Tag Archives: rosicrucianism

Rituals of the First Four Grades

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Rituals of the First Four Grades: Societatis Rosicrucianæ Reipub Confoed. America by Charles Meyer and Harold V B Voorhis.

Charles Meyer Harold V B Voorhis Rituals of the First Four Grades

These rituals were originally issued to local Colleges of the Societatis Rosicrucianae Reipub. Confoed. America in 1881 by the Grand High Council under the authority of its Supreme Magus Charles E. Meyer, and Secretary General C.T. McClenachan. All except the Zelator grade ritual (being too “similar to that now used”) were published from 1939 to 1942 in The Rose Petal, an occasional organ of the New Jersey College of S.C.R.I.F., under the editorship of the Right Worthy Chief Adept Harold V.B. Voorhis. He also omitted the hand-drawn plates. An unnamed Kessinger editor has added the Zelator ritual from a manuscript source, again, without diagrams, as well as a five-sentence introduction and the titling in which the Reipub. of the order’s name has been unaccountably changed to Rebpub.

Although Voorhis describes the rituals as “supplementary,” the authorizing correspondence from Meyer seems to indicate that the Grand High Council expected them to be adopted uniformly throughout the order for the principal ceremonies of admission and advancement. Yet Voorhis insists that “there is no evidence that they were ever used ‘in full form.'”

Some of the ceremonial mechanisms are interesting, although the whole operation is conducted with conventional Masonic techniques. The rituals are devoid of hoodwinking, but in the first section of each grade the initiand is placed under a translucent veil of the characteristic symbolic color of the degree, providing what I cannot help but think of as an “Emerald City effect.” A fair amount of singing was involved, but the lyrics are included without scores or any other clues regarding the tunes. There is nothing in the way of strenuous ordeal or even startlement. Each grade includes a narrative set-piece that serves as a chapter in a cumulative Rosicrucian legend—evidently original with this rite—regarding the Magister Templi Gualdi in the mountain laboratories of the adepts.

The grade instructions attempt to embrace a comprehensive course of hermetic wisdom, including alchemy (chrysopoeia and iatrochemistry), astrology, and astronomy, with some very basic, Christian-oriented magical theology. Their efforts to communicate something like scientific facts, along with the technological pretense of the legend, keep the ritual from being anything that an educated initiate could take seriously today.

The lack of diagrams and the failure to provide any sort of roster of ritual offices are features that make it difficult to mentally construct the ceremonies from the rituals. Also, very brief opening and closing rituals are included only after all of the grade rituals—evidently in the sequence they were published by Voorhis, but unhelpfully to the reader who is also handicapped by not having a table of contents or even continuous pagination. [via]

Omnium Gatherum: June 11th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 11th, 2014

Mihai Mihu Dante's Inferno Lust
Mihai Mihu’s LEGO diorama for “Lust” from Dante's Inferno

 

  • The Householder’s Guide to Form and Deed” — Scott David Finch (author of A Little World Made Cunningly), Spiral Nature

    “After putting myself in too many people’s shoes, and seeing the world through everyone else’s eyes for too long, I start to become a warped and weary alien to myself. I no longer recognize my own face and I need to recharge. This is when I head to my studio to sit.”

  • How to Become a Living Douche! The Impressively Embarrassing Occultism of EA Koetting” — Thad McKraken, disinformation

    “I have to confess that what I’ve found mindblowing about exploring the Occult is that the church has slandered it as being daemon worship, and because of that, a group of gothed out weirdoes have decided that they love the idea worshipping Satan. Even though the Occult doesn’t actually involve that (it’s about mastering your daemons and making contact with your Holy Guardian Angel), they’re just going to make it about that anyway because they’re just…so…hard.”

  • Dreamscripts in the Waking World” — William Kiesel, The Brooklyn Rail

    “One of the signs which has become a trademark of being in a dream is the inability to read the written word or at other times to decipher numbers on a clock face or elsewhere. Such figures most often appear to blur before the eyes. There are times when the oneiric traveller is blest with clarity of vision wherein the characters in the given instance are crystal clear, but such instances are typically rare. It is significant that there is a crossover between the experience of legible and illegible scripts in both the waking and dream worlds.”

    “With the use of oneiric praxis, sigils of the wake world can be brought to the dreamscape, as well as drawing the dream texts upon the waking consciousness. No doubt the viewing of sigillic devices could produce the atmosphere of the dream in the waking consciousness of one unaccustomed to seeing such scripts.”

  • Caveat Lecter” — Houghton Library Blog [HT Harvard Library]

    “Good news for fans of anthropodermic bibliopegy, bibliomaniacs and cannibals alike: tests have revealed that Houghton Library’s copy of Arsène Houssaye’s Des destinées de l’ame [The destiny of the soul] (FC8.H8177.879dc) is without a doubt bound in human skin.”

  • Earth’s backup: Sending religious texts to the moon” — Paul Marks, NewScientist

    “The first artefacts to shoot for the moon could be three religious and philosophical texts. The Torah on the Moon project, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has been courting private firms to deliver a handwritten Jewish scroll, the Sefer Torah, to the lunar surface. If they succeed, later flights will carry Hindu scriptures called the Vedas and the ancient Chinese philosophical work, the I-Ching.

    Each document will be housed in a space-ready capsule designed to protect it from harsh radiation and temperature changes on the moon for at least 10,000 years.”

