What am I doing here, trying to make my way in a spiritual tradition whose roots are in the remote past, far from all the challenges of the present moment?
Paulo Coelho, Aleph
What am I doing here, trying to make my way in a spiritual tradition whose roots are in the remote past, far from all the challenges of the present moment?
Paulo Coelho, Aleph
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 30th, 2014
“Afterlife With Archie” Issue 6 is a comic every Lovecraft fan will enjoy — Mike Davis, Lovecraft eZine
Here are some top gatherum posts from the BBS this week:
“Lucien Greaves (a.k.a. Doug Mesner), one of the people who commissioned the sculpture, that now sits in a warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn, asked the sculptor — we’ll call him “Jack” — to forgo the breasts. This Baphomet is smooth-chested and muscular, with thin, shapely lips and rectangular pupils. The sculptor based his physique on a blend of Michelangelo’s David and Iggy Pop.”
“Written in the voodoo cultspeak of futurist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft’s short story, ‘The Call of Cthulhu,’ the creepy Cthulhu Offerings may be the most confusing digital currency yet.
‘The time draws near, the return of The Great Old One is upon us,’ writes the developer. ‘Join us in our ritual.'”
“During ongoing excavations in northern Sudan, Polish archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology in Poznań, have discovered the remains of a settlement estimated to 70,000 years old. This find, according to the researchers, seems to contradict the previously held belief that the construction of permanent structures was associated with the so-called Great Exodus from Africa and occupation of the colder regions of Europe and Asia.”
“The academic research on Western esotericism in general and contemporary occultism in particular has been largely neglected in earlier scholarship and has only recently gained serious academic attention. This thesis examines how the contemporary occult group, La Société Voudon Gnostique, headed by David Beth and an organization under the general current Voudon Gnosis, legitimate their claims to knowledge, mainly through three discursive strategies of epistemology offered by Olav Hammer, namely: the appeal to (1) tradition; (2) scientism as a language of faith; and narratives of (3) experience. Since Hammer argues that these strategies can be found in esoteric currents in general, but only examines theosophy, anthroposophy and New Age as well as only examining “esoteric spokespersons” this thesis aims at examine them in relation to contemporary occultism as well as in relation to both the spokesperson and to “ordinary adherents”. In order do this, La Société Voudon Gnostique works as a case study in qualification of being a contemporary occult group that has gained no academic attention before.
The conclusions of this thesis are that the strategies are all prevalent, to a more or less extent, in La Société Voudon Gnostique and they are also used by the adherents. Besides the strategies proposed by Hammer, this thesis argues that the secrecy and elitist approach, which can be found in the texts, also can be seen as a discursive strategy of epistemology.”
“Persecuted, is based on a laughably impossible premise that the audience is supposed to find threatening. In this case, it’s the government attempting to legislate religion, something Poor Oppressed Christians are totally for until they realize that religious freedom also applies to non-Christians. Then they go off the rails about how wrong and unfair it is that they aren’t treated as special and given more privileges than everyone else.”
“Pull up libertarianism’s floorboards, look beneath the surface into the big business PR campaign’s early years, and there you’ll start to get a sense of its purpose, its funders, and the PR hucksters who brought the peculiar political strain of American libertarianism into being — beginning with the libertarian movement’s founding father, Milton Friedman.”
“That is how libertarianism in America started: As an arm of big business lobbying.”
“Certain authors possess the secret of a kind of reversed alchemy; they know how to turn the richest gold into lead. The most interesting subjects become in their hands so tedious that we can hardly bear to read about them.”
“By speaking up, we are not only defending public libraries but the entire notion of public services. Silence is not how we defend ourselves against an ideological battle, it is how we surrender.”
“It’s been a great pleasure in recent years seeing the welling of interest in Cameron’s work. In 2001 when I was compiling notes for an abandoned study of occult cinema, Cameron as artist, witch or mere human being was a shadowy presence about whom nothing substantial seemed to have been written; her art was impossible to see anywhere, all one had were fleeting references in books”
“Love spells are black magic. Love spells to manipulate the body, heart, and soul. Love spells to dominate, to bind, to cause destruction and madness and pain.
Love spells are not about love, they are about the lustful eye and the selfish heart. Be honest with yourself about it and then move on to the work at hand.”
