Author Archives: John Griogair Bell

About John Griogair Bell

My name is John. I'm the enigmatic super villain, known only, to some, as the Librarian.

Omnium Gatherum: October 16, 2018

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for October 16, 2018

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

  • Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Powerby Pam Grossman, due June 2019, from Gallery Books

    Grossman Waking the Witch

    “A whip-smart and illuminating exploration of the world’s fascination with witches from podcast host and practicing witch Pam Grossman (The Witch Wave), who delves deeply into why witches have intrigued us for centuries and why they’re more relevant now than ever.

    When you think of a witch, what do you picture? Pointy black hat, maybe a broomstick. But witches in various guises have been with us for millennia. In Waking the Witch, Pam Grossman explores the cultural and historical impact of the world’s most magical icon. From the idea of the femme fatale in league with the devil in early modern Europe and Salem, to the bewitching pop culture archetypes in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Harry Potter; from the spooky ladies in fairy tales and horror films to the rise of feminist covens and contemporary witchcraft, witches reflect the power and potential of women.

    In this fascinating read that is part cultural analysis, part memoir, Pam opens up about her own journey on the path to witchcraft, and how her personal embrace of the witch helped her find strength, self-empowerment, and a deeper purpose.

    A comprehensive meditation on one of the most mysterious and captivating figures of all time, Waking the Witch celebrates witches past, present, and future, and reveals the critical role they have played—and will continue to play—in shaping the world as we know it.”

  • Tweet by Lindsey Fitzharris; about something from 2010, “Reconstruction of the Face of a 5000-year old Woman in Iran“—Kaveh Farrokh [HT Jason Whittaker]

  • Imgur by loveyouall

    Finished illustrating another card for a Tarot deck I'm designing!

  • Runes for Writers: Ancient Tools for Modern Storytellers, a crowdfunding effort by Marc Graham; from the 25-Days-Let dept.

    “Story matters. Myths helped the ancients understand their place in the universe and their relationship to the tribe. Today’s stories have the same power to transform lives, and I want to help writers do just that.

    Runes for Writers is designed to boost creativity and help writers get past blocks and solve story challenges. Through specific patterns of runecastings, writers can access the realm of creativity–the Source of Story–for developing powerful characters, scenes, and plots.”

  • Witches Outnumber Presbyterians in the US; Wicca, Paganism Growing ‘Astronomically’” — Brandon Showalter, Christian Post; from the DEPT dept. [HT Hermetic Library Anthology Artist David B Metcalfe]

    “It makes sense that witchcraft and the occult would rise as society becomes increasingly postmodern. The rejection of Christianity has left a void that people, as inherently spiritual beings, will seek to fill,” said author Julie Roys, formerly of Moody Radio, in comments emailed to The Christian Post Tuesday.

    “Plus, Wicca has effectively repackaged witchcraft for millennial consumption. No longer is witchcraft and paganism satanic and demonic,” she said, “it’s a ‘pre-Christian tradition’ that promotes ‘free thought’ and ‘understanding of earth and nature.'”

    “As mainline Protestantism continues its devolution, the U.S. witch population is rising astronomically. There may now be more Americans who identify as practicing witches, 1.5 mil, than there are members of mainline Presbyterianism (PCUSA) 1.4 mil,” [Carmen LeBerge] said Tuesday.

  • From the Vault of Dr. Frank – Build Your Own Andromeda Klein Box (Limited to 50), a bundle of Hermetic Library Anthology Artist Frank Portman’s work, from Sounds Rad

    Andromedia Klein from the personal vault of Dr Frank

    Dr Frank Andromeda Klein poster

    “From the vault of Dr. Frank (Portman) comes an unbelievable collection of rarities that will only be available through All Hallow’s Eve. This package includes one of 50 hand-signed Andromeda Klein 7″s and posters, rare items from the original 2009 release discovered in Dr Frank’s archives. The poster and 7” were designed by the artist Lane Smith and the poster has never been offered for sale anywhere before.

