Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yours Very Truly - Gareth Knight

Having been encouraged to gather some notes with a view to writing my autobiography I came upon a number of letters written to a variety of correspondents over the years. Some of them seemed worth publishing as they stood, throwing a vivid light upon what I was up to at the time - illustrating parts of my life as they were lived, and discussing some interesting topics of perennial interest to students of the Western Esoteric Tradition.

There used to be an old saying that “life begins at forty!” I don’t know about that but certainly it is borne out in a certain sense in that the letters only start in my 39th year – anything before that is shrouded in epistolary darkness. However, my forty years since then, from 1969 to 2010, have hardly been devoid of recorded opinion or incident, which you are welcome to share with me.

The letters are to some 70 different people, and vary from learned discourse with academics, through exchange of strange experiences with esoteric colleagues, to providing answers to general enquirers who wrote asking me for information.

The book must be the quickest I have ever written, having taken only a week to select and type up the contents. On the other hand, it must be the one that took me longest to write - in dribs and drabs over forty years. May you find it a worthwhile companion.

Just published at £13.99 by Skylight Press - full details on

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

This Wretched Splendour as magical theatre

I have briefly mentioned the remarkable play This Wretched Splendour in the past, but have now come upon a most perceptive and esoterically intelligent review of it, by Peregrine Wildoak, whose Australian blog "Magic of the Ordinary" is often worth a look. Anyhow - please read on his words of wisdom here:

I do not normally read, much less enjoy, contemporary play scripts. In fact the last memorable one was way back in the 80s, St Bob’s stunning piece of guerrilla ontology, Wilhelm Reich in Hell which left me reeling and shaking at the final page. Rebecca Wilby’s This Wretched Splendour did not have such a dramatic impact, but is equally as impressive and stunning in its own way.
On the surface this play should hold little interest for magical and esoteric folk: a short script set in the trenches of World War I Belgium, it charts the transformation the arrival of a new officer makes to a group of depressed and (most likely) doomed soldiers. However, the play is literally a talisman, a condensation of inner forces, contacts and blessings made available on this plane via the medium of literature. The impetus for the play seems to have come from Rebecca’s connection with “David Carstairs”, one of the most persistent and personable Inner Contacts within the broader Dion Fortune tradition and lineage. Gareth Knight, Alan Richardson and others have written about the Carstairs contact, but in This Wretched Splendour Rebecca Wilby writes with the Carstairs contact. The result is a tangible piece of magic, holding both inner and outer riches.
These days there are any number of ‘magical novels’ and novels by magicians. Most of these are products of the individual writer – not that there’s anything wrong with that. This Wretched Splendour, though obviously the work and product of Rebecca Wilby has the inner planes, via Carstairs, woven into its very fabric. It is thus something more than a play, just as Dion Fortune’s novels are more than novels. Reading This Wretched Splendour enriched and effected me at both deep subconscious levels and ‘higher’ transpersonal levels.
Subconsciously, by reading this play we are connected and opened to the reality of the living history of this ‘war to end all wars’. Though nearly a century ago, the wounds and scars remain and effect us all. It warped and maimed a generation, as well as providing impetus for much change. As esoteric folk, we know the effects such momentous events have within the soul of a nation, of the world. In the words of one of the characters, Conor:
There’s a death here that goes beyond the bodies that writhe and twitch in the mud. There’s a death of the soul of man, and the final fall of Adam.
The final fall of Adam. Through these five words, Rebecca Wilby masterfully sums it up. The sheer scale of horror (with thousands dying before breakfast in some battles) is incomprehensible to our modern minds, accustomed to hearing the names of individual battle deaths. The almost preternatural violence must have seemed apocalyptic and I think helped give rise to stories such as the Angel of Mons, even though the general consensus relegates this as a myth or illusion. Experiencing hell encourages us to invoke heaven. My great-grandfather, who somehow survived the entire war (after enlisting underage in 1914), insisted to his dying day he had seen the angels.
It is only recently that psychology has begun to look at this ‘trans-generational trauma’, trying to make sense of these deep soul wounds. This play takes us into the genesis of that trauma. It also, through the presence and words of an inner contact, contains the seeds of healing and redemption, for us personally and our society.
Transpersonally, by having the presence and words of an inner contact within this play it becomes a well crafted invitation to enter mystery. The inner contact Carstairs was a young British officer who died at Ypres, where this play is set. Soon after his death, he became a kind of mediumistic control for Dion Fortune, often introducing and explaining the teachings of ‘higher’ masters and adding a much needed human and humorous element to the proceedings.
Carstairs, the inner contact, is obviously main character of the play, David Cartwright, a central sun illuminating and fructifying the other characters. Here we see the very clever writing of Rebecca Wilby, as the Cartright character is not only made different to other characters by conventional artistic devices, but by using a few channeled lines from the actual Carstairs contact and weaving his presence into the words, there is a distinct ‘feel’ of the ‘other’. If we are in sympathy with the character, this can then take us into realms not known through ordinary plays.
Towards the end of the play Cartright, like Carstairs, dies. There is not a lot to this scene, no gaudy descriptions or action, something which serves the play very well. The presence of the Carstairs contact in a play describing his own death is not only ironic but an very powerful occult tool. The play is then the material basis for the mystery of the broadness of death, the continued existence of the soul in one form or another.
Added to this, there is a richness of subtle esoteric symbolism and action throughout. This is not always clearly delineated and will play more on the subconscious of the reader than on the conscious. Again, I compare it to Dion Fortune writing about how her writing of the Sea Priestess was designed to mimic the motion of the waves. There is much within the structure and form of This Wretched Splendour that will illuminate the open reader. Of course, there are occasional overt moments of spiritual potency drawing on esoteric lore, such as this call to the battlefield dead:
Let the dead arise! Out of the shell craters, out of the mud, out of the filthy slime, let the dead arise! Out of the broken trees, out of the barbed wire entanglements, out of the wretched trenches, let the dead arise! Out of the burning earth, let the dead arise! Let the undead arise! Rise up now, see the light in the West. Kick the fifth of battle from your heels and rise up. Follow the western splendour. Go! Go to the real Western Front!
Rebecca Wilby has done a wonderful job in the creation of this play. It deserves wide readership by the esoteric community. Do not be put off by the form, a play script, the subject matter or its ‘fictional’ content: this play has much to offer the esoteric and magical student. When we read it we are sharing in a highly successful magical action – the grounding of inner knowledge and redemption. It is thus a gift to us all.
This Wretched Splendour can be ordered from Skylight Press,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Red Tree - White Tree by Wendy Berg

