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Monday, April 25, 2016

The Magic of Iceland

Icelandic Magic - Aims, Tools and Techniques of the Icelandic SorcerersIcelandic Magic - Aims, Tools and Techniques of the Icelandic Sorcerers by Christopher Alan Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Recently there has been an interest in the magical techniques of Iceland. This island nation has oft been overlooked as it is perched a bit a ways from the European continent. The land itself is rugged, sparsely populated with very few resources. In places like this people must live by their wits and be super practical.

Iceland was initially settled by Vikings from Denmark and Norway. They brought along with them slaves from Scottland and the British Isles. The Vikings followed Odin and the other Norse gods while the slaves followed Christianity. Iceland fully converted to Christianity in around the 10th or 11th century. They were rather late in the scheme of things, but there were factors that lead to this conversion. One was that slaves raised the children and they were imbued with the new religion. Another factor was trade with Christian Europe, and then military strength of Christianity.

The Gods have not completely gone away. In Icelandic Grimoires Odin and Thor are still invoked many times along side Jesus and Mother Mary. Usually the old ones are called upon for magical operation that involve cursing. Malicious magic makes up about 20 percent of Icelandic magic. Most of it though involves protection and their detection.

Many of the spells do not call upon higher powers but rather rely upon the sorcerers own power and intent. The magic is simple and not heavy on ritual. There are no temples to prepare and most of the magic is used for practical purposes not spiritual development. Magic was also a tool used by the poor as they had no other means of evening things out.

The techniques rely mostly on the creation of runestaves. These interesting designs are sometimes traced over the object to be acted upon or the sorcerer themselves. It could use spittle or blood to make the runestaves more powerful. Runestaves could also be transferred via air. It is not yet clear whether the runestaves were derived from Futhark runes. More studies need to be done.
Hopefully this book is one of many that will explore Iclandic Magic.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Letters of Astrology

Images of Soul: Reimagining AstrologyImages of Soul: Reimagining Astrology by Hadley Fitzgerald
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Perhaps in order to appreciate this work one needs to have a strong basis in psychotherapy and/or astrology . I got almost nothing out of this book. This book is not a written work of fiction or even a book on spirituality it is rather a collection of letters between two psychotherapists/astrologers . I saw this book recommended in a new age magazine given for free in a health food store .

A book liked this should have some kind of working and more mediations . It has a few mediations and some case examples that talked about treatment.
One interesting case involves an East Europeam man whose mother ran opput on the family when he was really young. He never really got over it. Later on he would meet a girl of almost the same appearance and very intriguging. She was in his life briefly then flitted away. He wanted to find her but could not. It could be his Daimon or guardian angel moving him to accept her as his muse.

Some interesting concepts might be that the astrological signs or the Grek gods could be used as archetyupes for further spiritual development . The book had some good ideas implanted within but letters do not do them justice nor help them to develop . At m,sot the reader will have an entertaining read. Combining the concepts of tarot, psychotherapy and astrology can have some preteen amazing results . On that note this book fails to deliver.

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Modern Day Egyptian Rituals

Eternal Egypt: Ancient Rituals for the Modern WorldEternal Egypt: Ancient Rituals for the Modern World by J. Reidy Richard J. Reidy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

More  and more  people are finding inspiration in the ancient religious concepts of the Ancient Egyptians.  THere gods are coming to life again it would seem, after being put away for so long of a time. The Jewish Talmud states that God gave 10 measures of magic to the world, 9 of those he gave to Egypt and one he gave to the rest of the world.

MAny groups and people have sought to worship or work with the Ancient Deities but never in an Egyptian way. Wicca and Ceremonial Magick tried to combing it with Judeo-Christian concepts and according to the author that is not the way to go with Egyptian Gods. Other more modern groups are studying the Ancient Egyptian texts and adapting it to modern times.
One such group is the Temple of Ra in San Francisco. is one such group. Richard Reiedy a member of the group is the author of this book. A sad shame that he passed on too Amenti earlier in 2015

This book is a compilation of rituals for use in Modern day. Certain modification have been made to keep things current and acceptable. Many of them are daily rituals.  THere are mooring rituals for greeting Re. An evining ritual to honor Hathor. Egyptian ritual is not about praying to a god and that is it. There is an emphasis on purity and right living and living in accord with Maat, or truth.  THe rituals are complex but people will want to do them. THey are loaded with psychic power due to having been done so much. That power can be accessed for results. The spoken word is powerful. WHen doing rituals Priest of participant will perform the ritual as though they are a god.

I may not do things the way the author does but I will make modification based on what I read. Truly a good book for those wanting to follow the Kemetic way.

