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Date:2012-10-24 09:57
Subject:Reach out a tendril...

Your own personal Lovecraft
Someone in deep despair
Someone out there
Your own personal Lovecraft
Someone in deep despair
Someone out there

Feeling unknown
And you're all alone
Flesh and bone
In the Ghooric Zone
Consciousness descending
Into voids unending

Take it from me
There still is a key
Leading to see
Your high reverie
Dreaming a solution
From this mundane confusion

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Date:2012-10-21 10:56
Subject:More Feuerbachian sacramentalism

Just a quote this time:

Apart from the Sacrament, God is partaken of spiritually; in the Sacrament he is partaken of materially, i.e., he is eaten and drunken, assimilated by the body. But how couldst thou receive God into the body, if it were in thy esteem an organ unworthy of God? Dost thou pour wine into a water-cask? Dost thou not declare thy hands and lips holy when by means of them thou comest in contact with the Holy One?* Thus if God is eaten and drunken, eating and drinking is declared to be a divine act; and this is what the Eucharist expresses, though in a self-contradictory, mystical, covert manner. But it is our task to express the mystery of religion, openly and honourably, clearly and definitely. Life is God; the enjoyment of life is the enjoyment of God; true bliss in life is true religion.
(Emphasis in original.)

* Or, as we Gnostic Catholics say in our paraphrase from the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead: "There is no part of me that is not of the gods."

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Date:2012-10-13 15:53
Subject:The "Lord's Supper" sans Jesus

Sometimes, when I describe the Gnostic Mass to people, they are confused by the fact that we don't ground our Eucharistic magick in some sort of pseudo-historical institution narrative regarding a Jesus-type savior. And they are certainly puzzled by what value "eating the body and drinking the blood of God" could have for someone who both rejects any sort of conventional piety and spurns the entire enterprise of "theology." ("God" is a rhetorical object only, and theology is the most obtuse and degenerate form of rhetoric. The theologian is infinitely farther from God than the unlettered worshiper.)

In a footnote to The Essence of Christianity (Part II, Ch. XXV), Feuerbach gets at what I take to be a significant mechanism involved in the Thelemic Eucharist:

Man is occupied with himself in and through God. God is the means of human existence and happiness. This religious truth, embodied in a cultus, in a sensous form, is the Lord's Supper. In this sacrament man feeds upon God -- the Creator of heaven and earth -- as on material food; by the act of eating and drinking he declares God to be a mere means of life to man. Here man is virtually supposed to be the God of God: hence the Lord's Supper is the highest self-enjoyment of human subjectivity. Even the Protestant -- not indeed in words, but in truth -- transforms God into an external thing, since he subjects Him to himself as an object of sensational enjoyment.

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Date:2012-09-28 13:58
Subject:Review: The Best Ghost Stories of H. Russell Wakefield

This collection of Wakefield's stories is very good. Although there is a slightly larger range of supernatural horror than might be suggested by the title's category of "ghost stories," most are in fact about spectral hauntings and the effects of genii locorum -- always malign. "The Red Lodge" and "Blind Man's Buff" are, for example, almost painfully traditional haunted house tales in terms of plot, but told with great skill and effect. Wakefield's curses and ghosts are never exorcised; at best (and that rarely), the living characters manage to flee and escape their further influence.

A couple of the stories are concerned with sport. "The Seventeenth Hole at Duncaster" drew on the author's own long-term enjoyment of golf, and is in many ways a solid example of his work in the ghost story genre. As usual, the origin and nature of the spirits are much murkier than their effects. "Professor Pownall's Oversight" is a chess ghost story, and not only a good one, but perhaps the best chess ghost story possible.

Another notable feature is in the two stories featuring characters modeled on the magus Aleister Crowley. In "He cometh and he passeth by ..." Crowley is made over into the homicidal sorcerer Oscar Clinton, while in "A Black Solitude" Apuleius Charlton is based on an older and more benign Beast: "He was sixty odd at this time and very well preserved in spite of his hard boozing, addiction to drugs and sexual fervour, for it was alleged that joy-maidens or temple-slaves were well represented in his mystic entourage. (If I were a Merlin, they would be in mine!)" (128)

The stories are a rough mix between those in which evildoers meet some justified comeuppance, and others where the supernatural afflicts characters merely mediocre or already cursed with unusual talent. In several cases, there are both, or it is left to the reader to judge which of these categories applies. Wakefield's work had the admiration of M.R. James and H.P. Lovecraft alike, and it is easy to see why.

