Tag Archives: omnium gatherum

Omnium Gatherum: July 9, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 9, 2019

If you’d like to participate, head over to Omnium Gatherum on the BBS, or suggest something.

  • Tweet by Alex Norris

  • The Curious Mystical Text Behind Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Bid. The New Age author was drawn to an esoteric bible in the 1970s. It made her a self-help megastar. And now it has gone mainstream.” — Sam Kestenbaum, The New York Times

    “Ms. Williamson’s debut may have appeared offbeat, a not-so-serious collection of truisms about love. But more was happening here. She was, in fact, drawing directly from a homegrown American holy book called “A Course in Miracles,” a curious New York scripture that arose during the heady metaphysical counterculture of the 1960s.

    This is not some homey book of feel-good bromides. Rather, it is taken by its readers as a genuine gospel, produced by a Manhattan doctor who believed she was channeling new revelations from Jesus Christ himself. And stepping into this unusual book’s story, in fact, is the key to understanding Ms. Williamson’s latest venture.”

  • Followers of occultist Aleister Crowley to be welcomed back to his former Highland home” — Alison Campsie, The Scotsman; from the it-shall-be-your-Wellness-Spa-for-ever dept.

    Campsie The Scotsman followers of occultist Crowley to be welcomed back Boleskine

    “The former Highland home of occultist Aleister Crowley is to be restored and converted into a wellness retreat where yoga and meditation will be taught – as well as the teachings of the notorious religious leader.

    Boleskine House on the south west banks of Loch Ness was destroyed by a fire in 2015 but has now been purchased by three as yet unnamed investors who paid a total of £500,000 for the property and gardens.

    The Boleskine Foundation has now been launched to drive the restoration of the property with parts of the historic estate, which was built in the 1760s, to be opened up to the public.”

  • Why a new generation is turning to Satanism. Devil may care.” — Olivier Pelling, Huck

    “In a time of chaos and uncertainty, when traditional belief systems no longer seem to have all the answers, more and more young people are finding comfort in Satanism. But these aren’t devil worshippers who drink blood or sacrifice animals. They’re just regular people trying to squeeze the most out of life.”

  • The Gnostic Apocalypse That Is Game of Thrones” — Miguel Conner, Aeon Byte

    “Let’s dare the metaphysics of Game of Thrones, now that the dust (and self-righteous internet outrage) has settled on its final season. Specifically, I want to talk about the show’s Gnostic features.

    That’s not as surprising as you might think. Epic fantasies tend to be spiritually eclectic in their massive world-building efforts. It happens, and logically, this can include some gradients of Gnosticism. As an example, it happened in Lord of the Rings. Don’t believe me? Check out Lance Owens arguing on my show that J.R.R. Tolkien’s cosmology is heavily indebted to Gnostic ideas.”

  • Thousands petition Netflix to cancel Amazon Prime’s Good Omens. US Christian group condemns Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s story as ‘making satanism appear normal’ – but petition wrong company.” — Alison Flood, The Guardian

    “More than 20,000 Christians have signed a petition calling for the cancellation of Good Omens, the television series adapted from Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s 1990 fantasy novel – unfortunately addressing their petition to Netflix when the series is made by Amazon Prime.”

  • Tweet by Amazon Prime Video US

  • ‘Hail Satan’ opening prayer at Alaska government meeting prompts walkouts, protest” — Owen Daughterty, The Hill

    “The Associated Press reports the prayer, where a woman declared “Hail Satan,” was given by Satanic Temple member Iris Fontana, who won the right to open the meeting with an invocation of her choice.

    “That which will not bend, must break, and that which can be destroyed by truth should never be spared as demise. It is done, hail Satan,” Fontana said to open the meeting, according to local radio station KSRM

    The controversial prayer Tuesday night started the meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough and prompted several attendees to exit.”

  • By the Book: Denise Mina” — The New York Times

    “What books are on your nightstand?

    ‘The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper,’ by Hallie Rubenhold; Peter Mansfield’s ‘A History of the Middle East’; ‘The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography,’ by Aleister Crowley”

  • Jim Bakker: Christian Leaders and Politicians Will Be Murdered if Trump is not Re-Elected” — Kyle Mantyla, Right Wing Watch

    “End Times prepper pastor Jim Bakker warned on his television program today that if President Trump is not re-elected in 2020, Christian leaders and politicians will be murdered in the streets.”

  • Tweet by Damien

  • Trump spiritual adviser says ‘demonic networks’ have aligned themselves against president” — Rachel Frazin, The Hill

    “President Trump’s spiritual adviser, Paula White, said in the opening prayer before his campaign kickoff rally in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday that “demonic networks” have aligned themselves against the president. “

  • Put down the self-help books. Resilience is not a DIY endeavour” — Michael Ungar, The Globe and Mail; adapted from his book Change Your World: The Science of Resilience and the True Path to Success

    Ungar Change Your World

    “I, too, wish life were as simple as it is described in the first chapter of Eckhart Tolle’s bestselling book The Power of Now. It opens with the story of a beggar sitting on a box. A stranger comes along and asks the beggar what’s inside. The beggar, who has sat on the box for years, has never thought to open it. When finally he does, it is full of gold. Thus we are all beggars seeking something from someone else when everything we need is already there inside us.

    But stories such as this are misleading, if not dishonest. Personal explanations for success actually set us up for failure. TED Talks and talk shows full of advice on what to eat, what to think and how to live seldom work. Self-help fixes are like empty calories: The effects are fleeting and often detrimental in the long term. Worse, they promote victim blaming. The notion that your resilience is your problem alone is ideology, not science.

    We have been giving people the wrong message. Resilience is not a DIY endeavour. Self-help fails because the stresses that put our lives in jeopardy in the first place remain in the world around us even after we’ve taken the “cures.” The fact is that people who can find the resources they require for success in their environments are far more likely to succeed than individuals with positive thoughts and the latest power poses.”

  • Ancient Egypt link to The Beatles points to ‘Macca is dead’ conspiracy, theorist claims. A BONKERS conspiracy claiming legendary Beatle Paul McCartney is dead may have a compelling link to ancient Egypt, a theorist has claimed.” — Simon Green, Daily Star

    “Despite being one of the most recognised musicians of all time, a select few Beatle fans believe Sir Paul was killed in a car crash in 1966.

    They claim a body double was then used after his death, something the iconic band supposedly alluded to in their songs.

    Now, one so-called truth-seeker has offered a different view on the theory.

    This Paul is Dead thing, I am looking at it as an initiation.”

    Andrew stops short of suggesting what Paul was “initiated” into, but linked it to the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley.”

  • Konx-Om-Pax. Ways of Seeing.” — Kareem Ghezawi, The Quietus

    “In the original 1907 publication of Konx-Om-Pax, British occultist Aleister Crowley attempts to discern the nature of the transmundane through a series of esoteric allegories and enigmatic mystical rites. To some he was a spiritual snake oil merchant, while to others he was nothing less than a prophet. One thing for certain is that his personality, life, and works have been a major source of inspiration to artists and leftfield oddballs ever since.

    In that sense, Tom Scholefield shares common ground with the great beast whose work he has named himself after. Because like him, Konx, and his peers on Planet Mu and Hyperdub, are interpreters of the generation’s collective consciousness, it’s ugliness, as well as its beauty. In Ways of Seeing, Konx allows himself to be fully guided by his empathic intuition for the first time and the result is a record which reveals promisingly hopeful patterns in the void.”

  • Rivers of Babylon: 4 Unusual Facts About Cradle of Civilization. As UNESCO names Babylon a World Heritage Site, the ‘Post’ presents five little-known facts about how the fame of the ancient kingdom is still with us today.” — Hagay Hacohen, The Jerusalem Post

    “2. Babalon Woman – In the complex occult magical system created by English writer Aleister Crowley, a special place is reserved for the concept of Babalon. The concept includes both the principle of fertility and female sexuality as well as an actual woman who takes on the role of “scarlet woman.”

    In his own lifetime, Crowley expected romantic partners to take on the role of Babalon for his occult needs. Among them were Jeanne Robert Foster and Leah Hirsig.

    Crowley, who attempted to shock the norms of his day and age, might have been influenced by Jewish and Christian concepts of ancient Babylon as a place of sexual excess. The ‘Whore of Babylon’ is referred to many times in the Book of Revelation. Crowley also saw himself as ‘the great beast.'”

Omnium Gatherum: June 17, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 17, 2019

If you’d like to participate, head over to Omnium Gatherum on the BBS, or suggest something.

  • Dronesmuir II. An evening of ethereal drone music. A tax-deductible crowdfunding effort by Hermetic Library Anthology Artist Kim Cascone‘s Silent, umbrella for Silent Records and more, for a live performance at Wheelhouse in Dunsmuir, CA on October 19, 2019.

    Cascone Silent Dronesmuir II 2019

    “Dronesmuir II will consist of three drone musicians at the rustic Wheelhouse restaurant on Saturday, October 19, 2019. Drone music will be performed by three artists on the Silent label: Jack Hertz (San Francisco)—small hand-percussion and acoustic instruments processed via synthesizer, Stuart McLeod (Portland)—hydrophone, brainwaves, waterphone & digital processing, Mark Schlipper (Seattle)—guitar and effects. Stuart McLeod’s performance will make use of a hydrophone (underwater microphone) dropped into the underground rivulet below the restaurant. The signal from the hydrophone combined with the waterphone will be processed digitally and controlled by the artist’s brainwaves. Jack Hertz promises to enthrall the audience with realtime processing via synthesizers of small handmade instruments. Mark Schlipper plays guitar in the Seattle drone doom band The Luna Moth and will perform a solo guitar drone set.

    It’s a safe-space, all-ages event to which everyone is welcome.

    Events are expensive to produce, so we are reaching out to you, our friends, family and community, to help us reach our goal of $3500 dollars that will be used for to pay for artists’ fees, lodging, meals, transportation, promotions, printing, administration, etc. We believe in a model where artists are paid for their work, and are treated with respect. In order to meet this goal, we are asking for sponsorships from businesses and individuals who believe in and support the arts. Any money raised beyond our actual costs will be put towards future events.”

  • Mystery of the ‘mini bagels’ found in rubble at ancient fort. Odd chunks of dough might have had a ceremonial purpose.” — Nature; from the Take-Eat-This-Is-My-Bagel dept.

    Nature Mystery of the Mini Bagels

    “The rings were probably not meant to be eaten, but their actual purpose is a mystery. They resemble clay rings called loom weights, which weavers used for millennia to keep their threads taut. The pit that held the dough rings also contained loom weights, and the researchers propose that the doughy version could have had a ritual function.”

