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Rosaleen Nortons Contribution to the Western Esoteric Tradition

Nevill Drury
Abstract and Introduction of Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, School of Humanities and
Social Science, University of Newcastle, NS, Australia! submitted "arch #$$%
Abstract
&his thesis e'plores the contribution of the Australian witch and trance artist
(osaleen Norton )*+*,-*+,+. to the #$
th
century estern esoteric tradition/ Norton0s
artistic career began in the *+1$s, with publication of some of her earliest occult
drawings, and reached a significant milestone in *+2# when the controversial volume
The Art of Rosaleen Norton 3 co-authored with her lover, the poet 4avin 4reenlees 3
was released in Sydney, immediately attracting a charge of obscenity/ Norton
rapidly ac5uired a reputation as the wic6ed 7itch of 8ings 9ross0, was vilified by
:ournalists during the *+2$s and *+;$s, and was branded by many as evil and
demonic/ Norton0s witchcraft coven was dedicated to the practice of heathen worship
and ceremonial se' magic and attracted a small number of dedicated inner-circle
followers, most notably the renowned musical conductor Sir <ugene 4oossens
)*%+=-*+;#., whose personal and professional career would be irrevocably damaged
as a result of his contact with Norton0s magical group/
ithin the social conte't of post-orld ar &wo Australia Norton was
un5uestionably an unconventional figure at a time when the local population was
appro'imately %$ per cent 9hristian/ Norton claimed to be an initiated follower of
the 4reat 4od Pan and also revered other ancient figures, most notably Hecate, >ilith
and >ucifer/ Norton claimed to encounter these mythic beings as e'perientially real
on the 7inner planes0 which she accessed while in a state of self-induced trance/
"any of her most significant artwor6s were based on these magical encounters/
Norton is presented in this thesis as a magical practitioner and artist whose creative
wor6 and thought has made a substantial contribution to the #$
th
century estern
esoteric tradition 3 and, in particular, to the magic of the so-called 7left-hand path0,
which is a significant part of this modern occult tradition/ Norton0s artwor6s are also
compared to those of the notable ?ritish trance artist and occultist Austin @sman
Spare )*%%;-*+2;., who is now widely regarded as a ma:or figure in the #$
th
century
magical revival/
Introduction
&he purpose of this thesis is to present a detailed overview of (osaleen Norton0s
magical practices and to evaluate her contribution to the estern esoteric tradition/
&he selection of this topic immediately raises two specific issuesA is the controversial
and bohemian 7itch of 8ings 9ross0, (osaleen Norton, an appropriate sub:ect for
academic study and can she be positioned within a social, intellectual or historic
conte't which ma6es such a study worthwhileB
Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies, vol 5
Nevill Drury Rosaleen Norton
I will argue in this thesis that (osaleen Norton )*+*,-*+,+. is a significant figure
within the #$
th
century estern esoteric tradition considered as a whole, and that
within the conte't of #$
th
century Australian esoteric practice she is one of its most
notable, albeit controversial, figures/ After providing an overview of 6ey aspects of
the estern esoteric tradition, as it is generally understood, I will also present
evidence that the practice of estern magic became fragmented and highly polarised
in the early #$
th
century, substantially as a result of the widespread influence of the
well 6nown ?ritish ceremonial magician Aleister 9rowley )*%,2-*+1,., and that
Norton can be considered a practitioner of the so-called 7>eft-Hand Path0, a branch
of estern magic associated mainly with 9rowley and his followers/ &he influence
of 9rowley on the >eft-Hand Path in modern estern magic is described in detail in
9hapter &hree/
ith regard to the academic study of modern magical practices )as distinct from the
anthropological study of magic in pre-literate societies, which is well established as a
discipline., it is significant that an increasing number of highly regarded scholars are
now turning their attention to the study of modern magical beliefs as e'pressions of
7contemporary alternative spirituality0 )or, in some cases, New Age spirituality. as
well as e'ploring the historical nature of esotericism in general/ (ecent academic
studies of modern magical practices include >uhrmann )*+%+., Hutton )*+++., @wen
)#$$1., 4reenwood )#$$2., ?ado-Cralic6 )#$$2. and Urban )#$$;./
*
outer
D/Hanegraaff, 9hair in estern <sotericism at the University of Amsterdam, believes
that the study of estern esotericism has been gaining ground in academic circles
