Oct 20, 2021
Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve: the wall between the earth and the Otherworld opens. Samhain: the Witches’ New Year, the first of the greater sabbats of Wicca. Día de Muertos: Mexico’s colourful celebration of the cycle of life and death. The hinge night approaches, a magical in-between place where time changes meaning, and past, present and future are one.
Give generously to yourself and loved ones this season with our Halloween Sale, offering 30% off the Ignota's back list of books and totes.
30% Off Books and Totes
by Hildegard of Bingen and Huw Lemmey
A mutant fiction of speculative mysticism. In this story of survival and miracles, young Hildegard of Bingen encounters love, both queer and divine, and great peril. As the visionary healer travels through the unfamiliar landscape following a great cataclysm, she discovers the mythic quantum energy of viriditas in the natural world around her. Her journey becomes one of return, to the sacred truth of her own being. With an introductory story by Bhanu Kapil and an afterword by Alice Spawls.
by K Allado-McDowell
The first book to be co-created with the emergent AI, Pharmako-AI is a hallucinatory journey into selfhood, ecology and intelligence via cyberpunk, ancestry and biosemiotics. Through a writing process akin to musical improvisation, Allado-McDowell and GPT-3 together offer a fractal poetics of AI and a glimpse into the future of literature.
Quoting the perennially relevant psychonaut Terence McKenna, this 250gsm cotton canvas is a bag for life with a 10cm bottom gusset.
A modern mystical journey through love – a many-headed snake twisting through devotion, sacrifice and the dream of returning home. Nisha Ramayya’s visionary debut weaves essays, poetry and images together to offer fierce meditations on diasporic identity, language and resistance.
The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction
by Ursula K Le Guin
“A leaf a gourd a shell a net a bag a sling a sack a bottle a pot a box a container. A holder. A recipient.” With an introduction by Donna Haraway and illustrations by Lee Bul, visionary author Ursula K. Le Guin tells the story of human origin by redefining technology as a cultural carrier bag rather than a weapon of domination.
The White Paper
by Satoshi Nakamoto
A revolutionary white paper by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, describing a simple peer-to-peer electronic cash system that would later become Bitcoin. In the decade since, the nascent blockchain technology behind Bitcoin has been heralded as having the same radical potential as the printing press or the Internet.
This polyphonic anthology explores the territory where justice, selfhood and the imagination meet the transformative power of the occult. Bringing together thirty-six contemporary voices including Kaveh Akbar, CAConrad, Dorothea Lasky and Ariana Reines, these poems unmake the world around them so that it might be remade anew.
Recontextualising Pat Robertson’s infamous critique of the ‘feminist agenda’ as a rallying cry for the same cause, this robust and substantial thick cotton canvas tote is a bag for life.
On the Ignota Blog:
Halloween Gift Guide: Ignota’s picks for samhain gifting, from 2020.
The Falling Leaf: Autumn Tarot Spread by adrienne maree brown: A tarot spread for autumn.
In the Legendary Force: A (Soma)tic Poetry Ritual by CAConrad: A ritual for the depths of winter by CAConrad from the Ignota Diary.
Daily Practice Guide: The establishment of daily practice, a devotional rhythm in life through ritual and routine, is the bedrock of a magical practice. Dedicating yourself to such a practice can benefit your consciousness, health and general well-being.
Soji: A Meditation on Zen Cleaning: “In Japan, cleaning is called ‘Soji’ and valued as a way to cultivate our minds. In fact, Soji is beyond mere cleaning. Buddhist monks in a monastery put more time into practicing Soji than into practicing Zen meditation.”
Magical Plants for Healing, Balance and Immunity: As well as seeding and nurturing plants, now is an important time to enhance your self-care for the days and weeks ahead through ritual, intention-setting and clearing your energy.
Hildegard’s Healing Recipes: “Your food shall be your remedy.” Hildegard's medieval recipes for inspiration for your own healing practices.
The Lake Before the Sun Was Born
Oct 19, 2021
The Lake Before the Sun Was Born
2-4 November 2021
Programmed by Ignota Books and Auto Italia in cooperation with NTS Radio
The Lake Before the Sun Was Born is a series of conversations on the occasion of Chuquimamani-Condori (Elysia Crampton Chuquimia) and Joshua Chuquimia Crampton's exhibition Amaru's Tongue: Daughter, currently on display at Auto Italia in London. Engaging with themes emerging from Amaru's Tongue: Daughter and its broader context, artists, curators, scholars, archivists, and herbalists will explore land ties, herbalism, Indigenous spacetime, oral history and the archive, abolition and activism.
