Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kenneth Grant obit by Mogg Morgan

An obit written by Mogg Morgan for Mandrake Speaks #240 -

See for more info on this publisher. We just finished Wormwood Star: The Magickal Life of Marjorie Cameron from Mandrake, and were quite pleased.

Kenneth Grant (1924 - 2011)

A whole lot of people turned up at the Oxford Talking Stick Moot to learn about and discuss Kenneth Grant, the recently departed elder of the occult world. Several people there knew him well, mostly from his books, but a very few from personal contact and direct correspondence, some of it extending over years.

One there had even moved to Golder's Green to be closer and reported how circa 1973 to 1979 they met at least once a week - sometimes twice or more. Another from the time also remembers visiting KG at his Golder's Green lair and how his life had been changed by the experience. KG's home life could appear suburban and bourgeois, lulling one into a false sense of security. Someone or something in the room could read and materialise one's thoughts. If one became irritated and, as one does, imagining flinging some astral object, in a flash KG was right there to catch it; and “worse”, shadow figures rose up in his defence! It was obviously not wise to cross the old wizard - who had after all the most impeccable of teachers, including Aleister Crowley & the sorcerous Austin Spare.

It has to be said that KG was reclusive, perhaps overly so although it wouldn't be hard to find occultists who don't find this odd. He preferred to communicate with the world via a select inner group of students and in the outer via his many books and articles. The most famous of these are the Typhonian trilogies, the final instalment of which, "The Ninth Arch", was released a few years back. Inevitable it failed to quite live up to the promise implicit in its title. Time will tell whether this volume will really be acknowledged as a classic in the way others such as "The Magical Revival", "Aleister Crowley & the Hidden God", "Outside the Circles of Time", "Nightside of Eden" (My personal favourite) already have done.

With the death of KG dies also the last remaining link with Aleister Crowley. None there could think of another who had actually not just met but actually been taught by the master. KG was a very young man in the 1940s when he became AC's secretary. The short and abortive relationship is documented in the nearest KG ever got to a memoir "Remembering Aleister Crowley". We were told that KG was the son of a welsh clergyman, and there are ernest letters from the Ps to AC masquerading as first employer, advising Old Crow on the need to put up or not with their son's whimsy.

The rather interesting introduction to "The Ninth Arch" discusses an important Grant obsession, that of extra terrestrials. In fact it was this that would at the beginning of his career get him expelled by Karl Germer from the OTO - his views were heresy! (See Martin Starr for details). Grant is aware of the flaky nature of this belief but there again counters that "Whatever one’s attitude to such phenomena – positive, negative or indifferent – there is no just denial of the fact that the wave initiated an era of psycho-mythology unparalleled since man conceived the idea of the ‘gods’…. unless, therefore, we are to write off the entire ‘myth’ as an unprecedented mass delusion, we have to accept the fact that something approaching a seemingly new and inexplicable nature began slowly and insidiously to disturb the world in the year 1947.’. (p xix)"

Of course what KG is most remembered for the whole "Typhonian" tradition - one of the most important new or “recon” magical currents of modern times. Typhon is the name of the Greek Titan/god of chaos and destruction. In Greek accounts of the Egyptian magical-religion, the god Set(h) is identified as Typhon. Seth is one of Egypt’s oldest, indigenous gods. He is an emanation of the all father Ra, instantiating all things passionate, ambiguous and psychological. He is the shadow and Grant was one of the first to tease out this hidden aspect of Aleister Crowley's theology, and at the same time making the exploration of the shadow-self a modern imperative.

Something I personally share with KG was expulsion from the same magical order - the OTO. Back in the early 1980s when I got my marching orders I was naturally a bit peeved but things haven't worked out so badly for me. And indeed over the years I did correspond with KG over various publishing projects. Perhaps art and its history was another of his strong points. Many have pointed out how he is almost solely responsible for the championing of the English visionary artist Austin Osman Spare. He knew Spare and following the artist’s untimely death from peritonitis in 1956, became his executor and published what is still one of the best introductions to his work "Images & Oracles of Austin Osman Spare".

Many feel that it is in this text lies the origins of modern Chaos Magick and a great deal else beside. When I was in the OTO (his recension now renamed The Typhonian Order) I remember a friend sent him a book about the French Surrealist artist Yves Tanguy. KG's eventual response was how much he enjoyed projecting himself into the artist's creations - this says it all. I suspect he is still in there somewhere, so perhaps next time you're in a gallery spare a thought for KG and just maybe you’ll be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of him, materialising behind one of those eternally fornicating constructions.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Starfire Volume 2 Number 4

Join Starfire's mailing list for the pre-order announcement for Starfire Journal Volume II No 4. This issue will feature a review of David Beth's Voudon Gnosis by Ariock of the BLK.

Atua Launch Party

ATUA Deluxe Sold Out

Fulgur Limited is publishing ATUA: Voices from La Societe Voudon Gnostique this month. The Deluxe Edition, limited to 88 copies bound in quarter black goatskin, with black ‘Voudonique’ cloth boards, custom printed endpapers, dust-jacket, top edge gilt, signed collectively by most of the contributors, and slipcased sold out before publication. The standard limited edition (808 copies) is still available for pre-order.

"ATUA is the public vehicle through which the members of the S.V.G. make selected manifestations of their magico-gnostic research and experience available to an informed audience. This first anthology features essays, artwork, and prose and aims to provide insight and inspiration to practitioners on a similar spiritual path. ATUA is a direct result of an intense symbiotic exchange of shamanic sorcerers with the powerful Gods of Esoteric Voudon. Unique in its content and composition, it may serve as a direct link to the inner worlds of Les Mystères."

Monday, February 7, 2011

ATUA: Voices from La Société Voudon Gnostique

See the "Forthcoming" section at for news on ATUA: Voices from La Société Voudon Gnostique.