all forms of serious art and knowledge—in other words, all forms of truth—are suspect and dangerous.
Georges Bataille, Story of the Eye
all forms of serious art and knowledge—in other words, all forms of truth—are suspect and dangerous.
Georges Bataille, Story of the Eye
WE ARE NOT ALONE, THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE, yadda yadda yadda.
Charles Stross, The Atrocity Archives
“Throughout my life, I have always wanted to speak the truth, but speaking wasn’t my forte. My mouth would open to utter something and my brain would demand my mouth to shut immediately, lest I make a fool of myself. I possessed a profound inability to articulate my thoughts verbally.”
—Tom Taylor, Aphorisms to the Individual: Notes for my Sons
Most religions focus on the ultimate ‘truth’. There seem to be different versions of this.
Edward De Bono, H+ (Plus) A New Religion?
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 25th, 2014
The Mark of the Devil by William Mortensen at The Grotesque Eroticism of William Mortensen’s Lost Photography — Larry Lytle, VICE
Here are some top gatherum posts from the BBS this week:
“When one contemplates the marvel of sculptured sound on a graphophonic record, and realizes that from the cold vorticity of line there may magically spring the golden lilt of the greatest song voice that the world has ever heard, then comes the conviction that we are living in the days of white magic.”
“In 1945, workers at Brown University’s biology department were clearing out storage space when they stumbled on a giant trove of natural and ethnographic specimens and artifacts. The collection had belonged to the Jenks Museum of Natural History and Anthropology, founded at the school in 1871 and dismantled in 1915 to make way for new classrooms. Inexplicably, the workers drove 92 truckloads worth of the carefully curated objects to the banks of the Seekonk River, where they unloaded them into a common dump.
Now, the collection has been resurrected from that mire by “The Jenks Society for Lost Museums” — a group of students and professors from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design — with the help of artist Mark Dion. Like previous attempts to reimagine destroyed museums, their three collaborative installations, on view at Rhode Island Hall, recreates parts of the museum while challenging assumptions about permanence in museum work.”
“Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of him—he was written into a footnote by the “straight photography” school of the 1950s, and referred to as “the Antichrist” by Ansel Adams, a tag that stuck after Anton LaVey dedicated The Satanic Bible to him. Primarily known as a Hollywood portrait artist, he developed a myriad of pre-Photoshop special effects to craft grotesque, erotic, and mystical images. This fall, Feral House will release [American Grotesque: The Life and Art of William Mortensen], a monograph on his occult photography.”
“Contrary to the Cardinal’s statement, Vodou is not Haiti’s problem; Christianity is. No push to spread Vodou ever wiped out entire “savage” indigenous peoples. Vodou has caused no wars due to a desire to convert as many people as possible. Vodou doesn’t tell “saved souls” that they must be complacent, accepting their lot on Earth for the potential of future salvation in heaven. Vodou never told Black people they were a curse or 3/5ths of a person.
Vodou is of the belief system that sustained our ancestors across the Middle Passage, during the brutality of the plantation, and through the victories of slave rebellions. Haiti should never apologize for it.
Christianity and the West’s real problem with Vodou is that, like the Maroons who practiced it, it remains elusive to those who would aim to profit off of it, package it, and control it.”
“A treasure trove of Winfield history was recently discovered in the dilapidated two-story building at 1307 Main, just north of the Dawson Monument Company.
Realtors Jeff Albright and Jeff Everhart found a trunk upstairs full of records and memorabilia from the former black Masonic lodge here. They also found the lodge’s gavel.”
“In its heyday, the Winfield lodge hosted a gathering of individual chapters of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Kansas, the organization of black Masonic lodges in the state. The event took place Aug. 20-21, 1917. An estimated 200 Masons attended from around the state.”
