Occult Fiction

The Testament of Merlin

Théophile Briant
translated by Gareth Knight

 

This evocative esoteric novel follows the life and work of Merlin as the founder of the Round Table fellowship, his return of Excalibur to the Lake, his safe conduct of Arthur to Avalon, his liaison with Viviane and the Faery powers in the Forest of Broceliande, and the resuscitation of his disciple Adragante in the Cauldron of Keridwen – including a remarkable sequence of initiations for the young knight. For it is Adragante who is called to bear witness to Merlin’s life, his death at the hands of some shepherds at Drumelzier on the Scottish borders, and his subsequent apotheosis. Much of this is of great contemporary relevance in the present clash of Christian and Neo-Pagan dynamics.

 

Théophile Briant needs no introduction in France: from an old windmill and lighthouse in Brittany he published, between 1936 and his death in 1956, a remarkable journal (Le Goëland, or The Seagull) devoted to poetry, the arts and the esoteric. A great enthusiast of all things Breton and Celtic, he spent twelve years writing this powerfully esoteric novel, which was not published until nineteen years after his death and amazingly has not appeared in English until now. Gareth Knight, an established esoteric author in his own right, has translated a number of French esoteric books.

 

du Lac

Alan Richardson

 

For those wild fey souls who are wearied by the spiritual tyranny and tedious minutiae of the Holy Grail, the great du Lac with his heart of diamond and heart of wax can show that there is always Another Way. His path is nothing to do with blood-dripping spears, floating bowls, high-born celebrity virgins of perfect beauty who selfishly bugger off into their heaven and don't give a toss about the rest of us. It is everything to do with warmth, courage, gallantry, fumbling attempts at wisdom and all those senseless, stupid, impulsive acts of love between the low-born common folk that are the true Mysteries of the Wasteland.

The Fat Git

The Story of a Merlin

Alan Richardson

 

Inside every Fat Git there's an Enchanter wildly signalling to be let out.

 

Alan Richardson is back with a ground-breaking esoteric satire, The Fat Git, with a cast of characters including Ambrose Hart, the Merlin of Strathnaddair; his reluctant nephew, Arthur; the mythical seductress, Vivienne, and the dastardly evil Vortig. Richardson takes no prisoners with his take on psychic pretentiousness, taking mythical simulacra and Arthurian archetypes to levels of absurdity, yet always displaying trenchant psychological insights and a sound background in the deeper aspects of occultism. This mix of mundane and fantastic, at wild odds with each other, is reminiscent of the work of Charles Williams, and perhaps one or two of his fellow Inklings. Richardson does not hold back from lambasting certain quarters with his iconoclastic wit but seems to be saying something that needs to be said. With great humour and panache, he provides a riveting burlesque of modern magic and the Arthurian Mysteries.

 

“If Strathnaddair exists in another realm, and yet is also a real place that we have all visited, then so are The Arthur, The Merlin and all the rest real people, with addresses, postcodes, mortgages, debts, and all the troubles and triumphs of modern life. You can find them in any phone book, just look under your own name. For there are moments when, if only for the blink of an eye and on the canvas behind its lid, we become them…”

 

 

Windleroot

Gordon Strong

 

“Windleroot was permanently a wasps’ nest of rumour and scandal. Gobbets of gossip continually dripped from the awnings of the establishments in Lowe Street. An innocent remark made at the top end became a slanderous accusation by the time it arrived at the horse trough at the bottom. Making the most trivial observation about anyone in the town was like playing hopscotch in a minefield.”

 

Dick Symes leads a cast of Dickensian characters in this rollicking magic-tinged tale.  After cavorting with strange beings from the 27th Dimension and inheriting an empowering object, the hero leads a campy caper to the town of Windleroot and its various peculiar environs such as the Nob, the Isle of Teflon, and the Crumpled Horn. Gordon Strong, a multifarious author, delivers a sumptuous modern phantasmagoria full of dithering magi, musty grimoires, chortling gods and dodgy magic – sprinkled evenly with wit, irony, allegory and pastiche.

 

 

In Different Skies

Rebecca Wilby

 

A novel by the author of This Wretched Splendour.

 

In the trenches of Loos and the Somme, two disaffected young subalterns, Munro and Tate, struggle to find humour and purpose in a rapidly disintegrating world; brothers unto death – with a firmer bond than anything in their real families.

