Tag Archives: god

(Io Pan! Io Pan!)
Devil or god, to me, to me,
My man! my man!
Come with trumpets sounding shrill
Over the hill!

Aleister Crowley, Hymn to Pan (in Book 4; see also Hino a Pã)

Omnium Gatherum: June 18th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 18th, 2014

Moon, clouds, smoke, skeleton hunt in the air from Restoring the Lost Sense: Jun 12, 2014, Craig Conley, Abecedarian
“Moon, clouds, smoke, skeleton hunt in the air” from Restoring the Lost Sense: Jun 12, 2014 — Craig Conley, Abecedarian

 

  • The Beast is Back — Erik Davis and Maja D’aoust interview Gary Lachman, Expanding Mind

    “Thelemic visions, magickal texts, and the tedium of transgression: a talk with occult historian Gary Lachman about his new biography Aleister Crowley: Magick, Rock and Roll, and the Wickedest Man in the World (Tarcher).”

  • Theosophical Attitudes towards Science: Past and Present — Egil Asprem

    As is typical for esoteric movements of the modern period, the Theosophical current exhibits a deep ambivalence towards the professionalized natural sciences. Active in the middle of the so-called “clash” between science and religion in the latter half of the 19th century, Blavatsky and the early Theosophists sought a critical reconciliation, guided by the quest for esoteric “higher truth.” The negotiation with science and religion was clearly present from Blavatsky’s first major work, Isis Unveiled (1877), which dedicated one volume to a criticism of each, and has continued to twist and turn in various directions until the present day.

    “Science” is, in short, a centrally important yet ambiguous “Other” for the entire Theosophical current.

  • Opting Out of the System — Inominandum, Strategic Sorcery

    The “system” is a house of cards that is perpetrated by force and fraud. I think that taking a stand against that in terms of magic and lifestyle is a worthy thing. But just like I say to people that reject materialism as anathema to spirituality: You must really live that view for it to have meaning.

    It is not a matter of your values and your magic being in line. It is a matter of making your life be about something.

  • Where the Occult & Pagan Community Lost the Plot — Nick Farrell

    The occult community is doomed to be hijacked by right-wing nut-jobs and other idiots because it has become paralysed by its own desire to be “spiritual.”

  • Theater as Plague: Radovan Ivšić and the Theater of the Weird — Jon Graham, Weird Fiction Review

    Like its counterpart in fiction, the theater of the weird exists on the margins of mainstream culture, where its deadly accuracy when targeting the shibboleths of the cultural consensus can be safely muffled before its subversive potency does any visible damage.

    For Ivšić, theatrical space offers the ideal spot for opening that space within the spectator that allows experience of individual singularity not as a rupture, but as a vitally essential difference that makes it possible for the world to breathe. He saw the play as the result of a dark conspiracy between the world and the individual, who intentionally withdraws from this relationship in order to return by means of the Trojan horse of fiction.

  • D&D Yoga — swi in collaboration with Sarah Dahnke and Eric Hagan [HT Erik Davis]

    D&D Yoga can be played in many ways. The varying flavors range from that of a guided narrative while people do yoga to a far more interactive experience where players are in conversation and play a more active role in the campaign. For the first trial, we thought it would be wise to veer closer to the guided narrative side of things. Players still made decisions and rolled dice to dictate a few directions that the story took but generally we wanted to see how the experiment would play out and then build from there. As we proceed into future events we are building more interactivity into the game.

  • Appeals Court Finds Scanning To Be Fair Use — NewYorkCountryLawyer, Slashdot

    scanning whole books and making them searchable for research use is a fair use

    the creation of a searchable, full text database is a ‘quintessentially transformative use’, that it was ‘reasonably necessary’ to make use of the entire works, that maintaining four copies of the database was reasonably necessary as well, and that the research library did not impair the market for the originals.

  • «Dracula è sepolto a Napoli, ecco dov’è la tomba» — Paolo Barbuto, Il Gazzettino

    «Il conte Dracula è morto a Napoli, è stato sepolto nel cuore della città ed è ancora qui»: c’è un gruppo di persone che da settimane percorre strade e vicoli a caccia del segreto.

