Tag Archives: writing

Omnium Gatherum: June 18th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 18th, 2014

Moon, clouds, smoke, skeleton hunt in the air from Restoring the Lost Sense: Jun 12, 2014, Craig Conley, Abecedarian
“Moon, clouds, smoke, skeleton hunt in the air” from Restoring the Lost Sense: Jun 12, 2014 — Craig Conley, Abecedarian

 

  • The Beast is Back — Erik Davis and Maja D’aoust interview Gary Lachman, Expanding Mind

    “Thelemic visions, magickal texts, and the tedium of transgression: a talk with occult historian Gary Lachman about his new biography Aleister Crowley: Magick, Rock and Roll, and the Wickedest Man in the World (Tarcher).”

  • Theosophical Attitudes towards Science: Past and Present — Egil Asprem

    As is typical for esoteric movements of the modern period, the Theosophical current exhibits a deep ambivalence towards the professionalized natural sciences. Active in the middle of the so-called “clash” between science and religion in the latter half of the 19th century, Blavatsky and the early Theosophists sought a critical reconciliation, guided by the quest for esoteric “higher truth.” The negotiation with science and religion was clearly present from Blavatsky’s first major work, Isis Unveiled (1877), which dedicated one volume to a criticism of each, and has continued to twist and turn in various directions until the present day.

    “Science” is, in short, a centrally important yet ambiguous “Other” for the entire Theosophical current.

  • Opting Out of the System — Inominandum, Strategic Sorcery

    The “system” is a house of cards that is perpetrated by force and fraud. I think that taking a stand against that in terms of magic and lifestyle is a worthy thing. But just like I say to people that reject materialism as anathema to spirituality: You must really live that view for it to have meaning.

    It is not a matter of your values and your magic being in line. It is a matter of making your life be about something.

  • Where the Occult & Pagan Community Lost the Plot — Nick Farrell

    The occult community is doomed to be hijacked by right-wing nut-jobs and other idiots because it has become paralysed by its own desire to be “spiritual.”

  • Theater as Plague: Radovan Ivšić and the Theater of the Weird — Jon Graham, Weird Fiction Review

    Like its counterpart in fiction, the theater of the weird exists on the margins of mainstream culture, where its deadly accuracy when targeting the shibboleths of the cultural consensus can be safely muffled before its subversive potency does any visible damage.

    For Ivšić, theatrical space offers the ideal spot for opening that space within the spectator that allows experience of individual singularity not as a rupture, but as a vitally essential difference that makes it possible for the world to breathe. He saw the play as the result of a dark conspiracy between the world and the individual, who intentionally withdraws from this relationship in order to return by means of the Trojan horse of fiction.

  • D&D Yoga — swi in collaboration with Sarah Dahnke and Eric Hagan [HT Erik Davis]

    D&D Yoga can be played in many ways. The varying flavors range from that of a guided narrative while people do yoga to a far more interactive experience where players are in conversation and play a more active role in the campaign. For the first trial, we thought it would be wise to veer closer to the guided narrative side of things. Players still made decisions and rolled dice to dictate a few directions that the story took but generally we wanted to see how the experiment would play out and then build from there. As we proceed into future events we are building more interactivity into the game.

  • Appeals Court Finds Scanning To Be Fair Use — NewYorkCountryLawyer, Slashdot

    scanning whole books and making them searchable for research use is a fair use

    the creation of a searchable, full text database is a ‘quintessentially transformative use’, that it was ‘reasonably necessary’ to make use of the entire works, that maintaining four copies of the database was reasonably necessary as well, and that the research library did not impair the market for the originals.

  • «Dracula è sepolto a Napoli, ecco dov’è la tomba» — Paolo Barbuto, Il Gazzettino

    «Il conte Dracula è morto a Napoli, è stato sepolto nel cuore della città ed è ancora qui»: c’è un gruppo di persone che da settimane percorre strade e vicoli a caccia del segreto.

    E non sono ragazzini sognatori, fanatici, esaltati, ma serissimi studiosi dell’università di Tallinn in Estonia. Sono convinti di ciò che fanno, sostengono di avere già in mano i documenti che provano la verità, così hanno avviato una campagna di ricerche sul territorio.

    “Count Dracula died in Naples, was buried in the heart of the city and is still here”: there is a group of people who for weeks along the streets and alleys in search of the secret.

    And kids are not dreamers, fanatics, exalted, but very serious scholars of the University of Tallinn in Estonia. They believe in what they do, they claim to have already got the documents to prove the truth, so they launched a campaign of research in the area.

  • From Algernon Charles Swinburne’s Songs Before Sunrise at “Save His Own Soul He Hath No Star” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti

    His soul is even with the sun
    Whose spirit and whose eye are one,
    Who seeks not stars by day, nor light
    And heavy heat of day by night.
    Him can no God cast down, whom none
    Can lift in hope beyond the height
    Of fate and nature and things done
    By the calm rule of might and right
    That bids men be and bear and do,
    And die beneath blind skies or blue.

  • Two giant planets may cruise unseen beyond Pluto” — Nicola Jenner, NewScientist; from the where-is-your-astrology-now dept.

    The monsters are multiplying. Just months after astronomers announced hints of a giant “Planet X” lurking beyond Pluto, a team in Spain says there may actually be two supersized planets hiding in the outer reaches of our solar system.

    When potential dwarf planet 2012 VP113 was discovered in March, it joined a handful of unusual rocky objects known to reside beyond the orbit of Pluto. These small objects have curiously aligned orbits, which hints that an unseen planet even further out is influencing their behaviour. Scientists calculated that this world would be about 10 times the mass of Earth and would orbit at roughly 250 times Earth’s distance from the sun.

    Now Carlos and Raul de la Fuente Marcos at the Complutense University of Madrid in Spain have taken another look at these distant bodies. As well as confirming their bizarre orbital alignment, the pair found additional puzzling patterns. Small groups of the objects have very similar orbital paths. Because they are not massive enough to be tugging on each other, the researchers think the objects are being “shepherded” by a larger object in a pattern known as orbital resonance.

