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A proposed partial decoding of the Voynich script by Stephen Bax, Professor of Applied Linguistics at CRELLA, the University of Bedfordshire, UK. Professor Bax however has begun to unlock the mystery meanings of the Voynich manuscript using his wide knowledge of mediaeval manuscripts and his familiarity with Semitic languages such as Arabic. Aleister Crowley’s invocation to coffee, recorded in his diaries, was recently a randomly popular old post. Lake of beer prayer attributed to St Brigid, via T Thorn Coyle; from the has-Ra-finally-gotten-Sekhmet-to-chill-out-yet dept.
However, those thinking that the coded runes will reveal deep secrets of the Norse will be disappointed. In many instances those who wrote the coded runes also left comments urging the readers to try to figure it out.
Overall views of posts on the blog is fully double last year’s total and a striking 6 times what it was in 2011. The site-relevant keyword thelema, which was 2nd in 2011 and 4th in 2012, dropped down a few more this year, although if one combined all the Aleister Crowley related search terms together that aggregate would be 1st in the list by far. If you want to compare, take a look at the most popular posts and search terms of 2011 and 2012. This entry was posted in The Hermetic Library and tagged 2013, aleister crowley, baphomet, cipher, copiale, da pacem domine, hello kitty, hermetic library, Krampus, oculists secret society, order of the eye, popular, summary, The All Seeing Cat, thelema on January 1, 2014 by John Griogair Bell. The Complete Golden Dawn Cipher Manuscript [also, also], Golden Dawn Studies Series Number 1, deciphered, translated and edited by Darcy Küntz, introduction by R A Gilbert, the 1996 first edition paperback from the Holmes Publishing Group, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
The first complete facsimile and translation of all 60 Cipher Folios, including two unknown Cipher Folios recently discovered. The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition.
This entry was posted in Hermetic Library Reading Room, The Golden Dawn Library Project and tagged 1996, books, cipher, darcy kuntz, hermetic order of the golden dawn, holmes publishing group, r a gilbert, Reading Room, Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers on October 11, 2013 by John Griogair Bell. When thinking about secrets and mysteries in practice, I’ve long tossed about the idea of a difference between secret societies, societies with secrets and a society without spoilers. There are still some pretty legitimately secret societies, which while well-known to exist are not revealed, such as the Skull and Bones society, and recently breaking the Copiale cipher seemed to tantalizingly promise that there might be still some complex and completely unknown societies, at least until it was revealed the material was pretty clearly Freemasonic in nature. Of course, just as much as one can avoid spoilers for movies and books and other things sequentially revealed, it is possible to avoid, for the most part, much of that material. There are modern examples of working with secrets within esoteric systems, and there’s clearly something interesting going on around secrets. Generally, when I talk about such things to people who ask, I suggest that initiation ritual, especially, is like a good book or movie with a savoury plot twist or two.
But, still, people freak about things unknown, and try to minimize and control things by figuring things out ahead instead of being comfortable with being uncomfortable as a thing itself.
Another aspect that always comes up around secrets is the idea that somehow no matter what is revealed, the real secrets are impervious to such petty concerns. The trick of improv is to have characters and bits of business prepared and figure out ways to fit those into any circumstances, so perhaps the corollary is to become good at mystery and a good initiate prepared by building the foundation of skills, whatever those are in one’s tradition, that make the personal experience of the unknown richer. If an initiatory working is in some form or another purely ecstatic, then perhaps more than one person will have no prior exposure. Maps certainly won’t always apply, especial when applied outside their intended scope.
Which begs the question: without a mystery (neither secret rite or secret doctrine) to be revealed, whither the mystery cult?
So, the feeling one might have that a mystery cult or tradition in the modern age has lost its luster is due not to the mystery cult but rather due to the overall modern age. One possible route out of the morass, for moderns and post-moderns, I sometimes come to is the suggestion that situational certainty is a tool for meta-cognition.
A very salient point for this modern information age is the value an experience of not knowing, so that one can and must do less thinking prior to events, not more. Indeed, I would suggest that one approach an initiatory experience within an mystery tradition not as a result of successful prior thinking or a seal on attainment, like we are so often familiar with from diplomas, certificates and honors; but an invitation to view the world through a particular lens for a particular period of time, determined by the particulars of the ritual and tradition in which the initiation takes place. The full experience of a mystery event intended to involve surprises, plot twists or situations unknown can be self-evidently spoiled by prior knowledge of those circumstances.
And yes, one can point out that for completely ecstatic visceral events and such that are not within a mystery tradition, there’s mostly nothing to spoil by prior knowledge, per se.


