Little time to say more on this subject, but please sign the petition towards saving the collection of the Ritman library: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/ritmanlibrary/.
I've recently started singing folk songs, which has rekindled my interest in the idea of the 'golden moment' in music.
I remember once hearing the ancient song King Orfeo sung by an elderly man whose old, thin voice would have had you believe he was a close relative of the Sibyl of Cumae. The song itself is incredible – full of rich imagery: here is a powerful myth seen through the lens of Celtic culture via the medieval English poem Sir Orfeo. Notably, Pluto is replaced by the king of fairies and the story has a happy ending! The opening lines “There lived a king into the east […] there lived a lady in the west” resonate deeply with me and I'm sure many a Hermetic interpretation could be made along these lines (for example: in the correspondence systems popularised by Agrippa east being associated with sunrise and Mars, the west with Venus).
However, what I loved most about hearing this song was the rhythm: very consistent, until the moment that Orpheus plays the magic song: “the good old gabber reel.” The additional syllables in this line seem to make it stand out like a jewel, and the delivery in the recording I heard powerfully suggested that something otherworldly or magical had occurred: a magic act momentarily transcended the temporal world of the song.
Photo by Layla Bert Smith
This takes me back to what I find moving in the tintinnabuli-style music of Arvo Part, to whom this blog seems to return to again and again. There are often long periods of rhythmic and tonal stasis and then something happens that gloriously transcends it: a many-syllabled word ascends toward heaven; or something occurs outside the prescribed tonality that touches the heart in some unknown way as in the example below from Alinale (1976), where the left hand plays a single note outside the B-minor triad that comprises all the other material in that voice (marked by a flower in the score).
While on holiday in the village of Littlebeck in the early days of summer 2009 I met the golden moment again. I wrote a piece of string music entitled Funeral Music for John D., both as a tribute to John Dowland (the piece was structured like one of his Lachrimae pavans), and to John Dee (the tonalities used in the piece derived from his Hieroglyphic Monad). While Funeral Music was generally not the most interesting or harmonious composition, three quarters of the way through a sustained, highly harmonic chord suddenly appears after a moment of silence. To my ears the effect was magical, as though the vault of heaven was suddenly cast wide, flooding the earth with celestial light. I've recently taken the chord in question and used it as the basis for a set of recordings called Elicona, more of which later: I hope to finish them before Christmas.
The promised post about horses, toads and bones will follow presently!
For the second blog of the evening, let's jump to a completely different area of interest!
A couple of years ago I did a secret pseudonymous CD on Jani Hirvonen's om ha sva ha ksha ma la va ra yam label. The music itself was the product of my apprenticeship with the Symbolic Composer (SCOM) computer-aided composition environment. I didn't release this album more publically since I felt it was generally too sterile and formal compared to my other work, although some of the approaches were drawn from the way I improvise and record organically. Through SCOM I was able to rapidly experiment with many of my interests such as combinatrics, musical geomancy, church modes, and Pythagorean symbolism... In fact the name, Peter Cora, was a corruption of Pythagoras!
Some very brief notes about some of the tracks:
Perpetual Light - The title was inspired by a chapter in Willy Schrodter's Rosicrucian Notebook discussing the everburning lamp that illuminated the tomb of Christian Rosencreutz. Entirely built by manipulating an elemental unit of four pitches chosen for their luminous quality.
Edge of the Dream - The structure of this track comes from the Preparation of Luna in The Rosie Crucian Secrets compilation fancifully attributed to John Dee. I always loved the odd caption given to the diagram: "Geomancy the harmony of this preparation"! This is the second piece of music I've done using this geomantic chart as a basis.
Orphic Hymn IV - An exercise inspired by Arvo Part's compositional style, using the words from a 15th century Latin version of the Orphic Hymn to the Moon [pdf].
Decani - A series of 36 fragments each associated with ten degrees of the zodiac. The symbolic images traditionally associated with these divisions have always fascinated me - the first set of which, relating to Aries, are shown on the album sleeve.
You can listen to and download the whole of Peter Cora's Rosicrucian Enlightenment on the Om Ha Sva blog by clicking here!