  • ‘A Funny Kind Of Relationship’ Alan Moore On Iain Sinclair — Nick Talbot, The Quietus

    Whilst not quite a household name, instead occupying a liminal status maintained by a principled refusal to be involved in any Hollywood adaptations of his work, Moore is widely regarded as the finest writer in the medium, and it is difficult to imagine how the comic book landscape would look without the enduring influence of his exceptional work. But it is equally difficult to imagine how From Hell (1989), his first major work beyond the costumed vigilantes and superheroes genre, and also his Magnum Opus, would have looked had he not discovered the work of Iain Sinclair. A quintessential writer’s writer, Sinclair is a Hendrix-cum-Kevin Shields of the English language, mixing scholarly historical research, formal training and technical linguistic virtuosity with a wildly impressionistic, stream-of-consciousness prose-poetry delivery that is dazzling, dizzying, and for those with literary pretensions, frankly dispiriting in its apparently effortless genius. Sinclair’s subject is predominantly London, most often East London, and the relationship between its history, its continually shifting cityscape and the psyche of those who inhabit it. Sharing similar concerns, themes and stylistic flourishes with Peter Ackroyd, both with works appearing in the eighties and nineties, this uniquely East London-focused micro-genre came to be dubbed ‘psychogeography’. Soon complemented by Will Self and others, the movement could be interpreted as a response to the corporatist regeneration of London’s East End by the Thatcherite Conservative government in the 1980s. The spatial and historical density of London allows for an unusually potent and apparently limitless store of inspiration, but what marks out Sinclair in particular is his ability to see patterns, sigils and correspondences where perhaps the rest of us see dog shit, broken fencing and inane graffiti.

  • Eating Flower Spirits” — Sarah Anne Lawless

    Summer flowers are brought inside, painted the colours of sarees and gypsy vardos, and fill tea pots and canning jars. Nighshade, poppies, red clover, comfrey, daisies, sage flowers, and foxgloves. Some from the yard, some escaped from gardens into the neglected back alleys of the old neighbourhood. I know that by taking them home I am consuming them, making their already short lives even shorter, but I try my best to ask sweetly for their blessings before I snip off their heads and bring them home. I try my best to let them know why and what will be done with their beautiful sacrifice – their souls burned up like incense to be eaten by my own beloved spirits – eaters of flowers.

  • What Athens Has Got To Do With Jerusalem: The Marriage of Greek and Jewish Themes in the Apocryphon of John” — Dan Attrell

    This paper presents a summary overview of how the Apocryphon of John, an apocalyptic work drawn from the Nag Hammadi Library, is explicitly the product of an syncretism between Greek language/philosophy and Jewish mythology/mysticism in the 1st century CE.

  • Coincidentia Oppositorum: Exploring the Dialogue in the Recent Historical Literature of Medieval and Early Modern European Alchemy — Dan Attrell

    The study of alchemy has posed a number of complications for historians. Among historians of science who wrote as late as the mid-20th century, alchemy was perceived to be a mystical philosophy, an obstacle to the progress of „rational‟ chemistry, and even a pathology of the mind. This rather out-dated tendency toward knee-jerk dismissals has, however, been recently curtailed as the wider community of medievalists and early modern historians began to understand alchemy on its own terms, having placed it firmly within in the context of an ‘alchemical worldview.’ The recent dialogue among historians concerning alchemy in Europe has chiefly been directed toward (a) understanding of what ‘alchemy’ actually meant to the people who lived amongst it or practiced it themselves; (b) determining to what extent alchemy was interrelated with the religious consciousness of its practitioners; and most noticeably (c) reconciling or collapsing a number of exaggerated, artificial, and misleading dichotomies within our modern perceptions of medieval and early modern alchemy. Was European alchemy a ‘theoretical’ or a ‘practical’ art? Was it a ‘spiritual’ or a ‘material’ pursuit? Was it a ‘medicinal’ or a ‘metallurgical’ practice? How and when was ‘alchemy’ differentiated from ‘chemistry’? Were they ‘on the fringes’ of learned society, or were they at the cutting edge of knowledge as defined by traditional institutions? Were alchemists outright ‘frauds’ (Betrüger) or misguided ‘fools’?

    These are all questions which a handful of historians have recently tackled and shown to be somewhat misguided. Such dichotomies arose from the dialogue of recent centuries wherein scholars and theorists from various disciplines began exploring and reconceptualising alchemy and its history; each angle, each discipline, each perspective offered some rather rigid model for understanding alchemy, and many of these models crystallized into opposing camps. Alchemy, however, was never a static or monolithic pursuit and thus eludes any attempt to give such simple definitions. In response to this problem, it is this paper’s goal to flesh out the most recent scholarly dialogue – to outline and synthesize the most pertinent points made in the recent historical literature concerning alchemy. What I hope to show is how the most recent historical research tells us that ‘alchemy’ meant many different things to many different people at many different junctures in history, even among the relatively isolated practitioners of Europe. With no source of official authority such as the Church or the University to govern alchemy as a branch of knowledge, the art was free to take on and accumulate a number of its practitioners’ idiosyncrasies. Free as it was, as a model to explore and communicate features of the known universe, European alchemy was a rich and dynamic practice which contained within itself all of the artificial polarities mentioned above.

  • Rewilding Witchcraft — Peter Grey, Scarlet Imprint

    We have mistaken social and economic change for the result of our own advocacy. Marching in lock-step with what used to be called mainstream, but is now mono-culture, we have disenchanted ourselves, handed over our teeth and claws and bristling luxuriant furs. I will not be part of this process, because to do so is to be complicit with the very forces that are destroying all life on earth. It is time for Witchcraft not to choose, but to remember which side it is on in this struggle.

