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Abraxas No.2

Abraxas Journal Issue 2


Abraxas: Issue #2

edited by Christina Oakley Harrington and Robert Ansell

– 4to (290mm x 232mm)
– 200+ pages
– lavish use of colour
– printed on a variety of papers
– audio CD supplement
– published 21 June 2011

Hardback Issue £90.00 SOLD OUT
– 156 copies only
– sewn cloth with cover inset
– dust-jacket
– with an ORIGINAL signed and numbered silkscreen-print by Barry William Hale entitled Regina Phasmatum

Standard Issue £15.00
– limited edition
– sewn paperback

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Product Description

Abraxas #2 offers over 200 pages of essays, poetry, interviews, music and art.

Uniquely produced in a large high quality format, printed on a variety of papers, richly illustrated in colour and monochrome, and offering our first free audio supplement, we hope this issue of Abraxas will provoke and inspire.


The Tree of Death, John Clowder
Adan y Eva, Marcelo Bordese
The White Goddess, A Personal Account, Grevel Lindop
Brion Gysin: Shaman of the Beat Hotel, Jon Crabb

SPECIAL FEATURE: In the Mylar Chamber. Essays Exploring the Photography of Ira Cohen
The Ritual Theatre of Hallucination, Allan Graubard
The Far Side of the World’s Mirror, Ian MacFadyen
Remembering Ira Cohen, Edwin Pouncey

Lost Words, Ira Cohen
Urban Sigils, Mark Titchner
Elucidarium Zza Firanki, Misior
Finding the Long-Lost Friend, Dan Harms
To Raise the Dead and enjoy Congress with them, Peter Dube
By Standing Stone and Twisted Tree, Desiree Isphording
Invocation of the Horned God, Doreen Valiente
Five Studies, Lauren Simonutti
Out of the Zero Hours, Residue
IO:EVOE The Transvocatory Media of Barry Hale, An Interview by Robert Fitzgerald
Portrait of a Magical Maker, Amy Hale talks with Joseph Max
Astral Flight, Talon Abraxas
The Metamorphic Self: Body, Vision and Transfiguration, An Interview with Cristina Francov
Sorceress in Mauve, Peter Redgrove
Pashupâti: A Cainite Trimurti?, Shani Oates
Peter Redgrove: Blood and Dreams, Edward Gauntlett
On the Always Wandering Way, Christopher Greenchild
Spells, Malgorzata Maj
She’s Lost Control, Heather Tracy
Endless Shifting: A Feast of Images Swallowed by Sound, An Interview with Adi Newton by Jack Sargeant
The Habit of Perfection, An illustrated transcript of Gerald Manley Hopkins by Ithell Colquhoun
Knowledge, T. Thorn Coyle
Witches’ Ointment: A translation, Christina Oakley Harrington
Fossil Angels, Alan Moore
To End Uneasy Dreams, Peter Dube

compiled by Gavin Semple
Our first free Audio Supplement CD featuring material from:

Arktau Eos
John Contreras
English Heretic
High Mountain Tempel
Philip Legard
Noko: Order 41
Okok Research Bureau
Orryelle Defenestrate-Bascule
The Psychogeographical Commission

Additional Information

Weight 1.25 kg

AATalon Abraxas was born in South London, England in 1980. A self-taught artist, he is known for works that consist of a combination of traditional and digital images, creating surreal landscapes that have a believable dream-like quality. Inspiration is drawn from mystical artists and thinkers such as Austin Osman Spare, Jean Delville, Hieronymus Bosch, HR Giger, Beksinski, and Aleister Crowley. He considers himself a symbolist, painter, writer and occultist committed to spiritual esotericism.

