Alpha & Omega

The Witch’s Cradle-Maya Deren 1943
Experimental film-maker and Vodou priestess Maya Deren, with the help of the Big Daddy of modern and contemporary art Marcel Duchamp crosses over into the world of ritualistic magic where the nights are longer and the shadows deeper (oh so much deeper) in 1943’s The Witch’s Cradle. The text around the pentagram and enclosed within the double circle says ‘The Beginning Is The End Is’; of course as it is circular you could read it as ‘The End Is the Beginning Is’ or any other variant, depending upon whether the glass is half-full or empty. The phrase refers to Christ’s assertion in the Book of Revelations that ‘I am the Alpha and Omega’, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, it is usually further clarified  with the additional phrase ‘the beginning and the end.’

Maya Deren’s work was a marked influence on the similarly occult inclined 60’s underground film-maker Kenneth Anger, director of such ceremonial extravaganza’s as Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome and Lucifer Rising.


38 thoughts on “Alpha & Omega

      1. Most of us are autodidacts, warts and all; if we aren’t, we rarely make good and original learners. Nothing worse than not being able to step beyond the level of your mentor. When you are your own mentor you grow with your mentorship. I have seen many good people trapped in the myth of a mentor’s seemingly superior mentality. Frank Sinatra rules: “I did it my way.”

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      2. Well, one or two authors, Quevedo, mainly! I have worked with his autograph manuscripts — how the poet changes the text … very interesting. I loved the way he drank when he wrote and the hand-writing deteriorated …as the night went on …

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  1. Fascinating…and I love this picture. Spiritualism…have you written anything on this..? Is there artwork specific to it? Or are they one in the same? (occult and spiritualism). Inauguration of the pleasure dome…sounds like an interesting movie.

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    1. I will send you a link to a piece I wrote about writing and magic. I haven’t written anything just concerning spiritualism, they are connected but not exactly the same. Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome is basically a piece of filmed ceremonial magic and features Anais Nin wearing a bird cage. Jimmy Page was to do the sound-track but he fell out with anger and curses and spells went back and forth. The whole theory of surrealism could be considered an artwork of spiritualism as surrealism is pure psychic automatism.


    2. Sigilium Dei Ameth-John DeeWriting and magic have always been closely associated. The Egyptian God Thoth was the inventor of writing and the patron …
      The Grammar of Magic
      odin,tarot,aleister crowley,havamal,hermes trismegistus,runes,enochian,grimoire,hermes,6th and 7th books of moses,hermetic,john dee,kabbalah,hebrew,magic,seid,ultima thule,language,thoth,judaism,norse,magic square,cornelius agrippa


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