The Altar Flame, page2                                                                           



The Altar Flame started out as The Altered Flame, a private posting in a magazine format from Mary Tomich to fellow members of the Shadow Network (pre 1993). In those days, members of this exclusive network could only communicate with the group by snail mail. Members of the Network wishing to communicate, had to write their mail, have it duplicated (approx 60 copies) and then mail out to all. Mary had the idea of sending her input to the group by means of The Altered Flame.

In 1993, Volume 1  Issue 1 & 2 of The Altar Flame were released, still primarily for members of the Shadow Network. Issue 2 included a message from Mary, "Welcome to Volume 1 Issue 2 of The Altar Flame. After this issue, The Altar Flame is going commercial. It's an idea that I had toyed with for quite a while. It is an eight page (or more), four issue per year collection of my effects, plus guest columnists, a book review, and my column".

The Volume 2  Issue1 (Lammas 1993 Issue) was released on time and the Altar Flame has gone from strength to strength with each subsequent issue throughout it's life, the number of pages increased too. A nice feature of many issues was the inclusion of one or more sheets of artwork which the reader needed if making up some of the effects.

In the early days, guest columnists were : Tony 'Doc' Sheils, Eugene Burger, Jeff McBride, Joe Lantierre, Max Maven, Christian Chelman and Joe Givan. Then Brother Shadow became the resident columnist followed latterly by Eugene Poinc.

Mary's wondrous stories and effects became less as space was taken up by the writings of other top names in the world of bizarre. Here's the list of those contributors :- Bill Fienning, Christian Pohl, Richard Mark, Carl Herron, Pascal de Clermont, Max Maven, Christian Chelman, David Hansen, Tim Mochary, Jim Magus, Richard Hart, Hugo Vesper, Will Early, Bruce Barnett, Mark Edward, Ed Solomon, Von Byron, Larry Baukin, Larry Dimmitt, Max Penn, Dr. Mersseman, Joseph Fraher, Terry parrett, Robert Gilliard, Brahm Corstanje, Phil Goldstein, Richard Kaufman, Picard, Karl Bosc, Dennis Marks, Nigel Gordon, Trinity, Robert Randall Waller, Richard Davies, Melvin Le Hair, Larry White, Eugene Poinc, Lee Woodside, Tracy Mowdy, Nomolos ye Mage, Eugene du Jinn, Eugene Flynn, Eugene Burger, Dr. Mazarion Arathorn, Micro, Ronald Dayton, Ed Loveland, Jim Fish, Martin Carli, Michael Henry, Sam Haine and Charles Cameron, Karl Bartoni with Adrian Harris (in the Charles Cameron tribute issue).

Helping Mary through the years of The Altar Flame were: Margery Francis - Story Consultant, Veronica Dostal - Photographer & Occasional Illustrator, The Mysterious Dr. M - Editorial Consultant. Publishing The Altar Flame has been a labour of love for the benefit of all and Mary has maintained the subscription rate of only $20 per year for four issues, for the readership of over 200.

Brother Shadow writes:-

"If you have ever been to a magic convention or gathering where Mary has a dealers table, you know the time and travel she spends on gathering all those wonderful toys for us. As a dealer myself, I know that when Mary is selling her wares, it makes no sense for me to try and sell anything until everyone has checked Mary's table first . If I am lucky, some will still have a little money left over when they leave her table.

But Mary, if she never sold a thing, still has made a huge impact on all of us who love bizarre and storytelling magick. Like Charles Cameron's 'The Cauldron' and Tony Andruzzi's 'Invocations', Mary's 'Altar Flame', with each issue filled with wonderful routines and ideas that made their way into the way we all think about magic, was something very special.

Mary tells me that she will be putting out the VERY complete Altar Flame in a hard book edition including rare issues that few have ever seen. Did you know, that in the early days of The Shadow Network, Mary published The Altered Flame just for us, and they will be in the book.

Mary is very busy, with many irons in the fire, but when the Complete Altar Flame comes out, run , don't walk and get your very own copy of a very valuable book.

Everyone who is involved with our strange and wonderful branch of magic owes Mary a big debt of gratitude".

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