“With roots going back to the medieval guilds of stonemasons, Freemasonry is the oldest initiatory society in the West not dependant on a religious institution. Having lodges in virtually every major city in most parts of the world, it has changed from an originally British institution to a worldwide phenomenon with a wide range of local idiosyncratic features and characteristics. Numbering millions of active members it is also the largest fraternal organization in the world, still managing to attract new members in the postmodern society of the twenty-first century. The continued presence and development of Freemasonry with its rich diversity in practices and interpretations, raises the question what it is that makes such an old phenomenon seem relevant to so many diverse people for over three hundred years? There is no single answer to the question, but part of it surely rests on the fact that despite its emphasis on tradition, transmission and authority, Freemasonry has always been a non-dogmatic organisation in the sense that its rituals, symbols and practices have not had official and final interpretations. On the contrary, Freemasonry is characterised by a striking diversity of interpretation—it is thus possible to find purely moral interpretations of its central symbols, but also scientific, psychological, esoteric, political, philosophical, religious etc. interpretations of the same symbols—a fact that will become more than apparent by reading the various chapters of this handbook.”
“He described a data set he was putting together that defined textual cross references found in the Bible. He had already done considerable work visualizing the data before contacting me. Together, we struggled to find an elegant solution to render the data, more than 63,000 cross references in total. As work progressed, it became clear that an interactive visualization would be needed to properly explore the data, where users could zoom in and prune down the information to manageable levels. Together, we struggled to find an elegant solution to render the data, more than 63,000 cross references in total. As work progressed, it became clear that an interactive visualization would be needed to properly explore the data, where users could zoom in and prune down the information to manageable levels. However, this was less interesting to us, as several Bible-exploration programs existed that offered similar functionality (and much more). Instead we set our sights on the other end of the spectrum – something more beautiful than functional. At the same time, we wanted something that honored and revealed the complexity of the data at every level – as one leans in, smaller details should become visible. This ultimately led us to the multi-colored arc diagram you see below.”
“Now, computer programmer Daniel G. Taylor has taken all that data and turned it into a visual masterpiece.
His website, BibViz (Bible Visualization), gives you the same linking arcs as before, but when you hover over one of them, it lights up and tells you in the upper right-hand corner of the screen which verses are being linked together. Click on an arc and it takes you directly to those verses as compiled in the Skeptics Annotated Bible:”
“This thesis compares and contrasts what could be considered two psycho-spiritual traditions: analytical psychology and the Western Esoteric Tradition. A common link between these two traditions is the use of symbols and metaphors of wholeness, specifically the sefirot of the Western Esoteric Tree of Life.”
“Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. We already knew about two types, Shewanella and Geobacter. Now, biologists are showing that they can entice many more out of rocks and marine mud by tempting them with a bit of electrical juice. Experiments growing bacteria on battery electrodes demonstrate that these novel, mind-boggling forms of life are essentially eating and excreting electricity.”
“Baleen and sperm whales act like ecosystem engineers in the global ocean, according to a new study from the University of Vermont. Whales help maintain the global ecological balance due, in part, to the release of vast quantities of feces.
A new study examined decades of research on the marine mammals and their role in maintaining the balance of life in oceans.”
“We both agree that science is at present limited by assumptions that restrict enquiry, and we agree that there are major unsolved problems about consciousness, cosmology and other areas of science… I am proposing testable hypotheses that could take us forward and open up new frontiers of scientific enquiry.”
“What astounds me is how ignorance has played into turning Aleister Crowley into a myth instead of a historical figure. Instead of being known as a educated man who was a freethinker that went against the norm he goes down as a Satanist […] This is due to how close-minded the masses are now and how they were then. That is why this bio-pic is so brilliant and powerful. It sheds light on one of the most misunderstood figures in history.”
“Disregard the angry clamour of the lying masses; avoid the uninitiated mob, and you will know happiness and the truth that is revealed to few.”
“It is not the goal of the library to make money. Nor is it the goal of the library to create levels of service so that those who can afford to indulge will receive more while those who can’t, don’t. Instead, libraries work to ensure their services reach as many facets of their community as possible. Libraries want to offer what they can to those who have nothing and those who maybe have everything.
The library is the center and the heart of community.”
If you’d like to participate in the Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS.