Some of other pieces built using Symbolic Composer have previously featured
on this blog: click here!
I came across the following article on 'the secret science of horsemanship' while looking through newspaper archives for material relating to cunning men. Appearing in The Pall Mall Gazette, January 31, 1896, it is unusual in that the article was written by an initiate to the "Society of the Horseman's Word" itself. Ben Fernee of Caduceus Books and the Society of Esoteric Endeavour recently gathered together a significant collection of material about the Horseman's Word and related rural brotherhoods, so, if the following account from late 19th century Aberdeenshire piques your interest seek out a copy. More Horseman related material presently!
THE SECRETS OF THE "HORSEMAN WORD."
I FOLLOWED the plough from boyhood, until I had attained my thirtieth year, and it was during that interesting period of my life that I took the necessary oath, and was duly initiated into the secret art of horsemanship. The event took place in my case in an old barn situated in a mountain. pass in the county of Aberdeen, my native shire. Seven men were present — for at such ceremonies there must always be an odd number, lest, Judas-like, one should prove unfaithful — and sentinels having been set to ensure strict privacy my eyes were blindfolded, and I repeated the oath, which is of too terror-harrowing. a character to be reproduced here. It was midnight, and weird sounds were borne on the blast, the neighing of distant horses and the clanking-of chains being distinctly audible. When asked if I desired, to shake hands with the Prince of Darkness humbly declined that honour, and I also refused to mount a huge black horse vhich I had never before seen, although I knew every nag in the country for miles around. It was then explained to inc how the secrets of horsemanship became known, and why the art was confined almost exclusively to the county of Aberdeen. I was taught the clasp of the hand, indicating how one brother of the craft can recognize another, as well as the numerous signs by which they may become known to one another at a distance. We then partook of refreshment in the form of whisky and oatmeal bread and cheese, for several of the men had walked many miles to the "swearing-in." After the feast we all lay down among the straw in the darkness and the
MYSTERIES OF THE ART WERE REVEALED TO ME.
The law of kindness was first inculcated, and in the case of refractory animals I was taught where, when, and how to act. That night I learned, for the first time in my experience, that when a wicked horse is being chastised he makes a sign when he yields to man. It is, however, only sworn horsemen who know this secret, with the result that many a noble animal is spoiled for life, as unskilled men continue to flog until their passion cool, or their strength fail. I was instructed how to deal, if alone, with horses addicted to biting, kicking, and other malpractices — for in the northern counties of Scotland there are many wicked horses, from the circumstance that the farmers have no fallow land to work in the summer season, and the horses get into high condition by going idle for several months at a stretch. In the event of a horse refusing to proceed with his load I was told how to make him, and, should he have acquired the pernicious habit of bolting, I was shown how to bring him up, if in harness, or even if riding on his bare back without saddle or bridle.
MANY SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE THINGS
were made clear to me. Those who have had anything to do with horses must have observed that when a wound is caused by either collar or saddle, or by the result of an accident, the hair, on the healing of the wound, almost invariably grows the antithesis of the natural colour, that is to say, the presence of white hair on a black or bay horse marks the scar of a former wound. Well, now, the secrets of the "Horsetnan Word" — for by that appellation the secret society under note is known — enables its possessor to resort to treatment which will make the hair grow its natural colour; and thus leave no trace of a wound. Still more remarkable, perhaps, is the circumstance that a good horseman can make the hair grow on any part of a. horse's body — usually the knees — on which, having been so often bruised by falling, the skin is permanently destroyed, and a white scaly substance gives place to hair.