and that 7it has become more and more apparentEthat the traditional neglect of
estern esotericism as a domain of historical in5uiry has led to serious gaps in our
6nowledge, with predictably negative effects upon the understanding of our own
cultural heritage/0
#
"ichael D/ ?ailey similarly observes in his recently published
:ournal article, 7&he "eanings of "agic0 )#$$;. that scholars in many fields now
recogniFe magic as an important topic since its 7rites, rituals, taboos, and attendant
beliefsEmight be said to comprise, or at least describe, a system for comprehending
the entire world/0
=
&he <uropean Society for the Study of estern <sotericism was
established in #$$2 7to advance the academic study of the various manifestations of
estern <sotericism from late anti5uity to the present and to secure the future
development of the field0
1
and several scholarly :ournals have been established to
cater to the increasing academic interest in this sub:ect area, including Magic, Ritual
and Witchcraft )University of Pennsylvania Press., Esoterica: Journal of Esoteric
Studies )"ichigan State University., Nova Religio )University of 9alifornia Press.,
Journal for the Acadeic Stud! of Magic )University of ?ristol, U8., Aries
)<uropean Society for the Study of estern <sotericism. and The "oegranate
)<5uino' Publishing, U8./ 9learly the diverse range of modern magical practices,
including such controversial topics as se' magic and &antra, are no longer
considered taboo sub:ects unworthy of academic study/ As Hugh Urban has noted in
the preface of his recently published Magia Se#ualis )#$$;. such study 7opens some
critical insights into the shifting attitudes towards se'uality, gender, religious
authority, and social liberation over the last two hundred years0/
2
Norton herself
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Rosaleen Norton Nevill Drury
receives significant coverage in >ynne Hume0s academic study Witchcraft and
"aganis in Australia )*++,./
;
"eanwhile the nature of esotericism itself has been discussed in a recent scholarly
article by Arthur Gersluis, editor of Esoterica at "ichigan State University/ Gersluis
ac6nowledges the pioneering wor6 on estern esotericism underta6en by Antoine
Caivre at the Sorbonne, noting that Caivre identifies 9orrespondences and
Interdependence, >iving Nature, Imagination, &ransmutation, Pra'is of
9oncordance, and &ransmission as the si' defining characteristics of estern
esoteric systems/
,
However Gersluis notes that in his definitive boo6 Acc$s de
l%&sot&rise occidental )*++;. Caivre has omitted gnosis, or spiritual 6nowledge, as
a 6ey element in the estern esoteric tradition/ Gersluis defines gnosis as 7direct
spiritual insight either into hidden aspects of the cosmos, or into transcendence0 and
maintains that without gnosis the concept of estern esotericism is impoverished
because it is central to various currents of thought found in the estern esoteric
tradition/
%
I agree with Gersluis on this crucial point and in 9hapters &wo and &hree
of this thesis will see6 to demonstrate not only that the 5uest for gnosis is a central
feature of modern estern magic but that both the left-hand and right-hand paths in
modern magic have specific 4nostic precursors/
Who was Rosaleen Norton?
During the *+2$s Norton was well 6nown in Sydney as 7the itch of 8ings 9ross0
and was portrayed in the popular media as a colourful and 7wic6ed0 bohemian figure
from Sydney0s red-light district/ Her provocative 7pagan0 art, e'hibited first at the
University of "elbourne >ibrary in *+1+ and later in the Apollyon and 8ashmir
coffee-shops in Sydney0s 8ings 9ross, plunged her into legal controversy, and her
*+2# publication The Art of Rosaleen Norton was, for a time, banned in Australia on
the basis that it contained allegedly obscene material/ Norton was involved in a
number of court hearings and was widely criticised in the media for engaging in
biFarre se'ual practices with her lover, the poet 4avin 4reenlees/ She was later
associated with the scandal that eventually engulfed the professional career of
renowned musical conductor and composer, Sir <ugene 4oossens )*%+=-*+;#., who
had arrived in Australia in *+1, and later became a member of Norton0s magical
coven in 8ings 9ross )see 9hapter @ne./
Norton was invariably depicted in the popular media as a pagan rebel and portrayed
in such ungracious terms as 7the notorious, Pan-worshipping itch of 8ings 9rossE
a person 6nown to the police through two prosecutions for obscenity0/
+
"ost of her
mainstream print media coverage was generated by popular gossip-driven magaFines
li6e The Australasian "ost, "eople, Truth and S'uire that inclined towards
sensationalist articles, and tabloid newspapers li6e The (ail! Telegraph, The (ail!
