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: February 19, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for February 19, 2019

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

  • In the age of fake news, here’s how schools are teaching kids to think like fact-checkers” — Annabelle Timsit, Quartz

    “The authors explained that fact-checkers practiced ‘lateral reading,’ meaning that they checked other available resources instead of staying only on the site at hand. That, they concluded, is a practice at odds with available fake-news checklists, which focus on the outward characteristics of a website, like its ‘about’ page or its logo, and don’t encourage students to look for outside sources.

    … the checklists available to teachers often focus on abstract skills like critical thinking, which Wineburg says is not the right way to go. ‘The people who say ‘all we need are critical thinkers,’ I’m sorry, I could […] raise Socrates from the dead and he still wouldn’t know how to choose keywords, and he would know nothing about search engine optimization, and he would not know how to interpret the difference between a ‘.org’ and a ‘.com.’’

    Ultimately, as Petrone writes, 21st-century citizens need more than a checklist—they ‘need a functioning bullshit detector.'”

  • Slayer ReAction Figure – Minotaur by ReAction Figures, from Super7 [HT Kerrang]

    Super7 Slayer Baphomet action figure

    “SLAAAYEER! The official Super7 x Slayer 3.75-inch ReAction Figure immortalizing the demonic Minotaur from the cover of the band’s 1983 debut album Show No Mercy. The figure includes a cape and sword accessories.”

  • The magical thinking of guys who love logic. Why so many men online love to use “logic” to win an argument, and then disappear before they can find out they’re wrong.” — Aisling McCrea, The Outpost [HT Lifeboat Foundation]

    “… Danskin points out that, even when their beliefs skew towards the bizarre and conspiratorial, people on the online right often identify as “rationalists.”

    This will be unsurprising to those who often engage with the wider online right, whether it is with someone who identifies as alt-right, libertarian, conservative, as a fan of the “Intellectual Dark Web,” or even “moderate” or “centrist” (turns out a lot of people online are self-identifying as moderate while also believing in conspiracies about “white genocide”). Although their beliefs may not be identical, there are common, distinct patterns in the way they speak (or type) that one can’t help but notice.

    Specifically, these guys — and they are usually guys — love using terms like “logic.” They will tell you, over and over, how they love to use logic, and how the people they follow online also use logic. They are also massive fans of declaring that they have “facts,” that their analysis is “unbiased,” that they only use “‘reason” and “logic” and not “emotions” to make decisions.

    This is my attempt to break the spell, I guess. Repeat after me: calling something logic doesn’t make it so. Calling someone rational doesn’t make it so.”

  • The Scarfolk Annual by Richard Littler, from William Collins, due in October, listed only in the UK currently; follow up to Discovering Scarfolk

    Littler The Scarfolk Annual

    “For more information please reread.”

    “You can either a) pre-order it or b) pre-order it.”

    Littler The Scarfolk Annual preorder preorder

  • Iris Murdoch and the power of love. Anil Gomes considers Murdoch’s view that morality is real and that, with the right conceptual resources, we can perceive it” — Anil Gomes, Times Literary Supplement; from the DEPT dept. [HT Arts & Letters Daily]

    “Morality, on this view, isn’t a matter of finding out truths about the world; it is a matter of choosing which values guide your life.

    For [Iris] Murdoch, moral perception requires both sense and sensibility, and someone who possesses both can see how things ought to be.

    But being good is difficult and that dear self, our selfish ego, gets in the way of our seeing things as they really are. If we are to do better, we need the virtues, we need beauty, we need the development of a capacity for loving attention.”

  • My Teenage Rebellion Was Fundamentalist Christianity. While other girls my age were sneaking off with boys and getting drunk, I was becoming a zealot—and trying to convert my parents.” — Carly Gelsinger, Narratively

    “I wanted a group to belong to. Didn’t we all?

    For years, I believed that people who walked away from their faith would suffer eternally for it. I used to judge the backsliders, and now I was one. The words of my pastors that night so many years ago had been seared into my mind: You have the Spirit of Rebellion.”

  • ‘It Is Not a Closet. It Is a Cage.’ Gay Catholic Priests Speak Out. The crisis over sexuality in the Catholic Church goes beyond abuse. It goes to the heart of the priesthood, into a closet that is trapping thousands of men.” — Elizabeth Dias, New York Times

    “The closet of the Roman Catholic Church hinges on an impossible contradiction. For years, church leaders have driven gay congregants away in shame and insisted that ‘homosexual tendencies’ are ‘disordered.’ And yet, thousands of the church’s priests are gay.”

