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Treadwell's will be moving in February 2011

Treadwell's opened in 2003, and over the years our lovely little venue has appeared in films, magazines, videos (think Mumford & Sons).  We've had many parties and countless happy events. And many hours providing a bookshop for you, our lovely customers and friends.

But we have grown, and now need a larger space, so we are going to be moving to a bigger shop with a larger event space too. It's close by in Bloomsbury: 33 Store Street, London Wc1E 7BS,  just north of the British Museum.

What's it like? It's also an old building, with a quirky interior, so don't worry - we are not going corporate! When's the move? last weekend in January / First weekend in February.  Our events and courses programme will be uninterrupted, so it will all be smooth and easy for you, if you are coming to events. 

We will keep sending updates as we go along - website, email and phone number will stay the same. And we will  be having an opening party in February - join the events mailing list if you'd like to receive an invitation.

Photos will be posted soon!
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Treadwell's Honour Roll 2009

Before plunging headlong into 2010, I would like to take a moment to look back at 2009. Treadwell’s was home to our lecture series, lots of courses, new tarot events – and provided a space for a number of groups, book launches and projects. Friends of the shop brought so much to its liveliness during the daytime hours, as well: generosity, cake, investment, labour, skills, goodwill -- and fantastic conversations and collaborations. Everyone's contribution has helped Treadwell's be, over the past year, a nexus for thoughtful, creative people sharing their expertise and insights with one another.

To this end... drum roll, maestro! I proudly present the 2009 Treadwell’s Honour Roll.

We appreciate those who have been generous with resources, investment, friendship and time. In North America, Doug T, Sarah Morgan, Lynn Moxham, Kate Moxham, Mary Field,  Whitman Field and Janet Spencer. Close to home, Clive Harper, Peter James, Marysia Kay, Andrew T, Ellie Hughes, Sara M & David B, Richard Ward, Robert Ansell, Diana Taylor, Suzanne Corbie, Ben D and Lily M, Dianne C, Zoe B, Gemma J.  We also must say thanks to Russell Granat and Juliet Morel, number crunchers extraordinaire. Our appreciation, importantly, too, to those of you who have asked to remain anonymous.

2009 Speakers in the Treadwell’s Lecture Series: Jenina Bas on Malay Folk Spirits, Paul Cowlan on Alchemy, Lindsay River on Lesbian Literature, Jenny Alexander on Edward Carpenter, S. Leigh on Golems and Abulafia, Patricia MacCormack on Occult cinema, Michael Staley on Kenneth Grant, Marysia Kay on Greek deities, Mike David with Celtic lore, Marsha Keith Schuchard on Mrs Blake, Edwin Pouncey and Sandy Robertson on r’occult n’ roll, Fleur Shearman on goddesses in art, Prudence Jones on the Triple Goddess, Payam Nabarz on Mithras, Stuart Inman on Surrealism and the occult, Earl Fontainelle on the Corpus Hermeticum, Dr Cyril Edwards (Oxford) on the Nibelungenlied, Dr Esther Saxey (Goldsmiths) on Radclyffe Hall’s spiritual life, Dan Harms on the Necronomicon, Dr Owen Davies (Hertfordshire) on Gimoires, Dr Mark Williams (Cambridge) on Druids in Ireland, David Beth on Fetich Sorcery, Elise Gray (Leicester) on Occultism in decadent literature, Mike David on Edgar Allen Poe, Lily Moss on Folk Magic, Freya Aswynn on her life, Meg Harper on the occult life of George Yeats,  Dr Daniel Schwemer (SOAS) on Pazuzu and Lilith, Robin Cousins on Edward Kelley.

2009 Book Launch Authors included: Sally Nicholls; the Liber Nigri Solis; Scarlet Imprint’s True Grimoire by Jake Stratton Kent, Fulgur’s Legion 49 by Barry Hale, Philip Carr-Gomm and Sir Richard Heygate’s Book of English Magic, Dedalus’ biography of Dennis Wheatley – The Devil is A Gentleman -- by Phil Baker,   Avalonia’s Odin’s Gateway by Katie Gerrard, Fulgur and Treadwell’s journal Abraxas, Accent Press’ Xcite Guide by Aishling Morgan. Small Presses have released publications that have enriched our bookshelves and the lives of our avid readers: Fulgur, Starfire, Three Hands, Xoanon, Waning Moon, Hellfire Club, Society of Esoteric Endeavour, Ouroboros, Scarlet Imprint, Hidden Publishing, Teitan, Ars Obscura, Moondust, Avalonia, Golden Hoard, Capall Bann, Immanion.


