Culture

Occulture explored.

How well do you know Pamela Colman Smith?

By Psyche | September 2, 2014 | 1 comment

Detail from Photograph of Pamela Colman Smith

Our August 2014 poll tested your knowledge of Pamela Colman Smith (1878-1951).

Most of you knew that she illustrated the Rider Tarot (89%), more than half of you knew she was a member of the Golden Dawn (51%), and some knew her nickname was Pixie (40%), that she wrote and illustrated other books (40%), but only a handful of you knew she lived in Jamaica (37%). Continue reading


Doing it wrong: cultural theft and Supernatural

By Ian 'Cat' Vincent | July 30, 2014 | 4 comments

Unicursal hexigramThe subject of cultural appropriation is — necessarily — an important part of the modern occult conversation. Issues around occultists and Pagans making use (or misuse) of the symbols and rites of indigenous and ancestor cultures have to be examined: though there is often a tendency for various sides of the debate to accuse the other of “doing it wrong.”

I think it might be interesting to look a sideways example of this — of the symbolism of the occult being appropriated by mainstream culture.

The symbol at the top of the page is probably familiar to most modern practitioners. It’s the unicursal hexagram, the symbol Aleister Crowley designed to represent the religion he founded, Thelema, and as a symbol of the cosmos.

Since last year, however, it has acquired another meaning: the symbol of the Men of Letters organisation of occult scholars in the TV show Supernatural, where it is called the Aquarian Star. Continue reading


London’s calling: the city as character in urban fantasy

By Ian 'Cat' Vincent | June 11, 2014 | 3 comments

London, photo by Simon and His Camera
I find it fascinating that, in discussions of urban fantasy as a genre, the first word of the term is so rarely mentioned.

Humanity now lives in an age where more than half the world’s population lives in an urban rather than a rural environment. It should be no surprise that this dramatic shift in how we live as a species should be reflected in both our fantasy tales about the supernatural world and our magick. And, of course, the one feeds into the other. Continue reading


True Detective: A flat circle in Chapel Perilous

By Ian 'Cat' Vincent | May 14, 2014 | 4 comments

True Detective, from Edpiano

Until February of 2014, The King In Yellow by Robert W. Chambers, a 1895 collection of thematically linked short stories, was a little-known work. Although a favourite of horror fans, admired both for its menacing aura and its influence on HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, it was not widely read outside fan circles. In that month, however, it entered Amazon’s top 10 bestseller list. The reason was a new television show, HBO’s True Detective. Continue reading


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