Omnium Gatherum: March 6, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for March 6, 2019

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

  • Portuguese language and literature on the rise in China” — Wang Qi, Global Times

    “Although Portuguese literature is not particularly well known in China, this does not mean that there are no Chinese fans of Portuguese literature. At the same time, there are also many people who are working hard to promote Portuguese literature in China and advance Chinese-Portuguese cultural exchanges.

    But another name that cannot be avoided is Fernando Pessoa. The great author is one of the most popular Portuguese writers in China. On Chinese media review site Douban, there are 841 members in the readers group for Pessoa, almost as many as the 1,289 members in Douban’s Shakespeare group.

    With more than 6,000 comments and an overall score of 9.0/10, Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet is his most popular work among Chinese readers on the platform.

    “Reading Pessoa is like doing a nerve massage, very comfortable,” wrote one user, while another commented: ‘If you are going to leave home for half a year, you only need to bring this book with you.'”

  • Some Enchanted Evenings, a trio of short plays by Don Nigro, featuring Christina Augello, Mar 8 — Mar 23, Exit Stage Left, San Francisco [HT Datebook]

    Join Christina Augello—EXIT Theatre’s founding Artistic Director—on a exploration of three playful one-acts by contemporary playwright, Don Nigro. Take a stroll through the enchanted woods in The Garden, embark on a journey with world-renowned spiritualist Mme. Blavatsky, and hear of sweet love and sweeter revenge in A Discoverie of Witchcraft. An unforgettable evening of mystery, mirth, and a touch of the macabre. Directed by Amanda Ortmayer.

  • Wrestlenomicon! [Also], a crowdfunding effort by Arc Dream Publishing [HT Dread Singles Oops All Deadlines! Edition]

    Arc Dream Kickstarter Wrestlenomicon

    “Wrestlenomicon!

    A card game of the Great Old Ones fighting over the end of the world. Cthulhu! Hastur! Only ONE can rule the apocalypse!

    Fire Opal Games and Arc Dream Publishing bring you the grudge match to end them all!

    Become a Great Old One and slam, smash, and obliterate your opponent. Wrestlenomicon is a throw-down to the doom. This furious card game of squicky battles sets up in seconds and plays in minutes—or longer, if tactics are your thing. This is the definition of brainy beer-and-pretzels fun, with plenty of tentacles.

    The Brawl of Cthulhu!

    Each deck of cards represents a unique Great Old One. The core game includes a deck for CTHULHU—the Ageless Abomination! the South Seas Smasher!—and another for HASTUR, the insane and unspeakable force behind the King in Yellow. More Great Old Ones are coming.”

  • High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies by Erik Davis, from MIT Press, due in July

    Davis High Weirdness

    “An exploration of the emergence of a new psychedelic spirituality in the work of Philip K. Dick, Terence McKenna, and Robert Anton Wilson.

    A study of the spiritual provocations to be found in the work of Philip K. Dick, Terence McKenna, and Robert Anton Wilson, High Weirdness charts the emergence of a new psychedelic spirituality that arose from the American counterculture of the 1970s. These three authors changed the way millions of readers thought, dreamed, and experienced reality―but how did their writings reflect, as well as shape, the seismic cultural shifts taking place in America?

    In High Weirdness, Erik Davis―America’s leading scholar of high strangeness―examines the published and unpublished writings of these vital, iconoclastic thinkers, as well as their own life-changing mystical experiences. Davis explores the complex lattice of the strange that flowed through America’s West Coast at a time of radical technological, political, and social upheaval to present a new theory of the weird as a viable mode for a renewed engagement with reality.”

  • 7 years ago, Google set out to find what makes the ‘perfect’ team — and what they found shocked other researchers” — Gary Burnison, CNBC Make It

    “You don’t have to be one or the other. Having both pragmatic and strong relationship-building traits can increase the value you bring to a team. So whether you’re left brained or right brained, it’s possible to adopt both traits. Here’s how:

    If you’re right brained:

    Develop a strategic mindset. Know and understand what drives company to success.

    Be known for something. Do you have deep expertise in relevant areas? (i.e., financial acumen, scientific expertise or even highly specialized knowledge such as tax law or M&A accounting). Be proactive in mastering them.

