Zero Equals Two is a blog on magical news and culture sponsored by U.S. Grand Lodge, O.T.O. A diverse collective of contributors comb the worlds of magick, art, science, history, philosophy, and more every day for articles and events of interest to Thelemites and other modern free-thinkers and explorers, collecting them on this blog for your enjoyment.
2020/09/24Hadean Press Opens Pre-Orders for Sepher Yetzirah Magic
UK publisher Hadean Press is announcing the opening for pre-orders of David Rankine’s Sepher Yetzirah Magic. Their posting says:
“It is with great pleasure that we announce the opening of the pre-order window for the hardcover edition of David Rankine’s Sepher Yetzirah Magic: Magic and Meditations derived from the first and greatest Qabalistic Work. The image shown here is of course the cover mock-up; the book is printing now and we expect delivery on 9 October 2020, although the official release date is 27 October which is when the paperback and digitals editions will be made available.
“The Sepher Yetzirah stands as the foundation work of Kabbalah, a mystical and magical text which establishes the cosmology and roots of the tradition. It emphasises the symbol set of the Hebrew alphabet and expresses language as the liminal medium which unites emanation and manifestation. Sepher Yetzirah Magic is a stand-alone work which requires no previous knowledge of Kabbalah and presents a collection of practical magical and meditational techniques for solitary and group practice.
“The hardcover edition is printed on 120gsm offset litho in black and white throughout, section sewn with Wibalin black endpapers and covered in Metal X-Brush Byzantine cloth with black foil lettering on cover and spine. For more information about this title, including the table of contents, please click through to the shop page.
“David Rankine is well-known among practitioners and researchers alike. He has been making major contributions to the modern occult revival since the 1980s, through lectures, workshops, presentations, articles and books. His esoteric expertise covers a wide range of topics, including the Western Esoteric Traditions, especially the Qabalah, the Grimoire tradition, Greco-Egyptian magic and Ceremonial Magic, as well as British Folklore and European Mythology. This is his second title with us, and we are thrilled to be publishing his latest work.”
2020/09/24British Museum Opens Exhibit on Tantra Today
Today the British Museum (that’s in London, y’all) opens “Tantra enlightenment to revolution,” a new exhibit that runs through January 24 next year. Their description says:
“A philosophy originating in medieval India, Tantra has been linked to successive waves of revolutionary thought, from its sixth-century transformation of Hinduism and Buddhism, to the Indian fight for independence and the rise of 1960s counterculture.
“Centering on the power of divine feminine energy, Tantra inspired the dramatic rise of goddess worship in medieval India and continues to influence contemporary feminist thought and artistic practice. From its inception to the present day, Tantra has challenged political and sexual norms around the world.
“Elements of Tantric philosophy can be found across Asia’s diverse cultures, but it remains largely unknown – or misrepresented – in the West. The exhibition showcases extraordinary objects from India, Nepal, Tibet, Japan and the UK, from the seventh century AD to the present, and includes masterpieces of sculpture, painting, prints and ritual objects.”
“From its inception to the present day, Tantra has challenged religious, cultural and political norms around the world. A philosophy that emerged in India around the sixth century, Tantra has been linked to successive waves of revolutionary thought, from its early transformation of Hinduism and Buddhism, to the Indian fight for independence and the rise of 1960s counterculture.
“The Sanskrit word ‘Tantra’ derives from the verbal root tan, meaning ‘to weave’, or ‘compose’, and refers to a type of instructional text, often written as a dialogue between a god and a goddess. The exhibition features some of the earliest surviving Tantras (see image below). These outline a variety of rituals for invoking one of the many all-powerful Tantric deities, including through visualisations and yoga. Requiring guidance from a teacher, or guru, they were said to grant worldly and supernatural powers, from long life to flight, alongside spiritual transformation.
“Many texts contained rituals that transgressed existing social and religious boundaries – for example, sexual rites and engagement with the taboo, such as intoxicants and human remains. Tantra challenged distinctions between opposites by teaching that everything is sacred, including the traditionally profane and impure.
The rise of Tantra
“The development of Tantra in medieval India coincided with the rise of many new kingdoms across the subcontinent after the breakdown of two major dynasties, the Guptas in the north and the Vakatakas in the southwest. Although this led to political precariousness, there was also a great flourishing of the arts. Many rulers were drawn to Tantra’s promise of power and public temples often incorporated Tantric deities as guardians.
“This included the Tantric Hindu god Bhairava. He famously decapitated the orthodox creator god Brahma to show the superiority of the Tantric path and used his skull as a begging bowl. Early Tantric practitioners (Tantrikas) emulated his fearsome and anarchic appearance in order to ‘become’ him, while rulers worshipped him in order to strengthen their political positions.
