The Red Church

By C.R. Bilardi

———–

~review by David Rankine (originally at www.ritualmagick.co.uk )

When most of the books you read are for research, it is always a pleasure to read a good book which increases your knowledge of an associated subject which you have not had time to study.  Chris Bilardi’s The Red Church is an excellent example of this.  Subtitled “The Art of Pennsylvania German Braucherei”, this book is a fascinating study of Pow Wow, the American Christian folk magic which grew from German roots.

The first part of the book provides a detailed analysis of the different European (predominantly German) religious movements which fed into the Braucherei, setting the scene and providing the provenance for the material.  The historical analysis is a vital part of providing the context for magical systems, so it was a pleasure to see such a through treatise which covered all the ground whilst holding the reader’s interest.

As a tradition which draws on the grimoires and Qabalah as well as its Biblical core, the practices are heavily religious, and Bilardi is not afraid to emphasise the importance of being a good member of the local Christian community, something which was key to magical practitioners of the grimoires, cunning-folk and other traditions as well.  It is good to see the debt that the Western Esoteric Traditions owe to Christianity as one of the driving forces of modern magic being acknowledged.  It has become unfortunately trendy in some areas to ‘bash’ Christianity as being anti-pagan, whilst reflecting those same prejudices, and also ignoring the fact that there is an inherent magic in the Bible and Christian practice which continues to be one of the most powerful magical currents in the world.

However this book is not purely about hisotry and philosophy, it is also packed with numerous examples of the charms and practices of Braucherei, drawn from the old texts like The Long Lost Friend and also from practitioners, which show very effectively how quickly practices can evolve and change through personal use and experience.  (As an aside, Dan Harms is working on a definitive volume on The Long Lost Friend which should be a welcome addition to this field).

All in all this is an excellent volume which should be of interest to a wide range of people, from magicians to folklorists, healers to historians, psychologists to pagans.  Chris Bilardi is to be congratulated on producing such a fine work.

Avalonia is proud to announce the The Book of Treasure Spirits, edited by David Rankine, will soon be joining the other excellent books by this author in our catalogue.  It will be available for pre-order from later this month from Avalonia, you can also ask your local occult shop to order a copy for you, or order from Amazon and other such online retailers.

treasurespirites

THE BOOK OF TREASURE SPIRITS
With Introduction & Commentary by David Rankine

Conjurations of Goetic spirits, old gods, demons and fairies are all part of a rich heritage of the magical search for treasure trove.  During the Middle Ages and Renaissance the British Monarchy gave out licenses to people seeking treasure in an effort to control such practices, and this is one reason why so many grimoires are full of conjurations and charms to help the magician find treasure. 

Published here for the first time, from a long-ignored mid-seventeenth century manuscript in the British Library (Sloane MS 3824), is the conjuration said to have been performed at the request of King Edward IV, with other rites to reveal treasure, to have treasure brought from the sea, and to cause thieves to bring back stolen goods.  Conjurations to call any type of spirit are also included, recorded by the noted alchemist and collector Elias Ashmole, as is an extract on conjuration practices from the Heptameron, transcribed into English for practical use by a working group of magicians, before its first English publication by Robert Turner in 1655.

These conjurations demonstrate the influence of earlier classic grimoires and sources, with components drawn from the Goetia, the Heptameron, and Reginald Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft. The material includes spirit contracts for the fallen angels Agares and Vassago, and the demon Padiel, as well as techniques like lead plates for binding, and summoning into a glass of water, which hark back to the defixiones of Hellenistic Greece and the demonic magic of the Biblical world.

This material forms part of a corpus of conjurations all written in the same hand and style of evocation, linking Goetic spirits and treasure spirits with the archangels and planetary intelligences (Sloane MS 3825), and demon kings and Enochian hierarchies (Sloane MS 3821), making it a unique bridge of style and content between what are often falsely seen as diverse threads of Renaissance magic. 
 

 Soon available from www.avaloniabooks.com

Dear All,

 

Can you believe that it is nearly Lughnasad again!  This day is named for the Irish God Lugh (pron. ‘Loo’) who is the son of Ethne (the daughter of Balor) and Cian (son of Dian Cecht) and it is celebrated on the 1st of August.  Lugh means ‘shining one’ and he was fostered with the smith god Goibniu who taught him all crafts, and he gained the name ‘Lugh Lamfada’ (Lugh of the long arm).  Lugh is the god of all crafts and when challenged at the gate of Tara, he replied that he was a builder, a smith, a champion, a harper, a warrior, a poet and historian, a sorcerer, a physician, a cupbearer and a brazier.  Ceasar equated Lugh with the Roman god Mercury, and the reasons are easy to see considering that Mercury is also considered to be a highly skilled god.

 

The spear of Lugh, which is one of the four treasures of the Tuatha de Danann, ensured that no battle was ever won against whoever held it in their hand.  Lugh was highly skilled in the magical arts, assuming the corrguinecht posture whilst reciting a charm to encourage his troops in the Cath Maige Tuired.  He is also often identified as both a solar and underworld god, and is later linked to the Gallic goddess Rosmerta as her consort. Representations of Rosmerta found at Bath and at other continental healing water sites suggests that she may have been viewed as a healing goddess, though her key attribute is that of the ‘Great Provider’ (which is also the meaning of her name) and she was associated with wealth and plenitude. Lugh is also of course the father of the hero Cu Chulainn, whom he helps by healing him and fighting in his place whilst he is badly wounded.  Like all good gods, Lugh was assimilated and canonized into the church as Saint Lughaidh.

