Showing posts from 2019

John Higgs - The Future Starts Here - Adventures in the 21st Century

Image John Higgs's other books are enjoyable, well written and sometimes downright inspiring, which is why I decided to buy this one. From the things people were saying, I was also led to think: This is going to be a feelgood book, like that newsletter 'Future Crunch', wherein you get the good news about the world to counteract the learned helplessness generated by the mainstream news. This generated a bit of resistance in me before I even read it; I certainly wouldn't describe myself as a miserabilist, but sometimes the statements people make to cheer us up are so poorly-researched or downright shallow that they can have the opposite effect. But I was mistaken. It's nothing like as simple as that. Yes, it's a book full of good information about the world today. But it has a larger purpose - to expose the endemic scourge of nihilism in the cultural mainstream. He traces 20th century optimism about the futu

Would You Know Yet More? The Runa Interviews with Edred Thorsson

Edited by Ian Read and Michael Moynihan This is one of many books that feature the words of Edred Thorsson, but it is the only one which involve an interviewer. The book consists mostly of the interviews conducted by Ian Read for his Rûna magazine, which ran from 1997 to 2009, plus a 2019 interview done by Joshua Buckley and Michael Moynihan. Ian Read supplies a foreword, and the text is nicely organized according to the themes of the questions, so it's possible to follow an idea through the relevant chapter. The themes include: - The Rune-Gild, Cosmology and the Gods, Monotheism and modernity; - Asatru and the neopagan revival; - The Woodharrow Institute; - The Goths; - J R R Tolkien, the Spear of Destiny and the Modern Mythos; - Tradition and Modernity; - Towards the Birth of an Odian Philosophy: Hans Naumann and Nietzsche's Ewige Wiede

Welcome to Paradise! and... Westworld? and Midsommar? Ozora Festival

It's evening, and very warm at Budapest airport. We get on the minibus shuttle - it's for Ozora Artists. Here's I'm an artist - I'm going to speak on 'Psychedelics and Magical Energy' at this gigantic psytrance festival. I have to admit my previous exposure to psytrance - two parties in the late 1990s/early noughties -was not encouraging. Naively, I was expecting 'psytrance' to mean 'psychedelic trance', but no-one was interested in psychedelics at all, only in pills and coke and squabbling over nitrous oxide hits. So I hesitated when I was invited to speak at Ozora, but not for long, because it did sound like something better than that. And it was. I meditate on the long, winding drive, and it's exceptional. I'm in a bliss of trusting to a guidance that took me through each moment of experience, a silent knowing that was there in some of my teenage acid experiences but which I'd mostly lost since. I feel as though I've co

Thug, Two Tales in Poésie Noire, by David Jonathan Jones

Image I was ready when the parcel fell through the door. It came with a bullet-hole in the wrapper. I opened it. The hole was on the front cover, just below and to the right of the head of a shadow. The shadow that mostly fills the rain-glossed pavement of the darkened street. Stalking prey in the urban night, the shadow looks down... The background is the bleak existentialism of New York cop noir, with its jazz, its hard liquor and harder drugs, its seedy clubs where the opportunity for deadly violence is ever-present. So elegantly. With so much fucking style. The car, radio Night voices and soft bebop, A blood requiem And this world is invaded by an ancient goddess and her cult of sacred murder. Skin, luminous dark, Axe like nothing of this world, Those still, ancient eyes. Like nothing I'd seen, Exotic beyond foreign,

History of the Rune-Gild. The Reawakening of the Gild 1980-2018, by Edred Thorsson - Review

Image A version of this book was first published in 2007 but this volume is really quite a new thing. A lot has happened since then. This volume is still principally a history of Edred Thorsson's own re-creation and involvement with the Gild, as should be the case, but it also honours those who have contributed to the Rune-Gild in the last few decades, including myself, by way of declaring an interest. This is 'volume 3 of a much larger project', which will start with a history of the Rune-Gild in ancient times and continue via the Rune-Masters of the late mediaeval and early modern period. Also, as evidenced by the substantial changes in this over the 2007 edition, it is not a final version but an 'ongoing chronicle'. Few esoteric organizations have as much interest in chronicling their own history. I am one of nature's archivists, so I like this. I think it's important

'The Private Unmentionable Gargoyle and Other Stories' by Hubert Tsarko

The Private Unmentionable Gargoyle and Other Stories by Hubert Tsarko (Publish & Print. Pontypridd, Dave Lewis 2018) This is Hubert Tsarko's first collection of short stories, consisting of tales from the early 1980s and later set in rural France, Greece and Spain. The first story sets the scene. It's told in first person, with the author leaving his bedsit in Leeds for France in 1980, somewhat down with his life and wanting something new. He is already commenting about how travelling changed him when - 'with so much exposure to the real world my personality was changing and I was now less inclined to do what people told me.' Hubert, aka John and I go back to the Leeds magical scene in the late 1970s, and I travelled with him for just one summer, in 1982. He is better known as a poet, but he has also been writing short stories for as long as I've known him. He writes engagingly of that first homesickness, that lonely, uncomfortab

Operation Mindfuck: Are the Discordians To Blame For It All?

Last November at Occulture Berlin I gave a talk, the video of it is here . The sound is a bit quiet and there are no pictures after a bit, so here is the text. Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia! Some of you will have come across that call and response. What's it about? Where and when did all that stuff start? What has it got to do with magic, or the present state of the world? And what has it got to do with our intimations of immortality? These questions are what this talk is about. Imagine, for a moment, it's around 1960, and some artists who are perhaps beginning to realise themselves as magicians start a prank. The prank results in millions of people waking up to the malleable nature of consensus reality, how it is shaped by desire and news and illusions. These people start using this insight to feed into their own practices, of magic and other things that aren't called magic but have a lot in common. These people grow a subculture of magic that you can get behind