AAMarcelo Bordese lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His images explore themes involving the flesh, sex, religion and despair. His style is reminscent of Bosch and Breughel, but Marcelo paints with acrylic, which he affirms ‘…like blood, dries quickly.’ He has exhibited extensively since 1996, most recently at Owners of the Crossroad: Aesthetics of Exú and Pomba Gira in Rio de la Plata, Buenos Aires, 2009 and Grito Íntimo: con sexo, corrupción y juegos, Instituto Cervantes de Tokio, Tokyo, 2010. www.artebus.com.ar/bordese

AAJohn Clowder is an artist working primarily in the collage medium. His history would be familiar to anyone living in the average suburban town. Luckily, a devious and unstructured childhood prompted him towards imaginative play, an activity that brought experiments with artistic creativity. At a receptive age he chanced upon Max Ernst’s oneiric collage novels and absorbed by their imagery, sought to replicate their effect. He lives in the American Midwest, but Surrealism is his chosen means of escape.

AAIra Cohen (1935-2011) was an American poet, publisher, photographer and filmmaker. He travelled widely, most notably to Morocco where he published GNAOUA, a magazine devoted to exorcism, and later to Kathmandu, where he founded his Bardo Matrix imprint, issuing limited edition books printed on rice paper. His later years in NYC consolidated his role as one of the most important voices of American counter-culture. His contribution was unique and he will be greatly missed. www.iracohen.org

AAIthell Colquhoun (1906-1988) was a British Surrealist painter and author. Her membership of the O.T.O. in the early 1950s presaged involvements with numerous esoteric groups throughout her life. A move to Cornwall inspired her book The Living Stones: Cornwall (1957), a pioneering study of Earth-energies, although she is best remembered for her biography of MacGregor Mathers, The Sword of Wisdom (1975).

AAT. Thorn Coyle is an internationally respected visionary and teacher of the magical and esoteric arts. The author of Kissing the Limitless (2009) and Evolutionary Witchcraft (2004), she is also featured in many anthologies, hosts the Elemental Castings podcast series, writes a popular weblog, Know Thyself, and has produced several CDs of sacred music. Pagan, mystic, and activist, she is founder and head of Solar Cross Temple and Morningstar Mystery School and lives by the glorious San Francisco Bay. www.thorncoyle.com

AAJon Crabb is a young art historian and writer who developed a mild obsession with the Beat writers in his teens, then graduated from the enthusiasm of Kerouac to the cynicism of Burroughs in his twenties. Having heard that William Burroughs once declared Brion Gysin ‘the only man I have ever respected,’ he was added to the personal syllabus and quickly became a chief fascination. He is also interested in the fin-de-siècle period, the cross-over between science and art, and the larger influence of the occult on Western art as a whole.

AAPeter Dubé is a novelist, short story writer, essayist and cultural critic. He is the author of the chapbook Vortex Faction Manifesto (2001), the novel Hovering World (2002), At the Bottom of the Sky (2007) a collection of linked short stories, and most recently, the novella Subtle Bodies: a Fantasia on Voice, History and René Crevel (2010). He is also the editor of the anthology Madder Love: Queer Men and The Precincts of Surrealism (2008). www.peterdube.com

AARobert Fitzgerald is a long-time practitioner of the angelic evocation of John Dee and Edward Kelley, and is an initiate of Cultus Sabbati, a magical order of traditional witchcraft in Britain and North America. His written contributions have appeared in the British journal of folklore The Cauldron.

AAEdward Gauntlett is lifelong student of magic, and holds an MA in Literature, Religion and Philosophy. Currently he is working on a study of the Secret Tradition in late 19th and early 20th century supernatural horror fiction. He is editor of the Charles Williams Society.

AAChristopher Greenchild is a composer, musician, poet, writer, artist, designer and philosopher from Seattle. He is presently preparing the first releases from his archives and their parallel performance concepts. His music centres around an imaginal consciousness of memory and mystery that incorporates field recordings and electronic sound with classical, folk, alternative instrumentations, and vivid rhapsodic lyrics. He is also at work completing a three-part book series on his visionary account of dream awareness as a parallel mystical continuum in humanity and nature.

