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Friday, 2 November 2012

Woodland - our responsibility to cultivate and protect

Sloshing through the autumn woods last Sunday, birch leaves piling up in the muddy tracks; it occurred to me how lucky I was to be among the trees. I had a quiet place nearby to leave behind the chaos of the city I worked in five days a week, where I could immerse myself in another world – a world every bit as important to our health as sleep and more real than anything any book or TV programme could conjure up.

I had moved from Wandsworth to Surrey with the specific intent of taking more opportunities to spend time outside all year round and now live within a quarter of a mile of four separate open spaces – I got more than I had wished for and, having spent 14 years living in New Cross and Wandsworth, I don’t take it for granted. I see the importance of trees; for local ecology, for human health and for environmental harmony.

Besides, I’ve always been a child of nature (we all are) and can’t help but take any kind of abuse of it somewhat personally. Why wouldn’t I, everything we do always circle back to each and every one of us?  

That’s why I am dismayed to hear about the latest problem affecting the health of our Ash trees. That, alongside existing diseases affecting our Horse Chestnut and native Oak, not to mention certain parties all too apparent intention to turn the trees we have left in to some kind of cash crop, puts an unacceptable strain on our woodland. We need to find a way to protect and replenish these vital areas.

Of course, as there are so many issues affecting the health of our planet on such a huge scale, individual action can seem hopeless, but I don’t think inaction is a choice those yet to come (or only just arrived) will celebrate us for  - each of us should at least do what we can now.

Start with an issue that resonates with you and do all you can.

Personally, I feel a responsibility to protect and cultivate trees; do I have the right to absorb their magic if I am complicit in their destruction; if I deny future generations that magic; if I deny other species their perfect right to live within them?

I’m going to continue to plant a tree for every book we sell with, continue to support woodland charities (I donate 5% of the sales revenue to The Woodland Trust), continue to ride my bike, recycle all paper and carry on sloshing around in the winter woods for as long as l can.

Friday, 26 October 2012

A Celebration

I admire your strength, your resolve, your unremitting commitment to slam in to the wall and take from those to come after you, til there’s nothing left at all.

I applaud your decision to stay steadfast and true, diverting your eyes from a damage that of course, has absolutely nothing at all to do with you

Content with this dance and routine that ticks the boxes of prosaic mimicry and minimises the risk of personal exploration, I’ll do what you do whilst promising to admire your shoes.

What an achievement to have been stripped of all of your critical faculties, they’re no fun anyway, not compared to the chance to advance another level in the gore game.

How can we fail to be happy engorged by more than our fair share? Let’s cheer the human planet and strip all that crawls too wet for current taste.

Your inability to climb the stairs loaded with 4000 glucose, fructose, mono-saturated, tasty chemical crunch calories should be commended for your determined and continual effort to erode any semblance of self-restraint.

Awe of 100 000 years of progress, honing the organism into a meat disease, purging the land of its magic to reveal only the harsh stones of materialism now happily set into your blind crown.

We praise your wanton spirit shrouded as it is an a thick sleeve of greed, you’re gorgeous and can have anyone or anything you crave,  as it is your unending right to consume whatever you please.

You’re greed is to be celebrated and written about in endless column inches stretching across the walls and the sea, building platforms to rejoice with the grey men who suck you dry.

I love the glamour of these magazines, the ink drying blood culled from body of the beast ripped apart in the reserve by imitators who want more of the same.

I laugh at the slow drip into bleeding rabbit eyes now that your hair is so soft and manageable, the imperfections of skin more painful to admit than needless animal death.

What joy to tune into the one eye that sees nothing but proclaims everything you now think, how marvellous that you’re obedient enough to believe everything you are now told.

Delight as the obvious answer to every question has resulted in such perfect outcome. Every problem can be answered by the new religion, altars everywhere for random worship.

Rapture at the revelation of a supreme way of life, your god demon from the desert gulch leapt only onto your frontal lobe and denied your heart, disdains Earth.

