Tag Archives: esotericism

Voudon Gnosis

Voudon Gnosis by David Beth, with an introduction by Michael Bertiaux, the 2010, revised and enlarged, standard edition hardcover from Fulgur Limited, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

David Beth Michael Bertiaux Voudon Gnosis from Fulgur Limited

“There exists a tradition of Gnosis and Sorcery which is unique in contemporary Esotericism. Unfolding from within an exotic lineage of initiatic Haitian Voudon, empowered and enriched by a variety of occult and Gnostic systems, the ever evolving world of Esoteric Voudon, or Voudon Gnosis, has intrigued and unsettled magical practitioners, scholars and artists for decades.

This book is the first comprehensive treatise of the fascinating spiritist realms which constitute the highly practical system of Voudon Gnostisicism. From sexual magic to fetich sorcery, from the qliphotic realms on the Tree of Death, to Esoteric Love and Time-Travelling. David Beth leads us towards making contact with the darkest levels and most ancient forms of consciousness and power.”

 

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.

The Occult Humanities Conference at NYU on Oct 18-20, 2013

The Occult Humanities Conference: Contemporary Art and Scholarship on the Esoteric Traditions will take place at NYU on Oct 18-20, 2013 in New York. The conference was announced today and looks to be quite worth checking out, especially since information about the schedule, participants and exhibition have already been posted. The event is being hosted by Phantasmaphile, the Observatory, and NYU Steinhardt Department of Art and Art Professions.

The Occult Humanities Conference 2013

 

Pam Grossman announced this on her Phantasmaphile blog today.

I am thrilled to announce The Occult Humanities Conference, taking place on October 18th-20th at NYU, and co-organized by myself and Jesse Bransford. The weekend will feature lectures, an art exhibition, and entertainment, all of which explore occult subject matter.

Speakers include Susan Aberth, Robert Ansell, Elijah Burgher, Laurent Ferri, Mitch Horowitz, Amy Hale, William Kiesel, Gary Lachman, Mark Pilkington, Shannon Taggart, Jesse, and myself.

The accompanying exhibition, Verbal, Somatic and Material, will contain artwork and esoteric books by Jesse Bransford, Elijah Burgher, David Chaim Smith, Fulgur Esoterica, Ouroboros Press, and Shannon Taggart.

Entertainment will be provided by The Parlour Trick and Acep Hale.

And there will be books vended by Catland, Fulgur Esoterica, and Ouroboros Press.” [via]

 

“The Occult Humanities Conference
October 18-20, 2013
Hosted by Phantasmaphile, Observatory and the NYU Steinhardt Department of Art and Art Professions

NYU Steinhardt
34 Stuyvesant St., New York, NY

The Occult Humanities Conference is a weekend conference to be held in New York City on October 18-20th, 2013. The conference will present a wide array of voices active in the cultural landscape who are specifically addressing the occult tradition through research, scholarship and artistic practice.

The arts and humanities at present are acutely interested in subjects related to the occult tradition. The tradition represents a rich and varied visual culture that displays a complex set of relations at once culturally specific and global in their transmission. Roughly defined, the occult tradition represents a series of culturally syncretic belief systems with related and overlapping visual histories. Though there are as many ways into this material as there are cultural — and personal — perspectives, universal occult concerns often include a belief in some sort of magic; a longing to connect with an immaterial or trans-personal realm; and a striving for inner-knowledge, refinement of the self, and transformation of one’s consciousness — if not one’s physical circumstances.

Intensely marginalized throughout most historical periods, these traditions persist and represent an ‘underground’ perspective that periodically exerts a strong influence on structures of dissent, utopianism and social change. Though history is marked with several so-called ‘Occult Revivals,’ the contemporary digital age is a perfect confluence of several factors which make this moment prime for a reexamination of all of the esoteric traditions. While the information age has allowed for easier access to previously obscure writings, imagery, and social contexts, it alternately elicits a deep desire for sensorial experiences and meaning-making once one steps away from the screen.

The presenters at the OHC represent a rich and expanding community of international artists and academics from multiple disciplines across the humanities who share an exuberance and excitement for how the occult traditions interface with their fields of study as well as the culture at large. The small scale of this conference (approximately 100 attendees) will give ticket holders an intimate look at the presenters and their views.

