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The first episode of our Summer of Love event has now been cut edited and uploaded by the team at http://www.sittingnow.co.uk
We really appreciate the professionalism, time, energy and effort that Ken Eakins and his crew put into this.
The first episode showcases Ulysses Black grappling with the issues of identity, magickal names, performance art and authentic action.
We suggest you watch it through to the sticky end.
Future episodes will follow with Jake Stratton-Kent, Peter Grey and Alkistis Dimech.
We are pleased that we can share this with our international and absent friends.
As book lovers producing real books as objects of magic and beauty we have done the unthinkable and gone digital.
We are obsessed and obsessive about books. When we call ourselves a talismanic publisher it is because we create magical objects to create change in the world. This is explicit in every step of the process, from design to typography to consecration. If you want a magical book, then there is nothing comparable to a hand bound edition in a mass production world. But we are not elitists. We intend to empower the next generation with these books in whatever format necessary.
We want the same information which is in our fine editions and hardbacks to be accessible. We have also struggled to buy books, pay rent and put food on the table whilst being committed students of magick.
We launched Bibliotheque Rouge to prove that esoteric knowledge should be available and affordable, not artificially scarce and expensive. Now Rouge will also be releasing e-books.
Our Rouge books are in a direct lineage from the Bibliotheque Bleue chapbooks which mass printed and produced grimoires (amongst other books) in Europe causing and fuelling an explosion of popular magical practice from the seventeenth century onwards. This gave us Red Dragon, Black Dragon, Grimorium Verum et al. It was a bold and brash move which put books that had often circulated as costly manuscripts into the hands of every man (and woman) confounding the censorious church.
Such a change is occurring again and we ally ourselves with it.
Magical books changed radically with the invention of the printing press, no longer hand copied and clandestine, these rough and ready inventions both preserved and spread dangerous ideas like wildfire.
Was their magic any worse for it being performed out of tatty blue pamphlets?
Magic is not just the book itself, but crucially what you do with it.
Attainment comes from the Work and not the object alone.
The printing press democratised and empowered practitioners and we are seeing an equally potent event now happening in the digital age. As a small publisher we are able to produce paperback editions in print runs or on demand in a way that does not bankrupt us. We like the fact that paperbacks do not simply fall out of print but continue to cause trouble in the world, just as they should.
Yet if the Devil is the god of the printing press, then Lucifer is surely the digital information revolution.
In the last year the landscape has radically changed. The digital book, whether on kindle or i-pad or sony reader has become ubiquitous. Information is now fluid, and any published book can and will be digitised. Content is agnostic, and it is foolish to pretend otherwise. Limitation is becoming a lie.
We know that occultists appreciate the art inherent in the book and will continue to cherish these living things and not abandon them for zeros and ones. The e-book is complimentary rather than a replacement for the physical form.
The e-book hopefully means more people will read books. That can only be a good thing. It also means that we can create affordable versions of our work so that readers can take the risk on new authors and unfamiliar subjects. You can dare to read and enrich yourself outside of your field, perhaps you haven’t encountered Pomba Gira or Palo Mayombe before, or you want to see if the poetry cuts it.
It allows you to travel with a library rather than dislocating your shoulder with a satchel full of books- as we often do. It makes unwieldy reference texts quickly searchable for research.
To this end, we are issuing all of our future paperback Bibliotheque Rouge titles in epub and mobi format.
Does this mean that we are starry-eyed converts, adoring the new format of the book? Far from it. The digital reader is both a technological inevitability and wedded to a clear attempt to control all of publishing by the Scylla and Charybdis of Amazon and Apple. This will maim publishers, bookshops and printers, large and small. This alas seems inevitable. Skills such as editing, layout and typography will continue to decline in the mass market. We know our readers will continue to act with discrimination and support small publishers by buying direct and knowing the value of the book itself.
The e-readers themselves are designed to die, in a cycle of fake upgrades, fashion and the component failure of built in obsolescence. You will keep having to buy more hardware and the third world will get more container loads of toxic junk in return. Digital information does not survive collapse in the resilient way that hard copy does. Let’s not pretend that the environmental impact is anything other than an ongoing catastrophe.
