… a thought making crooked all that is straight.

Ludlow Esoteric Conference & Occult Book Fair

This post relates to the Ludlow Esoteric Conference & Occult Book Fair which is now in its fifth year.

Since some of my fellow attendees are pushed for time, I thought I would put together a few notes for us on the subjects that will be covered by the speakers, merely as a “heads-up” for what we can expect.

Hope it’s useful 🙂


Tracy Thursfield – Eliphas Levi & The French Occult Revival
Robin Cousins – The Travels of John Dee (Illustrated talk)
Julia Phillips – Madeline Montalban
Ken Rees – The Regency
Alan Richardson – W.G.Gray



Eliphas Lévi was born Alphonse Louis Constant in France, 1810 – 1875.

Lévi studied at a Catholic seminary where a lesson on animal magnetism and the devil, positing that the vital energy of the body is controlled by the devil, sparked his interest in things occult. He became a deacon in 1835, but not a priest, and was later excommunicated for his left-wing political views.

“Magus Eliphas Lévi” became his pen name and is a translation of his own name into Hebrew. He made a comfortable living from writing and giving occult lessons. His most popular work is entitled Transcendental Magic, originally translated by Arthur Edward Waite of the Golden Dawn.

Lévi believed there was a universal secret doctrine of magic spanning all parts of the world, traceable back through history.

To some he is best known for his work on the alleged deity of the Knights Templar, the Baphomet, the image of which usualy fronts Transcendental Magic. Lévi‘s Baphomet (a goat-headed man/woman) was a symbol for him of the absolute, an expression of dualistic nature in the combination of both male and female qualities.

His writings had a big impact on Arthur Edward Waite, S.L. MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley (who claimed to be the reincarnation of Lévi and gave a nod to Baphomet with his moniker The Beast).

Interestingly, he was apparently the first to incorporate the goat-headed face of Baphomet into the inverted pentagram, attributing evil to this “new” symbol, and separating the pentagram’s meaning into upright as good, and inverted as evil.


You can download free books by Eliphas Lévi at:

Occult Underground



Templar History

Contravorscial [sic]



John Dee 1527 – 1608

English mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, advisor to Queen Elizabeth I and suspected government spy with the code name “007” (later assumed by Ian Fleming for his character James Bond).

The latter part of his life he devoted almost exclusively to magic, alchemy and Hermetic philosophy. Specifically he sought contact with angels through a scryer (as he himself found contacting spirits too tiring). His greatest success was through Edward Kelley whose prolific angelic contacts dictacted several books including that of the Enochian or angelic language.

The relationship between Dee and Kelley broke up not long after Kelley’s pronouncement that Uriel had ordered him and Dee to share their wives! Dee orginally obeyed this command as coming from God but eventually the strain of the situation took its toll.

Dee was a Christian, preluding the angelic communications with much praying and fasting. He believed that numbers were the key to knowledge and that creation is an act of numbering; consequently his kabbalistic angel magic and practical mathematical work were one and the same for him and posed no opposition to each other.

His popular work The Monas Heiroglyphica was a discourse on a symbol created by Dee believed to be the ultimate symbol of occult knowledge.

Dee was accused of being a wizard in 1604 and sought protection under King James I. This suspicion was long harboured as shown by the attack on his home by a mob in 1583. The mob destroyed an extensive library and occult instruments.

He died in poverty aged 81.


You can download free books by John Dee at:

Occult Underground



Mysterious Britain

Wikipedia – John Dee


I haven’t been able to find much information on Madeline Montalban, inspite of her apparent importance.

Also known as Dolores North, she was one of the 20th century’s most significant female magicians.

She knew Aleister Crowley and mixed with other occultists of the 1930s but formed her own path of magic. She founded the Order of the Morning Star around 1945. To this day it still offers correspondance courses; a large part of the curriculum focuses on angelic magic. In her teachings, she emphasized that magic is a practical tool, and that results would follow in the wake of applying her methods.

