Monday, December 26, 2011

Merlin and the Grail Tradition

First publication of mine for 2012 is Merlin and the Grail Tradition -  available from 1st January.

Few figures from myth and legend have impressed the imagination like that of Merlin, Archmage of the land of Logres, whose shadowy, compelling presence plays a key part in the tales of Arthurian legend and the Quest of the Holy Grail. In this collection of essays I trace the historical importance and esoteric influence of Merlin and the Grail tradition from its mythological beginnings right down to modern times, including Dion Fortune's Grail work at Glastonbury, the Merlin archetypes, the "Elizabethan Merlin" Dr John Dee, the bluestones of Preseli which were used to build Stonehenge, and the connection between Merlin and Tolkien's figure of Gandalf.

First published at the turn of the millenium by Sun Chalice Books, this new edition contains three new topics The Faery Tradition in Arthurian Legend and a new analysis of Chretien de Troyes: the First Arthurian Romancer. Additionally an old manuscript has come to light on Sir Gareth: the Quest of a Round Table Knight, resurrected from a private lecture given to the Martinist Order in Paris in 1987.

For more details go to or your usual book supplier.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Gareth Knight and Magicfolk

As a change from scribbling books I have just made my debut doing voice overs for a couple of tracks on the new Magicfolk album, just out. My contribution appears quite appropriately on The Faery Ring and on Winged Bull. For more details or to buy a copy of this very evocative album go to

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Best of 2010 Occult Fiction

Anthony Duncan: Faversham’s Dream         ISBN 978-1-908011-11-4

Rebecca Wilby: In Different Skies               ISBN 978-1-908011-02-2

Margaret Lumley Brown: Both Sides of the Door        ISBN 978-1-909011-37-4

Alan Richardson: On Winsley Hill               ISBN 978-1-908011-00-8

For all that much of Dion Fortune’s practical teaching, (that which in the secrecy of her times she did not care to put into textbooks) is to be found in her novels there is often a reluctance to seek knowledge and wisdom in occult fiction – yet this is maybe the best place to look for it. Provided of course that the authors concerned are experienced at first hand and know what they are talking about.

The current year has seen the publication, via Skylight Press, of no less than four examples that can teach you more what occultism is all about, than umpteen textbooks. And highly entertaining as well!

The key to all this is being true to life. What otherworld experiences really are – albeit put into an apparent fictional context with the benefit of an intriguing story line upon which the facts of experience can be strung. There has been a tremendous surge of interest in my own autobiography I Called It Magic showing that a record of practical experience is of consuming interest. With this in mind, let me draw attention to the fact that all four of the authors mentioned above feature within the story of my magical life. And they all know what they are talking about.

Anthony Duncan features in a whole chapter, Rebecca Wilby is a major player in a couple of others, Margaret Lumley Brown played an important role in my early initiatory experiences, and Alan Richardson gives personal witness of what he experienced at one of my major Hawkwood workshops.

With this in mind, you will be missing a great opportunity if you do not make it your business to read something of what they have had to say in fictional form – for all is soundly based upon fact.

Anthony Duncan’s Faversham’s Dream exemplifies a great deal of what I have experienced in my own magical life in the resonance of historical occurrences with events and impressions in present time. Sparked by coincidental (!?) – (how often does so-called coincidence play an important part in esoteric experience!?) – acquisition of a volume of poems by a minor 19th century poet John Faversham discovers that its author had previously lived in the same old house as himself – and as a consequence of house and book of poems coming together begins to experience the same obsessive dream. Following up on this he discovers vivid “place memories” in the local area, rooted in highly emotive events in the 16th century.

Margaret Lumley Brown’s Both Sides of the Door is a fictionalised account of real happenings that occurred to her when as a young woman after a casual experiment in table-turning in what turned out to be a very haunted house which had once been an opium den and bordello situated close to the Tyburn, the former site of public executions in the west end of London. It is memoir of a terrifying event that developed into full blown poltergeist manifestation, with writing appearing on window blinds and materialisations in various disturbing forms. Originally privately published in 1918 this re-issue includes articles by myself and Rebecca Wilby on the life and work of Margaret Lumley Brown and a history of the locations involved.

Rebecca Wilby’s In Different Skies brings to life much of her own experience in formulating the redemptive magical work concerned with the amelioration of the inner world suffering of victims of war as described in the latter part of my autobiography. On a visit to Tewkesbury Abbey the heroine is startled to begin to recover memories – someone else’s memories – of the 1st World War trenches. These involuntary glimpses into the life of a lost soldier open up a visionary world and search across the fields of Flanders for the historical truth behind the vision. This provides another viewpoint on some important modern practical esoteric work as briefly described in I Called It Magic and also in the new expanded edition of The Abbey Papers and the play-script This Wretched Splendour also published by Skylight.