  • Supermoon, 2019’s biggest and brightest, will light up the sky” — Ashley Strickland and Rob Picheta, CNN [also]

    “February’s full moon will brighten the skies on Tuesday as the biggest and brightest supermoon of the year.

    The super snow moon is the second of three supermoon events in the first three months of the year — a packed lunar calendar for 2019, which marks the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, the mission that took the first humans to the moon.
    It will make the moon appear unusually large when it rises and sets, and — like most lunar events — is sure to draw amateur star gazers around the world outside.

    And if you miss this one, there will be another supermoon on March 19 — the last of three supermoons visible at the start of this year.”

The Fate of Dreams

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Doctor Strange: The Fate of Dreams by Devin Grayson.

Grayson Doctor Strange The Fate of Dreams

This original “prose” (i.e. not sequential-art) novel about Marvel occult superhero Doctor Strange was published in 2016, concurrently with the release of the MCU film featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Master of the Mystic Arts. In this book, Strange is already long established as the Sorcerer Supreme, and there is thankfully none of the “sling ring” gimmickry that was on display in the movie. The style of the book is very Marvel, with ample intertextual references, deep investment in the prior narrative continuity, and occasional wisecracking. There is sparing black-and-white illustration in this book, for which nine different artists are credited! I suspect that the art was simply repurposed from previous comics work.

The Fate of Dreams concerns itself with Strange’s efforts to address an enigmatic corruption affecting the realms of dream. He works in eventual concert with a dream-specialist neuroscientist, a young Inhuman (i.e. superpowered human-alien hybrid), and Strange’s erstwhile foe Nightmare, a sovereign of the dream realms. The characters are interesting and fairly well-developed relative to superhero genre standards, and the plot is quick-moving. Author Devin Grayson introduces some Nebraska backstory for Strange prior to his career in medicine, and this material was new to me despite extensive reading in old Strange Tales and Doctor Strange comics. I don’t know if the ideas are original here, though–she seems to be working hard to use as much comics material as she can.

I was pleasantly surprised when the plot resolution turned out to hinge on the Inhuman Jane Bailey taking the role of a messianic sacrifice to redeem the dream realms. Her function as a sort of Gnostic Sophia on these lines was amply foreshadowed with reference to the descent of Inanna, along with other related tropes. In this particular drama, Strange was awarded the part of an esoteric Judas!

.. (Spoilers – hoverover to reveal) ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The Fate of Dreams is likely to engage and entertain fans of Doctor Strange comics. Those readers familiar only with the theatrical film will perhaps find it a bit inaccessible for its constant allusions to the larger Marvel metatext. Non-comics-fan occultists and students of the occult who are looking for a gratifying potboiler tale of magical heroism might perhaps be better served by Frank Lauria’s Owen Orient novels from the 1970s and 80s.

Omnium Gatherum: February 15, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for February 15, 2019

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

  • Nightside of the Runes: Uthark, Adulruna, and the Gothic Cabbala by Thomas Karlsson, from Inner Traditions

    Karlsson Nightside of the Runes

    “Reveals the occult wisdom and multidimensional layers of meaning hidden in the Nordic Rune stones

    • Explores the practice of the Uthark divination system encoded within the traditional exoteric Futhark system of reading the runes

    • Traces the relationship between the rune stones and numerology, the Cabbala, alchemy, Gothicism, and sigil magic

    • Examines the history of the runes and the ancient spiritual mysticism of Odin

    Uncovering the dark side of the Nordic rune stones hidden beneath their traditional interpretation, Swedish scholar and runologist Thomas Karlsson examines the rune work of Swedish mystic and runologist Johannes Bureus (1568-1652) and professor Sigurd Agrell (1881-1937), both of whom devoted their lives to uncovering the secret uses of rune stones concealed from all but the highest initiates.

