[NB] Grimoire and Reception + Life in Death

Just some more “what I am reading from around the web” posting.

While we seem to have a much better sense of the early modern grimoire archive (e.g., Owen Davies’s Grimoires), of the history of the grimoires as commodities in circulation, I still haven’t seen a lot that gives us insight into the reception and lifeworld of those grimoires (though that could be simple ignorance on my part). Though not about grimoires proper, the role played by literacy and self-education in The Cheese and the Worms provides a useful point of departure for that line of thought.In a peculiar fashion, The Dictionary of the Khazars is another such opportunity.

This article seems like another avenue. While it does not address grimoires directly, it opens a window into the early modern publishing world in which grimoires circulated and to which both authors and publishers would have their expectations set. Positioning grimoires and grimoire spirits as part of the advancement of secularism and an early do-it-yourself sensibility…well, that fits nicely with entertaining the possibility that school networks might have facilitated the transmission of some grimoire materials and captures some of the Promethean, fire-stealing elements of the spirits.

Then there is this window into work going on around the study of the dead and what happens in the body after death. How is this for a curiosity:

“Some genetic activity, like a gene that’s responsible for embryonic development, baffled the scientists. Noble suspects that this gene becomes active because the cellular environment in dead bodies must somehow resemble those found in embryos.”

Gives new meaning to the phrase from womb to tomb.

How do you live for the future?

That is the question that has been on my mind. I mean the future in a big way, in the hope of a time different than this one, less walled in by the invasive repetitiveness of the current black iron prison. I mean, too, in the way that opens the door toward that future, the ground which must be forged from the world we have.

There are plenty of ancestral forces that strive to preserve, but there are also the ones that strive to forge, to make something new and better for those that follow. That is tied to the past, but in the past as it seeks outside itself.

That can’t really be about fighting the power because it the nature of the fight to invigorate the forms against which it struggles, to adapt to them even if it is in struggle. This sort of founding has to be firm without opposing. There seems to be a strong vein of this in Chinese thought and it is one of the reasons that I still turn to the I Ching, still read about blandness, and wander down some Taoist alleys. Not precisely for the substance of the thought, but for a way of thinking.

How do you hold a world that might not be? How do you hold a world so that even if it doesn’t come to be, it’s possibility exerts influence upon the one that does exist?

When I think about the afterlife, this is what I think most about, a projection into the ancestral current that keeps whispering and winding into the fabric of the street corners and forest paths.