Wednesday, 5 October 2022

liber null & the psychonaut (10. 196)

Courtesy of Boing Boing, we are given a chance to revisit artist, occultist and acolyte Austin Osman Spare through a campaign to reprint the tarot, cartomancy deck of his design. Spare’s fusion of the mystic and the symbolic prefigure—to some—the surrealist movement, and considered a foundational figure in the realm of Chaos Magic, Spare used magical techniques including automatic drawing and sigilisation as a heuristic to explore how the conscious and unconscious mind inform and influence one another. A growing disdain for Aleister Crowley and his Thelemite followers issuing from what Spare saw as ceremonial and performative magic caused him to split from that side of the occult and focus his studies on psychoanalysis and meditation, triangulating those fields with his particular theories on evolution that freighted much on desire, repression and aspiration. Much more on Spare’s cartomancy and other forms of divination at the links above.

Saturday, 1 October 2022

castillo del diablo (10. 184)

While visiting Rosarito in Baja California, friend of the blog, Fancy Notions, stumbled upon a most usual six-storey beach house bedecked with gargoyles and monstrous statuary and crammed to the brim with antiques that is yet uncompleted obsession of a real estate developer called Tony Wells. This Gothic residence chocked full of period furnishings, coffins and chandeliers has become quite the draw for tourists and there are plans to convert property into a museum, relenting to the throngs of visitors who wanted a peek inside. Much more at the link above.

Saturday, 30 July 2022

7x7 (10. 025)

spectacular vernacular: 99% Invisible celebrates milestone episodes with an exploration of vintage architectural styles, via Pasa Bon!  

conlang: fluency in Esperanto—see previously  

122 CE: a colourful gate house installed at Hadrian’s Wall 

the electric lucifer: the musical stylings of Bruce Haack 

civic duty: a resonant “I Voted” sticker for Ulster County, New York

isochrone: an interactive map illustrates how far one can travel from any European train station in under five hours 

la maison sculptรฉe: Jacques Lucas’ hand-sculpted home in Rennes

Thursday, 19 May 2022

riches & poverty, a tree of misery

Previsioning zines and other aspects of cut-up culture, William Blake’s (previously) incredible acumen for printing and engraving as compliment to his prose are best illustrated and enabled by his 1827 engraving and etched print of Laocoรถn—replete with tags touching all aspects of day-to-day life, both the sacred and the mundane and an earnest attempt at finding syncretion. More at Open Culture at the link above. All is not Sin that Satan calls so.

dunstanus

With a wildly popular cult following until eventually being overshadowed by the martyred Thomas Becket, Saint Dunstan, cleric, scribe, artist, blacksmith, brewer and advisor to many kings is feted on this day on the anniversary of his death in 988 (*909). Entering monastic life in the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey in the company of Irish monks who occupied the site, young Dunstan excelled at all forms of craftsmanship and scholarship and was soon appointed to the court of Athelstan. Palace intrigues ensued and other courtiers grew jealous of the noviciate’s influence and sought to disgrace Dunstan with accusations of witchcraft. Distaste for politics caused Dunstan to return to Glastonbury and build a small hermitage and during this interlude before eventually being recalled to London and then acclaimed archbishop of Canterbury as he got to know God, Dunstan reportedly developed a relationship with the Devil as well, rebuffing temptation several times, arranging for the late frosts of Franklin Nights (to fall around his future feast day) to spoil the cider harvest so his own beer might be more in demand and at the Devil’s request shod and unshod one of his hooves. The ill-advised experience turned out to be too painful for the Prince of Darkness and is apparently an enduring trauma as he cannot pass through a threshold under a horseshoe—the origin supposedly of the lucky symbol.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Via Boing Boing, we are directed towards a mysterious, little used symbol on the Miscellaneous Technical block of Unicode known variously as Right Angle Downward Zig-Zag Arrow or by the name of an apocryphal (not on our demonic calendar but nonetheless can be summoned with an & into HTML) infernal earl called Angzarr, and going down this rabbit hole to find out more about the character (see previously) reveals a lot about the origins of typesetting, coding and what artefacts and skeuomorphs get preserved. No definitive answer is yielded up yet the value is all in the journey and of course one can—like with a suite of emoji—assign it a meaning. To me the sigil looks like a representation of three-dimensional axes and an easy way to convey depth. What do you think?