Mirror and Sun/
*$
?ut all of this salacious media interest in Norton has to be seen in
an historical conte't/ During the immediate post-orld ar &wo period Australia
was both socially and politically conservative, ruled by the highly traditional Sir
Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies, vol 5
Nevill Drury Rosaleen Norton
(obert "enFies, an 7ultraconservative prime minister, who reigned supreme in the
*+2$s with his anti-communist manifesto and harsh stance on censorship0/
**
Norton
was portrayed in the media as a Devil-worshipping harpy, ever eager to flaunt
accepted social conventions at a time when the appropriate place for a woman was
perceived to be within the home, focusing on domestic concerns and attending to the
needs of husband and children/ As "arguerite Dohnson has observed, 7(osaleen was
presented as society0s scapegoat, the witch on the outs6irts of the community, a
demon re5uired to reinforce family values and 9hristian morality/0
*#
During the
*+;$s, with its increasing inta6e of migrants from many <uropean and Asian
countries, Australia began a process of becoming a multi-cultural, multi-faith society
associated in turn with a range of new religions/
*=
However, from the *%;$s up until
the period immediately after orld ar &wo, Australia0s religious profile remained
relatively stable/ In *+1, Anglicans, Presbyterians and "ethodists collectively
comprised over ;$ per cent of the population and (oman 9atholics made up an
additional #$/, per cent,
*1
which meant that in the immediate post-war environment
Australia was more than %$ per cent 9hristian/
?ecause witchcraft has long remained lin6ed to medieval and early modern estern
9hristian demonology
*2
it is hardly surprising that in most media depictions of
Norton during the *+2$s and *+;$s she was portrayed as a renegade from
mainstream society, as an anti-9hristian Devil worshipper, and as a practitioner of
7blac6 magic0/ It seems to me that this perception of her was substantially distorted
and uninformed/ Nevertheless, the distinctions I ma6e in this thesis could be
considered finely delineated, since I believe that there are undoubtedly shades of
grey between the familiar polar opposites of 7blac60 and 7white0 magic )see 9hapters
&hree and Seven./ Norton0s chthonic magical orientation is clearly evident, both in
her writings and in her artistic imagery, and, as I see6 to demonstrate in subse5uent
chapters, Norton was both a pantheist and a practising witch who paid homage to a
range of ancient pagan deities associated with the primal forces of Nature and the
Underworld/ &he latter included Pan and Hecate, to whom she dedicated her ritual
altars/ Norton was also involved in se' magic, pursuing forms of ritual practice
derived principally from the occult teachings of the ?ritish ceremonial magician
Aleister 9rowley, referred to earlier/ Cor reasons that I describe in detail, I do not
believe that Norton was a practising Satanist in the literal sense of the word/
However it is clear that her inclination was toward the 7night0 side of magic and
much of her occult imagery as a visionary artist is associated with the so-called
)liphoth, or dar6, negative energies of the 8abbalistic &ree of >ife 3 a central motif
in the study and practice of modern magic/ A substantial section of this thesis is
spent in describing Norton0s magical beliefs, cosmology and ritual practices because
this is vital to any understanding of Norton herself/ &he connections between
Norton0s visionary art and her magical perspectives are also described in detail/
hat was less well-6nown to readers of the popular tabloids published in Sydney
during the *+2$s was that Norton was a natural trance artist/ She began
e'perimenting with self-hypnosis in *+1$, at the age of #=, and as a result of her
Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies, vol 5
Rosaleen Norton Nevill Drury
visionary e'plorations of trance states began to portray a wide range of supernatural
beings in her paintings and drawings/ Norton believed that the 4reat 4od Pan, the
principal deity in her personal magical pantheon, was not simply a figure from
ancient 4ree6 mythology but a vibrant and living archetypal 7presence0 in the world/
