E.G.C. “SECTION 2” Reading List
Crowley supplemented the instructional matter in his A\A\ reading list with an inventory of “Other books, principally fiction, of a generally suggestive and helpful kind.” The present document is intended to supply that service for aspirants to holy orders in E.G.C. For more formal study, see the “Book List for E.G.C. Priests and Priestesses” by Sabazius. All O.T.O. initiates are urged to consult the fuller curricula published by Hymenaeus Beta in the revised edition of Magick: Book Four.
Parsifal, by + Richard Wagner. An important source of symbolism in the Gnostic Mass. The prose version by Oliver Huckel (1904) is helpful.
Golden Twigs, by + Aleister Crowley. Short stories that illustrate principles of religious theory.
Seraphita, by Honoré de Balzac. An influential esoteric novel by an author recommended by Crowley.
Ancient Evenings, by Norman Mailer. A compelling re-creation of the magical perspective of the pharaohs.
The Bacchae, by Euripides. A classical dramatic exposition of the Mysteries of + Dionysus.
The Gnostics, by Jacques Lacarrière. An accessible and imaginative description of Gnosticism in antiquity and its relevance to modernity.
Scroll of Thoth, by Richard L. Tierney. Pulp adventure stories with the Gnostic heresiarch + Simon Magus as the protagonist.
The Golden Ass, by Apuleius. Crowley says, “Valuable for those who have wit to understand it.”
Antichrist, by Cecilia Holland. A story of + Frederick von Hohenstaufen.
Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf, by David Madsen. A novel about a Gnostic sect in 16th-century Italy.
The War Hound and the World’s Pain, by Michael Moorcock. An inventive Graal story.
La-Bas, by J. K. Huysmans. Crowley says, “An account of the extravagances caused by the Sin-complex.”
En Route, by J. K. Huysmans. Crowley says, “An account of the follies of Christian mysticism.”
With the Adepts, by Franz Hartmann. A Rosicrucian fantasy by a founding member of the Sanctuary of the Gnosis.
Jurgen, by James Branch Cabell. A picaresque fantasy. Chapter 22 “As to a Veil They Broke” is a rewrite of the Gnostic Mass, which got this novel banned.
Something about Eve, by James Branch Cabell. Explores themes such as the diabolical pact and solar-phallic religion.
The Baphomet, by Pierre Klossowski. It has been said of the author that “he never failed to keep one foot in the seminary and the other in the brothel.”
The Theater and Its Double, by Antonin Artaud. Avant-garde application of alchemy to dramatic arts.
Heaven and Hell, by Aldous Huxley. Further develops some ideas about religion and visionary experience along lines inaugurated in the same author’s Doors of Perception.
“Tlön, uqbar, orbis tertius,” “The Aleph,” and other short stories by Jorge Luis Borges.
The Erotic Comedies, by Marco Vassi. Profound and hilarious short stories. “The Land of the Sperm King” is indispensable.
Godbody, by Theodore Sturgeon. The final novel by a perceptive storyteller.
Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein. This tale about a Gnostic sect in the near future was influenced by Thelema, and has been a major influence on American counter-culture.
VALIS, by Phillip K. Dick. A consummate neo-Gnostic novel, written after the author’s own spontaneous mystical experience.
Ubik, by Phillip K. Dick, and also The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, by the same author. Science-fiction parables of Eucharistic magick.
Promethea, by Alan Moore. A hermetic-qabalistic superheroine saga in five graphic novels.
Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, by Frater Francesco Colonna. The so-called “pagan bible of the Renaissance.”
The Works of Francois Rabelais. Crowley says, “Invaluable for Wisdom.”
The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast, by + Giordano Bruno. An Hermetic fable of universal reformation.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, by + William Blake. Along with his other works.
The Bible, by various authors unknown. Crowley says, “The Hebrew and Greek Originals are of Qabalistic value. It contains also many magical apologues, and recounts many tales of folk-lore and magical rites.”
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