On the Orphic and Pythagorean Underworld and the Pythagorean Pentagram
Johan August Alm
1st 2013 264pp Three Hands Press hardback in d/w. Ltd. ed. 625 copies.
The magical doctrines of the ancient Orphics and Pythagoreans are poorly understood
by modern scholars, in part because they were secretive in their own time. Well-known
for speaking in riddles and complex ciphers, its adepts were bound by strict taboo
and silence, the breaking of which was punishable by death. The enigma of the cult’s
teachings was further shrouded by centuries of suppression, and, in some cases, appropriation
or misrepresentation, by the growing forces of Christianity. What remains today are
the fragments of its lost books, together with the words of those who, for good or
ill, wrote about them. In an original interpretation and synthesis apt for today’s
student of ancient mysticism and the occult, August Alm advances a new conception
of these ancient mystery-cults and their sublime doctrines of Chaos, Darkness and
A foundational part of these ancient Greek mystery-cults was the concept of Tartaros.
As the abyss of primeval darkness and chaos, Tartaros was, in its most ancient conception,
the birthplace of the human soul and the cosmos itself. This vast and incomprehensible
dominion held at its center a great fire, an Axis Mundi about which the universe
was arranged. In later eras, it passed into myth as a vast and voidful underworld;
a place of binding for condemned souls and the enemies of gods, sealed fast with
barriers of bronze and iron. Christians later appropriated it as a partition of their
own concept of eternal punishment, a division of hell which constrained no less than
the fallen angels.
An equally enigmatic Pythagorean cipher is the symbol of the Pentagram, or five-fold
star, whose form has been revered in western magic for some three millennia, but
whose origins and original attributes are shrouded in mystery. Its attribution to
the four elements, joined together with aither, was popularized in the middle ages
and is its best-known meaning in modern occult sciences. However, its earlier Pythagorean
usage was related to health and well-being, and almost certainly adumbrated another
retinue of arcana, one which was ancient even at the time of Pythagoras.
Exhuming the scattered fragments of these two elder doctrines of Tartaros and the
Pentagram, Alm examines their reverberation as occult –and occluded-- concepts through
centuries of philosophical thought, in a line connecting the shadowy teachings of
such ‘dark traditions’ as the Orphics and the Pythagoreans, later penetrating the
adyta of Neoplatonism. Arguing for a new undertanding of the Pentagram, he connects
its fivefold mystery to the great powers of Tartaros, and also to such terrifying
gods such as Hecate, Nyx, Erebos, Typhon, Cerberus, and the Erinyes. This strand
of mystery touches upon such related concepts as the high theogony implicit within
the Platonic Solids, the shadowy influence of the Cult of the Idaean Dactyls on Pythagoreanism,
the Light which is rooted in Darkness, and the magical pathology of the ‘Unrooted
THE AFFLICTED MIRROR
A Study of Ordeals and the Making of Compacts
1st 2013 176pp Three Hands Press h/b in d/w. 10 Illustrations by Carolyn Hamilton-Giles.
Ltd. ed. 666 copies.
A shared feature of genuine magical practice and religious experience is the impression
of ‘Otherness’, an entic arena of alienation and unfamiliarity. Contrasted with
the more comfortable and known spheres of the Self, this ‘state apart’ provides not
only inspiration and wonder, it is the dwelling-place of the gods and the prime source
of gnosis, direct experience with the divine. The Afflicted Mirror, based on a research
paper presented at the 1996 AAA Anthropology of Religion inaugural conference in
Kansas, suggests that for the metaphysical domain to become significant it must distort
its appearance so as to attract our attention. This leads not only to validating
the existence of the ‘Other’ but also illustrates its influence on how we shape the
world. Providing groundbreaking insight on the magician’s actuated relationship with
spirits and Gods, The Afflicted Mirror offers a pioneering examination of a topic
often overlooked by scholars. As an original phenomenological model, Peter Hamilton-Giles’
The Afflicted Mirror unites such diverse spiritual states as the mysticism of the
Seer, the religious ecstasy of the Saint, and the spirit-conjurations of the sorcerer.
SALOMONIC MAGICAL ARTS
Translated and Introduced by Fredrik Eytzinger
August 2013 280pp Three Hands Press hardback in dustwrapper. Illus. Ltd. Ed. 1200
“Water, I exhort you olansgält. Lucifer, I exhort you with all your company, that
you will bring my belongings back again. May the thief never come to peace, neither
at night nor at day, sleeping or awake, riding or on foot or by any means, until
he returns what he has stolen...” - From A Spell To Catch Thieves
Amid the great genres of European magical books are the Scandinavian Svartkonstböcker or
‘Books of Black Arts’, the privately-kept practical manuals of magic used by rural
charmers and practitioners of folk magic. Incorporating charms, prayers, and curses,
as well as medicine, alchemy and physical experiments, many of these books survive
today in universities and private collections. While bearing some relationship to
the corpus of European grimoires which feature angelic and demonic magic, the Svartkonstböcker
as texts of magic are in a class all their own.