AAAllan Graubard lives in New York, with previous lives in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris, London, Washington DC, and other places lost to time and water – turns in the dance that sustains him. Recent works include ROMA AMOR (2010), Revolting Women/Woman Bomb-Sade (Theater Row, 42nd Street), and And tell, tulip, the summer (forthcoming). Happily, 2011 also saw the publication of Invisible Heads: Surrealists in North America – An Untold Story, which he edited with his friend, Thom Burns.

AAAmy Hale is an anthropologist and Chaote whose academic interests are primarily focused on modern Cornwall and British esoteric culture. She is the co-editor of New Directions in Celtic Studies, Inside Merlin’s Cave: A Cornish Arthurian Reader and Journal of the Academic Study of Magic 5 in addition to over 30 articles ranging from Druidry to Celtic cultural tourism. She is currently working on a series of projects and publications concerning the British Surrealist and occultist Ithell Colquhoun. She lives in San Francisco.

AADan Harms is a librarian and author whose interests include Lovecraft, the Cthulhu Mythos, grimoires, the history of magic, and rôleplaying games. His books include The Necronomicon Files (1998, with John Wisdom Gonce III) and The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia (2008). His articles have appeared in Fortean Times, The Journal for the Academic Study of Magic, The Journal of Scholarly Publishing, Paranoia, Imelod, Le Bulletin de l’Université de Miskatonic, Worlds of Cthulhu, Cthuloide Welten, and The Unspeakable Oath.www.danharms.wordpress.com

AADesirée Isphording is a 25 year old artist living in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Her work has been featured in the magazines Pentacle and SageWoman, and has also graced the covers of If…A Journal of Spiritual Exploration, PaganNet News and Harp, Pipe, and Symphony (2006), a book by Paul DiFilippo. In addition, she has material included in Gothic Art Now, a compilation of darkly elegant artwork. www.desireeisphording.com

AAGrevel Lindop lives in Manchester, where he was formerly a Professor of English at the University and is now a freelance writer. He worked with the late Kathleen Raine as deputy editor of the journal Temenos and now chairs the academic board of the Temenos Academy. His edition of Robert Graves’s The White Goddess (1997) is now the standard text. He has published six collections of poems, most recently Playing With Fire (2006), and Selected Poems (2001). He teaches Buddhist meditation and has a wide range of esoteric interests. www.grevel.co.uk

AAIan MacFadyen is an independent scholar and writer, based in London. He co-edited with Oliver Harris the book NakedLunch@50: Anniversary Essays (2009), to which he contributed six Dossiers. His libretto Point of No Return, on the life and death of Joan Burroughs, was performed at the University of London Institute in Paris in 2009. His essay ‘Machine Dreams: Optical Toys and Mechanical Boys’ was published in the collection Flickers of the Dreamachine (1996) and his essay ‘Ira Cohen: A Living Theatre’ appeared in Licking the Skull (2000, republished 2006).

AAMalgorzata Maj (Sarachmet) was born in 1980 and currently lives in Gliwice, Poland. In 2004 she graduated from Warmia-Masuria University in Olsztyn with an MA, specializing in traditional techniques including painting on silk. Since 2005 she has been an illustrator and photographer who fell in love with 19th century painting colours and themes, ghostly moods & dreamy visions. In March 2010 she contributed to the exhibition ‘Phantasms’ at Cabinet des Curieux, Paris, France. www.sarachmet.blogspot.com

AAMisior was born in 1976 in Poland and is a graphic designer, an illustrator and a surrealist painter. He regards art as a unique tool of cognition, limited neither by logic, nor the limits of consciousness. His artistic style has been influenced by the Renaissance, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, symbolists such as Gustave Moreau and Fernand Khnopff, Austin Spare, the surrealism of Max Ernst and Remedios Varo, the colors of Balthus and Hopper, along with Moebius and Manary’s comic strips. He also records music under the pseudonym of Kriccagiya.

