Monday, July 19th 2021

Author icon The Magician's Table: A Tarot blog
Wm Jas Tychonievich

In the Golden Dawn system, 7 of the Major Arcana are associated with astrological planets, and 12 of them with zodiac signs. For the logic behind these correspondences, see my old post "Why Waite switched Justice and Strength"; essentially, it's a slight modification of a tradition based on the Hebrew alphabet and...

Sunday, July 18th 2021

Author icon The Notion Club Papers - an Inklings blog
Bruce Charlton

Durham Castle (University College) is the silhouette on the right (Cathedral to the left) and my rooms were located just to the right of the keep, looking out on this viewI have recently been re-reading some of my favourite Charles Williams bits and pieces - including what began my interest in this writer: Humphrey...

Sunday, July 4th 2021

Author icon Fourth Gospel Blog
Wm Jas Tychonievich

No form of the word repent, forgive, or mercy occurs anywhere in the Fourth Gospel.

Confess is used only with reference to confessing that Jesus is the Christ, and to John's confessing that he himself was not the Christ. It is never used in the context of confessing sins.

The word sinner is used only by the...

Thursday, July 1st 2021

Author icon The Notion Club Papers - an Inklings blog
Bruce Charlton

Several of the Inklings were poets; and all the Big Four - CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Charles Williams and Owen Barfield - began their literary careers intending primarily to become poets; only Williams ended his life regarding himself a poet.

Williams was the only successful poet among them; being regarded as one of...

Thursday, June 24th 2021

Author icon The Notion Club Papers - an Inklings blog
Bruce Charlton

Rivendell was located in a hidden valley; and, while it is obvious that being hidden was a helpful defence - I find it very difficult to imagine how a valley was defended when the enemy had succeeded in locating and attacking Rivendell.

Rivendell was twice besieged by Sauron - once in the second and again (by the...

Wednesday, June 23rd 2021

Author icon Fourth Gospel Blog
Wm Jas Tychonievich

God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son."

Abe said, "Man, you must be puttin' me on!"-- Bob Dylan, "Highway 61 Revisited"

Jesus has just announced, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you" (John 6:53). Since the most basic meaning of son of man is just "man" (the singular...

Author icon The Magician's Table: A Tarot blog
Wm Jas Tychonievich

I found this by chance while searching for (of all things) a picture of Donald Duck playing a trumpet.

I had to look it up, but the reference is to the Hindu holiday of Dussehra (Vijayadashami), which commemorates the god Ram's victory over the 10-headed demon king Ravan. (The forms Rama and Ravana are also common.)...

Friday, June 18th 2021

Author icon The Notion Club Papers - an Inklings blog
Bruce Charlton

The subject of elves and their differences from Men is one of the deep and structural aspects of Tolkien's legendarium - although it plays little part in the Lord of the Rings.

Nonetheless in the Peter Jackson movies, there are some very effective 'moments' where the differentness of the elves is subtly yet...

Tuesday, June 15th 2021

Author icon Winking Back from the Dark: A blog about Whitley Strieber
Wm Jas Tychonievich

In my recent post "Cucurbits from an alien land," I quoted this passage from Whitley Strieber's book Breakthrough (1995). Strieber is writing about an incident that occurred at his cabin in August 1991. He had invited a group of houseguests for the weekend, including the writer Michael Talbot (who would die less than...

Saturday, June 12th 2021

Author icon The Notion Club Papers - an Inklings blog
Bruce Charlton

I have often wondered how many people read the Prologue: concerning Hobbits, which comes before Chapter 1 of The Lord of the Rings.

This gives-away a good deal of the coming story, by implication at least - and it is surely a very strange way to approach a fiction via some 20 pages of descriptive context; before the...

Monday, June 7th 2021

Author icon Fourth Gospel Blog
Wm Jas Tychonievich

Jesus is speaking to the crowd that has been following him back and forth across the Sea of Galilee. He has recently fed 5,000 of them miraculously in the Golan Heights and encounters them again in Capernaum. Not knowing that he got there by walking on water, they ask, "Rabbi, when camest thou hither?"

[26] Jesus...

Author icon Winking Back from the Dark: A blog about Whitley Strieber
Wm Jas Tychonievich

Whitley Strieber is a one-of-a-kind thinker, and his book Jesus: A New Vision, published in January of this year, brings his unique approach to bear on the question of who Jesus is and what he did. It is a very exciting and stimulating book to read, full of surprising interpretations and insights. Unfortunately, in...

Saturday, June 5th 2021

Author icon The Notion Club Papers - an Inklings blog
Bruce Charlton

I am going to compare the the best known audio-depictions of Merry and Pippin: the three movies directed by Peter Jackson (on the assumption that it is the director who chooses the accent which actors adopt); the audiobook of Lord of the Rings read by Rob Inglis; and the BBC Radio drama-adaptation by Brian Sibley -...

Wednesday, June 2nd 2021

Author icon Winking Back from the Dark: A blog about Whitley Strieber
Wm Jas Tychonievich

Sometimes I write something I think is just too bizarre to publish -- and then I usually publish it anyway, and as often as not I soon get an email from some stranger saying, "You too? What an amazing coincidence!"

