In this Book

Magia Sexualis
summary
Sexuality and the occult arts have long been associated in the western imagination, but it was not until the nineteenth century that a large and sophisticated body of literature on sexual magic—the use of sex as a source of magical power—emerged. This book, the first history of western sexual magic as a modern spiritual tradition, places these practices in the context of the larger discourse surrounding sexuality in American and European society over the last 150 years to discover how sexual magic was transformed from a terrifying medieval nightmare of heresy and social subversion into a modern ideal of personal empowerment and social liberation. Focusing on a series of key figures including American spiritualist Paschal Beverly Randolph, Aleister Crowley, Julius Evola, Gerald Gardner, and Anton LaVey, Hugh Urban traces the emergence of sexual magic out of older western esoteric traditions including Gnosticism and Kabbalah, which were progressively fused with recently-discovered eastern traditions such as Hindu and Buddhist Tantra. His study gives remarkable new insight into sexuality in the modern era, specifically on issues such as the politics of birth control, the classification of sexual "deviance," debates over homosexuality and feminism, and the role of sexuality in our own new world of post-modern spirituality, consumer capitalism, and the Internet.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 2-5
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Illustrations
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Preface, Acknowledgments, and Apologies
  2. pp. ix-xii
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  1. Introduction: Sex Magic, Modernity, and the Search for Liberation
  2. pp. 1-20
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  1. 1. The Recurring Nightmare, the Elusive Secret: Historical and Imaginary Roots of Sex Magic in the Western Tradition
  2. pp. 21-54
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  1. 2. Sex Power Is God Power: Paschal Beverly Randolph and the Birth of Sex Magic in Victorian America
  2. pp. 55-80
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  1. 3. The Yoga of Sex: Tantra, Kama Sutra, and Other Exotic Imports from the Mysterious Orient
  2. pp. 81-108
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  1. 4. The Beast with Two Backs: Aleister Crowley and Sex Magick in Late Victorian England
  2. pp. 109-139
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  1. 5. The Yoga of Power: Sex Magic, Tantra, and Fascism in Twentieth-Century Europe
  2. pp. 140-161
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  1. 6. The Goddess and the Great Rite: Sex Magic and Feminism in the Neo-Pagan Revival
  2. pp. 162-190
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  1. 7. The Age of Satan: Satanic Sex and the Black Mass, from Fantasy to Reality
  2. pp. 191-221
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  1. 8. Sexual Chaos: Chaos Magic, Cybersex, and Religion for a Postmodern Age
  2. pp. 222-254
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  1. Conclusion: The Lessons of King Lamus: Religion, Sexuality, and Liberation in a “Post-Orgy” World
  2. pp. 255-266
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 267-316
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  1. Selected Bibliography
  2. pp. 317-330
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 331-336
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  1. Production Notes
  2. pp. 350-350
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