Some of you may remember that last year I did a directed reading program on the Hermetica. For those of you who don’t what a directed reading program is, it’s basically a one-on-one course which focuses on a specific subject. The work load is a bit more than a typical class, but the advantage is that you really get a chance to do some research. I was lucky enough that a professor I incredibly respect, Phil Harland, agreed to supervise me.
My project, however, quickly moved beyond the Corpus Hermeticum proper into related works and genres. By the end of the year, I had turned in a research paper that considered Iamblichus’ portrayals of Egypt as a strategy of legitimation. It was not exactly what I expected to write about when I started, but it’s where I finished, for sure!
Unbeknownst to me, my professor submitted the essay for the William R. Coleman Prize. This prize is awarded to the best essay written by an honour student in a humanities or religious studies course. If you’ve been following the plot so far, you’ll probably guess that this essay won. You’d be absolutely correct, because it did.
This alone would be enough to trot out the thank-yous and oh-my-god-I’m-so-gratefuls and all that stuff. So I’ll briefly note that while all these things certainly apply, this is a really big thing for me because Phil Harland is an incredibly tough professor who is not impressed by anything—and that’s a compliment! That he thought enough of my work to submit it for consideration is an honour in itself!
In the spirit of efficiency, I’ll end this here with a thank you to Professor Harland for taking me on as a student and a huzzah to the committee for giving me this award!
- Breaking the law is a big deal to one German man who is suing the pope for not wearing his seat-belt…in the Popemobile. (Boing Boing)
- Did you know the Easter Island heads have bodies? True! (Mental Floss)
- Secrets of the communion wafer industry! (Killing the Buddha)
- The Christian origins of the term “pagan.” Ugh. And all this time pagans thought they were getting away from Christianity! (Baylor Lariat)
- And the earliest surviving Christian inscription, dating from the 2nd century, is not only heretical, it also contains hints of paganism. (MSN)
- What if our study of religion is missing some key texts? (Apocryphicity)
- The Casebooks Project is putting the records of Simon Forman, an Elizabethan medical consultant, on the internet. Also, these are no ordinary medical records, they contain detailed horoscopes and astrological diagnoses. (Casebooks Project via Mystic Medusa)
- Hey baby, what’s your sign? If you’re an Aries, the response could be “On probation,” as police in Ontario Canada have correlated astrology with criminal behavior. (National Post)
- Golden Dawn founder William Wynn Wescott, didn’t know enough German to make clear that the mysterious Fraulein Sprengel wasn’t a dude. (Heterodoxology)
- Ten myths about Aleister Crowley…and why they’re false. (AC2012)
- If your daily magickal ritual is getting ho-hum boring, here’s some tips to put some zing back in your routine. (Scholar)
- Finally, ever wonder what “giving someone the third degree” really means? Here’s a list of Masonic sayings that are used in everyday parlance. (About Freemasonry via @genmercerlodge)
Photo by iirraa.
- Are you a Mormon woman? Do you want to have more and better sex? Then pick thyself up a romance novel. (Religious News Service)
- I love all of the gadgets that make the sabbath easier for Jewish people. Here’s a kosher crosswalk in England that gets the nod from God. (CNN)
- However, one iPhone app claiming to let you know with a swipe who’s Jewish has been yanked after cries of antisemitism. The ironic part? The app’s author is Jewish. (CNN)
- People poke fun at the wholesome kitsch of Little Mosque on the Prairie, but some are seeing the sitcom as a way to smooth religious tensions in the U.S. (BBC)
- Does the media create new religious icons? Do or do not click on this link; there is no try. (Religion Nerd)
- W. Scott Poole says academics should be studying zombies and monsters under the Religious Studies Banner. In other news, Big Foot seen registering for tax-exempt status. (Religion in American History)
- Is it religious decline if those leaving the church do so for pagan traditions? (The Wild Hunt)
- A town in Alabama is letting convicted offenders choose jail or church. There are a whole lot of questions here about religious freedom, church and state, and pretty much everything else. (Time)
- A school that trains exorcists is finding its most most successful recruits are young, well-coiffed women. The money quote? “I’ve seen projectile vomit.” (Daily Mail)
- Some areas of magic aren’t exactly bastions of femininity. For women in these groups, or any group for that matter, here’s some tips on how to get your voice heard. (Llewellyn Blog)
- What’s up with all those weirdos saying “93” all the freakin’ time. For those who don’t know, here’s the answer. (Standing at the Centre)
- Finally, John 3:16 isn’t just for football games anymore. If you quote the popular biblical passage at one Texas pit stop, you’ll get 45% off an oil change. God: Giving his only begotten son—and crazy deals on vehicle maintenance!—since 32AD. (CNN)
Photo by TikkunGer.