Salomonic Magical Arts consists of two such volumes, originally handwritten in the
early eighteenth century. Named The Red Book and The Black Book by one of their owners,
they passed through the hands of priests and cunning men before coming to rest in
academic institutions. Invoking a variety of spirtual powers ranging from Christ
to Beelzebub, its magical formulae, numbering in excess of 450 individual receipts,
serve as a testament to the endurance of sorcery in the early modern era. The book
will also be of interest to students of magical herbalism, alchemy, folk medicine,
and animal husbandry, as many of these currents intersect in the pages of this magical
manual. Published in Swedish in 1918, Salomonic Magic Arts is here made available
in English for the first time.
Introducing the work is a substantive introduction by the translator, which places the
book in its cultural and magico-historical context, including Swedish cunning-folk
traditions (trolldom) the European grimoire tradition, traditional magical healing,
pagan belief, and the relationship between folk magic and the church. £49.99
THE LEAPER BETWEEN
1st 2012 Three Hands Press trade paperback.
"You ketch a hopping toad and carry that in your bosom till that's rotted right away
to the back-boon. Then you take and hold that over running water at midnight till
the Devil he come to you and pull you over the water… and then you be a witch and
you kin dew all mander of badness to people and her power over 'em."
So spoke Tilly Baldry of Huntingtoft, an English wise-woman of the 19th century,
describing the ritual of obtaining the witches amulet known as the toad-bone. Known
to rural folk magicians and secret societies such as the Society of the Horseman's
Word, the exacting ritual of killing a toad to obtain the bone of power has been
documented in various forms and cultural milieus for two millennia, though its origin
is likely far older. Focusing on extant forms in Britain and Europe, Chumbley traces
the metamorphosis of the toad-bone amulet from its beginning as a talisman for controlling
animals to its ultimate manifestation as a conduit of diabolic power of the 'Toad-Witch'.
The first academic study of this little-known aspect of folk magic, The Leaper Between
is here presented in unabridged form, newly typeset in several fine bindings worthy
of its fascination. It will be of interest to students of comparative religion, magic,
and folklore alike. £12.99
MYSTICISM: INITIATION AND DREAM (OCCULT MONOGRAPH NO. 1)
Andrew D. Chumbley
1st 2012 56pp Three Hands Press h/b. in d/w. Ltd. ed. 1000 copies.
We might symbolise the process of oneiric spiritualisation as a "siderealisation"
— a translation of the flesh to the stars — back to the domain of the Gudean goddess,
back to the domain of the primordial smaragdine book.
Written as an undergraduate as SOAS University of London in 2001, Mysticism: Initiation
and Dream would foreshadow the concerns of Andrew Chumbley's later doctoral research
on the transcendental nature of the magical dream. In the course of his exposition,
the concepts of the Initiatic Dream are traced to furthest antiquity, epitomized
by the participatory nature of the Mystic within the Oneiric Realm. The axiomata
of Dream Reification and Rarefaction are introduced as defining processes of this
twilight pilgrimage, both of a gnostic and illuminative character. At the time of
his matriculation, Chumbley had already established a solid reputation as an occult
author and practitioner of widely varying spiritual disciplines. His highly-acclaimed
books Azoëtia (1992) and Qutub (1995) arose not only from the solid foundation of
magical practice and theory, but also from a highly complex mystical dream-praxis,
perfected for many years. Though forming the core of his coursework, Mysticism -
together with the bulk of his SOAS essays - were written in a transcendent dialogist
style altogether in concord with the body of his occult work. Drawing upon sources
as diverse as the dream-vision of Christian saints, Sufic oneiric texts, and Bonpo
termas, Chumbley here presents an arcane cartography of the dream as the eternal
vessel for the perichoresis of matter and spirit. £34.99
THE DEVIL’S RAIMENTS: Habiliments of the Witches’ Craft (OCCULT MONOGRAPH NO. 2)
1st 2012 96pp Three Hands Press h/b. in d/w. Ltd. ed. 1000 copies.
Clad in the black robe, or daubed in black unguent as a consecration of wisdom, we
are one with the hidden and secret realm of Night, and when so enveloped become the
fertile void wherein we may receive the inspiration of the Muse or Genius.
