Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Gems from the Forums: Crowley's "Hymn to Lucifer"

A few years ago, I made a post on about Crowley's excellent poem "Hymn to Lucifer":

Hymn to Lucifer

 (by Aleister Crowley)
Ware, nor of good nor ill, what aim hath act?
Without its climax, death, what savour hath
Life? an impeccable machine, exact
He paces an inane and pointless path
To glut brute appetites, his sole content
How tedious were he fit to comprehend
Himself! More, this our noble element
Of fire in nature, love in spirit, unkenned
Life hath no spring, no axle, and no end.

His body a bloody-ruby radiant
With noble passion, sun-souled Lucifer
Swept through the dawn colossal, swift aslant
On Eden’s imbecile perimeter.
He blessed nonentity with every curse
And spiced with sorrow the dull soul of sense,
Breathed life into the sterile universe,
With Love and Knowledge drove out innocence
The Key of Joy is disobedience.

My discussion of this poem appears after the jump.

Read on for more.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Happy Bloomsday, 2016

Now, to be on anew and basking again in the panaroma of
all flores of speech, if a human being duly fatigued by his dayety
in the sooty, having plenxty off time on his gouty hands and va-
cants of space at his sleepish feet and as hapless behind the dreams
of accuracy as any camelot prince of dinmurk, were at this auc-
tual futule preteriting unstant, in the states of suspensive exani-
mation, accorded, throughout the eye of a noodle, with an ear-
sighted view of old hopeinhaven with all the ingredient and
egregiunt whights and ways to which in the curse of his persis-
tence the course of his tory will had been having recourses, the
reverberration of knotcracking awes, the reconjungation of
nodebinding ayes, the redissolusingness of mindmouldered ease
and the thereby hang of the Hoel of it, could such a none, whiles
even led comesilencers to comeliewithhers and till intempes-
tuous Nox should catch the gallicry and spot lucan's dawn, by-
hold at ones what is main and why tis twain, how one once
meet melts in tother wants poignings, the sap rising, the foles
falling, the nimb now nihilant round the girlyhead so becoming,
the wrestless in the womb, all the rivals to allsea, shakeagain, O
disaster! shakealose, Ah how starring! but Heng's got a bit
of Horsa's nose and Jeff's got the signs of Ham round his
mouth and the beau that spun beautiful pales as it palls, what
roserude and oragious grows gelb and greem, blue out the ind of
it! Violet's dyed! then what would that fargazer seem to seemself
to seem seeming of, dimm it all?
    Answer: A collideorscape!
--Finnegans Wake

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Happy Third Day of the Writing, 2016 (Better Late Than Never!)

Can't hear with the waters of. The chittering waters of. Flitter-
ing bats, fieldmice bawk talk. Ho! Are you not gone ahome?
What Thom Malone? Can't hear with bawk of bats, all thim liffey-
ing waters of. Ho, talk save us ! My foos won't moos. I feel as old
as yonder elm. A tale told of Shaun or Shem? All Livia's daughter-
sons. Dark hawks hear us. Night! Night! My ho head halls. I feel
as heavy as yonder stone. Tell me of John or Shaun? Who were
Shem and Shaun the living sons or daughters of? Night now!
Tell me, tell me, tell me, elm! Night night! Telmetale of stem or
stone. Beside the rivering waters of, hitherandthithering waters
of. Night!

--Finnegans Wake

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Happy Second Day of the Writing, 2016

Ah, but she was the queer old skeowsha anyhow, Anna Livia,
trinkettoes! And sure he was the quare old buntz too, Dear Dirty
Dumpling, foostherfather of fingalls and dotthergills. Gammer
and gaffer we're all their gangsters. Hadn't he seven dams to wive
him? And every dam had her seven crutches. And every crutch
had its seven hues. And each hue had a differing cry. Sudds for
me and supper for you and the doctor's bill for Joe John. Befor!
Bifur! He married his markets, cheap by foul, I know, like any
Etrurian Catholic Heathen, in their pinky limony creamy birnies
and their turkiss indienne mauves. But at milkidmass who was
the spouse? Then all that was was fair. Tys Elvenland ! Teems of
times and happy returns. The seim anew. Ordovico or viricordo.
Anna was, Livia is, Plurabelle's to be. Northmen's thing made
southfolk's place but howmulty plurators made eachone in per-
son? Latin me that, my trinity scholard, out of eure sanscreed into
oure eryan! Hircus Civis Eblanensis! He had buckgoat paps on
him, soft ones for orphans. Ho, Lord ! Twins of his bosom. Lord
save us! And ho! Hey? What all men. Hot? His tittering daugh-
ters of. Whawk?
-- Finnegans Wake

