“In the beginning was the earth; the starry mantle of the heavens fell upon her breast. And all was good. An aeon passed and the sublime effulgence generated all souls, all forms and all beings. And all this was good. Truth reigned absolute. The Nox stirred, enveloping all within her cloak of shadows, hiding Beauty within ‘the Veil of Sorrows’ that humankind might recognise her Beatitude. But many turned their faces to gaze upon the flickering shadows upon the wall. In the Cave, no one sought her love. Others, led by hope and faith found her light of gnosis escaping their gloomy confinement into Elysium, there to live among Gods of Old. And this was good.” Shani Oates.
I am in truth a provincial, I am far from being at home in London. It is too busy, it is too crowded and it is too noisy. I am not so much a country bumpkin but nor am I a townie. I like to visit London but the city does not suit my temperament. These are words I have used before and these are words I will use again.
Yet on Friday the 6th of October 2017 I did travel once more to London. This I did on the personal invitation of the author Shani Oates the Maid of the Clan of Tubal Cain and her publisher Eamonn Loughran, who is both the Chief Steward of the Hell Fire Club and the director of Hell Fire Club Books. It was a notable honour and one that I still very much appreciate.
The Maid’s work ‘Paean to Hekate’ has been republished by Hell Fire Club Books in an assortment of limited edition formats. The gathering to which I was invited to attend at the famous Atlantis Bookshop, was the official book launch.
I arrived in London in the afternoon and easily found my hotel near King’s Cross. After booking in, finding my room, freshening up after my journey and changing into my suit, I took a walk to Bloomsbury. It was too late to visit the British Museum, one of my favourite haunts in London. Finding the bookshop and so making sure I wasn’t lost in the big city, I called at the Camera Museum Teashop and ordered an Earl Grey.
I was on my second cup when the expected text came through. The group I was to meet with, that would include Shani Oates and Robin the Dart, had gathered at the Plough nearby. Well it had to be a pub called the Plough really.
I joined the group at the plough, compared waistcoats with the Tanist (now Magistar) of the Clan; we both wear ours in the manner of Edward VII and chatted idly for a time. We were joined by a vivacious young woman from Stratford, who actually mistook me for Eamonn Loughran. I was only mildly offended, we all know I am better looking.
We made our way back over the road to join a tightly packed crowd in the prestigious Atlantis Bookshop. Here we were welcomed by the owner, her daughter and offered refreshment. We split up, we mingled, had snacks and I collected my pre-order copies of the book.
Examining the bookshelves, I was surprised and pleased, to discover copies of the Silver Wheel journal. I have work in all four available volumes. I am self-aware. I know that I am in a lesser league than many of those present that evening. Yet to see anthologies and a copy of Pagan Dawn containing my work, all on sale in a bookshop as important as the Atlantis Bookshop, is a special moment. Robin the Dart took my picture.
We were called to order to hear a gracious welcome and a short speech by the publisher Eamonn Loughran. He explained the pride he has in the work that he produces, stating with emphasis that he regarded ‘Paean to Hekate’ a work of significance to the Western Magical Tradition.
“The brightest light falls as dust upon the skin, now aflame with the delicate intimacy of the smallest particle of impossible Beauty as it fuses within.” Shani Oates.
Mr Loughran’s short speech was followed by an address by Stuart Inman, virtue holder of the 1734 and Magistrar of the Clan of the Entangled Thicket. Mr Inman spoke briefly of the significance of the Clan of Tubal Cain within the contemporary Traditionalist movement and the influence of Robert Cochrane. Ending with an acknowledgement of the latter as an influence upon the 1734, Mr Inman introduced Shani Oates the woman of the hour, who presented a series of short readings from her work.
As a work of prose ‘Paean to Hekate’ is structured like a symphonic composition. The text consists of a series of set movements, slow at first but building up energy and strength. Sections of deeply moving text present five movements based upon the pentagram, the five Hebrew letters and their Qabalistic significance. Each of these movements is followed in turn by a period of silence and contemplation.
“My body is thy temple. My heart thy altar. My soul thirsts for thee. My being hungers for thee. My lips shall praise thee, all the days of my life. My hands raise up to thy call. My feet walk forever towards thee. See, I have come to greet thee. I have sought thee out. I have spread silken coverlets for thee. I have perfumed them with myrrh. Sweet herbs and fragrant oils. Thy love is sweeter than honey. Come pluck the strings of my heart. Bind me with the bonds of thy love. Our ecstasy shall burn even the sun. Come my Beloved, we beat as One.” Shani Oates.
There are layers hidden and there are motifs which thread their way through the movements. The prose of ‘Paean to Hekate’ is comparable to that of Byron. As a work of esoteric significance, the prose of ‘Paean to Hekate’ is comparable to that of Blake. It is a work that will be remembered and will I am in no doubt, prove to have a lasting influence. She is alive so that you may live.
“The spirit of change is the ever present hungry wolf, stalking – prowling the periphery of stagnation.” Shani Oates.
Text copyright the Chattering Magpie 2017&2018.
Photographic copyright the Chattering Magpie 2017 & 2018.
Quotations in italics from ‘Paean to Hekate’ by Shani Oates.