So much of what magicians have taken for granted this century stems from the work of the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley. Much of what will constitute standard magical theory and practice in the next century will derive from the state-of-the-art ideas and techniques currently under development in Chaos Magic.
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for March 26th, 2014
“Unconditional Forecast. It is a Black Sun. 100% Certainty.” — Space: 1999, “Black Sun,” November 1975 [via]
- Professor Bergman in Space: 1999, “Black Sun” [HT Unmann-Wittering]; from the thin-blue-line dept.
“There is a thin line between science and mysticism.”
- Reginald Dalton in Blackwood’s Standard Novels, Vol X; from the gpoy dept.
“Suddenly the clock strikes twelve, and the Frater Bibliothecarius whispers, ‘Dinner!’ […] the western sun staining with admonitory glories the painted window over against the successful negociator, the sudden half-sorrowful, half-ecstatic departure.—There is a life and truth about the whole affair that must send their charm into every bosom and force, even from the man that prefers a book to a title-page, a momentary echo of, ‘I should like to dine with this Nongtong-paw.'”
- “Before the Garden Gnome, the Ornamental Hermit: a Real Person Paid to Dress Like a Druid” — Allison Meier, Atlas Obscura; from the we’ll-make-great-pets dept.
“The ornamental hermit vanished at the end of the 18th century. In The Hermit in the Garden, [Gordon] Campbell chronicles the remains in a ‘catalogue of hermitages,’ listing whether they are destroyed, extant, or never built at all. However, the humble hermit may not have left us entirely. As Campbell argues, ‘the garden hermit evolved from the antiquarian druid and eventually declined into the garden gnome.'”
- “The future of the library catalogue“, a presentation from Facet Publishing about Catalogue 2.0: The Future of the Library Catalogue, edited by Sally Chambers; from the met-a-data-for-drinks dept.
- Amy Brose quoting presenters at Library Tech Conference 2014, via tweet [HT Nancy Sims]; from the golem dept.
“if there is a theme from this conference it is the library should help the community create things.”
- “Black Mirror” — Arts University Bournemouth; from the get-to-the-art-of-the-matter dept.
“Black Mirror is a new research network based at the Arts University Bournemouth. The intent of the network is to explore the influence and role of enchantment, esotericism, the occult and magic in modernist and contemporary art. […] To document the project, a special series of peer-reviewed publications will be issued by Fulgur Esoterica.”
- “Vatican Library to digitise archives with Japanese support” — BBC News Europe; from the but-what’s-the-cocaine-and-condoms-for dept.
“The Vatican Library has begun digitising its priceless collection of ancient manuscripts dating from the origins of the Church. The first stage of the project will cover some 3,000 handwritten documents over the next four years. […] Eventually, the library says it hopes to make available online all its 82,000 manuscripts.”
- “Snowden At SXSW: Encryption Is ‘defense Against The Dark Arts In The Digital Realm’” — Ellen Rolfes, PBS Newshour; from the gonna-wash-that-horcrux-right-out-of-my-hair dept.
“‘We need to think about encryption not as black magic but as something that works,’ [Edward] Snowden said. “It’s the defense against the dark arts in the digital realm.'”
- Laverna — “Store your notes anonymously and encrypted”
- Loomio — “The world needs a better way to make decisions together.”
- Kardbord — “Fast, simple, real-time collaboration.”
- Hermetic Library anthology artist Galen Wade‘s Iconoclast
- Hermetic Library anthology artist The Implicit Order‘s It’s Hard To Tell The Singer From The Song
- “How to become a Mage (or Fairy): Joséphin Péladan’s Initiation for the Masses” — Sasha Chaitow; from the art-you-here-to-a-muse-me dept.
“Immensely prolific, discredited during his lifetime, Joséphin Péladan (1858–1918) constructed a vast, complex, yet coherent oeuvre with the purpose of demonstrating the transformative power of art by manifesting the highest ideals on the material plane, in response to the social decadence he perceived in in-de-siècle French society. Central to Péladan’s vision was his conception of artists as initiates: select individuals who could bring a small part of the divine into the mundane sphere. […] His goal was to inspire his readers to seek a more ideal existence through a form of self-initiation that he dubbed kaloprosopia, an art of transformation of personality through a life lived as a work of art.”
- “When did Thelema become the Westboro Baptist Church?” — Nick Farrell; from the thelemites-as-tourists dept.
“Where were the Thelemites who disagreed? If these three are wrong in their interpretation of the Book of the Law then why aren’t people pointing out their error? Why is it left to outsiders to be horrified that a modern religion can go this way? If they continue to permit this sort of anti-evolutionary thinking, they will end up in same position that Christianity is.”
- “Embracing Questions” — Thomas Zwollo, Spiral Nature; from the thelemites-as-scientismists dept.
