Monthly Archives: November 2021

Century 1969

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1969 [Amazon, Amazon (Collected), Local Library] by Alan Moore, Kevin O’Neill, &al.

Moore O'Neill The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century 1969

The bad and the good of the latest regarding Mina Harker and her peculiar company:

Moore’s alternate history in this book is not compelling (“hippy fascism” in the US?)–I thought that Warren Ellis’ Planetary did a far better job of this sort of thing. Unsurprisingly, as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has progressed through the 20th century, it has come more and more to seem like an inferior version of Planetary, which started out doing for the 20th century what The League originally did for the 19th. 

Moorcock “crossover” homages? They’re not exciting to me the way they would have been when I was a teenager. Modeling the villain on Aleister Crowley — as was set up in 1910? Meh. Professed Magus Moore either proves that he has no idea what a moonchild is (and has never bothered to read Crowley’s novel of that name), or he’s gratuitously throwing dust in the eyes of the profane. 

There were lots of fun little in-jokes; the incorporation of Rosemary’s Baby into the plotline was a nice touch. I couldn’t help feeling that I was missing dozens of cameos in O’Neill’s crowded panels. 

The art in the psychedelic sequences is great! I also thought that Moore’s rewrite of “Sympathy for the Devil” was just splendid.

Listen, you! We expect nothing from you…we have burnt our hope as far as you are concerned…we want to speak to the ones who are prepared to stop eating their food. Misery is your food… scum-filth party politics is your food…when will you look down and see what is on the end of your fork – the naked lunch? We give up, you little people, your tenacity, your insistence on little wretched miseries amazes us. Stop reading this now. Because it is highly unlikely that you are one of those able to understand us.


Hermetic quote TOPY Blood stop reading this little wretched miseries highly unlikely you are one able to understand

Briefing for a Descent Into Hell

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Briefing for a Descent Into Hell [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Doris Lessing.

Lessing Briefing for a Descent into Hell

This novel is beautifully written. I felt like it was very demanding of my attention, because although styles and speakers vary in the course of the text, there are no full page-stop chapter breaks. In the absence of dialogue, paragraphs tend to run for multiple pages, and the prose (sometimes breaking into poetry or incantation) has an insistent restlessness in keeping with its subject matter–especially in the first half, where a narcotized sleep is an ambivalent power for desired healing or feared imprisonment.

“I never learned to live awake. I was trained for sleep. Oh let me sleep and sleep my life away. And if the pressure of true memory wakes me before I need, if the urgency of what I should be doing stabs into my sleep, then for God’s sake doctor, for goodness sake, give me drugs and put me back to dreaming again.” (139)

This waking/sleep dialectic is one of the features that insinuates a mystical subtext throughout. Others include the intimation of people destined for companionship, the foreboding of illusion in consensual phenomena, and reflections on the urge to engender praeterhumanity in our children.

There are many different levels of storytelling involved, of which the outermost is a set of clinical notes and correspondence surrounding the hospitalization of a man with what seems to be traumatic amnesia. Within that setting are conversations, and within those are dreams and memories. In one dream an entire governance of the solar system is set forth as background to the protagonist’s sense of dislocation and urgency. In an unreliable memory, guerrilla warfare becomes the setting for a tragic encounter with idyllic nature.

Others have noted that this is a book worth re-reading, and I’m inclined to agree.

Omnium Gatherum: 28nov2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for November 28, 2021

Here’s a variety of notable things I’ve recently found that you may also be interested in checking out:

  • Today! “The Birth of VALA II. Nov 28, 2021 07:30 PM in London.” Tweet—”We’re very excited to be launching the second issue of VALA, the Journal of The Blake Society tomorrow, as a free pdf from our website. We’ll be celebrating the launch, and William’s birthday, tomorrow evening at 7:30 PM (UK time) on Zoom. All welcome, link to register below…” Also tweet—”Blake’s birthday and launch of VALA #2. Join us on Zoom on Sunday 28 November at 7:30 PM (UK time) to celebrate Blake’s birth and the launch of the second issue of VALA, the journal of the Blake Society.”
  • Crowdfunding with 49 hours to go: “The Ufology Tarot. The Ufology Tarot deck uses the 22 Major Arcana cards for learning and personal reflection using historical figures from Ufology.”—”We are developing a tarot set with the aim of honoring and illustrating many UFO researchers, incidents, and theories with the first 22 cards of the tarot (the 2nd 56 will follow in another campaign.) The field is 70 years old and in that time, the witnesses, the sightings, and those who study them have developed a rich history full of archetypal imagery. The Ufology Tarot Deck is being created to educate, entertain, inform, and inspire those who use it with images and ideas that will give even the seasoned saucer student techniques to look at this enduring enigma with a fresh perspective. We also hope that those who use and enjoy the cards will gain insights that reflect the inner life and personality of the user. We believe that personal motivations and subjective insights are just as important as a thorough understanding of where we have come from, and will help to develop new ways of plumbing the mysteries of this most enduring of modern puzzles. The set will be based loosely on the Rider-Waite-Smith deck – the most well-known and widely-used Tarot deck.”
  • John Coulthart has some “Prints at Etsy” over at his shop.
  • Have yourself a monstrous Christmas: Europe’s scariest anti-santas“—”Santa coming to town is an exciting time for every child, but what about when he brings his ghastly ghoul of a mate? Many European countries have a scary Santa counterpart who punishes naughty children. These anti-santas can be terrifying enough to make kids behave all year round, which is probably the point. The festive frights often have interesting back stories that stretch back to ancient folklore, so let’s explore some of the characters that you’d rather not see you when you’re sleeping.”
  • Aleister Crowley’s Ashes“—”Once upon a time I read that Aleister Crowley’s ashes were buried under a tree in New Jersey. Crowley’s last will and testament instructed his executors to preserve his ashes and give them to Karl Germer (Frater Saturnus), then a 10* and the Grand Treasurer General of the Order Templi Orientis. Karl Germer lived in New Jersey, in a large house down a long drive. The house doubled as the offices of Thelema Publishing and was referred to as ‘the big white house.’
    The only known address of this house has been P.O. Box 581 in Hampton, N.J. On that property Germer’s wife, Sascha, poured the ashes from an urn onto the ground at the base of a tree which came to be known as the ‘Aleister Crowley tree.'” “In the Spring of 2020, during the doldrums of Covid lock-downs, I decided to cross the mystery of the location of Crowley’s ashes off of a long and peculiar list.” “The final resting place of Aleister Crowley is still there, is very well, and is in Lebanon Township, New Jersey, not far from the Musconetcong River. The tree at which his ashes were either buried or dashed is likely still there. Whether or not what Germer said happened to Crowley’s ashes actually happened is anyone’s guess.”

