Tag Archives: Joscelyn Godwin

Music, Mysticism and Magic

Music, Mysticism and Magic: A Sourcebook by Hermetic Library fellow Joscelyn Godwin, the 1988 paperback from Arkana, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Joscelyn Godwin Music, Mysticism and Magic from Arkana

“‘At the highest levels of music little changes: it is always the same vehicle for voyages to another world, the same revelation of divine and cosmic laws, the same powerful tool for self-transformation, as it was in ancient and even in prehistoric times’&mdask;from the Preface

This anthology brings together over 2,000 years of the perennial wisdom associated with music—its spiritual, philosophical, mystical and magical dimensions—in writings spanning the ages from the ancient world to the twentieth century, from classical, Judaic, Islamic, Christian and secular civilizations.

The writers range from composers, philosophers and novelists to monks, Kabbalists and astronomers. Plato and Plutarch, Kepler and Chateaubriand, Balzac and Gurdjieff, Schopenhauer and Stockhausen, Wagner and Schumann, Rudolf Steiner and George Sand are only some of the distinguished names included. Yet the common ground they share is astonishing: the power of music to awaken the spirit and trigger magical and mystical experience recurs throughout their writing.

From Cicero’s account of the music of the spheres and the medieval hermit Richard Rolle’s mystical experience of canor—a continuous state of song which welled up in him unbidden—to the utopian socialist Fourier’s use of music in a recipe for ritual magic, this sourcebook leads us far beyond current limited views of music as mere entertainment or emotional stimulus.”

 

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.

The Spirit House

The Spirit House, or Brown’s Free Hall, in Georgetown, New York by Hermetic Library fellow Joscelyn Godwin [also], published by the Upstate Institute, is a short pamphlet about a particular building that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Joscelyn sent this copy to the library with a note, “This may be the only copy West of the Rockies!”

Joscelyn Godwin's The Spirit House from the Upstate Institute

 

“The Upstate Institute has published The Spirit House, or Brown’s Free Hall, in Georgetown, New York by Joscelyn Godwin. The Spirit House is the Upstate Institute’s first publications, and tells the story of the house built by spiritualist Timothy G. Brown in the mid 1860s in Georgetown, following a design that Brown believed was given to him from the spirit world. The building is noted for its unusual architecture, and is still standing.” [via]

 

Spirit House, Georgetown NY
Spirit House, Georgetown NY from Joscelyn Godwin’s photo set

“Built between 1864 and 1868 in Georgetown, Madison County, New York, by Timothy Brown (1807-1885) , also known as “Brown’s Free Hall.” Brown claimed that the design for the house had been given him from the spirit world through his sister Mary. For years it served as a center for Spiritualists and for social events of all kinds.” [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.

Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Hypnerotomachia Poliphili: The Strife of Love in a Dream by Francesco Colonna, translated by another fellow Joscelyn Godwin [also] from Thames & Hudson:

Francesco Colonna and Joscelyn Godwin's Hypnerotomachia Poliphili from Thames & Hudson

 

For half a millenium, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili has been one of the great literary enigmas of the Italian Renaissance. This book, the title of which is translated as “The Strife of Love in a Dream,” was written by the Dominican monk Francesco Colonna in the late 15th century. It consists of the amatory adventures of one Poliphilo, who dreams of a search for his love Polia among spectacles of ancient buildings, sculptures and gardens frequented by the gods of pagan antiquity.

Colonna’s Hypnerotomachia does in fact constitute a “missing link” between two critical antecedents of Aleister Crowley’s Thelema: Saint Augustine and Francois Rabelais. Augustine, who wrote “Love, and do what thou wilt,” proposed that the spiritual trinity within the human soul was composed of memory, understanding, and will. In the Hypnerotomachia, Poliphilo represents memory, and he is given two guides: Logistica (understanding) and Thelemia (will). Eventually, when forced to choose between their counsel, he follows Thelemia in deciding upon the path of erotic fulfillment over the options of worldly glory and ascetic contemplation. Florence Weinberg has suggested that Rabelais, who certainly read Colonna and explicitly acknowledged him, was inspired by Colonna’s Thelemia in assigning the name Theleme to his utopian abbey.