I began to write this book after I had been handed a glass of red wine and a voice in my head said: “If you drink that, you’ll die.”

Such is the opening line of Wendy Berg’s seminal new book on the Faery tradition in the Arthurian and Grail legends: the beginning of a trail which led her to a complete re-evaluation of the powers behind the fellowship of the Round Table, and which, as it unfolds, throws a whole new perspective on some of Britain’s oldest and most enduring legends.

Red Tree, White Tree is no ordinary Arthurian or Fey commentary but rather a completely comprehensive and enchanting spiralling-back through history to its first annals and beyond. Wendy, co-author of Polarity Magic: The Secret History of Western Religion with Mike Harris, works admirably through what have been formerly disparate texts to find new connections and syntheses. Her skilled exegesis includes a webbing of biblical texts (both canonical and apocryphal), the Qabalah, the Mabinogion, the bardic traditions of Taliesin, Chrétien de Troyes, Robert de Boron, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Thomas Malory, J.R.R. Tolkien, and others, to make some extraordinary discoveries. This book will appeal to historians, literary scholars, mythological schemers, grail seekers, and esoteric practitioners alike.

In my view this is the most important and challenging book on Arthurian and Grail tradition for many a long year.

Red Tree, White Tree, priced £12.99, is available from Amazon and all the usual retailers, and can also be ordered direct from Skylight Press.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

In Memoriam - and then some!

If Rebecca Wilby's play This Wretched Splendour was reckoned to have “knocked into a cocked hat” the so far established canon for first world war plays then her novel In Different Skies must go close to doing much the same demolition job in the literary sphere. As one who has seen both Cheltenham and London productions of the play, trod the Somme and Ypres battlefields along with her, and now been one of the first to read her remarkable novel – appropriately published on Armistice Day – I can vouch that it is with more than a father’s pride that I recommend them both as compelling, funny, moving, depictions of what war is all about at the sharp end. There is a fascinating esoteric theme running through as well. All of which goes to make it particularly relevant to what is going on in various places in the world today.