    Karlsson begins by examining the Uthark system of divination–the Left Hand Path of the runes–that lies hidden under the traditional Futhark system. According to the lore of Uthark, a cryptographic ruse was used to make it impossible for the uninitiated to know the true order of the runes. Exploring Agrell’s decryption of the Uthark system, Karlsson reveals similarities between the numerology of ancient mystery cults and the Runic tradition. He explains the multidimensional meaning of each rune from the Uthark perspective, their relationships with the nine worlds of Norse cosmogony, and the magical powers of rune-rows and the three aettir rune groupings. He details how to create your own magically-charged runes, direct and activate the force of the runes, and use them for rune meditation, divination, sigil magic, galders (power songs), and rune yoga.

    Karlsson also examines the secret dimensions of the 15 “noble” runes, the Adulrunes, based on the theories of Johannes Bureus. Using his knowledge of the Cabbala and alchemy, Bureus created magical symbols with the Adulrunes as well as one symbol containing all 15 Adulrunes, which Bureus called the “Adulruna.” Karlsson explains Bureus’ spiritual system of initiation, the Gothic Cabbala, revealing the connections between old Norse wisdom and the Cabbala. He explores Bureus’ Adulrune practices and explains how Bureus outlined seven levels of meaning for each rune, with those initiated into the highest rune levels able to conjure spirits and raise the dead.

    Covering more than just rune practices, Karlsson’s exploration of the dark or night side of the runes provides a comprehensive guide to Norse spirituality and the ancient spiritual mysticism of Odin.”

  • Oxford anthropologists identify seven universal rules of morality” — Rich Haridy, New Atlas

    “‘The debate between moral universalists and moral relativists has raged for centuries, but now we have some answers,’ explains Oliver Scott Curry, lead author on the study. ‘People everywhere face a similar set of social problems, and use a similar set of moral rules to solve them. As predicted, these seven moral rules appear to be universal across cultures. Everyone everywhere shares a common moral code. All agree that cooperating, promoting the common good, is the right thing to do.’

    The seven moral rules seen in every culture studied ultimately come down to:

    family values
    group loyalty
    property rights”

  • Tweet by Dr. Death & Divinity

  • Tweet by Nick Reynolds

  • The gateway to hell? Hundreds of anti-witch marks found in Midlands cave. Hundreds of symbols at gorge could be Britain’s biggest collection of protective signs.” — Mark Brown, The Guardian

    Brown The Guardian cave of hell witch marks

    “If there is a gateway to hell, a portal from the underworld used by demons and witches to wreak their evil havoc on humanity, then it could be in a small east Midlands cave handy for both the M1 and A60.

    Heritage experts have revealed what is thought to be the biggest concentration of apotropaic marks, or symbols to ward off evil or misfortune, ever found in the UK.

    What the marks were keeping out, or in, can only be speculated on. “It could be fairies, witches, whatever you were fearful of, it was going to be down there.””

  • A Man Has Been Charged With Trying To Burn Down The Restaurant At The Center Of The “Pizzagate” Conspiracy. The DC pizza parlor has been at the center of a baseless far-right conspiracy theory that claims it secretly provides underage prostitutes to top Democrats.” — Salvador Hernandez, Buzz Feed News

    “A California man has been charged with intentionally setting a fire inside the Washington, DC, pizza parlor at the center of the debunked conspiracy theory known as ‘pizzagate,’ authorities said.”

  • AI can write disturbingly believable fake news. Elon Musk’s OpenAI is keeping a tight lid on the technology.” — Jon Fingas, Engadget; from the Infinite-Monkeys dept.; let’s feed it holy books and occult texts! [also]

    “AI is getting better and better at writing convincing material, and that’s leading its creators to wonder whether they should release the technology in the first place. Elon Musk’s OpenAI has developed an algorithm that can generate plausible-looking fake news stories on any topic using just a handful of words as a starting point. It was originally designed as a generalized language AI that could answer questions, summarizing stories and translating text, but researchers soon realized that it could be used for far more sinister purposes, like pumping out disinformation in large volumes. As a result, the team only plans to make a “simplified version” of its AI available to the public, according to MIT Technology Review.”

  • Apocalipsis: Harry at the End of the World [also], a video game by Punch Punk Games, from Klabater, with Nergal

    “In Apocalipsis you play as Harry, for whom the loss of his beloved was the end of his world. Now he has to venture out into the strange, unwelcoming lands to get her back. On his journey he will meet fantastical creatures, straight from the minds of artists from the 15th century Europe, and ultimately conquer his own, personal demons. Featuring the narration by Nergal, leader of the band Behemoth, with the added atmospheric new rendition of Behemoth’s music, it will be a journey to remember.

