The ubiquity of leaf-blowers is in fact a tell-tale sign of the imminent demise of civilization.
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Haydar Khan writes:
The way “intersectionality” is used today reminds me of Inigo Montoya, the character in the movie The Princess Bride. “You keep using that word,” he says. “I do not think it means what you think it means.” https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/14/set-theory-of-the-left/
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If you are preceived to be connected to those who are deemed (by establishment authorities) to traffic in "conspiracy theories or false information," you will be judged a hazard and marginalized, with efficiently automated soft banning, de-indexing, and so forth. Jack in to digital totalitarianism and kiss reality goodbye.
The alternative path for our society, succinctly expressed:
"We’re the experiment that the biosphere is running now." --Adam Frank
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If our planet isn't already past a critical tipping point for anthropogenic global warming, we're certainly not going to avoid it with solar panels and electric cars. Decades ago, I knew the dinosaurs would have their revenge, but I didn't expect it would be so soon or so severe. Still, humanity has choices. We could perish in a nuclear winter, or frack our way to an eruption of the Yosemite supervolcano.
This experiment doesn't have much longer to run. We are twilight people.
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I'm gradually youtubifying a lot of content that I've previously shared in smaller, more initiated venues. Here's a wide-angle O.T.O. history talk.
" Be not contented with the image. I who am the Image of an Image say this. Debate not of the image, saying Beyond! Beyond!" --Liber LXV I:7-9
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"The universe is the image of God and man is the image of nature. Man is therefore, so to say, the image of the image; in other words a Microcosmos or little world." --Franz Hartmann, In the Pronaos of the Temple of Wisdom (27), glossing Henry Cornelius Agrippa
"This shall regenerate the world, the little world my sister, my heart & my tongue, unto whom I send this kiss." --Liber CCXX I:53
Today is the anniversary of the death of the "Rosicrucian" Max Heindel (1865–1919), an erstwhile Theosophist who lectured, published, and organized in the US in the early decades of the 20th century. My first significant reading in his instructions was the book Freemasonry and Catholicism. When I acquired the volume, I supposed that it would be some sort of fanciful history regarding the two institutions that have occasioned the most absurd aspirations and paranoia in the modern West. Or perhaps it would have something to do with comparative liturgy from an esoteric perspective, like one might get from C.W. Leadbeater. But no, it treats "The Cosmic Facts Underlying These Two Great Institutions As Determined by Occult Investigation"!
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What that means is that it presents an anthropogony and spiritual typology in which there are two complementary, yet antagonistic, human alignments, each represented in the sphere of Western polity by one of these "Great Institutions." Freemasonry is made up of the "Sons of Cain," who are governmental, rational, magical, and masculine, operating under the Martial presidency of Lucifer and his angels. Catholicism is the vehicle of the "Sons of Seth," who are ecclesiastical, contemplative, mystical, and feminine, operating under the Lunar presidency of Jehovah and his angels. All of this is worked into a baroque Theosophical dispensationalism, summed in a gloriously crazy chart of "Evolution Under Human and Superhuman Rulers" between pages 56 and 57. That chart shows humanity developing from a hermaphroditic vegetative state, through the sexual division idealized in the masculine Hiram Abiff and feminine Virgin Mary, to a future post-sexual New Jerusalem.
While Heindel disclaims any formal Masonic initiation on his own part, he professes a greater sympathy with the Masonic alignment than the Catholic one. Much of the book is given over to his recounting of a myth that he attributes to Masonic lore, a variant on biblical narratives in which Eve was prior to Adam, and mother to Cain by Lucifer. Cain was thus "the widow's son" because of Lucifer's desertion of Eve. King Solomon and Hiram Abiff are presented as the chief agents of Jehovah and Lucifer, respectively, in a story regarding Solomon's sexual jealousy for the Queen of Sheba. Solomon is reincarnated as Jesus of Nazareth, but has to vacate that body for the career of the Christ who takes over at his Jordan baptism. And Lazarus is the reincarnated Hiram Abiff, raised by Christ. (Got all that?)
