Tag Archives: myth

Edmund

Edmund: the Untold Story of the Martyr-King and His Kingdom by Mark Taylor, a recent 2013 paperback from Fordaro, is part of the collection at the Reading Room courtesy of the publisher.

Mark Taylor Edmund from Fordaro

Available in print in the UK and as an ebook in the States and in the UK, the printed book contains additional and updated information than either ebook editions.

“Murdered by the Danes aged only 29 years
Declared England’s patron saint 20 years later
Worshipped by the Danes who killed him
Attended by royalty, honoured as far north as Iceland
Renowned for his miracles of fertility and protection
But his martyrdom was unrecognized for 250 years
Why?

Discover the untold story behind the legend of Edmund:
The explosive growth of Edmund’s cult
The significance of Bury St Edmunds
The symbolic landscape of East Anglia
The mystery at the heart of Edmund’s myth

The relationship between the king, his people, the land itself and the prosperity of the kingdom are intimately bound up with the myth of Edmund. This fascinating book explains how those traditions, passing through Viking, Anglo-Saxon and Celtic culture, unlock a new interpretation of Edmund’s story.

Accompanied by vivid photography and illustrations, this special limited edition includes an additional appendix of historic and original poems on the subject of Edmund.” — 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.

The Key to Solomon’s Key

The Key to Solomon’s Key: Secrets of Magic and Masonry by Lon Milo DuQuette, with an introduction by James Wasserman, the 2006 first edition softcover, from the Consortium of Collective Consciousness, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Lon Milo DuQuette The Key to Solomon's Key

This work has been published in a 2010 second edition with a different subtitle as The Key to Solomon’s Key: Is This the Lost Symbol of Masonry? that includes a new afterword by Hermetic Library fellow Mark Stavish.

“Controversial Secrets of Magic and Masonry

King Solomon is the central figure of both the secret rituals of Freemasonry and the forbidden rites of sorcery, The sacred traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam come together in the person of the wise magician-king of ancient Israel, and his presence in Biblical history is a key element in how these three disparate religions view themselves and each other. The story of Solomon has his magnificent Temple in Jerusalem is the keystone of the Bible that supports and connects Old Testament and New.

But is it true? Or do myth and tradition hold keys that unlock mysteries of human consciousness infinitely more astounding than history?” — back cover

“This intriguing look at intersections between Freemasonry and the Western magical traditions will be sure to evoke outrage from many quarters, but it poses curcial question that deserve close attention from Masons, magicians, and anyone else concerned with the nature of religion and reality in a post-Christian age.” — John Michael Greer, 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.

Drawing Down the Moon

Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America by Margot Adler, the 1986 paperback from Beacon Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Margot Adler Drawing Down the Moon from Beacon Press

“Margot Adler—granddaughter of the renowned psychiatrist Alfred Adler and a reporter for National Public Radio—takes a fascinating and honest look at the religious experiences, beliefs, and lifestyles of the people who call themselves neopagans. Adler interviewed a colorful gallery of diverse people across the United States who believe that each person has a different path to divinity and that monotheism is a form of religious imperialism. She attended many of their ritual gatherings and discovered, contrary to stereotypical images, that most neopagans have no gurus or masters, that their beliefs are nonauthoritarian in spirit, and that they find inspiration in ancient deities, nature, myth, even science fiction. Still the only detailed history and comprehensive report on this little-known and largely misunderstood movement, Drawing Down the Moon has been revised and expanded to include new information on men’s spirituality, Druids, Norse Paganism, and a complete resource guide of newsletters, journals, books, groups, and festivals.”

 

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.

Hamlet’s Mill

Hamlet’s Mill: An Essay Investigating the Origins of Human Knowledge And Its Transmission Through Myth by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dachend, both as a 1998 fourth printing paperback from Godine and the 1969 first edition hardcover from Gambit International (which latter is subtitled “An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time“), is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Giorgio de Santillana Hertha von Dechend Hamlet's Mill from Godine

“Ever since the Greeks coined the language we commonly use for scientific description, mythology and science have developed separately. But what came before the Greeks? What if we could prove that all myths have one common origin in a celestial cosmology? What if the gods, the places they lived, and what they did are but ciphers for celestial activity, a language for the perpetuation of complex astronomical data?

