And on Kindle, where there is a good Look Inside sample.
From the back cover:
HISTORY AND MYTH
The writings of historians reflect the trends of the times in which they were written. This in turn can make a difference to how a society understands itself and the events it experiences and the responses it makes to them.
Here is a Glastonbury-centred consideration of history from the perspectives of Arnold Toynbee and Titus Livius, of mystical experiences, cycles, portents, and of astrology.
The Oddity of British Prime Ministers.
The Great Conjunction Cycle 1284-1518-2020:
Capricorn Pan, Cronos Saturn, Pluto Hades.
Henry VIII, William Rufus, Edward I, Edward III, Richard III. Richard Whiting, St Dunstan, Frederick Bligh Bond.
Joseph of Arimathea King Arthur, Virgin Mary, the Holy Grail. Lord of Misrule, the Fisher King.
The Pursuit of the Millennium and Extinction Rebellion. Book of Revelation template, Romance of the Golden Age, Age of the Holy Spirit.
Dissolution of the Monasteries, Pilgrimage of Grace, Peasant’s Revolt, Anabaptist Munster Rebellion, Gordon Riots, Brexit.
Glastonbury Plague Diary.
The Victoria Park Lughnasadh 2012 Olympic Caper: a Psychogeographical Feast.
Boris Johnson, Jan Bockelson, William Blake, James Joyce, Joachim of Fiore, Frances Yates, Marsilio Ficino, Margaret Murray, Albrecht Durer, Scipio Aemelianus, Marguerite Porete.
I recently had an excellent chat with Steven Snider of The Farm on the theme of crossing the Abyss that runs through my Crowley book. It featured Crowley himself, Jack Parsons, Kenneth Grant, Lovecraft, the Loch Ness Monster, and Montauk.
I wrote the book over 10 years ago so we ponder its possible increased relevance as what I identified as a number of Aeon of Horus themes are very pertinent today as we face a major challenge and profound unknown.
Great to have a UFOlogical chat with Zelia Edgar of Just Another Tin Foil Hat. We covered the psychic questing roots with the 1974 Aveley abduction and 1976 Sunderland family case that feature in my Avalonian Aeon and Atargatis. and expanded out from there. I felt nostalgic recalling how I got into the work of John Keel and Jacques Vallee when I was in my twenties and it’s very encouraging to see people like Zelia enthusiastically devouring the classic works and pondering the high strangeness conundrums.
After a lost hard drive prevented them from uploading, Glastonbury Symposium have given me permission to post my 2015 presentation that launched The Glastonbury Zodiac & Earth Mysteries UFOlogy. Really pleased about that as it is one of my faves.
This was the first time I put myself through the fun and stress of back-engineering a book to launch at a specific event, a crazy strategy I would adopt another 5 times.
I always enjoy (and that’s a mild term) the writing of my books but the combination of the subject matter and the time of year I was working at fever-pitch, from June to July, have left me some of my strongest memories.
The fact that it’s almost five years ago and this footage has only just appeared online is another aspect of its nostalgia factor for me. DVDs were initially on sale and I had a personal copy. Glastonbury Symposium have been gradually uploading old presentations but mine was among some that were lost.
I have since appeared on Ancient Aliens, getting a brief few moments to discuss the core material in the book but the edit was extremely frustrating. The UK is 6 months behind the US broadcast so I had forgotten all about it when it was screened again a few weeks ago here. It’s very satisfying to present all this as I would want it to be seen now.
I have to have a soundtrack for the writing of all my books. With this one I went back to some obscure mid-seventies prog. In Search of Ancient Gods by Absolute Elsewhere was inspired by the von Daniken book of the same name. It was originally sold with a gatefold cover that held a brief booklet introducing the subject matter. The production was in quadrophonic sound so, even if just listening with 2 speakers, there were weird effects designed to enhance the feeling of moving sound. It’s not up-there with the likes of Tangerine Dream but I did listen to it in dark rooms under the influence of a lot of hash many times decades ago when I had barely heard of Glastonbury. On that basis it was strangely moving to resurrect it for such an episode in my life. I have no idea what a new listener would make of it.