  • Small donors are rebuilding Notre-Dame as French billionaires delay” — France 24

    “As Notre-Dame holds its first mass Saturday since a devastating fire two months ago, billionaire French donors who pledged hundreds of millions for rebuilding have ‘yet to pay a penny’, a spokesman for the cathedral said.

    Instead, the funds paying for clean-up and reconstruction are coming mainly from French and American citizens who donated to church charities like the Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris. Those charities are helping pay the bills and the salaries of up to 150 workers employed by the cathedral since the April 15 fire destroyed its roof and caused its iconic spire to collapse.

    ‘The big donors haven’t paid. Not a cent,’ André Finot, a senior press official at Notre-Dame, told AP on Friday. ‘They want to know what exactly their money is being spent on and if they agree to it before they hand it over, and not just to pay employees’ salaries.’

    Less than a tenth of the hundreds of millions promised has been donated, the French culture ministry said Friday. Only €80 million of the €850 million pledged has been handed over – and most of that has come in small sums given by ordinary people.”

  • Are crystals the new blood diamonds? Gwyneth loves them, Adele can’t sing without them and Kim Kardashian uses them to deal with stress. Many of us are lured by their beauty and promise of mystical powers, but are ‘healing’ crystals connecting us to the earth – or harming it?” — Eva Wiseman, The Guardian UK

    “But while it’s claimed crystals help people harness the energy of the earth, the more they are mined, the more that earth is suffering. Here is the dirty truth of crystals, and it’s not simply that their efficacy as healing objects is unproven. It’s that, as Emily Atkin at The New Republic reported last year, their origins are murky, and their environmental impact worrying. Much like diamonds, crystal mining is an industry buried in conflict. There are issues around sustainability: crystals are a non-renewable resource. There are issues around labour: most jobs are low paid, unsafe, and sometimes performed by underage workers. And there is an issue around accountability: the industry is unregulated, allowing exploitation to go unchecked.”

  • A Norwegian City Wants to Abolish Time” — Ryan F Mandelbaum, Gizmodo

    “Every day, the Earth rotates. The Sun appears on the horizon in the morning, and then some time later, it sets. We’ve built our lives and societies around this periodicity, with days that are divided into hours, minutes, and seconds, all kept track of by clocks. But in some places on Earth, the Sun rises only once per year, and sets once per year. With their concept of a day already so estranged from the rest of the world’s, one Arctic population started thinking: What if we ditched the concept of time altogether?

    ‘You have to go to work, and even after work, the clock takes up your time,’ Hveding told Gizmodo. ‘I have to do this, I have to do that. My experience is that [people] have forgotten how to be impulsive, to decide that the weather is good, the Sun is shining, I can just live.’ Even if it’s 3 a.m. “

  • YouTuber Claims WWE is Promoting ‘Every Satanic Agenda’; Targets Bray Wyatt” — Jay Alletto, PWP Nation

    “The world of “conspiracy theories” can be a bit much if you aren’t ready to open up your mind & embrace the possibilities…even if skeptical.

    The YouTube Channel, “A Call For An Uprising“, has called out WWE numerous times for their agenda driven entertainment with hidden symbolism, political views & classic mind control techniques.

    He also discusses Aleister Black & all of the satanic symbolism he uses in his character, mostly traced back to infamous occultist Aleister Crowley.”

  • Televangelist Warns Of Satan Burgers” — The Young Turks; from the I-Can-Has-Demonburger? dept.

    “C-List televangelist Rick Wiles thinks Impossible Burgers are made of demons.”

  • Books Podcast: does tripping balls tell us anything profound about human consciousness?” — Sam Leith, The Spectator; an interview with Mike Jay, author of Mescaline: A Global History of the First Psychedelic

    Jay Mescaline

    “This week’s books podcast promises to be a trip. I’m joined by Mike Jay to talk about the history of mescaline — a psychedelic drug whose influence goes from the earliest South American civilisations through the 19th-century Indian Wars up to W B Yeats, Aleister Crowley and (of course) Aldous Huxley and Hunter S Thompson. Does tripping balls tell us anything profound about human consciousness? How come Mexico got all the good drugs? And why did Aldous Huxley lie about his trousers?”

  • Wickedest man in the world, Alice In Wonderland and former Top Gear presenter mapped” — Catherine Thompson, Leamington Observer; about “A People Map of the UK, where city names are replaced by their most Wikipedia’ed resident: people born in, lived in, or connected to a place.” at The Pudding

    Thompson Leamington Observer Aleister Crowley Wikipedia

    The Pudding A People Map of the UK Aleister Crowley Leamington Spa

    “THE WICKEDEST man in the world, a former Top Gear presenter, and the author of Alice in Wonderland, have more in common than some might think.

    The unlikely group feature on an unusual new map of the UK compiled by their most Wikipedia’ed resident – with names instead of places.

    Leamington is represented by the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley. Dubbed the wickedest man in the world, he worshipped Satan, practised black magic, and was known to sacrifice the odd cat, although rumours babies were also sacrificed were never proved.”

  • Tulsi Gabbard Had a Very Strange Childhood. Which may help explain why she’s out of place in today’s Democratic Party. And her long-shot 2020 candidacy.” — Kerry Howley, The Cut

    “How far does our commitment to religious diversity extend? Is it weirder to follow the dictates of a surfer guru who believes the moon landing was a hoax than to claim, as does Evangelical Mike Pence, that the establishment of Israel represents biblical prophecy? Georgia representative Jody Hice believes you can predict major political events through a succession of “blood moons.” A recent member of Congress claims pregnancy by “legitimate rape” is impossible. Because he believes bee pollen cured his allergies, former Iowa senator Tom Harkin has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars failing to prove the legitimacy of various alternative medicines, pollen among them.”

Omnium Gatherum: June 11, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 11, 2019

If you’d like to participate, head over to Omnium Gatherum on the BBS, or suggest something.

  • Help! My Boyfriend Thinks I’m the Reincarnation of an Evil Witch.” — Daniel Mallory Ortberg, Slate [HT Digg]

    “There is a complicated gray area in between ‘totally unreasonable/baffling but part of the rich tapestry of human weirdness’ and ‘deeply concerning, time to call a doctor,’ and I’m afraid this might fall into it. “

  • ‘Hadestown’ Is Big Winner At 2019 Tony Awards With 8 Trophies. Anaïs Mitchell’s folk opera smash surprised no one by taking home the Best Musical award on Broadway’s biggest night.” — Curtis M. Wong, HuffPost

    “Anaïs Mitchell’s jazz and blues-inflected “folk opera” beat out competitors like “The Prom” and “Tootsie” for the top prize Sunday night, bringing its total tally to eight trophies.

    ‘If ‘Hadestown’ stands for anything, it’s that change is possible,’ producer Mara Isaacs told the crowd while accepting the award. ‘In dark times, spring will come again.'”

  • To thrive in a “wicked” world, you need range” — Ephrat Livni, Quartz; a discussion about Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

    Epstein Range

    “It’s long been said that a jack of all trades is a master of none. But the myth of the superiority of specialists is apparently based on limited data, and there’s plenty of evidence, now collected in a new book, to suggest that range is the true engine of innovation and creativity in the game of life.”

  • Babalon by Paul Green, April 4-27, 2020, Space 55, Arizona; from Babalon and other plays by Paul A Green, from Scarlet Imprint [HT Broadway World]

    Green Babalon and Other Plays

    “Rocket scientist Jack Parsons helped develop the technology that took America to the Moon. He was also a disciple of Aleister Crowley, performed magical rites with L. Ron Hubbard, and held wild occult sex parties in his Pasadena home. Based on a true story, Paul Green’s Babalon is a poetic and profoundly moving exploration of the strange, explosive forces that brought us into the Space Age. An Arizona premiere!”

  • This religious group formed in 1913 believes African Americans are Muslims and of Moorish descent” — Mildred Europa Taylor, Face 2 Face Africa

    “In effect, the Moorish Science Temple of America may not be as it was in the 1920s, but its influence on black consciousness can never be ignored, observers say.”

  • Walt Whitman: Proto-Pagan At 200” — Tom Swiss, The Zen Pagan

    “There is a direct chain of inspiration from Whitman to the important occultist and Pagan figures Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune, and Gerald Gardner, via the English poet Algernon Charles Swinburne.

    Swinburne was a Whitman fan during the time he produced his most significant work — even writing a poem “To Walt Whitman In America”: “O strong-winged soul with prophetic / Lips hot with the bloodheats of song”. (Though they had something of a falling out later.) According to historian Ronald Hutton, Crowley, Fortune, and Gardner were all influenced by Swinburne. (Crowley even canonized Swinburne as a saint of the Gnostic Catholic Church.)”

  • John Romero releases unofficial 5th episode of original Doom for free” — Aaron Mamiit, Digital Trends

    “Romero said that in Sigil, players will fight through a ‘stygian pocket of evil to confront the ultimate harbingers of Satan,’ after Baphomet sends the player to ‘even darker shores of Hell.'”

  • [Overlook Review] ‘Satanic Panic’ Delivers a Messy Comedy Horror” — Meagan Navarro, Bloody Disgusting; about Satanic Panic, dir Chelsea Stardust, with Rebecca Romijn, Jerry O’Connell, & al.

    Fangoria Satanic Panic film

    “After a day full of deliveries that left her shortchanged on the tips, one final stop in an out of territory rich neighborhood leaves her stranded and the target of upper class Baphomet worshippers looking to sacrifice her before the sun comes up. What transpires is a night of chaotic Satanic rituals, demon summoning, and a whole lot of bloodshed in a very chaotic and tonally strange horror comedy.”

  • The Age of Aquarius, All Over Again! Belief in astrology and the occult is surging.” — David Brooks, New York Times

    “We’re living in the middle of a religious revival; it’s just that the movements that are rising are not what we normally call “religion.” The first rising movement is astrology. According to a 2018 Pew poll, 29 percent of Americans say they believe in astrology. That’s more than are members of mainline Protestant churches.

    These surging movements are people’s attempts to solve the major needs of the current moment.

    The first need is simply to find a way to be spiritual. …

    Second, there is a widespread need to slow down, to escape the pace of life technology wants and to live at a human pace.

    Third, there is a widespread need to express alienation. …

    Fourth is the need for identity markers. …

    Fifth is the desire to live within a coherent creed and community, but without having that creed impinge on your individual autonomy. …

    Finally, many people seem to want to be alternative without actually leaving the mainstream world.”

