Tag Archives: Evil

I moved forward and out of my embracing surroundings, taking in a deep breath, knowing I was being admired by both good and evil.

Layden Robinson, Chameleon

Hermetic quote Layden Chameleon admired

There are elements of good and elements of evil in every man, and it depends on ourselves which class we desire to develop. From a cherry stone nothing can grow but a cherry tree, from a thistle seed nothing else than a thistle; but man is a constellation of powers in which all kinds of seeds are contained

Franz Hartmann, With the Adepts

Hermetic quote Hartmann Adepts seeds

I am that very being who shaped my body out of thy good and evil achievements. My spectral form is woven out of thine own life’s record.

Rudolf Steiner, How to Know Higher Worlds

Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales

Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales by Marie-Louise von Franz, a C G Jung Foundation book, a 1995 revised edition paperback from Shambhala Publications, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Marie-Louise von Franz Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales from Shambhala Publications

“Fairy tales seem to be innocent stories, yet they contain profound lessons for those who would dive deep into their waters of meaning. In this book, Marie-Louise von Franz uncovers some of the important lessons concealed in tales from around the world, drawing on the wealth of her knowledge of folklore, her experience as a psychoanalyst and a collaborator with Jung, and her great personal wisdom. Among the many topics discussed in relation to the dark side of life and human psychology, both individual and collective, are:
· How different aspects of the “shadow”—all the affects and attitudes that are unconscious to the ego personality—are personified in the giants and monsters, ghosts, and demons, evil kings and wicked witches of fairy tales
· How problems of the shadow manifest differently in men and women
· What fairy tales say about the kinds of behavior and attitudes that invite evil
· How Jung’s technique of Active imagination can be used to overcome overwhelming negative emotions
· How ghost stories and superstitions reflect the psychology of grieving
· What fairy tales advise us about whether to struggle against evil or turn the other cheek ” — back cover


The Confessions of Aleister Crowley

The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography, edited by John Symonds and Kenneth Grant, the 1971 paperback from Bantam Books, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

John Symonds Kenneth Grant Aleister The Confessions of Aleister Crowley from  Bantam Books

This is the first paperback edition of the single volume redaction of the multivolume The Spirit of Solitude, “re-Antichristianed” The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, which still has not been published beyond the first two volumes, and, in spite of the ad copy, this is, indeed, still an abridgement of the sourcework. Publication of the complete Confessions might, maybe, finally begin with volume 1 available sometime in 2013.

“Complete and Unabridged—The Profane and Uninhibited Memoirs of the Most Notorious Magician, Satanist and Drug Cultist of the 20th Century.”

“Aleister Crowley called himself ‘Beast 666’ and was a self-proclaimed saint of the Gnostic Church. He became a ‘god’ in his own temple at the age of forty-five. By that time, he was infamous in several countries as a writer, poet, painter, chess expert, master magician, mountaineer, drug addict and satyr.

Born in England in 1875, the sone of a wealthy brewer, Crowley totally rejected the Victorian hypocrisy of his day and dedicated himself to a life of debauchery, evil, Satanic spells and writing, especially on such topics as sex, magic and occultism.

A notorious pleasure-seeker, Crowley truly was the hippie of his age, ‘doing his thing.’ He was banned from Italy and was forced to leave other countries, always under mysterious circumstances. Crowley was a constant user of heroin, cocaine, opium, hashish and peyote, and early in his life earned a reputation for indulging in wild sex and drug orgies which he combined with his so-called religious rites.

his reputation followed him everywhere as he traveled from country to country, practicing witchcraft and black magic with his strange group of mistresses and eccentrics.

Colourful, feared, despised and admired, Crowley brought excitement and evil with him wherever he went. He was the author of several books, treatises and poems, many of which are widely read and appreciated today.”

“Aleister Crowley was poet, painter, writer, master chess player, lecher, drug addict and magician. his contemporary press called him ‘the wickedest man in the world.’ The most bizarre and notorious figure of his age, Crowley’s own story is now available in paperback from the first time.

But The Confessions of Aleister Crowley is more than just the autobiography of a man. It is also the portrait of an age. Everything is set down just as Crowley experienced it.

In addition to being a famed magician, Crowley also had a well-deserved reputation as a writer. his flair for literature and his gusto for life elevate this books several levels above the ordinary ‘confession’ type of literature prevalent in his day.

His writing is crisp, witty and amusing and always fascinating. Crowley believed that he could do anything he set his mind to. And he’ll make a believer out of you.”

 

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.

Blues for the Man Devil

 

Blues for the Man Devil
(Redfern)

There is a movie dialog sample from the 1965 film Blood of the Man Devil, with Lon Chaney, Jr. and John Carradine. It’s a strange and kind of slow film, but gives a window into Hollywood (and the mainstream society’s idea of what comprises the “occult.” For these people “The Devil” is the source of all occult power, and “Satanists” basically grovel even harder than Christians.