Drawing on scientific data, historical and literary sources, the authors argue that our myths are the remains of a preliterate astronomy, an exacting science whose power and accuracy were suppressed and then forgotten by an emergent Greco-Roman world view. This fascinating book throws into doubt the self-congratulatory assumptions of Western science about the unfolding development and transmission of knowledge. This is a truly seminal and original thesis, a book that should be read by anyone interested in science, myth, and the interactions between the two.”

Giorgio de Santillana Hertha von Dechend Hamlet's Mill from Gambit International

“Contradicting many current notions about cultural evolution, this exploratory book investigates the origins of human knowledge in the archaic, preliterate world. Selecting Shakespeare’s Hamlet as a congenial introductory figure, the authors begin their journey proper with Amlodhi, Hamlet’s counterpart in Scandinavian myth.

The mythical Amlodhi was the owner of a fabulous Mill which, in his day, ground out peace and plenty. Later, in decaying times, it ground out salt. Now, at the bottom of the sea, it grinds rock and sand, and has created a vast whirlpool, the Maelstrom, which leads to the land of the dead. The ultimate significance of this Mill, and of many similar mythical constructions, is what the authors set themselves to discover.

The trail, pursued necessarily by induction, leads around the world through many lands, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Italy, Persia, India, Mexico, and Greece, to mention only a few. it also recedes in time until the beginning is reached several millennia ago in Mesopotamia.

As innumerable clues emerge and begin to interlock, several conclusions become inescapable. First, all the great myths of the world have a common origin. Next, the geography of myth is not that of the earth. The places referred to in myth are in the heavens and the actions are those of celestial bodies. Myth, in short, was a language for the perpetuation of a vast and complex body of astronomical knowledge.

The implications of these findings is no less startling for being self-evident. If, hundreds of centuries ago, man’s mind could formulate a consistent and magnificently intricate cosmology, then clearly that mind had already transcended the influence of any evolutionary process. The authors say, along with the now forgotten Dupuis at the close of the eighteenth century: ‘Mythology is the work of science; science alone will explain it.’

The archaic concept of the universe was stern and merciless, but there was a harmony in it of all things and beings, including men, as there is not in ours. The perceptions of the ancients, revealed and adumbrated here, carry a power and beauty that persuade the spirit as completely as the detailed evidence convinces the mind.” — First Edition

 

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.

Dragon Bones

Dragon Bones: Ritual, Myth and Oracle in Shang Period China by Jan Fries, from Avalonia UK, is a new release that may be of interest.

Jan Fries Dragon Bones from Avalonia Books

“Dragon Bones is a masterly and insightful exploration of ritual, myth and oracles in Shang Period China (16th-11th century BCE). Combining wide-ranging scholarship with pragmatic practicality, the author shines a light on one of the most obscure and least-known areas of ritual practice in the ancient world, demonstrating its value and connection to the development of magical practices in China over a period of many centuries.

Combining historical accounts, myths, practical meditation and the oracle bone inscriptions themselves, Dragon Bones elucidates an arcane system of divination and offers its wisdom to the modern world. To provide a relevant context for the dragon bone oracle, the reader is guided through a wealth of material by Chinese philosophers including Kongzi (Confucius) and Laozi, exploring philosophies such as Daoism and its cosmology.

The offerings, sacrifices and rituals which form the mystical matrix from which Chinese magic developed are considered with an elegant perspective which explores both the practices and their use and relevance, considering their development from early shamanic practices into more stylised forms of social and cultural ceremonies which contributed to the evolution of formal rites to serve communities.

As well as its detailed discussion of the historical and mythical figures, gods, spirits, ancestors, mountains, rivers, animals, types of weather and implements which provide the context and provenance of the development of the dragon bone oracle, Dragon Bones includes a dictionary of over three thousand inscriptions, the most comprehensive of its kind created. As the earliest recorded Chinese texts, the dragon bones reveal unique glimpses of a period where history and myth merge, shaped by philosophy, political power and magic, and whose lessons are as relevant today as they have ever been.” [via]

Jesus Potter Harry Christ

Jesus Potter Harry Christ: The Fascinating Parallels Between Two of the World’s Most Popular Literary Characters by Derek Murphy is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Derek Murphy's Jesus Potter Harry Christ

