Hermetic Library Newsletter - Issue #17 (Academic bomb-disposal unit)



Hermetic Library Newsletter - Issue #17 (Academic bomb-disposal unit)
By John Bell the Librarian • Issue #17 • View online
This week I got sample merch to check out, including an elaboration on the Anti-fascist Nuclear Disarmament Peace Algiz Lilith Foot design I created put on a neck-gaiter and the current Hermetic Library logo on a t-shirt; part of this year’s ongoing experiment in offering merch for Patrons through Patreon. I completely worked through the Frater Achad material and did a spring clean. I also did some work on Joscelyn Godwin material, and was given a whole new stack to do. Also, behind the scenes, I’ve reached out to a few possible new Fellows, though it’s always a matter of finding the right fit, for both of us, and so no news on that front to share; except that I’m out there looking!
There were also a lot of thunderstorms here all this week, as the weather turns from being pleasant to becoming, as Cole Porter said, too damn hot. Thunderstorms are one of those things that seem differently interesting everywhere I’ve ever travelled or lived. And, although the library cats definitely don’t like them, I’ve always enjoyed the new experience of various thunderstorms.
And, as always, I worked on various other things on website, blog, and more … Enjoy!

Academic bomb-disposal unit
As I was preparing Joscelyn Godwin’s foreword to Julis Evola’s Men Among the Ruins, I was stuck by his idea of an “academic approach [which] resembles that of a bomb-disposal unit”. His point is that there is a way to approach to material, such as Evola’s that takes into account “explosive” material without pretending that it doesn’t exist, and that with such an approach there is virtue in engaging that material.
“However, if Evola is to be studied and understood even by those—and this is increasingly the case in the United States—who cannot read him in the original language, it in academically dishonest to suppress anything.
The virtue of the academic approach resembles that of a bomb-disposal unit. That is to say, it can handle explosive materials at arm’s length, without harming either itself or others. It does this with the tools of rationality and scholarship, unsullied by emotionality or subjective references. At least, that is how it is supposed to work, and why there is such a concept as “academic freedom” that is, the freedom to work on controversial topics and to come to one’s own conclusions without political interference.”
There’s more to the point, which you can find at the source, but the idea is that it should be possible to approach such material without suppressing it or becoming indoctrinated, or infected by whatever contagion it may be carrying, if such is a concern. And that there is value in doing so:
“The value of such reading and debate lies, naturally, in their educative function, but also, in the present case, in the self-knowledge that one gains from the dispassionate handling of explosive material.”
Obviously, there’s relevance here to the library site. I’ve often said there’s something there to offend everyone, if one looks; and also that there is plenty of material that people would want suppressed, for various reasons. This has been mostly a point I make on Banned Books Week, when the point can be made about how much of the entire corpus and subject matter as a whole would be gone if each and every thing anyone wanted to suppress were banned, both historically and present day.
I’ve talked a bit about my own approach, in a different way, in my Introduction to the Esoteric Disorientation Manual section which may be of interest. Also, do keep in mind that I’m open to submissions and suggests for additional material for the disorientation section, that reflects on any of the material at the library, some of which, no doubt, is in need of it.
itch.io Creator Day
It’s passed now, but Friday last week (I guess I should have mentioned this in the previous newsletter, not this one? Oops.) was the first ever itch.io Creator Day. They’ve started doing this thing, like Bandcamp Fridays, where all revenue goes directly to creators for a day, from midnight to midnight Pacific. I presume they’ll do others.
But, even though it’s over, you can still check out Hermetic Library’s digital publications such as zines and a volume of the Aethyrs comic, and, you know, that reminds me that I should eventually maybe compile vol 2!
But, also browse around for other cool stuff too! I don’t really, actually, know a lot of strictly and directly occult related stuff off-hand, but there’s lots of adjacent games and comics and zines that I’ve mentioned in various Omnium Gatherum posts. And, when I discover new stuff, I’ll keep it in mind. Maybe I’ll set up a collection of related material in a public list?
Off hand, I only know to mention Phil Legard has some stuff up in itch as 1d10t5 including Sölitary Defilement, a set of Ironsworn/PbtA-inspired solo rules for doom-metal and occult-genre themed Mörk Borg. I suppose I could also mention that I’ve got I could mention that I‘ve also got some game related stuff, which is available with no minimum cost, but it’s not much, just stuff I’ve put together for my own use that I though others might find at least marginally interesting. Both Phil’s and my stuff are available at no cost, so that’s not such a boost from Creator Day! But, there they are, natheless.
And, after finally getting another issue out earlier this year, after much delay, I do still hope to get the next Zine out for Aphelion, but I might not make it, if I don’t get more material submissions. But, if I don’t get on out then, I think I should definitely be able to get another out for Perihelion next year.
So, you know, send me something! And tell others who may be interested in sending something!
Here’s the newest Patron merch samples to come in. I did a photo unboxing over on Instagram when they both arrived, and then posted an unboxing video on YouTube, to check them out for fun and quality control. So, take a gander with me at these.
Checking out new  neck gaiter and Hermetic Library t-shirt patron merch
Checking out new neck gaiter and Hermetic Library t-shirt patron merch
These are the last completely new merch options to be added before I circle around and start to refresh the first designs. Starting at the end of this month, the plan is to refresh the mini print option, and then continue to cycle through the other merch options, like sticker, mug, poster, and so on, and switch those with new designs each month in order until I get to through refreshing them all!
At that point, I suppose I’ll take stock at how it went, and consider what to do next, such as if continuing the experiment makes sense, if I should make previously exclusive designs available after a year in some other way, such as a regular merch outlet, and so on!
Things to check out at Hermetic Library
Stuff on the blog
The Witch-Cult in Western Massachusetts
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John Bell the Librarian
By John Bell the Librarian

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