Tag Archives: three hands press

Tartartos

Tartaros: On the Orphic and Pythagorean Underworld, and the Pythagorean Pentagram by Johan August Alm is a monograph available from Three Hands Press. The special leather-bound edition is sold out, but deluxe and standard hardcover editions are still available.

Johan August Alm Tartaros from Three Hands Press

“The magical doctrines of the ancient Orphics and Pythagoreans are poorly understood by modern scholars, in part because they were secretive in their own time. Well-known for speaking in riddles and complex ciphers, its adepts were bound by strict taboo and silence, the breaking of which was punishable by death. The enigma of the cult’s teachings was further shrouded by centuries of suppression, and, in some cases, appropriation or misrepresentation, by the growing forces of Christianity. What remains today are the fragments of its lost books, together with the words of those who, for good or ill, wrote about them. In an original interpretation and synthesis apt for today’s student of ancient mysticism and the occult, August Alm advances a new conception of these ancient mystery-cults and their sublime doctrines of Chaos, Darkness and Light.

A foundational part of these ancient Greek mystery-cults was the concept of Tartaros. As the abyss of primeval darkness and chaos, Tartaros was, in its most ancient conception, the birthplace of the human soul and the cosmos itself. This vast and incomprehensible dominion held at its center a great fire, an Axis Mundi about which the universe was arranged. In later eras, it passed into myth as a vast and voidful underworld; a place of binding for condemned souls and the enemies of gods, sealed fast with barriers of bronze and iron. Christians later appropriated it as a partition of their own concept of eternal punishment, a division of hell which constrained no less than the fallen angels.

An equally enigmatic Pythagorean cipher is the symbol of the Pentagram, or five-fold star, whose form has been revered in western magic for some three millennia, but whose origins and original attributes are shrouded in mystery. Its attribution to the four elements, joined together with aither, was popularized in the middle ages and is its best-known meaning in modern occult sciences. However, its earlier Pythagorean usage was related to health and well-being, and almost certainly adumbrated another retinue of arcana, one which was ancient even at the time of Pythagoras.

Exhuming the scattered fragments of these two elder doctrines of Tartaros and the Pentagram, Alm examines their reverberation as occult—and occluded—concepts through centuries of philosophical thought, in a line connecting the shadowy teachings of such ‘dark traditions’ as the Orphics and the Pythagoreans, later penetrating the adyta of Neoplatonism. Arguing for a new undertanding of the Pentagram, he connects its fivefold mystery to the great powers of Tartaros, and also to such terrifying gods such as Hecate, Nyx, Erebos, Typhon, Cerberus, and the Erinyes. This strand of mystery touches upon such related concepts as the high theogony implicit within the Platonic Solids, the shadowy influence of the Cult of the Idaean Dactyls on Pythagoreanism, the Light which is rooted in Darkness, and the magical pathology of the ‘Unrooted Tree’.” [via]

Salomonic Magical Arts

Salomanic Magical Arts translated and introduced by Fredrik Eytzinger, is available from Three Hands Press. The special leather-bound and deluxe hardcover editions are both sold out, but a standard hardcover edition are still available.

Fredrik Eytzinger Salomonic Magical Arts from Three Hands Press

“Amid the great genres of European magical books are the Scandinavian Svartkonstböcker or ‘Books of Black Arts’, the privately-kept practical manuals of magic used by rural charmers and practitioners of folk magic. Incorporating charms, prayers, and curses, as well as medicine, alchemy and physical experiments, many of these books survive today in universities and private collections. While bearing some relationship to the corpus of European grimoires which feature angelic and demonic magic, the Svartkonstböcker as texts of magic are in a class all their own.

Salomonic Magical Arts consists of two such volumes, originally handwritten in the early eighteenth century. Named The Red Book and The Black Book by one of their owners, they passed through the hands of priests and cunning men before coming to rest in academic institutions. Invoking a variety of spirtual powers ranging from Christ to Beelzebub, its magical formulae, numbering in excess of 450 individual receipts, serve as a testament to the endurance of sorcery in the early modern era. First published in Swedish in 1918, Salomonic Magic Arts is here published in English for the first time.

Introducing the work is a substantive introduction by the translator, which places the book in its cultural and magico-historical context, including Swedish cunning-folk traditions (trolldom) the European grimoire tradition, traditional magical healing, pagan belief, and the relationship between folk magic and the church.” [via]

The Afflicted Mirror

The Afflicted Mirror: A Study of Ordeals and the Making of Compacts by Peter Hamilton-Giles, is available from Three Hands Press. The special leather-bound edition is sold out, but deluxe and standard hardcover editions are still available.

