America's Occultist: An Interview with Lon Milo DuQuette
It's not always the case, but many times these people can be almost dangerously unstable... they can be real jerks! cruel and sarcastic prima donnas who focus so much on their art that they can be completely oblivious to the feelings, well-being, or even safety of those around them. They are filled with shortcomings and character flaws and hang ups, because they've just never had a normal life to work these issues out and frankly they don't care... because their art is the magickal object of the operation that is their life... not you... not the press... not even history.
Crowley, I believe, was such a person. There are aspects of his life that I applaud... that awe me... that touch me in ways that only inspired spiritual literature can. Then, there are ample examples of a man being petty and cruel. Frankly, I don't think I would have long been comfortable in his presence. His "wickedness" was no more wicked than the shortcomings of any artist/genius. The difference was, Aleister Crowley's "wickedness" was part of his art.
Your autobiography contains a few cautionary tales of your early days of practicing magick. What advice would you give someone beginning a magickal discipline?
Don't be afraid. It's good to be wise. It's good to be cautious. But it's never good to be afraid. Never. If you make a mistake... big deal! You'll live through it (most likely). It's better to do something and make a mistake than to not do something because you are afraid of making mistakes.
You've written a lot about classical magickal systems. What do you think of Chaos magick?
I think if I were a youngster starting my study of magick it would be a very attractive introduction to the art.
What do you think has been the most important contribution to ceremonial magick in the past fifty years?
The personal computer, the Internet, quantum physics.
What do you think the future holds for ceremonial magick?
A longer past.
Looking back on your life, what rewards, if any, have your years of magickal practice and study given you?
This might seem too simple and corny, but my biggest "reward" has been a certain success in achieving a measure of (what I presumptuously will call) "enlightened happiness." Maybe it's all been merely a matter of good luck. But who knows, for sure what luck really is?
Many of your readers may not know you're also a musician. Your country-rock band from the early 70s, Charley D. and Milo, is being rediscovered by a new generation, and you've been busy independently recording original folk songs. Any plans to release, or re-release, any of your music as a CD or EP?
I'm so glad you asked. Yes. Before I wrote books I wrote songs, and for a while made a pretty good living at it. I gave music and recording a rest for twenty-five years, but have picked it up again in the last couple of years (maybe it's just my fourth or fifth midlife crises). In the last couple of years I've been (again) lucky enough play some local clubs in the LA area and to book concerts in the U.S., Japan, and Australia. Even back in the 70s my music was magickal in nature (Charley and I called it Acid Cowboy). I've recently made a couple of CDs (just me and my guitar) of my songs of sloppy sentiment, offensive blaspheme, and diabolic Americana. I beg everyone reading this to buy them: The White Album (so named because I couldn't afford color); and The Black Album. You can get them fastest by going to: Kunaki.com.
Please do this before you think about it. It will be easier that way.
Remember, I'm not asking anyone to listen to these CDs but I would appreciate it if you bought them!
Possibly your most remarkable magickal act is being married to your lovely wife, Constance, for over forty years. Any secrets to successful matrimony you'd like to share?
Try not to get to know each other very well. Communication is way overrated, and mystery remains an aphrodisiac.
Star Foster is a Pagan numbers-geek roaming the wilds of the North Georgia mountains. She enjoys bluegrass, RPGs, war novels and keeping abreast of the wild, wonderful world of Modern Paganism.
Star Foster is manager of the Pagan portal at Patheos, and a hopeless movie junkie. She believes that good movies are the mythic narratives of our times.