British & Celtic

The Forgotten Faith

The Witness of the Celtic Saints

Anthony Duncan

 

Celtic spirituality is the “forgotten faith” of the West. It is essentially joyful and holistic and holds together the two human faculties of reason and intuition, taking joy in the beauty of the created world.

 

The Celtic saints were intuitives whose feet were very firmly planted on the ground. It is their equilibrium as human beings that gives much of their appeal, and in this, as in the holiness their lives display, they are Christlike.

 

This book by Anglican cleric Anthony Duncan examines the lives of the Celtic saints in the context of their time, along with the sacred places in the landscape that have become associated with them. It includes such figures as Patrick, Columba, Ninian, Dewi (St David), Kentigern, Maelrubha, Cadog, Padarn, Samson, Melangell, Teilo and St Paul Aurelian.

 

 

The Chronicles of the Sidhe

Steve Blamires

 

For a thirteen-year period, the reclusive Scottish writer Fiona Macleod enthralled the Victorian reading public with a deluge of stories, novels, poems and essays drawn from the wildly romantic Highland and Island landscape. Although it was later revealed that these works had issued from the pen of William Sharp, it was clear that Fiona Macleod was more than a pseudonym; to Sharp she was very much an autonomous entity. What’s more, the wealth of previously unknown and unheard of myths, names, traditions and beliefs in her writings, while shone through a Celtic prism, show every sign of having emanated from the Realm of Faery.

 

Steve Blamires presents a ground-breaking assessment of the Faery lore within Fiona Macleod’s literary output as part of his ongoing study of this enigmatic writer. Building on the established groundwork of his biography of Sharp, The Little Book of the Great Enchantment, he explores the mythology and traditions of Faery, their symbolic and magical significance, and the devices employed by Fiona in the transmission of Faery teachings and inspirations. Using examples from Fiona’s rich and resonant body of work, his detailed interpretation will enable the reader to tease out the Faery gems that are still to be found woven into the lines and verse of her writings.

 

 

Lud Heat

Iain Sinclair

 

With an introduction by Allen Fisher, and afterword by Michael Moorcock. Illustrations and maps by Brian Catling.

 

Iain Sinclair’s classic early text, Lud Heat, explores mysterious cartographic connections between the six Hawksmoor churches in London. In a unique fusion of prose and poetry, Sinclair invokes the mythic realm of King Lud, who according to legend was one of the founders of London, as well as the notion of psychic ‘heat’ as an enigmatic energy contained in many of its places. The book’s many different voices, including the incantatory whispers of Blake and Pound, combine in an amalgamated shamanic sense that somehow works to transcend time. The transmogrifying intonations and rhythms slowly incorporate new signs, symbols and sigils into the poem that further work on the senses. This was the work that set the ‘psychogeographical’ tone for much of Sinclair’s mature work, as well as inspiring novels like Hawksmoor and Gloriana from his peers Peter Ackroyd and Michael Moorcock, and Alan Moore’s From Hell.

 

This new re-issue includes the illustrations and photographs from the original 1975 edition, which were absent from some later editions.

 

Lud Heat combines researches into the sinister dotted lines which link up the Hawksmoor churches of East London – complete with a very fine diagram displaying the pentacles and triangulations which connect churches to plague pits to the sites of the notorious Whitechapel and Ratclyffe Highway murders – with a broken sequence of breathtakingly lovely modern freeverse lyrics.”

– Jenny Turner, London Review of Books

 

Lud Heat is ostensibly a narrative of a period of employment in the Parks Department of an East London borough; this temporal location, however, receives less stress than the spatial one with which it intersects: that of the pattern imposed on the townscape by Nicholas Hawksmoor’s churches, potent presences in the poet’s working environment, around which accretes a second temporal dimension, historical and mythological ... When Sinclair writes of the modern city that ‘natural & ancient rhythms are perverted in Golgonooza’s architecture’ it is as part of a firmly patterned written structure that we have first of all to take his words. Only thus, sustained by powerful written ligatures, can the arrangement of the poet’s information command any credence as argument.”

