Tag Archives: tolerance

Omnium Gatherum: May 14th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for May 14th, 2014

The Magician from The Disney-D'Morte Tarot
The Magician, The Disney-D’Morte Tarot [HT Boing Boing]

 

  • Review: ‘Aleister Crowley’ explores the life and times of the notorious icon ” — Brooke Wylie, Examiner.com

    “Detractors of rock n’ roll have long called the genre, the ‘Devil’s music,’ so in some ways, it’s all too natural that Gary Lachman (known by his stage name Gary Valentine, to some), who is a founding member of Blondie, and has shredded with Iggy Pop, should eventually become an expert on mysticism and the occult. His latest work, Aleister Crowley: Magick, Rock and Roll, and the Wickedest Man in the World (available May 15) tackles not only the life and times of the illustrious figure, known by many as The Great Beast, but also the collision of Crowley’s legacy with popular culture.”

    The review includes this apropos and awesome typo (emphasis added): “Crowley’s word is a strange one indeed, and wrapping one’s mind around it can be a substantial challenge at times.”

     

  • Was Jesus a Magician?” — Helen Ingram

    “One of these lectures introduced me to the character of ‘Jesus the magician’ and the work of Prof. Morton Smith, who claimed that Jesus’ conduct within the Gospel material constituted a ‘coherent, consistent and credible picture of a magician’s career.’ The theory that the historical Jesus was actively practicing magic and that this behaviour is reflected in the Gospel materials was a very intriguing proposal and immediately stimulated a personal interest in this field of research. This curiosity culminated in the submission and acceptance of my PhD thesis …”

  • SATANIC BLACK MASS AT HARVARD, SATANIC MONUMENT IN OKLAHOMA” — Paul McGuire, NewsWithViews.com; from the RTFM dept.

    “But the software of God, which is the downloading of cosmic apps, should be understood as nothing more than a contemporary parable to explain in understandable terms the gifts and abilities that the Living God gives people on a natural and supernatural level, the gifts of the Spirit. Tragically, most of the modern Pentecostal and Charismatic movements which emphasized these gifts did so in a very distorted and degraded manner, so that these terms have become synonymous with hyper-emotionalism, crazy behavior and aberrant behavior. This is a degradation and improper use of both the software and the apps. They did not read the basic operating instructions provided in the manual.”

  • The Colbert Report on the Oklahoma Baphomet monument, including a call-in by Satan, Lord of Hell, himself [HT The Lost Ogle]

     

  • Real Satanists Don’t Send Press Releases” — Thomas L McDonald, God and the Machine

    “The modern so-called Satanists who make all the noise are not really Satanists. They don’t actually believe in Satan. Most are atheists who couch their so-called ‘Satanism’ in terms of resistance or philosophy. It’s not a religion, but a critique of religion, or somesuch blather. It’s all theater.”

    “The black mass emerged again in the 19th century in the salons, universities, and intellectual circles of Europe, which was the wellspring of modern occultism. Lacking much primary documentation, the upper classes mostly invented their version of a black mass influenced by literature and structured around a simple inversion of the Catholic mass. No real tradition directly linking medieval diabolism to modern so-called Satanism exists, which means horror movies, fiction, and imagination are at the root of most modern practice.”

  • God is dead—What next? Searching for meaning in the age of atheism” — Alasdair Craig, Prospect [HT Arts & Letters Daily]

    “[Peter] Watson is more optimistic about the possibility of an emotionally satisfying atheism. His proposal is that we use art and literature to comprehend and re-enchant the world that science has made foreign. Science is one way of understanding the world; art and literature another, he seems to say. Science provides technology, medicine and abstract knowledge; art provides meaning, purpose and a different, more intimate and immediately relevant kind of knowledge. God’s death just means that we need to construct our own, non-authoritative narratives and art, replete with purpose and meaning. Instead of one unified story to which everyone subscribes, we should play around with a plurality of downgraded stories, which can form the basis of our day-to-day lives.”