    For this package we are also allowing you to build your own box and save some coin. Add a 1.5″ enamel pin, full-color sticker, and Andromeda Klein novel!”

  • Though it takes its time, Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina will put a spell on you” — Danette Chavez, AV Club

    “Fans of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s work in the world of Archie Comics, both on the page and screen, will definitely want to see what kind of magic the Riverdale creator casts away from the land of network standards and practices (not that his maple-covered CW series seems to fuss over them much). Though the aesthetic sharply deviates from that of the TGIF sitcom that came before it, there’s also plenty here for viewers who grew up with Melissa Joan Hart’s portrayal of the teen witch and enjoyed the witchy hijinks and family dynamic. But even if you have no knowledge of the blond spellcaster, you’ll find a visually innovative supernatural drama about a rebel with a cause.”

    “The historical subjugation of virtually everyone who’s not a cishet white man clearly informs the series, but there isn’t a hint of dogma in this stylishly frightening story—there are, however, orgies and frequent calls to “Praise Satan.” From the start, Chilling Adventures has a firm grip on its darkly comedic tone, and like its ersatz predecessors Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Charmed (at their best, that is), the series presents a nuanced fight between good and evil, or oppressor and oppressed.”

  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Is a Yummy Cup of Witch’s Brew in Need of a Few More Ingredients” — Beth Elderkin, io9

    “I will admit, I was afraid they weren’t going to “go there.” In the first episode, they kept saying “Dark Lord,” making me think they were blanketing over that part so they wouldn’t offend some religious groups. But this isn’t a Golden Compass situation, where organized religion was replaced with generic totalitarianism to appease a certain demographic. These witches worship Satan. And holy hell is he terrifying.”

    “There aren’t a lot of shows out there where your stars eat corpses, sacrifice goats, and worship the devil. If you’re like me and that’s your cup of witch’s brew, then drink up.”

  • Astrology” — Quartz Obsession, October 5, 2018

    “Maybe it’s the -ology of the end: About 40% of Americans think astrology is “very” or “sort of” scientific; those 25 to 34 years old are less skeptical than they’ve been in decades. (In China, for comparison, the devoted are more like eight percent of the population.) The psychic-services industry as a whole is now worth $2 billion a year.”

  • The Us Witch Population Has Seen an Astronomical Rise” — Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz & Dan Kopf, Quartzy

    “Spirituality is now firmly placed in mainstream culture. The growing interest in astrology driven by millennials, as well as the popularity of crystals and tarot cards via the ballooning wellness industry, have brought mysticism from the fringes, and right into your Instagram feed.”

  • Stranger Than Fiction: Essays by Mike Jay by Mike Jay [HT Daily Grail]

    Jay Stranger Than Fiction

    “Stranger Than Fiction brings together, for the first time, Mike Jay’s distinctive and immensely readable forays into the twilight zones of history, culture and the human mind.

    Among them are his trademark investigations into the hidden histories of drugs, from the lotus eaters of Homer’s Odyssey to the laughing gas escapades of the Romantic poets and Sherlock Holmes’ cocaine habit; his reports from the disputed territories of mesmerism, brainwashing and mind control; fantastic beliefs from the birth of the Illuminati conspiracy to futuristic scenarios of human evolution; and global travel tales from megalith cultures of Borneo to ancient temples of Peru, the ‘cargo cult’ ceremonies of Melanesia to Britain’s most anarchic bonfire night.

    Beautifully designed and lavishly illustrated, Stranger Than Fiction is a unique compendium of forgotten histories, untold stories and unexplored worlds.”

