THE ALBION SKETCHBOOKS OF THE AYRSHIRE WICA:
The Confession of Isobel Gowdie together with The Confessions of Scottish Witches Aleson Peirsom and Bessie Dunlop
by the Artist John Upton, Introduced by Melissa Seims & Dr. John Callow
Limited to 200 sets printed full colour bound in black cloth, slipcased, covers blocked in copper tone, half-cloth with snake emboss spines.
Over 250 pages facsimile reproduction of the original sketchbooks
List Price: 96.95 subject to change
FROM THE PUBLISHER:
The book is a full colour over 250 page reproduction in large format, a combination of two extensive art books produced by the initiated witch and pop-mural artist John ‘Albion’ Upton (1933-2005)
John Upton left a full 13 sketchbooks and designs for an initiated Tarot deck which comprise the story, workings, heritage and Book of Shadows of the original initiated Ayrshire Wica (‘The Wica’ as it is known).
The two sketchbooks reproduced here tell the stories of the trials and executions of three Scottish witches: Isobel Gowdie, Aleson Piersom and Bessie Dunlop, and form a remarkable connection to both the initiated practice of witchcraft and the folklore of Scotland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries up to the present era.
John Uptons artworks are a dazzling and explosive mix of vibrant colour coming from his involvement with the subculture of psychedelia among artists in Brighton in the 1960s.
With collage, numerous physical inclusions on the original pages (including feathers, plants, talismans and photographs), sections of the work physically opening up as doorways, images powerfully erotic and pansexual: John Upton tells the story of witchcraft through the practice of the craft itself fusing faery lore and channelled voices in a vibrant modern graphic novel style. Through the imagery by which he recounts the stories, John Upton divulges initiated witch lore: the ritual and sexual practices by which the devotee became immersed in the sabbat.
‘Isobel Gowdie continues to cast a glamour about her: she appears in the form of a hare, a crow, or as a jackdaw; she deals death from upon high and gleans scraps from a neighbours table. She goes unnoticed by laird and preacher, above ground, but is treated as an equal by the king and queen of faeries below. Her marriage bed is only for sleeping; but she thrills to Satan’s illicit black touch and to the ice cold drip of his semen upon her ivory thighs..’
Dr. John Callow
One person who came to be enchanted and inspired by Gowdies evocative tales, was the artist and initiate of The Wica, John Upton, and it is his work which re-imagines Isobel Gowdie, vividly and specifically, within the context of modern witchcraft and ritual.
John Uptons life was every bit as interesting, and as varied, as his artistic work. A professional boxer in his youth, a counter-cultural anarchist, mural painter, sculptor and associate of Bill Butler, the radical publisher and homosexual poet late of the legendary Unicorn Bookshop which in the 1960’s was a centre for Beat culture literature and banned pornography including early work by J.G.Ballard.
‘…the devil taught us these words…’
Uptons work was the art of an outsider, never a lover of institutional academia, he remained free of the attachments of financial and cultural controls. His work speaks from a place of truth: honest, naïve, explosive!
‘…no earthly man could have done this…’
Upton’s work begs an immediate response from the viewer, it is immersive and in some parts frightening. In this sense, the working of practical occult magic, of the folk witchcraft which lies at the heart of the Gowdie sketchbooks, begs a ‘happening’ and a transformation, whether it be figurative, literal or sexual.
‘…the devil would beat us very hard…’
John Uptons early connections with the occult can be seen in his surviving mural ‘Christs entry into Brighton’ which has Aleister Crowley at its centre flanked by figures such as Jimi Hendrix and Christine Keeler. Perhaps Uptons mural was influenced by the Beatles Sgt Pepper album, but also likely the religious and working-class undertones of Stanley Spencers ‘Christs entry into Jerusalem’.
Upton’s work invokes the role of art in the ancient Mystery Religions: having resonances in some places with William Blake, in others with the woodcut illustrations of the 16th and 17th century witchcraft and folk tracts, as well as the vibrant pop art of his own day, he performs the role of alchemist and transformer of consciousness: drawing us back into the realm of historical witchcraft and bringing that primitive undeniably shamanic atmosphere into our experience of the present.
With their emphasis on vibrancy of colour, truth of narrative, channelling of faery power and deep rooted in the witchcraft of our times and times long gone, the Upton sketchbooks evoke a world just on the borders of our own.
In the early 1970s John Upton met the extraordinary Doreen Valiente and was initiated into witchcraft, in 1979 he moved to Irvine on the West coast of Scotland and some years later met the profoundly influential Charles Clark.
Charles Clark was for several years secretary to Gerald Gardner founder of modern witchcraft, and was initiated by Gardner and his wife Donna intro witchcraft in the 1950’s.
Charles Clark was charged by Gardner with the task of heading the Scottish Wica and went on to found three covens: Perth, Glasgow and Ayrshire. Initiates of Charles Clark’s Scots lineage included Monique Wilson and Raymond Buckland.
‘…and he told me to make an ointment of it…’
‘…giving him the illness…’
Powerfully influenced by William S. Burroughs, who John Upton had met in Morocco, John Upton experimented with LSD and likely with mushrooms in magical ritual contexts, both entering and then evoking for us the faery-realms and witch-transformations spoken of by Isobel Gowdie and others.
