It feels like a really long time since I last did a podcast. Here I am on Spirit Box with Darragh Mason. talking about the inspiration of RAW’s Cosmic Trigger II Down to Earth in my consideration of my landing co-ordinates, a childhood in SE Essex in the 60s. Moving into the 70s takes me into the subject of Hauntology, where I genuinely believe I’ve added something to the topic by riffing on the ‘spectre’ of communism and drawing on my experience writing History and Myth to explain it through the long-held myth of the Golden Age that has haunted European culture and inspired many wild and often doomed Utopian movements. We move thru Glastonbury UFOlogy and end up in the liminal zone of the music scene 30 yrs ago when a 10 min McKenna rap could end up in the pop singles charts. I really enjoyed this conversation and hope some of you might do as well.
This track and specific video gets a mention so here it is—
Colin Wilson died in December 2013. A few months later I conceived of the idea of writing a book about him that would be like the introductions he wrote to the lives and work of Gurdjieff, Crowley, Steiner, and Jung. It would be maybe 100-150 pages long.
I mocked-up a cover that was a homage to his classic paperbacks, using the same font, and the colour background of Mysteries, perhaps my favourite book of his.
I started writing in 2014. Since then other projects intervened but I periodically returned to it. With the advent of UK Lockdown1 I felt it would be great for my sanity to complete it.
It was in June that a radical shift occurred. I became certain that I was going to end up writing something that would be almost as long as one of the volumes of the legendary Occult Trilogy.
Just as I had paid tribute to the enormous influence of Robert Anton Wilson on me with my expansive Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus, I was now going to do the same with Colin Wilson.
I’m approaching this with the intention to apply what Wilson called existential literary criticism. There is a summary of his thought but the measure of it is how it has impacted on me. I therefore am weaving many personal stories that are clearly directly connected with my readings of Wilson’s books. It’s a huge task, the most ambitious I have ever undertaken.
I believe I have come to some very interesting understandings. Looking at Wilson’s meeting with Robert Graves, for example, so crucial to the creation of his landmark The Occult, led to me seeing things I don’t think anyone else has spotted. My attempt to give an account of TC Lethbridge, whose work was so vital to Mysteries, has led to a most satisfying retrospective perspective.
I’ve given up attempting to estimate how long this project will take to complete. I was hoping to present some extracts concerning Robert Graves at the Glastonbury Occult conference that had been set up for February 2021 but, unfortunately, events have overtaken us and it has been cancelled. The current intention is that the same conference, ideally with same speakers, will now happen in February 2022.
Here’s a wide-ranging discussion with Steven Snider of The Farm podcast that starts with material from my Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus, concerning William Dudley Pelley, Silver Shirts, George Hunt Williamson, and Sirius. Spirals out to take in Alice Bailey, ancient astronauts, Wandering Bishops, Allen Greenfield, the Nag Hammadi plasmate, The Nine, Uri Geller, Andrija Puharich, Arthur Young, eventually leading in to Millennialism, Extinction Rebellion and QAnon.
Steve originally put this out as audio only but I felt it might benefit from some accompanying visuals.
The global lockdown has led to a massively intensified online connectivity between people through Zoom and Skype. I have found it most notable and strange to have had greater quality interaction and reached more people whilst in physical solitude than when out giving lectures and meeting up in person.
The best example for me involved a complex chain of associations that began when American astrologer Aeolian Heart wrote a post concerning the Liverpool dream of CG Jung. I contacted her and a live synchronicity scenario rapidly unfolded that took in the story of the KLF, and Daisy Eris Campbell leading the Cosmic Trigger crew on a wild journey from Liverpool, via Cerne Abbas and the Large Hadron Collider, to Bollingen, and demonstrated the remarkable time-release voltage present in Jung’s little-known 1939 West Country jaunt. So here is all that, the Beatles, Illuminatus, a brief intrusion from Charles Manson, Abraxas in Glastonbury Abbey, and plenty more.
I’ve long been a fan of American astrologer Aeolian Heart. I love the blend she presents whereby the nuances of an astrological event are drawn out via an analysis of a rock song by the likes of Jim Morrison, a poem from the Romantic era by Shelley or Blake perhaps, or some aspect of Renaissance Hermeticism. I welcomed the opportunity to talk about my History and Myth book, which strongly features the Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn conjunctions as part of its meta-structure. We talk history mysticism and cycles, all sorts. I’m really happy with the end result and hope you might enjoy listening as well.
In my latest book History and Myth I mention the Roman worldview, of the importance of omens and those who interpreted them, and how it was expressed by the famous historian Livy. When seeing this remarkable photograph, taken by Anupam Anand and published in The Washington Post, and pondering current events, I couldn’t help wondering how the Romans might have responded and whether we might learn something from it. The following has been extracted and adjusted from my book.
Jupiter was the great god of the Romans. A lightning bolt was a sign of his presence. On that basis, the behaviour of lightning was closely observed. A bolt that moved from left to right was fine. Right to left most definitely wasn’t. It spoke of his disapproval of current events. Whichever way it went, lightning required the magistrates of Rome to cancel all public assemblies on the following day.
