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Witch-Ikon Book Launch and Art Exhibition

Witch-Ikon: Witchcraft in Art and Artifact is an upcoming publication from Three Hands Press, examining the iconography of witches and their magic through the centuries, to be released on October 28. There will also be an exhibition of contemporary artwork which is featured in the book, running from October 5 to 31 at Mortlake & Company in Seattle. I have long been fascinated by the witch as a powerful image and symbol, and by the history and aesthetics of witchcraft and diabolism, so this promises to be delightfully edifying to me.

“The figure of the Witch has haunted the margins of religion and spirituality for thousands of years, as a figure of transgressive spiritual power, outlaw magic, and alluring sexuality. Equally pervasive is her presence in art, from ancient depictions in the Near East, through the European Middle Ages, down to her present representations in occult subculture….Equal in potency to the figure of legend and romance are the magical artifacts which emerged from the varied traditions of malefic magic… The mask, the idol, the knife, the cauldron, the spirit-bottle, and a thousand other magical objects also serve, like the image of the witch herself, to embody a transgressive and beguiling aesthetic.

The exhibition WITCH-IKON brings together an international consortium of artists with varied esoteric and artistic backgrounds, infusing the witch-mythos with new imaginal vitality.”

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The Sonnets to Orpheus: XXV by Rainer Maria Rilke

But you now, dear girl, whom I loved like a flower whose
name
I didn’t know, you who so early were taken away:
I will once more call up your image and show it to them,
beautiful companion of the unsubduable cry.

Dancer whose body filled with your hesitant fate,
pausing, as though your young flesh had been cast in bronze;
grieving and listening–. Then, from the high dominions,
unearthly music fell into your altered heart.

Already possessed by shadows, with illness near,
your blood flowed darkly; yet, though for a moment
suspicious,
it burst out into the natural pulses of spring.

Again and again interrupted by downfall and darkness,
earthly, it gleamed. Till, after a terrible pounding,
it entered the inconsolably open door.

– Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Stephen Mitchell)

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Poetry: “Moonwalk” by Ted Hughes

A glare chunk of moon.
The hill no colour
Under the polarized light.
Like a day pushed inside out. Everything
In negative. Your mask
Bleak as cut iron, a shell-half–
Shucked off the moon. Alarming
And angering moon-devil-here somewhere.
The Ancient Mariner’s Death-in-Life woman
Straight off the sea’s fevered incandescence
Throwing black-and-white dice.
A sea saracen and cruel-looking.
And your words
Like bits of beetles and spiders
Retched out by owls. Fluorescent,
Blue-black, splintered. Bat-skulls. One day, I thought,
I shall understand this tomb-Egyptian,
This talking in tongues to a moon-mushroom.
Never wake a sleepwalker. {See more}

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Prose Poetry Manifesto: From Hakim Bey’s T. A. Z.

“I am awake only in what I love & desire to the point of terror–everything else is just shrouded furniture, quotidian anaesthesia, shit-for-brains, sub-reptilian ennui of totalitarian regimes, banal censorship & useless pain.

Avatars of chaos act as spies, saboteurs, criminals of amour fou, neither selfless nor selfish, accessible as children, mannered as barbarians, chafed with obsessions, unemployed, sensually deranged, wolfangels, mirrors for contemplation, eyes like flowers, pirates of all signs & meanings.

Here we are crawling the cracks between walls of church state school & factory, all the paranoid monoliths. Cut off from the tribe by feral nostalgia we tunnel after lost words, imaginary bombs.”

— from The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism
by Hakim Bey

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“Morbid Anatomy Anthology” Kickstarter Project

Joanna Ebenstein and Colin Dickey have put together an anthology based on the best of the Morbid Anatomy Presents lecture series, and are running a Kickstarter campaign to produce it. Subjects include “anthropodermic bibliopegy (i.e. books bound in human skin), 19th-century Diableries, collections of preserved human tattoos, death-themed 19th-century Parisian cabarets, extreme taxidermy, popular wax anatomical models, the Anatomical Venus, Santa Muerte,” and many others. The Morbid Anatomy Anthology promises to be a beautiful, fascinating, high-quality volume that you will be proud to have on your bookshelves. A pledge of $25 or more will get you a copy of the book.

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Poetry: “Disown” by saartha

And it broke my heart but I
killed every trembling thing. The yearning
spaces subsided, they were reddened, they
were convinced to stillness.

And it broke my heart but God
became God-in-exile, became
yearning spaces. I buried my demons
with a knife, and left them to it. Exile
was the new love, it was a barren land,
it took no prisoners.

And it broke my heart but the pieces
hardened, they were as clockworks,
they counted down the hours. I was
waiting, my body was a sharp plane,
a border, I was waiting, everything

had already happened, I had killed it,
it drifted through the motionless diaspora,
the hours turned on me and they had teeth.

saartha

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Poetry: “Lovesong” by Ted Hughes

He loved her and she loved him
His kisses sucked out her whole past and future or tried to
He had no other appetite
She bit him she gnawed him she sucked
She wanted him complete inside her
Safe and Sure forever and ever
Their little cries fluttered into the curtains

Her eyes wanted nothing to get away
Her looks nailed down his hands his wrists his elbows
He gripped her hard so that life
Should not drag her from that moment
He wanted all future to cease
He wanted to topple with his arms round her
Or everlasting or whatever there was
Her embrace was an immense press
To print him into her bones
His smiles were the garrets of a fairy place
Where the real world would never come
Her smiles were spider bites
So he would lie still till she felt hungry
His word were occupying armies
Her laughs were an assassin’s attempts
His looks were bullets daggers of revenge
Her glances were ghosts in the corner with horrible secrets
His whispers were whips and jackboots
Her kisses were lawyers steadily writing
His caresses were the last hooks of a castaway
Her love-tricks were the grinding of locks
And their deep cries crawled over the floors
Like an animal dragging a great trap
His promises were the surgeon’s gag
Her promises took the top off his skull
She would get a brooch made of it
His vows pulled out all her sinews
He showed her how to make a love-knot
At the back of her secret drawer
Their screams stuck in the wall
Their heads fell apart into sleep like the two halves
Of a lopped melon, but love is hard to stop

In their entwined sleep they exchanged arms and legs
In their dreams their brains took each other hostage

In the morning they wore each other’s face

— Ted Hughes

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Poetry: “Nearer:Breath Of My Breath:Take Not They Tingling” by E. E. Cummings

nearer:breath of my breath:take not they tingling
limbs from me:make my pain their crazy meal
letting they tigers of smooth sweetness steal
slowly in dumb blossoms of new mingling:
deeper:blood of my blood:with upwardcringing
swiftness plunge these leopards of white ream
this pith of darkness:carve an evilfringing
flower of madness on gritted lips
and on sprawled eyes squirming with light insane
chisel the killing flame that dizzily grips.

Querying greys between mouthed houses curl

thirstily. Dead stars stink. dawn. Inane,

the poetic carcass of a girl

— ee cummings