I’m paraphrasing really, more accurate accounts are available I’m sure. Some say Crowley had prepared for all this on his visit a few years earlier, why else did he have the right magical books to hand. But key perhaps is that is was Passover in Cairo, the full moon and exactly the right time to restart another Egyptian originated ritual, that of Abramelin, who according to his medieval account, was a supreme ritual of the adepts in Upper Egypt, which he got after his failed quest through Europe in search of illumination. 

Already experienced with the Abramelin system, Crowley seems to have used it to put himself in touch with his guardian daemon – Aiwass, an entity which some say was his own psyche. There is a famous photograph of Crowley posed with a magick book, a pentagram emblazoned on the front cover. What’s in the book, nothing other than his complete collection of magick squares neatly drawn during his preparation for the Abramelin practice!

The name of his angel lends itself to a bit of wordplay. Aiwass or “I Was” does indeed have a split personality, dictating a book that proposes entirely contradictory solutions to humanity’s problems viz “The Law of the Jungle” versus  “AL True Ism”?  

Snoo Wilson takes up the story some years later when Crowley, now reconciled with his revelation in Cairo, makes an attempt to found an alternative community, dedicated to the tenets dictated to him by those Egyptian spirits in Cairo. It was a brave attempt that eventually foundered due to its own internal conflicts, and the events outside the communards control, such as the rise of a fascist government in Italy, which was hostile to such alternative lifestyles. The Sicilian locals apparently had come to enjoy the presence of their purple priest and his followers. 

Snoo Wilson who carved out a successful career as a playwright specialising in the tricky genre of black comedy used all his talents on the Crowley story. The result was a successful stage play which is novelised as “I, Crowley, almost the last confession of the beast 666”. These days, Crowley people are not noted for their sense of humour and not everyone is able to see the funny side of some of our pretensions. Which is odd, given how fond Crowley himself was of a good joke or an extended tongue in cheek romp.   I’m pretty sure he would have enjoyed Snoo’s retelling of the end of the commune as much as anyone should. Remembering that one must first entertain before getting too serious. In the end, “I, Crowley” does all that, though it starts with a refutation of the accusation common in my hometown, that Crowley killed much loved Oxford student Raoul Loveday with a magick spell. Arthur Calder Marshall wrote that a hit squad was even sent from the Student Union to avenge the crime that never happened. The whole story is set out in this great act of what Snoo once called the “lesser form of magick” although he was again being ironic, there is nothing lesser about writing a good novel.

Part II of this essay
is about Aleister Crowley: A Beginner’s Guide

 

NakedTantra

There are many books on how to do magick, but not so many with stories about actually doing it and what happens.
NakedTantra lays bare the inner states of the two brave souls involved in this extended magical work. 

An experiment, two people, two countries, one mind, experimenting in tantra meta-magick, cosmic astral travel to the land of no boundaries, looking for the doors of perception.


Of necessity the contents of this grimoire might be considered erotic. And, with that thought in mind, it might also be that the reader is occasionally aroused by our story as it progresses. Some might find this an unwanted intrusion, into what is otherwise an exploration of a magical world. Others we surmise, will take this in good part, accepting that, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. To those who do not share these sensibilities, and are unmoved by what you are about to read, we offer our sincerest apologies. 

Mogg Morgan talks to MIRYAMDEVI & MINANATH, pseudonymous authors of NAKEDTANTRA

About The Authors

Minanath
Miryamdevi


These are not their real-world names but neither are they false, they emerged in the dialogue. In real life, they both have experience in eastern and western magical styles.

You obviously have chosen to write under names other than those of your birth, which is not uncommon in magical publishing. The story of how you came by your writerly names is told in the book so I won’t spoil the surprise now. Even so, can you introduce yourself and say a little about what you do, your aims and objectives with your writing? 

Minanath:
When I first met Miryamdevi she called herself a simple “cowgirl”, which immediately brought to mind the Gopi-maidens who trail after Krishna. But then I discovered she really likes Tom Robbins who wrote Even Cowgirls get the Blues. So there’s something in that, but also, what she says about growing up on a farm; she has a certain earthiness and salt of the earth strength.

Another thing that came up when we got into working with the archetype Babalon – who we, or could be Miryamdevi, worked out, is not some rare breed but is in every woman, Miryamdevi is in a very real sense: “Everywoman”. 