Selections from the Husia: Sacred Wisdom of Ancient Egypt by Maulana Karenga, from University of Sankore Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“The primary aim of this volume is to provide a brief representative selection of ancient Egyptian sacred literature which can serve as a readable and enjoyable reference for those interested specifically in ancient Egyptian and African sacred literature in general whether sacred or secular. In this brief selection we read the earliest written record of the dawning of humanity’s structured consciousness concerning spirituality and ethics. And we find for the first time in human history the concepts of:
· Maat (truth, justice and rightness)
· Humans in the image of God
· Human Dignity
· Judgement after death
· Immortality of the soul
· Free will
· Human equality
· Social justice” — back cover
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for March 19th, 2014
“Equipped with ‘VI technology’ which combines a deep depth of field lens, CCD linear image sensor and high directivity LED lamp, SV600 is able to minimize unevenness in image quality and generate a smooth image even when scanning from a distance.”
“Why a v-cradle and not a flat bed.
For two reasons: First, you cannot spread the books flat and if you do, the quality of reproduced pages will be compromised. It is especially important if you plan to OCR the book. Second, you avoid light reflections. You need only one lamp with a diffuser just over the v-cradle (picture attached). Lighting is the most difficult part of reproduction. Over the years, I have tried various setups with my semi-professional Manfrotto repro stand and four lamps at 45 degree angle. It doesn’t come close to an overhead lamp and v-cradle. Avoid any other light in the room or take everything to your terrace and shoot at the sunlight with no artificial light.”
“The SSOC now clocks in at 2700+ titles: more than 1.3 million pages of indexed Spiritualist and occult non-fiction from the 1790s until 1940.
Release 2.0 provides more than 500 new and updated titles, and marks the beginning of the re-indexing of the SSOC using a third-party embedded indexing engine superior to the Adobe Acrobat in-built OCR facility, for higher-fidelity searches.”
“Archaeologists have unearthed an ancient staff carved with two realistic human faces in southern Syria.
The roughly 9,000-year-old artifact was discovered near a graveyard where about 30 people were buried without their heads — which were found in a nearby living space.”
“[Karl-James] Langford said a monastic community lived close to the area and the bones appeared to be from a man in his late 20s, in good health.
‘I would say they belong to a monk from the 1200s — due to previous archaeological digs in the past, the depth of the bones in the cliff and the history of the area.
He would likely be buried with nothing except two shroud rings which would have held his burial shroud in place at the head and feet.'”
“From the outside, the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran, seems like a fairly traditional house of worship — but it’s hiding a gorgeously colorful secret.”
Photo: Omid Jafarnezhad
“Today’s post returns to a similar theme: Anti-witch remedies and witch-tests in early 19th-century Ohio. This story–half dire description of lunacy and half Monty Python sketch–comes from the village of Bethel in Clermont County.”
“In an unexpected incident worthy of the Spanish inquisition, a couple in eastern Siberia decided their acquaintance was a witch and attempted to burn her alive, though police stopped the impromptu auto-da-fe.
The rescue came not a moment too soon, as the couple were at that moment forcing the alleged witch headfirst into a burning stove in an abandoned building, Zabaikalsky region police said Thursday.”
“Whosoeuer first in the morning drinketh garlicke and Cockes blood hee need not fear venome.”
“What Discordian events are near you?”
“Throughout his life, Crowley was asking himself questions, and he encouraged his students and readers to ask questions. This included questions about the things they read, the rituals they performed, the conditions of their magical work, and even to interrogate the entities they invoked. He embraced the method of science, and thus he embraced questions more than answers. I often challenge myself to remember this in my own work.”
“Another group of occultists that we’re associated with had asked for some help with a demonstration of the vowel sounds (I, E, A, O, U) that Pete Carroll uses to build the various banishing rituals in his writing. As with many things in life it’s one thing to read a ritual text and another to see, hear and participate in it for oneself.”
