Tag Archives: Paschal Beverly Randolph

Call for submissions on the research topic Order of the Asiatic Brethren

I am announcing today an ongoing call for submissions on Order of the Asiatic Brethren, and related specific research topics such as Paschal Beverly Randolph, The Hermetic Brotherhood or Light, and so on. These are topics that would be of interest to the audience of the library, which includes academics, researchers, practitioners, and the curious.

Hermetic Library Call for Submissions on Research Topics

If you would like to pitch a new work, please pitch your idea! Hermetic Library would like to encourage you to create your new art, writing, video, or … something else? Gratitude, gratis music downloads, and an honorarium payment, supported by the ongoing Patrons of the library, are all available for creators of successful submissions.

If you have an existing work, please consider submitting that to the Hermetic Library Zine. Hermetic Library irregularly issues a ‘zine with various materials, when there are enough submissions available.

There’s also a lot that could be done for the library, in terms of adding key entries into Hermeneuticon wiki and more. So, consider getting in touch if you are willing and able to help.

This research topic was suggested by one of my ongoing Patrons with the Research Topic perk. If you’d like to participate in the submissions process, or help in developing research topics, become a Patron of Hermetic Library today!

Initiatic Eroticism

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Initiatic Eroticism: and Other Occult Writings from La Flèche introduced and translated by Donald Traxler from articles in Maria de Naglowska’s La Flèche. This is the fourth volume in the series of Maria de Naglowska material being released by Inner Traditions and Donald Traxler.

Maria de Naglowska Donald Traxler Julius Evola Initiatic Eroticism from Inner Traditions

In common with most Anglophone occultists, my principal knowledge of Parisian sybil Maria de Naglowska prior to the appearance of Donald Traxler’s translations was occasional brief mention as a French translator of some writings by Victorian American sex magician Paschal Beverly Randolph. As it turns out, she occupied a vital node in the esoteric communications of 1930s Paris, maintaining her own small “Brotherhood of the Golden Arrow” while also being actively engaged with Traditionalists, Surrealists, Theosophists, and individual occultists such as William Seabrook. Traxler presents this volume as the fourth of five in his major translation of Naglowska’s work, but it was my starting place, and I would recommend it as a worthy point of entry.

The book presents articles from the twenty numbers of Naglowska’s periodical La Flèche (“The Arrow”), an “Organ of Magical Action,” as she subtitled it. These represent the way in which she chose to express her esoteric ideas to the general public at the time that she was also composing book-length works addressed to formal aspirants and initiates. In addition to expository articles, there are a small number of poetic and narrative pieces, and a final section gives two essays written for La Flèche by Julius Evola. All of this material is quite interesting, and my favorite pieces are probably “The Magic Square,” “The Priestesses of the Future,” and “Masculine Satanism, Feminine Satanism.”

Naglowska’s central doctrine of the “Third Term” is a pristine example of twentieth-century occult neo-Joachimism. In Joachim of Fiore and the Myth of the Eternal Evangel in the Nineteenth Century, scholars Reeves and Gould demonstrate in the world of modern letters a revival of the medieval Joachim’s trinitarian prophetic theory of history, with proponents such as Yeats and D.H. Lawrence. This phenomenon was so widespread that by the 1930s, when Naglowska was writing, it is hard to know how mediated (and by what thinkers) any specific instance might be, even when it is as clear a reflection as the one found in Naglowska’s Third Term. Her Holy Spirit (the Third Term of the Trinity) is emphatically female, and so her teachings also align with the French Neognosticism of Jules Doinel and his successors.

In Evola’s Metaphysics of Sex, he pairs Naglowska with Aleister Crowley as examples of sexual mystics in the contemporary world. Seeing the errors in Evola’s presentation of Crowley’s ideas, I am leery of his reading of Naglowska, although he was certainly on more familiar terms with her. It seems almost unbelievable that Naglowska and Crowley could not at least have known of one another, and yet I’ve seen no evidence that either took such note. In any case, Naglowska’s “Third Term” teaching of the Golden Mass is, I think, a useful way for adherents of Crowley’s Gnostic Catholic Church to understand the role of our own Mass: a synthesis that transcends the white and black masses of the previous age.

I learned a number of useful things from this book, and it was entertaining into the bargain. I will read further in Traxler’s translations of Naglowska. [via]

Divine Pymander

Divine Pymander of Hermes Trismegistus, or Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus: His Divine Pymander; also, The Asiatic Mystery, The Smaragdine Table and the Song of Brahm, edited by Paschal Beverly Randolph, the Yogi Publication Society hardcover reprint from the 1871 Rosicrucian Publishing Company edition, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus and Paschal Beverly Randolph's Divine Pymander from Yogi Publication Society

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

(An Open Entrance To The Shut Palace Of) Wrong Numbers

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews (An Open Entrance To The Shut Palace Of) Wrong Numbers by Franklin Rosemont:

Franklin Rosemont's Wrong Numbers

 

Chicago surrealist Rosemont is not particularly coy about the fact that his book Wrong Numbers is an alchemical operation. The work transpires on several planes. On the most obvious, it is an effort to transform the base matter of accidental telephony into the gold of poetry. The book also contains a level of anecdotal autobiography comparable in some respects to Br. DuQuette’s My Life with the Spirits.

