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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lilith : A Dark Goddess

Lilith Goddess of Sitra AhraLilith Goddess of Sitra Ahra by Various
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lilith Goddess of the Sitra Achra.....wait a minute back up the train. Lilith is not a goddess, never was and never will be. In fact she was a demon or demoness if you want to get technical. Widely spoken of in the Judeo Christian world as first a rebel chick and then later a demon who killed children in their sleep, her origins go much further back. This book touched a little bit on those origins but mostly it stayed with in the realm of Judeo-Christian theology and ceremonial laft hand path perspective.

lilt's origin are covered by going back to Mesopotamian times she was analyzed in the Akkadian text. She was part of a class of demons called the Lilin, Layil or lilit. This was translated as a wind demon, a storm demon or a scream. Lilith has been associated with the screech owl and this class of demons was known to seduce men in their sleep and the lil were the males who seduced the chicks. Lilitu was a main demoness who is mentioned as living in a hulaapu tree that belongs to Inanna. Gilgamesh drives her out.  But in reality her origins go back even further. She may have been the Sumerian  Lamasshtu a hybrid demon that haunted women during childbirth and killed new borns feeding at the mothers breast. No mention of that what so ever. No mention either of Pazuzu, king of the wind demons and Lamasshtu's most bitter rival. This book is scant on the history.

Islamic traditions regarding Lilith are absent as well. THis book would have done well to have one of it's several contributing authors go back further into the history and cover some of this stuff because theren is stuff in Islamic lore about Lilith and it is good reading. THe book and it's authors do a terrific job of focusing non the Kabbalistic aspects of Lilith and connecting it to growth on the left handed path. Several authors have done a nice job of plumbing the depth of the Zohar and other kabballistic sources. Bravisimo.

What this book has is plenty of Unverified Personal Gnosis, rituals for invoking the Lilith. Many of the rituals call for drawing blood and coating a sigil with it. II am not one who is up for blood and I wish the authors had found some substitute. If you are into the left hand path and are drawn to Lilith much like I am then you will want to read this book and maybe even make it part of your collection, but you will definitely have to read other books on the subject.  If history is your thing then I am sorry but you will have to go further afield.

This book was composed of essays and rituals compost by a variety of different authors. I will definnitley write these rituals bown andd add them to my Grimoire.

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Magical People and Their Familiars

Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and MagicCunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic by Emma Wilby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Many who are involved  with Ceremonial Magick  would be quite familiar with the concept of the Holy Guardian Angel. Going back a step further one would be quite familiar with Christian Holy men having conversation with various saints and angels. Having spirit friends or mentors is something quite common in all religious traditions. Why even Maggid of Joseph Caro in Safad helped this Jewish Holy Man write a book of law called the Shulchan Aruch.

In this study penned by Emma Wilby, the concept of the Cunningman is discussed along with his/her spiritual familiar. THe Cunning man or woman was sort of like the healer or wizard of the village . They would use magic to heal sickness and track down thieves. They also could protect one from witchcraft.In comparison witches were the old hags that cast mean spells on people and cavorted with demons. All this happened about 400 years ago. It was at a time when rural Britain was rather poor.  malnutrition was rampant and plagues were a regular occurrence . Medical care was nowhere near advanced as it is today. Police were not as proficient at tracking down Nieves as they were today either. So teh cunning man or woman played an important role in the village. When the witch trials came about at first they spared but later one they too could be hauled in.

When the inquisition people tortured witches it was often revealed that they had demon familiars who gave them advice regarding magic and differing herbs that could cure illness. Not much was made of having these demon familiars. Many researchers thought that the demons were part of the church or elitist mindset hoisted on the witch trials. In a word the demons were a church invention .

Of course researchers forget the underlying animist faery belief that never die once chrstianity took hold. Often times these testimonial were a blend of church fantasy and the existing peasant belief in Faeries . In fact when comparing cunning folk to witches one sees that they are almost the same exact deal. demons and fae familiars shared a lot in common they both came to the practitioner at a time of need, taught them magic,had very intimate relations, shape shifted and took their charges to sabbats. Cunning folk could both heal and curse so could witches.

