He had to be smarter. He had to use the magic with a little wisdom, instead of haphazardly.
Elizabeth Engstrom, Benediction Denied: A Labyrinth of Souls Novel
He had to be smarter. He had to use the magic with a little wisdom, instead of haphazardly.
Elizabeth Engstrom, Benediction Denied: A Labyrinth of Souls Novel
“Everyone admits that we have reached the summit of wisdom, scaled the loftiest pinnacles of morality, put the crown of perfection upon the cranium of progress, and everyone knows perfectly well how this remarkable result has been achieved. But at the first hint that anyone proposes to take a step farther on this road, he is universally set down as a lunatic of the most dangerous type. However, the most savage Lolos are content with that diagnosis, whereas the most enlightened English add that the pioneer is not only a lunatic but a pervert, degenerate, anarchist an the rest of it—whatever terms of abuse chance to be in fashion. The abolition of slavery, humane treatment of the insane, the restriction of the death penalty to serious offences, and of indiscriminate flogging, the admission of Jews, Catholics, Dissenters and women as citizens, the introduction of the use of chloroform and antiseptics, the application of stem to travel, and of mechanical principles to such arts as spinning and printing, the systematic study of nature, the extension of the term poetry to metres other than the heroic, the recognition of painting other than voluptuous coloured photographs as art, and of music other than classical melody as art—these and a thousand similar innovations have all been denounced as chimerical, blasphemous, obscene, seditious, anti-social and what not.”
— Chapter 55 from Confessions
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 16th, 2014
Hannah Kunkle’s Controversial Project Turns Kim Kardashian Into The Devil, The Virgin Mary And Even Jesus — Victoria Casal-Data, Beautiful/Decay
“Perhaps in time to come the so-called Dark Ages may include our own.”
“As I began to write my forthcoming novel Venus in Winter, I found an article about the practices common in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries of placing a shoe within a wall or of concealing other collections of items as ‘witch deposits’ that intended to deflect malevolent spirits or witches’ curses. Witch deposits might include ‘lucky’ items such as family heirlooms or objects associated with someone considered spiritually powerful. Another purpose for witch deposits may have been the desire of the householders to leave their mark after they were dead and gone.”
“The priests inveighing against these charms were particularly intent on discouraging the use of magical characters (alphabetic or sigilic writing that conveys spiritual power). They sometimes waxed poetic: ‘The demon slithers in the characters like the serpent beneath the flowers.’ This ties nicely into his statement that ‘the unknown always inspires the Church with fear.’
Lecouteux summarizes part of this history thus: ‘Implicit in the background are notions of natural, licit magic and illicit black magic,’ ((p. 30)) after giving one of many examples of a churchman condemning the talismanic art as being an implicit pact with a demon, a pattern which, as he points out, is ‘commonly repeated throughout the sixteenth century.’ What this means to me is that the Faustian current which arose in early modern magick didn’t just appear without help. Apparently, it is as possible to call an egregore into being by constant execration as by constant evocation!
“Representatives of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) stated that they will destroy the Kaaba after they capture Saudi Arabia, APA reports quoting Turkish media that ISIS wants to take control of the city of Arar in Saudi Arabia and start operations there.
ISIS member Abu Turab Al Mugaddasi said that they would destroy the Kaaba in Mecca: ‘If Allah wills, we will kill those who worship stones in Mecca and destroy the Kaaba. People go to Mecca to touch the stones, not for Allah.'”
“Readymake: Duchamp Chess Set is a 3D-printed chess set generated from an archival photograph of Marcel Duchamp’s own custom and hand-carved game. His original physical set no longer exists. We have resurrected the lost artifact by digitally recreating it, and then making the 3D files available for anyone to print.
Inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s readymade — an ordinary manufactured object that the artist selected and modified for exhibition – the readymake brings the concept of the appropriated object to the realm of the internet, exploring the web’s potential to re-frame information and data, and their reciprocal relationships to matter and ideas. Readymakes transform photographs of objects lost in time into shared 3D digital spaces to provide new forms and meanings.”
