On March 12th I shall speak at the Quest Conference in Bristol UK on ‘The History and Development of Chaos Magic’, so that gives me free rein to meander through the terrain of autobiography, history, philosophy and practice. I shall exhibit some instruments and bring along some books, including some Epochs, in case anyone wants to see one of these extraordinary tomes.
You can get tickets by post (Marion Green does not do things electronically) and probably at the door by prior arrangement. (email me about this if you need to).
I have just finished reading Gordon White’s new book ‘Star Ships – A Prehistory of the Spirits’. This struck me as the modern equivalent of that seminal and much celebrated book ‘The Golden Bough’ by Sir James George Frazer. It has a very heavyweight bibliography of anthropological books and papers, and Gordon has certainly done his academic homework.
However whilst Frazer traces the development of ideas from magic to religion to science, Gordon White explores the development of magical ideas from Paleolithic times through historical times to the present day whilst emphasising the continuing importance of pre-historical star lore, entheogen use, and of certain ancient archetypal spirits to the contemporary magician. He considers the end of the last ice age a seminal event in magical and cultural history and he suspects that flood myths in general may devolve from this event, and that the flooding of the vast shallows between Southeast Asia and Australia may have an ‘Atlantis’ type significance. He also discusses Gobekli Tepe, the mysterious temple complex recently unearthed in Turkey; that may date back twelve thousand years, in considerable detail. It would seem that this astonishing structure upsets the conventional ‘agriculture makes cities and then cities make cathedrals’ model because here a pre-agricultural society seems to have built a ‘cathedral’, perhaps a star-lore cathedral.
His thesis seems intriguing and provocative although a little tenuous, speculative and questionable in places, it will certainly stimulate debate and further research for years to come. I enjoyed reading it. Gordon puts in some light touches and flourishes even when dealing with the most academic of materials.
Julian Vayne writes upon the nature of ‘Spirits’ in BoB.
Hmm… well Religion asserts that spirits exist; Science asserts that they do not. Natural Philosophy and Magic need not take some half-assed compromise or evasive-agnostic position; we could instead go for Radical Materialism.
The Radical position asserts that no mind-body or spirit-matter duality exists, the universe consists of entirely ‘material’ stuff but this stuff does a range of amazing things, it has a wave-particle duality, quantum weirdness, non-local and a-temporal effects, parapsychological effects and all, and probably more. ‘Mind’ consists of what brains do. Spirits thus exist inside minds, but this doesn’t mean that they cannot have psychological, parapsychological and other effects beyond the brains which support them. The universe almost certainly contains lots of minds besides ours.
Entheogens don’t contain spirits; they merely contain material chemicals that help some brains to personify ideas by turning up the amplitude on those parts of our brains which have evolved something of a propensity to do that anyway. I can do it without them, and I prefer to do so, because ‘entheogens’ also add a lot of random confusion and damage.
Independence Day June 23rd.
Let us vote like Lions, not as frightened mice.
We can secure our freedom from the EU-Synarchy - if we have the courage.