Arguing with Angels – first chapter available for free

Arguing with Angels book cover

Arguing with Angels about to be released

My first book, Arguing with Angels: Enochian Magic and Modern Occulture, is due to be released by SUNY Press next month (May 2012). The publisher has now released the first chapter of the book in electronic form on their website, so that you can read it there for free. This chapter is entitled “The Magus and the Seer”, and deals with John Dee’s angel conversations, the cultural and intellectual context, the role of the skryer, Edward Kelley, and some interpretations and explanations of what happened. When I wrote this chapter, already several years ago, it was intended as a “state of research” on Dee’s  angelic diaries, and serve as an important reference for the rest of the book.

The book itself is not primarily about Dee and Kelley (or his other skryers), but is concerned rather with the reception history of the angel conversations in Western ritual magic. In particular, it makes a contribution to the ongoing discussion about the relation between ritual magic and modernity, about the struggle for legitimacy, about reinterpretations of magic in the face of a “disenchanted” world, and so on. It is also the first academic work to give full attention to what has come to be “Enochian” angel magic as a proper subset of occultist ritual magic, putting it properly on the map of academic scholarship.

As the publisher writes:

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Goetia and Theurgy, magic black and white?

From Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus

I was recently reminded of an article I was commissioned to write a long time ago. The topic is Goetia and modern western ritual magic. With the deadline approaching it is time to start brainstorming a bit. So be patient: rambling speech ahead!

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Magic in the desert – and more misplaced psychologisms

Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) is a hot name for heterodoxologists. He is also the most famous English occultist to have lived, his life having been told in about a dozen biographies. Today I taught a class on Crowley, magic, modernity and psychology, drawing on a chapter from Alex Owen’s book, The Place of Enchantment: British Occultism and the Culture of the Modern (2004).

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Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 10:36 pm  Comments (9)  
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