Sunday, December 18, 2011

de laudibus sanctae crucis

"Hrabanus Maurus or Rabanus Maurus, ninth century monk of Fulda was regarded for his generosity toward the poor, feeding over 300 people a day during the famines of 850 AD. As a testament to Maurus' lasting influence, Gustav Mahler interpreted one of Maurus' poems in his moving 8th Symphony. However, Maurus, most notable achievement was De laudibus sanctae crucis, a collection of twenty-eight encrypted religious poems, rendered before 814 AD. He was said to be the inventor of a cyphering system of 36 lines containing 36 letters evenly spaced on a grid. In this grid, Maurus included figurative images, putting the poems in visual terms. The poem filling the cypher grid was enriched by these smaller images, as most of the letters contained within them created tiny individual poems.

Given that a large part of the population at the time was not only poor, but illiterate, Maurus' visual poems bridged the gap between a priviledged reading community and the common person. Maurus used simple symbols : rings to signify cycles, squares to represent books, and letters for days. By doing so he made religious concepts easily accessible to the masses. They were not overly simple, but were made richer by the mix of the complex cyphering, or coding, used to both create and read the poems, as well as the viewer's simple delight of instantly understanding sacred symbols." 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

hand of glory

"The Hand of Glory is the dried and pickled hand of a man who has been hanged, often specified as being the left (Latin: sinister) hand, or else, if the man were hanged for murder, the hand that "did the deed." According to old European beliefs, a candle made of the fat from a malefactor who died on the gallows, virgin wax, and Lapland sesame oil - lighted and placed (as if in a candlestick) in the Hand of Glory, which comes from the same man as the fat in the candle - would have rendered motionless all persons to whom it was presented. The candle could only be put out with milk. (In another version the hair of the dead man is used as a wick, also the candle is said to give light only to the holder.) The Hand of Glory also purportedly had the power to unlock any door it came across." 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

legend of the witches

Slides taken by Stewart Ferrar for use on the cover of the LP Legend of the Witches. The photos include, from beginning to end, photos of Alex and Maxine Sanders, Ritual Tools, the First Degree Inititation, Cakes and Ale and Cord Magic.

Monday, December 5, 2011

untermyer park

"David Berkowitz (Son of Sam) claims that he joined a cult in the spring of 1975. Initially, he said, the group was involved in harmless activities, such as séances and fortune telling. Gradually, however, Berkowitz claimed that the group introduced him to drug use, sadistic pornography and violent crime. They began, he claims, by killing dogs, mostly German Shepherds. Over a dozen mutilated dog corpses were discovered in Yonkers, especially near Untermeyer Park, which Berkowitz claimed was a frequent meeting place for the cult."