Tag: magic

Review: Fiddler’s Green Peculiar Parish Magazine

Although I’ve often thought about it, I have yet to write any reviews for my fellow Cunning Rustics, but I am compelled by this recent addition to my collection of periodicals. I convince myself that ‘keeper of knowledge’ sounds better than ‘hoarder of books’, but a rose by another name, still has no more space on his shelves. I am particularly proud of my collection of Heathen and Pagan periodicals dating back to the 1970’s.  These include ‘The Odinist’, ‘Vor-Tru’ and ‘The Runestone’ magazines, as well as a host of other esoteric ‘zines, pamphlets and mimeographs. Without reservation, I declare that ’Fiddlers Green’ is one of the finest esoteric magazines for anyone who may consider themselves a Cunning Rustic.

Beautifully printed on weighty paper (70 lb. off-white vellum), with a cover of heavy sage green linen paper, the copper gilt title gleams from the page, like a sudden treasure happened across on a solitary ramble through some country field. That is precisely how to approach this unique publication. It should be read, at leisure, outdoors with a drink and sunshine at hand. Fiddlers Green denotes a place out of time, a haven rather than a heaven, where sailors, farmers and countrymen reside when slipping this mortal coil. No clouds, harps and piety, but a place of companionship, abundance and comfort. Writer and editor Clint Marsh has created a magazine that might well entertain the denizens of that mystical Elysium.

The Pelican Pub at Muir Beach , California.

Some years back,I made a trip to California, and had the fortune to sink a pint at the Pelican Inn (named after Sir Francis Drake’s ship) at Muir Beach. There are many ‘British Pubs’ in the US, that fall very far off the mark indeed, but I can attest that The Pelican Inn is as proper a pub as I have found in this country. It was to my surprise on reading the first issue, that ‘Fiddler’s Green Peculiar Parish Magazine’ was conceived in that very beer garden by Mr Marsh.

Fiddler’s Green is a mix of esoteric journal and the old magazines my grandmother kept when I was a child, like The Post Office Magazine, and the original Country Life. It manages to avoid seeming anachronistic, however. This isn’t some steampunk re-imagining of a glorious Victorian past, but rather pays homage to a less vulgar time, maintaining the elements of art and writing that would appeal to any traditionalist. Articles such as ‘Where the Art Meets the Occult’ by Ken Henson are genuinely thought-provoking. Rima Staines’s ‘Rise and Root’ reads as a short manifesto for the Radical Traditionalist. At moments, reading Clint Marsh’s ‘The Kids Are All Rite: Traditionalism, Magic, Punk and “As-If”’ was an eerie reflection of my own teenage years.

From Rima Staines’ article ‘Rise and Root’

Some articles are firmly tongue in cheek, and you can sense the mirth throughout. Between articles, you will find art (contemporary and ancient), book reviews, photography, poetry and even postal rates, and thankfully, few advertisements. Those advertisements that are there, are perfectly in keeping with the feel and flow of the publication.

The three issues I was sent were printed as special editions for the Occult Humanities conference. Admittedly, I have only read the first of the three volumes I have received, as i am relishing them slowly, like morsels of Turkish Delight. A quick glance through the other two volumes promises more of the same, and so, the fiddler’s merry tune plays on.

 

Frederick Marryat – Writer and British Naval Officer. He served as a midshipman under the great hero, Lord Thomas Cochrane.

“At Fiddler’s Green, where seamen true

When here they’ve done their duty

The bowl of grog shall still renew

And pledge to love and beauty.”

Frederick Marryat
The Dog Fiend; Or, Snarleyyow,
1856,

 

 

I am indebted to fellow writer Josh Buckley (TYR Journal) for bringing Fiddler’s Green to my attention and you may find copies for purchase here:

http://www.wonderella.org/publications/pamphlets/fiddlersgreen.htm

Or you can correspond with Clint Marsh at:

Fiddler’s Green Peculiar Parish Magazine
Clint Marsh, Editor
Post Office Box 10146
Berkeley, Calif. 94709

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The Stranger in the Mirror

Remnants of a Season – Robert N Taylor

The Stranger in the Mirror

Making a Scrying Glass for Robert Taylor

The stranger in the mirror,
I have seen him once before
As I crossed a palace threshold
To a time of yesteryear.
And for the soul to know the soul,
To the soul you first must go,
For the answers lie there, hidden
In the legends that we know.

Excerpt from ‘The Stranger in the Mirror’ by
from ‘Remnants of a Season: The Collected Poems of Robert N. Taylor’ – Dominion/Ultra Press, 2016.

