David Rankine is an author, esoteric researcher and magician who lives in Glastonbury, England with his partner, artist and tattooist Rosa Laguna. He has been making major contributions to the modern occult revival since the 1980s, through lectures, workshops, presentations, articles and books. His esoteric expertise covers a wide range of topics, including the Western Esoteric Traditions, especially the Qabalah, the Grimoire tradition, Greco-Egyptian magic and Ceremonial Magic, as well as British Folklore and European Mythology.
David’s esoteric knowledge and scholarship can be seen in the twenty-eight books he has authored, his essays in various anthologies, and hundreds of articles for magazines, journals, international part-works and websites.
A fanatical reader from his early years, David discovered a catalogue from Occultique in 1979, aged fourteen and his path was set. Among his first purchases was Techniques of High Magic by Francis King and Stephen Skinner. Twenty-four years later, within five minutes of meeting in the flesh, he and Stephen Skinner had decided to work together and the Sourceworks of Ceremonial Magic series was born.
David’s first experience of magical groups came when he was eighteen, with initiation into a private magical lodge which focused heavily on grimoire material. His experiences there laid many of the foundations for his future work, both practical and written.
David moved to Cheltenham in 1983, and had the good fortune to live in a house containing an occult bookshop, Greensleeves, run by Nick Rose. From this idyllic base he had numerous interesting encounters and experiences, including a summer working for Adam McLean helping on the production of books in the Hermetic Research works series when he was based in Banbury.
In late 1986 David moved to Oxford, diving into the thriving magical scene of the time, and was involved in founding OGDOS (Oxford Golden Dawn Occult Society) with Mogg Morgan, Jack Daw, Graham Jebbett, Chesca Potter and others. Whilst in Oxford he was also involved in the creation of the Order of Thelema, and ran a Qabalistic Pathworking group, organised OPAR (Oxford Pagan Animal Rights) and co-edited the magical magazine Evohe!
1989 saw a change in scene, with a move to London, where David ended up living at Enclave Ex, a housing co-operative run by Freya Aswynn. At this time he worked as an assistant editor at Skoob Books, proofing and editing several of Kenneth Grant’s books including Beyond the Mauve Zone, Remembering Aleister Crowley and Hecate’s Fountain.
Wanderlust set in and David moved to Cardiff in 1991, where he was initiated into Alexandrian Wicca by Karin Rainbird, and became involved in the founding of the Progressive Wiccan Network. At this time he also took over and edited the magazine Dragon’s Brew until 1997, coining the term Progressive Witchcraft.
In 1999 David met Sorita d’Este, and in 2001 they founded Lapis Companions and VITRIOL Grove. They facilitated lectures, open rituals and workshops, and wrote numerous books together including the Practical Magic Series (Practical Planetary Magick, Practical Elemental Magick and Practical Qabalah Magick, 2007-2009) and Wicca Magickal Beginnings (2008).
From 2003-2009 David worked with Stephen Skinner, producing the first five volumes of the Sourceworks of Ceremonial Magic (SWCM) series which includes The Goetia of Dr Rudd (2007) and The Veritable Key of Solomon (2008). This latter work was translated by Paul Harry Barron, who also worked as translator with David on A Collection of Magical Secrets (2009), The Book of Gold (2010), and The Complete Grimoire of Pope Honorius (2013). David and Stephen have returned to their collaborative work with volume nine of the SWCM, A Cunning-Man’s Grimoire (2018).
His published work in recent years has been characterised by the publication of previously unavailable or inaccessible material on the grimoires and other areas of magic. David has given lectures and facilitated workshops around the UK and Europe for the last three decades, concentrating on the subjects closest to his heart, including the Grimoire Tradition, Angelic Magic, Greco-Egyptian and Celtic Mythology and folklore.
He has frequently featured in media interviews over the years on his specialist subjects, including television programs on Channel 5, ITV, BBC and Sky; BBC Radio London and Glastonbury Radio, and numerous publications including TIME OUT, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, Alternative London and many others. David has also acted as a researcher for esoteric-themed works for others, including Sea of Souls (BBC, 2006).