In recent years underground filmmaker, author and occultist Kenneth Anger has added fashion maven to his multi-hyphenate resume with his tee-shirts and clothing endeavors. Now he’s taking his designer apparel to another level: Witness Anger’s new lightweight “Resort Collection” Lucifer Rising jacket, “ideal” he claims
“...for a midsummer night’s sorceries. The deluxe “Golden Scarab Edition” jackets are made with large embroidery on a vibrant satin material, as if they’d gone through a time machine more than a few times—landing someone in the next century.”
Although the satin ‘souvenir’ bomber has come into vogue recently with labels such as Louis Vuitton, Valentino and Saint Laurent, Kenneth Anger’s original design tops them all. Featuring a palette known locally as Hodos Chamelionis, or the Path of the Chameleon—the colors of the forces which lie beyond the physical universe, happens to be the Lucifer Brothers Workshop’s house mascot. Here, they are flitted over gold and black satin in a limited edition of 333 with labels signed by Kenneth Anger himself.
One of the intriguing residues of the near-simultaneous release of Blackstar and the sad passing of its creator was the apparent wardrobe callback Bowie threw into the video to “Lazarus.” In the video, Bowie is wearing a dark bodysuit with diagonal silver stripes, definitely a reference to Steve Schapiro’s famous “Kabbalah” photographs taken prior to the release of Station to Station in 1976 (see above). In the pictures, Bowie is shown drawing a sketch of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life on the floor.
Bowie’s references to Kabbalah are not limited to promotional pictures, however. In the title track of that album, Bowie sings the following lines:
Tall in this room overlooking the ocean
Here are we, one magical movement from Kether to Malkuth
There are you, you drive like a demon from station to station
“Kether” and “Malkuth” are two of the ten Sephirots in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. Not long after Station to Station came out, Bowie recorded “Breaking Glass,” which would appear on Low, in which the following line appears: “Don’t look at the carpet, I drew something awful on it, see.” Some people have taken that as a reference to Bowie’s habit of drawing the Tree of Life on floors around that time.
For a group exhibition called “Constructing The Self: David Bowie” at Vivid Gallery in Birmingham, England, Ferric Lux (real name: John Bradburn) has created a compelling short video called “The Mountain of Dead Selves” The video, which plays on a loop at the show, is “based on the occult themes of David Bowie’s album Station to Station,” according to the artist.
The exhbition website has this to say about the video:
‘The Mountain of Dead Selves’ is a six panel video work exploring the psychic states at play in the construction of Bowie’s 1976 album, Station to Station. The work explores Bowie as mystery school as much as art school.
“Bowie as mystery school”! That’s pretty great. I’ve gotten mildly obsessed with the video, trying to tease out how its six panels relate to the album’s six songs, which are, let’s recall, “Station to Station,” “Golden Years,” “Word on a Wing,” “TVC 15,” “Stay,” and “Wild Is the Wind.” Who knows if they match up one for one, but the fact of there being six panels, however, does seem significant.
Good news for Killing Joke fans: not only is the long-awaited documentary The Death and Resurrection Show finally coming to DVD (you can order it here), but drummer Big Paul Ferguson has unveiled his own jewelry line, too.
Ferguson’s company, Boneyard, offers rings and necklace pendants cast in sterling silver; there are also bracelets, one of them based on Tibetan Buddhist prayer beads, all of them marked with the Ouroboros. Images of skulls, occasionally wearing the cap of the Killing Joke jester, abound. Boneyard’s website explains:
Skull ’n’ Bones: The symbol of death, danger, warning. Adopted by outlaws, pirates and secret societies throughout history. Placed on tombs, poison bottles and flags to send the message of inherent threat. It is also a meditative tool used to ponder the transience of life and its impermanence.
The symbols are ubiquitous but the pieces are unique.
This classic example of WTF vintage television originally aired on The Today Show back in May, 1984.
The “Richard” this lady keeps referring to off camera is Richard Dominick, a guy who later worked as a producer for Jerry Springer, a fact that will surprise absolutely no one who watches this amazing clip.
You’ll note the distinctive lack of skeptical follow-up when she presents the “Satan Lives” toast to the camera. I guess what happens afterwards vindicates that approach.
