Esoteric Book Conference 2009

2009 Presenters:

Robert Ansell

Robert Ansell is the managing director of the long-established esoteric fine press Fulgur Limited, but until 2001 he was also a Director of Sotheby’s in London where he toiled with antiquarian books for sixteen years. An early pioneer in the revival of talismanic publishing, since 1992 he has worked closely with Kenneth and Steffi GrantMichael Bertiaux and the late Andrew Chumbley, collaborating with them to produce some of the most inspirational magical books of recent times. A specialist in the art and sorcery of Austin Osman Spare, his published work includes; AOS Ex-Libris (1988), The Book of Ugly Ecstasy (1996),Borough Satyr (2005) and The Valley of Fear (2008). Though rarely seen as a public lecturer, his two recent appearances concerning Spare, “AOS: A Celebration” (2006) and “The Cult of One” (2007) received critical acclaim.

2009 Presentation
Bound by the Devil:
The Art of Talismanic Books

In this richly illustrated lecture Robert Ansell draws upon his many years of experience working with books, authors and artists to outline the development of modern talismanic book-making from the era of Crowley to the present day. Fascinating bibliographic details are interwoven with personal anecdote and philosophical observations on the magical nature of this creative process. Conjuring through analysis and metaphor the speaker invites the audience to reach a definition of the craft and to speculate towards its future in an increasingly commercial digital age.

2009 Presentation
Adventures in Limbo: Exploring the Creative Sorcery of Austin Osman Spare’s Magico-Aesthetic

In this multimedia lecture Robert Ansell develops the broad themes introduced in The Cult of One (2007) to offer us deeper insights into the theory and technique of Austin Osman Spare’s creative sorcery. Here Spare’s philosophy of the ‘Neither-Neither’ is examined through word and image to emerge as the artist’s primary creative methodology. The processes he employed will resonate with writers, artists, photographers and musicians who aim to evoke the presence of the otherworldly through their work.

Peter Gray & Alkistis Dimech

Scarlet Imprint was founded in 2007 by Peter Grey and Alkistis Dimech to create talismanic occult books that inspire, transform and engage. We are the new blood, and we are putting everything into the Cup.

Alkistis is a trained dancer and artist; her work explores the erotic, irrational, and primitive. Using techniques derived from Butoh, several Asian dance forms, energy work and martial arts, as well as shamanic practices to access states of expanded consciousness, she uses her body to enter and incorporate suppressed, archaic and non-human realms of being. She has performed in the UK and Europe.

“We are fiercely independent and belong to no order or organization, our lineage is our action.”

2009 Presentation:
Seven Heads, Seven Veils

Peter and Alkistis will give a series of insights and revelations of their ongoing voyage into the Mystery of Babalon and the Beast. “This material is a continuation of The Red Goddess, a system of personal working within a stellar architecture, with the emphasis on practical techniques for gnosis, transformation and liberation. The key to understanding these critical times of environmental, economic and spiritual upheaval is the unifying confrontation of Babalon with the Beast. We are proposing a way of living magically and with integrity in the world, in the body and with one another.”

John J. Coughlin

Waning Moon Publications is a small bindery and publishing house founded by John J. Coughlin specializing in creating limited edition, hand-bound talismanic books pertaining to various occult and related subjects. Believing that books, when constructed appropriately, are themselves potent magical objects, every book produced is treated as a ritual tool worthy of any altar.

Besides his publishing work, John is the author ofOut of the Shadows: An Exploration of Dark Paganism and MagickEthics and the CraftLiber Yog-Sothoth, and A Cthulhian Grimoire of Dreamwork as well as creator of various websites found catering to various pagan, magical, and gothic communities. His magical interests and practice extends into several areas from traditional ceremonial magic to chaos magic, always seeking a modern practical application.

Daniel Schulke

is the author of Ars Philtron: Concerning the Aqueous Cunning of the Potion and its Praxis in the Green Arte Magical and Viridarium Umbris: The Pleasure Garden of Shadow, and director of Xoanon Publishing Ltd. which was founded in 1992 e.v. to serve as the sole publisher of the Cultus Sabbati.

