The Hex Factory
Robert Taylor and I at Folkish Summer Hallowing 2012
The Following is an excerpt from the book, 9 Worlds of Hex Magic , 2013 by Hunter M. Yoder
A week or so after meeting again at Folkish Summer Hallowing sponsored by the Irminfolk in Milford Pa., I have the distinct pleasure of asking a good friend of mine, ROBERT TAYLOR, musician, poet, visual artist and magician a few questions that are fresh on my mind. Robert is also a founding father of ASATRU in North America. Robert fronts the neo-folk duo CHANGES. His cousin and long time collaborator NICHOLAS TESLUK plays 12-string guitar and makes up the other half of CHANGES.
1. Recently, Robert, you referred to my work in the following quote: "You've started the ball rolling in the creative, artistic, as well as esoteric factors of the Heathen way. No small contribution." The same can be said of your own work, of course, so can you speak on the creative and esoteric factors of the Heathen way and how they interact.
Your Hex art has, I believe, added a whole dimension enlarging upon the Germanic heathen tradition and culture. What makes it so applicable to the heathen way is that it is within the grasp of almost anyone with good motor reflexes, a ruler and compass, some thought as to composition and contents, and a surface upon which to apply it. I really enjoy watching all the folks at gatherings working on Hex pieces under your tutoring and guidance. It is really great that you so generously do that. The same can be said of Patricia Hall giving classes. That means the art form will take hold, and one day there will be many practitioners creating in that genre’. It already has begun to spread and constitute a school of art. It is an art and craft that can be done at the homestead of people with no great prior training in art. In this sense it may well equal Ukrainian egg painting, another folk art that is done by many people within that culture.
Traditional cultures like the one we are trying to build have a spiritual and religious hub to them. The spokes that extend from that hub are the expression of that spirituality in cultural terms such as art, music, architecture and just about everything within that culture. The Japanese culture contains a beautiful parallel between its spirituality (based upon Shinto and Zen informed by Tao). It matters not what the field is. If art, poetry, ethics, flower arrangement, rock gardens and even many utilitarian things all bespeak of the spiritual basis underlying them, it is near seamless in this sense. This is what we are aiming for with the Germanic heathen resurrection: nothing less than a full-bodied culture. So your introduction of Hex into it all is a boon to that very goal.
There are other worthy heathen artists to mention. Markus Wolff in his illustrations has captured something of the wild nature of heathenism with his drawings, paintings and sculptures. I had the pleasure of being a part of a heathen art exhibit at the Optical Eye in Portland some years back. All of those there were striving in their own manner to create within the context of heathenism. Michael Moynihan in particular used Hex as his basis and broke some of the rules as you have in introducing images not conversant to Hex in its
You have done so much to develop it and continue to do so both as an individual and through those who have picked up the spirit and practice of it from you. I am yet to try my hand at it. If I do, I would want to add something that has not been explored or done before. As an artist that is something I always try to add something new or advance it in some way or form. We shall see.
Another great thing about Hex is that it can translate well into other mediums: stained-glass, wood burning, jewelry, etched glass, leather tooling, tattoos and almost anything one applies design or art to. I particularly like your use of real wood for your signs. Better than masonite rounds or other manufactured mediums. I could also see Hex being invested in representational art as one of the elements: say a portrait in which it fills the background around the subject almost like an aura or nimbus. The applications probably are as infinite as the human imagination.
An interesting little book I came upon years ago is Projective Ornament by Claude Bragdon. It was first published in 1915 and subsequently re-published by Dover in 1992. What it deals with is a whole new aesthetic based upon projective geometry. It covers how magical squares can be used to create design motifs. Over the years I have returned to this book again and again for reference. I highly suggest the book to you or any other person doing Hex signs. It might open up whole new areas of possibilities.
