by Professor Myal Djumboh Cassecanarie
Afterword by Christopher Josiffre, Society of Esoteric Endeavour, 2018. Hardback 139pp. Numbered limited edition of 193 copies.
In copies numbered 1 - 129n as well as the printed endpapers shown above, there are also additional embossed endpapers chosen to harmonise with the lush text decorations and illuminated capitals used in the original (and reproduced here). This copy #110/193. Mint. New.
This work was first published in 1895 in Trinidad and achieved instant obscurity, However, it seems that a bell was rung somewhere as 9 years later, on 8th April 1904 Aiwass instructed Crowley that, as well as the mantras and spells and the work of the wand and the sword, he should learn and teach “the obeah and the wanga” (Liber Al vel Legis / The Book of the Law, Chapter 1 verse 37)
At that time, and for a very long time afterwards, the only sympathetic text by a self identified practitioner of Obeah was this work. It was the only book with the more obscure term “Wanga” in the title. It almost as if Aiwass was referring Crowley to this publication!
There is good reason to believe that Crowley was aware of the publication. There is an annotated copy of Obeah Simplified in the Yorke Collection at the Warburg Institute. The annotations, appear to emphasise parts of the text which particularly resonates with Crowley’s writings. The Afterword and appendices reproduce or describe all the annotations and underlining, and presents expert judgement as to whether they are in Crowley’s hand. The matter remains an enigma. Readers are given all the information so that they can judge the issue for themselves.
Preface. To the reader
Chapter I. Definitions
Chapter II. Initiation, Kanji Stones, Protection of Fields etc.
Chapter III. Excitement to love, Dirty Clothes Oracle, “Setting On” Jumbies, Causing Disease etc.
Chapter IV. Use of Spells and Incantations on Men and Animals
Chapter V. The Use of Glamour and Wanga Power, Rain Making and Controlling Elements
Chapter VI. Hagging, Vampires, Drawing the Shadow, Lycanthropy, Silk Cotton Tree
Chapter VII. Fair Maids, Nature-Spirits, Virtuas.
Chapter VIII. Theopea: Modus Operandi of certain Ancient Feats
Chapter IX Ancient Sorcery, Superstition, Mamans Dijou, Livre Rouge, Conclusion
Christopher Josiffre – Afterword
Influence upon Aleister Crowley
Sympathetic Portrayal of Obeah
Identity of Cassecanarie
Shamanism and Witchcraft Amongst the Kolararian Tribes by Miad Koyora Koria Hon,
African Magic by Tau-Triadelta
Varieties of African Magic Parts I and II by Miad Hoyora Korahon
The True Wanga – Marginalia, Underlinings and Other Markings in the Warburg Copy
Whilst, for the sake of clarity, the text has been entirely reset, all the format, decorations, and typesetting quirks of the original have been retained. This includes continental style layout with the contents page at the back, and artefact of the cosmopolitan nature of Caribbean culture.
The original booklet carried adverts that are a surprising accompaniment for a book on obeah as they feature some very expensive items. These are reproduced here because they are so unexpected. A reminder that there was a lot of wealth in the Caribbean colonies which were also technically advanced with electronic communications and motor vehicles (mentioned in the adverts), more so than many regions of the British Isles. No doubt this contrasted acutely with the lives of Obeah practitioners. This juxtaposition of great wealth and immense poverty is, very much, the context for the development of obeah. So better to reproduce these original adverts, than contrive some modern book design.
The supporting texts in the appendices are also reproduced with the original visual context of the journals that carried them - the art nouveau masthead of the Theosophist and the striking blue illustrated cover of Lucifer.