Much as I enjoy Hancock’s other books on ancient history, I still find this to be his best, not least because of the personal significance his quest assumed. To say that Hancock was searching for the lost Ark of the Covenant of the Israelites is a little inaccurate. Hancock started by learning that the Ethiopian Church claims to possess the Ark in the city of Axum and then trying to establish a) if they are right and b) how it could have gotten there. The first question remains unanswered since no one is allowed to examine the Ark, but the second question took Hancock all over the Middle East and Africa in a fascinating quest with all the unexpected twists you could wish for. It will come as no surprise that the Knights Templar and Freemasonry wind up playing a crucial role here, and I will assure the reader that they were certainly not tacked on to fullfil a conspiracy-hunter’s agenda. Over the course of the book Hancock builds an excellent circumstantial case for the Ethiopian claim and provides some remarkable insights into early Judaism, which was very different from its modern form. This is required reading for anyone interested in the subjects covered.
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together …
Hermetic Library fellow David Richard Jones‘ The Circumference and the Hieroglyphic Monad, part III of his In Operibus Sigillo Dei Aemeth, and is based on an observation by Clay Holden, of The John Dee Publication Project, that “the geometry of the Monad as analyzed and expected in Theorem XXIII when applied to a circle subdivides the circumference of a circle into seven equal divisions with almost perfect elegance.”
- Lon Milo DuQuette’s “I’m Scared” is a new political single.
- Aleister Crowley’s invocation to coffee, recorded in his diaries, was recently a randomly popular old post.
“O coffee! By the mighty Name of Power do I invoke thee, consecrating thee to the Service of the Magic of Light. Let the pulsations of my heart be strong and regular and slow! Let my brain be wakeful and active in its supreme task of self-control! That my desired end may be effected through Thy strength, Adonai, unto Whom be the Glory for ever! Amen without lie, and Amen, and Amen of Amen.”
- “Earliest footprints outside Africa discovered in Norfolk” — Pallab Ghosh, BBC News; from the wonder-what-the-sea-washed-away-the-other-291999999-days-we-weren’t-watching dept.
“The footprints are more than 800,000 years old and were found on the shores of Happisburgh. … The sea has now washed away the prints – but not before they were recorded”
- Lake of beer prayer attributed to St Brigid, via T Thorn Coyle; from the has-Ra-finally-gotten-Sekhmet-to-chill-out-yet dept.
“I’d sit with the men, the women of God
There by the lake of beer.
We’d be drinking good health forever
And every drop would be a prayer.”
- “Archaeologists Have Found the Oldest Roman Temple” — Alice Robb, New Republic; from the exploring-ancient-temples-hidden-under-watery-depths-in-spite-of-Lovecraft dept.
“Archaeologists have long suspected that the oldest Roman temple lay at the foot of the legendary Capitoline Hill, but it’s only recently that they’ve managed to excavate the waterlogged Sant’Omobono site with modern techniques.
‘The temple’s much more interesting than anybody expected,’ said Albert Ammerman, an archaeologist at Colgate University who worked on the dig. ‘It’s beautiful down there.'”
- “Mysteria Misc. Maxima: February 7th, 2014” — Sarah Veale, Invocatio blog; from the πάντα-ῥεῖ dept.
“This will be the last MMM for the foreseeable future. … So please join me in bidding a fond adieu to the MMM and enjoy this final link round-up…”
- “On the Arbitrary Appellation of Magic in Antiquity” — Sarah Veale, Invocatio; from the i-am-large-i-contain-multitudes dept.
“While a good definition suggests that magical practices are rites and rituals that exist on the margins of cultural norms (Dickie, 38), the point is that, when we look at the evidence, what is labelled magic is a moving target. The label stays the same, but the content changes depending on the situation at hand. The label is not so much about the practices themselves, but rather about the status of those practices.”
- “The Ritual of the Duck” — Sarah Anne Lawless; from the together-with-all-the-appurtenances-thereto dept.