?y paying ritual homage to Pan, Norton believed that she was responding to the
<arth as a sacred, living organism/ &o this e'tent she can be considered a significant
precursor of those members of the environmental and 4oddess spirituality
movements who, since the late *+,$s, have affirmed the need to 7resacraliFe0 the
planet/ Any evaluation of Norton must necessarily consider these aspects of her
magical philosophy as well/
"y thesis begins with a concise overview of Norton0s life/ 9hapter @ne is essentially
a condensed historical biography! her magical ideas and visionary art practices are
described more specifically in later chapters/
In 9hapter &wo, I describe the principal strands of the estern esoteric tradition
which, by common consensus, include the Dewish 8abbalah, the Hermetica,
Alchemy, the &arot, (osicrucianism and Creemasonry/
*;
All of these esoteric strands
in turn became central elements in the magical philosophy and ritual practices of the
Hermetic @rder of the 4olden Dawn which more than any other comparable
organisation led to the resurgence of interest in estern magic in the #$
th
century/
&he @rder of the 4olden Dawn was established in <ngland in *%%% and began to
fragment into splinter magical groups soon after *+$$/ &he @rder0s ritual symbolism
and grade structure, which derived from Creemasonry and (osicrucianism, employed
the symbol of the 8abbalistic &ree of >ife as a central motif and operative
framewor6/ &he principal activities of the 4olden Dawn focused on the practice of
ceremonial and visionary magic/ Its membership included such figures as the
renowned poet /?/Heats )*%;2-*+=+., occult historian Arthur <dward aite
)*%2,-*+1#., the controversial magician Aleister 9rowley, novelist Dion Cortune
)*%+$-*+1;., >ondon coroner ynne estcott )*%1%-*+#2., actress Clorence Carr
)*%;$-*+*,., and S/>/ "ac4regor "athers )*%21-*+*%., a translator of 8abbalistic
te'ts and medieval magical grimoires/ In this thesis I present the 4olden Dawn as a
magical organisation drawing on the 4nostic and Hermetic traditions and also as a
group aligned with the (ight-Hand Path in magic, as distinct from the >eft-Hand
Path described in 9hapter &hree/
Norton established her witchcraft coven in Sydney0s 8ings 9ross district in the early
*+2$s and during this period made brief contact with 4erald 4ardner )*%%1-*+;1.,
one of the principal figures involved in the rise of modern pagan witchcraft in
?ritain/ &o place these events in conte't I have described the rise of modern
witchcraft, or 7icca0 as it is generally 6nown, since there is evidence that Norton
sought to emulate 4ardner0s leadership role in Australia/ icca is now regarded as
an 7invented tradition0 3 that is to say, a 7tradition0 presented as belonging to an
ancient lineage but whose actual origins are much more recent/ &he birth of modern
witchcraft can be dated specifically to September *+=+ and the New Corest region of
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Nevill Drury Rosaleen Norton
Hampshire, but icca nevertheless drew on many archaic elements which helped
establish an impression of an ancient 9eltic lineage )see 9hapter &wo./ ?ritish
witchcraft was e'ported to the United States in the mid-*+;$s and, following the
advent of the American counterculture and the influence of feminism, subse5uently
gave rise in the late *+,$s to a form of feminist witchcraft 6nown as 4oddess
spirituality, which has since attracted an international following/ &his development is
also described in 9hapter &wo/
9hapter &hree focuses on the esoteric doctrines and practices of the so-called 7>eft-
Hand Path0 which includes the ritual se' 7magic60 IAleister 9rowley0s uni5ue
spellingJ
*,
practised by members of the @rdo &empli @rientis )@/&/@/., an
international organisation that 9rowley :oined in *+*$ and headed from *+## until
his death in *+1,,
*%
as well as the magical philosophy and practices associated with
the rise of modern Satanism )with specific reference to the American 9hurch of
Satan and the &emple of Set./ &he term 7>eft-Hand Path0 can be used )and is so used,
by many of the practitioners themselves. to refer collectively to occult practitioners