“This journal chronicles a deeply personal voyage of self-discovery that Jung did not wish to be published while he was alive for fear that the book could ruin his professional and personal life, and that people would think him mentally unstable. However, it’s the belief of Jungian scholar Sonu Shamdasani that Jung intended for this work to eventually be published. Shamdasani points to the fact that Jung’s journal is addressed, ‘dear friends,’ and that that he would often lend the journal to friends and patients during his lifetime. After Jung died in 1961, his heirs were reluctant to release the contents of the book, and kept it stored away in a bank vault in Switzerland. It took Shamdasani 3 years to convince his heirs to allow The Red Book to be published, and an additional 13 years for the entirety of the calligraphic text to be translated from German to English.”
“In this technological age, there are few places that cannot be reached in relative ease and comfort. For a pilgrimage, however, the journey is as important as the destination. […] You gain much by connecting with the environment through which you are travelling. It lends context to the site you are visiting as well deepening the sense of achievement felt at the end.”
“As I usually say, if one is lucky, one gets old. One of the goals of traditional magic has always been to extend life. For a Vedic yogi ‘immortality’ meant a lifespan of 100 years or more, as average lifespans of 40 or 50 years rolled on by. For many of my generation, and many more of those just following, 100 years will be achieved by the magic of modern culture and scientific medicine, far more effectively than it was ever managed by sorcery or alchemy.
But, as they say, ‘Eat right, achieve wisdom, die anyway.’ Our spans are not determined by our effort, but by the capricious (or sneaky) cutting of the thread, the song ended in a half-measure, the nail-flick of a passing giant. To this annoyingly unfair reality, we can only respond with resignation. Our fate is not in our hands.”
“During the conference banquet, some of the conference participants were wondering if there’s a collective noun for Gower scholars, and Brian Gastle joked that it should be called a ‘recension of Gowerians.’ On the last day of the conference I expanded Gastle’s joke on twitter and Facebook and other people began submitting their own suggestions for other collective nouns for medievalists.”
“A troop of Anglo-Saxonists
A roundtable of Arthurians
An orientation of cartographers
A compaignye of Chaucerians
A gathering of codicologists
A circle of Dante scholars
A Swerve of Shakespeareans
A fellowship of Tolkienists”
“Stretched and bound over wooden frames, the animal pelts of Australian artist Ruth Marshall are so utterly realistic looking that it is difficult to believe that they are not in fact fur and hide. Constructed out of knitted yarn, they compel us to consider the endangered species killed and skinned by poachers and collectors.”
“One of the common misunderstandings when you tell people that you are a Gnostic is that they hear the more familiar word ‘Agnostic.’ (This becomes quite amusing when they mishear ‘Agnostic Priest,’ or ‘Agnostic Eucharist.’) This becomes a good opportunity to elucidate one of the truisms of contemporary Gnosticism: You have to be an Agnostic before you can become a Gnostic.”
“What I love about this is whereas what I do is essentially translating mystical concepts for a generation of kids raised on crap like VICE and stoner comedy, he takes a vastly more scientific approach.”
“Perhaps it might seem strange to some that I wasn’t seeing this all in a Wiccan shop or Occult store. Perhaps where I found these things may seem even more strange: an Anarchist café in Seattle.
But this shouldn’t sound strange at all. Paganism and its beliefs mirror the struggle of Anarchists, and the indigenous activists who host ancestor prayers at that same cafe, and the queer trans* folk who hold meetings and organize protests against corporate pride events or the killing of a man who didn’t have correct fare on the light rail.”
“They are fighting against hegemonic control of existence, the limiting of human life itself; against the structures which displace people from the earth, disconnecting them from the strength and influence of spirits and ancestors, and turn humans into consumers and producers and subjects of hegemonic control of the powerful. And particularly, they are all fighting against the crushing oppression wrought upon the world by Capitalism.
We should be too, if our beliefs are more than mere opinion.”
“Like a Golem, a corporation is made by words; its articles of incorporation once signed and seal by the Secretary of State bring it to life. At one time ‘life’ might have seemed like hyperbole, but living in the age of the Citizens United ruling, corporations have personhood before the law and with it ‘human’ rights. It will continue doing what it was set up to do unless commanded or forced to stop. This can be very hard to do when those with the power of command are benefiting (making profit) from the creature’s actions. It is effectively immortal, only to stop functioning when it runs out of cash or credit, its life blood so to speak. It can only ‘die’ if it is disbanded by sale, in which case it continues in another form, or experience ‘true’ death by the revocation of its articles of incorporation, which will actually end it. Like the Golem, it will only stop when its words of creation are ‘erased’.”
