Category Archives: ART

 

screen-shot-2018-05-23-at-12-13-02-pm

Jack Reynor and Bella Heathcoate in “Strange Angel”

Did you see the first season? I loved it. We’re still waiting to hear if the show has been renewed for a second season.

The post below really sums up my thoughts about “Strange Angel” – the CBS series on rocketry scientist and Magick practitioner Jack Parsons. Although many of the ritualistic sequences are presented out of sequence or completely fabricated, I’m thrilled that Thelema is finally being created for a mainstream audience.

What do you think of it?

Here’s the article by Peter Pendragon:

“Be blessed in the name of man. And if any god deny you for this, I will deny that god.”
– Jack Parsons

“On June 14, 2018 e.v. the CBS All Access service premiered Strange Angel, a streaming series based on George Pendle’s book, Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons.

There have been several reviews from the usual media outlets (Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, etc.) as well as some preliminary dismissive comments online from my fellow Thelemites with regards to its historical accuracy, and the critics, Thelemic and otherwise, have been decidedly mixed in their opinions. So was the show any good? This first ever media portrayal of one of the most prominent Thelemites in the 20th century, who helped found the Jet Propulsion Laboratory — how was his history, his memory treated in this first of its kind program?

Yes, it was a fictionalized account with most of the characters names changed from their real life counterparts, or in some cases new people invented out of whole cloth. But the pilot’s inherent narrative, its juxtaposed elements of science and Magick, and its full throated embrace of Thelema itself is what stood out to me. “Do what thou wilt” is not just used in the show’s advertising as a summer series catchphrase — it actually provides a link to the narrative that is important in establishing the main themes of the pilot.

The cast is solid, the writing is allowed to take its time and explore the world of the series, and, visually, the show is a typical treat we have come to expect from Ridley Scott, who also produces The Man in the High Castle, which shares this show’s high end production values. Honestly, it was weird, surreal watching this, after having been in the O.T.O. for so long, recognizing the many easter eggs left for Thelemites, it seems, a small group of fanboys and fangirls to cater to, but what the hell. I noticed that they were quoting Class A stuff directly, and, God love ‘em, they even got the “A Ka Dua” mantra right. Now, they did modify the rituals, of course, which I frankly expected — it’s that the pilot was able to get so much right that was surprising. Yes, it’s weird watching what is essentially a streaming soap opera set in the early world of Magick and Thelema, but maybe now, after all these years of dwelling in the countercultural underground, perhaps it is time for the story of Jack Parsons and the O.T.O. to come out of the shadows.”

Frater From Another Mater

via Strange Angel: Darker Than You Think

Mountain of Truth

doorofperception.com-lebensreform-monte_verita-6

Monte Verita, Ascona Switzerland

I came across the most amazing piece of history the other day: the free spirits of the art community at Monte Verita in 1915. These people created an open society of artists and philosophers; people that wanted to explore the potential of the human spirit.

What strikes me are the huge similarities between this story and our current society in 2018. These people that escaped to the mountains of Switzerland were rebelling against mass consumerism, war, intolerance, and celebrity culture. They created the first alternative community, assimilating all groups of people under the banner of pacifism and free thought. Many accomplished philosophers and radicals joined them – including Hermann Hesse.

This movement is one of the catalysts for the original hippie movement in 1967. It’s not about obliterating your mind with drugs, or trying to escape reality, it’s about creating a free, human, utopian society on earth. Article below.

There’s a movie about it that came out in 2014 called “FREAK OUT!” if you’re interested in learning more about it!

monte

Article:  “Monte Verità: “The place where our minds can reach up to the heavens…
In the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth, the Ticino republic became a gateway to the south, and favourite destination of a group of unconventional loners who found in the region, with its southern atmosphere, fertile ground in which to sow the seeds of the utopia they were unable to cultivate in the north.
The Ticino came to represent the antithesis of the urbanised, industrialized north, a sanctuary for all kinds of idealist. From 1900 onwards Mount Monescia above Ascona, Switzerand, became a pole of attraction for those seeking an “alternative” life. These reformers who sought a third way between the capitalist and communist blocks, eventually found a home in the region of the north Italian lakes.

The founders came from all directions :
Henry Oedenkoven from Antwerp
the pianist Ida Hofmann from Montenegro
the artist Gusto
and the ex-officer Karl Gräser from Transylvania.