who focus on individualism, antinomianism and the chthonic or 7dar60 side of magic/
&his 7nightside0 tradition
*+
in modern estern magic is distinguished from the
7(ight-Hand Path0 which is aligned with the more mystically oriented Hermetic
tradition that found e'pression in the 4olden Dawn and also in those derivative
magical groups influenced principally by Dion Cortune )such as the Craternity of the
Inner >ight and the still e'tant Servants of the >ight., that emphasiFe spiritual
rebirth, transcendence, and ultimately mystical union with the 4odhead/
&he relevance of the >eft-Hand Path magical material presented in 9hapter &hree is
that Norton was strongly influenced by 9rowley and practised a comparable form of
se' magic6 both with the poet 4avin 4reenlees and also with the well 6nown
musical conductor and composer <ugene 4oossens )later Sir <ugene./
#$
4oossens
was already interested in 9rowley0s approach to magic6 prior to coming to Australia,
having apparently learned of this type of occult ritual practice from his friend and
fellow musical composer Philip Heseltine )*%+1-*+=$./ Heseltine was a member of
9rowley0s @rdo &empli @rientis
#*
and had dabbled with various forms of demonic
magic found in medieval grimoires/ I also describe the principal characteristics of
modern Satanism in 9hapter &hree since Norton was fre5uently accused of being a
Devil-worshipper and it is important to consider whether such charges could possibly
have any substance/
@ne of the principal findings presented in this thesis is that Norton is best understood
as a magician aligned with the >eft-Hand Path, rather than with witchcraft alone
)modern witchcraft has distinctly chthonic elements but also some characteristics
more specifically associated with the (ight-Hand Path in magic 3 see 9hapter
Seven./ Norton0s worship of Pan and Hecate, her se' magic practices )associated
with 9rowley., and her trance-art and visionary magic )which parallel the chthonic
visionary art and trance techni5ues of Austin @sman Spare 3 see below. provide
evidence of this esoteric alignment/
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Rosaleen Norton Nevill Drury
Norton0s magical cosmology, ritual practices, and visionary art are the sub:ects of
9hapters Cour, Cive and Si' and collectively present the core material that is central
to this thesis/ Also included in 9hapter Si' is an overview of the visionary art and
trance-magic of Austin @sman Spare )*%%;-*+2;., whose artistic and magical
approach closely parallels Norton0s in several 6ey areas and therefore provides the
basis for some useful and intriguing comparisons/ Spare is now regarded as one of
the ma:or figures in the #$
th
century magical revival, alongside 9rowley and Dion
Cortune, and I believe that it is within the conte't of this post-4olden Dawn magical
revival that Norton0s contribution to the estern esoteric tradition should be
considered/ Such a summation necessarily includes a discussion of both the
similarities and also a number of crucial differences between her magical approach
and that of Austin Spare/ In my view both Spare and Norton should be considered as
significant 7visionary0 magicians aligned with the magic of the >eft-Hand Path/
9hapter Seven begins by describing various academic approaches to the practice of
magic/ I initially intended this chapter to be part of the Introduction but because it
e'plores perspectives both from academia and also modern occultists themselves, it
seemed more appropriate to locate this material towards the end of my thesis,
following on from the presentation of the ma:or data on Norton0s art and magic, and
an e'ploration of her position within the estern esoteric tradition itself/ 9hapter
Seven draws attention to the fact that because most anthropological perspectives on
this sub:ect are based on the study of pre-literate societies around the world, most of
these academic models have only very limited application in describing
contemporary estern magic as practised in modern, largely urban conte'ts/
Cortunately, many modern occult practitioners are themselves highly literate, and
they have described their various philosophies and practices in detail, both in boo6s