  • Follow-up on this story! “Ex-bishop marries Spanish sweetheart in Barcelona after Pope says yes to sex – Olive Press News Spain. A SPANISH bishop who quit to marry an erotic novel writer 14 years his junior has finally tied the knot.” Mazel tov!
  • ‘Temple of Zeus’ unearthed in Turkey’s ancient city of Magnesia“—”Two-thirds of the Temple of Zeus was unearthed during the archaeological excavations in the Germencik District of Turkey’s Aegean province of Aydin. The original of the Temple of Zeus, whose a replica is exhibited in the Berlin Pergamon Museum in Germany, has been brought to light. Two months ago, the entrance gate of the temple was discovered during the excavations carried out in an area of 26,000 square meters, known as the religious agora.”
  • Tweet thread—”Anyone who gets mad and says someone is ‘appropriating’ Norse paganism is falling into White Supremacist rhetoric. Note, I am NOT calling anyone who falls for this a WS but it’s rhetoric MADE BY and FOR WS. Norse paganism is not closed. It is a reconstructed religion. 1/6″
  • The Jumbotron Critique of Lucid Dreaming. Questions to ask about Western practices of consciousness in dreaming. Modern approaches to lucid dreaming are significantly different from non-Western practices. In most non-Western traditions, practices of conscious dreaming require shedding the individual ego. There is a sharp tension in present-day Western culture between the spiritual potentials of lucid dreaming and fantasies of ego control.”
  • Tweet—”End Times preacher Sharon Gilbert says that an alien imitated her husband, and then it tried to have sex with her, and then it claimed to be Xerxes, and then Jesus got involved, and then the alien turned out to be a reptile with a posse of gargoyles.”Newsweek reached out for comment, still nothing, but maybe there’s more coming, so to speak?
  • What the History of ‘Spirit Photography’ Portends for the Future of Deepfake Videos. Today’s video hoaxes can be downright ugly. But image-makers have been fooling viewers from the beginning.”
  • Watch “Benedetta – Official Trailer”—”A film by Paul Verhoeven, with Virginie Efira, Charlotte Rampling, Daphné Patakia and Lambert Wilson. In French cinemas on July 9th 2021. In the late 17th century, with plague ravaging the land, Benedetta Carlini joins the convent in Pescia, Tuscany, as a novice. Capable from an early age of performing miracles, Benedetta’s impact on life in the community is immediate and momentous.” Also watch “Benedetta – Official Trailer | HD | IFC Films”—”Opening in theaters December 3 and on VOD December 21. Director: Paul Verhoeven. Starring: Virginie Efira, Charlotte Rampling, Daphne Patakia. Based on a true story, a 17th-century nun becomes entangled in a forbidden lesbian affair with a novice. But it is Benedetta’s shocking religious visions that threaten to shake the Church to its core.” Based on Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Judith C Brown—”The discovery of the fascinating and richly documented story of Sister Benedetta Carlini, Abbess of the Convent of the Mother of God, by Judith C. Brown was an event of major historical importance. Not only is the story revealed in Immodest Acts that of the rise and fall of a powerful woman in a church community and a record of the life of a religious visionary, it is also the earliest documentation of lesbianism in modern Western history. Born of well-to-do parents, Benedetta Carlini entered the convent at the age of nine. At twenty-three, she began to have visions of both a religious and erotic nature. Benedetta was elected abbess due largely to these visions, but later aroused suspicions by claiming to have had supernatural contacts with Christ. During the course of an investigation, church authorities not only found that she had faked her visions and stigmata, but uncovered evidence of a lesbian affair with another nun, Bartolomeo. The story of the relationship between the two nuns and of Benedetta’s fall from an abbess to an outcast is revealed in surprisingly candid archival documents and retold here with a fine sense of drama.”
  • The Great God Pan is all things to all men. Pan: The Great God’s Modern Return by Paul Robichaud reviewed.”—”A fascinating account of a strange god with meme-like reach across the ages, and a study in the temporal shape-shifting of mythology itself.” About Pan: The Great God’s Modern Return [Amazon, Bookshop UK, Publisher, Local Library] by Paul Robichaud—”From ancient myth to contemporary art and literature, a beguiling look at the many incarnations of the mischievous—and culturally immortal—god Pan. Pan—he of the cloven hoof and lustful grin, beckoning through the trees. From classical myth to modern literature, film, and music, the god Pan has long fascinated and terrified the western imagination. “Panic” is the name given to the peculiar feeling we experience in his presence. Still, the ways in which Pan has been imagined have varied wildly—fitting for a god whose very name the ancients confused with the Greek word meaning “all.” Part-goat, part-man, Pan bridges the divide between the human and animal worlds. In exquisite prose, Paul Robichaud explores how Pan has been imagined in mythology, art, literature, music, spirituality, and popular culture through the centuries. At times, Pan is a dangerous, destabilizing force; sometimes, a source of fertility and renewal. His portrayals reveal shifting anxieties about our own animal impulses and our relationship to nature. Always the outsider, he has been the god of choice for gay writers, occult practitioners, and New Age mystics. And although ancient sources announced his death, he has lived on through the work of Arthur Machen, Gustav Mahler, Kenneth Grahame, D. H. Lawrence, and countless others. Pan: The Great God’s Modern Return traces his intoxicating dance.”
  • Pan: A Clergyman’s Redemption in Margery Lawrence’s How Pan Came to Little Ingleton“—”I’ve only recently begun to read the magical fiction of Margery Lawrence (1889-1969), and admittedly, am wondering why I have never encountered her before, as the more I read about her, the more fascinating she sounds. A prolific author, she wrote over thirty novels and short story collections. Curiously though, there seems to be a dearth of critical scholarship analyzing her work. I have yet to find a full biography of Lawrence, but here’s what I’ve managed to cobble together from various sources.”
  • The Odd Fellows’ Primer [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher] by Michael Greenzeiger, ed. Scott Moye (Editor), illo. Ainslie Heilich—”The Odd Fellows’ Primer is a work cut from the same cloth as the great 19th century manuals written by luminaries such as Rev. Aaron Grosh and Paschal Donaldson, designed to give the initiate everything they need to practice and live Odd Fellowship in the lodge and beyond. This comprehensive work explores and explains concepts of fraternalism and parliamentary procedure and the deeper spiritual and ethical facets of this ancient and venerable tradition. Richly and beautifully illustrated by Ainslie Heilich and written by Michael Greenzeiger, the Odd Fellows’ Primer is designed to both inform and inspire. It is sure to become a treasured addition to any fraternal library.”
  • Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Donald J Robertson, illo. Zé Nuno Fraga, due June 2022—”In the tradition of Logicomix, Donald Robertson’s Verissimus is a riveting graphic novel on the life and stoic philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. Marcus Aurelius was the last famous Stoic of antiquity but he was also to become the most powerful man in the known world – the Roman emperor. After losing his father at an early age, he threw himself into the study of philosophy. The closest thing history knew to a philosopher-king, yet constant warfare and an accursed plague almost brought his empire to its knees. “Life is warfare”, he wrote, “and a sojourn in foreign land!” One thing alone could save him: philosophy, the love of wisdom! The remarkable story of Marcus Aurelius’ life and philosophical journey is brought to life by philosopher and psychotherapist Donald Robertson, in a sweeping historical epic of a graphic novel, based on a close study of the historical evidence, with the stunning full-color artwork of award-winning illustrator Zé Nuno Fraga.”
  • Discovering Your Personal Daimon: An Accessible Astrological Guide to Fate and Destiny [Amazon] by Cat Rose Neligan—”When we doubt our purpose in life, and question the path we are on, we often assume that we are the only ones on this journey of life. As a result, we can feel incredibly isolated and lost. What’s the point in doing anything if the direction we’re headed in, isn’t ours to venture towards? But what if we aren’t alone on this journey? What if we have never been alone? What if there was a guiding force, a being who remembers exactly what we agreed to, before we came to this life? The personal daimon is that very being, and yes, you have one – even if you haven’t been aware of it so far. This book will take you on an adventure to discovering your personal daimon, using approaches grounded in ancient theories and practices, leaving you with no doubts that there is indeed a guiding force in your life, and that you can get to know intimately what – and who – that is.”
  • So Potent Art: The Magic of Shakespeare [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Emily Carding, foreword by Caitlin Matthews—”Omens, Alchemy, and Occult Wisdom in the Works of the Great Bard. Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets are steeped in magic and esoteric lore. So Potent Art explores fascinating examples of astrology, alchemy, and Hermeticism in addition to herbalism, witchcraft, fairies, ghosts, and divine intervention. This book also reveals the deeper archetypal structures of the plays and shows how the sacred architecture of the historical theater space enhances Shakespeare’s magical themes. Author Emily Carding, a Wiccan initiate and theater professional who specializes in staging Shakespeare, discusses the influence of esoteric writers such as Ovid, Agrippa, and John Dee on The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest, Macbeth, and other Shakespearean works. Each chapter is accompanied by practical suggestions, rituals, and exercises for you to try, enhancing your understanding not only of the great bard’s writings but also of yourself.”
  • “As students of classical literature, we cannot expect to have new material wafted onto our desks year in and year out in bountiful quantity; most of the time, we find ourselves handling objects that have been known and used for many centuries. The priceless documents from olden times entrusted to our temporary care remain the same, but each of us will make a fresh effort to comprehend and assess them according to his own lights. There are any number of aspects, all of them equally legitimate, under which a great work of literature may be correctly understood; it is the ephemeral product that allows of one explanation only. On the other hand, any person or generation that is keenly responsive to certain values will inevitably be blind and deaf to certain others, and in the march of literary criticism not every step moves forward. Thus it is only natural that we should frequently be obliged to revise opinions handed down to us.” “However valid a critical judgment may have been in the first place, it will lose some of its cogency with each reiteration, and by the time it has become a truism it has little truth left in it. The reasons for this strange fact seem to be these. Unchallenged perseverance in a belief leads to complacent over-simplification; the complex setting on which the assertion was originally projected gradually fades out, and with its background its justification will be gone; a criticism, in order to be revealing, must stir the mind rather than put it to rest; and we know least about those things we take for granted.”—Hermann Fränkel, Ovid: A Poet between Two Worlds (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1945 = Sather Classical Lectures, 18), p. 1, quoted at New Interpretations of Old Texts.
  • Crowdfunding with 59 days to go: “CloisterFox Zine: A bi-annual zine of British speculative fiction.”—”Hello! I’m Verity Holloway, a writer and editor in East Anglia. I’m launching CloisterFox, a bi-annual zine of British strange fiction. Every six months, I aim to release a zine of six captivating, genre-bending short stories in an A5 perfect bound volume, richly illustrated, ideal for throwing in your bag. Zines are once again having a moment. The pleasure of having a beautiful book to hold and admire is something every reader can relate to. It’s long been a dream of mine to host excellent speculative fiction in a beautiful setting. CloisterFox is a wry creature strolling somewhere he shouldn’t, lending vivid colour to dreary train journeys and bus stop ennui. I want to publish stories that creep uninvited along quiet corridors. Stories missed by shoppers hurrying by. Secrets, miracles, universes behind locked tenement doors. Ghosts and gallows. The dress in the attic as seen through a haze of neon. Tell me things I don’t know. Tell me the dreams you can’t forget. Tell me strange things.”
  • At The Mountains of Madness – Volume II [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by François Baranger, H P Lovecraft—”Return to the final days of the Dyer expedition in the remote Antarctic wastes. The letters from expedition leader Professor William Dyer grow increasingly more desperate as the expedition presses on, leaving sanity behind them. What they discover beneath the ice is meant for no living man to see, Cyclopean structures and alien landscapes that defy history itself. The final act of the Dyer Expedition is a descent into cosmic horror and utter madness. H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, first published in 1936, is one of the greatest classics of American horror literature. The most ambitious story Lovecraft ever wrote, it has served as a source of inspiration for filmmakers and authors in the decades since his death. This is the second volume of two. François Baranger, an illustrator with experience working in both the film and gaming industries, was fascinated early on by Lovecraft’s creatures and visions which populated the darkest recesses of fantasy. Having previously illustrated The Call of Cthulhu to great acclaim, this book is his most ambitious creation so far.”