  • The Rise of Progressive Occultism” — Tara Isabella Burton, The America Interest

    “Back in 1992, Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson warned of the dangers of feminism, predicting that it would induce “women to leave their husbands. . . .practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” Many of today’s witches would happily agree.”

  • When The Religious Left Is Occult” — Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

    “Here’s what I’ve been thinking since our conversation about this piece, and since reading it earlier today: we should take this as seriously as its practitioners do.

    Under liberalism, many of us have a habit of ironically distancing ourselves from taking religion — mainstream religion, or outsider religion — seriously. For example, we think of religious rites as an expression of how the practitioner feels about this or that. Secular unbelievers, obviously, don’t think that there is anything real happening with satanic rites, spell-casting, and suchlike. It is nothing more than a form of theater. They also regard Christian rituals in the same way.

    If materialism is an accurate and complete account of reality, then they’re right: it’s nothing more than emotive pageantry. Still, if that’s all it is, then we should at least take seriously the fact that there are people who wish to express in ritual a desire to “disrupt, distort [and] destroy.” In writing about the believers within these circles, Tara told me that it’s not a joke or a game to them; they really do believe that what they’re doing has an effect, just as much as a Christian faith healer or exorcist does.

    Holden Matthews, the young white man charged with burning down three black churches this year in south Louisiana, was reportedly deeply involved with the black metal scene, a genre of rock that celebrates satanic themes, sometimes attracts white supremacists, and whose followers have been linked to church burnings elsewhere. Maybe there’s nothing to it but expressive pageantry, but then again, Mohammed Atta and his crew hijacked airliners and flew them into buildings for religious and political reasons. My point is simply that religion is not always something nice and respectable and life-affirming. All religion might be false, but most of us would rather live next door to Ned Flanders than Holden Matthews.

    But what if materialism’s account of reality is untrue? What if there really is something actual going on with religion? That is, what if people who perform religious rites — Catholics, Taoists, witches, everyone — are not simply expressing how they feel, but truly making contact with the numinous, and engaging its power?”

  • SpaceTime Coordinates

    SpaceTime Coordinates gold plated rhodium mementos

    “YOUR 3D PRINTED PERSONAL SOLAR SYSTEM CUSTOM MADE WITH NASA’S DATA

    Our designs are produced through a unique, top-tier solar system simulator that was developed in-house and featured by OpenNASA. We offer the most precise product available on the market, using NASA/JPL data that is constantly updated.”

  • The Brain Maps Out Ideas and Memories Like Spaces. Emerging evidence suggests that the brain encodes abstract knowledge in the same way that it represents positions in space, which hints at a more universal theory of cognition.” — Jordana Cepelewicz, Quanta Magazine

    “In the past few decades, research has shown that for at least two of our faculties, memory and navigation, those metaphors may have a physical basis in the brain. A small seahorse-shaped structure, the hippocampus, is essential to both those functions, and evidence has started to suggest that the same coding scheme — a grid-based form of representation — may underlie them. Recent insights have prompted some researchers to propose that this same coding scheme can help us navigate other kinds of information, including sights, sounds and abstract concepts. The most ambitious suggestions even venture that these grid codes could be the key to understanding how the brain processes all details of general knowledge, perception and memory.”

  • Jamaica moving to legalize obeah, a practice banned for centuries” — who, Jamaica Beacon; from the Obeah-Wanga dept. [HT Dr Death & Divinity]

    “Lawmakers yesterday blocked a proposed increase in fines for persons practicing obeah; this amid revelations that plans are afoot to legalize the practice in Jamaica.

    Obeah has been illegal here for centuries, but it is still widely practiced, and law enforcers often turn a blind eye to obeah practitioners.”

  • Longtime Linden minister used oral sex in exorcism ritual, men claim. A Presbyterian minister with deep ties to Union County stands accused of using oral sex in exorcism rituals on victims seeking his counseling.” — Nick Muscavage, Bridgewater Courier News [HT Dr Kate Kingsbury]

    “A Presbyterian minister, who said he was following the Bible, used Native American exorcism rituals, gemstones and even oral sex to extract “evil spirits” from men undergoing crises in their lives, the church and men claim.”

  • At last, Dora Maar emerges from her lover Picasso’s shadow. Major survey of the Surrealist photographer at Centre Pompidou will travel to Tate Modern and the Getty Center.” — Ben Luke, The Art Newspaper; about Dora Maar exhibit, June 5 – July 29, 2019, Centre Pompidou, Paris [HT Dr Sabia Stent]

    Maar exhibit Centre Pompidou

    “The Surrealist artist and photographer Dora Maar’s relationship with Pablo Picasso hugely affected her burgeoning reputation. Specialists in Surrealism are well aware that Maar was an inspired and innovative photographer before she met him, as well as a documenter, as later seen in a series of images of the Spanish artist’s masterpiece Guernica (1937). But for a wider public Maar has been defined by Picasso’s depictions of her, particularly as the Weeping Woman (1937).

    A major survey that opens at the Centre Pompidou in Paris this week, later touring to Tate Modern in London and the Getty Center in Los Angeles, should liberate Maar from that vision. Born Henriette Theodora Markovitch in 1907, to a French mother and Croatian father, she grew up in Argentina but began studying photography in the late 1920s after the family moved to Paris. By the early 1930s she was making studio-based commercial photography, often in collaboration with the set designer Pierre Kéfer.”

Omnium Gatherum: May 30, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for May 30, 2019

If you’d like to participate, head over to Omnium Gatherum on the BBS, or suggest something.

  • The Light Extended: A Journal of the Golden Dawn. Volume 1. Chic Cicero, Sandra Tabitha Cicero, & al., due June, from Kerubim Press

    Cicero Kerubim Press The Light Extended volume 1

    “Taking its name from the rituals of the Order of the Golden Dawn, this journal aims to extend the light through information, offering a combination of unpublished original order documents and new material from prominent voices in the esoteric world today. With a unique mix of scholarly articles and practical advice, this book provides an essential resource for those interested in the Golden Dawn system of magic.

    Topics include the Qlippoth, Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram, the Lord of the Universe, a Stella Matutina Ritual for Influencing a Person for Good, the Body of Light, the 42 Assessors, Hekas Hekas Este Bebeloi, Skrying, Thelema’s relationship with the Golden Dawn, the Assumption of Godforms, a Fire Tablet Ritual, and the Enochian letters.

    With contributions from: Chic Cicero and S. Tabatha Cicero, Samuel Scarborough, Frater YShY, Tony Fuller, Jayne Gibson, Adam P. Forrest, Soror DPF, Alex Sumner, Frater D, M. Isidora Forrest, Darcy Küntz, and Frater Yechidah.”

  • Tweet by Ally Maynard

  • The Yazidis’ Secret Children” — BBC News

    “It is estimated that 80% of the Yazidi women rescued from the dying days of the so-called Islamic State have had children with their jihadi captors.

    They were kidnapped from the the Yazidi community five years ago, but are not allowed to return until they abandon their children born during IS-captivity.

    Over the last year, BBC Persian correspondent Nafiseh Kohnavard has been following the story of one of these Yazidi women, forced to choose between her child and her community.”

  • Yazidi women struggle to return to daily life after enduring Islamic State brutality” — PBS NewsHour

    “Yazidi women, who were sold as sex slaves by Islamic State militants, are now returning to their families from formerly ISIS-controlled territories. Special correspondent Jane Ferguson visits the Yazidi religious community in Iraq to hear the stories of these survivors and what they are doing to move on with their lives.”

  • Creating the magical womb” — Brandy Williams, Star & Snake; about Williams’ own Star Garnet ritual

    “The ritual of the Star Garnet creates an energy container. It uses the Greek term ‘delphus’ to describe this. The Greek city of Delphi contained the omphalos or pivot of the world. In this context the delphus or magical womb is the pivot in the human energy body.

    This operation does not require the magician to be any physical gender or have a physical womb, anyone can engage in the operation. There are numerous benefits to an operation which provides a delphus to bodies of every gender. It places the power to direct the operation in the hands of the operator. Sex magick binaries often include the idea of an active and a passive partner; this operation assumes each magician as active. Some sex magick directs the benefit of an operation with a partner to just one of the partners, usually but not always the male partner, while the Star Garnet directly benefits the operator.

    I have been performing this operation for twenty years. About five years ago I started talking about it and have taught it around the U.S. The Star Garnet is rooted in the Western Magical Tradition and is fairly new, but it is a member of a magical family of operations that women and men have performed around the world for thousands of years. It is a nurturing and effective operation for physical and spiritual renewal. It explicitly acknowledges that the power to renew ourselves lies within all of us in every physical and subtle body.”

  • “America Lodge No. 55 Freemasonry for Women” Making History on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery” — Lou P Elias, PR release [HT Gregory B Stewart]

    “On Memorial Day at 4:00 PM at the Women’s Memorial in Arlington national Cemetery, America Lodge No. 57 of Women Freemasons made its first public appearance in honor of the women in uniform who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the United States and Freedom.”

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  • Book review: Kabbalah: Secrecy, Scandal And The Soul, by Harry Freedman — Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman; a review of Kabbalah: Secrecy, Scandal and the Soul by Harry Freedman

    Freedman Kabbalah

    “There is something indisputably glorious about the kind of book that can take in Paracelsus, Moses Maimonides, Ramon Llull, author of the The Great Art and mystical engineer, Count Pico della Mirandola, Isaac Newton, the angel Metatron, the strange and tragic uprising of Shabbetai Tzvi, who thought he was the Messiah and yet converted to Islam, the golem of Prague, Aleister Crowley, Madonna (the singer, rather than the Blessed Virgin) and Princess Eugenie.”

Omnium Gatherum: May 27, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for May 27, 2019

If you’d like to participate, head over to Omnium Gatherum on the BBS, or suggest something.

  • The Brazen Vessel by Alkistis Dimech and Peter Grey, from Scarlet Imprint, due in June, with Bibliothèque Rouge edition to follow

    Dimech Grey Scarlet Imprint The Brazen Vessel

    “The Brazen Vessel documents the creative, magical partnership of Alkistis Dimech and Peter Grey from 2008 to 2018. It comprises selected texts, essays and presentations, including many previously unpublished works, essays which have fallen out of print and texts that were only published online. The anthology marks the first appearance in print of such pivotal texts as Rewilding Witchcraft, a translation of the critical goetic source Le livre des esperitz, and an extended and original treatment of the witches’ dance. The Brazen Vessel testifies to the prescient, provocative and influential nature of their work.