 

It has been a while since I did the last Avalonia Newsletter, so much has happened since then!  Hekate Liminal Rites, a historical book on the practices associated with the Goddess Hekate written and researched by myself and David Rankine was published; as was Both Sides of Heaven (anthology, various contributors) and Stellar Magic by Payam Nabarz.  Details of these can be found below, or on the Avalonia Books website – http://www.avaloniabooks.co.uk

 

:::  STELLAR MAGICK by Payam Nabarz

This past Friday, 24th July 2009 we celebrated the launch of ‘Stellar Magic’, the new book by the author Payam Nabarz at the Atlantis Bookshop in London.  This book which was published by Avalonia, is both a practical and scholarly work on the magic of the Moon, Planets, Stars and Constellations.  It draws from a wide spectrum of material and ideas from different cultures, bringing it all together in a valuable work which is already establishing itself as the principal text on the subject.  If you haven’t yet, have a look at http://www.stellarmagic.co.uk and http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalogue/titles/stellar_magic2.htm for further information on this book.  Some photographs from the launch and signing can be found at http://avaloniabooks.blogspot.com/

 

::: BOTH SIDES OF HEAVEN with various contributors

This collection of 18 essays by some of the foremost esoteric writers, occultists and magicians from around the world is a great introduction to the world of angel magic for those who have not ventured into this area of study and practice yet.  The essays explore different subjects of study, as well as different traditions – providing the reader with insights into subjects, some of which are rarely discussed.  Essays include works on the Archangels, Fallen Angels, Legends of the Fall, Enochian Magic & Dr John Dee, Madeline Montalban, Azazel & Shemyaza, Lucifer, The Sidhe, The Green butterfly, The Goetia, Demons & Devils, Pacts, Grimoires from a Pagan perspective, The Thwarting Angels, Lilith, Holy Guardian Angels, Greco-Roman Winged messengers and Zoroastrian Ahuras and Daevas.  Contributors include authors such as Aaron Leitch, Dan Harms, David Rankine, Emily Carding, Jake Stratton-Kent, Kim Huggens, Michael Howard, Payam Nabarz and Stephen Skinner. See http://www.avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalogue/titles/both_sides_of_heaven.htm for further information.

 

::: THE GOETIA OF DR RUDD by Stephen Skinner & David Rankine

The ordinary hardback with dustwraper edition of this title is now SOLD OUT for the UK, as it has been in the USA for a while.  It has been brought to our attention that copies of the ordinary edition is in some instances exchanging hands for more than the deluxe (full leather) edition of this book, of which we have still got a handful of copies available for sale.  Information can be found at http://www.avaloniabooks.co.uk/sourceworks/goetia.htm – including costs, shipping and if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, a photograph of what the deluxe edition looks like.  We also have copies of the half-leather collectors edition of the Veritable Key of Solomon, as well as Book I & II in the Sourceworks of Ceremonial Magic series available. 

 

:::  INVOKE HEKATE – New Project

We are in the process of creating a small website featuring invocations and artwork related to the Goddess Hekate.  If you would like to contribute, please email sorita11@gmail.com for details.  You may also find “Servants of the Lightbearer” on facebook of interest – http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=85463831214&ref=ts    I will be hosting a private celebration in honour of Hekate in September this year, if you are interested in attending please get in touch.  It will be held in the Powys / Hereford area.

 

:::  Esoteric Book Conference in Seattle, USA

This is a new annual event being organised by Ouroborus Press’s William Kiesel and brings together a number of speakers and publishers from around the occult world.  As such this event should appeal to all Occult Bibliophiles out there!  Check it out at http://esotericbookconference.com/2009/

 

::: Pan’s Picnic

For those of you in London, you may want to check out Pagan Federation London’s Pan’s Picnic – details at http://www.pflondon.org/html/major_socials.html  It is in a couple of weeks time and will be taking place in the Queens Wood.

 

 

“Crystal is ice through countless ages grown

(So teach the wise) to hard transparent stone,

And still the gem retains its native force,

And holds the cold and colour of its source.

Yet some deny, and tell of crystal found

Where never icy winter froze the ground”

By Marbodius, circa 12th cent.

 

:::

 

Blessings,

Sorita d’Este

http://www.avaloniabooks.co.uk

http://www.sorita.co.uk

 

The Esoteric author and folklorist David Rankine will be giving a free talk on Friday, 29th May at the “HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN” philosophy and music festival in Hay on Wye.  This is the first festival of its kind in the UK and coincides with the week of the Hay on Wye Guardian Book Festival.

David will be speaking about the research he did with Sorita d’Este for their book “Visions of the Cailleach” (this is billed incorrectly on the festival program!)

The Cailleach is one of the most intriguing and significant figures in British folklore. Some tales portray her as a benevolent and primal giantess from the dawn of time who shaped the land and controlled the forces of nature, others as the harsh spirit of winter. Occasionally there are hints that she may represent the survival of an early sovereignty bestowing earth goddess, or her ancient nature-based priestess cult. In the last twelve hundred years the Christian overlay has both demonised and canonised her.

Tickets are FREE (though you have to book online to reserve a place to ensure that you have a place).  Go to  —— http://www.howthelightgetsin.org/ticket-sales/ and scroll down to 29th May, where you will find David’s talk on the Cailleach listed under “Myth and Magic”.

You will learn about about this unique figure of British mythology from one of the foremost modern esoteric researchers who is well known for his work in this field. For more information on the Cailleach and the book by Sorita d’Este and David Rankine see http://cailleach.avalonia.co.uk/

We hope to see you there!

elementalsmThis review of “Practical Elemental Magick” by David Rankine and Sorita d’Este recently appeared in “The Equinox – British Journal of Thelema”  – so we thought we would share.  Check out The Equinox here

Practical Elemental Magick
Working the Magick of the Four Elements in the Western Mystery Tradition

By Sorita d’Este and David Rankine

“This is a very impressive book from two prolific and respected occult authors.  The concept of Elemental Spirits is encountered frequently in occultism, but there has been until now no comprehensive guide to working with them.  I say comprehensive advisedly, for one of the great virtues of this book is it traces origins and alternatives very thoroughly, rather than laying down dogmatic rules with no background.  At the same time as offering in-depth information the book also retains considerable clarity.  The range of sources consulted is astonishing, and the work thus provides an invaluable resource for further research by the individual reader.  The material is usefully synthesised into a thoroughly workable practical system of magic; while offering sufficient alternatives for the reader who is so inclined to evolve distinct methodologies based on their own preferences.”