  • The Samuelson Clinic releases “Is it in the Public Domain?” handbook” – UC Berkeley School of Law [HT Boing Boing]

    “These educational tools help users to evaluate the copyright status of a work created in the United States between January 1, 1923 and December 31, 1977—those works that were created before today’s 1976 Copyright Act. Many important works—from archival materials to family photos and movies—were created during this time, and it can be difficult to tell whether they are still under copyright.”

  • Handbook to figure out what’s in the public domain” — Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

    “This is probably the most esoteric question that normal people from all walks of life have to answer routinely; the Samuelson Clinic has really done an important public service here.”

  • Book of Soyga or Aldaraia sive Soyga vocor [PDF], edited and translated by Jane Kupin, Twilit Grotto [HT Joseph H Peterson]

    “Here begins the book Aldaraia in accordance with that which our authorities proclaimed to us; they were from God and from the celestial parts and it was revealed to them in the desert about celestial matters.”

  • The Self-Sacrifice of Our Own Individuality” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti

    “We perform our task correctly only when we don’t force our own mind into every ancient book that falls into our hands; but rather read out of it what is already there.”

  • The Anagogic Role of Sunthemata in the Sacramental Liturgy of Pseudo-Dionysius” — Jeffrey S Kupperman

    “The Neoplatonic writings of the 6th century writer known as pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite have influenced, and continue to influence, Christian theologians and esotericists, amongst others, to this day. Typically, a handful of Dionysius’ topics are discussed: his angelology, his sacramental theology, and his treatment of the divine names are on the top of the list. This paper treats one of these subjects, Dionysian sacraments”

  • Occultic and Masonic Influence in Early Mormonism” — Joel B Groat, Institute for Religious Research

    “The evidence of Joseph Smith’s close connection to occultism and Freemasonry, and how this influenced the origin and development of the LDS Church is not well known outside of scholarly circles. This article summarizes the evidence for Joseph’s personal involvement in both Freemasonry and occultism, and their influence on the Mormon religion.”

  • Christopher Lee makes heavy metal Don Quixote” — BBC News

    “Actor Sir Christopher Lee is marking his 92nd birthday by releasing an album of heavy metal cover versions.

    Two of the songs come from the Don Quixote musical Man of La Mancha, which was a Broadway smash in the 1960s.

    ‘As far as I am concerned, Don Quixote is the most metal fictional character that I know, the Hobbit star said.

    ‘Single handed, he is trying to change the world, regardless of any personal consequences. It is a wonderful character to sing.'”

  • Of course Thelema is satanic” — Thomas Zwollo, Spiral Nature

    “Thelema rejects all these notions that enslave humanity to a deity that would demand certain beliefs and actions and punish those who disobey. Satan represents the rejection of this belief system and the exultation of the individual. Is Satan central to Thelema? No. Is Satan mentioned in Thelema? Yes, frequently.”

  • On the ‘itch’ within the Witch” — Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold, The Starry Cave

    “I believe Traditional Witchcraft is a poetic reality humming the nocturnal mysteries of Night. I believe the Witch is concerned with Solace and comfort, the same solace we find resting in the Night. I believe the Witch is a creature tied to the land whose heart is a crossroad where the fire of Need gushes forth from the fountain of the soul like a veiled spring of fiery droplets of gold and silver.”

  • The Rosicrucian Vision” — Christopher McIntosh, New Dawn Magazine

    “The word ‘Rosicrucian’ is one that most readers will have heard many times. Yet if I were to ask for a definition of the word I would probably be given a wide variety of different answers. I might be told that it was something to do with esoteric Christianity, with alchemy, or with Cabala. All of these things are part of the answer, but not the whole answer.

    So what is Rosicrucianism? For the time being let us call it a current of thought and ideas which has been flowing through history for at least three and a half centuries and probably quite a bit longer, sometimes underground, sometimes coming to the surface, but always pushing human beings towards certain goals. I say that we can trace the current back three and a half centuries because that was when it first came to the surface. So let us go back to that moment in history.”

  • Pagan God From Bronze Age Caught By Unsuspecting Fisherman In Siberia” — Yasmine Hafiz, The Huffington Post; from the it-has-the-innsmouth-look dept

    “Nikolay Tarasov was fishing in a river near his home in Tisul, in the Kemerovo region of Siberia, when he caught something unexpected—and very old.”

    “Museum curators dated the figure to over 4,000 years old. Carved in horn which was later fossilized, the Bronze Age figurine shows a pagan god.”

    Pagan God from the Bronze Age caught by fisherman in Siberia

     

  • Circumambulating the Alchemical Mysterium” — Aaron Cheak, Reality Sandwich; an excerpt from Alchemical Traditions: From Antiquity to the Avant-Garde

    “Alchemy may be described, in the words of Baudelaire, as a process of ‘distilling the eternal from the transient’. As the art of transmutation par excellence, the classical applications of alchemy have always been twofold: chrysopoeia and apotheosis (gold-making and god-making)—the perfection of metals and mortals. In seeking to turn ‘poison into wine’, alchemy, like tantra, engages material existence—often at its most dissolute or corruptible—in order to transform it into a vehicle of liberation. Like theurgy, it seeks not only personal liberation—the redemption of the soul from the cycles of generation and corruption—but also the liberation (or perfection) of nature herself through participation in the cosmic demiurgy. In its highest sense, therefore, alchemy conforms to what Lurianic kabbalists would call tikkun, the restoration of the world.”