Along the way, Heindel also discusses certain notions of practical occultism, particularly a reading of alchemy focused on psychology and diet. At one point, he indicates that Rosicrucian adepts can take on new bodies, somewhat like Time Lords regenerate in Doctor Who (63-65).
I cannot credit this book with much value in terms of fact, sentiment, or potential to inspire, but it was sufficiently novel and entertaining that I cannot say I will never read further in the works of its author.
Audio from NOTOCON X, now with a new slide show.
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Lunar and Sex Worship is an initial, long-posthumous publication of two chapters of a projected larger work on comparative religion by the American sex-reformer and mystic Ida Craddock. As it is, these two chapters make a hefty book. Barely 50% of the verbiage is Craddock's own, since she quotes at length from her preferred sources, who include Thomas Inman, J.G.R. Forlong, and most prominently Gerald Massey (who is probably the least credible of the lot, alas). For those familiar with the earlier works on which Craddock depends, there may not be much new here, other than her particular feminist perspective on the material. The book does stand as a pretty accurate and accessible digest of 19th-century solar-phallic theory of religion, however.
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Surprisingly, Craddock has interesting contributions to make on the topic of "aeonics," or the historical succession of global magical formulae. She uses a novel strategy in an attempt to pinpoint what Thelemites will understand as the transition between the Aeons of Isis and Osiris (19-21). She also discusses the messianic moment corresponding to the advent of the Aeon of Horus (264).
Editor Vere Chappell has been a relentless 21st-century researcher and champion of Craddock, and his introduction contextualizes Lunar and Sex Worship well enough for contemporary readers. I am grateful that he also furnished the book with an index: considering the wide range of topics that it covers, with no subheadings within its two enormously long chapters, the index is a crucial feature--even if it fails to have an entry for "ass" (Craddock's passage on lunar onolatry may be found on 94-95)!
The best part of the book is the closing pages, where she decries the sexual repression of modern Christianity, and calls for a return of phallic religious sensibility. She holds out hope that the "storehouse of symbolism" in Catholic Christianity may yet contribute to a restored worship of the generative power, enhanced by scientific knowledge and an ethic of universal brotherhood (252).
I've long endorsed the option of triangular hosts for the Gnostic Mass by virtue of their status as the special symbol of RHK. There's another way to think about this shape, though.
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Jeremiah 44:19 Darby Version:
And when we burned incense to the queen of the heavens and poured out drink-offerings to her, did we make for her cakes to portray her, and pour out drink-offerings to her, without our husbands?
English Standard Version:
And the women said, “When we made offerings to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, was it without our husbands' approval that we made cakes for her bearing her image and poured out drink offerings to her?”
New International Version:
The women added, “When we burned incense to the Queen of Heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did not our husbands know that we were making cakes impressed with her image and pouring out drink offerings to her?”
New Revised Standard Version:
And the women said, “Indeed we will go on making offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out libations to her; do you think that we made cakes for her, marked with her image, and poured out libations to her without our husbands’ being involved?”
Now, the King James Version is representative of a conflicting custom of translation, where the phrase that appears bolded above is instead translated as "to worship her," or other relatively bland words to that effect. However, the idea of the cakes being iconically representative of the Queen of Heaven is present in at least half of the English translations, and the Darby translation is notable for its effort to include the denotative sense of the original Hebrew.
Asherah was often represented by a pubic triangle, as were other Ancient Near Eastern goddesses. I relate this goddess-shaped-cake to an identification of the cake as the Demeter-grain element of the Eucharist, while the wine is the Dionysos-grape element. The cake ("body") is thus oriented to the feminine divine and the female-produced gamete, while the wine ("blood") is oriented to the masculine divine and the male-produced gamete (and/or its seminal "vehicle").
A paten with both triangular and circular hosts necessarily evokes Liber A'ash v. 36.
