First look at Strange Angel, the CBS series based on the life of occultist, rocket pioneer, Jack Parsons

After much anticipation, we finally get a first look at Strange Angel, the ten episode CBS All Access drama series based on the life of rocket scientist, JPL co-founder, and occultist, Jack Parsons. The series is loosely based on the book, Strange Angel, by Boing Boing pal, George Pendle. It remains to be seen how loose. And how far from reality they take the occult and sex magic aspects of Jack's life. Parsons was a member of British occultist Aleister Crowley's O.T.O., and for a time, ran the group's Agape Lodge, a hotbed of sex, drugs, and edgy classical, in Pasadena, CA. The series premiers on June 14th.

If you are unfamiliar with Parsons, here is an article I wrote for Make: magazine years ago, focusing on Jack's amateur rocketry roots. Read the rest

New documentary is a magic portal into a weird and wonderful library

The Hermetic Philosophy

There is an underground current of thought beneath Western culture, running quietly like a vein of quicksilver: The Hermetic Philosophy. This ancient and multifaceted phenomenon is often found rising up from the shadows during times of intense cultural transition and upheaval.

The words hermetic, occult and esoteric are used interchangeably to refer to ideas and beliefs associated with the mystical “Perennial Philosophy” that infused every major religion, and diverse cultural streams, over the past millennia. Rooted in ancient Egyptian and Judeo-Christian traditions, these secret beliefs went mainstream during the Renaissance, a revival that continued through the Enlightenment to modern interpretations in the New Thought and New Age movements and the secular Self-help movement of recent years.

However protean and multifaceted the phenomenon, the essence of most esoteric teachings is that we go about our daily lives asleep, unaware of the true nature of reality and our place in it. This state of affairs engenders numbness, inner disconnection and lack of meaning, with a desolate question lingering in the backs of our heads: Is this all there is? Maybe, there is more than meets the eye. Unlike modern materialism, the Hermetic Philosophy pictures the cosmos as a living entity, the Anima Mundi experiencing itself subjectively. Every thing – fragments of The All – are linked together in a web of correspondences and resonances between microcosm and macrocosm. The ultimate goal of the “Way of Hermes” is to wake up to a divine reality: the actualization of the spiritual nature of man. Read the rest