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Monday, December 11, 2017

The Most Holy Death

Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton SaintDevoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint by R. Andrew Chesnut
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THe cult of Santa Muetrte has grown by leaps and bounds since Dona Queta publicised her in her quesadilla stand in 2001. Before that he worhsip was kept under wraps with only a few people activelyfollowing her. Santa Muerte is a local homegrown Mexicn saint that is not CANONIZED by the Catholic Church. Most of her devotes are Catholic yet this movement seems to have the potential to break off into its own religious movement.
There are many saints that Mexican will pray to . THe most noteable one is the Virgin of Guadalupe, which was who the author was researching. Something was missing, a certain enthusiasm and after all theVirgin had been written about many times. Inspiration came when the author heard of the Mexican government destroying like over 40 shrines dedicated to the most holy death. This was part of an ongoing war against the drug cartels and Santa Muerte is a narco saint.
Many of her devotees are criminals, drug dealers, prisoners and also prison guards, policemen and soldiers. She is the most popullar saint, surpassing all of them in terms of sales items. But what is the story of this saint or this Grim Reapress. THe books is divided into chapters based on the color of candles her devotees will work with. Black is often the color most associated with her. Black is used for protections and cursing enemies. Back in the 80s and 90s when drug dealers kidnapped an american tourist and sacrificed him in a mixed palo mayombe ritual. Another case hapended in the 90s when a bust displayed Santa Muerte with black candles. The colors that are most popular to work with are white and red.
Thee first chapter is based on the brown candle. Brown is used for knolwdge and Enlightenment. This chapter discusses hsitory of Santa Muerte and her possible origins. THe chapter also covers offerings, the hsitory of Dona Queta and David Romo. Dona Queta opened a shrine to Santa Muerte from her quesadilla stand in the crime ridden neighborhood of Tepito. David Romo was allied with the Traditional Catholic Church and he opened up a church dedicated to Santa Muerte. David Romo has since been victimized by the government and was charged with kidnapping. The origins of Santa Muerte are hazy. Some are saying that she is a Mexican version of the Aztec goddess of the dead. But this cannot be because not all Indians were aztecs. Rather she is the Grim Reapress from Spain, who was La Parque or the parched one.
The next color they talked about was the black candle. In this chapter the author discusses how she is associated with cursing and protection. The drug dealers will ask her to help them with drug shipments or getting rid of legal authorities. Black is not a popular color but it is one most publicly associated with her. Thanks to cinema and media. White is for protection. Here the author discusses how the Saint protects her followers from witchcraft and other foul magic. Santa Muerte is as much a death bringer as she is a mother, healer and love doctor.
Red is the love candle. Most of her petitions are love petitions, especially jilted women who wanted their wayword husbands to change their ways. This has been her traditional roll historically. The other candle are green for justice, good for money, purple for healing. Finally the rainbow for all purposes. If you love Santa Muerte then get this book.

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Tarot Magic

Tarot SpellsTarot Spells by Janina Renee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I got this book as a gift from a friend. Following pagan tradition it is a gift for a gift and I gave my friend a Santa Muerte Candle. Phoenix you are still remembered.

This book is an older edition. The spells are relatively simple to do. Unlike most Wiccan spells such tools like candle, incense , athame a and wands are optional. Most spells make candle, flowers and crystals optional.

At the books beginning there is a general opening and closing of the spell. The opening and closing is generic and no particular deities are called upon. The option is yours whether you want to use it, modify it or disregard it.

After the general opening and closing there is a meditation for each card you put down for the spell. Finally there are affirmations. You can break these visualization and affirmations off from the spell and use it independently as a stand alone should you so choose.

The appendices which are rather many give over lots of good information about what each tarot card means, what different colors correspond to and a few other goodies on Chrystal's plus there is an extensive bibliography in the back.

The spells are great for beginners just getting started and some of the more advanced practitioner might appreciate the simplicity.

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Modern Day Genocide

ISIS: Caliphate's Sex SlavesISIS: Caliphate's Sex Slaves by Brad Power
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ISIS: The Calhate's Sex Slaves

