Against the Light by Kenneth Grant

      4 Comments on Against the Light by Kenneth Grant

Coming soon from Starfire Publishing…

On learning that an ancestor was executed for witchcraft in the sixteenth century, the narrator is prompted to explore her history. Research having failed, he resorts to magical means and exposes an array of malefic forces poised to invade the Earth. In a deserted Welsh ruin he discovers a grimoire revealing traffic between alien entities and their terrestrial agents. Rumoured to have lain for centuries in the custody of a Scottish clan, the grimoire’s existence is known to very few. Among them are powerful occultists such as Aleister Crowley and Phineas Black, desperately tracking it down. The grimoire alone holds the keys and the Sign of Protection. A chimera? An allegory? More aptly, a Warning. Civilization is careering to destruction: it may find the Sign or, the Seal of its doom…


This Nightside Narrative, published as the first in Kenneth Grant’s series of novellas, was written as an introduction to the final volume of the Typhonian Trilogies, The Ninth Arch. It thus takes up some of the elements of the series of Oracles collected in ‘The Book of the Spider’ and weaves them into a multi-layered stream of dream consciousness. Although at times not an easy read, Against the Light is a profound and glittering jewel in the corpus of Grant’s work.


Against the Light was first published in 1997. This republication takes account of annotations in Kenneth Grant’s copy of the book, and is timed to precede the republication of The Ninth Arch in late 2016.

4 comments on “Against the Light by Kenneth Grant

  1. Jamie J Barter

    Mick, I have noticed that with all the publicity and notifications of the various fine quality reprints of Kenneth’s works by Starfire, you mention they each “take account of annotations from his own personal copy of the book”, etc (or words to that effect), and I take it that these may be silently edited (i.e., incorporated into the text of the new edition without a specific indication of whereabouts they occur and take place). And I was therefore wondering – this happening to be the case – is there some sort of a compilation or pamphlet available which contains a list of each of the differences that would appear between the various editions?

    The reason I ask is although I have copies of all the older pre-Starfire versions (with the exception of BTMZ and TNA) I’m not in a position to acquire standard (let alone ‘de luxe’ unfortunately, more’s the pity! :-(!) versions of the newer ones & so was also wondering if there was such a compendium, as it would be most handy & save having to buy “more-or-less” the same editions all over again? I am sure I am enquiring on behalf of others (apart from myself) as well that it would be highly convenient, useful, extremely interesting & most stimulating to be able to view what may have been going on in the actual development and evolution within KG’s actual thought processes and mentation that would have set off & prompted all the particular revisions he then chose to be significant enough to make. In addition (for example), the earlier first edition of “Against The Light” is not easily or (relatively) cheaply available any more in order to be able to compare & contrast the two of them both, apart from the additional time & labour which this would experientially involve.

    With best wishes: N Joy

  2. Michael Staley

    I do understand your point of view here, Jamie. This is something that we discussed briefly in the forums a year or two ago.

    In the first place, Kenneth’s corrections are relatively minor, mostly typos that he picked up; it wasn’t Kenneth’s practise to revise previous books in the light of his later thinking, so these changes won’t throw any light on his development. The most significant correction made was to ‘Cults of the Shadow’ where two paragraphs had to be juxtaposed, and there were some other corrections which were consequential. Fortunately I was able to find a typescript by Kenneth from the 1950s or early 1960s upon which the chapter in question was based. This juxtaposition was amongst the errata listed in the Skoob edition, but was difficult to understand. In the case of ‘Against the Light’, the corrections in Kenneth’s copy are few and minor. The most significant is the lack of a particular section break in part 3; this was a lapse on my part as an impatient young man back in 1997.

    Changes are not restricted to those noted by Kenneth, however. Where there are errors in gematria, for instance, I do correct those, as well as typos not previously noticed. Basically, though, my aim is to change as little as possible.

    I do have my work cut out at present, Jamie, but when I have more time I will tabulate the corrections, and probably make the tables available on the Starfire Publishing website. Obviously I would prefer that the new editions become the standard editions, but I also appreciate that not everybody is in a position to buy them.

  3. Jamie J Barter

    Sorry I haven’t replied earlier, Mick, but I don’t pass by this way on Lashtal very often these days, the level of (non-) activity being what it has become. Still, there’s no use in getting unduly blue about these sort of things!

    Thanks for the reply & your comments. The situation more or less chimes with what I thought might be the case, although I don’t actually remember it being discussed before in the forums offhand, myself.

    The typos themselves are not really important and are of minimal significance; I had more in mind the sort of scale of amendments which will apparently be necessary with the revised forthcoming edition of “Confessions” (whenever this eventually appears sometime this century). In the meantime, along with everyone else I’ll await for your publication of the amendments & differences between the editions on Starfire Publishing in due course, and which I expect will be the sooner of the two.
    When you say you “correct errors in gematria”, though, this must be rather difficult as Kenneth tended to have his own system & practice of “creative” gematria didn’t he, which didn’t/ doesn’t necessariy accord with the conventions of “traditional” or commmonly-accepted gematria? (I take it that it was the latter you had in mind there, or did you in fact mean something else?)

    Best wishes,
    As Ever: N Joy

  4. lashtal Post author

    More from Starfire…

    This book will be going to the printers at the end of July 2016 for publication in August, and is now available for ordering ahead of publication.

    Against the Light by Kenneth Grant is an attractive, sewn hardbound book, octavo format, 142 pages, with a full-colour dust-jacket, and limited to 750 copies. Included are black and white custom printed endpapers, and a full-colour frontispiece. Further details about the content of the book, as well as how to order both the standard and the deluxe editions, can be found by visiting our website, or by following the direct link

    Against the Light was first published in 1997 but has been out of print for many years. This republication is freshly typeset, and incorporates corrections and additions by Kenneth Grant noted in his copy of the first edition. Illustrated endpapers include diary entries by the author from 1985 when the novel was started, some early plot notes, the first draft of a cover blurb from 1995, and a diagram where Grant gives the meaning of symbols on the front of the dust-jacket. A coloured frontispiece reproduces the bust of Mephistopheles, a mysterious and compelling figure which is an integral feature of this novel and which appears elsewhere in Grant’s work.

    The background to this Nightside Narrative, like so much of Grant’s work, can be found in New Isis Lodge, a magical working group which developed from the late 1940s, was formally established in 1955, and carried on working until the mid 1960s. Some of the workings of New Isis Lodge were described by Kenneth Grant in Hecate’s Fountain. In the late 1950s, the ritualists of New Isis Lodge began to receive a series of oracles which on subsequent rearrangement formed a coherent work known as ‘The Book of the Spider’. When planning his third and final trilogy during the 1980s, Grant decided to publish ‘The Book of the Spider’ with extended commentary in the final volume, The Ninth Arch. He was aware, however, that assimilation of The Ninth Arch might be somewhat demanding, and thought that perhaps something was appropriate by way of introduction. That “something” turned out to be the novel Against the Light.

    Grant started writing Against the Light in the mid 1980s, and he developed it to explore in a fictional setting some of the themes of ‘The Book of the Spider’. It was his intention that Against the Light be published before The Ninth Arch, and this was achieved by its first publication in 1997. The Ninth Arch itself is now to be republished towards the end of 2016, and it is fitting that publication of Against the Light again precedes it, this time by several months.

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