Tag Archives: Inner Traditions

The Light of Sex

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Light of Sex: Initiation, Magic, and Sacrament by Maria de Naglowska, translated and introduced by Donald Traxler, foreword by Hans Thomas Hakl, from Inner Traditions.

Maria de Naglowska The Light of Sex from Inner Traditions

This volume of Maria Naglowska’s writings is principally a translation of La Lumiere du sexe, a book that the Parisian sybil dispensed to entrants into her sex-magical Order of the Golden Arrow. After eight preliminary essays, the final three chapters provide a narrative account of idealized ceremonies beyond the scope of Naglowska’s actual resources. In this respect, it is reminiscent of the technical paper “Energized Enthusiasm” by Aleister Crowley. The story is told in the first person, and purports to give an accounting of the initiation of a male aspirant from his own perspective.

Throughout the book, there are many references to the “Satanic,” often characterizing the work of Naglowska and her order with the term. Translator and editor Donald Traxler is at extreme pains, footnoting every instance of such terminology, to clarify that Naglowska’s sort of identification with the Satanic (understood as the negating power of spirit, and associated with critical reason and sexual control) should not be taken in the sense of vulgar Satanism.

Overall, the teachings contained in the book are of a Neo-Joachimist character, and promote an immanentist theological concept. The paired chapters (5 & 6) on “The Heart” and “Sex” are especially apposite for initiates of the Thelemic O.T.O., although Naglowska seems to have somehow avoided noticing (and the notice of) Aleister Crowley. Despite her own attested routine of contemplative Roman Catholic churchgoing, she casts aspersions on the historical influence of Popes, and opposes them to initiated Knights (74), which is doctrinally reminiscent of the work of Julius Evola, with whom she was personally acquainted. (Opinions differ on the extent and intimacy of the acquaintance.)

The book is a short one, but highly valuable for students of modern sex-magical lore. A couple of appendices consist of excerpts from other Naglowska books translated by Traxler. [via]

The Book of Primal Signs

The Book of Primal Signs: The High Magic of Symbols [also] by Nigel Pennick, from Destiny Books, an imprint related to Inner Traditions, due in July 2014, may be of interest. This is a 2nd edition of Primal Signs: Traditional Glyphs and Symbols from Spiritual Arts & Crafts. Inner Traditions has a preview of the book online as well.

Nigel Pennick The Book of Primal Signs from Destiny Books

An in-depth study of the sacred meanings behind ancient and enduring symbols

· Explains the multiple forms and uses of symbols from ancient times to the present day, reflecting their roots in folk magic and the Western Mystery tradition

· Examines more than 40 glyphs, such as the cross, fleur de lis, and pentagram, as well as several families of symbols, such as craftsmen’s marks and runes

· Includes more than 300 unique woodcuts, drawings, calligraphy, and photographs—many never before reproduced

From ancient rock and cave art to the contemporary brand logos of politics and business, human beings have always created symbols to denote specific ideas, groups, or important objects as well as to convey deeper information than can be communicated in words. Many glyphs have retained their meanings over millennia whereas some have modern meanings vastly different from the original connotation. In this study of symbols, Nigel Pennick explores glyphs as agents of higher consciousness and ports of access to the collective unconscious, acknowledging the continuity of tradition, both deliberate and not, as well as how interpretations of some symbols, such as the swastika, have changed dramatically.

With more than 300 unique woodcuts, drawings, calligraphy, and photographs—many never before reproduced—Pennick examines ancient and enduring glyphs in detail, such as the circle, cross, eye, pentagram, fleur de lis, tree of life, and horseshoe, as well as several families of symbols, such as craftsmen’s marks, runes, symbolic beasts, human heads and skulls, and the sigils of Mammon. The author explains the multiple forms and uses of each from ancient times to the present day, reflecting their roots in the Western Mystery tradition. He explores the symbols of high magic such as the glyph of John Dee’s monad, those of folk magic such as the traditional cock on the weather vane, and the creation of modern glyphs such as the peace sign and the anarchy symbol.