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Reviving an Ancient Hero

Images of Set: Changing Impressions of a Multi-Faceted GodImages of Set: Changing Impressions of a Multi-Faceted God by Joan Lansberry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Images of Seth

Almost everyone who has studied Egyptian history and mythology has become familiar with the conflict between two brothers, Osiris and Set, where in Osiris is slain by Seth. From that point on Seth is viewed as the bad guy. But is he really such a bad guy? A survey through Egyptian History and architecture tells a different story.

Ra's boat, call the Boat of a Million Years travels through both our daytime and night time skies. During the night Re's boat descends into the underworld where Apep, or Apophis is waiting to destroy it. Every night it is Seth who stands on the barque of the boat driving a spear into the throat of Apep. Re is the creatore god. Apep is the chaos serpent who wants to return everything to non creation. Only Seth is strong enough to fight against him.

Earlier depiction of Seth show hieroglyphs of of a dog figure with box cut ears. Later this animal head would bee the head of Seth. In ARabia to this day there are hunting dogs with box cut ears. Seth is also represented by the bull or white bull. Since he does represent virility the part most sacred is the bulls sex organ. When dried it could be made into a staff for Seth. In the early years Seth was seen a protector of Egypt. His lands were the desert wastelands. He stopped  Egypt's enemies from breaching their borders.

Pharoahs had even taken Seths name and incorporated it into their own. Depictions of Pharoahs being crowned, show him being escorted by two deities, Horus and Seth. Horus and  Seth were two spiritual natures that were reconciled in the being of the pharoah. Both natures complimented each other. Almost like two sides of the same coin.

Of note, most people are unaware of this connection between the two deities. Remember that is Horus who fights against Seth to avenge the death of his father, Osiris. In the ensuing battle Horus tears off the testicles of Seth while Seth destroys Horus's eye. Thoth, who is the magician and healer of the Gods  repairs the battle damage and reunites the two.

There were several cult places for the followers of Seth. One place was Ombos, Seth was called the Bull of Ombos. Avaris was another of these city cult centers. Avaris is also where the Ramseside dynasty hailed from. When the Asiatic hysksos took over Egypt, they made Avaris their center. Seth was considered to be their god. From that point on his image started going down hill.  Seth is equated with Baal, the storm god who slays the sea serpent. Later on  they would be driven out and Akhenaten would abolish the worship off all the Egyptian gods. He too would be overthrown and King Tut would succeed him.  Ramses came from a non royal military family in Avaris.  He considered Set one of his ancestors. He made many graet military gains and this helped invigorate the name of Seth. During the PErsian and Greek Periods Seth would be grouped with the bad guy Typhon.

All through out, Seth is making a comeback. People are relaizing his value. He is needed for balance. HE represents viral sexuality, war, individuality, assertiveness. For spiritual growth to occur you must recognize your inner Seth and becomes knowledgeable with it. Do not deny the nature. Horus could represent team work because he helps Seth defeat Typhon. Osiris represent passivity and acceptance. "Gods give me the strength to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change those things that I can" Seth gives you the courage.

Seth bestows both life and death. THe big dipper represent the tool that opens the mouth oof the dead. He is the giver of consiousness. He is also a god of chaos and Mercury is the most chaotic planet. All hail Seth...great book.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dark History of the Necronomicon

Dead Names: The Dark History of the NecronomiconDead Names: The Dark History of the Necronomicon by Simon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published by Avon books and made available to the masses at a very low price, is the Necronimicon, easily one of the most controversial grimoires ever released. The controversy surrounding this grimoire is not about the demons or angels you conjure but rather authenticity. Is the the Necronomicon a real grimoire or was it a joke written over a bottle of wine?
Simon the author of the book and also the Necronimicon says the grimoire is legit . The Necronomicon was a grimoire that was prevalent throughout the works of HP Lovecraft. People thought it was Lovecraft's invention. Simon says otherwise.

Things started out in the 70's maybe even the late 60's if you go back far enough. The book opens up with  the suicide of Anthony Pratzky, A Slavonic Priest, with his own Slavic Church. He was a laborer. His son William ANdrew Pratzky was also a priest. Needless to say a lot was going on with these churches, politically and religiously. These churches were anto soviet and were a place for spies to meet up and spy on other. There were also wandering priest who may or may not have had proper credentials. Peter Levenda and Pratzky became priest. Levenda was into magic and Pratzky was gay and into the rituals. As priests they had their series of adventures. Their spiritual pursuits would lead them to Herman Slater of the Magick Childe in New York. Eventually there would be an issue of book theft by two priests and one of those books was a greek version of the "Necronomicon"

Once having received the book they had to go through all sorts of subterfuge to get the book translated and then finally published. THe book convers all the trials and tribulation of getting the book translated and published. According to Simon the Necornomicon is a grimoire that has passed through the ages and has chants and deities from Sumerian times. Once cannot call it true Sumerian because though the ages it has been watered down and changed. It is not Judeo Christian.