Rejoice that we’re far too polite to point out that cheated generations will snort to remember how dumbfat, blind and lazy there stupefied forebears were

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Blair buster David Lawley Wakelin to appear before magistrates Nov 16h - show your support!

Dear all, 

Further to my interruption of The Levison Inquiry where I alerted the inquiry to the fact that Tony Blair is a war criminal, I have been summonsed at 09. 30 on16th November to appear at Highgate magistrate’s court accused under the public order act 1986 for using threatening abusive or insulting words or behaviour that may have caused someone harassment alarm or distress.

As someone who has shown a personal interest in the Iraq war, I would very much like to invite you to consider giving your name to the letter of support below.

Please come along and support me from the public gallery on the day.  This would be a great boost to my effort to keep this issue in the public eye.  I am committed to arguing that Blair (and Bush) should be tried for war crimes.

Under the law it states that in my defence I should now be able to demonstrate that my conduct was reasonable: 

My Mother and Father fought for this country in the 2nd world war to see off the imperialist evil that was Hitler and the Nazi’s ..My father was in the Normandy landings whilst my mother witnessed the blitz finding herself evacuated from her home..

When I was just three months old they adopted me bringing me up in a very stable loving home .After all they did for me and being a British citizen of this country my conscience will  not just allow me to stand by whilst our nation’s good name has been criminally disgraced ..

As a nation we are being asked to turn a blind eye. A blind eye to what millions of us believe. That a former Prime minister of ours, Tony Blair whilst in a co-conspiracy with George Bush deceived us into a corrupt Iraq war that took the lives of over half a million people 

As with all crimes there has to be a motivation. One question: Do you truly believe that Tony Blair and George Bush didn't discuss the business opportunities that would be available in Iraq back in the Crawford ranch in 2002.Opportunities in Banking, OIL, Construction, and the Arms industries  

It’s worth just remembering George Bush making  that ‘mission accomplished speech’ from the USS Abraham Lincoln in May 2003. It shows that he and Blair got it terribly wrong . They thought that due to the fact that Iraq was crippled from ten years of sanctions the war would be over in months and no one would notice the business side of the deal . Blair guessed that five years later, after he left office it would all be old news, swept under the carpet. Five years later, the war was still raging and hundreds of lives were being lost every week. You might just conclude that Blair was caught with his hands in the till.

Ministers may well be dishonest about their expense claims, they may well be dishonest about their dealings with the press, but if there is one thing a Prime minister must be absolutely honest about then surely its his country’s decision to go to war, as that is obviously the one decision that might just involve the loss of somebody else’s life..

The lies that Blair told have been highlighted time an time again: 

The dodgy dossier with Tony Blair’s forward that it was beyond doubt that Saddam Hussein had WMD and they could be ready within 45 minutes. There was no evidence for this claim..

The intelligence services were telling Blair that the intelligence on Saddam’s weapons was limited yet two weeks later he was telling the house of commons that it was ‘extensive detailed and authoritative’..

Why did Blair not accept the original advice of the then Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, that the war was illegal.

Major Tim Cross and Claire Short had told Blair that the plans for post war Iraq were inadequate and that the war should be delayed. Blair ignored them 

I think it is worth remembering when George Bush made that ‘mission accomplished speech’ from the USS Abraham Lincoln in May 2003. It shows that he and Blair got it terribly wrong . They thought that due to the intelligence that Iraq was crippled from ten years of sanctions the war would be over in months and no one would have noticed. Blair guessed that five years later, after he left office it would all be old news, swept under the carpet But when, five years later, the war was still raging and hundreds of lives were being lost every week he was caught, you might say, with his hands in the till.

The world is now perilously close to a III war in the Middle East , yet ask yourselves what would happen if we were indeed to bring Bush and Blair to The Hague to stand trial?  Apart from regaining some of our damaged reputation throughout the world you can be sure that there would very little public sympathy on either side of the Atlantic for any future imperialist wars. 

I believe that we do indeed have a responsibility to rest of the world, and to our children to stand up to these crimes.