    E non sono ragazzini sognatori, fanatici, esaltati, ma serissimi studiosi dell’università di Tallinn in Estonia. Sono convinti di ciò che fanno, sostengono di avere già in mano i documenti che provano la verità, così hanno avviato una campagna di ricerche sul territorio.

    “Count Dracula died in Naples, was buried in the heart of the city and is still here”: there is a group of people who for weeks along the streets and alleys in search of the secret.

    And kids are not dreamers, fanatics, exalted, but very serious scholars of the University of Tallinn in Estonia. They believe in what they do, they claim to have already got the documents to prove the truth, so they launched a campaign of research in the area.

  • From Algernon Charles Swinburne’s Songs Before Sunrise at “Save His Own Soul He Hath No Star” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti

    His soul is even with the sun
    Whose spirit and whose eye are one,
    Who seeks not stars by day, nor light
    And heavy heat of day by night.
    Him can no God cast down, whom none
    Can lift in hope beyond the height
    Of fate and nature and things done
    By the calm rule of might and right
    That bids men be and bear and do,
    And die beneath blind skies or blue.

  • Two giant planets may cruise unseen beyond Pluto” — Nicola Jenner, NewScientist; from the where-is-your-astrology-now dept.

    The monsters are multiplying. Just months after astronomers announced hints of a giant “Planet X” lurking beyond Pluto, a team in Spain says there may actually be two supersized planets hiding in the outer reaches of our solar system.

    When potential dwarf planet 2012 VP113 was discovered in March, it joined a handful of unusual rocky objects known to reside beyond the orbit of Pluto. These small objects have curiously aligned orbits, which hints that an unseen planet even further out is influencing their behaviour. Scientists calculated that this world would be about 10 times the mass of Earth and would orbit at roughly 250 times Earth’s distance from the sun.

    Now Carlos and Raul de la Fuente Marcos at the Complutense University of Madrid in Spain have taken another look at these distant bodies. As well as confirming their bizarre orbital alignment, the pair found additional puzzling patterns. Small groups of the objects have very similar orbital paths. Because they are not massive enough to be tugging on each other, the researchers think the objects are being “shepherded” by a larger object in a pattern known as orbital resonance.

  • ‘A Funny Kind Of Relationship’ Alan Moore On Iain Sinclair — Nick Talbot, The Quietus

    Whilst not quite a household name, instead occupying a liminal status maintained by a principled refusal to be involved in any Hollywood adaptations of his work, Moore is widely regarded as the finest writer in the medium, and it is difficult to imagine how the comic book landscape would look without the enduring influence of his exceptional work. But it is equally difficult to imagine how From Hell (1989), his first major work beyond the costumed vigilantes and superheroes genre, and also his Magnum Opus, would have looked had he not discovered the work of Iain Sinclair. A quintessential writer’s writer, Sinclair is a Hendrix-cum-Kevin Shields of the English language, mixing scholarly historical research, formal training and technical linguistic virtuosity with a wildly impressionistic, stream-of-consciousness prose-poetry delivery that is dazzling, dizzying, and for those with literary pretensions, frankly dispiriting in its apparently effortless genius. Sinclair’s subject is predominantly London, most often East London, and the relationship between its history, its continually shifting cityscape and the psyche of those who inhabit it. Sharing similar concerns, themes and stylistic flourishes with Peter Ackroyd, both with works appearing in the eighties and nineties, this uniquely East London-focused micro-genre came to be dubbed ‘psychogeography’. Soon complemented by Will Self and others, the movement could be interpreted as a response to the corporatist regeneration of London’s East End by the Thatcherite Conservative government in the 1980s. The spatial and historical density of London allows for an unusually potent and apparently limitless store of inspiration, but what marks out Sinclair in particular is his ability to see patterns, sigils and correspondences where perhaps the rest of us see dog shit, broken fencing and inane graffiti.

  • Eating Flower Spirits” — Sarah Anne Lawless

    Summer flowers are brought inside, painted the colours of sarees and gypsy vardos, and fill tea pots and canning jars. Nighshade, poppies, red clover, comfrey, daisies, sage flowers, and foxgloves. Some from the yard, some escaped from gardens into the neglected back alleys of the old neighbourhood. I know that by taking them home I am consuming them, making their already short lives even shorter, but I try my best to ask sweetly for their blessings before I snip off their heads and bring them home. I try my best to let them know why and what will be done with their beautiful sacrifice – their souls burned up like incense to be eaten by my own beloved spirits – eaters of flowers.

