“The so-called 'Left-Hand Path' - that of Kaulas, Siddhas and Viras - combines the... Tantric worldview with a doctrine of the Ɯbermensch which would put Nietzsche to shame... The Vira - which is to say: the 'heroic' man of Tantrism - seeks to sever all bonds, to overcome all duality between good and evil, honor and shame, virtue and guilt. Tantrism is the supreme path of the absolute absence of law - of shvecchacarÄ«, a word meaning 'he whose law is his own will'." ― Julius Evola, The Path of Cinnabar.

“It is necessary to have “watchers” at hand who will bear witness to the values of Tradition in ever more uncompromising and firm ways, as the anti-traditional forces grow in strength. Even though these values cannot be achieved, it does not mean that they amount to mere “ideas.” These are measures…. Let people of our time talk about these things with condescension as if they were anachronistic and anti-historical; we know that this is an alibi for their defeat. Let us leave modern men to their “truths” and let us only be concerned about one thing: to keep standing amid a world of ruins.” ― Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga.

“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who died at his post during the eruption of Vesuvius because someone forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one that can not be taken from a man.” ― Oswald Spengler, Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Vasari on The Triumph of Death in Carnival

From Vasari's Lives of Artists, Piero di Cosimo (1461-1521):
Cosimo, being extremely fanciful and abounding in the most singular inventions, was perpetually called upon to give aid in those maskings which are customary during the Carnival: when he rendered himself highly acceptable to the young nobles of Florence, by the various improvements which he effected in the decorations required, and by the great increase of pomp and variety which his inventions imparted to that kind of amusement. Piero is said to have been the first who gave the character of a triumphal procession to these maskings, or who at least ameliorated them to such a degree that he may be said to have perfected them: for not only did he add appropriate words and music to the representation of the events chosen as the subject, but he also caused the procession to be accompanied by large trains, consisting of men on foot and on horseback in vast numbers; these were all clothed in magnificent habits, selected with much judgment and carefully adapted to the character supported by the wearer. The effect of this was exceedingly rich and beautiful, and had altogether something very ingenious in its varied details; nor was the show without a certain grandeur in its character which was certainly imposing. To see at night, by the light of innumerable torches, twenty-five or thirty pairs of horses richly caparisoned, with their riders splendidly arrayed, according to the subject represented, was without doubt an attractive and beautiful spectacle. Six or eight attendants, also on horseback, accompanied each cavalier, all clothed in the same livery and each bearing a torch in his hand; of these there were sometimes above four hundred: next followed the triumphal chariot, elaborately decorated with trophies and fanciful ornaments of various kinds, a thing which was not without its utility, in sharpening the wits of the contrivers, while it gave infinite pleasure and delight to the people.

Among these spectacles, which were numerous as well as ingeniously arranged, I am inclined briefly to describe one, which was, for the most part, invented by Piero, when be had already attained to mature age; this show was not of a pleasing or attractive character, but, on the contrary, was altogether strange, terrible, and unexpected: it gave no small pleasure to the people nevertheless, for as in their food they sometimes prefer the sharp and bitter savours, so in their pastimes are they attracted by things horrible; and these, provided they be presented to us with art and judgment, do indeed most wonderfully delight the human heart, a truth which is made apparent from the pleasure with which we listen to the recitation of tragedy. The spectacle here alluded to was the Triumph of Death; the car was prepared in the Hall of the Pope by Piero himself, and with so much secrecy, that no breath or suspicion of his purpose got abroad, and the completed work was made known and given to view at one and the same moment. [footnote: From what Vasari has said in other places, and from the different allusions to this Masquerade, it maybe inferred to have taken place during the Carnival of the year 1511. -- Ed. Flor., 1832-8.] The triumphal Car was covered with black cloth, and was of vast size, it had skeletons and white crosses painted upon its surface, and was drawn by buffaloes, all of which were totally black: within the Car stood the colossal figure of Death, bearing the scythe in his hand, while around him were covered tombs, which opened at all the places where the procession halted, while those who formed it chanted lugubrious songs, when certain figures stole forth, clothed in black cloth, on these vestments the bones of a skeleton were depicted in white; the arms, breast, ribs, and legs, namely, all which gleamed horribly forth on the black beneath. At a certain distance appeared figures bearing torches, and wearing masks, presenting the face of a death's head, both before and behind; these heads of death, as well as the skeleton, neck beneath them, also exhibited to view, were not only painted with the utmost fidelity to nature, but had besides a frightful expression which was horrible to behold. At the sound of a wailing summons, sent forth with a hollow moan from trumpets of muffled yet inexorable tones, the figures of the dead raised themselves half out of their tombs, and seating their skeleton forms thereon, they sang the following words, now so much extolled and admired, to music of the most plaintive and melancholy character:—

Dolor, pianto, e penetenzia, &c.

