“What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.
Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives.”
“Here’s an assignment for tonight […] Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever […] Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.” — Kurt Vonnegut [via]
The Choronzon Machine: a Multi-media Multi-cultural Multi-subcultural Ritual Opera by the Metamophic Ritual Theatre company, written and more by Orryelle Defenestrate-Bascule (credited on the cover as Orryelle Bascule-Defenestrate), with music by The HarleQuintet, a 2006 DVD of enhanced live performances from 2001, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
I picked this up a few years ago primarily for the track “Melek Taus“, about a figure of importance with the Feri Tradition which I also later found mentioned in relation to Aleister Crowley’s Aiwass, and to a lesser degree because of the name of The HarleQuintet.
“In the ritual theatrickall-musical device we call The Chrononzon Machine the Audience Initiates follow the Fool Initiate’s journey through the Great Wheel of the TARO/ROTA, as he cycles through different refractions of Self as reflected through the archetypes of the Major Arcana. On one level this is a personal journey, as the Fool with a child’s innocence heedlessly plunges past the dweller on the threshold and into the Abyss. Through a series of ordeals he confronts and accepts the shadow of Choronzon as he progressively opens to ever more layers of complexity in the hidden mechanisms of the universe. The journey brings him eventually full circle back to the innocence of Zero but with a new layer of Wisdom and Understanding …
The Play is also socio-historical, as The Fool apprehends the escalating frenzy of ‘progress’ & technology in the post-modern world; which the audience also must deal with. It is they, after all, who are controlling the Machine—putting the 33.3¢ Illuminati coins—collected by the Jackal—in it which make the cogs start turning to generate each new scene of coupled polar cards …
Of course it’s not real, it’s just a Play, an Illusion generated by the Magicians for the Audience—a collectively willed hallucination. Is there a play? Is there a ritual? The HarleQuin de-faced itself. The machine goes on … Civilizations rise & crumble and fall. Were they ever There at All?” — back cover
“The Choronzon Machine Ritual Opera was performed 3.33 times in Melbourne (Australia) on 2001. The original footage of the already spectacular live production is now further enhanced with effects, animations, and diverse studio-recorded music into a feature-length film.” — back cover
“Movement is a key to unlock the doorways into spirit. Engage your body, call up life power, and become whole in all your parts.
This instructional DVD includes moving meditations for
· Elements of Life — Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit
· Iron Pentacle — Sex, Pride, Self, Power and Passion
· Pearl Pentacle — Love, Law, Knowledge, Liberty and Wisdom
· Warrior Pentacle — Commitment, Honor, Truth, Strength and Compassion
· Triple Soul — Sticky One, Shining Body and Sacred Dove.” — back cover
“Graeco-Egyptian Alchemy in Byzantium” is a paper by Michèle Mertens which may be of interest [HT David Pecotic]. You can gander at this short paper via the University of Liége’s Open Access portal. But this is an excerpt from The Occult Sciences in Byzantium edited by Paul Magdalino and Maria Mavroud, which full volume may be of further interest. Joel T Walker reviews the entire volume in Aestimatio 5 if you want a survey of the papers within the book, and there is a limited preview via Google Books as well.
“The main concern of this paper will be with the problems raised by the reception of ancient alchemy in Byzantium. After a brief introduction, I will start from the study of a pre-Byzantine author, Zosimos of Panopolis, and deal with the following questions: How, from a purely material viewpoint, were Zosimos’ writings handed down during the Byzantine period? Did Byzantine alchemists have access to his works and did they resort to them? Was Zosimos known outside the alchemical Corpus; in other words, did Graeco-Egyptian alchemists exert any kind of influence outside strictly alchemical circles? When and how was the alchemical Corpus put together? In a more general way, what evidence do we have, whether in the Corpus itself or in non-alchemical literature, that alchemy was practised in Byzantium? Answers (or at least partial answers) to these questions should help us to understand and define to some extent the place held by the ‘sacred art’ in Byzantium.
It is now universally accepted that alchemy came into being in Graeco-Roman Egypt around the beginning of our era and that it originated from the combination of several factors, the most remarkable of which are (1) the practices of Egyptian goldsmiths and workers in metals who experimented with alloys and knew how to dye metals in order to simulate gold; (2) the theory about the fundamental unity of matter, according to which all substances are composed of a primitive matter and owe their specific differences to the presence of different qualities imposed upon this matter; (3) the idea that the aim of any technique must be the mimesis of nature; (4) the doctrine of universal sympathy, which held that all elements of the cosmos are connected by occult links of sympathy and antipathy which explain all the combinations and separations of the bodies. The encounter of these different trends of thought brought about the idea that transmutation ought to be possible, all the more so with the addition of mystical daydreams influenced by gnostic and hermetic currents and favoured by the decline of Greek rationalism.” (205-206)
“Before 500 A.D., alchemy appears to be a rather marginal activity, as suggested by the absence of evidence outside the alchemical Corpus. In the sixth century, references to alchemy become increasingly numerous in Byzantine literature, but some suspicion can be perceived with regard to the sacred art, a suspicion reinforced by the schemes of swindlers. From the seventh century onwards, alchemy seems to have been perfectly well integrated into the official learning, judging by the vogue it apparently enjoyed under Heraclius. The evidence of the Marcianus (10th or 11th c.), the sumptuous decoration of which suggests that it must have been made for a high-ranking person, points in the same direction.” (228)
Inner Order Teachings of the Golden Dawn by Pat Zalewski, with an introduction by Nick Farrell, the 2006 softcover from Thoth Publications, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“Hidden Teachings revealed!
For more than 100 years, secret magical manuscripts from the Order of the Golden Dawn’s inner order of adepts (the Ordo Rosae Rubae et Aurae Crucis) have been unseen by most students of the esoteric. This includes the Golden Dawn alchemical teachings, secret teachings of the Zelator Grade and the important Caduceus paper. These have either been gathering dust on some collector’s shelves, or have been worked by those who have continued the Order’s work. So secret were these documents, Israel Regardie was unaware of them and subsequently many of the modern orders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn who were dependent on his encyclopaedic text The Golden Dawn for their teachings have left out much of this work. However, the papers contained in this book provide the much needed keys to understand the Golden Dawn system in its entirety.
Just as the Golden Dawn was not simply dependent upon intellectual information gathered under one heading but also on oral instruction to make the system come alive, so this material came with extensive traditions that make it useful to the student.
For the first time, Golden Dawn authority Pat Zalewski, who was trained by the inner order adepts of the GOlden Dawn, reveals the key to this material.”
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.