The John Michell Reader

Writings and Rants of a Radical Traditionalist
By (author) John Michell
Introduction by Joscelyn Godwin

Other books by this author

The John Michell Reader
Writings and Rants of a Radical Traditionalist
By (author) John Michell
Introduction by Joscelyn Godwin

Availability: In stock

plus minus
$19.95

Free Shipping on orders over $18 (within the U.S.)

Edition : New Edition of Confessions of a Radical Traditionalist

Pages : 320

Book Size : 6 x 9

ISBN-13 : 9781620554159

Imprint : Inner Traditions

Release Date : April 26, 2015

Format : Paperback Book

John Michell (1933-2009) was beloved and reviled for his heretical views. In this collection of essays he takes on Darwinism, superstition, Jesus, the Grail legend, agribusiness, the madness of modernity, and much more. Michell always took the larger view, reminding us that the “paradise of the philosophers” is still within reach for those with the vision to see it.
Description

About The John Michell Reader

Deepest thoughts and musings of a 1960s countercultural icon

• Includes 108 of Michell’s most insightful, erudite, witty, and occasionally scathing essays on diverse topics ranging from sacred practices of the Stone Age to the evils of the metric system to the madness of modernity

• Describes principles to live in tune with the divine order of the world and discover the “paradise of the philosophers” of ancient times.

• Includes an introductory overview by Joscelyn Godwin of Michell’s entire career

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.
Excerpt

Book Excerpt

Introduction
“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.

5
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.
Table of Contents

Table of content

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

Albion

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

Phenomena


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

People

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

Science


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

Apocalypsis

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
Author Bio
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.
Reviews

Reviews

Book Praise

Book Praise

“A self-styled Merlin of the 1960s counterculture who inspired disciples like the Rolling Stones with writings about UFOs, prehistoric architecture and fairies . . .”
New York Times


“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.”
Richard Heath, author of Sacred Number and the Lords of Time

“Joscelyn Godwin has shown exceptional empathy with Michell’s worldview in his judicious arrangement of the writings.”
Patrick Harpur, author of The Secret Tradition of the Soul and The Philosophers’ Secret Fire


“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.”
Rupert Sheldrake
, author of Morphic Resonance

“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.”
Candida Lycett Green, coauthor of The Garden at Highgrove
Back Cover

Back Cover Copy

SPIRITUALITY / ESOTERICISM

“Through the wit and humor, John Michell’s Platonist soul shines like a beacon, confirming him as a vital link in the Golden Chain. A sparkling collection of essays by a truly great writer.”
     --Steve Marshall, Fortean Times

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, and 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 commonsense 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.

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.

Awakening the Chakras

Write Your Own Review

You're reviewing: The John Michell Reader