In occult literature, the Vestments of the Art Magical are poorly understood, principally
because few save the body of initiates behold them. The robe, mask, hood, mantle,
garter, and veil, constituting the exterior arrayments of the witch, trace their
pedigree to a number of magical sources, each constituting a mystery of form and
These mystical underpinnings often possess a deeper arcanum, being both emblematic
of specified witch-powers and serving a hidden ritual purpose. In The Devil’s Raiments,
Martin Duffy examines the relationship of the sorcerer to that which clothes him,
with particular emphasis on the witch-cult. Also explored is the modern perception
of the witch as the Naked Enchantress, as well as the some of the older historical
rationales for the portrayal of nudity in witchcraft. The text is illustrated with
five original drawings by Sussex artist Steve Damerell. £34.99
MAGIC CIRCLES IN THE GRIMOIRE TRADITION (MONOGRAPH NO. 3)
1st 2012 96pp Three Hands Press h/b. in d/w. Ltd. ed. 1000 copies.
With the center of the circle as a starting point, orientation can take on precise
meaning in the context of its ritual, which was designed to secure spiritual knowledge
and material dominion in the world through the agency of spirits, stars and cabalistic
Magic Circles have been depicted in popular expressions of magic and witchcraft as
well as detailed with full rubrics in traditional manuals of magic such as the Clavicula
Solomonis or Liber Juratus. Using narrative, visual and textual material available
from European grimoires and manuscripts, the author discusses the various forms and
functions of this important piece of apparatus employed by magicians in the Western
Esoteric Tradition, including their role in providing authority and protection to
the operator, as well as examples of their use in divination and treasure finding.
Additionally, contemporary examples of the magic circle at work in modern esoteric
praxis are provided and discussed in light of the traditional approaches they exhibit.
This monograph serves to explicate this important tool of ceremonial magic and is
valuable to practitioners of the art magical with its technical data, while also
providing context in historical settings for the merely curious reader of occult
subjects. Illus. throughout. £34.99
BY MOONLIGHT AND SPIRIT FLIGHT
The Praxis of the Otherworldly Journey to the Witches’ Sabbat
1st 2013 56pp Three Hands Press hardback in dustwrapper. 6 illus. Ltd. Ed. 1000 copies.
Three Hands Press Occult Monograph No. 4
The Devil read out a roster of those present from a black book. A fire was then lit
and the Horned One sat on a throne to receive the worship of his followers. At his
side was the leading female witch, a woman known as the Queen of the Sabbath. The
witches saluted the Devil by means of the osculum infame or ‘obscene kiss’, which
was given under the tail…
As has been established by historians such as Dr. Carlo Ginzburg and Éva Pócs, the
topological elements of the medieval Witches’ Sabbat –the ecstatic nocturnalia of
the lamiae — carry relics of the ancient spirit-cults and localized folk-beliefs
of Europe. Elements haunting witchcraft-practices included the night-roving denizens
of the Wild Hunt, the exteriorised or shapeshifted spirit-double, and the profaned
sacraments of Christianity itself. Of particular interest in the present essay is
the phenomenon of nocturnal spirit-travel and its connections to present-day occult
practice as manifested within the Sabbatic Cultus of traditional witchcraft.
In this fourth book in the Three Hands Press Occult Monograph Series, British folklorist
Michael Howard casts an eye over such elements as the ancestral horde, the flight
of the Furious Host, and the entheogenic Witches Salve, each of which played a unique
role in the Sabbat of the Witches. The mythos of the Sabbatic conclave, containing
infernal and diabolical elements, is taken beyond its Christian pathology to connect
it with actual practices in folk-magic. £34.99
1st 2013 248pp Three Hands Press h/b in d/w. Printed in two colours. Prof. illus.
throughout by Liv Rainey-Smith. Ltd. ed. 1400 copies.
Written in the great tradition of the medieval bestiaries, Robert Fitzgerald's long-awaited
new work Arcanum Bestiarum re-imagines the animal menagerie in the context of bestial
mystery and atavistic power. Written for the modern magical practitioner and zoophile,
the 272-page volume examines the occult virtues and totemic majesties of fifty animals,
theriomorphs, and their kindred. Correspondences with deific powers, atavistic wisdom,
and mythopoetic emanation are examined, especially in light of the tutelary powers
all animals possess.