Some years after I had forsaken the ploughtail for the pen I was wont, in my morning strolls in the rural districts of Northumberland, to meet a boy driving a donkey to town with two small barrels of milk slung across the back of the animal. Both its knees were white and hairless, and the idea occurred to me that even a donkey might make a fit "subject" for the exercise of a secret art. Having told the lad to go along the road, and wait at a point named until I overtook him, I soon found what I wanted among the dew-bespangled grass by the wayside, and applied it to the knees of the donkey. I repeated the operation on the following morning, and this application brought away the hard scurf by which the skin had become encrusted, and a few days later I was rewarded by seeing hair growing as thick and glossy as on the back of a seal. I admit that the antidote required for such a purpose cannot be obtained, except when the dew is falling in the evening, or before it has vanished in the morning. I have just been thinking since I sat down to write this article, that if I could make the hair grow on the damaged knees of a donkey, where it had not grown for years, it was just possible that what I gathered among the dew might possess the virtue of making hair grow on the. bald heads of men! Should I be in the flesh next summer, I will put it to the test, and if I am right in ms surmises, I shall, as a matter of course become a millionaire.
One of the simplest things in the art of the "horseman word" is to make a mare give birth to a piebald foal. No horseman, however skilful, can make a mare give birth to a white foal, or to a black or bay one, at will — except as a matter of chance. But what he can do is to infuse spots and bands of white into the natural bay, or black, as the case may be, thus making what is designated a piebald.
A HORSE THAT DISLIKED WORK.
I was once a ploughman on a farm in Forfarshire at which the farmer had a weakness for investing in the purchase of spoiled horses, and one day he came home with a powerful animal which he had purchased for a crown-piece. The beast absolutely refused to do any manner of work, declining to draw even an empty cart. The threshing-mill was driven by horse-power, and recourse was had in an emergency to yoke the newcomer in the mill along with five other horses, but the animal held back with all his might and as the farmer urged the others to drag the defaulter round the mill course the harness was wrenched over his head and we were obliged to set the obstinate.animal free. At midnight the same day I entered the stable alone, and having harnessed the horse I led him into the courtyard, and thence to the mill course and yoked him in the ordinary manner. He seemed to be a good deal alarmed and snorted loudly, and when I told him to go on he did precisely the opposite thing, plunging backwards with all his weight. The next moment and he leapt as high in the air as his trappings would permit, and dashed round the course in-full gallop. In two minutes he was white with foam, and as he swept round and round the noise made by the wheels and pinions of the empty mill awoke the echoes of the night. I carried a whip, as every horseman ought, but I did not touch the animal with it, nor did I touch him even with my hand. He stood when I told him, and trembled very much, casting glances around him in evident terror. I spoke kindly to him, and followed me closely to the stable. The farmer's wife had a strange tale to tell in the morning. She had, she said, been aroused about midnight by hearing a rumbling sound like distant thunder, and on looking from her bedroom window had seen a huge white horse galloping round the mill course! The farmer objected to the horse being again yoked in the mill, in consequence of the expense entailed by the breakage of harness, but I assured him that the animal had turned over a new leaf; and would thenceforth do as he was told — and he did. I am almost certain that the farmer's wife knew more about that night's work than she cared to tell, because when I left the farm several months later, she placed her band on my shoulder and whispered in my ear "Will the big black horse behave himself when you are no longer near?" "Yes," I replied, with a smile, " o long as his harness is allotwed to hang in the shadow of the window in the eastern gable of the stable."
Such are a few of the uses to which the secret science of horsemanship can
be turned, although I could give scores of incidents all coming within the province
of the wonderful.When a young man I spent many a night in the stables in the
winter season and the fields in the summer months, for like other arts, a man's
skill in horsemanship is commensurate with the pains he takes to attain excellence.
A general life update:
First, my heartfelt thanks to Dan Harms who, during a particularly busy period around April-May, finished off our academic work on Fred Hockley. The article is at present titled "One of My Particular Babes": Magic, Mimesis, and the Market in Hockley's Complete Book of Magic Science.
Dan and I now have another project on the go in collaboration with the brilliant and indefatigable Joe Peterson. It concerns a MS. that I have mentioned (- in part at least!) in a previous entry: Folger v.b.26. Dan is posting some occasional updates about it on his blog. I am currently working on the third part of the MS. – containing amongst other things a variant on the Eye of Abraham, coercive toad bones, gaming spells, childbirth charms, magical treasure hunting, talismans and the ascetic necromantic instructions of one Thomas Drowrie.
I also have two other exciting projects lined up that I am only just beginning to research and plan: one of which concerns the Olympic Spirits, while the other relates to Yorkshire cunning men.