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Date:2012-07-20 12:24

Unto Faust may there be granted the accomplishment of his feline will.

All beasts are happy,
For, when they die,
Their souls are soon dissolv'd in elements;
But mine must live, still to be plagued in hell.

(Christopher Marlowe, Dr. Faustus, scene xiv)

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Date:2012-06-08 12:06
Subject:this I like

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Date:2012-05-29 18:58
Subject:Book Review: The Cosmic Serpent

I read Jeremy Narby's The Cosmic Serpent in a sequence that I began with Bateson's Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity and continued with Koestler's The Ghost in the Machine. All of these books are generalist studies that apply the latest (1960s for the earlier ones, and 1990s for Narby) scientific information about biology and evolution to problems that include the nature of consciousness and the alienation of humanity. Narby, like Bateson, is an anthropologist by primary academic training. Like Koestler in The Ghost in the Machine, he turns vigorously against the intellectual status quo, challenging the implicit doctrines of anthropology in the way that Koestler does for psychology. All three authors ultimately reject to varying degrees the mechanistic materialism that is the principal intellectual heritage of the 19th and 20th centuries.

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Date:2012-05-29 14:32
Subject:Actual signage noted on UK visit

If you make a trip to Hastings, you might stay at the ASTRAL LODGE. And if you need repairs, you could call up ADEPT CONSTRUCTION.

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Date:2012-04-25 10:39
Subject:Iä fhtagn!

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Date:2012-03-26 17:35
Subject:The Feast of Alex Comfort (celebrated with a book review)

Tetrarch is a very interesting novel deserving addition to my Gnostic Catholic "Section 2" reading list ("Other books, principally fiction, of a generally suggestive and helpful kind"). It is a slightly didactic through-the-magic-door fantasy, like C.S. Lewis' Narnia, but definitely for adults. Instead of hokey Christian allegory, it offers reifications of William Blake's prophecies, Bohmian quantum mechanics, systems theory, transpersonal psychology, imaginary language, and encounters with historical personalities. The whole stew is pretty heady, and some prior familiarity with the prophetic works of Blake will help to avoid getting disoriented: the protagonists are supposed to be versed in them already, and the reader is given many allusions to them without further exposition.

Author Alex Comfort is, of course, best known for his book The Joy of Sex, and there is plenty of sex happening in Tetrarch, where the customary greeting is, "Have you loved well?" Narrator Edward and his partner Rosanna are preposterously enlightened in their sexuality: quite free of jealousy and compassionate about others' hang-ups. It's not porn; there's none of the sort of graphic detail that makes porn work, but the sexual vision--utopian and otherwise--is rather inspiring. Read more...Collapse )

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Date:2012-03-20 12:39
Subject:Happy New Year

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

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Date:2012-03-10 15:32
Subject:The Feast of T.H.T.I.T.I. Brother Israel Regardie

He said, as interviewed by Alan Miller (1985):

I don't consider myself a Master, in no way. [Crowley] may be a Master. I'm not. The less gab they have, the less emphasis on I love you, you love me, God loves us, and I love God, the more emphasis on the facts. Look, you're a human being, and you've got a certain amount of guts -- use it as a means of scaling the ladders of achieving the heights. Love and God will take care of themselves. First, be yourself, damn it, and stop talking about things you have no understanding of. This is my attitude.

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Date:2012-02-23 08:47
Subject:Louie Lingam, Part II

I am not an Agnostic in your sense of the word: your god-idea is too vacuous for any theologian to lie about it.
I am not an Agnostic in your sense of the word: fancy such ignorance held up as prudence!
As long as there are metaphysical cobwebs passed off as luxurious silks, I am against Agnosticism, and for the Gnosis.
The "wisdom" of any suspended judgment is less estimable than the folly of experience.

