For those unsuccessful in obtaining tickets for the Origins conference this Saturday in London, watch every presentation streamed live to your computer. View Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval, Graham Phillips, Andrew Collins, Caroline Wise and Hugh Newman from the comfort of your own home. Cost is now only £19.99 or $33 for the entire day.
Graham Hancock gives a recap of his book 'Fingerprints of the Gods' and a brief preview into its sequel - 'Magicians of the Gods' (due for release 2015).
Filmed on the spur of the moment at the 'War God' book signing event, Waterstones, Durham, UK.
Anytime a VIP gets caught with his (or her) pants down — Arnold Schwarzenegger or Anthony Weiner, for example — you can almost hear the collective "huh?" around the nation's water coolers, on its Twitter feeds and shared over its backyard fences.
What in the heck were those guys thinking? Where were they when John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton and so many others crashed and burned? Why wasn't the very real risk of shame and humiliation enough to stop them cold?
More than 2,000 years ago Socrates asserted in Plato's "Phaedrus" that two horses contend for our souls — one, unruly, passionate and constantly pulling in the direction of pleasure, and the other restrained, dutiful, obedient and governed by a sense of shame. But a set of studies I conducted with two other researchers at the USC Marshall School of Business suggests that Socrates was wrong, at least about Horse No. 2. Humans may be pulled hard toward pleasure, but shame isn't the countervailing force that reins us in.
In fact, the more we anticipate wagging fingers, public pillory and guilt, the worse we're likely to do when it comes to self-control. If we focus on the pride that comes from good behavior, we make better choices. By far.
The proof is in the devil's food. In one of our studies, we put three groups of subjects alone in a room with a very large piece of chocolate cake, the utensils to devour it and water. We told them they could eat as much or as little cake as they wished. But first, the members of one group were instructed to focus on the pride they would feel if they resisted the cake. Those in the second group were told to imagine the shame they would feel if they ate it, and the final (control) group was simply let loose, with no instructions at all.
We discovered that the study subjects who anticipated pride at resisting the cake consumed far less than those who focused on the shame of succumbing. They also ate less than the control group. In other words, when it comes to self-regulation, anticipated pride outperformed anticipated shame as well as unconsidered, heedless consumption.
What would make anticipating pride so much better than anticipating shame in controlling temptation? One reason is that pride focuses attention on the self (not the cake) and on success rather than failure. Shame, on the other hand, emphasizes the opposite; it focuses attention on the object of desire and the act of succumbing, making resistance harder to pull off. Simply put, anticipating pride makes us feel good, and anticipating shame makes us feel bad.
We know from prior research that we're better able to resist temptation when we feel good, not bad. Our research also indicated that not all bad feelings are equal when it comes to undermining self-control. For example, when we asked subjects to anticipate guilt instead of shame, it made them eat more cake. Guilt, it turns out, carries a triple whammy: It concentrates thoughts on the temptation rather than on self-control; it makes you generally feel bad, weakening resistance; and it heightens the expected pleasure from being bad, which makes the temptation more tempting.
Ignore, for a moment, the pea soup. Forget the head swivel, the crucifix, those 75 stone steps that tumble from Prospect to M Street. Forget that demonic voice and what your mother may or may not be doing in Hell. The creator of the scariest movie of all time would like very much if you’d remember that he wrote the Peter Sellers caper “A Shot in the Dark,” that his early collaborator in Hollywood was the comedy director Blake Edwards, that an esteemed book critic once wrote that “Nobody can write funnier lines than William Peter Blatty.”
This career in punch lines was hurled out the window when Blatty started clacking away on his green IBM Selectric in a cabin near Lake Tahoe during the summer of 1969. For nine months, starting around 11 each night and working through darkness, the unemployed screenwriter wrote in seclusion about the demonic possession of a girl, the troubled priest from Georgetown University who is assigned to her case and the brooding brick Colonial on Prospect Street NW where the nightmare unfolds. Even as he typed out the vilest of passages, Blatty never thought his novel would frighten anyone, or that it would become and remain (adjusting for inflation) the top-grossing R-rated movie in history.
