Category Archives: Austin Osman Spare

Austin Osman Spare

Writings and illustrations of a controversial genius outsider artist and visionary esoteric philosopher, including automatic writing, automatic drawing and sigilization techniques

Images & Oracles of Austin Osman Spare

Images & Oracles of Austin Osman Spare by Kenneth Grant, the 2003 hardcover from Fulgur Limited, is part of the collection at the Reading Room. The only place that appears to have this still new in stock is JD Holmes, so the rare 1976 Weiser Books edition seems to have been joined in rareness by the 500 copies of the 2003 Fulgur reprint.

Kenneth Grant Images and Oracles of Austin Osman Spare from Fulgur Limited

Images and Oracles of Austin Osman Spare concerns one of the most unusual artists of the twentieth century. Frequently compared with luminaries such as Aubrey Beardsley, Albrecht Dürer and William Blake, the eccentric genius Austin Osman Spare (1886–1956) was fêted as an Edwardian draughtsman of exceptional power and ability—but he quickly gained another reputation—that of a practising sorcerer.

His early relationship with an aged member of the Witch Cult influenced his entire life, leading him into the more obscure byways of the occult world. Such was his knowledge and ability that Aleister Crowley claimed him as a disciple, but Spare was not born to follow. He turned his back on worldly ambition—the ‘inferno of the normal’ as he called it—and devoted his remarkable gifts to trafficking with the denizens of other dimensions.

Spare’s highly individualistic system of sorcery is applicable to daily life. His magical deployment of art and sex in the service of self-realization may surprise or mystify, but for those who test his methods they will prove certain means of self-knowledge and consciousness expansion—doors opening on worlds of strange beauty.

Written by Kenneth Grant, Spare’s literary executor, Images and Oracles is here reprinted after nearly thirty years in response to an increasing interest in the artist and his philosophy. It contains a biographical essay that includes many personal recollections, a practical introduction to Spare’s unusual system of sorcery—and many excerpts from his final magical treatise: The Zoetic Grimoire of Zos.” — flap copy

Austin Osman Spare

Weiser Antiquarian Books Catalogue #121 is a collection on “Austin Osman Spare. Used and Rare Books and Ephemera.” and may be of interest.

Whilst preparing this catalogue we happened to look back through our files and discovered that it is just over eight years since we released the first of our catalogues devoted to Spare’s life and work, our On-line Catalogue # 4, which we released on May 15th, 2006, the fiftieth anniversary of the death of this extraordinarily talented individual. Although we did not realise it at the time, it was later pointed out to us that our catalogue was probably the first ever bookseller’s catalogue to be devoted entirely to works by and about Spare.

We are happy to continue this tradition with this new catalogue, which includes examples of most of Spare’s own published work along with many significant studies of his life, art and magic. As is well known Spare’s first editions were usually privately published in beautifully-produced limited edition printings, resplendent with his beguiling illustrations and profound and challenging text, and we are pleased to present two of them here; his magical masterwork The Book of Pleasure (Self-Love) The Psychology of Ecstasy (1913), and a signed first edition of his often-enigmatic A Book Of Satyrs (1907). Of course Spare was also well-known as the editor of two sumptuous literary and artistic journals published in the nineteen-teens and ‘twenties; Form and The Golden Hind, and the catalogue lists copies of both, including some truly rare issues of Form and some examples of the signed limited edition of The Golden Hind. Even more stunning, though, is a run of issues of a journal called The Bond (1906), which includes a previously unrecorded contribution by Austin Osman Spare. Other treasures include a set of Spare’s Surrealist Racing Forecast Cards (one of only 26 known sets), and a copy of one of the rarest early Spare-related titles, Warren Retlaw’s The Youth and the Sage (1927). Another magnificent volume is the posthumously-published A Book of Automatic Drawing, of which several variants are offered, including one of the Catalpa Press / Teitan Press reissues, limited to 40 copies, printed on hand-made paper and bound in black quarter-leather, with an original cheque signed by Spare tipped onto the limitation page. There are simply too many important works to comment upon in a short space like this, but I hope that the reader will find time to browse the catalogue at leisure. [via]

