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Friday, February 16, 2018

The Early Life of Chin Siu Dek.

Jimmy H. WooJimmy H. Woo by Bernice Woo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The history of San Soo in China goes back a long way. Monks in the Buddhist monasteries before the introduction Kung Fu were vulnerable to the attack of bandits. In San Soo this changed when warriors from the various different armies went into the monastery and began to train the monks in Warrior techniques. This took place at the Kwan Yin Monastery in China.
Leong Kick was an orphan who went to the monastery to live while he was there he learned the fighting arts an when he left he took two training manual with him. This art stayed in the family until this day. The family would later open up kung Fu school and train people.
Jimmy’s real name was Chin Siu Dek. First name Dek family name Chin. Not only did Leong Kick bring San Soo to the outside world but the whole line of Chin were fighting stock and important people in China. His grandfather was a merchant who always had treats for Jimmy and he grew up in a family that nourished his young soul and gave him the confidence and strength to be the formidable fighter he was. His grandmother was a healer and a midwife. Her ability is evidenced by how she healed Jimmy’s hand when he injured it lighting a firework. Jimmy’s Uncle ran the main Kung Fu school in the area. All the other teachers paid homage to him. Jimmy got so good with his Kung Fu that his Uncle made him an enforcer. The enforcer’s job was to go about and settle dispute and make sure that Kung Fu schools were paying their dues. If someone wanted to over throw Jimmy’s Uncle they had to fight Li ti a death match. Jimmy’s uncle was too tough. Jimmy’s father would work in Hawaii and come home once a year bringing gifts and treat.
Jimmy was a brave colorful personality who would defend the week and give charity to the poor. The river was a favorite place for fishing and swimming. Jimmy would often catch a lot of fish and then give the extra fish to poor old people who did not have the ability. If someone tried to steal fish or was rude in asking for it, we’ll let us say that Jimmy taught them a lesson. Many bigger kids learned not to mess with Jimmy. Not only would Jimmy teach them a lesson if they were rude to him but if bigger kids were bullying weaker kids Jimmy would step up for them.

Jimmy had so much energy that one could never contain him. Despite being rather intelligent Jimmy never liked school and was often transferred to new schools for breaking the rules or getting into fights. Instructors were spared from Jimmy’s wrath. One teacher tried to hit Jimmy with bamboo cane, Jimmy taught him a painful lesson. Another teacher would make the mistake of knocking grapes out of Jimmy’s hand, he would regret that action.

I hope more books come out about Jimmy’s life an about San Soo. Chin Siu Dek lived a fast pace and exciting life would be great to see his biography turned into a movie. I also hope that Bernice write volume two and that it is longer. That is the problem with enjoyable books, they are too short.



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Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Nightmare in Cairo

The Arabian NightmareThe Arabian Nightmare by Robert Irwin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Set in the era of 1406, Cairo Egypt, it is an intriguing time to be in the Middle East. European powers are watching events closely much like they do today and they are sending spies and emissaries to gather information. You also have your share of traveling merchants and religious pilgrims. Balian, from England is one such individual. Under the guise of being a pilgrim, he goes to Cairo in hope of taking a pilgrimage to Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai desert. Gathering information and making travel plans in the Middle East has always been a challenge and it is no different in 1406. Between having to get a visa from the dawadar and getting struck by the Arabian nightmare our Balian finds it hard to move about and out of Cairo.
The Arabian Nightmare is a devastating illness of whose exact nature is not known. At night the person suffers from horrifying nightmare and the individual wakes up covered in blood, from a bloody nose of course. Eventually in a daze Balian leaves his caravanserai and wanders aimlessly in the streets of Cairo being unable to determine if he is awake or dreaming. In his dreams he is visited by Suleyka, a courtesan of sorts. He also meets Yoll the story teller and is pursued either in his sleep or in reality by The Father of Cats and his assistant Vane.
In the backdrop of al this is tons of political intrigue. The Ottomans and the Mamelukes are questing against each other for dominion in the Middle East. Foreign merchants are arrested and thrown in prison based on charges sometimes evolved from hear say. No one wants the Arabian Nightmare to spread so soon begins a hunt for Balian.

The Father of Cats owns a school for sleep and he is in cahoots with a Christians to bring about Armageddon. Over all good story and the writing was entertaining. I read the book easily in three days as much as it was loaded with intrigue it also had mentions of Arab philosophers and several jinn characters. There is a talking ape who appears in more than one section of the book and sometimes it is hard to tell if there were more apes.

The story was hard to follow at times as the author gets the reader lost in an endless description or a side story. I had to reread several passages. When Balian is traversing through Cairo it is hard to tell if he is dreaming or awake. I like to know what is what when I read my books. If you like Middle Eastern stories than this one is for you in typical fashion


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Friday, February 9, 2018

Refuge for the Jinn

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1)The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nahri grew up in Cairo , Egypt almost dirt poor. Surviving by wits, she makes a living as a healer and a thief. She recently discovers Zar dancing as a way to Exorcise jinn. Her latest dance attracts the attention of the vile ifrit, evil demon like Jinn. Arriving at the city of the dead in Cairo and looking for way to escape the evil Ifrit she accidentally summons a warrior deva, who fought in the Jinn Deava wars of long ago.