Psychic TV’s shows, especially in their early years, had an intimidating sense of menace and dark energy. From the minute you walked in, you strongly got the impression that you were somewhere where you shouldn’t be. Early PTV shows were among the most mesmerizing, depraved, insane and just plain hair-raisingly scary concerts I’ve ever attended. I vividly remember seeing them at the Hammersmith Town Hall in fall of 1984 and deciding to step back from the front in case a winged demon materialized onstage and started flying around killing people. You think I’m joking, but I’m not. I didn’t want to be too close to that action, it was like an evil vortex was threatening to open up and suck the entire place into it. The whole thing was like the most twisted Hammer Horror version of what a demonic rock concert would be like. Yep, the best way to describe it would be to say that it was like being in a really weird, mind-bending horror movie, something so far beyond real life as to seem fictional almost.
In the group’s original incarnation Psychic TV included Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson and Genesis P-Orridge, both late of Throbbing Gristle. The other members were Paula P-Orridge, Alex Fergusson (formerly of Alternative TV), John “Zos Kia” Gosling and Geff Rushton, a.k.a. John Balance. At this time, the group’s sound was a unique mix of exotic instruments (like Tibetan thigh bones and tribal drums), vibraphone, Fergusson’s Velvet Undergroundy guitar drone, a hefty dollop of Throbbing Gristle’s painfully LOUD musique concrète and the various sonic elements we think of as defining the music of Coil, which, of course, Christopherson and Balance soon went on to form, not staying with PTV much beyond their classic 1983 album Dreams Less Sweet.
Another time I saw Psychic TV live it was in a disused synagogue in London’s Drayton Park earlier that same summer. The “security” were Hackney skinheads. There was no electricity in the abandoned temple, so they’d brought in a portable generator. The circular staircase was illuminated with candles. There was debris, bricks, beer bottles and broken glass everywhere. It was late July, hot, humid and the place smelled of human waste and urine. Genesis played an amplified violin, just sawing away at it, his atonal screeching providing the perfect soundtrack to watching ectoplasm form. It was more of an Aleister Crowley-type occult ritual than anything resembling a rock concert…
The renowned composer Nino Rota collected books and manuscripts on the occult. Rota was a child prodigy who went on to compose ten operas, five ballets and many, many choral and chamber pieces. He is now best known for his multi-award-winning film scores for The Godfather, Romeo and Juliet and Fellini’s 8½ and
When Rota died in 1979, a copy of a very strange occult manuscript Clavis Artis was discovered among his personal effects. Rota had purchased this illustrated text from a bookseller in Frankfurt. After his death it was donated to the Biblioteca dell’Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei where it can still be found today.
Rota’s copy of Clavis Artis is one of only three editions of the manuscript being currently held in Italy and Germany—only two of which are illustrated.
The Clavis Artis is an alchemical manuscript believed to have been produced in the late 17th or early 18th century—though the title page states the book was written in 1236 AD. The text is attributed to “Zoroaster (“Zarathustra”) the rabbi and Jew” who claimed to have written the book over “a dragon skin.”
R. et AC
Secret key for many covert operations
In the animal kingdom, the kingdom of metals
CORPUS. SOUL. SPIRITUS.
the rabbi and Jew
The original was written by the author
over a dragon skin
Following text was translated
from Arabic into German
in the Year of Christ
SVFR and AC
Zoroaster’s manuscript details various rites and practices relating to alchemy. It has been suggested the text may have been lifted from an earlier work, while its author “Zoroaster” may have been Abraham Eleazar—an occultist who wrote another alchemical text L’Uraltes Chymisches Werk in 1735. However both these manuscripts contain imagery to be found in an even earlier alchemical manuscripts by Nicolas Flamel—the man who allegedly found the Philosopher’s Stone.
Whatever the book’s provenance it is fair to say these illustrations from Clavis Artis are quite beautiful and strange.
More magical illustrations from the ‘Clavis Artis,’ after the jump…
It’s hot. It’s miserable. If you wash down a triple cheeseburger and a bucket of fries with a milkshake in this weather, you could die.
Why not whip up a batch of Mr. Gurdjieff’s special salad instead?
