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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Transcendant Magic

Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and RitualTranscendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual by Éliphas Lévi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At the core of all esoteric arts is science. Those occult groups who acted in secret oft time mixing faith and science have been the discoverers of scientific invention advancing society forward yet hidden from public view. In order to perpetuate faith the Church has always sought to stamp out these groups and their sciences. The Church has in many an instance been resistant to scientific discovery and change.

What follows is one of the key books on Ceremonial Magick. The book is very hard to comprehend at times and yet at others it makes the point crystal clear. It is author’s such as Eliphas Levi who formed the foundation of today’s Ceremonial Magick, Wicca, Chaos Magick and to an extent neo-paganism. Eliphas Levi believed very much in the Judeo conception of God and had a Christian world view, yet he realized that the truths revealed in the Bible were not meant to be taken literally but rather as a metaphor. His outlook is also very scientific.

Through out the ages secret groups have kept the study of Kabballah alive, all the way from Egypt through the Hebrews up until now. Teachers like Hermes Trimagistus, in his “Emerald Tablet “ passed on the teachings as did the Magians from Persia.. High Magic that brought about positive change is what this is about. The work is very kabbalistic.

Interspersed with discussion of the Kabbalah comes the concept of Monad, Dyad and Triad. Monad is the one creator God, Dyad is him and someone else this is the essence of creation. You must have someone to talk to in order for creation to occur. The triad is the creator, created and the object of listening. Some what complicated and I do not hve a full grasp of this myself.

None the less the power of speech is the power to create. In the bible God created the world through speech. Hence the magician creates their reality with the power of speech.
In the Universe there is something called Astral Light. It is what the universe is made up of. It takes forms based on our imagination and what we are expecting or want to see. In a ritual if someone summons and angel, spirit or deity and you se thm it amy or may not be what you think you see but rather a form created by the Astral Light. Our astral bodies are composed of astral light. When the righteous die they go to the stars or evolve to the next level. Those still addicted to the pleasures of life are trapped in their Astral body.

The astral body can leave our physical bodies during sleep and will oft times take on different animal forms. Like werewolves or were tigers. Affecting the astral body can have an impact on the physical body. Sympathetic magic is worked in a fashion like this. Our imagination can affect the thinking and minds of other people especially if our thought are properly directed.. Pentagrams control the elements.

Writers like Eliphas Levi are the wellsprings of inspiration for many magical authors who learned from him and rewrote his concepts in sometimes watered down fashion. No problems reading them first before you get to the main course which is this book. There is no dogma but the purest of science that I have seen in an occult book.


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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Merlin and the Grail Tradition

Merlin and the Grail 
Tradition (Expanded Edition)Merlin and the Grail Tradition by Gareth Knight
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Merlyn is the archetypical wizard, who much like Gandalf is of another worldly character who has the job of preparing mankind for its ultimate enlightenment and evolution. Once he does his job he then fades away to the background. Merlyn like the rest of Arthurian legend is surrounded in mystery with many layers to peel back.
His origins are almost unknown. What is gleaned is that his mother was a nun and that his father was an elf or angelic being depending on which source you read. Merlyn in fact may also be of royal blood. Vortigern a usurping king was trying to build his tower but it kept on collapsing. Merlyn was supposed to be a sacrifice to bless the land. When the land was cursed it was said a sacrifice of royal b lood would get rid of the problem. He informed Vortigern about the dragon fighting underneath. Later on Merlyn would help the Pendragon’s regain the throne and he would raise Arthur.
Where did all this stuff come from ? Many would posit the land of Wales. After all the famous work “Mabinogian” came from their and it mentions King Arthur and versions of other characters in Arthurian legend. In fact Troyes DeChetain and Thomas Mallory may have used a common source coming from Wales. In the land of Wales there is a ring of stones much like Stonehenge. The stones themselves have a source that is far away and no one knows just how they got there.
Merlyn had a job and he carried it out in a variety of way. We all know about raising Arthur but there is more. It supposed that Merlyn may have had faery blood and atlantean blood flowing threw his veins. His job was to help craft and ultimate king or a superior bloodline. Ygraine who Pendragon deduced with Merlyn’s help may have had Atlantean blood, uther was Celtic royalty. Once Arthur was born the next step was to bring in the faery blood and Gwenifar may have been faery.
The book does not deal with archaeology but rather using Arthurian legend as a tool for spiritual growth. In the stories that are examined it is women who act as a civilizing force for mankind. They are the intiatior of knight and seekers into the forest realm of mystery. At the books end there is a ritual that one can do as well a guided meditation.
The teaching of Gareth Knight are based on those of his mentor Dion Fortune and Dion Fortune herself based them off of Blavatskies Theopsophy. According this paradigm Arhturian legend did not migrate from the Eastern regions as is currently thought but rather they came from the west. To the West of Britain was the island of Atlantis that submerged in the ocean. It was Atlanteans who brought the spiritual teachings forward.
Dion Fortune differs from Blavatski in that she also subscribes to Christian mysticism as a layer of Arthurian myustery. She had three rays. The first bein green pertained to nature and the paganism, the second wheel dealt with Hermetic philosophy and the creation of mental maps. The third dealt with Christian mystery.
One wizard who was also discussed was John Dee. Mystic, sorcerer, spy and scholar. It was ohn Dee working behind the scenes who caused massive change in Britian and world wide.