The author later addresses shamanistic spiritual practices ranging m native American , eskimos, and so Erwin shaman. It can be almost positively stated that there was an underlying shamanistic practice. In pre morn Europe and the faery faith was a hold over or remnant . The final part of the book delves into the spiritual uses for familiars and cunning folk practice, the reality of familiars and what could cause the open mid the ability to perceive these familiars if they are in fact real.

This book  puts a lot of magic back into the concept while at the same time digging in depth the concept of familiars and its shamic origin . This book is a must read.

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

A History of Grimoires and Magic

Grimoires: A History of Magic BooksGrimoires: A History of Magic Books by Owen Davies
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Three things hit you in the head upon reading this book all the way through. Owen Davies knows his stuff. This book is well researched as are all his works from beginning to end. By this I mean both time and book. You will learn a lot from any of his works. The second is that most grimoires are not in the least bit factual. They are penned by people but often times false histories are ascribed to them. Going further many are said to be written by people who did not even write them . Some would call this embellishment but if it is all about spirituality where truth is paramount I would call it flat out lies. People who have used these grimoires have not had the results they were looking for. Despite that we get to number three Grimoires are evolving and still new ones are being written. The new ones can be dedicated to angels, fairies, pagan gods, devils and even fictional gods from popular novels.

Grimoires became famous for their use in the Middle Ages. Could mean grammar in french it was oft time a collection of spells, working recipes and magical actions. Some famoujs grimoires are "The Grand Grimoire"  "Great Albert" "Petit Albert" Agripppa's "There Books of Occult Philosophy" and Clavicula of Solomon. Their beginning though is in the Middle East most particularly in Mesopatamian times. Books themselves were considered holy and special people called scribes wrote books in general. Scribes were a class unto themselves. It was rare that people could even read. AS a result books themselves regardless of subject matter were considered magical.

This continued through out Greek and Roman times and finally reached Europe after the Crusades when Templars came into contact with Middle Eastern culture and spirituality . Originally Romans thought that magic came to EUrope from a tribe of magician called the "Magi" whoo hailed from Persia.. After Templar exposure European magic was exposed to Arabic works like the piciatrix, astrology and the amalgamation of Jewish Kabballah, Christian mysticism and Islamic Sufiism. Absorbed in these mystic currents was the previous wisdom of pagan cultures.

In the beginning A grimoire was an expensive affair reserved for the upper classes. They were leather bound written with special ink onn parchment. Just to have one gave an individual magic power. Books were thought to heal, ward against evil and give one special abilities. This grimoire had to be written buy a scribe or a magician. As the printing press came about and grimoires were printed on paper this gave more people access to them. It also robbed them of their power.  Before only monasteries and popes and university libraries had grimoiis bu now eevery one had them. This disturbed the catholic church and the protestants but for different reason. eventually FRacne became the main area of making these and chap book. They would filter out into Europe and other area. Most people used them for treasure hunting.

The book discusses how they got to AMerrica and the new world and the impact they had the magical traditions of the new world.  THE most influential books were the " 6Th and 7Th Books of Moses"  and a couiple others. This infueeenced Penssykvania pow wow magic and Hoodoo and Voodoo tradition. It is said that Joseph Smith founded mormonism after using a grimoire to contact an angel. Grimoires and magic would later go through more changes as groups like the Golden Dawn would use them not as a basis for results based magic but rather for spiritual developement. Grimoiures would also be subjected to mass production much like pulp fiction. This lowered their value even more but made them more available .

Edging into modern times we have works of fiction making use of fictional grimoires. The most noted would be trhe Necornomican based on HP Lovescrafts works. New Grimoires that claims=ed to be real buyt were fabrication would be Gerald Gardners book of Shadows and his created Wicca. Satanist Anton LaVey came up with his own but he was more honest then the most.

Owen Davies gives you the inside scoop on all of it. Read this man.

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Working with the Planets

Practical Planetary Magick: Working the Magick of the Classical Planets in the Western Mystery TraditionPractical Planetary Magick: Working the Magick of the Classical Planets in the Western Mystery Tradition by Sorita D'este
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before Wicca and even before the advent of monotheism thee ancient ones worked with and even worshipped the seven wandering stars. Actually only one of them was a star, the sun, the other five were planets and the one was our moon. For each of these planets , depending on the culture a different God was assigned. Later on as monotheism became vogue different angels would be assigned to the planets. Each planet or star could be worked with or asked for a difference things or item you needed in life. ALong with a purpose for working with the planet there were various different scents, herbs and numbers associated with the planet. This book priced cheaply enough in the kindle version gives you the tools you need in order to incorporate planetary magic into you practice.

