Welcome To The Dark Side: Occult London by Kate Hodges, Tree Carr and Brian Rau (mapbook review)

December 23, 2019 | By | Reply More

Herb Lester Associates are not a traditional book publisher. They mostly produce artistically designed short travel guides and associated materials for those going on city breaks. ‘Welcome To The Dark Side: Occult London’ is a case in point. It comes in a rather attractive slimline printed card envelope, inside of which there are two items. The first is an A2 double-sided map of London. One side identifies 59 locations across the UK’s capital city with some sort of occult link, while the other side provides a paragraph of explanatory information about each of them, written by Kate Hodges.

To give just five examples from the ‘59, the Chelsea Physic Garden’, which has been located in the SW3 postcode area since 1673, can be visited if you’re looking for the right herb to add to your magic potion, while ‘25 Powis Square on the Westway in W11’ was used in the 1970 supernatural film ‘Performance’, starring Mick Jagger and co-directed by the godson of famous occultist Aleister Crowley. The Society of the Inner Light has their headquarters in Belsize Park, NW3, from where they run courses in the Western Esoteric Tradition or, alternatively, you could visit SW8, where the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain are based, to partake of their psychic art demonstrations or spiritual development workshops. Last, but certainly not least, St. George’s church in Bloomsbury, WC1A is listed as the most architecturally bizarre of six churches designed by the infamous 18th century occultist Nicholas Hawksmoor, a name I’m familiar with from the central role he plays in the ‘Zombie Apocalypse!’ series of novels, created by Stephen Jones, several volumes of which I’ve reviewed here.

The second item in the envelope is an A5 postcard listing ‘20 Magickal Tools For The Aspiring Occultist’. Written by Tree Carr, the list briefly describes a varied range of magical paraphernalia, from obvious items such as a cauldron, a pestle and mortar, or a wand, right through to things I’ve never heard of before. These include the Athame (a straight, dull blade used in modern witchcraft for ritual and symbolic purposes), the Besom (a ceremonial broom used to clear an area of unwanted energy) and Moon Water (water charged with lunar energies, for use in magical ceremonies, spells and potions).

If you have an interest in magic and the occult and live near London or are planning to visit the city any time soon, the map included in ‘Welcome To The Dark Side: Occult London’ will provide a fascinating adjunct to a more traditional guidebook, while the ‘Magickal Tools’ postcard will help you to understand what types of equipment you might want to obtain if you wished to progress from passive tourist of the occult to magickal practitioner.

The entire package has been beautifully designed and illustrated by Brian Rau. To my mind, this would make an ideal stocking filler for the would-be witch or wizard in your life.

Patrick Mahon

December 2019

(pub: Herb Lester Associates, map and card pack. Price: £12.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-999-34393-4)

check out website: www.herblester.com

Category: Books, Horror

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