Category Archives: Non-fiction

Thoughts on “The Kybalion” by Three Initiates

This is a classic work on Hermeticism that first appeared in 1908 and was published under the pseudonym Three Initiates. The notes assert that the author was most likely “William Walker Atkinson, a popular New Thought writer and publisher in the early twentieth century.” (p. 141) The book presents the seven basic principles found in the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus. Those principles are:

  1. The Principle of Mentalism
  2. The Principle of Correspondence
  3. The Principle of Vibration
  4. The Principle of Polarity
  5. The Principle of Rhythm
  6. The Principle of Cause and Effect
  7. The Principle of Gender

While this is a very short book, it has a wealth of information and is very accessible to readers, regardless of your background in spiritual studies. That said, rather than hitting the key topics, I want to focus this post on a single paragraph from the section on Cause and Effect.

Stop to think a moment. If a certain man had not met a certain maid, away back in the dim period of the Stone Age—you who are reading these lines would not now be here. And if, perhaps, the same couple had failed to meet, we who now write these lines would not now be here. And the very act of writing, on our part, and the act of reading, on yours, will affect not only the respective lives of yourself and ourselves, but will also have a direct, or indirect, affect upon many other people now living and who will live in the ages to come. Every thought we think, every act we perform, has its direct and indirect results which fit into the great chain of Cause and Effect.

(p. 109)

This is a truth that I consider often. Everything I do, or abstain from doing, affects reality in ways we cannot begin to comprehend. This understanding comes with responsibility. Knowing that everything you read, everything you say, every seemingly insignificant act you engage in has a rippling effect throughout eternity, makes you realize that nothing you do is insignificant or without consequence. Hence, to paraphrase a writer who was very influential for me when I was young, we must live our lives impeccably.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my musings. You have just changed the future by doing so.

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Thoughts on “Angels & Archangels: A Magician’s Guide” by Damien Echols

I actually finished this book a few months ago. I read it with a friend and we had weekly discussions after finishing each section where we shared our thoughts and experiences as we worked through the exercises and digested the information.

The book is a great resource for individuals who are interested in magick, especially Enochian. Echols provides a thorough list of angels and archangels, and provides the angelic correspondences to the kabbalistic tree, tarot cards, elements, and zodiac. The beauty of this text is its simplicity. While there are texts out there with more detailed tables of correspondences, this one will not make the novice feel overwhelmed. And if you are a more advanced practitioner, it is always good to refresh with the basics.

As far as the rituals go, Echols includes some of the basics, such as the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. He does, though, offer some suggestions on augmenting these to enhance the effect. I personally found these suggestions interesting and have incorporated some in my daily practice.

As a whole, I enjoyed the book and found it useful. That said, it kind of ended on a sour note for me. Echols concludes his study with a rather harsh attack on the traditions that have kept these practices alive over the generations.

That being said, as the current spread throughout the Middle East and Europe (by way of the Knights Templar), its outward forms became increasingly diluted, much like in the game known as Chinese whispers or telephone, in which the first person whispers something into a person’s ear, and that person whispers what they heard into another person’s ear, and so on and so on. And so it was with magick. The mangled result of centuries of dilution is the magickal system presented by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

(p. 259)

I cannot help but wonder, if the Golden Dawn had not existed, would Damien Echols ever have learned the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram? Anyway, aside from that, the book is worth reading, especially if you are interested in practicing magick.

Thanks for stopping by, and may you and yours be blessed.

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Thoughts on “Back to Frank Black”

In the late 1990s, Chris Carter (creator of “The X-Files”) produced a short-lived television series that is still one of my all-time favorites: “Millennium.” It was about a retired criminal profiler named Frank Black who becomes involved with a group that investigates cases that seem to be related to human evil and end-of-the-world prophesies. The series was dark, thoughtful, and brimming with rich symbolism. It is the only television series for which I purchased all seasons on DVD (three box sets) so I could rewatch them whenever I felt inspired. This book is a collection of essays about the series, as well as interviews with the cast and creative team.

Because the network suddenly cancelled the show (ironically, right before the millennium), there has been a strong movement among the fan base to attempt to influence the network to back a film or limited series that would bring satisfactory closure to this complex program. As one of the essays states, this was part of the impetus for compiling and publishing this book.

We felt that a book might serve as a testament to Millennium, the campaign, and the fans of the show. I won’t harp on too much about the book given I’m sure you’ll have found time to, at the very least, read this page of it, but suffice to say what we envisaged is very much what it became. In some respects, you could say it became all it could be: an intelligent compendium of responses to a mature and well-crafted television series.

(p. 440)

There is some interesting information in this book and I enjoyed reading it, but it is definitely intended for fans of the show and assumes that the reader is versed in the mythology and story arcs that are part of the series. I’ll conclude by sharing that I am currently working through the Season 3 box set of “Millennium,” and it is a little eerie to watch this 20+ years later. Almost makes me wonder if the biblical millennium did creep up on us while we were expecting Y2K computer failures and planes falling out of the sky. Maybe the end is more of a fizzle instead of a cataclysmic explosion.