Speakers will include: Rasheeqa Ahmad, David Aruquipa Pérez, Edna Bonhomme, Grace Dillon, Sonia M. Garcia, Mujeres Creando, Onyeka Igwe, Thiago De Paula Souza, Tabita Rezaire.
Full programme and booking to be announced soon.
All conversations will take place at 7pm UTC / 3pm BOT / 12pm PDT via Zoom.
The Falling Leaf: Autumn Tarot Spread by adrienne maree brown
Oct 05, 2021
This spread is designed to help you intentionally harness the releasing energy of autumn. As nature goes through the glorious, outstanding work of transformation, there is a flaring up of colour amongst most leaves, a flaring up of life and beauty, and then a letting go, falling down, changing, becoming earth again.
Use this spread to notice what in you is both bright with readiness to change, and too heavy for you to hold another season. Some people think of autumn as a time of death, but I think of it as releasing what has become heavy, full, too much. This spread is designed to help you identify what feels too heavy to carry, and walks you through the process of intentional release.
adrienne maree brown is author of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds; Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good; We Will Not Cancel Us: And Other Dreams of Transformative Justice; co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements; cohost of the podcasts How to Survive the End of the World and Octavia’s Parables; and founder of the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute.
This tarot spread was originally published in the Ignota Diary 2020. The Ignota Diary 2022 is now shipping.
The Seed of Transformation — Unknown Language
Sep 17, 2021
Excerpted from Unknown Language by Hildegard of Bingen and Huw Lemmey, with Bhanu Kapil and Alice Spawls — 30% off on the occasion of the Feast Day of St Hildegard until Sunday 19 September, 11.59pm BST. ORDER HERE.
I grew up not far from the city walls, but legally speaking, outside them. The culture was markedly different there. We lived in a collection of houses spread across the bottom of a valley, along an ancient road that had run deep into the soil over its centuries of existence. From the road, tracks led up onto the mountainside to small enclaves of farms. We would walk up to visit my mother’s friends and their families in these high farmhouses of a few buildings set around a yard. When the light failed me, these forms I saw and these impressions I felt: The late summer’s final fruits in a mess of thorny bushes. Her hands stained pink and purple from their juices, holding mine as we walked the last few kilometres up the stony tracks. The smell of the pines we stopped under, while she dropped to her knees to pull a splinter from my thumb. And the heat, the heat. I was in the valley with my mother; the sun and sweat of my memories were just as real as the damp and mildew of the tent.
My mother made cheese. That is important, you will remember. She wasn’t just a cheesemaker. She was someone who could transform all the harvests of our dry valley into richness, like most of the men and women who scratched a living from that silty soil. Magicians of everyday life. I didn’t only meet my mother, and taste her fresh cheese again in my prison. I was also taken back to the morning I first saw the Devil.
The Devil finds you alone. I could sense his presence as I walked through the hollow in the shade of the stone bridge. He thrives where there is no light, this wild adversary, who is not sulphurous as much as a rising damp, a black mould that grows within. I felt disturbed, seized by an almost violent urge, which froze me in place. The water beside me slowed, until it too stood still. First clockwise and then anti-clockwise, the water twisted and stirred up the muddy riverbed until it became a stew of molasses, growing blacker and blacker until it was void of all light. The branches of the trees contorted in the wind, old boughs releasing great groans. A painful sensation ascended from my gut, making me feel like I would vomit from my depths. I was stirred into a wildness. If I had had an iron bar I would have smashed everything in my reach. I was panicked, but at the same time, a physical joy buoyed me. From the spitting water he rose, the White Terror, splashing the bridge’s side, evil on high. I saw his face and I was made in his image, and the power and fury that had drawn him from the darkness smelled good to me. I broke free of my torpor, and began to run from the dark knowing it would be useless. He had caught my scent and was on my heels, and from that young morn I would spend my life trying to evade him.
It was months before I told my mother. When she asked why I didn’t tell her before, I replied, ‘I thought you’d think I was lying.’ She kissed me on the forehead. ‘Of course not. I knew he would find you soon enough. I just hoped we’d have a few more years.’ Her eyes were damp, but she didn’t seem sad. ‘Don’t worry,’ she said, holding me tight. ‘Keep faith in light and he won’t catch up with you.’
Many years later, even after she sent me away, creating a wound, a distance, between us, I still returned to those words. ‘Keep faith in light,’ I would tell myself each morning when I woke from another night troubled by my lungs and my worries. Some days the Devil crept into the dark corners of my apartment. Some days I could feel him, shadowing me, and his presence was comforting in its familiarity.
