Tag Archives: symbolism

Symbol and the Symbolic

Symbol and the Symbolic: Ancient Egypt, Science, and the Evolution of Consciousness by R A Schwaller de Lubicz, from Inner Traditions, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

R A Scwaller de Lubicz Symbol and the Symbolic from Inner Traditions

“R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz spent fifteen years studying the art and architecture of the Temple of Luxor. In Symbol and the Symbolic, he explains that true progress in human thought can be made only if we call upon the ‘symbolizing’ faculty of intelligence, the faculty developed and refined in the Temple Culture of ancient Egypt and reflected in the hieroglyphs that have come down to us undisturbed. The mentality of ancient Egypt, argues the author, helps free us from our present intellectual impasse, while ‘symbolism’ must be recognized as the intuitive means of overcoming the limitations of reason.

Schwaller de Lubicz contrasts two opposing views: the analytic, mechanistic mentality of modern science and the synthetic, vitalist mentality of ancient Egyptian Sacred Science. He posits that only a symbolic mentality, like that cultivated in the Egyptian Temple, can think without objectifying and therefore can synthetically conceive the paradoxes inherent in the intimate life of matter, or nature in its ongoing genesis. Modern science has evolved to a new opening of consciousness confronted with paradoxes that reason alone cannot contend with. It will have to rise to a symbolic mode in order to integrate the complements in vital phenomena. Schwaller de Lubicz observes that in the past, fundamental and all-encompassing revolutions in the social, moral, and intellectual conditions of human life have coincided with the precession of the equinox. We are again in such a transition. If man does not destroy himself through premature application of principles belonging to a stage of consciousness that he has not yet fully attained—that is, through the manipulation of matter—modern science will be able to evolve into an analogue of Egyptian science. It will no longer seek knowledge through analysis but, with the expansion of consciousness, will evolve toward ‘direct synthetic vision.'” — back cover

The Tree

The Tree: A Jungian Journey: Tales in Psycho-Mythology by J Marvin Spiegelman, a 1982 paperback from Falcon Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

J Marvin Spiegelman The Tree from Falcon Press

“Henry Miller, the author of Tropic of Cancer and numerous other works of major stature, states:

‘For me it was like sailing down a stream whose shores and everything bordering them was as familiar to me as if I had dreamt it a thousand times. I say familiar, but not stale. Rather like encountering in your sleep old dreams which you knew by heart but had not dreamt for many and many a year. Therefore extremely vivid and exciting. Or I could put it another way and say it was like presenting the quintessence of all one’s spiritual experiences.’

Israel Regardie, the Western World’s foremost authority on occultism and magic, states:

‘Here is the whole Jungian corpus in a nutshell, spelled out brilliantly in the form of original stories, fables, myths and parables. Each is beautifully written, intriguing, commanding one’s full attention. Spiegelman is highly imaginative, a truly creative psychologist.

He deals symbolically with the process of individuation, the growth to be oneself, the movement Godward. As such, it is the story of the Great Work, the noblest story and Work of them all, told with simplicity and deep sincerity.'” — back cover


The Mysteries

The Mysteries: Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks, edited by Joseph Campbell, the 1990 fifth paperback printing of Bollingen Series XXX Vol 2 from Princeton University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Joseph Campbell The Mysteries from Princeton University Press / Bollingen

“Since 1933, the Eranos Conferences have been held at Ascona in southern Switzerland. Distinguished scholars from Europe, Asia, and America have been invited to a ‘shared feast’ (eranos) and have lectured on themes chosen by the Director of Eranos, the late Olga Froebe-Kapteyn. The lectures originally appeared in the Eranos-Jahrbücher (Zurich) and selections translated into English have been published in Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks, of which this is the second volume. Thirteen scholars—including C. G. Jung, C. Kerényi, Walter F. Otto, and Hugo Rahner—are represented in this collection, which is drawn from the years 1936, 1939m 1940–41, 1942, and 1944. The volume is edited by Joseph Campbell and translated by Ralph Manheim and R.F.C. Hull.” — back cover

Essays included are:

  • Paul Masson-Oursel, “The Indian Theories of Redemption in the Frame of the Religions of Salvation”
  • Paul Masson-Oursel, “The Doctrine of Grace in the Religious Thought of India”
  • Walter F. Otto, “The Meaning of the Eleusinian Mysteries”
  • Carl Kerényi, “The Mysteries of the Kabeiroi”
  • Walter Wili, “The Orphic Mysteries and the Greek Spirit”
  • Paul Schmitt, “The Ancient Mysteries in the Society of Their Time, Their Transformation and Most Recent Echoes”
  • Georges Nagel, “The ‘Mysteries’ of Osiris in Ancient Egypt”
  • Jean de Manasce, “The Mysteries and the Religion of Iran”
  • Fritz Meier, “The Mystery of the Ka’ba: Symbol and Reality in Islamic Mysticism”
  • Max Pulver, “Jesus’ Round Dance and Crucifixion According to the Acts of St. John”
  • Hans Leisegang, “The Mystery of the Serpent”
  • Julius Baum, “Symbolic Representations of the Eucharist”
  • C G Jung, “Transformation Symbolism in the Mass”
  • Hugo Rahner, “The Christian Mystery and the Pagan Mysteries.”