“For instance, Crowley was quick to experiment with rituals, invent news approaches to magic and initiation, and challenge established structures and groups. Now we find advocates within the Thelemic community bristling at any kind of experimentation.”
- Richard Feynman quoted in “We need more scientific mavericks” — The Guardian Letters; from the where-is-your-science-now dept.
“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”
- John Selden quoted at “Disputes in Religion” and “A Magnificent Feast” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti [also]; from the mind-your-own-business dept.
“Disputes in religion will never be ended, because there wants a measure by which the business should be decided. … One says one thing, and another another; and there is, I say, no measure to end the controversy. … It is so: it is not so: it is so: it is not so; crying thus one to another a quarter of an hour together.”
“How glorious soever the church is, every one chooses out of it his own religion, by which he governs himself, and lets the rest alone.”
- Ovid, Metamorphoses, quoted at “Bumblehive” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti; from the welcome-to-the-matrix dept.
“There is a place in the middle of the world, ‘twixt land and sea and sky, the meeting-point of the threefold universe. From this place, whatever is, however far away, is seen, and every word penetrates to these hollow ears. … Here is Credulity, here is heedless Error, unfounded Joy and panic Fear; here sudden Sedition and unauthentic Whisperings. Rumour herself beholds all that is done in heaven, on sea and land, and searches throughout the world for news.”
- And now, this important announcement from Mad Malik (aka Greg Hill) — Adam Gorightly, Historia Discordia; from the we-love-you-spider dept.
“In the event of severe political supression, a private communication system can still function for those who had the foresight to establish one. […] It requires little maintenance whether used or not, but the result is a large ‘spiderweb’ network.”
- “Learning Magic” — Ian Corrigan, Into the Mound; from the no-man-is-an-island dept.
“The new student should not plan on being a unique genius.
Instead, the new student should read traditional books and find a working teacher (that applies to learning magic, gymnastics or saxophone). Plan to spend a few years doing exercises and experiments, duplicating previous efforts, and building skills. Of course we all pursue our little personal schemes along the way, and eventually we get enough skill to actually try them.
There’s no short-cut. You can’t just ‘listen to your heart’. You have to listen to other people.”
- “Magicians are Opinionated Assholes” — Rufus Opus, Head for the Red; from the here-we-are-now-entertain-us dept.
“A group of powerful egomaniacs with really healthy levels of self-esteem are likely to behave a lot like we really do in real life.”
- “The Suitcase At The End Of The Earth” — Gordon White, Rune Soup; from the i-and-i dept.
“One of chaos magic’s least-used constructs is the possibility that you lack an authentic self. If you are so inclined, it provides you with a gringo, late-capitalist variant of Buddhist ‘non-being’. Seeing the world this way offers you supreme performative flexibility.”
- Interview with Jim Morrison by Lizzie James; from the take-a-mask-from-the-ancient-gallery dept.
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your senses for an act. You give up your ability to feel and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
- “A triangular book about alchemy” — John Coulthart, feuilleton; from the one-less-corner-to-land-on-your-toe-tho dept.
“from the Manly Palmer Hall collection of alchemical manuscripts at the Internet Archive, not only a triangular book but one where most of the pages are written in a symbolic alphabet”
- “Where were globally known Religious Figures born? [1850 — 1950]” — Pantheon: Mapping Historical Cultural Production, Macro Connections Group at MIT Media Lab.
- Mentions of keywords Aleister Crowley and Thelema in books from 1800-2008 — Google Books Ngram Viewer.
Overthrowing the Old Gods: Aleister Crowley and the Book of the Law by Don Webb, the 2013 paperback from Inner Traditions, which includes a commentary on Liber AL vel Legis by Michael A Aquino, and includes, as part II, the collection of essays once available in the old Rûna-Raven Press book Aleister Crowley: The Fire and the Force as well, is part of the collection at the Reading Room courtesy of the publisher.
“Received by Aleister Crowley in April 1904 in Cairo, Egypt, The Book of the Law is the most provocative record of magical working in several hundred years, affecting not only organizations directly associated with Crowley such as the Ordo Templi Orientis but also Wicca, Chaos Magic, and the Temple of Set.
Boldly defying Crowley’s warning not to comment on The Book of the Law, Ipsissimus Don Web provides in-depth interpretation from both Black and White Magickal perspectives, including commentary from Michael A. Aquino, Ph.D., who served as High Priest of the Temple of Set from 1975 to 1996. Webb examines each line of the Book in the light of modern psychology, Egyptology, existentialism, and competing occult systems such as teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff and contemporary Left-Hand Path thought. Discarding the common image of Crowley formulated in a spiritually unsophisticated time when the devotee of the Left-Hand Path was dismissed as a selfish evildoer, Webb unveils a new side of Crowley based on his adoption of the Loki archetype and his aim to become a vessel of love for all humanity. In so doing, he shows how The Book of the Law is connected to both Right- and Left-Hand Paths and reveals how Crowley’s magickal path of mastery over the self and Cosmos overthrew the gods of old religion, which had kept humanity asleep to dream the nightmare of history.
