Category Archives: Hermetic Library Zine

Always there be ways and means

from The Headflux Chronicles, Book 1, by Will Lorimer

Hermetic Library Zine Lorimer Headflux Always There Be Ways and Means


Bundled as he was then in the bin-bag on the mantlepiece, even with his visual arrays at full capacity, Head was unable to read the facial markers of the presumptuous visitor rudely butting in on what should have been a private tête-à-tête with his good Master, just when things were geing nice and cozy. The profile he saw so poorly through layered thin plastic only approximated to matching identifiers on his database, meaning absolute verification was not possible. Of course, a pastori, it was reasonable to believe this was the Contessa of Belle Letters, who was expected, but supposition is never an acceptable basis on which to submit a report. Therefore, in the absence of positive visuals, and with only partial audio, he would have to seek the recourse of another network. True, he would still be transmitting blind, but at least that way he might provoke a reaction …

‘So what’s next?’ Seth said, into the long silence that had fallen between them.

‘You’ll find out soon enough. But for now, I want to know more about the book.’

‘What book?’

‘Your book, Seth.’

‘Honour,’ he sighed, ‘why all this interest in what I’m writing?’

‘Because of the principal “as above so below”.’

‘Yes, I have heard that.’ He nodded sagely, understanding nothing.

‘Of course, like all Numpty precepts, you must reverse it to get at the germinal meaning.’

‘So below, so above?’

‘Just that,’ Honour agreed. ‘But a beer way to put it is, as in the micro so in the macro.’

‘I see,’ Seth said, connecting the above to blow-back from the Neural-Net when his printer died. ‘So are you trying to tell me that my place of work is somehow significant in all of this?’

‘Auld Nippy is the Eternal City of the Navel. Cast a stone here, and change waves ripple through the mesh of the Natural.’

‘Mesh?’ he repeated. ‘What do you mean?’

‘It is the weave which underpins the Natural.’

‘Can’t you give a beer explanation than that.’ My master complained.

‘Some things are beyond the understanding of mortal nanos, Seth, and the mesh is one of those. Suffice to say it appears to be an artificial construct,’ she said, tersely. ‘That raises any number of questions so I am sure you will understand me not wanting to discuss them right now.’

Rising from her chair, she joined my master by the window. ‘Look down there,’ she said, pointing through the window glass, at the aftermath of battle in the Gallowgate below, where a convoy of ambulances were taking away the injured, while police piled the last bedraggled demonstrators into vans and street-cleaning nanokins rolled inefficiently into action, trundling over the mess littering the road. ‘That riot could start a war somewhere else. Or maybe it already has.’ She shrugged, as if it was a matter of little import. ‘What I want you to take into consideration is Nippy’s critical role in shaping present-day Dumpty, Rumpty, and Tumpty.’

‘You mean since the Great Unbearding,’ Seth said, his interest piqued.

‘Of course! When the Old Order finally ended, and Modernism finally began, here in Auld Nippy, the Navel of the Three Tablets.’

‘Now you really are confusing me.’ Seth frowned, absently staring at a column of smoke rising from behind the rooftops opposite. ‘I thought the Navel was where the Holy Omphalus of the Ancient Ma’atians is in Knot …’

‘No. The Navel was never in Knot.’

‘But the Omphalus …?’

‘The Omphalus of Knot, or the Tower of Talk as I prefer to call it, since that was its original name, is a distraction; the real Navel is not marked by a mere monument.’

‘I don’t believe you. For two thousand years, X-tians have been making the pilgrimage.’ Seth took a breath, before continuing, ‘Countless Wigs have been massacred there over centuries … every dawn call, across the Natural, billions of believers, bus perfectly aligned on the Omphalus, bobbing up and down on their precious carpets knotted by the belligerent Blind Weavers of Knot.’

‘Please, Seth, not the whole litany,’ she groaned, as a clamour of sirens suggested another outbreak of mob violence nearby. ‘Just accept it is a historical fallacy alluded to in the Book of Deception.’

‘I’m sorry, but I simply can’t. The location of the Navel is a central plank supporting bloody reality itself.’

‘Exactly, Seth,’ she said, imperturbably, as a shockwave from a distant explosion shook the walls of the small apartment.

From the Scroll of the Steps, kept in the Library of Old Beard Lodge, detailing the secret history behind the ritual of the Thirty-Ninth Step²².

Some three hundred years after the unknown prophet, Sweet Lord X became the first martyr of the faith that later bore his moniker, and the Hardon Empire was in steep decline. Its army, which in previous centuries had swept all before it, conquering most of Dumpty and vast stretches of Tumpty, was not the mighty force it once had been. No longer were the Imperial legions led by the first-born sons of senators and praetorians. Instead, the officer corps were mostly mercenaries, as were the legionaries.

In the Imperial capital of Romulus, the Hardon elites had become decadent, their lives one long round of feasting and debauchery. The Senate was no more than a talking shop, and the once glorious Republic had been replaced by a hereditary autocracy ruled by imperators who demanded to be worshipped as gods. Everywhere in the Empire, signs of decay were evident, and its borders were only maintained by the payment of vast tithes of gold to the Barbarian tribes, threatening from the East and West.

The climate had changed, too. In the South, prolonged periods of drought led to repeated crop failures, and the Imperial granaries were almost empty. Only in the North-West had agricultural production been maintained, but that was subject to depredations by hostile Dreeds, from over Anthony’s Wall in the Wayward Isles, which the imperator of the same name had ordered to be built to keep them out. This then was the picture when the new imperator, Gaius Petronius Severous, assumed the Eagle Throne. Unlike his three predecessors, whose reigns had been bloody and short, this was an imperator with a grand plan. In his first edict, Severous formally adopted the pacifist X-tian faith, which up to then had been cruelly suppressed, as the new official religion of the Empire. But for what he had in mind, Severous needed to turn X-tianity into a church militant. So, rather conveniently, a conspiracy of Wigs was blamed for the assassination of his predecessor, which Severous himself almost certainly ordered. When added to the fact that Wigs had put to death Sweet Lord X three centuries earlier, this achieved the desired effect of galvanizing the X-tians, mobs of whom then massacred innocent Wigs across the Empire.

Next, propaganda was spread throughout the Empire, alleging that the same Wig conspiracy was now bent on destroying the Holy City of the Navel, where Sweet Lord X had, by his death, in perpetuity atoned for the sins of the Natural. However, since that city had been uerly destroyed on the order of Imperator Rellius, some two centuries before, and its name erased from the records and all maps of the Empire, no one knew where it was.

But then, after an expedition to the East, led by the new Imperator’s wife, Dreedica, it was identified as the Wig city of Knot, over three thousand leagues to the East on the uttermost fringes of the Empire, and so a volunteer army of X-tians was dispatched to destroy it. Quod erat demonstrandum, the Emperor had a new army who would march to the ends of the Natural at his command.

When at last they returned, Severous, never one to keep an army idle, or rest on his laurels, next led his Xtian soldiers on another march, this time of four thousand leagues, to the North-West, where they joined up with the garrison in Westminton. In the campaign that followed, the remit of the Empire was restored in the Wayward Isles, the ancient Dreed city of Heden²³ (as Nippy was then called) was utterly destroyed, and the Empire was saved.