At first Dara is rather disgusted to be dealing with a human, later he thinks she is shafit, half jinn and half human. Her Jinn blood is royal, descended from a line of strong Jinn healers her Dara vows to protect her but in order to protect her they must get to daevabad. There she will be safe from the jinn. There is but one problem, Dara is an outlaw there.

Arriving in the city after battling Ifrit and dragon in the desert they cross the Marid cursed lake. Once they get their the King of the city reveals that Nahri is full jinn. She is the last of healers. Once she gets to the city that is when the intrigue begins.

Daevabad is a city in turmoil. It used to belong to the Fire Worshipping Daeva but the Quatanis took it over. The remaining Daeva live in a state of privilege and discrimination at the same time. The other group is the shafit, half jinn half human they face constant discrimination and they live in poverty. The Tanzeem is an organization that’s helps them /but also plots terrorist attacks. Ali the King Ghassans youngest son from an Ayanle wife helps the shafit .Ayanle are another tribe of Jinn.

Plenty of conflict as King Ghassan tries to get Nahri to/marry Mutandir his oldest son. Yet Ali becomes friends with her and starts to develop a real affection for her. In the end crossed loyalties spark a confrontation of unreal proportion. THe Quatanis may have thee city but the Daeva want their city back and they are tired of being pushed around.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Fiery Teachings of Orion Foxwood

The Faery TeachingsThe Faery Teachings by Orion Foxwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are two worlds meshed into one. Ours is the physical world while the faeries live in the underworld. Humans and fae used to dwell side by side but thanks to human excess the fae have retreated from our world and are rather loath to work with us. To repair the land we must start speaking with the denizens of the spiritual world.
The author of this work is a renowned faery seer Orion Foxwood. Have learned the art of conjure from his youth in West Virginia, near the Appalachian Mountains. His family were old conjure people and he himself was born with the caul. His tradition is culled from Native American, African and European sources that found their way to the south and mingled into a tradition.

The book itself has eight exercises and the rest is basically explanation of the paradigm. This spiritual tradition is not a religion or anything like Ceremonial Magic. Rather it is a down to earth spirituality that connects you to the faery forces that regulate our planet. There are no gods and goddesses per se in this.
Faeries exist in the underworld, which by the way is where the dead people go, but for the most part not the same place. We exist in the physical world while up above is the starry world. There are three parts to the soul’s anatomy or there are three souls. The first part is our “Dream walker” this is the part of our soul that walks in the underworld or the fae word. Our surface walker is us which we sue to guide ourselves in the physical world. The third part is the star walker and that is the part of us that walks about in the astral realms.

While there are no deities per se there are a few beings that you want to consider. The first being is the utterer, she spoke the world into being. Next is the dreamer, figurative he dwell in a tower at the center of the earth and it is from his dreams that we all spring. The next being is the “Star Father” who is he masculine being who is a giver of light. The Divine ancestor is the primordial ancestor of mankind. The weaver is an androgynous being who weaves the fibers of life, death and fate.

When one decide to embark upon the faery path or if one is called to it there are always trails, ordeal and prohibitions that must be adhered to. Ordeals are usually tests, challenges or difficulties that are designed to temp and temper the seeker. When one comes into a relationship with their faery guardian or partner they will be given prohibition or things they must do or those that they are not allowed to do. When the seeker makes that oath they must follow it or consequences must surely follow. The prohibitions are designed to make the seeker more spiritual fit to do spiritual work. Working with the fae ones soul has to separate from the body and the soul and body can and do exist separately.


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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Introducing Hekate

Circle for Hekate -Volume I, History & Mythology: Dedicated to the light-bearing Goddess of the crossroads in all her many faces, manifestations, and names. (The Circle for Hekate Project Book 1)Circle for Hekate -Volume I, History & Mythology: Dedicated to the light-bearing Goddess of the crossroads in all her many faces, manifestations, and names. by Sorita D'este
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sorita D’Este has to be the foremost practitioner / devotee to Hecate. Not only is she a priest to the goddess but she has also done more than ample research. What follows is an excellent book that give the reader a good solid over view of Hecate throughout her long history. If you are interested in learning about this goddess then this is a book you would do well to delve into.