  • Plaidoyer for historical-critical Steiner research. Using the methodological example of Rudolf Steiner as a possible character in the Mysteriendramen.” — David W Wood

    “A main thesis of this paper is that one of the ways for Rudolf Steiner research to become more scientific is to proceed in accordance with a genuine historical and critical methodology. It attempts to show that even though some of Steiner’s chief critics support this method in theory, they often fall short of a historical-critical approach in practice. Using the example of the unresolved problem of whether Steiner could be a character in his own Mysteriendramen, the author provides a number of methodological, historical and biographical indications for approaching this problem. He tries to demonstrate the fruitfulness of this method by addressing the question of Steiner as a drama character from the new perspective of literary pseudonyms. In conclusion, he maintains that a scholarly historical-critical approach to spiritual science was advocated by Steiner himself.”

  • What Happens to the Brain During Spiritual Experiences? The field of neurotheology uses science to try to understand religion, and vice versa.” — Lynne Blumberg, The Atlantic

    “Since everyday and spiritual concerns are variations of the same thinking processes, [Andrew] Newberg thinks it’s essential to examine how people experience spirituality in order to fully understand how their brains work. Looking at the bigger questions has already provided practical applications for improving mental and physical health.”

  • Intolerance and Fanaticism” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti

    “Men find it very hard to apply a little criticism to the sources of their beliefs and the origin of their faith. It is just as well; if we looked too close into first principles, we should never believe at all.”

  • Paradise Found: The ideal(ized) vision of Paul Gauguin.” — Daniel Goodman, The Weekly Standard [HT Arts & Letters Daily]

    “Gauguin’s art depicts Tahitians as they are sleeping, worshipping, and engaging in other quotidian activities. But whereas Cheever, Chekhov, Roth, John Updike, and other literary artists used their keen perceptive abilities in the pursuit of sober realism, Gauguin put his artistry to the purpose of imaginative proto-surrealism.

    Gauguin, who rejected European cultural and religious constraints, thought of himself as a savage in the eyes of the civilized world. Oviri (1894, his personal favorite amongst all his sculptures) and many of his other works were regarded as radical for a variety of reasons, not least because they subverted traditional, conventional ideas of feminine beauty.”

  • We need to talk about misogyny and sexism” — Psyche, Spiral Nature

    “Equality. That’s the secret agenda, folks. Feminism isn’t about women first, it’s about women too.”

  • Congo: A Group of Chimpanzees Seem to Have Mastered Fire” — World News Daily Report; from the fake-news-but-wouldn’t-it-be-wild-if dept.

    “It is however, the first time that a group of these primates develops some technical concepts as elaborate as these on their own. A few individual apes seem to have originally developed a rudimentary technique of rather poor efficiency, but the group gradually improved it through experimentation and observation over the last few months. They are now able to create and maintain a fire, which they have been using mostly to scare off predators and cook some of their food.”

  • On the Seventh Day, We Unplug: How and Why to Take a Tech Sabbath” — Brett & Katie McKay, The Art of Manliness

    “Taking a weekly Tech Sabbath allows us to step off this wheel of endless sameness. It’s a ritual that pushes us out of the norm, to pursue different activities, and use different parts of our brains. In so doing, it refreshes and rejuvenates our minds and spirit. It provides the motivation to unhook our wired craniums from the matrix of cyberspace and explore the pleasures of the real world.”

  • Kircher & Schott’s Computer Music of the Baroque” — Phil Legard, Larkfall

    “Here is a piece of music, which was composed with a sort of 17th century computer called the Organum Mathematicum, devised by Athanasius Kircher and fully described by his pupil and assistant Gaspar Schott”

     

  • Mihai’s Inferno: The 9 circles of Hell made in Lego” — The Brothers Brick [See also Boing Boing, MOCPages]

    “Mihai Mihu completed a series of creations depicting the 9 circles of Hell. While staying true to the theme of poetic justice served to the sinners, Mihai portrays the punishments through his own interpretations. The recurring architectural elements and portrayal of the sinners tie the scenes together in a way that’s easy for the viewer to transition through. In this short interview, the builder talks about his project and the individual circles of Hell.”

    Mihai Mihu Dante's Inferno

     

  • Techne: The State of the Art” — Damien Wolven [HT Joshua Madara]

    “If we really think that whatever kind of mind we generate from these efforts is going to be anything like us, then we’re probably in for a big surprise. We have to be prepared for—as opposed to scared about—the possibility that any machine intelligence will have vastly different concerns from us. “Occult Wisdom” means knowledge hidden from those who don’t know how to look for it and, without an understanding of how these new minds will experience our world, humanity will never know everything we might.

    As I’ve explored these ideas, over the years, I’ve found that the most valuable approaches have often come from the intersections that others might overlook. The intersection that’s been most useful to me is at the center of weird science, philosophy, religious studies, pop-culture, and magic. I’ve written articles, taught classes, and organized conferences arguing that “The Magical” is one of the most useful-but-underused tools we have for rethinking and understanding these ideas.”

  • The Flaw Lurking In Every Deep Neural Net” — mikejuk, Slashdot

    “If a deep neural network is biologically inspired we can ask the question, does the same result apply to biological networks? Put more bluntly, ‘Does the human brain have similar built-in errors?’ If it doesn’t, how is it so different from the neural networks that are trying to mimic it?”

  • We Aren’t the World” — Ethan Waters, Pacific Standard [HT Eleanor Saitta]

    “The potential implications of the unexpected results were quickly apparent to Henrich. He knew that a vast amount of scholarly literature in the social sciences—particularly in economics and psychology—relied on the ultimatum game and similar experiments. At the heart of most of that research was the implicit assumption that the results revealed evolved psychological traits common to all humans, never mind that the test subjects were nearly always from the industrialized West. Henrich realized that if the Machiguenga results stood up, and if similar differences could be measured across other populations, this assumption of universality would have to be challenged.