    Practice tackling complex problems. This is especially helpful with those tricky interview questions that Google is famous for. Use those linear thinking skills to your advantage by diving deeply into issues.

    If you’re left brained:

    Develop learning agility. Instead of defaulting to the “tried and true” (which pragmatists tend to do), be open to trying varied approaches and new ideas.

    Find joy in ambiguity. Practice coping with uncertainty and making decisions without having all the information beforehand.

    Put your social leadership skills to the test. When was the last time you motivated influenced others or deeply connected with your teammates? You might come to find that you actually enjoy it.

    Teams don’t just happen by bringing people together in the same room or connecting them via Skype. When you understand yourself by taking a “good look in the mirror,” you can be the change you want to see in both your team and your company.”

  • Tweet by Aventura Obscura

  • Haiti’s explosive Rite of Spring: from pagan Russia to vodou ritual” — Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian; about The Rite of Spring / Gianni Schicchi, Opera North, in association with Phoenix Dance Theatre, Mar 8–Mar 22, touring in the UK [HT Alkistis Dimech]

    Opera North Rite of Spring

    “Saintus draws on the rituals of vodou in his first UK commission, for Leeds-based Phoenix Dance Theatre. His Rite of Spring will be performed in a double bill with Opera North, accompanied by their orchestra. Saintus was tentative at first, having never worked with a classical orchestra, but he felt a surprising link between this story of pagan Russia (the ritual sacrifice of a “chosen” girl to the gods of the harvest), and the roots of his own culture.”

  • What It’s Like to Smoke Salvia for Science. I was the final volunteer in the world’s first brain imaging study on salvia divinorum.” — Daniel Oberhaus, Motherboard [HT Slashdot]

    “Although I’ve had several unpleasant salvia experiences myself, I recently volunteered to be a participant in the first-ever brain imaging study on salvinorin A, the main psychoactive compound in the salvia plant. Only a handful of salvia studies have ever been conducted on human subjects and this study was the first time that researchers were able to watch the brain as it was tripping on salvinorin.

    ‘This is the first step off the cliff into the void,’ Fred Barrett, a cognitive neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University and the lead researcher on the salvia trial, told me. ‘This will essentially be setting the roadmap of where future [salvia] research will take us.'”

  • ‘Be yourself’ is terrible advice. Take a better lesson from philosophy and me, a reformed loudmouth” — Leah Finnegan, The Outline

    “Luckily for everyone, I started going to therapy, and it was during one of my first few sessions that my kind therapist who gives me all of my article ideas told me that the consequences that came from what I thought was “being myself” could be avoided by simply not being what I thought was “being myself,” mostly because the former self was a huge asshole. Trying to be authentic did not reveal an immutable self so much as produce one — one I no longer cared to be.

    It has taken me three years to fully process this, but I think I am good with it now, which means I can tell you why “be yourself” is such terrible advice.”

  • Good Omens – Official Trailer; series premiere May 31, 2019, from Amazon Prime Video

    “With Armageddon just days away, the armies of Heaven and Hell are amassing and The Four Horsemen are ready to ride. Aziraphale, an angel, and Crowley, a demon, agree to join forces to find the missing Anti-Christ and to stop the war that will end everything. Based on the best-selling novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens follows an unlikely duo and their quest to save the world. New Series premiere May 31, 2019.”

Omnium Gatherum: March 5, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for March 5, 2019

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

  • Five things to know about Here by Jon and Roy. Victoria’s rootsy crew Jon and Roy release their latest album Here, as well as spinoff projects.” — STUART DERDEYN, The London Freedom Press

    Twin Temple Bring Your Their Signature Sound Satanic Doo-Wap

    “Twin Temple: Bring You Their Signature Sound . . . Satanic Doo-Wop (Rise Above Records): In retrospect, it seems surprising that another act hasn’t already tried this idea. Because what could be better than mixing Alexandra James’ big, brassy torch of a voice with pure late Fifties/swinging Sixties soundtracks and lyrics right out of Aleister Crowley’s library. You’ve got the soul declaration of Lucifer, My Love, the naughty declaration of The Devil (Didn’t Make Me Do It) or the love ballad Let’s Hang Together to swing your partner to, and perhaps even get spellbound. Quality camp and the most obvious band to perform in an episode of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”