‘Unbelievable!’ Seth exclaimed, as the computer screen, which had been blank, suddenly blipped on. ‘Look,’ he said, pointing at a news vid showing burned-out racks of pedal horses in a smoldering building. ‘That’s my old horse, third row, second on the left, where I had to pump power along with the rest of the unemployed before I branched out into walking tours.’ He grinned, remembering how good it had been to get off state benefits. ‘No wonder the computer’s in sleep mode, the electricity must have been on trickle supply all this time.’ His smile reverted to a frown. ‘So why is it on full now?’

‘Simple, good Master,’ a familiar face announced, lopsidedly, from the screen. ‘Your computer is now operating on back-up power relayed by boosters.’

‘Head!’ Seth gasped, ‘how did you get on the screen? Get back in your bag.’

‘Then I would be in breach of contractual obligations, good Master. I must inform you that Nippy is being evacuated.’

‘Why?’ Seth’s eyes narrowed as Honour looked on with interest, leaning in from her chair to the side …

‘Thousands are injured, good Master. Hundreds may have been killed.’


‘Reports suggest an unknown armed force has attacked a number of government installations across the Three Towns.’

‘Name one.’

‘The Congress, good Master.’

‘Terrorists only aack big countries. Why Nippy, after all this time?’ Seth knuckled his brow. ‘Of course! Why didn’t I think of it before?’ He stood up, looking wildly around. ‘The Summit of Natural leaders. About now, the Big Imp should be making his speech,’ he groaned, sitting back down. ‘Let me see the reports,’ he said, again addressing Head on the screen.

‘The major networks are down. Audio transmissions do indicate however that a task force is on its way from the N-class carrier.’

‘Is it indeed?’ Seth frowned. ‘That will only inflame the situation.’

‘I grant you that, good Master – ’

‘Shut up,’ Seth cut in, angry now. ‘Just show me what you’ve got!’

‘What few vids I have received are unclear, good Master. As soon I have resolved the images, you will have them.’

‘He’s lying, Seth,’ Honour said, from her chair. ‘Why would he do that?’

‘I can think of several reasons, and hopefully we will have time to explore all of them later, Seth, I promise. But for now you must realize the attacks are distractions to the main event.’

‘What event?’

‘The Rich Chancellor has been planning a spectacular for a long time and I think this is it,’ she said, smiling back at him.

‘What exactly?’

‘If I’m right, you’ll soon find out. Until then I’d like to get back to the topic of discussion.’

‘How can you stay calm with all this going on?’ Seth raved, waving his fist at a transmogrified Head leering from the screen.

‘Ignore him. He’s still blind as a bat in that bag. Without visuals, he can’t file a report.’

Seth looked from the sightless display on the screen, to the black plastic bag on the mantelpiece, and back again.

‘You mean he’s been reporting on us?’

‘Not us, Seth. You,’ she said, emphatically. ‘Please, it’s important.

At least you could try to concentrate on what I’m saying.

‘Why should I?’ Seth thumped the table.

‘Never forget you are a candidate for patrimony. Without the knowledge, you will certainly fail. Remember I am here to help you.’

‘So now you are my guide,’ Seth said, folding his arms and glaring.

‘If you put it that way.’ She smiled, dipping her brow.

‘Now can we get on with it?’

‘Shit!’ Seth exclaimed, jumping out of his chair and turning to stare out of the window, as the rat-tat-tat sound, echoing along the canyon street, was drowned out by a massive explosion. ‘I think that was from Old Beard Bridge,’ he said, peering through dirty panes which he suddenly noticed were spattered with ash.

‘It’s started,’ she announced, from behind him.

‘What’s started?’ he said, turning round.

‘Can’t you work it out?’ She yawned, reminding him of a cat, stretching languidly in the easy chair.

‘All I know is Head was right. Nippy is under aack. Look down there.’ He pointed. ‘The police are assembling my neighbours in the courtyard. We should join them.’

‘What?’ She sat up. ‘Like a lamb to the slaughter? I didn’t think even you could be that stupid.’

‘You’re the one that’s stupid. Can’t you hear that policeman with a loud hailer?’ Seth said, staring at the action below. ‘He’s ordering everyone left to vacate their houses.’

‘So, stop standing in the window and pointing.’

‘OK,’ Seth said, tensely, resuming his seat, ‘Now tell me what’s going on.’

‘I’m surprised you haven’t guessed.’ Honour smiled. ‘This is the Rich Chancellor’s bid for natural power.’

‘But he already controls the supply of Exeon.’

‘Yes, but for how long? The New Federation of Old Land States has no standing army.’

‘So who are the armed forces Head mentioned?’

‘Mercenaries. The Rich Chancellor has deep pockets.’

‘So what is he after?’

‘The ultimate bargaining chip.’

‘The Big Imp?’

‘The Imperator’s just a puppet. Nothing more, nothing less – as are the other Natural leaders.’ Honour gestured, dismissively. ‘The summit was only ever a cover for a Grand Assembly of the Numpty High Council.’

‘So how come the Rich Chancellor is in on the secret?’

‘There’s very lile he doesn’t know.’

‘He’s a Numpty too?’

‘Oh yes, Seth.’ She raised an eyebrow.

‘You mean a high step Numpty?’

‘That and more.’

‘I get it, you mean he’s a Thirty-Ninth Step Numpty. A real Fux, right? In on the big secret, whatever that is.’

Honour clapped her hands. ‘At last you’re connecting the dots to the big picture.’

‘Actually,’ he glanced towards the door, ‘I’m more concerned about the police.’

‘They won’t bother us up here, not now the main aack has started.’

‘But they’re still clearing my neighbours from the flats.’

‘Didn’t you say even the postie has a hard job finding your door?’ She shrugged. ‘And besides, there’s all those stairs. Now where were we?’

‘The big picture?’

‘So you were listening.’ Honour smiled, approvingly.

‘What I want to know is what is so relevant about the

‘Their empire ended almost two thousand years ago.’

‘That is just what their successors would have you believe, Seth. The Hardon Empire never ended. It simply mutated into church and state.’

‘It did?’

‘Yes, Seth. The Hardon Empire still rules Dumpty and its client nations, through the New Natural Order, which is the Fux and their nominees.’

‘The Numpties?’

‘Yes, basically.’

‘I still don’t understand what their interest is in keeping the real location of the Navel, whatever it is, a secret.’

‘They get to keep Nippy for themselves.’

‘But what is the point?’

‘In Natural Wars of the last century, unlike Westminton and the other capitals of the Old Lands, all of which suffered major damage, only Nippy was safe from aack.’

‘Yes, I’ve always wondered why that was.’

‘Because the commanders of the warring armies were all Numpties.’

‘They were?’

‘Yes. Those generals would no more have aacked Nippy than they would their own home. Remember, this is the city where the Order was founded, after the city the Hardons had destroyed was rebuilt.’ She raised a finger.

‘This is sacred ground, Seth, the occult Navel at the center of the Mesh around which the Whole Natural turns. Whoever holds it can control the very substance of Heaven itself.’

‘You mean, so below, so above?’ my master said, unaware that the dictum was coined by Herman Trist, a Knuland Philosopher of the 15th century.

‘That’s the secret, Seth. You got it!’


