Some celeusmata



A collage of citations, a work in progress.



I think of taking sentences from great writers & expanding them. —Virginia Woolf


Whatever teaching or practice you receive, distill the essence and practice on that. —Garchen Rinpoche


A science of apparatuses, a critical metaphysics, recognizes the crisis of presence and is prepared to compete with capitalism on the playing field of magic. —
Tiqqun


With certainty must all things be viewed as if they were a magic spell. —Saraha


So now we have destroyed the Book, by the same means that through all these ages we used to preserve it. That is the only proper manner for using magic.
—Susan Cooper


One of the remedies that the priest and the barber devised for their friend’s illness was to wall up and seal off the room that held the books, so that when he got up he would not find them—perhaps by removing the cause, they would end the effect—and they would say that an enchanter had taken the books away, along with the room and everything in it; and that is what they did, with great haste. Two days later Don Quixote got out of bed, and the first thing he did was to go to see his books, and since he could not find the library where he had left it, he walked back and forth looking for it. He went up to the place where the door had been, and he felt it with his hands, and his eyes looked all around. —Miguel de Cervantes


It is better to profane the Torah than to forget it.
—Proverbial


The steward said, ‘come with me, come;
Of what I have, you shall have some.
Every good harper is welcome to me,
For the love of my lord, Sir Orfeo’.
Sir Orfeo (Anonymous)


The figure of St. Sebastian is the most perfect symbol if not of art in general, then certainly of the kind of art here in question. —Thomas Mann


These manifestations, however, never occur except at the initiative of the Imam; and if he appears most often in the guise of a young man of supernatural beauty, almost always, subject to exception, the person granted the privilege of this vision is only conscious afterward, later, of whom he has seen. —Henry Corbin


I see the possibility of success and profit in a method which consists in letting myself be guided by a few motifs which I have worked out gradually and without a specific purpose, and in trying them out on a series of texts which have become familiar and vital to me.
—Erich Auerbach


The first rule in this laborious task is, as I have said, to know these books; not necessarily to understand them but to read them so as to commit them to memory or at least make them not totally unfamiliar.
—Augustine


Of all things that have to do with communicating ideas, what could be more fascinating than the question of whether such communication is actually possible? —Friedrich Schlegel


It isn’t that an old thing is handed down, exactly, but because a person is inspired in his own wisdom, and he or she behaves in accordance with his own wisdom; then somehow—strangely enough, ironically—his behavior becomes similar to those others who behaved that way.⁠ —Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche


No matter how much spiritual understanding a person may have in knowing about all created spiritual things, he will never be able, by the work of his understanding, to attain knowledge of an uncreated spiritual thing, which is nothing but God. But by means of the failure itself such knowledge may occur, since the thing that it fails in is nothing else than God himself. —Cloud of Unknowing (Anonymous)

This noncognizant stupidity
the victors teach as great primordial awareness.
Ignorance is without object, so delusion is clarified.
—Machik Lapdrön


Attention consists of suspending our thought, leaving it detached, empty, and ready to be penetrated by the object; it means holding in our minds, within reach of this thought, but on a lower level and not in contact with it, the diverse knowledge we have acquired which we are forced to make use of. Our thought should be in relation to all particular and already formulated thoughts, as a man on a mountain who, as he looks forward, sees also below him, without actually looking at them, a great many forests and plains.
—Simone Weil


Whoever calls me greedy and desirous
Of a love from afar speaks the truth,
For no other enjoyment pleases me as much
As does the enjoyment of a love from afar.
—Jaufre Rudel


In the stubborn contemplative vocation of the saturnine temperament reappears the perverse Eros of the slothful, who keeps his or her own desire fixed on the inaccessible.
—Giorgio Agamben


The thought of so many people, whether related to me or not, passing through reincarnations one after another, made me so melancholy, I left my native place and wandered off at random.
—Ikkyu


That which protects the Diverse we call opacity. And henceforth we shall call Relation’s imaginary a transparency, one that for ages (ever since the Pre-Socratics? or the Mayans? in Timbuktu already? ever since the pre-Islamic poets and the Indian storytellers?) has had premonitions of its unforeseeable whirl.
—Édouard Glissant


Become content at heart, while also remaining discontent and disobedient; indeed become contented and agreeable only in the presence of that other Image of nature.
—Jesus of Nazareth