Fifth International Conference of the ASE on Jun 19-22nd, 2014 at Colgate University

The Fifth International Conference of the Association for the Study of Esotericism on June 19th–22nd, 2014 at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. The conference schedule has recently been posted and you will find quite a few presenters and presentations of interest including a couple by Hermetic library fellows:

· Mark Stavish, Israel Regardie and the Theory and Practice of the Middle Pillar Exercise
· Joscelyn Godwin, Esotericism in a Murky Mirror: Strange Practices in Central New York.

Do check out the whole schedule, but a selection of the other presentations, that catch my eye, includes:

· John L Crow (Thelema Coast to Coast), The Theosophical Shift to the Visual: Graphical Representations of the Human Body in the Literature of Second and Third Generation Leadership in the Theosophical Society
· Simon Magus, The fin de siècle magical aesthetic of Austin Osman Spare: Siderealism, Atavism, Automatism, Occultism
· David Pecotic, Building Subtle Bodies — Gurdjieff’s esoteric practice of conditional immortality in the light of Poortman’s concept of hylic pluralism in the history of religions
· Richard Kaczynski, Inventing Tradition: The Construction of History, Lineage and Authority in Secret Societies
· Wouter Hanegraaff, The Transformation of Desire in Machen’s & Waite’s House of the Hidden Light
· Sarah Veale, Disenchantment of the Vampire: Balkan Folklore’s Deadly Encounter with Modernity
· Gordan Djurdjevic, “In Poison there is Physic”: On Poisons and Cures in Some Strands of Esoteric Theory and Practice.

Weiser Antiquarian new arrivals, including a Book of the Law from 1938

Weiser Antiquarian Books has posted a number of new arrivals, including a Book of the Law privately issued by O.T.O. in London from 1938, as well as other items of interest such as A E Koetting’s The Book of Azazel, Alexander Winfield Dray’s Nox Infernus and Liber Obsidian Obscura, Sabbatica compiled by Edgar Kerval, Liber Nigri Solis edited by Victor Voronov, Michael Cecchetelli’s Crossed Keys, Nigel Pennick’s The Toadman, and a number of Aleister Crowley, Israel Regardie, Jack Parsons, Kenneth Grant, Austin Osman Spare, and Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn related works as well as others of probable interest.

New Quietus feature on Coil, Coltrane and LSD mentions Aleister Crowley and more

New Quietus feature “Love’s Secret Ascension: Coil, Coltrane & The 70th Birthday Of LSD” by Peter Bebergal [HT Pam Grossman] mentions Aleister Crowley, Austin Osman Spare and more, including quite a bit about magick and music; and even some discussion with Hermetic Library anthology artist Kim Cascone.

“If Coltrane’s rapturous Om and Ascension function as representations of the mystical impulse fueled by LSD, I have chosen the music of Coil to explore the magickal, specifically their 1991 record Love’s Secret Domain, probably the most fully realised magickal record in the context of rock & roll. And just as Om’s mystical desires are not only about a union with the divine, what is magickal about Love’s Secret Domain has nothing to do with the conjuration of demons or the binding of angels. What makes Love’s Secret Domain magickal is that it inhabits perfectly Crowley’s dictum that magick is the ‘Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will’.”

“Coil’s music forces the listener to destroy that distinction between art and artifice, because their magickal sensibility comes out of an actual location, a place. Coil draws their inspiration from an England haunted by the artist and magician Austin Osman Spare, and the “great beast” Aleister Crowley. While Crowley always seems to loom large in matters of magick, his spirit is particularly evident here because he insisted on creating a glamour around his own spiritual workings and magickal practice. The magician Crowley wrote dense tables of correspondences and complex rituals. The personality Crowley handed out business cards that read ‘The Wickedest Man Alive’.

