A thing is not esoteric because it is secret or kept hidden. It is esoteric because its existence is in some sense unmanifest, private, and by its very nature not available for examination from the outside: it is only available to participation, not, ultimately, merely to examination. In other words, the realm of the esoteric is, before anything else, the realm of consciousness, of experience.
“Astral” Beings may thus be defined in the same way as “material objects”; they are the Unknown Causes of various observed effects. They may be of any order of existence. We give a physical form and name to a bell but not to its tone, though in each case we know nothing but our own impressions. But we record musical sounds by a special convention. We may therefore call a certain set of qualities “Ratziel”, or describe an impression as “Saturnian” without pretending to know what anything is in itself. All we need is to know how to cast a bell that will please our ears, or how to evoke a “spirit” that will tell us things that are hidden from our intellectual faculties.
Aleister Crowley, Book 4, Notes for an Astral Atlas
“It’s all math to you, isn’t it?” “Everything is math, Brittle. All of existence is binary. Ones and zeros. On and off. Existing or not. Believing anything beyond that is simply pretending.” “That’s all anything means to you?” “Meaning is a function set to zero in this universe. Maybe in the other places beyond us there is something more than simply maintaining existence, but here, in this universe, it is the only thing that matters.”
And how could the Soul lend itself to any admixture? An essential is not mixed. Or of the intrusion of anything alien? If it did, it would be seeking the destruction of its own nature. Pain must be equally far from it. And Grief- how or for what could it grieve? Whatever possesses Existence is supremely free, dwelling, unchangeable, within its own peculiar nature. And can any increase bring joy, where nothing, not even anything good, can accrue? What such an Existent is, it is unchangeably.
From the very existence of these books he learned one primary truth: that everything in the world was enveloped in great skeins of mystery into which one could bravely probe but which one could never fully untangle.
Jeremy P Bushnell, The Weirdness: A Novel
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 4th, 2014
“Stunning Digitally Composited Star Trail Photos [by Justin Ng] of the Night Sky over Singapore” — EDW Lynch, Laughing Squid
- “Transtheism or Numinalism” — April D DeConick, Forbidden Gospels Blog
“I am continuing to think about this word that we don’t yet have to describe a religious point of view that sees all conventional religions as inadequate human constructions, that have not been able to communicate the experience of an ultimate reality that transcends us. […] I am thinking now about these possibilities: 1. Transtheism […] 2. Numinalism”
- “Free” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti
“Be not of any Faction: A wise Man is always free.”
- “‘Muslim Gospel’ Revealing the ‘Christian Truth’ Excites the Da Vinci Code Set: Jesus Christ on a Cross: Not.” — Annette Yoshiko Reed, Religion Dispatches
“For [John] Toland, this was not just another apocryphon. From this ‘Turkish Gospel being fathr’d upon Barnabas,’ he claimed to have been led to recover “the original plan of Christianity” as centered on Jewish-Christian beliefs that ‘Jesus did not take away or cancel the Jewish Law in any sense whatsoever.’
This, Toland argued, was the very oldest form of Christianity, only it was lost to history when ‘converts from the Gentiles… did almost wholly subvert’ it. On the basis of the Gospel of Barnabas, Toland characterized the most ancient Christianity as harmonious with Islam as well: its account of Jesus, after all, was perfectly conformable to the traditions of the Mahometans [i.e., Muslims], who maintain that another was crucified in his stead; and that Jesus, slipping thro’ the hands of Jews, preach’d afterwards to his disciples, then was taken to heaven.”
“At least from the evidence now at hand, there’s little to support the theory that the GBarn is authentically ancient. The question, rather, is why this possibility continues to arise again and again despite the paucity of evidence. Why is the idea of this gospel—and speculation about its possible suppression—so compelling to modern readers? How has on-line speculation about a Syriac manuscript of an obscure apocryphon risen to the status of e-Rumor, spreading widely through social media and persisting for years?”
- “Virginia County Board: Followers Of ‘Pre-Christian Deities’ Forbidden To Deliver Opening Prayers” — Matt Staggs, disinformation
“… I’m assuming deities contemporaneous with Christianity are just fine, so grab your Pope cards and take the next flight to Chesterfield, Subgenii: These folks clearly need ‘Bob’ and his redeeming message of Slack.”
- “Leonardo Ulian’s Technological Mandalas Signify Worship of Technology” — Sara Barnes, Beautiful/Decay
“Artist Leonardo Ulian offers another interpretation of the mandala with his assemblages of electronic components, copper wire, and more. The intricate, finely detailed works radiate the innards of what makes technology tick. Ulian crafts smaller geometric patterns within a larger, more general shape that become more impressive once you see close up shots of his handiwork.”
- “Inside the Church of Scientology’s New $14 Million Compound” — Nelson Groom, VICE
“The outside of the building melds surprisingly well with its surroundings. However, this all changes when you walk inside. As soon as you step through the entrance, the vibrant lighting and futuristic decor make you feel like you’re on the set of the latest terrible sci-fi dystopian flick. It’s prompt validation that this is not your average church.”
- “‘Be Here Nowish’ is a Queer, Spiritual Comedy from the Creators of ‘Every Woman’” — Liz Armstrong, VICE
“Be Here Nowish had a soft launch last month and now emerges in its entirety, picking up where the main characters, fuck-ups in their own right, left off, finding themselves in Los Angeles among a group of freaky devotees of a guru played by Kyp Malone from TV on the Radio.
Adam, are you personally involved in any of the kooky spiritual stuff that’s going on in Los Angeles?
Adam [Carpenter]: Does Pilates count?
- “How to achieve altered states of consciousness” — Jarred Triskelion, Spiral Nature
“Entering altered states of consciousness has a dramatic effect upon a ritual. Everything becomes more profound, from the smell of the incense, to the colour of the candlelight, to the feel of your wand in your hand.”
- An interactive Enochian resource from Keep Silence: Spirits of the Great Table
- “Abolish the Week! It’s unnatural. It’s unnecessary. Why the seven-day week has got to go.” — Ben Schreckinger, Slate Culturebox
“But whence the week? Throughout history, human societies have found it useful to divide time into groups of days shorter than a lunar month. One of the most common uses of this cycle has been to establish a regular market day, though just how regular varies. At one point, the Basques evidently employed a three-day week. For centuries, China, Japan, and Korea employed a 10-day week. Other societies have employed four-, five-, six-, eight-, and nine-day weeks.”
- “Vampires, Ghosts, and the Legacy of Antiquity” — Sarah Veale, Invocatio
“So were vampires ghosts? Were ghosts vampires? These days most of us can easily distinguish between a vampire and a ghost and would consider them two very different phenomena. Examples from antiquity, however, suggest a blurring of these distinctions which lasted until the modern era. This overlap in the supernatural has caused much consternation among scholars who study the undead, complicating what would otherwise be neat categories.”
- “Ayn Rand’s Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone” — Mallory Ortberg, The Toast [HT Rob Bricken]
“‘This is really more of a question for the Economics of Potion-Making, I guess. What time are econ lessons here?’
‘We have no economics lessons in this school, you ridiculous boy.’
Harry Potter stood up bravely. ‘We do now. Come with me if you want to learn about market forces!’
The students poured into the hallway after him. They had a leader at last.”
- “Restoring the Lost Sense: May 29, 2014” — Craig Conley, Abecedarian
“How consciousness bends the body: an illustration from The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception by Max Heindel, 1911.”
- Taliesin Gilkes-Bower quoted at “Lighting a 7-Day Candle for Saint Google” — Max Pearl, Cluster Magazine; see also “St. Google Prayer Candles”
“You know, Saint Isidore of Seville was declared the patron saint of the Internet and computers by the vatican. You can imagine confession as the ultimate data-mining and blackmail tool. The church had to coerce people with the idea of infinite hell to get them to confess, and they could still lie if they wanted to! Now we just give away access to every single piece of ourselves for free. So the need for protection from Saint Google is very real.”
- “A footnote about the publishing industry” — Charlie Stross, Charlie’s Diary
“But the trouble with disruption is that it’s dangerously close to detonation. You can end up destroying what you sought to shake up and take over.”
- “Burning the MRA Playbook (Or, #YesAllMRAs)” — Chuck Wendig, terribleminds
“We get flicked in the nuts by a badminton birdie we’ll double over for 20 minutes, moaning and rocking back and forth. Our balls are like little yarn-bundles contained in a thin, wifty sack of outlying flesh. They unspool like bobbins of delicate thread when damaged. Women on the other hand push entire people out of their lady-realms like divine fucking beings.”
- Post-Culture Review, via tweet
"Does this look infected to you?" [points at entire existence]
— Post-Culture Review (@PostCultRev) May 29, 2014
If you’d like to participate in the next Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS.
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.
Enchanted Feminism: Ritual, Gender and Divinity Among the Reclaiming Witches of San Francisco by Jone Salomonsen, part of the Religion and Gender series, the 2002 first edition paperback from Routledge, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“Many today feel the need to restore a magical, spiritual ground to human existence. One of the most visible responses to this need has been the rise of contemporary pagan Witchcraft, and one of its most interesting voices, Reclaiming. This community was formed over twenty years ago, by feminist Witch Starhawk and friends, to teach others about goddess spirituality and reinvented pagan rituals. It has since succeeded in developing an independent spiritual tradition, fostered partly by the success of Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance and other books, and now has sister communities throughout North America and Europe.
Enchanted Feminism presents the first in-depth study of this important community and spiritual tradition from a consistent gender perspective. In a unique interdisciplinary approach, Dr Salomonson adopts the perspectives of both social anthropology and theology to analyse the beliefs and practices of the Reclaiming Witches. Among many issues, she considers their spiritual search for the ‘Real’, their renunciation of patriarchal religions and attempts to build a new religious identity, their use of ritual and of feminine symbols for the divine, and their involvement with feminist-anarchist politics. The results of her research provide challenging and insightful reading.”
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.
“We can justify the existence of President Wilson in keeping us out of war, making the world safe for democracy, and all these nice things which he does so splendidly; and we can also justify the existence of the monster, tyrant, assassin and religious maniac invented by the New York papers and labeled William.” [via]
“Is not the ecstasy of Nuit the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the omnipresence of her body? All that hath hurt thee was that thou knewest it not, and as that fadeth from thee thou shalt know as never yet how all is one.” [via]