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Friday, May 31, 2013

Walking in the Path of Illuvatar and Jesus

Walking with BilboWalking with Bilbo by Sarah Arthur
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you are looking to walk the path of spirituality derived from the Lord of the Ring or the Hobbit then for this book you better be a Christian. This book is written from a Christian perspective for Christians. THe only thing is that most Christians or die hard ones will get their spirituality from the Bible not a fantasy novel. Those who do derive lessons will have a diffrent spiritual orientation altogether. JRR Tolkien himself was a Christian and it no doubt bled into his works.

THe author goes chapter by chapter delivering forth a spiritual lesson to be derived from the chapter. Whethyer Tolkien meant for it to be that way is to dificult to tell. The author looks at the Hobit as a parable for Jesus and spiritual worker. THe Hobbit teaches via selection of Bilbo that Christ is looking for a few food people, people with hidden qualities, people who are humble and people who are willing to do what it takes. Often times like Bilbo we do not get a job description or at best it is very scarce and never really prepares us for what to expect. Are we indeed qualified. God only know as does Gandalf in the Hobbit. It is sheer madness to break away from the norm like Bilbo did in the Hobbioty. No Hobbit ever went on adenventures, Bilbo did and was judged for it. We too are judged when we quest for the spiritual. Often tiomes the Bible will ask us to be fools for Christ or God. When we have to travel on a spiritual journey or do God's work we oftn times have to travel light and leave behind many things we find comfortable. THe keyu to trabvelling success is traveling light. Gandalf comes and goes much like God does. Often on very difernt errands yet we are never totally alone we must fight the battle and yet when things get too tough Gandalf or God reappears for us. Things do not always go as planned at times it will go awry but there is a reason for that. It is part of God's plan not ours. In the face of disaster whenwe canot fix things we have but one choice and that is to move on and move forward. Things can seem difficult but help comesw when we least exct like eagles swoopiong form the sky to rescue us from orc and wargs this what Tolkien called a eucatastrophe. We can walk God';s path or our path. On Gods path we experience adventure that will build us up and on our opwn path we expereince misadventure which means bad problems.

THe lesson in this book are many. THe reader is taught about decency, honesty and the dangers of greed. More over we usually learn about how even the smallest person can be the biggest hero.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lord Rahls Final Adeventure?????

Confessor (Sword of Truth, #11)Confessor by Terry Goodkind
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book wraps everything up neatly and it shows major improvement for Terry Goodkind as a writer. THe story is filled with action and keeps on moving all the way to the end. Literally you are gripped and you will not be able to put the book down. Gone are the beginning phases of the book that last 3/4 of what you read and then fast forward to the story's conclusion. Gone are alos the endless recaps that cause you to have to read a previous story that you already read. In hsort I really liked this book. A major improvement over the previous ones. I realize there is the Omen machine and I do hope that he lets Kahlan and Richard live out there days in peace, happily ever after. But that does not rule out other people having adventures at another point in time on the same world.

The book still does have some preachiness and some of the scenes still lag on. Yet there are qiotes woorth lifting from the book.
In any case it begins where the last one left off. Richard is trapped in Jagans camp on the Azrith Plain, Kahlan is invisible to all thanks to Chainfire. No memories of her are left. She is Jaganmgs captive. Magic is slowly eroding and the Imperial Order is about to over whelm the people's palace of Dahara. THe sisters of the Dark manage to kidnap Nicci, Samuel has the sword of truth and Richard is befreft of his magic abilities. Richardstill manages to use the Jahla game to upset the camp. It looks lie surrender is the only option for Richard.

Things end out neatly. I do not want to spoil the end but the Imperial Order wants a world without magic and a world rules by dogma in a sense they will succeed. The boes of Orden come into play. SHota plays a hand and some old friends return like Gratch. The Temple of the Winds is revisited and Gregory a dragon son from Scarlett makes a play. A perfect way to finish off the series.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Arte D' Glamour

The Arte of GlamourThe Arte of Glamour by Deborah Castellano
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Arte of Glamour is one of those books that is a supposed to be about magic yet it really isn't. The book is more about how to put your best foot forward by using what you got. Sort of like a charm school for Pagans, The first thing our authoress does is decidedly tamp out the need to follow rules and get the reader down to earth. When she chucks the rules it pertains not to ritual magic but also to everyday conventions. And I like that. Heading toward a chaos magic paradigm myself this resonates with me.
None the less she tells you how to look good by making your own rules and soig what works for you.

