The symbolic syncretism of the Golden Dawn a century ago, which fused renaissance Hermeticism with oriental esoterics drawn from the European imperial experience, only fully flowered when Aleister Crowley added a battery of gnostic power techniques culled from diverse cultural sources.
The Age of Enlightenment was in full swing: an explosion of philosophy, science, the resurgence of hermeticism and occult experimentation all competed directly with the traditional teachings of the Church, and the Jesuit monopoly, in the Universities and Colleges.
Hermetic Library’s domain hermetic.com was registered December 3, 1996. That makes today the 20th anniversary of Hermetic Library’s birth. Join me in celebrating the library’s 20th year online!
Consider sharing on your social media a link to your favourite resource on the library site or your memory about first finding Hermetic Library. Help spread the word about this 20th anniversary, and help the library with its overall mission of Archiving, Engaging and Encouraging the living Western Esoteric Tradition, Hermeticism & Aleister Crowley’s Thelema for another 20 years.
Each zine is a wild and wooly whatever of occultura and esoterrata compiled together, generally related to Hermetic Library’s overall mission of archiving, engaging and encouraging the living Western Esoteric Tradition, Hermeticism, and Aleister Crowley’s Thelema.
Contents of this issue are:
Lisette Costanzo — Snake, Brian Redfern, Frater Osiris — Alternate Path to Pé, Juliana Paniagua, John Griogair Bell — Demons, Samuel Henly, Craig Conley —The Five Norths of the Left-Hand Path, Ryan Michael Pfeiffer — Delineatas Magicae Mysticum Cacas, Ömer Aksoy — Inside Heliocentric Astrology, Ömer Aksoy — The Heliocentric Perspective, Anonymous, Justin Nelson — Commentary on the Corpus Hermeticum, Lisette Costanzo — Gaia
The Golden Thread: The Ageless Wisdom of the Western Mystery Traditions by Hermetic Library fellow Joscelyn Godwin, with an foreword by Richard Smoley, a 2007 paperback from Quest Books, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“The ancient sages of the Western Mystery Traditions passed on a knowledge beyond reason, allowing us to access transcendent states that reveal our own nature and that of the cosmos. Such sages exist in every age and elevate all of humanity, says Joscelyn Godwin, whether we realize it or not. Among those whose wisdom traces from antiquity to the present include:
- Hermes Trismegistus
- the Gnostics, the alchemists
- and the Rosicrucians, Freemasons, and Theosophists
Each stage is always with us, Godwin emphasizes, and so each offers a potential source of inspiration and action for today.” — 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.
“Graeco-Egyptian Alchemy in Byzantium” is a paper by Michèle Mertens which may be of interest [HT David Pecotic]. You can gander at this short paper via the University of Liége’s Open Access portal. But this is an excerpt from The Occult Sciences in Byzantium edited by Paul Magdalino and Maria Mavroud, which full volume may be of further interest. Joel T Walker reviews the entire volume in Aestimatio 5 if you want a survey of the papers within the book, and there is a limited preview via Google Books as well.
“The main concern of this paper will be with the problems raised by the reception of ancient alchemy in Byzantium. After a brief introduction, I will start from the study of a pre-Byzantine author, Zosimos of Panopolis, and deal with the following questions: How, from a purely material viewpoint, were Zosimos’ writings handed down during the Byzantine period? Did Byzantine alchemists have access to his works and did they resort to them? Was Zosimos known outside the alchemical Corpus; in other words, did Graeco-Egyptian alchemists exert any kind of influence outside strictly alchemical circles? When and how was the alchemical Corpus put together? In a more general way, what evidence do we have, whether in the Corpus itself or in non-alchemical literature, that alchemy was practised in Byzantium? Answers (or at least partial answers) to these questions should help us to understand and define to some extent the place held by the ‘sacred art’ in Byzantium.
It is now universally accepted that alchemy came into being in Graeco-Roman Egypt around the beginning of our era and that it originated from the combination of several factors, the most remarkable of which are (1) the practices of Egyptian goldsmiths and workers in metals who experimented with alloys and knew how to dye metals in order to simulate gold; (2) the theory about the fundamental unity of matter, according to which all substances are composed of a primitive matter and owe their specific differences to the presence of different qualities imposed upon this matter; (3) the idea that the aim of any technique must be the mimesis of nature; (4) the doctrine of universal sympathy, which held that all elements of the cosmos are connected by occult links of sympathy and antipathy which explain all the combinations and separations of the bodies. The encounter of these different trends of thought brought about the idea that transmutation ought to be possible, all the more so with the addition of mystical daydreams influenced by gnostic and hermetic currents and favoured by the decline of Greek rationalism.” (205-206)
“Before 500 A.D., alchemy appears to be a rather marginal activity, as suggested by the absence of evidence outside the alchemical Corpus. In the sixth century, references to alchemy become increasingly numerous in Byzantine literature, but some suspicion can be perceived with regard to the sacred art, a suspicion reinforced by the schemes of swindlers. From the seventh century onwards, alchemy seems to have been perfectly well integrated into the official learning, judging by the vogue it apparently enjoyed under Heraclius. The evidence of the Marcianus (10th or 11th c.), the sumptuous decoration of which suggests that it must have been made for a high-ranking person, points in the same direction.” (228)
“A Report on Current Magical and Esoteric Blogs” by Laura Mitchell in the Spring 2013 issue of the Societas Magica Newsletter (PDF Link) includes mention of the Hermetic Library Blog. [HT Sarah Veale]
I won’t lie: I’m in pretty good company on this short list.
