Occult Paris: The Lost Magic of the Belle Epoque

Written by Tobias Churton

Published by Inner Traditions

Any book by Tobias Churton is a special event. His books on Aleister Crowley, particularly ‘Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin’, are amongst the best books ever written on Crowley; they are essential reading for anyone interested in reading about Crowley and his life and works, and deserve the widest audience possible. Churton is a world authority on Gnosticism, Hermeticism and Rosicrucianism. Moreover, he possesses the rare ability to impart his vast knowledge on his chosen subjects in an engaging and accessible fashion.

This splendidly titled tome covers Paris during the Belle Epoque (1871-1914), a period when many cultural and artistic movements flourished in the years before the so-called ‘War To End All Wars’ (which, sadly was not). Movements such as Impressionism, Symbolism, and Art Nouveau had a profound impression on shaping modern culture. These cultural advances happened in tandem with a huge amount of occult activity in Paris.

As Tobias Churton explains in this epic book, these activities related to and impacted upon their practitioners. Paris was a home to many Gnostics, Freemasons, neo-Cathars, Martinists, Theosophists and Rosicrucians. With a cast of characters that range from Claude Debussy to Arthur Rimbaud, this is a truly wide-ranging book.

Kudos must go to Inner traditions for the beautiful binding, printing and design of this wonderful book. Truly, it would be worth purchasing for the plethora of striking illustrations alone.


I also have to say this book would make the basis for a fine documentary.

To conclude, a beautifully written and presented book by one of the 21st century’s great writing talents.



Steve Earles is author and co-author of numerous projects, including To End All Wars: The WWI Graphic Anthology, available summer 2014 (http://toendallwarscomic.wordpress.com/writers/).