ARTWORK BY EMMA DOEVE
Due to a variety of circumstances – some unforeseen and beyond our control – a number of WhollyBooks and related projects were held up and / or put back over the last few months – but as we begin the Seasonal turn towards the End of the Year, a number of these are at last either being finalised, or re-scheduled as we look toward 2014 . . .
After the recent completion of A Way With Words and our contributions for the forthcoming journal The Thirteenth Path, next in line is the long-intended Grimoire, A K E P H A L O S . Inspired by the world of the Graeco-Egyptian Magical Papryi, this will be produced in collaboration with Aeon Sophia Press. In the meantime, while the finishing touches are being put to the material for this, I have also begun to look over a wider range of my visual material, with a view to preparing a showcase for release early in 2014.
I have decided to share this Gallery of artwork here, and over the coming weeks will be adding to it gradually, including representations of early work, and on-going developments in a range of different media.
This is only a first selection. Further images, and occasional relevant details, will be added as I go along.
Matthew Levi Stevens
C J Bradbury Robinson
Available December 2013, only from WhollyBooks.
A Way With Words is the previously untold story of the friendship between William S. Burroughs and C J Bradbury Robinson, focussing on the former’s facilitation of the sale to Olympia Press of the latter’s Williams Mix, for which novel WSB wrote a masterly Introduction. Also included are Bradbury Robinson’s essays on Samuel Beckett and William Burroughs, plus Bill Andriette’s 2005 review of CJBR’s trilogy and Matthew Levi Stevens’ reflections on times present and times past.
A beautiful, stitched hardback edition, with dust-jacket; approx. 140 pages, with 16 pages of plates, including a complete facsimile of the original typescript of WSB’s Introduction to Williams Mix, with his handwritten annotations.
Price : £20 + postage & packing.
Further details of binding, edition, illustrations, etc., will be advised shortly.
Advance Orders and any Other Inquiries to :
Announcing recently completed essays that will be appearing for the first time in the new journal, THE THIRTEENTH PATH - “a magazine fusing mysteries of Gnosis and Occult praxis” – forthcoming from Aeon Sophia Press.
- From Austin Spare and the Great Witch by Emma Doeve :
“The Witch, he wrote, “usually old, usually grotesque, libidinously learned and as sexually attractive as a corpse” was necessary for transmutation. Also, it wouldn’t be unusual for the young Spare to have seen some old women of her description on the streets in his neighbourhood in pre-First World War London – or later even, between the Wars. There might have been a gypsy fortune teller among them, one who retained a smidgen of a beauty she may once have possessed, who caught his eye as he caught hers, and with whom he spent time. She may have been one of his first models . . .
She would become the infinite ‘I am’ of his primary self-divinizing Imagination, replacing the ‘I am’ of the Christian God. The initiation She bestowed on him was his inalienable right to self-assertion as an artist, as an artist more than a man.
It’s difficult to imagine a stranger creature, in spite of the legions of monsters and grotesques that people the imagination of many an occultist today. Spare’s vampire or demon – who hasn’t burst into flames, or decayed into a nasty puddle on the floor when exposed to the light, as in the usual vampire lore – is a potent creature of the Night, which has somehow strayed or made it into the light of Day, where she stands revealed and transformed.”
[ Photo of original artwork by Austin Osman Spare appears by kind permission of Caroline Wise and Michael Staley. ]
- From At the Feet of the Goddess: Some thoughts on Kenneth Grant, David Curwen and The Thirteenth Path by Matthew Levi Stevens :
“Shortly before Crowley’s death, Kenneth Grant would meet a man who would later prove to be almost as much of an influence on him as The Great Beast had been: albeit more in the form of an éminence grise, who would influence Grant from behind the scenes – and provide an initiation and inspiration that would have a definitive impact on his reformulation of Thelema, the purpose and rituals of the branch of the O.T.O. he would found, and much of the focus of the “Typhonian Trilogies” that would become his primary literary and magickal contribution to contemporary occultism. As such, he has a direct relevance to the issues of The Thirteenth Path, and his name was David Curwen . . . who had shared with Grant the initiated Kaula Comment on the Anandalahari that he had credited with giving him “full initiation into a highly recondite formula of the tantric vama marg.”
