I have to admit that I find Kenneth Anger hacky. In my more pretentious youth I, like many others, claimed Anger was a genius deeply knowledgeable about the Dark Arts. Then I actually watched his films. The best description I can give for Anger’s work is that it illustrates the dull banality of evil.
However Anger’s contribution to “the New Age” is both underestimated and undenyable. Whether you’re a practitioner, a Christian critic of the occult or a historian you should be familiar with Anger and his influence on pop occultism.
I am uneasy about posting this because the easily influenced and weak minded should not be exposed to this sort of material but since it’s up on YouTube the cat is out of the bag on this one. This short film has scenes from his longer Lucifer Rising cut in (gods forbid he should have to make an entire 11 minute film from scratch) feature music by Mick Jager as well as appearances by Anton LaVey and Anger himself. The presence of Lavey, then the Black Pope of America, in the film is notable because many claim this film and others in the “Magic Lantern Cycle” are based on Crowley’s Thelema. In fact his work tend to be flower child fueled gothic Satanism – the precursor to cults like Rod Ferral’s Vampire clan (which he was raised in by his mother by the way) and one of the actors in this is Manson cultist Bobby Beausoleil who went on to torture and murder a man during the murder spree of the Family.
Crowley lovers however still defend Anger vehemently claiming his films were symbols for the Age of Horus though I suspect the films were rituals designed by Anger to spread a darker message. Not being a Thelemite I am in no position however to make this point convincingly to those people. Decide for yourself:
Charles Fort is the man who laid the groundwork for magazines like the now defunct Fate and of course Fortean Times. A compiler of odd facts Fort’s legendary Book of the Damned will open your eyes to the possibilities that even the most open minded of us assume are impossible. Now available as a free download for Kindle.
Those interested in Enochian magic have often had to wade through books of dubious scholarship. Because the books were in (now archaic) English, Latin and some passages were written in the “Angelic” language Dee communed with the spirits in hack authors were attracted to the material because few would be able to critique their shoddy work. Viewing the originals was of course out of the question for most people.
I do not practice any sort of Enochian rituals and frankly have not met anyone who seriously pursued this practice so I can make no endorsements of any particular authors or translations. I have heard good things about Joseph Peterson’s John Dee’s Five Books of Mystery but the book is fairly expensive even in it’s Kindle edition which runs almost $40.
I have known several Thelemites (or Crowleyites as I call them) over the years and can tell you they’re much less exciting and sinister than you would think; though many are more pompous than you can imagine. Obviously I’ve met many more Wiccans, Pagans, “practitioners” etc who all had some strong feelings about Crowley and his work but knew very little about the man or his writings.
I often recommend people who want to understand Crowley through his own words read The Book of Lies and his novel Dairy of a Drug Fiend. But if you’re in the mood for some more sensational fare this short documentary encapsulates much of who Crowley was as opposed to the prophet like image his fans present. This is, at least, a good place to start any criticism of Crowley rather than relying on what you read on a Wiccan forum. Some things you’ll learn is how careless Crowley was with summoning spirits and how evil Crowley actually was. Pay particular attention to the mountain climbing incident,his treatment of his wife/medium Rose and his drug fueled sex cult.
First written in the 1920s this book doesn’t deal with the modern watered “magick” of today but instead is an overview of ancient and modern magical and ritual practices. Not a grimoire per se but this book gives insight and detail to the practice of magic before the advent of the “New Age” and the subsequent regeneration of magical practice.