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“Aleister Crowley in America focuses sharply and drills down into Crowley’s formative U.S. period, burgeoning with rich and surprising depth beyond what is possible in a life-spanning biography. This story deserves a book of its own, and Tobias Churton demonstrates here that the Beast is indeed in the details.”
Richard Kaczynski, author of Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley
“Churton has sifted through a mass of material—from long-neglected documents to the latest researches of contemporary Crowley scholars— to put together this comprehensive and intriguing study of the years the Beast spent in America. He brings fresh eyes to old controversies, such as the true nature of Crowley's political activities during the First World War, and presents a work that anyone interested in the history of Crowley and his circle will read with enthusiasm.”“Churton has sifted through a mass of material—from long-neglected documents to the latest researches of contemporary Crowley scholars— to put together this comprehensive and intriguing study of the years the Beast spent in America. He brings fresh eyes to old controversies, such as the true nature of Crowley's political activities during the First World War, and presents a work that anyone interested in the history of Crowley and his circle will read with enthusiasm.”
Keith Richmond, co-owner of Weiser Antiquarian Books and author of Progradior and the Beast
“Way beyond the standard Crowley hagiographies, Churton’s books always put the Great Beast in cultural context. This fascinating must-read is no exception; it’s an invaluable, well-researched, and highly entertaining insight into the great magician’s life, thoughts, and scandals during his American adventures.”
Carl Abrahamsson, author of Occulture: The Unseen Forces That Drive Culture Forward and Reasonances and editor of The Fenris Wolf
“Magician Tobias Churton has successfully cast a spell, transforming his 750-page comprehensive scholarly tome into a gripping and obsessive page turner, leaving one wishing for more. Replete with new and exciting details and interpretations of Crowley’s time in the New World—and of the multiple denizens of his exciting and unique social circles—the book includes previously unpublished manuscripts, letters, and photographs. Churton furnishes the reader with a sensitive and intimate portrait that brings Crowley to life—as if we are invited to a convivial conversation or private dinner with the Magus himself. Truly an outstanding, enjoyable, and invaluable book!”
James Wasserman, author of Templar Heresy: A Story of Gnostic Illumination
“Crowley had a great hunger for almost everything he ever thought of or saw. He was economical with the truth, with his own money, and with his loyalties, but— and it is a big but—the scope and scale of America thrilled him. The vitality of the big cities, the newness and esoteric searching of the West Coast made him delirious with a big, greedy joy. He loved the States for nearly thirty years, as it gave him a dedicated group of very clever people, like Jack Parsons, who practiced what he preached. Tobias Churton has uncovered fresh material on Crowley in biographically fresh territory and has once again written a very fine book.”
Geraldine Beskin and Bali Beskin, owners of the Atlantis Bookshop, London
“Churton (Occult Paris) makes full use of his fascination with the cultural underpinnings of European esoterica in this biography of George Gurdjieff, an enigmatic, mischievous, and challenging mystic and spiritual teacher. Churton, critically, asks the question of whether Gurdjieff is “a reliable narrator of his own life” and centers his study on Gurdjieff’s semi-autobiographical texts, Meetings with Remarkable Men, Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, and Life Is Real Only Then, When “I Am.” He describes Gurdjieff’s corpus as “filled with pseudo-objectivity... and arch pretentiousness” before going on to explain his readings of the books through the realities of history and the context of Gurdjieff’s personal life, focusing particularly on his poorly understood early life. Churton brings in many contemporary sources and concurrent spiritual movements, even as Gurdjieff himself only acknowledges the ancients and some Sufi and Yezidi influences on his work. While explaining some of Gurdjieff’s best-known concepts—the three brains of fallen man, the ray of creation, the enneagram, the sacred dances—Churton undercuts Gurdjieff’s declarations of the originality of his ideas, instead focusing on his strength of personality and ability to exploit weakness. Churton’s remarkable ability to make a coherent narrative out of disparate information while also weaving in other research interests, such as the influence of Aleister Crowley, makes this a valuable resource for those familiar with Gurdjieff’s work, and it’s easily readable for those coming fresh to the topic.”
