Utter Transcendence

One of the dominant themes in Boehme’s writings is the utter transcendence of God: His existence outside time and space, inaccessible to all human thought, ineffable by any human tongue.

What then is left which we can conceive of? Nothing is left, a nothing which Boehme calls the Ungrund, often translated into English by the word Abyss, a depth which has no end, a bottomless empty nothingness. …

This Ungrund can only be imagined and is the primal image of the unknowable entity who in traditional wisdom is not to be given a name but can only be announced as ‘I AM’.

Jacob Boehme (Western Esoteric Masters Series), edited and introduced by Robin Waterfield, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA, 2001. pp. 26-27.

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Ungrund

“For out of nature is God a Mysterium,  i.e. the Nothing; for from out of nature is the Nothing, which is an eye of eternity, a groundless eye, which stands nowhere nor sees, for it is the Ungrund and the selfsame eye is a will,  i.e. a longing for manifestation, to discern the Nothing”.  The Ungrund thus is the Nothing, the groundless eye of eternity, yet together with this it is will, without foundation, unfathomable and indeterminate will. But this — is a Nothing, which is … “an hunger to be something”. And together with this the Ungrund is freedom. Within the darkness of the Ungrund there is ablaze a fire and this is freedom, a freedom meonic with potential. According to Boehme, freedom is contrary to nature, but nature has issued forth from freedom. Freedom is a semblance of the Nothing, but from it issues something. The hunger of freedom, of the groundless will to something has to be satisfied: … “The Nothing loves to make itself manifest from out of freedom in the deathly darkness, for then the Nothing wills not to be the Nothing, and cannot be the Nothing” The freedom of the Ungrund is neither light, nor darkness, neither good, nor evil. Freedom lies within the darkness and thirsts for the light. And freedom is the cause of light. … “Freedom exists and is set within the darkness, and over against the dark desire is still yet the desire for light, it seizes the darkness with the eternal will; and the darkness aspires after the light of freedom and cannot attain it, for then it passes with desire over into itself, and attains in itself but to the darkness”.  … In the darkness there is kindled a fire and a glimmer of light, the Nothing comes to be something, the groundless freedom gives rise to nature.

Nikolai Berdyaev, Studies Concerning Jacob Boehme, 1930. ©  2002 by translator Fr. S. Janos. [original German text deleted from this quoted passage]

L’Inferno (1911)

I watched the 1911 Italian film L’Inferno, based on Dante’s Divine Comedy, last week for the first time. It has some good effects for its time, as it depicts Dante and Virgil traveling through the circles of hell. I had read many customer reviews of this DVD, complaining that the modern music by Tangerine Dream was good but not appropriate for the film. I disagree — the movie is very dream-like, not horrific, and the music supports and enhances that dream-like quality. I would prefer to watch a silent movie while hearing a score, even a modern one, that was written specifically for the movie, and that is what Tangerine Dream has done. The song lyrics are from the book and help to drive the silence of the movie. Sometimes silent films simply have Classical music attached, which may or not sound appropriate for any given scene.

Not all of the effects are so good, however. Cerberus, if you can truly call him that, is the most laughable, pathetic creature that I’ve ever seen in a movie. He is about the size of a large dog, seems to be a moth-eaten puppet, and looks more like a three-headed sheep than a dog. It’s really incredibly bad. Had that Cerberus been the one that Herakles had taken from Hades, then he would have had nothing to brag about.

The Lucifer scene towards the end of the film looks good at first and very similar to the Dore illustration, but the actor keeps making googly eyes as he pretends to chomp on a human body. He reminds me of the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz. It kind of ruins the effect.

Overall, though, well worth seeing this piece of cinematic history.

Cthulhu Cutout

This photo is from Jerom’s Blog and there is a link there to the cutout that you can print, cut and paste to make this ‘Cutethulhu’. His blog also has some other good Lovecraftian stuff, so if you’re interested in Lovecraft, then please pay it a visit. Oh, it’s mostly in French, but if you can’t make out the words, then the pictures are good in themselves.

Nehalennia by Heidevolk

My favorite band for the last four years. Heidevolk is a Heathen Folk Metal band from the Gelderland region of the Netherlands. I’ll probably be putting up more about them in the future, as it’s been a goal of mine to increase people’s awareness of this great band in the U.S.

Exploding with so much testosterone that you’ll walk away with your balls 1% bigger.

Review of Possessed (2009)

Possessed (2009)Possessed is a South Korean TV drama from 2009, combing elements of crime drama, mystery, psychological thriller and the supernatural into one of the best films that I’ve seen in a long time.

The story centers around Hana (hah-NAH), a high school student who once experienced a tragic event when she was little and now is troubled by visions of things that only she can see. Soon, she finds herself the unwitting vehicle of vengeful ghosts and a famous criminal profiler, who experienced his own trauma as a youth.

That’s the basic background, but there is so much more to this show. Integral to the drama is the issue of the modern criminal justice system, especially its failures and corruption. It’s a story of good versus evil, but, as the story progresses, this simple opposition of forces becomes more muddied and brings up questions of just how far justice against cruelty can go before the avenger has become corrupted into cruelty.

This presentation is pretty amazing, as are the actors. Lim Ju-Eun is a lovely young actress who does a fantastic job as Hana, as does Lee Seo-Jin as the profiler. I especially liked the role of Lee Jin as the girlfriend of profiler Shin Ryu: she does a beautiful job of portraying a caring woman coming to terms with being confronted by unremorseful cruelty against her idealistic support of the reformation of criminals. It’s clear that South Korea’s criminal justice system mirrors in many ways that in the U.S. There are issues here that are important that a society consider and re-evaluate.

Possessed does not seem to be available on DVD yet, but you can see it on Hulu in ten parts of an hour each. It is in Korean with English subtitles. Don’t be put off by the opening theme song, which I found rather annoying (sounding a bit like it’s sung by a cloyingly cute animated character). Some loose ends never seem to be entirely tied up and I found that the ending was a little unfulfilling, but it works well enough with the progression of the storyline. There is, however, much sweet, sweet revenge along the way. Perhaps you will find it worth your time.

[Edit October 14, 2018: Hulu has changed since the time I originally wrote this, so the old link no longer works and I doubt that the series is available (at least for free) on Hulu now. I did find a DVD version on Amazon; I won’t put a link here but the title at Amazon is listed as “Soul Aka Possessed – 2009 Korean TV Series – English Subtitle.” It has a current price of $49.95 and only available from third-party sellers. There are at least some parts of the series viewable on YouTube, but you may have to search around to find the complete show.]