  • What Athens Has Got To Do With Jerusalem: The Marriage of Greek and Jewish Themes in the Apocryphon of John” — Dan Attrell

    This paper presents a summary overview of how the Apocryphon of John, an apocalyptic work drawn from the Nag Hammadi Library, is explicitly the product of an syncretism between Greek language/philosophy and Jewish mythology/mysticism in the 1st century CE.

  • Coincidentia Oppositorum: Exploring the Dialogue in the Recent Historical Literature of Medieval and Early Modern European Alchemy — Dan Attrell

    The study of alchemy has posed a number of complications for historians. Among historians of science who wrote as late as the mid-20th century, alchemy was perceived to be a mystical philosophy, an obstacle to the progress of „rational‟ chemistry, and even a pathology of the mind. This rather out-dated tendency toward knee-jerk dismissals has, however, been recently curtailed as the wider community of medievalists and early modern historians began to understand alchemy on its own terms, having placed it firmly within in the context of an ‘alchemical worldview.’ The recent dialogue among historians concerning alchemy in Europe has chiefly been directed toward (a) understanding of what ‘alchemy’ actually meant to the people who lived amongst it or practiced it themselves; (b) determining to what extent alchemy was interrelated with the religious consciousness of its practitioners; and most noticeably (c) reconciling or collapsing a number of exaggerated, artificial, and misleading dichotomies within our modern perceptions of medieval and early modern alchemy. Was European alchemy a ‘theoretical’ or a ‘practical’ art? Was it a ‘spiritual’ or a ‘material’ pursuit? Was it a ‘medicinal’ or a ‘metallurgical’ practice? How and when was ‘alchemy’ differentiated from ‘chemistry’? Were they ‘on the fringes’ of learned society, or were they at the cutting edge of knowledge as defined by traditional institutions? Were alchemists outright ‘frauds’ (Betrüger) or misguided ‘fools’?

    These are all questions which a handful of historians have recently tackled and shown to be somewhat misguided. Such dichotomies arose from the dialogue of recent centuries wherein scholars and theorists from various disciplines began exploring and reconceptualising alchemy and its history; each angle, each discipline, each perspective offered some rather rigid model for understanding alchemy, and many of these models crystallized into opposing camps. Alchemy, however, was never a static or monolithic pursuit and thus eludes any attempt to give such simple definitions. In response to this problem, it is this paper’s goal to flesh out the most recent scholarly dialogue – to outline and synthesize the most pertinent points made in the recent historical literature concerning alchemy. What I hope to show is how the most recent historical research tells us that ‘alchemy’ meant many different things to many different people at many different junctures in history, even among the relatively isolated practitioners of Europe. With no source of official authority such as the Church or the University to govern alchemy as a branch of knowledge, the art was free to take on and accumulate a number of its practitioners’ idiosyncrasies. Free as it was, as a model to explore and communicate features of the known universe, European alchemy was a rich and dynamic practice which contained within itself all of the artificial polarities mentioned above.

  • Rewilding Witchcraft — Peter Grey, Scarlet Imprint

    We have mistaken social and economic change for the result of our own advocacy. Marching in lock-step with what used to be called mainstream, but is now mono-culture, we have disenchanted ourselves, handed over our teeth and claws and bristling luxuriant furs. I will not be part of this process, because to do so is to be complicit with the very forces that are destroying all life on earth. It is time for Witchcraft not to choose, but to remember which side it is on in this struggle.

  • London’s calling: the city as character in urban fantasy” — Ian ‘Cat’ Vincent, Spiral Nature

    Each of these series draws on what I would say are the main characteristics of London’s soul. It’s old – continually inhabited since before Roman times; it’s powerful — but nowhere near as much as its past as the heart of an empire; it’s stubborn — enduring centuries of hardship and prosperity, adapting to huge changes in population and traumas ranging from plague to fire to Nazi bombs to the very modern stresses of wealth inequality. London changes — it has to — but there’s some core of its personality that always remains.

