What’s going on?

17 February 2016

This is like a Week in Review, except, well, it’s been more than a week, hasn’t it?

Hopefully, you’ve all bought Living Theurgy and enjoyed the heck out of it. Since then, a number of things have happened.

First, the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition, which I started in 2001 or so, ceased publication last year. All good things, etc. The site and its complete archives are still online at http://www.jwmt.org

I’ve been busy writing, too. I contributed a paper to The Gnostic issues 5 and 6. The paper in issue 5 is on Neoplatonism, which is, I’m sure, shocking to you all. The second is on alchemy as a kind of theurgy. It is sort of a refutation of Agrippa’s views on alchemy. Here are the links:

The Gnostic #5

The Gnostic #6

I’ve also contributed a chapter on what, for the moment, can only be referred to as the Super Secret Project of Doom. More on that when I’m allowed. Related to this, I will likely be contributing a chapter to a book on the Greek Magical Papyri. That’s a bit in the future, though, so there isn’t a lot to say about it at the moment.

I’m working on books, too. The first, which I’ve mentioned before, is a Theurgist’s Book of Hours. I’m actually pretty much done with this. However, I’d like an illuminated version of it, so I’ve been very slowly working on that. I’ll have some more free time after the summer, so that should kick into higher gear, then. The second is High Magic in the Age of Steam. This is an introduction to important forms of Victorian esotericism and alternative spirituality for steampunks. I’m about 95% done with the academic bits and and am working on a chapter on persona building. After that comes interviews and photography. It should be done before the middle of the year. After these, and maybe some serious arting, I’ve a book on Neoplatonic Neopythagorean in mind. Think of it as a prequel to Living Theurgy.

I think that’s about it for now. Be seeing you.

The Anagogic Role of Sunthemata in Pseudo-Dionysius

20 February 2015

I know what you’re thinking: More Pseudo-Dionysius! The following comes from my paper on this given at the annual Conclave of the . The original paper is available on academia.edu.

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

The Limits of Ontology: The Good and Evil in Pseudo-Dionysius

18 September 2014

Several weeks ago I promised to put up links to all five parts of my presentation on pseudo-Dionysian ontology, so here you go! The slide, which cannot be seen very well from the video, can be found here: http://d.pr/f/LAU9/1tD7w3Pe

What I’m doing now.

27 August 2014

Two posts in one day! I should probably slow down.

Anywho, with Living Theurgy out of the way, I am “free” to do all the other things I’m trying to do at once. In art, I now I have prints available of an icon I wrote of +Bernard-Raymond Fabré-Palaprat, the 19th century reviver or creator of the Johannite Church and founder or reviver of the Order of the Temple (yes, the Templars). The print is available from my Etsy store, which you can get to either from the link on the row above, or . I also have pocket watch chains, a Raphael the Archangel chaplet and some Viking weave earrings available. I do take custom orders, so feel free to contact me about such things. I may have Christian Rosenkruetz and Odin icon prints available in the nearish future.

Also, art-wise, I’ve taken up illumination, as in illuminated letters and manuscripts. I don’t have anything finished yet, but when I do I’ll put it up in the art gallery.

In the wonderful world of writing, I have two projects on which I’m currently working, and at least one more in queue. A few months ago I made some color version of Daniel Cramer’s so-called Rosicrucian emblems. Cramer was a 16th-17th century German Lutheran theologian. While I doubt Cramer was a Rosicrucian, his emblems are still quite useful for spiritual development and meditation, and not at all incompatible with Rosicrucianism. I’m in the process of writing a brief paper on Cramer, the emblems, and semiotics (reading/interpreting symbols) to go with the colored imaged. Once done I’ll see if anyone is interested in publishing the images as a deck of cards and the paper as an introduction to them. If not, I may self-publish them. More on that as I have it.

I’m also working on The Theurgist’s Book of Hours, as a sort of vague follow-up to Living Theurgy. While the book will include a relatively academicy section on liturgical calendars, the bulk will be prayers and hymns of my own writing, designed to move the therugist through the cycle of the year. This cycle is not based on the now common “Wheel of the Year” found in many forms of modern Paganism, but on a liturgical cycle developed by Gemistus Pletho, a 15th century reviver of Neoplatonism, and the man responsible for Marsilio Ficino ultimately being able to translate Plato, Aristotle, Proclus, Iamblichus, etc., into Latin from the original Greek.

On the back burner is High Magic in the Age of Steam. This is to be a combination of history and steampunk for those interested in Victorian era esoteric spirituality and occultism, with some bits on persona building an commentary by .

Well, that’s all for now. See you next year.

I jest. Honest.

On Books and Videos

27 August 2014

So . . . it’s been awhile. Its not you, its me. Honest.

Anywho, first, and probably most importantly, that Living Theurgy thing I’d been writing for three years or so? Yeah, that one. I’m done with that. Awhile ago. Also, it’s been published. By Avalonia Books. Which is, I must saw, awesome. You can get it either or . Your more awesome esoteric bookstores may carry it as well. If not, you could always ask them to, right?

