Lon Milo DuQuette

When one thinks of magick, wizards, spirits and all the trappings of the occult, one doesn't usually imagine a figure like Lon Milo DuQuette. The white-haired Southern California native looks more like a retired surfer than one of the world's leading experts on esoteric religious traditions, as well as one of its most prolific authors.

“Never did get the hang of surfing,” says this tanned Santa Claus with a chuckle, indicating his ample frame. “I am a darn good body surfer, though. I float so well.”

Indeed, if one had to use a single word to describe DuQuette, it would probably be “unsinkable.” Born in California, raised in Nebraska, DuQuette has had a life journey few would believe possible and even fewer would attempt. The 58-year-old author and lecturer has gone from being a sixties flower child and recording artist to a world-renowned adept of the ancient art and science known as “magick.” DuQuette hasn't just ventured to where angels and demons fear to tread, he lives there.

“Since I was a small baby in a crib, I’ve always been curious about the nature of my own being,” he says. “I was born with a hip disease that kept me inactive for much of my childhood. Not a lot of time to play, but lots of quiet time to think and contemplate things. That’s probably why I became a mystic.”

DuQuette is the author of numerous books on magick, divination, and other forms of esoteric studies and practices. Among his most famous works are The Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford; Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot; Angels, Demons & God of the New Millennium; and his autobiographical My Life with the Spirits. His most recent published work, The Key to Solomon’s Key, is an in-depth and somewhat controversial look into the esoteric side of Freemasonry, the roots of Judeo-Christian mysticism and some of the foundations of Western thought. Shortly after its release, the book was hailed as a classic by his many admirers and immediately shot to top of several popularity lists at, Barnes & Noble, and the sites of other major booksellers.

In sharp contrast to both contemporary and classic authors of books on esoteric subjects, DuQuette's style is easy-to-read, easy to understand, and peppered with humor. He's credited with de-mystifying a subject that is mysterious by definition. In the process, has come to be called “the Mark Twain of the Occult,” a title no one is likely to challenge during his lifetime.

“I didn’t set out to de-mystify anything,” he says. “But I can only take things so seriously for just so long, and I guess this comes across in my writing.”

But there's a method to DuQuette's madness. He remembers that as a schoolboy he often found himself cast in the role of class clown. While doing his best to get his classmates to laugh and keeping his teachers annoyed, he came to realize a great truth.

“Over time, I discovered that by always looking for the humor in something I was able to see deeper into it than I could in any other way. And as I began to delve into the Western and Eastern mystery traditions and examine in depth the nature of the universe and my own being, I arrived at a startling conclusion: The Supreme Consciousness has a lot more in common with Groucho Marx than it does with Charlton Heston.”

“Spiritual illumination,” DuQuette emphasizes, “is a profound appreciation of the Universal Joke.”

Don't be fooled into thinking this means DuQuette doesn't take his studies seriously. He has put many years of serious work into understanding his specialty field. His knowledge of the world's religions, sacred texts, political history, cultures and literatures can, and often does, impress the most learned scholars. His autobiography is now a required text in some U.S. universities, and he is in constant demand as a speaker and lecturer on esoteric matters, both in the United States and around the world. He's appeared in video documentaries about ancient Egypt, the Hebrew Kabbalah, and the magical life of Jet Propulsion Laboratory pioneer John Whiteside Parsons. Yet, true to his habit of not taking himself too seriously, he's recently found time to record his own CD of quirky original songs.

In spite of his busy, globetrotting schedule, DuQuette still finds time to hold a regular Monday night class on magick and occult studies at his California home, a tradition he's kept going for nearly three decades. “Teaching others,” he says, “keeps me focused on the ‘big picture’ — the fundamentals — the reasons why a reasonably sane adult should be concerned with such matters.”

Yet the most exciting years of DuQuette's career still seem to be ahead of him. Until now his published writing has focused exclusively on non-fiction. Then, at the beginning of 2007, everything changed with the publication of his first novel Accidental Christ – The Story of Jesus (As Told by His Uncle). In true DuQuette style, it blends a wealth of serious scholarship into an enjoyable, sometimes even humorous narrative that brings to life the world of Roman Palestine 2,000 years ago.

The result of more than a decade of effort, Accidental Christ is the captivating story of a young Jewish aristocrat, an initiate of an Alexandrian mystery school who reluctantly finds himself the focus of a complex political intrigue.

Acknowledging that any non-traditional discussion of Jesus is always a touchy subject with millions of people, DuQuette assures readers that a surprising amount of his dialogue comes directly from the Gospels, and much of the story line was inspired by them. “Accidental Christ takes a very respectful approach to the Bible,” he says, “but it also uses the Gospel stories as a springboard for the imagination to consider some ‘what might have been’ scenarios. It is not intended to offend anyone, but rather, to stimulate thinking and discussion about themes that concern us all.”

Like DuQuette's more “serious” work, his novel is fascinating, enlightening, and unorthodox. It has already stirred controversy and attracted kudos in roughly equal measure.

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