For more details or to make a purchase go to now!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Melusine of Lusignan

Ever heard of Melusine? She deserves to be better known. A major figure in medieval French lore and legend who is little known in the English speaking world apart from an essay by the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould as one of his "Curious Myths of the Middle Ages" published way back in 1894, and where he seems to take her for a mermaid, depicting her with a fish's rather than a serpent's tail.

She is however an altogether different creature. Indeed she has given her name to the type of faery who enters the human world to mate with a human being, bringing great good fortune until he makes the mistake of distrusting her.

I have taken the trouble to visit the little town of Lusignan, deep in the forests of Poitou, which she is said to have founded along with the local ruling family. I discovered her presence to be still discernible. So much so that I could not rest until I had rendered her tale into English, to bring her and her kind into wider recognition.

A fascinating creature in all senses of the word, and with an interesting family - including her mother Pressine (a Scottish faery who married the King of Albany - the old name for Scotland) and her sisters Melior and Palastine. One the supervisor of the test of the hawk, when if you could watch over her hawk without sleeping for the three days leading up to Midsummer day you could have what you liked as a prize, apart from the faery herself. The other the keeper of a great treasure, if you had the wit and valour to get past the monsters who guarded her. To say nothing of Melusine's ten sons including Geoffrey Great-Tooth, with the temperament of a wild boar and a great giant killer.

Just published by R J Stewart books as "Melusine of Lusignan and the Cult of the Faery Woman" - hurry and discover more of this powerful initiatory legend emerging from the transformative faery tradition of ancient Europe.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An Anthology of Occult Wisdom Vol.3

Just published by Datura Press or is the third volume of Anthologies of Occult Wisdom, which on this occasion features the work of Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, Ernest Butler and Gareth Knight. As I am a major contributor to this volume I will forebear to review my own work but pass on an independent review by the Inner Light Journal.

"As we head into Autumn I offer you another absolute cracker! Many of our readers will know or have known one or more of these greats of the magical world (two of whom are still alive at the time of going to press!). Friends, teachers, inspirations all.

"This is the first of the SOL archives that I have seen, and very impressive it is too, what a wonderful idea it has been, to transcribe from fading Gestetnered copies and barely-audible tape recordings the amassed wisdom of forty years or more. What a huge job it must have been! We may have read all the books by these well-loved authors, but many of us have not been able to attend as many lectures and conferences as we would like, so it has been a pleasure both to revisit the familiar and to discover the unfamiliar, new facets of, dare I say, insight into the personalities of these Elder Statesmen? ('not so much of the Elder,' I hear them grumble). It is because much of this material was originally spoken rather than written, that the 'voices' of the authors shine through, it is as though we hear them speak. Marvellous!'

"I love the outdated and un-pc comments from long ago, which are apologised for in the introductions! Please don't ever edit them out! They show how much things have changed over the years and also make me chuckle. There is hitherto unpublished material here too, including a particularly interesting piece by Gareth Knight, his 'Reflections on the Mirror of Venus'. So many thanks to all who are involved in undertaking this sterling work of archiving for future generations. Power to your printing arm!"

Contents List:
Social Work and the Unseen; The Automatisms of Mediumship;Trance; by W E Butler.
The Seven Jewels of the Heart; The Solo Practitioner in Magic; The Practice of Group Magic; by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki.
Dion Fortune in Bristol & Somerset; The Magical Life; Avalon of the Heart; Interview with 'Magickal Light'; The Faery Tradition in Arthurian Legend; Dion Fortune & the Masonic Tradition; Reflections on the Mirror of Venus; DF lives! - OK? ; by Gareth Knight.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Through the Skylight

Great news! Well known esoteric author Alan Richardson has joined the list of Skylight Press writers with a brilliant novella "On Winsley Hill". You can keep up with breaking news of Skylight Press by going to
You can also enter your e-mail address if you would like to receive notification of new posts.

Monday, August 23, 2010

To the Heart of the Rainbow

In the esoteric world things are not always what they seem. And sometimes for very good reason. One of which is the tradition of providing practical instruction in some other guise – sometimes in the form of fiction. Here the secret is to stimulate the imagination to go into areas that it otherwise might not think existed. It is a technique that has been followed by many esoteric teachers and not least my old mentor Dion Fortune.

