Tag Archives: sex

The philosophy of the ruling minority in Nineteen Eighty-Four is a sadism which has been carried to its logical conclusion by going beyond sex and denying it.

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Hermetic quote Huxley Brave sadism

Omnium Gatherum: July 11th, 2014

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

VirtuaLUG's Odyssey: Pictures of the Odyssey display by VirtuaLUG at Brickworld 2014
VirtuaLUG’s Odyssey: Pictures of the Odyssey display by VirtuaLUG at Brickworld 2014 [HT Archie McPhee’s]

 

  • Nostalgia back in fashion — Gail Rosenblum, Star Tribune [HT Robert Murch]

    “Those who embrace nostalgia excel at maintaining personal relationships and choose healthy social ways of coping with their troubles. When they feel stressed, for example, they tap into previously successful strategies, such as turning to a trusted teacher or parent. If I overcame adversity before, they tell themselves, I can do it again.

    When they feel a lack of self-confidence, they remember when they felt valued and loved for who they were and not for what they achieved or earned.

    And when they feel uncertain about the future, they wipe the cobwebs off their Ouija board.”

  • Aleister Crowley and The OTO — Tobias Churton, disinformation; an excerpt from Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin: Art, Sex, and Magick in the Weimar Republic from Inner Traditions

    “Crowley had little concern with Reuss’s treasured image of spiritual descendants of an imaginary body of medieval male Templars sharing secrets of a yogic sexual magic (transmitted from late antiquity) manifesting in the twentieth century as a new Gnostic Catholic Church. For Reuss the Oriental Templars’ great secret was that Jesus Christ and his ‘Beloved Disciple’ had been practicing adepts; Jesus’s semen being held to manifest magical, sacramental power: ‘He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him’ (John 6:56). Reuss consolidated the doctrine that consecrated sexual fluids constituted effective agents of magical, spiritual transformation through contacts established in Paris with French Gnostic Catholic Church clergy Jean Bricaud, Gérard Encausse and other Martinists when Reuss issued Encausse and his associates (including René Guénon) with a patent to administer the Rites of Memphis and Misraïm in 1908; it is believed that in return Reuss received ‘authority’ as a legate or bishop of the Église Catholique Gnostique in Germany. Reuss’s belief that the OTO’s originators were Christian Gnostics did not sit altogether well with his rather general approval of The Book of the Law. Despite this potential disparity of outlook, all might have progressed quite nicely were it not for the inconvenient interruption of World War One.”

    “After the war Reuss described the OTO as a body of New Gnostic Christians who rejected the anti-German, that is anti-brotherhood, betrayal of the Versailles Conference and looked for a transnational movement. Crowley did not attend Reuss’s international Freemasonry conference organized in Basle in 1920 for kindred fringe-Masonic representatives worldwide. Thinking about the invitation while in retirement in Cefalù, Sicily, the Beast wondered if he had it in him to combine such a collection of what he considered nonentities into a force.

    But what really got Crowley’s goat was that while paying lip service to aspects of The Book of the Law, Reuss was obviously putting distance between himself and his supposed colleague. The reasons for this soon became apparent. Reuss was seeking financial support from AMORC-founder Harvey Spencer Lewis; Reuss offered Lewis an OTO diploma as an inducement to affiliation.”

  • Pope Francis’s dance with the devil: For all his modernising, the Catholic church’s leader has enlisted a very old enemy in his battle against secularism — Sophia Deboick, The Guardian [HT Erik Davis]

    “The devil continues to be as useful for the modern church as he has been in the past, when he bolstered the case for the burning of heretics. The concept now provides a dramatic way to underscore the dangers of a godless society. The organiser of last week’s course, Dr Giuseppe Ferrari, argues that a rise in the number of people abandoning religion and dabbling in the occult has increased Satan’s power. As head of the Gruppo di Ricerca e Informazione Socio-Religiosa, a Catholic organisation concerned with the threat posed by cults and sects, Ferrari says good exorcists are needed more than ever, since: ‘We live in a disenchanted society, a secularised world that thought it was being emancipated, but where religion is being thrown out, the window is being opened to superstition and irrationality.’