Note* Practical Elemental Magick is a companion volume to “Practical Planetary Magick” by the same authors.  Both these books are available from Amazon (USA / UK etc) and directly from the publishers http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalogue/titles/elemental_magick.htm

Dear All,,

[copy of the Avalonia Newsletter, 3 September 2008]

I have been enjoying a huge collection of little sample oils from conjureoils.com for the last few days. It took ages to arrive from the USA, and I very much expected it to not be all that great, but they are absolutely amazing. Incenses and oils are of course very much a part of this d’Este/Rankine household! Incenses and oils were in fact the first thing we talked about when we met each other for the first time in Atlantis Bookshop many years back – and it continues to be a topic of discussion today! From the practice of aromatic smokes rising to the heavens as an offering to the Gods and Spirits, or as propitiation, protection or purification – incenses and oils do play an important part in magical and spiritual practices today as they did throughout history in every culture, on all the inhabited continents of the Earth. Amongst the most famous is probably frankincense and myrrh, two of the three gifts which were given to the Christ child by the three Magi, both also ingredients which were extensively used by the Ancient Egyptians. In fact it could be said that the Egyptians perfected the art of aromatics. Some of the perfumes s they made have retained their fragrance for more than 3000 years! One such famous example being an aromatic ointment which was discovered in the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922 and which is believed to have been made around 1350BCE ! It contained both frankincense and balsam amongst its ingredients. Cleopatra was famous for her love of aromatics and it is said that when Mark Antony first encountered the barge on which Cleopatra was travelling “The winds were love-sick when from the barge, a strange invisible perfume hits the sense of the adjacent wharfs…” (Plutarch).

Here in Wales, David and I are working at getting Practical Elemental Magick completed for release in the next couple of weeks. Its all on schedule for a change, so that is good! There is so much material we are including from work we have done together over the last few years that we hope that it will be something which will open up the field of elemental work to further study and experimentations in the coming years – like planetary magick, it is a subject which is much neglected and often misunderstood.

I am also very pleased to say that Horns of Power (Manifestations of the Horned God - see http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalog/?page_id=59 for details ) the anthology containing essays by scholars and mystics writing about different Horned Gods and their experiences of working with or encounters with the Horned God, being received with great excitement by those who have read it to date. This is great news as I am planning another anthology at the moment with essays by Priestesses from all over the world, working in different traditions, and their experiences of trance work, mediumship, possession and “drawing down the Moon” and I am very excited about the submissions I have received to date as each contains something so thoroughly unique and beautiful that it will greatly enhance the experiences, techniques and understanding of these workings which are so rarely spoken about.

I hope that this finds you well, whoever you may be and wherever you find yourself,

Blessings

Sorita d’Este

Ps. According to my copy of Llewellyn’s Magical Almanac 2008 the fragrance for 3 Sept. Is Honeysuckle, and 4 Sept. Nutmeg, followed by Thyme on the 5th. Why this would be I haven’t a clue, but I thought it was interesting enough to include!

http://www.avalonia.co.uk

http://www.avaloniabooks.co.uk

————–)O(—————
Avalonia Newsletter: 3 September 2008

Table of Contents

1 * Special Offers on Books
2 * Incense & Oil Supplies
3 * Wicca Magickal Beginnings
4 * The Esoteric Book Review~
5 * Root Magic
6 * Forthcoming Events

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1/ Special Offers on Books

Our current Avalonia Books special offer is on the new edition of Circle of Fire and Wicca Magickal Beginnings.

Buy two of our most popular books together and save £5.50!  Both books will provide individuals wishing to deepen their understanding of the Wiccan Tradition with plenty of material to do so.  Circle of Fire is provides practitioners with a solid foundation of symbolism and practice from where to build their knowledge and understanding of the practices of the tradition; Wicca Magickal Beginnings provides insights into the historical origins of the tradition which sets aside the endless debates about lineage in favour of looking at where the practices may originate from prior to being popularised by Gerald Gardner in 1950’s England.  This illustrates how the majority of practices and beliefs dates back decades and in some instances many thousands of years prior to his influence and hints that Gardner may have been telling the truth when he claimed he was initiated into the New Forest Coven in the late 1930’s.

If bought together you will save yourself £5.50 (with free P&P) – but only if bought from our “offers” page – http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalog/?page_id=47 between now and the 21st of September 2008.

————–)O(—————
2/ Incense & Oil Supplies

But back to fragrant smokes and oils, if you are interested in exploring these more in the coming months, the following suppliers might provide a good starting point for you providing between them ready blended incenses and oils, as well as the ingredients you will need to make your own:

Amphora Aromatics – www.amphora-retail.com

Baldwins – www.baldwins.co.uk

Conjure Oils – www.conjureoils.com

PeacockAngel – www.peacockangel.com

StarChild – www.starchild.co.uk

————–)O(—————
3/ Wicca Magickal Beginnings

It seems that our work is currently really getting around and creating a buzz in different circles. A good example of this is Wicca Magickal Beginnings, which explores the history of the practices and beliefs of the Wiccan Tradition in the context of magickal practices spanning thousands of years. This week it has created quite an interesting discussion on the LiveJournal of author and rock star Rodney Orpheus (him of the “Cassandra Complex”), if you are interested in Thelema and Wicca, you may find the discussion there of interest, see: http://rodneyorpheus.livejournal.com/546888.html for details. Also to see what Pagan Dawn; Mike Howard at the Cauldron and others think of Wicca Magickal Beginnings see: http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalog/?page_id=61 (scroll down to the bottom of the page)

Wicca Magickal Beginnings forms part of our current special offer, if purchased with a copy of Circle of Fire – see http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalog/?page_id=47 for details.