United by a common ideal they settled on the “Mount of Truth” as they renamed Monte Monescia. Draped in loose flowing garments and long hair, they worked in the gardens and fields, built spartan timber cabins and found relaxation in dancing and naked bathing, exposing their bodies to light, air, sun and water. Their diet excluded all animal foods and was based entirely on plants, vegetables and fruit. They worshipped nature, preaching its purity and interpreting it symbolically as the ultimate work of art: “Parsifal’s meadow”, “The rock of Valkyrie” and the “Harrassprung” were symbolic names which with time were adopted even by the local population of Ascona who had initially regarded the community with suspicion.
Their social organization was based on cooperation, and through it they strove to achieve the emancipation of women, self-criticism, and new ways of cultivating mind and spirit with the unity of body and soul.

The intensity of the single ideals fused in this community were such that word of it soon spread across the whole of Europe and overseas. Gradually over the years the community itself became a sanatorium frequented by theosophists, reformers, anarchists, communists, social democrats, psyco-analysts; followed by literary personalities, writers, poets, artists and finally emigrants of both world wars: Raphael Friedeberg, Prince Peter Kropotkin, Erich Mühsam. They declared Ascona “the Republic of the Homeless”: Otto Gross who planned a “School for the liberation of humanity”, August Bebel, Karl Kautsky, Otto Braun, even perhaps Lenin and Trotzki, Hermann Hesse, Franziska Gräfin zu Reventlow, Else Lasker-Schüler, D.H Lawrence, Rudolf von Laban, Mary Wigman, Isadora Duncan, Hugo Ball, Hans Arp, Hans Richter, Marianne von Werefkin, Alexej von Jawlensky, Arthur Segal, El Lissitzky and many others.
After the departure of the founder for Brazil in 1920 there followed a brief bohemian period at the Monte Verità which lasted until the complex was purchased as a residence by the Baron von der Heydt, banker to the ex-Kaiser Willhelm II and one of the most important collectors of contemporary and non European art. The bohemian life continued in the village and in the Locarnese valleys from then on.

The Mount, now used as a Hotel and park, still maintains its almost magic power of attraction. Along with the proven magnetic anomalies of geological formations underlying Ascona, it is as if the mount preserves, hidden away out of sight, the sum of all the successful and unsuccessful attempts to breach the gap between the “I” and “we”, and the striving towards an ideal creative society, thus making the Monte Verità a special scenic and climatic micro-paradise.

Monte-Verità

The Monte Verità is also however a well preserved testimony for the history of architecture. From Adam’s hut to the Bauhaus. The ideology of the first settlers demanded spartan chalet-like timber dwellings with plenty of light and air and few comforts. Shortly after 1900 the following buildings began to spring up: Casa Selma (now museum), […]1, Casa Andrea with its geometrical façade, the sunniest of the buildings (now converted), Casa Elena and the Casa del Tè – Tea House (now demolished) and the Casa dei Russi (hideout for Russian students after the 1905 revolution and now undergoing renovation). The Casa Centrale was built for the community and allowed for maximum natural light. Ying-Yang symbols were worked into windows and balconies. (In 1948 this building was demolished to make way for a restaurant and only the curving flight of steps remains).
Henry Oedenkoven built Casa Anatta as living quarters and reception rooms in the theosophist style with rounded corners everywhere, double timber walls, sliding doors, domed ceilings and huge windows with views of the landscape as supreme works of art, a large flat roof and sun-terrace.

Miyazaki’s Shinto spirits

totoro02

Excellent article on one of my favorite filmmakers.

The Gods and Spirits (and Totoros) of Miyazaki’s Fantasy Worlds

“There’s a moment in Hayao Miyazaki’s film My Neighbor Totoro that’s stuck with me since I first watched it a decade ago. Satsuki Kusakabe is searching for her missing sister, Mei. Looking for help, she sprints towards the huge camphor tree where the magical creature Totoro lives. She pauses for a moment at the entrance to a Shinto shrine that houses Totoro’s tree, as if considering praying there for Totoro’s help. But then she runs back to her house and finds her way to Totoro’s abode through the tunnel of bushes where Mei first encountered him. Totoro summons the Catbus, which whisks Satsuki away to where Mei is sitting, beside a lonely country road lined with small statues of Jizo, the patron bodhisattva of children.

It’s Satsuki’s hesitation in front of the shrine’s entrance that sticks with me, and what it says about the nature of spirits and religion in the film. We don’t really think of the movies of Hayao Miyazaki as religious or even spiritual, despite their abundant magic, but some of his most famous works are full of Shinto and Buddhist iconography—like those Jizo statues, or the sacred Shimenawa ropes shown tied around Totoro’s tree and marking off the river god’s bath in Spirited Away. Miyazaki is no evangelist: the gods and spirits in his movies don’t follow or abide by the rituals of religion. But the relationship between humans and gods remains paramount.”