“Magical tools can be found in all sorts of strange places these days. From conversations about turning your potpourri warmer into a slow-burning witchy cauldron, to using your iPod as a divinatory device, people are getting witchy where they can these days. In bygone eras our witchy ancestry, so we’re led to believe, used what they had on handle — the broom, the cauldron, the sickle — because it’s what they had. Not because a broom is more magical or special than any other household object.
And so, with all that very serious background, let’s make magic with socks!”
“The best way to get a feel for the Enochian entities is to look at Dee’s journals. What you see there are years of promises unkept. The angels promised power, the power that makes empires and tears down thrones. They also promised a complete system. They never delivered on any of it to Dee. After you have feasted on Dee’s disappointments, move on to Crowley’s The Vision and the Voice and the collected work of Benjamin Rowe. All else aside, what you will see is what Rowe realized very early on. The Enochian entities are very good at playing up to your expectations and saying precisely what you need to hear to keep you interested even when it’s not what you expect. This is a danger in magic in general, but the Enochian entities are masters of the genre.”
“Two value logic (Ie, True or False) while a highly useful way of thinking manages to darken one’s view of possible alternate ways of thinking and perceiving the world around them. When we become habitually addicted to the categorization of all information as either Totally Existing or Totally Not-Existing we become sloppy, lazy thinkers who are prone to building a self-gratifying personal cosmology. When the two-value system is used in its right way it is simply a systematic approach to what I call ‘the cosmic binary’.”
“Robert Proctor doesn’t think ignorance is bliss. He thinks that what you don’t know can hurt you. And that there’s more ignorance around than there used to be, and that its purveyors have gotten much better at filling our heads with nonsense.”
“As a social historian, I still like to think that we can know something about past cultures. However, if I’ve learned anything from my method & theory exemplars over the years, it is to appreciate the value of stepping back and ‘studying the study of.’ Indeed, this theoretical standpoint is a subtext in nearly all my teaching and much of my scholarship. How the past is shaped, directed, juxtaposed, and selectively presented is perhaps far more insightful to the student in religious studies than the actual ‘facts’ (events, persons, things, etc) – even if those ‘facts’ are not in dispute per se.”
“So I have been working upstream most of my career, swimming against a current that is much stronger than I am. I guess I like the challenge, or I wouldn’t keep doing it. I have spent a lot of time within the Nag Hammadi texts, reconstructing the worlds of the authors, which are not crazy once you learn their references and points of view. The Gnostics from antiquity were anything but crazy, inconsequential or irrational. But they were different. And difference often leads to misunderstanding.”
“An Israeli scholar turned up the previously unexamined parchments, which had escaped the notice of academics and archaeologists as they focused on their other extraordinary finds in the 1950s. Once opened, the minuscule phylactery parchments from Qumran, while unlikely to yield any shattering historic, linguistic or religious breakthroughs, could shed new light on the religious practices of Second Temple Judaism.”
“We might find, as well, echoes of the Warlock and Truth-Breaker in Aleister Crowley’s concept of the curse of the Magus. The curse of the Magus is that she must always lie. Having achieved a level of transcendence beyond the dualistic structure of the phenomenal universe, all things are both truth and false for the Magus. As such, language itself is inadequate to capture the understanding (Binah) and wisdom (Chokmah) that the Magus has achieved and so all linguistic statements and teachings are a lie. We are clearly dealing here with a discussion of the nature of the Magus on the mystical register. The experience to which she is privy is beyond the grasp of word or image, as is the case with most mystical experience.”
“A thicker cortex associated with a high importance of religion or spirituality may confer resilience to the development of depressive illness in individuals at high familial risk for major depression, possibly by expanding a cortical reserve that counters to some extent the vulnerability that cortical thinning poses for developing familial depressive illness.”
“One of the worst killers of brain cells is stress […] Stress causes high levels of cortisol, and cortisol is toxic to the hippocampus. One way to reduce stress is through prayer. When you’re praying and in the zone you feel a peace of mind and tranquility.”
