Hello, I’m Grimmware and I like to read books on magic and occultism and then translate those systems into code for Plan 9 from Bell Labs. I try to apply a rationalist credulity to magical and archetype systems, and I’m a big fan of using divination systems as a psychological prompt for learning and growing. I like operating systems, retro computers and digital electronics.
In my work life, I do defensive systems security and visibility.
@fictitiouswhimsigot depends what you're after! I've got a couple of books on more modern magical practice, a couple on the anthropology and philosophy on magical, religious and scientific practice and where they intersect, and then a shitload that range between being actual grimoires throughout time to just historical occult texts ranging from in-earnest occult philosophy all the way to "here's how you can make gold, honest".
Do you have a particular area of interest?
@grimmware I'm always looking for books that are either primary sources on magical beliefs historically, or on the anthropology and historical study of those.
I'm currently trying to read my way through Routledge's History of Medevial Magic.
@fictitiouswhimsigot ah nice, so "Magic, Religion, Science and the Scope of Rationality" is about as far into anthropological text as I've gone, but it's got some really interesting ideas and philosophy in there, and the Donald Tyson edition of Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa is fantastic because it has *extensive* footnotes and appendices on what the beliefs and state of science were at the time (but it's a HUGE book).
As a more general book that will help you find what other books you might be interested in and understand the patterns and ideas around magic books through time, Grimoires by Owen Davies is a great book.
@fictitiouswhimsigot fuckin yassssss! Honestly the footnotes are wild - shit like “people believed that ostriches could digest iron” and so on, and the appendix on magic squares is awesome! Literally just got my copy out for some light bedtime reading!
@grimmware I got it specifically for the footnotes, because I appreciate someone doing the legwork so I can find out what Agrippa was referencing when he talks about things. I once spent several hours trying to find a reference to a magical rock he mentioned.
@fictitiouswhimsigot oof, yeah Tyson must have done a looooot of work!
Glad to have an Agrippa buddy ;)
@grimmware I did a few papers on The Three Books of Occult Philosophy when I was in college. It has such a unique character, since it actually seems to pursue something that I can see descending into a more modern sense of citation and quotation. It was a nice break from some of the more accessible historical occult texts, which tend to have the energy of being made as part of an attempt to scam rich people for money.
@fictitiouswhimsigot oh yeah Le Petit Albert is referred to in the preface of my edition as essentially being “skullduggery” which, whilst being a lot of fun, doesn’t tell you much about the lineage of the claims or the theory behind them.
@grimmware After I saw your profile I thought "Aha! That looks like something that was on the tip of my tongue," but then I haven't really found other people into a sort of magical technologist thing. Are there many other people you know of doing "Plan 9 Occultism" or similar? I've looked around, part of me thinks you might have coined that term, but it's also likely that I am just looking in the wrong places.
@badsirbrian ah shit just realised I never replied to this! Not that I’m aware of - I know a couple of people who’ve been using my software and who are kind of occult adjacent I guess but honestly I’m not fantastic at engaging with communities so there could actually be other people doing the same sort of thing, I just haven’t really met them.
@grimmware ahh no worries. i was hoping there was a whole group of people that are plan9 occultists xD
been reading your blog some, finding it inspiring. i've been really interested in the idea of "re-enchantment" of software, computers, technology, and just life in general. been using the term "software reenchantment" in my head. plan9 occultism fits in this idea really well, although i think it's more specific. i hope more people show up in this sphere!
@badsirbrian Yeah I think it's the idea of using a computer for something you actually care about rather than something that economics tells you is valuable - like artisinal computing, you know? The UXN community and retrocomputing enthusiasts are really good at this kind of thing I feel.
I also kind of want more people to make the internet weird again because the FAANG companies and adjacents have really pushed us all toward the middle of the bell curve, and it's pretty much just a cultural hegemony of capitalists who've colonized the internet and made it banal and mundane.