I completed The Pope and the Heretic by Michael White this evening. This is a fairly short (180 or so pages) book on the Inquisition trials of Giordano Bruno and the events leading up to it. If you don't know who Giordano Bruno is, the best two books that I can suggest on him are Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition and The Art of Memory, both by Dame Francis Yates. These books are biased towards the more esoteric end of his thinking as a great promulgator of the Art of Memory (the Ars Memorativa) and as a Hermetic synthesizer of both Catholicism and previous pagan traditions. After he was burned at the stake (without repenting of his thoughts and writings), he was held as a martyr for such diverse groups as socialists, scientists, humanists, free-thinkers of various sorts and even magicians. A man for all men.
The book, itself, was tolerable. I wouldn't call it excellent but I can't say I learned a lot terribly new. Since I bought it remaindered for about four dollars, I don't feel bad about it and I am quite fond of Bruno and occasionally consider myself one of the Giordanisti that have been influenced by his work.
Tomorrow, I will sit down some more and try to finish a collection of essays by Dzogchen master, Namkhai Norbu, that are collected from the newspaper/magazine that his Dzogchen Community puts out called "The Mirror." I have a lot of Norbu material that I am working through but these essays are each only a few pages (ten or twelve at most) long and on a variety of topics.
As to my last few days, this weekend past was quite busy. On Friday evening, I spent five hours helping Kilung Rinpoche get his Windows ME-based Compaq laptop functioning again. I wound up wiping the whole thing after making an external CD backup of his files, reinstalling his OS, tracking down drivers for a Chinese modem and reinstalling his software and restoring his files. That took a lot longer than I expected. Saturday, R and I went down to the Shumway Mansion near our home and spoke to them about weddings. They offer a fairly low price (by a few thousand, probably) for hosting weddings and they do their own catering for a good price. We're looking at doing our wedding there this fall (early October probably) and wanted to check the place out. Saturday evening, I attended Tibetan Losar (New Year) and a Long-life empowerment with Kilung Rinpoche. This was followed by a house blessing party that friends were holding. I believe I got home after midnight on both nights.
Sunday, R and I had volunteered to be children in the Gnostic Mass at Horizon Oasis, OTO. This is the first time that I've actually fulfilled any sort of official role in the rite even though I have attended on and off over the last eight years. One friend of ours was ordained a deacon and the mass closed with the priestly ordination of another friend so it was a bit of a special event. Following mass, the Citadel of the Ouroboros met at Monk's house and did some ritual work as well.
All of this is very eventful but it doesn't make for a calm and relaxing weekend. Next weekend, I'm going down to the McNeil Island prison to work with the Wiccan inmates group with Monk. My dad is also coming to town and we're going to have lunch on Friday and he's going to spend the night at my place on one night. My daughter Madeline will visit over another night (and hopefully Dad will get to spend some time with her as well). It's shaping up to continue to be busy though this week seems largely free of too many evening activities.
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