Contrasting the hi-jacked use of power symbols in modern advertising with the vital role of symbols in traditional arts and crafts, Pennick reveals how symbols link the cosmic with the terrestrial and allow us to infuse the mundane with the numinous.” [via]

Esotericism & Symbol

Esoterism & Symbol by R A Schwaller de Lubicz, from Inner Traditions, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

R A Schwaller de Lubicz Esotericism and Symbol from Inner Traditions

Esotericism and Symbol initiates the reader into the tone, structure, and mentality of ancient Egyptian knowledge, the wellspring of all Western theology and science.

Schwaller de Lubicz makes the distinction between two kinds of human intelligence, one cerebral, the other innate. The symbol is a conventional representation of cerebral intelligence. The hieroglyph, on the other hand, is a direct, nonconventional form of writing with the unique ability to transcribe the innate ‘intelligence-of-the-heart.’

This intelligence is independent of the senses and belongs to the vast totality called life. To the ancient Egyptian it is the intelligence-of-the-heart which allows man to move toward the divine.

All esoteric teaching is addressed to this intelligence. ‘Spirit is found only with spirit,’ and esotericism is the spiritual aspect of the world, inaccessible to cerebral intelligence. It can be neither written nor spoken, nor consequently betrayed. It has nothing in common with deliberate concealment of truth. However, the preparation needed to grasp it is not a matter of learned knowledge, but of intuitive capacity.

Esotericism and Symbol explores the ‘process of becoming’ as it relates to consciousness and is revealed in all of nature; the relationship of ‘apparent life’ and the life behind appearances; the kinship between man and the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms; the mystery of the formation of substance into matter; myth, Kabbalah, and the stages of awareness leading to ‘Cosmic Consciousness.’

De Lubicz shows us that esotericism is not a ‘particular meaning hidden in a text’ but a ‘fusion’ between the vital state of the reader and the vital state of the author. This fusion evokes the intelligence of the heart, our guide to the path of self-knowledge.” — back cover

Symbol and the Symbolic

Symbol and the Symbolic: Ancient Egypt, Science, and the Evolution of Consciousness by R A Schwaller de Lubicz, from Inner Traditions, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

R A Scwaller de Lubicz Symbol and the Symbolic from Inner Traditions

“R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz spent fifteen years studying the art and architecture of the Temple of Luxor. In Symbol and the Symbolic, he explains that true progress in human thought can be made only if we call upon the ‘symbolizing’ faculty of intelligence, the faculty developed and refined in the Temple Culture of ancient Egypt and reflected in the hieroglyphs that have come down to us undisturbed. The mentality of ancient Egypt, argues the author, helps free us from our present intellectual impasse, while ‘symbolism’ must be recognized as the intuitive means of overcoming the limitations of reason.

Schwaller de Lubicz contrasts two opposing views: the analytic, mechanistic mentality of modern science and the synthetic, vitalist mentality of ancient Egyptian Sacred Science. He posits that only a symbolic mentality, like that cultivated in the Egyptian Temple, can think without objectifying and therefore can synthetically conceive the paradoxes inherent in the intimate life of matter, or nature in its ongoing genesis. Modern science has evolved to a new opening of consciousness confronted with paradoxes that reason alone cannot contend with. It will have to rise to a symbolic mode in order to integrate the complements in vital phenomena. Schwaller de Lubicz observes that in the past, fundamental and all-encompassing revolutions in the social, moral, and intellectual conditions of human life have coincided with the precession of the equinox. We are again in such a transition. If man does not destroy himself through premature application of principles belonging to a stage of consciousness that he has not yet fully attained—that is, through the manipulation of matter—modern science will be able to evolve into an analogue of Egyptian science. It will no longer seek knowledge through analysis but, with the expansion of consciousness, will evolve toward ‘direct synthetic vision.'” — back cover

The Temples of Karnak

The Temples of Karnak by R A Schwaller de Lubicz, photographs by Georges and Valentine de Miré, from Inner Traditions, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

R A Schwaller de Lubicz The Temples of Karnak from Inner Traditions

“More than 700 photographs and line illustrations documenting the ancient Egyptian temples of Karnak

· A magnificent excursion that explores the monuments, ruins, statues, and bas-reliefs from the ancient and highly developed civilization of Egypt

· The only complete photographic record available of this important acheological treasure

· Contains 600 photographs by two top French award-winning photographers

This book is a magnificent excursion led by R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz to the monuments, ruins, statues, and bas-reliefs of the temples of Karnak. With nearly 600 photographs by Georges and Valentine de Mire, more than 450 of which are full-page plates, this volume is the only complete photographic record of this important historic site. Because of recent vandalism many of the artifacts are no longer intact, and it is no longer possible to see many of the details captured in these images.

