About ten years ago I was asked to write a book on the Kabbalah. It is a subject that has been a fundamental part of my life since the mid 1970’s and so I was comfortable engaging with this project. I had almost finished the book when the publisher fell ill and retired from publishing. I began to look for another publisher, but I was reluctant to take up either of the two opportunities that emerged, owing to my concerns about losing control over my work, and of the book being remaindered. And so I did nothing.
Anyway, encouraged by friends and colleagues I took the insane decision to start publishing books myself, under the name of Imagier Publishing. At the outset I was asked, more than once, just what Imagier Publishing was going to offer the world that was of any value. What could it say that hadn’t been said already? It was a question of fundamental importance and it struck me hard, as I hadn’t thought of publishing any books other than on my personal interests. Anyway, after giving this question some thought I saw that this was an opportunity to do something beyond those immediate interests: to make available past and present work about the many radical streams of Christian spirituality that had in diverse ways underpinned much of Western culture over the last two thousand years. This, of course, meant finding new authors and new material, as well as reprinting books of the past that had been rejected or forgotten. With this purpose in mind I found the confidence to ‘go for it’ and entered what I discovered to be a very competitive world.
Because it was ready, my book The Secret Garden of the Soul – an introduction to the Kabbalah was the first title to be published. My approach when writing it was to make available the notes I had accumulated over the years in teaching my students. I knew from the beginning that The Secret Garden was not a definitive work on the subject; it was never intended as such. It is simply an introduction to certain aspects that beginners and the simply curious might enjoy while gaining some insight into an ancient and profound subject that has been central to much of our cultural history. It is a book about Kabbalah not a manual of instruction. And it is not only about Jewish mysticism, for although most people don’t realise it, Kabbalah is a vast field with many active and dynamic schools of thought, and it has a far greater sphere of influence.
I know that in recent times many people have associated this ancient system of Jewish mysticism with the pop star and actress Madonna, with bits of red string and with expensive magic water, but that’s ‘Pop Kabbalah’ and I prefer what I like to call the ‘real thing’. It is not so much a case of prejudice but more because like many students of Kabbalah I am a bit of a loner seeking real understanding – an oddball with my head in the clouds, but I guess I will have to live with that.
However, back to the main theme. I published The Secret Garden of the Soul in 2008. It was my first title and I made a lot of mistakes in promoting it. Yet, I’m very fond of it. People have said it is a good introduction and others have enjoyed the writing style, so I’m happy about that as I don’t see myself as a literary person. I suppose I should mention that in keeping with the mysterious nature of Kabbalah I’ve hidden within the text of the book a coded message, a secret that leads to a treasure – it is also an exercise for aspiring or seasoned Kabbalists to get their teeth into – a challenge if you will. It makes for an interesting exercise in Kabbalistic thinking. I’m surprised that no one has yet been able to find it or crack it; the treasure has yet to be won!
The second title that Imagier issued was Tales of Brother Marcus. This is an allegorical tale written by myself about a man I knew many years ago. It is the story of a fellow traveller on the path and his introduction to the mystical life. It introduces the reader to a world of real people engaging with the esoteric dimensions of our world and their gradual involvement with a bona-fide mystical school. I really enjoyed writing it as it gave me the opportunity to embody some of the teachings I received from my mentor, Mar Francis. The intention of the book was to convey core information about the ‘Mysteries’ without it appearing to be a text-book sort of thing.
Since then several more titles have been issued; Five English Alchemists by Dr. Robert Black, a Research Chemist with a life-long interest in Alchemy. This book is the first of three volumes; volume two is in progress. Details about them may be seen on Imagier’s website Imagier.com and on Facebook.
The last title to be published was Symbolic Colours, written in 1837 by the Baron Frederic de Portal. It was translated into English in 1845 but only published in a limited edition of 100 copies. I know it has been made available as a facsimile POD, but Imagier has re-edited the text and made it available with many new footnotes. It’s a cracking book if you’re interested in symbolism.
Several new titles are to be issued this year. Some are reprints and some are new titles. One new title will be on Gnosticism, another on the Desert Fathers, and of course, volume two of Robert Black’s book on Alchemy.
SYMBOLIC COLOURS a rare French treatise concerning the religious symbolism of colour written in 1837 by Le Baron Frederick de Portal. It was published in English as a limited edition of 100 copies in 1845. Other than a Print on Demand version there has been no edition in English published since. Within this book the reader will discover many references scarcely known today concerning both symbolism and ancient uses of colour, presenting the reader with a unique insight and understanding of another time, a time more concerned with spiritual verities than with the rewards of a life dedicated to materialism and sound-byte scholarship. Read More