More details forthcoming…

Darcy Kuntz is the director of the Golden Dawn Research Trust which was founded in 1998. The Golden Dawn Research Trust is a co-operative of Adepts whose goal is to preserve the teachings, ritual, history, practices, documents, letters, and books of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (as it existed between the dates 1887–1930) in quality limited edition books. The Research Trust is also interested in preserving the source material for the practices and teachings of the Golden Dawn. We are preserving this material so that the information contained therein may be inviolate and remain accessible to scholars now and in the future. The Golden Dawn Research Trust is neither sanctioned by nor affiliated with any Occult Order or Organization. The Research Trust has been and will be printing books by well known historians and rare material from our Esoteric Archives as well as translating original material from other languages. Some of his published work includes:Complete Golden Dawn Cipher Manuscript (1996); Golden Dawn Sourcebook (1996); The Historic Structure of the Original Golden Dawn Temples (1999); The Golden Dawn American Source Book(2000); Sent From the Second Order (2005); Ancient Texts of the Golden Rosicrucians (2008).

Darcy will be launching the Golden Dawn Temple Manual (2009) which has been twenty years in the making at the Esoteric Book Conference.

More details forthcoming…

Michael Staley

Michael Staley has been a member of the Typhonian Order for more than thirty years. He is the editor and publisher of Starfire, an occasional Thelemic journal which first appeared in 1986. The founder of Starfire Publishing, he has been for many years the publisher of Kenneth Grant.

2009 Presentation:
Imagination and Creativity in the
Work of Kenneth Grant

Imagination and creativity are central in Kenneth Grant’s work, as in the work of other occultists such as Spare. Creativity has its origins as an impulse from collective or cosmic imagination. Experienced as inspiration by the human mind, the impulse is elaborated as works of art. The medium of expression varies: for example writing, painting, drawing, sculpting, or scientific discovery.

At the heart of imagination and creativity is the paradox of what constitutes so-called reality, our identity across space and time, and our relation to the universe around us. This talk explores the background to these and other matters, and goes on to consider specific aspects of Grant’s work that bear upon this.

2009 Presentation:
Imagination and Creativity in the
Work of Kenneth Grant

Defined most succinctly as “the journey within,” initiation is a work of fundamental transformation which moves beyond the distinction between “inner” and “outer.” In Thelemic terms, initiation is the discovery of the True Will, a dynamic realisation which transforms not only the initiate but more crucially his or her relationship with the universe. In this talk, Michael Staley discusses the approach to initiation which can be found in Kenneth Grant’s work, as well as his initiatory experiences arising from involvement with that work across the years.

Dr. Amy Hale

Dr. Amy Hale is an anthropologist specializing in contemporary Celtic cultures, with an emphasis on modern Cornwall and British esoteric cultural history. She is the co-editor of New Directions in Celtic Studies (2000) andInside Merlin’s Cave: A Cornish Arthurian Reader (2000) in addition to over 30 other articles ranging from Neo-Druidry to Celtic cultural tourism. Her book, Raising Piran’s Standard: Cornish Identity Politics and Economic Policy, is forthcoming from LIT Verlag in 2010. She is the co-editor of the Journal of the Academic Study of Magic 5 and her biography on Ithell Colquhoun, Brighter than Crystal, is forthcoming from Francis Boutle Press (2010).

2009 Presentation:
Ithell Colquhoun

Ithell Colquhoun (1906–1988) was a British painter, writer, and poet who, despite formally separating herself from the British Surrealist movement in 1940, was deeply committed to Surrealism and the art of the fantastic throughout her entire life. She may also have arguably been one of the most prolific and original occultists of the 20th century. In addition to her interest in the Golden Dawn system of magic, which inspired her 1975 Golden Dawn history, The Sword of Wisdom, she was an initiated member of several Druidic orders, the O.T.O, and she was also a Martinist and a Co-Mason. Alchemical and Qabalistic symbolism were cornerstones of her poetry, her paintings and her novels. She regularly employed standard Surrealist and divinatory techniques such as automatism and decalomania in her painting and writing, which she believed connected her not only with her own subconscious but also with a greater symbolic universe. This illustrated talk will examine Colquoun’s conception of the numinous and its relationship to her artistic production.

