Book Review: Western Paganism And Hermeticism

odal3

°°°°°°°

Western Paganism And Hermeticism:
Myatt And The Renaissance of Western Culture

Rachael Stirling (Editor)
44 pages. CreateSpace, 2017. ISBN 978-1986027809
BISAC: Philosophy / Metaphysics

The book is comprised of nine essays by various authors which deal with or which review David Myatt’s translations of Hermetic texts and his two recent books Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos and Tu Es Diaboli Ianua; plus – as an appendix – a reprint of Myatt’s relevant article Concerning ἀγαθός and νοῦς in the Corpus Hermeticum.

In her Preface, the editor – authoress of one of the essays in the book – succinctly expresses the raison d’etre of those Myatt books and translations of Hermetic texts, and also of the included essays, writing that

“Myatt’s thesis […] is that Western paganism is essentially the classical paganism of Ancient Greece and Rome and represents the ethos of the culture of the West, which ethos the Hebraic religion of Christianity supplanted. It is our view that those translations, the associated commentaries, and such books enable an insight into, and thus the evolution of, Western culture.”

She also quotes from one of those essays – Re-discovering Western Paganism – whose authors wrote that Myatt’s translations of classical and hermetic texts “when studied together enable us to appreciate and understand the classical, pagan, ethos and thence the ethos of the West itself.”

Collectively the essays present a decidedly new view of Western paganism which is contrary to that of Western neopagan revivals (sometimes described as contemporary Western paganism) and which neopagan revivals mostly devolve around ancient named gods and goddesses, such as those of Viking or Germanic mythology or those associated with Celtic legends of ancient Britain and Ireland. In addition, such modern revivals often involve romanticized rituals and ceremonies such as those now associated with the self-described Druids at Stonehenge during Summer Solstice sunrise at Stonehenge.

As the authoress of the eighth essay – A New Pagan Metaphysics – explains, referencing Myatt’s books Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos and Tu Es Diaboli Ianua as well as his essay From Mythoi To Empathy, this new view of Western paganism is an evolution, a move away from perceiving paganism in terms of mythology and legends to a modern philosophical, ethical, and rational understanding of it. This understanding is of καλὸς κἀγαθός – of nobility of personal character – and which Ancient Greek expression, according to Myatt, represents the ethos of not only Greco-Roman culture but also the non-Christian West. As Myatt notes in his Tu Es Diaboli Ianua, it involves

“an awareness and acceptance of one’s civic duties and responsibilities undertaken not because of any personal benefit (omni utilitate) that may result or be expected, and not because an omnipotent deity has, via some written texts, commanded it and will punish a refusal, but because it is the noble, the honourable – the gentlemanly, the lady-like, the human – thing to do.”

The book therefore takes us on a journey to a different – and for many of us to a new – world, far away from the religious attitudes of the old world as evoked, not only by Christianity, but also by neopaganism with its rituals, mythologies, polytheism and – in some manifestations – ‘magical’ spells, charms, and beliefs.

This new world is, as the authoress of the seventh essay – Suffering, Honour, And The Culture Of The West – makes clear, one where personal honour reigns manifesting as it does what is ethical and noble and ineluctably Western.

The book is highly recommended, despite its mere 44 pages, although given its large size of 8.5″ x 11″ (21.59 x 27.94 cm) – perhaps in homage to Myatt whose printed books are all a similar size – the page count in terms of a regular paperback is around 65 pages.

Kerri Scott
March 2018


Advertisements

Myatt’s Translation of Sappho

Sappho, depicted on Attic red-figure kalathos, c. 470 BCE. Provenance: Akragas (Sicily) and currently in Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Munich

°°°°°°°

Myatt – or rather, his translation of some of the fragments of the poetry of Sappho as recorded by Mr Richard Moult et al under the titles Sappho: Poetic Fragments I, II, III – gets a mention in a chapter of the book Orienting Feminism: Media, Activism and Cultural Representation published by the academic press Palgrave Macmillan in 2018. The chapter in question (pp.137-153) is by Siobhan Hodge and titled Sappho in Cyberspace.

For the curious, here is a copy of David Myatt’s translation of Sappho: https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/sappho-poetic-fragments-v1.pdf

For the even more curious, the recordings by Moult et al are available (as of March 2018) at (i) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdAVliim57c and (ii) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uARVfV7mngs and (iii) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHKfNVzKSkc


Image credit:
Sappho, depicted on Attic red-figure kalathos, c. 470 BCE.
Provenance: Akragas (Sicily) and currently in Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Munich


Western Paganism And Hermeticism, Third Edition

De Vita Coelitus Comparanda

°°°°°°°

The third edition of the compilation Regarding Western Paganism And Hermeticism is now available. It includes two additional articles On Native Egyptian Influence In The Corpus Hermeticum, and A New Pagan Metaphysics.