Here is my own contribution to the genre. How to experience the power of the Paths of the Tree of Life without having to mug up on all the theory! It is simply a matter of lowering the barriers of disbelief and intellectualisation and being borne along on the flow of story. It follows that what may seem to be a children’s story is a highly appropriate vehicle – for you need to have the willing acceptance of the eyes and ears of a child to register certain things – “of such is the kingdom of heaven”. So identify with one of the children, (or even the dog!), and you never know what might happen!

This is now published as To the Heart of the Rainbow (along with evocative illustration by Libby Travassos Valdez) by Skylight Press. It will shortly be available through all the usual trade channels but in the meantime you can get your copy now, hot off the press, straight from the printers. Simply go to
Price is £12.79 or $18.43 or you can get it cheaper still by file download.

You can find further details from Skylight Press, who will shortly be publishing various out of print titles by me, including The Magical World of the Inklings, A History of White Magic, and Experience of the Inner Worlds. Whilst on the site, take a look at This Wretched Splendour by Rebecca Wilby. Reading play scripts is not everybody’s cup of tea, but this may be somewhat different. Remember what I said about things not always being what they seem? This also is packed with esoteric clout.

It is in reality an autobiographical snapshot of the last days of one of Dion Fortune’s early contacts, a master by the name of David Carstairs. It is said that old soldiers never die, they only fade away, but this one has positively refused to fade away over the past ninety odd years. He features as a respondent in The Abbey Papers that came to me when I was working on some DF letters in 1993 and later came strongly through to a student as recorded in An Introduction to Ritual Magic that I co-authored with the late Dion Fortune.

Not content with that, he followed up by inspiring the writing of this play, and even more astonishingly seemed to pull the strings to get produced within weeks, at the Playhouse Theatre, Cheltenham and at the Grace Theatre, London. If to read it can be a moving experience, to see it performed can be mind blowing and inspiring, witness the critical acclaim it received at the time. For more details of which go to the Skylight Press web site

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

2010 Dion Fortune Conference

The annual Dion Fortune Conference which has become a regular fixture in the esoteric calendar moves this year from Glastonbury to Bristol - subtitled Magic and Mysticism.

Venue is the Southville Centre, Beauley Road, Bristol, Avon BS3 1QG and it takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday 2nd October.

Speakers this year are:
Bob Gilbert - Dion Fortune in the Light of the West
Geraldine Beskin - The Psychologist and the Psychopath (Dion Fortune & Aleister Crowley)
Marian Green - In the Footsteps of Dion Fortune
Ina Custers-van-Bergen - The Transformation of the Archetype

Ticket price is £30 which includes buffet lunch and refreshments.

For further details and information on how to pay e-mail

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More Anthologies of Occult Wisdom!

At the beginning of May I posted a review of Volume 2 of An Anthology of Occult Wisdom that had just come my way - forty years of writings of Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki and Walter Ernest Butler from the archives of the Servants of the Light School of Occult Science. I have since come upon Volume 1 in the series and am equally impressed with it as a fascinating and most useful compendium for any serious esoteric student of the western mystery tradition. Just two of the articles included - The Elemental Kingdom by D.A-N and The Training and Work of an Occultist by W.E.B. - are well worth the cover price from a 180 page book that contains a score of other talks and articles on subjects as diverse as Increasing Personal Power to Aphrodite the Awakener, or from The Table Round to Assumption of the Godform.

However, that is not all in this exciting series. Volume 3 is about to be published in which I have been invited to contribute some works of my own over the years. These include talks I have given to various audiences - Dion Fortune in Bristol and Somerset; The Magical Life; The Faery Tradition in Arthurian Legend, Dion Fortune and the Masonic Tradition plus some early efforts an inner plane communication Reflections on the Mirror of Venus and DF Lives! OK?
This in addition to contributions from the usual SOL stalwarts on Social Work and the Unseen, The Seven Jewels of the Heart, The Automatisms of Mediumship, and Trance.

Now available for pre-order, like the others it costs $20 + shipping ($3 US $10 UK/Europe). Any questions to Any paypal payments to

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Midsummer message

As readers of The Faery Gates of Avalon may already be aware Midsummer is an important faery time, Midsummer Day being also St John's Eve, and in Chretien de Troyes' story of Yvain or the Knight of the Lion (also known to Mabinogion fans as The Lady of the Fountain) it is the day that King Arthur sets off to test the powers of the magic fountain in the forest of Broceliande where one of his knights has already married a faery bride.