I learned a lot reading this book. Complicated things may not do for you but when you put time and effort into something for someone else be it deity, spirit or human they then to make note of it and appreciate it. It does not have to be fancy. There are further lessons to be learned about people. Your friends will love you when your hair is down and things are in shambles or when everything is smooth sailing and working. I come from a family where everything is all appearances and if if you fail to maintain then you lose face or respect. Damn those Persian.

We may want to learn from other cultures as she does on how to live our life. Most of us in America are workaholics slaving hour after hour to make a buck and yet we fail to properly enjoy our life. The folks in France and Italy like to live well, eat well and they love to play. They work hard enough just to get those things.

Her paradigm has offers different views of the Goddess herself. The authoress is a Dianic Wiccan which means she works almost strictly with the Goddess. There is no view of the God in this. While men might be comfortable reading this the book is geared more for women in my opinion. SH never refers to other pantheons which for me is cool as I feel the Gods or our images of them are our creations use them as suits you best.

Her images of the Goddess are as such Magic herself, the Lady in Red,Lady of the Hearth, Lady of the Wood, Lady of Mysteries. Magic herself is called on first and then the others follow depending on the ritual. Each section give an invocations for each along with their glyph and the things that they like. If you are like me and work with Different Pantheons you may find these archetypes offering you a way to work with deities you are familiar with.

This authoress is into beauty. Pretty yourself up before doing your ritual. Also have your altar or ritual room. She has her own p[procedure for circle casting which you may follw or not. I choose to invent my own..

This book is not recipe heavy but there are a few that are mentioned and even fewer that I have noted for future use. What I like best is that she keeps it simple. Comes with some spells and mojos as well. She recommends Witch of Forest Grown products which I am a customer of , however make note that I am not sure if Witch of Forest Grove keeps making her incense . For all you simple witches I hope you enjoy.


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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Gods of the Greeks

Gods of the GreeksGods of the Greeks by Karl Kerényi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one book that will take you to the very beginning of creation and take you all the way up to the birth and death of Dionysus. Get ready for a roller coaster because that is what Greek mythology really is, a roller coaster. Different Gods and Goddesses are sometimes identified as each other. Sometimes the son is the father to a God depending on the Author that you read. Karl Kerenyi pulled from different sources and they each have their own version. He read from Homer, Hesiod or Orpheus. Kerneyi's style can be tough to get through. He tells the story and then midway gives you explanations and counter explanations. I shall try to give an accurate summary.

Orkeanos was a river god who with his wife gave birth to the Titans and creation. Some say that the Goddess Nyx dropped an egg and the Earth and sky fertilized it cause the egg to hatch. Orkeanos had a wife a wife Thetis and they had a daughter called Tethys. Sometimes those two names are interchanged as though they are the same identity. The next generation was Oranos and Gaia who gave birth to the Titans. The Titans are strong and powerful yet unworthy of worship. Kronos was the king and he was weary of his son, a son usurping his throne. What did Kronos do? He put one son down to the depths of the sea and the others he ate. Zeus would be hidden in a cave and nursed by nursemaids. Zeus was would rise up and challenge the Titans. There were Castrations involved that went through generation to generation. Seems father and sons had issues. Once the Titans were defeated they were banished to Tartarus. After the defeat of the Titans a group of giants rose up. Zeus would later challenge and take on Typhon the dragon. Gaia, Rhea and Thetis are sometimes seen as a triple goddess or three parts of the same being. The trinity theory run through the Morai who are the fates that determine the life of men and gods. The Erinye are avengers, The Grai are triple deities born with grey hairs. At times they are seen as one other times as three. Euribya is a goddess like this andd she is called the steel hearted Goddess.