  • London’s calling: the city as character in urban fantasy” — Ian ‘Cat’ Vincent, Spiral Nature

    Each of these series draws on what I would say are the main characteristics of London’s soul. It’s old – continually inhabited since before Roman times; it’s powerful — but nowhere near as much as its past as the heart of an empire; it’s stubborn — enduring centuries of hardship and prosperity, adapting to huge changes in population and traumas ranging from plague to fire to Nazi bombs to the very modern stresses of wealth inequality. London changes — it has to — but there’s some core of its personality that always remains.

    Of course, London as a whole is the sum of its parts, none of which are quite alike — the genius loci of Camden differs greatly from those of Catford and Chelsea. But each also touch the greater gestalt of the place. Inevitably, the best way to grasp the specific psychogeography of a place is to walk its streets.

  • Weekly Apocryphote: June 8-14 — April D DeConick, Forbidden Gospels

    You have not come to suffer. Rather you have come to escape from what binds you. Release yourself, and what has bound you will be undone. Save yourself, so that what is (in you) may be saved … Why are you hesitating?

 

If you’d like to participate in the next Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS.

Kurt Vonnegut suggests a writing ritual for soul growth

Back in 2006, Kurt Vonnegut wrote back, when asked about his work and advice, to a class of high school students suggesting a writing ritual for soul growth [via, also, also].

alxmog1 Kurt Vonnegut letter
Image from alxmog1 [via]

“What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives.”

“Here’s an assignment for tonight […] Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever […] Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.” — Kurt Vonnegut [via]

Blake, Jung, and the Collective Unconscious

Blake, Jung, and the Collective Unconscious: The Conflict Between Reason and Imagination by June Singer, introduced by M Esther Harding part of the Jung on the Hudson book series, a 2000 paperback from Nicholas-Hays, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Amusingly, I also have a previous version of this same book, which I purchased on a separate occasion, but that has a different, more provocative, title and from another publisher: The Unholy Bible: Blake, Jung, and the Collective Unconscious by June Singer, introduced by M Esther Harding, a 1986 paperback from Sigo Press, is also part of the collection at the Reading Room.

June Singer M Esther Harding Blake, Jung and the Collective Unconscious from Nicolas-Hays

“More than ever, the time is ripe for June Singer’s penetrating commentary on William Blake’s work. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. For even the most devout literary scholars and art historians, much of Blake’s mystical visions and writing are perplexing. With his pen and brush, he gave birth to mythological figures and fantastic metaphors. Singer shows us that Blake was actually tapping into the collective unconscious and giving form and voice to primordial psychological energies, or archetypes, that he experienced in his inner and outer world. Blake’s writing and art was his personal dialogue between God and his own inner self—a reconciliation of duality—in which we can find clues to contemporary issues.

In the 18th century, Blake was a pioneer in finding, nurturing, and celebrating his personal connection with the divine, a search that still appeals to people who are coming to terms with the contemporary struggle between science and spirituality—the conflict between reality and imagination. With clarity and wisdom, Singer examines the images and words in each plate of Blake’s work, applying in her analysis the concepts that C. G. Jung advanced in his psychological theories. There is no more perfect lens with which to look at Blake’s work than that of Jung’s concept of the archetypes, the process of individuation, and the mysterium coniunctionis, in which consciousness and the unconscious are united.

This edition includes a new preface by Jung [sic!] Springer and a reproduction of 24 pages from Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.” — back cover


 

June Singer M Esther Harding The Unholy Bible from Sigo Press


Omnium Gatherum: March 12th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for March 12th, 2014

Little Wide Awake 1877 from Craig Conley, Abecedarian
An illustration from an 1877 issue of Little Wide Awake magazine.” — Craig Conley, Abecedarian

 

  • Ask Massively: And the money will follow” — Brianna Royce, Massively; from the two-pennies-to-rub-together dept.

    “My mother always told me, ‘Do what you love, and the money will follow.’ It’s not true. I wish it were. Sorry mom. It’s a dangerous thing to tell a geeky little girl something like that when she’s trying to decide whether to be a coroner, an international diplomat, or a butterfly. I did not become any of these things. I got a degree in what I loved, but the money followed only when I got a job I didn’t love to pay for my husband to do what he loved. My landing a job with Massively (almost four years ago!) was the product of an unrelated cross-country move, a lot of luck, and an unusual combination of otherwise mundane knowledge. It was not something I planned and executed meticulously as a career plan.”

  • #AmtrakResidency” — Amtrak; from the they-who-curse-the-bum-on-the-rods dept.

    “#AmtrakResidency was designed to allow creative professionals who are passionate about train travel and writing to work on their craft in an inspiring environment. Round-trip train travel will be provided on an Amtrak long-distance route. Each resident will be given a private sleeper car, equipped with a desk, a bed and a window to watch the American countryside roll by for inspiration. Routes will be determined based on availability.

    Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by a panel. Up to 24 writers will be selected for the program starting March 17, 2014 through March 31, 2015. A passion for writing and an aspiration to travel with Amtrak for inspiration are the sole criteria for selection. Both emerging and established writers will be considered.

    Residencies will be anywhere from 2-5 days, with exceptions for special projects.”

  • WIT researchers discover ‘lost’ Einstein model of universe” — Dick Ahlstrom, Irish Times; from the i-will-not-be-pushed-filed-stamped-indexed-briefed-debriefed-or-numbered dept.

    “‘I was looking through drafts, but then slowly realised it was a draft of something very different,’ Dr [Cormac] O’Raifeartaigh said. ‘I nearly fell off my chair. It was hidden in perfect plain sight. This particular manuscript was misfiled as a draft of something else.'”

     

  • Albert Einstein quote via “Albert Einstein, when he arrived in America, was shocked at how African Americans were treated.” — Emily, Dichotomization [also]; from the emperor’s-new-clothes dept.

    “There is a separation of colored people from white people in the United States. That separation is not a disease of colored people. It is a disease of white people. I do not intend to be quiet about it.”

  • On Gaia tests whether the hypothesis holds up to scientific scrutiny” — Scott K Johnson, Ars Technica; from the because-the-cosmos-is-also-within-us dept.