Having been enthused by the way photography and text worked together in Almias I have decided to resurrect my Geography of Ritual Magic series and also to write my new and wholly original interpretation of Tuba Veneris in a similarly richly illustrated format. We’ll see how that goes, and if there is anyone out there who can give them the kind of production they will hopefully deserve!
Here are a couple of other things that will likely be emerging in September:
First an article relating to academic work in craft, computation, interfaces and music will be appearing in a new interdisciplinary journal in September (contact me for more details!).
I was kindly asked by Mark Pilkington to illustrate Andy Sharp’s short piece on Kenneth Grant’s take on Chinese Ku magic in the forthcoming Strange Attractor Journal. I think this will be appearing around the end of September.
I also hope that we will see Trident Books’ definitive English edition of Tuba Veneris in print shortly!
Meanwhile, back to preparing for the coming academic year!
My last post on the Almias project was rather too brief, being posted to coincide with the general launch of the site. So, to wrap things up, here's a more detailed summary.
Almias was a collaboration between Simon Bradley, Layla Smith and myself as part of the Harrogate Fringe Festival. They originally wanted some kind of gig I think, but since playing live isn't something I do often any more a different approach was required.
I'd always been drawn to the lonely gritstone tor called Almscliffe Crag. In my personal vision of the landscape it came to symbolise height: a stone head surveying the land (- and interestingly I came across the same lines of thought in the work of my friend Iona Smith). I'd read about alleged links with 'druids' in the works of some of the more fanciful 19th century historians and had previously done some recordings there for XETB, but knew I had only scratched the surface. Sensing a rich and hidden history Almscliffe Crag called out as somewhere to work with closely for an intensive period. The results in text, photography and sound are at almias.org.uk.
In the event itself we tried to mediate between what would probably have been an expectation of “local history” walk and more free “psychogeographic” modes of experience. As part of the walk from Huby to the Crag and passage into more free-form territory was provided by a soundwalk. It seemed fitting to have a large group processing in pilgrim silence and heightened awareness to Baal's high place. One of the most interesting aspects of soundwalking is as an aid to discovering the discrete soundworlds within a locale: a passage through zones each with their own unique characteristics and indwelling genii.
We eventually devolved into smaller groups and from there into exploration on an individual basis, before reuniting to discuss our experiences and make a traditional offering at the magical 'wart well' atop the crag. A beautiful day that brought together quite a diverse range of people including an archaeologist and mythic fiction writer; an Irish lady who introduced me to pishoguery; a climber and caver who expanded our appreciation of the geology of the place; and the editor of one of my favourite periodicals.
I'm pleased to have had the opportunity to collaborate with such a beautiful and talented pair as Simon & Layla. I first met Simon as part of a nascent group for 'Visionary Artists' that shamanic artist Bruce Rimell was trying to coordinate. Inevitable ego clashes saw to it that the group never made it past the first few meetings, but we vowed that we would do something together one day. As an improviser, oral historian, writer and fellow reveller in the strange, we had to use Almias to put our thoughts into action.
Layla seems to have visited and photographed almost every prehistoric site in these isles and has a knack for surprising me with all sorts of out of the way archaeological facts and speculations. She's a brilliant photographer who also shares my instinct to obsess and dream about places.
Through our constant visits, researches and documentation Almias was a pure labour of love. We ended up with 13,000 words – and could easily write 13,000 more: there were things that we just couldn't fit in at the time such as the anecdote about a lovelorn maid jumping from the cliff (and surviving) and our attempts to trace her, more on local lore and a hundred things later inferred from Simon's interview with the landowner.
I'm rather proud of what we achieved in what was really only a matter of weeks. I'm hoping that the Almias group will work together on some new projects: new possibilities are already presenting themselves.
There is little time to write anything in detail, but readers may be interested in what I've been doing the last few weeks:
A L M I A S
Phil Legard + Layla Smith + Simon Bradley
Text, sound & walk in association with
Harrogate International Festival Fringe 2010
“Perhaps on no other spot in the kingdom
is clearer testimony to be afforded to
the former existence amongst us of
Baal-worship.” Henry Trail Simpson, 1879
(Un)fortunately I can't post what I was intending, viz. a couple of interesting magical works about the Olympic Spirits. I hope they will actually make it into print as part of a larger project.
