THE NIGHTMARE NETWORK
Go Back   THE NIGHTMARE NETWORK > Miscellanea > Off Topic
Home Forums Content Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Contagion Members Media Diversion Info Register
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes Translate
Old 07-02-2009   #1
Evans's Avatar
Evans
Grimscribe
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 899
Quotes: 0
Points: 22,646, Level: 100 Points: 22,646, Level: 100 Points: 22,646, Level: 100
Level up: 0% Level up: 0% Level up: 0%
Activity: 14% Activity: 14% Activity: 14%
Arthur Machen and The House of the Hidden Light

Ok I can't resist making this thread any longer. I know a little about the (annoyingly) obscure volume's contents but it rather intrigues me. Would anyone be able to clarify the circumstance surrounding its "original" printing.
Evans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2009   #2
The New Nonsense's Avatar
The New Nonsense
Grimscribe
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 561
Quotes: 0
Points: 27,940, Level: 100 Points: 27,940, Level: 100 Points: 27,940, Level: 100
Level up: 0% Level up: 0% Level up: 0%
Activity: 0% Activity: 0% Activity: 0%
Re: Arthur Machen and The House of the Hidden Light

As it happens, I'm in the process of reading this book right now. From what I understand, the book's obscure content is the result of an odd game between Arthur Machen, A.E. Waite. Some feel the book describes Machen and Waite's nocturnal adventures around London.

Obviously, both were members of the Golden Dawn, therefore much of the content is written in code, assuming the reader is intimately familiar with the Golden Dawn's rites and the order's degree structure. Much of the book is told through mythological allusions and references to ceremonies and initiations.

Some feel The House of Hidden Light is just a fanciful fiction; however, others feel there are occult secrets locked in its pages. I'm familiar with Golden Dawn rituals/philosophy. So far I haven't made up my mind whether THoHL is fiction or something more.

"Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough." Mark Twain
The New Nonsense is offline   Reply With Quote
Thanks From:
Evans (07-03-2009)
Old 07-03-2009   #3
Evans's Avatar
Evans
Grimscribe
Threadstarter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 899
Quotes: 0
Points: 22,646, Level: 100 Points: 22,646, Level: 100 Points: 22,646, Level: 100
Level up: 0% Level up: 0% Level up: 0%
Activity: 14% Activity: 14% Activity: 14%
Re: Arthur Machen and The House of the Hidden Light

Quote Originally Posted by The New Nonsense View Post
As it happens, I'm in the process of reading this book right now. From what I understand, the book's obscure content is the result of an odd game between Arthur Machen, A.E. Waite. Some feel the book describes Machen and Waite's nocturnal adventures around London.

Obviously, both were members of the Golden Dawn, therefore much of the content is written in code, assuming the reader is intimately familiar with the Golden Dawn's rites and the order's degree structure. Much of the book is told through mythological allusions and references to ceremonies and initiations.

Some feel The House of Hidden Light is just a fanciful fiction; however, others feel there are occult secrets locked in its pages. I'm familiar with Golden Dawn rituals/philosophy. So far I haven't made up my mind whether THoHL is fiction or something more.
Yes, I do seem to recall your Librarything profile came up when I googled THOTHL.

I only I asked about it because it came up I was searching for Machen's none fiction/autobiographical writings. I was mostly interested; I confess, due to its obscurity.

Given what you've said I'm surprised it hasn't been reprinted more often due to the Waite conection. Thanks for the info Nonsense.
Evans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2009   #4
Soukesian's Avatar
Soukesian
Mystic
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 151
Quotes: 0
Points: 9,707, Level: 68 Points: 9,707, Level: 68 Points: 9,707, Level: 68
Level up: 19% Level up: 19% Level up: 19%
Activity: 0% Activity: 0% Activity: 0%
Re: Arthur Machen and The House of the Hidden Light

I've read a little about this, and it seems like an intriguing literary curiosity, but I find it hard to get a clear idea of what the text might actually be like. Care to give us a flavor of it?
Soukesian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2009   #5
Evans's Avatar
Evans
Grimscribe
Threadstarter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 899
Quotes: 0
Points: 22,646, Level: 100 Points: 22,646, Level: 100 Points: 22,646, Level: 100
Level up: 0% Level up: 0% Level up: 0%
Activity: 14% Activity: 14% Activity: 14%
Re: Arthur Machen and The House of the Hidden Light

