“Nothing is Impossible”: Rediscovering The Kybalion

By MITCH HOROWITZ And with the wish the energy was born… – Corpus Hermeticum, book I I once regarded The Kybalion as little more than a novelty of early twentieth-century occultism. I considered the book a faux-antique work of mind-power philosophy, dressed up in pseudo-Hermetic language and offering a handful of serviceable but not greatly significant ideas of practical spirituality. I was wrong. This enduring work, which appeared on the American occult scene in 1908 under the … [Read more...]

Aleister Crowley & The Book of the Law: A Magical Encounter in Egypt

By ROBERT BLACK Aleister Crowley (1875–1947) is remembered as a libertine, philosopher, mountaineer, magician, and supposedly the “wickedness man in the world.” He wrote bad poetry, pornographic books, novels and a vast array of literature. He is best known as being an infamous occultist and the scribe of The Book of the Law, which introduced ‘Thelema’ to the world. Crowley was an influential member of several occult organisations, including the Golden Dawn, the A.’.A.’., and Ordo Templi … [Read more...]

Egypt in the Western Occult Tradition

By RICHARD SMOLEY O Egypt, Egypt, of your reverent deeds only stories will survive, and they will be incredible to your children! Only words cut in stone will survive to tell your faithful works, and the Scythian or Indian or some such neighbour barbarian will dwell in Egypt. This haunting passage comes from the Corpus Hermeticum, the celebrated ‘Hermetic’ body of writings, believed to go back to Hermes Trismegistus himself, a semidivine figure associated with the Greek god Hermes and his … [Read more...]

Alchemy – The Art of Transformation: An Interview with Cherry Gilchrist

By RICHARD SMOLEY Cherry Gilchrist’s book on the history and interpretation of alchemy has remained a classic since its first publication in 1984. Alchemy, the Great Work: A History and Evaluation of the Western Hermetic Tradition will be published in a new edition by Weiser Books, with an introduction by Mark Booth, in June 2015. Her book on alchemy as a system of self-development, drawing on the Twelve Gates of George Ripley and alchemical imagery, is Everyday Alchemy, published by Rider … [Read more...]

The Dawning Aeon of the Child: Personal Thoughts & Reflections

By JAMES WASSERMAN In 1904, while visiting Cairo with his wife Rose, the English occultist Aleister Crowley received a text known as The Book of the Law via direct voice transmission. He described its author as “a messenger from the forces ruling this earth at present.” Three one-hour sessions over a three-day period resulted in 220 verses announcing a New Aeon with a New Law for mankind – a changing of the guard of the spiritual hierarchy ruling the planet. The Book of the Law proclaims a new … [Read more...]

The Black Arts after Fifty Years

By MITCH HOROWITZ This year marks the 50th anniversary of Richard Cavendish’s classic study of the occult, The Black Arts. The year of Cavendish’s book – 1967 – could be seen as a banner moment for the rebirth of occult and esoteric spirituality in the modern West. In 1967, the toy giant Parker Brothers relaunched the Ouija Board, having bought rights the prior year from descendants of manufacturer William Fuld, and sold a record two million talking boards, surpassing sales of its leading … [Read more...]

Witchcraft Before Wicca: The Cunning Men and Wise-Women of Old

By MICHAEL HOWARD (1948–2015) Today the popular image of witchcraft in the mass media and in books and magazines is largely defined by ‘Wicca’, a form of neo-pagan witchcraft created by a retired English civil servant called Gerald Brosseau Gardner (1884–1964) in the 1940s. It is now established worldwide as a post-modern, ‘nature religion’ with a spiritual emphasis on Goddess worship. Modern witchcraft, however, did not begin with Gardner and it has a hidden history before Wicca. This history … [Read more...]

Unity: The Remarkable Story of Charles & Myrtle Fillmore

By WALTER MASON Myrtle Fillmore was in desperate straits in 1886. Sick from tuberculosis and malaria, her much-younger husband had managed to bankrupt himself in both the mining and real-estate industries. She was so weak that she was incapable of caring for her children, and her aged mother-in-law was added to an already impoverished household as cheap live-in care. One evening she went along to see a visiting faith healer, something she always did in the vain hope there might be some way … [Read more...]

Medieval Magic & Pharmacy: Not Just “Flying Ointments”

By THOMAS HATSIS When I first started my investigation into the so-called “witches’ ointment” of the early modern period I was looking for a specific kind of ointment that caused a specific kind of experience – a “flying” experience, as recognised in contemporary popular culture. But to delve deeper into the trial records, popular sermons, demonology texts, and medieval pharmacy one will discover not just a flying ointment, but a host of uses for these ointments. Therefore, a more neutral … [Read more...]

From the Many to the One: A Short Guide to Complete Awakening

By DANIEL PINEDA Complete awakening happens on all levels. This includes the realisation there are some very serious enemies to personal/spiritual liberty who will work against you. They might say they are looking out for your best interest, or that of the greater good, but it is really always about control. Thanks to archaeology and anthropology, we have been given some very clear information of the characteristics of each age of human societal development. For thousands of years, the glue … [Read more...]