Manchester: A Black Pentacle Book / The New Order of the Satanic Templars, 1971. First Edition - Limited. Hardcover. Quarto. Not paginated [ approx 150 pp]. Faux reptile skin over black boards, blue endpapers. B&w sigils and illustrations. Somewhat basic production values, pages appear to have been printed by mimeograph or similar process and are printed on the rectos only. Edition limited to only 50 hand-numbered copies each being a "personal edition" - i.e. issued to a specific individual - and SIGNED by Ramon. This being copy no. 3, issued to George Brook. A truly remarkable and rare piece. Ramon was the magical name of Raymond Bogart (sometimes Bogarte) who had been an active exponent of black magic from the mid-1950s onwards, and who formed a number of occult groups in Manchester and surrounds, notably the "New Order of Satanic Templars" the "Northern Order of the Prince" and the "Orthodox Temple of the Prince." By his own account Ramon left school at age 13, joined the army at 15, and was for a time stationed in West Africa where he "studied the language and the secrets of the Poro and Bundu, and Ju-ju." On returning to England he joined a witchcraft coven, but soon left in disappointment. For a time he became a Mormon, but abandoned it also for the study of the occult and magic, in which he immersed himself for many years, and "eventually found a coven which practised a fairly genuine Satanic Doctrine, and was initiated into the Priesthood." This volume was written prepared by him "to give the laity a concise and clear understanding of the beliefs, function and organisation of his Temple, and to dispel the general concept that Satanists are evil doers." It is broad ranging, touching on subjects as diverse as the design of robes, to the preparation for rituals, the grades of the Order, a curious "Wheel of Sex" which outlines the groups understanding of human sexuality, etc. etc. Much of the content is drawn from the standard works of Goetic magic, and there are tables of seals and sigils from the Lemegeton, Grimoirum Verum, Clavicula Salomonis, and so on. Interspersed throughout the volume are full-page, rather naieve but still interesting, designs for some of the tarot trumps.
The recipient of the volume, George Henry Brook (1912-1988), was a British occultist, book-collector, book-seller and sometimes author (he contributed to the "Occult Observer" and "Rosicrucian Digest" amongst other works). Brook was extremely well known in British occult circles: he had a lengthy association with Aleister Crowley, and is commonly identified as one of Francis King's sources for the rituals published in his "Secret Rituals of the O.T.O.." As Mar Adrianus, Bishop of Deira and Bishop of the Order of Rievaulx, was also one of the episcopi vagantes or "wandering bishops" and was a close friend of fellow episcopus vagans and occult author William Bernard Crow. Given the silent testimony of the present volume, he was at very least acquainted with Ramon and the "New Order of Satanic Templars" and may indeed have been a member of one of Ramon's groups. This volume was most recently in the collection of Clive Harper, and has his discreet book-label neatly tipped in at the rear. Harper is well- known as the bibliographer of Austin Osman Spare, for updating the Aleister Crowley bibliography in the 2011 Teitan Press collection of Gerald Yorke's writings, and as someone who has lent his expertise to numerous other publications. The book's rather simple production values have caused a tear to the inner margin of one leaf, and there is a little glue residue at the edges of endpapers. Otherwise a tight, unmarked copy in VG+ condition. A genuinely rare work from a very poorly-chronicled period of twentieth century occult history. Item #66486