Alan Richardson’s On Winsley Hill is set on a very real location on a plateau near Bath, and is the moving story of Rosie Chant, a psychically gifted young farm worker aged 17 in 1908 who can pick up impressions from objects and places, and thus assists a visiting American folklorist in his research into the era of standing stones, long barrows and sacred wells. Nor does she complain when he uses her in other ways. As a biographer of various major figures on the modern occult scene Alan Richardson’s background knowledge in this finely observed tale provides a great deal of insight into psychic and psychological dynamics as well as human nature in general. It is also a vivid evocation of the west country world of Rosie’s youth culminating in a profoundly moving magical conclusion in the present day when she climbs the ancient site on the occasion of her 100th birthday!

All four of these books are heartily recommended, not only as means of personal instruction and entertaining but as highly suitable and inexpensive seasonal or birthday gifts to your friends. A means of expanding insights all round into the inner worlds behind physical appearances.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Follow up to "I Called It Magic"

Copies of the standard paperback edition of “I Called It Magic” will soon be available through Amazon and other trade sources. The limited edition hardback of 150 copies signed by me remains available, but only direct from Skylight Press (see their web site There has been a strong demand for these so if you want to get one as a Christmas present for anyone or as a financial investment for the future you had better get in your order quickly. I am down to my last box and there won’t be any more!
Response from those who have read it so far are very positive – the first being very heart warming from a fellow writer on the esoteric scene:
“Just finished your autobiography. Still thrumming with it. It’s wonderful. I won’t make you blush with superlatives that you probably wouldn’t believe, but it’s everything I hoped to read. You weren’t coy, you didn’t pull any punches, you gave the sort of hard detail that makes it all real – and added a dash of élan, too. That’s your inner frenchiness for you! Really, it is the best book of its kind. Perhaps the only book of its kind. But remember…you’re not finished yet!”

Whilst a blog review from Australia reads:

“The diversity of magical approaches and traditions worked by Mr Knight and covered in the book is staggering: traditional ceremonial magic, Qabalah, Tarot, Isiac Mysteries, Faery Lore, Rosicrucianism…the list is very long. In addition there are descriptions of non-traditional approaches to the mysteries via the mytho-poetic creations of Tolkien, Lewis, Noyes and others. And while few of the chapters are out-and-out teachings or instructional in nature, there is much to be gained from them – both from their content and the material between the lines. Indeed it is very hard to read chapter to chapter without some break, as there is much in each to stimulate the inner awareness and senses and I felt myself getting a little overwhelmed without regular breaks. The inner contacts and reality Mr Knight writes about live more than on the page, and some descriptions are very moving and very deep.”
To read more of this long review go to
I might say that my book of letters YOURS VERY TRULY - GARETH KNIGHT published earlier this year by Skylight Press, covering the years 1969 through 2010 can act as a very useful and entertaining companion to the autobiography – literally spelling out what it all felt like at the time! In this respect it provides vivid illustrations of a non-pictorial kind to the later book – arguably more revealing than the photographs in the autobiography.
Whilst as a teaching vehicle, another old book of mine is about to be released by Skylight, THE ABBEY PAPERS, should go well in expanding the inner horizons of the above. Zapped by a trio of inner communicators when I was working on the war letters of Dion Fortune back in 1993 it contains a very full run down on practical magical working, whether individually or in a group.

It was first published in 2002 but the new edition contains a remarkable extra section by Rebecca Wilby working with one of these original contacts, which provides very direct instruction on how such contacts are made and maintained, and also throws a revealing light on that part of “I Called It Magic” (Chapter 29 ‘This Wretched Splendour’) that saw us ranging from rituals at Hawkwood, plodding through Flanders mud, my playing “Amazing Grace” on a church carillon over the old battlefields, to theatrical performances on the London stage, and an esoteric novel “In Different Skies”. All very moving and what the deeper forms and intentions of magic are all about.
One word of warning though – make sure you get a copy of the NEW EDITION currently being announced on Amazon, and not one of the old edition copies, a few of which are still knocking about.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I Called It Magic

At long last my esoteric autobiography I Called It Magic is about to see the light of day. The paperback edition will be out at the end of October but if you want to jump the gun Skylight Press are issuing a hard back limited edition on September 30th which can be signed by me if you wish. There will only be 150 copies printed of these. For full details of how to order and avoid disappointment go to the Skylight Press website and follow the instructions.