Peter Hamilton-Giles The Afflicted Mirror from Three Hands Press

“A shared feature of genuine magical practice and religious experience is the impression of ‘Otherness’, an entic arena of alienation and unfamiliarity. Contrasted with the more comfortable and known spheres of the Self, this ‘state apart’ provides not only inspiration and wonder, it is the dwelling-place of the gods and the prime source of gnosis, direct experience with the divine.

The Afflicted Mirror, based on a research paper presented at the 1996 AAA Anthropology of Religion inaugural conference in Kansas, suggests that for the metaphysical domain to become significant it must distort its appearance so as to attract our attention. This leads not only to validating the existence of the ‘Other’ but also illustrates its influence on how we shape the world. Providing groundbreaking insight on the magician’s actuated relationship with spirits and Gods, The Afflicted Mirror offers a pioneering examination of a topic often overlooked by scholars. As an original phenomenological model, Peter Hamilton-Giles’ The Afflicted Mirror unites such diverse spiritual states as the mysticism of the Seer, the religious ecstasy of the Saint, and the spirit-conjurations of the sorcerer.” [via]

Idolatry Restor’d

Idolotry Restor’d: Witchcraft and the Imaging of Power by Daniel A Schulke, from Three Hands Press, was scheduled for release in November 2013, but appears to still be in pre-order. The special leather-bound edition is sold out, but deluxe and standard hardcover editions are still available.

Daniel A Schulke Idolatry Restor'd from Three Hands Press

“The translation of magical power to image is a matter well understood in so-called ‘primitive’ sorcery, in which occurs a mutual embodiment of re-presentation and the Represented. The Fetish, for example, apprehends a reciprocal process between Object and Creator that often begins long before chisels and adzes are set to wood, participating in its own reification. Many of these eldritch forms of image-making were concerned with accessing power, and it was only later, in the context of religious devotion, that their forms densified into ‘mere’ idols. With increasing levels of religious control over art, a Moiré pattern arises between the Artist and the forces of the Divine, which may either suppress individual visionary power in favor of canonized icons, or, when correctly accessed, give rise to an ‘heretical creativity’.

Witchcraft, because of its syncretic nature, partakes in multiple infusions of traditional image-making lore, including not only sorcery and religious iconography, but also science, craftsmanship, and the fine arts. However, because much of its images are used privately, and indeed created for a limited set of observers, they participate in a concentrated alembic of exposure wherein all who experience them do so in the context of magical practice and devotion. This intensity of private magical interaction provides a locus which enables the image to transcend its medium—and indeed that fetish known as ‘icon’—and generates living numen.

First published as an essay in the British folklore quarterly The Cauldron in 2009, Idolatry Restor’d drew upon the experiential arenas of magical practice and Image-Artistry which came to inform Schulke’s book Lux Haeresis (Xoanon, 2011). Here substantially expanded with illustrations prepared especially for the work, Idolatry Restor’d is a book of engaging fascinum for both Artists and Beholders alike, and strikes at the heart of magical image-aesthesis.” [via]

Clavis Journal, Vol 2: The Cloister Perilous

The Cloister Perilous is volume 2 of Clavis: Journal of Occult Arts, Letters and Experience which is a collaboration between Ouroboros Press and Three Hands Press. This issue, due in October, is available for pre-order and will come in a standard as well as a limited to 125 copies deluxe edition, which last is bound in burgundy goat and comes with a lithograph by Carolyn Hamilton-Giles.

Ouroboros Press Three Hands Press Clavis Journal No 2

“CLAVIS Editions announces the second volume of Clavis: A Journal of Occult Arts, Letters, and Experience. Featuring an outstanding grouping of authors and image-makers, its nominative adumbration ‘The Cloister Perilous’ follows the apocryphal eponym ‘Of Keys, Locks, and Doors’ attributed to Volume 1.