‘…we went several times up and down…’
The creativity of Isobel Gowdie, like that of John Upton, casts a magic that is both inescapably loud, yet with a subtlety that continues working within you long after the initial exposure has passed.
‘..and all our powers which we had before we were taken…’
Cloth Edition Limited to 285 sets
French linen Toiles du Marais bottle green, with claret endpapers, claret marker ribbons, red and green headbands. 620 pages.
- Volume I: THE GREEN BOOK OF THE ÉLUS COËNS (‘Le Manuscrit d’Alger’ by Pierre-André Grainville)
- Volume II: VARIOUS ÉLUS COËNS MANUSCRIPTS
Cloth Edition Hardcover two book set
FROM THE PUBLISHER:
As the High-Degrees of Freemasonry swept across the landscape of eighteenth-century Europe, an obscure and secret occult order developed known as l’Ordre des Chevaliers Maçons Élus Coëns de l’Univers or the ‘Order of Knight-Mason Elect-Cohens of the Universe,’ more commonly referred to as the Elus Coen.
Detailing the inner workings and highest degrees of the Order, this fascinating translation and collection of manuscripts enlightens the reader in the true, very visceral nature of the Order. These original rites of the Élus Coëns instruct the initiate on how to enter into relations with angelic spirits, which are sympathetic to Man’s fallen state, and who aid him upon the pbyath to reintegration with the Divine, through a powerful system of angelic magic, ritual theurgy and mystical sacrifice.
This material shows an overt influence of the grimoire tradition. The cult instructed its initiates in the drawing of a hieroglyph on the floor for magical operations, corresponding to a particular angel, and if the operation was successful, a further hieroglyph would appear in ‘luminous form.’ These luminous astral hieroglyphs act as a signature of the spirits who have chosen to cooperate with the theurgist on his path to reconciliation with the Divine.
A Practical Manual of Herbs & Plants & the Spirits that Inhabit Them, with the Powers of Trees, Minerals and Precious Stones
by Charubel (John Thomas, 1826 - 1908)- Hardback bound in green toadskin textured Malory book cloth, 360 pages.
List Price: $40.95 subject to change
FROM THE PUBLISHER:
Complete with engraved illustrations of the plants, their spirit sigils derived from psychic and magical virtues, details of the uses of trees and precious stones, also an extensive list of conditions and maladies and the especial cures for them.
Each especial plant is given a unique sigil drawn from Charubels extensive knowledge of cunning tradition coupled with personal psychic work over more than sixty years of deep exploration. The sacred or angelic names connected to them link with the harmonic chords of the planetary and zodiacal system he expounded in his magical and occult treatise: ‘On the Degrees of the Zodiac Symbolised’ which creates psychic figures or ‘telesmata’ for each of the 360 degrees of the full astrological circle. The operator or medium is contacted with the divine powers of the heavens in their true sacred forms, from the highest powers down to the flowers of the field and herbs of the healer’s garden.
THE REAL WORLD ART OF CUNNING CRAFT:
The Magical Thinking behind Today’s Witch Practice
by Shani Oates
- Quarter Leather Hardcover; originally delivered as a private lecture on the inner nature of traditional witchcraft, presented here as a monograph on cunning craft, 106 pages illustrated.
List Price: $61.50 subject to change
FROM THE PUBLISHER:
The real-world art of Cunning Craft:
the magical thinking behind todays witch practice:
Cunning-craft in folklore and in the real lives of common people from all parts of Great Britain has had an enormous influence upon the fascination with, and development of contemporary witch belief and practice. The often apparent crudity of some cunning craft practices hides a real wisdom and insight into the human condition.
As an author and contemporary witch, Shani Oates carefully peels back the layers of history and archaeology to reveal the real intent and purpose of many cunning-man and cunning-woman traditions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A respected writer and researcher both into the history of witchcaft and the subtlety of its psychology, Shani Oates reveals the relevance of cunning-craft to todays world and seeks to define its place as central to the good life well lived.
Writings on the Sexual Praxis of Ordo Templi Orientis
by Aleister Crowley, C.S. Jones, G.J. Yorke, & Others”
Edited by Cœmgen La Vaughan
- Hardcover bound in saffron bookcloth
271 printed pages of secret papers on the occult arts
List Price: $82.50 subject to change
FROM THE PUBLISHER:
The secret of occult magic (or ‘Magick’ as the English occultist Aleister Crowley defined it) is focused in its entirety on the study, magnification, gathering and direction of life-force within the body and mind of the practitioner. This life-force manifests within the human being in the form of sexual energy or prana, a psycho-physical energy which has supernatural potential.
In his early life, and in his magical career within the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley sensed and recognised the need of this life-affirming force as the substrate of any achievement of the will whatsoever. As a mountaineer, master of chess, student of meditation and master of Magick, Crowley worked tirelessly upon himself, to find and gather all exisiting sources of information regarding the focusing of the will and spent decades finely tuning his practise of powering this will with an unstoppable force. His writings are the most detailed and technically perfect source of information on the use of sexual magick in the world.