2009’s tutors, course leaders and consultants: Paul Wood on traditional incense, Marian Green on folk witchcraft, Sue Farebrother on Tarot, Caroline Wise on horned goddesses, Diana Taylor on tarot, Suzanne Corbie on tarot and goddesses, Orryelle Defenestrate Bascule on bodywork, Nathalie Beveridge on candle-making, Marcus Katz on thelema, Katie Gerrard on Runes, Thorn Coyle on transformation.  

Those who used our space regularly and bring wonderful vibes: Allison Brice of Aurora Reiki; The Furies; The Druids of the ADUB; Maiya and the gang from the Shakespeare Readers Society; Duncan, Peter and their Friday night gang; Steve Judd; Maria-Teresa & SOL; Claudette and Claudine, Peter Lloyd and Metageum; Elle of Tribe of Avalon, Oephebia, Vivianne and Chris Crowley and the Temple of Levanah.

Thank you all. Treadwell's salutes you.

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Treadwell's in the Snow

We are open today, it is gorgeous in Covent Garden. We have tea and hot drinks galore, and chocolate muffins to share with customers. Visit, come visit!. Tonight's talk on Remote Viewing and Magic is going ahead as normal. And also going ahead is Delianne's walk through Witchy Westminster at 7pm. Both great events, and we will have a grand time.
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Treadwell's Hugs you...

Happy Yule" 
We are picking emails too, answering phone messages, and well, drinking spice tea and serving chocolates to customers. You know, it's a lovely. And it's everyone who makes it possible. In the spirit of Tiny Tim, God bless us all, everyone.Thank you for your support, to all our wonderful customers and friends.
Christina and all at Treadwell's

           ------ HOLIDAY HOURS ---------
25-27 Dec Closed
Mon, 28 Dec  12-7pm
Tue, 29 Dec  12-7pm
Wed, 29 Dec 12-7pm
Thu, 30 Dec 12-7 pm
Fri, 31 Dec  12-5 pm
Jan 1-3 Closed
Jan 4 12-7 PM
Back to normal

Tarot Reading is available on our open days in this period. Appointments not always necessary. Just ring or email. 

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Getting ready for 2010

Dear Friends, we have several tarot workshops coming up in the new year from one off day workshops for all to longer courses for intermediate, advanced and beginners. Ring or email Treaddies to sign up or ask more questions.
  • Sat 9th Jan - Revolutions, Reckonings and Resolutions: A Tarot Workshop for the New Year with Diana Taylor. view
  • Sat 6th Feb - Tarot Workshop Series: Reversed and Upright Cards in Readings with Suzanne Corbie. view
  • 10th February onwards (8 Wednesdays) - Tarot Intermediate Course with Sue Merlyn Farebrother. view
  • Sun 11th Apr - Tarot Workshop Series : The Court Cards with Suzanne Corbie. view
  • 12th Apr onwards (8 Mondays) - Learning the Tarot: Foundation Course for Beginners with Diana Taylor. view
And, terribly importantly, HAPPY YULE! Christina and all at Treadwell's
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Learning the Tarot at Treadwell's
Foundation Level - Eight-week Classes
£140 for the eight-week class (deposit £70)
Learn how to read and work with the tarot card tradition with gifted, experienced teachers. Treadwell's now offers a course which starts from the basics and progresses actively in a lively class. Diana Taylor and Sue Merlyn will teach the four elemental suits, the court cards, 22 major arcana, the different layers and level of symbolism, and the character archetypes.In the second half of the course you will be start doing practice readings in class, applying your knowledge in a practical way. This classes are is grounded in the classic tarot tradition, whose long lineage of symbolism and interpretation is known best through the Rider-Waite and Thoth tarot decks. Register for either the Monday class or the Wednesday class, via Treadwell's on 0207 240 8906. Places limited.

-- Monday Night Class Diana Taylor. 5th October and following seven Mondays
Diana Taylor has been reading tarot for 14 years flollowing her training under a Western ceremonial tradition, and has continued her studies with teachers such a Rachel Pollack. She is committed to helping others find their true ill, and recommends the tarot to gain understanding of life's dynamics. He aims to bring out the 'practical mystic,' and combines study of myth and history with the act of
-- Wednesday Night Class with Sue Merlyn Farebrother.  14th October and following seven Wednesdays
Sue Merlyn Farebrother  has been studying and reading tarot for over 25 years, and has taught tarot for over a decade. and is also a practising professional astrologer. She grounds her teachingin the historical magical Western tradition of the tarot, essential for really getting inside the meaning of the cards. She trained as a psychotherapist with the Psychosynthesis and Education Trust, and gained an M.A. in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology at Bath Spa University in 2007. She is bright, organised, focussed -- and has delightfully dry sense of humour. 