Note, though, that there is one intriguing outlier translation of Jeremiah 44:19. The Amplified Bible reads thus:
[And the wives said] When we burned incense to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did we make cakes [in the shape of a star] to represent and honor her and pour out drink offerings to her without [the knowledge and approval of] our husbands?
According to LibraryThing, today is the second anniversary of the death of Wayne Dyer. According to Wikipedia, it was yesterday. I have to admit, my few attempts to appreciate Dyer's work (via his PBS programs) were unsuccessful, and I view him mostly as a conspicuous proponent of the "spiritual-not-religious" school to which I am in many respects opposed. However, yesterday I happened to be reading Br. DuQuette's Low Magick, where he gives props to Dyer "for bringing to a wider audience of seekers the fundamental secrets of true magick in ways that are understandable and acceptable to people of all spiritual backgrounds. Perhaps you don't think that such fluffy New Age pundits could actually be tossing around the supreme secret of the ages on public television sandwiched between cooking shows and reruns of Masterpiece Theater ... but they are!" (31-32).
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Dyer, it may be noted, can be counted among the mystical teachers whose names are associated with the production of textiles, such as al-Hallaj ("the Carder" of wool) and John Webster. Weaving was a trade favored by the Cathars, and weavers were thereafter associated with heresy and insurrection in European culture.
Because I never tire of Section 19 of Beyond Good and Evil:
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“Freedom of Will”–-that is the expression for the complex state of delight of the person exercising volition, who commands and at the same time identifies himself with the executor of the order–-who, as such, enjoys also the triumph over obstacles, but thinks within himself that it was really his own will that overcame them. In this way the person exercising volition adds the feelings of delight of his successful executive instruments, the useful “underwills” or under-souls–-indeed, our body is but a social structure composed of many souls-–to his feelings of delight as commander. L'effet c'est moi. What happens here is what happens in every well-constructed and happy commonwealth, namely, that the governing class identifies itself with the successes of the commonwealth. In all willing it is absolutely a question of commanding and obeying, on the basis, as already said, of a social structure composed of many “souls,” on which account a philosopher should claim the right to include willing-as-such within the sphere of morals–-regarded as the doctrine of the relations of supremacy under which the phenomenon of “life” manifests itself.
[T]he Consul at one point identifies himself with the infant Horus, about which or whom the less said the better; some mystics believe him responsible for this last war, but I need another language I guess to explain what I mean.
, vol. I, 514--Letter 210, to Jonathan Cape, referring to Under the Volcano
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An end to the pretence, and lying hypocrisy of Christianity.
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An end to the servile virtues, and superstitious restrictions.
An end to the slave morality.
An end to prudery and shame, to guilt and sin, for these are of the only evil under the sun, that is fear.
An end to all authority that is not based on courage and manhood, to the authority of lying priests, conniving judges, blackmailing police, and
An end to the servile flattery and cajolery of mobs, the coronations of mediocrities, the ascension of dolts.
An end to restriction and inhibition, for I, THE ANTICHRIST, am come among you preaching the Word of the BEAST 666, which is, “There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.”
“Every priest, every reverend in every church, every rabbi in every temple, every imam in every mosque must condemn the souls of those who carried out these attacks, and any and all who would assist them, and must condemn the soul of any who would consider carrying out such attacks in the future.” --US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, May 26, 2017
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"So Alcibiades, for his contempt and not appealing, was condemned, and his goods confiscated. Besides this condemnation, they decreed also, that all the religious priests and women should ban and accurse him. But hereunto answered one of the nuns called Theano, the daughter of Menon, of the village of Agraula, saying that she was professed religious, to pray and to bless, not to curse and ban." --Plutarch, Life of Alcibiades
Every man and every woman is a star. What do Tillerson and Trump need my curses for? They've got flying killer robots, countless bombs, friendly despots, hi-tech surveillance, and torture chambers. And those are the tools that their predecessors and they have used routinely to increase the numbers of those who would consider carrying out such attacks in the future.
