Greater Feast of Alphonse Louis Constant (also known as Éliphas Lévi), died May 31, 1875 at Paris, France
Reader’s Theatre with Hermetic Library for May 2016 is unrehearsed, un-staged participatory readings from literature, plays, poetry, and more. Readers for May are Olivia Bishop, Jonah Locksley, William Thirteen, and John Griogair Bell.
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together …
A volvelle, with tattwa tides and astrological aspects, made by a Whare Ra temple member [via]
- “Shroud of Turin: Could Ancient Earthquake Explain Face of Jesus?” — Megan Gannon, livescience; from the but-was-it-nocturnal dept.
“Now, a study claims neutron emissions from an ancient earthquake that rocked Jerusalem could have created the iconic image, as well as messed up the radiocarbon levels that later suggested the shroud was a medieval forgery. But other scientists say this newly proposed premise leaves some major questions unanswered.”
- shota-purinsu, a Tumblr comment; from the you’re-my-medicine-open-up-and-let-me-in dept.
“Jesus also affirms the homosexual relationship between the Roman Centurion and his ‘slave’. The particular Greek word used to refer to this special slave was ‘pais’. Greek language studies and contexts show that a ‘pais’ was a male love slave. Regular slaves were called ‘dolos’. The Centurion makes this distinction clearly when he asks Jesus to heal his slave (pais), and then to prove his status he tells Jesus that his slaves (dolos) go when he tells them to. But this slave (pais) was special. He was the Centurion’s lover.
Hearing this, Jesus was so amazed he says he had not found ANYONE ELSE who had such great faith. He then blesses the Centurion and heals his male lover.”
- Bosch’s “600-years-old butt song” — Amelia, chaoscontrolled123 [HT The Appendix]; from the then-a-band-of-demons-joined-in dept.
“Luke and I were looking at Hieronymus Bosch’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights and discovered, much to our amusement, music written upon the posterior of one of the many tortured denizens … I decided to transcribe it”
- Neoliberalism’s War Against the Radical Imagination — Henry Giroux, Tikkun; from the perhaps-a-lunatic-was-simply-a-minority-of-one dept.
“Democracy loses its character as a disruptive element, a force of dissent, an insurrectional call for responsible change, and degenerates into an assault on the radical imagination, reconfigures itself as a force for bleaching all ethical and moral considerations, and thrives in a state of exception, which in reality is a state of permanent war.”
- “OC’s Favorite Occultist Musician Writes a Song About Gun Violence. Strange? Yes.” — Joel Beers, OC Weekly, with Lon Milo DuQuette; from the it’s-all-I-think-about-dolls-and-guns dept.
“He says that those people who passionately believe that a disarmed populace under tyrannical rule is a problem have a well-taken point. But that notion, ‘still comes from a consciousness platform of fear,’ he says. ‘And if that is the focus of your life, you’re missing out on a great deal. It’s not that there’s nothing to be afraid of, but if that’s going to be the primary focus of your life, you’ve already surrendered. And if fear is the reason you want to arm yourself, you’re probably the last person who needs to be armed for all of our safety.'”
- “No One Cares About Your Damn Religion” — Larry Womack, Huffington Post’s The Blog; from the when-I-use-a-word-it-means-just-what-I-choose-it-to-mean dept.
“Was the Christian God cool with slavery? Slave owners sure thought so — and had plenty of Biblical canon to support it. Abolitionists disagreed. Did God want women to vote? Not according to anti-suffragists. Suffragists were convinced otherwise. If society continues this descent into level-headed compassion, fifty years from now people will be claiming that God is pro-fur and factory farming. When one cannot defend a belief in the current context, moving the framework back a few thousand years and putting the blame on God is a pretty good fallback strategy.
I know, I know. There’s only one God and he is not at all ambiguous: he agrees with you. It’s all right there in the Bible or whatever holy book you believe in, as you have decided to interpret it. It’s perfectly clear, right?”
- “Camels Had No Business in Genesis” — John Noble Wilford, The New York Times; from the heffalumps-and-woozles dept.
