Hermetic Library Newsletter - Issue #47 (a fundamental potential for dangerous self-righteousness)

Hermetic Library Newsletter - Issue #47 (a fundamental potential for dangerous self-righteousness)
By John Bell the Librarian • Issue #102 • View online
This week I’ve got ThelemaBros, not enough, pondering evil orbs again, not just E.C., Town-Gown-Tau, how I see myself, spam folder magicians, Perihelion project, Secret Gig by Satanic Slur, No Gods No, MMR2, propaganda, reminders, updates, quotes, reviews, and mail call!
And, as always, I worked on various other things on website, blog, and more … Enjoy!

It’s unfortunate to see yet another wild hunt stirred up to target someone by one more ass I blocked months and months ago for failing my 10 second rule, but it is a bit gratifying to see that some people are coming around to the same conclusion finally.
It’s nice when others once again come around to a self-evident position I articulated some time ago. Yet again. There’s a couple other asses I wish people would have the same realization about, but I won’t hold my breath.
And one of the main voices behind a honeypot website ostensibly about “community” was always one of the main movers and string pullers, but now appears to be trying to situate themselves as a defender of those targeted. I don’t know, maybe they’ve lost control of the mob, or the mob didn’t get the memo that the honeypot was supposed to be the place where people weren’t attacked, so that all other voices get silenced elsewhere, leaving only that site which gives the ringleader authority and prestige. Or maybe that’s the heroic arsonist putting out the fire they set.
(By the by, my 10 second rule is simple. If after 10 seconds of consideration my response to someone interacting with me is still “Oh, fuck off!” that’s when the well-oiled, hair-trigger ban hammer goes BRR. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that 10 second rule aloud before, but it has served me oh, so well over the years. I’ve made exceptions, and given extra chances, but have always been disappointed if I do.)
Most of the time, when the ThelemaBros get riled up, they’re just upset that someone else outside their circle is getting attention. They’ll find something to criticise no matter what, because they only want to silence other people’s voices with their noise.
They’ll come at your directly, indirectly, overtly, covertly, coordinated and as “lone wolf” Cromwell’s men. They’ll use every method to reach you, often all at once.
They’re going to criticise something about everything you do. They’ll invent reasons and bad faith interpretations of anything. It’s actually got nothing to do with what you’re doing per se. They’re barking mad because you’re there and aren’t part of their pack.
If they think you’re part of their pack and aren’t sufficiently deferential to their entitled self-declared hierarchy, they’ll use the same tactics to try to force you to bark too, even if they later admit that you had a point, it’s that you didn’t use your voice to coddle them.
#NotAllThelemites yeah, yeah, I know, but ThelemaBros sure seem to be a systemic disease.
Now, here’s the thing. Most of what I’ve mentioned so far isn’t necessarily specifically a THELEMAbro problem, but a problem that can be seen in many spaces with the way Bros act and attack. But there seem to me to be some particular manifestations of what Bros are in Thelemic community specifically, which I thought I’d mention.
First off, the institutions of Thelema have build-in systemic silos of secrecy that allow bad actors to partition the community. In my experience, this is a systemic problem where the community is built around division and control (and this is often unrecognized or glossed over in rhetoric around “freedom” and “liberty”) (let’s also not forget that the real reason for Crowley’s 1925 The Tunis Comment was to shut someone up), and so that is a tool handy for bad actors to use. These silos can be degree related in large part, but it can also simply be that there’s in-groups and out-groups all over the place.
Then, another thing related to this that I’ve observed is that the Thelemic community has a kind of default gullibility that comes from fraternal bonds and an expectation that some things are above one’s pay grade, where bad actors can make claims about others that are wrong or twisted and then not be questioned. But then those who have trusted what bad actors have said then become unwitting proxies and act on the bad information given them without adequate reflection on where the information came from.