Saturday, 2 April 2022

6x6

un robot quadrupede al servizio dell’archeologia: SPOT to patrol ruins of Pompeii and protect the site from looters—also raising a quandary for future archaeologists 

satanic panic: the full 1993 (!) cult awareness pamphlet (see previously)—via Weird Universe  

dans l’ombre du star wars kid: the National Film Board of Canada’s documentary on the internet phenomenon  

entrรฉe: a family-run Tbilisi-based artisanal bakery expands into East London 

the atlantean: after Dallas (debuting on this day in 1978), Patrick Duffy appeared as a merfolk-hybrid hero

intonarumori: Luigi Russolo’s experimental sound machines

Monday, 31 January 2022

civitas germiniana

Venerated on this day in the occasion of the translation of his body and relics in 1106 to his namesake San Gimignano, Saint Geminianus was a fourth-century deacon and later Bishop of Modena. Rarely referenced outside of the region, his iconography usually depicts him as either a bishop bearing a model of his city or as a man calming the sea and residents credit his intercession to both sparing them from marauding Huns by shrouding the towers with a dense fog and casting out a demon from the daughter of the Emperor Jovian, the exorcism reportedly prompting Jovian to reverse some of the policies of suppression on the exercise of Christianity by his predecessor Julian.

Saturday, 13 November 2021

savage intruder

Later re-released as Hollywood Horror House, we were delighted by this thoroughgoing, scene-by-scene review of the 1970 Donald Wolfe horror flick starring Miriam Hopkins, John David Garfield, Gale Sondergaard, Virginia Wing and Florence Lake from Poseidon’s Underworld (previously) that relates the story of an ageing actress living in a Tinsel Town mansion (in the spirit of Sunset Boulevard and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? with a bit of Rosemary’s Baby thrown in for good measure) attended by a retinue of domestics, who engages a new personal assistant—in the midst of a mysterious killing spree terrorising the area—who quickly comes to dominate the estate and household management. Here’s the feature in full below but honestly I got a bigger kick out of the screen-captures, trivia and commentary at the link above.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

dia do saci

 Designated by an NGO calling themselves amigos of this trickster character of Brazilian folklore to coincide with Halloween as a way to counter American cultural hegemony, the holiday, even where backed with state-support, only enjoys limited recognition and celebration—despite familiarity and popularity of its mascot.

The monopod figure with an enchanted cap and always smoking a pipe, mostly active at night, can be dangerous and malicious—though most pranks are merely annoying—but will grant the wishes of those who trap him or free him, liable to caught in a bottle while disappearing and reappearing in the midst of a whirlwind. Reportedly Saci’s magic cap, according to those who’ve tried to steal it, has an indelibly foul smell and those who’ve handled it can never wash the stench away.  Saci can be propitiated with offerings of a libation of cachaรงa and a measure of tobacco for his pipe.

Friday, 29 October 2021

season of the witch

Coincidentally on this day in 1390 the first tribunal within the jurisdiction of the court of Paris was held also saw across the centuries and continents the dissolution of the Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692—a standing commission (charged to “hear and determine”) with a judge of assize first convened in May of the same year to adjudicate cases in the Salem Witch Trials in colonial Massachusetts, authorities displeased with their conduct and proceedings. During that later five month period, two hundred were accused and nineteen condemned to capital punishment, hanged by the neck until dead. The former, after fourteen months of deliberation and sentencing led to the execution of soothsayer Jeanne de Brigue, whom was allegedly able to summon the demon Haussibut and with his aid find lost objects and catch thieves—which sounds like more of a public service than a crime.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

your daily demon: shax

Our forty-fourth spirit governing from today through the first of November is a grand marquis ruling over thirty legion of mounted subordinates and presents as a stork or stock dove. A notorious liar, unless compelled by his summoner with the sign of his sigil to be called to the floor within a magic triangle, Shax’ powers including depriving the senses and understanding of any person upon the request of the exorcist as well as liberating loot not under the charm of another evil spirit. An avowed horse thief as well, Shax is countered by the guardian angel called Yelahiah.

