Tag Archives: popular culture

Omnium Gatherum: May 21th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for May 21st, 2014

Punishment in the Afterlife "sees a naked person without performing prayers"
“If someone sees a naked person without performing prayers, they will have committed much sin” [HT Public Domain Review, Boing Boing]

 

  • Why everything you know about wolf packs is wrong” — Lauren Davis, io9

    “A key problem with [Rudolph] Schenkel’s wolf studies is that, while they represented the first close study of wolves, they didn’t involve any study of wolves in the wild.”

    “‘The concept of the alpha wolf as a ‘top dog’ ruling a group of similar-aged compatriots,’ [David] Mech writes in the 1999 paper, ‘is particularly misleading.'”

    “And perhaps someday, our popular culture will more closely resemble our modern behavioral science rather than the results of outdated research.”

  • Angels, Toilets and Graffiti Revealed at Sudanese Monastery” — Past Horizons

    “Cleaning of the plaster also allowed us to discover dozens of previously unknown inscriptions and drawings depicting both saints and images of Jesus. The study of the inscriptions is carried out by Dr. Grzegorz Ochała from the University of Warsaw. His analysis shows that, as in many other places in medieval Nubia, the cult of angels was extremely popular in al-Ghazali. Among the inscriptions on the walls of the North Church, Dr. Ochała identified the names of the four archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel.”

  • 50 Years Ago: Testimony of Kerry Wendell Thornley” — Historia Discordia

    “Mr. JENNER.
    All right. I take it from the remark you have made in your reflecting on this matter that you were you devoted yourself to some fairly considerable extent to reading?

    Mr. THONRLEY.
    Yes, sir.

    Mr. JENNER.
    And in what fields?

    Mr. THONRLEY.
    Completely omniverous. Anything that I would happen to get a hold of I would read. At that time I was reading, well, at [Lee Harvey] Oswald’s advice I read ‘1984.’ At someone else’s advice I was reading a book called ‘Human-ism,’ by Corliss Lamont, as I remember, and I was reading either ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ or the ‘Idiot’ by Dostoievsky, I forget which, at that time.

    Mr. JENNER.
    But your reading had some reasonable amount of organization or direction?

    Mr. THONRLEY.
    None whatsoever; no, sir. It never has.”

  • Thirty Years of ADF Part 1: An Incomplete Memoir of the First Ten Years” — Ian Corrigan, Into the Mound

    “The work of organizing is the ditch-cutting and rock-hauling of our spiritual path. May the gods and spirits bless the laborers.”

  • What words do we have to describe transcendent religion?” — April D DeConick

    “I want to thank all of you who have responded to my request for a word to describe a particular worldview that sees all religions as inadequate human constructions of our experience of a transcendent sacred, rather than divine revelations of God to different local populations (pluralism/universalism/perennialism). I need this word for a new book project (after The Ancient New Age) where I am describing three options that have been emerging in the modern world to deal with religious intolerance. The third is the option without a name, at least yet!”

  • Discovering the Artists of the Eastern Sahara” — Past Horizons

    “Recently discovered rock art on the walls of a cave in the Egyptian Western Desert has been provisionally dated by a Cambridge University archaeologist as between 6,000 and 7,000 years old, created at least 1,000 years before the building of the pyramids. The drawings add weight to the argument that Egyptian culture drew on cultural influences from Africa and not only from the Near East.”

  • Scientists find way to turn light into matter” — RT News

    “Researchers in London have found a way to make matter from light, using high powered lasers. The idea behind the theory was first thought up 80 years ago by two physicists, who were to work later on creating the world’s first atomic bomb.”

    “They have managed to create a machine called a photon-photon collider, which would turn light into matter. However, the type of matter they are looking to create will be invisible to the naked eye.”

