Friday, April 10, 2020

The Crystal Tomb

The Crystal Tomb of the Ozarks

There is a remarkable shrine to the Resurrection* located in the Missouri Ozarks. Situated 15 miles south of Interstate 44 at Lebanon, Missouri on MO 5 and 7 miles north from the little village of Grove Springs at the intersection of Highway J and 5. There you will find a small parking lot in front of an interesting structure.

Constructed out of native rocks using a very old Ozark building style, this small building replicates the empty grave of the rock-cut tomb where the earthly body of Christ was laid after the Crucifixion. At the entrance there is a steel archway over the approach to the tomb that states, “Rejoice the tomb is empty: Jesus will return to reign forever” the words cut into the steel.

The tomb is very professionally crafted out of rocks that are indigenous to this part of the Ozark Mountains. The builders have chosen each rock carefully so that they fit snugly to form the walls. What is truly miraculous is the number of sparkling jewel-like crystals that are in the rocks. Large and small quartz crystals and amethyst embedded in geodes festoon the rock face adding a curious aurora of energy that accompanies the burial chamber. These autochthonic crystals were obviously selected purposely to bring a glorious presence to this place.

It is a wondrous work of art and devotion built by the local people in an act of unselfish love that shares their Faith with everyone.

David S Reif

Good Friday, MMXX AD


Many of you have been enjoying Perennis blog for years since the print version cease to exist. After over a decade we continue to post on this blog as time permits. I still go to work everyday as an artist squeaking out a living with my wife creating things to sell. It is no easier today than ever.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Julius Evola: Hetrodyne Apotheosis

Julius Evola the Hetrodyne* Apotheosis 

  Joscelyn Godwin’s discussion about Julius Evola (1898-1974) in relation to theosophy1 (interview posted here ) inspired me to take up the subject of Evola again after dropping it several times over the years.  Lately there has been a flurry of interest regarding Evola due to reports [now disputed] that well known political consultant Steve Bannon is said to have been influenced by Evola.2
Writers in the areas of the Western Spiritual beliefs and the study of symbolism have included Mr Evola in the Traditionalist school and some seem to conflate that with Perennialism.  Evola can loosely fit the latter due his interest in Imperial Rome, however, his contemporaries would more appropriately be in the area of Traditionalism as a more generic cross cultural eclectic practice associated with Guénon and others.
Evola,  Guénon, and many in their generation sought out the darkest caves and crevices of Western occultism looking for a critique of their culture which was dominated by Roman Catholicism.  Yet it is not difficult to imagine that studying the occult for purely academic reasons can be a pretext for an attempt to amplify ones own personal power, a common practice of the occultist.
In some quarters of the Establishment merely whispering the name “Evola” evokes a spasm of reflexive emotion dredged up from the WWII era.  The victors in that war (as all victors do) set about to write history to suit their own taste and whether justified or not whack anybody tainted with the stain of the vanquished enemy.
Such is the case for Mr. Evola an eclectic philosopher, artist, and poet who has left us a large body of work to sift through.  After having had an on and off quixotic flirtation with German National Socialism and his native Italian Fascist powers of that era Julius settled in the camp of the defeated Axis powers.   At once the ideologue and starry-eyed follower then the next moment a Romanesque visionary caught in a pagan daydream. When the hard power politics of the Nazi SS and Mr Mussolini’s battlefield setbacks collided with the mind of an artist, poet, and philosopher something alchemical happened.
One of the procedures of alchemy is taking matter and stressing it with heat, acids, oxidation, and then repeating the process over and over in a prescribed sequence. This protocol when done properly will ultimately yield something unique and wondrous.  Indeed Evola endured the great stresses of war and political upheaval in the XXth century and while abiding this devastating century he was able to maintain an enlarged perspective of history and philosophy.
Godwin uses Evola’s association with philosopher Rene Guénon (1886-1951) aka Sheikh Abd al-Wahid Yahya (his Arabic name), as a launching point to illustrate certain facts about Evola, “Evola’s engagement in politics...Evola’s heroic path of the solitary “special type of man” working to realize the transcendent in himself and become an “absolute individual...”3 In this contrast with Rene Guénon, the Islamic convert, we see a glimmer of light coming from Evola which is filled out in his writing career that spans some of the most turbulent decades in human history.  These two men in their own way contributed to a renewed interest in the philosophia perennis.  Yet one ended up with paganism and the other with Islam while searching the antediluvian mysteries for the common root in a clouded pre-history where everything is possible.
Godwin also makes a good distinction about theosophy in regards to Evola but it also can be apply in other areas.  “What has been said [about theosophy] explains why this question cannot be answered with a simple Yes or No. If the person asking it associates theosophy only with the Theosophical Society, the answer is No. If on the other hand the question is based on an appreciation of the distinction between that society and the theosophical tradition, then the answer is Yes. Evola was certainly engaged on a search for the Absolute, and he recognized that this search had been pursued by many different routes, at many different periods. In point of fact, he had more in common with Blavatsky than he would have liked to admit, because the goal of his sophia was, like hers, an impersonal one. Both were more sympathetic to the Eastern traditions, especially Buddhism, than to the monotheistic or Abrahamic religions. In reading the Christian theosophists and alchemists, both looked beneath the surface, at the metaphysical doctrines and experiences that transcended dogmatic and biblical modes of expression. Also, the very idea of “tradition,” of a primordial wisdom that has reappeared in different forms throughout the ages, was mediated to Evola’s generation by the Theosophical Society. The Renaissance had known this as the theory of a prisca theologia, a wisdom possessed by pagans as well as by Jews and Christians, but it was the Theosophical Society that publicized it, and widened its scope by including the wisdom of the Near and Far East, even privileging the latter. By the time Evola came of age, the idea that the ancient East possessed a wisdom superior to that of the modern West had entered the general fund of ideas, attracting people who were disillusioned both by Christianity and by atheistic materialism.”4

