it has been shown that much of the work of Trithemius, Agrippa’s mentor and the progenitor of European ceremonial magick, was actually veiled cryptography, a brutal and embarrassing truth that much of the occult and neopagan revival, which ultimately stems from Trithemius, has never assessed.
Hermetic Library Fellow John Michael Greer reviews The Secrets of John Dee: A Commentary on his Alchemical, Astrological, Qabalistic, and Rosicrucian Arcana [Amazon, Abebooks, Publisher] edited by Gordon James at The Medicine of Metals in the Caduceus archive.
One of the minor alchemical treasures in the British Library is a manuscript (Harleian 6485) entitled “The Rosie Crucian Secrets, their Excellent Method of Making Medicines of Metals, also their Lawes and Mysteries:, and attributed to the great Elizabethan magus John Dee. This is one of a collection of Hermetic and magical documents copied out by one Peter Smart near the beginning of the eighteenth century. Like most of the manuscripts in this collection, the “Rosie Crucian Secrets” is something of a hodgepodge, containing materials on the making of metallic medicines, a letter (supposedly from John Frederick Helvetius to John Dee) describing a transmutation, a glossary of unusual words supposedly found in Dee’s writings, and a discussion of the laws of the Rosicrucian Fraternity.
Like most of the manuscripts in the collection, too, a certain whiff of fraud hangs over this one. The first third of it is nearly identical with Elharvereuna, a book on metallic medicines published by the Jacobean occult plagiarist John Heydon in 1655; the last part is an adapted translation of Michael Maier’s Themis Aurea, published in 1618; very few of the words in the glossary are in fact to be found anywhere in John Dee’s works; and the letter Helvetius (which, incidentally, is well attested elsewhere) was certainly not written to John Dee, given that Dee died in 1608 while Helvetius was not born until 1625!
Despite this, the manuscript is well worth attention; whatever its origin, it provides a detailed and unusually clear look into the processes of metallic alchemy and spagyrics (alchemical medicine). Its value led E. J. Langford-Garstin, and important figure in Golden Dawn circles early in this century, to prepare a transcription, and this was finally published by Aquarian Press in 1985. Unfortunately, Langford-Garstin’s version seems to have been inaccurate in a number of places, with important pieces left out and some of his own material inserted; furthermore, this edition has been out of print for years, and so those with no access to the British Library and its collections have had a long wait for a new and better version.
Fortunately, this is now available. Gordon James’ edition omits the letter of Helvetius, the glossary and the translation of Maier’s Themis Aurea, concentrating on the core of the manuscript — the description of the “Excellent Method of Making Medicines of Metals.” James has modernized the spelling and grammar, a definite help to the Elizabethan-impaired, but otherwise presents the material as it appears in the manuscript. He also includes the symbolic Trees of the Planets, although the reader is unfortunately not given information on the relation of these to the text in the original manuscript.
James has also provided a detailed commentary, presenting his own interpretation of the text’s meaning, which is largely based on the spiritual-somatic approach pioneered by Paul Foster Case and popularized by Case’s books and study courses. His analysis of the text, accordingly, draws extensively on the use of gematria to divine the hidden meanings of various technical terms, on Case’s particular brand of mysticism, and on parallels taken from Hindu yogic sources. He makes it clear in his introduction that, as far as he is concerned, alchemy is to be understood as a purely internal yoga of the spirit, and he dismisses any attempt at laboratory alchemy as misguided folly.
This is likely to be greeted with cheers or boos, depending on the reader’s own take on alchemy, but the dogmatic certainty with which James makes his pronouncements is somewhat irritating at best. Another mild irritation is the fact that his commentary is interspersed throughout the text, divided from it only by brackets; some less obtrusive way of connecting commentary and text might have been more useful to those who take a different approach to the Great Work. Still, the inconvenient is a minor one, more than offset by the value of the text itself — seen from nearly any alchemical perspective.
Greater Feast of Johannes Dee, died December 1608 (or March 1609) at Mortlake, London, United Kingdom
Greater Feast of Johannes Dee, died December 1608 or March 1609
The more one learns about Dee and his work, the more complex the terrain becomes—and the more threads of the modern world one can trace back to this crucial historical flashpoint.