“The archaeologists, Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen, used radiocarbon dating to pinpoint the earliest known domesticated camels in Israel to the last third of the 10th century B.C. — centuries after the patriarchs lived and decades after the kingdom of David, according to the Bible. Some bones in deeper sediments, they said, probably belonged to wild camels that people hunted for their meat. Dr. Sapir-Hen could identify a domesticated animal by signs in leg bones that it had carried heavy loads.”
- “Beyond Naturalism: On Ronald Dworkin” — Michael Rosen, The Nation; from the trouble-in-the-forest dept.
“In short, while materialism encourages that characteristically modern form of political collectivism in which sacrifices that bring about the greater good are taken to be morally imperative, at the same time it leads to a world of individuals who have a sense of their own absolute uniqueness and importance—if only to themselves. The attempt to find a standpoint that can integrate this radical individualism with the claims of the common good is the great underlying ethical and political problem of modern life. It also gives a framing perspective to Ronald Dworkin’s marvelous little book, Religion without God, and helps explain how a brilliant young lawyer like Dworkin should have ended up pondering issues of theology.”
- “The Conservative Crusade For Christian Sharia Law” — Dean Obeidallah, The Daily Beast; from the it’s-only-hypocrisy-when-someone-else-does-it dept.
“And in the past few years, we have seen pro-life Christian groups successfully lobby State legislatures to restrict access to abortions. They have also raised religious, not public policy, objections to the government funding birth control.
But here’s the alarming thing: These views are no longer the fringe of American politics. They are increasingly becoming mainstream conservative fare.”
- “Bible Passages that Could Get You Killed” — Candida Moss, The Daily Beast; from the stunt-driver-closed-track dept.
“Where Coots is different is that he was just following the Bible as he interpreted it. Coots was just reading the Bible literally. It’s something that many Americans do on a daily basis. But God’s Holy Word is more dangerous than you’d think.”
- Flea, via tweet.
“I like myths. I put a lot of credence in them.”
- Disputed quotes attributed to Albert Einstein, Wikipedia [HT The Kill Van Kulls].
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be very intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
- “Bruise, Trash, Write” — Lilith Saintcrow.
“I am not so sure. But I know I won. Every word I wrote is burned into me, flesh and blood and breath. By throwing them away, I made them even more mine, something nobody could take away even if they killed me, secrets hidden inside me, in the only places I had left.
Now I write other stories. Between the bars, I catch glimpses of those things. Exorcism is an ongoing process.”
- Giordano Bruno quoted in “Giordano Bruno: Divinity Reveals Herself in all Things” — Donald Donato, In puris naturalibus.
“Divinity reveals herself in all things. Everything has Divinity latent within itself. For she enfolds and imparts herself even unto the smallest beings, and from the smallest beings, according to their capacity. Without her presence nothing would have being, because she is the essence of the existence of the first unto the last being.”
- “After 400 Years, Mathematicians Find A New Class Of Shapes” — Higher Perspective [HT Reality Sandwich].
“The work of the Greek polymath Plato has kept millions of people busy for millennia. A few among them have been mathematicians who have obsessed about Platonic solids, a class of geometric forms that are highly regular and are commonly found in nature.
Since Plato’s work, two other classes of equilateral convex polyhedra, as the collective of these shapes are called, have been found: Archimedean solids (including truncated icosahedron) and Kepler solids (including rhombic polyhedra). Nearly 400 years after the last class was described, researchers claim that they may have now invented a new, fourth class, which they call Goldberg polyhedra. Also, they believe that their rules show that an infinite number of such classes could exist.”
- “Wikipedia-size maths proof too big for humans to check” — Jacob Aron, New Scientist; from the now-i-am-the-master dept.
“If no human can check a proof of a theorem, does it really count as mathematics? That’s the intriguing question raised by the latest computer-assisted proof. It is as large as the entire content of Wikipedia, making it unlikely that will ever be checked by a human being.
‘It might be that somehow we have hit statements which are essentially non-human mathematics,’ says Alexei Lisitsa of the University of Liverpool, UK, who came up with the proof together with colleague Boris Konev.”