It was also nice to revisit an audio-visual promo video I did for the book in 2015 as well, featuring all of the visuals from the lecture and plenty more, accompanied by the classic ambient sounds of Rainbow Dome Musick by Steve Hillage.
My book is available on Kindle globally and there’s still some paperback copies on Amazon UK.
Thanks again to Glastonbury Symposium for permission to post their footage.
I very much enjoyed the recent opportunity to talk again about some of the core material in my book Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus for the Gnostic Warrior podcast.
There are video lectures already posted of me talking about Jung’s mysterious Seven Sermons to the Dead episode, comparing it to Crowley’s reception of The Book of the Law. My most viewed video dates from nearly five years ago and features my lecture on The Babalon Working at the Glastonbury Occult Conference.
Here I am talking about all of it together in the broad context of the idea of Gnostic revival and the conversation takes in aspects of our distinctly 2020 situation and what I’m up to at the moment so, even if you are familiar with the book and the videos relating to it, I’d like to think you might find this of interest.
My book The Occult Battle of Britain was delivered to my home a year ago today. It’s excellent to note the symmetry of this video being posted in synch with that.
In the hours leading in to the time of the full moon over the last weekend I had the chance to chat across the airwaves/ethers from Glastonbury to Steiner enthusiast Amanda Bradley in New Zealand.
We discussed the life and work of Dion Fortune. I lingered awhile on the big events of 1940 and how I made my own connections to them in the nineties. This included me discussing how the 1940 Glastonbury material was used by me on the night of Princess Diana’s funeral with the imagery adjusted for the occasion.
I also had a bit to say on Rudolf Steiner, his visit to Tintagel and Archangel Michael.
In conclusion I noted how intriguing it was to be making a Glastonbury New Zealand connection with such subject matter when Robert Felkin had launched a branch of the same magical order that Dion Fortune had joined in New Zealand.
I’ve just had the opportunity to appear on a podcast conversation broadly concerning Hellier with Allen Greenfield. He talks for about an hour and then I get to air some of my thoughts on the second series.
I felt it was worth expanding my notes for some of the things I say there and to include things there wasn’t time for. I have to assume some familiarity with Hellier in the reader. It’s not my intention to go into detail on the programme but to provide what I consider to be useful feedback stemming from my background in psychic questing and multiple readings of Cosmic Trigger! Having written Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus a decade ago with its lengthy consideration of UFOlogy, particularly in the section Chapel Perilous: Adventures in the Goblin Universe, was also useful. The book also included a chapter on the work of Allen Greenfield and the secret cipher code he used to link Crowleyan occultism with UFOlogy. This came to be of increasing significance in Hellier, with Greenfield himself being interviewed in the second series. I welcomed the invite from Frank Zero and Steve Snider to participate in their Farm programme with Allen himself.
The first five-episode series of Hellier was screened in January 2019 and immediately got my attention. Ghost-hunting paranormal TV shows have tended to be a big turn-off for me, generally being embarrassingly mediocre and featuring total dorks. This new show was a lot different. The production values were very high. The team were immediately a likeable and credible bunch. They were involved in an investigation that ticked a whole load of the right boxes for me.
John Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies is a classic case study of how UFOlogy is often part of a far wider paranormal spectrum of what came to be called High Strangeness, involving strange creatures from the American night, goblins, bigfoot, Men in Black, and an intensification of synchronicity. The Hellier team are steeped in Keel and their investigation of a mystery featuring weird creatures and underground caves centred around a particular locale had a strong mood of the mothman mystery.
I also felt that the way the team approached their work and how it developed very strongly reminded me of something I’ve had rather a lot of involvement in myself.
Andrew Collins and Graham Phillips developed psychic questing in the late 70s in the UK. This involves getting psychics out into the landscape, visiting strange sites, often under cover of darkness, interacting with spirit forms and entities and following visions and synchronicities to investigate mysteries. Some of this resulted in seemingly coming into contact with the bad guys. Outrageous manifestations often accompanied all this. Questing evolved out of an investigation of the earliest UK abduction case in 1974, a classic that shows the connectedness of the paranormal spectrum to UFOlogy. Andy’s recent book Lightquest was a USA guide to interacting with light and plasma phenomenon. There’s a lot in the Hellier story that resonates with psychic questing. Graham Phillips and Martin Keatman’s books The Green Stone and The Eye of Fire, Andrew Collins’ The Black Alchemist, The Second Coming and The Seventh Sword and my own Avalonian Aeon and Atargatis demonstrate the enormous scope of the subject.
