Tag: inner traditions

The Esoteric Secrets of Surrealism, by Patrick Lepetit

By J Simpson | October 20, 2014 | Leave a comment

The Esoteric Secrets of Surrealism, by Patrick LepetittThe Esoteric Secrets of Surrealism, by Patrick Lepetitt
The Esoteric Secrets of Surrealism: Origins, Magic, and Secret Societies, by Patrick Lepetitt
Inner Traditions, 9781620551752, 544 pp. (incl. bibliography and notes), 2014

The Esoteric Secrets of Surrealism symbolizes a reuniting of art, science, and mysticism: the head, body, and heart, all working together.

As an artistic movement surrealism seeks to “resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality” as a revolutionary act. From the outset, the surrealists declared war on rationality, which had allowed for the atrocities of two world wars to take place, causing French novelist Albert Camus to proclaim that “surrealism’s essential enemy is rationalism.” Devoted anarchists, the surrealists felt that “so long as revolutionaries confine themselves to certain specific aspects of social life without attacking the spiritual structure of society directly,” then they were doomed to failure. This caused poet Tristan Tzara to claim that “the love of ghosts, witchcraft, occultism, magic, vice, dream, madness, passions, true or invented folklore, mythology (or even mystification), social or other kinds of utopias, real or imagined journeys, bric-a-brac, marvels, the adventures and mores of primitive peoples and generally everything that did not fit into the rigid frameworks in which beauty had been placed to identify itself with the mind.”

The surrealists were interested in occult and metaphysical currents from the very beginning — as seen with the Vodou-ispired works of Cuban painter Wifredo Lam, or the explicitly Pagan paintings of Leonora Carrington — although often not in so many words, as they “ventured onto the terrain of mediumship stripped of its spiritualist clutter.” In the process the surrealists would become a kind of secret society and take a similar role to that of the Freemasons or Rosicrucians in the Enlightenment, illuminating and updating the age old mysteries with emerging schools of thought like psychoanalysis, quantum physics, and relativity. Continue reading


31 occultnik Tumblrs worth following

By Psyche | September 3, 2014 | 2 comments

Tumblr

Tumblr is a wonderfully interactive social platform that takes blogging back to its roots as a weblog — literally a log of curated stuff found on the Web. Be it photos, images and other art, or links, excerpts from essays, tweets, Facebook screencaps — all liked, shared, and commented upon by hundreds of thousands of users. It’s brilliant.

The platform seems to favour politics, feminists and fandoms, but like any social network — it’s all about who you follow, and my perception here may be skewed by who I tend to interact with. There’s also a ton of great stuff to interest the budding and well experienced occultnik.

I’ve been on Tumblr for a few years now as plutopsyche, but Spiral Nature, as a website, just joined this April. We’re starting to see a pretty good following, but sometimes it can be difficult to find new people.

Recently chirotus responded to a follower looking to find more Pagans to follow on Tumblr, and in response I listed a bunch of the occultnik Tumblrs I follow on Spiral Nature’s account, and I thought I’d share an expanded version of that list with you.

Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed anyone, and share your Tumblr account below! Continue reading


William Blake’s Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Marsha Keith Schuchard

By Gesigewigu's | July 21, 2014 | 3 comments

William Blake's Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Marsha Keith Schuchard

William Blake's Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Marsha Keith Schuchard

William Blake’s Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Marsha Keith Schuchard
Inner Traditions, 9781594772115, 398 pp., 2008

Reading William Blake one cannot help but realize this is a man who is both religious and spiritually active, especially his poems known as the prophecies. The question is what was the nature of his spiritual life? What inspired Blake to create works that are both heavily Christian and at the same time antagonistic to many Christian ideals? The surprising answer is laid out as Schuchard leads us back into the complex religious web of mystical Christianity of the 17th and 18th century.

No clear, singular document exists that explains Blake’s religious life and upbringing, so Schuchard researched and wrote this text as a “reconstruction of the lost religious history of the family of William Blake.” This area is rarely investigated, and considering how bizarre and complicated a picture Schuchard paints it’s not surprising that “sensible academic critics have cautiously refrained from taking the plunge” into this counter-religious culture. Continue reading


The High Magic of Talismans and Amulets, by Claude Lecouteux

By Freeman Presson | June 30, 2014 | 3 comments

The High Magic of Talismans and Amulets, by Claude LecouteuxThe High Magic of Talismans and Amulets, by Claude LecouteuxThe High Magic of Talismans and Amulets: Tradition and Craft, by Claude Lecouteux
Inner Traditions, 264 pp. (incl. appendices, notes, bibliography, and index), 2014

The first part of The High Magic of Talismans and Amulets goes into the traditions related to amulets and the natural magic thereof, and also examines the tension between established Christianity and the long-standing tradition of magick, especially of the apotropaic (evil averting) sort. One is strongly reminded of the generations of priestly execrations of goddess worship in the Bible, which similarly told us how long the practices persisted, and some details of them which we would not otherwise have had.

The priests inveighing against these charms were particularly intent on discouraging the use of magical characters (alphabetic or sigilic writing that conveys spiritual power). They sometimes waxed poetic: “The demon slithers in the characters like the serpent beneath the flowers.” This ties nicely into his statement that “the unknown always inspires the Church with fear.”

Lecouteux summarizes part of this history thus: “Implicit in the background are notions of natural, licit magic and illicit black magic,” ((p. 30)) after giving one of many examples of a churchman condemning the talismanic art as being an implicit pact with a demon, a pattern which, as he points out, is “commonly repeated throughout the sixteenth century.” What this means to me is that the Faustian current which arose in early modern magick didn’t just appear without help. Apparently, it is as possible to call an egregore into being by constant execration as by constant evocation! Continue reading


The Book of Grimoires, by Claude Lecouteux

By Gesigewigu's | June 9, 2014 | Leave a comment

The Book of Grimoires, by Claude LecouteuxThe Book of Grimoires, by Claude LecouteuxThe Book of Grimoires: The Secret Grammar of Magic, by Claude Lecouteux
Inner Traditions, 9781620551875, 264 pp., 2002, 2013 (English translation)

To understand a book it’s important to know the purpose for which it was written. Lecouteux states that his aim is to provide a historical account of the use of grimoires, and to synthesize a “universal grimoire” from numerous source texts, but I find this proposal problematic. I’ve read several academic books on grimoires and medieval magick as part of my degree, including collections of original articles or reproductions of sections from various texts. Lecouteux says the book “takes the approach of a guided tour,” and that the material is obscure and complex, so he will explain the material throughout the book in order to make sense of what is provided, and this, I feel, is where things falls apart. Continue reading


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