The compilation is of recent articles about Western paganism and hermeticism, indebted as those articles are to Myatt’s translations of texts from the ancient Corpus Hermeticism and his post-2013 writings such as his book Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos. Myatt’s thesis in that book is that Western paganism is essentially the classical paganism of Ancient Greece and Rome and represents the ethos of the culture of the West, which ethos the Hebraic religion of Christianity supplanted. It is our view that those translations, the associated commentaries, and such books enable an insight into, and thus the evolution, of Western culture.

Regarding Western Paganism And Hermeticism
(pdf)

°°°°°°°°°

Contents:

° Preface
° Re-discovering Western Paganism
° An Insight Into Pagan Mysticism
° Regarding Myatt’s Hermetica
° The Divine Pymander
° Myatt’s Monas – A New Translation of Corpus Hermeticum IV
° On Native Egyptian Influence In The Corpus Hermeticum.
° Suffering, Honour, And The Culture Of The West
° A New Pagan Metaphysics

Appendix I – Concerning ἀγαθός and νοῦς in the Corpus Hermeticum
Appendix II – A Review Of Myatt’s ‘Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos’

°°°°°

All the articles included in the book were issued under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license, which license allows for both commercial and non-commercial republication under the terms of that license.


Image credit:

The beginning of the twenty-sixth chapter of the book De Vita Coelitus Comparanda by Marsilii Ficini published in 1489 CE. Quomodo per inferiora superioribus exposita deducantur superiora, et per mundanas materias mundana potissimum dona. [How, when what is lower is touched by what is higher, the higher is cosmically presenced therein and thus gifted because cosmically aligned.]


A Review of Tu Es Diaboli Ianua

De Vita Coelitus Comparanda

The 39 page essay which is spectacularly titled Tu Es Diaboli Ianua {1} is David Myatt’s latest philosophical offering. In his Exordium – a preface by any other name – he outlines the questions which he answers in the essay. The questions are

“is Christianity a suitable presencing of the numinous… If it is not, then could that religion be reformed, by developing a Johannine Weltanschauung…Would such a reformation be a suitable presencing of the numinous, and if not, then what non-Christian alternatives – such as a paganus metaphysics – exist, and what is the foundation of such an alternative.”

He writes that the essay compliments his book Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos.

While his answers are somewhat convoluted and decidedly scholarly and thus other-worldly – given the copious quotations in ancient and Hellenic Greek and his own translations – he raises many interesting issues relevant to the “real world” which most of us inhabit. For he writes that

“the problem is – or so it seems to me – in impersonal written texts. Or, more precisely, in denotatum, and thus in assigning terms – in using words – to describe an apprehension of the numinous. Which leads us to the fundamental difference between a religious apprehension of the numinous – based on received and venerated texts, on exegesis – and the paganus apprehension of the numinous as manifest in Greco-Roman culture.”

And also that

[Greco-Roman] “paganism will be examined for two reasons. Firstly, because it is manifest in a multiplicity of primary sources – from Homer to Hesiod to Cicero and beyond – and secondly because Greco-Roman culture is inextricably bound to the culture of the West and formed the basis for the European Renaissance that emerged in the 14th century, one aspect of which was a widespread appreciation of classical Art, of classical literature, and of texts such as the Corpus Hermeticum.”

Having criticized Christianity, he also declaims that an important aspect of Greco-Roman paganism is a respect for ancestral custom, writing in the last section of the last chapter that the new ‘numinous metaphysics’ he proposes includes “a spiritual and interior (and thus not political) understanding and appreciation of our own Ancestral Culture.”

Which statement about Western ancestral culture is profoundly “politically incorrect” and will be music to the ears of those few intellectuals who still champion the culture of the West.

That said, the essay is not without its problems. One is that given the copious quotations in ancient and Hellenic Greek it is, as with his book Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos, difficult to classify and difficult to discern who the intended audience is. As we wrote in our review of that book, “many of those interested in Western paganism as a new way of life or as a modern, non-Christian, spirituality may find [this essay] too academic or too boring; while those academically interested in such matters will doubtless turn to other authors given Myatt’s experiential Faustian quests, his iconoclasm, his often underserved reputation, and thus his exclusion from academia.”

Personally, we think Myatt is simply making publicly available the result of his metaphysical questioning while also, as with his Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos, intending this new essay for those few Western individuals who, interested in re-discovering their Western pagan heritage, having been looking for the intellectual foundations of that pagan culture.

A second problem is that his conclusion – his description of his new pagan metaphysics – is brief to the point of almost being obscure, occupying as it does a short statement in the final paragraph, with no explanations provided.

