Transmitting the Sacred Fire:

Transformation and Identity in Austin Osman Spare

There is a fervent, compelling mystical and magical vision, first articulated in The Book of Pleasure and subsequently developed throughout his work, which burns at the heart of many of Spare’s drawings and paintings. In this illustrated talk, Michael Staley discusses Spare’s vision with particular reference to a number of pictures which communicate it especially clearly, whilst also drawing upon Spare’s written work and in particular on the mature writings of his from the late 1940s and the 1950s which were published many years later by Kenneth and Steffi Grant in Zos Speaks!

Michael Staley lives in north-west London, and has been immersed in Spare’s work for many years now. In 2011 he published two early bookworks by Spare as Two Grimoires, and is planning the future publication of a number of Spare’s sketchbooks from the 1950s. Michael has a life-long interest in the occult, and is particularly interested in how Spare’s work resonates with other mystical and magical traditions