and more recently on the Internet/ Norton was one of these highly literate
practitioners/ In addition to presenting her magical philosophy in the introduction to
The Art of Rosaleen Norton, Norton also described her magical approach in a series
of informative autobiographical magaFine articles published in the *+2$s and I have
drawn e'tensively on this important primary material/ Such data ma6es possible a
systematic study of Norton0s beliefs and ritual practices from what is 6nown in the
field of academic anthropology as an eic perspective 3 that is to say, a perspective
that draws substantially on the 7insider0 point of view )in this conte't, the beliefs and
viewpoints of Norton and her magical associates. rather than focusing primarily on
imposed 7e'ternal0 or 7outsider0 models of analysis )etic e'planations of magic./ In
9hapter Seven I e'tend this eic analysis by proposing a 7spectrum0 approach to the
study of #$
th
century estern magic which, in my view, allows us to consider not
only the familiar polarities of 7blac60 and 7white0 magic but also the various shades
of grey found somewhere in-between/ &hroughout this thesis I have made numerous
references to the beliefs, practices and stated viewpoints of a number of influential
modern occultists since their perspectives have been e'tremely valuable in locating
(osaleen Norton within the estern esoteric tradition as a whole/ "any of these
themes carry through to my concluding remar6s in 9hapter <ight, which considers
Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies, vol 5
Nevill Drury Rosaleen Norton
the contribution Norton has made to this tradition and positions her both as a modern
witch and also as a practitioner aligned with the magic of the >eft-Hand Path/
A note on sources
Shortly after Norton held her e'hibition at the University of "elbourne >ibrary in
*+1+, she was interviewed at length by >/D/ "urphy, a psychologist from that
University/ A lengthy transcript of this interview has survived, and because Norton
discusses her magical philosophy, trance magic methods and attitudes to se'uality, it
is of considerable interest as a primary source document/ In *+2* Norton also
compiled a range of e'tensive notes on the symbolism of the occult artwor6s
reproduced in The Art of Rosaleen Norton )published in Sydney in *+2#./ I have
drawn on this unpublished manuscript material, which was passed to me in the *+%$s
by Norton0s publisher, the late ally 4lover, and which remains in my possession/
4lover had first contacted me in *+%* following publication of a boo6 I co-authored
with 4regory &illett on occultism in Australia )*ther Teples, *ther +ods, *+%$.
and I subse5uently became involved in the re-publication of a facsimile edition of
The Art of Rosaleen Norton )published in Sydney in *+%#, three years after Norton0s
death./ &his publication was financed by 4lover and I contributed an introduction to
the new edition/ At the time, 4lover assembled numerous documents and wrote
personal notes about his reminiscences, all of which have been e'tremely useful as
bac6ground for this thesis/ &he publication of the facsimile-reprint edition of The Art
of Rosaleen Norton also led to an approach from "rs 9ecily ?oothman, Norton0s
elder sister, who suggested that I write a biography of (osaleen Norton/ &his
eventually resulted in the publication of "an%s (aughter: the Strange World of
Rosaleen Norton )Sydney *+%%./ "rs ?oothman provided me with pertinent family
details and other relevant material which, li6e 4lover0s reminiscences, provided 6ey
insights into Norton0s bac6ground/ "an%s (aughter was aimed at a general rather
than academic audience, was written in a :ournalistic style, and was around =2,$$$
words in length, appro'imately %$,$$$ words shorter than the present thesis/
Since the publication of "an%s (aughter, which remains the only biography of the
artist, a substantial body of new information has emerged which has effectively
demanded that Norton0s approach to magic and visionary art should be researched
and evaluated in much greater depth/ &his has been the underlying aim of this thesis,
which contains a substantial amount of previously unpublished material/ &he new