    From the invocation of Babalon, given at the Thelemic Symposium in Oxford in 2008, to the eschatology of Babalon given at Occulture Berlin in 2018, the 35 works gathered here give insight into the process, thought and praxis of the authors, both as individuals with distinct bodies of work, and as a dynamic magical union. The works in The Brazen Vessel cast significant light on ideas developed through The Red Goddess (2007), Apocalyptic Witchcraft (2013) and Lucifer: Princeps (2015), and prefigures some of the material in Lucifer: Praxis (forthcoming).

    The texts reveal the continuities and evolution of the authors’ work over a decade. Taken as a whole, their work proposes unorthodox and undogmatic understandings of Lucifer and Babalon, as demonised divine figures, as the sources of transmission of the western traditions of magic and witchcraft. A shared love of poetry and the magical power of the word is evident in their distinctive voices. Both have given primacy to the living body in their practice, through dance, performance, ritual and rites of devotion and ordeal. Both situate their magical work within the wider ecological and political environment. In a polyphony of texts, the ongoing dialogue between two practitioners is made apparent, and the important and innovative work of Alkistis given its due.

    During the ten years documented in the anthology, Scarlet Imprint led a nomadic existence, moving from Brighton to Dover, the French Alps and the Welsh Borders, and finally to West Cornwall; these liminal landscapes and their denizens people the book. The texts evidence a second web of journeys to conferences, gatherings and symposia in London, Glastonbury, Brighton, Cornwall, Scotland, Norway, Belgium, Portland and Seattle. Overlapping with these are a series of pilgrimages to sacred sites from Patmos to Cefalù, to standing stones, stone circles, cliffs, caves and the wilds.

    The Brazen Vessel is a work of process, experiment and risk, written by practitioners at the leading edge of the magical revival.”

  • Ancient Egyptian Funeral Collection. A collection featuring a hinged sarcophagus enamel pin inspired from Egyptian Revival art and ancient artifacts. A crowdfunding effort by Jennifer Cox.

    Cox Ancient Egyptian Funeral Collection

    “Hi, I’m Jennifer and this is my Ancient Egyptian Funeral Collection.”

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  • The Faux Revolution of Mindfulness” — Ronald Purser, Resilience

    “Against this background, the hubris and political naiveté of the cheerleaders of the mindfulness ‘revolution’ is stunning. They seem so enamored of doing good and saving the world that these true believers, no matter how sincere, suffer from an enormous blindspot. They seem mindless of the fact that all too often, mindfulness has been reduced to a commodified and instrumental self-help technique that unwittingly reinforces neoliberal imperatives.”

  • Mindfulness meditation in America has a capitalism problem. Can the mindfulness movement resist becoming a tool of self-absorption?” — Sean Illing, Vox; an interview with David Forbes, author of Mindfulness and Its Discontents: Education, Self, and Social Transformation

    Forbes Mindfulness and Its Discontents

    “Buddhists seek to let go of attachment to the myth of the private, solid, unchanging self, and to promote universal compassion and end universal suffering.

    But capitalist culture enforces the myth of the privatized, self-centered self. So unless mindfulness is employed in the service of making the world a better place — then practicing can and does end up serving to maintain the very self-centered, greedy, individualistic institutions and relationships that contribute to the lack of connected presence, kindness, and compassion that contribute to our unhappiness.

    I think it’s a good thing that people are getting tools to help them cope with difficult circumstances. I don’t want to dismiss that. My problem is that it ultimately doesn’t go far enough because it reinforces the sources of our unhappiness. As long as mindfulness is focused on the individual and not on our social situation, it will not help us change the conditions that are making us unhappy, namely a hyper-competitive, ultra-individualistic culture that separates and alienates us.”

  • New study suggests meditating on emptiness might be better than mindfulness. In a recent study, meditating on emptiness led to a 24 percent decrease in negative emotions.” — Haleigh Atwood, Lion’s Roar

    “Emptiness meditation may be more effective at improving wellbeing than mindfulness meditation, according to psychologists at the University of Derby, UK.

    Led by psychologist and lecturer William Van Gordon, an international research team conducted the first-ever study to investigate the impact of Buddhist emptiness meditation. A central Buddhist insight, emptiness is the understanding that neither we nor any phenomenon in the universe — sentient or otherwise — has a permanent, separate, and independent core, or soul.

    ‘Mindfulness and other contemplative techniques are very useful for creating mental calm and space in which to explore the mind,’ Van Gordon said. ‘But one has to go a step further and undermine the emptiness of self and the emptiness of all phenomena — that’s very consistent with the Buddhist teachings across most traditions.'”

  • Deceased Mother Who Was Accused of Witchcraft by Sons Was Justified to Remove Them From Will, Judge Rules” — Jason Murdock, Newsweek

    “A Spanish mother who was accused of practicing witchcraft by two of her three sons was justified to financially disown them before her death, a judge has ruled.”

  • My Business Is to Create: Blake’s Infinite Writing by Eric G Wilson, from University of Iowa Press, 2011 [HT bibliodaimonia]

    Wilson My Business is to Create

    “For William Blake, living is creating, conforming is death, and “the imagination . . . is the Human Existence itself.” But why are imagination and creation—so vital for Blake—essential for becoming human? And what is imagination? What is creation? How do we create? Blake had answers for these questions, both in word and in deed, answers that serve as potent teachings for aspiring writers and accomplished ones alike. Eric G. Wilson’s My Business Is to Create emulates Blake, presenting the great figure’s theory of creativity as well as the practices it implies.

    In both his life and his art, Blake provided a powerful example of creativity at any cost—in the face of misunderstanding, neglect, loneliness, poverty, even accusations of insanity. Just as Los cries out in Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion, “I must Create a System, or be enslav’d by another Man’s; / I will not Reason and Compare: my business is to Create,” generations of writers and artists as diverse as John Ruskin, William Butler Yeats, Allen Ginsberg, Philip K. Dick, songwriter Patti Smith, the avant-garde filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, and the underground comic-book artist R. Crumb have taken Blake’s creed as inspiration.

    Unwilling to cede his vision, Blake did more than simply produce iconoclastic poems and paintings; he also cleared a path toward spiritual and ethical enlightenment. To fashion powerful art is to realize the God within and thus to feel connected with enduring vitality and abundant generosity. This is Blake’s everlasting gospel, distilled here in an artist’s handbook of interest to scholars, writing teachers, and those who have made writing their way of life. My Business Is to Create is indispensable for all serious artists who want to transform their lives into art and make their art more alive.”

  • Here’s How to Tell If Someone Is a Toxic Person in the First 5 Minutes. If your new acquaintance does any of these things, you should probably stay away.” — Minda Zetlin, Inc

    “You know how damaging it can be to have a toxic person in your workplace, or in your life. Unfortunately, most of them don’t come with warning labels the way toxic chemicals do. Many of them seem very likable at first. After all, most toxic people are good manipulators, so getting you to like them is part of their toolkit.

    Is there a way to tell early on–ideally the first time you meet–that someone will turn out to be a toxic person? While there’s no foolproof method to tell right away if a new friend or colleague will be a drag on your energy, mood, or productivity, there are some early warning signs many toxic people display. If you encounter any of these when meeting someone for the first time–and especially if you encounter several of them–proceed with caution:

    1. They badmouth someone else.

    2. They complain.

    3. They ask for special treatment.

    4. They boast.

    5. They put you on the defensive.

    6. They make you work to please them.

    7. They don’t show interest in your concerns.

    8. They don’t make you feel good.”

  • Vatican confirms secret Catholic Church guidelines for priests who father children” — CBS News

    “CBS News has confirmed that the Vatican has secret guidelines for priests who father children, despite their vows of celibacy. Vincent Doyle, the founder of a support group for children of priests, told CBS News that a Vatican official showed him the confidential instructions.

    Doyle said he’s been pushing the Church to publicly support those children, who often grow up living in shame and secrecy. CBS News correspondent Roxana Saberi spoke with him and other children of priests fighting for recognition from the Catholic Church.”

Omnium Gatherum: May 23, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for May 23, 2019

If you’d like to participate, head over to Omnium Gatherum on the BBS, or suggest something.

  • Jinn, an ominous, supernatural teen drama, the first Arabic-language “original” for Netflix, due June 13

    “A group of high schoolers’ lives are disrupted when a jinn arrives seeking their help. High school will never be the same. Coming June 13. Only on Netflix.”

  • His Dark Materials: Season 1, from BBC with two seasons funded, distributed by HBO, coming in 2020 [HT Michael M. Bind Trump Hughes]

    “Adapting Philip Pullman’s award-winning trilogy of the same name, which is considered a modern masterpiece of imaginative fiction, the first season follows Lyra, a seemingly ordinary but brave young woman from another world. Her search for a kidnapped friend uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children, and becomes a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust. As she journeys through the worlds, including our own, Lyra meets Will, a determined and courageous boy. Together, they encounter extraordinary beings and dangerous secrets, with the fate of both the living — and the dead — in their hands.”

  • The House of Flames by Hermetic Library Anthology Artist Michael Idehall, limited edition of 23, on pre-order

    Idehall The House of Flames

    “The House of Flames contains two intersecting books: Tavulaxa and Glyphï. Tavulaxa details 11 mythological concepts of the Draconian current and navigational sigilisations that assist the reader in connecting the mystery to the accompanying sound composition. Glyphï consists of 23 channelings of automatic ink drawings and oracular texts. The third component is an indexing diagram called The Circle of Sight which is a matrix displaying how the different oracles, sigils, and sound compositions correspond to each other.

    This is an edition limited to 23 copies. The box set contains a hand bound book in quarter leather binding, one of the 23 original ink drawings featured in the book, a CD, and an LP. €170 + shipping. Place your order here: info@belzebez.se”

  • Early Greek Alchemy, Patronage and Innovation in Late Antiquity [also] by Olivier Dufault, from California Classical Studies [HT OlivierDufault]

    Dufault Early Greek Alchemy Patronage and Innovation in Late Antiquity

    Early Greek alchemy, Patronage and Innovation in Late Antiquity provides an example of the innovative power of ancient scholarly patronage by looking at a key moment in the creation of the Greek alchemical tradition.

    New evidence on scholarly patronage under the Roman empire can be garnered by analyzing the descriptions of learned magoi in several texts from the second to the fourth century CE. Since a common use of the term magos connoted flatterer-like figures (kolakes), it is likely that the figures of “learned sorcerers” found in texts such as Lucian’s Philopseudes and the apocryphal Acts of Peter captured the notion that some client scholars exerted undue influence over patrons.

