January 2014 – NEWSFLASH
The Burt Sharp archive has been released after a recent bereavement in the UK. This discovery is of great significance to the Gurdjieff Work or 4th Way, in that Burt was one of the organisers of a private work group in Southern England, led by the late Mexican mystic John Flores. The archive of the work group had lain undiscovred in the house of Flores’s sister and was uncovered last week and consists mainly of original artwork.
Burt passed away about a decade ago having been part of the Beryl Pogson group in East Sussex, he had survived Flores, who was a pupil of Gurdjieffian Rodney Collin in Mexico and under the instruction of the mysterious Madam Harkoonian. Together Sharp and Flores continued to teach the 4th Way and carried on the Rodney Collin line. Several paintings based on the inner teachings of the Flores-Sharp group painted by Burt will be displayed (exclusively) on this site shortly.
Colin Wilson 1931-2013
by Gary Lachman
Colin Wilson was one of the most prolific, controversial, and stimulating writers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. After bursting on the English literary scene in 1956 at the age of 24 with his first book The Outsider, Wilson went on to write an astounding number of works – 181 titles in all – on a wide range of subjects including philosophy, psychology, criminology and the occult. He also produced an impressive body of fiction ( Ritual in the Dark (1960))as well as biographies (Aleister Crowley: The Nature of the Beast (1987)) , literary criticism (The Craft of the Novel (1975)), autobiographies (Dreaming to Some Purpose (2004)), and even a book on wine (A Book of Booze (1974)). Wilson once said that he wrote “as a dog with fleas scratches,” and his sheer output is enough to warrant recognition. But it was the ideas that informed his vast body of work that demand our attention. From The Outsider to late works like Superconsciousness (2009), Wilson’s rigorous analytical mind was focused on a single subject: the limitations of human consciousness. At an early age he came to the conclusion that most of us waste our lives in trivialities and negative emotions, and that it is only in moments of crisis that we shake ourselves awake and for a brief time are aware of the vast, mysterious, objective world that surrounds us. Wilson’s “Outsiders” are men and woman driven by an obscure hunger for something more, some meaning and purpose that conventional life cannot provide. Through a study of the lives and work of figures like Nietzsche, T.E. Lawrence, Vincent Van Gogh, Hermann Hesse and others, Wilson outlined a new archetype: the person who “sees too much and too deeply” to be satisfied with “the triviality of everydayness,” and who rejects the security and comfort most of us desire in order to pursue “intensity of being.” Wilson’s “Outsiders” “live dangerously,” in Nietzsche’s phrase, and in his early years drifting from job to job and tramping around England and France, Wilson did too. Famously, for a time he slept on Hampstead Heath while writing by day in the British Library, in order to save money but also to preserve his freedom.
Wilson was caught up in the late 50s publicity storm around the Angry Young Men, and when the critics had had enough of the Angries and turned on them, he felt their ire full blast. On publication The Outsider was praised and sold out in a week, but by the time his second book Religion and the Rebel (1957) appeared, Wilson was universally panned. Wilson retired to Cornwall and ignored the critics, working on the books of his “Outsider Cycle” and laying the foundation of what he called his “new existentialism,” a more positive, optimistic variety that rejected the nihilism and despair of Sartre and Heidegger. By the end of the 1960s, Wilson’s mind had turned in a new but related direction, the occult. In 1971 The Occult appeared and for a time Wilson was back in the critics’ good books. A masterful survey and analysis of occult phenomena – that was also a bestseller – Wilson’s excursions into the occult were a logical development of his earlier existential concerns, and in later books like Mysteries (1978) and Beyond the Occult (1988), Wilson developed his notion of “Faculty X.” This, he said, is a kind of “sixth sense” that allows us to escape the confines of our subjectivity and grasp “the reality of other times and places.” It is, in essence, a recognition that reality is not limited to whatever time or place we happen to be stuck in.
Wilson’s focus on the limitations of consciousness informs all his work, from the magisterial The Criminal History of Mankind(1984), a study in the dangers of creative frustration that rivals H.G. Wells’ Outline of History in scope and vision, to his Lovecraft-inspired fictions The Mind Parasites (1966) and The Philosopher’s Stone (1969), as well as his investigations into the vagaries of human sexuality The Misfits (1987). But Wilson was also a consummate raconteur and in The Angry Years (2007) he invites the reader to reminisce with him about his early duffle-coated days, brawling with Kenneth Tynan, getting drunk with Kingsley Amis, and hob-knobbing with Aldous Huxley, Henry Miller, Christopher Isherwood, and other literary lights.
Writing about The Outsider in the late 70s, Wilson said that after writing it he felt he had “settled down to the serious business of living” and that he was “starting to do what he always intended to do.” He had a feeling of “leaving harbor” and that it made no difference that the critics had tried to take back what they said about his work. “They couldn’t take back the passport they’ d given me.” No they couldn’t, nor could they take back the one he gave to all his readers.
Colin Henry Wilson was born 26 June 1931 in Leicester and died 5 December 2013. He had been suffering ill health following a stroke in 2011. He is survived by his wife Joy, his daughter Sally, and his sons Damon and Rowan.
Click link to see Colin at Occulture
Dr Dave Evans RIP
Sad news has come in that Dr Dave Evans, author, academic, occultist and Kaostar has passed away. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Dave was the author of The History of Magick After Crowley, he also wrote under the name Brakespeare, whose legacy includes Kaostar and other works. He founded the Journal For the Academic Study of Magic and contributed much to the occult scene over the years. Dave spoke at Occulture in 2009 and remembered by his publisher as “a good friend, collaborator, a great writer and truly multi talented man”.
LONDON’S MYSTICAL LEGACY
New book available
Available from all quality esoteric bookstores: Watkins. Treadwells and Atlantis to name but a few. Or order directly