But perhaps, given Myatt’s criticism of denotatum (words, and naming, by any other name) and his statement that “the culture of pathei-mathos has moved us, or can move us, beyond anthropomorphic deities, whether male or female; beyond myths and legends; beyond reliance on texts regarded as sacred and/or as divinely inspired; and even beyond the need for denotatum and religion” then this short statement that such “is the numinous” is all that is required.

R.S & K.S
December, 2017

{1} A copy of Myatt’s essay is available here: https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/tua-es-diaboli-ianua-v3c.pdf


Image credit: The beginning of the twenty-sixth chapter of the book De Vita Coelitus Comparanda by Marsilii Ficini published in 1489 CE


Remembering Mr Myatt

the-green-damask-room1

Given his age – three score years and more – then someday, and perhaps not that distant, Mr David Myatt, now a reclusive mystic, will most assuredly be gone from our mortal realm. So how should, how will, Myatt be remembered?

For his five-decade long Faustian peregrinations: neo-nazi activist and ideologue; monk; radical Muslim, and, finally, a philosopher of pathei-mathos? {1}

For his alleged founding of and involvement with the Order of Nine Angles, ending as described in the ‘last writings’ of Anton Long? {2}

For his Greek translations ranging from Homer, to Aeschylus, to Sophocles, to Sappho, {3} to the Corpus Hermeticum {4} and the Gospel of John? {5}

We present here three different and personal views.

°°°°°

{1} https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/myatt-mystic-philosophy-second-edition.pdf
{2} https://omega9alpha.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/esoterikos-the-enigmatic-truth.pdf
{3} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/about/greek-translations/
{4} https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/myatt-eight-tractates-print.pdf
{5} https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/gospel-of-john-1-5.pdf

°°°°°°°

Poetry

For myself I choose his poetry. Or rather those ‘four forgotten poems’ and that compilation of his poems – titled Relict – which he himself compiled {1}{2}. For there is humanism, a numinosity, the ethos of our Western civilization, presenced in such semi-autobiographical poems as are collected there. As well as the quintessence of what, post-2012, became his mystical, his very personal, his decidedly Western and decidedly pagan, ‘philosophy of pathei-mathos’.

Thus if he is to be remembered it should, perhaps, be for such so very human, so very civilized, poems. For such poems are such an eloquent rebuke to those who have attempted – or who for private or for political reasons may well continue to attempt – to besmirch him.

Richard Stirling
2017

(1} https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/relict-poems-david-myatt.pdf
(2} https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/2013/01/27/four-forgotten-poems/

°°°°°°°°°

Greek Translations

We choose his Greek translations, and in particular his translations of and his commentaries on tracts from the ancient Corpus Hermeticum collected together in one book: Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates. 2017. ISBN-13: 978-1976452369.

For nearly two decades, from the early 1990s, his translations of Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Sappho, were used by several universities around the world as part of their undergraduate courses in Classics or in the Humanities. {1} One American High School even staged a performance of his Antigone.

Then some rabid Myatt-hater, around 2006, and as part of his anti-Myatt crusade took it upon himself to contact – by e-mail or by letter – all the institutions of higher learning that he could find that used Myatt’s translations. He informed them of Myatt’s neo-nazi past, made accusations regarding involvement with Satanism, and cited Myatt’s then support for the Taliban and al-Qaida. Most institutions silently dropped Myatt from their curriculum. Thus, one more triumph – unfortunately – for the status quo: for the Magian and their allies. But they have now had their day; the writing is on the wall and it reads Δίκα δὲ τοῖς μὲν παθοῦσιν μαθεῖν ἐπιρρέπει.

Three Wyrd Sisters
2017 ev

{1} Among those who used his translations were Professor Dusan Pajin; Professor Michael Lienesch; Sogang University, Korea; The University of Reading, England; Rio Hondo College; and Suffolk University in the USA.

°°°°°°°

Lapis Philosophicus

It is my view that Myatt – under the nom-de-plume Anton Long – is one of the most innovative of modern occultists and one of the few to actually attain (rather than to delusionally award themselves) the grade of Magus.

Remembered because for over four decades he has been on an Occult quest – an anados – involving practical experience of both the sinister and the numinous and has, in recent years, found Lapis Philosophicus as explained in the Living The Final Apprehension section of the text Myatt, The Septenary Anados, And The Quest For Lapis Philosophicus {1}.

Thus, the practical, hard, testing, elitist, Seven Fold Way – to wisdom – that he has created {2} is and should be his legacy.

R. Parker
2017

{1} https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/o9a-myatt-lapis-philos-v1.pdf
{2} https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/complete-o9a-guide/


Image credit: The Green Damask Room. A Painting by Richard Moult.


Regarding Western Paganism And Hermeticism

De Vita Coelitus Comparanda

°°°°°°°

We present here a selection of recent articles about Western paganism and hermeticism, indebted as those articles are to Myatt’s translations of texts from the ancient Corpus Hermeticism and his post-2013 writings such as his book Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos. Myatt’s thesis in that book is that Western paganism is essentially the classical paganism of Ancient Greece and Rome and represents the ethos of the culture of the West, which ethos the Hebraic religion of Christianity supplanted.