An addiction (a repetitious act) is a ritual to help one through a trying time; its repetition safeguards the passage, it becomes one’s talisman, one’s touchstone. If it sticks around after having outlived its usefulness, we become ‘stuck’ in it and it takes possession of us. But we need to be arrested. [...] We need Coatlicue to slow us up so that the psyche can assimilate previous experiences and process the changes. If we don’t take the time, she’ll lay us low with an illness, forcing us to ‘rest’.
—Gloria Anzaldúa


This is imagining yourself, really letting yourself be imagined (experience that impossibility) without guarantees, by and in another culture, perhaps. Teleopoiesis. [...] It is in this sense that I have called literary training the irony of the social sciences, if irony is understood as permanent parabasis.
—Gayatri Spivak


America prepares with composure and goodwill for the visitors that have sent word.
—Walt Whitman


Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages.
—W. H. Auden


When they came under any Promontore, or into a flexuous, horned, hollow bay, there as the voice was heard stronger, so the Songs of the Celeusmata, or hortaments to the answering Marriners, fell clearer to the land.
—Longus


A soft imprisoned turf grew under foot. The heart of the eternal pyramids, it seemed, wherein, by some strange magic, through the clefts, grass-seed, dropped by birds, had sprung.
—Herman Melville


Learn what Diana's Doves are, which do vanquish the Lion by asswaging him. 
—Eirenaeus Philalethes


The text, in its mass, is comparable to a sky, at once flat and smooth, deep, without edges and without landmarks; like the soothsayer drawing on it with the tip of his staff an imaginary rectangle wherein to consult, according to certain principles, the flight of birds, the commentator traces through the text certain zones of reading, in order to observe therein the migration of meanings, the outcropping of codes, the passage of citations.
—Roland Barthes


bluebirds take all of the consciousnesses
to where the elemental merges with beyond.
—Elizabeth Fraser


The art of writing books is still to be discovered. But it is on the verge of being discovered. Fragments of this kind are like a literary sowing of the fields. Of course, there may be many sterile seeds in them. Nevertheless, if only a few of them blossom!
—Novalis


An authentic way of thinking, sincere thought, requires texts, the great texts especially, those few great texts that are more in agreement than we think. The freedom to call upon different authors is certainly useful, but it’s not all about that. More profound is thinking, the thinking that attaches itself to an expression par excellence, a great expression, that might be the source of a sort of extension and genuine discussion.
—Emmanuel Levinas


‘I admit to taking a few rhetorical precautions. Before approaching the question, I’ll quote from Pascal and Montaigne.’
‘What do they have to do with such matters?’
‘Listen. Here are two sentences I want to use as my epigraph; it seems to me they set the argument on the right footing.’
—Andre Gide


Thinking is finding a good quotation. —Paul de Man


The exuberant subjection of antique elements in a structure which, without uniting them in a single whole, would, in destruction, still be superior to the harmonies of antiquity, is the purpose of the technique which applies itself separately, and ostentatiously, to realia, rhetorical figures and rules. —Walter Benjamin


Someone in the audience can find pleasure in discerning different parts in the work, which is all of one piece. But this person in the audience must also notice the Art of erasing transitions, without many peers. —Gérard Fremy


Whatever the instrument, the artist sought to re-create the abstract, invisible forces and relationships of the cosmos, in the intimate, immediate forms of his art, where the problems might be experienced and perhaps be resolved in miniature.
—Maya Deren


Mercury of Arcadia shall change his shield, and he shall call Venus the Helmet of Mars; the Helmet of Mars shall cast a shadow, and the rage of Mercury shall exceed its limits. —Merlin


Seeing the dystopias of your own imagination being created is not the best thing you could wish for.
—Gian Piero Frassinelli


‘So, how did you learn about mercury removal?’ said the assistant.
Li’s mom said it was all Li.
‘Oh, said the assistant. ‘Are you...a dentist?’
‘No’, said Li. ‘It’s because I read some books.’
—Tao Lin


Before you were born, you were already drugged. What kind of drug was it? You may cure yourself of all diseases, but if you are still under the influence of the primordial drug, of what use are the superficial cures?
—Nisargadatta Maharaj