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4/ The Esoteric Review

Remember that new book reviews are also frequently being added by our team of reviewers to the Esoteric Book Review – http://reviews.ritualmagick.co.uk/ recent reviews include a number of titles related to Fallen Angels, The Book of Enoch and a couple of books by fantasy writer Storm Constantine. There is a pile of books which are all making their way to reviewers at the moment, so we hope to be adding more reviews very soon.

————–)O(—————

5/ Root Magic

John Canard whose first book “Defences of the Witches’ Craft” was also released last month is so pleased with the response he has received so far to this book that he has decided to give in to my pleas to write the first substantial book on the history and practices of English Root Magic. He is collating his notes now and will be adding advice and guidance for those wishing to explore English Root Magic and the seven year cycle of training which he followed with his own mentor some decades ago. Defences of the Witches’ Craft’s first review has also just been published on Amazon.com and is available along with information on the book at http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalog/?page_id=89 - a great little book for anyone who is interested in curses and counter magics as used in England today and in the last few hundred years. (Whether out of curiosity or out of need for such charms)

John also asked me to mention that he has set up a group on Facebook for people interested in discussing Root Magic – it is called “Root Magicians – Worldwide” and can be found by searching for “Root magic” on Facebook or going straight to http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=74865125064

————–)O(—————

6/ Forthcoming Events

6 September 2008 ** This Saturday – The Colours of Chaos ***
-see http://chaotopia.co.uk/coloursofchaos.html for more information. Tickets WILL be available on the door. Speakers include: Julian Vayne, Dave Lee, Soror Res, Susan Leybourne etc. Conway Hall, London.

4 October 2008 *** The Thelemic Symposium ***
See http://www.dowhatthouwilt.com/symposium/ for details. A whole bunch of speakers on Aleister Crowley’s Thelema, The OTO etc. Oxford, England. TICKETS ARE SOLD OUT, but worth checking out as there might be a waitinglist.

4 October 2008 *** Qabalah Through the Worlds – Workshop by David Rankine ***
Some details at http://www.ritualmagick.co.uk or http://www.avalonia.co.uk/events This is an advanced workshop on Qabalah and Magic(k) exploring practical techniques. Venue: The Atlantis Bookshop, Museum Street, London.

18 October 2008 *** The Halloween Festival – London ***
This yearly festival is usually quite a bit of fun, lots of dressing up, music, stalls and talks – see www.paganfestivals.com for details.

8 November 2008 *** Witchfest International, Croydon , Surrey / London ***
Speakers this year include Prof. Ronald Hutton, Sorita d’Este, David Rankine, Rufus Harrington, Cassandra Eason, Kate West, James Bennett, Ralph Harvey, Teresa Moorey, Rhys Chisnall , Tam Campbell & many more. See www.witchfest.net for more details and booking information.

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“Working Towards Expanding the Esoteric Horizons”

http://www.avalonia.co.uk

http://www.avaloniabooks.co.uk

————–)O(—————

The Magickal Beginnings of the Practices – an introduction to the book Wicca, Magickal Beginnings

By Sorita d’Este and David Rankine

More information available from www.avaloniabooks.co.uk

Over the last few months, many people – some of whom have not yet read our book Wicca Magickal Beginnings have written to us, or asked us in passing why we wrote it. This is a complex question and one which can probably in part at least, be answered by this extract from the introduction we wrote for the book.

All books have a moment of conception, and this book was born out of a discussion on the origins of the Wiccan Tradition as known today, with some of our students in late 2001. Whilst debating the possible starting point of this magickal tradition, we realised that all the evidence being presented was focused on the people who were the early public face of the tradition and their contemporaries. Yet this is a tradition which is also called a ‘Craft’ and which is an experiential tradition where personal experience is paramount for the understanding of the practices and beliefs. So why were we debating the origins of the tradition in terms of who said or did what?

Has Wiccan history tied itself into knots of personalities in an effort to conceal its true origins? Was there something we were missing? Why was it that whilst some people claimed that the tradition was the continuation of a very ancient Pagan religion, others stated that it was created (or compiled) in the 1950′s or 1940′s in England? Why was it that Gerald Gardner was greatly respected as the ‘Father’ of the modern movement and simultaneously viewed as a charlatan? Could it be that in an effort to cover up the ludicrous and unsubstantiated claims that the tradition originated in the Stone Age (or thereabouts) the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction and got stuck? We agree that an academically sound historical foundation will provide more credibility to a tradition and its practitioners, but did that come at a price? What was being sacrificed in order to lend credibility to the tradition? What really made Wicca, Wicca?

Having asked ourselves all these questions again and again over the years, sometimes obtaining different answers to the same questions based on changes in our perspective, we found that ultimately Wicca remained a mystery tradition at its heart. The practices and beliefs could only be fully understood through direct experience thereof and it was through this that the tradition could be best defined, not through the endless debates about lineages, initiations and personalities!

We set about systematically researching the origins of the practices and beliefs which were passed to us through our initiators and colleagues. Our preconceptions were constantly challenged as we explored the origins of the practices and beliefs from different angles in an effort to find possible solutions to the question of when and where the tradition may have originated. We separated the rituals into their component parts, then looked at each individually and even divided them up into smaller parts, before finally putting it all back together creating a colourful mosaic with our findings.

Faced with several possible interpretations based on the evidence we correlated, it became clear that although it remained possible that Gerald Gardner may have created the tradition, it was certainly not that plausible in comparison to some of the other conclusions that we reached. In fact, at this stage of our research we feel that it is most likely that Gardner was not that much of a charlatan after all, but that his accounts of initiation into an existing tradition, upon which he later expanded, were truthful. When stripped right back, without the many additions and evolutions it has undergone since the 1950′s, Gerald Gardner’s ‘Witch Cult’ appears to predate him by at least some years.