     

  • Ancient Egyptians transported pyramid stones over wet sand” — Ans Hekkenberg, Phys.org

    “Physicists from the FOM Foundation and the University of Amsterdam have discovered that the ancient Egyptians used a clever trick to make it easier to transport heavy pyramid stones by sledge. The Egyptians moistened the sand over which the sledge moved. By using the right quantity of water they could halve the number of workers needed. The researchers published this discovery online on 29 April 2014 in Physical Review Letters.”

    “The Egyptians were probably aware of this handy trick. A wall painting in the tomb of Djehutihotep clearly shows a person standing on the front of the pulled sledge and pouring water over the sand just in front of it.”

  • Review: Limp Renaissance sex romp a poor Carry On indeed” — Rebecca Harkins-Cross, Brisbane Times

    Elixir is based on the escapades of Edward Kelley and John Dee, a famed occultist duo in Renaissance England who professed the ability to summon angels and to conduct alchemy. […] [Edward Kelley (Christy Hawkins)] concocts a cunning plan to unlock his colleague’s wife Jane’s (Naomi Takita) chastity belt and pacify the emperor simultaneously, convincing Doctor Dee (Stephen Weir) the elixir should be made from wizard seed and a cuckold’s tears.”

  • Scientists Confirm Vampires Were Onto Something” — Maxwell Barna, VICE News

    “New research published this week by two teams of scientists confirmed what Bram Stoker and countless philosophers, scientists, and cannibals have long posited — there’s an indisputable relationship between blood and aging.”

    “‘When we added young blood, the older mice not only looked better, but they became cognitively better,’ Saul Villeda, the principal investigator at UCSF’s Villeda Lab, told VICE News. ‘It’s like we can turn back the clock on some parts of aging.'”

  • Footage of Orson Welles’s ‘Voodoo’ Macbeth” — National Film Preservation Foundation

    “It had long been assumed that no sound or moving images survived from Orson Welles’s legendary ‘Voodoo Macbeth,’ the Federal Theatre Project’s 1936 Harlem stage production of Shakespeare’s play, set in Haiti with an African American cast. But priceless historical footage can turn up within unlikely places. This long-forgotten record of the first professional play staged by Orson Welles was found in another film, the U.S. government-produced We Work Again, a Depression-era documentary on African American employment.”

  • Stonehenge Discovery ‘Blows Lid Off’ Old Theories About Builders Of Ancient Monument” — Macrina Cooper-White, Huffpost Science

    “Last October, [David] Jacques led an archaeological dig at a site 1.5 miles from Stonehenge. His team unearthed flint tools and the bones of aurochs, extinct cow-like animals that were a food source for ancient people. Carbon dating of the bones showed that modern-day Amesbury, an area that includes the dig site and Stonehenge itself, has been continuously occupied since 8820 B.C. Amesbury has now been declared the oldest continually occupied area in Britain.

    The finding suggests that Stonehenge was built by indigenous Britons who had lived in the area for thousands of years. Previous theories held that the monument was built in an empty landscape by migrants from continental Europe.”

  • Ancient Desert Glyphs Pointed Way to Fairgrounds” — Sean Treacy, Science

    “Seen from above, the jagged rocks strewn about the Chincha Valley desert in Peru seem inconspicuous. But stand in the desert itself and these rocks form lines that stretch toward the horizon. Researchers have found that these lines were probably ancient signposts for the Paracas culture more than 2000 years ago, guiding people across the desert to gathering places for the winter solstice.”

  • Astronomers Identify the Sun’s Long-Lost Sister” — Becky Ferreira, Motherboard [HT Slashdot]

    “HD 162826 is 15 percent more massive than our Sun, and is about 110 light years away in the constellation Hercules. It’s not visible to the naked eye, but it is bright enough to be seen through binoculars.

    Astronomers had been observing the star for almost two decades without realizing it’s the long-lost sister of the Sun.”

  • LGBTQ Tolerance in the Golden Dawn” — Alex Sumner, Sol Ascendans

    “Say what you like about MacGregor Mathers, but on one point he was resolute: he would not brook gossip about Fratres’ and Sorores’ lives — this being a matter purely between themselves and their God. […] Mathers’ firm stand has led to a progressive consequence: the Golden Dawn was the first magical order to adopt a modern approach to tolerance. However, the Western Mystery Tradition was almost derailed by the efforts of Dion Fortune.”