As a servant to this country, I now say to our current Prime Minister, Mr. Cameron.
In light of all the evidence and circumstantial evidence that has become clear, you must now to refer Tony Blair and George Bush to the International court in the Hague for   ‘Crimes against peace’.

Please come and support me on 16th November at Haringey Magistrates court
Highgate Court House
Bishops Road
Archway Road
Highgate London
N6 4HS

Thank you
David Lawley-Wakelin 


I  ________________   am supporting the effort of DWL to defend himself of the charges laid against him Highgate magistrate’s court , where is accused under the public order act 1986 for using threatening abusive or insulting words or behaviour that may have caused someone harassment alarm or distress.

His commitment to seeing Tony Blair and George Bush brought to trial on charges of War Crimes is unquestionable and one that resonates for more and more people around the world.  We have only recently heard notable figures such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu speak out on this very matter.

I wish DLW every good luck in his campaign.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Interview with Neil Kramer - Author of 'Unfoldment'

BB chatted to Neil about this latest book and his work and path so far....

BB. You’re obviously a seeker of personal transformation, willing to invest enough of yourself and your time into investigating a wide range of mystical and esoteric concepts and traditions – some of them quite obscure – what motivated you to go down this road and what sustains you when obstacles appear?

NK. My motivation for mystical study and practice was due in part to my natural suspicions regarding the mainstream reality paradigm. I just didn't buy the story of reality at any level - political, cultural, or scientific. So I looked for better perspectives... and found them. When obstacles come my way, I call to mind that there are always a number of approaches to any seemingly impassable brick wall. You can run away, break it down, spray graffiti on it, mentally deconstruct its existence, transform it alchemically into something else, make yourself into a ghost and pass through it. There are many angles to contemplate. In this way, all obstacles are opportunities for exercising one's capacity for lateral thinking and creative resolution.

BB. The back cover of your latest work ‘ The Unfoldment’ states that the book contains a ‘body of sacred wisdom and an elegant system of spiritual practice that puts real power and real magic into the hands of those who seek a path of awakening’. As many of these concepts have been touched upon within the pages of many a ‘quick fix’ new age manual – do you think you’ll find a large enough audience of those willing to embark on the real path of transformation (rather than the ones offering  overnight change)? 

NK. I think people are becoming painfully aware that quick fix books don't really work. You know the kind, the seven magical keys to success with women or business or happiness or whatever. Simply stated, we have to work hard on our inner self if we want to engage with the real juice of existence. We have to de-condition from the untruths that we have been tutored in, purify our mind, constantly evolve, and be willing to peer into the thickest darkness of the self. Only then can we begin true transformation and live the kind of life we want. With all the intense misery and confusion in the world right now, I know that more and more people are ready to push their boundaries further, so they lead more fulfilling lives. These are the people I most enjoy speaking with.

BB. The Unfoldment also talks about the 7 densities of being. Could you say a little about what this system describes? As is the case with many spiritual traditions, is the 4th ‘density’ the one around which the others hinge?

NK. In my reality model, there are seven densities of being, a bit like dimensions. They enfold each other. The second enfolds the first. The third enfolds the second and first etc. Yet it is more to do with the refinement of consciousness than actual physical spaces. The fourth density is the immediate enfolding realm that surrounds our familiar third density. It is from here that all our experiences of transcendence, magic, and the extraordinary arise. Rudimentary mystics might've called this the spirit realm. Metaphysically speaking, we can say that it's more complex (and interesting) than that. The fourth density certainly represents a major threshold of conscious attainment. You can't really go into it with any lucidity or consistency with a sloppy, unrefined consciousness. So all the lessons of the third density are aimed at helping to cultivate a deeper and more elegant mode of conscious operation.

BB. There’s an idea that our current problems, numerous and diverse as they are, all stem from a ‘break’ in our connection to the natural world and our true place in it  – the death of the imaginal realm as it were – do you believe that a return to archaic tradition and immersion in the mystical can heal this rift? If so, what is the first practical step?

