Tag Archives: mythology

Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe

Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions by H R Ellis Davidson, the 1988 paperback from Syracuse University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

H R Ellis Davidson Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe from Syracuse University Press

“Most people know of Valhalla, the World-Tree and the gods of Norse mythology, or the strange hunts and voyages of the ancient Irish tales. Yet few people realise the significance of the similarities and contrasts between the religions of the pre-Christian people of north-western Europe.

The Celts and Germans and Scandinavians has much the in common in their religious practices and beliefs, and this is the first serious attempt that has been made to compare them. There are striking resemblances in their ideas about battle-goddesses and protective spirits, holy places, sacrificial rituals, divination and ideas about the Other World; and Myths and symbols in pagan Europe poses questions like: do such parallels go back to early times or are they owning to late Viking contact?

Hilda Ellis Davidson has worked for many years on pre-Christian Scandinavian and Germanic religion and now compares them with the Celts from the background of previous studies, using evidence from archaeology, iconography, later literature and folklore, in a search for basic patterns which will add to our knowledge of the early peoples in Europe.

Aimed at teachers and libraries but also accessible to students of history, religion and Celtic, Norse and German languages and cultures.” — back cover


The Mysteries

The Mysteries: Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks, edited by Joseph Campbell, the 1990 fifth paperback printing of Bollingen Series XXX Vol 2 from Princeton University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Joseph Campbell The Mysteries from Princeton University Press / Bollingen

“Since 1933, the Eranos Conferences have been held at Ascona in southern Switzerland. Distinguished scholars from Europe, Asia, and America have been invited to a ‘shared feast’ (eranos) and have lectured on themes chosen by the Director of Eranos, the late Olga Froebe-Kapteyn. The lectures originally appeared in the Eranos-Jahrbücher (Zurich) and selections translated into English have been published in Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks, of which this is the second volume. Thirteen scholars—including C. G. Jung, C. Kerényi, Walter F. Otto, and Hugo Rahner—are represented in this collection, which is drawn from the years 1936, 1939m 1940–41, 1942, and 1944. The volume is edited by Joseph Campbell and translated by Ralph Manheim and R.F.C. Hull.” — back cover

Essays included are:

  • Paul Masson-Oursel, “The Indian Theories of Redemption in the Frame of the Religions of Salvation”
  • Paul Masson-Oursel, “The Doctrine of Grace in the Religious Thought of India”
  • Walter F. Otto, “The Meaning of the Eleusinian Mysteries”
  • Carl Kerényi, “The Mysteries of the Kabeiroi”
  • Walter Wili, “The Orphic Mysteries and the Greek Spirit”
  • Paul Schmitt, “The Ancient Mysteries in the Society of Their Time, Their Transformation and Most Recent Echoes”
  • Georges Nagel, “The ‘Mysteries’ of Osiris in Ancient Egypt”
  • Jean de Manasce, “The Mysteries and the Religion of Iran”
  • Fritz Meier, “The Mystery of the Ka’ba: Symbol and Reality in Islamic Mysticism”
  • Max Pulver, “Jesus’ Round Dance and Crucifixion According to the Acts of St. John”
  • Hans Leisegang, “The Mystery of the Serpent”
  • Julius Baum, “Symbolic Representations of the Eucharist”
  • C G Jung, “Transformation Symbolism in the Mass”
  • Hugo Rahner, “The Christian Mystery and the Pagan Mysteries.”


Edmund

Edmund: the Untold Story of the Martyr-King and His Kingdom by Mark Taylor is a recently released book available as an ebook in the States and in the UK. However, there is a special limited edition book in the UK which apparently contains additional and updated information than either ebook. For those interested in the intersection of esotericism, history and the physical landscape, especially the occult landscape, this may be of particular interest.

Mark Taylor Edmund from Fodaro

This book seems particularly tied to the work of the publisher Fodaro who say they publish “popular history, folklore, esoterica and mythology content across digital and traditional platforms” and so far offer a Secret Suffolk website, Secret York iOS mobile app and the book Edmund.

“Edmund, Anglo-Saxon king of the East Angles, was murdered by the Danes aged only 29 years. He was declared England’s patron saint 20 years later and worshipped by the Danes who killed him. Attended by royalty and honoured as far north as Iceland, he was renowned for his miracles of fertility and protection. But his martyrdom was unrecognised for 250 years. Why?

For the first time, this fascinating book reveals the secrets behind Edmund’s life and death. It explains why Edmund was venerated as a sacred king who, in death, guaranteed prosperity to his kingdom; how he represented the mysterious bond between god, king and land; how he united Saxon and Viking, pagan and Christian; and how he became a divine guardian in the tradition of other English national heroes.

