In Ashé’s hiatus several remarkable works of modern occult publishing have made their way to my desk. I would be remorsefully remiss if I did not acknowledge, with gratitude, the kindness of the publishers for sending them to the Journal.
The Dragon Book of Essex
Andrew Chumbley (XOANON, 2014)
This substantial work expounds the sorcerous ethos and praxes of the Crooked Path ritual system. Its contents include a cycle of ten extensive Mystery-rites, each accompanied by adjunctive solitary rituals and detailed commentaries. Additional texts relate the intricacies of Sabbatic ritualization, as well as an extensive body of stellar lore and ritual. The Sorcerous Formulae of Number and Sign are also communicated, together with detailed exegeses of the Quadriga, the specific covine-type of the Crooked Path. A detailed section on the Magical Weapons of the Draconian Sorcerer complements the text. This work is intended as an entire resumé of the ancestral and ophidian components of Traditional Craft Sorcery and Sabbatic Gnosis. The Dragon Book of Essex originally comprised a portion of the rites and practices of an inner conclave of the Cultus Sabbati known as The Column of the Crooked Path. —publisher description
Originally issued in 1997 in a private edition of ten copies (of three volumes), The Dragon Book of Essex represents one of the key texts of the Cultus Sabbati as formulated by Andrew Chumbley. This first public release from XOANAN collects all three volumes into one massive tome: a richly illustrated 822 pages in Quarto format.
The is a grimoire in the truest historical sense, comprised of an initiatory ritual sequence meant to invoke the Great Dragon, the primordial Serpent of Eld, into the officiant. After the opening work there follows a year long cycle of rituals. This is meant for solitary study and individual practice.
Andrew Chumbley may not be to everyone’s taste, but there is no denying that his work added new dimensionality to the sorcery and the craft. If you are lucky enough to come across this volume and can spring for it (on the collectors market, as the original editions have sold out), it will make a unique addition to your library.
The Language of Birds: Some Notes on Chance and Divination
Dale Pendell (Three Hands Press, 2009)
The Language of Birds is a fascinating little volume by the alchemist poet Dale Pendell. It’s seventy-two pages contains notes and meditations on the arts of divination and the portent of chance.
A fork in the oath: one way leads to an image of the world as a book, as a riddle, written in code, each occurrence a presage and glyph of the whole. The other way leads to randomness, mere chance, forever beyond our grasp, casting a shadow of nihilism on an accidental universe. —Pendell
This unique little book is a very worthwhile edition to one’s library–whether you like esoteric poetry or have an interest in divination. At the time of this writing, the trade paper edition is still available from the publisher.
The Occult Reliquary
(Three Hands Press, 2010)
This very distinctive volume contains selections from the Richel-Edlermans Collection of over 2,000 occult images and artifacts now housed in the Museum of Witchcraft, Bostcastle, Cornwall.
Originally collected by J. H. W. Eldermans, this collection is an eclectic, pictorial encyclopedia of magick and witchcraft. With obvious influences running the gamut from rural witchcraft, Freemasonry, sex magic, as well as secret societies such as Ars Amatoria and M.’.M.’. The images are a visual cypher, each posing its own enigma richer for the cross-referencing of symbolism. Of particular interest are a cycle of illustrations of mandragora.
Graham King’s introduction is fascinating, even as it does not clear up the collection’s background and origins. This edition includes 275 illustrations, with 130 in full color.