Friday, January 31, 2014


A series of drawings by Louise Despont - pencil on antique paper

"I think art is one way in which magical symbols and images can be presented to the public in a way that will not appear threatening. We know from the history of art in the past 100 years, that many genuine schools of occultism came forth to present themselves as what I am going to call mystical schools of painting, of sculpture and so forth. I am particularly concerned about one French school", says Bertiaux. "It is the pataphysical school. It was allied to Dada, surrealism, spiritualism and trance medium ship. The whole idea was that we would explore structures of the unconscious and come back renewed with a new kind of imagery and energy we can focus through works of art. The pataphysicians are my favorites, because what they sought to do was to create a kind of alternative science. I remember a pataphysician telling me, that as metaphysics is to physics, so pataphysics is to metaphysics, which meant an intuitive extension into the abstract or the transcendental or the less known aspects of experience."

 What were the characteristics of this school, I asked?

 "One of the characteristics would be their drawing of inspiration from dream states and a kind of somnambulistic meditation", says Bertiaux. "Another would be the idea that everything has a psychic history. This is related to “the cult of the found object” in modern art, the discovery of “the given.”

We know that there are many artists who will go around looking for what they call “a found
object” – actually they wouldn’t have to look very hard. According to the theory a found object
would “speak” to them and indicate to them that this was what was needed for the artwork of the artist.

The famous American sculptress Louise Nevelson - who worked with large assemblages and collages made from wood and wooden pieces - she had what I call her esoteric school", Bertiaux explains.

"These helpers of Louise Nevelson would get up very early in the morning. She lived in a town house in Manhattan, I believe; and they would go up and down the alleys, looking for discards. They were all kinds of individuals who were perhaps misfits in the outer world, but she believed them to be tremendously psychic. They all worked for her as her technicians, her helpers, in finding objects and wrapping them up in newspapers and paper bags, bringing them home; and then when they had all these treasures before them, they would let the objects tell them where to use them. And this came from a kind of psychic dialogue with the found object – which, I might add, was very similar to what Carl Jung taught many of his patients, to engage in with many natural things in their own experience."

- From: Arts and the Occult - An interview with Michael Bertiaux by Bjarne Salling Pedersen (.pdf file)


During the latter half of my research of the astrological sign Capricorn (and its constellation Capricornus) I stumbled upon an interesting man, Michael Bertiaux (b. January 18, 1935). According to Wiki, he is best known for his occult classic, "Voudon Gnostic Workbook", described as: "a 615-page compendium... spanning the sub-fields of Voodoo, Neo-Pythagoreanism, Thelema and Gnosticism". I somehow intuited that this man was someone I needed to acquaint myself with... and, when I pursued the .pdf file link provided, I was really amazed... 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Capricorn Rising - In Celebration of a Monster

Capricorn Rising - digital - 2017, 2014, DS
The sketch which originally appeared here has been replaced with the finished version.
(click to enlarge)

"Not a marine mammal, the sea goat, better described as a goat fish, is a mythical creature with the head and upper body of a goat, and the lower body and tail of a fish. The sea goat symbol goes back over 4000 years, when it represented the Sumerian primordial god of waters, Enki. According to legend (similar to the Garden of Eden story of the Bible) at one time "there was not fear, no terror", and men lived in harmony. When mankind was thrust out of this paradise, at a time of crisis, Enki came out of the sea, and gave humanity the skills of civilization; teaching about cultivation, irrigation, (he was the god of sweet spring water as well.) granaries, and medicine. Never a trickster god, he represented balance and responsibility."

- via Astra Chrysalis concerning the astrological symbol of Capricorn

"Capricorn is a sign that represents an Herculean struggle between the forces of light and darkness - on the road to initiation, represented by Mars' exaltation here. Indeed, Mars and the Moon are said to create a 'fearful conflict' at the third initiation, the truly archetypal initiation of Capricorn, the Transfiguration, the ultimate triumph of the mental body over denser matter. Hence the Capricornian initiate is able to move between heaven and hell and 'raise the dead to life', bringing universal brotherhood into expression upon the physical plane."

- from the Esoteric Astrologer Capricorn page
(Note: included also is an interesting analysis of author, & Capricorn, J.R.R. Tolkien - b. January 3, 1898)

"The amphibious Sea-Goat dwells at the shoreline ‘twixt matter and spirit, guarding the Gate of the Return of Souls for mankind’s sojourn on Earth.

In ancient Orphic and Platonic doctrine, the Sea-Goat was the Gate of the Gods, wherein the souls of men, when released from corporeality, ascended to heaven through its stars.

Porphyry, in “In the Caves of the Nymphs” (300 BC) stated that souls that descend from the heavens to become incarnate on Earth pass through the celestial gate of Cancer (i.e. the original figure of the Crab, which runs from about 26º Cancer to 21º Leo in tropical degrees), and upon completion of their life cycle they return to the heavens through the gate of Capricornus (now almost completely spanning tropical Aquarius, from about 29º Capricorn to 29º Aquarius)."


Capricornus; a Brief Encounter

I am on a foreign shore. I'm not sure where exactly, but, it's most likely a northern region; possibly the coast of somewhere like Norway.

I am alone, as I so frequently am, but from this I have always derived a kind of satisfaction, an uninterrupted, silent engagement with the world surrounding me. Today, it's just me and the sand beneath my feet, and the grey-green ocean waves lapping against the shore.

The skies are a murky grey, with that peculiar blue cast to the light that is only evident before a winter storm. The cliffs, both to the side and in front of me are high, but so shrouded in fog that the horizon is a featureless silhouette spread flat in either direction.

Which is where I found the first one.