If there was still any debate over whether Edmund should be reinstated as England’s patron saint, this book settles the argument once and for all!

Containing a wealth of information, including vivid photographs and detailed maps, this book is sure to be of interest to anyone with an interest in Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Norse culture and belief, paganism and early Christianity, Suffolk and East Anglian history, mythology and folklore.” [via]

“Many people are familiar with the basic story of Edmund’s martyrdom: Vikings, an oak tree, arrows, decapitation, a sentinel wolf. Yet there is much more to his legend, and the story of Suffolk, than is commonly told. This fascinating book reveals for the first time the secrets of both Edmund the sacrificial warrior-king and the sacred land he ruled over. It confirm his true significance, and his status as a divine sentinel-king in the tradition of other national heroes.

Edmund: The Untold Story of the Martyr-King and his Kingdom, contains a wealth of insights, including:

The hidden symbolism of Edmund’s martyrdom
Why the cult of St Edmund grew rapidly amongst both Christians and pagans
How Edmund embodied ancient concepts of sacred kingship
How, as king, he was explicitly linked to the welfare of the land
How Edmund’s kingly qualities are embedded in places throughout East Anglia
Why the town of Bury St Edmunds was constructed according to symbolic principles
Its pre-Anglo-Saxon origins
How Bury conforms to ideas of a mythic hero’s resting-place” [via]

Events at Treadwell’s for November and December, 2013

Here is a selection from the upcoming events at Treadwell’s Books in London for November and December, 2013, which may be of interest.

Treadwell's Books in London

 

Treadwell’s Halloween Party
1 November 2013 (Friday)

Halloween Party at Treadwell's Books

Honouring the Feast of Samhain

Friends and customers are warmly invited to our pagan Hallowe’en party, to remember the ancestors, the sacred dead, and to celebrate witches and ghosts in the ancient way – with jollity, music and convivial gathering. Come along! We will have a toast to the spirits, along with a short attunement, at 8pm, and general merriment through the evening. One free drink to everyone who comes wearing a witches’ hat.

FREE but you must contact us to be added to guest list (phone or ring)
Time: From 7pm to 11 pm

 

Spare: One Man Play
21-22, 29-30 November 2013
John Constable

John Constable Spare - One Man Play at Treadwell's Books

London artist and occultist Austin Osman Spare (1886–1956) comes alive in this new one-man play. Set in the artist’s studio at the Elephant and Castle on the night of a Blitz bombing, it shows Spare growing old in poverty, yet fiercely committed to his vision. In the course of the night, a rogue sigil unleashes unpredictable consequences. This ‘play conceived as an act of magic’, performed by the author, is both an homage to AOS and a playful exploration of Constable’s own esoteric work to ‘set us free from ourselves.’ John Constable is a poet, playwright and magical practitioner best-known for The Southwark Mysteries, and for his acclaimed stage adaptation of Gormenghast. Previous solo shows include I Was An Alien Sex God (‘mind-blowingly weird’ The Independent). Premiere performances last Spring were sold out, and received acclaim.

Price: £10
Time: Doors 7pm, for a 7:30 start

 

Slenderman: Fight Fiction with Fiction
25 November 2013 (Monday)
Ian ‘Cat’ Vincent

Ian Cat Vincent Slenderman at Treadwell's Books

Slenderman is a truly modern monster. Born barely four years ago in an internet Photoshop competition, this suit-clad faceless entity rapidly spawned a complex mythology online, in photo manipulations, shared-universe videos and games. Terms like ‘tulpa’ (thought-form) were used, and soon people were reporting sightings in the real world. If this being truly is crossing over from the imaginary realm, how does one fight it? Ian ‘Cat’ Vincent is a lifelong student of the occult, interested in pop-culture symbolism as the ‘hyper-real’ mythology of our times. Tonight he talks about Slenderman as an ideal target for pop-culture and post-modern magical approaches. Cat is a Fortean journalist whose work is in the Darklore and Apocalyptic Imaginary anthologies, and is a contributing editor to Daily Grail.