“Occult revivals that are bubbling up in Brooklyn and in other pockets across the country have ushered in something of a Golden Age for small-press, metaphysical publishing houses. ‘That’s sort of the new wave of occult books: a re-evaluation of occult book as tome, and as talisman.’ [Phillip] English tells me. ‘Occultists or magicians, they tend to be collectors … They can appreciate the sort of art and magic that went into the work itself.’ Which isn’t to say that all members of the occult community buy into the idea of book-as-talisman. Phil Hine, a British occultist who has written several books on a practice called Chaos Magic, is among the witches and magicians who have questioned the value of ornately bound hard covers to magical rites. ‘Generally, I buy books because of the content,’ he writes on his blog. ‘Presentation is a secondary consideration.'”
“Rebecca Goldstein has written a timely book about our own age by taking us back to an earlier age—that of the ancient Greeks. She wants to know what the works of Plato can teach us about the life worth living, about politics, child rearing, love and sex, about knowledge and reality, brain and mind, truth, goodness, and beauty. Ms. Goldstein’s book is felicitously written, impressively researched, insightful, important, entertaining and glowing with intelligence. Plato is brought marvelously to life, and, as a welcome corollary, philosophy is vindicated against what Ms. Goldstein aptly labels the ‘philosophy-jeerers’—those who rashly claim that philosophy has no intellectual substance or future in this scientific era.”
“Son of God gives oxygen to a claim that early church leaders denounced as historically and theologically false because it contradicts the earliest accounts of Jesus’ life. The movie’s portrayal of Jesus’ Last Supper with the disciples creates the impression that Jesus ordered Judas to betray him.
They aren’t the first to do that. An ancient Gnostic sect known as the Cainites honored traditional villains such as Cain and Judas, praising the latter as the closest confidant of Jesus, according to the second-century church father Irenaeus of Lyons.”
“A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.
Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that ‘the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.’ Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to ‘precipitous collapse — often lasting centuries — have been quite common.'”
“When the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced a press conference for a “Major Discovery” (capital letters in the original e-mail) involving an unspecified experiment, rumors began to fly immediately. By Friday afternoon, the rumors had coalesced around one particular observatory: the BICEP microwave telescope located at the South Pole. Over the weekend, the chatter focused on a specific issue: polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background left over from the Big Bang. With the start of the press conference, it’s now clear that we’ve detected the first direct evidence of the inflationary phase of the Big Bang, in which the Universe expanded rapidly in size.”
“One night late in 1979, an itinerant young physicist named Alan Guth, with a new son and a year’s appointment at Stanford, stayed up late with his notebook and equations, venturing far beyond the world of known physics.
He was trying to understand why there was no trace of some exotic particles that should have been created in the Big Bang. Instead he discovered what might have made the universe bang to begin with.”
“A new study of pollen samples extracted from tropical forests in southeast Asia suggests humans have shaped these landscapes for thousands of years. Although scientists previously believed the forests were virtually untouched by people, researchers are now pointing to signs of imported seeds, plants cultivated for food, and land clearing as early as 11,000 years ago—around the end of the last Ice Age.
The study, to be published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Archaeological Science comes from researchers led by paleoecologist Chris Hunt, of Queen’s University, Belfast, who analyzed existing data and examined samples from Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Thailand and Vietnam.”
“We can redream this world and make the dream come real. Human beings are gods hidden from themselves.”
“The Ram, the Bull, the Heavenly Twins,
And next the Crab, the Lion shines —
The Virgin and the Scales,
The Scorpion, Archer, and the Goat,
The Man that Bears the Watering Pot,
And Fish with glittering tails.”
“This attractive pack commemorating the history of freemasonry has the Kings as masters of the lodge, the Queens and Jacks are other masonic officers while the Jokers are two operative masons. The deck contains two interpretation cards explaining the meaning of the Masonic symbolism.”
“I want to go home. I already HAD the ‘magic surgery.’ They put a monster in me.”
“The skeletons of six cats, including four kittens, found in an Egyptian cemetery may push back the date of cat domestication in Egypt by nearly 2,000 years.
