Friday, 29 March 2013

A Good Friday

Bibliotheque Rouge paperback and digital editions of Apocalyptic Witchcraft are now available for those students who can't afford the hardback Of the Doves edition or simply prefer the egalitarian nature of a paperback book or the convenience of a digital file.


We are very pleased with how the paperback edition has printed. As always our Rouge editions contain exactly the same information as the hardback edition and are made to the same exacting archival and ecological standards.

Regular readers please note, our next title will be announced on April 1 in a subscriber email.

Our best to you all on this Good Friday.

http://www.scarletimprint.com/apocalyptic_witchcraft.html


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Techne Technology and Witchcraft

My viewpoint is bound to differ from that of Ian Vincent, who has with erudition engaged with the ideas in Apocalyptic Witchcraft. Exactly what is needed. This is, as he notes, not a book that sets out to please, and offers up many challenges to the citizens of the modern world.


To make sense of this post his lively review can be read here: http://www.dailygrail.com/Reviews/2013/3/Review-Apocalyptic-Witchcraft-Peter-Grey

I would like to simply clarify a few points where I feel my ideas have been somewhat misconstrued.

If my work did not create controversy and debate then it would be a failure both of my writing and the reader's ability to engage with it.

Critically, Apocalyptic Witchcraft is not a call to retreat into an imagined past, but a recognition that the world is in a state of radical change, due to the actions of man upon the living systems without which we cannot survive. It does not suggest that the dreamspace or the planet is pristine, but rather that all worlds coincide. 

Witchcraft is orientated in time and space, it is embedded in the land and the body of the witch. The only cyborg we will get is courtesy of the military industial complex, our salvation is not technical but the raw techne of the body stripped of ego and gender and humanity in the celebration of the Sabbat.

This is where Ian and I diverge. He is modern, urban and technical and sees the solutions to be found in modern technical approaches. I am more keenly aware of the finite nature of our resources and the perilous state we are in. I trust the durability of my black handled knife over my keyboard. 

Those who place the planet first are often accused of wanting a 10 billion people genocide. This is not what I am advocating. The witch must use everything that they have got, all tools, we cannot return to year zero, even if we fervently wished to. I am simply pointing out the reality of collapse and that a living witchcraft must take account of this.

The city is unsustainable, our civilisation heading for the cliff at a rate which will only accelerate in the next fifty years. Readings of Zerzan, Kaczynski, Derek Jensen et al will become increasingly accepted by those who see the signs in the environment, signs that city dwellers are often slower to observe, alienated as they are from the natural cycles. This does not mean that I endorse all the ideas of these thinkers, my palette is far more diverse.

For another magical perspective on the crisis I recommend the work of John Michael Greer, both his Blood of the Earth which we have published, and his blog. These are all perspectives that should be critically engaged with.

In some places however the cities are failing, see New Orleans, Beijing and Phoenix, there is no place to hide: http://www.alternet.org/superheated-american-city-dealing-110-degrees-33-days-phoenix-confronts-apocalyptic-climate-change?akid=10185.52318.GMNdLR&rd=1&src=newsletter809408&t=10&paging=off

As for mass extinction, loss of soil, death of the oceans and 'peak everything,' these are beyond the bounds of the book which is concerned with how witchcraft is envisioned and embodied rather than writing an environmental screed.
  
My postion is that there is no tech fix. The internet will not save us, and neither will celebrities, nor ethical consumption. This is difficult to accept in the cossetted world of industrial culture and the advantages which it brings to the few at the expense of the many.

My position on the internet has changed over the years, not as a technophobe but from being involved in the dotcom boom and seeing the infinite possibilities squandered into a marketing algorithm and an increasingly banal feedback loop. The technology is not neutral. Ian's position will be closer to some aspects of The Red Goddess, written when I was in the heart of the city and the cracks were not showing so clearly. 

Ian and I are unlikely to come to an agreement on this issue! I will rather let history be the arbiter. I predict war, collapse and famine at unprecedented levels, an ugly scramble for the last remaining resources to support a failing industrial culture. I offer no cosy myth of a rural idyll in compensation for this. I say that now is the time for Witchcraft to step into the breach and defend what is left.

The book was written with Alkistis, so contains a strong female influence. Neither of us adhere to an idea that there are two genders, but rather that sexual identity is fluid. Polarity should not be read as gender. The focus of the work is on the centrality of the moon and menstruation in witchcraft; these are women's mysteries. We welcome more gay writers articulating their mysteries, especially given the role of gay men in the cult of Inanna. We'd be very interested to read more from Ian on this. As for dualism, not something that I recognise in the text, animism certainly, though inversion and opposition are valid aspects the ultimate challenge the text gives is to remove the mask of gender, ego, humanity and engage in the Sabbat. 



In Nomine Bablon

Peter Grey

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

A rallying cry to embrace a living witchcraft..

