03-01-2008, 19:30 | Dominik T.
BLACK WIDOW Live DVD (1970) + Hexerei Buch
Zwei Wichtige Veröffentlichungen für alle, die sich für den "Occult Rock" der 60er/70er Jahre und allgemein Neuheidentum, Magick, Hexerei usw. interessieren:
1. BLACK WIDOW Live DVD via Mystic Records
2. Autobiographie von MAXINE SANDERS : Fire Child. The Life and Magic of Maxine Sanders "Witch Queen" via Mandrake
Auszug aus dem MANDRAKE-Newsletter:
Black Widow Live
Available from Mystic Records www.mysticrecords.co.uk (cat number 82356644792)
Here is the show that caused so much controversy in the 1960s press and with audiences, got this cult group banned by the BBC and from touring in the USA.
For many years now, the Album Sacrifice and especially the single 'Come to the Sabbath' has been the unofficial anthem of the pagan movement.
Almost forty years ago, I remember buying my first ever album (Black Sabbath/Paranoid) then being told by friends that what I really wanted to hear was Black Widow - far more edgy. Trouble was no one could get a copy, and everyone confused them with Black Sabbath - the rest is history for what is called the most unfortunate of bands.
The release of their well crafted album, whose underlying concept and accompanying stageshow benefited from the imput of the infamous Maxine and Alex Sanders (the whole story is told in Maxine's new autobiography Fire Child - ) . Trouble was it also coincided with the Sharon Tate/La Bianca murders. So all in all the album sunk without a trace and Black Widow eventually split.
But steadily over the years, their albums, especially Sacrifice, continued a twilight existence. But no one really knew what they were like live and what was that infamous stage show?
Clive Jones, the talented saxophonist and flutist remembered that one of their singles was filmed for the German equivalent of Top of the Pops. For many years he worked to track down the original producer, and was eventually promised a remastered copy of the film. When it eventually arrived, he was stunned to discover that the DVD included the entire stage show, which had been done as a warm up in the afternoon before the broadcast. Clive has had no memory of this, perhaps its another example of the old saying "if you can remember the 1960s, you weren't there".
This DVD and accompanying CD is a fine piece of Rock and indeed occult history. And what a wonderful undiscovered classic is on offer here. Filmed in black and white you get the full ritual opening, then the invocation of the Ashtoreth, whose look is clearly modelled on the original concept created by Maxine Sanders as documented in her autobiography. The story moves to the 'demoness' as she attempts to seduce and possess the magician, then the battle and final 'licence to depart'.
The Black Widow vocalist, musicians and dancer all look great. The whole performance is very dramatic, real and physical with the incense burning and the building of power tangible. Furthermore, it is a very aesthetically pleasing stage show.
It's a really great Rock film, it's a really great Pagan film, with the added bonus of live versions of all the tracks, all of which are longer and musically richer than the studio album.
Black Widow Live Stage Show DVD plus live bonus CD - circa 15.99 UK Pounds (12.99 if you order before end of January) - got to do it really. [Mogg]
Fire Child, The Life and Magic of Maxine Sanders ‘Witch Queen’
by Maxine Sanders
An appreciative tribute for the release of Fire Child by Mogg
‘Maxine just told me that she can no longer remember what is in her book; and when she looks at the extract from the opening chapter of her book we’ve put on the Amazon site, she says "God, did I write that?" "Yeah, you did!" I say to her, remembering that authors are often so close to their own work, they forget what's it like.
I first met Maxine some years ago at a Pagan Federation Conference in London through my wife who was a past member of the 'Temple of the Corn King'. Maxine was a bit of a legendary presence although not then part of my own particular magical journey. Even so I have a treasured copy of her earlier book Maxine the Witch Queen. I particularly like the 1970s cover which I showed as part of a lecture on occult publishing at that conference.
These days I'm happy to self-identify as a Pagan because I think it covers a multitude of sins. Interestingly Maxine says that she is a witch and not a Pagan. Of course the rumour mill has it that Maxine has returned to the Catholic church, for Catholic Church, read 'Liberal Catholic' - one of many organisation that benefited from Maxine's support all the way through the heady days of the 'Witch Queen' and 'Witch King'. All this is documented in this spiffing new biography.
I enjoyed Maxine's earlier "biography", despite it being not quite my style of magic. Before that I'd been more drawn if anything to the Alex Sanders side of the equation. There is/was a kind of orthodoxy amongst the Pagan world, that it was all Alex's show really. Maxine was not seen as important compared with the 'Svengali' Alex. But was she really just a pawn in his hands?
When I met Maxine, Alex was already dead. I knew that because I was offered some of his magical record to publish, nothing came of that apart from the odd death threat! So I definitely knew Alex was dead and I really didn't know what Maxine was doing.
Having read Maxine's earlier biography, I thought that her story could do with a new appraisal of her life and work. Occult books in the 1970s had to stick to certain conventions. There are things that they had to do which were important at the time. Thirty-five years or so later, things have moved on quite a bit and there is room for hindsight, re-appraisal, or for saying things that could not be said back then, and we all know what they are.
