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.
2021/09/24Review of New Book on Neanderthals
The New York Times recently ran a review of the second book by archaeologist Rebecca Wragg Sykes, Kindred. The book collects and analyzes 170 years’ worth of research and speculation devoted to the hominid species Neanderthals and presents readers a comprehensive view contemporary perspectives on homo sapiens’ closest relative. The review begins:
“Kindred by the archaeologist Rebecca Wragg Sykes is a dense work, packed with information and interpretations that strongly challenge earlier conceptions of Neanderthals. Surprisingly, on the first page Wragg Sykes informs us that she will not introduce us to the scholars who have worked in the field over the past ninety years, because “there simply wasn’t the space to mention the names and affiliations of researchers for every site or piece of information.” To my astonishment, the book is also entirely unreferenced.”
Read the entire interview: https://nybooks.com/articles/2021/05/13/neanderthals-why-did-they-vanish/.
2021/09/23New Book On the Work of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola
Anathema Publishing has opened pre-orders for Celestial Intelligences Angelology, Cabala, and Gnosis: Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s Quest for the Perennial Philosophy by Greg Kaminsky. The publisher’s description says:
“The work of Renaissance philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola is both significant and interesting for a number of reasons. First, his writings provide both an approach to, and an understanding of, ancient wisdom traditions (philosophical and religious systems) and the way that we receive them in modern times. This is partly a discovery of how Western society and culture honors these traditions, but tends to be fundamentally disconnected from them in the course of daily life. Ultimately, this is a recognition that the esoteric traditions of the West are fragmentary at best, but also a realization that these fragments are our legacy and by working with them mindfully, we may still traverse a spiritual path that leads from delusion to wisdom. Second, studying Pico and his work reveals the manner in which a fundamentally Jewish esoteric doctrine and tradition –Kabbalah – was adapted and then adopted by Christian philosophers because it was a living, extant tradition and has a monotheistic character. Third, a close reading of Pico’s works reveals new insights into the ways that angels were thought of, and even worked with, in an esoteric and mystical manner Pico is a natural focus for all of these questions because his own work and writings places him not only at the center of these investigations, but also at the center of the rebirth of the Western esoteric tradition. Pico’s 900 Theses and subsequent Apologia (from which his Oration (on the Dignity of Man) is excerpted) contain the foundation for the rediscovery of Western esotericism from the mists of time along with the public declaration that magic and the Cabala were the keys to knowing the truth of religion, the world, and oneself. Pico’s own story of this discovery and the way in which he felt compelled to share it with the world are extraordinary and dramatic, so he is a most suitable vehicle for the expression of these ideas.
“Through his writings, we can understand the way in which Western esotericism had been relegated to the dustbin of history before Pico so boldly plucked it from the trash heap to exalt it as it should be. He exposed the manner in which we could see that there exist equivalences and correspondences in various traditions and schools of thought. This can be understood as a sort of syncretism, but also a way to understand that, on some level, truth can be expressed in different ways that may be more accessible to different people in different places at different times. Pico also shows us how a fully extant, living esoteric system can be adapted and appropriated if one feels righteous in doing so. It was the deficiency in Western esotericism that there was no living system as all the ancient religions were dead and gone – except for Judaism. All that was required was the Spanish Inquisition to convert some Kabbalists and then exile them to Italy where they translated for and tutored Pico. From there it was no great task to adapt the once Jewish Kabbalah to a now Christian Cabala. This conversion made all subsequent esoteric practice in the West really flourish and one could say that Pico’s adaptation of the Cabala is the act that has had more influence on Western esoteric thought and practice for the following 500 years and counting than any other.
“Lastly, Pico and his philosophy engages with angels and the orders of angels in unique ways to teach a system of thought and action – contemplation really – that is designed to lead to gnosis and/or theosis. The really beautiful thing about Pico’s system is that it perfectly mirrors all great mystical systems of the world in the specific methods that it employs. One of the things I really enjoyed was exploring how Pico’s explanation of how one goes from delusion to wisdom compared with Jewish Kabbalah, but there is ample territory to explore comparisons with many esoteric paths.”
pre-order here: www.anathemapublishing.com/store.
2021/09/22Why Contemporary Artists Are Embracing Spirituality in Their Work
Last month, Artsy.net pubished an article by Salomé Gómez-Upegui that addressed the question: “Why Contemporary Artists Are Embracing Spirituality in Their Work?” The piece begins:
“In recent years, we’ve witnessed renewed momentum surrounding spirituality in the art world. At museums, late artists who dove deeply into mysticism and religion are gaining posthumous attention. Perhaps the most famous example of this is Hilma af Klint, the 20th-century Swedish artist whose enthralling 2018–19 exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum became the most visited show in the institution’s history. More recently, Agnes Pelton, the mystical painter and member of the Transcendental Painting Group of Santa Fe, had a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2020. Pelton’s show, which originally debuted at the Phoenix Art Museum, was the first solo exhibition of the artist’s work in more than 20 years. And this growing interest around otherworldly forces and faith systems is also palpable among artists working today.”
Read the whole magilla:
2021/09/22POMEGRANATE: THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PAGAN STUDIES“The Pomegranate is the first International, peer-reviewed journal of Pagan studies. It provides a forum for papers, essays and symposia on both ancient and contemporary Pagan religious practices. The Pomegranate also publishes timely reviews of scholarly books in this growing field. The editors seek both new interpretations and re-examinations of those traditions marked both by an emphasis on nature as a source of sacred value (e.g., Wicca, modern Goddess religions) as well as those emphasizing continuity with a polytheistic past (e.g., Ásatrú and other forms of ‘reconstructionist’ Paganism). The editors also seek papers on the interplay between Pagan religious traditions, popular culture, literature, psychology and the arts.”
To order the most recent edition visit:
2021/09/21Cyprian Pamphlets For Cyprian DaysThe UK’s Hadean Press has a number of Cyprian pamphlets “for Cyprian days” on offer as pamphlets and digital editions (EPUB and Amazon kindle).Saint Cyprian: Saint of NecromancersNo figure in Catholic Christianity is surrounded by more mystery and confusion than that most obscure of saints, Saint Cyprian. Within these pages is information gathered directly from communion with Saint Cyprian himself, as well as knowledge passed down from other devotees of the saint of necromancers. Saint Cyprian: Saint of Necromancers contains translations of orisons, prayers, and incantations from Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.St. Cyprian & the Sorcerous TransmutationIn this Guide to the Underworld, Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold leads us down the path forged by St. Cyprian into the mysterious worlds of Umbanda and Quimbanda, where the metamorphosis of this unique saint finds expression in the line of Souls extending from Africa to the South Americas. Included are three workings from the The Book of the Sorceror as well as a detailed look at the ways in which Cyprian finally manifests in the shape of Exu Meia Noite.Cyprianic CartomancyThe system of cartomancy described in this booklet is taken wholly from The Book of St. Cyprian: The Sorcerer’s Treasure, translated and with extensive commentary by José Leitão, published in 2014 (Hadean Press). Cyprianic Cartomancy endeavours to clarify the methods of cartomancy found in The Book, and to make them available to those interested in this form of divination.Proceeds from this title will be donated to the Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network.You’ll find these goodies by scrolling down here: https://www.hadeanpress.com/shopOr searching on Amazon.com, etc. – as whim dictates.