  • Surrealist sabotage and the war on work [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Abigail Susik—”In Surrealist sabotage and the war on work, art historian Abigail Susik uncovers the expansive parameters of the international surrealist movement’s ongoing engagement with an aesthetics of sabotage between the 1920s and the 1970s, demonstrating how surrealists unceasingly sought to transform the work of art into a form of unmanageable anti-work. In four case studies devoted to surrealism’s transatlantic war on work, Susik analyses how artworks and texts by Man Ray, André Breton, Simone Breton, André Thirion, Óscar Domínguez, Konrad Klapheck, and the Chicago surrealists, among others, were pivotally impacted by the intransigent surrealist concepts of principled work refusal, permanent strike, and autonomous pleasure. Underscoring surrealism’s profound relevance for readers engaged in ongoing debates about gendered labour and the wage gap, endemic over-work and exploitation, and the vicissitudes of knowledge work and the gig economy, Surrealist sabotage and the war on work reveals that surrealism’s creative work refusal retains immense relevance in our wired world.”
  • Inside the rise of ‘antiwork,’ a worker’s strike that wants to turn the labor shortage into a new American Dream. The ‘antiwork’ movement is rapidly growing, as people — especially Gen Zers — embrace a work-free lifestyle. Both an online and in-person movement, it’s about workers pushing back against exploitation and rethinking possibilities. Insider spoke to three antiworkers about why they’ve left working behind, and what it means about the American Dream.”
  • A Gut-Wrenching but Graceful Photo Project on Trump’s America.” About Property Rights [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Mitch Epstein, Susan Bell—”Who owns the land, by whose authority, and with what rights? Mitch Epstein examines the American government’s ongoing legacy of property confiscation, and how communities gather to resist. Epstein began his latest series in 2017 at Standing Rock, where thousands protested the installation of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Sioux land. Over four years, he charted other contested lands from Pennsylvania and Hawaii to the Mexican border, as well as land loss through wildfires and flooding due to egregious environmental negligence. In keeping with Epstein’s 50-year exploration of American life, Property Rights questions the relationship between institutions, civil rights and the rights of nature itself. Acknowledging our bodies and lives as our most fundamental property, the book examines other forms of trespass and destruction in an elegy to the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre, and in photographs of Black Lives Matter protests during COVID-19. Property Rights includes the voices of activists Epstein interviewed while making this deeply personal and political work. In a time of alarming division, the book describes diverse communities in a common fight against politicians and plutocrats willing to sacrifice the people’s well-being.”
  • Reasons First.” About Reasons First [Amazon, Bookshop UK, Publisher, Local Library] by Mark Schroeder—”In the last five decades, ethical theory has been preoccupied by a turn to reasons. The vocabulary of reasons has become a common currency not only in ethics, but in epistemology, action theory, and many related areas. It is now common, for example, to see central theses such as evidentialism in epistemology and egalitarianism in political philosophy formulated in terms of reasons. And some have even claimed that the vocabulary of reasons is so useful precisely because reasons have analytical and explanatory priority over other normative concepts-that reasons in that sense come first. Reasons First systematically explores both the benefits and burdens of the hypothesis that reasons do indeed come first in normative theory, against the conjecture that theorizing in both ethics and epistemology can only be hampered by neglect of the other. Bringing two decades of work on reasons in both ethics and epistemology to bear, Mark Schroeder argues that some of the most important challenges to the idea that reasons could come first are themselves the source of some of the most obstinate puzzles in epistemology: about how perceptual experience could provide evidence about the world, and about what can make evidence sufficient to justify belief. Schroeder shows that, along with moral worth, one of the very best cases for the fundamental explanatory power of reasons in normative theory actually comes from knowledge.”
  • Giant, free index to world’s research papers released online. Catalogue of billions of phrases from 107 million papers could ease computerized searching of the literature.”
  • New tests show neolithic pits near Stonehenge were human-made. Ring of hollows has been called the largest prehistoric structure found in Britain, but some were sceptical.” Also “Stonehenge breakthrough: New tests uncover Neolithic secret: ‘It’s one enormous structure’. STONEHENGE experts have made a stunning discovery that they say uncover the Neolithic secrets of our ancestors.”
  • Watch “New species of dinosaur with ‘unusually large nose’ discovered – BBC News”—”A new species of dinosaur with a noticeably large nose has been discovered on the UK’s Isle of Wight. Retired doctor Jeremy Lockwood wanted to prove that the two most common dinosaurs on the Isle were not the only ones to have existed there. He went through old storage boxes of dinosaur bones and when piecing together the skulls, realised they belonged to a totally new species – brighstoneus simmondsi.”
  • Watch “The ancient Calfornian giants destroyed by climate change – BBC News”—”California has been besieged by wildfire this year, taking a huge toll on wildlife as well as human communities. Giant sequoias – the largest trees on earth – can weigh more than 6,000 tonnes and can live for more than 3,000 years, but have suffered in the relentless fires. Sequoia National Park guide Christy Brigham is overcome with emotion when she sees these trees, specially adapted to withstand flames, reduced to charcoal. But as a result climate change and a policy of suppressing small fires, conflagrations have been burning bigger and hotter, destroying the ancient trees.”
  • Watch “Scientists are ‘a step closer to reversing paralysis’ in humans – BBC News”—”US scientists have successfully reversed paralysis in mice, bringing them a step closer to achieving similar results in humans. A new therapy injected into the spinal cords encouraged molecules to “dance”, promoting regeneration in damaged nerves. The team hopes to begin trials in human patients within two years.”
  • Watch “How I created an evolving neural network ecosystem“—”After my last video I got a lot of comments (mainly on Reddit) asking me to make a video explaining how I did it. It took me a while to learn how to video edit, voice act, and animate, so it was about time I presented and explained this project.”
  • Watch “BREAKING: OpenAI GPT-3 Now Open to Public [FREE]“—”OpenAI has removed their wait list. You can now sign up and play around with GPT-3 instantly! In this video, I’ll talk about the announcement and provide a basic walkthrough to experiment with GPT-3.”
