About Gary Lachman


Gary Lachman is the author of twenty-one books on topics ranging from the evolution of consciousness to literary suicides, popular culture and the history of the occult. He has written a rock and roll memoir of the 1970s, biographies of Aleister Crowley, Rudolf Steiner, C. G. Jung, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Emanuel Swedenborg, P. D. Ouspensky, and Colin Wilson, histories of Hermeticism and the Western Inner Tradition, studies in existentialism and the philosophy of consciousness, and about the influence of esotericism on politics and society. He writes for several journals in the UK, US, and Europe, including Fortean TimesQuestStrange AttractorFenris Wolf, and his work has appeared in the Times Literary SupplementTimes Educational Supplement, GuardianIndependent on SundaySunday TimesMojoGnosis and other publications. He lectures regularly in the UK, US, and Europe, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages. He has appeared in several film and television documentaries and on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and is on the adjunct faculty in Transformative Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Before becoming a full-time writer Lachman studied philosophy, managed a new age bookshop, taught English Literature, and was a Science Writer for UCLA. He was a founding member of the pop group Blondie and in 2006 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lachman was born in New Jersey, but since 1996 has lived in London, UK.

He can be reached at gvlachman@gmail.com 


268 thoughts on “About Gary Lachman

  1. Perhaps copyright is a problem, but could you include those interviews on your site ? Or maybe link them. I really enjoyed the interview with Owen Barfield, which I read a while back,…. I’d be very interested in having a look at the Kathleen Raine one; think I’ll have a search for it now…

      1. Gary, it’s good to discover your work in the pages of Watkins magazinge (where there’s also a review of my book: Artist as Mystic). Always heartening to find someone facing the same general direction and challenging us to rise to our greater responsibilities. Further, I see we both share an admiration for Colin Wilson, who was kind enough to review a book of mine: http://thehumanities.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.61/prod.24

        If you like, I should be happy to share my work wih you, if you would drop me a line at Lababidi.ink@gmail.com

        Thank you, and wishing you continued success,

      2. Hello Yahia,

        Many thanks for this. Yes, Watkins is a good place to meet. I’ll check out your review as soon as I get my copy back – a friend borrowed it. And of course I’m always glad to meet another Colin Wilson reader. All the really interesting and intelligent people read his books, don’t you think? Best, Gary

  2. Hi Gary, you say “In 1996-97 I took part in the Blondie reunion, performing at festivals and recording”. Are there any photos of this period with you and Blondie? Cheers, Axel

    1. Hello Axel. There is a video floating around of Chris Stein, Debbie Harry, Chris’ ex-girl friend Orla (sic) and myself performing Harry Niilson’s “Everybody’s Talking At Me” at a tribute to William Burroughs in Lawrence, Kansas in 1996. There’s also a photo of Blondie performing at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. in 1997, with me on guitar, in a book called Blondie: From Punk to Present. But I wouldn’t get the book just for the photo… If there are any other shots I’d be curious to see them. All the best, Gary

  3. Hi Gary. First of all I’d like to say that I’m glad to be able to reach you. Lately I’ve really been into your song “Presence Dear”. It has a “Whoish” feel, like it came from Tommy, but that’s my opinion, of course (and I love that kind of rock). What were your main musical influences at the time you composed for Blondie? I have a great friend (actually he’s my best) who is determined to live only by his music. I help him by playing bass and additional guitars and vocals. As an experienced musician what would you recommend him? He also has some Ramones influences like the early Blondie. He also found your song “X-Offender” very Ramonish and liked it. Did you actually played the guitar track or just played on the video? My friend is always very interested in reading past experiences related to music, specially from musicians that left their mark. Your books about music seem to have great stories, sure he’s gonna enjoy (and the ones related to ocultism as well). Do you plan of having your work also translated to portuguese?
    Best regards,

    1. Dear Filipe,

      Many thanks for your message, and I’m glad you like the song. The biggest musical influence on me was listening to AM radio as a kid in the 1960s, when I would hear one great song after another. That, combined with the simple rock style of bands like the New York Dolls, led to my writing songs – I started out writing poetry but thankfully this soon changed… YI was completely self-taught, very much DIY. Yes, I play guitar on “X-Offender,” and also on another Blondie tune of mine, “Scenery.” It was supposed to be on the first album but was left out and later appeared on a CD called “Blonde and Beyond.” Success in music usually requires sacrifice, persistence, and luck, and generally a lot of it. Sadly, my book about Blondie and CBGB etc hasn’t been translated into any foreign language yet, but one book on the occult has been translated into Portuguese: Politica Ocidental A Historia Secreta Da,and my book on Jung (Jung the Mystic) will be translated into Portuguese as well. All the best, Gary

      1. Thank you so much for your kind reply. I won’t be having problems reading in english and neither would my friend, but some other people I’m recommending your work might. Are there videos from while you were with the reunited Blondie in 96-97? I’m curious how you played their later songs. I’ve seen Nigel performing the early songs but I’ve never seen you performing the later ones. I noticed you two have completely different techniques. I’m just wondering how to get along with different musical styles as a bassist. You had a remarkably nice stage presence on the videoclips as well…

      2. I don’t know of any videos from my brief re-union with Blondie in 1996-97, but there is one of myself, Chris Stein, Debbie Harry, and Chris’ then girlfriend (whose name I’ve unforgivably forgotten), performing at a tribute to William Burroughs, in Lawrence, Kansas, in November 1996. I don’t know who has it – I have a VHS copy somewhere stuffed away with other debris. Also performing were Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, and a clutch of other pop/art notables. We do a rather strange version of Harry Nillson’s “Everybody’s Talking At Me”. In any case, when I worked with Blondie again, I played guitar, not bass. As to style, I have no idea, although I think I did play the bass more like a guitar. All the best

  4. Hi Gary,
    I don’t see an email address anywhere, so I’m placing this question here.
    Having been an anthropop for a few years, your biography on Steiner came as a real breath of fresh air. I hope your volume encourages more to explore the wonders of anthroposophy and Rudolf Steiner’s work from a more balanced perspective. I tried to track down your Gnosis article ‘RUDOLF STEINER AND THE FATE OF THE EARTH’ here in Canada through interlibrary loan and there are no Canadian locations. Would you be in a position to make that article available?
    Thanks kindly,

  5. MAy I ask how to pronunce your last name? Is it Lakhman? Or closer to Lockman? The reason is I am trying to figure out if a translation had it correct. Thanks.

    1. Thank you for this. I had no idea the book was translated into Russian – and I don’t think my publisher knew either. I’m glad you enjoyed it. By the way, I’m working on a book about Madame Blavatsky at the moment, another great Russian. All the best, Gary

  6. Dear Gary,
    I’m not sure if you will get this message. I work at a school in London where we have a Ficino Society, Am really enjoying your book on Hermes, would be great to welcome you to the school!

    1. Dear Christian,
      Many thanks for your message, and I’m very glad you’re enjoying the book. Tell me more about your Ficino Society; I’d be happy to give a talk about the book. All the best, Gary

  7. Dear Gary

    It is so good for us to have you as our Wise Owl and whilst on this subject I am wondering what your views are on the fact that Blavatsky, when describing the various stages post death a human soul travels through perfectly (in my view) correlates with significant scientific research and first-hand testimonials currently collated regarding NDE’s. I am thinking here, in particular, of the NDE provided by a Harvard-trained Prof of Neuroscience who suffered a 7-day coma brought about by acute bacterial meningitis and reported a vivid hyper reality based NDE with clinical precision as per his background training. Further, there is the work conducted by Hameroff on quantum consciousness and all of this perfectly aligns with what Blavatsky and the Seth Material et al told us yonks ago. Any comments? If we scrutinized this matter in a Court of Law under the eagle eye of jurisprudence what do you think the conclusion would be? Many thanks for your scholarly insights. Best. M

    1. Dear Madelyn,

      Many thanks for your comment. The NDE you report sounds absolutely fascinating. Can you give more details? Who was the scientist involved and where can I read more about it? I think you would be interested in a book coming out soon by a friend, Ptloemy Tompkins, The Modern Book of the Dead (Atria Books 2012), which goes into great detail about various ‘after life’ accounts, and brings them together to form a contemporary ‘book of the dead’. I’m sure HPB knew things that scientists are just bumping up against today. Sadly, many who do won’t understand them, or will try to ‘explain’ them in materialist terms. And yes, you’re right that if similar evidence as provided by HPB and others about the afterlife was presented in a court of law, the chances are it would be considered practically irrefutable. I am just about to start a review of another fascinating book, The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist, about how our left-brain dominant culture ensures that any ‘evidence’ for the kind of experiences you are talking about will be ‘explained’ in terms that reduces it to mere ‘matter in motion’ or the like. I can’t recommend this book too highly. You might also be interested in the work of Anthony Peake, although his take is a bit more ‘scientific’. All the best and happy 2012.

      1. Dear Gary

        Many thanks for your considered response and I will most certainly read the books indicated. Unfortunately, my son passed away end of August from cancer and needless to say I am utterly determined to seek out the truth of where he may be.

        The case I referenced in my previous reply can be found on :-www.lifebeyonddeath.com – a Dr Eben Alexander – neuro scientist, which gives us added weight I believe to the survival issue.

        Your work gives me strength and will provide for humanity a source of knowledge that is genuine in order to help decipher fact from fiction.

        We need, however, to ensure that our search is based on sound judgment and, as you say, irrefutable facts. Also, whilst on the subject, it occurred to me – with the 100 or so trillion neurons residing in the brain – this vast degree of complexity no doubt has led to the diverse subjects pursued by Jung which, prima fascia, may all be indicative of one inter cranial complexity so the ‘bridge building’ exercise must continue in order to appreciate the big picture with ever greater clarity.

        I am wishing you a most enjoyable 2012 … from the heart.


    1. Dear Madelyn,

      I’m sorry to hear our your loss. I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child, although that has happened to some good friends of mine recently. My your quest bring you some comfort. Best, Gary

  8. Dear Madelyn,

    my sincere sympathy for your loss and I wish you every encoragement on your quest.

    Unfortunately I am at that age where I have experienced the deaths of many children of friends, one remarkable daughter of a school friend took over her dying and death process and actually prepared her own parents. It was both unnerving and amazing to see that child prepare her own parents for her death process and it profoundly moved all who knew of it.

    I have already posted some NDE acount experiences here and if I can be of any assistance to you, please feel free to contact me.

    May I also sound a note of warning: while there are a lot of sincere people out there who will give you every possible assistance, there are also unfortunately more than a few who see the oppertunity for commerce in this area. In your search, if you confine your exchanges to those who are willing to help you completely without financial reward or other obligation, you will save yourself additional pain and grief arising from your loss.

  9. Dear Daniel – very much appreciate the strength of your response. I, too, want the truth to emerge. Too much deception, profiting therefrom and fraudulent activity. I have a project in mind. Perhaps you could contact me direct to discuss. Madelynfreemanster@gmail.com.

  10. Hi Gary,

    I’m ashamed to say I’ve only just learned of your work, which I’m now avidly looking forward to reading. I enjoyed your blog post “2013: Or, What to Do When the Apocalypse Doesn’t Arrive” and wanted to reciprocate with a link to one I posted recently:

    What You Should Know About 2012: Answers to 13 Questions

    I’d like very much to correspond with you on common interests.

    Best wishes,


  11. Hi, I would like to send you a private work done about ouspensky, can you give me an e- mail address please?

    1. Hello Gary I have been reading your work for some time and find similarities with Mark Booth’s recent work. I am interested to learn why neither of you mentions influence of extraterrestrials in our development. (at least that I have not run across yet). Disclosure appears to be finally available. Is there not a connection with your (and Booth’s) research and published works?

      1. Thanks for your message. I haven’t written about UFOs etc. because I haven’t had a chance to. If a publisher gets around to asking me, I may. I’ve read quite a bit about it and one of the best books, I find, is Colin Wilson’s Alien Dawn. He sees them in the way that ufologists like Jacques Vallee does: not as nuts and bolts space ships but as messengers from our own mind, as Jung did in his book about flying saucers. Do you know Jeffrey Kripal’s work? He writes well about this and did a book about it with Whitley Strieber.

  12. Gary:

    I’m a young-ish (30) writer, just turning pro and I wanted to say that I loved both “Turn Off Your Mind” and “New York Rocker.” If you ever find yourself in Los Angeles again I would very much like it if our paths could cross.

    Nicholas Pell

    1. Dear Nicholas, Many thanks for the kind words and I’m glad you liked the books. If I know I’ll be heading to LA for a talk, I’ll let you know. By the way, if you haven’t already, you might check out the LA Review of Books. My good friend Lisa Jane Persky is an editor there. All the best, Gary

      1. I’ll drop her a line, thanks. If you’re ever bored enough, this is probably the best thing I ever wrote. Best thing that got published, anyway:



  13. Gary, I thought you might like to see my front page story out of San Diego on how I found a lost sacred pattern in an accidental photo I took in 1990 of 10 daylight UFOs that I successfully linked to other UFOs as well as ancient artifacts and the Nazca Lines in Peru. Google my name or “Inaja UFO Photo”

  14. The Quest for Hermes Trismegistius was a tremendous piece of writing and I can’t wait for the book on Swedenborg. The website http://www.theosophy.net has made your writings, along with those of Antoine Faivre and W.J. Hanegraaff highly recommended reading. We have re-framed the site from one of the dreary multitude of Blavatsky-centered entities into something much more in line with the general esoteric stream of thought.

    I am especially intrigued by how you managed to integrate neuroscience into the understanding of “states” as described in the Hermetic works and by others such as Goethe and Ouspensky (nice touch on the ashtray).

    I was turned on to your writings by K. Paul Johnson, a good friend and fellow spiritual traveler. He recommended your work quite highly.

    I recently purchased the books on Steiner, Politics of the Occult, Turn Off Your Mind, and just pre-ordered the new book on Swedenborg.

    Thanks for being an inspiration and best wishes.

    1. Many thanks for your warm remarks. I’ve checked out theosophy.net quite a few times recently, while researching my book on HPB, which will be out in the US in October. I was very impressed with the quality of the material on the site. I’m a big fan of K. Paul Johnson’s work, and speak positively about it in the book. I think he’s done a much needed and highly
      commendable job of putting HPB and theosophy back on the cultural map, making her even more interesting than she already was, and opening up new areas of esoteric history. I’ve also followed the online debates about his work with much interest, and hope my own effort can add to the renewed interest in HPB and her work. All the best, Gary

  15. What drove us away from HPB was not her work but the absolute silliness of many of her followers. One cannot have a decent public conversation about Blavatsky’s theosophy without being invaded by legions of people talking about their personal relationship with HPB’s masters or ferociously attacking you for not totally believing in her work or even asking rational questions. It’s a constant mantra, “no Blavatsky, no theosophy”. Nonetheless to say, we reject that notion.

    If we could find a way that Blavatsky could be approached without all of the insanity we would happily do so. Until that point is reached, perhaps it is for people like you and Paul to carry the torch. When we do get back to examining HPB’s work, perhaps the lens of Faivre and others will be a good starting point.

    Of course we are always open to suggestion.

    1. Well I’m certainly not a ‘follower’, and I know what you mean about the ‘baggage’ that often comes with spiritual teachers – I’ve had to deal with some of it myself in my books about Steiner, Ouspensky, and Swedenborg. In my book on Blavatsky theosophy is less in focus than is HPB herself. She is a remarkable character, whatever you think of theosophy and whatever you think of her. Sadly, so many cliches and half-truths have gathered around her (some of them of her own making) that I had to do some demolition work in order to get to her, insofar as I was able to. I try to place her and her milieu in the context of the history of ideas, and also to tell her roller coaster like story as clearly and as entertainingly as possible. I imagine true believers might not appreciated my conclusions, but I would hope they recognize that I take her and her influence very seriously.

  16. Hello, Gary:

    I discovered an article you wrote for the Fortean Times in 2000 called “The Process”. You discussed Robert DeGrimston and his wife, Mary Ann. At the end of the article you mentioned a rumor about Mary Ann starting an occult bookshop in Toledo, Ohio in the late 1970s, using the name Circe. I attended college in Toledo in 1973, and the Circe bookshop was in existence then and in close proximity to my campus. The shop was in the lower level of a large two-story home. A friend and I went to the shop several times to buy incense and candles. I saw Circe during one of my visits, and she had a scorpion painted on her face. I assumed it was there because her astrological sign was Scorpio. Various websites list Mary Ann DeGrimston’s birthdate as November 20, making her a Scorpio also. On one of our visits we knocked at the door of the shop, which customers were required to do before they were allowed entry. This time a man answered the door. He was quite tall and rather creepy, with dark hair and a beard and moustache. We asked if the shop was open, and he said in a very expressionless voice, “obviously not.” I thought he sounded British, and in your article you mentioned that DeGrimston was tall and English. Your article has me wondering if Circe and the tall, mysterious man at the door could have been the DeGrimstons.

  17. Just wanted to let you know if you need to get to The Theosophist, The Path, and Lucifer, they are on the Resources drop-down menu. All else is as was before, except they are not on the left side of the main page.

  18. Hello,

    Your scope of writings in esoteric and occult matters looks quite large and rich. This should support a good quality standard for your next publication on Mme Blavatsky which, as all previous ones ,will be eagerly expected by the thesophical community at large (pro’s and con’s). You have probably read most of the many existing biographies already published. A good fact_oriented one was the book written by Noël Richard-Nafarre (I don’t know if it has been translated from french to english yet). In any case, I appreciate you will not be easily influenced by other people, and I will be pleased to buy you book.
    All the best.

    1. Dear Jacques, many thanks for your remarks. I didn’t know of the Noel Richard-Nafarre Blavatsky biography, but as my French is execrable, it wouldn’t have helped if I had. I did draw on most of the ones in English, as well as the excellent work on HPB’s ‘masters’ by K. Paul Johnson. By the way, my biography of Rudolf Steiner is translated into French. and is published by Actes Sud. All the best, Gary

  19. Hi Gary, I met and talked with you briefly before your recent lecture on Hermes Trismegistus at The October Gallery when I referred to an alternative spelling and pronunciation of Hermes Trismegestes (as called out mysteriously in the night!).