Monday, August 15, 2011

More about Melusine!

Book Review: The Romance of the Faery Melusine by André Lebey  [from Inner Light Journal]
Translated by Gareth Knight
ISBN 978-1-908011-32-9 Publisher: Skylight Press 
We owe a debt of thanks to Gareth Knight for making André Lebey’s work available to us, in what I found to be a vivid and readable style. It is the mediaeval legend, of course, as we may have learned from Mr. Knight’s previous work, but written as a novel, a very French novel. The style may be seen as florid, in the sense that the French “Great Encyclopaedia of Faeries” may also seem florid, but this attention to detail, colour and romance….and this IS a Romance…bring the tale uniquely alive, the imagery is so vital that it is like watching a film.

As you can probably tell, I loved this book. I read it with the music of French folkies “Malicorne” playing in the background, and I savoured every word. Yes, the descriptions are so evocative that one can almost taste them!
Lebey/Knight have achieved a hyperrealism through an almost hallucinatory pageant of minutiae which build and heighten the sense of time and place, of mood, of emotion, creating from the bare bones of legend a world entire. And it’s action packed! All human life is there, love and loss, bravery, betrayal…The people are real, though distant in space and time; we are shown, as it were, a myth through a series of masques or tapestries that dazzle and delight the senses.
Comparisons are odious, but if you are thinking to yourself “the reviewer loves it, but will I?” then if you like what Evangeline Walton did with Celtic myth, you probably will. There is in Lebey/Knight’s book a particularly French sensibility which makes it unique, of course. Here is a master of story weaving his magic and bringing the lovely lady Melusine back to us once more, impressing the legend firmly into our mind’s eye.

Friday, August 12, 2011



A Midsummer’s Journey with the Sidhe       by David Spangler & Jeremy Berg
(Lorian Press, 2204 E Grand Ave, Everett, WA98201, USA.

78pp 33 full page colour illustrations $15.95
This FULL COLOUR book is a magical journey into the realms of the Sidhe, the graceful "People of Peace" who are the overlords of the Faery Kingdoms. With beautiful full-colour illustrations by Jeremy Berg and text by David Spangler.
Endorsed by John Matthews: “This joyous and powerful story sits well amongst other tales of faery and brings its own enchantment. I really found myself carried off as I read, and emerged at the end with a feeling of having been a lot further than I thought. I’d put this right alongside Goethe’s ‘Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily’ as of a kind that can only be written by a true initiate. And the pictures which accompany it carry their own power – drawing deep on the wells of lore and truth.”
And by Gareth Knight: “This book should be a ‘must have’ for anyone who aspires to a spiritual awareness of the inner side of the wonderful world in which we live. An initiatory journey beautifully written and evocatively illustrated, and that is likely to take you further than you dreamed possible in many directions.”
Need I say more? An excellent practical little book upon which to build your imaginal skills and come to a deeper awareness of circles and gateways of stone and what may lie behind them!
Gareth Knight

Monday, July 04, 2011

The Romance of the Faery Melusine

Skylight Press which has been going for just a year is about to publish its twentieth book which will be the result of ten or so years of my own investigation into the world of faery tradition entitled THE ROMANCE OF THE FAERY MELUSINE. For details go to the Skylight website
This is a natural follow up to my two books recently published by RJStewart Books THE FAERY GATES OF AVALON and MELUSINE OF LUSIGNAN & THE CULT OF THE FAERY WOMAN, details on

While I am about it I might as well fill you in here with an article on my general progress in this direction, recently published in the excellent pagan journal THE CAULDRON with a follow up in THE INNER LIGHT JOURNAL. It is entitled FAERY LORE and here it is.

Faery lore has always been with us, as long indeed as faeries, but only in the last twenty years has it come to such prominence. This largely thanks to R J Stewart who has published some very practical books on the subject, starting with The UnderWorld Initiation in 1985, passing through Earth Light and Power within the Land in 1992, to The Living World of Faery in 1995 and The Well of Light in 2004. These have been particularly stimulating works because they present us with an important challenge.

They call upon us to do something about it, with particular reference to the doctrine of the Threefold Alliance – the mutual recognition of the interconnection of the human, animal and faery worlds. And how we can make the necessary connections by means of structured visualisations in conjunction with certain sites, such as standing stones, earthworks, forest paths, springs, pools, wells, woods, trees, meadows, crossroad tracks or the confluence of waters.