Most of the book is dedicated to explaining how the Necronomicon is in fact a middle eastern grimoire. THere are seven levels of enlightenment or spiritual journey. Inanna , Goddess of love and war, made several such journeys. Once to the underworld and next to the outer reaches of space to steal secrets from An. Azif was the noise the Jinn made in the desert. The author goes on to analyze the word Cthulhu, as an ancient middle eastern word which is mentioned in other Middle Eastern works, and even in the Koran. Kutulu means man from the Underworld or the one who deserted us. In the Middle East there was a city called Cutha. It is where, some say, that the Samaritan originated from. The head god of Cutha was Nergal, SUmerian God of the Underworld. Of course when they went to Samaria they changed their practices. THe word , Cthulhugan is mentioned in the Koran as well. To note that Muhammad's tribe the Quraysh had extensive ties to Mesopotamia and were heavily influenced by them.

What happened to the Sumerians once they were driven out of their land and conquered. THe author and various others would tell youn that the Yezidiee are descended from them as are the Toda people of India. THis is based on linguistic , god names and art motifs that bear similarity . 

I read this book rather quickly and found that I enjoyed reading the story behind one of the  most controversial books to be printed. The author has done some good research on the Middle East and I have learned things that I have not previously known before. THe last part of the book covers some opposing sides of the argument surrounding the NEcronomican and it validity and safety of usage. Enjoy

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Sephardic American Elite

The Grandees: America's Sephardic EliteThe Grandees: America's Sephardic Elite by Stephen Birmingham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In 1654 a boat full of refugees landed on the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, now a days called New York. These 23 families would comprise the original 23 families of the American.Sephardic Elite. Back in Spain they had lived a life of opulence, nobility and dignity. They had a higher culture than the other Jews of Europe. As the Christians reconquered Spain things started turning against the Jews. It was interesting to know that it was Jewish nobility that made the match between Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. They were the royals who authored the inquisition but it was really a project of the Catholic Church. It is worth pondering as to whether the royals we're really that antisemitic. They could have been pressured by the Emperor of Europe or Catholic Church.

As Jews were forced to either convert to Catholicism,die or flee Spain. Many JEws went to Turkey and other Muslim countries. Other Jews made their way to Portugal and then finally to Holland. From Holland the Jews would go to the Dutch colony of Brazil Once the Portoguese retook Brazil the Jews would flee again. Enroute to other parts of the New World their ship would would be taken by pirates. THe captain would ransom them and then demand repayment once trey reached New Yoork. Mayor Stuyesavant would give them problems .

Among the families of Spanish Sephardim were the De Sola Pools, Nathans, Hendricks', Levi, Gomez and others. Together they formed an upper crust elite who stayed quietly amongst themselves and avoided publicity. THey married amongst each other and started their own synagogues. THey also played major roles in all aspect of AMerican life. Some were traders who brought slaves and rum to the New World. Some like Uriah Levy served valiantly in the US navy and still had to battle antisemitism. Many played a part in bringing furs to the colonies. Some bankrolled presidents.

When the German Jews started to arrive they found Sepohardic synagogues already up and running. The Grandees did not always welcomed the German Jews with open arms , in fact they looked down on them at first. OF copuirse intermarriage would take it's toll and they would eventually intermarry with non Jews and German Jews. Eventually the restrictions would relax.

The book is an informative quick read that moves along like a well crafted novel. I managed to read the book in three days. If you are into Sephardic or American Jewish history take a look at this book.

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Friday, April 1, 2016

Introduction to Ritual Magic

An Introduction to Ritual MagicAn Introduction to Ritual Magic by Dion Fortune
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Perhaps one of the best places to start off with in the book world of ritual magic would be Dion Fortune. She founded the Society of Inner Light and has a background in psychoanalysis. Her work explains the mechanics of magic and manages to remain down to earth. Gareth Knight is a student or at least someone who is strongly influenced by Dion Fortune.

This following book is co written by both and yet it was not. Garett Knight collected article that Dion Fortune wrote for her magazine, compiled them and then wrote Jos own chapter on the subject. I must say that it was easier to understand Dion Fortune than it was Gareth Knight. This is a surprise cause usually the older is harder to understand than the newer.

The book tackles a variety of subjects. Such topics are : types of mind working, Mind training, use of ritual,initiation, astral forms etc.

Some salient points that jump out are the importance of the mind in doing occult operTions, The mind must be trained to pick up psychic sparks and perceive entities. The mind must be slowly trained to do these things. Remember magic is the art of changing consiousness at will. Dion is mind over matter just like I am. The sephirot of the quabalistic tree is the core of all western occultist. Moreover ritual has basic structure but the symbols change from
Pantheon to pantheon. Different sephirot can balance each other out.

Over all great book. Filled with information and easy to read. Thumbs up,

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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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