To gain access to the question of ‘Being-on-drugs’ we have had to go the way of literature. —Avital Ronell


There is such a thing as a treasure hunt within tradition.
—Gershom Scholem


The thread that is to guide us across the wearisome labyrinth is in the hands of Criticism. Nay more, where there is no record, and history is either lost or was never written, Criticism can recreate the past for us from the very smallest fragment of language or art [....] Prehistoric history belongs to the philological and archaeological critic. It is to him that the origins of things are revealed. The self-conscious deposits of an age are nearly always misleading. Through philological criticism alone we know more of the centuries of which no actual record has been preserved, than we do of the centuries that have left us their scrolls. It can do for us what can be done neither by physics nor metaphysics. It can give us the exact science of mind in the process of becoming.
—Oscar Wilde


Never change the
onomata barbara. —Chaldean oracle


No doubt that will be on my epitaph; my family will have to engrave it on my memorial marker: ‘Master the Terms of your Art, and the Mysteries will be revealed’. —Christine Payne-Towler


Pray the palmtree with bliss. —Solomon and Saturn (Anonymous)


...as though by falling asleep she had become a plant. —
Marcel Proust


In order to guide the spirit of healing, the practitioner must use conscious awareness to bottle Mercurius up so transformation can occur. Thus the practitioner’s awareness of the healing process serves as an alchemical flask in which the dual nature of mind and body, and opposing forces characteristic of the derangement of the vital principle, are integrated into psychosomatic balance.
—Jane Cicchetti


Relationships are the yoga of the West.
—Ram Dass


In spite of the fact that they do happen, their existence does not deprive them of their true nature, in virtue of which the possibility of their non-occurrence existed before they happened.
—Boethius


I do not deny the existence of such a virtue, I merely deny that any possess it.
—Quintillian


At last in desperation I was going to give up looking for something that it was impossible to find. But when I wanted to put the idea entirely out of my mind, lest it occupy me in vain and so keep out other ideas in which I could make some progress, then it began to force itself upon me with increasing urgency, however much I refused and resisted it. So one day, when I was tired out with resisting its importunity, that which I had despaired of finding came to me, in the conflict of my thoughts, and I welcomed eagerly the very thought which I had been so anxious to reject.
—Anselm of Canterbury


If he can, I can. If I can, I must. If I must, I shall.
—Barbara Du Bois


The poem transfixes without modeling, entrances without deciphering. Therefore, the ambiguity thrills, and opens up the reader to constant illuminal spiraling throughout a duration of simultaneous transparencies.
—Will Alexander


When Perceval saw the disturbed snow where the goose had lain, with the blood still visible, he leaned upon his lance to gaze at this sight, for the blood mingled with the snow resembled the blush of his lady’s face. He became lost in contemplation [....] Perceval mused upon the drops throughout the hours of dawn and spent so much time there that when the squires came out of their tents and saw him, they thought he was sleeping. —Chrétien de Troyes


His eyes gathered no thoughts from the page before him. His intellect had been stunned by the bold contradiction, to its face, of all its experience, and now lay passive, without assertion, or speculation, or even conscious astonishment; while his imagination sent one wild dream of blessedness after another coursing through his soul.
—George MacDonald


There are such exquisite things to be seen and appreciated in them that the understanding is incapable of describing them in any way accurately without being completely obscure to those devoid of experience. But any experienced person will understand quite well.
—Teresa of Avila


The ancients had a custom
(So Priscian testifies)
In the books which they made back then,
They spoke quite obscurely
For those who were yet to come
And who were to learn them,
Who would be able to gloss the letter there
And add the surplus from their own sense.
—Marie de France


The contemplation of truth is never more perfect than through books, for the act of imagination while continued by a book does not allow the action of the mind upon the truths it beholds to be interrupted. —Richard de Bury


As many as were the types of work involved in the enterprise, so many were the languages by which the human race was fragmented; and the more skill required for the type of work, the more rudimentary and barbaric the language they now spoke. But the holy tongue remained to those who had neither joined in the project nor praised it, but instead, thoroughly disdaining it, had made fun of the builders’ stupidity. —Dante Alighieri


