“The day we stop believing democracy can work is the day we lose it.”
“Let’s pray that day never comes.”
George Lucas, &al., Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
“The day we stop believing democracy can work is the day we lose it.”
“Let’s pray that day never comes.”
George Lucas, &al., Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
He never trusted nondrinkers. They either didn’t know how to enjoy life or they were self-righteous. Either way meant they were difficult to work with.
Andy Weir, Randomize
So much of what magicians have taken for granted this century stems from the work of the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley. Much of what will constitute standard magical theory and practice in the next century will derive from the state-of-the-art ideas and techniques currently under development in Chaos Magic.
This is my fault for being the departmental computer guy: when the machines break, I wave my dead chicken and write voodoo words on their keyboards until they work again.
Charles Stross, The Atrocity Archives
Man has the right to live by his own law—
to live in the way that he wills to do:
to work as he will:
to play as he will:
to rest as he will:
to die when and how he will.
Aleister Crowley, Liber OZ
The more one learns about Dee and his work, the more complex the terrain becomes—and the more threads of the modern world one can trace back to this crucial historical flashpoint.
the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
He tired too quickly of work and got distracted by any little thing, especially the kind with long legs and a pretty smile.
Nikolai Bird, Cthulhu – Something in the Mud
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for May 21st, 2014
“A key problem with [Rudolph] Schenkel’s wolf studies is that, while they represented the first close study of wolves, they didn’t involve any study of wolves in the wild.”
“‘The concept of the alpha wolf as a ‘top dog’ ruling a group of similar-aged compatriots,’ [David] Mech writes in the 1999 paper, ‘is particularly misleading.'”
“And perhaps someday, our popular culture will more closely resemble our modern behavioral science rather than the results of outdated research.”
“Cleaning of the plaster also allowed us to discover dozens of previously unknown inscriptions and drawings depicting both saints and images of Jesus. The study of the inscriptions is carried out by Dr. Grzegorz Ochała from the University of Warsaw. His analysis shows that, as in many other places in medieval Nubia, the cult of angels was extremely popular in al-Ghazali. Among the inscriptions on the walls of the North Church, Dr. Ochała identified the names of the four archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel.”
All right. I take it from the remark you have made in your reflecting on this matter that you were you devoted yourself to some fairly considerable extent to reading?
And in what fields?
Completely omniverous. Anything that I would happen to get a hold of I would read. At that time I was reading, well, at [Lee Harvey] Oswald’s advice I read ‘1984.’ At someone else’s advice I was reading a book called ‘Human-ism,’ by Corliss Lamont, as I remember, and I was reading either ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ or the ‘Idiot’ by Dostoievsky, I forget which, at that time.
But your reading had some reasonable amount of organization or direction?
None whatsoever; no, sir. It never has.”
“The work of organizing is the ditch-cutting and rock-hauling of our spiritual path. May the gods and spirits bless the laborers.”
“I want to thank all of you who have responded to my request for a word to describe a particular worldview that sees all religions as inadequate human constructions of our experience of a transcendent sacred, rather than divine revelations of God to different local populations (pluralism/universalism/perennialism). I need this word for a new book project (after The Ancient New Age) where I am describing three options that have been emerging in the modern world to deal with religious intolerance. The third is the option without a name, at least yet!”
“Recently discovered rock art on the walls of a cave in the Egyptian Western Desert has been provisionally dated by a Cambridge University archaeologist as between 6,000 and 7,000 years old, created at least 1,000 years before the building of the pyramids. The drawings add weight to the argument that Egyptian culture drew on cultural influences from Africa and not only from the Near East.”
“Researchers in London have found a way to make matter from light, using high powered lasers. The idea behind the theory was first thought up 80 years ago by two physicists, who were to work later on creating the world’s first atomic bomb.”
“They have managed to create a machine called a photon-photon collider, which would turn light into matter. However, the type of matter they are looking to create will be invisible to the naked eye.”
“Really, freedom of speech is beside the point. Facebook and Twitter want to be the locus of communities, but they seem to blanch at the notion that such communities would want to enforce norms—which, of course, are defined by shared values rather than by the outer limits of the law. Social networks could take a strong and meaningful stand against harassment simply by applying the same sort of standards in their online spaces that we already apply in our public and professional lives. That’s not a radical step; indeed, it’s literally a normal one.”
“Ultimately, online abuse isn’t a technological problem; it’s a social problem that just happens to be powered by technology. The best solutions are going to be those that not only defuse the Internet’s power to amplify abuse but also encourage crucial shifts in social norms, placing bad behavior beyond the pale.”
“A study of medical records has found that, far from suffering a sexually-transmitted disease which drove him mad, [Friedrich] Nietzsche almost certainly died of brain cancer.
The doctor who has carried out the study claims that the universally-accepted story of Nietzsche having caught syphilis from prostitutes was actually concocted after the Second World War by Wilhelm Lange-Eichbaum, an academic who was one of Nietzsche’s most vociferous critics. It was then adopted as fact by intellectuals who were keen to demolish the reputation of Nietzsche, whose idea of a ‘Superman’ was used to underpin Nazism.”
“Despite the lack of documentary or medical evidence, the allegation has since been repeated without question by generations of academics, said Dr [Leonard] Sax. ‘Extraordinarily, this single passage in Lange-Eichbaum’s obscure book is the chief foundation, cited again and again, that Nietzsche had syphilis.’