This promenade through the temples of Karnak reveals the remains of a world devoted to an unimpeachable faith in the afterlife, a faith whose conviction seems to have exalted its builders and artists, as was the case for several brief centuries with those who constructed the cathedrals of the Middle Ages. One did not work at fashioning these stones, nor were these works sculpted under someone’s strict authority; here it was necessary to act out of the heart. Every gesture in the depictions, every arrangement in the buildings, is a hieroglyph from the symbolic language of the sages who spoke to spirit and consciousness.” [via]

The Temple of Man

The Temple of Man by R A Schwaller de Lubicz, from Inner Traditions, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

R A Schwaler de Lubicz The Temple of Man from Inner Traditions

“The monumental Temple of Man represents the most important breakthrough in our understanding of Ancient Egypt since the discovery of the Rosetta stone. This exhaustive and authoritative study reveals the depths of the mathematical, medical, and metaphysical sophistication of Ancient Egypt. Schwaller de Lubicz’s stone-by-stone survey of the temple of Amun-Mut-Khonsu at Luxor allows us to step into the mentality of Ancient Egypt and experience the Egyptian way of thinking within the context of their own worldview.

His study finds the temple to be an eloquent expression and summary—an architectural encyclopedia—of what the Egyptians knew of humanity and the universe. Through a reading of the temple’s measures and proportions, its axes and orientations, and the symbolism and placement of its bas-reliefs, along with the accompanying studies of related medical and mathematical papyri, Schwaller de Lubicz demonstrates how advanced the civilization of Ancient Egypt was, a civilization that possessed exalted knowledge and achievements both materially and spiritually. In so doing, Schwaller de Lubicz effectively demonstrates that Ancient Egypt, not Greece, is at the base of Western science, civilization, and culture.

To understand the temple of Luxor, twelve years of field work were undertaken with the utmost exactitude by Schwaller de Lubicz in collaboration with French archaeologist Clement Robichon and the respected Egyptologist Alexandre Varille. From this work were produced over 1000 pages of text and proofs of the sacred geometry of the temple and 400 illustrations and photographs that make up The Temple of Man.

The Temple of Man is a monument to inspired insight, conscientious scholarship, and exacting archaeological groundwork that represents a major contribution to humanity’s perennial search for self-knowledge and the prehistoric origins of its culture and science.” [via]

The High Magic of Talismans and Amulets

The High Magic of Talismans and Amulets: Tradition and Craft by Claude Lecouteux, a new hardcover volume from Inner Traditions, has arrived at the Reading Room courtesy of the publisher.

Claude Lecouteux The High Magic of Talismans and Amulets from Inner Traditions

“The use of talismans and amulets stretches back nearly to the dawn of man, from everyday items magically prepared, such as horns or coins, to intricate and beautiful jewelry imbued with protective powers.

Drawing on his private collection of medieval manuscripts as well as his privileged access to the rare book archives of major European universities, Claude Lecouteux provides a comprehensive history of the use of talismans and amulets for protection, healing, and divine influence. He explores their use in the Western Mystery Tradition as well as Eastern and Middle Eastern beliefs about these magical objects and their incorporation—despite Church anathema—into the Christian tradition of Medieval Europe. Reviewing many different kinds of amulets and talismans used throughout the ages, such as a rabbit’s foot, horseshoe, gris-gris bag, or an inscribed parchment charged through ritual, he details the principles and symbology behind each object and shows that their use is still as widespread today as any time in the past.

Lecouteux explains the high magic behind the hermetic art of crafting amulets and talismans: the chains of sympathy, astrological geography, and the invocations required to activate their powers. He explores the work of adepts such as Agrippa, Albertus Magnus, and Athanasius Kircher, including an in-depth look at Kircher’s work on planetary seals in his Oedipus Aegyptiacus.