Providing in-depth analysis of Crowley’s sources and Webb’s own self-identification with the First Beast of Revelation from a profound esoteric perspective, Webb takes his views out of the Golden Dawn matrix within which he received The Book of the Law and radically recasts the Cairo Working as a text of personal sovereignty and a relevant tool for personal transformation.” — back cover
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.
If you’re in the the London area, you should check out John Constable’s one man play dramatizing Austin Osman Spare at Treadwell’s which opens November 21st, 2013. It runs for four dates, so even if you can’t catch it on opening night there’s other chances: November 21-22 and 29-30.
Spare: One Man Play
21-22, 29-30 November 2013
London artist and occultist Austin Osman Spare (1886–1956) comes alive in this new one-man play. Set in the artist’s studio at the Elephant and Castle on the night of a Blitz bombing, it shows Spare growing old in poverty, yet fiercely committed to his vision. In the course of the night, a rogue sigil unleashes unpredictable consequences. This ‘play conceived as an act of magic’, performed by the author, is both an homage to AOS and a playful exploration of Constable’s own esoteric work to ‘set us free from ourselves.’ John Constable is a poet, playwright and magical practitioner best-known for The Southwark Mysteries, and for his acclaimed stage adaptation of Gormenghast. Previous solo shows include I Was An Alien Sex God (‘mind-blowingly weird’ The Independent). Premiere performances last Spring were sold out, and received acclaim.
Time: Doors 7pm, for a 7:30 start
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together …
“In case of bewilderment Crowley Ales were brewed in Alton.” [via]
- “Five hundred new fairytales discovered in Germany” — Victoria Sussen-Messerer, theguardian.com
“A whole new world of magic animals, brave young princes and evil witches has come to light with the discovery of 500 new fairytales, which were locked away in an archive in Regensburg, Germany for over 150 years. The tales are part of a collection of myths, legends and fairytales, gathered by the local historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810–1886) in the Bavarian region of Oberpfalz at about the same time as the Grimm brothers were collecting the fairytales that have since charmed adults and children around the world.”
“Their main purpose was to help young adults on their path to adulthood, showing them that dangers and challenges can be overcome through virtue, prudence and courage.”
- “Reza Aslan—Historian?” — Elizabeth Castelli, The Nation
“Simply put, Zealot does not break new ground in the history of early Christianity. It isn’t clear that any book framed as a “the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth” could, in fact, do so. Indeed, if it had not been thrust into the limelight by an aggressive marketing plan, the painfully offensive Fox News interview, and Aslan’s own considerable gifts for self-promotion, Zealot would likely have simply been shelved next to myriad other examples of its genre, and everyone could get back to their lives. As it is, the whole spectacle has been painful to watch. And as it is with so many spectacles, perhaps the best advice one might take is this: Nothing to see here, people. Move along.”
- “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” — Aaron Swartz
“With enough of us, around the world, we’ll not just send a strong message opposing the privatization of knowledge — we’ll make it a thing of the past.”
- “‘Agrippa Was a Chaos Magician!’ Redux” — Jack Faust, Dionysian Atavism; links to Austin Osman Spare‘s The Book of Pleasure
“All of this leads us to conclude that Spare – despite his loathing for many magicians – was practicing, at times, highly traditional tactics of magical utility.”
- “Because I Can’t Sleep: Thoughts on Sigils” — Jack Faust, Dionysian Atavism; links to Austin Osman Spare‘s The Logomachy of Zos and Automatic Drawing
“Any sigil that produces a sense of working for you can be used. All this really requires of you is consistently using it, playing with different means of expressing your desires, or applying the technique where it best fits.”
“The versatility to the technique lies with you.”
- “The Aim of Magic” — Edred Thorsson, Edred Speaks (a reincarnation of Edred.net)
“The rites are quite mysterious, but not in the sense that we do not know what they mean, or that they are obscure in their significance. On the contrary the mysteries lie not in what the formulas are, and rather in how the formulas work.”
- “New meta-analysis checks the correlation between intelligence and faith” — Akshat Rathi, Ars Technica
“Overall, Zuckerman, Silberman, and Hall conclude that, according to their meta-analysis, there is little doubt a significant negative correlation exists (i.e. people who are more religious score worse on varying measures of intelligence). The correlation is more negative when religiosity measures beliefs rather than behavior. That may be because religious behavior may be used to help someone appear to be part of a group even though they may not believe in the supernatural.