Quote Originally Posted by Soukesian View Post
I've read a little about this, and it seems like an intriguing literary curiosity, but I find it hard to get a clear idea of what the text might actually be like. Care to give us a flavor of it?
I'd love to but I don't have a copy. I don't know if its any interest to you but this website gives a small but interesting look at Machen and the Golden Dawn
Evans is offline   Reply With Quote
2 Thanks From:
Andrea Bonazzi (07-04-2009), Soukesian (07-05-2009)
Old 07-04-2009   #6
The New Nonsense's Avatar
The New Nonsense
Grimscribe
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 561
Quotes: 0
Points: 27,940, Level: 100 Points: 27,940, Level: 100 Points: 27,940, Level: 100
Level up: 0% Level up: 0% Level up: 0%
Activity: 0% Activity: 0% Activity: 0%
Re: Arthur Machen and The House of the Hidden Light

Quote Originally Posted by Soukesian View Post
I've read a little about this, and it seems like an intriguing literary curiosity, but I find it hard to get a clear idea of what the text might actually be like. Care to give us a flavor of it?
Both Waite and Machen were very familiar with Latin, and they peppered their letters with Latin phrases (part of their code); in fact, so much so, that I've found I require a Latin dictionary at hand while reading the THOTHL. They address each other by their Golden Dawn magical mottos: Waite was known as Eilias Artista [Elias the Artist], Machen as Filius Aquarum [Son of the Waters]. One's magical motto in the Golden Dawn often changes as one ascends to higher degrees. Machen also went by the name, Avallaunius. Waite was also known as Sacramentum Regis.

Here is an example from the beginning of Chapter 10:
Ad Illuminatum Fratrem Filium Aquarum, Calicis Sempiterni Ordinis Imperatorem, Fratris Eliae Atrisae Epistola [This letter to the illuminated Frater Filus Aquarum, of the everlasting Cup by order of the Imperator, Frater Elias Arista]

With great joy have I received your letter written from the Terra Nuptiarum A et Ω. But I abide within the Circles of Light. Being yesterday in one of our outward gardens, I derived a certain consolation amidst aridity by repeating incessantly: Lux oriens, Lux alba, Lux candida, Lux exaltata, Lux increata [Light of the East, White light, Shining light, Exhalted light, Uncreated Light]. And these words of consolation wove at length about me five circles of splendour, which were full of sweetness and music.

We shall do well, dilectissme, to ponder from time to time upon the distinction between the concealed light and the exhibited light, and after what manner each passes continually into each, in which distinction and reintegration, I find many causes of wonder, and am brought to see that there must be in truth a very strange, secret, and withdrawn bond between them, whereby, beyond doubt, in the fulness of time, many mysteries of the visible and invisible worlds will be made known to us.

-- From Arthur Machen's The House of the Hidden Light (1904), Chapter X.

"Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough." Mark Twain
The New Nonsense is offline   Reply With Quote
4 Thanks From:
Andrea Bonazzi (07-05-2009), G. S. Carnivals (07-05-2009), Soukesian (07-05-2009), Spotbowserfido2 (07-06-2009)
Old 07-04-2009   #7
The New Nonsense's Avatar
The New Nonsense
Grimscribe
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 561
Quotes: 0
Points: 27,940, Level: 100 Points: 27,940, Level: 100 Points: 27,940, Level: 100
Level up: 0% Level up: 0% Level up: 0%
Activity: 0% Activity: 0% Activity: 0%
Re: Arthur Machen and The House of the Hidden Light

Another little tidbit of history: the 35 letters between Waite and Machen that make up the text of The House of the Hidden Light were privately printed and lavishly bound in an incredibly small edition of only three copies (at great cost to Waite). Waite and Machen each had a copy. The third was given to the bookbinder, Philip Wellby. Only two copies survive. In 2003 Tartarus Press reprinted THOTHL, along with editor's notes, in an edition of 350 copies.

THOTHL is a difficult read, even for one somewhat familiar with Golden Dawn symbolism. It's like reading one long in-joke where the reader is not privy to the details or back-story. The editor of the Tartarus edition, R.A. Gilbert, tries to figure out many of the actual locations or circumstances alluded to in code. In some instances he succeeds in breaking the code, while in other passages he doesn't have a clue.

Others, such as Ithell Colquhoun (a surrealist painter, writer and occultist), believed THOHL is actually a written ritual relating to "sexual magic", and is concerned specifically with "sexual congress with preternatural beings". Personally, I haven't decided what THOTHL really is yet. Is it simply an elaborate goof between friends, or is it a magical text describing an occult process of conjunction with supernatural beings? In any case, one could still interpret it as the latter, whether it was the true intent or not. Presumably, it was written in code to keep its secrets veiled from the uninitiated. If it was just a joke, one wonders why Waite would spend a small fortune having copies printed for only three people?

"Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough." Mark Twain

Last edited by The New Nonsense; 07-04-2009 at 02:35 PM..
The New Nonsense is offline   Reply With Quote
4 Thanks From:
Evans (07-04-2009), G. S. Carnivals (07-05-2009), Soukesian (07-05-2009), Spotbowserfido2 (07-06-2009)
Old 07-04-2009   #8
Evans's Avatar
Evans
Grimscribe
Threadstarter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 899
Quotes: 0
Points: 22,646, Level: 100 Points: 22,646, Level: 100 Points: 22,646, Level: 100
Level up: 0% Level up: 0% Level up: 0%
Activity: 14% Activity: 14% Activity: 14%
Re: Arthur Machen and The House of the Hidden Light

Quote Originally Posted by The New Nonsense View Post
Another little tidbit of history: the 35 letters between Waite and Machen, that make up the text of The House of the Hidden Light, were privately printed and lavishly bound in an incredibly small edition of only three copies (at great cost to Waite). Waite and Machen each had a copy. The third was given to the bookbinder, Philip Wellby. Only two copies survive. In 2003 Tartarus Press reprinted THOTHL, along with editor's notes, in an edition of 350 copies.

THOTHL is a difficult read, even for one somewhat familiar with Golden Dawn symbolism. It's like reading one long in-joke where the reader is not privy to the details or back-story. The editor of the Tartarus edition, R.A. Gilbert, tries to figure out many of the actual locations or circumstances alluded to in code. In some instances he succeeds in breaking the code, while in other passages he doesn't have a clue.

Others, such as Ithell Colquhoun (a surrealist painter, writer and occultist), believed THOHL is actually a written ritual relating to "sexual magic", and is concerned specifically with "sexual congress with preternatural beings". Personally, I haven't decided what THOTHL really is yet. Is it simply an elaborate goof between friends, or is it a magical text describing an occult process of conjunction with supernatural beings? In any case, one could still interpret it as the latter, whether it was the true intent or not. Presumably, it was written in code to keep its secrets veiled from the uninitiated. If it was just a joke, one wonders why Waite would spend a small fortune having copies printed for only three people?
Thank you for the details regarding the original printing Nonsense. I wonder whether remaining original copies are held? I think I tried to have a look if any of the English university copies were from the original run a while ago (they were not). A little casual Worldcatery turns up a few rather interesting (from a historical rather than scholarly point of view) facts about a copy held at one of the Texan universities.

Sadly even the Tartarus Press copy of THOTHL proves incredibly hard to tract down. Anyone who is interested and has suitably deep pockets may want to look at the expensive few lurking about on ebay at the moment.

Given the Waite connection I'm really surprised there isn't more about it. These are just idle musings on my part but shouldn't the text technically be in the public domain by now?
Evans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2009   #9
MorganScorpion's Avatar
MorganScorpion
Chymist
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 260
Quotes: 0
Points: 11,333, Level: 73 Points: 11,333, Level: 73 Points: 11,333, Level: 73
Level up: 61% Level up: 61% Level up: 61%
Activity: 0% Activity: 0% Activity: 0%
Re: Arthur Machen and The House of the Hidden Light

I believe that both Machen and Waite were deadly serious about this.
MorganScorpion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2009   #10
Soukesian's Avatar
Soukesian
Mystic
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 151
Quotes: 0
Points: 9,707, Level: 68 Points: 9,707, Level: 68 Points: 9,707, Level: 68
Level up: 19% Level up: 19% Level up: 19%
Activity: 0% Activity: 0% Activity: 0%
Re: Arthur Machen and The House of the Hidden Light

Many thanks for the info, samples and links. The OTS site looks to have some fascinating reading.

Nice to see the name of Ithell Colquhoun invoked. I have a small collection of her books, and took "The Living Stones" to Cornwall last year as a guidebook.
Soukesian is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
arthur, hidden, house, light, machen

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Arthur Machen Malone YouTube Selections 147 3 Days Ago 02:24 PM
The Three Impostors by Arthur Machen Nemonymous Other Authors 8 03-05-2017 02:11 PM
Whatever be your favourite Arthur Machen work(s)? Doctor Dugald Eldritch General Discussion 21 11-12-2016 01:20 PM
Arthur Machen Collection At Risk Sand Other News 4 02-08-2015 11:36 AM
Arthur Machen Recommendations Piranesi Off Topic 26 12-14-2013 10:30 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:46 PM.



Style Based on SONGS OF A DEAD DREAMER as Published by Silver Scarab Press
Design and Artwork by Harry Morris
Emulated in Hell by Dr. Bantham
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Template-Modifications by TMS