– Andrew Crozier

 

 

Suicide Bridge

Iain Sinclair

 

This classic text has in recent times been fused to its contemporaneous volume, Lud Heat, but very much deserves to stand on its own. Suicide Bridge was originally published by Albion Village Press in 1979 with the sub-title A Book of the Furies, A Mythology of the South & East – Autumn 1973 to Spring 1978.  As elsewhere, Sinclair saunters into the shadowy city underworld with his ever-watchful eye and roving syntax, this time probing the mythic figures from William Blake’s Jerusalem and the mythical king Bladud. Previously text-bound entities such as Hand, Hyle and Kotope are made flesh and and given to foggy breath in the contemporary landscape. Addressed to “the enemy” the reader is precariously perched on the teetering bridge while the author kicks at the mythic spindles that hold it up. Sinclair’s alternating, inter-penetrating prose and poetry become the uneven struts and pylons of a new concrete/abstract literary edifice.

 

‘One of the cliffs of Blake’s and Coleridge’s Albion sweeping against the walls of Everywhere…

This is the landscape of another realm. We are walking over a raw and smoking surface filled with surprises. All around are the possibilities of lost tribes quietly bustling in the shadows… This is a rare jewel.’

— Michael McClure

 

‘Vitality is one of the many qualities radiating from Iain Sinclair’s superb collection, Suicide Bridge… Sinclair’s is a cerebral flame ignited by political anger… He is utterly traditional, his roots extending back through Ginsberg and Dorn, and beyond that, to Blake. His method is to appoint a cast of archetypes, Skofeld, Bladud, Coban, Atum, Kotope, and have them prance, like Sweeney, Ignu or Rintrah, through the wreckage of capitalism, manipulated by powerful rhythmic lines…’

— Jeff Nuttall, The Guardian

 

‘The book is an excitement to read. Always strong, always compelling, like a good thriller. How he can actually handle all the dark stuff, the mantic utterances, within his own being, I can’t say. He must have a strong psychic interface to deal with the Intruder who gives him these tales, who compels the knowledge, traces the dark patterns in the grass… Read it, for a totally other experience of hidden Albion.’

— Chris Torrance

 

 

Awen: the Quest of the Celtic Mysteries

Mike Harris

 

It was the Celtic bards who laid down the foundation of inner wisdom that has come down to us as Arthurian legend, passing their traditions to the Arthurian romancers of the 12th and 13th centuries. Thus the Celts provide an immediate bridge that leads to a very ancient world. Focusing on the Brythonic Celtic material and the “Taliesin” cult whose lineage preserved the mysteries through the Mabinogion and other texts, Awen: the Quest of the Celtic Mysteries reveals the sources of the British sacred tradition right back to the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, and, as some believe, further back still to even more ancient sources.

 

Awen is a Welsh word often translated as “inspiration”. However, in its fullness it has a much deeper meaning, an irradiation of the soul from paradisal origins. In the context of the Celtic folk-soul it casts the paradisal pattern by which the people and the land were harmonised. Through the aligned symbolism of the goddess, the sacred king and the stars, a compelling picture is built of a thriving mystery tradition which marries the constellations to the landscape, exploring as an example the interwoven five-fold and seven-fold stellar geometry of Moel ty Uchaf stone circle in North Wales, and the stellar alignments on the landscape of Cadair Idris.

 

Mike Harris is a well-established authority on the Welsh mystery traditions, having lived for many years in the area of Gwynedd where the Mabinogi and Taliesin myths arose, where he developed an acute sense of the Celtic and pre-Celtic mystery cults and their relationship with the landscape. He is the author of Merlin’s Chess, co-author of Polarity Magic, and founder of the Company of Avalon.

