Tag Archives: revelation

Aristotle’s Children

Aristotle’s Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Middle Ages by Richard E Rubenstein, a 2003 hardcover from Harcourt, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Richard E Rubenstein Aristotle's Children from Harcourt

“The astonishing story of revelation and transformation in the Middle Ages. When Aristotle’s lost works were translated and available once again, the medieval world was galvanized, the Church and the universities were forever changed, and the stage was set for the Renaissance.” — back cover


Religion Without Revelation

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Religion Without Revelation by Julian Huxley:

Julian Huxley's Religion Without Revelation

 

Most of this volume is committed to elaborating a theory of religion that, while refreshingly sound in its definition of religion, was already rather dated in much of its details when biologist Julian Huxley composed it in the 1950s. In particular, he is greatly beholden to J.G. Frazer and that scholar’s evolutionary systematization of magic-religion-science (e.g. 53-60, 96). He has a somewhat naïve view of historical religions as being each “the creation of a single personality” (82), and he does not impress with his facile dismissal of historical accounts of demonic possession as being uniformly attributable to “mental disorders” (94). His attempt to launder trinitarian doctrine into humanistic symbolism is not quite up to the standard for that project set over a century earlier in Feuerbach’s Essence of Christianity.

Still, there is much to like in this book. Huxley apologizes for an autobiographical chapter that demonstrates appropriate scholarly “reflexivity” far ahead of its academic time. And his ultimate solution to the conflict between traditional religion and modern science is to call for the formulation of a new scientific religion, of the sort invoked by Aleister Crowley’s illuminist agenda. The comparison might seem strange, given Huxley’s derision for the world-view of ancient and historical magic, but that world-view is not shared by Crowley’s non-supernaturalist Magick, which instead emphasizes exactly the sort of criteria that Huxley advances for “Evolutionary Humanism.” The Nietzschean “transvaluation of values” (201) for which Huxley calls is to understand that “Man’s most sacred duty, and at the same time his most glorious fulfillment … includes the fullest realization of his own inherent possibilities” (194).

The mention of “sacred” in the previous quote points up the fact that Huxley is indeed calling for a new religion, a sacred humanism, not merely granting a franchise of quasi-religious prerogative to secular humanism. There must be ritual, symbol, and narrative to appeal to the perennial human appetite for sanctity, and an intellectual apparatus to connect these with the ordering of society and personal discipline. Being trained in the methods of natural research rather than those of sacerdotal art, Huxley admits to not being able to formulate all of this from the principles that he hopes will ground it.

The point on which Huxley and Crowley are at odds in their visions of scientific religion is evident in Huxley’s title. Crowley insists on the revelation that Huxley says we should do without. Huxley sees the institutional certification of “revelation” as grounding “the unfortunate tendency of … religion to become an unduly conservative force, [which] has often led to religious thought and practice being below the general level of its times” (179). Crowley, by contrast, calls for revelation to become both epidemic and idiosyncratic: each man and woman should strive for his or her own life-governing message. And even when Crowley asserts the universal jurisdiction of the Thelemic revelation communicated to him (in Liber AL vel Legis), he cautions that each adherent should be at full intellectual liberty in the interpretation of that oracle. While Huxley rejects “the so-called revelation of Scripture” (88), Crowley’s own new scripture instructs that “All words are sacred and all prophets true; save only that they understand a little.”

In connection with Huxley’s categorical dismissal of divine revelation, he also claims that “The beliefs of theistic religions thus tend inevitably to be authoritarian, and also to be rigid and resistant to change” (185). There have been in fact many non-theistic authoritarians (e.g. Stalinists) as well as theistic antinomians (e.g. Ranters and Muggletonians). As I’ve remarked elsewhere, authoritarian religionists will naturally insist that antinomians be disqualified as irreligious, but there’s no reason to let the authoritarians own the category. If Huxley was willing to contest their ownership of religion, I don’t see why he shouldn’t have joined me and Crowley in doing so for revelation as well. [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.

We know that on some summit, far away

We know that on some summit, far away

Within the Soul, a beacon-light uplifted

Makes on the mountains round eternal day;

By its bright beams the clouds beneath are rifted,

And for awhile is glorified the grey

Life-sea, whereon so long mankind hath drifted;

That single will oft new strength create,

And then the Spirit conquers time and fate.

 

To all at times these golden glimpses come;

The clouds roll back; the deep, supernal blue

Is arch’d above those mountains like a dome;

The revelation of the great and true

Comes with those glimpses from the Soul’s far home,

And the Soul knows her lineage and her due;

But most have striven to reach the source in vain

Whence come those beams, or bid their flash remain.