So, for my own part, I have come to prefer the discipline of having structured ritual events with their reveals unspoiled so that I can experience them with as little prior knowledge as possible, because it’s the only time I will ever get that experience in that way, ever.
This entry was posted in The Hermetic Library, The Opinion Pages and tagged aleister crowley, Arnold van Gennep, belief, boogeymen, calendars, certainty, cipher, Cognition, copiale, critique, equinox, esoteric systems, factions, fear mongering, feri, flights of fancy, fobs, freemasonry, Greco-Roman mysteries, habit, hermetic order of the golden dawn, imaginings, in other words, initiation ritual, John Griogair Bell, Karl Kereny, mechanisms, metaphor, mind, mysteries, mystery school, mystery tradition, ordo templi orientis, outsiders, paganism, public religion, reality, ritual, rituals, secret societies, secrets, self deception, skull and bones society, T Thorn Coyle, The Equinox, VIctor Turner on February 16, 2013 by John Griogair Bell. Now you can use the Online Copiale Cipher Encoder and the related cipher wheel to send and receive messages.
Use the Online Copiale Cipher Encoder to encrypt a message from any language into Copiale cipher. I, for my part, am looking forward to having my own Copiale secret decoder ring appear as a prize in my cereal box. The interpretation of the manuscript as the ritual of an ophthalmology society is due to the misinterpretation of one commonly used logogram (a symbol used in place of a word). I’ve posted random stuff online for several years and am happy to provide a pleasant visual forum for visitors to oggle. Some suggest it was the work of Leonardo da Vinci as a boy, or secret Cathars, or the lost tribe of Israel, or most recently Aztecs … some have even proclaimed it was done by aliens! I am self centered in my art and would rather make what speaks to me than what I think the market would buy.
The 1st most popular post from last year The Copiale Cipher: An Early German Masonic Ritual Unveiled fell off as a discrete post, but, as you will see, shows up strongly in the searches still, and it is still in the top 50 posts along with a number of other items about the copiale cipher. These are pretty interesting ring sets I noticed from BandScapes, but still rather a surprise to find at 1st place as the most popular post on the blog for this entire year.
Also, the drop off in total views between posts seems remarkably gradual on the rest and whole way down, so that shows me posts on the blog have a really nice and strong long tail. The most popular posts are quite an interesting variety of new fascinations and old favourites! The complete Cipher Manuscript has been safeguarded in private collections and inaccessible to occultists and historians for over a century—until now. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian. Especially in this day when so much is being made available online, but that really is just a matter of scale when there are plenty of historical examples of similar things, such as Aleister Crowley revealing the initiatory rituals of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as serialized in the pages of the Equinox, the varied publication and exposé of so much Freemasonic ritual, and so forth. But for the most part, I object that when people talk about secret societies they are engaged in flights of fancy about group about which not only their existence but much of their particulars are known.
For me, being a candidate in initiation and mystery is to be an improv actor stumbling into a rehearsed stage play, and both savoury and exciting.
Further, without a mystery, one might even be tempted to ask how can there actually be an initiation at all? But without the secret rite or secret doctrine, which would have to have previously existed to those initiated few inducting others, there’s nothing to pass on that was previously held sacred, no previously held in secret doctrine or rite, tautologically. Which is to say, perhaps any mystery cult would seem too superficial to a modern person to have the same religious and social impacts, simply because the assumed rich foundation is missing. There is still a lingering notion that something may be missing for rootless moderns which a mystery cult can offer by way of a more structured ritual, initiations, and a focused mythic basis for ritual; more robust spiritual meaning which then, in turn, offers deeper experience of life in general.
By this I mean, that the ground on which a mystery cult could be built, the solid ground of structured ritual, initiations, and a focused mythic basis for ritual is sufficient when internally consistent for its purpose and held to be true for the time that it is necessary.
In other words, the initiation is really the beginning, suggested by the word itself, of an pervasive life experience. Mystery rituals are built around some kind of surprise, a revealing of the secret practice or doctrine at least. The manuscript included abstract symbols, as well as letters from Greek and most of the Roman alphabet. Why they created a decoder ring is beyond me, particularly as it was a promotional gimmick for a kid’s radio show. I hope this site offers tidbits of interest to the curious reader, and useful information for the crafty. CONTENT MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED FOR PROFIT WITHOUT PERMISSION, UNLESS YOU WANT ME TO PERSONALLY HUNT YOU DOWN AND ANNOY YOU. The publication of the Cipher Manuscript is the most important Golden Dawn manuscript to be printed in many years. Quite often, of course, such wild imaginings are part and parcel with an agenda of fear mongering, but even still there are otherwise sane and rational people talking about certain societies as if they were actually not completely or almost completely public.


