Tag Archives: existentialism

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and No One [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Friedrich Nietzsche; trans., introduction, & notes R J Hollingdale.

Nietzsche Hollingdale Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra is a Bible for the godless, a treasure-trove for reluctant but inevitable onolaters. Although it often seems to offer its message in the simplest and most straightforward terms, it also admits plainly to a crypticism and esoteric character that exceeds the one indicated in Mark 4:11-12. The sage Zarathustra is not merely a cipher for Nietzsche himself, he is putatively the inventor of the notion of good and evil lying at the root of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and thus his creative power both subsumes and stands outside of it.

Many other books could be and have been written in an attempt to comprehend and elucidate this one. Many other writers have tried to assert their own superiority with facile dismissals of the challenges Nietzsche raises here. 

Coming on the heels of several other English translations of Zarathustra, Del Caro’s is a conservative, readable text with minimal commentary and explication. The few explanatory footnotes seem mostly intent on exonerating Nietzsche from charges of misogyny, although some address translation issues. In particular Del Caro tries to justify the existence of his translation over and against that of Walter Kaufmann, whose errors he specifically calls out. 

The long note on page 199 attempts to dispel what Del Caro calls the “myth” of Nietzsche’s inspired authorship of the book. But it is more worthwhile to ask what is being signified by the allegedly rapid writing of Zarathustra, and why, than to merely cast doubt on whether it was “really” written thus. There are also a surprising number of typos in this edition.

Overthrowing the Old Gods

Overthrowing the Old Gods: Aleister Crowley and the Book of the Law by Don Webb, from Inner Traditions, is scheduled to be published on Oct 15, 2013.

Don Webb's Overthrowing the Old Gods from Inner Traditions

“New commentaries on Aleister Crowley’s Book of the Law reveal how it is connected to both Right- and Left-Hand Paths

• Examines each line of the Book of the Law in the light of modern psychology, Egyptology, Gurdjieff’s teachings, and contemporary Left-Hand Path thought

• Explores Crowley’s identification with the First Beast of Revelations as well as his adoption of the Loki archetype for becoming a vessel of love for all humanity

• Recasts the Cairo Working as a text of personal sovereignty and a relevant tool for personal transformation

• Includes commentary on the Book of the Law by Dr. Michael A. Aquino, who served as High Priest of the Temple of Set from 1975 to 1996

Received by Aleister Crowley in April 1904 in Cairo, Egypt, the Book of the Law is the most provocative record of magical working in several hundred years, affecting not only organizations directly associated with Crowley such as the Ordo Templi Orientis but also modern Wicca, Chaos Magic, and the Temple of Set.

Boldly defying Crowley’s warning not to comment on the Book of the Law, Ipsissimus Don Webb provides in-depth interpretation from both Black and White Magical perspectives, including commentary from Dr. Michael A. Aquino, who served as High Priest of the Temple of Set from 1975 to 1996. Webb examines each line of the Book in the light of modern psychology, Egyptology, existentialism, and competing occult systems such as the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff and contemporary Left-Hand Path thought. Discarding the common image of Crowley formulated in a spiritually unsophisticated time when the devotee of the Left-Hand Path was dismissed as a selfish evil doer, Webb unveils a new side of Crowley based on his adoption of the Loki archetype and his aim to become a vessel of love for all humanity. In so doing, he shows how the Book of the Law is connected to both Right- and Left-Hand Paths and reveals how Crowley’s magical path of mastery over the self and Cosmos overthrew the gods of old religion, which had kept humanity asleep to dream the nightmare of history.

Providing in-depth analysis of Crowley’s sources and his self-identification with the First Beast of Revelations from a profound esoteric perspective, Webb takes his views out of the Golden Dawn matrix within which he received the Book of the Law and radically recasts the Cairo Working as a text of personal sovereignty and a relevant tool for personal transformation.” [via]