Saturday, 27 April 2013

Ripe with Fire

Phenomenal review of Exu and the Quimbanda of Night and Fire by Nicholaj De Mattos Frisvold.
Reposted from the ever incendiary Ryan Valentine and can be read in the original context here:

This book.  Changed everything, most things, perhaps nothing.  Nothing is the most profound thing you can change, I think, change nothing and everything falls right into place.  If Pomba Gira is the fig tree then Exu is the fruit of it, low hanging and ripe as fuck.  In the corner where the candles burn, where the resins sizzle on the charcoals, where my book and my old .45 lay an old pocket watch now lives, threaded on the silver chain upon which old Gede’s grinning skull is hung.  That watch changed everything, perhaps nothing.  An old preacher left his children weeping in a hallway, left them forever, a passage that will go almost entirely unnoticed by the world at large but was marked for those few by an old pocket watch, a pair of boots, a handsome coat and an elegant old fishing pole.  I was the watch, that old pocket watch that somehow weighed the weight of the world.  I hung on that chain like daybreak.
I wrote once that the dead were a crowd of boko that gathered about the child of the west.  It felt that way, untethered as we are from our past, a hundred thousand ghetto-born not knowing the names of even their parents every day.  All you had to do was listen to them and they could teach you the secrets, any secrets, they came from all over and died here without names.  That old watch had a name though; a full name and a secret one and I knew them both.  It was the watch that changed the mandala of sigils we lay out in cascarilla and the fine pink sugar left when you evaporate good rum on the floor beneath the book, the gun, the burning candles and smoking resins. 
The whole of the universe as I understand it is on that floor, you can change my mind, you can make me feel things, you can haunt my dreams but to have moved a single grain of sugar on that floor is to have moved the worlds themselves.  At least, that is what has happened to me and it was Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold’s book "Exu & the Quimbanda of Night and Fire" which illuminated that new shape.  I am full of gratitude, a word which falls short of the feeling I think, that a resource such as this existed for me when it did.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about when I sat down to do this.  I am certainly not telling any of you fuckers the details of my blood-secrets.  The book is a nexus of feelings and personal relevance’s and sudden understandings for me, to which my ramblings about watches and sugar bear witness.  You should read it I think though, while it could be that it is my own sympathies talking here, I think this particular work (especially in concert with Pomba Gira) is his most powerful.  It feels to me like there is something of the man caught up in the work.  I know how it works, these devil’s bargains.  He made you bleed for it I bet, made you bleed all over it. 
Don’t be mad, but I am glad for it.  Makes the whole thing fucking amazing, closes the loop.  A book of devil’s bargains written as a devil’s bargain.
Untethered as we are, we do destruction and chaos like nobody else and to love in the midst of all that, to pursue your desire through that carnage is to love purely, I think.  That book is a crowd of devils doing what they love, doing what they do best.  It is a visceral experience for the reader to be jostled about in that number.  There will be a familiar face in that crowd for many of us in the untamed America’s, I’ll wager.  Some hustler or whore who had only dark seeds, who sowed them anyway and reaped their weight in gold. 
There is lots of lists and background research into parallels in old world necromancy and animism and ritual references.  I was pretty excited about that when I first read through the book last winter but all of that collapsed into a singularity, a watch and a devil and an untethered spirit.  Now that singularity is all I got, which I imagine is how it should be.  Obviously, I am not going to wax the scholar, too much emotion in this business already to even attempt it but I will point out that the scholarly meat of the text in no way isolates or alienates the reader.  Rather it stands as a testament to our disparate beginnings; for they are the reason the world’s legacy currently blossoms within the Creoles of the New World. 
Untethered we may be, loving like furies and demons amidst the wreckage of the old world but loving nonetheless.  That is the secret of the world and its legacy, the simple part that most usually escapes the scholars and their books of god algebra.  Death does not truly separate lovers of any kind; it enshrines them like the dark gods they are.
So this is my offering of thanks Nicholaj and it is heartfelt because the sacrifice at the center of this book was your sacrifice and it moved the worlds. 
(Ryan's own writing can also be read in our collection At the Crossroads.)

Monday, 22 April 2013

Crows in their high towers

We have received the fine 'Of the crows' edition of Apocalyptic Witchcraft

Full gold hand-grained morocco, blackened ends, slipcased and ribboned.
Handmade endpapers.
Cover charged with a murder of unruly crows.
Limited to 81 exemplars.

All copies of the fine edition have been reserved.
If you wish to order fine editions we strongly suggest that you email us to join our subscriber list.

Apocalyptic Witchcraft is still available in the standard hardback 'Of the doves' edition in black linen cloth and screen-printed dust jacket, limited to 1000 copies and both a digital and paperback Bibliotheque Rouge edition.

We are delighted with the book, and are sure that our subscribers will be too.

The crows are massing, and these are talismans wrought to make change.

Reviews for Apocalyptic Witchcraft continue to come in, underlining our conviction that this is an important work for the future of witchcraft.

Monday, 8 April 2013

The Rebirth of Witchcraft?

