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.

Alchemical Works

Hermetic Library Fellow Mark Stavish reviews Alchemical Works: Eirenaeus Philalethes Compiled edited by S Merrow Broddle in the archive of Caduceus: The Hermetic Quarterly.

Eirenaeus Philalethes Broddle Alchemical Works

Looking for a little late night alchemical reading? Well, then, you’ve come to the right place. How about enough reading for, say, the next 40 nights? Better still. Alchemical Works: Eirenaeus Philalethes Compiled is not only a mouthful, it is also an alchemical month’s worth of some heavy duty reading on the laboratory aspects of the Great Work by one of the 17th century’s leading exponents of the Art.

As the introduction suggests, over 300 years after the first publications of Philalethes, the identity of this nearly mythological adept is still unknown. Philalethes is the latinization of the Greek phrase for “Lover of Truth”, and if he is judged by what he has written, which according to his prefaces, suggests kindness, modesty, and a philanthropic attitude – the reputed hallmarks of spiritual attainment – it is a fitting name. Legendary for having achieved the Philosopher’s Stone at the age of 23, in 1645, his additional pseudonyms describe him as a Citizen of the Cosmos, or Cosmopolita, the term by which he is best known.

An associate of Boyle, Starkey, and other lesser alchemists and pseudo-alchemists, some of them well known, Philalethes’ writings were the basis for Isaac Newton’s experiments in alchemy, particularly his search for the Philosophic Mercury in 1675. In addition, Philalethes is best known for putting forth the idea of metallic seed which was “diffused throughout the metal, and contained in all its smallest parts…”, an idea similar to today’s atomic theory.

Included in this volume are all of Philalethes’ works available in English, indexed and complete, with the original format preserved. A partial look at the contents shows: The Marrow of Alchemy, Parts 1 and 2; Ripley Revived; An Exposition upon the First Six Gates of Sir George Ripley’s Compound of Alchemie; Experiment for the Preparation of the Sophick Mercury, by Luna, and the Antimonial-Stellate-Regulus of Mars, for the Philosopher’s Stone; A Breviary of Alchemy; and more, for a total of 17 tracts.

Don’t expect to be able to pick up this book, head to your basement with a chemistry kit and make Star Regulus or Ignis-Aqua, however. Like all philosophers of the Hermetic arts and sciences, Philalethes writes in what his modern equivalent, Fulcanelli, calls “the language of the birds”. Like any language, symbolic language is clear to those who know its definitions, grammar, and syntax, but is meaningless to anyone who hasn’t done the Work needed to understand it.

Never fear, though, there is help. While there may not yet be a Yellow Pages for alchemists, some preliminary reading in the field will help clear away many of the obscurities presented in Philalethes’ works. Several introductory books on the actual laboratory techniques of alchemy do exist, along with suggestions for practical experiments in the field. The Alchemist’s Handbook by Frater Albertus, Manfred Junius’ Practical Handbook of Plant Alchemy, In Pursuit of Gold: Alchemy Today in Theory and Practice by Lapidus, and Gold of a Thousand Mornings by Armand Barbault are all more valuable in conjunction with Alchemical Works: Eirenaeus Philalethes Compiled than a dozen psychological analyses of the text.

If you are looking for an authentic alchemical text to guide you, complete with references and historical background to give it weight, Alchemical Works is one of the best buys for the money. It is an expensive book at $60.00, but is loaded with what many consider to be the essential readings on the subject of alchemy by one who is said to have made the Stone and completed the Great Work.

In the true spirit of Hermeticism, by the way, the publisher has included the following statement on the dust jacket: “This work was commissioned by a scholar of the Art who lovingly guided the stringent accuracy of the detailed restoration and publication of the material contained within. Consistent with the Hermetic Tradition, he wishes to remain – Anonymous.” Could it be? Nah…

Tetragrammaton

Hermetic Library Fellow John Michael Greer reviews Tetragrammaton: The Secret to Evoking Angelic Powers and the Key to the Apocalypse by Donald Tyson in the archive of Caduceus: The Hermetic Quarterly.