 

A world away, in another time and place, Katherine is startled when she starts to recover memories – someone else’s memories – of the first world war trenches. These involuntary glimpses into the life of a lost soldier open up a visionary world and a search across the fields of northern Europe for the historical truth behind the vision.

 

A powerful story, fused with many realities.

 

Both Sides of the Door

Margaret Lumley Brown

 

A re-issue of a remarkable little novella published in 1918, which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle praised as “a unique experience”.

 

It comprises a fictionalised account of a psychic upheaval the young Margaret went through in 1913 while living in a disturbed house in Bayswater, London, with her sister. A casual experiment with table-turning triggered an intense and terrifying haunting, beginning with odd patches of shadow and light and soon developing into a full blown poltergeist manifestation – household items vanishing and reappearing in odd places, writing appearing on window blinds, and malevolent presences who began to materialise in various disturbing forms. Margaret Lumley Brown went on to become a significant figure in the Western Mysteries revival, and her remarkable mediumship gift was sparked by the experiences described in Both Sides of the Door.

 

Margaret Lumley Brown (1886-1975) is best known as resident trance medium at the Society of the Inner Light, where she took over the role of arch-pythoness after Dion Fortune’s death in 1946. In her youth she published this novella and a book of poetry, both originally under the pen-name of Irene Hay. This re-issue includes an Introduction by Gareth Knight and an essay by Rebecca Wilby explaining the locations and historical background to the story.

 

 

Immortal Jaguar

Hugh Fox

 

Immortal Jaguar is Hugh Fox’s account of his experiences with the inner worlds and ancient powers unleashed by his use of traditional South American spiritual hallucinogenics. After consuming psychoactive plants in Peru he is gripped by visionary experiences and finds a dazzling magical world of Immortals opening up, a whirl of ancient knowledge pouring through his consciousness. On his return to academic life in the US he finds that having a shamanic gift which he is unable to switch off is something of a dangerous liability.

 

Part memoir, part archaeology, this fusion of visions and ideas into fictional narrative is among the most excitingly readable presentations of the spiritual underworld of the Andes and its expression through sacred hallucinogens. The vision extends outward across the ancient world through language and legend, all leading to a voyage to the house of the Sun-King – Tiawanaku in Bolivia. Fox, an authority on the Pre-Columbian Americas, and a true visionary to boot, makes a compelling case for the connection of myths and cultures around the world in deepest antiquity.

 

“Hugh Fox has long been a legend in the annals of contemporary American poetry, a poet who is unafraid to explore the deeper fodder of the human psyche .... there are no barriers here for Fox is a shaman who walks through walls, ignoring all social rules and regulations.”

— B.L. Kennedy, Rattlesnake Review

 

 

Faery Loves and Faery Lais

translated by Gareth Knight

 

The Breton lai is a narrative poem, usually accompanied by music, that appeared in France about the middle of the 12th century, carried by travelling musicians and storytellers called jongleurs. What is important about them is that they contain a great deal of faery and supernatural lore deriving from Celtic myth, legend and folktale.

 

This collection of twelve tales focuses on faery lore in the lai tradition. Nine are taken from anonymous medieval jongleur sources; the other three are from the more courtly tales collected by Marie de France in the late 12th century. Gareth Knight, a scholar of medieval French as well as an established author on esoteric faery lore, provides a vivid and lively translation of each lai along with a commentary which takes a perspective both historic and esoteric.

 

The Romance of the Faery Melusine

Gareth Knight
translated from a novel by André Lebey

 

Springing from the heart of medieval France, The Romance of the Faery Melusine tells the story of Raymondin of Poitiers who accidentally kills his uncle while out hunting, and flees deep into the forest until he encounters a faery by a fountain. Struck by a mutual soul-love, the faery Melusine agrees to help him, and to become his wife, on condition that he makes no attempt to see her between dusk and dawn each Saturday. On this basis the house of Lusignan magically thrives, until a treachery tempts Raymondin to violate his promise and shatter the magic which holds his faery wife to the human world.

 

First rendered into written form in a text by Jean d’Arras in 1393, the legend of the Faery Melusine is well established in France, where she is credited with having founded the family, town and castle of Lusignan. However, it is very little known in the English-speaking world, despite the fact that Melusine originally hailed from Scotland.

 

This new translation by Gareth Knight of André Lebey’s 1920s novel Le Roman de la Mélusine captures the freshness of Lebey’s retelling of the legend and brings the benefit of Knight’s expertise both in medieval French literature and in the esoteric faery tradition. Gareth Knight is the author of The Faery Gates of Avalon and The Book of Mélusine of Lusignan.