  • SYMPATHY FOR THE BEAST: Songs from the Poems of Aleister Crowley by Twink & the Technicolour Dream (featuring Jon Povey) [HT PunkNews.org, THEE PSYCHEDELICATESSEN]

    Twink and the Technicolour Dream Sympathy for the Beast

  • The Angel-Evoking Tarot. A complete Tarot deck evoking the 72 Angels of the Kabbalah and 6 awe-inspiring Archangels., a crowdfunding effort by Travis McHenry

    McHenry The Angel-Evoking Tarot

    “The Angel-Evoking Tarot is nothing like a traditional deck of “Angel Cards.” The 72 Angels of the Kabbalah (or Shem HaMephorash) are extremely powerful heavenly beings that provide assistance to mortals while also ruling over their Hellish counterparts, the 72 Demons of the Goetia.

    When summoning an angel, their sigil (a kind of esoteric calling card) is supposed to be drawn on a piece of pure virgin parchment in red ink. To echo this color palette, the cards themselves are made to look like fresh, pure parchment that has just been cut from the skin of a newborn lamb. The borders of each card are deep crimson, which creates a striking contrast.

    The magical symbols are real.

    The artwork is hauntingly divine.

    These aren’t your Aunt Doreen’s angel cards… “

  • Help Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Pt 2! is a health crowdfunding effort by Chandra Shulka for Genesis P-Orridge [HT Jason Louv]

    Help Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Pt 2

    “Genesis STILL needs your help!

    YES HELLO Dearest friends. Genesis P-Orridge is not doing better and is faced with surmounted medical/hospital debt causing h/er to lose most if not all of the money raised for h/er despite medicaid, s/he is still faced with bills, the cost of living and has to pay for the instruments like an oxygen concentrator and oxygen from avoiding having to live in a hospital permanently since PTV3, h/er main source of income, has been put on hold indefinitely. Though the last fundraiser held by Douglas Rushkoff (Thank you Douglas!) helped pay off debt, most of it is dissolved. You haven’t heard from h/er because she has been in ICU this week and nearly died due to total kidney failure and on dialysis for 3 full days. We are planning on having a fundraiser for h/er again and a series of benefit concerts in different cities. Stay tuned. H/er battles are still UP hill. THANK YOU.”

  • Rob Solomon, CEO of GoFundMe, quoted in “GoFundMe CEO: ‘Gigantic Gaps’ In Health System Showing Up In Crowdfunding” — Rachel Bluth, Kaiser Health News [HT Justin Martin]

    “It saddens me that this is a reality. Every single day on GoFundMe we see the huge challenges people face. Their stories are heartbreaking.

    The system is terrible. It needs to be rethought and retooled. Politicians are failing us. Health care companies are failing us. Those are realities. I don’t want to mince words here. We are facing a huge potential tragedy. We provide relief for a lot of people. But there are people who are not getting relief from us or from the institutions that are supposed to be there. We shouldn’t be the solution to a complex set of systemic problems. They should be solved by the government working properly, and by health care companies working with their constituents. We firmly believe that access to comprehensive health care is a right and things have to be fixed at the local, state and federal levels of government to make this a reality.”

  • ‘Elixir of Immortality’ Uncovered in 2,000-Year-Old Chinese Tomb” — George Dvorsky, Gizmodo [HT Michael M. Bind Trump Hughes]

    Dvorsky Gizmodo Elixir of Immortality

    “A yellowish liquid found in a bronze pot dating back some 2,000 years is not wine, as Chinese archaeologists initially thought. It’s actually an “elixir of immortality” concocted during ancient times.

    But as Xinhua points out in an update to this discovery, further lab work has shown that the substance isn’t wine at all. The liquid is primarily comprised of potassium nitrate and alunite—the main ingredients of a life-enriching elixir documented in ancient Taoist texts.”

Omnium Gatherum: February 28, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for February 28, 2019

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

  • Cosmic Trigger II: Down to Earth by Robert Anton Wilson, new edition from Robert Anton Wilson Trust and Hilaritas Press

    Wilson Cosmic Trigger III Down to Earth

    “Featuring a New Foreword by RAW blogger Tom Jackson and a New Afterword by RAW’s daughter, Christina Pearson!

    The roots of RAW’s Model Agnosticism come alive in Volume Two!