    Of course, London as a whole is the sum of its parts, none of which are quite alike — the genius loci of Camden differs greatly from those of Catford and Chelsea. But each also touch the greater gestalt of the place. Inevitably, the best way to grasp the specific psychogeography of a place is to walk its streets.

  • Weekly Apocryphote: June 8-14 — April D DeConick, Forbidden Gospels

    You have not come to suffer. Rather you have come to escape from what binds you. Release yourself, and what has bound you will be undone. Save yourself, so that what is (in you) may be saved … Why are you hesitating?

 

If you’d like to participate in the next Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS.

John’s Gospel and Intimations of Apocalyptic

John’s Gospel and Intimations of Apocalyptic, edited by Catrin H Williams and Christopher C Rowland, from Bloomsbury Academic, may be of interest.

Catron H Williams Christopher C Rowland John's Gospel and Intimations of Apocalyptic from Bloomsbury Academic

I heard of this from April D DeConick’s post at Forbidden Gospels:

“I dealt with centuries of mistranslations of John 8:44 and argue in my contribution to this book that this text reveals a long-kept secret that the early Johannine community believed that the devil had a Father who is the Jewish biblical god. This god is not Jesus’ Father. ‘Why are the Heavens Closed? The Johannine Revelation of the Father in the Catholic-Gnostic Debate.’ I also examine 1 John and show that this letter is written to domesticate the early community’s original understanding of John 8:44. This understanding of the Gospel of John forms now the basis of my understanding of Johannine Christianity, and will resurface in my chapter on the fourth gospel (John and the Dark Cosmos) in my book The Ancient New Age.

If you are interested in the Gospel of John and its intersection with revelation, this volume contains some really ‘new’ ideas and I highly recommend it.

Authors and Table of Contents:

· Christopher Rowland and Catrin Williams, Introduction
· John Ashton, Intimations of Apocalyptic: Looking Back and Looking Forward
· Benjamin Reynolds, John and the Jewish Apocalypses: Rethinking the Genre of John’s Gospel
· Ian Boxall, From the Apocalypse of John to the Johannine “Apocalypse in Reverse”: Intimations of Apocalyptic and the Quest for a Relationship
· Jörg Frey, God’s Dwelling on Earth: ‘Shekhina-Theology’ in Revelation 21 and in the Gospel of John
· Catrin Williams, Unveiling Revelation: The Spirit-Paraclete and Apocalyptic Disclosure in the Gospel of John
· Christopher Rowland, ‘Intimations of Apocalyptic’: The Perspective of the History of Interpretation
· April DeConick, Why are the Heavens Closed? The Johannine Revelation of the Father
· Jutta Leonhardt-Balzer, The Ruler of the World, Antichrists and Pseudo-Prophets: Johannine Variations on an Apocalyptic Motif
· Loren Stuckenbruck, Evil in Johannine and Apocalyptic Perspective: Petition for Protection in John 17
· Judith Lieu, Text and Authority in John and Apocalyptic
· Robert G. Hall, The Reader as Apocalyptist in the Gospel of John
· Robin Griffith-Jones, Apocalyptic Mystagogy: Rebirth-from-above in the Reception of John’s Gospel
· Adela Yarbro Collins, Epilogue” [via]

In conversation with JJ Brine about Vector Gallery

You may recognize the name JJ Brine as a contributor to the Hermetic Library audio pool, with the tracks Innovation and Paradise featured on this blog back in 2011.

You may also be interested in checking out The Presidents of Mozambique, The LaBiancas, and some of his videos.

JJ Brine is also the artist-in-residence at and proprietor of Vector Gallery, 40 Clinton St, NYC, which I’ve also mentioned before. Vector Gallery is billed as the “Official Art Gallery of SATAN”, and is described, in a feature by the New York Professional Outreach Program, as a “new conceptual art destination on the Lower East Side, VECTOR Gallery is the most interesting phenomenon in New York.” I had the opportunity to have a conversation about this project with JJ.

20140404-111847.jpg

John Griogair Bell, Librarian: First off, thanks for taking the time to talk with me about your current project. Obviously, you’ve participated in the Hermetic Library audio pool in the past, but can you describe how and where your current project fits with your other works?

JJ Brine: VECTOR is the culmination of all of my personal projects to date.