Miyazaki’s gods and spirits aren’t explicitly based on any recognizable Japanese “kami” (a word that designates a range of supernatural beings, from the sun goddess Amaterasu to the minor spirits of sacred rocks and trees). In fact, whether Totoro is a Shinto spirit or not is a mystery. He lives in a sacred tree on the grounds of a Shinto shrine. The girls’ father even takes them there to thank Totoro for watching over Mei early in the film. But Satsuki calls Totoro an “obake,” a word usually translated as “ghost” or “monster.” Miyazaki himself has insisted that Totoro is a woodland creature who eats acorns. Is he a Shinto spirit? A monster? An animal? A figment of the girls’ imaginations? The film—delightfully—not only doesn’t answer the question, it doesn’t particularly care to even ask it.”

totoro01

 

“… Miyazaki’s films don’t invite us to any particular faith or even belief in the supernatural, but they do invite us to see the unexpected, and to respect the spirits of trees and woods, rivers and seas. Like Totoro and Gran Mamare, their true nature and reasoning are beyond our comprehension. Call them kami, or gods, or spirits, or woodland creatures, or Mother Nature, or the environment. They are there if we know where to look, and their gifts for us are ready if we know how to ask. We have only to approach them as a child would—like Satsuki, Mei, Chihiro, and Sosuke—with open eyes and open hearts.”

Rose

Believing or Not Believing is Not a Concern at All; You Simply Love. You See a Rose Flower. Do You Believe in It or Do You Disbelieve in It? You Don’t Do Anything, You Simply Look at It… You Look at a Rose and Something of the Rose Reaches to Your Heart. Outside the Rose is Flowering, Inside, the Heart Starts Flowering.

~ Osho / Shree Rajneesh (1931 – 1990)

rose

Alejandro Jodorowsky Explains How Tarot Cards Can Give You Creative Inspiration

 

Excellent article and video on the tarot by Alejandro Jodorowsky.

“The practice of cartomancy, or divination with cards, dates back several hundred years to at least 14th century Europe, perhaps by way of Turkey. But the specific form we know of, the tarot, likely emerged in the 17th century, and the deck we’re all most familiar with—the Rider-Waite Tarot—didn’t appear until 1909. Popular mainly with occultists like Aleister Crowley and Madame Blavatsky in the early 20th century, the tarot exploded into popular culture in the new age 70s with books like Stuart Kaplan’s Tarot Cards for Fun and Fortune Telling, and by way of cult filmmakers like Alejandro Jodorowsky.

jodoCARDS

Since its relatively recent popularization, “fun” and “fortune telling” have more or less defined most people’s attitude to the tarot, whether they approve or disapprove of either one. But for artists and poets like William Butler Yeats, T.S. Eliot, and surrealist director Jodorowsky—whose film narration is perhaps the most poetic in modern cinema—the tarot has always meant something much more mysterious and inspiring. “The tarot,” says Jodorowsky in the short film above, “will teach you how to create a soul.”

After studying the Major and Minor Arcana and the suits, and puzzling over the symbols on each card, Jodorowsky discovered that “all 78 cards could be joined in a mandala, in just one image.” Learning to see the deck thus, “You must not talk about the future. The future is a con. The tarot is a language that talks about the present. If you use it to see the future, you become a conman.” Like other mystical poets, Jodorowsky’s study of the tarot did not lead him to the supernatural but to the creative act.

And like many a poet before him, Jodorowsky explored the journey of the Fool in his 1973 film The Holy Mountain, a “dazzling, rambling, often incoherent satire,” writes Matt Zoller Seitz, that “unfurls like a hallucinogenic daydream.” Jodorowsky’s cinematic dream logic comes not only from his work as a “shamanic psychotherapist.” He also credits the tarot for his psychomagical realism. “For me,” says Jodorowsky in the video at the top, “the tarot was something more serious. It was a deep psychological search.” The result of that search—Jodorowsky’s singular and totally unforgettable body of work—speaks to us of the value of such an undertaking, whatever means one uses to get there.

Or as Jodorowsky says in one of his mystical pronouncements, “If you set your spirit to something, that phenomenon will happen.” If that sounds like magical thinking, that’s exactly what it is. Jodorowsky shows us how to read the tarot as he does, for psychological insight and creative inspiration, in the video above, addressed to a fan named John Bishop. Spanish speakers will have no trouble understanding his presentation, as he quickly slides almost fully into his native language through lack of confidence in his facility with English. (The video belongs to a series on Jodorowsky’s YouTube channel, most of them fully in Spanish without subtitles.) Selecting a translation on YouTube yields rather garbled results.”

Read more: Article