What I'd like to post is my short about Johann Wlight, originally published
in Sloow Tapes A Great Magazine. I've had a passion of Johann's music
for a long time and highly recommend his subtle soundscapes to anyone interested
in this area. I hear he returned to Albion shortly after this article
was published. If he reads this: I will be in Wales during the summer. I hope
we may re-establish contact.
I Wasn't 'Johann Wlight' (either): The Death, Resurrection and
Disappearance of J.W.
When visiting English Heretic's Andy Sharp I would often pass by a well-preserved
and presumably listed house on the edge of the city park. A two-story building
built into the park walls, it looked out of place next to more recent constructions.
I found myself speculating about who lived there. It looked like the perfect
place for an alchemist to hide out with his athanor and alembics. In bygone
days it was surely the park warden's house, but I supposed that the warden was
long gone, his job outsourced to a private company and his dwelling sold off
to some rich folks from 'down south'.
I had no idea until a few years later that the edifice that captured my attention
was indeed the workshop of an alchemist, namely the mysterious Johann Wlight…
By writing this piece I don't wish to draw too much unwanted attention toward
the reclusive person of Johann Wlight, but I feel that the musical experiments
he makes - or made - deserve the attention of new listeners. For those that
know his music, perhaps what follows might shed some light on the secretive
J.W.'s background and approach to music-making.
A Thousand Mournings: The Death of Johann Wlight (2004)
I'd come across Wlight's recordings when I first became involved in the UK
"noise/drone/etc underground." My first contact was Rayth on
the (defunct?) Sunny Days Out label. I admit, like a lot of things received
in trade with labels, I hadn't given Rayth the attentive listen it
deserved. The music of J.W. is such a subtle, whisp-like thing that - unless
listened to with full attention - it tends to disappear, subsumed beneath the
sounds of the corporeal world. His sound is made of some otherworldly material
that requires a concentrated effort to keep it anchored in the world of the
senses. Rayth simply hadn't arrived in my hands at the right time.
I think it was in late 2004 that I began to receive cryptic packages from Johann
Wlight, usually with no explanation as to what the recordings therein were.
Usually they came in black homemade sleeves with intricate mandalas drawn on
them in gold or silver ink. If a recording had a title, it was usually cryptic:
corruptions of seemingly English words, or alien strings of vowels. This is
typical of Wlight - a kind of alchemical wordplay, transforming the mundane
into something of esoteric wonder. He describes his music as 're-co(r)dings'
- which I interpret as the stuff of the external sound-world somehow being translated
into a rarefied, more subtle form. Even his moniker, Johann Wlight, is wordplay:
an anagram of his birth-name.
It wasn't until I received Thee Gold Ov a Thousand Mournings that
Wlight's sound-world really made sense. I remember the scene vividly. I was
between houses and staying at my partner's flat on the top floor of a terrace
in Leeds. It was a spring evening and sun was setting. The sky was a luminescent
orange which seemed to effuse an intelligible spiritual energy. I decided to
play the latest disc I'd received from Johann. It was beautifully packaged -
a homemade sleeve of black card with a photocopy of what looks like one of August
Stringberg's Celestographs on one side and a type-written label on
the other. The sleeve also contained a handmade envelope with a black sunflower
seed attached to a piece of holographic card. Perhaps the seed had a symbolic
meaning - the black sun is an alchemical symbol occurring in manuscripts of
famed Splendor Solis.
Listening to Thee Gold Ov a Thousand Mournings while the sun set over
the golden terraces was a deeply moving experience. The music itself had a sense
of profound melancholy diffused through its field recordings, lonely plucked
strings and drifting spirit-choirs. Wlight wrote to me that it was "an
elegy for lost love and a song of praise to… something else." Certainly
as a sonification of the sadness of lost, unattainable, or perhaps even spiritual
love, I felt that Wlight's recording was comparable to John Dowland's Lachrimae
pavans. This was a music of such beauty and nobility that I felt I had to release
it in some form, which I did, coupled with recordings I had made in spring that
year as The Pneumatic Consort. At this point I hope that it's apparent
that this isn't a hype-piece for my own releases, but I must stress that (along
with being one of his finest recordings,) Thee Gold was the key to
unlocking the other works that J.W. had been sending me.
