Austin Osman Spare: Painting the Veil

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Austin Osman Spare led his life in stark defiance. Not to anything inparticular, just definance. He refused to comprise his art nor his occult practice.

In recent years, he’s been heralded as a proto-surrealist and one of the ancestors of the Pop Art movement but in his lifetime he went from a boy wonder to a pariah, forced to sell his work in pubs and from his flat, never charging much more than £5.

As an occultist, Spare is often discussed as one of the forefathers of Chaos Magick but his actual work is left from the conversation. Without Spare, sigil magick wouldn’t exist, perhaps the most powerful occult tool at the modern magickian’s disposal.

In this brief volume, I track Spare’s life throughout London, covering his relationship with Crowley, his marriage and his final days conversing with Kenneth grant.

Gaming’s Greatest Stories Vol. 1.1: Volume 1

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The world of gaming has never been bigger, but during it’s history, quite a few stories have been hidden in the closet. Cancelled games, dodgy business and fan edits are just the tip of the iceberg, in this, the first entry in the Gaming’s Greatest series. Join Connor as he travels through the history of gaming, sharing his favourite stories with the flair of an author. This isn’t just for the hardcore gamer, but rather a short collection of real stories that can grip anyone.

In a previous life, I worked with video games. It was fun but my natural craving for stories led me to explore the hidden histories behind the games. I hunted tales of sketchy business dealings, explored the truth of urban legends and even mourned the loss of games that never found their way to the market.

Originally forming the crux of a previous website, the stories survive in this collection. Ranging from the modern era to the golden age of retro wonders, there is something from every gamer between these covers. But beyond that, the stories are intriguing, even to those who loathe the medium.

Whether you want to find the real life inspiration for Polybius, the killer arcade game, or to steal a peak at the lost Pirates of the Caribbean game there is sure to be something for you.

A second volume of original material has been planned but is currently stuck in development hell.

John Dee: Master of Enochian Magic

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John Dee’s legacy fails to meet that of his accomplishments. Plagued by a lifetime of anti-scientific prejudice, it comes as little wonder that he turned to the occult, but it is precisely this why history fails to record the works of this great man.
From his role as the original 007, his links with the Voynich manuscript and his association with the British monarchy, Dee’s life is lad bare, heartaches and hard work, forming this easily accessible introduction to the world of John Dee.

John Dee is one of the most enigmatic icons in British History. A lifetime of scientific breakthrough and innovation, yet it seems only to be in recent years that the work of Dee has truly come into the popular consciousness. In fact, it was a lack of material on him that lead to this book being written.

Reviews on this book continue to praise its broad overview of his life and the simplicity of the writing. Honestly, that’s the best thing that could be said about my work in general. It’s not enough to just have a book readable by academics, especially when trying to spread the genius of John Dee to a wider audience.

This short introductory volume will form the ground work to a larger, more detailed work in the future but for now stands as an introduction to anyone wishing to learn about the legacy and life of Queen Elizabeth’s personal magician.

 

 

Aleister Crowley: Lore and Lies

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Aleister Crowley remains one of history’s most alluring targets for speculation, rumour and fabrication, but who was the real Crowley? Combing through Crowley’s journals, letters and contemporary accounts, Lore and Lies presents an unbiased account of Crowley’s life, seeking to neither demonise nor sanctify the life of this intriguing character, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions about one of history’s most controversial characters.

Born into money, Crowley set out on a journey to conquer the world and the sickness that blighted his childhood, both physically and spiritually. The influence of Crowley can still be seen in the modern day occult, from his work on Tarot, Yoga and Kabbalah; still considered by many to have written the definitive works on many magical topics. But Crowley’s contributions to pop culture cannot be overlooked, inspiring iconic musicians such as Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and David Bowie to more modern artists like Jay-Z, wearing his infamous motto: “Do What Thou Wilt”.

Aleister Crowley lived more in one life than many men could lay claim to in three. In modern occultism, his name is spoken with reverence, but to the world at large he is simply the most evil man who ever lived.

When I first looked at Crowley, I saw the same ghoul as many do but by reading his work, I began to see the compassion and wit. Crowley was not evil, he was a learned man with a whimsical, maybe juvenile, sense of humour. Crowley certainly did himself no favours in a PR sense and his private journals are filled with metaphor and tall tales.

With so much to decipher, I knew Crowley had to be my first work when I set out to become a writer. Completed in a few short weeks, the process of writing this has kept me going through the toughest times in this line of work.

It wasn’t going to be enough to add to the hero worship or the revile, Lore & Lies had to be objective, walking the straight path between both sides and allowing the reader to learn who Crowley was before passing judgement and explain why Crowley’s legacy has endured above others.

Lore & Lies has gone on to be one of my most popular works and left me with my favorite review ever: “Although this was a very interesting read and full of fascinating details I must admit to being quite puzzled by the fact that I’ve been transformed into a lizard and now have to spend my life in a sandbox in a children’s playground.”

Rather than compete with such fantastic books as Richard Kaczynski’s Perduabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley, Lore and Lies is an introductory breakdown of the life of Crowley, his friends, his travels and his many lovers.