Tyson Tetragrammaton

Most modern Hermeticists are familiar with Donald Tyson by way of his erudite and highly useful annotated edition of Henry Cornelius Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy (Llewellyn, 1993). This new book of Tyson’s has many of the strengths of that earlier work, and it fills a space in the literature of the Western magical tradition which, until now, has been largely vacant. At the same time, though, it suffers from several perplexing failings, which should be kept in mind by those who study or practice the material it covers.

The strengths of the work are substantial enough that they deserve to be considered first. The Tetragrammaton – the four-lettered Hebrew Name of God which, in Latin letters, is spelled YHVH – is a continuing presence throughout the history of esoteric spirituality and magic in the West. Tyson traces this history ably, touching on many of the correspondences and applications of the Name in Jewish, Christian, Hermetic, Gnostic and magical sources, including such rarely-considered matters as the Christian Hermeticist doctrine of the Pentagrammaton and the inner geometries of John Dee’s Monas Hieroglyphica. The twelve Banners of the Name, permutations of the Tetragrammaton’s letters which are assigned to the twelve signs of the Zodiac and the twelve tribes of Israel, receive a great deal of discussion; he presents a set of correspondences and interpretations for the Banners which, although they differ from the traditional ones, are certainly useable in practical terms.

From the symbolism of the Banners and a passage from the Book of Revelations, in turn, Tyson derives what is certainly the most valuable part of the book: the discussion of the Wings of the Winds, an order of twenty-four angelic spirits which can be evoked and commanded through a series of ritual workings he gives in detail. The symbolic generation of the Wings and the ceremonies used to summon them show Tyson at his best, making skillful and creative use of a great deal of abstruse magical lore, and they deserve to be studied as solid examples of the way modern and traditional perspectives can be effectively combined in magical practice.

A less productive aspect of Tyson’s book is his insistence that his particular system of correspondences is the only true one, and other (and usually older) versions are either deliberate “blinds” or simply wrong. If the diversity of the world’s magical systems teaches anything, it is that correspondences are symbolic languages, and thus useful rather than true; to say that one particular set of correspondences is “correct” is like saying that French is true and all other languages are false. Similarly, it’s not usually a useful idea to insist, as Tyson too often does, that any pattern of symbolism that doesn’t make obvious rational sense must be garbled or wrong. It’s often precisely those elements of symbolism that evade easy comprehension that have the most to teach.

A far more serious weakness in this book, and a much more puzzling one, is the way Tyson interprets the Enochian system of magic created or received by the Elizabethan mage John Dee and his scryer Edward Kelly. Tyson’s contention, developed at length in the book’s final chapter and a lengthy appendix, is that this system is nothing less than “a complex ritual working whose sole purpose is to open the four sealed gates of the Watchtowers, allowing the entry of the great Dragon, Coronzon or Satan, who will bring about the final destruction of the manifest universe.” (p. 186). He takes this claim very seriously, suggesting that the proper use of the Enochian keys will result in a quite literal apocalypse in which “Coronzon will transform the universe into a suitable dwelling place for himself and his ministers, in the process destroying the human race…his sovereignty over our blasted universe will be of brief duration, but this will yield scant consolation to those billions who are slaughtered by war, famine, plagues, and natural disasters” (p. 237).

This section of the book raises a whole host of questions, few of which are satisfactorily answered. Tyson offers little in the way of evidence for his interpretation; he simply presents it as fact, and develops a reading of the Enochian Keys based on the assumption that he is correct. He correctly points out that imagery from the Book of Revelation appears throughout the Enochian material and Dee’s diaries, but gives no reasons for believing that these images should be taken literally – or more seriously than, say, the prophecies of Mother Shipton. He suggests that errors in the system are the only reason Coronzon has not yet put in an appearance, and then proposes various corrections – surely an odd thing to do, if these same errors are our best hope of staving off Armageddon!

A good deal of the material in this section seems to derive from the same kind of overly literal reading of the Book of Revelation that shows up in so much fundamentalist writing on the subject. Like so many other modern readers, Tyson may not have kept in mind the intensely symbolic nature of apocalyptic literature, or paid enough attention to the many uses of apocalyptic imagery in the social, religious and political world in which Dee and Kelly lived and performed their magic. Still, it seems at least possible that there’s one other influence at work, consciously or not, in Tyson’s interpretation. With its images of cosmic doom and its allegations that Dee and Kelley were unwitting pawns in a diabolical plot on the part of malign supernatural powers, this entire section of the book reads remarkably like passages in the fantasy fiction of H. P. Lovecraft. The similarities in theme and tone are striking enough that one almost expects to see references to Yog-Sothoth and the Voorish Sign.