Nearly all of Wlight's work seem to use the same elements. Waves of static
of varying pitch and intensity drift through his pieces. They evoke the elemental
forms of nature: rock and soil churning in the mundus subterraneous;
the white noise of the river; wind blasting over moorland or whistling through
crags and branches; and distant thunder. These elemental waves span the dynamic
range, from inaudible to (in some rare occasions) deafening. Buried behind these
waves are often samples of string instruments, choral singing, synthesiser loops,
bells and so forth. These samples never dominate the soundscape. If they did
I think it would break the musical spell, shattering the otherworldly and meditative
structures that Wlight has built from his stock of elemental sound. There is
usually no apparent linear progression or conclusion, rather the pieces seem
timeless and cyclical.
Unfortunately it seemed that the alchemist had decommissioned his record label,
Nid-Nod, in December 2003, and sometime in early 2004 he had also declared Johann
Wlight deceased. I had been too late.
Brightening Air & Darkening Green: The Resurrection of Johann Wlight
I've no idea how Johann Wlight returned to life. Perhaps it was a string of
coincidences surrounding the 'posthumous' release of the Pneumatic Consort &
Johann Wlight split. The hazel wand and the fairy lover feature heavily in the
magical ritual upon which I based the Pneumatic Consort recordings and by coincidence
Wlight had been immersing himself in W.B. Yeats' symbolic poetry, notably The
Song of Wandering Aengus, which also speaks of a hazel wood and the appearance
of "a glimmering girl" who "faded through the brightening air".
Perhaps Wlight's resurrection was the result of his introduction to English
Heretic who had been encouraging him in a joint exploration of esoteric geography
their city - a city which according to recent research was one of the last strongholds
of paganism in England, having no record of a church until the 9th century.
Whatever the circumstances, Wlight returned with what I think is his best recording
to date: Yvnshrynd (Queasy Listening, 2006). Recorded between August
and December 2005 the piece explores "the properties of the feminine principle
and the undercurrent of the archetype of the Black Virgin." It is a meditation
on the esoteric conception of a feminine energy, manifested in the Christianity
as the Virgin Mary, in planetary symbolism the moon, elementally as water and
the sea (the name Mary was interpreted by some Church scholars as meaning "bitter
sea"), and in the zodiac as Virgo. The piece was inspired by Ean Begg's
book The Cult of the Black Virgin - dedicated to non-conformist representations
of the Holy Virgin found throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. Begg claims
that statues of the Black Virgin often mark the site of a wouivre -
"a prehistoric track joining two prominent points in the landscape,"
- a ley-line.
It was during his recording of Yvnshrynd that I met Wlight for the first time
and talked to him about how he made his music. It was something of a shock to
find that there was no involvement of a computer in any of the stages of production
- something I'd expected. Everything was painstakingly created using tapes and
then assembled on a Minidisc.
I asked him about the beautiful, spectral choir sound on Thee Gold,
I was sure that it was a synthesiser. Wlight told me that he didn't have such
a thing at the time and that the sounds in question were recorded onto tape
and manipulated from a track on Alice Coltrane's Universal Consciousness.
I'd also been intrigued by the way he planned his pieces, after reading that
he worked everything out on paper before he began recording. I was shown a box
containing the working notes for Yvnshrynd. It contained numerous sheets
of paper divided into sections. Each section had a timestamp (many of which
seemed numerologically significant) and a description of what was going on.
I recall references to the "God Chord", a cluster of all 12 chromatic
notes, which seems to appear at key transitions in Yvnshrynd. I also
saw mentions of odd recording techniques whereby sounds were played through
homemade tubes and funnels into different resonant spaces. Fragments of a curious
narrative were also scattered through the pages.