The visually-oriented presentations will be coupled with an exhibition of artworks by several presenters and artisanal books from Fulgur Esoterica and Ouroboros Press.” [via]

Living Thelema

Living Thelema by David Shoemaker is unexpectedly available already in softcover ahead of the planned Aug 25th, 2013 release date.

David Shoemaker's Living Thelema

Living Thelema: A Practical Guide to Attainment in Aleister Crowley’s System of Magick by Dr David Shoemaker, of the Living Thelema podcast, the International College of Thelema, and a Hermetic Library anthology artist, is due for release in September as hardcover or special edition with leather binding by Ars Obscura, and in August in a variety of formats, is available for pre-order.

“The system of spiritual attainment developed by Aleister Crowley is notoriously challenging in its scope. Adapted from the popular podcast segment of the same name, Living Thelema brings a welcome approachability to Crowley’s material, without diminishing the depth of the system. The author focuses on the practical and experiential aspects of the path of Thelema, allowing the reader to grasp the true transformative power of the system.

Beginners and advanced practitioners alike will find much useful advice here, as Shoemaker brings his characteristic down-to-earth style to bear on topics such as ritual and meditation practices, sex magick, astral projection, psychotherapy for magicians, the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, and that pinnacle of attainment known as the crossing of the Abyss.

The author’s background as a practicing psychotherapist allows an entirely unique fusion of esoteric wisdom and cognitive science. Living Thelema is an invaluable handbook for any modern magician.”

“TABLE OF CONTENTS

Part One: Tools for the Journey

An Introduction to the Qabalah
The Holy Guardian Angel
The True Will
Getting Started with a Basic Magical Regimen
The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
The Lesser & Greater Rituals of the Hexagram
Liber Resh vel Helios
Methods of Ritual Construction
Asana & Pranayama
Meditation & Visualization Practices
Astral Projection & Control of the Body of Light
Devotional Practices
Liber Samekh & the Invocation of the Holy Guardian Angel
Sexual Magick & Sexual Mysticism

Part Two: Perspectives on the Path of Attainment

The Methods & Tools of A∴A∴
Tarot & the Path of Initiation
Initiation & Tetragrammaton
The Chakras
The Role of the Ego in the Great Work
The Formulas of LVX and NOX
The Right Use of Magical Power
21st Century Alchemy
The Practical Use of Alchemical Symbolism

Part Three: Life Outside the Temple

Patterns & Cycles in Magical Practice
Dreamwork
Relationships
Qabalistic Coping Techniques
Psychotherapy
The Anima & Animus
Cognitive Therapy for Magicians”

Kenneth Anger’s Occultism

Kenneth Anger’s Occultism with Judith Noble is an event at Treadwell’s in London, that may be of interest, on Jul 24, 2013 at 7 pm.

“Kenneth Anger is a legend of avant-garde film and a key figure in the counterculture and the late 1960s occult revival. Tonight, a leading expert on esotericism and film considers the way in which Anger created and deployed a unique cinematic occult system in his films, which function as magical rituals for their audiences as well as for their maker. Anger’s magical system, iconography and filmmaking methods are unpacked with clarity of depth and understanding. Judith Noble has a lifelong career in film and media, and decades of study of western esoteric ideas. She now lectures at the Arts University, Bournemouth.”

A Report on Current Magical and Esoteric Blogs

“A Report on Current Magical and Esoteric Blogs” by Laura Mitchell in the Spring 2013 issue of the Societas Magica Newsletter (PDF Link) includes mention of the Hermetic Library Blog. [HT Sarah Veale]

Societas Magica Newsletter for Spring 2013 (PDF)

I won’t lie: I’m in pretty good company on this short list.

When Mitchell writes that the library blog “is a combination of the more academic-minded and the experiences and thoughts of those engaged in esotericism as a living tradition,” I feel gratified that I’ve apparently been successful in trying to do my little part to bridge some of the traditional divides between town-gown and praxis-theory, and certainly I agree that my musings on the blog are not particularly academic, though I sometimes I do try a bit harder than others, that isn’t my goal necessarily for the blog itself, per se, as much as adding value to the canonical library site as well as having a place for some personal reflective practice, content curation and promotion, and, well … whatever else it is I do!