We did of course realise from the outset that this would be a controversial conclusion for some readers and as such we present the practice-based evidence in this volume in a way which allows for individual interpretation. We also focused on the component parts which were common to all the traditions, both esoteric and exoteric, that we have personal knowledge of. This means that whilst we touch on the subject of deity, it is important for the reader to understand that theological debate is not within the scope of the work presented here. The individual beliefs in the Goddess and God vary, in some instances significantly so, between traditions in existence today. Additionally, we have not included evidence or debate on the inclusion of many of the folk practices which are found in some Wiccan groups today, such as May pole dancing at Beltane or making Brighid crosses for Imbolc. These practices were well known throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as the countless books and magazine articles published in those eras attest to. As such their inclusion might be incidental. Moreover, they are not considered relevant by all of the traditions and as such, though of extreme importance to some, are not even considered by others.

The bulk of the material presented in the book is aimed at practitioners, be that of the esoteric (ie. initiatory) or exoteric traditions of Wicca. The book does not aim to cover in detail all aspects of Wiccan history, in fact we have for the most ignored the modern developments. The material presented can be used in a variety of ways, but will benefit those who are seeking to deepen their understanding of the practices the most as knowing more about their original context can of course help deepen the symbolic understanding of their place in our ceremonies today. It is possible that practitioners of other related pagan traditions who draw their inspiration for rituals by incorporating circle casting, the invocation of the elemental guardians at the four cardinal point and drawing down the moon, might also find this book of interest.
For more information, as well as for examples of some of the reviews this book has already received, visit www.avaloniabooks.co.uk

The Veritable Key of Solomon

By Stephen Skinner and David Rankine

Published by Golden Hoard, http://www.goldenhoard.co.uk (October 2008) available in a half-leather collectors edition (limited to 350), and a full leather Deluxe edition (limited to 25).

The Key of Solomon is the most famous and infamous of all the Grimoires and books of magic ever produced. Yet amazingly only one version of it has ever been published, which was compiled from diverse sections drawn from seven different manuscripts in 1889 by S.L. MacGregor Mathers, the occult scholar who was one of the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Stephen Skinner and David Rankine have explored the labyrinthine trail of manuscripts of the Key of Solomon around the world, and after studying dozens of manuscripts, decided on the two which best represent this grimoire tradition to provide the widest range of material in their new work, The Veritable Key of Solomon. The book reproduces the Keys from Wellcome MS 4669 and MS 4670, two previously overlooked French manuscripts scribed for a French aristocrat in 1796, and here translated into English for the first time. They are not the earliest, but they are the most detailed,containing three separate Keys which cover a wealth of material not found in the Mathers’ edition. These Keys are The Keys of Rabbi Solomon, The Key of Solomon King of the Hebrews and The Universal Treatise of the Keys of Solomon. One of these manuscripts was the one referred to by Bulwer-Lytton in his classic nineteenth century magical novel of initiation, Zanoni, and another one contains an early version of the material later found in the Grimorium Verum.

Example of a colour plate from the Veritable Key of Solomon by Skinner and RankineThe fame of the Key of Solomon probably stems from the fact that it was the closest thing available to a manual for the aspiring or practising magician wishing to evoke angels and demons during the Renaissance. Everything from how to construct the magic circle, how to determine the most auspicious times, what perfumes were most conducive to burn, how to prepare your tools, what prayers and conjurations should be used, how to make and use the pentacles which acted as magical foci for the appropriate intent, indeed all aspects of the process and practices were included. The Veritable Key of Solomon shows the influence of the Heptameron on these practices more clearly than the previous Mathers text, through such elements as magic circles, perfumes, seals and including all the planetary circles for the seasons. It is illustrated in colour, with more than twice as many talismanic pentacles as were produced in the nineteenth century text, and also is more inclusive of earlier material such as the Olympic Spirits, Planetary Intelligences and Spirits. These Keys contain the most comprehensive collection of practical planetary grimoire material ever seen in a book and greatly expand the scope of information available to students and practitioners.

The Veritable Key of Solomon also features a commentary on the provenance of the different families of Key of Solomon manuscripts, tracing their use through Renaissance Europe, and exploring the effects they had on society around them as they were copied and transmitted into ever wider circles. The Introduction includes commentary on all the families of manuscripts including the earlier Greek manuscripts, as well as a study of the other books attributed to Solomon. The appendixes include a list of the known Key of Solomon manuscripts and incorrectly attributed manuscripts. The huge number of extant manuscripts (more than 120) clearly demonstrates that the Key of Solomon was the most significant magical book for several hundred years from the late sixteenth through to the nineteenth century, and this work finally restores the Key of Solomon tradition back to its place in the heart of the magical revival.

For more information on this exciting new work, visit http://www.goldenhoard.co.uk for more information

The ordinary hardback edition can also be pre-ordered from Llewellyn – this is a black and white edition, as opposed to the full colour editions available from http://www.goldenhoard.co.uk

Dear all,

On the 1st of August it is Lammastide, or Lughnasadh, the harvest
festival or Minden Day. Of course this is a time of celebration,
especially if it is a plentiful harvest year. However, no matter how
plentiful the harvest might have been that year, on 31st of July in
1713 two lovers, Sarah and John, who had obtained permission from
their parents that very day to finally get married, were struck dead
simultaneously by lightning during the harvest. Their fate was
recorded by the poet Alexander Pope thus:

“When eastern lovers feed the funeral fire,
On the same pile the faithful pair expire:
Here pitying heav’n, that virtue mutual found,
And blasted both, that it might neither wound.
Hearts so sincere th’ Almighty saw well pleased,
Sent his own lightning, and the victims seized.”

Sarah and John might not have had much to celebrate that Lughnasadh,
but by meeting their end thus, they did ensure their own immortality
in the chronicles of history! Which is romantic in its own way!

