And He’s Back!

Shocking, isn’t it?

I didn’t get to the NYPL until this afternoon, when I immediately headed for the microforms room and went through their run of Earth Religion News. A few surprises were included therein.

For instance, Simon was involved in a controversy in 1973 following a series of lectures at the Warlock Shop on ceremonial magic entitled “Simon Says.” Some insisted that Simon had used the Book of Shadows of the Welsh Traditionalist witches for material for the class. It’s something of an odd assumption to make – it doesn’t seem too likely that Simon would use witchcraft material in a class on ceremonial magic. But how did that even get started?

(For anyone who’s interested, the article also asserts that Simon’s lectures were taped and, I presume, sold. That’s another piece of occult history to keep an eye out for.)

Another oddity: a catalog for the Warlock Shop from 1977. Page upon page of books of all stripes of occultism. No mention whatsoever of the Necronomicon, not among the books for sale or those soon to arrive. I’m guessing that such a release would have been advertised by a separate flyer.

I can also answer my own question: the grand opening of Magickal Childe was announced for Friday, February 13, 1976.

It looks as if they can’t find one of my book orders. I’ll let you know if I see anything else interesting.

UPDATE:  Khem asks about the parallels between the various Books of Shadows and the ceremonial magic tradition with regard to my comments above.  I agree with his point – based on the analyses by Kelly and others, it seems very probable that the Gardnerian Book of Shadows used the Key of Solomon as one of its major sources of inspiration.  (I can’t speak to the Welsh Book of Shadows, as I haven’t seen that.)  What I’m wondering is why anyone would use a BoS at all in a ceremonial magic class when so much information on actual ceremonial magic is readily available.  Clearly, there’s a lot going on in this situation of which we know nothing.

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Published in: on May 5, 2008 at 4:41 pm  Comments (7)  

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  1. The initial Magick Childe was a shop in Brooklyn, because my then girl friend were attending a Star Trek convention in NYC and she suggested we go visit there. It involved the subway, and a longish walk. It was there in 1974 I saw the Scither’s NECRONOMICON being advertised as “translation forthcoming”–the rest of the story is at my review on Amazon.com.

    I wasn’t following the shop or its people, but I did know it reopened in NYC some time after that. Is this the “grand opening” you speak of?

    Were you to locate one of the other publication of the era–that being GREEN EGG–to see if there were any ads in it from MAGICKAL CHILDE?

    cheers,

    RWS

  2. Robert,

    The shop was known as the Warlock Shop when it was in Brooklyn, to the best of my knowledge. It later traveled to Manhattan, where it opened.

    I haven’t been able to survey GREEN EGG during the period when the book appeared, but there’s certainly information about Magickal Childe and Slater therein.

  3. Khem Caigan adds:

    I personally don’t understand how one can observe operations described in grimoires and those in ‘Books of Shadows’ and *not* see the connection between them.

    As you may know, both the Gardnerian *Book of Shadows* and the Welsh *Book of Shadows* are largely based upon and include sizable chunks lifted from the Key of Solomon, a fairly well-known grimoire.

    Kelly and Bogdan have discussed the various contributions to Wicca from “ceremonial magic” and fringe Masonry, so why not Levenda?

    Really works if the idea is to lay the groundwork for a “Sumerian Wicca” – unless, of course, there is backlash from the entrenched Trads…

  4. Khem,

    Thanks for the comment. Let me see if I can clarify.

  5. I think I can see what the problem is, and now it is *my* turn to clarify.

    At the time of which we are speaking, the exegeses of Kelly and Bogdan and the embarrassingly enormous resources of the internet ( where it is now possible to find a host of ‘open source’ BOSs drawing upon the original ) were unavailable to Wiccans and others within the community in question, and the ‘shake-n-bake’ nature of the few spinoffs available was kept deliberately obscure.

    In such a climate, it was still possible to arouse the ire of Initiates by merely reciting certain passages from Lucretius or Leland or Kipling ( for example ).

    Or by reciting certain passages from the Key of Solomon.

    These ‘borrowings’ were not properly cited by Gardner, and
    the fact that they were available elsewhere, and openly, was more than a little unsettling for some folks.

    Trying to ‘keep a lid on it’ was pointless, then and now, and tended to arouse the sort of cognitive dissonance described by Crowley when he found himself sworn to secrecy over the existence of the Hebrew alphabet.

    So, given such a climate of hidden/restricted knowledge, it isn’t necessary to recite from a BOS for one to be *accused* of doing so, since one’s audience is unaware of the primary sources to begin with.

    And if they *are* aware of the primary sources, they are more likely to throw tomatoes rather than flowers ( to which Kelly can attest ).

    Trying to openly teach a course that is in any way comparative or historical under such circumstances is just bound to get you into trouble.

  6. Currently on ebay is a cd containing an hour long “lecture” supposedly by Simon, but it comes up in iTunes as a lecture by David Wolfe, from Feb 21, 2006. It is not the live recording you mention in the book. This almost sounds as if someone is reading the transcript of one of those lectures.

    Link is here:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Necronomicon-Lecture-its-editor-Simon-/110416396849?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19b5548231

    Just thought you might want to know 🙂


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