Before and after the Car rode a train of the dead on horses, carefully selected from the most wretched and meagre animals that could be found, the caparisons of these worn, half-dying creatures were black, covered with white crosses; each was conducted by four attendants, clothed in the vestments of the grave; these last-mentioned figures, bearing black torches and a large black standard, covered with crosses, bones, and death's heads. While this train of the dead proceeded on its way, each sang, with a trembling voice, and all in dismal unison, that psalm of David called the Miserere.

The novelty and the terrible character of this singular spectacle, filled the whole city, as I have before said, with a mingled sensation of terror and admiration, and although at the first sight it did not seem well calculated for a Carnival show, yet being new, and within the reach of every man's comprehension, it obtained the highest encomium for Piero as the author and contriver of the whole, and was the cause as well as commencement of numerous representations, so ingenious and effective, that by these things Florence, acquired a reputation for the conduct of such subjects and the arrangement of similar spectacles, such as was never equaled by any other city. The old people who still remain, of those by whom the procession above described was witnessed, retain the most lively recollection of the scene, and are never weary of extolling the extraordinary spectacle presented by it. I remember to have heard Andrea di Cosimo, who assisted Pietro in the preparation of the show, and Andrea del Sarto, who was Piero's disciple and also took part in it, affirm that this invention was intended, as was believed at the time, to signify and prefigure the return to Florence of the Medici family, for at the time when this triumph was exhibited, the Medici were exiles, and so to speak dead, but dead that might be expected soon to arise again, in which sense were interpreted certain words of the verses sung on that occasion, and which are as follow:—

Morii siam, come vedete,
Cosi morti vedrem voi :
Fummo gia come voi stele,
Voi sarete come run, ec.

We are dead, as you see;
Just as dead we shall see you;
We were once as you are;
You shall be as we.
[Gertrude Moakley's translation]

whereby they desired to intimate their own return, as a kind of resurrection from death to life, with the expulsion and abasement of their enemies and rivals; or it may have been that this signification was attributed to the words, from the fact of that illustrious house having returned from exile about that period, seeing that the human intellect is much given to apply words spoken previously to actions succeeding them, as if the one were the effect of the other; be this as it may, certain it is, that such was the opinion prevailing at the time, and it is spoken of even yet.

(Jonathan Foster translation, pp.416-419, 1871)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Severed head of genital disease saint for sale in Ireland

Severed head of genital disease saint for sale in Ireland
By Jerome Reilly
Monday, 23 May 2011

A decapitated head, said to be that of St Vitalis of Assisi, the patron saint of genital diseases, will be sold at an auction in Co Meath next Sunday. The macabre object, which is housed in a Queen Anne case, is being sold by an Anglo-Irish family based in Co Louth and has a guide price of between €800 and €1,200.

Saint Vitalis of Assisi (there are a number of saints with the name Vitalis) was an Italian hermit and monk who died in 1370. He became a saint despite an early life marked by licentiousness and immorality. However, in an attempt to atone he went on pilgrimages to various sanctuaries. On his return to Umbria, he became a Benedictine monk at Subiaco and later lived as a hermit. He spent the rest of his life in the hermitage of Santa Maria di Viole, near Assisi, in utter poverty. His reputation for holiness soon spread after his death. He was known as a patron against sicknesses and diseases affecting the genitals.

How what is believed to be the saint's decapitated head came to Ireland is unclear.

Auctioneer Damien Matthews, who will sell the saint's severed head at auction at Annesbrook House in Duleek, Co Meath, says the current owners believed it was brought here by an Anglo-Irish couple who had acquired it on the 'grand tour' of Europe which was a ritual for ascendancy types during the 19th century.

For many years the ornate case with the skull housed inside it behind glass, had pride of place in the entrance hall of the current owner's home but when children arrived was stored in an old outhouse for many years.

"That's where I came across it. It is strange and it is macabre but it is very interesting object," said Mr Matthews.

The auction is on in the house next Sunday, May 29, at 3pm -- but items will be on view on Friday and Saturday from 11am-6pm. "It's a fine country estate about seven miles from Slane, off the N2 motorway from Dublin (R152). There are over 400 lots with estimates ranging in value from €100 up to €30,000," he said.

Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/republic-of-ireland/severed-head-of-genital-disease-saint-for-sale-in-ireland-16003082.html#ixzz1NVO2c4W6

Cosmodromium thanks T.B. from ovo for the heads-up and photo!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Magicians of the Civil War

Currently there is an exhorbatantly priced rebound volume of the first edition of Francis Barrett's THE MAGUS (1801) for sale on ebay. The interesting thing about this particular copy of the book is that it is inscribed (pre-war), along with an interesting occult drawing, by Union General Ethan Allen Hitchcock.

The seller's description reads thus (including horrific spelling/punctuation errors):
THE MAGUS 1801 LACKINGTON IMPRINT BY FRANCIS BARETT bound in black pebbled cloth with split calf backstrip and corners quartered off.Old bookplate chalice and athame by member of R.C. no doubt and ceremonial magician affixed inside pastedown.Magic squares corrected in dead hand.Library circular stamp effects hand colored plates of Demons that includes the famous INCUBUS illustration seen in all scholarly and non scholarly compilation works of magic.The volume lacks plate BOOK OF SPELLS that does not appear to have been bound into this copy from inspection in gutter.It is however re produced by me on teh final blank/endpaper  in pen and inks and hand colored.A loosely inserted leaf from the Weiser edition facsimile is provided as well as a well printed example on glossy paper from a work on magic that referenced this work of magic and provided rare examples from illustrated specimens of the 1801 edition.Corners are nice and square.A very clean book with no damping, tide marks,silverfish,mold and unpleasant things that can mare such a rare volume of Historic significance. The MAGUS was used by the likes of Eliphas Levi and likely used as a hot topic in subterfuge by Lord Lytton who may have based ZANONI on the mysterious F.B.  It is also known to have been a sourcebook of the great HERMETIC ORDER OF THE GOLDEN DAWN that instructed the likes of William Butler Yeats and the father of modern magiK ALEISTER CROWLEY.While the VICTORIAN WOMAN in this order had been great socialites ,poets , and actress and lovers of great authors and philsophers .Florence Farr to name but one beauty of that once great temple of the Muses.  and THE MAGUS stands as a fountain of that Order and others.The work makes use of Agrippa and other authors of magic but puts it into a system geared toward the art MAGIA by a practicioner.Francis Barett is considered a Rosicrucian and as such the work is Christian kabbalah and mysticism. This copy does have the long S that resembles a f thus a TRUE FIRST EDITION.It also contains the foldout of hebraic characters yet another point of first edition.Other than Circulat stamp on demons aquatints it is a superb copy. On a interesting note; The founding father of Mormon Joseph Smith is believed to have used a talisman from this book .The MAGUS does in fact give instructions on how to communicate with angelic beings and the inverse orders known as Demons.Joseph Smith communicated with Angelic beings who inscribed upon Gold Tablets the book that is known as Mormon.  together with a unique work with American Provenance as it was owned and is signed by GENERAL ETHAN ALLEN HITCHCOCK and is signed with respect to WARREN CHASE- ST LOUIS ( VIEW PICTURE OF SIGNATURE ) The inscription is on a blank endpaper that has imprint assignation on the reverse by publisher.

Hitchock's biographical details can be read here:
"Ethan Allen Hitchcock (May 18, 1798 – August 5, 1870) was a career United States Army officer and author who had War Department assignments in Washington, D.C., during the American Civil War, in which he served as a major general..." 

Worth noting:
Known as the "Pen of the Army," Ethan Allen Hitchcock was recognized by his contemporaries as an avid reader of philosophy and a published scholar. By the time of his death, Hitchcock had amassed a large private library of philosophical texts, including over 250 volumes on the subject of alchemy. This collection was widely regarded as one of the finest private holdings of rare alchemical works and is preserved by St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Through Remarks upon Alchemy and the Alchemists and other writings, Hitchcock argued that the alchemists were actually religious philosophers writing in symbolism. In Problems of Mysticism and its Symbolism, the Viennese psychologist Herbert Silberer credited Hitchcock with helping to open the way for his explorations of the psychological content of alchemy. Hitchcock was a Rosicrucian and a member in Washington D. C. club along with Lincoln.