Lugh, after whom the festival of Lughnasadh is named, is the son of
Ethne (the daughter of Balar) and Cian (the son of Dian Cecht). His
name is taken to mean `shining one’. Lugh was foestered with the
smith god Goibniu who taught him all the crafts and he also gained the
name `Lugh Lamfada’ (Lugh of the Long Arm). As the god of all crafts,
he was challenged at the gates of Tara and replied that he was a
builder, a smith, a champion, a harper, a warrior, a poet, a
historian, a sorceror, a physician, a cupbearer and a brazier! It is
clear from this why Caesar equated Lugh with the Roman god Mercury!
The spear of Lugh was one of the four treasures of the Tuatha de
Danann and ensured that no battle was ever won against who ever held
it in their hand and both Lugh and his spear played a key role in many
of the prophesies. His stories, myths, legends and worship is
primarily tied to Ireland, but also appears in other parts of the
British Isles – where he is also usually identified as both a solar
and otherworldly god, sometimes in association with the Gallic Goddess
Rosmerta. If you are going to celebrate Lughnasadh this year, make
sure to make an offering into the Earth from your cup for Lugh! After
all, it is HIS festival!

Here in Monmouthshire, David and I have been working to finish off
some of the projects we have been working on for a while.

HORNS OF POWER: Manifestations of the Horned God is due out soon.
Pre-orders open today and books will be dispatched on the release date
(7th August). All orders placed on or before the release date will
receive a 25% discount, so make sure to place your order now:
http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalog/?page_id=59 This unique anthology
brings together essays by a number of modern day scholars, priests and
mystics, exploring the many facets of horned gods – from Cernunnos and
Pan, to Veles, Khnum and Unicorns, there is something for everyone
interested in the Horned God (or Goddess!). More information can be
found by visiting http://www.avaloniabooks.co.uk

David has been putting the finishing touches to THE VERITABLE KEY OF
SOLOMON, which he is co-authoring with Stephen Skinner. A limited
edition of 25 copies full leather edition and a 350 copy half-leather
edition will be available in full colour directly from
http://www.goldenhoard.co.uk before the black & white hardback
edition which will be available from Llewellyn in 2009. Interest in
this project is phenomenal and those interested in finding out more
are advised to visit http://www.goldenhoard.co.uk now and register
their interest in the limited editions by emailing
admin@goldenhoard.co.uk to be placed on the mailing list. Pre-orders
will open later this week!

We hope that you and yours are well and, if like us you live in the
UK, that you are enjoying the rare spell of warmer weather and
sunshine we seem to be experiencing between the thunderstorms at the
moment!

Blessings
Sorita d’Este
http://www.avalonia.co.uk
http://www.avaloniabooks.co.uk

ps. Check out David Rankine’s new blog at http://www.ritualmagick.co.uk for
interesting articles on magick, grimoires and other related fields!

————***———–

CONTENTS:

1/ AVALONIA OFFERS – SAVE 25% on Climbing the Tree of Life & WIZARDRY!
2/ HORNS OF POWER, edited by Sorita d’Este
3/ DEFENCES OF THE WITCHES’ CRAFT by John Canard
4/ NEW BOOK REVIEWS (The Esoteric Book Review)
5/ QABALAH THROUGH THE WORLDS – Workshop by David Rankine
6/ REVIEWS OF WICCA MAGICKAL BEGINNINGS
7/ WICCA in the NEWS
8/ THE COMPLETE MAGICIAN’S TABLES – SPECIAL OFFER save 33%!

————***———–

1/ AVALONIA BOOK OFFERS

*Special offers for the whole month of August on*

*Climbing the Tree of Life*
RRP £18.00, order now for just £13.50
- This book by David Rankine provides the reader with a practical
manual of practical Qabalah as worked in the Western Esoteric Traditions

*Wizardry for the Uninitiated*
RRP £8.99, order now for just £6.99
- This book by Thea Faye provides the reader with practical insights
from a modern day Wizard on the practices, philosophies and beliefs of
a Wizard!

For more information on these book offers, see:
http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalog/?page_id=47

————***———–

2/ HORNS OF POWER, edited by Sorita d’Este
The raw, ancient and primordial force symbolised by horns has long had
associations with mystery, magick and power. Our ancestors often
envisaged their gods as anthropomorphic beings who encapsulated this
wild essence. Today the gods of the bull, the ram, goat and stag still
hold tremendous power and are invoked at rituals by a new priesthood
who continue to seek the wildness of nature and the inspiration that
it holds. These deities transcend the safe and known boundaries of
human structure, sometimes even luring us across the threshold of the
known into the unknown worlds.

This unique anthology brings together the work of more than twenty
dedicated scholars with that of modern day mystics. Through their
written and artistic contributions they illustrate just some of the
many manifestations of the Horned God.

A true cornucopia of both insightful and well researched essays takes
us from the well known Celtic Cernunnos and the legend of Herne the
Hunter, to the goat-footed Greek Pan, the lesser known Slavic Veles
and Egyptian Khnum. Horned serpents, unicorns, the tale of the Battle
of the Bulls in the Irish Táin Bó Cúailnge, the Welsh Gwyn Ap Nudd and
the faery Puck are all also considered.

Then a wild hunt as we journey with the mystics who share their own
experiences of the gods of the wildwood and untamed beasts. Each story
is as different as the person who experienced it – and each
illustrating in its own unique way a Horned God who is wild,
unpredictable, loving – and at heart a trickster. For those who wish
to dare a bit more than others, visionary meditation journeys to
explore the mysteries of Cernunnos and Gwyn Ap Nudd are included.
Horns of power would of course be nothing without the horns of beauty
of the feminine divine, and in the final section of this anthology the
reader is presented with essays exploring horned goddesses.

Whether through the mysteries of their existence, the vast scope of
their influence or the endurance of their survival through to the
modern day, each contributor provides a window into the wonders and
magick of the enduring Horned God.

Pre-orders can now be place at:
http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalog/?page_id=59 – if placed before or
on the 7th of August you will receive a 25% discount! (Free P&P on
all orders, worldwide!).

