Sad news this morning, with the website of esoteric researcher and author Nevill Drury reporting his passing. I was hooked into Drury’s writing some 15 years ago via his book Don Juan, Mescalito and Modern Magic, and now have a number of his works on the bookshelf behind me. He was also behind the fascinating documentary The Occult Experience (embedded above).
As a writer, Nevill’s driving interest was always associated with the relationship between art, visionary experience and the esoteric traditions. In 1971, during an eight-month visit to England, he worked in a London bookshop and acquired a reader’s ticket to the British Museum. Here he read the visionary texts of the neglected English artist Austin Osman Spare, who was both a trance artist and occultist. Nevill’s first book, The Search for Abraxas, co-authored with a university friend, Stephen Skinner, and published in 1972, delved further into this area. It was described by British author Colin Wilson, who contributed an introduction, as ‘the manifesto of a new generation’. Over a period of some forty years Nevill wrote and co-authored numerous books on shamanism, modern Western magic, contemporary art, ambient music, holistic health, paranormal consciousness research and esoteric thought.