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Friday, October 25, 2013

History of Witchcraft in America

America Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft After SalemAmerica Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft After Salem by Owen Davies
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Author Owen Davies has written several good books in on magical and pagan subject . His work is both scholarly and objective . The book is entertaining and easy to read. His points are supported by stories and case examples.

Since the witch burnings in the British colony Salem, Massachusetts close to the present day witches or suspected witches were persecuted in one form or another . Several laws were on the books that called for the penalizing of suspected witches. While in post Salem America they were not necessarily killed they could still face flogging , jail time and the stockade.

After a bit of time legalized persecution of witches seemed to cease but suspected witches could still be victimized by vigilante and mob actions . At this point it became needed for the law to prosecute those who tormented suspected witches. Such vigilantes could be sued , jailed and even sentenced to death when a murder was involved.

Some might find it hard to believe that people were so afraid of witches during the late 1800's and early 1900's that they would be willing to go to such measures . All the races that lived in America ;Native American, African American and white European had a vision of witches as evil doers and bringers of bad luck. It also meant death for the witch.

In the 1950's the wheels of history would turn and the view of the witch would change. Coming out with a debatable historiography Gerald Gardner would explain that witches were a hold over if a pagan religion which worshipped a goddess and god. There wirks were if good . Wicca would come to America via the witch Sybil Leek. Wicca would be adopted by America and be changed by feminism and and environmentalism. Now witchcraft and Wucca are an accepted part of the American landscape.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Iranian Goddess of Love and War

Anahita: Ancient Persian Goddess and Zoroastrian YazataAnahita: Ancient Persian Goddess and Zoroastrian Yazata by Payam Nabarz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Payam Nabarz has compiled a nice size collection of authors and essays about the
Mazdean Goddess Anahita. Starting out as the head goddess in the Iranian Mazdean
religion Anahita found herself fluctuating in importance depending on the
religio-politics of the time .

Despite the fact that Iran is a Muslim country traces of Anahita's reverence can
still be seen. Pregnant women go to her shrines for a safe and easy delivery.
Female saints are bit thin disguises of who she is.

Often times compared to the Mesopatamian Ishtar or Inanna. She is a goddess of
love and war. Her symbols include the eight pointed star, Lions, beaver pelt and
sword sheath hanging from her side.

Like Aphrodite and Venus she is also a goddess of water. Being most likely a
river goddess, many shrines were dedicated to her that were right beside rivers
and hot springs. The hot springs with there varying Radon and mineral content
were often used for hydrotherapy. Her planet is Venus so Anahita is a Venusian
goddess .

Zarathustra came up with Zoroastrianism . Zoroastrianism is the monotheistic
version if Mazdeanism. Ahura Mazda is the head god while Ahriman is like the
devil. Such religious ideology had a massive impact on monotheistic religion
like Judaism.

Even with the elimination of many gods Anahita found herself at the second place
if the trinity. She is the virgin mother of Mithras. Bestower of sovereignty by
bequeathing the sword and rings of power.

Reading through this book you will see the Iranian influences if Iran on Western
Pagsnism, Christianty and Far Eastern Buddhism. Lady Anahita is the lady and
Mithras is The Lord .

In this book you will also find surveys of art work dedicated to Anahita and of
her . The meaning of her name will be discussed as well. Very thorough and
comprehensive book. You can get it at a good price from Amazon Kindle.