The promotional text is a bit of entertaining circus barkery, but I picked this up for the Reading Room because the author used the Hermetic Library’s ad network, it caught my eye, and it looked interesting enough. I have to admit, for me personally, one of my least favourite parts of the Potter series was how very annoyingly Christian the mythos seemed to become in the end. (I have my own preferred ending that involved Harry truly dying to take the last horcrux with him, and Neville becoming the true hero.) The archetype of the orphan, the Hephaestus/Vulcan myth, is really strikingly strong in Western culture, and I railed against the orphan archetype previously. The Christ story really does seem to me to fit this overwrought literary trope as well as the Dying God myth to which it is often linked, but, all in all, this could be another entertaining summer read.

“A controversy over the historical Jesus has been raging for 2,000 years.

A century ago, biblical criticism had revealed Jesus Christ to be almost entirely based on pre-existing mythology. Since then, conservative biblical scholars have regained the discipline and convinced the world that — whatever else Jesus Christ was, he was undoubtedly historical.

Do you believe in the historical Jesus? Confirmation of your beliefs is as near as the local bookstore, where you can easily find several dozen books defending Jesus Christ, the physical man.

Do you think Jesus was mostly a mythological construct? You’ll find ample support for your beliefs in the dozens of other books a few feet over, that argue Jesus never existed at all.

The only way to get past this apparent dead-end of stagnant dogma and repetition, is to examine the roots of the controversy itself — to go beyond the evidence and focus on the underlying issues. Jesus Potter Harry Christ identifies the similarities between Jesus and Harry, to demonstrate that both J.K. Rowling’s magical series and the biblical gospels are literary fiction based ancient mythology and astrological symbolism.

Discover the secrets that biblical scholars don’t want you to know

What the experts are saying

‘For those whose minds can ask questions freely without the enforcement of dogma, Derek Murphy raises a genuine argument which Christian apologists have no answers to besides merely repeating their dogmatic convictions in the hope that re-asserting the dogma will confirm it as truth.’ —John Thomas Didymus, Goddiscussion.com

‘Whether or not one agrees with Murphy’s ultimate position, and whether or not one agrees with his arguments that Jesus was entirely (rather than mostly) mythic, Jesus Potter Harry Christ is well worth wading through, and wade through it one must, simply because of the sheer mass and volume of evidence the author provides. Make this a book whose pages you dog-ear for further reference and second readings.’ —Tim Callahan, Skeptic magazine’s religion editor and author of the books Bible Prophecy and The Secret Origins of the Bible

‘Murphy sifts through various mystery religions and myths of a dying and resurrecting god, and their possible influence upon the Gospel story. For once, it’s done tastefully and without sensationalism. Maybe you’ve read works by Freke, Doherty, and Harpur. Without trying to foist a Gnostic version of Christianity on me, and without succumbing to overzealous scholarship, Murphy gently yet forcefully introduces the strong similarities between Christianity and other first-century religious philosophies and mystery cults, concluding in the strong likelihood that Jesus was a mythical savior.’ —Lee Harmon, author of Revelation: The Way it Happened

‘In the newly-released (and blasphemously-titled) Jesus Potter Harry Christ, Derek Murphy makes the case that J. K. Rowling — the author of the Harry Potter series — achieved her success by tapping into some of the deepest and most ancient longings of the human heart. These same longings, Murphy argues, compelled first-century pagans to construct what he calls “the Jesus myth.” Murphy points to similarities between the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ virgin birth, His passion and His return from the grave with the myths of pagan idols like Isis, Sarapis, Horus and Apollo, Murphy hopes to convince his readers that Jesus — just like the gods of mythology — is fiction. In fact, he believes that Jesus is just an amalgam of history’s best myths.’ —Chuck Colson, Christian leader and cultural commentator”

“LET’S SKIP THE INTRODUCTIONS. You don’t need me to tell you that Jesus Christ and Harry are two of the most famous celebrities in the world, whose stories have been translated into dozens of languages and found international support in diverse cultures. What you may not be aware of, however, is the mysterious, complicated and intriguing relationship between them. For example, did you know that the topics ‘I read Harry Potter and Jesus still loves me,’ ‘Even Jesus reads Harry Potter’ and ‘Harry Potter will return sooner than Jesus’ each have their own Facebook group, or that Wikipedia has a page dedicated to ‘Religious debates over the Harry Potter Series’? Much more remarkable than their respective popularity is the significant tension — and unexpected affinity — between them.

