Originally posted by Extant Taxon
Western esoterica/occult philosophy:
And the biggy that I'm saving up for:
Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism edited by Wouter J. Hanegraaf
ASRFF Newsletter 1 (2010:1)
ACADEMIC SOCIETY FOR RESEARCH INTO FREEMASONRY AND FRATERNALISM
Sheffield, 26 April 2010
Dear recipients of this newsletter, some of you might have observed that the Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism at the University of Sheffield not has issued a newsletter since February this year. Newsletter 46 (2010:2) was the last disseminated during my directorship. During 2009 the CRFF failed to capture substantial grants that would have allowed the continuation of our activities. Furthermore a promised donation has not materialized. As a consequence the Faculty or Arts and Humanities at the University of Sheffield has decided to suspend the activities of the CRFF for the time being. The website has switched into hibernation and is not updated anymore.
I will leave the university at the end of June 2010 and have currently no other position or engagement beyond that date. For university-based academic research into freemasonry and fraternalism in Europe there are challenging times ahead. We had hoped to reorganize some of our activities at the Chair for research into freemasonry at Leiden University, but the tragic death of professor Malcolm Davies earlier this year has prevented such a move. It is currently uncertain when and if the chair will be advertised again. When we finally launched our Journal for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism last year we discussed the option to form an Academic Society for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism. A constitution was drafted and a circle of pro tempore board members appointed – with Malcolm Davies as chairman. We are now discussing the future of this organization. The Journal is however the first tangible outcome of truly international scholarly cooperation in the field and issue 1 was finally published in January this year. We were surprised that the University of Sheffield didn’t want to take credit of this initiative and have since then been very cautious to make any further connections between activities in the research area and the university. This has also prompted us to draw a clear line between the society, the journal and the University of Sheffield. We are looking into different solutions to diffuse this newsletter in the future and have created a temporary website for the society and everybody interested in the progress of the research area as an academic topic, asrff.blogspot.com... (will be updated on a regular basis). Please link to this website and remove all previous links to freemasonry.dept.shef.ac.uk. We are looking into options to retain some of the features of the old website. Lanes and Draffens digital list of lodges will be hosted in coordination with the Library and Museum of Freemasonry in London. The library of the CRFF will be relocated to Tapton Masonic Hall in Sheffield thanks to a generous donation from UGLE Prestonian Lecturer and RWM of QC-lodge No. 2076 Dr John Wade. The remainder of our publication series Sheffield Lectures on the History of Freemasonry and Fraternalism is still for sale.
To order Vol. 1 on Freemasonry and Fraternalism in the Middle East (2009); Vol. 2 on Freemasonry and Fraternalism in Eighteenth century Russia (2009) and Vol. 3 Researching British Freemasonry 1717-2017 (2010) please contact firstname.lastname@example.org +441142229890, HRI 34 Gell Street, S3 7QY Sheffield, United Kingdom.
New issues of the JRFF under preparation Despite of these negative developments we are proud to announce that issue 2 and 3 of the journal are under preparation, scheduled for publication autumn 2010 and spring 2011. Please consult the journal website www.equinoxjournals.com... for further information about our future publication and most of all: please support the research area through subscriptions to the Journal which is published online and in hard cover. If you have a university affiliation we ask you to kindly to submit a request to your library to sign up for a subscription. I assume that public libraries can be asked for the same thing. Conference and event calendar Dr Andreas Önnerfors will present an illustrated lecture at the Sheffield Cathedral Music and Arts Festival “Sheffield's Lost Symbols: A Guide to Freemasonry symbolism around the city” on Monday 7 June at 19:30 in Sheffield Cathedral. This is probably the last public lecture presented to a local audience and will be followed immediately by a farewell-reception in downtown Sheffield, place The Graduate, 94 Surrey Street t.b.c. Please register with email@example.com.
The conference “Women and freemasonry since the Enlightenment”, to be organized 17-19 June 2010 at the university of Bordeaux in France will gather a number of the best scholars in the research area. We have posted a link to the most impressive conference program on our blog asrff.blogspot.com. Please note the strong Sheffield-participation with papers by Dr Róbert Péter, Dr Robert Collis and Dr Andreas Önnerfors. The conference “Jacobites and Anti-Jacobites, culture and diaspora” will take place at the University of Strathclyde, 24-26 June 2010. Dr Andreas Önnerfors will present a paper on “Swedish Freemasonry and its Jacobite connections”.
