The radical French philosopher Georges Bataille and the English magus Aleister Crowley at first seem to have much in common—both explored the darker sides of eroticism and their links to spiritual experience, both were evocative writers expressing philosophical standpoints considered beyond the pale of polite early twentieth-century society, and both sought a rapturous mystical dissolution of the ego-bound self, a union with what traditional mystics would call the One or the All. But their understandings of the end of the mystic’s quest differ greatly—even to the point that, according to orthodox Thelema’s conception of the magician’s supreme goal of “crossing the Abyss,” Bataille could be labeled a member of the vilified Black Brotherhood, that society of Dark Adepts who ultimately fail in their spiritual task.
The Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center in Chattanooga, TN has had to halt its mission of justice to deal with a cult-like group renting space from them calling themselves the Church of Urth.
In a time when articles in the mainstream press highlight Steve Bannon’s occultism, what is the relationship between esotericism and politics? Can esotericism support human rights and social change, or is it inherently conservative — or inherently apolitical? Or does esotericism have the potential to undergird a liberating populist spirituality?
Though I encourage occultists to #ExorciseTrump, I don’t agree with “binding” him. The reason requires some good theology, and less viral marketing.
[Note: Originally published as a part of my column for the Patheos Pagan Channel, The Blooming Staff.] This column explores the intersections between Catholic theology and …