Richard Kaczynski

Richard Kaczynski is the author of The Weiser Concise Guide to Aleister Crowley(2009), Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley (2002), “Perdurabo Outtakes” (Blue Equinox Journal #1, 2003), and “Panic in Detroit: The Magician and the Motor City” (Blue Equinox Journal#2, 2004). He has also contributed to numerous books (Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism: An Anthology of Critical Studies (forthcoming), A Concordance to the Holy Books of Thelema,The Golden Dawn SourcebookRebels and Devils, and People of the Earth) and magazines (High TimesThe Magical LinkNeshamahChethMezlimEidolon, and Different Worlds). He is completing an edited and annotated edition of Crowley’s Sword of Song; has co-edited with Hymenaeus Beta The Revival of Magick and Other Essays (Oriflamme #2); and performed editorial duties for theNOTOCON VI Proceedings Book and Neshamah (journal of the Psychology Guild). And he appeared on television in the documentaries Secrets of the Occult (2006) and Aleister Crowley: The Beast 666 (2007). He’s been a student of magic and Thelema since 1977, an O.T.O. member since 1987, and a lecturer on magick since 1990. Dr. Kaczynski earned his Ph.D. in social psychology, with a minor in measurement and statistics, at Wayne State University (Detroit) in 1993. His doctoral dissertation concerned metaphysical beliefs and experiences among occult practitioners. His current projects include an updated edition of Perdurabo, and two books on the history of esoteric societies in the 19th and early 20th centuries (with one volume focusing on sacred sexuality).

2009 Presentation:
Occult Blue-Bloods and Black Sheep: How the “Social” Part of Secret Societies Spawned Generations of Spiritual Seekers

The 19th-century esoteric scene was populated by various occult societies and fringe rites: Esoteric Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Martinists, Gnostics, Theosophists, Templars and more. Many of these groups were inter-connected in one way or another: Sometimes through a web of influential members who belonged to two or more groups, sometimes through patriarchs who passed their authority onto an eager new generation, and sometimes through disgruntled ex-members who strove to do something different. One way or another, these groups morphed into or influenced other groups that remain vital and active today. This talk will examine these organizations, and the roles that figures like John Yarker, Frederick Hockley, Wynn Westcott, P.B. Randolph, H.P. Blavatsky, Peter Davidson, Hargrave Jennings and others like them played in transmitting their gnosis and authority across groups and down through time.

Brandy Williams

Historian by temperament and radical by calling,Brandy Williams has been a student of esotericism for more than thirty years. She actively practices and teaches with a Traditional Witchcraft coven. With Temple of Light and Darkness, a group loosely affiliated with the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn, she performs ritual and writes knowledge papers. She is past master of Vortex Oasis of the Ordo Templi Orientis and is an initiated priestess of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. Her published works include Ecstatic Ritual: Practical Sex Magic and Practical Magic for Beginners. Her paper “Feminist Thelema” is due to be published in the proceedings of NOTOCON 2007. Her current works in progress include an anthology of essays by contemporary women esotericists with the working title Women’s Voices in Magic, and a revisioning of Western Traditional Magic whose working title is The Woman Magician.

2009 Presentation:
Chaldean Oracles

Fragments of the Chaldean Oracles appear in many esoteric rituals and texts without explanation or context. This talk reviews the history of the Chaldean Oracles, including a brief biography of the two Julians, the surviving texts, and published works which include the surviving texts, and outlines magical techniques described in the oracles. The discussion does not build these techniques into a magical system but places the information before the operative magician in a way that can be understood, adopted, and adapted by the practitioner who wishes to explore them.

