I came across this article thanks to Warren Ellis; I see Ellis’s point clearly enough and it’s one that I have been more than a little concerned about myself, especially in the greater occulture. Kingsnorth, the Dark Mountain, and the broader halo of thinking that surrounds and informs them has significant influence on the scene. It’s a trend that extends well-beyond the greens, too. A lot of folks who are committed to ‘preserving a culture’ are edging along similar terrain, looking to join national autonomy to cultural safety.
Jake Stratton-Kent’s ‘What is Goetia?’ is making the rounds. His approach to doing magic, centered in the individual rather than the art, the cthonic rather than the celestial, is familiar (in the sense of being resonant with my way of doing things; see the witch / wizard discussions), but I’m going to suggest that there is a better way to approach the matter than he does in that essay, one that takes the work outside the (to my mind stultifying) conventions of talking about a Western Magical Tradition ™.
James Hillman is one of those authors I go to like a tonic. The way in which he conceptualizes the mythological and its relationship to the psychical opens up my thinking. His archetypal psychology is a definite improvement on Jung’s work, especially when he speaks to the diversity of mythic styles and the importance of that diversity for illuminating and guiding our spiritual work.
Like Jung, though, he always leave me a little dissatisfied; the atmosphere seems too rarefied. He liberates the dream from too-tight interpretation, but he hasn’t yet returned it to life. Much of that has to do with his eagerness to defend the dream, the psyche, from the ego-driven concerns that would demand it have clear purpose.
I have talked about the way geometric forms manifest in spiritual work in an indirect fashion, but now I am going to talk about it more directly. Rather than observe the way in which such manifestations can be explored outside of the spiritual work, I am going to explore it from within the spiritual work. The subject of this little foray is going to be the cone.
Before focusing on the spiritual aspect of the cone, I do want to highlight how important it is to the composition of our visible world, to modernity itself. The mathematical consideration of it shapes the development of calculus and calculus shapes the course of modern science. The cone projects itself into many, many corners of our world. Its spiritual aspects are no less impressive.
Lately, I have been revisiting Theodor Adorno’s Minima Moralia. It is a beloved book, but this return has a spiritual undercurrent. During prayer and contemplation I found myself nudged toward it. I feel a bit like Brer Rabbit (“Oh no, don’t throw me in that briar patch!”), but a few weeks ago I stumbled upon the hard kernel that I was being nudged toward, the bit of grit to help me with my work. They are near the book’s conclusion, Adorno’s theses against occultism.
I’ve been away for a little longer than usual. The last post drew a quiet line underneath a lot of the work I had been processing through this blog; it felt like a point of inflection that redirected my intellectual and spiritual trajectory. I can point out others like it but this pass through the Necronomicon seems more profound.
With the discussion of fate and destiny out of the way, let’s get back to the topic at hand. The way in which Lovecraft attempts to delimit the Necronomicon’s destiny to the literary sphere suggests a general discomfort with that destiny but an inability to sever himself from it. Not only did he make use of the text throughout his work, but he proceeded to expand its scope, putting it into communication with the literary occultism of his fellow writers, both explicitly and implicitly. Its literary fate becomes a root system, through which its destiny survives and along which it is able to flare up.
Before springing too quickly into an occult consideration of the Necronomicon, I want to take some time to discuss its fictional and literary context. This won’t be anything fancy (though it will be long), just some descriptive account of how it tends to appear, the way those uses change over time, and some biographical / historical context for those changes.
Daily, I will call to the six directions. It is a simple, brief, and unadorned part of my morning prayers. There is nothing terribly symbolic about it. I haven’t any esoteric associations with the directions that I visualize or invoke. On a particularly thoughtful day, I might remind myself of what lies in those directions (work, my partner’s destination that day, my birthplace, family, etc.). It is a matter of orientation more than anything else.
The directions operate as complementary opposites, and I thought it might be amusing to do the same thing as an exercise of orientation in regards to time. I’m going to call the directions by citation, with quotes regarding time, in part because the act of citation captures something of time’s nature, too. Whimsically, I have given each a directional association from the spatial directions.
I’ll admit, some of this is an excuse to flip through some beloved and not recently read texts. Benjamin makes me nostalgic.
Gordon’s last post over at Runesoup exemplifies why I keep visiting his site. It has little to do with the specifics of a given post, the facts that have caught his eye, but much to do with his capacity to use them startlingly. Even where Gordon makes use of material with which I am familiar, he takes it out of the contexts with which I am most familiar with them and puts them in a much broader horizon.