On to Egypt

Another piece in the Evola puzzle is Martin Lings (1909-2005) who lived in the same period as Evola and Guénon.  “Lings was born in Lancashire, England, in 1909 and received both his BA (1932) and his MA (1937) from Oxford University in English literature was a leading member of the “Traditionalist” or “Perennialist” school and an acclaimed author, editor, translator, scholar, Arabist, and poet whose work centers on the relationship between God and man through religious doctrine, scripture, symbolism, literature, and art. He was an accomplished metaphysician and essayist who often turned to a number of the world’s great spiritual traditions for examples, though he is probably best known for his writings on Islam and its esoteric tradition, Sufism.“
“In 1935 Lings discovered the writings of Rene Guénon, the French philosopher and went to Cairo to study with Guénon. Lings like Guénon was smitten with Islam and lived in Cairo until Guénon died in 1951 and shortly thereafter Lings and his wife were kicked out of Egypt by some of his fellow adherents of Islam during a wave of Jihadism in the early 1950’s which did not approve of his English genetics. He returned to England where he lived the life of an academic. He wrote several books while working at the British Museum.”5
Following in the path of Guénon and Evola, Lings was a critic of Christianity which was an intellectually fashionable position to take in the XXth century that nearly ensured at least some approval from the bookish nabobs in the intellectual glitterati.  His path also mirrored Guénon’s in that they believed Islam was the last bastion of Traditionalism in the face of the modernist onslaught. Unwilling to fight it out in the mean streets of the academy they sought “refuge” in Cairo (of all places) and became pets for the mullahs and muftis who were quite proud of their converts. [read more at the Famous Converts to Islam section].
Cairo was an interesting choice for Guénon.  He had been a profound Roman Catholic and had flirted with offshoot orders of the Church and was married to a devout Catholic.  He also actively participated in many of the occult and dark arts in early XXth century France. It seems that the date he actually converted to Islam is in doubt although certainly by the late 1920’s he had converted to Islam “...but he didn’t converted to orthodox Islam, he chose the highly occult Sufi sect known as Shadhilites.” 6

In the same time period Guénon was in Cairo it was the incubator for radical Islamic revolutionaries.  Perhaps the most famous in the West is the Muslim Brotherhood (1928 to present). “According to founder al-Banna, ‘It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.’  Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood opposes secular tendencies of Islamic nations and wants a return to the precepts of the Qur'an. The Brotherhood firmly rejects all notions of Western influences... Brotherhood members organize events from prayer meetings to sport clubs for socializing.” 7
It is clear that from the beginning the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) goal was domination of the Islamic world but also the “...entire planet”. This was the desired end of the organization.  No one can ever say that Arabs lack intellect or are deficient in excellent political instincts.  The culture demands a single minded focus on one god and that is Allah.  This practice sets the tone for their other pursuits.  World domination being one of those pursuits.  The MB had laid out a manifesto or declaration of war and everything goes in war including armed conflict but also subversion and non-leathal destabilization of ones enemies.