“The universe is a pretty dark place – but according to astrophysicists it is much too dark.
Scientists have been left scratching their heads after noticing there is a huge deficit of light.”
“Some have written much about whether or not professional clergy is useful to Paganism. Others have written to deride or uphold ‘Big Name Pagans.’ I’m not going to do any of that. What I want to do is talk about the reality of my life. And some hard numbers. I’m offering this to give people a better idea of what we might actually be talking about in the midst of these conversations.
People have asked how I planned my career trajectory. What did I do to end up where I am? My first response is surprised laughter at the question.”
“In the late 1990s two remarkable Bronze Age timber circles were discovered on Holme Beach, Norfolk (East England). One of these popularly known as – ‘Seahenge’ – was excavated in 1998 and 1999.
Since the excavations the second circle has been monitored and evidence of damage by coastal processes has been recorded. In the last year dendrochronological (tree ring) dating has shown the timbers used to build this circle – ‘Holme II’ – were felled in the spring or summer of 2049 BCE, exactly the same time as those used to build ‘Seahenge’ and places the construction of both circles early in the Bronze Age.”
“This question of intersectionality isn’t the first time that science is playing catch-up to traditional knowledge, and it won’t be the last. As Pachamama Alliance’s accompanying blog explains: ‘Scientific research is bringing knowledge of the natural world full circle, offering biological and theoretical authority to the enduring truth of indigenous wisdom.’ Yet, among all of these enduring truths, intersectionality is one of the most central. ‘Perhaps the most universal indigenous perspective is the idea of a world inextricably interconnected, on all levels, and across time,’ the Pachamama Alliance wrote.”
“In an excellent 2013 article, Jonathan Klein lays out the many ways in which cognitive biases undermine the software development process. Whether it’s fundamental attribution error (‘my bugs are easily excusable mistakes, your bugs are the result of unforgivable sloppiness’); confirmation bias (‘that’s enough testing, we know that this works!’); bandwagon effect (‘Bob’s the bull-goose devops person, it would be silly to doubt his views on this software’); hyperbolic discounting (‘a shortcut that saves me a day’s work now is OK, even it costs me ten days’ fixing in a year’) and negativity bias (‘the last time we did this it was a huge pain in the ass, screw it.’)
But more importantly, Klein also suggests ways that you can mitigate these universal biases in your own software development practices — procedures that you can follow to make sure that when your stupid brain tricks you, you can spot the slight of mind.”
“Each age has its visionaries, and the 21st century is no exception.”
“Prophets are by definition those who provide insight into the future. Whether they are secular or religious, all claim superior knowledge and spark either interest, laughter or hostility. They find legitimacy in persecution; but they also deliver messages of hope, justice and the promise of a better future.
The very fact that their predictions leave no-one indifferent points to our subconscious fascination with them. The dominant attitude in our Western societies is generally to dismiss prophets as fools and impostors, relics from the most obscure times in our history. Yet we often forget that new religious movements also appear every year.”
“Today conspiracy theories are a staple aspect of academia, entertainment and politics, though the term conspiracy theory isn’t always applied. There are thousands of conspiracy theory claims made across all forms of media distribution. The vast ocean of information on these subjects is far too great for any individual or even any government to fully absorb.
On that basis, it is crucial that any person or group wishing to explore such matters should begin with a set of reliable information filters and organising principles. You will already have filters and organising principles of your own, but it’s likely that many of those perceptive habits are unconscious. It’s also likely that you have picked up those habits in non-conspiracy theory contexts.”
“However, the type of scepticism we naturally hold unconsciously in our daily interactions with strangers tends to veer towards the idea that some people are simple opportunists trying to make a buck here or there or in some other way take short term advantage of us. We tend to be less adept at defending ourselves against society’s more cunning manipulators, especially the more intelligent ones.”