NK. A return to certain traditional values of kinship, self-sovereignty, and a profound connection with the natural environment would definitely be a good idea right now. But we have to create new paradigms, not simply try to re-discover or return to the old ones. That would be too easy and not provide real resolution, it'd just make us feel better. What we can do right now is to begin forming networks of communities that are increasingly independent from the mainstream grid, both in terms of power, resources, politics, and philosophy. It's good to create a situation for yourself where, in the event of a mainstream social collapse (gradual or swift), you could gather with your strong, compassionate, well-resourced, spiritual kinsmen and thrive. Psychological and emotional preparedness are more significant than anything else in this respect. We have thousands of years of mystical perspectives, knowledge and techniques to help us achieve this very thing. Though the particulars of each mystical tradition are somewhat singular, the principles are - at the higher level - entirely universal. There is one truth. To make contact with it we have to begin clearing away our inauthenticity now - not later. This is the best way to prepare oneself for surfing the end times. What an adventure!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Despite the rain....

Despite the never ending 40 odd days of rain endured my little veg patch has managed to so far yield some very tasty potatoes (that I had for dinner tonight!), with the promise of broad beans, aubergines, french beans and tomatoes on the way! 

Hooray for the return of the sun!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Interview with Karrie Fransman - Creator of The House That Groaned

BB had a chance to catch up with artist Karrie Fansman recently…dig below!

Hey Karrie,

You're gaining ground as a graphic novelist (if you term yourself that way), but what got you into the genre in the first place? What was your background?
Ha ha, yes I like the term 'comic creator'- more down and dirty, although 'graphic novelist' does have it benefits if you're trying to appear sophisticated! I was reared on picture books and a bit of the Beno and grew up scribbling stories, but only discovered the comic medium in a conscious way when I was 22 and read Ghost World. An amazing depiction of a female relationship by a male comic artists. I fell instantly in love and knew I had to make them for myself. I didn't let the minor inconvenience of never having been to art college get in the way!

Do you have a particular inspiration or hero?
My all time favourite comic artist is an American indi artist called Eleanor Davis- her smallest sketch book scribbles have more narrative in them than some whole books. But she hasn't, to my knowledge, yet written a long graphic novel and I would give my arm (o.k...maybe just the left one) for her to do one. BUT I normally exercise caution in having too many heroes from the same genre as myself as it's much easier to get inspiration from different sources. So I'd say my childhood picture book artists- Kit Williams and Maurice Sendak are my all time creative crushes.

Your latest work THTG explores some fairly stark realities of modern life - are you reciting personal experience or is it more of a commentary on your vision of urban life?
Well the original inspiration was not urban life but our material bodies and our anxieties with them. I guess that has it's roots in my personal experience as I almost died of meningitis as a child and have always been a bit morbidly fascinated with our physicality. The house was supposed to symbolise a slowly decaying body and the isolation we feel from each-other and the world. But most of the big newspapers that reviewed it emphasised the isolated, urban living. That's fine! I like it when people interoperate the book in their own way!

Do you see your work, and indeed the graphic novel as having an important function to play; for example, a great way to unpack important issues for a lay audience?
I believe an artist's sole responsibility is to engage the reader/viewer emotionally. Comics are fairly cheap to produce and consume and are accessible to all regardless of age, education or nationality and have the power to reach a wider audience with their messages... whatever that may be! u there is a trend to do graphic memoirs and re-tellings of classic stories. There's even a 'graphic medicine' movement that emphasises doctor and patient experiences of illness through the comic medium. My personal emphasis is on sociological issues, psychology and gender. To sum it up in a nut shell!

Are you already onto your next work - any hints?
Ha ha! My next book is still at a very early stage but i'm incredibly excited about it! It will play with the form and language of comics and seep off the page and into the digital worlds while telling a dark tale of friendship, power, destruction and creativity. In the mean time I'm doing reportage comics for The Guardian and Psychologies magazine, working on some short story commissions and have been invited in July to the Interregional Hayes Festival in Beirut. Very excited!

Finally, are you a fan of the veritable veg we've named our store after? If so, what's your fave way to eat it!
Certainly! I'd say baked, sliced and with Crème fraîche and dill on top. nyum.