I am a tremendous fan of Scarlet Imprint, publisher of fine magical books. Their books contain more than occult information, more than poetry, though they are certainly full of both; they are bound spells. I have read several of Scarlet Imprint’s works. I don’t always agree with the authors in their fervor or specifics, but I usually agree with the general themes. I almost always find myself thinking about their ideas long after I’ve finished a book. I’m still chewing over XVI, which I read over a year ago.
When I saw that Scarlet Imprint would be releasing Apocalyptic Witchcraft, by Peter Grey, I knew immediately that I had to have a copy. The book aims to serve as a rallying cry to those who would embrace a living witchcraft as a means to rebel against the status quo. I am completely on board with this mission.
Of the doves edition; taken from Scarlet Imprint's website
Of the doves edition; image used with the kind permission of Scarlet Imprint
Scarlet Imprint, as an entity, judging from the works they publish, and this book specifically, aims to push the magical community toward action in the world. While we need skill and abilities that allow us to function in the mainstream world, our task is not to cozy up to the status quo, but wreak havoc and defend our chosen values. This book is the least hippie call to action against environmental pillage I’ve read.
I feel that the less said about any of Scarlet Imprint’s books the better. They are best experienced first hand (and there are a variety ways one can do that – super fancy, fancy, paperback, and digital editions, an option for every budget). I will say I was gripped by the writing, entranced by many of the ideas, and still a little confused at the end. But then Grey warns the reader on page i that he ‘does not aim to please.’ ‘This is not a how-to book, or a compendium of folk remedies, nor is it a list of rituals for you to follow, nor strictly history.’  (pg i)
Grey situates witchcraft not historically, but contextually. Yes, witchcraft is skill; yes, it has history and lineages; but that’s not what is most important. The core of witchcraft is ‘a force, not an order. Witchcraft is rhizomatic, not hierarchic. Witchcraft defies organization, not meaning.’ (From A Manifesto of Apocalyptic Witchcraft, p 15) How shall we use that force? Why shall we grow? What is our meaning?
The book speaks primarily to people who travel a path of Traditional Witchcraft, though it does not exclude other like-minded people. Grey expresses the core nature of witchcraft, though not through the lens of lineage, techniques, or historical developments. He focuses primarily on poetry, blood, and transformation. It’s a strange book. It both doesn’t seem to fit all together, and yet hangs together beautifully. I need to read this book a few more times.
The extended chapters on poetry, especially that of Ted Hughes, and Grey’s way of unfolding history feel a little meandering. The opening and closing chapters were for me the most powerful, and I wanted more of that. However, I will follow Peter Grey down any rabbit trail any day of the week. His meanderings have more fire and poetry in them most of what I read about magic combined.
What does ‘Apocalyptic Witchcraft’ mean? I’m still not entirely sure. I do know it means action and fearlessness. It means enfolding art into whatever it is we do. It means embracing magic as a philosophical, artistic, and practical way of living – not just as a spiritual orientation. I know Grey is tapping into a Current that is pulling many people forward right now. I feel it, too, though I am not able to articulate it in any way at this time. Ultimately, each of us will need to find out what apocalyptic witchcraft means for ourselves. Good thing Peter Grey is pulling us forward with his vision and art.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Seeking the Witch

