Tag Archives: Inner Traditions

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

Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin

Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin: Art, Sex, and Magick in the Weimar Republic [also] by Tobias Churton, from Inner Traditions, is due to release in May 2014, and may be of interest.

Tobias Churton Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin from Inner Traditions

“A biographical history of Aleister Crowley’s activities in Berlin from 1930 to 1932 as Hitler was rising to power

• Examines Crowley’s focus on his art, his work as a spy for British Intelligence, his colorful love life and sex magick exploits, and his contacts with magical orders

• Explores Crowley’s relationships with Berlin’s artists, filmmakers, writers, and performers such as Christopher Isherwood, Jean Ross, and Aldous Huxley

• Recounts the fates of Crowley’s friends and colleagues under the Nazis as well as what happened to Crowley’s lost art exhibition

Gnostic poet, painter, writer, and magician Aleister Crowley arrived in Berlin on April 18, 1930. As prophet of his syncretic religion “Thelema,” he wanted to be among the leaders of art and thought, and Berlin, the liberated future-gazing metropolis, wanted him. There he would live, until his hurried departure on June 22, 1932, as Hitler was rapidly rising to power and the black curtain of intolerance came down upon the city.

Known to his friends affectionately as “The Beast,” Crowley saw the closing lights of Berlin’s artistic renaissance of the Weimar period when Berlin played host to many of the world’s most outstanding artists, writers, filmmakers, performers, composers, architects, philosophers, and scientists, including Albert Einstein, Bertolt Brecht, Ethel Mannin, Otto Dix, Aldous Huxley, Jean Ross, Christopher Isherwood, and many other luminaries of a glittering world soon to be trampled into the mud by the global bloodbath of World War II.

Drawing on previously unpublished letters and diary material by Crowley, Tobias Churton examines Crowley’s years in Berlin and his intense focus on his art, his work as a spy for British Intelligence, his colorful love life and sex magick exploits, and his contacts with German Theosophy, Freemasonry, and magical orders. He recounts the fates of Crowley’s colleagues under the Nazis as well as what happened to Crowley’s lost art exhibition–six crates of paintings left behind in Germany as the Gestapo was closing in. Revealing the real Crowley long hidden from the historical record, Churton presents “the Beast” anew in all his ambiguous and, for some, terrifying glory, at a blazing, seminal moment in the history of the world.” [via]

Initiatic Eroticism

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Initiatic Eroticism: and Other Occult Writings from La Flèche introduced and translated by Donald Traxler from articles in Maria de Naglowska’s La Flèche. This is the fourth volume in the series of Maria de Naglowska material being released by Inner Traditions and Donald Traxler.

Maria de Naglowska Donald Traxler Julius Evola Initiatic Eroticism from Inner Traditions

In common with most Anglophone occultists, my principal knowledge of Parisian sybil Maria de Naglowska prior to the appearance of Donald Traxler’s translations was occasional brief mention as a French translator of some writings by Victorian American sex magician Paschal Beverly Randolph. As it turns out, she occupied a vital node in the esoteric communications of 1930s Paris, maintaining her own small “Brotherhood of the Golden Arrow” while also being actively engaged with Traditionalists, Surrealists, Theosophists, and individual occultists such as William Seabrook. Traxler presents this volume as the fourth of five in his major translation of Naglowska’s work, but it was my starting place, and I would recommend it as a worthy point of entry.

The book presents articles from the twenty numbers of Naglowska’s periodical La Flèche (“The Arrow”), an “Organ of Magical Action,” as she subtitled it. These represent the way in which she chose to express her esoteric ideas to the general public at the time that she was also composing book-length works addressed to formal aspirants and initiates. In addition to expository articles, there are a small number of poetic and narrative pieces, and a final section gives two essays written for La Flèche by Julius Evola. All of this material is quite interesting, and my favorite pieces are probably “The Magic Square,” “The Priestesses of the Future,” and “Masculine Satanism, Feminine Satanism.”