Treadwell's is 0207 240 8906,, and our shop is 34 Tavistock Street, London WC2E
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Cinema of the Occult - Four Evening Series

Hi guys, registration's open for this now. If you are keen to attend please book early.
Whew! Christina

Cinema of the Occult - Four Evening Series

Professor Patricia MacCormack (Anglia Ruskin)
£32 for the series. Each night £10 individually
Series Dates: 3 Sept, 17 Sept, 1 Oct, 15 Oct.
7.15 for 7.30 start

Occultism has a key relationship with film: was part of the inception of cinema: spectators, with their dreams and fantasies, entered into Faustian pacts with the enigmatic plane of the screen and its magickal intensities. Its spell continues to this day, with the screen continuing to open up for us other worlds and planes of intensity.

This series of four fortnightly evenings will cover a range of themes in occult and cinema, in a way that we hope will entertain, challenge -- and make you consider the world of the visible/invisible in new ways. Professor MacCormack's film lectures earlier this year were fantastically popular, and she returns at the request of many of those who attended. She will bring some rarer examples along with fresh considerations of some of the classics. Above all, she will be bringing theoretical and philosophical critiques, and will be inviting the audience to challenge themselves, each other and the ideas she brings to the table. Each session concludes with a wine party.

Patricia MacCormack is Professor in Communication and Film at Anglia Ruskin University; she works and has published extensively in Continental philosophy, cinesexuality, post-human ethics, chaos magic, sexuality and occult culture.

Reserve your place via Treadwell's by email (, or by phone, 020 7240 8906. Payment confirms booking. Treadwell's hosts courses and workshops taught by most experienced and gifted practitioners we know -- tutors who are not only advanced in their subjects but are also able to consider their practices thoughtfully and critically. Our aim is to make the study of esoteric disciplines available to thinking, well-read enquirers. You can also get events updates via an RSS Feed ( We have an archive of past courses (, and you can also subscribe to our mailing list (
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Witchraft on Radio Four

'Beyond Belief' programme, today (Monday) at 4.30 pm. This show is about witchcraft. I know little about it, in spite of having been interviewed for it. Listen if you dare. The Treadwell's gang is not optimistic, but, well, we can but hope.

The interviewer really specilises in trying to shock the interviewee a bit, which tends not to bring out the best in one. Alas.
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Review of Owen Davies, Grimoires

A  month ago Treadwell's was the venue for Oxford's launch party of Owen Davies seminal study, Grimoires. It is making a gradual but significant impact -- the press has not all rushed out to get excited about it, but people in the know are indeed taking notice.

One is Mark Williams of Peterhouse, and his review is below. You can read it at the original site of Salt Publishing, Horizon, but take the liberty of reprinting it here along with the link. The observant will notice that Treadwell's gets a mention.

Best to everyone, and hope this inspires you to read the book, which really I do think is one of the most important books on magic of our generation, in any country.

Review of Owen Davies, Grimoires: A History of Magic Books

Grimoires: A History of Magic Books

In his fascinating and frustrating fantasy novel Little, Big (much praised by Harold Bloom), John Crowley gives us an inventor who creates the ‘Patent Cosmo-Opticon, or Theatrum Mundi’, a complex, room-sized mechanical model of the pre-Copernican solar-system and zodiac, perfectly in sync with the motions of the macrocosm. The ‘female mage’ Ariel Hawkquill is able to sit contentedly in her green leather armchair at the centre of the Cosmo-Opticon’s interlocking gyres, enjoying this exact miniature of the occultist’s universe at the present moment: ‘Blue Venus trine with blood-orange Jupiter, each blown-glass figured sphere borne between the tropics on its own band; the mirror-surfaced moon just declining below the horizon, Saturn, milky-grey, just rising.’ Hawksquill uses the Cosmo-Opticon as a abstract tool for magic-as-mental journeying; but another, more pragmatic, spirit in the story finds that if the device is kept perfectly aligned, exactly in tune with outer reality, then macrocosm will duly align with microcosm and the Theatrum Mundi will begin to revolve of its own accord, generating rather than using up power. Thus it has the satisfying side-effect of allowing you to run the household electric off the universe, instead of having to feed the meter with small change. Magic is all about power: specifically, about making the latent machinery of creation, natural and divine, work to one’s own advantage.

