The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography

Aleister Crowley

Alas, poor Aleister Crowley! Rather than an exciting combination of Sir Richard Burton's life, Burton’s translation of The Arabian Nights, Edmund Hillary's conquest of Mount Everest, and dissolute times in a hashish bar in Copenhagen, Aleister Crowley's self-described “autohagiography” seems closer to the world of P.G. Wodehouse gone bad. The fin-de-siècle autumnal Victorian age was the time of his youth, spent with a dogmatic but distant Church of England father and a stupid fundamentalist mother. While aping Burton in Bombay, Crowley fires off a revolver at a group of Indian street thugs attempting to relieve him of his travelers' checks. Adventuring in the Himalayas he regales the reader with his continual failure to climb the mountain K2. Next he describes all of his occult “discoveries” without any elucidation on magic (for that you have to buy Magick in Theory and Practice). Upon entering middle age, Crowley discovers drug addiction and esoteric espionage while working as a British intelligence agent. Mussolini kicked him out of Italy before World War II because he found out that Crowley's Abbey of Thelema, his erstwhile den of sexual debauchery, was a front for MI6. When strapped for cash in the ’20s, Crowley and the man assigned to spy on him shared digs in Berlin. They spent many cheerful hours writing each other's intelligence reports. Crowley is delightfully sarcastic about the times he lived in, and he is an acute judge of society. In many ways, he is still the conventional British gentleman replete with the attendant biases against anyone unfortunate enough to be born outside of England. MM

Publisher: Arkana
Paperback: 984 pages

The Book of the Dead

E.A. Wallis Budge

The classic translation of the hymns, rituals and prayers that the ancient Egyptians believed would guide and protect the dead in their journey through the underworld and ensure their immortality.

Publisher: Arkana
Paperback: 592 pages

Egyptian Religion: Egyptian Ideas of the Future Life

E.A. Wallis Budge

“Using the Book of the Dead as his chief source, the author examines the principle ideas and beliefs held by ancient Egyptians concerning the resurrection and future life, focusing particularly on the great central idea of immortality.”

Publisher: Arkana
Paperback: 216 pages

Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson: An Objectively Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man

G.I. Gurdjieff

Three-volume set which gathers together the fundamentals of Gurdjieff 's teachings, which seek “to destroy mercilessly, without any compromises whatsoever, in the mentation and feelings of the reader, the beliefs and views, by centuries rooted in him, about everything existing in the world.” He insists that man is asleep; it is only at the moment when he awakens, not merely to consciousness, but to conscience, that his true evolution can begin.

Publisher: Arkana
Hardback: 1135 pages