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unidentified notebook in HRC Crowleyana turns out to be Westcott MSS

To: alt.magick
From: (G. Leake )
Subject: unidentified notebook in HRC Crowleyana turns out to be Westcott MSS
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 14:18:20 -0600

In my personal research at the HRC at UT I have recently positively
identified the texts in a previously unidentified notebook. More work
needs to be done on provenance and who the scribe is (the handwriting is
far too neat to be Crowley's or Westcott's and is not a hand I recognize,
not as if I'm some sort of expert). 

The notebook itself is pretty old--dating at least to the 1920s, if not to
the 1890s in my view. The paper itself is in good condition, for the most
part, though there is one example of 2 pages stuck together.

The notebook itself is a transcription of four discrete Golden Dawn
essays. The first one is really only the last portion of a text--thus
there was no title or intro unlike the last four essays. This I have
positively identified, thanks to the suggestion of Poke Runyon, as
something he has recently published in The Seventh Ray (Book I, "The Blue
Ray"), Book H (Clavicula Tabularum Enochi) by W. Wynn Westcott. Some of
you might have seen this Seventh Ray or might recall my review of it
(sometime last summer). To refresh people's memories, Westcott's work here
really seems to be a transcription partially edited by Westcott of certain
Sloane Mss at the British Library (Poke, feel free to elaborate on this
bit). The Sloane MSS themselves are the work of Meric Causabon based on
notes of Dee and Kelley. Since this initial essay (with depictions of
Quadrangles btw, not unlike the edition presented in The Seventh Ray) is
heavily imbued with Christian mysticism, it was a bit jarring to find it
amongst the Crowley materials, though Crowley and Thelemic material of
course does owe itself partially to some Christian paradigms. One thing
Poke could do is talk about the source for the version of the text he
published--that would be interesting and could be the key to finding the
source for this notebook.

The other texts include "The Chaldean Oracles of Zoroaster" (really just a
sort of florilegium, a series of quotes from ancient Greek authors
generally on magic and mysticism), "Analogy, a Lecture on Mystic Learning"
by S.A. (the magickal handle of Westcott), and finally "The General
Guidance and Purification of the Soul (from the Ancient Cipher MSS)". I
think all three of these are the work of Westcott.

Here's the interesting thing--correct me if I'm wrong. All four of these
texts have been relatively secret through most of this century--these last
three essays I think were never published til Regardie's Golden Dawn
published by Llewellyn in '71--I think (please correct this impression if
someone out there knows the precise bibliographic history here). These
materials, on the other hand, have been at the Ransom Center since '67 at
the latest, some of the Crowley materials have been at the HRC as early as
the late 1950s. Before that, one assumes only Golden Dawn people had
access. The point is, how did this material end up in Crowley related
material (if I have time I'll find out which collection--the impression
out there is the lion's share of HRC Crowleyana is from the Fuller
collection--having seen the Collection files, let me correct this
impression--I'd say only a third at most if from Fuller, there are other
sources, many small ones, and I think materials purchased from El Dieff
were much more numerous)? I wonder if this might've been at some point
amongst the material Crowley nicked from Mathers--fuck me, maybe he
published some of this in those Equinoxes where he revealed the Golden
Dawn rituals. 

I'm not sure how much time I'll have to devote to this, but my intention
is to continue working on unidentified Crowley material at the HRC in
January. There is quite a bit still there, and some material there I don't
think people know about, including a substantial amount of A.A. material.
If I don't get to it, and I get this job in California I'm applying for,
serious minded scholars of modern magick really should think about looking
at this material at some point.

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