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Periodical: The Occult Observer

Summary:  From Pat Deveney's database:

Occult Observer, The.
A Quarterly Journal of Occultism, Art and Philosophy.
1949--1950 Quarterly Irregular
London, England. Publisher: Atlantis Bookshop/Michael Houghton.
1/1, May 1949-May 1950. 64 pp.

"Michael Juste" (Michael Houghton), the editor of this journal, was a poet, Crowleyite, publisher, and owner of the Atlantis Book Shop in London. In 1927 (as "Michael Juste") he had published his An Occult Autobiography, recounting his occult explorations (with Paul Brunton, Theosophy and Crowley) to that date. This journal, published more than 20 years later, was filled with the writings of the aging post-War, post-Crowley, post-Theosophy, literate and sophisticated British occultists of the period, all dabbling eruditely in art, literature and magic. Houghton's editorials in each issue, reveal his own lack of satisfaction with teachers of wisdom and the direction taken by current occultism generally. In the first issue, he wrote, rather snobbishly: "The broad theme of occultism has thus been presented in this journal from many angles. The editor, who has been a close student of occult matters for many years, first sets forth his general answer to the query of his title: How Important is the Study of Occultism? He dissociates himself and the Occult Observer from peasant superstitions and from the shallow exploiters of the arcane, and claims that occultism is only for the strong and passionate and that often the occult powers work unconsciously and through artistic genius." He followed this theme in later issues, notably in"Misleaders of the Occult." "Why are so many so-called Occult Schools of such brief existence? They begin with remarkable systems. Books are published, headquarters established, enthisiasms roused, publicity is focussed upon them; many prophesies are made and unheard-of 'Masters' in this Occult circus and orate. But alas . . . not only is this 'immortal' very mortal but also very ephemeral and the thud of disappointed hopes can be heard by those who have gone through tests and endurances in other schools. It is strange. Surely a true prophet, an illuminated mind will only build upon the permanent rock of established truth?"

Consistently with these thoughts, the journal laid out what it saw as its purpose: "We are all units in an eternal pilgrimage, though few are aware of a plan or a purpose or of the existence of the arcane sciences behind this phenomenal world; but to those who do believe they are brethren of spiritual dynasties the study of occultism is of primary importance. [This journal] will endeavour to maintain a high standard in its literature, in its thought and in its vision. For many years occultism has been the hunting ground for confusing systems, unworkable techniques and grotesque interpretations of those levels beyond man's normal and limited vision. Therefore we hope whenever possible to publish and review such subjects as may disentangle the vast phantasmagoria misnamed occultism and bring a sense of proportion to these secret sciences of the illuminated." The journal carried articles by John Hargrave (on "Marxism and the Occult"), Mir Bashir (on palmistry), Ross Nichols (as Nuinn the Druid), Mir Bashir, the palm reader, W.B. Crow, John Kirkup, and others. Gerald Yorke wrote a biographical note on Crowley and "Tantric Hedonism."

Having addressed itself to an elite, the journal could not have been a commercial success, and ceased in its second year. The journal was begun anew with vol. 2, nos. 1-2 in 1992. The table of contents of the journal is online at http://www.elfindog.sakura.ne.jp/ocobserver.htm. NYPL; University of Texas, Austin; University of London, Warburg; LOC.

Issues:Occult Observer V1 N1 1949
Occult Observer V1 N3 1949
Occult Observer V1 N4 1950
Occult Observer V1 N5 1950
Occult Observer V1 N6 1950

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