Nevertheless, Spare is the true Holy Guardian Angel of Coil, and in numerous interviews John Balance cites him as a kindred soul, whose art and magick were inextricably bound. In a 2001 interview with Mark Pilkington for Fortean Times, Balance describes his relationship to Spare as something akin to ancestor worship, where Spare is a spirit mentor that offers advice and inspiration. Of Spare’s art, Balance gets to the root of understanding both Spare but also Coil. ‘Although they’re [Spare’s artwork] often decorative, the intention behind the decoration often hits you first.'”

Spare: One Man Play opens Nov 21st, 2013 at Treadwell’s

If you’re in the the London area, you should check out John Constable’s one man play dramatizing Austin Osman Spare at Treadwell’s which opens November 21st, 2013. It runs for four dates, so even if you can’t catch it on opening night there’s other chances: November 21-22 and 29-30.

Spare: One Man Play
21-22, 29-30 November 2013
John Constable

John Constable Spare - One Man Play at Treadwell's Books

London artist and occultist Austin Osman Spare (1886–1956) comes alive in this new one-man play. Set in the artist’s studio at the Elephant and Castle on the night of a Blitz bombing, it shows Spare growing old in poverty, yet fiercely committed to his vision. In the course of the night, a rogue sigil unleashes unpredictable consequences. This ‘play conceived as an act of magic’, performed by the author, is both an homage to AOS and a playful exploration of Constable’s own esoteric work to ‘set us free from ourselves.’ John Constable is a poet, playwright and magical practitioner best-known for The Southwark Mysteries, and for his acclaimed stage adaptation of Gormenghast. Previous solo shows include I Was An Alien Sex God (‘mind-blowingly weird’ The Independent). Premiere performances last Spring were sold out, and received acclaim.

Price: £10
Time: Doors 7pm, for a 7:30 start

Verve post about Simon’s Necronomicon mentions Aleister Crowley and more

Recent The Verge post by Joseph L Flatley about Simon’s The Necronomicon (which I tend to call The Simonomicon) at The cult of Cthulhu: real prayer for a fake tentacle mentions Aleister Crowley. There’s also mentions of The Magickal Childe bookshop, Kenneth Grant, Austin Osman Spare and more.

“In 1945, a 20 year old Kenneth Grant spent several months working as the secretary for Aleister Crowley, a ceremonial magician, author, mountain climber, and possibly even spy for British intelligence during World War I. Crowley’s books are key texts of modern occultism, and his reputation as “The Wickedest Man In The World” or simply ‘The Beast’ has given him pride of place in any number of heavy metal songs — not to mention a choice spot on the cover of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album (the top left, chilling with Mae West and Lenny Bruce). At the end of his life, Crowley was unable to afford a secretary, so he let Grant fill that role in exchange for magical instruction. For a short while at least, Grant was The Intern of The Beast. By the time he passed away in 2011 at the age of 86, Grant had produced nine volumes that constitute what he called ‘The Typhonian Trilogies,’ which explored the connections between all manner of occult systems — incorporating voodoo and tantra and elements from the work of 20th century magician and the artist Austin Osman Spare.”

Events at Treadwell’s for November and December, 2013

Here is a selection from the upcoming events at Treadwell’s Books in London for November and December, 2013, which may be of interest.

Treadwell's Books in London

 

Treadwell’s Halloween Party
1 November 2013 (Friday)

Halloween Party at Treadwell's Books

Honouring the Feast of Samhain

Friends and customers are warmly invited to our pagan Hallowe’en party, to remember the ancestors, the sacred dead, and to celebrate witches and ghosts in the ancient way – with jollity, music and convivial gathering. Come along! We will have a toast to the spirits, along with a short attunement, at 8pm, and general merriment through the evening. One free drink to everyone who comes wearing a witches’ hat.

