An Interview with Gwendolyn Taunton, author of Primordial Traditions
Good morning to your all! Today, I am thrilled to bring you a little chat that we had with Gwendolyn Taunton, author of Primordial Traditions.
Gwendolyn! So happy that you stopped by today. You’ve published a number of
books, most recently Primordial Traditions. What can you tell us about yourself, as an author, and the
books that you write?
been writing professionally now for eight years. The majority of my writing has
been non-fiction, but I sometimes diversify into poetry and fiction pieces. A
great proportion of my work is on Eastern Spiritual Traditions or philosophy.
At the moment I’m trying to put out 1-2 titles a year. This goal was shattered
somewhat by a series of earthquakes in 2010-2011. After 2012 however, I’ve
managed to get back on track with this target.
GWENDOLYN:Primordial Traditions is my first project which
began as a home- made free webzine. It quickly grew a following online and in
2009 a collection of the best articles was published in a book. This was the
first book I made, and it had quite a few things in it which needed to be
corrected. So I decided to bring out a new edition with a completely different
layout and revised content. Articles from the first book have been replaced
with new chapters also. So in essence, this isn’t just a second edition – it’s
an improved and enhanced version of the earlier book.
are a previous recipient of the Ashton Wylie Award for Literary Excellence
(2009). Can you talk to our readers a little bit about this award and why it
was given to you?
was very surprised to win that. I actually read one of the other contestant’s
books and thought her book was much better than mine. One of the reasons Primordial Traditions won the grand
prize was due not so much due to its content, but the practical application of
it as a philosophy. The Ashton Wylie Award has a humanitarian element to it, so
the money is awarded to people who are likely to use it to advance society. In
the case of the Primordial Tradition,
it’s obviously a philosophy that can unite different strands of faith and
belief for the purposes of ending religious persecution and creating greater
understanding of religions. Rather than merging Traditions together, it adds a sub-layer
of philosophical pretext that permits them to communicate with each other, no
matter how different they are. In essence, what I have tried to do is to render
religion and spirituality into a format which is logical in its approach and
more suited for delivery to a modern audience.
readers of this blog are new authors, some of whom have still not even
approached publishers with their finished manuscripts. How was your experience
as a first time author and can you give us some pointers in dealing with publishers,
agents, editors, etc.
actually never once approached a publisher…I’ve been very lucky and they all came
to me. This probably has something to do with the fact that I was already
publishing my own work online for free though. My best advice here is to use
the internet and put things online for free to attract interest. Publishers
have a way of searching for talent online, and if you are good they will come
to you. Getting publicity is an important aspect.
very interested in this one: can you talk a little bit about your book, Mythos: The Myths and Tales of H.P.
Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard? What was the driving force behind writing
felt like doing something different there. I’ve always enjoyed Lovecraft’s
work, and thought it would fun to work on a book in this genre. There’s a lot
of interest in his books at the moment. It was definitely a fun project to work
on. I’d like to do some more work along this line later.
notice that you’ve published frequently with Numen Books. How difficult was it
to find and feel comfortable with a publisher and how did you know that they
were the right fit for you?
handles the business end of Numen and he is great to work with. I like to
write, but don’t enjoy the business or administrative side of things, so it’s a
great relief to have someone else handle that side of things. Numen also
publishes some other great books, such as Occult
Traditions and Alchemical Traditions.
They specialise in spiritual texts for the intellectual practitioner so it’s a
readers tell me that they enjoy it when I ask this question, so I’m going to do
it once again: What are you currently reading?
I’m reading The Aristocratic Ideal in
Ancient Greece. A bit different to my usual topics, but I’m working on
writing a piece about the idea of the ‘Good’ and ‘Virtue’ in the works of
Plato. So far it’s a very good book and I’m picking up some new information
from it. I would definitely recommend it for anyone interested in Greek philosophy
or classics. I’ve also been reading lot of Plato’s material on the trial and
dialogues of Socrates to see how it relates to his other ideas. So basically
I’m reading lots of Plato and Greek history at the moment.
new work on the horizon? What’s next for Gwendolyn Taunton?
this I plan to finish The Tantrik
Tradition which is reasonably close to completion. I am hoping to release
this in November. This book will be my most significant work, as it combines
ideas I have been researching for over a decade and includes some very hard to
source content on the topic. Instead of concentrating on the usual
over-sensationalised elements of Tantrism, I’ll be looking at its original
Hindu form, and attempt to explain this to people in Western countries, who often
have very odd opinions on Tantra. The way Tantra is perceived by the East and
the West is very strange…almost opposite in fact. There’s probably a good case
for arguing they are not even the same Tradition and that the ‘sacred sex’
element that seems to dominate Western thought on the topic is almost a quirk
of Western culture.
else at all that you’d like us to know about Primordial Traditions or any of your other books?
Primordial Traditions will be back as
a regular publication. Secondly, I’d like to say that the content of this book is
not the same as the first edition. Some pieces which I thought could be
improved on (most of which are ones written by me) have been removed and
replaced with different content. A new chapter at the front of the book has
also been written by me. In essence I’ve taken a book that was already an award
winner and tried to make it even better. And I very much hope people will enjoy
the change. I’d also like to thank Goatcraft
for providing a wonderful soundtrack to the promotional video.
blurb/teaser for Primordial Traditions:
the recipient of the $10,000 Ashton Wylie
Award for Literary Excellence, is finally back in print after a long
hiatus. Originally a free quarterly periodical dealing with spiritual and
metaphysical philosophy, Primordial
Traditions was reprinted in book format in 2009, and received the award for
its potential to unite the different Traditions of the world by postulating a
core under-lying philosophy.
Unfortunately the original plans for
the book were waylaid by a year long sequence of large earthquakes in the
author’s country of residence. Following this, the original plans for the book
became untenable and the author, Gwendolyn Taunton, relocated and the series
In 2014, Primordial Traditions is back in a second edition, with new and
revised content. Now writing under her real name instead of the previous non de
plume, Gwendolyn Taunton has assembled and impressive book of over four hundred
pages with an excellent design and research.
With subject matter as diverse as
religious philosophy, Middle Eastern Mysticism, rites of Ancient Greece and
Rome, Norse Berserkers, Tantra, and altered states of consciousness in yoga, Primordial Traditions covers an
extremely diverse range of topics, some of which are clearly intended to be
aimed at an audience of highly educated readers. This is tempered however, by
some less intense and more relaxing articles on Celtic & Viking history,
Mayan astrology, and even some dealing with law and finance. These articles,
though not as hefty, are equally fascinating and add to the quality of the
volume by virtue of their unique topics.
After sitting down and reading the
book cover to cover, it’s easy to see how such a philosophical approach to
religion could benefit humanity by teaching a sensible, moderate, and logical
approach to faith that ends religious conflicts and prevents dogma and
fundamentalism from damaging spiritual movements. All in all, Gwendolyn
Taunton’s greatest achievement here is perhaps a philosophical victory rather
than a literary one, because this is a concept I could easily see changing not
only the way religion and spirituality are conceived, but also the very nature
of the concept itself. By reading and spreading the philosophy of the
Primordial Tradition, I already feel secure that this book will make the world
a better, happier, and safer place.
Taunton, Primordial Traditions Volume I,
Numen Books, 2014.