    This seems like an extreme position, but it is in perfect alignment with Francis’s views, which go further than his brief mentions of the devil last week suggest. In his very first homily as pope, delivered in the Sistine Chapel on the day after his election, Francis bluntly quoted the French author and Catholic convert Léon Bloy: ‘Anyone who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil.'”

  • Iran Cleric: Jews Use Sorcery to Spy: A mullah at Tehran University told Iranians on official TV that Jews use jinns, or genies, for espionage. Young Iranians laugh, and cry, when they hear such things. — Azadeh Moaveni, The Daily Beast; from the well-it-worked-for-john-007-dee dept.

    “Iran’s state broadcaster, known as Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, IRIB, has never been the country’s most dignified institution. But even by its own standards, the network plunged into a fresh abyss of superstition and fear-mongering with a recent broadcast in which Valiollah Naghipourfar, a cleric and professor at Tehran University, discusses the use of jinns, or genies, in public life.

    ‘Can jinns be put to use in intelligence gathering?’ the presenter asks ingenuously, as though dragons can also serve as defense ministers and we’ve all entered the realm of the Hobbit.

    The cleric nods, as though speaking about a species of exotic elf: ‘The Jew is very practiced in sorcery. Indeed most sorcerers are Jews.'”

    “Such paranoia and fear of the other, of course, is typical among the ultra-orthodox of any religion.”

  • Cult Rush Week: Pretzels and Wine With Peaches Geldof’s Sex Cult — Cat Ferguson, Gawker

    “When I first told friends I was going to a meeting of the New York Ordo Templi Orientis branch, called Tahuti Lodge, the general consensus was that I should try not to die, and I should avoid sexual contact. […] As it turned out, neither of my friends’ concerns proved necessary.”

  • Reply to Sandy Robertson’s review of Aleister Crowley: Magick, Rock and Roll, and the Wickedest Man in the World — Gary Lachman

    “One of the key questions I explore in the book is why Crowley remained a pop ‘icon’ – apologies for using a much abused and emptied-out term – long after other esoteric figures taken up by the 60s counter culture, like Jung and Madame Blavatsky, no longer were. The answer to that is that Crowley’s philosophy of excess – ‘excess in all directions’, as his friend Louis Wilkinson called it – is purpose built for rock and roll and the pop aesthetics that followed it.”

  • rstevens 3.0, tweet

     

  • When Beliefs and Facts Collide — Brendan Nyhan, The Upshot, The New York Times

    “In a new study, a Yale Law School professor, Dan Kahan, finds that the divide over belief in evolution between more and less religious people is wider among people who otherwise show familiarity with math and science, which suggests that the problem isn’t a lack of information. When he instead tested whether respondents knew the theory of evolution, omitting mention of belief, there was virtually no difference between more and less religious people with high scientific familiarity. In other words, religious people knew the science; they just weren’t willing to say that they believed in it.”

  • Interview: Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold — Second Heart Magazine

    “My arrival to a neo Platonic stance on this issue came initially through my interest for behaviourism and the realization of how an organism can be conditioned to nearly whatever and how inconstant and changeable the human mind and heart is which grew these ideas of dualism solely being a heuristic and not a reality. Later when I studied Advaita philosophy and Renaissance philosophers both from the European and Arabic renaissance a qualified monism took shape and got over the years sharper and sharper. Quite simply if we view everything in terms of polarities we also become more inclined to understand the tension within the fields of being and find the bridges of understanding that widens our horizon and in this the tension between the poles are also experienced less severe. For instance in the thoughts of Ibn Al Arabi we find the concept of Iblis being the limit of divine enfolding – and thus our experience of this concept is one of resistance and opposition, but in truth it serves a quite different function in defining the field of possibility for unfolding.”