However, as the world enters into radical flux, magick responds.
Now, more than ever, there is an urgency to communicate and we hope that by embracing the digital revolution we can get these relevant voices of modern magick to the new generation.
We still hold firm to our commitment to the physical book as a repository of force and form.
There is something very special about the book, which will endure when the last kindle is thrown in a landfill.
(We will of course replace lost files for you free of charge as long as the lights stay on.)
Our books are specifically made to accomplish magical results, and digital books are simply an extension of that aim.
If you want a book that will potentially last as long as our species does, buy a fine or hardback edition.
If you want a book to underline, throw in your bag or take to the woods in the rain, choose a paperback.
If you simply want the raw data file, download an e-book.
We are daring to offering a free and unfettered choice.
What is most striking is how modern Jack seems, a rocket scientist whose discoveries literally put man on the moon. His writing is clear and empassioned, and cuts to the core of what witchraft is. A free thinker, rebel and libertarian who argued for sexual freedom and women’s rights before it was fashionable. A bohemian who experimented with drugs, new ways of living, and dared to dream of what human potential could acheive.
Jack Parsons is the bridge between the generation of Crowley and the revolutionary potential unleashed in the sixties. It seems that the same revolutionary spirit is returning with the occupy movement and the increased profile of the psychedelic movement. Jack would be in favour of the renewed vigour being felt in magick and wider culture in these critical times.
We discuss his work in The Red Goddess in relation to the Babalon Working and the emergence of Babalon into the modern world. His legacy has still not fully unfolded.
We’ve been talking for the past few years about Babalon, Jack and Witchcraft to audiences of pagans, witches and thelemites. This is a story that needs to be repeated. To that end, here is another field recording from Scotland this time made at the Wyrd Shop on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. A good introduction to Jack, and a different version to any of the writing that we have previously published on the subject. Again, we stress that this is a rough field recording made on simple equipment. We hope that the ideas presented in this way will impact upon more people and that both witchcraft and magic will acknowledge his ideas and take them forward.
We were told by the skeptics that these ideas were not relevant to magic. That the esoteric did not mix with ecology and politics and engagement with the world.
Others thanked us for putting it into words.
For daring to say it.
Now we can all see the fissures crazing their way across The Tower.
Europe is in disarray. Greece set to default. Italy a sham. Spain’s youth taking to the streets. Wall Street is occupied. Oil spills and ecological disasters are multiplying. These are not the acts of some recession, depression or slump that we can print our way out of with paper promises.
You are watching a civilisation end.
It is not a banking crisis, it is the devouring of resources with the madness of any monotheism.
There is no infinite economic growth on a finite resource planet.
As magickians we need to engage with the raw forces unleashed in these moments.
Take action to direct where the cards will fall.
To that end I’m posting a set of field recordings of my ‘Seeing Through Apocalypse‘ speech shot with a digi cam that eventually gets the focus right. It gives a feel for the crackling fire and the icy night in a Scottish farmhouse way out in the back of beyond. No fancy cut fades and edits, just a small group of individuals trying to understand what is coming through human psychology, the eschatology of John Dee, and the urgings of Babalon. The polished version is to be found bound into the book, but this document too says something of it and maybe that way the ideas will get out to more people, which is always our aim.
We create books as magical objects, which carry not only the force of the words, but the charge and spirit which is inevitably lost in the mass-produced object.
Today we welcome two major accolades for our work.
Though our audience remain the serious practitioners within the occult community, we have gained recognition outside of these restricted circles for the quality of the work which we are creating in the perhaps even more arcane world of the fine book arts.
The creation of beautiful books is an art form in and of itself and in which we still consider ourselves neophytes. Each book has its particular spirit to embody and bind.
Beneath each book is a pyramid of artisans. We also want to give complete credit to the bookbinders, papermakers and artists who we work with to realise these visions.
Our Kill all Kings edition of XVI has been shortlisted for the Limited Edition and Fine Binding category of the British Book Design and Production Award.