“When providing directions to a place, web and mobile mapping services are all able to suggest the shortest route. The goal of this work is to automatically suggest routes that are not only short but also emotionally pleasant. To quantify the extent to which urban locations are pleasant, we use data from a crowd-sourcing platform that shows two street scenes in London (out of hundreds), and a user votes on which one looks more beautiful, quiet, and happy. We consider votes from more than 3.3K individuals and translate them into quantitative measures of location perceptions. We arrange those locations into a graph upon which we learn pleasant routes. Based on a quantitative validation, we find that, compared to the shortest routes, the recommended ones add just a few extra walking minutes and are indeed perceived to be more beautiful, quiet, and happy. To test the generality of our approach, we consider Flickr metadata of more than 3.7M pictures in London and 1.3M in Boston, compute proxies for the crowdsourced beauty dimension (the one for which we have collected the most votes), and evaluate those proxies with 30 participants in London and 54 in Boston. These participants have not only rated our recommendations but have also carefully motivated their choices, providing insights for future work.”
If you’d like to participate in the next Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS.
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.
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.”
“Twenty two centuries ago in Alexandria, a sect of philosopher-poets fashioned a myth the strands of which weave through Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Greek philosophy, and inspired the legends of the Holy Grail. Long banished to the realm of notorious heresy, the myths of the Gnostics (‘knowers‘) took root in the fertile imagination of the nineteenth century’s artistic movements and esoteric circles, bearing fruit in the daily spiritual practice of thousands today. In 1945, a library of Gnostic writings surfaced from the Egyptian desert, allowing the movement—after 1500 years of propaganda and slander—to speak with its own voice. Rich in imagery, nostalgic in tone, Gnosticism quietly restores Wisdom to her place as Goddess in Western religion, reveres Eve as the first saint, and acknowledges Mary Magdalene as foremost of the Apostles.” — back cover
The Choronzon Machine: a Multi-media Multi-cultural Multi-subcultural Ritual Opera by the Metamophic Ritual Theatre company, written and more by Orryelle Defenestrate-Bascule (credited on the cover as Orryelle Bascule-Defenestrate), with music by The HarleQuintet, a 2006 DVD of enhanced live performances from 2001, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
I picked this up a few years ago primarily for the track “Melek Taus“, about a figure of importance with the Feri Tradition which I also later found mentioned in relation to Aleister Crowley’s Aiwass, and to a lesser degree because of the name of The HarleQuintet.
“In the ritual theatrickall-musical device we call The Chrononzon Machine the Audience Initiates follow the Fool Initiate’s journey through the Great Wheel of the TARO/ROTA, as he cycles through different refractions of Self as reflected through the archetypes of the Major Arcana. On one level this is a personal journey, as the Fool with a child’s innocence heedlessly plunges past the dweller on the threshold and into the Abyss. Through a series of ordeals he confronts and accepts the shadow of Choronzon as he progressively opens to ever more layers of complexity in the hidden mechanisms of the universe. The journey brings him eventually full circle back to the innocence of Zero but with a new layer of Wisdom and Understanding …
The Play is also socio-historical, as The Fool apprehends the escalating frenzy of ‘progress’ & technology in the post-modern world; which the audience also must deal with. It is they, after all, who are controlling the Machine—putting the 33.3¢ Illuminati coins—collected by the Jackal—in it which make the cogs start turning to generate each new scene of coupled polar cards …
Of course it’s not real, it’s just a Play, an Illusion generated by the Magicians for the Audience—a collectively willed hallucination. Is there a play? Is there a ritual? The HarleQuin de-faced itself. The machine goes on … Civilizations rise & crumble and fall. Were they ever There at All?” — back cover
“The Choronzon Machine Ritual Opera was performed 3.33 times in Melbourne (Australia) on 2001. The original footage of the already spectacular live production is now further enhanced with effects, animations, and diverse studio-recorded music into a feature-length film.” — back cover
From the sum of existence, the body of Nu,
Comes the seat of Wisdom, the mystical two.
The yod is the seed of divine redemption!
I raise up the cup and adore Babalon!
— In Nomine Babalon: 156 Adorations to the Scarlet Goddess
The Hermetic Library arts and letters pool is a project to publish poetry, prose and art that is inspired by or manifests the Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to submit your work for consideration as part of the Arts and Letters pool, contact the librarian.
“IN normal times art and literature take care of themselves. Wisdom is justified of her children. Before we have been dead three hundred years somebody is almost sure to notice it. The great mass of people is a homogeneous mass of brainless idiocy. Men are dumb animals, and women only quack. In times of peace the hack journalists are as inconspicuous as they are insignificant; but when war breaks out the hysteria natural to weak minds becomes vocal, and everybody wants to ‘do his bit’ on one side or the other, by squealing when much the best thing to do would be to bury himself.” [via]