“The Master of Truth in Archaic Greece traces the odyssey of ‘truth,’ Alētheia, from mythoreligious to philosophical thought in archaic Greece. Marcel Detienne’s starting point is a simple observation: In archaic Greece, three figures — the diviner, the bard, and the king — all share the privilege of dispensing truth by virtue of the religious power of divine memory which provides them with knowledge, both oracular and inspired, of the present, past, and future. Beginning with this definition of the prerational meaning of truth, Detienne proceeds to elaborate the complex conceptual and historical contexts from which emerges the philosophical notion of truth still influencing Western philosophy today.” — back cover
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together …
Luise Henriette Wilhelmine von Anhalt-Dessau as Diana, 1765 [via]
“‘Most people here, I imagine, love to read,’ she continued. ‘[The esoteric] really encourages that kind of bibliomania. And if you’re someone who loves to read, you’re also someone who is comfortable being an autodidact, comfortable seeking out knowledge externally and also within yourself. And [you trust] the patterns that that weaves, as opposed to relying on someone else to tell you what wisdom is or what divinity is.'”
“‘My take on it is, [occultists] aren’t necessarily interested in a truth or a singular truth,’ he said. ‘I think they’re interested in a consensus-based or consensual, metaphorical set of constructs that become truth-like.’ He viewed his community as being a place of infinite individual systems of reading, practice and belief — combined and coalesced only by their commitment to individual agency.”
“Which brings us to the fuzzy ‘between spaces’ where apophenia meets synchromysticism. Given that old gods regularly become new angels, then new goddesses may become largely-hoax angels. And so I see the goddess Apophenia hiding behind the Angel of the Thames.”
“Muriel Bruce Hasbrouck (1890 — 1981) was a student of both Paul Foster Case and Aleister Crowley. She dedicated her book to these two men, a lesser-known book entitled Pursuit of Destiny, written in 1941. … Here are her keywords for the Minor Arcana Suits and Numbers. […] So, by putting these keywords together, you can see how they create meanings for each of the forty Minor Arcana.”
“A Tellurium clock combines both clock and orrery in a single movement. Last week I received pictures from Marc Maradan of a Tellurium clock he is working on. Marc is a process engineer based near Bern in Switzerland.
Inspired by a 2006 documentary on the Antikythera mechanism he set out to build his own Heliocentric calendar machine. He produced his designs using open source CAD software and manufactures all the components himself (no CNC machining) using only the technology available to the ancient Greeks.”
The Tellurium Clock of Marc Maradan at The Computus Engine [larger]
“[…] investigators also identified deeper causes, one of which involved what some accident-investigation specialists have dubbed the ‘normalization of deviance’ — small malfunctions that appear so often that eventually they are accepted as normal […]”
“Systemic problems require systemic solutions, and thinking the radical change necessary to preserve what life remains on the planet is possible without the complete removal of the system that is killing us, is futile.”
“In 1918 Weber had proclaimed that all ‘mysterious incalculable forces’ were being eradicated from the world by science and scientifically based technologies. Entzauberung — literally the disappearance of magic (Zauber) — signified a new mentality in which modern people believed that anything around them could, in principle, be comprehended rationally, and that no offerings to capricious deities or magical manipulations of occult forces were needed to master the world.
‘Magic’, however, failed to disappear. Whether we are talking about self-designated modern magicians coming out of the various currents of occultism and neopaganism, or about that vague and poorly defined set of ‘occult’ and ‘supernatural’ beliefs and practices that somehow will not fit neat categories such as ‘religion’ or ‘science’, ‘magic’, in fact, seems to thrive at the heart of high modernity. Some have even connected the resilience of the ‘mysterious incalculable forces’ to the secularization process itself […]”
“Inner life manifests itself in various elements and conglomerations of external life, especially in those almost imperceptible surface data which form an essential part of screen treatment. In recording the visible world—whether current reality or an imaginary universe—films therefore provide clues to hidden mental processes. […] Films are particularly inclusive because their ‘visible hieroglyphics’ supplement the testimony of their stories proper. And permeating both the stories and the visuals, the ‘unseen dynamics of human relations’ are more or less characteristic of the inner life of the nation from which the films emerge.”
