James Wasserman

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James Wasserman
Born 1948
New Jersey, USA

James Wasserman (born 1948)[1] is an American author and occultist. A member of Ordo Templi Orientis since 1976 and a book designer by trade, he has written extensively on spiritual and political liberty.

Publishing career[edit]

Wasserman began working in 1973 at Weiser Books, then the world’s largest bookstore and publishing company to specialize in esoteric literature. While working at Weiser, he met and befriended legendary filmmakers and occultists Harry Smith and Alejandro Jodorowsky.[2] Wasserman worked with Brazilian occultist Marcelo Ramos Motta to publish the Commentaries of AL in 1975, for which he wrote the introduction. Additionally, he supervised the 1976 Weiser publication of The Book of the Law, the first popular edition to append the holograph manuscript to the typeset text.[3][4] In 1977, Wasserman arranged to professionally re-photograph Frieda Harris' Tarot paintings for use in an improved second edition of Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot deck, and also wrote the instruction booklet.[5]

Wasserman left Weiser in 1977 to found Studio 31, where he produced the Simon Necronomicon, a volume purporting to be the mythological Necronomicon made famous by Howard Philips Lovecraft.[6] In 2008, it was reissued in a high-quality 31st anniversary edition by Ibis Press. In 1994, Wasserman assembled a team of scholars, photographers, and editorial staff to produce a full-color version of The Egyptian Book of the Dead featuring the Papyrus of Ani as discussed in In the Center of the Fire[7] His edition of the Book of the Dead was described as offering "much of value in presentation, layout and commentary"[8] by John Baines, professor of Egyptology at the University of Oxford.

Ordo Templi Orientis[edit]

A member of O.T.O. since 1976, Wasserman founded one of its oldest lodges, Tahuti Lodge, in New York City in 1979.[9] He has played a key role within the Order in publishing the literary corpus of Aleister Crowley. In 1983, he worked with two other members of O.T.O. to produce The Holy Books of Thelema,[5][10][11] a collection of Crowley’s Class A (inspired) writings. In 1986, his essay “An Introduction to the History of the O.T.O.” appeared in The Equinox III, No. 10. In 2009, he and his wife Nancy published To Perfect This Feast,[12] a performance commentary on the Gnostic Mass. Wasserman is described by Dan Burstein as "a founder of the modern Ordo Templi Orientis” in his guide to Dan Brown's novel Angels & Demons.[13] In 2012, Wasserman wrote an extensive account of his own experiences in the development of the modern O.T.O.[14]

Public appearances[edit]

Wasserman has appeared on several television and radio shows.[15] In 2009, he discussed his book Secrets of Masonic Washington at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.[16] In 2012, his performance of Liber Israfel was broadcast on The Discovery Channel in a program entitled Secrets of Secret Societies.


As writer[edit]

As editor[edit]

  • Crowley, Aleister (2006). Aleister Crowley and the Practice of the Magical Diary. Weiser Books. ISBN 978-1-57863-372-2. 
  • Birch, Una (2007). Secret Societies: Illuminati, Freemasons, and the French Revolution. Nicolas Hays. ISBN 978-0-89254-132-4. 
  • Stanley, Thomas (2010). Pythagoras: His Life and Teaching. Ibis Press. ISBN 978-0-89254-160-7. (with co-editor Daniel Gunther)
  • The Weiser Concise Guide Series(5 titles) |publisher=Redwheel/Weiser

As publisher[edit]

  • Eva Von Dassow, ed. (1994). The Egyptian Book of the Dead. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-6489-3. 
  • Simon, ed. (2008). The Necronomicon. Lake Worth, Florida: Ibis Press. ISBN 978-0-89254-146-1. 


  • Divine Warriors: The Birth of Heresy. With Keith Stump and Harvey Rochman, 2007.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "James Wasserman Biography". Jameswassermanbooks.com. James Wasserman Books. Retrieved 2011-07-19. 
  2. ^ Igliori, Paola (1996). American Magus: Harry Smith. New York, NY: Inandout Press. p. 275. ISBN 0-9625119-9-4. 
  3. ^ Crowley, Aleister (1976). The Book of the Law. New York, NY: Samuel Weiser. ISBN 0-87728-334-6. 
  4. ^ Wasserman, James (2012). In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966-1989. Lake Worth, FL: Ibis Press. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-89254-201-7. 
  5. ^ a b Louise, Rita. "James Wasserman - Secrets of Masonic Washington". Justenergyradio.com. Body, Mind & SoulHealer. Retrieved November 22, 2011. 
  6. ^ Simon, ed. (1977). The Necronomicon. New York, NY: Schlangekraft/Barnes Graphic. 
  7. ^ Wasserman, James (2012). In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966-1989. Lake Worth, FL: Ibis Press. pp. 145–147. ISBN 978-0-89254-201-7. 
  8. ^ Baines, John (1995-04-21). "The Egyptian Book of the Dead". Times Higher Education (London). Retrieved 2011-07-19. 
  9. ^ "Tahuti Lodge O.T.O., serving the New York City Metropolitan Area". Tahutilodge.org. Tahuti Lodge, Ordo Templi Orientis. 2009. Retrieved November 22, 2011. 
  10. ^ Crowley, Aleister (1983). The Holy Books of Thelema. York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser. ISBN 0-87728-579-9. 
  11. ^ Wasserman, James (2012). In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966-1989. Lake Worth, FL: Ibis Press. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-89254-201-7. 
  12. ^ Wasserman, James & Nancy (2010). To Perfect This Feast: A Commentary on Liber XV (2nd ed.). Sekmet Books. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-9718870-3-9. 
  13. ^ Burstein, Dan (2004). Secrets of Angels and Demons. New York, NY: CDS Books. p. 140. ISBN 1-59315-140-3. 
  14. ^ Wasserman, James (2012). In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966-1989. Lake Worth, FL: Ibis Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-89254-201-7. 
  15. ^ James Wasserman Media Page
  16. ^ James Wasserman at the National Press Club 2009 Part 1 on YouTube

External links[edit]