The Search for Abraxas (Second Edition), Nevill Drury and Stephen Skinner
"Skinner and Drury met – at university – and Drury was impressed by Skinner’s Qabalistic erudition ... Drury’s belief that the artist is a vehicle for, not a creator of, his artistic productions, produced a desire to explore methods of charting the hidden sources of inspiration. ‘The levels of inspiration achieved by different artists seems to me to parallel the stages of consciousness outlined in the Qabalah, and for this reason, one of my main aspirations is to achieve greater rapport with the higher levels of my unconscious.’ And so Skinner’s need for scientific exactitude and Drury’s desire to tap hidden levels of subconscious vitality combine in a common purpose. The first result of their cooperation appears in this far-ranging and highly readable book ... What Stephen Skinner and Nevill Drury have done in this book is not to make an anthology of the weird and wonderful, but to state, with a kind of modesty and quiet precision, what they consider the relevant facts to be. It is their manifesto, and the manifesto of a new generation."- Colin Wilson
About the book:
“There is an animal in man, and there is a God in man. In order to produce a harmonised microcosm these aspects of our nature have to be firstly acknowledged: it is then that the self may be transformed. Perhaps the God which best symbolises this mystical venture is the one who is both a man and a hawk; He who is of the Sun and whose legs are coiling serpents, symbol of Wisdom reaching down to Earth. He who holds the sacred shield ... and whose name is Abraxas.”
Hailed as “the manifesto of a new generation”, The Search for Abraxas examines the nature of human potential emblematised by the transcendent Gnostic deity Abraxas – a figure associated not only with Time and Eternity, but also representative of the polarities of good and evil. Navigating the complex terrains of ‘The World of Light’, ‘The World of Shadows’ and ‘The World of Dreams’, renowned esoteric researchers and authors Nevill Drury and Stephen Skinner map the major themes of the Western esoteric tradition and elaborate upon the philosophies and cosmologies underpinning them.
From modern occult revivals and the international counter-culture and psychedelic revolution of the late 1960s to theoretical and practical qabalah and ceremonial magic; from witchcraft, sorcery and ‘transformation phenomena’ to astral and etheric projection and reincarnation, The Search for Abraxas reminds us that “magic is essentially about altered states of awareness that can lead alternatively towards cosmic transcendence and spiritual integration or towards dark alienation and even evil.”
Explorations of this duality – the polar opposites within the psyche – are particularly pronounced in the works of various artist-magicians, including the unconventionally brilliant and visionary Austin Osman Spare; the phantastically sinister yet transcendent Late Art-Nouveau, Decadents Aubrey Beardsley, Harry Clarke, Alastair, Edmund Dulac, and Kay Nielsen, and the Surrealists Yves Tanguy, Wolfgang Paalen and Max Ernst. This connection between magical thought and visionary art is a central motif of “this far-ranging and highly readable book.”.
About the authors:
Nevill Drury is an independent researcher and author whose specialist interests include modern Western magic, shamanism and visionary art. For many years he worked in the Australian book industry as an editor and art book publisher and in 2008 he received his PhD from the University of Newcastle for a dissertation on the art and magic of Rosaleen Norton. He now lives in Milton on the south coast of New South Wales and works as a full-time writer and occasional university lecturer. Nevill is the co-author / editor of 70 books and his work has been published in 26 countries. Recent publications include The Varieties of Magical Experience: Indigenous, Medieval and Modern Magic (with Lynne Hume, 2013) and Dark Spirits: The Magical Art of Rosaleen Norton and Austin Osman Spare (2012).Stephen Skinner is an author, researcher, lecturer, and publisher specialising in qabalah and magic, feng shui, Western divinatory geomancy, and the works of Dr. John Dee, Aleister Crowley and Henry Cornelius Agrippa. He is presently working towards a PhD in Classics at the University of Newcastle focused on the transmission of magical methods and techniques from antiquity (Graeco-Egyptian) through the Byzantine magical manuscripts to the Latin and vernacular European grimoires. Stephen has written more than 36 books, translated into more than 20 languages. Since 2004 he has collaborated with David Rankine to produce eight volumes of the Sourceworks of Ceremonial Magic series. Recent publications include Key to the Latin of Dr John Dee’s Spiritual