Ouspensky, Italy, and Symbolon

My latest interview with Jeffrey Mishlove on his excellent Thinking Allowed site is on the life and work of P.D. Ouspensky, one of my heroes. I apologize for the echo effect on my voice; apparently it’s a problem with the acoustics in my living room. I can’t move so I will look for some other remedy. If anyone has any suggestions, please pass them on.

I’m heading off to Italy tomorrow for a brisk three-day book tour, promoting the Italian edition of Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of Trump. It looks like quite an active itinerary. I suspect I’ll see as much of Rome as I can in the cab from the airport to the hotel and then to the interviews. Then there’s the train to Milan, and then one to Turin, where Nietzsche’s mind finally snapped and he was taken off to the caring but not particularly understanding ministrations of his sister. Poor Nietzsche.

At the end of the month I’ll be speaking about the lost knowledge of the imagination at Symbolon, a conference on symbols and symbolic thinking held in Gilching, Germany. I’ll be there with my friends and colleagues Rudiger Sunner, a filmmaker from Berlin, and the artist Martin Weyers, as well as many other people I look forward to meeting. It promises to be a good gathering – dare I say an Eranos for a new generation?

19 thoughts on “Ouspensky, Italy, and Symbolon

  1. Hi Gary ~
    Just wanted to comment that though I have devoured 3 or 4 of your books already, I am currently mind-blown into the middle of reading The Knowledge Of The Imagination…what a pregnant masterpiece!

    I by habit underline a lot when I read a book but this book barely has a line without a pen mark under it!

    I would love to know more about Corbin…could you possibly recommend where to go for further stuff by or about him?

    Again thank you for such massive illumination in your work. My Lachman book collection is growing by leaps and bounds!

    Ron L.

    1. Many thanks for your message and I’m happy to hear my books have found a congenial reader. As for Corbin, you might take a look at The Voyage and the Messenger and Swedenborg and Esoteric Islam. These contain different essays that will give you an idea of Corbin’s terrian. Swedenborg and Esoteric Islam has his important essay on the Mundus Imaginalis. Enjoy the journey! Gary

      1. Thanks very much again, Gary. It seems one question spawns a thousand others as far as your chapters go! Could you possibly point me towards where to start with Kathleen Raine’s writings?

      2. Hi Gary. Have you read?:

        Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal
        The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture

        If so do you recommend it or are there alternatives you might recommend?


      3. Thanks, Gary. I am looking forward to reading Holy Russia soon, especially after recently confirming that I am 100% Russian on my father’s side (Romanian / Hungarian on my mother’s).

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      4. Hi Gary,

        Hope all is well. I am currently chomping down on Mystic Russia like a ravenous wolf and loving it so far. I was wondering if you might be able to recommend some juicy books on Slavic paganism? Thanks.

        Best, Ron

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      5. embarrassed correction: Holy Russia

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      6. Hi Gary. I hope you are doing well. What do you do when you have a huge stack of unread books lined up to devour but don’t really like or understand the one you are reading?

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      7. Unless I have to read it for research, I usually go on to the next one. Then, after a while, I’ll go back to it and see if I get on with it. If not, it heads to the charity shop or a friend. I truly hope one of my books isn’t causing this trouble…

      8. Thank you much for the input. In actuality your books are the complete opposite in that they flow wonderfully and are real page turners as they say. I experience the same with books by Jeff Kripal, Colin Wilson and Erik Davis.

        Every now and then a book comes along that turns into a chore for me to finish. The most recent example is Labyrinths by Borges. It sounds simplistic but I also get bogged down by writers who’s work contain extremely long paragraphs whether they be fiction or non-fiction.

        I guess it’s my strain of Calvinistic machismo that compels me to “soldier on” and “finish what I start” before moving on to the next thing 😊.

        I wonder if the honeybee moves from one flower to another because it has completed its intended extraction or it just gets bored.

      9. The honeybee gets what it’s looking for and if not, moves on. I’d be rather wary of the common masochistic approach to reading: i.e, “I started this book and I will finish it regardless of how unpleasant an experience it is!” I used to follow this rule and am glad I did in the past, when it was most useful. Now, I have less free time and what I do have of it, I want to spend on activities from which I get a return. Don’t make reading a punishment. I am surprised about Borges, though. I enjoy reading him and have read his stories and essays many times, although I don’t agree with his view of life as a labyrinth – that’s the Wilsonian optimist in me. Recently I once again tried to read Durrell’s Alexandrian Quartet. It is supposed to have a “Gnostic” kind of backdrop and the language, I was told, was inventive. But the same thing happened: I start, read two pages, and am absolutely turned off. Everything was perfume and cigarettes. So, having given it more then one shot, I now will find a friend who might like it. On the other hand, this past year I started on John Wyndham’s sci-fi novels – he did The Day of the Triffids and several others. That was a find. I’ve made my way through six of his books and am on my seventh. All the best.

  2. I just listened to your talk with Jeffrey Mishlove about Ouspensky and wow, you said so much so fast I kept stopping the video to go back and listen again to segments. I am like you in being drawn to the connections among many things, and I am just profoundly appreciative of what you’ve contributed by delving into and clarifying so many of these people and teachings. The latest interview on New Thinking Allowed made me feel a lot of empathy for Ouspensky at the end of his life, or I felt it from you. That seems very valuable, that deep recognition of someone else’s journey.

    1. Thank you for sharing this Susan. I’m glad you felt some connection with PDO. I’m not embarrassed to say he is one of my heroes, and that his last days were difficult has always saddened me.

  3. Hi Gary,

    In Colin Wilson’s Religion and The Rebel, I run across his reference to Nicholai Berdyaev. Have you read his works? If so could you possibly recommend where to start in this regard?

    Ron L.

    1. The best place to start with Berdyaev is The Meaning of the Creative Act, which will give you an idea of his philosophy. His autobiography Dream and Reality presents a wonderful evocation of the Silver Age.

  4. Gary, an interesting connection cropped up browsing the comments of that conversation. From Ouspensky to Warhol and Blondie. Private email?

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