Posts Tagged With: hermeticism

The Orobouros and the Alt Right

I had been reading in Julius Evola’s book, the  Hermetic Tradition, about the Alchemical image of the Orobouros—the snake biting it’s own tail.  I first tried to tackle this ponderous work some 20 years ago, after I saw that Carl Jung cited it as source material for his classic book, Psychology and Alchemy.  I again returned to it recently when I’d heard that the alt right was greatly influenced by Evola’s dark, cyclical view of history, as well as his particular brand of arcane, spiritual racism.
I then saw an article by Maureen Dowd, who compared Donald Trump to the Orobouros.  I took this synchronicity as sign I should further meditate on this ancient image of western esotericism as a way to gain a more holistic view of a dangerously polarized political landscape which loomed beyond the hermetically sealed world of the dogfish Bay Marina.
Dowd writes of 45’s isolation by an inner circle who shelter him against the verities of the exterior world, parrot his mad ejaculations, and compound his delusional paranoia.  She evokes the Orobouros to point out his self -destructive qualities.
This mandala has long been contemplated by spiritual adepts who sought awakening to ultimate truth of Unity.  Evola says it represents not so much a philosophical concept as much as a state beyond the dichotomies of I and not-I, inside and outside.  According to the literature, the full realization of this state is the “first matter of the wise.”
In the tradition, this unitary awareness is the beginning of the great work.  But in Evola’s dark, elitist, and apocalyptic elaboration, this work is a cyclic process that, after ages of decline brought about by egalitarianism, multi-culturalism, and democratic “leveling,” heralds the triumphant return of the golden age.  He views history as a cycle of degeneration and regeneration which turns in a series toward its ultimate realization in the re-establishment of a hyper-masculine, solar king which dawns only after violent revolution upsets the status quo.  The losers swept up in this upheaval are expendable, and quaint notions like charity, love, and compassion are jettisoned for the profits of a corporate elite.  Evola may have attained some degree of genuine insight into the spiritual truth expressed by the Orobouros, as well as to how that essential unity is not obstructed by its infinite manifestations (dharmas) in the field of space and time.  Evola studied the Pali cannon of the Hinayana (lesser vehicle) Buddhism, which focuses on self liberation from the cycles of existence (Samsara.)  In contrast, the Mahayana (greater vehicle) stressed the cultivation of loving kindness as not only ethical, but the means by which we awaken to the ultimate truth of essential unity even while working to aleviate suffering in the relative world of Samsara.
  As long as we have not realized that the mode of being of our mind resides in the union of relative truth and absolute truth—a realization that corresponds to awakening—these two truths are seen as separate instead of being seen in their original unity.
Bokar Rimpoche
From the viewpoint of ultimate truth, the dichotomy between positive and negative lacks reality, but from the perspective of relative truth, the karmic results of negative actions are inevitable.  The cultivation of loving kindness is essential until ultimate truth is realized.
  This fundamental split between the two understandings of the unitary state—symbolized by the Orobouros– is reflected in the polarized debates surrounding health care and immigration. Republicans seem to champion only the needs of those inside the adamant circumference of racial and economic privilege.
  One of the strangest aspects of our rancorous, political debate is how these venerable teachings are spun by intellectuals of the alt right; and how Evola’s  brand of spiritual fascism provides ideological cover for the rise of global fascism.
Categories: Books I love, Musings, politics, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Tot Lot Studio Presents

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Camillo’s Memory Theatre-an artwork in progress

Francis Yates, in The Art of Memory, tells how Giulio Camillo reinvented memory art in accordance with the renewed interest in Neoplatonism.  Camillo’s conception was also inspired  by the recently rediscovered teachings of Hermetic philosophy which his friend, Marcilio Ficino had introduced into Renaissance Italy with his translation of the Corpus Hermeticism. 

Ficino inspired Camillo in the use of astral talismans to draw down celestial influences into memory images and infuse them with magic power.  This imaginative reinvention of memory art was meant to train the mind to receive celestial influences and  unify esoteric knowledge by holding an inner image that mirrored the celestial harmony.

The Corpus Hermeticum taught the essential divinity of man and that all phenomena have their origin in the realm of ideas (archetypes.)  Camillo’s theatre enabled the “viewer” to recall these first causes, and the essential relationship between man (microcosm,) and the world (macrocosm.)

The first level of manifestation was mediated by the 7 Governors.  These astral beings made up the 7 measures by which the interior man descends into creation, acquires a body whose parts fall subject to the dominion of the zodiac, before he reascends through the heavenly spheres.  It is through the Hermetic religious experience he regains his innate divinity.  The 7 governors have associations with the known planets, 7 days of creation, angelic hierarchy and the lower sephiroth.

Yates says that the greatness of Renaissance art  was largely due to perfect proportion that was in accord with celestial harmony.  Seen in this light, the grace and majesty of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus is a result of her status as talisman.

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Port Headlock

I’ve been anchored in Port Hadlock for 5 days.  Actually, after being pinned down here so long I’ve come to think of it as Port Headlock.  As soon as I start to haul in rode, a sound rises from the far north, a deep rush of sound that gives me pause, and my hand is stayed from weighing anchor.

Since the Equinox, the weather has taken a nasty turn, with savage gusts from the Austral quarter of this turbid globe cast into the swirling cosmos.  After long, night-watches, I see the gale steam the weather-glass a frenzied, vaporous scene of genesis. The glass is the vessel which holds the primordial spark and the damp, hylic goo of the Prima Materia in a seething, Hylic confluence.  The torn north hangs rain-slanted like a black curtain fallen over the final act of a Doric sea tragedy.

Like I said, it was a nasty storm with gusts to 70.  But now I pace the deck and see over the port beam, young men learning the old shipwright’s trade at the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building.  A vessel went by that’s based on the old longboat design of Vancouver’s rowing/sailing launch and skipered by a young, pretty lass who calls from the bow with all the assurance of an old salt.  Does my heart good to see the old tradition of working sail carried on by such eager hands.

Categories: Old Hand's northern voyage, videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Raven Window-The Albedo Phase

DSC02382raven window 3The canvas is theTemenos, where I had earlier faced the black work of the Nigredo- where the inessential was burnt away leaving the skeletal composition etched in blackest black..

Stained glass framed the scene for my latest confrontation with doubt and the obstinate reality of the Prima Materia.

Now is the phase to which corresponds the Alchemical process of the Albedo-the whitening.

The Hermetic philosopher, Artephius said it is:

“That which is uplifted by the air…pure, subtle, brilliant, clear as the dew, diaphanous as unflawed crystal.”

The diaphanous in between I invoke, where light reflects both ways.

Julius Evola, says in the Hermetic Tradition says the Albedo:

“ …reintegrates the personality with the non-corporeal state.”

It moves me outward from this dark interior of crowded thoughts, into something vast-where the spectral colors of the work’s final phase finds its completion in harmony.

It is Raven’s call.

Categories: Paintings in Progress | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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