Fulgur is currently experiencing a glorious renaissance, with two esoteric tomes hot off the press and another two announced. As some readers know, I have collaborated with them on various projects including Abraxas Journal, and I'm happy to say that I've recently stepped into a General Editor role there. That said, I can take zero credit for any of the below, as they are all projects overseen by the masterful Founder and Managing Director, Robert Ansell.
So onto the books.
First up is Michael Bertiaux' massive monograph, Ontological Graffiti:
Ontological Graffiti is Michael Bertiaux’s magnum opus. More than 40 years in development and a decade in production, this work now stands at over 470 pages and is without doubt his most substantial and important book yet.
Ontological Graffiti provides for us a vibrant vudutronic, spiritualist, art-grimoire. It presents the strange narrative of certain magical work conducted at the infamous ‘Hyde Park Lodge’ in Chicago during the period 1965-1975. The lodge was a ‘ritual collective of occult initiates’ who would meet monthly under the directorship of Dr. Hector-Francois Jean Main.
Ontological Graffiti contains the séances, lecture notes and descriptive texts for this intense period. This material accompanies the series of large acrylic magical paintings produced by Bertiaux, who was assigned to capture through his art the messages and images of various ‘transcendental consciousnesses’ which manifested during the course of their workings. The Lodge later discovered that rituals conducted using these paintings deepened the connection with the spirits, Loa, and ‘Other Minds’. In addition, the book also offers the reader countless drawings, collages and ‘passeports for contacting and travelling within the spirit realms.’
And a gobsmacking deluxe edition was just announced this week.
Next is the 2nd volume of Black Mirror, a journal that examines the connection nodes between art and ritual. The theme of this book is Embodiment, and it features writings by such luminaries as Susan L. Aberth, Natan Alexander, and Deanna Petherbridge:
Black Mirror 1 – embodiment
Black Mirror is a peer-reviewed series that seeks to examine ways in which the occult and the esoteric have been at the heart of art practice now and throughout the modernist period. It is produced by a group of artists and researchers and much of the work examined will be practice-led. Hence this volume includes both essays on contemporary and modernist work, and new works by artists. Black Mirror 1 – embodiment is the second installation within the Black Mirror series of publications.
In this volume we explore the philosophy and practice of embodiment. Throughout the twentieth century both occult practitioners and artists explored the effects of the patriarchal monotheistic heritage that divorced the mind from the body, privileging the intellect as spiritual and negating and subjugating the corporeal. The conjunction of heterodox spiritualities, feminism and green philosophies in the 1980s gave rise to art and thinking that sought to heal the split between mind and body, to find new respect for the body and the physical world, and to explore the spiritual through the corporeal. Mindful of these early pioneers, in this volume we seek to broaden ideas surrounding magic, art and embodiment.
Volume 1 – embodiment
Introduction, Judith Noble, Dominic Shepherd and Jesse Bransford
Ingestion and Descent: The Chthonic Realms of Leonora Carrington, Susan L. Aberth
The Dark Mark: Tattoo as Ritual of Transformation, Natan Alexander
The Empress, 2015 Lindsey Bull
Self-Obliteration through Self-Love, David Burrows
The Sitters, Tom Butler
Etruscan Monochromes, Gean Moreno
Transformation of the Everyday Material Magic in Jan Švankmajer’s Art and Films, Kristoffer Noheden
Le Bal: Bewitching the Classical Body, Katerina Pantelides
Abject Bodies and Places of Enchantment, Deanna Petherbridge
Embodying the Androgyne: Psychoanalysis and Alchemical Desire in Max Ernst’s Men Shall Know Nothing of This (1923), Daniel Zamani
Available for pre-order is a Under the Eye: A Brief History of Fulgur, in honor of the publishing house's 25th anniversary:
Under the Eye: A Brief History of FULGUR
edited by Robert Ansell
On August 9th, 1992, FULGUR was born. Our founding principles were simple; to revive and develop Aleister Crowley’s philosophy of the book as a talismanic object; to champion quality and longevity in book design, and moreover, to celebrate and promote magical artists such as Austin Osman Spare. In the early days, some of these ideas were very much against the occult zeitgeist, which was often pre-occupied with the fast and cheap dissemination of information. Our first decade was consequently something of a struggle, but over time support began to grow and the founding principles took root. Today, the idea that the book itself can be an expression of magical intent has found a new generation of enthusiasts.
To celebrate our birthday this book briefly discusses the strange circumstances surrounding the formation of the company, offers context for our development, and provides a full bibliography of our titles from 1992-2012. With rare photographs and anecdotes, this is sure to be an essential companion for those interested in the contemporary revival in occult publishing.
Introduction – Clive Harper
Prolegomena – Gavin Semple
Preface – Robert Ansell
Astropoeia – Austin Coppick.
The Witches’ Sabbath. A Publisher’s Precis – Ansell (1992).
The Valley of Fear. Transcript of launch night speech, London (Ansell, 2008).
Vudu Cartography. Transcript of launch night speech, Chicago (Bertiaux, 2010).
Making the Book Talismanic. An Interview with BoingBoing (Ansell, 2012).
And finally, I am levitating with excitement about the forthcoming Decad of Intelligence by undersung artist mage, Ithell Colquhoun:
The Decad of Intelligence is an important and poetic work that Colquhoun developed in the 1970s. It is based on the list of sephirotic intelligences set out in the Sepher Yetzirah. Originally, it was conceived to be a small book of ten enamel pieces, each depicting a different sephira and accompanied by a description of their properties. Colquhoun intended this work to be used as a guide to contemplation for understanding the deep nature of each of the sephiroth, both in isolation and in completeness. Working with the National Trust, the Tate and the Estate of Ithell Colquhoun, we have reunited these individual elements to reform the work as the artist originally envisaged it.
All of these details and more can be found on the Fulgur site here. What a wonderful way to kick of the new year!