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Something for Jimmy Page's bookshelf

December 22, 2009 |  1:00 pm

Mick Wall, in "When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin," reviewed in today’s paper, delves into the occult interests of guitarist Jimmy Page; in particular, Page’s devotion to the works of Aleister Crowley. The first book that Wall says drew the guitarist’s attention was Crowley’s 1929 "Magick in Theory and Practice," and Wall gives a quick gloss about the spelling of "magick" in the title:

The "k" was added to the word "magic" by Crowley not only, as popularly understood, to distinguish what he was talking about from the simple tricks employed by conjurers, but for occult purposes too. ...

That extra "k" is something Crowley’s book has in common with "Thee Psychick Bible" by musician/writer/artist Genesis Breyer P-orridge. An updated, expanded, corrected edition of the book has been published by former L.A.-based indie Feral House, now operating out of Washington state.

The new edition, the artist says, is the summation of more than 30 years of what he calls "creative explorations," taking the shape of essays on "intuitive magick," "thee psychick barrier" and "love with horns." The book opens with a set of Crowleyan-sounding maxims, such as "explore daily your deepest desires, fantasies and motives, gradually focusing on what you would like to happen in a perfect world."

It seems like just the book for a collector such as Page, but he needs to hurry -- Feral House has produced a limited number (999 copies) signed by the author. On the other hand, judging from what Wall writes about the guitarist's habits as a collector, Page probably has one already.

There's one other lesson to be drawn here as well: This book is an encouraging sign that even now, in straitened circumstances, the people at a small press like Feral House can still produce, on a shoestring budget, a lovely, enduring edition of a book they believe in.

-- Nick Owchar

Photo: Jack White, Jimmy Page and the Edge in Davis Guggenheim's "It Might Get Loud." Credit: Eric Lee / Sony Pictures Classics