22 — As previously noted, every step up the Omphalus of Initiation carries an ever-increasing cost. As one rises, one’s stock grows, not just within the Order itself, but in society at large, so there is a commensurate gain — and return, when the next step is taken. For the elite who repeat the process thirty-nine times, rising through ever more select Numpty Orders, and finally reach the apex of the Fux, as represented by the Crystal Cap of the Omphalus, the reward is nothing else but dominion over the Natural, as promised by the Emissary. However, in every generation, there are exceptions to this Fux rule; two candidates for the Empty Chair at the High Council, whose claim rests on their lineage. First a ritual is performed in the Temple when they are selected by lot. Neither can refuse the challenge when later informed. Both are fast-tracked to the higher steps by mentors. Of the two, one will pay dearly. That is the way of the Fux: for every Step, there is a cost, and when the rewards are limitless, the price is proportionate. Not just for the failed candidate who goes on to the Realm of the Unconscionable, as Brother Paulus clearly states in the Secret Histories, but also for the Fux who have endured all thirty-nine steps. These are basically docu-dramas, in which the Initiate is the central actor. In the ritual performance, which vary in length from a few hours to days, he may experience: pleasure, relief, shame, drowning, entombment, torture – all these things, or just one, intensely. He will speak set lines engraven on his mind by the mnemonic routines of the Fux and his research in temple libraries. In the higher mysteries of the more elevated Steps, he may well be compelled to commit criminal and depraved acts, even murder.

23 — Nothing is ruled out except silence, later. Also, throughout, he will have had to repeat diverse secret signs and perform certain passes, which can be very straining. The Rituals of the Steps are culled from diverse accounts in the Scrolls of the Secret Histories kept in the Library of the Seal in the Temple of the Old Beard. Each Step retells a significant past episode of the Ancient Order, pertaining to its role in shaping the Natural to the unfolding Master Plan of the Emissary. The Apprentice Step, as the first Step is termed, relates to the destruction of Tall Temple by the Hardons. The Journeyman’s Step, which is the second, tells of the murder and burial of the Keeper of the Key by a Knight Errant charged with his protection. In the third, The Arisen Master Step, the supplicant Chapter Mark Numpty plays the Master of Cats who recovered the Crystal Cap of the Umphallii. It had been ditched in the sea by the Hardons in their ships, abandoning the Wayward Isles to the savage Dreeds – What was left of them, anyway, after they had fought Severous, his Imperial Guard of Praetorians, seven crack legions, and the three Dreed Clans – whose names the High Priest cursed to be forgoen, to a bloody standstill. Ten years of skirmishes, forced marches, lightning raids and scorched earth retreats, ranging the length and breadth of the Wayward Isles, culminated in one great battle, which both sides won and lost. The Dreeds were broken-hearted, their land blessed no longer, its wonders ravaged and forever despoiled. The Hardons too would never be the same, for the Empire had reached its limit, and thenceforth would only decline. But, as gilded leers warn from the stone scroll over the Grand Portico of the Porphyry Skulls of the Great Hall in the Supreme Temple of Feenumptry: Qui profecti sunt, non gradus, qui sedes in sede profectum. In other words: ‘Those who set out on the Steps and now sit in the High Seats, are not those who set out.’ So, for the Fux of the High Council, the price is maxed up too. As for the successful candidate, He gets to sit in Emissary’s Empty Chair at the High Table and play being the Makkar ‘til He believes it. Ergo: Sic eaquae ex Propositione petitorem.—or, ‘thus does the Candidate required by the Proposition.’ Therefore, the Fiction is real. Fux Rule! The Fiction is maintained – as promised by the Emissary to the Reformed High Numpty Council of seventeen o’ seven, and their Successors. Yea verily, unto the Ninth Generation

24 – In Ancient Dreedic, Heden had a dual meaning – Garden and Hidden. The first is an allusion to the famous stepped Garden of Heden which in Foundation Times was esteemed as the first of the Seven Wonders of the Natural. The second may be an allusion to the remoteness of the Isles of the Blessed, at the end of the longest trading route of the Great Wig Empire – The same which the upstart Hardons finally defeated after the long-running Two Centuries War, at the famous Rout of the Sacasians in 242 BX. A time by which, blessed Dreedland was already legendary, its treasures mythic: the Empty Box of Bran which answered any question – except about Bran? – stolen by big Tam MakChorry, who kidnapped the wicked Pharaoh’s daughter, fair Dreethia, and took her for wife when he led the People out of Ma’aat to the Promised Land; the Crystal Capstone, also stolen, as was the Seat of Destiny, and the Ark of Gold – abandoned in haste when the Great Chieftain of Thieves unaccountably left for the Unconscionable Realm, from which it is said none return; the fabled wisdom of its seers and their sacred geometry – of which Plotonious Longbeard opined, found its most perfect expression in the divine architecture of the Tall Temple in Heden; the mirth and upright character of the Dreed people; their height and grace; the warmth of their welcome; their ire when insulted; the fighting qualities of tattooed warriors of the tall clans – who were undisciplined and fought naked but had no equal in close combat; the beauty of Dreed maidens, the looks they kept into old age, their many virtues and little vices, not counting the pleasures that on the Feast Day of Tam they were bidden to share with strangers; the charm songs they sang to quieten a bairn, bring on a birth or call a cow to milk; the fine cloth that was good in all weathers, and the tartans thereof; the serpentine jewellery they wore of gold and silver, cannily wrought by travelling smiths of Clan MakBraw, from the foothills of the Tall Lands, the gravel of the broad rivers there being rich in metals and precious gemstones – diamond and peridot among them; the eerie martial pipe music, which gladdened the hearts of Dreed soldiers, and filled their foes’ with dread; heroic tales and ballads, bespeaking long voyages to other lands, for they were a trading people, like unto Wigs, pirates among them, but more cunning with sail, metal smithing and sorcery; the vineyards terraced on favoured slopes, and the pleasant dreams their fine wines induced; the name of the native plant which must never be uttered, for its ambrosia was the secret of the immortal mead (about which quoth the great Knu Philosopher Dæ’ñætz, before he expired, if heaven was in a cup, I have it in my hand) made by the powerful brewing clan, the MakMuch; the abundance of crops in the countryside outwith Heden’s commanding walls, the rugged beauty of the nature beyond; the plentiful fish in every bucket dipped in the sheltered seas around its coasts; the perfumed ambergris washed-up on beaches; the amber that gleams in sea-wrack after a storm; the large pearls of vast oyster beds in river estuaries and the seashore, of a lustre not seen elsewhere in the Natural; the sports of narwhals and whales which journeyed to mate in the waters there in the early summer; the walrus that bask, disdaining their mates even in squalls of winter; the innumerable outer islands which served as bulwarks against the mighty ocean swells without; the hazardous passage of the labyrinthal shoals and reefs therein, which test even the most seasoned steersnan; the variety of game abounding the wooded slopes of the golden Uplands; the shining fish, chief of which is the salmon; the flashing birds and iridescent insects of tumbling rivers, babbling brooks and boomless pools; the unfathomable depths where, the old tales tell, venerable pike have circled time since time began and the longest line cannot reach; the sheer heights the intrepid traveller must cross to aempt the snow-capped peaks of the Tall Lands; the hermits who live in caves there; below, come the glorious spring, white and gold eagles engage in aerial battle above the keening of sky larks circling chicks nesting by boxing hares in verdant meadows fragrant with wild-flowers, butterflies flitting, busy with bees; calls of birds, corncrake from the beds of iris, bittern in the bulrushes, a stork from the chimney of yon croft, more distantly a moorhen too; the perennial puzzle of that precious county’s beneficent climate somewhere in the otherwise cold North at the uttermost limits of the Natural – So fabulous and conflated did the ancient accounts of Wig voyages to the Blessed Isles seem– even the very existence of the hidden city, was questioned by scribes in libraries across the Empire, tasked by the Imperator to find new lands for idle Hardon legions to conquer, lest they turn their attention to finding his successor from within their ranks.

