Paper on Aleister Crowley’s Queer Masculinity

Correspondences recently posted a paper by Joy Dixon titled “Sex Magic as Sacramental Sexology: Aleister Crowley’s Queer Masculinity.” The abstract reads:

“A number of scholars have noted the distinctively modern form taken by late-nineteenth-century sexual magic. This paper demonstrates the ways that Aleister Crowley’s (1875–1947) ritual sexual magic reworked contemporary understandings of gender and sexuality and engaged with contemporary literature on religion and sexuality, making use of new sexological understandings of the interchangeability of the religious and sexual impulses to develop a new form of queer masculine spiritual authority. Works like White Stains (1898) and The Scented Garden (1910) provide striking illustrations of Crowley’s serio-parodic engagement with both sexology and theology. That engagement produced a carnivalesque deflation of both scientific and spiritual authority and cleared a space for Crowley’s claims about the magical and sacramental qualities of sex. This sacramentality was closely linked to what Crowley described as “justification by sin,” according to which the whole body—not just the sexual body but the defecating, urinating, sweating body—participated in this sexuo-spiritual life. This form of sexual magic both depended on and destabilized the gender binary and provided a basis for a new kind of queer masculine spiritual authority in which the gendered and sexual body had a key role even as the modern sexual and gender regime was itself called into question.”

Read the whole paper:

Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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