“One of his early followers was the poet-saint Karaikkal Ammaiyar, who abandoned her role as an obedient wife to become his follower. Tantric initiation was open to people from different social backgrounds. This challenge to the caste system made Tantra especially appealing to women and the socially marginalised.
Divine feminine power
“The Tantric worldview sees all material reality as animated by Shakti – unlimited, divine feminine power. This inspired the dramatic rise of goddess worship in medieval India. Tantric goddesses challenged traditional models of womanhood as passive and docile in their intertwining of violent and erotic power. Their characteristics were tied to a uniquely Tantric tension between the destructive and the maternal.
“The seductive but dangerous Yoginis were shapeshifting goddesses who could metamorphose into women, birds, tigers or jackals as the mood took them. Initiated Tantrikas sought to access their powers, from flight and immortality to control over others. The Yogini above is part of a group that would have once been enshrined in a Yogini temple. Her earrings are made of a dismembered hand and a cobra, and she has fangs.
“The Yoginis were believed to offer protection to kingdoms against epidemics or enemy forces and assist in the acquisition of new territories. Most Yogini temples were circular and unique in their roofless design – you can see an example below. The exhibition will feature an immersive and imaginative recreation of this space.”
For more information or to book your ticket: https://www.britishmuseum.org/exhibitions/tantra-enlightenment-revolution.
2020/09/23Weiser Antiquarian Catalogue 253: Witchcraft – Ancient & Modern
Weiser Antiquarian booksellers has published a new Catalogue, #253: Witchcraft – Ancient & Modern. Titles include:
BODIN, Jean [ I. Bodin Angevin ]. An original matted, title-page of “De la Demonomanie des Sorciers” [ Page de titre seule / Title Page Only ].
Chez Estienne Prevosteau: Chez Estienne Prevosteau, 1598. Edition Derniere [ “Last Edition” – actually probably the Fourth Edition ]. An original mounted title page [ONLY] from an early edition of Jean Bodin’s “De la Demonomanie des Sorciers” (1598). “Demonomanie” was of course a major work in the history of witchcraft persecutions. The author, Jean Bodin (1530-1596) was a noted lawyer and author. His “Demonomanie” was drawn from his own experience as a judge, as well as other contemporary accounts of witchcraft, and was written to assist other members of the judiciary who were dealing with cases of witchcraft. Bodin was one of the first writers to attempt a legal definition of witchcraft, and sought to explain what the motivated witches, and how they could best be identified. Despite having a reputation as something of a liberal in other spheres, Bodin had no tolerance when it came to suspected witches, and he advocated vigorous interrogation, torture, sentencing and execution of the accused, regardless of the age or infirmity of the accused. The book was disturbingly popular: the First Edition was published in 1580, the second edition in 1582, with the 1598 edition from which this title-page was taken probably thre fourth or fifth. The title-page appears to have been cropped, without loss of text, at the bottom margin and measures approximately 5 1/8 inches x 3 3/8 inches and is mounted in a modern cream-coloured acid-free mount (outer size is 10 x 8 inches), with foam backing board, ready for framing. The mat is fine – as new. The size (10 x 8 inches) is a standard US frame size, and ready made frames into which it can be inserted are widely available. It shows a few light creases and spots, and is somewhat darkened, and is a little chipped at the edges. Overall VG condition and a rare original memento of the original European witch-hunting craze, at a fraction of the price that the actual work itself would cost. It comes with a certificate of authenticity and is guaranteed original and from the 1598 edition, and is thus over 400 years old. Item #66861
Check ’em all out!
2020/09/23BBC Mini Documentary on Polyamory at the Oneida Community
The BBC has produced a short documentary on the the Oneida Community. Founded by John Humphrey Noyes, the community’s ethos was based in the belief that Jesus’ Second Coming had happened in 70AD and that the Kingdom of God on Earth had been established … but still needed to be rendered fully functional, a task they dedicated themselves too. The community practiced communism and polyamory. It was part of a utopia movement with a decisive mystical undercurrent that likely had a large impact on the magical orders that arose during that time like the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor and those that followed including the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Ordo Templi Orientis, etc. And YES – at a certain point the community sought to support itself by the manufacture of silverware bearing its name, which is still being produced.
Have a look!
2020/09/22The Knights Templar in Poland
CNN Travel recently ran an article about the presence of the Knights Templar in Western Poland. An excerpt of the article reads:“It’s here [Chwarszczany] that the Templars established a place of worship.“Constructed of red bricks on a base of granite, the chapel of Saint Stanislaus was built in 1232 on a secluded spot.“The chapel is laid out according to the Rule of the Templars, an intricate codex that the knights obeyed under fear of banishment from the brotherhood. The building’s appearance is defensive, its tall walls built to withstand attack, as well as the ravages of time.”