    I am inquisitive as to whether you discern a different angle of wisdom and knowledge from the sources utilising the latter spelling: http://hermetic.com/crowley/equinox/i/x/eqi10018.html, Rabelais, Thomas Vaughan and Henry More etc. Best, Vivian

    1. Hello Vivian. Many thanks for this link. I’m not familiar with a different approach to the thrice-great one through this alternative spelling. The only other spelling I’ve come across is Trismegistos, and the different vowel didn’t seem to suggest a different teaching. But I will certainly look into it. All the best, Gary

  20. Hi Gary,

    I have been trying to get hold of a copy of your CD “Tomorrow Belongs To You.” It seems to be unavailable, apart from a few very expensive copies on Amazon. Are there any plans to re-issue it?



    1. Hello Steve,

      Unfortunately the CD has gone out of print, and yes, the prices being asked for it on amazon are absurd. I don’t have any plans myself to re-issue it, although I would be happy if some enterprising soul was interested in doing that. I don’t have an extra copy myself, otherwise I would send you one. There was some talk recently about putting out a vinyl recording of the Know material, but that didn’t materialize. Some of the tracks, though, are on You Tube, and there’s a Gary Valentine fan page on MySpace that has a few http://www.myspace.com/garyvalens I don’t have anything to do with the MySpace page myself; a fan put it up a while ago. All the best, Gary

  21. Hi Gary,

    Thoroughly enjoyed Turn Off Your Mind and The Secret History of Consciousness. The day after I finished TSHOC I came upon Henry Miller’s essay about Erich Gutkind and his book The Absolute Collective in Miller’s book The Wisdom of the Heart. If you are not already familiar with Gutkind’s work I think you may find it profitable. Unfortunately getting his book or information on him I have found isn’t easy. But the little I have found has been very intriguing from a possible/alternative consciousness angle.


  22. Hi Gary—
    I hope you remember me, we both used to work at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore in West Hollywood in 1986-1988 or so. In fact, we started on the same day! I was doing my first year in Grad School for Psychology and you were studying Philosophy at Cal State LA, if I am remembering correctly. For about two years, I had no idea you had been Gary Valentine of Blondie, one of my absolute favorite bands. You were really low key about that. One day I was in the back, in the Used Books section, and I was trying to describe Chris Stein’s illness to a friend, and you chimed in with all this very precise inside info; I asked how you knew so much, and you said, “We’re old friends — I used to play in a band with him”. That was the understatement of the decade, Gary! I used to always enjoy being on shifts with you because of your intelligence and humor, and we had some good talks about Jung, too.

    The Bodhi Tree is now sadly defunct, as are 90% of the bookstores in LA–it’s a very weird time….

    So, I got my doctorate after many many years, and now work as a therapist with kids & teens, and have 2 kids of my own. You sure have written a lot of books!! I read NY Rocker awhile back and enjoyed it quite a bit. I must profess ignorance of your more scholarly writings.

    Tonight, I was cruising for some Blondie material on line and came across this link to your site, so I thought I’d say hello. I liked your line above where you said you played bass like you were playing guitar. You are way too modest, man! I wanted to tell you that your bass playing on the first Blondie album is just superb–lithe, melodic, pulsating, full of surprises–you were their best bass player by far, Gary. And — you contributed some great songs.

    I was able to find your later compilation somewhere out there in cyberspace and downloaded it in mp3. So, someone is bootlegging you and making that very cool material available.

    Hey, I remember a gig you did sometime in the later 80’s at Lhasa Club in Hollywood on Santa Monica & Hudson St., right?. A friend of mine named Dumas was on the bill and I showed up–and there you were with your band. Was that The Know or maybe Fire Escape? The songs were great and so was your bass playing. Is there a tape of that show anywhere?

    Dumas’ guitar player that night, Mark Stewart, went on as Stew to form his own band in the 90’s called The Negro Problem (check out their oeuvre!!!), and then later he carried on as a solo act, just called Stew. Clem Burke played on one of his records called The Naked Dutch Painter, don’t know if you knew that or not. A few years ago Stew won a Tony for the script of his autobiographical musical, Passing Strange. So there was lots of Mojo brewing there that night!

    Glad to see you are still exploring the mysteries of the Cosmos, Gary. Let me know if you are coming to LA at any point in time. It would be a pleasure to have a glass tea, or hear you speak somewhere.

    I apologize for the long entry but gee it’s been about 20+ years!

    Harvey Canter
    Tarzana CA

    1. Hello Harvey. What a delight hearing from you. Of course I remember you. You were one of the people at the Bodhi Tree with a sense of humour – at least with one like mine (you were a fan of the Marx Bros. so that was a plus). I remember you were doing a degree. I was intending to go on and to teach philosophy. Life had other plans, but in one sense that’s exactly what I’m doing, at least with my, ahem, scholarly works. Really, they ain’t that scholarly, but they’re probably too much about ideas to ever be that popular. Thanks for the kind words about my musical career. I know a lot of people with my background would have been shouting about it from the rooftops, but I guess I have so high an opinion of myself as it is, to add an illustrious past would be just too much. I am glad you like my playing; I think I was a good bassist, although I didn’t play it as most bass players do. I remember the Lhasa Club gig. I was doing a ‘poetry performance art’ kind of thing with some friends, mostly for fun. I did play quite a bit in London in 1998-2000 with Fire Escape. I put the band together after playing with Blondie again as part of their reunion – if you read New York Rocker you know the story about that! It was fun but it’s different doing it at 40 something than at 20 something. And now that I’m 50 something it is unthinkable…

      I’ve been living in London now since 1996. When I think of how long I’ve been here, I’m amazed. It has been strange, watching events in the states, and being more concerned about the economy in Europe. I travel quite a bit, lecturing ‘on the continent’, as they say here. I’d love to bring my sons to LA, but will have to wait until some rich Californian reader of my books invites me. If I do find I am heading west, I will definitely let you know.

      My sons will be 14 and 12 this year – again, I am stunned when I realize they are on their way to their own lives. They have no interest in books and are absolutely obsessed with football (soccer to you). Go figure. But strangely, they are both budding musicians, playing violin and piano. Their mum works hard with them on this. It’s not rock and roll, but then neither is Mozart.

      It’s sad about the Bodhi. I did post some comments about it on a blog some time ago, and they turned up in an article about its demise somewhere. I certainly spent some important years there – once again, I realize I left it nearly 20 years ago. God, if you stick around long enough, you acquire a past. In any case, I am going on. Very good to hear from you and I will certainly hold you to that cup of tea (is that an English dig?) if I find myself in SoCal. Take care, Gary

  23. Hi Gary—
    I very much enjoyed your response and appreciated the catch-up on what’s been going on in your life the last couple of decades.
    “God, if you stick around long enough you acquire a past”. Great line!

    The Marx Brothers—yes, as I recall we both had memorized entire passages from their movies, which made for some great laughs while ticking books or stocking the shelves. There’s some philosophical booty buried in their work for sure! Actually, the Marx Brothers saved my life: they were what I clung onto while my parents split up, mom died, we moved to the Valley–it was a rough few years, but I traded that insanity for that of Les Freres Marx, and also the stoic calm of Humphrey Bogart–and I got through it more or less intact. I think…..Do your kids like their movies???
    My son (15 1/2) likes Harold & Kumar, Stepbrothers, Tommy Boy, Family Guy, etc. but I can’t quite get him to cotton up to Duck Soup and Horsefeathers, etc. Similarly, he is not into reading, though he likes HIstory a bit, and he is curious about my work in psychology. He is into X-box and Call of Duty…Oh well…..He does have pretty good taste in movies, and has seen Casino, American Beauty, and Full Metal Jacket about 30x each.

    My daughter, now 23, is much more of a reader and student. She graduated from Bryn Mawr last year and has been living & working in Philadelphia, just hanging out and being an adult. She loves it there. She’s a smart, wonderful, thoughtful young woman with lots of courage to be herself. She may back for grad school at some point, we’ll see.

    Hey, I ordered New York Rocker from Amazon, as it has been quite a while since reading it. I think I stood in a Barnes & Noble for a couple of hours zipping through it, but this time I am going to dig into the details….I saw the mini-debacle of the RnR Hall of Fame presentation where Frank Infante sounded off….cringe….. Where you there? I was looking for you but it seemed that the sequence was perhaps edited….Well, hey, congratulations on the great honor! Outstanding, old bean…..

    Sounds like life in London has been good to you, between the family and the writing career. Which of your more philosophical books would you recommend as a starter? Also, where would you recommend starting with Colin Wilson? I’ve looked through his books and there were about 10 that looked interesting.

    When I finished my doctorate in 1994 I was pretty burnt out on the whole academic/professional thing, and I went to work for my Dad in his rental property business for a few years, but that diversion was more or less ended by the Northridge earthquake, which took down about half of the business. I started a band up and we were pretty good, doing a mixture of Beatle-esque pop and Television-esque jamming….It was lots of fun for about 5 years, but by then I was working full-time again in mental health and much more involved with my kids—and tired of auditioning drummers!!! Yeah, rock is for the youngsters, or those with roadies! If I try to pick up a Twin Reverb these days, my back just says “NO WAY!!”

    Lastly—There was nothing sarcastic about that cup of tea, Gary! Just seemed like the right beverage at our stately point of evolution…. Thanks for writing back–your letters are always welcome.

  24. Dear Gary,

    I’m a major old-time Blondie fan from way back
    first of all, and the way I feel about it is this: if
    people discount your role in the band, than they’re
    not real Blondie fans and are grossly mis-informed,
    or either are not real fans or, are not fans of early
    Blondie, at any rate. I did some writing for Louis
    Bustamante’s old Blondie web site a number of years
    ago and reviewed new ed. of Making Tracks the
    Blondie book there in 1998. I sadly never got to see
    Blondie live since I was too young but have seen
    Debbie perform solo several times. I’m also
    a major horror/fantasy/SF fan and scholar and
    I was happy to see you being so prolific and
    putting out some books which I really now need
    to go catch up on, particularly your book on
    Trismegistus, which by the way, was a major
    basis for an immortal character in the book/film The Keep
    by F. Paul Wilson, Glaeken Trismegistus. Also
    a big Colin Wilson fan particularly from his
    Lovecraftian connections/inspired fiction like
    The Mind Parasites.
    RE: your account of the Rock and Roll Hall of
    Fame induction, I can only direct you towards
    several comments by Maureen Tucker from the
    1996 Velvet Underground induction into the Hall,
    in which she has the most unkindest and
    disturbing things to say about the experience
    and circumstances surrounding their induction,
    which immediately followed Sterling Morrison’s
    passing the year previous, and at which Moe
    claims they were treated terribly by the
    organizers and were forced to play songs
    at the ceremony, even after she railed that Sterling had
    just passed away, and she says John Cale
    was also just as angry and horrified by all
    this in private communications with her.
    I promise I’m not making this up, you can
    check her words with a few of the later
    books on the Velvets including the latest
    critical book by Rob Jovanovic. Sad stuff.
    I also find it sad how you were seemingly
    treated by the industry and/or the band
    at your induction. It’s not right, not at all
    in my humble opinion.

    Scott Briggs, LI NY

    1. Many thanks for your remarks Scott. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame scandal was really a family affair – a dysfunctional one, to be exact. The actual Hall of Fame treated me and the other black sheep Blondies very nicely; in fact, that were determined that we would share the stage with the others, despite their best efforts, and made sure that we did. I wasn’t surprised with how things turned, and by now it hardly matters. My little statuette is collecting dust admirably and my sons get to tell their friends that their dad used to play something called rock and roll. So it goes.

      I saw the film of The Keep years ago and periodically look for it on DVD. I didn’t know Hermes Trismegistus played a role in the book, which I’ve not read – I’ll keep (!) a look out for it too. I don’t know if you know that I wrote an introduction to a new edition of The Mind Parasites a few years ago. It remains one of my favourites of Wilson’s fictions, and I re-read it every couple of years or so. Also, I have chapters on Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard and the sword and sorcery boom of the 1960s in my book Turn Off Your Mind. While I’m at it I’ll mention New York Rocker, which has all the low down on my years with, hmm, that band. Apologies for the self-promotion.

      Thanks also for the info on the Velvets and the R n R Hall of Fame. I’ll have to check it out. Cheers

      1. Dear Gary,

        I’m stoked to read your response to my
        post on here!! Well it turned out my
        local library which is pretty formidable,
        had The Dark Muse which i just picked up
        there today. I see you cite Blackwood,
        A. Machen and my friend S. T. Joshi’s
        fantastical book The Weird Tale within
        its pages, was even more stoked to
        a. get the book and b. see that you
        had cited all that stuff. Can’t wait to
        delve in. Anyway, yeah I’d gathered
        that Blondie could be a bit, er,
        dysfunctional and recall being saddened
        around 1997 as the reunion was
        starting up and reading various
        news stories, sitting in Brooklyn
        Heights at some pizzeria as I was,
        about the feuds going on already
        between Chris, Debbie and Clem
        and Frank and Nigel Harrison.
        Still makes me sad to think of this
        but then again, even The Dead
        Kennedys have had falling outs
        and legal battles, so it’s nothing
        new. As for F. Paul Wilson we’d
        run into him last year at the Horror
        Writers Assoc. Stoker Weekend
        convention on L.I. of all places,
        briefly, he’s a super nice guy.
        His hero in The Keep is named
        variously Glaeken and/or
        Trismegistus I think he intended
        the character as kind of an
        immortal embodiment of
        the classical Trismegistus.
        I found a boot of the movie
        recently it’s still out of print
        on DVD, not a great film
        but it’s fun at least. Michael
        Mann had issues with the book
        and diverged a great deal
        from it and was constricted
        to a 90-minute length, which
        must’ve been tough.
        I meant to say I was at a
        “secret” Iggy Pop show at
        Continental in NYC in
        1994 or so and I turned
        around towards the end
        of the show and Clem Burke
        was standing directly
        behind me, watching the show!
        And then the fire marshals
        shut the show down during
        “Lust For Life”.


      2. I’ve enjoyed S. T. Joshi’s writings and years ago I reviewed his biography of Lovecraft for the sadly defunct magazine Gnosis. I do,however, have a fond place in my heart for August Derleth, who Joshi takes to task for adulterating Lovecraft’s work. I cut my Cthulhu teeth on Derleth’s labours of love in my adolescence and am a fan of his Solar Pons stories – those wonderful Holmesian pastiches. Oddly, I reference Joshi’s The Weird Tale in a book I’m working on now, in the context of Lovecraft’s ‘cosmicism’ and its relation to the rather depressing view of human life offered by the molecular biologist Jacques Monod, Sartre’s Nausea, and the social philosopher John Gray. If you are friends with Joshi, please pass on my warm regard for his work. It sounds like the Iggy show was fun. All the best, Gary

  25. i will indeed pass on your regards to
    S.T. I’ve been a serious Lovecraftian
    since at least 1982 when I entered
    the “field” at a very tender age as a fan
    and later became something of a scholar
    and essayist/reviewer in the field mainly
    small press but lately for some larger
    publishers like Greenwood Press
    and McFarland. Anyway, a lot of us
    myself included started out reading
    anything by H.P.L. and then went
    seeking for related authors/fiction
    and I read all the Derleth “Mythos”
    fiction as well as Brian Lumley
    and co. when I started out, though
    I’m not a big fan of Derleth’s own
    stuff myself these days–I’m more
    into him for starting Arkham House
    with Wandrei and all that. There are
    some Lovecraft folks who adore
    Derleth and there are those
    who detest him and detest his
    pastiche Lovecraftian fiction
    in particular. I don’t detest it,
    just not as big into him as I was
    when I was 13 and just starting to
    discover H.P.L. and the field.
    I’m much more enamored of
    Machen, H.P.L. of course,
    Blackwood, Hodgson, M. R. James,
    Le Fanu, Clark Ashton Smith,
    et al. and for modern I’m
    a champion of Ramsey Campbell,
    Robert Aickman, Peter Straub,
    Thomas Ligotti, people like that.
    As for that Iggy show yeah it
    was a blast, too bad the fire marshal
    had to burst in towards the end
    and pull the plug early! but we
    got the bulk of the show. I recall
    these hot girls sitting on the sides
    of the stage and up on the
    amps and god knows what
    as Iggy played with some pickup
    band or other on the tiny
    Continental stage. We also
    saw him do a similar impromptu
    gig at Coney Island High
    a few years later with another
    pickup band he called the
    “F— Ups” and they did f up,
    starting the riff to “Search
    And Destroy” too early or
    repeating it by accident
    with Iggy getting a bit
    pissed off. No idea
    who these guys were.
    I kinda would rather
    have seen you and
    Clem up there with Iggy!!
    But both shows were
    pretty great and he
    did a lot more Stooges
    stuff than he probably
    does at regular gigs,
    I’m assuming.
    One thing I’m kicking
    myself for now is
    not holding onto
    all my old Blondie
    badges/pins and
    things! Although I
    do have a vintage
    Eat to the Beat plastic
    promo badge someone got
    for me a few years
    ago at the Hall of
    Fame or something.
    I do still have a gigantic
    old Blondie poster the one
    with just Debbie standing
    there resplendant in
    a black leotard dress,
    it’s bigger than life
    and mine’s a bit
    tattered but I still have it
    from circa 1979 or so.
    it has the Parallel
    Lines logo at bottom.