Another great event that lies ahead of us is the Third International Conference on the History of Freemasonry (ICHF) to be held at the George Washington Masonic Memorial, Alexandria, Virginia, from 27-29 May 2011. The first announcement and call for papers has now been issued and is available at: http://(link tracking not allowed)/cwlknu Please note that the deadline for proposals for papers is 30 June 2010 and please feel free to repost this announcement to any other lists or sites that you think may find the conference of interest. We are also pleased to announce that the program of the next International Canonbury Masonic Research Centre conference on “Anti-masonry”, to be held 29-31 October 2010 soon will be finalized and also gathers some of the most excellent scholars in this area. For more information, please consult www.canonbury.ac.uk...
On Saturday 17 April the annual Charles A. Sankey Lecture series at Brock university in Ontario, Canada was inaugurated by Dr Andreas Önnerfors who delivered the lecture “Perceptions of Freemasonry from the Eighteenth Century to the Internet” with 500 people in the audience. The lecture was also recorded for future dissemination and will eventually be published. The annual lecture series in memory of Dr. Sankey is the first step towards the establishment of an endowed Chair for masonic studies at the Canadian university, promoted by the Grand Master’s initiative of the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario, RWM Raymond S.J. Daniels. For more information, see grandlodge.on.ca...
On Friday 9 April the first academic symposium organized by the Scottish Rite Museum of National Heritage in Lexington/Massachusetts “New perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism” took place. Jessica Harland-Jacobs delivered a keynote lecture on new theoretical approaches towards the subject followed by six individual presentations on a variety of topics ranging from antebellum Virginian associational life via the depths of American transcendentalism to the Ku-Klux-Klan in the early Twentieth century. The symposium was well attended, not at least by Grand Master and Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts as well as representatives of the Supreme Council 33°, Scottish Rite Northern Jurisdiction. The fascinating collections at the Van-Gorden-Williams Library and Archives were also well worth a separate visit: www.monh.org... On Saturday 13 March German lodge of research organized a conference on masonic ritual. Among such distinguished speakers as professor Jan Snoek, Dr. Andreas Önnerfors presented a paper titled “Das freimaurerische Ritual im Lichte neuer Ritualtheorien”.
Between Tuesday 9 March and Friday 12 March the research group Esotericism and Enlightenment (headed by prof Monika Neugebauer-Wölk) at the University of Halle, Germany organized its final conference “The Enlightenment in its referential context of modern esotericism”. Dr Andreas Önnerfors presented a paper titled “Esoteric performance–enlightened philosophy: the case of freemasonry”. The conference was very well attended and the scholarly debate of the topics presented was intense. The program of the research group is presented on www.zeitenblicke.de... Kind regards, Andreas Önnerfors
-- Dr. Andreas Önnerfors, University of Sheffield, UK Senior Lecturer in History, Editor JRFF Academic Society for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism 133, Sharrow Vale Road Sheffield S11 8ZA United Kingdom Telephone: +44 (0)114 266 52 84 Fax: +44 (0)114 222 98 94 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Journal for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism:
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Renaissance obsession with Magic. In 1461 one of the powerful Medici family’s many agents carried a mysterious manuscript into his master’s house in Florence. It purported to be the work of an ancient Egyptian priest-king and magician called Hermes Trismegistus. When Cosimo de Medici saw the new discovery, he ordered his translations of Plato to be stopped so that work could begin on the new discovery at once. Hermes promised secret knowledge to his initiates and claimed to have spoken with the spirits and turned base metal into gold. His ideas propelled natural magic into the mainstream of Renaissance intellectual thought, as scholars and magi vied to understand the ancient secrets that would bring statues to life and call the angels down from heaven.
But why did magic appeal so strongly to the Renaissance mind? And how did the scholarly Magus, who became a feature of the period, manage to escape prosecution and relate his work to science and the Church?
With Peter Forshaw, Lecturer in Renaissance Philosophies at Birkbeck, University of London; Valery Rees, Renaissance historian and a translator of Ficino’s letters; Jonathan Sawday, Professor of English Studies at the University of Strathclyde.
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Renaissance Astrology. In Act I Scene II of King Lear, the ne’er do well Edmund steps forward and rails at the weakness and cynicism of his fellow men:
This is the excellent foppery of the world, that,
when we are sick in fortune, - often the surfeit
of our own behaviour, - we make guilty of our
disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as
if we were villains by necessity.
