In The Center of the Fire

In The Center of the Fire

35.00

A stone’s throw away from the Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol’s Factory, William Burroughs’ “bunker,” and the legendary Chelsea Hotel was a scene far more esoteric than perhaps even they could have imagined. In this daring exposé by a survivor of a unique era in the New York occult scene, James Wasserman, a longtime proponent of the teachings of Aleister Crowley, brings us into a world of candlelit temples, burning incense, and sonorous invocations. He also introduces us to the company of such avant-garde luminaries as Alejandro Jodorowsky, Harry Smith, Kenneth Anger, and Angus MacLise.

The author, the founder of New York City’s TAHUTI Lodge of Ordo Templi Orientis, traces its early history and provides a window into the heyday of the Manhattan esoteric community—centered around Samuel Weiser’s Bookstore and the Magickal Childe. In addition, he meticulously chronicles the copyright contest over the Crowley literary estate, of which he was an important participant. Finally, he breaks decades of silence concerning one of the most seminal events in the development of the modern Thelemic movement — detailing his role in the 1976 magical battle between Marcelo Motta and Grady McMurtry. Long slandered for his effort to heal the temporary breach between the Orders of A.'.A.'. and O.T.O., James Wasserman sets the record straight.

This is a saga with a very human tableau filled with tender romance, passionate friendships, an abiding spiritual hunger, danger, passion, and ecstasy. It also explores several hidden magical byways including the rituals of Voodoo, Tibetan Buddhism, and Sufism. Finally we are given a bird’s eye view of the 1960s hippie culture and its excesses of sex and drugs, and rock ‘n roll—along with an account of some of the personal transformations and penalties such a lifestyle brought forth.

Reconstructed from personal memories, magical diaries, multiple interviews, court transcripts, witness depositions, trial evidence, and extensive correspondence, this book elucidates a hitherto misreported and ill-understood nexus of modern magical history. It also shares tales of a mythical moment in American life as seen through the eyes of an enthusiastic participant in the counter-culture of the day.

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