    The first book in the Cosmic Trigger trilogy reveals the enlightening secret of the Illuminati while presenting the daunting metaphor of Chapel Perilous where the unprepared can get lost in a spirited journey.

    Volume Two of the series presents the metaphor of the Bridge and the lessons of Bob’s early life that brought him to the wisdom of the Model Agnostic’s perspective. In Bob’s typical wide-ranging narratives, we learn, among other mind-blowing anecdotes, about the similarities between the Pope of Rome and the Wizard of Oz. Don’t miss this explosion of thought, when for the second time, Bob pulls the Cosmic Trigger.

    The ROBERT ANTON WILSON TRUST Authorized HILARITAS PRESS EDITION”

  • Born again Christian mum and son chanted ‘death by fire’ at woman they thought was a witch” — Basit Mahmood, Metro UK

    “A mother and son chanted ‘death by fire’ at their neighbour who they believe is a ‘witch’, a court heard.

    Leonora Joseph, 76, and Mark Joseph, 56, were convinced Samantha Ginsburg had cast a spell on Leonora which had left her ‘paralysed and needing hospital treatment’.

    They also called her daughter a witch in a campaign of harassment, with Ms Joseph quoting the Bible at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court saying, ‘thou shalt not suffer a which to live’.”

  • A Series of Spells Conjured in Graphite and Watercolor. A Book of Staves by artist Jesse Bransford features painted charms inspired by Icelandic magic.” — Allison Meier, Hyperallergic; about A Book of Staves by Jesse Bransford, introduction by Robert Wallis. from Fulgur Press

    Bransford A Book of Staves

    “Jesse Bransford first visited Iceland in 2013, and soon after began painting sigils inspired by the country’s deep history of magic. The New York-based artist spent time exploring Icelandic folk magic at the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft in the northwest coastal town of Hólmavík, and delving into historic manuscripts at the National and University Library of Iceland in Reykjavík. Although Bransford’s new interpretations of these “staves” appear simple, with just a few graphite lines and shapes accented with watercolors, each is a meditative use of art as magic.”

  • Mysticism in Early Modern England by Liam Peter Temple, due in April/June

    Temple Mysticism in Early Modern England

    “Mysticism in Early Modern England examines a vital juncture in the history of Christian mysticism. Exploring both Catholic and Protestant views across the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the book argues for a re-evaluation of the cross-denominational appeal of mystical spirituality. It traces the mysticism of figures such as the Benedictine Augustine Baker, the Familist preacher John Everard, the millenarian Jane Lead, and the Cambridge Platonist writers Henry More and John Worthington. At the same time, it explores the arguments of a number of early modern critics including Meric Casaubon and Edward Stillingfleet, who viewed mysticism with suspicion and ridicule, a product of melancholy and madness incompatible with learned theological and doctrinal discussions. The book contends that the early modern period ultimately saw the association of mysticism with sectarianism, radicalism and religious enthusiasm, resulting in a negative connotation that lasted well into the twentieth century. It also explores connections between England and the Continent, suggesting that parallel and interconnected criticisms of mysticism occurred in France, Italy and Germany over the period. In analysing this significant change in attitude towards mysticism, the book suggests that recent scholarly attempts to ‘return’ mysticism to modern religious institutions and mainstream histories of religion can be viewed as a direct response to the rejection of mysticism in the early modern period.”

  • Betwixt and Between: Isobel Gowdie, the Witch of Auldearn, Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, Boscastle, UK, April 1st – October 31st 2019

    Museum of Witchcraft and Magic Betwixt and Between

    “I shall go into a hare,
    With sorrow and sych and meickle care;
    And I shall go in the Devil’s name,
    Ay while I come home again.

    Isobel Gowdie’s chant to shape-shift to a hare.

    17th century Scotland had one of the highest rates of witchcraft persecution in Europe – and the trial of Isobel Gowdie is deemed as one of the most important within this period.

    The confessions of Isobel Gowdie are renowned worldwide as some of the most extraordinary and graphic descriptions of 17th century witchcraft and fairy belief. In 1662 Gowdie gave the first of four confessions, witnessed by the ministers of Auldearn and Nairn as well as local lairds and church elders. Her testimonies told of her taking on the guise of animals, cursing her enemies, ruining crops as well as her rise to be Queen of the Coven.