Mufti of Jerusalem with Adolph Hitler 

With WWII raging in the background while Evola was oscillating back and forth between Mussolini and Hitler concurrently Evola’s associate Mr Guénon was ensconced in Egypt. The Islamic world was watching from the sidelines in Cairo waiting for the “colonial” powers of Europe to kill each other off lending assistance towards that end whenever possible.  If the Europeans continued to weaken themselves with endless wars and Christianity, the backbone of their culture, could be undermined, then a divided and co-opted Christendom would fall to the single minded plans of Arab Islam.
Meanwhile Sheikh Abd al-Wahid Yahya (Guénon) spent his days in hot revolutionary Cairo down playing his ties to a dark occult past in France. At the same time organizations like the MB were spreading a revival of Islamic fundamentalism in the universities, mosques, and throughout the educated classes in the Egyptian bureaucracy.  A number of insurrections broke out in Egypt and it was being torn apart by radical forces.  “In 1952, members of the Muslim Brotherhood were accused of taking part in the Cairo Fire that destroyed some 750 buildings in downtown Cairo – mainly night clubs, theatres, hotels, and restaurants frequented by British and other foreigners”8

Imperial Paganism

To his credit Evola did not succumb to the Adhan (call to prayer) and the Sujud or putting ones face on the ground three times a day as an element of Islamic prostration pointing to the Black Rock at Mecca and saying Arabic prayers.  Instead he rejected Roman Catholicism in his native Italy and dug into Hinduism, the Veda, the Kali Yuga, and its ancient roots in Zoroastrianism trying to absorb the origins of his own Euro-Iranic culture.  He was more akin to embracing classic Roman Imperial paganism rather than the upstart desert craze offered by Islam.

"Dynamic Synthesis" Julius Evola, 1918

Yet he would be plagued by contradictions which were foreshadowed in his efforts as an oil painter. In my opinion he was a talented and creative artist involved in the abstract Futurist movement but a look at his work reveals that he would not be boxed in a commercial style.  Yet more important he seemed to be working out philosophical problems on his canvases.  This was not the point of the Dada abstractionists and he soon move away from painting.

He seemed to always be in a transcended mood although distracted with the pesky confines of “reality” swirling about him,  Somewhere his intuitions had to make sense to him but the impact of cataclysmic event shrouded his view.  The answers were not “...blowing in the wind...” the answers were howling in a hurricane.  Consequently, the abstract (philosophical) paintings in his soul could not conform to the ones in his mind nor could they find coherence in his writings. These are not new issues for the artistic intellectual but for Evola caught in the crossfire of modernism he became the archetype of today’s unmodulated spiritual hetrodyne.
Mr Evola had a curious mind and some of his thinking was original. He had a penchant for viewing mythology in the light of metaphysics.  He saw the myth structure of the West as the operating system for culture.  Yet the stressful times and inability of his Roman Catholic Church to come to grips with modernism skewed his vision.  So whatever might have been good about his ideas were bent into the same dark anti-Western mirage that plagued Sheikh Abd al-Wahid Yahya.  The fall of Christendom for what?
Evola’s work was suppressed after WWII due to his support for the Axis. Lings would be rewarded with a prestigious university position writing brilliant works exposing the underpinning of modernism yet leaving us with a longing for an alternative.  Guénon became the darling of the global ecumenical cadre of the Left who is always inspired by strategies of personal power.
Evola continued to dabble in Nazism believing it was the force that would rekindle the flames of paganism.  During an air raid in the Spring of 1945 while living in Vienna working on occult research for the Nazis a Soviet bomb exploded nearby and a chunk of steel shrapnel hurdled through the streets and slammed into his spine paralyzing him from the waist down for the remainder of his life.  In his earlier research into Eastern Philosophy he became aware of the Kali Yuga or the devolved “Age of Iron” which was given a new meaning that day in Vienna when an iron fragment paid a karmic visit to his Kundalini channel.
The alchemical Work is capable of turning that which is common into something precious. The operations involved are relentless and brutal rending matter apart and smelting soul and spirit in the furnace of our material world. The Work attracts many; some succeed, some fail, while others kibitz.  It can produce things unique and wondrous. In Evola’s case it produced something unique and enigmatic. 

