Tag Archives: i ching

Witchcraft

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Witchcraft It’s Power in the World Today by William Seabrook.

William Seabrook Witchcraft

This 1940 work is a decidedly chatty melange of memoir, folklore, occultism, and parapsychology. Seabrook insists on his materialistic skepticism throughout, but towards the end provides powerful anecdotes to test it.

He compliments the laboratory parapsychologists for taking the matter seriously, while suggesting that they are unlikely to succeed with their clinical approach. He points to Sufism, particularly the Mevlevi Order, as a repository of disciplines which might lead to genuinely “supernormal” power. “Dervish dangling” becomes his shorthand for the inducement of visionary states through physical stress, which he observes in “games” with a girlfriend, and in a shamanistic eskimo ceremony.

The book provides eminently fair (some might say generous) sketches of three prominent occultists who were the author’s contemporaries: George Gurdjieff, Aleister Crowley, and Pierre Bernard. The chapter which covers this ground (ch. III of part three, “Our Modern Cagliostros”) is alone worth the rest of the book to read. Seabrook was personally acquainted with the first two, and his account of the I Ching elsewhere in the book shows traces of Crowley’s unacknowledged instruction.

There are some basic factual fumbles, like the “pentagram” that has seven points, or the “57 varieties of the mystical hexagram” from the I Ching (p. 147—even while the illustration on p. 148 shows all 64). Long pieces of text have been relegated to appendices, which seems like an odd choice in a book that is basically a topical survey without a sustained argument or chronology.

In any case, it is a quick and entertaining read, and Seabrook’s sincerity seems unimpeachable. It’s good amusement for anyone interested in the occultism of the first half of the 20th century. [via]


Oracle Bones Divination

Oracle Bones Divination: The Greek I Ching by Kostas Dervenis, a 2014 English paperback from Destiny Books, originally published in Greek as Manteia ton Astragalon (Divination by astragalomancy), has arrived at the Reading Room, courtesy of Inner Traditions.

Kostas Dervenis Oracle Bones Divination from Destiny Books / Inner Traditions

“In ancient Greece methods of foretelling the future were widespread, whether they were official oracles of the gods or simple dice games to divine one’s luck. One of the most popular and accessible ways of determining one’s fate and fortune was through the ritual casting of animal bones, similar to the casting of coins or yarrow stalks with the Chinese I Ching.

Kostas Dervenis explains how to interpret the casting of the oracle bones—either traditional sheep anklebones or coins—to answer your questions on love, health, wealth, and the future. Using the original stanzas discovered in ancient Greek temples in Greece and Turkey, the author reconstructs the complete matrix of interpretation for each possible casting of the bones. He explores how this practice traces back to the Golden Age of the Neolithic period in Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria—predating the I Ching—and how it is still practiced today as the popular folk game of ‘knucklebones.’

Providing the first complete guide to this ancient practice, Dervenis allows anyone to cast the bones for guidance, inspiration, and insight into their fate.” — flap copy

The Zero Point Agreement

The Zero Point Agreement: How to Be Who You Already Are by Julie Tallard Johnson, from Destiny Books, has arrived at the Reading Room, courtesy of Inner Traditions.

Julie Tallard Johnson The Zero Point Agreement from Destiny Books / Inner Traditions

“We all want to experience purpose and inspiration in our lives, but the search for meaning often leaves us seeking instead of finding what we want. Drawing from the Heart Sutra, the I Ching, indigenous wisdom, the teachings of the Dalai Lama, quantum physicist David Bohm, and the Kadampa master Atisha, Julie Tallard Johnson outlines a practice centered on the Zero Point Agreement. It is a practice based on the understanding that you yourself are the zero point of your life and that life’s purpose and meaning come from within. You discover who you truly are by naming what you want to be and creating meaning from any circumstance. The 11 core principles of the zero point agreement show how to break free from negative habitual states and move through resistance, be liberated from attachment to the behaviors of others, experience gratitude, live intentionally, and learn to co-create with the natural world around you.” — back cover

The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley

The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley: Tunisia 1923 edited, with additional material, by Stephen Skinner, the 1996 paperback from Weiser Books, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Stephen Skinner's The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley from Weiser Books

“The complete diaries of Aleister Crowley cover his entire career in magic, from his initiation into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1898, to his death in 1947. These diaries record the development of Crowley’s synthesis of traditional Western ritual magic with Eastern yoga, tantra and sexual magic—culminating in the creation of Crowley’s ‘Thelemic Magick.’ The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley: Tunisia 1923 show one year in Crowley’s life. This particular year was a major turning point in his life—he and his followers has just been banished by Mussolini from their beloved Abbey of Thelema in Cefalu, Sicily. It marks a time of introspection for Crowley. In it he fully records his magical acts, the internal and external influences surrounding these acts, and their results. Also included are references to the commentaries on the Book of the Law, passages detailing drug use, the practice of sexual magic, descriptions of how he derived Qabalistic meaning from his works and life, interpretations of ‘Yi King’ (I Ching) divination, and other thoughts of a philosophic, religious, and magical nature. In these candid glimpses into Crowley’s mind the reader can see both the egocentric, self-aggrandizing ‘Beast 666’ and the doubts and misgivings of a man dedicated to the spiritual path.”


 

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.

I Ching of Mi Lo

I-Ching of Mi Lo is a new work by Lon Milo DuQuette, part of a new series of ebooks from Weiser Books called The Magical Antiquarian Curiosity Shoppe.

Lon Milo DuQuette's I Ching of Mi Lo from Weiser Books

“A highly personal, mildly vulgar, and not-at-all scholarly rendering of one of the world’s oldest and most revered oracle. A seriously funny (and profound accurate) divination tool. Go ahead… ask a question.” [via]

“Master of modern occultism, Lon Milo DuQuette, (author of Enochian Vision Magick and The Magick of Aleister Crowley) introduces the newest Weiser Books Collection – The Magical Antiquarian Curiosity Shoppe. Culled from material long unavailable to the general public, DuQuette curates this essential new digital library with the eye of a scholar and the insight of an initiate.”

The Yi King of Aleister Crowley

Thanks to volunteer effort, the rest of Liber CCXVI, the Yi King (I Ching) is now updated. Check it out, and if the unicode hexagrams don’t show up for you, scroll to the bottom of the page for links to two good, free unicode fonts which you may want to have on your system anyway. I’ll probably use a custom webfont to be sure those display eventually even for people without.

“Seek patience, self reliance, love and wit.
Though all things change, rejoice; for that is writ.” [via]

dodecahedron

dodecahedron
dodecahedron, originally uploaded by rikb000.

 

“The dodecahedron has 62 parts: 12 sides, 20 vertices, and 30 edges. These correspond – after a manner – to the structure of the I-Ching hexagrams.”

 

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