Three Hands Press. 2014. First Edition, First Printing, Private Reserve Issue. Full Leather. Octavo, bound in full antique sienna goat, spine panel titled in gilt, gilt design on front panel, hand-marbled endpapers, housed in a felt-lined cloth slipcase. 384 pages, 26 illustrations by Timo Ketola. Issued as "Western Esotericism in Context, Volume 1". The Special Private Reserve Edition, limited to 23 hand-numbered copies, this being copy No. 23. A fine copy without dust jacket, in slipcase, as issued. Fine. Item #311104
¶ Old-style Craft, also known as traditional witchcraft, endures as a distinct body of archaic magical practices in present-day Britain, North America and Australia. Originally nameless, such bodies are related to a variety of historical magical streams, most notably the practices of the Grimoires or ‘black books’, folk-healing, and popular magic of the early modern era. Typically, such groups operate in secret, with strict means of initiatic succession, and practice sorcery characterized by a dual ethos of healing and harming. Though an internally contentious issue, the word witch is accepted as a descriptor for practitioners of this art, as is anti-witching for practices of removing curses and binding magical malefactors. Though still obscure, even in occult circles, the variety and idiosyncrasy of Old Craft traditions is remarkable. The witches of Cornwall, with their corpora of folk charms and blessings, are one such phenotype. The Pickingill Craft as described by E.W. Liddell, remains despite its controversy one of the most unique and potent Craft persuasions, as do the teachings and practices of Robert Cochrane, founder of Clan of Tubal Cain. The Manx Old Order, the Skull and Bones tradition of Pennsylvania, and the Cultus Sabbati, with the medieval Witches' Sabbath as an important organizing principle, are yet other distinctive traditions. Hands of Apostasy is a groundbreaking witchcraft anthology presenting nineteen articles written by both scholars and practitioners, addressing such crucial Old Craft topics the Devil, Initiation, the relation of witchcraft to the grimoire corpus, the mysticism and magic of herbs, folk-charming, the nocturnal flight, the Romantic movement, the witches’ cauldron, and the powers of moon and tide. Representing widely-varying witchcraft traditions and perspectives, the book is a sound testament to the Craft’s history, diversity and strength, as well as the characteristic marks of an evolving and contemplative tradition. The work is profusely illustrated with a specially-commissioned set of illustrations by renowned Finnish engraver Timo Ketola, pleasing both sensus and spiritus. In his darkly opulent style evocative of nocturnal tableaux and forlorn landscapes, Mr. Ketola’s work for Hands of Apostasy is a stunningly original addition to the iconography of the witch. Contents Include: The Magic of History: Some Considerations, by Andrew Chumbley; A Family Craft Tradition by Douglas McIlwain; Killing the Moon: Witchcraft Initiations in the Mountains of the Southern United States, by Corey Hutcheson; Pentacles of Wood, by David Rankine; Moon-Raking in the Old Craft, by Cecil Williamson; The Cauldron of Pure Descent by Martin Duffy; Spirits and Deific Forms: Faith and Belief in British Old Craft, by Melusine Draco; Waking the Dead: The Ancient Magical Art of Necromancy, by Michael Howard; The Witching Hour, by Peter Hamilton Giles; The Man in Black, by Gemma Gary; Origins and Rationales of Modern Witch Cults, by Andrew Chumbley; Mirror, Moon and Tides, by Levannah Morgan; The Traditional Witchcraft of Ellan Vannin, by Manxwitch; Unchain the Devil! by Radomir Ristic; Where the Three Roads Meet: Oneiric Praxis in the Sabbatic Craft, by Jimmy Elwing; Pharmakeute: Witches as the Plant People of Old Europe, by Raven Grimassi; Conjure-Charms of the Welsh Marches, by Gary St. Michael Nottingham; The Blasphemy of Things Unseen, by Daniel A. Schulke; & Romantic Age Roots of Traditional Witchcraft, by Lee Morgan.