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Hermetic Library Newsletter - Issue #12 (Holding crumbling history in your hands)

Hermetic Library Newsletter - Issue #12 (Holding crumbling history in your hands)
By John Bell the Librarian • Issue #12 • View online
This week, for my part, I checked out a sample Patreon merch poster; did a ton of work on The International pages; thought about that time I visited Library of Congress, Science vs Scientism, belated Ides of March, Doctor Who, and the Wiccan Rede; fired shots at non-practicing occultists by way of comparing magicians with academics and artists, and more. And, as always, I worked on various other things on website, blog, and more … Enjoy!
Also, as an aside, and update, you’ll note this newsletter is going out on Friday. The experiment last week of sending this out on Saturday was bad enough with only one data point that I am running away in horror. So, in order not to keep overloading Wednesday, I’m moving this back to the original send day of Friday, for now, for ever?

LOVE IS THE LAW in a new square format!
LOVE IS THE LAW in a new square format!
The International
This week I did a lot of work on The International pages at the library. Working on those had me thinking about the time that I visited the Library of Congress in DC and actually held bound copies of the original issues they have there on the closed stacks.
Back in 2010, I did a little tour of the east coast, visiting local bodies of OTO, attending a Lon Milo DuQuette presentation at Tahuti, get some cool frames at Moscot since I was just starting to wear glasses for the first time, checking out the White Dog Café (located in the brownstone where Blavatsky had a white dog lay on her leg at night as a cure) in Philadelphia, looking for absinthe bars, seeing the cherry blossoms in DC again, and various other things, some of which I can’t talk about. It was a fun trip!
But, one of the most important parts of the trip, that I can talk about, was that I planned to visit the LoC in order to check out what they have at call number LOC AP2.I72. Actual physical issues of The International.
I’ll tell you it was a kind of lengthy ordeal just getting in and then getting them in hand. I had to go through the process of getting credentialed as a researcher, and then there was a whole thing once I was in where I had to submit requests for the material, and then waited for over an hour before I managed to switch to a different building I was told was close to where the volumes were stored, and finally started to get access.
I still have my LoC id card. I also still get frequent email about on-site LoC updates which are entirely useless to me now, but I can’t quite bring myself to unsubscribe from them.
As I say at Hermetic Library, “The International was a literary and arts journal founded by George Sylvester Viereck, published in New York between WWI and WWII. For a number of years during the period of silence between The Equinox Volume I and Volume III, Aleister Crowley was a contributing editor for this journal and many essays, poems and plays appeared under various names (including Baphomet and The Master Therion) authored by him. For example, the first publication of the Gnostic Mass, which became Liber XV, appeared in this journal. Also, several of Crowley’s Simon Iff stories appeared in the pages of The International, under the pseudonym Edward Kelly.”
I’ve been known to call The International, slightly joking, Equinox Vol II because of the fact that a number of important documents were published there, including the first publication of the Gnostic Mass. But a surprising number of items in a secular publication by Crowley in here that’s overtly Thelemic and directly related to magick, and, whilst he was still pretending these were different people, Therion and VVVVV; along with many other pseudonyms. This was an interesting period in Crowley’s life, and a lot was going on. (You might check out Tobias Churton’s book Aleister Crowley in America: Art, Espionage, and Sex Magick in the New World if you want to read more about that.)
But, since I discovered that these issues existed, I wanted to see them and check them out!
I don’t have pictures of the issues or the inside of the LoC. There was a sign about no photography, so no photos; and I didn’t yet have a portable hand scanner, so no direct scans.
The first bound volume available is Dec 1910-May 1911 and (vol 3-4) and is surprisingly in large format, larger than the later issues. The first issue is misprinted as Vol I, Iss 1, but it really is Vol 3.
The issues through May 1911, so all of vol 3, have a glossy cover with an atlas figure holding up a giant-torso-sized book, with a smaller man in a suit taking notes, looking up at the face of atlas as if in conversation. in front of the man taking notes and on the ground, is his attache case and a bowler hat. The title is simply “The International”, with the masthead adding the subtitle, “Successor to Moods”.
Beginning with Vol IV, No 1; June 1911, the covers change to a kind of semi-glossy parchment-style cover with deconstructed, hand-lettering and wood cut detail. Now, “A Liberal Magazine of Literature, International Politics, Philosophy & Drama.”
Vol 10, 1916 is in a smaller, closer to letter size aspect pages. Now published by The International Monthly, Inc. the cover proclaims, “The International” with the initial and final letters cropped, not clearly an artifact of binding because the interior and back cover do not also appear cropped. The subtitle is “Edited by George Sylvester Viereck.”. On this interior odd pages have a heading “a review of two worlds”, but this does not appear on the title or cover pages.
The last volume on shelf is 12. April 1918 is in very bad shape, acidic paper is falling apart and a really bad misprint on p109 where the paper was folded in the press.
Look, I know those aren’t super old documents from the dawn of history or anything, but there is something bittersweet and intense about holding crumbling history in your hands.
Over the course of an entire day at LoC, I went through and made a lot of other notes, looking for articles, obviously and less obviously, that were by Crowley, and checking out what else these issues had in them.
Ancient history isn’t the only history that we are losing every day that we don’t work to preserve it; and I hope that my work at Hermetic Library is in at least some small part of helping to preserve, catalogue and make accessible archives of occult materials and ideas that are part of our collective past that also help to inform our present and future as students, practitioners, academics and, yes, even the general public.
Love is the law
Checking out a new Love Is The Law poster patron merch
Checking out a new Love Is The Law poster patron merch
As you probably know, because I talk about it overmuch, this year I’m trying out some new merch rewards for Patrons. This week I got a sample for the first Patreon merch poster based on the Unicursal LOVE IS THE LAW Propaganda Posters from Hermetic Library Office of the Ministry of Information.
It’s pretty good! At 12x18, it is neither too small, nor too large. The finish is definitely matte, which was striking; but interestingly once it was in a frame, with glass, it obviously appeared quite glossy. So, that means one has the choice of how they want it to appear, which hadn’t occurred to me, but is a nice option to have. But, either way, the colour is vibrant, and the poster turned out looking quite nice.
The only thing, and I don’t know if it was the poster or the frame, but when putting the poster in the frame I got, it didn’t quite fit. The poster seemed a little taller than it should be, or the frame I got was shorter than it should be. But, that’ something to know: in order to get this to fit into a 12x18 frame, it’s possible that a little extra trimming might be needed to get it to lay completely flat.
But, huzzah! The first poster exists!
First series of four posters
First series of four posters
The method of science, not the aim of scientism
I mean, shit, y'all. Even thinly sliced frozen steaks get the difference between the method of science and the aim of scientism.
Steak-umm
@KevinFl79824320 nope. science itself isn't "true" it's a constantly refining process used to uncover truths based in material reality and that process is still full of misteaks. neil just posts ridiculous sound bites like this for clout and he has no respect for epistemology
Have a dagger, find a Caesar
Damnit. I realized that I forgot to celebrate a very important holiday this year. So, belatedly, but always evergreen, on a personal note: this important annual reminder for the Ides of March: Have a Dagger, Find a Caesar!
Doctor Who
Doctor Who, Pyramids of Mars, 1975
Doctor Who, Pyramids of Mars, 1975
Doctor Who should I be worthy to administer the Adventures to the Companions?
There is no part of me that is not of the Time Lords.
Shots fired!
Read “Theoria and Philosophy as a Way of Life: Texts without practices are empty, practices without texts are blind” by Adam Robert as if it is talking about esoteric practitioners. Shots fired!
To be fair, in my experience any time one talks about either academics or artists, one could substitute in magician on another read through and get interesting thoughts to consider.
“All Art is Magick.” “There is no more potent means than Art of calling forth true Gods to visible appearance."—Aleister Crowley, Liber ABA, Part 3, Chapter X, III
"Magick is the art of causing change in existing phenomena. This definition includes raising the dead, bewitching cattle, making rain, acquiring goods, fascinating judges, and all the rest of the programme. Good: but it also includes every act soever? Yes; I meant it to do so. It is not possible to utter word or do deed without producing the exact effect proper and necessary thereto. Thus Magick is the Art of Life itself.
Magick is the management of all we say and do, so that the effect is to change that part of our environment which dissatisfies us, until it does so no longer. We ‘remould it nearer to the heart’s desire.’"—Aleister Crowley, New Comment on Liber Legis, I. 37
Wiccan rede
There was a bunch of talk online recently about the Wiccan rede, including Devin Hunter pointing out something that definitely was not the Wiccan rede, but something else entirely.
♕ ↁevin ⍟ ℍunter ♕
Them: Why don't my spells work?