    “In the early 1970s, Lovelock—with the help of Lynn Margulis—developed the Gaia Hypothesis, which views the Earth and its ecosystems as resembling a sort of superorganism. Lovelock was working for NASA at the time, developing instruments that would aid the Viking landers in looking for signs of life on Mars, so he was thinking about how life interacts with its environment on a planetary scale. And Margulis was famed for her ideas about symbiosis.

    This intellectual background led to the idea that organisms are not just passive inhabitants riding a big rock that determined whether they lived or died. Organisms were active participants in the molding of their environment, tweaking and improving conditions as part of a massive, self-regulating system.

    In On Gaia: A Critical Investigation of the Relationship Between Life and Earth, University of Southampton Professor Toby Tyrrell sets out to comprehensively put the Gaia Hypothesis to the test, using everything we’ve learned about life and its history on our planet.”

  • Recreating the Cosmos in Our Druidic Ritual Order.” — Ian Corrigan, Into the Mound; from the we’re-made-of-star-stuff dept.

    “In my understanding, the basic steps of our Order of Ritual (OoR) amount to a recreation of the Indo-European cosmos. As in many traditional ritual systems, our rites are set in a cosmological diagram. Since our Order is written for modern, park-and-church-basement Paganism, we assume that this cosmic model must be rebuilt and reconsecrated for each ritual. Thus our sacrifices open with rites for consecrating the space and establish it as a gathering-place for the Gods & Spirits.”

  • A new “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, presented by Fox and National Geographic, guest appearance by Giordano Bruno in the premiere [also]; from the we-are-a-way-for-the-cosmos-to-know-itself dept.

     

  • Petra monuments oriented according to celestial events” — Past Horizons; from the summer-sunday-and-a-year dept.

    “During the winter solstice, the sun is filtered into the Monastery at Petra, Jordan, illuminating the podium of a deity. Just at this moment, the silhouette of the mountain opposite draws the head of a lion, a sacred animal. These are examples from a study where researchers from Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias and CSIC (Spain) showed how celestial events influenced the orientation of the great constructions of the Nabataeans.”

  • Research Suggests We Unconsciously React to Events Up to 10 Seconds Before They Happen” — The Mind Unleashed [HT Reality Sandwich]; from the wake-me-up-before-you-go-go dept.

    “Can your brain detect events before they even occur? That was the stunning conclusion of a 2012 meta-analysis of experiments from seven independent laboratories over the last 35 years, which found that the human body ‘can apparently detect randomly delivered stimuli occurring 1–10 seconds in the future’ (Mossbridge, Tressoldi, & Utts, 2012). In the studies, physiological readings were taken as participants were subjected to unpredictable events designed to activate the sympathetic nervous system (for example, showing provocative imagery) as well as ‘neutral events’ that did not activate the nervous system. These readings showed that the nervous system aligned with the nature of the event (activated/not activated) — and what’s more, the magnitude of the pre-event response corresponded with the magnitude of the post-event response.”

  • Scientists unlock mystery of out-of-body experiences (aka astral trips)” — Jordan Kushins, Sploid [HT Disinformation]; from the why-am-i-up-here-what-do-they-see-in-me dept.

    “The fMRI showed a ‘strong deactivation of the visual cortex’ while ‘activating the left side of several areas associated with kinesthetic imagery,’ which includes mental imagery of bodily movement. This is the part of the brain that makes it possible for us to interact with the world. It’s what makes you feel where your body is in relation to the world.”

  • Translation of Theodor Klauser at “Mithras scholar Vermaseren on the Mithras cranks” — Roger Pearse [HT rogueclassicism]; from the let-that-be-a-lesson-to-you dept.

    “Anyone who really wants to promote scholarship may not content themselves with uniting uncontrolled ideas and research into a seductive synthesis, written in an attractive form, for the slightest critical touch causes such constructs to collapse. The established rules of scholarly method cannot be ignored with impunity; even the most gifted may not skip over the necessarily lengthy process.”

  • Priestess Najah, via tweet.

    “Queen of Conjure, sacred Marie LaVeau. Her tomb needs restoration. Donate at http://www.saveourcemeteries.org

  • Maidens, Matrons, and Magicians: Women and Personal Ritual Power in Late Antique Egypt” by Meghan Paalz McGinnis, Masters Thesis, University of Louisville, 2012; from the sparks-fly-from-her-finger-tips dept.

    “Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach to a variety of material, textual, and literary evidence, the aim of this thesis is to shed light on the realities — rather than stereotypes — of an important aspect of late ancient women’s experience: the use of ritual power. Patterns of gender differentiation in late antique Egyptian magic are investigated and shown to be connected to the particular aims to which numinous powers were employed, aims which were in turn bound up with the social roles expected of each sex. The majority of this study consists of a series of case studies of different types of women’s rituals of power, which emphasize examples of significant trends in ritual iconography, praxis, and context, both those which were typical of late antique Egyptian magic as a whole, and those which were uniquely female in character. The fact that female practitioners came from a wide array of socio-economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds is also addressed.”

  • Tutankhamun’s Blood” by Jo Marchant, Matter; from the blood-feud dept.

    “[Yehia] Gad isn’t the first to attempt to test Tutankhamun’s DNA, but he is the first to get this far. Previous efforts by foreigners were cancelled at the last minute. After decades of outside interference, Egypt’s politicians were reluctant to hand over the keys to the pharaohs’ origins—especially when the results, if dropped into the crucible of the Middle East, might prove explosive.”

  • Israel reveals eerie collection of Neolithic ‘spirit’ masks” — Ilan ben Zion [HT David Metcalfe]; from the starting-with-the-man-in-the-mirror dept.

    “With vacant sockets and jaws agape, they stare at you like the skulls of the dead. They are 9,000-year-old masks found in the Judean Desert and Hills, and they are going on display for the first time next week at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.”

  • Myrtle quoted in “Paganism in Israel: Where the Modern meets the Ancient” — Heather Greene, The Wild Hunt; from the grand-central-station dept.