    1. Hi Scott, just read you banter with Gary Lachman. You mentioned that you were kicking yourself for not keeping any Blondie badges/pins. I have a collection of over 2100 Blondie badges, including some solo Gary ones….I have a Pinterest board at Pinterest.com/marctalbotps/blondie-badges-buttons with about 500 or so on there, maybe you might want to check it out and maybe reminise.. The Eat to the Beat badge from the Hall of Fame sounds interesting…. Marc

  26. Gary,

    p.s. re: S. T. Joshi’s H.P. Lovecraft bio.–
    my friend Derrick Hussey’s Hippocampus Press
    from NYC released S. T.’s 2 volume
    unexpurgated Lovecraft bio. last year,
    a bit expensive but worth it, it’s the
    uncut and expanded version of the
    original bio. in 2 hardcover vols. and
    I think a paperback ed. is on the way.
    The bio. to be avoided these (or any)
    days is L. Sprague de Camp’s 1975 Doubleday
    HPL bio. which is full of errors, untruths,
    and wild surmises and shoddy
    research. I’m sure you might’ve
    mentioned that in your review if
    you covered de Camp’s bio in the
    process. S. T.’s The Weird Tale
    survey as well as its sequel The
    Modern Weird Tale are both equally
    essential. I saw you cited Mike
    Ashley’s bio. of Algernon Blackwood
    which is so fantastic! I think it’s time
    someone did a good bio. of Arthur
    Machen, so far some critical books,
    but not a solid bio. as far as I know.
    as Bauhaus sang: lament, repent….
    o mortal, you. hollow hills


    1. Unexpurgated? The edition I reviewed runs to over 600 pages as it is. What could he have left out? I read L. Sprague de Camp’s bio ages ago, in my early teens, and haven’t looked at it since – although I did just now give it a glance. Didn’t Lin Carter do a ‘Look Behind the Cthulhu Mythos’, as he did the same for Tolkien? I was a big fan of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series (a title that today gives a very wrong impression…) and there are two books in that series I no longer have and periodically look for online: Carter’s anthology The Spawn of Cthulhu and Clark Ashton Smith’s Xiccarph. I have quite a few in the series and love the cover art work by Gervasio Gallardo and Bob LoGrippo. And yes, they also did a two volume edition of Hodgson’s Nightland – I have a hardcover re-issue from some years ago. I don’t know if you’ve heard about the Shard, the tallest building in western Europe that’s raised its controversial head over London recently. It is a kind of pyramid, although the sides are much more steep. In any case, whenever I see it I think of the Last Redoubt, in which the remnants of humanity sit out the eternal night of Earth’s last days. They don’t write ’em like that any more…Cheers

  27. Yes, not good regarding sources though this is partially remedied through a link to another article which, though long, contains direct quotes from Colin Wilson, references on the ‘subject’ to Gurdjieff and William Blake including a recurrent illustration linked to this theme: http://www.zaporacle.com/mind-parasites-energy-parasites-and-vampires/. I posted the former piece on David Luke’s: https://www.facebook.com/groups/150573348303481/ and he responded with two very interesting published papers, http://www.scribd.com/doc/70007742/Discarnate-Entities and http://www.scribd.com/doc/30207747/Luke-David-An-Investigation-Into-the-Ontology-of-Entheogenic-Entity-Encounters. I was particularly intrigued with reference in the second paper to his ‘seeing’ part of The Vision of Ezekiel as I had a similar experience circa 1970 after taking LSD alongside significant association with William Blake and the prophet Isaiah; it is good to here and know of other’s experiences in this visionary realm. I continue to explore literature associated with Worcester and William Gerhardie’s ‘Memories of Satan’ sits waiting to be finished on my desk. ‘The Mind Parasites’ and as learned an investigation as I can muster into Siger of Brabant’s ‘Unicity of The Intellect’ Controversy (13th century) in the company of Bonaventure and Henry of Harclay et al http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ip/rep/B039 keeps the adventure afloat . I feel like a heat-seeking missile searching out a tremendous secret; a vital motivation. Best, Vivian.

    1. Thanks again for the links. Oddly, I’ll be speaking with David Luke this Thursday evening on Resonance FM (online and at 104.4 FM). I think the show is live, and runs 7-8:00 pm. We will speaking about psychedelics and such. Good luck with your guidance system.

  28. Dear Gary,

    yeah if you can believe it they’d actually cut
    pages out of S. T.’s orig. bio. and now we’ve
    got a 2 volume hc monster edition of the full
    uncut biography. I confess I haven’t even
    read the whole thing but have skimmed it.
    I own the pbk. of the original Necro. Press
    ed. and the new edition and count myself
    lucky to own either. I think I actually own
    the DAW ed. of Spawn of Cthulhu and/or
    Disciples of, as well as having the Lin Carter
    Ballantine pbk. of Xiccarph thank goodness.
    I think I have the Ballantine The Night Land
    2 vols. as well as some other Hodgson
    paperbacks but not much hardcover
    and the prices, as I continually bitch about
    lately in particular, are getting quite
    outrageous online but the bookstores
    are disappearing, and many of these
    dealers are pirates of the worst kind.
    I think I’m actually missing Lin Carter’s
    Look Behind the Cthulhu Mythos,
    but I need to get that at some point,
    it’s a fairly decent book.
    I don’t mean to badmouth booksellers but…
    for example, L. W. Curry in particular I would never
    give him a dime he’s such a shameless
    huckster highballing prices on everything.
    I wish I’d been born 30 years earlier
    I might’ve actually had a shot at
    buying a lot of the books I’d like
    to own, esp. the earliest Arkham House,
    but the prices are just absurd now,
    as ever.


  29. p.s. here’s the link to my pal Derrick’s
    Hippocampus Press–looks like the hc
    of S.T.’s uncut bio. is sold out, but the
    paperback edition is coming soon. which is
    like, good for those of us who don’t have
    millions to blow on books nowadays.
    there are some other small press people
    who are charging upwards of $500 for
    their books in the horror field which
    is also a trend I mainly abhor, since
    I feel it’s encouraging an air of total
    snobbery and elitism. I’m glad it’s
    signed by so and so but I’m not
    paying $3000 for it, no way.


  30. Gary,

    got New York Rocker in mails
    yesterday, perused a bit already,
    meant to mention I got a real larf
    when you mentioned first time
    seeing the Dolls and Elliott Murphy
    opened and you had no recollection
    of him or what became of him.
    I heard about Elliott for years
    but never seemed to catch him
    live in NYC, but I knew of him
    in the late 80s since he’d produced
    one of my fave indie bands of the time,
    Winter Hours, he produced an EP
    of theirs. Anyway, I finally caught
    Elliott at the Stony Brook college
    cafe concert series on LI two
    years ago with his new band
    and nowadays he lives in France
    mostly; he and his band were
    amazingly great, and I met
    Elliott afterwards and he got
    a laugh I was from Levittown, LI
    originally, and
    he grew up in Garden City,
    he signed my vinyl Winter Hours
    EP and was a really nice
    guy all around. I collected all his
    CDs since just about,
    and his music’s great
    esp. his first several
    LPs and Just A Story
    From America etc.
    I’m sure he hated the
    “next Dylan” tag,
    as did Steve Forbert
    who I’ve met a few times
    the past couple of years.
    Sadly Joseph Marques
    from Winter Hours
    O.D.’d and passed on
    around 2004, a real
    sad story, which Elliott
    was indeed well aware of.


  31. I listened to Resonance FM but unfortunately no sign of you or David speaking. I endured instead an hour of poetry and abstract radio recordings of an unusual variety with a lot of emphasis on ‘the aesthetics of repetition’. Best, V.

    1. Apologies for that. I didn’t know until I got to the studio that the show wouldn’t be live. It will air some time in August. I’ll post the link when I get it. Again, my apologies and I hope the poetry wasn’t that bad…

      1. Thanks Gary. The poetry when read was not the best part of the show. Some of the ideas inspiring the work discussed were very imaginative. The contributors displayed a little too much cerebral introspection for overall listener satisfaction but they were having a great time all the same. I think they had all been beneficiaries of Arts Council and ICA largesse over the recent decades and had enjoyed, and were still enjoying, life in an alluring mental space. I will certainly check out Resonance FM again. V.

  32. Gary,

    I finally had time to actually put up some kind of a blog
    on here the past week or so, on the “death of the bookstore,
    weird fiction, and other topics”, basically, I hope it’s of interest
    to someone. I also was reading through a good deal of New York Rocker last night. I’m almost afraid to ask more about “famed” Blondie manager Peter Leeds, but…your book told me most
    of what I already had gathered about him, but do you know
    whatever became of him? Is he still alive? Did you ever
    get your due monies/royalties sorted out from him? Hopefully you sued him good! I think if I recall correctly the band in Making Tracks mentions they had a ten year battle or something to get out of that deal with Peter Leeds it took an army of lawyers to do it or somesuch. Clearly you were the only one in the band at the time with any head for business…nobody should’ve signed that deal!
    esp. not without a lawyer looking at it first. But this of course is
    a common tale in the music biz. I also meant to ask you if you recall any shenanigans going on in the early days with shops like Record World/Sam Goody’s in NY I recall seeing the first two LPs
    on vinyl being sold at Record World, if you recall the chain,
    and I was always aggravated that they sold “Blondie” and “Plastic Letters” in heavy mylar sleeves as IMPORTS when, as I learned
    years later, they were NOT imports, but the prices were inflated
    as such! If the regular LP price for Parallel Lines let’s say, was $7.99 the first two LPs “imports” were at least $12.99 or even more. As a kid I could never figure this out and didn’t even figure out till 1980 that those were the early Blondie LPs and not some
    weird compilations or whatever, all due to the Record World
    confusion/inflation. Sam Goodys I tried never to buy from
    since their prices were always ridiculous.


  33. Hey Gary,

    so I spotted this new book on Blondie
    at Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago,
    Parallel Lives, from Omnibus Press,
    read a few quotes of yours briefly
    in the book. Have you seen this?
    Do you think this book has any merit?
    I hesitated to buy it only because
    it’s probably cheaper online,
    and also, a lot of new books, even
    from major publishers, are
    edited/proofread so poorly, I’m almost
    afraid to buy it for fear it will be
    nearly unreadable.


  34. Hi Gary, hope all is going steadily. Cycling recently in Culham I noticed a gig advertised as Blondie Parallel, makes a pleasant change to ‘tribute’; flattering nonetheless. After some years sitting in a favoured place in the Theology and Patristic studies section of the Bodleian, I thought a change was in order as I commenced reading Erik Davis’s interesting analysis of Led Zeppelin in ’33 1/3′ in the Upper Reading room; it was not long before I noticed I was also sitting next to the extensive William Blake section. I will begin my journey into these tomes soon but with one clear part of me still reflecting on my Lysergic experiences in the late 60s early 70s that remarkably included an exhilarating and extraordinary Blakean awareness (I wonder if he ever ventured to Weston-super-Mare, unlikely in the extreme, but, from an occult perspective The Order of The Golden Dawn chose the town as an important site (my old home town) along with Bradford. On the same theme, Yeats’ time in Oxford was very clearly, and certainly ceremonially busy. So it goes. Best wishes,Vivian.

  35. Just finished reading your last book on Madame Blavatsky, and…Bravo for having been able to present her biography without bias. You must have had a tremendous challenge, starting from the already published biographies, which, most of them present a one-side-only of the picture. No much new facts emerged from your quest, but some new names came on, therefore enriching the story.
    Thank you for your work.

  36. Many thanks for your comments Jacques, and I’m very glad you enjoyed the book. One thing: facts do not make a biography: they are the raw material out of which a writer tells the story of a life. Biography means ‘life writing’, not fact collecting. I mention this because it strikes me that these days biography has moved from being a branch of literature, to occupying some space somewhere in social science or academic history. My aim was to tell ‘the Blavatsky story’ as interestingly and objectively as possible. I think I did that, and that the book would not be better if I included some ‘new’ information, such as what she had for breakfast one morning, or what she wore on a particular day. At the beginning of the book I say that my aim is not to ‘tell the truth’ about Madame B, nor to ‘nail her down’ once and for all, both objectives being doomed from the start. My aim was to introduce new readers to a remarkable life, and to give people familiar with Blavatsky a different perspective from which to see her. Again, I think I did that. But I do provide some new material. I clear up the mystery around whether or not she ever met D. D. Home. I also clarify the scandal around her supposed illegitimate child Yuri. I also argue that she most likely did not smoke hashish, and make a good argument that she may have had some strange form of ‘controlled’ multiple personality, as evidenced by her writings. My central aim, though, was to show her place and importance in the history of ideas, both in the esoteric world and in the broader stream of western culture. It is a shame that many readers think a biography is only good or worthwhile if some ‘new’ tidbit of information is provided, rather than whether or not the author gives us a new way to understand a life. and tells a story well Undoubtedly a determined researcher, armed with fluent Russian and an unlimited expense account, and having no deadline, may be able to unearth some hitherto unrecorded facts about her. Sadly I do not work under these conditions. But unless these facts prove to be some earth-shaking revelation, I do not think they would necessarily impact on who she was and what her life was about. This is the case with all my biographies, of Steiner, Swedenborg, Jung, Ouspensky. My aim is not to uncover unknown facts, but to understand who these people were and what their lives meant. Again, this leads to another point, the contention that I do not use ‘primary’ sources. What is more primary than the writings these creative individuals have left behind, and the accounts of them by people who knew them, both of which I obviously use in my books? I am not necessarily a detective, but an interpreter, a critic, and my aim is to show why these people were important and what we can gain by engaging with them today. In order to do this, I need to understand what others have written about them and, if necessary, to take argument with this.
    In any case, thanks again for the warm words and for inspiring me to clarify a few points.

  37. Hi Gary, Am enjoying reading your Blavatsky book, and love your comment about the book being written from the vantage point of why these people are important. I want to ask you your perspective on modern mystics such as Sai Baba, Amma, and Nithyananda. Have you written about them anywhere?
    Thanks again!

    1. Hello Martyn. I’m glad you’re enjoying the book. I haven’t written about Sai Baba or the other mystics you mention, although I do mention Sai Baba when discussing HPB’s apparent ability to ‘materialise’ objects. I simply don’t know much about them; in general I haven’t touched on many Eastern teachers, and have focussed mostly on western adepts. Perhaps further down the line I’ll get around to them. All the best, Gary

  38. Quick question, Gary. What do you feel the reputation of the word “Theosophy” is? I am struggling with the idea of changing the name of Theosophy.Net to something else. There are times where I get the impression that the word carries something of a giggle factor with it, in spite of the influence of HPB on our culture.

    On several occasions academics have expressed outright fear of their names being associated with the word Theosophy. What are your thoughts? If you could send those by private e-mail it would be most appreciated.

  39. Hey Gary,

    Just wanted to drop a fanmail note re Madame Blavatsky. Where to begin other than to say thanks for humanizing such a intense/dense being who has hovered above my Gurdifjeff/Steiner interest in a, let’s face it, peculiar-ish way. Probably first crossed paths with her when I was 17 or so (I’m basically your age) and while there was something intriguing, always somewhat suspicious and really kinda impeneratrable. (Quick aside, fwiw I have found Sri Madhava Ashish’s) (A Brit for all that) Man Son of Man and Man the Measure of All Things) the first enjoyable and comprehensible connections with the Stanzas.)

    Anyway, having read your Ouspensky and Steiner — which I enjoyed,was already familar with most of the same sources — other than some gushing Theosophist “biography” I tried to read some years ago, I really had the minimal sense of her and mostly had color on her through Steiner, which is not really first hand …

    … So anyway, thanks, the big pay off at the end was the quote, which I will mangle, about having a divine spark that might be heard snoring, about the drollest spiritual assessment I’ve heard.

    I think your works have served two functions well: first, humanizing the subjects, whereby truly humanizing, the real spiritual man or woman shines through, rather than the plastic demigod/guru — and further to this, it is very reinforcing for me to have the vignettes of generosity and compassion, like Blavatsky with her gift of here little business or Gurdjieff in Paris during the war buying the horrible paintings from the old man without means or money. All this esoteric/occult stuff is important, fascinating, etc. but as they say in Corinthians, about “sounding brass” If we have not love. Secondly, the body of work you are creating is really doing a great service of showing the relatedness within a really broad context of stuff that should be just a little bit more mainstreamed. The creativity of these figures is huge and it seems that is easier to dismiss them individually but I think your work creates a great nucleus of “hey let’s look at this bunch reasonably”. Hope that makes sense.

    Could go on at length but suspect I have rambled too much already. Keep up the good work!

    1. Dear David, Many thanks for your perceptive remarks. I’m very glad to hear that you enjoyed Madame B, as well as my other books. I appreciate that you feel I humanize these very human – sometimes superhumam – individuals, and I’m also very gratified that you see a connection between them and that they should be much more of a part of the mainstream. That is precisely my aim. I want to take people like Madame B or Steiner out of the ‘spiritual ghetto’ they’ve lived in for many years, and show how they have impacted on western culture in general. I also want to show that they all have a great deal to contribute to the ongoing conversation in the west about who and what we are and, more important, what we are supposed to do now that we find ourselves here. It is very encouraging to hear from readers like you, who get the point. I think that slowly, some ‘esoteric’ ideas will permeate the barrier between mainstream and underground, and that some time in the future – perhaps by the middle of this century – we will see a shift in the attitude toward them. Most likely we won’t be around to appreciate it, but I do have a sense that we are seeing the beginning of it now. In any case, many thanks again. All the best, Gary

      1. Hello. I too have been very impressed with – particularly – your most human and grounded approach to introducing Steiner. As a student of anthroposophy for the last 11 years, I could completely relate to the last writer’s aversion to “gushing” anthroposophical accounts of Steiner’s life and work. Thank you for an alternative that avoids a sugar coating / lacing.

        And I love your graceful ability to be fully inclusive of so many seemingly conflicting streams of esotericism throughout your works so far – all from that same human, grounded perspective. This is a human journey after all; no one stream of thought has the corner market. And while one spirit-revealing teacher may particulary resonate with any one of us, we so need the freedom to explore and dialogue with streams of thought that branch into divergent paths. In fact, I believe Steiner’s _Philosophy of Freedom_ was all about the necessity of individuation through inner contemplation, in response to, and in anticipation of, our individually unique paths through this world — and by “world,” I’m referring to all of it… everything we perceive / learn through the basic 5 senses… everything we create / set forth through our actions… everything we experience through dream / imagination / thought. Certainly, Steiner didn’t advise such an approach merely to sustain us until the anthroposophical society came into existence. There was a reason Steiner was only a guiding light, and not “president,” of early anthroposophical organizations.

        I also agree that we’ve already begun to see a significant shift in mainstream acceptance of esoteric ideas. I work for a Steiner-based school in a “university town.” I often come upon people from academic backgrounds who find themselves “tolerating” esoteric ideas because, at some point, there’s been an experience of almost shockingly effective results when those ideas have been practically applied. Such dismayed-turned-cautiously-curious representatives of academia, to me, are only one example of a spirit-denying culture catching sight of needed / missing puzzle pieces – shards occasionally glimmering from the shadow of their hiding places – hidden only because these areas of human life have been traditionally and purposely turned away from.

        As someone who grew up in the ’70s, _just_ able to remember Blondie and Iggy Pop, and as an “unknown” writer and musician myself, I am also heartened to see a popular musician’s work taken seriously and finding publishers and (deservedly) ardent readers.

        Thank you for getting your works out into the world. Your efforts have truly, positively reached me… and surely – even indirectly – they’ve likewise touched many, many others.

