Monthly Archives: April 2022

Of what use the wisdom of Virginity to him who has been raped by the seducer, ignorance? Of what use sciences or any knowledge except as medicine? Hidden treasure does not come at the word nor by digging with your hands in the main road. Even with the proper implements and accurate knowledge of place, etc., may be but the acquisition of what you possessed long ago. There is a great doubt as to whether it is hidden, except by the strata of your experience and atmospheres of your belief.

Austin Osman Spare, The Book of Pleasure

Hermetic quote Spare The Book of Pleasure what use wisdom virginity raped seducer ignorance sciences knowledge medicine treasure hidden strata experience atmospheres belief

Suppose truth is not the aim of life. Imagine, all along great minds and intellects have been searching frantically for truth, looking in every nook and cranny of the world to uncover truth. It always seems to be slippery; when we finally grasp what we think is truth, it slips out of our hands and scurries off. Isn’t life all but a frantic search for truth?

Tom Taylor, Aphorisms to the Individual: Notes for my Sons [Amazon]

Hermetic quote Taylor Aphorisms to the Individual

The Algebraist

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Algebraist [Amazon, Bookshop, Local Library] by Iain M Banks.

Banks The Algebraist

The Algebraist is a full-bore space opera with a galactic setting, plenty of exotic alien intelligences, interstellar warfare, political intrigue, espionage, melodrama, and a surprisingly generous helping of slapstick. It is divided into six chapters of about eighty pages each, but these are not component novellas. It’s very much a single novel with a unified arc from start to finish.

The far future described here takes place long after the “Arteria Collapse” that broke up the wormhole-networked galactic community. The focus is on the particularly remote Urlubis system. This peripheral locale is still subject to the Mercatoria, which imposes its multiracial but highly authoritarian hierarchies across much of the galaxy, along with a crusade against autonomous AI.

Humans are both old and relatively new to galactic polity, since a-humans (“advanced” or abducted) had spread quite widely after being collected earlier by other starfaring races. R-humans (“remainder”) from Earth did eventually join these “prepped” populations. The story’s protagonist is a human “seer,” part of a research institution dedicated to learning from a somewhat standoffish race of gas-giant planet “Dwellers” who are among the oldest and most widespread of interstellar sentients.

This freestanding novel was my first read in the works of Iain Banks, whose science fiction is most identified with his series The Culture. I liked it a great deal, and I will certainly wade into The Culture on the strength of this book.

My dearest, I will now explain the only safe and true formula, the destroyer of the darkness of the World, the most secret among all secrets. Let it be secret to him who would attain. Let it cover any period of time, depending on his conception. There is no qualification, nor ritual or ceremony. His very existence symbolising all that is necessary to perfection. Most emphatically, there is no need of repetition or feeble imitation. You are alive!

Austin Osman Spare, The Book of Pleasure

Hermetic quote Spare The Book of Pleasure explain safe true formula destroyer darkness world most secret all secrets you are alive

Omnium Gatherum: 27apr2022

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for April 27, 2022.

You may not know that I’m migrating to new social media at Hrmtc I∴O∴, a self-hosted instance of Mastodon. Today I’ve added @omniumgatherum which is not a bot, but rather a place for me to share a raw feed of Omnium Gatherum links. I use a lot of tools currently, to which I’m adding this one, from which I curate these OG posts but until now they’ve all been private. (Except for the old OG category on the defunct BBS to which that account is kinda similar!) This new tool is an experiment I’m trying due to see if it works for me as a raw, uncurated bin in which to hold them. The bonus is that people can follow along, if they want. Now, there is a question of whether it makes sense to do that and these posts too, but since that feed is raw and these posts are more curated … maybe it does? Anyhow, think about that, check out the new social account experiment, and Let me know what you think and feel about that, if anything.

