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Home » Campus News Latest » Obituaries » James J. Wasserman ’71

James Wasserman, American writer and occultist, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, November 18, 2020, surrounded by family.

Wasserman was born in 1948. After attending Antioch College, he spent several years traveling the U.S. in search of spiritual teaching, studying with various teachers of meditation and other occult disciplines.

He settled in New York City in 1973 and began working at Samuel Weiser’s Bookstore, then the world’s largest English language occult specialist. In 1977, he left Weiser’s to establish Studio 31, offering full-service book production and graphic design.

In 1976, he joined Ordo Templi Orientis, having explored Aleister Crowley’s system of Scientific Illuminism. In 1979, he founded Tahuti Lodge, one of the oldest continuously operating O.T.O. lodges in the world.

He played a key role in numerous seminal publications of the literary corpus of Aleister Crowley.

He supervised Weiser’s 1976 edition of The Book of the Law, in which the holograph manuscript was appended to the corrected typeset text of the O.T.O.’s 1938 publication. This was executed in conformity with the book’s instructions, the first time this was done in a popular volume.

After several years of negotiation, he successfully arranged to professionally re-photograph the Crowley-Harris Tarot paintings for an improved second edition of the Thoth Tarot deck published in 1977, to which he contributed the Booklet of Instruction.

In 1983, he helped to produce The Holy Books of Thelema, the critical collection of Crowley’s inspired (Class A) writings.

In addition to his interest in religion and creative mythology, he maintained an ardent passion for political and personal liberty. He was a devoted student of the United States Constitution, the writings of the Founding Fathers, and Libertarianism.