The book was way to short. I read it in an hour. Glad I did not pay nine buck for this book but got it off the Kindle Lending Library. What Brad Power does in this short pamphlet like book is give the reader a laundry list of crimes committed by DAesh against primarily the Yazidi community. There is scant mention of the other communities effected by the cultural genocide.
The aim of Daesh was to ethnically cleanse Iraq and Syria of any non muslim, non Sunni or non Arab prescence. Their take over began in August 2014. The start of the campaign was besieging local towns. First the fighters would demand the villages turn over all their weapons or die. If the villages had any weapons they would turn them over. Then they were told to hand over mobile phones and gold. Third they were told to convert to Islam or die.
The final assault came when they gathered the villagers and separated the men from the women. The men were taken away from the village and murdered enmasse. The women were distributed as spoils of war. Life as slave is terrible. Women asyoung s twelve are raped repeatedy through out the day. Many time they are forced into a marriage and forced to convert to islam. Women have comitted suicide things were so bad. Imagine bein rapd 30 time a day and passed around from man to man. Slave markets and concentration camps are poppingup all over Iraq and Syria. THe Yezidees have been forced tohide at Mount Sinjar for refuge. They have been abandoned by the Kurdish militias and the Iraqi army.
ISIS is aworld wide phenomona. Fighters come from over the world. Most are from Syria and Iraq. Yet others are from Russia, Europe, Africa and the Central Asian republics. The women are sold as slaves. The younger and prettier they are the more they cost. Buyer are coming in from all over the world. Truly sad.

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Inside Look at the Viking Rus

BLADE HONER - Book Two: My Enemy's Head (Blade Honer, #2)BLADE HONER - Book Two: My Enemy's Head by Maria Kvilhaug
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book was a great read. It was very informative and it gives the reader an inside view as to what Viking Rus life was like in Audjeberg. This novel was also very entertaining and enjoyable. Once I started I found it really hard to put down. The story reads more like a narrative of life in the viking compound and how the two young girls captured from their village are getting used to lif with the Russ.
From the previous story Zivah and Thordiss were kidnapped from from their village and were the sole survivors of a massacre. zivah was brought over as a slave, while Thordiss was recognized as the lady of the court. In effect she is the only free woman in the Viking settlement. The rest of the women are slaves or sheaths. Slaves wear collars and call their masters either house bond or herri. There is an illusion that viking mistreat women, nothing could really be further from the truth. Vikings thought it unmanly to make a woman sad and that would also displease the gods. Viking can only do it with any woman only if sh agrees. Sheaths are basically like concubine, save that they are shared between six men, but those are lovers that are permanent.
Slowly but surely the girls get used to with the Viking and even enjoy bein among them. In Norse culture women are blade honers which means it is their job to give men a hard time so as toughen them up and make them warriors. Men listen to the verdict of women, it is important because it is always true. In Norse culture men must respect women.
There is one Viking, despised thoroughout the camp, who is known for abusing women. When he goes to far with Zivah and hurts her and humiliates her a group of Vikings go to the kindly women, who are priestesses of Hel, Goddess of the underworld. They give Hialti a taste of justice, which is where the title comes in. Acccording to their rules if a man seriously harasses a maiden the warriors of the clan go after that man cut off his head and give it to the woman. The skull is dipped in silver and used as a drinking cup.
After this there is a ritual of the Yule where in Thordiss shows her real power. It is during these rituals oor holidays that the rules are turned upside down. as they get used to camp life Zivah learns to warmup with Thioden, the skald, to whom she was given. It takes time to realize that in a harsh environment, what seemed to be cruel was really a kindness. Thioden who hails from Europe did not partake in the slaughter but he is still he is trying to be worhty of her affections and forgiveness. Thioden teaches THordiss her innner spiritual power and about Norse life. Thioden is a prince who has in soul song to rule people. He was taught a long time ago by wand witches how to serve the people he rules.
The book also gives the back story on the slaves and how they came to the encampment. It tells what life was like and how degraded they had been before they arrived to Arnulfs encampment. Over all life got better for slaves once they were owned by vikings. They had ben slaves all their lives. The book progresses to happy ending and reconciliation.

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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Jinn Boy part II

Earth Boy (Djinn-Son Duology, #2)Earth Boy by Sami Shah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pakistan is a place loaded with jinn. The author, Sami Shah, grew up in the midst of them, inundated with stories and tales. His sister at three would see the head of a jinn in her bathroom and scream. In their abandon Ned storage room their lived a jinn who would damage a TV set if it went on too late.

Enough on the author, Iblis the leader of the jinn had been cast out of heaven for refusing to bow down to Adam. It was not that Humans were inferior lumps of clay , but rather that they were given Allahs greatest gift, the power to create. For this he refused to bow and so he was exiled to the earthly plain banished from Heaven and the realm of the jinn. Once the quiyamat is over Iblis will burn in fire but ultimately he will be redeemed.

Dajal is a one eyed devil who longs for the destruction of mankind so he can return to then Earth and rule over it. He might not be a jinn but he is one powerful demon. Back in biblical times King Solomon had a ring that could control jinn. He used the ring to build Jerusalem and his temple. The Jinn were forever incensed about this. What would happen if the ring were go fall into the wrong hands?

