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Mail call 11jul2022

Let’s open this envelope that’s arrived at the Reading Room!

Hermetic Library Mail Call 11jul2022

It’s a very much appreciated donation from Hermetic Library Fellow Walter C Cambra!


Also, as a reminder, if you want to participate in postal exchange with me, I occasionally send stuff out to certain Patrons as a perk; but, even if you aren’t able to be a Patron, if you send something I’ll send something back! It’s that easy!

As inconvenient as it may seem, and as uncomfortable as it may feel; I’m going to suggest this hypothesis: secrets which aren’t revealed, and potentially available to those that seek them out independent of their oath-bound custodians, eventually become extinct.

John Griogair Bell, Mysteries, Secrets and Spoilers

Hermetic quote Bell Mysteries Secrets Spoilers inconvenient uncomfortable hypothesis secrets which arent revealed eventually become extinct

It took a lot of time and I thought of quitting a few times, but I am not one to admit defeat. I steadily persevered. It is what we do, as Magicians. I meditated. I evaluated the reason behind everything I did. I refused to do that which was not in line with my new path: work for work’s sake.

Soror Beth Shemesh (Beth Kimbell), TMI or Karma Yoga: A Fool’s Journey

Hermetic quote Kimbell TMI Karma Yoga A Fool's Journey time quitting not admit defeat persevered magicians meditated evaluated reason refused not in line new path work for work's sake

Demands for sacrifice lack appeal for those who have already sacrificed, and been sacrificed, too much and for too long. The future promised by the left looked to be – at worst, even worse – and at best, not noticeably better than the status quo. Why rush to the barricades or, for that matter, why even bother to vote?

Bob Black, Preface to The Right to be Greedy by “For Ourselves”

Hermetic quote Black Preface to The Right to be Greedy by For Ourselves demands sacrifice lack appeal already too much too long future promised worst worse at best not better status quo why bother

Next day, the victims each receive a letter explaining that their receipt of the objects effected the delivery of a curse. The hex will cause them to come to know their true desires, symbolized by the magical objects. They will also now begin to realize they are acting as enemies of the human race by commodifying desire and working as the agents of soul-Control. The magic art-objects will weave into their dreams and desires, making their jobs now seem not only poisonously boring but also morally destructive. Their desires so magically awakened will ruin them for work in the Media – unless they turn to subversion and sabotage.

Hakim Bey, The Occult Assault on Institutions

Hermetic quote Bey Wilson The Occult Assault on Institutions letter curse hex know true desires symbolized magical objects acting enemies human race commodifying desire ruin subversion sabotage

The radical magi encountered a world wherein one world-image was locked in place—not just the geocentric cosmos but the whole Christian orthodox value system that went with it. Their subversive purpose revolved around the project of a free circulation of imagery, a breaking-up of the stasis and the creation of a more responsive model. The single world-view of orthodoxy was seen as stifling, tyrannical, oppressive. Inasmuch as the self interiorized this view it reproduced the oppression on the level of the subjective. The hermeticists opposed the very singleness of this worldview with a contradictory multiplicity, a critical form of “paganism” based on difference.

Hakim Bey, The Obelisk

Hermetic quote Bey Wilson The Obelisk radical magi encountered one world-image locked subversive purpose free circulation imagery contradictory multiplicity critical paganism difference

Nostalgia can be contained and marketed—but actual difference would threaten the hegemony of the one worldview. The “Gift Economy” of some nearly-extinguished “primitive tribe” makes excellent TV; our mourning for its disappearance can only boost the sales of whatever commodity might soothe our sense of loss. Mourning itself can become fetishized, as in the victorian era of onyx and jet and black-plumed graveyard horses. Death is good for Capital, because money is the sexuality of the dead. Corpses have already appeared in advertising—”real” corpses.

Hakim Bey, The Obelisk

Hermetic quote Bey Obelisk nostalgia contained marketed death good capital money sexuality dead corpses advertising

John Ruf

Join me in welcoming John Ruf as the newest Fellow at the library.

John Ruf is a hipster hermetic kabbalist with atheist overtones, an expert curator of content, and has some seriously good tastes in music. There’s links to several essays, books, and works of art for you to check out!

Mercenaries of Gor

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Mercenaries of Gor by John Norman.

John Norman Mercenaries of Gor

Whether John Norman’s “counter-earth” Gor was ever intended to be an innocent sword-and-planet-epic or was always meant as a sprawling masculinist pro-slavery narrative manifesto, it had long ago settled into its character by the writing of this twenty-first volume.

The most notable feature here (relative to other Gor books) is hilarious Lardneresque dialogue that sometimes runs for three or four pages at a go, typically with or concerning the barbarian poet Hurtha who serves as Tarl Cabot’s comic foil. There is some large-scale political intrigue involving Cabot’s disinherited ex-fiancee as a would-be usurper to the throne of Ar, but all of that is left in the background for most of the book, which focuses on the daily doings of Cabot and his ad hoc travel companions. Two principal female characters are a study in contrasts: Feiqa is a heroine for choosing subjugation as a slave in order to express her true nature, while Boabissia is a buffoon for imagining the birthright of her aspiration to be wealth and power.

As I expected that it would, this book made an interesting contrast to the Lin Carter sword-and-planet volume When the Green Star Calls, which I read just before it. The primary difference is pacing, rapid for Carter and virtually plodding for Norman. Ideologically, the chivalry of Carter’s world is only a subtler, less anxious version of the masculine domination in Norman’s. Also like Carter’s book, the story ends with a cliffhanger, or what would have been one if there had been enough narrative tension built to that point to justify the label in this case. [via]