The Hypnerotomachia was written in a curious and largely impenatrable “pedantesca,” supplementing the Tuscan vernacular with many Greek and Latin neologisms. One partial translation into English by “R.D.” was published during the Renaissance, when it was also translated into French. The book aroused the most interest in French readers of the 16th and 17th centuries, who usually understood it as an alchemical allegory. Anglophone scholars tended to concentrate attention on the innovative woodcut illustrations, rather than the text. Since 1999 Joscelyn Godwin’s complete and lucid English translation (now available in a more economical second edition) has made it available to readers in a new and powerful way. [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.

The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor: Initiatic and Historical Documents of an Order of Practical Occultism by another fellow Joscelyn Godwin [also]:

Joscelyn Godwin's The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor from Red Wheel / Weiser

 

This volume-length study of a 19th Century international magical order shows a level of scholarship that deserves to set a standard in the treatment of such topics. Virtually all of the available primary texts have been reproduced, with analysis that sets them in context. Biographies of the principal figures of the organization are set forth, and its relationship to other groups is examined.

Though not presented as such, The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor as now published could provide the basis for a grass-roots H.B. of L. revival such as that enjoyed by the Golden Dawn as a consequence of Regardie’s exposures. In many ways, the H.B. of L. technology is more appropriate for the task. While the H.B. of L. aspired to the formation of a Lodge system and group initiations, it appears that their modes of recruitment did not make such activity possible for the majority of members. So the emphasis is on individual study and self-initiation within a larger fraternity and symbolic system. [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.

Book Review – The Forbidden Book by Guido Mina di Sospiro and Joscelyn Godwin

Hermetic Library fellow Mark Stavish recently reviewed Joscelyn Godwin, another Hermetic Library fellow, and Guido di Sospiro’s The Forbidden Book, a recently available for the first time in English fiction novel. Both the novel and the review may be of interest. Mark Stavish posted his review to Amazon and also to his email list, but gave me permission to share it with you here:

The Forbidden Book is a wonderful page turner in the style of Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code and The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason, only unlike these bestsellers, di Sospiro and Godwin deliver the goods, not only in story, but for many readers, in esoteric content as well. Opening with a bang, literally, and a large one at that, The Forbidden Book takes its readers into an occult world just below the surface of our own. Occult in both the general and specific meanings of the word in that not only are we introduced to the world of magic and alchemy, and sex magic at that, but also into a world view not generally known, that of Traditionalism. Our unlikely hero Leo Kavenaugh is of course a professor, and an instructor of Italian at that. The damsel in distress and love interest is the lovely Orsina, who was once his teaching assistant and now married to a wealthy industrialist. However, while the plot set-up is predictable, its unfoldment is clean and enticing all the way to the end as the mystery around the forbidden book, The Magical World of the Heroes, written by Cesare Della Riviera in 1605, unfolds and family secrets around forbidden power, incest, hubris and greed embodied in Orsina’s uncle Baron Emanuele are revealed. All of this is against the background of a modern Europe on the brink of civil war as religious tensions break through the veneer of cafe culture, and the politics of identity assert themselves via shade of Colin Wison’s book The Mind Parasites, where mind control is not about controlling all people, but is about controlling the right people.

For our readers, the Della Riviera’s book is a real work, not unlike the Hypnoerotomachia Poliphili which was translated by Joscelyn Godwin (1999), and formed the basis for Caldwell and Thomason’s novel. Many in the English speaking world first became introduced to The Magical World of the Heroes as it was mentioned in Introduction to Magic — Rituals and Practical Techniques for the Magus, Guido Stucco’s translation of the collected works of the UR Group, an Italian esoteric lodge centered around the teachings of Julius Evola. Evola, a self-styled Baron, advocated a philosophy which believed that the modern world is essentially decadent and that traditional norms, hierarchies, and values are the only means of restoring sanity through political and occult methods.

