The Hermetic Library Anthology Journal

Today I am announcing a new Journal from the Hermetic Library Anthology Project, a biannual, open access collection of newer written and artistic works within the scope of the library, including, but not limited to, Hermeticism in a broad sense, the Western Esoteric Tradition, and Aleister Crowley’s Thelema. The inaugural issue will be Summer Solstice 2013, with a submission deadline on Mar 21st, 2013.

The Hermetic Library at Hermetic.com has an overall vision of Archiving, Engaging and Encouraging the living Western Esoteric Tradition. Beginning in 2011, I started the benefit anthology project to help promote newer works in the Western Esoteric Tradition to the audience of the Hermetic Library and beyond. The anthology project also further raises awareness about the corpus and culture of magick and ritual. The first year of the anthology project was about the development of anthology albums, but I am now going to expand this project to the creation of anthology journals planned for release biannually at each solstice.

I will be accepting a wide and diverse range of materials, basically looking for things that match with the overall mission and scope of the library. I will be looking for art, essays and articles which speak, but not necessarily directly, to the overall subject matter of the library, which is a pretty broad scope, including, but not limited to, works that relate to the features, fellows, figures, forms and reflections that reside at the library. Also, I will be making no arbitrary upper or lower limits on the content length of written submissions in order to allow as much flexibility as possible, as long as the length serves the piece. I’m also going to describe several specific journal sections separately below as well.

This will be an online open access journal that will be available at no cost to the reader, but I may, and hope to, also publish the journal in a variety of digital and physical editions for people interested in having those.

 

Summer Solstice 2013

This is the call for submissions to the Summer Solstice 2013 issue. Deadline for submissions is Mar 21th, 2013 and release planned for Jun 21, 2013 around Summer Solstice.

Be sure to read through the terms and conditions for submissions to an anthology journal (which includes quite a bit of specific information about the journal and the submissions process), and after that if you have any questions, comments or wish to contribute to this project; contact the librarian.

Please consider joining the Hermetic Library in publishing your work by contributing to the benefit anthology project. While the journal will be open access and available online at no cost to readers, all proceeds from the sale of other formats, such as print and select digital forms, will support the library to help cover Journal production, hosting costs, materials acquisitions, and other expenses. So, in addition to promoting and making available new works, this project will help the library carry on effort to fulfill its mission.

 

Special Features of the Journal

In addition to the primary composition of the Journal from the general written and artistic submissions, there will be a few specialized ideas that I’d like to mention, including a symposium, kottabos, agora, kerukeion, and optional peer-review. Since these are specific ideas, I want to talk about each of these a little bit in turn.

Symposium (Forum)

The ancient Greek symposium was a social event where celebrants gathered to debate and revel in each other’s company, with various entertainments that included wine, women and song. The use of the word ‘symposium’ in English for events where speeches are made is not exactly what the original events were, but the rhetorical contests and dialogues that have come down to us in ancient Greek literature are the inspiration for that use. I propose something not quite so formal as a modern symposium, but not quite so wild as the ancient event.

Have you ever read the Sun magazine’s “readers write” section? If not, you should check that out. I’ve long wanted to do something like that, and here’s my chance. I am going to announce a more or less broad suggested theme for each issue of the journal and publish concise and thoughtful reader responses.

The theme for Summer Solstice 2013 is Intolerance and Tolerance. So, we are going to have a discourse on this topic. Let us propitiate Agathos Daimon with a few drops of wine that we may have a hospitable and entertaining time together, and with luck find ourselves able to share some collective wisdom.

This topic was inspired by a pair of quotes, one more often quoted than the other, from the work of Aleister Crowley in the collection of the library. While these quotes are both from Aleister Crowley, there is absolutely no intentional limitation on responses to just the scope of Aleister Crowley or Thelema, but rather I offer these as stepping off points for you to consider if you want some further inspiration than just the theme itself.

“Intolerance is evidence of impotence.” — Aleister Crowley, Confessions, Chapter 69

“We are infinitely tolerant, save of intolerance.” — Aleister Crowley’s New Comment on Liber AL vel Legis, II:57

You may be interested in a site search on the keyword tolerance as well.

In future, I may not offer anything more than just the theme itself, and leave the rest to you, the reader, to explore. Also, while these themes will be for a Symposium, it is not the theme for an entire issue, except that if people want to submit longer work related to the theme that’s perfectly acceptable and might, moreover, be fun to do.

Kottabos (Letters)

The kottabos was a game of skill at ancient symposia which involved dexterously slinging wine at targets. This was, apparently, a popular activity. Part of the skill was in remaining reclined on a couch while knocking the target off balance so that it made a loud bell-like noise when the target disc fell against a larger disc on the stand.