  • The Story of Victorian Funeral Cookies.
    Revisiting a Centuries’ Old Mourning Tradition” — Hoag Levins, Historic Camden County; Sept 12, 2011; from the Eucharist dept. [HT Spooky Soniasuponia]

    “It’s likely that eating a bit of a deceased loved one was an effort to both honor and incorporate their essence into one’s own. Anthropologists believe this grisly habit evolved into the somewhat more
    paleolithic grave civilized mourning practices throughout medieval Europe and ultimately gave rise to the “funeral biscuits” so popular in the Victorian age.

    Emerging from the Middle Ages in old Germany, for instance, was the funeral tradition of eating “corpse cakes” that symbolically mirrored the act of eating the deceased. After the body had been washed and laid in its coffin, the woman of the house prepared leavened dough and placed it to rise on the linen-covered chest of the corpse. It was believed the dough “absorbed” some of the deceased’s personal qualities that were, in turn, passed on to mourners who ate the corpse cakes.”

    “In the Victorian Age, funeral biscuits, along with all other customs related to death and mourning, became more formalized and baroque. Like wedding cakes, funeral biscuits were a staple of the bakery business, and competition for customers was brisk. Some bakers’ newspaper ads addressed the suddenness with which most people had to organize funeral details and promised “funeral biscuits made to order on the shortest notice.”
    The commercial biscuit wrappings were ornately printed with bakery advertisements as well as uplifting biblical quotes and poems. Like church holy cards, they served as a keepsake of the event itself.”

  • Halloween for Real. There’s more to Halloween than egging houses and gorging on candy. This could get scary…” — Mitch Horowitz, In The Dark

    “Strap in — we’re going on a little Halloween time-machine journey. The old practices provide frightfully interesting ways of observing the ancient holiday.”

  • Traveling Witch Figurine by Jon Carling

    Traveling Witch Figurine Jon Carling

    “She is finally available! The first edition of 100 witches. Hand casted, hand painted, numbered and signed. She comes with a bunch accessories, including a spell book and a silk screened traveling pouch.”—Jon Carling

    “The Traveling Witch now has her own instagram page: HERE tag your photos #travelingwitch to share your adventures!”

  • Tweet by Hermetic Library Anthology Artist T Thorn Coyle

You help yourself by helping others. There are no hermits in the desert unless they are thinking big thoughts that will eventually help others.

Edward De Bono, H+ A New Religion?

Hermetic quote de Bono H-plus help

Summary for the week ending Oct 14, 2018

Here’s a summary of activity for the week ending October 14th, 2018.

I’m going to be trying, again, to get my computer fixed, which is a big ordeal, and two days of travel across the state and back; but, wish me luck! Hopefully I’ll have a working desktop machine again soon. So mote it be.

I had a suggestion for a new Research Topic from a Patron who would like to hear more about Enneagrams, So, I posted that specific call for submissions. This and related topics, like G I Gurdjieff and the Forth Way, are not something that I’ve got much on at the library, so this is a great suggestion where more could be done, including articles for the blog, resources at the library, and entries for the Hermeneuticon wiki.

As a reminder, there is a Research Topics perk for ongoing Patrons of Hermetic Library. If you’re already a Patron with that perk, consider letting me know, if there are and research topics that you’d like to have posted. If you want to participate in suggesting new research topics, and help support the submissions process for new work on those topics, consider joining in!

I also have created a new short link http://research.hrmtc.com that will arrive at a list of all the posted Research Topics on the library blog.

Hermetic Library Call for Submissions on Research Topics

I’ve made an offer for a guest post that I hope to have posted this week or next, so watch for that. This is a successful submission that was an idea the author pitched, made it through the submissions process, and I’m excited for when I can share it with you soon.

You may also be interested to hear that I’ve just released the third anthology album for Rigaroga’s Odd Order. As a reminder, Rigaroga is my techno-geek persona, and Odd Order is a space for nerdish and geeky stuff that I’m involved in. The 2018 release is BIT NIBBLE BYTE, with 5 tracks from 4 new and returning artists. Check that out and consider picking it up as a digital download!