I found The Forbidden Book a fascinating and a wonderful first novel for this pair of brilliant scholars, showing that deep thinking, scholarly skill, and creativity can go hand-in-hand and create a novel that one can be pleasantly read in an afternoon or two. While I did not particularly enjoy reading The Forbidden Book in its electronic form, Disinformation has been bought by Red Wheel/Weiser and a paperback edition will be released in early 2013.

The Forbidden Book got mentioned over on Boing Boing

The Forbidden Book, a new English language release of a work by Hermetic Library fellow Joscelyn Godwin and Guido Mina di Sospiro, got mentioned over on Boing Boing at “Five novels and their occult inspirations” along with a few others recommended by di Sospiro and Godwin. I mentioned new edition of The Forbidden Book back in April but it’s great to see this kind of coverage for esoteric fiction and fictional esoterica.

“Guido Mina di Sospiro and Joscelyn Godwin, authors of The Forbidden Book, wrote about five novels and their occult inspirations for Boing Boing:

How do you find works of occult fiction that are not just fantasies? We have just published one of them: The Forbidden Book, released as an e-book by The Disinformation Company. It is a murder mystery, a romance, a political conundrum, but above all an account of magick in action. We think of it as belonging to a rare strain of fiction by authors who actually know occult traditions and the philosophies behind them. That way the reader is not just playing “let’s pretend” but learning some insights into reality that are potentially life-changing.”

[via]

 

The first additions to a new section for forewords and other front matter by Joscelyn Godwin

The first additions to a new section for forewords and other front matter by Hermetic Library fellow Joscelyn Godwin have just been added on his pages. We are working together to get many from Joscelyn’s extensive corpus of front materials online. I’m sure you will agree this ongoing project is an exciting development that will offer many interesting and important additions to the library. For now, an initial two are available and, to the best of my knowledge, both of these are now available online for the first time, as will most, if not all, of the future additions. For my part, I’m quite excited to be able to help make this happen and moreover to share these with you all.

The first addition is the préface de Joscelyn Godwin to D.P. Walker. La Magie spirituelle et angélique de Ficin à Campanella. Tr. Marc Roland. Paris: Albin Michel, 1988.

The second addition is the foreword by Joscelyn Godwin to K. Paul Johnson. The Masters Revealed: Madame Blavatsky and the Myth of the Great White Lodge. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994.

The Forbidden Book

You may be interested in The Forbidden Book, a new English language release of a work by Hermetic Library guest Joscelyn Godwin and Guido Mina di Sospiro.

“A multi-faceted mystery that incorporates the most serious and sensitive issue of our time: religious extremism. The evocative setting of Venice and the Veneto dominates the action, supplemented by vivid scenes in Santiago de Compostela, Provence, Washington, and the Vatican. Occult beliefs and practices fuel the action as the main characters become embroiled in an aristocratic sex magick plot.

While on one level The Forbidden Book is a murder mystery set against the conflicts of Islam and the West, the book also delves deep into esoteric knowledge and practice, thanks to Guido Mina di Sospiro’s extensive knowledge of Catholicism and Joscelyn Godwin’s authoritative studies of the western esoteric tradition. Underlying the fast paced action, the reader will find a profound treatment of moral and political dilemmas, the conflict of religions, and the frightening possibilities of the occult.”

 

Guido Mina di Sospiro and Joscelyn Godwin's The Forbidden Book

 

Advance Praise for THE FORBIDDEN BOOK

“This is a really excellent book—gripping, thought-provoking, mysterious, deep and resonant with esoteric knowledge. It keeps you turning the pages in a most compelling way. I couldn’t put it down.”
Graham Hancock, author of the international bestsellersThe Sign and the Seal, Fingerprints of the Gods,Heaven’s Mirror.