The first chapter of the book deals with the family and lineage of Hecate. Her father was Perseus and her Mother was Asteria. Her grandfather was the sun god Helios. Among her cousins are Apollo and Artemis, their mother Leto was Asteria’s sister. Leto was hunted by Hera and a large python because Zeuss seduced her or attacked her. Asteria in the meantime turned herself into an island. Hera, as a reward to Asteria for avoiding Zeuss’s pleasure snares was able to give her sister some rest on the island of Ortygia which is located near Sicily.
As Hecate’s cult expanded throughout the Greco Roman world she tended to absorb other goddesses and become conflated with them. Some o the goddeses she was conflated with are Demeter and Persephone, Artemis, Isis, Ereshkigal and Ishtar. Sometimes they are named as a double name like Hecate-Isis other times they are mentioned separately. It seems she absorbed or was conflated wit other Goddesses such as Bendis, Kybelle, Selene and a few others. With tis she absorbed their symbols, jobs and functions.
It is rather hard to pinpoint where the worship of Hecate originated. After all she was a titan who sided with Zeuss against Kronos. She helped beat off some monsters with her torches and for that she was allowed to keep her domain as a goddess of the earth air land and sea. She was worshipped widely over the entire Greco-Roman world. Evidence of her sanctuaries and worship can be found in modern day Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Jordan Valley, Syria, Egypt and parts of Italy. Certain places have her worshipped alone or paired up with Zeuss, Dionysus, Hermes and Pan.

Hecate is a liminal goddess which means she occupies those spaces in between like twilight, realms between death an life and passage ways. One of Hecate’s symbols is the key. Keys open doors and allow passage. Her shrine was at the entry way to shrines and houses. She was also an underworld goddess who escorted the dead, provided they had a proper funeral to the underworld. Those who died a violent death, suicide etc belonged to Hecate and became one of her ghosts. Black dogs were often associated with her as were bulls, cows, dogs. Staffs and snakes were associated with her as well as different head gear.
In her beginning years she started out as a solar goddess but now as time slips by she is associated with the moon. In the beginning she was a mother goddess and a maiden goddess. Thanks to Crowley and Robert Grave the krone epithet got added on. There are more volumes coming up. Keep your eyes open.


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Friday, January 19, 2018

Folk Saints on the Border

Folk Saints of the Borderlands: Victims, Bandits, and HealersFolk Saints of the Borderlands: Victims, Bandits, and Healers by James S. Griffith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Along the border straddling the US / Mexico border a growing phenomenon is blooming. It has been going on for some time , probably starting in the late 19 th century. This is the veneration of folk saints. The folk saints answer prayers, bestow health and prosperity upon their followers. The most well known is Santa Muerte, but she is not discussed in this work.

These folk saints despite their wide veneration in Mexico, will most likely never be granted Saint Hood by the Catholic Church. That seems to be reserved for European white folks. These saints are healers, bandits and Robin Hoods.

Juan Soldano was a human soldier in Mexico, who was supposedly accused of a crime he did not commit. For that he was shot in a cemetery and buried there. He is one you pray to find justice. Actually the whole town wanted to lynch him. It was only later that he was believed to be innocent. In due time he was elevated to Saint Hood.

The second Saint was Mother Terresita. Her father was wealthy but has some political dispute with the governor. He moved further north in Mexico. Later when Porfiro the dictatorial president came to power and there was lots of fighting she went to live in California. Constantly revolutionaries invoked her name, despite whether she liked it or not.

Jesus Malverde was a sort of Robin Hood who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. He used to rob stage coaches. Some say he did not exist at all but was a combination of two other bandits. Supposedly he was hung. He is a narco Saint . In other words a Saint that helps drug dealer.

Pancho Villa was a revolutionary who opposed president Porofiro. Pancho would steal livestock from wealthy farmers and give it to the poor. He also was known to kill indiscriminately. He was eventually assassinated. Some time spiritists will channel his spirit. He is a great defender of the poor and week and he also used to grope women and has has several affairs.

Pedrito and El NiƱo Fidenci were healers who cares for the people and gave them all food when they came. There are more details to share but you have to read the book to find out more.

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Dancing with the Jinn

Trance Dancing with the Jinn: The Ancient Art of Contacting Spirits Through Ecstatic DanceTrance Dancing with the Jinn: The Ancient Art of Contacting Spirits Through Ecstatic Dance by Yasmin Henkesh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beyond the vale lies the unseen realm of the spirit world, according to Orion Foxwood, and that spirit world wants to work with humanity to repair the world. Now more than ever we need to communicate with them. Orion Fixwood is a faery seer and if he wrote the forward then you know the book has got to be good.

Good it is. Author Yasmin Henkesh is a belly dancer and has travelled the Middle East extensively. She has also done a ton of research which makes for a very informative read.

Starting off she gives us a history of trance dancing from the early ages in the Middle East and Mediterranean. Moving right along she discusses the scientific aspect of trance. This can get a bit hard to read but if your going to do this then you should be well informed of any pitfalls which she aptly identified.

The next section of her book talks about the Zara spirits of Egypt and the Sudan. The Zar or fire spirits are known to posses people. To drive the jinn away the sheikhas and their women hold ceremonial prayers to drive them away and figure out what they want. Yasmin gives great over views of the different spirits and the development of the movement,

The Jinn have been immortalized in the Koran and have been know as genies here in the west. Yasmin discusses their involvement in the Koran and how they interact with humans.

The last part of the book talks about Sufi Islam and their technique to reach a trance state. Once again Yasmin does a bang em up job of describing Sufi Islam
And it's development.

What follows was a broad review of an excellent book. I left out specific details cause I want you to read the book.

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Baba-Sali

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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