Ah, the fun ways the rich waste their money! I confess, I would probably do something equally lavish as having a staircase that leads down into oblivion, while the mouth of Hell belches ash and smoke billowing past the borders of a baroque mural. This piece, located at the remarkable intact Elizabethan structure of Burghley House, came from the 18th century master Antonio Verrio. The house is a treasure trove of paintings, sculpture and other fine art from the 16th century and later. You can take a 360 tour of the Hell Staircase here. How many famous figures can you see? I found a Sybil, Hercules, Cupid, Laocoön and his sons, Hades and Persephone, Orpheus and Eurydice, Medusa, Hephaestus(?) and countless others.
I want to adopt Irving Finkel as my new grandpa. No wait. I want to become this bearded wizard fellow when I’m old. It is really remarkable how much information can be deducted from such scant archaeological data such as in the examples below.
Indispensable invisibility spell: Take fat or an eye of a nightowl and a ball of dung rolled by a beetle and oil of an unripe olive and grind them all together until smooth, and smear your whole
body with it and say to Helios: “I adjure you by your great name, BORKÊ PHOIOUR IÕ ZIZIA APARXEOUCH THTHE LALIAM AAAAAA IIIII OOOO IEÕ IEÕ IEÕ IEÕ IEÕ IEÕ IEÕ NAUNAX AI AI AEÕ AEÕ EAÕ,” and moisten it and say in addition: “Make me invisible, lord Helios, AEÕ ÕAÊ EIÊ ÊAÕ,
in the presence of any man until sunset, IÕ IÕ Õ PHRIXRIZÕ EÕA.”
PGM I. 247-62
Tested spell for invisibility: A great work. Take an eye of an ape or of a corpse that has died a violent death and plant a peony. Rub these with oil of lily, and as you are rubbing
them from the right to the left, say the spell as follows: “I am ANUBIS, I am OSIR-PHRE, I am OSOT SORONOUIER, I am OSIRIS whom SETH destroyed. Rise up infernal daimon, IÕ ERBETH IÕ PHOBETH IÕ PAKERBETH IÕ APOMPS; whatever I, NN, order you to do
be obedient to me.” And if you wish to become invisible, rub just your face with the concoction, and you will be invisible for as long as you wish. And if you wish to be visible again, move from west to east and say this name, and you will be obvious and visible to all
men. The name is: MARMARIAÕTH MARMARIPHEGGE, make me, NN, visible to all men on this day, immediately, immediately; quickly, quickly!” This works very well.
Betz, H. D. (1996). The Greek magical papyri in translation: Including the Demotic spells. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Terence McKenna (1946-2000) was perhaps the greatest philosophical mind of the 20th century. His expeditions into the Amazon in search of the mystical botanical brew yage brought him in contact with psilocybin mushrooms. Together with his brother Dr. Dennis McKenna, the pair brought “magic mushrooms” hurtling into the awareness of the West. Terence became the heir apparent to Timothy Leary’s public LSD work. He was a most verbose, incredibly witty, pleasantly sarcastic Renaissance Man–a self-taught master of anthropology, biology, chemistry, magic, alchemy, math and history, with a deep knowledge of art and Jungian psychology. He took all of this knowledge and applied to to exploring hidden realms of human consciousness through psychedelics. Beyond all of this he is my personal hero and I honor his memory daily.
Meanwhile, WikiSpaces is shutting down, which means the Terence McKenna Transcription project is about to become homeless. Hopefully they will find a new place to host their content. I am simply posting my work here so that it won’t be lost forever. This is only ONE of his hundreds of public lectures that are floating around cyberspace today. Terence is well known for his gift of the gab, so this transcription took me 2-3 months to complete, and contains 21,662 words. Enjoy if you want to, after the break.
The fishing village of Boscastle, in the southwest of England, contains a wildly unique privately owned museum dedicated to the history of witchcraft and magic in England. The collection includes over 3,000 objects and 7,000 books and manuscripts. Founded by Cecil Williamson, the museum also lays a claim to fame through their resident witch in those early days, William Gardner himself, who founded modern Wicca and led a cultural revival of folk magic in Britain. The museum has been known in its current form since the 1960’s and has become a site of magical pilgrimage for witches in the present day.
Objects include artifacts from the time of Roman occupation up to the present day, including items of particular interest from the original OTO/A.’.A and Golden Dawn systems. There is currently an exhibit ongoing that highlights ritual tools and artifacts of the 19th/20th century high ceremonial currents of magick. Looks very intriguing.
This blog has been somewhat slow this month, due to school deadlines and lack of free time. However I’m pleased to announce upcoming content about:
My recent experiment with a vision potion
New art history posts
Updates on the Greek magical papyri project
Book reviews from my recent readings
And finally I’m happy to say I will be hosting my first Black Masson Walpurgisnacht, 2018. This invite-only ritual will be based on my current research of Medieval and early modern accounts of the Black Mass in history, using a ritual based on an inversion of the Ordo Ritus of the Christian Mass as it was around 1570. This Messe Noire is going to be fantastic, with a full retinue of ministers and dis-sacramental ornamentations, expertly accompanied with moving heavy metal sounds, culminating in a fun host desecration. I might even have fireworks, we’ll see.
93! credit: /u/TetraStellana . More of her work here
Today I learned something new about Platonic astronomy. Johannes Kepler’s Platonic solid model of the solar system must have been the coolest thing since sliced bread at the time. It at least caught the attention of Tycho Brahe. Unfortunately though the ratios of planetary orbits do seem to match at first glance, they really aren’t close enough to match modern observational data.
That’s the problem. Creationism isn’t a new thing in the search for scientific truth. Kepler was trying to fit the universe into his theological conception of what it should be. By showing how the orbits of planets were “perfect” and “ideal”, he could perhaps convince the authorities of the possibility of a heliocentric universe. It was no different than creating imaginary suborbits in the Ptolemaic model to ensure the planets only followed circular paths (Why would God use an imperfect shape?).
This is another reason why I get slightly pissed off when I listen to New Agers babble on about “sacred geometry”, or the Lotus of Venus, or other false connections between the beautiful and the factual.
Hat tip to VSauce for the fun video about Kepler’s beautiful error.
Hortus Deliciarum, or The Garden of Delights, was a 12th century instruction book for religious novices at the monastery of St. Odile, Alsace. Imagine a time without the constant flood of art and media we have today. The original was destroyed, but facsimiles remain such as the Hell scene below. I really like this artistic style because it has medieval line styles but more modern dimensions and colorization. It also has the benefit of 700 years’ less deterioration than the original work.