“‘Stick-Gods’ is the culmination of over a dozen years of fascination with Ancient Egypt—particularly, its mythology and deities. Whether you’re studying Egyptology, a practicing Kemetic or just a fan of myths, there should be something in there for you! I’m doing my best to balance informed content with a fair bit of silliness. …And puns. Lots of puns.”
“Reading William Blake one cannot help but realize this is a man who is both religious and spiritually active, especially his poems known as the prophecies. The question is what was the nature of his spiritual life? What inspired Blake to create works that are both heavily Christian and at the same time antagonistic to many Christian ideals? The surprising answer is laid out as Schuchard leads us back into the complex religious web of mystical Christianity of the 17th and 18th century.”
“Aleister Crowley criticized spiritism as ‘a sort of indiscriminate necromancy’ because of a complete lack of formal magical procedures and protections, in which many mediums simply opened themselves up to whatever spiritual force happened to be present. Modern channelers such as Knight still employ essentially the same methods that Crowley was talking about. As such, there’s a real possibility that any channeling attempt could reach just about any spirit, like some sort of metaphysical Chatroulette.”
“The argument between the four disciples seems to be our anonymous writer’s way of exploring the different positions being taken by the men and women of his own day on the question of an alternative tradition being handed down by women. But he is also expressing his concern that the Church is changing, and not for the better. In his eyes, Peter seems to represent the voice of a faction in the community which wants to ‘make rules or lay down laws other than the Saviour gave’ – in other words, a group that wants to develop an institutional structure to replace the more fluid and informal movement of the early decades. This was clearly a topical warning after the death of the disciples who had known Jesus. Levi thinks that the new rules are a way of drawing the community away from fulfilling its task of preaching the gospel. The anonymous writer seems to be using Levi to suggest that too much emphasis on authority from the ‘Peter faction’ is stifling the Church.”
“As the story begins, our heroine Sabrina Spellman is relating one of her eldritch dreams to her psychiatrist, Dr. Lovecraft. Sabrina has apparently been committed to an institution because after her aunts died in a house fire, she had a breakdown and couldn’t deal with the reality of their death.
But is that really what happened?”
If you’d like to participate in the Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS. You can check out all the other gatherum posts, like posts you enjoy, and even add your own posts with links to other things of interest, related to the subject matter of the library, from elsewhere around the Internet.
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 25th, 2014
Eddy Stevens’ Magical Paintings Capture The Bond Between Woman And Horse — Ellyn Ruddick-Sunstein, Beautiful/Decay
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (@nathan13109) June 24, 2014
Came across a great term for prostitute-witches in antiquity: Witch-bawd.
— Sarah Veale (@sarahveale) June 24, 2014
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.”
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.
[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.”
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.
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?
Drink, eat, have fun, make love.
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?
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.
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.
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.
If you’d like to participate in the next Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS.
Esotericism and the Academy: Rejected Knowledge in Western Culture by Wouter J Hanegraaff, from Cambridge University Press, previously only available as a 2012 hardcover, is due to release as a paperback tomorrow, March 6th, 2014.
“Academics tend to look on ‘esoteric’, ‘occult’ or ‘magical’ beliefs with contempt, but are usually ignorant about the religious and philosophical traditions to which these terms refer, or their relevance to intellectual history. Wouter Hanegraaff tells the neglected story of how intellectuals since the Renaissance have tried to come to terms with a cluster of ‘pagan’ ideas from late antiquity that challenged the foundations of biblical religion and Greek rationality. Expelled from the academy on the basis of Protestant and Enlightenment polemics, these traditions have come to be perceived as the Other by which academics define their identity to the present day. Hanegraaff grounds his discussion in a meticulous study of primary and secondary sources, taking the reader on an exciting intellectual voyage from the fifteenth century to the present day and asking what implications the forgotten history of exclusion has for established textbook narratives of religion, philosophy and science.” [via]
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.
“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
“Anyone can pursue a spiritual path for a weekend, even a year or two. but for a lifetime of enlightened exploration, a strict lifestyle must be developed which sustains effort and minimizes distractions. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, an illumined master whose yoga order is on Hawaii’s tropical island of Kauai, offers a detailed and authentic way for followers, based on the tantras or traditional methods which Hindus have observed for thousands of years.