The comic writer’s legacy is a horror film.
And now it has brought him to the corner booth in the lowest level of the Tombs for a meatball lunch, a short walk from the AMC Loews Georgetown, where “The Exorcist” begins a one-week engagement Thursday night in honor of its impending 40th anniversary.
“As I say, every Halloween I’m dragged out of my burrow like some demonic Punxsutawney Phil,” says Blatty, a hale and hearty 85. “And if I don’t see my shadow, the horror box office is gonna be great. Either that or I’m dead. Nobody has had the guts — or the kindness — to tell me which it is.”
William Peter Blatty is not dead.
William Peter Blatty will emerge from his burrow, the stately Bethesda home where he lives with his wife of 33 years, to watch the 7:30 p.m. showing on Halloween. Afterward he will submit to questions from audience members. Blatty will bear the cross of his mammoth success, which was fused long ago to the kitschy holiday by virtue of its terrifying imagery. Never mind, he says, that the story is more about the mystery and power of faith than the ultimate violation of a 12-year-old girl by evil forces.
“I can’t regret ‘The Exorcist,’ ” he says after a moment’s pause for his curtailed comedy career. “It’s done so much for me and for my family. And it’s given me a great deal of freedom to write what I want.”
Blatty mashes his meatballs.
Carves up the polenta.
Swirls them together with blood-red sauce.
The cuffs on his denim jacket are flipped. Underneath his navy T-shirt is a silver medal etched with the three crosses of Calvary, where Jesus was crucified in the Gospels. The medal belonged to his son Peter, who died seven years ago. One reason “The Exorcist” has endured, Blatty thinks, is because it shows that the grave does not mean oblivion. That there is something after death.
“I’m not sure of what’s there,” he says, “but it isn’t oblivion.”
What was that about Bill Blatty and comedy?
After graduating from Georgetown in 1950, he sold vacuums and drove a beer truck. He spent his 30s in and around Los Angeles, writing three comic novels, one of which became “John Goldfarb, Please Come Home” starring Shirley MacLaine, who introduced him to Blake Edwards, who directed four of his screenplays from 1964 to 1970. Then the work dried up.
“I had nothing else to do but go down to the Van Nuys unemployment office and collect my check,” Blatty says. “By the way, I saw my movie agent three lines down from mine.” He lets rip a robust cackle. “Anyway, I had nothing else to do, so why don’t I do this?”
This, of course, was write a novel using a story he heard in a theology class at Georgetown. Something about a case of possession in Maryland. The project, he says, was purely apostolic. The obscenity, the occult, the suspense — mere devices, he says, in the service of sharing the faith.
It’s impossible to overstate how much “The Exorcist” rocked the country, and Washington itself, soon after its 1971 publication. By June of that year, shortly after Blatty’s appearance on “The Dick Cavett Show,” it climbed on to the bestseller list and remained there for over a year. Blatty wrote and produced William Friedkin’s film version, which opened the day after Christmas 1973 and sent the country into hysterics. Prolonged bouts of screaming were common in theaters. Interlopers flocked to Georgetown University to see filming locations, to sop up the psychic residue of the newly spookified neighborhood. “We’re here because we’re nuts and we want to be part of the madness,” one Long Islander told the New York Times while he waited for hours in Manhattan to be repulsed and transfixed by Blatty’s story. Over the ensuing decades, it inspired a legion of weak imitators that profited from the culture’s bizarre obsession with possession.
Autumn has arrived, and with it comes the advent of Samhain, a Gaelic holiday celebrated by Pagans and Wiccans, which is the year's third and final harvest festival. Brush up on your Samhain knowledge with our 10 facts to know.
1. Samhain is celebrated from sunset on October 31 to sunset on November 1, almost halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.
2. Some modern Pagans consider it the "witch's new year," though other traditions simply recognize Samhain as the end of the year, says Kelley Harrell, the author of 'Gift of the Dreamtime.'