I settled down to binge the hell out of the second series in my hometown of Glastonbury in the county of Somerset in the UK. It was intriguing to see that a Somerset USA became central to the activity in the story and that cross-referencing with faery lore concerning its UK namesake was occurring. I watched all ten episodes in one massive session starting in the afternoon.
Amazon Prime premiered Hellier series 2 on Nov 29th in the UK, the 333rd day of the year.
Firstly, this is a huge number in Crowley studies as it represents Choronzon who is dweller on the threshold of the abyss, and fucks peoples brains up bigtime with lies and dispersion and madness. He stands on the portal of Daath which in Kenneth Grant’s system is the entry to the qliphotic averse tree he calls the Tunnels of Set where the Lovecraftian dudes hang out. I have a feeling that these cave portals and tunnel systems potentially give entry to just such realms and understanding them as such is useful.
Secondly, I’m sure nobody involved with the show chose the date deliberately. This emphasises to me how important the medium is that the message is manifesting through. The internet is a vehicle for magic and synchronicity. External forces can use it. And the fact that this whole thing is playing out in the era of e mails and mobile phones and Amazon and YouTube enables it to develop in a way previous epics never could. Feedback and interaction and generation of new material can happen at a rapid rate, followed by widely disseminated discussion Imagine Crowley tweeting, vlogging , and posting pics from the Enochian episode in the Algerian desert that featured the Choronzon ceremony. Imagine articles and podcasts and videos following on within months and tens of thousands of people engaged with it. The intelligence behind this is making use of the modern forms for a reason. Something uniquely collective might be brewing.
I note what I would term an archetypal pattern that sometimes activates when the mysteries of a particular locale are investigated. One starts with a distinct oddity and it then expands until lines are getting drawn on maps, secret societies become visible, and the scale rapidly spirals outwards. Rennes Le Chateau kicks off with the mystery of Berenger Sauniere. Priory of Sion and Knights Templars come into view. Lines drawn on maps. Massive sacred geometry seemingly revealed. All placed on global grid amidst big game players. Montauk. Air force base and timespace experiments. Crowley and the Babalon Working appear and the mystery schools become players. By the 3rd book the global grid of secret sites is a vital ingredient. Nazi Tibetan malarkey. Bad guys. Horrorshow of fear to test resolve. And the UFOlogical aspect is there all the way though with the contentious contactee Preston Nicholls driving the initial developments and then synchronicity becoming the major tool of “research” as the perspective endlessly expands. It seems obvious to me that the Hellier team will come up against a giddying expansion of what they are looking into that gallops off as far as Rennes and Montauk. This is not necessarily bad but it can be a test of focus.
As the second series progressed it was obvious to me that we are moving into Robert Anton Wilson Cosmic Trigger territory. This was made so clear in the final episode that I’m amazed it wasn’t picked up on.
The Hellier team are actually reading from Crowley’s The Book of Lies and stating how they feel they’re on the threshold of some great mystery. They are pondering the chapter featuring the Star Sapphire ritual and stalling over what it’s about.
I would remind everyone of RAW.
‘I entered Chapel Perilous quite casually one day in 1971 while reading The Book of Lies by the English mystic Aleister Crowley.’
Wilson had a kind of revelation that concerned sex magic and how it, along with drugs, was a major feature in the lineage he ultimately identified as maybe stretching back to Egypt and Sumeria and ET contact from Sirius. The revelation happened through Chapter 69. That chapter is actually a commentary on the Star Sapphire.
A key Wilson concept that has found its way into a lot of discourse is Chapel Perilous.
.‘In researching occult conspiracies, one eventually faces a crossroad of mythic proportions (called Chapel Perilous in the trade).’ ‘Everything you fear is waiting with slavering jaws — but if you are armed with the wand of intuition, the cup of sympathy, the sword of reason and the pentacle of valor, you will find there (the legends say) the Medicine of Metals, the Elixir of Life, the Philosopher’s Stone, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness.’ ‘You come out the other side either a stone paranoid or an agnostic; there is no third way. I came out an agnostic.’ There are ‘those without the pentacle of valor who stand outside the door of Chapel Perilous, trembling and warning all who would enter that the chapel is really an Insect Horror Machine programmed by Death Demons and dripping fetidly with green goo.’