    Henrich had thought he would be adding a small branch to an established tree of knowledge. It turned out he was sawing at the very trunk. He began to wonder: What other certainties about “human nature” in social science research would need to be reconsidered when tested across diverse populations?”

 

If you’d like to participate in the next Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS.

Omnium Gatherum: March 12th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for March 12th, 2014

Little Wide Awake 1877 from Craig Conley, Abecedarian
An illustration from an 1877 issue of Little Wide Awake magazine.” — Craig Conley, Abecedarian

 

  • Ask Massively: And the money will follow” — Brianna Royce, Massively; from the two-pennies-to-rub-together dept.

    “My mother always told me, ‘Do what you love, and the money will follow.’ It’s not true. I wish it were. Sorry mom. It’s a dangerous thing to tell a geeky little girl something like that when she’s trying to decide whether to be a coroner, an international diplomat, or a butterfly. I did not become any of these things. I got a degree in what I loved, but the money followed only when I got a job I didn’t love to pay for my husband to do what he loved. My landing a job with Massively (almost four years ago!) was the product of an unrelated cross-country move, a lot of luck, and an unusual combination of otherwise mundane knowledge. It was not something I planned and executed meticulously as a career plan.”

  • #AmtrakResidency” — Amtrak; from the they-who-curse-the-bum-on-the-rods dept.

    “#AmtrakResidency was designed to allow creative professionals who are passionate about train travel and writing to work on their craft in an inspiring environment. Round-trip train travel will be provided on an Amtrak long-distance route. Each resident will be given a private sleeper car, equipped with a desk, a bed and a window to watch the American countryside roll by for inspiration. Routes will be determined based on availability.

    Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by a panel. Up to 24 writers will be selected for the program starting March 17, 2014 through March 31, 2015. A passion for writing and an aspiration to travel with Amtrak for inspiration are the sole criteria for selection. Both emerging and established writers will be considered.

    Residencies will be anywhere from 2-5 days, with exceptions for special projects.”

  • WIT researchers discover ‘lost’ Einstein model of universe” — Dick Ahlstrom, Irish Times; from the i-will-not-be-pushed-filed-stamped-indexed-briefed-debriefed-or-numbered dept.

    “‘I was looking through drafts, but then slowly realised it was a draft of something very different,’ Dr [Cormac] O’Raifeartaigh said. ‘I nearly fell off my chair. It was hidden in perfect plain sight. This particular manuscript was misfiled as a draft of something else.'”

     

  • Albert Einstein quote via “Albert Einstein, when he arrived in America, was shocked at how African Americans were treated.” — Emily, Dichotomization [also]; from the emperor’s-new-clothes dept.

    “There is a separation of colored people from white people in the United States. That separation is not a disease of colored people. It is a disease of white people. I do not intend to be quiet about it.”

  • On Gaia tests whether the hypothesis holds up to scientific scrutiny” — Scott K Johnson, Ars Technica; from the because-the-cosmos-is-also-within-us dept.

    “In the early 1970s, Lovelock—with the help of Lynn Margulis—developed the Gaia Hypothesis, which views the Earth and its ecosystems as resembling a sort of superorganism. Lovelock was working for NASA at the time, developing instruments that would aid the Viking landers in looking for signs of life on Mars, so he was thinking about how life interacts with its environment on a planetary scale. And Margulis was famed for her ideas about symbiosis.

    This intellectual background led to the idea that organisms are not just passive inhabitants riding a big rock that determined whether they lived or died. Organisms were active participants in the molding of their environment, tweaking and improving conditions as part of a massive, self-regulating system.

    In On Gaia: A Critical Investigation of the Relationship Between Life and Earth, University of Southampton Professor Toby Tyrrell sets out to comprehensively put the Gaia Hypothesis to the test, using everything we’ve learned about life and its history on our planet.”

  • Recreating the Cosmos in Our Druidic Ritual Order.” — Ian Corrigan, Into the Mound; from the we’re-made-of-star-stuff dept.

    “In my understanding, the basic steps of our Order of Ritual (OoR) amount to a recreation of the Indo-European cosmos. As in many traditional ritual systems, our rites are set in a cosmological diagram. Since our Order is written for modern, park-and-church-basement Paganism, we assume that this cosmic model must be rebuilt and reconsecrated for each ritual. Thus our sacrifices open with rites for consecrating the space and establish it as a gathering-place for the Gods & Spirits.”

  • A new “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, presented by Fox and National Geographic, guest appearance by Giordano Bruno in the premiere [also]; from the we-are-a-way-for-the-cosmos-to-know-itself dept.

     

  • Petra monuments oriented according to celestial events” — Past Horizons; from the summer-sunday-and-a-year dept.

    “During the winter solstice, the sun is filtered into the Monastery at Petra, Jordan, illuminating the podium of a deity. Just at this moment, the silhouette of the mountain opposite draws the head of a lion, a sacred animal. These are examples from a study where researchers from Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias and CSIC (Spain) showed how celestial events influenced the orientation of the great constructions of the Nabataeans.”

  • Research Suggests We Unconsciously React to Events Up to 10 Seconds Before They Happen” — The Mind Unleashed [HT Reality Sandwich]; from the wake-me-up-before-you-go-go dept.