3. Rituals surrounding Samhain include bonfires, healing, dancing, thanksgiving, and honoring of the dead.
4. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals along with Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnasadh.
5. It's considered a liminal time, when the veil between life and death grows thin. Food is set aside for ancestors and protective spirits, and rituals honoring the dead take place.
6. Samhain is pronounced "sah-win" or "sow-in."
Neil Gaiman, writer
The character of Dream – AKA the Sandman, or the Lord of Dreams – had always been in my mind, like that Michelangelo analogy about a sculpture already being in the marble. In 1988, when I wrote a dream sequence for Black Orchid, my first comic for DC, it occurred to me that it might be cool if the Sandman, who had appeared in comics by other writers, was in there. I started thinking about reworking the character and talked about it over dinner with [DC president] Jenette Kahn and [editor] Karen Berger. Later, I got a call asking me to do a monthly comic.
They said: make it your own. So I started thinking more mythic – let's have someone who's been around since the beginning of time, because that lets me play around with the whole of time and space. I inherited from mythology the idea that he was Morpheus, king of dreams: it's a story about stories, and why we need them, all of them revolving in some way around Morpheus: we encounter a frustrated writer with an imprisoned muse; we attend a serial killer convention and the first performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream; we even find out what cats dream about (and why we should be afraid).
I realised I had a platform and decided to write about big things. I started thinking: "What does it mean to be a king?" At one point, I did a set of four stories exploring that question: with Robespierre, one of the leaders of the French revolution; Joshua Norton, the Californian who in 1859 declared himself first emperor of America; Augustus, founder of the Roman empire; and the eighth-century Arab caliph Harun al-Rashid.
I went on holiday, driving around Ireland with my wife. Every night, I would write a one-page description of the next story. I planned eight issues. Every comic I'd liked doing had been a major commercial failure. So I assumed, by issue eight, they would ring me and say they couldn't keep publishing. The sales on issue one, which appeared in October 1988, were fantastic. But two, three and four saw a downwards spiral. Then, on issue five, we started this long, slow climb up. DC now had something that was outselling anything comparable – Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, say, or Jamie Delano's wonderful Hellblazer. By the very end, in 1996, we were beating Batman and Superman. Investors buy comics for their future worth, but the market had collapsed and sales had gone into freefall – except for Sandman, because nobody who bought it was an investor. Readers just wanted to find out what happened each month.
SOURCE: Ouroboros Press
Article by: John Leary
Zoroaster’s Telescope is a wonderfully strange book of oracle magic. Written in 1796 by André-Robert Andrea de Nerciat, a French author of Libertine genre, the text later appeared in a collection of German folk literature compiled by Johann Scheible from which this English translation was made. The 18th century was an active time for occultism; magicians and fortune tellers of note were spread throughout Europe, often playing significant roles in historical or political events. This was the era of the Count of St. Germain, Cagliostro, Antoine Court de Gebelin, Etteilla, Louis Claude de Saint-Martin, Emanuel Swedenborg and Adam Weishaupt whom were known for their visionary and magical prowess or accuracy at divining the future. It is a curious fact that the two genres of eroticism and the occult often overlap as is the case of the author of the present text, but this did not prevent him from giving advice on bodily desires of food and love as well as moralizing on the disadvantages of non-restraint.
While ancient divination systems such as geomancy and hepatoscopy have been around for centuries the 18th century was giving way to new forms of occult sciences such as the Odic Light and Magnetism of Baron Carl von Reichenbach and Franz Mesmer. Tarocco the Tarot game from Italy was also just coming into its own as a system of fortune telling with the publication of Le Monde Primitif Analyse et Compare avec le Monde Moderne by Antoine Court de Gebelin in 1781, and the publication of Maniere de se recreer avec le jeu de cartes nomees Tarots by Jean Francois Alliette in 1783. Etteilla produced his own Tarot cards not long after after this publication. Even though the present author André-Robert Andrea de Nerciat seemed to hold a rather dim view of activities such as Tarot and Palmistry as revealed twice in his text, he appears to have high regard for his particular amalgamation of divinatory of kabbala and spiritual astrology. Some of his statements appear as though they might be in direct contrast to actual Jewish thought such as the day starting with the first ray of light, making one ponder what the sources for some of his ideas might be.
