Tag Archives: Barry William Hale

Codex 231

Codex 231 by Barry William Hale, from Fulgur Esoterica, may be of interest.

Barry William Hale Codex 231 from Fulgur Esoterica

Since it was first published in 1912, Aleister Crowley’s LIBER CCXXXI has provided both fascination and inspiration for practitioners, artists and writers alike. Dealing with the spiritual forces at work in the Major Arcana of the tarot, LIBER CCXXXI includes two charts of 22 sigils relating to the jinn, or spirits, for the ‘House of Mercury’ and the ‘Prison of Shells’. These jinn work in mysterious opposition, reflecting and contesting each other.

Drawing from this rich source, artist-practitioner Barry William Hale has produced a series of eleven symbolic images based upon an alternative form – a sigillic wheel – once described by Crowley himself. Around this wheel are interlocked figures that ‘symbolise the ordeal of the Adept, upon the soul’s journey.’ As author Robert Fitzgerald cites in his introduction to the work;

“The eleven compositions of CODEX 231 center around twin wheels that house the branches of two trees – the Domes and Prisons of LIBER CCXXXI and their respective sigils. The interlocked figures comprise a chimeric embodiment of these trees, and fulfill the literal ordalium of the Sorcerer, Mystic, Adept and Magician as they struggle with the demons and angels within both Tree and Self. These entities are thus portrayed in Hale’s CODEX 231 are united, both in nature and composition, and held together by each other’s feet and hands, yet ultimately by the Wheels themselves. This unity represents primordial Opposition and Integration, Control and Constraint, of the forces within both the living Adepti and their symbolic representations.”

Between 1994-2004 these charged images were the product of an intense period of magical working for the artist. Whether framed over an altar, or employed in ritual use, they serve to evoke the powerful jinn of LIBER CCXXXI.

Barry William Hale Codex 231 detail from Fulgur Esoterica

I:MAGE 2014 across London on Oct 21st – Nov 2nd, 2014

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.

Fulgur I:MAGE 2014

“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.

“Agostino Arrivabene
Michael Bertiaux
Jesse Bransford
Anne Crossey
Arrington de Dionyso
Denis Forkas
Cristina Francov
Steffi Grant
Barry William Hale
Sara Hannant
Liz Insogna
Francesco Parisi
Max Razdow
Penny Slinger
Austin Osman Spare
Shannon Taggart”

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]

Occult figures

There’s even more press for the Windows to the Sacred: An Exploration of the Esoteric art exhibition touring in Australia, which is at the S H Ervin Gallery through September 29th, 2013, and which may be of interest. John MacDonald writes a bit about his impressions of the exhibition and of how these “[a]rtists cast a wicked spell as popular culture embraces all things supernatural, mystical and demonic” over at “Occult figures“.

“‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,’ was the personal motto of Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), once known to the headline writers as ‘the Great Beast’ and ‘the Wickedest Man Alive’. It was a philosophy that would endear him to the counterculture of the 1960s and make him a hero for rock stars such as Jimmy Page and Jim Morrison. Perhaps the sealer for Crowley’s second coming was his inclusion on the album cover for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), at John Lennon’s insistence.

A famous sorcerer such as Crowley has an obvious appeal for a popular culture saturated in stories of witches and vampires, but he was no Harry Potter. Selfish, brutal, addicted to drugs and sexual perversion, Crowley was a terrifying but hugely charismatic individual. Those who fell under his spell often found themselves ruined for life. Today, Crowley probably has more disciples than ever before, but his image has been cleaned up for public consumption. The Great Beast has been transformed into the Great Libertarian.

Like Crowley himself, the study of the occult has become almost respectable, although the price is a high degree of Disneyfication. One of the revelations of Windows to the Sacred at the S.H. Ervin Gallery is the extent to which contemporary occultists have adopted the trappings of popular culture.

It is a sign of the times that such a show could be held at the S. H. Ervin. Not long ago it would have been unthinkable that a gallery operated by the National Trust would host an exhibition of ‘esoteric art’, featuring work by figures such as Crowley, Rosaleen Norton — the so-called ‘witch of Kings Cross’ — and Austin Osman Spare, a notorious British artist devoted to the supernatural.

This doesn’t mean the S. H. Ervin has become a haven for mystics and Satanists. It would be more accurate to say that nowadays those mystics and Satanists are about as controversial as the Australian Watercolour Institute. If the pictures by celebrated figures such as Crowley and Spare have a hermetic feeling, the works of contemporary esoteric artists such as Barry William Hale and Kim Nelson seem to be pitched at a mainstream audience, rather than an elite group of initiates.” [via]

I:MAGE An Inaugural Exhibition of Esoteric Artists at Store Street Gallery on May 19-25, 2013 in London

Fulgur Esoterica has announced I:MAGE An Inaugural Exhibition of Esoteric Artists which will be running from May 19-25, 2013 at the Store Street Gallery 32 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London UK.


An Inaugural Exhibition of Esoteric Artists

LONDON, 19th-25th May, 2013

I:MAGE is a selling exhibition hosted by FULGUR ESOTERICA that brings together for the first time an international group of artists working in the esoteric genre.