Getting back to the alternate neo-Germanic heathen cultural idea, we have already established the neo-folk genre’ in music as well as black metal and industrial. That scene has grown and has spread our themes and messages far and wide. Art and music are just two things. There are still many gaps to fill in on the cultural level. Today next to everyone knows what runes and Thor’s hammers are. Twenty years ago, hardly anyone did. The internet is filled with heathen-related items today and continues to build momentum.
All of this is important in building this uberground, a culture above the consensus culture or pop culture. We have ballads and real music, they have extended commercial jingles; we have poetry, they have cliché-ridden advertising slogans; we have spirituality and soul; they have obsessive materialism and nihilism of the most abject kind. So for any artists that want to do something worthy and positive and truly creative we are where it is at today and for many tomorrows to come. This is the real avant garde, not the bogus one featured in the mainstream media as underground culture. Eventually all underground culture is absorbed by the pop culture – our culture will not be absorbed. It will be assailed, fought against and vilified by the system, because it really stands outside of their goals of multiculturalism and faceless homogeneity. But hey, isn’t that the way it always is with what is really art? Real art has always been in conflict with the status quo, and real artists always have been a part of that struggle to bring forth the new and vibrant. That’s one of the things that being an artist is all about. As an artist friend of mine, George Petros, said: “If your art isn’t a problem, there’s a problem with your art.”
Now to answer your question concerning my statement on how it would enlarge upon the esoteric elements within heathenism. I see the possibility of Hex being used in meditation practices in the same way that yantras are employed in the East. This would, of course, take some fine-tuning of motifs and symbolism. Your use of the spoked black sun is a step in that direction.
2. At FSH 2012, you were describing to me how art forms of a culture (Celtic/ Viking knotwork) start innovatively and reach a point where no innovation is possible unless the art form is "reseeded." Can you explain what you mean by that?
All art forms have an inherent life span to them. They begin with a dynamic and with vibrancy. In time, what was basic to the form becomes more and more detailed in a baroque manner where every space is cluttered up and filled to the detriment of the whole. Art in its final stage degenerates into detail and, in so doing, loses whatever it had of the dynamic in its simpler, earlier stages. Let me give you an example using Celtic art as my theme. In the beginning, Celtic art was the art of smiths and metal workers. Examples can be sited from the artifacts recovered from Hallstatt and La Tene periods art. It is very powerful in design. Most of it is based on the sprung line (a design you will find reccuring throughout Indo-European art). These simple forms are brought to a higher state of decoration and flair in such artifacts as the Battersea Shield which is a sort of high point of continental Celtic art and design. By the time we arrive in the Christian era, these same design devices are being employed by Christian scribes in works like the Book of Durrow and the Book of Kells. Examining these works leaves one quite in awe of the craftsmanship and minute detail effected without any sort of magnifying devices – just the hand and eye of the artist. Yet as daunting as these works are technically, there is little or nothing new or innovative, there is just an endless repetition of motifs filling every available space in the work. It is the point of exhaustion of the style. Then the art declines and dies.
So, almost a millennium later, artists are striving to work with these same techniques and forms, but all they are doing is repeating the past and doing little that would bring back its initial vibrancy. Much the same could be said of Norse art using the interlacing serpent. By the time the Stave Kirk doors appear, the art has become very convoluted in detail. This also occurred in Ireland where for a short period the style of what is termed Ring o Rik occurs. It was a melding of Norse and Celtic interlace and, once again, very baroque in its manner of filling in every void or space with more convolutions of patterns. The same could be applied to Hex in its general applications. It pretty much settled into a sort of proscribed set of symbols and little new is created. It becomes in time something for tourists to take home from their road trip to put on their wall or home. But, along comes Hunter Yoder and you re-seed the creativity factor and the art blossoms anew with all sorts of possibilities made possible by your initial breaking of the rules and innovations.. I can imagine how many traditional Hex painters looked askance at your efforts and would no doubt disapprove of what you were doing. What they do not understand is that you have given a new life to a largely dead art form (one that might not hang on for too much longer in its static state). I would suggest that one day you will be considered the man who rescued the art form from oblivion and went on to re-seed it with imagination and take it to a higher form.
