The woman who desires to reduce her flesh cannot do so by reading occult literature, or joining mystic circles, or attending lectures, unless she permeates herself so thoroughly with spiritual truths that she no longer craves six courses at dinner, and three meals a day, and unless she overcomes her dislike for exercise.
There was no secret cave of the wood’s womb
Where we might kiss all day without a start
Of fear that meant to stay and must depart,
Nor any corner where the sea’s perfume
Might shelter love in some wave-carven tomb.
But Maytime shone in us; with words of art
I drew her down reluctant to my heart,
When night was silence and my bed the gloom.
So without sin we took strange sacrament,
Whose wine was kisses, and whose bread the flower
Of fast and fervent cleaving breast to breast.
As lily bend to lily we were bent,
Not as mere man to woman: all the dower
Of martyred Virgins crowned our dangerous quest.
Aleister Crowley, The Sixteenth Day in Alice: an Adultery
I’d only been there a few days when I got myself into another serious mess, undeserved to tell the truth, because this time around I was entirely blameless—whatever you may have heard.
Catalina De Erauso, trans Michele Stepto, Gabri Stepto, Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]
The essence of a Man and Woman—each being a Star or sovereign God poised in Space by its own act—is clothed in thoughts and deeds as is its Nature, hidden by them. This essence is all-worthy; adore it, and the light of all that may be shall be shed upon you.
Aleister Crowley, The Djeridensis Comment on Liber Legis, I, 9
Only an addled woman would despise the ring of such an excellent example of frontiersman quality.
Catherynne M Valente, Six-Gun Snow White
I held my breath at the marvelous beauty of this creature from Soror, who revealed herself to us dripping with spray, illuminated by the blood-red beams of Betelgeuse. It was a woman—a young girl, rather, unless it was a goddess. She boldly asserted her femininity in the light of this monstrous sun, completely naked and without any ornament other than her hair, which hung down to her shoulders.
Pierre Boulle, Planet of the Apes
“We respect woman in the self of Her own nature; we do not arrogate the right to criticise her. We welcome her as our ally, come to our camp as her Will, free-flashing, sword-swinging, hath told Her, Welcome, thou Woman, we hail thee, star shouting to star! Welcome to rout and to revel! Welcome to fray and to feast! Welcome to vigil and victory! Welcome to war with its wounds! Welcome to peace with its pageants! Welcome to lust and to laughter! Welcome to board and to bed! Welcome to trumpet and triumph; welcome to dirge and to death!”
— Aleister Crowley, Every Woman is a Star
A Little World Made Cunningly by Scott David Finch, a 2013 paperback graphic novel, with an afterword by Steven L Davies discussing Gnostic interpretation and parallels, is part of the collection at the Reading Room courtesy of the author.
“At the beginning of this dreamlike graphic novel, a young woman’s sleep is disturbed by a mysterious voice calling in the night. She follows the sound into a forest grove where she is inspired to weave a dress of leaves. As she adorns her garment with one last leaf, it breaks and falls away, ruining her creation. She collapses in frustration only to awaken as some other tiny self on the surface of that torn leaf. She begins to explore her microscopic new world under the moonlight, unaware that a frightened, hungry creature, Samael, is growing on the darkened underside of this leaf world.
Scott David Finch’s A Little World Made Cunningly is a story about creativity built on the ancient template of the Creation Story.
Drawing upon images from esoteric Christianity, the syntax of postmodernism, and Saturday morning cartoons, Finch’s work demonstrates an interest in the arcane strata below and beyond ordinary waking consciousness. He often employs several parallel lines of metaphor at once in a dense, layered visual language.
After more than twenty years of making large brightly colored paintings derived from photographic imagery, during a creative block 2010, images of a woman weaving leaves into a dress around her own body began to unfold in his mind’s eye. This narrative impelled him to devote the next year to writing and drawing A Little World Made Cunningly.” — 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.