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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Many Paths of the Pagan

Paganism 101: An Introduction to Paganism by 101 PagansPaganism 101: An Introduction to Paganism by 101 Pagans by Trevor Greenfield
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What would it be like to talk with 101 people before deciding to pursue a different spiritual path? Wouldn’t it be great to chat with 101 experienced people who could tell you what it is like? Well this book has it. The people interviewed range from regular practitioners all the way to serious Pagan leaders who have authored books and speak with great authority.

Underneath the umbrella of Paganism there are a variety of spiritual paths. Starting out with Druidism the collection moves it’s way through Heathenism, Wicca. Witchcraft, straight up Goddess worship and herbalism. The book talks about being a pagan leader and what it is like to remain in the closet about things. Of course many Pagan leaers are humble enough to see themselves as just ordinary people who are fulfilling a role with regards to carrying out a ceremony. Let it be known that although Paganism is a relatively new movement on the spiritual scene it is growing fast. You might now ever know it as most Pagans are very solitary in nature and do not get together in groups that much.

A mention of Paganism being new, well yes it is but then again it is based on old concepts that are being revived. Of course as Christianity rolled it’s way through it picked up many Pagan customs and took over many Pagan places of worship and turned them into Churches. Many Christian saints and angels were formerly Pagan gods that got usurped in the maelstrom. The pagan are reclaiming them.

I thought it was great that Christo-Pagans had their own section. I mean after all the Lord Jesus Christ and the three phases of the Goddess. Mary Magdalene the maiden, Mother Mary is well um the mother and finally Sophia is the old Crone representing wisdom. The discussion of magic was good. Got a good list of herbs to use and how to charge them with my intent. Different forms of magic were discussed as well.

As good as the book was I think a couple things were missing. First off I do not remember there being much talk about Ceremonial Magic. While not Paganism per se I feel something should have been said about them, or more because they are part of the scene.

Most of the book is geared towards European Paganism, and with the exception of Egypt anyone else follwing deities from let us say the Canaanite, or Sumerians gets left out. They need to be included. What about Judeo-Pagans we’re out there too you know.

Of course when talking about magic and occultism, two topics that can be separate also over lap. More needs to be devoted to that. Over all great book. It gets 4 stars out 5.


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Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Masked Dance of the Witches

Sacred Mask Sacred DanceSacred Mask Sacred Dance by Evan John Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Clan of Tubal Caine, perhaps sort of founded by Robert Cochrane or maybe a family tradition was strongly based on Shamanistic technique as opposed to heavy rituals used by Wicca which borrowed heavily from Ceremonial Magick. The author and student of Robert Cochrane believed that prior to the conversion of Europe to Christianity that followers of the old religion used masks and dancing to separate their consciousness from their body.

While Evan john Jones believes in reincorporating masks and dancing back into the rituals he does not wish to mimic exactly what they did in the past. Times are different andd things have evolved. So must the craft. What is taught in the book does not claim to ancient but rather something new that is based on the practices of the old.

