The Light Invisible

A Blog for the Church Magical

Category: History

John Ball William Morris

When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?

As you might have noticed, there has been a lack of recent updates here on The Light Invisible — I’ve been very busy with a number of other projects. Readers of this blog might be happy to know that most of my esoteric work at the moment has been directed toward writing a book manuscript on Western Esotericism as a Theology of Liberation, which will hopefully see publication next year.

But the primary reason I’ve been unable to write for the blog has been my day job in communications and organizing. Through my work with the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice, I’ve been engaged in communications work for the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, the effort to reignite Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 Poor People’s Campaign for today. I outline the approach of the new PPC — specifically, the necessity of the unity and leadership of the poor for any attempt at national moral revival — in a recent piece for Religion Dispatches.

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Prince Hall Freemasonic Lodge in Atlanta, Georgia

Shadows of a Future Aeon: Esotericism, Politics, and Populist Spirituality

Stephen K. Bannon — political strategist, filmmaker, financier, and … occultist? Really: multiple sources have reported that Donald Trump’s advisor, right-wing populist, and former Breitbart News editor Steve Bannon has a penchant for the occult and the esoteric. Bannon had notably cited the early twentieth century Italian esotericist, traditionalist, and Nazi affiliate Julius Evola during a 2014 conference with traditionalists at the Vatican. More recently, Mitch Horowitz — author of Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped our Nation wrote in Salon that, after the 2009 publication of his book, Bannon had called the author to express his “deep interest in the book’s themes,” encouraging Horowitz in his work on his next volume, an exploration of the positive thinking movement in American life. Horowitz goes on in his article to give a history of American conservatism’s interest in occultism and New Age mysticism, including Ronald Reagan’s use of Manly P. Hall’s esoteric ideas about America’s “secret destiny,” Donald Trump’s belief in the power of positive thinking, and the Freemasonic symbols in the Great Seal of the United States.

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Parliament of the World's Religions

The Esoteric Dimensions of the Parliament of the World’s Religions

In 1893, the first Parliament of the World’s Religions was convened at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. This historic event brought together representatives from a number of world religions, including one of the first introductions for Americans and Western Europeans to the religions of Asia on Asian terms. Swami Vivekananda gave a famous speech at the Parliament and received a standing ovation from over 7,000 listeners. Soyen Shaku, the first Zen Buddhist master to teach in the United States, made his American debut at the Parliament, and his speech was translated into English by his young student, D.T. Suzuki. The Parliament is considered to be the birth of the modern interfaith movement, and the first formal interfaith gathering to be held in world history. Since the first Parliament, the event has coalesced into an organized movement with regular occurrences, with other historic Parliaments held throughout the world over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries.

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Camaldoli

Monasticism and Esotericism – A Symbiotic Relationship

The underground status of many esoteric orders, and the religious perspectives of many occultists today, are such that the notion of establishing relationships between the world of esoterica and the mainstream religious world is nonsensical at best, offensive at worst. Yes, many orders do have a religious arm or related esoteric faith that they themselves founded or absorbed — the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica of O.T.O., the Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis of the Monastery of the Seven Rays/La Couleuvre Noire, the Liberal Catholic Church and the Theosophical Society, to give but a few examples. As detailed in a previous post, Dion Fortune’s Threefold Way of Western Esotericism especially recognizes the importance of a relationship between the Orange Ray of the Hermetic path and the Purple Ray of mystical devotion, and her own Guild of the Master Jesus’ place in the Society of the Inner Light modeled this understanding for the esoteric community.

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Gustave Doré's illustration of the Rosa Celeste for Dante's Paradiso.

The Light Invisible – Towards a Manifesto of the Church Magical

The Light Invisible is a blog that will touch on diverse traditions of Christian Esotericism — traditional Rosicrucianism, Christian mysticism, Christian Hermeticism and Cabala, European alchemy, Renaissance magic, the Golden Dawn tradition, the legends of the Holy Grail, and folk magical traditions. The lens through which I will reflect on these esoteric traditions is primarily orthodox — in other words, I affirm the traditional theology of orthodox Christianity, specifically the creedal, liturgical, apostolic Christianity of the Roman Catholic Church, Anglo-Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy (I myself am a practicing Catholic who spent a long time in the Anglican church before confirmation as a Roman Catholic, my family’s tradition).

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St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, Rome.

On the Papal World-Tree, or, An Esoteric Meditation on the Papacy

Originally posted as a part of my column, The Blooming Staff, on the Agora, the group blog of the Patheos Pagan Channel.

Next Sunday, a new show premieres on HBO — “The Young Pope.” The show stars Jude Law as an ultraconservative Archbishop of New York who is elected to the Papacy, and who embarks on a traditionalist mission reminiscent of Pope Benedict XVI’s, if Benedict had been a narcissistic New York chain-smoker with visionary dreams and an American nun played by Diane Keaton as his close advisor. Jude Law’s Pope is essentially the polar opposite of Pope Francis, and has more in common with the fictional Pope Hadrian VII, the main character of Frederick Rolfe’s 1904 decadent novel Hadrian the Seventh.

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Tommaso Campanella's City of the Sun.

Prisca Theologia, Pansophy, and Integral Truth – Some Notes on Universal Reformation

Originally posted as a part of my column, The Blooming Staff, on the Agora, the group blog of the Patheos Pagan Channel.

1.

In 1947, Protestant theologian Karl Barth introduced the phrase Ecclesia semper reformanda est — “the church is always to be reformed.” Barth used the phrase to express the Reformed conviction that the Christian Church must constantly examine itself and continue to evolve and reform; a teaching that thinks of the Reformation as a permanent state rather than an historic event. Since the Second Vatican Council, certain radical Catholic theologians like Hans Küng have also used the saying to express their desire for a Church that remains open to the world and to the spirit of the times. Pope Francis has in many ways resumed this spirit of dialogue and openness within the Church, especially when it comes to issues like poverty and climate change.

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