L: What are some of your previous projects that led to this current gallery and show?

JJ: How many times do I have to come back? I put the AELON inside of the Manger, on the Cross, and at the center of the Theater of the past 2,000 years. I arranged for my birth as a means of dying, so that I might rise up and embody life and death for all things, always.

L: So this current project sounds like an invitation for the viewer to be a witness to your personal progress. It also seems to be an ongoing personal performance which is more reciprocal. One of the places for performance art, versus, say, a gallery show on one hand and theatre on the other, is the immediacy and exchange of mutual feedback between artist and audience on a more equalitarian setting. What sort of relationship do you hope to create with the audience here?

JJ: I tempt people to unabashedly be themselves. It is always a pleasure to acquire new souls for my marketplace.

L: It seems to me that in the promotional material and other interviews about this project there seems a heavy degree of performance art taking place, but I assume this is a serious endeavour for you. Can you describe your intent for this space and this project?

JJ: It is a serious endeavor that involves a heavy degree of performance art. Generally speaking — and specificity is the vice least favored by Devil and Lord alike — my intention for the project is to reprogram the mass mind, one thought at a time.

20140404-111823.jpg

L: When I’ve gandered at some of the other interviews you’ve done, it seems to me that those interviewers are driven to locate you in the realm of surreal Outsider art, such as comparing you to Warhol, for example. But, I wonder about that as a mechanism of apologetics. What I mean is that by locating you on the outside of everyday norms, other interviewers are giving people an easy way to dismiss things about your work and statement that might be uncomfortable or feel dangerous. How do you feel about how you’ve been portrayed? Do those stories about you seem to you to reflect the story you are attempting to tell? How has your work been received by the public?

JJ: I set an example by living my life in the afterlife. Every reaction across the spectrum serves to advance the goals of the Project. I have been portrayed as an agent of this world’s end, naturally, as it finally begins.

L: You’ve taken on the culturally overloaded labels “Satan” and “Satanic” for your project, but I wonder which Satan are you talking about and signifying? For example, is this the adversarial Satan of Judaism, the old-school anthropomorphic embodiment from Catholicism, the abstract and facile label for anything unfamiliar and uncomfortable of modern Evangelical Christianity, the boogyman of the Satanic panics, the Classical Promethean or Luciferian force, the stage satanism of Death Metal … something else? Or is this overloaded term useful here specifically because it is so?

JJ: We have been all of those forms and many more, for our numbers attest to our many names. We cannot lie, and so we have known many truths in many ways. But one breath is all we need to give and take; so together let us breathe.

L: On the Vector Galley page you talk about secession from the political structure of the United States as a new independent nation, and you also talk about a temporal shift while within the space changing the current secular calendar year to 2018. These seem intentionally to mark the space as a liminal environment, a place outside of normal time and space, which is what one might expect from ritual experience. Some of the performative restrictions you’ve suggested for events, such as no verbal communication, echo the self-discipline exercises of Liber E, specifically Dharana, and so forth. Does this project have other ritual practice dimensions as well as presentational and performative aspects? Can you talk about the ceremonial and ritual elements one might experience?

JJ: People naturally look to the space to inform them of their own beliefs, which is one reason why I won’t interpret it for them. They have to come to their own conclusions in order for this to manifest correctly. 2019 is coming any day now.

20140404-111809.jpg

L: Some of the iconography in your current project seems specifically intended to be triggering for some people, a bit confrontational. For example you include pentagrams, the number 666. keywords such as “legion”, a photograph of Charles Manson, and so forth. These are all clearly laden with cultural baggage, and in that sense are a kind of table of cultural correspondences, that is evoked in the viewer, but what else is going on here? What is the intentionality of using these signs, these symbols? What is the similarity and the parallax between common perception of these and the message you are trying to communicate here?

JJ: Those things which are perceived to be diabolical are an integral part of the divine and vice-versa. There is no need to divide reality from itself. For me, such things are only triggers of serenity and aesthetic comfort. Perhaps that is because I am The Devil. “Needless to say.”

L: Well, there is certainly a long history of around identity and inversion of the nature of diabolical symbolic entities. Do you approach this as something you are commenting on, about which people are already aware, or as something you are revealing for the audience?