    “Ever since the dawn of [humanity], even stretching back to the exits from Africa, people of different cultures have passed through this tiny country. There are places of worship to the Canaanite deities, Egyptian temples to Hathor, countless shrines to the Greek and Roman Gods, Phoenician influences and more.”

  • Consult the Oracle! [HT rogueclassicism]; from the ask-me-no-questions-i’ll-tell-you-no-lies dept.

    “The ancient Delphic Oracle was the inspiration for a recent application created by the Department of Classical Studies at the University College of London. This application will give the user the chance to have a unique experience. The application is very tempting and attractive as one can ask whatever he wishes online.” [via]

  • Shape-Shifter” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti; from the i’m-gonna-git-you-sucka dept.

    “Zeus became a swan, a bull, a satyr, gold, for love of
           Leda, Europa, Antiope, Danaë.”

  • Jesus Wept” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti; from the dacryphilia dept.

    “Some in the ancient world might have interpreted the act of weeping as evidence that Jesus was not God.”

  • Grimoire” — Michael Quinion, World Wide Words; from the cook-the-books dept.

    “The shift from book of grammar to book of magic isn’t as weird as it might seem. Few among the ordinary people in those times could read or write. For superstitious minds books were troubling objects. Who knew what awful information was locked up in them? For many people grammar meant the same thing as learning, and everybody knew that learning included astrology and other occult arts.”

  • California’s drought is so bad people are turning to witchcraft” — Holly Richmond, Grist; from the liquore-strega dept.

    “Did you know that witches help make Two-Buck Chuck? Sadly no one from The Craft is involved, but water witches are increasingly in demand in California as the state’s epic drought continues. John Franzia of the Bronco Wine Company, which makes Two-Buck Chuck and a slew of other wines, regularly uses diviners to find water underneath his California vineyards.”

  • Aleister Crowley and the Temptation of Politics, by Marco Pasi” — Clive Bloom, Times Higher Education; from the piecemeal-social-engineering dept.

    “Pasi’s book, which has already appeared in Italian and German, proves an admirable introduction to the complex magical and political connections of this most elusive of figures. Ironically, what the book proves is the opposite of its title, which is simply that magical practice and practical politics have never mixed, and the attempt to fit them together was a doomed and ‘childish’ project. Crowley’s ‘political’ legacy lies more properly in the politics of personal liberation that he advocated and in the counterculture he helped to create.”

  • Alchemical Interpretations of Masonic Symbols in the Rituals of Russian Rosicrucians of the 18th-19th Centuries” (in Russian) — Yury Khalturin; from the watching-the-world-wake-up-from-history dept.

    “In the article symbolic mechanisms of the transmission of alchemical tradition within the Russian Rosicrucianism are analyzed. The main point of the article is the idea, that masonic symbols and their interpretations were not just a form of communicating the alchemical tradition, but also a mode of its transformation according to the principles of rosicrucian worldview. All the alchemical interpretations of masonic symbols in rosicrucian rituals could be reduced to paradigmatic and syntagmatic models. Within the ritual those symbols and interpretations realized two main functions — suggestive (creating the sacral atmosphere for getting the esoteric knowledge) and initiatic (initiation through the shift from one level of hidden sense to another), which changed social and existential status of the neophyte.”

  • Is there any super bad-ass Catholic weapon around out there?” — Benito Cereno, Burgeoning Lads of Science; from the ten-hail-marys-and-turn dept.

    “Some of these might be of dubious Catholicity, but they all at least have something to do with a saint or a relic, so there you have it.”

  • Mindscapes: The first recording of hallucinated music” — Helen Thomson, NewScientist’s Mindscapes; from the stop-children-what’s-that-sound dept.

    “‘It’s like having my own internal iPod,’ says Sylvia. While she goes about her daily life she hears music. It may sound to her as if a radio is playing, but it is entirely in her own head.

    Sylvia calls the hallucinations a nuisance, but they can be turned off, which has allowed researchers to work out what might cause them. The discovery paves the way for new treatments and hints at the cause of more common hallucinations, such as those associated with schizophrenia.”

  • Are Stonehenge’s Boulders Actually Big Bells?” — Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic [David Raffin]; from the everybody-must-get-stoned dept.

    “If you’re building a monument, why not build it out of stones that speak?

    ‘We don’t know of course that they moved them because they rang, but ringing rocks are a prominent part of many cultures,’ English archeologist Tim Darvill told the BBC. ‘Soundscapes of pre-history are something we’re really just beginning to explore.’

    It’s true. Academics and researchers are just beginning to think about what many historic places—both geographic and architectural—sounded like.”

  • Wagner & Me“, a movie with Stephen Fry, currently on Netflix; from the is-wagner-a-human-being-at-all dept.

     

  • Richard Wagner and his Operas, an online archive and resource.

     

  • Mathematicians Are Chronically Lost and Confused” — Soulskill, Slashdot; from the dazed-and-confused dept.

    “[Jeremy Kun] says it’s immensely important for mathematicians to be comfortable with extended periods of ignorance when working on a new topic. ‘The truth is that mathematicians are chronically lost and confused. It’s our natural state of being, and I mean that in a good way. …”

  • Roelof Nicolai quoted in “648 – Portolan Charts ‘Too Accurate’ to be Medieval” — Frank Jacobs, Big Think; from the maps-of-the-ancient-sea-kings dept.

    “Perhaps we should re-evaluate what we think was the state of science in Antiquity”

  • Scientists Revive a Giant 30,000 Year Old Virus From Ice” — bmahersciwriter, Slashdot; from the andromeda-strain dept.

    “It might be terrifying if we were amoebae. Instead, it’s just fascinating. The virus, found in a hunk of Siberian ice, is huge, but also loosely packaged, which is strange says evolutionary biologist Jean-Michel Claverie: ‘We thought it was a property of viruses that they pack DNA extremely tightly into the smallest particle possible, but this guy is 150 times less compacted than any bacteriophage [viruses that infect bacteria]. We don’t understand anything anymore!'”

