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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Tales of the Dervishes

Tales of the DervishesTales of the Dervishes by Idries Shah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sufism is the mystical side of Islam. Often times great truths are funneled into u through simple sounding fairy tales collected all over the Islamic world. Some of these tales are populated with strange animals and Jinn. These tales re not meant to be taken literally, but rather taken as symbolically. Hearing the tales, if one is trained properly enables one to evolve. There are many Sufi orders in the Middle East, thy each have levels and various initiations which is appropriate for mystical orders. The Mason probably got their levels from the Sufis.

Dervishes were the mystics often described like beggars, walking around in rags. Often times these hidden saint would bestow a miracle or a blessing or even some charity upon those that were worthy and deserving. Sometimes these mystics possessed great powers. This gem of book, now possibly dated as it is old is an entertaining read. If you have the wisdom and the insight read the tales and plumb the depths of wisdom.

One such story titled “How to Catch Monkeys” tells how a hunter puts a cherry in a bottle and waits for a monkey to try to get it out. The monkey gets his hand stuck and never gets the cherry. He is caught by the monkey hunter. There is deper meaning to this tale that comes out of Afghanistan,

“The Cure of Human Blood” talks about instant spiritualization. A ruler in Constantinople is wasting away from a disease and the only cure is to kill young children and bathe in their blood. The king at first wants to o this and then decides not to. He is cured. What cures him? Prayers, righteousness???

“The Bird and the Egg” has anon flying bird hatch the egg of a bird that can fly. The flightless bird cannot teach flight but the young bird is grateful to this non flyer and blieves he will learn t do it himself one day by his own efforts.

Fun little book of tales.


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Friday, February 19, 2016

Comic Book Magic

The Pop Culture GrimoireThe Pop Culture Grimoire by Taylor Ellwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Taylor has done it once again . Coming from the the context of Chaos Magick and Post Modern Magick come the concept of using pop cultural icon in magic instead of calling upon the ancient gods. Pop cultural icons have more power because they are more immediate to us and we see them everyday. They are in our subconscious.

This book is a compendium of article generated by different authors. Some authors like Lupa, Bill Whitcomb grace the pages of this  volume. Other authors will write on music, tarot cards and invoking different heroes to help  with your magic.

The first article deals with taking modern music into your ritual. As opposed to clasic celtic music or other neo pagan music , pop music ore contemporary music might have more meaning to the practitioner. This i would have to agree on. Modern music does tend to resonate with me more than typical neo pagan rituals.
 
Chaos magician also summon pokemon character based on their special ability . Techniques are drawn from Goetia and some of Philip Hines technique . People also summon video game characters to solve legal battles. Some do their rituals in the real of World of Warcraft.

In the realm Of tarot some use iTunes to make a playlist based on Tarot and the random shuffle make for a reading. Some design tarot based on comic books while others read them to comic book heroes. The book finishes off with a forgiveness ritual by Talor himself. It is based on Storm Constantines work.

Remember magic works if you believe in it.

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

History of Witch's Ointment

The Witches' Ointment: The Secret History of Psychedelic MagicThe Witches' Ointment: The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic by Thomas Hatsis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Modern witchcraft is replete with legends of witches and warlock flying through the nighttime sky enroute to a Witches Sabbat. THey would fly an any number of assorted items ranging from their spouse to animals and finally broomstick. One of the key features of this legend is the uswe of flying ointment . The witch would smear this ointment on her broomstick or anoint herself with it then would fly to Blocksburg to join the devil in his revel. Usually it was kissing hs buttocks and swearing allegiance to his design.

This book carefully examines the phenomena of the Flying ointment. Going all the way back to Greco Roman times an ointment of sorts was used in Apollius's "The Ass" where in an unwitting hero is given an ointment and is changed into a donkey. Healers in Europe would have specially made philters to help for others to fall in love. Other preparation wre used as poison and insanity inducing agents. WItches at first could be charged and penalized if the agents would kill someone or make them mad. On the whole history does not alway mention flying ointment in connection to witches. Witches could be charged with using their chemicals for negative consequences.

Inquisitors often added things to the suspected withces story like flying in the air and the devils sabbat, the witch would agree to it only under torture. Some factors could be pulled from traditional legend or folkways. One of those is flying to witches sabbat. THe flying train lead by a deity on certain times of the year derives from earlier European legend. In Southern Europe the Goddess Diana would lead a wild procession through the sky picking up people to join her. In the North it was the Goddess Holda. Some thought that demons were part of hewr cavalcade and others thought the Devil was mimicking the Goddess to lure gullible women.

Witches were also accused of kidnapping children and eating their fat and blood. The witch was also alleged to fly at night in spirit form and seduce men. During the seduction they would either drink his blood or drain his energy the precedence was set with the so called Lamia who were female demons who seduced men and drank babies bloood. THe witch was the strix owl who flew about doing such things. Strega was an Italian name for witch.

THe Christian Church was power hungry and despised any competing ideologies. One of the Christian tactics was to bash the witches by accusing them of having orgies, drinking human blood and doing all sort off fowl magic. THis persecution had a precedence. Back in the day the Romans were very antagonistic towards Christianity, they spread these exact same epithets against them. The Catholic Church also despised rival Christian sects like the Waldensians and others who found CHrist or God through means other than the Catholic Church.