When Mitchell writes that the library blog “is a combination of the more academic-minded and the experiences and thoughts of those engaged in esotericism as a living tradition,” I feel gratified that I’ve apparently been successful in trying to do my little part to bridge some of the traditional divides between town-gown and praxis-theory, and certainly I agree that my musings on the blog are not particularly academic, though I sometimes I do try a bit harder than others, that isn’t my goal necessarily for the blog itself, per se, as much as adding value to the canonical library site as well as having a place for some personal reflective practice, content curation and promotion, and, well … whatever else it is I do!
I’m grouped under the heading of “Hermeticism” along with the blog of the Ritman Library in Amsterdam. One might quibble about the variety of what people mean by “Hermeticism” as opposed to my intentional, personal use of “Hermetism” to generally differentiate between a former modern and a latter historical, or Latin, traditions; just as I’ve tried to be clear about carving out an even additional space for the use of the word “Hermetic” that is distinct, especially as used in the name, and thus prima facie mission statement, of the Hermetic Library; but, ultimately, using “Hermeticism” as the umbrella is fair, pretty normal usage, and certainly matches one aspect of the scope I cover on the blog and at the library, and either way I’m certainly quite flattered, pleased and proud to be included in the list.
You may want to check out Societas Magica itself as well as the other short list of blogs other than this one which are featured.
- Heterodoxology by Egil Asperem
- Invocatio by Sarah Veale
- Religious Studies Project by David G. Robertson and Christopher R. Cotter, & al., in association with the British Association for the Study of Religions (BASR)
- The Ritman Library Blog for the Amsterdam-based organization behind the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica
- Whewell’s Ghost, a group blog
Mitchell discusses some of the advantages and benefits of the medium in general in the article:
“For those who are not already engaged with the genre, blogging has several advantages as a mode of exchange for scholars. Most importantly, academic blogging is much faster than traditional scholarly media, not only in terms of publishing speed (virtually instant), but also in terms of enabling quick feedback from the reading public. This can make it a good venue for advancing new theories and ideas as well as posting short pieces of the “notes and queries” type. Part and parcel of their greater speed, academic blogs tend to be informal in style, which makes them quick and easy to write, and can be more inviting for readers too. For me, blog posts have sometimes had unexpected professional benefits of various kinds. As a (fairly new) active participant in the academic blogging community, I have found that writing posts gives me a unique opportunity to test out new ideas or examine a subject that I might otherwise avoid because it falls outside of my area of expertise.”
Egil Asperem notes with amusement that this is a round-up of blogs in a newsletter. But, I have to be honest and say the most amusing part for me is when Mitchell says that my blog is “run by an anonymous practitioner (who refers to him or herself as ‘the librarian’)” … which boggles me a little bit, since I think it’s pretty clear who it is behind the mask, so to speak. But, as I have been identified at various times as anonymous, enigmatic and of indeterminate gender as well as being an egotistical self-promoter (based on the same evidence natheless!), I clearly and definitely now have accumulated the necessary mystique and hidden-in-plain-sight misdirection to carry off a double life as both the mild-mannered alter-ego as well as the caped mastermind known as The Librarian. Well, it’s time for me to be off and start that League of Evil now, I suppose! Work, work, work …
Hermeneuticon and the Hermeneuticon Wiki are some of the original site enhancements I’d planned to develop when I took over the Hermetic Library site. Hermeneuticon and projects hosted there are intended to enhance the content of the main library site by offering a place for the kind of additional information I personally find interesting and useful, and, of course, hope you will also. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons this companion site has lain fallow for far too long …
Recently I’ve renovated the Hermeneuticon site a bit, but also completely converted the Hermeneuticon Wiki to a new wiki engine and also more closely integrated it with the library.
The Hermeneuticon site name is inspired by and a play on the folk etymology of “hermeneutics”, which suggests that the origin comes from Hermes, the messenger of the gods in Greek religion; because of the adianoeta and allegory with Hermes Trismegistus, to whom the terms hermeticism and hermetic are related.
I wanted to have a place where I could develop projects that added value to and encourage engagement with the texts offered by the main library site through sharing metadata, including hermeneutics, cross-indexes, cross-references, annotations and other marginalia; primarily through a wiki where such information could be collectively developed, but also through other projects as well.