data includes transcripts from the *+1+ University of "elbourne transcripts not
previously available Isee Appendi' AJ, records of interviews provided by 6ey
members of the NS Police Department following the arrest of Sir <ugene
4oossens, and copies of letters sent by 4oossens to Norton which contain specific
magical content Isee Appendi' ?J/ None of these sources of information was
available to me at the time I wrote "an%s (aughter/ I have also been able to draw
e'tensively on an archive of *+2$s newspaper clippings compiled by ally 4lover0s
friend, Doc6 "c8enna/ Unfortunately, 4lover, "c8enna and ?oothman are now all
Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies, vol 5
Rosaleen Norton Nevill Drury
deceased/ I should also mention here that in "an%s (aughter I did not see6 to
position Norton as a magical practitioner of the >eft-Hand Path as I do here, and I
did not describe in depth Norton0s magical relationship with Sir <ugene 4oossens,
the nature of which has become much clearer to me since I began wor6 on the
detailed research re5uired for this thesis/ &he nature of 9rowley0s influence on
Norton0s magical practice, a factor greatly enhanced by her relationship with
4oossens 3 who in turn shared Norton0s interest in 9rowley and the +oetia 3 has
also become apparent to me only in more recent times/
It is pertinent to mention that I interviewed (osaleen Norton at her home in (oslyn
4ardens, 8ings 9ross, in *+,,, two years before her death/ Some of my notes from
that interview have been useful in the preparation of this thesis/ Also, I was fortunate
in December *+%1 to ta6e part in the filming of a +$-minute international television
documentary, The *ccult E#perience )9inetel Productions, Sydney, screened on
9hannel *$ in *+%2 and later distributed in the USA through Sony Home Gideo./ "y
role as the co-producer, researcher and interviewer for that documentary gave me
direct personal access to several 6ey figures in the icca and 4oddess spirituality
movements )some of whom have since died. and information ac5uired at that time
has proved invaluable by way of historical bac6ground as I researched Norton0s
involvement with witchcraft and trance-magic/
@n a personal note I would li6e to mention that if the University of Newcastle had
not been bold enough to offer a course on Neopagan studies, which remains
something of a rarity on Australian university campuses, I may never have
contemplated underta6ing this thesis in the first place/ I am very grateful for the
support of the University and for the gracious and generous assistance of my
supervisor, Dr "arguerite Dohnson/ I would also li6e to ac6nowledge the assistance
of (obert Ansell, Publishing "anager of Culgur Publishers, >ondon, who provided
valuable feedbac6 on the section of te't in 9hapter Si' which deals with the
visionary art and trance-magic of Austin @sman Spare/
K Nevill Drury
Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies, vol 5
Nevill Drury Rosaleen Norton
Notes
* *
Cour of these publications focus on modern and contemporary magic in ?ritain/ &ania
>uhrmann0s "ersuasions of the Witch%s ,raft )Harvard University Press, 9ambridge,
"assachusetts *+%+. e'plores contemporary icca and white magic in <ngland, (onald
Hutton0s The Triuph of the Moon )@'ford University Press, @'ford*+++. is considered the
definitive historical study of modern pagan witchcraft and e'plores the birth of icca in
<ngland and events leading up to it, Susan 4reenwood0s The Nature of Magic: An
Anthropolog! of ,onsciousness )?erg, @'ford #$$2. describes nature magic, witchcraft and
neo-shamanism in contemporary ?ritain, and Ale' @wen0s The "lace of Enchantent
)University of 9hicago Press, 9hicago #$$1. is a highly regarded scholarly overview of occult
practices in Gictorian and <dwardian <ngland/ Ni66i ?ado-Cralic60s ,oing to the Edge of
the ,ircle: A Wiccan -nitiation Ritual )@'ford University Press, New Hor6 #$$2. is of special
interest because the American-based author is both an academic and a high priestess within a
iccan coven, and Hugh Urban0s Magia Se#ualis )University of 9alifornia Press, ?er6eley,
9alifornia #$$;. loo6s li6ely to become the most authoritative academic source-wor6 on