In October Rizzoli will be republishing what is regarded by many to be the strangest book in the world, the Codex Seraphinianus. The Codex is unlike other historically well-known strange books (such as the Voynich Manuscript), in that the author of the book is not only known (Luigi Serafini is his name), he’s still alive. But the book is just so damned strange that it has accumulated a veritable industry of speculation about its meaning, deeper origins, and whether the language in which it is written actually has any syntax or not. Serafini has said relatively little about it himself over the years, and denies that the script has any meaning, but no one really believes that, including me.
My fascination with the Codex Seraphinianus dates back to the early 1980s when it was published and when I was working in a Waldenbooks store on Montague Street in Brooklyn, known to other stores as “The Zoo” because of the cast of characters who worked there. Some of the customers recognized me as a kindred spirit so they’d come in, shoot the shit, and we’d discuss weird books and other stuff until Bob, my manager, gave me a “look” or told me to work the register. Bob was cool actually, and didn’t mind at all that I’d come in to work totally baked because I not only had tunnel vision at the register and was super-accurate, I’d get bored and order up books for the Sci-Fi, Philosophy and Religion sections and my books would sell pretty quickly. Phillip K Dick? Stanislaw Lem? Lama Anagarika Govinda? Kierkegaard? You bet I stocked ‘em. I kept all their books on the shelves. (Though I wonder what Bob would have said had the $40,000 Tibetan Tanjur I ordered as a gag through Waldenbooks HQ actually shown up.)
Award-winning filmmaker and longtime horror literature fan Guillermo del Toro serves as the curator for the Penguin Horror series, a new collection of classic tales and poems by masters of the genre. Included here are some of del Toro's favorites, featuring original cover art by Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley. These six stunningly creepy deluxe hardcovers will be perfect additions to the shelves of horror, science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal aficionados everywhere.
There are many great musical acts today, pioneers in modern and electronic music, and masters of pure spirit and energy made audible. But only one group can be the best, and they are the Crystal Method.
Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland, aka The Crystal Method, will be releasing their Fifth studio album on January 14 , 2014. Not soon enough? Here's Emulator, a track off the new album. Listen to it now:
The story of Buffalo, New York's world class urban design and how today's generation is rediscovering and restoring 'America's Best Designed City.'
Produced / Directed by John Paget, Paget Films
Executive Producers - Dottie Gallagher Cohen & Ed Healy, Visit Buffalo Niagara
Presented & Sponsored by
Visit Buffalo Niagara, Larkin Square, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, Houghton College, Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., The John R. Oishei Foundation, The Campaign for Greater Buffalo and Block Club.
Collection of fairytales gathered by historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth had been locked away in an archive in Regensburg for over 150 years.
A whole new world of magic animals, brave young princes and evil witches has come to light with the discovery of 500 new fairytales, which were locked away in an archive in Regensburg, Germany for over 150 years. The tales are part of a collection of myths, legends and fairytales, gathered by the local historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810–1886) in the Bavarian region of Oberpfalz at about the same time as the Grimm brothers were collecting the fairytales that have since charmed adults and children around the world.
Last year, the Oberpfalz cultural curator Erika Eichenseer published a selection of fairytales from Von Schönwerth's collection, calling the book Prinz Roßzwifl. This is local dialect for "scarab beetle". The scarab, also known as the "dung beetle", buries its most valuable possession, its eggs, in dung, which it then rolls into a ball using its back legs. Eichenseer sees this as symbolic for fairytales, which she says hold the most valuable treasure known to man: ancient knowledge and wisdom to do with human development, testing our limits and salvation.
