Omnium Gatherum: June 11, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 11, 2019

If you’d like to participate, head over to Omnium Gatherum on the BBS, or suggest something.

  • Help! My Boyfriend Thinks I’m the Reincarnation of an Evil Witch.” — Daniel Mallory Ortberg, Slate [HT Digg]

    “There is a complicated gray area in between ‘totally unreasonable/baffling but part of the rich tapestry of human weirdness’ and ‘deeply concerning, time to call a doctor,’ and I’m afraid this might fall into it. “

  • ‘Hadestown’ Is Big Winner At 2019 Tony Awards With 8 Trophies. Anaïs Mitchell’s folk opera smash surprised no one by taking home the Best Musical award on Broadway’s biggest night.” — Curtis M. Wong, HuffPost

    “Anaïs Mitchell’s jazz and blues-inflected “folk opera” beat out competitors like “The Prom” and “Tootsie” for the top prize Sunday night, bringing its total tally to eight trophies.

    ‘If ‘Hadestown’ stands for anything, it’s that change is possible,’ producer Mara Isaacs told the crowd while accepting the award. ‘In dark times, spring will come again.'”

  • To thrive in a “wicked” world, you need range” — Ephrat Livni, Quartz; a discussion about Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

    Epstein Range

    “It’s long been said that a jack of all trades is a master of none. But the myth of the superiority of specialists is apparently based on limited data, and there’s plenty of evidence, now collected in a new book, to suggest that range is the true engine of innovation and creativity in the game of life.”

  • Babalon by Paul Green, April 4-27, 2020, Space 55, Arizona; from Babalon and other plays by Paul A Green, from Scarlet Imprint [HT Broadway World]

    Green Babalon and Other Plays

    “Rocket scientist Jack Parsons helped develop the technology that took America to the Moon. He was also a disciple of Aleister Crowley, performed magical rites with L. Ron Hubbard, and held wild occult sex parties in his Pasadena home. Based on a true story, Paul Green’s Babalon is a poetic and profoundly moving exploration of the strange, explosive forces that brought us into the Space Age. An Arizona premiere!”

  • This religious group formed in 1913 believes African Americans are Muslims and of Moorish descent” — Mildred Europa Taylor, Face 2 Face Africa

    “In effect, the Moorish Science Temple of America may not be as it was in the 1920s, but its influence on black consciousness can never be ignored, observers say.”

  • Walt Whitman: Proto-Pagan At 200” — Tom Swiss, The Zen Pagan

    “There is a direct chain of inspiration from Whitman to the important occultist and Pagan figures Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune, and Gerald Gardner, via the English poet Algernon Charles Swinburne.

    Swinburne was a Whitman fan during the time he produced his most significant work — even writing a poem “To Walt Whitman In America”: “O strong-winged soul with prophetic / Lips hot with the bloodheats of song”. (Though they had something of a falling out later.) According to historian Ronald Hutton, Crowley, Fortune, and Gardner were all influenced by Swinburne. (Crowley even canonized Swinburne as a saint of the Gnostic Catholic Church.)”

  • John Romero releases unofficial 5th episode of original Doom for free” — Aaron Mamiit, Digital Trends

    “Romero said that in Sigil, players will fight through a ‘stygian pocket of evil to confront the ultimate harbingers of Satan,’ after Baphomet sends the player to ‘even darker shores of Hell.'”

  • [Overlook Review] ‘Satanic Panic’ Delivers a Messy Comedy Horror” — Meagan Navarro, Bloody Disgusting; about Satanic Panic, dir Chelsea Stardust, with Rebecca Romijn, Jerry O’Connell, & al.

    Fangoria Satanic Panic film

    “After a day full of deliveries that left her shortchanged on the tips, one final stop in an out of territory rich neighborhood leaves her stranded and the target of upper class Baphomet worshippers looking to sacrifice her before the sun comes up. What transpires is a night of chaotic Satanic rituals, demon summoning, and a whole lot of bloodshed in a very chaotic and tonally strange horror comedy.”

  • The Age of Aquarius, All Over Again! Belief in astrology and the occult is surging.” — David Brooks, New York Times

    “We’re living in the middle of a religious revival; it’s just that the movements that are rising are not what we normally call “religion.” The first rising movement is astrology. According to a 2018 Pew poll, 29 percent of Americans say they believe in astrology. That’s more than are members of mainline Protestant churches.

    These surging movements are people’s attempts to solve the major needs of the current moment.

    The first need is simply to find a way to be spiritual. …

    Second, there is a widespread need to slow down, to escape the pace of life technology wants and to live at a human pace.

    Third, there is a widespread need to express alienation. …

    Fourth is the need for identity markers. …

    Fifth is the desire to live within a coherent creed and community, but without having that creed impinge on your individual autonomy. …

    Finally, many people seem to want to be alternative without actually leaving the mainstream world.”

  • The Rise of Progressive Occultism” — Tara Isabella Burton, The America Interest

    “Back in 1992, Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson warned of the dangers of feminism, predicting that it would induce “women to leave their husbands. . . .practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” Many of today’s witches would happily agree.”