JJ: My commentary modifies the extant awareness via revelation. And my Lights are the commentary, and the Frequency is awareness.

L: One of the connections that I noticed right away, but which I don’t recall being mentioned on your site or in other interviews, is that your Vector Gallery logo seems to be a direct visual reference to the Process Church, about which I personally don’t know a whole lot, but that does seem to be an influence on the particular mix of Christ, Satan and Manson imagery in your work, I assume. Could you tell me about that and what that connection is and what it means to you? Are you an adherent, admirer, or something else?

JJ: I will address this issue at length in 2021.

L: Is that 2021 in VECTOR standard time, or on the common secular year count?

JJ: What is to “the” left? What is to “the” right? All but from where I am standing, and I always tell my own time. It’s always right now, always will be and always was, but the numbers change with the nows and so we count the days.

20140404-111747.jpg

L: What are some of your other influences, both for your art but also your esoteric and occult interests?

JJ: The most powerful magic is intrinsic. If you want to learn a trick, now’s the time to teach yourself. If you want to bind yourself to the dimming powers of charmed obsolescence, nothing does that trick quite like a book of some stranger’s magic spells.

L: As one of the simplest ritual structures might be: 1) leave normal time and space, 2) engage in practical operations within a liminal environment, 3) return to normal time and space changed; what is the change intended for the participant, the public viewer, as they return to the world from within the Gallery?

JJ: Enlightenment as to nature of self, the nature of ALAN, and the relation of self to ALAN.

L: You mention ALAN, which seems like a surrogate for where one might perhaps expect you to use the word “man” as in humanity, but I’m not sure what this term means to you. Could you tell me more about that? When you use uppercase like that for ALAN and VECTOR, are these notariqon, initialisms or acronyms, or simply calling attention to the terms? Some other creative terminology you use is in lowercase, so I’m curious what the difference and significance is for you with these expressions.

JJ: ALAN divided Itself for the sake of multiplicity. Our experience as distinct sentient beings is the experience of Externality from ALAN; we came from ALAN and to ALAN we shall return. It will not be the same as the ALAN that was; when we return to ALAN we contribute the essence of our experience with the Externality. And so ALAN is reconstituted, fragment by fragment.

L: Any last words for our readers?

JJ: I’ll let them speak for me.

L: Your last words or the readers?

JJ: Both.

Blake, Jung, and the Collective Unconscious

Blake, Jung, and the Collective Unconscious: The Conflict Between Reason and Imagination by June Singer, introduced by M Esther Harding part of the Jung on the Hudson book series, a 2000 paperback from Nicholas-Hays, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Amusingly, I also have a previous version of this same book, which I purchased on a separate occasion, but that has a different, more provocative, title and from another publisher: The Unholy Bible: Blake, Jung, and the Collective Unconscious by June Singer, introduced by M Esther Harding, a 1986 paperback from Sigo Press, is also part of the collection at the Reading Room.

June Singer M Esther Harding Blake, Jung and the Collective Unconscious from Nicolas-Hays

“More than ever, the time is ripe for June Singer’s penetrating commentary on William Blake’s work. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. For even the most devout literary scholars and art historians, much of Blake’s mystical visions and writing are perplexing. With his pen and brush, he gave birth to mythological figures and fantastic metaphors. Singer shows us that Blake was actually tapping into the collective unconscious and giving form and voice to primordial psychological energies, or archetypes, that he experienced in his inner and outer world. Blake’s writing and art was his personal dialogue between God and his own inner self—a reconciliation of duality—in which we can find clues to contemporary issues.

In the 18th century, Blake was a pioneer in finding, nurturing, and celebrating his personal connection with the divine, a search that still appeals to people who are coming to terms with the contemporary struggle between science and spirituality—the conflict between reality and imagination. With clarity and wisdom, Singer examines the images and words in each plate of Blake’s work, applying in her analysis the concepts that C. G. Jung advanced in his psychological theories. There is no more perfect lens with which to look at Blake’s work than that of Jung’s concept of the archetypes, the process of individuation, and the mysterium coniunctionis, in which consciousness and the unconscious are united.