“Yesterday I made Aves Flying Ointment. A recipe I created a couple of years ago combining the traditional herbs with the more grisly shapeshifting ingredients of bird fat, bird bone dust, and feather ashes.”
- “Tveir Hrafnar: Sorcery in Silver” — Sarah Anne Lawless; from the my-precious dept.
“SAL: Your work is a wonderful rarity in that it caters to occultists, sorcerers, and traditional witches who most jewelers ignore in favour of the much bigger market of neopagans. Was this intentional or were you simply following your influences and passions?
AW: Mostly following my passions and influences. I am self centered in my art and would rather make what speaks to me than what I think the market would buy. It’s a ‘go for what you know’ kind of thing. Hopefully there are enough folks out there with similar aesthetics and interests to keep things rolling.”
- “Read Sappho’s ‘new’ poem” — Tim Whitmarsh, The Guardian; from the he-said-she-said dept
“They whose fortune the king of Olympus wishes
Now to turn from trouble
to [ … ] are blessed
and lucky beyond compare.”
- “A New Sapphic Poem ~ Wading into the Morass” — David Meadows, rogueclassicism; from the he-said-she-maybe-said dept.
“In case you haven’t heard, Dirk Obbink has recently announced the discovery/publication of two ‘new’ poems by Sappho and they’re causing quite the flurry of activity on blogospheres (as you may have already seen), twitterspheres (ditto), and no doubt, in private emails and departmental coffee lounges around the world.”
- “Charlemagne’s bones are (probably) real” — The Local; from the dem-dry-bones dept.
“Researchers confirmed on Wednesday evening — 1,200 years to the day since Charlemagne died — that the 94 bones and bone fragments taken from the supposed resting place of the King of the Franks and founder of what was to become the Holy Roman Empire came from a tall, thin, older man.”
- “Charlemagne’s bones found in his coffin” — The History Blog; from the in-the-last-place-you-looked dept.
“That may seem obvious, but given how often he was exhumed and reburied and parts of him given away as relics, it’s actually quite notable that the collection of bones in the Karlsschrein, the Shrine of Charlemagne, and other reliquaries in the Aachen Cathedral all appear to come from the same person who matches contemporary descriptions of the Frankish king.”
- “Babylonian Tale of Round Ark Draws Ire From Christian Circles” — Alan Boyle, NBC News; from the ark-you-glad-you-to-see-me-or-is-that-a-clay-tablet-in-your-pocket dept.
“A recently deciphered 4,000-year-old clay tablet from ancient Mesopotamia is putting a new spin on the biblical tale of the flood and Noah’s Ark — and that’s causing consternation among some Christian fundamentalists.”
- Hermetic Library anthology artist Arthur Loves Plastic‘s new Get Happy.
- Cranky Roman Guy on The Golden Globes; from the plus-ça-change-plus-c’est-la-même-chose dept.
“If you doubted that this is the age of Discord reigning supreme, you have an annual rite in which you give #GoldenGlobes to beautiful women.”
- “A Preliminary Analysis of the Botany, Zoology, and Mineralogy of the Voynich Manuscript” — A O Tucker et al.; from the-effect-of-gamma-rays-on-man-in-the-moon-marigolds dept.
“We note that the style of the drawings in the Voynich Ms. is similar to 16th century codices from Mexico (e.g., Codex Cruz-Badianus). With this prompt, we have identified a total of 37 of the 303 plants illustrated in the Voynich Ms. (roughly 12.5% of the total), the six principal animals, and the single illustrated mineral. The primary geographical distribution of these materials, identified so far, is from Texas, west to California, south to Nicaragua, pointing to a botanic garden in central Mexico, quite possibly Huaztepec (Morelos). A search of surviving codices and manuscripts from Nueva España in the 16th century, reveals the calligraphy of the Voynich Ms. to be similar to the Codex Osuna (1563-1566, Mexico City). Loan-words for the plant and animal names have been identified from Classical Nahuatl, Spanish, Taino, and Mixtec. The main text, however, seems to be in an extinct dialect of Nahuatl from central Mexico, possibly Morelos or Puebla.”
