Tag Archives: cults

The High Couch of Silistra

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews High Couch of Silistra by Janet E Morris, with a mass market paperback cover by Boris Vallejo.

Janet E Morris Boris Vallejo High Couch of Silistra

This sword-and-planet yarn was the author’s first novel, and given that its entire sub-genre tends to fall (at its best) into the “guilty pleasure” category, I think it’s all right. I certainly liked it better than the Dray Prescott book (Warrior of Scorpio) which was my last reading in that field.

The sexual content is more explicit than Burroughs or Akers would deliver, and about comparable with Norman, although without the Gorean sadistic moralizing. In any case, it doesn’t really rise to the level of erotica despite the protagonist’s status as her homeworld’s most celebrated courtesan-madame-sexual athelete.

The metaphysical positioning of the book seems to break with the Burroughs-Norman tradition of fraudulent cults fronting for alien gods. The main plot of Returning Creation—evidently the author’s title, restored in a later edition—is the quest undertaken by a semi-divine woman (the “creation” in question) to find her alien father on his homeworld. Most in her society are skeptical about the “seed-sower” legendary that identifies the god race to which her father seems to belong, but her experiences eventually vindicate the lore, and the story ends inconclusively with her accession to her heritage among her father’s super-powerful people. Seeing that I have the sequels already in my possession, I expect to indulge my curiosity about where the author might take the narrative from that point. [via]

 

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The Essence of Religion

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Essence of Religion by Ludwig Feuerbach, translated by Alexander Loos:

Ludwig Feuerbach's The Essence of Religion trans. Alexander Loos

 

This edition of Feuerbach’s The Essence of Religion is abridged by translator Alexander Loos: three only out of the thirty lectures appear under this cover. This text is the earlier, denser, and more “philosophical” exposition of views that are enlarged upon in the later Lectures on the Essence of Religion. The abridgement is not divided into three lectures according to its source, but simply presented as a continuous text of fifty-five numbered sections.

In contrast to the author’s earlier books on Christianity, this one takes a wider, more comparative approach, and consequently offers two complementary theories regarding the nature of religious thought, which is nevertheless always a confusion of subjective and objective phenomena. The Christian type takes the subjective human ideal as an objective cosmic force, while its earlier and less “sophisticated” complement, as is found in ancient Greek pagan cults, attires the objective powers of nature with the human sort of subjectivity.

As always, Feuerbach demonstrates the sane approach to the simple fact that There is no god but man. He writes of the “spiritual” sort of religion championed by Christians: “As the life to come is nothing but the continuation of this life uninterrupted by death, so the divine being is nothing but the continuation of the human being uninterrupted by Nature in general—the uninterrupted, unlimited nature of man” (63, ital. in original). He also exhibits his rancor and contempt for the theological enterprise. He he shows theology straining at gnats while swallowing camels, when it tries to remove the supernatural element from sacramental rites, while retaining the supernatural in stories of cosmic origin. “But it is in the world of theology just as in the political world; the small thieves are hanged, the great ones are suffered to escape” (58). [via]

 

 

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.