Thus after a fairly fallow period it was perhaps no coincidence that I should receive a message from R J Stewart announcing imminent proofs of my next book Melusine of Lusignan and the Cult of the Faery Woman, which should therefore be available by the end of the year - despite the recent credit crunch having had the effect of the esoteric publishing world "going to hell on a hand cart" as a fellow author so graphically put it.

So green shoots are beginning to appear and I set great store on the importance of this new little book insofar that it tells the story and background of one of the most remarkable faery traditions
of medieval France that is little known to the English speaking world apart from a brief and not entirely accurate section in Baring Gould's Myths of the Middle Ages.

So much store do I set on the importance of Melusine that I hope to follow it up with a translation of an evocative recreation of the story by a French freemason who seemed to have dug deep into her tradition, Andre Lebey's Le Roman de la Melusine. It seems to be all towards this that over the past twenty years I have been pushed by a seemingly irrational urge to gain a university degree so I could read much of this kind of stuff in the original, from Chretien de Troyes back in the 12th century to Monsieur Lebey in the 20th. I now begin to reap the benefit of having slogged through French irregular verbs when I could have had my feet up in the autumn of my days.

Back of that I have my eye on another possible avenue of interest in the story of Huon of Bordeaux, contemporary with the early Graal romances, who did all kind of marvellous deeds assisted by Auberon, king of faeries, (later spelled as Oberon by Shakespeare).

In the midst of all this high powered swotting I find much leisure and pleasure in wandering in the web-site of Libby Valdez, who illustrated my little Tree of Life pathworking disguised as a children's fantasy Granny's Magic Cards - a juvenile introduction to the Tarot now alas of incredible rarity, although available (though without the illustrations) on PDF from Ritemagic, whose link you will find elsewhere on my website.

I find Libby's drawings, illustrations, stained glass work, and paintings one of the most relaxing and inspiring ways of spending time on the internet. Why not give it a try yourself - on ?

Monday, May 03, 2010

An Anthology of Occult Wisdom

A gem of a little book has just come my way. Although when I say little in fact it runs to over 200 pages. And when I say gem, it is rather a casket of gems. It contains items from the archives of the Servants of the Light including material not only from their Director of Studies Dolores Ashcroft Nowicki, but from her teacher Walter Ernest Butler and his teacher Robert King.

Dolores, who in her globe trotting over the past forty years speaks from a lot of experience in meeting students, provides some salutary guidance on Common Sense and Glamour in Occult Work and wise words on The Unreserved Dedication which every esoteric wannabe ought to take to heart. For those seeking some immediate experience she gives practical instruction on how to make a set of rune stones, and for those really dedicated, an illustrated guide on how to construct a magical temple. This runs all the way from finding a location, choosing the décor and colours, making pillars, banners and lights, dressing the altar, and then how to consecrate and act appropriately within it. And for any who may be called upon to participate in group ritual work she provides detailed advice on what is expected of the Scribe, the Messenger, the Guardian of the Lights, the Thurifer, the Guardian of the Lodge, the Seer, the Ceremonarius and the Officers (or Upholders of Power) of the Quarters. Altogether an invaluable handbook on the subject.

“Of the forming of groups there is no end…” writes W. E. Butler, and as one who had experience of many, from the Theosophical Society to the Society of the Inner Light, he provides excellent instruction Concerning Contacts, Control and Communication and on The Astral Light and The Sphere of Light, and the publishers have done sterling work in rescuing and transcribing old lecture tapes on The Implications of Exorcism and The Etheric Body. Ernest Butler’s great gift as a teacher was to combine deep theoretical knowledge with examples of practical experience, and in this selection of material he provides an excellent guide for any who are confused by the loose use of terms such as “etheric” and “astral” in occult literature.

But even Ernest Butler needed to learn from someone. I know from personal conversation with him how much he felt he owed to his teacher Robert King (1869-1954). King was an occultist and mystic of enormous experience, well known as a lecturer, and from 1909 to 1913 principal medium and psychic for a leading spiritualist group. He also became an auxiliary bishop in the Liberal Catholic Church, from which he resigned in 1921 – probably for much the same reasons that Dion Fortune and Rudolf Steiner distanced themselves from the Theosophical Society at around this time.