Publisher’s Weekly, New York, April 10, 2017
“They seek him here, they seek him there . . . that damned elusive Gurdjieff—part sage, part trickster, part prophet, part legend. Tobias Churton, in pursuit of this enigmatic figure, casts his net both wide and deep and delivers a wonderfully rich and nuanced account of Gurdjieff and the many currents that flowed into his life and teaching. ”
Christopher McIntosh, Ph.D., author of Eliphas Lévi and the French Occult Revival
“. . . a scholarly journey that pursues an in-depth analysis of this purposely enigmatic spiritual teacher’s biography . . . offers perceptive insights into the spiritual and psychological teachings of Gurdjieff’s idiosyncratic genius and sheds light on the folktale-like stories of the relationship between Aleister Crowley and Gurdjieff. This book is comprehensive, entertaining, and highly recommended.”
James Wasserman, author of Templar Heresy: A Story of Gnostic Illumination
“According to Albert Einstein, ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.’ Churton understands—he has a profound ability to write about complex esoteric subjects in clear, down-to-earth language. Here he delves deep into the life of Gurdjieff in an attempt to separate fact from fiction and the myth from the man. As always, there is great wisdom and a uniquely modern perspective in Churton’s meticulous thought and prose. Deconstructing Gurdjieff, like all his books, is immensely informative, highly provocative—and a great read.”
John Zorn, composer-performer
“Tobias brings to this highly perceptive and realistic picture of Gurdjieff, his expert knowledge of Western esotericism, the Yezidis, and Aleister Crowley—all of which have long needed a measured place in this mage's story. This is a timely reappraisal and deconstruction of the spiritual ludibrium and life of a Master.”
Stephen J. King (Shiva X°), Grand Master, Ordo Templi Orientis, Australia
“In a massive, focused exploration of the relationship between the mystical and the creative, esoteric historian Churton ( Jerusalem! The Real Life of William Blake) delights in tracing out the detailed social and intellectual relationships in the more obscure reaches of French culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Churton proves to be profoundly organized and marvelously synthetic while explaining the maelstrom of Symbolists, Decadents, Hermetics, and Catholic heretics that met in venues like Edmond Bailly’s bookshop and the Salon de la Rose + Croix. Redeeming the reputations of Josephin Péladan and Stanislas de Guaïta, and combining account of visionaries not always considered together—such as Victor-Émile Michelet, Georges Seurat, and Erik Satie—Churton recontextualizes the work of these underappreciated figures while showing how beloved images, such as the androgyne, the magus, the hierophant, and the quest for the lost, reappear in different contexts. In occasional outbursts of emotion, Churton’s passion for the ideas of the period resonates: “What a tragedy this wisdom was not absorbed by the socialist and communist movements in time for the twentieth century—how much misery might have been spared the human race, then and now!” This entertaining volume will please fans of esoterica and the City of Light. 33 color plates, b&w illus.”
Publisher’s Weekly, New York, Cevin Bryerman, Executive Vice President/Publisher.
“With Tobias Churton as the cicerone – or dare I say psychopomp? – the reader is expertly guided in the labyrinthine world of the occult Paris of the Belle Époque (1871-1914). This is the best introduction to the French occult revival ever written in English.”
Henrik Bogdan, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Gothenburg
“Gnostics, Martinists, Theosophists, Masons, sex-magicians: “the renaissance of the dead sciences”: all figure in Tobias Churton’s marvellous story of international politics and Parisian intrigue. Churton has taken a mammoth trawl of newly uncovered information and rendered it digestible, incidentally showing the Symbolists to be spiritually based, both in visual arts and music. His work will have a long-term impact on history. Fascinating.”
Vanilla Beer, Artist; scholar of Western Esotericism.
“One of the world’s greatest scholars of what Blake calls the ‘excluded’ tradition, Tobias Churton brings together a profound knowledge of Western esotericism with extensive new research to weave a rich and multifaceted tapestry detailing the long-hidden mysteries of sexual gnosis. Including in-depth analysis and detailed commentary on select sacred and heretical texts from Epiphanius, Hippolytus, Valentinus, Blake, Crowley, and more, Gnostic Mysteries of Sex is an illuminating volume filled with passion, truth, fascinating detail, and dynamic historical perspectives.”