- “Math Explains Likely Long Shots, Miracles and Winning the Lottery” — David J Hand, Scientific American; from the a-glitch-in-the-matrix dept.
“A set of mathematical laws that I call the Improbability Principle tells us that we should not be surprised by coincidences. In fact, we should expect coincidences to happen. One of the key strands of the principle is the law of truly large numbers. This law says that given enough opportunities, we should expect a specified event to happen, no matter how unlikely it may be at each opportunity. Sometimes, though, when there are really many opportunities, it can look as if there are only relatively few. This misperception leads us to grossly underestimate the probability of an event: we think something is incredibly unlikely, when it’s actually very likely, perhaps almost certain.”
- “Vitruvian Man Had a Hernia” — Laura Crothers, Slate; from the not-so-perfect-after-all-eh-mister-man dept.
“Throughout history, anatomical illustrations have been made using the recently deceased as models, and many of Leonardo’s sketches were no exception. Ashrafian says that the man who served as Leonardo’s model for his illustration of human perfection probably had a hernia. If the model was a corpse, the hernia may have been what killed him. If he was a live model, he may ultimately have died from its complications.”
- Mold destroys 600,000 library books — Ellie Papadakis, The Maneater; from the tolle-lege dept.
“The MU Libraries have more than 3 million books in their collections, and they ran out of space to store those books years ago.
Recently it was discovered that 600,000 books, approximately 20 percent of MU’s entire collection, were covered in mold. The damaged books were being stored in an underground cavern north of Interstate 70. The cavern, Sub Terra, is run by an independent company.
The books in storage were lesser-used books that the libraries did not have room for in their open stacks. Some of the stored texts were published prior to the Civil War.
Library administrators will not be able to save all 600,000 texts because there is not enough money in library funds to do so.”
- “Canadian libricide” — Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing; from the where-is-your-science-now dept.
“Back in 2012, when Canada’s Harper government announced that it would close down national archive sites around the country, they promised that anything that was discarded or sold would be digitized first. But only an insignificant fraction of the archives got scanned, and much of it was simply sent to landfill or burned.”
- John Griogair Bell, Hermetic Library, via tweet.
“We should always fear the fate of our libraries, historically proven and currently demonstrated”
- The Report — Hugh Howey, Author Earnings.
“It’s no great secret that the world of publishing is changing. What is a secret is how much.”
- “The Secret History of the Venus of Willendorf” — Alexander Binsteiner, Past Horizons.
“Microscopic investigations on the world famous statuette from the Gravettian period (30,000 to 22,000 years ago) carried out at the Natural History Museum in Vienna revealed three incredible insights, and when taken together tell a secret story of this Palaeolithic figurine and her creators.
· The limestone from which the 11cm high Venus had been carved, comes almost certainly from the region around the Moravian city of Brno 136km to the northeast of Willendorf.
· The source of the flint blades discovered with the figure was North Moravia, a further 150km to the north.
· The Venus had once been completely painted with red ochre, and given the ritualistic associations of this material meant that the figure was more than likely a cultic object.”
- “Feeding Spirits and Bones” — Sarah Anne Lawless.
“Old Man and Old Woman settled their ancient bones back into the remnants of creatures native to their wild domain, no doubt having missed their shrine and the once regular offerings to be found there. The Moon’s candle was restored to its place above breasts and belly carved from stone, surrounded by offerings. She eats beeswax greedily like blood offerings, leaving nothing behind. A candle lit to welcome the spirits back with sweetest incense burned and fresh water poured to sate their hunger. The spirits sigh happily, the new house sighs like a person with a once empty belly filled. Even breathing feels easier now with the altar and all its spirits in their proper place of reverence.”
- Poem by Sulpicia quoted in “Valentine’s Day: Ancient Festival Of Sexual Frenzy” — Donna Henes, Huffington Post’s The Blog.
“At last love has come. I would be more ashamed
to hide it in cloth than leave it naked.
I prayed to the Muse and won. Venus dropped him
in my arms, doing for me what she
had promised. Let my joy be told, let those
who have none tell it in a story.