Dance and masks were used to access the divine and also to access the spirit of the animals they wish to work with. For example masking the stag and dancing about was meant to access the spirit of the roebucks they were hunting. Shamans used to travel to the spirit world in animal guise to speak with the spirits and bring back wisdom needed for the tribe. The old norse used to use these techniques especially the follower of Freya who was an earthly Vanir goddess.

The book covers or recommends making masks based on thirteen animals. Among them are the Stag, fox, owl, ram, boar, raven, the hound, the cat, the goose and several others that were native to the British isles. Their symbolism, which maybe a blending of old and new along with their roles in the ritual are thoroughly discussed. At the end of the book are instructions on how to make masks. Several different rituals are described as well.

The author makes mention that masked workings are not suitable for everyone. They should be done as part of the coven but only by a select group of people, like an inner court. These masked rituals are not part of esbats or Sabbats but rather stand alone riutuals amongst themselves. They should also be done close to full moons and during warm comfortable climates. No more then 4-5 times per year should they done as they can drain away psychic energy quite easily. Different dance techniques for entering a trance are discussed as well.

For those pursuing a more traditional vein of the craft this book is a must read and a must have. Shame that Evan John Jones is no longer of the world he had a lot to offer.


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Demon Lover

Demon LoverDemon Lover by Dion Fortune
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The story opens up in the midst of a séance where in a psychic member of a Fraternity is placed under a hypnotic trance in order to help the group obtain secret occult knowledge. The secretary is the one leading the experiment. J. Lucas has been an outer court secretary for some time and he wants to climb in and take power by becoming a member of the inner court. Many in his fraternity do not trust him.

In his frustration Luca hires a young woman named Veronica from a pool of would be secretaries looking for work. She has psychic abilities. Within no time Lucas is forcing her to astral travel and obtain occult secrets from the lodge. All too soon this is discovered. Lucas’s plans for domination come to an end and he and Veronica are on the run from this Fraternity and their vaunted death ray .

Through there struggles and exploration both discover that they knew each other from previous lives and were lovers who parted ways. She went with the Christians and he with the Pagans and the mystery schools. In the middle of the book Lucas is found dead. His death a mystery with no explainable cause. Veronica inherits all his property and soon falls under suspicion. Of course this is not the end of Lucas and young Veronica’s trouble are just beginning.

A dog goes on a rampage killing a potential suitor for Veronica, Children in a small village are sick and dying and pretty soon Veronica is the center of all suspicion. Lucas’s spirit reappears gathering life force from Veronica in order to materialize. Children are the easiest targets for this spiritual vampire.

In the end there is a confrontation between the order, Lucas and Veronica. What is Veronica’s ultimate fait.

Dion Fortune is the founder of the “Society of Inner Light” she has written many novel and non fiction works about occult concepts. Reading this one will learn a thing or too about the occult world. If one is especially perceptive they will pick the influences of Helena Blavatsky and her Theosophical references to the hidden ones and Atlantis. When I read this book I come across so many concepts that I have read in so many Wicca book and Ceremonial Magick books. Of course Dion Fortune is coming from the source and the rest are just copy cats.


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Monday, April 7, 2014

Medievil Study of Demons

Satan's Rhetoric: A Study of Renaissance DemonologySatan's Rhetoric: A Study of Renaissance Demonology by Armando Maggi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cast out from the Heavens with no chance of redemption nor is there any chance of them returning to paradise. The Devil and his demons are obscecced with humans. Mankind has a chance at redemption; Satan wants to prevent that from happening. That is his goal. Mankind was ejected from the Garden of Eden, yet by they can gain entrance into Heaven. What is the exact nature of these demons? Demonoglogy is the study of Demons while angelogology is the study of angels. Pulling from five treatises on Demonology the author puts together an interesting picture of what Demons really are supposed to be according to the Catholic Church.
In the work “DeStrigmasis” by Priero the author asserts that the demons or devils who have no physical bodies can only exist in our mind. They are a syllogism or a phoneme of language. Yet they have no language of their own as they have n0o memory of their own. Of course neither do angels. Angels are mere messengers of God. Demons are phonemes of the natural world and they sometimes influence the world and give predictions which they make sure will happen. Demons are linguistic figments that exist within the confines of the mind.
The work “De Ensalmis” talks about using prayers from the Bible and other implements and directing them towards the Devil and his Demons. There were certain rituals that were sanctioned by the Catholic Church and reading the psalms independently was not one of them. Sometimes people got their wishes granted but not all the time.
In Thesauraus Excorsmorum the author talks about expelling demons from someone is possessed. Once again language is the key here. Finding the demons name and location in the body was crucial. If the name could not be found then the demon was given a name. Biblical stories were used and the demon was vomited out.
St, Maria Maddelena would receive vision from the Holy Trinity but for a while she was possessed by the devil ans was not receiving the visions. Finally we discuss dreams and faces in reading a person’s character.
The book itself was on the scholarly side and was a challenge to read and fully comprehend. As much as it teaches us about Demons that their nature the book also tells about the Catholic church and it’s prejudices. Witches, Jews, and Sodomites are lumped together. The Church never approved of Jews and some of the author’s in the books believe that Jews should be wiped out. Antissemitism may not be that big a deal and witches either don’t exist or they are harmless Wiccans. Sodomites or homosexuals are still targeted in the Church. Countless church leader have made public stances against Gay Parades and what not. The hatred never dies.




