Tag Archives: culture

Omnium Gatherum: August 14, 2013

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together …

Alton Brown FC The Brewers - Be Afraid...
“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.”

Brian Butler conjures the demon Bartzabel

Brian Butler conjures the demon Bartzabel” is an article that further discusses from the viewpoint of someone in attendance interviewing Brian Bulter about his recent public Bartzabel working at L & M Arts in Los Angeles.


Bartzabel Working by Brian Butler from Brian Butler on Vimeo.

 

“The auteur of this scene is Los Angeles-based artist Brian Butler, an icon in an occult subculture that has blossomed over the last decade. A would be polymath—artist, filmmaker, musician, and writer—Butler’s persona has been constructed around an overt dedication to the black arts, and a willingness to make public the rituals and tenets of a faith that have traditionally been kept secret by others. That, along with his ties to people with infamous reputations, most notably Kenneth Anger, have made him equally lauded and reviled.

The scene in question—Butler’s latest and most grandiose display—was a public performance of Aleister Crowley’s The Bartzabel Working. Based on techniques of evocation found in medieval grimoires, the ritual was written in 1910 and designed to manifest Bartzabel, a traditional spirit of Mars in Western occultism, through a hooded person placed in a magical triangle. The crowd, which packed the gallery’s courtyard, was the largest ever assembled to witness a Crowleyan rite.” [via]

 

Are there precedents for what you are doing, or do you believe it to be unique? What do you think the connection with ritual portends for the future of art and performance?

In the context of the art world, this connection is a new one—it hasn’t really been explored. Certainly there have always been artists interested in the occult, and who allowed that to inspire their work—it even became a kind of subgenre in early Modernism, but it was often hidden under the formal content of the work, as in the case of Piet Mondrian, for instance. But the overt connection, with the performance of ritual magick as art, is something new. I think it is a step towards a more intimate relationship between artist and audience—I am reminded of something that Marina Abramovic elucidated to me about the occult in the context of performance, that the future will be one of a non-objective world without art in the sense that we have it now. She foresees us attaining a mental state and level of consciousness enabling us to transmit thoughts to other people. “There will not be sculptures, or paintings, or installations,” she once said, “there will just be the artist standing in front of a public, which is developed enough to receive a message or energy.” I think the fusion of art and ritual is a step toward that kind of connectivity and that kind of intimacy.” [via]

Arkadian Anvil: Hammering out a Pagan Future

You may be interested in Hermetic Library fellow, and founder of Concrescent Press, Sam Webster‘s new blog Arkadian Anvil: Hammering out a Pagan Future.

“I have started a new blog called ‘Arkadian Anvil’ to discuss where I think Pagan religion and culture is going. I will be looking at key Pagan ideas and concepts and putting them to trial. As you know I have a unique position, being seminary trained and working on a doctorate in history, never mind thirty years of experience in the community. My inaugural post, after introducing myself, is on the term ‘Pagan’ itself.” [via]

Hello Crowley

Hello Crowley
Hello Crowley, originally uploaded by Kyla Dawn Clay.

 

The Hermetic Library visual pool is a visual scavenger hunt for images of a living Western Esoteric Tradition.

Images of your ritual or ritual space, images of sigils or tools, showing off your own library or special volume from the restricted stacks, sacred spaces and places, esoteric artefacts and installations, inspired paintings and people — these and much more are part of the culture and practice of magick.

Recent Chicago Reader post links to Hakim Bey’s TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism

Recent Chicago Reader post at “A conversation with seapunks” links to Hakim Bey‘s TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism while discussing a new microgenre of music and culture, and poses an abrupt critique of the typical implementation of and culture around temporary autonomous zones.

“I find the sort of spontaneous community building that seapunk embodies not only fascinating but also genuinely inspiring. (It’s like seeing Hakim Bey’s Temporary Autonomous Zone come to life, except without a bunch of tedious, quasi-intellectual Burning Man stereotypes involved.) I also have a predisposition toward ravey shit and I’m a professional Internet junkie, so there’s that too.” [via]

krampus postcard

krampus postcard2011sm
krampus postcard, originally uploaded by missmonstermel.

 

“Finished the Krampus image for this year! This is being made into the yearly postcard… will be for sale in November!”

 

The Hermetic Library visual pool is a visual scavenger hunt for images of a living Western Esoteric Tradition.

Images of your ritual or ritual space, images of sigils or tools, showing off your own library or special volume from the restricted stacks, sacred spaces and places, esoteric artefacts and installations, inspired paintings and people – these and much more are part of the culture and practice of magick.

Miami Hanging Tree Vine Altar

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“This Tree Altar was made in honor of the ephemeral nature of the November Full Frost Moon. We chose a native ficus tree adorned with a carpet of golden pothos vines that also hang from the branches to celebrate the delicate balance between the Heavens and Earth. A bouquet of vines hangs in the center of a circle made of upright conch shells allowing the Earths spirit to funnel energy towards the sky. A cauldron found at sea burns brightly with white dessert sage, cypress, palo santo, and mugwort. A second circle made of carrot + beet pulp is left behind as an offering to the forest creatures. The key deer skull decorated with black plastic roses as well as real flowers serves as a reminder of the ephemeral nature of our cosmology despite the artifacts we create to immortalize our souls.”

 

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“Tree altars may be constructed at any time or in any place. The intention is to pay homage utilizing the tree as a vehicle to the spirit world. Tree altars appear recurrently through-out history. An obvious example is found in the decoration of the Christmas tree, which originated in Livonia in the 16th century. The tree as a vehicle to the spirit world can be seen in Shamanic mythologies in the World Tree; The World Tree having roots in the underworld and branches that reach to the heavens.