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

  • Crowdfunding by friends of the library Century Guild! “WICKED PURSUITS rare 1920s horror scifi art Orchid Garden. The FINAL BOOK documenting the eerie and creepy artworks from DER ORCHIDEENGARTEN (1919-1921) the FIRST fantasy horror magazine!”
  • Tweet—”While 23 April marks St. George’s Day, it also happens to be the day that William Shakespeare died, and, as this medal tells us, the day the playwright was born. Perhaps a fitting coincidence for the English bard!”
  • Obsolete Spells and Neon Hieroglyphs. An Evening with Strange Attractor. Tue 31 May 2022, 19:00, Auditorium 1. Join Strange Attractor Press as we celebrate their mission to produce ‘popular books on unpopular culture’ and peer into their world of folklore, counterculture and high weirdness. For over 20 years, Strange Attractor has produced remarkable, beautifully-designed, deeply-informed books from its small studio in East London. Come celebrate their endeavours with a programme of readings and performances from new and forthcoming Strange Attractor publications. See Turner Prize-winning artist Tai Shani deliver a performance reading from her new book, The Neon Hieroglyph. Writer and BFI curator William Fowler shares the strange tale of painter, decorator and mystic Joseph Dehavilland, who created a sensation when he was crucified on Hampstead Heath in the 1960s. Historian Phil Baker explores Victorian and Edwardian London through the eyes of occultist Aleister Crowley; while Justin Hopper and musician Sharron Kraus will discuss mystic and poet Victor Neuburg and perform his poems, set to music, and visuals by Wendy Pye.”
  • Home Once Owned by a Famous Witch Hopes To Cast a Spell on Buyers. Built in 1925, this two-bedroom home near the Atlantic Ocean in Indialantic, FL, gained a bewitching resident in the 1960s when Sybil Leek moved in.”
  • 10 Actually Useful Life Lessons Satanism Can Teach Us. We can learn a lot of true things from the ‘Father of Lies.'”—”Nearly four years ago, Lifehacker’s Senior Food Editor Claire Lower posted an excellent article entitled Surprisingly Good Life Lessons From the Satanic Bible.”—”‘Though there is a lot of stuff in there about rituals and bells and witchy women wearing sexy outfits,’ she wrote, ‘the overall message of the book is one of self-acceptance, self-indulgence, and self-respect.’ That sounds like something we can all get behind. Hey, maybe Satan just has a bad rap? As a recreational Satanist (and a recreational Catholic) I wanted to pivot off Claire’s lessons to bring you 11 more things we can learn from Satanism, because because it turns out the devil can be a good teacher.”
  • From 2019: “Divine transports. Whether via music, dance or prayer, the trance state was key to human evolution, forging society around the transcendent.”
  • Devilry Quarterly vol.2: May 2022 [Amazon,] ed John Ohno—”An assortment of short horror fiction, essays on the occult, and book & film reviews.”
  • Tweet—”The second of my four booklets tracing the history of chakras into Western Esotericism is now back in stock at @treadwells” “This book explores the first English-language translations of texts relating to chakras and their interpretation by early Theosophists, also Sri Sabhapati Swamy, JM Prsyse, and Aleister Crowley.” About Chakras Come West [Treadwell’s] by Phil Hine, part of the Wheels within Wheels series—”In this short book, Phil Hinek examines some of the earliest English-language writings on the subject of chakras, which appeared in Theosophical journals in the late nineteenth century. Hine discusses the historical and cultural background of these writings, as well their influence on later Theosophical conceptions of chakras. He also takes a close look at chakras in the work of Madame Blavatsky, James Morgan Pryse and his attempt to interpret chakras in the Apocalypse of St. John, and chakras in the writings of Aleister Crowley. He also introduces the Indian Yogi Swami Sapapathy, who influenced by the Theosophists and Aleister Crowley. This the second in a series of chapbooks from Phil Hine, expanded from his recent series of lectures at Treadwell’s. Signed by the author.”
  • The Greco-Egyptian Magical Formularies: Libraries, Books, and Individual Recipes [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Christopher Faraone and Sofia Torallas Tovar, part of the New Texts From Ancient Cultures series, due November, 2022—”In Greco-Roman Egypt, recipes for magical undertaking, called magical formularies, commonly existed for love potions, curses, attempts to best business rivals—many of the same challenges that modern people might face. In The Greco-Egyptian Magical Formularies: Libraries, Books, and Individual Recipes, volume editors Christopher Faraone and Sofia Torallas Tovar present a series of essays by scholars involved in a multiyear project to reedit and translate the various magical handbooks that were inscribed in the Roman period in the Greek or Egyptian languages. For the first time, the material remains of these papyrus rolls and codices are closely examined, revealing important information about the production of books in Egypt, the scribal culture in which they were produced, and the traffic in single recipes copied from them. Especially important for historians of the book and the Christian Bible are new insights in the historical shift from roll to codex, complicated methods of inscribing the bilingual papyri (in which the Greek script is written left to right and the demotic script right to left), and the new realization that several of the longest extant handbooks are clearly compilations of two or more shorter handbooks, which may have come from different places. The essays also reexamine and rethink the idea that these handbooks came from the personal libraries of practicing magicians or temple scriptoria, in one case going so far as to suggest that two of the handbooks had literary pretensions of a sort and were designed to be read for pleasure rather than for quotidian use in making magical recipes.”
