In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult

In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult

In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult, 1966-1989
James Wasserman

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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 the reader into a world of candlelit temples, burning incense and sonorous invocations. The author also shares an intimate look at the New York Underground of the 1970s and 1980s, and such avant-garde luminaries as Alejandro Jodorowsky, Harry Smith, Kenneth Anger and Angus MacLise.
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.

The author founded New York City’s TAHUTI Lodge in 1979. He chronicles its early history and provides a window into the heyday of the Manhattan esoteric community. He also breaks his 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 efforts to heal the temporary breach between the Orders of A∴A∴ and O.T.O., James Wasserman sets the record straight. He meticulously describes the first decade of the copyright contest over the Crowley literary estate—of which he was an important participant.

This is a saga with a very human tableau, filled with romance, friendship, an abiding spiritual hunger, danger, passion, and ecstasy. It 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.

When the author joined Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) in 1976, there were fewer than a dozen members. Today the Order numbers over 4,000 members in 50 countries.

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 hip culture of the day.

James Wasserman is a passionate advocate of individual liberty. He has been described as a “founding father” of the modern O.T.O. and has played a key role in numerous publications of Aleister Crowley’s literary corpus. He is responsible for the widely celebrated Chronicle edition of The Book of Going Forth by Day, The Egyptian Book of the Dead.

2012
ISBN: 0-89254-201-7
334 Pages including 24 pages of photos on coated paper
6″ x 9″. Hardcover.
CLICK HERE TO ORDER from Red Wheel/Weiser. $35.00

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In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult, 1966-1989
 

 

In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult