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#57898 - 08/01/11 10:51 PM The Magus by John Fowles

Dr Aquino has posted a great review of this book in another thread and I thought I would provide a link to it.

I also wanted to pass on some of my own thoughts, as I just finished reading the book over the weekend. This book is a bit like an onion and needs to be read a number of times to get a truly mature appreciation of it. Hopefully some interesting points can be made on the basis of a first reading though.

The Magus, for me, is a dark and frightening book, at times; but it is also a book of great beauty, inspiration, colour and artistry. It is one of the most complex books I have read and I think it is one of the best examples of Satanic literature I have seen.

I have always had a tendency to read very deeply and to visualise and feel real empathy for characters and the way they react to the situations they find themselves in. This book filled me with frustration, anger and even hatred at times, but it also made me marvel and wonder and made me desire. Fowles is a master storyteller.

I was physically and mentally attracted to the all of the main female characters in this book, particularly Alison and Julie/Lily. I liked Nicholas, even though he annoyed me at times, and the magician Conchis, frightened and inspired me many times.

I have watched the movie as well, which came out in the late 1960’s and starred Michael Caine as Nicholas, Anthony Quinn as Conchis, and Candice Bergen as Julie/Lily. The movie didn’t impress me as much as the book, but it is still valuable to watch as it helps one to clearly picture the landscape and the places and the characters, as these actors are so perfectly cast, as Dr. Aquino suggests, in his comments from the T/S reading list.

There are a couple of ways I want to look at this book: there are no doubt aspects I am missing, but these two appeal to me at this time.

The Mind Maze

I don’t know how Nicholas Urfe can maintain his sanity at times; I don’t know how he can continue to blindly grope his way “forward” through this maze the magician has created for him.

The physical parameters of this maze are exquisitely beautiful - the maze is set, for the most part, on a breathtaking Greek island and features beautiful performers providing convincing performances, with moments of strange play acting and wonderful and authentic costumes. But it is, however, the mental parameters which are the most interesting.

Create a story which is to be acted out; provide a collection of people and objects in a space; place them in position around the subject of the experiment; give them specific roles to act, and provide them with carefully thought out biographies. Start the action. The subject of the experiment more or less regards reality in the pre – determined way he or she is supposed to regard it, as per the story and the performance of the actors, and the way the other available elements are used to substantiate the story.

Change the story and restart the action: the collection of people and objects around the subject of the experiment changes; that is their meaning for the subject of the experiment changes, hence reality for the subject of the experiment changes as a result.

Change the story again and again and as a result re-determine reality again and again for the subject of the experiment again and again.

Superimpose one reality on top of another, and then on top of another, until the subject of the experiment begins to lose touch with the real itself, with all genuine parameters. The subject is now in a maze where illusion and reality are so mixed, so blurred, so manipulated that the subject can no longer think and see clearly.

This is why Maurice Conchis frightens me. He is skilled enough to be able to do this to Nicholas Urfe and he has the resources and the willingness to do this. I have rarely encountered a literary character who could so convincingly determine how reality is to be viewed, or so able to mediate another’s reality for them.

Lily/Julie and Rose/June are consummate actors and are complicit in Conchis’s design while seemingly trying to refute it, by projecting reality via an “us versus him” type strategy. Nicholas receives one version of reality from Conchis and another from the two girls and then they all change again and yet another version is imposed.

In the end Nicholas is so mentally unstructured and so close to lapsing into a form of insanity that he must desperately hold onto the “reality” of Alison’s death as a sort of anchor, without realising, that Alison isn’t dead at all.


I am having trouble choosing the right words to describe this. I may be saying something very different to what Dr. Aquino has said in his post. I didn’t want to just swipe your words either Dr.

I sometimes feel that my Satanism is rather coarse and metallic or rigid in nature. It seems to lack a feeling for artistry, for the fleeting, and a feeling for the natural or utterly human.

It doesn't seem to be real sorcery at times.

There is a beauty and a mystery in the actions of Conchis and for want of a better word his coven of individuals. They have acquired and demonstrate a real maturity which is light years away from those who conform to stifling or life denying conventions.

Somehow there is an innocence or a freshness in the way what lays exposed and in the way reality is meant, is intended, is filled.

It seems to be the case that, like Urfe, one cannot be initiated without being dragged through a hell/maze, where the reality which one inhabits is shown to be just one “reality” which I can be more or less be the author of, and can be more or less responsible for.

(The story of how Conscious overcame or revealed Earth.)

This passage: from looking out onto the world and on self, from behind the walls of some fort; towards an appreciation of the utter innocent emptiness or quaint meaninglessness of the objective universe with its mechanics; and the utter artistry of my authorship or my wondrous attempts at the GODGAME is a rather frightening one, but an authentic and a momentarily terrifying/haunting one.

“What I lacked, though like Nicholas Urfe I didn’t even remotely suspect it at the time, was initiation: exposure to and awareness of magical existence, that is to become aware of all phenomena external to the self as Wonderful Things to be understood, interrelated, and creatively manipulated.” Dr. Aquino

Sorry Dr. I couldn’t help myself – that quote is special.

Thanks kindly Dr. once again for introducing me to yet another important book. This book is definitely playing on my mind, making me feel in ways I didn’t expect. The Temple’s reading list is becoming more and more important.

I am now intending to re-read the King in Yellow as there is surely a key hidden away in that work somewhere. At the last I think there is, but I cannot yet see it.

#57923 - 08/03/11 04:05 AM Re: The Magus by John Fowles [Re: ]

Something rather unexpected has happened - I feel as though I have stepped into a much larger world, a rather brilliant type of world.

That probably sounds like some bullshit cliché, but I couldn’t think of any other set of words which would adequately convey my thoughts about this.

I have suddenly found that my way of thinking, my way of seeing is or has been rather binding, rather constraining.

I have decided to take a few months away from the 600C to privately explore this new and brilliant space, and to determine whether the frame of reference, I have previously used to understand my self and the world is pliable enough to capture everything I am now seeing and feeling.

When I joined this place I was determined to work my ass off for my membership here, to really put myself to the hazard as far as my thinking went. I feel I have done this to some extent.

To Dr. Aquino, I hope you see this. I want to thank you very much for the input you have given me, and of course the other members here, who have influenced me, particularly Jake.

I don’t care if this is regarded as ass kissing or whatever by others – you and Anton LaVey are the two greatest magicians of the post Second World War period.

My thinking, as it now must change, will be guided by myself, of course, but also will continue to be guided by you and Dr. LaVey as far as it is possible, as I feel my course lies between your influence.

Anyway, my very best wishes to everybody here. I hope to return in a few months, very much wiser.

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