AAAlan Moore, writer, anarchist and magician. Living legend. www.dodgemlogic.com

AAShani Oates lives in Derbyshire where she is a devoted practitioner of the true esoteric art. A mystic and pilgrim, she finds expression through her writing, visionary sketches, photography and therapeutic holism. Her essays and articles are included within: Hecate: Her Sacred Fires (2010) and The Cauldron, Pendragon, The White Dragon, Pentacle, The Goddess, The Hedge Wytch and The Wytch’s Standard. Her debut book, Tubelo’s Green Fire, was released in 2010. She is current Maid of the people of Goda, of Clan of Tubal Cain. www.clanoftubalcain.org.uk

AAEdwin Pouncey was born in Leeds in 1951 and now lives in south London. Under the nom de plume ‘Savage Pencil’ his art has mauled and entertained a generation with a ‘stinking psychedelic cesspit of corpse cluttered comix.’ As a music journalist, his writings and Trip Or Squeek cartoon strip are featured regularly in The Wire. He is currently working on a series of paintings, performances and other artworks with Chris Long (aka Eyeball) under the moniker Battle Of The Eyes. www.savagepencil.com

AAPeter Redgrove (1932-2003) was a prolific and widely respected British poet whose contribution spanned more than 40 years. His interest in mysticism and magic led was further inspired by a move to Cornwall towards the end of his life. His published work includes The Black Goddess and the Sixth Sense (1987) and The Wise Wound (1978), the first dedicated exploration of the mysteries of menstration, co-written with his second wife Penelope Shuttle.

AAResidue was born in 1964 in Halifax. He lives out his magical existance in Yorkshire. He is not part of any magical lineage, though is influenced by Kenneth Grant, Austin Spare and philosophical writings of Deleuze. He often dwells on magical mechanisms, machine.nature combinations, by creating magical si-fi maps or rituals. He also often makes parodies of ‘awareness zones’ or develop pastiches of the illusion of seperateness. These manifest through squiggles and robotic images, fetish voodoo rituals, pods, gadgets and shrines.

AAJack Sargeant is the author of numerous books, essays and articles on underground film, outsider art and the more unusual aspects of culture, his books include Deathtripping: The Extreme Underground (2007) and Naked Lens: Beat Cinema (2009). He has contributed to numerous collections of essays, most recently From The Arthouse To The Grindhouse (2010) and The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology (2011). His writings have appeared in Fortean Times, FilmInk, Real Time, The Wire and many others. www.jacksargeant.blogspot.com

AALauren Simonutti (1968-2012) Her images are born entirely from traditional photographic techniques. Her work is represented in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC. Since 1998, Lauren produced a series of books in very limited editions exploring specific themes through her photographic work. She exhibited extensively, and her work has been featured in Silvershotz, Catchlight Magazine, Eyemazing, Descry Magazine, Soura, and La Négatif. In early 2010 she had a solo exhibition at the Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago.

AAMark Titchner was born in Luton in 1973. He graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, in 1995. In 2006 he was nominated for the Turner Prize for a solo show at the Arnolfini, Bristol. In 2007 he was included in the 52nd Venice Biennale, exhibiting in the Ukraine Pavilion. His work is held in the permanent collections of the South London Gallery, the United Kingdom Government Art Collection and the Tate. He is represented by the Vilma Gold Gallery, London. www.marktitchnerstudio.com

AAHeather Tracy has been an actor and singer for twenty-seven years, working across a diverse range of genres and media from unrehearsed Shakespeare to comedy cabaret. She has had a long association with the Lions part, an eclectic company of professional performers who collaborate to create seasonal festivals incorporating stories, playtexts, music and folklore. She is currently forging a deeper understanding of theatre’s ritual and shamanic legacy through experiential exploration of paradox, humour, neurological shock and the interplay between voice, word and flesh.

