It was in the late seventies, if I recall correctly.
I’d travel by train to London to visit Atlantis Bookshop in Museum Street and Watkins off the Charing Cross Road, clutching a few pounds, in search of Crowleyana. With a steadily-growing book collection and little available cash, I paid most attention to the so-called “occult journals”: The New Equinox, Black Pearl, The Lamp Of Thoth and Aquarian Arrow. These “fanzines” provided a link to what appeared to be a thriving Thelemic community, loose-knit but enthusiastic. They reprinted otherwise unavailable material by Crowley, reviews of books from America that I could only dream of owning. These journals tended to be very cheaply produced with poor production quality: “homely”, as the book lists indicate nowadays. Every now and again something stood out, both for the high quality of its contents and its attractiveness. Sothis, for example, and, later, Starfire.
Waratah 2: Oceanic Currents reminds me of those days. It reminds me of the occasional discovery of a real gem amongst the dross. Why Waratah? Take a look in The Book Of Lies for an explanation.
Waratah is produced by the Oceania Lodge of OTO Australia and was edited in March 2004 by Oliva Dimitrije Mitevski. Perfect bound and a beautiful production, this impressive 220-page page book is limited to just 200 copies: it therefore represents quite an investment for the serious collector. It’s superbly illustrated and shows all the signs of some serious proof-reading.
So what of it’s contents? About a third of the book is given over to a visual feast, a veritable grimoire and ritual group-diary: Barry Hale’s The Babalon Pomba – Gira Working. Hours of study have pursuaded me that this is a significant publication, which will resonate for many years to come.
Barry Hale’s The Hand And The Pen compares and contrasts Thelema’s fascination with the power of words and letters with that of Islam. A timely and interesting article.
Dreams and In-Betweenness states get similar treatment in the same author’s Nightmares, Bad Sleeps & Things That Go Bump In The Night.
The hardcore qabalist will find much that is fascinating in Scott Burley’s Thoughts Of A Wandering Fool, The Synagogue Of Satan and LoGoS: Subfigura CMLI.
Hale’s The Way To Succeed is an interesting observation on some tantric techniques.
My personal favourite is a brief article, again by Barry Hale: Preliminary Study Towards A Sigillic Exegesis Of Liber 231. Gloriously illustrated, this study of the sigils in the Thelemic Holy Book, Liber CCXXXI, is most impressive and I await his further researches with great interest.
There’s a lot more to Waratah Two. The drawings and design are exceptional throughout, its well-bound and printed on very high quality 130gsm A4 paper. Although Crowley is quoted frequently, it’s always as the background to further research and as such successfully implements the often-sought concept of “Thelema Beyond Crowley”.
What more can I say? This journal takes me back to those heady days of Starfire et al and I cannot recommend it too highly to the committed Thelemite.
For details on how to order a copy, visit http://house418.otoaustralia.org.au. It’s certainly remarkable value for just US$50. Now, where’s that train ticket? I must pay another visit to the Atlantis Bookshop…