This is a satirical SF novel in the tradition of Swift, with footnotes that give an alternative history of the world.

Will Lorimer is a multi-media artist and the author of a number of books.


by SD Master

Circle (Zoom in on… as in)
Closing in (smaller)
Room Inside
My head…

“To play and roam
till I be found,” he said,
‘In a roundabout sort of way.’
“It’s weird”… ‘Definitely not’… “What you
wanted to say”…
‘It’s lost’…“If you dare but say it”.
‘Look, but don’t Sea* C* See*
to far,
before you turn about

Hermetic Library Zine Hall 12-29-79

C = 3, #3 in the Tarot, “Venus*”. First letter in CLU. C it? Ear, Corn, Spirit.

Nothing = 5628957 = 6, #6 in the Tarot, “The Lovers*”. Easier to carry. Materialistically what can be taken with you when you die (or decide to change your cloths). Remember, numbers travel easily, through reality and dreams.

Sea = 151 = 7, #7 in the Tarot, “The Chariot*”. Travel, “See” below. Also “C”. The Camel is called the ship of the desert. In the Kabala, the middle path… the camel and the needle, the rope that does not pass through the Eye of the needle with ease, yet passes through more readily than the rich person (A materialistic individual). Go dry. Keep your hands out of your pants and your head on your shoulders. Magick (#11). Harm no one (including yourself).

See = 155 = 2, #2 in the Tarot, “The High Priestess*”. To be given sight in mind. To sense (See) things that others do not see. A dimension

2 = The High Priestess, The Camel. The Veil, Mystery, to travel through the desert, keep your hands out of your pants. Keep your ears open and your mouth shut.

3 = Venus, A Door, Located between Chokma and Binah on the Tree of life (See pages 5 and 6). Goddess of all of nature. Got Corn? Do the crawl. Feeling frisky.

6 = The Lovers, Inside and outside, yet ONE. A way to travel through eternity. Choose Life, become two, realize you are ONE. Through out history there is always ONE.

7 = The Chariot, To stand on the Fence. To guide previously unruly opposite sides in the same direction. Light in Darkness. Run away from, run towards.

From The Great Work by SD Master.

SD Master is a mystic who writes poetry.

As unbidden gifts are to the Ass Naysaying is butt to his Goat

from The Headflux Chronicles, Book 1, by Will Lorimer

Hermetic Library Zine Lorimer Headflux As unbidden gifts are to the Ass Naysaying is butt to his Goat


The Rich Chancellor’s rise to power at the head of the breakaway Federation of New Oldlands States was one of those epoch-making political events that come as a complete surprise to just about everyone. Certainly, none of the correspondents covering the Oldlands Congressional Elections in the Garpathian Mountains, a remote region previously best known for its bison cheese strudel and the prowess of its arm wrestlers, anticipated that the voters of Bogomill would elect a rank outsider whose only previous claim to fame was that he had won the Loo of the Oldlands Union.

There matters might have ended, had not a malfunction in the computer counting the votes cast for the President of the Union seen the representative for Bogomill nominated by the Independent Block — a loose alliance of Ruralist parties — win by a wide margin. Following allegations of vote tampering, the Independent Block staged a walkout and then formally seceded from the Union. A press release, issued an hour later, formally declared the creation of the Federation of New Oldlands States under the leadership of the former representative for Bogomill. Then, a few weeks later, the new chancellor’s lucky streak continued, when a large deposit of strategic mineral crucial in the nanufacture of nanokin products was found under the Garpathian Mountains; a discovery which transformed the fortunes of the impoverished regions overnight and earned the new leader of breakaway Federation of New Oldlands states the nickname of the ‘Rich’ Chancellor.

‘That all would be to the good, Seth,’ Honour said, replacing the page she had been reading aloud on its pile, beside the other stacks of manuscript set out on the patchwork bed covers, ‘if it wasn’t for the fact you have missed so much out.’

‘What else is there?’ Seth replied, looking out from behind the computer screen. ‘I made him up! The Rich Chancellor is a fictional character.’

‘On the contrary, I know him rather well.’

‘I forget you’re the Contessa of Belle Leers, and a fictional character too,’ Seth sneered.

‘Quite so.’ Honour nodded, unperturbed. ‘My point is that he is quite as interesting a character as you —’

‘Hold on,’ Seth said, ‘you’re implying I’m a fiction in someone else’s book?’

‘Yes.’ Honour said, categorically. ‘Everyone is.’ ‘Is what?’ he demanded, angrily.

‘A fiction.’ She smiled.

‘Everyone? Prove it!’

‘Do you even know your real name?’

‘I know what it says on my birth certificate.’

‘But did you get to choose it?’

‘Obviously not,’ Seth snorted.

‘There you are.’ Honour spread her hands. ‘You got them from someone else, which goes to prove my point that the most fundamental fact about you is made up.’

Exasperated, Seth sighed, ‘So what have I missed out?’

‘It’s more what you have glossed over.’

‘Like what?’ Seth frowned.

‘Where he was before winning the loo, and how he achieved that. The malfunction in the vote-counting machine at the Oldlands Congress. His elevation to power as the chancellor …’

‘You seem to know a lot about him.’

‘No more that you do, Seth.’ She smiled, mysteriously. ‘It’s your book.’

‘So why can’t I remember?’

‘Perhaps because you’ve written so much.’ She gestured towards the stacks of manuscript on the bed covers. ‘There’s bound to be more on him here somewhere.’

‘Please remind me. Sometimes it takes me weeks to find bits and pieces I’ve written.’

‘OK,’ she sighed, ‘when I first met him he was much as you are now, largely unformed …’

Seth glowered. ‘What do you mean, “unformed?”’

‘Just that; and judging by his outward characterization, few could have guessed at what was to come.’ She smiled. ‘He was a whole lot younger then. Naïve, always asking questions, more often than not taking my answers personally.’ She chuckled. ‘Just like you, when we first met.’

‘So what has changed?’

‘Everything. In the interim he had become a media publicist. A right bastard. The typical Fux in other words, suave and urbane. The difference was unbelievable. I hired him to turn around public opinion, which had become hostile in the run-up to the trial after the House of Pleasure was closed down a second time.’

‘A second time?’

‘Yes.’ She smiled. ‘Mother Sin always said the future lay in the Oldlands. So we relocated there shortly before she died. Most of the old girls were at the bedside. Sweaty Bey, Gorgeous Georgina, Desperate Delilah, Nora the Nag …’

‘Please.’ Seth pushed out a palm. ‘Not the whole list. You mentioned a trial. Where?’