After Crowley’s death in 1947, David Curwen and Kenneth Grant would remain in contact, with Curwen giving Grant advice on tantric practice which would feature heavily in the workings of the New Isis Lodge, the specialised cell of the O.T.O. established to “channel transmissions from transplutonic sources” which operated between 1955 and 1962. Curwen apparently also made premises available to the Lodge for their meetings, both in the basement below his shop and also, according to accounts Grant has given, at a semi-derelict property he owned in the Islington area of London. On at least one occasion, Curwen participated in the rituals of New Isis Lodge, and it is there that we will meet him next . . .”
[ Original artwork 'Kaula Dancer' by Emma Doeve. ]
Further details concerning THE THIRTEENTH PATH, its contents and availability, will be made available as soon as they are confirmed.
Having just come back from our usual weekend away this time of year, and nearing completion of a number of long-term projects that have kept us busy offline, we thought it was time to return once more to the virtual world…
Light & Shadow in Glastonbury
When it comes to those attributes that the place is renowned for, Glastonbury doesn’t disappoint: just a stroll up or down the High Street, a coffee in one of the excellent cafes, looking in the bookshops, or a visit to landmarks such as Chalice Well and the Tor. Also, it is a place where you can run into friends and acquaintances old and new, perhaps like nowhere else…
First stop Labyrinth Books, and who should we meet but David Rankine, fresh from completion of his latest book, The Complete Grimoire of Pope Honorius (co-authored with Paul Harry Barron, available from Avalonia Books – of course!) and recent speaking engagements abroad. Both Labyrinth and the Courtyard Bookshop, further down the High Street, carry fine selections from Avalonia, Fulgur, Mandrake, Scarlet Imprint and Starfire, as well as a good range both Brand New and Second Hand Rare & Collectible titles.
Then, minutes later on our way to La Terre for coffee and a late lunch we bumped into Andrea Salgado and her wife Francis, getting out of a heavily laden car – having quite literally just arrived on their move from London. No strangers to Glastonbury, we’re sure they’ll have no problem settling right in and wish them every success in their new home!
We made the customary pilgrimage to the Tor – which always exercises the legs just as much as the imagination – and took in the breathtaking view to each of the four quarters as we made our tour round the Tower. With the haze in the distance and a cloud-dappled light over the surrounding countryside, just for a moment it was easy to remember visions of the land submerged, and folk-tales about this ‘Isle of Avalon’ in Other times…
Then, on Sunday, we went to pay our respects at the grave of Dion Fortune, saluting seven splendid sentinel spiders on the way. We took a moment to think about the influence of this woman who had made Glastonbury her home, and the inspiration of her works such as The Sea Priestess, Moon Magic, and her formula of “dreaming true”.
Shortly before Mid-day we made our way to Chalice Well Gardens, where as well as attending the Mabon celebration, we were hoping to rendezvous with Sorita d’Este. As well as her work with the Covenant of Hekate – and ongoing duties with Avalonia Books (as well as David’s aforementioned book, new titles include The Faerie Queens anthology, and the forthcoming Dragon Bones by Jan Fries) – Sorita and her partner Lokabandhu Lokabee are working together on the A Sacred Grove in Avalon project for the eco-community Buddhafield, of which more details can be found here:
En route we fell in with Paul Weston, local author and lecturer, whose encyclopaedic knowledge of the New Age mysteries makes books like his Avalonian Aeon essential reading for anyone interested in this field. For our money, his Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus is the natural successor to Robert Anton Wilson’s Cosmic Trigger, but for a Post-Millennial audience.