  David S. Reif



3 Ibid,







*In radio communications two or more broadcasts on the same frequency causing an audio dissonance is a hetrodyne signal.


Many of you have been enjoying Perennis blog for years since the print version cease to exist. After over a decade we continue to post on this blog as time permits. I still go to work everyday as an artist squeaking out a living with my wife creating things to sell. It is no easier today than ever .

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Thursday, January 2, 2020

From Sweden to Siberia

King Charles XII's "Victory at Narva"--Gustaf Cederstrom (1835-1933)

From Sweden to Siberia--Theo Berigsen

Editor’s Foreword

By 1700 A.D the example of Jacbob Boehme (1575-1624 A.D.) that lay-people were capable of great spiritual insight had traveled from his home in Goerlitz across the German states and the Low Countries. Boehme’s legacy also had a profound effect on Sweden as a forerunner to the Radical Pietism movement that flowed from the Lutheran philosopher Phillip Spener (1635-1705 A.D.) who created a revolution by stressing the individual mystic connection between people and God. Spener called for an organization of believers through small groups lead by ordinary citizens called “conventicles” which met outside the customary church structure; a very controversial idea in those days.

Spener was acquainted with Wilhelm Kriegsmann (1633-1679) who was a student of spiritual alchemy and other mystical practices widespread in the Germanic states, Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, and other European countries. Kriegsmann had studied the great mystics like Valentin Weigel (1533-1588), Johann Arndt ((1555-162) and especially Jacob Boehme. Spener would meet Kriegsmann at a Frankfurt conventicle during the formative period of the conventicle movement.1 This was a period of great intellectual and theological fervor and debate with speculative theologians influenced by Boehme and other “enthusiasts” [mystics] coming into contact with establishment Lutherans who were interested in reform.

The Pietist movement Spener began in the 17th century continues today as Christian mysticism which is part of the Western Esoteric tradition. Spener also has a central place in the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC). Click Here for information about ECC

As Pietism came to Sweden, “... the principal leaders and transmitters of Pietism during the first quarter of the eighteenth century were civil servants and other government officials in Stockholm. The most prominent leader and organizer of the Stockholm circle of Pietists in this period was Elias Wolker. Wolker was an accountant, and it was he who worked both to organize many of the conventicles in Stockholm and to establish a connection with Spener-Halle Pietism through active correspondence with Francke. Other notable leaders of this Pietist circle in Stockholm were Lorens Carelberg, a mint-master, and Georg Lybecker, a deputy judge. The remaining lay-people who participated in the Stockholm circle of Pietists, at least in the first decade of the eighteenth century, were primarily lower government officials and merchants.”2

At the same time these cultural events rocked Sweden the country and their young leader King Charles XII (b.1682) became involved in the “Great Northern War” 1700-1721, something few people in the USA are familiar with but changed the map of northern Europe for over 300 years.

A half century earlier by the end of the “30 Years War” (1618-1648) Sweden had saved Protestantism in Europe from the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation. In doing so they amassed an empire on the shores of the Baltic Sea that was not challenged until 1700. At the end of the Great Northern War Sweden’s empire is supplanted by the Russian Czar Peter the Great and King Charles XII is dead.
 [D S Reif-Ed.]

1“Between Alchemy and Pietism, Mike Zuber, 2014
2 “Swedish Pietism (1700-1727) as Resistance and Popular Religion”, Todd Green, Lutheran Quarterly, December, 2007

Mr. Berigsen begins...

Pietism in the Army of Sweden’s King Charles XII


Pietism in the Army of Sweden’s King Charles XII in Siberia from 1709 to 1722 is an important part of the history of Pietism in Scandinavia. After the battle of Poltava in 1709 in Ukraine the king and his ally, Ukrainian Hetman Ivan Mazepa managed with a few of their armies to escape to Ottoman territory (present day Moldavia). King Charles left it to his leading generals to decide if the main Swedish army was to retreat to the Crimean Khanate, an ally of Sweden, to continue the fight, or surrender. The over 20,000 strong army including almost 2,000 women and children did surrender and the captives were marched by foot to Moscow to be humiliated in a march through the Russian capital guarded by Russian officers and soldiers. After the march from the village of Perevolochna to Moscow the prisoners were divided up. A great part was sent to the capital of Siberia, Tobolsk, while others were forced to work in the newly established Russian shipyards at St. Petersburg on the Baltic Sea and Voronets on the Black Sea.