  • When The Religious Left Is Occult” — Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

    “Here’s what I’ve been thinking since our conversation about this piece, and since reading it earlier today: we should take this as seriously as its practitioners do.

    Under liberalism, many of us have a habit of ironically distancing ourselves from taking religion — mainstream religion, or outsider religion — seriously. For example, we think of religious rites as an expression of how the practitioner feels about this or that. Secular unbelievers, obviously, don’t think that there is anything real happening with satanic rites, spell-casting, and suchlike. It is nothing more than a form of theater. They also regard Christian rituals in the same way.

    If materialism is an accurate and complete account of reality, then they’re right: it’s nothing more than emotive pageantry. Still, if that’s all it is, then we should at least take seriously the fact that there are people who wish to express in ritual a desire to “disrupt, distort [and] destroy.” In writing about the believers within these circles, Tara told me that it’s not a joke or a game to them; they really do believe that what they’re doing has an effect, just as much as a Christian faith healer or exorcist does.

    Holden Matthews, the young white man charged with burning down three black churches this year in south Louisiana, was reportedly deeply involved with the black metal scene, a genre of rock that celebrates satanic themes, sometimes attracts white supremacists, and whose followers have been linked to church burnings elsewhere. Maybe there’s nothing to it but expressive pageantry, but then again, Mohammed Atta and his crew hijacked airliners and flew them into buildings for religious and political reasons. My point is simply that religion is not always something nice and respectable and life-affirming. All religion might be false, but most of us would rather live next door to Ned Flanders than Holden Matthews.

    But what if materialism’s account of reality is untrue? What if there really is something actual going on with religion? That is, what if people who perform religious rites — Catholics, Taoists, witches, everyone — are not simply expressing how they feel, but truly making contact with the numinous, and engaging its power?”

  • SpaceTime Coordinates

    SpaceTime Coordinates gold plated rhodium mementos


    Our designs are produced through a unique, top-tier solar system simulator that was developed in-house and featured by OpenNASA. We offer the most precise product available on the market, using NASA/JPL data that is constantly updated.”

  • The Brain Maps Out Ideas and Memories Like Spaces. Emerging evidence suggests that the brain encodes abstract knowledge in the same way that it represents positions in space, which hints at a more universal theory of cognition.” — Jordana Cepelewicz, Quanta Magazine

    “In the past few decades, research has shown that for at least two of our faculties, memory and navigation, those metaphors may have a physical basis in the brain. A small seahorse-shaped structure, the hippocampus, is essential to both those functions, and evidence has started to suggest that the same coding scheme — a grid-based form of representation — may underlie them. Recent insights have prompted some researchers to propose that this same coding scheme can help us navigate other kinds of information, including sights, sounds and abstract concepts. The most ambitious suggestions even venture that these grid codes could be the key to understanding how the brain processes all details of general knowledge, perception and memory.”

  • Jamaica moving to legalize obeah, a practice banned for centuries” — who, Jamaica Beacon; from the Obeah-Wanga dept. [HT Dr Death & Divinity]

    “Lawmakers yesterday blocked a proposed increase in fines for persons practicing obeah; this amid revelations that plans are afoot to legalize the practice in Jamaica.

    Obeah has been illegal here for centuries, but it is still widely practiced, and law enforcers often turn a blind eye to obeah practitioners.”

  • Longtime Linden minister used oral sex in exorcism ritual, men claim. A Presbyterian minister with deep ties to Union County stands accused of using oral sex in exorcism rituals on victims seeking his counseling.” — Nick Muscavage, Bridgewater Courier News [HT Dr Kate Kingsbury]

    “A Presbyterian minister, who said he was following the Bible, used Native American exorcism rituals, gemstones and even oral sex to extract “evil spirits” from men undergoing crises in their lives, the church and men claim.”

  • At last, Dora Maar emerges from her lover Picasso’s shadow. Major survey of the Surrealist photographer at Centre Pompidou will travel to Tate Modern and the Getty Center.” — Ben Luke, The Art Newspaper; about Dora Maar exhibit, June 5 – July 29, 2019, Centre Pompidou, Paris [HT Dr Sabia Stent]

    Maar exhibit Centre Pompidou

    “The Surrealist artist and photographer Dora Maar’s relationship with Pablo Picasso hugely affected her burgeoning reputation. Specialists in Surrealism are well aware that Maar was an inspired and innovative photographer before she met him, as well as a documenter, as later seen in a series of images of the Spanish artist’s masterpiece Guernica (1937). But for a wider public Maar has been defined by Picasso’s depictions of her, particularly as the Weeping Woman (1937).

    A major survey that opens at the Centre Pompidou in Paris this week, later touring to Tate Modern in London and the Getty Center in Los Angeles, should liberate Maar from that vision. Born Henriette Theodora Markovitch in 1907, to a French mother and Croatian father, she grew up in Argentina but began studying photography in the late 1920s after the family moved to Paris. By the early 1930s she was making studio-based commercial photography, often in collaboration with the set designer Pierre Kéfer.”