    Apocalipsis shares with the Middle Ages its artstyle and the game’s world itself is inspired by Book of Revelation and steeped in medieval philosophy and beliefs, with the story taking cues from Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy”. Every location and character in Apocalipsis was inspired by classical woodcuts by 15th and 16th century artists such as Hans Holbein, Michael Wolgemut, and Albrecht Dürer. This pairing of medieval art and philosophy with video games creates something unique, like you’ve never seen before.”

Three Gates to Meditation Practice

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Three Gates to Meditation Practices: A Personal Journey into Sufism, Buddhism and Judaism by David A Cooper.

Cooper Three Gates to Meditation Practice

The title of Three Gates to Meditation Practice suggests that Sufism, Buddhism, and Judaism will figure equally as sources of mystical technique in its pages, but that is not the case. Judaism dominates the narrative of this memoir, which supplies an account of author David Cooper’s formation as a “post-denominational” mystic rabbi and a turn-of-the-millennium proponent of contemplative meditation in the context of Jewish “renewal.” And yet the original impulses for his meditation techniques were in his experiences of the two other religious traditions indicated.

Sufism figures as a source of inspiration regarding religious community and an initial orientation toward universalist mysticism. Although Cooper received formal initiation into a tariqah, Sufism has the lightest footprint of the religious traditions present in this book. The particular form of Sufism in which Cooper participated was the “Sufi Order of the West” of Inayat Khan and his successors, which is “eclectic and not bound to Islamic law” (6), favoring instead an emphasis on prayer and meditation inclusive of various cultures.

Buddhism for Cooper is largely a matter of technical resources for contemplative practice, and he is particularly enthusiastic about Theravāda Vipassanā (“insight”) meditation. Even after his Rabbinical ordination, though, he sought and received training in Tibetan and Nepalese dzogchen teachings of non-dualist realization. It appears to have been retreat facilities sponsored by Buddhist groups that provided him with mentors and contexts for the better part of his training and development as a meditator.

The memoir is full of excerpts from Cooper’s journals, set in italic type to distinguish them from the retrospective text. These are a healthy mix of “positive” accounts in which he describes his experiences of attainment and realization with “negative” ones detailing the stress and suffering involved in mystical practice. A distinctive feature of this book (and Cooper’s spiritual career) is the involvement of his partner Susan, who changed her name to Shoshana, converted to Judaism, married him, and increasingly participated in his retreat work. This situation forms a contrast to the usual solitude of the mystic biography.

Cooper has Jewish family roots, but was raised in a thoroughly secular manner by assimilated parents. David and Shoshana spent much of the 1980s living in Jerusalem and connecting with his Jewish heritage, although he was not sanguine about the political situation of Israel and eventually the social stresses drove them back to the US. He never seems to thoroughly identify with the doctrinaire intellectualism of Jewish orthodoxy, and his relationship to kabbalah seems to involve a reasonable amount of reinvention, but his connection to Judaism is evidently sincere and dynamic. The account of his rabbinical ordination (180-3) is quite moving.

On the evidence of this book, I feel comfortable regarding Cooper as an adept. Although he does not frame them as such, he supplies accounts of his proleptic visions (19-20, 23) and his Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel (171-2). His term of art for the augoiedes is the “inner mentor.” It doesn’t appear that he had (in the twentieth century anyhow) undergone the Adventure of the Abyss, but he did have a vision (191-2) corresponding to the War of the Rose and the Cross as presented in the 4th Aethyr of Liber CDXVIII.

Small World

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Locke & Key: Small World by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez, and Jay Fotos.

Hill Rodriguez Fotos Locke and Key Small World

It’s been years since I read the original Locke & Key comics, but they absolutely blew me away when they first came out. Small World is a “one-shot” supplementary story, one of a handful charted for the “Golden Age” of Keyhouse, and it features a Klein bottle effect with a dollhouse that appears to simulate but actually positions the functioning Keyhouse within itself. The story relies on an informed readership who know something about the crazy magicks of the Locke family and their mansion.

Although Joe Hill does a good job of creating distinctive characters for the Golden Age here, a single comics issue is not really sufficient to cultivate the sort of affection I experienced for his protagonists in the original series. And this book, despite its hardcover format and apparent “graphic novel” length, is really no more than a single comic book. It is extensively padded out with reproductions of every conceivable draft and rough on the way to the finished product: manuscript facsimiles, typescript, panel breakdowns, pencil sketches, etc., etc. The comic itself takes up less than half of the volume. This publishing trick is not new, and I find myself less and less interested in these exhibitions of process.