Illustrated throughout with period art depicting magical symbols, seals, and a wide array of talismans and amulets, this comprehensive study provides a practical guide to the historical development and step-by-step creation of magical objects.” — flap copy

The High Magic of Talismans and Amulets

The High Magic of Talismans and Amulets: Tradition and Craft by Claude Lecouteux, a new hardcover volume from Inner Traditions, due to release May 1st, 2014, may be of interest.

Claude Lecouteux The High Magic of Talismans and Amulets from Inner Traditions

“A comprehensive study of the use of talismans and amulets in the Western Mystery Tradition

· Provides an in-depth look at the medieval and Renaissance use of amulets and talismans, including the work of Agrippa, Albertus Magnus, and Athanasius Kircher

· Provides a full summary of the magical knowledge required to make an amulet or talisman, including the invocations required to activate their powers

· Reviews different kinds of amulets and talismans, from ancient jewelry and magical objects to the modern rabbit’s foot or lucky horseshoe

The use of talismans and amulets stretches back nearly to the dawn of man, from everyday items magically prepared, such as horns or coins, to intricate and beautiful jewelry imbued with protective powers.

Drawing on his private collection of medieval manuscripts as well as his privileged access to the rare book archives of major European universities, Claude Lecouteux provides a comprehensive history of the use of talismans and amulets for protection, healing, and divine influence. He explores their use in the Western Mystery Tradition as well as Eastern and Middle Eastern beliefs about these magical objects and their incorporation—despite Church anathema—into the Christian tradition of Medieval Europe. Reviewing many different kinds of amulets and talismans used throughout the ages, such as a rabbit’s foot, horseshoe, gris-gris bag, or an inscribed parchment charged through ritual, he details the principles and symbology behind each object and shows that their use is still as widespread today as any time in the past.

Lecouteux explains the high magic behind the hermetic art of crafting amulets and talismans: the chains of sympathy, astrological geography, and the invocations required to activate their powers. He explores the work of adepts such as Agrippa, Albertus Magnus, and Athanasius Kircher, including an in-depth look at Kircher’s work on planetary seals in his Oedipus Aegyptiacus.

Illustrated throughout with period art depicting magical symbols, seals, and a wide array of talismans and amulets, this comprehensive study provides a practical guide to the historical development and step-by-step creation of magical objects.” [via]

Dance of Reality

Dance of Reality: The Psychomagical Autobiography of the Creator of El Topo and The Holy Mountain [also] by Alejandro Jodorowsky is due for release in Aug, 2014 from Park Street Press, an imprint of Inner Traditions.

Alejandro Jodorowsky Dance of Reality from Park Street Press / Inner Traditions

“A glimpse into the mind and life of one of the most creative and enigmatic visionaries of our time, filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky

· Retraces the spiritual and mystical path Jodorowsky has followed since childhood, vividly repainting events from the perspective of an unleashed imagination

· Explores the development of the author’s psychomagic and metagenealogy practices via his realization that all problems are rooted in the family tree

· Includes photos from Jodorowsky’s appearance at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and from the film based on this book, which debuted at Cannes

Retracing the spiritual and mystical path he has followed since childhood, Alejandro Jodorowsky re-creates the incredible adventure of his life as an artist, filmmaker, writer, and therapist—all stages on his quest to push back the boundaries of both imagination and reason.

Not a traditional autobiography composed of a chronological recounting of memories, Dance of Reality repaints events from Jodorowsky’s life from the perspective of an unleashed imagination. Like the psychomagic and metagenealogy therapies he created, this autobiography exposes the mythic models and family templates upon which the events of everyday life are founded. It reveals the development of Jodorowsky’s realization that all problems are rooted in the family tree and explains, through vivid examples from his own life, particularly interactions with his father and mother, how the individual’s road to true fulfillment means casting off the phantoms projected by parents on their children.

Dance of Reality is autobiography as an act of healing. Through the retelling of his own life, the author shows we do not start off with our own personalities, they are given to us by one or more members of our family tree. To be born into a family, Jodorowsky says, is to be possessed. To peer back into our past is equivalent to digging into our own souls. If we can dig deep enough, beyond familial projections, we shall find an inner light—a light that can help us through life’s most difficult tests.

Offering a glimpse into the mind and life of one of the most creative and enigmatic visionaries of our time, Dance of Reality is the book upon which Jodorowsky’s critically acclaimed 2013 Cannes Film Festival film of the same name was based.” [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