July 11, 2005 12:04 PM   Subscribe

The Codex Seraphinianus, a Hallucinatory Encyclopedia, details fantastical beings and impossible places. It's one of the highlights of issue 17 of the Grey Lodge Occult Review, which also includes Maya Deren's very rare film on Haitian Voudoun "Divine Horsemen" [torrent] and William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin's "The Cut-Ups" [torrent].
posted by moonbird (17 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Interesting post --- that site is an odd bird, to be sure. Was surprised to see Morrisson's HWY film on there, I'll be sure to check that out after work. How do they get permission to print all of that work -- or it is all "borrowed" -- they have some heavy hitters snuggled up in there.
posted by undule at 12:41 PM on July 11, 2005

The Codex is one of my favorite books, and occupies pride of place at the top of my bookshelf. The linked to article is not awesome, certainly as compared with the subject matter. Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of the page!

For instance, the book is written in an alien script, but the obvious question: is this just scribbling or a "real" language (a la Tolkein's elvish)? This link sheds some light: the author (Ivan Derzhanski) writes: They say that the text of the Codex Seraphinianus was never meant to mean anything; all the same, I mean to treat it here as if it was. Sounds crazy? I tried being sane once, and it nearly drove me mad. Turns out the numbering system is base 21, but the alpabet, even if it is an alphabet, is far more complicated.
posted by bumpkin at 12:43 PM on July 11, 2005

Thank you for this, moonbird. I will spend hours here, I am sure. The article on Gysin et al. looked a little like hagiography rather than any new critique, but still an adequate introduction for those who think that sampling started with hip-hop.

Regarding the Maya Deren piece on voudoun: Deren's work was astounding. May I suggest that those who d'l this piece seek out John Zorn's Filmworks X: In the Mirror of Maya Deren, a hauntingly beautiful piece of music dedicated to this underappreciated film artist.
posted by beelzbubba at 12:44 PM on July 11, 2005

how did I not turn off the italics tag?
posted by beelzbubba at 12:46 PM on July 11, 2005

Dang, GLOR gets better every issue.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:49 PM on July 11, 2005

Sweet, Thank you!
posted by Balisong at 1:12 PM on July 11, 2005

Am I the only one that is totally confused by all of this? Can someone explain what this Grey Lodge is?
posted by Harry at 1:24 PM on July 11, 2005

surely this was just posted recently?
posted by quonsar at 1:38 PM on July 11, 2005

Q: Searched and didn't come up with any posts for issue 17.
posted by moonbird at 1:39 PM on July 11, 2005

surely this was just posted recently?

q, I believe you're thinking of this thread.
posted by Specklet at 1:52 PM on July 11, 2005

Oh, man. You just made my week by posting the Divine Horsemen link! I've seen clips, but not the whole thing. (Yet.)
posted by kalimac at 3:54 PM on July 11, 2005

Meshes of the Afternoon is another awesome Deren piece.

And I was turned on to the Codex Seraphinianus a while ago, and I still think it's amazing.

I need to look into this Grey Lodge thing.

Good post, thanks.
posted by exlotuseater at 5:03 PM on July 11, 2005

The "Grey Lodge", in the name, as far as I've been able to figure out, is something of a joke on the concept of "white" and "black" magic(k). The "Grey Lodge" is the hypothetical conceptual space where they meet and interpenetrate. As for what the magazine is, it's the equivalent of an academic journal for occultists - intended to replace the Equinox as the premiere magic(k)al publication. So far it's doing a damn good job - the stuff in the Surprise Pack in one of the more recent issues is awesome.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 5:57 PM on July 11, 2005

White, Black and Grey lodges--kind of like Blackhats, Whitehats and Greyhats from hacker jargon.

Then there's the "Blue Lodge" of Freemasonry.
And lest we not forget, the other blue lodge, which is a bit... weirder.
posted by archae at 6:15 PM on July 11, 2005

It's worth noting that the reconstruction of Hallucigenia presented in the article on the Codex Seraphinianus has been pretty much abandoned. Recent fossil discoveries suggest a much more conventional animal.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:31 PM on July 11, 2005

Archae, I'm not familiar with any magickal lodges (though if you are, I'd really be interested in hearing about them) that would label themselves as Black, White, or Grey. It's frequent, though that lodges will classify each other, depending on the various internecine rivalries going on at the time. And goodness gracious, there's always something. There's a similar, interesting concept amongst a lot of ceremonialists: Right-Hand Path vs Left vs (occasionally) Middle.

Further, the Blue Lodge wouldn't be connected with the concept of White or Black (or Grey) lodges anyway, as those terms are used within the Magickal community, and as far as I know, Blue Lodge masonry doesn't concern itself with the occult at all. Occult study groups, or occult/magickal lodges which have developed from Masonry require good standing in a Blue Lodge in order to join, but are not Masonic bodies per se. Groups such as the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (From which developed the Golden Dawn, and thence the OTO, FLO, BOTA,etc).

Er... what I'm getting at is that I'm thinking Pseudoephedrine's answer is closer to the mark; the GLOR seems to provide materials that are of broad use to everyone in the magickal community, and thus are grey, not leaning towards any one interpretation or doctrine.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:34 PM on July 11, 2005

Wow, upon reading about them, seems as though all of this is just a byproduct of what they're really doing. No idea either way if their project is interesting and valid or sheer tinfoil-hattery, but this is really cool whichever it is.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:56 PM on July 11, 2005

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