“Arcanum Bestiarum” by Robert Fitzgerald
Written in the great tradition of the medieval bestiaries, Robert Fitzgerald's long-awaited new work Arcanum Bestiarum re-imagines the animal menagerie in the context of bestial mystery and atavistic power. Written for the modern magical practitioner and zoophile, the 272-page volume examines the occult virtues and totemic majesties of fifty animals, theriomorphs, and their kindred. Correspondences with deific powers, atavistic wisdom, and mythopoetic emanation are examined, especially in light of the tutelary powers all animals possess.
The Tetramorph – essentially an animalic ‘crown of creation’ – is here transformed into the far broader and innovative concept of the ‘Theriomorph’, or, the Zodiak Entire of Creation as an apotheosis of the animal form and zoötype… One of the greatest of virtues possessed by the Human is its bestial heritage, both spiritually and genetically. These attributes are often seen as primitive, chaotic and dangerous to civilized culture by the custodians of moralism and religion today, but the fact remains that it is our animal heritage that makes us what we are, or, more accurately, what we should and can be.
Special attention is given to the zoomorphic aspects of alchemy, which historically used the bestial emblemata as veils of the stages of the Great Work, as well as shamanism and witchcraft, bodies of knowledge particularly rich in the lore of animals as spirit-helpers. The work is an emergent strand of magical investigation long part of the author’s private life, where he has worked in the ecological field of wildlife rehabilitation, especially raptors.
The text is graced with fifty-five original woodcut illustrations by artist Liv Rainey-Smith, prepared especially for this title in close collaboration with the author. Amongst the more ambitious renderings in the work are the occult cryptofauna Homunculus, Manticore, Ouroboros, and Basilisk, as well as animals prominent in the ancient dawn of magick: the Bear, Goat, Viper, Peacock, and more. Completing the design elements is an original typeface designed for the work by calligrapher Gail Coppock, serving to illuminate this grimoire of the Magician’s Primal Eden.