NEW FROM HELLFIRE CLUB BOOKS!!
CUNNING MAGIC & CELESTIAL ART
by Robert A. Priddle
- Hardcover folio bound in full Bordeaux book cloth, with illustrated title label on front, and gold embossed spine - $82.50
Limited to only 200 folio copies bound in full Bordeaux book cloth.
List Price: $82.50
FROM THE PUBLISHER:
This important new study focuses on the origins of modern occultism in the ‘Cunning Traditions’ during the transitional period of English magic, and the formation of a global view of western esotericism.
There is one book that has had an enormous impact upon occultism and esoteric philosophy in the modern period, it is ‘The Magus’, first printed in 1801 by the English magician Francis Barrett.
The continued popularity of ‘The Magus’ as a textbook grimoire for both the aspiring occultist and learned magician is well known, its place in the transmission of occult knowledge and practise from the ancient world to the present day is beyond question, but how many of us really understand the circumstances behind its actual creation and the private influences and secretive individuals to whom Barrett went for guidance?
England in the late 1700s and early 1800s had a remarkably fertile and closely connected constellation of wizards, herbalists and cunning men whose personal guidance was sought in the context of the magical arts, many produced manuscripts and talismans of their own and a few were operating so publicly that their reputations were a household name: Ebenezer Sibley, Dr. John Parkins, and a host of lesser known regional characters who operated by private consultation.
Whilst copies of the ‘Keys of Solomon’ were known to have circulated very early on in the transition of magic from the middle ages up to the modern period, the actual passage of the broader curriculum of occult studies from the late 1700s and on (such as was largely codified in the creation of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in the Outer in 1888) is less clear. What is remarkable is that one book, and the single individual whose brilliance created it, are responsible.
R.A.Priddle places Barrett not only in the transmission of magical manuscripts in London, through such well known personages as Ebenezer Sibley and John Denley, but also within the context of such lesser known figures as the Lincolnshire astrologer and cunning man Dr. John Parkins, the person of one ‘Griffith’ who actually engraved the plates for what was to become the first textbook of magic in English.
Deeply examining the intellectual, economic and social context in which Barrett worked, and showing conclusively that Barrett used the circumstances surrounding him to the greatest possible advantage in the projection of his new vision of occultism onto the world stage, the author of this study R. A. Priddle brilliantly exposes how Barrett redefined the context of magic in the modern world and thus changed the relationship between man and the cosmos for the next two hundred years.
Barretts life is examined in detail and his association with one particular area of London, the district surrounding Marylebone, is shown to have had a profound influence upon him and his production of ‘The Magus’. Working originally as an apothecary whilst writing the manuscript of his book, Priddle suggests that the most likely tutor to the aspiring young Francis Barrett was the astrologer and publisher Ebenezer Sibley whose own production of esoteric manuscripts is now so well known. Sibley and Barrett lived within a few hundred yards of each other and the young man would almost certainly have sought him out as a teacher, perhaps even attended meetings of the ‘Mesmer Harmonic and Philosophical Society’ of which Sibley was an influential supporter.
After the publication of ‘The Magus’ in 1801 Barrett is supposed to have formed an occult school, this fact is stated in the book itself, but the circumstances surrounding Barretts stay in London, his association with Sibley, Parkins and Griffith suggests that the esoteric school was well under way in the 1790s probably at Sibleys home.
This small school of occult students, through the popularity of ‘The Magus’, later influenced European occultists and then American: the French magician Eliphas Levi visited England in the 1830s, and by 1835 a copy of ‘The Magus’ was lodged in the Philadelphia lending library.
To what extent the Mormon movement of Joseph Smith was influenced by Barrett we cannot say, although certainly a manuscript published as ‘The Edward Hunter Manuscript’ of the ‘Key of Rabbi Solomon’ which originated in Bristol and whose author travelled to America was certainly a Mormon connection.
Such was the influence of Barretts book (and a demonstration of the vivacity of esoteric groups) that a later edition of 1875 added to the success of at least two famous esoteric schools: the person responsible for its republication, Frederick Hockley (1809-1885), used the original engraved plates from the first edition, it is of great interest that these plates were held by the occult bookseller John Denley who bought them in 1818 and kept them privately until the grimoire was ready to rise again.