  • Aleister Crowley, aliens, owls and Jesus” — Mike Clelland, hidden experience

    “Little is known of the origin of the big headed entity known as Lam. All that can be known for sure is that this image was drawn by Aleister Crowley to depict a being that was summoned during a magickal ritual titled The Amalantrah Working. This sketch later hung on a gallery wall at Crowley’s Dead Souls exhibition in Greenwich Village, New York, in 1919.”

    “Things get weirder, when the image is reversed, an image of an owl emerges! Granted, I’m seeing owls everywhere I look these days, but still.

    Also, the name Crowley has OWL embedded right in it.”

  • Black magician Aleister Crowley’s early gay verse comes to light: Notebook of poems written by heartbroken occultist in 1898 to be exhibited at antiquarian book fair in London” — Maev Kennedy, The Guardian

    “In 1898 the Wickedest Man in the World was feeling thoroughly sorry for himself. The occultist Aleister Crowley’s first great love affair, with fellow Cambridge undergraduate Herbert Jerome Pollitt, was in ruins, and he took to poetry as his only solace.

    ‘When my sick body in his love lies drowned/ And he lies corpse-wise on me, nor will rise/ Though my breath shudders, and my soul be dead,’ he wrote — and much, much more — in a tiny notebook of unpublished manuscript poems which has recently resurfaced.

    The actor and rare book dealer Neil Pearson, who will exhibit the little book at the Olympia antiquarian book fair in London later this month, concedes that this is not great poetry. ‘The verse is rather broken-backed, and vulgar where he is trying to be honest. But it was written at a time when he was feeling heartbroken and vulnerable and it does somehow humanise him — and God knows Aleister Crowley, more than most people, needs humanising.'”

  • Critical Thinking #5: Marina Warner: The critic and mythographer on fairytales, feminism, modern art, translation and the LRB” — Zeljka Marosevic, Prospect [HT Arts & Letters Daily]; this seems quite an interesting interview, but here’s a few excerpts that caught my eye

    “It’s often encountering the faith of others that I’ve found most disturbing. I don’t wish to scorn faith as it’s a universal part of human consciousness. But as such, it’s a deep puzzle, and I’m interested in its effects and manifestations. I worry about the effects of it, especially in our increasingly conflicted religious world.”

    “Grappling with myths has been my principal interest for years, even to a certain extent, my cause: to put the study of imaginative structures back into the frame when confronting important issues. Not to think of imagination and fantasy as merely childish, or to dismiss them as having no purchase on reality.”

    “Myth and fairy tale have definitely returned. First of all there’s a generation who have grown up on Dungeons and Dragons, Tolkien and Narnia, and now, Philip Pullman and Harry Potter. I haven’t read the Twilight stories so I probably shouldn’t talk about them, but I have watched one of the films, and it seems to me that it’s an example of the problem of attenuation: instead of getting richer, these stories are being told in a less rich way, and the vampires are being tamed!”

  • ‘I gather the limbs of Osiris’: Notes on the New Gnosticism” — Henry Gould, Coldfront

    “One way to think of the New Gnosticism, then, might be as the overturning of an analytical negation (Language Poetry). It includes, also, a reversal of the ‘old’ Gnosticism: which was itself a sort of skeptical deconstruction of canonical Biblical texts.”

    “The infinite starry realm of scribbling, scrambling poets every now and then produces a new galaxy, that is, a new movement or school. These emergent phenomena always generate a contradictory mix of enthusiasm and doubt.”

  • Do What Thou Wilt” — Brandy Williams, Star and Snake

    “The Law applies equally for everyone; each person, each creature, has their own will to do. It’s not my business to figure anyone else’s will out for them.”

