"Jane Wolfe: The Cefalu Diaries 1920 – 1923", by The College of Thelema of Northern California

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"Jane Wolfe: The Cefalu Diaries 1920 – 1923", by The College of Thelema of Northern California

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Sat Dec 27, 2008 8:37 pm

From Coph-Nia-Oasis:

Jane Wolfe: The Cefalu Diaries 1920 – 1923 (Lulu)
Edited and published by The College of Thelema of Northern California

Reviewed by keith418.

While Crowley saw his sojourn in Italy as epochal in his own life, he was certainly not alone. Other students and followers found their experiences at the Abbey to be profoundly important. These diaries allow us to see Jane’s own struggles and work, as well as comments Crowley himself would write regarding her progress. Beyond being an important way for us to observe, at a distance, the way the Abbey functioned, Jane’s entries allow us to see the kind of quality Crowley was seeking from those doing yoga and magical work. These handwritten comments are often as enlightening as they are droll. My favorite example is when Jane asked that one of her astral visions, or heady insights, be explained to someone of her own “mentality.” Crowley noted that he felt the same way.

I was amused to see Jane doing Enochian and Goetic work. Given that her protégé - Soror Meral – seemed overly cautious about such investigations, Jane’s marked efforts to encounter to visit these astral places and visualize demons like Buer, are somewhat ironic. Day after day we see Jane getting down to the business of her yoga practices. Hour after hour she set herself to the practices – assuming the postures, doing the breathing, concentrating on the objects. Her asanas and pranayama work are right there on page after page. So, of course, are thre drugs: opium, heroin, morphine, and the capsules and capsules of “grass.” How many people have, since that time, dedicated themselves to such a relentless daily routine? Unlike the rest of us, Jane was bedeviled by insects all around her- she notes the flies and the mosquitoes. Yet she pushed on. For all her stumbles, and for all of Crowley’s chiding, it’s hard not to admire the sheer extent of her labors.

Stumble Jane certainly did. Not only did she record her “breaks” during her meditations, she also wrote down her dreams, strange speculations, flights of fancy, and what we might call “New Age” gack today. Her spiritualist-type entity, the Chinese “Fee Wah”, makes an appearance. Crowley grimly corrected or ignored these comments. Her “dish” on the other students at the Abbey may produce some chuckles. At one point, she compared C. F. Russell’s work on his chores to the slapdash work of a lazy Union laborer – interested only in his pay envelope. At another point, Jane insisted that Russell was her child in some former incarnation – and would be so again in a future one. Yet whose magical diary is without such stunning lapses and possible errors in judgment? Even the most silly comments and thoughts only add to the book’s sense of authenticity and sincerity.

Continued in the Winter Solstice 2008 e.v. Coph Nia Wand available here.
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