It’s ironic then that the man pinned as the “arch Satanist” of all time, Aleister Crowley had no belief or even interest in the Christian devil. In his Magick in Theory and Practice he points out the absurdity of the Christian concept of an anti-God. God is complete unity, as the Muslims say there is no God but God. Of course, this concept of an anthropomorphic God with a gender leads one to this kind of thinking, the Christians who wrote Blood of the Man Devil don’t understand that God is a unity, the universal vibration of creation.

Thus you have silly pledges to do evil, pacts with evil that misunderstand that above the abyss God has no concept of good and evil. God in some circumstances can seem demonic or devilish, especially if the lesson that must be learned if very difficult!

Shams93 is the brainchild of composer/performer Brian Redfern. Brian graduated from CalArts in 1998, having studied composition with Nyoman Wenten, Kobla Ladzepko and Wadada Leo Smith. In 2005 Brian switched from guitar to the ancient middle eastern instrument, the oud, studying with virtuoso Yuval Ron.

Previously Brian had been the guitarist for Los Hermanos de Jazz who had opened up for bands such as the Stone Temple Pilots and performed sessions for Death Row Records, back in the wild and crazy early 1990s. Back then he also created a project called “Aleister’s Bastards” inspired by the work 777 by Aleister Crowley. However at the time, he had no idea he lived right down the street from the famous occult author, Lon Milo DuQuette.

Shams93 runs the gamut from purely acoustic solo oud to electronic music and live electric performance. Brian plays both acoustic and electric oud and uses the ancient system of “Maqam music” from the middle east to compose new material based on ancient patterns.

He is greatly inspired by recent John Zorn projects such as the Crowley String quartet, which explore occult concepts with instrumental music inspired by western classical and avant guard.

Besides having earned an MFA from CalArts Brian is an initiated Freemason, 3○, 32○, Thelemite and self-initiated Sufi/Ishmaeli. He’s also a 3○ in the OTO and a probationer of the A∴A∴, so occult practice and meditation are massive influences on the music of Shams93.

Follow Shams93 via
SoundCloud
Website
and
Anthology Profile

 

Magick, Music and Ritual 6, the Winter 2013 anthology album from the Hermetic Library
Hermetic Library Anthology Project – Magick Music and Ritual 6

 

 

The Destiny of Ethan King

The Destiny of Ethan King by Martin Cosgrove has arrived at the Reading Room, courtesy of the author.

Martin Cosgrove's The Destiny of Ethan King

 

“A university professor discovers the notes of a little-known 12th century alchemist detailing the creation of a mystical substance called Universal Matter. This substance is capable of generating unlimited energy and has the power to either end humanity’s greatest problems, or destroy us all. The ancient documents claim that, when the time is right, one human soul will be given the ability to create Universal Matter. His name is Ethan King.” [via]

 

“An emotionally-charged tale of fantasy, the supernatural and the unexpected.

The Destiny of Ethan King has all the elements of a modern fantasy, but nothing is as straightforward as it first appears. Ethan’s life is turned upside-down by a series of events which are out of his control. And to top it all, he learns that he is the only person on the planet capable of creating a mystical substance with infinite power which could either end humanity’s greatest problems … or destroy us all.

Thrown into a world in which the boundaries between good and evil are blurred, Ethan is left with no choice but to embark on a cosmic adventure with potentially global consequences. The Liverpudlian teenager quickly learns that good and evil is a sliding scale present within each of us and that big words such as ‘destiny’ and ‘morality’ are a smoke screen when dealing with real matters of family, friendship and love.

The Destiny of Ethan King can be read on several levels. To the uninitiated, it reads as a modern fantasy in the style of The Magicians by Lev Grossman. To those adept at peeking behind the veil, however, this is an occult novel containing true esoteric knowledge drawn from Hermeticism and Kabbalah.”

 

“I would classify this book as an ‘occult novel’ in the traditional sense of Zanoni or The Red Lion for example; books that try to convey essential ‘truths’ about magic in a fictional context, often revealing actual occult practices and beliefs. That is what The Destiny of Ethan King is, a true ‘occult novel'” — Rawn Clark

 

 

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.

Keys to the Kingdom

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Locke & Key, Vol. 4: Keys to the Kingdom by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez from IDW Publishing:

Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez's Keys to the Kingdom from IDW Publishing

 

This fourth collection of the Locke & Key series is clearly moving into the climax of the entire series arc. (There are two more volumes to go.) The pace is often much faster than in earlier parts of the series; chapter three (“February”) in particular barrels through a whole mess of events, often realizing a whole complicated day’s adventure in a single panel. Over the course of this collection, six new magic keys are introduced, a pace that more than doubles the rate of the earlier numbers. The graphic violence is probably more extreme than in any of the prior volumes as well.

The motivation of our prime villain Dodge becomes clearer to the reader in these stories, at the same time as his culpability starts to become evident to the Locke family. It appears that the stakes may be far higher than the well-being of the Lockes or Keyhouse. But not all the evil in these comics is supernatural. The commentary on homophobia that had been introduced earlier in the series is supplemented with some candid observations of/on racism. Some readers might find these a little preachy, but I thought they were handled artfully, and they speak to the tenor of the times.

