Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why Not Organize a Witch Hunt?

from here

Thanatos in the temple of Artemis at Ephesus

Friday, December 2, 2011

Final Fantasy Espers - Golden Dawn / Tarot attributions

final fantasy espers on the tree of life
(golden dawn tarot/kaballah attributions)
Aleph: Zoneseek
Beth: Fenrir
Gimel: Sraphim
Daleth: Starlet
Heh: Alexandr
Vav: Ragnarok
Zayin: Unicorn
Cheth: Carbunkl
Teth: Bahamut
Yod: Siren
Coph: Palidor
Lamed: Odin
Mem: Crusader
Nun: Shoat
Samech: Tritoch
Ayin: Stray
Peh: Terrato
Tzaddi: Maduin
Qoph: Phantom
Resh: Phoenix
Shin: Ifrit
Tav: Golem

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

S. Pinker

Language is not just a window into human nature but a fistula: an open wound through which our innards are exposed to an infectious world. It’s not surprising that we expect people to sheathe their words in politeness and innuendo and other forms of doublespeak.

“The Stuff of Thought,” 2007

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Seneca's turn to self

Like St. Augustine, whose “turn inside” is as much debated by scholars as Seneca's “turn to the self,” Seneca seems to think that turning to one's soul is not enough—we need to further turn to God. However, for Seneca, the study of nature and God seems to be motivated by care for one's soul (rather than, say, by love for God). In the Natural Questions, Seneca suggests that the reflective engagement with our own soul is but the first step. Even if we escape the violent emotions and disruptions of a public life, we might not yet have escaped from ourselves, that is, from an excessive concern with our own particular situation and needs. We must turn into ourselves (in se recedendum), but then we must also retreat from ourselves (a se recedendum) (NQ 4.20). From a care of ourselves that revolves around ethical questions, we must turn to the study of nature and theology (NQ 1.1–8). How does such study liberate us? By removing us from our localized concerns, and offering us a distanced, disengaged perspective on them. The study of nature is an attempt at overcoming one's mortality (NQ 1.17). More than that, the ideal of virtue that is at issue in taking care of one's soul is, ultimately, the ideal of becoming like God (Russell 2004). This is a thought that perhaps is rather foreign to modern psychotherapeutic techniques, and to Foucaultian ideas about self-care.
SEP Seneca article

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Jack London Quotes and Links for Occupy Oakland

“Darn the wheel of the world! Why must it continually turn over? Where is the reverse gear?” -Jack London

“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” -Jack London

War of the Classes, How I became a Socialist, The Iron Heel by
Jack London, Socialist

"A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog." -Jack London

"Man always gets less than he demands from life." -Jack London, The People of the Abyss

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." -Jack London

"To be sure, London found in socialism an outlet from the abyss" -some literary critic

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rimbaud vs. Baudelaire -- dueling quotes on genius as childhood

"Genius is the recovery of childhood at will" -Arthur Rimbaud

“Genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will, childhood equipped now with man's physical means to express itself, and with the analytical mind that enables it to bring order into the sum of experience, involuntarily amassed.”
― Charles Baudelaire, The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Yeats on Blake

“yet in his visionary realism, and in his enthusiasm for what, after all, is perhaps the greatest art, and a necessary part of every picture that is art at all, he forgot how he who wraps the vision in lights and shadows, in iridescent or glowing colour, having in the midst of his labour many little visions of these secondary essences, until form be half lost in pattern, may compel the canvas or paper to become itself a symbol of some not indefinite because unsearchable essence”

Henri Corbin on imaginal forms

The immateriality of the imaginative power was already fully affirmed by Ibn 'Arabi when he differentiated between the absolute imaginal Forms, that is to say such as subsist in the Malakut, and the "captive" imaginal Forms, that is, those immanent in the imaginative consciousness of man in this world. The former are in the world of the Soul (âme) or Malakut, epiphanies or theophanies, that is to say, imaginalmanifestations of the pure Intellectual Forms of the Jabarut. The latter are in their turn manifestations of the imaginal Forms of the Malakut or world of the Soul to man's imaginative consciousness. It is therefore perfectly exact here to speak of metaphysical Images. Now these cannot be received unless by a spiritual organ. The solidarity and interdependence between the active Imagination defined as a spiritual faculty and the necessity of the mundus imaginalis as an intermediate world respond to the need of a conception which considers the worlds and the forms of Being as so many theophanies (tajalliyat ilahiya).

