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Heaven's Bride: The Unprintable Life of Ida C. Craddock, American Mystic, Scholar, Sexologist, Martyr, and Madwoman Hardcover – Bargain Price, December 7, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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Ann Taves, Professor of Religious Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara
“Leigh Schmidt offers us a compulsively readable account of the tragic, fantastic, and utterly idiosyncratic life of Ira Craddock, self-taught scholar, mystic, sex reformer, and psychoanalytic subject. Sympathetic toward Craddock, yet even-handed in his treatment of both her admirers and her vehemently critical detractors, Schmidt opens a window on the fierce ideological cross-currents at the intersection of sexuality, psychology, and religion at the turn of the last century. This is serious scholarship in a form that everyone can enjoy.”
Courtney Bender, Associate Professor of Religion at Columbia University
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Schmidt illuminates the darkened life of Ida Craddock by aiming a spotlight at each subtitled role.”
“The compelling life of a turn-of-the-century free spirit and free-speech activist who was silenced by the evangelical zeal of the vice squad. . . . A colorful contextual study of Craddock and her teeming era.”
“Fascinating…. Craddock is reanimated by Mr. Schmidt's biography.”
“Schmidt deals sentences just as lapidary as his subtitle (The Unprintable Life of Ida C. Craddock, American Mystic, Scholar, Sexologist, Martyr, and Madwoman) leads us to expect. … [His] research is extensive, the details he includes are delicious.”
American Historical Review
“Schmidt has mined every possible archive to find evidence of Craddock’s life, and despite the obstructions of censorship, he has unearthed much new information…. Schmidt’s book, beautifully written and imaginatively wrought, lures readers into Craddock’s world where being a heavenly bride to a spirit husband seems almost reasonable.”
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Top Customer Reviews
Craddock had published 6 primary pamphlets on sex for married couples between 1893 and her death by suicide in 1902. All of these were suppressed by that Victorian pillar of virtue, Anthony Comstock, who was himself accused of having an affair with his sister in law. Comstock had become a special agent of the US Postal Service and the bane of free thinkers and liberals of his day, yet a hero to the religious right. Obviously someone Jerry Falwell would have looked up to. Comstock had her imprisoned on obscenity charges and due to her mother's, Lizzie, embarrassment, she was committed to an insane asylum, under the pretext that she spoke to spirits and in fact was married to a spirit or ghost, whom Ida referred to simply as Soph. Ida ran further afoul of the Protestant religion of the time in that she had the verve to found her own religion which she called the Church of the Yoga. Although for various reasons, not the least being financial, this church only lasted for about six months from late 1899 to early 1900, but this certainly made her an enemy of established religions.
Ida's life began with her birth in Philadelphia on 8/1/1857 and ended with her death on 10/17/1902; along the way were many interesting detours as her unsuccessful attempt to become the first female undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania in 1882. Ida would very much be considered a self-promoter and feminist in modern society.Read more ›
The author begins to show her bias in the title-- a "Martyr" certainly, but a "Madwoman?" No dear friends, Ira was an Adept who achieved what the Qaballists call "The Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel" and a Heavenly Marriage with an Angel, Soph.
While her very rare works have been embraced by the Ordo Templi Orientis due to favorable reviews of her work by Sir Aleister Crowley over 90 years ago, and her two books, "Heavenly Bridgrooms" and "Psychic Wedlock" republished 30+ years ago in the Equinox Vol. V. No. 4., she has unjustly remained an obscure figure outside of Thelemic Circles. It is about time that her life and actions recieved a wider audience. Sexual techniques from Craddock's Psychic Wedlock were later reproduced in Sex Magick by Louis T. Culling, otherwise best known for his account of The Great Brotherhood of God, or G.'.B.'.G.'. and are much closer to the "Anseiratic Mysteries" of Dr. Paschal Beversly Randolph than the Gnostic Sexual Communion practiced by the 3rd Century Ebionites and sybollically incorporated into Aleister Crowley's "Liber XV" The Gnostic Mass. A much more sypmpathic biography Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic: The Essential Ida Craddock has recently been writted, and a "new" book of previously unpublished material,
An additional, previously unpublished edition of her work "Lunar and Sex Worship" was printed in early 2011. It is already sold out. Some may find her religious and sexual views a bit parochial, having been written in the Victorian era. But there are many gems to be gleaned from Ms. Craddocks works for the student who can study them.
Craddock's mother was scandalized that the daughter would have interest in what the mother called "the slimy subject of sex," and refused to let Craddock study or write on the subject any time she was at home. The mother simply thought her daughter was insane, and tried, sometimes successfully, to have her locked up in an asylum. Craddock tried unsuccessfully to enroll in the all-male University of Pennsylvania, and remained an amateur scholar, writing on wildly diverse subjects, like lunar myths, totem poles, or phallic worship. When she wrote about belly-dancing (which she thought ideally merged the sexual and the religious), she got her first battles with the famous prig Anthony Comstock, founder of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Making a historical figure come alive - that's what Leigh Eric Schmidt does in this wonderful biography. Read morePublished on September 15, 2013 by William Ashcraft
...it is at the same time very superficial in how it touches the occult aspects of Ida Craddock's life. Read morePublished on December 27, 2012 by Andres Pedraza
Ida Craddock was sentenced to 5 years in federal prison 110 years ago in 1902 for violation of the Comstock Act of 1873 that made it illegal to send any "obscene, lewd, and/or... Read morePublished on July 14, 2012 by F. Orion Pozo
19th Century Virgin Becomes Sex Counselor - that's the basic premise of this book. Ida C. Craddock, frustrated intellectual, oppressed daughter, sometime stenographer, and... Read morePublished on September 6, 2011 by TheConsumer
This in a thoroughly enjoyable historical piece wrapped around an interesting character. I have recomended it to all my friendsPublished on May 31, 2011 by bobdog
I love books that tell a bigger story through telling a single small one. This is a fascinating window into a section of American history that is often overlooked. Read morePublished on April 12, 2011 by Anthony M. Zipple