Hakim Bey

Authored by: Christian Greer

The Occult World

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415695961
eBook ISBN: 9781315745916
Adobe ISBN: 9781317596769

10.4324/9781315745916.ch43

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Abstract

Peter Lamborn Wilson (1945–) dropped out of Columbia University to pursue an autodidactic, and largely peripatetic course of education that would be as wide-ranging as it was unorthodox. This began with an initiation into the Moorish Orthodox Church, which was fashioned after Noble Drew Ali’s Moorish Science, Tantra, Hazrat Inayat Khan’s ‘Universal Sufism’ and the sacramental use of hallucinogenic substances (‘entheogens’). As a member of the church, his interest in psychedelics was accented when the Moorish Orthodox Church installed itself alongside the Neo-American Church and the League for Spiritual Discovery at the Millbrook ‘ashram,’ then under the direction of Dr. Timothy Leary. As a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War and with the foreboding sense that the spirit of the counterculture was lost, Wilson expatriated in 1968 and embarked upon what would become a decade of spiritual sojourning throughout North Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and the Middle East. After his tutelage under Ganeesh Baba (Shri Mahant Ganesh Giriji Maharaj – a teacher in the tradition of Kriya Yoga) and an initiation in Tara Tantra in India, Wilson spent the following years trekking what became known as the ‘hash trail’ through Nepal, Afghanistan, and Pakistan where he followed itinerant Qalandariyyah Sufis, sought initiations from Hindu gurus and Sufi masters, and availed himself of the abundant supplies of opium and bhang. Following the recommendation of Vilayat Inayat Khan, upon reaching Iran, Wilson sought out the Nimatullahi Sufi order. However, after an introduction to Seyyed Hossein Nasr, it has been plausibly suggested that he joined Frithjof Schuon’s Maryamiyya order instead. His affiliation with Nasr and connection with the Maryamiyya led him to an editorship of Sophia Perennis, which was published under his guidance from 1975 to 1978 and functioned both as the Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy’s journal and a mouth piece for Schuon’s Traditionalist Sufi order. Also working as the director of English language publications for the academy, Wilson worked alongside Traditionalist luminaries Henry Corbin, Toshihiko Izutsu, and William C. Chittick. At this time, Wilson’s own scholarship reflected a traditionalist bias. However, in the following years, his literary output would be transformed through a closer engagement with anarchism, hermetic philosophy, and post-structuralism.

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