 

On Winsley Hill

Alan Richardson

 

“Alan Richardson needs no introduction, as the biographer of various major figures on the occult scene, who also has a reputation as a highly amusing, well informed and down to earth speaker. His specialist knowledge is brilliantly exploited in this vivid evocation of the west country world of 1908 in the moving story of a psychically gifted young girl exploited and abused by an academic researcher. … Highly recommended, and I look forward to more of the same.”

– Gareth Knight

 

On Winsley Hill is set in a very real location, a plateau near Bath. Within the chronicles of old light ever stirring on the hill is the story of Rosie Chant, a young farmworker who, aged 17 in 1908, falls in love with a visiting American folklorist and archaeologist called Edward Grahl, triggering a fierce soul love which entangles her through nine decades.

 

Grahl recognises Rosie’s unique otherworldly talents. She is a visionary and can pick up impressions from objects and places. As part of his research for a book he is writing, he uses her to tell him about the era of standing stones, long barrows, and sacred wells. She doesn’t complain when he uses her in other ways, and through Grahl she gets to mix society life with the darker side of her gift, with devastating consequences

 

To the Heart of the Rainbow

Gareth Knight

with illustrations by Libby Travassos Valdez

 

In what appears on the surface to be a children’s story, Gareth Knight, using Tarot imagery, conducts a guided visualisation through the Tree of Life from the homely Cottage of Heart’s Desire to the Heart of the Rainbow … and back again.

 

Richard and Rebecca meet the Joker of their granny’s pack of cards, and guided by his dog, embark on an adventure through the Inner Worlds in search of their True Names. To those attuned to its deeper symbolism, the story forms an imaginative journey along the serpentine path of the Tree of Life, conducted via the Tarot archetypes, which when read with openness and imagination may serve as a powerful key to intuitive understanding of the Western Mystery Tradition.

 

Gareth Knight is one of the world’s leading authorities on modern esoteric studies and the Western Mystery Tradition, with a career as an author, publisher and lecturer which spans more than 50 years.

 

Foam of the Past

Fiona Macleod

edited by Steve Blamires

 

Fiona Macleod was clearly a gentlelady of breeding and intellect. She was almost ‘one of us’ – but not quite. It was this slight difference that allowed her to deal with dark and frightening characters and subjects in a way that gave them the glamour of the Celtic Otherworld in an intriguing and believable manner. She opened up a whole new world of language, ancient songs, poems and proverbs that had never before been presented to the English-speaking peoples south of the Scottish Highlands. She was a darling of late Victorian literature and earnestly courted by the fin-de-siècle ‘Celtic Twilight’ movement. Only after her ‘death’ in 1905 was it revealed that all the works attributed to her were penned by the art and literary critic William Sharp. This collection, edited and selected by Sharp’s biographer Steve Blamires, contains some of her more important, curious and obscure pieces, annotated and explained where necessary, including provocative dark tales, mystical parables, reveries of nature, political polemics, delightful vignettes and some previously unpublished fragments from William Sharp’s notebooks.

 

The Curve of the Land

Diana Durham

 

Set in 1980s Britain against the backdrop of ecological crisis, The Curve of the Land  is a circumspect novel about our modern relationship with the Earth, which in this case is represented by the landscapes of western Britain. Jessica, an ardent but unfulfilled journalist, joins a tour of megalithic sites hoping to find renewal from relationship burn-out and a sterile work environment. The characters on the tour are a good cross-section of the way ‘new age’, occult and mystical threads got grafted on to the more intellectual or ‘respectable’ British stock, throwing up eccentric cameos of people and comic situations. The mysterious atmosphere of the stones and her growing attraction for the charismatic tour leader builds to a final shamanic climax in the wilds of West Penwith, Cornwall.

 

Author of The Return of King Arthur: Completing the Quest for Wholeness, Diana Durham explores eco-shamanism, sex magic, goddess and ‘Gaia’ consciousness, as well as emerging archaeological and scientific findings pertaining to the sacred sites of Britain. The Curve of the Land follows the journey of a woman in contemporary society seeking to reconnect to an ancient land and share in its spiritual topography.

 

"An enchanting story by someone who has a wonderful command of the English language." — Ellen Langer, Author of Mindfulness; The Power of Mindful Learning & The Power of Mindful Learning

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