The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for January 14th, 2011

marble glories

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

A favored aphorism amongst Occultists is “as above, so below”, a saying attributed to having been coined by Hermes Trismegistis and recorded upon the legendary Kitab Sirr al-Asrar (aka Smaragdine Table, Tabula Smaragdina) or Emerald Tablet.

Such thoughts and sayings often trouble a humble narrator when traveling across the emerald devastations of First Calvary Cemetery here in Queens. The arabic origin of the word Ghoul (ghul) notwithstanding, the term seems appropriate to describe one such as myself, “a person who delights in the macabre.”– although I’m proud to say that (as of yet) I’ve never robbed a grave, drank human blood, or eaten a small child- which are other trademarks of the legendarily abhorrent and undead creatures.

Life has taught me to never say “never” however.


ghoul [guːl]n

  1. a malevolent spirit or ghost
  2. a person interested in morbid or disgusting things
  3. a person who robs graves
  4. (Myth & Legend / Non-European Myth & Legend) (in Muslim legend) an evil demon thought to eat human bodies, either stolen corpses or children

[from Arabic ghūl, from ghāla he seized]

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All ‘effed up, one of the things which tortures me in those moments before sleep comes is “why am I so fascinated by graveyards?”.

Is it some sort of pretentious “Memento mori” artsy fartsy thing, or is there something motivating me that lies deeply buried and hidden in the polyandrion of ideation which defines my thoughts? When these photos were shot, I was indeed “searching for (the name that must never be spoken again)” but as often happens to me in this place, my concentration began to fray and tear in the manner of an overburdened rope. Imaginings and fantastic notions march into your mind here, and on this day, I became convinced that I heard grunting sounds rising from the soil.

As above, so below- and as your humble narrator was walking the gentle landscaping of Calvary, enjoying the bright emanations of that burning thermonuclear eye of god itself- were unknown counterparts mirroring my movements in some subterrane grotto?

from wikipedia

Ideas of reference and delusions of reference involve people having a belief or perception that irrelevant, unrelated or innocuous phenomena in the world refer to them directly or have special personal significance. In psychiatry, delusions of reference form part of the diagnostic criteria for psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia, delusional disorder, or bipolar disorder during the elevated stages of mania.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As a believer in nothing but the hydrogen bomb (the very existence and functionality of which proves the sterile Einsteinian worldview of the universe, as espoused by Physicist and Mathematician alike, as valid and true. How many angels, or neutrinos, can dance on the head of a pin- indeed), I fancy myself a student of debased and superstitious folklore nevertheless. Revenants, Dybbuks, Dhampirs, and Vrykolakas enter my thoughts when I move through these lonely places during my vast solitudes.

Apotropaic devices are absent from my coterie of gadgets and cameras, and whatever dark and cthonic powers may be extant and watching would perceive me as defenseless. Part of the reason I only go to this place during the brightly lit hours of the day, I suppose.

from wikipedia

In Hindu folklore, the vetala is an evil spirit who haunts cemeteries and takes demonic possession of corpses. They make their displeasure known by troubling humans. They can drive people mad, kill children, and cause miscarriages, but also guard villages.

They are hostile spirits of the dead trapped in the ‘twilight zone’ between life and afterlife. These creatures can be repelled by the chanting of holy mantras. One can free them from their ghostly existence by performing their funerary rites. Being unaffected by the laws of space and time, they have an uncanny knowledge about the past, present, and future and a deep insight into human nature. Therefore many sorcerers seek to capture them and turn them into slaves.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Of course, this is a Roman Catholic cemetery, which suggests that the multitudes who lie here were sealed off- magickly- by the sacrament of “Extreme Unction” from suffering such macabre experiences as walking about the earth seeking living victims in some post mortem half life. The heritage of the Catholics extends back through time to the Dagon devotees of Syria and the tomb worshipping Etruscans, and the Romans spent enough time in Egypt and North Africa to have picked up and incorporated many of the Magicks they found into the syncretic system of beliefs and rites known as and inherited by modernity as Catholicism. The mysteries of the church are many, and varied, and more has been forgotten or lost over the centuries than any single lifetime can recover.

Who can guess, all there is, that might be buried down there?

from wikipedia

Magick is an Early Modern English spelling for magic, used in works such as the 1651 translation of De Occulta Philosophia, Three Books of Occult Philosophy, or Of Magick. The British occultist Aleister Crowley, chose the spelling to differentiate the occult from stage magic and defined it as “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will”, including both “mundane” acts of will as well as ritual magic. Crowley claimed that “it is theoretically possible to cause in any object any change of which that object is capable by nature”.  John Symonds and Kenneth Grant attach a deeper occult significance to this preference.

Crowley saw magick as the essential method for a person to reach true understanding of the self and to act according to one’s True Will, which he saw as the reconciliation “between free will and destiny.”

Since the time of Crowley’s writing about magick, many different spiritual and occult traditions have adopted the K spelling, but some have redefined what it means to some degree. For some modern occultists, it refers strictly to paranormal magic, which involves influencing events and physical phenomena by supernatural, mystical, or paranormal means.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As above, so below. The full quotation, as translated into english from a latin translation of the original Arabic by Isaac Newton (whose groundbreaking work- particularly “De motu corporum in gyrum”- sets the stage for the later realization of the Einsteinian viewpoint, the Hydrogen Bomb, and our modern world of space going craft, jet travel, and deep sea exploration) goes:

“That which is below is like that which is above that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing.”

from wikipedia

The Liber de Causis was a philosophical work attributed to Aristotle that became popular in the Middle Ages, first in Arabic and Islamic countries and later in the Latin West. The real authorship remains a mystery, but most of the content is taken from Proclus’ Elements of Theology. This was first noticed by Thomas Aquinas, following William of Moerbeke’s translation of the works of Proclus into Latin.

The original title in Arabic was Kitāb ul-īḍāḥ li-Arisţūţālis fi’l-khayri’l-maḥd, “The book of Aristotle’s explanation of the pure good”. The title Liber de Causis came into use following the translation into Latin by Gerard of Cremona.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm

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