- “Norse Rune code cracked” — Medievalists.net; about “Ráð þat, If You Can!” — K Jonas Norby; from the missed-it-missed-it dept.
“‘It’s like solving a puzzle,’ said Nordby to the Norwegian website forskning.no. ‘Gradually I began to see a pattern in what was apparently meaningless combinations of runes.’
However, those thinking that the coded runes will reveal deep secrets of the Norse will be disappointed. The messages found so far seem to be either used in learning or have a playful tone. In one case the message was ‘Kiss me’. Nordby explains ‘We have little reason to believe that rune codes should hide sensitive messages, people often wrote short everyday messages.’
In many instances those who wrote the coded runes also left comments urging the readers to try to figure it out. Sometimes they would also boast of their abilities at writing the codes.”
- “O D fuckin abbot.” — Medium Ævum; from the orking-cows dept.
- “Hollywood Calls” — Feral House; from the your-name-will-go-up-in-bright-lights dept.
“Since we’re in Hollywood we’ve signed an option agreement for a Sundance Channel television series based on the Feral House book, Sex and Rockets, about the occult rocket scientist Jack Parsons.”
- “The end of Yeats: work and women in his last days in France” — Lara Marlowe, Irish Times; from the speak-before-your-breath-is-done dept.
“Like his alter ego Cuchulain in the play he had just written, Yeats was dying surrounded by women.”
Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Lectures on the Will to Know (Lectures at the College De France 1970-1971 and Oedipal Knowledge) by Michel Foucault, edited by Arnold I I Davison, translated by Graham Burchell.
The lectures in this volume represent a pivotal moment in the career of French sage Michel Foucault, which he characterized as a turn from “archaeology” to “genealogy”: i.e. from projects inspired by structuralism to ones inspired by Nietzschean ideas. This 1970-1971 set were his first lecture series after achieving his chair at the College de France, and they manifest a change in direction from the work he had previously undertaken in order to establish his intellectual authority, to that to which he would henceforth apply it.
The texts are direct edits and translations from Foucault’s own lecture notes. While later Foucault lectures can be (and have been) reconstructed with the benefit of audio recordings, these early ones survive only in written form. Foucault’s own notes have been supplemented in places with notes taken by attendees. Still, the aide memoire character of the documents makes them sometimes hard to follow, and leaves many ambiguities. One lecture (on Nietzsche) has gone missing, although a another lecture on the same topic delivered in Canada in 1971 is appended to supply the lack. Further ingredients include Foucault’s retrospective “Course Summary” (which can be read profitably as a preliminary overview), the 1972 lecture “Oedipal Knowledge” which extends some of the final considerations of the series, and editor Defert’s helpful contextualization of the lecture series.
The meat of these lectures is a discussion of the development of concepts of truth and justice in ancient Greek culture, in which Foucault elaborates and supports Nietzschean intuitions with the benefit of more recent efforts in positive history. In the process, Foucault rescues Nietzsche from Heidegger, and Oedipus from Freud. Defert’s “Course Context” also supplies information on the relationship of these lectures to the work of Deleuze at the time. Foucault’s reflections on money as a simulacrum (in lecture 9) pre-date and may have influenced Baudrillard’s extensive development of the same notion.
The editorial apparatus is considerable, and the endnotes for each lecture give ample source information, and check Foucault’s references and allusions. I was a little frustrated with the translated quotes from Nietzsche, given to supplement (Burchell’s translations of) Foucault’s own translations and glosses of the same texts; it would have been more useful to have the German in the endnotes. Translator Burchell’s observations on the use of Greek characters and transliteration in scholarship (xv) were interesting to me.
This book demonstrates that the publication of Foucault’s work is reaching an impressive stage of completeness. It joins eight other volumes of his lectures, alongside his monographs and essays, with another four lectures volumes projected. Without having read any of the other books of lectures, I still suspect this must be one of the most significant, if not the easiest of intellectual access. [via]
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