3. We are practically on the eve of Stella Natura in California, which you have announced is to be your last concert as Changes in the United States. What lies ahead for you after this event and what do you hope to yet achieve?
My plan is to spend as much time on my writing, poetry and art work as I can find. There is much left that I would like to express in these mediums before my final curtain call. Here is where I truly become a man pitted against time in trying to do so. After Stella Natura we might do a concert here and there at the request of good friends for worthy events and gatherings. We do hope to do something like a farewell tour in Europe to wrap it up and say goodbye to the many friends we have made. No doubt we will continue to release recordings and hopefully continue to compose some new material in the studio. This year (2012) marks Changes thirteenth year of performing since we began performing again in the late nineties. All things in this world have their duration, musical groups included. It has been really great performing live these past years. We were able to take all those early formative years and struggles and somehow emerge into the spotlight for a brief duration in time and space.
At the recent Folkish Summer Hallowing, something occurred on stage. I don’t know if anyone else got the vibes from it. Nicholas later told me that while we were playing it took him back to our very early days of performance on stage. The fact was that I was feeling exactly what he described myself. It was a strange mixture of joy and sorrow in a sense. It tugged at my heart in a strange way and almost brought tears to my eyes. I thought we really did a good performance. Nicholas’ guitar just had a beautiful pure ring to it and I felt totally swept up in what we were doing. Add to all that we were playing for people that we really loved and respected. It was a great night and a great weekend not ever to be forgotten.
Robert Taylor giving a lecture on Adatru at Folkish Summer Hallowing 2012
4. Why is it important as a Germanic Heathen to embrace Asatru as a religion?
For a Germanic person, it is a way and spiritual path for coming home to who you really and essentially are as a human being. I doubt that any Germanic or Indo-European people would find the ways of our ancestors at odds with their own inner perceptions and feelings.
I recall once having met a young Scotsman on a train. We both had an enthusiasm for Tolkien and his Ring. We spent the entire trip from Edinburgh to Inverness discoursing on it. We made a pact that anything he wanted and was unable to get from America, like books, he could count on me to help find them and vice versa. This was in the late 70s before Amazon.com and internet. So we corresponded occasionally. He had many misconceptions about the USA. He somehow thought that there were weekend lynchings in the southern parts of the country and so forth. Obviously some Marxist professors had pumped him up with such illusions. At one point he wrote and asked me what America’s 4th of July meant to me. I detected something sardonic in his question and the way he put it. Nevertheless, I decided to give him a thoughtful reply. I began to think on it. My mind went back to the descendents of the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Frisians et al., as well as the Celtic elements in America’s fabric, and it was obvious to me that the form of government we had here was an outward expression of the inner feelings of these people which was codified into a Bill of Rights and Constitution and system of government. Most of all the Anglo-Saxons who played a large role in the founding of America had once been a people who lived in a sort of free-state system along the sea strand of what is today the Netherlands and Denmark. These areas are seasonally flooded with water for a good part of the year. This meant that commerce and communication were limited in these areas. Each household was led by an elder of the family or tribe. An Althing or Moot was held each year to exact recompense for breaking of oaths and justice administered for crimes committed against the folk. Outside of this yearly convergence, everyone was pretty much at liberty to pursue their own life, liberty, and happiness. Every man was armed and expected to survive by dint of his own means and wits. Once many of these folk had conquered and settled in Britain, they were surrounded by a hostile majority of the native Celtic people. So, for the sake of survival they needed to establish maximum leaders like kings and nobles and have a more efficient and structured system of government. Then William the Conqueror came and established the severe and oftentimes brutal Norman rule. The Normans were even a smaller minority of rulers than the Frisians. The Saxons had their resistance and revolts to the Norman rule, but it was not until their descendents reestablished their kind in North America that they were able to effect a revolt that succeeded. The outcome was the form of government they established. One which was not just words on paper but the codified feelings of the folk. No one realized all of this better than Thomas Jefferson who, as the founder of the University of Virginia, made it a part of the curriculum to study Anglo-Saxon. Jefferson felt that the very nature of the language itself was inductive to the concepts of liberty.