Von Schönwerth spent decades asking country folk, labourers and servants about local habits, traditions, customs and history, and putting down on paper what had only been passed on by word of mouth. In 1885, Jacob Grimm said this about him: "Nowhere in the whole of Germany is anyone collecting [folklore] so accurately, thoroughly and with such a sensitive ear." Grimm went so far as to tell King Maximilian II of Bavaria that the only person who could replace him in his and his brother's work was Von Schönwerth.
Von Schönwerth compiled his research into a book called Aus der Oberpfalz – Sitten und Sagen, which came out in three volumes in 1857, 1858 and 1859. The book never gained prominence and faded into obscurity.
While sifting through Von Schönwerth's work, Eichenseer found 500 fairytales, many of which do not appear in other European fairytale collections. For example, there is the tale of a maiden who escapes a witch by transforming herself into a pond. The witch then lies on her stomach and drinks all the water, swallowing the young girl, who uses a knife to cut her way out of the witch. However, the collection also includes local versions of the tales children all over the world have grown up with including Cinderella and Rumpelstiltskin, and which appear in many different versions across Europe.
Our fascination with ancient peoples and the ancient past causes us to dig, often deep into the Earth, to see what’s been concealed for centuries by the elements, hidden by lava like Pompeii or buried under a pile of natural rubble where trees took root like a recently discovered Mayan city in Mexico.
We’ve been doing this for some 150 years, archeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli told Weather.com. Yet “when it comes to archeology, we’re really just scratching the surface,” he said. “There are many parts of the world that have wonderful manifestations of human culture that haven’t been explored properly.”
Typically, the “treasures” are small artifacts like arrowheads and jewelry. “While it can be very exciting to think about uncovering a golden object or making a highly unusual discovery, that doesn’t happen all that often,” according to the Archaeological Institute of America, “and usually only in the movies.”
When we’re patient and lucky, however, this curiosity can lead us to entire buried cities. And as technology improves, with tools like remote sensors and satellites, archeologists are able to see more detail, more clearly and faster. Archeologists in Cambodia this summer city discovered an entire complex using LIDAR, a type of remote-sensing, filling in blank points between isolated temples they knew about. Damian Evans, director of the University of Sydney’s Archaeological Research Center in Cambodia, said he expects the technology to be commonplace within five to 10 years.
Here, we look at nine of the cities that shed light on the history of people all over the world. We start with Machu Picchu.
The Incan city of Machu Picchu sits nearly a mile and a half above sea level in Peru. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s described as one of the greatest creations of the Inca people at their peak: “Its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments,” the UNESCO description reads. “The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna.”
The discovery of the city came in July of 1911, when American Hiram Bingham arrived in the country to explore. According to History.com, Bingham traveled by mule, then on foot led by locals to the site thought to be a “summer retreat” for Incan leaders. Torrential rains damaged the ruins in 2010, but today, some 300,000 tourists annually visit.
Title: Feel Flows
Director: Paris Zarcilla
Music by: Slow Magic
Won 'Best Music Video' and nominated for 'Best Short Film' at the London Independent Film Festival '13 .
In what is now southern Turkey stand the remnants of a city called Harran. Part of long ago Babylon, Harran was once the site of the Temple of the Moon god-Sin, one of seven temples in seven cities sacred to the seven classical planets. Unlike the other great celestial temples, though, the Temple of the Moon in Harran continued to host astral rites long after the coming of Muhammed. From the 6th until the 11th centuries C.E., a wild Hermetic syncretism bloomed, tended carefully by a people who called Hermes their prophet, and themselves Sabians.
While the Caliphates which enclosed it fought to extend the reach of Islam all over the Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern worlds, the old ways persisted quietly in Harran. The practice of even-then ancient Babylonian planetary rites melded and synergized with the mighty pagan inheritance of Hellenism, brought to Harran by Hermeticists and Neoplatonists exiled from the Byzantine empire for their apostasy. For nearly half a millenia, this single settlement developed and maintained a unique synthesis of Neo-platonism, Hermeticism, Astrology, Alchemy and Babylonian astral magic.
