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New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Wednesday, November 30

tupak okra rides again

Dear Ones: you simply must check out the video! The following is from the product pitch page...

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important note: If you think this is here as an ad or endorsement, you definitely need to read more of this site.



Monday, November 28

the disturbing matter of Nazi entailment

Whether in America or Germany, talk of Holocaust seems to upset some folks -- though probably less, we can guess, than the people on whom such acts were perpetrated.

The quote below is from an anonymous Amazon.com reader review of John Carey's (in my opinion and that of many others, excellent) The Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride and Prejudice Among the Literary Intelligentsia, 1880-1939, which the writer calls "a hatchet job."

When I adjudicated secondary-school debating competitions, there was always one dependable red flag that signalled a crumbling argument: the comparison with Hitler. Hitler was the teenager's favourite: if you could infect your opponent's argument with just a touch of Hitlerism, the crowd was instantly on your side and your opponent now had to climb a mountain of odium to win them back.
The following quote from a book review in The Canadian Journal of History (December 1, 2001) provides a better than average starting point for exploring why so many people reach for their revolvers -- or simply stop listening -- when they hear the word Nazi.
More than ever, it is apparent that certain myths about Nazism will never fully disappear. If for no other reason, Nazism serves as a useful foil, a way of gauging good and evil in the world. The things we tend to dislike in modern society we usually presume reigned triumphant in Nazism. In fact, what we suppose Nazism must surely have been about often tells us as much about contemporary societies as about the past purportedly under review.
The book purportedly under review is Hitler's Priestess: Savitri Devi, the Hindu-Aryan Myth and Neo-Nazism by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, whom the reviewer, Richard Steigmann-Gall (author of The Holy Reich Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945), goes to some lengths to make appear a fool.
  • [pretend this is a footnote]

    In fact, Steigmann-Gall seriously misrepresents the book. "The reader is strongly encouraged," he writes, "to believe that Nazism had more to do with 'the occult, Green issues, vegetarianism, and the New Age' (p. 92), all cast as eastern in inspiration."

    What Goodrick-Clarke actually wrote on page 92 -- regarding Savitri Devi's A Son of God (1946) and Impeachment of Man (1959) -- was this: "Mindful as she was of the general opprobrium attaching to the Third Reich in the postwar years, these books make only coded references to her idol Hitler and National Socialism. Free of any obvious Nazi taint, both books have been recently republished for new audiences interested in mysticism and the occult, Green issues, vegetarianism, and the New Age."

    That's called reporting, not a la Steigmann-Gall, something we are "strongly encouraged to believe." That this was the opportunistic enticement Savitri Devi's neo-Nazi publisher pitched to a New Age audience was also explained at some length on page 3. Perhaps Steigmann-Gall's clear error on this point can be simply written off as one more reviewer who never read the book. Or, less simply, as one more jealous academic trashing a more competent colleague.

A fool Goodrick-Clarke is not. He heads the Centre for Western Esotericism in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Wales, Lampeter (see Wikipedia entry). His book, The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology: The Ariosophists of Austria and Germany, 1890-1935, is widely judged by his peers to be one of the small handful of credible books on the subject.

Contrast the above review clip with this one:

Although the gas chamber mythos has been the center-piece of ongoing Establishment efforts to diabolize the Third Reich, there has been a parallel attempt to remove that epoch from objective consideration by casting it in a less homicidal but more bizarrely demoniacal light. Linking National Socialism to occultism has served several purposes: making the Hitler period look spooky, or at least a bit "kooky"; alienating people of traditional religious outlook, and not least, cashing in on the lucrative bookselling fad of recent years sometimes called the "occult explosion."
The opening gambit about "the gas chamber mythos" should be a tipoff that the publication in which this appeared -- The Journal of Historical Review -- is among a growing number of books and web sites dedicated to questioning whether the Holocaust ever took place.

Exhibit: Holocaust Denial
The following is from the web site of Castle Hill Publishers, which disseminates The Journal of Historical Review, as well as books such as The Hoax of the Twentieth Century. The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry.

It is the goal of Castle Hill Publishers to scientifically investigate historical events, particularly those of the 20th century, without limitations imposed by dogmas or axioms.

It is also Castle Hill Publishers' goal to defend human rights and to combat discrimination, especially when it is directed against the German people. This shall be done within the widest possible framework and particularly by means of proper historical research into the events of the 20th century in Europe.

It is also Castle Hill Publishers' goal to correct unjust reporting or accounts of events of the 20th century. It is also the Foundation's goal to further public debate about the subject generally described as 'Holocaust'.

It is also Castle Hill Publishers' goal to financially assist Revisionists who, due to their work, are subjected to prosecution, physical assault or slander, or who are otherwise victimized or persecuted.