FREE but you must contact us to be added to guest list (phone or ring)
Time: From 7pm to 11 pm

 

Spare: One Man Play
21-22, 29-30 November 2013
John Constable

John Constable Spare - One Man Play at Treadwell's Books

London artist and occultist Austin Osman Spare (1886–1956) comes alive in this new one-man play. Set in the artist’s studio at the Elephant and Castle on the night of a Blitz bombing, it shows Spare growing old in poverty, yet fiercely committed to his vision. In the course of the night, a rogue sigil unleashes unpredictable consequences. This ‘play conceived as an act of magic’, performed by the author, is both an homage to AOS and a playful exploration of Constable’s own esoteric work to ‘set us free from ourselves.’ John Constable is a poet, playwright and magical practitioner best-known for The Southwark Mysteries, and for his acclaimed stage adaptation of Gormenghast. Previous solo shows include I Was An Alien Sex God (‘mind-blowingly weird’ The Independent). Premiere performances last Spring were sold out, and received acclaim.

Price: £10
Time: Doors 7pm, for a 7:30 start

 

Slenderman: Fight Fiction with Fiction
25 November 2013 (Monday)
Ian ‘Cat’ Vincent

Ian Cat Vincent Slenderman at Treadwell's Books

Slenderman is a truly modern monster. Born barely four years ago in an internet Photoshop competition, this suit-clad faceless entity rapidly spawned a complex mythology online, in photo manipulations, shared-universe videos and games. Terms like ‘tulpa’ (thought-form) were used, and soon people were reporting sightings in the real world. If this being truly is crossing over from the imaginary realm, how does one fight it? Ian ‘Cat’ Vincent is a lifelong student of the occult, interested in pop-culture symbolism as the ‘hyper-real’ mythology of our times. Tonight he talks about Slenderman as an ideal target for pop-culture and post-modern magical approaches. Cat is a Fortean journalist whose work is in the Darklore and Apocalyptic Imaginary anthologies, and is a contributing editor to Daily Grail.

Price: £7
Time: 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start

 

Remedios Varo: Magic and the Goddess
4 December 2013 (Wednesday)
Daniel Zamani

Daniel Zamani Remedios Varo at Treadwell's Books

Remedios Varo was a leading figure in the Surrealist avant-garde. But she was also an occultist interested in alchemy, astrology, tarot and the Goddess.Tonight we meet this remarkable practitioner, focussing on how Varo used Holy Grail imagery as an icon for female empowerment and pagan re-enchantment. Tonight’s speaker argues that we should recognise Varo’s contributions to 20th century female esotericism and to revived matriarchal goddess worship – and look deeply into into the messages in her art and life. Join us! Daniel Zamani is a doctoral candidate at Cambridge, working on on occultism and magic in Surrealism. In 2013, Dan was main editor of the Abraxas special issue and is currently co-organising a forthcoming major conference on occultism and visual culture.

Price: £7
Time: 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start

Abraxas 1

Abraxas Issue 1 [also], International Journal of Esoteric Studies, the Autumn Equinox 2009 standard issue from Fulgur, is part of the collection at the Reading Room. It appears, as of this writing, there is at least one copy of this still available through J D Holmes.

Abraxas issue 1 from Fulgur Limited

This was the inaugural issue for this new journal, and had contributions from Daniel A Schulke, Stephen Grasso, Stuart Inman, Francesco Parisi, Edward Gauntlett, James Butler, Sarah Penicka-Smith, Zachary Cox, Allyson Shaw, John Callow, Ellie Hughes, Phil Hine, Naagrom, Rebecca Beattie Stephen J Clarke, Lily Moss, Roberto Migliussi, Dolorosa, and Aleister Crowley.

“Nearly twelve years ago, while reading the typescripts for Zos Speaks! I found myself absorbed by plans between Austin Spare and Kenneth Grant to launch an esoteric magazine in the early 1950s. It was to be ‘essentially a coterie of adepts’ affirmed Spare, and ‘a work of art as a production’ with ‘the best typography and reproduction of drawings.’ This seemed to me such an excellent proposition that it was easy to become inspired, but the practical challenges against starting such a lavish venture in the late 1990s were daunting.” — Robert Ansell [via]

 

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