“Let him tarry here, who is not strong for the great work. In freedom he might be lost. So fledge your wings fearlessly, ye humble ones!”—Austin Osman Spare, The Book of Pleasure
I:MAGE 2014 – Travelling with Unfamiliar Spirits, the second exhibition of esoteric art from Fulgur, will actually be a series of events in London and online from October 21st through November 2nd, 2014, with art, events, publications and stories.
“The spirit world comes to life in this two-week-long celebration of esoteric art. The show’s theme coincides with the time of year: the beginning of the dark months. Popular culture calls it Hallowe’en but contemporary Witches and Druids across Europe and North America call it Samhain, Heathens Winter Nights, Greek reconstructionist movements Thesmophoria; Vodou practitioners celebrate Fete Ghede, followers of Santeria and indigenous religions in Latin America observe Día de los Muertos, while Welsh folklore advises staying away from cemeteries on Calan Gaeaf.
In most magical and esoteric traditions the end of October is a sacred time of year, a time for honouring the dead and communicating with the spirit world. It is a time to acknowledge the winter months and delve into the darker part of the year and of the self. The boundaries between the familiar and what is Other shatter. The veil is thin. The magic begins. For I:MAGE 2014, artists will explore what it means to communicate with spirits through art. They will give us a glimpse of a unifying theme across different esoteric practices and offer us the perfect opportunity to introduce you to a truly international show.” [via]
At the core is a selling exhibition hosted by Fulgur Esoterica that brings together an a number of international artists in the esoteric genre. That exhibition will take place at Cob Gallery in London and feature a number of artists.
Arrington de Dionyso
Barry William Hale
Austin Osman Spare
Of particular interest, for those not nearby London, may be the artist blogs but especially Veil of Dreams: A Pilgrimage through Icelandic Magic with Jesse Bransford and Max Razdow, an interactive esoteric art project which you can start following now and in which you can participate.
Artists Jesse Bransford and Max Razdow set out to inhabit the same dream space for six months, blog about it and travel across the world to tell the story. Their starting point: Icelandic Magic.
For the next five months Jesse Bransford and Max Razdow will use Icelandic magical symbols as a reference point to enter the larger dream divination space of the Seiðr traditions and to synchronise their dreams. The results are published here on a daily basis. The project will culminate with a pilgrimage: the artists will travel to Iceland to visit sacred sites, perform a series of workings and find physical correspondences with their shared dream experiences and then to London, where they will exhibit the journal, the original artworks emerging from the dreams and be interviewed about their experience. Be a part of their story. [via]
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]
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:
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 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.
Nightside of Eden by Kenneth Grant is being republished by Starfire Publishing, and is scheduled for release in March, 2014. It is currently on pre-order in both a standard edition, available directly and, for US and CA, from J D Holmes, and in a deluxe edition available directly.
“The republishing of the Typhonian Trilogies continues with the release in March 2014 of the fourth volume in the series, Nightside of Eden, which opens the second of the three trilogies. Originally published by Muller in 1977, it was subsequently reissued by Skoob Publishing in 1994. This new edition of 1500 copies is freshly typeset in an octavo format of 316 pages. Sewnbound hardback, with a frontispiece, a twenty-page section of plates, illustrated endpapers and a full-colour dustjacket, this republication integrates the errata from the Skoob edition within the text, and incorporates further corrections noted subsequently in Kenneth Grant’s personal copy of the book. Many of the plates have been rephotographed, and some are printed in colour.” [via]
“There exists a map of consciousness, with its light and dark byways, in the form of a qabalistic glyph known as the Tree of Life. It has its roots in the primal earth of Eden, but its branches extend into extra-terrestrial dimensions. This Tree, which is a familiar concept to mystics and magicians alike, has another side, a nightside which receives but passing mention in contemporary manuals of occultism; as if the ancient writings of the Arabs and Jews contained allusions to mere figures of speech and monstrous fancies.
Nightside of Eden interprets the symbolism of the Tree of Death, the ‘other’ side of the Tree of Life which forms the basis of the Western Occult Tradition. Kenneth Grant, whose Typhonian Trilogies have infused new life and meaning into ancient and forgotten mysteries, here provides an exhaustive survey of the other side of the Tree, haunted by dark forces that are today seeping insidiously into human consciousness and threatening it with violent disruption. The creative magical current represented by Aleister Crowley, Charles Stansfeld Jones, Austin Osman Spare, and in our day by Michael Bertiaux, Margaret Cook, and others, is here traced to its source in the formless voids beyond the threshold of mentation.
Nightside of Eden is an explication of the Cult of Choronzon and an initiated exposition of the Mysteries of the Left-Hand Path in relation to Western Occultism. Here, for the first time, the head of a genuine Magical Organization reveals the esoteric doctrines of the ‘black’ magic of the Left-Hand Path, as well as the practical application of psycho-sexual formulae of which very little is generally known.
The book is illustrated not only with the demonic sigils of the ‘other side’, which make of it a grimoire of the Dark Doctrine, but also by curious works of siderealism, or stellar art, sprung from the New Aeon consciousness which permeates those occult Orders working in harmony with the Typhonian Tradition.” [via]
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.'”
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
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.
Time: Doors 7pm, for a 7:30 start
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.”