  • Watch “The First Internet Hoax – Inside A Mind“—”An urban legend tells of a group of scientists who successfully escaped into another dimension. Join me as we go back in time to a place where the internet was like nothing we see today. Ongs Hat is a ghost town in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens. Many Myths and Lergends are said to exist within the area. Such as the Jersey Devil and a tale revolving around a military operation that came into the town and took several individuals nearby who were never heard of again. This is the story of Ong’s Hat.”
  • Tweet—”your holiday being ruined because your wifi bbq needs to do a software update is some real cyberpunk suburban dystopia shit”
  • Confessions of a (former) social media manager“—”The urge to log off is the social media manager’s version of the call of the wild, or maybe the abyss.”
  • Facebook accused of continuing to surveil teens for ad targeting“—”The adtech giant formerly known as Facebook is still tracking teens for ad targeting on its social media platforms, according to new research by Fairplay, Global Action Plan and Reset Australia — apparently contradicting Facebook’s announcement this summer when the tech giant claimed it would be limiting how advertisers could reach kids. Facebook has since rebranded the group business name to ‘Meta’ — in what looks like a doomed bid to detoxify its brand following a never-ending string of scandals. In the latest problem for Facebook/Meta, the adtech giant has been accused of not actually abandoning ad targeting for teens but, per the research, it has retained its algorithms’ abilities to track and target kids — continuing to maintain its AIs’ ability to surveil children so it can use data about what they do online to determine which ads they see in order to maximize engagement and boost its ad revenues.”
  • OK, So Facebook Is Bad. Now What? Facebook, it has become increasingly clear, cannot be trusted to govern itself.”
  • Silicon Everywhere: A Brief History of America’s Tech Hubs. How the shared culture of Silicon Valley has shaped, and been shaped by, the places where tech has taken root.”—”The way people talk about it now, it might seem as though computers had flourished naturally in Northern California like cherries and apricot orchards; that all it took to imagine the potential of terminals and chips was nice weather, garage space for tinkering, and clusters of nerdy white guys. In fact, Silicon Valley was only one of many American tech innovation hubs in the latter half of the twentieth century. But as a topic, the geography of the tech industry is not so straight-forward. For one thing, ‘tech’ is an insufficient catchall term with boundaries that appear more arbitrary as the companies grow (Netflix but not Disney? Tesla but not Ford?) ‘Silicon Valley’ as a metonym captures the shared culture of ‘tech companies’ but that term gets confusing when it is applied to business outside Northern California. These other regions and their histories might bring us closer to understanding what ‘tech’ has meant over time and where the sector is headed.”
  • Race to the Future: What to Know About the Frantic Quest for Cobalt. A New York Times investigation examines the global demand for raw materials as the clean energy revolution takes off. This is what we found.”
  • GoDaddy breach: SSL keys, sFTP, database passwords of WordPress customers exposed. GoDaddy, the popular internet domain registrar and web hosting company, has suffered a data breach that affected over a million of their Managed WordPress customers.”
  • How to find hidden spy cameras with a smartphone“—”Researchers from the National University of Singapore and Yonsei University in South Korea have devised a mobile application that uses smartphones’ time-of-flight (ToF) sensor to find tiny spy cameras hidden in everyday objects. The app is more successful at detecting hidden cams than existing state-of-the-art commercial hidden camera detectors (CC308+, K18) and much more successful than the human eye/brain.”
  • Are We on the Verge of Chatting with Whales? An ambitious project is attempting to interpret sperm whale clicks with artificial intelligence, then talk back to them.”
  • Fears over “worst ever” Covid variant as UK bans flights from southern Africa – BBC News“—”Scientists are warning that a new Coronavirus variant is the “worst” they have seen. The B.1.1.529 variant has mutations which mean it may evade immunity built up by previous Covid infection or vaccination.”
  • Seven From Anti-Vax Doctors’ COVID Conference Fall Sick Within Days. WHEN WILL THEY LEARN? That includes Bruce Boros, who claimed ivermectin was keeping him healthy and said he wanted to smack his own father for getting the vaccine.”
  • Tweet—”Conspiracy theories are everywhere and people don’t understand how harmful they are. I made the original Conspiracy Chart over a year ago. An update was long overdue. This is the 2021 version.” Also, a less serious, but not wrong, update at tweet.
  • Jeffrey Epstein denied having any suicidal thoughts and prison staffers made litany of errors prior to his death, prison documents reveal.” Also “Epstein’s Final Days: Celebrity Reminiscing and a Running Toilet. Newly released records show the disgraced financier living a mundane existence in jail before his suicide, while also spinning deceptions until the very end.”
  • The Disinformation That Got Told: Michael Cohen Was, in Fact, Hiding Secret Communications With The Kremlin.”
  • From 2017: “The Official Future Is Dead! Long Live the Official Future! A year after Donald Trump’s improbable election, the post-Cold War Official Future has collapsed—and in its place have emerged a bewildering array of possibilities.”—”One way to try to understand the uncanniness of our political moment is by analogy to the Overton Window, a policy concept developed by the late Joseph Overton, a lawyer at the public choice economics-oriented Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan. The Overton Window refers to the fact that for any given policy debate, there are usually limits on the range of ‘acceptable’ possibilities, with ideas outside those boundaries dismissed as ‘fringe’ or ‘radical’ or ‘unthinkable.’ Overton’s central point was that what’s considered “reasonable” can and does shift over time. Ideas that were once considered too radical for serious consideration can, as a result of sudden events or concerted public relations campaigns, come to seem acceptable; conversely, ideas that were once considered sensible can come to seem unconscionable. In other words, as political norms shift, the window of so-called reasonable policy positions can open and close. Now, if we combine the concepts of the Official Future and Overton Window, what we get is a way to think about the range of ‘plausible’ potential futures, that is, futures that supposedly sober and judicious people believe can actually take place. And my thesis here is that this window of plausible futures—what I will call the ‘Schwartz Window’—has since November 2016 been blown wide open, with the winds of Hurricane Trump threatening to tear it right out of the wall.” “The most important of these lessons is that the Schwartz Window rarely stays this wide open for long. This is true first and foremost because living with a radically open future is cognitively exhausting—people crave a sense of certainty about the future, which is precisely what the Official Future is meant to provide. This means there is unmet demand for political leadership that has the confidence and charisma to impose a compelling new vision for the future. It is in the nature of complex social systems that if incumbent elites fail to reassert control, they will be replaced by new elites who are willing and able to do so. This is precisely the role that Thatcher and Reagan played when they came to power in United Kingdom and the United States at the start of the 1980s. Who will be the Thatcher and Reagan of our unsettled, Schwartzian moment? In other words, who will have the political vision and strength to establish a new Official Future? Well, what we know is this: in revolutionary situations, it’s usually the Leninists who win.”