I'm wagering the "Warren Chase" that the book is inscribed to is Warren Chase (1813-1891) :
One of the first apostles of Spiritualism in America. Born in Pittsfield, New Hampshire, Chase began to study mesmerism in Southport, Wisconsin, by 1843. He was street commissioner and road master at the time, and discussed both this subject and Charles Fourier's scheme of socialism in the local lyceum through that winter. The result was a socialist settlement in May 1844 in Fond-du-Lac County. The Wisconsin Phalanx, as the community was known, lasted for six years. It was the only one of the experiments that yielded, at the time of dis-solution, substantial profit to its members. After the dissolution Chase began to take a more active part in politics, became a senator in Wisconsin in 1848, and was nominated for governor the following year.
The philosophy of Andrew Jackson Davis made a deep impression on him, and when the Spiritualist movement was born, he became its untiring apostle for over thirty years. His Spiritualist experiences are embodied in his Forty Years on the Spiritual Rostrum (1888) and his socialist activities in The Life Line of the Lone One, an Autobiography of the World's Child (1857).

My first awareness of Hitchcock was via Manley P. Hall's reprint of The Red Book of Appin which I still have in my library. The Hitchcock collection of Alchemical books and manuscripts at the St. Louis Mercantile Library can be found here:

With the following description:

M-108: The Ethan Allen Hitchcock Alchemy Collection

HISTORY: For over a millenium, the field of alchemy gathered to it strands of religion, the occult, chemistry, pure science, astrology and magic to form a broad world view that was, quite apart from the stereotypical image of the charlatan gold maker, concerned with the formation of a basic knowledge on all aspects of life’s great mysteries. Alchemy was a beacon for centuries for those looking for a philosophical basis to the better understanding of life and its philosophical underpinnings. Over the centuries, certain individuals stand out for their authorship of vast texts in this philosophy; others as collectors of a literary genre.

Ethan Allen Hitchcock showed both of these tendencies as author and collector regarding the subject of alchemy. Born in 1798, this soldier, the grandson of Ethan Allen of Revolutionary War fame, and military tactical expert and instructor at West Point, continued to collect and author treatises on his true avocation, a deep interest in alchemical philosophy. Hitchcock lived intermittently in St. Louis, reached the rank of Major General, and produced a valuable set of memoirs concerning his life on the frontier and in service during the Mexican War. At the time of his death, he had amassed over 250 volumes on the subject of alchemy, which his nephew, Henry Hitchcock, a St. Louis attorney, presented to the Mercantile Library on July 17, 1884.
The collection, originally numbered item by item, has been virtually preserved as the day acquired. During the past century, the Hitchcock collection served to attract related books to the Library, and these materials were added to the collection from stack holdings as the collection was studied and catalogued in the 1980s to modern bibliographical standards under the terms of a grant for this purpose given by National Endowment for the Humanities.
SCOPE: This significant private library is a fascinating testament to the tastes of the remarkable individual, E.A. Hitchcock, who was so involved in important military and political events of his day. Not only Hitchcock’s philosophical interests, but also the history of science to his time is represented in this collection, which spans the Renaissance and early modern period, to the nineteenth century.
HOLDINGS: 350 bound volumes of early manuscripts and printed books, some illuminated.
ACCESS: Special Collection M-108 has been catalogued and fully described on OCLC. A published calendar exists, A Guide to the Ethan Allen Hitchcock Alchemy Collection in the St. Louis Mercantile Library, (1990). Some of the collection may be photocopied, digitally scanned or photographed, depending on condition.

Barrett's The Magus "borrows" wholesale from Aggrippa's The Three Books of Occult Philosophy, to a degree akin to the borrowing from Eliphas Levi's Transcendental Magic by Confederate General Albert Pike in his Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Rite of Scottish Freemasonry.

I have not fully researched if there is any explicit evidence that Pike (or Hitchcock for that matter) actually practiced ritual magic, but it is interesting to note that two generals who fought in the Civil War were substantially familiar with the works of Francis Barrett and Eliphas Levi.
Some information on Gen. Pike can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Pike
Albert Pike (December 29, 1809–April 2, 1891) was an attorney, Confederate officer, writer, and Freemason. Pike is the only Confederate military officer or figure to be honored with an outdoor statue in Washington, D.C. (in Judiciary Square) mostly due to his masonic connection with President Andrew Johnson, who pardoned Pike for treason after the American Civil War.
...Pike was faced with charges that his troops had scalped soldiers in the field. Maj. Gen. Thomas C. Hindman also charged Pike with mishandling of money and material, ordering his arrest. Both these charges were later found to be considerably lacking in evidence; nevertheless Pike, facing arrest, escaped into the hills of Arkansas, sending his resignation from the Confederate Army on July 12. He was at length arrested on November 3 under charges of insubordination and treason, and held briefly in Warren, Texas, but his resignation was accepted on November 11 and he was allowed to return to Arkansas.
...He first joined the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in 1840 then had in the interim joined a Masonic Lodge and become extremely active in the affairs of the organization, being elected Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite's Southern Jurisdiction in 1859. He remained Sovereign Grand Commander for the remainder of his life (a total of thirty-two years), devoting a large amount of his time to developing the rituals of the order. Notably, he published a book called Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in 1871, of which there were several subsequent editions. Pike is still regarded in America as an eminent and influential Freemason.

