Sunday 15 January 2023

‘As Above, So Below’: Literature, Divination and Lisa Marie Presley

I cannot remember the exact sequence of events that led up to it, but I had been invited by Mar A Rodrigues, who runs a podcast series out of Portugal called ‘As Above, So Below’, to be interviewed by her for a new episode. MAR had approached me because she wanted to talk about my book The Space Oracle, which had inspired her to create the podcast series in the first place. We were finally able to meet online and talk on the morning of Wednesday January 11, and it turned out to be an absolute pleasure. Lisa Marie Presley hadn’t been part of the story at that point.


MAR and I discussed literature and the divinatory arts, history and science fiction, plus some of my earliest memories of space, astrology and magic. Other topics covered in no particular order included:


Destroy All Monsters, the Gulf War and 9/11

The Bright Labyrinth, science, magic and eroticism

Dante, The Divine Comedy and The Trash Project 

Purgatory, alchemy and the planets

Strindberg in Paris, the events of May 68 and Mario Bava’s Danger Diabolik

Comic books, spiritualism and clairvoyance


I enjoyed it all very much – especially when we went on to astrology, a subject about which MAR knew a great deal more than I did. Overall, the conversation lasted about an hour and a half, which has resulted in the first episode of ‘As Above, So Below’ to be broadcast on Spotify in 2023. You can find it by clicking here.


Or if you prefer, there is also a video version of our conversation on YouTube, which can be found by clicking here.


And then there was Lisa Marie. I am currently finishing Paradise: the third and final part of my Trash Project for Strange Attractor Press. I’d reached the point of compiling a Glossary of Names and References, as I have done for the previous two volumes. These compilations of entries cover all of the individuals mentioned in the text. As a large part of this new book is devoted to Elvis Presley, there were a lot of references to both him and his family entered under ‘P’. I took time away from working on this to record the interview with MAR. I did a little more work on it the following day and managed to complete all the Presley references, except for one. I didn’t really know what I wanted to say about Lisa Marie, so I had deliberately left her until the end. I rose very early on the morning of Friday 13 January, around 5.50 am, specifically to complete the glossary entry for her. As I was preparing to start work, I had the phrase ‘with a heavy heart’ running through my head. I switched on the computer, checked the news headlines, and the first thing I saw was a statement from Priscilla Presley that began ‘It is with a heavy heart…’ announcing her daughter’s death. 


To discuss the relationship between writing and divination is interesting enough in the abstract. To go from that to the intuitive foretelling of a death in a couple of days is matter for further conjecture. MAR and I swapped some fascinating messages over the course of the morning, extending the correspondences between writing and divination further still – as if they were ever going to stop. ‘There,’ as Karlheinz Stockhausen once said to me regarding an equally strange connection. ‘I leave that with you.’



Pictured above



The Space Oracle (2018), available from Strange Attractor Press

MAR and KH on the mic

Purgatory (2022), available from Strange Attractor Press