Later on the use of flying ointment would be associated with all of these activities. THe accusation were that the witches would boil down baby fat and throw in such foul items as animal parts and poisonous herbs. At first this did not feature in the inquisition but it would come up later. Such ointments may have been used outside the witchcraft community for such maladies as headache, insomnia etc. Besides shamans would use ethneogen to access higher states of being. THey would often intercede on behalf of the community sometime even fighting negative spiritual entities.

THe effect and usage of the ointment has been subject to debate. What ingredient were in it? Did witches really fly? Was it a hallucination ?
At first flying through the night and shapeshifting was not really associated with flying ointment. Later on it came ot be associated with them especially as the inquisition motored through entire populations. THe ointment became associated with witchcraft even it became a crime to use it.

As the Victorian Era neared fferent theorist came to the conclusion that the flying ointment only gave the illusion of flying. It effected the mind. Not all church oficials liked this but word was getting out. Many scholars would experiment with flying ointment and yes they had the experiencen of flying but in reality all they did was fall into a deep sleep or stupor.

Flying ointment did not contain baby fat or any other foul elements.. In fact iot contained slonaceous herbs like henbane, mandrake root, hellebore, belladona and damona stratura. Opium was contained sometimes as well.
In the end it boils down to a spiritual experience inside the witches head.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mastering the Witch's Arte

Mastering Witchcraft: A Practical Guide for Witches, Warlocks & CovensMastering Witchcraft: A Practical Guide for Witches, Warlocks & Covens by Paul Huson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now you cannot just read a book on witchcraft and expect to master it. Such a task may involve lifetimes of work and would require the practitioner to obtain many more than one book. Of course it took me long enough to to read this work, and a meritorious work it is.

The book has a different perspective than Wicca and is different from any work by Scott Cummingham. The book starts off with discussing witch blood and who were the original watchers. Speculation is out as to whether they were faeries or fallen angel. The power for the witch comes from within and is called "witch power "

The book does follow the belief in the lord and the lady. Respectively called Cernunnos and Habindia.
The book has easy to follow rituals for consecrating your tools and equipment. Plus there are easy to follow recipes for various perfumes an incenses with many of the ingredients available at your local grocer.

This book is for the practical witch who wants control over their environment. After you self initiate and consecrate your tools there is instruction on how to to cast your circle, make a triangle of manifestation. There is a chapter on divination methods and how to construct your tools.

Other full chapters include love magic, lust magic, cursing, protective magic etc. no money magic.

The final chapter talks about setting up your own coven and how to select themes and animal totems. There is a brief tidbit on Sabbats.

Overall great book for beginners and intermediate practitioners. Some more advanced practitioners may benefit from the spell contained there in.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Symbolism of the Beit Hamikdash

Man and Temple In Ancient Jewish Myth and RitualMan and Temple In Ancient Jewish Myth and Ritual by Raphael Patai
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the center of Jewish theology is the Beit Hamikdash, or the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. There were actually two of them. The first one built by King Solomon which was destroyed by the Babylonians. The second built after the Babylonian exile would later be destroyed by the Romans. It is said that when the Messiah comes the third Beit Hamikdash will be restored.

The Jews were not the only people to center their mythology around a temple. Many other ancient Middle Eastern cultures did much the same thing. Ancient man first used religion to control or influence nature. This would be done by making offerings to the gods in exchange for sufficient rain and abundant crops.

The first ritual described is "drawing of Water" this is what most people know as the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot. The ritual involves going around the alter or bimah and hitting it with palm fronds. Later comes the water and wine libations. This was meant to secure water. Hitting with palm fronds also meant to ensure fertility. These motifs are present in the then surrounding cultures of the Jews at the time.

Included in this ritual was the , ritual combat. Many cultures at the time had mock combat that thT could get quite serious. In Jerusalem this was played out by priests running to do the honors and sometimes they fought each other. There was also pelting people with etrogs.

Water has deep symbology here. In the Torah there were two waters, the upper and the lower. The upper waters were male and the lower waters were female. The stone in the Dime of the Rock keeps the lower waters in their place. Another thing that keeps the waters in place was a shard with Gods name written on it. During the Sukkot time the water mates through rain and temporary upcoming of the inner waters. Sin brought about floods but God promised no more of those.

The temple also had some mobility that related to the human body and astrological bodies. The concept of representing the heaven or "as above so below" is the two angels at the top of the Ark of the Civenant. When facing together it meant that God was happy if they faced away from each other that meant that God was upset.

The concept of sin played an important part. If the people or the king sinned through idolatry, fornication or shedding blood there would be famine in the land. The temple through its sacrifices offered atonement. Once it was destroyed people had to find other wAys to repent. The king evolved from the priest kings of Sumerian.

The book is written by Raphael Patai, renound scholar of Judaism. It is short but very informative. Throughout the book are references to other cultures that give parallels and proper perspective. The book is easily understood so both scholar and layman can benefit.

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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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