Dear Richard,

The occult is not necessarily accompanied by the affect produced by the uncanny. Orage and Gurdjieff, though they had differences in their approaches, used the occult for social development, the higher evolution of consciousness. Eliot produces some very spooky, nightmarish figures in his poems, like the Sibyl and Stetson. I agree that he would regard Ouspensky and that lot as charlatans. But he did have an affinity for the uncanny.


Sent from my iPod

On Mar 17, 2010, at 1:18 AM, Richard Seddon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:



The phrase is also strongly “redolent” of the occult.


Allen Upward wrote a book ”The Divine Mystery” which was published around 1921.  The subtitle is illuminating “A reading of the History of Christianity Down to the Time of Christ”.  (read this carefully)


Interestingly to admirers of the poets of the San Francisco Renaissance and Black Mountain Poets,   my edition of 1976 is introduced by Robert Duncan


Upward was much admired by Orage and published often in Orage’s  Journal  “The New Age” starting about 1910.


Pound was a huge admirer of Upward and would have exported Upward to any Modernist he could find including TSE.


One of the principle things that Upward was doing was writing in reaction to Nietzsche’s concept of Overman.  Upward was very Occult and his thinking probably colored any ideas of Christianity that the modernists had.  Please I am not saying that the Eliot who became a Christian was an Occult Christian.  Not at all.  What I am saying is that an Occult flavor of Christianity was making the rounds of intellectual discussions during the early modernist years.


I personally think Eliot had on his “cool dude” persona.  The uninvolved observer who stood back and poked fun at what he saw and heard happening in the coffee shops.  I think  a lot of this is TSE wildly pulling on Pound’s leg.


Richard Seddon

Portales, NM