The planets and their magic is based primarily on what we learned from the Greeks and Romans. They in turn learned their material from the Ancient Babylonians and Egyptians. THE babylonians were the first to works with planet magic . THe books tells you what the planets were used for and then goes into the various deities from different cultures that were associated with the planets. The next section gives over some meditative journeys for each ot the planets which you can read into a tape recorder along with some music and do some meditation . THe next section deals with times and days associated with the planets. This could be crucials for enhancing your work and helping you meet your goals. THis pertains to making your preparations , combining stellar power and actual working times. THE book also discusses invoking and evoking different spiritual creatures associated with the planet and this is done with a series of charts. So  yo will get the deities associated with the planet, the arch angel, demon and orders of angels that go with the planet.

THere is some very practical  hands on stuff in this book as well.There are some basic instructions on how to to make a kamea, amulet and talisman. Again preparation times are needed. Later on there are pyramid mediations  and finally the book tells you about the further planets in our solar system and how they can be worked with.

This nice little book gives the reader plenty of tools to work with. However, I would not recommend it to the novice practitioner.  I think for this book to be of maximum value you need to know how to construct a ritual for a working and then slowly implement the material of the book into your practice. Beginners need to see the whole thing put together as a model or example. Having tools in a tool box can be confusing, Thanksfully there are plenty of other books referenced in the back for further reading. I would suggest reading them as they are classic. 

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

History of the Satanic Church

The Church of Satan II: Volume II - AppendicesThe Church of Satan II: Volume II - Appendices by Michael A. Aquino
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This second volume documenting the history of the Church of Satan continues telling the story of the Church through various article, letters and rituals penned by a variety of different author. Where as part 1 documented history in narrative form, this book has articles, mostly written by Michael Aquino himself which delve deeper into the philosophy of LaVeyan Satanism. Many of these article were published in the monthly Cloven Hoof, the monthly publication for Anton Lavey's Church.

Of the rituals published in this work are Cthulu rituals, Dracula rituals, Satanic Wedding and the possibility of other. There are some works in there that are written by Stephen Flowers. On work in particular goes into the origins of La Vey's Satanic philosophy . In many ways La Vey read Ayn Rand's book " Atlas Shrugged and almost paraphrased it in his book. This is most evident in La Vey's 9 Satanic Principles. Another article debats on whether Aleister Crowley was a traveler of the Right Hand Path or the Left Hand Path. Those who follow the Right Hand Path wish to merge with God while those that follow the Left Hand Path wish to realize the individual deity within themselves.

Mr. Aqino include articles on Christians who interview or debated with Anton La Vey along with others who wrote about the "Black Pope". Who ever interacted with Anton had to respect his intelligence and articulate manner of speaking even if you disagreed with him. Needless to say many pagans and Christians strongly disagreed with him. La Veyan Satanism did not believe in a god but rather used the old deities as symbols. They believed that the magic or power was drawn up from within the individual. The deities were just symbols. La Vey also believed that after we died that was it. Man ws just a machine with impulses and a consciousness.

Many of Aquino's essays delved into scientific matters such as parallel universes and mankind creating life from nothing. Incredibly brilliant with it sometimes going over my head. Several of the essays debunked astrology with good scientific reasoning behind it. I m convinced. Paganism is not spared the criticism. Seen as a regression with the same fears as monotheism. The ancient ones tried to appease the gods to avoid their wrath. Wanting a protector god to save you is infantile.

It is dangerous to have heroes as they almost always never end up living up to the standard we set for them. Anton La Vey was brilliant and he set up a church that grew in leaps and bounds. He had to filter the nuts out but he could have formed something more lasting. But further investigation shows that many claims he made about himself were not true. He ended up betraying his own organization by selling of degrees. This caused all the important people to leave and start the Temple of Set . He ended up getting divorced from his wife. During the divorce he physically abused her and went back on his word several times.

The book was very informative and very enlightening. At times I considered it too long and could not wait for it to end. The letters showing the behind the scenes operation of the church were of no use to me as wer the court documents pertaining to the divorce.

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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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