In the pursuit of otherworld experience we have, of course, to take care that such contacts are not subjective fantasies. Faeries are not quite such wish fulfilment figures as they are sometimes made out to be, and so we should not regard the quest as some kind of otherworld dating agency. Those forlornly seeking fulfilment of unsatisfied desires should stick, for their own good, to the human sphere. If you cannot make it with one of your own kind then you are not likely to have much luck with one of the Shining Ones!

In my own experience the start of any worthwhile contact has come as something of a surprise. The initiative came from the other side. When I found myself whipped up into some kind of spiral of euphoric awareness, with aura lit up like a Christmas tree, to discover I was standing in muddy shoes over a spring, in close proximity to a rowan tree. Or coming across part of a hedgerow where trunks of oak and ash formed pillars each side of a hawthorn gateway, to find it open before me on the level of inner awareness.

First comes the experience, then the realisation. Following upon this, if you are lucky and play your cards right, a deepening relationship forms from which friendship, companionship, guidance and teaching may arrive. At any rate, to a born scribbler such as myself, the consequence has been the writing of two books (The Faery Gates of Avalon and Melusine of Lusignan and the Cult of the Faery Woman) which are meant to be subtle guides and stimuli to action rather than otherwordly street maps.

Above all they seek to be modern. The study of old traditions of faery lore that have come down to us in legend and ballad can be very fascinating and indeed instructive but they speak of other times and other conditions. The faery world moves on as does the human one, and means of intercommunication now are not the same as once they might have been.

Indeed older forms of tradition speak not so much of intercommunication as of complete transition. Either a human is lured into faery land – or a faery enters the human world – visitors in an alien environment to that in which they were born. And such adventures tend to end in grief. Either the human being cannot find the way back, or if successful crumbles to dust, having been away for a very long time indeed in a different time dimension. Or the faery is driven back to fairyland because the human being breaks faith in some way, unable to unwilling to fulfil the conditions of such an unusual relationship.

There are of course rare cases where a successful transition seems to have taken place. The most celebrated being the 13th century Thomas the Rymer and his seven year dalliance in the hills with the Faery Queen. Or the successful recovery of Tam Lin from fairyland by a persistent and courageous human lover. All of which demonstrate that we are not dealing with a fluffy bunny kind of world when we approach the faery condition, but nor, on the other hand, are we consorting with demonic agencies as monkish scribes have tended to describe them.

Apart from ballad lore, which R J Stewart, as a musician has explored in some depth, there are other areas in which it is profitable to look, particularly in medieval times when humans and faeries seem to have been more closely connected than they are now. Perhaps because humans tended to believe in them more. On the one hand are the historical traditions of certain families that have claimed faery ancestry, and on the other early versions of Arthurian legend.

Three ancient families in particular spring to mind – those of Bouillon, of Anjou and of Lusignan.

The first concerns King Lothair of Lorraine who allegedly met a faery in the woods who bore him seven children, one of whom became the Knight of the Swan who sailed down the Rhine one day in a boat to champion Beatrice of Bouillon who was having some trouble with a local lord. He married Beatrice’s daughter Ida but left her when (despite his strictures) she became too curious about his origins.

The second was the powerful and widespread family of Anjou. An early member of the family, Fulke the Black, was said to have married a water sprite, who bore him at least two children before disappearing through the roof of the church in great distress when compelled to attend the consecration of the mass (an obvious monkish interpolation). This monkish libel did not faze the family at all in after years. Richard Coeur de Lion in particular revelled in being a member of “the Devil’s Brood!”

A third instance is that of the family of Lusignan, which like the town named after them near Poitiers, was founded by the faery Melusine, who originally hailed from Scotland, and returned to Avalon when after some marital strife her husband publicly called her a demon.

Taking into account the time scale of these family histories any such actual intermarriage would appear to have taken place a little before the turn of the first millennium. Was there a window or door of opportunity that opened between the worlds at that time, making such interchange possible? And is there a cyclic connection with the sudden upsurge in faery interest that has occurred to us at the turn of the second millennium?

One thinks of the elfin mythology of Tolkien that seems to have sparked much popular contemporary interest. But how much and in what way do we tend to believe in such things nowadays? I only know that when interviewed by an American radio show host I was asked to speculate a reason for this remarkable interest in Tolkien’s elven otherworld. I said that maybe it was because people were subliminally realising it to be true that we shared the world with another order of existence. At which the interviewer hastily interjected that they dared not broadcast such a possibility! Shades of Orson Wells causing a panic with his radio broadcast of H G Wells “War Between the Worlds” in the early days of radio? Are the alleged faery folk with whom we have shared the planet for millennia any more dangerous than science fiction invaders from Mars?