Review of Apocalyptic Witchcraft courtesy of Doctor Hob

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“Witch” was never a title I laid claim to, nor one I sought after.
It was a word I respected, and perhaps even feared, when I first began studying the occult. However, there seemed to be an insurmountable distance between the essence of “witch” and the people I met, who called themselves such. For me, the word seemed to make the shadows in the corners grow deeper, less fearful of the light. It took me to a place where cool wind blew among the trees, and where rain fell like gentle fingers on my face. It took me to a place where I could taste wood smoke on the air, and a deep red taste, like copper and rubies.
It brought to me the sounds of the wolf, howling in the lonely, echoing hours between midnight and dawn.
There seemed no place for shadows in the witchcraft of the people I knew; amidst their drumming, and polished stones, and cloying incense, and loving deities. I felt ever like the wolf in the crowd, thinly coated in stolen wool.
I have no intention of speaking poorly of Wicca, or of the general crest of the New Age movement. It has become contemptuously fashionable to look down on Wiccans, and others. I do not disagree with some of the criticisms. There has been a good deal of clumsy history embraced, in furthering some traditions, but part of this perpetration seems to be in response to attacks from outside. What better defense than an unbroken lineage?
But in this search for the roots, we have ignored that which has flowered above us. History happens everyday, every minute, every breath.
Peter Grey has flayed open our expectations, and laid bare the throbbing red heart of the present, and of the future. His knife, in this instance, is the newest publication from Scarlet Imprint: Apocalyptic Witchcraft.
This keen-edged tool carves a photo-perfect image–clean and stark as a bone–of a witchcraft which is largely unwelcome in both the strange and the mundane worlds. This witchcraft not only survives, but thrives, in the information-poisoned, brutally industrial modern world. These witches grin behind their masks, watching the world trundle along, as ridiculous as a primitive flying machine, flapping in noble absurdity towards the cliff. But it is a mirthless smile, for the lumbering brute is blackening the skies, stealing the trees, painting the waters with grease and garbage.
They–we–are watching the world burn, while most people have yet to even smell the smoke.
“You will find the witch at the end of a pointed finger,” Grey tells us.
To the mundane, to the blank faces in the crowd, this witch is like any other deviant; a figure to be reviled, pitied, feared. To the modern neo-pagan, these witches are an embarrassment, a threat to their efforts to be accepted, a throwback to a brutal, unenlightened past.
But the truth lay beyond traditional or contemporary, beyond us versus them. All of us face the fire, be it glowing on the horizon, or warming our feet, atop the pyre.
Grey’s Apocalyptic Witchcraft is a call for all of us to wash our hands and faces in the ashes, like pilgrims in the crematory fields. Thus anointed, we become the wild heart in the sterile, static cities, that lay like scabs on the Earth’s wounds.
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Apocalyptic Witchcraft follows the delicate, crimson footsteps of Grey’s The Red Goddess, reminding us that magic is not a safe, sedate path. Witchcraft is the beating heart, the bleeding hands, the feet on the road, in the grass, amidst trees, and grave markers, and mountain stones. The dove, the crow, the wolf all wait in the pages. The locked gate of dreams beckons, singing from behind the stones of John’s Revelation.
I was able to read The Red Goddess, just before Apocalyptic Witchcraft arrived. One after the other was like a bolt of lightning, flash-bulb bright, tense silent, just before the thunder comes. It was less a key, than a stick of dynamite. For me, they opened my eyes to what was standing right here with me, its hand on my shoulder. It calmly slipped the wool from my back. It whispered the word “witch” softly in my ear, breath scarlet warm.
The world is changing, and Apocalyptic Witchcraft is a shout into the night sky; voices raised from atop the hollow hill, where shapes writhe naked around the fire. We would do well to listen.
No; not just listen.
We would do well to raise our own voice.
Apocalyptic Witchcraft is available in the standard Of the Doves edition; a beautiful octavo, bound in rough black linen, stamped, for and aft, with white doves. As a tool’s ultimate elegance comes from the marks of its use, the Of the Doves edition is designed to show the wear that comes from handling. However, a rarely included dust jacket, bearing the same spray of white doves on black, will accompany this edition.

Bibliotheque Rouge paperback and digital editions are to follow, shortly.
You will surely note that I have largely avoided exploring the details of Peter Grey’s newest offering. I beg you, humble reader, to let my reaction be a glimpse of what lay between the boards.

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+ Doctor Hob can be reached at penniesfortheboneyard@gmail.com +

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Fingerprints and a flutter of wings



Books are unique magical objects. Every one becomes transformed through the act of reading, by holding, by the action of fingerprints and yes, blood, ash, candlewax. The hardback edition of The Red Goddess was deliberately bound in white cloth so that it marked. It was designed to play with the ideas of virginity, despoliation, and what we consider to be sacred. We think both laterally and symbolically through every aspect of the process. Our practice is not confined to a circle.

Books, like their readers accrue blemishes, are marked by time. We take this all into consideration in the design process and push the limits of what is possible with all our editions.

For Apocalyptic Witchcraft we chose a textured linen cloth, deliberately blocking across it with heavy white doves that we knew would take flight over the lifetime of the book. White and black blocking is notorious for this, as are large expanses of design. If we had elected a smoother cloth this would lessen the risk of migration. We had test copies pressed. However, what we have found is that some copies lose their doves a little faster than we would like, so we have chosen to retrospectively issue a dust jacket for them bearing the same design but pressed onto a rich ebony paper. We usually eschew such a covering, but in this instance we think it is necessary and have used a suitably organic material. We would simply like the striptease to take a little longer.

As a result, all newly ordered copies will come with a dustjacket. Those who have pre-ordered and signed books and those who have bought subsequently will be sent dustjackets on request, or with their next book order, as they prefer and at our personal expense. This has also delayed us sending out any bookshop copies which we hope to ship next week.

The fine edition is fully subscribed. We are just waiting on the hand-made endpapers to be delivered. We expect the Of the Crows edition to be sent in April. As per usual we will send out personal emails with updates on the fine edition to those who have ordered them.

More news on the paperback edition, which is scheduled for the 1st April, will follow and our website, blog and twitter will be updated as soon as we have copies in stock.

On a final note, we have been very moved by the responses that the book is creating, our opinion is that this is an important book for witchcraft as a whole, and that is being borne out by the correspondence we've received.