Thomas Karlsson

Thomas Karlsson teaches Western Esotericism at Stockholm University Sweden, is the author of Qabalah, Qliphoth and Goetic MagicAdulruna and the Gothic Cabala, andUthark: Nightside of the Runes, and the founder of Dragon Rouge.

Dragon Rouge is the leading Scandinavian Left Hand Path Order with members all over the world. In addition to his presentation at the conference Thomas Karlsson will lead the first official Dragon Rouge magical working on the American continent, Friday, September 18. For more information:

2009 Presentation:

Thomas will present his book which was published in the US by Ajna Bound and give a lecture on Qliphotic Qabalah and Esoteric Gothicism with a discussion on how ancient conceptions of divinity and darkness might answer modern man’s spiritual questions.

Christina Oakley Harrington

Christina Oakley Harrington is the founder and director of Treadwell’s Bookshop in London, specialising in the best of Western esoteric practice and scholarship. Christina has a doctorate in medieval history from University College London, is published by Oxford University Press and was an assistant professor (lecturer) at the University of Surrey for most of the 1990s. She served on the central committee of the Pagan Federation, editing its journal. She also started open rituals in Central London in response to public demand. Christina is now co-editor, together with Rob Ansell of Fulgur press, of the recently announced Abraxas: Journal of Esoteric Studies. She gives lectures to specialist audiences, and is currently focusing on building bridges between the British esoteric community and the wider worlds of academia, the arts and the media.

2009 Presentation:
Flesh of My Flesh on the Ecstasy of the Page: Grimoires Classic and New

There is no more classic occult book than the grimoire. For many centuries it was considered dangerous to read, dangerous to own and fatal to be caught with. It is still a term to conjure with and for many holds a glamour unsurpassed within the Western esoteric traditions. This talk begins with an analysis of the classic European grimoire — its format, formula, paradigm and essential features — before developing an evaluation and critical reassessment in light of the cutting-edge thinking of modern magic. Here we find foregrounded the magical potency of the body surface and an intuitive pantheistic immediatism. Compelling us thus, the speaker invites through erotic metaphor the skin of the page, a tattoo by pen ink and a surrender to the intimacy of the closed book cover.


2009 Artists:

This content is coming soon.


2009 Performers:

Northwest musicians Eyvind Kang and Jessika Kenney will perform musical pieces from Atalanta Fugiens by alchemist Michael Maier and Songs for Schizoid Siblings by the late poet and kabbalist Lionel Ziprin.

The rest of the 2009 performers will be listed soon.

2009 Hosts:


William Kiesel

William Kiesel is a historical and practical researcher in the field of western esotericism with a particular focus on symbol systems. He is director of Ouroboros Press, an editor of CLAVIS: Journal of Occult Arts and the founding administrator at the EBC. In addition to publishing the complete and corrected edition of the Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum under his own imprint, his most recent book, Magic Circles in the Grimoire Tradition was released by Three Hands Press.


Catamara Rosarium

Catamara Rosarium is an Alchemist, Master Herbalist, and Ritual Artist. She has been a student and practitioner of various Western and Eastern traditions over the past 15 years. Her current studies and practicum include Alchemy, Tantra, Spagyrics, Wortcunning, and Cunning Craft Sorcery. She is the sole proprietor of Rosarium Blends a business dedicated to concocting various alchemical creations to enliven the senses.

Her continuous passions lie in esoteric arts, with an emphasis on cross diversification, working to cultivate networking and community based events wherein diverse belief systems and traditional practices may be shared and to offer deeper understanding and education through these communal experiences.

Michael Kolson

Michael Kolson is the proprietor of Night of Pan Books, an independent scholar and student of the Mysteries.

His practical and intellectual interests include Thelema, Occult History, Hermeticism, Rosicrucianism, Kabbalah, Alchemy and Ceremonial Magick. He has been a student of these esoteric systems for over 20 years. He is currently working on editing for publication a series of Diaries of students of Aleister Crowley. As an outgrowth of this work he recently lectured on Leah Hirsig at the Mystics, Mothers and Magicians Conference.

Michael can be reached at mkolson at attglobal dot net.