So this is what I mean about finding our true selves and knowing who we are as a people. All Indo-European people are liberty-loving at heart. Asatru and its beliefs are as much of an expression of who we are at our best, as in the same manner the American representational Republic and its laws and structures are in a political context to us. Unfortunately, much of what was intended by the founders has been modified beyond recognition in these days and times. I sent these ideas to the young Scotsman and never heard a word of reply. Somehow, Karl Marx got in the way.
The beginnings of Icelandic society were very much the same in spirit. Every man was armed, every man holding to the rules of the tribal laws, and it was pretty much a free state. That ended with the advent of Christianity, though. It seems like that has been the case over and again in history.
5. What period of 'Changes' was the most exciting or stands out in your mind in your lengthy creative life thus far (i.e., the Sixties)?
Overall, the sixties were a chaos of elements. These elements formed the strands of the fabric of the future for the remainder of the century and up to the present time: assassinations, urban riots, student revolts, the whole hippie era, a lingering no-win war in Vietnam, and technological triumphs like the lunar landings and so forth. It was an exciting time, to be sure, especially for myself (having played some part in its events). The massive spreading of LSD and other hallucinogens left an indelible mark on that decade.
I traveled a lot in that decade - much of it by way of hitchhiking around the country and beyond. I spent about a two-and-a-half-year period of virtually living under the sun and the stars - my bed, a sleeping bag; my home, a rucksack. I those days I saw a lot of the country and encountered thousands of others doing the same thing. Jack Kerouac really set something into motion.
I saw many of the black urban riots first-hand. I engaged in the political extremes of the times, loved a lot of women, had a lot of fights and dropped a lot of acid. I suppose I was one of the many problem children of Doctor Hoffman.
As for the forming of the band Changes, that began in the fall or winter of 1969. We wrote quite a few ballads that winter of ’69 – ’70. In 1970, we began to do our first performances before live audiences other than close friends or family.
It was during this period that I encountered the Process Church of the Final Judgment. I was attracted by the pretty little ladies with upper-class English accents who hawked their lavish publications on the downtown streets of Chicago. We ended up playing at their coffee house on a number of occasions. I liked their Apocalyptic rants and stylish costumes. They were, in a sense, the first Goths, at least fashion-wise, maybe in other ways as well. We hung out with them but never joined their group. I, like a lot of the burnt-out acid casualties, was feeling the morose atmosphere of the post-sixties. It was a pretty gloomy time as I recall. All of the day-glow had faded. I had come out of a decade of political activism in defeat and had separated from my first wife. Life had become totally bleak by this time for me. So with broken dreams it was sort of a dark night of the soul. Perhaps the Process with their doomsday theology reflected my own feelings about life and the world at large. Apocalyptic.
It seems that many of the so-called Apocalyptic songs we did reflected the mood of those days for me. Perhaps it comes through in the Fire of Life songs such as “Bleeding out Your Feelings,” “Sweet Eve,” “The Saddest Thing” and so forth. As I was sweeping out the cobwebs of my life with these lyrics, Nicholas was aptly adapting them to music. Many have told me that their favorite Changes CD is still Fire of Life. Perhaps what I have described here in some way explains its mystique for others. The songs were created out of the crucible of my angst at the time.
Following our Process performances, we auditioned at the Kingston Mines Company Store, a local coffee house and storefront theater on the North side of Chicago. We were booked for the weekend - three nights - and a strange and eventful three nights it was to be.