  • We Made a Horror Movie About Pizzagate, then the Death Threats Started. ‘The Pizzagate Massacre’ is the best movie about the Trump era, and now everyone can finally watch it.” Watch “Exclusive Trailer Debut: THE PIZZAGATE MASSACRE.” Watch The Pizzagate Massacre [Amazon, IMDB] dir John Valley, with Tinus Seaux, Alexandria Payne, Lee Eddy—”A dark social satire inspired by the real life conspiracy theory known as Pizzagate. An amateur journalist and a far-right militiaman team up to expose the ugly truth behind rumors involving sex cults, a pizza place and the lizard people.”
  • As two Fox contributors quit over Tucker Carlson, an alarming truth is revealed. Time for a serious reckoning with the right wing’s ongoing flirtation with political violence.”
  • US added to list of ‘backsliding’ democracies for first time. ‘Visible deterioration’ in US civil liberties began in at least 2019, says international thinktank.”
  • Everything the press said about the economy was wrong. It’s surging.” Tweet thread—”‘It’s a royal flush of economic good news.’ ‘Today’s press coverage suggests the economy is an albatross around Biden’s political neck. In reality, it’s booming.'”
  • We’re a Small Arkansas Newspaper. Why Is the State Making Us Sign a Pledge About Israel? I publish The Arkansas Times. We refused to sign an anti-B.D.S. law because it violates our First Amendment rights.”
  • Exclusive: Notre-Dame interior faces woke ‘Disney’ revamp. Critics aghast at plans seen by The Telegraph for ‘Christianity for dummies’ trail inside Notre-Dame.”
  • Prince William blames African population pressure for wildlife loss. The Duke of Cambridge has renewed his attack on the increasing impact human population is having on Africa’s wildlife, despite having been accused of hypocrisy for criticising population growth while expecting his third child.” Tweet—”Can’t ever take this shit as anything more than arrogance and a new twist on the old view of Africa as a barbaric continent that needs to be controlled.”
  • Britain launches review of bias in medical devices. The investigation was triggered by research on blood oxygen monitors.”—”Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine in late 2020 found that pulse oximeters, which usually calculate the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream by sending light through the fingertip, are more likely to miss low levels of oxygen in Black patients than white patients. The finding also caught the attention of United States lawmakers, who asked the Food and Drug Administration to review the devices. The agency put out a warning about its limitations in February. The review will look at bias in all medical devices, not just pulse oximeters, and will evaluate them for gender bias, as well as racial bias. Javid didn’t specifically call out medical algorithms, but those could potentially be included as they’re often regulated as medical devices in the US and UK. Over the past few years, expert analysis of algorithms showed that they’re often built in ways that reproduce racial bias.”
  • Enslaved to a Founding Father, She Sought Freedom in France. Brought from America to Paris by John Jay, an enslaved woman named Abigail died there trying to win her liberty as the statesman negotiated the freedom of the new nation.”
  • Human smuggling, forced labor among allegations in south Georgia federal indictment. Newly unsealed indictment targets 24 defendants for human trafficking.”—”Two dozen defendants indicted on federal conspiracy charges after a transnational, multi-year investigation into a human smuggling and labor trafficking operation that illegally imported Mexican and Central American workers into brutal conditions on South Georgia farms.” “The conspirators are accused of raping, kidnapping and threatening or attempting to kill some of the workers or their families, and in many cases sold or traded the workers to other conspirators. At least two of the workers died as a result of workplace conditions.”
  • I Was With Family. Suddenly, a White Man Appeared with a Gun. We do not just remember the death. We remember the life, the beauty, the art, the feeling, the waiting, the living.”—”It is white power, and the addiction to it, that forces us to live in a country where Black teens are seen as guilty adults and are killed while white teens can kill people but be seen as innocent kids.”
  • Cops Are Needlessly Scaring People With Fentanyl-Laced Weed Stories. A Connecticut health alert warned about a “lab confirmed” case of weed laced with fentanyl, but there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical.”—”For years, law enforcement has been claiming that dealers are lacing weed with fentanyl, the scariest possibility as synthetic opioids flood the illicit drug supply. Then last week, a public health alert reported a ‘lab confirmed’ case. The problem is the evidence is weak and anecdotal but can still be used to justify the ongoing war on drugs, experts told VICE News.” “But doctors and drug policy experts said the case is extremely rare, and fentanyl-laced weed remains largely a myth spread by police. Even if there was a sample of weed with fentanyl in it, it’s more likely due to accidental contamination than intentional lacing, they said.”
  • Mixtape | Official Trailer | Netflix”—”As the world approaches Y2K, a quirky 12-year-old sets out on a journey to find songs on a mixtape crafted by her late parents. Along the way, she builds new friendships, opens up to her grandmother, and finds her own identity.”
  • Childhood: Value and duties“—”In philosophy, there are two competitor views about the nature and value of childhood: The first is the traditional, deficiency, view, according to which children are mere unfinished adults. The second is a view that has recently become increasingly popular amongst philosophers, and according to which children, perhaps in virtue of their biological features, have special and valuable capacities, and, more generally, privileged access to some sources of value. This article provides a conceptual map of these views and their possible interpretations, and notes their bearing on issues of population ethics and on the duties that we are owed during childhood.”
  • ‘Moral molecules’ – a new theory of what goodness is made of“—”How many moral values are there? What are they? What does it take to be a morally good person? Over the centuries, philosophers, theologians and others have offered no shortage of answers to these questions.”
  • What is romantic friendship? Deep and lasting connection comes in many forms: we need a new vocabulary to talk about love.”