Early this afternoon, I was sitting in my living room. We have a large window in the front, but it...

Author icon The Magician's Table: A Tarot blog
Wm Jas Tychonievich

The other day, I asked, "Who or what is behind the sudden spike in UFO coverage in the media?" and drew a single card from the Rider-Waite deck. I got the Deuce of Wands.

The card depicts a man contemplating a globe. I immediately thought of the old Klaatu song "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" --...

Sunday, May 23rd 2021

Author icon The Magician's Table: A Tarot blog
Wm Jas Tychonievich

Setting aside its specifically astrological content, Oswald Wirth's "Astronomical Tarot" can be considered a cosmic spread -- that is, a way of arranging all the Major Arcana into a coherent whole.

There is much to explore here, but what I particularly like is the pairing at the center: Death and the World. I had...

Saturday, May 22nd 2021

Author icon The Magician's Table: A Tarot blog
Wm Jas Tychonievich

I have unfortunately been unable to get my hands on the original French version of Oswald Wirth's seminal Le Tarot des imagiers du Moyen Âge, and the English translation (available online here) is full of obvious errors -- beginning with the title, in which imagiers ("image-makers") is mistranslated (perhaps under...

Sunday, May 16th 2021

Author icon The Magician's Table: A Tarot blog
Wm Jas Tychonievich

I've put together this little historical survey of the banner on the trumpet on the Judgment card of the Tarot.

What surprises me is how consistent the color scheme has been over the years, especially given how much color schemes tend to vary from deck to deck. The gold-on-gold cross is seen in the very earliest...

Author icon The Magician's Table: A Tarot blog
Wm Jas Tychonievich

As I have already discussed several times on this blog, trumps 0, 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 of the Rider-Waite Tarot each correctly predict the winner of the U.S. presidential election in the corresponding year -- 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020. The 20th trump predicted that Trump would win that election -- which...

Friday, May 14th 2021

Author icon The Notion Club Papers - an Inklings blog
Bruce Charlton

Unfinished Tales is probably my very favourite among the many wonderful books collecting his unpublished father's works that Christopher Tolkien edited over a span of more than forty years.

The audiobook version of Unfinished Tales was issued just last week; and I began listening on the day it was published!

It...

Tuesday, May 11th 2021

Author icon The Notion Club Papers - an Inklings blog
Bruce Charlton

I am fascinated by the descriptions of Tolkien's Numenoran Men; and how one of their gifts was to know when it was that they should die. This evoked one of the most beautiful passages Tolkien ever wrote:

Then going to the House of the Kings in the Silent Street, Aragorn laid him down on the long bed that had been...

Tuesday, May 4th 2021

Author icon The Notion Club Papers - an Inklings blog
Bruce Charlton

There is, there must be, more to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (LotR) than meets the eye - or has been explained by even the very best literary critics; some-thing that goes beyond what a simple work of fiction can achieve.

This is evident in the initial impact of LotR when I read it aged 14; and was confirmed by the...

Saturday, April 24th 2021

Author icon Winking Back from the Dark: A blog about Whitley Strieber
Wm Jas Tychonievich

From Communion:As it happens, the eighteen-year-old son of one of our neighbors saw something hovering near a road not five miles from our cabin at approximately nine-thirty on a night in late December. He described it to me as "huge and covered with lights," a typical description. He watched it for some time. Being...

Friday, April 23rd 2021

Author icon The Notion Club Papers - an Inklings blog
Bruce Charlton

The Horse and his Boy - which is the fifth book in the Narnia Chronicles by publication - and chronologically a 'plot loop' insert within The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, happening while the children are grown-up Kings and Queens of Narnia - is probably the most sheerly-enjoyable, fluid, coherent and...

Saturday, March 27th 2021

Author icon The Notion Club Papers - an Inklings blog
Bruce Charlton

I have been pondering what it is that I most value in my favourite books of the 'fantasy' genre - or indeed in other media such as movies and TV. And I think it is a particular 'enchanted' feel, which could be described as including both animism and providence.

Animism is the conviction that the natural world is...

Tuesday, March 23rd 2021

Author icon The Magician's Table: A Tarot blog
Wm Jas Tychonievich

A key component of the Minor Arcana is the series of integers from 1 to 10 -- the decad. Suppose we divide the decad into two parts (1-5 and 6-10) and think of the second half as the mirror-image of the first. That would mean 10 is the mirror-image of 1, 9 is the mirror-image of 2, and so on. We can depict this...

Thursday, March 18th 2021

Author icon Winking Back from the Dark: A blog about Whitley Strieber
Wm Jas Tychonievich

M. C. Escher, Hand with Reflecting Sphere

Communion is subtitled A True Story, and almost the first words out of the author's mouth are "It is a true story, as true as I know how to describe it." Elsewhere in the book, he states flatly, "I don't lie." (Note: This statement may not be strictly true!) But the book...