Perhaps Tyson will devote the whole of a future book to his interpretation of the Enochian material, and provide more in the way of justification for his claim. In the meantime, his work on the Tetragrammaton remains a useful contribution, but one which needs to be read carefully, so that the wheat can be separated from the millenarian chaff.

Is the progressive part of the world going to wait until the legally appointed guardians of the truth have found out the true value of the treasure in their possession?

Franz Hartmann, With The Adepts

Hermetic quote Hartmann Adepts treasure

Music in Renaissance Magic

Hermetic Library Fellow John Michael Greer reviews Music in Renaissance Magic: Toward a Historiography of Others by Gary Tomlinson in the archive of Caduceus: The Hermetic Quarterly.

Tomlinson Music in Renaissance Magic

The place of music in the magical traditions of the Renaissance is a fascinating one, and has been far too little explored in either academic or esoteric circles. The musical aspects of Marsilio Ficino’s astrological magic, the role of Pythagorean harmonic theory in the broader context of Renaissance Hermetic thought, and a few other topics have been touched on by a handful of scholars; still, more work needs to be done on all of these areas, and the broader interface between magic and music in Renaissance culture as a whole remains all but undefined. In such a context, almost any scholarly contribution – however peripheral or flawed – cannot help but make some contribution to our knowledge of the subject.

It is thus frustrating to find, in Gary Tomlinson’s Music in Renaissance Magic, an exception that proves the rule. Despite Tomlinson’s obvious erudition and effort, readers who turn to this work hoping for insight or even information on the theory and practice of magical music in the Renaissance will go away disappointed.

The failure of this book has several roots, but the most obvious is the author’s inability to get past questions of current academic theory and actually deal with the material he proposes to study. Perhaps the simplest measure of this is the fact that his book quite literally devotes more space to the paradigms, categories and methodology he intends to use, and to the related viewpoints of figures such as Michel Foucault and his disciples, than it spares for its supposed subject. The same distortion of focus goes on at a deeper level as well, though, for Tomlinson consistently interprets passages from Renaissance-era works in terms derived wholly from modern academic movements such as semiotics and post-structuralist historiography. The inevitable result is that his texts are wrenched out of their contexts and often distorted in meaning as well.

One example out of far too many is his discussion of the idea of rational meaning in non-vocal music, a topic which takes up much of Chapter Four of his work. He’s quite correct in arguing that Ficino, like others of his time, saw music as a carrier of meaning in and of itself, apart from any verbal text connected with it. In making his argument, though, he uses a labored and roundabout approach derived largely from modern semiotics, and misses the obvious and defining point: that from a Renaissance standpoint, music is rationally meaningful because it derives, necessarily, from number and proportion. A little attention to the literature of Renaissance Pythagoreanism, or even to the meanings of the Latin word ratio, could have saved him (and the reader) a great deal of trouble.

What gives this pattern a remarkable irony is that Tomlinson, like other “postmodern” writers, argues at length that other (and especially earlier) attempts to interpret different cultures and times are “monologues” imposing the writer’s culturally defined reality on a passive text: a kind of intellectual imperialism, in fact, which makes the act of interpretation itself “hegemonic” in nature. In place of this, he insists, we need to treat interpretation as a “dialogue with the other” in which the differences between culturally defined realities are respected. This is a praiseworthy goal, to be sure, but one fails to see how it justifies a methodology in which snippets of a given work are taken out of context and redefined in terms completely foreign to their author and time. Ficino and his contemporaries, it should not have to be pointed out, did not write or think about the world in the ways that are currently fashionable in academic circles. Offering an interpretation of their works on the basis of, say, modern semiotic theory, while failing to explore or even mention the fact that these works defined basic issues of knowledge and existence in a wholly different way, is a suppression of their actual context and meaning that verges on intellectual dishonesty.