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Proven (again, I suppose) in the last 24 hours: U.S. elections mean nothing and change nothing.
In Harrison's first major work on ancient Greek religion (Prolegomena), she innovated by applying archaeological data to support her conviction that Homer and the great tragedians gave only a very partial view of the religious life that they purported to reference. She explored a chthonian, matrifocal, and magical stratum prior to, shadowing, and outlasting the Olympian cults. In the later Themis, she is concerned more precisely with questions of genealogy and development. She has embraced Emile Durkheim's ideas about the primacy of the social, to good effect. She traces several developmental arcs by which the reified forms of magical power (mana in the anthropological argot of her day) become individualized from ambient sanctities of natural forces and generic daimons of generative power into the persons of heroes and "high" Olympian gods. Her contempt for the latter is unconcealed; she finds them sterile, too removed from the vital numen which originates in communal feeling and pre-individual social impulses.
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There is some curious irony in her judgment that the "first and foremost among the services Olympianism rendered to Greece" was to "purge ... [the] exclusively phallic" components from religion, claiming that such features are "an obvious source of danger and disease" in civilized settings where human culture centers on human activity rather than the rhythms of non-human nature (460). This passage late in the book is the one in which she most clearly calls out the phallic elements that have been implicit in the daimon concept throughout her account of it. Hers is not a simply phallic theory of religious origins, however. With the reverence for the generative powers in her daimon concept, she mixes a gradually maturing sense of the cosmos, in a sequence that invariably progresses from plants and soil, to storms and weather, to the moon, and then to the sun (390). (Qabalists will note a symbolic progression up the middle pillar, from Malkuth, through Yesod, to Tiphareth.)
The framing conceit of Themis is that it is simply an effort to explicate a ritual hymn in honor of the birth of Zeus. In the course of the book, however, the hymn is often far over the horizon, while the author expounds one or another feature of ancient Greek religion. At the book's end, she returns to the hymn, which itself ends with the imperative to "leap ... for goodly Themis." According to Harrison, Themis is a representation of human culture, "collective conscience, social sanction," and thus "the substratum of each and every god" (485).
The volume includes contributions from two of Harrison's peers among the Cambridge Ritualists, an early 20th century circle of classics scholars of whom Harrison--on the evidence of this volume at least--is certainly the most engaging. Gilbert Murray provides a very interesting analysis of the ritual infrastructure of Greek tragedy, illustrated a little too exhaustively with examples that presume the reader's familiarity with the works being related to the pattern. F.M. Cornford's chapter on the ritual genealogy of the ancient Olympic games depends on the reader to appreciate a rather generous amount of untranslated Greek. This is a tendency that Harrison herself tends to keep to her footnotes, although she does feel the need to finish the entire book with an untranslated Greek sentence. It should be remarked that this book is clearly the product of a scholarly culture, barely even addressed to the intelligent layman, despite the general interest of its topic. Harrison freely quotes Nietzsche in German and Durkheim in French, without feeling any obligation to assist the reader. (I could manage the former but not the latter.)
Harrison is refreshingly honest about her own religious perspective, in a field where a pretense of clinical detachment was par for the course. "[P]rofoundly as I also feel the value of the religious impulse, so keenly do I feel the danger and almost necessary disaster of each and every creed and dogma," she writes in her introduction. "As for religious ritual, we may by degrees find forms that are free from intellectual error" (xxiii). I certainly concur on both counts. As far as her theories of religious evolution are concerned, she sees magic as a necessary prerequisite for religion (215-216), and theology as a non-essential "phase" of religious articulation (488). The first was a sentiment common to those who, like Harrison, were sympathetic to the work of J.G. Frazer. But the second was an uncommonly insightful and provocative position for a book published in 1912.
