What are you reading at the moment?

Discussion on literature other than by the Star of Azazel.
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Rúnatýr
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What are you reading at the moment?

Post by Rúnatýr »

Since there's a topic for discussing music that one listens I thought to make a thread of its own to literature one is reading. So, feel free to say what you are reading at the moment and drop a few lines concerning the book at hand.

I have been reading esotericism from here and there very sporadically for the past autumn and winter. The last book I finished from beginning to end was Guenon's 'The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times', which was the third time I read the book. Guénon is enlightening but a very difficult author to grasp at certain times, but this book gives a good overview on metaphysics combined with social commentary and criticism. It is even frightening at some points. I would cordially recommend this book for anyone starting to read Guénon, since it is one of his major works (even his 'Magnum Opus') and gives a good overview of his own interpretation of traditional metaphysics and the reason for his opposition of the modern world at large.

Right now I'm reading Allen Carr's 'Viimeinkin Savuton' (Smokeless at last). I think I need to stop smoking after I finish this.
Ice is very cold and immeasurably slippery; it glistens as clear as glass and most like to gems; it is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to look upon.
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Cerastes
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Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Post by Cerastes »

- The first articles for the planned third version of Unseen Fire (they are awesome)
- The secret doctrine (also awesome)

Found out the it is best to read it before goining to sleep because this way I can stop myself from intellectualizing the content too much before processing it.
- Silvia Arroyo Camejo – Skurrile Quantenwelt
A very intersting book about the behaviour of quantum particles written by a women who was just 19 by the time the book was published. Very scientific but written in a very casual way.
“Granny Weatherwax was not lost. She wasn't the kind of person who ever became lost. It was just that, at the moment, while she knew exactly where SHE was, she didn't know the position of anywhere else.”
(Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters)
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Nefastos
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Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Post by Nefastos »

Nowadays I tend to read a lot of books at once, and still finish most of them. This is a very nice, relaxing change after an extremely stressed condition, where it was only possible for me to read a few lines of a book after which I had to take a break. My nerves are not in a great condition now either, but being able to read once again really makes me grateful.

With my mother we read through the Bible and share the comments on weekly basis. After ten months or so we have advanced to the latter half of the Psalms. Concerning the Old Testament symbolism, I am also reading Petri Hakkarainen's translation to William Blake's "Milton". Reading this helps me to understand a bit better our very different approaches to Old Testament with sodalis obnoxion. I enjoy the way how Hakkarainen does not even try to renounce being in great faith in Blake: he has adopted the original's use of capital letters (which I miss so much in modern language), compares Blake to Michelangelo, Leonardo, Shakespeare, and has really gone to his work with a blaze. For several months I have also read through Vasari's "The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects" in Finnish, and am finally at the apex of his admiration in his friend Michelangelo's biography. I love his Reneissance hubris, so much more beautiful than the mechanical & violent hubris of our own age. Yesterday I started reading Faxneld & Fyhr's "Förborgade tecken: Esoterism i västerländsk litteratur", or more accurately, pieces of it. Even though all Finns have to go through compulsory Swedish language study, I am poor in it. Luckily the text seems easy even though this is an academic study (about esotericism in Western litterature). With my lady friend, we are reading to each other Goethe's Faust, naturally also singing ad libitum the parts marked to be sung. We are only a little bit over the half way point, and since we both got a disliking to Goethe's version of the tale, this will demand many months more.

Every evening before going to sleep I read four different books in bed. First, Italo Calvino's "Marcovaldo or the Seasons in the City" (in Jorma Kapari's translation which seems to hate commas, and which I like because of that). Then Dougal Dixon's "Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures". After reading some of my childhood's dinosaur books made in seventies & eighties, I wanted to get my hands on newer dinosaur studies, and this book is an awesome and imagination-inspiring approach laid heavily with knowledge. I love this. Next, I always read also some cheap fantasy or pulp science fiction, to help empty my brain. At this point it is Jack Yeovil's "Vampire Genevieve". Best of this book is a cute vampire girl's cover on the front, but the book does exactly what it is supposed to, so I enjoy this also. And then I read one chapter per night of Carlos Castaneda's "Tales of Power" in Elina Hytönen's nice Finnish translation, marking down every time when people burst to laugh (it happens on every two pages approximately*). I have never before read Castaneda seriously, and in some ways, it's a positive surprise. Not just your run of the mill self-help pseudo-occultism, but interesting practical magical world view. Only the writing is awful.


(* EDIT: 176 laughs in 322 pages. Plus some thoughts of laughter, and anticipations to laugh. This reminds me of Mandalf.)
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Post by obnoxion »

Nefastos wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 3:54 pm
Nowadays I tend to read a lot of books at once, and still finish most of them. This is a very nice, relaxing change after an extremely stressed condition, where it was only possible for me to read a few lines of a book after which I had to take a break. My nerves are not in a great condition now either, but being able to read once again really makes me grateful
I was counting that I am reading between 100 - 200 books at the moment, most of which I never expect to finnish, or not at least without skipping. I am an unconventional reader, and I might begin reading a novel starting with the final chapter. I often just open a book at random and drift away into contemplation from the first few sentences. With these sort of reading habits, it is easy to end up prefering poems.

