The ‘Occultist Realism’ Theme

We never did ‘themes’ at Hand Job but then suddenly we just did one. Well… here’s how it came about.

i-crowley-almost-the-last-confession-of-the-beast-666I’d burnt myself out reading fiction for a while; buying books and never having the motivation to pick them up. So, I decided that I was going to go for something a bit different this time and for some reason a book title has always stuck in my head. ‘I, Crowley’ by Snoo Wilson, with a picture of the Beast donning a 666 on his forehead still reverberates in my head. However, this book, that wasn’t the one I would buy. I have read great reviews of it but it is a fictionalised account of Aleister Crowley, I wanted to know the real man. After a quick Wiki read, I wanted to know why he was seen as so wicked, how his so called ‘magick’ worked, about his mystical religion and his life. The occult has always enticed me and I’m not saying that Crowley was magic but there was something more to this man. He was open-minded aleister-crowleywhen it was frowned upon to be so, embracing eastern philosophies and mind-altering drugs, you can see why he was an influence for artists like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, even featuring as one of the faces on the Sargent Pepper’s album cover. He was with his flaws, but he is definitely not the worst person that I’ve ended up reading about.

The Crowley book then led me back into literature as Crowley also wrote novels and poetry. The poetry is not my bag if I’m honest but I have his novel ‘Moonchild’ ready to give a go. It was a coincidence how I came about this really.

devil rides outThe artist known as Sin Eater is one whose work is much admired by me and Sophie, therefore, I had been looking around and ended up buying her a print of his poster for the Hammer film, ‘The Devil Rides out’ along with the film which is based on a novel by Dennis Wheatley. Now I thought this film was excellent and I’d never heard of this Wheatley before and when I did my homework I found out why. Apparently he had been a best seller in his day but due to poor craftsmanship his novels had not stood the test of time, everywhere I read bad reviews. However, even though his stories weren’t deemed as classics it turns out that he was very well read on the occult and was a man who passionately delved into this area. This lead him to producing the collection from which I bought my Crowley book; ‘Dennis Wheatley’s Library of the Occult’. A comprehensive guide through classics of the genre (such as ‘Dracula’ and ‘Frankenstein’) alongside, what I am reliably informed, are little known classics that I am beginning to work my way through. It’s not just novels however, there are also 3 collections of short stories and numerous essays on different area, from Satanism to palm reading, the palm readingyouandyourhand book actually provided some of the artwork for our submissions poster. If you read closely on it you can see they are the hand of people with murderous or suicidal tendencies. There are 45 books in the collection and I know that Wheatley had plenty more lined up, but due to poor sales the publishers didn’t continue with the collection. If you are interested in this area of reading I would thoroughly recommend looking into these books.

So, with this in mind I came up with the theme. We have always been a lit mag with a more ‘realist’ slant so we didn’t want to lose this. We want the stories, as all of the greats of the ‘occult’ genre seem to be, steeped in the everyday, not some complete fantasy non-sense. At the end of the day, your stories aren’t real life, why not chuck in a little magic to throw the reader off every once in a while.

Final occultist realism poster

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Takes me back! I used to read Wheatley when I was younger. Even then I thought the man himself a prat. Looking for a bit of excitement that wasn’t run-o-the mill I guess.
    Crowley’s Moonchild too -nice twist at the end. Crowley could only have made that impact in that brief time period when the old world was cracking and creaking, and the newer bawling for its birth.
    A lot of it works like that: Crowley brought up in a strict Plymouth Brethern family – only a religion-based revolt could work for him.
    Without the straight the non-straight has no impact.

    Looking forward to it!

    Like

    1. handjobzine says:

      I’ll have to take your word on Wheatley as, as I said in the article, I haven’t actually read any of his work. However, I have found some right gems in the collection he put together, writing that I’m sure would have been lost to me if it wasn’t for this.

      With regards to Crowley, I think you’re right. Perfect timing. Any earlier and they would have done something about him, any later he would have looked a nob head! I still think that there’s some sort of mystical aura around him though, probably created by himself, but sometimes it’s nice to let a little bit of magick seem into your everyday, even if it means letting yourself be conned.

      Liked by 1 person

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