Gabriel Rodriguez’s art is still awesome, and the book does include one of those breathtaking two-page spreads that he pulled off regularly in the original series.

The Doom that Came to Gotham

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Batman: The Doom that Came to Gotham by Mike Mignola, Richard Pace, Troy Nixey, Dennis Janke, and Dave Stewart.

Mignola Pace Nixey Janke Batman The Doom that Came to Gotham

When Grant Morrison wrote Arkham Asylum to blow Bat-minds in 1989, he infused Gotham City with actual occultism, but in terms of the Yog-Sothothery suggested by “Arkham,” he didn’t make any significant impositions. He certainly didn’t go half as far as Mike Mignola and Richard Pace’s Doom that Came to Gotham. The latter is part of the DC “Elseworlds” imprint, and it reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s Marvel 1602 with the full transposition of a multi-superhero character matrix into another setting and time. For Doom that is the Lovecraftian 1920s. Originally a three-issue limited series, the breaks between issues have vanished in the trade edition that collects them into a single graphic novel.

Besides Batman, Alfred, and Bruce Wayne’s wards (none of whom have Robin or Nightwing identities or powers), key characters include Oliver Queen (not quite Green Arrow), Barbara Gordon (not Batgirl, but certainly some sort of Oracle), Jason Blood (every bit the Demon), Harvey Dent (who doesn’t start as Two-Face), Talia al Ghul, and Ras al Ghul (this world’s version of Abdul Alhazred). Alternate, Cthulhvized versions of such Bat-villains as Mister Freeze and Poison Ivy are also clever and outre.

Nixey & Janke’s internal art is suited to the mood of the story, but it pales against Mignola’s covers. To fully enjoy this book requires appreciation of both the Lovecraft source material and the Batman franchise as it has evolved into the 21st century. Once those are granted, it is a fast, broody, macabre, and worthwhile read.

God of Tarot

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews God of Tarot by Piers Anthony.

Anthony God of Tarot

I had known of this book since it was new on shelves in the 1980s, but my discouraging experience of the author’s Xanth series had put me off his work altogether. As time passed, my curiosity about the Tarot books increased, but they became scarcer. Finally stumbling across a cheap battered copy recently, I went ahead and read this first of the three books in this series. The author’s front matter is very clear that the “trilogy” is really a single work divided into three volumes for convenience of production and sales, and the text bears that out. There is nothing like a resolution of the larger plot at the conclusion of the book. God of Tarot was good enough that I went ahead and ordered an inexpensive copy of Vision of Tarot directly after finishing it, so that I wouldn’t lose the thread of the story. But it was just bad enough that I had genuine reason to worry that I would lose that thread.

The protagonist Brother Paul is an adherent of the Holy Order of Vision, a religious body on a future Earth that has been depopulated and energy-rationed into pre-industrial levels of technology, while most of humanity has departed into exoplanetary colonization efforts. He is very explicitly an octaroon identifiable as “black” to his colleagues, a point of occasional relevance to the plot. It is not reflected in Rowena Morrill’s cover art, which otherwise accurately shows a scene from chapter 7 of the book, with Paul confronting a dragon who represents Temptation.

The general plot concerns Paul’s investigation of strange phenomena on the colonized planet Tarot. The planet’s “animation zone,” in which thought-forms take on physical reality, seems to be Anthony’s science-fictional conceit for what occultists would call the astral plane. As he explores it, he encounters simulations of significant historical patrons, designers, and commenters on the Tarot, including Filippo Maria Visconti, Arthur Edward Waite, and Aleister Crowley. Anthony gets Waite’s diction just right, to the point where I suspected him of simply cribbing from Waite’s work for some of the dialogue. Crowley is not quite as spot-on, and is given misogyny as a disproportionate keynote of his character. Still, it is Crowley who becomes Paul’s principal guide in the animation zone.

The final section of the book is occasioned by Paul’s effort to know his True Will, as goaded by Crowley. The upshot is that he recovers a Phildickian, proto-cyberpunk sort of tale from his previously inaccessible memories of his life before joining the Holy Order of Vision. Thus the very end of the book takes place in narrative chronology before the beginning, and the reconnection of that knowledge to Paul’s dilemma on Tarot is left for later volumes. It seems that I will need to read further before reaching any real opinion on the merits of the work as a whole.