The Autumn Equinox ushers in the dark time of the year through the astrological sign of Libra. But standing at Chalice Well to commemorate that charged moment when Day and Night balance each other, you become aware the followers of the Goddess, as ever, prefer to think only on Her all-embracing qualities of Light and Love, rather than be fully alert to the necessity for Balance.
On walks earlier and later that day and the next and talks with a few of its inhabitants, you notice a kind of fault-line in this town where the New Age came to stay and found a perpetual home: among the happy or contented visitors and residents wander those who are lost and confused…
Taking a wrong-turning down a side-street late on Saturday night, we saw a poster half-torn from a wall, in which collaged faces of Aleister Crowley, Carl Jung, John Dee and a beatific-looking Christ announced some talk or workshop or other in which “the Sex-Secrets of Jesus” would be discussed in connection with the “Angel Magic” of Dr John Dee, the 16th Century astrologer, alchemist and adviser to Queen Elizabeth I. A further part of the ‘entertainment’ would be a dance contest, and the notice warned that “Those NOT under the influence of mind-altering substances may be disqualified”. Whether this was somebody’s idea of an outrageous joke or not, it gives a clear sense of the level of confusion.
The Chalice Well event at mid-day was very well attended indeed, with as broad a cross-section as you could hope to meet (including some new friends from Guildford Moot that we ran into by chance!) – and we don’t doubt the sincerity of most of the people there – but once again we were struck by the overwhelming emphasis on Light and Love, as if just saying it will somehow make it so. In the midst of all the smiling, hugging and handshaking, and exchange of blessings, we talked with a couple of Glastonbury residents – both serious spiritual seekers themselves. We were told how of all the people who flock to the town looking for enlightenment, or healing, or just to belong – or even some kind of ‘celebrity’, or perhaps to start a business – many are Lost Souls, and problems with drink, drugs, and mental health issues are not uncommon. You might say this is true of pretty much anywhere and everywhere in this day and age. It seems to us that just as many are in danger of being blinded by the light as lost in the darkness – the degree of confusion being such that at times it can be hard to tell the difference.
Traditionally the Equinox is a time of balance, as the name suggests. Perhaps this is an appropriate time to meditate on that, and reflect that we would be equally blind – and therefore lost – if all we knew was either of the extremes, All Light or Total Darkness. We need to be aware of both.
As this is also traditionally a time of Thanksgiving, let us remember the need for Balance, and Give Thanks.
‘In the macrocosm the horizon divides the year, and the sign of division has been deposited in the astrological sign of ♎ which shows the sun rising or setting on the double horizon and dividing the circle of the year into summer and winter, as sunrise and sunset divide the round of the day into light and dark.’
- Kenneth Grant, Nightside of Eden
Of course one of the key principles of the Hermetic Tradition – indeed, it could be said of all Magic – is the notion of correspondences: that one thing can stand for or represent another thing, and as such can act or be acted upon on its behalf. Systems of Magic and Mysticism the world over are replete with lists of such correspondences: that a particular god or goddess has these attributes, or can be represented by those qualities – colours, flowers, gemstones, incense, metals, numbers, wood – and of course in almost every instance an emblem or insignia of some kind, more often than not depicting or relating to something of the deity’s perceived function or attributes. Thus Thoth has the stylus and tablet of his function as a scribe, Set the was-sceptre of power that sports stylised versions of his own head and tail, Maat the vulture’s feather of truth, and Isis the ankh, representative of Life itself.
O Thoth-Hermes, Lord of the world, who are in the heart
The founder of the words of speech,
With winged sandals, turning airy course
O high-minded god, Hermes thrice-great!
Helmsman of All the World
You Lord it over the elements,
Fire, Air, Water, and Earth…
The Counter of the Stars.
I also know what your forms are:
In the East you have the form of an ibis,
In the West you have the form of a dog-faced baboon,
In the North you have the form of a serpent
And in the South you have the form of a wolf
Come to me, you who are in Heaven,
Come to me you who are from the egg.