    The first known author of alchemical commentaries, Zosimus of Panopolis (c. 300 CE), presented himself neither as a magos nor as an alchemist. In his treatises, he rather appears as a Christian scholar and the client of a rich woman named Theosebeia. In three polemical letters to his patroness, Zosimus attempted to discredit rival specialists of alchemy by describing them as magoi and demon-worshippers and by equating their techniques with Egyptian temple practice. In a subtler attempt to edge out his competitors, Zosimus pointed to their limited education and suggested that true alchemy could only be acquired by a meticulous interpretation of Greek alchemical texts.

    Extant evidence thus suggests that alchemical texts were first introduced among other Greek scholarly traditions when Zosimus annexed Egyptian temple rituals into the ambit of paideia thanks to the support and venue provided by his patroness.”

  • Strange Angel Season 2 – Official Trailer from CBS All Access

    “… new season of Strange Angel, premiering June 13th …

    In season two, the U.S. is fully engaged in World War II, transforming Jack’s rocketry work into a lucrative business and further entrenching him in the military-industrial complex. While Jack’s career takes off, he and his wife Susan’s devotion to their new occult religion grows, leading them to invite the sex cult into their Pasadena mansion and Jack to forge a personal relationship with the group’s notorious founder, Aleister Crowley himself.”

  • Boleskine House: Former Highland home of occultist Aleister Crowley and Led Zeppelin founder is sold” — Alison Campsie, Scotsman

    Scotsman- Boleskine House Aleister Crowley sold

    “The former Highland home of occultist Aleister Crowley that was largely destroyed by fire four years ago has been sold.

    The new owners of Boleskine House near Loch Ness will be hoping for a new peaceful chapter in the property’s story with it understood the house is to become home to a charitable foundation and opened up to the public.”

  • Joaquin Phoenix and ‘The Gospel of Mary’: Gnostic fiction at a theater near you” — John Stonestreet and G. Shane Morris, Christian Post; about Mary Madalene directed by Garth Davis, with Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix, from IFC Films,

    Davis Mara Phoenix Mary Magdalene

    “Remember that 1980s cough syrup commercial when Chris Robinson said, ‘I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV’? I wanted to paraphrase these immortal words when I read what actor Joaquin Phoenix of ‘Gladiator’ fame said about his role as Jesus in the movie, ‘Mary Magdalene.’ Phoenix is not the Son of Man, but he plays him on the big screen. His is a very different Jesus than the one we meet in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

    Judging by the trailer and the press roll-out, the movie drew heavily on a second-century Gnostic text known as ‘the Gospel of Mary.’ In a recent interview with Newsweek, Phoenix slammed early Christianity for not canonizing this and other apocryphal writings about Jesus, saying: ‘Why was Mary’s book not included in the Bible? The stench of blatant sexism,’ he says, is ‘inescapable.’

    Phoenix went even further in another interview: ‘Somebody made that decision to exclude [Mary Magdalene’s] observations and feelings about the life of Christ and her experience. There seems to have been an overt intention to exclude women from that process.'”

  • Muslims of Color Issue Call for Unity” — Hamil Harris, The Washington Informer

    “Noble Drew Ali was the Moorish American leader who founded the Moorish Science Temple of America. Considered a prophet by his followers, Ali founded the Canaanite Temple in Newark, New Jersey, in 1913 before relocating to Chicago, where he gained a following of thousands of converts before his death in 1929.

    ‘We organized as the Moorish Temple of Science in the year of 1925, and were legally incorporated as a civic organization under the laws of the State of Illinois, November 29, 1926,’ Ali once said in a statement. ‘The name Moorish Temple of Science was changed to the Moorish Science Temple of America, May 1928 in accordance with the legal requirements of the Secretary of the State of Illinois. The object of our Organization is to help in the great program of uplifting fallen humanity and teach those things to make our members better citizens.’

    Brother R. Jones Bey, Grand Sheik of the Moorish Science Temple of America Inc., told the gathering, ‘You must be the message that you bring. … I can’t lead anybody being a hypocrite, and if you are going to be real it has to begin with you.’

    Some of the toughest words were challenged issued by the Moorish Science brothers who have been instrumental in working with inmates across the country.

    ‘We separate ourselves because we don’t practice Islam the same way,’ said Brother Lomax Bey. ‘This ain’t about me, this ain’t about brother Yahya, it is about doing Allah’s work because he ain’t pleased in what we are doing. What we have to do is find our way back home.'”

  • The black Muslim female fashion trailblazers who came before model Halima Aden” — Kayla Renée Wheeler, Grand Valley State University, The Middletown Press

    “In the 20th century, black Americans were reintroduced to Islam through several people and organizations.

    These included the Moorish Science Temple of America and the Nation of Islam. The Moorish Science Temple of America was founded by a Moorish American, Noble Drew Ali, in 1913 in Newark, New Jersey.

    Drew Ali taught his followers that they were not Negros or Ethiopians, rather they were Moors and that Islam was their true religion. According to Drew Ali, Moors are descendants of the ancient Moabites who founded Mecca, one of the most important cities in Islam.

    Clothing played a central role in constructing a unique black Muslim identity. Black Muslim women used their dress to challenge American beauty standards, which typically holds thin young white women as the ideal beauty. Their dress practices also challenged beliefs that Islam was only an Arab religion by encouraging members to develop their own local dress practices.

    In the Moorish Science Temple of America, male members wore fezzes or turbans and women wore turbans often paired with long shift dresses as part of their everyday wear.”

Omnium Gatherum: May 20, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for May 20, 2019

If you’d like to participate, head over to Omnium Gatherum on the BBS, or suggest something.

  • The global internet is disintegrating. What comes next? Russia is the latest country to try to find ways to police its online borders, sparking the end of the internet as we know it.” — Sally Adee, BBC; from the Sneaker-Net-Grimoire dept.

    “Nearly a decade on, that borderless spirit seems like a quaint memory. The nations who left the UN empty-handed had not been disabused of the notion that you could put a wall around your corner of cyberspace. They’ve simply spent the past decade pursuing better ways to make it happen.

    Indeed, Russia is already exploring a novel approach to creating a digital border wall, and last month it passed two bills that mandate technological and legal steps to isolate the Russian internet. It is one of a growing number of countries that has had enough of the Western-built, Western-controlled internet backbone. And while Russia’s efforts are hardly the first attempt to secure exactly what information can and can’t enter a country, its approach is a fundamental departure from past efforts.”

  • Occultists Weigh In On The Meaning Of The Three-Eyed Raven In “Game Of Thrones”” — Lisa Stardust, Bust

    “GOT is a show that is heavily enriched in spiritual and magical themes—especially the symbolism of the raven—which is why it’s essential to explore the occult meaning behind the raven to understand the underlying plot of the show.

    We asked several occultists, mystics, and witches for their understanding of the raven to bring us more clarity on the matter. Also, to see if our GOT fan theory is correct.”

  • Trump Will Start the End of the World, Claim Evangelicals Who Support Him” — Cristina Maza, Newsweek

    “Evangelical Christians overwhelmingly support President Donald Trump because they believe he’ll cause the world to end.

    Many have questioned why devout evangelicals support Trump, a man who has bragged about sexual assault, lies perpetually and once admitted he never asks God for forgiveness. Trump’s lack of knowledge of the Bible is also well-known.

    Nevertheless, many evangelical Christians believe that Trump was chosen by God to usher in a new era, a part of history called the “end times.” Beliefs about this time period differ, but it is broadly considered the end of the world, the time when Jesus returns to Earth and judges all people.”

  • Research Shows Religious People Believe They Are Morally Superior, But Their Motivations Are Largely Egoistic” — Damir Mujezinovic, Inquisitor

    “Ward and her team of researchers established that religious people tend to consider their religious group more superior to others, finding that ‘the association between religiosity and moral self-image was partially explained by impression management and perceptions of the morality of one’s religious ingroup.’

    As Ward explained in statements supplied to PsyPost, religious people tend to believe that they share characteristics with members of their religious group, which they view as moral. This is why the perceived morality of a religious group can ‘rub off’ on its members, according to the researchers.”

  • Abolish the Priesthood. To save the Church, Catholics must detach themselves from the clerical hierarchy—and take the faith back into their own hands.” — James Carroll, The Atlantic

    “What Vatican II did not do, or was unable to do, except symbolically, was take up the issue of clericalism—the vesting of power in an all-male and celibate clergy. My five years in the priesthood, even in its most liberal wing, gave me a fetid taste of this caste system. Clericalism, with its cult of secrecy, its theological misogyny, its sexual repressiveness, and its hierarchical power based on threats of a doom-laden afterlife, is at the root of Roman Catholic dysfunction. The clerical system’s obsession with status thwarts even the merits of otherwise good priests and distorts the Gospels’ message of selfless love, which the Church was established to proclaim. Clericalism is both the underlying cause and the ongoing enabler of the present Catholic catastrophe. I left the priesthood 45 years ago, before knowing fully what had soured me, but clericalism was the reason.

    There is an undefined horizon of—let’s call it by an old name—the holy, toward which human beings still instinctively move. But today such longing for transcendence exists beyond categories of theism and atheism.

    If, down through the ages, it was appropriate for the Church to take on the political structures of the broader culture—imperial Rome, feudal Europe—then why shouldn’t Catholicism now absorb the ethos and form of liberal democracy? This may not be inevitable, but it is more than possible. The Church I foresee will be governed by laypeople, although the verb govern may apply less than serve. There will be leaders who gather communities in worship, and because the tradition is rich, striking chords deep in human history, such sacramental enablers may well be known as priests. They will include women and married people. They will be ontologically equal to everyone else. They will not owe fealty to a feudal superior.”

  • What Makes a Mountain, Hill, or Prairie a ‘Sacred’ Place for Native Americans?” — Rosalyn R LaPier, Sacred Matters; author of Invisible Reality: Storytellers, Storytakers, and the Supernatural World of the Blackfeet, out now, with paperback in August, from University of Nebraska Press

    LaPier Invisible Reality

    “The intimate connection between landscape and religion is at the center of Native American societies. It is the reason that thousands of Native Americans from across the United States and indigenous peoples from around the world have traveled to the windswept prairies of North Dakota.

    But, despite our 200-plus years of contact, the United States has yet to begin to understand the uniqueness of Native American religions and ties to the land. And until this happens, there will continue to be conflicts over religious ideas of land and landscape, and what makes a place sacred.”