Monday, 11 March 2013

First Review of Apocalyptic Witchcraft

The first online review of Apocalyptic Witchcraft courtesy of the highly respected Midian Books: 
 
Apocalyptic Witchcraft

Apocalyptic Witchcraft, the new book from Peter Grey at Scarlet Imprint is an important book. I think it is worth stating this at the beginning. I will go further and say this is the most significant book on modern witchcraft (or rather witchcraft) I have ever read. As stated before, I write very few reviews (due to the nature of my role as a bookseller) but it is no coincidence that the two reviews on this blog are for Scarlet Imprint titles. Scarlet Imprint are publishers with intent. Peter Grey and Alkistis Dimech have an agenda and, as popular conception has it, that makes them dangerous.

Apocalyptic Witchcraft is a book about witchcraft, but not the narrow, urbanized and ghettoized witchcraft that we seem to have backed ourselves into. This is about the witchcraft of the blasted heath and mountain, the open spaces we physically and figuratively once occupied. It is a re-envisioning and more importantly a re-affirmation of witchcraft itself. It is also a book that I find very hard to review in the traditional sense. I feel impelled to describe my reaction to reading the book rather than a detailed critique of it, both the content and the presentation of the text elicit (for me at least) an entirely subjective, visceral response. After all, this is our witchcraft, something we must all have opinions on, many of us tied to particular traditions and myth patterns. But how often do we think about what witchcraft is, where it comes from and what is its purpose? I believe this work answers those questions. I believe it answers them in such a way that it cuts you to the marrow. It is eloquent, fearsome, ecstatic and above all unapologetic. Peter Grey has the intuition of a poet, which is vital in unlocking the mysteries of the subject matter. The language he uses is elegant, steeped in poetry and metaphor - but do not confuse this with the arch, needlessly esoteric Blackadder style English that plagues some recent works on the subject - this is the poetry of experience, raw and immediate.

The book is structured as a series of connected essays, punctuated by 10 beautiful hymns to Inanna. Although a couple of the essays have been presented as stand alone works, the author asks you to approach the book strictly in order, which is highly recommended on first reading. Having read the book twice I can now dip into individual essays, which is equally rewarding (for example “The Cup, The Cross and The Cave” is simply the best essay on dreams, dream control and dream sovereignty I’ve read). The book begins by defining Apocalyptic Witchcraft, swiftly followed by a 33 point Manifesto. This is an early indication that the author is clearly placing witchcraft in a political context. If your idea of witchcraft is that it is an escape from the harshness of the modern world to some imagined past then the first two chapters alone should be required reading. (In another era, that manifesto would be typed out, gestetnered and distributed By Any Means Necessary). After a brief account of a trip to Patmos (to the site where John wrote Revelations, a key text in understanding the thrust of the author’s thesis) the next few essays tackle dreaming, or rather incubation, the power of poetry as evocation and the true nature of the Devil as mask of the Goddess. The following three essays offer a compelling and revelatory account of the Witches Sabbat, the Wild Hunt and the very nature of witchcraft itself. I’ve not gone into detail as to the exact nature of these revelations (Well I actually did, but I deleted them on re-reading). At this point my words become clumsy, inarticulate, my feelings my own. All I can say is that I connected, this book tore into me. The mysteries of witchcraft are women’s mysteries; lunar, sanguine and sexual. This much may be intuited. But the true nature of the Sabbat and The Wild Hunt have always eluded me. To my mind Peter Grey has both delineated and enfleshed these events as living, tangible experiences. Now is the time for reclamation.

The book ends with an exhortation to action and my exhortation is for you to read this book. At the time of writing I have not yet seen another review. Hopefully as more reviews are forthcoming and the book is widely read there will be much discussion. It may not be a comfortable read for all, but I believe the author has been very careful not to decry other people’s traditions. There are many paths to the Sabbat. To some it may seem like this work should be a culmination, something Scarlet Imprint have been building up to, a lifetime’s practice and experience distilled into a final statement on the subject. From the brief conversations I have had with the author I know for certain that this is just the beginning. This is the year of the witch. This is the year of the witchcraft. I am dancing in my skull. Hic Rhodus, Hic Salta!
 
The review can be seen in the original context here: http://midianbooks.blogspot.co.uk/ 
 
Apocalyptic Witchcraft can be ordered here: http://www.scarletimprint.com/apocalyptic_witchcraft.html
 
 

Friday, 1 March 2013

Glastonbury hosts Witchcraft Apocalypse


Our first launch party for Apocalyptic Witchcraft takes place at Labyrinth Books on Friday March 22. This is the evening before the Fourth Annual Occult Conference which we will also be attending and participating in.
Peter Grey will be giving a reading from the book and signing copies.
Join us for a glass of Strega!

please rsvp to: labyrinthbooks@aol.com



A second launch will be hosted at Atlantis Bookshop in London on April 6.