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Date:2012-02-10 09:48
Subject:guillo-tingly all over

Rick Santorum is the national front-runner for the Republican Presidential nomination.

And he says that President Obama is the Antichrist.

Good times, good times: "For the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?"

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Date:2012-02-06 11:59
Subject:all aboard

"The most ungrateful of all voices surely is the voice of asses" (Koran xxxl. 18); and hence the "braying of hell" (Koran lxvii. 7). The vulgar still believe that the donkey brays when seeing the Devil. "The last animal which entered the Ark with Noah was the Ass to whose tail Iblis was clinging. At the threshold the ass seemed troubled and could enter no further when Noah said to him:--Fie upon thee! come in. But as the ass was still troubled and did not advance Noah cried:--Come in, though the Devil be with thee!; so the ass entered and with him Iblis. Thereupon Noah asked:--O enemy of Allah who brought thee into the Ark?; and Iblis answered:--Thou art the man, for thou saidest to the ass, come in though the Devil be with thee!" (Kitab al-Unwan fi Makaid al-Niswan quoted by Lane ii.45, per Burton's Alf Laylah wa Laylah III.117 n.2)
I snagged this admirable reference as a happy byproduct of reading Declare by Tim Powers.

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Date:2011-12-15 14:51
Subject:The Feast of Arthur Machen

Weird fictioneer and Golden Dawn initiate Arthur Machen is sixty-four years gone today.

I recently read the The Three Imposters and Other Stories (the first of Chaosium's three-volume Best Weird Tales of Arthur Machen compendium), and had the following thoughts about it:

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My plan is to read Volume 2: The White People and Other Stories this month, and I suppose I should kick it off on this auspicious date!

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Date:2011-12-08 09:47

This game looks like great fun. Tarot cards and pyramids; what's not to like?

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Date:2011-12-02 11:13
Subject:The Feast of the Marquis de Sade

"Happiness lies neither in vice nor in virtue; but in the manner we appreciate the one and the other, and the choice we make pursuant to our individual organization."

I share a birthday with him, so the anniversary of his death inspires me to reflect on my own, like Donne's tolling bell.

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Date:2011-11-04 08:43
Subject:Book Review: Pure War

"I am the warrior Lord of the Forties: the Eighties cower before me, & are abased." CCXX III:46

Pure War is a book-length interview -- arbitrarily broken into chapters -- of Paul Virilio by Sylvère Lotringer. Urbanist intellectual Virilio is a theorist of the mechanisms by which war drives technology (and vice versa), and the inventor of dromology as the study of how "speed" transforms social relations. His authorities on military theory include J.F.C. Fuller (57, 69). Virilio posits an essential conflict between military and civil society, or more hypostatically, between war and politics. Although the Pure War interview took place in 1983, during what the participants did not know was the twilight of the Cold War, the trends which Virilio describes have only intensified in the following decades. He sees war with the upper hand, and politics teetering on the edge of an exterminating abyss.

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Date:2011-11-03 12:13
Subject:Book Review: The Complete Magick Curriculum of the G.'.B.'.G.'. Edited, Revised, and Expanded

This text (the "Edited, Revised, and Expanded" second edition of The Complete Magick Curriculum of the G.'.B.'.G.'.) is the work of three men distributed over about eight decades.

At the root is the actual curriculum in the form of rituals and "directives from Headquarters" written by C.F. Russell to instruct the adherents of his Thelemic magical order G.'.B.'.G.'., which boasted "A Short-cut to Initiation." This material was put into practice by an organization which achieved total membership in the triple digits during its operation in various US metropolitan areas in the 1930s. It is quite interesting in being a fully-realized Thelemic system of magical training and organizing that appears to have made no reference to the person of Aleister Crowley. It did, however, operate under the authority granted by him to Russell, and it did promote Crowley's Liber Legis and his cardinal doctrine of Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. The system is deliberately minimalist in design, and the ceremonial liturgies hardly measure up to Crowley's ritual texts, but I'm sure they were effective. Another notable feature was its deployment of a sex-magical program stemming from the writings of Ida Craddock.

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