The Tetramorph – essentially an animalic ‘crown of creation’ – is here transformed
into the far broader and innovative concept of the ‘Theriomorph’, or, the Zodiak
Entire of Creation as an apotheosis of the animal form and zoötype… One of the greatest
of virtues possessed by the Human is its bestial heritage, both spiritually and genetically.
These attributes are often seen as primitive, chaotic and dangerous to civilized
culture by the custodians of moralism and religion today, but the fact remains that
it is our animal heritage that makes us what we are, or, more accurately, what we
should and can be.
Special attention is given to the zoomorphic aspects of alchemy, which historically
used the bestial emblemata as veils of the stages of the Great Work, as well as shamanism
and witchcraft, bodies of knowledge particularly rich in the lore of animals as spirit-helpers.
The work is an emergent strand of magical investigation long part of the author’s
private life, where he has worked in the ecological field of wildlife rehabilitation,
The text is graced with fifty-five original woodcut illustrations by artist Liv Rainey-Smith,
prepared especially for this title in close collaboration with the author. Amongst
the more ambitious renderings in the work are the occult cryptofauna Homunculus,
Manticore, Ouroboros, and Basilisk, as well as animals prominent in the ancient dawn
of magick: the Bear, Goat, Viper, Peacock, and more. Completing the design elements
is an original typeface designed for the work by calligrapher Gail Coppock, serving
to illuminate this grimoire of the Magician’s Primal Eden. £49.99
THE CHILDREN OF CAIN
A Study of Modern Traditional Witches
2011 344pp Three Hands Press h/b in d/w. Illus. inc. colour.
The mid twentieth century witnessed the birth of popular occultism in the West, including
an interest in witchcraft. At the forefront of popular witchcraft was Wicca, a recension
of ceremonial magic and nature worship advanced by Gerald Gardner and Alex Sanders,
now widely regarded as a religion. However, lesser known streams of the witch current
thrived in the shadows, having older historical roots, and linked to an ancient body
of practice – witch bottles, knotted cord spells, curses, exorcisms, sexual magic
and charms ranging from the conjuration of angels to protection of livestock and
hearth. This was Traditional Witchcraft, whose origin in part lies with the corcery
of the cunning folk of Britain and Colonial America. Though largely avoiding the
popular occult limelight, from 1970 onward, elements of Traditional Witchcraft experienced
a partial emergence into the public through such publications as Paul Huson’s Mastering
Witchcraft, the writings of Robert Cochrane and Evan John Jones, and Andrew Chumbley’s
Azoetia: A Grimoire of the Sabbatic Craft. Based on over forty years of research
and private collaboration with practitioners, Michael Howard’s Children of Cain is
the definitive history of Traditional Witchcraft and its key operatives in Britain
and the United States. Supplemented with diverse photographs and illustrations, many
appearing for the first time, th book artfully encompasses the unique legacy of Traditional
Witchcraft – those who bear the Mark of the Exile as a sign of hidden power: the
Children of Cain. £39.99
WELSH WITCHES AND WIZARDS
1st 2009 182pp Three Hands Press trade paperback.
The widespread belief in witches and wizards in Wales reflects a land steeped in
legend and myth since ancient times. The witch’s power to harm people, livestock
and crops was greatly feared; for this reason country people consulted with so-called
‘cunning men’ and ‘wise women’ who had the power to negate their spells with counter-magic.
Cunning-folk practitioners were also consulted for love spells, to find lost property
or missing persons, exorcise ghosts and banish evil spirits. The figures of both
witch and wizard form part of a broader folk-magic continuity in Wales. This popular
belief in witchcraft bears little relation to modern neo-pagan Wicca, and there is
little evidence of its linkage to a nature religion based on a pre-Christian fertility
This book describes the historically-attested Welsh practitioners of folk magic and
witchcraft – the Dark Sisters and the Toadmen, the Druids and Wizards, the Cunning
Men and Faery Doctors – and the charms and spells they used. Also examined are surviving
pagan beliefs associated with holy wells and the cult of the sacred head, and the
mysterious and sometimes sinister ‘creatures of the night’ such as faeries, lake
monsters, dragons and Black Dogs. It will be of interest to students of the occult
and folklore, as well as those who have followed Mr. Howard’s fascinating work over
the years. £15.99
WEST COUNTRY WITCHES
1st 2010 224pp Three Hands Press trade paperback. Illus.