  • Tweet—”A book to look out for. Simon Cox’s “The Subtle Body: A Genealogy” … I’ve read his Ph.D thesis and the book looks even better.” About The Subtle Body: A Genealogy [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Simon Cox, part of the Oxford Studies in Western Esotericism seres—”How does the soul relate to the body? Through the ages, innumerable religious and intellectual movements have proposed answers to this question. Many have gravitated to the notion of the “subtle body,” positing some sort of subtle entity that is neither soul nor body, but some mixture of the two. Simon Cox traces the history of this idea from the late Roman Empire to the present day, touching on how philosophers, wizards, scholars, occultists, psychologists, and mystics have engaged with the idea over the past two thousand years. This study is an intellectual history of the subtle body concept from its origins in late antiquity through the Renaissance into the Euro-American counterculture of the 1960’s and 70’s. It begins with a prehistory of the idea, rooted as it is in third-century Neoplatonism. It then proceeds to the signifier “subtle body” in its earliest English uses amongst the Cambridge Platonists. After that, it looks forward to those Orientalist fathers of Indology, who, in their earliest translations of Sanskrit philosophy relied heavily on the Cambridge Platonist lexicon, and thereby brought Indian philosophy into what had hitherto been a distinctly platonic discourse. At this point, the story takes a little reflexive stroll into the source of the author’s own interest in this strange concept, looking at Helena Blavatsky and the Theosophical import, expression, and popularization of the concept. Cox then zeroes in on Aleister Crowley, focusing on the subtle body in fin de siècle occultism. Finally, he turns to Carl Jung, his colleague Frederic Spiegelberg, and the popularization of the idea of the subtle body in the Euro-American counterculture. This book is for anyone interested in yogic, somatic, or energetic practices, and will be very useful to scholars and area specialists who rely on this term in dealing with Hindu, Daoist, and Buddhist texts.”
  • Spirit Marriage: Intimate Relationships with Otherworldly Beings [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Megan Rose, foreword by Orion Foxwood—”An in-depth exploration of the practice, relevance, and purpose of spirit marriage around the world. Presents interviews with ten contemporary practitioners of spirit marriage, exploring how the relationship developed and the opportunities and challenges. Discusses the author’s own spirit marriage, including her awakening as an erotic mystic and her encounters with her Faery beloved. Explains how to cultivate a spirit marriage, sharing precautions and practices to spiritually prepare yourself and navigate the potential challenges of spirit marriage. Exploring the phenomenon of the spirit spouse or spirit lover–an entity to which a human is psychically bonded–Megan Rose, Ph.D., examines the practice and purpose of spirit marriage around the world, presenting transcultural evidence of this form of sacred union in anthropological research, religious literature, mythology, folklore, and the oral tradition. She shares her in-depth interviews with ten contemporary practitioners of spirit marriage, including a Faery Seer, a Shakta Tantric, a West African Shrine Keeper, a New Orleans Voodoo Mambo, Haitian Vodou practitioners, and a ceremonial magician. Through these respectful interviews, the spirit-marriage practitioners tell their stories of initiation and of having a spouse who is both otherworldly and able to assist in waking- world activities. They offer intimate insight into this growing global practice and its larger evolutionary purpose. We learn about their experiences of first contact, the decision to marry, how the relationship is upheld by their community, and the impact on their other relationships. We also learn about the risks and challenges as well as one example of divorcing a spirit. Sharing her personal experience, the author discusses in detail her own spirit marriage, including the erotic nature of being “spirit filled” and her encounters with her Faery beloved. She explains how to cultivate a spirit marriage, sharing precautions and practices to spiritually prepare yourself, interpret your paranormal encounters, and navigate the potential challenges of spirit marriage. Presenting the first study of the transcultural, shamanistic practice of spirit marriage, this book shows how bonded relationships with spirits are needed now more than ever to assist with spiritual evolution.”
  • Son of Prometheus:The Life & Work of Joséphin Péladan by Sasha Chaitow—”We expect to open pre-order for this title in late June/early July, 2022.” “With great joy we announce the forthcoming publication of Son of Prometheus by Sasha Chaitow. Based on her PhD thesis this ground-breaking in-depth study of the life and works of French esotericist Joséphin Péladan will precede her trilogy on Peladan’s esoteric work and art to be released by Theion in the coming years. This book is the first scholarly study of the life and work of Joséphin Péladan that succeeds in placing it in the context of the history of Western Esotericism while also providing a clear roadmap to the entirety of Péladan’s initiatory teachings and philosophy of the esoteric power of art. Responding to multiple cultural shifts in fin-de-siècle French society, Péladan authored over a hundred novels and monographs in an attempt to bring about the spiritual regeneration of society through mythopoetic art underpinned by esoteric thought. Best remembered for organising the short-lived, though influential Salons de la Rose et Croix in the 1890s, that provided a focal point for Symbolist art and sought to unite the arts into a revival of initiatory drama, Péladan’s enormous oeuvre of over a hundred books and several thousand articles, slipped into oblivion and has been overlooked ever since. Previous accounts highlight his eccentricity, or isolated elements of his work, but until now, none have explored the breadth of his work in its cultural context. Sasha Chaitow undertook to do this over the course of the last 12 years, and has produced a study that offers a solid biographical introduction which corrects long-standing misperceptions, followed by accessible but robust thematic presentations of the many facets of Péladan’s work, including many unpublished translated excerpts of his work. He called himself a novelist, a playwright, a philosopher, an art critic, a savant and a zelator; he was all these and more, predicting in an unpublished autobiography that one day he would be the object of detailed study. After a century of oblivion, that day has come. His work is of undoubted interest to scholars, artists, and esoteric practitioners alike. Chaitow’s approach is both interdisciplinary and reader-friendly, ensuring that Péladan’s vision for changing society through art and authentic living is accessible to all. Illustrated by Chaitow herself, who undertook several artistic explorations of Péladan’s work alongside her research, the book features forewords by Professors Per Faxneld and Christopher McIntosh, and is endorsed by Professor Christopher Partridge.”
