Friday, 30 May 2014

Oh dear... looks like this isn't the only "Albion Calling" blog out there...

When I started this blog back in April 2012, I wanted it to have a punchy title that people would remember and that said a little something about me. Due to the fact that I am English, live in England, and spend much of my time researching the archaeology, history, and folklore of Britain, I thought of the name Albion Calling, with Albion being an old and evocative name for the island. For me, the title also implies that while adopting an internationalist perspective and hoping to gain an international readership, I am still Albion-based; thus I am in Albion, calling out to the world.

At the time, I had a look through a few search engines to check that no one else had used that title before, and as nothing popped up, I went ahead and stuck with the name. However, unbeknownst to me, "Albion Calling" had indeed been used before. Earlier today I came across another Albion Calling blog, on the same Blogger platform as this one no less; this Albion Calling however was the defunct page of a far-right activist operating from Liverpool that called on people to support the British National Party (BNP), a fascist group whose white nationalist policies are laughable and horrific in equal measure. It doesn't seem that that particular blog ran for very long (March 2009 to January 2010) and neither does it seem to have had much of a readership (hence its seeming omission from search engines), but nevertheless its very existence made me briefly consider renaming this blog to avoid confusion. In the end I decided against that drastic action, partly because much of my readership already knows this blog as Albion Calling, and partly because I thought it important to emphasise that it isn't only right-wing nationalists who can lay claim to terms like "Albion" and take pride and interest in Britain's rich and varied heritage.


So to clarify, my Albion Calling (http://ethandoylewhite.blogspot.co.uk/) is a blog about the archaeology, history, and folklore of religion, ritual, and the preternatural. The other Albion Calling (http://albioncalling.blogspot.co.uk/) is a defunct blog of the far right with a fairly racist view of the world... which is not something that I condone in the slightest. So if you are ever adding a link to this site then please, please, please make sure that you have the right URL !

Friday, 23 May 2014

New Publication: Book review of Peter Levenda's "The Dark Lord: H.P. Lovecraft, Kenneth Grant, and the Typhonian Tradition in Magic" in Beyond Borderlands

Unbeknownst to me, a book review that I authored several months ago at the request of B.D. Mitchell, Editor-in-Chief of Beyond Borderlands: A Critical Journal of the Weird, Paranormal & Occult, had been published online over at the journal's website back in March. Having just discovered this, I can now advertise the review here - although perhaps it isn't quite as new as the title of this post suggests! 

The Beyond Borderlands logo.
The review itself is of a non-academic book, The Dark Lord: H.P. Lovecraft, Kenneth Grant, and the Typhonian Tradition in Magic, published by the Ibis Press back in 2013. Authored by the well known esotericist Peter Levenda, it explores the work of Grant, one of the primary figures within the history of the Thelemite religion. As those who are aware of my published ouevre will be aware, I have a keen interest in contemporary Paganism, a broad movement of new religious movements which self-consciously adopt elements of pre-Christian belief systems to suit the spiritual needs of the present-day. I would argue that the religion of Thelema, founded by Aleister Crowley in 1904, is one such of these religions, as it makes heavy use of deities adopted from the pantheons of ancient Egypt and (to a lesser extent) Greece in its theology. Thus, this particular review fits within my broader research interests.

Beyond Borderlands is an interesting new venture that seeks to bring together academic, practitioner, and artistic/literary approaches to occultism, the paranormal, and the "culturally weird". Thus while part of its remit includes peer-reviewed works of scholarship, it places these alongside essays by practicing occultists as well as poems and artworks that deal with these themes. How successful this will be, I don't know; I can envision the academic establishment being fairly sceptical of this approach - but I wish the team behind it all the best! I am particularly happy that it operates under an open access ethos, allowing anyone to download its articles and reviews for free; in this respect it is following in the example of the peer-reviewed journal Correspondeces: An Online Journal for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism, which was launched last year. I'm pretty pleased with this review, so if it sounds like it might interest you, please be my guest to check it out: the review is available online here, or alternately, in a slightly less aesthetically pleasing PDF format, here.