Juan Ramirez from Aiwass Temple #8 joins me to talk about Aleister Crowley, Secret Societies, and the purposes of secrecy in initiatory orders like Freemasonry, the Temple of Thelema, and the Golden Dawn. While it’s always possible Crowley engaged in espionage activities, it’s implausible that his interest in occultism was just a cover story. How secrecy in occultism has historically often been for protection. Why the rituals of secret societies are secret but they don’t really have value if...
Satan and the great monsters of ancient mythology; the relationship between nightmares and conflicts experienced in waking consciousness; the visual iconography of hell as a place of imprisonment and torture; catastrophic traumas such as the Holocaust and surviving the bombing of Hiroshima as experiences of hell on earth; how the mind does and doesn’t create reality; the root causes of mass violence and the need for authentic understanding to break the cycle
The blurry line between medieval magic and espionage. Alex presents a kabbalistic cipher from the medieval Zohar and discusses the possibility of its relation with other contemporaneous ciphers such as Trithemius’s Steganographia
In which we discuss the theurgic and practical aspects of Plato's Symposium. Must we renounce physical expressions of love to achieve the higher philosophical love of pure Beauty? The role of the prophetess Diotima as the initiating guru of Socrates and as an icon, perhaps of Wisdom. Alcibiades and his wild, intoxicated erotic desire for the old man. The banquet itself as praise of god.
In this episode we start off talking about Alexander's undergraduate thesis "Greek Allegory: Mystery and Meaning from Theagenes to Philo of Alexandria." This inspires a meditative and often playful conversation about rationalism, creativity, the mundus imaginalis, communication, frustration, and the ineffable.
We discuss Isabel's paper on the Chora, "Signifying Absence: Destabilizing the Reception of Plato’s Khôra." With our normal digressions into Sarte, Buddhism, Jewish mysticism, we eventually agree with Isabel's rejection of analytic philosophers who have characterized the Chora as 'matter' or 'space' and endorse a more Derridean understanding of it as something radically beyond conceptualization.
Greg, Isabel, and Alex talk about Greg's paper "The Chora of the Timaeus and Iamblichean Theology." What did it mean for the Neoplatonists for a human to embody the Divine? Similarities between Plato's Chora and Buddhist concepts of "shunyata" or emptiness as the matrix or mother of being. A memorable moment in Jean Paul Sartre's Nausea. Socrates as a Prophet of Islam. Philosophy as initiation.
This week I announce changes in the format and content of the show -- including Isabel joining as a co-host, and switching from a short weekly show to a longer monthly show. I also look back on a theme I've been developing over the first four months of Machine Elf Radio, which is an undercurrent about UFO's, angels, prophecy, and the song in every heart.
Greg Shaw from Stonehill College continues the conversation with Isabel and myself about spiritual ascent in Plato's Timaeus and what that would look like to someone wishing to undertake it today. Isabel also told us about a poem by a 17th century Latin American poet named Sor Juana, who in her "First Dream" described a sort of shamanic Night Journey with strong parallels to Plato.
Gregory Shaw from Stonehill College and my friend and fellow Classicist Isabel Farias join me this week to discuss the concept of the chora in Plato's Timaeus. Isabel wrote her thesis at Barnard about the Timaeus. Greg authored a paper about the concept titled "The Chora in the Timaeus and Iamblichean Theurgy." In the abstract to this paper, he offered the following brief description of what the concept is: "The chôra described in the Timaeus (52b) is said to be the receptacle through which...
This week I speak with fellow Harvard Divinity School student Kelly-Chava about themes of motherhood, birth, and death related to bodies of water in the Torah. We talk a bit about belief in reincarnation in Jewish mysticism, and we discuss the role of Jews and non-Jews in history and the meaning of Jewish chosenness.
After my first big LSD trip meeting God, I entered wholeheartedly into Elijah's belief that Madonna, the pop star, is really Madonna, of Biblical fame. In this episode you can hear me go in and out of that headspace wrestling with an idea that probably no one else has ever considered plausible but me.
In early 2000 I had the first of two life-changing LSD trips in which I had dramatic encounters with God. In this episode I describe the first of those two encounters, where my friend and I returned to Eden and I quit smoking to repair my broken connection with God.
The Talmud is the center of Judaism but few people outside the religion ever have a chance to encounter it. In this episode my friend Rina and I engage in chavrusa (partnered study) on an episode from the Talmud about Rabbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish, to give listeners a taste of how subtle and beautiful the Talmud can be.
The conclusion of my interview with Greg Shaw of Stonehill College about Platonism as a contemporary spiritual path. We talk about how people who are interested in this might move forward with it, and I make plans to start working on this show with him and a couple other magnificent guests with Plato's Timaeus in a few weeks. By request, I give a very short intro to my own spiritual autobiography, which I intend to talk more about next week.
This week Greg Shaw talks with me about Platonism as a spiritual path. As a younger Classicist-in-training I got the impression that there are academics who take Plato seriously as a spiritual guide. So Greg tells me about Platonism and how we can engage with Plato as a guide in our personal spiritual practice.
My brilliant friend Corey talks with me about affinities between the alien abduction phenomenon and the ancient Greek myth of the abduction of Persephone, which was an important element in the initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries. We also talk about the role psychedelics could have played in this ancient initiation, abduction and shamanism, and the spiritual Night Journey of the Prophet Muhammad as interconnected phenomena.
There are 10 songs in the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) traditionally identified by the Rabbis. I give an overview of them in this episode and explore the relationship between music and prophecy. Songs in the Hebrew Bible usually are associated with praise of God, and generally commemorate major victories. The Song at the Sea is the exemplar of this tradition, as are the Psalms (although only a few Psalms are included in the traditional list of biblical songs). David, the...
NYC street artist @bludog10003 chats with me about if the world already ended and most people didn't notice yet -- along with fake news, derealization, social media and the death of journalism, near death experiences (are we all having one together right now?) and whether anything is really real.