Taken together, it seems that Dee may be responsible for nothing less than our present world.
Greater Feast of Johannes Dee, died December 1608 or March 1609 at Mortlake, England
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for March 19th, 2014
- Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600; from the distorted-world-view dept.
“Equipped with ‘VI technology’ which combines a deep depth of field lens, CCD linear image sensor and high directivity LED lamp, SV600 is able to minimize unevenness in image quality and generate a smooth image even when scanning from a distance.”
- do-it yourself repro v-cradle for paper books — ereszet; from the v-for-victory dept.
“Why a v-cradle and not a flat bed.
For two reasons: First, you cannot spread the books flat and if you do, the quality of reproduced pages will be compromised. It is especially important if you plan to OCR the book. Second, you avoid light reflections. You need only one lamp with a diffuser just over the v-cradle (picture attached). Lighting is the most difficult part of reproduction. Over the years, I have tried various setups with my semi-professional Manfrotto repro stand and four lamps at 45 degree angle. It doesn’t come close to an overhead lamp and v-cradle. Avoid any other light in the room or take everything to your terrace and shoot at the sunlight with no artificial light.”
- “Release 2.0 of the Standard Spiritualist and Occult Corpus (SSOC) Available” — Marc Demarest, Chasing Down Emma; from the knock-twice-for-yes dept.
“The SSOC now clocks in at 2700+ titles: more than 1.3 million pages of indexed Spiritualist and occult non-fiction from the 1790s until 1940.
Release 2.0 provides more than 500 new and updated titles, and marks the beginning of the re-indexing of the SSOC using a third-party embedded indexing engine superior to the Adobe Acrobat in-built OCR facility, for higher-fidelity searches.”
- “Ancient ‘Ritual Wand’ Etched with Human Faces Discovered in Syria” — Tia Ghose, livescience [Scarlet Imprint]; from the weirwood dept.
“Archaeologists have unearthed an ancient staff carved with two realistic human faces in southern Syria.
The roughly 9,000-year-old artifact was discovered near a graveyard where about 30 people were buried without their heads — which were found in a nearby living space.”
- “800-year-old monk found poking out of cliff face” — Sarah Knapton, The Telegraph [via]; from the i-know-what-happened-to-jimmy-hoffa dept.
“[Karl-James] Langford said a monastic community lived close to the area and the bones appeared to be from a man in his late 20s, in good health.
‘I would say they belong to a monk from the 1200s — due to previous archaeological digs in the past, the depth of the bones in the cliff and the history of the area.
He would likely be buried with nothing except two shroud rings which would have held his burial shroud in place at the head and feet.'”
- “Nasir al-Mulk ‘Pink Mosque’ Of Iran Is Like Stepping Into A Kaleidoscope” — Yasmine Hafiz, The Huffington Post; from the whoa-that’s-a-full-rainbow-all-the-way dept.
“From the outside, the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran, seems like a fairly traditional house of worship — but it’s hiding a gorgeously colorful secret.”
Photo: Omid Jafarnezhad
- “Bagging a Witch in Ohio” — Chris, Woodyard, Haunted Ohio — [HT Richard Shepard]; from the so-logically-if-she-weighs-the-same-as-a-duck-she’s-made-of-wood dept.
“Today’s post returns to a similar theme: Anti-witch remedies and witch-tests in early 19th-century Ohio. This story–half dire description of lunacy and half Monty Python sketch–comes from the village of Bethel in Clermont County.”
- “Siberian Police Stop Witch Burning” &mdash RIA Novosti, The Moscow Times [HT Judika Illes]; in the titus-andronicus dept.
“In an unexpected incident worthy of the Spanish inquisition, a couple in eastern Siberia decided their acquaintance was a witch and attempted to burn her alive, though police stopped the impromptu auto-da-fe.
The rescue came not a moment too soon, as the couple were at that moment forcing the alleged witch headfirst into a burning stove in an abandoned building, Zabaikalsky region police said Thursday.”
- Wellcome MS373, f.87r — Sienna Lathan, via tweet; from the and-shoot-forth-venom dept.
“Whosoeuer first in the morning drinketh garlicke and Cockes blood hee need not fear venome.”
- Discordian Events List — Chasing Eris; what’s-up-chuck dept.
