Both W.B. Yeats and Aleister Crowley were contemporaneous members of the British occult society, The Golden Dawn. They hated each other, due to conflicting personalities and views on magick [Direct PDF link to text from the 1948 Partisan Review]. This rivalry culminated in Crowley waging astral warfare on Yeats, and then attempting to seize the headquarters of the G.D. wearing a kilt and wielding a ceremonial dagger. Although the location of that headquarters is now a coffee shop, it once hosted a showdown between two of the world's most famous magicians: The Battle of Blythe Road.
Gary Lachman, occult author and ex-Blondie bass player, has just published a new biography of Aleister Crowley, Aleister Crowley: Magick, Rock and Roll, and the Wickedest Man in the World. Excerpts from the book are online here and here. He is interviewed on the Expanding Mind podcast with Erik Davis and Maja D'Aoust here. [more inside]
It used to be that a CD or good old fashioned 12" vinyl would simply play, and your only indication of when it was about to end would be the album tracklisting printed on the sleeve. Hearing another song start up just as you thought the album was finished and got up to change the record was always an unexpected thrill - a surprise encore in your bedroom, a sort of reward for listening right through to the end. Yes, the iPod and its many variants have transformed the way people listen to music, but as someone who grew up waiting excitedly when an album finished to see if there was an extra hidden treat at the end of an album, I'll always see the death of the secret song as the sad flipside of its success. [more inside]
Original designs for the Thoth Tarot deck, painted by Lady Frieda Harris for Aleister Crowley, are are now for sale. [more inside]
The Laughing Gnostic: David Bowie and the Occult A lengthy analysis.
The Savage Mountain Amongst peaks over 20,000 feet, K2 is the hardest and most dangerous. Edurne Pasadan became the 6th woman to summit on July 29th, but can she survive the curse of the women who climb K2 ? K2's danger and challenge has attracted a wide assortment of characters, ranging from the bizarre Aleister Crowley to the glamourous Araceli Segarra . The deadly toll continues. Two Russian climbers are missing on the mountain. Read a history of 50 years of K2 summits, and accounts of another ascent here.