Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Gathering Grimoires

The Grimoire Gathering in Clun was a good opportunity to hear some very different perspectives on the grimoires. Carrying on the tradition of the well respected Ludlow Esoteric Conference, this was a gathering for practitioners. These events are always small affairs, but over a hundred people assembling in this remote location is quite an achievement.

David Cypher spoke on the importance of Cornelius Agrippa, and although The Three Books of Occult Philosophy are not a grimoire, the ideas collated by Agrippa make this text one of the cornerstones of modern magic. Our own copy of Three Books is well thumbed, bookmarked and often consulted. It is, as David Cypher demonstrated, a key part of the education of any practical magician. With many students looking for ‘advanced magic books’ it is easy to neglect the fundamentals which Agrippa introduces.
David Rankine’s essay on Agrippa’s magic squares in Howlings is worth mentioning here for those who have not read it and wish to understand how the kameas and their sigils work.

The whole out of copyright text of The Three Books of Occult Philosophy can be found free online here: http://www.esotericarchives.com/agrippa/

Though we find the electronic form unwieldy, it is useful when researching.
We also recommend the Llewellyn version edited by Donald Tyson with extensive footnotes. Tyson also has substantial essays which appear in Howlings and Diabolical.

Our friend David Rankine of Golden Hoard spoke on the Key of Solomon, talking about its origins in the Greek Hygromanteia. Though we personally disagree with him over the use of angels to constrain demons, David as ever gave a strong performance covering a lot of ground and material. His enthusiasm and knowledge of the grimoires shone through. His work with Stephen Skinner in collating the MS of the grimoire tradition is one of the most important publishing endeavours in modern magical history.

We had been looking forward to seeing Jake Stratton-Kent again and he did not disappoint. On rollickingly good form Jake set out his argument that grimoire magic, seen through the lens of his extensive work with the Grimorium Verum, can be traced to the figure of the ancient Greek Goes. His thesis completely changes the way we see Western magic, rather than a reliance on late influences such as Qabalah, we can see a direct line from the grimoires to the spirit contact and necromancy of the chthonic world. Fizzing with energy and passion, Jake further laid out how this reconnection can take us into a new fusion of Western grimoire magic with the living traditions of the African Traditional Religions. It was a tour de force.

Geraldine Beskin of Atlantis rounded off the day with an entertaining biography of Frederick Hockley.

We were pleased to meet more of our readers and friends in the flesh. It is always a pleasure.

We hope that this event will be repeated.

Jake will be speaking again in Bath and his new work Geosophia will soon be available for subscriber pre-order.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Omphalos Equinox Fair 2010

Omphalos Equinox Fair 2010

St. James Wine Vaults
St. James square
Bath, UK
BA1 2TW
Saturday 18 Sunday 19 September 2010

We will be attending this two day festival organised by the Omphalos group in Bath, UK.
Excellent to see one of the few serious magical moots in England continuing to thrive and put on events.


For those who can't make it to the Grimoire Gathering in Clun this is another chance to see Jake Stratton-Kent. Also looking forward to Scarlet Imprint author Levannah Morgan (The Ishtar Diaries in Devoted) talking on Maya Deren and Kenneth Anger. It looks like an excellent line-up over two days in a friendly and unpretentious venue for a very reasonable price.

SATURDAY 2PM sharp until 7PM

Opening Ritual - Through A Mirror Darkly

MOGG MORGAN - The Companionship of Set; readings from The Grimoire of Set

ADEBISI DATA ADEKUNLE - The Seven African Powers in Ifa Magic and Spirituality

LEVANNAH MORGAN - The Magickal Avantgarde; the films of Maya Deren (The Divine Horsemen) and Kenneth Anger (Lucifer Rising) - with video excerpts


SATURDAY NIGHT PARTY

Private Party down in the Vaults
Sharron Kraus and Omphiucus followed by the Devil's best tunes to keep you dancing 'til midnight



SUNDAY

GERALDINE BESKINE - How We Made Magick Modern, a true occult review from the owner of the Atlantis Bookshop.

