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Magia SexualisSex, Magic, and Liberation in Modern Western Esotericism$
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Hugh Urban

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520247765

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520247765.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 06 June 2020

Introduction

Introduction

Sex Magic, Modernity, and the Search for Liberation

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Magia Sexualis
Author(s):

Hugh B. Urban

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520247765.003.0002

This introductory chapter explains the theme of this book, which is about the rise of sexual magic in America and Europe since the mid-nineteenth century. The book traces the transmission of magia sexualis from the United States to Europe as it was passed on through such authors as Paschal Beverly Randolph, Theodor Reuss, and Aleister Crowley. It examines the impact of Indian traditions like Hindu and Buddhist Tantra, which by the early twentieth century had come to be increasingly fused with Western sexual magic, and analyzes the profound transformation of sexual magic from a terrifying medieval nightmare of heresy and social subversion into a modern ideal of personal empowerment and social liberation. The book argues that the literature on sexual magic has, from its origins, been plagued by a deep tension and ambivalence: The tension between liberation and exploitation.

Keywords:   sexual magic, America, Europe, magia sexualis, Paschal Beverly Randolph, Theodor Reuss, Aleister Crowley, Hindu Tantra, Buddhist Tantra, personal empowerment

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