(For just one example of that of many, I once had a Fellow email me to demand that I remove all of their work from the library site because they were told that I did something that I didn’t actually do. They didn’t check in with me to verify, but defaulted to trust what they had been told by a bad actor, and were thus manipulated into being a proxy attack on me and the site by someone with an antagonistic axe to grind, and both the motive and lack of ethics to lie. Default gullibility just provided the opportunity and means. Anyhow, that particular proxy attack didn’t work in the end, at least. Though others have.)
Another systemic element in Thelemic community is that, in spite of the idea mutual support of each other baked in, in practice people only support others they like and trust. But, fraternal bonds aren’t friendship. And, for example, in my experience upper degrees and leadership in OTO don’t trust membership because they’ve been burned in the past, and that overrides the necessary vulnerability it takes to trust.
Finally, I want to point out that there is a fundamental potential for dangerous self-righteousness, if not recognized and addressed, in the ideology of Thelema that multiplies the effect of ThelemaBros. As Mal says in the “Heart of Gold” episode of Firefly: “Nothing worse than a monster who thinks he’s right with God.” In Thelema, “there is no god but man.” And too often this means that monsters in Thelema leap to thinking they are right with themselves in isolation as god.
This, I think, is a core Plymouth Brethrenism from Crowley’s childhood that has still roots that grows into Fleur du Mal in Thelema, and I’ve suggested in the past that the worst of Thelema is when it is Plymouth Brethren for Assholes. Go check out what Crowley wrote about his experience of Plymouth Brethren for yourself then just substitute “Thelema” in and read it again, and I think you can see every complaint Crowley had could also be, and I think has been, said at times about the worst manifestations of Thelema.
(By the by, I’ll bet you $2 that someone will point to what I’ve written here as proof that I’m a “problem”, in the same way some in OTO used to (still do?) talk about “The Hermetic Library Problem”. I submit that whomever does that is the actual problem they themselves are pointing out.)
Not enough
Saying “every man and every woman is a star” isn’t enough. Unless you’re actively doing something to make things better for others not yourself, not only you and yours, you’re just like those responding to people protesting police killings by saying “all lives matter” instead of hearing cries for justice.
Okay! Fine! Fix it. This time without the same character and orb twice.
Okay! Fine! Fix it. This time without the same character and orb twice.
Not just E.C.
Everyone should aspire to give “evidence of first-rate ability in (i) Some branch of athletics. (ii) Some branch of learning. They must also possess a profound general knowledge of history and of the art of government, with some attention to philosophy in general” not just those interested in serving on OTO’s Electoral College.
(The quote is from Liber CXCIV.)
This is a likely useful pedagogical model to keep in mind for educating not only oneself, but kids, and, let’s not forget, other adults.
Anyhow, either way, in a way, one might say, this is an inspirational reminder to embody the mind and body along with your spiritual practices.
Unicursal MILLIONS OF MAD VOICES Propaganda Poster
Unicursal MILLIONS OF MAD VOICES Propaganda Poster
Another model I use often is Town-Gown-Tau. The first two I heard a lot back in college to talk about the divisions between the academic community and the larger community of the town in which the college existed. I’ve since added “Tau” to this, and I use the three to talk about the divisions and interplay between the mundane, academic and practitioner communities around esotericism.
Of course, when I talk about these three, most often I’m talking about how it’s always been my intention that Hermetic Library cross the apparent divides between these three. My intention is to offer and model that all three are valid positions from which to approach esotericism, but also that no one should be considered to only been in one, or that any one of these modes should ever be used as a purity test or stereotype.
I suggest everyone should intentionally exist in all three, since, for many of us that’s true. Thus, these are also a potential pedagogical model. Be sure you’re actively doing something in each mode: mundane, academic and practitioner communities around esotericism. Stay grounded, keep learning, and keep up practical work.
And, if so, never let any one of Town-Gown-Tau forget that you contain multitudes and exist in the other two also.
Don’t get me wrong, always filter what you share online and elsewhere, but be proud to swim deep and long in apparent contradictions.
Keep ‘em guessing, sure; but model and normalize that complexity exists.
How I see myself
How I see myself
Spam folder magicians
Someone in my spam folder is looking for a magician to do close-up and walk around stuff at a kids’ party in Overland, KS. Someone should take a pop-up GD vault, portable mass altar, or something, and do the thing!
