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Saturday, August 23, 2014

King Arthur's Final Days

The Fall of ArthurThe Fall of Arthur by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

poem by JRR Tolkien that is about the last part of King arthur's life and his battle against Mordered. THe poem itself is an abandoned work that Tolkien started and never finished. Christopher Tolkien, the great author's son searched his father's notes and found it. The present edition also contains research on King Arthur and how it influenced Tolkien's development of the Simarrillion.

The poem using anglo saxon norse technique starts off with King Arthur away on a campaign in Europe.apparently he is battling Germanic tribes in Northern England. During his campaign Arthur finds out that Mordered his nephew in this version of things has usurped the the throne and is about to force Guenivere into a marriage. Mordered was assigned the task of watching the kingdom while Arthur was gone fighting. Guenivere flees into Wales and Mordered's men cannot find her. Arthur makes his way back by ship and realizes that it will be a tough fight and wishes Lancelot were back. Sir Gawain helps Arthur secure landing in a bloody battle which cost Gawan his life and injures Mordered in the head. Lancelot makes his way back to help King Arthur.  As the king lands on the beach it leaves off with him facing steep cliffs about to face Mordered.

Research takes us into the works of Geoffrey Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain and Vita Merlini. In these works Lancelot is not mentioned at all. This was based on earlier retelling of the King Arthur myth. Many scholars have posited that the tale of King Arthur is the greatewsst work of fiction and that there is no way he is real as nothing he has done is ever recorded in History. In these works we are told that King Arthur went to Europe to challenge pop Lucien who charged Arthur with not paying tithes to the Catholic Church and for conquering lands that were loyal to Rome. This version has King Arthur conquering Rome and killing the pope. In Mnmouth's version of things Lancelot was not even mentioned. In later retelling Lancel.ot was mentioned but he was a minor character. It was after Chretian Le Choi that catapulted Lancelot into strdom.

 Post history has Arthur fighting the last battle against Mordered despite being advised by Gawain that he should wait a month. Arthur does'nt. In battle he dies andf Sir Bedivere throw thee sword into the lake or the ocean and it is received by a hand. Arthur is whisked away to Avylon to be healed by Morgan his sister. Guenivere goes to a monastery and Lancelot becomes a priest. Bedivere the last surviving knight becomes a monk.

As Christopher explored his father's notes A final ending has Lancelot sailing into the West and never returning. This connects to the Simarillion in which Valinor is in the west and cannot be reached by Mortals. Earendel went to find it but never succeeded. Earendel is like Lancelot. Numenor and Toll Erresea, mythical islands in Tolkiens Mythopeia are inspired by the Isle Of Aveulon. Wingelot was Gawain'sship in the tale it is the name of teh vessel that takes Aelfwynne to Tol Erressa. Mirkwood is mentioned in this tale.  Both in this and Lord of the Rings these are haunted forests that are not safe for people.

A great read for those interested in King Arthur. The original story is so much diferent that the one we are used to hearing.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tolkien's Beowulf

Beowulf: A Translation and CommentaryBeowulf: A Translation and Commentary by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beowulf

Most known for Hobbit and mysterious rings, author JRR Tolkien gives over a translation of an ancient Norse tale while his son Christopher gives some rather informative and interesting tidbits of information. Along with the usual translation and background information JRR gives over his own rendering of the tale.

As the story goes a monster named Grendel is  terrorizing King Wrothgars famous hall Heorot. THe Ogre devours people whole. Hearing of  this from the land of the Geats is Beowulf who comes over with a company of men. The king of the Geats is Hygelac. Beowulf's father is Ectheow. The gernealogy was built in to a realistic time period but as the author informs us the story had been retold numerous times and was probably a fairy tale in origin. Beowulf is not really a historical character as his name appears nowhere else in literature or history books. While the the Pagan past was close by and there are references to it by the time the famous poem was redacted the Danes had already been christianized. Still  things were there to remind us and the tale is littered with old and new testament references.

Upon arriving there Hrothgar tends a feast to welcome the geat while an instigator named Unferth mock Beowulf about an old swimming match inj which Beowulf was delayed due to Nixes or Sea Demons that he had to fight off. which made it seem like his opponent won the match . It must be noted that Beowulf did not enjoy super high status. He had to prove himself. Beowulf had lots of strength but was rather young. As a youth he was used to swimming in the sea. 

The night the beast comes Beowulf wrestles with him and tears his arm off. THe monster flees to his underwater lair. But the problem for Hrothgar are far from over. the beast has a mother. Beowulf goes in pursuant of the beast. Going to the underwater layer Beowulf kills the mother and finishes off Grendel. Brining back the head Beowulf earn great reward. He goes back to hygelac's kingdom with new status. He eventually marries the kings daughter and reigns for fifty years. Peace is finally ended when someone steals a dragon's treasure and the dragon ends up ravishing the cuntryside. Beowulf must go to battle one more time.