Phrasikleia

Phrasikleia: An Anthropology of Reading in Ancient Greece by Jesper Svenbro, tranlated by Janet Lloyd, part of the Myth and Poetics series edited by Gregory Nagy, the 1993 paperback from Cornell University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Jesper Svenbro Janet Lloyd Phrasikleia from Cornell University Press

“One of the most haunting early examples of Greek alphabetical writing appears on the life-sized Archaic funery statue of a young girl. The inscription speaks for Phrasikleia, who ‘shall always be called maiden,’ for she has received this name from the gods instead of marriage.

First published in French in 1988, this extraordinary book traces the meaning and function of reading from its very beginnings in Greek oral culture through the development of silent reading. Focusing on metaphors of reading and writing, Jesper Svenbro offers a series of rich analyses of sepulchral and votive inscriptions and myths as well as works of epic and lyrical poetry, legal exegesis, drama, and philosophy. Svenbro draws upon the theoretical insights of Foucault as he discusses such texts as the Iliad, the poetry of Sappho, and the ABC Show by Callias. With reference to the shift to silent reading, Svenbro illuminates a pervasive metaphor in Greek culture—the pederastic paradigm, in which the reader submits to the domination of the writer. In the central section of Plato’s Phaedrus, however, Svenbro discerns an alternative model: reader and writer mutually engaged in the search for truth.

Phrasikleia opens up fascinating new perspectives on the culture of ancient Greece and the genesis of reading. A wide range of classicists, literary theorists, anthropologists, and ancient historians will welcome its availability in Janet Lloyd’s lucid and fluent translation.” — back cover

Omnium Gatherum: Feb 19th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together …

Whare-Ra tattwa tide calculator
A volvelle, with tattwa tides and astrological aspects, made by a Whare Ra temple member [via]

 

  • Shroud of Turin: Could Ancient Earthquake Explain Face of Jesus?” — Megan Gannon, livescience; from the but-was-it-nocturnal dept.

    “Now, a study claims neutron emissions from an ancient earthquake that rocked Jerusalem could have created the iconic image, as well as messed up the radiocarbon levels that later suggested the shroud was a medieval forgery. But other scientists say this newly proposed premise leaves some major questions unanswered.”

  • shota-purinsu, a Tumblr comment; from the you’re-my-medicine-open-up-and-let-me-in dept.

    “Jesus also affirms the homosexual relationship between the Roman Centurion and his ‘slave’. The particular Greek word used to refer to this special slave was ‘pais’. Greek language studies and contexts show that a ‘pais’ was a male love slave. Regular slaves were called ‘dolos’. The Centurion makes this distinction clearly when he asks Jesus to heal his slave (pais), and then to prove his status he tells Jesus that his slaves (dolos) go when he tells them to. But this slave (pais) was special. He was the Centurion’s lover.

    Hearing this, Jesus was so amazed he says he had not found ANYONE ELSE who had such great faith. He then blesses the Centurion and heals his male lover.”

  • Bosch’s “600-years-old butt song” — Amelia, chaoscontrolled123 [HT The Appendix]; from the then-a-band-of-demons-joined-in dept.

    Hieronymous Bosch The Garden of Earthly Delights butt music detail

    “Luke and I were looking at Hieronymus Bosch’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights and discovered, much to our amusement, music written upon the posterior of one of the many tortured denizens … I decided to transcribe it”

  • Neoliberalism’s War Against the Radical Imagination — Henry Giroux, Tikkun; from the perhaps-a-lunatic-was-simply-a-minority-of-one dept.

    “Democracy loses its character as a disruptive element, a force of dissent, an insurrectional call for responsible change, and degenerates into an assault on the radical imagination, reconfigures itself as a force for bleaching all ethical and moral considerations, and thrives in a state of exception, which in reality is a state of permanent war.”

  • OC’s Favorite Occultist Musician Writes a Song About Gun Violence. Strange? Yes.” — Joel Beers, OC Weekly, with Lon Milo DuQuette; from the it’s-all-I-think-about-dolls-and-guns dept.

    “He says that those people who passionately believe that a disarmed populace under tyrannical rule is a problem have a well-taken point. But that notion, ‘still comes from a consciousness platform of fear,’ he says. ‘And if that is the focus of your life, you’re missing out on a great deal. It’s not that there’s nothing to be afraid of, but if that’s going to be the primary focus of your life, you’ve already surrendered. And if fear is the reason you want to arm yourself, you’re probably the last person who needs to be armed for all of our safety.'”

  • No One Cares About Your Damn Religion” — Larry Womack, Huffington Post’s The Blog; from the when-I-use-a-word-it-means-just-what-I-choose-it-to-mean dept.

    “Was the Christian God cool with slavery? Slave owners sure thought so — and had plenty of Biblical canon to support it. Abolitionists disagreed. Did God want women to vote? Not according to anti-suffragists. Suffragists were convinced otherwise. If society continues this descent into level-headed compassion, fifty years from now people will be claiming that God is pro-fur and factory farming. When one cannot defend a belief in the current context, moving the framework back a few thousand years and putting the blame on God is a pretty good fallback strategy.

    I know, I know. There’s only one God and he is not at all ambiguous: he agrees with you. It’s all right there in the Bible or whatever holy book you believe in, as you have decided to interpret it. It’s perfectly clear, right?”

  • Camels Had No Business in Genesis” — John Noble Wilford, The New York Times; from the heffalumps-and-woozles dept.

    “The archaeologists, Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen, used radiocarbon dating to pinpoint the earliest known domesticated camels in Israel to the last third of the 10th century B.C. — centuries after the patriarchs lived and decades after the kingdom of David, according to the Bible. Some bones in deeper sediments, they said, probably belonged to wild camels that people hunted for their meat. Dr. Sapir-Hen could identify a domesticated animal by signs in leg bones that it had carried heavy loads.”

