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THE GAME OF SATURN
Peter Mark Adams
1st 2017 320pp Scarlet Imprint h/b. Black Shantung cloth. Illus. in colour throughout. Ltd. ed. 800 copies.
The Game of Saturn is the first full length, scholarly study of the enigmatic Renaissance masterwork known as the Sola-Busca tarot. It reveals the existence of a pagan liturgical and ritual tradition active amongst members of the Renaissance elite and encoded within the deck. Beneath its beautifully decorated surface, its imagery ranges from the obscure to the grotesque; we encounter scenes of homoeroticism, wounding, immolation and decapitation redolent of hidden meanings, violent transformations and obscure rites.
For the first time in over five hundred years, the clues embedded within the cards reveal a dark Gnostic grimoire replete with pagan theurgical and astral magical rites. Careful analysis demonstrates that the presiding deity of this ‘cult object’ is none other than the Gnostic demiurge in its most archaic and violent form: the Afro-Levantine serpent-dragon, Ba’al Hammon, also known as Kronos and Saturn, though more notoriously as the biblical Moloch, the devourer of children.
Conveyed from Constantinople to Italy in the dying years of the Byzantine Empire, the pagan Platonist George Gemistos Plethon sought to ensure the survival of the living essence of Neoplatonic theurgy by transplanting it to the elite families of the Italian Renaissance. Within that violent and sorcerous milieu, Plethon’s vision of a theurgically enlightened elite mutated into its dark shadow – a Saturnian brotherhood, operating within a cosmology of predation, which sought to channel the draconian current to preserve elite wealth, power and control. This development marks the birth of an ‘illumined elite’ over three centuries before Adam Weishaupt’s ‘Illuminati.’ The deck captures the essence of this magical tradition and constitutes a Western terma whose talismanic properties may serve to establish an initiatory link with the current.
This work fully explores the historical context for the deck’s creation against the background of tense Ferrarese-Venetian diplomatic intrigue and espionage. The recovery of the deck’s encoded narratives constitutes a significant contribution to Renaissance scholarship, art history, tarot studies and the history of Western esotericism. £66.00
TRUE BLACK MAGIC
La Véritable Magie Noire
Joseph Peterson (trans)
1st 2017 224pp CreateSpace p/b. Illus.
A classic grimoire, or source-work of magic. Le Véritable Magie Noire, or the book of True Black Magic, is an influential early printed grimoire, containing many interesting features. It is one of many variants of The Key of Solomon (Clavicula Salomonis), but printed as a chapbook, or example of Bibliothèque bleue. As such it was small, cheap, and easy to hide or carry as an amulet. All these were important factors that lead to its popularity and worldwide distribution. For those familiar with the edition of the Key of Solomon edited by the influential occultist S. L. Mathers, much of the content looks familiar. But it has some unique features that draw our attention. In particular, it preserves some older elements not included in the Mathers edition, including spells for love, and hindering romantic rivals. This new edition includes a new English translation, and complete French text. £11.99
LE PETIT ALBERT
2017 178pp Oroborous h/b in d/w. 30 woodcuts, charts and talismans. Ltd. ed. 1000 copies.
The ‘Little Albert’ is a grimoire and book of secrets first published in France in 1700s. The text ranks as one of the most infamous books in the grimoire corpus, though much of its infamy stems from the 18th century hucksters who populated Rural Europe with copies of their merchandise. Although the tome is criticized by the likes of Arthur Edward Waite and Eliphas Levi before him, they nonetheless mention it many times throughout their several books. As a book of ritual magic it relies heavily on other sources, namely Paracelsus and Albertus Magnus. Yet in addition to the grimoire material consisting of talismanic images, cabalistic magic and ritual perfumes, the book also features many wortcunning remedies, and alchemical recipes.
Magic squares and tables showing planetary hours are common in grimoire literature but also tend to appear in almanacks, which were also very popular. The folk remedies and recepies are drawn from that curious literary genre known as Books of Secrets. The famous alchemical bibliographer John Ferguson wrote a defining book on the subject as did William Eamon whose later text laid bare many intricacies of the tradition.
Some have classified such books as forbidden knowledge, indicating the scorn political or religious authorities placed upon these texts. Banned books always attract those with rebellious spirit or drawn by the pursuit of universal learning.
While the Petit Albert is by no means as sophisticated as other texts in the grimoire cycle (Lemegeton, Goetia, Clavicula Solomonis, Picatrix, etc.) it is perhaps the ubiquitiousness of its presence in Europe over many centuries that places it among the more famous texts of ceremonial magic. A book like the Petit Albert offers insight into the minds of rural folk magic practitioners and provides an example of the then (as now) popular practice of publishing of books of secrets. It also acts as a medium, through the spirit of the book, to open up an occult atmosphere conducive to operational praxis. The image of the magician, witch or wortcunner is almost always attended by the presence of the book of magic. It lends the practitioner the token of occult knowledge and power. Some are drawn by the promise of love, others, to gain fame or riches. Despite any claims made for the efficacy of such tomes, they nonetheless instill a sense of wonder and mystery in those who seek their pages. £39.99
THE ARRAS WITCH TREATISES
Magic in History Sourcebooks
Andrew C. Gow
2016 144pp Penn State Press trade p/b.