  • The Persecution of Witches, 21st-Century Style — Mitch Horowitz, The Opinion Pages, The New York Times

    “Most people believe that the persecution of ‘witches’ reached its height in the early 1690s with the trials in Salem, Mass., but it is a grim paradox of 21st-century life that violence against people accused of sorcery is very much still with us. Far from fading away, thanks to digital interconnectedness and economic development, witch hunting has become a growing, global problem.”

  • Tell Me There Is No Magic — Rue, Rue and Hyssop [HT Sarah Anne Lawless]

    “We are walking into the heat scorched arms of summer this weekend, and as some of us keep our heads toward the earth, watching for signs and faerie rings, others are looking skyward again to that opulent display of rocket-fuelled magic.”

  • Rewilding Witchcraft: Speaking from the Swamp, Part 1 — Oldidio, The Arrival and the Reunion; a response to Rewilding Witchcraft

    “The background setting is chiefly about the decline of humanity’s ability to survive as a species over the coming 100 years or so. The matter is doleful, sobering and utterly important.”

  • The Witch and the Wild — Sarah Anne Lawless; a response to Rewilding Witchcraft

    “Our witchcraft, nay, our very being must become more wild, more intuitive, and more accepting of nature’s amorality and our inevitable demise if we are to make any difference at all. If we are to preserve what we’ve left behind of the earth in our destructive wake, and if we are to survive in any number as a species, we must rewild ourselves and learn how to live outside of civilization. We must lose our faiths, our religions, our meaningless attachment to nitpicketity details only we as individuals and not a whole care about. We who are importers of foreign magics and alien gods. We must become a different kind of witch. Something that needs no definitions, no boundaries, and no expectations. Something more primal and raw than our current incarnation. Something small, something just outside your door…”

  • The Hammer of Thor — Past Horizons

    “A small hammer dating to the 10th century was found recently on the Danish Island of Lolland. Over 1000 of these amulets have been found across Northern Europe but the pendant from Lolland is the only one with a runic inscription.”

    Past Horizons The Hammer of Thor

     

  • A Peek Into The Mystical Lives And Rituals Of Urban Peruvian Shamans — Justina Bakutyte, Beautiful/Decay

    “Italy-based photographer Andrea Frazzetta gives us a little glimpse into the lives and rituals of modern healers from Lima, Peru. His project called ‘Urban Shamans’ peeks behind the doors of the rear private shops where shamans, or the so called curanderos, perform their traditional mystical rituals which are not subject to the laws and orders of today’s world.”

    Beautiful/Decay A Peek Into The Mystical Lives And Rituals Of Urban Peruvian Shamans

     

  • Hannah Kunkle’s Controversial Project Turns Kim Kardashian Into The Devil, The Virgin Mary And Even Jesus — Victoria Casal-Data, Beautiful/Decay

    “Brooklyn-based artist Hannah Kunkle puts Kim Kardashian on the altar, literally. Kunkle delivers Kardashian as the Virgin Mary, Medusa, the devil and even Kleopatra. With a flashy net-art inspired aesthetic, the artist takes Kim’s iconic, worshiped image and puts it to work, naturally, with religious/cultish iconography. The controversial juxtaposition is rather riveting as its subtle insights perfectly captures the absurdity of our nation’s obsession with Kardashian and celeb idolatry in general. ‘We have accepted her into our lives via television screens, memes, and Instagram feeds’, she says. ‘If Jay Z is the father and Yeezus is the son, then she is the ever-present holy ghost of pop culture.'”

    Beautiful/Decay Hannah Kunkle's Controversial Project Turns Kim Kardashian Into The Devil

     

  • Quantum state may be a real thing: Physicists summon up their courage and go after the nature of reality — Chris Lee, Ars Technica [HT disinformation]

    “At the very heart of quantum mechanics lies a monster waiting to consume unwary minds. This monster goes by the name The Nature of Reality™. The greatest of physicists have taken one look into its mouth, saw the size of its teeth, and were consumed. Niels Bohr denied the existence of the monster after he nonchalantly (and very quietly) exited the monster’s lair muttering ‘shut up and calculate.’ Einstein caught a glimpse of the teeth and fainted. He was reportedly rescued by Erwin Schrödinger at great personal risk, but neither really recovered from their encounter with the beast.”