She wrote monthly articles on Tarot (her speciality) in a publication called Prediction.

She died in 1982.



Sheridan Douglas

The Regency was a magical group working in the 1960s and ’70s in which Ken Rees, the speaker, was involved.

Robert Cochrane was a practising witch apparently initiated into an entirely different hereditary lineage to Gerald Gardner. He formed his own coven called the “Clan of Tubal Cain”. Also known as the Royal Windor Cuveen, it was this group that disbanded after Cochrane’s apparent ritual suicide at Samhain in 1966 and reformed under the leadership of Ronald White as The Regency. The group also included Doreen Valiente. The group’s rituals were often more dramatically pagan than formalistically high ritual magic. They operated for over twelve years and disbanded finally in 1978. This secretive group was important to the development of Wicca, although unheard of by most.



History of Wicca by Julia Phillips


William G. Gray (1913 – 1992) was a British occultist and founder of the magical order of the Sangreal Sodality, a magical association, founded on the Western Mystery Tradition. Their rituals appear very Christianocentric. Quoting Witchvox:

“There is one noteworthy distinction between the type of sacrifice offered by members of the Sangreal Sodality in their Mass and the sacrifice offered by conventional Christian services. In Christian practice, bread and wine are either regarded as being transubstantiated into the actual body and blood of a Redeemer Figure or they are used to memorialize symbolically the last meal shared by that Redeemer and his personal disciples. Within the Sangreal Sacrament these elements signify the body and blood of every person sharing the sacrament either directly or in spirit alone. The life forces of Sangreal Sodality Initiates are offered up to the Divine Entity they invoke and invite among them during their Rite of Light.”


Gray placed high value on the use of magic for personal development. He viewed contact with higher beings as a way to pursue good and avoid evil in the world.

For more information on the Sangreal Sodality:

Sangreal Sodality

31 responses

  1. starofseshat

    Sorry for the slightly odd formating. Very definitely a spook in the machine today!

    June 10, 2008 at 5:05 pm

  2. The Green Witch

    Wonderful information, extremely enlightening. I’m so grateful that you have been able to find the time to organise this resource for us!!! I shall go through it in detail at leisure… you’re great 🙂

    June 11, 2008 at 10:56 am

  3. starofseshat

    Aw shucks! You’re welcome.

    June 11, 2008 at 11:44 am

  4. Arnametia

    Thank you so much for putting this together for us Hon – really, really looking forward to meeting up with you!

    June 24, 2008 at 12:30 pm

  5. starofseshat

    You are very welcome. Can’t wait to see you. It’s going to be a great day with us all together finally – and my last splurge on book-buying too before the budgeting season starts 😎

    June 24, 2008 at 12:54 pm

  6. Thank you, that was really interesting. Sadly, the RSS feed isn’t working and I only found this post because of the comments feed, so there really is a gremlin at work today. Still, I’m really glad I found it – thank you for taking the time and effort to pull all this information together.

    June 24, 2008 at 4:50 pm

  7. starofseshat

    You’re welcome, Mereth. Looking forward to meeting you finally. 🙂

    June 24, 2008 at 5:46 pm

  8. Pingback: Ludlow Esoteric Fair 2008 « The Green Witch

  9. Magister Sampson

    It appears that not for the first time, Gary, has again, opened his mouth, released confidential information, and put his foot back into it.
    Perhaps the time has come, for the clown to put both feet back upon the ground, and let them remain there, before he falls over, flat on his face.
    My understanding of “Tacere”, within the teacjhings of the Craft, is just that, no more, no less-“Tacere”, if you have knowledge that is given confidentially, then again, this becomes a part of “Tacere”- for the good of all, and not the gains of the few.

