By Nigel Pennick
Arcana Europa, 180 + iv pages, clothbound with foil stamping and dustjacket, colored endsheets, sewn signatures. ISBN 978-0-9997245-3-8
"We shall follow the footsteps of Orpheus, Thomas the Rhymer, Tannhäuser, Flannery, MacCrimmon, and the Pied Piper of Hamelin. We shall visit the Weïrd Lady of the Woods, hide with King Charles in the Royal Oak, and frequent the forest crossroads under the raven wings of night on a mission with the Freischütz. Do you dare take the first step on a journey from which there can be no return?"
For most of us, life is a largely monotonous affair—an endless round of school, work, and social and family commitments, punctuated by idle chatter. But beyond this drab and uninspiring reality, there is another world altogether, a world where the contours are sharper and the colors are brighter. This is the domain described by mystics and Surrealists, esoteric poets and psychedelic voyagers. For Nigel Pennick, who has spent much of his life mapping out this hidden terrain, there is a name for it: the Eldritch World.
The way that we experience the eldritch is invariably tied to the circumstances of our birth, or to what philosophers might call our being-in-the-world. The eldritch has a history and its roots run deep in the land. In Nigel Pennick’s case, it manifests through the myths, folklore, and customs of his native Britain. A gentleman scholar in the Victorian style, Pennick has made a career out of documenting these fast-disappearing traditions and of working toward their revival. He is a mummer and a magician, a Pagan, and a practitioner of the traditional arts and crafts.
Yet unlike many of Pennick’s other writings, The Eldritch World is not about runes, or geomancy, or the ancient customs of pre-Christian Europe. The Eldritch World is a meditation on what these things mean and why Pennick has devoted his life to them. It is also a manifesto: against the soulless mediocrity of the modern world, and for a reinvigorated Spirit of Place.
Presented in a fine clothbound edition, The Eldritch World is beautifully set in seventeenth-century type and illustrated throughout with eerie archival images and photographs depicting various folk traditions and beliefs.
Nigel Pennick is the author of over fifty books, and his work has been translated into ten languages. He is an artist and a musician and is a member of the Traditional Music of Cambridgeshire Collective. His recent titles include: The Toadman (2012) and The Ideal Tower (2018), both published by the Society of Esoteric Endeavour; and Runic Lore & Legend: Wyrdstaves of Old Northumbria and Witchcraft & Secret Societies of Rural England: The Magic of Toadmen, Plough Witches, Mummers, and Bonesmen, both published Inner Traditions in 2019.