Nietzsche scholars welcomed the new findings and said that they would help in the rehabilitation of the philosopher. ‘Nietzsche was not anti-semitic or a nationalist, and hated the herd mentality,” said Prof Stephen Houlgate, a Nietzsche scholar at Warwick University. ‘If this new research gets rid of another misconception about him, I’m delighted.'”
“[Aleister Crowley’s] language is Edwardian English, educated, dense, and often offensive — in fact deliberately so. Not only that, he sometimes wrote in code or symbolic language, not unusual in magic, but requiring a key to decode. It takes some time to develop the Crowley Filter translating what he says into understandable and useful information. When his work is not confusing or upsetting, it is knowledgeable, insightful, and deeply inspiring.”
“Your journey to understanding may be long and arduous, but that is no reason not to close the chip bag.”
“We must push back against our perfectionist impulses. Though our journalism always needs to be polished, our other efforts can have some rough edges as we look for new ways to reach our readers.”
“Sturgill Simpson was recently accosted after a show in Wisconsin by a woman who accused him of promoting Gnosticism with his new single, ‘Turtles All the Way Down.’ The song discusses Jesus, Satan, Buddha and ‘reptile aliens made of light’ before revealing that ‘love’s the only thing that ever saved my life.'”
“It’s not every country singer who gets accused of Gnosticism — or even knows what it means.”
“A minor figure undeservedly forgotten, Wilhelm Christoph Kriegsmann (1633–1679) has received only limited attention from historians of alchemy and church historians. He is known chiefly either for his idiosyncratic Phoenician reconstruction of the Tabula Smaragdina, a foundational text of alchemy attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, or alternatively for writing one of the earliest sustained defenses of Pietist conventicles to appear in print. In an attempt to bridge this unsatisfactory segregation, this paper argues that the notion of ancient wisdom (prisca sapientia) provided a crucial link between these seemingly disparate areas.”
“11. There were a lot of moments in your Crowley book that had me laughing at some of his antics. I know a lot of Thelemites and fans of Crowley who take everything the man ever wrote, said, or did extremely seriously. How do you think Crowley would feel about that? Was he capable of laughing at himself?
He could laugh at himself on occasion, but I think he was too involved in what other people thought of him, of his effect on them, to be really un-selfconscious in the way you need to be to have a sense of humor about yourself. He was very rarely out of character. He can be very funny though. Someone asked him what one should call a young, male swan. He answered ‘Why not call him Edgar?’ He had a quick, intelligent wit and I found myself laughing quite a few times while doing the research.”
“15. I sometimes find myself referring to Crowley affectionately as ‘Uncle Al,’ but Crowley was certainly not all sunshines and rainbows. How do you feel about the modern tendency to overlook many of Crowley’s faults?
That’s one aspect of the book. Yes, let’s clear up all the tabloid rubbish that was published about him in his day, but let’s also not make him out to be some liberating hero. He was a brilliant, highly talented individual who had more than a few flashes of genius, but he was a colossal pain to practically everyone around him. In other words, let’s not be hero-worshippers or ignorant detractors, but serious about understanding who and what he was. There’s no point in approaching him or anyone else in any other way.”
“When Sir Isaac Newton died in 1727, he left behind no will and an enormous stack of papers. His surviving correspondences, notes, and manuscripts contain an estimated 10 million words, enough to fill up roughly 150 novel-length books. There are pages upon pages of scientific and mathematical brilliance. But there are also pages that reveal another side of Newton, a side his descendants tried to keep hidden from the public.”
“The story of Newton’s writing and how it has survived to the modern day is the subject of a new book, The Newton Papers: The Strange and True Odyssey of Isaac Newton’s Manuscripts. Author Sarah Dry traces their mysterious and precarious history and reveals both the lucky twists and purposeful turns that kept the papers safe.”
“We are the New Aristocracy because we were born into it. We got our money the old fashioned, Medieval way: our parents gave it to us. We were born into the wealth that we stole from you and your family over the last fifty years. You were not born into anything other than poverty and struggle. You will never be us. You will never have our advantages. And we like it that way.”
“And you are the New Peasants.”
“The Pantheon Foundation announces The Diotima Prize to help support the educational goals of one Pagan student who is currently in an accredited seminary program.
The merit-based Prize is named for Diotima of Mantinea, the philosopher and priestess who is the teacher of Socrates in the Symposium of Plato, explaining to him the path of Divine ascent through the contemplation of Eros and Beauty.”
“The primary way the soul is deepened is through imagination.”
“Susan Schoon Eberly, an expert on congenital disorders, delineates the origins of fairy lore through a historical-biological lens, matching discernable patterns of appearance and behavior from changeling legends to disabilities now understood by medical science.”
“‘there are a number of fairy characters…who seem so clearly to represent certain congenital disorders that they are difficult to interpret as purely the products of imagination'”
I would like to PROUDLY present to you…. SKR THE MIXTAPE VOLUME 3 "SKR Made You Do It" http://t.co/ZgozOw5tEn
— SickTanicK (@sicktanick) May 20, 2014
When the religious right talks about "religious freedom", they usually mean the "freedom" to impose their religion. pic.twitter.com/YRcQSaZASe
— American Atheists (@AmericanAtheist) May 15, 2014
Sometimes I need a snack so I melt some Dark chocolate & marshmallows on Billy Graham crackers. I call them "Smores of Babylon". }=9> #eyum
— Buddy Baphomet (@BuddyBaphomet) May 15, 2014
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.