The Broken Pieces

This is the post where I begin to move (I think) from interim phase toward whatever the next cycle is. There are a few distinct pieces that I want to highlight and talk about in that regard. This is sort of a notebook post and sort of not.

First, after I had mentioned Frater Acher’s recent article on magical tools in a recent post, a correspondent of mine asked if I knew much about him, mentioning that they had been doing some work with the Quareia material with which Frater Acher has been involved. It felt like one of those little nudges, so I went back and took a second look at his website (and Quareia’s, but that wasn’t where I found the hook). This little gem of an ebook caught my attention.

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[NB] Tammuz and St. George

This mourning for Tammuz/Damuzi thing…Okay, let me run through some stuff.

There is a quote that comes from a tenth-century manuscript, Nabatean Agriculture, that contains much useful information. Somewhat controversially attributed to Ibn Wahshiyya, Nabatean Agriculture sounds like a fascinating text that mixed star lore and magic with extensive practical advice about agriculture; I wish there was a complete English translation available, but read about it here.

(As an aside, I’m also interested in the relationship between agriculture and star lore showing up independently in both Mesoamerica and the Middle East. There seems to be some good evidence for strengthening the thesis that ritual might have preceded agriculture and laid the groundwork for it, that the experience of time in ritual might have preceded the understanding of time necessary for agriculture. In the Americas, you have the mound complexes, and in the Old World, you have Gobekli Tepi.)

The quote in question describes how rites of lamentation were shared by devotees to both Tammuz (Dumuzi) and St. George at the time of the manuscript’s composition.  I quote it here as an opportunity to consider the relationship between continuity and memory.

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[NB] The Memory of Trees

I took a walk in a botanical garden and let myself drift lightly through it, listening to the place, to its subtle hum. I enjoy the way it feels to be in the midst of a gathering of trees because even young trees project this sense of being from another time, a time before there were people.When you walk through a gathering of trees, it becomes more pronounced. My partner and I once wandered off a path into swath of pine trees that were probably not even decades old, but once we lost sight of the path, it was like stepping backward into time. Thirty feet away from the path, we got turned around and it took us ten minutes to find our way to the margin.

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Don’t Make a Prison of Tradition

In the early days of anthropology, there was a lot of interest in exotic cosmologies. Part of the anthropologist’s job was to get at the model of the universe their informants had. That tendency had its roots in the philological habits of the ‘Enlightened’ European world and it produced a fair amount of scholarship that equated understanding a people with understanding their cosmology. This eventually gave way to a richer notion of culture that emphasized conceptual frameworks and sensibilities within anthropology, but it has had a lingering and stifling impact on occultism and occult-inflected new relgious movements.

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