Articles in this issue include ‘Our Lady Babalon and Her Cup of Fornications’ by Gordan Djurdjevic, and esoteric astrologer Austin Coppock’s paean to dark and baneful stellar emanation, ‘Death From Above’. Three adepts of the German magical order Fraternitas Saturni bring forth Gold from Lead, giving voice to the magisterial arcanum of Saturn in the article ‘Listening to the Voice of Silence’, accompanied by the artwork of Albin Grau and Hagen von Tulien. We are also pleased to include ‘Rite of the Graal Evolute’, a previously unpublished ritual and art by the late English magus and scholar Andrew D. Chumbley. Traditional witch Gemma Gary invokes Bwcca, the Cornish Witch-God, in arresting image, rite and magical exposition. Esoteric scholar Henrik Bogdan considers the esoteric role of Secrecy, the very flower of the Occult itself, as it relates to secret societies. Lloyd Graham writes of the magical talismans of Arabian magic, and Aaron Picirillo examines magical self-fashioning. Robert Hull examines the Qabalah of Quantum Physics in ‘Unity and Division’. Michael Howard’s essay ‘Masonic Mysteries of Tubal-Cain’ explores the role of the first artificer of metal in several occult orders. In addition, volume 2 includes several rare occult texts relating to cheiromancy, natural magic, witchcraft and the lore and magic of the Mandragora — the Shrieking Root of the sorcerers.

At 216 pages, CLAVIS Journal 2 features haunting and provocative visuals from many contemporary artists imaging the esoteric: by Madeline von Foerster, Richard Kirk, Carolyn Hamilton-Giles, Tom Allen, Jamie Sweetman, Billy Davis, John Kleckner, Carlos Melgoza, Joseph Uccello, Raven Ebner, Brigid Marlin, Timo Ketola, Ilyas Phaizulline, José Luis Rodríguez Guerra, and many more.” [via]

By Moonlight and Spirit Flight

By Moonlight and Spirit Flight: The Praxis of the Otherworldly Journey to the Witches’ Sabbat by Michael Howard is Three Hands Press Occult Monograph No. 4 and has recently been released, and is also available from Weiser Antiquarian Books.

Michael Howard's By Moonlight and Spirit Flight from Three Hands Press

The Devil read out a roster of those present from a black book. A fire was then lit and the Horned One sat on a throne to receive the worship of his followers. At his side was the leading female witch, a woman known as the Queen of the Sabbath. The witches saluted the Devil by means of the osculum infame or ‘obscene kiss’, which was given under the tail…

As has been established by historians such as Dr. Carlo Ginzburg and Éva Pócs, the topological elements of the medieval Witches’ Sabbat – the ecstatic nocturnalia of the lamiae — carry relics of the ancient spirit-cults and localized folk-beliefs of Europe. Elements haunting witchcraft-practices included the night-roving denizens of the Wild Hunt, the exteriorised or shapeshifted spirit-double, and the profaned sacraments of Christianity itself. Of particular interest in the present essay is the phenomenon of nocturnal spirit-travel and its connections to present-day occult practice as manifested within the Sabbatic Cultus of traditional witchcraft.

In this fourth book in the Three Hands Press Occult Monograph Series, British folklorist Michael Howard casts an eye over such elements as the ancestral horde, the flight of the Furious Host, and the entheogenic Witches Salve, each of which played a unique role in the Sabbat of the Witches. The mythos of the Sabbatic conclave, containing infernal and diabolical elements, is taken beyond its Christian pathology to connect it with actual practices in folk-magic.” [via]

Occlith 0

Occlith 0: Omniform by Joseph Uccello is a new release from The Viatorium Press and Three Hands Press, available from Weiser Antiquarian Books.

Joseph Uccello's Occlith 0 from Three Hands Press

“Since 1992, Xoanon and its sister publishing house Three Hands Press have pioneered the art of occult publishing, their practice driven by the philosophy that a truly magical book transcends the medium of its material embodiment. In part, this has been achieved through sublime qualities of exceptional content and artistry: original text, image, and type design which are undeniably possessed by the inspiring spirits which animate the volume. In the most potent of instances, the book coalesces by a hidden and vital anatomy, whose heart pulsates with life. Historically, the phenomenon of the magical book has appeared at the confluence of magic, mysticism, artistic inspiration and high craftsmanship. Nowhere is this as evident or beguiling as in the corpus of European alchemical texts, created in the ascendancy of movable type, where individual spiritual revelation came to inform both how the Royal Art of Alchemy was understood, and how books were made.

In collaboration with The Viatorium Press, and in the spirit of furthering the modern tradition of the Magical Book, we are pleased to announce Occlith Omniform 0 from award-winning artist, typographer and printer Joseph Uccello. Containing essential texts of the Paracelsian School of Alchemy, the whole serves as an animated sourcebook of essential Hermetic philosophy and Natural Magic, vivified through the letterpress-inspired type design and Uccello’s masterful ink and brush drawings. In addition to the lavishly-illustrated alchemical texts, Omniform includes an essential lexicon of alchemical terms, and an original Introduction by Uccello serves as the portal of ingress into this Corporeal Book.” [via]