Ranging from the work of progressive women such as Ithell Colquhoun and Steffi Grant, to the dark symbolist themes of Agostino Arrivabene and Denis Forkas Kostromitin set against the contemporary exploratory audio-visual practices of NOKO, I:MAGE promises to be a landmark exhibition.

Held in the heart of London at the Store Street Gallery, this show will cover two floors and over 1600sq ft of exhibition space. A full colour catalogue will be available.

To mark this occasion a week of special evening events and art-related projects will be held in collaboration with Treadwell’s Bookshop, next door.” [via]

“The Artists

Michael Bertiaux
Jesse Bransford
Ithell Colquhoun
Peter Dyde
Denis Forkas Kostromitin
Cristina Francov
Rik Garrett
Steffi Grant
Barry William Hale
Francesco Parisi
David Chaim Smith
Austin Osman Spare

and special guest
Agostino Arrivabene” [via]

Witch and wicked

Recent article about the Fri 13th opening of “Windows to the Sacred” exhibition which features work by Aleister Crowley and Rosaleen Norton at Buratti Fine Art in North Fremantle, Western Australia at “Witch and wicked” finally reveals more information about the exhibition in Australia around which I’d previously posted at “The Nightmare Paintings“.

The Sun (Study for Tarot, self-portrait) by Aleister Crowley


“Gallery director Robert Buratti says esoteric art is focused on the search for hidden knowledge of ourselves and our place in the universe.

‘The work is heavily influenced by symbolism and surrealism,’ Mr Buratti says.

‘It’s been an interest of mine kicked off by the exhibitions by Josephin Peladan in Paris in the late 1800s at the Salon de la Rose + Croix. While the Paris Salon was showing still life and landscapes, they were more showing works about spirituality.

‘Gauguin had a lot to do with symbolism coming to the forefront, so I’ve always thought it would be lovely to do a group show on it, but you don’t often get access to that sort of work.’

Buratti sought out the curators and researchers behind the highly successful 2008 Traces du Sacre at the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the satellite showing of The Nightmare Paintings by Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) at the Palais de Tokyo.

All of which landed Buratti in a huge bank vault beneath central Paris to view Crowley’s works. ‘It was like a massive prison, with steel balconies on each level and little doors full of boxes. There was an amazing amount of security. After going through several doors where two people unlocked them simultaneously, you finally get to the main room where some of the great art of Europe is locked away – literally centuries of collecting by private buyers rarely seeing the light of day.’

Dubbed by the British press as the wickedest man in the world, it’s the first showing of Crowley’s work in Australia. He turned his back on his Christian upbringing, and his mother, who called him ‘The Beast’. A drug user of wide range from opium to ether, he was also a heroin addict.

Described as a colourful occultist, mystic, magician and poet who courted the press, Crowley devised his own philosophy and started a commune in Sicily in 1920, until Mussolini threw him out of the country in 1923.

Buratti says during this time in Sicily Crowley painted feverishly. ‘The works in the show are from that period and were on display in the Paris exhibition.’

Across the world in Sydney, Rosaleen Norton (1917-1979), was influenced by Crowley’s writing. Called the Witch of Kings Cross by the tabloids, and devoted to the god, Pan, she has the dubious honour of having her work seized and destroyed by the Australian government. Her life was punctuated by high-profile legal cases for obscenity but in later life she became a tourist attraction.

Despite the controversial lives of Crowley and Norton, their small representation in the exhibition seems mild.

Back to the present, Canberra-based Kim Nelson and indigenous artist Danie Mellor provide a different slant together with works by James Gleeson (1915-2008), considered the father of surrealism in Australia.

Sydney-based Barry William Hale is also included. Better known internationally, his work across many media is influenced by everything from sorcery to the paper-cut tradition of indigenous Mexicans.

Hale will perform at the Revelation Perth International Film Festival with the group Noko in its WA premiere of a combination of projected images, experimental music and interpretation of magic.

The affable Hale says his adoptive father was an exporter who came home with exotic artefacts, photos and footage from places such as the highlands of Papua New Guinea, fostering an early fascination for other cultures. His biological parents, both artists, were pioneers of alternative living at Nimbin.

‘I’m always an aesthetic sponge to different expressions of human spirituality and drawn to uncovering different esoteric practices,’ he says.

Buratti says the exhibition is about doing something different but also linking into ideas happening around the world.

‘There’s been renewed interest in esoteric art from curators around the world. You don’t want to get too weird with it because you want to be comfortable with the content you’re putting in front of people, and you don’t want people to misunderstand what you’re about,’ he says.

‘It’s always difficult to tell how people will respond but the interest has been massive.'” [via]

The Moon (Study for Tarot) by Aleister Crowley


Update 12jul2012 @ 5:12pm – Now that I know the actual name of the exhibit, I’m finding information about this show all over the place. For example there’s a note about “Windows on the Sacred” on the front page of Fulgur Limited, LAShTal reported on this last month, and there appears to have been a very informative email newsletter that you can gander at online about this as well.