That vast assembly of beams and boards to which needy man clings, thereby saving himself on his journey through life, is used by the liberated intellect as a mere climbing frame and plaything on which to perform its most reckless tricks; and when it smashes this framework, jumbles it up and ironically re-assembles it, pairing the most unlike things and dividing those things which are closest to one another, it reveals the fact that it does not require those makeshift aids of neediness, and that it is now guided, not by concepts but by intuitions.
—Friedrich Nietzsche


Anybody can make cut-ups. It is experimental in the sense of being something to do.
—William S. Burroughs


As regards one particular striking feature of melancholia that we have mentioned, the prominence of the fear of becoming poor, it seems plausible to suppose that it is derived from anal erotism which has been torn out of its context and altered in a regressive sense. —Sigmund Freud


Here, to be in being means to belong within a specific rank of the order of what has been created—a rank appointed from the beginning—and as thus caused, to correspond to the cause of creation (
analogia entis). —Martin Heidegger


What got me by during that period was conceiving of the history of philosophy as a kind of ass-fuck, or what amounts to the same thing, an immaculate conception.
—Gilles Deleuze


His magical practices, whether poetic and musical incantations, or the use of magicized images, were really directed towards a conditioning of the imagination to receive celestial influences [....] He describes how an image drawn from astral mythology could be imprinted inwardly on the mind with such force that when a person, with this imprint in his imagination, came out into the world of external appearances, these became unified, through the power of the inner image drawn from the higher world.
—Frances Yates


Where intuition is practiced, reality always retains the quality of sorcery and, therefore, the ethic of archetypal medicine tends toward irony. —Alfred Ziegler



For countless lifetimes we have wanted happiness for ourselves alone; now it is time to start wanting what is best for others. —Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche


One philosopher spent thirty years in solitude in order to learn the nature of the bee
. —Thomas Aquinas


All is dependent, naught is independent,
This is the pure truth, we speak it out plainly.
If I mention one, self-sufficient, independent,
You will know to whom I refer.
—Ibn Arabi


Self-liberate even the antidote.
—Chekawa Yeshe Dorje


My purpose is not to gainsay them, but to furnish a commentary and gloss, and to interpret many Indian expressions which they, as strangers to that tongue, have rendered inappropriately.
—Inca Garcilaso de la Vega


His father, to comfort him, read him a commentary on Ecclesiastes, which he had himself composed, and which demonstrated incontrovertibly that all is vanity.
—Thomas Peacock


Prasangikas are not saying anything about the ultimate nature of reality or of emptiness. That is not the aim of their system. Their aim is to free the awareness of its conceptualizing habit and to let the ultimate nature of reality reveal itself in a totally non-conceptual way.
—Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche


Hey, ho, nobody home
No meat, no drink, no money have I none
Still, we will be very merry.
—Traditional


They composed little songs for their followers, songs which condensed their teachings and which might also be used in musical assemblies. Then would follow the composition of small treatises in the vernacular, mostly rhymed so that they were easy to memorize, and eventually larger books, like mathnawīs and, later, prose works. Thus, the language was prepared for adapting itself to higher poetry of non-mystical content. —Annemarie Schimmel


Now some of those seeds have begun to grow. As discontent with the political regime is growing, the idea of a Buddhism for the people is taking shape. We couldn’t imagine then how deeply our ideas would take root, especially in central Vietnam. One afternoon while accompanying Nhu Hue and Nhu Van on a visit to a poor hamlet in Quang Nam, I heard a mother singing one of Tam Kien’s protest songs to lullaby her child to sleep!
—Thich Nhat Hanh


Someone once said that beneath or behind all political and cultural warfare lies a struggle between secret societies. Another author suggested that the Nursery Rhyme and the book of Science Fiction might be more revolutionary than any number of tracts, pamphlets, manifestoes of the political realm.
—Ishmael Reed


Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believed.
—William Blake


If you can’t stop people from acting out their need to go to war, there is ultimately no point in fighting the inevitable. Then at least you have to salvage, and protect, the secret essence of their culture so that its seeds or embers can be kept alive for some distant future through all the destruction which is still to come.
—Peter Kingsley


The LAGEOS plaque is a time capsule containing extremely limited information intended for the year 8,000,000. It is, like all such spacecraft messages, hitchhiking: the spacecraft is designed for one purpose and the plaque attached (almost always at the last minute) for another purpose.
—Carl Sagan


