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Aleister Crowley, Marie de Miramar & the True Wanga

Citation: Josiffe, Christopher (2013) Aleister Crowley, Marie de Miramar & the True Wanga. Abraxas Journal, 1 (4). pp. 29-42.


Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0

The article is centred on that curious line from Aleister Crowley's (or Aiwass's) Book of the Law (Book I, line 37): "the obeah and the wanga." A copy of an obscure Theosophical pamphlet, 'Obeah Simplified; or, the True Wanga,' (dated c1895) is held in the Yorke Collection, with pencilled emendations (in what appeared to me to be Crowley’s handwriting). It seemed entirely possible that a young Crowley had first come across the terms 'obeah' and 'wanga' via this pamphlet; the idiosyncratic interpretation of these terms by its pseudonymous author ‘Cassecanarie’ dovetail nicely, in my opinion, with Crowley's own understanding (as evinced in e.g. the New Comment). Marie de Miramar, Crowley's unfortunate second wife, the 'High Priestess of Voodoo' also features in this article; an examination of her life, and also the influence (such as it is) of Voodoo - and, more generally, of African Diasporic religions - upon Crowley's thought and writing.

Creators: Josiffe, Christopher and
Official URL:
Subjects: English
Culture, Language & Literature
Keywords: Aleister Crowley, Marie de Miramar, Marie Crowley, Theosophy, obeah, voodoo, wanga, Book of the Law, Liber Legis, Trinidad, Nicaragua
Divisions: Senate House Library
  • 22 September 2013 (published)


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