Tag Archives: Greek

“Cryptography,” said Peebs, “from the Greek kryptos, or ‘hidden.’ ” “Hidden writing, specifically,” said Ada. “A code.” “But not, one hopes, crypt as in, well, crypts, with dead people in them,” said Jane. “Actually…,” began Peebs. “Impossible, all of you!” Ada raised her voice.

Jordan Stratford, illo. Kelly Murphy, The Case of the Girl in Grey [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Stratford The Case of the Girl in Grey cryptography greek kryptos hidden writing code dead people impossible raised voice

How to Kill a Dragon

How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-European Poetics by Calvert Watkins, a 1995 paperback from Oxford University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Calvert Watkins How to Kill a Dragon from Oxford University Press

“In How to Kill a Dragon Calvert Watkins follows the continuum of poetic formulae in Indo-European languages, from Old Hittite to medieval Irish. He uses the comparative method to reconstruct traditional poetic formulae of considerable complexity that stretch as far back as the original common language. Thus, Watkins reveals the antiquity and tenacity of the Indo-European poetic tradition.

Watkins begins this study with an introduction to the field of comparative Indo-European poetics; he explores the Saussurian notions of synchrony and diachrony, and locates the various Indo-European traditions and ideologies of the spoken word. Further, his overview presents case studies on the forms of verbal art, with selected texts drawn from Indic, Iranian, Greek, Latin, Hittite, Armenian, Celtic, and Germanic languages.

In the remainder of the book, Watkins examines in detail the structure of the dragon/serpent-slaying myths, which recur in various guises throughout the Indo-European poetic tradition. He finds the ‘signature’ formula for the myth—the divine hero who slays the serpent or overcomes adversaries—occurs in the same linguistic form in a wide range of sources and over millennia, including Old and Middle Iranian holy books, Greek epic, Celtic and Germanic sagas, down to Armenian oral folk epic of the last century. Watkins argues that this formula is the vehicle for the central theme of a proto-text, and a central part of the symbolic culture of speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language: the relation of humans to their universe, the values and expectations of their society. Therefore, he further argues, poetry was a social necessity for Indo- European society, where the poet could confer on patrons what they and their culture valued above all else: ‘imperishable fame.'” — back cover

The Babylonian Genesis

The Babylonian Genesis: The Story of Creation by Alexander Heidel, the paperback from University of Chicago Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Alexander Heidel The Babylonian Genesis

“Here is a complete translation of all the published cuneiform tablets of the various Babylonian creation stories, of both the Semitic Babylonian and the Sumerian material. each creation account is preceded by a brief introduction dealing with the age and provenance of the tablets, the aim and purpose of the story, etc. Also included is a translation and discussion of two Babylonian creation versions written in Greek. The final chapter presents a detailed examination of the Babylonian creation accounts in their relation to our Old Testament literature.” — back cover


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.

Cypher Wheel

The Cypher Wheel by Frank Phelps is a handcrafted substitution cipher coding and decoding device with characters from Celtic Runes, Theban, Latin, Ogham, Enochian, and Greek.

Frank Phelps' Cypher Wheel

“The Cypher Wheel is a beautiful hand crafted work, made from native lumber harvested near my home in Versailles, MO, and is painstakingly hewn into a fine piece of art that would look great displayed in the home along with your prized art and furniture. But more than that, it is a functional coding and decoding device.”

“The outer wheel of the Cypher Wheel is made of Oak or Sycamore, measures 11 inches in diameter and is about an inch thick. The lettering of the 8 lines of Alphabets in 6 languages is applied via black ink silk screen. Other than the manual silk screen machine, no mechanical devices were used on this design. The Alphabets are not “stenciled” or “computer generated.” All of the lettering is my original “free hand” lay out.

From the outside in, the Alphabets are; Celtic Runes, Theban, 2 rows of modern Latin, Ogham, Enochian, upper case Greek, and lower case Greek.

I have wheels in Oak, and Sycamore. Just let me know which one you like.” [via]

Frank Phelps' Cypher Wheel