FOAM OF THE PAST
edited by Steve Blamires
…Fiona Macleod was clearly a gentlelady of breeding and intellect. She could be trusted. She was almost ‘one of us’ – but not quite. It was this slight difference that allowed her to deal with dark and frightening characters and subjects in a way that gave them the glamour of the Celtic Otherworld in an intriguing and believable manner. She was not threatening or dangerous in herself and she opened up a whole new world of language, ancient songs, poems and proverbs that had never before been presented to the English-speaking peoples south of the Scottish Highlands. Her subjects were taboo for other writers but she dealt with them in such a matter-of-fact way they came across as completely normal and routine. This somewhat disturbing treatment gave them an edge, an excitement, which was captured in her eloquence and strong use of dialogue.
Who better to present a new anthology of Fiona Macleod’s writings than Steve Blamires, author of The Little Book of Great Enchantment, a wonderful biography of William Sharp, and The Chronicles of the Sidhe, a ground-breaking analysis of Fiona Macleod’s entire oeuvre? Foam of the Past is the ‘selected writings’ of Sharp’s channelled pseudonym, who became a darling of Victorian readers and one earnestly courted by the fin-de-siècle ‘Celtic Twilight’ movement. Both writers, whether flesh or spirit, can be said to be prolific and Blamires collates a unique selection that mines a rich seam of popular work as well as previously unpublished material. This collection, not to be missed, includes provocative dark tales, early church musings, mystical ecritures, reveries of nature, political polemics, and various delightful vignettes. A gleaming new jewel for Scottish literature and Gaelic culture.
COMING EARLY 2014
LIBER NOX: A Traditional Witch’s Gramarye
In this new concise and important treatise Michael Howard delineates between various modern neo-pagan Wiccan traditions, cunning folk traditions, heathen folk or the ‘pagani,’ and an assortment of ritual magicians and pathworkers in order to present a ‘gramarye’ distinctly for those who aspire to the ‘Old Craft.’ An experienced practitioner, writer, researcher, folklorist and magazine editor of the respected witchcraft magazine, The Cauldron (since 1976), Howard elucidates important elements of the Traditional Craft, including preparation rituals, tools of ‘the Arte,’ fellowship of the coven and the casting of circles, finally taking us through the ‘Great Wheel of the Year’ and the assortment of sacred rites as performed within. The seasonal rituals are based on traditional witchcraft and folklore sources and have been specially written for this book.
COMING EARLY 2014
IN THE GROVE OF THE DRUIDS
The Druid Teachings of Ross Nichols
A major study of the work of one of the seminal thinkers in Western Paganism. Ross Nichols was Chief of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids until his death in 1975. He was a man who believed passionately in the power of myth, poetry, ritual and drama, and in the interconnectedness of the world’s religious systems. This fascinating and wide-ranging selection of Ross Nichols’ work contains writings on key themes including ritual, festivals, mythology, symbolism, temple architecture and archaeology, and the links between Druidry and other ancient wisdom traditions. It is the essential resource for students of Druidry and lovers of Celtic spirituality.
SEASONAL OCCULT RITUALS
William G. Gray
Seasonal rites are as old as the hills on which they were once practised by most of humanity. Periodically, in accordance with the natural tides of nature and the times indicated by the sun and moon, people came together to make dedicated representations of the things that bound them closest to the cosmic wheel of life.
In this absorbing work, William G. Gray demonstrates the continuing relevance of such practices in modern society. The actions of the rites are performed in a circle which symbolises the cosmic course, the magical practices consisting of music, movement, meditation and meaning. Detailed scripts are given for conducting the quarterly rites of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, with complete texts of the chants, songs and invocations for each season.
Seasonal Occult Rituals was originally published in 1970, now available again for the first time in forty years.
COMING SUMMER 2014
BRECCIA: Selected Poems 1972-1986
Breccia is an inspired grouping of poems from celebrated poet, translator, anthologist and essayist, Pierre Joris. After a limited initial publication by Station Hill/ Guernica, this wonderful collection will be finally be available once again.
“[Breccia] is a showcase for poems from roughly twenty, sometimes rather fugitive, volumes, written and published during a time when Joris was living as a kind of postmodern nomad. One of the virtues of this in-gathering of work is that it makes clear the extent to which a sense of ‘nomadism’ — of being intensely in a place because one knows one has already left it — marks Joris’ poetry…. The sense of immediacy in his work is striking. But the images of weather and shifting light and shade that give so many poems their climate of feeling, always play against a complex flow of conceptual activity and the possibility, but only the possibility, of archetypal permanence…” — Don Byrd
“…This is honest, radical work, close to the beginning of a poetic disenchanted with its own airs and graces…Pierre Joris is a wonderful poet of remarkable breadth of concern and lyric occasion.” — Robert Kelly
“…The scope of the work is large, the thrust is synthesizing, the idiom particular and rich…” — Jerome Rothenberg
TO THINK WITHOUT FEAR
The Liberation of the Imagination
A new and previously unpublished book by the late Anthony Duncan, author of The Christ, Psychotherapy and Magic. In this extraordinary work Duncan openly and frankly examines the experience of psychic communication with “extra-terrestrial” contacts, and the leaps of faith and mutual acceptance on which such contact depends. Incorporating many of his own personal experiences, the book represents a sane and sensible discussion of a controversial subject by a Christian priest and mystic who has never been afraid to think and minister beyond conventional boundaries.