I don’t know how it came about but the task fell into my lap. It was a task I was very glad to take on. My vision was that, yes, the stuff that was in the earlier biographies was great, but it needed more. It needed the missing bits reinstated. It would all benefit from some hindsight, wisdom and context.
Maxine is definitely a bit of a dark horse. Kim and I travelled to her wonderful hideaway in deepest Snowdonia, one of my very favourite parts of Wales. The story of how she fetched up on the slopes of mount Snowdon, is told in great, often heartbreaking detail in Fire Child. Her home is an occultist's dream; a substantial stone cottage full of books, in a magical Welsh landscape. In every corner one glimpses a piece of furniture once used in the rituals. Maxine's beautiful whippet, Bilbo, guards some stunning regalia, magical swords, lots of fascinating things really.
At the top of the stairs sits a big chest full to the brim with photographs. I spent a whole very pleasurable afternoon going through every single one. Over a drink I asked how the new writing was going, "Have you actually written anything?"
Maxine replies with typical understatement "Oh well, I’ve written a little bit." When we got started, it all just flowed. Maxine turned out to be a natural writer. Maybe that was a potential she wasn’t aware of. If that's so then there's my role as publisher, which we might say is under the aegis of Hermes - the communicator. It’s magick too, setting people in motion. I acted as a sounding board, letting Maxine know how much I was enjoying what I read. That's the way I do it anyways - for me its all about whether I enjoy the story, if it moves me. If it does then I keep saying "I like that, tell me more".
There are lots of fantastic, wonderful episodes in this book Fire Child. There are also some real heartbreakers. Some things only briefly sketched in the earlier books are finally resolved. What first struck me was the personal cost back then somebody such as Maxine pays for revealing what they believe. She entered the world of magick in her teens, back then in the 1960s it was risky to stick your head over the parapet.
The earlier books spoke some about the way the police and media hounded Maxine in particular after that first schlock horror headline in a local rag. In the new book Fire Child you learn things that the publisher of the earlier editions would not have wanted the author to say. They were cut because they were just too painful, just too real. People were just beginning to realise that the police could be real pigs, but just how bad they could be will horrify some I'm sure. All the more extraordinary that someone can come through something like that as strong and as committed as Maxine undoubtedly was/is.
As a publisher I don't really believe in censorship, my instinct has always been to put more in, not cut. I want witchcraft warts and all.
Towards the end of Fire Child there is another very moving passage where Maxine talks about the bitter sweet legacy of her relationship with Alex. She speaks candidly of how the work continued, even though she went through some deep personal traumas, and descending into darkness and personal hell, which included heavy drinking.
And just when you think it cannot get any worse, then it gets worse. The things that land on Maxine's plate could really drag a lesser person down. But all the way is Maxine's wonderful voice, through the good times and the bad.
You'll read the book and you think "Wow! What an incredible journey!" And that journey isn’t over!
Even though this book is about Maxine, it is of course also about Alex, and he comes through BIG! You get the whole story about Alex, from the sublime ... to the ridiculous. For example the point at which Alex confesses to Maxine about his homosexuality, something that she probably long guessed. When 'Paul' left the coven to marry he also left a long standing and secret relationship with Alex.
As Nigel Bourne reminded us at the recent launch, Alex subsisted on a diet of chip butties. Alex was a typical northern bloke of the time, and it's this in my opinion, and not his suppressed homosexuality that explains his often overforgiveable lapses in care. For example he never even bothered to visit Maxine when she was hospitalised during Maya's birth, but yes he also took the opportunity for a non stop sex party! Before this we see Alex in turmoil, tears in his eyes, confessing to Maxine that his life is ruined and the final indignity "He’s even taken the chip pan with him!"
So we all have a lot of good jokes about Alex. Let’s not underestimated the power of humour and jokes. As Maxine tells you in Fire Child, Alex was a charlatan and a magus. In the old model, he was the Wise Man and the Fool. Both things really shine out from the book.
It is a real shame that Alex isn’t in the flesh to see this done. When you read Fire Child you see a different side to Alex, you really do. I think that if he had been alive, Alex would have been so very proud of the appearance of Fire Child. I had a few strange dreams about Alex while working on this book. So I suspect, wherever he is now he is going to be pretty happy about all this.
In Fire Child Maxine reveals some very painful truths. It is a controversial memoir; there is much here to provoke and make people talk. Maxine has squared the circle, coming through with a powerful sense of joy that Alex existed and that together they did the things that they did. So I am telling you, when you read this book, you are really going in for one hell of a trip.
*Fire Child : The life Magic of Maxine Sanders 'Witch Queen' * by Maxine Sanders * *Publication date: November 2007* *Format: Special Hardback Edition* *ISBN 978-1-869928-97-1* *Price: £19.99/US$40 * (Trade Paperback: 978-1-869928-780 £12.99)
*'This is one of the most important books ever published on modern paganism: a full and candid autobiography by one of its most influential, and charismatic figures.'
In this long awaited autobiography Maxine reflects on her life and magical experiences spanning Modern Witchcraft, Wicca, Paganism, Gods and Goddesses, Seasonal rituals, Sabbats, Ceremonial magic, Kabbalah and The Sacred Magic of the Angels. This is a unique, poignant and often humorous memoir of an extraordinary life, by a rare, courageous and inspiring woman.