  • Curbing Online Abuse Isn’t Impossible. Here’s Where We Start” — Laura Hudson, Wired Underwire

    “Really, freedom of speech is beside the point. Facebook and Twitter want to be the locus of communities, but they seem to blanch at the notion that such communities would want to enforce norms—which, of course, are defined by shared values rather than by the outer limits of the law. Social networks could take a strong and meaningful stand against harassment simply by applying the same sort of standards in their online spaces that we already apply in our public and professional lives. That’s not a radical step; indeed, it’s literally a normal one.”

    “Ultimately, online abuse isn’t a technological problem; it’s a social problem that just happens to be powered by technology. The best solutions are going to be those that not only defuse the Internet’s power to amplify abuse but also encourage crucial shifts in social norms, placing bad behavior beyond the pale.”

  • ‘Madness’ of Nietzsche was cancer not syphilis — Robert Matthews, The Telegraph

    “A study of medical records has found that, far from suffering a sexually-transmitted disease which drove him mad, [Friedrich] Nietzsche almost certainly died of brain cancer.

    The doctor who has carried out the study claims that the universally-accepted story of Nietzsche having caught syphilis from prostitutes was actually concocted after the Second World War by Wilhelm Lange-Eichbaum, an academic who was one of Nietzsche’s most vociferous critics. It was then adopted as fact by intellectuals who were keen to demolish the reputation of Nietzsche, whose idea of a ‘Superman’ was used to underpin Nazism.”

    “Despite the lack of documentary or medical evidence, the allegation has since been repeated without question by generations of academics, said Dr [Leonard] Sax. ‘Extraordinarily, this single passage in Lange-Eichbaum’s obscure book is the chief foundation, cited again and again, that Nietzsche had syphilis.’

    Nietzsche scholars welcomed the new findings and said that they would help in the rehabilitation of the philosopher. ‘Nietzsche was not anti-semitic or a nationalist, and hated the herd mentality,” said Prof Stephen Houlgate, a Nietzsche scholar at Warwick University. ‘If this new research gets rid of another misconception about him, I’m delighted.'”

  • Intro to Thelema — Three Recommended Books” — Brandy Williams, Star and Snake

    “[Aleister Crowley’s] language is Edwardian English, educated, dense, and often offensive — in fact deliberately so. Not only that, he sometimes wrote in code or symbolic language, not unusual in magic, but requiring a key to decode. It takes some time to develop the Crowley Filter translating what he says into understandable and useful information. When his work is not confusing or upsetting, it is knowledgeable, insightful, and deeply inspiring.”

  • In Addition to What Thou Wilt: Our Thelemic Temple’s Revised Rules” — Zak Parsons, Something Awful [HT Quadrivium Supplies]

    “Your journey to understanding may be long and arduous, but that is no reason not to close the chip bag.”

  • The leaked New York Times innovation report is one of the key documents of this media age” — Joshua Benton, Nieman Journalism Lab

    “We must push back against our perfectionist impulses. Though our journalism always needs to be polished, our other efforts can have some rough edges as we look for new ways to reach our readers.”

  • Sturgill Simpson Puts a Metamodern Spin on Country Music” — Stephen M Deusner, CMT News

    “Sturgill Simpson was recently accosted after a show in Wisconsin by a woman who accused him of promoting Gnosticism with his new single, ‘Turtles All the Way Down.’ The song discusses Jesus, Satan, Buddha and ‘reptile aliens made of light’ before revealing that ‘love’s the only thing that ever saved my life.'”

    “It’s not every country singer who gets accused of Gnosticism — or even knows what it means.”

  • Between Alchemy and Pietism” — Mike A Zuber, Correspondences 2.1

    “A minor figure undeservedly forgotten, Wilhelm Christoph Kriegsmann (1633–1679) has received only limited attention from historians of alchemy and church historians. He is known chiefly either for his idiosyncratic Phoenician reconstruction of the Tabula Smaragdina, a foundational text of alchemy attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, or alternatively for writing one of the earliest sustained defenses of Pietist conventicles to appear in print. In an attempt to bridge this unsatisfactory segregation, this paper argues that the notion of ancient wisdom (prisca sapientia) provided a crucial link between these seemingly disparate areas.”

