Occult E-books meets Mogg Morgan of Mandrake
Part two: Head East
DE: Hi again Mogg; perhaps your lesser-known side is the Eastern traditions you work with?
Mogg Morgan:Yeah always been interested in Hinduism in one form or another - I came across books on theosophy before anything else and although I couldn't understand too much, it got me going - also reading Morning of the Magicians (note from Dave: info here ) - crap really, but very evocative crap - oh and yes, you can't avoid things tantrik if you're into Crowley - its full of it although not always presented in most rational way - i.e. too much strain and pain for me- my father was in the Royal Artillery stationed in India during partition and his photos were part of my childhood - take a look on his web sites if you like: and /www.axisartists.org.uk
I discovered Ayurveda at college and it had links with Tantrism - part of the philosophical and technical background to Tantra - at the time it was impossible to study magick directly at university so this was a way of looking at the same material - I have a little book called medicine of the gods (see first part of interview- link will be here) which covers that ground and my web page on Samkhya www.mandrake.uk.net is quite useful - I also learn a lot from running the Ayurveda database -
DE: And Ayurveda is...?
Mogg Morgan: Literally the 'science of longevity' - ancient medical system probably put together just before Buddhism - so stemming from same kind of antinomial currents that give rise to Tantrism - if you think about it, then medicine implies that the body is good and important instrument for liberation and should therefore be kept healthy until mind is ready to explore the mysteries. In Indian intellectual and religious tradition the mind is said to mature much later than the body - when its ready to explore the mysteries of yoga magick the body may already be in decline - medical systems, especially those like the siddha system - see the body as an instrument that needs to be preserved and treasured - hence their medical and alchemical work. By the way, current political changes in India mean that Ayurveda and all things traditional are receiving a new impetus - perhaps not always for the best reasons - my own book is in my opinion more reasoned but might well annoy the 'patriotic' historians because it argues for a definite start to the ayurvedic system rather than rooting it in the very ancient past - I also argue the rational basis of alternative medical systems, and have been favourably reviewed: 'the author's main purpose, introducing ancient Indian medical theory in a... trustworthy manner . . . While at the same time being intellectually challenging, is quite well served by this book.' Rahul Peter Das in Traditional South Asian Medicine vol 6, 2001
DE: And the tantra side is very popular- I guess most folk will have heard of it via the musician Sting, ex of the Police, who was waffling on about it all over the media a few years back...but it's not just all about making sex last for hours, is it? There's a spiritual reason for it all.
Mogg Morgan: No you're right - the sex industry has homed in on it as a way of running a knocking shop legally (my friend Tuppy has been to a lot of so-called tantrik workshops and that is often all it is) - that's why some prefer to avoid the term altogether just call it Thelema - its a whole magical system that includes positive attitudes to the body and sexuality - but do visit the 'Rockbitch' website.
DE: There's a lot to digest there- many thanks for all of that Mogg and for spending the time to talk, and I look forward to seeing what's next in the busy world of Mandrake and yourself
Mandrake main site www.mandrake.uk.net
The OGDOS can be found at www.mandrake.uk.net/ogdos.htm
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www.mandrake.uk.net/ayurveda.htm is the Ayurveda database
For mailing list on Ayurveda : mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
As regular readers of these articles will know we usually put a link to buy the relevant product(s) as amazon.com; which would obviously be an affront to Mogg here, and in any case amazon can be a bit slow and unreliable with finding Mandrake titles, so buy direct using the links above, or Mogg also recommends the Inner Bookshop, a very good non corporate bookstore based in Oxford http://www.innerbookshop.com/ or via Bookseeker database http://mandrake.seekbooks.co.uk
Peter Koenig, mentioned in the article has an OTO historical website which is a wealth of information, if not controversy : http://www.cyberlink.ch/~koenig/