Yvnshrynd is a beautiful recording. The sounds used all compliment
each other in the context of the symbolism. There is the sound of the sea, probably
recorded at Dunwich beach - a place allegedly once visited by Dr. John Dee,
himself the author attributed to a text entitled The Book Sacred to the
Black Venus. There is a recording of a female choir buried
beneath the static haze, singing a canticle to the Virgin. The muffled voices
and distorted natural sounds evoke images from the beginning of E. Elias Merhige's
Begotten, in which a God-figure tortuously disembowels himself in order
to manifest the feminine principle of Mother Earth. Into this the atonal God
Chord swells and manifests like the flaming and incomprehensible angels of Messiaen's
La Nativite Du Siegneur. I was fascinated by this recording, and wondered
what his next move would be…
Time and Times are Done: The Disappearance of Johann Wlight (2006)
His next move was completely unpredictable. I heard in August 2006 that Johann
Wlight was to leave our shores. He'd decided to get rid of most of his possessions
and move to New Zealand. He carried nothing but a tent, seemingly intent on
becoming some kind of hermit. Wlight had departed once more.
Whichever "hollow lands and hilly lands" he wanders through, I hope
he'll return one day.
I've been too busy to pay much attention to my blogging recently, as you may be able to tell by the paucity of updates. I hope to have a new entry to the Bibliotheca series of posts soon - a translation of French MS. dealing with the Olympic Spirits and having some relation to certain other works of magic that appeared in France during the late 18th century. So, keep your eyes open for that in the next couple of weeks.
The second edition of Psychogeographia Ruralis should be available from NothingOutThere very soon. There's a small layout error to fix that has held it back a bit, but as soon as I am able to get the prototype. It also comes with ten photographs and a 3" of unreleased material.
Just finishing an interview with Feral Debris, and also (finally) working on some new musical material, having taken a break for a bit to concentrate on babies and research. Speaking of which, the Fred Hockley article with Dan Harms is very nearly finished. This has been the first bit of really serious research I've done so far as visiting archives and looking at MSS. is concerned. Fingers crossed it will be published somewhere respectable!Edit: I almost forgot to say that Joe Peterson has very kindly referenced and acknowledged some of the work I shared with him on the Clavis of Rabbi Solomon MS. in the John Rylands University Library as part of his latest book! Thanks, Joe!
February will see a series of new Larkfall Press releases. Foremost among them is an edition of Andy Sharp's lecture on the Poetics of the Wyrd, given at Goldsmith's university. There is also a new version of 17th century astrological medicine text - possibly with a second text annexed if time permits. Who knows… maybe even the long-delayed Phil Todd art chapbook will be finished in time for me to make it to the printers?
Another chapbook in the works derives from my recent interest in creating graphical visualisations of aspects of the Western Esoteric Tradition. My first dip into these waters was to create a graphical rendering of Mr. Peterson's Index of Angel Names and Magical Words and Names of God. Below are a couple of thumbnail images and links. The first shows the full data set along with Bezier curves between nodes - clicking on it will take you to a version 25% of the original size: it's essentially eye-candy. The second is a simplified version of the same image with straight lines between nodes and names that only appear once have been filtered out. Clicking this image will give you the full-size (12mb) jpg file.
This has led me to look at ways of graphically representing the various hierarchies
of spiritual intelligences found in esoteric works, which has led already led me
to some interesting observations, forming the basis for a new chapbook later
in the year.
The blurb for the new English Heretic, the fruit of many moons labour by Dr. Sharp:
Probably the first Musical inspired by the creative occultism of Kenneth Grant, Tales Of The New Isis Lodge presents 65 minutes of lush and occult exotica issuing from a transplutonic transmitter. Drawing its structure from the ultra decadent and ornate rituals described in Grant's book Hecate's Fountain English Heretic guide you through Egyptian pre-history to the fungi of Yuggoth, re-imagine flower power in an Indian Tantric idiom, describe the workings of Chinese sorcerers, realise the neither-neither hidden within the jump rhythms of Count Basie and invoke Choronzon in the Crimson Desert. Aeons in its reification and packaged in delicious artwork, stylised as a homage to Grant's Typhonian tomes.