    July 4, 2008 at 7:04 pm

  10. starofseshat

    Greetings Magister Sampson,
    Thanks for popping by and for your comment. Who is Gary? The person that TGW and I referred to as the disruptive element at the Ludlow Fair (if that is who you mean) was called John …
    However, the subject of confidentiality and the “secrets of the Craft” is an interesting one. Firstly, I refer you to the second quote on my quotes page. Sometimes people are just too precious about their occult/hidden information, which makes me think they know very little and are trying to defend themselves against too many questions, which would reveal them for the frauds that they are. On the other hand, there is most definitely information that someone outside the Craft or a beginner just wouldn’t be able to comprehend without a certain amount of practice and experience behind them. But I view this along the lines of, a technical engineer talking in detail about a texturizing machine to a toddler. The toddler may only hear, “insert here” and understand none of the additional information; consequently they insert their finger and it’s chopped off! So a certain amount of secrecy really is for the good of all, at least until you have done the groundwork and are ready to understand. In this sense, it is part of our moral duty and respect for others not to be too loose with our tongues. On the other hand, you have those who treat the “secret knowledge” as if it makes them superior to others; the knowledge becomes a key to a boys club and clique of the narrowest confines, and I cannot imagine much spiritual progress from such an introverted and insular attitude – although spiritual progress may not actually be the aim of these groups, so I shouldn’t really judge them by my own standards.
    These are just blatherings in general on the topic of secrecy (possible something I shall pick up on in a separate post) because as I said, who’s Gary? 😉

    July 5, 2008 at 8:06 am

  11. Pingback: My secret’s bigger than your secret! « Seshat’s Voice

  12. The Green Witch

    I hope that Magister Sampson can come back and give us a clear review of what he means by his post – I profess myself confused!

    Who is Gary?

    I do agree with Seshat – information should be shared, within reason, with those who are interested and motivated enough to seek it out. A public lecture is unlikely to be a venue where earthshattering confidentialities are revealed.

    I think this also comes back to an uneasy debate over ownership of information. The fight at Ludlow, at least from ‘John’s’ side, was brought because his book appeared to have been pre-empted by Ken’s lecture.
    As far as I’m aware, this is the world of academic publication.

    July 7, 2008 at 10:15 am

  13. starofseshat

    Yup, but also the fact that the “John” had told the organiser information in confidence, and that the organiser had been unaware of the confidentiality of this information and had passed the information onto Ken who naturally used it in his lecture. Then Ken was unfairly blasted for revealing the location of the gravestones … as “John” feared gravediggers (!) … and lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my! 😉

    July 7, 2008 at 10:22 am

  14. The Green Witch

    Ownership. One might almost ask, if John was so sensitive about the use of the information, why he shared it in the first place, and with no caveats on its use.

    July 7, 2008 at 10:30 am

  15. starofseshat

    Maybe he did and the organiser didn’t realise it. We can’t second-guess what went on, but it’s another warning against the awful Chinese Whispers that go on in any community. Either way, “John” had an agenda, and it wasn’t an appropriate place to air it.

    July 7, 2008 at 10:35 am

  16. cartazdon

    I note your interest in the Regency. Some of us who knew Ronald ‘Chalky’ White well are creating a website to celebrate his life and work at this url:


    We shall be publishing a lot of his writings, in particular his New Pagans’ Handbook, which is based closely on the rituals developed by the Regency under his leadership.

    The Regency was never a secretive group; in fact, in its time, it was amazingly open and public. In recent years, it is true, it has been largely forgotten. But now it is ‘coming out’ into the public view once more.

    Warm wishes to you.

    October 1, 2008 at 9:12 pm

  17. starofseshat

    Thank you very much for your comment cartazdon.
    My interest in the Regency was based purely on the fact that it was a lecture subject at this year’s Ludlow Conference. Subsequently I have had some communication with Ken Rees, though not on the topic of the Regency.
    My meagre summary was gleaned from information on the web, which was paultry to say the least.
    I am very pleased to add and advertise another source of information, for which I thank you.
    I will be posting a main piece drawing attention to your site. I hope that’s okay.

    October 2, 2008 at 7:28 am

  18. Pingback: Information source on the Regency « Seshat’s Voice

  19. Cymraes

    Interesting comments about this years conference indeed.

