Tag Archives: gnostic saints

Antichrist

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Antichrist: A novel of the Emperor Frederick II by Cecelia Holland.

Cecelia Holland Antichrist

Historical novelist Cecelia Holland is the author of Antichrist: a novel of the Emperor Frederick II (1970). The British issue of the same book had a more timid publisher, it seems. The title there was Wonder of the World, in reference to Frederick’s renown as stupor mundi. The US Primate of the Gnostic Catholic Church identifies Frederick II as the “Frederick of Hohenstaufen” enumerated among the saints of Liber XV, and he points to Frederick’s notable antagonism with Rome, but he fails to note the item that gave Holland her title: a tradition of identifying Frederick as the Antichrist.

Antichrist is an inherently prophetic figure, and the prophecies of Frederick’s Antichrist status were initially derived from Joachim of Fiore’s writings. Holland observes this fact with a brief notice in her prefatory “Note” (ix). The Super Hieremiam was a pseudo-Joachimist work that identified Frederick as a head of the apocalyptic dragon and as the emperor whose death would inaugurate the age of the Holy Spirit. The prophecy regarding Frederick is one of the elements that made Joachim’s work topical for the Franciscans who became interested in it during the 1240s.

Holland’s story is set in the 1220s, with Frederick’s prosecution of the Sixth Crusade. She depicts the Franciscans in Outremer as opponents of the Emperor, and she has them accuse him of being Antichrist. Whether they would have done so at that time, before taking up the ideas from Joachim, or whether the accusation in the novel was anachronistic, I don’t know.

Besides the Franciscan Order, Antichrist includes a rough and caricaturing treatment of the military Orders of the Temple and the Hospital. Of the former, Holland writes that they “were beyond doubt Satanist,” choosing to take the French court proceedings as gospel on this count (xiii). She depicts both Orders—who were, after all, opposed to her protagonist Frederick—as corrupt and malevolent. In fact, her depiction of them is much in keeping with the villainous roles that they play in the novels of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832).

An important aspect of the novel (and the events it attempts to describe) is the relationship between Christians and Muslims, both in southern Europe and in Palestine. The idea that Frederick was Antichrist had much to do with his perceived and actual intimacy with Saracens and Islam. Holland creatively adds a member of the Order of Assassins to Frederick’s bodyguard in Palestine. This touch on her part leads to a historical error, in which she has the “Assassins” in question refer to themselves as Hashishiyyun (164). The Muslims associated with Alamut whom the Crusaders called “Assassins” were sometimes called hashishis as a term of derision by their Muslim antagonists, but they were in fact, and knew themselves as, Syrian Ismailis of the Nizari sect.

Holland’s book was great fun to read: it has a lot of witty dialogue and vivid description. If handled respectfully, it would probably make a terrific movie. Although she makes some outright errors, the author provides the unusual courtesy among historical novelists of pointing out which principal features of the story are her conscious interpolations (xii-xiii). As far as the broad outlines of her narrative go, there is nothing to contradict any of the history I have read. [via]


Thelemic Seasonal Holy Day Wall Calendar

Thelemic Seasonal Holy Day Wall Calendar is a crowdfunding effort from Knights Templar, a local body of O.T.O. in the Valley of Salem, MA, which may be of interest.

The campaign will “raise the money needed to print and sell a full-size ‘Thelemic Seasonal Holy Day Wall Calendar’ showcasing Thelemic artists; filled with the Holy Days, the Feast Days for the Gnostic Saints, etc., as well as the Moon Signs and Phases.” The calendar itself is designed to run from March 2014 – March 2015 so it is particularly timely right now. The art is by a number of artists you may recognize including frequent Hermetic Library visual pool contributor Marjan Ŝetar as well as Kat Lunoe and the late John “Snakedaddy” Hanley, to mention only a few.

Thelemic seasonal Holy Day wall calendar for 2014 from Knights Templar

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

For three years now I have wanted to create a professionally printed, full-size, ultimate “Thelemic Seasonal Holy Day Wall Calendar”, filled with the specifically listed Liber AL Holy Days, the Solstices and Equinoxes, the Cross-quarter days, the Feast Days for the Gnostic Saints, etc., as well as providing the always useful Moon Sign and Phase information.

Furthermore, my goal has been to showcase Thelemic artists (preferably Sisters and Brothers of the O.T.O.) by complementing each of the 13 months (from March to March, Aries to Aries) with beautiful Thelemic art appropriate to its Holy Days.

It is my belief and hope that this publishing project can and will be a significant contribution to Thelemic culture. Everyone who has looked at it seems to agree.

I have thus far received approval from all of the artists whose work I selected for the calendar, including:

· Sister Cathryn Orchard (now Crane) of Ouarda Arts in the UK

· Brother Nathan Hopkins and Brother Mitchell Nolte of the Collective 777 Art Guild in Australia

· Marjan Ŝetar in Slovenia

· Kat Lunoe, John “Snakedaddy” Hanley, Michele Witchipoo, Nick “The Barbarian” Kelley, and others here in the US

They have all given permission, and each one indicated their excitement and enthusiasm for the potential of this project.

Apart from a little final editing, the design phase of the project is complete, it can be ready to go to the printers in a week or less. What we need now is the funds to make it happen! Our goal of $500 will ensure a 50-print run, so we can begin getting this out into the Thelemic community.

I am now very optimistic that, with your assistance, we can have this project completed and made available to the larger O.T.O. and Thelemic community in time for the Equinox!

My true goal here personally is to get this calendar out to as much of the larger O.T.O. and Thelemic community as possible, and then to turn around and focus on doing a bigger and better job at producing the next year’s calendar. But whatever money we make over and above production costs will go into the Knights Templar Oasis treasury, where it is desperately needed!

So check out the Gallery above, and give what you can! $25 gets you your own copy of the Calendar! Thank you all SO much for your support!

Love is the law, love under will.

— Frater A Ka Dua”