        My very best wishes in all your endeavors,

      2. Dear Charmane,

        Many thanks for these thoughtful comments. You are precisely the kind of reader I am trying to reach. People like Steiner, Jung, Blavatsky, and the others I have written about and whose ideas I continue to explore are all engaged in the same project of trying to understand who we are and what we are supposed to be doing now that we find ourselves in this mysterious world. And it must mean something that people who start out being interested in rock and roll now devote themselves to these kinds of pursuits. It’s not a question of exchanging one for the other, but of encouraging a larger and more inclusive view of reality. I am especially pleased to hear that someone like yourself, who has worked in the anthroposophical community for many years, can see the need to pool ideas and insights with people working in other schools. Thank you again and good luck with your work. All the best, Gary

  40. What must be heard and remembered is the ‘teaching” – not to be confused with the ‘cult of personality’ – distracting us from messages emanating from the oceanic depths within the human psyche via our teachers serving only as ‘messengers’ or conduits of finer energies …

  41. Hello Gary, from a fellow Jersey guy. I just bought your Hermes book from amazon, and am enjoying it. It seems like I should have come across your work sooner, since we share an interest in so many of the same people, but there it is. I could go on for quite a while, but for now please feel free to visit my site idealinthewest.com. I also have a book of that name and several articles that I’d be glad to “gift” you. Keep up the good work. Take care.

    1. Hello David. Many thanks for your message and the link to your site. I’m glad you’re enjoying Hermes. New Jersey can certainly produce some interesting things. All the best.

  42. Hello Gary,
    After reading some favourable reviews of your recent book about HPB I decided to order a copy, which I received today and will read with great interest. A quick glance around the book seemed to indicate that you have decided that the ‘Masters’ are relatively ordinary people that HPB held in particularly high esteem, rather than the members of the spiritual kingdom in nature that has evolved out of the human kingdom. However, you might be interested to know that there have been many others who have since studied with, worked for and written about these Masters of Wisdom, such as George Adamski, Rolf Alexander, Alice A. Bailey, Benjamin Creme, Murdo MacDonald-Bayne, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Helena Roerich, and Baird T. Spalding. (In 2008 I published a comprehensive overview of teachings that have come down from the Masters since HPB’s work on the website “Our Elder Brothers Return – A History in Books (1875-Present): http://www.biblioteca-ga.info.) Other books, such as “The Boy and the Brothers” by Swami Omananda (1959) or “Talking With Angels” by Gitta Mallasz (1976), are powerful testimonies to the reality of the Masters as more highly evolved ‘elder brothers’ of humanity, rather than particularly gifted ‘ordinary’ members of the human race. I was wondering if you considered this view of the Masters at all, since I can’t imagine you were not aware of these corroborations of HPB’s descriptions of the Masters? Cheers, Gerard

    1. Dear Gerard, Many thanks for your remarks. I am aware of the other interpretations of the Masters and speak of them briefly in the last section of the book. But HPB always insisted her ‘Masters’ were flesh and blood men and women – exceptional and advanced – but human just the same. I myself have not had any contact with Masters, flesh and blood or otherwise, but I keep an open mind about these things. In the book I was trying to stay as close as possible to what Blavatsky herself believed, rather than argue which version of the Masters – if any – is the ‘right’ one. I personally think it is more important for us to strive to actualize our own potentials as much as possible, rather than rely on the help of ‘higher beings’, although I do not necessarily reject their possibility (or their help). All the best and many thanks for the link

  43. I am now reading your book at Rudolf Steiner, Mr. Lachman. I went to a Waldorf school for about a year-and-a-half when I was in high school ,with, of all people, the singer Judy Collins’ kid sister. The year was 1970 and her sister’s big hit at the time was her version of ‘Amazing Grace’. Six years later, I found myself one day in a recording studio on top of Radio City Music Hall, NYC. My brother and his band were recording an album with Richard Gottehrer, and they were sharing this studio with you. I walked into the studio that day to find Richard, Rob Freeman, and Debby H. working on the final mix of ‘In The Flesh’. Of course, I said “hello”.

    1. Thomas, it is a small world. I remember the Radio City studio well, especially being in the elevator with some of the Rocketttes… All the best and I hope you will enjoy the book.

  44. Hi Gary,
    I really enjoyed your book about Ouspensky, thanks for your contribute. I’m guitarist from Italy, i teach and play in Lucid Dream band… I attack the opening track of my solo album “Rock Meditations”, this album is a deep voyage in the realm of Soul…Hope you feel it!

    1. Dear Simone, many thanks for the link. I’m sure Ouspensky would be surprised that he’s inspired a guitarist in a rock band. I’m glad you liked the book and that it seems to be getting to the right people. All the best, Gary

      1. Yes Gary!!Ouspensky would be happy looking at me while in the silence of my presence i try to crystallize the music in my body, my heart and my mind, fighting hard with myself facing the infinity with my soul…!the system was to liberate people but trapped because it becomes the end and not a means to…empty and then fill but never forgetting our human nature that is the basis from which we start … we can touch the highest peaks of the sky and laugh even more absurd banality … this is our mystery…O. suffered so much because G. canceled his noble sensitive nature … we must never allow this to happen and awaken our inner life with the energy, the strength of a warrior and the sensitivity and emotion of an artist in front of magnitudes of the universe…

  45. Hi Gary,

    Firstly, I really enjoyed Secret History of Consciousness. Really eye-opening.

    I’m writing to let you know that the Lucia Light Device has arrived in London (you may have heard). I’ve been twice and am helping the guys with spreading the word. It’s around until mid May 2013. We were wondering if you might be interested in coming down to give it a try for free, if you’re still living in London?

    Just in case this doesn’t reach you in time, I’ve left a message on your Facebook account. Hope to hear from you.


    1. Just reading the wonderful Secret History of Consciousness. I am afraid I had never heard of A R Orage before and can’t find anywhere on the web how to pronounce his name – like mirage or porridge ?

      1. He originally pronounced it like ‘porridge’ but George Bernard Shaw told him that was barbaric and suggested he pronounce it as the French would. So it is O-rage, as in mi-rage. He is a brilliant though little known figure, and there are some very good chapters on him in James Webb’s book about Gurdjieff and Co., The Harmonious Circle Best, Gary

  46. Thanks Gary. GBS’s influence even greater than I knew ! I am greatly enjoying working through your books – Secret History the fourth – since I heard you on Madame B at the recent London SMN meeting.

    1. I’m glad you’re enjoying the books. If you get a chance, Orage’s grave, in Hampstead Parish Churchyard, just behind Hampstead Village on Church Row, is worth visiting. The stone has an enneagram – a symbol used in Gurdjieff’s system – carved by Eric Gill. The writer on mysticism Evelyn Underhill is also buried there, as well as the philosopher C.E.M. Joad. It may take a bit of searching, but it is certainly worth it. Cheers.

  47. Thanks again, Gary. I’ll make a point of visiting the churchyard again . Last visit many years ago (I knew Hugh Gaiskell buried there) when I hadn’t heard of Gurdjieff or Evelyn Underhill either.

  48. hello Gary

    I will really appreciate your advice: i’m an israeli student for philosophy and education and very interested in the last few years in the writing of rudolf steiner. i have a second degree, and decided to write my phd on the philosophy of steiner’s thinking. i would really like to find a university in the U.S in which i can write on this subject.
    are you by any chance can recommand on a certain professor or university to whom i can write? i didn’t chose my specific title yet, but im getting there..
    Thank you very much

    1. Dear Barak,

      You may want to get in touch with Robert McDermott at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He is a philosophy professor who has worked with Steiner’s ideas for many years; he edited a very good anthology, The Essential Steiner, and it was through this that I became interested in Steiner myself. Here is a link to the Institute’s website I am teaching an online course there this fall on the evolution of consciousness, and will be discussing some of Steiner’s ideas, along with those of other thinkers. Here is a link to Robert McDermott’s web page at the Institute; his email is listed there. I hope this is of some help. Please let me know how it turns out and good luck!

      Best, Gary

  49. I am reading your book on Jung the Mystic. I think it is a great contribution to the field of consciousness and provides a clearer understanding of Jung’s life. As a teacher of the Progoff Intensive Journal method I wonder if you know of the connection between Ira Progoff and Jung. He was Jung;s student in the 50s and developed the Intensive Journal as a tool for active imagination and individuation. He had a deep understanding of the transcendent function and wrote many books you may be interested especially his book on Jung, Synchronicity and Human Destiny which Jung praised as superior to his own. The Intensive Journal method is an outstanding teaching and practice. Ira wrote extensively about Jung, Adler, Rank and Freud as well
    Thank you for your work. Carol

    1. Dear Carol, many thanks for your comment. Yes, I know Progoff’s work. I read quite a bit of him some time ago and know his book on synchronicity and his Death and Rebirth of Psychology. I haven’t gone back to him in recent years but I will now. All the best, Gart

  50. Dear Gary Lachman,

    I hope that this finds you well.
    I’m a writer and curator with a deep interest in your writing and research.
    I wonder if you might be willing to provide me with an email or postal address at which I could write you directly?
    My contact details are below.
    Sincere thanks for your great work which I continue to glean much from.
    I wish you a wonderful 2014.
    Warmest regards!

    Pádraic E. Moore

  51. A few minutes ago I was thinking there were two Gary Lachmans. VERY happy to discover a “friend of Barfield” who is also involved in music. As a groovologist I’ve been writing about Barfield (and Gregory Bateson, Emerson and Nietzsche on “joyous science”) and dividing the world into “participation theorists” and “alienation theorists”.
    Who would you say has done most to develop Barfield’s ideas about participatory consciousness? Don’t be bashful if you think it is one of your books I need to read first.
    Happy to send you a copy of a letter to me from Barfield (Oct. 24th, 1985) in exchange for tips to a book and/or an article taking “participation” further.
    Best wishes,

    1. Dear Charlie,

      Many thanks for your message. There are a few Gary Lachmans, as far as I can tell from the Internet; I’m just one of them. Very interesting to hear of your groovology. As for Barfield, well I have written about his work in a few of my books. If you are interested its probably best to start with A Secret History of Consciousness. I devote quite a bit of space to his ideas here and also link to them to other participatory thinkers, such as Jean Gebser and the little-known Jurij Moskvitin, as well as to people like Colin Wilson and others. More recently Barfield plays a large part in my book The Caretakers of the Cosmos, again in the context of other thinkers, such as Alfred North Whitehead, Bergson, and Iain McGilchrist. I assume you know of this Barfield site: http://www.owenbarfield.org/ It is excellent. I’ll be drawing on his work for a new book I am working on, and I plan a later book, dealing with consciousness and the imagination, that will link his ideas to phenomenology. All the best, Gary

  52. Hi Gary,

    I recently read your excellent Dedalus book of the 1960’s, at 27 I am part of a generation that has always felt in the shadow of a more mythical recent past in terms of music, art and culture. Like many of my friends we have pieced together ideologies and records of the past to form our identity, as Simon Reynold’s explored in his recent book Retromania. The lure of the Sixties still leads many down different paths, as above as below, some are pleasant and some not so. Your book showed clarity regarding this and resonated with a lot of my own experiences. It was wonderful to read a book on the occult that made use of critical thinking and was wary of what Robert Anton Wilson once said, that “if you open your mind too much, your brain might fall out.”

    I’m looking forward to reading your biography of Swedenborg which is next on my list. I attended a New Church from the age of 4 to 12 but it was only until very recently, through my reading about William Blake and a visit to Swedenborg’s house on Bloomsbury Way, that I have found myself reacquainting with his works. It’s exciting to think of all the wonders and resonating ideas that lie ahead, I look forward to your work being a useful guide. Many thanks for the food for thought.

    All the best,


    1. Dear Jack, Many thanks for your warm words about Turn Off Your Mind. I hope you like Swedenborg as much. All the best and thanks again for joining the conversation here. Best, Gary

    1. Dear Paul, Many thanks. I know Henri Bortoft’s work and have drawn on it in my own writing on Goethe and Steiner. I didn’t know him but did meet him briefly at the British Library through our mutual editor Christopher More and was sorry to hear of his passing. Thank you for sharing this. Best, Gary

  53. Hi Mr Lachman,
    Im currently reading Secret History of Consciousness, my third of your books, loving it! I wanted to ask, with regard to the piece on ants in the chapter on Bergson, if you had perhaps come across the zoological perspective that in ants it is the colony tgat posesses the consciousness, not so much the single individual ant?

    Its does not of course alter the narrative on Bergson, i just thought you would enjoy seeing that perspective

    Thanks for many hours of happiness, and for tripling my amazon to-read list 😉


    1. Many thanks for your comments. I think Bergson himself does touch on this in Creative Evolution, but you might also want to look at The Life of the White Ant by Maurice Maerterlink, a contemporary of Bergson’s and, at the time, a very popular writer. The book is really about termitaries, but it does look into the idea of a group consciousness among insects – the beehive is another example. All the best, Gary

  54. Dear Gary, I am absolutely thrilled to have found your website and I was clearly led to you, your work, and your books. I look forward to an abundance of great reading on everything I have been searching for. Thank you and best regards!

  55. Hi Gary

    I dreamt last night that there was a freight train outside my house but it pulled away before I could go outside to see it. Later in the morning I was walking my dog and admiring the view across the wheat fields in the sun of the day. At the same time, in my minds eye I could clearly see the freight train from my dream.
    As I pondered on my belief that this was proof we are multidimensial beings, I also had the thought as to whether I could ‘see’ anything else simultainiously. In that instant a butterfly flew into my right eye and for a brief moment I saw in clarity the face and body of the butterfly, the wheat fields and the freight train from my dream.
    A feeling of bliss flowed through my body that I thought could not be matched until on arriving home I started to finish reading your latest book,The Caretakers Of THe Cosmos. I was at chapter six, the participatory universe,making things interesting.
    My bliss reached new heights as I realised I, like Blake, had conversed with the spiritual sun.
    Thanks for your synchronisity.

    1. Hi Terry. Many thanks for sharing this. Strangely enough, I was writing to a friend about a synchronicity of my own just before reading your message, so it seems we’ve shared a synchronicity about synchronicities… All the best, Gary

  56. Dear Gary,
    I am very pleased to have recently become acquainted with your work. Thank you for sharing your vocation as prolifically as you do.

    A month or so ago i read your book on Rudolf Steiner–the work of whom I’ve studied and admired since a (much older) friend introduced me to him when I was perhaps 16. Yet I didn’t until now (some 22 years later) know much about Steiner, the man himself. It was wonderful to take in your insights about him.

    A few weeks ago I read with great enthusiasm your book The Caretakers of the Cosmos. It was of particular interest to me in light of the work I am doing, linked with the Kogi Mamas of Columbia. The Kogi, as you may well know, live first and foremost as Caretakers of the Cosmos. They see it as their role to maintain the spiritual balance, order, and harmony of the Earth, the solar system, and the Cosmos at large. Perhaps what is most interesting about the Kogi Mamas is they maintain a tradition dating back (according to their “records”) many thousands of years (perhaps tens of) which provides very specific instruction on how the Spirit of Man can, and must, directly participate in the spiritual harmony of Creation, on behalf of and in service to The Mother. This is not a lofty theory for them, but something the Mamas engage in continuously, day and night, and typically receive 18 years of intensive training in, sometimes 27 years. It is a science that includes very specific practices (spiritual acts) and an extraordinary understanding of the spiritual organisation or structure of the Earth (and beyond), and how to engage with that spiritual structure in a life-giving / harmonising / evolutionary way.

    In reading your work, I get the impression this may be a topic that is of interest to you. If it is, and since Kogi spiritual knowledge is not publicly available (as far as I am aware), I am extending to you the invitation to contact me by email to take this matter up further.

    With heart…

    PS. I assume if I leave my email address in the form below, you’ll have access to it.

    1. Dear Johnathan,

      Many thanks for your comments and my apologies for not responding sooner. I do not know of the Kogi and what you say about them sounds fascinating. At the moment I am about to start a new book and this means that unfortunately I don’t have the spare time to devote to exploring new material. This is one of the drawbacks about writing: you have to keep a tight focus on the matter at hand – at least I do. Is there a link to information about the Kogi that you can post and share with other readers here? Or perhaps you could post some more information about them? I’m sure if you do it would be appreciated. Many thanks too for your warm words about my Steiner and also Caretakers. All the best, Gary

      1. Hello Gary, Thanks for taking the time to reply. Here’s a few links for people interested in learning more about the Kogi:

        – This is a documentary made, at their request, in 1990: http://bit.ly/19a0d6Z

        – There is also an excellent book by Alan Ereira, who made the above-mentioned documentary. Here’s the link for it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/Uwny0A

        Those are likely the best sources of publicly available information on the Kogi at this time. Below are links to information I’ve helped share pertaining to their message:

        – I was recently interviewed about the Kogi and their message, by PlanetFM in New Zealand. That interview and the write-up they did is available here: http://bit.ly/UwmSbO

        – I’ve also published on my web site a few articles about the Kogi. Here’s a link to the posts I’ve made with reference to the Kogi: http://bit.ly/Uwnzlq (the first few articles are those specifically about the Kogi; the later simply mention them somewhere in their content)

        If you are interested in learning more about the Original Knowledge of the Mother, as held by the Kogi, feel free to contact me.

        Gary, I wish you all the best with your next book. May the inspiration flow as fruitfully as it has for your previous works. I look forward to reading it.

        With heart,


        (P.S. I tried posting this reply via the comment system on your site, but it keeps telling me, “Sorry, this comment could not be posted”. Hopefully it gets through to you this way… via email)

      2. Greetings Gary, I trust you are well, and the new book is coming along nicely. I posted links to more info on the Kogi, as suggested, although I see that comment is “awaiting moderation”. It’s been over a month, so I thought you may have overlooked it.

        All the best,


      3. Sorry Jonathan. I see that I did miss it – blame the busy life of the freelance writer. I approved it just now and it should be up anytime soon. All the best, Gary

  57. Dear Mr. Lachman,

    I recently read your biography of Rudolf Steiner and very much enjoyed it. (Like you, I’m still somewhat perplexed as to how his genuine philosophical/mystical insights manage to sit with all that “Buddha on a Mission to Mars” stuff… He was definitely a remarkable person, though. I found his compassionate tutoring of the boy suffering from Hydrocephalus particularly moving.) The book was great —and I’ve been appreciatively reading numerous articles of yours on here. I came across the Strindberg piece just a little while ago, and thought it was a wild ride.

    I’m a fellow blogger – I’ve written about mystical and religion-related topics quite a bit, and thought you might be interested in some of my articles. As a student and a fan of the great English language poets—particularly Blake and Yeats, with their strong esoteric affinities—I tend to cite them somewhat frequently. I’m particularly interested in the way poetry (and in Blake’s case, visual art) became a kind of meditative practice for the aforementioned pair of creator-seers. So, I thought you might find these articles potentially worthwhile – I’ll include the links below. If you have any feedback, I’d be totally grateful! (Of course, if you’re busy, there’s no need to worry about it). My email address might be visible to you through the way these comment submissions work (I think?).