  • Living Religions, Living Myths: On Retelling the Ramayana.” About Kaikeyi: A Novel [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Vaishnavi Patel—”A stunning debut from a powerful new voice, Kaikeyi reimagines the life of the infamous queen from the Indian epic the Ramayana. It is a tale of fate, family, courage, and heartbreak—and an extraordinary woman determined to leave her mark in a world where gods and men dictate the shape of things to come. I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions—much good it did me. So begins Kaikeyi’s story. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on tales of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharat prospers, and how they offer powerful boons to the devout and the wise. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, listens as her own worth is reduced to how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear. Desperate for some measure of independence, she turns to the texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. With this power, Kaikeyi transforms herself from an overlooked princess into a warrior, diplomat, and most favored queen, determined to carve a better world for herself and the women around her. But as the evil from her childhood stories threatens the cosmic order, the path she has forged clashes with the destiny the gods have chosen for her family. And Kaikeyi must decide if resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak—and what legacy she intends to leave behind.”
  • Children of the New Flesh: The Early Work and Pervasive Influence of David Cronenberg [Publisher] eds Chris Kelso & David Leo Rice—”Children of the New Flesh is a wide-ranging compendium of reflections on the enduring impact of David Cronenberg, one of the most significant filmmakers of all time. Focusing on a series of short films that Cronenberg directed in the 1960s and 70s, many of which have rarely been seen, this book considers the legacy of these works in their own right, as well as their relationship to future masterpieces like Videodrome, The Fly, Dead Ringers, and eXistenZ. Much more than a work of tribute, Children of the New Flesh is a meditation on the nature of influence itself. It teases out the undercurrents in Cronenberg’s films, obsessed as they are with secret signals, sinister experiments, and mental viruses, and shows how these ideas resonate in our own paranoid, sickened, hyper-networked times. Featuring original fiction and essays from luminaries such as Brian Evenson, Blake Butler, Michael Cisco, Graham Rae, Joe Koch, Gary J. Shipley, Tobias Carroll, and Charlene Elsby, and interviews with figures such as Kathe Koja, Patrick McGrath, Tim Lucas, and Bruce Wagner—not to mention an exclusive interview with Cronenberg himself—this book is at once a study and a living example of the singular power of hybrid forms. It’s an invitation to seek undead materials in the dark recesses of the past, and to use them as a means of tuning into the freakish wavelengths of the present. Books purchased on this site & shipped in the US are printed locally in Minneapolis by Bookmobile. All profits will be donated to art education nonprofits.”
  • Tweet—”Hey everybody, I wrote a kickass novel called THE SURVIVALISTS about a lawyer who starts dating one of a pack of Brooklyn doomsday preppers who aren’t quite operating on the right side of the law …” About The Survivalists [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Kashana Cauley, due January 2023—”A single Black lawyer puts her career and personal moral code at risk when she moves in with her coffee entrepreneur boyfriend and his doomsday-prepping roommates in a novel that’s packed with tension, curiosity, humor, and wit from a writer with serious comedy credentials. In the wake of her parents’ death, Aretha, a habitually single Black lawyer, has had only one obsession in life—success—until she falls for Aaron, a coffee entrepreneur. Moving into his Brooklyn brownstone to live along with his Hurricane Sandy-traumatized, illegal-gun-stockpiling, optimized-soy-protein-eating, bunker-building roommates, Aretha finds that her dreams of making partner are slipping away, replaced by an underground world, one of selling guns and training for a doomsday that’s maybe just around the corner. For readers of Victor LaValle’s The Changeling, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, and Zakiya Harris’s The Other Black Girl, The Survivalists is a darkly humorous novel from a smart and relevant new literary voice that’s packed with tension, curiosity and wit, and unafraid to ask the questions most relevant to a new generation of Americans: Does it make sense to climb the corporate ladder? What exactly are the politics of gun ownership? And in a world where it’s nearly impossible for young people to earn enough money to afford stable housing, what does it take in order to survive?”
  • The vision collector: the man who used dreams and premonitions to predict the future. In 1966, a British psychiatrist had an idea: to change the course of history by asking the public to share their eerie intuitions.” Excerpt from The Premonitions Bureau: A True Account of Death Foretold [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Sam Knight, due May 2022—”From a rising star New Yorker staff writer, the incredible and gripping true story of John Barker, a psychiatrist who investigated the power of premonitions—and came to believe he himself was destined for an early death. On the morning of October 21, 1966, Kathleen Middleton, a music teacher in suburban London, awoke choking and gasping, convinced disaster was about to strike. An hour later, a mountain of rubble containing waste from a coal mine collapsed above the village of Aberfan, swamping buildings and killing 144 people, many of them children. Among the doctors and emergency workers who arrived on the scene was John Barker, a psychiatrist from Shelton Hospital, in Shrewsbury. At Aberfan, Barker became convinced there had been supernatural warning signs of the disaster, and decided to establish a “premonitions bureau,” in conjunction with the Evening Standard newspaper, to collect dreams and forebodings from the public, in the hope of preventing future calamities. Middleton was one of hundreds of seemingly normal people, who would contribute their visions to Barker’s research in the years to come, some of them unnervingly accurate. As Barker’s work plunged him deeper into the occult, his reputation suffered. But in the face of professional humiliation, Barker only became more determined, ultimately realizing with terrible certainty that catastrophe had been prophesied in his own life. In Sam Knight’s crystalline telling, this astonishing true story comes to encompass the secrets of the world. We all know premonitions are impossible—and yet they come true all the time. Our lives are full of collisions and coincidence: the question is how we perceive these implausible events and therefore make meaning in our lives. The Premonitions Bureau is an enthralling account of madness and wonder, of science and the supernatural. With an unforgettable ending, it is a mysterious journey into the most unsettling reaches of the human mind.”