John Zorn, musician
“Gnostic Mysteries of Sex takes us on a wild ride through the secret, enigmatic and heretical world of Gnostics, medieval troubadours, the visions of Blake, and the counterculture of the 1960s--all united in their quest for union with God. The reader should not be fooled by Tobias Churton’s inimitable style of writing, because beneath his humor and provocative statements, there’s a profound understanding of one the greatest mysteries of all time--the power of sexual gnosis.”
Henrik Bogdan, associate professor in religious studies, University of Gothenburg
“In Gnostic Mysteries of Sex, Tobias Churton works to heal Western civilization’s deepest wound- the millennia-old divorce of sex and spirit. Revealed herein are the dangerous and radical sexual secrets that the Church could not eradicate, kept hidden by the occult underground through long centuries of persecution, torture, and crusade. And here is the radical message of the Gnostics, as shocking and critically important now as it was in the second century- that sex is the gateway of liberation, and the kingdom of heaven is within.”
Jason Louv, author of Generation Hex and coauthor of Thee Psychick Bible
“Churton brings to this frank and deeply insightful study a surprisingly personal and moving narrative. The late scholar of Gnosticism Ioan Couliano once said the Gnostics were the champions of free thought--asserting a freedom to explore every logical possibility of their complex demiurgic estrangement from God and nature. It’s not so surprising then that sexual metaphysics and practices in all of their permutations were explored, along with the big questions they pose, and the gnosis they transmit. As Churton observes, ‘The new heaven and new earth result from an improvement of sensual enjoyment. There was, and is, need of it.’”
Stephen J. King (Shiva X°), Grand Master, Ordo Templi Orientis
“Readable and hugely informative, Churton makes a solid case that explains the Christian teachings on sex as reactive to the non-canonical texts. As Churton writes, sex is the ‘essential battleground between heresy and orthodoxy.’ I suspect this may be a totally new branch of scholarship.”
Vanilla Beer, artist
“An erudite view of a fascinating subject. Highly recommended.”
Donald Traxler, translator of the works of Maria de Naglowska
“If you think the last word has long since been said on the subject of sex, then you need to read this book. The question of how to reconcile sex with spirituality has long preoccupied the religious culture of both East and West. Churton explores how the Gnostics had their own approach to this issue, an approach that he traces down the centuries through the Rosicrucians and the work of poets such as Andrew Marvell and William Blake. Their message, Churton shows, points the way to a glorious synthesis of the sexual and the spiritual.”
Christopher McIntosh, Ph.D., Honorary University Fellow and Western Esotericism lecturer at the University of Exeter
HIS TIME HAS COME...
DEFINITIVE... THE NEW BIOGRAPHY OF ENGLAND’S GREATEST VISIONARY PROPHET... A MESSAGE FOR OUR TIMES WE CANNOT IGNORE...
From the Foreword by MICHAEL EAVIS CBE, Founder of the GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL:
"William Blake has always been very close to my heart. Perhaps it is the rebel in him that appeals or indeed our shared love of Methodism. Blake might have been slightly barmy by today’s definition of sanity but his incredible visions and childlike beliefs in God drove his energy and created the heroic genius that he really was.
Tobias Churton’s work and research in Jerusalem! is truly astonishing in its detail. He has revealed to me so much. This must be one of the most illuminating and enlightening biographies to date. I would very much like him to speak at Glastonbury 2014 and read some extracts from Jerusalem!"