The focus of his attack is astrology and the credulity of those who fall for its charms. But the idea that earthly life was ordained in the heavens was essential to the Renaissance understanding of the world. The movements of the heavens influenced many things from the practice of medicine to major political decisions. Every renaissance court had its astrologer including Elizabeth Ist and the mysterious Dr. John Dee who chose the most propitious date for her coronation. But astrologers also worked in the universities and on the streets, reading horoscopes, predicting crop failures and rivalling priests and doctors as pillars of the local community.
But why did astrological ideas flourish in the period, how did astrologers interpret and influence the course of events and what new ideas eventually brought the astrological edifice tumbling down?
With Peter Forshaw, Lecturer in Renaissance Philosophies at Birkbeck, University of London; Lauren Kassell, Lecturer in the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge; and Jonathan Sawday, Professor of English Studies at the University of Strathclyde.
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the music of the spheres, the elegant and poetic idea that the revolution of the planets generates a celestial harmony of profound and transcendent beauty.
In Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice the young Lorenzo woos his sweetheart with talk of the stars:
“There’s not the smallest orb which thou behold’st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.”
The idea of music of the spheres ran through late antiquity and the medieval period into the Renaissance and its echoes could be heard in astrology and astronomy, in theology, and, of course, in music itself. Influenced by Pythagoras and Plato, it was discussed by Cicero, Boethius, Marcello Ficino and Johannes Kepler It affords us a glimpse into minds for which the universe was full of meaning, of strange correspondences and grand harmonies.
With Peter Forshaw, Postdoctoral Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London; Jim Bennett, Director of the Museum of the History of Science at the University of Oxford and Angela Voss, Director of the Cultural Study of Cosmology and Divination at the University of Kent, Canterbury
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the coterie of brilliant thinkers gathered in 16th century Prague by the melancholic emperor Rudolph II.
In 1606 the Archdukes of Vienna declared:
“His majesty is interested only in wizards, alchemists, Kabbalists and the like, sparing no expense to find all kinds of treasures, learn secrets and use scandalous ways of harming his enemies…He also has a whole library of magic books. He strives all the time to eliminate God completely so that he may in future serve a different master.”
The subject of this coruscating attack was the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II, and his court at Prague. Rudolph had turned Prague into a collector’s cabinet for the wonders and curiosities of the age – the great paintings of Northern Italy were carried to him over the Alps, intricate automatons constructed to serve drinks, maps and models of the heavens were unwound and engineered as the magnificent city of Prague itself was rebuilt in the image of its dark and thoughtful patron in chief.
But Rudolf’s greatest possessions were people - the astronomers Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe, the magus John Dee and the philosopher Giordano Bruno had all found their way to his city. Far from the devilish inquisitor of the archdukes’ imaginations, Rudolf patronised a powerhouse of Renaissance ideas.
With Peter Forshaw, Postdoctoral Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London and an Honorary Fellow of the University of Exeter; Howard Hotson, Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Oxford; Adam Mosley, Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Wales, Swansea.
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Cathars, a medieval European Christian sect accused of heresy. In 1215 Pope Innocent III called the greatest meeting of Catholic minds for a hundred years. He hoped that the Fourth Lateran Council would represent the crowning glory of a Papacy that was more powerful than ever before, and it laid down decrees to standardise Christian belief across the whole of Western Europe and heal the papal schism of a generation before. But despite the wealth and power of the Vatican, all was not as it should have been in the Catholic world; Jerusalem was lost, the Crusades were failing, and in the regions of Europe the spectre of heresy moved over the land. It loomed largest in the wealthy Languedoc region of Southern France, where celibate vegetarians called Cathars were proving more popular than Jesus.
The Pope moved against the Cathars but why was Catharism such a threat, what were its beliefs and what was the intellectual and spiritual climate that made the high middle ages the era of the heretic?
With Malcolm Barber, Professor of Medieval History at the University of Reading; Miri Rubin, Professor of Medieval History at Queen Mary, University of London; Euan Cameron, Professor of Modern History at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the extraordinary mind of the psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung. In 1907 Sigmund Freud met a young man and fell into a conversation that is reputed to have lasted for 13 hours. That man was the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung. Freud is celebrated as the great pioneer of the 20th century mind, but the idea that personality types can be 'introverted' or 'extroverted', that certain archetypal images and stories repeat themselves constantly across the collective history of mankind, and that personal individuation is the goal of life, all belong to Jung: "Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart... Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens", he declared. And he also said "Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you".
Who was Jung? What is the essence and influence of his thought? And how did he become such a controversial and, for many, such a beguiling figure?