Very much a “hands on” practical occultist he supervised Ernest Butler’s first unique experience of etheric projection, and he was called in to assist Margaret Lumley Brown when she got into a spot of bother in 1913, as recorded in my study of this great psychic in Pythoness. He is represented here by teaching on Arthurian, Grail and Merlin archetypes, and in Guarding Merlin’s Enclosure describes group work in defence of the inner side of the nation – a theme with which Dion Fortune was also later concerned, as recorded in the currently somewhat scarce Dion Fortune’s Magical Battle of Britain.

As if all this were not enough an Appendix on Dr W J Kilner’s experiments in photographing the human aura completes this Anthology, complete with diagrams, as reported in The New York Times of February 5th 1911.

So, all in all, a book to be highly recommended, along with its publishers, the miniscule Datura Press, and who are well worth looking up for details of further gems on the way. This latest book of theirs is described as Volume 2 of what is intended as a series. I eagerly await my ordered copy of Volume 1 to see if it matches up to this one, and look forward optimistically to what future volumes may bring.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

"No mere theoretical treatise...."

I seem, rather like Merlin in my declining years, to find myself much concerned with faery tradition, though hopefully not with such unfortunate consequences as some assume to have happened to the great mage. Anyhow, scribbler to the end, I have just completed a manuscript on Melusine of Lusignan and the Cult of the Faery Woman which should be published later this year by RJ Stewart books. In the meantime, by means of the review below, may I draw your attention to the already published The Faery Gates of Avalon which, although I say it myself, throws a new light on Arthurian studies by bringing to the fore the practical faery tradition that is latent within it. That is to say, many of the feminine characters are not so much human damsels in distress as faery beings leading chosen knights into initiatory otherworld adventures. From whence it follows that early Arthurian romances, written some three hundred years before Sir Thomas Malory, can be useful practical manuals even today.

The Faery Gates of Avalon, Gareth Knight’s most recent work, is an invaluable guide to the meaning and power of the faery tradition as it appears in the main works of the medieval trouvére (perhaps best translated at “seeker and finder”) Chrétien de Troyes. Though widely recognised as the first of the Grail romanciers, Chrétien also wrote into his poetic tales a large amount of material dealing with the Realm of Faery. Sometimes, as in Erec and Enide, this material is concealed, whereas in other tales the faery elements are clearly visible.

The Faery Gates of Avalon opens with a brief introduction to Chrétien, his life and associations with the faery tradition, and to how some of his tales are connected to Welsh redactions in the Mabinogion.

Then follows a summary of the main scenes in four of Chrétien’s works: Erec and Enide, Lancelot and Guenevere, (or Knight of the Cart), Yvain (Knight of the Lion) and Le Conte du Graal. The latter given two chapters devoted to Perceval and Gawain, respectively, who are the two major hero figures in the tale. In addition to the clear and concise summaries, each of these chapters contains masterful insights into the main images and magical sequences of Chrétien’s faery world.

Gareth Knight’s book is no mere theoretical treatise, however, but a highly practical work, something perhaps missed by those who’ve come to expect “exercises” in every book. As Gareth says: “Chrétien’s romances can act not merely as works of reference on faery tradition, but as devices for tuning consciousness toward reception of such contacts ourselves.” In order to achieve this tuning, it is useful to read Chrétien’s text in conjunction with Gareth’s book. Gareth Knight is a long-time student of medieval French and thus is capable of reading Chrétien’s work in the original, but for those looking for good English translations, he recommends the highly accessible Arthurian Romances translated by William W. Kibler and published by Penguin Classics in 1991.

Additional practical help is given in the final two chapters of The Faery Gates. Chapter Seven deals with the key characters, locations and situations in Chrétien’s faery realm. Here we read of the significance of questing heroes, faery partners, helpers and guides, guardians and adversaries, and mystery centres and their custodians. Chapter Eight, entitled, “Reopening the Faery Gates”, presents a visionary sequence that can be followed in meditation, but which is open-ended in a way that allows each of us to create our own “continuation” just as Chrétien’s unfinished Conte du Graal sparked a number of literary continuations.

