"All life is in London. But within the city exists a shadow world of druids, mystics, magicians and witches. Here is your introduction to that hidden realm."
So promises Occult London, a Guide to the Highly Unusual. It's the latest cartographic project from Herb Lester Associates, who've already published guides to just about everything else that can be plotted — from Clandestine London to Uncle's London.
This new fold-out map points out 59 sites of esoteric interest across the capital. (Impressive, but just seven more, and we could have had 66, the Number of the Decibeast.)
'LOVE IS THE LAW', is the first text we find upon opening this wyrd package. This is not a reference to the ninth-best song ever written by John Squire, but rather the catchphrase of Aleister Crowley. Crowley remains, of course, the towering figure of occult London. His wide-eyed likeness glares out from the centre of the map (he's the one in the silly hat), and he pops up all over town like a demon with an Oyster card.
All the sites you'd expect from an occult London map are here, from the Atlantis Bookshop to the Masonic temple on Liverpool Street, to the churches of Nicholas Hawksmoor. You'll learn a lot, too. Greenwich Park, we read, is home to a water fountain built from the remnants of an ancient stone circle. The World's End pub in Camden is built on land once owned by a witch, whose husband met a grizzly end in the oven. Charing Cross Road, meanwhile, was home to Gerald Gardner, who played his part in the war effort by staging a 'magical assault on the mind of Adolf Hitler' in 1940.
The map deals mostly with 20th century history, but is brought bang up to date by the inclusion of such gems as the Wellcome Collection and the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities. It's everything you need to explore London's mystical, magical, otherworldly side. Just don't expect to find Harry Potter.
Occult London: A Guide to the Highly Unusual is out now from Herb Lester, price £12. Designed by Brian Rua, and written by Kate Hodges, with an insert on Magickal Tools by Tree Carr.