Weiser Books Responds to the Strange Case of Georgina Rose

The Georgina Rose Affair has had the online occult community in a fervor, and understandably so. I will not go into the sordid details. They have been hashed and rehashed multiple times. The best source, should you wish to refresh yourself on the particulars, can be found on the Codex Astarte Substack.

All caught up? Good.

I discovered Georgina Rose, aka da’atdarling quite some time ago when one of her videos was promoted to me via the youtube algorithm gods. While I wasn’t overly impressed with her content, I did follow her channel, and did the same on other social media outlets, such as twitter and instagram.

For all the negatives I could address, as an occult influencer, she did get people talking, about Thelema, Ceremonial Magick, Witchcraft… Her obvious naivete in relation to the subjects she was professed to be a “leading voice” in smacked of the sort of social media popularity contest that is part and parcel of the whole online experience.

I did watch her videos, and listened to the podcast she shared with author Temperance Alden and Nike. This content was the topic of much conversation in the circles I traveled in. As I’ve stated previously, “I was chided for dismissing her as her popularity grew. I just didn’t see why everyone was so enamored with her, to be honest. Maybe it’s because I’m old(er), but she never seemed anything more to me than a “witchtok” anime cosplayer who went viral. Her videos were never insightful in any way. For being touted as a “leading voice” in Thelema, it never seemed to me that she had a grasp on what Thelema was, let alone what it could be.

There was a time when, if one spoke negatively of Ms. Rose’s content, you were labeled as misogynist, which is unfortunate. The issue was never with gender, but with her obvious naivete and misappropriation of other people’s work.

When she announced she had written a book on Thelema, set to be published by one of my favorite occult disseminators, Weiser Books, I was as surprised as anyone. Of course once the allegations of, well, that whole sorted affair, were leveled, many in the esoteric community questioned Weiser Books’ role in this, which I personally found rather unfair.

Weiser Books has always published what I feel is a balanced collection of traditional and historical magical content alongside fresh and ofttimes innovative voices. I reached out to Red Wheel/Weiser for comment, and Associate Publisher Peter Turner was kind enough to respond.

How did Georgina come to Weiser’s attention? Was she recruited, or did she approach the publisher?

Georgina was someone we were aware of as an influencer on social media on Crowley, Thelema, and the occult. She was then doing a podcast with Temperance Alden, one of our authors. (Temperance stopped doing this podcast some time in 2021 I believe.) Georgina did several podcasts on Weiser related topics and seemed genuinely well informed and a respected online source. I actually don’t recall if I reached out to her to do a book or if she submitted one to us first. I think I reached out to her.

Could you share some insights into the internal discussion and decision to pull “Begin With True Will”?

We became aware of the situation over the weekend of April 23rd-24th. On the following Monday and Tuesday senior staff meet to discuss the options. We had hoped that Georgina would address the statements made about her in a way that might make it possible for us to continue to publish the book as planned. That wasn’t forthcoming. So we arranged to have the book description and cover removed from online retailers websites. Shortly after we formerly arranged for the book to no longer be available for preorders. Online retailers can take a few days to update their metadata and affect these sort of changes to a book’s listing so there was a bit of a lag.

In light of this controversy, what is Weiser’s stance on other “problematic” authors, particularly in your back catalog? I’m thinking here of Edred Thorsson, Dion Fortune, Aleister Crowley, etc. Will future editions come with disclaimers (I personally hope not)?

Weiser’s backlist includes books that were first published well over 100 years ago when what was viewed as “problematic” was very different. As a general policy we don’t remove books from our deep backlist. However, if they are reissued the books are closely read for material that may be offensive to our readers. In these instances we either provide a new foreword by a contemporary author reintroducing the book, warn the readers of any such content, and put the author’s views in historical context, or we include an “Editor’s Note” on the pages where this material is printed.

I should say this is a common problem in publishing. Rudyard Kipling, for example, was famously a racist, even using the “N” word in one of his novels. Whitewashing the past isn’t helpful.

How does this affect bringing in new authors for future publication?

We’re currently talking about making our editorial process and editorial policy more broadly known. Many people really don’t know how small publishers do what they do but in the case of Weiser’s readers we think they may appreciate a bit more transparency. In the past, we’ve tended to just want to let the books and their authors speak for themselves; that may not be sufficient these days. In terms of bringing in new authors, we’ve been talking for a while now about how best to properly research an author’s credentials and if they have expressed views that are at odds with Weiser’s publishing mission. We are now doing that research more vigorously. This would not have helped in the case of Begin with True Will (as the book was signed, edited, and already typeset before we became aware of the issues that came to light).

I want to thank Peter for addressing these concerns.

The Strange Case of Georgina Rose is an awakening moment for many of us. The company we keep reflects on us as individuals. That is not to say we should not rub shoulders with those with differing views than us. No, quite the contrary, but we need to be bold in our stance of what each of us holds true, so that there is no question as to where our allegiance lies.

I am religiously heathen, philosophically animistic, and politically Libertarian. I am, in a word, complicated. I am pro-choice, pro-gun, and an ally in trans and women’s rights. I believe in true equality between all races and genders. I always side with freedom of speech, bodily autonomy, and personal liberty.

I also believe in forgiveness, because life is too damned short to believe otherwise.

One Response to “Weiser Books Responds to the Strange Case of Georgina Rose”

  1. […] baby-faced Thelemite and YouTube sensation made news last week when occult publisher Weiser cancelled her upcoming book. The event created a wave of schadenfreude among minor figures who got busy sharing the news […]

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