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nfamous for scandalizing society on both sides of the Atlantic, Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) was a brilliant man whose position as the major intellectual figure on the occult has often been eclipsed by his own notoriety. While many of the details of Crowley's flamboyant life have been well documented, PORTABLE DARKNESS is the first book to tackle the formidable task of collecting the best of his voluminous lifework. In bringing together Crowley's best writings, editor Scott Michaelsen makes Crowleyan philosophy both accessible and intelligible.As an intellectual and mystic, Crowley devoted his life to the study of Qabalah, gematria, numerology, astrology, myth, glyphs, yoga, and linguistics. His intense, methodical exploration of so immense and arcane a range of knowledge has yielded, not surprisingly, a hugely challenging body of literature. In PORTABLE DARKNESS, Michaelsen has sifted through this vast, often abstruse oeuvre in search of those works which best display and illuminate the razor-sharp insight for which Crowley has become known.The selections in PORTABLE DARKNESS are organized thematically according to Crowley's favourite subjects, most notably the power of language, yoga, sex, and Magick. As accompanied by Michaelsen's cogent essays, these texts represent the essential Aleister Crowley, guiding novice and adept alike through the complexities of his notoriously impenetrable writings. Enlightening and revelatory, PORTABLE DARKNESS is an indispensable lexicon for all those with an interest in the occult.With forewords by Robert Anton Wilson and Genesis P-Orridge.
"Magick deals with the infinitely small point between sleep and wakefulness, dream and reality, the conscious and the unconscious mind. It dwells in a realm of transitional states amplified to a visible scale. The writer on or from Magick describes, as best he can, a conceptual specter, an intangible fission, a linguistic contradiction. Yet this same moment made crystalline is capable of generating an evolutionary map of comprehension and behavior modification quite omnipotent in its implications. For those who approach Crowley with a sincere but scant background of knowledge, this book will display lucidly and neutrally the immense accuracy and clarity of his writings. It is the most helpful and fluent way in to a massive storehouse of wit and wisdom of any commentary currently available. For those already sated in Crowley's writings, it gives a thoroughly clear, concise formula for understanding without need of any act of faith or fervor. Even the most convoluted and esoteric doctrines, no matter how obscure, are laid out for ease of confident and practical reentry into a system seemingly riddled with impregnable codes. The result is a flowering of visible skill and wisdom that demands, as all such collections must, a positive and real measurement of a philosophical writer previously dismissed all too often by a sensationalist coloring of his work based on the unorthodoxy of his dedicated life.” -Genesis P-Orridge