  • Satanic Feminism – A Soundtrack to Per Faxneld’s Book with Music by Christian von H, Patrik Hultin, Tondurakar, Jesper Erwik Johansson and Kristian Pettersson discussed at Per Faxneld’s Satanic Feminism: A New Approach to the Dissertation? — Sarah Veale, Invocatio

    “This is a really creative presentation of the dissertation, one which certainly challenges new scholars to consider the life of their work beyond the written page. It is great to see how this topic has been re-imagined into a totally different context, one which allows the audience to experience the milieu researched by Faxneld in an accessible and immediate way.”

  • Fantastically Wrong: Why the Egyptians Worshiped Beetles That Eat Poop for a Living — Matt Simon, WIRED

    “And this makes it all the more incredible that humans once revered the dung beetle, from the ancient Egyptians to a 17th-century Jesuit who compared Christ to the bug. These folks got a whole lot wrong about the dung beetle and made some pretty fantastical assumptions, but it turns out that their reverence was totally justified. The dung beetle may live its life in crap, but it’s actually a far more remarkable creature than you think.”

 

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

Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin

Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin: Art, Sex, and Magick in the Weimar Republic by Tobias Churton, a new hardcover volume from Inner Traditions, has arrived at the Reading Room courtesy of the publisher.

Tobias Churton Aleister Crowley The Beast in Berlin from Inner Traditions

“Gnostic poet, painter, writer, and magician Aleister Crowley arrived in Berlin on April 18, 1930. As prophet of his syncretic religion “Thelema,” he wanted to be among the leaders of art and thought, and Berlin, the liberated future-gazing metropolis, wanted him. There he would live, until his hurried departure on June 22, 1932, as Hitler was rapidly rising to power and the black curtain of intolerance came down upon the city.

Known to his friends affectionately as “The Beast,” Crowley saw the closing lights of Berlin’s artistic renaissance of the Weimar period when Berlin played host to many of the world’s most outstanding artists, writers, filmmakers, performers, composers, architects, philosophers, and scientists, including Albert Einstein, Bertolt Brecht, Ethel Mannin, Otto Dix, Aldous Huxley, Jean Ross, Christopher Isherwood, and many other luminaries of a glittering world soon to be trampled into the mud by the global bloodbath of World War II.

Drawing on previously unpublished letters and diary material by Crowley, Tobias Churton examines Crowley’s years in Berlin and his intense focus on his art, his work as a spy for British Intelligence, his colorful love life and sex magick exploits, and his contacts with German Theosophy, Freemasonry, and magical orders. He recounts the fates of Crowley’s colleagues under the Nazis as well as what happened to Crowley’s lost art exhibition–six crates of paintings left behind in Germany as the Gestapo was closing in. Revealing the real Crowley long hidden from the historical record, Churton presents “the Beast” anew in all his ambiguous and, for some, terrifying glory, at a blazing, seminal moment in the history of the world.” — flap copy

Omnium Gatherum: June 25th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 25th, 2014

Eddy Stevens' Magical Paintings
Eddy Stevens’ Magical Paintings Capture The Bond Between Woman And Horse — Ellyn Ruddick-Sunstein, Beautiful/Decay

 

  • UNEARTHED IN PARIS: The Tomb of Golden Dawn Founder S.L. MacGregor Mathers — David Griffin, Golden Dawn Blog [HT Spiral Nature]

    Considering the importance of the Vault of the Adepti to the Golden Dawn and of the Tomb of the Founder, Christian Rosenkreutz, to the entire Rosicrucian movement, the discovery of the tomb of the Golden Dawn’s Rosicrucian founder, S.L. MacGregor Mathers (nearly 120 years after his death), is an event of unparalleled Rosicrucian and magickal importance.

