A Metaphysical Reading of the Tarot Suits

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews A Metaphysical Reading of the Tarot Suits by TeenyTinyTarot. This anonymous pamphlet was included gratis with an order of cards from the TeenyTinyTarot website. It seems to be composed as more mystical “bait” to reorient those whose interest in Tarot has originally consisted of vulgar divination. Most of it […]

Illness as Metaphor

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Illness as Metaphor (now published with a sequel, AIDS and Its Metaphors, in the same volume) by Susan Sontag. Illness as Metaphor is an intriguing book-length essay. It is focused on two “modern” illnesses: tuberculosis and cancer. Sontag points to these as the reigning mystery maladies or defining diseases […]

Study this book practically; bring the circle into a square. Mortify the metals; calcinate and purify them of all residua. When you have succeeded, we shall meet again.

Franz Hartmann, With The Adepts

The Night of the Witch at Meta Center in New York on Jun 25th, 2014

The Night of the Witch at META Center, in New York, on June 25th, 2014 is an event that will be of interest. Treadwell’s is coming to New York, featuring Pam Grossman and Christina Oakley Harrington, and there are only a limited number of tickets available! After the event there is planned an informal social at a nearby restaurant as well.

Treadwell's in New York Night of the Witch Remedios Varo

Two illustrated lectures on witchcraft in a vibrant double-bill. Witch Pictures — Pam Grossman and British Witchcraft — Christina Oakley Harrington.

Witch Pictures — Pam Grossman

The witch burst into Western art in the late 15th century and never left: the likes of Durer, Fuseli, Goya, and Blake used the image of magical women to titillate their patrons or reflect their own anxieties — with results both grotesque and beguiling. Then in the 19th century women took up the brush to create works inspired by personal occult experiences, reclaiming the witch, and we see a female ‘witchcraft’ in action in Abstraction, Surrealism, Modernism, making a corner of art history where craft and Craft are one and the same.

British Witchcraft — the Fifties to the Seventies — Christina Oakley Harrington

British Witchraft revived in the 1950s and 1960s. To the horror and fascination of the English press and public, some of these witches gave interviews and even allowed secret rites to be photographed. They wanted the world to know a non-Christian basis of ethics, a radical concept of the sacred, and the power of altered states of consciousness. Both tradition-based and forward-thinking, they were paradoxical yet compelling. Tonight’s speaker comes from the UK Wiccan community, and brings these characters to life and shares insights into their vision of the Craft.

Pam Grossman is the Brooklyn-based guiding spirit of Phantasmaphile, and was co-host of the 2013 Occult Humanities Conference at NYU. Christina Oakley Harrington is founder of London’s famed Treadwells Bookshop and a former academic; she also co-edits Abraxas Journal and gives occasional lectures.

Venue: New York City’s META Center, 214 W 29th Street. The talks will be followed by an informal social at a nearby restaurant: all are invited.
Tickets through Brown Paper Tickets
Time: 7pm – 9pm

The Metaphysical Club

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America by Louis Menand. The Metaphysical Club of Menand’s title was a small, fairly short-lived conversation society organized by Chauncey Wright in 1872 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with members including Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., William James, and Charles Pierce, among others. Menand […]

The History and Philosophy of the Metaphysical Movements in America

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The History and Philosophy of the Metaphysical Movements in America by J Stillson Judah. Writing in the 1990s, Wouter Hanegraaff refers to this book as a “standard work” on the topic, and notes that Judah coined the term “metaphysical movements.” (See Judah, p. 7) The volume treats a set […]

The Prague Cemetary

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco. The Prague Cemetery is something like a more anti-heroic Fight Club set in late 19th-century Paris, using a diary framework to provide a thorough excavation of the self-dissociated central character. The Piedmontese Simone Simonini is as vile a creature as one can imagine, […]

Perfecting Nature: Medicine, Metallurgy and Mysticism Alchemical Texts from Special Collections

You may be interested in Perfecting Nature: Medicine, Metallurgy and Mysticism Alchemical Texts from Special Collections an “exhibition of alchemical books and manuscripts from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.” The show is at the Special Collections Gallery of University of Delaware‘s Morris Library, Aug 21st – Dec 20th, 2012. But apparently, the exhibit will also be presented online.


Salomon Trismosin. Aureum vellus, oder Guldin Schatz vnd Kunstkam[m]er. Getruckt zu Roschach am Bodensee: [s.n.], annno [sic] MDCCVLII [i.e. 1598]-1604.


“Alchemy is a complex and mysterious art that began in ancient times and continued for thousands of years before being challenged as a legitimate science in the 18th century despite the many contributions and scientific facts alchemists established through their experiments. Alchemy was practiced in the Middle East, Asia and all across Europe. Many eminent scientists, religious figures and royalty were practitioners of alchemy, including Isaac Newton, Pope John XXII and John Dee.” [via]

“On exhibition will be works that highlight alchemy’s history, beliefs and practices. These texts contain extraordinary woodcuts and engravings of alchemical emblems and symbols. The materials on display are from the Unidel History of Chemistry Collection, a collection within the Special Collections Department at the University of Delaware Library.” [via]