Nature is a mystery, but like so many mysteries, there’s almost always a logical explanation.
Jonathan shrugged again. He cared not for mysteries. Instead he smiled as he reached into his scrip and pinched a big fat chunk of meat to put in his mouth. He cared a lot more for pork.
Lavie Tidhar, Judge Dee and the Three Deaths of Count Werdenfels [Amazon, Publisher, Local Library]
“Think not that we have acted toward you in a spirit of persecution,” said the nun. “The mysteries which have alarmed you will be explained at a future period, when your soul is prepared by penance, self-mortification, and prayer to receive the necessary revelation. In the meantime, ask no questions, forget the world, and resolve to embrace a life devoted to the service of Heaven.”
In our school we are instructed by Divine wisdom, the heavenly bride, whose will is free, and who comes to him whom she selects. The mysteries which we know embrace everything that can possibly be known in regard to God, Nature, and Man. Every sage that has ever existed has graduated in our school, in which he could have learned true wisdom.
“Mysticism, magic and alchemy all come into play in the creative process. For centuries musicians have tapped into things spiritual, embracing ritual, spell, incantation and prayer deeply into their life and work. Although the connection of music to mysticism has been consistent, well documented and productive, it is still shrouded in mystery and largely misunderstood. For this special edition, Arcana focuses on the nexus of mysticism and spirituality in the magical act of making music. Far from an historical overview or cold musicologist’s study, these essays illuminate a fascinating and elusive subject via the the eloquent voices of today’s most distinguished modern practitioners and greatest occult thinkers, providing insights into the esoteric traditions and mysteries involved in the composition and performance of the most mystical of all arts.
Dary John Mizelle
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge
David Chaim Smith
Peter Lamborn Wilson
Z’ev” — back cover
Finale of Act I. Gabriel (Alice Allemano) ascends with the murdered infant. Photo: Hunter Canning [via]
“The Flea embarks on an extravaganza with 48 playwrights and 54 actors retelling the entirety of The Bible in a single night.
50 World Premiere plays telling the entire History of Man’s Salvation from The Fall of Lucifer through and including Judgment Day.”
The Mysteries: Rudolf Steiner’s Writings on Spiritual Initiation, selected and introduced by Andrew Welburn, the 1997 hardcover from Floris Books, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“Rudolf Steiner wrote and spoke extensively on the lasting value of the ancient Mysteries as an essential source for understanding the Christian experience. His view was that modern rationality did not banish the deeper patterns of spiritual initiation but was rather, in the very foundations of our thought, a transformation of early Mystery structures and processes. We should therefore look to the Mysteries for an illumination of our spiritual, intellectual and religious history as well as for insight into our evolutionary future.
This collection of extracts from Steiner’s books and lectures includes his account of the mystical and mythical patterns of the ancient world, the pre-Socratic and the Platonic philosophers, the initiation Mysteries of Egypt and the Orient, and finally his commentary on the Apocalypse of St. John. Around this collection, Welburn examines the Mystery school against the background of their time, and their relevance to Christianity and the world today.” — flap copy
Nightside of Eden by Kenneth Grant is being republished by Starfire Publishing, and is scheduled for release in March, 2014. It is currently on pre-order in both a standard edition, available directly and, for US and CA, from J D Holmes, and in a deluxe edition available directly.
“The republishing of the Typhonian Trilogies continues with the release in March 2014 of the fourth volume in the series, Nightside of Eden, which opens the second of the three trilogies. Originally published by Muller in 1977, it was subsequently reissued by Skoob Publishing in 1994. This new edition of 1500 copies is freshly typeset in an octavo format of 316 pages. Sewnbound hardback, with a frontispiece, a twenty-page section of plates, illustrated endpapers and a full-colour dustjacket, this republication integrates the errata from the Skoob edition within the text, and incorporates further corrections noted subsequently in Kenneth Grant’s personal copy of the book. Many of the plates have been rephotographed, and some are printed in colour.” [via]
“There exists a map of consciousness, with its light and dark byways, in the form of a qabalistic glyph known as the Tree of Life. It has its roots in the primal earth of Eden, but its branches extend into extra-terrestrial dimensions. This Tree, which is a familiar concept to mystics and magicians alike, has another side, a nightside which receives but passing mention in contemporary manuals of occultism; as if the ancient writings of the Arabs and Jews contained allusions to mere figures of speech and monstrous fancies.
