More on Idries Shah and Gardner

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:08 pm

mybrainisafleamarket said,
05.01.10 at 11:11 am ·
A small article on how Idries Shah tried to pull the enneagram/gon into his system. Note that he selected an area with lots of gaps. The author of the Anulio blog supplies interesting illustrations.


Apparently Shah’s book, The Commanding Self, once very popular, was an important launch point.

This coupled with the Garrard article about the Omar MS of the Rubaiyat that was never produced when Robert Graves was in his hour of dire need and begged the custodial family to show it to him–


Idries Shah, when younger, had a close relationship with Gerald Gardner, considered the founder of modern Wicca. Gardner had a most interesting library.

It is mentioned in a long list of citations that in the 1950s, young Idries Shah was a ’secretary-companion’ and friend Gerald Gardner, a distinguished British orientalist and esotericist who is credited with supporting a revival of interest in ritual magic. Gardner created a museum of magic and witchcraft. As Gardners secretary and companion and friend, Shah could easily have had free run of the library.

The library was muddled after Gardner died. A list of its current contents is given, but you will see some items were added after Gardner died. We have no idea to what extent the current ‘Gardner Libary’ index reflects Gardners own interests, those of its current cutodians, or a confusion of the two.

A scattering of items in the collection show what a mix it was–and fertile soil for an enterprising young fellow to plough..

Here is a site giving current items in the Gardner Libary–whats left of it.


Gardners library, had one volume of Gurdjieff material. Gardner was much more interested in European magic and had many items by Aliester Crowley and Israel Regardie, and quite a bit of Theosophical material.

WALKER, Kenneth A Study of Gurdjieff’s Teaching Jonathan Cape London 1957

and (ahem)

WEBSTER, Nesta H. Secret Societies and Subversive Movements Boswell Printing & Publishing Co. Ltd. London 1924

There is a list of items for which there is no author, but its intriguing reading
for someone rummaging about.


Now, here is my arbitrary selection of a few items from Garders library that would, presumably, have been there when Shah was his secretary and companion. Note the number of items dealing with method by which to work with trance, establish interpersonal rapport–including Dale Carnegie!

A FRENCH ARMY SURGEON Untrodden Fields of Anthropology: Observations of the Esoteric Libraire des Bibliophiles Paris 1896
ABBOT, A. E. Encyclopedia of the Occult Sciences Emerson Press London 1960

BAKR, Siraj Ed-Din Abu The Book of Certainty Rider & Company London 1952

BARRETT, Francis The Magus or Celestial Intelligencer: Being a Complete System of Occult Philosophy Lackington, Allen & Co. London 1801

BAYLEY, Harold The Lost Language of Symbolism Volume I Williams & Norgate London 1951,c1912
BEARD, Charles R. Lucks and Talismans Sampson, Low, Marston & Co. Ltd. London post-1925
BENIDGO, T. W. Explanations of Altar Diagrams copied 1902

BESANT, Annie Esoteric Christianity or The Lesser Mysteries The Theosophical Publishing House Adyar, Madias, India 1914

BOSE, D.N. (ed.) Tantras: Their Philosophy and Occult Secrets Oriental Publishing Co. Calcutta

(Idries Shahs biography of Gardner written under another name)

**BRACELIN, J.L. Gerald Gardner: Witch The Octogon Press London 1960

BROWN, Harry Harrison How to Control Fate through Suggestion: A Lesson in Soul Culture L.N.Fowler & Co. London 1915 (c 1901

**CARNEGIE, Dale How to Win Friends and Influence People Simon & Shuster New York 1938

CARR, A.H.Z. How to Attract Good Luck The Worlds Work Limited Kingswood, Surrey, England 1953

COLEMAN, Stanley Jackson (MELOC ed.) Treasury of Folklore: Amazing Stories of Wizardry & Black Magic Folklore Academy Isle of Man 1956

***COLEMAN, Stanley Jackson (MELOC ed.) Treasury of Folklore: Fantasies in Figures – Mathematical Mysteries Folklore Academy Isle of Man 1956

CRAWFORD, F. Marion Zoroaster Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd. London, Edinburgh, New York

MONTAGUE, E.R. Tales from the Talmud William Blackwood and Sons Edinburgh and London

NIVEDITA, Sister and COOMARASWENY, A.K. Myths of the Hindus and Buddhists George G. Harrap & Co. London 1913

NOA, Juan Manx Yarns Examiner Printing Works

OLLIVER, C.W. The Extension of Consciousness: An Introduction to the Study of Metapsychology Rider & Co. London 1932
ORTON, J. Louis Hypnotism Made Practical Thorsons Publishers Ltd. London 1956

PLANGIERE (trans.) Grimorium Verum (The True Clavicles of Solomon) – language unknown handwritten MSS 7 x 9 123 pages

PLANGIERE (trans.) Grimorium Verum: A Collection of Curious Secrets: The True Clavicles of Solomon handwritten MSS 8 x 12 28 pages

POWERS, Melvin Advance Techniques of Hypnosis Thorsons Publishers
London 1958 (c 1953)

RADCLYFFE, E.J.D. Magic and Mind A & C Black Ltd. London 1932

SHAFTESBURY, Edmund Cultivation of Personal Magnetism in Seven Progressive Steps Ralston Unversity Press Meriden, Conn. 1926 (c 1925)

SHIPP, Horace Idea that Moved the World: Stories of Dreams and Deeds Evan’s Brothers Ltd. London 1944

**SPENCE, Lewis An Encyclopedia of Occultism George Routledge & Sons Ltd. London 1920

THOMPSON, R. Campbell Semetic Magic: Its Origins and Developments/Luzac’s Oriental Religious Series Vol. 3 Luzac & Co. London 1908