Gurdjieff’s teaching is very strange and doesn’t lend itself to summarization, but one of the fundamental ideas is that people are asleep and need to wake up. (Colin Wilson named his book on Gurdjieff The War Against Sleep.) Approached with care and full attention, all sorts of everyday tasks can aid in waking up, especially preparing and eating food. As Dushka and Jessmin Howarth—Gurdjieff’s daughter and her mother, respectively—explain in It’s Up To Ourselves:
Of all the examples Gurdjieff might have used to illustrate the essential aspect of his teaching, “quality of attention,” he chose the one experience that all human beings share: “When you do a thing, do it with the whole self, one thing at a time. Now I sit here and I eat. For me nothing exists in the world except this food, this table. I eat with the whole attention. So you must do—in everything. To be able to do one thing at a time—this is the property of man, not man in quotation marks.”
So if you eat this salad with the right kind of attention, maybe you’ll learn something. And if you believe John Shirley, Gurdjieff’s salad cured Frank Lloyd Wright’s gallbladder trouble, so maybe it will mend your aunt’s dyspeptic gut, too.
Gurdjieff at the dining table with his student, Lord Pentland
Gurdjieff’s niece, Luba, describes the preparation of the special salad in her Memoir with Recipes but does not give measurements or step-by-step instructions, presumably because Gurdjieff never made the salad the same way twice. She warns that preparing the dish takes all day and “costs the earth,” since you “put anything you can find” in it:
Chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, celery, any vegetables you can find — only raw vegetables. Not lettuce, because lettuce gets very soft. It used to have nuts in it; it used to have green olives you cut in pieces away from the stone; it used to have sometimes prunes in small pieces — it was like a dustbin. Chutney — he used to put lots of chutney. Sweet chutney that must be cut in small pieces, because chutney generally comes in nice big pieces. And he used to like those little green things in vinegar — capers. Twenty, thirty things used to go in that salad. Sometimes he would even put apples — any kind apples. I think he would put anything he could find in there.
There was always put in some tomato ketchup. I remember they used to bring it from England because we couldn’t find any in Paris. And dressing he just put on a little bit vinegar and then some oil.
The Howarths’ book gives its own recipe for the special salad, which you can find here, but this recipe from the Gurdjieff Foundation of Del Mar is the least intimidating of the bunch and certainly does not “cost the earth”:
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
4 very red tomatoes, diced in half inch pieces
2 cucumbers, diced in half inch pieces (pickling or goutas with the smaller seeds)
3-4 pickled cucumbers diced small
¾ cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1 cup pickle juice
¾ cup apple cider
¾ cup tomato juice
1 Tbsp tomato paste
3-4 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp white sugar
1 pint apple chutney, diced into ½” pieces
1 handful finely chopped parsley
1 handful finely chopped fresh dill
Salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika and curry powder to taste.
This recipe will serve twelve to fifteen people depending on the size of the portions. Since this is such a special dish (and it is also time consuming to dice all the vegetables), you will want to prepare this for company. However it does keep well for three or four days after it marinates, and I love having leftovers as the flavors get a bit stronger each day.
As you dice the vegetables add each of them to a large mixing bowl and mix. Add the juices, the tomato paste, the mustard, the sugar and the chutney and mix again. Add the parsley, dill and the seasonings. It should be pleasantly hot and spicy. Cover and marinate in a cool place for two days before serving. Add a bit of tarragon before serving.
In 1970, Alejandro Jodorowsky brought his adaptation of Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra to the stage in Mexico City. A creation for its time and place, Jodorowsky’s Zarathustra was a play for four men (A, B, C, and Zarathustra) and two women (D and E), all (eventually) nude on a bare, white stage. The script indicated that the actors were to stand at the entrance of the theater and talk with the audience before the action began; Jodorowsky’s Zen master, the monk Ejo Takata, sat on stage meditating for the two-hour duration of the performance.
My ambitions were becoming centered on the theater. Nevertheless, Ejo Takata’s teachings—to be instead of to seem, to live simply, to practice the teaching instead of merely reciting it, and knowing that the words we use to describe the world are not the world—had profoundly changed my vision of what theater should be. In my upcoming production, a theatrical version of Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, I had stripped the stage of its usual décor, including even curtains and ropes, and had the walls painted white. Defying censorship, the actors and actresses undressed completely on stage after reciting lines from the Gospel of Thomas: “The disciples asked him: ‘When will you be revealed, and when will we be able to see you?’ And Jesus said: ‘When you shed your clothing without shame, and when you take your jewels and cast them under your feet and trample them like little children, then will you be able to contemplate the Son of the Living One and have no more fear.’”