In my cold days of imprisonment, as the dampness turned to an ever-icier chill, he appeared more often, and at times I would have let him in. I was certainly tempted: by the promise of restoration to my life in the city, in my office; to my authority and the sense of order and satisfaction I got from my work. I was tempted to abandon my reason, which had guided me thus far. When I held back, I felt the deceiver shooting sharp pains at my liver.
The Devil had in his service my captors. The Tafurs. I heard them talking outside the tent, and recognised them before seeing them, by their words and deeds. They came to me to hang me from iron bars, shouting: ‘Where is your kingdom now?’ They tried to break my will with deprivation and torture — to smash my sanity so I would become one of those possessed by him. But I would not succumb and they punished me for it with countless more days of abyssal solitude, until the next time. Alone again, I would focus on my fingertips, running them across the damp canvas walls and my open scars. My fingers were my connection to the senses and so to my life, destitute as it was. I knew where I was and who I was. There was no one these Tafurs hated more, rude cannibals, than symbols of the old order like me. But what was there left to extract from me?
The state of abjection contains within it the seed of transformation. My new soul would emerge and the Devil hated me for the brilliance of my rebirth. In the darkness, I had my vision.
I woke from fitful sleep, and went to touch my face, to trace its contours. At the front of my head was a throbbing pain, and I pushed the balls of my thumbs into my eyes, pulling down to stretch my lower eyelids and hold them open to the night. A small dot appeared before me: like a firecracker, it spat and sizzled insistently, and exploded into a larger ball of white hot magnesium, a nebula in microcosm, which consumed the darkness and cast my likeness in black on the wall of the tent. From this round galaxy burst forth another flame, which filled the room with a warmth like that of a set of candles offered in tribute at a church. Within this second flame was a third, ever-brighter light. It was the light of dawn, a lost and perfect dawn I remembered from my family’s farmstead, breaking over the far hill one spring morning when I had risen early as a young girl, sleepily drawing back the barn doors to feed our hens. Inside the cell, a burning flame; inside that flame, a brighter flame; and inside that, a veritable dawn, which reflected off the tent floor, which was now bejewelled with topaz.
I pinned my back to the wall, raising my right arm to shield my face from the radiance. I could see my skeleton through my skin, but as I put my arm down I found I could look directly at the centre of the light without burning my eyes. Inside the dawn was a womb, and inside the womb was a person. The person was me: fully formed yet miniature, turning as the sphere contracted and dilated. Vibrations filled the tent, warming me as they travelled along my spine. Finally, the edges of the burning ball touched the sides of the womb and the whole of the fiery light poured itself into the tiny me, through the little skeleton, along the millions of nerves, illuminating the lymphatic system. The flesh appeared tender and supple, fat like the underarms. As it was animated by the energy that filled it, I knew that I would be made strong in its goodness. My nervous system filled with a sensation novel to me; I felt outside of my self — a feeling not unlike how I had felt as a child beneath the bridge as the Devil revealed himself to me. The roaring wind that accompanied his presence whipped around the space, but I did not waver; I stood on the spot in silence, watching myself in the womb. I knew that this time he could haunt me no longer.
But what did it benefit the Devil to be opposed to me? The Devil wished to be very bright and to be elevated above all things. The other proud spirits agreed with the Devil. My divine power with the strength of righteousness cast them out all together.
To know that I was loved and was worthy of love. This did not make the pain much easier to bear, in fact, it made it harder, this final absence, when the only person I had to face in my cell was myself. But the light had provided enough strength to rebuild my soul. For years I carried the regret of the sorrow I must have caused for my mother. Her organ’s appearance revived me like a hot brandy poured into the mouth of a dying soul. It was a strong and honeyed reminder of life, which I had almost lost touch with. My mother’s words, to keep faith in light, tasted as sweet to me as that burnished gold on my lips. With this, I was released from the prison of my own making, which had kept so much pain, so much grief, in my knotted stomach. It was not the cuts and burns to my flesh that dressed my body, but the words of my mother that released from me enough tears to wash my wounds. Then, the light sucked itself back, exiting the tiny body, the sphere, the room, the wind receding with it.
In the remaining time in that cell I realised that my identity was only as strong as those who understood it. Without identity, I had only the light, which sometimes receded to the faintest glimmer. I relearned my relationship to the world through the touch of my fingertips on the damp cage and through the bursts of brightness between the synapses of my brain, and there I found truth. To live is to see afresh, to die is to be held down at the stake of the past.
They would then put down the oldness of ignorance and take up the newness of life.
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