The Blooming Staff: Eschatology – The Marker of Christian Occultism

As I continue my research into post-Crowley forms of Thelema, Christian theology, and other occult traditions (especially the teachings of the Universal Brotherhood, which Frater Achad led as Mahaguru starting in the early 1930s), one major point of difference has emerged for me between Christian forms of occultism and non-Christian traditions like Thelema: eschatology. [Read more…]

The Blooming Staff: Praise Ialdabaoth!; or, Notes Toward a Treatise on Averse Gnosticism

In his essay “Base Materialism and Gnosticism,” French philosopher Georges Bataille extols the potential value of a kind of Averse Gnosticism — a Gnosticism in which the demiurge of the material world, considered by the ancient Gnostics to be the “chief guard” of the prison of matter, and therefore a malevolent being, is in fact the object of worship and devotion. [Read more…]

The Blooming Staff: The Curious Conversion of Frater Achad

I can’t recall the number of times I have sat at my computer with a stack of books by my side in the middle of the night, say at 2:45 AM or maybe 4, bursting (silently) with excitement over some intellectual epiphany, some sudden realization or Eureka! moment in which I feel like I have finally cracked open the secrets of the universe. [Read more…]

The Blooming Staff: Getting Up on Our Stilts, or, Notes Toward a Manifesto of Catholic Decadence

Unlike the doomed protagonists of the Gothic novel and the later weird writers (H.P. Lovecraft and his circle), who attempted to subdue the forces of darkness with their philosophical reason and were crushed by the noumenal terror of a cosmos indifferent or hostile to humanity, the Decadent Catholics made themselves the villains of a gothic tale of their own making, an appropriate role for English Catholics who were the villains of the Protestant imaginary of the earlier generation. [Read more…]

The Blooming Staff: “I Say Unto Thee, Arise!” – Emerging from the Tomb in the Aeon of Horus

There are other synchronicities, personal, ethical, and spiritual, that pushed me to finally visit my local OTO temple and participate in the Gnostic Mass, and to finally commit to a practical and theological exploration of Thelema. For now, however, the starting point is here, in my realization that the divine spirit, like the Thelemic Hadit—“the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star”—is militant and active in all corners of creation, and that there is no need any longer to subsume all human artistic and religious expressions under the one symbol of a dying and rising god. [Read more…]

The Best of the Equinox, Vol 3: Sex Magick

Part of the duty of anyone receiving the secret of sex magick is to “make sure as many worthy individuals as possible discover the secret by discerning it themselves.” Thus Crowley, like so many writers of his era, is bound to two diametrically opposed masters: secrecy and evangelism. [Read more…]

The Best of the Equinox – Vol 2: Dramatic Ritual (Review)

Crowley infuses these plays with the energy of sacred invocation, making explicit the implicit magic of good drama; he is turning (or perhaps returning) the magic of performance to a sacred end, calling upon a specific deity and sharing that energy a group. In doing so, the audience is (hopefully) initiated into the mystery of the conjured divinity. [Read more…]

The Best of the Equinox – Vol 1: Enochian Magick (Review)

It is strangely ironic that Crowley chose the prophetic language of the very group he was critiquing to lead the world into its new aeon. It was this deeply flawed choice that left Crowley’s powerful, if Byzantine, work to languish in relative obscurity while the less spiritual but more accessible Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell went on to deeply influence the direction of personal spirituality in the new age. [Read more…]