Price: £7
Time: 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start

 

Remedios Varo: Magic and the Goddess
4 December 2013 (Wednesday)
Daniel Zamani

Daniel Zamani Remedios Varo at Treadwell's Books

Remedios Varo was a leading figure in the Surrealist avant-garde. But she was also an occultist interested in alchemy, astrology, tarot and the Goddess.Tonight we meet this remarkable practitioner, focussing on how Varo used Holy Grail imagery as an icon for female empowerment and pagan re-enchantment. Tonight’s speaker argues that we should recognise Varo’s contributions to 20th century female esotericism and to revived matriarchal goddess worship – and look deeply into into the messages in her art and life. Join us! Daniel Zamani is a doctoral candidate at Cambridge, working on on occultism and magic in Surrealism. In 2013, Dan was main editor of the Abraxas special issue and is currently co-organising a forthcoming major conference on occultism and visual culture.

Price: £7
Time: 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start

Lunar and Sex Worship

Lunar and Sex Worship [also] by Ida Craddock, edited and with an introduction by Vere Chappell, the 2010 hardcover limited edition of 650 from Teitan Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Ida Craddock with Vere Chappell's Lunar and Sex Worship from Teitan Press

“Philadelphia-born Ida Craddock (1857–1902) was a forceful public exponent of women’s rights and sexual freedom whose interest in Theosophy and Spiritualism led her into a profound involvement with the occult. Attacked by conservatives as promoting obscenity and immorality on account of her reforming activities, Craddock became the focus of an organised campaign of persecution. Facing a lengthy prison sentence that she did not expect to survive, she instead took her own life, at age forty-five.

After her death, Craddock’s work on sexuality and occultism attracted the interest of a small number of well-known figures, including Aleister Crowley, who wrote that she possessed ‘…initiated knowledge of extraordinary depth. She seems to have had access to certain most concealed sanctuaries… She has put down statements in plain English which are positively staggering.”

Amongst her papers, Craddock left two manuscripts, ‘Lunar and Sex Worship’ and ‘Sex Worship (Continued)’ that had been commissioned by her patron, the Spiritualist W. T. Stead. They are effectively studies of sexuality in religion and mythology, as viewed through the prism of Craddock’s own experiences and beliefs.

This Teitan Press edition of Lunar and Sex Worship is the first ever publication of ‘Lunar and Sex Worship’ and ‘Sex Worship (Continued).”‘ It comprises the complete text of both works, edited and introduced by Vere Chappell, an expert on the life and work of Craddock.” [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 Book of Lost Tales, Part 1

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Book of Lost Tales, Part 1 by J R R Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien:

J R R Tolkien's The Book of Lost Tales, Part 1

 

These Lost Tales are part of the “History of Middle-Earth,” i.e. Christopher Tolkien’s exhaustive multivolume autopsy of his father’s creative process in generating the mythology that underlies the world of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The contents of this book were recovered from old manuscript notebooks, and mostly constitute variant tellings of episodes later reworked in The Silmarillion, concerning the doings of gods and elves prior to the “awakening of men.” They are set in a frame-story according to which various elves of the Lonely Island (Tol Eressea) recount these legends to a human traveler Eriol.

Although the tales themselves are buttressed with copious notes on the source texts and their relationships to the Middle-Earth Tolkien canon, I admit I read little of that material. Instead, I offered the stories themselves aloud to my Other Reader as occasional bedtime reading. We both found the book enjoyable and satisfying that way. (On points where I had particular curiosity, I did read in the editorial apparatus that constitutes nearly half of the book.)

The content and imagery of these stories is very Dunsanian, reminiscent of stories like “The Fortress Unvanquishable Save for Sacnoth” and The King of Elfland’s Daughter. But instead of Dunsany’s lucid-if-ornate prose, we get the affected archaicisms of the aspiring English philologist. That certainly made this material a challenge to read aloud, but it was fun nevertheless. (I’m sure it didn’t hurt that I’ve studied Middle English verse and enjoyed reading those texts aloud.) Reading this material as its own story, rather than a draft of what Tolkien was later to produce, is a pleasant enough experience. It may even be better than reading it with the hope of profound insights into the secrets of The Lord of the Rings, despite all of the younger Tolkien’s efforts to facilitate such discoveries. [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 Collection of an American Gentleman

Apparently Weiser Antiquarian Books has recently added a large number of new arrivals which they describe as being “comprised mainly of moderately priced used books, some out-of-print and some in-print titles at lower than retail price. The subjects & authors in our “new arrivals” list include: Alchemy & Hermetica, Aleister Crowley, Golden Dawn, Magic, Mythology, Paganism, Tarot, and a group of scarce Nelson & Anne White material.” This may contain some works of interest to you.

Family dinner

Family dinner
Family dinner, originally uploaded by Graham Annable.

 

“Having Cronus as a father was tough on little Zeus.

And the rest of the family.”

 

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