"The devil has the broadest perspectives for God; therefore he keeps so far away from God--the devil being the most ancient friend of wisdom." (Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, aphorism 129)
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I first read Lafferty's The Devil Is Dead over three decades ago, getting it through a suburban Chicago library where I had requested it by inter-library loan; the owner of that volume was the library of Fort Benning, Georgia. I think I requested it solely because I had enjoyed some Lafferty stories that I had read in SF magazines and in collections like Orbit, and I was intrigued by the title when I explored the author's bibliography. So, as a high school student, I read this book and loved it.
Of course, I didn't understand it. Given its cryptic attitude, few would on a first reading in any case. I adored the style, and I was fascinated by its profusion of enigmas. Looking back, I see myself as having been woefully unequipped to appreciate both the exoteric and esoteric dimensions of the book, but I could somehow smell them, and they smelled good. In particular, I had not yet visited any of the places in the long itinerary of the protagonist's journey. I was inexperienced in sex and drink. I had not yet studied Roman Catholicism. (Lafferty was a dedicated Catholic.) And perhaps most importantly, I had not yet read Nietzsche.
The very title of this novel is a mirroring of the declaration made by Nietzsche (in The Gay Science and Thus Spake Zarathustra) that "God is dead." But the dialogue between the Catholic Lafferty and the anti-Christian Nietzsche is not so clearly antagonistic as might be assumed. At one point, I paused in my rereading of The Devil Is Dead to look up a reference in Beyond Good & Evil, and I felt as if I were still reading the same book--a tone persisted: jocular, allusive, profound, and riddling, an epigrammatic approach that juxtaposes a garrulous leisure with a laconic urgency. The narrative in The Devil Is Dead is no more naturalistic than the one in Thus Spake Zarathustra, and almost as prone to indulgence in poetry.
Nietzsche refers to the advocatus dei as "honorable" (BG&E 34), and protests, after supposing himself vulgarly accused of disposing of God only to keep the devil, "On the contrary! On the contrary, my friends. And, the devil--who forces you to speak with the vulgar?" (BG&E 37). Lafferty's book is clearly not addressed to the facile enjoyment of "the vulgar." He could say with Nietzsche, "I obviously do everything to be 'hard to understand' myself!" (BG&E 27).
Lafferty's novel concerns "several who are disinclined to stay dead" (9) and "those of a different flesh; and may not you yourself be of that different flesh?" (10) By the book's end, that different flesh has been variously explained as the progeny of the devil, the descendants of Nephilim, or "the old race throwing angry primordials" (212) rather than Nietzsche's anticipated overman, but the essential distinction is that of an "ugly" elite that defines itself over against an insipid mass, and the conflicts among that elite regarding the application of their powers. Lafferty's literary genius was such that his presentation of this "people before the people" echoes both the giants of Rabelais and the "little people" of Arthur Machen, savoring equally of Fortean parapsychological speculation and Platonic political philosophy. They bear on the pulse of their left wrists the mark of the false octopus, which I cannot help but see as a seven-headed beast.
The Devil Is Dead protagonist John "Finnegan" Solli is of the "mixed blood," and for all the emphasis on the distinction of types both in the novel and by Nietzsche, it remains an open question whether any individual is "pure"--regardless of whether this divide is genealogical or "spiritual" in its nature. And it may be this conflict within the people--and behind each person--that propels human effort and accomplishment.
To rewrite Nietzsche's The Gay Science, aphorism 125, with the substitution indicated in Lafferty's title: "The Devil is dead. The Devil remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? ... Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become devils simply to appear worthy of it?"
"Ye are against the people, o my chosen!"
There is no human act,
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on the internal erotic level,
more pernicious than the descent
of the so-called jesus-christ
onto the altars.
No one will believe me
and I can see the public shrugging its shoulders
but the so-called christ is none other than he
who in the presence of the crab louse god
consented to live without a body,
while an army of men
descended from a cross,
to which god thought he had long since nailed them,
and, armed with steel,
with fire, and with bones,
advances, reviling the Invisible
to have done with GOD'S JUDGMENT.