Interesting questions. So Wahid hooks up with Iblis and together they venture the world of the jinn. Their first stop is a white mosque were Wahid must free someone who has been chained up a real long time. After freeing someone they meet Alexander the Great. They find Gog of Magog and realize they must get through where those warriors are imprisoned to get to Kaf, the fabled city of the jinn .

Iblis cannot go with him and Wahid does not get the welcome he so desired. He is still on his quest to free Maheen. Things do not go without a hitch. Someone is killing jinn and kidnapping them . First they thought it was Wahid, so then send him to find the jinn killer.

Wahid has adventures with jinn, the Pakistani secret service and raging zombies from the dead. In the end he finds out the mystery of his birth and how to use his powers. A couple of people from the first book make a reappearance. Professor Rahim who denied the existence of jinn and Badshah the seven year old king of Karachi. Remember never mess with the jinn. They can be tricksters with their own agenda.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Jinn Boy part 1

Fire Boy (Djinn-Son Duology, #1)Fire Boy by Sami Shah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fire boy

Wahid lead an almost typical childhood, growing up tall and lanky with a mop like hair style. Like for all teen ages it is still a challenge to chat up the girl he likes . Growing up with asthma makes things even more difficult. Being a total waste of introvert he plays dungeons and dragons with his friend Hamza and company.

Things change when driving back from a party with the girl and a drunk friend, their car is attacked by some very mysterious strangers. His friend dies and the girls soul is stolen by Jinn. While she lies in a coma, her general of a father wants him to pay. So away he goes to beach house to hide and to find a away to go to the world of the Jinn. So he asked around on how to find the Jinn.

While he is looking to find Jinn, the Jinn are hiring killers to kill him. The assassin mKes his living killing and torturing people. He kills Hamza in an attempt to find Wahid. In the mean time Wahid goes to a Sufi mosque and then meets the king. The jinn have fled to Kaf and Wahid is the reason why.

Wahid has a big challenge, to find Azazel and find a a way to Kaf. Written with excitement and he Mor this book will hook you and you won't put it down till your done. Somewhat like Neil Gaiman's writing.

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Survey of the European Witch

The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft and MagicThe Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft and Magic by Owen Davies
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Owen Davies who has written several books on witchcraft and cunning folk has gone ahead and given an overview of magic and witchcraft going all the way back to Sumerian times up to the present, documenting how witches are perceived in the the movies. OOwne Davies has written two of the essays himself and the rest are drawn from contributing authors.

Going back to Sumeria, which was one of the first societies in general. It is in this society that that European or Western Magic has it's roots. There were alway evil spirits to look out for. THe Mesopotamians shared their space with these spirits and believed in placating them in order to be left alone. Good spirits also had to be placated. There was always the fear that someone would use magic against you. Magicians could be temple priests or wise men outside of the temple. The same held for Egypt.

The Greeks learned lots of there magic from the Egyptians, Phoenicians and Sumerians.They absorbed their ideas of astrology and took on a lot of their myths and made it their own. Greek magic used defixiones or lead sheets that were rolled up with an inscription and cast into the Earth or into water. It most be noted that during these Ancient times it was not considered bad to work magic. Witches and magicians were not considered bad. Magic workers were judged by the work they produced. There was n attitude against magic.

In Europe societies were magical as well. THe Norse deemed magic to be feminine and it was considered improper for men too engage in such practice. As Christianity rolled into Europe from the Middle East, not everyone came onto it automatically and dropped their old pagan religion. What happened was an amalgamation of Christianity and ancient pagan customs being absorbed by the new religion. Churches were built on top of old Pagan shrines.

The attitude towards magic was not negative although the church did try to stamp it pagan practices. What got someone into trouble was if they we're accused of using negative magic against someone. THis would result in a flogging or some minor punishment.

European contact with the Middle East via the crusade, 1492 brought Ancient Greek learning back. Too Europe along with many Islamic ideas on magic. This was also when witches were being demonized. Where as before magic was looked down upon now active witch hunts though the inquisition were rising up. People were put through such horrible torture that they often did not survive the investigation. If a witch survived the trial then it was proof that she was a witch.

The Catholic CHurch and the PRotestants would accuse each other of witch craft. Foreign ideas were threatening. Important to note is that the same things Romans said against Christians the Christians would now say against witches.

THe anti magic attitude would die down and magic would be more accepted . By the 1950's most of the anti magic laws we're gone. Some of the greats in magic would arise from the 1900's too the present. Crowley, Gardner, MEsmer to name a few. Former masn would join magic order not with the intent to manipulate the environment but to come closer to God and achieve perfection.
THe book finishes first with surveys on witches in the cinema and anthropology studies of witchcraft and magic.



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Baba-Sali
Holy Morroccan Sage engaged in Prayer

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One blond hair blue eyed Calfornian who totally digs the Middle East.
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