    “Gary” is none other than the organiser Gary Nottingham. It would seem Magister Sampson does not like him at all for some reason!

    I read with interest “John’s” reply to Ken Rees’s talk, in the current issue of the Cauldron. You might have done so too.

    Interesting that the conference has spawned a renewed interest in the Regency. I’ll take a look at the website soon.

    You might be interested to know next years conference has been announced and takes place on 30th May 2009, at the Assembly Rooms in Ludlow,11am-6pm

    Speakers are:~

    Nigel Pennick-Runes & Magick

    Sorita D’Este-Gerald Gardner & the Book of Shadows

    David Rankine-Demonology & the Grimiore Tradition

    Geraldine Beskin-Progradier & the Beast

    Philip Heselton… Gerald Gardner’s Priestesses

    Tickets £15 each (cheques payable to Verdelet)
    PO Box 82,
    Craven Arms,
    SY7 8WG

    FFI & enquiries: keltsrus@hotmail.com

    Hope to see you there?


    November 6, 2008 at 6:07 pm

  20. starofseshat

    You bet! Wouldn’t miss it for anything.
    Thanks very much for posting up the info. for next year’s conference. I will make a separate post for that so people actually see it.

    November 6, 2008 at 6:11 pm

  21. Pingback: Ludlow Esoteric Conference 2009 « Seshat’s Voice

  22. The Green Witch

    Excellent – fancy a mosey across, Seshat, my love?

    November 7, 2008 at 8:52 am

  23. starofseshat

    I would dream of going without you 🙂

    November 7, 2008 at 9:40 am

  24. Gary Nottingham the Clown

    Don’t know who Sampson is but being the biblical strongman I’d remind him that in Shropshire they say ‘Strong in the arm, thick in the head’ Perhaps that applies? Originally owing to my own research into the Regency who incidently do not seem to be as interesting to folks as they seem to think that they are? I was pointed in the direction of an old member whose confidentiallity I have kept and haven’t banded their name around. The individual in question did confirm my conclusions as to the activities of this grouping on the welsh border and the burial place of two of its members. This I was told was not for public consumption fair enough. One could ask why was I told if this was supposed to be top secret.

    However when my path crossed Ken Rees who I understand had been a member of this group and as I understand a drinking buddy some times, I felt that I was being too precious if I didn’t say anything to him. After all he knew them I didn’t. However I did say that I was told that it was not for public consumption. That Ken felt that it was fair game for commentary at a pubic talk is out of my control, as I’m not his keeper. I would point out that at the time I was writing for the Verdelet magazine if I had wanted to I could have easily of ‘spilt the beans.’ After all it would be something of a coup for the magazine. That I chose not to I think shows that I honoured the agreement.

    As Sampson refers to two events that I have put my foot in perhaps they would care to elaborate or not as the case may be.

    Gary Nottingham

    January 8, 2009 at 9:25 pm

  25. Thank you for setting the record straight. After the 2008 conference there were a couple of stirrers that circulated WordPress, I believe ole Delilah … sorry … Sampson was one. Another decided to take a pop at me and a couple of my witchy friends on another person’s blog because of something that someone else said (Chinese whispers in extremis) – because we happened to have attended to conference with the person who made the comment (even though we didn’t necessarily agree with her) we were lampooned as lipstick witches and ugly cinderella sisters. Sometimes people just want to pick a fight. I have better things to do with my time 🙂
    Thank you again and I hope (but I doubt) that Magister Sampson will reply.

    p.s. I think the most interesting thing about the Regency is the secrecy they like to expound. Everybody wants to know secrets. My experience with occult secrets so far is that the foreplay is much more enjoyable than the final act of knowing the secret. Generally the ‘truth’ is often rather sad and deflated … but that may just reflect on the person showing their little chipolata of truth 🙂

    January 9, 2009 at 7:46 am

  26. The Green Witch

    ‘…little chipolata of truth’, oh!! You had me giggling with that one – how true your words!! 🙂

    It’s good to hear Gary’s side of the story – and I agree with Seshat that secrecy, in and of itself, is quite often a sign in occult circles of mouth and not trousers.