Get the book here at Beetroot Books

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Rain, Rain and Rain

Oh since they shouted about drought it seems it hasn’t stopped raining. Mind you if a spell needs to be cast then what better way to do it in England than talk about the weather? Anytime anyone makes a proclamation about what it’s going to do or worse, has an expectation about how it will turn out, you can guarantee that what actually happens will be counter to what is desired. We just don’t learn! And since it is April it’s not like we’ve not heard that tune about showers before.

But it’s all good stuff. Things are going in to the ground almost daily here at Beetroot HQ; beetroots (you wouldn’t expect otherwise would you?), French beans, Broad beans, red onions, spring onions, aubergines, basil, mint and potatoes, and they all need lots lovely water and of course sunshine (hoping for more of that this summer)!

So best not too get too down in the mouth about the weather, it’s as comedian Billy Connelly says: ‘there is not bad weather, only the wrong clothes’!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Peak Oil has arrived

Back in 2008, I heard about Peak Oil for the first time. Very much out of the mainstream at that time, the theory, that world oil supplies would imminently peak in terms of accessibility, posited that this would occur sometime between 2006- 2020.

The consequences of this peak are numerous, technical and intrinsic to the way in which world economies are wired – in others words unpredictable. Nevertheless there are deemed to be indicators: fluctuation in oil price, recession, social unrest, foreign conflict.

If this sounds familiar its because it now seems as if world oil production actually peaked in 2005. Now we’re on a downward trajectory of demand continually outstripping supply, ever more desperate extraction techniques (Alberta Tar sands, Gulf of Mexico), resource wars (Irag, Afghanistan, Libya and now Iran) and price hikes.

Don’t take my word for it. The future has arrived and you might want to prepare for a bit of a bumpy ride. Look up Peak Oil to find out more.

Monday, 6 February 2012

The Book of English Magic - a review

I must confess I approached this book with not just a little trepidation. Anyone who has ever taken a passing glance at the ‘Mind, Body & Spirit’ section of any bookstore and seen the plethora of titles around this subject might understand my reticence. Many such books make claims about encounters with magical beings, angels and spirits, (it’s not that I doubt the existence of these, only the sincerity of the authors’ belief); many about impending apocalypse, whilst some of them take some fairly hefty and serious concepts such as Hermeticism and attempt to boil them down into ‘secrets’ easily digestible for the modern consumer.
How refreshing then for a tome of this nature to be set out so simply, written with such clarity by Psychologist and writer Philip Carr-Gomm (chosen leader of the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids) and Richard Heygate, and referenced so heavily with resources that the reader is more than enabled to investigate further for themselves. The English Book of Magic successfully transcends the ocean of double speak and down-right gobbledegook usually a given in Occult literature. Even if you normally approach this subject with a great deal of cynicism, you’ll find this book a fascinating look at an enduring historical phenomenon - peculiar but not unique to these islands.

The 12 sections of the book, corresponding to different eras of magical belief and occult practice that have continued unabated in the undercurrent of our culture for several thousand years, are neatly interspersed with fascinating stories and life experiences of various practitioners of these spiritual arts. Beginning with the roots of ancient Druidism emanating from the dim and misty vistas of ancient England; a landscape so engagingly evoked that you can almost taste the medicine from Merlin’s cauldron; travelling through the tumultuous Saxon invasion, the mysteries of the Dark Ages (of course there was no such era when viewed from a certain point of view), the Renaissance obsession with the use of Alchemy and Magick as tools to understand and master nature, into the comparatively recent Victorian revival of spirituality culminating in  fascinating overview of how all of these factors and influences have converged today into a dizzying array of cults, movements, philosophies and beliefs. The contradictions, borrowings, arguments, trials, burnings and mystery are all here. It’s a story seldom told but intrinsic to much of the more mundane knowledge we’re familiar with – our current beliefs, both religious and scientific are but a continuum from earlier modes of thought after all,

Set against our current addiction to materialism and our post Enlightenment mindset, whose mechanistic worldview jostles uneasily with what we actually experience within the world (you can’t treat a human like you would a machine and expect good results, humans specialise in stories and myth not productivity), The Book of English Magic is a beautifully written counterpoint to the consumerist dead-end we’ve found ourselves up against. Perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate some of the knowledge our forbearers mastered?   

