I will be 71 in a couple of weeks. Growing old focuses the mind on how little time remains. There are many nails I could hit with my hammer, but I can choose only one or two and then it is Game Over. For this reason I have set aside work on this website in favour of writing another book.
When I wrote The Hermetic Kabbalah I was conscious that not everyone would want to read a book with dates and footnotes. My first point of reference was my personal experience, based on what I had been taught. Many books go no further than this. I had grown impatient with books that go no further than this. Traditions are like trees; I think most readers would want to know whether they are close to the trunk or way out in the foliage. For this reason I went to considerable trouble to substantiate the tradition (as I received it) with references to interwoven strands of tradition from the past. There are many dates and many footnotes. It was hard work. It took me many years to write.
When I decided to write about Tarot (Playing the Fool) I chose not to go down that road again. Been there, done that. I was strongly influenced by the voice of Folly in In Praise of Folly by the late-Renaissance scholar Erasmus. Written as a cultured joke, it became one of his most popular works. Yes, I thought, this is the authentic voice of The Fool – witty, irreverent, anarchic, perceptive, and daft. One cannot write an authentic Fool’s Journey without letting the Fool choose the path, so I did just that.
I was also influenced by Italo Calvino’s The Castle of Crossed Destinies. This short novel is a sophisticated exercise in using the Tarot to tell stories. It gave me the confidence to tell my own story. It is important to give ourselves the freedom to tell stories. A very large part of the Hermetic Tradition is storytelling. The Zohar consists of various framing stories in which sages wander about Palestine and talk about esoteric interpretations of the Bible … which is itself a collection of stories. The famous Rosicrucian manuscripts of the early 17th C are elaborate stories that caused a furore.
Many esoteric topics throughout the centuries (beginning with Plato) have been framed as dialogues … which is a form of storytelling. It is a surprisingly sophisticated format that combines personality with discussion and argument. Done well, it can appeal to the reader on many levels.
For this reason I chose to present my next book as a dialogue. It is set in Renaissance Italy in the early 16th century. Four characters, two men, two women, discuss the Ptolemaic cosmos according to their individual understanding. I wanted it to be enjoyable and accessible while exposing the reader to the rich culture of Renaissance humanism.
I have the text and I am currently working on illustrations. All being well it should be available in late spring of 2022.