This is very much the mood that increasingly builds in Helier as more and more horror stories and strange situations abound. It really seems to me that the team are in that territory as series 2 ends.
Sirius has already got a few mentions in Hellier. Wilson gets famously primed by a number, in this case, 23. Wilson finds the Illuminati investigation opens up into an enormous consideration of secret societies, bad guys etc and the extent to which UFOlogical high strangeness gels with occultism.
The name Parsons keeps getting flagged in Hellier. Even to the extent of it being found carved into the pavement. Jack Parsons was perhaps an even greater devotee of Pan than Crowley. He recited Crowley’s Hymn to Pan at wild parties and rocket launches. It’s surely only a matter of time before the Babalon Working crops up and Kenneth Grant’s idea that it opened a portal for the UFOs and whatever the hell else.
The team are being led into an American shadow psychosphere which has echoes of Levenda’s Sinister Forces, Maury Terry’s Ultimate Evil, Underground Bases, the Shaver Mystery, a waft of Montauk, the whole enchilada. At one point, when they feel surrounded by the bad guys, I’m reminded of the 70s movie Race with the Devil.
The phenomenon requires humans of a particular type to break through into our realm. John Keel played down the idea he was in any way a catalyst in the mothman story but it’s obvious he was and his autobiog of his early days, Jadoo, makes this clear. This guy spent his 25th birthday with the Yezidis. Had Yeti adventures on Himalayan slopes. He was not Mr Normal and from the moment he arrived in mothman territory the whole thing intensified. The group alchemy of the Hellier team is notable in series 2. Their respective qualities gel very well. The team themselves are a vital ingredient in what they are investigating. The mysteries of this become apparent when one of them realises he has wandered into the territory of an ancestor.
As the series went on I kept thinking about George Hansen’s The Trickster and the Paranormal. At one point I was actually shouting at my TV, so it was great when it got mentioned as so many themes in there are pertinent. My own personal takeaway from that book didn’t get mentioned and I take it as one of a number of very important definite warnings concerning the territory the team are entering.
Barre Toelken was an exemplary academic investigator of the Trickster. He hung out with the Navajo for decades, totally respecting their culture and being accepted by them. He collected coyote trickster stories and because they were only told in the winter he would only play tape recording he had made in that season etc. He was even invited to talk about the trickster to an exclusively Navaho audience. It was only then that he got hints that some of the lore had been kept from him, even after 30yrs of study.
To quote Hansen
‘As Toelken was interviewing an eminent singer (medicine man) about coyote stories, the singer asked him if he was prepared to lose a member of his family. The singer explained that though parts of the tales could be used for healing, some could be used for witchcraft. Toelken’s analytical dissection of the tales suggested that he intended to use them for that purpose, and losing a family member was the price to be paid for becoming a witch. The singer went on to tell him that even if he had no such intention, his inquiries would lead others to suspect him of being a witch, and to try to kill someone in his family. Toelken was understandably shocked, and a bit alarmed, and he began to reassess his interpretations. There came to pass several events that gave him pause. His informant’s family suffered a series of accidental deaths and other misfortunes. Toelken could not logically link them to the revealing of the tales to outsiders, but he could not dismiss the possible connection either. He considered the risks to his informants and family and eventually decided to halt his inquiries into the coyote tales. In April 1981, some months before his late-night talk with the singer, Toelken had taken part in a conference that discussed the trickster. It was out of season to tell the stories, so he obtained a special dispensation from a medicine man. Even so, as he was about to leave for the conference, he bent over to pick up his luggage and passed out. He struck his chin and bled profusely; this was followed by other problems and several synchronicities involving coyotes.’
RAW’s daughter was murdered. Leary’s wife committed suicide on his 35th birthday. His daughter followed decades later. Brian Barritt’s daughter was killed in a car crash just up the road from Glastonbury (Barrritt accompanied Leary on their mysterious Algerian Crowley Choronzon synchro-mesh). Jack Parsons was killed in an explosion. Victor Neuberg ruined for life after his desert jaunt with Crowley. The centre of gravity of the Mothman story is the bridge disaster. Keel came to feel that the communicating entities were ultimately evil.