Naglowska’s central doctrine of the “Third Term” is a pristine example of twentieth-century occult neo-Joachimism. In Joachim of Fiore and the Myth of the Eternal Evangel in the Nineteenth Century, scholars Reeves and Gould demonstrate in the world of modern letters a revival of the medieval Joachim’s trinitarian prophetic theory of history, with proponents such as Yeats and D.H. Lawrence. This phenomenon was so widespread that by the 1930s, when Naglowska was writing, it is hard to know how mediated (and by what thinkers) any specific instance might be, even when it is as clear a reflection as the one found in Naglowska’s Third Term. Her Holy Spirit (the Third Term of the Trinity) is emphatically female, and so her teachings also align with the French Neognosticism of Jules Doinel and his successors.

In Evola’s Metaphysics of Sex, he pairs Naglowska with Aleister Crowley as examples of sexual mystics in the contemporary world. Seeing the errors in Evola’s presentation of Crowley’s ideas, I am leery of his reading of Naglowska, although he was certainly on more familiar terms with her. It seems almost unbelievable that Naglowska and Crowley could not at least have known of one another, and yet I’ve seen no evidence that either took such note. In any case, Naglowska’s “Third Term” teaching of the Golden Mass is, I think, a useful way for adherents of Crowley’s Gnostic Catholic Church to understand the role of our own Mass: a synthesis that transcends the white and black masses of the previous age.

I learned a number of useful things from this book, and it was entertaining into the bargain. I will read further in Traxler’s translations of Naglowska. [via]

Overthrowing the Old Gods

Overthrowing the Old Gods: Aleister Crowley and the Book of the Law by Don Webb, the 2013 paperback from Inner Traditions, which includes a commentary on Liber AL vel Legis by Michael A Aquino, and includes, as part II, the collection of essays once available in the old Rûna-Raven Press book Aleister Crowley: The Fire and the Force as well, is part of the collection at the Reading Room courtesy of the publisher.

Don Webb Overthrowing the Old Gods from Inner Traditions

“Received by Aleister Crowley in April 1904 in Cairo, Egypt, The Book of the Law is the most provocative record of magical working in several hundred years, affecting not only organizations directly associated with Crowley such as the Ordo Templi Orientis but also Wicca, Chaos Magic, and the Temple of Set.

Boldly defying Crowley’s warning not to comment on The Book of the Law, Ipsissimus Don Web provides in-depth interpretation from both Black and White Magickal perspectives, including commentary from Michael A. Aquino, Ph.D., who served as High Priest of the Temple of Set from 1975 to 1996. Webb examines each line of the Book in the light of modern psychology, Egyptology, existentialism, and competing occult systems such as teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff and contemporary Left-Hand Path thought. Discarding the common image of Crowley formulated in a spiritually unsophisticated time when the devotee of the Left-Hand Path was dismissed as a selfish evildoer, Webb unveils a new side of Crowley based on his adoption of the Loki archetype and his aim to become a vessel of love for all humanity. In so doing, he shows how The Book of the Law is connected to both Right- and Left-Hand Paths and reveals how Crowley’s magickal path of mastery over the self and Cosmos overthrew the gods of old religion, which had kept humanity asleep to dream the nightmare of history.

Providing in-depth analysis of Crowley’s sources and Webb’s own self-identification with the First Beast of Revelation from a profound esoteric perspective, Webb takes his views out of the Golden Dawn matrix within which he received The Book of the Law and radically recasts the Cairo Working as a text of personal sovereignty and a relevant tool for personal transformation.” — 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.

Harmonies of Heaven and Earth

Harmonies of Heaven and Earth: Mysticism in Music from Antiquity to the Avant-Garde by Hermetic Library fellow Joscelyn Godwin, the 1995 reissue paperback from Inner Traditions, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Joscelyn Godwin Harmonies of Heaven and Earth from Inner Traditions

“What lies beneath the surface of music and what gives it its transcendent power? For many people, music is the primary catalyst for experiences of expanded consciousness. Musicians and lovers of music—all those who have ever reflected on its inner reality—feel that a true philosophy of music cannot deal with physics and psychology alone. It must include the universal and mystical aspect of which Plato, Kelper, Rameau, and Novalis wrote, and of which Wagner said: ‘I feel that I am one with this vibrating Force, that it is omniscient, and that I can draw upon it to an extent that is limited only by my own capacity.’ The spiritual power of music surfaces in folklore, myth, and mystical experience, embracing heaven and earth, heard as well as unheard harmonies.

