Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mary Desti: the Mother of Invention

Thelemic Saint, Mary Desti was Aleister Crowley's second Scarlet Woman, Soror Virakam. She assisted Crowley in establishing the magical link with the praeterhuman minds that inspired him with one of his greatest works, Magick, Liber ABA, Book 4. Most consider this as his magnum opus. Her ability as a seer was great; a record of her oracular talent can be found in The Ab-ul-Diz Working. Her work also appears in Crowley's book, The Vision & the Voice. Out of all of Crowley's Scarlet Women, I identify with Mary Desti the most. She was an Irish/Italian Libra from Chicago, a single Mother and culture vulture! She owned a cosmetics firm called Desti Beauty Products, a shop called Maison Desti, in Deauville, France, and a New York City studio that sold art, perfume and clothing. I am also an Irish/Italian Libra from Chicago, a single Mother and culture vulture! I've owned and operated two businesses, an Intuitive/Outsider art gallery called Backburner and Beloved, an Esoteric Apothecary, where I sold art, occult goods and my handmade bath and beauty care products. Coincidence?

Mary Desti was life-long best friends with Isadora Duncan, the high priestess of contemporary dance. They were both unwed mothers and led extraordinaire Bohemian lifestyles and traved the world together. Crowley fictionalized both women as characters in his metaphysical novel, Moonchild. Its plot involves a magical war between a white lodge and a black lodge over an unborn child, the Moonchild. Mary appears as the character Lisa la Giuffria and Isadora as a character named "Lavinia King". (Incidentally, my birth given name is Lavona King.) On September 14, 1927 after having returned from a trip to Paris, Isadora and Mary went out to dinner to catch up with one another. After dinner, Isadora hopped into a Bugatti sports car with the agent from the car company. She was wearing a long, elegant, red scarf, and as Mary Desti looked on in horror, that scarf got caught in the axis of the spinning wheel. She was strangled and hurled from the open automobile in which she was riding and instantly killed by the force of her fall to the stone pavement. Mary went on to write a book called The Untold Story: the Life of Isadora Duncan.

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