This is a major achievement, placing us alongside major players such as Penguin and specialist presses alike. No other occult publisher has ever made it to the shortlist.
The fine edition of XVI is an imposing slab of red leather in a dramatically incised slipcase with molten gold endpapers and charred edges. It is a dramatic and modern book which fuses traditional skills with bold design. The typography continues the drama with letters stacked into perilous towers that echo the substance of the text. Form meets function meets powerful prophetic writing.
Our nomination for the award is not for the content of the work, but it does remain strikingly apt as XVI deals explicitly with the need to artistically engage with a culture and civilisation in collapse. It asks what magick can, should and must do in the face of ecological, economic and intellectual disintegration.
The fine edition of XVI has of course sold out, but then that’s a good reminder to email us and join the subscriber list. Scarlet Imprint continues to gain momentum.
We’d further note that the linen cloth bound ‘standard’ edition of XVI is still available and uses materials which would make it a fine edition for any sane publisher. As for the recent red water silk Pomba Gira, she is beyond being simply a temptation, she is irresistible. We know that our readers appreciate beauty, just as the spirits also appreciate these offerings.
The recognition continues, Alkistis has been commissioned to design a binding for the British Library celebrating 1000 years of the Bookbinders Art. Another major accolade, with her described by our bindery, which is one of the most esteemed in England, as ‘the best contemporary book designer we work with… by some margin’.
We are proud to be part of this heritage and supporting the craftsmen and women who preserve these arts.
For those needing more bibliophilia, please see our website www.scarletimprint.com
More upcoming events in the UK as we gallop towards the Autumn Equinox.
We are refreshed from pilgrimage, back in the office and wrapping, packing and sending out books.
Conference of Magic
Saturday October 1
£10 advance tickets.
The Bournemouth Pagan society go from strength to strength presenting a wide spectrum of talks from Egyptian Daemonology, Haitian Vodou, herb lore, and some Greek necromancy from Jake Stratton-Kent.
Jake Stratton-Kent, Mogg Morgan, Hounsi Sophia, Sef Salem, Ivy Kerrigan & Simon Wood.
Pagan Federation 40
Saturday October 8
£20-£25 non members.
The Pagan Federation turns 40 and with witchcraft and paganism facing some critical challenges we are interested to see how this community is responding.It looks like they are pulling out all the stops for this one. We note that they have chosen to mark a Venus number.
Ronald Hutton, Mogg Morgan, our dear friend Dr Julian Vayne, Caroline Wise et al in a packed day and optional night.
Day of the Dead Conference
Saturday October 29
£20 with mexican buffet.
Botanica boys Jack and Jamie, will be hosting a Day of the Dead spectacular in Glastonbury.
Offerings will be made to the ancestors at a shrine to Santa Muerte and their are some dazzling talks promised. This is an important feast day and one that we are proud to support. Alkistis will be giving a new presentation and we are delighted to see so many strong women speaking in an often male dominated arena.
Alkistis Dimech, Jake Stratton-Kent, Paul Weston, Josephine McCarthy, Charlotte Rodgers, Kim Huggens, and Pam Walker.
For those outside the UK looking for stimulation but lacking in real world events, we can recommend reading the collected Fenris Wolf http://www.fenriswolf.se/ edited by Carl Abrahamsson whose work also appears in our own XVI. The return of Fenris Wolf as a truly independent occult journal is very welcome. This edition is likely to sell out pretty quickly, pick it up from Midian in the UK/Worldwide and JD Holmes in the US.
More book news to follow this week with the Crossed Keys fine edition here and the Pomba Gira standard edition also due.
It was a welcome return for Scarlet Imprint which was aptly founded in this Regency dream of pleasure and the collision of occidental and oriental opulence. Brighton has been smeared with the ash of Crowley’s cremation, pierced by the counterculture of TOPY, seen the Occulture Festival rise and fall, and proudly, queerly, keeps reinventing itself. We are part of that history. It is a city living out an eternal youth, open to all possibilities of transformation. It reeks of sin, but is self-possessed, dressed with feathers and glitter for an end of the world party, any day or night of the god damned week. My, what a perfect place to inaugurate a Summer of Love. Floating in an architecture of mirage and fantasy, the magical possibilities of such a place can be carved out of the air. We chose to do so, and Brighton, we will return.
