The John Michell Reader: Writings and Rants of a Radical Traditionalist

De (autor) Introducere de Joscelyn Godwin
Notă GoodReads:
en Limba Engleză Paperback – 21 May 2015
A countercultural icon of the 1960s, John Michell (1933-2009) was perhaps best known for his books on sacred geometry, Earth mysteries, and unusual phenomena. He was also beloved and reviled for his radical, idealistic, yet classically traditional views on a wide range of heretical topics, from sacred practices of the Stone Age to the evils of the metric system to the madness of modernity and the unfolding apocalypse.

Carefully selecting 108 of Michell's most insightful, erudite, witty, and occasionally scathing essays from his column in the monthly magazine The Oldie, esoteric scholar Joscelyn Godwin presents a colorful collection of Michell's writings and rants that cover nearly every aspect of society, history, and traditional wisdom. In these short essays, Michell takes on agribusiness, Darwinism, superstition, Stonehenge, the insanity of modern society, UFOs, Jesus, fairies, the Grail legend, among many other topics. No matter how small the topic under consideration, Michell always takes a larger view on it, illuminating it with light from above.

Godwin's artful selection and ordering of essays reveals Michell's overarching grand view of the world at large. We glimpse the heart of Michell as idealistic Platonist and radical traditionalist, absorb his common sense lessons for living in tune with the divine order, and are reminded that the elusive "paradise of the philosophers" of ancient times is still within reach for those with the strength of vision to see it.
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ISBN-13: 9781620554159
ISBN-10: 1620554151
Pagini: 320
Dimensiuni: 152 x 229 x 23 mm
Greutate: 0.51 kg
Ediția: 2nd Edition, New Edition of Confessions of a Radical Traditionalist
Editura: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
Colecția Inner Traditions

Notă biografică

Educated at Cambridge and Cornell, Joscelyn Godwin, Ph.D., is a professor of music at Colgate University and the author, editor, and translator of more than 30 books, including Atlantis and the Cycles of Time and Athanasius Kircher’s Theatre of the World. Known for his translations of the works of Fabre d’Olivet and Julius Evola as well as Francesco Colonna’s Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, he lives in Hamilton, New York.


“A Prophetic Vision” By Joscelyn Godwin

It is not too much to say that John Michell was a prophet. Prophets do not foretell the future so much as warn what may come to pass if events continue on their present course. Nowadays this is so blindingly obvious that we hardly need prophets to tell it to us. But there is a rarer prophetic gift, which is the seeing of forms in what Plato called the World of Ideas--not the imaginary ideas of men and women, but the divine or daemonic ideas after which the material world is formed. Ezekiel saw the Chariot of the Most High; John the Divine saw the New Jerusalem; Mohammed in his night-journey passed through the planetary spheres and met the other prophets of his lineage. Such visions may be warnings too, but they also inspire confidence in the meaning and goodness of the cosmos; they enable us to imagine Paradise here and now, and to adjust our lives in harmony with it.

John Michell’s other role was that of a guardian of tradition and its defender against the “new men” who mistrust everything ancient, beautiful, or suspect of elitism. These tinpot emperors come in for a sound chastisement in these pages, and it is not sheer malice to enjoy hearing someone shout that they are stark naked. The tradition that Michell defends has always been elitist, but not in the sense of favoring birth, money, or even brains. Instead, it fosters the quality, in every sphere, of being truly and comfortably what one is. In this sense, those who live by cultivating the land or by the careful work of their hands are more deserving of respect than media stars (even royal ones) or socialites. Moreover, Michell has a particular empathy for those at the bottom of the ladder, who might have found their place in a more traditional social order but whom present-day conditions have made outsiders.

Staying Put and Rushing About
March 2001

My grandmother used to say, “You young people are so restless, always rushing about from here to there. When we were girls it was so lovely at home that we never wanted to leave, even to get married.”

It is true that we were always rushing about, in dangerous motor cars, with desperate episodes of drunken driving. I shudder now to think of it. In Granny’s youth there were no motors, so staying put was the normal thing in the country. But later it became a sort of disgrace, and now everyone keeps going away, rushing about in planes and boasting about their constant, far-flung travels as if there were virtue in their restlessness.

Americans are at the forefront of this movement--they are said to move house on average every three or four years--but all our colonials are the same. Unable to settle properly in the lands they took from the natives, with no traditional ties to the landscapes they were born in, they are condemned to wander, and that is why we have the pleasure of so many overseas visitors each year.

A few generations ago, when the enchantment of old England still lingered in country districts, most villagers had never been farther than the local market town, and many had never set foot outside their own parish. It was like in that Chinese poem about the idyllic community, where nothing unusual ever happened, where it was so quiet that they could hear dogs barking in the next village, which none of them had ever gone to.

One of my hobbies is collecting examples of good people who have enjoyed long lives, happy and complete, while scarcely moving an inch from where they were born. It began during the Falklands war, when a reporter said that he had met islanders in the outlying “campo” who had never been to the capital, Port Stanley, in their whole lives. Then, in the way these things happen, I heard from another journalist something even more extraordinary, that on the island of St. Helena, which is only ten miles across at most, there were rustics who had never been to their only town, Jamestown.

Best of all was the example of staying put which I came across in a book about the Faroe Islands by two highly informed and entertaining subarctic women, Liv K. Schei and Ounnie Moberg (they also wrote the best modern book on Shetland). On the remotest island of the Faroes, Fugloy, barely two miles long and with two small villages, they heard of a woman who lived in one of the villages and had never bothered to visit the other one. Nor had she ever left the island. On her seventieth birthday the treat she asked for was to be shown the next village. It was a few minutes’ walk and she thoroughly enjoyed the novelty.

