Originally published at: http://library.hrmtc.com/2018/10/30/omnium-gatherum-october-30-2018/
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for October 30, 2018
Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural by Peter Bebergal, from TarcherPerigee
"A journey through the attempts artists, scientists, and tinkerers have made to imagine and communicate with the otherworldly using various technologies, from cameras to radiowaves.
Strange Frequencies takes readers on an extraordinary narrative and historical journey to discover how people have used technology in an effort to search for our own immortality. Bebergal builds his own ghostly gadgets to reach the other side, too, and follows the path of famous inventors, engineers, seekers, and seers who attempted to answer life’s ultimate mysteries. He finds that not only are technological innovations potent metaphors keeping our spiritual explorations alive, but literal tools through which to experiment the boundaries of the physical world and our own psyches.
Peter takes the reader alongside as he explores:
- the legend of the golem and the strange history of automata;
- a photographer who is trying to capture the physical manifestation of spirits;
- a homemaker who has recorded voicemails from the dead;
- a stage magician who combines magic and technology to alter his audience’s consciousness;
- and more."
"So will the interest in witches last or is it a passing spell? 'We’ll have to wait and see,' says [Christina] Oakley Harrington. 'For some, it’ll be a fashion trend. They’re drawn to the aesthetic rather than the actual practice. But for a certain proportion – a small one, I think – it’ll waken something innate, intense and lasting.'
Even if she falls out of vogue – which doesn’t look likely, given this autumn’s TV programming – the witch is always with us, says MacCormack. ‘The occult never goes away. People are desperate for alternative paradigms of practice and activism because the current ones simply don’t work.’"
"Based upon academic research at the University of Amsterdam's Center for the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents, One Truth and One Spirit is a much-needed work that covers a previously unexplored history of the modern religious movement known as Thelema. This work details the theoretical framework of Aleister Crowley's spiritual legacy in the O.T.O. and the A∴A∴ and covers the years of Thelema since Crowley's death in 1947.
One Truth and One Spirit approaches a complex topic with a complex history, with exhaustive citations and sources, but it is written for anyone interested in the subject of Thelema. The author utilizes published source material as well as previously unavailable information, which makes this a unique contribution to the available literature.
One Truth and One Spirit is expected to be of interest to the novice, the scholar, and the seasoned practitioner of Thelema. The work provides a general historical overview of Thelema from a theoretical vantage point, explores the historical development of the movement from the 1960s to the 1990s, and applies the author’s own critical discussions on the topic itself."
"'I feel that the use of our particular image that is recognized as our own central icon (being) displayed fictionally as central to some cannibalistic cult has real world damaging effects for us,' he said.
[Lucien] Greaves added that he isn’t looking for any kind of fix to the situation other than a retraction by Netflix of the visual representation — however that can happen.
‘I want them to take it out,’ he said. ‘It looks like it’s a CGI facsimile to begin with. I don’t know how much work that takes, but I simply refuse to have our monument used in this way in perpetuity. I don’t want our monument to be associated with this.’"
"In season two, the U.S. is fully engaged in World War II, transforming Jack’s rocketry work into a lucrative business and further entrenching him in the military-industrial complex. While Jack’s career takes off, he and his wife Susan’s devotion to their new occult religion grows, leading them to invite the sex cult into their Pasadena mansion and to forge a personal relationship with the group’s notorious founder, Aleister Crowley himself."
"The experimental psych-rock duo previewed the LP with the six-and-a-half-minute 'Blood and Rockets,' a sprawling epic that finds Lennon and Claypool crooning and snarling, respectively, over spacey synths and chiming guitars. 'How high does your rocket fly?' Lennon sings on the chorus, his voice elevated to a blissful falsetto. 'Better be careful ’cause you just might set the world on fire.'
As Lennon tells Rolling Stone, the song’s dark lyrics document ‘the lascivious exploits of famed JPL rocket scientist Jack Parsons, the man who not only helped America get to the moon with liquid fuel technology, but was also a Magister Templi in Aleister Crowley’s cult, the Ordo Templi Orientis.’ He added that Parsons ‘sadly passed away in a violent explosion during a secretive alchemical experiment at his house in Pasadena.’"
"The Dr. Bronner’s brand has taken a long journey from hippie California to $120 million global business. It was an even longer one for Emanuel Heilbronner, scion of German soapmakers: He fled the rise of the Nazis in his 20s, was institutionalized in his 30s, saw his company go bankrupt in his 70s, and was selling a million bottles of soap a year when he died at 89 in 1997. Since then, his grandsons have continued the trajectory while trying to translate his arcane, utopian personal philosophy to the business world."
"Mention the ‘Aleister Crowley house’ in conversation with someone in West Cornwall, and you could either get a knowing look or a frosty silence. Despite being dead for more than 80 years, the English occultist who was branded a Satanist and ‘the wickedest man in the world’ is still controversial enough to stir up ill-feeling in those who would rather his links with Cornwall, however small, were forgotten.
And then there are those who will tell you in hushed tones that they have visited the house – often as a dare. The bravest will claim they have spent the night there, writing their names on the walls to document their courage, but the more honest will tell you they got too scared to hang around.
For the most part, though, it seems those who have heard about the ‘Aleister Crowley house’ in West Cornwall, know very little about it, including where it is."
"The proper role and function of a magical Order is to serve others in the Great Work. The role of the members of such an organisation is to assist men and women with their initiation. The service, if freely given, does not require external validation from patriarchs or peers. True initiation cannot be given, bestowed or conferred by any man or woman to any other. What can be passed on, given or validated in that way is worthless in spiritual terms. In fact, it is worse than that, for it conveys self-importance and, ultimately, betrayal for the soul—a bitter cup indeed. Investment of power in lineage is therefore a misdirection of the will and a wasting of the energy of the self."
"It's a clever scene in a powerful show — Emma Stone and Jonah Hill's Maniac, you might have heard the buzz about it — but don't take it as a history lesson."
"One person whose ears perked up when they heard this bit of dialogue during a weekend Netflix binge was Dr Robert Myles, a New Testament lecturer at Murdoch University.
He helped us take the scene apart."
"These Mysteries are a set of congregational rituals commemorating the attainments of Aleister Crowley, the Prophet of Thelema. Although originally developed for and with the cooperation of local O.T.O. groups, they are suitable for performance by any Thelemites. They can be conducted on the "unholy days" to reflect their historical inspiration, or in a day-long festival which arranges them into a single larger event."
"The ghost story shape-shifts because ghosts themselves are so protean — they emanate from specific cultural fears and fantasies. They emerge from their time, which is why Jacobeans saw ghosts wearing pale shrouds and Victorians saw them draped in black bombazine. It’s tempting to regard these apparitions as dark mirrors — Tell me what you fear and I’ll tell you who you are."
“However, ghost stories are never just reflections. They are social critiques camouflaged with cobwebs; the past clamoring for redress.”
"Salem is well known for its gruesome history of witch trials and the stories of those executed in the anti-witch hysteria.
But it’s also believed that there was a network of people in the area who secretly worked to help those accused of witchcraft escape from Salem to safety.
Local historians say that in 1693 some people suspected of witchcraft traveled to what is now the Framingham/Ashland area to hide in ‘witch caves.’"
"Historical evidence is easily neglected, Josephson-Storm argues, when it crosses the grain of what we ought to believe. Disenchantment is a foundational myth of the new human sciences that emerged during the nineteenth century. By treating magic and religion as anachronisms, anthropology and sociology reinforced the myth of disenchantment, while promoting their own claim to scientific status. A taboo invites its own subversion. So, too, with disenchantment. The disavowal of the occult typically involved the public rejection and the private embrace of various enchantments."
"Hilma af Klint’s example shows the symbolic power that a woman artist could draw both in spite of and because of the constraints put on her by her time period and her culture, making her a convincing heroine for today. But there is another aspect of Hilma af Klint that makes her oeuvre enter into harmonic relation with the present.
That is her occultism."