Joscelyn Godwin explores music’s perceived effects on matter, living things, and human behavior. He then turns to metaphysical accounts of the higher worlds that are the birthplace of Harmony, following the path of musical inspiration on its descent to Earth, and illuminating the archetypal currents that lie beneath Western musical history. A final section gives the fullest account ever published of theories of celestial harmony, from Pythagoras to Rudolf Steiner and Marius Schneider.” — 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.

The Secret Lore of Music

The Secret Lore of Music: The Hidden Power of Orpheus by Hermetic Library figure Fabre d’Olivet, translated by Hermetic Library fellow Joscelyn Godwin, a new 1997 edition of Music Explained as Science and Art paperback from Inner Traditions, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Fabre d'Olivet Joscelyn Godwin The Secret Lore of Music from Inner Traditions

“Ever since Pythagoras demonstrated the mathematical basis of music and its profound effect ont he soul, the Western esoteric tradition has been deeply involved with the science and art of tone. Fabre d’Olivet (1767–1825) was the first to restate Pythagoras’s ideas in modern terms and to show the way for music to regain its spiritual heritage. He calls for a complete reevaluation of its nature and purpose. Fearless in his criticism of modern trivialization of music, d’Olivet recalls its ancient glory in China, Egypt, and Greece. He shows that music is sacred art rooted in the same principles as the universe itself and that it is intimately connected with the destiny of humankind.” — 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.

Atlantis and the Cycles of Time

Atlantis and the Cycles of Time: Prophecies, Traditions, and Occult Revelations by Joscelyn Godwin, the 2011 softcover edition from Inner Traditions, which arrived courtesy of the author, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Joscelyn Godwin's Atlantis and the Cycles of Time from Inner Traditions

“Atlantis has held a perennial place in the collective imagination of humanity from ancient Greece onward. Many of the great minds of the occult and esoteric world wrote at length on their theories of Atlantis—about its high culture, its possible location, its ultimate demise, and their predictions of a return to Atlantean enlightenment or the downfall of modern society.

Beginning with a review of the rationalist writings on Atlantis—those that use geographic and geologic data to validate their theories—renowned scholar Joscelyn Godwin then analyzes and compares writings on Atlantis from many of the great occultists and esotericists of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Fabre d’Olivet, G. I. Gurdjieff, Guido von List, Julius Evola, Edgar Cayce, Dion Fortune, and René Guénon, whose writings often stem from deeper, metaphysical sources, such as sacred texts, prophecy, or paranormal communication. Seeking to unravel and explain the histories and interpretations of Atlantis and its kindred myths of Lemuria and Mu, the author shows how these different views go hand-in-hand with the concept of cyclical history, such as the Vedic system of the four Yugas, the Mayan calendar with its 2012 end-date, the theosophical system of root races, and the precession of the equinoxes. Venturing broader and deeper than any other book on Atlantis, this study also covers reincarnation, human evolution or devolution, the origins of race, and catastrophe theory.”

 

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.

Practice excerpt from Secret Practices of the Sufi Freemasons

Here’s an excerpt of chapter 1, “Practice,” from Secret Practices of the Sufi Freemasons: The Islamic Teachings at the Heart of Alchemy by Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff, introduction and commentary by Stephen E Flowers [also], which is offered at the Reading Room courtesy of Inner Traditions.

Baron von Sebottendorff and Stephen E Flowers' Secret Practices of the Sufi Freemasons from Inner Traditions

 

Practice

Islam means “submission,” that is, submission to the will of God. The believer can just commend himself to the will of God simply because it is the will of God. He feels secure and does not ask why this is so and that is different—he fulfills the divine law simply because it is the revealed law of God. He accepts his fate as being immutable and, at the most, attempts by means of prayer to implore for mercy from God when the burden becomes too great for him. But the sign of the true believer will consistently be that he does not ask for release from the burden, but rather for the strength to be able to bear it. “Lead us in the way of those who do not err,” the Prophet prescribes to those who pray.