  • What Lenin Teaches Us About Witchcraft” — Oxana Timofeeva, e-flux

    “The capitalist conception of the world implies that all the body can do is work, and it is only through work that the needs of that body can be satisfied.

    There was a time when the body was conceived as an intersection of cosmic forces and a part of the natural whole in which everything is related to every other thing.

    When I realized that the source of my fear was not outside of me, but within, I felt ecstatic. I thought I could become a magician if I learned to be more attentive to the darkness that was a part of me.

    “Every man and every woman is a star,” said Aleister Crowley. In Lenin’s sense, every man and every woman is a miracle man and a miracle woman. There is something demonic in this: as Lenin sees it, miracles do not simply happen and they cannot be ascribed to God or to some other supreme being; they are performed by real people themselves.”

  • From the casebooks of the most notorious astrologer doctors in all England. A ten-year project to study and digitise some 80,000 cases recorded by two famous astrological physicians has opened a “wormhole” into the worries and desires of people who lived 400 years.” — Fred Lewsey, University of Cambridge

    “Forman and his protégé Richard Napier used horary astrology: casting astral charts for the point in time they received a new query, whether by client visit or messenger. Most people simply wanted to know ‘what’s my disease?’ or ‘am I pregnant?’, and the astrologers – Kassell describes them as ’cause specialists’ – sought answers in the stars.

    Working in the moment, quill in hand, they jotted copious notes during each of the dozen or so daily consultations: names, ages, times and locations, snippets of sickness and worry, sketches of stellar configurations, and remedy recommendations from purging elixirs to powdered skulls.

    The notes were never intended for posterity, yet they survived.”

  • Cosmic Trigger III: My Life After Death by Robert Anton Wilson; the new Hilaritas Press edition

    Wilson Cosmic Trigger III Hilaritas

    “The first volume of the Cosmic Trigger series describes in vivid elucidation the perils of a spiritual journey. Volume two of the series presents the author’s “bridge” – how did Bob grow into his expanded perspective of Multiverse. In this third and final volume, Bob digs even deeper and uncovers the masks of reality and the reality of masks. Warning: this book may reveal more about what is “real” in reality than you might find comfortable!

    The ROBERT ANTON WILSON TRUST Authorized HILARITAS PRESS EDITION”

  • The Occult Humanities Conference 2019: Contemporary Art and Scholarship on the Esoteric Traditions, October 4-6, 2019, New York, NY

    The Occult Humanities Conference 2019

    “The fourth Occult Humanities Conference is a weekend conference to be held in New York City on October 4-6, 2019. The conference will present a wide array of voices active in the cultural landscape who are specifically addressing the occult tradition through research, scholarship and artistic practice.

    The arts and humanities at present are acutely interested in subjects related to the occult tradition. The tradition represents a rich and varied visual culture that displays a complex set of relations at once culturally specific and global in their transmission. Roughly defined, the occult tradition represents a series of culturally syncretic belief systems with related and overlapping visual histories. Though there are as many ways into this material as there are cultural – and personal – perspectives, universal occult concerns often include a belief in some sort of magic; a longing to connect with an immaterial or trans-personal realm; and a striving for inner-knowledge, refinement of the self, and transformation of one’s consciousness – if not one’s physical circumstances.

    Intensely marginalized throughout most historical periods, these traditions persist and represent an ‘underground’ perspective that periodically exerts a strong influence on structures of dissent, utopianism and social change. Though history is marked with several so-called “Occult Revivals,” the contemporary digital age is a perfect confluence of several factors which make this moment prime for a reexamination of all of the esoteric traditions. While the information age has allowed for easier access to previously obscure writings, imagery, and social contexts, it alternately elicits a deep desire for sensorial experiences and meaning-making once one steps away from the screen.

    The presenters at the OHC represent a rich and expanding community of international artists and academics from multiple disciplines across the humanities who share an exuberance and excitement for how the occult traditions interface with their fields of study as well as the culture at large. The small scale of this conference (approximately 100 attendees) will give ticket holders an intimate look at the presenters and their views.”

  • Black Flame International Esoteric Conference, October 11-13, 2019, Montréal, Québec

    Black Flame International Esoteric Conference 2019

    “An exclusive, esoterically-oriented event, exploring the latest in occult practice, philosophy, literature, and art. Free-thinkers and rebels are invited to revel, learn and do ritual together at our event in Montreal, Quebec, on the weekend of October 11-13, 2019.

    This two-day temporary-autonomous-portal of bewitchment includes erudite presentations and workshops, art, ritual, and vending, featuring the super-substantial creations of specialized, esoteric, and magickal practitioners.

    The fascination is set in motion on Friday night with a meet and greet, which will be followed by an opening ceremony, as we continue onward into an illustrious weekend with an awe-inspiring schedule of speakers and wonderful beings all around us.”

Omnium Gatherum: May 13, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for May 13, 2019

If you’d like to participate, head over to Omnium Gatherum on the BBS, or suggest something.

  • Examining the People Accused of Witchcraft” — Kenny Smith, Scottish Field; about Remembering Scotland’s Accused Witches by Fife Witches Remembered, May 19 at Glen Pavilion, Dunfermline, UK [HT SelineSigil]

    “The passing of the Scottish Witchcraft Act in 1563 made witchcraft, or consulting with witches, crimes punishable by death in Scotland. It’s estimated that between 3,000 and 5,000 women were publicly accused of being witches in 16th and 17th century Scotland, a much higher number than neighbouring England. Seventy-five per cent of the accused were women and about two thirds were killed.

    Hundreds of villages across Scotland have stones, wells, monuments, glens and places of execution connected with this eruption of witch-finding zeal.

    Workshops and talks will give people a chance to hear about local witches, including Lillias Adie, the Torryburn witch, whose body was buried in the shoreline of the Forth. Experience how witchcraft has been expressed through art and poetry and nature, investigate the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft, how data is presented on Wikipedia and many other related topics.”

  • Was Shakespeare a Woman? The authorship controversy, almost as old as the works themselves, has yet to surface a compelling alternative to the man buried in Stratford. Perhaps that’s because, until recently, no one was looking in the right place. The case for Emilia Bassano.” — Elizabeth Walker, The Atlantic

    “Not long after my Macbeth outing, I learned that Shakespeare’s Globe, in London, had set out to explore this figure’s input to the canon. The theater’s summer 2018 season concluded with a new play, Emilia, about a contemporary of Shakespeare’s named Emilia Bassano. Born in London in 1569 to a family of Venetian immigrants—musicians and instrument-makers who were likely Jewish—she was one of the first women in England to publish a volume of poetry (suitably religious yet startlingly feminist, arguing for women’s “Libertie” and against male oppression). Her existence was unearthed in 1973 by the Oxford historian A. L. Rowse, who speculated that she was Shakespeare’s mistress, the “dark lady” described in the sonnets. In Emilia, the playwright Morgan Lloyd Malcolm goes a step further: Her Shakespeare is a plagiarist who uses Bassano’s words for Emilia’s famous defense of women in Othello.

    Could Bassano have contributed even more widely and directly?”

  • The Eloquent Blood: The Goddess Babalon and the Construction of Femininities in Western Esotericism by Manon Hedenborg White, due in December, from Oxford University Press

    White The Eloquent Blood

    “In the conventional dichotomy of chaste, pure Madonna and libidinous whore, the former has usually been viewed as the ideal form of femininity. However, there is a modern religious movement in which the negative stereotype of the harlot is inverted and exalted. The Eloquent Blood focuses on the changing construction of femininity and feminine sexuality in interpretations of the goddess Babalon. A central deity in Thelema, the religion founded by the notorious British occultist Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), Babalon is based on Crowley’s favorable reinterpretation of the biblical Whore of Babylon, and is associated with liberated female sexuality and the spiritual ideal of passionate union with existence.

    Analyzing historical and contemporary written sources, qualitative interviews, and ethnographic fieldwork in the Anglo-American esoteric milieu, the study traces interpretations of Babalon from the works of Crowley and some of his key disciples―including the rocket scientist John “Jack” Whiteside Parsons, and the enigmatic British occultist Kenneth Grant―until the present. From the 1990s onwards, this study shows, female and LGBTQ esotericists have challenged historical interpretations of Babalon, drawing on feminist and queer thought and conceptualizing femininity in new ways.

    Tracing the trajectory of a particular gendered symbol from the fin-de-siècle until today, Manon Hedenborg White explores the changing role of women in Western esotericism, and shows how evolving constructions of gender have shaped the development of esotericism. Combining research on historical and contemporary Western esotericism with feminist and queer theory, the book sheds new light on the ways in which esoteric movements and systems of thought have developed over time in relation to political movements.”

  • Occult Territory. An Arthur Machen Gazetteer edited by R.B. Russell, from Tartarus Press,

    Russell Machen Occult Territory

    “This Gazetteer lists those places in which Arthur Machen lived, worked, wrote, ate, drank and worshipped. It is also a guide to sites that influenced his life and his work. It is illustrated, often with contemporary photographs, and includes quotes from Machen, and those that knew him.

    There is much to be gained from wandering around the lanes and footpaths of Machen’s family home in Llanddewi, Gwent, because the landscape is essentially unchanged from when he lived there as a boy. Arthur Machen’s London is rather different. Machen experienced it as a city of delight and wonder when he first visited it in 1880, but when he lived there in the mid 1880s it was the backdrop to poverty and hardship, doubt and frustration. However, after this dark period, it was the anvil upon which some of his most important friendships and relationships were forged, and where he had the most strange and mysterious encounters.

    With over 160 entries, this is an indispensible volume for any admirer of the work of Arthur Machen, author of The Great God Pan, The Hill of Dreams, and other works of sorcery and sanctity.”

  • To Get Better at Life, Try This Modern Mantra” — Ephrat Livni, Quartzy

    “The word mantra comes from Sanskrit and literally means “mind tool” or instrument of thought. People have used these tools for thousands of years to quiet thinking, cultivate focus, and induce spiritual states. In truth, anyone can use them, and there is scientific proof they work, whether or not you are spiritually inclined.

    Repetitive utterances induce a state of psychological calm because they seem to chill out the part of your mind that’s especially self-involved.”

  • Sphinx chamber at Emperor Nero’s palace in Rome brought to light after 2,000 years” [also] — Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN

    CNN Nero Sphinx Room

    “Experts working on the restoration of Emperor Nero’s vast palace in Rome have stumbled upon a secret, underground room decorated with panthers, centaurs and a sphinx.