  • 20 Questions With Gary Lachman” — Jason Mankey, Raise the Horns

    11. There were a lot of moments in your Crowley book that had me laughing at some of his antics. I know a lot of Thelemites and fans of Crowley who take everything the man ever wrote, said, or did extremely seriously. How do you think Crowley would feel about that? Was he capable of laughing at himself?

    He could laugh at himself on occasion, but I think he was too involved in what other people thought of him, of his effect on them, to be really un-selfconscious in the way you need to be to have a sense of humor about yourself. He was very rarely out of character. He can be very funny though. Someone asked him what one should call a young, male swan. He answered ‘Why not call him Edgar?’ He had a quick, intelligent wit and I found myself laughing quite a few times while doing the research.”

    15. I sometimes find myself referring to Crowley affectionately as ‘Uncle Al,’ but Crowley was certainly not all sunshines and rainbows. How do you feel about the modern tendency to overlook many of Crowley’s faults?

    That’s one aspect of the book. Yes, let’s clear up all the tabloid rubbish that was published about him in his day, but let’s also not make him out to be some liberating hero. He was a brilliant, highly talented individual who had more than a few flashes of genius, but he was a colossal pain to practically everyone around him. In other words, let’s not be hero-worshippers or ignorant detractors, but serious about understanding who and what he was. There’s no point in approaching him or anyone else in any other way.”

  • An excerpt posted by Gary Lachman from his book Aleister Crowley: Magick, Rock and Roll, and the Wickedest Man in the World can be found at “Crowley on the Bowery

     

  • The Strange, Secret History of Isaac Newton’s Papers” — Adam Mann, Wired

    “When Sir Isaac Newton died in 1727, he left behind no will and an enormous stack of papers. His surviving correspondences, notes, and manuscripts contain an estimated 10 million words, enough to fill up roughly 150 novel-length books. There are pages upon pages of scientific and mathematical brilliance. But there are also pages that reveal another side of Newton, a side his descendants tried to keep hidden from the public.”

    “The story of Newton’s writing and how it has survived to the modern day is the subject of a new book, The Newton Papers: The Strange and True Odyssey of Isaac Newton’s Manuscripts. Author Sarah Dry traces their mysterious and precarious history and reveals both the lucky twists and purposeful turns that kept the papers safe.”

     

  • The Rules of the New Aristocracy” — J Michael Straczynski [HT Boing Boing]

    “We are the New Aristocracy because we were born into it. We got our money the old fashioned, Medieval way: our parents gave it to us. We were born into the wealth that we stole from you and your family over the last fifty years. You were not born into anything other than poverty and struggle. You will never be us. You will never have our advantages. And we like it that way.”

    “And you are the New Peasants.”

  • Announcing: The Diotima Prize!” — Sam Webster, Pantheon Foundation [HT Spiral Nature]

    “The Pantheon Foundation announces The Diotima Prize to help support the educational goals of one Pagan student who is currently in an accredited seminary program.

    The merit-based Prize is named for Diotima of Mantinea, the philosopher and priestess who is the teacher of Socrates in the Symposium of Plato, explaining to him the path of Divine ascent through the contemplation of Eros and Beauty.”

  • Hermetic Intelligence” — zeteticus, Soul Spelunker

    “The primary way the soul is deepened is through imagination.”

  • Eliza Gauger, tumblr

    “Susan Schoon Eberly, an expert on congenital disorders, delineates the origins of fairy lore through a historical-biological lens, matching discernable patterns of appearance and behavior from changeling legends to disabilities now understood by medical science.”

    “‘there are a number of fairy characters…who seem so clearly to represent certain congenital disorders that they are difficult to interpret as purely the products of imagination'”

  • Hermetic Library anthology artist Pandemonaeon, Sharon Knight and Winter, are going on summer tour and have a new “secret society for creative dreamers” called Ring of Enchantment for fans to become patrons in order “to generate tour support for us while bringing inspiration and beauty to you”.

