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The Only Miracle Jesus' Mother Asked For Was Wine

How New World Wine Resurrects Old Religion
I used to be a regular at a wine bar in San Clemente, a beach town in California where my wife and I lived when we were first married. The ‘Tuscan’ decor of the place was a little too vivid for my taste, but the wine was priced right and the owner was a great conversationalist. He would tell us stories from behind the bar about his travels to vineyards in Chile and New Zealand, and he had a charming populist streak. When people got too pretentious about the wine, he would roll his eyes and say: ‘Relax, it’s just a beverage.’ He was wrong about that, of course. Since its invention more than 8,000 years ago, wine has always been more than just a beverage.

posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 16, 2014 - 11 comments

Love's Secret Ascension

Love's Secret Ascension: Coil, Coltrane & The 70th Birthday Of LSD. "Author and new Quietus writer Peter Bebergal celebrates the original synthesis of LSD with a thoughtful look at acid and transcendent, magickal music." [Via Technoccult] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Nov 14, 2013 - 32 comments

Once you have found her, never let her go.

Your parent dies. You hurt. You weep. You mourn. You do and say the necessary things even as your daemon’s disciplined askesis has you (against your will) coldly taking notes on what the emotion feels like, how others around you react to the death, what the corpse of your parent looks like, how you feel while looking down at it, what voids there are in that feeling, what pretenses, what posturings. It's all part of finding your daemon that dwells perpetually in the Condition of Fire. Other entries in Dan Simmons' series On Writing Well.
posted by shivohum on Jun 11, 2013 - 29 comments

vintage Japan and Hong Kong

Old Hong Kong/Macau clips 1949-1989 by Michael Rogge, now 81, who was stationed in Hong Kong and Japan. He documented his life in photos and 16mm film, clips on YT | his YouTube channel | Old Japan in 1870 Engravings. Taken from a Dutch magazine 'De aarde en haar volken' of 1875. Engravings done by French artists. | Old JAPAN in 1869 in engravings French engravings, part of a travelogue, picture a weird Japan. Pictures appeared in Dutch magazine 'De Aarde en haar Volken' of 1869 and were engraved by French artists. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Apr 11, 2011 - 5 comments

New Wave and the New Age: a Blondie Songwriter's Mystic Trip.

Touched By Your Presence, Dear: Ex-Blondie songwriter and bassist Gary Lachman (aka "Gary Valentine") blogs (and is interviewed) about his books on Jung, Steiner, Ouspensky, and Sixties mysticism, and his time spent toiling in the fields of Crowleyana and The Gurdjieff Work.
posted by darth_tedious on Sep 14, 2010 - 20 comments

old new music

Acousmata is a unique music blog devoted to "idiosyncratic research in electronic and experimental music, sound and acoustics, mysticism and technology" with special focus on the early history of electronic music.
posted by speicus on Jul 30, 2010 - 16 comments

Visionary of the British Empire

Yesterday was the birthday of Dr. John Dee (1527-1609) (wiki). This extraordinary and brilliant man was a mathematician, astrologer, astronomer, navigator, map maker, alchemist, hermetic philosopher, and adviser in matters practical and arcane to Queen Elizabeth 1st. History has sometimes been unkind to him because he embraced science and mysticism together (previously), believing both to be facets of the same universal thing. His unfortunate experiments in conjuring angels with the alchemist Edward Kelley are probably to blame. Kelley asserted that the angel Uriel had instructed him to swap or share wives with Dr. Dee. This, unsurprisingly, led to the end of their association. 16th century celestial wife-swapping was going too far. However, Dr. Dee was a true Renaissance man and a gifted scholar. You can visit his black obsidian magic Aztec mirror at the British Museum.
posted by infini on Jul 14, 2010 - 50 comments

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid

Is mysticism overtaking science in sci-fi? Does Every SF Show Need Jesus Now?
posted by Artw on Oct 1, 2009 - 121 comments

John Michell (1933-2009) : The Mystic of Notting Hill

John Michell, who has died aged 76, was an old Etonian who became the standard bearer for the romantic hippy mysticism with his 1969 book The View Over Atlantis, This posited the then original theory of a prehistorical global civilisation linked by leylines, and became extraordinarily popular and influential. [more inside]
posted by criticalbill on May 12, 2009 - 6 comments

Wei Wu Wei

Terence Gray was an English born aristocrat of an Irish family. He tried his hand at Egyptology, drama and theater, but gave it up to keep the family vineyards in the Monaco. He owned the winner of the 1957 Ascot Gold cup. He also became a mystic. [more inside]
posted by fcummins on Jul 1, 2008 - 9 comments

Neuroscience and Mysticism

Searching for God in the Brain. "Researchers are unearthing the roots of religious feeling in the neural commotion that accompanies the spiritual epiphanies of nuns, Buddhists and other people of faith." [Via MindHacks, which points out a few niggling omissions in the article.]
posted by homunculus on Oct 9, 2007 - 57 comments

A Woman Against Time.