- Cleopatra’s devotion to Isis is helping archaeologists locate her tomb. They think the Egyptian queen may be buried at one of the Goddess’ holy sites. (National Geographic)
- Some rabbi’s are consulting professional writers to inject their message with fail-proof humour during the high holy days, the so-called sweeps week of the Jewish year. (Jewish Daily Forward)
- Could polygamy be the issue that politically unites Pagans and Mormons? John Crow says probably not, but its worth considering as the commonalities are there. (Religion in American History)
- Decreasing rates of church attendance are impacting the number of bowling alleys in America. In related news, God hates league night. (USA Today)
- It’s long been thought that the more education you have, the less you need religion. However, this recent study says otherwise. In fact, you’re more likely to have faith if you have a degree. (CNN)
- That Zen-inducing quote you heard on the internet probably wasn’t from the Buddha. Here’s a break down of things Gautama never said—though people would like to believe he did. (Shambhala Sun)
- Jason Pitzl-Waters looks at “Invisible Christian Privilege” and how Christian ideals are ingrained in western society, despite complaints to the contrary. (The Wild Hunt)
- Should those with an occult-based spiritual practice describe what they do as magic when the term carries so much baggage? (Strategic Sorcery)
- If you plan on advancing to the Golden Dawn’s Zelator grade, you may want to brush up on your Hebrew. Specifically, this list. (Gleamings from the Golden Dawn)
- Finally, a cell phone ad which depicted Jesus offering “miraculous deals” has been pulled for being too “disrespectful.” What Would Jesus Do? Apparently not unlimited talk-and-text. (Huffington Post)
Photo by CGP Grey.
- Remember when it was cool for teenagers to spray-paint upside down pentagrams? So passé. These days, teenagers are tagging churches with the diabolical likeness of the of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. (KTVZ.com)
- What do religious experiences look like…to the brain? This NPR feature looks at the brain chemistry of God and spiritual experiences. (NPR)
- Here’s a look at what makes a religion credible and how to resolve this issue in the secular sphere. (Religion Dispatches)
- Language software is helping researchers figure out who wrote the bible. Hint: It wasn’t Moses. (Huffington Post)
- The Anglican church has given the go ahead to gay bishops. However, they must remain celibate. Well, that takes all the fun out of it, don’t it? (CNN Belief Blog)
- J.K. Rowling knew a thing or two about alchemy before writing Harry Potter. Part I here. Part II here. (Religion Nerd)
- This Brooklyn landlord relies on a psychic to select potential tenants. And she apparently has a pretty high success rate. (Consumerist)
- The science behind Tibetan singing bowls. (BBC)
- Joining an occult order is a big decision. Here are some things to keep in mind. (The Magickal Universe)
- When putting together the Golden Dawn rituals, Israel Regardie might have left some things out. Great, something new for magicians to argue about. (Nick Farrell)
- Finally, for those who have wondered at how yacht-rockers Hall & Oates could have ever topped the charts, some suggest Daryl Hall’s affinity for Thelema is to blame for the duo’s success. Still no excuse for Air Supply. (Chicagoist)
Photo by djwudi.
Invocatio will be on vacation over the next few weeks so I can finish up the semester in style.
Never fear! There will be no interruptions to the weekly MMMs except, well, this one. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be digging into the archives to bring you the best articles that have made the weekly round-up over the past couple of years.*
In the meantime, here are some other posts that are a bit more long-form reads that may be of interest to you:
- Platonic Dualism and Gender
- Is Choosing Religion a Modern Phenomenon?
- I Like Big Butts: On The Ideal Woman in Antiquity
- Toronto’s Alchemical Building
- Love Spells, Prostitutes, and Poison
- Maimonides, Crowley, and Esoteric Blinds
- Lady Theurgists
- Ptolemy and the Problem of the Decans
This should be enough to tide you over for the next little bit. If not, I recommend you check out some of the blogs listed to your right to see what others are saying about religion, esotericism, and magic!
*Full disclosure: Some may not actually be “the best” but rather are “pretty good” or merely “ok.”
Photo by Cesar R.
- A British couple has outfitted their meditation room with a statue of Shiva, a devotional journal, and a full-fledged marijuana grow-op. (Gloucester Citizen)
- Bar Mitzvahs go glam. (National Post)
- 5 facts about atheists. Ironically, reason number three suggests they still believe in God. (Pew via @TeemuTaira)
- An excavated library in Asia reveals that Buddhists invented printing. (New Yorker)
- Can video games meet the criteria for full-fledged religion? (Critical Religion)
- Does Quebec’s proposal to separate church and state favour Christianity? (Academma)
- One nun shares her idea of what the afterlife is. Surprisingly, heaven is not an endless Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. (NPR)
- Occultism is so hot right now. (Newsweek via @AbraxasJournal)
- But is it so cool that hipsters are totally ruining it for everyone else? (Hot Dogma via @djp1974)
- Wouter Hanegraaff reviews Radical Platonism in Byzantium. (Creative Reading)
- Bibliobloggers attending the SBL/AAR should take this survey if you want to get to know your colleagues over drinks or maybe brunch. (Near Emmaus via Exploring Our Matrix)
- What’s up with Rabbis being so into magic? (PaleoJudaica)
- See what the Egyptian Goddess Hathor looks like–in colour! (Manchester Museum via @SakhmetK)
- The I Ching is a dark puzzle of infinite possibility; can also be used for divination. (Aeon)
- What happens when New Age “cults” are brought into the classroom? (Heterodoxology)
- Hey, it’s a movie about murderous, secretive, ancient Freemasons. (You Tube)
- Finally, some employees at Cleveland State University are upset that they received raises in the amount of $666. The professors are giving the university hell over what they see as a covert demonization of their work. Devil’s advocates say they had only good intentions and that all the fire-and-brimstone is unwarranted. (Chronicle)
Photo by jkatu.