The famous portrait of Gen. Albert Pike by Matthew Brady:

There has been an ocean of garbage written about the Levi/Pike textual relation that I won't bother reiterating it here. It is sufficiently interesting that the cornerstone works of 19th century western occultism were well known to individuals in high places in the USA prior to the founding of the Order of the Golden Dawn, which through the writings of its members would nearly eclipse everything written prior on the subject. Magic had a solid presence in the Americas, as has been documented by Owen Davies in chapter six of his excellent book Grimoires - A History of Magic Books published by Oxford University Press, although Pike and Hitchcock are outside the scope of his narrative and not discussed at all.  (Although I think he does mention the Joseph Smith/Francis Barrett connection).

Hitchcock was from Vermont and wound up in Missouri. Pike was from Mass. but lived and traveled in Missouri, Arkansas and other places before and after the war. I have not researched enough to find out of Hitchcock and Pike had any interaction or knowledge of one another.

An interesting chapter in the history of the venerable Occult-Military-Intelligence Complex.


You Light Up My Life

Few things entertain me more than when brutal reality refutes the saccharine pablum wallowed in by mainstream society.

‘You Light Up My Life’ songwriter Brooks, facing sex charges, apparently kills himself in NYC
By Associated Press, Published: May 22
NEW YORK — Joseph Brooks, the Academy Award-winning songwriter of “You Light Up My Life” who was awaiting trial on charges of sexually assaulting more than a dozen women, was found dead Sunday of an apparent suicide in his Manhattan apartment, police said.

Brooks, 73, was discovered in his Upper East Side apartment around 12:30 p.m. by a friend with whom he had planned to have lunch, police spokesman Paul Browne said. It was not immediately clear how long his body had been there. The apartment door was left unlocked, police said.

Brooks’ death comes five months after his son was arrested in an unrelated, high-profile case. The son was charged with murdering his fashion designer girlfriend, whose body was found in December in an overflowing bathtub at a swank hotel in SoHo.

The elder Brooks was discovered slumped over on a couch in the den, fully-clothed, with a plastic dry-cleaning bag around his head and a towel wrapped around his neck, Browne said. A hose attached to a helium tank was hooked up to the bag, he said.

According to police, Brooks told the doorman at his apartment that a friend was meeting him for lunch and had permission to enter the building. Police believe Brooks left the apartment unlocked so his friend could find him.

The medical examiner will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Police said a rambling, three-page suicide note was found that included complaints about his health. They did not elaborate.

Brooks suffered a stroke in 2008, and his lawyer had said the songwriter’s health was deteriorating during the court case. He appeared gaunt and shuffled slowly as he came to recent court dates.

Helium is difficult to detect in an autopsy. Using it to commit suicide is outlined in a best-selling suicide manual by British author Derek Humphry.

Brooks was awaiting trial on allegations that he molested women who were lured to his apartment for supposed acting auditions. He pleaded not guilty.

Brooks’ lawyer and Manhattan prosecutors had no immediate comment about Brooks’ death.

Brooks won the Academy Award for best original song for the 1977 Debby Boone ballad “You Light Up My Life” and directed a movie of the same name. It is about a comedian who has a one-night stand with a director. Brooks also won a Grammy for the song.

He pleaded not guilty in 2009 to rape, sexual abuse and other charges in the attacks on 13 women. His trial date had not been set.

Prosecutors say he lured most of the women to his apartment through an online ad offering auditions for a movie role, then sexually assaulted them after making them drink apparently drugged wine as part of an “acting exercise.”

Brooks’ son, Nicholas, is charged with murder in the death of his girlfriend, Peruvian-American swimsuit designer Sylvie Cachay. She was found dead, half-clothed and face-up, in a tub at the Soho House, an elite club and hotel, after water began leaking through to the floor below. The 24-year-old had little contact with his father in recent years, authorities have said.

Nicholas Brooks has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail at the Rikers Island jail complex.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Magical Calendar Manuscript

"This is a manuscript copy of the De Bry engraving. The date given by the Dresden Library “c. 1582″ is incorrect. The original manuscript of the Magical Calendar is in the British Library as MS. Harley 3420. This was written by Johann Baptista Grossschedel in 1614. This was used to make the engraving later published by De Bry." -- Adam McLean.