Neuburg, Victor (Benjamin) (1883–1940)
Poet, editor, and associate of occultist Aleister Crowley.
Neuburg was born on May 6, 1883, in London, England. He
was educated at the City of London School, southwest London,
and at Trinity College, Cambridge. An early Freethinker, his
first poems were published in the Agnostic Journal and Freethinker.
Around 1906 at Cambridge, Neuburg came in contact with
Crowley, also a poet, who had read some of Neuburg’s pieces
in the Agnostic Journal. Crowley initiated Neuburg into his secret
society, the A?A?, giving him the name ‘‘Frater Omnia
Vincam.’’ He also initiated a homosexual relationship with
Neuburg. In 1909 Crowley took Neuburg to Algiers, and they
set off into the North African desert, where they performed a
series of occult rituals. In the midst of these, Crowley put the
ideas of sex and ‘‘magick’’ together and performed his first
‘‘sex magick’’ ritual.
In 1913 Crowley and Neuburg again joined forces in a homosexual
ritual magic operation known as ‘‘the Paris Working.’’
Neuburg appears to have broken with Crowley some time
in 1914, before Crowley left for the United States on a magick
tour. Supposedly, Neuburg was ritually cursed by Crowley and
suffered a nervous breakdown.
From 1916 to 1919 Neuburg served in the army in World
War I. Thereafter, he avoided Crowley and spent most of his
time at Vine Cottage, Steyning, Sussex, where he operated a
hand printing press. Many of his poems were issued under the
imprint ‘‘Vine Press.’’ In addition to works published under his
own name, he used a number of pseudonyms Alfricobas, Benjie,
M. Broyle, Richard Byrde, Christopher Crayne, Lawrence
Edwardes, Arthur French, Paul Pentreath, Nicholas Pyne, Harold
Stevens, Shirley Tarn, and Rold White. His books include
The Green Garland (1908), The Triumph of Pan (1910), Lillygay,
an Anthology of Anonymous Poems (1920), Swift Wings, Songs in
Sussex (1921), Songs of the Groves (1921), and Larkspur, a Lyric
Garland (1922).
In 1933 Neuburg edited a section called ‘‘The Poet’s Corner’’
in the British newspaper the Sunday Referee. This encouraged
new talent by awarding weekly prizes. A group of talented
young writers and poets grew up around Neuburg. He gave an
award to a then-unknown poet named Dylan Thomas. As a result
of Neuburg’s enthusiasm, the publisher of the Sunday Referee
sponsored the first book of poems by Dylan Thomas, titled
18 Poems. The first publication is now a prized collector’s item.
Although a minor poet, Neuburg’s work has a magical lyric
quality. Known affectionately as ‘‘Vickybird,’’ he was a generous
Networking Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
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and warmhearted friend of other writers. Neuburg died May
30, 1940.
Sources
Calder-Marshall, Arthur. The Magic of My Youth. N.p., 1951.
Crowley, Aleister. ‘‘The Book of the High Magick that as
Worked by Frater O.S.V. 6-5 and Frater L. T. 2-9 The Paris
Working.’’ The Equinox (Nashville, Tenn.) 5, 4 (1981) 171–228.
———. The Confessions. New York Hill & Wang, 1969.
Fuller, Jean Overton. The Magical Dilemma of Victor Neuburg.
London W. H. Allen, 1965.
Neuburg, Victor E. Vickybird A Memoir by His Son. London
The Polytechnic of North London, 1983.