  • Exploring Thelema and Chaos Magick, with Pete and Sef (Part 4)” — The Blog of Baphomet

    “‘Pure Will’ ‘unassuaged of purpose’ sounds like it can mean anything, everything, or nothing. I consider that people consist of the totality of what they do (which of course includes what they think). The idea of their having some sort of ‘being’ separate from their doing, or for that matter some sort of ‘will’ other than their total doing seems superfluous to me. I can however appreciate the idea that doing some things may tend to give better results than doing others, and to this extent I can understand ‘Do What thou Wilt’ as an exhortation to do the very best of what you can possibly do and love to do, as so many people settle for mediocrity and lousy compromises.”

  • Caesar by Plutarch and more, quoted at “Caesar’s reform of the calendar — some ancient sources” — Roger Pearse [HT Rogueclassicism]

    “2. For not only in very ancient times was the relation of the lunar to the solar year in great confusion among the Romans, so that the sacrificial feasts and festivals, diverging gradually, at last fell in opposite seasons of the year, 3. but also at this time people generally had no way of computing the actual solar year; the priests alone knew the proper time, and would suddenly and to everybody’s surprise insert the intercalary month called Mercedonius.”

    “5. But Caesar laid the problem before the best philosophers and mathematicians, and out of the methods of correction which were already at hand compounded one of his own which was more accurate than any. This the Romans use down to the present time, and are thought to be less in error than other peoples as regards the inequality between the lunar and solar years.

    6. However, even this furnished occasion for blame to those who envied Caesar and disliked his power. At any rate, Cicero the orator, we are told, when some one remarked that Lyra would rise on the morrow, said: ‘Yes, by decree,’ implying that men were compelled to accept even this dispensation.”

  • Phantom Time” — Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know from How Stuff Works [HT Wythe Marschall]

    “A few fringe professors have caused rumblings with their controversial claim that three hundred years of human history have been entirely made up.”

     

  • First life with ‘alien’ DNA: An engineered bacterium is able to copy DNA that contains unnatural genetic letters.” — Ewen Callaway, Nature News; from the either-way-more-boring-or-way-more-scary-than-it-sounds dept.

    “For billions of years, the history of life has been written with just four letters — A, T, C and G, the labels given to the DNA subunits contained in all organisms. That alphabet has just grown longer, researchers announce, with the creation of a living cell that has two ‘foreign’ DNA building blocks in its genome.”

    “‘What we have now is a living cell that literally stores increased genetic information,’ says Floyd Romesberg, a chemical biologist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, who led the 15-year effort.”

  • Gay Witches” — Masha Mel, VICE; a photo gallery

    Masha Mel Gay Witches at VICE

     

  • Article about EyeWire at “Computer Game Reveals ‘Space-Time’ Neurons in the Eye” — John Bohannon, Science

    “Researchers have known for decades that the eye does much more than just detect light. The dense patch of neurons in the retina also processes basic features of a scene before sending the information to the brain. For example, in 1964, scientists showed that some neurons in the retina fire up only in response to motion. What’s more, these “space-time” detectors have so-called direction selectivity, each one sensitive to objects moving in different directions. But exactly how that processing happens in the retina has remained a mystery. […] Enter the EyeWire project, an online game that recruits volunteers to map out those cellular contours within a mouse’s retina.”

  • Katherine Harmon Courage on independently thinking octopus arms and the awful Evil Dead-like tragedy of octopus boredom

    “The octopus’s nervous system is a fascinating one. Some two thirds of its neurons reside not in its central brain but out in its flexible, stretchable arms. This, researchers suspect, lightens the cognitive coordination demands and allows octopuses to let their arms do some of the ‘thinking’—or at least the coordination, problem-solving and reaction—on their own.

    And these arms can continue reacting to stimuli even after they are no longer connected to the main brain; in fact, they remain responsive even after the octopus has been euthanized and the arms severed.” [via]

    “Octopuses are so smart they get bored. Aquarium staff have learned to be wary of a bored octopus because they’ve been known to break the monotony by eating their own arms. That tends to scare the kids.” [via]

     

  • The Art World is Too Safe Now: H.R. Giger has Died” — Glendon Mellow, Scientific American

    “The art world has become safer, less dangerous and less disturbing than it ought to be today. The giant in the night, H.R. Giger, has died, it is being reported. […] Giger is dead. His shadow remains cast over our future. The shadow moves.”