  • Beyond Naturalism: On Ronald Dworkin” — Michael Rosen, The Nation; from the trouble-in-the-forest dept.

    “In short, while materialism encourages that characteristically modern form of political collectivism in which sacrifices that bring about the greater good are taken to be morally imperative, at the same time it leads to a world of individuals who have a sense of their own absolute uniqueness and importance—if only to themselves. The attempt to find a standpoint that can integrate this radical individualism with the claims of the common good is the great underlying ethical and political problem of modern life. It also gives a framing perspective to Ronald Dworkin’s marvelous little book, Religion without God, and helps explain how a brilliant young lawyer like Dworkin should have ended up pondering issues of theology.”

  • The Conservative Crusade For Christian Sharia Law” — Dean Obeidallah, The Daily Beast; from the it’s-only-hypocrisy-when-someone-else-does-it dept.

    “And in the past few years, we have seen pro-life Christian groups successfully lobby State legislatures to restrict access to abortions. They have also raised religious, not public policy, objections to the government funding birth control.

    But here’s the alarming thing: These views are no longer the fringe of American politics. They are increasingly becoming mainstream conservative fare.”

  • Bible Passages that Could Get You Killed” — Candida Moss, The Daily Beast; from the stunt-driver-closed-track dept.

    “Where Coots is different is that he was just following the Bible as he interpreted it. Coots was just reading the Bible literally. It’s something that many Americans do on a daily basis. But God’s Holy Word is more dangerous than you’d think.”

  • Flea, via tweet.

    “I like myths. I put a lot of credence in them.”

  • Disputed quotes attributed to Albert Einstein, Wikipedia [HT The Kill Van Kulls].

    “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be very intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

  • Bruise, Trash, Write” — Lilith Saintcrow.

    “I am not so sure. But I know I won. Every word I wrote is burned into me, flesh and blood and breath. By throwing them away, I made them even more mine, something nobody could take away even if they killed me, secrets hidden inside me, in the only places I had left.

    Now I write other stories. Between the bars, I catch glimpses of those things. Exorcism is an ongoing process.”

  • Giordano Bruno quoted in “Giordano Bruno: Divinity Reveals Herself in all Things” — Donald Donato, In puris naturalibus.

    “Divinity reveals herself in all things. Everything has Divinity latent within itself. For she enfolds and imparts herself even unto the smallest beings, and from the smallest beings, according to their capacity. Without her presence nothing would have being, because she is the essence of the existence of the first unto the last being.”

  • After 400 Years, Mathematicians Find A New Class Of Shapes” — Higher Perspective [HT Reality Sandwich].

    “The work of the Greek polymath Plato has kept millions of people busy for millennia. A few among them have been mathematicians who have obsessed about Platonic solids, a class of geometric forms that are highly regular and are commonly found in nature.

    Since Plato’s work, two other classes of equilateral convex polyhedra, as the collective of these shapes are called, have been found: Archimedean solids (including truncated icosahedron) and Kepler solids (including rhombic polyhedra). Nearly 400 years after the last class was described, researchers claim that they may have now invented a new, fourth class, which they call Goldberg polyhedra. Also, they believe that their rules show that an infinite number of such classes could exist.”

  • Wikipedia-size maths proof too big for humans to check” — Jacob Aron, New Scientist; from the now-i-am-the-master dept.

    “If no human can check a proof of a theorem, does it really count as mathematics? That’s the intriguing question raised by the latest computer-assisted proof. It is as large as the entire content of Wikipedia, making it unlikely that will ever be checked by a human being.

    ‘It might be that somehow we have hit statements which are essentially non-human mathematics,’ says Alexei Lisitsa of the University of Liverpool, UK, who came up with the proof together with colleague Boris Konev.”

  • Math Explains Likely Long Shots, Miracles and Winning the Lottery” — David J Hand, Scientific American; from the a-glitch-in-the-matrix dept.

    “A set of mathematical laws that I call the Improbability Principle tells us that we should not be surprised by coincidences. In fact, we should expect coincidences to happen. One of the key strands of the principle is the law of truly large numbers. This law says that given enough opportunities, we should expect a specified event to happen, no matter how unlikely it may be at each opportunity. Sometimes, though, when there are really many opportunities, it can look as if there are only relatively few. This misperception leads us to grossly underestimate the probability of an event: we think something is incredibly unlikely, when it’s actually very likely, perhaps almost certain.”

  • Vitruvian Man Had a Hernia” — Laura Crothers, Slate; from the not-so-perfect-after-all-eh-mister-man dept.

    “Throughout history, anatomical illustrations have been made using the recently deceased as models, and many of Leonardo’s sketches were no exception. Ashrafian says that the man who served as Leonardo’s model for his illustration of human perfection probably had a hernia. If the model was a corpse, the hernia may have been what killed him. If he was a live model, he may ultimately have died from its complications.”

  • Mold destroys 600,000 library books — Ellie Papadakis, The Maneater; from the tolle-lege dept.

    “The MU Libraries have more than 3 million books in their collections, and they ran out of space to store those books years ago.

    Recently it was discovered that 600,000 books, approximately 20 percent of MU’s entire collection, were covered in mold. The damaged books were being stored in an underground cavern north of Interstate 70. The cavern, Sub Terra, is run by an independent company.

    The books in storage were lesser-used books that the libraries did not have room for in their open stacks. Some of the stored texts were published prior to the Civil War.

    Library administrators will not be able to save all 600,000 texts because there is not enough money in library funds to do so.”

  • Canadian libricide” — Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing; from the where-is-your-science-now dept.

    “Back in 2012, when Canada’s Harper government announced that it would close down national archive sites around the country, they promised that anything that was discarded or sold would be digitized first. But only an insignificant fraction of the archives got scanned, and much of it was simply sent to landfill or burned.”

  • John Griogair Bell, Hermetic Library, via tweet.

    “We should always fear the fate of our libraries, historically proven and currently demonstrated”

  • The Report — Hugh Howey, Author Earnings.

    “It’s no great secret that the world of publishing is changing. What is a secret is how much.”