My name Minanath literally means (lord of) fish, and it seemed appropriate somehow. It is the name of a Hindu magician/mystic from old times. Also known as Matsyendra, Macchendra, and others. His biography can be seen as mythic or real, depending on who you read. I like the version that he worked in the sea, probably as a fisherman, a fairly taboo or lowly profession in India. But somehow he had a revelation and put together much of the spiritual system we know as Tantra. Perhaps it was because of his humble status people applied the story of his getting the wisdom from a secret scroll, written by the god Shiva, and hidden in the belly of one of the fish he caught. Sometimes it is he who ends up in the fish. But sometimes I just think he learned stuff from people he met on the harbour, maybe mariners from distant lands, like Egypt and Greece.

Anyway, my name Minanath is a reference to that guy who lived a long time ago, not thousands of years but long enough. I think magical tantra started or reemerged in India at the same time when things were getting difficult for magicians in Egypt, with the rise of  Christianity. To put it romantically, when the light of knowledge was being extinguished in Egypt and the Near East, the torch passed over to India.

Miryamdevi:
Miriam (מִרְיָם Mir-yām) is described in the Hebrew Bible as the daughter of Amram and Jochebed and the sister of Moses and Aaron. She was a prophetess and first appears in the Book of Exodus.

It is all in the name actually, the name Miryam suggest the strong connection she had with the sea and water (Yam in Hebrew means sea and the very obvious Mer-Mir). In the Jewish tradition and culture, The Tambourine is widely associated with Miryam and her love for music. Within the circle of Jewish midwifery especially the Israeli ones, Miryam and her mom Jochbed were the first midwives of the Israelites. I relate to all of this as I was born near the sea, I love music and I’m a doula.

The name Miryam is very popular in my family but although all the Miryams’ are very strong women, most of them had very difficult and unhappy lives. When Minanath said that I have to choose a magickal name it didn’t take long for me to understand that I have the chance to take the name Miryam and turn it into a healing name that will heal a long ancestral line of ‘broken Miryams’.  Miryam became MiryamDevi and as soon as I started to use it I felt the healing has begun.

Without giving too much away, are you able to say a little more about your family background, ie past and current – ie are you married, children, work – people like a little bit of personal stuff if you ok to share?

Miryamdevi:

I was born in Israel and grew up on the family farm. My dad was a horse breeder so we had lots of horses, I love horses, I love all animals. In my early twenties, I moved to the UK. After my husband died I moved back to Israel. No children. When Mina and I met I was living in Israel. I’m an aromatherapist and a doula.

Minanath:

I always lived in the UK originally from Wales. Divorced with no children. I work in the world of books, selling and occasionally writing them.

Naked Tantra is rather a striking title – can you say that a bit more about that, what does it signify? 

Miryamdevi:

The word Naked in this particular connotation – NakedTantra, signifies the naked truth of our practices. NakedTantra is a very intimate and personal book that reveals some secrets about ourselves and the way we do things.  When Mina came out with the name NakedTantra I thought it is the perfect name for the book which reveals so much about us. It feels like we are standing naked in front of the reader.

Minanath: 

Miryamdevi said it really, although of course, in the first part of the book there is an account of Miryamdevi’s initiation, which like mine a few years back, and like many initiations, requires some nudity as an act of love and trust. There is a fair amount of nakedness in our book. But mostly really it’s what for us is the naked truth – revealing things as we see them. It may not be true for everyone but it is true for us. Perhaps like those energy bars that have no additives, that’s us, pure and honest, as much as it is possible for anyone to remove the mask and record what they did. 

Well, that’s the Naked aspect covered. Can you explain something about the Tantrik aspect of the story? Most of our readers will have a general idea of what it means but I think, as there are so many misconceptions, it would be good if you could say what exactly you mean in this context? 

Miryamdevi:

Tantra, yes, a massive subject to talk about… The way I see it, it’s all about cycles within cycles, relationships, the balance between physicality and spirituality, SivaSakti and Lingam-Yoni, Yoni-Lingam, Lingam-Lingam, Yoni-Yoni, whatever.. you cannot do all this without some Serpent Power. I think Mina is the person to ask about Tantra for a clearer answer 🙂

Minanath:

What Miryam said is really good. Miryam always has a very down to earth way of expressing things, hopefully, you noticed that in the book. But technically, Tantra is a South Asian, Indian subcontinental esoteric tradition. Like the term Yoga, I think you could translate Tantra with the western term magic, but not everyone will agree and we probably need to argue that more. 


In the book Naked Tantra, you list many songs and poems, some of which you wrote or translated yourselves. Are music and poetry very special to you, can you say a little bit about that, why it is so special?