Demeter or the mother is sometimes conflated with Rhea and or Gaia. Zeus makes love to her or rapes her and begets Persephone and then he rapes her. Hades is scene as a dark cthonic aspect of Zeuss. Hades abducts Persephone with Zeus's permission. This cause Demeter to go into mourning and all of agricultural to shut down. She stop in a kingdom and teaches the mysteries to her followers there. Eventually Persephone returns after eating a pomegranite. Hermes, Hekate and the Helios play a role. Some legend s hold that Persephone never bothered coming back. She reigned as Queen of the underworld. Of course we all know that she returns for part of the year and then goes back to the underworld. The legend does hint at female sovereignty in approving a marriage, which is why Zeus had to do it behind her back.

Persephone is not the only deity to spend part of the year in the land of the dead. A young queen fell in love with her father and begat a child. He was killed in a hunting accident but since Aphrodite loved him so much he only had to spend a limited time of the year there and then he rotates back and forth. With this very reminiscent of Dammuzi and Ishtar. In fact Ishtar is Aphrodite in Greek guise. Ishtar was born from an egg in the river that was pushed up by fish. Aphrodite was born in the sea from the castrated testicle of Ouranos. She was the Goddess of love. At first she was wed to Hephastos the blacksmith good who was a dwarf and lame. But that was not destined to last. She ended up cavorting with Aries, the God of War. Later on she would wed Pygmaliona dwarf king who fell in love with her statue.She would also couple with Hermes and bear children the most noteable is Hermaphrodite.

Aries was Zeus's least favorite. Hermes was born from Zeus and an nymph named Maia.He would start out his life by tricking a tortoise and killing it and stealing it's shell to make a musical instrument. Next he would steal Appollo's cattle. This caused a dispute and Hermes would give him the musical instrument later on. There was an exchange of gifts. Hermes is a master thief, flatterer and word smith. He would beget Pan, a satyr type being. He would make his way to Olympus and be adoptd by Dionysys another hormed deity. Hephastos was the first born of Hera and Zeus but was cast out for being ugly.

The book has lots of info. It tells about the four generations of human being. Also covered is the life and death of Dionysus. This book is packed with information. I read through it really quickly but it is dense. Hope you enjoy.


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Friday, May 17, 2013

Beyond the Vale of Tears

The Well of Tears (Dream Stewards, #1)The Well of Tears by Roberta Trahan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book presents a nice easy read. Those who are enthusiasts will find the story enjoyable. The story is fantasy but with chunks of historical fiction thrown in. You will not learn anything from it and the story itself is simple and it's conclusion will leave you longing.

The story is set in a fictional version of Wales. The Order of Stewards is called back to Fane Gramarye to support Hywell a new king that will support the followers of the old order . Madoc is the leader of the stewards and within the order there is a contest for power . Maddoc stands for maintaining the old ways. Macreth , his lying underling, has plans for power. Certigwen an electable sorcereress stand on the side of Machreth.
Aleena the head sorceress must foil the plan. Working in tandem with Bledig , the wolf king and the Fane's guard Alwen fights off armies of Hellions and Natural disasters . In the process her daughter becomes a fairy.

Who will win this power struggle? Will the kings reign be secure,? Who are these old gods? they are never given names. No mention is ever made of Christianity and the setting is never explicitly stated.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Treading the Ancient Mill of the Crafters

Treading the Mill: Practical CraftWorking in Modern Traditional WitchcraftTreading the Mill: Practical CraftWorking in Modern Traditional Witchcraft by Nigel G. Pearson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book that introduces new comers to the Ancient Craft of the witch. This is not Wicca but more ancient. There are not fingers pointing to certain individuals for knowledge. The power comes from the Earth itself. Much like Wicca, the Ancient craft honor the Goddess and the God. Yet in the Ancient craft the horned God is honored perhaps more often then the Goddess yet this does not limit her importance. The Horned God has several aspects. They are not sugary sweet. As the Horned Forest God, Lord of the Hunt he can be vigorous, strong and rough. Old horney can be rapacious as well as destructive. In the more passive phase he is Lord of the Underworld. Sometimes best described as a wizard or the Tarot card of the Hermit. The Goddess has both light and dark aspects. She is not the triple moon Goddess of Robert Graves work nor is she the neolithic fertility Goddess yet she encompasses both. In the light aspect the author calls her the bright queen. In this phase she is the lover, life giver and bringer of life. The Dark Queen may represent death which is a part of life but she also represents the dark secrets of the underworld. The author gives rites and rituals to each of these aspects, most of which involve going out into the wilderness. Going out into the wilderness may not be too comfortable for some and even finding it can be a challenge.

