Subtitled “Magic in the New Age”. This is a neat book. Sort of a mini-Drawing Down the Moon, only with a variety of occult practitioners, not just Pagans. Brief biographies of the important or influential, including Gardner, Sanders, Aquino, and LaVey. Nicely written, well-organized. Contains a short bibliography.
The Search for Abraxas by Nevill Drury and Stephen Skinner, is newly released from Salamander and Sons. This is a second edition of the 1973 The Search for Abraxas, and I understand it will be distributed through Weiser Antiquarian, though as of this writing there is not yet in their catalogue, but it does appear to be available directly from the publisher.
“‘There is an animal in man, and there is a God in man. In order to produce a harmonised microcosm these aspects of our nature have to be firstly acknowledged: it is then that the self may be transformed. Perhaps the God which best symbolises this mystical venture is the one who is both a man and a hawk; He who is of the Sun and whose legs are coiling serpents, symbol of Wisdom reaching down to Earth. He who holds the sacred shield … and whose name is Abraxas.’
Hailed as ‘the manifesto of a new generation’, The Search for Abraxas examines the nature of human potential emblematised by the transcendent Gnostic deity Abraxas – a figure associated not only with Time and Eternity, but also representative of the polarities of good and evil. Navigating the complex terrains of ‘The World of Light’, ‘The World of Shadows’ and ‘The World of Dreams’, renowned esoteric researchers and authors Nevill Drury and Stephen Skinner map the major themes of the Western esoteric tradition and elaborate upon the philosophies and cosmologies underpinning them.
From modern occult revivals and the international counter-culture and psychedelic revolution of the late 1960s to theoretical and practical qabalah and ceremonial magic; from witchcraft, sorcery and ‘transformation phenomena’ to astral and etheric projection and reincarnation, The Search for Abraxas reminds us that ‘magic is essentially about altered states of awareness that can lead alternatively towards cosmic transcendence and spiritual integration or towards dark alienation and even evil.’
Explorations of this duality – the polar opposites within the psyche – are particularly pronounced in the works of various artist-magicians, including the unconventionally brilliant and visionary Austin Osman Spare; the phantastically sinister yet transcendent Late Art-Nouveau, Decadents Aubrey Beardsley, Harry Clarke, Alastair, Edmund Dulac, and Kay Nielsen, and the Surrealists Yves Tanguy, Wolfgang Paalen and Max Ernst. This connection between magical thought and visionary art is a central motif of ‘this far-ranging and highly readable book.'” [via]
“Skinner and Drury met – at university – and Drury was impressed by Skinner’s Qabalistic erudition … Drury’s belief that the artist is a vehicle for, not a creator of, his artistic productions, produced a desire to explore methods of charting the hidden sources of inspiration. ‘The levels of inspiration achieved by different artists seems to me to parallel the stages of consciousness outlined in the Qabalah, and for this reason, one of my main aspirations is to achieve greater rapport with the higher levels of my unconscious.’ And so Skinner’s need for scientific exactitude and Drury’s desire to tap hidden levels of subconscious vitality combine in a common purpose. The first result of their cooperation appears in this far-ranging and highly readable book … What Stephen Skinner and Nevill Drury have done in this book is not to make an anthology of the weird and wonderful, but to state, with a kind of modesty and quiet precision, what they consider the relevant facts to be. It is their manifesto, and the manifesto of a new generation.”—Colin Wilson, from the introduction [via]
You may be interested in this new opportunity to acquire Dark Spirits: The Magical Art of Rosaleen Norton and Austin Osman Spare by Dr. Nevill Drury through Salamander and Sons, due for an additional 95 standard hardcover copies in Dec 2012. I’d previously mentioned this book, but in the interim all the available copies had pre-sold, now there’s another simple cloth bound edition being made available.
“By late April 2012, all pre-order copies of the Deluxe Edition of Dark Spirits – strictly limited to 95 copies numbered by hand, fully bound in black leather with gilt title and device, and silk bookmark ribbon, and accompanied by an exclusive hand numbered print of the terrible Werplon entity encountered by Rosaleen Norton – had sold out.
Due to considerable demand from readers, we are making available for pre-order purchase just 95 copies of a standard hardcover edition of Dark Spirits. Although this standard hardcover edition will, like the Deluxe Edition, feature in excess of 120 colour and black and white images, it will be bound simply in cloth with a dust jacket, unnumbered and without the Werplon print. This standard hardcover edition is available for USD$85.00 plus worldwide airmail shipping USD$24.00.