“What Discordian events are near you?”
- “Embracing Questions” — Thomas Zwollo, Spiral Nature; from the soldier-and-the-hunchback dept.
“Throughout his life, Crowley was asking himself questions, and he encouraged his students and readers to ask questions. This included questions about the things they read, the rituals they performed, the conditions of their magical work, and even to interrogate the entities they invoked. He embraced the method of science, and thus he embraced questions more than answers. I often challenge myself to remember this in my own work.”
- “What The Gnostic Pentagram Ritual Sounds Like” — The Blog of Baphomet [HT Spiral Nature]; from the and-sometimes-y dept.
“Another group of occultists that we’re associated with had asked for some help with a demonstration of the vowel sounds (I, E, A, O, U) that Pete Carroll uses to build the various banishing rituals in his writing. As with many things in life it’s one thing to read a ritual text and another to see, hear and participate in it for oneself.”
- “Sock Magic” — Fire Lyte, Inciting A Riot [HT Sarah Anne Lawless]; from the sock-it-to-me dept.
“Magical tools can be found in all sorts of strange places these days. From conversations about turning your potpourri warmer into a slow-burning witchy cauldron, to using your iPod as a divinatory device, people are getting witchy where they can these days. In bygone eras our witchy ancestry, so we’re led to believe, used what they had on handle — the broom, the cauldron, the sickle — because it’s what they had. Not because a broom is more magical or special than any other household object.
And so, with all that very serious background, let’s make magic with socks!”
- “A Mystic, Magician and Theologian Talk to an Angel” — K Herschel, Star And System; from the july-like-a-dog dept.
“The best way to get a feel for the Enochian entities is to look at Dee’s journals. What you see there are years of promises unkept. The angels promised power, the power that makes empires and tears down thrones. They also promised a complete system. They never delivered on any of it to Dee. After you have feasted on Dee’s disappointments, move on to Crowley’s The Vision and the Voice and the collected work of Benjamin Rowe. All else aside, what you will see is what Rowe realized very early on. The Enochian entities are very good at playing up to your expectations and saying precisely what you need to hear to keep you interested even when it’s not what you expect. This is a danger in magic in general, but the Enochian entities are masters of the genre.”
- “Null-A Mind Software” — seth, An American Mystagogue; from the possibly-maybe dept.
“Two value logic (Ie, True or False) while a highly useful way of thinking manages to darken one’s view of possible alternate ways of thinking and perceiving the world around them. When we become habitually addicted to the categorization of all information as either Totally Existing or Totally Not-Existing we become sloppy, lazy thinkers who are prone to building a self-gratifying personal cosmology. When the two-value system is used in its right way it is simply a systematic approach to what I call ‘the cosmic binary’.”
- “Cultural production of ignorance provides rich field for study” — Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times [HT Wythe Marschall]; from the i-read-it-on-the-internet dept.
“Robert Proctor doesn’t think ignorance is bliss. He thinks that what you don’t know can hurt you. And that there’s more ignorance around than there used to be, and that its purveyors have gotten much better at filling our heads with nonsense.”
- “Rethinking Gnostic Intellectuals? Categories as Weapons and History as Construct” — Philip L Tite, Bulletin for the Study of Religion; from the interprefacts dept.
“As a social historian, I still like to think that we can know something about past cultures. However, if I’ve learned anything from my method & theory exemplars over the years, it is to appreciate the value of stepping back and ‘studying the study of.’ Indeed, this theoretical standpoint is a subtext in nearly all my teaching and much of my scholarship. How the past is shaped, directed, juxtaposed, and selectively presented is perhaps far more insightful to the student in religious studies than the actual ‘facts’ (events, persons, things, etc) – even if those ‘facts’ are not in dispute per se.”
- “The Gnostics Were Intellectuals” — April DeConick, The Forbidden Gospels; from the path-less-traveled dept.
“So I have been working upstream most of my career, swimming against a current that is much stronger than I am. I guess I like the challenge, or I wouldn’t keep doing it. I have spent a lot of time within the Nag Hammadi texts, reconstructing the worlds of the authors, which are not crazy once you learn their references and points of view. The Gnostics from antiquity were anything but crazy, inconsequential or irrational. But they were different. And difference often leads to misunderstanding.”