The first set we did, a group of Processians who were aware of the event came into the coffee house, sat ringside and actually recalled the names of songs which they requested. They were very supportive of us and showed real camaraderie. They also seemed to frighten a lot of the other patrons with their black uniforms and capes. I think we did three sets each night of about 45 minutes each.
Meanwhile, on that or the second night, there was a large crowd of theater-goers who would come into the café for coffee and refreshments between acts of the play going on next door in the theater. The play being performed for the first time was the musical Grease which would one day be made into a film. On the last night was a terrific thunder storm throughout our performance. A literal cloud burst as we sang “Thor’s great hammer, Giant fighting, strikes its mark, thunder, lightning, flaming red beard, fist of iron, battles rage the purple sky!”
6. What ethnic folkways were you exposed to growing up in Chicago? Did they affect you?
No, not really. The one I recall best was Dingus Day. It was a Polish folk custom, I believe in the spring, for the boys to take switches and chase the girls, beating them on the hind-side. If you caught them you got to kiss them. It was sort of an ancient mating game for the young. I always enjoyed that one. I was very fleet of foot and always got the lion’s share of the girls at that game.
7. You have worked professionally as a graphic artist and designer as well as producing fine art images and prints. What can you tell us about that body of work and are you still engaged in making images?
Yes, I never stop drawing and painting. This has gone on since I was in the early years of grammar school. I never thought much about it; it was just something I always have done.
When I was young, one of the great joys was to get a large cardboard box, cut doors and windows in it and then do crayon murals on all the walls. I can still lucidly remember the first things I painted in school with tempuras. One was of Norsemen standing at the prow of a dragon boat as it cut through cresting waves. Another was when we were supposed to paint a picture of what we wanted to be, and I did one of myself at an easel with a palate in hand, painting. I had on the traditional beret and even a beard in my projection. Like the old ballad sings, “Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you if you’re young at heart.”
Later in my later teens, I did a lot of drawings of women friends and really felt fully inspired rending the flesh and folds and curves. It was always something I could really get enthusiastic about doing, and I always did it with all my heart and soul and focus.
For a while in the early seventies, I fell into a job as a copywriter and art director for one of the largest and I believe oldest ad agencies in America - N.W Ayer and Son. That is where I really learned a lot about writing and art. I say fell into the job because that is what literally happened.
I was newly separated from my first wife and back living with my parents at their apartment on the northwest side of Chicago. In my depression and angst, I turned to writing and art work. I began writing for the first merging Libertarian publications: Western World Review, The Innovator and a few others, but writing was a bit difficult to do with my mother around. She had something to say at least every five minutes and would bounce back into the room and break my concentration (something very much needed in writing as anyone who has done any writing will know). So, in frustration I began instead to draw and to paint. There, no one could too greatly disturb me with interruptions. I would just go on with the largely empty-headed task of painting. Certainly, if you are edging colors or doing a detail, you need as much absolute focus as you can conjure, but for many tasks in a painting, it is more a visual/motor-reflex sort of thing where no great intellectual concentration is necessary. That year I think I did about 120 pieces of finished art. I built a hanging set of peg board panels that were hinged in the middle so it could be set up to display art on sidewalk exhibit, but which could be spread out flat and hung on entire walls in the entrance vestibule to the apartment. Using peg board hooks, I could rest paintings on it to dry while I went on to do other paintings. It was a constant matter of rotating the work I would do. If I had paint left from one picture that I felt I did not want to go any further on till parts dried, then I would see which ones necessitated that color in some part and use them in that manner with minimum wastage of paints. Oil paints are expensive, particularly those with metals in them: light cadmium and such. Earth tones are always less expensive because of the constituents being less valuable. So began my marathon painting spree. I was out of work and had no prospects at the time, so I was betting on making a few dollars from my paintings when I had enough of them to display. I worked 15 and 20 hours straight more or less everyday. To really achieve anything worthwhile, there is always the requirement that you work hard at it.