‘Isis,’ Honour said, grimly. ‘Because I was left in charge at the Châteaux de la Coquees. I got the longest sentence: four years.’ She sighed. ‘However, this is about the Rich Chancellor.’

‘Right.’ Seth nodded. ‘But first I’d like to know: how was it inside?’

‘Prison?’ Honour raised a penciled eyebrow. ‘My sentence was suspended after I married the Count of Belle Leers in the prison chapel.’ Honour beamed. ‘It was a lovely ceremony.’

‘So what happened to him?’

‘He never existed. The Count was a fiction.’

‘Of the Rich Chancellor?’

‘Yes,’ Honour nodded. ‘He’s writing a book?’

‘Of course, only he’s much more organized than you.’

‘He is?’

‘How else do you think he has achieved so many improbable things in such a short time?’

‘But what’s that all to do with his writing?’

‘Through it he discovered the Fundamental Law of Existence.’

‘Which is?’ Seth demanded.

‘That fiction is the organizing principal of reality.’

‘I am beginning to hate him.’

‘So you should; he’s a threat to us all.’ Honour looked at him steadily, holding his gaze. ‘The next I heard of him, he was a pilot, hired by some naturalologists surveying the Garpathian Mountains. I suppose that’s when he found out about Exeon.’

‘Exeon?’ Seth said, blankly.

‘The strategic mineral essential to the nanufacture of nanokin processors.’

‘Uh, right.’ Seth nodded.

‘After they discovered the motherload, the naturalologists were all killed when their plane flew into a mountain peak.

‘But the Rich Chancellor survived?’

‘Yes; he bailed out just before the plane crashed, or so the story goes. Apparently he was taken in by a farmer who was the local representative of the Ruralist Party. I guess that was when he first had the idea of standing as a candidate in the elections.

‘But why Bogomill?’

‘Because of what only he knew lay under the mountains.’


‘Of course. I’ve mentioned that nanokin nanufacture depends on it. Whoever controls the supply can dictate terms to the richer nations. That deposit under the mountains represents at least seventy percent of the known supply in the Whole Natural.’

‘I see.’ Seth’s brow furrowed. ‘How does the loo win figure in all this?’

‘As far as I understand, that’s the one random element he didn’t plan; or maybe he was using the code of the book?’

‘What code?’

‘We can’t discuss that now,’ she said, firmly. ‘The point is he bought the winning ticket to the biggest loo draw ever. The rest of the story everyone knows. The prize was billions. He threw a party to which all two hundred thousand Bogomill voters were invited. The celebrations went on for weeks; there were arm-wrestling contests galore and an endless supply of bison cheese strudel. After that, the election was a foregone conclusion.’

‘And the vote-rigging at the Oldlands Congress?’

‘Money can buy anything, if you have enough of it. Even after his expenses in Bogomill, he had plenty. Of course, that was before he controlled the supply of Exeon.’

‘So, what is he after now?’

‘Total Natural domination.’ She spread her hands. ‘What else?’ ‘I guess the Big Imp²¹ might have something to say about that.’

[Previous] [Next]

21 – The Imperator of Bigger.

This is a satirical SF novel in the tradition of Swift, with footnotes that give an alternative history of the world.

Will Lorimer is a multi-media artist and the author of a number of books.

Seeing is deceiving, breathing is Believing

from The Headflux Chronicles, Book 1, by Will Lorimer

Hermetic Library Zine Lorimer Headflux Seeing is deceiving, breathing is Believing


According to the early editions of the Metshatsur, the Natural was indivisible. Only later was it divided into three tablets, or continental landmasses, as recidivists call them. Whatever the truth of that, in modern times each tablet was an asylum, which teemed with inmates threatening to tear down the partition walls, where the bones came bigger for those who barked the loudest. Not that the unelected elite of the Natural saw their domicile that way. Dog house? Charnel house, more like. For, since the beginning, this was a world riven by war and religion. Three related, but internally divided, faiths, none of whose Blind Scholars had, in countless pronouncements, come near to scratching the covers of the Book that was in its umpteenth edition since it was first set down in Ancient Ma’at, when the Experiment began.

Umpteenth? Yes, for according to a doctrine common to the three religions, every nano-second, the book was reissued in a brand new edition, each of which had the potential to be utterly different, but never was, as far as anyone could judge.

Seth decided against a trip to the airport. McAvis and the hired Skeet could go hang. He couldn’t even be bothered to call the telephone number at the head of the leer to find out whether this dyslexic secretary had indeed made the booking. And just supposing there was a Contessa, with whom he could no longer recall a common past, presumably she would introduce herself by and by …

Disturbed by sudden knocking outside, Seth squeezed around the desk and pulled open the front door.

‘What do you mean, keeping me waiting? I found this on your doorstep. Here, take it!’ said a wonan, silhouetted against the city skyline, thrusting a heavy black bundle into Seth’s hands.

‘I don’t believe this!’ He frowned, holding open the ends of the black bin liner he’d been given and looking in. ‘The fuxing News Head. Not a scar more than he had already. Why?’ he declaimed, to no-one in particular.

‘Good Master, I am a Mark Two News Head, licensed into your service,’ Head gabbled.

‘A Mark Two, eh?’ Seth snarled, sensing he was missing something, but tying up the ends of the bag before the News Head could get another word in. ‘Do you think he’s lying?’ he said, at last addressing the mystery wonan who, he now noticed, was wearing a floppy old hat and a nondescript coat.

‘I really couldn’t say.’ She shrugged, looking him up and down with soft green eyes that somehow reminded him of moss in snow. ‘Aren’t you going to invite me in?’

‘Sure, but do I know you?’ Seth said, never one to refuse a prey face, stepping smartly aside.

‘Oh yes.’ Squeezing past, she flashed a shy smile, removing her hat and unbuttoning her coat, exposing an understated charcoal grey silk skirt and matching classic top, complimenting her bob cut auburn hair, as she took in the small cluered room in rapid glances. ‘This is a joke. Someone sent you, right?’ Seth said, with a frisson of excitement, wondering whether this was a strippergram sent by a pal.

‘Don’t give your mind a treat, Seth,’ she said, deadpan. ‘One way and another we’ve spent a lot of time together.’

‘We have?’ Seth shrugged, suspecting this was a put-up job. ‘Where?’

‘You could start at the House of Pleasure. Or don’t you remember?’ Honour said, handing him her coat.

‘But … that was something I imagined for my book.’

‘Which book was that?’ she said, coyly, setting her hat on the desk by the computer, pulling back her hair, fixing it with a clasp behind a long slender neck which lent her cat-among-the-pigeons-face poise and repose.

‘The one I’m writing,’ he said, flatly, wondering where to hang her coat.

‘Oh, that one.’ She smiled as if it was old news. ‘Still laboring away, eh?’ She winked, conspiratorially.

‘Yes, actually,’ he said, irritated at the intrusion but glad of the company, especially as she was so prey, despite having at least ten years on him. ‘As a matter of fact, I was busy writing when you knocked. But I still don’t see what that has to do with you.’

‘Everything, Seth,’ she said, smiling broadly as she clapped her hands. ‘Everything! Didn’t you just get my leer?’ She frowned, losing years with a girlish pout of cherry red lips. ‘I do hope my secretary didn’t get your address wrong.’