 

 

The Faery Gates of Avalon

Gareth Knight

 

The knights of King Arthur’s Round Table – Erec, Lancelot, Yvain, Perceval and Gawain – first appeared in the works of Chrétien de Troyes, who cast into Old French stories told by Welsh and Breton story tellers which had their origin in Celtic myth and legend. Chrétien wrote at a time when faery lore was still taken seriously – some leading families even claimed descent from faery ancestors! So we do well to look again at these early stories, for they were written not so much in terms of mystical quests or examples of military chivalry but records of initiation into Otherworld dynamics. Gareth Knight, an acknowledged expert on spiritual and magical traditions and a student of medieval French, goes to the well spring of Arthurian tradition to unveil these original principles. What is more, he shows how they can be regenerated today. “Opening the faery gates” can have its reward not only in terms of personal satisfaction and spiritual growth but as part of a much needed realignment of our spiritual responsibilities as human beings on planet Earth.

 

The Rollright Ritual

William G. Gray

 

In the early 1970s the redoubtable old occultist William G. Gray bicycled from his Gloucestershire home to the Rollright stone circle in Oxfordshire on a clear and full-mooned summer night. The visionary experiences he encountered on that night and in other similar visits resulted in the writing of this book, originally published by Helios Books in 1975 and now a classic among pagan and craft traditions. The text of the ritual is given in full, along with a discussion of its pattern and purpose.

 

The Rollright Ritual is a powerful initiatory rite for attuning oneself to a personal and communal path of spiritual growth, presented here with an explanatory text and a discussion of the spiritual lives and practices of the stone circle builders of Great Britain.

 

“Somehow, we ought to get away from ideas that a Standing Stone is only an outworn sign of our past, and see it as an upraised Finger of Fate beckoning us ahead toward our future. The Stone is not merely a memorial of bygone beliefs, but a pointer that should raise our highest hopes of finding faith in all the Life that lies ahead of us.”

 

William G. Gray is a well established author of many books on Qabalah and ritual magic. He also worked with many practitioners of magic and witchcraft including Gareth Knight, R.J. Stewart, Marian Green, Doreen Valiente, Pat Crowther and Robert Cochrane, in whose memory The Rollright Ritual was written.

 

At the Gates of Dawn

A Collection of Writings by Ella Young

edited by John Matthews & Denise Sallee

 

In early Irish society there existed an honoured group of people called the “Filid.” They preserved the native stories and they were learned in the magical arts. It is within this ancient tradition that Ella Young (1867-1956) lived her unique and creative life. In the late 1800s Ella began to gather the old tales that had been handed down from family to family for centuries. She lived among the rural folk in the West of Ireland and in the hills south of Dublin. As part of her devotion to Irish culture she learned Gaelic and, as a major contributor to the Celtic Revival, she taught classes in the language and the myths.

 

Ella’s spirituality reached deep into the land and into the heart of ancient Ireland. Others have called her a seeress, a druidess, or a witch – the magical name she gave herself was “Airmid” – the goddess of healing who drew her powers from the fertile green earth. She knew first-hand about the faery folk of Ireland – she heard their music and listened to their stories.

 

“There is a spell upon her prose, a real enchantment, that echoes through the mind like remembered music…to read the prose books of Ella Young…is to move in a world of epic proportion, heroic deed and heroic character, set against a background of warm earth, where even the gods delight in the small intimacy of blossom and flower…These tales are told with great conviction, as if they were rooted in the experience of the storyteller.” — Frances Clarke Sayers

 

Red Tree, White Tree

Wendy Berg

 

The relationship between human and Faery lies at the very core of the Arthurian stories. In this radical re-evaluation of the Grail legends, Wendy Berg brings some meaningful light to the ancient mythology of the British Isles, centred around the marriage of King Arthur to the Faery Gwenevere. Drawing upon numerous Arthurian sources and other related texts, from the Book of Genesis to The Lord of the Rings, she explores the magical ritual underpinning of the legends and their connection to the ancient stellar deities of Britain. “When these stories are read with the additional level of understanding that they are for the most part a record of the lives and relationships of Faeries and humans working together about the Round Table, they immediately become not only a great deal more interesting, but also acquire a new and vivid relevance for the present day.”