At some point, I was nearing a point of physical exhaustion coupled with depressing circumstances. If ever I was on the brink of suicide, that was it. I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself or anything like that. I wasn’t screaming for attention, either. My thoughts concerning that were entirely technical and cold in a rational sense. My only misgivings where with the thoughts of the horror that such an act might inflict on those closest to me.
During this period I would watch a television program every night. It was called Heart of the News, which was a play upon the large satin heart-shaped bed that a very pretty lady sat or laid on alternately in her negligee and read the news of the day. It was the last program before the station, the first UHF broadcasted station in Chicago would go off the air till the early morning when programming would be resumed. At some point the announcer began to add a poem to the end of her show (usually a love poem by Byron or Keats or Shelley or Shakespeare). One evening while I was listening, she proposed that if any of her listeners wrote poetry to send her some of it, and if she liked it, she would include it at the end of her broadcast.
I did write poetry at the time and had been doing so since I was about 16 years old. I procrastinated for about a week thinking I would be wasting my time to type it up and send it to her. There were no word processors and home computers at that time. I used a heavy Underwood manual typewriter which required a lot of force to move the keys.
I had purchased it for about $25 at an office supply and machine store, used, very used. My father had generously fronted me the money for it. It was a very heavy device. I still recall toting it home on a city bus and then walking three blocks with it. Within a month or so, I had repaid my father with proceeds from my first paid articles.
So after a brief period of reluctance to bother with the poems, one night I typed up about 20 or so poems, each on an individual sheet, and sent them off to the address given at the station. I figured I would never hear anything again about it. That day I was working on a painting of a nude figure. I worked till I finished it. It had taken about thirty-five straight hours of work to complete from drawing to finished painting. I was truly exhausted. It was about nine in the morning and I laid down to sleep...
Sometime in sleep, probably in a hypnogogic state, I had a vision of a goddess beautiful beyond description. She leaned over me, caressed my forehead and told me “Be true to thyself. Everything will be alright.” She was a beautiful blond lady with eyes as blue as the sky and completely surrounded in an aura of rainbow light. (Later in my reading, I came across descriptions that poets had written of a similar visage appearing in a vision or dream.)
Shortly after this vision/dream, I was awakened by the phone ringing. It was the lady from the Heart of the News program. She said she loved the poems I had sent and would be stretching them out across the month to give me maximum exposure. In addition, she said she knew a man who worked for a large advertising business who had read my poetry and really liked it and was wondering if I would be interested in a job at the agency. She gave me the number to call to contact him and in a day or so, I had been hired as a copywriter and art director. So everything was alright.
And so I continued on with my art. I did a lot of pointillism or stipple work. Nicholas and I also did a series of serigraphs. Other mediums I have worked in are wood cut, pyrotechnical art, murals, graphic art, geometric art and so forth. I have had a number of one-man shows and participated in many group shows over the years also.
I still do not think I have reached my goal of a signature style yet. That is something I hope to work on in the future.
8. Your experience living in Iceland was interesting and perhaps disappointing?
Actually my stay there was less than a month. It was in conjunction with my son, Thor, going there to assume a position with a genetic engineering firm. There were things that I did like about Iceland, but I was a bit dismayed to see that Hip-Hop seemed to be the culture of many of the young there. The Icelanders I did encounter were nice enough people, but they were very conservative Lutherans. I hesitate to say much more on the subject since they have seen some very hard times with the bankruptcy of the country and economic depression. I wouldn’t want to say something negative that would put off tourists and visitors from going there. I do wish them well and hope to see the country recover from its current plight.
9. You have an interest in Magic plants and Entheogens. What is your current perspective on the subject?
Yes, I have used various plant allies in my spiritual quest—both the psychedelic variety as well as poison path plants. Solenacious plants like Belladonna, Henbane, Datura, etc. can be very dangerous and I do not suggest anyone take that route at all. All that I experienced on such plants was dark and foreboding in their aspects. The same holds true for Fly Agaric.