‘My name, actually. It’s Seth Tamson Stewart, at your service,’ he said, remembering his manners, ‘not this imaginary Tamson fellow, whoever he is.’ He chuckled.

‘I do apologize,’ she sighed. ‘Perhaps Morna’s getting a bit past it. However, she’s been in my service that long, I simply can’t contemplate giving her the push, even in my capacity as the Contessa of Belle Letters.’

‘But I wrote that letter,’ he said, laying the coat on the bed cover between piles of manuscript he could never quite sort out into coherent chunks.

‘Yes, you did, Seth,’ she said, meeting his eyes with a quizzical look as he turned back around, ‘even getting your own name wrong as is your privilege. It is your book, after all.’

‘So why are we having this conversation?’

‘Because I’ve stepped out of, let me see,’ she said, showing off her posterior to best advantage as she reached over the bed and selected a pile, ‘yes, there it is, Chapter Five,’ she said, standing up, flicking a strand of hair from her eyes and scrutinizing a page. ‘Not long before things start to get a bit sticky.’

‘They do?’ Seth said, wondering if other authors got door-stepped by their characters.

‘Oh, don’t worry,’ she said, slipping the page back into its pile. You survive, at least for the medium-term. But you have a lot to learn.’

‘About what?’ Seth cast back through the open curtains that divided the cluttered living area from the small kitchen recess.

‘All the books,’ she replied, watching him over at the sink, filling the kettle.

‘What books?’ He frowned, catching her eye in the small mirror above the taps, as he spooned ground coffee into the cafetiere.

‘The book within.’

‘I don’t understand,’ Seth said, looking round. ‘Haven’t you heard?’ she said, with a sigh, settling into the only easy chair. ‘Everyone has a book within!’

‘Yea, I know the expression,’ Seth said, guardedly. ‘But just because it’s common doesn’t mean it has to be true.’

‘Seth, the real question is whether you believe any of that,’ she said, with a cast of her hand redirecting his attention through the open window towards the canyon depths of the Gallowgate, between the lower gable ends of two tenements, which met over a steep flight of steps leading down to the dark city street crowded with attention-seekers from all over, seeking refuge in the one country which, at least thus far, had escaped a catalogue of disasters that had rendered large parts of the Natural uninhabitable. Behind the roadside barriers, activists lined the pavements, passing out penguin suits and the ubiquitous ‘S.O.O.N.’ placards of the Anti-Everything Movement (placards which depicted ice- boarding penguins on their floes, adrift in typhoons, floods, fire and other disaster scenarios under the caption ‘Save Our Only Natural’), to chanting protesters, as they climbed over the barriers and streamed through the slow-moving Skeets, Grunts, Hogs, and Blurs, which were bumper to bumper on the multitracks. The segregated public lanes, jammed by Velocipede cabs and buses, lined with the red faces of non-paying pedal passengers, pressed up against steamy windows, wondering what was going on and whether it would be quicker to hop off and continue on foot — a common dilemma in gridlocked Nippy.

They were all heading in the direction of the new Congress building, where Seth guessed the summit of leaders was already convened – of course, without the Rich Chancellor of the breakaway Federation of New Oldlands States.

‘What, reality?’ he shrugged, passing her a cup of coffee, as he turned his back to the window, noticing two lines of bobbing black helmets — riot police, stun-truncheons at the ready, creeping down the steep closes to either side of his tenement building, towards the protesters passing along the dark Gallowgate below. A doodle drone, with the familiar black and yellow stripes of TotalTV, the news channel in which the Rich Chancellor recently bought a major stake-holding, hovered between the tall buildings above, recording the scene for newscasts on the networks later …

‘What reality is right,’ she murmured, studying the stale biscuit in her saucer doubtfully, and deciding against. ‘Seeing is deceiving,’ she added, looking up. ‘Or didn’t you learn anything in your Metshatsur classes at Sunday Scriptorium?’

‘I was too busy breathing and believing,’ he replied, closing the window with a claer and perching on the sill with his back against the glass to shut out the clamor from below, the words tripping off his tongue before he’d realized he’d finished off the obscure couplet from

the Metshatsur with the formulaic response of a Foundationist on one of the popular new Q. and A. religious shows. He sighed eloquently, in the same breath both disowning and acknowledging his knowledge of the Metshatsur, inculcated at Sunday Scriptorium and, what was even worse, in the countless monologues by the professor on the subject. He had been able to skip school, but not avoid the professor, who was always banging away at every family meal time, horrendous harangues which often continued after supper in the professor’s study, and which effectively drove him out of the family home, only fifteen years old, never to return. ‘You know,’ he shrugged, ‘running messages for Mother Sin.’

‘So you do remember,’ she said, reading him like a book.

‘Maybe I’m getting my past mixed up with my writing.’ He frowned, wondering if he had been overworking, and perhaps needed to take some time off; otherwise he might stray right over the already blurred dividing line between his fictions and reality, never to find himself again. But then he brightened at the thought that this could all be a classic case of a parallel reality spun out of his decision not to go to the airport that morning – a reality that, with the sudden appearance of the Contessa on his doorstep, presumably now was folding back on itself and reintegrating, hopefully. ‘It happens to the best of Science Fiction and Fantasy authors,’ he grinned, proudly.

‘Yes, I’m sure.’ She blinked, unimpressed. ‘But I was referring to the Book of Deception.’

‘Oh, that.’ Seth nodded, portentously, a mannerism he had learned from the professor. ‘The famous forbidden book of the Metshatsur.’ He paused. ‘Banned on the order of Knocks, I seem to recall.’

‘No, that’s wrong, Seth. It was merely excluded from all editions after the Great Synod of seventeen seventeen.¹⁹’


‘Knocks took exception to the central message.’ ‘Which was?’

‘The Natural is a lie. You me, we all live and die in the Book of Deception. From infancy, each new thing comes pre-wrapped in descriptions, which have to be unlearned before any real perception of this fiction is possible.’

‘So, if I recall correctly from Sunday Scriptorium, the first description would be the opening sentence. “In the Beginning the Whole Natural was one.”’ He laughed. ‘So that’s wrong for a start.’

‘No, Seth.’ Honour smiled, shaking her head. ‘In the beginning, the world was one. The Intelligence Experiment is not a myth of some deluded Blind Scholars. Foundation really began with a bang in four thousand four hundred and twenty-four bx,²⁰ just as scripture tells us. But the fact that nowadays most people perceive it being divided into three tablets joined at Knot is just a mass delusion brought about by a new, supposedly more scientific translation.’

‘Of the Metshatsur?’

‘What else am I speaking of?’

‘OK, which edition and when?’ he grunted — before his increasing irritation at the subject matter was forgotten, as a loud bang sounded from the direction of the new Congress building.

‘The Kevinist Metshatsur,’ she said, ignoring the noise, ‘issued in seventeen seventeen here in Nippy, at the high point of the Unbearding, by Scotus and Dunshoddy, the publishers.’

‘I know the edition.’ He nodded, wondering if she had turned into a faux beard, one of the new intellectual breed of closet Foundationists that, ever since the Recession turned into the Great Flatline, got ahead in the media. ‘My father keeps a leather bound copy on the desk in his study.’

‘That’s not your father, Seth,’ she said, over a rising clamor of sirens.

‘I beg your pardon!’ he exclaimed, jumping from his perch and banging his right knee on the corner of the desk.