- “Uncovered in Jerusalem, 9 tiny unopened Dead Sea Scrolls” — Ilan Ben Zion, The Times of Israel [HT Disinformation]; from the right-under-your-nous dept.
“An Israeli scholar turned up the previously unexamined parchments, which had escaped the notice of academics and archaeologists as they focused on their other extraordinary finds in the 1950s. Once opened, the minuscule phylactery parchments from Qumran, while unlikely to yield any shattering historic, linguistic or religious breakthroughs, could shed new light on the religious practices of Second Temple Judaism.”
- “The Warlock and Truth-Breaking” — K Herschel, Star and System [HT Storm Faerywolf]; from the curses-foiled-again dept.
“We might find, as well, echoes of the Warlock and Truth-Breaker in Aleister Crowley’s concept of the curse of the Magus. The curse of the Magus is that she must always lie. Having achieved a level of transcendence beyond the dualistic structure of the phenomenal universe, all things are both truth and false for the Magus. As such, language itself is inadequate to capture the understanding (Binah) and wisdom (Chokmah) that the Magus has achieved and so all linguistic statements and teachings are a lie. We are clearly dealing here with a discussion of the nature of the Magus on the mystical register. The experience to which she is privy is beyond the grasp of word or image, as is the case with most mystical experience.”
- The Secret Chiefs and Academia, Ep 1 of The Lost Word, hosted by Greg Kaminsky, with Tony Silvia, from Gnostic NYC; from the master-chief-mischief dept.
- “Neuroanatomical Correlates of Religiosity and Spirituality” — Lisa Miller, et al., JAMA Psychiatry; from the gonna-set-me-up-with-the-spirit-in-the-sky dept.
“A thicker cortex associated with a high importance of religion or spirituality may confer resilience to the development of depressive illness in individuals at high familial risk for major depression, possibly by expanding a cortical reserve that counters to some extent the vulnerability that cortical thinning poses for developing familial depressive illness.”
- Majid Fotuhi quoted at “Is Religion Good for Your Brain?” — Sheila M Eldred, Discovery News; from the hippo-on-campus-would-stress-me-out-too dept.
“One of the worst killers of brain cells is stress […] Stress causes high levels of cortisol, and cortisol is toxic to the hippocampus. One way to reduce stress is through prayer. When you’re praying and in the zone you feel a peace of mind and tranquility.”
- Death Grips, with videos featured on this blog on occassion, will be on tour with Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden.
- “On the occult, books, and the senses” — Brigit Katz, Bibliopaths; from the medium-is-the-message dept.
“Occult revivals that are bubbling up in Brooklyn and in other pockets across the country have ushered in something of a Golden Age for small-press, metaphysical publishing houses. ‘That’s sort of the new wave of occult books: a re-evaluation of occult book as tome, and as talisman.’ [Phillip] English tells me. ‘Occultists or magicians, they tend to be collectors … They can appreciate the sort of art and magic that went into the work itself.’ Which isn’t to say that all members of the occult community buy into the idea of book-as-talisman. Phil Hine, a British occultist who has written several books on a practice called Chaos Magic, is among the witches and magicians who have questioned the value of ornately bound hard covers to magical rites. ‘Generally, I buy books because of the content,’ he writes on his blog. ‘Presentation is a secondary consideration.'”
- “Book Review: ‘Plato at the Googleplex’ by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein” — Colin McGinn, The Wall Street Journal; from the drown-me-in-the-shallow-water dept.
“Rebecca Goldstein has written a timely book about our own age by taking us back to an earlier age—that of the ancient Greeks. She wants to know what the works of Plato can teach us about the life worth living, about politics, child rearing, love and sex, about knowledge and reality, brain and mind, truth, goodness, and beauty. Ms. Goldstein’s book is felicitously written, impressively researched, insightful, important, entertaining and glowing with intelligence. Plato is brought marvelously to life, and, as a welcome corollary, philosophy is vindicated against what Ms. Goldstein aptly labels the ‘philosophy-jeerers’—those who rashly claim that philosophy has no intellectual substance or future in this scientific era.”
- “‘Son Of God’ Veers Toward Gnostic Heresy” — Joel Gehrke, The Federalist; from the heresy-gone-tomorrow dept.