Me: Because of this nonsense. https://t.co/w03LFmGAik
There’s a lot to be said about this, like so many things, and so much has already been said, so I’ll pick a few.
“Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: An ye harm none, do what ye will."—Wican Ethics, Part One: King Pausole and the Wican Rede by David Richard Jones
"Not all pagans are Wiccan, and neither are all witches Wiccan. The Wiccan rede is not universally subscribed to, and it is just incorrect to characterize all pagans as holders of that belief."—You wouldn’t hit a guy in a fluffy bunny costume would you? by me
You may be interested in some resources I pulled together at the library on Crowley’s influence on Gardnerian Wicca which is actually a thing, both direct and indirect.
And, I thought I’d also mention the draft of an essay I started but never finished, but put on the site just in case I get a round tuit some day: Witchcraft, Thelema and Christianity. If you can forgive the state of it, you might get a hint of where I was going with it. Basically, I hoped to chastise Thelemites (especially those with the horribly bad and unself-aware online hot take by a particular person that Wicca was somehow Christianity because of the rede being a modification of Liber Legis) who were being salty and shitty to witches, and to chastise witches who were being salty and shitty to Thelemites, and to suggest that people in the two movements should realize they have a lot both historically and ideologically in common.
Bookshop Gift Cards
FWIW, apparently Bookshop is offering new denominations for their gift cards. In the US head to the Bookshop Gift Cards page using my affiliate link. (I don’t see there’s gift cards on offer for the UK site.) Give books as gifts whilst also helping support Hermetic Library!
Things at Hermetic Library to check out
Over on the blog
The Dark Rites of Cthulhu
The Sentinel
Elsewhere
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John Bell the Librarian

Archiving, Engaging and Encouraging the living Esoteric Tradition, Hermeticism & Aleister Crowley's Thelema. Open Access Occultism for over 20 years.

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