Many of the prisoners, their wives and children died during the years in captivity and it is estimated that only 25 percent of them could return to Sweden in 1722 after the Peace Treaty at Nystad, Finland, was signed in 1721.

The First Contacts

In his thesis ”Yttre kyla och inre glöd – Pietismen bland Karl XII:s Karoliner i Sibirien 1709-1722” (Freezing Outside and Fire inside – Pietism among the Army of Charles XII in Siberia 1709-1722) in the history of theology Marcus Johansson has in 2012 (University of Stockholm) brought to life the harrowing experience of the soldier families in Tobolsk and how they reached out for spiritual guidance to the leading pietist in Germany, August Hermann Francke of Halle [Halle was a stronghold of Radical Pietism in Saxony, now Germany-ed].

Johansson in his work has studied both published and unpublished material. He concludes that the evangelical movement had its origin in the piety of the Swedish soldiers of the time combined with their situation of deprivation in captivity. The spiritual origins came from Halle and German pietism. The focus was on conversion, struggle against sin and participation in conventicles combined with social activities in education in a school that in practice was a children’s home. Bible reading was important, the views concerning divine retribution and the belief that grace only could save man. The representatives of the state Church of Sweden allowed the Pietists in Tobolsk to express their religious belief as long as it did not compete with Lutheran orthodoxy.

Pietism, Francke and the Swedish Prisoners in Siberia

Pietism began with Philipp Jakob Spener (1635 – 1705), who was born in Alsace and had a devout Christian upbringing. in Rappoltsweiler, a village in upper Alsace, northwest of what is present day Colmar, France. He was raised by his devout Christian and pious parents, and entered the University of Strasbourg in 1651 and completed his studies in 1659. After that he did some travelling, first to Basel in Switzerland, and then to Geneva, Switzerland. Here, he listened to the preachings of French reformed preacher Jean de Labadie (1610 – 1674) who was calling for a true belief and holy living.

In 1675 he published his Pia Desideria proposing reform. Firstly he suggested a greater emphasis and use of the Bible, including institute small group Bible studies. The second proposal was reform in the priesthood. Thirdly he wrote that knowledge of Christian doctrine was not enough, for Christianity consisted also of practice. The unbelievers and heretics should be prayed for, corrected with loving admonition and led back to Christianity by living a godly example of the Christian life was the fourth proposal. This approach should be used instead of disputation, polemics and virulent personal attacks. Fifthly, universities and schools should encourage godly, instead of worldly, living among their students. The sixth proposal was that sermons should be written with the goal of instilling faith and its fruits in the listener to the greatest possible degree. There was generally a very positive public response to the book, but also opposition.

In 1686 Spener was called to become court preacher in Saxony. Shortly after the arrival in Dresden Spener was informed about a conventicle which was administered by August Hermann Francke (1663 – 1727) and Paul Anton (1661 – 1730). Francke had studied at Leipzig University and later lectured there but his employment was terminated and conventicles were forbidden by the Saxon government.

Later Francke was ordained as pastor in Erfurt but had to leave the city in 1691. Soon thereafter he was called to Halle and appointed professor of Greek and Oriental languages. Halle would later be known around the world as a center of Pietism. It was in Halle that Francke started to develop his famous foundations. He started a school for poor children and later in 1696 an orphanage, a hospital, a bookstore, a home for widows, a library, a bakery, a brewery and an art museum. A print shop for bibles was opened in 1697. In 1710 a Bible Institute was created and the world’s first Bible Society. Pietism in Scandinavia first took hold in Denmark and Francke helped the Danes to send missionaries to the trading post of Tranquebar, India.

In 1713 nine Swedish officers imprisoned in Tobolsk (Siberia) had written to Francke in Halle requesting aid in education, medical facilities, and libraries. He was positive and provided money, medicine, books and equipment. This resulted in the creation of Pietist institutions for the prisoners in Tobolsk. Swedish soldiers started to carry devotional booklets written by Francke and printed in Halle. When he passed away in 1727, the pietist movement had been born and continued to thrive.

(The short overview above is based on ”The Rise of German Pietism in the 17th Century” by James Paulgaard. It is available on Internet but was first published as a thesis in History, University of Saskatchewan, Canada, December 1,1998.)

Halle was in East Germany and during the Soviet occupation until 1989 – 1991 the foundations of Francke suffered great damage from neglect. They were restored in the 1990s and Halle now houses a study center, libraries and archives devoted to Pietism and the Early Enlightenment. The large orphanage is once more in perfect condition.

