With the Wand createth He.
With the Cup preserveth He.
With the Dagger destroyeth He.
With the Coin redeemeth He.
— Liber B vel Magi
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 25th, 2014
The Mark of the Devil by William Mortensen at The Grotesque Eroticism of William Mortensen’s Lost Photography — Larry Lytle, VICE
Here are some top gatherum posts from the BBS this week:
“When one contemplates the marvel of sculptured sound on a graphophonic record, and realizes that from the cold vorticity of line there may magically spring the golden lilt of the greatest song voice that the world has ever heard, then comes the conviction that we are living in the days of white magic.”
“In 1945, workers at Brown University’s biology department were clearing out storage space when they stumbled on a giant trove of natural and ethnographic specimens and artifacts. The collection had belonged to the Jenks Museum of Natural History and Anthropology, founded at the school in 1871 and dismantled in 1915 to make way for new classrooms. Inexplicably, the workers drove 92 truckloads worth of the carefully curated objects to the banks of the Seekonk River, where they unloaded them into a common dump.
Now, the collection has been resurrected from that mire by “The Jenks Society for Lost Museums” — a group of students and professors from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design — with the help of artist Mark Dion. Like previous attempts to reimagine destroyed museums, their three collaborative installations, on view at Rhode Island Hall, recreates parts of the museum while challenging assumptions about permanence in museum work.”
“Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of him—he was written into a footnote by the “straight photography” school of the 1950s, and referred to as “the Antichrist” by Ansel Adams, a tag that stuck after Anton LaVey dedicated The Satanic Bible to him. Primarily known as a Hollywood portrait artist, he developed a myriad of pre-Photoshop special effects to craft grotesque, erotic, and mystical images. This fall, Feral House will release [American Grotesque: The Life and Art of William Mortensen], a monograph on his occult photography.”
“Contrary to the Cardinal’s statement, Vodou is not Haiti’s problem; Christianity is. No push to spread Vodou ever wiped out entire “savage” indigenous peoples. Vodou has caused no wars due to a desire to convert as many people as possible. Vodou doesn’t tell “saved souls” that they must be complacent, accepting their lot on Earth for the potential of future salvation in heaven. Vodou never told Black people they were a curse or 3/5ths of a person.
Vodou is of the belief system that sustained our ancestors across the Middle Passage, during the brutality of the plantation, and through the victories of slave rebellions. Haiti should never apologize for it.
Christianity and the West’s real problem with Vodou is that, like the Maroons who practiced it, it remains elusive to those who would aim to profit off of it, package it, and control it.”
“A treasure trove of Winfield history was recently discovered in the dilapidated two-story building at 1307 Main, just north of the Dawson Monument Company.
Realtors Jeff Albright and Jeff Everhart found a trunk upstairs full of records and memorabilia from the former black Masonic lodge here. They also found the lodge’s gavel.”
“In its heyday, the Winfield lodge hosted a gathering of individual chapters of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Kansas, the organization of black Masonic lodges in the state. The event took place Aug. 20-21, 1917. An estimated 200 Masons attended from around the state.”
“With roots going back to the medieval guilds of stonemasons, Freemasonry is the oldest initiatory society in the West not dependant on a religious institution. Having lodges in virtually every major city in most parts of the world, it has changed from an originally British institution to a worldwide phenomenon with a wide range of local idiosyncratic features and characteristics. Numbering millions of active members it is also the largest fraternal organization in the world, still managing to attract new members in the postmodern society of the twenty-first century. The continued presence and development of Freemasonry with its rich diversity in practices and interpretations, raises the question what it is that makes such an old phenomenon seem relevant to so many diverse people for over three hundred years? There is no single answer to the question, but part of it surely rests on the fact that despite its emphasis on tradition, transmission and authority, Freemasonry has always been a non-dogmatic organisation in the sense that its rituals, symbols and practices have not had official and final interpretations. On the contrary, Freemasonry is characterised by a striking diversity of interpretation—it is thus possible to find purely moral interpretations of its central symbols, but also scientific, psychological, esoteric, political, philosophical, religious etc. interpretations of the same symbols—a fact that will become more than apparent by reading the various chapters of this handbook.”
“He described a data set he was putting together that defined textual cross references found in the Bible. He had already done considerable work visualizing the data before contacting me. Together, we struggled to find an elegant solution to render the data, more than 63,000 cross references in total. As work progressed, it became clear that an interactive visualization would be needed to properly explore the data, where users could zoom in and prune down the information to manageable levels. Together, we struggled to find an elegant solution to render the data, more than 63,000 cross references in total. As work progressed, it became clear that an interactive visualization would be needed to properly explore the data, where users could zoom in and prune down the information to manageable levels. However, this was less interesting to us, as several Bible-exploration programs existed that offered similar functionality (and much more). Instead we set our sights on the other end of the spectrum – something more beautiful than functional. At the same time, we wanted something that honored and revealed the complexity of the data at every level – as one leans in, smaller details should become visible. This ultimately led us to the multi-colored arc diagram you see below.”
“Now, computer programmer Daniel G. Taylor has taken all that data and turned it into a visual masterpiece.