The Greek temple façade of the Unitarian church faces the brothels-turned-bars, and the stables of the palace with their honeycomb tunnels for the facilitation of consort between princes and whores. Based on the Athenian temple of Hephaestus, it seemed a peculiarly apt for such a gathering of the children of Cain to hammer out their differences and forge new links. The message of the Unitarians is a welcome one, an inclusive post-Christian recognition that we can learn from all spiritual traditions. This is what we are intent on doing. A melting of misunderstandings, antagonisms, and misplaced scene elitism, like so much ice-cream in a skull cup. Perhaps we can learn to share our common experiences? This is the future, a wilful destruction of the artificial divisions between magician, witch, orders and the disorderly. Of course we can still disagree, debate and dispute, but we must also be able to dissolve like the proverbial LSD sugar cube on the tongue of a neophyte.
So we thank those came, the readers, the writers, the poets, the dancers, the musicians, the ritualists, the witches, the carcists, the wild women, the publishers, the book dealers, the whole panoply, friends in this endeavour.
To have Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold in England was a blessing. Having worked all Summer on his book under the spreading branches and dry perfume of the fig trees, they finally bore fruit. Perfect timing. The baskets of quartered erotic flesh that we served will make yet more sense when you read what Nicholaj has to say about Pomba Gira and the fig tree in Hell. When Nicholaj made his offering to Pomba Gira we must remember that this is still a city of whores, of free women, of knee-trembling back alleys and sexual adventures. When you read the accounts of Maria Padilha, you can also remember another Maria, Maria Fitzherbert, the uncrowned Catholic mistress of King George whose namesake pub was where we dashed to buy drinks between speeches. I remember my own offerings to Pomba Gira, not so far from this spot, and wonder what magical skeins connect them all.
Nicholaj is the real deal, a serious student and teacher with a vast working and comparative knowledge of Brazilian and Cuban cults, Tantra, Witchcraft and the Western Magical Tradition. He has put the time in, and it shows. Though we are waiting on the printer we were able to present him with one of the dramatic red moiré copies of his Pomba Gira which presided over the proceedings of the day from the stage. Today was another taste of the ripe fruit as we all wait hungrily for the book!
Ulysses Black is an unfamiliar name and deliberately so. His durational performance of black mirror staring lasted from event opening until he took the stage. His was the final striptease and reveal for the day event. Ulysses Black outed himself publically as the latest face and phase of the man born as Orlando Britts, whose Totemic Invocations written as Jack Macbeth is one of the most sought after of modern grimoires. A performance artist, his discussion of identity, ritual and action asked uncomfortable questions of all of us. Who exactly are we? On his evidence, Beuys and Nitsch should be recognised as part of the occult syllabus. It all came to a sticky end where the artist ate his own words. An important moment and another blurring of the lines between performance, ritual and magic.
Well, the printer folded the sheets incorrectly and the whole lot has been destroyed. Are we downhearted? No! With sacrifice we know that there is something worth the effort, and this is a sacrifice willingly given. We often encounter resistance in magical work, and this we greet laughing. So, our thanks to those who have pre-ordered and are patiently waiting. You will receive your rewards. What we can give you is a glimpse of one of the three copies that they have hand sewn and bound up to show how she will look when she is properly dressed:
Those coming to the Summer of Love can have a fondle of the merchandise, so to speak.
We will update you all when we have a shipping date.
Continuing with the theme, the first approval copy of the Sable et d’Or fine bound edition of Crossed Keys also arrived here today, coinciding fortuitously with author Michael Cecchetelli’s birthday.
It is a magnificent beast.
This fine edition is entirely sold out, and the following picture perhaps explains why:
This edition will be presented in a leather bag rather than a slipcase.
Those who have ordered a copy will be notified as soon as the whole batch is bound and ready.
Full photos will follow to sate the scarcely concealed bibliophile in all of us.