Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Richard Cavendish RIP

According to the Telegraph Richard Cavendish's The Black Arts was the book on Mick Jagger's bedside table in 1969 (or thereabouts). Mine too. If you wanted to learn about Cabala, the Tarot, ceremonial magick and all that sort of thing (without actually plunging into the difficult source material) then Cavendish was your man. He was respectful, rational, wrote with clarity- and kept a certain distance. My generation of freaks, heads and bedsit occultists owes him big-time. Later we graduated to Crowley, Dion Fortune and the other heavy hitters but it was Cavendish who gave us our start. The Black Arts was a big, fat, black-clad paperback- naughty but nice. I no longer have my copy- which is a shame.

On the strength of The Black Arts Cavendish got to edit a weekly magazine called Man, Myth and Magic- which built into an encyclopaedia of everything occult. It was lavishly illustrated. Ooh look- voodoo dancers with their tops off! I gave my copies in their imitation leather binders to my son Joe.

Cavendish had his moment. It passed. And now he has passed too. I don't suppose his books will last- they're of the sort that are rapidly superceded- but they did what they were meant to do- and did it well. Let it be remembered to his credit that he moved things along.
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