In 1930 a correspondent writing to the Western Morning Post newspaper confidently
asserted “We live in an age when those old twilight beliefs are disappearing”. The
beliefs in question were various aspects of popular superstition and the supernatural
once widely accepted by people in the West Country. In response to this assertion,
a correspondent called Padely Silvanus said he lived on the border of Dartmoor and
could introduce the previous writer to a haunted bridge that nobody would cross at
night. He could also take him to a dell where faeries were still seen to dance, a
place on the moor where an earthbound spirit dwelt and caused terrible accidents,
introduce them to a well-known and universally respected lady who had seen a pixy
and heard the Wish Hounds in full cry, and take them to visit a witch in her cottage,
but at the risk of them being ‘overlooked’ (ill-wished or bewitched). Silvanus’ letter
encompassed the surviving belief in ghosts, faeries and witches that for centuries
has given the West Country its reputation as a place where the paranormal is an everyday
This second volume of Michael Howard’s Witchcraft in the British Isles series examines
the sorcery and witchcraft of Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset. Rich
in magical lore and folk traditions, the West Country has always had an aura of mystery
and magic, reflected in the various races and their spiritual beliefs who have occupied
it down the centuries. £15.99
SCOTTISH WITCHES AND WARLOCKS
1st 2012 Three Hands Press.
In the village of at Cullen in Forfarshire, an arrest warrant was served in January
1657 for one Margaret Philp, accused of practicing witchcraft. Her servant, Isobel
Imblaugh, testified she had seen her mistress have dealings with a spirit taking
the form of a talking hare. Imblaugh said she had seen Philp put out a bannock, a
jug of beer and a piece of meat for the sprite, and the next morning all was gone.
On another occasion the spirit-hare allegedly entered the house through an open window
and drank beer left out for it in a bowl. Far from an isolated account, magical traffic
with such spirits was well-documented into the 19th century, when Highlanders left
offerings of milk at prehistoric burial mounds and standing stones for the faeries
known as brownies. Magical intercourse with fairies was but a small part of Scottish
witchcraft belief, which also held that witches stole milk from their neighbor’s
cows, raised storms to drown those at sea they disliked, produced wasting diseases
to make their enemies fall ill or die, keep a baby inside its mother’s womb beyond
her normal term, and transform themselves into animal forms so they could roam the
countryside causing mischief and mayhem.
Scottish Witches and Warlocks examines the folk beliefs and magical practices of
early modern Scotland, constellated especially around witchcraft. Treating matters
of spirit-conjuring, herb-magic, and the Diabolical pact itself, it includes accounts
of such peculiar personages as Isobel Gowdie, the Aberdeen Witches, Dr. John Fian
and the North Berwick coven, Sir Robert Gordon of Gourdeston, and the Witches of
Auldearn. Containing a number of illustrations, it is the third book in Michael Howard's
Witchcraft in the British Isles series.
Available in two editions:
TRADE PAPERBACK £15.99
LTD. CLOTH HARDBACK £39.99
CLAVIS ISSUE 1
CLAVIS is a journal of the advanced occult disciplines, produced by esoteric publishers
Ouroboros Press and Three Hands Press.
Contents for issue 1: Cover Art by Thomas Allen Kopera, Shaddai's Gate by Frater
A.I., Nebiros Et Ars Necromantica by Johnny Jakobsson, One Beyond Twelve: The Thirteenth
Spirit, Judas and the Opposer by Martin Duffy, Beyond the Paths of Frustration: Daath
Gnosis by Craig Williams, Diablo Stigmata by Daniel Schulke, The Vision of George
Ripley Illustrated by Joseph Uccello, The Grosvenor Grimoire, an Ashmolean Manuscript,
Visionary Artwork by Rima Staines and Sasan.
Over 200 pages of occult text and images, Clavis 2 features more than twice the content
of the inaugural edition, with an international fellowship of contributors. Author
and scholar Henrik Bogdan discusses the nature of Secrecy in Occult Orders and Dr.
Gordan Djurdjevic explores both the perils and allure of sex magical workings with
Our Lady Babalon. In its first major English manifesto, the German magical order
Fraternitas Saturni entreats the magical gnosis of Saturn. Esoteric Astrologer Austin
Coppock explores baneful celestial powers in his essay “Death From Above”, and Michael
Howard writes of the Freemason’s Artificer. There is also an unpublished ritual and
art by Andrew D. Chumbley; research on Arabian magical Talismans; a rite from Cornish
Witchcraft practitioner Gemma Gary, and the Faustian essay “Theatre of Personality”
by Aaron Piccirillo examines the magic of self-fashioning. Occult imagery by Madeleine
Von Foerster, Billy Davis, Brigid Marlin, Jamie Sweetman, Richard Kirk, John Kleckner,
Jose Luis Rodriguez Guerra, Benjamin Vierling, Joseph Uccello, Raven Ebner, and a
host of others. £29.99