THE CURVE OF THE LAND
Set in 1980s Britain against the backdrop of ecological crisis, The Curve of the Land is a circumspect novel about our modern relationship with the Earth, which in this case is represented by the landscapes of western Britain. Jessica, an ardent but unfulfilled activist, joins a tour of megalithic sites hoping to find renewal from relationship burn-out and a sterile work environment. The characters on the tour are a good cross-section of the way ‘new age’, occult and mystical threads got grafted on to the more intellectual or ‘respectable’ British stock, throwing up eccentric cameos of people and comic situations. The mysterious atmosphere of the stones and her growing attraction for the charismatic tour leader builds to a final shamanic climax in the wilds of West Penwith, Cornwall.
Author of The Return of King Arthur: Completing the Quest for Wholeness, Diana Durham explores eco-shamanism, sex magic, goddess and ‘Gaia’ consciousness, as well as emerging archaeological and scientiﬁc ﬁndings pertaining to the sacred sites of Britain. Strongly influenced by Jungian psychologist Sylvia Brinton Perera’s Descent to the Goddess: A Way of Initiation for Women, The Curve of the Land follows the journey of a woman in contemporary society seeking to reconnect to an ancient land and share in its spiritual topography.
THE FAIRY REALM
While examining various belief traditions across Europe and the United States, The Fairy Realm consults an assemblage of anecdotal evidence as to the existence of fairies and other creatures that appear in fairy tales – giants, ogres, trolls, mermaids, brownies, wildmen, kelpie, puca and other mythological beings. Ronan Coghlan, whose works include The Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends, Handbook of Fairies, Irish Myth and Legend and The Grail, examines an array of alleged fairy sightings in a bold endeavour to find where fairies fit into the modern scientific concepts of the universe. Unlike myriad books churned out on ghosts and extraterrestrials, this book rigorously tackles the possibility of fairy existence, and in doing so dares to approach all manner of sceptical argument and ‘borderline science.’
THE BOOK OF THE BARDIC CHAIR
Kevan Manwaring (editor)
Foreword by Ronald Hutton
The Bardic Chair is awarded as a prize in competitions of artistic merit, held in a festival of the arts known as an eisteddfod. Born of the Celtic Tradition, initially in Wales, Bardic Chairs are a growing phenomenon – transcending cultural barriers – not just around the British Isles, but around the world. This book explains the background of Bardic Chairs, lists all the current ones on record, and explains how to set one up. This comprehensive guide features the modern Bardic Chairs of England and the Celtic Fringes – Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, Brittany, Isle of Man – and beyond, including Australia, North America, Canada and Argentina.
This all-new expanded edition updates the first edition published by R.J. Stewart books in 2008. It will include special features on the U.S. West Coast Eisteddfod and Gorsedd Ynys Witri – the Bardic Chair of Glastonbury; new profiles on Grand Bard, Tim Hall, and all winners of the Glastonbury Chair; Updated listings of all Gorseddau, the Bards of the Lost Forest in Birmingham, the Bardic Picnic in Northampton and Stony Stratford events; Updated websites, organisations, etc., including mini-profiles on members of the Silver Branch Bardic Network.
‘It’s quite possibly the druidic bargain of the decade’ — The Druid’s Voice
‘It continues to sum up a remarkable achievement, produced by an extraordinary city and community.’ — Ronald Hutton
“It’s a book I know I will be going back to, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it evolves in future editions.” — Bryn Colvin, The Druid Network
“So I cannot say for sure how old I am because I cannot see my beginnings. When I try to look, I’m peering into the lake bottom which is my genesis: things are stirred up, rising like muddy, formless wraiths that soon dissolve back into the dark, cold waters. There is a pressure in those depths on my eyeballs which makes my vision not true. Strong currents. Things touch me: debris? rotting vegetation? old loves? mouldering corpses? memories of my creation? It is deep, deep water and yet I can breathe it as well as air…”
Following The Giftie and The Fat Git Alan Richardson returns to the Arthuriad once more in order to tell the story of Lancelot du Lac, and not quite the one you might be used to from Malory, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Von Eschenbach or Chrétien de Troyes. His du Lac is part ancestral faery being, part “magickal current,” part historical member of the del Acqs family, and wholly an archetype resonating to the “various tetchy aspects” of the author’s personality. With his usual aplomb Richardson utilises the first person narrator to coax du Lac to tell a story by what he says, but also another, separate, parallel story by what he doesn’t say. The experimental nature of the book is what gives this story its peculiar impetus and readers will be treated to a probing, circuitous fiction in order to find their own unique du Lac, who at the end of the process should be as clear as an unmuddied lake.
