Format: Softcover/326 pp/48 illustrations.
Subjects: Art/Art History/Biography/Occult.
During the 1950s and early 1960s the Sydney-based trance-artist and Pan-worshipper, Rosaleen Norton, was well known in Australia as ‘the Witch of Kings Cross’ and was frequently portrayed in the tabloid press as an evil ‘devil-worshipping’ figure from the red-light district. Norton attracted attention from both the public at large and also the local police for engaging in bizarre pagan sex-rituals with her lover, the poet Gavin Greenlees. Details of these activities would surface from time to time in the local courts when Norton was defending her metaphysical beliefs and seeking to defuse claims that her magical paintings and drawings were obscene. Norton was also associated with the scandal that eventually engulfed the professional career of renowned musical conductor, Eugene (later, Sir Eugene) Goossens who had arrived in Australia in 1947 and became a member of Norton’s magical coven six years later.
Norton dedicated her magical practice to the Great God Pan and to a lesser extent Hecate, Lilith and Lucifer. She was also intrigued by the visionary potential of Kundalini yoga, out-of-the-body trance exploration and Aleister Crowley’s Thelemic sex magick and combined all of these elements in her ritual activities.
Pan’s Daughter is the only biography of Rosaleen Norton and provides the most detailed and authoritative account of her magical beliefs and practices. First published in Britain by Mandrake in 1993, it is now reissued in a revised and expanded edition.
“Brilliantly researched…outrageous and inspiring”
Fiona Horne, author of Witch – A Personal Journey and Witch – A Magickal Year
“A fascinating study. Drury’s understanding of the occult and spiritual realms makes Norton’s art and life comprehensible” Tom Thompson, Sydney Morning Herald
Author photo by Lesley Drury
Dr Nevill Drury is best known for his publications on modern Western magic, shamanism and visionary art. For many years he worked in the Australian book industry as an editor and art book publisher and in 2008 he received his Ph.D from the University of Newcastle for a dissertation on the art and magic of Rosaleen Norton. Currently living on the New South Wales south coast, he now works as a full-time writer and occasional university lecturer. Nevill’s books have been published in 25 countries. Recent publications include Sacred Encounters: Shamanism and Magical Journeys of the Spirit; The Dictionary of Magic and Stealing Fire from Heaven: the Rise of Modern Western Magic. He also co-authored The Varieties of Magical Experience with Dr Lynne Hume.
Cover: Timeless Worlds (courtesy of Wally Glover)
NEVILL DRURY PhD is an independent historical researcher whose specialist interests include modern Western magic, shamanism, transpersonal psychology and visionary art. Born in England in 1947 but resident in Australia since 1963, Nevill has worked as an international art-book publisher, lecturer and magazine editor and is now a full-time writer. He is the author/co-author/editor of over sixty books and his work has been published in 25 countries and 18 languages.
His most recent publications include Stealing Fire from Heaven: the Rise of Modern Western Magic (Oxford University Press 2011); Homage to Pan (Creation Oneiros 2009), The Dictionary of Magic (Watkins 2005) and The New Age: the History of a Movement (Thames & Hudson 2004). He received his Ph.D from the University of Newcastle in 2008 for a dissertation on the visionary art and magical beliefs of Rosaleen Norton (awarded ‘Best Humanities Ph.D’. in that year).
Nevill died 15th October 2013 aged 66.
Subjects: Death Customs/Spirituality.
‘I was musing on Singapore in all its affluent glory still having shrines for the dead on every street corner during ‘The Festival of the Hungry Ghosts’. Then I was musing on how the socially mobile of modern western society eschew death rites and grieving in the name of ‘holding it together’ and being progressive. I thought of which civilizations are falling and which are rising again, and wondered whether acknowledging death and the ancestors is a vital part of a maintaining personal identity and our place in society. I remember how my grieving father mourned for all the information he had relied on his deceased wife remembering; information which was now lost. I recalled Michael Crichton’s words ‘If you don’t know (your family’s) history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.’
Then I thought maybe someone should write about the cults of the ancestors and death, perhaps an anthology, perhaps cross relate experiences of loss to personal spirituality and magick and history. I know that years of working with the dead in the name of art and spirituality, didn’t prepare me for the death of my mother. What helped me was the advice of someone from a long tradition of working with the ancestors. I think that collecting the experiences of spiritual practitioners in their working with grief and death is part of a living and necessary tradition that will give respect to the dead and strength, identity and support to our own personal spirituality.’
Within this book are rituals, stories, traditions and experiences of magicians’ scholars and artists who work with death. Some of the contributors such as Nema, Mogg Morgan, Louis Martine and Nevill Drury (to name but a few) have helped define contemporary transformative spirituality. Others are less well known but just as learned. As there should be in such a collection there is comedy, anger confrontation and practicality. This anthology is about who we are, and where we come from. It is also about how we change. A Contemporary Western Book of the Dead contains voices and visions that acknowledge our past, feed our present and guide the direction of our future.
All a Do about Death /Josephine McCarthy
Clans For The Memory / Sarah Grimstone
Learning About Death / Nevill Drury
A Thoughtful Wake / Louis Martinie
Break On Through To The Other Side /Louise Hodgson
Death the Final Frontier / Sue Fox
The Bardo Thodol – Bon Voyage / John Power
You Only Live Twice / Ode bi Tola
On Speaking with the Dead: The Cult of the Dead in Traditional Culture / Michael Clarke
Body / Mishlen Linden
The Great Western Hoax / Ode bi Tola
The Book of Gates: A prose arrangement / Mogg Morgan
Biographies of Contributors
Photographers: Sue Fox, Ruth Kenyon, Ariadne Spyridonos Xenou (Cover: Gerald Hutton)