His website, BibViz (Bible Visualization), gives you the same linking arcs as before, but when you hover over one of them, it lights up and tells you in the upper right-hand corner of the screen which verses are being linked together. Click on an arc and it takes you directly to those verses as compiled in the Skeptics Annotated Bible:”
“This thesis compares and contrasts what could be considered two psycho-spiritual traditions: analytical psychology and the Western Esoteric Tradition. A common link between these two traditions is the use of symbols and metaphors of wholeness, specifically the sefirot of the Western Esoteric Tree of Life.”
“Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. We already knew about two types, Shewanella and Geobacter. Now, biologists are showing that they can entice many more out of rocks and marine mud by tempting them with a bit of electrical juice. Experiments growing bacteria on battery electrodes demonstrate that these novel, mind-boggling forms of life are essentially eating and excreting electricity.”
“Baleen and sperm whales act like ecosystem engineers in the global ocean, according to a new study from the University of Vermont. Whales help maintain the global ecological balance due, in part, to the release of vast quantities of feces.
A new study examined decades of research on the marine mammals and their role in maintaining the balance of life in oceans.”
“We both agree that science is at present limited by assumptions that restrict enquiry, and we agree that there are major unsolved problems about consciousness, cosmology and other areas of science… I am proposing testable hypotheses that could take us forward and open up new frontiers of scientific enquiry.”
“What astounds me is how ignorance has played into turning Aleister Crowley into a myth instead of a historical figure. Instead of being known as a educated man who was a freethinker that went against the norm he goes down as a Satanist […] This is due to how close-minded the masses are now and how they were then. That is why this bio-pic is so brilliant and powerful. It sheds light on one of the most misunderstood figures in history.”
“Disregard the angry clamour of the lying masses; avoid the uninitiated mob, and you will know happiness and the truth that is revealed to few.”
“It is not the goal of the library to make money. Nor is it the goal of the library to create levels of service so that those who can afford to indulge will receive more while those who can’t, don’t. Instead, libraries work to ensure their services reach as many facets of their community as possible. Libraries want to offer what they can to those who have nothing and those who maybe have everything.
The library is the center and the heart of community.”
If you’d like to participate in the Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS.
“A modern grimoire of New Aeon Magick that consists of a series of Major Sigils crafted as ritually manifested automatic drawings along with arcane writings ‘pertaining’ to them. Thelemic at it’s core, this work is empowered by the energies of the current Aeon of HORUS but is also deeply rooted in other Aeonic energies, most specifically the magickal current of MAAT: the aeon to come which is manifesting here and now as well. Together they form The Double Current. The book is organized by the ‘natures of the spirits manifest’ into five sections that fall under the major Thelemic/Aeonic Archetypes NU, HAD, HERU, MAAT and the Shadow which is PAN. They are representations of abstract laws, powers, and conglomerates of symbols with uniting elements that can be activated and used to access deep strata of the inner-being. They are not to be intellectualized. The Grimoire is both a work of art magick as well as a tool that can be used to help accomplish The Great Work by the open minded New Aeon Adept with Love & Will.” [via]
Jane Wolfe: The Cefalu Diaries 1920 – 1923 by Jane Wolfe, commentary by Aleister Crowley, compiled and introduced by David Shoemaker, the 2008 deluxe edition from College of Thelema of Northern California (now International College of Thelema), is part of the collection at the Reading Room. The papercover version is still available via print on demand.
“A fascinating look into the training undertaken by Jane Wolfe, a student of Aleister Crowley, at the Abbey of Thelema in Cefalu, Sicily. This book collects the bulk of Wolfe’s surviving diary entries from Cefalu, most of which were typed, complete with handwritten commentary from Crowley on many pages. The diary is presented in grayscale facsimile format. Compiled and Introduced by Dr. David Shoemaker.” [via]
“Reigniting the spark of magick in the hearts of a new generation of aspirants!
Have you ever tried to use
(really use it!) to design and implement magical ritual?
Can you read it without your glasses? Can you read it with your glasses?
Can you tell its ג from its נ? Can you pronounce the Hebrew names and words in 777 once you can read them? Can you find your way around the tables quickly and efficiently? (Can you answer “yes” to any of these questions?)
Aleister Crowley’s Liber 777 remains one of the most important occult references of the 20th Century, demonstrating the interrelationships of diverse philosophical, religious, mystical, and magical systems from around the world. one of Crowley’s finest contributions to both practical and theoretical philosophy was this correlation of numerous world traditions, of East and West alike. Yet it has never been very handy for the practicing magician.
Now, this extraordinary compilation by James A. Eshelman, titled 776½, is designed exclusively to support the practice of ceremonial magick, According to its author, “776½ is not quite 777.”
776½ contains 182 tables of the most useful and practical ceremonial information. Although much of this comes originally from 777, most of the tables have been supplemented and expanded. The Hebrew and other letters are large, clear, and readable. The columns have been reorganized into a more useful sequence. Additionally, almost every Hebrew word or Name in the entire work is also transliterated into English to assist the practitioner in pronunciation. numerous typographical and other mistakes from 777 have been corrected.