Nightside of Eden interprets the symbolism of the Tree of Death, the ‘other’ side of the Tree of Life which forms the basis of the Western Occult Tradition. Kenneth Grant, whose Typhonian Trilogies have infused new life and meaning into ancient and forgotten mysteries, here provides an exhaustive survey of the other side of the Tree, haunted by dark forces that are today seeping insidiously into human consciousness and threatening it with violent disruption. The creative magical current represented by Aleister Crowley, Charles Stansfeld Jones, Austin Osman Spare, and in our day by Michael Bertiaux, Margaret Cook, and others, is here traced to its source in the formless voids beyond the threshold of mentation.
Nightside of Eden is an explication of the Cult of Choronzon and an initiated exposition of the Mysteries of the Left-Hand Path in relation to Western Occultism. Here, for the first time, the head of a genuine Magical Organization reveals the esoteric doctrines of the ‘black’ magic of the Left-Hand Path, as well as the practical application of psycho-sexual formulae of which very little is generally known.
The book is illustrated not only with the demonic sigils of the ‘other side’, which make of it a grimoire of the Dark Doctrine, but also by curious works of siderealism, or stellar art, sprung from the New Aeon consciousness which permeates those occult Orders working in harmony with the Typhonian Tradition.” [via]
The Equinox & Solstice Ceremonies of the Golden Dawn by Pat Zalewski and Chris Zalewski, part of the Llewellyn Golden Dawn Series, the 1992 first edition softcover from Llewellyn Publications, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“This book contains historically important material in the form of hitherto unpublished seasonal rituals of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and A E Waite’s ‘independent and rectified rite.’
But they are of more than historical interest. They are powerful instruments toward attaining higher consciousness if placed in the right hands.
They demonstrate the threefold nature of the tradition. That is: hermetic/intellectual, as represented in the Masonic type ritual elements; mystical/aspirational, as represented by their Rosicrucian allegiance; and elemental/geomantic, through celebration of the equinoxes and solstices.
And should we seek to re-work or re-phrase them, we need to maintain this threefold balance. For instance, to try to write out the Christian from the Mysteries of Christian Rosenkreutz would rather be like trying to make an omelette without the eggs! Or if we worked them in serious doubt about the existence of the ‘secret chiefs’ we would have no source of heat beneath our frying pan! Without these elements of faith the rituals would be worked without power. Would be no more than amateur dramatic performances of portentious sounding religiosity. A ritual only exists in its effective enactment, not on the page.
Yet if power is contacted by these means (as it sometimes can be, even inadvertently), it is hardly the type than can be ‘used’ for personal ends or convenience. One might as well seek to tap the power of a tiger by pulling its tail.
So if we seek to work seriously with this material we must look to our motives and true aspirations. These rituals have hidden power, and if we seek to find it we must be prepared for nothing less than personal transformation! These rituals place the keys in our hands. We only have to turn them.” — Gareth Knight, 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.
Introduction to “Gnosticism”: Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds by Nicola Denzey Lewis, from Oxford University Press, may be of interest. There’s an interesting review of the work over at Peje Iesous at “Nicola Denzey Lewis’ Textbook On the Gnostic Literature Is Really Useful (Or: Why I’m Glad My Class Failed Before It Got Off the Ground)” [HT Jared Calaway] which may also interest you, especially since it highlights this book’s apparently good exploration of the way the term “Gnosticism” can be problematic. The review seems to suggest this is a new work for 2013, but I notice that Amazon has 2012 as the publication date; but, it is at least recent for some reasonably flexible value of recent either way.
“Discovered in Egypt in 1945, the fascinating and challenging Nag Hammadi writings forever changed our understanding of early Christianity. State-of-the-art and the only volume of its kind, Introduction to “Gnosticism”: Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds guides students through the most significant of the Nag Hammadi texts. Employing an exceptionally lucid and accessible writing style, Nicola Denzey Lewis groups the texts by theme and genre, places them in the broader context of the ancient world, and reveals their most inscrutable mysteries.
Ideal for use in courses in Early Christianity/Origins of Christianity, Christianity to 1500, Gnostic Gospels, Gnosticism, Early Christian Writings, Orthodoxy and Heresy, and New Testament Studies, Introduction to ‘Gnosticism’ is enhanced by numerous pedagogical features, including images of the manuscripts, study and discussion questions, annotated bibliographies, tables, diagrams, and a glossary.” [via]