  • L. Rock Hubbard: Revisiting the curious career of the ultimate cult musician.” — Nathan Rabin, Slate Culturebox

    “Hubbard’s sonic space opera is, as you might imagine, a staggeringly strange piece of work, a bewildering cross between Queen’s Flash Gordon soundtrack (whose hero is referenced in the shameless opening track ‘Golden Age of Sci-Fi,’ along with Superman and Buck Rogers), an amateur radio play, and a campy audiobook that goes overboard with special effects and musical cues. If you have not recently read all 1,050 pages of Battlefield Earth or seen the film, the album is completely incomprehensible; if you’re familiar with the story, it’s mildly comprehensible.”

The Metaphysical Club

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America by Louis Menand.

Louis Menand The Metaphysical Club

The Metaphysical Club of Menand’s title was a small, fairly short-lived conversation society organized by Chauncey Wright in 1872 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with members including Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., William James, and Charles Pierce, among others. Menand represents this coterie as the seedbed of the American philosophical school of pragmatism, and uses it for a point of orientation in tracing the intellectual formation and accomplishments of pragmatists James, Pierce, and John Dewey. Along with Holmes, who despite his distaste for the label “pragmatism,” shared in much of the intellectual innovation of his erstwhile club colleagues, these men were “the first modern thinkers in the United States,” according to Menand’s account. (pp. xi, 432-3) This phase of American thinking germinated during the closing decades of the nineteenth century, flowered in the first decade of the twentieth, and persisted until the middle of the twentieth century—a span punctuated by the Civil War at one end and the Cold War at the other.

The Metaphysical Club offers an imposing tangle of vivid biographies, in order to repeatedly demonstrate how the “modern” perspectives of the pragmatists and their peers differed from their immediate predecessors: the “modernizing” generation of their parents and teachers. Intellectual biographies of the pragmatists’ fathers serve as points of comparison and contrast, rather than contributing causes of their sons’ careers. The Cambridge-based Saturday Club of Emerson, Hawthorne, Longfellow, Agassiz and their associates (including Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.) helps to make this comparison concrete. The signal event that divided these two generations was the Civil War. And Menand suggests that a driving principle of their thought was “fear of violence,” a fear instilled by the Civil War and activated by economic and social conflict in the 1890s (p. 373).

Menand’s description of the intellectual mode of the pragmatists emphasizes their attention to liberty and tolerance, unity of thought and action, contextualism, and a refutation of natural essences. At the same time, he remarks the extent to which thinkers like Holmes and Dewey were actually quite alien to the standards usually at issue in characterizing “liberal” thought. They were hostile to individualism, scientific instrumentalism, and laissez-faire economics. Their typical tendency was to discuss complex phenomena as differentiated wholes, rather than combinations of reified elements. Menand also shows how the philosophical “pluralism” coined by William James was significantly different than its later mutation as cultural pluralism.

With his chosen cast of characters, Menand is able to explore the expression of the pragmatist viewpoint in the diverse fields of law, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, statistics, and education. At the same time, he provides an account of a key phase in the professionalization of the academy. He details the beginnings of graduate education in the US, the founding of several key universities, the establishment of AUUP and key juridical precedents for the intellectual freedom of academic professionals. [via]


Hermetic Library Journal submissions to the Symposium forum for Summer Solstice 2013

There’s only two months until the March 21st, 2013 deadline to participate in the inaugural issue of the Hermetic Library Journal from the Benefit Anthology Project! Release is planned for June 21st, 2013. Consider letting others whom you think may be interested know about this as well, but consider submitting your written and visual work. If you have any questions, comments or wish to contribute to this project; contact the librarian.

The Symposium is an opportunity for readers to write on a topic pre-selected for each issue, which for this issue is Intolerance and Tolerance. Non-fiction and personal narrative is encouraged, but a wide range of personal expression is possible. Submissions to the Symposium may be heavily edited but the creator will be contacted with proposed edits prior to publication, unless this is waived when submitted. Anonymity in publication is available, but not in the submission process, and the name used in publication may be presented in abbreviated or anonymous form at the discretion of the Journal. This is not an opportunity to slander, libel or flame others, so do not do so; and, where speaking of others, names should be changed and indicated to the Journal as such. Also, speak for yourself, your own thoughts and ideas.