Idly, with no guide to what the stations were, I was moving the knob of a wireless-set when I was suddenly held by the insistence of unaccustomed Sprechgesang. —Eithne Wilkins


Nothing is more admired than the five Brethren of the Rose, and the strange disposure of the Appendices or Beards, in the calicular leaves thereof, which in despair of resolution is tolerably salved from this contrivance, best ordered and suited for the free closure of them before explication.
—Thomas Browne


The poet, in composing poems, uses a language, neither alive nor dead, that few people speak and few people understand.
—Jean Cocteau


      what I had ignored, mistaking it for ornament
Was information hiding in plain sight.
—Ariana Reines


I believe that I faintly perceive a pattern in the segment of the series, a characteristic feature, which needs only an ‘and so on’ in order to reach to infinity.
—Ludwig Wittgenstein


It is more necessary that the doctrine should be transmitted forever, for the sake of those that have ears to hear,—‘such souls as are of strength to see,’—than possible that everyone who plays a part in the transmission should also be a Comprehensor; and hence there is an adaptation in terms of folklore and fairy-tale for popular transmission as well as a formulation in hieratic languages for sacerdotal transmission and finally also an initiatory transmission in the Mysteries
.⁠ —Ananda Coomaraswamy


To my friends I make the gift, but this sweet-voiced garland of the Muses is common to all the initiated. —Meleager


Naturally, the youths who for a fee impersonated the procession of the dead on the basis of other people’s instructions, remind us of professional actors, rather than followers of secret youthful associations possessed by demonic fury. But what for some was a canvas on which to sketch a kind of theatrical representation, was for others part of a core of memories that could be reactivated and transmitted.
—Carlo Ginzburg


           and I have lost what is always and everywhere
present, the scene of my selves, the occasion of these ruses,
which I myself and singly must now kill
                       and save the serpent in their midst. —Frank O’Hara


The letter F— had been likewise invariably brought forward, and found productive of such countless jokes, that its character as the wittiest letter in the alphabet had been long established with Elinor.
—Jane Austen


If he has saved from the disaster a kind of reverence for the twenty-four letters as they have fixed themselves, through the miracle of infinity, in some existing language, his, then a sense for their symmetries, their actions, their reflections, all the way up to a transfiguration into the surreal endpoint, which is verse; he possesses, our civilized inhabitant of Eden, above everything else, the element of felicity, a doctrine as well as a country.
—Stéphane Mallarmé


I study history as an antidote to obsessive speculation about the future. —Ivan Illich


To carry out your project, not otherwise than if I were collecting fragments along the vast shores of a huge shipwreck, I will collect the remnants of the pagan gods strewn everywhere in a nearly infinite number of volumes, and once found and collected, even if they are ravaged and half eaten by time and nearly worn to nothing, I will reduce them into a single corpus of genealogy, arranged to the best of my ability, to satisfy your wish.
—Giovanni Boccaccio


Neptune with his trident leads philosophers into the academic garden. 
—Isaac Newton


I remember suddenly that there were, in History, Sects which inlaid these same signs upon rocks, carved out of jade, beaten into iron, or chiseled. And I begin to think that this symbolism conceals a Science. And I find it strange that the primitive people of the Tarahumara tribe, whose rites and culture are older than the flood, actually possessed this science well before the appearance of the Legend of the Grail, or the founding of the Sect of the Rosicrucians.
—Antonin Artaud


There is no one comparable to the Buddha as they have described him—if they are right about that—except al-Khidr. —Muhammad al-Shahrastānī


There is what might be described as a generalised ‘tantric sense’, whereby it is possible to recognise the existence, in places where the name of Tantra has been unknown, of analogous doctrines and methods, thus providing concurrent evidence in favour of the spiritual methods in question.
—Marco Pallis


I read the books of all religions
and practice all at the right moment.
—Drukpa Kunley


It doesn’t matter what book. That’s another very important thing about reading.
—Chuck Jones


I met a friend of spirit
A drunk with sage’s eyes
And I sat before his sanity.
—Joni Mitchell


He lives century after century, and the test I set for him he has passed.
—Mirabai


The generations will come and go, and the personnel, as the newspapers say, of the saloon will shift and change, but the institution itself, as resting on a deep human need, has a long course yet to run and a good work yet to do.
—Henry James