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The Abbey Papers
The Abbey Papers
by Gareth Knight
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Towards the Inner Abbey...., 17 Nov. 2011
This review is from: The Abbey Papers (Paperback)
Before its dissolution by Henry VIII the Abbey was a group of buildings that facilitated prayer, meditation, service, but also served as a centre of deep learning. It was a self-contained autonomous zone for all facets of spirituality; a sepulchre of the soul, the Bodh Gaya, that inner temple that Christ urged his followers to keep spotless and without blemish. It was a space of reception - an enclosure of discovery - and in The Abbey Papers, celebrated teacher of the Western Mysteries, Gareth Knight, urges us to construct and inhabit such a place in which to seek those "inner horizons."

In order to build the framework he connects with the same soular sources that gave his spiritual mentor Dion Fortune The Cosmic Doctrine and The Esoteric Philosophy of Love and Marriage. In his own words he was "zapped by a trio of inner communicators" - and what emanates from these remarkable spiritual architects is a series of teachings and practical meditations which were later entrusted to the Gareth Knight Group in order to construct an "Inner Abbey" for the magical expansion of both individual and group consciousness.

The book was first published in 2002 with the subtitle Inner Teachings Mediated and Skylight Press now reissues the work with an additional series of communications received by Knight's daughter, the writer Rebecca Wilby, whilst working with the GK group. Her final chapter lends understanding to the opening sections, although through a stylistically different reception, and culminates with the Chapel of Remembrance ritual, a magical healing for war victims and those they leave behind. Taken as a whole, the work will serve to illustrate what Gareth Knight talks about in his recent autobiography, I Called It Magic, where he likens his connection to the inner planes to the obedience of a poet to his muse. It will also throw light on the magical machinations behind Rebecca Wilby's play, This Wretched Splendour, and later novel, In Different Skies, both of which explore collective cultural memory and the need for absolution amid the lingering horrors of the First World War. Gareth Knight attests to the products of this shared experience, which range "from rituals at Hawkwood, plodding through Flanders mud, my playing Amazing Grace on a church carillon over the old battlefields, to theatrical performances on the London stage, and an esoteric novel..."

Now published together for the first time, these evocative scripts will enrich the would-be seeker in a number of ways; a devotional inspiration for some and a manual for personal magical work and mystical techniques for others. Each reader is given a set of blueprints by which they may formulate their own Inner Abbey and make peace with the opposing forces that swirl around it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 6, 2014 11:32 AM GMT


Faversham's Dream
Faversham's Dream
by Anthony Duncan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Final Unction...., 17 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Faversham's Dream (Paperback)
In Faversham's Dream, notable theologian Anthony Duncan spins spools of modern spirituality into an enticing historical yarn. It is often said that history is written by the victors, the powerful and elite, and usually presented from the top down with the impersonal tales of Kings and Popes. Here, Duncan gives us a very human story from the bottom up, through the eyes of a 16th century commoner made to suffer the deeds of his powerful overlords. It is this very visceral and excruciating struggle that resonates through time, leaving a residue on the landscape for the sensitive souls that come after.

Whether by chance or divine providence, John Faversham comes across a volume of poems by a little known but enchanting 19th Century poet. Well rooted in the logical empiricism of his day, John is astonished to learn that this poet was not only a previous tenant of the very house in which he lives but also the sharer of a very specific dream. Thus opens a psychic porthole through which protagonist and reader are transported alike, to an alluring parallel story in the 16th Century. The characters reach across time in the weaving of this magical parable, one that doesn't conform to easy dualisms or a prescribed sense of ethics. The scientific mind must meet with its own Reformation of sorts as histories are made to confront themselves in the mirror.

British fiction has a long tradition of protagonists in the present finding some mystic trapdoor to the past - Peter Akroyd's Hawksmoor, Graham Swift's Waterland and A.S. Byat's Possession are three that immediately spring to mind. In such works the author must surrender to the magnetic field of history and allow him or herself to swept by unknown forces. Anthony Duncan yields thoroughly to what can only be an extremely uncomfortable time for an Anglican cleric to experience, where the corrupted church of Rome clashes with the puritanical brutality of the reformers, where successive monarchs purge and burn for one side then the other. Faversham's Dream is a miraculous portrayal of what it must have been like in the lower vestiges of society, where piety and loyalty can quickly become heresy and treason overnight. The sheer detail will delight English history buffs and the theologically curious. The novel follows the plight of one man and his family - and how atrocities of the few become the collective and repressed guilt of a nation. It is left to the irreligious John Faversham to offer final unction to the trapped souls of the past - but at a heavy price.