Extant since at least the 19th century B.C.E., Harran has a long and storied history. It spent much of the ensuing millennia in Assyrian hands before becoming part of the Neo Babylonian Empire. Under the rule of the Neo-Babylonians it became a major center for the worship of the Moon god, Sin. Control passed to the Persians, to the Greeks, to the Romans, and then to the Islamic Caliphate.
Though there is a wealth of historical fact surrounding Harran, the city is also host to legends. According to the Islamic historian Al-Masudi and the Christian historian Gregory Bar Hebraeus, Harran had reputedly been built by Cainan, an ancestor of the Biblical Abraham, who named it after his son- Harran. According to the Book of Jubilees, Cainan found carved on the rocks an antediluvian inscription preserving the science of astrology. This art was said to have been taught by the Watchers, the rebel angels of a time washed away. The Sefer ha-Yashar, a Hebrew midrash, repeats this story. These tales of astrological secrets carved into stone, and their location in Harran, is likely based on the existence of cuneiform tablets containing the elements of the Babylonian’s sophisticated astral omenology and records of their astronomical observations.
To look at a thing is very different from seeing a thing.
One does not see anything until one sees its beauty.
Then, and only then, does it come into existence.
Call it moonrise
This red anathema?
Rise, thou red thing,
Unfold slowly upwards, blood-dark;
Burst the night’s membrane of tranquil stars
-D. H. Lawrence
A few months ago, I was walking through the woods. It is a familiar path, one I have walked so many times before that it feels as if I have every tree and rock committed to memory. In fact, I often drift into a kind of mental autopilot when hiking it. This particular time, however, I found myself looking up into an unfamiliar area about half an hour into my walk, not knowing exactly where I was. It was a simple mistake; I had not been paying enough attention to where I was going, and consequently I veered off the path. The small exhilaration I experienced when I glanced up and realized the woods did not look how I was expecting them to look at that particular moment, was like walking down a hallway in my house and coming to a room I had never seen before.
The woods became new to me in that instant. A place I was so sure I knew just seconds before, was suddenly a different world. It felt like a small sliver of something mysterious and Other showing itself to me for a fleeting moment, in a part of the woods that would otherwise have been typical or commonplace to me had I been hiking or exploring as usual. In many ways this sort of feeling, and this sort of experience, was a reminder of how magical consciousness can manifest in unexpected ways. “Magical consciousness”, however, is a phrase that likely has a host of varying connotations and associations, so before going any further I should explain exactly what I mean by it.
Magical consciousness is difficult to define in any sort of rigid manner, as the definition of magic has changed drastically over the centuries, and we still know relatively little about consciousness itself. Aleister Crowley, who defined magic as the “Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will,” has influenced many modern conceptions of the practice; however, he also stated that, “Magick is the Science of understanding oneself and one’s conditions. It is the Art of applying that understanding in action.” It is this view that more closely parallels my thinking on magical consciousness, especially as it relates to my experience on that day. For the purposes of this piece, I will therefore define magical consciousness as a state of awareness in which the practitioner gains previously occluded knowledge about either themselves, or an aspect of Nature outside of themselves, which can then be directed towards thetransmutation or transformation of a particular aspect of reality. This definition still acknowledges the power of the will to enact change, but places less of a direct emphasis on it. It also allows a bit more space for forces outside of one’s own perception, which may contradict or challenge the will, to enter into the equation. A sort of psychic or preternatural irruption can, I think, be beneficial in certain situations if handled correctly, but the conflation of magic with what sounds a bit like mysticism might seem inappropriate to some. However, as Arthur Versluis has argued, magic and mysticism are in fact very much intertwined in the Western esoteric tradition and aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive:
Be it Kabbalism or alchemy…the Lullian art, magic or theosophy, pansophy or esoteric Rosicrucianism or Freemasonry, one finds a consistently recurrent theme of transmuting consciousness, which is to say, of awakening latent, profound connections between humanity, nature, and the divine, and of restoring a paradisal union between them.
