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In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966-1989 Hardcover – June 15, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book will be of interest to anyone curious about the New York occult scene of this period, as well as to some students of occultism and modern popular culture." Bradford Lee Eden, Library Journal November 1, 2012

About the Author

James Wasserman has been a member of Ordo Templi Orientis since 1976. He has been described as a "founding father" of the modern O.T.O. and has played a key role in numerous seminal publications of Aleister Crowley's literary corpus. He is responsible for the widely celebrated Chronicle edition of The Book of Going Forth by Day, The Egyptian Book of the Dead. His numerous writings and editorial efforts maintain a focus on spirituality, creative mythology, secret societies, history, religion, and politics. He is a passionate advocate of individual liberty.
He has appeared in numerous documentaries on The History Channel, National Geographic,  and The Discovery Channel, addressed the National Press Club on esoteric symbolism, and been a guest on Coast to Coast AM, Thelema Now! and other radio broadcasts and podcasts.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ibis Press; First Edition edition (June 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892542012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892542017
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #833,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Wasserman is a lifelong student of religion and spiritual development. His writings and editorial efforts maintain a focus on spirituality, creative mythology, secret societies, history, religion, and politics. He is a passionate advocate of individual liberty. An admirer of the teachings of Aleister Crowley, he has played a key role in numerous seminal publications of the Crowley literary corpus. A book designer by trade, Jim is the owner of Studio 31. He is married with two children.

He has recently provided a window into the creation of his benchmark edition of the Papyrus of Ani--The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day. Please visit the link below for A Treasure of Antiquity Reborn:

http://jameswassermanbooks.com/bookofdead-genesis.html

In 2009, he participated in an address to the National Press Club with Brother Akram Elias. The occasion was the publication of Dan Brown's book The Lost Symbol. Jim's portion of the talk may be found on Youtube. In it, he expresses both the truths of esoteric symbolism and the beauty of America's Masonic heritage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QDMK_CUeP8

For more information on the author, please visit Jim's website:
www.jameswassermanbooks.com

Our Facebook page is:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/James-Wasserman/285958821416078

Studio 31 book design and production is located at:
www.studio31.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
For a guide through the tortured, frantic and ecstatic 1960s, 1970s and 1980s one would be hard-pressed to come up with a more intriguing and knowledgeable psychopomp than James Wasserman. While the autobiographies of rock stars tend to focus on sex, drugs and rock n' roll (all of which are amply represented in the Wasserman account), what "In the Center of the Fire" does is put all of that into the context of the great spiritual awakening that began in the USA in the 1960s. From encounters with Eastern mysticism and counter-culture rituals to the more demanding practices and theologies of Western magician Aleister Crowley, those of us who survived that period did so with an altered perception of reality and spirituality that was not merely the result of too many psychoactive drugs but also was due to a genuine desire to understand the forces at work behind the scenes of the political and cultural theater that was taking place all around us. None of us grew up in families that worshiped Egyptian gods or danced naked around bonfires during the Rites of Spring; for the most part we were Christians and Jews. But we were active participants in our own religious education, dedicated to exploring every aspect of spirituality and rejecting nothing without first examining it to see what value we could coax from its books, its histories, its teachings and rituals, and its strange and compelling leaders. As someone who was there and who knew Wasserman and the New York occult scene of the 1960s and 1970s in particular, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
In the Center of the Fire - A Memoir of the Occult, 1966-1989 by James Wasserman (Ibis Press)
Review by Mark Stavish

My copy of Center of the Fire arrived mid-Saturday morning and I finished reading the book before going to bed that night. Center of the Fire is an intriguing and insightful tale, not only of the author's experiences of the period, but also of an entire cultural scene that engulfed New York City, and for a time, much of the world. While it should come as no surprise that the twenty-three year period covered by the author often comes across as a drug soaked, borderline orgy, of hedonistic soul-searching, it is in truth, more than that. Wasserman really is a seeker, and the story of his successes and failures, and ultimate outcomes is one many seekers from that time and the present can identify with.

The text of In the Center of the Fire falls into three categories: Wasserman's search for truth; his encounters with spiritual teachers, and his and their failures and victories as human beings; and finally, the intense legal battle that engulfed his life, the OTO, and Weiser Publishing at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s. All of this takes place against the counter-culture backdrop of New York City and the early New Age scene of California. If you have read Lon Milo DuQuette's at times hilarious autobiography, My Life with the Spirits, you will find some of the same players in this work, but more also a more detailed look at the at times all to seedy underbelly of modern occultism.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Frater AISh MLChMH on June 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was initiated into the O.T.O. not long after the time covered in this book concludes. For over 20 years, I have overheard the occasional bits and pieces of what immediately preceded my time in O.T.O. Besides the occasional scrap of oral history, old copies of the Magical Link were poured over as well as the San Francisco trial transcript which was made available online. Even the occasional perusal of an obsessed archivist's site or Motta's malevolent rantings in the back of his MWT helped supplement what little I knew. Additionally, I personally asked the author a few years ago at a social event about a member I understood as having an initiatory connection with and he kindly obliged me with some of his perspective. However, even with these inquiries, what little I did know remained fragmentary. Thankfully, Br. Wasserman has addressed many of my questions and much more in his book. Instead of the past being relegated to a whisper with endless innuendo and outright falsehoods (i.e. A.'.A.'. "lineages"), we now have a firsthand comprehensive account of many of the events and people who informed it - from someone who was there. For anyone who thirsts to gain some insight into what informs where we are and how we got there, this book is indispensable.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Star Foster on June 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
An important and fascinating look at the history of the OTO, the occult/Pagan scene in New York and California, the author's personal struggles with spirituality and addiction, and a fascinating inside look at the occult publishing scene back in the 70's and 80's.
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