Friday, June 17, 2016

Thanks, Dan Brown!

I sometimes joke that if I ever were to sell over 80 million copies of a book, I wouldn't know what to do with myself. Instead of juggling my lucrative IT career and my not-at-all-lucrative writing career, I'd instead have a whole new job that would involved taking care of an enormous pile of money.

That's harder than you might think at first - at least, if you really want to spend it wisely and make the most of your good fortune. Spending it all on dumb stuff is easy, but really making a difference is more of a challenge. And it sounds like novelist Dan Brown just succeeded at that.

Brown, who really did sell something like 81 million copies of The Da Vinci Code, recently made a large donation to Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, more commonly known as the Ritman Library. The donation will cover digitizing approximately 4,600 ancient esoteric books in order to make the text available online.

Novelist Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) has donated € 300,000 to the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica to digitize and preserve part of its priceless collection, including Hermetica, alchemy, mysticism, Rosicrucians and Kabbala.

Thanks to Brown’s donation, the public will be able to access the core collection of some 4,600 ancient books online in the near future. Brown is a great admirer of the library (widely known as The Ritman Library after its founder Joost R. Ritman) and visited on several occasions while writing his novels The Lost Symbol and Inferno.

“I consider it a great honor”, the world-famous author said, “to play a role in this important preservation initiative that will make these texts available to the public.” The Dutch Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds is also contributing to the digitization project, to the amount of € 15,000.

The comprehensive digitization project will be carried out by Picturae, a company specializing in making Dutch cultural heritage digitally accessible. It is expected that the core collection of The Ritman Library will become available online in the spring of 2017.

Whatever you think of Brown's novels, this is an awesome development. The library's collection contains all sorts of material of interest to ceremonial magicians, including Hermetic, Alchemical, and Rosicrucian works that have never before been available on the Internet. So here's a very big "thank you" to Dan Brown for making this effort possible.

I'm really looking forward to being able to access so much ancient source material relevant to my own magical practices and research when the collection goes online next year.

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