Also, last year I gave a presentation at the Apostolic Johannite Church’s annual Conclave on ontology, good, and evil in pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. While the paper itself is available for download via academia.edu (https://www.academia.edu/3618989/The_Limits_of_Ontology_The_Good_to_Evil_in_Pseudo-Dionysius), the presentation was also video recorded. These videos are now in the process of being put on YouTube.

The first one is available here:

The second here:

When all five of them are available I will put them up in a single post.

Hey, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it?

19 April 2013

Hi folks,

So, how are things? The kids okay? Is that new hair cut? I dig the tattoo. Anywho, it’s been awhile. I’ve spent the last three-ish years writing a book on/of Iamblichean Neoplatonism. Three years is a long time. I blame the children. Well, the two and a half year old, anyway. I became a full-time stay at home dad and, if you are unaware of this, deep research on obscure topics and taking care of an infant are not fully compatible occupations. But its done now, all 99k words of it. Moreover, I sent out three book proposals/queries today. I’ve done this part with fiction before. It hasn’t really worked out the way I’d have liked, but such is life. Hopefully the non-fiction will work out better. Time will tell.

That’s pretty much all that’s really new with me. If Living Theurgy works out I have from two to four other books on related subjects I’d like to write, and there may be some more fiction in there somewhere as well. Assuming I can do all that, take care of the children, and teach at the same time.

What could go wrong?

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, a.k.a. Oh My God An Update!

16 March 2013

Crap! I mean, yeah! I’ve been tagged! My good friend, Shanah, all around awesome individual and writer, tagged me into The Next Best Thing Blog Hop.

My next bit thing may be a bit different, as I am currently writing non-fiction rather than my usual contemporary fantasy.

1. What is the working title of your next book?
When I write fiction, this is usually the first thing I try to come up with, as it sets a mood for the book. Then I end up changing it at the end to something that doesn’t suck. For the current WIP the title came by way of a book by Msgr. Jordan Stratford and his Living Gnosticism. Thus far, my book is title Living Theurgy: A Course in Iamblichus’ Philosophy, Theology, and Theurgy. The subtitle is subject to change at my whim. As is the main title, for that matter.

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?
I’m not certain there is a simple answer to this. I became interested in Neoplatonism some four or five years ago, focusing largely on the founder of “later” Neoplatonism, Iamblichus of Chalcis. What remains of which writings, which were copious, is largely fragmentary. Because of this it seems that no one has tried to systematize his teachings. There is a large gap here, and I’m trying to fill it as suitably as possible.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
Beyond a generic “non-fiction,” several. Philosophy, esotericism, theurgy, religion, theology. Any and all of those are appropriate. If there was a “thinks too much” genre, I’d put it there.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
This would either make for the most boring movie ever, or the most awesome. I have no idea who I’d cast as Iamblichus. Probably someone Syrian and in his mid-to-late-thirties.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Again, a tough one, as there isn’t a plot, being non-narrative fiction and all that. Something like The current subtitle probably works well, though.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Probably neither. While I am not planning to self-publish Living Theurgy there is also typically not a lot of call for an agent in esoteric publishing.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About two and a half years. Mind you, about six months in we had our second child, as I’m the stay-at-home-while-also-working-out-of-the-house dad, that meant a lot less time writing and a lot more time changing diapers. As the book is both non-fiction and scholarly, there was a great deal of research through primary and secondary texts, too.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
There is really nothing quite like this, specifically looking at Iamblichus. Probably the closest in the genre is Brian Hines’ Return to the One: Plotinus’ Guide to God-Realization, A Modern Exposition on an Ancient Classic, the Enneads. On re-reading that title, I’m pretty sure I need to make mine longer. Now, as a book not only on later Neoplatonism, but of Neoplatonism, I might optimistically compare it to Iamblichus’ De Mysteriis or Proclus’ Platonic Theology, but I would also likely be overly generous to myself in doing so.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Mostly it was the lack of such a book. These were things I wanted to know, and, frankly, its easier for me to keep it all sorted by writing it down, with several hundred citations and a eight page bibliography. If anyone else finds it useful, so much the better.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Well, in theory, this is the first of three books on the subject I plan to write. The second is a Neoplatonic Book of Hours, based loosely on the 15th century neo-pagan liturgical calendar reform of Gemistus Plethon but ranging beyond pagan Neoplatonism, much as does Living Theurgy. The third book is somewhat more theoretical. Living Theurgy is cap-stoned with a rite to invoke the personal daimon, sort of a guardian angel. This is one of the most important rites a theurgist undertakes. Beyond, this, however, is a ritual of assimilation to the Demiurge, variously Helios, Zeus, Christ, or a slew of other gods depending on the religious background of the practitioner. I am considering writing something on this to finish off the series, as it were.

