Sex and Magic – David Farren

Sex and Magic
David Farren
Simon and Schuster, 1975
192 pages

I picked this up used on a lark not too long ago. I’d never actually heard anyone refer to this particular text, and at first glance it didn’t seem like one of those sensational “OMG SEX AND SATAN!” books that you occasionally find. So I decided to give it a try.

I liked it overall. The author isn’t a magician himself, but he did a good job of researching magic in the mid-1970s. Along with discussions of Wicca and gypsy witchcraft, he also brings in ceremonial magic and LaVeyan Satanism, as well as Eastern philosophies and the Western traditions they inspired. As for the sex part, it’s rather subdued, though he does talk a lot about the need to change attitudes in society overall–something that Taylor and I talk about in Kink
over three decades later.

In fact, this book is primarily theory, written by a philosopher. There’s a lot of material on symbolism, as well as expose’s that the supposedly lurid and kinky evil rites of various magical groups down through the centuries were a lot more hype than reality, with a lot of glorified circle jerks and bits of *gasp* homosexuality. Having read “Brave New World” recently, the accounts of the feelies in the latter book seemed a lot more interesting than what Farren describes.

There is a bit of practical material in here, though it’s almost entirely limited to folklore and a bit of I Ching divination. The long subtitle of the book, “How to use the spells, potions and ancient knowledge of magic to improve and enhance your sexual life” made me think that this would be a lot more hands-on (so to speak). It’s not a bad book, mind you–just don’t expect a lot of step by step how-tos. I believe it was more written for the nonmagician, and makes for a good source in that respect. Farren makes a good argument for the place of both sex and magic in a healthy society, while promoting positive attitudes towards the body and recommending the abolishment of sexism.

Overall, an interesting find.

Four pawprints out of five.

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