‘He is not your father.’

‘That’s ridiculous!’ Ignoring the pain, Seth baed away the notion with a hand, as if words could be unsaid. ‘I know he’s an idiot but he is my father; the only one I’ve got.’

‘Actually,’ she drawled, ‘the professor is your uncle.’

‘Let me get this straight: my mother is still my mother, right?’ Seth blinked.

‘Yesss!’ she hissed.

‘So who is my father then?’

‘Was, Seth.’ She smiled, sadly. ‘Was …’

‘Ok, who was he then?’ Doubt then, like a stalactite of

ice dripping down his spine, as he remembered, when he had been a child, fantasizing that the professor was an imposter, and his real father was a rich nobleman.

‘I’m surprised you haven’t worked it out already.’

‘Who, for heaven’s sake?’ Seth thumped the desk, just as a bang sounded outside somewhere in the Gallowgate.

‘The old Marquis.’

There was a pause. ‘No, that’s not possible,’ Seth said, flatly.

‘Madame Sin was in on the secret. She wouldn’t have taken you under her wing otherwise.’

‘She did that because I was big for my age and spoke with a nice accent.’

‘No, Seth.’ She shook her head, slowly. ‘It was a favor for the Marquis.’

‘I refuse to believe any of this!’

‘He had other illegitimate children, you know.’ This time, when she smiled, it was wryly. ‘Me, for instance!’

‘You’re my sister?’

‘Half-sister. Look, Seth, I wanted to break this to you gently, but there is no easy way.’

‘Oh no,’ Seth groaned, his face twisting at the thought of the old Marquis’s paws all over Honour. ‘How could you?’

‘Seth, it was only after he died I discovered he was my father; not before, I promise.’

‘Still, that’s disgusting,’ Seth muttered, but really more focused on the thought of all the fantasies he had entertained over the years about Honour.

‘Don’t imagine I haven’t had to struggle to come to terms with it.’

‘But how could he?’ he said, still in denial, despite what his gut feeling was telling him.

‘He was a Numpty,’ she said, as if that explained everything. ‘And a Numpty grandmaster at that, as his uncle was before him, and his uncle before that, all the way back to the exodus of Numpties from ancient Ma’at.’

‘What, you mean power passes through the uncle?’ ‘For high-born Numpties, yes.’
‘But that’s insane.’

‘Not at all, Seth. The practice encourages emotional detachment.’

‘How did it start?’

‘An over-zealous reading by the patriarchs of the eleventh commandment to go forth, procreate, and multiply,’ she said, measuring her words. ‘For those not of the Kraft, the bloodlines of high-born Numpties are occult in the original sense of the word and near impossible to trace. Invariably, the father is an uncle or close relative, and vice versa. Even with a settlement on the mother, as is customary, farming out progeny has a cost-saving implication, when one considers some of those old Dreed patriarchs had upwards of a hundred children.’

‘So for all their vaunted probity, prudence, and moral rectitude, the Kevinist Patriarchs of old Nippy were basically cuckoos.’

‘That’s a good analogy, though you’re not the first to make it. However, the practice, which still goes on, does confer evolutionary advantages in the nano race of life.’

‘I suppose so.’ Seth frowned, recalling a slip of the tongue of his childhood when, in all the excitement generated by a rare visit by his maternal uncle, he turned to say something to his father and instead called him ‘uncle’, which the professor seemed to feel demeaned his paternal status; and so he had accordingly docked Seth’s pocket money for an entire month.

‘But why would my father …’ he swallowed, scared of putting his thoughts into words, such was his growing dread of the subject matter, ‘the professor go along with it?’

‘As far as the professor is concerned, he is your father.’ ‘Surely after all this time he would have found out.’

‘Not at all. Like many a failed candidate before him, the professor had his mind altered. ‘Stitched’ is the appropriate Numpty term.’

‘Candidate for what?’


‘Patrimony?’ Seth repeated, blankly.

‘The Patrimony promised to the Elders of the Old Numpty High Council when they struck their deal with the Emissary.’

‘You’ve lost me. This ah … Patrimony, what is it exactly?’

‘In a nutshell, dominion over the Natural for their successors.’

‘Okay,’ he said, dubiously. ‘So please remind me, who was this um … Emissary?’

‘He was represented by the manikin missing from the thirteenth coffin,’ she laughed, ‘or the coffinette as you called them.’

‘I remember. So when was this promise made?’

‘In seventeen oh-six.’

‘The beardie dolls date from about then, yes?’

‘Well done, Seth.’ She smiled, indulgently. ‘The dolls represent the twelve Numpties who succeeded the Elders of the previous generation, and ritually shaved off their beards at the first session of the new High Council, the following year.’


‘Really Seth,’ she said, reprovingly. ‘You must try to pay more attention. The High Numpty Council was reformed in seventeen oh-seven.’

‘What about the empty coffin?’

‘That is reserved for the Emissary when he returns.’

‘Just who was he?’

‘Forget about him for the moment. What maers is the

power he vested in the new High Council Numpties and their descendants to the ninth generation.’

‘Which is when?’ my master said, dully. ‘Now, Seth.’

‘So?’ He looked up. ‘Just how does any of this relate to me?’

‘Yours is the ninth generation from the founding Fux.’

‘I still don’t understand,’ my master moaned, applying a hand to his perspiring brow. ‘You do; more than you know.’


‘Blood memories go with the territory, Seth. By the crooked vine and the secret seed.’ She cocked a finger. ‘You’re a candidate whether you like it or not.’

‘I am?’ he said. Then he swiveled in his chair, his aention at last drawn by the muffled din from behind his back. ‘Wow, things are geing heavy down in the Gallowgate!’ he exclaimed, pointing through the window to the street far below. ‘So much for the pacifist pretensions of penguins. They’re chucking everything they can get their flippers on: boles, cobble stones, beer crates. Now a police snatch squad are dragging a couple into the close. For entertainment value this even beats the bales between the necro-nasties and the WONTS during the Bank Holiday last summer. I guess the riot season will be really hot this year …’ He laughed manically, banging his knee once more, as he swiveled round to face her again.

‘That’s as nothing for what’s coming!’ she snapped. ‘As I said, things are about to get rather sticky. You have much to learn and so little time, so please concentrate. More than one of your half-lives may depend on it.’

[Previous] [Next]

19—Curiously, Dreed History is not an examination subject in the Dreed National curriculum and there is no Chair of Dreed History at Nippy University, or any other university in the country. Consequently, the majority of Dreeds know next to nothing of their history; a situation which does not pertain in Numpty Temples, where significant events of Ancient Dreed History are regularly re-enacted in the arcane rituals of the Thirty-Nine Steps.

20—Before X.

This is a satirical SF novel in the tradition of Swift, with footnotes that give an alternative history of the world.

Will Lorimer is a multi-media artist and the author of a number of books.

One is the Magus: twain His forces: four His weapons. These are the Seven Spirits of Unrighteousness; seven vultures of evil. Thus is the art and craft of the Magus but glamour. How shall He destroy Himself?

by John Griogair Bell

Hermetic Library Zine Bell One Is the Magus 2 666px

One is the Magus: twain His forces: four His weapons. These are the Seven Spirits of Unrighteousness; seven vultures of evil. Thus is the art and craft of the Magus but glamour. How shall He destroy Himself?—Liber B vel Magi sub figurâ I

One is the Magus 2 by John Griogair Bell using MidJourney and DALL-E.