Thanks for stopping by and reading.

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Thoughts on “The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt” by Ken Krimstein

So a while back, I said that I was going to be changing the format of the blog and just posting quotes instead of sharing my thoughts. Well, as you have likely surmised, I have gone back to my original format. There were a couple reasons why I went full circle:

  • I discovered that posting quotes regularly did not really take that much less time; in fact, I think I spent even more time, since I felt compelled to post more often.
  • My daughter was all excited because she Googled something by Umberto Eco and one of my blog posts was the top Google search result.

Anyway, I figure I will write when I can, and not sweat it if I get too busy to write. That said, my thoughts on this book.

I came across this at a community center where there was a table of free books (a dangerous thing for a bibliophile). Most of the books were of no interest to me, but this one immediately caught my attention. While in college, I had read Hannah Arendt’s masterpiece of political theory, The Origins of Totalitarianism. The book was one of those that left a strong and lasting impact on me. I cannot tell you how many times I have observed the behaviors of political leaders and listened to their words, then thought back to Arendt’s book. Essentially, she wrote the book on totalitarianism. The term did not exist until she coined it.

The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt is a biographical graphic novel. It provides a witty overview of Arendt’s life, how she fled Europe during World War II, established herself as a political theorist and philosopher, and eventually went on to become the first woman to be appointed full professor at Princeton University.

While most of the book tells the story of Ms. Arendt’s life, it does briefly summarize some of her political ideas.

As fire lives on oxygen, the oxygen of totalitarianism is untruth. Before totalitarian leaders can fit reality to their lies, their message is an unreeling contempt for facts. They live by the belief that fact depends entirely on the power of the man who makes it up.

(p. 167)

The graphic novel quotes Arendt as saying, “Whatever I do, I am simply unable to avert my eyes from the reality of the world around me.” (p. 126) I feel the same way. It is impossible to ignore what I see going on in the world. And if you ever read The Origins of Totalitarianism, you will also not be able to look at the behaviors of political leaders the same way again.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to share in my musings. I hope you find these posts interesting. If so, please let me know. As long as there is interest, I will do my best to keep writing.

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Intelligent Dialogue

All this talk is useless blather, worse than gibberish. But at least I am able to find one intelligent, truth-telling person to talk to, to argue with sensibly, to dialogue with. Myself.

Ken Krimstein. The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt

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A Stroll Around Paris

… and then, after I left the Louvre, the American tourists buying bushels of postcards of the Mona Lisa, I followed my nose down a web of back alleys and I saw it, bricks and planks, which I tore down with my bare hands: what signaled the find was an 1832 handbill for a wild beast show, so I knew, through that portal the past would spread her loins, a vestal virgin, and when the shroud collapsed, the rusted ruins of a mouldering arcade embraced me – a broken cat’s eye marble, the chipped arm of a porcelain doll, its milky glaze supple to the touch, physical evidence of time, the past gushing ahead of the non-existent future, an electric buzz to rival hashish or cocaine or opium, a true phantasmagoria of the space that echoes the passion of the gambler, the narcotic continuous present.

Ken Krimstein. The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt

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A Reflection on Dying

Umberto Eco

I am one of those people who don’t miss their youth (I’m glad I had one, but wouldn’t like to start over), because today I feel more fulfilled than ever. But the thought that all my experience will be lost at the moment of my death makes me feel pain and fear. The thought that those who come after me will know as much as I do, and even more, fails to console me. What a waste, decades spent building up experience, only to throw it all away. It’s like burning down the Library of Alexandria, destroying the Louvre, or sending the beautiful, rich, and all-wise Atlantis to the bottom of the sea.

We remedy this sadness by working. For example, by writing, painting, or building cities. You die, but most of what you have accumulated will not be lost; you are leaving a message in a bottle.

Umberto Eco. Turning Back the Clock

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Sounds of the End of the World

Stupidity. Noise. A modern Babel. The sounds of the end of the world.

Ken Krimstein. The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt

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Animal Symbolism

Animals have been a vital element in the development of mythological systems throughout history, across virtually every culture imaginable. In Western societies of the Middle Ages, in particular, animals represented specific traits and could therefore be utilized as symbols to convey moral and religious lessons in works of art. Animals can represent victims of technology, industrialization, or war. Also, animals sometimes equate with the concept of “purity,” existing in a wild, natural state and therefore utterly free from man’s sins and vices. Some passion plays and other didactic forms of theater utilized animal imagery to represent specific modes of behavior, including human vices.

John Kenneth Muir. Back to Frank Black: p. 196

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New Age Commercialism

Was the New Age a generational invention? As far as its content goes, it is a collage of ancient esoteric elements. It may be that young people were the first to turn to these elements, as if they were rediscovered giants, but the diffusion of images, sounds, and beliefs typical of the New Age, along with all its recording, publishing, cinematic, and religious paraphernalia, was taken over and run by the old foxes of the mass media, and if some youngsters run off to the Far East, it is to throw themselves into the arms of an elderly guru with lots of lovers and even more Cadillacs.

Umberto Eco. Turning Back the Clock

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