“Cryptography,” said Peebs, “from the Greek kryptos, or ‘hidden.’ ” “Hidden writing, specifically,” said Ada. “A code.” “But not, one hopes, crypt as in, well, crypts, with dead people in them,” said Jane. “Actually…,” began Peebs. “Impossible, all of you!” Ada raised her voice.
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for May 21st, 2014
- “Why everything you know about wolf packs is wrong” — Lauren Davis, io9
“A key problem with [Rudolph] Schenkel’s wolf studies is that, while they represented the first close study of wolves, they didn’t involve any study of wolves in the wild.”
“‘The concept of the alpha wolf as a ‘top dog’ ruling a group of similar-aged compatriots,’ [David] Mech writes in the 1999 paper, ‘is particularly misleading.'”
“And perhaps someday, our popular culture will more closely resemble our modern behavioral science rather than the results of outdated research.”
- “Angels, Toilets and Graffiti Revealed at Sudanese Monastery” — Past Horizons
“Cleaning of the plaster also allowed us to discover dozens of previously unknown inscriptions and drawings depicting both saints and images of Jesus. The study of the inscriptions is carried out by Dr. Grzegorz Ochała from the University of Warsaw. His analysis shows that, as in many other places in medieval Nubia, the cult of angels was extremely popular in al-Ghazali. Among the inscriptions on the walls of the North Church, Dr. Ochała identified the names of the four archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel.”
- “50 Years Ago: Testimony of Kerry Wendell Thornley” — Historia Discordia
All right. I take it from the remark you have made in your reflecting on this matter that you were you devoted yourself to some fairly considerable extent to reading?
And in what fields?
Completely omniverous. Anything that I would happen to get a hold of I would read. At that time I was reading, well, at [Lee Harvey] Oswald’s advice I read ‘1984.’ At someone else’s advice I was reading a book called ‘Human-ism,’ by Corliss Lamont, as I remember, and I was reading either ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ or the ‘Idiot’ by Dostoievsky, I forget which, at that time.
But your reading had some reasonable amount of organization or direction?
None whatsoever; no, sir. It never has.”
- “Thirty Years of ADF Part 1: An Incomplete Memoir of the First Ten Years” — Ian Corrigan, Into the Mound
“The work of organizing is the ditch-cutting and rock-hauling of our spiritual path. May the gods and spirits bless the laborers.”
- “What words do we have to describe transcendent religion?” — April D DeConick
“I want to thank all of you who have responded to my request for a word to describe a particular worldview that sees all religions as inadequate human constructions of our experience of a transcendent sacred, rather than divine revelations of God to different local populations (pluralism/universalism/perennialism). I need this word for a new book project (after The Ancient New Age) where I am describing three options that have been emerging in the modern world to deal with religious intolerance. The third is the option without a name, at least yet!”
- “Discovering the Artists of the Eastern Sahara” — Past Horizons
“Recently discovered rock art on the walls of a cave in the Egyptian Western Desert has been provisionally dated by a Cambridge University archaeologist as between 6,000 and 7,000 years old, created at least 1,000 years before the building of the pyramids. The drawings add weight to the argument that Egyptian culture drew on cultural influences from Africa and not only from the Near East.”
- “Scientists find way to turn light into matter” — RT News
“Researchers in London have found a way to make matter from light, using high powered lasers. The idea behind the theory was first thought up 80 years ago by two physicists, who were to work later on creating the world’s first atomic bomb.”
“They have managed to create a machine called a photon-photon collider, which would turn light into matter. However, the type of matter they are looking to create will be invisible to the naked eye.”
- “Curbing Online Abuse Isn’t Impossible. Here’s Where We Start” — Laura Hudson, Wired Underwire
“Really, freedom of speech is beside the point. Facebook and Twitter want to be the locus of communities, but they seem to blanch at the notion that such communities would want to enforce norms—which, of course, are defined by shared values rather than by the outer limits of the law. Social networks could take a strong and meaningful stand against harassment simply by applying the same sort of standards in their online spaces that we already apply in our public and professional lives. That’s not a radical step; indeed, it’s literally a normal one.”
“Ultimately, online abuse isn’t a technological problem; it’s a social problem that just happens to be powered by technology. The best solutions are going to be those that not only defuse the Internet’s power to amplify abuse but also encourage crucial shifts in social norms, placing bad behavior beyond the pale.”
- ‘Madness’ of Nietzsche was cancer not syphilis — Robert Matthews, The Telegraph
“A study of medical records has found that, far from suffering a sexually-transmitted disease which drove him mad, [Friedrich] Nietzsche almost certainly died of brain cancer.
