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" One touch of nature

makes all the world kin "

William Shakespeare

Errata for Book of English Magic

April 11th, 2010

Blog reader Paul writes: Hi Philip, glad to hear The Book of English Magic has come out in paperback and that you are happy with it.

For those of us with the hardback version, could we get a list of errata to keep with it? Maybe publish it as a post here?

Good idea Paul. Here it is!

1. On the map of England key, we had the Shell grotto and Chislehurst caves the wrong way round. The Shell grotto, marked at 21, should be 45 and 45 should be matched with Chislehurst Caves.
2. In Tolkien’s bio, on p.90, we had the mum and dad’s death the wrong way round in para 2: Change to: His father died when he was four, his mother when he was twelve.
3. On page 474, delete – ‘the current head of the Society of Inner Light’ and rephrase sentence – ‘The books and website of Gareth Knight  are well worth researching. With over 50 years experience of magical studies, including with the Society of Inner Light, Gareth Knight, in his own words ‘learned a great deal through a long if bruising association with the redoubtable old occultist W.G.Gray and a creative interchange with a fellow one-time student of his, R.J.Stewart.’
4. p.439 para 2: ‘Between 1935 and 1939 she lived’ change to worked
5. p.447 ‘Madeline Montalban was the magical name of Dolores North’ change to Madeline Royals
6. On pp 483 and 484: Change text to:
Over a thousand years ago, the wind-swept seaside town of Whitby in Yorkshire played host to one of the most significant church synods in British history. The Synod of Whitby in 664 is seen by many as the turning point in the subjugation of the early British or Celtic Church to the power of Rome[i] <#_edn1> , and it was here one  summer in the 1970s, in the house probably occupied by Bram Stoker, the author of ‘Dracula’, that a number of ritual magicians informally gathered to experiment with new ways of working magic.

By the end of the summer the experiment was over, but it acted as a formative experience for the people involved, and was symptomatic of the change occurring in the magical world, that was also expressed by a mercurial mathematician and ex-Eton schoolmaster Lionel Snell who, under the pen-name of Ramsey Dukes, wrote SSOTBME and Thundersqueak – books that suggested new approaches to magic, and which stimulated the minds of magicians in other parts of the country, in particular in Bristol with aromatherapy oil importer Peter Carroll and in Deptford with the writer Ray Sherwin.

Arrest the Pope! Save New Zealand!

April 11th, 2010

A ten-minute dip into world news today reveals the following two fascinating stories:

RICHARD DAWKINS, the atheist campaigner, is planning a legal ambush to have the Pope arrested during his state visit to Britain “for crimes against humanity”. Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church. For more see Times Online.

And for New Zealand lovers a great piece of writing from Simon Schama opposing the lunatic idea that New Zealand should become the seventh state of Australia. Here’s a bit:

Schama wants: to see New Zealanders selling short the rich history of their peculiar place in the world. I’m not an enthusiast for one-size-fits-all versions of national community: interchangeable airports, cookie-cutter multiplexes, die-stamp shopping malls.

I’m all for micro-anachronism. Long live Andorra! Hail to thee O Liechtenstein! May Sikkim never perish from the face of the Earth.

I own up to a smidgin of nostalgia here. For anyone who grew up in the 1950s, it’s a weird and not unpleasant experience to travel thousands of miles to the opposite ends of the Earth and, in New Zealand’s smaller towns, arrive where you began your life amidst drizzle-sprayed bowling greens, rose gardens, and shops selling Bassett’s Liquorice Allsorts.

But that’s the knitted tea-cosy cliche about the country. The strength of its history could not be less purl and plain.

Wherever you look, the New Zealand story has been heroic, volcanic, singular. Its island masses, torn from Gondwanaland, stayed so remote that for millions of years they knew no mammalian life. Insects, reptiles and birds shared the lush ecology and without any predators, many birds evolved flightlessly.

For more see here.

Will Worthington and Atlanta Roots

April 11th, 2010

Question: What does the the talented Will Worthington, illustrator of The Druidcraft Tarot, and The Druid Plant and Animal Oracles, get up to when he’s not wielding his paint brush?

Answer: For over twenty years, Will has been playing in a band called Atlanta Roots, described as ‘one of the hardest working groups in the Northwest’. Twenty (and more) years of continuous gigging. Not bad eh? (Will is the bearded bloke on the right. He wrote the song they’re playing).