Tag Archives: strife

The Comedy of Agony

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Comedy of Agony: A Book of Poisonous Contemplations by Christopher Spranger from Leaping Dog Press:

Christopher Spranger's The Comedy of Agony from Little Dog Press

 

This slender volume of aphoristic meditations can be read in a variety of ways. One possibility is to consider it to be instructional scripture by Tyler Durden. Another would be a rich mine of sigfile quotes guaranteed to offend the pious and conventionally-minded. I think this one may need to go in my Christmas cards: “Had she only miscarried, the Virgin Mary could have saved the world.”

Spranger’s religious reflections presume a Biblical-Miltonian narrative, although his atheology has a wide scope, including admiration for the metaphysically sadistic aesthetics of Asian Buddhism. There’s no indication of familiarity with Aleister Crowley’s work, but Spranger’s strong affinity for and constant allusion to Nietzsche (who, unnamed throughout, is referenced once as “a certain leg-puller”) makes him a close cousin to Thelemites, at any rate. In particular, his piece on “The Attractions of Rage” makes a fine complement to Crowley’s chapter on love in Little Essays Toward Truth, and he makes some insightful remarks on the Thelemically-vexed term “compassion”: “Men to whom agony is unknown have grabbed a hold of this concept and perverted it completely, reducing it to something low and effortless, when in fact compassion requires risk and presupposes rank.”

Spranger is evidently resigned to embodiment, attachment, strife and sorrow, but he writes that like it’s a bad thing. One wonders what the return of Saturn has in store for the 28-year-old author. [via]

 

 

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

The Deeper Symbolism of Freemasonry from The Meaning of Masonry by Walter Leslie Wilmshurst.

“In some Masonic Lodges the candidate makes his first entrance to the Lodge room amid the clash of swords and the sounds of strife, to intimate to him that he is leaving the confusion and jarring of the religious sects of the exterior world, and is passing into a Temple wherein the Brethren dwell together in unity of thought in regard to the basal truths of life, truths which can permit of no difference or schism.” [via]

Egyptian Magic in Egyptian Magic by Florence Farr.

“No, no, the energy of life may be
Kept on beyond the grave, but not begun,
And he who flagged not in the earthly strife
From strength to strength advancing, only he
His soul well knit and all his battles won,
Mounts, and that hardly, to eternal life.” [via]

II. His Ruling Symbols from The Philosophy of Shelley’s Poetry in Ideas of Good and Evil by William Butler Yeats.

“she passes along the Nile ‘by Moeris and the Mareotid lakes,’ and sees all human life shadowed upon its waters in shadows that ‘never are erased but tremble ever’; and in many a dark and subterranean street under the Nile—new caverns—and along the bank of the Nile; and as she bends over the unhappy, she compares unhappiness to ‘the strife that stirs the liquid surface of man’s life’; and because she can see the reality of things she is described as journeying ‘in the calm depths’ of ‘the wide lake’ we journey over unpiloted.” [via]