 

Yet for life’s fever and the mind’s disease

The only refuge for the world is there;

Before they reach it none can taste of ease,

There all are sphered beyond the range of care;

Wrecks toss’d in scorn upon the scourging seas,

Our sails are set to find a haven fair,

But, from those mountains shrinking, still we strive,

And drift for ever where the winds my drive.

 

We dream of islands lapp’d in amber light,

Of pleasant groves and wilding woodland bowers,

Where morn unclouded follows starry night,

And starry night on evening’s pensive hours;

We see no beauty in the frowning height—

That awful altitude the mind o’erpowers;

Yet the Soul’s home is in its purer air;

Soul-glory, majesty, and might are there.

 

But there are many, could they see their way,

Who would the summit by their toil attain,

Who not in vain would pour their lives away,

Achieving conquests for their brethren’s gain;

But whom doubt weakens, who in tears delay,

And contemplate life’s spectacle of pain;

Who to do something yearn, yet pause and ask

Some high encitement to so hard a task.

 

And therefore have we written, O man, for thee

The book that follows, here its plan proclaim—

Help for thy Soul—help that the soul may see

In evil days her best, her noblest aim,

And ever faithful to that end may be,

Though faith should fail, though truth her hope disclaim.

And, ‘mid the general lapse from light, may find

No impulse left for the exalted mind!

 

What inspiration from the heaven came down

To fill the brain? What angel bade us write?

Oh, in the green fields, in the crowded town,

And in the sunshine or the starry night,

Those thoughts descended which in Soul are sown,

And ripen’d in us, as the flowers in light—

Their strength supports us, from the ample store

We scatter; may they number more and more!

 

Oh, may this book, by our own heart created,

Be life in all to whom its dream is told—

To draw the world up God’s steep path be fated,

Till all the splendid prospect shall behold,

And on those heights all Souls be reinstated,

From which perchance they lapsed in days of old;

Or those attain whose altitude till then,

Though dimly dream’d, was never known by men!

— A E Waite, “Proem” from Azoth, or the Star in the East

 

The Hermetic Library arts and letters pool is a project to publish poetry, prose and art that is inspired by or manifests the Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to submit your work for consideration as part of the Arts and Letters pool, contact the librarian.

Narcigesis

 

Narcigesis
(yzzy☥kyzy)

Narcigesis produced, written and performed by yzzy☥kyzy. This track was inspired by the idea of liberation from the state and consumerism through psycho-spiritual anarchistic revelation during meditation.

Born 19 years ago, in a small potato town (Alliston, Ontario) yzzy☥kyzy started on a bad path with anger management and abusive family life. Magick, music, and psychedelic reprogramming saved him from certain demise in the constant cycle of chaos. First started playing guitar in grade 6 and ever since then found music to be the truest form of being for him. Now free from the chains of darkness he pursues a career of expression with his roommate in Etobicoke hoping one day to be able to support himself through making music.

Follow yzzy☥kyzy via
Bandcamp
and
Anthology Profile

 

Magick, Music and Ritual 6, the Winter 2013 anthology album from the Hermetic Library
Hermetic Library Anthology Project – Magick Music and Ritual 6

 

 

In Nomine Babalon, XXXIII

XXXIII

In the aftermath of the dying god,

Natural law will succeed the synod

Revealing the glory of Revelation;

I raise up the cup and adore Babalon!

In Nomine Babalon: 156 Adorations to the Scarlet Goddess

 

The Hermetic Library arts and letters pool is a project to publish poetry, prose and art that is inspired by or manifests the Western Esoteric Tradition.

No Light, No Light

 

No Light, No Light
” from “Ceremonials” by Florence + The Machine

 

“You are the hole in my head
You are the space in my bed
You are the silence in between
What I thought and what I said

You are the night-time fear
You are the morning when it’s clear
When it’s over your start

You’re my head
You’re my heart

No light, no light in your bright blue eyes
I never knew daylight could be so violent
A revelation in the light of day

You can choose what stays and what fades away
And I’d do anything to make you stay

No light, no light
No light

Tell me what you want me to say
Through the crowded islands
Crying out at me
In your place there were a thousand other faces

I will disappear in plain sight
Heaven help me
I need to make it right
You are the revelation
You are to get it right
And it’s a conversation
I just can’t have tonight

You want a revelation
Some kind of revolution
You are the revelation”