Personally, I would never send off words
in sealed tablets for none to read.
I delight in sinning and hate to compose a mask
for gossip. We met. We are both worthy.”
- T Thorn Coyle, via tweet.
“Happy Lupercalia! Blessed Full Moon! (If you see half naked boys running w goatskin whips, you may wish to stay out of their way. Or not.)”
- Eliphas Levi quoted by T Thorn Coyle, via tweet.
“It is necessary to DARE what must be attempted.”
- “Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People: Narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic, and sadistic.” — Chris Mooney, Slate.
“The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).
It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior. What’s more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the Internet.”
- Colleen Fenley, via facebook comment.
“disagree, awful poster… delete”
- John Griogair Bell, via tweet.
“If you’re going to cover your eyes and plug your ears, at least have the courtesy and self-awareness to also shut your mouth.”
- “Chèvres en équilibre” [HT Bryan Fuller]; from the let-the-goat-come-to-you dept.
Weiser Antiquarian Books Catalogue #116 Israel Regardie and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Used and Rare Books
“The majority of the books are from the library of a well-known English book-collector who is downsizing due to chronic lack of shelf (and floor) space. The collection includes most of the standard studies of the Golden Dawn, historical, theoretical and practical, by a variety of well known authors including R. A. Gilbert, Ellic Howe, R. A. Torrens, Chic & Tabatha Cicero, Darcy Kuntz, Pat Zalewski, and others, as well as various works by members of the original Order. Aside from mostly being in pristine condition, the books are distinguished by the fact that many are signed or inscribed by their authors or editors.
The catalogues also include a good selection of works by Israel Regardie, whose experience with the Stella Matutina led to the publication of his landmark compilation, The Golden Dawn, An Account of the Teachings, Rites, and Ceremonies of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, (4 Volumes — 1937–1940), since republished in a variety of different forms and formats. The current catalogue includes a number of books that are signed or inscribed by Israel Regardie including an extraordinary association set of the First Edition of The Golden Dawn, with each volume personally inscribed by Regardie to author and psychical researcher Hereward Carrington and including an additional handwritten note by Regardie. Other Regardie rarities include a copy of his The Enochian Dictionary (Circa 1971?) — which is without doubt one of the earliest of the modern Enochian research publications — and the seldom-seen first edition of The Art of True Healing. A Treatise on the Mechanism Prayer, and the Operation of the Law of Attraction in Nature (1937). As is well known Regardie for some time practised as a chiropractor and psychologist (P. R. Stephensen once unkindly termed him a “quack psychiatrist”) and two of the rarer items are pamphlets relating to this aspect of his career: Cry Havoc (1952), a study of the pitfalls of psychology, psychotherapy, and chiropractic; and the (by modern standards) rather chilling Analysis of a Homosexual (1949), a work in which Regardie recounts the case history of a patient whom he claims to have successfully “cured” of homosexuality.
The catalogue opens with a work called Springtime Two (1958). This anthology of poetry and prose by important avant-garde authors of the time is listed here as it includes the first publication of extracts from Ithell Colquhoun’s then-unpublished occult novel Goose of Hermogenes, her original poems: “Elegy on the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn”, “Epithalamium”, and “Little Poems from Cyprus”, as well as some translations from French. We were able to secure a few copies of the book that had been in storage for a number of years, but these will almost certainly not last long. As always there are also a number of rarities scattered throughout the catalogue which include: an Edition de Luxe of L. A. Bosman’s, The Mysteries Of The Qabalah (1913?), inscribed by Alvin Langdon Coburn, a first printing of the W. Wynn Westcott edition of Eliphas Levi’s The Magical Ritual of the Sanctum Regnum interpreted by the Tarot Trumps (1896), and a number of issues of A. Greville-Gascoigne’s The Golden Dawn Magazine (1939-1941), which included contributions by Israel Regardie and others.” [via]
Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Éliphas Lévi and the Kabbalah – The Masonic and French Connection of the American Mystery Tradition by Robert L Uzzel.