    “Can your brain detect events before they even occur? That was the stunning conclusion of a 2012 meta-analysis of experiments from seven independent laboratories over the last 35 years, which found that the human body ‘can apparently detect randomly delivered stimuli occurring 1–10 seconds in the future’ (Mossbridge, Tressoldi, & Utts, 2012). In the studies, physiological readings were taken as participants were subjected to unpredictable events designed to activate the sympathetic nervous system (for example, showing provocative imagery) as well as ‘neutral events’ that did not activate the nervous system. These readings showed that the nervous system aligned with the nature of the event (activated/not activated) — and what’s more, the magnitude of the pre-event response corresponded with the magnitude of the post-event response.”

  • Scientists unlock mystery of out-of-body experiences (aka astral trips)” — Jordan Kushins, Sploid [HT Disinformation]; from the why-am-i-up-here-what-do-they-see-in-me dept.

    “The fMRI showed a ‘strong deactivation of the visual cortex’ while ‘activating the left side of several areas associated with kinesthetic imagery,’ which includes mental imagery of bodily movement. This is the part of the brain that makes it possible for us to interact with the world. It’s what makes you feel where your body is in relation to the world.”

  • Translation of Theodor Klauser at “Mithras scholar Vermaseren on the Mithras cranks” — Roger Pearse [HT rogueclassicism]; from the let-that-be-a-lesson-to-you dept.

    “Anyone who really wants to promote scholarship may not content themselves with uniting uncontrolled ideas and research into a seductive synthesis, written in an attractive form, for the slightest critical touch causes such constructs to collapse. The established rules of scholarly method cannot be ignored with impunity; even the most gifted may not skip over the necessarily lengthy process.”

  • Priestess Najah, via tweet.

    “Queen of Conjure, sacred Marie LaVeau. Her tomb needs restoration. Donate at http://www.saveourcemeteries.org

  • Maidens, Matrons, and Magicians: Women and Personal Ritual Power in Late Antique Egypt” by Meghan Paalz McGinnis, Masters Thesis, University of Louisville, 2012; from the sparks-fly-from-her-finger-tips dept.

    “Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach to a variety of material, textual, and literary evidence, the aim of this thesis is to shed light on the realities — rather than stereotypes — of an important aspect of late ancient women’s experience: the use of ritual power. Patterns of gender differentiation in late antique Egyptian magic are investigated and shown to be connected to the particular aims to which numinous powers were employed, aims which were in turn bound up with the social roles expected of each sex. The majority of this study consists of a series of case studies of different types of women’s rituals of power, which emphasize examples of significant trends in ritual iconography, praxis, and context, both those which were typical of late antique Egyptian magic as a whole, and those which were uniquely female in character. The fact that female practitioners came from a wide array of socio-economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds is also addressed.”

  • Tutankhamun’s Blood” by Jo Marchant, Matter; from the blood-feud dept.

    “[Yehia] Gad isn’t the first to attempt to test Tutankhamun’s DNA, but he is the first to get this far. Previous efforts by foreigners were cancelled at the last minute. After decades of outside interference, Egypt’s politicians were reluctant to hand over the keys to the pharaohs’ origins—especially when the results, if dropped into the crucible of the Middle East, might prove explosive.”

  • Israel reveals eerie collection of Neolithic ‘spirit’ masks” — Ilan ben Zion [HT David Metcalfe]; from the starting-with-the-man-in-the-mirror dept.

    “With vacant sockets and jaws agape, they stare at you like the skulls of the dead. They are 9,000-year-old masks found in the Judean Desert and Hills, and they are going on display for the first time next week at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.”

  • Myrtle quoted in “Paganism in Israel: Where the Modern meets the Ancient” — Heather Greene, The Wild Hunt; from the grand-central-station dept.

    “Ever since the dawn of [humanity], even stretching back to the exits from Africa, people of different cultures have passed through this tiny country. There are places of worship to the Canaanite deities, Egyptian temples to Hathor, countless shrines to the Greek and Roman Gods, Phoenician influences and more.”

  • Consult the Oracle! [HT rogueclassicism]; from the ask-me-no-questions-i’ll-tell-you-no-lies dept.

    “The ancient Delphic Oracle was the inspiration for a recent application created by the Department of Classical Studies at the University College of London. This application will give the user the chance to have a unique experience. The application is very tempting and attractive as one can ask whatever he wishes online.” [via]

  • Shape-Shifter” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti; from the i’m-gonna-git-you-sucka dept.

    “Zeus became a swan, a bull, a satyr, gold, for love of
           Leda, Europa, Antiope, Danaë.”

  • Jesus Wept” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti; from the dacryphilia dept.

    “Some in the ancient world might have interpreted the act of weeping as evidence that Jesus was not God.”

  • Grimoire” — Michael Quinion, World Wide Words; from the cook-the-books dept.

    “The shift from book of grammar to book of magic isn’t as weird as it might seem. Few among the ordinary people in those times could read or write. For superstitious minds books were troubling objects. Who knew what awful information was locked up in them? For many people grammar meant the same thing as learning, and everybody knew that learning included astrology and other occult arts.”

  • California’s drought is so bad people are turning to witchcraft” — Holly Richmond, Grist; from the liquore-strega dept.

    “Did you know that witches help make Two-Buck Chuck? Sadly no one from The Craft is involved, but water witches are increasingly in demand in California as the state’s epic drought continues. John Franzia of the Bronco Wine Company, which makes Two-Buck Chuck and a slew of other wines, regularly uses diviners to find water underneath his California vineyards.”

  • Aleister Crowley and the Temptation of Politics, by Marco Pasi” — Clive Bloom, Times Higher Education; from the piecemeal-social-engineering dept.