“This fascinating documentary explores the genesis of one of cinema’s greatest epics that never was: cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s (EL TOPO) adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic Dune, whose cast would have included such icons as Salvador Dali, Orson Welles and Mick Jagger. In 1975, following the runaway success of his art-house freak-outs EL TOPO and HOLY MOUNTAIN, Alejandro Jodorowsky secured the rights to Frank Herbert’s Dune — and began work on what was gearing up to be a cinematic game-changer, a sci-fi epic unlike anything the world had ever seen.”
“Life, to me, is mainly about opposite forces coexisting in the same space (this being a binary universe, and all): light and dark and the play of shadows across landscapes; tension and flexibility and all the combinations of the two; power, or the confidence that comes with great ability, and the understanding that comes at some point that no matter how skilled you are, you are still small. Humility, and sense of purpose. Holding on, and letting go. Doing what you can, and at the same time surrendering oneself to the constant movement that is life.”
“Occasionally, we are walking along our path, and we forget who we are. We forget that the tugging pulling us forward is the longing of heart and soul. We get caught in the pattern of habit and assumption. We forget we had intention. We forget we play a vital part in the world. We need reminders that life itself holds magic.”
“‘For 20 years I researched the fathers of the Ouija board,’ [Robert] Murch said. ‘Turns out, it had a mother.'”
Ouida aka Maria Louise Ramée
“Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.
‘This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,’ said Andrew Hodges, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University who has been following the work.
The revelation that particle interactions, the most basic events in nature, may be consequences of geometry significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate quantum field theory, the body of laws describing elementary particles and their interactions. Interactions that were previously calculated with mathematical formulas thousands of terms long can now be described by computing the volume of the corresponding jewel-like ‘amplituhedron,’ which yields an equivalent one-term expression.”
“In summary, [Joanna Kavenna] says, ‘being a writer stopped being the way it had been for ages — the way I expected it to be — and became something different.”
That ‘difference’ amounts to a revolution. To writers of my generation, who grew up in the age of Penguin books, vinyl records and the BBC, it’s as if a cultural ecology has been wiped out. […] It was a mutually dependent ecosystem.”
“In 1979, William S Burroughs delivered a series of lectures on creative writing (though he insisted that he was teaching creative reading — that is, analyzing the writing process by reading, because everyone can be taught to read, but only some will be able to write) at Naropa University. Three of these lectures, running to over four hours, are up on Youtube, covering writing exercises, Brion Gysin, Aleister Crowley, science fiction, General Semantics, and cut-ups.”
“The rabbis explained to me that it was their duty to determine the nature of the interest of prospective buyers before selling any copies of the newly printed work.”
“LibraryBox is an open source, portable digital file distribution tool based on inexpensive hardware that enables delivery of educational, healthcare, and other vital information to individuals off the grid.”
“The Swinburne Project is a digital collection and scholarly project devoted to the life and work of Victorian poet Algernon Charles Swinburne and to digital encounters with Swinburne’s works and related documents and information resources.”
“The Emma Hardinge Britten Archive is an open source scholarly archive containing primary material for students of Emma Hardinge Britten. Materials include annotated editions of all major EHB texts, bibliographies of primary and secondary material, a short biographical summary of EHB’s life, chronologies with backing evidentiary records, various artifacts of EHB’s life, and papers and articles on topics in EHB scholarship.”
“Years back, when a small group of us were trying to get a decent run of some of the fundamental Theosophical periodicals online, a discussion broke out among the team doing the digitization scut work under the heading “mission, vision, values” (you know, the sort of thing that would occasion a high-ropes offsite, with too much drinking, in a corporate setting) and one of the participants wrote that he thought the only common belief the team needed to share was the belief that the material in question was in danger, hard to come by for ordinary seekers and readers, and worth preserving.
Damned good sense, I thought. Focus on what we agree on, and leave your hermeneutics in the car.”
“The IAPSOP is a US-based non-profit organization focused on the digital preservation of Spiritualist and occult periodicals published between the Congress of Vienna and the start of the Second World War.”