It is also the Foundation's goal to oppose, with all available legal means, those persons, institutions and organizations who denounce, charge, convict or otherwise inflict harm on Revisionists for not believing in the existence of gas chambers.

Lastly, it is Castle Hill Publishers' goal to restore, with all available legal means, the honor and reputation of all persons and/or organizations who are found to have been unjustly accused or even convicted of criminal acts, especially such as were allegedly committed during World War Two.


The caption for the photo below (from The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum) reads: "Corpses of Auschwitz prisoners in block 11 of the main camp... as discovered by Soviet war crimes investigators."

[NOTE: Apologies for the confusion with the above image. For the correct image, see here. For an explanation, see here.]

Holocaust deniers might argue that, from such a picture, we have no definitive way of knowing whether these people are perhaps not merely napping. It is left as an exercise for the reader to ponder this perplexing question. Clicking here may help.


"President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush tour the
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C."
White House photo by Paul Morse [reduced]

The above image is a work of an employee of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, taken or made during the course of the person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain. [via Wikipedia]

savitri devi, the hindu-aryan myth and neo-nazism


secret aryan cults and their influence on nazi ideology: the ariosophists of austria and germany, 1890-1935







the growing assault on truth and memory


history, holocaust, and the david irving trial



Sunday, November 27

cat on a wade clark roof

Himself a boomer, Roof sometimes embodies, rather than explains, the most flaky and superficial impulses of boomer faith.

~ Kirkus Reviews



yet another photo essay

Judaism

Islam

Buddhism

Hinduism

Christianity

Atom Bomb


book description...

The first history of Traditionalism, an important yet surprisingly little-known twentieth-century anti-modern movement. Comprising a number of often secret but sometimes very influential religious groups in the West and in the Islamic world, it affected mainstream and radical politics in Europe and the development of the field of religious studies in the United States. In the nineteenth century, at a time when progressive intellectuals had lost faith in Christianity's ability to deliver religious and spiritual truth, the West discovered non-Western religious writings. From these beginnings grew Traditionalism, emerging from the occultist milieu of late nineteenth-century France, and fed by the widespread loss of faith in progress that followed the First World War. Working first in Paris and then in Cairo, the French writer Rene Guenon rejected modernity as a dark age, and sought to reconstruct the Perennial Philosophy -- the central religious truths behind all the major world religions --largely on the basis of his reading of Hindu religious texts. A number of disenchanted intellectuals responded to Guenon's call with attempts to put theory into practice. Some attempted without success to guide Fascism and Nazism along Traditionalist lines; others later participated in political terror in Italy.




Saturday, November 26

a newage++ jehovah

The following is from an article titled "Desperately Seeking Spirituality" by Eugene Taylor (more about whom in a minute) that ran in Psychology Today over ten years ago (11/1/1994)...
Look beyond the crystals and the seances; this is not some touchy-feely new age fad.
author's note: Oh yes it is.
Its cuts wider and deeper. It is the engine of a whole paradigm shift in society with the power to heal the mind-body split that has dominated western thinking for centuries, and while we're at it, the new spiritual awakening promises to remake the political landscape as well.

Norman Mailer, in a recent article in Esquire, says he sees it in Madonna. The actor Richard Gere believes it is in helping resettle in the United States Tibetan Buddhists whose own country was overrun by Chinese Communists.

Singer Don Henley has found it in his effort to preserve Thoreau's Walden Pond as a protected wilderness and to keep it from developers who look beyond the waters and see only condominiums and office towers.

Mitch Kapor, cofounder of Lotus software company, sees it in cyberspace, which he regards as a great new spiritual frontier.

With a cast like that, how could anyone doubt that, as Taylor says a bit further on, "our conception of spirituality is undergoing enormous change"? In fact, he wrote a whole book about it in 1999: Shadow Culture: Psychology and Spirituality in America. It would constitute an excellent historical overview of how the Mystic Bourgeoisie developed, were Taylor not such an insufferable cheerleader. Here's a picture of him leading a cheer now...

Celebrating the One Hundredth Anniversary of William James' Lectures on The Varieties of Religious Experience


The Swedenborg Society at Harvard Presents: A Free Lecture Series on The Spiritual Currents of American Pragmatism

Dr. Eugene Taylor, Lecturer on Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School

And gee, I'm sorry I missed this one!