Sometimes, I consider issuing a new edition…

Magick is Bullshit 2: Black/White, Left/Right

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Confused by phrases like “Black Magick” or “The Left-Hand Path”? You’re not alone, for many burgeoning occultists the endless defining of morality can be a bother. Yet despite it’s importance to many people, does it even matter? In this, the second entry in the introductory Magick is Bullshit series, we walk through the basic ideas of Black Magick and White Magick, and explain the difference between the Left and Right-Hand Paths.

I wasn’t long after I published my first book in the Magick is Bullshit series that I realised I needed to make a sequel, something to explain the concepts of good and evil in a magick setting.

I was nervous coming into the first work. I certainly haven’t built my career as a ceremonial magickian and I haven’t spent a life in brotherhoods and orders, I’m just a man who likes reading, at the core of everything. I began to doubt the idea that people would try the experiments in the first book. Most of all, I was worried that people would think I was some run-of-the-mill satanist without reading it, that my work would be dubbed “evil” before anyone had the chance to read it.

The solution was simple. I had to offer my idea of what good and evil are in magick.

The result was a brief essay on the traditionally used terms used in occult circles. But this isn’t just my personal opinion, used to justify my moral decisions. Black/White, Left/Right  is designed to challenge and allow readers to come to their own decisions and hopefully help the budding apprentice as they search for further reading. This is not a book for it’s own sake but rather a sign post to aided the novice magickian. It’s not my place to pass judgement on anyone’s magickal practice and this book tries to keep free of moral posturing, allowing the reader to walk away with the tools need to make the next step in their magickal journey.

 

Magick is Bullshit: A Brief and Practical Introduction to Your Magickal Studies

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Considered looking into magick, but lost amongst the quagmire of nonsense and confusion? You’re not alone, for many people just the idea of magick is hard to consider, and the conflicting and complex nature of many aspects of magick does little to settle that. Magick is Bullshit provides a simple collection of foundation exercises and theory to get you started, offering reasonable explanation of HOW magick works, regardless of your spiritual inclination.
Whether skeptic, novice or experienced occultist, Magick is Bullshit offers an easy to understand, conversational introduction and grounding of magick.

I’ve always been fascinated by anything that attempts to understand how the universe works. As I started following the world of magick further and further, I came to realise how much simple material was draped in complex metaphor and impermeable symbolism. Sometimes, it could take days to uncover an obvious truth.

After I’d begun to put things together and I’d begun to understand the material, I noticed many parallels between modern science and the world of magick. I became fascinated with the idea that they might say the same thing, presented in their own cloaks of impermeability.

Magick is Bullshit was my first attempt to explain the basics of magick, with a scientific grounding. An easy to understand guide to starting on an individual’s journey to the occult.

I deliberately selected a controversial title. I wanted to challenge the notions a reader would have coming into this book. so they might leave with a new understanding. Since it’s release, this book has been praised for it’s conversational tone and lack of dogmatic agenda. I’m most proud of that. This could easily be yet another dry tome of occultism, regurgitating the works of others, but instead it is offered as simple experiments to try yourself.

The long and short is simple, the material in this book works, but only if you want it to.

Information Wants To Be Free: The Story Behind the World’s Most Dangerous Book

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There exists an Anarchist’s Cookbook. Written by a scared young man in the Vietnam era, The Anarchist’s Cookbook should be a relic of it’s time, but instead it has taken on a new life. Inspiring a multitude of terrorists and mass shooters, the book continues to attract new readers  thanks to it’s controversial subject matter and history.

This essay explores that history, the context in which it was written and how it’s name has grown into a brand for budding bomb-makers.

I first found out about The Anarchist’s Cookbook when I was at school. It was something spoken about in hushed words away from teachers by the cool kids, who claimed they’d tried out some of the recipes in the book. In college, the name came up again in conversation and I finally laid my hands on a copy. I didn’t know at the time that the work was written by a kid much like myself: scared of being drafted into a never-ending conflict on the other side of the world. For William Powell it was Vietnam, for myself it was the constantly escalating wars in the Middle East.

Unlike Powell however, I never sought a way to defend myself from the powers that be. Powell consumed his local library,military training guides and leftist manifestos distributed by hippies to find the most lethal weapons he could construct around the home, as well as information on concocting mind-altering drugs. The Anarchist’s Cookbook could have been the kindling for a revolution, but fortunately, it was never needed.

Now a successful educator, Powell seeks to remove the book from circulation, fearing what consequences such information could have in the wrong hands. Indeed, extracts from the book have found their way into the hands of militias and terrorists the world over, but doesn’t that say it’s too late. The information is out there.

On the day I released this essay, two hours after I’d published, France experienced horrific coordinated terror attacks. I slept restlessly that night, I was worried that those who might buy my book were seeking the information contained in the book, that I was making money of the panic of the innocent and the evil minds of terrorists. That morning I removed the book and waited. It was only when the smoke settled and I felt comfortable I was not making money off the dead that I put the book back on Amazon. I missed out on sales for sure, but I slept better the next night.