A traditional view of such lives is that they are compensations for hyperactivity in a previous existence. At the end of Plato’s Republic is a description of souls destined for rebirth, where each was allowed to choose the pattern of its next life. The foolish among them grabbed lives of wealth and power, only to find too late that they ended nastily. Among the last souls to pick a life was Ulysses, whose former career was of constant rushing around. Most of the lives had gone, but thrown away in a corner he found the life of a quiet, retiring country gentleman. That, he said, would have been his choice if he had had first pick. So in one life you rush around and in the next you stay put.

That is only a story, but it is the best one you are likely to find that accounts for the coexistence in human nature of those opposite types that you see in children, the one who sits there happily and the one who simply cannot keep still.


Introduction “A Prophetic Vision” by Joscelyn Godwin

Pa r t I

The Good Old Days

1 Why Are We So Short of Time?

2 Fireside Wisdom

3 The Deserted Village

4 Fear and Loathing of the Greens

5 Staying Put and Rushing About

6 Victoria’s Enchanted Realm

7 A Good Protestant? How and Why

8 Kings of Glory

9 Drink, Drugs, and the Art of Conversation

10 Manx Fairies

11 Nothing to Sing About

12 Population Control and Feng Shui, Again

P a r t II


13 Albion, the Spirit of the Party

14 A Lost Cause

15 The Re-Conversion of England

16 Anglo-Saxon Attitudes

17 Brassy Britain

18 The Centre of Britain

19 Citizens of Stonehenge

20 Sacred Monarchy

21 Taking the St. Michael

22 A Musical Enchantment

23 A Dream of Old Tracks

24 When Jesus Came to England

Pa r t III


25 Abductions

26 UFO Abductions and the End of Innocence

27 Bogus Social Workers

28 Just a Coincidence

29 Just Another Coincidence

30 The Persistence of Crop Circles

31 Dreams of Ape-Men

32 Roll Your Own Superstitions

33 Demonic Reality

34 The Demons among Us

35 Lost and Found

36 The Flight from Reason

P a r t I V


37 Beyond the New Age

38 A Man You Can Trust

39 The Philosopher’s Ideal Woman

40 Our Silent Queen

41 Building the Future

42 Enoch Powell and the West Indians

43 Science for Us Simple Folk

44 Sheldrake and the Revolution

45 New Light on Old Stones

46 A Rad-Trad Englishman, and an Italian

47 Bruce Chatwin’s Glimpse of Truth

48 How Can Jesus Be God?

P a r t V

Sacred Cows

49 Television, Degradation, and the Ideal

50 Cannabis and the Law

51 The Demon of Sex Obsession

52 Down with School

53 A Good Irish Education

54 Outliving the Experts

55 A Rotten Genius

56 Freudian Analysis

57 The Bohemian Myth

58 Art, Money, and Revolution

59 The Art of Going to Hell

60 A Fox’s View of Foxhunting

P a r t V I


61 The Missing Link Fantasy

62 Darwin and the Damage

63 The State Myth

64 Stopping the Unstoppable

65 Too Noisy and Violent

66 Collisions with God

67 A Shiver of Cold Fusion

68 The Agribusiness Racket

69 How Talking Began

70 Who Settled America?

71 Geller, Adler, and Beyond

72 Don’t Worry, It’s All Taken Care Of

P a r t V II

Modern Madness

73 Jews, Christians, and the Heavenly Jerusalem

74 The Temple at Jerusalem

75 Two Dogs and a Bone

76 God’s Flower Garden

77 A Multicultural Dream

78 The New Crusaders

79 The Crusade Against Islam

80 The Matter of Ireland

81 The Burning of a Prophet

82 Bringing Light to Europe

83 The Closed Loop

84 Evil Conspiracies

Pa r t V III


85 The Modern Illusion

86 Chasing the Millennium

87 The End Is Nigh-ish

88 What of the Future, My Friend?

89 Millennial Prognostications

90 The Beast in Man

91 Old Boys, New Agers, and Sacred Order

92 The Horror That Spoils Breakfast

93 Horrors and Real Horror

94 After Blair, the Antichrist

95 Six-Six-Six and the Coming of the Beast

96 Prophets, Saviours, and Fanatics

P a r t I X

Paradise of the Philosophers

97 Turn On and Tune In to God’s Kingdom

98 What Is the Point of Love?

99 What Good Manners!

100 Life, the Universe, and Everything

101 How to Be Lucky

102 Platonic National Service

103 Visions of Heaven and Hell

104 Mirrors of Celestial Harmony

105 Totally Stoned

106 More Tea, Vicar?

107 Buried Treasures

108 Finding Firm Ground

Appendix Dynamic Symmetry in the Work of Maxwell Armfield

About John Michell


“A self-styled Merlin of the 1960s counterculture who inspired disciples like the Rolling Stones with writings about UFOs, prehistoric architecture and fairies . . .”
“In this interesting collection, full of memorable details, John Michell commits many charming acts of political heresy against the received wisdoms of contemporary life, advocating by example where freedom still resides.”
“Joscelyn Godwin has shown exceptional empathy with Michell’s worldview in his judicious arrangement of the writings.”
“Refreshingly original, yet genuinely grounded in tradition. John Michell is wise, mischievous, and amusing. He has expanded the frontiers of British sanity and enriches the lives of those who know him and his works.”
“Forget trepanning, John Michell opened my third eye years ago. His revelations and the mysteries he touches upon are in my head forever--life would be dead dull and probably impossible without this extra and true dimension.”