JRR Tolkiens own version is called t"THe Sellic Spell" names are altered as are Beowulf's origins.I will let you read it to find out.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Magical Handicrafts

Spell Crafts: Creating Magical ObjectsSpell Crafts: Creating Magical Objects by Scott Cunningham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

SPELL CRAFTS

The title pretty much explains it all. This book is about making spell crafts and in easy enough language so that anyone trying to read it will understand. Since the beginning of time man has used his hands as tools of magic. Power flows through the hand and it is hands that transform things. Man has also used hiss hands to build thing and carve things. Magic power also transfers through the hands especially the right hand. The left hand is more about receiving.

Magic is the transference of energy toward a specific goal. Another definition is the changing of reality according to ones will. The power can be derived from personal power, from elements such as air, water, earth and fire. Power can also be borrowed from the deities. Visualization is what programs the energy and tells it what to achieve. When visualizing a goal visualize yourself as having obtained the object you want or doing the thing you want to do.

Magic has four steps. the first step is rousing the energy, then programming the  energy. Then you release and direct the energy. Rousing is raising or awakening, programming is using visualization to infuse a magical goal. Releasing the energy from our bodies. Directing puts the energy into an object. You can raise the energy while you are making your project or you can put your energy into the project after it is done. For attainment always move clockwise and counter clock wise to get rid of something. 

The book gives step by step easy to follow instructions on how to make your spellcrafts. Their purposes range from making projects that will protect yourself and your home. Others are aimed at finding love. While some of the other ones help you obtain employment. Some of these project include witch bottle, yarn works, sand painting and claywork.

There is lots of emphasis on natural ingredients. The magic is folk magic and tends to rely on personal power or elemental power. This is not necessarily Wiccan magic as Mr. Cunningham has explored several cultures and while some of them are culturally sound others are his own variation whciih are no doubt effective. Mr. Cunningham also gives over the history behind the different magical projects.


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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Book of Welsh Herbology

Physicians of MyddfaiPhysicians of Myddfai by Terry Breverton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book is divided into 8 parts. The first part is an introduction explaining the various sources of contribution to the medical knowledge of Myddfai. The second part of the book discussed the legend of how the physicians of Myddfai came about. This second part in my opinion is the best part of the book. The third and fourth part consists of remedies for various ailments. I found this part to be rather tedious and boring with many of the cures being outdated. Still they are useful for history,. The fifth part talks about different charms to heal ailments like headaches, constipations and toothaches. The final parts of the book discuss the Welsh effort to preserve their culture at Myddfai and not let the herbal knowledge fade into oblivion.
For those with some medical knowledge it will be very clear that Greek doctors like Galen and Avicenna had a major influence on the development of herbology is in Myddfai. The discussion of the humors, and the different natures of people are thoroughly discussed.
According to legend a son and his mother lived in a hut close to the lake. On a daily basis the son would take the cattle to graze by the lake. One day while taking his cattle to graze by the lake he spied a beautiful maiden in water. His efforts to catch her in vain. When he returned home he got advice on how to win over this maiden. First he took some over cooked bread and offered it to her but she turned him down and went away. The young man came back the next day and offered her some undercooked bread. She still turned him away. Finally he gave her some brad that was baked just right. She agreed to marry him. She ducked underneath the water and got her father. The father agreed . The maiden was told to hold her breath and count. Her counting brought about that numbers of s3elect gfiven farm animals. The only condition of their marriage was that should he strike her three times she would leave and take the animals with her. They spent many years together and had children. Through her blessing he became very rich. Yet the inevitable occurred. He struck her three times. Once while telling her to stop laughing at a funeral. Another time a leather strap just touched her. A third who remembers. They were more like taps. Anyway she returned to the watery depths. The son Rhiwalon became a famous doctor tending the wounded and sick of the Welsh king. This lineage still persists to this day.
The Red book of Hergest which was written in Welsh has now been translated into English. I would say that most of these cures are outdated. I mean who would use urine, or dog feces or even animal parts. We go to the doctor. Still a medical student might want to study it for historical reference. I found these very tedious and had to force my way through. Still it was essential for the book and coud not be helped. I wrote down part of a remedy that might be of use or interest.
For Kidney Stone you should macerate these herbs in strong ale, water pimpernel,tutsan, meadow sweet, st john’s wort, ground ivy, agrimony, milfoil, common burnet, columbine motherwort and laurel. Seriously where are you going to find all that.


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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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