Initiation, Individuality, and the Alchemy of Danger

One of the most interesting entries found within the pages of Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai is as follows: The Way of the Samurai is found in death. When it comes to either / or, there is only the quick choice of death. It is not particularly difficult. Be determined and advance. To say that dying […]

Tantra, Martial Arts, and The Metaphysics of Pain

“Pain is one of the keys to unlock man’s innermost being as well as the world,” wrote Ernst Junger. “Whenever one approaches the points where man proves himself to be equal or superior to pain, one gains access to the sources of his power and the secret hidden behind his dominion. Tell me your relation […]

Sorcerers And Warriors: The Initiatic Journey In Chinese Mythology

masako-natsume

Chinese mythology, folk tales and fables are mostly unknown to the West. However this indigenous folklore combines not only unique philosophical and artistic traditions, but informs much modern Chinese popular art, from movies to video games. Here we present two tales, well-known throughout the greater Orient, both having multiple variants yet all holding to a […]

Babalon In The Flesh: Jack Parsons, Marjorie Cameron, And Thelema

I remember the day the book arrived because I had been walking across reddish, chalky sand at the foot of small, yet majestic hills. It was a stunningly clear, temperate and crystalline day in Las Vegas. Close by gleamed a military or scientific installation with its ghostly white circular buildings and battered No Trespassing signs. […]

Anarchists Of Style: A Review Of Maureen Callahan’s Champagne Supernovas

Goth style by Alexander McQueen

“I hate fashion,” Yohji Yamamoto — famous for his minimalist black clothing — has said. Maureen Callahan’s latest book, Champagne Supernovas, focuses, on two other designers — Alexander McQueen and Marc Jacobs — and model Kate Moss, but the aggressive sentiment neatly sums up an attitude that runs, in a certain way, through the book […]

The Body As Spirit: Yukio Mishima, Author, Intellectual, And Warrior

Yukio Mishima, bodybuilder and author

“It is… possible for people to use the body as a metaphor for ideas,” Japanese author Yukio Mishima says in Sun and Steel. Mishima had been a weak and sickly child, doted on by his over-protective grandmother. He wasn’t allowed to play with other boys, and grew up alienated from male culture (as well as […]

We Are All Prudes Now: Why Outrage Has Replaced Outrageousness

Woman's face, Yaffa Cafe

A couple of weeks ago, New York’s Yaffa Cafe closed down after three decades. Grungy and camp, with Buddha statues, Elvis prints, damask wallpaper and leopard skin print tables, the East Village haunt was an over-the-top home to equally flamboyant misfits (wherever they’ve gone). When I first went there, in the late nineties, it was one […]