We thus find ourselves in the presence of a number of philosophers who refuse indifferently a philosophy or a theology which lacks the element of theophany. Sohravardi and all the Ishraquiyun who follow him have always considered the "Perfect Sage" as being the Sage who gathers to himself equally the highest philosophical knowledge and the mystical experience modelled on the visionary experience of the Prophet, the night of the Miraj. Now the organ of visions, of whatever degree they may be, whether in the case of the philosophers or of the prophets, is neither the intellect nor the fleshly eyes, but the fire of that imaginatio vera of which the Burning Bush is for Sohravardi the type. In the sensible form it is then the Imaginal Form itself which is from the very first and at one and the same time the pierceived form and the organ of visionary perception. The Theophanic Forms are in their essence Imaginal Forms.

~ Henry Corbin

[Towards a Chart of the Imaginal]

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

George Carlin on the existence of God / Higher Intelligence

[On the existence of God] No. No, there's no God, but there might be some sort of an organizing intelligence, and I think to understand it is way beyond our ability. It's certainly not a judgmental entity. It's certainly not paternalistic and all these qualities that have been attributed to God. It's probably a dispassionate... That's why I say, "Suppose He doesn't give a shit? Suppose there is a God but He just doesn't give a shit?" That's the kind of thing that might be at work.
The Onion A.V. Club, September 6, 2000 [3]
via Wikiquote

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Alan Watts on Indra's Net

"Imagine a multidimensional spider's web in the early morning covered with dew drops. And every dew drop contains the reflection of all the other dew drops. And, in each reflected dew drop, the reflections of all the other dew drops in that reflection. And so ad infinitum. That is the Buddhist conception of the universe in an image."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Elaine Pagels on Gnosticism -- great interview!

"Pagels stressed this issue throughout much of our discussion for the basic reason the terms "Gnosticism" and "Gnostic" hijack an individual's ability to fully retrieve the bounty found in the formative stages of Christianity. In essence, these terms are a sort of light pollution that has dazzled scholarly and religious minds but obfuscated an almost endless constellation of elemental Christian sects, each emanating from the same theological Big Bang but with their own unique and educational illumination.

Pagels perhaps went further than other academics in stating that even accepting Gnostic subdivisions such as Valentinianism and Sethianism was potentially falling into the mental quicksand of leaning too much on expedient but generalizing labels. Doing this inevitably creates a myopic projection into the Nag Hammadi library itself, conceivably aborting the possibility of taking accurate snapshots of youthful Christianity."

I've been a big fan of Pagels since I first read her in college and grad school.
I don't understand why she isn't more highly regarded by scholars--at least the
ones I've talked to. I like this notion of the concept of Gnosticism as "light pollution" very much. Much of the writing in the field of Renaissance Magic has been clouded or washed out by this optical phenomenon. In reconstructing the actual visionary practices of whatever "Gnostic" group we want to study, we must be very careful about imposing some external, anachronistic category of "Gnostic Myth." But I understand those who feel that it's necessary to have a post-Jonas category of gnosticism that doesn't fall into the same traps, while somehow managing to cover the different "Gnostic" groups. I think it's important to make tables like we see in Michael Williams' book so that we can keep track of these differences, and after ten years of study I'm afraid that I simply despair at the notion of trying to keep "Gnosticism," although I'm just as shy about simply discarding the category. From a scholarly point of view I'm stumped, but from a visionary magical point of view I would insist that we respect these mysteries for the sacred and terrible things they are. This goes for all historical practice, but we should be especially careful when dealing with actual esoteric enigmas.

