Oxford, A Cunning Man’s Book, Appropriated Art, Review Backlog, Magic Circle Thesis, and Other Topics of Interest

I made a quick trip to London and Oxford for the BSECS conference, and I had an enlightening and fun time. You know you’re in Oxford when you’re walking around town in the evening and see window after window open to reveal entire walls those floor-to-ceiling bookshelves – both in libraries and private residences. 

I saw some interesting manuscripts while on the road. One of them was Wellcome 3770, a work by John Parkins, the cunning man said to be Francis Barrett’s pupil. Some of the material within seems to come from Barrett’s scrying procedure published in The Flying Sorcerer, long after his death, so this seems likely. Most of the manuscript is in a personal shorthand, to which Parkins provides the key, and at least some of it is magical, as Parkins apparently didn’t think to come up with shorthand for “Tetragrammaton,” for some reason. It might be an interesting project for someone.

I picked up Shani Oates’ The Real World Art of Cunning Craft from Hell Fire Club Books. It seems to include, both on the cover and as chapter breaks, art from Mihai Vartejaru’s blog post on the Seals of Alcabitius. I can say this with some degree of confidence, as one of the labels for the seals exactly replicates the typos on the same label on Mihai’s blog. Mihai was unaware of this, and I haven’t heard anything from Hell Fire.

Al Cummins called to my attention M. J. de Bejier’s thesis on the elements of magical circles. It does not include the original illustrations, likely due to rights issues. It only covers five manuscripts, so I think of it less as a definitive study and more of a set of hypotheses that should be applied to other works containing magic circles.

Speaking of items I look forward to reading, I’ve accumulated quite the backlog of books to review. I’ll slowly work my way forward, although my present book and associated research takes precedence.

Published in: on January 18, 2020 at 8:25 am  Leave a Comment  

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