Stealing Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Modern Western Magic

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Overview

The Western magical traditions are currently undergoing an international resurgence. In Stealing Fire from Heaven, Nevill Drury offers an overview of the modern occult revival and seeks to explain this growing interest in ancient magical belief systems.

Gnosticism and the Hermetica, the medieval Kabbalah, Tarot and Alchemy, and more recently, Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, collectively laid the basis for the modern magical revival, which first began to gather momentum in Europe at the end of the nineteenth century. Western magic has since become increasingly eclectic, drawing on such diverse sources as classical Greco-Roman mythology, Celtic cosmology, Kundalini yoga and Tantra, shamanism, chaos theory, and the various spiritual traditions associated in many different cultures with the Universal Goddess.

Drury traces the rise of various forms of magical belief and practice, from the influential Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn to the emergence of Wicca and Goddess worship as expressions of contemporary feminine spirituality. He also explores Chaos Magick and the occult practices of the so-called Left-Hand Path, as well as twenty-first-century magical forays into cyberspace. He believes that the rise of modern Western magic stems essentially from the quest for personal spiritual transformation and direct experience of the sacred—a quest which the trance occultist and visionary artist Austin Osman Spare once referred to as "stealing fire from heaven." Considered in this light, Drury argues, modern Western magic can be regarded as a form of alternative spirituality in which the practitioners seek direct engagement with the mythic realm.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Drury is a skilled word craftsman, making his prose a pleasure to read. The many years he has spent researching this field are reflected in his masterly analysis, with information presented in a flowing, yet systematic fashion. I expect Stealing Fire from Heaven will immediately be recognized as filling an important gap in the literature."—James R. Lewis, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Tromsø, Norway
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199750993
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/2/2011
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Nevill Drury is a researcher and author whose specialist interests include contemporary Western magic, shamanism, visionary art and the history of New Age spirituality. His previous books include The New Age: The History of a Movement and Homage to Pan: The Life, Art and Sex Magic of Rosaleen Norton.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
1. Medieval Precursors
2. Freemasons and the Rose Cross
3. New Light: The Rise of the Golden Dawn
4. Aleister Crowley and the Left-Hand Path
5. Three Magical Visionaries
6. The Rebirth of the Goddess
7. Dark Forces: Contemporary Satanism and Black Magic
8. Spirit, Myth, and Cosmos: From Shamanism to Chaos Magick
9. Archetypes and Cyberspace: Magic in the 21st Century
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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