“Son of God gives oxygen to a claim that early church leaders denounced as historically and theologically false because it contradicts the earliest accounts of Jesus’ life. The movie’s portrayal of Jesus’ Last Supper with the disciples creates the impression that Jesus ordered Judas to betray him.
They aren’t the first to do that. An ancient Gnostic sect known as the Cainites honored traditional villains such as Cain and Judas, praising the latter as the closest confidant of Jesus, according to the second-century church father Irenaeus of Lyons.”
- “Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for ‘irreversible collapse’?” — Nafeez Ahmed, The Guardian’s Earth Insight; from the IDM dept.
“A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.
Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that ‘the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.’ Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to ‘precipitous collapse — often lasting centuries — have been quite common.'”
- “Detection of primordial gravitational waves announced” — Matthew Francis, Ars Technica; from the bang-bang-that-awful-sound dept.
“When the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced a press conference for a “Major Discovery” (capital letters in the original e-mail) involving an unspecified experiment, rumors began to fly immediately. By Friday afternoon, the rumors had coalesced around one particular observatory: the BICEP microwave telescope located at the South Pole. Over the weekend, the chatter focused on a specific issue: polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background left over from the Big Bang. With the start of the press conference, it’s now clear that we’ve detected the first direct evidence of the inflationary phase of the Big Bang, in which the Universe expanded rapidly in size.”
- “Space Ripples Reveal Big Bang’s Smoking Gun” — Dennis Overbye, The New York Times; from the bang-bang-my-baby-shot-me-down dept.
“One night late in 1979, an itinerant young physicist named Alan Guth, with a new son and a year’s appointment at Stanford, stayed up late with his notebook and equations, venturing far beyond the world of known physics.
He was trying to understand why there was no trace of some exotic particles that should have been created in the Big Bang. Instead he discovered what might have made the universe bang to begin with.”
- “The Remnants of Prehistoric Plant Pollen Reveal that Humans Shaped Forests 11,000 Years Ago” — Josie Garthwaite, Smithsonian Magazine; from the ancient-anthropocene dept.
“A new study of pollen samples extracted from tropical forests in southeast Asia suggests humans have shaped these landscapes for thousands of years. Although scientists previously believed the forests were virtually untouched by people, researchers are now pointing to signs of imported seeds, plants cultivated for food, and land clearing as early as 11,000 years ago—around the end of the last Ice Age.
The study, to be published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Archaeological Science comes from researchers led by paleoecologist Chris Hunt, of Queen’s University, Belfast, who analyzed existing data and examined samples from Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Thailand and Vietnam.”
- The Famished Road by Ben Okri [HT Literary Interest]; from the bring-me-a-dream dept.
“We can redream this world and make the dream come real. Human beings are gods hidden from themselves.”
- “Hodges’ Constellation cards” — The World of Playing Cards; from the he-saw-stars-in-his-eyes dept.
“The Ram, the Bull, the Heavenly Twins,
And next the Crab, the Lion shines —
The Virgin and the Scales,
The Scorpion, Archer, and the Goat,
The Man that Bears the Watering Pot,
And Fish with glittering tails.”
- “Masonic Playing Cards” — The World of Playing Cards; from the know-when-to-hold-em dept.
“This attractive pack commemorating the history of freemasonry has the Kings as masters of the lodge, the Queens and Jacks are other masonic officers while the Jokers are two operative masons. The deck contains two interpretation cards explaining the meaning of the Masonic symbolism.”
- Hermetic Library anthology artist Doleful Lions has a new release, Annotated Gilgamesh b/w Tearstreaked Monster.
- “Child’s illustrated garden of Satanic ritual abuse” — Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing; from the is-that-a-euphemism-in-your-pocket dept.
“I want to go home. I already HAD the ‘magic surgery.’ They put a monster in me.”
- “Ancient Egyptian Kitten Skeletons Hint at Cat Domestication” [HT Boing Boing]; from the curious-what’s-in-that-bag dept.
“The skeletons of six cats, including four kittens, found in an Egyptian cemetery may push back the date of cat domestication in Egypt by nearly 2,000 years.
