Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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'Forever West'

 Nigel Jackson Illustration | Occult art, Sacred art, Traditional witchcraft

A New Book by Nigel Jackson

(Well, Kind Of)


In the waning years of the “20th” century, Nigel Jackson's Call of the Horned Piper and Masks of Misrule: The Horned God & His Cult in Europe spearheaded an Old Craft Revival among many of us for whom an increasingly pastel Wicca had lost its incisive edge.

Jackson offered, instead, a vision of the Craft altogether darker and more dangerous, a Craft of blood and ecstasy. Even more compelling than his dreamy, over-adjectived prose were his illustrations: archaizing woodcuts redolent of wood-smoke and mystery. His later Witches' Tarot transformed the Tarot's (let's be frank here) thoroughly Christian imagery into a hedge-labyrinth of Old Craft mysticism instead.

Following a public break with Witchery (announced, oddly enough, in several rambling and—frankly—incoherent screeds published, of all places, on Amazon Reviews), Jackson now identifies as some sort of mystical Christian “Traditionalist” (in the politically-reactionary René Guénon sense) and esotericist-at-large in the “Western” tradition.

So imagine my surprise when I'd heard that he'd written (and, better yet, illustrated) a new book about the Craft.

Well, kind of heard.

 Nigel Jackson- masks of misrule. | Occult art, Mystical art, Occult

In the dream, I'm visiting the home of some Old Craft friends when I see Jackson's new witch-book on an end-table beside the couch.

Forever West is the title. Having heard of the book—this is dream-world, not real-world, hearing, mind you—but not yet seen it, I leaf through it eagerly. The book has the long-ways horizontal format of a children's book. It seems to be an extended parable of some sort.

Most notable are the illustrations, sandwiched between layers of text, which occur on virtually every page. All of them depict a girl taking a step on a city sidewalk. Behind her are the walls of brick buildings, and the mouth of an alley. The scene is entirely urban, with no sign of any other people or any green thing. At first sight identical, the illustrations actually depict, like the still frames of a film, the incremental movements of a single step.

In all, it seems a pretty profound departure from his previous work.

My friend K. is sitting on the couch next to the table on which the book rests.

Trying not to feel disappointed, I ask, a little dubiously, “So, what do you think of Forever West?”

Just as she begins to tell me, I wake up.




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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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