TALES OF MAGIC by Dave Lee

1: Writing on the Wall

In February 1977 I moved with my partner and young son into a flat on Kirkstall Lane in Leeds. At the back I found a spare room we didn’t pay rent for but no-one else had use of. It was empty, and someone had painted MAGICK on the wall. I’d been meditating for a few months, mainly for reducing stress levels, but I was getting increasingly interested in magic again, after abandoning it to study biophysics a few years before. I decided to use the room, cleaned it thoroughly and painted the walls white.

This was the beginning of a new phase of my life, a phase which became my second Chapel Perilous transition. The first had been at the end of my teenage years. From age 18 to 20 I’d randomly invoked miraculous events with acid. It was an exciting time but it had to end, and I settled down to father a child and get a degree in biophysics. The second one involved going from pretending to be a normal person to being a magician. I was beginning to uproot all the stakes that held my life in place.

In my second Autumn term as a researcher at Leeds University Biophysics Department, late 1977, the process deepened. Sitting down with a friend to our pie and peas one lunchtime I found a leaflet in the Student Union bar about an Occult Group. My revived interest in magic started to crystallize.

 TALES OF MAGIC 2: The Leeds University Occult Group

Having read that leaflet, I found myself at a meeting in a small Student Union room. It was described simply as an ‘Occult Group.’ I’d never been to anything of that description before. Back in the early 70s I’d seen acquaintances get involved with dodgy gurus and daffy orgs like the Aetherius Society that hung around the edges of acidhead scenes scooping up the space cadets, but not with anything called ‘occult’.

The people I remember from that meeting were John, Chris, Diane, Steve, Paul and Kirsty. It seems the group had been started by a charismatic psychology postgrad called Mike Daniels, who’d since moved on. Daniels was a big fan of someone who styled himself the Master Amado 777. The latter was a psychology lecturer in some South of England college who claimed he was the son and spiritual heir of Aleister Crowley. (No-one who has looked into this finds this to be at all likely. See for just one instance Dave Evans, https://www.amazon.co.uk/History-British-Magic-After-Crowley/dp/0955523702)

Amado’s duplicated-and-stapled books were passed around the group and I read a few of them. I was hard put to find any ideas for doing magic – most of the writing was autobiographical rambles about his claim to the Crowley lineage. That was one of the problems – there was nothing that was any use to my magical path. The other problem was Amado’s increasingly obvious sleazy guru game…

(to be continued …)

Dave Lee is a founding figure of chaos magic and his website is Chaotopia.  He is also the author of several fiction and non-fiction books including Chaotopia! and Bright From The Well.

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