Who knows? What I have found intriguing is that descendants of all three families mentioned above played a leading role in the Crusades. Which suggests that for whatever reason the Christian west felt the need to go marching off to Jerusalem – then regarded as the centre of the world – the Faery powers felt the same way too!

Thus in 1099 a leader of the 1st Crusade, Godfrey of Bouillon became the first ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1099, and in 1101 his brother Baldwin its first king. Then thirty years on, when that line had died out, Fulke V of Anjou married the heiress to the kingdom, the princess Melisende, thus establishing the Anjou line on the throne. And by a similar process of marrying an heiress to the kingdom, the crown passed to two Lusignan brothers, first Guy who, had married the princess Sibylla, in 1186 and then Amalric who wed her half sister Isabella in 1198.

There is plenty of room for conjecture here as fascinating as holy bloods and holy grails, which has given me plenty to mull over for some time to come. But there are more significant indicators of a close human faery interconnection to be found in a close reading of Arthurian legend.

Particularly early legend, recorded a couple of hundred years before Sir Thomas Malory set pen to paper in about 1370 to produce Le Morte d’Arthur. Admittedly it is a classic of English literature but in which, despite Morgan le Fay and the Lady of the Lake, much of the faery content is lost. Sir Thomas, a contemporary of Henry V and Agincourt, was more focused on the conventions of feudal chivalry in the human world. To find the faeries coming out of the woodwork we need to go back to around 1170 when Chrétien de Troyes, the court poet of Countess Marie of Champagne, was versifying the first Arthurian romances. Not that Chrétien (who thought himself a very modern 12th century man of the world) entirely believed in faeries, but he was drawing his material from older sources who did.

And when we examine his stories in depth, we realise that the commonplace romantic scenario was not so much human damsels in distress calling upon knights to go and solve their problems. It was more a case of a faery woman acting as initiator of a human knight into the faery world.

This seems to have been the case with regard to Erec and Enide, (Geraint in the Mabinogion version), for although it appears to be Erec who is taking the initiative, it is really Enide who is calling the shots and leading him on into his various adventures, ending up in ruling a dual kingdom with her. Similarly Yvain after certain rites at a magic fountain is led on by Lunette through a series of tests that end up with him married to the faery Laudine. Even in the Grail romance Percival has his Blanchefleur and Gawain his Orgueilleuse of Logres as intermediaries on the way to very faery locations – one the Graal castle and the other the Castle of Maidens. And Lancelot’s adventures to rescue Guenevere plainly take place in a faery kingdom. All this I have spelled out in some detail in The Faery Gates of Avalon, in the hope that it will encourage others to go back to the tales, keeping an eye out for the faery dynamics, which become obvious once one knows what to look for.

This also applies to slightly later versions of Arthurian Legend such as the Lancelot Grail of 1220/30. Wendy Berg has shown in her remarkable work, Red Tree, White Tree - Humans and Faeries in Partnership, (Skylight Press 2011), that this stratum of legend leads to the conclusion that Queen Guenevere herself was one of the faery kind.

This view of Guenevere is no new agey fad, for the possibility has been seriously put forward by academics of some distinction, in Guinevere, A Study of her Abductions by Professor K G T Webster in 1951, and Lancelot and Guenevere by Professors T P Cross and W A Nitze in 1930. It is simply that Wendy, with her keen esoteric sense, has brilliantly illuminated a neglected academic thesis, and shown the whole Arthurian scenario in a new light. The light of Faery.

Guenevere was abducted on a number of occasions, but rather than passing her off as some kind of Persephone figure connected to the cycles of nature, a role which she really does not fit, a more likely possibility could have been the faery world trying to get her back! We find much the same kind of situation in Fiona Macleod’s The Immortal Hour where the faery Etain is taken back to fairyland after having wandered into the human world and been married to the Eochaid, the High King of Ireland.

Following this theory through leads to some startling conclusions as to the origin and destiny of the Grail Hallows, which as sword and lance and cup and stone, came originally from faery land. And which – like Arthur’s sword Excalibur – need to be returned there. Hence the need for the legend of Joseph of Arimathea returning the Graal to Logres, from whence it had been taken to Sarras (the inner side of Jerusalem) by the Grail heroes in the Ship of Solomon. Whilst the two cruets associated with his mission back to Glastonbury, one containing a red liquid and the other a white, signify amongst other things, the sap of the red tree and the white tree, the human and faery blood lines.