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Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Shapiong of Midguard...Tolkien Style

The Shaping of Middle-Earth (The History of Middle-earth, #4)The Shaping of Middle-Earth by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again I feel like I am rereading part of JRR Tolkien’s Silmarrillion for the umpteenth time. I read these books to get some stories that somehow never made it to publication. What I get are differing versions of the same stories sometimes with similar event and at other times with different event. Though the names may change the song remains the same.
In this volume Christopher gives us a tales from the Early Silmarilion, the Quenta, Ambarkanta, Earliest annals of Valinor and the Earliest Annals of Beleriend. This volume takes us all the way till the end of the first age. Starting with the Valar coming down to Arda and Melkor’s rebellion. We are taken through the capturing of Melkor by Tulkas and the awakening of the Elves an being lead to Valinor by Orome the Vala of the Hunt. We are told how when Melkor was released he deceives the Noldoli called Gnomes into turning against the Valar. Oh by the way there were three groups of elves that came to Valinor. The Quenda, who were lead by Ingwe, Teleri, and the Noldoli, who were lead by Finwe. By the way with the Noldoli there are enough names beginning with F to remember that it can get rather confusing. In any case after Melkor is freed he goes about destroying the two trees with the help of Ungoliant. From them the Silmarrion are created. He covets those as well and steals them. Later on when Ungoliant and Melkor feud over splitting the Silmarils, Melkor slays Ungoliant. Melkor holes up in Angaband creating Orcs, Balrogs and Dragon.
Feanor who crafted the Jewels wants them back so he and his Noldoli steal ships from the Teleri and go there. The Gods try to stop them and make them ask for pardon but to no avail. They reach the northern wastelands and wage war against Angaband. Gothmog the head Balrog clays Feanor and Maidros his eldest son his hung suspended by his wrist only to be rescued later on. Manwe in the mean time send Throndor the Eagle to keep an eye on things. The Valar have disavowed the Noldoli who went to the Earth. Aule is especially upset with them. Over the years there will be many battle/
The tale of Beren and Luthien is retold as is the Lay of Hurin’s Chikldren. The Fall of Gondolin is reiterated once again as well. At least this time we are treated to a conclusion. Beren and Luthien gave birth to Elwing , while Tuor and Idril would give birth to Earedel. Survivors of Gondolin and Thingols realm would marry and from that birth Dior would be born. Maidros a son of feanor vows to ge the Silmarils back and there is a fight. Elwing takes off in the flight of a bird while Earedel builds Wingalot, a swan shaped boat. Earedel will contact the Valar on behalf of man and elf and Manwe’s son will take on Melkor. We all know the end that evil loses and good wins but there is a prophecy that the light of the two tree Silpion and Laurelin will return, the Gods will reign over all and man and elf shall dwell side by in the end of days. All this happens after Melkor’s return and a final battle. Until then Melkor is locked beyond the doors of time bound by hand and foot.


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Friday, October 11, 2013

House of Asterion

ThroneThrone by Phil Tucker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fairy story worthy of mention perhaps in league with the works Laini Black, Holly Block and Melissa Marr. While I would not put these fairy writer on par with Stephen King or Edgar Allan Poe it does make for some exciting reading. The fairy world here is filled with both light and dark. The fae here are very believable and for all those Pagans out there the phooka is a bad guy.

There are two tales that run independently then intersect at the end. The story starts of with Maribel coming to a hospital in Barcelona totally hysterical. She has miscarried in the hospital and she cannot come to terms with her loss. She believes her baby Sofia is alive somewhere. She even sees a dark shape abduct the daughter. While in the park she comes into contact with the horned phooka who tells her the one who abducted her child is named Kubu. The phooka is a trickster. The phooka and a trister aid her in finding her child

Maya is an immigrant from Brazil forced to work in sweatshops, and as underpaid work in restaurants. Harassed in many ways when she decides to fight back she find herself unemployed and things are going down hill. She dances with the Greenman in the park and end up with some pretty cool abilities. When she is locked away she escapes into fairy land . Guided by the Old Oak and Guillame the fox she is pursued by a knife wielding psycho fairy.

In the end it is a battle between the Seelie and the Unseelie court. Mourning and loss can bring out our darker aspects. Just when it seems evil is about to win , the reclamation of humanity and love ultimately win out. Both Maribel and Maya have a part to play.


