Strange Book Reviews recently interviewed first-time author Marten Crawford. His first book is an excellent read and is called The Adept Magician.
About Marten Crawford
Marten lives in Ireland. Since very early age he was interested in Magic and the occult. Back in the '70s and '80s, there were virtually no books on the occult, never mind magic in book stores– simply no demand for them. Of course there was no internet either. His first real book on the occult he bought in 1981 called The Art and practice of Astral Projection by Ophiel. This book contained far more than it's title suggested.
During the '90s, he trained and became a stained glass artist, firing enamel paint in a furnace into the glass. He was featured in the Irish Times in 1997, and later was featured on the Discovery Channel, and Irish television for same. He also exhibited for the Georgian society, and the School of Philosophy in Ireland and the UK.
Around 2007, He set up a bio–diesel factory, and sold it later, selling cooking oil to restaurants, then taking the used cooking oil and converting it to diesel. He has several inventions, he learned to play the banjo, and also spent 4 years training in Karate.
He has been practising Hermetic magic all through this time, and recently began writing books on the subject. His training with Ophiel since the '80s helped a great deal when he first began his training with Franz Bardon's book, Initiation into Hermetics back in the early '00s.
At the moment he is healing a person he knows of cancer and another of Hepatitis C. He is humbled by the success of this, and hopes to expand his circle of patients with serious illnesses.
SBR: What motivates or drives you to write books?
MC: A strong urge has resided within me all my life to help the Earth. You could also call it “my beloved Earth” as that it the way I feel about the physical Earth itself with her valleys, mountains, lakes and seas. But also I have this desire and compassion to help and bring people forward if I can. I feel people are in pain and do not even realize it. Although I don't want to be a saint or wear a halo.
But there is a second reason, however it is secondary and that is in writing or teaching I am learning a great deal. Writing requires one meditates on questions. The Adept magician mentioned discernment was his greatest ability, and that is what one must use in order to be useful as a writer. After long consideration I agree with him and writing helps to develop this ability.
SBR: Where do you get your ideas for a book?
MC: I look, listen and am constantly meditating on questions and “truths”. This doesn't mean I sit cross–legged, because I couldn't do that if my life depended upon it! It means I “pose” a question. To whom? I don't know I just do. Then I keep an eye out for the answer. I'm not constantly thinking about it. Then I might pose the same question the following day or day after and keep doing that. In effect I ponder. The most difficult questions take longer, but I am always shocked at how these seemingly unanswerable questions are suddenly answered. So the answer to this question is Inspiration!
Also, I feel it is not me at all who writes. I feel I am just looking on, and it has already been written. I'm simply a typesetter.
SBR: How did you get started writing books and when did you realize you were hooked?
MC: My original love is for art, specifically hand painted stained glass, but I didn't realize I was hooked. Although after writing nearly 700 posts since 2005 on forums dedicated to magic I suppose I am hooked lol! But writing either to myself and later to others started probably 35 years ago. Writing books is a natural progression I suppose.
SBR: How important is a good book cover?
MC: To me, yes it is important– initially, but a good book does not need a good cover. However I am a complete perfectionist which is a bother. Everything in the book must be perfect, like a reflection of the universe, perfect synchronous, like clockwork. I could never hope for 1% of this kind of perfection, but I can try, and the cover is included in this objective.
Some books look great but don't sell, and some books look poor, but sell. I think content and professionalism are vital as these respect the reader.
SBR: Who do you admire most as a writer of your genre and why?
MC: Franz Bardon is the obvious choice for the subject, but he is not an especially good writer. I like Alexandra David–Neel for style and imagery, I think she is a gifted writer. I also loved the dogged passion of Ophiel's books to explain his teaching. No pretense at all. David Ikce and Neale Donald–Walsch were inspirational to me also. Recently the “Christ letters” have made a huge impression on me. I like these writers because of their love of truth, the depth of that truth, their honesty, passion, and the fact that they have no pretense or falsities.
SBR: What books have you just read and why did you choose them?
MC: Believe it or not, I don't read as often as others. I think this is because being given so much truth by great Adepts like Franz Bardon means one has sort of caught the biggest fish. My reason may differ for reading. You see I don't read for entertainment but to discover more truth. So a book which contains little truth is not for me. Although I loved reading the Lord of the Rings, Frabato the magician, Magic and mysteries in Tibet, Meditations on the Tarot, conversations with God, the truth vibrations. Recently I have read The mystical Hexagram by G.M. Vasey which is a mediation on numbers, especially the number 6 and very much allied to my magical path at present. I have also recently read The Last Observer by the same author, and So I suppose a book must contain either a lot of truth or is especially well written for me to read it.
SBR: What is your background in the Occult/Metaphysics/Magic non-fiction or fiction genre?
MC: Ever since I was a child I was fascinated in the occult. I remember a Christian Brother teaching in school when I was 8, about hell, and retribution. I though that he couldn't honestly believe that could he? Or maybe he is just saying that because the God I know would never do such an ignorant thing.
But thank God I only came across Initiation into hermetics when I was in my '30s or I would have probably done myself some damage.
Prior to that I read and listened to every single piece of music for more truths. All music which contained truth I learned the words to it, listening carefully, because in the '80s, there was no other source of truth, no Internet, and nothing in the book stores, except one book I found by Ophiel.
Then a breath of freh air came in the form of the New–age movement in the late '80s. New–age proponents spoke openly of positive thinking which was revolutionary for the time. I attended courses called “I am” and “joyspring” which were a sea–change from the new–age thinking, then to reading “the Truth vibrations” and moving on to “Conversation with God” in 2000. I have always been searching in a relentless way since early childhood for this material. When I found it I wasted little time. I have a sort of flaw in my personality whereby I feel I have not done enough. It matter little what the subject is.
SBR: What do you think the biggest threat to magic is and why?
MC: Well I don't think there is a threat to it: except apathy. Magic on Earth has just gone through a “death” and what follows death is always rebirth. So I believe we are at the very beginning. You can see this in the explosion of Wicca and other spirituality.
SBR: How do you create your reality?
MC: Keep dreaming !
SBR: What’s next in terms of books for you?
MC: I'd like to expand on the Adept Magician, and bring it forward. I look on it as an instructional course where the planting of thoughts in a fertile mind is the tool. I wish to create books which speak directly to ones subconscious, planting ideas the reader in not necessarily aware of. Sort of teaching through symbols, by–passing the conscious mind.