This edition includes a new preface by Jung [sic!] Springer and a reproduction of 24 pages from Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.” — back cover


 

June Singer M Esther Harding The Unholy Bible from Sigo Press


Going Home

Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers by Thich Nhat Hanh, the 1999 hardcover from Riverhead Books, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Thich Nhat Hahn Going Home from Riverhead Books

“Having lived in the West for more than thirty years, exiled from his native Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh has become known as a healer of the heart, identifying our cultural wounds and trying to find a way to repair them. Going Home deals with the wounds he sees most often: our alienation from our own spiritual traditions.

This book continues the dialogue with Christianity that began in Living Buddha, Living Christ. In that book, the door was opened to the idea that Buddha and Jesus speak to each other. In Going Home, they sit down and talk about each other’s prayers and rituals. They ask how they can help renew each other’s traditions. They look at the convergence of concept such as resurrection and the practice of mindfulness. They see where the Buddhist understanding of the nature of reality and the concept of God come together. Their conversation shows the deep connection between Jesus and Buddha. It shows the brotherhood they share. And most important, it shows a way to return to ourselves and our spirituality as our only true home.” — flap copy


Homage to Pythagoras

Homage to Pythagoras: Rediscovering Sacred Science, edited by Christopher Bamford, with essays by Christopher Bamford, Keith Critchlow, Robert Lawlor, Anne Macauly, Kathleen Raine, and Arthur G Zajonc, a 1994 paperback from Lindisfarne Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Christopher Bamford Homage to Pythagoras from Lindisfarne Press

“These articles, both scholarly and sympathetic to the Pythagorean perspective, are proof of the contemporary interest in Pythagoras’ philosophy as a living reality. Homage to Pythagoras is a major addition to the field of Pythagorean studies and traditional mathematics.

Here is a collection of essential documents by people at the leading edge of the sacred sciences in our time.” [via]

Essays include:
· Christopher Bamford, Introduction: Homage to Pythagoras
· Robert Lawlor, Ancient Temple Architecture
· Keith Critchlow, The Platonic Tradition on the Nature of Proportion
· Keith Critchlow, What is Sacred in Architecture?
· Keith Critchlow, Twelve Criteria for Sacred Architecture
· Robert Lawlor, Pythagorean Number as Form, Color, and Light
· Arthur Zajonc, The Two Lights
· Anne Macauley, Apollo: The Pythagorean Definition of God
· Kathleen Raine, Blake, Yeats and Pythagoras


The Darkness of God

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Darkness of God: Negativity in Christian Mysticism by Denys Turner.

Denys Turner The Darkness of God

This 1995 monograph is by Denys Turner, then on the faculty of the University of Bristol, now holding an endowed chair for Historical Theology at Yale. He characterizes it as “An essay in the philosophical history of some theological metaphors … of ‘interiority’, of ‘ascent’, of ‘light and darkness’ and of ‘oneness with God,’” and his primary materials range from Augustine and Pseudo-Dionysius to Meister Eckhart and John of the Cross.

Turner proposes an understanding of mysticism at odds with 20th-century formulations, and founded in the etic sense of late antique and medieval Christian usage, in which (he maintains) the mystical per se was directly opposed to the reduction of God to “experiences.” He designates as “experientialism” the positivist, psychologizing approach to religious experience characteristic of (and limited to) modern thought, that results from (or corresponds to) the fragmentation of religious knowledge in the later middle ages. The Darkness of God suggests a greater kinship between the old mystical theology and deconstructivist philosophy, than between the former and its experientialist—and all too often anti-intellectual—progeny in modern “mysticism.”

I really enjoyed the book because of Turner’s challenge to commonplace formulations in the field of the history of mysticism, and because of his impressive job in making sense out of some extremely challenging primary materials. However, I’m not entirely sold on his meta-narrative of the ruination of mystical philosophy. His desire to make “experientialism” into a (relatively) late development leads him to neglect the medieval affective tradition that is exemplified in the work of Bernard of Clairvaux. It may be that Turner could argue that such works are not really “mystical,” but he doesn’t even make the effort, and leaves a wide and important hole in his historical treatment.

To be fair, Turner is more of a philosopher than an historian. Contemporary mystics and magicians willing to give serious intellectual consideration to the limits of rationality, the nature of experience, and the ultimate goals of mystical understanding should be able to benefit from this difficult but engaging book. [via]