AADoreen Valiente (1922-1999) was an influential English Wiccan who was involved in a number of different early traditions, including Gardnerianism, Cochrane’s Craft and the Coven of Atho. Responsible for writing much of the early Gardnerian religious liturgy, in later years she also helped to play a big part in bringing Wicca to wider public attention. Her published work includes Where Witchcraft Lives (1964), Witchcraft for Tomorrow (1978) and the posthumous collection of poems Charge of the Goddess (2000).

Our first audio supplement Tesserae 1.0 offers some exclusive material from some of the most interesting musicians working in the esoteric genre today.

Arktau Eos is a sentient frame capable of capturing fleeting moments of oneiric activity, where essential gnosis manifests itself in blazing hieroglyphs… It is a ghastly and wondrous parade of cryptic images and sounds, which a given recording is a reflection of, thus becoming a new gateway for the perceptive listener. Equal parts stellar and serene, subterranean and disturbing, ARKTAU EOS remains in constant evolution, paying attention only to the cues of the spirits and maintaining the integrity of the dream-continuum of which our ‘consciousness’ is but a mere drop in the ocean. myspace.com/arktaueos

John Contreras is an American cellist, best known for his work with Current 93 and Baby Dee. He has also performed with Marc Almond, Fovea Hex and Nurse With Wound. In addition to the cello, he also performs with the Buchla 200e. His work is released on the Durtro label. johncontreras.com

Cyclobe are a music duo based in London, formed by Stephen Thrower and Ossian Brown. They make hallucinatory electronic soundscapes by mixing sampled and heavily synthesized sounds with acoustic arrangements for strings and woodwind. Their approach draws upon diverse forms, including acousmatic, drone music, dark ambient, noise and sound collage. Thrower is also a film journalist and author of Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci. Ossian Brown worked with Coil from 1999 until the band’s cessation on the death of John Balance in 2004. cyclobe.com

English Heretic seek ostensibly to maintain, nurture and care for the psychohistorical environment of England. Availed of the services of some of the country’s very finest occult archaeologists, astral geographers and mystical toponymists, we aim to help people decode and realise the alchemical ciphers and conspiratorial interplay of the buildings and landscapes around them. english-heretic.org.uk

High Mountain Tempel consists of Eric Nielsen (of both Maquiladora and Buzz or Howl) and Keith Boyd. Eric has played with members of such highly respected avant garde groups as Acid Mothers Temple, High Rise, White Heaven, Mainliner, Mus, The Black Heart Procession, etc. Creating dense soundscapes and sonic stories, their music touches on elements of Krautrock and such musicians as Lustmord, Harry Partch, Coil and Zombi. Along with these spacier elements, there is a free-form and hybrid spirituality to this music that is of a particular West Coast and Pacific variety. highmountaintempel.com

Kallee is a musickal lunar sound project founded in 15.05.10 e.v. Tantrick and magick transformation for musickal paintings…myspace.com/7kallee

Philip Legard has travelled to various locations throughout Britain to record his music, letting himself be inspired by the spirit of the surroundings. Phil also releases most of his own music through his label Larkfall. A new edition of his esteemed Psychogeographia Ruralis is due for release in 2011. www.larkfall.co.uk

Orryelle Defenestrate-Bascule is a prolific visual and sonic artist who finds drawing, painting, sculpture, theatre, photography, animation, verse, video, violin and voice effective ways of earthing magickal currents. His recent book Coagula (Fulgur, 2011) is the latest in his Tela Quadrivium series. crossroads.wild.net.au/156.htm

Noko: Order 41 is Barry Hale, Scott Barnes and Michael Strumm, a performance collaborative. Re-presenting various lines of esoteric research, NOKO erupt into the traditional fine arts arena, merging magical ritual work with contemporary experimental sound and visual forms, producing highly original assemblages in a live multi-media format. myspace.com/noko2012

