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Josh Norton is the grade-name and nom-de-net of Benjamin Rowe, an hermetic magician. He adopted the name upon his accession to the grade of Magister Templi, for its appropriate symbolic content. Having achieved the grade entirely without the assistance of incarnate teachers, masters, or initiatory organizations, the accomplishment has no “official” standing whatsoever. Like his namesake, he has simply declared it to be so. People are free to think him a loon if doing so comforts them; it doesn't matter in the least.
On the mundane levels Norton is a rather dull fellow, a sort of suburban monk. He lives in a sleepy upper-middle-class town on the periphery of a conservative and temporally-retarded Ohio river city. Nothing exciting ever happens there, and he likes it that way. He spends most of his time doing his magickal work, writing about the results, and firing off the occasional missive to usenet and email groups. Very few magicians or seekers have ever met him in person, and he assiduously avoids festivals, conferences, conventions, and other magickal gatherings. When not engaged in these activities, he devours huge quantities of science-fiction, programs computers, listens to classical music, and indulges a low taste for action-adventure movies and bacon cheeseburgers.
On the magickal levels he somewhat resembles his friends, the Enochian “angels”. Like them (and unlike most modern magisters) he acts more as a gate than as an embodiment of some magickal power or principle. He was not “cast forth as a Star”, but rather as the Space between. It is not what he is that is important, but what passes through him; he feels little attachment towards the results of his work, and no desire at all to control how other people think of it.
His last long-term magickal project (an exploration of all the “91 Parts of the Earth” from Liber Scientiae) bogged down at the halfway point due to waning enthusiasm; the Parts were progressing into territory that is already too well-explored to be interesting. Currently he is working on a paper discussing the Magister Templi grade.
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