With Brett Kahr, Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Psychotherapy and Mental Health at the Centre for Child Mental Health in London and a practising Freudian; Ronald Hayman, writer and biographer of Jung; Andrew Samuels, Professor of Analytical Psychology at the University of Essex and a Jungian analyst in clinical practice.
Melvyn Bragg and guests Serafina Cuomo, John O'Connor and Ian Stewart discuss the ideas and influence of the Greek mathematician Pythagoras and his followers, the Pythagoreans.
The Ancient Greek mathematician Pythagoras is probably best known for the theorem concerning right-angled triangles that bears his name. However, it is not certain that he actually developed this idea; indeed, some scholars have questioned not only his true intellectual achievements, but whether he ever existed.
We do know that a group of people who said they were followers of his - the Pythagoreans - emerged around the fifth century BC.
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss what we do and don't know about this legendary figure and his followers, and explore the ideas associated with them. Some Pythagoreans, such as Philolaus and Archytas, were major mathematical figures in their own right.
The central Pythagorean idea was that number had the capacity to explain the truths of the world. This was as much a mystical belief as a mathematical one, encompassing numerological notions about the 'character' of specific numbers. Moreover, the Pythagoreans lived in accordance with a bizarre code which dictated everything from what they could eat to how they should wash.
Nonetheless, Pythagorean ideas, centred on their theory of number, have had a profound impact on Western science and philosophy, from Plato through astronomers like Copernicus to the present day.
Serafina Cuomo is Reader in Roman History at Birkbeck College, University of London; John O'Connor is Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Saint Andrews; Ian Stewart is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick.
Melvyn Bragg and guests discusses Zoroastrianism.
"Now have I seen him with my own eyes, knowing him in truth to be the wise Lord of the good mind and of good deeds and words."
Thus spake the real Zarathustra, the prophet and founder of the ancient and modern religion of Zoroastrianism. It has claims to be the world's first monotheistic creed and perhaps as long ago as 1200 BC Zarathustra also said, "I point out the way, it is the truth, it is for all living". Truth is a central tenet of the religion which holds that people must above all do good things, hear good things and see good things.
How was the religion established in Ancient Persia, what is its body of beliefs and how have they been developed and disseminated?
With Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis, Curator of Ancient Iranian Coins in the Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum; Farrokh Vajifdar, Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society; Alan Williams, Senior Lecturer in Comparative Religion at the University of Manchester.
Lynn Thorndike (born 24 July 1882, in Lynn, Massachusetts, USA; died 28 December 1965, at Columbia University Club, New York City) was an American historian of medieval science and alchemy. Among his books on magic and science are: A History of Magic and Experimental Science (8 vol., 1923–58), spanning the period from early Christianity through early modern Europe to the end of the 17th century; and Science and Thought in the Fifteenth Century (1929).
The cognitive structuring inherent in the mind’s approach to information creates a condition of life in which interactive mental models and paradigms form our best manner of navigational apparatus. This holds true for psychology and philosophy, as much as it does for the hard sciences. Even in the post modern world which has already awoken to the relativity of mental models and their epistemological handicaps, the mind systematically conceptualizes its information regardless. Today however, humankind has gained the insight that these models are only as good as their utility. This utility principle allows these models to mutate and adapt in an attempt to evolve; for that which does not evolve and change ceases to survive.
That being said, I would like to propose a grafting of new information onto the psychological paradigm of the psyche created by Carl Gustav Jung. The hybrid change that I am proposing is the integration of Stanislav Grof’s BPM (Basic Prenatal Matrices) into the Jungian System, as an intermediary transitional stage between the personal and collective unconscious. It is believed that through integrating Grof’s BPM COEX (system of condensed experiences) into the Jungian model, the expansion will not only better represent the psychic experiences of death and rebirth associated with the submersion of the ego into the waters of the collective unconscious, but will also relate the Jungian system more intricately with the Occult Mysteries Schools and their Rebirthing Rites.
The structure of this discussion will be as follows: I will begin by summarizing and quickly explaining the major elements of the Jungian System. I will follow this with an explanation of the four BPM COEX of Grof’s. I will then move into the relationship between the death and rebirth archetype and the relationship that the ego has with the collective unconscious. I will then attempt to illustrate how through the addition of Grof’s stages to the Jungian System, the expanded model will better represent the psychic conditions of the mind. Finally, I will gesture towards the relation that this new hybrid psychological model has to those of Religion and the Occult Sciences, so as to add historical validation.