Regarding Western Paganism And Hermeticism
Third Edition (pdf)

°°°°°°°°°

Contents:

° Preface
° Re-discovering Western Paganism
° An Insight Into Pagan Mysticism
° Regarding Myatt’s Hermetica
° The Divine Pymander
° Myatt’s Monas – A New Translation of Corpus Hermeticum IV
° On Native Egyptian Influence In The Corpus Hermeticum.

Appendix I – Concerning ἀγαθός and νοῦς in the Corpus Hermeticum
Appendix II – A Review Of Myatt’s ‘Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos’
Appendix III – A New Pagan Metaphysics.

°°°°°

N.B. All the articles included in the book were issued under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license, which license allows for both commercial and non-commercial republication under the terms of that license.


Image credit:

The beginning of the twenty-sixth chapter of the book De Vita Coelitus Comparanda by Marsilii Ficini published in 1489 CE. Quomodo per inferiora superioribus exposita deducantur superiora, et per mundanas materias mundana potissimum dona. [How, when what is lower is touched by what is higher, the higher is cosmically presenced therein and thus gifted because cosmically aligned.]


De Vita Coelitus Comparanda

De Vita Coelitus Comparanda

Editorial Note: Given Myatt’s interesting mention, in his 2017 book Classical Paganism and The Christian Ethos, {1} of the work De Vita Coelitus Comparanda by Marsilii Ficini published in 1489 CE, we publish here an extract from ONA Esoteric Notes XLVII – issued in 2016 – and which Esoteric Notes were included in the O9A compilation The Esoteric Hermeticism Of The Order Of Nine Angles {2}.

The illustration above is of the relevant page of Ficini’s book.

°°°°°°°

ONA Esoteric Notes XLVII

De Vita Coelitus Comparanda

The twenty-sixth – and last – chapter of the book De Vita Coelitus Comparanda by Marsilii Ficini published in 1489 CE has as its heading Quomodo per inferiora superioribus exposita deducantur superiora, et per mundanas materias mundana potissimum dona. [How, when what is lower is touched by what is higher, the higher is cosmically presenced therein and thus gifted because cosmically aligned.]

As Ficini goes on to explain – Est igitur non solum corporeus, sed vitae insuper et intelligentiae particeps. Quamobrem praeter corpus hoc mundi sensibus familiariter manifestum latet in eo spiritus corpus quoddam excedens caduci sensus capacitatem – the world (mundus) and by extension we ourselves as part of the world are not only material (corporeal) but also imbued with the vitae [Life; Being; ψυχή] and the intelligentiae [apprehension] of that which is above; and that beyond obvious outer appearances there is a hidden, an inner, animating [spiritus] aspect which our ‘lower’, more mundane, senses are unaware of.

All of which, based as it is on the writings of earlier authors such as Iamblichus, is a rather succinct summary of one of the fundamental principles of the weltanschauung that underlies ancient esoteric arts such as alchemy, astrology, and magick. That – as Ficini explained in earlier chapters, such as in chapter sixteen in respect of images/objects/talismans – the animating forces of the cosmos, as symbolized by the seven classical planets and the twelve classical heavenly constellations, not only affect us but can be consciously presenced, drawn down in a beneficial way, into objects and into ourselves.

That the Order of Nine Angles (O9A, ONA) has the same underlying ancient weltanschauung is obvious if the above is restated using the modern terminology of the O9A. Thus, (a) how when what is causal is touched by what is acausal [when a nexion is opened], the acausal is presenced within the causal thus producing changes in the causal; (b) the septenary Tree of Wyrd – with its planetary, stellar, and other esoteric correspondences as outlined in text such as Naos – since it is imbued with the acausal [is a nexion] is a beneficial presencing of those acausal energies that non-initiates are unaware of or disdain.

This ancient – essentially Greco-Roman – weltanschauung formed an essential part of the European Renaissance, as the life and writings of people such as Marsilii Ficini attest. Thus one might well suggest that the Order of Nine Angles embodies – at least in part – the spirit that animated that European Renaissance. An embodiment in the O9A manifest in their elitist and cultured ethos; a cultured ethos which neglected O9A texts such as (i) Culling As Art, (ii) The De-Evolutionary Nature of Might is Right, and (iii) The Gentleman’s and Noble Ladies Brief Guide to The Dark Arts, explain.

°°°°°°°°°

{1} The book is reviewed at https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/2017/11/09/review-of-myatts-classical-paganism-and-the-christian-ethos/

{2} The O9A compilation is available as a pdf file from: https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/the-esoteric-hermeticism-of-the-order-of-nine-angles/