Our thanks to all who attended the overflowing party to launch Apocalyptic Witchcraft at the Atlantis Bookshop whose support of Scarlet Imprint is very significant to us. Rather than simply posting just the pictures, we'd like to give them a little context. To share wine and food is a significant ritual, not simply an excuse for excess.

Geraldine Beskin was kind enough to situate the book in the history of the Western Witchcraft revival evoking the propitious meeting of Gerald Gardener and Cecil Williamson at the Atlantis Bookshop, a very momentous event. We hope that Apocalyptic Witchcraft will be as momentous in what it provokes in this new generation of witches. The backing of this personal and radical vision from those who have far longer experience of witchcraft and its history is because they understand that the book connects with a current. It acknowledges the depth charges that pioneers such as Peter Redgrove set and continues the work. Change is here, and though it may provoke resistance in some quarters, it is unstoppable, because change is in the very nature of witchcraft itself.

Peter read a passage, aptly on pilgrimage, from the book. Standing, relatively steadily at this point, on the armchair that did not once belong to Aleister Crowley, despite the apocryphal mutterings. Atlantis provided such a nexus for those that undertook their own pilgrimage here. It remains the heart of occult London. A vital part of the message of the book that we retake physical space and orientate our practice in the modern world. This was a demonstration of the power that such seemingly simple acts can have.

The attendees were the perfect mix of friends and strangers, those new to any public events and those who have seen the project of Scarlet Imprint evolve alongside their own. It can be daunting to come to your first event, but any barriers dissolved (not just due to the Strega) as so many creative people found themselves sharing space. Our thanks to all. The pictures tell their own story. We hope that as the energy from the event spilled out into the night, that for those who attended, and those who were with us in spirit, a moment in the history of living witchcraft was marked.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

New Title announced: Serpent Songs

Dear Friends,

Our latest title, Serpent Songs, an anthology of the voices of Traditional Craft, is now available for pre-order.
Serpent Songs are the words and works of those who remain untamed, Cunning Folk, Exorcists, Pellars, Sorgin, Witches and Mystics. A collection of fifteen essays are introduced and curated by Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold through whose contacts we encounter the worlds of lone individuals and tradition holders, from both family and clan, and are allowed a rare glimpse into the workings of the more secretive practitioners of the Craft.

Traditional Craft is intimately bound to the spirit of the land. Serpent Songs contains the accounts of Cornish and Basque witchcraft, the relatively unknown Swedish Trolldom, the persecuted Bogomils, and the oft misrepresented Italian Stregoneria. Members of 1734, Clan of Tubal Cain, an ex member of The Companie of the Serpent-Cross are among those who choose to share their experiences and perspectives. Light is shed on such important figures as Robert Cochrane, Evan John-Jones and Andrew Chumbley amongst others, but more than illustrious ancestors, Traditional Craft is revealed as a living throng.

These are the voices of those who work the art and this book details their practices, struggles and wayward journeys. Serpent Songs takes a crooked path through the landscape, from historical studies to practical acts, from lonely stone stiles set between deep hedges to the warm entrails of animals and forays into the caves and woods.

Serpent Songs is a wide ranging work that deals with the issues of witch blood, taboo, the other, the liminal state, fire, dream, art and need as vectors of the Craft. What emerges is not a narrow definition of what it means to engage in Traditional Craft, but a set of shared characteristics and approaches which become evident despite the cultural gulfs in place and time. This is a book of praxis, beliefs and their own definitions of the art itself rather than those applied to it by outsiders. These are the voices who for the most part operate in silence but now wish to be heard.

Prelude:The Other Blood - Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold
The Witch's Cross - Gemma Gary
The Spirit of True Blood - Shani Oates
Lezekoak - Arkaitz Urbeltz
A Gathering of Light and Shadows - Stuart Inman and Jane Sparkes
The Fall and Rise of an English Cunning One - Tony MacLeod
Streghoneria: A Roman Furnace - Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold
But the House of my Father will Stand - Xabier Bakaikoa Urbeltz
Bucca and the Cornish Cult of Pellar - Steve Patterson
Exorcists, Conjurors and Cunning Men in Post-Reformation England - Richard Parkinson
The Liturgy of Taboo - Francis Ashwood
Trolldom - Johannes Gardback
The Bogomilian and Byzantine Influences on Traditional Craft - Radomir Ristic
But to Assist the Soul's Interior Revolution: The art of Andrew Chumbley and aspects of Sabbatic Craft - Anne Morris
Passers-by: Potential, Crossroads & Waywaring on the Serpent's Road - Jesse Hathaway Diaz
The Mysteries of Beast, Blood and Bone - Sarah Lawless

The standard Sylvan edition Limited to 750 exemplars.
A pinched crown octavo of 224pp bound in an olive cloth, boards stamped in gold and black.
Printed in black and gold on archival paper, and finished with patterned endpapers.
Ships week commencing May 13.
£40 plus postage.