————***———–

3/ DEFENCES OF THE WITCHES’ CRAFT by John Canard

Have you been cursed? How would you know beyond your gut feeling and
everything in your life seemingly falling apart? Exploring the
traditional witchcraft of our ancestors, root magician John Canard
explains how to detect and reflect curses, and work out who is the
most likely person cursing you.
He details how curses can be fought using a range of tried and trusted
old charms like witch bottles, witch balls, rowan and red thread,
magick squares, and medieval charms, and how you can enlist
supernatural help from beings like angels and church grims. He also
describes how to make holy water for purifying your home, how to set
wards, and protect your home from all negative influences.

Discover how to use the witches’ own weapons against them, with
poppets, herbs, and stones. By taking the initiative and not being a
victim you can ensure that your life is unaffected by the malefic
intent of others, and turn the tables on cursers so that they receive
the negativity back that was aimed at you. John Canard gives clear and
concise explanations of the practices and the underlying magickal
principles, making this work an invaluable manual of protection that
will dispel the negativity of cursers and cursing from your life.

This book will soon be available for ordering from
http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalog/?page_id=89

————***———–

4/ NEW BOOK REVIEWS on the ESOTERIC BOOK REVIEW

Recent reviews include the WITCH SCHOOL first, second and third degree
books by Rev. Donald Lewis-Highcorrell; Qabalah of the 50 Gates by
Steven Ashe, Priestess of the Forest by Ellen Evert Hopman; and the
GODS WITHIN by Jean Williams and Zachary Cox. For details see:
http://www.ritualmagick.co.uk/reviews

————***———–

5/ QABALAH THROUGH THE WORLDS – Workshop by David Rankine

The Qabalah underlies the magickal systems of the Western Mystery
Tradition. Yet many of its most effective practices have been ignored
or forgotten in recent centuries. This workshop will focus on
exploring techniques which can be applied to creating magickal change,
such as the development of Ruach ha-Qadosh, the power of prophecy
referred to in the Old Testament.

Details of this advanced and practical workshop by David Rankine on
the 4th of October in London’s ATLANTIS BOOKSHOP can be found at:
http://ritualmagick.co.uk/121/?page_id=72

————***———–

6/ REVIEWS OF WICCA MAGICKAL BEGINNINGS

This book by Sorita d’Este and David Rankine which explores the
magickal roots of the practices found in modern day Wicca is causing
quite a bit of debate amongst readers already. Good or bad, we are
always interested in the opinions of our readers, so make sure that if
you reviewed this book you let us know, likewise you are welcome to
contact us directly! This is what the author Michael Howard wrote
about Wicca Magickal Beginnings in THE CAULDRON Magazine:

“WICCA: Magickal Beginnings … . This is a very interesting study of
the possible historical origins of the ritual and practices in modern
neo-pagan witchcraft or Wicca. The authors begin by examining the word
“Wicca”, the various attempts pre-Gerald Gardner to revive witchcraft
by occultists such as Aleister Crowley and his American disciple Jack
Parsons, and the influence on the modern revival of the seminal works
of Jules Michelet, Charles Godfrey Leland, Sir James Frazer, Dr
Margaret Murray and Dion Fortune. They then go on to postulate the
origins for the Book of Shadows, scourging, the three-degree
initiation, the Wiccan Rede, skyclad rituals, the athame, the magickal
circle, Drawing Down the Moon, the Charge of the Goddess, the Great
Rite, Sabbats, the pentagram, the Mighty Ones, Cakes and Wine, the
four quarters, Cernunnos as the Wiccan name for the witch god, chants,
the elements and the Theban magickal alphabet, and their possible
historical antecedents. From their extensive research they conclude
that Wicca is a continuation of the medieval tradition of grimoire
magic, supplemented with material from the Hermetic Order of the
Golden Dawn and the OTO either by persons unknown before Gardner’s
initiation into the New Forest Coven in 1939 or later by Gardner and
his associates. They claim that when the GD and Crowley material is
removed from modern Wiccan rituals what is actually left is `a bedrock
of grimoire materials with fragments of folk practices which would fit
in with the idea of the continuation of a genuine tradition…’ This
claim is of course, based on the assumption that the New Forest coven,
which some die-hard skeptics refuse to believe ever existed, was not a
figment of Gardner’s imagination and that he did not just cobble
together the rites of Wicca from books. Personally, I would go along
with d’Este and Rankine. Highly recommended”

(Michael Howard, Cauldron Magazine, #129, August 2008)

If you are interested in finding out what Pagan Dawn Magazine and
other reviewers thought of Wicca Magickal Beginnings, for more
information on this book, or if you would like to order a signed copy
now, go to: http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalog/?page_id=61

————***———–
7/ WICCA IN THE NEWS

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5h3dTVsWRFU2tnqfw7_D3C8W4ALywD9234IU80

“Woman runs sword into foot during Wiccan ceremony” reads the headline
of this short news report of a woman who accidentally stabbed herself
in the foot with her sword during a good luck ritual in a cemetery,
and somehow escaped with just a warning from the police!

————***———–
8/ THE COMPLETE MAGICIAN’S TABLES – SPECIAL OFFER save 33%!

This book which is being described as the definitive tables of
correspondences produced to date, replacing the outdated book 777 by
Aleister Crowley in leaps and bounds, is available at a 33% discount
for the entire month of August to UK buyers who click on this link.

RRP £30.00, OFFER PRICE £20.00 with FREE Postage & Packaging (UK).
Shoppers from outside the UK can still order this book, but due to a
significant increase in postage charges (this is a heavy, hardback
book), prices vary. Check out this link for details:
http://goldenhoard.co.uk/2/?page_id=45

The Complete Magician’s Tables These more than 888 magical tables are
the most complete set of tabular correspondences covering magic,
astrology, divination, Tarot, I Ching, Kabbalah, gematria, angels,
demons, pagan pantheons, religious and mystical correspondences ever
printed. They are more than four times larger and more wide ranging
than Crowley’s Liber 777.