     

  • Hermetic Library anthology artist SickTanicK has produced and appears on the new SKR mixtape release, which includes the single “Teach Me How To Satan”, SKR Made You Do It, being made available at no cost for streaming and download.

     

  • American Atheists, tweet

     

  • Buddy Baphomet, tweet

     

Magic Words

Magic Words: The Extraordinary Life of Alan Moore by Lance Parkin, due on December 1, 2013 from Aurum Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room courtesy of the publisher.

Lance Parkin Magic Words from Aurum Press

“For over three decades comics fans and creators have regarded Alan Moore as a titan of the form. With works such as V for Vendetta, Watchmen and From Hell, he has repeatedly staked out new territory, attracting literary plaudits and a mainstream audience far removed from his underground origins. His place in popular culture is now such that major Hollywood players vie to adapt his books for cinema.

Yet Moore’s journey from the hippie Arts Labs of the 1970s to the bestseller lists was far from preordained. A principled eccentric, who has lived his whole life in one English town, he has been embroiled in fierce feuds with some of the entertainment industry’s biggest corporations. And just when he could have made millions ploughing a golden rut he turned instead to performance art, writing erotica, and the occult.

Now, as Alan Moore hits sixty, it’s time to go in search of this extraordinary gentleman, and follow the peculiar path taken by a writer quite unlike any other.” — back cover

 

“Portrayed in the media as a recluse and an eccentric, the creator of such influential works as V for Vendetta, Watchmen and From Hell is a character easily as complicated as his creations. Despite international success, Alan Moore has lived his entire life in the same Midlands town where he was born. Although he began work in the comics underground where his edgy and highly personal style found an equally edgy following, his most famous work was done for major U.S. publishers and adapted for big-budget Hollywood films. And just when he could have made millions in the mainstream he turned his back on the entertainment industry and focused his attentions on performance art, writing erotica, and the occult.

On the eve of Moore’s 60th birthday, author Lance Parkin has written the definitive biography of this ‘extraordinary gentleman’. Based on life-long studies of Moore’s work and an exceptional series of personal interviews, Magic Words reveals the man behind the myth and mischief — and bears the rare distinction of an endorsement by Moore himself!” — release copy

 

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.

Events at Treadwell’s Books for October, 2013

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

Treadwell's Books in London

 

The Lairs of Cthulhu II: The Hollywood Years
30 September 2013 (Monday)
Dr James Holloway

Treadwell's Books in London - The Lairs of Cthulhu II

Tonight archaeologist and Cthulhu buff James Holloway explores archaeological concepts found in Lovecraft’s mythos, turning to look at how these concepts of land, history and the past are reformulated in Lovecraftian-based films which have come out in the decades after the author’s death. A riveting and intelligent speaker whose ideas always invite new questioning, this lecture is a sequel to his now-famed 2009 Treadwell’s Lecture. Dr James Holloway studied archaeology at Cambridge University, where he received his doctorate, and returns to Treadwell’s with a warm welcome.

Price: £7
Time: 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start

 

Hocus Pocus: Witches in Film
9 October 2013 (Wednesday)
Judith Noble

Judith Noble- Hocus Pocus at Treadwell's Books

Judith Noble is a noted film scholar and expert in Western occultism, and tonight she examines critically the portrayal of witchcraft in feature film. Bringing together expertise in the subjects of modern pagan witchcraft, Western esotericism, popular culture and film-making, she offers new insights and raises new questions. A former producer who now lectures at University of the Arts in Bournemouth, she is a gifted speaker who returns to Treadwell’s at our invitation. It’s a lively, illustrated lecture for everyone.

