Friday, 2 July 2010

First online review of XVI

Lightning storms in the mountains today, and fittingly we came across this online review of XVI from the Daughter of Sunset Blog:

There is something distinctly apocalyptic about the collection of essays published by Scarlet Imprint under the Roman numeral title of XVI, associated with the 16th card in the Tarot deck, otherwise known as “The Tower,” or “The House of God.” Sixteen authors muse on the meaning of the card, taking it as the point of departure in order to discuss the perceived collapse of our present civilization, the ecological and economic crisis, and magical ways of coping with the end of the ‘age of exuberance,’ the breakdown of authority, and the initiatic experience of the dissolution of one’s own sense of separate identity. The writers and the writing are at the cutting edge of the contemporary magical current, informed inevitably and clearly by Crowley and Thelema. The opinions are diverse and the views often verge on disturbing: there is certainly nothing in the book that would be acceptable to everyone, and that is as it should be. The overall message is however clear: it’s the end of the world as we know it, whether we like it or not. In the words of Peter Grey, one of the two principal editors of the collection, and the co-owner of the Scarlet Imprint, “If there is one piece of alchemical arithmetic you need to take away from this entire book, it is this: for every one calorie of food produced, ten calories of oil are needed to produce it” (“Seeing Through Apocalypse,” 92; emphasis in the original). You do the math.

It would be inaccurate, however, to think that this is a volume of gloom. Quite the opposite, the bulk of the essays urge towards action: magical, political, ecological, erotic, you name it. To quote Peter Grey again, “In opposition to the Tower we raise the image of the maypole. A living symbol on a human scale. An image of resistance ” (“Forwarned,” iii; you can read this text here). In a similar vein, Peter Carroll suggests the following as a vision of an alternative state of affairs: “Imagine a society where neighborhoods had their own magical temples where people could come to learn and practice meditation, visualization, trance, ritual, invocation, enchantment and divination, free from theological dogma, purely as mental techniques” (“”Eschaton,” 250). On a more technical note, the book is a beautifully produced hard-cover volume graced by a black-and white rendition of “The Tower,” executed by Kyle Fite (whose personal gallery may be viewed on the Lashal site, where Fite appears under the nom de plume ‘Kidneyhawk’).

Highly recommended. But be forewarned: “By the mere possession of this book, you too are implicated” (Grey, “Forewarned,” iii).

-Frater Iskander.

The original review can be read here:

Good to see the work getting out to people and having an impact.

More on XVI here for those who haven't yet tasted the current.

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