A real test can be failed. A real initiatory ordeal can mash your entire life. Any fault-lines in your health, sanity, finances, material stability, relationships etc may be subject to eruptions. Cultivate your consensus reality strength. You cannot anticipate where things might get difficult. And the bridge disaster shows how these things ripple out from the personal. Good luck to the Hellier team.
October 2019 saw the 40th anniversary of the culmination of the most spectacular and contentious paranormal drama played out in Britain in the twentieth century. The story was told initially in The Green Stone by Graham Phillips and Martin Keatman.
There was a phase two of this story in which I got involved that expanded into a psychic quest for a series of swords. This was featured in Andrew Collins’ The Seventh Sword and my Avalonian Aeon.
A conference featured presentations by Andrew and Graham on this story and questing in general. I was pleased to be among the lecturers as well as Caroline Wise, Deborah Cartwright, Richard Ward and Lyn Picknett and Clive Prince.
My conference lecture featured material featured in my The Michael Line, the Qabalah and the Tarot. The impetus came from a landscape adventure initiated by Graham Phillips as part of the original Green Stone story. I included previously unpublished detail and how they inspired me to undertake journeys along the famous Michael ley line using landscape tarot and qabalah as the framework.
I’m very happy with the video. Thanks to Hugh Newman of Megalithomania for filming and uploading. I know I refer to Edward VII as Edward VIII twice here but it was an intense weekend of little sleep and lots of weirdness so I’m cutting myself some slack on that.
When Boris Johnson breezed through the town of Wells on the exact date of the trial there of Glastonbury Abbey’s last Abbot, who was then horribly killed the next day, my head went into a strange space where I started running comparisons between Boris and Henry VIII. An ongoing brainstorm developed that I was fortunate to be able to disseminate in a Rune Soup chat with Gordon White.
In August 2014 I read Mark Fisher’s Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures and Simon Reynolds Retromania:Pop Culture’s Addiction to its Own Past, back-to-back and was tremendously inspired, finding all manner of cultural memories stirring and being re-fashioned at a rapid rate. I had just got some simple video software having decided it was way past time to get some footage of my lectures online. Whilst tinkering about with it a most satisfying creative process followed that allowed me to express something of what I termed a Hauntological Reverie.
I sat with the result for some time. When writing what became my Glastonbury Psychogeography in 2016, the initial intention was to include some material on Hauntology that could also serve as an accompanying piece to the video. By this time I had adopted the strategy of back-engineering books in order to launch them at conferences and lectures and ran out of time so that little section was never completed. I have now felt the need to finish what I started.
Hauntology bears some comparison with Psychogeography inasmuch as, firstly, they are both terms that originated in France but were then significantly re-visioned in Britain. The term was used by French post-modernist theorist Jacques Derrida in his 1994 book Spectres of Marx. It arose from the context of a time when Soviet Russia had dissolved and it was being proclaimed that communism had died. The American Francis Fukuyama had recently written The End of History, a widely publicised supremely contentious assertion that liberal capitalism had now definitively triumphed as it was the unchallengeable best way to make the world work. Derrida wrote of how Marx somehow persisted as both a presence and absence thus creating for him a strange status that required a new way of thinking to accommodate.
Once the concept was established it soon becomes clear that ‘persistence through memory that is mutated through absence’ is a theme that can be remarkably wide-ranging and fruitful. The absence of a future we once felt might happen leads to widespread cultural retrospectives. Some have argued that the majority of our culture now consists of cycles of Retro and rehash, mash-ups and genre blending. This can all be studied as a unity within the concept of Hauntology. We are remaking our memories and aspirations. When this becomes conscious and deliberate we have a new force in culture. Nostalgia becomes creative.
One of the most powerful forms of such experimentation can come through music. Some artists are deliberately using old recording technology and instruments, incorporating fragments of old TV series, movies, advertisements and so on, to create a mutated memory. It was hearing some of this music that inspired my Hauntological video foray.