Friday, April 8, 2016

Happy First Day of the Writing, 2016

tell me all about  
Anna Livia! I want to hear all

about Anna Livia. Well, you know Anna Livia? Yes, of course, 
we all know Anna Livia. Tell me all. Tell me now. You'll die 
when you hear. Well, you know, when the old cheb went futt 
and did what you know. Yes, I know, go on. Wash quit and 
don't be dabbling. Tuck up your sleeves and loosen your talk- 
tapes. And don't butt me       hike!       when you bend. Or what- 
ever it was they threed to make out he thried to two in the
Fiendish park. He's an awful old reppe. Look at the shirt of him !
Look at the dirt of it! He has all my water black on me. And it
steeping and stuping since this time last wik. How many goes
is it I wonder I washed it? I know by heart the places he likes to
saale, duddurty devil! Scorching my hand and starving my fa-
mine to make his private linen public. Wallop it well with your
battle and clean it. My wrists are wrusty rubbing the mouldaw
stains. And the dneepers of wet and the gangres of sin in it! What
was it he did a tail at all on Animal Sendai? And how long was
he under loch and neagh? It was put in the newses what he did,
nicies and priers, the King fierceas Humphrey, with illysus dis-
tilling, exploits and all. But toms will till. I know he well. Temp
untamed will hist for no man. As you spring so shall you neap.
O, the roughty old rappe! Minxing marrage and making loof.


                                                                                     Was her

banns never loosened in Adam and Eve's or were him and her
but captain spliced? For mine ether duck I thee drake. And by
my wildgaze I thee gander. Flowey and Mount on the brink of
time makes wishes and fears for a happy isthmass. She can show
all her lines, with love, license to play. And if they don't remarry
that hook and eye may ! O, passmore that and oxus another!

--Finnegans Wake

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Video and Book of the Day: Sam Harris on Death and the Present Moment

I’ve just finished Sam Harris’ book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality without Religion. I highly recommend it, as it contains important insights both for materialists who would normally dismiss meditation/contemplation and for supernaturalists who mistakenly think that their inner experiences furnish evidence for metaphysical truths.

As Harris concisely and eloquently argues, attention to the details of our inner lives is of supreme importance to human beings. Learning to pay attention to consciousness gives us insights into the fact that consciousness by its nature lacks a self: that is to say, our felt sense that we are “separate” from our experiences is not true and isn’t even an illusion – because if one looks closely and carefully enough, that sense is not there to be found.
Harris points out that such attention loosens the shackles that our emotions place upon us (he points out, for instance, how it is impossible to remain angry for more than a few seconds if one is actually paying attention to the experience of the present moment, instead of continually manufacturing anger by rehearsing a mental story about grievances). He further argues that experiences of self-transcendence have ethical implications – and while Harris is not a Thelemite and does not use the jargon of Thelema (“True Will”), his observations that attention to the present moment naturally settles the clutter of one’s mental life can easily be appropriated in a Thelemic context. With a mind thus settled, an aspirant will find it easier, practically by definition, to perceive his or her authentic inclinations (i.e. “True Will”).

Harris also points out the logical flaws in using such inner experiences to justify metaphysical claims, exploring the evidence that indicates that minds arise from brains and investigating how physical changes to brains – including during near-death experiences and drug trips – can cause experiences that resemble trances that meditation can induce more gradually and safely. He also discusses how unscrupulous gurus can take advantage of people and justify this behavior with some of the insights generated by meditation.

Some of the ideas covered in this book – and a short guided meditation – are presented in a very interesting talk Harris gave about “Death and the Present Moment,” which you can view here.

I highly recommend both the video and the book.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Gems from the Forums: Nuit and Hadit

Today’s “Gems” entry comes from a thread in which the original poster was confused about the symbol called “Hadit” in Thelema.

The poster’s question revolves around the fact that Hadit is in some senses “unmoved” and in other senses ever “going.” As the poster puts it: “Hadit is the ‘secret center’, the Hidden One, the distinctive ‘point of view.’ In buddhist and yogic practice, this is often referred to as ‘the witness,’ which is unbounded and unmodified by what it witnesses, and absolutely unmoved. Yet in Thelemic discussions, Hadit goes.”

In response to this interesting question, the poster got mostly unhelpful replies, including the ludicrous suggestion that Hadit is an “idea that transcends 4D space-time” and that we cannot “address Hadit adequately with such a logic that “relies on those finite definitions” of space and time.

Read on for my thoughts on this subject and my description of Nuit and Hadit.