se'ual magic in the est for many years to come/
#
/D/ Hanegraaff, 7Some (emar6s on the Study of estern <sotericism0, Theosophical
.istor!/ heaton, Illinois, Spring *+++/
=
"/D/ ?ailey, 7&he "eanings of "agic0, Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft, University of
Pennsylvania Press, Summer #$$;A */
1
See <uropean Society for the Study of estern <sotericism websiteA www/esswe/org/
2
H/ Urban, Magia Se#ualis: Se#, Magic and /i0eration in Modern Western Esotericis,
University of
9alifornia Press, ?er6eley, 9alifornia #$$;A '/
;
See >/ Hume, Witchcraft and "aganis in Australia, "elbourne University Press,
"elbourne *++,A =#-=1! *%+-*+*/
,
A/ Gersluis, 7hat is <sotericB "ethods in the Study of estern <sotericism0, Esoterica:
Journal of Esoteric Studies, IG )#$$#. #/ According to Caivre, the first four elements are
especially crucial to the study of esoteric thought/ 79orrespondences0 includes the symbolic
relationships between the visible and invisible cosmos! the concept of 7>iving Nature0 arises in
all forms of agia which regard Nature as being essentially alive 3 traversed by light or
7hidden fire0! 7Imagination and "ediations0 includes such intermediaries as rituals, symbolic
images and spirit entities! and 7<'perience of &ransmutation refers to the transformation or
7metamorphosis0 e'perienced by the esoteric practitioner/ 7Pra'is of the 9oncordance0 refers
to the attempt 7to try to establish common denominators between two different traditions0, and
7&ransmission0 refers to the transmission of esoteric teachings from master to disciple/ See
also D/ Santucci, 7<sotericism, the @ccult and &heosophy0, paper presented at 9>< lecture
series 79ults, Sects and New (eligions0, Department of 9omparative (eligion, 9alifornia
State University, #$$$/
%
A/Gersluis, loc citA =/
+
D/ Salter, 7&he Strange 9ase of Sir <ugene and the itch0, +ood Wee1end2S!dne! Morning
.erald,
Sydney, = Duly *+++A *,
*$
As I demonstrate in 9hapter @ne and 9hapter Seven, Norton also received more serious
criti5ues of her visionary art and pagan symbolism in small literary magaFines li6e "ertinent
and Arna but these were specialist publications with low printruns and did not reach the
mainstream Australian public/
Nevill Drury Rosaleen Norton
Notes
**
"/ Dohnson, 7&he itch of 8ings 9rossA (osaleen Norton and the Australian "edia0,
conference presentation, SymbiosisA Institute for 9omparative Studies in Science, "yth,
"agic and Col6lore, University of Newcastle, #$$#/
*#
IbidA */
*=
9/"/ 9usac6, 7&radition and 9hangeA Australian 9hurches and the Cuture0, Australian
Review of "u0lic Affairs, University of Sydney #$$=A*
*1
D/ 9ahill, 4/ ?ouma, H/ Dellal and "/ >eahy, Religion, ,ultural (iversit! and
Safeguarding Australia, Australian "ulticultural Coundation, "elbourne #$$1A1*/
*2
"/D/ ?ailey, 7&he "eanings of "agic0, loc citA ##/
*;
&he 9ambridge 9entre for estern <sotericism, an academic organisation, lists relevant
areas of investigation within the field of esotericism as 7alchemy, astrology, 4nosticism,
Hermeticism, 8abbalah, magic, mysticism, Neoplatonism, new religious movements
connected with these currents, nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century occult
movements, (osicrucianism, secret societies, and theosophy0/ See www/ccwe/wordpress/com/
*,
9rowley allegedly added the additional 760 to the word 7magic0, ta6ing it from the 4ree6
word 1teis, meaning 7genitals0 3 a clear allusion to the se'ually oriented doctrines of &helema/
See S/ 4reenwood, Magic, Witchcraft and the *therworld, ?erg, @'ford and New Hor6 #$$$A
#$, fn */
*%
SabaFius LM and A"& ILM, .istor! of *rdo Tepli *rientis, U/S/ 4rand >odge, #$$; A 2,
*, available on-line at www/oto-usa/orgNhistory/html/
*+
&his term is used by members of the Dragon (ouge, a contemporary Scandinavian
&helemite organisation aligned with the teachings and occult philosophy of Aleister 9rowley
and 8enneth 4rant/ See www/dragonrouge/netNenglishNgeneral/htm/
#$
4oossens was 6nighted in Dune *+22/ See 9hapter @ne/
#*
See listing of @/&/@/ members provided by @/&/@/practitioner Ithell 9ol5uhoun in Sword of
Wisdo: Mac+regor Mathers and the +olden (awn, Spearman, >ondon *+,2A #$,-#$%/