The philosophy and methodology of the Ghost Box label was immensely inspiring to me. The name itself is an evocative reference to television sets and their peculiar powers. They describe themselves on their website as ‘a record label for a group of artists exploring the misremembered musical history of a parallel world. A world of TV soundtracks, vintage electronics, folk song, psychedelia, ghostly pop, supernatural stories, and folklore.’’
Running through all this is the potent enchantment of a kind of false memory, a nostalgia for a past that has been wrongly remembered and also yearned for, even when aspects of it are disturbing. A re-visioning and re-inventing of the past is the great creative endeavour. Somewhere in all this I sense a feeling that the landscape and the memory dream that hangs in the airwaves through dreams and the moods of particular locales somehow involves itself in that endeavour, that something wants this adjustment in favour of a mysterious emotional nuance to occur.
Co-owner, composer and producer Jim Jupp stated that their nostalgia focus is “a particular period of time in British history–more or less 1958-1978. All this might be tied up with a special kind of national identity, nothing at all to do with jingoism, flags, sports, borders, anthems.” Having been born in 1959 and made my first visit to the Stonehenge and Glastonbury Festivals in 1979 to then watch the John Mills dystopian Quatermass, an apparent expression of the dark side of the dream in the early months of the Thatcher era, this lands very strongly with me.
The founders of Ghost Box Jim Jupp and Julian House grew up in South Wales. As teenagers they frequented Caerleon-on-Usk, a potent location full of history and mythology. It was also the birthplace of Arthur Machen, cult horror writer best known for The Great God Pan, an influence on HP Lovecraft. Machen eloquently evoked a compelling, haunted, often dangerous, landscape. This influence permeates Ghost Box as does much other horror from both literature and movies. Some Ghost Box offerings feature the spoken word or have written texts accompanying their packaging, ranging from short stories to seventies mock-up documentary items.
Perhaps the most over-riding meta-nostalgia that unites the disparate material is a lost utopianism. The sixties saw the building in Britain of new housing estates and shopping centres, of high-rise blocks of flats, as a part of a huge programme to make good sites still bomb damaged from the war and replace homes considered to be slums. It seemed part of a vast social transformation that had begun with the welfare state and would assuredly make a better world that the TV shows and comics I consumed portrayed as a gleaming high-tec paradise where flying cars and moon bases would be sure to follow.
Of course this promise was not fulfilled. The seventies ultimately seem in retrospect to have been a grim strange decade. Things got dystopian at a rapid rate. The new estates and tower blocks destroyed communities and bred alienation, soon seeming to be slums as well. It was the landscape that provided a strange counter-expression of the times
I have long felt that occultism, UFOlogy and Earth Mysteries, folklore and the hippie mysticism of leylines and so on were part of one spectrum and I was enthralled by the controversial research John Keel and Jacques Vallee who produced great work son this unity. In this video I playfully express that unity with a nod to the importance of the rock music of the time in helping this feeling with glimpses of Glastonbury Fayre and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page in a fantasy sequence form the band’s The Song Remains the Same movie filmed in the grounds of Aleister Crowley’s old home on the shores of Loch Ness. I had got plenty of mileage from investigating the Crowley Loch Ness interface in my book Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus and my first filmed lecture was drawn from this in September 2014.
This is my lost future, sourced from UK material. I wanted the dynamism of this extraordinary blend to literally transform our sense of reality. It is grasped by the psychic prodigies the Tomorrow People, a British kids TV X Men. Evolutionary mutants will interact with the great mystery, safeguard us from its possible hazards, and eventually the whole human race will follow. Perhaps help from external sources is available as well. Dr Who feeds that
And those hazards There’s an edginess concerning what is really being confronted and where that might lead. Ancient devils might be the masks of malevolent aliens. Perhaps our potential is just being harvested and our ley pilgrimages to ancient sites will end like the 1979 Quatermas story with absorption into a beam of light that represents annihilation rather than ascension and redemption. This is our collective test of fear and resolve. A confrontation with a Dweller on the Threshold. It’s a selective variant version of a past that haunts my present, still seeking to transform the future.