  • The Long Land War: The Global Struggle for Occupancy Rights [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Jo Guldi, part of the Yale Agrarian Studies Series, due May 2022—”Jo Guldi tells the story of a global struggle to bring food, water, and shelter to all. Land is shown to be a central motor of politics in the twentieth century: the basis of movements for giving reparations to formerly colonized people, protests to limit the rent paid by urban tenants, intellectual battles among development analysts, and the capture of land by squatters taking matters into their own hands. The book describes the results of state-engineered ‘land reform’ policies beginning in Ireland in 1881 until U.S.-led interests and the World Bank effectively killed them off in 1974. The Long Land War provides a definitive narrative of land redistribution alongside an unflinching critique of its failures, set against the background of the rise and fall of nationalism, communism, internationalism, information technology, and free-market economics. In considering how we could make the earth livable for all, she works out the important relationship between property ownership and justice on a changing planet.”
  • How the Book Industry Turns Its Own Racism into a Marketable Product. Tajja Isen on Lip Service in Publishing.”—”The absorption of dissent isn’t surprising; loosening the valve to release a little built-up tension is a time-honored tactic that lets the status quo carry on unchecked.” Excerpt from Some of My Best Friends: Essays on Lip Service [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Tajja Isen—”A fearless and darkly comic essay collection about race, justice, and the limits of good intentions. In this stunning debut collection, Catapult editor-in-chief and award-winning voice actor Tajja Isen explores the absurdity of living in a world that has grown fluent in the language of social justice but doesn’t always follow through. These nine daring essays explore the sometimes troubling and often awkward nature of that discord. Some of My Best Friends takes on the cartoon industry’s pivot away from colorblind casting, the pursuit of diverse representation in the literary world, the law’s refusal to see inequality, and the cozy fictions of nationalism. Isen deftly examines the quick, cosmetic fixes society makes to address systemic problems, and reveals the unexpected ways they can misfire. In the spirit of Zadie Smith, Cathy Park Hong, and Jia Tolentino, Isen interlaces cultural criticism with her lived experience to explore the gaps between what we say and what we do, what we do and what we value, what we value and what we demand.”
  • From 2016: “Researchers “Translate” Bat Talk. Turns Out, They Argue—A Lot. A machine learning algorithm helped decode the squeaks Egyptian fruit bats make in their roost, revealing that they “speak” to one another as individuals.”
  • From the Plato’s Zoetrope dept: “Ice Age Artists May Have Used Firelight to Animate Carvings. Researchers examined 15,000-year-old stone art and suggest the makers were inspired to show movement by dynamic lighting of the fireside environment.”
  • NY eyes facial recognition to ‘card’ for alcohol, cigarettes, e-cigs“—”The New York State Senate is moving forward with proposed legislation that would allow bars and restaurants to use facial recognition or fingerprint scanners to verify someone’s age before they buy alcohol, tobacco or electronic cigarettes.”
  • Tweet—”Twitter’s board convened to review Elon Musk’s takeover bid Sunday, and the two sides also met to negotiate in what could be the final stages of a deal. Yep, Musk manifested something via tweets, as a recent Twitter ad campaign coincidentally celebrated.” Also “Musk Is Wrong for Twitter Even If Deal Math Works Out. The financials of the leveraged buyout are sketchy, but more important, the Tesla CEO is not up to the task of running a media company.” Tweet—””Musk’s Twitter deal math is sketchy — he’s going to saddle it with billions of dollars of debt, possibly suffocating it. More important: He isn’t up to the task of running a social media company in an era of dangerous and divisive viral propaganda.” Thread—”This thread makes a point I’ve been thinking about: If Musk/Twitter fail to repay the loan to Morgan Stanley, the bank could seize and sell Tesla stock as collateral, destabilizing a portion of the stock market. And the public may have little or no advance warning.” Tweet—”To a US oligarch who literally runs a company with a huge focus on data acquisition.” Tweet—”Taking a moment to think about how utterly crazy it is that in 2022 a company with a significant dataset of private and public communications, that has municipalities, companies and governments on the platform, can switch ownership with pretty much zero scrutiny.” Tweet—”But with discord and twitter we’re not talking about a walled garden vs a public park. We’re talking about a bar where you can rent private rooms, vs a bar where the bouncer won’t do anything about the assholes but will get on your case when you call them assholes.” Tweet—”If any reporters reach out to me today, I will share the stories I’ve kept private about the fight to improve Twitter moderation policies at the Trust and Safety team over the last ten years. Because this is what we’re going to lose if this deal goes through.” Tweet—”I don’t normally promote myself like this but if any media folks out there want to interview me about what it’s like to get off Twitter and onto something similar but community owned and operated… I’m available and happy to talk in this apparently-critical moment.” Tweet—”Older twitter users who have lived through geocities, web forums, livejournal, myspace, tumblr and twitter, finding out that it may be yet again time to change platforms.” Tweet—”People often seem to believe that not moderating spaces results in more growth and more users than moderating a space. The evidence is entirely the opposite of that. It’s just that moderating spaces is exhausting, expensive, hard work and people often don’t like your decisions.” Tweet—”Choosing which billionaire’s online fiefdom to join is one of an e-serf’s most important decisions.” Also “Twitter accepts buyout, giving Elon Musk total control of the company. Elon Musk will buy Twitter for $44 billion.” Also “With attack on Twitter, the right shows it has institutionalized Trump’s corrupt use of government power.” Also, ffs, jfc, of course: “Susan Collins says that Trump should get his Twitter back. Comes as Elon Musk buys platform with promises of increasing freedom of expression.” And, apropos of nothing: I∴O∴, a new Hermetic Library social instance of Mastodon, because it’s time to GTFO.
  • When billionaires talk about freedom, watch your wallets. Behind Elon Musk’s blather about free markets, free speech, and free choice is his goal to be free from accountability.”
    —”Elon Musk’s real goal has nothing to do with the freedom of others. His goal is the freedom to wield enormous power without having to be accountable to laws and regulations, shareholders, or market competition—which is why he’s dead set on owning Twitter.”

  • Billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel poured another $3.5 million into a Super Political Action Committee backing venture capitalist JD Vance.”
  • Tweet—”Billionaires buying millionaires to get you to buy that those millionaires are ‘working class folks.’ …ionaires.”
  • Inside the New Right, Where Peter Thiel Is Placing His Biggest Bets. They’re not MAGA. They’re not QAnon. Curtis Yarvin and the rising right are crafting a different strain of conservative politics.”—”So exhausted by neverending profiles in major corporate news publications of white American fascists as the new ‘cool’ thing, as if they were bands on Pitchfork. Every year fascist chodes try to rebrand themselves & this new version is all about using podcasts, substack, YouTube & Thiel money to post 1000s of hours of manifestos about how Big Tech has destroyed white hetero America and only a dictator can save us now, talk about ‘irony’.”
  • From 2020: “To Mend a Broken Internet, Create Online Parks. We need public spaces, built in the spirit of Walt Whitman, that allow us to gather, communicate, and share in something bigger than ourselves.”
  • It Sure Looks Like Jared Kushner Sold US Foreign Policy To Saudi Arabia“—”The Saudi investment in Kushner’s firm is crying out for a federal investigation because it sure looks like Jared Kushner sold access to US foreign policy.”
  • Text messages Sean Hannity, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ivanka Trump and others sent to Mark Meadows.”
  • Jan. 6 Committee Findings Are So Explosive They Will ‘Blow the Roof Off the House,’ Rep. Jamie Raskin Says“—”‘This was not a coup directed at the president,’ the panel member said on Thursday. ‘It was a coup directed by the president against the vice president and against the Congress.'”
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene forced to admit she called for Pelosi to get death penalty. ‘Oh no, wait, hold on now.'”
  • Thread—”The NYT–uniquely–has the ability to concentrate the world’s attention and drive coverage on TV, radio, and every other paper.” “It has, largely, used that power to OVER emphasize minor Democratic issues and to UNDER emphasize major GOP issues.”
  • Tweet—”Honestly, I don’t think most people have even the beginnings of an understanding of just what we’re facing. A growing international authoritarian movement, historically concentrated capital, tech messianism coupled with white supremacy, and unparalleled surveillance and control.”
  • Tweet—”At some point ‘culture wars’ fails to tell the story. We’re seeing a march toward totalitarianism.”
  • How democracies revive“—”Before we can rebuild our democracy, we first have to acknowledge that it is, in fact, falling apart. And we are indeed starting to realize this – hence the pervasive panic…This is why I am ultimately optimistic. And why you should be, too.” “In 2022, it is no longer difficult to envision the downfall of American democracy. To a growing number of commentators and analysts, this demise almost feels inevitable. If “January 6 was practice” for an authoritarian takeover (as the headline of a December Atlantic article warned us), next time could be for real.” “I favor a more proportional, multiparty system. This may strike some as radical. But… if the goal is to renew liberal democracy and bolster its resilience against future threats, preserving the now-pathological status quo is the surest path to failure.”
  • The Republican blueprint to steal the 2024 election.”
  • Bill in Congress Would Bar Americans From Reciting Our Own Laws.”
  • Missouri lawmakers consider extending proposed ban on gender-affirming care to adults. Lawmakers this week suggested that gender-affirming care be off-limits to individuals younger than 25 years old.”
  • Texas School Board Ousts Teacher Over Pro-LGBTQ Rainbow Stickers. Rachel Stonecipher balked when her North Texas high school took down rainbow stickers. Now, she’s out of a job.”
  • California Man Arrested and Charged with Making Threats Against LGBTQ Community. Defendant allegedly targeted Springfield-based Merriam-Webster, Inc. and other institutions and individuals with threats to commit anti-LGBTQ violence.”—”The investigation identified numerous related threats, including to the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Land O’ Lakes, Hasbro, Inc., IGN Entertainment, the President of the University of North Texas, two professors at Loyola Marymount University and a New York City rabbi.”
  • Supreme Court rules Puerto Ricans don’t have constitutional right to some federal benefits“—”Congress can exclude residents of Puerto Rico from some federal disability benefits available to those who live in the 50 states, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The 8-1 opinion was written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissenting. The case concerned Supplemental Security Income that is available to those living in the 50 states who are older than 65, blind or disabled. But residents of Puerto Rico and other US territories are excluded from receiving the funds.”
  • Thread—”There’s a lot of misinformation and confusion about what the end of Disney’s Reedy Creek district means for the company and for taxpayers. Here’s what I know, after talking to lobbyists, lawyers and tax officials …” Tweet—”So it turns out that Ron DeSantis’ dumb fucking culture war bullshit performative attempt to start shit with the company which put his state on the map will: 1. Actually save Disney quite a lot of money. 2. Put those costs onto a massive hike in private homeowners’ property taxes.”
