This work is written, bound and published by the Steward of the Hell Fire Club through their own publishing house. He is a man who not only knows his subject but loves his chosen path.
Mr Loughran attempts to examine the truth behind the legend by piecing together a jigsaw of clues, left in private papers and documents, physical monuments still in existence and other remarkable sources. This includes the research of local historians based in the area around West Wycombe, with particular focus upon the work of M.A. Armfield.
The pieces of the jigsaw are examined from a far the deeper perspective than many writers and represents original research based upon the best available sources. This work first seeks to examine the physical material left to us, whether in the form of written documentation or a still standing building, before attempting to decipher the symbolism, often hidden in plain sight. This deciphering eventually brings the reader to the conclusion (if one had not already reached it), that the Hell Fire Club was something more than a drinking party, a notion that in all honesty was likely a cover story to keep away the foolish.
Many previous writers in exploring the Hell Fire Club have failed to appreciate the influence of the Classics upon the people who founded and those who later became members of the Hell Fire Club. The members of the past were the British Aristocracy, schooled in the Classicism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries many would have experienced the European “Grand Tour” first hand. This Pan-European cultural influence is reflected in the esoteric symbolism used by the Hell Fire Club. Mr Loughran does not make this mistake but examines aspects of the more important symbolism in a detached and professional new light.
Much of the symbolism alluded to in this work was not and remains unfamiliar to me however. This reflects the deep specialisation of the work, as Western Ceremonial Magic and Gnosticism are not my specific areas of expertise. Yet, these two streams of occult philosophy are important factors that underpin the heart of the Hell Fire Club, with particular emphasis upon the latter.
Over the last twenty or thirty years the majority, not all but certainly the majority of published works, have chosen to focus upon the more sensational aspects of the legendary Hell Fire Club. These works have neglected the Western Esoteric Philosophy at the heart of the organisation, choosing to dwell instead upon exaggerated and unproven accounts of sexual excess. The writers of such works have failed to appreciate that the Hell Fire Club at its height, was a rival to any esoteric order in Europe.
This work is a welcome and important departure from the mainstream, the specialist nature reflecting the sad neglect of the esoteric teachings of the Hell Fire Club. This book is a major contribution to the field of genuine research into this neglected subject. To put it simply and perhaps rather boldly, this work is in all probability, the single most important piece of original research examining the real Hell Fire Club produced in the last twenty years.
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