Most Wiccans will cast a circle and with various reason behind it. The Traditional Witch will cut a compass. Much the same thing. Yet for the Traditional Witch the compass can serve a variety of purposes. It can be used just to denote a working area, a barrier to keep the energy contained or a protection to keep dangerous entities out. One's purpose will determine how complex the set up of the compass shall be.The four directions given by Wicca are not the same for the traditional craft either. For the trad craft the North is Fire (red) the East is Earth (blue), south is water (Green) and the West is Air (White) of course none of this is set in stone because depending on where you live you may find it more reasonable to have the directions mean different things. The author gives a meditation to help the practitioner find what the directions mean for him or her.

If your into wines then this book is for you. Libations are a big part of the traditional craft and different celebration call for different wines. The wines themselves are easy to make and making them is preferred to buying them even if they do not taste as good. yet there is one draw back, despite the clear concise directions, these wines take a total of one year to make. Wine making is not easy and waiting a year can be really inconvenient. Wines are not the only recipes given here there are also recipes for incense that are really simple to craft. There is also a section on wood lore and what each of the different wood may be used for.

The crafter has many traditional tools. The stang which represent the horned deity faces the north almost always.The knife for cutting your herbs and materials, your cord with knots and the wand. Oh let us not forget the cup. Wood lore is important for making your wand. The Wand is usually from your elbow all the way to the top of your middle finger. It can be procured from find dead wood on the floor,cutting a tree branch and holding part of the tree spirit in the wood to give the wand more energy. Either one will do but the third option is the best. and there is procedure for keeping the spirit in the wood.

This book has plenty of meditations , potions, simples and oils. More then enough to get started. Remember the power comes from the land and the spirits dwelling there. Always be respectful. Let the place change you as you should not change the place. Some of us do not live in the wilds so some of the material may need to be adapted. Enjoy.


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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Free Style Magick with no Dogma

Visual Magick: A Manual of Freestyle ShamanismVisual Magick: A Manual of Freestyle Shamanism by Jan Fries
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my first time reading a book by Jan Fries and let me tell you that I am hooked. This author speaks to me in a way that other authors just can't .Maybe because he is the only one that is writing the truth.

His exploration into Visual Magick starts off with sigils, those seeds or pods of information that grow into or manifest into the fruition of our true will. Sigils were first popularized by Austin Osman Spare. The idea is to let the sigil, once you have made it enter into your subconscious or deep mind. From their the subconscious will work on it making your wish a reality, that is if it is in accordance with your true will.

Sigil working may shake things up a bit. In order to become real the subconscious may force you to change, change your view about yourself or something else quite earth shattering. The ego, which likes to control, is quite uneasy with this. To get past the ego and let the sigil slip into the subconscious may require physical exhaustion or a crisis. I will take the exhaustion.

The ego or conscious mind limits us in many ways. It block our creativity and deludes us into thinking we are less then what we really are. This is why ordinary people do extraordinary things when they are possessed by some spirit. In reality this just another one of their many selves stepping up to the plate. The ego loses control.

The Gods,totems and demons are all reflections of our deep mind. They are not seperate from us. Jan Fries gives a thorough explanation on how to invoke a trance , do automatic writing, art and mandala making. This is the next level of chaos magic. It will open your mind and new vistas. I have got to read more of this author.

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Monday, May 6, 2013

History of the Little People

The Lost History of the Little People: Their Spiritually Advanced Civilizations around the WorldThe Lost History of the Little People: Their Spiritually Advanced Civilizations around the World by Susan B Martinez
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

According to the author there was an advanced species of little people that convered the face of the Earth before the advanet of mankind. When mankind started taking over they started dissappearing almost without a trace. Yet traces, a few of them were found. In certain parts of the United States mounds were found. They contained the bones of tiny elf like people. They were brushed off as the graves of children yet they showed signs of being Middle Aged adults. Cheyene legend hold that thre were a race of people called Nunehi who lived in barrow or underground. These nunehi taught the Nativgge Americans about the use of herbs and medicines plus the use of tool and technology. They were the teachers of mankind.