    “Pasi’s book, which has already appeared in Italian and German, proves an admirable introduction to the complex magical and political connections of this most elusive of figures. Ironically, what the book proves is the opposite of its title, which is simply that magical practice and practical politics have never mixed, and the attempt to fit them together was a doomed and ‘childish’ project. Crowley’s ‘political’ legacy lies more properly in the politics of personal liberation that he advocated and in the counterculture he helped to create.”

  • Alchemical Interpretations of Masonic Symbols in the Rituals of Russian Rosicrucians of the 18th-19th Centuries” (in Russian) — Yury Khalturin; from the watching-the-world-wake-up-from-history dept.

    “In the article symbolic mechanisms of the transmission of alchemical tradition within the Russian Rosicrucianism are analyzed. The main point of the article is the idea, that masonic symbols and their interpretations were not just a form of communicating the alchemical tradition, but also a mode of its transformation according to the principles of rosicrucian worldview. All the alchemical interpretations of masonic symbols in rosicrucian rituals could be reduced to paradigmatic and syntagmatic models. Within the ritual those symbols and interpretations realized two main functions — suggestive (creating the sacral atmosphere for getting the esoteric knowledge) and initiatic (initiation through the shift from one level of hidden sense to another), which changed social and existential status of the neophyte.”

  • Is there any super bad-ass Catholic weapon around out there?” — Benito Cereno, Burgeoning Lads of Science; from the ten-hail-marys-and-turn dept.

    “Some of these might be of dubious Catholicity, but they all at least have something to do with a saint or a relic, so there you have it.”

  • Mindscapes: The first recording of hallucinated music” — Helen Thomson, NewScientist’s Mindscapes; from the stop-children-what’s-that-sound dept.

    “‘It’s like having my own internal iPod,’ says Sylvia. While she goes about her daily life she hears music. It may sound to her as if a radio is playing, but it is entirely in her own head.

    Sylvia calls the hallucinations a nuisance, but they can be turned off, which has allowed researchers to work out what might cause them. The discovery paves the way for new treatments and hints at the cause of more common hallucinations, such as those associated with schizophrenia.”

  • Are Stonehenge’s Boulders Actually Big Bells?” — Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic [David Raffin]; from the everybody-must-get-stoned dept.

    “If you’re building a monument, why not build it out of stones that speak?

    ‘We don’t know of course that they moved them because they rang, but ringing rocks are a prominent part of many cultures,’ English archeologist Tim Darvill told the BBC. ‘Soundscapes of pre-history are something we’re really just beginning to explore.’

    It’s true. Academics and researchers are just beginning to think about what many historic places—both geographic and architectural—sounded like.”

  • Wagner & Me“, a movie with Stephen Fry, currently on Netflix; from the is-wagner-a-human-being-at-all dept.

     

  • Richard Wagner and his Operas, an online archive and resource.

     

  • Mathematicians Are Chronically Lost and Confused” — Soulskill, Slashdot; from the dazed-and-confused dept.

    “[Jeremy Kun] says it’s immensely important for mathematicians to be comfortable with extended periods of ignorance when working on a new topic. ‘The truth is that mathematicians are chronically lost and confused. It’s our natural state of being, and I mean that in a good way. …”

  • Roelof Nicolai quoted in “648 – Portolan Charts ‘Too Accurate’ to be Medieval” — Frank Jacobs, Big Think; from the maps-of-the-ancient-sea-kings dept.

    “Perhaps we should re-evaluate what we think was the state of science in Antiquity”

  • Scientists Revive a Giant 30,000 Year Old Virus From Ice” — bmahersciwriter, Slashdot; from the andromeda-strain dept.

    “It might be terrifying if we were amoebae. Instead, it’s just fascinating. The virus, found in a hunk of Siberian ice, is huge, but also loosely packaged, which is strange says evolutionary biologist Jean-Michel Claverie: ‘We thought it was a property of viruses that they pack DNA extremely tightly into the smallest particle possible, but this guy is 150 times less compacted than any bacteriophage [viruses that infect bacteria]. We don’t understand anything anymore!'”

The Golden Thread

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Golden Thread: The Ageless Wisdom of the Western Mystery Traditions by Hermetic Library fellow Joscelyn Godwin.

Joscelyn Godwin The Golden Thread

Godwin’s Golden Thread is an impressive survey of its subject. In a brief and accessible form, he treats esoteric traditions from antiquity, through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, to modernity and the present. Although the book presumes shockingly little prior acquaintance with such material, he manages to avoid any tone of condescension, and he embroiders the necessarily broad outlines of such a high-level overview with many interesting details.

This volume is published by Quest Books, a Theosophical Society imprint, but it doesn’t pander to that organization. Godwin professes a metaphysical perspective in common with Paul Brunton (1898–1981, a pupil of Alan Bennett and later Ramana Maharshi), and he takes seriously—without conceding to—the anti-occultist esotericism of the Traditionalists.

As an introductory survey, The Golden Thread doesn’t provide the depth or originality one might be looking for in the course of academic research, but Godwin is careful to furnish extensive references for further reading. These notes enhance the value of the book as a historical primer in its field. I would recommend it to anyone with a preliminary curiosity about its subject, and it is sure to provide rewarding perspective for those who have a practical engagement with the Masonic, Rosicrucian, or Theosophical traditions. There are few books that cover so much ground with such clarity and ease. [via]


Hyleal, Pri-material, Catholic, or Universal Natural Chaos

Hyleal, Pri-material, Catholic, or Universal Natural Chaos: Excerpts from the Companion Volume to Amphitheatre of Eternal Wisdom by Henricus Khunrath, selected and translated by Russell Yoder, from Salamander and Sons, scheduled to be published already, but coming soon, will be available via Weiser Antiquarian Books.

