Call for submissions to Magick, Music, and Ritual for 2020

Today I am announcing the 2020 call for submissions for Magick, Music and Ritual 15, the next anthology album of tracks by artists inspired by or who incorporate ritual and magick in their work. These anthology albums help promote artists to the audience of the Hermetic Library and beyond. These albums raise awareness about the connection between ritual, music and magick. And, they are a mass of awesome fun.

Magick, Music and Ritual 15 will be the 2020 release from the Anthology Project. The deadline for submissions to the 2020 anthology album is September 30th, 2020. Be sure to stay tuned to the blog, social media, and the pages for the Hermetic Library anthology project for reminders and updates along the way.

Hermetic Library Call for Submissions to Magick, Music and Ritual


Deadline for submissions is September 30th, 20120. Release is planned around the anniversary of the Hermetic Library’s birth on Dec 3rd, 1996.

Be sure to read through the terms and conditions for artist submissions to an anthology album (which includes some new and more specific information about acceptable file formats), and after that if you have any questions, comments or wish to contribute to this project; contact the librarian.

There are three new things to consider this year that are different than previous calls for submissions. First, this year I am asking for at least two tracks from each participant; one for the public issue Magick, Music and Ritual 15, and a second track for a private issue of This Is Not An Hermetic Library Anthology Album -2 for Patrons and Subscribers. Second, if I do not get enough participation this year, I will only release a private issue for Patrons and Subscribers with what submissions I do get. Third, if I am blessed with more submissions than necessary for a reasonable size anthology issue, I will be keeping the extra submissions for future releases, whereas previously I would use all suitable submissions, as many as possible, and not keep any in an ongoing reserve submissions pool for future issues.

Please consider joining Hermetic Library in promoting your work by contributing to this benefit anthology album project. All proceeds from album sales will support the library to help cover hosting costs, materials acquisitions, and other expenses.


Check out all the previously released anthology albums, help spread the word about the Hermetic Library anthology project, and let those you think may be interested know about this new opportunity to participate.


Cover Artwork and Design

If you would like to make a proposal for the artwork and design of this anthology, please get in touch! Take a gander at all the other covers and consider joining the illustrious artists who have participated with their work on those anthologies.

Patron and Subscriber-Only EP

This year, in addition to the public issue, I will be creating a Patron and Subscriber-only EP as a special additional perk for those people who are ongoing Patrons of Hermetic Library on Patreon or have subscribed to Hermetic Library on Bandcamp. This will be alternate tracks on an exclusive album that will be released in addition to the anthology.

Bonus Download Submissions

If you are creating something else, and would like to be included in the anthology download as a bonus, let me know. I’m open to bonus artwork, essay, articles and … well, anything that can be included in a digital download!

Become a Patron or Subscriber

The best ways to add anthology releases and this upcoming Hermetic Library album to your personal music collection is to become an ongoing Patron at Patreon or Subscriber at Bandcamp. Patrons and Subscribers will each be offered a gratis download code for each new release while they are active in addition to other patronage rewards they may receive, and that ends up being the most cost effective way to get these albums. New Patrons and Subscribers get immediate access to a back catalog release, which means a full album when they sign up, and another when the new anthology is released. Consider becoming a Patron today!

Max looks up the dark passage. “Tell Max what is there.” “I can’t. Or, I could, but you wouldn’t understand yet. You have to want to know. You have to make the choice yourself.”

Blake Crouch, Summer Frost

Hermetic quote Crouch Summer Frost choice

The Arcanum

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Arcanum by Thomas Wheeler.

Wheeler The Arcanum

The Arcanum is an occult thriller centered on historical personalities, and set in New York City, 1919. The team of protagonists are brought out of retirement following the assassination of the adept who had first organized them. The heroes themselves are portrayed with varying levels of fidelity to historical detail: Harry Houdini, Arthur Conan Doyle, Marie Laveau, and H.P. Lovecraft. 

Of the four, Lovecraft gets the roughest handling from author Wheeler: the rationalist skeptic is represented as a credulous “demonologist.” This portrayal is in contrast with real HPL, who expressed his perspective in a letter to Robert E. Howard: “All I say is that I think it is damned unlikely that anything like a central cosmic will, a spirit world, or an eternal survival of personality exist. They are the most preposterous and unjustified of all the guesses which can be made about the universe, and I am not enough of a hair-splitter to pretend that I don’t regard them as arrant and negligible moonshine. In theory I am an agnostic, but pending the appearance of radical evidence I must be classed, practically and provisionally, as an atheist.” (1932) Or his blunt remark in even earlier correspondence: “The Judaeo-Christian mythology is NOT TRUE.”