If you are ever uncertain about how rigorous to be with yourself, how to approach holy people or relate to members of the opposite sex, what to do about television, alcohol or your career, Living with Sivais for you. Its terse guidelines provide time-tested practices and disciplines for serious seekers.” — back cover
Arjuna in the Mahabharata: Where Krishna Is, There Is Victory by Ruth Cecily Katz, a 1989 hardcover in the Studies in Comparative Religion series edited by Frederick M Denny from University of South Carolina Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“This book is a thorough study of the great Indian hero, the Achilles of India, Arjuna, as portayed in the epic poem Mahabharata, including its world famous subsection, the Bhagavadgita. Attempting to portray Arjuna as ‘a Hindu, involved in Hindu culture, might see or have seen him on the basis of the epic as passed down through the centuries more or less in its current form,’ the discussion focuses in turn on three ‘levels’ of Arjuna’s character, tracing their ebb and flow throughout the text: Arjuna’s semi-divine heroism; his humanization in the face of debilitating dilemmas; and his transcendence of the human condition by way of devotion to the god Krishna. In consideration of earlier and contemporary scholarship regarding the Indian epic tradition, in particular the respective works Georges Dumézil and Madeleine Biardeau, this study locates the Mahabharata, and Arjuna with it, in the context of two thousand years of Indian religious texts, from the Vedas to the Puranas. More broadly, Arjuna is compared with Indo-European/Semitic heroes from outside the Indian tradition, such as Achilles himself, Gilgamesh, Rustam, Cuchulainn and, finally, Jesus. The complete Mahabharata story is retold for the reader’s convenience as the discussion proceeds. An appendix on the names (epithets) of Arjuna concludes the study.” — back cover
“Curious about the Golden Dawn? Interested in the roots of modern ceremonial magick? In this lecture we will examine the seven initiation rituals of the Golden Dawn system of initiation to provide a general overview of this powerful and influential magical tradition.” [via]
The Magic Bishop – Hugo Ball is an essay written by Anne Crossey, an artist and student of esotericism working in Cork, IE, which may be of intererest.
“Dada was an attempt to return ‘through the innermost alchemy of the word’ to a more magical, playful reality through overturning of all the conventions associated with civilized adult society—drawing on African, Nordic and Sanskrit traditions, the Cabaret Voltaire was a riot of nonsense, play, colour, and noise—a giant, noisy incantation against all the ills of the world.
Dada was ‘the heart of words’.
It was a fight. It was a magical battle.” [via]
Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Wedding Book: Alternative Ways to Celebrate Marriage by Howard Kirschenbaum and Rockwell Stensrud.
In 21st-century America, same-sex marriages are a matter of social contention. In the 20th century, public concerns about marriage tended to dwell on differences of race and religion. In The Wedding Book (1974), though, there’s no sense of conflict or controversy. A wave of experiment starting in the 1960s had progressed to the point where “traditional” wedding features were less taken for granted, and the authors here advocate for the “personal wedding,” in which all details of the event are tailored to the character and ambitions of the wedding couple themselves.
Unsurprisingly, some aspects of this 40-year-old book are quaintly dated, if not obsolete. There is an assortment of advice about how to announce an engagement, for example, that is happily ignorant of Facebook and Twitter. (It even mentions newspapers!) Still, the “Handbook for Personal Weddings” is an approachable and highly practical examination of the scope of possibility involved in wedding procedures and practices. The book as a whole is replete with examples of 20th-century “personal wedding” custom and liturgy, ranging from the hypertraditional to the innovative. The authors assume a desire for sanctity on the part of wedding participants, but they admit a range of exclusivism, ecumenicism, and secularism to accommodate the varying religious dispositions of marriage couples.
There are two historical chapters: “The Origins of Marriage” and “The Roots of Wedding Ritual.” These are accessible accounts, but not awfully sophisticated ones. The authors occasionally present anachronisms, as when, for instance, they retroject into earlier eras a modern notion of the division of church and state. They also offer some explanations rooted in anthropological studies that were a little shopworn and past crediting even in the 1970s. Even without the accompanying etiological theories, though, these chapters do offer a usefully broad inventory of marriage concepts and customs.
Today’s appetite and even need for “personal weddings” far exceeds the one framed in this 1970s account. Not only the precedent violations of interreligious, interracial, and same-sex marriages, but the increased frequency of second and third (and higher-ordinal!) marriages incline couples towards modifications of wedding practices. As the authors point out, the personalization of any wedding is an opportunity for the couple to articulate their shared will and to communicate it to the society in which they live. I will keep this book in my collection for reference in my ministerial work, and I view it as a highly useful resource for clergy of my sort. [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.