This faithful condition is what is most worthy to strive after, according to all religious systems. Actually he is also the most happy, it is he who the Prophet values most highly, and he represents this as his only goal–and therefore his religion is called Islam.

Now beside the belief there is something else that makes it equally possible for a person to yield to his fate; it is no longer faith but knowledge—knowledge of the divine laws. The one who knows no longer fulfills this law blindly but rather knowingly. The truly wise one is very near to the believer, but he is superior to the believer.

The Prophet created a very wise institution to open the way to knowledge for everyone who truly seeks it. According to this system in the Qur’an he provided explicit signs, which point the way to knowledge, and which have to reveal the law of creation to someone who gains knowledge from within his own being. The highest form of knowledge will always lead the wise to yield to Divine Providence without complaint—that is, to Islam through knowledge.

In what follows we will concern ourselves with this path. How the Prophet himself came into possession of this knowledge is recounted in the form of the following legend.

Not far from Mecca there lived at the time of Mohammed an aged hermit, Ben Chasi, who was teaching the Prophet. When the lesson was over the hermit gave him a metallic plate upon which were engraved formulas, the meaning of which the then thirty-year-old Prophet had just learned. Soon thereafter the hermit died, but Mohammed kept on teaching the secret of these formulas in the most intimate circles. Abu Bekr, the first calif, inherited the plate and the knowledge, which only spread within a small circle after the death of the Prophet: this is the secret knowledge of the oriental Freemasons.

In order to ensure against the loss of the formulas the Prophet distributed them throughout the Qur’an according to a precise key. The key is known, and the formulas are preserved in the Qur’an, such that the possibility remains for reconstructing the system at any time.

The formulas are preserved in the so-called abbreviated letters, the meaning of which is debated among orientalists as well as different commentators. Some are of the opinion that these letters are signatures. Individual Suras certainly originated under highly variable conditions: the Prophet dictated some, others he recited while friends wrote them down, still others were recorded later from memory. When the Suras were collected, the letters, which indicated the originator of the Sura, would have remained, but now without their meaning.

Some European scholars are of the view that these letters represent notes by the scribe. Thus ALM is supposed to mean: amara li muhamed—“Mohammed commanded me to write.”

Arabic commentators view these letters as holy abbreviations. Thus ALM means: allah latif madshid—“God is good.” Or, as another thinks: ana lahu alamu—“I am the God who knows.”

For others the letters are to be interpreted in a kabalistic sense. Certainly all the Suras in which these letters occur contain definite indications that they have something special to say.

The Arabic language, like all the Semitic languages, does not write the vowels. If one does not read these letters as such, but rather as words, they yield no meaning. For this reason people have been scratching their heads over the meaning of these letters. But in actuality these are the secret formulas concealed in the letters that someone who knows the truth can now easily read and pronounce. All of these formulas are compounds of the vowel A with one or several consonants. 



Number of the sura Name of the sura Formula
2 The Cow alam 

3 Amran’s Family alam 

7 El Araf alamas 

10 Jonah alar 

11 Houd alar

12 Joseph alar

13 Thunder alamar 

14 Abraham alar
15 A-hijr alar 

19 Mary kaha ya as

20 Ta ha ta ha 

26 The Poet tasam

27 The Ant tas

28 The Narration tasam 

29 The Spider alam 

30 The Greeks alam

31 The Wise alam 

32 Adoration alam 

36 Ya sin yas 

38 Sad sa

40 The Believer cham

41 Revelations Well Expounded cham 

42 Consultation cham asak

43 Gold Adornments cham

44 Smoke cham

45 Kneeling cham

46 Al ahqaf cham

50 Qaf ka

68 The Feather na 


822 days   14 different formulas



The formulas are present in twenty-nine Suras. The number of days results in twenty-five lunar months in which three days are missing. On these three days the one who was dedicating himself to these exercises was occupied doing something else, to which we will return later.

 

 

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.

Secret Practices of the Sufi Freemasons

Secret Practices of the Sufi Freemasons: The Islamic Teachings at the Heart of Alchemy by Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff, a translation of the 1924 Die Praxis der alten türkischen Freimauerei: Der Schulüssel zum Verstä der Alchemie (written by Baron von Sebottendorff under the pseudonym Theosophisches Verlagshaus) with substantial introduction and commentary by Stephen E Flowers [also] has arrived at the Reading Room courtesy of Inner Traditions.