Even the clumsy style and sloppy research of this book is overshadowed by the typos, misspellings and bad grammar. The author is a Texas Mason and pious Christian, and I can only hope that this book has been little improved over its original composition as a Ph.D. dissertation—or else Baylor University is dispensing its degrees quite cheaply.
The topic is certainly interesting, and the overall structure of the study is reasonable. Uzzel attempts to trace Levi’s influence on American metaphysical religion (or as he puts it without clarification, “the American Mystery Tradition”), with a biography of Levi, an examination of Levi’s legacy in Europe, a consideration of Levi’s influence on Albert Pike, and an inventory of Levi’s legacy among American sects and initiatory orders.
But, oh! Why an explanatory footnote for the word zeitgeist? Why did Uzzel—who actually bothered to correspond with OTO Treasurer General Bill Heidrick on the topic of Levi’s influence on Aleister Crowley—use Colin Wilson’s Mammoth Book of the Supernatural as his chief reference on Crowley? Isn’t there a better source than Holy Blood, Holy Grail to cite regarding Levi’s relationship to Charles Nodier? I see that Uzzel raised Carl Raschke’s claims about Levi in Painted Black in order to take issue with them, but shouldn’t they be beneath the contempt of actual scholarship?
The meatiest part of the book is the chapter about Albert Pike. But in the final analysis, Uzzel contributes little to an understanding of Levi’s influence on Pike besides a digest of choice selections from Rex Hutchens’ Glossary to Morals and Dogma.
Uzzel’s syntheses and conclusions are less than gripping. He gives Levi credit for the prominence, or perhaps even the presence, of Templarism and Rosicrucianism in Masonic high degrees. (I don’t think the facts are with him, here.) He compares Levi’s aspirations for universal religious synthesis to the project of the World’s Parliament of Religions, but the comparison is vague and unproductive. He also offers some entirely unpersuasive, Newagey reflections on the mystical and holistic implications of quantum physics.
It’s obvious that a lot of labor went into this text, and its positive potentials make it a more frustrating read than it would otherwise be, given its glaring deficiencies. [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.
You may be interested in Weiser Antiquarian Book Catalogue #108: Aleister Crowley, Friends, and Followers.
“The catalogue starts with a work that has provoked considerable discussion even before its public release: Michael Effertz’s thoughtfully argued book Priest/ess: In Advocacy of Queer Gnostic Mass. There follows a section devoted to copies of The Book of the Law including a copy of the seldom-seen O.T.O. leather-bound Centennial Edition, limited to 418 numbered copies, signed by Hymenaeus Beta and the 1956 reissue of The Equinox of the Gods with the rare separate folder containing a facsimile of the original manuscript of “The Book of the Law.” Rare materials by Crowley in the following section include several letters from him to his collaborator on the Thoth tarot deck Frieda Harris, a superb first edition of The Book of Lies, a rare greeting-card type edition of The Hymn to Pan, and the original typescript of The Yi King: An Interpretation, a work which would later be published by Helen Parsons Smith as the Shi Yi.
Some of the most exciting items are found in the next section “Works by Friends and Followers of Aleister Crowley.” This includes Kenneth Grant’s copy of the Hatha-Yoga Pradipika of Svatmarama Svamin with Grant’s elaborate ownership inscription and his personal sigil as well as a list of the various titles to which he lay claim – on the half-title page, along with editions deluxe of Beyond the Mauve Zone and The Magical Revival. There is also a good selection of works by Jack Parsons including his own copy of Robert Graves’ I, Claudius, with Jack Parsons’ ownership initials on the first blank. In addition to an unusual collection of publications by Louis T. Culling there is a nice group by Israel Regardie including a signed edition of The Eye in the Triangle.
