Tag Archives: immediacy

Witchcraft in the Middle Ages

Witchcraft in the Middle Ages by Jeffrey Burton Russell, the 1992 fourth printing paperback from Cornell University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Jeffrey Burton Russell Witchcraft in the Middle Ages from Cornell University Press

“All the known theories and incidents of witchcraft in Western Europe from the fifth to the fifteenth century are brilliantly set forth in this engaging and comprehensive history. Building on a foundation of newly discovered primary sources and recent secondary interpretations, Professor Russell first establishes the facts and then explains the phenomenon of witchcraft in terms of its social and religious environment, particularly in relation to medieval heresies. He treats European witchcraft as a product of Christianity, grounded in heresy more than in the magic and sorcery that have existed in other societies. Skillfully blending narration with analysis, he shows how social and religious changes nourished the spread of witchcraft until large portions of medieval Europe were in its grip—’from the most illiterate peasant to the most skilled philosopher or scientist.’ A significant chapter in the history of ideas and their repression is illuminated by this book. Our growing fascination with the occult gives the author’s affirmation that witchcraft arises at times and in areas afflicted with social tensions a special quality of immediacy.” [via]

Counting to None

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Invisibles Vol. 5: Counting to None by Grant Morrison and Phil Jimenez:

Grant Morrison and Phil Jimenez's Counting to None from Vertigo


I’m reading these reprint collections of Grant Morrison’s Invisibles comic in sequential order, and this is definitely the one that I have enjoyed the best so far. I don’t know if it’s because of the intrinsic merits of its own story, or whether it’s simply that I’ve now read enough of the prior material to feel properly oriented in the story’s world. Each of the main characters from the original Invisibles cell of the first series has now had some significant backstory narrative, and a time-travel plot provides some new perspectives on familiar characters.

This volume collects the individual issues making up three titled arcs: “Time Machine Go,” “Sensitive Criminals,” and “Amerian Death Camp.” Written and published in the late 1990s, these stories seem to accept the identification of Vernor Vinge’s technological singularity with the end of the Mayan long count calendrical cycle in 2012 — an idea later popularized by Daniel Pinchbeck, among others, but which may have been original with Morrison here, as far as I can tell. Still, that feature reduces the immediacy of the narrative when reading it in 2013. Ragged Robin, the witch from the future who is the current leader of the Invisibles, mentions other contra-factual events from the first decade of the 21st century, with similar effects.

Up to his usual tricks, Morrison provides some startling intimations of presque vu and psychedelia-through-language. Many of the motifs in this segment of The Invisibles also feature in his later, more contained and incisive work The Filth. Phil Jimenez does an effective job of depicting key disorientations without entirely losing the reader, and manages to keep the violence as realistic as possible in the context. [via]



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Eco-spirituality and theology

Eco-spirituality and theology” over at Sermons from the Mound discusses, in part, and links to Hermetic Library fellow Sam Webster’s essay “How Close the Gods?

“Baruch Spinoza and Giordano Bruno both viewed the universe as divine. Their ideas were broadly pantheistic. The implications of the idea that the universe itself is divine are explored by Sam Webster, who prefers immediacy to immanence. The universe is a theophany, the manifestation of the Divine. The implication here is that everything is sacred, and we should take care of the Earth and other beings; we certainly don’t have dominion over them.” [via]