I’m grouped under the heading of “Hermeticism” along with the blog of the Ritman Library in Amsterdam. One might quibble about the variety of what people mean by “Hermeticism” as opposed to my intentional, personal use of “Hermetism” to generally differentiate between a former modern and a latter historical, or Latin, traditions; just as I’ve tried to be clear about carving out an even additional space for the use of the word “Hermetic” that is distinct, especially as used in the name, and thus prima facie mission statement, of the Hermetic Library; but, ultimately, using “Hermeticism” as the umbrella is fair, pretty normal usage, and certainly matches one aspect of the scope I cover on the blog and at the library, and either way I’m certainly quite flattered, pleased and proud to be included in the list.

You may want to check out Societas Magica itself as well as the other short list of blogs other than this one which are featured.

Mitchell discusses some of the advantages and benefits of the medium in general in the article:

“For those who are not already engaged with the genre, blogging has several advantages as a mode of exchange for scholars. Most importantly, academic blogging is much faster than traditional scholarly media, not only in terms of publishing speed (virtually instant), but also in terms of enabling quick feedback from the reading public. This can make it a good venue for advancing new theories and ideas as well as posting short pieces of the “notes and queries” type. Part and parcel of their greater speed, academic blogs tend to be informal in style, which makes them quick and easy to write, and can be more inviting for readers too. For me, blog posts have sometimes had unexpected professional benefits of various kinds. As a (fairly new) active participant in the academic blogging community, I have found that writing posts gives me a unique opportunity to test out new ideas or examine a subject that I might otherwise avoid because it falls outside of my area of expertise.”

Egil Asperem notes with amusement that this is a round-up of blogs in a newsletter. But, I have to be honest and say the most amusing part for me is when Mitchell says that my blog is “run by an anonymous practitioner (who refers to him or herself as ‘the librarian’)” … which boggles me a little bit, since I think it’s pretty clear who it is behind the mask, so to speak. But, as I have been identified at various times as anonymous, enigmatic and of indeterminate gender as well as being an egotistical self-promoter (based on the same evidence natheless!), I clearly and definitely now have accumulated the necessary mystique and hidden-in-plain-sight misdirection to carry off a double life as both the mild-mannered alter-ego as well as the caped mastermind known as The Librarian. Well, it’s time for me to be off and start that League of Evil now, I suppose! Work, work, work …

Endless Things

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Endless Things: A Part of AEgypt by John Crowley:

John Crowley's Endless Things

 

Months before Rowling’s fans were able to blog their disappointment or outrage over the terminal Harry Potter book, my Other Reader was expressing her rue and quiet lamentation over Endless Things, the fourth and final volume of John Crowley’s Aegypt. These books have been published over a twenty-year period, and I read the first volume myself in the late 1980s, taking in the second and third each within a year of their issuance. In light of my intelligent wife’s evident dissatisfaction, it was with some trepidation that I finally embarked upon the last of them.

Crowley’s prose is gorgeous as always, and littered with wonderful observations. The scholars of esotericism who have so informed the writing of the three previous books actually begin to intrude as characters in this one; the brief appearances of Frances Yates and Gilles Quispel were special treats for those who are familiar with the academic underpinnings of Aegypt. And protagonist Pierce’s gnostic attainment in the antepenultimate chapter is a very wise and beautiful passage.

But it’s not a happy ending—not as I reckon them anyhow. How can you expect a happy ending from a work with an explicit structure that works its way through the astrological houses from Birth to the Prison? Crowley metafictionally tips his hand in describing a manuscript within the novel that does not provide linear or cyclic resolution, nor even the sense of a completed part of an adumbrated whole: “It was without end but it was finished.” Finishing Aegypt involves a great deal of calculated disenchantment that can feel like betrayal to those of us who have been so under the spell of the earlier volumes. Once or twice too often for my taste, the numinous is reduced to the neurotic.

At a couple of points in Endless Things, Crowley seems to intimate that genuine, world-transforming magic was only possible during the 1970s. Perhaps that was really true for him, although it would be a genuine shame if so. After reading the exercise in disenchantment of Endless Things, on behalf of 21st-century magicians, conventicled and unconventicled, I feel I may—in all readerly friendliness—rebuke him as a splitter. [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.