Category Archives: The Sacred Texts

Sexual Ambivalence

Sexual Ambivalence: Androgyny and Hermaphroditism in Graeco-Roman Antiquity by Luc Brisson, translated by Janet Lloyd, a 2002 paperback from University of California Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Luc Brisson Janet Lloyd Sexual Ambivalence from University of California Press

“This fascinating book collects and translates most of the extant Graeco-Roman writing on human beings, divinities, animals, and other creatures who were both female and male. Luc Brisson provides a commentary that situates this rich source material within its historical and intellectual contexts. These selections—from mythological, philosophical, historical, and anecdotal sources—describe cases of either simultaneous dual sexuality, as in androgyny and hermaphroditism, or successive dual sexuality, as in the case of Tiresias (the blind Theban prophet), which are found through the whole span of Graeco-Roman antiquity. Sexual Ambivalence is an invaluable sourcebook that gathers this suggestive, yet hard to find, material in one convenient place.

In addition to including such familiar sources as the myth of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus as told in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Aristophanes’s myth of the origin of the sexes and sexuality in Plato’s Symposium, Brisson also discusses cosmogonic mythology in Hesiodic poetry, the Orphic Rhapsodies, Gnosticism, the Hermetic Corpus, and the so-called Chaldean Oracles. He presents the manifold variants of the myth of Tiresias, as well as many other sources.

These ancient stories deepen our awareness of how strongly the polarity of sexuality colors our entire perception of the world and are profoundly relevant to our thinking today.” — back cover

Divine Pymander

Divine Pymander of Hermes Trismegistus, or Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus: His Divine Pymander; also, The Asiatic Mystery, The Smaragdine Table and the Song of Brahm, edited by Paschal Beverly Randolph, the Yogi Publication Society hardcover reprint from the 1871 Rosicrucian Publishing Company edition, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus and Paschal Beverly Randolph's Divine Pymander from Yogi Publication Society


The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

Reminder about the call for winter 2012 submissions to the Hermetic Library Anthology Album and an idea about readings of drama, poetry and spoken word

If you haven’t already checked out “Hermetic Library Anthology Album call for winter 2012 submissions” you really should gander at this call for submissions to the next anthology album of tracks by artists inspired by or who incorporate ritual and magick in their work. These anthology albums help promote artists to the audience of the Hermetic Library and beyond. These albums raise awareness about the connection between ritual, magick and music. Check out the previous release, help spread the word about the anthology albums and this new opportunity to participate to those you think may be interested, but first and foremost consider contributing to this next anthology!


Also, I’ve had in mind, and I’ve been reminded by posting more of Aleister Crowley’s poetry to the blog this week, that there is so much material, both poetic and dramatic out there, not just by Aleister Crowley, of course, and certainly people have their own work to offer as well, that perhaps people, individually or as a group, would be interested in doing dramatic and poetic readings either for the anthology or for another anthology. Perhaps, if there are submissions enough, an entire anthology album specific to drama, poetry and spoken word?

Do you have a work that you’d like to record as a solo or group reading of some piece, by yourself or by another author? Perhaps you’d like to share a reading of something from Aleister Crowley‘s Collected Works, or any of a number of other books, or perhaps one of the works of another author or playwright who is part of or inspired by the Western Esoteric Tradition. Especially for Aleister Crowley, there is so much in the corpus that no one hears performed, both poetry and plays, that there’s a wealth of material! Or, why not go back even further in time to the Papyri Graecae Magicae, The Sacred Texts, or something else entirely?


So, with that in mind, I am adding, to the call for winter 2012, a specific call for recordings of drama, poetry and spoken word related to the Western Esoteric Tradition. If enough people are interested, this could turn into a dedicated anthology album!

Rodney Orpheus’ Grimoire of Aleister Crowley: Group Rituals in the Age of Thelema

Apparently pre-orders will be open tomorrow for Grimoire of Aleister Crowley: Group Rituals in the Age of Thelema, a new work by Rodney Orpheus with contributions from others; the first publication from Abrahadabra Press.

“The culmination of years of research and study, this new compilation of Thelemic group rituals by Rodney Orpheus is a must-buy for every serious modern magician. Pre-order it directly from Abrahadabra Press from August 1!”

“Group ritual has been a cornerstone of spiritual practice since time immemorial, yet its history and importance have often been overlooked by occultists of the modern age. This book is the first comprehensive presentation of group-oriented rites for modern magicians inspired by the works of Aleister Crowley. It contains rituals written by Crowley for his own magic circles, many of them unpublished during his lifetime; plus rare ancient texts that were Crowley’s own inspiration in turn.

The rituals are newly edited and explained by Rodney Orpheus who brings to this volume decades of experience in performing and teaching Aleister Crowley’s rituals within Crowley’s magical order Ordo Templi Orientis. He introduces each ritual with a clear overview, setting each in its historical context and explaining its function and mode of operation; followed by detailed notes on setting and performance of each one.

Whether absolute beginner or seasoned expert, magicians of all paths will find this volume to be an eminently workable and extremely powerful grimoire spanning centuries from ancient Mithraic and Bacchanalian rites, Goetia, and Gnosticism, right up to present day Crowleyan invocations and sexual magick.”

Update 1aug2011 @ 11:25am:

Pre-ordering has begun. You can check that out over at Abrahadabra:

“We are now taking pre-orders for this book, which is due to be published on August 12, 2011. Please note that orders placed before that date will not be shipped until some time after August 12! The first 100 pre-orders will qualify for a set of small signed art cards featuring illustrations from the book by Cathryn Orchard.”