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Book Review: Sex Magicians by Michael William West

Michael William West is a French author, filmmaker, and practioner of the left-hand path.

Written in a matter-of-fact tone, West presents historical facts with little opinion or judgment. Possibly because the audience will have plenty to say about these controversial figures without the author adding to the conversation.

This book does not provide any specific techniques. It’s provides life summaries of the people who created Western Sex Magic and how their lives intersected.

West focuses on how sex magic led these magicians to revelatory experiences. The author outlines the evolution of sex magic from Paschal Beverly Randolph in the 19th century through to well-known 20th century figures like Alesiter Crowley and leads up to the life of Genesis P-Orridge. This drives home the point that sex magic is a living tradition that continues to evolve today. It also reminds us that the perverse game of tug-of-war between occultists and “respectable” society is also ancient and on-going.

I view SEX MAGICIANS as a profane coffee book. It’s fun and intriguing, but by no means an academic text on the subject matter. It’s a decent list of controversial occultists to jump of from if you’re a neophyte. I recommend researching each person further before making heroes out of any of them.

The mini-bios included in the book are:

  • Paschal Beverly Randolph (1825–1875)

  • Ida Craddock (1857–1902)

  • Aleister Crowley (1875–1947)

  • Maria de Naglowska (1883–1936)

  • Austin Osman Spare (1886–1956)

  • Julius Evola (1898–1974)

  • Jack Parsons (1914–1952)

  • William S. Burroughs (1914–1997)

  • Marjorie Cameron (1922–1995)

  • Anton Szandor LaVey (1930–1997)

  • Genesis P-Orridge (1950–2020)

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