I learned from the psychedelics much about the world around me as well as the world within me. These things call for some careful and sensible use, not to be used as a toy but as a medium for spiritual questing.
The most amazing plant for me was Salvia Divinorum, a plant in the sage family. Of all plants, this above all others seemed truly imbued with a spirit or deity. This again is not something meant for recreational use. One should be well prepared for it and have questions before seeking answers from it.
An interesting book I am reading today is Krishna in the Sky with Diamonds, the Bhagavad Gita as Psychedelic Guide by Scott Teitsworth. It is an in-depth analysis of book nine of that work and its interpretation within the context of the psychedelic experience. I am finding it immensely interesting. Many of the visions I have had on psychedelics have had a Hindu religious iconography to them. Perhaps such images are part and parcel the world over?
10. Any thoughts on using ‘sex magic’?
Sex is magic to begin with. Magick is a thing to be careful with. Sometimes you get what you seek and are sorry at the results that you have set in motion. Few humans are capable of anticipating the possible spin-off effects of tampering with destiny. But yes, I have engaged in such practices in the past. Then there are other forms of magick such as the kundalini experience. Much has been written on the subject, the majority of which obscures the experience and I often wonder if the authors have actually experienced it or have simply written from second-hand sources much like their own. Kundalini is brought about by mild hyperventilation, essentially. It was pretty awe-inspiring to experience it, but it also makes the normal sexual experience seem paltry by comparison for a long time afterwards. It is more like a psychedelic experience than a sexual experience, almost like observing fireworks, and the physical side is pure ecstasy. One of the effects that came out of the experiences I had with kundalini was that it opened my senses to things greatly. Made my basic senses became more acute than they had previously been.
11. International Neo-Germanic Tribalism: what is your view on this phenomena that you helped to spawn? How important is it to re-Indigenize those of European descent?
Very important. I feel it is the saving grace of our future as a people. It is the pathway back to who we truly are and have always been, even when we did not realize it. The Western world is in a state of a spiritual crisis and has been for over half a century or more. Heathenism is the answer to this problem, a problem that has created many sub-problems in our social, political and cultural realms.
12. Hearing you speak at FSH 2012, you relegated witchcraft to the Wiccans. Any thoughts on Hexerei, the Germanic form/forms of witchcraft? (I also will note that in my view you correctly defined witchcraft as not being a religion.)
No, I have no great insights in Hexerei. That would be more your field coming out of that subculture where it has been maintained for so long. As for the existence of witches, I think there have always been people dabbling in such areas (many who attend the local church on Sunday). Witches were solitary in nature. What arose in the sixties, primarily in England, was the fabrication of Gerald Gardner, a strange fellow in many ways. He was sort of a protégé and understudy to Aleister Crowley who is alleged to have authored his Book of Shadows. I believe Crowley was far more influential on our times than most people realize. Witchcraft was one of his by-products. He was certainly not an altogether admirable individual. He victimized many who came into his orbit of friends and associates. Conversely, he was a very talented writer of fiction, poetry and of course all of his occult works. He was a world-class mountain climber and a top-notch chess player among his other attributes. I have mixed feelings about him as a man.
13. You have a new book coming out. What can you tell us about it?
Its title is to be Pathway to the Gods. It is composed of my own articles and essays that have been written over several decades of time, as well as artwork that fits in with the general heathen subject matter: poems, recipes for mead and such. It is sort of a summing up of my writings in those areas of interest. Also, I hope to add new articles as well that I am currently working on.
I want to thank you, Hunter, for providing me with some intelligent questions in areas not often pursued. I have done approximately 150,000 words of interviews over the past several decades, and seldom am I ever asked about art and those things currently closest to me. More often than not, it has to do with social philosophy, political questions and so forth. In that sense, it has been a refreshing pleasure.
Speaking with Robert Blumetti at Folkish Summer Hallowing 2012