In the first chapter of Keys to the Kingdom Hill and Rodriguez pay very overt tribute to Bill Watterson, with Bode Locke as an obvious stand-in for Calvin. And in “Casualties” (#22 of the original comic) Bode and Rufus Whedon populate another homage to earlier comics in the form of an invented Squadron Strange action adventure. The Locke & Key series has such beautiful art and rich storytelling that I’m sure it will someday be the object of such admirations and acknoweldgements from a younger generation of comics creators. [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.

Mr. Aleister Crowley, the author, declines to make himself invisible in court

On Friday, April 13th, 1934, the Manchester Guardian published “Mr. Aleister Crowley, the author, declines to make himself invisible in court” and today The Guardian has brought the article back from the archives.


Aleister Crowley, c 1938. Photograph: Hulton Getty

“The ‘black magic’ libel action again came before Mr. Justice Swift and a special jury in the King’s Bench Division yesterday.

Mr. Aleister Crowley, the author, claimed damages against Miss Nina Hamnett, authoress of a book entitled ‘Laughing Torso,’ and Messrs. Constable and Co., Limited, the publishers, and Messrs. Charles Whittingham and Briggs, the printers.

Mr. Crowley complained that the book imputed that he practised ‘black magic’ and he said this was a libel upon him. The defence was a plea of justification.

At the material time Mr. Crowley had a villa on the mountain-side at Cefalu, Sicily, which was known as the ‘Abbey of Thelema.’ He denied that he practised ‘black magic’ there. He also denied that a baby mysteriously disappeared, as the defence alleged, from the ‘Abbey.’

Mr. Martin O’Connor (for Miss Hamnett) resuming his cross-examination yesterday, invited Mr. Crowley to try his magic in court. ‘You said yesterday,’ said Mr O’Connor, ‘that, as the result of early experiments, you invoked certain forces with the result that some people were attacked by unseen assailants. Try your magic now on my learned friend (pointing to Mr. Malcolm Hilbery, K.C.). I am sure he will not object.’ ‘I would not attack anyone,’ replied Mr. Crowley. ‘I have never done wilful harm to any human being.’

When invited again Mr. Crowley replied: ‘I absolutely refuse.’

‘On a later occasion,’ continued Mr. O’Connor, ‘you said you succeeded in rendering yourself invisible. Would you like to try that on now for, if you don’t, I shall pronounce you an imposter? – You can ask me to do anything you like. It won’t alter the truth.’

Counsel then dealt with the ritual observed in the ceremonies at the villa at Cefalu. Mr. Crowley denied that a cat was killed in the ceremony and that part of the cat’s blood was drunk by a person taking part. ‘There was no cat, no animal, no blood, and no drinking,’ he declared.

In re-examination Mr. Crowley agreed that he had studied black magic, though only as a student. He had never practised black magic, and had always written about it in terms of strongest condemnation.

When Mr. Crowley’s evidence was concluded Mr. Justice Swift asked him to tell the Court ‘the shortest, and at the same time comprehensive, definition of magic which he knew.’

Mr. Crowley: Magic is the science of the art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will. White magic is if the will is righteous and black magic is if the will is perverse.

Mr. Justice Swift: Does that involve the invocation of spirits? – It may do so. It does involve the invocation of the holy guardian angel who is appointed by Almighty God to watch over each of us.

Is it in your view, the art of controlling spirits so as to affect the course of events? – That is part of magic. One small branch.

If the object of the control is good then it is white magic? – Yes.

When the object of the control is bad what spirits do you invoke? – You cannot invoke evil spirits. You must evoke them and call them out.

When the object is bad you evoke evil spirits? – Yes. You put yourself in their power. In that case it is possible to control evil spirits or blind spirits for a good purpose as we might if we use the dangerous elements of fire and electricity for heating and lighting, &c.”

Aleister Crowley gets a hat tip for hat design in post about the Genius trope

Aleister Crowley gets a hat tip for hat design in post about the Genius trope at “Tuesday Trope: The Genius” over at The Committee for the Surrealist Investigation of Claims of the Normal. Yeah, it really doesn’t make any more sense in context either, but it’s curious even if the reference seems a bit gratuitous and non sequitur. In context, “designed by Aleister Crowley” seems to mean something like “designed by an Evil Genius”, and might connote things such as “esoteric” and “mysterious”. I suppose it might also, in part, be a reference to the photo of Crowley with the hood of his A∴A∴ robe on his head that might be mistaken for a hat.

“Our hero, who has come to understand his name is Tex, pulls against the wrist straps that pin him to this chair.

The apparatus latched onto his head is heavy; it feels like his neck might snap under the weight of the lightbulbs and diodes, not to mention the engine that whirrs and hisses away on the floor behind him. The thing on his head looks like a diving helmet as designed by Aleister Crowley. Not quite as stylish as his old ten-gallon hat, that’s for sure.”


Aleister Crowley with the hood of his A∴A∴ robe on his head