From the list on the beast.
Who am I?
I used to love Dennis Wheatley’s Satanic pulp fiction when I was about twelve—like a gateway drug—and graduated on to read my first Crowley biography a year or two later. I was gripped. As the years went by I developed what might seem like more serious interests in reading about psychoanalysis, Buddhism, and surrealism, but it’s really the same area. I used to think it was funny that the Dewey library system puts Freud and the occult next to each other, but now I see it makes perfect sense. It’s all about the mind, and inner experience, and Crowley remains one of its towering figures.
Phil's book list on the beast
Why did Phil love this book?
An atmospheric biography—a book you can curl up with—by British occultist King (not to be confused with the more ‘literary establishment’ Francis King, a respected gay novelist; our man sometimes called himself Francis X King to distinguish between them). King was a quietly eccentric character who had been traumatized by his experiences in the Korean War, and at one stage sold ice cream on Bournemouth beach. Steeped in the Golden Dawn tradition, his other books include works on alchemy, Western esotericism, tantra, and more, and he was a friend of Crowley’s friend Gerald Yorke, who also wrote on those subjects. I’ve always had a soft spot for their charmingly old-school, gentlemanly style of bygone British occult scholarship.