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

The Serpent Myth

The Serpent Myth by William Wynn Westcott and Arthur Edward Waite, edited by Darcy Kuntz, Vol 9 of the Golden Dawn Studies Series, the 2006 third revised and enhanced edition published by J D Holmes, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

William Wynn Westcott Arthur Edward Waite The Serpent Myth

“An excellent treatise on this ancient symbol from the inner knowledge of the Golden Dawn system. First edition published in 1996. Revised with A. E. Waite’s paper on the Serpent Myth in 2001.” [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]

Secrets of a Golden Dawn Temple

Secrets of a Golden Dawn Temple: The Alchemy and Crafting of Magickal Implements (Llewellyn’s Golden Dawn Series) by Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero, the 1992 paperback from Llewellyn Publications, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Sandra Tabatha Cicero Chic Cicero Secrets of a Golden Dawn Temple from Llewellyn Publications

  • Read the first book to describe all Golden Dawn implements and tools in complete detail!
  • See photos and drawings of almost 80 different tools
  • Learn the exact symbolism of each implement
  • Conduct new, never-before published rituals

A Must-Have for Every Student of the Western Magickal Tradition

From its inception 100 years ago, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn continues to be the authority on magick. Yet the books written on the Golden Dawn system have fallen far short in explaining how to construct the tools and implements necessary for ritual. Now, with The Secrets of a Golden Dawn Temple, you get a unique compilation of the various tools used, all described in full: wands, ritual clothing, elemental tools, Enochian tablets, altars, temple furniture, banners, lamens, admission badges and much more.

This was republished by Llewellyn in two parts as Creating Magical Tools: The Magician’s Craft (1999) and Ritual Use of Magical Tools: Resources for the Ceremonial Magician (2000). The first of these two appear to have been published again by a new publisher, Thoth Publications, in 2004, as far as I can tell without its mate, as Secrets of a Golden Dawn Temple, Book 1: Creating Magical Tools.

Sandra Tabatha Cicero Chic Cicero Ritual Use of Magical Tools from Llewellyn Publications

Back in the day, Half Price Books in Seattle had a veritable metric ton of the two volume edition from Llewellyn, and they hung around for quite a while before the first volume completely disappeared in what seemed to me a sudden surprising rush leaving behind the second volume to linger on for quite a bit longer on its own. For some reason I never pick up the first in time, but did grab the second before it too finally sold out. Of course, the first was the one I should have grabbed instead. Years later, I did pick up the original single volume complete edition so that I’d have the construction plans and instructions.

 

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.

Nova

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Nova by Samuel R Delany:

Samuel R Delany's Nova from Vintage

 

Delany’s Nova is nearly exactly as old as me (written in 1966-7, first published in August 1968), and I am stunned at how well it has aged. Although it is a short novel, it is a sprawling space opera set in the 32nd century, and its optimistic forecast for a technologically accomplished galactic humanity is still one that seems believable today (as long as one can imagine our civilization surviving its several impending comeuppances). This is a book that’s been on my radar as a vague “to be read someday” for many, many years. In a way, I’m glad I didn’t read it any earlier, because it’s all the more impressive for its sustained integrity.

There’s no way that anyone would have considered making this a movie when it was published in the 1960s. But in the 21st century we have both the effects technology and the audience sophistication to make it worthwhile. The Wachowskis could totally pull it off. Still, Delany is resolutely literary in this book, with the character Katin serving as a metafictionally reflexive anchor: he aspires to write a novel, an anachronistic impossibility in his star-spanning culture.

The story has a fine central ensemble of characters in the crew of the starship Roc: gypsy musician, moonish intellectual, soft-spoken cartomancer, scarred quester, and so on. The villains are detestable enough, although they have their justifications, and the heroes are interestingly flawed. There are exotic and inspiring landscapes, architecture, and space vistas. It’s got grittiness and high sentiment, social philosophy and action-adventure. There’s even a metafictional brag that it contains some sort of “mystical symbolism.” In any case, it’s a worthwhile read. [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.

Qabalistic Ritual Construction

Scott Stenwick has posted about the use of Aleister Crowley‘s Liber 777, which was built on Allan Bennett‘s Golden Dawn correspondences, for the construction of rituals over on Augoeides at “Qabalistic Ritual Construction“, and linked to the PDF of Liber 777 vel Prolegomena Symbolica Ad Systemam Sceptico-Mysticæ Viæ Explicandæ, Fundamentum Hieroglyphicum Sanctissimorum Scientiæ Summæ and Liber O vel Manus et Sagittae sub figurâ VI at the library.

“I’ve gotten a few questions via e-mail recently regarding the use of Aleister Crowley’s Liber 777 for the construction of rituals such as the various planetary rites I have posted on this blog. My old site was the home of the following article, and I’m reposting it here because the only way to link to it prior to now was to dig into the Internet Archives. Building rituals using Liber 777 is not nearly as complex as it seems at first when you pick up the book and flip through the tables. It is my hope that this article will lay out the process in more explicit detail and dispel some of that confusion.

Aleister Crowley’s Liber 777 provides a system of correspondences for the construction of magical rituals. It is based on the Tree of Life as found in Hermetic Qabalah, a synthetic system that originated in the Renaissance period and which combines the Jewish mysticism of the period with Christian and alchemical ideas and symbolism. Crowley’s correspondences probably began as a list assembled by Allan Bennett for use with the Golden Dawn system of magick, but Crowley expanded the tables so that they include more associations and are in harmony with the philosophy and principles of Thelema.” [via]

Egyptian Magic in Egyptian Magic by Florence Farr.

“Now the Egyptians had elaborated a marvelous system of symbolism. The forms of the universal powers or Gods, stood, each complete, behind a human or animal mask; his Divinity symbolized by his headdress, his powers by his Staff and the Symbol of Life which he bore in his hands.” [via]