“The Magus, the Theurgist, the True Witch stand on a pyramid of power whose foundation is a profound knowledge of the occult, whose four sides are a creative imagination, a will of steel, a living faith and the ability to keep silent, and whose internal structure is love.”

Amber K
True Magick


On Feb. 8, 1668, after writing about the political perversities of the House of Commons in his now famous diary, Samuel Pepys described a more private scandal. That day, he confessed, he bought “an idle, roguish French book, ‘L’Escholle des Filles,’* which I have bought in plain binding (avoiding the buying of it better bound), because I resolve, as soon as I have read it, to burn it, that it may not stand in the list of books, nor among them, to disgrace them, if it should be found.”

This was a peculiar confession: Pepys would burn a pornographic volume to avoid disgrace, but document its purchase in a diary that survived every purge of his private papers.

*(The School of Venus is a whore dialogue – a popular genre in the early modern period representing conversations between a mature, sexually experienced woman and a maiden – and, as such, provided a vehicle for disseminating radical ideas about sex, religion, and the social order. It comprises two dialogues in which Frances instructs her beautiful but inexperienced cousin, Katherine, in the art of sexual pleasure. The text refers to a range of sexual practices but focuses primarily on sexual intercourse between men and women. The language of sex in this book is remarkable for its frankness and obscenity; there are no circumlocutions or euphemisms.

The School of Venus is also known as Lessons in Seduction and as School for Girls.)

Pepys once again:

“We sang till almost night, and drank my good store of wine; and then they parted and I to my chamber, where I did read through L’escholle des Filles; a lewd book, but what doth me no wrong to read for information sake (but it did hazer my prick para stand all the while, and una vez to decharger); and after I had done it, I burned it, that it might not be among my books to my shame; and so at night to supper and then to bed.”

(Pepys Diary entry, 9 February 1668)

Conflicting messages

March 3, 2015


I have tried to explain, but it isn’t easy.
In the morning my tongue trips
On the hussle-bussle, the busy rustle
Of your newspaper,
The crack of breaking toasted bread.

At night in bed I have tried to explain,
But the covers twist into choking ropes,
The hypnotic click of your clock
Stops my tongue from talking,
And induces deep sleep.

Instead, I try to tell you of my day in this diary.
Today, your daughter spoke in tongues.
She gently mouthed each toy in the box
Discovering, uncovering each secret name and meaning.

Holding it high above her baby head
Before casting the object out into the world
Newly named, christened with her kisses.

In the afternoon, with her brother and me,
We travelled to ancient India.
Our cotton tent pegged secure across the sofa,
The heating up high.
He patiently painted the world into being.

A boy’s genius, strong strokes of colour
Rippled across his landscape paper,
Blue beings beside hot reds and yellows
Shimmered heat haze above the greens,
While the sweet scent of frangipani invaded our tent.

She transformed the canary with a wish
Transcending his inner dreams of grandeur,
As your son mined plant pots
Seeking diamonds and precious pebbles.

These colours crumble from my mind in the evening.
I view your grey suit and realise I must be your me,
Tomorrow, your children become Pharaohs of Egypt,
Perhaps I can explain then.

Liz Palmer-Smith


March 3, 2015


Reality is one of the possibilities I cannot afford to ignore.
Leonard Cohen
Beautiful Losers


March 3, 2015


Eroticism is one of the basic means of self-knowledge, as indispensable as poetry.

Anaïs Nin
In Favor of the Sensitive Man and Other Essays


In order to reach the limits of ecstasy in which we lose ourselves in bliss we must always set an immediate boundary to it: horror. Not only can pain, my own or that of other people, carry me nearer to the moment when horror will seize hold of me and bring me to a state of bordering on delirium, but there is no kind of repugnance whose affinity with desire I do not discern. Horror is sometimes confused with fascination, but if it cannot suppress and destroy the element of fascination it will reinforce it. Danger has a paralysing effect, but if it is a mild danger it can excite desire. We can only reach a state of ecstasy when we are conscious of death and annihilation, even if remotely.

Pierre Angelique [Georges Bataille*]
Madame Edwarda

*Bataille attributes the story (Madame Edwarda) to somebody called Pierre Angelique. Indeed, it is signed by him. In truth, he is writing under a pseudonym. Monsieur Angelique is but a caricature (Pierre or Peter, in English – the nominal Saint, one of 12 Apostles – a significance that will later become clear).

The preface begins with a quote attributed to Hegel. He says, ‘Death is the most terrible of all things; and to maintain its works is what requires the greatest of all strength’. This is a challenge Bataille himself takes up, in both the story and in the proceeding preface.


March 3, 2015