A detailed analysis of the contents and structure of ‘The Magus’ shows key differences in the contents of Barretts work and those earlier authors (such as Agrippa) to whom it is assumed he owes a debt. The originality of Barretts contribution is defined in well structured discussions, section by section, of the material. Most importantly it can be seen that the often subtle changes Barrett makes to the literary borrowings of the occult tradition (the raw material for his book) are in fact drawn from contemporary practice, such as in the formulation of the doctrine of the subtle medium (the governing mechanics of the magical process) Barret uses an example from folk idiom: the touching of a corpse to see if it bleeds in the presence of a criminal (a practice known as the Bahr Recht or ‘bier right’) which in this instance has a Welsh connection.
Barrett and his magical associate John Parkins both had connections with the cunning practices of Wales and the West Country, indeed the person of ‘Griffith’ who engraved the plates for Barretts published manuscript of ‘The Magus’ was himself connected to a web of country herbalists and almanac printers which spanned the countryside of England from South Yorkshire to London in the south and Herefordshire in the West. Whether there were any direct links to the traditional herbalists and apothecaries of Myddfai in Wales we do not yet know, but evidence is growing to support the thesis that there was a perceived ‘ancient Druidic college’ of magic up to the mid 1800s to which many occultists of the modern period are indebted.
Subsequent to the influence of the Cunning Tradition upon Francis Barrett and his work ‘The Magus’ was the influence that the book had upon other cunning men, such as the famous ‘Cunning Murrell’ or James Murrell of Hadleigh in Essex (1785-1860).
Murrell was reported to be a small quiet man who went about mostly at night, wearing iron goggles and carrying a basket and a whale-bone umbrella. Making his living chiefly as a shoemaker and chemists still-man, Murrell also practiced astrology, veterinary surgery and exorcism.
In ‘The Wizard of Yesterday’ (1900) Arthur Morrison provides a facsimile page of Murrells own spell book, it is in fact a drawing copying one from Book II of ‘The Magus’ proving its importance to the dissemination of magical information to the Cunning Folk themselves.
Essential to an understanding of Barrett’s influence here is the presentation of Cabala tradition in his work to the occult and magical community of the 1800’s. Barrett creates a wholly practical articulation of this often abstract theological system, again it is Barett’s influence upon such people as James Murrell that shows how effective his ‘cabala’ was to become. Barrett condenses the complex system of cabala and does this by showing his readers how to calculate the names of spirits but leaves out the manner in which those names are obtained. It may be that the method of obtaining the names of spirits was reserved for private students of his esoteric school, perhaps this is Barrett deliberately omitting certain secret formulae to restrict hem to the initiated. In any event the processes he keeps secret are necessary to an understanding and accomplishment of the work, Barrett must have had them and whether he passed them on to Denley and thence to Hockley, they undoubtably existed and were later adopted by esoteric schools from the ‘Society of Eight’ in the 1860s and later in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
THE SECRET WISDOM OF THE QABALAH
Being The Mystical Foundations Of The World Order:
The Mystery Of Sex & The Birth Of Evil
by John Frederick Charles Fuller
Ash grey book cloth hardcover, with silver embossed front and spine.
List Price: $62.95
FROM THE PUBLISHER:
J.F.C. Fuller met Aleister Crowley after writing his ‘Star in the West’ (1907) an explication and elucidation of the importance of Crowleys poetical and magickal work in the current of Thelema.
Fuller was a very early member and supporter of Aleister Crowleys A:.A:. magickal order and worked tirelessly to assist the ‘Great Beast 666’ in the editing and publication of The Equinox to which he contributed the beautiful and remarkable ‘Treasure House of Images’.
As well as writing numerous important works on military strategy, the design and strategic use of the tank in warfare, for which he was praised by Adolf Hitler, J.F.C. Fuller was also a keen scholar of the occult forces that control world events.
His work on the mystical Qabalah shadows forth a strong belief in the presence and power of evil in the world today, his experiences both with Crowley and with the forces at work in Hitlers’ Third Reich before the outbreak of World War II can be seen described in his book.
J.F.C. Fuller was an expert in his field, with 45 books on strategy ( such as ‘The Organisation of Force’ and the ‘Nine Principles of War’) he was a highly prolific author whose ideas reached senior army officers on all sides, as well as the European public.
