York Beach, ME: Teitan Press, 2012. First US Edition. Hardcover. 8vo. xxx + 98pp. Quality red cloth with gilt Sri Yantra design on upper board, and gilt titling to spine. Frontis, index. Edition limited to 500 hand-numbered copies. Book is in new unread condition
The Secrets of the Kaula Circle was not only one of the first books to introduce the secret Indian rituals associated with the Kaula or “Tantric” family to a Western audience, but it was also almost certainly the first book of its kind to be written by a woman. Elizabeth Sharpe was already well known for her studies and translations on Indian history and religions, but chose to write of the Kaula path as a novel, perhaps as it allowed her more dramatic effect, and in part at least she wanted it to serve as a warning, particularly to women, not to be drawn into the web of practice that she described. Her misgivings had been heightened by the apparent adoption of some of the practices by Western occultists, notably Aleister Crowley, whose person and activities she described in most unflattering terms. Although The Secrets of the Kaula Circle did not achieve a wide circulation, a copy did find its way into the hands of “the Beast,” who professed outrage at the thinly-veiled and unflattering portrait of himself, and considered suing the author. This Teitan Press edition of The Secrets of the Kaula Circle includes the complete text of the original 1936 edition, along with a new index, and an Introduction by Dr. David Templeman, an adjunct scholar at the Monash Asia Institute at Monash University with more than 40 years of experience in the study of Tibetan and related religious traditions.