And from the Foreword by FRANK VAN LAMOEN, Assistant Curator of the STEDELIJK MUSEUM, Amsterdam:
"Few documents on the life of William Blake have survived. His image was already distorted shortly after his death. Tobias Churton has stripped his biography of numerous idées reçues that clouded that image, allowing Blake to emerge from his work against the backdrop of an age marked by revolutions and modernization. It is a brilliant and illuminating book with a personal touch that invites further reading, as Churton generously shares with his readers his pansophical grasp of rejected knowledge. "
THE ARTIST WITHIN
SEE "THE BEAST" THROUGH NEW EYES
"As soon as I opened this book I knew I was in for an exceptional treat and I was right. This is Churton at his best. His book focuses, with some broader contextualization, on Crowley’s intermittent sojourns in Berlin between 1930 and 1932, which climaxed in a sensational exhibition of his paintings in October 1931. We follow Crowley as he strolls through the city, dressed in a knickerbocker suit, proclaiming his gospel of Thelema, exploring Berlin’s extensive demi-monde, playing chess, painting, writing, fornicating, spying for British intelligence and mingling with a remarkable constellation of artists, writers, philosophers and occultists. One of his friends at the time was Christopher Isherwood, who fictionalized his Berlin experience in the novel that later became the musical Cabaret. Churton, in his vivid, witty style, superbly captures the atmosphere of the city during that feverish, decadent but immensely vibrant and creative era, which ended abruptly with the catastrophe of 1933. Move over, Isherwood. From now on we should be talking about “Crowley’s Berlin”. "
Christopher McIntosh, PhD, author and Honorary University Fellow, Lecturer, History (Western Esotericism), University of Exeter
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"Ancient conspiracies, freemasonry, jihadists and the CIA are all mixed together in this fast-paced action thriller. What if the first weapon of mass destruction was created more than 1,000 years ago? - a secret passed down through generations. What if America discovered the secret and wanted the knowledge at any cost? A complex plot brimming with expert knowledge of everything from Freemasonry to genetics, Christian mythology to military tactics and well worth putting the time aside to get properly immersed."
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The book that began it all...
"Tobias Churton is the perfect candidate to explore Gnosticism with an insightful gaze and a solid grip on history. In 1987 he was involved in the acclaimed British Channel Four series The Gnostics and wrote the companion volume. Many of us interested in Gnosticism were first exposed to the Gnostic tradition through these early works.
Churton breaks out of the Christian ghetto mentality and explores Gnosticism as a wider phenomenon meandering through history. His depth of coverage is impressive, from early Vedic and Zoroastrian traditions through Judaism, Christianity and medieval sects, to modern neo-Gnostics, including the infamous Aleister Crowley. He offers an excellent summary of various Gnostic streams, with lucid commentary and lots of quotes from primary sources.Churton shows his background in Freemasonic history with a superb exploration of the Gnostic elements in Hermeticism and Freemasonry. Churton sees Gnosticism as a playful exploration of the spiritual verities, a praxis (i.e. practical spirituality) based on a direct perception of the spiritual world (gnosis = to know), rather than as a purely speculative form and this is the key to understand his work."
Churton separates the wheat from the chaff and disposes of unnecessary speculations and fantasy. To get a good handle on what Gnosticism is really all about (and isn’t), a great place to start is with Gnostic Philosophy by Tobias Churton."
Robert Burns, NEW DAWN magazine
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"Offering up equal parts controversy and thrills, theological scholar Tobias Churton rips apart the mythology surrounding the family of Jesus to reveal a stunning truth. Using a broad range of sources such as the early Gospels and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Churton lays out his case that St. James the Just was in fact Jesus’s brother. Not just a dry reading of the Biblical texts, this journey stretches across continents and reads like a pure thriller as it challenges many assertions made by the Catholic Church."
Susan M. Anderson County Main Library, USA:
"I didn’t have to be a scholar to follow Churton’s easy-to-read narrative. He cites apocryphal, historical, and biblical sources and examines the recent fictionalized views of Jesus’s family made so popular recently in books and movies. He says he hopes that the reader, believer or non-believer, will not feel threatened, but will take his findings as a stimulus to further thought and study. My thoughts were really stimulated.
Churton believes that the split of Judaic monotheism into three distinct religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, could not have happened if Jesus’s family had not been rejected and ultimately driven away. Also, if Paul had submitted to James, the first bishop of Jerusalem, and not pursued a doctrine at odds with him, giving ammunition to the anti-Jewish direction of the faith after the Jewish Revolt, today’s religious conflicts in both the East and West would not have been carried forward to continue to tear apart regions and families in the 21st century."