    (I originally sent this first piece to Buddhist periodicals—if I hadn’t had that aim in mind when I wrote it, it probably would’ve been nearly the same in terms of substance, but I naturally would’ve taken it easier on the Buddhism references. The second piece is shorter than the first and is more of personal reflection—maybe related in spirit to *The Outsider*.)



    All the Best,


    1. Dear Sam,

      Many thanks for your warm words about Steiner. I’m glad you liked the book, and yes, the Buddha on Mars does pose problems for people trying to get a idea of why Steiner is important. Thanks also for sharing the links to your articles. All the best, Gary

  58. Hello Mr. Lachmann! how fun to find your ‘About’ page full of conversation like this, i love how the web has made this possible (being of a vintage similar to yours, i remember when our treasured authors seemed as far away as the stars…..).

    I’m reading and enjoying your bio on Madame Blavatsky now. I’m fascinated enough by occult history to be perfectrly willing to slog through the most impenetrable, obtuse writing in order to glean a new nugget or three; what a treat to find your book full of well-done research and presented in such an easy to follow and engaging style! As the saying goes, you make it look easy, which i’m finding it decidedly is not, first hand.

    In Chapter Five you discuss Joscelyn Godwin’s theory on ‘why’ spiritualism and it’s many manifestations erupted in the USA at the particular time it did. His idea is that certain occult elements decided to recruit entities from ‘the other side’ so as to create these paranormal events in the hope of convincing the public at large of the reality of the spirit world (as a counter-balance to the rise of materialistic science).

    Your notes point the reader to Godwin’s original presentation in “Theosophical History” (1990-1991), but unfortunately i’ve been unable to find any access to archives of that periodical. I went through my local library, the web, and have been searching the JSTOR database but no luck thus far. I’m not a student and don’t know any right now, so i can’t go through UCB (which is a pity as i’m in Berkeley a few times a month).

    Might it be possible for you to point me to some resource to be able to read this article? I’ve long been interested in this aspect of history and as i’m sure you know it’s difficult and obscure. I was delighted to read your outline of Godwin’s ideas in your book.

    Thank you so much for your time! re: synchs, i was fortunate a few years ago to have a truly wonderful one involving hummingbirds and the Nazca lines – Mike Clelland published it on his blog here:


    Happy Day!!!! steph

    1. Dear Stephanie,

      I came across copies of Theosophical History at the British Library. I would think trying the Theosophical Society might be a good idea. I’m not sure where they are located in the Bay Area but I would imagine they have a center somewhere in the area. You might also want to look at Godwin’s The Theosophical Enlightenment (SUNY 1994) which traces the ‘occult history’ of the 18th and 19th centuries, leading up to HPB. There is also an interesting book, The Transcendental Universe, by C.G. Harrison (London: Temple Lodge, 1993); Christopher Bamford’s introduction deals with the ‘Hidden Hand’ theme. Good hunting and many thanks for the kind words re my Madame Blavatsky. All the best, Gary

      1. Hullo Mr. L! oh, of course! There’s a Theosophical Soc. branch here in SF, i’ll check there first. There seems to be a couple of branches of TS libraries here on the west coast as well so i’ll check out their policies.

        I should be able to get a look at Godwin’s “The Theosophical Enlightenment” thru JSTOR’s free access and/or the interlibrary loan at my county library, so i’ll start there. Thank you for the help and the good wishes!

        Yours in solidarity with the massively stout, steph

  59. Hi Gary, I have enjoyed your book about Swedenborg and watching some of your interviews on line. Are you aware of “off the Left Eye” which is the Swedenborg Foundation’s internet blog and videos and interviews about Swedenborg and Life ? I am a Swedenborgian Scholar at Bryn Athyn College and they were kind enough to interview me on this last Monday. See you tube at….

    Swedenborg and Life: How to Tell the Difference Between Good and Evil Spirits, August 11th 2014


    If you have time, i would love you to watch it and give us some reactions. Maybe Curtis, the moderator, could interview you sometime!

    1. Dear Soni, many thanks for this. I didn’t know about the site, but will certainly check it out. I’d be happy to do an interview for it some time. Let me know if that is a possibility. BY the way, I have a chapter on Swedenborg in a new book coming out this fall, Revolutionaries of the Soul. All the best, Gary

  60. Hi Gary (again): your parallels (in Secret History of Consciousness) b/w Steiner and Mavromatis are very elucidating. Thank you. In reading through that passage I was reminded of Stewart White’s “Unobstructed Universe” with its holarchically nested realities, which are phenomenologically predicated on different “frequencies” of being, and all that ontological jazz. So, I was wondering if you are familiar with “Betty” and Stewart White’s writing and what you thought about all that. Thank you for your erudition and the clever way in which you are connecting seemingly disparate dots in this human archive of thought.

    1. Dear Pavel, thank you for your kind words about A Secret History of Consciousness. I’m glad you’ve found the links between Steiner and hypnagogia helpful. I think there is a great deal of material to be explored concerning the notion of an “ancient wisdom” and the kind of consciousness Mavromatis suggests is characteristic of the older parts of the brain. The more I look into it, the more it makes a great deal of sense. All the best, Gary

  61. Dear Gary –
    You appeared as a suggested contact on Linkedin, so I decided to check out your website…and love your writing! I recently launched a website that I would love to share with you as I feel there is both resonance and coherence in the work we do: promoting consciousness for the cohesion of humanity.

    Sending you love and light during this time of transition for all of us.

  62. Hi Gary,
    I’m new to so much of what you talk about, but as of today during a healing session with an Intuitive Psychic Healer in Sedona, it seems I will know much more soon..
    The psychic told me that today was completely different than any other session she’d ever encountered in her practice. Ahead of time, she was given Madam Blavatsky’s name intuitively, and then Madam B. told her to tell me this when I got there:
    “Get to know me–I choose to come through you to spread the lost information needed today. You are strong, courageous, sensible & grounded–ready for the task. This is the mission you were born to do!
    You choose:
    -Release past attachments that do not serve you.
    -You will take my information & express it your way for modern man to comprehend.
    -I trust you will know exactly what to do.
    –Call on me to guide you.
    -You must study my works.
    -You are to pick up where I left off.”

    Now, I’ve never heard of Madam B. before today, but I’ve been studying spirituality since 2003, and also asking to be able to channel angels/ascended masters for a long time.
    So I plan to research her works after I get back from Sedona, but meanwhile, I googled her name and you came up repeatedly.
    Can you help me, please? I’m not sure where to begin, but would ask you for help with getting to know Madam B’s work?
    There’s only one condition I’ve placed on the Universe at this time and that is to allow me to remain present during the channeling sessions so that I get to enjoy them also. Otherwise, I’m open to whatever Life presents to me now.
    Thank you so much, Blessings,
    SHerry Agarwal

    1. Dear Sherry, Many thanks for your message. If you’d like to learn more about Madame Blavatsky, you could read my book about her, but there is also lots of information about her on web. I would, however, caution you to take care with any ‘messages’ you receive from channels and so on. Blavatsky herself was very wary and critical of the ‘voices’ heard in such experiences and so I would advise to take anything you hear with several grains of salt. All the best, Gary

  63. Dear Gary,

    I am a student of film, theatre and media theory from Austria and currently live in London to write my thesis about Satanic/Occult Imagery in 1960s British Rock ‘n’ Roll. I’ve recently read your book Turn off your mind and am very intrigued by it. I’m quite far with my thesis and have already read a lot of books and articles on the subject and recently conducted an Interview with Gavin Baddeley (Lucifer Rising).

    In my thesis I am also covering the history of Satan in the arts (with emphasis on music), the rise of the British/American youth culture during that period and the creation of folk devils and heroes. As an example I’m mainly focusing on the Rolling Stones from their rise to fame – Altamont 1969. I’ll mention Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin but there won’t be enough space to elaborate on them as well. Another small chapter will be on Aleister Crowley, possibly Anton Szandor LaVey as well as Kenneth Anger.

    I would be very interested in speaking to you about the subject in person. As you live in London, I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet you for a coffee and a chat. Would you be interested?

    I am looking forward to hearing from you.

    All the best,

    Manon Steiner
    E-Mail: manon.tatjana@gmail.com

  64. I just bought your book Turn Off Your Mind, after ordering it by a bookstore in the place where I live in Germany and I can’t help but make a comment on the publishing house and its logo : the name of the publisher is Disinformation and has as its sign (so to say) a rather strange creature -its head, that is- on top of which sits proudly the saturnian sign of the horns – and that on a book that deals with the eerie influence of the occult in our favourite decade of all ages, the mythical and saturnian sixties !

  65. But no offence really. The book is really good, fast, interesting, at times fascinating. I learn things I really did not have the slightest idea about. Thanks.

  66. Would like to get an e-mail address to ask about why metaphysic people say different things about realities they say exist, but between them all they fight a war. It is not consequent. More: how to use metaphysics in our physical reality that is definitely objective. Is there possibly a right of existence for all living forms or not?/Johan.

    1. Dear Johan. We can think of the different reports by people recounting their experiences in the same way that we can those of early explorers encountering different parts of an unexplored land. Early visitors to Nova Scotia and those to the West Indies both reached a New World, but the parts of it they encountered were very different. Likewise, people disagree about their experiences in everyday life, so why shouldn’t this be also true of the non-everyday? There are many sides to reality and at best we can see only a few at a time.

      1. Thanks for answer. I can see of your book on HPB that you seem to be aware of how easy destructivity or in my term “repulsion” takes over anything if possible. Do not then work with repulsion at all and always use correctives in what you say land write. Never use symbols, as they are inexact and dangerous with respect to neurosis. That is the law of repulsion. But life forms cannot prosper nor develop with repulsion, only with the life forces, attraction. Now, HPB was not a scientific person, why the Theosophy was fared apart. I have tried to read Alice A Bailey (AAB) but can’t read one sentence. Without any meaning at all. The Swedish Henry T Laurency (HTL – one book translated into English “The Philosophers Stone”) wrote about Theosophists like HPB, AAB and especially Leadbeater. He did apparently managed to systematicize Theosophy and other metaphysical statements for very good reasons and results. I can accept his texts to c 10%, the rest seem neurotic and subjective. Would recommend you to look more to Powell’s books and Leadbeater but especially Babbitt’s atom of 1878, Occult Chemistry (1894, 1905, 1954) to get to a mere exact hypothesis of metaphysical realities. I am myself not very interested in metaphysics of subjective types like Martinus, Brunton, Steiner nor AAB and many others. I have wondered about why you do not mention New Thought and Quimby and authors like Emerson, William James, Walt Whitman etc. They are from exact the same period, from 1850 on. Spiritism also. Why HPB had to quarrel with them is not acceptable. The conflict between Besant and Steiner not necessary. And what about the marxist Annie Besant in Fabian Society with their racist politics? So – the law of repulsion out of the neurosis is a factor to ponder on. Now, how to reach a new Human Rights? I am trying with the objective ground of rights, as no metaphysician have touched that in the memory of that physical life is prime to any metaphysical statements. The mess of HPB is somewhat cleaned out by yourself and to a great deal by HTL. Best wishes, Johan, Malmoe, Sweden.

  67. Dear Gary,
    My favourite book of all time is “Turn Off Your Mind”.
    After reading Colin Wilson’s “The Mind Parasites” last year and feeling that the book seems very relevant today I was fascinated to hear you mention it at the Fortean Times event in London, shortly afterwards. As there seems to be a growing interest in sustaining mystical states I wondered if you might be planning a book sometime on the usage of psychedelic plants as a catalyst for evolution and their permanent effect on human consciousness. Terence McKenna wrote much about the history of this (Food of The Gods etc) but I am very keen to read your take on it with more occult emphasis.
    Staying in The Amazon with shamen and using said medicine, in my experience, can certainly facilitate prolonged states of mystical awareness which I have heard you discuss. The subject is so taboo, Graham Hancock’s banned TED Talk “The War on Consciousness” has become a cause célèbre.

    Regards, Steve

    1. Hello Steve and thanks for the message. Funny thing. I was just asked if I wanted to see an advanced copy of a new book Graham Hancock has edited, about precisely what you are talking about. I know his and McKenna’s work and saw them both speak over the years. I review Supernatural for the Guardian some years back. And I have been thinking of a book along these lines. My question would be: what have we really learned after – say – a century of drug experimentation and what can it tell us about consciousness? I have one book to finish though and another to start (on Colin Wilson, actually) so I wouldn’t be able to get to it for awhile. But it is interesting that you bring up the idea. And many thanks for the warm words about Turn Off Your Mind. All the best, Gary

  68. Hello Gary and thanks for your reply. Daniel Pinchbeck is another name to add to the list of writers on this subject, my girlfriend sat next to him at a Ceremony in New York. To succinctly answer the question forming the basis for your planned book, it would appear that the opiates, used recreationally or as painkillers, frequently lead to addiction and/or dependency but not evolution of the individual. The plant psychedelics however, act as a catalyst for the human psyche’s development. Unfortunately, in my experience, these elicit ceremonies are rapidly becoming an expensive underground, self-justifying recreational social scene for many, which prevents the objective of crystalisation of the intellect after processing. A year perhaps is necessary. This is crucial for the evolver in a similar way to the useage of antibiotics which only work after you have stopped ingesting them. It would be an honour to contribute to your research when you begin writing the book. Steve

    1. Thanks for this Steve. I know Daniel. We’ve met a few times and have corresponded. I reviewed his first book for the Guardian and we had an exchange on Reality Sandwich a while back about the 2012 business. I’ll certainly let you know if I do a book like this or not. All the best, Gary

  69. Dear Gary,

    I’m Nicolae Tanase, founder of Excellence Reporter – excellencereporter.com

    I’m currently on a mission to build the largest “Meaning of Life” Community, in that I interview leaders, writers, musicians, artists, poets, CEOs, laymen, etc., etc. about the meaning of life.

    I would like to ask you if you’d be willing to participate in the Meaning of Life project? The interview goes very simple: write down your insight on one question: “What is the meaning of life?” (no word limit). Then, with your consent, I will publish it at excellencereporter.com

    I’d be grateful to have you interconnected in the ‘Meaning of Life’ network. People need your wisdom on the meaning of life.

    Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Warm regards,
    Nicolae Tanase
    nicolae @ tanasse [dot] com
    cell: removed

    PS. Please email the response. I’m not sure I’ll come back here. Thank you.

  70. My name is Kevin Taylor. I am working on my second book about the heiress Aimee Crocker, who had a ten year affair with Aleister Crowley when she was in her 50s. She was directly linked with other artists, mystics and thinkers such as Oscar Wilde, Edgar Saltus, Nicholas Roerich, Enrico Caruso and Rudolph Valentino and was closely linked to Blavatsky (through a friend Edmund Russell, a member of Blavatsky’s inner circle), Gurdjieff and Ouspensky (through her 5th husband, Mstislav Galitzine, a Russian prince) and Thomas Edison (her father in law was his agent). Her father built the Transcontinental Railroad and founded the Crocker Art Museum. Aimee was, like Crowley and Blavatsky, a world traveler who lived for 10 years in Asia lingering the longest in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai, Borneo, Java and India. She was 9th degree initiate of OTO. Her cousins were founding members of the Bohemian Club. Cousin William, was a 33rd degree Mason. William financed the first television and the first cyclotron and another cousin, Templeton, is credited with bringing Art Deco to America and American opera to Europe. Her grandson was a famous cryptozoologist who captured the first live giant panda, then thought to be a mythical creature. A fascinating story. Would you consider reviewing my book? You can read more about Aimee Crocker on my wikipedia page about her and you can contact me at frugoliandtaylor@gmail.com.

  71. Dear Gary, I found out about your books quite recently, and have been very interested – especially in the Steiner one (having gone to a Steiner school) – and the others I have only had time to dip into. I felt they have been well researched, something many New Age books are not – I was an academic historian and taught modern history at a few universities.
    Have you ever come across the WHITE EAGLE LODGE mainly in England? I was a member for decades, used to be a Group Leader in it, attended many events, and even facilitated some week long residential retreats for them (on the Planets, and another on Divine Mother) – I mention this to show I know a lot about the organisation and its leaders.
    If you ever wanted some background, I could provide a lot of material. I also have been into their archives and have copies of a few things about how their Occult Brotherhood was founded in the early 1930s. And I discussed this out of keen interest when in England in 1990 and again in 1992.
    I am thus not some mere outsider. Their Lodge “Mother” Jenny Dent (grand daughter of the founding medium, Grace Cooke) has even stayed in my house. She seems to see herself as a New HPB in contact with “Glorious Beings” in “Ashrams” in the Himalayas. She wrote many pages all about her glorious ascension to all members, most of whom appear to have lapped this stuff up – it was nonsense. The woman is very often wildly mistaken in her decisions, not guided by any “spirit” worth following. I guess her Master’s initials are “E.G.O.”
    I also know her cousins who also are top leaders – in some ways it is very closed shop and controlled like an inherited business enterprise – except the leader is infallible.
    I had to abandon my involvement when I found the top leaders all appeared to be carefully deceiving me about removing a leading figure at the UK’s Temple’s Wisdom School (in its Astrology arm). He also stalked, harassed and psychically attacked me when I was living in London in 1992. The top London Lodge leader said of the guy he could “believe everything” that I “say about” him (he knows him well too, but they promoted him, and have protected him from my criticisms I knew the guy well, and learned he had come to the Lodge from some sort of Aleister Crowley type Black Magic group.
    If you were ever to write about them, you need to know they (and their “histories”) can be very slippery with “facts” (after all “Reality is the Slayer of the Real” is one of their favourite sayings – so let’s hide anything we don’t like).
    They cover up an awful lot of things such as inducing vulnerable old people into changing their wills – I knew a lot about one case of a lady who signed a new will while visiting England, when she was in hospital, dying and drugged, this was told to me by her Barrister in Sydney Australia.
    The infallible Lodge Mother even offered the leadership of the Lodge in Sydney (which is where the old lady’s house is located), plus 1/4 of a million dollars – so it might seem a plum leadership position – but I didn’t like to be her pawn and to be sackable at a moment’s notice, as has happened to others here who’ve been unpleasantly humiliated by being chucked on the scrap heap for daring to have an original thought. Nor do I feel comfortable about the old lady’s Estate being misappropriated – who’d want to be in on this sort of fraud?