KARL LE MARCS - A History of the Hellfire Club given by the author of "Collapsing the Consciousness wave" and Steward of The Hell Fire Club (Red Horse Vale Chapter)

JAKE STRATTON KENT - Goetic Fusion, a discussion of the synergy of goetic magic with African diaspora traditions; a possible future for Western Occultism?


Full details of the event can be found here: http://www.theoccultreview.com/page5.htm


TICKETS: Saturday and Sunday £5.50 per day / £8.00 on the door.
Available here: http://www.theoccultreview.com/page4.htm

For all enquiries email omphalospaganmoot@yahoo.co.uk

Or see Facebook http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/event.php?eid=145648028787914

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Tarnish

This has been described as a ‘golden age of occult publishing’.
From the internet it appears that there is a thriving international occult community and that publishers are reaping the benefits.

This could not be further from the truth.

Most magical publishers are very small businesses struggling to survive.
Occult authors are making precious little, if any, money.
This is not the motivation behind the work.
We work a seven day week at Scarlet Imprint because we believe in what we are doing.
Producing books is a massively demanding occupation.

We wasted another day today trying to stop illegal copies of our books when we could have been finishing Geosophia for the printers and working on our own writing. We are sick to death of this, as are Ixaxaar, Golden Hoard, Xoanon et al.

Occult books are printed in limited numbers, for many reasons - financial constraints being one, and because there are precious few serious students.

Occult bookshops are struggling to survive. The number of members in actual magical orders (rather than internet fantasies) is tiny. Illegal files really hurt small communities such as ours. We are not Metallica or Time Warner, we cannot afford lawyers or any more of our precious time on monitoring or blocking file sharing sites.

If you own our books you are some of the very few students committed to the art.
The most supportive action you can take is to buy books produced by genuine magical publishers written by authors who have something worthwhile to say.

Free for all

There is a massive amount of free, out of copyright occult material online. More information than at any stage in history. Authors are also contactable and generous with their knowledge. Students are not starved of source material or living contact, if they seek it out.

Many illegal uploaders believe that they are providing a service, that they are disseminating knowledge for the right reasons. However their actions are destroying the marginal livelihood of the authors they are copying. They are seriously jeopardising any future work.

If you just want online twitter and reprints of dead authors from fewer and fewer sources, then this is what you will get. If you understand the book arts, then you will know how precious the skills are that our books keep alive.

Illegally uploading the work of an author is disrespectful. Copying the work of a magician and then seeking to work with those spirits is quite frankly stupid. A hacked pdf violates a simple magical principle of not haggling when you buy a black hen’s egg. The author and publisher have deliberately chosen to produce the book as a magical object, it stands to reason that this should be respected.

If you are exchanging files then you are making a serious magical mistake.

If you have the luxury of a laptop, an internet connection and a scanner, you are not too poor to buy books. Give something back to the occult community rather than simply taking, or getting online kudos for someone else’s work. Saving money for a book or going without can be in itself a magical act.
We recognise that not everyone can afford a full vellum book, or even a standard hardback, which is why we have announced Bibliothèque Rouge as a paperback imprint. We also want information to reach students. We also want our authors to be paid for their work. They deserve it.

Taking Action

If you read and appreciate books from occult publishers and find illegal uploads, write to the publishers with the URL so that we can file a DMCA notice and get the content removed where we can.

You are also welcome to contact the uploaders and patiently explain why this is such a damaging practice. It is up to all of us to take responsible action on this.

If the uploads are on a closed community or forum, write to the uploader through their profile or post on the forum asking them politely to remove the files. If you are on a forum then write to the moderators and ask them to support small occult publishers by not allowing uploads of their books.

If you have illegal files, delete them and buy the physical book.

It is up to the occult community to stop the illegal file sharing by not tolerating the uploading of copyright material. The alternative is that no new work is produced, small publishers are utterly marginalised and the book arts go into terminal decline.
We want to keep making radical, progressive books for serious students of magic.
The book is a physical and magical object which cannot be replaced with a digital clone.

Support us in our work and that of the other committed magical publishers.