Savitri Devi Mukherji. Born Maximiani Portas in 1905, this French woman of Greek and English extraction would, in pilgrimages to Palestine and India, experience a series of strange awakenings - that she was a National Socialist, that she was a Hindu, that the two were entwined in the struggle against the Judeo-Christian order, and that Hitler was the living incarnation of Kalki the Destroyer, the final avatar of Vishnu. Known to many as "Hitler's guru," she stood at the forefronts of Hindu nationalism, Nazi mysticism, Holocaust denial, animal rights, and the international Neo-Nazi movement. The Lightning And The Sun, her most famous work, most directly espouses her philosophy, but perhaps the best place to start would be Long-Whiskers And The Two-Legged Goddess, which is her autobiography as filtered through her many cats. Her nephews were Communists; her own mother was active in the French Resistance; and according to some, the daughter would have shot the mother dead for it. The world is not be a better place for the Savitri Devis of the world, but her presence made this world like none other.
posted by Sticherbeast on Sep 10, 2006 - 22 comments

Turn on, tune in, drop out

A landmark rigorous study, 36 years after Walter Pahnke's Good Friday study ocuments the ability of psilocybin - the chemical in "magic mushrooms" - to trigger mystical experiences. 16 of 24 participants, who had no history of psychedelic use, rated the drug episode (after 2 months) to be among the 5 most meaningful experiences in their lifetime. A longer 40-year follow-up by MAPS on those who took LSD under the supervision of psychiatrist Oscar Janiger in the 1950s, found qualitatively the same result.
posted by daksya on Jul 10, 2006 - 236 comments

Alex Grey

Alex Grey's Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. Grey has been around for a long time but hasn't been linked here before. He has a new DVD out called World Spirit, which you can watch clips from online. [Via Future Hi.]
posted by homunculus on Jan 30, 2005 - 11 comments

Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life according to various rather famous people (Dennett, Fukuyama, etc). I'm watching the Dennett video at the moment and it starts rather weakly, but, by midway through, is rolling along nicely. With topics like "being good without god" and "the anthropic principle" it struck me as relevant to a couple of recent askmefi threads.
Dennett: [pause] i guess i'll say it again, more slowly...

(oh, and the player interface is rather delicate - give it time to load and click play a few times...)
posted by andrew cooke on Oct 1, 2004 - 17 comments

The Kingdom Of God Is Within You

Dear Leo, Dear Mohandas "The longer I live -- especially now when I clearly feel the approach of death -- the more I feel moved to express what I feel more strongly than anything else... the doctrine of the law of love unperverted by sophistries. Love... the highest and indeed the only law of life". The Kingdom of God Is Within You (full text available) is Leo Tolstoy's tractatus of "Christianity Not as a Mystic Religion but as a New Theory of Life", a primer of (among other things) the doctrine of non-violence. Among the many fans of the 1894 book was an imprisoned Hindu barrister, a "half-naked fakir" if you want, a certain Mohandas K. Gandhi who was fascinated by "the independent thinking, profound morality, and the truthfulness" of the book. So he ended up writing fan letters to the great Russian man: who warmly wrote back to his young Indian "friend and brother". The old wise Christian anarchist literary giant and the shy, insecure young man who sparked a revolution: to paraphrase another wise, badly-dressed , pacifist old man, "Generations to come, it may be, will scarcely believe that such men ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth."
posted by matteo on Jun 17, 2004 - 16 comments

On Waking Up and Living The Mindful Life

Our discussion of the human condition centers around a basic but seldom accepted or understood idea: We are "asleep", compared to what we could be. We are caught in illusions while thinking we are perceiving reality.
On Waking Up by Charles Tart, who provided my introduction to Gurdjieff. I am currently reading his Living The Mindful Life. As a perusal of his site will reveal, he is interested as well in the psychedelic experience, altered states, the paranormal, psi, out-of-body experiences, near death experiences, remote viewing and the whole woo woo schmear. All these are of less interest to me. He does provide a good introduction to Gurdjieff, however. There are more links within.
posted by y2karl on Jun 15, 2004 - 19 comments

Entheogens

Are psychedelic drugs good for you? Taken with proper caution, John Horgan, author of Rational Mysticism, believes they can be.
posted by homunculus on May 8, 2003 - 36 comments

Fish heads, fish heads, Hebrew-talking fish heads...

"According to two fish-cutters at the New Square Fish Market, the carp was about to be slaughtered and made into gefilte fish for Sabbath dinner when it suddenly began shouting apocalyptic warnings in Hebrew."
posted by solistrato on Mar 16, 2003 - 41 comments

Into The Gnostic

Out of the mist of the beginning of our era there looms a pageant of mythical figures whose vast, superhuman contours might people the walls of another Sistine Chapel. Their countenances and gestures, the roles in which they are cast, the drama which they enact, would yield images different from the biblical ones on which the imagination of the beholder was reared, yet strangely familiar to him and disturbingly moving. The stage would be the same, the theme as transcending: the creation of the world, the destiny of man, fall and redemption, the first and the last things. But how much more numerous would be the cast, how much more bizarre the symbolism, how much more extravagant the emotions!
                                                                                                        Hans Jonas

Into the Gnostic.

Of magicians, miracle workers, saints and sinners of early Christianities and other mystery religions--including but not limited to Valentinus, Simon Magus, Mithras, Marcion, Manicheans, Mandeans, the Winged Hermes, the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary, among many other Apocrypha and Pseudepigraphica, the Cathars and Apollonious of Tyana. Not to mention Philip K. Dick.
posted by y2karl on Nov 30, 2002 - 11 comments

Charismatic & Controversial Mystic George Ivanovich Gurdjieff & His Work

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff. Charismatic and controversial, infamous for introducing the enneagram, claimed by the Sufis, linked to the little known Yezidis, (More here), Gurdjieff--and his school--have their detractors, whether religious or skeptic. His ideas can be difficult , abstruse and are ultimately beside the point. His thesis can be reduced to this: We are asleep, mere machines, acting from habit rather than volition. The goal then is to wake up and stay awake. And that is where the Work comes in. ( A bit more within)
posted by y2karl on Aug 6, 2002 - 20 comments

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