Yes, the book is actually about the “wrong numbers” of telephone misdialing. In addition to accounts of his personal experiences, the author sidles up to his topic from various angles: historical, cultural, psychological, and even magical. He champions the derided experience of the Wrong Number, not to rehabilitate it as an object, but rather to assail and transform the “miserablist” perspective of its detractors.

The text is complemented by a set of splendid drawings by Portuguese artist Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas, a surrealist comrade of Rosemont’s. The drawings too demonstrate an alchemical sensibility, in which beings and substances appear transformed, sublimated, and precipitated.

The heterogeneous details of the book, which manage to include multiple references to such disparate topics as Paschal Beverly Randolph, Bugs Bunny, and the IWW, should not obscure the fact that it does indeed express a single, magically puissant will to achieve “Freedom and the Marvelous, Now and Forever!”

Insightful, sincere, funny, and artful, this book would inherently resist being called “important,” yet it addresses the most fundamental dilemmas of our society. Read and enjoy. [via]

 

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

The Mysticism of Masonry

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Mysticism of Masonry: The Key to the correct interpretation of Masonic Symbolism, one harmonious with both the Ancient Osirian Teachings and those of the New Dispensation by R Swinburne Clymer:

R Swinburne Clymer's The Mysticism of Masonry from Philosophical Publishing
Image: Princeton Antiques & Books

 

Most of the text in this book consists of extracts from other authors, including Masonic mainstays such as Mackey, Oliver, Buck, Pike, and Yarker, along with more obscure sources, like New Light from the Great Pyramid by Parsons. Clymer’s own writing only appears in very rare paragraphs of his own, and in relatively common bracketed comments inserted into the long quotes. But the reader is also given pause to about Manisis, the “Master Interpreter of the New Dispensation,” whose platitudinous declamations regarding “Jehovah Adonai the Father of Light” are sprinkled through the book. Was Manisis perhaps the illuminated alter-ego of Clymer?

Much of the book presents a sweeping survey of Masonic pre-history, with an eye to the author’s own esoteric agenda, much after the manner of Leadbeater’s Glimpses of Masonic History. Clymer’s narrative begins with special attention to the obscure and short-lived African Master Builders (1767-1786), whom A.E. Waite supposes to have been responsible for the Crata Repoa.

Clymer is best-known in the esoteric field as a Rosicrucian organizer working under authority descending through the great XIXth century American occult master Paschal Beverly Randolph. Clymer’s remarks on Masonic symbolism in The Mysticism of Masonry reflect an inheritance of Randolph’s doctrines of sex-mysticism, from his reference in the opening pages to “virile manhood capable of reproduction of the species and consequently still in possession of the Elixir Vitae through which only Spiritual Initiation and Conscious Immortalization finally may be attained,” to a much later explanation of “the symbolization of bringing forth a perfect Soul through the medium of the Double Drill between the male and female and representative of the raising of the two serpents (sex forces of the two actors) to the plane of heaven—or spirituality.” Writing such in 1907, Clymer was neither the first nor the last to claim that such readings of Masonic symbolism constitute “the Key” to its correct interpretation. [via]

 

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

The Sacred Rite of Magical Love

The Sacred Rite of Magical Love: A Ceremony of Word and Flesh by Maria de Naglowska, translated by Donald Traxler, has arrived at the Reading Room courtesy of Inner Traditions.

This work was released in February, earlier this year, and follows other recent books by the same author and translator from Inner Traditions including last year’s The Light of Sex: Initiation, Magic, and Sacrament and Advanced Sex Magic: The Hanging Mystery Initiation, and also a new issue of Magia Sexualis: Sexual Practices for Magical Power, widely attributed to Pascal Beverly Randolph but which survives only from Naglowska’s French translation and which was possibly supplemented by her, re-translated to English by Traxler, which last was just released subsequently in August.

 

Maria de Naglowska's The Sacred Rite of Magical Love from Inner Traditions

 

“The first English translation of Maria de Naglowska’s sexually magical novella, Le rite sacré de l’amour magique

• Contains autobiographical material from Maria de Naglowska’s life

• Continues, in symbolic story form, the sexual initiatory teachings expounded in Naglowska’s The Light of Sex and Advanced Sex Magic

• Includes a summary of Naglowska’s religious doctrine in her own words

Available for the first time in English, The Sacred Rite of Magical Love is a mystical, sexually magical novella written by Maria de Naglowska—the Russian mystic and esoteric high priestess of 1930s Paris. Her religious system, called the Third Term of the Trinity, taught the importance of sex for the upliftment of humanity.

A natural continuation of Naglowska’s The Light of Sex and Advanced Sex Magic, this volume also contains autobiographical material from Maria de Naglowska’s life. Full of symbolic language and hidden meanings, the story follows a young woman named Xenophonta as she experiences the apparition of a dark force, whom she calls the Master of the Past and to whom she dedicates her heart and her service. En route to a midnight rendezvous with him, Xenophonta encounters a young Cossack, Micha, who sexually accosts her. Telling Micha that she already belongs to another, she escapes to keep her rendezvous. Micha, now jealous, follows her and ends up taking part in a strange, mystical ceremony that transforms him, through the magic of word and flesh.

With a preface discussing the Sacred Triangle and the magical symbol of the AUM Clock, both central symbols in Naglowska’s religious system as well as in the story, the book also includes a summary of the doctrine of the Third Term of the Trinity in de Naglowska’s own words—important to any student of the Western Mystery tradition.” [via]

 

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.