The Romance of the Faery Melusine
The Romance of the Faery Melusine
by Gareth Knight
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlapping translations...., 18 Sept. 2011
Little is known about the 15th Century trouvere, Jean d'Arras, except that he was one of the first to chronicle the story of Melusine and the noble history of Lusignans, somewhere between 1382 and 1394. Like most tales of the crusader period, the story has been reworked by various authors, including a much forgotten 1920s version by the French writer, André Lebey. The multifaceted Gareth Knight, known among other things for his scholarly work on mythological subjects ranging from the tales of medieval France to the subjects of the novels of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, serves up a rousing English translation that manages to retain some of the storytelling tone and spirit of both Lebay and d'Arras. Given his recently published and historically excellent Melusine of Lusignan & the Cult of the Faery Woman (RJ Stewart Books), Knight is uniquely placed to present this ancient tale in a new translation that will restore both authors to the English-speaking world.

As with the Arthurian legends, there are various competing claims as to the origin of Melusine legends, from the Scottish highlands to Celtic Gaul to the neighbouring Lowlands. Lebay's version tells the story mostly from the viewpoint of Raymondin of Poitiers who accidentally kills his uncle while out hunting and flees deep into the forest until he encounters a faery by a fountain. The faery Melusine then woos him into a mysterious marriage fraught with strange contractual obligations, from which springs the marvellous House of Lusignan. As with many such legends, the magical union between faery and human is so easily shattered when doubt and treachery are allowed to take root. Knight's translation stays faithful to the original text in that it allows itself to oscillate between the momentary historical digressions of the original author and the rip-rousing story itself. Of course, Gareth Knight is also a mythical novelist in his own right (see To the Heart of the Rainbow also from Skylight Press) so the story is always in very capable hands.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 6, 2014 11:30 AM GMT


Both Sides of the Door
Both Sides of the Door
by Margaret Lumley Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Legacy Life Locations, 18 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Both Sides of the Door (Paperback)
irst published in 1918 and chronicling events some five years earlier, Margaret Lumley Brown's Both Sides of the Door offers a marvellous peek into England on the verge of the great war. This little psychological novel packs a punch with its battle of a very different sort, one that turned the heads of the likes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The all new Skylight Press edition includes an introduction by Gareth Knight, the author of Pythoness: The Life and Work of Margaret Lumley Brown - and an informative post-script essay by novelist and dramatist, Rebecca Wilby. It also follows the book design of the 1918 original. As a best way to introduce the book, here are some excerpts from that essay, entitled Margaret Lumley Brown: Legacy, Life, Locations.

"In her later writings Margaret Lumley Brown made no secret of the fact that Both Sides of the Door was an accurate personal account of her own experiences, and although fictionalised with changed names the detail is substantially truthful.

She seems to have made an effort to develop her psychic faculties in the years immediately following the haunting incident, as evidenced by a notebook she kept around 1916-19 in which she recorded visual impressions of elementals and planetary spirits she encountered during her meditations. There was also the extensive automatic writing from the contact referred to in the book as "Charon". In her later article A Psychic Upheaval she identifies this contact more specifically as Oscar Wilde. "As to whether or not it was really he," she wrote, "I can only say it appeared to all of us to be so at the time."

During her period of obsession she found herself opening up as a channel for poetry, an art which she was fond of but had never before been able to produce so instantly and spontaneously. She began to pour them out, new poems and remembered ones, for hours at a time...

At the end of 1918, Both Sides of the Door was published in London by Arthur H. Stockwell, a popular publisher of the day, under the pen-name of Irene Hay. Wartime paper shortages ensured that the book was kept small and cheap, and copies of this original edition are now incredibly rare. It was well received though, and was still being discussed in occult magazines in 1923. She evidently sent a copy to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote back with great enthusiasm: "It is a unique experience so far as I know. I have been at this subject 30 years and have struck nothing of the kind." He suggested that he would like to meet Margaret and Isobel to discuss it further, though whether or not any such meeting ever took place is lost to history...

The site of the house where Margaret Lumley Brown underwent her ordeal is of some interest in itself, given that much of the haunting was thought to be related to the location, and the `place memories' of what had happened there in the past. Although the novel gives some tantalising clues, it never explicitly identifies the street, giving no more than an indication that it was "behind the Edgware Road" in the vicinity of Marble Arch, and near the site of the former Tyburn gallows. Even the Tyburn connection doesn't give us a definitive location, because there is more than one site associated with it. Old maps mark the site of the Tyburn Tree (the notorious `tripod' gallows which enabled multiple hangings to be effected at once) at the junction of the Edgware and Bayswater Roads. Indeed if you visit Marble Arch today you will find a plaque set into the pavement, very close to the arch itself, commemorating Tyburn's approximate spot. It was common for a gallows to be erected at a junction just outside a town, and this junction of ancient roads was the westernmost boundary of London up until relatively recent times...