The source of the data in these tables ranges from unpublished
manuscript mediaeval grimoires and Kabbalistic works, Peter de Abano,
Abbott Trithemius, Albertus Magnus, Henry Cornelius Agrippa, Dr John
Dee, Dr Thomas Rudd, Tycho Brahe, MacGregor Mathers, (and the editors
of Mathers’ work, Aleister Crowley and Israel Regardie), to the most
modern theories of prime numbers and atomic weights. The sources
include many key grimoires such the Sworn Book, Liber Juratus, the
Lemegeton (Goetia, Theurgia-Goetia, Almadel, Pauline Art), Abramelin,
and in the 20th century the grimoire of Franz Bardon.

All this material has been grouped and presented in a consistent and
logical way covering the whole Western Mystery Tradition and some
relevant parts of the Eastern tradition.

To order a copy of The Complete Magician’s Tables now at the special
price of just £20.00 go to: http://goldenhoard.co.uk/2/?page_id=45

————***———–

We are passionately working to make magick manifest.
Expanding the esoteric horizons.
Towards becoming Magick.

————***———–

http://www.avaloniabooks.co.uk

http://www.avalonia.co.uk

http://www.ritualmagick.co.uk

————***———–

This is the Avalonia Newsletter
To subscribe go to:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/avalonia_news/

————***———–

Posted to the Esoteric Book Review with permission of Avalonia
(c) 2008 Avalonia

Wicca: Magickal Beginnings

by Sorita d’Este and David Rankine

Published by Avalonia, 2008

Available from: http://www.avaloniabooks.co.uk

If we look at the arguments people have over Wicca, the biggest one is generally whether “Gardner made it up” or not. He introduced ‘The Craft’ to the public in 1951, claiming that he’d been initiated into a system which was already in existence, not one that he invented himself. Since then we’ve found evidence that Gardner certainly changed parts of it later (as did Doreen Valiente and others), but the question over whether he really found an existing tradition remains.

The authors of this book decided not to focus on the big names like Gerald Gardner, but instead trace the origins of Wiccan practices. These are, after all, the things that make Wicca what it is – the ceremonies, tools and systems.

And this is where the trouble is going to start, because many people now see Wicca as primarily a pagan Earth-religion. Early ‘Gardnerian’ Wicca (before it was called that) was very different in some ways: more like an initiatory system of ceremonial magic with some witchy themes. People are quite angry on both sides about whether real Wicca today is the initiatory type, or one that should be open to all.

So what does the book say about this? Well, the first conclusion is that – even if Gerald did make it up – the systems Wicca draws together go back a long way. The early chapters are interesting, but the sections on the Athame, Magic Circle and Calling the Quarters are brilliant. There is a lot of information here for Wiccans who want to know more about where their practices come from: specific parts are traced to the Lesser Key of Solomon or John Dee and Enochian Magic, but beliefs such as only walking sunwise around a circle go back strongly to Egyptian times.

The chants and verses are also examined. ‘The Charge of the Goddess’ is analysed in detail, as are some of the more common chants such as the Witches Rune. This is where the arguments will begin again, because the authors point to some sources that many people won’t like. They show just how much of the Charge of the Goddess comes straight from Aleister Crowley, who isn’t always a popular figure with modern wiccans. Doreen Valiente re-wrote much of the Charge from the original version, claiming she wanted to reduce the amount of Crowley material in it, but then replaced it with more! In fact, Valiente doesn’t come out of this very well at all, although the authors politely use phrases such as “she may have been mistaken…”.

I already knew some of these origins before reading this book, but the level of detail here really adds something. It makes a difference that the authors are practicing Wiccans with experience in ceremonial traditions, because finding the sources sometimes depends on understanding exactly what each ritual represents. Unfortunately, the answers aren’t always going to be what wiccans want to hear. At one point the list reads “Crowley, Lesser Key of Solomon, Crowley, Christianity”. For wiccans whose path may be primarily a pagan religion, this isn’t going to go down well.

It doesn’t have to offend, though. By emphasising the link to ceremonial magick, the authors actually reinforce Wicca’s connection to original European witchcraft. Cunning Men are well known to have worked from books on astrology and texts such as these, but included here are also illustrations of witches working in a similar way. One illustration from 1715 shows a woman in a double-circle commanding spirits with a wand, following instructions from a book on the ground.

So, the big question: Do the authors claim that Wicca has a beginning that goes back before Gardner? Well, I’m not going to tell you. Finding out is half the fun of this book! They set out a number of possibilities, and discuss the evidence for each before picking one based on their own opinions. Regardless of whether you agree with their conclusions, people are already so divided on this topic that it is likely to be a very controversial book.

Because of that, I expected ‘Wicca: Magickal Beginnings’ to sell very quickly. (I didn’t expect it to sell every copy of its first print run in approximately three hours, however!) What was a nice surprise was how useful it will be to wiccans in their daily practice – knowing the roots of the tools and ceremonies really added a lot to my appreciation of many areas, and I loved reading about them. Some of the references are put in just for fun (and clearly labelled as such), but quite often the conclusions are a little different to those the wiccan community usually assumes are the case.

The first printing isn’t free from mistakes: an errata sheet is included (humourously claiming that the minor spelling errors are all the fault of Hermes, the mischievous God of communication). The rest of the presentation is good though, and it becomes a real page-turner when you find a part of wiccan practice you feel strongly about.

The Charge of the Goddess has been analysed before, and so have some of the other topics. What we rarely see is all of these collected together in one place, by people who know the tradition from the inside. One of the authors’ previous books (“The Guises of the Morrigan”, on the Irish Goddess) did a great job of this. It collected together all the relevant facts from original texts, and listed all the sources in one place. If you wanted to know every time the Morrigan is mentioned bestowing Sovereignty, it wasn’t easily available on one page until then.

Magickal Beginnings follows the same pattern, pulling together all the subjects that will interest wiccans, but which are usually too diverse to be found in one place. Readers who want to go further now have a valuable set of links to excellent texts. (The bibliography at the back runs to 16 pages…) By covering the ceremonial topics as well as looking at themes on the pagan side such as Cernunnos, I think Wicca: Magickal Beginnings is going to become a vital part of many wiccans’ bookshelves.

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