Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Bull of Ombos (share your feedback)

Hello Mogg,

Many thanks. Received your books today. Always interested in the deep & wide-ranging work you present.Although I have great respect for your viewpoint, I have reservations about the "central role" that is being given to Seth by yourself & some other authorities. Of course, this is the revival of an ancient argument - within the multi-dimentional world of the ancient Egyptian's belief-systems there was much paradox & contradiction, all of which to our modern & more dogmatic age is still somewhat inexplicable - therefore your viewpoint is quite acceptable, as are others, such as Ptah as the Heart & Tongue of the Gods , or of Neith, Weaving the Universe. If later Egyptian history could be discounted & the psychological importance of Horus as the Pharaonic paradigm could be set aside, then the very importance of the "Sethian Fire" being cast in the role of Shadow & Enemy could perhaps be discounted. Yet who are we to be able to do this? These Neters or divine personas all play their part in a great Cosmic Drama. Thanks for sharing your ideas with us & forgive these words, if they seem critical, for this was not my intention. The subtlety of ancient Egyptian thought which has been my life's study, is all I seek to affirm. - JS

Dear JS - its refreshing to get some feedback - there is always an element of distortion whenever one takes a point of view - i'm not really meaning to minimise the role of the other gods - merely to discuss Seth - who is a little neglected - especially in relation to magick -and in the process to throw a light upon some unusual aspects of his cult - even in ancient Egypt there must have been those who were out of step with the main thrust of Egyptian religion if only because, by accident of birth, or whatever - they find themselves custodians of the cult shrines of that god.

Yes I agree Egyptian thought is not one monolithic whole - there are several trends - I’ve been reading jeremy naydler's new book 'shamanism and the pyramid texts' where he tackles the vexed question of the invisibility of any supposed 'Egyptian wisdom' or 'mystery'. He is criticising, from the perspective of phenomenology of religion, those specialists who say the Egyptians were practical people - not given to introspection - where all this religion stuff is shunted off for some time after death -

In my book I discuss the way in which ‘the dead’ are ‘used’ for the benefit of living. And I wonder whether this might not be further support for the Naydler’s thesis concerning an Egyptian mystery cult – in that it shows how the living think and use magick to benefit their own lives, whilst still living and how this involves a transaction with the dead and the ancestors.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Magical Art Manifesto

[Label on the outside of a bottle. Sealed inside this bottle was a piece of aged papyrus. After great difficulty the text was deciphered and is transcribed below. Where the manuscript was shielded from the sun, the original red ink was still plainly visible
text inside bottle
Manifesto of the Magical Artist
When we first started out on this project the language was prim-evil. Midnight is now. [...]

Every spirit has its age and every age has its spirit.
Every beginning is a beginning.
Time for another one.

Art, always the spirit of its age, be open. [. . .]

[. . .] We live for one hundred and twenty years.

OK scrub that - maybe its not making sense. Ask yourself why do pagans and liberatarians have an instinctive affinity? What is it about modern musick that drives those, who listen to it, closer to their pagan roots? Should the members of your tribe be blood relatives? What intelligent person thinks that the family is the pinnacle of social evolution? How about 'love, well made, leads to liberation'?

Maybe you are an artist with a pagan heart?

Text Ends


The Interpretation or commentary
Maybe its time to rewrite the surrealist manifestos, as the surrealists in turn rewrote those of the rosicrucians. Art and magick need a new statement of intent. As magical artists we can take as a starting point, any random or found object that comes our way. Thus the importance of the fragmentary statement found in an imaginary bottle. Its seems to be a fragment of a conversation, perhaps between the magi, discussing their own history and the need for a new beginning. There are parallels here with the writing of history. History is a creative act - history has even being called the selection or creation of facts. This is not to deny that such and such an event actually happened at some point in the past. But the number of forgotten events outweighs those that have escaped the ravages of time. The survival of a 'fact' from the past is a fortuitous or magical event in itself. Magi call these things 'apports', surrealists call them 'found objects' and in connnection with them talked of the 'certainty of accident'.

Magical artists are fond of reconstructing the past. You may ask why. Maybe it is because the past provides us with a font of found object, through which we can construct something new. Everyone assumes art is creation out of a vacuum. Some of the greatest works of art have been excerises in rule-governed creativity. The painter of the Sistine chapel may have been surprised when the Pope gave him a list of rules that should be observed in his work - size, number and overall nature of the composition.

The art of the European renaissance, besides being based on pagan principles, was catalysed by 'found objects' - classical sculpture emerging in the back gardens of the rich and famous. The earth has revitalised them, stripping them of their patina, so that they were an illusion of the past. These 'found objects' formed the basis of a new pagan art of the renaissance. The process has been repeated, so that 'objects' seen in theosphical trance become the working stuff of abstract art. The biggest found object of the last two hundred years is the remergence of Egyptian art from the sands of the desert where it had been exiled by the evil Roman emporer Theodosius after the closure of all the temples of Egypt. The early christians hacked away the faces of the gods so that their magick would be turned back, then they systematically looted the temples, burning 'worthless' paper and forgetting the rest in the desert. Egypt will not be with us for much longer and will soon retreat in a feint memory.

For the magical artist, creativity is not mererly the construction of something new but the revealing or uncovering of something already latent in the world, perhaps something secret or hidden. For example when you look up at the clouds and see pictures or faces, you may be bringing to conscious manifestation what is already there. Crowley, when discussing the Devil card from his tarot, spoke of the twin gaze of the artist, one eye creating a universe and the other accepting all that is created.

Art is what artists do. That is to say that the definition of art can only be found in the activity of artists, who are, in a way, like shamans. A shamanic artist like Picasso produced images and metaphors that were new and unfamilar. People said it did not look like the real thing. His reply was that we would come to see it in the way he had described it - his vision would transform ours. To go with this process you need a lot of faith in the integrity of the artist and one part of this is knowledge that he or she has gone through some sort of 'initiatory process', only then can we trust their vision. Perhaps this is what is meant by the well known phrase 'drawing is the integrity of art'.

What is the new artform of the Magical Artist
Something tells me this will be 'auro-romance'; which is defined in the surrealist dictionary as 'the artist entering into the mythology of his or her creation. An early example is to be found in the work of the Marquis de Sade (q.v.), although the principles of auto-romantic art are being redefined in the post-relativist scientific era.'


. . . to be continued


Glossary of terms, in group magical artists and, as yet, unused literary apports 'Always astonish' Gurdjieff. 'A preposterous exordium.' Dadaji PEOPLE ARE FREE TO BE FAMILY WITH WHOEVER & WHEREVER THEY ARE, And YES! Of course the time is now, when else would it be? Hey, I LOVE J Jennie asks 'do you think the meaning of the new feminism is the power of hysteria? Science is not cheating. Madness is a spiritual state. All attachments become idolatrous. Trust bed stroke touch let go moult shine sting dream