I had a distinctive personal immersion in Hauntological themes when writing my book The Glastonbury Zodiac and Earth Mysteries UFOlogy. The centre of gravity of the work concerned the previously unpublished 1969 UFO experience of author Anthony Roberts and his wife Jan. It led to a download that set Roberts off on a wild writing process dealing with ancient astronaut theories filtered through pulp science fiction and fantasy. As a Glastonbury enthusiast he was enamoured of the belief in the existence of a huge landscape zodiac shaped from a mix of topographical features. A popular idea in the sixties and seventies, it had no archaeology to back it up. Roberts took proposed dating back thousands of years and claimed it was an Atlantean relic created with help from ETS. However crazy this might sound, I have long felt a peculiar beauty and potency, a certain poetry in this kind of blend. It was the very epitome of British psychedelic Earth Mysteries UFOlogy.
The enormous manuscript that resulted, provisionally entitled Giants in the Earth, was never finished. In 2013 I became the first person outside of the Roberts household to read it in 40 years, Tony having died in 1990. Looking into the work and the influences it drew on made me realise that the inspiration of Earth Mysteries UFOlogy on the development of Glastonbury as modern mystical capital of Britain was far stronger than many might realise. It undoubtedly lay behind Robert’s creation and editing of the mid-seventies anthology Glastonbury: Ancient Avalon, New Jerusalem, perhaps the most widely circulated work on the mystical aspects of the place in terms of ley lines, terrestrial zodiacs, and so on.
I wondered what it would have been like if the book had been completed and published in 1971 when the initial writing inspiration abated? It could have sat alongside a large number of pulp paperbacks of the time and become part of a certain climate of thought. The ideas it contained would have become part of the fabric of seventies Glastonbury as shops like Gothic Image opened and began to establish the emerging modern identity of the town. Roberts was quite closely associated with the shop and if his book had been published it would assuredly have been on sale there alongside the anthology and found its way out as part of an expression of the blend of the time. I had a sense of a cover that would contain visual aspects of the ancient astronaut paperback art of the time. I even entertained the wild idea of publishing it. I knew that Yuri Leitch, who has been responsible for the cover art I have designed for my books could produce a superb homage in that style, perhaps featuring a classic Adamski Flying Saucer above Glastonbury Tor? Pages from the text were scanned. It would be a colossal task involving huge editing. It would cost a lot of money. In standard paperback size it would run to around 500 pages. The number of sales would be extremely limited. I ran out of money and it never happened.
My interest in Hauntology helped me to realise that this episode featured many familiar themes. The existence of this text in a kind of hyperspace represented an enhancement of an existing cultural trend. Glastonbury has had its share of UFO and Atlantean enthusiasts. This work though, by a man who was a passionate Avalonian, who had actually died of a heart attack on Glastonbury Tor, was the direct result of a UFO experience at the end of the mythic sixties. If this combination had rippled out into the headspace of Glastonbury pilgrims who might have bought the book in Gothic Image in the seventies and into the eighties then an infinite number of adjusted nuances were possible. This was a tantalising lost future that was not just an imaginative recreation. The text was real and inspired by something perplexing. All of this is part of the alchemy that led to me wanting to create my Hauntological Reverie video.
Immersed in the work as I was, and launching my book at the always cosmically expansive Glastonbury Symposium in July 2015, I felt that something of those nuances were strongly active in me and, even though I had not managed to publish the original text, I was helping that buried dreamlike current to break the surface. It was an uncanny feeling and helped along by my repeated listening to the 1976 prog-rock instrumental album In Search of Ancient Gods by Absolute Elsewhere during the writing of the book. I’d still like to see a 1971 retro version of Tony Roberts Giants in the Earth manifest and in doing so lead us to feel it had always been here somehow since that date.
As for my video, A Pilgrims Path from the album The Belbury Tales by Belbury Poly (a Ghost Box Jim Jupp project) really evoked the blend for me that had stirred in my readings and reveries. Images I rapidly gathered seemed to easily cohere with it. The name Belbury was taken from a fictional location featured in the CS Lewis novel That Hideous Strength, a work stuffed to bursting point with many of the coming decades’ motifs in terms of awakening landscape mysticism and opposing dark forces that constitute a kind of techno-demonism. I know the video is very much an amateur production but I hope it is enjoyable and conveys at least a little something of the feelings that inspired it.