    MacGregor Mathers tomb in Paris 2014

     

  • The Necklace of Power — Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold, The Starry Cave

    Sacred necklaces, guias or elekes are a form of talismans with a rich and long history both as sacred decoration, as an extension of the witches ladder or cord and in the form of prayer beads, they be the Hindu mala or the Catholic rosary to Freya’s brisingamen. In Lucumi a set of elekes are given to mark the first step towards initiation where the candidate binds himself to the godparents responsible for giving the elekes.

  • 12 Undeniable Signs That The Illuminati Is EVERYWHERE — Julia Edelman, CollegeHumor [HT disinformation]

    No one is safe, but especially you (I don’t know why, you just seem sort of fragile and susceptible to accidents). At any rate, the Illuminati grows stronger every day, and it is only a matter of time before they control every aspect of your life — no detail too small. It would be too dangerous to overlook the evidence. Let this carefully curated list of Illuminati hotspots guide you, strike fear into your heart, and who knows, maybe even protect you. Godspeed.

  • Tim Lambesis quoted at Christian Heavy Metal Band Frontman Admits He’s Actually an Atheist — Kyle Chayka, Time [HT disinformation]

    In the process of trying to defend my faith, I started thinking the other point of view was the stronger one.

    In 12 years of touring with As I Lay Dying, I would say maybe one in 10 Christian bands we toured with were actually Christian bands.

  • A Reader Writes of his Experience Among the Dark Enlightenment Types — Mark Shea, Catholic and Enjoying It! [HT disinformation]

    The thing about nascent movements like this is that it’s hard to know when to pay attention and when to ignore them. If you ignore them they can grow in the dark, like mushrooms on dung. If you make too much fuss, you can attract idiots–particularly extremist idiots–who automatically assume that anything normal people find objectionable must be awesome, radical, and “not PC” and therefore good.

  • Dan Harms has been posting a series about “Charm Stick” objects at Charm Sticks and Charm Wands: A Little-Noted Item of Folklore, More on Charm Sticks and Charm Wands and Charm Wands and Charm Sticks: The Final Chapter? over on Papers Falling from an Attic Window.

    According to Hughes, these curious shepherd’s crooks first appeared in the 1770s as part of a fashion fad, possibly inspired by ceremonial maces. They saw a resurgence in the 1820s, and they continued to be known throughout the nineteenth century. The first clue that we have as to their use as “charm sticks” is in Soames’ Curiosities of Literature, from 1847, dealing with superstitious practices in Devon.

    At this point, it seems that the glass rods were originally created as fashion accessories, which later became associated with disease and good luck, and later became explicitly connected with spirits.

  • Five False Rumors About Aleister Crowley — Brandy Williams, Star and Snake

    His behavior is minutely chronicled by his biographers; whatever we think of him, we should at least get the facts of his life straight.

  • Nathan Kesling, tweet

    Solomon spearing a prostrate female demon

     

  • Sarah Veale, tweet

     

  • Older Than the Rolling Stones — Douglas Quenqua, The New York Times [HT disinformation]

    Could it be that Stonehenge was actually a prehistoric glockenspiel?

    “Everybody’s been running a silent movie of prehistory for so long,” [Paul Devereux] said. “We’re only just now trying to recover the soundtrack.”

  • An Occult History of the Television Set — Geoff Manaugh, BLDGBLOG [HT Spiral Nature]; about Stefan Andriopoulos’ Ghostly Apparitions: German Idealism, the Gothic Novel, and Optical Media

    The origin of the television set was heavily shrouded in both spiritualism and the occult, Stefan Andriopoulos writes in his new book Ghostly Apparitions. In fact, as its very name implies, the television was first conceived as a technical device for seeing at a distance: like the telephone (speaking at a distance) and telescope (viewing at a distance), the television was intended as an almost magical box through which we could watch distant events unfold, a kind of technological crystal ball.

