The I m a g o reading series
Address at the first Imago reading
Welcome friends, to this shared studio space and the first evening of the Imago reading series, with vested interests in the magico-poetic, and this eve will feature Joel Newberger & Dorota Czerner !
I thought to ease us in it would be wiser on my part, rather than give historical introductions, to begin with a small address on this inaugural night— and while I have you trapped at my studio ! Circling round the question of the nature of images— of which I’m not sure anyone actually knows, myself much included.
To crack the mysterium open, which is a name for the substance of images, aithers. Like that egg of night from our first poet, Orpheus, the first night— alembic of time.
As, kafka says, a good book must be an ax to the frozen sea in us.
So let us try to make an imago now, summoning its parts.
We are under the auspices and shadows additionally of two other great figures this evening :
1. being Hildegard von Bingen (who I believe chose herself for the occasion) - Sibyl of the Rhine – a 12th century german saint & Christian mystic, composer, polymath, author of an invented language Lingua Ignota, & considered to be the founder of scientific natural history in Germany.
As a child between the ages of three and five she reported later receiving a vision of what she called “the shade of the living light”. These continued throughout her life. It is reported that on the 17th of September in the year 1179, “as she died, her sisters said they saw two streams of light appear in the sky and cross over the room where she was dying”.
2ndly, for the late Gerrit Lansing who passed away a few weeks ago: and perhaps passed on, into the next land. A poet and great wysard, who I was unable to meet. Someone I was looking forward to, and knew could learn a great deal from. What I know of him is the image he left inflected in people around him, & through the person of the page. (An imaginal Gerrit)
2 quotes from G :
“No time but has its blazon”
addressing the subject of the seals, the signatures of moments & lives
“All is permitted [. . .] In the change, the scope of both our amativeness & adhesiveness will be prodigiously enlarged."
[This change is the shift in world ages to come, in the course of our Great Year]
ie. a new eros
So let's get into the meat of this sigil
as I like to say :
sight grows a tree of the head
images call invisible bodies
That it is the character of the eros of images that they call things to them. Whether it be the latent selves in the page or the readers which accrue, speckled here and there, straggling across great spans of time. (Or beings of a different order entirely.) Wake things out of us, teach us, lead us on. An uncreated mirror, quoth Tamas.
It is another genus of touch. working, as the magical art does, through a system of correspondences. And the links through sympathies, where we can alter another, or in turn are altered ourselves – laid claim to, in the manner things we have seen have authored us. Caught up with us in childhood, and taken as guests into our inn.
(each apparency qualifies the character of Being, what the world is capable of.)
emerson : “We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents.”
That there is a divine word, an imago of a kind, imported through the performance and fact of your person. Particular to the specific occurrence of your life. Something perhaps necessarily you are unable to see. As Charles Stein reads the young Robert Kelly quoting a lecture of Paul Blackburn : "The things we learn from them are things they themselves do not know."
Eros is the chain of chains, adds Giordano Bruno. That which sleeps in this unexpressed underside— otherhalf. Bindings between, & the Deep Self. If you would alter something you must learn its desires in its becoming, to call to it. Causal links. The image it holds of what it wants to become.
tonight I am making a call for a new eros. I could use your help. One which moves away from the old technicities, that breed blight into the land, unspoken engine of our cities, and lead us blindly into an infertility— a food on dominance & the dispossession of freedom. Poisons of this pornography, & the death of species.
Rather : to do honor to things and the daimon of one’s own life in potential. That it is not that we are ourselves exactly, rather, that you are with yourself. To make good on the ontological receipt of your person. (Un-immune as we may be to the anxiety that each being needs to justify its life). The issue of eros is the issue of how to be with others. Still as a species something very much we have yet to learn.
Let’s call Empedocles to us now, ol pre-socratic (so called) who set out as an eternal diad eris & eros, strife and desire as atomic forces. Attraction and repulsion, cosmic drill. & who may ultimately have thrown himself into a volcano, to test possibly the edge between the mortal and the immortal. If we are to believe, in some sense, all moments of time exist at once, are here now, coterminous—the old boy may be falling still, caught in the eternal moment of that approach.
/molten bath, hole into the material mantel of the earth. Is that what an image is?\
Likewise, if we are to believe the scientists, those Neutrinos, tiny elementary particles, with nonzero mass, which fall perennially— continually descending through us, radiating from outer space. (65 billions of them per second it is said, through each square centimeter perpendicular to the Sun.) Rarely do these neutral particles interact, uninitiated into that primeval diad.
Empedocles falling through the rain of this invesigation.
Let’s wish him luck.
A search for a new eros, which in tow is a new magic : rethinking the old chain, a different animal of karma— something perhaps not yet imagined, but which may be already present here, sleeping in latencies.
Well certainly the readers we have before us may serve as good guides !