  • ‘Buy the Constitution’ Aftermath: Everyone Very Mad, Confused, Losing Lots of Money, Fighting, Crying, Etc. ConstitutionDAO tried to buy the Constitution. Now it has a $40 million mess on its hands and entire refunds are being wiped out by high fees.”—”The community of crypto investors who tried and failed to buy a copy of the U.S. Constitution last week has descended into chaos as people are realizing today that roughly half of the donors will have the majority of their investment wiped out by cryptocurrency fees. Meanwhile, disagreements have broken out over the future of ConstitutionDAO, the original purpose of the more than $40 million crowdfunding campaign, and what will happen to the $PEOPLE token that donors were given in exchange for their contributions.” Presumably some of these dumbasses who threw away money trying to collectively buy a copy are US citizens, and thus already collectively own a couple copies of that document, one of which is often conveniently on display in the Rotunda in DC any time they want to take a gander.
  • Browndages Adult-Size Bandages – 20 Bandages in 5 Tones“—”Browndages is the brainchild of husband and wife duo, Rashid and Intisar. In their house, with three children, they went through bandages as quick as they could buy them. Rashid had the idea to produce a bandage that matches the varying shades of brown, not only in their family but throughout the world. Intisar took it one step further and decided to also produce a bandage with images that would be both representative for their children, and inspirational. Thus, Browndages was born! The hope is that Browndages will become a household name for your family and also serve as positive inspiration for your children.”
  • Watch “Why You Remember The Original Cowboy Bebop So Well“—”Cowboy Bebop is long considered one of the best anime’s of the last several decades. Beloved by fans, the artistic direction, music, characters, and story bring Cowboy Bebop to a level not seen by many of its contemporaries. With the premiere of the live action Cowboy Bebop, we take a look back at where this storied Anime became a fan favorite.” Also “What’s wrong with Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop? The characters, our old-school fan says. These aren’t the cowboys, or the villain, that defined the classic anime, our veteran Bebop fan says.”
  • Watch “Street Gang | Official Trailer | HBO”—”Sunny days, furry friends, classic songs, and a whole lot of heart. Street Gang, an HBO original documentary about the most impactful children’s program in television history, Sesame Street, premieres December 13 on HBO Max.”
  • Watch “Roman Emperor Caligula’s coffee table“—”How a lost mosaic from the Roman emperor’s reign ended up entertaining guests in a New York City apartment.” Spoiler alert: it’s not Caligula’s coffee table, but a coffee table made with a bit of mosaic from Caligula’s boat, previously thought to be lost. Still super cool, but the title is inaccurate.
  • The Internet predicted in 1949 by Tex Avery“—”From the Tex Avery cartoon, ‘The Home of Tomorrow’, the television not only answers questions, it tells questioners to shut up already, and bullies them to stop asking such questions.”
  • I have doubts this is real, except maybe the cat, but it’s definitely a concise epic of cinéma vérité: Tweet—”Этому шедевру немого кинематографа я ставлю 10 из 10!” (I give this masterpiece of silent cinema a 10 out of 10!) Tweet—”There’s more action and mystery in this one minute than the whole of Tenet.”
  • “Unknown” by Azure: tweet thread—”You know that therapy is easier than proving multiple universe theory, right?” Tweet—”This is in the top 5 pieces of fiction I’ve read this year. And I’ve read some AMAZING stuff, so…”
  • Tweet thread—”#StarTrek ships as lesbians, a thread. Ambassador: The Flannel Lesbian. Practical, a bit swole, and very pretty. 1/10″
  • Baron Voodoo [Amazon, Publisher] by Lucky Duck Games—”Welcome to Baron Voodoo, a dice game in which you don’t roll the dice! You’re a Loa, a voodoo god who become the new god of death in place of Baron Samedi.
 To take his place, you have to catch the more soul in one night, before the other Loa!” “In Baron Voodoo you play as a ‘Loa’, a voodoo god, who has the chance to become the new god of death by capturing the most souls, which are represented by 48 gorgeous custom Soul Dice. Every game begins differently as the Soul Dice are rolled and placed onto a 7×7 grid, creating a unique puzzle every time you play. Players will move, stack and capture Soul Dice, placing them into their Spirit World and collecting sets of colors and icons to achieve the most victory points. Players who like a more competitive game can choose to use one of the Fixed setups provided.”
  • Not wrong: tweet—”If enjoy Hawkeye, please pick up the comic that it’s heavily based on. Hawkeye by Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Matt Hollingsworth is one of the best comic arcs Marvel has ever done.” There’s an omnibus, but the cover kinda sucks, especially in comparison, and misses the aesthetic design language, so check out the collected series, which for digital is actually cheaper, as I write this, than the omnibus anyway: Hawkeye (2012-2015) by Matt Fraction, David Aja, &al.—”The breakout star of this summer’s blockbuster Avengers film, Clint Barton – aka the self-made hero Hawkeye – fights for justice! With ex-Young Avenger Kate Bishop by his side, he’s out to prove himself as one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! SHIELD recruits Clint to intercept a packet of incriminating evidence – before he becomes the most wanted man in the world.” There’s also a follow-up series Hawkeye (2016-2018) by Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, Julian Totino Tedesco, &al.—”Remember Hawkeye? No not that Hawkeye, our favorite Hawkeye, the chick who puts the hawk in Hawkeye, the butt-kicking hero who had to save the other Hawkeye’s butt all the time. Yup, you know her, it’s the dazzling Kate Bishop making her solo comics debut! Kate is heading west and returning to Los Angeles, with her bow and arrow and P.I. badge in tow. There are crimes to solve and she’s the best archer to handle ‘em! The City of Angels has a new guardian angel. The talented duo of Kelly Thompson (A-Force, Jem) and Leonardo Romero (Squadron Supreme, Doctor Strange) bring you a Kate Bishop like you’ve never seen her before, in a brand-new ongoing series that really hits the mark!” (You can also find all of these through your local library on Hoopla Digital to check out at no cost, including the All-New Hawkeye series which appears to be between the two I already mentioned, but not well collected on Amazon with the others.) Also, Disney/Marvel need to fucking pay people for their work still.
  • Tweet—”Making Peter Parker, a character incredibly well known for being poor, someone who worships a billionaire is actual propaganda.”
  • The Image Union Is the Future of Comics. ‘We hope this is just the beginning of a tidal wave of unionization in this country. It’s long overdue.'”
  • Tweet—”Excited to finally be able to say that the Hilda movie is coming to netflix on December 30th!” Also “Silvergate Makes Three Key Promotions Within Hilda’s Production Team” mentions season 3 is also still coming, which is great news.
  • Tweet thread —”Use the good copper. Wear the fancy outfit. Stay up later. Sleep in. Rise early. Eat that ice cream. Because if you wait one day you will have never done it and someone will be scraping dust off the promises you made yourself.”