This provides the prospect for some exciting esoteric work. As Wendy points out, if it was the duty and opportunity of the knights (of whom we are the modern equivalent) to seek out the structure and nature of Faery, one way of doing this today may be to give more attention to way showers such as Melusine, Etain and Gwenevere. Those who left behind their birthright in the Immortal Clan to enter the human world. And there the challenge rests. Are we capable of responding to “the faint call of Faery” and taking steps to answer it?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

An Anthology of Occult Wisdom Volume 4

Just published - the latest book in this fascinating series edited by Debbie Chapnick - this one containing 40 years of writings from the archives of Dolores Aschcroft-Nowicki, Dion Fortune, W.E.Butler and Gareth Knight.

This one contains four training papers from the early 1970's by W. E. Butler. 

Half a dozen records of personal occult experience by Dion Fortune dating from the 1920's and early 30's including some Occult Notes on Atlantis & Lemuria, here listed as anonymous, but probably also from Dion Fortune with additional later material by Margaret Lumley Brown which I included as an Appendix in my edited version of The Arthurian Formula (Thoth Publications 2006).

Five very practical lessons by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki from the early 1970's including detailed instructions on preparing the traditional magical weapons of wand, cup, pantacle and sword - plus herbs and incense magic.

A dozen articles by me first published in The Inner Light Journal from 2002 to 2005, later issued in PDF form only by Ritemagic under the title Dion Fortune and the Lost Secrets of the West which includes besides this leading article first delivered as a talk to the Temenos Academy in 2003 a follow up lecture on The Western Esoteric Tradition in Popular Culture later that year.

The other articles comprise The Dweller on the Threshold; Journey to the Moon (a comparison of three 32nd Path Workings by myself, Dolores, and Alan Adams (aka Charles Fielding) of the London Group); Fantasy Belief and Reality; Chretien de Troyes - the first Arthurian Romancer, (my first shot at what developed into a book published by R J Stewart in 2008 entitled The Faery Gates of Avalon); The Elemental Tides; Do You Believe in Fairies?; Dion Fortune and the Mystical Qabalah (my Introduction to a German edition of Dion Fortune's famous title); Is there a Psychic in the House?; The Magical World of Dion Fortune; The Red Rose and the White.

Altogether just over 250 pages for $25.00 plus postage from Datura Press - full details on how to get it from and

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A History of White Magic

Some time in 1977 the Managing Director of Mowbrays, a prestigious religious publishing house was looking in his shaving mirror one morning and was suddenly struck with the thought of publishing a History of White Magic. Goodness knows where that came from! Were inner plane friends of mine beaming psychical suggestions via the looking glass? Was he an unconscious medium?

Having embarked on this unconventional train of thought his first problem was to find somebody to write it. His search eventually came my way at the suggestion of my Anglican friend and mentor Anthony Duncan, via his friend and spiritual advisor, the Benedictine monk Dom Robert Petitpierre, both of whom had a reputation in ecclesiastical circles of knowing something about this bizarre subject.

I had reservations about this offer, having had unfortunate experiences in trying to deal with other conventional religious publishers and was still undecided when I began to receive a strong and persistent impression to consult the I Ching. I am not much given to divination, finding that my own intuition sees me well enough through most vicissitudes of life, however, so strong did these impressions become that I dusted off my copy of the I Ching and cast the oracle of yarrow stalks.

The result was the hexagram Ts’ui, “Gathering Together”, which has as its general interpretation: “Success. The king approaches his temple. It furthers one to see the great man. This brings success. Perseverance furthers.”

This was encouraging enough for me and so I went forth “to see the great man” and duly signed his contract!

A History of White Magic duly appeared in January 1979 and attracted more general interest than any of my other books so far. I was invited to talk about the book on BBC Radio 2, on Anglia TV and at a number of local radio stations. One clerical gentleman (who had not read the book) wrote to say how appalled he was at its publication by a respectable religious publishing house – but it was very well received in the esoteric field, even compared to Dr Bronowski’s famous television serial The Ascent of Man. I would not have put it in that class myself, but it had its influence and was translated into French and Greek and later had an American incarnation as Magic and the Western Mind.

It now resurfaces in a new edition published by Skylight Press. And I hope it may continue to serve another lease of life as a means to approach intelligent laypersons who seek some kind of explanation of what magic is all about. In the esoteric world we tend to live in a kind of cultural ghetto and my aim in being given the opportunity to write this book was to use it as a chance explain that it is not necessarily a weird and offbeat flight from reason, but a way of looking at the world, and experiencing parts of it in greater depth, that had ever been with us. Indeed had once been regarded as a noble science and philosophy. And as a use of the high imagination as an aid to the evolution of consciousness, from the ancient Mystery Religions, through Alchemy, Renaissance Magic, the Rosicrucian Manifestos, Freemasonry and 19th century Magical Fraternities up to the modern age.