In Both Sides of the Door Margaret describes the dreams which she and others repeatedly had during the period immediately preceding the haunting, in which they saw "the district as it presumably looked a hundred years and more ago". The description is of a rural scene: "There was a stream at the back of this house where some women were washing clothes. The houses round looked quite different, and there were a lot of trees in the distance almost as if it were the country. There was no pavement anywhere, but I saw cobble-stones where Connaught Square is now ... There were no yards at the back of the houses as there are now, and the Bayswater Road looked like a country one with trees and cottages rather sparsely scattered over it." An ill-kept turnpike was also a common feature...

In her later writings, Margaret Lumley Brown gives her own succinct postscript to Both Sides of the Door: "Looking back on the events from a distance of some years, they even seem funny sometimes, so much does time alter perspective. Only persons who have been through the same mill will quite understand the awful reality of those three weeks of terror. To most others I quite realise that the whole thing will appear a delusion."


In Different Skies
In Different Skies
by Rebecca Wilby
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Startling Verisimilitude!, 5 May 2011
This review is from: In Different Skies (Paperback)
In her play, This Wretched Splendour, Rebecca Wilby delivered a remarkable foray into the social dynamics of the World War One trenches. In her new novel, In Different Skies, she delves even deeper into that subterranean world with remarkable and sometimes grisly verisimilitude. Modern day characters, generations away from the trenches of the Loos and the Somme, become mysteriously connected to the fading and scantly documented memories of the war dead. What begins with involuntary and haunting glimpses becomes a veritable treasure hunt for lost eulogies and last rites. Two worlds collide and the safe vacuity of the contemporary world slowly becomes eclipsed by a far darker one - but one with tenacious characters holding on to their humour and purpose against all odds. A war often reduced to mindless chaos by historians becomes gripping technological and psychological theatre under Wilby's pen, one which continues to wage against collective erasure in order to find final redemption.


At the Gates of Dawn: A Collection of Writings by Ella Young
At the Gates of Dawn: A Collection of Writings by Ella Young
by Ella Young
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic voice of Ireland..., 5 May 2011
There are many reasons why a collected works by Ella Young has become necessary. The woman lovingly known as `Airmid' to her devotees was a leading light in the Celtic Revival, a preserver of ancient tales from the oral traditions, a teacher of the Gaelic language, and a conduit to the Faery folk of Ireland. This remarkable woman, presented to us as an Irish Mystic and Rebel by Rose Murphy in a recent biography of the same name, is the source of much intrigue spiralling around her involvement in the Dublin rebel uprising, her unique relationship to W.B. Yeats and his bÍte noir - Maud Gonne, her solo emigration to the American West, and her lasting friendship with the likes of Ansel Adams, Robinson Jeffers, Harry Parch, and the mystical Dunite group.

This new collection, At the Gates of Dawn, is edited by two eminent writers and historians. John Mathews is a respected mythographer and scholar, the author of many notable books on Celtic history, the Arthurian legends and Grail studies. Denise Sallee is a novelist and screenplay writer who has been studying the writings of Ella Young for a number of years. The collection is a wonderful tribute to a marvellous poet and folklorist and presents a wide selection of poems and stories from legendary earlier volumes such as The Unicorn with Silver Shoes, The Smoke of Myrrh, Marzilion, and The Tangle-Coated Horse. Additionally, the collection offers excerpts from her autobiographical writings as well as a selection of unpublished works.

"How better to light the touch paper of interior fireworks..." -- Gareth Knight

"There is a spell upon her prose, a real enchantment, that echoes through the mind like remembered music..." -- Frances Clarke Sayers


A History of White Magic
A History of White Magic
by Gareth Knight
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Massive compendium of history and knowledge here..., 5 May 2011
Originally published by Mowbrays of Oxford, then reissued as Magic of the Western Mind by Llewellyn, A History of White Magic was an attempt by a then up-and-coming author (in his words) to "explain to the intelligent layperson that an interest in magic was not so weird or deviant as is generally assumed."

In retrospect we can say it's a good deal more than that as Gareth Knight, in keeping with the ancient craft of the historical annalist, chronicles the sphere of magical influence from classical antiquity to the modern lodge, arcing through ancient mystery religions, early church theology, Medieval lore, Renaissance science, society manifestos, to the magical fraternities of the last century.

But rather than just being historically encyclopaedic, the author weaves an organic fabric from the spindles of various Western traditions without ever allowing sensationalism to unravel the work (as other authors working in the milieu are sometimes wont to do). For Knight, Magic is the bridge between Science and Religion, but one that has been detonated by misconception, fear, and at times, wilful ignorance. He urges the reader to make the reconnection by utilising Coleridge's Theory of the Imagination as a master mason's tool, one that can be wielded in all processes of human cognition and thought. Readers will get to meet many shadowy figures recently subjected to tabloid treatment at the hands of commercial scribblers (Bruno, Gordiano, Ficino, Fludd, Dee, Bacon, etc.) - but in a truer and more illuminating light. Knight teaches us to discern between theurgy and thaumaturgy, between the true magus and the vain trickster - and ultimately how Magic is still relevant to the modern world.