So why do more intelligent people appear to be less religious? There are three possible explanations. One possibility is that more intelligent people are less likely to conform and, thus, are more likely to resist religious dogma. A 1992 meta-analysis of seven studies found that intelligent people may be more likely to become atheists when they live in religious societies, because intelligent people tend to be nonconformists.
The most common explanation is that intelligent people don’t like to accept any beliefs that are not subject to empirical tests or logical reasoning. Zuckerman writes in the review that intelligent people may think more analytically, which is “controlled, systematic, and slow”, as opposed to intuitively, which is “heuristic-based, mostly non-conscious, and fast.” That analytical thinking leads to lower religiosity.
The final explanation is that intelligence provides whatever functions religion does for believers.”
- “Confessions of a ‘High Priestess’ in America’s Notorious ‘Love Cults’,” Chapter VIII — Marian Dockerill, St. Petersburg Times, May 2, 1926
“Gurdjieff believes that almost all people, whether intelligent or unintelligent, are not fully ‘awake,’ either physically or mentally. He believes that the body is capable of something like ten times more skill and coordination and effort than the body ordinarily is able to put forth, and he believes the same thing of the mind. He seeks, in all sorts of ways, with various individuals, to ‘awaken’ and train both body and mind, so that they will be capable of using more of their stored-up, latent capacities.
He would take pampered society women and put them to work, at hard labor, on coarse food as fare with this final object in view—and if he made the preacher drink champagne, it was for identically the same object, approached from a different way.”
- “The Year of the Witch” — Pamela J Grossman, The Huffington Post
“Witches are midwives to metamorphosis. They are magical women, and they, quite literally, change the world.”
Overthrowing the Old Gods: Aleister Crowley and the Book of the Law by Don Webb, from Inner Traditions, is scheduled to be published on Oct 15, 2013.
“New commentaries on Aleister Crowley’s Book of the Law reveal how it is connected to both Right- and Left-Hand Paths
• Examines each line of the Book of the Law in the light of modern psychology, Egyptology, Gurdjieff’s teachings, and contemporary Left-Hand Path thought
• Explores Crowley’s identification with the First Beast of Revelations as well as his adoption of the Loki archetype for becoming a vessel of love for all humanity
• Recasts the Cairo Working as a text of personal sovereignty and a relevant tool for personal transformation
• Includes commentary on the Book of the Law by Dr. Michael A. Aquino, who served as High Priest of the Temple of Set from 1975 to 1996
Received by Aleister Crowley in April 1904 in Cairo, Egypt, the Book of the Law is the most provocative record of magical working in several hundred years, affecting not only organizations directly associated with Crowley such as the Ordo Templi Orientis but also modern Wicca, Chaos Magic, and the Temple of Set.
Boldly defying Crowley’s warning not to comment on the Book of the Law, Ipsissimus Don Webb provides in-depth interpretation from both Black and White Magical perspectives, including commentary from Dr. Michael A. Aquino, who served as High Priest of the Temple of Set from 1975 to 1996. Webb examines each line of the Book in the light of modern psychology, Egyptology, existentialism, and competing occult systems such as the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff and contemporary Left-Hand Path thought. Discarding the common image of Crowley formulated in a spiritually unsophisticated time when the devotee of the Left-Hand Path was dismissed as a selfish evil doer, Webb unveils a new side of Crowley based on his adoption of the Loki archetype and his aim to become a vessel of love for all humanity. In so doing, he shows how the Book of the Law is connected to both Right- and Left-Hand Paths and reveals how Crowley’s magical path of mastery over the self and Cosmos overthrew the gods of old religion, which had kept humanity asleep to dream the nightmare of history.
Providing in-depth analysis of Crowley’s sources and his self-identification with the First Beast of Revelations from a profound esoteric perspective, Webb takes his views out of the Golden Dawn matrix within which he received the Book of the Law and radically recasts the Cairo Working as a text of personal sovereignty and a relevant tool for personal transformation.” [via]
Aleister Crowley and Austin Osman Spare are goth for life at “Goth for life“, an article at the Guardian about Carl McCoy of Fields of the Nephilim.
“He struggles to name any influences on their formative sound, offers scant details about his upbringing as a Jehovah’s Witness (‘you didn’t have Christmas and you didn’t have birthdays … it was interesting’) and declines to elaborate on the interest in the occult that has led him to make regular references to chaos magic in his songs and to perform gigs he calls Ceromonies (sic) on the anniversaries of Austin Osman Spare and Aleister Crowley’s deaths. ‘It’s nothing to do with believing, like I believe you,’ he frowns, when I ask him if he actually believes in magic or is merely using it as interesting imagery. ‘It’s knowing. I know. I’ve experienced things that are beyond reality. Many things.’ This sounds fascinating, but McCoy collects himself. ‘I don’t want to go too far on this,’ he says hurriedly, ‘because I don’t want to make a twat of meself.'” [via]