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Introductions to Thelema

To: alt.magick,alt.magick.chaos
From: (Bill Heidrick)
Subject: Re: Introductions to Thelema
Date: 17 Dec 1995 15:14:34 GMT (William Behun) writes:

>93, Douglas!

>I was defending Del Campo's text because it had been held up as
>oversimplified, and criticised for parrotting Crowley uncritically.
>I think that these criticisms are
>not totally unfounded, and I agree with others here that it compares
>unfavourably with Rodney Orpheus' _Abrahadabra_.
>I am pleased that this thread continue to get attention, as the importance of
>introductory texts is paramount, if Thelema is to continue to be a vital,
>living culture capable of growth.

This is a better approach, IMO, to new books on the subject.  Nobody is
going to come up with the perfect thing, and general aclaim of such
perfection is impossible to human nature.  If we do sensible reviews here,
hitting on errors and omissions but otherwise crediting merit when found
and offering reference rebuttal for buggerups, we stand a chance at 
getting better books and more of them.

  Gerald's book has problems in his account of Thelemic organizations and
some particulars of expression of Crowley's stuff.  It's originality is
more in organization of the material, as is the case with Dion Fortune's
_Mystical Qabalah_ on a more narrative and expanded level.  Gerald's
book is better for the newcommer with an interest in Thelemic Magick
and a need to make a beginning with exploring mostly harmless Thelemic

Scott Cunningham and the Schulers have published books that rehash
other extant material on a somewhat more in-depth level, with greater
inaccuracies to the sources and a first impression of more originality.
If A.E.Waite had used better English, his writing would be up to the
quality of these modern authors.  This sort of source is very good for
second level reading on Magick, with a trip to primary authors like
Crowley, Westcott, Mathers, Case and Dee for the corrections and the
next level of the material.  Many people would never understand those
more difficult presentations without this level of text.  Because the
treatment is more in depth, more can go wrong with the detail.  Thus
these are natural workbooks like college level Physics texts -- "check
the proofs, accept nothing at face value" --- there is no better way
to learn from print!

Lon's books are more advanced still, and shed perhaps more light on
Crowley et al after reading of those texts.  Again, errors and differences
of opinion are to be expected; but in this case, be careful.  Lon
DuQuette is far more knowledgable in these areas than the other moderns
cited to this point.  Many of his points appear wrong simply because
he knows Crowley better than even some of the long-term readers.

Coz' Rodney's book is all too rare.  It's a presentation of Thelema and
Magick in almost conversational style, deep but accessible.  Painless
but productive.  MORE!

   The cheapest form of literature is a trash review.  Anybody can do it
and feel superior in the process.  It belongs in marginala more than in
public expression -- except that a little now and then can be amusing.
Crowley wrote obscenities in the margins of the Legge Yi King, but he
prepared verse, discussion and extrapolation with re-casting to new
insights for publication.  It's valuable to attack an author page by page
and line by line -- as you read.  It's a waste of space to publish the
attack without an improvement on the material.  Best of all, do better
and publish that.

93 93/93
Bill Heidrick

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