The doctor who has carried out the study claims that the universally-accepted story of Nietzsche having caught syphilis from prostitutes was actually concocted after the Second World War by Wilhelm Lange-Eichbaum, an academic who was one of Nietzsche’s most vociferous critics. It was then adopted as fact by intellectuals who were keen to demolish the reputation of Nietzsche, whose idea of a ‘Superman’ was used to underpin Nazism.”
“Despite the lack of documentary or medical evidence, the allegation has since been repeated without question by generations of academics, said Dr [Leonard] Sax. ‘Extraordinarily, this single passage in Lange-Eichbaum’s obscure book is the chief foundation, cited again and again, that Nietzsche had syphilis.’
Nietzsche scholars welcomed the new findings and said that they would help in the rehabilitation of the philosopher. ‘Nietzsche was not anti-semitic or a nationalist, and hated the herd mentality,” said Prof Stephen Houlgate, a Nietzsche scholar at Warwick University. ‘If this new research gets rid of another misconception about him, I’m delighted.'”
- “Intro to Thelema — Three Recommended Books” — Brandy Williams, Star and Snake
“[Aleister Crowley’s] language is Edwardian English, educated, dense, and often offensive — in fact deliberately so. Not only that, he sometimes wrote in code or symbolic language, not unusual in magic, but requiring a key to decode. It takes some time to develop the Crowley Filter translating what he says into understandable and useful information. When his work is not confusing or upsetting, it is knowledgeable, insightful, and deeply inspiring.”
- “In Addition to What Thou Wilt: Our Thelemic Temple’s Revised Rules” — Zak Parsons, Something Awful [HT Quadrivium Supplies]
“Your journey to understanding may be long and arduous, but that is no reason not to close the chip bag.”
- “The leaked New York Times innovation report is one of the key documents of this media age” — Joshua Benton, Nieman Journalism Lab
“We must push back against our perfectionist impulses. Though our journalism always needs to be polished, our other efforts can have some rough edges as we look for new ways to reach our readers.”
- “Sturgill Simpson Puts a Metamodern Spin on Country Music” — Stephen M Deusner, CMT News
“Sturgill Simpson was recently accosted after a show in Wisconsin by a woman who accused him of promoting Gnosticism with his new single, ‘Turtles All the Way Down.’ The song discusses Jesus, Satan, Buddha and ‘reptile aliens made of light’ before revealing that ‘love’s the only thing that ever saved my life.'”
“It’s not every country singer who gets accused of Gnosticism — or even knows what it means.”
- “Between Alchemy and Pietism” — Mike A Zuber, Correspondences 2.1
“A minor figure undeservedly forgotten, Wilhelm Christoph Kriegsmann (1633–1679) has received only limited attention from historians of alchemy and church historians. He is known chiefly either for his idiosyncratic Phoenician reconstruction of the Tabula Smaragdina, a foundational text of alchemy attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, or alternatively for writing one of the earliest sustained defenses of Pietist conventicles to appear in print. In an attempt to bridge this unsatisfactory segregation, this paper argues that the notion of ancient wisdom (prisca sapientia) provided a crucial link between these seemingly disparate areas.”
- “20 Questions With Gary Lachman” — Jason Mankey, Raise the Horns
“11. There were a lot of moments in your Crowley book that had me laughing at some of his antics. I know a lot of Thelemites and fans of Crowley who take everything the man ever wrote, said, or did extremely seriously. How do you think Crowley would feel about that? Was he capable of laughing at himself?
He could laugh at himself on occasion, but I think he was too involved in what other people thought of him, of his effect on them, to be really un-selfconscious in the way you need to be to have a sense of humor about yourself. He was very rarely out of character. He can be very funny though. Someone asked him what one should call a young, male swan. He answered ‘Why not call him Edgar?’ He had a quick, intelligent wit and I found myself laughing quite a few times while doing the research.”
“15. I sometimes find myself referring to Crowley affectionately as ‘Uncle Al,’ but Crowley was certainly not all sunshines and rainbows. How do you feel about the modern tendency to overlook many of Crowley’s faults?
That’s one aspect of the book. Yes, let’s clear up all the tabloid rubbish that was published about him in his day, but let’s also not make him out to be some liberating hero. He was a brilliant, highly talented individual who had more than a few flashes of genius, but he was a colossal pain to practically everyone around him. In other words, let’s not be hero-worshippers or ignorant detractors, but serious about understanding who and what he was. There’s no point in approaching him or anyone else in any other way.”