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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The many Queens of Fae

The Faerie Queens - A Collection of Essays Exploring the Myths, Magic and Mythology of the Faerie QueensThe Faerie Queens - A Collection of Essays Exploring the Myths, Magic and Mythology of the Faerie Queens by Sorita D'este
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Perhaps it is pertinent to state that faeries or faery queen are not those cute little, winged pixies that flutter around leaving behind glittering pixie dust and neither are their queens. Several different faerie queens are written about in this work and all of the essays are very informative. It must be noted that several of the faerie queen were in fact one time considered goddesses and then got reduced or demoted to faerie queens. Such Goddesses would include Hekate, Diana, Caileach, Morigan and Melusine.

Of all the essays it is hard to determine which one I liked the best as they were all informative and I learned something new. Faeries of old prior to the Victorian age had a very fearsome aspect and most people tried their best to avoid them. Faerie Queens like Diana, Hekate and Prosperina were considered to be underworld queens who ruled over the dead. On Samhain and Yule they would go about on a wild hunt with a retinue of faeries and dead souls in their train. Anyone seen wandering about would be scooped up and carried off to the faerie realm.

In stories like Tam Lin and Thomas Rhymer faerie queens could come by and swoop up an unsuspecting poet or beautiful man and take him off to faery land. In Tam Liny’s case he is rescued by a maiden named Janet. In Thomas Rhymer’s case the faery queen lets him go after seven years. Faeries are not always nice. Yet there are stories filled with instances of when a man marries a faery maiden under the condition of a vow, which when broken sends the faerie queen away sometimes with her children sometimes wit out. In the case of Melusine, who was cursed with a dragon tale for imprisoning her father, her husband looked at her on Saturday and that caused her to flee.

Sometimes faery queen come to our land to dwell and infuse it with magic.In the Mabinogian story of Pewel and Rhainan. Rhianon is faery queen who left fae land to escape an unwanted marriage and chose to live with an earthly king. She is feared and resepcted. Rhianon is also conflated with Epona the horse Goddess. The Horse was the all providing goddess in Europe and her form was a horse. Horses are also psychopomps as they lead people to various places upon their death.

One faery queen coming from the sea eloped with an old fisherman, giving him gifts she let him dwell in his town for 9 years before taking him away to her underwater realm. Another husband of this same faery queen was Matthew, a church official of sorts. When he became her husband he never really abandoned the town but would sound the bell every time disaster would strike.

Another faery maiden associated with the Celtic Sea God Manaan, fell in love with a mortal but was swept away by a great tidal wave. Some say that she is still alive and can here her howling in the sea wind.

Faerie queens also had a triple goddess aspect to them. We must remember that the latin root of faerie is fata which means fate. In the Greeks mythos there were three sisters who were in charge of the fate of man and the gods. This probably transferred over to the fairy queens. Queens were also associated with the ocean and bodies of water along with the moon.

Cliff Seruntine compares the glastig to the Caileachs. Both have many parallels. Cailleach might have been an earth mother who was at her peak during the ice age as she protected giant deer and elk. She had her own territory and was good to those who followed the laws of hospitality. Those that wronged her could expect some retribution. The glastig though smaller in scale also watched over animals.

Included in this book are several invocation, including some that were used in grimoires. A worthy read that is most informative.


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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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