Summary for two weeks ending Feb 10th, 2019

Here’s a summary of activity for two weeks ending February 10th, 2019.

Still, doing a lot of omnium gatherum posts. Don’t forget that you can participate by heading over to the omnium category on the BBS.

I’m currently also trying to work out the next Postal Exchange and Publication Subscription mailings for Patrons, but haven’t got that sorted. I’ve got a couple ideas that haven’t come together yet. I’m hoping to get one of those ideas solidified soon.

I’ve got a few other daggers in the fire, things I’m working on for the library site, as well, but for some reason things are all progressing slowly at the moment. I’m hoping things thaw and get moving faster soon!

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 subscribe on Bandcamp 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

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Omnium Gatherum: February 11, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for February 11, 2019

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

  • Tweet by WOOD TV8, images by Andrew Sietsema

  • How To Talk To Cult Recruiters by Telltale; about Steven Hassan’s Combatting Cult Mind Control

    “What kinds of questions should you ask a cult recruiter?”

  • Tony Blair, Jonathan Ashworth & Liz Truss” — Sophy Ridge, Sky News

    Listen to “Tony Blair, Jonathan Ashworth & Liz Truss” on Spreaker.

    “I’m interested in whether it’s possible to reconcile faith with the modern world. Now, I think it is, but not on the basis of a religion that is doctrinal or exclusivist. … I think religion has no future unless it understands that it’s got to be rooted in the modern world. And, the risk is, you know … Faith operates in two ways in the world today. One is as a source of compassion and a stimulus for progress and humanity; and the other is ‘This is my faith and if you’re not like me, you’re my enemy.'”

  • Abuse of Faith. 20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms” — Robert Downen, Lise Olsen, and John Tedesco, Houston Chronicle

    “‘Listen to what God has to say,’ she said, according to audio of the meeting, which she recorded. ‘… All that evil needs is for good to do nothing. … Please help me and others that will be hurt.’

    Days later, Southern Baptist leaders rejected nearly every proposed reform.

    The abusers haven’t stopped. They’ve hurt hundreds more.”

  • Jung, Buddhism, and the Incarnation of Sophia: Unpublished Writings from the Philosopher of the Soul by Henry Corbin, from Inner Traditions

    Corbin Jung Buddhism and the Incarnation of Sophia

    “Examines the work of Carl Jung in relation to Eastern religion, the wisdom teachings of the Sophia, Sufi mysticism, and visionary spirituality

    • Reveals the spiritual values underlying the psychoanalytic theories of Carl Jung

    • Explores the role of the Gnostic Sophia with respect to Jung’s most controversial essay, “Answer to Job”

    • Presents new revelations about Sufi mysticism and its relationship to esoteric Buddhist practices

    • Shows how the underlying spiritual traditions of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity mesh with the spiritual teachings of Buddhism

    Henry Corbin (1903-1978) was one of the most important French philosophers and orientalists of the 20th century. In this collection of previously unpublished writings, Corbin examines the work of Carl Jung in relationship to the deep spiritual traditions of Eastern religion, the esoteric wisdom teachings of Sophia, the transformational symbolism of alchemy, and Sufi mysticism.

    Looking at the many methods of inner exploration in the East, including the path of the Sufi and Taoist alchemy, Corbin reveals how the modern Western world does not have its own equivalent except in psychotherapy. Expanding Jung’s findings in light of his own studies of Gnostic and esoteric Islamic traditions, he offers a unique insight into the spiritual values underlying Jung’s psychoanalytic theories. Corbin analyzes Jung’s works on Buddhism, providing his own understanding of the tradition and its relationship to Sufi mysticism, and explores the role of the Gnostic Sophia with respect to Jung’s most controversial essay, “Answer to Job.” He also studies the rapport between the Gnostic wisdom of Sophia and Buddhist teachings as well as examining Sophia through the lens of Jewish mysticism.