The selection and decoration of the tree is purely intuitive, and varies based on the individual’s intention. The Church of Anthrax would very much like to encourage others to build their own tree altar. The tree altars may be constructed on any tree, whether it is in your favorite park, in your backyard or even on the side of the road. The symbols utilized vary depending on the altar and it’s creator. Incorporating objects and symbols which are sacred to the individual.

This may be performed on one’s own. However, I have found that the building of an outdoor altar in a group of close friends to be preferable. The experience of honoring and decorating the tree is a ritual which is enhanced when shared with persons with whom you share a spiritual connection.”

 

This is a new altar independently created in response to a project started by Jacqueline Elaine Gomez under the auspices of Church of Anthrax to encourage others to create their own tree altars.

You can check out her own personal Tree Altars photo set, and from there contact her directly if you want to find out more. Of course, you could just go ahead and make one either way. But, consider sharing some images of your altars with her project, and also with the Hermetic Library visual pool.

“The Church of Anthrax (or COA) is both a collective and an individual. Self and other reflecting ad infintum. COA is a religion as art performance collective founded by Jacqueline Elaine Gomez.” [via]

 

The Hermetic Library visual pool is a visual scavenger hunt for images of a living Western Esoteric Tradition.

Images of your ritual or ritual space, images of sigils or tools, showing off your own library or special volume from the restricted stacks, sacred spaces and places, esoteric artefacts and installations, inspired paintings and people – these and much more are part of the culture and practice of magick.

An Open Letter to the Occupy Movement from the Alliance of Community Trainers

You may be interested in this open letter to the Occupy Movement from the Alliance of Community Trainers, which includes Starhawk. I think everyone is getting in on the action by trying to tell the Occupy Movement what it should or shouldn’t do, which I think when done well is part of the overall culture trying to critically analyse this new and energetic movement.

“The Occupy movement has had enormous successes in the short time since September when activists took over a square near Wall Street. It has attracted hundreds of thousands of active participants, spawned occupations in cities and towns all over North America, changed the national dialogue and garnered enormous public support. It’s even, on occasion, gotten good press!

Now we are wrestling with the question that arises again and again in movements for social justice—how to struggle. Do we embrace nonviolence, or a ‘diversity of tactics?’ If we are a nonviolent movement, how do we define nonviolence? Is breaking a window violent?

We write as a trainers’ collective with decades of experience, from the anti-Vietnam protests of the sixties through the strictly nonviolent antinuclear blockades of the seventies, in feminist, environmental and anti-intervention movements and the global justice mobilizations of the late ’90s and early ’00s. We embrace many labels, including feminist, anti-racist, eco-feminist and anarchist. We have many times stood shoulder to shoulder with black blocs in the face of the riot cops, and we’ve been tear-gassed, stun-gunned, pepper sprayed, clubbed, and arrested,

While we’ve participated in many actions organized with a diversity of tactics, we do not believe that framework is workable for the Occupy Movement. Setting aside questions of morality or definitions of ‘violence’ and ‘nonviolence’ – for no two people define ‘violence’ in the same way – we ask the question:

What framework can we organize in that will build on our strengths, allow us to grow, embrace a wide diversity of participants, and make a powerful impact on the world?” [via]

You may want to read the whole letter at An Open Letter to the Occupy Movement: Why We Need Agreements [also].

I’ve posted here about some of the connections between the Occupy Movement and materials at the Hermetic Library, and also a little bit about the way that the Occupy Movement touches on ideas of sacred space. That open letter is from a collective which includes one of the well-known founders of the Reclaiming Tradition, which tradition is quite explicit about being engaged in the real world struggle for justice:

“Our tradition honors the wild, and calls for service to the earth and the community. We value peace and practice non-violence, in keeping with the Rede, ‘Harm none, and do what you will.’ We work for all forms of justice: environmental, social, political, racial, gender and economic. Our feminism includes a radical analysis of power, seeing all systems of oppression as interrelated, rooted in structures of domination and control.” [via]

There’s going to be a lot of thought and work done to figure out what both the success and the struggles of the Occupy Movement mean; and, for those who support it, how to keep it alive; and, for those against it, how to confront it. There will also be a lot of thought and work on what the Occupy Movement is and isn’t. Hopefully, the Occupy Movement is agile and adaptable enough to survive, and maybe help from the experience and skill of a much larger community of those who have been seeking justice can increase that movement’s chances to survive and continue to grow.

Condolences and solidarity on the passing of Michael Hart

I wanted to take a moment to express my personal condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of Michael Hart, the founder of Project Gutenberg. Additionally, I wanted to express continued solidarity with the vision and mission of Project Gutenberg to increase literacy, preserve works, and support the expansion of the rights and resources in the public domain. I feel that Michael Hart was a true hero not just of Internet or digital culture but of wider culture itself. He was a man of service toward the greater good, and that is something that we should all take a moment to celebrate as well as continue to remember and emulate in the future.

May he be granted the accomplishment of his true Will.

You can read more about Michael Hart, and his recent passing, in many places, but here’s a few: RIP, Project Gutenberg founder Michael Hart, E-book pioneer Michael Hart dies, and Michael S. Hart via Project Gutenberg.

You may wish to remember and honor Michael S. Hart’s life by making a contribution to Project Gutenberg.