Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Kenneth Grant (23 May 1924 - 15 January 2011)

The death of Kenneth Grant has been announced. Grant died on 15th January after a long illness but in keeping with the privacy that characterised his life the announcement has only just been made.
I first became aware of Grant and his work 20 years ago, when as a young man I made that leap into the abyss that marks the beginning of ones magickal development. At that time I was a regular visitor to the Golden Dawn, a small occult bookshop in the old Corn Exchange in Manchester city centre. The Golden Dawn was an Aladdins Cave of books, prints, journals and pamphlets where I used to browse for an age before deciding to part with my money. One of the first books I bought was “The Magicians Dictionary”, by American linguist and occultist EE Rehmus. Rehmus was himself an original and creative thinker but it was his exploration of the Typhonian Tradition, which Grant had done so much to illuminate and expound, that really thrilled me. I then set out on a lengthy (and costly) campaign of acquiring as many of Kenneth Grant’s books as I could. In those pre-internet days that meant placing orders with booksellers and waiting many weeks for the title to arrive. Throughout those early years of the 1990s I devoured each title as it was re-issued by Skoob, branching out to the Starfire journal to fill in the gaps then avidly collecting Grant’s titles published by Fulgur Press, including several signed deluxe editions.
Those who have heard the albums Endvra released during this period will have no difficulty divining Grant’s influence on my thinking. Whilst I was interested in traditional Crowleyan Thelema I was captivated by the Typhonian Tradition. Grant’s ideas resonated in perfect harmony with my own and as I used his work to develop my internal folklore and ritual landscapes the themes he explored, especially in “The Nightside Of Eden” and “Hecate’s Fountain” exerted a deep and profound influence that lasts to this day.
I am not a disciple, nor a member of any order. I do not view Grants work either through rose tinted spectacles or through the antagonistic prism of inter-group jealousy. I came to Kenneth Grant with an open mind and an open heart and I found revelations that have unlocked doors that lead both inwards and outwards. I am saddened by the news of his death.


Anonymous said...

very sad to hear of kenneth grant passing
away. i too was embroiled in his books over
the years. he was adept at linking a myriad
of traditions..tantra,voodoo,western path,
bon pa, cult of the black snake,spare,
quabalah,cult of ku,egyptian magic ,cthulu,
etc..and showing you what they all had in
also sad to see the old corn exchange go as
it had a really good atmosphere..spacious
with lots of interesting stores/units..
golden dawn books was a treasure trove of
occult by barry bender who i heard
today suffered brain damage from falling
masonry when the corn exchange took a
hit from the ira bombing.
the corn exchange had units selling myriad
bric a brak,old photos,records,all sorts...
bit like afflex..all affordable and down to
earth and imaginatively interesting in a
lovely setting. now it is full of designer up
market shops that bore me shitless.
all the old shop owners shunted out..
all turns to shit
picadilly gardens now with its soviet style
concrete wall with the lush trees and
flower beds in the late 60's..check the's tragic. the ' peace gardens'
near the main library just had all the
trees ripped out...area is empty and
barren ...just about to start doing the
same to alexander park...
i always wondered how the mcr council
got away with the arndale.. until I
realized nobody gets consulted...gets a
say... cos nobody in their right mind
would agree to the changes!!
can the world be as sad as it seems.

Anonymous said...

I am Gareth (barrys son) I sometimes use to help him in the shop on a saturday when I was at University.

In effect my father was left very shaken up by the bomb, but his passing was due to complications of his diabetes not as a direct result of the bomb per se. I know that the shop and all his customers were his passion and it really was with great sadness that he had to close the shop due to his failing health. The one thing that I will say is that he was very upset by the likes of Mike L and and some of the others at New Aeon books who took advantage of his kindess and good nature by trying to buy his business for peanuts when he lacked mental capacity and bad mouthed him to suppliers when he was in hospital and not able to respond. My dad was cremated at southern cemetary and had his ashes spread at southport beach.

Paul Pearson said...

Hi Gareth (Barry Bender's son)
So sorry to hear of Barry's passing - late, but I didn't realise until reading your letter today.
I knew of his shop in the Corn Exchange, but knew him long before that when he used to supply my old High, Priestess Barbara Brandolani, and have fond memories of his visits, and one time in particular when he joined us for a breakfast TV report when Barbara was contemplating buying a church.
Barbera herself died a few short weeks ago.

Paul Pearson
(Editor: Greenmantle and scribe and archivist of the Hermetic Order of the Silver Blade)

Phil Lewis said...

So sorry to hear Barry passed away. I spent a good amount of time (and money!) in Golden Dawn Books, building myself a good collection of Crowleyana over the course of a few years.
I got to know Barry a little over that time.
After the bomb, I never saw him again, as I had no idea if he had relocated, and means to track him down.
I'll always remember him with fondness.

Steve Jones said...

I have ben trying for a while to find out what happened to Barry and am sad to belatedly find he passed.I not only used his shop a lot when living in Bolton and then here in Wakefield,but appeared with him in an episode of Granadas attempt to copy The Word in the 1990's with Tara Newley Joan Collins daughter when we spoke about love spells.
I also got my 1st edition copy of Gerald Gardner:Witch from him for free in exchange for some other books,omething no other seller would have done then or since!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your kind works about my late dad. Regards Gareth.

David Glynn said...

Gareth. This is Dave the book dealer from the corn ex. I'm really sorry to hear of Barry's death we were good friends and have thought of him often over the years.
I'm living in Brighton now so not seen or heard anyone except a phone call from Dougy now and then but he wouldn't have known either.
Fond memories of a good man.

Unknown said...

Hi Dave, I relocated and not that far from where you are. Dougy that's a blast from the past, he always made a great cup of Tea, what are you upto these days.