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together …
Hermetic Library fellow David Richard Jones‘ The Circumference and the Hieroglyphic Monad, part III of his In Operibus Sigillo Dei Aemeth, and is based on an observation by Clay Holden, of The John Dee Publication Project, that “the geometry of the Monad as analyzed and expected in Theorem XXIII when applied to a circle subdivides the circumference of a circle into seven equal divisions with almost perfect elegance.”
- Lon Milo DuQuette’s “I’m Scared” is a new political single.
- Aleister Crowley’s invocation to coffee, recorded in his diaries, was recently a randomly popular old post.
“O coffee! By the mighty Name of Power do I invoke thee, consecrating thee to the Service of the Magic of Light. Let the pulsations of my heart be strong and regular and slow! Let my brain be wakeful and active in its supreme task of self-control! That my desired end may be effected through Thy strength, Adonai, unto Whom be the Glory for ever! Amen without lie, and Amen, and Amen of Amen.”
- “Earliest footprints outside Africa discovered in Norfolk” — Pallab Ghosh, BBC News; from the wonder-what-the-sea-washed-away-the-other-291999999-days-we-weren’t-watching dept.
“The footprints are more than 800,000 years old and were found on the shores of Happisburgh. … The sea has now washed away the prints – but not before they were recorded”
- Lake of beer prayer attributed to St Brigid, via T Thorn Coyle; from the has-Ra-finally-gotten-Sekhmet-to-chill-out-yet dept.
“I’d sit with the men, the women of God
There by the lake of beer.
We’d be drinking good health forever
And every drop would be a prayer.”
- “Archaeologists Have Found the Oldest Roman Temple” — Alice Robb, New Republic; from the exploring-ancient-temples-hidden-under-watery-depths-in-spite-of-Lovecraft dept.
“Archaeologists have long suspected that the oldest Roman temple lay at the foot of the legendary Capitoline Hill, but it’s only recently that they’ve managed to excavate the waterlogged Sant’Omobono site with modern techniques.
‘The temple’s much more interesting than anybody expected,’ said Albert Ammerman, an archaeologist at Colgate University who worked on the dig. ‘It’s beautiful down there.'”
- “Mysteria Misc. Maxima: February 7th, 2014” — Sarah Veale, Invocatio blog; from the πάντα-ῥεῖ dept.
“This will be the last MMM for the foreseeable future. … So please join me in bidding a fond adieu to the MMM and enjoy this final link round-up…”
- “On the Arbitrary Appellation of Magic in Antiquity” — Sarah Veale, Invocatio; from the i-am-large-i-contain-multitudes dept.
“While a good definition suggests that magical practices are rites and rituals that exist on the margins of cultural norms (Dickie, 38), the point is that, when we look at the evidence, what is labelled magic is a moving target. The label stays the same, but the content changes depending on the situation at hand. The label is not so much about the practices themselves, but rather about the status of those practices.”
- “The Ritual of the Duck” — Sarah Anne Lawless; from the together-with-all-the-appurtenances-thereto dept.
“Yesterday I made Aves Flying Ointment. A recipe I created a couple of years ago combining the traditional herbs with the more grisly shapeshifting ingredients of bird fat, bird bone dust, and feather ashes.”
- “Tveir Hrafnar: Sorcery in Silver” — Sarah Anne Lawless; from the my-precious dept.
“SAL: Your work is a wonderful rarity in that it caters to occultists, sorcerers, and traditional witches who most jewelers ignore in favour of the much bigger market of neopagans. Was this intentional or were you simply following your influences and passions?
AW: Mostly following my passions and influences. I am self centered in my art and would rather make what speaks to me than what I think the market would buy. It’s a ‘go for what you know’ kind of thing. Hopefully there are enough folks out there with similar aesthetics and interests to keep things rolling.”
- “Read Sappho’s ‘new’ poem” — Tim Whitmarsh, The Guardian; from the he-said-she-said dept
“They whose fortune the king of Olympus wishes
Now to turn from trouble
to [ … ] are blessed
and lucky beyond compare.”
- “A New Sapphic Poem ~ Wading into the Morass” — David Meadows, rogueclassicism; from the he-said-she-maybe-said dept.