Perihelion project
It’s about that time, around Perihelion, when I pick a new project for myself over the next year. For example, this year it was the Patron merch. A previous year I did the calendar project, posting every calendar event from Hermeneuticon. I find myself pondering what’s next year?
Of course, Patron merch wasn’t the only thing I did or started new this year, but it was The Project, if you see what I mean.
What’s your new/another year’s project that is your commitment to yourself to do?
I mean, other than, obviously, try to stay as safe and sane as possible out there, y'know?
And, you needn’t say it publicly, to me or anyone, but I invite you to consider the idea as an intentional practice, an alternative twist on the “resolution” thing.
Secret Gig by Satanic Slur
Swedish artist Anna von Hausswolff gives secret gig after Satanic slur - BBC News
Secret Gig is the new album by my imaginary band Satanic Slur.
Here’s the album cover.
Okay, hear me out. What if I did a call for submissions to a real album by real bands doing real covers of imaginary songs by an imaginary band? Any of my anthology peeps up for this wild idea?
Or, you know, maybe it doesn’t need to just be this one imaginary band, but any of them? Like, real submissions of real bands covering imaginary songs by imaginary bands, but it’d also be cool to include the original imaginary album image for each?
If there’s no interest, no harm, no foul. Imma just put it out there, in case there is. Could be fun to do! I did actually get one person express interest in participating on this already. Can I get more?
No Gods No
NO GODS NO is my new crusty punk rock cover band.
As almost a counter point, one might paraphrase of the Wobblies on the steamer just before the Everett Massacre: “We’re all gods.” But, be a Wobbly, not a Pinkerton.
Magick, Music and Ritual 2
Hwæt! Oyez! Iä! Magick, Music and Ritual 2 is now available to stream and buy in all the places! It’s on Apple, YouTube, Amazon, Spotify and all the rest should have it now too.
This Feb 4th, 2022 will be 10 years since it was released, so, yeah, it’s a little early, I know … but, it’s done!
After the first MMR, for the library’s birthday anniversary as well as Yule 2011, I thought I’d give a try doing one release each quarter. That lasted a couple years before I moved to only doing one a year. So, there’s 3 more albums that will have their 10th anniversary in 2022.
Also, for convenience, I created a playlist on Spotify with all the tracks available so far, so check that out, save it to your library, and listen all the time! I’ll plan on keeping this playlist updated with each MMR that becomes available there.
I want to be sure to point out that I still think Bandcamp (directly or as a Patron perk) is the best way to grab these albums for a number of reasons (and being a Subscriber on Bandcamp is the only way to grab past issues of TINAHLAA!), but after 10 years I figured it’s about time to get around to getting these out there in other ways. I’d always planned on it, but I just didn’t ever get around to it until MMR12. Now I’m planning on filling in the rest on their 10 year anniversaries!
Send something for the Zine
Pitch an Idea
Things to check out at Hermetic Library
And on the blog
Venus on the Half-Shell
Tall Tales
Also, elsewhere
Mail call
Two! Count them: two envelopes have arrived at the Reading Room for Postal Exchange. Let’s gander at what strangeness is inside. Also, if you want to participate, I occasionally send stuff out to certain Patrons; but if you send something I’ll send something back! It’s that easy!
And, remember, I never ever want participation or support to be a burden for those not able to become a Patron. (Though if you can, every two bits, even just a buck in the tip jar, helps!) So, a cheap way to get in on it is to just throw some stuff in an envelope (raid the free stuff pile at a local esoteric bookshop if you’ve got one around you! maybe grab some zines too if there are any!) and send it, and I’ll send something back.
If and when you are willing and able to become a Patron with a Postal perk, I’d send stuff to you either way; plus all the other cool perks.
But, you can participate now by sending things to the library’s mailing address, which is at the bottom of this email newsletter, or on the contact page, so I can send more stuff to everyone.
Did you enjoy this issue?
John Bell the Librarian
By John Bell the Librarian

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