The production was a success, with full houses from Tuesday through Sunday. I then proposed to Ejo (without much hope) that he meditate before the public during the performance. To my astonishment, the master accepted. He arrived punctually, took his seat on the side of the stage, and meditated without moving for two hours. The contrast between the actors speaking their lines and the silent monk dressed in his ritual robes had a staggering effect. Zarathustra continued to run for a full year and a half.
Standing: Henry West, Brontis Jodorowsky, Héctor Bonilla, Micky Salas, Carlos Ancira, Isela Vega, Jorge Luke and Alvaro Carcaño. Sitting: Luis Urías, Valerie Jodorowsky (pregnant with Teo), Carlos (nicknamed “the hairy guy”), Alejandro Jodorowsky, Cristobal Jodorowsky and Susana Kamini.
So far as I know, you can’t watch a performance of Zarathustra on the web, but below, you can listen to the soundtrack LP recorded by the cast and the band Las Damas Chinas (Chinese Checkers), and if you open this link in another window, you can follow along in the script. Digital copies of the soundtrack are available from Paniques Records. It is, of course, entirely in Spanish, but that shouldn’t discourage anyone. These words from D’s song ring out in a universal tongue:
¡Mis piernas, mis dedos, mis pelos,
AAAmoor. . .!
Mi saliva, mi excremento, mi corazón. . .
(Translation: “My legs, my fingers, my hairs / Looove. . .! / My saliva, my shit, my heart . . .”)
While we’re on the subject of Alejandro Jodorowsky, don’t forget to give your money to the Indiegogo campaign for his upcoming feature Poesía Sin Fin (Endless Poetry). If you choose the “poetic money” perk, he’ll pay you back in bills of his own magical currency. Jodorowsky’s life and work are always cause for celebration.
Georg Bartisch dedicated his life to the study and treatment of the eye and its diseases.
Born in Königsbrück, Saxony in 1535, Bartisch was apprenticed to a barber surgeon at the age of thirteen. After three years training, he set off to ply his trade as an itinerant surgeon—carrying out operations, amputations, and diagnosing illness amongst the populace of Saxony, Silesia, and Bohemia.
Medicine at this time was still prone to a belief in the superstitious. Bartisch believed a patient could be diagnosed through their astrological chart or horoscope and that magic, astrology and indeed witchcraft itself played an important role in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
His main interest was ophthalmology. Though never academically trained, Bartisch excelled in his study of eye diseases and their cures, and was recognized as a leading expert in ocular medicine and surgery. One can imagine how brutal and painful such procedures would have been at this time when there was very poor hygiene and no anaesthetics.
Bartisch also believed myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism could be corrected by the wearing of masks rather than by the use of eyeglasses (see illustrations below). He believed a glass held in front of the eyes would only further damage the patient’s sight.
Though many of his ideas may seem strange to us now, Bartisch was a pioneer and his major contribution to ocular medicine was his compendium or “atlas” Ophthalmodouleia Das ist Augendienst published in 1583. It was the first book that detailed eye diseases and was responsible in establishing ophthalmology as a separate and distinct medical discipline.
Ophthalmodouleia Das ist Augendienst included sections on head and eye anatomy; strabismus; cataracts (which he classified by color—white, blue, gray, green, yellow, and black); external disease; trauma; and even witchcraft.
By 1588, Bartisch was oculist to the court of Duke Augustus I of Saxony. He died in 1607.
If you have an interest in the history of medicine, or are just a bibliophile, then you may be interested in viewing the whole of Georg Bartisch’s Ophthalmodouleia which has been digitized here.
The story, written by J. Guignol, draws inspiration from Death In June’s legendary songbook. Illustrator Tenebrous Kate turned the story into a comic book, and has lovingly hand-made each copy. The covers are hand-printed linocuts with gold ink on black paper. Limited numbered editions of 27 hard-bound and 50 soft-bound copies.
The glimpses of the book’s contents on the Soleilmoon website disclose runes, Gothic script, tiki mugs, and other totems of these men’s mythologies. I see that J. Guignol describes their assignation in the kind of prose Terry Southern used to call “brutally frank” and “frankly explicit”:
Boyd wanted to feel the tightness of Dougie’s anal swastika, he wanted to open the “brown book” of his love. Boyd began to pull Dougie’s pants down; his hot breath send [sic] shivers down Dougie’s spine as he whispered in his ear, “Put the mask on. You know I like it with the mask on.”