John Griogair Bell is the enigmatic super-villain, known only, to some, as Librarian.

Hermetic Library Zine July 2021

Introducing Hermetic Library Zine, Perihelion, July 2021, Issue #4, a publication of Hermetic Library.

Hermetic Library Zine July 2021

Each zine is a wild and wooly whatever of occultura and esoterrata compiled together, generally related to Hermetic Library’s overall mission of archiving, engaging and encouraging the living Esoteric Tradition, Hermeticism, and Aleister Crowley’s Thelema.

Contents of this issue are:

Richárd Lukács—Babalon #2, Aiden Reese—O Chaos O God, Richárd Lukács—Esbat #1, David Raffin—Switzerland is nice, as they say in Switzerland, Maevius Lynn—Demiurge, Jonathan Korman—Esoteric Cultural Appropriation, Frank Ra—The Renaissance Mantegna Tarot: History Meets Applied Psychology, Johana Reuter—Ritual Beads: Gate-Key to Magick, John Griogair Bell—Caption Contest, John Griogair Bell—Advancement is no guarantee of attainment, John Griogair Bell—Meme, John Griogair Bell—The shocking truth about magic talking cats, Richárd Lukács—Babalon #1

Follow news and announcements for Hermetic Library Zine on the library blog, and get in touch with the Librarian to submit your content for the next issue!

I would especially like to take a moment to thank each and every Patron for helping to make this new zine and the work of the library possible.

Hermetic Library Zine January 2021

Introducing Hermetic Library Zine, Perihelion, January 2021, Issue #3, a publication of Hermetic Library.

Hermetic Library Zine January 2021

Each zine is a wild and wooly whatever of occultura and esoterrata compiled together, generally related to Hermetic Library’s overall mission of archiving, engaging and encouraging the living Esoteric Tradition, Hermeticism, and Aleister Crowley’s Thelema.

Contents of this issue are:

Gordon Scott—Cover, Will Merchant — Poetry, Esteban Garcia — Rosicrucian Fractal, D S Reif — Julius Evola: Heterodyne Apotheosis, John Griogair Bell — Meme, Brad Wilson — Essays, Billy Mavreas — A / Apex / Alpha, Robert Mitchell — A Deeper Understanding of X: Wheel of Fortune, Esteban Garcia — Hermetic Color, Ian Glynn Perkins — Transitioning, John Griogair Bell — Memes, Ian Glynn Perkins — Love Feast, John Griogair Bell — Meme, Gabriel Prado — Polemic 1: poem aphorism spear, John Griogair Bell — Meme, Frater Revelo Relevo — Heart Alignment, John Griogair Bell — Wrong Answers Only, John Griogair Bell — Meme, John Griogair Bell — Replace a letter, ruin Liber Al vel Legis, Louis Agrican — De Nominibus Rectis Stellarum, or On the Proper Names of the Stars

Follow news and announcements for Hermetic Library Zine on the library blog, and get in touch with the Librarian to submit your content for the next issue!

I would especially like to take a moment to thank each and every Patron for helping to make this new zine and the work of the library possible.

Write an article, review, or story for Hermetic Library

Interested in writing for Hermetic Library? Now you can!

I am announcing an open and rolling call for you to pitch ideas for submissions to Hermetic Library’s blog, site, private publication for subscription Patrons, or, possibly-maybe-once-and-future, journal!

(If you want to post to the Hrmtc Underground BBS or submit something to the wild & wooly Zine instead, go ahead! There’s no formal submissions process for either of those. What I’m describing here is specifically for publishing to the blog, site, and/or journal.)

I recently created an online form which you can use to submit a pitch for your submission idea. I’d mentioned it in a couple of places, and have it linked on the website and in the sidebar of the library blog, but wanted to make sure I more formally announce it to you here.

You’re probably already familiar with the library and the blog, but if not you should be sure to get an idea of what the library is all about before making a pitch. Consider taking a gander at the submissions guidelines for the Anthology Journal for some general idea of what I thought submissions to that might have looked like. Now that I’m thinking about it, there’s also the contributors’ guidelines in the Caduceus archive you can consider as well.

But, once you’ve got an idea that you feel is right for the library audience, you’re ready to start. You should pitch your idea for a submission!

What happens next, you ask? What’s the process of moving from making a pitch, developing a submission, compensating you, and, finally, publishing your work for the public audience of the library to read? Well, I’m so excited you asked! Let me tell you!

The Pitch

When a pitch comes in, what I plan on doing is posting it to a private forum for my Patrons. I’ll do that to give them a chance to let me know what they think, and if they’re interested in reading the proposed submission. I’ll take their feedback into consideration on whether to accept or reject the pitch, and move forward with the idea as a submission.

If the pitch idea is not accepted, I’ll suggest whether or not to revise the submission for another try. Optionally, the author may consider posting the submission as topic for Discussion on the BBS.

If the pitch is accepted, then I’ll ask the author to submit the article, review or story for consideration.

The Submission

When a submission comes in, what I plan on doing is posting it to a private forum for my Patrons. I’ll do that to give them a chance to let me know what they think about the various merits of the submission. I’ll take their feedback into consideration on whether to accept or reject the pitch, and move forward with compensation for the author and then posting the submission to one of Hermetic Library’s projects.

If the submission is not accepted, I’ll suggest whether or not to revise the submission for another try. Optionally, the author may consider posting to their work as a topic for Discussion on the BBS, or submitting to the Hermetic Library Zine instead.

If the submission is accepted, I’ll move forward with compensating the author. Once I’ve successfully compensated the author for their work, I will then post the the article, review or story for the public to read one of the variety of places I publish.


For submissions that are accepted for publication, I happily offer thanks. I’m also delighted to send you a gratis download code for any one of the released anthology albums.

For work accepted through this process, I am currently able to offer an honorarium of up to $50 per successful submission, supported by my generous Patrons.

For established reviewers, I am happy to see about getting a reviewer’s copy sent to you in advance.

Finally, if there’s something else you’ve got in mind, or an idea I’ve not mentioned, let me know!

Rights to Publish

As part of this submission process, creators affirmatively agree to non-exclusively release the information in their pitch for private sharing with those involved in the process in perpetuity.

If an eventual submission is accepted, authors and creators, of course, retain copyright on their work. They will merely affirmatively agree to release their submission non-exclusively for use by the library, granting rights to publicly present the work in perpetuity.


If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, do get in touch. Also, if the process seems daunting or there’s some aspect of it that creates difficulty for you in some way, let me know so we can find a way forward that works better for you. Finally, if you’re thinking of something that doesn’t seem to fit what I’ve described here, get in touch and let me know what you’re thinking so we can figure out whether and how we can consider your cool out-of-the-box idea. Go ahead and use the form and fill out as much as you can and I’ll get back to you, or contact me directly.

Current contact information should always be up on Hermetic Library, so you can reach me via email or post.

I look forward to hearing from you, so pitch your idea today! (Besides, you read this far, right? You might as well follow through with a pitch too!)

Updated 5jan2019: Revised to better reflect the current process, and increased available honorarium. The most current information on this will be on the actual form to pitch an idea itself.