    The chamber, brought to light after 2,000 years, is part of the remains of the Domus Aurea (Golden House), the immense palace that Nero built after the fire of 64 AD that devastated Rome.”

  • Rome opens up exorcism course to all major Christian faiths to fight rising demonic forces” — Leonardo Blair, The Christian Post [HT David Metcalfe]

    “For the first time in 14 years, the Roman Catholic Church has opened up its annual exorcism class in Rome to all major Christian faiths in a bid to stem the rising tide of demonic forces around the world.

    More than 241 people, both lay and religious, from more than 40 countries signed up for the course this year, Crux Now reported.

    They all agree that growing secularization has led to a proliferation of satanic groups, especially among young people through social media.

    ‘Many young people display a certain attraction and interest toward themes tied to esotericism, magic, the occult, Satanism, witchcraft, vampirism and contact with a presumed supernatural world,’ Italian Professor Giuseppe Ferrari, founder and secretary of the “Social and Religious Research and Information Group,” said during his introductory speech at the event.”

  • Earliest Evidence Of Ayahuasca Use Discovered In Ancient Shamanic Pouch In Bolivia. The indigenous people of South America engage in ayahuasca rituals to this day. This discovery is proof of just how far back its use really goes.” — Marco Margaritoff, All Things Interesting

    Margaritoff All Things Interesting ayahuasca ancient Bolivia pouch three fox snouts sewn together

    “A 1,000-year-old pouch made from three fox snouts sewn together was discovered in Bolivia to contain some tantalizing surprises. According to National Geographic, the pouch held the world’s earliest evidence of ayahuasca among a plethora of other mind-altering substances and drug paraphernalia.”

  • What and where is heaven? The answers are at the heart of the Easter story” — Robyn J Whitaker, The Conversation [HT Ethos]

    “In the Christian tradition, heaven and paradise have been conflated as an answer to the question “where do I go when I die?” The idea of the dead being in heaven or enjoying paradise often brings enormous comfort to the bereaved and hope to those suffering or dying. Yet heaven and paradise were originally more about where God lived, not about us or our ultimate destination.

    Heaven or paradise in the Bible is a utopian vision, designed not only to inspire faith in God but also in the hope that people might embody the values of love and reconciliation in this world.”

  • Tweet by Clara (she/her) [HT Haley]

Omnium Gatherum: May 10, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for May 10, 2019

If you’d like to participate, head over to Omnium Gatherum on the BBS, or suggest something.

  • Religious fundamentalism – why is it growing and what is the alternative?” — Fred Weston, Socialist Appeal [HT Dr. Death & Divinity]

    “All religions have their fundamentalists; there are Christian fundamentalists, Hindu fundamentalists, Jewish fundamentalists, Buddhist fundamentalists and so on. They all play a reactionary role, and they are all growing in number. All of them believe they are the holders of the absolute truth, while all others are heretics or even the work of the devil himself. They are all used to sow division among toiling people around the world. The phenomenon affects all countries to one degree or another.”

  • A quarter of people who meditate experience negative mental states” — Donna Lu, New Scientist

    “A quarter of regular meditators say they have experienced negative mental states as a result of meditation, including anxiety and fear.”

  • Hidden Cupid resurfaces in one of Vermeer’s best-known works after two and a half centuries. Laboratory tests revealed ‘sensational’ discovery that the figure in Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window was overpainted decades after the artist’s death.” — Catherine Hickley, The Art Newspaper

    Hickley The Art Newspaper Hidden Cupid Vermeer

    “A hidden Cupid in Vermeer’s Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window, one of the world’s most famous paintings, is set to resurface on the canvas after two and a half centuries behind a layer of paint. During restoration work, conservators discovered, to their surprise, that the naked figure—which dominates the upper right section of the picture—was overpainted long after the artist’s death.”

  • Cursed Britain: A History of Witchcraft and Black Magic in Modern Times by Thomas Waters, due September, from Yale University Press; got to say the marketing copy gives me the impression this is sensational “black magic” panic drek. The use of “evil magic” and “black magic” seems sensationalist and imprecise, and the ad copy doesn’t seem to do justice to the apparent seriousness of the work, which I can attest from a cursory look at the table of contents provided by the author, to be honest. The use of the big red unicursal hexagram on the cover seems out of place, as that’s specific to Aleister Crowley, as Crowley’s work and influence seem not a very big focus of the actual work as far as I can tell. (Slipping facilely for no good reason from “evil” to Crowley is something I’ve called the Crowley Corollary.) But, the author assures me in private correspondence that “the book is not a sensational sally about black magic. On the contrary, it’s a meticulous and sympathetic study of magical beliefs, practices and experiences in Britain and the British Empire since about 1800, based on around 15 years worth of research in archives across the United Kingdom and beyond.” So, despite my prima facie misgivings, which you might share, I encourage you consider joining me in giving this the benefit of the doubt.

    Waters Cursed Britain

    “The definitive history of how evil magic has survived into the present day

    In our age of technology, it is easy to imagine that black magic in Britain is dead. Yet, over recent centuries this dark idea has persisted, changed, and returned. From the rural world of Georgian Britain, through the immense territories of the British Empire, to the multicultural present day, Thomas Waters explores the enduring power of primeval fears. He shows how witchcraft has become as diverse as modern Britain itself, and reveals why it is currently on the rise.”

  • Viktor Hachmang’s new book combines traditional printmaking with the digital” — Jyni Ong, It’s Nice That; from the GPOY dept; about Twin Mirrors by Viktor Hachmang, from Landfill Editions [HT gossip göre]

    Hachmang Twin Mirrors

    “‘A while ago I inherited a bunch of traditional materials from a graphic designer Henk Kamphorst’, explains the Hague-based illustrator. ‘He did a lot of design work in the pre-PC era, and boxes of his materials were lying around my studio and after a while, I decided to give them a go.’ Quickly establishing a visual rhythm using the tools, Viktor began work on The Hermetic Library; the story revolves around a protagonist who finds a ‘seemingly ever-expanding room where the walls are completely covered with untitled books.'”

  • Witchbody: A Graphic Novel by Sabrina Scott, foreword by Tim Morton

    Scott Witchbody

    “Witchbody is an invitation to experience what lies hidden beneath the surface of our everyday lives—to see the magic in all things. A plant, a tree, a coffee cup, garbage bins, you, me—they’re all magic. Witchcraft is simply the power we’re all born with to awaken our senses to this magic, to awaken our “witchbody.” And that awakening is essential if we are to reframe our experience with Nature and with our precious planet.”

  • Tarot and the Archetypal Journey: The Jungian Path from Darkness to Light by Sallie Nichols, foreword by Mary K Greer, from Weiser Books

    Nichols Tarot and the Archetypal Journey

    “This highly innovative work presents a piercing interpretation of the tarot in terms of Jungian psychology. Through analogies to the humanities, mythology, and the graphic arts, the significance of the cards is related to personal growth and what Jung termed “individuation.” The Major Arcana becomes a map of life, and the hero’s journey becomes something that each individual can relate to one’s personal life.”

  • How Kanye West and Church Merch Are Bringing Back “Sunday Best”. The performer’s fashion for weekend worship signals both flash and virtue.” — Alexis Cheung, Vanity Fair

    Cheung Vanity Fair Kanye West Church Merch Sunday Best

    “Beyond mirroring Catholicism’s tradition of opulence, fashion’s most recent religious turn tends towards conservatism. Modest dressing, which has roots in religious adherence, has migrated back into fashion.”

  • Origin of Loch Ness Monster and Other Sea Serpents Traced to Odd Phenomenon. A form of mania gripped the world.” — Sarah Sloat, Inverse [HT John W Morehead]

    “The Loch Ness Monster is perhaps our most famous sea monster, known for drowning locals in front of saints and avoiding motorcycles on its early morning cruise back to the loch. But Scotland’s Nessie is just one of the many, many sea monsters people have allegedly seen. In the 19th century, saying you saw a sea monster was very common indeed. And the reason why this happened, a new study in Earth Science History argues, is based on something very real.

    The collective illusion — that creatures in the water were actually mysterious monsters of the deep — was driven by so-called ‘dino-mania,’ researchers reported this week. This conclusion is based on their statistical analysis of the nature of sea monster reports from 1801 to 2015.”

  • Romania’s witches harness the powers of the web” — Emily Wither, Reuters

    “The power of the Internet has allowed Romania’s busy witch community to gradually migrate their ancient practices onto the Web.

    Witchcraft has long been seen as a folk custom in the eastern European country, and many of its estimated 4,000 witches are luring customers from Europe, Asia and the United States.”

  • Finding Salvation with an Online Cult” — VICE [HT Digg]

    “Unicult is not your typical cult. Founded in 2012 by self proclaimed pop-spiritual leader Unicole Unicron, this mostly online group and its millennial following studies everything from crystals to aliens and seeks to empower each other to seek joy on earth.”

Omnium Gatherum: May 9, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for May 9, 2019

If you’d like to participate, head over to Omnium Gatherum on the BBS, or suggest something.

  • Astrologaster. [also] A Comedy Written in the Stars. A game by Nyamyam. [HT The Guardian]

    “London, 1592. A great plague sweeps through the capital. When doctors flee the city in fear, a hero rises. His name is Simon Forman, “Doctor” of Astrology, Astronomy and Physick. Not only does he have the power to cure the sick, he can find their lost pets and predict their futures! All by reading the movements of the stars.

    But when the plague ends, Forman’s problems begin. The real doctors return to London and they will stop at nothing to bring him down…

    Astrologaster is a story-driven astrological comedy game set in Shakespeare’s London. Based on a true – and truly ridiculous – story.

    • Solve Hilarious Problems: Consult on problems ranging from Elizabethan terror plots and foul diseases, to romantic entanglements and stolen pies!
    • Change Lives: Win your patients’ favour or ruin their lives. Advise 14 characters who return 5-7 times. Patients have their own ongoing stories which often overlap with each other.
    • Win A Medical Licence: Convince patients to write letters of recommendations. Collect enough letters to exchange them for a medical licence.
    • Fully Voiced Character Dialogue: Sitcom-style comedy brought to life by a cast of over a dozen actors.
    • Sing Along – Enjoy Renaissance-era music and sing along to each character’s theme song.
    • Casebooks Come Alive: Simon Forman’s cases are presented as a beautiful pop-up book. Turn pages to delve deeper into your patients’ stories.

    Simon Forman was considered a sage by some and a charlatan by others. What will your legacy be? Will you put your faith in the stars?”