Henricus Khunrath Russell Yoder Hyleal, Pri-material, Catholic, or Universal Natural Chaos from Salamander and Sons

Hyleal, Pri-material, Catholic, or Universal Natural Chaos consists of excerpts from the companion volume to Henricus Khunrath’s alchemical classic, Amphitheatrum sapientiae aeternae (or, Amphitheatre of Eternal Wisdom).

Englished for the first time by Russell Yoder, Hyleal, Pri-material, Catholic, or Universal Natural Chaos is initially concerned with Magnesia (the “Magnet of the Lord” and “universal raw Stone of the Wise that is to be found in Nature”), the Green Lion of Nature (the “fiery spark or ray of the World’s Soul, or Light of Nature” that is “the naturally, conceivably catholic All”) and Our Chaos or Hyle (“the World’s First Water … [the] Fountain [from which] all material things have their first origin” which is the “Fundament or Foundation, the Basis of the World that God Himself put in place … [which] the edifice of the entire earth is set upon …”).

Embodying a kind of Christianised natural magic influenced as much by kabbalah, natural philosophy and the works of Paracelsus as by Lutheran pietism and devotion, the Divinely inspired and particular revelations of Hyleal, Pri-material, Catholic, or Universal Natural Chaos extend to include heavenly influences and the timing of the work, Azoth or Living Mercury (“not quicksilver, nor something taken out of or from him, but Mercurius – that which the Philosophers speak of!”), Salt of Magnesia (“often called Sal Petra or Sal Peter, Sal Alkali, Sal Gemma or the Noble Rock-salt … from the radical Humidity of the whole World”), and the artful and natural elevation of plants, animals and minerals “to the highest Natural Perfection” towards “true Regeneration and more than perfect Multiplication of Metals [and] an exceedingly powerful Universal Medicine …”

Includes a brief but highly insightful tract in verse ‘from F.R.C.’ on the subject of Our Chaos – Hyle – published as part of The Golden Rose (1704), almost 100 years after the publication of Khunrath’s Amphitheatrum, and exactly 90 years after the appearance of the Rosicrucian manifesto Fama Fraternitatis R.C. (1614).”

The History of My Life, Volumes 3 & 4

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews History of My Life, Volumes 3 & 4 by Giacomo Casanova, translated by Willard R. Trask.

Giacomo Casanova Willard Trask History of My Life, Volumes 3 & 4

This huge memoir is as entertaining as any novel, and certainly a whole lot longer! Each volume in the eminently readable Willard Trask translation is 300 to 350 pages long, plus copious endnotes with literary, historical, geographical, and biographical explications.

Casanova’s exploits as a Freemason, faux-Rosicrucian, alchemist and magical confidence-man all rest within a larger context, where the freethinker and libertine seems to have enjoyed a genuine conviction of the reality of his personal daimonic genius. Writing of his first hardships as a prisoner, Casanova reflects, “My Genius diverted himself in this fashion in order to give me the pleasure of making comparisons.” The name of this Guardian Angel was
P A R A L I S. [via]

The Portal of Initiation

The Portal of Initiation: A Rosicrucian Mystery Drama & The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily, by Rudolf Steiner and Johann W von Goethe, respectively, the 1981 second revised edition from Spiritual Literature Library (Garber Communications), is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Rudolf Steiner Johann W von Goethe The Portal of Initiation from Spiritual Literature Library / Garber Communications

“The Portal of Initiation: A Rosicrucian Mystery Drama, can best be described in Rudolf Steiner’s own words:

‘When one has worked one’s way through to an understanding perception of the world, the living need is felt to form ideas no longer, but to create artistically, that is, plastically, or in color, or musically, or poetically. In my Mystery Dramas I myself tried to give what cannot be expressed in ideas about the nature of the human being. … This leads us to enjoy, to seek out, to contemplate what one cannot possibly experience in thoughts, but in living figures, as they appear in the dramatic pictures; then we let the figures of the drama really work upon us. … Art must be added to what is abstractly known if true knowledge of the world is to be attained. Further, when such perception is attained and presses toward creative form, this experience penetrates so deeply into the human soul that this union of art with science produces a religious experience.’

‘Today, humanity may not yet be inclined to absorb into external culture what can spring from the spiritual life. however, at least in artistic pictures we can show how life may develop, and what in the form of thoughts and feelings flows into our souls and permeates them. The result can be the kindling of the presentiment that out of its present, humanity must go toward a future in which it will be able to experience the streaming down of spiritual life into man on earth. For humanity is approaching an age when man will perceive himself as the intermediary between the spiritual world and the physical world. These performances were given in order that this presentiment might be awakened.’

Steiner spoke repeatedly about the importance of Goethe’s Fairy Tale, not only in relation to the spiritual striving of our time in a general sense, but in his first Mystery Drama, The Portal of Initiation, he drew upon many of the basic themes of the Fairy Tale. Steiner also indicated that the way the pictures in Goethe’s Fairy Tale ‘unfold themselves’ shows that they possess the power ‘to transform the human soul’ which opens itself to them. He also once characterized the Goethe Fairy Tale as the ‘archetypal seed’ which offers the possibility of a new order of social life amongst humanity as a whole, and described it as the foundation upon which he based his teaching concerning the modern Science of Spirit, Anthroposophy.