    Andriopoulos’s book puts the TV into a long line of other “optical media” that go back at least as far as popular Renaissance experiments involving technologically-induced illusions, such as concave mirrors, magic lanterns, disorienting walls of smoke, and other “ghostly apparitions” and “phantasmagoric projections” created by specialty devices. These were conjuring tricks, sure—mere public spectacles, so to speak—but successfully achieving them required sophisticated understandings of basic physical factors such as light, shadow, and acoustics, making an audience see—and, most importantly, believe in—the illusion.

  • A Journey To Avebury: Stewart Lee Interviews Julian Cope — Stewart Lee, The Quietus

    [Julian] Cope’s sentence structures collapse into rhythmic repetition and editorially suspect sub-clause clusters, three at one point all ending in the same three words, and all heroically deliberate. One section attempts to convey a character’s drugged confusion by repeating variations on the same three letters for five pages. The fool persists in his folly. He becomes wise. Likewise the eighty minute drones of cope’s Queen Elizabeth records were a conscious choice. “Yes,” he agrees, “I didn’t just stumble across a sound and then forget to turn it off. And I worked really hard on the cadences of the book, on the rhythms. That’s the musician part of me. People will get it who wish to get it but I don’t want to turn on tossers.”

    “It’s like Christianity,” Cope says, brilliantly comparing his fiction debut with a major world religion of some 2000 years standing, “If you’re going to stand on street corners shouting you’re only going to pick up people who are utterly lost. I don’t want people attaching themselves to me who are lost. I want them to already be in some way on a trip. It’s demanding but great art is demanding. I really wanted to write something that people could complete themselves.”

  • There Are No ‘Sheeple’ — Marcel Voltlucka [HT disinformation]

    Just remember that you were likely a “sheep” once too.

    Alas, this sort of insular arrogance is not only more prevalent than we’d like to admit, it’s our own worst enemy. The idea of stupid, hopeless “sheeple” evokes the contempt that a hardcore Statist has for human ability, reason, freedom, and – for lack of a better word – spirit.

  • The occult conspiracy hidden in the new emoji — Jess Zimmerman, The Daily Dot

    In short, the bell, book, and candle are used to damn people to hell. And sure, they’re all objects, but they’re not the same kind of objects! What are they doing together? What’s going on?

  • Four Imperatives — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti

    Drink, eat, have fun, make love.

  • A Third Century A.D. Inscription from Eumeneia — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti

    I did not have much wealth or much property for my livelihood, but I worked hard and gained a modicum of learning. This enabled me to assist my friends, as far as I was able, freely putting the ability I had at the disposal of all. Helping anyone who was in need was a joy to me, as, in the case of other people, prosperity brings joy to the heart. Let no one deluded in his wealth harbour proud thoughts, for there is one Hades and an equal end for all. Is someone great in possessions? He receives no more, (but) the same measure of earth for a tomb. Hasten, mortals, gladden your souls at all times as (allegedly) a pleasant way of life is also the measure of existence. So, friends. After this, no more of this—for what more is there?

  • Let’s Agree to Disagree, Part II — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti

    Many men tend to contradict on every point,
    but contradicting rightly’s out of vogue.
    Well, as for them there’s one old saw that’s all we need:
    ‘you can keep your opinion, I’ll keep mine.’
    But the intelligent are soon persuadable
    by reason, and they’re easiest to teach.

  • Why I left the OTO — Psyche, Spiral Nature

    It’s no secret that in the Gnostic Mass, this central rite, involves a (fully dressed) priest, a (usually naked) woman on the altar, a simulation of hetero sex initiated by the priest, and a simulation of fellatio performed by the priestess. There’s a lot more involved — more people, more symbolism, magick words, all that great stuff — but these two roles are fixed. A woman may never serve as the priest, and a man may never lay upon the altar. When I asked about that, the instructor burst out laughing, “What, with some dude’s dong on the altar?” He was amused and horrified in equal parts.

    I should stress that I don’t hold this lodge at fault, nor, necessarily, its members. They’re passing along the tradition as it’s given to them. Ok, they weren’t challenging it — true — but they didn’t invent it. They made it clear that any deviations in the performance of the Gnostic Mass meant it was no longer an OTO rite. This was it. I could learn to accept it, or leave.