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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Working with the Mighty Dead

The Mighty DeadThe Mighty Dead by Christopher Penczak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Working with the Mighty Dead

Many of today’s witches are Wiccan or at least eclectic pagan who work with man y God’s , Goddesses and thought forms. The witches of old most likely did not work with deities strictly but with the spirits of the dead. My first reference to the mighty dead came through the teaching of CED witchcraft which taught that the dead have their spirits sent to the cauldron of Ceridwen where in it dissolved into a big soup. When another soul was born it was born deaf,mute and no memories. The mighty dead got to hold on to their identity.
Gerald Gardner made a scant reference to the mighty dead as did Doreen Valiente, the idea really never took hold in Modern Witchcraft. That is changing, with the recent surge of interest in Traditional British witchcraft people are becoming more aware of the Mighty Dead. But who are the mighty dead.
Theosophy which has played a major role in the formation of Wicca and ceremonial Magic. Often spoke of Secret Adepts, The Great White Brother Hood and the Secret Council. Some believe that these inner plane adepts , or ascended masters were once people who evolved to a point where they become masters who over see the running of the planet. Different tradition have different name and functions for these ascended masters. Some believe they are human incarnate but hidden somewhere on this planet while others believe that they are alive only in spirit form.
The Mighty Dead can also be ancestor who we came from. There are many types of ancestor the most well known is that of the blood and family. There are other types of ancestors. Milk and Honey Ancestors are those adopted just us into their family line. There are ancestors who came before us in certain occupation, ancestors of the coven or spiritual tradition and finally ancestors of the land or the bone.
The ancestors were important to spiritual working as they often had our best interests at heart. Their bodies were often buried on family property . The Mesopotamians buried them underneath their house while standing up straight. In Egypt Pharoahs and soon nobility were mummified and preserved so they could venture to the afterlife in tact. Wicca believes in reincarnation how can the soul hang around. That is easy because the soul has three parts.
The higher self or our holy guardian angel is heavenly and uses the life on earth to aquire heavenly knowledge in order to evolve. It goes to it’s own place after death. The Middle Part is our personality or identity. The lower soul which is earth bound corresponds to the ancestors or tribe. The lower soul houses our drive and instinct and we get much knowledge from our DNA. People buried in the land can become guardian spirits of the land. They too are our ancestors from where we live.
The book has several exercise and rituals which help us to ascend and contact these masters. I di not plan on using this book extensively but I pulled several good things from it.
Perhaps a new prayer for making offerings
“ A Libation to the Ancient ones. Ishi Baha”
There are references to some real good books. For example “The Dream Assembly” by Howard Shwartz. This book talks about ascended Hassidic masters called literally the Dream assembly which thye run the world and guide the affair of man.
“Kali’s Odiyya: A Shaman’s True Story of Initiation” talks about Hindu sorcerers who escape the clutches of time and space Through mystical practices.

A great recipe for a cleansing spirit flames would involve the use of 4 oz of 90 proof rubbing alcohol, 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt, 5 drops of Lavender Oil, 5 drops of Lemon Oil and 3 drops of Rosemary Oil. Great for cleansing an outside ritual of negative spirits. Spirits could also be appeased by leaving offering so they will not be tempted to disturb you. There are also banishing rituals to clear the area of unwanted spirits and ways of helping discarnate souls traverse to other side. The forgotten dead can be troublesome or helpful always remember them in your rituals.

If the review piques your interest let me suggest that you get the book for there is a whole lot more contained with in it’s pages. The material covers ceremonial magic, Wicca, Traditional British Witchcraft and Theosophy.
Perhaps a couple of recipes before I go
Vinum Sabbati: Take 1 full bottle of red Wine, Teaspoon of Mugwort, teaspoon of Wormwood, teaspoon of dandelion root, teaspoon of poppy seeds and one table spoon of honey. Put them together and let simmer for thirteen minutes. Cool it then strain it.
Mighty Dead Incense
3 parts Myrrh, 2 parts Dragon Blood, 1 part worm wood, 1 part mullein leaf,1/2 part tobacco, ½ part thyme, 3 parts red wine, 1 part brandy, ½ part brandy.


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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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