There is, however, a third level to these distortions of focus. Tomlinson’s discussion returns at a number of points to a remarkable and rather baffling insistence that the realm of magic is quite literally incomprehensible to modern minds. In the last chapter of his book, for example, Tomlinson speculates that the conceptual world of the Renaissance needs to be understood as one in which magic was an effective force. But: “…there emerges, as a function of our knowledge, an irreducible difference – an unresolvable alienation separating us from, for instance, Renaissance magic. We may move, fitfully, into the space between people like Ficino and us – this is what I have tried to do – but we cannot cross over to his side” (p. 247; emphasis in original). In his first chapter, similarly, he takes the time to castigate occultists, and in particular Joscelyn Godwin, the one major figure in modern musicology who has consistently defended traditional, esoteric views of music. His language here is equally curious: he speaks of “the abandonment of ourselves to occult thought” and accuses occultists of “attempt(ing) a radical dissociation of themselves from the implications – if not, usually, from the applications – of the postscientific, technological world in which they live” (p. 14).

The opposition between magic and the implications of modernity which Tomlinson invokes here is hard to defend, given the fact that our own culture – be it ever so “postscientific and technological” – is one in which magic is and always has been practiced. The tens of thousands of practicing magicians in the Western world today may be surprised to learn that an “unresolvable alienation” lies between them and the magical disciplines which are an everyday part of their lives. While the magical traditions of the present day are not identical to those known to Ficino and his contemporaries, to be sure, deep historical and genealogical links connect modern magic with its Renaissance antecedents. It’s quite reasonable, given this, to use the experience of modern magical practice as one source of insight into the world of Renaissance magic, and it’s naive (to say the least) to define magic as something which the scientific revolution somehow rendered unthinkable, given the reality of living Western magical traditions profoundly rooted in the same Renaissance background Tomlinson studies.

In this context, Tomlinson’s attempt to define the magi of the Renaissance as an incomprehensible “other” appear in a different light, if one far too familiar to modern practitioners of magic. The rhetoric about “dialogues with the other” which plays so large a role in postmodernist historiography contrasts with a continuing refusal, on the part of too many scholars, to open the real dialogue of academic discussion to truly divergent views. The “dialogue” of interpretation posited by the postmodernists is, after all, fictitious; Ficino and the other Renaissance magi, being dead, cannot speak for themselves, or object to the often cavalier treatment accorded to their writings and their views. The possibility of real dialogue with a living “other” – the “other” of living Western magical traditions, for example – is quite another matter. Such a dialogue might involve questioning some of the presuppositions of current academic thought – its a priori insistence that every aspect of human experience must be culturally created, its tendency to rely on political rhetoric in place of critical thinking, its too-frequent evasion of moral questions, and the like. It may not be surprising, then, that this particular “dialogue with the other” is one which Tomlinson seems quite eager to avoid.

Knowest thou not that there is a belief in many parts of our native land that at particular seasons certain doomed men throw off the human shape and take that of ravenous wolves?

George W M Reynolds, Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf

Hermetic quote Reynolds Wagner wolves

Summary for two weeks ending June 16th, 2019

Here’s a summary of activity for two weeks ending June 16, 2019.

Over the last two weeks, I had family visit for a week (Hi, mom!). That was fun, and I ate out a lot, and, had a lot of good dark beer, around town and down in nearby Columbia.

But, as fun as that was, I also had contractors on site, looking at Hermetic Library World HQ … and, yeah. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, and lots that should be done. Remember how Notre Dame went up in flames because of old wiring? Yeah, so, the library’s electrical is original, old, obsolete knob-and-tube wiring. Old wiring that is inefficient, ungrounded, and unsafe to be sure. There’s also work needed on the roof, a sewage leak, and structural issues. That’s just the stuff that needs to be done to be safe, up to code, and insurable.

Even though the library and my office where I work on the library takes up about 50% of the house, I really hesitate to do something like setting up a separate fundraising campaign to help with the house. But, wow, help would be amazing. To be honest, I really wish I had more Patrons to support the work I do every day. It’s been a struggle. I haven’t ever gotten to the sustainability goal I set that would help me be able to keep going, but I’ve still kept going, even still. If you’ve considered supporting the work, please do. Become a Patron on Patreon or a Subscriber on Bandcamp. I could really use the support and encouragement.