Boehme’s Legacy Continues

Boehme’s mystical tradition continues in Sweden with the influential Swedish Christian mystic Hjalmar Ekstrom (1885 – 1962). He was also a shoemaker born in Helsingborg in Scania region, Sweden. In 1907 he had a strong revelation and later in 1916 he experienced what he called ”the mystic death”.

Among his works are two significant contributions in Swedish: ”The Hidden Woekshop” (1962) and ”The Still Chamber” (1968). In 1980 Ekstrom was the subject of an academic dissertation at Lund University, Sweden: Anton Geels, ”Mystikern Hjalmar Ekstrom 1885 – 1962”.

In the so called Flodberg Circle in Sweden, which included Ekstrom, there was a strong belief in ”The Silent Song of Praise.” It focused on song as a means in the kenotic spirituality. By singing songs, giving music life in one’s inner space one lets the own self, body and mind – become an instrument for music that stems from a divine source. The basis for understanding a life of belonging to Christ is in the understanding of singing. It was the Christian practice known as self-emptying -. Kenesis.

Ekstrom once said that “Boehme belonged to the most pure mysticism”. Further information on Swedish Christian mysticism can be found in ”Western Esotericism in Scandinavia” (ed. Henrik Bogdan and Olav Hammer, Brill Publisher, Netherlands, 2016).

--Theo Berigsen

Many of you have been enjoying Perennis blog for years since the print version cease to exist. After over a decade we continue to post on this blog as time permits. I still go to work everyday as an artist squeaking out a living with my wife creating things to sell. It is no easier today than ever .

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Saturday, December 21, 2019

Europe Reconsiders Jacob Boehme

"Strasbourg Inspiration" 

There are some very interesting development regarding Jacob Boehme coming from Europe. Below is an excerpt from an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine about the recent interest in Boehme. For my part I am not so interested in the clinical recitations of the various new finding from antique book shelves. Rather it is the effect after nearly 400 years since the death of the venerable Mr. Boehme that his spirit continues to exert on people. It is the quantum mysterium which captures my reverence.

In den Osten kommt das Licht [To the East Comes the Light]
Von REINER SCHWEINFURTH (International Jacob Boehme Society)
Frankfurter Allgemeine 19Aug2019

“...In addition, the first biographer of Boehme, his confidant Abraham von Franckenberg(1593-1652), published his life report here for the first time. Now a text comparison possible with the saved handwritten manuscripts, which were preserved by the upper class in Silesia. The unrefined edition is accompanied by margin notes from the editors, whoseevaluation promises previously unknown information.

All contributions to the conference in Gotha confirmed the growing international interest in Jacob Boehme the “Philosophicus Teutonicus”. Around the research center led by Martin Mulsow
the Boehme expert Lucinda Martin has created a network. In the Research library at Gotha are about 10, 000 manuscript records, many from the seventeenth century, not yet cataloged.

One of the attractions of exploring Bohemia is the discovery of the far-reaching, often subversive
ties that were already formed during his lifetime, then after his death in 1624, throughout Protestant Europe. His manuscripts were a precious commodity and many trustees profited. The pious and irrational diction of his writings remains a nuisance to positivistic-materialistic minds. Until
today.But after secularization, at least in this country, no one need fear, to be put in prison for spreading Bohemian ideas, for centuries this was different...”
* * *

I want to point out a few items in Mr Schweinfurth’s insightful essay“The pious and irrational diction of his writings remains a nuisance to positivistic/materialistic minds.” This is a very interesting sentence. Allowing for the translation and the cultural difference between the American and German audience the use of the term “...pious and irrational diction...” may be off putting to some as it may seem condescending. I don’t think it is meant that way. I believe this is the way European scholars viewed spiritual philosophy in the recent past where anything “religious” or Christian is often regarded as quaint or intellectually suspect. I think Mr Schweinfurth is attempting to bridge a generational gap here. When writing for an audience who is still mired in European anti-Christian thought where condescension is baked into the cake, Mr. Schweinfurth skillfully sidesteps existing bias but continues to move forward.

Who could blame Europeans for holding rather negative views about Christianity after centuries of war often blamed on religion when economic and territorial motives were the real causes. Between the often oppressive legacy of Roman Catholicism and the neo-Marxist pretensions espoused by John Barth (and others) it is little wonder that religious philosophy is suspected of duplicity. Boehme offers an escape from the doctrines of the past.