He explored the professional business of fighting, in terms of the relationship between warfare and social, political, and economic factors in the civilian sector. Fuller emphasised the potential of new weapons, especially tanks and aircraft, to stun a surprised enemy psychologically, a facet of his strategic thinking that was no doubt adopted quickly by the Fascists.
In fact the German Generals Lutz and Guderian adopted the tactics described by Fuller in the organization of the 1940 ‘Blitzkrieg’ attack on allied forces, an horrific form of military extremism that Fullers own Allied Generals were unwilling to adopt.
As well as his writings on strategy and occultism, Fuller also wrote an excellent introductory work on Yoga which is also of interest to students of the occult and Crowleys work in particular.
In ‘The Secret Wisdom of the Qabalah’ (1937) J.F.C. Fuller expounds a wealth of occult and esoteric knowledge in a clear and intelligent style, each chapter building a compelling picture of the hidden forces at work historically, culturally and within the being of the individual.
What is most remarkable about Fullers qabalistic study is that whilst it does not mention Aleister Crowley by name at all, it is absolutely certain that his finely crafted discourse points the student in the direction of the New Aeon and the person of his teacher, Aleister Crowley himself (The Great Beast 666) as the driving force behind all current manifestations of cosmic power.
Though Crowley and Fuller were later to separate, Fuller is noted as stating many years later that he believed Crowley to be “a genuine Avatar”, a being of supernatural origin manifesting in human form.
Fullers ‘Secret Wisdom of the Qabalah’ reveals the hidden doctrines of mysticism and magick which may be used for good or evil, and reveals the forces at work in the occult sciences and shows how religious and societal movements originate and why they decay.
This book is a veritable Key to both past and future occultism, and consequently is of profound significance in understanding the nature of those hidden forces, particularly the forces of evil which today seek to control the world.
‘The Mystical Foundations of the World Order’
‘The Evolution of Satan’
‘The Mystery of Sex’
‘The Creation of Hell’
‘Man the Instrument of Redemption’
‘The Laboratory of Satan’
‘The Mystical Ordeal’
‘The Fourth Dimensional State’
‘The Mystic Way’
Sub figura DCLXXI
~Being a facsimile of the Kenneth Anger typescript, introduced by Frater Orpheus 7◦ = 4▫, together with a critical text, commentary, and full color reproduction of Aleister Crowley’s original illustrated manuscript
Clothbound, wine color, large format hardcover, with gold embossed front and spine.
List Price: $97.50
FROM THE PUBLISHER:
Included within this volume~
1) A newly photographed large format facsimile of the original illuminated manuscript produced by Aleister Crowley 666 in 1909 showing the true vibrant colours of the painted pages
2) A full-colour facsimile of the important annotated typescript of Liber Pyramidos kept by the cult film maker Kenneth Anger between 1940 and 1950, this typescript given to Anger by Jack Parsons. The typescript has annotations in the hands of Crowley, Gerald Yorke and lastly Kenneth Anger himself, thus revealing material lost in other copies which have faded over time (ie Warburg).
3) An introduction to the history of the annotated Anger typescript by Frater Orpheus 7◦=4▫. A discussion of the origins and circumstances behind Crowleys attainment follows: “Crowley’s journals from this working were originally published in the work known as John St. John in The Equinox volume 1:1 in 1909. In this journal, Crowley clearly describes the working and re-working of Liber Pyramidos which he refers to as the “perfect ritual of self-initiation” and even further… “if one could only dare to hope it! – to thee 8=3 attainment”. It was during this 13 day Magickal working that Crowley began to contemplate, among other things, the Dweller on threshold and his motto as V.V.V.V.V. etc… In reading John St. John one is able to detect a subtle shift in Crowley’s “thinking”. This can be understood as that shift from John the man to John the Saint. A hint to Crowley’s meaning behind the title John St. John. In other words, it was during this period of time, while working with Pyramidos, in conjunction with certain yoga practices focusing on the Vishuddha Chakra, that Crowley first began to attain to the Grade of 8◦=3▫, (the clues are always there for them whom have eyes to see them).”