Odd Order Anthology 2018 BIT NIBBLE BYTE

Still looking for help and others to join me in a working community around the library, of course.

Lots of new pages and work on old pages on the site, which is pretty much every week, really. You can always check the front page of the site which shows the most recent changes and new pages, or check out the Recent Changes special page for a full list.

Want to join me on this blog and create new art or writing for Hermetic Library? Pitch your Idea.

Help get some conversations started over on the BBS and Chat.

Be sure to check out the actual Hermetic Library, and drop a buck in the tip jar or become a Patron.

Consider also checking out what I’m up to on my personal blog and at Odd Order.

Here’s a summary of posts on the blog from this last week

Some top pages at the library

Some top posts on social media

Ancient Light

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Ancient Light by John Banville.

Banville Ancient Light

John Banville’s two previous novels about Alexander Cleave and his daughter Cass (Eclipse and Shroud) were synchronized with one another, so that neither was needed to appreciate the other, but either would “spoil” the other’s ending. I expected this third book, focusing on Alexander Cleave a decade later, to be a continuation of Eclipse for which Shroud would not furnish any explicit background. I had not reckoned on Banville’s ability to construct one of the most elaborate instances of dramatic irony I have ever encountered on the printed page. It started early, and continued for nearly the entire book within one of the two major plot strands. I don’t know how the book would have read in the absence of that very vivid irony, which depended entirely on familiarity with Shroud.

“Cleave” is aptly named in this book, split between memories of his sixteenth summer, when he had an affair with his best friend’s thirty-five-year-old mother, and his first movie role fifty years later, coming out of retirement from his stage acting career. Just as the titles of the previous books applied to their contents in over-determined polyvalent ways, so too does “ancient light.” The other titles appear again, subtly worked in to the closing passages, where Banville also quite overtly opens towards a possible further volume.

I liked Ancient Light better than Eclipse and perhaps not quite as much as Shroud. Consistent with the others, the prose is writerly, but still tailored to the voice of the principal character, and the book is filled with sensuous observation along with both epistemological and emotional difficulty. Critic Keshava Guha derided Ancient Light for its “vagueness,” but I found it to have a real precision in the construction of its characters and the development of its themes.

Omnium Gatherum: October 12, 2018

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for October 12, 2018

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

  • With “Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina” And “Charmed,” Witches Have Made Their TV Comeback. In Sabrina and Charmed, the main characters are literally empowered to take on the patriarchy.” — Alana Bennett, Buzzfeed

    “Once again, these shows center on young women learning to champion their powers and, by extension, themselves. Both model “girl power” through a 2018 lens — with the conscious inclusion of a more diverse cast and a connection to the darkness that surrounds modern conversations around feminism.”

  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina | Clip: Salem Appears” — Netflix

  • Witchcraft Spells Being Cast Following Kavanaugh Confirmation #WitchTheVote” — Paul Bois, Daily Wire

    “The witch trial of Justice Brett Kavanaugh has inspired actual witches to cast spells in his name, including the organization of a “Hex Kavanaugh” event.”

  • Sabrina’s Weird Sisters Share How They Developed Their Creepy Bond” —
    Beth Elderkin, io9

    “I didn’t find out until they actually got here who they had chosen. So I was like, ‘Oh my god, yes! Yeah! You two were my choices—they didn’t ask me but you two were my choices!’” Gabrielle added.

  • Servants of the Star & the Snake: Essays in Honour of Kenneth & Steffi Grant [also], compiled and edited by Henrik Bogdan, from Starfire Publishing [HT Watkins Books]

    Bogdan Servants of the Star and the Snake

    Servants of the Star & the Snake is a scintillant and substantial collection of writings in celebration of the work of Kenneth and Steffi Grant. Their diverse published work extends across six decades, taking in articles on Advaita in Indian magazines from the early 1950s; a series of illustrated essays, known collectively as the Carfax Monographs, from the late 1950s to the early 1960s; their magnum opus, the Typhonian Trilogies, from 1972 to 2002; studies of the work of Austin Osman Spare in 1975 and 1998; poetry collections in 1963, 1970 and 2005; and a series of novellas from 1997 to 2012.