By virtue of her femaleness, Crowley’s mage is unusual in her fondness for such lofty, cosmological abstractions. The history of the grimoire — ‘books of conjurations and charms, providing instructions on how to make magical objects’, amongst other things — is very largely a male history. The grimoire reflects a stereotypically masculine love for order and systematisation: like the instruction manual for a new piece of electronic gadgetry, or a piece of Windows software documentation, the grimoire of the imagination promises power but is always most obscure when clarity is most needed, and is just as liable to be linguistically baffling, whether the language of the original document is Korean or purports to be the angelic tongue Enochian.

In his excellent, stylishly-executed Grimoires: A History of Magic Books, Davies is concerned however to dispel some of the misconceptions about the exclusivity of such arcana. In particular, he demonstrates the immense democratisation of occult knowledge brought by printing, and shows that the manual of hermetic lore in fact flourished during the Enlightenment, at precisely the point when Magic, to recall Sir Keith Thomas, was supposed well and truly to have Declined.

Davies begins with a brisk, well-referenced jaunt through the ancient and medieval history of the hermetic text, and we are introduced to the double Jewish/Egyptian origin — or supposed origin — of much of the western occult tradition, presided over by the trio of Moses, Solomon and the legendary sage Hermes Trismegistus, Hermes ‘Thrice-Greatest’.  Magic in antiquity has been something of a scholarly growth area in recent years, and this complex scholarly terrain is negotiated by Davies with relaxed assurance. (Christina Oakley Harrington of Treadwells Bookshop in Covent Garden — itself a treasure house of modern-day grimoires -  has remarked acutely that these days ‘Magic’ is the hot topic academic researchers tend to arrive at once studies of ‘Gender’ and ‘The Body’, etc., have grown stale.) With the coming of Christianity, magic endured a early medieval decline into the doldrums, one of several in its history, and both that dwindling and the immense, sudden impetus given to its study by the 11th century recovery of Greek and Arabic learning is well-handled. Familiarity with the learning of antiquity transmitted via Muslim Spain could and did bestow a reputation for sorcery in the Middle Ages: Gerbert of Aurillac (later Pope Silvester II from 999-1003) was so learned in Arabic astrology that he became regarded after his death as a kind of medieval proto-Faust, his reputation permanently tainted with a faint whiff of sulphur.

Davies’ second chapter, ‘War against Magic’, traces the development and dissemination of the magical book during the early modern period, explaining cogently how natural magicians of stature — Agrippa, Trithemius, Paracelsus — could emerge and write when much of Europe was on the verge of being convulsed by the Witch-Craze. Again, Davies’s handling is fluent and convincing, showing how the grimoire made it into the age of print with the publication of Agrippa’s Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy in Marburg in 1559.

Strong though these chapters are, it is the remaining four sections of the book, dealing broadly with the fate of the magical book in the US and in the modern age, which are most original, and very rich they are. In particular, the attention Davies devotes to African-American and Hispanic experiences of magical texts is likely to be new to most readers. The American magical book began as a WASP phenomenon; Davies  examines the flow of almanacs and magical pamphlets into the New World, pointing out that the grimoire has always flourished where religious and political power is for whatever reason most thinly-spread, and that ‘magic was a central aspect of most people’s conception of Christianity in colonial America.’

There are a number of clever set-pieces: in one section, he mischievously traces the efforts of Mormon historians — I must admit that in my ignorance I hadn’t realised there were such things as Mormon historians — to trace Joseph Smith’s knowledge of printed occult texts and their effect on Book of Mormon and the genesis of the religion associated therewith. The former, with its quasi-Gnostic pseudo-histories, oddly-named angels, appearing-disappearing gold tablets and so on, has much in common with certain types of popular magical texts, especially in that its integrity is licensed by appeal to a charismatic male figure, albeit in this case a prophet rather than a magician. (Though there is some documentary evidence that Smith and his immediate family had a reputation for occult experience, in particular for the use of ‘peep-stones’, talismans and magic circles.) Davies does not make these parallels explicit, preferring, wisely, to let such pleasing ironies emerge from the texture of his swiftly-moving narrative.