But at the moment, I still am quite stressed, and I can relate to what fra Nefastos wrote above. There would be little point to write my long reading list. But I have been reading a lot about tarot and cartomantia. Since I first read Eliphas Levi's "Transcendental Magic", I've been fascinated by the idea that a pack of cards could be a holy book. It is a sort of realization of my dream of escaping the prison of words. And the idea that a holy book could have its pages in different order for each reader/viewer is, I think, beautiful.
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
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Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Post by Kavi »

obnoxion wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:52 am
Nefastos wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 3:54 pm
Nowadays I tend to read a lot of books at once, and still finish most of them. This is a very nice, relaxing change after an extremely stressed condition, where it was only possible for me to read a few lines of a book after which I had to take a break. My nerves are not in a great condition now either, but being able to read once again really makes me grateful
I was counting that I am reading between 100 - 200 books at the moment, most of which I never expect to finnish, or not at least without skipping. I am an unconventional reader, and I might begin reading a novel starting with the final chapter. I often just open a book at random and drift away into contemplation from the first few sentences. With these sort of reading habits, it is easy to end up prefering poems.

But at the moment, I still am quite stressed, and I can relate to what fra Nefastos wrote above. There would be little point to write my long reading list. But I have been reading a lot about tarot and cartomantia. Since I first read Eliphas Levi's "Transcendental Magic", I've been fascinated by the idea that a pack of cards could be a holy book. It is a sort of realization of my dream of escaping the prison of words. And the idea that a holy book could have its pages in different order for each reader/viewer is, I think, beautiful.
I have always thought you two are "super readers" (reading multiple books from cover to cover) and since I am unconventional reader too I have never posted any comment here or elsewhere.
I enjoy reading but most of the time I end up reading dozens of books at the same time. I might read one passage or paragraph at a time and think about it for weeks before continuing. I also read same part of chapter multiple times.
For instance, in "voice or the silence" by Blavatsky, there is part about singing of nightingale, bamboo flute and so on and I find this part so intriguing that I can't go forward.
At the moment I am trying to read biography of jazz musician Charles Mingus as well.

I am waiting also for the time I could understand Eliphas Levi's Book of Splendours but I think I should read something else by him first.
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obnoxion
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Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Post by obnoxion »

Kavi wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:54 pm
I m waiting also for the time I could understand Eliphas Levi's Book of Splendours but I think I should read something else by him first.
His "Transcendental Magic" is, I think, his masterpiece, and nothing else by Levi measures up to it. I am sure that thit is the book to start with.

I prefer his illustrated books. He is, actually, one of my favourite illustrators. He is effortlessly iconic. Occultism wouldn't be the same without his drawings. I for one couldn't imagine a world without his Baphomet.
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
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Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Post by Kavi »

obnoxion wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:52 am
But at the moment, I still am quite stressed, and I can relate to what fra Nefastos wrote above. There would be little point to write my long reading list. But I have been reading a lot about tarot and cartomantia. Since I first read Eliphas Levi's "Transcendental Magic", I've been fascinated by the idea that a pack of cards could be a holy book. It is a sort of realization of my dream of escaping the prison of words. And the idea that a holy book could have its pages in different order for each reader/viewer is, I think, beautiful.
In this era when God is dead and people try to find a way to make a meaning in their mechanical lives I found very fascinating the idea of playing music instrument like it is a prayer.
I read some people might do ritualistic cleansing for themselves before touching the instrument.
Also I thought could musical ideas, concepts and melodies etc. seen as letters of holy book once they are played out?
I certainly do.
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obnoxion
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Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Post by obnoxion »

Kavi wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:30 pm
obnoxion wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:52 am
But at the moment, I still am quite stressed, and I can relate to what fra Nefastos wrote above. There would be little point to write my long reading list. But I have been reading a lot about tarot and cartomantia. Since I first read Eliphas Levi's "Transcendental Magic", I've been fascinated by the idea that a pack of cards could be a holy book. It is a sort of realization of my dream of escaping the prison of words. And the idea that a holy book could have its pages in different order for each reader/viewer is, I think, beautiful.
In this era when God is dead and people try to find a way to make a meaning in their mechanical lives I found very fascinating the idea of playing music instrument like it is a prayer.
I read some people might do ritualistic cleansing for themselves before touching the instrument.
Also I thought could musical ideas, concepts and melodies etc. seen as letters of holy book once they are played out?
I certainly do.
I think almost anything can be a prayer. And when this attitude is taken far enough, one tends to find oneself on the left hand path. So certainly conceptual and actual music can be seen as letters in a holy book.

I am trying to grasp my chapter of the Jung's Red Book for our reading group this month. When the archetypal personae effect transformation on Jung, they always go through transformation themselves. To have a living God, one needs a source of sacredness that can go through transformations with man. In a way the christian Old Testament is like a vast graveyard of dead letters, where ghost of the undead god lays about the headstones like a mist. But especially the Jewish commentaries show that the graveyard is in the midst of a forest of symbols, wherein one can come across all manner of living creature with transformative powers.
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
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Insanus
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Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Post by Insanus »

Currently I'm reading two books. Nietzsche's classic text Beyond Good And Evil which has psychological criticisms of religious, moral and metaphysical ideas.
The End of Time by Julian Barbour, arguments for the nonexistence of time by a theoretical physicist.
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Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Post by Cancer »

Nice topic! I've often considered starting a similar one.

At the moment I'm reading two books of poetry by Anne Sexton (Live or Die and The Book of Folly) and some essays by French philosopher and feminist Hélène Cixous, translated into Finnish under the title "The Laugh of the Medusa". In an interesting coincidence, both authors refer to the Song of Songs in the Bible, subverting the sentence "I am black but I am beautiful" as "I am black and I am beautiful". I believe Cixous to be quoting Sexton, although I can't be sure. In the poem in question, the latter goes on to claim that she's "no more a woman / than Christ was a man". There seems to be a genuine attempt at devotional Christian writing in her work: Live or Die, for instance, also contains a very earnest-seeming prayer to Mary. I find myself oddly touched by it as I write - maybe because the spirituality is intertwined with horribly visceral depictions of mental illness. Psychiatry in the Sixties was something else, though it's not without its problems even in the present.
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