Although they are surrounded by the remarkable conveniences modern technology has placed at our command and the degree of ‘freedom’ this has made possible, many people today would agree with Goethe’s observation, made long ago: “Whatever sets the human spirit free without giving us mastery over ourselves is harmful.’—ANd with this awareness goes the recognition that despite the marvels of technology, designed to set men free to an ever-increasing degree, there nevertheless prevails a widespread feeling, a longing to return ‘home’, to experience the unique guidance of the star of one’s individual destiny. … Goethe’s Fairy Tale offers, in form of artistic images, the first steps on the path which at length will enable a man to come to know himself as a being of body, soul and spirit, with all this implies. Thus the Fairy Tale of Goethe may become ‘everything’ or ‘nothing’ for the reader—and it is left entirely to his own individual freedom to let it ‘speak’ its significance to him.” — back cover

The Temple Legend

The Temple Legend and the Golden Legend, 20 lectures by Rudolf Steiner, given in Berlin between May, 1904–January, 1906, on Freemasonry and related occult movements from the contents of the Esoteric School, a 2002 reprint edition paperback from Rudolf Steiner Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Rudolf Steiner The Temple Legend and the Golden Legend from Rudolf Steiner Press

“In these unique lectures, give to members of his Esoteric School (1904–14), Rudolf Steiner’s main intention is to throw light on the hidden content of the picture-language of myths, sagas and legends. Pictures, he explains, are the real origin of all things—the primeval spiritual causes. In the ancient past people assimilated these pictures through myths and legends. In order to work in a healthy way with pictures or symbols today, however, it is necessary that one should first become acquainted with their esoteric content—to understand them.

At the time of these lectures Steiner was planning to inaugurate the second section of the Esoteric School, which was to deal in a direct way with a renewal—out of his own spiritual approach—of ritual and symbolism. he gave these lectures as a necessary preparation, to clarify the history and nature of the cultic tradition. he this discusses principally Freemasonry and its background, but also the Rosicrucians, Manichaeism, the Druids, the Prometheus Saga, the Lost Temple, Cain and Abel—and much else besides.” — back cover

Heinrich Tränker als Theosoph, Rosenkreuzer und Pansoph

Heinrich Tränker als Theosoph, Rosenkreuzer und Pansoph: (unter Berücksichtigung seiner Stellung im O.T.O und seines okkulten Umfeldes) [Henry Tränker as Theosophist, Rosicrucian and Pansophist (taking into account his position in the O.T.O. and Occultism)] by Volker Lechler and Wolfgang Kistemann [HT William Thirteen], is a 2013 work, in standard and limited numbered editions, about one of the figures in the original pre-Crowley Ordo Templi Orientis, and may be of interest.

Von Volker Lechler Heinrich Tränker als Theosoph, Rosenkreuzer und Pansoph

“Wer war der Theosoph, Rosenkreuzer, Okkultist und Pansoph Heinrich Tränker? Dieses Buch geht den Spuren nach, die er in der ersten Hälfte des 20zigsten Jahrhunderts in den okkulten Kreisen Deutschlands hinterlassen hat. Welche Rolle spielte Tränker als Landesoberhaupt des Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) in Deutschland? Warum kam es zur Auseinandersetzung mit Aleister Crowley auf der sogenannten Weida-Konferenz? Und wieso wendete sich ein Teil der Pansophen von Tränker ab und gründete daraufhin die Fraternitas Saturni?

Auf Grund der Auswertung zahlreicher, bisher unbekannter Quellen, entsteht ein neues Bild von Heinrich Tränker und seinen „okkulten“ Weggefährten (dazu gehörten u.a.: Franz Hartmann, Otto Gebhardi, Martha Küntzel, Hans Fändrich, Theodor Reuss, A. Krumm-Heller, Albin Grau, Eugen Grosche (Gregor A. Gregorius), O. W. Barth, Aleister Crowley, Hugo Vollrath, Harvey Spencer Lewis, Walter Studinski (Waltharius) u.v.m.). Viele in der gedruckten Literatur und im Internet verbreitete angebliche Tatsachen entpuppen sich auf einmal als Mythen, Verdrehungen und Unwahrheiten.”

“Who was the theosophist, Rosicrucian, occultist and pansophist Heinrich Tränker? This book traces the marks he left in occult circles in Germany during the first half of the 20th century. Which role did Tränker play as head of Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) in Germany? What lead to the dispute with Aleister Crowley at the so-called ‘Weida Conference’? And why did some pansophists turn away from Tränker and founded the Fraternitas Saturni?

The analysis of numerous, hitherto unknown sources has changed the picture of Heinrich Tränker and his ‘occult’ companions (among others Franz Hartmann, Otto Gebhardi, Martha Küntzel, Hans Fändrich, Theodor Reuss, A. Krumm-Heller, Albin Grau, Eugen Grosche, O. W. Barth, Aleister Crowley, Hugo Vollrath, Harvey Spencer Lewis, Walter Studinski and many more). The analysis of historical sources shows the reader, that many alleged facts circulating in printed literature and the internet are merely myths, misrepresentations and untruths.” [via]

The Magic of a Symbol

The Magic of a Symbol by Florence Farr, edited with an introduction by Darcy Kuntz, Vol 6 of the Golden Dawn Studies Series, the 2005 second revised edition published by J D Holmes, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Florence Farr The Magic of a Symbol

“This book contains Florence Farr’s ideas on Symbolism, the Kabbalah, Egyptian Magic, the Vedanta, Rosicrucians, Alchemy and the Tree of Life. Edited with Introductory Note by Darcy Kuntz.” [via]