    Each piece of writing included in Servants of the Star & the Snake explores a different facet of this extensive body of work. Whilst the contributors have adopted different approaches to their subjects – ranging from scholarly discussions through to fictional narratives – what they have in common is an appreciation of the extraordinary work and legacy of the most influential couple in the history of modern occultism, Kenneth and Steffi Grant.

    The pieces of writing which comprise this fascinating and inspiring collection include:

    Kenneth Grant: Servant-Satguru-Savant, by Martin P. Starr;
    From Zos-Kia to the As-If: Kenneth Grant and Austin Osman Spare, by Michael Staley;
    Advaita Vedanta in the Works of Kenneth Grant, by Henrik Bogdan;
    Kenneth Grant and Lord Kusum Haranath, by Ruth Bauer;
    From Central Africa to the Mauve Zone: Gerald Massey’s Influence on Kenneth Grant’s Idea of the Typhonian Tradition, by Christian Giudice;
    Lam and the Typhonian Tradition, by Michael Staley;
    Inside Outer Space, by Kyle Fite;
    The Other Woman: Babalon and the Scarlet Woman in Kenneth Grant’s Typhonian Trilogies, by Manon Hedenborg-White;
    The Nuclear Art of Steffi Grant, by Henrik Bogdan;
    The Art of Darkness: Kenneth Grant and the Unity of the Soul, by Vadge Moore;
    Kenneth Grant and Maat, by Nema;
    Clarity versus Weirdness: A Vital Tension Within Magical Culture, by Ramsey Dukes;
    Foundations of the Typhonian Trilogies, by Michael Staley;
    Beyond Crowley: The Foundations of Sexual Magick, by Jan Fries;
    Evocation of the Fire Snake: Kenneth Grant and Tantra, by Henrik Bogdan;
    The Magic in Fiction, by Alistair Coombs;
    The Role of H. P. Lovecraft in the Work of Kenneth Grant, by Stephen Dziklewicz;
    Shakti in Chinatown, by Michael Bertiaux.

  • Far right, misogynist, humourless? Why Nietzsche is misunderstood. The German philosopher has been adopted by the alt-right, but he hated antisemitism. He has been misappropriated and misread, argues his biographer” — Sue Prideaux, The Guardian; writing about the ideas in her book I Am Dynamite!: A Life of Nietzsche, due Oct 30th

    Prideaux I Am Dynamite

    “Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx and Charles Darwin are the great triumvirate of 19th-century thinkers whose ideas still have huge impact today. Nietzsche was philosophy’s supreme iconoclast; his sayings include “God is dead” and “There are no facts, only interpretations”. Highly relevant, yet his association with concepts such as the Übermensch, master morality, slave morality and, possibly most dangerous, the will to power, have also contributed to him being widely misinterpreted. There are three myths in particular that need dynamiting: that his politics were on the far right, he was a misogynist and he lacked a sense of humour.

    Misappropriation has been rife.”

  • Pope blames devil for Church divisions, scandals, seeks angel’s help” — Philip Pullella, Reuters; from the Nobody-Did-It dept.

    “The devil is alive and well and working overtime to undermine the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis says.

    In fact, the pope is so convinced that Satan is to blame for the sexual abuse crisis and deep divisions racking the Church that he has asked Catholics around the world to recite a special prayer every day in October to try to beat him back.

    “(The Church must be) saved from the attacks of the malign one, the great accuser and at the same time be made ever more aware of its guilt, its mistakes, and abuses committed in the present and the past,” Francis said in a message on Sept. 29.”

  • Swedish girl Saga pulls out pre-Viking era sword from lake” — Associated Press

    “Her name conjures up Old Nordic tales about heroic accomplishments and that’s exactly what Saga this summer did when she stumbled on a pre-Viking-era sword in a southern Sweden lake.

    Saga Vanecek, 8, was helping her father with his boat in the Vidostern lake when she stepped on an 85-centimeter (34-inch) sword in a holster made of wood and leather. The sword is believed to be about 1,500 years old.”

  • Tweet by Sarah Anne Lawless

  • Towards Liber LVI: The Sainthood of Woman” — T Meithras, Ecclesia Gnostica Universalis (in Anglia)

    “Our on-going project of creating a new, Thelemic Gnostic Mass to explore the Alchemical Mysteries of transformation and rejuvenation from a different perspective, while celebrating and enthroning the role of Woman in the tradition, has attracted some interest exactly as we expected.

    Here we offer a non-definitive list of the mythical and historical figures of female Adepts we are establishing communion with […]”

    “As for the list of male Gnostic Saints of Liber XV, this too is not to be considered exhaustive, but rather a celebration of some of the brighter Stars who helped to Perfect, and Manifest, the Feast we partake with the Holy Spirit.”

  • Hypervelocity alien stars could be invading the Milky Way” — Anthony Wood, New Atlas

    “Astronomers have discovered a population of incredibly fast-moving stars bearing down on the Milky Way. It is possible that these newly found “hypervelocity” stellar bodies were created in another galaxy, before being hurled out into intergalactic space on a collision course with the Milky Way.”

  • Tweet by Order of Sasquatch

  • William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock ‘n’ Roll by Hermetic Library Anthology Artist Casey Rae, due June 2019

  • William S. Burroughs’ “The Revised Boy Scout Manual”: An Electronic Revolution (Bulletin) by William S Burroughs, edited by Geoffrey D Smith and John M Bennett, afterword by V Vale [HT Xeni Jardin]

    Burroughs The Revised Boy Scout Manual

    “Before the era of fake news and anti-fascists, William S. Burroughs wrote about preparing for revolution and confronting institutionalized power. In this work, Burroughs’ parody becomes a set of rationales and instructions for destabilizing the state and overthrowing an oppressive and corrupt government. As with much of Burroughs’ work, it is hard to say if it is serious or purely satire. The work is funny, horrifying, and eerily prescient, especially concerning the use of language and social media to undermine institutions.

    The Revised Boy Scout Manual was a work Burroughs revisited many times, but which has never before been published in its complete form. Based primarily on recordings of a performance of the complete piece found in the archives at the OSU libraries, as well as various incomplete versions of the typescript found at Arizona State University and the New York Public Library archives, this lost masterpiece of satiric subversion is finally available in its entirety.”

  • Philip Pullman: why we believe in magic. The world of magic defies rational explanation, but beware dismissing it as nonsense. Like religious experience and poetry, it is a crucial aspect of being human, writes the Dark Materials author” — Philip Pulman, The Guardian; writing about Spellbound: Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft at the Ashmolean, an exhibit through January 2019 [HT Matthew Frederick]

    “A new exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford brings together a multitude of objects and artworks – there’s a “poppet” or rag doll with a stiletto stuck through its face, an amulet containing a human heart, a wisp of “ectoplasm” apparently extruded by a medium in Wales, and too many others to count – from a dark world of nonsense and superstition that we ought to have outgrown a long time ago. At least, that’s how I imagine rationality would view it. I find myself in an awkward position rationality-wise, because my name is listed on the website of the Rationalist Association as a supporter, and at the same time I think this exhibition is full of illuminating things, and the mental world it illustrates is an important – no, an essential part of the life we live. I’d better try to work out what I mean.”

it is no longer individuals only, or cities, that enrich themselves by distant commerce and export; but whole nations grow rich at the cost of those nations which lag behind in their industrial development.

Petr Kropotkin, The Conquest of Bread

Hermetic quote Kropotkin Bread rich