It is important to point out that Mr. Schweinfurth continues by emphasizing that “...positivistic-materialistic minds...” may find Boehme difficult due to the “nuisance” of troublesome abstract ideas involved in his writings and advanced concepts often out of reach to the modernist worldview. I believe Mr Schweinfurth is walking a narrow line while making an important point about Boehme at the same time not opening himself up to partisan criticism. Mr. Schweinfurth offers us this extraordinary thought “ one need fear, to be put in prison for spreading Bohemian ideas...”. Except in a clinical (or secular) environment whenever controversial spiritual ideas are discussed there seems to be an underlying element of fear just beyond peripheral vision.

Winter Solstice 2019

(original text)
Hinzu kommt, dass der erste Biograph Böhmes, sein Vertrauter Abraham von Franckenberg
(1593 bis 1652), hier zum ersten Mal seinen Lebensbericht publizierte. Nun ist ein
Textabgleich möglich mit den gesicherten handgeschriebenen Manuskripten, die in der
erweckungswilligen Oberschicht Schlesiens kursierten, gesammelt und teilweise bearbeitet
wurden. Die Karnal-Ausgabe ist mit Marginalien der Herausgeber versehen, deren
Auswertung bisher unbekannte Informationen verspricht.
Alle Beiträge der Tagung in Gotha bestätigten das international wachsende Interesse am
Philosophicus Teutonicus. Rund um das von Martin Mulsow geleitete Forschungszentrum
hat die Böhme-Kennerin Lucinda Martin ein Netzwerk gesponnen. In der
Forschungsbibliothek Gotha sind etwa 10 000 Handschriftensätze, viele aus dem siebzehnten
Jahrhundert, noch gar nicht katalogisiert.
Ein Reiz der Erforschung Böhmes besteht im Aufspüren der weitreichenden, oft subversiv
geknüpften Verbindungen, die sich schon zu seinen Lebzeiten, dann nach seinem Tod 1624,
im ganzen protestantischen Europa nachweisen lassen. Die Manuskripte waren eine kostbare
Ware, von deren Verkauf mancher Treuhänder profitierte. Die fromme und irrationale
Diktion seiner Schriften bleibt für positivistisch-materialistische Gemüter ein Ärgernis. Bis
heute. Doch nach der Säkularisierung muss wenigstens hierzulande niemand mehr fürchten,
wegen Verbreitung Böhmischer Gedanken ins Gefängnis gesteckt zu werden. Über
Jahrhunderte war dies anders.

The entire text is here:

Many of you have been enjoying Perennis blog for years since the print version cease to exist. After over a decade we continue to post on this blog as time permits. I still go to work everyday as an artist squeaking out a living with my wife creating things to sell. It is no easier today than ever .

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Ultimate Kingdom

I borrowed the title for this painting “The Last Kingdom”, (Das Lezte Konigreich”) from a line in a poem written in 1801 by the famous German writer Novalis (Fredrich von Hardenberg). When I read it there was an immediate resonance with the concepts involved.

The last kingdom struck me as the “ultimate kingdom” rather than the “final kingdom”. This is not the description of the eschaton but of the ideal pinnacle where we strive for the understanding that Jacob Boehme pointed too. A scene of dynamic resolution not a vision of destruction.

Boehme’s writings are a blueprint of the spiritual universe. However, understanding the mechanics of nature is not enough. Later writers who surreptitiously fed off Boehme work (Kant, Hegel, Marx) misunderstood Boehme’s processes and their descendants would interpret their work to see the universe as a grand device. Once all the inputs, programs, knobs, and gears were mapped and subjected to taxonomy then it could be manipulated to enhance the personal power of the technicians.

Von Hardenberg intuitively grasped the “meta” program that was running underneath the words of Boehme and in his poem “To Tieck” he introduced the concept of “the abundance of being”. This acknowledged the true mission as mystical. Understanding the mechanisms of God’s universe was not an exercise in positivism or philosophical materialism rather it was the search for fulfillment not affluence.

D S Reif

The original extended essay (and translation) about the painting refereed to above can be viewed on the website of the International Jacob Boehme Society,   CLICK HERE


Friday, August 30, 2019

The Divine Embryo

The Archangel Gabriel appears to Mary

 The cosmic event that shakes our world.