To quote from the Foreword to the first edition written by the distinguished poet and Blake and Yeats scholar Kathleen Raine: “Magic” is a word whose associations are both glamorous and sinister; Gareth Knight, well known to his readers as the most down-to-earth and pragmatic of magicians, by seeking to show what magic really is and to what body of thought it belongs, dissipates both these illusions. At the same time he shows how real is the world upon whose laws the operation of “magic” (and of prayer for that matter), depend. It is the world of “imagination”, consciousness itself, the secret “prima materia” of the alchemists.

Or as the Hermetic Journal was moved to review: It is obvious from the beginning that we have here a work revealing the author’s spiritual maturity, a work with a definite message and structure, rather than the piecemeal gathering of snippets of information which often is offered in books with this sort of title, by inferior authors with little occult understanding.

To check this out for yourself you can do no better than visit and purchase a copy for your own use and as a means of enlightenment for your inquisitive friends.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Old Sod

Anyone who is interested in seeing what the life of a dedicated magician is like could be recommended to take a look at the recent biography of William G Gray just published by Skylight Press, written up by Alan Richardson and Marcus Claridge (W.G.G.'s godson) from the old boy's unpublishable and allegedly libellous autobiography. There they will find the reason for the choice of their somewhat startling title, (which was largely chosen by W.G.G. himself), and it  may also explain the reason why, as an enquiring friend of mine put it, ritual magicians sometimes seem such rather irascible folk. I don't know that we all are, but a lot can be put down to what pioneers like W G Gray had to put up with in previous decades - his main interest in life being completely ignored and misunderstood. He was a great pioneer and creative thinker who moved things on in a very substantial way that is still little realised by those who benefit from them. He had to wait until his late fifties before he received any public recognition and I count it as one of the better achievements of my life that I first published him - with The Ladder of Lights and Magical Ritual Methods, ground breaking works on the Qabalistic Tree of Life and on practical magic - and then later with the remarkable Rollright Ritual which did much for traditional pagan ways of working. This is shortly to be reissued by Skylight Press, along with Working with Inner Light, notes which he made when I was working with him in 1965/7 that formed the basis for his early books. You can read more on the Skylight Press website or blog which are easily linked from here.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Holy Thorn of Glastonbury

Following the recent desecration of the Holy Thorn at Glastonbury I have been led to seek out my old records to find a working I once did - in fact the first public directed visualisation I ever performed - at Hawkwood back in the morning of Sunday 24th May 1981. After thirty years it seems that there is still something of a need for it. You are welcome to meditate upon it or use it as you will as a re-affirmation of the roots and growth and flowering of the spirit of the holy thorn. There is a blessing on all who serve.