In fact, the occultism of The Arcanum is very non-Lovecraftian; it is centered on a quasi-Biblical sort of Nephilim mythology of the sort often found in comic books or horror movies. Add a dash of Ghostbusters: the “Eltdown Shard” contraption that serves as a convenient demon-detector operated by HPL is made of steampunk fail: it is steam-powered and transistorized, and spits out little Matrix-like glyphs and symbols. The demons and angels which are so central to the story are haplessly corporeal creatures with no real whiff of externality about them. 

Naturally, a tale of the occult set in 1919 New York includes a few appearances by Aleister Crowley. The Beast isn’t exactly treated sympathetically, but he’s not really a cardinal villain either. To the extent that he is relevant, he actually helps the heroes. Wheeler makes Crowley tremendously intelligent and inscrutable, and the only misplaced details are the repetitive description of his “bulging eyes,” and people addressing him familiarly as “Aleister” (rather than “AC”).

This book is the first novel of an experienced screenwriter, and it certainly shows. Nothing in Wheeler’s text could not be done more efficiently and effectively on a screen. That applies especially to the train-centered chase episode near the book’s end! All of the supernatural elements are described as if to provide specs for effects engineers. Still, keeping to such conventions certainly makes the narrative accessible and fast-paced.

A Book of Surrealist Games

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews A Book of Surrealist Games compiled by Alastair Brotchie, edited by Mel Gooding.

Brotchie Gooding A Book of Surrealist Games

“[T]he game became a system, a method of research, a means of exaltation and stimulus, a mine, a treasure-trove and finally, perhaps, a drug.” –Simone Collinet (144)

In this very little volume, editor Mel Gooding describes and compiler Alastair Brotchie demonstrates the centrality of games to the Surrealist enterprise. An inventory of ludic methods indicate how texts, images, discursive events, and other objects are produced through the application of automatism, chance, and the absorption of individual efforts into transpersonal aggregates. 

The fourth of the four sections consists primarily of source notes and commentaries, and even includes a list of the “known” Surrealist games which are not represented among the recipes and samples in the collection. There are two useful bibliographies: one an abridgement of Kurt Seligman’s 1943 bibliography of Surrealist works (133), the other Brotchie’s own pointers for “Further Reading in English.” (164) In the very end of the volume, seven pages are occupied by “The Little Surrealist Dictionary.” 

A Book of Surrealist Games is admirably designed, with a built-in bookplate on the inside front cover, many black-and-white reproductions of Surrealist visual works, and portraits of key 20th-century Surrealists. The game instructions are in most cases perfectly lucid, and ready for practical application.

I had my own mantra: “Always look for the enchanted dildo.” It was one of those things that sounded wise if you didn’t over-think it.

Janus Lovecox, The Enchanted Dildo

Hermetic quote Lovecox The Enchanted Dildo mantra

In life there are wounds that, like leprosy, silently scrape at and consume the soul, in solitude

Sadegh Hedayat and Naveed Noori, The Blind Owl

Hermetic quote Hedayat Noori The Blind Owl wounds

Pasadena Babalon

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Pasadena Babalon by George D Morgan.

Morgan Pasadena Babalon

Pasadena Babalon is George Morgan’s 2009 dramatic depiction of the life of rocketry pioneer and occultist Jack Parsons. As such, it was preceded by the 47-minute Jet-Propelled Antichrist (2006) of Ackerman and DuQuette and followed by the ongoing Strange Angel (2018- ) television series of Mark Heyman. Pasadena Babalon debuted onstage at the California Institute of Technology in 2010, and my copy of the book represents the “12/15/2014 draft” of the script.

Most of the play’s characters are historical persons, and the fictional ones are carefully distinguished in the “character breakdown” prefaced to the text. Given the facts that Mason gets right and some of the emphases of his presentation, I suspect that he relied heavily on the 2005 Parsons biography Strange Angel by George Pendle. Like Pendle, Mason starts the story with the explosion in which Parsons died.

The play uses a few “FBI-ish” interrogation scenes with Jack as a suspected Communist to create narrative framing. One invented character is Madam B, a clairvoyant boarder at Parsons’ Pasadena mansion who supplies dramatic irony by accurately telling their fates to those she encounters. There are a few scenes with cleverly-written fugues and montages to represent such developments as the Arroyo Seco rocketry experiments and Jack’s stint at JPL. Another effective dramatic element consists of astral colloquies between Jack and and his spiritual father Crowley.

The script’s representations of Thelemic occultism are largely shallow and unpersuasive. Despite the mention of sex magick, Jack’s ritual praxis is reduced to chants in dog Latin more suited to Harry Potter. The repeated references to “the Babalon Goddess” are clinkers in Thelemic argot. Another is having Helen refer to “the Laws of Thelema.”

In my own reading, I was in part concerned to evaluate the text as a possible candidate for readers theater within a private study group. Ultimately, I decided that it would not serve this purpose well, in part because of the aforementioned fugues, and in part because of the extent to which visual staging elements are intrinsic to the presentation. I did find the read entertaining, and I certainly would go out of my way to attend a full staging of the play.