  • Warburg Institute: library saved from Nazis awaits its fate: Collection could be broken up in legal action over 1944 deed of trust — Jack Grove, Times Higher Education

    Four years after Warburg’s death, the collection of about 80,000 books, many rare Renaissance volumes, was moved to London as Nazism took hold in 1930s Germany. However, the University of London is now seeking to challenge the status of the deed of trust it signed in 1944 when accepting the collection.

    That document promised to maintain and preserve the collection “in perpetuity” as “an independent unit” – a pledge that now appears onerous as the Warburg runs a reported £500,000 annual deficit.

    Professor Grafton meanwhile raised concerns over the future of the “highly skilled librarians” at the Warburg, which also has a small number of academic staff who supervise arts and humanities graduate students each year.

    Further, there is speculation that a court defeat would mean that the collection would return to Hamburg where much of the Warburg family is still based. The US-based branch of the Warburg family are also known to have taken a keen interest in the case.

  • #HowILibrary

    ALA How do you library? 2014

     

 

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

The Pleasures of Cloris

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Pleasures of Cloris by John Colleton.

John Colleton The Pleasures of Cloris

The Italian geography of this debauched little novel isn’t the only thing that reminded me of Casanova’s memoirs, but our protagonist Bill is the patient rather than the agent of this book’s principal seductions. Only in the surprisingly plot-loaded finale does he take significant initiative (quietly, even so); otherwise, Cloris leads the dances.

Erotic cinematography is a chief cultural concern of the book. There are some curious allusions to esotericism, such as a quick pair of references to Pico and Plethon (128, 130), and Lord Cholmondeley’s duties with the Knights of Malta.

The quasi-autobiographical tenor of the book involves a lot of authorial introspection. Bill often mentions his anxiety that he wasn’t writing about his adventures, or observing them astutely enough to write about them later. But the novel is full of dry wit along with the wet sex, and the pacing is both relaxed and inviting, even with troubles shadowing the main characters. [via]

The Hell-Fire Clubs

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Hellfire Clubs: Sex, Satanism and Secret Societies by Evelyn Lord.

Evelyn Lord The Hell-Fire Clubs

I thought I was sure to love this book, but it didn’t live up to my expectations. The title offers “hell-fire clubs” as an organizational genre, but the study never does a very good job of delimiting what they were. Author Lord basically seems willing to give consideration to any membership society that fostered street violence, blasphemy, or clandestine sex, within the historical span of her study, which covers the entire 17th through 18th centuries, in the Anglophone world generally. She repeatedly invokes a hypothesis regarding “outlets for masculine energy” as though it were self-explanatory and evidently credible.

On p. 94, she writes: “The reason for painting Dashwood as a friar will never be known….” It seems to me rather that there are a variety of perfectly obvious motives: the pun on his given name, the reputation of friars for sexual misconduct, Dashwood’s role as the founding “Saint” of the Medmenham “Order,” and so on. She often seems to pose as a skeptic when she’s merely suffering from a lack of contextual information or insight. In general, I found her treatment of the Medmenham Friars—a necessary central feature of any book on this topic—to be less thorough and less perceptive than that of Geoffery Ashe, whose work she often cites.

She mentions Freemasonry in passing a few times, suggesting that one or another of the clubs that serve as the object of her study were aping or mocking it; but if she actually knows anything about the workings of Masonry, she doesn’t bother to explain how or why this verdict would be of interest.

The prose style is pleasant enough, and the photographic plates are excellent. The book is shorter than it seems: its 214 pages are in a generous font on heavy stock. A real strength of the book is the chapter on Scottish hell-fire groups, focused on the sex society of the Beggar’s Benison. The ending is abrupt and rather inconclusive. All in all, it’s not a waste of time for anyone genuinely interested in the topic, but it’s far from everything I’d hoped it would be. [via]


Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin

Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin: Art, Sex, and Magick in the Weimar Republic [also] by Tobias Churton, from Inner Traditions, is due to release in May 2014, and may be of interest.