To be honest, I also have been really needing new glasses as well. My current prescription and glasses are all almost 10 years old. I did get an eye exam, and I’m still able to get to 20-20 with correction; but I haven’t been able to afford the cost of new glasses. I don’t live in a state with medical support, and even when I did, glasses weren’t covered. I do wonder about that as a separate campaign, an “Occulus Reparo” fund, if you will. I wonder if people would be willing to help with a pair of everyday glasses and maybe a spare with a reading prescription.

I’ve also dreamed off and on, on occasion, about what I could do with a Cricut or Glowforge or 3D printer, making things for Patrons as part of Postal Exchange, like vinyl cut sigils, Enochian chess pieces, and more. That seems like something, and I wonder if people would be interested in a crowdfunding campaign related to that, with perks that I’d make with those things; but that I could use to continue to provide nifty things.

Ugh. So many things I feel I could do that are just out of reach right now. I’ll keep thinking about those ideas, as I continue to be focused on doing the ongoing daily work of the library, improving existing pages, adding new content, and sharing links to all these resources with people following the library online.

Yeah, these things have been on my mind this last two weeks. But, wait! There’s more! (It’s been a busy two weeks!)

Welp, I did decide that I’d go ahead and close the voice chat server at the end of June. I think and feel like I should focus on the BBS for the kind of community activity that’s split between the two now in one place instead. Also, always big in my mind, is that the BBS is run on open source software and is self-hosted, which means, generally, that it is more likely to be sustainable and less subject to the vagaries of platform changes. So, do be sure to check out the BBS!

Hermetic Library Hrmtc Underground BBS

I’m still considering whether to move the Zine and submissions process into a mailing list or two for Patrons. I still have some thinking about that to do, including how best to organize it and host it, and if it makes sense to add that to the work I do every day on the library. It seems like it would be nice to have that going, but I’m still contemplating the idea. I think I also have to be honest and say that I have a mailing list already which I’ve not used much, and didn’t end up finding a place in my work flow; most of the things that I think about doing with the existing list, I’m doing elsewhere; so, I need to be sure that if I implemented a new list that it had a reason to exist, a purpose, and that it fits with everything else in a well rounded and well crafted way.

Oh, right! I did also get a Postal Exchange mailing on its way to Patrons with that perk. And I’ve got some other things in mind for the next thing!

Don’t forget! I’ve posted the call for submissions to Magick, Music and Ritual 15, the anthology for 2019.

Hermetic Library Anthology 2019 Magick Music and Ritual 15 Call for Submissions

I’m obviously looking for audio tracks, but also cover artwork, and other bonus downloads! Will you participate this year? Know someone who might want to participate? Let them know about it and have them get in touch with me!

Whew. I’m sure I’ve forgotten things that happened, and that I should mention as well, but there it is.

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 in Chat.

Be sure to check out the actual Hermetic Library, and subscribe on Bandcamp or become a Patron.

Here’s a summary of posts on the blog from these last few weeks

Summoning Spirits

Hermetic Library Fellow John Michael Greer reviews Summoning Spirits: The Art of Magical Evocation by Konstantinos in the archive of Caduceus: The Hermetic Quarterly.

Konstantinos Summoning Spirits

Until modern times, the standard image of the magician in the Western world was largely that of a summoner of spirits, and the elements of that image — the ancient books of conjurations, the circle drawn in chalk and fortified with mighty names, the wand raised as a shadowy figure takes shape in clouds of incense smoke — still play an important part both in fantasy fiction (the folk mythology of the modern magical revival) and in the broader cultural conception of what a magician is or can be. The actual practice of evocation, however, has suffered a certain amount of neglect in the magical community.

Summoning Spirits may just change that fact. Designed as an introduction to evocatory magic for the complete beginner, it presents a complete and relatively simple system of evocation which is likely to appeal to many modern magicians.

Readers with a solid background in modern magical literature will find it easy to identify Konstantinos’ sources — primarily the Golden Dawn system, Donald Michael Kraig and Franz Bardon, although the Goetia and other classical grimoires also have a place. At the same time, he presents this material with a good deal of clarity and intelligence, and he makes good use of his own experiences with the techniques he describes. Of particular interest is a chapter describing fifty entities to be summoned, complete with eleven portraits by artist Lisa Hunt.

There are a few awkward points to Summoning Spirits. The author’s prose style is sometimes uncomfortably close to the gosh-wow school of fantasy writing — he is, notably, a little too fond of the word “amazing” — and his discussion of magical theory skirts many of the deeper issues. In several places, he brushes aside differing points of view with some very shaky arguments. (For example, he dismisses the entire school of thought that sees spirits as psychological entities as the work of armchair theorists; in point of historical fact, this simply isn’t true.)

Still, Summoning Spirits is a useful contribution to the literature on an important branch of magical practice. Beginning and intermediate practitioners who are interested in taking up evocation, and scholars who wish to keep track of the present state of the magical art, are likely to find it of considerable interest.

Omnium Gatherum: June 17, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 17, 2019

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

  • Dronesmuir II. An evening of ethereal drone music. A tax-deductible crowdfunding effort by Hermetic Library Anthology Artist Kim Cascone‘s Silent, umbrella for Silent Records and more, for a live performance at Wheelhouse in Dunsmuir, CA on October 19, 2019.

    Cascone Silent Dronesmuir II 2019

    “Dronesmuir II will consist of three drone musicians at the rustic Wheelhouse restaurant on Saturday, October 19, 2019. Drone music will be performed by three artists on the Silent label: Jack Hertz (San Francisco)—small hand-percussion and acoustic instruments processed via synthesizer, Stuart McLeod (Portland)—hydrophone, brainwaves, waterphone & digital processing, Mark Schlipper (Seattle)—guitar and effects. Stuart McLeod’s performance will make use of a hydrophone (underwater microphone) dropped into the underground rivulet below the restaurant. The signal from the hydrophone combined with the waterphone will be processed digitally and controlled by the artist’s brainwaves. Jack Hertz promises to enthrall the audience with realtime processing via synthesizers of small handmade instruments. Mark Schlipper plays guitar in the Seattle drone doom band The Luna Moth and will perform a solo guitar drone set.

    It’s a safe-space, all-ages event to which everyone is welcome.

    Events are expensive to produce, so we are reaching out to you, our friends, family and community, to help us reach our goal of $3500 dollars that will be used for to pay for artists’ fees, lodging, meals, transportation, promotions, printing, administration, etc. We believe in a model where artists are paid for their work, and are treated with respect. In order to meet this goal, we are asking for sponsorships from businesses and individuals who believe in and support the arts. Any money raised beyond our actual costs will be put towards future events.”

  • Mystery of the ‘mini bagels’ found in rubble at ancient fort. Odd chunks of dough might have had a ceremonial purpose.” — Nature; from the Take-Eat-This-Is-My-Bagel dept.

    Nature Mystery of the Mini Bagels

    “The rings were probably not meant to be eaten, but their actual purpose is a mystery. They resemble clay rings called loom weights, which weavers used for millennia to keep their threads taut. The pit that held the dough rings also contained loom weights, and the researchers propose that the doughy version could have had a ritual function.”

  • Small donors are rebuilding Notre-Dame as French billionaires delay” — France 24

    “As Notre-Dame holds its first mass Saturday since a devastating fire two months ago, billionaire French donors who pledged hundreds of millions for rebuilding have ‘yet to pay a penny’, a spokesman for the cathedral said.

    Instead, the funds paying for clean-up and reconstruction are coming mainly from French and American citizens who donated to church charities like the Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris. Those charities are helping pay the bills and the salaries of up to 150 workers employed by the cathedral since the April 15 fire destroyed its roof and caused its iconic spire to collapse.

    ‘The big donors haven’t paid. Not a cent,’ André Finot, a senior press official at Notre-Dame, told AP on Friday. ‘They want to know what exactly their money is being spent on and if they agree to it before they hand it over, and not just to pay employees’ salaries.’

    Less than a tenth of the hundreds of millions promised has been donated, the French culture ministry said Friday. Only €80 million of the €850 million pledged has been handed over – and most of that has come in small sums given by ordinary people.”

  • Are crystals the new blood diamonds? Gwyneth loves them, Adele can’t sing without them and Kim Kardashian uses them to deal with stress. Many of us are lured by their beauty and promise of mystical powers, but are ‘healing’ crystals connecting us to the earth – or harming it?” — Eva Wiseman, The Guardian UK

    “But while it’s claimed crystals help people harness the energy of the earth, the more they are mined, the more that earth is suffering. Here is the dirty truth of crystals, and it’s not simply that their efficacy as healing objects is unproven. It’s that, as Emily Atkin at The New Republic reported last year, their origins are murky, and their environmental impact worrying. Much like diamonds, crystal mining is an industry buried in conflict. There are issues around sustainability: crystals are a non-renewable resource. There are issues around labour: most jobs are low paid, unsafe, and sometimes performed by underage workers. And there is an issue around accountability: the industry is unregulated, allowing exploitation to go unchecked.”

  • A Norwegian City Wants to Abolish Time” — Ryan F Mandelbaum, Gizmodo

    “Every day, the Earth rotates. The Sun appears on the horizon in the morning, and then some time later, it sets. We’ve built our lives and societies around this periodicity, with days that are divided into hours, minutes, and seconds, all kept track of by clocks. But in some places on Earth, the Sun rises only once per year, and sets once per year. With their concept of a day already so estranged from the rest of the world’s, one Arctic population started thinking: What if we ditched the concept of time altogether?

    ‘You have to go to work, and even after work, the clock takes up your time,’ Hveding told Gizmodo. ‘I have to do this, I have to do that. My experience is that [people] have forgotten how to be impulsive, to decide that the weather is good, the Sun is shining, I can just live.’ Even if it’s 3 a.m. “

  • YouTuber Claims WWE is Promoting ‘Every Satanic Agenda’; Targets Bray Wyatt” — Jay Alletto, PWP Nation

    “The world of “conspiracy theories” can be a bit much if you aren’t ready to open up your mind & embrace the possibilities…even if skeptical.

    The YouTube Channel, “A Call For An Uprising“, has called out WWE numerous times for their agenda driven entertainment with hidden symbolism, political views & classic mind control techniques.

    He also discusses Aleister Black & all of the satanic symbolism he uses in his character, mostly traced back to infamous occultist Aleister Crowley.”

  • Televangelist Warns Of Satan Burgers” — The Young Turks; from the I-Can-Has-Demonburger? dept.

    “C-List televangelist Rick Wiles thinks Impossible Burgers are made of demons.”

  • Books Podcast: does tripping balls tell us anything profound about human consciousness?” — Sam Leith, The Spectator; an interview with Mike Jay, author of Mescaline: A Global History of the First Psychedelic

    Jay Mescaline

    “This week’s books podcast promises to be a trip. I’m joined by Mike Jay to talk about the history of mescaline — a psychedelic drug whose influence goes from the earliest South American civilisations through the 19th-century Indian Wars up to W B Yeats, Aleister Crowley and (of course) Aldous Huxley and Hunter S Thompson. Does tripping balls tell us anything profound about human consciousness? How come Mexico got all the good drugs? And why did Aldous Huxley lie about his trousers?”

  • Wickedest man in the world, Alice In Wonderland and former Top Gear presenter mapped” — Catherine Thompson, Leamington Observer; about “A People Map of the UK, where city names are replaced by their most Wikipedia’ed resident: people born in, lived in, or connected to a place.” at The Pudding

    Thompson Leamington Observer Aleister Crowley Wikipedia

    The Pudding A People Map of the UK Aleister Crowley Leamington Spa

    “THE WICKEDEST man in the world, a former Top Gear presenter, and the author of Alice in Wonderland, have more in common than some might think.

    The unlikely group feature on an unusual new map of the UK compiled by their most Wikipedia’ed resident – with names instead of places.

    Leamington is represented by the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley. Dubbed the wickedest man in the world, he worshipped Satan, practised black magic, and was known to sacrifice the odd cat, although rumours babies were also sacrificed were never proved.”

  • Tulsi Gabbard Had a Very Strange Childhood. Which may help explain why she’s out of place in today’s Democratic Party. And her long-shot 2020 candidacy.” — Kerry Howley, The Cut

    “How far does our commitment to religious diversity extend? Is it weirder to follow the dictates of a surfer guru who believes the moon landing was a hoax than to claim, as does Evangelical Mike Pence, that the establishment of Israel represents biblical prophecy? Georgia representative Jody Hice believes you can predict major political events through a succession of “blood moons.” A recent member of Congress claims pregnancy by “legitimate rape” is impossible. Because he believes bee pollen cured his allergies, former Iowa senator Tom Harkin has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars failing to prove the legitimacy of various alternative medicines, pollen among them.”