20140822

We're older than you thought . . .

Or rather, some hack writer got a little sloppy in their bibliography. Every so often, generally when feeling in need of an ego-boost, I feed the name "Celephaïs Press" into Google. Today this turned up Mushrooms, Myth and Mithras: The Drug Cult that Civilised Europe, a note to whose final chapter cites Two Essays on the Worship of Priapus, apparently published "London: Celephaïs Press, 1865."

The notes to Basarab Nicolescu's From Modernity to Cosmodernity: Science, Spirituality, and Culutre (SUNY, 2014) at least correctly identify the CP edition of Hinton's Scientific Romances (second series) as a 2008 reissue of a work first published 1896 by Swann Sonnenschien of London, though does not seem to be aware that it only exists as an online edition.

The most merciful thing in the world . . .

So, I log into one of my backup emails for the first time in 3 months or so (not the one I put on CP imprints, but an old Yahoo account reserved for signing up for things on websites) and discover that Scribd pulled the Mead Pistis Sophia and Lovecraft's "Festival" and "The Call of Cthulhu" in June-July after one of their bots flagged them as copyright violations.

Seems the Mead and "The Festival" already got restored but trying to view "The Call of Cthulhu" gets you redirected to a page about a commercial e-text of the same story from Harper Collins.

Owing to the USA's copyright laws being a convoluted mess, the status of Lovecraft's work where Scribd's servers are located is . . . complicated (where I am it's pretty clear-cut -- the whole lot's been public domain since the end of 2007). Anything first published before 1923 is public domain. After that date, it would depend on whether the copyrights were renewed before 28 years has expired from first publication, and it's far from clear that they were. Anyway I emailed Scribd's copyrights people back, waiting on a response.

20140401

This is it, which the Angels deny all knowledge of.

The Egyptian God-Forms of the Elemental Tablets.

The actual graphics work on these was done some years ago, but I lost the vector files when my hard drive died. After some searching a couple of days ago I discovered this PDF in the "sent mail" folder of one of my webmail accounts, and since a few people had expressed interest after I'd uploaded some low-rez images to a Facebook page, I've put the whole thing on Scribd.

Part of the elaboration of "Enochian Magic" taught in the Ordo R.R. et A.C. (the inner circle of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) involved a scheme whereby various Egyptian Gods were assigned to the Servient Squares of the Great Table / Table of the Earth / Table of Watchtowers / Elemental Tablets. This is tabulated and the forms described in one of the papers comprising The Book of the Concourse of the Forces, edited versions of which appear in The Golden Dawn and The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic, edited by F.I. Regardie (both publications accompanied by some execrably drawn images, in which the throne headdress of Isis got turned into something looking like a piece of plumbing, and both the "basket" of Nephthys' headdress and the cows' horns of Hathor were spuriously rendered as lunar crescents).

The illustrations here were either lifted directly from plates to Gods of the Egyptians by E.A. Wallis Budge or cut and pasted together from figures in the same book, with the exception of the head of Bast which was taken from the Ulthar Cat Sanctuary collection of cat photographs. Colours are according to the G.D. scheme of colours which is largely based on the elemental attributions of these figures, with one exception noted below.

Since the PDF as posted has no text at all (it was prepared for members of a small ad hoc study group in which I was involved, which had access to the relevant books and where any necessary explanation could be supplied verbally), followeth a key to who is who:

First row, left to right -- Gods set over squares with 3 or 4 different elemental influences.
  • The Sons of Horus (Hapy, Imesty, Duamutef, Qebsennuf)
  • Osiris.
Second row, left to right -- Gods set over squares where one element dominates.
  • Horus (the group nicknamed this one "Teenage Horus" as contrasted with the elder and child Horus).
  • Isis.
  • Aroueris (the Elder Horus). This is doubtful. The figure and its colouring are as per the description in the G.D. paper, but in Budge's book the image here used was captioned as being someone else entirely (I forget who now).
  • Nephthys. In the GD scheme her dress is black rather than the dark red shown here, in accordance with the attribution to the element of Earth. It probably should be a dress too; the leggings she's shown wearing here, I suspect to be an invention of Budge's illustrator who was probably getting bored at this point.
Third row, left to right -- Gods set over squares with two equal (more or less) elemental influences.
  • Bast.
  • Sekhmet. I'm not particularly happy with the ears on this one. Or the head generally, actually. The identification of Bast and Sekhmet happens in a syncretic age; originally they were different deities with different cult-centres and different associations. Both are attributed in this scheme to a mixture of Fire and Air.
  • Anubis. I retouched the illustration in Gods of the Egyptians to make him slightly less skinny.  Air / Earth.
  • Hathor. I suspect either the original artist whose rendering of her was used as a basis, or Budge's illustrator, made a mess of her right shoulder and drew the nemyss this way to cover it up.  Earth / Water.
Fourth row, left to right -- more Gods set over squares with two balanced influences.
  • Harpocrates (the child Horus) -- Air / Water.
  • Apis. The figure used here, while matching the description, is more strictly that of Serapis; the Apis bull itself was only rarely depicted as a bull-headed man -- Earth / Fire.
  • Doubtful. The paper on the God-forms attaches this description to the name of "Sothis" (Sopdet), but it lacks her distinctive emblem of the five-pointed star, and only the very earliest depictions made Sothis cow-headed. This particular combination of iconography (cow's head, horns + double plumes + solar disc) turns up on some minor cow-goddess figures who were later assimilated to Hathor.  Fire / Water.

20140305

Further to the last . . .

I'm not promising anything, but I am actually paying attention to this blog and to the email contact given in CP texts again. Future queries should hopefully be answered in less time than it took for me to respond to, or even notice, the last couple.

As for resuming actual publishing activity, that remains to be seen. To be honest, I've lost a lot of interest and enthusiasm for the subject matters that CP has dealt with in the past; additionally, much of the original rationale for the project has been made redundant by the increasing availability and decreased cost of storage space and Internet bandwidth; web-posting and downloading a 20+ megabyte set of page images is a far more reasonable proposition now than it was ten years ago.

I will let the last two entries stand; they were an indication of where I was when I posted them. I will, however, attempt to keep such primarily personal matters out of what updates this blog receives from now.

20101117

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Celephaïs Press is again on hold. I need to put my life back together.

20101112

Hæc bilanx pendet in loco qui non est

Just uploaded a minor improvement of Mathers, Kabbalah Unveiled, mainly fixing an issue with page headers in one section, but making a few other stylistic changes and re-arranging my endnotes slightly.

While I have no intention of ever issuing a re-set (the thing runs to over 2000 pages and the typography is such as is likely to defeat most of the more readily available OCR software), complete page images of Knorr von Rosenroth's Kabbala Denudata, the seventeenth-century compilation of Christian Cabala from which Mathers took the Latin translations of the three minor tracts from the Zohar which form the bulk of Kabbalah Unveiled, are also on Scribd:

It was largely in order to preserve pagination and avoid making an unreadable mess of the whole thing that my many sarcastic notes to Mathers' Introduction were omitted in the CP release. Having had some training in formal logic and philosophy of language, it is difficult to remain calm when I see someone translate "qui non est" with the literally meaningless "is negatively existent" and then sink deeper and deeper into a metaphysical and semantic swamp in the process of explaining, or rather making excuses for not explaining, what he means by "negative existence."