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Austin Osman Spare was an artist, philosopher and occult magician. Like Aleister Crowley with whom he had a brief association, Spare was a genius in his own time unappreciated and vilified by a society that could little understand him. His was the inspiration that led to the formation of the 'Illuminates of Thanateros' (IOT) in England in the late 1970s and the practice of what is now known as 'Chaos Magic' (see Chaos Magic below).
... born on December 30, 1886. He was born of humble roots, the middle child and only son of 5 children. His father was a policeman who often worked the night shift. Money was short for the Spare family but when the young Spare began to show an unusual propensity for drawing and art, they managed to find enough funds to send him to art school.
At the age of 7 somewhat alienated and oppressed by the females of his family, his mother and 4 sisters, Spare was befriended by a mysterious old women, a sorceress by the name of Mrs. Patterson. Spare would often refer to her as his second mother, his 'Witch-mother'. She taught him how to visualize and evoke spirits and elementals to reify his dream imagery. She also initiated Spare into witchcraft during a sabbat meeting and gave him his craft name 'Zos'.
Mrs. Patterson greatly influenced the young Spare. It was said that she could change her appearance from an old women to that of a young temptress at will. She also had other unusual powers as well. A portrait drawing Spare drew of her at the time, is reputed to change before the eyes of those who look upon it.
Spare left school at 13 to serve an apprenticeship in a stained glass works. During the evenings he continued his education at an Art College in Lambeth, South London. This led to a scholarship at the Royal College of Art where he began to study in earnest.
In 1904 at the age of 17, Spare exhibited his first pictures at the Royal Academy. His pictures caused a...