The ancient Greek symposium was a social event where celebrants gathered to debate and revel in each other’s company, with various entertainments that included wine, women and song. The use of the word ‘symposium’ in English for events where speeches are made is not exactly what the original events were, but the rhetorical contests and dialogues that have come down to us in ancient Greek literature are the inspiration for that use. I propose something not quite so formal as a modern symposium, but not quite so wild as the ancient event.

Have you ever read the Sun magazine’s “readers write” section? If not, you should check out Snow, their recent theme January 2013 as an example. I’ve long wanted to do something like that, and here’s my chance. I am going to announce a more or less broad suggested theme for each issue of the journal and publish concise and thoughtful reader responses.

The Journal, in general, and this section, specifically, is intended to be a hospitable environment where no one ends up in hospital or therapy, including myself. I feel I must be clear this Symposium is not going to be a space to slander, libel, flame or otherwise attack people or points of view; but rather to offer readers an opportunity to offer personal thoughts and ideas about the specific topic selected.

The theme for this issue’s Symposium, a section of the Journal offering a reader’s forum, is Intolerance and Tolerance. Read more about the idea of the Symposium in the call for submissions and in the Symposium section of the submissions guidelines.

For general information, please read the call for submissions and the terms & conditions for submissions. If you have any comments, questions or concerns; or want to submit your work for an anthology, just contact the librarian.

Hermetic Library Journal deadline for Summer Solstice 2013 in two months

There’s only two months until the March 21st, 2013 deadline to participate in the inaugural issue of the Hermetic Library Journal from the Benefit Anthology Project! Release is planned for June 21st, 2013. Consider letting others whom you think may be interested know about this as well, but consider submitting your written and visual work. If you have any questions, comments or wish to contribute to this project; contact the librarian.

Hermetic Library Journals are biannual, open access collections of newer written and visual works about or inspired by Hermeticism in a broad sense, the Western Esoteric Tradition, and Aleister Crowley’s Thelema. Journals appear online via the Hermetic Library, and may also be offered in a variety of other digital formats and in print.

The Journal is intended as a place for both practice and theory, not only informed by the other but with the intention of crossing thresholds between scholar and practitioner. The Journal offers a venue for art and culture that both informs and is informed by esotericism, which will bring the artist into the mix. The Journal is a community of intentional work from theoretic, practical and cultural perspectives that explores and relates to written work and art about or inspired by esotericism and magick in the form of articles, essays, personal narratives, poetry, fiction, plays, artwork, sequential art, biographies, and more.

The theme for this issue’s Symposium, a section of the Journal offering a reader’s forum, is Intolerance and Tolerance. Read more about the idea of the Symposium in the call for submissions and in the Symposium section of the submissions guidelines.

Please read the call for submissions and the terms & conditions for submissions. If you have any comments, questions or concerns; or want to submit your work for an anthology, just contact the librarian.

The Hermetic Library Anthology Journal

Today I am announcing a new Journal from the Hermetic Library Anthology Project, a biannual, open access collection of newer written and artistic works within the scope of the library, including, but not limited to, Hermeticism in a broad sense, the Western Esoteric Tradition, and Aleister Crowley’s Thelema. The inaugural issue will be Summer Solstice 2013, with a submission deadline on Mar 21st, 2013.

The Hermetic Library at Hermetic.com has an overall vision of Archiving, Engaging and Encouraging the living Western Esoteric Tradition. Beginning in 2011, I started the benefit anthology project to help promote newer works in the Western Esoteric Tradition to the audience of the Hermetic Library and beyond. The anthology project also further raises awareness about the corpus and culture of magick and ritual. The first year of the anthology project was about the development of anthology albums, but I am now going to expand this project to the creation of anthology journals planned for release biannually at each solstice.