“In case you haven’t heard, Dirk Obbink has recently announced the discovery/publication of two ‘new’ poems by Sappho and they’re causing quite the flurry of activity on blogospheres (as you may have already seen), twitterspheres (ditto), and no doubt, in private emails and departmental coffee lounges around the world.”
- “Charlemagne’s bones are (probably) real” — The Local; from the dem-dry-bones dept.
“Researchers confirmed on Wednesday evening — 1,200 years to the day since Charlemagne died — that the 94 bones and bone fragments taken from the supposed resting place of the King of the Franks and founder of what was to become the Holy Roman Empire came from a tall, thin, older man.”
- “Charlemagne’s bones found in his coffin” — The History Blog; from the in-the-last-place-you-looked dept.
“That may seem obvious, but given how often he was exhumed and reburied and parts of him given away as relics, it’s actually quite notable that the collection of bones in the Karlsschrein, the Shrine of Charlemagne, and other reliquaries in the Aachen Cathedral all appear to come from the same person who matches contemporary descriptions of the Frankish king.”
- “Babylonian Tale of Round Ark Draws Ire From Christian Circles” — Alan Boyle, NBC News; from the ark-you-glad-you-to-see-me-or-is-that-a-clay-tablet-in-your-pocket dept.
“A recently deciphered 4,000-year-old clay tablet from ancient Mesopotamia is putting a new spin on the biblical tale of the flood and Noah’s Ark — and that’s causing consternation among some Christian fundamentalists.”
- Hermetic Library anthology artist Arthur Loves Plastic‘s new Get Happy.
- Cranky Roman Guy on The Golden Globes; from the plus-ça-change-plus-c’est-la-même-chose dept.
“If you doubted that this is the age of Discord reigning supreme, you have an annual rite in which you give #GoldenGlobes to beautiful women.”
- “A Preliminary Analysis of the Botany, Zoology, and Mineralogy of the Voynich Manuscript” — A O Tucker et al.; from the-effect-of-gamma-rays-on-man-in-the-moon-marigolds dept.
“We note that the style of the drawings in the Voynich Ms. is similar to 16th century codices from Mexico (e.g., Codex Cruz-Badianus). With this prompt, we have identified a total of 37 of the 303 plants illustrated in the Voynich Ms. (roughly 12.5% of the total), the six principal animals, and the single illustrated mineral. The primary geographical distribution of these materials, identified so far, is from Texas, west to California, south to Nicaragua, pointing to a botanic garden in central Mexico, quite possibly Huaztepec (Morelos). A search of surviving codices and manuscripts from Nueva España in the 16th century, reveals the calligraphy of the Voynich Ms. to be similar to the Codex Osuna (1563-1566, Mexico City). Loan-words for the plant and animal names have been identified from Classical Nahuatl, Spanish, Taino, and Mixtec. The main text, however, seems to be in an extinct dialect of Nahuatl from central Mexico, possibly Morelos or Puebla.”
- “Norse Rune code cracked” — Medievalists.net; about “Ráð þat, If You Can!” — K Jonas Norby; from the missed-it-missed-it dept.
“‘It’s like solving a puzzle,’ said Nordby to the Norwegian website forskning.no. ‘Gradually I began to see a pattern in what was apparently meaningless combinations of runes.’
However, those thinking that the coded runes will reveal deep secrets of the Norse will be disappointed. The messages found so far seem to be either used in learning or have a playful tone. In one case the message was ‘Kiss me’. Nordby explains ‘We have little reason to believe that rune codes should hide sensitive messages, people often wrote short everyday messages.’
In many instances those who wrote the coded runes also left comments urging the readers to try to figure it out. Sometimes they would also boast of their abilities at writing the codes.”
- “O D fuckin abbot.” — Medium Ævum; from the orking-cows dept.
- “Hollywood Calls” — Feral House; from the your-name-will-go-up-in-bright-lights dept.
“Since we’re in Hollywood we’ve signed an option agreement for a Sundance Channel television series based on the Feral House book, Sex and Rockets, about the occult rocket scientist Jack Parsons.”
- “The end of Yeats: work and women in his last days in France” — Lara Marlowe, Irish Times; from the speak-before-your-breath-is-done dept.
“Like his alter ego Cuchulain in the play he had just written, Yeats was dying surrounded by women.”