On the other hand, when using tools like the concept of "Gnosticism" to develop our own contemporary visionary practices, these technical problems of definition can be more or less useful--and I don't see a problem with contemporary practitioners who simply stop worrying about the problem. It doesn't matter if the term "gnostic" equally applies to Agrippa and Hermes, let along the Sethians vs. some other gnostic sect, or whether there's a rigorous historical meaning informing one's understanding of "Hermetic visionary magic." So long as one is having successful visions, philosophical contemplations, ecstatic transports, or whatever results one needs, historical accuracy is merely the icing on the cake. Whether or not we can get in touch with the visionary practices of the ancients (and I'm much more skeptical than many of my peers in the magical community, although I am getting therapy for all the terrible abuses of grad school discourse!) we can still be inspired by the mysteries and texts they left to our own visionary experiences. I would love to be able to understand exactly how the experiences I've had "really" tally against the experiences of my favorite hundred or so notorious mystics, but I'm content to understand that we are all approaching the same divine mystery from different angles. I don't feel any need to control the mystery, and I can live with not knowing those things that the sacred evidence won't allow me to know.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Aleister Crowley on the Veil of the Aethyr

The veil of the Aethyr is like the veil of night, dark azure, full of countless stars. And because the veil is infinite, at first one seeth not the winged globe of the sun that burneth in the centre thereof. Profound peace filleth me, — beyond ecstasy, beyond thought, beyond being itself, IAIDA. (This word means "I am", but in a sense entirely beyond being.)

The Vision and the Voice, Cry of the First Aethyr

Aleister Crowley on the Holy Guardian Angel

"the Angel is in truth the Logos or articulate expression of the whole Being of the Adept, so that as he increases in the perfect understanding of His name, he approaches the solution of the ultimate problem, Who he himself truly is... The Angel is the spiritual Sun of the Soul of the Adept... The Angel [is] the True Self of his subconscious self, the hidden Life of his physical life."
- Aleister Crowley, "Liber Samekh"

Monday, March 28, 2011

Newton's Laws of Motion in Latin


[Leges solæ descripta sunt, commentariis prætermissis.]

Lex I

Corpus omne perseverare in statu suo quiescendi vel movendi uniformiter in directum, nisi quatenus illud a viribus impressis cogitur statum suum mutare.

Lex II

Mutationem motus proportionalem esse vi motrici impressæ, & fieri secundum lineam rectam qua vis illa imprimitur.


Actioni contrariam semper & æqualem esse reactionem: sive corporum duorum actiones in se mutuo semper esse æquales & in partes contrarias dirigi.

Crowley latin ritual


Grimorium Sanctissimum.

Arcanum Arcanorum Quod Continet Nondum Revelandum ipsis Regibus supremis O.T.O. Grimorium Quod Baphomet X Degree M... suo fecit.
De Templo.
1. Oriente ............... Altare
2. Occidente ............. Tabula dei invocandi
3. Septentrione .......... Sacerdos
4. Meridione ............. Ignis cum thuribulo, GR:chi. GR:tau. GR:lambda.
5. Centro ................ Lapis quadratus cum
Imagine Dei
Maximi Igentis Nefandi Ineffabilis Sanctissimi
et cum ferro, tintinnabulo, oleo.
Virgo. Stet imago juxta librum GR:Theta-Epsilon-Lambda-Eta-Mu-Alpha.

De ceremonio Principii.

Fiat ut in Libro DCLXXI dicitur, sed antea virgo lavata sit cum verbis "Asperge me..." GR:chi. GR:tau. GR:lambda., et habilimenta ponat cum verbis "Per sanctum Mysterium," GR:chi. GR:tau. GR:lambda.
Ita Pyramis fiat. Tunc virgo lavabit sacerdotem et vestimenta ponat ut supra ordinatur.
(Hic dicat virgo orationes dei operis).

De ceremonio Thuribuli.

Manibus accedat et ignem et sacerdotem virgo, dicens: {325}
"Accendat in nobis Dominus ignem sui amoris et flamman aeternae caritatis.

De ceremonio Dedicationis.

Invocet virgo Imaginem Dei. M.I.N.I.S. his verbis. --- Tu qui es prater omnia... GR:chi. GR:tau. GR:lambda."
Nec relinquet alteram Imaginem.

De Sacrificio Summo.