There’s a tension, perhaps much as it ever was, between the urge to make information available and the various efficacies of secrets. When given the opportunity, I like to point out that one can go to many stagings of a play by Shakespeare and get new things, new depth of understanding and new enjoyment, as well as savour slightly different interpretations, so to me the re-play value depth of meaning of a work or body of work is something that is a different question to the idea of seeing something for the first time without spoilers. The efficacy of secrets in a system are not just about the information, true, but the information is interwoven into an experience, and the experience is changed by the quality and obscurity of the information on which the experience is built.
One tends to think all kinds of things about structure and likely scenarios, if nothing else than a rite of passage (exit normal, experience liminal, re-enter normal changed) but it is the actuality, specifics and plot twists, the things that can be spoiled, which I think should be avoided and, yes, allowed as a personal experience. But, whether there is an actual script or not, a mystery tradition will have participants who have experienced or developed a relationship with the mystery who are inducting others.
But, to be clear, there are other structures, but I’m primarily talking about a mystery tradition where something is being revealed. But, I find myself wondering if the project of modern mystery traditions is undermined by a general lack of cultural foundation, those foundations of community and cohesion being so efficiently eroded in our public, political and even private lives. This of course somewhat ironically points out a possible initial critique of paganism as a generalized, syncretic, eclectic system which lacks the benefit of what a mystery cult offers and hence the possible utility of that structured influence, offering specific external ritual behaviour around a secret rite or secret doctrine. If this is the case, why not work toward maximizing the possible experience instead of minimizing the probable damage of knowing by seeking after spoilers of any kind, even the mundane accidents surrounding specific quanta and quality? Certainly, I don’t mean that these things are binary (and it may be possible to salvage some part of the experience even if spoiled, but why not go for the whole thing instead of the tatters?), but that avoiding spoilers is a discipline that seems worthy if one is serious about that experience, and looking to have it be as rich as possible.
All subsequent such experiences are informed by prior such similar events; but also, there may be circumstances around how the experience is induced that involve some fashion of not-knowing the mechanisms being used, which after the initial experience become less effective in themselves and experienced practitioners then rely on other means more, such as anchoring past experience to ease induction subsequently.
One could try to criticize the practices of mystery traditions by bringing up features of non-surprise ritual is not a feature of surprise ritual merely because they participate in the prior category of ritual.
And, if you want that, just watch reruns of some reality television program, or another, instead. I don’t know if this means the Copiale cipher has jumped the shark yet, but it has definitely gained a critical mass of exposure now.
Certainly Freemasonic tradition and ritual cannot rationally be called secret anymore, and the membership is in the habit of parading around, not to mention things like having decals on their cars and fobs on their keychains, and thus it cannot be called a secret society. Which is to say, the existence of spoilers requires one to decide to avoid the spoilers in order to fully enjoy the reveal. If one knows the rollercoaster has a blind drop at the end, one still experiences the drop in and of itself, but the surprise in and of itself is changed into anticipation, and that’s a different thing entirely which not only changes the experience of the drop but distracts from the experience of what occurs before. If those others have exposed themselves or been exposed prior to some element meant to be revealed, then they have failed to avoid spoilers, they have whatevered the whatever. At the very least, this could be a way to engage young learners around the Copiale cipher, codes, secret societies, security culture, and much more.
Once this small change is made, the document opens itself up and becomes a great deal more legible for everyone.
Even traditional boogeymen like Aleister Crowley and Ordo Templi Orientis can only by the slimmest margin come anywhere near being called a secret society, with websites, pubic spaces, public event calendars, and so forth.
This is quite different from a society that pretends it doesn’t exist to outsiders, or a known society with things that it keeps secret. This, then becomes a chicken and egg, which can only be resolved by realizing the false dichotomy that one must be completed before the other, and that the development in general is aided by development in specific, and visa versa, synergistically. They found the original manuscript to be a German masonic text encrypted by a complex substitution code.
I was trying to find a quote where I recall her saying something about how paganism needed to have a Mystery tradition as part of it, but can’t find that right now.
One can always read the materials afterward, as many times as one likes; but to read the spoilers is to waste a wonderful opportunity that cannot ever, barring soap opera amnesia tropes, be experienced once the reveal has been spoiled. But these are mostly different topics than suggesting the efficacy a mystery cult with structured ritual behaviour involving a secret doctrine or secret rite to a previous practice of generalized, syncretic, eclectic practice. In these cases there’s perhaps some legitimate secrets, but there must also be a practical recognition that most material related to these groups is available, outside the structured system of the society itself, somewhere, if one wants to find it.



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