    Explaining how Islamic fundamentalists have turned their back on the mystic traditions of Sufism, Corbin reveals how totalitarianism of all kinds threatens the transformative power of the imagination and the transcendent reality of the individual soul. He shows how the underlying spiritual traditions of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity mesh with the spiritual teachings of Buddhism and reinforce the unity of the esoteric teachings of the world’s great religions. Comparing the imaginal realm with Jung’s archetypal field, he shows how we could transform the world by spiritualizing Jung’s methods, enabling us to transcend duality and make the created world divine.”

  • How Tucker Carlson Saved My Life. The conservative icon got me to throw my weed out the window.” — Mitch Horowitz, Medium

    “Familiar expressions become incredibly powerful through application — and only through application.

    Next time you hear something that sounds so simple it could fit on a refrigerator magnet, take a pause. Listen again. Sometimes things may seem obvious or like truisms because they are true — so much so that we are alienated from their depth, and we do not try them. Trying a piece of basic, actionable advice can be the greatest thing that ever happens to you.”

  • Flatland: New images reveal Ultima Thule’s shape is a ‘scientific puzzle’” — Michael Irving, New Atlas; from the I-Found-Your-Flat-Earth dept.

    Irving New Atlas Flatland Ultima Thule

    “New images snapped as the probe sped away from the object show that Ultima Thule is more like a flat ‘pancake’ stuck to a ‘dented walnut,’ leaving astronomers puzzled as to how such a shape is even possible.”

Omnium Gatherum: February 8, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for February 8, 2019

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

  • We look at the ‘witchcraft’ behind why dowsers usually find water. Our video explains why understanding geology beats medieval superstition.” — Scott Johnson and John Timmer, Ars Technica

    “… it’s like hiring someone to tell you which window to open to find some air.”

  • Netflix buys into Goop hooey with deal to make a wellness docuseries. Netflix mum on details of Goop deal as top Goop critic teases her own series.” — Beth Mole, Ars Technica

    “… Netflix declined to answer Ars’ questions regarding how it would handle Goop’s health claims, including if it would require substantiation or fact-checking.”

  • The invigorating strangeness of Friedrich Nietzsche. A new biography reveals Nietzsche to be a perfect gentleman—shy, attentive, and a little whimsical.” — Jonathan Rée, Prospect Magazine; about I Am Dynamite!: A Life of Nietzsche by Sue Prideaux [HT Arts & Letters Daily]

    Prideaux I am Dynamite

    “You don’t have to be a philosophical genius to notice that something strange is going on. Nietzsche’s grand theory of world culture can hardly be exempted from his own strictures on know-it-all theorists who deliver commentaries from the safety of the river bank.

    But that, it seems to me, is where the fascination of Nietzsche lies. He constantly plays tricks on his readers, dangling solutions in front of us and then snatching them away. His books are like games of musical chairs, in which the reader always ends up with nowhere to sit down. Other philosophers may hope to console us, but Nietzsche offers nothing but bewilderment, embarrassment and discombobulation.

    Nietzsche did all he could to prevent us from bringing his works together to form a stable theoretical edifice, and those seeking to unlock his philosophical secrets have always had to look to his life as much as his writings. It has become customary to regard him as not just an iconoclast but an auto-iconoclast: a philosophical superhero who shattered the idols of his age and destroyed himself in the process. This is the approach taken by Sue Prideaux in her handsome, well-paced and readable new biography.”

  • Watch a single cell become a complete organism in six pulsing minutes of timelapse” — Jan van IJken, Aeon Magazine; from the ⊕ dept.

    “This timelapse video from the Dutch director Jan van IJken tracks the development of a single-celled zygote into the hatched larva of an alpine newt. Captured in stunning detail at microscopic scales, Becoming is a remarkable look at the process of cell division and differentiation, whence all animals – from newts to humans – come.”

  • Blood And Rockets: Movement I, Saga Of Jack Parsons by The Claypool Lennon Delirium, video by Rich Ragsdale [HT AV Club]

    “So Jack became a loyal follower of Mr. Aleister Crowley
    He took an oath to be a Magister Templi
    His pretty house in Pasadena was notorious for the orgies
    Every night were Eleusinian Mysteries
    When his company became the famous JP laboratories
    his reputation made it difficult to proceed
    And after one of his alchemical magical ceremonies
    They found his body in a pile of blood and debris

    How high does your rocket fly
    You better be careful boys you just might, set the world on fire
    You better be careful boys, you’ll set the world on fire

    Do what thou wilt
    Love is the law
    Do what thou wilt
    Fly me to the moon”