“Clear off your desk,” she said.
I was in the office of my college newspaper finishing up an article. Earlier that day, my friend attended a poetry reading where I read a sonnet I had specifically written for her. She held a copy of it now.
My editor returned earlier than expected and caught us doing a different kind of work at my desk.
It was then I realized that I could seduce with a sonnet. That I didn’t want to be someone else’s muse. And that Yeats was right—writing was indeed a form of magick. I wanted to be the magician. Continue reading
Datura, edited by Ruby Sara
Scarlet Imprint, 9780956720368, 2011
To be honest, I’ve dodged a serious bullet with Datura. When its editor, Ruby Sara, put out a call for submissions on Scarlet Imprint last year, I almost submitted a handful of poems for inclusion. The thought of an anthology of occult-themed poetic work and essays on the mystical aspects of the creative process struck quite a nerve with me, and I was eager to contribute. Luckily a combination of a busy life at the time and a creative dry spell prevented me from sending Sara anything by the deadline, and after reading through Datura, I’m deeply thankful that the few pieces I was able to conjure up never got sent her way. For even if they were accepted and published in the pages of Datura, the quality of the content is so high my work would have looked like utter shit next to everything else between its covers.
Datura contains the work of 26 poets, that work being a mix of 6 essays and 47 poems. When I picked up Datura, I was really eager to read the essays. Scarlet Imprint has published three other anthologies in the past – Howlings, Devoted, and Diabolical – and their occult essays were absolutely stellar. While I do love poetry, and have a deep fondness for the Pagan and fortean realms, I’ve read enough awful odes to Odin and tree-spirits (and composed quite a few myself, to be fair) that the thought of a book devoted to such poetry might be a risky gamble. I figured that six good essays could make up for some lousy astral-poetics. Thankfully while the essay-work is every bit as good as I hoped it would be, the poetry in Datura manages to keep its nimble-feet from stepping into the bear-trap of twee Pagan clichés. Continue reading
The Language of Birds, by Dale Pendell
Three Hands Press, 71 pp., 2010
Pendell views divination as being directed by spirits or gods, likened to possession or seduction, weaving poetry and meditation through myth and history. Etymologies offer shifting meanings, and we learn “Cicero thought fish too dumb to speak for the gods”.
Interspersed throughout are lists of divination methods, including some rather obscure ones, such as alectryomancy – divination by roosters pecking grain, gelomancy – divination from laughter, myomancy – divination by squeaks of mice, or (my favourite) tiromancy – divination by milk curds or the holes on cheese. Continue reading
William Blake’s Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Martha Keith Schuchard
Inner Traditions, 9781594772115, 415 pp., 2008
This is the first paperback issue in this country of a book originally published in 2006 in the U.K. It had its origin in scholarly research but has been diminished in size and complexity, although not in quality, to produce a book more likely to appeal to a non-academic audience.
There is a large amount of background data provided on the subject of 18th and 19th century esoterica. This is important to provide a solid base for the understanding of Blake and his works.
As I have commented in previous Continue reading
Dancing God: Poetry Of Myths And Magicks, by Diotima
Neos Alexandrian, 9781438210643, 197 pp., 2008
This is the second book issued by Bibliotheca Alexandrina in an attempt to promote the revival of traditional polytheistic religions through publication of a series of books dedicated to the ancient gods of Greece and Egypt (although the contents are not restricted to those two cultures). I reviewed the previous book Written in Wine earlier. Both of these books are primarily composed of poetry (Written in Wine has a few stories as well), although this book is primarily the work of a single author.
The title of this book refers to Pan, although numerous other deities make an appearance on these pages. Most of the poems are very short, but there are occasional longer works as well.
There are occasional Continue reading