    1. Dear Antony, many thanks for your message and I’m glad you are enjoying my books. I have heard of the White Eagle Lodge and remember seeing books about it when I worked at a “new age” bookshop many years ago, but sadly am not familiar with their teachings and beliefs. It sounds as if you are and that your experience with them wasn’t completely positive. I don’t belong to any group and tend to stay away from them. This isn’t to say all are bad or unscrupulous, just that its been my experience that they tend to repeat in a microcosmic form all of the problems that are part of everyday life, all of the petty squabbles and power struggles, and that is just a waste of time. I also think any progress we make happens through individuals confronting their own limitations and advancement or failure in some spiritual society can obscure these. It does sound like you have material for a book; why don’t you get your insights down on paper – or a computer screen – if you haven’t already? All the best and thanks for sharing your ideas.

  72. Dear Gary,
    I discovered your work through your book, Politics and the Occult and am overwhelmed with your knowledge. I came to your book via my research on Mircea Eliade; in it, I discovered the Traditionalist movement (which explains a lot of my own experiences with the far right in this country). I’ve been a student of Giordano Bruno for years and wonder where you’d place him in the esoteric tradition. Bruno is a strong link between Eliade and my current subject, Ioan Culianu. Are you familiar with Culianu? I’m studying the relationship between Eliade, Culianu and Bruno for a film I’m doing on Culianu. In a way, I see Eliade as the “dark side” of Culianu — a force that drew him into the past he was running from (echoing Marlowe’s, “That which nourishes me, consumes me.”) Would it be possible to discuss this further with you? I don’t see the traditionalist urge in either Bruno or Culianu but maybe I am missing something. Both rejected the ‘modern’ world but both held a strong belief in the future, especially Bruno, and neither worshiped tradition. I’d be very grateful to hear your ideas. You may follow me on twitter @lightgraphs and we can talk that way too. I have some work on Hamlet that might interest you (based on Gatti, not Yates) and some footage of thinkers in the Campo dei Fiori in February 2000. I look forward to your ideas.
    Many thanks, Julia Jones

    1. Dear Julia, many thanks for your message. Yes, I know of Culianu; I’ve read his book and have read about him in different sources, such as the Ted Anton book. I write about Bruno in my book The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus, which, as you may suspect, is a study of Hermeticism and the impact the figure of thrice greatest Hermes had on western consciousness. You may want to take a look at it. A film about Culianu sounds like a fascinating project. At the moment I am just beginning a new book and as you might imagine am a bit preoccupied with that. But if you’d like to tell me more about your project I”d be interested to hear about it. Best, Gary

      1. Dear Gary, I’ve been away from this site for too long but your work has been central to my work on Culianu and I appreciate your reply. The Culianu film, based on Ted’s book, is going forward; it looks like we might have E, Elias Merhige (Shadow of a Vampire) as director. I would like to read every book you have written but have to focus since I’m a very slow reader. I hope I might talk to you more about your work and the politics of the occult, and tell you about the film. We should be filming in Europe next year. Please let me know if I can send you more info. I believe the occult forces that have dominated the past 2600 years are at last leaving the earth. It’s a new time and your work, Bruno and Culianu are all part of the coming times. With best wishes, Julia

      2. Dear Gary, I’ve been away from this site for too long but your work has been central to my work on Culianu and I appreciate your reply. The Culianu film, based on Ted’s book, is going forward; it looks like we might have E, Elias Merhige (Shadow of a Vampire) as director. I would like to read every book you have written but have to focus since I’m a very slow reader. I hope I might talk to you more about your work and the politics of the occult, and tell you about the film. We should be filming in Europe next year. Please let me know if I can send you more info. I believe the occult forces that have dominated the past 2600 years are at last leaving the earth. It’s a new time and your work, Bruno and Culianu are all part of the coming times. With best wishes, Julia

      3. Hi Julia. Very good to hear from you and I’m glad that the film is moving ahead, Yes, please let me know how it progresses. Don’t worry about reading all my books – that is too much to ask of anyone! I hope you enjoy the ones you do read though. All the best, Gary

      4. Hi Gary, I will keep you posted. We’re talking to E. Elias Merhige about directing. He loves the script and the story. Do you remember his Shadow of a Vampire? I’ll let you know what happens during the film market this week. Are you taking in refugees in case I need to flee the coming wave of fascism in the U.S.? Perhaps I’ll bring my computer and seek shelter in the UK. Best, Julia 🙂

  73. Would love to book you on my SiriusXM radio show. Reached out to Tarcher/Penguin, but would like to see if you could come on our Halloween show on Saturday. My email is alfred.schulz at siriusxm dot com, thanks.

  74. Dear Gary,

    I’m the host of Quick to Listen, a podcast dedicated to spiritual and philosophical discussions of contemporary music.

    Would you like to be a guest on the podcast? I’ve read ‘A Secret History of Consciousness’ and am midway through your bio of Aleister Crowley — I know we could have a fruitful conversation. Your research and insights go right to the heart of topics we normally only have the language to skirt around on the podcast. Please drop me a line if you think you might be interested, so I can extend a proper introduction and invitation.

    Best regards,

    Grant V.


  75. Hi Gary,

    Ryan in Detroit here. Huge fan of your work!

    World’s Greatest L.S.D. Story

    Just wanted to let you know that William Leonard Pickard’s awe-inspiring 656-page book “The Rose of Paracelsus: On Secrets and Sacraments” came out on Amazon.com!


    Here is my review of the work:


    ‘The Rose of Paracelsus’ takes the reader on a journey to the fascinating realms of “The Six,” an elite international group of six chemists who are devoted to actively driving cognitive evolution of the human species by synthesizing and distributing “planetary-scale batches” of psychedelics.

    I helped do some research and editing for the book, just thought it might be something you would be interested in. Please contact me if so. Thanks, hope all is well, take care! Merry Christmas!

  76. Excited to start reading your newest book. Great great interview on Gebser site. Have you ever read Kenneth Burke’s The Rhetoric of Religion: Studies in Logology, or Valle-Inclán’s The Lamp of Marvels?

  77. Just started reading The Secret Teachers of the Western World. I found the introduction fascinating. As a teacher, what you described matches perfectly with the goals and aims of the Common Core Curriculum that is being taught in the US at the moment.

    I wanted your thoughts on a theory have about how the Right Side thinking, although under attack for several centuries manages to insert itself into materialist thinking. I was thinking in particular of the Inquisition and Galileo in 1633.

    I can’t help thinking there is something to be connected here with the book of Revelation. God’s representative’s in God’s house denying the truth and therefore creating the schism between science and faith that led to science becoming the main adversary of faith, and also causing the church to abrogate its responsibility as a bridge between the two worlds. How metaphorical is that?

    1. Dear Douglas, many thanks for your comments and I am glad you are enjoying the book and seeing some relevance in it to your work. Your Book of Revelations idea sounds intriguing. I have read Revelations at different times over the years and am curious how you see the connection? All the best, Gary

      1. Thanks for replying so promptly. I have also read your book on Jung. Looking in my bookcase, I also found your books on the the occult in politics. Last night, I listened to an interview you gave where you mentioned the Ouspensky books. I also picked those out when I was younger, but never fully understood them. You have a great gift for explaining difficult concepts.

        While Googling your site. I ran across a quote of yours about individuation. This is the idea that I have been sharing with my students for the last few years. Non-narcissistic Individuation, is the goal of the individual. Myth says this, Literature says this, psychology says this, religions say this, and now the rest of science is catching up to it. There is a frightfully important educational aspect to what you are saying. Common Core Standards do away with literature at the high school level. It is as if we purposefully trying to create zombies.

        The Revelation connection? Jung says we deal with the subconscious, or it deals with us. Certain events in history defy logical explanation. My point is that Galileo’s inquisition is a such a event. It is more of metaphorical event (an intrusion of the creative universe’s urge to right things) than a material experience (even while being both).

        The Pope becomes the Antichrist, as the church, denying the truth of science, no longer teaches the way to bridge the two worlds (look at the sale of indulgences where it sold tickets to heaven). The church has rites and symbols but no longer understands the purpose of the them. Science has the truth but no longer has meaning. It is a recipe for disaster, which I’m sure you would agree, the World Wars were.

        This interpretation gives an interesting take on science ( left brain) being the prodigal son as recent discoveries in quantum physics leads it back home to the where it started.

        One last thing, there are two books I think you would like as they help validate your ideas. One is by Dr. Kazuo Murakami and is entitled The Divine Code of Life. It deals with the idea that our DNA is coded for us to be the best the best version that we can be.
        The other is entitled The Shining Stranger by Preston Herald ( pseudonym). It is a radical interpretation of Christ’s mission and has a section on the development of reading and language I am sure you would find very interesting.

      2. Many thanks for this Douglas. Yes, I believe our educational system is completely wrong-headed, not only in the US but what I can make of it here in the UK, where I have two sons in the UK equivalent of high school. It’s basically geared to produce cyphers that can fit neatly into the system, which is focussed on money making and careers. And as you say it only widens the gap between our two “selves,” our left and right brain mode of perception. I occasionally give lectures to high school students and in fact have been asked to return to Eton, where I gave talks a few years ago. The teacher is using my Secret Teachers as a course book and wants me to speak about Jung and Steiner. So there is perhaps some hope. Before I moved to London I did graduate work at USC and then worked for a year as a science writer at UCLA. At both places I got the impression that the true aims of education had been lost a long time ago. Do you know the work of the historian Jacques Barzun? He was a remarkable individual, not only for the fact that he lived to be 104, but for his insightful ideas about education. I think he would have shared your concern. Among his many books is Begin Here a brilliant critique of modern methods of ‘education’. Thanks for the book suggestions; I will check them out. All the best.

  78. Dr. Michael P. Mau of the Sanctus Germanus Foundation is looking for a director (familiar with the ‘ancient wisdom’) for a screenplay for a biographical film about HPB. I would like to send you the outline and/or the whole screenplay. Does anyone suitable immediately spring to mind? It would also work well on the stage.

    1. Dear Caroline, many thanks for your message. The one director I knew who might be a good candidate has other projects on and so isn’t available. I myself am in the last stages of a new book and need to keep focussed on that. I am sorry I can’t be of more help at the moment. If I can think of anyone else I will pass their name on to you. I am glad that you are hoping to make a film about HPB. She certainly deserves a good one. All the best, Gary

  79. Dear Gary, Thank you very much for replying: it is much appreciated. Peter Kosminsky strikes me as ideal for this task, but is ‘forward-committed’ for ages. Who were you thinking of? Might I contact him/her in the future? Respect your need to focus and grateful for any names as/when they occur. Best wishes, Caroline

  80. Just finished chapter seven of The Secret Teachers of the Western World. Wow. The image of Kevin and the movie Footloose flashed in my head.

    I was reading an article about teaching cursive writing. Thought you might appreciate this from a study by a Dr. Virginia Berninger.

    ” Printing and typing do not stimulate the synchronicity between the brain’s right and left side, but cursive does.”

  81. I just finished The Secret Teachers. It was amazing. I have a library full of books on esoteric thought and psychology. A lot of them are full of fluff, so I find something to think about and then put them aside. I read The Secret Teachers from cover to cover.

    It was a stroke of brilliance to tie the history together with Iain McGilchrist’s theories. It not only kept the narrative structure together but allowed the reader to look at the information from a whole new perspective.

    I read at every break in my day, and the only thing that slowed me down was seeing all of the analogous relationships between historical and cultural events. This morning I picked up Colin Wilson’s The Occult again, and there in the introduction he talks of the difference between microscopic consciousness and telescopic consciousness. I’m teaching my kids about the Scientific Revolution this morning. I said, “Damn, I have to rethink this thing.”

    I’m sure you hear this all of the time, but it was an amazing book. Great Job.

    1. Douglas, I am very happy you got something out of the book. I don’t hear how amazing it or anything else I’ve written is all the time, and even if I did, coming from a reader like you that is a compliment indeed. I’m also glad you see the importance of tying our esoteric history in with the history of consciousness a la McGilchrist. I’ve just been asked to be interviewed for a film about his ideas, so perhaps I’ll have a chance to spread the word about this. Once again, many thanks and especially for that lovely amazon review. All the best, Gary

  82. Dear Gary,

    Since meeting you through Tony Peake at the St Pancras Belltower ‘gathering’ a few months ago, I have really enjoyed three of your books and two of your recommendations. I am very impressed by the research and the presentation of the subject, but also uplifted by the validity and endorsement such scholarship brings. One particular section about the chain of being and the progressive development of consciousness in The Secret History of Consciousness knocked my socks off – you gathered it and paced it so well – brilliantly done. And I am hooked, and daunted, by the list of titles that now await me.

    Similarly your timely lionising of Colin Wilson’s contribution to twentieth century ideas. His immense contribution to literary criticism has been criminally ignored. His commonsense response to some of the literary colossi of modernism was sometimes the only thing that kept me sane during student days – not that I ever mentioned him – not after the first time.

    Being very taken with both A Secret History of Consciousness, and Secret Teachers of the Western World, I’m contacting you to bring to your attention the work of a ‘little known sage’ Eugene Halliday. People bringing friends and teachers before you may happen a lot – and I can understand why . And I would not have dreamt of bothering you this except in that Halliday seems to have similarly focussed on language as both a reflection and condensation so to speak of conscious awareness. And he specifically emphasised etymology in a way that chimed so well alongside Owen Barfield, whom you have just re-introduced me to. Barfield like Wilson was mentioned during student days but disparaged and de-valued as old hat.

    Eugene Halliday [1911 – 87 ] now seems to me to be strongly influenced by Barfield although whether directly or through Lewis I don’t know. I now feel from the information that you have presented me with and from chewing through History in English Words and Poetic Diction [and there’s another list of books I have to get to – soon] that Halliday has carried these ideas into working more on the definitions of the terms. How, in fact, that consciousness can represent meaning with groupings of letters; and analysing them to a structure of metaphors from physical situations, embedded into the syllables and the forms of the letters themselves; presenting meaning both sonically and visually as to how they are produced in the mouthparts and the larynx, and in their drawn glyphs

    Eugene never mentioned Barfield, to me. He said he had drawn his impetus from Jakob Boehme and his concept of the ‘natura sprake’, the pre – Babel universal human language. And he himself drew parallels with Hebrew and Greek letterforms back to Egyptian pictographs.

    This was not his only teaching, but it underpinned all he said and words were constantly analysed by him in his lectures and presented in this way in his lectures.

    If you are interested and have the time, below is a link to a recorded talk by him on ‘Words’ introducing some of his ideas. The recording is not wonderful, it was an old Grundig reel to reel recording made by amateurs circa 1960, and badly miked to boot but ears tune to it fairly quickly. It was made in Liverpool, to a small audience and from the garbled early moments seems – as all his best talks were – an off the cuff response to a woman suggesting ‘words’ as a topic of the night’s talk.

    [audio src="http://www.eugenehallidayarchive.info/Audio_liv/words.mp3" /]

    I do hope you find this talk interesting.

    Best wishes,
    Alan Roberts

    1. Hello Alan. Many thanks for sharing this. I don’t know of Halliday’s work, but it looks like I should. I’ll check out the link. And thank you for the warm words about the books. I hope you like the latest, on Wilson. He’s the inspiration for everything else. Cheers, Gary

  83. Dear Gary – I just finished Secret Teachers and want to thank you for this remarkable overview and compendium of esoteric thought and consciousness. This book has had a profound effect upon my psyche in a way I will try to describe to you.

    Firstly I have bookshelf full of esoteric and consciousness related literature – from Gurdjieff to Alice Bailey, Krishnamurti and everything in between. (Like you I once worked at and owned an occult bookstore). But Secret Teachings has allowed me to put all these authors and teachers in both historical context and perhaps most importantly in my own evolution and understandings.

    The key learning for me was a combination of the understanding of the concept of ” active imagination” as a continuity of esoteric tradition by many other names. I have had a long standing direct experience of this through my own personal work which has been a rather unique combination of lifelong direct intuitive experiences and extensive study and practise of Aikido and the Theosophical traditions through the work of Sanaya Roman.

    In other words the direct embodied experience of “Ki” or Life Force energy that I was taught as a young man from a teacher who studied with the founder of Aikido – Morihei Uyeshiba – led me to explore the teachings of MPB and Alice Bailey through not only reading but again direct embodied experience of the ” Light Body” and its layers and navigation. I had always somehow know as a young child that I did not “end at my skin” , talking to trees and animals etc. as a young child will but somehow never losing that innocent direct experience. Talk about feeling like an outsider!

    I thought as a young man that everyone could see into the inner dimensions and feel the vibrations of energetic reality! Well apparently not quite yet…I found out.

    During my time on the planet I have spent a number of years “Forrest Gumping ” my way around California and in the process worked directly with Mike Murphy, Deepak Chopra and Ken Wilber amongst many others including hanging out with the IONS and Heart Math folks.

    In my work as a LIfe Coach and during my career as a non profit manager and business owner I have been exploring what it means to live your life as centered and in the higher dimensions and been experimenting with working to bring this integral or combined right brain /left brain approach to all I do – not always with great success as I encountered the forces of Roboticism and unconsciousness of the left brain dominated culture. But always with deep learning and gratitude.

    Reading Secrets gave me many moments of frankly thrilling inner connections and memory of the deeper Truths and a deep feeling of connection to all the Great Teachers.

    Lately, I have been exploring the exciting new sciences of the study of the “biofield” and am working on a research project with a group of neuroscientists and biophysicists who are exploring the impact of “energy ” healing – see http://www.chi.is . You might want to explore the relationship between the “new” sciences emerging based on the oppositional but esoteric long held view that indeed everything is intimately connected to everything else.

    It may be time for me to finally write the book many have asked me to write about my experiences and perspectives. If I do you have inspired me to do so and I thank you heartily from the bottom of my Soul.

    1. Dear Dan, many thanks for sharing this. That a book of mine has helped you to link up different experiences and insights is encouraging to know. What you say about your experiences with active imagination and related practices sounds fascinating. If you have a book to write, I’d say do it, before you forget. It sounds like you have some interesting stories to tell and probably have a lot to share with others. All the best and thanks again for getting in touch. Gary

  84. Dear Gary,
    Thanks for getting back to me so soon. I was off down to melt in tropical London and have only just got back to the machine.