Price: £7
Time: 6.45 for 7pm start

 

Alchemy: Symbols of the Rubedo
24 October 2013 (Thursday)
Paul Cowlan

Paul Cowlan Alchemy at Treadwell's Books

Alchemist Paul Cowlan lectures on the symbolism of each of the famed phases of the Work, the alchemical process of perfection. Tonight he unlocks the Rubedo, the final reddening stage, the Rising Dawn, the attainment of the Philosophers’ Stone. We learn what it looks like, how it can be ‘multiplied’, what its powers are, and what its dangers. We will also meet some of those who claim to have made or used the Stone, and will glance at both ancient and contemporary evidence for the reality of the Lapis. Suitable for everyone, this illustrated lecture will rock your world. Paul Cowlan has been practising spiritual alchemy for over twenty years, and is a popular speaker visiting from Germany.

Price: £7
Time: 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start

 

On Liber Nigri Solis
26 October 2013 (Saturday)

On Liber Nigri Solis at Treadwell's Books

An Afternoon Event
This modern astrychymical grimoire was published anonymously in 2004: an instant sensation. Theion Press’s new expanded version prompts a day exploring and unpacking it. Dr Eva Kingsepp from Stockholm University speaks on the history of the Black Sun symbol, from alchemy to Romanticism to German Naturphilosophie — to modern right-wing misappropriations. Andrew Vee, an author of the LNS, gives the second lecture, on gnosis of our solar system Black Suns and relevant fictive points, with the book’s applied workings and sigils. The event concludes with a “rite inscendence on a contra-solar journey starting from Casimi and finishing at piercing the Apex.” Drinks follow. Theion’s David Beth will be with us on the day.

Price: £15
Time: 1.45 for 2pm start, runs till 5.30

Triumph of the Moon

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft by Ronald Hutton:

Ronald Hutton's Triumph of the Moon via Oxford University Press

 

Ronald Hutton’s history of 20th century Witchcraft and Wicca is a comprehensive and compelling examination of the subject. No other book to date gives such a clear and entertaining view of the origins and development of religious Witchcraft in the modern world. Hutton clearly has substantial sympathy for his subjects, and he is respectful to both living and dead practitioners, but he does not settle for unsubstantiated claims, and he deftly dispels a number of myths and long-standing controversies.

The book is divided into two sections, and the first section is a set of interlinked historical essays that describe various movements, ideas, and institutions that served as contributory streams to religious Witchcraft. These contributors include Romantic literary paganism, the Frazerian and ritualist schools of anthropology, folklorism, Freemasonry, ceremonial magic, Thelema, and Woodcraft Chivalry, among others. In the second section, Hutton provides a full narrative of the emergence and evolution of modern British Witchcraft, beginning with Gerald Gardner, and addressing all the major leaders, groups, “traditions,” and schools. The unique mutations of the Craft in North America are addressed only to the extent that their influence migrated back to England. (Jack Parsons’ abortive Witchcraft thus passes without notice.) Hutton also traces the reactions of the press, politics, popular culture, and the academy to the increasing presence and visibility of Witchcraft.

In light of Aleister Crowley’s published disdain for “witches,” it is ironic that so many British Wiccan luminaries claimed to have had instruction from the Beast. Hutton carefully checks these allegations against Crowley’s own exhaustive diaries; Gardner is the only one who seems to have had a genuine claim in that department.

Hutton calls Wicca “the only religion England has ever given the world.” I don’t know that I would agree with him, since despite the prudent claims of Freemasonry to be “religious, not a religion,” it probably qualifies as well, from a scholar’s perspective. In fact, Hutton’s grasp of Masonry leaves a little bit to be desired; as for instance when he calls the Royal Arch “the highest, most exclusive and most prestigious of all Masonic degrees.” (p. 219) Where it counts in relation to his central topic, however, Hutton delivers the goods, instancing such items as this Fellow Craft ritual closing circa 1800:

“Happy have we met, Happy have we been,
“Happy may we part, And happy meet again!” (p. 56)

I find it hard to imagine how any present-day Witch can afford to be without the information in this book. Anyone with any experience of Wicca should be fascinated by it, and anyone interested in contemporary religion will be enriched by it. After having read it cover-to-cover, I continue to take my copy off the shelf for purposes of reference and research. [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.