I want to provide a forum for various kinds of feedback whether that’s tossing wine lees across the room, letters to the editor, kudos, criticisms, or comments on content or about any topic. In part inspired by parliamentary rules but also by my recollection of my surprise at how fascinating and erudite Letters to the Editor were in Economist magazine, the Kottabos will be a section where readers address me directly as editor, and not specific people or authors.

I hope to maintain the Journal, in general, and this section, specifically, as a hospitable environment where no one ends up in hospital or therapy, including myself. While this Kottabos can provide a place for pithy and piquant statements, it is not a place to be insulting or rude. I feel I must be clear this Kottabos is not going to be a space to slander, libel, flame or otherwise attack people or points of view; but rather to offer readers an opportunity to share their own thoughts and feedback about the journal.

Agora (Market)

The commons and marketplace of ancient Hellenic culture. I will be offering full, half and quarter page spaces for people to provide ads of relevant interest that will reach the readership. I will also be providing some of this space gratis to Hermetic Library fellows, members of the Hermetic Hosting family, and some select others as a way of saying thank you for their ongoing participation and support so they can let people know about their projects.

Kerukeion (Announcements)

The herald’s staff, in Greek kerukeion, in Latin caduceus, is a synecdoche for the herald, or public crier. In the Journal this Kerukeion will be space for short textual news items and announcements of interest to the community. Messages submitted will be free of cost in publication, but will be subject to reasonable editorial selection.

Optional peer-review

I do not currently have a good mechanism for adding unsolicited material into the collection at the library and have occasionally and regretfully declined to offer a place in the collection to unsolicited work sent me as the librarian of the site. I’ve long tried to think of a good mechanism to put in place that would be more amenable to adding materials I haven’t solicited. But, I haven’t yet figured out how to do that in a way that I find acceptable.

For other kinds of work, I do have the various pools for visual, video, audio and even a new arts & letters pool from which I post submissions to the blog. However, none of these are really for long form or in-depth work that might be included in the collection of the library itself, which I feel I must have some peer review process in place to do well, especially for topics about which I might not personally be as familiar as required for proper evaluation. I’ve kept trying to think of a good workflow for such things which I hoped included some kind of peer review process, but just haven’t been able to sort that out yet. Ultimately this has remained stubbornly something for the future. Up to now, while I’ve been open to discuss submissions before having them sent, to do due diligence on whether there is a fit and so forth, the current situation is that I’ve not really accepted unsolicited manuscripts.

Meanwhile, I also want to offer a way to provide more direct and constructive feedback to submissions sent to the Journal. On one level I see this as being useful for more academic submissions, but I can also see that there would be a lot of use for this process as it relates to feedback on submitted work, written or otherwise, of all kinds.

To these ends, I am going to offer a completely optional and experimental peer-review process for submissions to the Journal. This optional process will involve a peer-review fee in order to incentivize reviewers, but I think this process will be a good balance between the logistics of offering it and value for people who want to participate.

Under the general submissions process, work submitted to the Journal will receive a simple binary response of either accepted for publication or rejected. However, if a submission is also being peer-reviewed, there will be a range of responses including Accept, Revise, Reject and Revise, Reject, where each includes feedback from the reviewer about the reason for the response and constructive suggestions that would not be offered otherwise.

I should also stress that the optional peer-review process will not, in any way, guarantee publication of a work. Peer-review is an opportunity for review, but it is not a way to secure publication. Also, this optional peer-review process will only be available up front and cannot be added to submissions, to receive either feedback or chance to revise, after the fact of an editorial decision to reject for publication. However, with that said, I imagine that the peer-review process may allow the Journal to accept materials which would otherwise have been rejected by offering a chance to revise submissions or by allowing someone outside the library to vouch for the submission when their expertise is added to the process.

There are more specifics about this peer-review option on the terms and conditions for submissions to an anthology journal page.

 

Conclusion

As a penultimate note, I want to be sure I also mention here in passing Hermetic Library Anthology Album call for Winter 2013 submissions and 2013 anthology album artwork and design call for proposals which I posted earlier. In addition to submissions to the upcoming Winter 2013 album, I am looking for an artist or artists to create the various illustrations needed for the cover and other collateral such as the physical CD design for the artwork and design of the quarterly anthology albums for this next year.

Finally, be sure to stay tuned to this blog and the anthology pages on the site for updates. Please join the Hermetic Library in promoting these journals and the contributors to the benefit anthology project. If you have any questions, comments or wish to contribute to this project; contact the librarian.