    Regarding the Etymological stuff of Eugene Halliday’s, the website is not as useful as the Archive. As with all societies the members have run with his ideas, and often into all sorts of backwaters, and I include myself in that. But the great thing about Eugene’s stuff is that his original talks are there, as he said them.

    Archive http://www.eugene-halliday.net/

    _The ones I would recommend for his breakdown of meanings are Liverpool recordings of

    ‘Definitions’ http://www.eugenehallidayarchive.info/Audio_liv/definition.mp3

    ‘Words´ http://www.eugenehallidayarchive.info/Audio_liv/words.mp3

    The drawback is that he never stopped drawing as he spoke, you can hear him continually winding on the sheet of paper, and these were not always preserved. Some of the transcribers of the talks [M. L. J. B. and AR] have tried to reproduce these diagrams – which can be a vital aspect of the idea – based on notes, memories and best guesstimates. So to contradict myself about members running with his stuff, here is my transcript of ‘Definitions’

    Click to access EH_Definitions_ar_tutorial.pdf

    I know that you must be busy but I do hope you manage to get to some of this stuff sometime, from what I’ve read of your thought processes you could find it very interesting, but it is hard to tell as his analysis was formative and hence unique for me.


    I have just finished A Secret History of Consciousness which was a brilliant read.
    My wife is trying to trim my book budget, but I can assure you Beyond the Robot is next but one on the list – and jostling in the queue.

    Thanks again for your valuable scholarship, which reveals much more of those we thought we knew well, and then takes many of us on to characters that we would never have considered plausible, or often even heard of, nor ever thought to link into the esoteric lineage; and then you manage to humanise or at least tame them for us. Much as ‘good old Mr Wilson’ used to do.

    Take care
    Alan Roberts

  85. Dear Mr Lachman –

    Not sure where to put this, so I’m just dropping it in here under ‘reply’.

    Having read your excellent book on Blavatsky, I seem to recall you making a statement about the dearth of polymath geniuses with multiple significant accomplishments in the last 100 years or so.

    Well, I thought I would point one out to you, which may be ‘right up your alley’, so to speak.

    His name is Samuel Sagan. He was born in 1957, became a medical doctor, accomplished homeopath and acupuncturist, and then, after a 5 year stint of full time meditation, started his own meditation school. He has also developed his own unique system of blended psychotherapy/metaphysical opening referred to as ISIS. He wrote a series of novels and created his own unique music as well. He has written several books on his system which are all easily found.

    He also recently passed away.

    If you are looking for another western esoteric teacher to write a book on, this could be the one.

    Worth looking into, anyway.


    J S Harms MD

  86. Gary: Greatly enjoyed several of your works, especially A Secret History of Consciousness, and was hoping you could help me with a question regarding the possible esoteric significance of movie references to two numbers. I am writing a book suggesting that many of the top fantasy and science fiction works in recent years, including Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and The Matrix, have followed the same underlying plot structure and employed many of the same character types and images–a pattern that I’ve called the Q Script–that seem to be a non-literalist, almost esoteric Christian version of Campbell’s Monomyth. The thesis is that like myths these works gain their power by setting up fantastic situations that are, unbeknownst to us, analogous to our own and then taking their heroes on external journeys that symbolize the internal ones we ourselves could take. They thus tell largely secular stories with the metaphysical message of personal redemption/transformation delivered “between the lines.”

    Among the 40 plus common elements to the Q Script Works, there is a frequent use of various numbers in the background and sometimes as asides in the dialogues. While I understand the import of 3’s, 7’s, and 33’s, there are more references to the hero being the sixth iteration of a savior than seems statistically probable (e.g., Neo being the sixth anomaly in The Matrix, Jake is the sixth Toruk Makto in Avatar, the Sam Bell that escapes back to earth is referred to as the sixth clone in the final voice over in Moon). The only rather far-fetched explanation I can think of is that these are oblique allusions to the coming of the sixth race mentioned by Blavatsky and others. The other number that shows up more often than it should is 52 (Jonas is number 52 during the selection of occupations in The Giver, Jack Harper clone number 52 is the one that survives in Oblivion, 52 appears several times in Inception, and there is a buried reference to 52 in The Adjustment Bureau); besides the five loaves and two fish and 52 cards in a deck, I am at a loss as to the significance of 52. While both of these numerical uses might be just coincidence, the creators of the works usually have some intended meaning when adding such specific details.

    FYI, two other common Q Script elements are that almost all of the protagonists fit Colin Wilson’s Outsider profile of chronic malcontents and that all are initially stuck in a mundane world similar to the prison in which Outsiders feel trapped. The stories then follow their escape thereby, paraphrasing Wilson, symbolically giving directions to the rest of us on which way we ourselves may want to tunnel so we don’t just end up in the next cell like the Abbe in The Count of Monte Cristo (I use this and several other Wilson quotes, including from his introduction to Secret History, and your summary description of Outsiders in Beyond the Robot. Happy to send you a link to the manuscript if interested.)

    Greatly appreciate any thoughts you may have on these numerical references (especially regarding 52) and take care. Larry Latourette

    1. Hi Larry. Many thanks for this. I have to say I am not up on my numerology, but a friend did point out the 5+2 = 7. This seems too obvious to mean anything, but who knows? Tiphereth is the sixth sephiroth on the kabbalistic Tree of Life; it is the highest part of the tree one can reach on this plane – beyond it lies the Abyss – and it brings together and harmonizes the lower sephira, uniting the pillars of mercy and severity. It is associated with Christ in Christian Kabbalah. In the I Ching, the 52nd hexagram is Ken, Keeping Still, which is concerned with how to achieve a “quiet heart;” this, in essence, is not that different from the characteristics associated with Tiphereth. I’m not sure if this helps. If my numerologically minded friend comes up with anything else, I’ll pass it on. The Q Script sounds interesting. One Outsider theme that Wilson developed is the idea of “withdrawal and return,” how the Outsider exists the everyday world and goes through his crisis, then returns to actualize the values he has discovered during his retreat. (Christ in the desert, but also Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, who returns to society after spednig years away from it.) I’m sure Campbell talks about this, but I haven’t read him for some time and can’t say exactly where. All the best, Gary.

  87. Greatly appreciate the help from you and your friend on the numbers.

    Regarding Outsiders, I actually quote Zarathustra but with reference to the Last Men and the Three Metamorphoses rather than retreat and return. A major theme of the book is that we’ve domesticated ourselves from free-range killer apes into diminished cubicle monkeys that have suffered the same physical and psychological effects as all domesticated species, including a 10% drop in brain mass and turning more docile, fearful, and dependent on the herd. (See, e.g., If Modern Humans are So Smart, Why Are Our Brains Shrinking? — http://discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking.)

    We have thus become the Last Men who have unknowingly locked our selves into an unseen, hive like, materialistic factory farm largely cut off from life and spirit that dismisses the attainment of a higher self as a fairy tale. While most have accepted the hive programming that science and capitalism can solve all problems and that they live in paradise as free individuals that have already reached their highest potential, I suggest that Outsiders are atavistic throwbacks that sense something is amiss. In much the same formula suggested by the Odyssey, the New Testament, the Free Masons, and Nietzsche’s Three Metamorphoses, the Q Script symbolically communicates to the Outsiders that have ears the steps necessary to overcome their societal programming and become their higher selves.

    One last but related question if I might. My read is that the human hive is facing serious and growing existential challenges that it is ill equipped to handle–the world economy is faltering due to a host of structural problems; energy is going to become more expensive; population and environmental degradation are increasing; global warming is going to impose ever greater, possibly catastrophic costs; and the abilities and motivations for even a small group to cause severe shocks to our strained and interconnected system through, among other means, conventional and nuclear weapons, biological pathogens, and cyber attacks are growing daily.

    These threats are largely new and systemic and thus outside the purview of the hive’s experience and, more importantly, without a powerful constituency within the hive that has a vested interest in addressing them. Further, because the hive has programmed us (and therefore itself) to believe in inevitable progress and the ability of science and capitalism to solve all problems, we blithely think everything is going to be fine because it has generally been fine in the past. Thus, the few constituencies within the hive that are motivated to act have limited power (e.g., climate change scientists) while powerful constituencies that are strongly motivated to retain their current benefits under the status quo (e.g., private companies, pensioners) looking through the lens of their own self interest don’t see a direct threat and will impede any meaningful change.

    Put another way, the hive is largely blind or indifferent to these problems while we as diminished cubicle monkeys delude ourselves that it knows what it is doing and nothing much will be done until it is too late. This is almost certainly not going to end well and my analysis referenced in the book is that we have maybe twenty years before the West hits some serious, possibly cataclysmic bumps. A number of the Q Script works seem to echo this concern and one possible (though questionable) explanation for their recent appearance is that they are the modern manifestation of the writing on the wall.

    My question is whether you are aware of any equivalent echoes in the Occult World (for lack of a better phrase) regarding these impending, “mundane world” threats. While I know that Steiner made some pretty chilling predictions a century ago regarding Ahriman and the War of All Against All and Mark Booth writes about a current incarnation of Ahriman, there doesn’t seem to me to be the perceptible state of alarm in occult circles that one might expect if it were well known that the wheels are in serious danger of falling off the societal bus in the near future.

    Once again, thanks for the help on the numbers and I would appreciate any insights you might have on this further, though admittedly more involved, matter. Larry

    1. Hi Larry Sorry to butt into your questions for Gary, but years ago on my journey, I used to view the David Wilcock web site, and he has written heavily (maybe even a book) about what your Q script seems to be about. He is also into his numerology. Just thought it would be a good place to go for info.

      Terry Davies

  88. Gary Just finished a crush reading of W Van Dusen. Now on your Secret History of Consciusness after having read Secret Teachers.

    Three dumb questions on hobby-horse concerns:
    1–who is the best spiritual writer for Myers-B INFPs? {Van D and Swedenborg seem perfect INTJs).
    2–in any tradition or writers where Beauty taken as primary way, response to beauty treated as the key, the greatest experience of the divine. Instead of the Argument from Design and such, the argument from Beauty? but more than argument—Feeling for/of.

    3–in any tradition or writers where “falling in love” is primary experience? at first glance, with everyone, with anyone, i.e. as an ongoing series of life experiences that seem mystical, Plato and the Symposium for one but of late, in 20thC writers? Also been looking at J Kripal’s books.

    Just thought I would see what you might say. Your work is so incisive and both broad and deep and helpful. Thanks Bob Garlitz

    1. Hi Robert, many thanks for the comment. I’m not savvy with Myer-Briggs, so I can’t help you here. On Beauty, try Plotinus and Kathleen Raine, especially her essay “The Use of Beauty” collected in Defending Ancient Springs, and really throughout her work. Yeats I’d say was another, especially in poems like “Sailing to Byzantium.” As for falling in love, well you already have Plato. Robert Johnson wrote quite a bit about it from a Jungian perspective. De Rougemont’s Love in the Western World is a classic. Henry Corbin’s writing on Ibn ‘Arabi, William Anderson’s on Dante (Dante the Maker)? Sorry I can’s suggest more. Cheers, Gary

  89. Hi Gary,
    After 30 years of teaching reading at a middle school in California, I have been forced into teaching a scripted curriculum that is nothing more than intellectual flatulence. It has forced me to finally start writing a treatise on how to teach reading in the digital age.
    I am very concerned with the absence of meaning in education and plan to write about how the removal of all spiritually has contributed to the current educational malaise. I have written about how the antagonism between religion and science has contributed to the problem and how that recent discoveries in the fields of genetics, psychology (non-narcissistic individuation) and Quantum physics offers some hope of correction.
    I want to look into the role of how popular culture and the occult (especially through music) has influenced and in many ways exacerbated our educational problems by filling in the void that was left when God was removed from school. This is an area that I feel has been somewhat ignored but very significant.
    I have read Season of the Witch and found it lacking. I am ordering your book Turn Off Your Mind. Any suggestions about where else I might look?

    1. Hello Douglas. I am saddened but not surprised to hear of your plight and that of your students. From my reading I get the impression that standards in school as well as the kind of ‘knowledge’ being passed on there are woefully low. I’m not quite sure what you mean by the influence of popular culture and the occult on this. Do you mean in a positive or negative way; that is, are you looking at this as a contributor to the problem or as a possible way of mitigating it? One of the books to make a strong argument against pop music vis-a-vis education was Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind, which came out I think in 1984 or 85. He makes a good argument for Plato’s idea of banning certain kinds of music. My book, Turn Off Your Mind, is about the occult influence on the whole of popular culture in the 1960s and early 70s. It goes to some extent into the spiritual beliefs of rock and rollers, but on the whole it is critical. I know a couple biographies of Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison explore the positive aspect of their spirituality. In general I’ve learned a great deal about education through the work of Jacques Barzun, who wrote about it for more than fifty years. His book Begin Here I believe should be required reading for every teacher – but I imagine he doesn’t turn up on your scripted curriculum. All the best and good luck!

      1. Hey Gary,
        I thought you might like me poem it’s about the masculine and famine principle United which you talk about. I’ve read three of your books so far they are great

        Abydos or Babylon
        Kingdom or shrine
        I saw you in the firefly exhibitions bright as spring
        Bejewelled in splendours lapis lazuli
        Stepping lightly as the frog on the lili pad
        I played the fog to your sodden wood limps
        Praying for approval
        Thus the beginning of spores the bees bite suckle
        Bring back the ancient roads overflowing sandstorm stroke
        Hear heatwave warning
        Royal beeswax in a merchants sac
        Forbidden knowledge in a Saxon tax
        False gods reflected in streetlights hanging as stars
        Suppose I was beginning to despair also
        What then ?
        Wild wind whistles through acacia sprouting next to a civilization’s gravestone
        Through Kemet a Semite came forth
        Between two strutting peacocks a lion with shimmering green fur laps glittering milk from a pine cone fountain
        Dionysus and Apollo shake hands amiably in the trajectory of the sun’s luminous solitary eye
        Imagine Plato and Aristotle strolling through Sol oh man’s temple, arm in arm

  90. Gary –

    Wondering if you have had a chance to look into Sam Sagan yet. And if so, what is your assessment?


    J Harms

    1. Sadly Jay I haven’t had a chance. I’ve been too busy trying to finish a new book, The Lost Knowledge of the Imagination that has a January 1 deadline. One of the downsides to having to write all the time is that I often don’t have the time to do much else! But it’s on my to-do list. All the best.

      1. Thanks, Gary!

        Once you start looking into him, I think you won’t be disappointed. The way I see it he’s sort of a nexus figure in western esotericism, bringing together disparate elements of anthroposophy/rosicrucianism, Taoism, and yogic exercise. He was a physician, acupuncturist, homeopath, world traveler, Sanskrit scholar, developer of the ISIS therapeutic technique, as well as the creator of the Clairvision school. During a certain period of his life, shortly before founding the Clairvision school, he meditated full time for 5 years. He passed away on September 13th, reportedly peacefully while meditating.

        Happy Holidays


  91. Wasn’t sure where else to put this, so I stuck it here:

    Reading and thoroughly enjoying your bio of Colin Wilson. Wish I’d had this when I taught expository prose. Your book is a great example of how the use of the first person can inform objective exposition without intruding upon it.

    Your book’s also fascinating, incredibly well researched, and just plain fun. Thank you for writing!

    1. Dear Geoff, thanks for the encouraging words about the book. I’m glad you liked it and thought it would be a help in teaching people how to write. Now that is a compliment. All the best, Gary

  92. Gary,
    Have you ever considered Anna Kingsford for a biography? She passed on young but I think she would be a well deserved subject for consideration. Or maybe more generally intersections of spiritualism ( or spiritual inquiry) and suffragism? Hope you take time to answer. Thanks in advance.

    1. Many thanks for your suggestion Allan. I did write about Anna Kingsford in my book on Madame Blavatsky. She seemed an interesting character – she claimed to have killed a vivisectionist by sheer thought, yet how she balanced this with her Christian mysticism is unclear. All the best, Gary

  93. Gary,

    Just watched your wonderful talk on Colin Wilson posted on the Watkins Books Youtube channel. It should have been hours long! I came to Wilson the same way you did, by first reading The Occult. I’ve since read much more, with Alien Dawn being a particular favorite. It’s no doubt the most interesting and balanced book on the UFO phenomenon I’ve encountered, if not ever written.

    Anyway, I just wanted to drop by and say, “Hey!” before I surf over to Amazon and purchase your book about Wilson. You’re likely to hear from me again. Thank you and take care.

    1. Many thanks for dropping by Jason. I’m glad you liked the talk, especially as its prompted you to check out my book. I look forward to hearing what you think of it. All the best, Gary

  94. Dear Gary Lachmam?

    Hey my names Jon. I just read your book secret teachers of the western world and thought it was great. So I’ve decided to read all your stuff starting with Turn Off Your Mind. I see you wrote a bio of Colin Wilson I look forward to that as I thought his Outsider cycle was great. I have a question for an existentialist minded Christian what occult writers would you recommend ? Two obvious ones I’m sure are Rudoph Steiner and A E Wait. Looking forward to reading the rest of your books 🙂

    Sincerely, Jon Bain

    1. Dear Jon, many thanks for your message. I’m happy that Secret Teachers has led to my other books. I hope you enjoy those too. Do you know The Meditations on the Tarot? It is the most important work of Christian esotericism in modern times. It is published anonymously but the author is Valentin Tomberg, who was for a time a follower of Steiner. You might also like Maurice Nicoll’s books The Mark and The New Man. Nicoll was a student of Ouspensky and Gurdjieff, and Gurdjieff called his ‘work’ esoteric Christianity. My friend Richard Smoley’s book Inner Christianity is excellent. Eliphas Levi combined his occultism with the church. Do you Nicolai Berdyaev, the Russian Christian existentialist? I am impressed that you know the Outsider cycle. All the best, Gary

      1. Dear Gary,

        I’ll def check out those titles. I know Ouspenskii, Gurdjieff and Levi. I like some of Levi’s stuff but I think ritual magic especially of a certain kind )summoning demons)can be dangerous . It is interesting how a lot of these ideas are widespread now. Like in Fight Club where Tyler pours chemicals on Edward Norton’s characters hands and he tries to ‘Imagine’ and he slaps him and tells him to be present. Although I hope Gurdjieff never went that far with his students! I’ve heard Richard on Aeon Byte which is where I discovered you. I thought the two best from Colin’s outsider cycle were religion and the rebel and origin of the sexual impulse. Not sure if you’ve ever heard of him but I think you would like Jordan Peterson. https://m.youtube.com/user/JordanPetersonVideos
        His maps of meaning lectures are great.
        He’s from Canada which is were I hail from as well.

        Sincerely, Jon

      2. Thanks Jon. I’ve read some of Peterson’s posts and some articles about him. I’m with him on the abuse of language in order to satisfy some current PC concerns. Best, Gary

      3. Hey Gary,

        Which are the best rosicrucian manifesto translations to get ? I can’t paint but I invent concepts for paintings sometimes I thought you might like the following two they are partly inspired by the right and left sides of the brain you spoke about.

        Plummeting The Unconscious

        The sun is being eclipsed by a dark moon shaped like a brain with a silver tinged white waterfall coming down from it forming a creampy coloured Nile. It is shallow. Jung is standing on a small red desert dune beside the river soaking wet. Underneath it his jacket are fishhooks thiat have impaled multicoloured scaled fish with the golden heads of Egyptian gods. The end of the pipe he smokes is one half the blue face of Osiris, one half the red face of Seth. The smoke comes out as a red cloud scarab pushing a multicoloured pyramid with a golden eye with rainbow streaks shooting forth.

        Late Night Masonic Coffe Hour

        The light the hangs down at the table is a melting, bee covered honeycomb that ends in a pyramid whose lit eye is glowing honey. Glowing honey is oozing onto the table. On the left pyramid side it says ‘Thought’, in the right ’emotion’ and on the bottom within the misty sheen ‘Action’. A Masonic aproned, blind folded man sips at the edge of a compass and G patterned mug with a rose that bees drink from sprouting from the top. Coffee dribbles down his chin and drips onto the chequer board, square table. In the centre his other palm caresses a plate sized scarab with wings of two different colours, blue and red. Electricity moves from the bug into his palm and is channeled up his arm to his forehead where a lightning lined pine cone is shaped within which is a red eye with a blue pupil. Two pillars act as the tables legs, a B on one, a J on the other.

        Hope you like them. Maybe you know someone who would want to paint that ?

        Sincerely , Jon

  95. Hi Gary, I finished your wonderful biography of Colin Wilson and am writing to thank you and also request additional information about something you mentioned in the book — namely, CW’s notes, thoughts, journals, etc. on phenomenology. In the 1980s, I exchanged a couple of letters with CW about Carlos Castaneda’s work (would love to open a dialogue with you about this). CW’s view of phenomenology and in particular his reinterpretation of Husserl’s notion of intentionality (building on Paul Ricoeur’s insights on Husserl), fit with an ongoing research project of my own regarding CC’s overall philosophy and how it overlaps, incorporates and manifests CW’s more radical approach of understanding intentionality. Can you point me in the right direction? CW concluded in our exchange of letters, that CC was a fraud. Interestingly, I am not sure it makes a difference. Of course in the early to mid-1980s, CC had not published a number of his most important works. Even so, with dozens upon dozens of CW’s books on my shelf, it was one of the true highlights of my life to exchange thoughts with him. I write from Rio. Would love to connect on a next visit to the U.K. Your work is an inspiration.

    1. Dear Robert, many thanks for your message. CW’s take on phenomenology can be found in the books from his Outsider Cycle Origins of the Sexual Impulse,Beyond the Outsider,and Introduction to the News Existentialism. Intentionality and CW’s own coinage relationality can be found in many of his books. I would start with Poetry and Mysticism, which is a good introduction to his basic ideas. A late work, Superconsciousness brings many of his ideas together into a neat little package. I try to spell out the central themes in my book. His journals are available for study at the Colin Wilson Archive in the University of Nottingham. That probably isn’t a great help for you in Rio though. I’m curious about the links you’re making between CW’s ideas and Castaneda. I have to say I tend to agree with Cw’s criticism of him, and write about CC from that perspective in my book Turn Off Your Mind, about the occult in the 1960s. I’m very glad you liked Beyond the Robot. All the best, Gary

  96. d like to send you a copy of my latest book in which i quote you. It is entitled: Resolving the Myteries of Human Consciousness. If you will give me an address, thank you.

  97. Hi Gary-Thanks for your Colin Wilson book. I first read him in the 60s and continued until the start of the 80s, so it was very instructive to have been able to see how his thought developed.
    BTW I’ve yet to read your work on Crowley but I know of him, most recently, through Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time. I don’t know if you’ve read the series?
    The AP website has a list of the novel sequence’s characters and whom they are based on.
    “Dr Trelawney: A combination based primarily upon the predatory ‘magician’, occult revivalist and self-publicist Aleister Crowley. The self-styled ‘Great Beast 666’ died in penury after a career not dissimilar to Dr Trelawney’s, including many unspeakable ceremonies, one at least of which resulted in the mysterious death of a disciple. The other source is identified as a Dr Oyler “who used to lead his mob of children in Grecian costume in runs across Grayshott Common, when we lived at Stonedene just before the First War”.
    [Anthony Powell, Journals 1987-1989, p 102]”
    Trelawney cuts a rather isolated and almost whimsical figure, his death in a low-end seaside boarding house smacking of the ridiculous.
    I’m looking forward to reading more of your books.

    1. Many thanks for this Nigel. I know Powell used him as a model for a character, but have yet to get around to reading him. I will have to find the time to. All the best, Gary

  98. Hi Gary,

    This might be a long shot, but I’m hoping you might be able to help me nail down the address of the 37th St. rehearsal space you were in with Blondie in the early days. I’m working on what’s basically a travel guide to the history of Rock & Roll in all five boroughs, and for whatever reason this particular spot has proven elusive. In your (excellent) book New York Rocker, you mention 37th St. numerous times, as well as 8th Ave. The Music Building at 584 8th Ave. is a place where Blondie rehearsed at some point, though that’s between 38th and 39th, and from what I gather is not the same 37th St. space I’ve seen you and others mention. Any chance you’ve got a street address handy?



    1. Hello Crispin. Sadly I don’t have a street address for the building. Other bands rehearsed in it as well and my guess is that it was somewhere between 7th and 8th Avenues. We did rehearse in another building in the same neighborhood sometime later, sharing the space with Mink Deville. Wish I could be of more help. Best, Gary

  99. Hi Gary,

    I wanted to let you know how much your books have helped me. I’ve been doing intuitive and mediumship readings for years, and for whatever reason, last year I found myself listening to new atheist lectures online. I started doubting everything I once knew to be true. Even when I’d have a “paranormal” experience that was extremely specific, it wasn’t enough to convince me that what I was doing was “true.” It was like I had contracted this virus of doubting and wanting everything to be empirically true. After struggling with this for a few months, I found the work of Dr. Jordan Peterson, which helped to a degree. As a result, I started exploring Jung’s work deeper, and that’s how I found your book on Jung. I was so impressed by it. It seemed to capture Jung’s life in a comprehensive way.

    Your style of writing has so much depth and is so intellectually honest. Most books on metaphysical topics lack the kind of substance your books have. I’m so grateful to have found your writing. I’m currently reading The Secret Teachers of the Western World, and the information on right brain/left brain thinking has been instrumental in ending my incessant doubting. I seriously can’t thank you enough. Your work has transformed my view of the world and given me back the faith that I was lacking.

    P.S. I experienced a really cool synchronicity after reading the right/left brain part of Secret Teachers. The next day, through a YouTube clip, I ended up viewing this J.B. Peterson lecture. I decided I didn’t have time to listen to the entire 3 hour lecture, so I randomly placed the cursor somewhere in the video. I happened to place it where he was discussing right/left brain in almost the exact same fashion as your book. He even quoted Huxley as you did in that section of the book. The title of the lecture didn’t elude to its content and there were other parts of the experience that made it seem unlikely and surreal, but I won’t bore you with the other details. Just thought I’d share 🙂

    I can’t wait to read more of your books and am looking forward to reading The Lost Knowledge of the Imagination.

    With much gratitude,
    – Danyelle

    1. Thank you Danyelle for sharing this. I can’t say how glad I am that my work has been such a positive experience you. I’ve enjoyed listened to Jordan Peterson’s talks as well and funnily enough I started reading his book Maps of Meaning and found quite a bit about the right and left brain that surprised me. All the best, Gary

      1. Hi Gary,

        I’m just wondering what’s the best book if a layman wants to understand how the brain operates ? I thought you might know in your studies . As an Occultists I feel that is important to know how the vessel for the mind operates


      2. You might take a look at The Conscious Brain by Steven Rose. He is a mainstream scientist but seems open to less stringent materialist views. The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist is a fantastic book that reboots the right/left brain discussion. Parts of it may seem a bit technical if you aren’t familiar with the territory. Robert Ornstein’s The Psychology of Consciousness is a classic. Hope this helps. Gary

      3. Totally helpful . I’m reading your books in sequence and I must say that the one you did on Ouspensky really made me see George Gurdjieff as a cult leader. He used some of the techniques of Charles Manson even . Rather disturbing I found in parts . For sure though there is some pearls of wisdom there though . Especially about maintaining consciousness. I think Paul Thomas Anderson got some of the stuff for his film for the Master, along with Hubard’s antics , from that story .

  100. I have read five of your books and just purchased two more from Amazon. If you return to America I would love to pay for you to visit the Midwest and do an informal talk on one or more of your most recent books, as well do a Q&A.

  101. Gary, I was in Hastings the other day and happened to pass Crowley’s Bar….outside the pub a sign said: “Coffee and Cake £2.50” (a friend said there was some evil juju at work to get coffee and cake at that price); below this there was the following encomium: “O coffee by the mighty Name of Power, do I invoke thee, consecrating thee to the Service of the Magic of Light. Aleister Crowley”. Remembering (from reading your excellent book) what Crowley made his followers eat I hurried on.
    BTW I remember Colin Wilson saying somewhere that the song with the lyrics “people who need people are the luckiest people in the world” was dead wrong. Reading your Crowley book made me recall this and reflect on how much some people depend on being validated by ceaseless contact with others-be it good or bad. Idries Shah wrote about the “attention factor” as a way of understanding a lot of behaviour that was otherwise inexplicable.

    1. What a great story. Colin refers to the Barbara Streisand hit in The Occult. The line is ‘People who need people are the stupidest people in the world.’ He would have been nauseated by hearing it on the radio while writing the book. And it’s true.

  102. Remember me?

    I was the Australian who trashed your glad-handing puff piece about Jordan Peterson.

    Anyway, I just stopped by to pay you a compliment on your article regarding Rudolf Steiner.

    You covered every aspect of his life, even though you could have added more detail.
    That’s not a criticism, just a yearning for more about this man.

    I’m well aware, that New Dawn place word restrictions on their articles, and I’m sure you could have written more about this fascinating man.

    Rudolf Steiner seems to be one of those people, the more you know about him, the more questions there are.

    Even though, I know much more about the man now via your article, there seems to be still mystery surrounding this man.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed the article 🙂

    1. I’m glad you liked the article. I’m not sure if you know, but I’ve written a book about Steiner. You might find it interesting. (https://www.amazon.com/Rudolf-Steiner-Introduction-Life-Work/dp/1585425435/ref=sr_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1544527828&sr=1-11&keywords=Gary+lachman) And by the way, I’ve been asked to come to Sydney to lecture at Rudolf Steiner House and some other places. Don’t know if this is in your neighborhood, but I will certainly post the dates when I know them. Cheers

      1. Yes, I’m aware of your book…
        But unfortunately, I’m dyslexic, and don’t read books.

        New Dawn is my only reading, and that takes me 2 months to finish each edition.

        By the way, if you’re wondering, I use voice recognition software to chat online.

        And unfortunately I’m living in Asia at the moment, so I won’t be able to attend any lectures that you give in Australia.

  103. Hello,
    In 1977, I lived at a loft in NYC that was located at the corner of Christie and Allen Streets. I had just broken up with my gf the late photographer Francesca Woodman and I moved to the Bowery to be an artist. CBGB was hopping and a great place to hang out with friends.

  104. Dear Gary,
    I just finished your book “Lost knowledge of the imagination”. Thank you for your inspirational writing. Especially the end conclusions are great. There are a view things I like to tell you. First of all I thought to find more about the ideas of Steiner about imagination in the book, especially since you wrote a book about him. This isn’t meant as a judgement I was just wondering. Besides that I have read three books which might be of interest to you. All three books are practical and related to imagination (in the way you are talking about it) and I love them and I am working with them on a daily base. Silence and Heartfulness from Robert Sardello and Life Forces ‑ Formative Forces: Researching the Formative Energy of Life from Dorian Schmidt. Sardello is great and knows Steiner as well as Henry Corbin. The book of Schmidt is a bit more methodical. I which you good luck with your wonderful work!

    1. Many thanks for your message Marcel. I know Robert Sardello’s work and met him once many years ago and corresponded briefly. I don’t know Dorian Schmidt and will have to check out his work. Yes, I could only mention Steiner once or twice in the book, but then you can’t fit everything in all the time. In any case, I’m glad you liked it. All the best, Gary

      1. Thanks for your reply Gary. Lovely that you know Sardello and I understand your consideration that you can’t fit in everything all the time, but still I think that Steiner, especially when it concerns the imagination deserves a little more attention. The book of Dorian Schmidt is published by Hawthorn Press. In Holland (where I live) there are already around ten places where people practice this method. Hope you like it and good luck with everything you do! Marcel

  105. Dear Gary,
    I guess, I am the first correspondent of this fateful 2020 year in the history of humanity, and I came to you through your interview with Jeffrey Mishlove on your book on Russia which youtube showed me via searching on Dugin. Your wiki shows you were born in 1956 so you have seen the world change and have travelled a lot especially in US and Europe. I also worked at one time in the newage Alexandria bookstore in Pasadena. Your ideas on Russia and Byzantium are unique observations that are preceded by many years on the youtube and internet by Shaikh Imran Hosein who from Islamic Eschatology has lectured on those repeatedly. He was even invited to Moscow State Univ by Alexander Dugin and that video is also on the youtube. He was a graduate of the London school of Economics and the Ambassador to the UN from Trinidad. I also find it a bit disconcerting that your books on the Occult and popular music miss the role of Yankees in the 9/11 false flag and Anthrax false flag. As a result, today, we are now facing after 20 years another big crime in history. The former was a racist crime against Islamic civilization and the current is against the Chinese/Confucian civilization. In addition Mishlove himself introduced him as a Russian Jew, so he is a Khazar, which has been studied by many scientists and papers published by Erann Elhaik of Israel in US and UK. Unfortunately, the Slavic occult destiny is intertwined with that of khazar and cannot be discussed in isolation. Furthermore, Europe cannot be decoupled from Russia and thus, the Origins of Europe from the Viking Pirates, Normans, and the history of UK from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, of Brutus, and William the B of Normandy. I have not read your book, but I hope, you address these. There are other persons like you who were interested in Occult and artists and Poets like Charles Upton (poet) and Kevin Barret with his own channel on youtube and was drawn to the occult through a class in Kabbalah and Wizardry. The very ancient history of Europe, when it split from an agrarian society of innocence into robbers of their neighbors is dealt by ____ whose reference I shall provide you in a later communication. This is before the Viking era of Piracy which was a mature phase of Shameless Plunder. Anyway, the interview was very interesting and I look forward to your new book and wish you success in its sales.

    1. Many thanks for sharing this. I do talk about the Viking roots of Russia and mention Koestler’s book on the Khazars.
      Hope you enjoy the book if you read it.

  106. Dear Gary,

    Thanks for writing the textbooks for my study of the history of consciousness! You’re giving me the education I never got in college. I really enjoy your books and talks. And now for a question.

    I’ve just begun McGilchrist’s THE MASTER AND HIS EMISSARY, and frankly, I find it difficult to believe he didn’t draw on Steiner, Barfield, and, especially, Gebser, none of whom appears in the bibliography or index. I read in a blog that McGilChrist said he was familiar with Gebser’s name but had never read him. Now I have no wish to question his honesty, but the resemblances strike me as too close to be merely coincidental. Is it possible that an author might choose to conceal the real inspiration for much of his thesis (the argument for which is certainly the product of his own research and thinking) in order to smuggle it into a prejudiced and dismissive academy? Again, I pose my question as a hypothetical so as not to impute motives where none can be discerned. It is, of course, possible that great men can invent calculus independently of each other.

    Many thanks,


    1. Hello John and thanks for your comment. I’ve met McGilchrist a few times and have corresponded with him. I mentioned that he should read Gebser; he said that he hadn’t but other people had made the same suggestion. I believe he was aware of Barfield’s work. If he did mute some of his inspiration – and that’s if – I can understand. He got quite a lot of flak from mainstream critics for his book, so mentioning and possible esoteric influences would certainly not have helped. Thanks for the warm words about my work. I am glad you are finding it helpful. All the best.

      1. Hey Gary. Thank-you for answering so fast! OH! I was brought up Catholic too, but er, atheist now. BUT! One more question what’s your background? Italian? Once again just curious, I’m Latvian. So… 🙂

      2. Father Polish and German. When asked about his background, he would say: “Cracow and Ukraine.” Cracow was part of Prussia at one time; Ukraine was Polish at one point too. Mother Polish and Irish. As far as I know her mother hailed from County Cork, her father from Galicia, another part of Eastern Europe that changed hands several times. I feel a connection with Mittle Europa, but not much with my Irish stock. Not atheist, but I figure after a few more books I’ll have a better idea of who and what I am – maybe.

  107. Hello Gary, I sent you much infos by email. It has reference to papers by Omeljan. Your site when posting goes to google, and twitter and has words that is probably why the censors are triggering.

  108. Your book on Ouspensky is very interesting, but leaves out important details which you couldn’t possibly know about–my godmother, Eve Prior Galitzine, lived both at Lyne Place and Mendham, and was actually summoned by him to return from Mendham when he was dying (I have the telegram). She was in the room with him when he died, and left a detailed, type-written account of the last 2 months of his life. She is the only student to have succeeded in establishing groups which continue to this day.
    If you are interested, I am willing to share some of these documents with you, but on a confidential basis, and uniquely to help set the record straight (we are not in the business of ‘recruiting”). James Webb had come to visit her with his book (The Harmonious Circle)–she was quite upset with numerous passages and interpretations: I actually had her copy, with all the notations, but it seems to have gone missing. She died in 1993–quite literally in my arms. She was the most remarkable woman I have ever met, and I hope that I might live long enough to write her story. Her husband was Prince Nikita Galitzine, and she was descended direct from Charles II (“on the wrong side of the sheets”).
    I have no interest in a public discussions, nor do I want my name even mentioned: you have my email, if you wish to converse, please use it, on a confidential basis.
    Thank you

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