It is not always that you discover a new topic, at least, it hasn’t happened to me in a long while. That I’ve learned a lot about others, that I discovered different sides of something I already knew, certainly, but I never came across a word such as ‘occulture.’ Thanks to Occulture: The Unseen Forces That Drive Culture Forward, by Carl Abrahamsson, that has changed, and for good.
I was eager to put my eyes on this book and discover what the title was about. It was the first time I had a new word, a totally new world before me, and the experience was as bittersweet as I expected it to be, not because of the author or the highly academic approach to the topic, but because this was in a mid-way between an introduction and a more advanced reading.
The book itself is a collection of texts and lectures on the links between occultism and art, culture, and how the affect each other, along with the impact this interesting mix has on our world. Despite I could follow many of the initial ideas when I started reading, things changed after a couple of chapters.
The book explores subjects such as the lives of Aleister Crowley, Anton LaVey, dreams, comparisons between art and magic, and those who work with them, among other sub-topics, serving as a good introduction for those who are not familiar with the main subject, yet, it also develops ideas that are more advanced in several chapters, confusing at times.
The topics and terminology, along with the style of each author, became too complex and deep for me to follow and understand. I found myself re reading several passages and even entire pages, not knowing what was happening. Mr. Abrahamsson’s friends gave me such a frustrating time that I even considered leaving this book behind more than once.
Yet, I’m glad I didn’t do it. Yes, it gave me headaches, it made me feel as an ignorant in the bad sense of the word, but it also helped me to understand some topics I haven’t come across and introduced the topic of occulture to my eyes. That’s already something I appreciate.
In terms of style, however, Occulture kept the same structure and language, no matter who was writing. That was something I always like to find in compilations, and that certainly doesn’t mean that we will find one point of view; that’s something I praise, to have several people writing on a same style, but keeping their own voices and ideas.
Despite I would recommend readers to have a previous approach before getting Occulture, it is also obvious that this has to do with the selection of topics, which is not as homogeneous as one might expect. But I prefer to look at this as a map hinting the next topics readers should research if they’re as interested as I am now that I finished the book. I also want to make it clear, if it is not at this point, that I’m not used to books as academic as this one, and that should also be taken into consideration by future readers.
Right now, I will consider searching for another title like this one, but not soon. Despite Carl Abrahamsson sparked my interest, I still need some time in order to fully understand some ideas and clear my doubts. Then I’ll give the topic another chance. Hopefully, I will succeed then when I try to understand it.
Print Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Park Street Press (March 6, 2018)
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
About the author:
Carl Abrahamsson is a writer, publisher, magico-anthropologist, filmmaker, and photographer. Since the mid-1980s he has been active in the magical community, integrating “occulture” as a way of life and lecturing about his findings and speculations. The editor and publisher of the annual anthology of occulture, The Fenris Wolf, and the author of Reasonances, he divides his time between Stockholm, Sweden, and New York City.
About the reviewer:
Bader Saab is a digital journalist and self-published writer; a solitary, eclectic wiccan interested in the darker side of magic and divination; a gothic guy that tries to educate whenever he cans. Hopefully, someday he will succeed in one of them.