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The Life & Magic of Stewart James (1908-1996)


Twelve Keys To All From The Pyramids (Part 1)

This approach came to me from a marking said to be in one of the pyramids. It suggests it takes twelve men to make one perfect man, as in the Zodiac.

— Stewart James

The title of this thought-starter conjures up images of ancient Egypt.  The lives of the Pharos and their spiritual rituals have left behind architectural wonders of the world, along with mysterious hieroglyphics illustrating their beliefs.  The fact that this “mind stimulation” technique, as James called it, was inspired by an image from one of the pyramids and by the Zodiac reveals the magician’s tendency to experiment with esoteric methods for inspiration (SJP 467).  Similar to the way in which he used his imagination to find freedom within the confines of his family’s strict household, his creative strategies play with and modify conventional religious names in unconventional ways.

For example, in much of Stewart James’ work there is evidence of a strong Christian upbringing (he and his parents were Presbyterian).  Many of his thought-starters’ titles, such as “The Wandering Jeu in the Land of Not” or “The Vision of Ezekiel,” hint at the space traditional biblical stories and names occupied in his mind.  Furthermore, as he mentions in his essay “Pick Rick Capers,” “Matthew" was the name of the notebook he kept on principles of arithmetic, “Mark” was the nickname of his writing table and his reference library was christened “Luke” (SJP 989-990).  In short, a significant number of the titles he gives to tricks or other objects are a pun and a religious reference rolled into one.

But “Twelve Keys To All From The Pyramids,” is more spiritual than religious . . .



Copyright © 2007 Joe Culpepper and Magicana. All rights reserved.