Saturday, 23 October 2021

your daily demon: sabnok

Our forty-third spirit ruling over the initial degrees of Scorpio, from today through 27 October, is a dread, infernal marquis presenting in the form of a lion astride a pale horse. Controlling fifty legions, fortifying cities and alike raising them asunder on his whim, Sabnok was confined to a brass vessel, it is said, by King Solomon. Also having the power to plague populations with festering sores, Sabnok is countered by the guardian angel Vevaliah.

Monday, 18 October 2021

your daily demon: velar

Our forty-second spirit is an infernal grand duke that presents as a merman, who is able to both raise dread tempest and drown sailors or provide safe passage, according to the will of a skilled exorcist. Ruling from today through 22 October, Vepar controls twenty-nine legions of subordinates and is opposed by the guardian angel Mikael.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

eine deutsche volkssage

Presaging the studio's most technically advanced and expensive production by a year, F.W. Murnau's silent epic (see previously) Faust premiered this day in 1926 at the Ufa-Palast am Zoo in Berlin. The director's last German film before moving on to Hollywood and upheld as an example of filmic Expressionism, it is a cinematic retelling of the downfall of elderly alchemist-resulting from a bet between a demon Mephisto and the Archangel, with the former wagering that he can corrupt any righteous soul and drive out any touch of divinity. Despite the odds stacked against our protagonist and literary precedent, there is a Hollywood ending with true and chaste love ultimately prevailing over diabolical forces.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

your daily demon: focalor

Our forty-first spirit, governing from today through 17 October is an infernal grand duke presenting as a human with griffon wings. Though consenting and docile under the command of a skilled exorcist and can be bid to do no harm, Focalor has violent tendencies and will overturn ships at sea and drown those aboard. The demon commanding three legion has influence over the wind and waves and is countered by the guardian angel Hahael. His name an anagram of the Lucifuge Rofocale suggests an intellectual affinity with the archdemon, and is among those holding to the deluded belief that they will retake the kingdom of Heaven after a thousand years’ exile.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

7x7

the boy on the bike: a trip down Golden Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset with a beloved bread advert directed by Ridley Scott with music by Dvoล™รกk  

dedication—devotion, turning all the night time into the day: more on the hypothesis (see previously) that the Dire Straits song can improve any movie ending 

the hauntening: various AIs try their hand at spookifying, exorcising Victorian mansions—previously

outbreak: a timelapse of COVID-19 cases in the United States over the past eighteen months 

just the punctation: what text without words reveals to authors about their style—via Waxy  

abecedarium: a 1968 Alphabet (previously) of the Dada movement hosted by Hans Richter (caution, some rapid, flashing images) 

raลกรญnovo embankment: revitalised Prague riverfront features vaulted arches for cafes and gallery spaces

Friday, 8 October 2021

your daily demon: raum

Governing from today through 12 October, this fortieth spirit and infernal earl presents at first as another familiar with corvid-like characteristics. True to the German sense of his name, rรคumen—to empty, evacuate—he pilfers the houses of the rich and powerful with prejudice for dignities as well as engendering love and reconciliation. Others trace his origins to the identification with the Egyptian deity Khnum, the ram-headed god who crafts the bodies of people out of Nile clay before they’re born. Also known as Raim or Raym, he controls thirty legion and is opposed by the guardian angel Yaytzael.

Sunday, 3 October 2021

your daily demon: malphas

Ruling from today through 7 October, our thirty-ninth spirit is an infernal president that presents as a crow at first be will assume human form at the sign of his sigil. 

Duplicitous and untrustworthy to an extent, Malphas can build mighty bulwarks and betray one’s enemies’ most secret desires and ambitions. Countered by the guardian angel Rehauel, Malphas controls forty legion of subordinate demons.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

your daily demon: halphas

Our thirty-eighth spirit is an infernal Earl who rules from today through 2 October, and whilst presenting a dove—a symbol of peace—has the office of building up platforms and machines of war and sending soldiers into battle. Halphas commands twenty-six legion and is countered by the guardian angel Haamiah.