O blessed one, O mighty son of the goddess, son of Memory, who brings full mental powers
While I am asleep send me your unerring mantic skill!
“In brief, conceive light invisible, and that is a spirit”
- Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici (1643)
The time has come to approach the Mother, to reconnect with Her realm, to make one’s self open to Her power, and experience and explore All that they have to offer. Be warned, however: this is not the all-accepting, all-embracing Mother that awaits, open-armed, to comfort and soothe all the troubled souls of the world. Rather this is the Dark Mother that rationality, orthodox religion, and male fear has tried to banish to the desert or wasteland. She has been condemned as a sucker of blood, stealer of babies, spoiler of crops, demonised and stigmatised as the incubus, the night-hag, siren or witch. Something of Her majesty and power survives in such awesome and terrible goddesses as Selene, Lilith, Kali, and Hekate.
We choose to honour Her as Black Isis.
This Working is performed with the knowledge that the Goddess you seek to reach out to, whose presence you want to become aware of – in order to tap into the energy of its current – is one of the oldest, and relatively unexplored, of divine mysteries.
Such a Working might be considered as useful, even necessary, when the Magician:
Seeks to re-connect with what is most primal and fundamental in our Being & Nature. It is presumed we have left this part of ourselves far behind in primitive times and that it no longer troubles us, but the Black Goddess is with us in ways hard to imagine unless we make the effort and take the time to get to know Her territory;
Needs the strength to perform some difficult task in the service of a higher ideal, for when convention, common morality and conformity have been contravened, the deepest law of all – that of our mortal body’s inertia – still needs to be confronted and overcome;
Wants to sink into him or herself, and tap into a power that is as old as Mother Night.
She is one who both needs to conquer and needs to be conquered Herself. The Magician needs to do battle and to overcome: but as with the serpent Apophis, the overcoming needs to be accomplished every day, time after time.
An excerpt from the work-in-progress, A K E P H A L O S : A Grimoire of Goetia and Mageia, derived from the Graeco-Egyptian Magical Papyri
[ ...to be continued... ]
An excerpt from the work-in-progress, A K E P H A L O S : A Grimoire of Goetia and Mageia, derived from the Graeco-Egyptian Magical Papyri:
Egyptian practice did not require Magic Circles of Protection, because traditionally Workings were always performed within the Temple spaces, which were considered sacred and therefore ‘protected’ by the indwelling of the gods. By the time of the Greek and Roman worlds of the Papyri, magical practice is outside of a recognised Temple system – and indeed, is often outside of the law of the land. There is little or no suggestion of the actual drawing of circles, more of an emphasis on wearing amulets for individual protection, or to signal allegiance to one particular deity or another…
Otherwise it is a matter of alignment, and attuning yourself to certain cosmic forces in preparation to meet with the gods.
From PGM VII.579-90:
A phylactery, a bodyguard against daimons, against phantasms, against every sickness and suffering, to be written on a leaf of gold or silver or tin or on hieratic papyrus. When worn it works mightily for it is the name of power of the great God and His seal, and it is as follows:
KMĒPHIS CHPHYRIS IAEŌ IAŌ AEĒ IAŌ OŌ AIŌN IAEŌBAPHRENE
MOUNOTHILARIKRIPHIAE Y EAIPHIRKIRALITHANYOMENERPHABŌEAI
These are the names; the figure is like this: let the Snake be biting its own tail…
And when you have consecrated it, wear it.
You could also perhaps ‘reinforce’ it with this additional blessing, given elsewhere in the Papyri [PGM LXXI.1-8, to be precise] but missing an image of the corresponding phylactery:
“Great God in Heaven revolving around the world, the True God, IAŌ! Lord, ruler of All, ABLANATHANALBA – grant me this favour, and protect me from every evil thing.”