Both the Deluxe Edition and the standard hardcover edition will be published on 05 December 2012 in order to coincide with the 33rd anniversary of Rosaleen Norton’s death – and with our profound apologies for the necessary revisions of publication dates.” [via]
“Although they never met, the Australian witch Rosaleen Norton (1917-1979) and British visionary artist Austin Osman Spare (1886-1956) shared many points in common. As occult practitioners operating within the Western esoteric tradition, both artists were well versed in the literature of Western magic, Theosophy, kabbalah, Eastern mysticism, and modern psychoanalysis. Fascinated by mediæval magical grimoires, they also explored the ‘seals’ associated with elemental spirit-beings and developed unique forms of sigil magic. Perhaps even more significantly, Norton and Spare utilised their own personal techniques of self-hypnosis and trance in order to produce their distinctive visionary artworks. As this book demonstrates, there is a clear parallel between the trance states associated with the Zos / Kia cosmology of Spare and the trance magic of Norton. Profiling both artists in detail, and with in excess of 120 colour and black and white images, Dark Spirits explores the unique contributions of both Spare and Norton as visionary outsiders and is necessary reading for anyone interested in the nether regions of the magical psyche.” [via]
You may be interested in Pathways in Modern Western Magic edited by Nevill Drury, a new and inaugural title under the academic imprint Concrescent Scholars from Hermetic Library fellow Sam Webster‘s Concrescent Press.
“This exciting multi-authored volume provides a fascinating overview of the many different pathways that help define esoteric belief and practice in modern Western magic. Included here are chapters on the late 19th century Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the influential Thelemic doctrines of Aleister Crowley, and the different faces of the Universal Goddess in Wicca and the Pagan traditions. Also included are chapters on Neoshamanism in Europe and the United States—and an account of how these traditions have in turn infl uenced the rise of techno-shamanism in the West. Additional features of this collection include insider perspectives on Seidr oracles, hybridised Tantra, contemporary black magic, the Scandinavian Dragon Rouge and Chaos magic in Britain—as well as profiles of the magical artists Ithell Colquhoun, Austin Osman Spare and Rosaleen Norton.
Contributors: Nikki Bado • Jenny Blain • Nevill Drury • Dave Evans • Amy Hale • Phil Hine • Lynne Hume • Marguerite Johnson • Thomas Karlsson • James R. Lewis • Libuše Martínková • Robert J. Wallis • Don Webb • Dominique Beth Wilson • Andrei A. Znamenski
Nevill Drury, editor of this collection, received his PhD from the University of Newcastle, Australia, in 2008. His most recent publications include Stealing Fire from Heaven: the Rise of Modern Western Magic and The Varieties of Magical Experience (co-authored with Dr Lynne Hume).” [via]
“Pathways in Modern Western Magic launches a new imprint in the Concrescent family of books. This imprint specializes in peer-reviewed works of scholarship in the fields of Esotericism, Pagan religion and culture, Magic, and the Occult.
Concrescent Scholars present their views from within and without the Academy. Here will be heard the Voice of the Academic, and also the Voice of the Practitioner, the native of the sometimes alien, sometimes intimate, spaces of the Esoteric. Paraphrasing the Buddhologist Stephan Beyer, we are mindful that Scholars of the Esoteric do not deal with Esotericism so much as they deal with Esotericists. Real lives are behind these words and each one has a voice to contribute.
These young scholarly fields need a forum in which to mature. This is one such forum where the voices of both academic and the practitioner will be heard in new collections, monographs, and translations that further the discipline.
We take advantage of the recent revolution in publishing technology and economics to bring forth works that, previously, might only have been circulated privately, or been prohibitively expensive.
Concrescent Scholars is dedicated to bringing together all who work, learn, and live in the Esoteric that they may flourish materially, intellectually, and spiritually.” [via]
“Dark Spirits: The Magical Art of Rosaleen Norton and Austin Osman Spare” by Nevill Drury, due late June, has been announced for pre-order via Salamander and Sons.
“Strictly limited to 95 copies numbered by hand. More than 120 colour and black and white images. Fully bound in black leather with gilt title and device. Silk bookmark ribbon.
Published to coincide with the Northern Summer Solstice 2012. USD$126.00 plus worldwide airmail shipping USD$24.00. Free with each copy, an exclusive hand numbered print of the terrible Werplon entity encountered by Rosaleen Norton.”
“Although they never met, the Australian witch Rosaleen Norton (1917-1979) and British visionary artist Austin Osman Spare (1886-1956) shared many points in common. As occult practitioners operating within the Western esoteric tradition, both artists were well versed in the literature of Western magic, Theosophy, kabbalah, Eastern mysticism, and modern psychoanalysis. Fascinated by mediæval magical grimoires, they also explored the seals associated with elemental spirit-beings and developed unique forms of sigil magic. Perhaps even more significantly, Norton and Spare utilised their own personal techniques of self-hypnosis and trance in order to produce their distinctive visionary artworks. As this book demonstrates, there is a clear parallel between the trance states associated with the Zos / Kia cosmology of Spare and the trance magic of Norton. Profiling both artists in detail, and with in excess of 120 colour and black and white images, Dark Spirits explores the unique contributions of both Spare and Norton as visionary outsiders and is necessary reading for anyone interested in the nether regions of the magical psyche.”