  • THE 15 BEST BASS MUSIC TRACKS OF APRIL 2019 A nice selection of bangers from last month including the first single from Konx-om-Pax’s dope new album.” — KAREEM GHEZAWI, Magnetic Magazine

    “1. KONX-OM-PAX – “LA MELODY” [PLANET MU]

    Konx om Pax: Essays in Light was originally a publication by infamous British occultist Aleister Crowley. The producer of the same name signed to Planet Mu is no ceremonial magician but he is definitely making a certain kind of magic in his new album, Ways of Seeing. “LA Melody” is the records opener and sets a epic buzz that the whole album continues to build on.”

  • Henri Bergson, celebrity. Women loved Bergson’s philosophy of creativity, change and freedom, but their enthusiasm fuelled a backlash against him.” — Emily Herring, Aeon

    “Why, when Bergson was popular, was he so popular, and especially with women? A combination of factors, including the public nature of his lectures and the clarity of his lecturing style no doubt contributed to his fame. Women in particular would have benefitted from the fact that Bergson’s lectures, which were held outside the stuffy confines of the exclusive Sorbonne, presented complex and subtle ideas in a way that was digestible to those who had perhaps not benefitted from a formal philosophical education. More importantly, Bergson’s philosophy was a philosophy of change, creativity and freedom that many, in the years leading up to the First World War, used as a way of channelling their own political hopes. Perhaps the women of the late Belle Époque were so drawn to Bergson because his philosophy was then a rallying point for those who believed radical change was possible – much as their descendants would be drawn to the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in the late 1940s.”

  • A Theology of Failure: Žižek against Christian Innocence by Marika Rose, from Fordham University Press

    Rose A Theology of Failure

    “Everyone agrees that theology has failed; but the question of how to understand and respond to this failure is complex and contested. Against both the radical orthodox attempt to return to a time before the theology’s failure and the deconstructive theological attempt to open theology up to the hope of a future beyond failure, Rose proposes an account of Christian identity as constituted by, not despite, failure. Understanding failure as central to theology opens up new possibilities for confronting Christianity’s violent and kyriarchal history and abandoning the attempt to discover a pure Christ outside of the grotesque materiality of the church.

    The Christian mystical tradition begins with Dionysius the Areopagite’s uncomfortable but productive conjunction of Christian theology and Neoplatonism. The tensions generated by this are central to Dionysius’s legacy, visible not only in subsequent theological thought but also in much twentieth century continental philosophy as it seeks to disentangle itself from its Christian ancestry. A Theology of Failure shows how the work of Slavoj Žižek represents an attempt to repeat the original move of Christian mystical theology, bringing together the themes of language, desire, and transcendence not with Neoplatonism but with a materialist account of the world. Tracing these themes through the work of Dionysius and Derrida and through contemporary debates about the gift, violence, and revolution, this book offers a critical theological engagement with Žižek’s account of social and political transformation, showing how Žižek’s work makes possible a materialist reading of apophatic theology and Christian identity.”

  • Polish activist detained for ‘offending religious beliefs’ over LGBTQ Virgin Mary” [also, also] — Rachel Kennedy, Euronews [HT curiosa]

    Podleśna rainbow Virgin Mary

    “An activist in Poland has been detained after police found posters depicting the Virgin Mary with a halo consisting of the colours of the LGBTQ flag.

    The activist, Elżbieta Podleśna, confirmed on Facebook in the early hours of Monday morning that she had been arrested, and her phone confiscated.”

  • Coalescence. Esoteric and Philosophical Musings of a Gyrovague by Tau Palamas, from Transmutation Publishing [HT TauPalamas]

    Tau Palamas Coalescence

    Coalescence is the amalgamation of a set of recondite and metaphysical teachings and artworks of ‡PALAMAS XVI° which comprise the fundamentals of a precise instrument of the Voudon+Gnostic OTOA-LCN called the Ordo Gyrovagus. Grounded in a humanistic, mystical, and living philosophy–and exploring the very heart and soul of esotericism–Coalescence picks up where Syzygy left off: developing the inner life and practice of the gyrovague; opening a clear path of personal Masonic integration; exploring the nature of aesthetic mysticism; and providing a set of initiatory rituals as vehicles for expansion.

    Duly and truly prepared, with a sharpened intelligence which can link scenes, colors, shapes, and forms immediately to a world of correspondences (which suggest the underlying fundamental unity of being), the initiate makes meaning of the phantasmagoria—which, in turn, causes changes to the fluidic and malleable substance of the dreamscape itself. Then, with the audacity and authority of an ancient magus, the initiate wields the true sword of every student of the mysteries: the sovereign will. Suddenly, within what was once a surrealistic landscape with chaotic portents and confusing bits of data strewn about in a gravity- less atmosphere, there appears a dimension worthy of exploration, a state of being with secrets, information, and lessons to be learned, and beings to interact and travel further with. Such is the lifting of the veil…

    ~PALAMAS”

  • The Abyss. A Thelemic journey through the Abyss and the Myths of Descent, based on both personal experience and a multidisciplinary study by Leo Holmes [HT LeoHolmes]

    Holmes The Abyss

    “Six years after the critically acclaimed LeMULgeton: Goetia and the Stellar Tradition, Leo Holmes is back with a new and exciting book: The Abyss. The Abyss offers a wide approach, based on both personal experience and a multidisciplinary study, to the second of the two main crises of a magician’s career, the first being the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. The book is predominantly inspired by Thelemic Literature, but not limited to it, drawing parallels to ancient Myths of Descent and intellectual, emotional, and behavioural patterns, as much as to archetypal concepts. It is a painful yet insightful journey that depends equally on the pilgrim and on the Stars that guide him.

    The author also employs a couple of famous Gothic poems, artistic concepts, and Gnostic and Eastern teachings and ascetic practices in an attempt to cover the various facets of the awful and enlightening experience that is the Ordeal of the Abyss. Restriction: that is the word of Sin, that is the word of The Abyss. But where is the threshold? Where and when one thing becomes another? When Restriction becomes Liberation and vice versa? How can we be so sure that the Other is not just another part of the I? We are walking metamorphoses, not much different from Alchemical Processes, and we contain all the elements of the Universe.

    Knowing this, Leo Holmes makes use of spiritual and psychological concepts present in the symbology of the tradition of Western Alchemy, corresponded by Astrological Signs and by the twelve steps common to many famous Epic journeys, some of which were essential for the Mystery Cults of the past. He also introduces the unprecedented concept of the Shadow Animal: the cluster of atavistic, normally unconscious patterns of behaviour that operates more or less like the Power Animal of Shamanism, but in a reversed manner. For him, this Shadow Animal is just one of the many masks of Choronzon, or the Shadow God, manifest in the heart of man.

    Examining the ephemerality of what we call reality, and the triviality of our social values, the pervasiveness of Suffering, and the compulsiveness of self-sacrifice and rectification, “The Abyss” aims to function – like the poet Virgil and the Sybil Deiphobe – as a small beam of light amid darkness and as a solidary bony hand for those who are facing the terrifying Night of Pan. The dissolution of the Ego is neither pleasant nor simple; for that, the mystic or magician has to become aware of his Shadow, that which hinders him and is occult within his skull. The true Occultist is not the one who memorizes complicated rituals or dabbles in the supernatural, but the one who teaches oneself to identify the patterns that reveal what is occult.

    On the other side of the crossing, Babalon beckons to her Babes, calling them to surrender completely and sacrifice themselves in order to become No-man, or maybe more accurately, the Primordial Man. He is but a Force of Nature. When the Truth in the formula of NOX is not only intellectually understood, but also directly experienced, the magician successfully pours out his blood into the Cup of our Lady and then becomes free to move forward, towards Saturn (Binah) and the Stars (Chokmah). There is no need to instruct a Babe thus born, for in the Abyss he was purged of every poison of personality, and his ascent to the highest is assured in its season.

    Welcome to the Abyss, enjoy your stay.”

  • Researchers hunt for 17th century ‘witch bottles’” — University of Hertfordshire, Phys.org [HT curiosa]

    “A team of archaeologists and historians from MOLA and the University of Hertfordshire are calling on people who may have discovered 17th century ‘witch bottles’ during restoration work or know of examples curated at their places of work, to come forward.

    For the first time, all known examples that survive in museums and other collections around Southern and Eastern England (the apparent geographical extent of the phenomenon) are to be surveyed first-hand or through literature review and critiqued along with their contents. Extensive research will also be done to explore the origins of the practice and to situate ‘witch bottles’ in their full historic and cultural context, perhaps debunking some myths along the way.”

  • ‘Here is a story! Story it is’: how fairytales are told in other tongues. From Korea to Germany to Nigeria, every culture has its own version of ‘once upon a time’ – and most are more interesting than the English.” — Kate Lyons, The Guardian. [HT curiosa]

    “In Tamil, folk stories and fairytales, the sort that grandparents tell grandchildren before bed, often begin, ‘In that only place…’. In another Indian language, Telugu, stories start ‘Having been said and said and said…’. In English, of course, it is ‘Once upon a time…’.

    Chitra Soundar, an Indian-British author and storyteller, was thinking about her grandmother’s stories, which always began with the classic Tamil opener, when she asked people on Twitter to share how stories began in their languages.

    She received more than 100 suggestions from dozens of languages – from Farsi to Basque, Creole to Korean – with some people sharing contributions from places and in languages she had never heard of, as well as some less traditional options, such as ‘In a galaxy far, far away…’.”

  • John Turturro on ‘The Name of the Rose’ Series and Investigating Umberto Eco” — Stewart Clarke, Variety [HT Dr Gillian Kenny]

    Variety Tuturro Eco The Name of the Rose

    “John Turturro hadn’t read Umberto Eco’s thriller ‘The Name of the Rose’ or seen the 1986 movie when he was approached in spring of last year about a new TV adaptation. After reading the novel, one of the best-selling of all time, Turturro agreed to sign on – if the producers agreed to honor the original, he says.

    ‘I read the book and I loved it. I started writing to [director] Giacomo [Battiato] to say, ‘Why isn’t there more Eco, this is eight hours, you don’t have to reduce it,’ Turturro says. ‘I said, ‘If you put more of Eco in, then I’m interested.’’

    Turturro takes the role played by Sean Connery in the film, that of William Baskerville, the Franciscan monk investigating a series of mysterious murders in a 14th-century Italian monastery. Rupert Everett plays merciless inquisitor Bernard Gui, and Michael Emerson is the abbot among an international cast.”