“In the sure hands of Guido Mina di Sospiro and Joscelyn Godwin, The Forbidden Book is many things at once: murder mystery, meditation on religious extremism, and a complex but invitingly deep introduction into the esoteric. I don’t think I’ve encountered as original a book as this in a long time and I’m confident it will resonate with readers everywhere.”
Mitchell Kaplan, co-founder of Miami Book Fair International, president of Books & Books, 2011 recipient of the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community by the National Book Foundation.

“Watch out Dan Brown and Umberto Eco! Here’s a real esoteric thriller written by some real Illuminati who know the real thing and aren’t afraid to let the secret out. Sex, magic, politics, and mystery. The Forbidden Book is a gripping, exciting, and illuminating read.”
Gary Lachman, author of A Dark Muse: A History of the Occult, Jung The Mystic: The Esoteric Dimensions of Carl Jung’s Life and Teachings, The Quest For Hermes Trismegistus From Ancient Egypt to the Modern World.

“A harrowing tapestry of esoteric mystery, unseen history, and the search for inner knowledge—The Forbidden Book is the thinking-person’s adventure yarn.”
Mitch Horowitz, author of Occult America and editor-in-chief of Tarcher/Penguin.

“Much more than simply a captivating adventure with a generous dose of love, intrigue, sex, and violence, The Forbidden Book provides an introduction to alchemical-magical practices of the late Italian Renaissance, a spiritual tradition that persists surreptitiously to this day. The authors, in possession of a deep understanding of — and sympathy for — esoteric Hermeticism, successfully weave pearls of occult wisdom into the fabric of their book, creating a compelling story-within-the-story that is all the more genuine for being based on an authentic early seventeenth century alchemical text. This is a book rich on many levels, with multiple layers of meaning and interpretation, from the riveting action-packed twenty-first century fictional narrative to deep insights into the ancient and enduring perennial philosophy. Indeed, The Forbidden Book is itself a modern incarnation of the ‘forbidden book’ which forms the central theme of the novel. Read it closely!”
Robert M. Schoch, author of Voyages of the Pyramid Builders, Pyramid Quest, and The Parapsychology Revolution.

 

American Idol: On Nietzsche in America

American Idol: On Nietzsche in America” by Ross Posnock is an article in the Nation from Nov, 2011 which talks about Friedrich Nietzsche and a book American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas by Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen.

 

“Nietzsche paid a heavy price for daring to strip away the comforting props of Victorian piety, bringing readers face to face with the imperative ‘to become what you are.’ He launched his own version of Emerson’s project, which begins with the recognition that man is but ‘a half-man,’ a ‘dwarf of himself.’ The time was ripe: how thrilling it must have been for Americans long shackled to the ‘agonized conscience’ of Puritan rectitude, the ‘yoke’ of the genteel, in George Santayana’s phrasing. Cease hiding behind conformity and habit and laziness, Emerson and Nietzsche implore; the former invites ‘every man to expand to the full circle of the universe,’ while the latter will eventually call for the overcoming of the human, summoning what he will name the ‘overman.'” [via]

 

“Nietzsche-mania erupted in Europe a decade before the philosopher’s death in 1900, spreading throughout the continent and on to Russia, and reaching the United States in the new century’s first decade. A question raised almost at once (and periodically revived) was why Nietzsche was proving so popular here: ‘What is the philosophy of an anti-Christian, antidemocratic madman doing in a culture like ours? Why Nietzsche? Why in America?’ Ratner-Rosenhagen wonders. Nietzsche became the exemplar for those seeking, in Emerson’s words, ‘not instruction, but provocation’; not intellectual doctrine but the visceral sense of liberation in hearing the inadmissible given voice. Radical leftists—anarchists, socialists and feminists—were early enthusiasts, including Emma Goldman, Randolph Bourne and the Harlem socialist Hubert Harrison, who found in Nietzsche’s contempt for religion and democracy a way to rouse the masses from obedience to Christian ideals of submission and democratic fictions of a free market.” [via]

 

 

Of course, Friedrich Nietzsche is proclaimed Saint of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica in the Gnostic Mass and there are other resources in the collection of the Hermetic Library. You may also be interested in these other articles at the library which mention Nietszche, to name a few: