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Austin Osman Spare

Austin Osman Spare (December 30, 1886 - May 17, 1956) was an English artist and magician.

He was the son of a London policeman. As a child, he showed an affinity for art, and he briefly attended an art school. At the age of 13, he left school to become an apprentice to a stained glass maker. At some point during his teen years, he met a woman known only as "Mrs. Patterson" who introduced him to magic and the occult, and gave him the mystic name "Zos."

In 1908 Spare exhibited his drawings at the Bruton gallery in London. His work resembled that of Aubrey Beardsley, but was full of grotesque, sexualized human figures and magical symbols. These elements appealed to avant-garde London intellectuals, and brought him to the attention of Aleister Crowley. Crowley initiated Spare into his order Argentium Astrum ("Of the Silver Stars") and he worked on Crowley's publication The Equinox for a time.

In 1916, during World War I, Spare joined the British army, which he served as an official artist. He was posted to Egypt, where he became fascinated with the animal-headed gods of Egyptian mythology.

His subsequent artistic and magical publications included Earth Inferno, The Book of Pleasure, The Focus of Life, and the unfinished Zos Kia Cultus, intended to be a grimoire containing his magical teachings, which focused on a somewhat sadomasochistic version of sexual magic. He was still working on his grimoire when he died on May 17, 1956. He was influential on the still unnamed school that came to be known as chaos magic.

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