There are currently five projects living at Hermeneuticon, four of which are being built on the wiki, including the Hermeneuticon Wiki itself but also Metadata, Concordance and Serapeion project spaces. A fifth project, the Aleister Crowley Reference Desk, is a separate development intended as a resource and generator for useful information, especially concordance tables and tag clouds, but is still in a very early alpha state though it may see itself renovated soon as well to support the rest of the projects, especially the Concordance Project for which it was originally developed.
The primary tool at Hermeneuticon is the wiki.
The Hermeneuticon Wiki root namespace is intended to develop entries on key terms found across the entire main library site, similar to what one might expect from a wiki-based encyclopedia. However, articles in the primary namespace are intended to be unique resources, not copies or duplicates of another encyclopedia. If there are other articles or references, instead of importing them there, as one might on some other wiki, one will simply add them to one of the reference link lists toward the end of the article. However, if the material in another resource is of particular interest, one should consider quoting from those resources in an appropriately fair use citation.
There are some initial examples of articles and you can take a gander at all the pages and namespaces via the sitemap. Mostly there are some stub articles, but there are a few just a little bit more filled out, such as the entry for Florence Farr, to give you an idea.
I especially want to point out to you today the way that the information from the Metadata Project at the wiki is now more fully integrated with the rest of the library. As I mentioned already, the idea of offering a place for metadata is to increase the breadth and depth of engagement with the texts on the site. I think an example will do much to demonstrate what I mean by all of this.
If you head over to the main library site, and for this example I’m looking at Liber Ararita, in the upper right corner of most pages are a few useful links, such as a site search tool (including a convenient way to add the Hermetic Library site search to your browser, by clicking on the ‘+’ mark, if your browser supports such things), a link which opens some helpful bookmarking links, and a ‘Metadata’ link.
Clicking on this Metadata link will open a window which is populated with information directly and dynamically pulled from the matching page on the wiki from the Metadata Project.
I think you can see from this example the potential for adding useful hermeneutics, cross-indexes, cross-references, annotations and other marginalia that are not part of the text itself, but of interest to the student and researcher, to the site. On the whole, there are not many entries available yet, but if you have comments, questions, or suggestions about these things or the site in general, feel free to contact me via the librarian alias.
There’s only one month until the March 21st, 2013 deadline to participate in the inaugural issue of the Hermetic Library Journal from the Benefit Anthology Project! Release is planned for June 21st, 2013. Consider letting others whom you think may be interested know about this as well, but more importantly consider submitting your written and visual work and the various sections for specific submissions. If you have any questions, comments or wish to contribute to this project; contact the librarian.
The Hermetic Library Journal is intended as a place for both practice and theory, not only informed by the other but with the intention of crossing thresholds between scholar and practitioner. The Journal offers a venue for art and culture that both informs and is informed by esotericism, which will bring the artist into the mix. The Journal is a community of intentional work from theoretic, practical and cultural perspectives that explores and relates to written and visual work about or inspired by esotericism and magick in the form of articles, essays, personal narratives, poetry, fiction, plays, artwork, sequential art, biographies, and more.
There are several sections to which you may be interested in submitting work:
· For general written and visual submissions, I will be accepting a wide and diverse range of materials, basically looking for work that is informed by or engages the living Western Esoteric Tradition, Hermeticism, Aleister Crowley’s Thelema and other subject matter at the library. You may also be interested in reading about the completely optional peer-review process, a way to get feedback on general submissions.
· Symposium, or forum, section is an opportunity for readers to write on a topic pre-selected for each issue, which for this issue is Intolerance and Tolerance.
· Kottabos, or letters, section for letters to the editor.
· Agora, or market, section is a place to provide goods and services of relevant interest that will reach the readership.
· Kerukeion, or announcements, section is a place for brief gratis community notices.
For general information, please read the call for submissions and the terms & conditions for submissions. If you have any comments, questions or concerns; or want to submit your work for an anthology, just contact the librarian.
“CLAVIS Editions will be launching the Primer Issue of CLAVIS Journal in Seattle, Washington 26 March 2013. The publishers and some of the contributors will participate in the event.
CLAVIS is a journal of the advanced occult disciplines, produced by esoteric publishers Ouroboros Press and Three Hands Press. Born of the desire to serve an increasingly sophisticated esoteric community, its pages wed the dual arenas of scholar and practitioner, our aim to serve as a magical resource for years to come. In accord with the Emblem of our work, the journal provides unique access to magical strata and currents of esoteric thought not found elsewhere. Our pages feature Magical Theory and Practice, Hermetic Studies, Comparative and Esoteric Religion, History of Magic, Folklore and newly-emergent fields of syncretic occult praxis.
Our editorship and peer review panel is uniquely suited for the advancement of this work, drawing from its specialist areas of Hermeticism, Witchcraft, Grimoria, Thelema, and Natural Magic. With solid reputations for inventive book design and editorial acumen, we look forward to serving the magical adept with content worthy of the concealed beauty and mystery of the word occult.
Standard and Deluxe copies of the journal will be available.
Daniel Schulke & William Kiesel
Three Hands Press | Ouroboros Press
Viatorium Press” [via]