Baron von Sebottendorff and Stephen E Flowers' Secret Practices of the Sufi Freemasons from Inner Traditions

“Reveals the secret spiritual exercises of the Bektashi Order of Sufis

· Shows how this order, also known as Oriental Freemasonry, preserves the ancient spiritual doctrines forgotten by modern Freemasonry

· Explains how to transform the soul into the alchemical Magnum Opus by combining Masonic grips and the abbreviated letters of the Qur’an

· Includes a detailed biography of Baron von Sebottendorff

Originally published in Germany in 1924, this rare book by Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff reveals the secret spiritual exercises of the Bektashi Order of Sufis as well as how this order, also known as Oriental Freemasonry, preserves the ancient spiritual doctrines forgotten by modern Freemasonry. Sebottendorff explains how the mysterious abbreviated letters found in the Qur’an represent formulas for perfecting the spirit of the individual. When combined with Masonic hand signs and grips and conducted accordingly to a precise schedule, these formulas incorporate spiritual power into the body and transform the soul from its base state into a noble, godlike state: the Magnum Opus of the medieval alchemists.

Laying out the complete program of spiritual exercises, Sebottendorff explains each abbreviated word-formula in the Qur’an, the hand gestures that go with them, and the exact order and duration for each exercise. Including a detailed biography of Sebottendorff and an examination of alchemy’s Islamic heritage, this book shows how the traditions of Oriental Freemasonry can ennoble the self and lead to higher knowledge.” [via]

 

 

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.

Overthrowing the Old Gods

Overthrowing the Old Gods: Aleister Crowley and the Book of the Law by Don Webb, from Inner Traditions, is scheduled to be published on Oct 15, 2013.

Don Webb's Overthrowing the Old Gods from Inner Traditions

“New commentaries on Aleister Crowley’s Book of the Law reveal how it is connected to both Right- and Left-Hand Paths

• Examines each line of the Book of the Law in the light of modern psychology, Egyptology, Gurdjieff’s teachings, and contemporary Left-Hand Path thought

• Explores Crowley’s identification with the First Beast of Revelations as well as his adoption of the Loki archetype for becoming a vessel of love for all humanity

• Recasts the Cairo Working as a text of personal sovereignty and a relevant tool for personal transformation

• Includes commentary on the Book of the Law by Dr. Michael A. Aquino, who served as High Priest of the Temple of Set from 1975 to 1996

Received by Aleister Crowley in April 1904 in Cairo, Egypt, the Book of the Law is the most provocative record of magical working in several hundred years, affecting not only organizations directly associated with Crowley such as the Ordo Templi Orientis but also modern Wicca, Chaos Magic, and the Temple of Set.

Boldly defying Crowley’s warning not to comment on the Book of the Law, Ipsissimus Don Webb provides in-depth interpretation from both Black and White Magical perspectives, including commentary from Dr. Michael A. Aquino, who served as High Priest of the Temple of Set from 1975 to 1996. Webb examines each line of the Book in the light of modern psychology, Egyptology, existentialism, and competing occult systems such as the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff and contemporary Left-Hand Path thought. Discarding the common image of Crowley formulated in a spiritually unsophisticated time when the devotee of the Left-Hand Path was dismissed as a selfish evil doer, Webb unveils a new side of Crowley based on his adoption of the Loki archetype and his aim to become a vessel of love for all humanity. In so doing, he shows how the Book of the Law is connected to both Right- and Left-Hand Paths and reveals how Crowley’s magical path of mastery over the self and Cosmos overthrew the gods of old religion, which had kept humanity asleep to dream the nightmare of history.

Providing in-depth analysis of Crowley’s sources and his self-identification with the First Beast of Revelations from a profound esoteric perspective, Webb takes his views out of the Golden Dawn matrix within which he received the Book of the Law and radically recasts the Cairo Working as a text of personal sovereignty and a relevant tool for personal transformation.” [via]