Wednesday, March 17th 2021

Author icon The Notion Club Papers - an Inklings blog
Bruce Charlton

I found this book after seeing it recommended by Lin Carter as being a good post-Tolkien, Hobbit-like children's' story. In fact; I found its (inferior) sequel first, in the Bristol City Library - and then afterwards bought a paperback copy of The Minnipins (also called The Gammage Cup in the US edition).

It has...

Tuesday, March 9th 2021

Author icon The Notion Club Papers - an Inklings blog
Bruce Charlton

This album was the first recording of Medieval Music I ever heard (borrowed from my history teacher and mentor John Reeve). This pioneering band (from 1967) is hilariously rough and ready, improvised and (obviously) done in a single take - in a pretty convincing recreation of how things might actually have sounded...

Author icon The Notion Club Papers - an Inklings blog
Bruce Charlton

The cover of my teenage copy of Elidor

I have always been disappointed by Alan Garner's Elidor (1965); coming as it does between two of my very favourite children's fantasy books The Moon of Gomrath (1963) and The Owl Service (1967). Indeed, I simply did not enjoy Elidor when first I read it (aged 14 0r 15), or at...

Author icon Winking Back from the Dark: A blog about Whitley Strieber
Wm Jas Tychonievich

Yesterday before work, I picked up Communion and started reading it yet again. I became interested in the cover art and did some searching online for other work by the artist, Ted Seth Jacobs. In particular, I was trying to find his original (unpublished) cover art for Majestic, which had shown a soldier standing over...

Sunday, February 21st 2021

Author icon The Magician's Table: A Tarot blog
Wm Jas Tychonievich

The design of the Temperance card is pretty much the same from deck to deck, as can be seen in the two examples below -- one of the earliest French cards, and a not-terribly-traditional English card from two centuries later.

Pierre Madenié (1709), Rider-Waite (1909)

There's some variation, of course --...

Thursday, February 18th 2021

Author icon The Notion Club Papers - an Inklings blog
Bruce Charlton

Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin are in the Old Forest...

*

Frodo tried to sing a song to encourage them, but his voice sank to a murmur.

O! Wanderers in the shadowed land

despair not! For though dark they stand,

all woods there be must end at last,

and see the open sun go past:

the setting sun, the rising...

Wednesday, February 17th 2021

Author icon The Notion Club Papers - an Inklings blog
Bruce Charlton

The inscription reads:

IN LOVING MEMORY OF

WILLIAM CHARLES MOUNTAIN, J.P.WHO DIED 26TH JANUARY 1928"LIFE'S RACE WELL RUN:LIFE'S WORK WELL DONE."

ALSO OF HIS BELOVED WIFEGRACE BINDLEYWHO DIED 3RD MARCH 1947

From Hammond and Scull's Addenda and Corrigenda to The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide (2006) Vol. 2:...

Monday, February 15th 2021

Author icon Fourth Gospel Blog
Wm Jas Tychonievich

Yongsung Kim, Walking on Water

He plants his footsteps in the sea,And rides upon the storm. -- William Cowper, "Light Shining out of Darkness"I mentioned in my last post that the feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle to show up in all four gospels. However, Jesus' most iconic miracle is perhaps the one...

Sunday, February 14th 2021

Author icon The Notion Club Papers - an Inklings blog
Bruce Charlton

Holly Ordway. Tolkien's modern reading: Middle-earth beyond the Middle Ages. Word on Fire: Park Ridge, Illinois, USA. pp ix, 382. (39 illustrative plates and two full page portrait photos of JRRT.)

Tolkien's Modern Reading by Holly Ordway is a book which changed the way I think about Tolkien - and in several...

Thursday, February 11th 2021

Author icon The Magician's Table: A Tarot blog
Wm Jas Tychonievich

In my post on the Rider-Waite Wheel of Fortune card (qv), I note that Waite has written the Tetragrammaton with a rotated mirror-image letter yodh.

I wrote "I suppose this sort of error is easier to make when a word is being written around the circumference of a circle rather than horizontally" -- but it turns out...

Saturday, February 6th 2021

Author icon Fourth Gospel Blog
Wm Jas Tychonievich

The feeding of the five thousand is, with the exception of the resurrection itself, the only miracle that is recorded in all four gospels. Apparently there was general agreement that the story illustrates something essential about Jesus, that no account of his life could omit it. I admit to being somewhat puzzled as...

Sunday, January 31st 2021

Author icon Fourth Gospel Blog
Wm Jas Tychonievich

Notes on the text

For reasons given in the previous post in this series (qv), I view John 5:19-47 with a certain degree of suspicion because it appears to have been inserted into the text where it does not belong. That does not necessarily mean it is not authentic material about Jesus, though.

[31] If I bear...

Saturday, January 23rd 2021

Author icon The Magician's Table: A Tarot blog
Wm Jas Tychonievich

The day after the inauguration, I asked that question, drew a single card -- and got just about the most confusing answer possible:

As I have explained in great detail, this card says Donald Trump loud and clear. I mean, look, it's a guy with orange hair blowing a trumpet with a flag on it. How can we not connect it...