Tag Archives: mysteries

Seven Footprints to Satan

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Seven Footprints to Satan [Amazon, Abebooks, Local Library] by Abraham Merritt, cover by Doug Rosa.

Merritt Seven Footprints to Satan

Abraham Merritt’s Seven Footprints to Satan was first serialized in 1927 and issued as a complete novel in 1928, but it’s been through a whole stack of paperback reprintings. It’s a pulpy action tale with no real theological pretenses, and it is entirely light reading. Seven Footprints has a cinematic feel, and was made into a movie in 1929. 

l took a perverse amusement in imagining the protagonist James Kirkham with the appearance of a young William Shatner. And in fact the pacing of the book and its contrived dilemmas are somewhat reminiscent of the original Star Trek and other TV adventure dramas of that vintage. Kirkham is a “famous explorer,” i.e. a sort of generic resourceful man of action. He is recruited — conscripted, rather — by an arch-criminal who styles himself as Satan. For most of the book, Kirkham tries to escape Satan’s domination, eventually determining to rescue others as well. There’s an obligatory romantic plot vector and some irksome orientalist racism. 

Although the author had a longstanding interest in the occult and amassed a considerable esoteric library, such studies are not evident in this book.

Their wider scope,
        Limitless Empire o’er the world of thought,
            Help my desires to press
    Beyond all stars toward God and Heaven and Hope;
        And in the world-amazing chase is wrought
            Somehow — all Happiness.

Aleister Crowley, “Dreams” in Mysteries

Hermetic quote Crowley Dreams Mysteries wider scope limitless empire world through help desires press beyond all stars god heaven hope chase wrought somehow happiness

The secrets of his mental nature and the principles of intellectual life became at this stage gradually unfolded to his view. You will thus perceive, Brethren, that the F.C. degree, sometimes regarded by us as a somewhat uninteresting one, typifies in reality a long course of personal development requiring the most profound knowledge of the mental and psychical side of our nature. It involves not merely the cleansing and control of the mind, but a full comprehension of our inner constitution, of the more hidden mysteries of our nature and of spiritual psychology.

W L Wilmshurst, The Meaning of Masonry, Chapter I The Deeper Symbolism of Freemasonry

Hermetic quote Wilmshurst The Meaning of Masonry Deeper Symbolism secrets mental nature principles gradually unfolded long course personal development profound knowledge hidden mysteries

Not without good reason does our catechism assert that Masonry contains “many and invaluable secrets.” But these of course are not the formal and symbolic signs, tokens and words communicated ceremonially to candidates; they are rather those secrets which we instinctively keep locked up in the recesses and safe repository of our hearts; secrets of the deep and hidden things of the soul, about which we do not often talk, and which, by a natural instinct, we are not in the habit of communicating to any but such of our brethren and fellows as share with us a common and a sympathetic interest in the deeper problems and mysteries of life.

W L Wilmshurst, The Meaning of Masonry, Chapter II Masonry as a Philosophy

Hermetic quote Wilmshurst The Meaning of Masonry as Philosophy secrets not formal symbolic signs instinctively locked safe hearts deep hidden deeper problems mysteries life

Mysteries of other worlds, hidden forces, strange revelations, mysterious illnesses, exceptional faculties, spirits, apparitions, magical paradoxes, hermetic arcana, we shall say all, and we shall explain all. Who has given us this power? We do not fear to reveal it to our readers.

Éliphas Lévi, trans Aleister Crowley, Liber XLVI The Key of the Mysteries

Hermetic quote Levi Crowley Liber XLVI The Key to the Mysteries other worlds hidden forces strange revelations magical paradoxes hermetic arcana say explain reveal

“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.”

George W M Reynolds, Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf [Amazon, Internet Archive]

Hermetic quote Reynolds Wagner forget the world embrace a life of service

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.

Franz Hartmann, In The Pronaos of The Temple of Wisdom [Bookshop, Amazon]

Hermetic quote Hartman Pronaos of the Temple of Wisdom divine wisdom heavenly bride mysteries embrace everything god nature man

Arcana V

Arcana V: Musicians on Music, Magic & Mysticism, edited by John Zorn, from Hip Road / Tzadik, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

John Zorn Arcana V from Tdzadik Hip Road

“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.

Contributors
William Breeze
Gavin Bryars
Steve Coleman
Alvin Curran
Frank Denyer
Jeremy Fogel
Sharon Gannon
Peter Garland
Milford Graves
Larkin Grimm
Tim Hodgkinson
Jerry Hunt
Eyvind Kang
Jessika Kenney
William Kiesel
Yusef Lateef
Frank London
Dary John Mizelle
Meredith Monk
Tisziji Muñoz
Mark Nauseef
Pauline Oliveros
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge
Terry Riley
Adam Rudolph
David Chaim Smith
Trey Spruance
David Toop
Greg Wall
Peter Lamborn Wilson
Z’ev” — back cover