This strange mix of theosophy, heretical Christianity and sacred geometry outlines further the practices taught in a 19th century magical order headed by occultist Maria de Naglowska. Filled with dense symbolism, it is an early example of how spiritualists genuinely tried to use the scientific method and theories of their time to build a bridge to the spiritual. While the science that appealed to Naglowska was proved wrong by the mid 20th century -  her insistence upon racial divisions and belief that blondes had more magical potential than others rightfully went the way of Hitler – the intention of enlightenment behind some of her more inaccurate theories still rings true today.

Much of the Light of Sex is about the sacredness of sexual attraction. It describes the initiation of male members of the order, with a specific focus on teaching them to understand and martial their sexual urges. The test of a true initiate was that he could feel his physical desire for a woman without acting on it until an appropriate time. While de Naglowska taught that “Satan” and the “Satanic impulse” lived within humanity, she also taught that sexual desire and arousal were not manifestations of evil. For the time she lived in, this was heresy supreme and suggesting it even in small circles took a great deal of courage.

This is definitely an occult curio collector’s delight, and for historians, this is one of those rare source works that helps you figure out what the founder of an order really meant – in so far as you can interpret it.

~ review by Diana Rajchel

Author: Maria de Naglowska
Inner Traditions, 2010
pp. 119, $16.95 US

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