At first glance it may seem that J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard and the crucified Jesus prophet who became the Christian savior have absolutely nothing to do with each other — and yet the unease and sometimes outright animosity between the followers of these two figures suggests otherwise. Harry has been banned, burned, and abused by religious fundamentalists for over a decade. At the release of Rowling’s final book, however, many readers were surprised to discover parallels between Jesus and Harry that, in such apparently diverse world-views, had no right to be there. As a result, recent years have witnessed a revolution in Christian responses to Harry, with many groups, writers and religious leaders praising Rowling’s young sorcerer as ultimately Christian and a clear metaphor for Jesus Christ. And yet the most spine-tingling question has so far been ignored: Why do these similarities exist at all?

Although it is easy to accept that Rowling crafted the literary character of Harry Potter after the figure of Jesus, shouldn’t it pique our interest that Jesus — a monumental figure in modern world religion generally believed to have been historical — has so much in common with the obviously fictional fantasy world and character of Harry Potter? The main distinction, it will be argued, is that Jesus Christ is real: Jesus has traditionally been viewed as a historical figure, while Harry is instantly recognized as fiction. But does this distinction apply to the many seemingly mythical elements in the gospels? Can Jesus’ miracles be separated from Harry’s magic tricks because they really happened — or will we allow that certain features of the gospels were exaggerated or intended to be literary. And if so, where do we stop? What protects Jesus from the claim that he is, like Harry, a fictional character?

This is the starting point of Jesus Potter Harry Christ; an innovative treatise into religious history, comparative mythology, astrological symbolism and contemporary culture. From ancient mystery religions to modern fairy tales, from fictional Hogwarts to the ruins of Jerusalem, Derek Murphy, PhD in Comparative Literature at one of the world’s top universities, zooms in on one crucial question: How do we separate the obviously mythical literature of Jesus Christ from the historical man himself?”

 

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 Psychology of Transference

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Psychology of the Transference by C G Jung:

C G Jung's The Psychology of Transference

 

The central matter of this book is Jung’s exigesis of the illustrations to the “Rosarium Philosophorum,” in keeping with his psychological reading of medieval alchemy. The sequence of illustrations with their original captions is worth sustained attention in its own right. Jung’s explanations are sometimes mildly incoherent—a fact which he recognizes and excuses on the grounds that he is attempting to address inherently unconscious processes.

He is right to note that the “transference” process is not unique to the analyst-analysand relationship, but is common to the vast majority of spousal scenarios, and in a more general way to the experience of “objective” reality as a whole. And yet, despite his prefatory digression that “The Church would be an ideal solution for anyone seeking a suitable receptacle for the chaos of the unconscious, were it not that everything man-made, however refined, has its imperfections,” (par. 392) he constrains his discussion of psychological projection in religious contexts to the doctrinally hypostasized figures of myth and doctrine, rather than treating the actual relationships among worshippers and religious officials. Perhaps he balked (unconsciously?) at making so plain the sacerdotal role of the psychoanalyst! [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.

A Passion for Evil

For those in the UK, there’s A Passion for Evil, an upcoming stage production about Aleister Crowley which may be of interest by Purple Media in development with The Lowry. A Passion for Evil runs two nights, Sat Oct 29th and Sun Oct 30th.

If anyone attends this and wants to write a review, let me know … was it good? Was it a slide into to the Crowley Corollary of hysterical apophenic satanism or an interesting exploration worth having seen?

“Limited £5 tickets available on Studio shows – book now!

Aleister Crowley is one of the most controversial men of the 20th century.

A master of the occult, outstanding mountaineer, poet and writer. Crowley fearlessly pursued his search for the truth, exploring the world and the darker regions of his own mind, he rampaged through the hypocritical moral code of Victorian England.

They branded him the “Wickedest Man in the World” and there were allegations of human sacrifice yet even today he is followed by thousands.

In this piece of chilling theatre John Burns strips away the myth and seeks out the truth of the man they called The Beast.” [via]