I am working on a very long post about the Boston Public Library, but that work is throwing off some sparks that merit some short posts. One of those has to do with the Enneagram. I’ve mentioned before that Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way formed some of the backdrop to my youthful forays into matters mystical and magical, so I came in contact with the Enneagram a while ago. As I ws thinking about the image of the severed head, a new story on the Enneagram popped up alongside another in my news feed.
So, The Get Down. There are some subtle but persistent magical themes going on in the narrative. There are the top-hatted alien and minor characters with names like ‘Thor’*; there is the tension between ecstasy and devotion**; but right now I want to point out the way art, history, and music play out as aspects of time (magic).
Remains of Ritual emphasizes, again and again, how gorovodu and religions like it are musical more than discursive. Friedson attempts to get at that through phenomenological tools, but he also works hard to give voice to gorovodu onits own terms. Reading through it right now, I’m struck by what makes music so central to this form of religiosity.
Ever since I finished the book challenge, I have found my thoughts wandering toward what someone should read after those ten books. It is all well and good to have secreted them away in a lakeside hideaway for a month, but what should they do for their continuing education? What should they dip into over the course of the next year?
I’m not sure exactly what I’m after with this thought exercise, but since it has been persistent I figured it’s worth a post.
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.