Miryamdevi:

I love music. Music is a big part of my life and there’s always something playing in the background especially when I cook or clean the house, I’ll have the radio on and will sing along and dance to my favourite tunes. I also make lots of playlists. I have playlists that will suit any mood at any time and any day, I’ve got a good ear for mixing tunes and songs and fancy myself as a secret DJ. Music helps me write. It took me ages to write chapter one, I knew what I wanted to say but the words didn’t come out. One day I was listening to the Ganesha mantra and immediately I knew what to write, so I sat down and wrote chapter one. If you read that chapter you’ll see that there are few mantras which are linked to each other, each mantra was like a key that when played the words just came out flowingly without stopping. Poetry is also very special, when Mina and I met we were living in different countries and as we both like to write as much as we like to talk we found ourselves corresponding on a daily basis via emails. Sometimes situations in life can be very lyrical and when I sit down to write about it the words flow out of me in a lyrical rhythm, a poem of sorts some may say. Separation, longing and Karessa can turn one into an enthusiastic poet. 

Minanath:

Miryamdevi is the DJ. I like her style. I think we are a little part of a long tradition of mystics such as the troubadours, the Tamil Siddhas, the Bauls etc. Sometimes called courtly love, where the frisson created between two lovers, who are often separated, either by societal rules or physical distance and then their inner fantasies, their emotional energy is sublimated and channelled into poetry and storytelling. So one way or another we did a lot of writing, we still do. We do our magic, as described in the book, and we dream and write, and write and dream. We just hope our readers will enjoy the things we say, be entertained. As they say, first entertain, then educate. 

Is the journey in your book, the kind of rituals you describe, would that be for everyone, a beginner  or is it only for the expert?

Miryamdevi:

The journey is for anyone that resonates with our story, and the way we practice and dream.

Minanath:

Aleister Crowley, who turned up in our narrative, wrote or channelled “The Law is for All.” So yes, it’s for all. His magick was quite complex but also simple. Some like to talk about elites and special secrets they have, but it’s all out there already really. If it was all so secret we wouldn’t be writing a book about it, and in the tradition, there are thousands of old tantric texts in libraries, why did they write them if not to be read? I suppose the only qualification is the ability to read, understand, dream, do, and become. 

What do you think other explorers of this genre would make your work? There are a lot of books already out there, what is it you think you bring to the table that is new? 

Miryamdevi:

As I said earlier, the book is about very personal and intimate work. Some might like it and some won’t. Some might say that we lifted the veil of Isis too far  … for those, I’ll say “perhaps, but there again, she gives us life”.

Minanath:

Well, we’re not too sure about that. We hope they are entertained. I hope, if there is any shock, it will be of recognition. Some will perhaps question that what we have written, whether we are entitled to say it and whether what we experienced is appropriate. Almost every book these days seems to have to dismiss the connection between western sexual magick and the obscure secrets of real tantra, to dismiss other magicians’ ideas as new age. But then, in the end, these same people will carry on writing about tantra much as we do. So I think we are on the safe ground really, we can argue our corner. And in the end, does it matter? We are part of the same international community of magic that existed in India and Egypt in the past and is with us now. Mystical traditions cannot really be judged, or if they can, it is only by the results, ie pragmatically. Success is becoming.

Ps: I have to say that in the work, Miryamdevi really has, in my opinion, revealed some amazing insights into Jewish magick, something I’ve not seen anywhere before. Or put it this way, although Miryamdevi always denies any formal knowledge of Kabbalah, it just seems to be in her blood, to flow from her naturally. Which is what she says in the book at one moment  – women just naturally receive and know these things. I don’t know if this is all women but definitely her. 


That’s a lot of questions – can you try and summarise, in a nutshell, the enduring message of this book? 

MiryamDevi:

Follow your dreams.

Minanath:

Magic is complex but also simple.  It is sometimes said that the gods created the world as a game, remembering how to play, that’s the thing. 


Naked Tantra ends on a bit of a cliff-edge – without giving too much away, can you say what happened next in terms of what you are working on now?

Minanath:

Well, it seemed like the right place to stop, although the narrative obviously continues somehow and there are obviously some difficult moments ahead.  The story comes to a natural climax, in more ways than one, when we break through our self imposed purdah and come together at a place of obvious power. What happens on the other side of the cliff-edge, that’s in part down to the readers.

What are we doing now? More experiments in the hyperreal – a ritual year and surprise surprise, some angelic conversations, though something very common although at the same time, ignored. It’s the old old story, people look for complexity when what they really need is staring them in the face.