The Appropriation of Jung's Ideas Within the American Psychotherapeutic Counter-Culture - Eugene Taylor

Abraham Maslow and Anthony Sutich, editors of The Journal of Humanistic Psychology, declared the launching of a new era in psychology in 1961. This new psychology would emphasize self-actualization, interpersonal knowing, transcendence, the study of the whole being. It would draw on varied sources in Eastern and Western traditions and would appropriate "parts of Jung." Since then, Jung -- often represented only as an acolyte of Freud and largely ignored in mainstream academic psychology -- has been enthusiastically embraced by the psychotherapeutic counter-culture. What this appropriation was all about, and its consequences for practice and credentialing analysts in Jungian psychology today and in future will be examined.

via the C.G. Jung page

The "psychotherapeutic counter-culture." I like that. You like that? Translation: nut cases on bad dope. In any case, as the night is wearing on, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Taylor for commending Emanuel Swedenborg, William James, Carl Jung, Abraham Maslow and every other god-fearing crack-smoking spiritualist he could dredge up to the attention of a whole new generation: you, as they used to say on the Mickey Mouse Club, the Leaders of the 21st Century!

psychology and spirituality in america



one-in-herself: comforting illusion #909

I said move over once, move over twice.
Come on baby, don't be cold as ice.
I said I'm traveling on the one after 909...

~ beatles


from the back cover: When the Goddess of Love was still honored, the sacred prostitute was virgin in the original sense of the word (one-in-herself), a person of deep integrity whose welcome for the stranger was radiant, self-confident and sensuous. Her raison d'être was to bring the goddess' love into direct contact with mankind.

Using Google Scholar to search for references to this book yielded a fascinating sounding paper: Full-body-mega-kundalinigasm: 'sacred' sex and sexual politics by Kath Albury. Unfortunately, as you'll see if you hit that link, the thing is protected from prying eyes; it'll cost you 23 bucks to read it (I can recommend several porn sites that'll give you full access for a lot less). The article, btw, is from Volume 15, Number 2/July 1, 2001 of Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies. The same search also found a possibly even more fascinating sounding paper titled "Too Hot for God": Beasts and Sovereigns in Prostitutes’ Discourse (PDF), which is quoted in the right sidebar.

The Yoni
Sacred Symbol of Female Creative Power



this is one instance where Amazon's Look Inside™ grafik adds a certain special touch.

On a final note here, it appears that the title "Too Hot for God" comes from the following "Liturgy for Lilith" by Cosi Fabian, who also has a piece called "The Holy Whore: A Woman's Gateway to Power" in the book pictured directly below her "poem."

I am Lilith
Grandmother of Mary Magdalene
I am Lilith
Whose sexual fire was too hot for God
I am Lilith
The first woman
Who chose the rage of exile
Over the cancer of servitude
I am Lilith
Mother to the motherless
I am Lilith
Whose blood covers the moon
I am Lilith
Standing on owl’s claws
At a woman’s crossroads
I am Lilith
The Great Whore
Whose charm lured the warrior
Into my Goddess’s final warmth

...and so on. Here's the book...

Among the many wondrous "benefits" wrought by the Jung/Eliade axis have been its mystically retro notions of "the feminine." If you liked the barefoot and pregnant trope, you're gonna love sacred prostitution.

If the decision to become a prostitute has the same mythological function and ramifications for each woman who makes it, how can it be sovereign rather than merely programmatic? Would such a programmatic quality not merely return the prostitute to the extreme representative of women’s disempowerment and exploitation, rather than constituting a statement of autonomy?


~ from "Too Hot for God" (see text for full reference)



Friday, November 25

telepathology

Here's a teaser from Marina Warner's review of The Invention of Telepathy in the London Review of Books [Vol. 24 No. 19 (October 2002): 16]...
The chainlink fence around telepathy has been patrolled, usually more vigilantly than by Derrida, because the occult poses such a threat to legitimacy: the eminent figures in the SPR were keen not to be thought cranks. Even worse, the occult has tended to leak into the fascist, and distemper its adherents (think of Pound, Yeats, Jung). Luckhurst tracks Freud's struggle to keep psychoanalysis at a healthy distance from the psychic and the occult...
The Guardian reprints the entire review.

As usual, we have some sources to consider...

  • The Invention of Telepathy: 1870-1901

    book description: The belief in telepathy is still widely held and yet it remains much disputed by scientists. Roger Luckhurst explores the origins of the term in the late nineteenth century. Telepathy mixed physical and mental sciences, new technologies and old superstitions, and it fascinated many famous people in the late Victorian era: Sigmund Freud, Thomas Huxley, Henry James, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Oscar Wilde.

  • Literature, Technology and Magical Thinking, 1880-1920

    book description: In this book Pamela Thurschwell examines the intersection of literary culture, the occult and new technology at the fin-de-siècle. Thurschwell argues that technologies such as the telegraph and the telephone annihilated distances that separated bodies and minds from each other. As these new technologies began suffusing the public imagination from the mid nineteenth century on, they seemed to support the claims of spiritualist mediums. Talking to the dead and talking on the phone both held out the promise of previously unimaginable contact between people: both seemed to involve ‘magical thinking’. Thurschwell looks at the ways in which psychical research, the scientific study of the occult, is reflected in the writings of such authors as Henry James, George du Maurier and Oscar Wilde, and in the foundations of psychoanalysis.