I recently returned from a gathering of friends brought together to celebrate the 70th birthday (albeit belatedly) of artist, poet and musician, Robert N. Taylor.  Those who know Robert through his music in the duo ‘Changes’ or through his many articles understand that he is a man who has never shied away from controversy.  He has been, at various times in his life, a revolutionary, a magician, a philosopher, a designer, and a herald of the Kali Yuga.

At the gathering, a copy of ‘Remnants of a Season: The Collected Poems of Robert N. Taylor’ was presented to him by Michael Moynihan of Dominion Press and Joshua Buckley of Ultra Press.  Robert has been producing chap books of poetry for many years, but this is the first hardback collection containing his poems, lyrics, and a selection of his artwork.  Anyone who has admired Robert’s work can order a copy from amazon HERE.  Be forewarned, this is a limited edition of 500 copies, and they are sure to sell quickly, so don’t dawdle!

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:John_Dee%27s_Aztec_Scrying_Mirror.jpg

Scrying Mirror alleged to have belonged to John Dee at the British Museum

Over the years, Robert has added greatly to both my esoteric knowledge, and my library.  When I received my invitation to this intimate gathering of friends, I wondered what I could make as an appropriate birthday gift.  It was on a trip to Asheville, North Carolina,  that I found my way into a lovely little shop that traded in fossils, rocks and other geological sundries.  There I found a round, perfectly polished obsidian mirror.  Visions of the Elizabethan court magician, John Dee, flashed through my head.  Here was the perfect gift, a scrying mirror!

Cunning rustics, royal mages, religious leaders and side-show psychics alike, have practiced the magical art of scrying.  Nostradamus performed the act by staring into a bowl of water.  Just last year, the Church of Latter Day Saints revealed photographs of a ‘Seer Stone’ used by founder Joseph Smith.  The Scrying mirror and ‘Shew Stone’ allegedly belonging to John Dee himself, resides at the British Museum.  It seems that the history of scrying in Northern Europe may well go back to the early medieval period, and did a good job of bothering bishops (as all good mystical traditions do), although priests were not themselves exempt from the allure of the mystic mirror.  The 12th century philosopher John of Salisbury wrote

“During my boyhood I was placed under the direction of a priest, to teach me psalms. As he practiced the art of crystal gazing, it chanced that he after preliminary magical rites made use of me and a boy somewhat older, as we sat at his feet, for his sacrilegious art, in order that what he was seeking by means of finger nails moistened with some sort of sacred oil or crism, or of the smooth polished surface of a basin, might be made manifest to him by information imparted by us.”

Crafting the case for the Scrying Mirror

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Robert Taylor- Opus Dei #3

Deciding that the stone should be held in an appropriate frame, I began to craft a case for it.  I’ve enjoyed some basic leather working projects over the years, and decided to start trying my hand at tooling, which is the act of carving, stamping and shaping designs into the hide.  Needing to find an appropriate design, I remembered that of Robert’s many artworks, he had once created a sort of mobius triangle with a bright blue eye peering from the center of it.  I adapted the image, to make it appropriate for the material, and set to work.

Redrawing Robert Taylor’s Artwork for the scrying mirror case

Making a Scrying Mirror Case

After drawing and retracing, came cutting and stamping…

Making a Scrying Mirror Case

…then dying…

Making a Scrying Mirror Case

…and finally, painting and stitching.

When completed, I spent some time in contemplation of the motif.  The triangle, like three in one, was reminiscent of the Valknut symbol of the slain, carved on ancient runestones.  I had thought perhaps, that the eye was from Odin, launched into Mimir’s well, the Allfather’s sacrifice for wisdom beyond man’s knowledge.   Robert told me that it was the eye of the Iris, the Greek messenger of the Gods.  Though I did not know this when I made the piece, I think that it is entirely appropriate for a scrying mirror!

Thomas Gainsborough - Man Holding a Claude Glass

Thomas Gainsborough – Man Holding a Claude Glass

I intend to create some more of these frames for scrying mirrors in the future.  Obsidian mirrors can be readily purchased, but for those who wish to make their own, many a scrying mirror has been made by painting clear glass black on the reverse side.  Artists in older times used what they called a ‘Claude Glass’ to reflect the landscape they wished to paint, as it had the effect of changing tonal ranges and framing the view.

In many respects, this is the purpose of a scrying mirror, as a meditative tool, reflecting our world with certain subtle changes, forcing us to change our definitions of reality.  As we stare into the obsidian mirror, we see ourselves though a distortion, forcing us to reconcile that we cannot be seen through one lens alone.  Perhaps becoming comfortable with this is the first step to unlocking our potentialities in both the real world, and the reflected one.

Gaze into the abyss, my friends…

You can read more about the ideas behind the artwork on Robert’s website here – http://axismundiartgallery.weebly.com/geometrics.html

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