"In The Mysteries of John the Baptist, Tobias Churton has produced a remarkably fresh analysis of the ‘herald of the Messiah.’ The great value of this book is that Churton provides not only a careful overview of the role of John, as handed down in Christian tradition, but gives us a unique and erudite reanalysis of the role of the Baptist using the lenses of Gnosticism, Freemasonry, and other esoteric traditions that have elevated John to a position equal to or superior to Jesus. This book is a truly invaluable addition to scholarly literature on John the Baptist."
The Rev. Jeffrey J. Bütz, S.T.M., instructor of religious studies at Penn State University and author of The Secret Legacy of Jesus
"Churton’s history and analysis of the Rosicrucian age is the finest yet to appear in print and is a major contribution to a comprehension of the subject: from his harbour all subsequent voyagers must set sail.
The book ends by focusing upon Elias Ashmole, who knew “the true Matter of the Philosopher’s Stone”, and moves through a detailed investigation of his milieu, illuminating his commitment to Hermetic philosophy and Freemasonry drawing together much recent work which revises our view of pre-Grand Lodge speculative Freemasonry. I urge readers not to hesitate: buy it, read it."
Michael Baigent, FREEMASONRY TODAY
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The publication of The Gospel of Judas in 2006 was a media sensation which generated terrific interest. Now, for the first time, the story of its hidden history and publication is told in full. Beginning with the discovery of the Gospel in Egypt 30 years ago, and examining its subsequent movements from one antiquities dealer to another we discover how this precious document eventually finds a home in a New York City safety deposit box, before finally being published to a huge public fanfare. Reading like a well-paced thriller, this fascinating work of scholarship looks at the ways in which Judas has been maligned and misrepresented across the centuries, and in doing so also helps shed new light on the origins of Christianity.
Hard cover, Lewis Masonic edition (UK)         Soft cover, Inner Traditions edition (US)
"If you have read any of Tobias Churton’s works before, like The Gnostics or Freemasonry – the Reality, you will know he has a habit of setting himself difficult topics to cover, and then making them accessible through good scholarship and a sharp lucid explanatory style. With Invisibles he remains true to form, providing a comprehensive overview of the history and development of Rosicrucianism, one of the most significant strands of the spiritual tapestry created through the development of Western society in recent centuries. As with his other books, Churton utilises his habit of digressing down fascinating avenues of information, only to bring them back in front of the reader to illustrate the points he was making from a completely different angle! He also provides the information in a manner which allows the reader to form their own conclusions, a rare and useful quality in a work such as this.
Churton has produced a book which should be read over a period of time, as every chapter is full of ideas which need time to be fully explored and take seed like a strong tree. Like a fine wine, it has the benefit of maturity, and is best enjoyed through sips and not gulps! The European essence of Rosicrucianism is explored through its luminaries, of whom there are many. For me perhaps the best quality of this significant tome is that it manages to bring out the spiritual essence which pervades the history of Rosicrucianism, a major feat for which Churton is to be congratulated. This book is an excellent and worthy study which deserves to be read by anyone with the slightest interest in spirituality, history or indeed the road of the Philosopher’s Stone to personal transformation."
David Rankine, THE ESOTERIC BOOK REVIEW
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"The Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) was pleased to receive an approach from the Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) to explore the role and relevance of Freemasonry in society today and in the future.
In our preliminary research we consulted some modern texts on Freemasonry as well as online resources to help us identify the central themes of the research. One thing that immediately became apparent was that the notion of Freemasonry as a ‘secret society’ was clearly inappropriate. In Tobias Churton’s Freemasonry: The Reality, we found more or less all one needed to know about the central tenets of the movement and the rituals associated with it. We were also struck by his conclusion that: “Freemasonry cannot forever be associated with the secret society syndrome. It is not a secret society, though when persecuted it has been sensible to be discreet. But a healthy society will promote greater openness and understanding for all. It is not good for Freemasonry to hide itself; it has no more trade secrets to defend.”
Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC)
"Brethren, all Masonic students and scholars will benefit from reading this book because the author writes in response to current Masonic trends, challenges, research/findings, and ideas of today. For example, in Chapter Nine: The Scottish Evidence, the author comments in response to David Stevenson’s The Origins of Freemasonry-Scotland’s Century 1590-1710, by writing; “I should think we shall arrive at a better 'result' if we keep our terms to the study of ‘Freemasonry’, not ‘Scottish Freemasonry’, or ‘English Freemasonry’, for that matter. We can speak of ‘stonemasonry in Scotland’ and ‘Freemasonry in England’ or Freemasonry in other countries, towns, cities.” Further, Tobias Churton writes: “One thing at least is clear to all serious scholars of the craft. ‘Freemasonry’ does not have a single point of origin - and certainly not a single national origin.” Brethren, this book is a good historical study and reference tool on our beloved Craft. Highly recommended."
Noble Sir (Amazon Reviewer)
Revised soft cover edition 2012
"In Tobias Churton, Crowley has at last found a worthy biographer. The reader will put down this book with an entirely new perspective on Aleister Crowley."
Dr Christopher McIntosh, author of The Rosicrucians
"Churton writes with a hubristic verve."
Phil Baker, Times Literary Supplement
"From the outset, Churton does a first rate job of guiding the reader in and out of ‘the legend’ into a rewarding appreciation of this extraordinary individual. The updated research revealed is remarkable but Churton’s greatest strength is in giving context and translating the ideas, mindset and zeitgeist of a man who precisely tested the limits of his own radically changing times. In addition to conveying the extremes and paradoxes of his subject's thoughts and practices, the author surrounds his own arguments with an objectifying showcase of insights from contemporaries and inheritors of his legacy. An absolutely rewarding work, highly recommended."
JL Epstein (Amazon Reviewer)
"What an amazing book! Tobias Churton has certainly excelled here with a balanced and non-judgmental book. His research is second to none and his style is highly engaging. This must be his best book, I could hardly put it down much to the consternation of those about me. Crowley is obviously one of the great spiritual lights of the age and we would all do well from finding the true man. Elatedly yours
"Reads like an adventure novel. Ashmole was one of the leading intellectual and spiritual lights of the time, an accomplished alchemist, and close friend of the most brilliant men in England. Churton has given us a compelling picture of Ashmole’s life, the city in which he lived, and the guild structure of the time."
Brent Morris, Editor: SCOTTISH RITE JOURNAL OF FREEMASONRY, Southern Jurisdiction, USA
The book is written from a deep understanding of the Hermetic, alchemical, masonic and Rosicrucian traditions that are so important for a full understanding of Ashmole, who emerges as a seminal figure in many different areas. His alchemical magnum opus, the Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, “would become Isaac Newton’s most heavily consulted alchemical text when he came to search for the single divine principle through a thorough working of alchemical experiments”. Churton also throws much light on Ashmole’s important role in the history of Freemasonry – he was one of the earliest recorded initiates into a lodge in a non-operative capacity (at Warrington, Lancashire in 1646). Then of course there is the achievement for which he is probably best known, namely his creation of the Ashmolean Museum, which was partly inspired, as Churton argues, by the notion of a repository of universal knowledge as described in the Rosicrucian writings and in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis. As the inscription on Ashmole’s tomb in St. Mary’s church, Lambeth, says “so long as the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford endures he will never die”. With these words Tobias Churton concludes this valuable and thought-provoking study of Ashmole’s life."
Dr Christopher McIntosh from esoterica website run by Arthur Versluis
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Selected poems published by The Lichfield Press in 1996 in a now very rare limited edition. ORIGINAL REVIEW by artist VANILLA BEER:
Novel MIRAVAL - A Quest (1989) published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Including essays by William Breeze, Robert Buratti, Marco Pasi, Giuseppe Di Liberti, Stephen J.King, Tobias Churton (Making an Exhibition of Himself: Aleister Crowley in Berlin 1930-32’ Catalogue of Robert Buratti’s trans-Australian Exhibition 2012-13
Edited by Henrik Bogdan. Published by Oxford University Press, 2012. Contributors include Henrik Bogdan, Martin P. Starr, Wouter Hanegraaff, Alex Owen, Marco Pasi, Richard Kaczynski, Gordan Djurdjevic, TOBIAS CHURTON (Aleister Crowley and the Yezidis), Matthew D. Rogers, R. A. Gilbert, Massimo Introvigne, Ronald Hutton, Keith Richmond, Hugh Urban and Asbjørn Dyrendal.