I will be accepting a wide and diverse range of materials, basically looking for things that match with the overall mission and scope of the library. I will be looking for art, essays and articles which speak, but not necessarily directly, to the overall subject matter of the library, which is a pretty broad scope, including, but not limited to, works that relate to the features, fellows, figures, forms and reflections that reside at the library. Also, I will be making no arbitrary upper or lower limits on the content length of written submissions in order to allow as much flexibility as possible, as long as the length serves the piece. I’m also going to describe several specific journal sections separately below as well.

This will be an online open access journal that will be available at no cost to the reader, but I may, and hope to, also publish the journal in a variety of digital and physical editions for people interested in having those.

 

Summer Solstice 2013

This is the call for submissions to the Summer Solstice 2013 issue. Deadline for submissions is Mar 21th, 2013 and release planned for Jun 21, 2013 around Summer Solstice.

Be sure to read through the terms and conditions for submissions to an anthology journal (which includes quite a bit of specific information about the journal and the submissions process), and after that if you have any questions, comments or wish to contribute to this project; contact the librarian.

Please consider joining the Hermetic Library in publishing your work by contributing to the benefit anthology project. While the journal will be open access and available online at no cost to readers, all proceeds from the sale of other formats, such as print and select digital forms, will support the library to help cover Journal production, hosting costs, materials acquisitions, and other expenses. So, in addition to promoting and making available new works, this project will help the library carry on effort to fulfill its mission.

 

Special Features of the Journal

In addition to the primary composition of the Journal from the general written and artistic submissions, there will be a few specialized ideas that I’d like to mention, including a symposium, kottabos, agora, kerukeion, and optional peer-review. Since these are specific ideas, I want to talk about each of these a little bit in turn.

Symposium (Forum)

The ancient Greek symposium was a social event where celebrants gathered to debate and revel in each other’s company, with various entertainments that included wine, women and song. The use of the word ‘symposium’ in English for events where speeches are made is not exactly what the original events were, but the rhetorical contests and dialogues that have come down to us in ancient Greek literature are the inspiration for that use. I propose something not quite so formal as a modern symposium, but not quite so wild as the ancient event.

Have you ever read the Sun magazine’s “readers write” section? If not, you should check that out. I’ve long wanted to do something like that, and here’s my chance. I am going to announce a more or less broad suggested theme for each issue of the journal and publish concise and thoughtful reader responses.

The theme for Summer Solstice 2013 is Intolerance and Tolerance. So, we are going to have a discourse on this topic. Let us propitiate Agathos Daimon with a few drops of wine that we may have a hospitable and entertaining time together, and with luck find ourselves able to share some collective wisdom.

This topic was inspired by a pair of quotes, one more often quoted than the other, from the work of Aleister Crowley in the collection of the library. While these quotes are both from Aleister Crowley, there is absolutely no intentional limitation on responses to just the scope of Aleister Crowley or Thelema, but rather I offer these as stepping off points for you to consider if you want some further inspiration than just the theme itself.

“Intolerance is evidence of impotence.” — Aleister Crowley, Confessions, Chapter 69

“We are infinitely tolerant, save of intolerance.” — Aleister Crowley’s New Comment on Liber AL vel Legis, II:57

You may be interested in a site search on the keyword tolerance as well.

In future, I may not offer anything more than just the theme itself, and leave the rest to you, the reader, to explore. Also, while these themes will be for a Symposium, it is not the theme for an entire issue, except that if people want to submit longer work related to the theme that’s perfectly acceptable and might, moreover, be fun to do.

Kottabos (Letters)

The kottabos was a game of skill at ancient symposia which involved dexterously slinging wine at targets. This was, apparently, a popular activity. Part of the skill was in remaining reclined on a couch while knocking the target off balance so that it made a loud bell-like noise when the target disc fell against a larger disc on the stand.

I want to provide a forum for various kinds of feedback whether that’s tossing wine lees across the room, letters to the editor, kudos, criticisms, or comments on content or about any topic. In part inspired by parliamentary rules but also by my recollection of my surprise at how fascinating and erudite Letters to the Editor were in Economist magazine, the Kottabos will be a section where readers address me directly as editor, and not specific people or authors.