BEYOND THE SUN
This book contains the formerly unpublished Inner Order Teachings of the missing order of the Golden Dawn – Whare Ra. Whare Ra managed to keep secret and above all keep running long after the other Golden Dawn magical orders had given up the ghost. Closing in the late 1970s, the Order was founded by Dr Robert Felkin nearly 100 years ago. From its base in New Zealand, Whare Ra became a secret forefront of occult teaching.
Nick Farrell presents the Second Order Rituals of this Order including the 6=5 and 7=4 in their complete and unedited state as well as the 6=5 training papers and lectures. He also examines the history of Whare Ra and provides commentaries to the rituals. Contained in this book are the 6=5 experiences of the poet WB Yeats and other adepts who went through the various initiations. It also contains magical exercises inspired by the Whare Ra material.
THE RITE OF THE GODGAME
Experimental Fiction and the Persistence of Religion and Magic
Experimental, fabulist and postmodern fiction is often seen to present an official break with traditional storytelling and Roland Barthes’ famous ‘Death of the Author’ announcement came hard on the heels of Nietzsche’s equally shattering “God is dead and we have killed him…” claim. In a robust study of the most experimental, self-reflexive and deconstructionist fictions of the twentieth century, Daniel Staniforth examines the presence of religious and theological discourses often found in tandem with a stated aversion to them, where authors attempt to break from tradition but get caught up in the trappings. Without confining the twentieth century to a vacuum, or splintering it through myriad separatist ‘isms,’ Staniforth explores the experimental fiction of our time as an extension of the European avant-garde and modernist movements, which in turn are informed by nineteenth century collectives. In a book that willingly sidesteps the boundaries between art, fiction, philosophy, theory and theology, he examines the presence of enduring tropes and how they incorporate appended discourses to provide for an ambient and metaphoric state within fiction. The direct analogue between artistic creations and the foremost creation; between the writer and the traditional god; between the reader and the receiver of ideology provide for a series of mirrored states that become active through language. Included in the ambitious scope of this work are various related commentaries on surrealism, hermeneutics, metatheology, liturgy, dualism, ritual magic, illusion, theatre, dream theory, cathartic theatre, cinema, game theory, ventriloquism, puppetry, labyrinths, automatism, cyberspace, mythology, channelling, poetry and the mysteries.
MUSIC AND THE CELTIC OTHERWORLD
Many cultures throughout history have made reference to an Otherworldly or spiritual dimension of music, and Scotland and Ireland are no exception. From the descriptions of the supernatural power of the ‘fairy’ harp in the Scottish ballads to the sacred music of God’s Heaven in the saints’ lives, Celtic sources provide a rich and varied selection of references to music and its perceived Otherworld power and influence.
First published in 1999 by Edinburgh University Press, this important book is the first ever comprehensive collection of references from primary source material in translation from early Celtic tales, folklore, ballads, place-lore, saints’ lives, poetry and proverbs. Dr. Karen Ralls is a noted medieval scholar, lecturer, conference speaker, historical sites tour guide and workshop presenter. Her books include Medieval Mysteries: A Guide to History, Lore, Places and Symbolism, The Templars and the Grail: Knights of the Quest, The Knights Templar Encyclopedia and Mary Magdalene: Her History and Myths Revealed.
“This is a fascinating study of an important and neglected theme in Celtic literature and religion. Meticulously researched and sensitively written, it highlights the importance attached to music in both pre-Christian and early Christian Ireland and Scotland and its particular association with the Otherworld.” – Dr Ian Bradley, University of St Andrews
“…an authoritative and accessible book on the spiritual dimension of music.” – The Scotsman
“A fascinating study which is highly recommended.” – The Cauldron
COMING EARLY 2015
PORTRAIT OF SWEENEY
The ever-enigmatic Hugh Fox explores the inner sanctum of an LA-based Irish priest revisiting his hometown of Athenry, Ireland. This homecoming manifests both psychologically and metaphysically, not only showing the conflicts in the psyche of a Roman Catholic priest but also taking on the wider issue of the social sea change that has been taking place in the last few decades with the secularisation of society. As with previous novels, Fox shows both depth and subtlety in the agonising of his eponymous hero, artfully portraying conflicts that have a resonance with contemporary society. He presents this in his accustomed and very vivid way through the conversations between characters and his acute and amusing observation of them.
Portrait of Sweeney could be read as a doff of the cap to James Joyce’s Irish portrait in that it also shows some Modernist éclat. The deeper psychological and philosophical concerns of the priest fittingly called Joseph are transmuted to the reader through Notebook entries that intertextually weave with the larger narrative, which in the author’s own words present a “primitive existentialist entirely in love with The Now, caught between Catholic theology and the idiot materialism/superficiality of the contemporary world.” Although principally known as a poet, Hugh Fox has amassed an invigorating body of fiction and it’s no wonder that Bill Ryan likens him to the “Paul Bunyan of American Letters, part myth, part monster, and, myself-as-subject, a magnificent non-stop storyteller.”
Whilst we make every effort to set realistic schedules, all publication dates should be regarded as provisional, and subject to possible change.
Books may be released either before or after the dates given.