Deinde silentium frangat sacerdos cum verbis versiculi sancti dei particularitur invocandi.
Ineat ad Sanctum Sanctorum.
Caveat; caveat, caveat.
Duo qui fiunt UNUS sine intermissione verba versiculi sancti alta voce cantent.

De Benedictione Benedicti.

Missa rore, dicat mulier haec verba "Quia patris et filii s.s." GR:chi. GR:tau. GR:lambda.

De Ceremonio Finis

Fiat ut in Libro DCLXXI dicitur. GR:Alpha-Upsilon-Mu-Gamma-Nu.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hermetic "Mystical Silence"

“Now, O Father, thou hast put me to silence for ever and all my former thoughts have quite left and forsaken me, for I see the greatness, and shape of all things here below, and nothing but falsehood in them all.”

- The words of Tat to his Father from the 7th Book of the Corpus Hermetica

quote lifted from The Eyeless Owl

Thursday, February 10, 2011

exciting news about the Voynich manuscript

Experts Determine Age of Voynich Manuscript

"the manuscript's parchment pages date back to the early 15th century, making the book a century older than scholars had previously thought. "

I'll have to think more about the implications but here's a little bit clipped from a Facebook rant

the dating is important because it shows that the Voynich manuscript predates any of the renaissance magic that has been read into/associated with it (i.e. passing through John Dee's hands) and also predates the early modern alchemical flowering that gave us proto-spiritual alchemy or the medical alchemy of Paracelsus... so the idea that the text is some kinda allegorical head trip becomes more intriguing as it would have been way ahead of its time, we get a new perspective on the originality (I like to compare it to hypnerotomachia polyphilii which is the greatest dreamy text ever but obviously slightly less obscure... see also the modern codex serafinus which is a badass avant-garde art homage to stuff like voynich) ... the early 15th century was decidedly still the medieval head space, it's fascinating to me that somebody wrote that book out of it. utter, unspeakable genius if it's half the joke it seems to be.

The connection with Dee is resonant because of the aura of hoax that surrounds Dee's angelic conversations with the alchemist Edward Kelly, who had his ears cropped for some kinda fraud and may have been running an elaborate con on Dee. I like the idea that the Voynich manuscript isn't really a code, but that it's a fake code designed well enough to seem like it's impossible to crack, although it's really nonsense. But it was such an expensive manuscript to produce, that it would have to be some really heavy con game.

If it's a hoax it's an amazing hoax, more admirable than if it's merely an alchemical or herbological text. Here's why: some of the best cryptologists in history haven't been able to figure out if it's even a code or not. If it is a hoax intended to fuck with people's heads like that, then it's one of the greatest masterpieces of guerilla ontology ever created. As I understand they still can't prove that it's not a code, although there are whole sub-disciplines in cryptology being invented in order to study the information content and make the determination of whether it's a code or not. If it really isn't a code, but rather a hoax designed to look like a complicated code, then the guy who wrote it was hundreds of years ahead of his time. If it just means something we can't figure out, or is really just gibberish, it's far less interesting, although it would turn out to be merely a remarkable historical accident (of Jungian synchronicity proportions on crack!) that it has stumped the best minds in cryptology so far.

Granted, if it really was an alchemist giving the method for making a philosopher's stone that works, that would probably be bigger news. But it would be big news because our lives would change forever, not because it's interesting from a cryptological point of view.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Initiation as Interruption of Liminality

1: of or relating to a sensory threshold;
2: barely perceptible;
3: of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition : in-between, transitional - "in the liminal state between life and death"
Big issue for me in ritual studies, anthropology of magic, theory of initiation and esotericism, etc.
But we are all members in good standing of Nature's Pythagorean Order of the Star, as our guru Donald Duck teaches, whatever our liminal status.
may all attain!

Playing the Eye Game with the Gaze

I have learned almost everything I know about esoteric images from simply looking at them. We learn a ton about meditation from simply directing the gaze, feeding attention into it. So many tricks of suggestion are being presented in both obvious/bizarre, and subtle/steganographic ways. In altered states of consciousness, if stillness of gaze and mind can be maintained, other pictures seem to become apparent "overlaid" as switches in some perceptual system seem to be glitching.