The Daily Note (12.23)
Some timely shares + an esoteric art exhibit . . .
Substack/Santa left some treats in my Inbox this week:
Frederick Woodruff’s “Solstice Secrets of the Christmas Tree” offers unexpected insights, personal reflections, and illuminating connections.
From Compound Eye Tarot—musing on “The Diving Suit of the Page of Cups.” This newsletter isn’t published very often, but it’s always conceptually surprising.
From Between a Rock and a Card Place, Caroline Cala Donofrio’s meditation on The Hermit, along with her retrospective look at “6 Things I Learned This Year.”
The author of 3 a.m. tarot muses on “capricorn season & the winter solstice”—and shares some personal feelings that many of us can relate to.
As I explained in the Solstice Newsletter, my recent inquiry into Martinism produced some serendipitous results. Among them—the essay “Martinists and Freemasons in 1920s Petrograd/Leningrad.” It accompanied an exhibition mounted by the Russian contemporary art museum Garage, and titled “We Treasure Our Lucid Dreams: The Other East and Esoteric Knowledge in Russian Art, 1905-1969.”
Bringing together over 150 artworks, artefacts, and archive documents, the exhibition takes a close look at the creative projects of artists who were members of secret societies or constructed individual practices informed by their esoteric interests. Many among these bearers of “secret knowledge” fell victim to Stalin-era repressions: they were executed, sent to prison camps, abandoned their beliefs or lost their archives.
This passage serves as another reminder of how seriously many occultists of the past took their beliefs. And the exhibition itself reveals an aspect of contemporary Russian culture that’s not often seen by the rest of us. Though Garage’s online presentation doesn’t offer a close view of the artwork, the installation is striking—and there’s a playlist of the exhibition soundtrack.
Photos by Alexey Narodizkiy, for the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
Frederick Woodruff’s meditation on the Christmas tree also introduced me to Martha Heyneman‘s The Breathing Cathedral—which he describes as ”a fantastic interweaving of the cosmologies of Gurdjieff, Dante, Aquinas, Stephen Hawking, and others, into a new model, a new interpretation of the universe we inhabit.” I look forward to finding out more about her work.
Warm regards, C