All around the world there are societies of little people. The bushmen of the Congo, Negrito in Indonesia, Negrillos in the Phillipines and the Andamans in the continent of South America. Moreover thre are legends of these little people deocumented the world over ranging from Greek, Roman, Sumerian, Irish, Norse and Native American. THe little people of today live in forests, underground dwellings and high mountainous areas. As the big humans encroach they die off and their numbers become fewer.

In the barrows that have been unearthed advanced tools have been found indeicating that these guys knew how to build and manufacture tools way beofre homo sapiens even came around. They passed their skills to us. Since their number are diminshing ( the author says they are extinct, at least the original ones) one day there will be few signes of them left. For one the author says they cremate their dead, number two is that they were transformed into gods. Most poignant would be in Egypt the Gods Ptah and Bess. Origninally they were small now they are eleveated to giants.

In the Middle East the author maintains that they wer called Ilhins and that Israelites were in fact dwarf people. Thie red cap significed self sacrifice and magic. People thought that they could shapehsift and do powerful magic.The red cap also significed the Caul which meant the baby was gifted magically. THe author maintains that the little people came from an Island continent called Pan, which like Atlantis was destroyed in a great flood. The surivivors joined everyone on the mainland. Their skin was described as white or almost translucent, like you could se through their veins. They are supposed to be well mannered and no violent, their society is egalitarian.

The book makes for an entertaining read and she has done a good job collecting the various folklore and putting it together. She comes up with many linguistic connections not all I am sure that I agree with. She says the Hebrew word "ain" means humble when in fact it means not or do not have. Most of the pictures she shows of the little people are of the same color as the others from where they are from or they are African looking. Which would lead me to believe that the little people wee originally black as in African. All of mankind and civilization originated in Africa. THe author footnotes her sources and uses a lot of pseudo scholarship. Where is the hard scientific evidence supporting what she has said. Has this tome gone under a peer review? I could se them being white if they had to live underground but that does not sem to be the case. She makes a case of them being nocutrnal dweller with moon like eyes. She also bleieves that little women were abducted by protomen who she calls Druks. They were apre like creatures. This in breeding caused the birth of man.

I believe in the Little people, I believe in one or more island continents disappearing under the sea and I believe the little people do exist. Yet her claims are outlandish and not properly proven.

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Starway to Heaven......A Spiritual Journey

Stairway to Heaven: Chinese Alchemists, Jewish Kabbalists, and the Art of Spiritual TransformationStairway to Heaven: Chinese Alchemists, Jewish Kabbalists, and the Art of Spiritual Transformation by Peter Levenda
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is one awesome book. Peter Levenda writes great books about occult subject with great perspective. In this volume the author rights about the subject with passion and clarity. The core spiritual program of Babylonian religion, Egyptian religion, Kabballah, African religions and Western Esotericism are covered. The book starts out with an analysis of the Pharaohs ascent after his death up into the realm of the stars. In the "Egyptian Book of the Dead" when the Pharaoh passes on his body is washed and then his mouth is washed. Prayers are said to guide him from the physical realm unto the stars. The Pharaoh has to pass through seven level until he reaches his place in the North Pole Star. The seven level are based on the seven stars of the big dipper leading up to the North Pole star. This was first made available to the Pharaoh and then later on it was made available to the common people.

In Babylon and Sumeria is it was much the same. they even had a washing and opening of the mouth ceremony much like the Egyptians did for their statues and passed on leaders. The statue of the gods were placed atop of a seven leveled Zigguarat. During Holiday the statue would be brought down or the king would ascend to where the God or Goddess was and commune with the deity. Passing from level to level one had to know pass words and the names of various deities. This would translate into Jewish mysticism.

Hekhalot or Merkava mystism is where the practitioner could ascend to the throne of God during their life time. Ezekial is one of the first. He saw animals, angels and visions that resembled the Babylonian captivity. In Babylon deity statues were made and washed in a sacred garden that was meant only for initiates. then the deities were escorted to their high places. To break into a garden was it court danger. In Jewish mystics there are 4 sages who made the ascencion to the garden. One went mad, one an atheist, one dies and one came out ok.

The book then delves into the big dipper's impact on Indian, African and Chinese system. Finally there is a foray into the Golden Dawn and other Westen Magical groups. Very enlightening read.


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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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