What have you been seeing around and thinking about lately? What have you seen that caught your eye? Thinking about something lately, or reading something interesting, or have a project you’re working on? Participate by tagging @[email protected] in the ‘verse with what you’ve got to share. Like, boost, or comment posts by that account to help curate the best stuff for everyone.

This post was possible because of support from generous ongoing Patrons. Patrons get access to Omnium Gatherum immediately. On the blog, this will be exclusive to Patrons for one year, after which I’ll make it publicly available to everyone so they can see what they’ve been missing.

This Is Not An Hermetic Library Anthology Album -3

This Is Not An Hermetic Library Anthology Album -3 is a special alternative release in 2021 just for Patrons and Subscribers of Hermetic Library. This playlist has 10 tracks by 9 artists, with both old and new voices to the project this year, which is the diamond 10th year for anthologies, and the silver 25th year of Hermetic Library!

This Is Not An Hermetic Library Anthology Album -3 Subscriber and Patron exclusive by Hermetic Library in 2021

Please join the Hermetic Library in promoting these artists who have contributed their work to this benefit anthology album project. Please also spread the word about these anthology albums to people you think may be interested in the work of artists who combine magick, music and ritual.

Be sure to also check out the entire Hermetic Library Anthology project, all the previous releases; and consider becoming a Patron or Subscriber to pick up the digital download of this album and help support the work of the library!

The full tracklist for this exclusive consists of 10 tracks by 9 artists:

  1. Raava – Hagazussa 05:30
  2. Blasting Rod – Wheel Upon the Car of Dragonaut [Yukito Okazaki Re-Mix] 04:49
  3. Children of Osiris – Poiel 05:18
  4. Brian Redfern – Sufi Taksim 05:24
  5. Choronzon – Great Edifices Dissolved Like Dream Images 19:13
  6. Hairs Abyss – Aesthetic 06:45
  7. Choronzon – Flesh Whirling 04:37
  8. David Hunger – Swarm 11:09
  9. Black Lesbian Fishermen – Asteria 08:00
  10. Steven Brent – Trance, Dance, and Breathwork 30:13

For 2021, in addition to Magick, Music and Ritual 16, due in December, I am releasing this Patron and Subscriber exclusive issue. I asked each participant in the regular anthology issue to also submit something for this this additional release. So with extra gratitude their way, those who were kind enough to submit additional material, here is this special new issue exclusive to Subscribers on Bandcamp and Patrons on Patreon. This, then, is a thank you gift just for those who offer their ongoing support for the library and my work as the librarian, from both myself and these artists.

One more thing: In a new twist, instead of being in no particular order, this is an actual intentional playlist. Furthermore, this playlist is intended to join with Magick, Music and Ritual 16 to form an even larger sequence. However just to make things strange, though this playlist releases prior to MMR16 in 2021, I recommend adding this album after this year’s canonical anthology in the overall order. But, you do you!

To both participants and supporters, I say happy and hearty Thanksgiving day, and, moreover, thank you, thank you, thank you!

The Hermetic Library at has an overall vision of Archiving, Engaging and Encouraging the living Esoteric Tradition, Hermeticism, Aleister Crowley’s Thelema, and more, through Open Access Occultism for over 25 years.

I started the benefit anthology project to help promote newer works in the 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 site itself was started in 1996 and has ever since consistently been an extremely popular resource for students and researchers interested in the Esoteric Tradition. I encourage you to check out Hermetic Library and everything in the collection there, if you aren’t already familiar with it, as that’s the reason this project exists and may also offer inspiration to you.

Hermetic Library
Anthology Project
Become a Patron
Become a Subscriber

Production and Design by John Griogair Bell

All songs used with permission. All rights reserved.



2021年のHermetic Library Label(神秘主義図書館レーベル)発コンピレーション「This Is Not An Hermetic Library Anthology Album」vol. 3全10曲入コンピはHermetic Libraryのバンドキャンプを定期購読している人(、Hermetic Libraryのパトロン・メンバー(専用となっています。マニアックな神秘主義の趣味でなければ、バンドキャンプはお勧めです。パトロン・メンバーは色々な神秘主義からの出版の知らせや感想文、以前のコンピなどもメンバーになるための寄付する金額を選ぶことができます。

Hermetic Libraryのバンドキャンプ定期購読料は一年契約は米$12(約1,300円、Bandcampアカウント作成必須)。契約は途中解約することができます。ダウンロードでもバンドキャンプ・アプリでストリーミングでも聴ける音源です。ダウンロードの場合、ファイルの種類を選ぶことができます。(mp3, wav, flac,など)そして、以前の定期購読専用コンピもダウンロードも可能です。契約期間は自動的に以降の定期購読コンピも手に入れることができます。(年1回のリリース) 自分の知らない音源を聴けるチャンスです!

Surya Namaskars

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Surya Namaskārs: An Ancient Indian Exercise [Amazon, Local Library] by Apa Pant.

Pant Surya Namaskārs

I was delighted to find what seemed to be a little 75-page book completely on the topic of yogic sun salutations, especially at a time when I was reinvigorating my own practice of solar meditation. Unfortunately, the real surya namaskars section is only the third chapter out of seven: the rest are philosophical and practical orientation to yoga in general. But there is no question that author Pant sees sun salutation as the keystone of his personal practice, one with benefits that he extols at length. In fact much of the book seems taken up with the recital of such benefits: it emphasizes the why of yoga practice at least as much as the how

In the surya namaskars chapter itself, ten of the thirty pages are fully occupied by photos of the postures that are components of the practice, and the accompanying text descriptions did not vary from what I had been taught in various yoga classes. What was novel to me was the emphasis on mantra as “an integral and important part of the practice.” (22) Pant gives a dozen compound mantras constructed out of pranavabija, and solar appellations, e.g. Aum Hroom Suryaya Namah. Each mantra is to be repeated ten times (once before each posture) in the course of a cycle of surya namaskars. It is not clear to me, though, how to square this instruction with the breathing pattern prescribed for the postures, which gives a half-cycle of breath (either inhalation or exhalation) for each of the positions.

The cover illustration shows diagrams of the six unique postures of surya namaskars, since four of the ten are duplicates of the others. But they are arranged in a circle, which requires the repetitions if it is to illustrate the real cycle of the practice, showing how it returns to the starting position. The parts of the book I liked best were the introduction with its heliolatrous philosophy and autobiography, the final chapter with anecdotes on “Some Aspects of the Supernatural,” and the appendix with a letter on meditation. The whole makes a decent primer on yoga.

O! hear me not! I die;
I am borne away in misery of dumb life
That would in words flash forth the holiest heaven
That to the immortal God of Gods is given,
And, tongue-tied, stammers forth – my wife!

Aleister Crowley, Rosa Mundi

Hermetic quote Crowley Rosa Mundi die borne misery dumb life words holiest heaven immortal god gods tongue tied stammers wife