I hope to maintain the Journal, in general, and this section, specifically, as a hospitable environment where no one ends up in hospital or therapy, including myself. While this Kottabos can provide a place for pithy and piquant statements, it is not a place to be insulting or rude. I feel I must be clear this Kottabos is not going to be a space to slander, libel, flame or otherwise attack people or points of view; but rather to offer readers an opportunity to share their own thoughts and feedback about the journal.

Agora (Market)

The commons and marketplace of ancient Hellenic culture. I will be offering full, half and quarter page spaces for people to provide ads of relevant interest that will reach the readership. I will also be providing some of this space gratis to Hermetic Library fellows, members of the Hermetic Hosting family, and some select others as a way of saying thank you for their ongoing participation and support so they can let people know about their projects.

Kerukeion (Announcements)

The herald’s staff, in Greek kerukeion, in Latin caduceus, is a synecdoche for the herald, or public crier. In the Journal this Kerukeion will be space for short textual news items and announcements of interest to the community. Messages submitted will be free of cost in publication, but will be subject to reasonable editorial selection.

Optional peer-review

I do not currently have a good mechanism for adding unsolicited material into the collection at the library and have occasionally and regretfully declined to offer a place in the collection to unsolicited work sent me as the librarian of the site. I’ve long tried to think of a good mechanism to put in place that would be more amenable to adding materials I haven’t solicited. But, I haven’t yet figured out how to do that in a way that I find acceptable.

For other kinds of work, I do have the various pools for visual, video, audio and even a new arts & letters pool from which I post submissions to the blog. However, none of these are really for long form or in-depth work that might be included in the collection of the library itself, which I feel I must have some peer review process in place to do well, especially for topics about which I might not personally be as familiar as required for proper evaluation. I’ve kept trying to think of a good workflow for such things which I hoped included some kind of peer review process, but just haven’t been able to sort that out yet. Ultimately this has remained stubbornly something for the future. Up to now, while I’ve been open to discuss submissions before having them sent, to do due diligence on whether there is a fit and so forth, the current situation is that I’ve not really accepted unsolicited manuscripts.

Meanwhile, I also want to offer a way to provide more direct and constructive feedback to submissions sent to the Journal. On one level I see this as being useful for more academic submissions, but I can also see that there would be a lot of use for this process as it relates to feedback on submitted work, written or otherwise, of all kinds.

To these ends, I am going to offer a completely optional and experimental peer-review process for submissions to the Journal. This optional process will involve a peer-review fee in order to incentivize reviewers, but I think this process will be a good balance between the logistics of offering it and value for people who want to participate.

Under the general submissions process, work submitted to the Journal will receive a simple binary response of either accepted for publication or rejected. However, if a submission is also being peer-reviewed, there will be a range of responses including Accept, Revise, Reject and Revise, Reject, where each includes feedback from the reviewer about the reason for the response and constructive suggestions that would not be offered otherwise.

I should also stress that the optional peer-review process will not, in any way, guarantee publication of a work. Peer-review is an opportunity for review, but it is not a way to secure publication. Also, this optional peer-review process will only be available up front and cannot be added to submissions, to receive either feedback or chance to revise, after the fact of an editorial decision to reject for publication. However, with that said, I imagine that the peer-review process may allow the Journal to accept materials which would otherwise have been rejected by offering a chance to revise submissions or by allowing someone outside the library to vouch for the submission when their expertise is added to the process.

There are more specifics about this peer-review option on the terms and conditions for submissions to an anthology journal page.

 

Conclusion

As a penultimate note, I want to be sure I also mention here in passing Hermetic Library Anthology Album call for Winter 2013 submissions and 2013 anthology album artwork and design call for proposals which I posted earlier. In addition to submissions to the upcoming Winter 2013 album, I am looking for an artist or artists to create the various illustrations needed for the cover and other collateral such as the physical CD design for the artwork and design of the quarterly anthology albums for this next year.

Finally, be sure to stay tuned to this blog and the anthology pages on the site for updates. Please join the Hermetic Library in promoting these journals and the contributors to the benefit anthology project. If you have any questions, comments or wish to contribute to this project; contact the librarian.