The penultimate section “Works Relating to Aleister Crowley and his Magical Orders” includes a number of unusual books, some of which have a most interesting provenance. Thus a copy of L. Ron Hubbard, Final Blackout was a gift to Wilfred T. Smith and his wife, Helen (Helen Parsons Smith), a copy of De Villars’ Comte de Gabalis belonged to Reea Leffingwell (of Agape Lodge), whilst a copy of The Kabbalah; Its Doctrines, Development and Literature has ownership signatures of two California Thelemites, Joseph C. Crombie and Mildred Burlingame. Copies of Arthur Edward Waite’s superb edition of Eliphas Levi’s The History of Magic and William Stirling’s The Canon are both from the collection of Aleister Crowley’s student Arthur Edward Richardson, with his bookplate on the front pastedown, whilst the first edition of Richard Kaczynski’s ground-breaking biography, Perdurabo. The Life of Aleister Crowley, is a presentation copy inscribed to English Crowley scholar Nicholas Bishop-Culpeper. The final section of the catalogue is somewhat more whimsical, featuring books related to music and cinema which make some mention of Aleister Crowley. Not surprisingly many also invoke the names of Jimmy Page and Kenneth Anger.” [via]
You may be interested in Weiser Antiquarian Book Catalogue #107: From Black Magic and Mysticism to Serpent Gods and Voodoo.
“The catalogue starts with signed copies of a recent book that has caused evoked quite some excitement amongst those interested in Hermetica, Occult Traditions by Damon Zacharias Lycourinos. This is followed by the usual eclectic mix of recent arrivals. Amongst the more unsual items are a Charming Eighteenth Century Manuscript Copy of the work of parlour divination that was published under the title Pratique Curieuse, ou les Oracles des Sibylles, sur Chaque Question Proposée in 1694; one of the final nineteenth century revised editions of Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal (but published anonymousyly under the title Dictionnaire des Sciences Occulte (1846/1848 & 1852); an inscribed copy of George Frederick Kunz’s richly illustrated study of the myth and lore of jewels, gems and stones, and their religious, magical and talismanic use: The Magic of Jewels and Charms; a superb copy of Jean Philippe Vogel’s handsome study of the divine or deified serpents (Nagas) whose presence permeates Hindu and Buddhist lore, Indian Serpent-Lore, or the Nagas in Hindu Legend and Art (1926) and a signed first edition of Arthur Edward Waite’s Strange Houses of Sleep, a book on which Arthur Machen collaborated. There is also a good selection of works on magick, including an internally clean – but externally rather rough (and priced accordingly) first edition of Austin Osman Spare’s The Book of Pleasure (Self-Love) The Psychology of Ecstasy, 1913; the second and best edition of Arthur Edward Waite translation of Éliphas Lévi’s The History of Magic. Including a Clear and Precise Exposition of its Procedures, its Rites and its Mysteries, 1922, and his The Mysteries of Magic: A Digest of the Writings of Éliphas Lévi (Second Edition) 1897; signed limited editions of Mark Alan Smith’s Queen of Hell and The Red King; E. A. Koetting’s three volumes: Evoking Eternity, Works of Darkness and Baneful Magick. “Groupings” of books include a collection of the magnificent Watkins edition of works by and about Jacob Boehme, a group of Grimoires and other works published by the “International Guild of Occult Sciences”, and a selection of works on Daoist Magic by Jerry Alan Johnson. Other works of note include Robert Surieu’s superbly illustrated study of the erotic in ancient Persian art Sarv-E Naz: An Essay on Love and the Representation of Erotic Themes in Ancient Iran (1967); the leather-bound Antonine Publishing / Golden Dragon Press edition of Meric Casaubon’s A True and Faithful Relation of What Passed for Many Years Between Dr. John Dee …. and Some Spirits …. (1974) and a rare 1967 limited edition printing of S. L. MacGregor Mathers’ The Secret Workings of the Golden Dawn Book “T”, the Tarot; to name but a few. ” [via]
“Plans were quickly hatched for a swell pair of custom cowboy boots. He did tracings of my feet, took many measurements, and went into his chopper-filled workshop to work his black magic.
Wanting something unique that would truly showcase Pascal’s talents, I asked for a design featuring Baphomet, the goat-headed deity supposedly worshipped by the Knights Templar. I dug around until I found a nice copy of the famous engraving of Baphomet created by Eliphas Levi, and we were off.” [via]