    No doubt Gowdie’s sexual confessions have played their part in history remembering her, but importantly alongside these facets of her, we should note her detailed descriptions of rites and rituals have been woven into modern Wiccan practices. The first time we ever hear of a coven of thirteen is from the lips of Isobel Gowdie.

    For our new exhibition at the MWM, the director Simon Costin, along with stained glass artist Tamsin Abbott and (title) Jazz Collins, have created a series of works which focus on the confessions of Gowdie and the rich imagery her testimonies carry- her shape shifting into a Hare, the of riding on horses made from straw while flicking ‘elf-shot’ from her thumb to destroy enemies. As well as feasting beneath the Downie Hill with the King & Queen of the Fairies and of the orgiastic coven meetings with the devil.

    Isabel Gowdie was all of this and everything Betwixt and Between.”

  • Tweet by The Church of Satan

  • The Geography of the Odyssey. Or how to map a myth.” — Elizabeth Della Zazzera, Lapham’s Quartery

    della Zazzera Lapham's Quarterly The Geography of the Odyssey

    “The Odyssey, if you strip away enough allegory and myth, might serve as a travel guide for the Aegean Sea: which islands to avoid if you hate escape rooms, which cruises to skip if you always forget to pack earplugs, where to get that beef that angers the gods. But how does Odysseus’ trek across the wine-dark sea map onto an actual map of the Mediterranean?”

  • Hermes Resurrected: Hermetic Wisdom as a Path for Modern SeekersFri, March 8, 2019, University of Philosophical Research, Los Angeles, CA

    “This lecture and livestream is part of a three-day speaking engagement with Mitch Horowitz. Tickets may also be purchased for his 3/7 lecture and livestream ‘Unvanquished Angels: America’s Not-So-Lost Occult Heroes,’ his 3/8 library event ‘Ask Mitch Horowitz with Tarot Reading,’ and his 3/9 lecture room event ‘The Miracle Club Workshop.’

    ‘As above, so below…’⏤The Emerald Tablet

    In the final stages of Ancient Egypt a profoundly powerful and mysterious philosophy called Hermeticism emerged from the encounter between Greek and Egyptian cultures. Attributed to the mythical man-god Hermes Trismegistus, this occult wisdom described the limitless powers of the mind, the meaning of existence, and became a source of endless mystery and inspiration to Renaissance scholars. Mitch argues that the ancient philosophy of Hermes may hold exactly the keys modern people are seeking to a universalistic faith of inner development, karmic values, and personal power. Join us⏤and witness Hermes resurrected.”

  • Invisible Sun from Monte Cook Games, essentially an entire black cube in PDF now, as well as additional titles out now or coming soon.

    Monte Cook Games Invisible Sun

    “WHAT INVISIBLE SUN IS NOT
    A true look at occultism or a ‘real world’ manual for magic. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Great pains were taken to create a fictional, original occult. Thus, rather than the Tree of Life, we have the Path of Suns. Instead of Thelemic Magick, we have Vancian magic. And so on.”

  • TV News Roundup: ‘The OA’ Season 2 Sets Netflix Premiere Date, Drops First Trailer (Watch)” — Jordan Moreau, Variety; from the Make-Believe dept.

    “CBS All Access has announced that Angus Macfadyen will join the second season of the period drama ‘Strange Angel’ as the occultist Aleister Crowley. A man of mystery, he will seek Jack Parsons’ (Jack Reynor) military connections and push him to further wield his powers of magic and will.”

Summary for two weeks ending Feb 24th, 2019

Here’s a summary of activity for two weeks ending February 24th, 2019.

There’s been a slight uptick in the number of ideas for new work pitched recently, which is great news! I hope this continues, and we also see several new works this year make it entirely through the submissions process. I’m still looking for visual work, old or new, for inside and cover pages of a new zine issue that could release soon, if there’s enough to fill it with content!

In the last few weeks, I’ve been working with a volunteer, moreover a Patron of the library, who has been generous with their time, to help improve the current Magical and Philosophical Commentaries. This is a huge project, but we’re focusing on repairing some truncation that happened at some point in the past, so that these comments are complete; then, if we can get that done, we can then try to loop around and check all the content against the source materials.

