Showing posts from 2023

C-Star vs E-Star: a quick rundown

This is a short piece from 2022, that used to be on the now-defunct site. For the last few years I’ve been aware of Dugin’s Eurasianist star glyph, via pictures of Russian nationalists standing in front of what looked a bit like a chaos star, the familiar eight arrows radiating out from the centre, though minus a circle and forming a square shape.  My chaos friends and I were a bit concerned about this similarity, because some people don’t look closely at things, and online reputation is a volatile thing. However, it wasn’t until recent months that the issue suddenly seemed to be all over social media. On top of this, a chaos magician friend in Sweden mentioned that there is a public perception over there of our beloved chaos star being associated with the political far right. So what is this Eurasianist star? It’s an invention of Alexander Dugin, a Russian nationalist who supports far right positions. His thinking is complex and (deliberately) confusing - a stew of ide

Democracy, Anarchy and Isonomia

Isonomia and the Origins of Philosophy by Koji Karatana I’ve read much of the work of Peter Kingsley, thereby getting a very particular view of Western philosophy - how Plato buried the Pre-Socratics under his system, how Aristotle delivered the final death blow to the ancient Hellenic lineage of mystical attainment and prophecy.  That view seemed complete when I acquired it, as is the tendency with rich, well-argued positions. Especially when there’s something you are looking for for yourself in that argument - in my case, a philosophical basis for my own path of magick and mysticism. Therefore I supported those ideas, I had skin in Peter Kingsley’s game.  So this book came along at a good time for me, having been put off Kingsley’s work by the increasingly rampant narcissism of his writings, culminating in the latest, his Book of Life .   Karatana builds an argument based on the idea of isonomia. I know, I’d never heard the word either. I initially misread it as ‘insomnia’. He expoun

Wyrd Times by Nigel Pennick

Nigel Pennick has written countless books, but only this one full memoir. The edition is the second in a series by Arcana Europa - ‘Wild Lives’. The first was Far Out In America by Wolf-Dieter Storl, which I review here.   The front cover of Wyrd Times is a montage which sums up a lot of the interior - Mr Pennick stands as a giant in a landscape of standing stones, a labyrinth and Hiberno-Saxon knotwork.  This is a life-and-times book, evoking that other country, the past. I remember much of what Mr P writes about as post-war London, being only a few years younger than him. This fascinating part of the book also introduces his eye for architecture and design, especially lettering. When we get into the 1970s much of the text is a history of his ‘underground’ publishing days, putting out many magazines of local (Cambridge) anarchist agitprop as well as an emerging theme of earth mysteries and local tradition. He

In Search of Smiles, by Andy Roberts

Hardback ISBN: 9781916266773 Paperback ISBN: 9781916266780 *OUT 10.06.2023* This is Andy Roberts’s fourth book of British psychedelic history and I think it’s his best. It’s a history of one Alston Hughes, more generally known as Smiles, the photogenic chap on the cover with his corvid friend. Smiles was a major distributor of the (excellent) LSD made by Richard Kemp and others of the ‘Microdot Gang’ who were busted in the 1977-8 police extravaganza known as Operation Julie.  The early chapters outline Smiles’s early life, giving a biography that adds depth to the stories we read of his later exploits. However, the book is carefully framed as an important bit of British psychedelic history, an area in which ‘Establishment’ narratives have dominated the discourse for too long. Andy writes about the directions his research for his earlier books on psychedelic history took him: ‘… one event repeatedly drew my attention: Operation Julie. This was the British government’s police-led init