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? Luke 1:34 KJV

[Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" Luke 1:34 NAS]

Two translations, the King James Version and the New American Standard, both conveying the same meaning.

Perhaps this statement spoken by Mary and recorded by the Apostle Luke is the most controversial in the New Testament. It seems to be an enigma. Within this short sentence is a challenge to the rational mind and an assault to our understanding of time and space.

The man who would be known first as Jesus and later Lord Christ born to a woman was the Son of God and the King of the Universe. This man who changed the course of history for the last two millennia was the product of a birth by a virgin, a woman who had not had sexual relations. “How can this be…”?

This human event that has never been duplicated continues to fascinate the believer and perplex the atheist. It has taken us over two thousand years of natural history study to finally glimpse the root of this awesome occurrence.

In the last half century the study of human embryos has unwittingly shed light on this mystery of the Virgin Birth. Modern scientist were perhaps the last people who would have wanted to help the world understand the testimony of Mary. More interested in establishing a “Brave New World” than casting light on an ancient conundrum the idea of cellular embryology verifying a Christian truth was not in the mind of the molecular biologist of the XXth Century.

Yet in this field of study we get a glimpse of a deeper truth that surrounds the Virgin Birth. In the 1970’s Dr. Patrick Steptoe and Dr. Robert Edwards introduced the concept of “in vitro fertilization”1 as a fertility aid2.. Their research lead to what is now called the In-Vitro Services Industry (IVF) which is a multi-billion dollar business. Its theory and practices are well understood and used throughout the globe.

By studying this process it became obvious to me that the question asked over two thousand years ago could be part. The embryo that would develop within the womb of Mary was implanted by God. There was no genetic material from her or her (soon to be) husband Joseph involved. The event was complete unique. The blood ties to history were broken. Jesus the Lord Christ was born of a woman as every other human on Earth but had no hereditary linkage to anyone except God.

As this idea developed in me a question was generated. Yes an embryo from outside the body can be successfully implanted into the lining of the womb but where did the embryo come from?

After some further research I found the answer in Luke 1:35, “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” There the answer was in plain sight. “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee...” The embryo was a material manifestation of a Divine entity delivered through the Holy Ghost of God [the Highest] into the uterus of Mary.

That explained the delivery system but still left the big question open of how was the Divine Embryo created. Of course I do not pretend to know the internal process of God. Jacob Boehme tells us about the continuous process of Creation being generated around us so I knew there would be an indication for us to follow3. What I was looking for was in John 1:1-5.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

God creates material objects out of nothing (darkness) through the use of His Divine light (supernatural energy).

I can imagine that even for God the creation of a viable embryo and implanting it in a human womb was perhaps a challenge and that is why it does not seem to happen everyday. Yet in this case the operation went flawlessly.

1“in vitro fertilization”
noun, a specialized technique by which an ovum, especially a human one, is fertilized by sperm outside the body, with the resulting embryo later implanted in the uterus for gestation.

2In this essay by Tian Zhu is a brief history of “in vitro fertilization” and embryo implantation.

3 Jacob Boehme, Aurora: the Day Spring, 1612, transcribed Wayne Kraus, Online Edition, 2:77

*Researchers: You may use this essay as a resource.  Please credit the source.*
David S Reif

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Saturday, July 27, 2019

Mystery of the Palm II

"Tree of the Soul"

Jacob Boehme's (1575-1624) concept of Creation as illustrated by Dionysius Freher (1649-1728)

The seven layers within the circle of illumination are the seven spirits that organize the awesome power of God.  This is the continuous force of Creation coming from God. Our world, seen at the base of the Majestic Palm, can only look in prayerful wonder at the incredible forces that surround us.

The symbolism of the palm tree recurs here as it did in John 12:12-19 which is the story of Lord Christ entering Jerusalem.  Freher roots the palm in the deep wisdom of antiquity and the cosmic truth of Creation.

Click here for the first part:  The Mystery of the Palm I    

Much more can be learned about Jacob Boehme at the website of the International Jacob Boehme Society.  The physical facility is located in Goerlitz, Germany (ancient Silesia) where Boehme spent much of his life.  There is an extensive English language site that is frequently updated.  

                                         Jacob Boehme Society 

I have added a Donorbox link to this blog.  Please consider contributing a monthly donation to keep this work going.  Or just a one-time sum will be appreciated. You can contribute anonymously if you like.   

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