Oscar Wilde

The general outline of Oscar Wilde’s life is well known and his legacy is still with us.  He remains famous enough to be the subject of 2020 street art by Banksy, who painted the image of a prisoner climbing down a ladder made of typewriter paper on the wall of the now defunct Reading Prison … Read more

Marsilio Ficino

In a community where Paracelsus is well known, it is surprising how obscure Marsilio Ficino remains.  He is, in many ways, the father of modern Hermeticism, and also a major figure in queer history.  If you’ve ever used or heard the phrase “Platonic Love,” you’ve been impacted by his legacy. Because he was a keystone, … Read more

Lady Frieda Harris

Born Marguerite Frieda Bloxam in 1877, she was the second of three children in a middle class family. Her father was John Astley Bloxam, a former military surgeon and atheist. By contrast, John Astley’s grandson says that Lady Frieda’s mother was “deeply religious,”(Whitehouse, 2020, p. 127) but gives no details regarding her faith. “Like many … Read more

James Branch Cabell 1879-1962

It’s likely that you have never read a novel by James Branch Cabell, though he is not precisely a forgotten author. He gave his name to the Library of Virginia Commonwealth University in his hometown of Richmond Virginia, a literary city which also gave us Edgar Allen Poe, “The Bonfire of the Vanities” author Tom … Read more

Phryne c. 371 BCE

Born as Mnesarete around 371 BCE, the woman who came down to us in history as “Phryne” began life as a Thespian refugee. According to the Greek historian Pausnias, the principal deity of Thespiae was Eros. The principal festivals were the Erotidia, and other sources suggest they worshipped the Muses with a festival on Mount … Read more

Catullus 84-54 BCE

“I will sodomize and face-fuck you” – Catullus 16 Introduction Born to a equestrian (noble) family in Verona, Catullus belonged to the elite. His family entertained Julius Caesar when he was just a Proconsul and owned multiple villas. Like any boy whose family has money, he went to the then equivalent of New York City … Read more

Paschal Beverly Randolph

[See Version with References inline with page numbers] Randolph and Thelema Since at least the 1980s it has been in vogue in some Thelemic circles to focus on Reuss and Crowley’s IX° mystery as the end all and be all of Thelemic Magic; the core Thelemic Secret.  This requires understanding the IX° as something novel … Read more

Victor Neuburg 1883-1940

Victor Neuburg is one of the more remarkable talents associated with the emergence of Thelema in the early 20th century. Early Life and Meeting with Crowley Neuburg was born in London in 1883.  His father deserted the family soon after he was born and he was raised by his mother and maternal family.  The family … Read more

Mary Desti 1871-1971

When Mary Desti, born in 1871 met Aleister Crowley in Paris in 1911 she was a significant figure in the arts community.  Having moved to Paris to pursue a singing career, she was close friends with storied modernist dancer Isadora Duncan, and was introduced to Crowley by Duncan’s pianist and close friend, James Henry “Hener” … Read more

Esclarmonde de Foix c. 1154-1232

The Cathars To understand Esclarmonde de Foix (Occitan Esclarmonda) we must start by understanding the Cathars, who they were, and what role they played in the creation of modern Gnosticism.   As Christianity took hold across the Near East and Europe in the first three centuries CE it assimilated many contemporary beliefs.  Two principal beliefs … Read more

Patrick King – Frater Meithras XI° 1955-1997

Patrick King is a spectacular Thelemic figure who like so many pioneers left a dearth of documentation. The principal source for his own recollections is Liber Qadosh, his diaries. Just as a discussion of John Dee must start with some understanding of Meric Casaubon, discussion of the personal life, particularly the later life, rather than … Read more

Pamela Colman Smith

Pamela Colman Smith 1878-1951 If you are old enough to have picked up tarot before the turn of the century there is a pretty good chance that your first deck was a “Rider-Waite” Deck, published in 1909.  Originally published only as “Tarot Cards,” it was republished as “The Rider Tarot Deck” by U.S. games in … Read more

John Whiteside “Jack” Parsons

John Whiteside Parsons 1914-1952 Next to Aleister Crowley, “Jack” Parsons is probably the best known principal advocate of Thelema. One might make some argument for James Patrick Page OBE, but he is not best known for his association with Thelema; Parsons, however, is often cited as “also having helped found JPL” aside from discussion of … Read more

Jeanne d’Arc

Jeanne d’Arc, 1412-1431  Maid of Lorraine, Maid of Orleans In a canon which already contains Charlemagne and his Paladins as well as Arthur, and a slew of Medieval Christian thinkers, Jeanne d’Arc might seem a no-brainer in an attempt to expand the canon to cover all of those female names which should have been part … Read more

Cameron 1922-1995

Cameron, born in Belle Plaine Iowa in 1922, was a driving force in the transition between the original Thelemic movement personally directed by Aleister Crowley, and the modern era of Thelema.  She is disproportionately responsible for the dispersion of Thelemic ideals into popular culture, where they would form a major kernel of the sexual revolution.  … Read more

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky 1831-1891

Thelemic Holy Season “Saint of the Day” April 20, 2021 Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was without a doubt one of the most remarkable people of the 19th century.  In a world which offered women few paths to advancement she rose to an international prominence that endures to this day.  Along the way she contributed dramatically to … Read more