Tag Archives: mystics

What Sarah kept to herself was the incredible feeling that some of the subject matter of these ancient poets, mystics and philosophers resonated powerfully with the research that she surreptitiously snooped on, attending seminars on the latest advances in theoretical cosmology

Oliver Harris, The Dulwich Horror

Archetypal Imagination

Archetypal Imagination: Glimpses of the Gods in Life and Art by Noel Cobb, introduced by Thomas Moore, part of the Studies in Imagination edited in collaboration with the Institute for the Study of Imagination, a 1992 paperback from Lindisfarne Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Noel Cobb Thomas Moore Archetypal Imagination from Lindisfarne Press

“This unique book is about freeing psychology’s poetic imagination from the dead weight of unconscious assumptions about the soul. Whether we think of the soul scientifically or medically, behaviorally or in terms of inner development, all of us are used to thinking of it in an individual context, as something personal. In this book, however, we are asked to consider psychology from a truly transpersonal perspective as a cultural, universal-human phenomenon.

Reading these essays we are taught to look at the world as the record of the soul’s struggles to awaken, as the soul’s poetry. From this point of view, the true basis of the mind is poetic. Beauty, love, and creativity are as much instincts of the soul as sexuality or hunger. Thus these essays praise the value and nobility of the imagination, and instead of the usual masters of psychology the exemplars here are the artists and mystics of the Western tradition, Dante, Rumi, Rilke, Munch, Lorca, Schumann, Tarkovsky.” — back cover


A Course in Demonic Creativity

A Course in Demonic Creativity: A Writer’s Guide to the Inner Genius by Matt Cardin is available for download again, as a free ebook.

Matt Cardin's A Course in Demonic Creativity

“Where does creativity come from? Why do ideas and inspiration feel as if they come from ‘outside,’ from an external source that’s separate from us but able to whisper directly into the mind? Why have so many writers throughout history — and also composers, painters, philosophers, mystics, and scientists — spoken of being guided, accompanied, and even haunted by a force or presence that not only serves as the deep source of their creative work but that exerts a kind of profound and inexorable gravitational pull on the shape of their lives?

These are all questions addressed by A Course in Demonic Creativity: A Writer’s Guide to the Inner Genius. The book’s starting point is the proposition that we all possess a higher or deeper intelligence than the everyday mind, and that learning to live and work harmoniously and energetically with this intelligence is the irreducible core of a successful artistic life. We can call this inner force the unconscious mind or the silent partner. We can call it the id or the secret self. But muse, daimon, and genius are so much more effective at conveying its subversive and electrifying emotional charge, and also its experiential reality.

Your unconscious mind truly is your genius in the ancient sense of the word, the sense that was universal before it was fatefully altered several centuries ago by historical-cultural forces. Befriending it as such, and interacting with it as if it really is a separate, collaborating presence in your psyche, puts you in a position to receive its gifts, and it in the position to give them to you.” [via]

Memoirs of a Dervish

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Memoirs of a Dervish: Sufis, Mystics and the Sixties by Robert Irwin:

Robert Irwin's Memoirs of a Dervish

 

“In the autumn of 1966 it seemed to me that I had no destiny, for my future was blank. Now, as I write, it seems to me that my destiny is already mostly in the past” (122).

Robert Irwin is one of my favorite novelists, the author of such wonderful works as The Arabian Nightmare (his first), The Limits of Vision, and Satan Wants Me, and that would have been enough to interest me in his memoir. And indeed, this book discloses to a reader of Irwin’s fiction many of the crypto-autobiographical vectors in his writing. But the the promise of accounts of his experiences in the emergence of English counterculture in the 1960s and of his own involvement in Algerian Sufism made the memoir irresistable.

Irwin expresses nostalgia for his experience of the hippy sixties, while powerfully deglamorizing the counterculture. He is disenchanted and strikingly contemptuous of his younger self. In addition to drugs, mysticism, music, and romantic love, he recounts his academic odyssey and encounters with intellectuals such as R.C. Zaehner, Bernard Lewis, and the Perennialist school of religious scholarship.

Irwin professes his abiding faith in the message of Islam and the value of Sufi praxis, despite the horror with which he regards conspicuous portions of the global Muslim community. His respect for the ‘Alawi tariqa in which he was initiated has not been effaced. But the book almost reads as though it might have been entitled “Memoirs of a Failed Dervish,” because he confesses his own lack of attainment and inability to derive consequence from his mystical strivings. Still, he provides details of the perplexing effects of his aspiration. “Like body odours, ecstasy is something that nice people don’t talk about, but the hell with that” (78).

There is certainly a significant dose of melancholy in Irwin’s retrospection. “I cannot think of anything useful I have learned from dreams, or any instance in which a dream has served as valuable inspiration,” he writes (215). In a highly enjoyable reflection on his youthful interest in science fiction, Irwin remarks: “I have lost the capacity to be astounded and I am sad about that” (19). For me, his memoir was like summer sunshine filtered through browning autumn leaves. [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.

Tarot, Mystics and the Occult Exhibition: Tarot Cards

You may be interested in Light Grey Art Lab‘s Tarot, Mystics and the Occult project and exhibition. The exhibition runs Oct 19th through Nov 9th, 2012, at Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis, MN. In particular, you may be interested in the collaborative showcase of tarot card inspired art by 78 artists.

“As you may have guessed, we’re going all out for this show. We’re looking to really fill the gallery with mystical, magical and incredible pieces -and- the space will be filled with fate-tempting booths with live tarot readings and other fortune-telling and mystical experiences! For this project: Each artist selected for the Tarot exhibition will be exhibiting an incredible large-scale print of their work and we’ll also be publishing a limited quantity of fully illustrated Tarot Decks containing the work of all 78 artists, just for this occasion!”