  • Thread—”Meanwhile, concerned Americans are left with no alternative but to lobby Disney to fight the GOP. National Democratic leaders are largely silent. There’s no movement for federal protection. The only thing left is to ask a corporation and apply consumer pressure. 25/”
  • Thread—”NEW: The Florida Department of Health just issued guidelines telling doctors to medically de-transition all transgender youth and banned them from social transition treatment, including “name, pronoun, and clothing changes.” “Here is the memo from the Florida Department of Health saying that ‘social gender transition’ should NOT be an option for youth, including “name, pronoun, and clothing changes.” [PDF]
  • Thread—”I have never EVER subscribed to or believed in any conspiracy theory in my life. That being said, what I’m about to say, I know, but please hear me out. The new Florida law, HB7, which forbids CRT from being taught in math classes from K-12 here in Florida has resulted in only.” “ONE publisher of textbooks in the country, Houston-based Accelerated Learning to be eligible to supply books to the State of Florida, out of ALL of the publishers of textbooks in the country!” “It turns out that up until 2020, the CEO of The Carlyle Group, the global investment group that acquired Accelerated in 2018, was none other than the newly-elected government of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin.” “Since taking office, Youngkin has pushed legislation that mimics Florida’s almost to the letter. Meaning, the company that he was affiliated with until running for government, would benefit from legislation he’s pushing through.”
  • Health Care Sharing Ministry Sharity Leaves 10K Families with Millions in Unpaid Bills. The network went bankrupt in the face of ongoing legal challenges, and regulators don’t expect members will receive the $50 million-plus they’re owed.”
  • Tweet—”I interviewed a pastor running for Governor in Michigan who wants the Bible taught in schools. Things got awkward.”
  • Thread—”We must resist the politics of weaponized nostalgia. The reactionary counter-mobilization against multiracial, pluralistic democracy is helped by a widespread nostalgia for a ‘golden age’ in recent American history that never actually existed. Some thoughts: 1/”
  • The War in Ukraine Has Unleashed a New Word. In a creative play on three different languages, Ukrainians identify an enemy: ‘ruscism.'”
  • Police asked a Black couple to prove they owned their store. The fallout sparked a racial reckoning in this quiet Bay Area enclave.”—”Yema Khalif and Hawi Awash were working late in their store when an officer suggested they put their key in the door lock to prove they belonged there. Now, the couple say they’ve extracted meaningful change from the Police Department.”
  • Tweet—”Give Ke Huy Quan the Indiana Jones franchise. I have it all plotted out. I wanted John Cho for it because I thought I read that Ke Huy Quan didn’t want to act anymore – now that I know that he does – and saw him in the Daniels’ flick, give it to him. It makes sense.”
  • Thread—”‘Agbiz took over the poultry industry.’ Not true- farm men partnered with agribusiness to take poultry businesses over *from their own wives.*” “Farm men made a conscious choice to ally with agribusiness against their own families. They decided they’d rather be a big man in the poorhouse, than be financially comfortable and owe that comfort to their wives.” “That’s ‘agribusiness takeover’ narrative whitewashes all that out. It frames family farms as helpless victims who need to be saved from the agribusiness monster. Like the starlet in a B movie.” “But in reality, farm men did this to their own families. This probably sounds wild to people who don’t work in agriculture. But comes as a surprise to absolutely nobody who’s actually worked in the biz lmao.” “Again, this whole story plays out extremely clearly in farm publications from about 1900-1960. You can find details in Nancy Berlage’s ‘Farmers Helping Farmers.'” See Farmers Helping Farmers: The Rise of the Farm and Home Bureaus, 1914-1935 by Nancy K Berlage.
  • Neil Gaiman’s Dead Boy Detectives Are Officially Headed to HBO Max.”
  • New video from frequent participant in the old audio pool, watch NOAH23 – PARAMECIUM (OFFICIAL VIDEO).
  • Watch “Kyiv Calling · Beton.”
  • Never waste time arguing about what to eat for dinner again with Japan’s Six Noodle Dice【Photos】. It’s not a gamble when all of the outcomes are delicious.”
  • Neon Lords of the Toxic Wasteland Core Rulez. Also “Neon Lords Of The Toxic Wasteland by Neon Lords of the Toxic Wasteland Neon Lords of the Toxic Wasteland. Ultra-Violent and style matters RPG set in the ruins of Earth, after the Neon Wars of 1992. Half Fantasy half SCI-FI ALL RADNESS.”
  • Asterigos: Curse of the Stars by Acme Gamestudio, from tinyBuild, due Fall 2022—”Embark on a journey full of danger in this action RPG, inspired by Greek and Roman mythologies. Explore the breathtaking city of Aphes and forge your way through legions of unique foes and mythical bosses to discover the truth behind the city’s curse.”

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.

Decoding the Enochian Secrets

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Decoding the Enochian Secrets: God’s Most Holy Book to Mankind as Received by Dr. John Dee from Angelic Messengers [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by John DeSalvo.

DeSalvo Decoding Enochian Secrets

The highlight of this relatively recent (2011) volume on angelic magic is the first complete publication of the last remaining element of John Dee’s Enochian corpus as delivered to him by spirits through the mediumship of Edward Kelley, i.e. Liber Logaeth, a.k.a. the “Book of Enoch.” Author John DeSalvo provides that text in the form of scanned facsimiles from the British Library. This Appendix B is more than half of the book.

Decoding the Enochian Secrets starts with a couple of chapters regarding the biblical person of Enoch and the ancient (“apocryphal”) Book of Enoch, with some inquiry into their connections with the Dee and Kelley materials. While I was intrigued by the idea that DeSalvo might come up with something new on this front, as he certainly gives it more sustained attention than most authors on the topic, he’s not able to muster anything beyond broad thematic similarities between ancient and early modern “Enochian” lore. He also supplies a high-level summary of the Dee and Kelley evocations, repeatedly quoting passages from the diaries that describe Kelley being struck and lit by radiant beams from the stone.

DeSalvo’s commendable attention to primary materials does result in an editorial clarification of the forty-nine tables of Liber Logaeth, including the “missing” forty-ninth. He emphasizes that Dee’s diaries identify the express purpose of the Calls to be assisting with the understanding of how to operate these tables, also that the angels enjoined Dee not to do that work until receiving further commands–which were never delivered.

Nevertheless, the recommendations here for contemporary practice are surprisingly conventional, and very much in the mode of Crowley and Regardie (the only 20th-century magicians DeSalvo mentions). His method for “meditation” on the aethyrs prescribes the lesser pentagram ritual for opening and closing, and includes goetic-style prayer and “license to depart” both marked as “optional.”

I agree with DeSalvo’s view that original versions of these tables were probably all inscribed by Dee while the entranced Kelley was dictating them. (All but one of the surviving tables are in Kelley’s hand, evidently copied from Dee’s.) He makes the credible and intriguing suggestion that these originals might survive, perhaps even in the British Library, subject to misattribution or faulty cataloging.

DeSalvo speculates that Liber Logaeth was received by Dee, but embargoed by the angels because it is intended to serve as a device of the “end times.” He suggests that his work in issuing this book is part of that instrumentality, even connecting it with “2012 being the end date of the Mayan calendar” (73). On this front, he willfully ignores the chiliastic dimension of Crowley’s The Vision & the Voice, and seems to mistake the immanentization of the eschaton for its “imminentization.”

This book tries to straddle the gap between a popular introduction to Enochian magic and a more specialized defense of DeSalvo’s own theories and excavation of sources. I would only recommend it for the latter, since there are other and better options for the former.

Flight from Nevèrÿon

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Flight from Nevèrÿon [Amazon, Publisher, Local Library] by Samuel R Delany, part of the Return to Nevèrÿon series.

Delany Flight from Neveryon

The third volume of Delany’s Nevèrÿon stories was supposed to be his last, although there is a fourth book in the trilogy. Flight from Nevèrÿon has three numbered sections, the third of which consists of two appendices and makes up half the book.

I read and enjoyed the putative body text of “The Tale of Fog and Granite” and “The Mummer’s Tale,” both of which built on the the characters and settings of Delany’s previous stories, within the established fictional context of the antediluvian realm of Nevèrÿon, while carrying forward a project of postmodern theorizing embedded in the narratives.

The acme of the book, though, and perhaps of the whole series, was longest piece, “Appendix A: The Tale of Plagues and Carnivals, or, Some Informal Remarks toward the Modular Calculus, Part Five.” This part features a complete Nevèrÿon story centered around an AIDS-like plague and the social responses it provokes. Interleaved with that story are several other registers of writing, including lightly fictionalized anecdotes from Delany’s own life, a running account of his gay junky acquaintance “Joey,” tail-devouring criticism of the book in hand by the imaginary academic S. L. Kermit, and a closing note about the public health facts of AIDS as they were understood at the time of writing in mid-1984.

In addition to the intended reflections of 1980s New York in Nevèrÿon, Appendix A brings up occasional irruptions of Nevèrÿon in 1980s New York. But my favorite passage of “Plagues and Carnivals” was section 9.6, detailing relations between the Mummer and the Master of the academy. In these seven pages (261-7) Delany tacitly supplies an interpretive frame for the canon of Classical Greek philosophy from Heraclitus through Plato. It’s an impressive feat and delightful for the informed reader.

“Clearly the Nevèrÿon series is a model of late twentieth-century (mostly urban) America. The question is, of course: What kind of model is it?” (377) The far shorter Appendix B collapses into the more “factual” and explicatory matter of the author’s reflections on the three volumes, answers to readers about the nature of the “modular calculus,” citation of sources and inspirations, theory of semiotics/semiology grounding Delany’s writing, and a list of Delany’s corrections to the three books then in print–when he thought that the work was “complete.”