Immortal Jaguar
Immortal Jaguar
by Hugh Fox
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing Book!, 5 May 2011
This review is from: Immortal Jaguar (Paperback)
As Richard Morris attests - "Hugh Fox is an American original. There is no one else writing like him today." One could add that this poet, novelist, renowned academic, and living small press icon is an `American original' in the broader sense in that he has spent most of his life studying and honouring the continent at large. Immortal Jaguar follows a series of thrilling earlier works such as Gods of the Cataclysm where he explored the connections between various antiquitous traditions.

In what starts out as a novel Fox travels to the house of the Sun-King, Tiawanaku (Bolivia), to uncover an enthralling ancient trail across the Atlantic and the centuries. His journey into the inner worlds is launched through various psychic connections and an introduction to traditional South American spiritual hallucinogenics, much like William S. Burroughs in The Yage Letters. A visionary path of the Immortals opens up to him, heightened by new streams of ancient consciousness. However, this shamanic gift comes with a price as the author struggles to reconcile this new knowledge with his contemporary world of academia and relationships. Rather like one of his searing visions, the book continually morphs becoming a spinning cycle of spiritual memoir, anthropological treatise, anthropomorphic dream, and personal mythography. Skylight Press is proud to publish this historical, mythological, and esoteric thrill-ride.

"The raw heft alone of the published work of Hugh Fox is staggering ....the range of his intellectual inquiry is truly Renaissance: archaeology, anthropology, sociology, literary criticism and reviewing, novels, poetry, plays -- there is hardly a genre left `unfoxed!'" (Len Fulton)


The Rollright Ritual
The Rollright Ritual
by William G. Gray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.95

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical Whispers!, 5 May 2011
This review is from: The Rollright Ritual (Paperback)
When William G. Gray bicycled across the moonlit English countryside to commune with the Rollright stones in Oxfordshire he was presented with a vision of a simple pattern; the fourfold balance of the quartered circle. This pattern was already familiar to him as the structure underlying the hermetic magic of the Western Mystery Tradition: the four quarters, the four elements, the four magical implements. He saw the pattern imprinted on the stations of the Rollright site itself: the stone circle, the solitary megalith "king stone", the portal dolmen of the "whispering knights", and a nearby gateway site which formed the womb/tomb to complete the circuit. He also saw the pattern as a template for the evolution of the soul's consciousness, and by drawing microcosm and macrocosm together he came up with the Rollright Ritual, a self-initiatory journey through the four stations of consciousness.

Much has been written about stone circles of the megalithic age but where others have sought to explore the Outer Dimensions, looking in from the vantage point of the historical intruder, W.G. Gray is more concerned with the Inner Dimensions and the power of the stones as a form of communal keep. In a sense, Gray gets his blood from a stone by fleshing out the previously enigmatic and presenting these megaliths as "condensers of consciousness" with a unique and yet universally human story to tell. His study of the Rollright stones will be a treat to geologists, archeologists, anthropologists, geomancers, mythologists, geometrists, and divinators alike as Gray moves from the shadow angles on the "cosmic clock" to the familial wheel and their "spirit spokes." The stone formation is considered both as a representation of the communal assemblage that was contained within the circle - and as a collection of separate symbols or station points that make up its function as a whole. No stone is left unturned as Gray presents his stage-map of ritual drama - and yet the visiting seeker takes care not to trample on nor mar their message with modern clumsiness. The stones serve as antennae to some historical and spiritual truth, and the reader of this marvellous work will hear but a little of their magical whispers.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 6, 2014 11:28 AM GMT


The Old Sod: The Odd Life and Inner Work of William G. Gray
The Old Sod: The Odd Life and Inner Work of William G. Gray
by Alan Richardson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling biography!, 5 May 2011
The Old Sod: The Odd Life and Inner Work of William G. Gray is a biography written by Gray's godson Marcus Claridge in collaboration with well-known occult biographer Alan Richardson. This is a fascinating read, based closely around Bill's own autobiography (which was, unfortunately, too libellous to publish in its original form!) It tells the story of Bill's life and psychic development through the influence of his astrologer mother and the enigmatic Austrian adept known as ENH, his survival of the Dunkirk massacre in WW2, and his involvement with just about every important figure in 20th century magic: Dion Fortune, Aleister Crowley, R J Stewart, Gareth Knight, Doreen Valiente and Robert Cochrane. The book includes a vivid and exciting account of a Samhain rite he took part in on Newtimber Hill, near Brighton, with the Clan of Tubal Cain.


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