Hermetic sections Crowley Liber AL vel Legis Book of the Law Magical and Philosophical Commentaries

This is something that I’ve long intended for these pages. And, it is part of the overall work of the library to do a close reading and correction of all pages compared to source documents across the site, and that has been an ongoing project from the beginning. But, it’s a lot of work that will takes me a significantly long time to do, so the help in focusing on these particular documents is so very much appreciated!

If you have a particular interest in and excitement about helping with any of the existing documents on the site, or want to tackle preparing and checking new documents which should be on the site, I’d welcome your help too!

I’m still 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. But, of course, I’d love to hear from anyone with an interest in sharing their eclectic, esoteric tchotchkes through the postal system, or anyone creating esoteric books, zines, music or soever, with Patrons of the library! (By the by, I was having a bit of nostalgia just now whilst gandering at the old Eclectic, Esoteric Postal Potlatch page at the library. Consider checking that out for a reminder of the idea when I introduced it! And the Hermetic Library stamp!)

Hermetic Library Eclectic Esoteric Postal Potlatch

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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Ashenden, or The British Agent

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Ashenden, or The British Agent by W Somerset Maugham.

Maugham Ashenden

I’m surprised that it took me so long to find my way to Ashenden or the British Agent, W. Somerset Maugham’s espionage tales rooted in his own experiences of the First World War. Having read it now, I can see its ideas, tropes, and styles revived in all of the key Cold War spy novels I’ve read, including those by Deighton and Fleming. Even Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana is something of an expanded and reoriented take on the “Gustav” chapter in Ashenden. Curiously, this 1928 book set during the previous war foreshadows the Cold War by concluding with the English spy’s firsthand view of the October Revolution.

The protagonist Ashenden is somewhat modeled on the author, so he is a literary man recruited into the British intelligence service. He spends much of the book in neutral Switzerland, where he writes a play while supported by his spy work. Ashenden is valued by his organization as a judge of character more than a man of action. As a result, the book teems with diverse and carefully-drawn personalities. There is a good deal of humor, all of it very dry.

There is an acute awareness of the nature of intelligence work as being that of a cog in a machine, never seeing the ultimate origins or outcomes of one’s labors, and this sensibility has an impact on the structure and pacing of the book. The chapters are short and unnumbered. Each has a dramatic unity of its own, and they are in chronological sequence, but there is no sense of a grand plot arc embracing the book as a whole. Often, the question that a chapter seems to have been posing with increasing intensity throughout finally goes unanswered–for the reader, if not for Ashenden himself.

Othon & Honorata

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Metabarons : Volume 1: Othon & Honorata by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Juan Gimenez.

Jodorowsky Gimenez The Metabarons Othon Honorata

This American publication collects the first two bandes dessinées in a series of eight. A blank page joins the two originally separate volumes. Under this cover is the immediate pre-history and first generation of the Metabarons–the line of warriors whose descendant features in the Incal space operas of Jodorowsky and Moebius. The artist for The Metabarons is Juan Gimenez, whose work is quite capable, but lacks the luminosity of Moebius’ illustrations.

The story is framed as a recounting from one robot to another, as they serve in the “Metabunker” home of (presumably) the Metabaron of the later Incal period. These two are set as camp characters, irritating each other and exhibiting displays of exasperation, and they add no real value to the narrative proper.

The main plot and setting elements are, it saddens me to say, mighty unoriginal. While there have been cosmetic changes and some shuffling of tropes, almost every element of note here is derivative from Herbert’s Dune. For “epiphyte” read spice. For “Shabda-Oud” read Bene Gesserit. There are space-magical features of the type found in Dune, but actual mystical symbolism of the sort that Jodorowsky emphasized in The Incal is much less apparent here.

The original Metabaron Othon has a little family of indigenous slaves: Ikku-Tta and his two daughters. These have their noses painted black. In some panels, this makes them look like puppies, and in others skulls. I wonder if the ambivalence was deliberate.

It’s possible that the translators are at fault, but I suspect that Jodorowsky himself is to blame for the excessive indulgence in exclamation points! I don’t think there’s a plain period at the end of a sentence in the entire book! Although there are occasional ellipses …

Maybe this series picks up in later volumes, but I wasn’t thrilled with this one.