UK pre-order
European pre-order
United States and Worldwide pre-order

The fine bound Serpentine edition
Limited to 64 exemplars.
Bound in a verdant green leather. The cover bears a serpent and vesica. Custom marbled endpapers, and edges gilded.
The book comes ribboned and slipcased.
We expect this to ship around six weeks after the standard edition. Please act quickly if you wish to reserve.
£200 plus secure postage.
Sold out.

Paperback and digital editions will be available in due course.

In other news:

Apocalyptic Witchcraft is now available in Bibliotheque Rouge paperback and digital format as well as the standard Of the Doves hardback:

Reviewers are calling it:
'the most significant book on modern witchcraft (or rather witchcraft) I have ever read.' - Midian Books

'This keen-edged tool carves a photo-perfect image–clean and stark as a bone–of a witchcraft which is largely unwelcome in both the strange and the mundane worlds. This witchcraft not only survives, but thrives, in the information-poisoned, brutally industrial modern world.' - Pennies from the Boneyard

'Grey expresses the core nature of witchcraft, though not through the lens of lineage, techniques, or historical developments. He focuses primarily on poetry, blood, and transformation. It’s a strange book. It both doesn’t seem to fit all together, and yet hangs together beautifully.' - My Own Ashram

'His is a witchcraft both messy and impudent, one that stinks of mud, blood and spunk - in a good way. One where the oft-ignored or sidelined aspects - the legends of human sacrifice, poisons, curses and The Devil Himself - are both represented and, on some level, embraced.'
- The Daily Grail

The London launch party for Apocalyptic Witchcraft will be taking place at the Atlantis Bookshop next Saturday, April 6 at 19:30 full details here:

We look forward to seeing many of you there.

Those waiting on the fine bound Of the Crows edition, we expect this to be completed in the next couple of weeks, this has taken a little longer due to a wait on the handmade endpapers.

We will be in touch personally with shipping info in due course.

With thanks to all of you for your ongoing support of the Work.

Our best to you all with the unfurling of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere,

Peter and Alkistis

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Living Traditions - Apocalyptic Witchcraft review

 Review courtesy of Living Traditions Magazine:

Apocalyptic Witchcraft
Peter Grey
Scarlet Imprint 2013

Apocalyptic Witchcraft offers a potent vision of witchcraft for a dark age, beautifully written in a direct if not poetic form, avoiding clich├ęs and modern forms. It is not a book of spells or a guide to this or that school because the whole text itself exudes sorcery. It is not a lineal read but wanders through poetry, visions, descriptions and text, it is flows like a river back to the source of the Old Ways.

The book itself has produced to Scarlet Imprint’s usual impeccable standard. The standard edition “Of the Doves” is an octavo book of 200pp bound in rough black linen cloth and limited to 1000 copies. The boards are stamped with white doves, whose hidden meaning is elucidated in the text. Lyrical typography and carefully chosen images communicate further understanding. The fine bound “Of the Crows edition” is limited to 81 copies. Bound in a hand grained morocco of hammered gold. The gold is charged with a murder of crows, a totem of the author. The ends are blackened. The book comes ribboned, slipcased and signed. Apocalyptic Witchcraft is interspersed throughout with ten hymns to Inanna and various images. (ed. note, fine Of the Crows edition is sold out but available in standard hardback, paperback and digital editions)

Grey offers a radical view of Witchcraft which is controversial, inflammatory and illuminating; it is a challenge to the mind and a call to the soul. Grey laments the way we have broken our covenant with nature and have become obsessed with technology and consumerism.  He rejects the dead forms of consumerist Wicca and hails the ancient dark ways and their relevance today, so often witchcraft has become a joke, a show even a circus however it is becoming dangerous again. Witchcraft is a cult of the other which must face the catastrophes that are destroying the modern world head on. Such concepts as “and ye harm none” means to be harmless and weak, real witchcraft is beyond good and evil. The true Witch has no fear has no fear of the wild and priapic image of the devil of the Sabbats of excess and finds modern sanitized view of the Horned God bourgeois and petty.

Grey offers a perceptive and well informed critique of Gardnerian and modern Wicca and draws a clear line of demarcation between operative and ritual witchcraft, traditional and modern forms followed by a powerful manifesto of what Apocalyptic Witchcraft is. Grey explores the nature of the apocalyptic vision and the power to dream. He also opens the mysteries of the Sabbat showing that it is not just a shamanic event but a survival of the earliest mystery cults. While so many witches may focus on the mysteries of the feminine in “the wolf sent forth to snatch away a lamb” Grey reclaims the role of the male witch, the wolf and the berserker.

Peter Grey is the co-founder of Scarlet Imprint. His previous work The Red Goddess has become the standard work (if there can be such a thing) on Babalon. Apocalyptic Witchcraft represents his mature understanding of these mysteries, working in conjunction with Lover and accomplice Alkistis Dimech. It is a powerful and significant evocation of the true power of Witchcraft and once read will not easily be forgotten.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Atlantian Witchcraft

Look forward to seeing many of you in London this coming Saturday April 6 for the Apocalyptic Witchcraft book launch, if you haven't rsvp'd to the Atlantis Bookshop  yet, do drop them an email.