Chrétien falls into the long line of initiate-poets and authors whose ranks include Homer, Apuleius and Dion Fortune. His narrative visions of the land of faery present a series of transformative initiatory scenarios that can be entered in waking dream-vision and drawn upon according to our level of skill and experience.

No matter what level we are at, however, Gareth Knight’s Faery Gates of Avalon stands alone as the definitive guide to our journeys.
CYH Brown

The Faery Gates of Avalon by Gareth Knight (218 pages, paperback) is published by R J Stewart Books. $17.99 US £15.95 UK

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Litany of the Sun

Having said something about the inner Earth in my last entry it seemed appropriate if I added something about the inner Sun. The following was written by an old mentor of mine, Margaret Lumley Brown, who has been described as possibly the greatest psychic of the 20th century. She also wrote poetry in her earlier days, which was published in a collection called The Litany of the Sun. It upset some conventional reviewers at the time for what they felt to be its paganism. But it seems to me to encompass a universal spirituality that embraces Christian, pagan, and scientific belief systems – not merely as an intellectual appreciation but as a heart felt reality of the wonder of the creation of the world and the source of physical and celestial light. Whatever our appreciation of it as poetry it seems to me her lines are worthy of deep contemplation. I was able only to publish an extract from it in my book about her, Pythoness (Thoth Publications), so here it is in its entirety.


Thou who standest at the portal
Of the Heaven’s great highway,
Mortal Light of Light Immortal,
Take the prayers our hearts yet say:
Thou whose worship faileth never
From the Temple of the Day
And who wast and shalt be ever
Lord of Love and Life and Lay:
Strike again thy silent lyre through our dulness of desire,
Walk with us as once in Delos with mysterious song and fire!

Thou who livest through all changes
Since the world began to be,
Ere the mountains rose in ranges
From the bottom of the sea
And the mighty spheric water
Swept the land from shore to lea,
Till the universal slaughter
Laid the forests bare to thee:
Strike again thy silent lyre through our dulness of desire,
Walk with us as once in Delos with mysterious song and fire!

Thou whose kingdom was deep-rooted
In Hellenic hills of yore
Where thy columns piled and fluted
Reared their heads from shore to shore;
Thou whose Face lit those historic
Groves of oak and sycamore,
And whose Limbs divine and Doric
Trampled all the vineyard floor:
Strike again thy silent lyre through our dulness of desire,
Walk with us as once in Delos with mysterious song and fire!

Thou who wast the Generator
Of the world’s primeval spawn;
Thou the Matrix and Creator
Of the Attic soul withdrawn;
Thou whose wine of rising brims on
Every waking lake and lawn
When within its foaming crimson
Hath been crushed the pearl of dawn:
Strike again thy silent lyre through our dulness of desire,
Walk with us as once in Delos with mysterious song and fire!

Thou the fiery Drum that beatest
From the East across the sky,
Till the Southern heights thou meetest
With a crash of victory,
And into the far West wended
Marchest earthward from on high,
As the measured roll descended
Passes the horizon by:
Strike again thy silent lyre through our dulness of desire,
Walk with us as once in Delos with mysterious song and fire!

Thou the Mystic Heav’nly Bowman
Whose swift arrows heal all ills
And who, piercing Night the foeman,
Bath’st the wound in thine own rills!
Thou art Phoebus, Christ, Osiris,
Walking yet upon the hills;
Thine the Myriad-Arching Iris
Which Eternal Heaven fills!
Strike again thy silent lyre through our dulness of desire,
Walk with us as once in Delos with mysterious song and fire!

Thou who fall’st, thy work completed,
As the darkness stabs thy breast,
And unrobed, discrowned, defeated,
Art uplifted on the West
Where thou hangest, slain and dying
For the world that thou hast blest,
Till the windy landscape, sighing,
Lays thee in the caves of rest:
Strike again thy silent lyre through our dulness of desire,
Walk with us as once in Delos with mysterious song and fire!

Thou who risest sad in glory
From the strife so lately ceased,
Golden-robed but pale and gory,
Double-crowned as King and Priest
Who to awe the midnight’s malice,
At dawn’s sacramental feast,
Liftest up the morning’s chalice
On the altar of the East:
Strike again thy silent lyre through our dulness of desire,
Walk with us as once in Delos with mysterious song and fire!