4) A structural analysis of the manuscript rituals which compose the textual history and variant practices of Liber Pyramidos and its relationship to the highly secret A⸫A⸫ ‘ThROA’ ritual. The structural analysis of Pyramidos is composed of the following main sources and numerous secondary ones:
i) The manuscript at the North Western Library
ii) The so-called ‘Frank Bennett’ version
iii) Liber ThROA
iv) The Magickal Record John St John (Equinox I:1)
5) A working reflection of the Pyramidos process by a brother of the Astrum Argentum and a presentation of the ritual as a series of initiatic states.
“Within our Order, there are only two official initiations, and both, regardless of the situation in the past, are exclusively given in the form of self-initiation. Their full value is in the Aspirant’s work with himself, as the perfection of the ritual does not lie in the perfection of its performance for it is unattainable. At the end of his Probation, if he satisfied all the elements of his Grade, the Probationer is given to pass the Ritual of the Pyramid, or Liber DCLXXI vel Pyramidos, which confirms him as a Neophyte. In the same way, a Neophyte passes through the Ritual CXX, of Passage through the Duat, or Liber Cadaveris, which establishes him as a Zelator. It would be wrong to assume whether the ritual of the Pyramid is the final act of the Probationer, or it is the introductory chapter of a Neophyte. Perhaps both conclusions are equally correct. These rituals contain the mysteries that an Aspirant’s unconscious will roll and shape further during the Grades, and it cannot be said with certainty what kind of performance would be considered as appropriate.
The ritual of the Pyramid, or Pyramidos hereinafter, is built on the basis of the dramatic ritual, where an Aspirant assumes specific godly forms and passes through a certain process of transformation. This process of change will accompany him all along the region of the Golden Dawn, to the achievement of the Adeptus Minor. This process will, of course, only modify its form, depending on the Grade, but the same essence is present both in the Probationer and in the Philosophus; it is about a subtle, inner experience that initiates a major change, soon to be realized. It should not be confused with Liber ThROA, which is a group ritual of initiation in which, besides the initiate, roles also have officers of the Order. But is there anyone else in the great Pyramid, except an Aspirant? Is he not all alone, is the Pyramid not constructed for him and himself only? Above all, the Aspirant should comprehend the formula and essence of the ritual, and that his contemplation on all this should be part of his work on the Grade.
Many discussions were conducted around the secret word of a Neophyte. What can be found in public records is the first and the last letter of that word, and the numerical value of 93. M….M. Although every careful researcher will find how it was derived, it is more important to outline the principle based on which the whole thing works. The word is never pronounced in the outer, and it is never transmitted in the way as it is done with other words. Above all, one should take into account that M….M is not a word but a formula, which only represents or resembles a subtle inner story, and it is necessary to obtain it through one’s Zelator in its proper form. The secret word is the axis of the whole of this initiation, which is fully nourished by the vibration of that word. It never gets transmitted, except to the Neophyte of the A∴A∴ and there are strong reasons why it is so. First and foremost, the very process of finding this word starts much earlier than in Pyramidos, if nothing else then precisely at this point, now reading these words represents the achievement and valuable process by itself. The very word is the mental arabesque about settling the Aspirant’s soul inside the Pyramid, imprinting his mind into its monumental heart. This word is the formula of conversion of two entirely different currencies; those elemental and those spiritual ones. This word is a translator, which יהוה turns into יהשוה, it is a formula that explains life itself. This word, like magical words of the old times used by a necromancer to raise the dead, will imprint the soul into dead things and make them alive. It is symbolically responsible for our true awakening, our true initiation. And as every Pyramid is a tomb of the body, so it is equally a cradle of the soul. And here, a born man occupies the place of other unborn.
The word is not hiding from the Probationer, but from “his” Binah, and we will have an opportunity to discuss more about this brilliant tale later. It can be openly noticed that phenomenon of the words in the A∴A∴ has a very special place. As a Neophyte, the Aspirant receives from his Zelator the hidden word, then, as an accomplished Adept he receives the name of his Angel, and finally, as Magus, he obtains the word of Æon. All three Grades are pervaded by acceptance of certain words which fulfill the utmost domains of human existence, the words under which the whole Universe shakes, as the ether through which these vibrations are transmitted, from Yesod to Chokmah.” (Frater Aureus)