Davies is particularly good, in fact, on the historical surprises engendered by the flow and counterflow of texts. Having once had a fascinating and rather alarming reading with an African-American priest of Santería, one of several blends of west African and Catholic beliefs widespread in the US and the Caribbean, I was aware that Yoruba and Fon magical traditions had crossed the Atlantic and flourish to this day in many American cities. But I was surprised to read that the flow has also occurred in the other direction, and that western occult literature and charms have been common in Nigeria from the 1920s. Particular reverence is apparently paid to the tatty texts of an Ohio crossing-sweeper, conman and opportunistic occult plagiarist, William Delaurence (b. 1868), who appears to have been the 19th century equivalent of the Merlins and Morganas who hawk their readings and infallible love-charms in the back of Prediction magazine. Delaurence has also come, bizarrely, to be regarded as a fearsome mythical spirit in some Caribbean communities, ‘being associated with the supernatural figure of a diabolic white-suited man on a white horse that betokened death.’ Still more oddly, as Davies tells us, in Grenada ‘one man, evidently conflating Delaurence with Father Christmas, described him as a magician ‘in Chicago near the North pole [who] lives with a number of pigmy servants.’ Such are the surprising results of cross-cultural esoteric encounters.

A particularly telling juxtaposition in Davies’ narrative occurs in his chapter on 20th century grimoires, ‘Lovecraft, Satan, and Shadows’. He tells us of a 1936 short story, ‘The Grimoire’, by the self-styled ‘Reverend’ Montague Summers (1880-1946), setting it side-by-side with the Wiccan ‘Book of Shadows’. Summers was a strange, over-the-top figure who posed as a Catholic priest, and who was, it seems, quite convinced of the literal truth of the most absurd excesses of medieval and early-modern demonology — amongst other even less healthy obsessions. In Summers’ ‘The Grimoire’, a ‘mysterious book of the witches’ comes to light which brings about a terrifying demonic manifestation; and by some twenty years after the writing of the story, a retired civil servant named Gerald Gardner had, it seems, created a neo-pagan witch-cult in the New Forest, the rites of which were written down in a bricolage of Aleister Crowley and outright invention which purported to be just such a ‘mysterious book’. Gardner termed this text the ‘Book of Shadows’, or, more grandly and with cod-archaic spelling, ‘Ye Bok of ye Art Magical’. Gardner was not, in all likelihood, copying Summers; Gardner’s rather Edwardian, nature-worshipping witch-cult bears no resemblance to Summers’ lurid fantasies of diabolism. Both however were drawing on ideas that were current at the time, in particular the theories of the Egyptologist Margaret Murray (1863-1963), who thought that the ‘witches’ executed in early modern Europe had been practitioners of a surviving pre-Christian fertility religion. Nevertheless, one is grateful that Summers did not live to see the foundation of modern Pagan Witchcraft, which would probably have finished the old boy off.

Other instances occur of life imitating art in the history of the magical text. Perhaps the most famous grimoire of all is fictional: H. P. Lovecraft’s creation, the Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, bound in human skin and so unspeakably evil that even to open it is to risk madness and perdition. Lovecraft cunningly wove real people and history into the backstory of his invented grimoire, and, of course, the inevitable has duly come to pass. As Davies writes:

Over the decades several authors have claimed to have discovered manuscript versions, and in the 1980s one magician even claimed to have in his possession a 4,000-year-old grimoire from which the Necronomicon derived. People now practise ‘Lovecraftian’ magic. The most successful of the print editions was the Simon Necronomicon, a ninth-century Greek text discovered by monks and brought to America in the 1970s by an Eastern Orthodox bishop called Simon. The first ‘translated’ edition appeared in a limited leather-bound edition of 666 copies. Subsequent hardback and paperback reprints went on to sell in their many thousands.

Though the Simon Necronomicon is ‘a well-constructed hoax’, ‘like other grimoires … it is their falsity that makes them genuine.’ This, I think, is a key insight: grimoires may not allow one to call demons into outward manifestation — but they can certainly cause other magical books to come into existence. The magical book emerges from Davies’ learned study as intrinsically a composite, palimpsestic and paradoxical genre, simultaneously appealing to and obscuring the tradition which brought it forth.

Davies’ style throughout is clear and readable without scrimping on subtlety, and in all, Grimoires is a fine study which will be found useful by scholars of magical history, European occultism and religious studies, as well as being of interest to the general reader.

O. Davies, Grimoires: A History of Magic Books (Oxford University Press, 2009).

The Reviewer: Mark Williams

Mark Williams is a Research Fellow in Celtic Studies at Peterhouse, Cambridge. He studied Welsh and Irish as a graduate student at Oxford, with a doctorate on astrology and celestial portents in medieval Celtic literature. Before that he studied Classics and English. He is currently working on a cultural history of the gods of Irish mythology, and lectures at Cambridge on Irish and Welsh literature.