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Sigils, Jurgen, Spare

To: rec.arts.horror.written,alt.magick,alt.magick.chaos,,alt.santaism.orisha
From: (Robert Scott Martin)
Subject: Re: Sigils, Jurgen, Spare
Date: 7 Nov 2002 16:44:35 -0500

In article <>,
Dan Clore   wrote:

Apologies; this only made it to the alt.santaism newsgroups a few days
ago. The price one pays to rent a room of one's own, I suppose.

>Crowley's interest in, and interaction with, fantasy writers
>would make a fascinating study. He especially admired, along
>with Cabell, Arthur Machen and Lord Dunsany. 

Such a study of how Crowley's love of fantastic fiction infected his own
fantastic "nonfiction" would not only give us a toehold into the analysis
of Crowleyania as text (not religion), but help us move beyond the
conventions of how we think about genre and the imagination. Where do we
draw the borderland between "fantasy" and the "occult"? Is the distinction
ontological, in the sense that "fantasy" is always fictitious and the
"occult" makes claims to factual basis? Or is the distinction more
arbitrary? Where does myth fit in?

Ironically, I expect this adventure would be most beneficial to the
occultists, who have in the past failed to understand a work like Kenneth
Grant's "lovecraftian" myth (as well as works like Sun Ra's, Robert A.  
Wilson's, Jack Parsons's, Castaneda's and arguably those of Spare and
Hubbard). The fantasy fans might get a bit of a thrill from pondering the
"occult" function of The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars or late Heinlein,
but they seem pretty well fixed on that front.

Needless to say, one would need to be fluent in at least two "trash" 
genres and be conversant with professional critical tools to pull this 
off. One would probably also have to be a maverick in all three fields to 
even try.

However, I understand the Cabell people at least have money to fund this 
sort of research.

>The course of
>reading outlined in _Magick in Theory and Practice_ includes
>a great deal of fantasy fiction, such as works by
>Bulwer-Lytton, Lewis Carroll, Machen ("Most of these stories
>are of great magical interest."), Meredith's _The Shaving of
>Shagpat_, George MacDonald's _Lilith_, Huysmans, Wilhelm
>Meinhold, etc. etc. etc.

The funny thing is that so much of this would be considered such febrile 
trash, Crowley's generation's answer to Grant's (and your own) beloved 
pulp. It took a real hunger for the bizarre for an Edwardian to find a 
LILITH or a SHAGPAT amid the otherwise deadening but voluminous output of 
Georges Meredith and MacD (well, MacDonald did have a few other good 
"weird" tales, to be fair).

How hungry was our Mr Crowley? And was the same hunger for the fantastic 
at work when he acted out those fantasies in his various ritual 

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