    January 9, 2009 at 11:32 am

  27. The point being that if you are talking about knowing something secret you are just attempting to ‘big up’ your chipolata. Those with worthwhile secrets just keep their mouths shut, or no?

    Personally, I know no secrets. I know nothing, nada and so feel free to go around with or without trousers… mouth is non-detachable.

    January 9, 2009 at 11:39 am

  28. cartazdon

    @starofseshat, January 9, 2009: I think the most interesting thing about the Regency is the secrecy they like to expound.

    I am not sure where this idea comes from, but it is based on a misunderstanding. One of the interesting things about the Regency was precisely its rejection of secrecy.

    The Regency was an open group which welcomed all comers to its rituals. It had no initiations, no oaths of secrecy, no esoteric teachings, no hierarchy, and no fixed membership. (There has been vague talk about an ‘inner circle’, but this is simply a label that has recently been applied to the small group of people who were most committed to the Regency’s ideals and practice.)

    In the sixties and seventies, this was all very unusual.

    Last summer, it is true, there was an argument over a breach of confidence, but what was at issue was the location of Ron White and George Winter’s graves. It was a question of privacy and trust, and had nothing to do with any ‘occult secrets’. Anyone hoping for such secrets will not find them in the history and teachings of the Regency.

    I have no idea who ‘Magister Sampson’ is, or what he is complaining about. I do not think he has any connection with the Regency. He certainly does not speak for the family and friends of Ronald White.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:45 pm

  29. 🙂 I’m surprised that this thread is still raising any interest.

    I just report what I hear and what I hear is a lot of squabbling with everyone claiming to know what the ‘truth’ is – such arguments imply secrecy since if the facts were open and free for all to access, then surely such disputes would not arise, as people could draw on the facts to uphold their side of the argument … from an outsider perspective (and someone ignorant of the movement beyond one talk last year), it seems to me as if anyone who participated has a different take on things (different people describing different parts of the elephant). The argument last year was not just on the location of the graves as the audience member also accused Ken Rees of making money off his brief involvement and that he didn’t know what he was talking about (he undertook a very public character assassination of Mr Rees – one that was entirely inappropriate to the setting, and one that Mr Rees did not rise to, which was very much to his credit), i.e. the audience member, ‘John’, acted as if HE knew the truth and Ken didn’t. Who knows, and frankly (a year later) I wonder who cares except those who were/are/like to think they are associated with it. I have little time for squabbling, but am happy when someone, such as yourself, comes on to comment and set the record straight, as did Gary Nottingham himself.

    I believe Magister Sampson was a sh*t-stirrer … or perhaps, he too would like to come on again and set the record straight 😉

    Thank you, again, Cartazdon for your input – always welcome!

    February 14, 2009 at 6:07 pm

  30. cartazdon

    Thank you for your welcome, starofseshat.

    Your assessment of ‘Magister Sampson’ sounds about right to me. I am not surprised that his cryptic accusations got under Gary’s skin, but like you I am sorry to see this old row apparently coming back to life.

    I wasn’t present at Ludlow, and my personal concern in this matter is for the reputations of people who are dead and cannot speak for themselves, and in particular the memory of Ronald White, an honourable and thoughtful man who was my friend for many years.

    The ‘secrets’ of the Regency are an effect of time: it is more than thirty years since the group was publicly active in London. Ron has been dead for ten years, George for longer. Those people who wish to judge for themselves what the Regency was all about will learn most from Ron’s own writings, in particular his New Pagans’ Handbook, now being published in instalments on the website set up in his memory by his friends.

    February 14, 2009 at 8:46 pm

  31. And thanks for the reminder about the New Pagan Handbook – I got all excited about it when you posted last year on the blog about it, and then I promptly forgot as I got distracted by other concerns at the time. I shall hop on and have a look today. Thanks.

    February 15, 2009 at 9:21 am