  • The Secret History of the Venus of Willendorf” — Alexander Binsteiner, Past Horizons.

    “Microscopic investigations on the world famous statuette from the Gravettian period (30,000 to 22,000 years ago) carried out at the Natural History Museum in Vienna revealed three incredible insights, and when taken together tell a secret story of this Palaeolithic figurine and her creators.
    · The limestone from which the 11cm high Venus had been carved, comes almost certainly from the region around the Moravian city of Brno 136km to the northeast of Willendorf.
    · The source of the flint blades discovered with the figure was North Moravia, a further 150km to the north.
    · The Venus had once been completely painted with red ochre, and given the ritualistic associations of this material meant that the figure was more than likely a cultic object.”

  • Feeding Spirits and Bones” — Sarah Anne Lawless.

    “Old Man and Old Woman settled their ancient bones back into the remnants of creatures native to their wild domain, no doubt having missed their shrine and the once regular offerings to be found there. The Moon’s candle was restored to its place above breasts and belly carved from stone, surrounded by offerings. She eats beeswax greedily like blood offerings, leaving nothing behind. A candle lit to welcome the spirits back with sweetest incense burned and fresh water poured to sate their hunger. The spirits sigh happily, the new house sighs like a person with a once empty belly filled. Even breathing feels easier now with the altar and all its spirits in their proper place of reverence.”

  • Poem by Sulpicia quoted in “Valentine’s Day: Ancient Festival Of Sexual Frenzy” — Donna Henes, Huffington Post’s The Blog.

    “At last love has come. I would be more ashamed
    to hide it in cloth than leave it naked.
    I prayed to the Muse and won. Venus dropped him
    in my arms, doing for me what she
    had promised. Let my joy be told, let those
    who have none tell it in a story.
    Personally, I would never send off words
    in sealed tablets for none to read.
    I delight in sinning and hate to compose a mask
    for gossip. We met. We are both worthy.”

  • T Thorn Coyle, via tweet.

    “Happy Lupercalia! Blessed Full Moon! (If you see half naked boys running w goatskin whips, you may wish to stay out of their way. Or not.)”

  • Eliphas Levi quoted by T Thorn Coyle, via tweet.

    “It is necessary to DARE what must be attempted.”

  • Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People: Narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic, and sadistic.” — Chris Mooney, Slate.

    “The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).

    It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior. What’s more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the Internet.”

  • Colleen Fenley, via facebook comment.

    “disagree, awful poster… delete”

  • John Griogair Bell, via tweet.

    “If you’re going to cover your eyes and plug your ears, at least have the courtesy and self-awareness to also shut your mouth.”

  • Chèvres en équilibre” [HT Bryan Fuller]; from the let-the-goat-come-to-you dept.

Welcome to Munchen, Minnesota

Munchen, Minnesota is a place that may be of interest to you in your travels. This upcoming series being developed by Christine Borne (who is also apparently working on a YA novel about Krampus!) and Justin Glanville is planned to debut in April 2014 and centers around a fictional town, its residents, and their outsider, esoteric, supernatural and weird stories. It’s a little early to know much more about this project, but it certainly sounds promising to me, and perhaps to you as well.

Welcome to Munchen, Minnesota

“Hello, and Welcome to Munchen, Minnesota!

Like a lot of older industrial cities in the Midwest, Munchen (pronounced ‘Munchin’) has fallen on hard economic times. As people and businesses have moved away, many of the town’s neighborhoods have emptied, leaving old houses vacant and crumbling. Crime is rampant. The public schools are in disarray.

But Munchen’s got an even more serious problem: It’s on the verge of a supernatural invasion. The threat seems to loom ever larger as the town declines. And the only people with the power to save it are a geeky teenage girl, her gay librarian father, and an ambitious city planner who didn’t have a clue what he was in for when he transferred from the East Coast.

This blog is a platform that Christine and Justin developed for launching our series about Munchen and its unlikely heroes. It is our Sunnydale, if Sunnydale were in flyover country and overcast 267 days of the year. We’re both attracted to the mystique that place holds for certain people — whether for good or ill. Munchen is as much a character in our story as any of our humans (or non-humans).”

“We’re planning to launch Munchen as a serial, though right now we’re still experimenting with format. Will it be a web comic? A series of e-books? A full-cast audio production? Surely the answer will come to us in a dream, or leap out from behind a door when we least expect it.

Meanwhile, we’re going to chatter at you about writing, weird fiction, creatures with sharp teeth, and the forgotten places at the far corners of the psyche. Oh and also TV.” [via]

A Course in Demonic Creativity

A Course in Demonic Creativity: A Writer’s Guide to the Inner Genius by Matt Cardin is available for download again, as a free ebook.

Matt Cardin's A Course in Demonic Creativity

“Where does creativity come from? Why do ideas and inspiration feel as if they come from ‘outside,’ from an external source that’s separate from us but able to whisper directly into the mind? Why have so many writers throughout history — and also composers, painters, philosophers, mystics, and scientists — spoken of being guided, accompanied, and even haunted by a force or presence that not only serves as the deep source of their creative work but that exerts a kind of profound and inexorable gravitational pull on the shape of their lives?

These are all questions addressed by A Course in Demonic Creativity: A Writer’s Guide to the Inner Genius. The book’s starting point is the proposition that we all possess a higher or deeper intelligence than the everyday mind, and that learning to live and work harmoniously and energetically with this intelligence is the irreducible core of a successful artistic life. We can call this inner force the unconscious mind or the silent partner. We can call it the id or the secret self. But muse, daimon, and genius are so much more effective at conveying its subversive and electrifying emotional charge, and also its experiential reality.

Your unconscious mind truly is your genius in the ancient sense of the word, the sense that was universal before it was fatefully altered several centuries ago by historical-cultural forces. Befriending it as such, and interacting with it as if it really is a separate, collaborating presence in your psyche, puts you in a position to receive its gifts, and it in the position to give them to you.” [via]