New tables have been added on such topics as: The Genii and Averse Spirits of the 22 Paths from Liber Arcanorum and Liber Carcerorum; the Thelemic, Scandanavian, Assyro-Babylonian, Celtic, Voudoun, and Santeria panteons; Psychological Attributions of the 32 Paths; use of the Unicursal Hexagram; the Enochian alphabet and three models of its enumeration; and more. Practical correspondences of animals, plant, precious and semiprecious stones, magical weapons, incenses, “magical powers and magical states,” and others have been expanded.
And that’s just the first half of the book!
Supplementing these extensive lists is a new essay on Ritual Construction (which is also a partial study guide to Crowley’s Magick in Theory and Practice) and ten sample magick rituals for such purposes as generating magical force, prosperity, obtaining angelic guardians, remapping your character patterns, the highest spiritual attainments, and The Thelemic Mass.
This third revised edition expands the already popular 1995 edition with new tables and additional data. The instructional essays have been significantly expanded and updated to incorporate new teaching approaches. A new Appendix contains instructions for frequently used small rituals of banishing, invoking, and energizing—including the never-before-published Liber Pleiades.
In this new edition, 776½ has grown so much, it should be renamed 776¾” — back cover
The Mystical and Magical System of the A∴A∴: The Spiritual System of Aleister Crowley & George Cecil Jones Step-by-Step by James A Eshelman, from the College of Thelema, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“Initiation is a reality. Humanity has a potential to grow far beyond its native state of consciousness and capability. This growth is a spiritual growth. its fruits inform and empower every facet of human, mortal expression, while disclosing to each of us our own inherently immortal natures.
On this spiritual growth, more than any other thing, the future welfare and progress of humanity depends.
For thousands of years, Adepts have known how to unlock or awaken this growth—how to mature it and unleash genius at will. Beginning in 1906, two such Adepts, Aleister Crowley and George Cecil Jones, organized and made public the mystical and magical disciplines by which any motivated person can achieve this spiritual maturity and have direct experience of realization, liberation, union with God, or cosmic consciousness.
They called their system A∴A∴. Its methods are those of empirical science; its aim, those of devoted religion.
This book explores, step-by-step, the mystical and magical system of the A∴A∴. For many in the West, it is a strange thought that spirituality can be drilled in the same way that a muscle is strengthened. Yet, an ear trained to listen to music detects wondrous subtleties that the untrained ear misses. The same is true of the palate trained to distinguish fine food and wine, or the eye trained to discriminate nuance in any of a thousand areas.
The same is true of spiritual experience. The stages of its unfolding are distinct: the discovery of one’s True Will (or who one is in the Universe), and the practical means of expressing this in the world; the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel (or conscious union with the Divine); and the continued advance toward and through that vast gulf, or Abyss, which lies between humanity and Divinity.
The author, in more than 20 years of experience of the the mystical and magical system of the A∴A∴, has derived enormous value from it. This book is the clearest, most comprehensive presentation of the system ever written.” — back cover
The catalogue comprises our usual mixed selection, ranging from relatively recent reprints to some genuine rarities. Amongst the more unusual books are a copy of what is arguably the most handsome book published by Crowley during his lifetime: The Book of Thoth (1944) limited to 200 signed and numbered copies; as well as a First Edition of The Book of the Goetia of Solomon the King (1904) resplendent in a later black full-leather binding; and a copy of The Winged Beetle (1910), limited to 300 numbered copies thus, a work which famously has an alarming and blasphemous alternate meaning encrypted in its dedication. Also unusual are a near-fine copy of Book 4, Part I (1912), a proof copy of The Equinox, Vol. I No V (1911), and a copy of the “leather-bound” issue of the 1981 Thelema Publishing edition of The Book of the Law, limited to 200 copies. Somewhat quirkier items include two original metal printing blocks for the spine and cover titling of the 1976 Thelema publications edition of “The Book of the Law” and a selection of different editions of Leah Sublime, including the infamous Scratch ‘n’ Sniff Leah Sublime (1996), whose instigator, the appositely pseudonymed Frater Pheremone assured that there really was a scent underneath each of the paper swatches (although perhaps mercifully, whatever odour there was seems unlikely to have survived the passing of time).
A small collection of quite remarkable ephemera, all in Crowley’s handwriting, includes some particularly interesting items, such as a picture postcard of “Voo-doo’s Bar” in 1930s Berlin sent by Crowley to Colonel J. F. C. Carter, of Scotland Yard, in which he jokes about his own activities as an informant and Carter’s concerns for Maria Theresa de Mirimar; and a rough draft of a letter in which “the Beast” accuses a doctor of malpractice, quite possibly on the basis that he had performed abortions, to which Crowley was strongly opposed. Two letters, both signed, from Crowley to Frieda Harris, shed light on their relationship, with one including his musings on his new lodgings, and the other his thoughts on progress with the tarot. A selection of works with contributions by Crowley, includes a number of very scarce magazines with pieces by and about him, including a bound volume of The Idler (1909) which contains the first publication of the short story “The Drug” which was not only the first short story to be sold by Crowley but probably one of the first accounts of a “psychedelic experience” to be published in England. [via]