The Spreading of the Blessing of the Holy Thorn

We commence by visualising the walls of the hall in which we sit. These soon disappear and we find ourselves standing in the countryside outside, aware of the life of nature all about us.
The figure of Merlin appears, with that of Nimue‚ as a fair girl in floral dress bedecked with wild flowers.They lead us across a field to a stream, which we cross, paddling through it, and we then turn right to follow the stream down the hill, which towards the end becomes very steep and leads into a lake.
We proceed into and under the lake aware of the fishes and underwater natural life about us, the sand and gravel under our feet. We come, as the water deepens and the light less bright, to a wall of dark green weed. This is parted by Merlin and Nimue‚ to reveal a hall of dark green, in the centre of which is a great cauldron, about which stand nine maidens. The contents of the cauldron seeth and bubble as if full of vibrant life, and the maidens give each of us a small amount of the contents of the cauldron to drink, from small shell cups.
Upon drinking these waters of inspiration we find ourselves rising upward from the cauldron toward the surface, and as we do so we are aware of lines of golden light. These, we realise, are strands of a golden net, and upon breaking the surface we see we are within the net of a crowned, purple robed Fisher King in a small boat.
We clamber into the boat and it gently takes us toward a great beautiful castle on an island. We disembark, and proceed up the broad drive, through wide entrance gates, into the great hall of the castle. There the Fisher King indicates a small door, open before us and to the right, wherein we can see a room, richly furnished, in which, upon a couch, lies a very old, bearded King. He is being fed by a maiden, from a chalice and dish with wine and a communion wafer. The maiden, dressed like a princess, rises when she sees us, and comes and indicates that we follow her through another narrow door before us. Beyond the curtained doorway we find ourselves on a spiral stair which leads a long way upward, deosil, until we come to a small chapel, hung with purple velvet with a silver altar in the East before us. Upon this is a large cup, of the same design as the smaller one held by the maiden, and over it a spear. Upon the blade of the spear great drops of blood slowly form and drop into the cup. The maiden gives each of us, as we kneel, to eat and drink of the wine and the host.
Upon our receiving this sacrament the ceiling of the chapel opens wide above us to reveal an expanse of clear blue sky in which the sun is shining. We find ourselves ascending through the sky.
After a while it seems that we are at a level where there is a crystalline surface beneath our feet upon which we can stand. At the same time we see a large boat floating, as it were, on this same crystalline surface. It has three bare masts, of red, green and white. In its prow is a knight in golden armour with a white red cross shield, who appears to be Sir Galahad. And on a bier in the centre of the vessel lies the body of a fair maiden, an empty chalice upon her breast.
We ride in the boat for some distance and then it seems as if the boat becomes two. One form of the boat remains with us aboard it, floating in the crystalline sea; the other rises higher toward the Sun. As it nears the Sun the knightly form of Sir Galahad turns into the figure of Our Lord, and the maiden rises from the bier, and turns into the figure of Our Lady. The boat itself, on which they stood, turns into a great silver dove. Above them is the great gold shining orb of the Sun.
As we watch, a figure walks out of the Sun, radiant, robed and bearded, carrying a staff. We realise this to be, as it grows nearer, Joseph of Arimathea. He approaches our ship and suddenly strikes his staff into the deck. Immediately it shoots forth branches, leaves and flowers of the hawthorn - and the masts of the ship do likewise.
We fill our arms with great bundles of may blossom and descend through the sky, aware of the form of our native land below us. As we descend, may blossom falls with us, like gentle snowflakes or confetti, and we scatter it upon the land below us, which is stretched out in time as well as space. We are particularly aware of our loved ones, and all those with whom we work and play. Then, as we near the surface of the land, we concentrate upon and home in upon the physical place from whence we had started.
We reorientate into our bodies and go forth refreshed, to mediate the forces we have contacted to the world about us.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Company of the Inner Abbey course

John Porter, who worked within the Gareth Knight group for 20 years and is also a student of Rudolf Steiner's teachings as well as being an ordained priest, is willing to take anyone interested through a course of study based on Experience of the Inner Worlds and other Gareth Knight titles. For details go to

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Experience of the Inner Worlds

Skylight Press has just produced a brand new edition of my Experience of the Inner Worlds, first published in 1975. Produced for the purpose of training my immediate students in the Gareth Knight Group (latterly Avalon Group) it met with some initial opposition but over the years has apparently become regarded a classic textbook in many spiritual and esoteric circles.

But don’t just take my word for it… have a look at some of the comments by readers of earlier editions, reprinted from various review sites such as Amazon and Goodreads:

“This book is required reading for ANYONE looking to bridge the gap between traditional Christianity and the esoteric world of metaphysics. Gareth Knight is one of the true descendants in a line of metaphysicians bringing forth teachings from a highly spiritual source.” (Isis Music, USA)

“If you have any fondness for both the esoteric and Grail Myth, you’ll really like the approach of this book. Each chapter is well written yet concise and concludes with easy but practical exercises which build upon each other effectively.” (Boudicca, Germany)

“Readers are, I’m sure, familiar with the level of hands-on experience Gareth brings to the table. This book provides fresh insights that make it an excellent companion to his Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism, a long time staple on any serious esotericists bookshelf.” (Bokhara, USA)

“More than a systematic study it is a series of pictures, of hints for future pursuits that – just to give an idea of the turns this book takes – include the grail, the Sefer Yetzirah, Dante, Simone Weil, alchemy, sufi mysticism, the cloud of unknowing, renaissance magic.” (QWFF, Italy)

“The abstract analysis and concrete points of concern are very fine-tuned to provide great support to the practical applied exercises rounding-out every well-developed chapterial Theme of Experience of the Inner Worlds.” (Kevin Kiersky, USA)

“Considering its comparative brevity (about 250 pages) and high readability, the book’s scope is vast, treating as it does the Cube of Space, the Hebrew alphabet, the Crusades, the Grail mythos, Jungian psychology, inner planes communication, meditation and ritual.” (Michael K. Kivinen, USA)

“Each chapter of this book concludes with a practical lesson, mostly visualisations. A highlight of this book for me was information given in chapter 5 regarding secret hermetic and alchemic symbols. This is information that I have not found in any other book to date.” (Dragan, Australia)

It is available now direct from Skylight Press or from various Amazon and similar sites. For more details go