Tobias Churton Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin from Inner Traditions

“A biographical history of Aleister Crowley’s activities in Berlin from 1930 to 1932 as Hitler was rising to power

• Examines Crowley’s focus on his art, his work as a spy for British Intelligence, his colorful love life and sex magick exploits, and his contacts with magical orders

• Explores Crowley’s relationships with Berlin’s artists, filmmakers, writers, and performers such as Christopher Isherwood, Jean Ross, and Aldous Huxley

• Recounts the fates of Crowley’s friends and colleagues under the Nazis as well as what happened to Crowley’s lost art exhibition

Gnostic poet, painter, writer, and magician Aleister Crowley arrived in Berlin on April 18, 1930. As prophet of his syncretic religion “Thelema,” he wanted to be among the leaders of art and thought, and Berlin, the liberated future-gazing metropolis, wanted him. There he would live, until his hurried departure on June 22, 1932, as Hitler was rapidly rising to power and the black curtain of intolerance came down upon the city.

Known to his friends affectionately as “The Beast,” Crowley saw the closing lights of Berlin’s artistic renaissance of the Weimar period when Berlin played host to many of the world’s most outstanding artists, writers, filmmakers, performers, composers, architects, philosophers, and scientists, including Albert Einstein, Bertolt Brecht, Ethel Mannin, Otto Dix, Aldous Huxley, Jean Ross, Christopher Isherwood, and many other luminaries of a glittering world soon to be trampled into the mud by the global bloodbath of World War II.

Drawing on previously unpublished letters and diary material by Crowley, Tobias Churton examines Crowley’s years in Berlin and his intense focus on his art, his work as a spy for British Intelligence, his colorful love life and sex magick exploits, and his contacts with German Theosophy, Freemasonry, and magical orders. He recounts the fates of Crowley’s colleagues under the Nazis as well as what happened to Crowley’s lost art exhibition–six crates of paintings left behind in Germany as the Gestapo was closing in. Revealing the real Crowley long hidden from the historical record, Churton presents “the Beast” anew in all his ambiguous and, for some, terrifying glory, at a blazing, seminal moment in the history of the world.” [via]

Sex and Drugs

Sex and Drugs: A Journey Beyond Limits by Robert Anton Wilson, the 1987 first Falcon Press paperback edition, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Robert Anton Wilson Sex and Drugs from Falcon Press

This is the edition from the old Falcon Press. The book is now available from New Falcon Press as Sex, Drugs & Magick: A Journey Beyond.

“We all find it hard to believe that reality is as much our own creation as Professor Rogers’ research and poet Sandburg’s parable suggest. Conservatives, who pride themselves on having a ‘hard-nosed’ and ‘realistic’ attitude to the ‘brute facts’ of life, are suspicious of anything that introduces subjective elements or implies that the ‘brute facts’ may exist only in their own heads. Liberals, dogmatically committed to what they believe is scientific skepticism (mostly, in fact, popularizations of obsolete pre-Einstein physics), are wary of any idea that seems to open a door to ‘mysticism’ or (God forbid) traditional otherworldly religion. And radicals, of course, react like a bull toward a colored cloth when confronted with notions that imply (in Shakespeare’s words) that ‘nothing is but thinking makes it so,’ since that could easily lead to telling the poor that the proper mental attitude, and not more government spending, is the cure for their miseries.”

“As I said, this book cannot hope to end this perennial quarrel between the conservative Establishment and the adventurous young. All I reasonably can try to accomplish here, in treating mostly the sexual aspect of the drug revolution, is to shed light on these ‘benign, thoroughly charming, even glorious’ aspects of the alternate programs and alternate perceptions that certain drugs create. This should at least give the ordinary reader some insight into the motives of those who subscribe to the drug revolution, which is hardly the insane scramble for self-destruction portrayed by its most hostile critics.” — Introduction

 

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