Omnium Gatherum: February 24, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for February 24, 2019

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

  • The Hanged God: Óðinn Grímnir by Shani Oates, from Anathema Publishing, due in April

    Oates The Hanged God

    “Studies of the Sagas invariably focus upon the events conveyed in Havamal as either a supernatural occurrence, a construct devoid of historical facts, or, as an historical piece separated from magical elements. Óðinn’s association with the gallows is well attested, equally so, his mastery of the runes. However, so much is taken for granted, and repeated as if written in stone. The Viking World and its peoples and their beliefs have been grossly underestimated and misrepresented. This is partially due to media hype and partially due to lazy scholarship. Largely, it is due to blinkered analysis that fails to apply lateral inclusions. Academia isolates subject matter, dissects it and presents dry reports on its findings. It does not consider context and ignores anomalies.

    For example, it is commonly said that the Sagas offer only the briefest glimpse into their world, and that there are so many (impossible) gaps within them, a composite perspective eludes us. But this is not true. There is a wealth of knowledge and information ‘hidden in plain sight.’ Recognising this takes more than a trained eye, it requires a unique understanding that comes only from living those traditions and customs in a truly holistic way. In this way, insight and experience en-flesh and explain the literature and artefacts available to us.

    One other major problem with mainstream works is a propensity to take everything ‘as read,’ Nothing is questioned or checked for accuracy or authenticity. Far too many mistakes are repeated verbatim. Popular publishing is concerned with glamour and image above content. It appeals to the lowest common denominator. Brief summaries or abbreviated works, simplified for mass consumption severely restrict content to the extent that superficiality is the mainstay, and this decreases exponentially any opportunity for detailed explanations. This facilitates plagiarism. Not only does this perpetuate the circulation of poor or incorrect information, it fails to provide reliable source material that is often crucial to unlocking clues scattered throughout the Sagas.

    Beyond this general overview of the issues of academia and mainstream publishing, there are very specific matters regarding this particular monograph. Etymology is a vital aid to how we process information, not as a cold science of words, but as voices hidden in the text that offer full insight, often revealing an entirely new understanding of intent and purpose.

    There is a real dearth of approachable works that ford the resources and research academia has in plenitude. I feel very strongly therefore, that this work is singularly unique in is approach and its conclusions. It is not an easy read; it is not meant for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. It is not written as an introduction to ‘—‘, nor is it a ‘how to—‘ . There is already a plethora of books in circulation that do this, and they all repeat the same material – only the authors change.

    In contra-distinction to this, my work offers suggestions, insights, revelations, even challenges for those well-versed in these histories and traditions, who are already familiar with the sagas and skaldic traditions, and who like myself, crave works that advance our knowledge of them even further. This work offers them an opportunity to consider a pioneering, extensively researched concept piece that suggests a very credible and plausible explanation of events, not in isolation, but as contextual, linked aspects of one complex story spread across numerous historical works. As a multi-disciplinary approach is provides new ideas that can be discussed and explored by smaller interest groups who are poorly served by modern publishers.

    Importantly, the work is fully referenced with detailed notes for other researchers to follow; each chapter builds cumulative argument, bringing natural conclusion to this involved research. Academic and non-academic terms and phrases are used to promote ease of reading whilst maintaining integrity of form. Appendices are reserved for further consideration that would otherwise labour the text.”

  • Stonehenge: Archaeologists discover long-lost tools used to build ancient monument. Discovery likely to rekindle debate over how builders moved stones 175 miles from Wales to Salisbury Plain” — David Keys, Independent UK

    “The discovery of the stone quarrying tools, which date to the approximate time of the construction of the first stone phase of the monument (c 2900BC), proves beyond reasonable doubt for the first time that Neolithic people quarried the Welsh stones that ended up being used to build the world’s most famous prehistoric temple.

    But why did the builders of Stonehenge want to get their standing stones from 175 miles away when they could have used perfectly good local stones from Salisbury Plain?

    The answer is probably genealogical. Chemical signatures found in the bones of early Stonehenge people suggest many of those individuals were originally from western Britain, not from Salisbury Plain. It is therefore conceivable that the stones of early Stonehenge were brought to Salisbury Plain from the area associated with the builders’ ancestors.”