The transmutation or transformation of consciousness has long been a common factor in Western esoteric practice, and I would argue that a combination of both magical will and openness to mystical experience can be a crucial element in enacting real change. It is somewhere near this crossroads, where magical will and mystical experience unites, that I can now continue.
On that day in the woods, I focused my will primarily on raising consciousness through communion with Nature. This was, in essence, the “magic” I was setting out to accomplish. However, due to the rigidity of my will, I drifted into an inflexible routine. I went into the woods with a specific goal in mind, and that goal drowned out everything that wasn’t part of the quasi-Romantic ideal of transcendence as a result of getting back to a pristine or “pure” Nature.
“I can explain everything better though music. You hypnotize people to where they go right back to their natural state, and when you get people at their weakest point, you can preach into their subconscious what we want to say.”—Jimi Hendrix, Life Magazine, October 30, 1969.
In Magick: In Theory and Practice, Aleister Crowley wrote,
“There are three methods for invoking any deity…The Third Method is the dramatic, perhaps the most attractive of all; certainly it is to the artists temperament, for it appeals to his imagination through his aesthetic sense…It is very difficult for the ordinary man to lose himself completely in the subject of a play…but for those who can do so this is unquestionably the best.”
This is certainly not a scientific principle, but it may have some explanatory power and scope that will help us unravel and understand the philosophy that posts beneath much of the entertainment industry.
According to Crowley, directors, screenwriters, but most specifically actors and actresses can be easily possessed by losing themselves completely in the subject of a play.
In other words, actors and actresses could directly or indirectly be possessed if they simply let themselves be inhabited by the characters they are trying to portray.
One way to test this hypothesis is to see how this has played out in ancient history—most specifically in ancient Greece. Then we can test it in our modern times. A third way is to let the actors and actresses speak for themselves.
It must be emphasize that trance, spirit channeling, shamanism, and possession have always played a key aspect in music and art from time immemorial, and African tribal music, which has produced many offshoots such as rap and rock and roll, is no exception.
The word music comes from the Greek word mousike, which entails a spiritual dimension and power. The muses, in ancient Greek mythology, were the nine daughters of Zeus who were the goddesses of inspiration. Central to this ancient phenomenon was that the actors and dramatists would set the stage in such a way as to consciously or unconsciously invite the spirit of the muse—what we would now call spirit entities—to help them with their performances.
This phenomenon is quite ancient and was widespread not only in ancient Greece but also in Rome, Egypt, etc.
In the classic work Music and the Muses: The Culture of ‘Mousike’ in the Classical Athenian City, we read:
“Apart from their extra-discursive and historical identity, the actors and the choreutai of Attic comedy are involved in the action played on the stage as well as in the ritual performed by Dionysus in his sanctuary which is also the theatre.” Classicist Martin Persson Nilsson tells us that Dionysus was also “the god of the theatre.”
At the Ishtar Gate of ancient Babylon, located in the Babil province of present-day Iraq, workers toil to smash and remove a modern concrete slab that is blamed for decaying the ancient structure.
Between the two enormous walls of sand-colored bricks decorated with bulls and dragons that make up the ancient Ishtar Gate a masonry slab was added during the administration of Saddam Hussein together withchanges in the terrain behind the Ishtar Gate, and resurfacing of the base of the gate with concrete.
Unfortunately, the modern additions appear to be accelerating the rate of damage and decay at the site that could cause the gate to collapse. It is believed by the Future of Babylon project that removing the contract “will allow the ground to breathe and evaporate water, because at the present time... the water cannot escape, so it routes through the easiest direction to get to the surface,” through the gate itself, according to Jeff Allen, field manager of the Future of Babylon project.Despite the fame and antiquity of ancient Babylon UNESCO has refused to add the city to its World Heritage List.