Alright, now for my vict . . . nominee: Eric Satchwill. To simply plagiarize his web site:

Eric Andrew Satchwill is a writer living in his home town of Calgary, Alberta. Trans and unabashedly queer, he loves nothing more than to share his experiences, and learn about the experiences of others. He works predominantly in the realm of fantasy, but isn’t too choosy when a good story strikes. Eric took three years at the Alberta College of Art and Design and the visual arts will always have some place in his practice.

He has performed in the Miscellaneous Youth Network’s Fake Mustache drag king troupe for a number of years, as well as Demonika’s Metal A-Gore-Gore and Demonika’s Symphony Of Horrors 3. Exhibitions that he has shown in include The Artist Collective Event #2 at The Artlife Gallery,The Crysalis Project hosted by the Miscellaneous Youth Network at Art Central, and History of Wearable Art exhibition in Gallery 371 at the Alberta College of Art and Design.

Week in . . . Aw, let’s just catch up, shall we?

10 April 2012

Well, that didn’t last very long, did it? In my defense, this last week might have been the first in several without a sick child in the house. If you’ve never had small children, their colds are likely demonically inspired. However, as sleep is for the weak, we shall carry on.

The Chaos, my oldest daughter, was off from school last week, which means I got almost nothing accomplished. My Librarian will be out of town tomorrow and the day after, which means pretty much the same thing, though I might get a few paragraphs scrawled in Living Theurgy during the two hours the Chaos is at “half-day” pK4. I do not know in what world two and a half hours is half a day, but there it is.

I am on what may be the last chapter of the first main section of Living Theurgy, the Human Soul. I say may be because I’m not sure of the placement of one chapter yet. The chapter in question is on the curriculum of Iamblichus’ school of Neoplatonism, and possibly a general sort of curriculum for Neoplatonism, and whether it should go in the introductory section, along with the introduction and history chapters, or if it should go in the philosophy section. Either way, it is the next chapter to be written.

In various other parts of my life, I currently have four books sitting on my desk (well, okay, on my bookshelves) for review. Two of them will be reviewed for then ext issue of the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition and two are through LibraryThing. I promise to find time to read these. Honest. Also, we are now in the last week for submitting an abstract for the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition Conference. If you, or anyone you know, has any interest in presenting at this conference, please get your abstracts in no later than April 15th.

Tomorrow is the fifth class of the seven week course I’m teaching at Viterbo University. It is a small class, which is something I’m not quite used to, but it has been a good one with a good group of students. I am finding that I rather enjoy teaching an ethics class, though I am not certain how much my students enjoy me presenting far more questions than answers. Or that I keep saying it’s not really about what is quantitatively right and wrong but what leads the enquirer to a better life. However, as I typically teach religious studies rather than philosophy, this is more or less par for the course for me. That being said, in three weeks I’ll have over a dozen 8-10 page research papers and just as many 6-9 page final exams to read. As I’m the one making the assignments, I suppose I shouldn’t complain about that.

Oh, I also got to go gaming with friends with only one child. Which was cool. More gaming in a few weekends, this time with no children (thanks, Mom!) and with my Librarian, as a sort of early anniversary gift to ourselves. It’s the little things, you know?

So, how have you been?

Week in Review 3/18/12

27 March 2012

Last week saw a marked improvement in my back. It took all week for that to happen, but it did happen. I’d say I’m at around 85% in those regards. Writing-wise, I finished a draft of the chapter on the gods in Living Theurgy and got some good headway into the chapter on the rest of the superior beings (archangels on down to purified souls). Unfortunately, last week also saw the return of the crabby snotmonster that is my 15 month old with a cold while teething, which pretty much put a halt to any writing from Thursday on.

My second week of classes went well, and so far no one has dropped the class. Give that it is now week three, and I’m used to 15, not seven, week classes, its hard to believe we’re already almost half done. Which means I need to write a final to hand out for next week. Take home essays for the win? Well, the students liked the idea anyway. Then again, they haven’t seen the test yet.

How was your week?

Weeks in Review – 3/4/12 and 3/12/12

19 March 2012

You may have noticed a lacking of a Week in Review last week. At approximately this time last week, I was lying on the ground outside of my garage in something I can only describe as “excruciating pain.” In my desire to shrug off doing something productive for going for a walk, I did, well, something to my back. A trip few hours stay in urgent care, and a prescription for hydrocordone later, saw me at home “walking” with a cane. That’s pretty much what I did last week, excepting for beginning to teach a class on Ethics from the New Testament Gospels at Viterbo University. That, the mind numbing pain thing, not the Viterbo thing, is why I did write about the week before last week.

The week before last I did get some, though not a lot, of writing done. I am currently finished with drafts of the first five chapters of Living Theurgy and am working on the last section of the sixth chapter. I foresee two more chapters before finishing the first of the three sections of the book. The chapters of the first section are, tentatively, as follows:


Section I: Theologia
First Principles
The Spiritual and Natural Realms
The Demiurgos
The Greater Kinds: The Gods and Theology
The Greater Kinds: From Archangels to Heroes
The Human Soul and its Vehicle(s)

How were your week(s)?

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