But the joy of this book doesn’t rest only in providing a breath of fresh air or journey through the ages. Carr-Gomm and Heygate are at pains to illustrate Magick as a living belief system illustrating this fact beautifully with biographies, interviews and anecdotes from practitioners of these sacred arts and profiles of some of the biggest names of the ages. Thus you have experiences of people like Dowser Peter Taylor recounted alongside the story of a modern Druid -‘Adrian’ from Bristol - an alchemist from Wales and my personal favourite; Shaman Peter Aziz who irresistibly sketches out his initiation into the other worlds.

If you still need help being drawn in, every chapter includes a ‘things to do’ section which, as I alluded to earlier, helpfully details everything from preparing herbal remedies to locating local sites of interest or books and internet sites to continue research; the book is as much guidebook as it is grimoire adding much to its already deep appeal. Highly recommended!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Start learning for tomorrow. Today.

We find inspiration in most things here at Beetroot Books, which is why we’ve dedicated ourselves to amassing and presenting the most interesting, inspiring and useful books all in one place.
The world is an ever changing canvas which, if you remain open, immerses you in endless stories of chaos into order and order into chaos as it vibrates its way up the ladder towards unity.
Hippy trippy? Well all I know is that if you don’t like which way the story’s going you may as well write yourself a new part. No one else is ever going to elevate you to primary character in theirs – they couldn’t even if they wanted to.
So in these days of ultra bland, lowest-common-denominator, advertising dominated corp-culture coupled with disintegrating economic, ecological and societal systems presided over by a bunch of vampires who really should at least pretend to play by the rules they insist upon for everyone else, it would make sense to acquire a certain handiness in the many ways of the world.  You’ll find it far easier to make positive changes if you do so.
With this in mind, and taking inspiration from ‘Long Descent’ author, John Michael Greer’s excellent weekly blog post, the Archdruid Report and more specifically his ‘Green Wizard project’, detailed therein, we thought it would be a nice idea to gather books on the subjects and skills relevant to a world challenged by energy shortages and climate change issues – the world we’re just starting to notice that we live in now.
It’s not exhaustive and is definitely a work in progress, but check it out and see what you think –suggestions are always welcome

On your own two feet

Terrence McKenna said something like ‘if you’re fortunate enough to be have born into a place and time where you have access to good healthcare, communications and other resources, then I’m sorry, but it falls to you to change the world for the better’. Yep, it’s down to us.
Unless you have allowed yourself to be swallowed by the spurious spectre of popular culture, believe everything you read in the paper or are content to whittle down your time fixating on some strangers life, you’ll know that things need changing, And in a hurry. Choose any strand of natural or societal life and you’ll come across some sort of hump (or indeed looming abyss) before too long.
It’s not necessary for me to spell out why, besides I haven’t the time or inclination to regurgitate that which is so readily available elsewhere, I merely wish to point the finger, slap your face, shout in your ear or whatever else is necessary to get your brain in to gear.
You have the ideas, you have the time, you have the inspiration, the resources, the lust, the hunger, passion, ego, belief, faith and panache to change the world.
Yep, we’re constantly trying to be shut down, anaesthetised and bashed into submission by a routine of daily responsibilities and immersion in others manipulations.
The issues I’ve alluded to may not exist to you because of that. Or perhaps they seem too big to bother to tackle. I know how hard it is to wake up. We’re just not that used to thinking for ourselves about the big stuff.
At the very least, you should learn to stand on your own two feet though. More on that later.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Win a copy of Booze for Free by Andy Hamilton

Win a free copy of Andy Hamilton's 'Booze for Free', just 'like' our Facebook page and answer this question: Beetroot Books fave recipe from the book is Nettle Ale - very tasty and a real homebrew treat. But what is the Latin name for the Nettle family? First two correct answers win a copy each.