  • The Victorian Supernatural

    book description: This collection brings together essays by scholars from literature, history of art and history of science which explore the diversity of Victorian fascination with the supernatural: ghosts and fairies, table-rappings and telepathic encounters, occult religions and the idea of reincarnation, visions of the other world and a reality beyond the everyday. These essays demonstrate that the supernatural was not simply a reaction to the "post-Darwinian loss of faith", but was embedded in virtually every aspect of Victorian culture.

  • Spiritualism and the Foundations of C.G. Jung's Psychology

    book description: Charet uncovers some of the reasons why Jung's psychology finds itself living between science and religion. He demonstrates that Jung's early life was influenced by the experiences, beliefs, and ideas that characterized Spiritualism and that arose out of the entangled relationship that existed between science and religion in the late nineteenth century. Spiritualism, following it inception in 1848, became a movement that claimed to be a scientific religion and whose controlling belief was that the human personality survived death and could be reached through a medium in trance.

  • Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Carl Jung)

    quote: I dug up Eschenmayer, Passavant, Justinus Kerner, and Görres, and read seven volumes of Swedenborg.


literature, technology and magical thinking, 1880-1920


the victorian supernatural



celtic revival / occult revival

The following, from Modernism and the Celtic Revival, demonstrates the close ties that existed between "the Celtic" and the occult at the end of the 19th century. That association continues in the most recent Celtic revival toward the end of the 20th (they seem to have occurred with some frequency for roughly the last thousand years), which constitutes part of the amorphous mix-and-match catechism of the New Age.
The occult revival of the 1890s served as a creative outlet for Anglo-Irish intellectuals and artists -- Bram Stoker's Dracula, for example, comprises "seven years of Yeats-style research into folklore, myth, armchair anthropology, medieval history, magic -- particularly diabolism" -- whose sense of deracination could not be assuaged by the discourse of unity that had emerged in the United Irishman movement in 1798 and that had lost its credibility among many nationalists after the fall of Parnell. Yeats would prove to be no exception.

In "Irish Fairies, Ghosts, Witches, etc.," an essay written in 1889 for a theosophical magazine, Yeats justified his recourse to an occult philosophy that to many seemed eccentric with respect to Irish folk culture:

  • When reading Irish folk-lore, or listening to Irish peasants telling their tales of magic and fairyism and witchcraft, more and more is one convinced that some clue there must be. Even if it is all dreaming, why have they dreamed this particular dream? Clearly the occultist should have his say as well as the folklorist. The history of a belief is not enough, one would gladly hear about its cause.

For Yeats, occultism is the best way to understand the cause and origin of folklore and the "universal mind" of which "the fairies are the lesser spiritual moods" and "wherein every mood is a soul and every thought a body." Irish writers who were urged to mine Irish folklore for poetic material were also urged to explore the occult since, as Phillip Marcus puts it, all "point toward the same conclusion: the spiritual, the visionary, the occult are fit subjects of concern for Irish writers because they are essentially related to the true Celtic nature." Marcus's conclusions were anticipated by Evans-Wentz's claim that the Irish peasant's "mystic" consciousness made possible a belief in the existence of a "discarnate" consciousness that could "exhibit itself in various individual aspects as fairies."

source: Modernism and the Celtic Revival, Gregory Castle, Cambridge University Press, 2001, p 59. [read the entire book online]

And here's another, similar passage from Primitivism, Science, and the Irish Revival by Sinead Garrigan Mattar (p. 43).

The revival of folk and native mythological traditions at the fin de siècle coincided with a surge of interest in occultism, confirming for Yeats that folklore contained radical truths leading back to the roots of time and encouraging an interest in comparativism. Inspired by his Theosophical mentors, he wrote in 1889 that 'Tradition is always the same. The earliest poet of India and the Irish peasant in his hovel nod to each other across the ages, and are in perfect agreement.' Moreover, occult philosophy, in the shape of Theosophy, confronted evolutionary theory in a manner that appealed to his own anti-scientism, claiming it o be a lamentably small portion of a spiritual truth. Evolution actually occurred on the spiritual plane: whilst matter degenerated, the soul spiralled to eternity, and an ape was a degenerate man. Madame Blavatsky (described by Yeats as 'a sort of old Irish peasant woman') argued that folklore maintained in small the the esoteric truths that were once part of a world-religion, a revealed truth that might be reclaimed.

celtic voices: women of song



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