This is the first complete and accessible English translation of two major source texts--Tinctor's Invectives and the anonymous Recollectio--that arose from the notorious Arras witch hunts and trials in the mid-fifteenth century in France. These writings, by the "Anonymous of Arras" (believed to be the trial judge Jacques du Bois) and the intellectual Johannes Tinctor, offer valuable eyewitness perspectives on one of the very first mass trials and persecutions of alleged witches in European history. More importantly, they provide a window onto the early development of witchcraft theory and demonology in western Europe during the late medieval period--an entire generation before the infamous Witches' Hammer appeared. £19.99
UNDER THE DEVIL’S SPELL
Witches, Sorcerers and the Inquisition in Renaissance Italy
1st 2008 188pp Syracuse University Press trade p/b. Illus.
Reconstructing the activity of the ""Tribunal of the Faith"" in Italy during the period 1400-1600, this compelling book analyzes the ideology of its judges and takes a closer look at Italian witches and their clientele. For the first time, the English reader, student, and scholar alike will be offered direct access to this little-known world through a large selection of translated Inquisition trials from the rich State Archives of Modena. From the voices of the men and women who practiced the occult arts or resorted to them on a daily basis, magic and witchcraft will emerge as an integral part of social life in early modern Italy and a means for contact and communication between diverse cultural spheres. £24.99
THIRTEEN PATHWAYS OF OCCULT HERBALISM
1st 2017 144pp Three Hands Press. Illus. by Benjamin Vierling
Daniel A. Schulke’s forthcoming work The Green Mysteries (Arcana Viridia), due to be released August 2017, is an occult herbal 25 years in the making. Meticulously illustrated with over 250 original images by renowned artist Benjamin Vierling, its primary rubric is that of an original occult pharmacopeia written from the perspective of a contemporary magical herbalist. As a whole the book emerges principally from the discipline of Occult Herbalism, which encompasses the knowledge and use of the magical, spiritual, and folkloric dimensions of plants.
As a foundational treatise introducing this work, Thirteen Pathways of Occult Herbalism speaks to its interior philosophical concerns. Circumscribing the metaparadigm of herbal magical practice, providing useful examples of its manifestation, as well as demonstrating its time-honored routes of inquiry, it examines the ways in which knoweldge of this type is acquired and put into practice. This perennial wisdom animates many global spiritual traditions, especially those that have maintained their integrity of transmission even in the face of industrial development and cultural destruction.
Often concealed within the deepest strata of the Western Esoteric Traditions, this green strand of wisdom, though obscured, is a potent legacy of all magic, sorcery, and occult science. In addition to the hard sciences of botany, ethnology, agriculture and ethnopharmacology, a number of pathways can assist the magical herbalist in furthering the depth of understanding and integrity of personal approach.
ENTERING THE DESERT
Pilgrimage into the Hinterlands of the Soul
1st 2017 160pp Anathema. Sierra Tan backcloth, blind debs images to front and rear boards. Illus. endpapers. Ltd. ed. 400 copies.
“The landscape of the Soul is a feral hunting ground of shadows and light, each morphing into translucent bodies of nourishment or destruction, depending upon the topographic Vision of the desert dweller. Entering the Desert explores the Terra Incognito of the Soul and reveals a primordial vision of a Pagan Sacramental Gnosticism of alchemical nature which if understood can open up the doorways to the Inner Sanctuary of Sacramental Vision.” £54.99
MASKS AND MUMMING IN THE NORDIC AREA
1st 2007 840pp Gustavus Adolphus trade p/b. Illus. Paper wraps.
Masks and Mumming in the Nordic Area is the first detaliled introduction to the costume and disguise traditions of the Nordic area past and present. It not only analyses the nature, history and development of these customs, but also presents a number of case studies demonstrating different ways of dealing with this material. The combined work of 23 scholars from the fields of drama, folkloristics, cultural studies and ethnology, it hopes to open new doors into a field of folkloristics that has been neglected for decades. Massive volume with much interesting material. £40.00
VERDANT GNOSIS 3
Catamara Rosarium, Marcus McCoy and Jenn Zahrt (eds)
1st 2017 152pp Rubedo Press trade p/b. Illus. The third in the series. Contents include: Plants Used in Cursing Magic: Northwestern Traditions in Folk Practices by Corinne Boyer, Symphonica: Black Henbane and the Choirs of the Dead by Cody Dickerson, Putting the Root Back into Footwork by Demetrius Lacroix, Appalachian Roots: The Folk Magical and Medicinal uses of Plant Roots in Appalachia by Rebecca Beyer etc. Also features original artwork by Willow Davidson, Jason Scott, and Morgan Singer. £18.99
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