Okok Research Bureau are sometimes described as a “transgressional freethinking experiment,” or “an interdimensional action theatre whose players juggled a curious amalgam of art and magic.” Mark Reeve and Liam Olan are the movers behind this, and ORB Editions. okok.org.uk

The Psychogeographical Commission was formed at the start of 2008 to explore the many interfaces between the built environment and the people who inhabit it through dérive, magick and sonic experimentation. psychetecture.com

Raagnagrok sound like a free-psych gnosis-musick invoking previous transmissions from satellite residents Cluster, Heldon, Jan Hammer, Popol Vuh, Tangerine Dream and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. After over forty live performances in basements, galleries, bunkers, pubs, theatres and more ordinary music venues around Europe Raagnagrok plan to release an album in the near future; just don’t ask whose future… raagnagrok.co.uk

T.A.G.C. are a side project of Clock DVA. Formed in the early 1980s by Adi Newton (although the idea existed as early as 1978), T.A.G.C. (originally The Anti-Group) was conceived as an open-membership experimental multimedia collective, focused on audio, visual, and textual research and production, as well as performance art and installations. anteriorresearch.com

Since it first appeared, the inaugural issue of Abraxas has been a great success. Indeed, it seems to have carried its message across the world and has garnered praise from far quarters. We are delighted, and it is with great pleasure that Christina and I now offer you a substantial second issue.

Abraxas 2 appears at a time when the world of fine art is taking an increasing interest in esotericism. Several recent exhibitions have been influential, notably Traces du Sacré at the Pompidou, Paris (2008) and The Dark Monarch at Tate St. Ives (2009). And it was in Cornwall, on a particularly stormy November day, that we met the artist Mark Titchner. Mark’s work first received critical acclaim through his exhibition at Arnolfini in Bristol in 2006, but it was his innovative employment of sigils within urban environments that really caught our attention. His photo essay in this issue explores his inspiring work in this area. And as we go to press I understand Mark is planning an exhibition that will present jointly the work of John Latham and Austin Osman Spare at Flat Time House, London. The event is planned to co-incide with the 2011 FRIEZE Art Fair in October, and it is a marriage we hope will prove fruitful.

Indeed, the mysterious and fecund relationship between art and magic is assuredly ancient, even if attempts to categorise esoteric art are relatively recent, and exploring these areas is one of the principal founding aims of Abraxas. To this end we offer here an array of subjects and approaches, from Jon Crabb’s insightful essay discussing the graphic work of Brion Gysin, to Alan Moore’s razor-sharp firestorm, ‘Fossil Angels.’ We range from Lauren Simonutti’s haunting photographs, to inspiring interviews with artists Cristina Francov and Barry William Hale.

The literary arts are also represented in Edward Gauntlett’s substantial analysis of the poet and writer Peter Redgrove, and in Grevel Lindop’s personal account of editing Robert Graves’ seminal work, The White Goddess. And once again we are especially pleased to offer a rich selection of poetry, including work from Peter Redgrove, Ira Cohen, Christopher Greenchild and Ithell Colquhoun.

Among the many responses we received to the first issue was a suggestion that we might somehow include work from a selection of contemporary musicians within the esoteric genre. This second issue therefore brings with it our first free audio supplement, Tesserae. Sourced and chosen by our guest MC Gavin Semple, these audio contributions have in some cases been composed especially for Abraxas, and are thus appearing for the first time. And if this was not enough, in this issue Jack Sargeant interviews TAGC founder Adi Newton.
A final note: sadly, as some of you may be aware, during the last months of production, Ira Cohen, one of our most important contributors, passed away. It was Edwin Pouncey who originally introduced me to Ira’s extraordinary work, but it was Allan Graubard and Will Swofford who kindly introduced me to the poet himself, on a warm September day in New York City. Ira proved to be a generous host, and was keenly looking forward to seeing his work in Abraxas, even in his final weeks. This issue is respectfully dedicated to his memory.
Robert Ansell
June 2011


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