A special class of omen was termed Monstrum, from which the word monster derives. The original sense of the word conveyed a warning being shown. They would be notable natural events that had a touch of the unusual or bizarre about them, something downright wrong. The birth of two-headed animals is a good example. The Roman Senate had to decide if some reported oddity warranted such categorisation. If it did, then the divinatory experts were called in to determine what action might be required. It might be that a neglected deity was in need of sacrifice and ceremony. I would venture to suggest that the fact that a National Guardsman was injured by one of the lightning strikes could be considered a monstrum warning.
This is my favourite example from Livy as it gives a comprehensive glimpse from the time of the wars with Carthage into a forgotten worldview.
‘Whilst the citizens were in a state of tense expectancy of a fresh war, the column erected on the Capitol during the Punic war by the colleague of Ser. Fulvius was shattered from top to bottom by a stroke of lightning. This accident was regarded as a portent and reported to the senate. The Keepers of the Sacred Books announced that the City must undergo a lustration; that intercessions and special prayers must be offered; and that animals of the larger size must be sacrificed both at Rome in the Capitol and in Campania at the Promontory of Minerva. Games were also, as soon as possible, to be celebrated for ten days in honour of Jupiter Optimus Maximus. Other incidents increased the religious terrors. It was reported that showers of blood had been falling for three days at Saturnia; an ass was foaled with three legs, and a bull with five cows had been destroyed by a single flash of lightning at Calatia; at Auximium there had been a shower of earth. In expiation of these portents, sacrifices were offered and special intercessions for one day, which was observed as a solemn holiday.’
The Julian Vayne My Magical Thing series of video interviews features people who can be considered to be occult practitioners of some kind talking briefly about an item they possess that has an interesting story. I realised I had an opportunity to air a wild and wacky tale involving a figurine of the Egyptian cat goddess Bast. I contacted Julian and was pleased that he was happy to feature me.
Readers of my Atargatis would know that I embarked on a psychic questing adventure along the River Thames in 1991 but mention that some details were excluded, primarily for reasons of space and pace in relation to the wider story. This little tale dates from the beginnings of that saga. It was featured in my very first Glastonbury lecture, The Goddess and the River Thames, almost 25 years ago in July 1995. I did repeat the lecture a few times and it was taped by the Isle of Avalon Foundation in the mid-nineties but, since then, the Bast story has not featured in any of my books, or podcast interviews. Some of it was briefly mentioned in my YouTube lecture When Magic and Fiction Meet. This is the fullest version currently available. It’s a great example of the extent to which extreme strangeness became part of my everyday life then.
It was great to have been talking to Amanda Bradley of Mystic Waldorf in New Zealand about my new book during the time of the full moon and eclipse. It’s inevitable in doing this round of promo interviews that I will repeat myself but I’m trying to bring something a bit different into each one, depending on who I’m talking to. I do also go a little beyond what is included in the book.
It’s the 25th anniversary of me moving to Glastonbury today, so very nice that this arrived. Previously only available in Kindle format, now in paperback in UK. 114 pages.
The extraordinary 80s adventures of Andrew Collins in the Glastonbury Star Temple that led to his investigation of the Giza plateau have been featured in my books before, particularly Avalonian Aeon. There was so much material in that book that I sometimes felt that it would be good to isolate this classic psychic questing material and let it stand on its own. So here is the directors’ cut. Everything that was in Avalonian Aeon is here again along with material originally left out for reasons of space. There are also new details. Most notable is the inclusion of a visualisation often used by Andy that came from the Giza visions of legendary psychic Bernard G of what he called the Crystal Chambers that lay beneath the ground. And it’s great to feature artwork by Bernard from that time on the cover. This remains for me the greatest magical mystical story I’ve ever heard. It blew my mind to pieces when I first learned about it from Andy in 1988 and going back over it I was glad to see it still felt the same.
Starting with the medieval Essex mystery of the Knights of Danbury, an expansive odyssey leads to the Glastonbury Star Temple, a secret Knights Templar ceremony, Black Alchemy, and a Hermetic blend that reveals the Morphogenesis pattern and process understood and used by a lost culture before the pyramids. Here is the epic psychic quest at the root of Andrew Collins later work and the initial inspiration for his investigation of ancient hybrid strains of humanity.
This release is timed to resonate with the 35th anniversary of the climax of the narrative, the 30th anniversary of my own involvement with this material as told in Avalonian Aeon, and the 10th anniversary of that books publication.
My latest book was undoubtedly kick-started by my previous appearance on Rune Soup in Dec 2019. Very satisfying to effectively launch it from there now. Talked with Gordon yesterday, the 15th, 6 months on from the anniv of the Tor death of Abbot Whiting, the time when Boris was in the area and my brain went into overdrive. It’s a satisfying cycle. And with the arrival of the book, all kinds of further weirdness has occurred featuring Jung and Robert Anton Wilson. I talk about it all here.