The Nightshirt Sightings, Portents, Forebodings, Suspicions

Archive for 2009

Hirshhorn floor

Tuesday, 23 June, 2009

So E and I went to the Hirshhorn this weekend. It’s my favorite DC gallery, but I hadn’t been in a few years. For some reason, I totally fell in love with the way the pinkish green floor looked in my iPhone camera. Then I got mesmerized by the marble floor on the upper level. […]

Secrecy and Truth

Sunday, 14 June, 2009

Call me crazy, but I think that the age of open, free publication has done something to debase or weaken the domain of thought in the West. Where are the really powerful and amazing ideas? I want to Prague in 1990 because I was in love with the idea of samizdat, of an underground culture […]

In Denmark, No One Can Hear You Scream (or, Is Beowulf a Forgery?)

Sunday, 31 May, 2009

M.J. Harper and others at the lively and interesting site are more than a little suspicious that Beowulf, and with it most if not all of the texts written in Anglo-Saxon (“Old English”), are forgeries created in the 16th century. It’s a really interesting argument. The Tudor period was a time of incredible cultural […]

Fat and Nothingness

Tuesday, 12 May, 2009

I never intended this blog to be about food and nutrition, but somehow it’s around this that I feel the strongest urge to share my thoughts. Lately on two occasions I have gotten into fierce arguments (under the influence of alcohol, admittedly) with people reciting the standard dietary philosophy of “eat low-calorie, low-fat, low red meat, etc.” […]

Chicken a la Bebe

Tuesday, 12 May, 2009

Here it is, the recipe you’ve been waiting for. Lightly brown 1 finely chopped shallot in butter, then add one finely chopped garlic clove and saute a minute or two longer (without letting the garlic brown). At the secret, esoteric moment, add to your saucier pan about 3/4 C dry white wine, turn the heat […]

Atalanta Fugiens (pt. 3): Dragons

Monday, 4 May, 2009

The story of Hercules’ theft of the apples in the Garden of the Hesperides necessarily also reminds us of the story, even more commonly alluded to by alchemical writers, of Jason and the golden fleece. This story is commonly considered to be one of the most explicit mythological expressions of the alchemical process and objective. […]

Atalanta Fugiens (pt. 2): The Garden of the Hesperides

Saturday, 2 May, 2009

“Experience is not a matter of having actually swum the Hellespont, or danced with the dervishes, or slept in a doss-house. It is a matter of sensibility and intuition, of seeing and hearing the significant things, of paying attention at the right moments, of understanding and coordinating. Experience is not what happens to a man; […]

Atalanta Fugiens (pt. 1): Fixing the Volatile Mercury

Friday, 1 May, 2009

The loveliest alchemical text of the whole 17th Century is Atalanta Fugiens, literally “Atalanta Fleeing,” by Michael Maier. The title refers to the story, told by Ovid, about the race between the beautiful fleet-footed virgin Atalanta and her would-be suitor Hippomenes. The frontispiece of the book depicts various scenes from this story, and the 50 […]

The Hermetic Egg (on Salt and Time)

Thursday, 30 April, 2009

I went into the village to buy a paper and mushrooms, and returned sometime later to find the kitchen floor strewn with, of all things, egg shells. The pan still in the sink told me F— had made herself an omelette for her lunch. Instead of discarding the shells, she had opted to leave them […]


Friday, 24 April, 2009

My assistant F. is, in her Lilith-like fashion, a lover of serpents. She often goes out in the village with her pet python draped over her shoulders, so when she is not being stared at for her own natural gifts, she is being stared at for her python, because, well, you don’t see that every […]