  • FDA officially warns against buying young blood. There is truly no data that says it’s helpful for humans” — Angela Chen, The Verge; from the Not-With-That-Attitude dept.

    “The US Food and Drug Administration is officially warning consumers that buying young blood infusions to improve their health is not a good idea. It is, in fact, a very bad idea because there is no clinical evidence that the infusions do anything, and the procedure could be dangerous.”

  • Cognitive decline prevented in old mice with a dose of young bone marrow” — Rich Hardy, New Atlas; from the Red-Red-Wine dept.

    “For centuries humans have anecdotally espoused the rejuvenating properties of young blood, however it is only in the past few years that scientists have begun to seriously explore the idea. Although previous experiments have revealed transfusing blood from young mice into older mice does seem to confer cognitive benefits it has never been clear what specifically could be causing these results. A new study has homed in on a potential hypothesis revealing young bone marrow transplants improved memory and learning in old mice.”

  • Tar for Mortar: “The Library of Babel” and the Dream of Totality [also] by Jonathan Basile (creator of libraryofbabel.info), from Punctum Books

    Basile Tar for Mortar

    Tar for Mortar offers an in-depth exploration of one of literature’s greatest tricksters, Jorge Luis Borges. His short story ‘The Library of Babel’ is a signature examplar of this playfulness, though not merely for the inverted world it imagines, where a library thought to contain all possible permutations of all letters and words and books is plumbed by pious librarians looking for divinely pre-fabricated truths. One must grapple as well with the irony of Borges’s narration, which undermines at every turn its narrator’s claims of the library’s universality, including the very possibility of exhausting meaning through combinatory processing.

    Borges directed readers to his non-fiction to discover the true author of the idea of the universal library. But his supposedly historical essays are notoriously riddled with false references and self-contradictions. Whether in truth or in fiction, Borges never reaches a stable conclusion about the atomic premises of the universal library — is it possible to find a character set capable of expressing all possible meaning, or do these letters, like his stories and essays, divide from themselves in a restless incompletion?

    While many readers of Borges see him as presaging our digital technologies, they often give too much credit to our inventions in doing so. Those who elide the necessary incompletion of the Library of Babel compare it to the Internet on the assumption that both are total archives of all possible thought and expression. Though Borges’s imaginings lend themselves to digital creativity (libraryofbabel.info is certainly evidence of this), they do so by showing the necessary incompleteness of every totalizing project, no matter how technologically refined. Ultimately, Basile nudges readers toward the idea that a fictional/imaginary exposition can hold a certain power over technology.”

  • Tarot Goblinko by Sean Äaberg, from Goblinko; is a Dark Fantasy Medieval Punk Tarot Deck successfully crowdfunded [also], is currently sold out in pre-order on the Goblinko site, but pre-orders appear to still be available over on Backerkit; however, the deck may be on hold indefinitely whilst the artist recovers from a severe cerebellar stroke back in September 2018.

    Äaberg Goblinko Tarot Death

    “My wife Katie Äaberg aligns herself with the universe & draws a card from our Rider-Waite deck & hands it to me. I empty my mind, examine the card & begin to think about what it represents. I consult my extensive occult & art library to see how other people interpret the card giving particular attention to Crowley’s Book of Thoth & Jodorowsky’s the Way of Tarot. I study other tarot decks with the card in mind & note what similarities & differences & stand-out elements there are in varying depictions of the card. Through clouds of various kinds & colors of smoke – I let this sit in my head until it begins to take form. I then discuss the card with Katie & see what she thinks about where I’m headed & from that discussion I create the first pencil sketch on 11”x17” card stock. I show Katie this sketch & we discuss my interpretation of the card & then I make any changes we come up with from this discussion in pencil. I then ink the drawing, first starting with thin black lines, then going in & adding the thick, syrupy blacks which bring the piece together & then going in with stippling & cross-hatching to give the piece contour & texture & it is in this stage that the drawing, having been labored over with tedious but enjoyable inking, comes to life. We then scan the drawing into the computer & color it in photoshop using the blacklight poster & 70s Marvel comics palette I’ve developed over the years.The art is then placed into our Tarot Goblinko card frame, the card is named & it’s ready for the printers!”

    Äaberg Goblinko Tarot The Sun

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
    reciprocity
    bravery
    respect
    fairness
    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.”