- An excerpt posted by Gary Lachman from his book Aleister Crowley: Magick, Rock and Roll, and the Wickedest Man in the World can be found at “Crowley on the Bowery”
- “The Strange, Secret History of Isaac Newton’s Papers” — Adam Mann, Wired
“When Sir Isaac Newton died in 1727, he left behind no will and an enormous stack of papers. His surviving correspondences, notes, and manuscripts contain an estimated 10 million words, enough to fill up roughly 150 novel-length books. There are pages upon pages of scientific and mathematical brilliance. But there are also pages that reveal another side of Newton, a side his descendants tried to keep hidden from the public.”
“The story of Newton’s writing and how it has survived to the modern day is the subject of a new book, The Newton Papers: The Strange and True Odyssey of Isaac Newton’s Manuscripts. Author Sarah Dry traces their mysterious and precarious history and reveals both the lucky twists and purposeful turns that kept the papers safe.”
- “The Rules of the New Aristocracy” — J Michael Straczynski [HT Boing Boing]
“We are the New Aristocracy because we were born into it. We got our money the old fashioned, Medieval way: our parents gave it to us. We were born into the wealth that we stole from you and your family over the last fifty years. You were not born into anything other than poverty and struggle. You will never be us. You will never have our advantages. And we like it that way.”
“And you are the New Peasants.”
- “Announcing: The Diotima Prize!” — Sam Webster, Pantheon Foundation [HT Spiral Nature]
“The Pantheon Foundation announces The Diotima Prize to help support the educational goals of one Pagan student who is currently in an accredited seminary program.
The merit-based Prize is named for Diotima of Mantinea, the philosopher and priestess who is the teacher of Socrates in the Symposium of Plato, explaining to him the path of Divine ascent through the contemplation of Eros and Beauty.”
- “Hermetic Intelligence” — zeteticus, Soul Spelunker
“The primary way the soul is deepened is through imagination.”
- Eliza Gauger, tumblr
“Susan Schoon Eberly, an expert on congenital disorders, delineates the origins of fairy lore through a historical-biological lens, matching discernable patterns of appearance and behavior from changeling legends to disabilities now understood by medical science.”
“‘there are a number of fairy characters…who seem so clearly to represent certain congenital disorders that they are difficult to interpret as purely the products of imagination'”
- Hermetic Library anthology artist Pandemonaeon, Sharon Knight and Winter, are going on summer tour and have a new “secret society for creative dreamers” called Ring of Enchantment for fans to become patrons in order “to generate tour support for us while bringing inspiration and beauty to you”.
- Hermetic Library anthology artist SickTanicK has produced and appears on the new SKR mixtape release, which includes the single “Teach Me How To Satan”, SKR Made You Do It, being made available at no cost for streaming and download.
I would like to PROUDLY present to you…. SKR THE MIXTAPE VOLUME 3 "SKR Made You Do It" http://t.co/ZgozOw5tEn
— SickTanicK (@sicktanick) May 20, 2014
- American Atheists, tweet
When the religious right talks about "religious freedom", they usually mean the "freedom" to impose their religion. pic.twitter.com/YRcQSaZASe
— American Atheists (@AmericanAtheist) May 15, 2014
- Buddy Baphomet, tweet
Sometimes I need a snack so I melt some Dark chocolate & marshmallows on Billy Graham crackers. I call them "Smores of Babylon". }=9> #eyum
— Buddy Baphomet (@BuddyBaphomet) May 15, 2014
“My research into the Voynich manuscript looks particularly at the script and language, and as a result of my research I propose a decoding of around ten of the words and some fourteen of the signs and clusters. I suggest that these are the first signs and words to be successfully decoded, but of course the results are partial and provisional. I hope that other analysts will now be able to comment and perhaps build on the results published here. To move the debate forward, I am planning a Voynich conference in London in June 2014.” [via]
“Many grand theories have been proposed. Some suggest it was the work of Leonardo da Vinci as a boy, or secret Cathars, or the lost tribe of Israel, or most recently Aztecs … some have even proclaimed it was done by aliens!
Professor Bax however has begun to unlock the mystery meanings of the Voynich manuscript using his wide knowledge of mediaeval manuscripts and his familiarity with Semitic languages such as Arabic. Using careful linguistic analysis he is working on the script letter by letter.
‘I hit on the idea of identifying proper names in the text, following historic approaches which successfully deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphs and other mystery scripts, and I then used those names to work out part of the script,’ explained Professor Bax, who is to give his inaugural lecture as a professor at the University later this month.
‘The manuscript has a lot of illustrations of stars and plants. I was able to identify some of these, with their names, by looking at mediaeval herbal manuscripts in Arabic and other languages, and I then made a start on a decoding, with some exciting results.'” [via]
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.”