 

Wendy Berg has thirty years’ experience of all aspects of the Western Mystery Tradition and is an authority on Egyptian, Celtic, Arthurian and Grail magical traditions. She blends a thorough knowledge and experience of the Qabalah and formal ritual magic with Christian Mysticism and modern Paganism. For many years she ran the Avalon Group, the magical fraternity founded by Gareth Knight.

 

“This is the most important and challenging book on Arthurian and Grail tradition for many a long year.”

– Gareth Knight

 

 

The Irish Celtic Magical Tradition

Steve Blamires

 

The Irish Celtic Magical Tradition explores the wealth of spiritual philosophy locked into Celtic legend in The Battle of Moytura (Cath Maige Tuired), a historical-mythological account of the conflict, both physical and Otherworldly, between the Fomoire and the Tuatha de Danann. This legend contains within it the essence of the Celtic spiritual and magical system, from Creation Myth to practical instruction and information. Alongside a translation of The Battle of Moytura, Steve Blamires provides a series of keys to facilitate understanding of the legend and sets out an effective magical system based upon it, including interpretations of the symbolism, meditation exercises and suggestions for its practical use. The book offers a powerful and illuminating method of working with ancient Celtic legendary material in the context of modern magic.

 

Originally published in 1992, the text has been revised, updated and expanded to incorporate two decades of new insights and suggestions.

 

The Magical Battle of Britain

Dion Fortune

edited by Gareth Knight

 

Immediately following Britain’s declaration of war in 1939, Dion Fortune began a series of regular letters to members of her magical order, the Fraternity of the Inner Light, who were unable to hold meetings due to wartime travel restrictions. With enemy planes rumbling overhead, she organised a series of visualisations to formulate “seed ideas in the group mind of the race”, archetypal visions to invoke angelic protection and uphold British morale under fire. “The war has to be fought and won on the physical plane,” she wrote, “before physical manifestation can be given to the archetypal ideals. What was sown will grow and bear seed.” As the war developed, this was consolidated with further work for the renewal of national and international accord. For the first time the Fraternity’s doors were opened to anyone who wanted to join in and learn the previously secret methods of esoteric mind-working. With unswerving optimism she guided her fraternity through the dark days of the London Blitz, continuing her weekly letters even when the bombs came through her own roof.

 

Long out of print and much sought after, Skylight Press is very pleased to re-issue this fascinating and important book. Introduction and commentary by Gareth Knight.

 

“A compelling portrait of an adept practising the magic of the light for the sake of the nation.”

– Alan Richardson

 

 

The Lost Book of the Grail

Restoring the Voices of the Wells

Being a new translation, by Gareth Knight, of the 13th century Elucidation of the Grail

 

with commentary by Caitlín Matthews and John Matthews

 

The Elucidation is a 13th century French poem that has lain virtually forgotten since its discovery in the mid19th century. It contains some of the most powerful and revealing clues to the nature of the Grail to be found in any of the many texts relating to this most mysterious of sacred objects.

 

This brief text purports to introduce us to Chrétien’s Perceval, le Conte du Graal, regarded as the first account of the Grail story, while actually providing a mythic prequel entirely different from Chrétien’s account. Within the seven branches of the story, we learn the cause of the Wasteland, of how the Maidens of the Wells were violated by the anti-Grail King, Amangons, and the attempt to restore the wells by the quests of King Arthur’s knights through the seven guardians of the story.

 

After tracing the history of the manuscript and its possible author, the commentators present to you the first full-length study of the Elucidation to appear in any language, in fulfilment of the text’s own words, ‘that the good that the Grail served will openly be taught to all people.’

 

Now, in a new translation by foremost esotericist, Gareth Knight, with a full-length commentary by Arthurian and Grail scholars, Caitlín & John Matthews, the treasury hidden within this ‘lost book’ of the Grail can finally be revealed.