VAN PELT, S.J. Hypnotism and the Power Within Skeffington and Son Limited London 1952 (c 1950)

WALDSTEIN, Louis The Subconscious Self and Its Relation to Education and Health Grant Richards London 1897

COLEMAN, Stanley Jackson (MELOC ed.) Treasury of Folklore: Fantasies in Figures – Mathematical Mysteries Folklore Academy Isle of Man 1956

HROZNY, Bedrich (trans. PROCHAZKA, Jindrich) Cultivation of Personal Magnetism in Seven Progressive Steps Ralston Univ. Press Meriden, Conn 1926 (c 1924)

HUBBARD, L. Ron Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health Derrick Ridgeway London 1951

HUNT, Ernest A Bookof Auto Suggestions William Rider & Sons Ltd. London 1925 (c 1919)

HUNT, Ernest A manual of Hypnosis William Rider & Sons Ltd. London 1915

JUDGE, William Q. Echoes from the Orient The Magazine Theosophy Los Angeles 1918

LEADBEATER, C.W. The Hidden Life in Freemasonry The Theosophical Publishing House Adyar, Madras, India 1926

(the spooky fiction writer)LOVECRAFT, H.P. Something About Cats and Other Pieces Arkham House Sauk City Wisc. 1949

Some contextual information. Idries Shah was a close friend of Gerald Gardner, a figure who was vastly influential in esoteric circles. Gardner
eventually created a museum of Magic and Witchcraft. Here are some
items from this article:

This site mentions a list of books in Gardners library. Unfortunately, that link no longer works. Damn!

“Additionally, be sure to take a look at Gerald Gardner’s own biography, Gerald Gardner: Witch by Jack Bracelin, although it was actually ghost-written by Idries Shah who was a close friend of Gardner’s.”

Gardners museum:

“Gardner opened a witchcraft museum on the Isle of Man and made himself available to the press and to prospective new witches. In 1962, shortly before Gardner’s death, the Americans Rosemary and Raymond Bucklad traveled to his home and were initiated as priestess and priest and returned to found the Gardnerian movement in the United States. Gardner died at sea on February 12, 1964. After his death the contents of the museum were sold to Ripley’s Believe It or Not and were subsequently disbursed to various Ripley’s museums and sold to private collectors.”

This article also notes:

“””(Gardners)Later life, 1960
In 1960, the official biography of Gardner, entitled Gerald Gardner: Witch, was published. It was written by a friend of his, the Sufi mystic Idries Shah, but used the name of one of Gardner’s High Priests, Jack L. Bracelin.[49][50] In May that year, Gardner travelled to Buckingham Palace, where he enjoyed a garden party in recognition of his years of service to the Empire in the Far East.” In an earlier section, it was noted this was the first titled to be published from Shah’s Octagon Press.’

another, fuller version of this page is here

mybrainisafleamarket said,

05.01.10 at 9:02 pm · Edit

There are some additional comments newly posted on the Androids in Love site, and comment #19 is interesting, as it purports to be a first person report from someone who made a signficant investment of time, energy and money.

mybrainisafleamarket said,

05.01.10 at 9:17 pm · Edit

Am not sure if my earlier post went through. In case it did not,
researchers might wish to study the relationship between young Idries Shah and Gerald Gardner, considered the great revivor of Wiccan paganism.

Shah is mentioned as having been Gardners secretar-companion. This suggests a close working relationship. Shah, under the surname Bracelin, wrote a biography of Gardner, and this was the first book published via Shah’s Octagon Publishing House. Gardner died in 1963.

This URL lists a catalog for Gardners library. Some items were added by custodians after Gardners death, but many original items remain, and these are books which young Shah could have freely accessed.

Gardner also created a Museum of Magic and Witchcraft. Sadly, much of it was dispersed after he died. An attempt has been made to revive it.

Information about Gardners library, which must have been frequented by his younger secretary and companion is given here, at this URL.

There is one book listed by a Gurdjieffian (Walker).

In addition, there are many books on masonry, theosophy, hypnosis and social persuasion (including a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People and Dianetics) are also in this collection, plus books on symbolism, many on witchcraft, astrology and at least one book on secret societies, plus one collection of HP Lovecrafts stories.

Any items on this list that carry a publication date after Gardners death were, presumably, added later by those who sought to revive the museum.

Gardner’s interests were chiefly European magic and esotericism. The list of items under the heading ‘no author’ includes descriptions of various manuscripts and diagrams.

What is interesting is how very many of the books collected by Gardner later became popular among the hippies and consciousness seekers of the late Sixties and Seventies–Gardner could be considered a proto-hippie and died just a handful of years before the psychedelic era hit full tilt.

This library would have given excellent preparation to someone aiming to gain a following amongst that constituency.


  1. jim Buck said,

    01.12.10 at 9:38 am

    The BBC used to fill the hour between Children’s television and the start of adult programming (at six) with short films, repeated often. One of these fillers was concerned with the Witchcraft Museum on the Isle of Man. Gardner was front of screen, relaying his eccentric views; and there in the background was his young assistant, Ahmed (Idries Shah). It might still be in the beeb’s archives.

  2. The Gurdjieff Con » Idries Shah and Gardner (!) said,

    01.13.10 at 2:59 pm

    […] literatureThe Gurdjieff Con » Comment on a Rajneesh post on The case of Rajneeshjim Buck on More on Idries Shah and Gardnerjim Buck on On the trail of the Shah/Gurdjieff […]

  3. Alia said,

    10.21.17 at 3:33 pm


    Really interesting my family were heavily involved with Shah and his brothers and I always thought Shah was not a positive influence. I happen by coincidence to have a partner from the IOM and he was looking into the witches mill as a memory of his childhood and came across this link knowing my roots to Shah. All really interesting.

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