“Yet, while LGBT Americans are the current target of this effort to repackage prejudice as ‘religious liberty,’ they are hardly the first. To the contrary, as Wake Forest law Professor Michael Kent Curtis explained in a 2012 law review article, many segregationists justified racial bigotry on the very same grounds that religious conservatives now hope to justify anti-gay animus. In the words of one professor at a prominent Mississippi Baptist institution, ‘our Southern segregation way is the Christian way … [God] was the original segregationist.'”
“70% of Millennials think: ‘Religious groups are ‘alienating young adults by being too judgmental on gay and lesbian issues.””
“1 in 3 Millennials say they have no religious affiliation at all.”
“Everybody knows that the Tea Party has structured their political platform on the teachings of Jesus Christ. Tea Party Jesus has a lot of political views. Unfortunately, after a little journalistic digging, we have uncovered some facts that may make a few members of the Religious Right a teeny, tiny bit uncomfortable…”
“The authors, all Jesus Seminar Fellows, agreed on several points:
· Jesus of Nazareth did not refer to himself as the Messiah, nor did he claim to be a divine being who descended to earth from heaven in order to die as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
· At the heart of Jesus’ teaching and actions was a vision of a life under the reign of God (or, in the empire of God) in which God’s generosity and goodness is regarded as the model and measure of human life.
· Jesus did not hold an apocalyptic view of the reign (or kingdom) of God”
“Always worth a pause is consideration of whether one greater enemy of Christianity, Gnosticism is an eradicated virus or a recurring outbreak of disease in our body. While it is difficult to arrive at a settled definition of Gnosticism, it can be thought of as an influenza which takes various forms.”
“Gnostics were trying, each in their own way, to indigenize Christianity in the Greco-Roman world by marrying it to platonic cosmology and cutting the chord [sic] from its Jewish roots.”
“If you answered ‘B’ to any question, then not only is your religious liberty not at stake, but there is a strong chance that you are oppressing the religious liberties of others. This is the point where I would invite you to refer back to the tenets of your faith, especially the ones about your neighbors.”
“The stench from your houses of worship is wafting its way across this country, polluting citizenship, demoralizing parents and families, mocking accountability and blaspheming the Holy God whom you say you love and worship. If that offends you, try reading Amos.”
“The time is not always ripe. It may be past, it may be still to come. But woe to the church if when the time does come it is silent…”
“Close your eyes, and visualise yourself standing in the middle of the country of Ukraine — somewhere near Cherkasy (see map). Now imagine that your astral form grows to a colossal height — so much so, that you can look round and see all of the territory of Ukraine around you.”
“Could this be part of Cantre’r Gwaelod, a mythical kingdom believed to have disappeared beneath the waves thousands of years ago? Has Wales’s very own Atlantis been found? […] It was buried under a peat bog 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, then inundated by rising sea levels until this winter’s violent storms stripped away the covering of peat and sand.”
A Way of Seeing: Perception, Imagination, and Poetry by John Allison, the 2003 first edition paperback from Lindisfarne, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“We usually think of imagination as a fanciful, whimsical faculty that has little to do with reality and truth. This beautifully written little book by the poet John Allison shows how ordinary imagination can be intensified to become an organ of cognition — a path of development to real knowing.
John Allison shows how poetry — poetic knowing and seeing — can reveal aspects of the world invisible to science. Three lucid chapters describe the path to true imagination, where attention is the key. First we must practice is, then we must become aware of the processes involved in it. Learning to experience ‘poise,’ we must come to terms with the shadow — all that says ‘No’ in us. The combination of attention, equanimity, and assent opens the world in a new way.
Allison then examines how poets have actually developed and practiced the kind of ‘deep seeing’ that ‘image work’ involves. For this he draws on Shakespeare, Blake, Coleridge, Keats, Goethe, Novalis, Ruskin, Hopkins, Rilke, and Octavio Paz.
The book concludes with a sequence of the author’s own poems that exemplify the philosophy and practice he has been unfolding.” — back cover
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.