Book Review by Erik Davis

Diagnosed with aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma a week before he turned seventy, and electing to skip chemo, the provocatively magickal writer, theater-ritualist, and fiercely independent filmmaker Antero Alli offers up this short, inspiring, and spiky reflection on his own sovereign creative life. Like Robert Anton Wilson, Alli grokked the most radical implications of Timothy Leary’s philosophical practice, and poured his self-meta-programming research into the esoteric underground with mind-bending manuals like Angel Tech and The Eight-Circuit Brain (which is the most satisfying account of Leary’s Eight-Circuit Model out there). Schooled in the mysteries, Alli also earned his keep as an innovative postmodern astrologer. In order to undercut culty dependency, he hewed to a rule I always admired: clients were limited to three readings in a lifetime. Since I maxed out long ago, I am very glad to have some more readings here, oracular tidings from a wise old triple Scorpio who is still a “babe in the abyss.”

Alli pursued the creative life to the hilt, and indeed continues to do so til the end, combining a love of experimental collaboration with a tenacious independence and a hermetic hotline to the Mystery. Ernst Jünger might call him an “Anarch,” but he is an Anarch without machismo, a tenacious (and enormously productive) servant of the Muse who keeps falling into enchantment with the world, with work, and with the insurrectionary potential of the imagination. Last Words is a short book oozing a rich life, its modest collection of poems, rants, and recollections radiating an immodest amount of joy, obsession, esoteric insight, shadow-work, and intensity. The book’s haunting photographs and afterword are provided by his long-time partner Sylvi Alli, a musician and singer with whom he sought to “reinvent Romance” through the pursuit of an “Art Life” worked in mutually supportive parallel. It can’t have been easy, but I’d say their quest was fulfilled in spades.

Sylvi and Antero ~ March 2023

Erik Davis is a writer, scholar, journalist and public speaker
whose writings have ranged from rock criticism to cultural analysis
to creative explorations of esoteric mysticism. He is the author of
Techgnosis: Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information.


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