Friday, October 18, 2002

Friday October 18, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:55 AM

Readings for the Oct. 18
Feast of St. Luke

A fellow Xangan is undergoing a spiritual crisis. Well-meaning friends are urging upon her all sorts of advice. The following is my best effort at religious counsel, meant more for the friends than for the woman in crisis.

Part I… Wallace Stevens 

From Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable:

Ox Emblematic of St. Luke. It is one of the four figures which made up Ezekiel’s cherub (i. 10). The ox is the emblem of the priesthood….

   The dumb ox. St. Thomas Aquinas; so named by his fellow students at Cologne, on account of his dulness and taciturnity. (1224-1274.)
   Albertus said, “We call him the dumb ox, but he will give one day such a bellow as shall be heard from one end of the world to the other.” (Alban Butler.)

From Wallace Stevens, “The Latest Freed Man“:

It was how the sun came shining into his room:
To be without a description of to be,
For a moment on rising, at the edge of the bed, to be,
To have the ant of the self changed to an ox
With its organic boomings, to be changed
From a doctor into an ox, before standing up,
To know that the change and that the ox-like struggle
Come from the strength that is the strength of the sun,
Whether it comes directly or from the sun.
It was how he was free. It was how his freedom came.
It was being without description, being an ox.

Part II… The Rosy Cross


  • Brautigan, Richard, The Hawkline Monster, Simon and Schuster, 1974…
    Just for the pleasure of reading it… A compelling work of fiction on spiritual matters that includes a conversion to Rosicrucianism in its concluding chapter.
  • Browning, Vivienne (Betty Coley, ed).
    My Browning Family Album. With a Foreword by Ben Travers, and a Poem by Jack Lindsay Springwood, London, 1979…
    The Rosicrucian tradition in Australia (highly relevant background reading for the 1994 film “Sirens”). Includes a mention of Aleister Crowley, dark mage, who also figures (prominently) in….
  • Wilson, Robert Anton, Masks of the Illuminati, Pocket Books, April 1981…
    James Joyce and Albert Einstein join in a metaphysical investigation.

    “He recited from the anonymous Muses Threnody of 1648:

    For we be brethren of the Rosy Cross
    We have the Mason Word and second sight
    Things for to come we can see aright.”

Part III… Stevens Again

A major critical work on Wallace Stevens that is not unrelated to the above three works on the Rosicrucian tradition:

Leonora Woodman, Stanza My Stone: Wallace Stevens and the Hermetic Tradition, West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press, 1983

From the Department of English, Purdue University:

Leonora Woodman came to Purdue in 1976. In 1979, she became Director of Composition, a position she held until 1986…. At the time of her death in 1991, she was in the midst of an important work on modernist poetry, Literary Modernism and the Fourth Dimension: The Visionary Poetics of D.H. Lawrence, H.D., and Hart Crane.

For more on Gnostic Christianity, see

  • Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels (Random House, 1979), and
  • Harold Bloom, Omens of Millenium: The Gnosis of Angels, Dreams, and Resurrection (Riverhead Books, 1996).


  1. Robert Anton Wilson is my guru!

    When he reappears at Esalen, I should like to visit him.  The Cosmic Trigger is a personal favorite and was a gift from our very own SuSu when I stayed in Alaska with her and that Old Grey Fart of hers. 

    I would like to point out that the above post of yours was sent at exactly 5:55 …
    Three fives. 


    ~foflmao~ Numerologically … it becomes a six.  But only one.


    I’m off to have some coffee now, so sayeth this Irish Babe.

    Comment by oOMisfitOo — Friday, October 18, 2002 @ 10:00 AM

  2. Writing about Gnosis is like trying to bite your teeth.  Like Zen, Gnosis can’t be taught; it must be done.  Nevertheless, it makes interesting reading.

    Comment by SuSu — Friday, October 18, 2002 @ 1:42 PM

  3. This just in from SuSu:

    Omigawd!  Has RAW really been “reappearing” at Esalen?  When, and how many times, since he died?  Next time it happens, please alert me.  I want to ask him to expand on something he told me about the Catastrophe of the Infinite Regress.
    My Reply:

    Well no wonder the staff laughed at me when I asked if he was going to give a workshop in the future.  I was looking at an old Esalen catalog ( in the bar, our tender is an Esalen homie) … and saw his face there.  There was some incident upstairs at the Lodge and I had to trip off to my job at hand and never got back to the lounge to ask what was so funny. I had no clue he was dead.  Honestly …
    Quit being such a sarcastic bitch Kathy.  Really. 
    I’m chagrined.  So there.

    Comment by oOMisfitOo — Friday, October 18, 2002 @ 1:49 PM

  4. Comment by jude — Friday, October 18, 2002 @ 3:14 PM

  5. Re “This just in from SuSu”…

    Reports of Robert Anton Wilson’s death have always been, and may always be, greatly exaggerated. Try a Google Groups search on the phrase “Robert Anton Wilson died” (or click here).

    Comment by m759 — Friday, October 18, 2002 @ 7:15 PM

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress