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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Wars of Count Dracula

Dracula's Wars: Vlad the Impaler and His RivalsDracula's Wars: Vlad the Impaler and His Rivals by James Waterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finally a book that focuses on Dracula's military career that does not elude to him being a vampire, which he never really was. The book is military history, it talks about the political intrigues with the Ottoman Empire, the Baltic states and Walachia itself. It also tells about Dracula's life and how political events shaped it.

Contrary to popular opinion the Turks or the Ottomans engaged in conquest not to enlarge the borders for the Islamic world, called Ghazi, but rather their expansion and movement westward was driven by tensions further east. Moreover loyalties were not based strictly on religious ground but rather they were based on personal interest. Turks or Christians could be loyal to just about anyone if it merited their survival and personal interest. This was true of Turkish tribes and Baltic princedoms.

In these fiefdoms like Transylvania and Walachia things were rather tense. The were small and almost powerless. They would Allie with the strongest party in order to keep their throne and kingdom. Inner politics were tricky as well. In Walachia there was the Voivod or king but there were also Boyars and Daxon merchants who wielded enough power to unseat a voivode. This could lead to civil war, which it often did and to outside powers leaning into their business .

Dracula's grandfather was the first Voivode and after him came Vlad Dracul II, Dracula's father. Dracula's father was sworn into the king of Hungry's Order of the Dragon. Designed to defend Catholicism from the Turks. Vlad was Eastern Orthodox and sometimes he switched sides and helped the Turks. This would put him at odds with the likes of Jonas Hunyadi form Hangary. At times Vlad would switch and fight for the Christians. All the while Dracula and his brother Radu were hostages to the Sultan. When Dracula's father died, Dracula would be released to assume the throne.

Dracula would have three reigns. At times he was deposed and had to flee for his life. Once he was imprisoned in Hungary at times he was o. The run from rival kings. During his tenure Dracula would deal with internal threats quite harshly and deal the Turks devastating blows. Dracula is remembered as a monster by some and a hero by others. Read the book and make a decision .

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Enter the Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Throne of Glass

Locked in the deathly salt mines of Endovier, Caelana Sardothien, is left to whither away and die. Once the most feared assassin in Ardalan,now just a prisoner slaving to death in themself mines. Her land Terrassen was taken over by Ardalan and her parents essentially butchered. Taken in by the assassin king she learned the deadly art of murder.
The king of Ardalan is having a contest to see who will be his champion, crown Prince Dorian , has chosen Caelana. Released from bondage and p!aced under heavy guard , she is housed in the castle of Glass and is trained and fed. If she win the championship she will serve 4 years as the kings assassin and then she will be freed. But the contest is wrought with danger. Magic and foul play are at hand. A monster from the realm of the dead is murdering the contestants. It it is up to Caelana to get to the bottom of things. Her nights are filled with dreams of an ancient queen who tells her of her important mission. Love triangles develop,friendship and loyalty are tested.
A well written book filled with intrigue,action and romance. Clearly a well written fantasy and if that is your thing then this book is for you. Enjoy reader and may your quest be fruitful

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Introducing the Demons

Introduction to Demonology: Small TreatiseIntroduction to Demonology: Small Treatise by Jymie Darling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Treatise on Demonology

Local magician , Jymie Darling, has generated a small but very informational treatise on various types of demons that spans across several cultures and philosophies. Stating off with the ancient Sumerians she describes the demons that plagued our first society and then goes through the Judeo Christian , indian ,native american and finally Gnostic traditions. The information provided in this book is top notch. The book is not a how to but rather an excellent overview. I have no complaints about her knowledge or writing style, rather there are editing issues that I noticed occurred with the kindle edition. The biggest problem is that the photos and illustrations cover over the text in many places. This blots out lots of information. A major drag. Having known the author and conversed with her let me tell you she is supernaturally intelligent. I wish she would write a much longer book. In fact I wish this book was longer.
In Sumerian mythos which carries into Assyrian and Babylonian demons. The first class of demons are the demons who are god like. In a sense they are gods and goddesses of evil. The second class of demons are those wandering spirits of the undead , who may be angry or vengeful. The last kind of demon are those that are half human half demon. There were also winged demons who could bring evil to people or guard against evil. The author warns that when working with demons it is important to use incantation that are specific to their home religion. In other words you cannot threaten a demon like Labartu, Sumerian demon with the name adinai or Jesus as he would not know who they are. Important of note is that demons and gods tend to evolve,especially as they go through different religion's. They will get different names and characteristic. Still! Context is important.

In Egypt demons did not have specific names, rather when they were called upon they would be called based on a certain characteristic. An example!e would be the demon of anger. Next is the Judeo Christian tradition. Everyone is familiar with Satan and Lucifer they are supposedly names of the same being .Lucifer and Satan have different meaning as does Baalzebub . different names for the devil noting his different characteristics. Many of the demons were in fact formerly pagan gods.Look through the key of Solomon. Demons I. This philosophy can possess and harass. Several demand names are mentioned and what they do.

In India rakashas and asuras are prevalent demonic figures. There are also vitelas, pishachas and Bhutas. Vitelas tend to inhabit cadaver of rotting flesh. Some times they attach to the living and cause various misfortune. Bhutan spirits are angry spirits that haunt certain locales. Pishachas feed on flesh..The treatise next goes into Buddhist demons called Narakas who dwell in our world below.The demons are hot and cold narakas. Their leader is Mara.

Next the author covers Native American demons. These demons tend to harrass rather than possess, although that can happen. The most famous of these is the Wendigo, a human turned demon due to cannabilism .Going from native american philosophies the author covers Gnosticism. Demons here are of an internal nature , like greed, anger and lust . There are seven manifestation of these inner demons. Lastly there is a huge list of demob names at the end.a great addition would be a bibliography. I reccomend this book highly but get the printed version not the kindle.

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Do You Believe in Faeries

The Fairy-Faith in Celtic CountriesThe Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries by W.Y. Evans-Wentz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The book might be old but it is not dated. I think most people these days that right on Faery-Craft often times refer to this book. I would call it the bible of the Faery faith.
Back around the turn of the century the author went on a little tour of the Celtic countries in order to assess the Faery faith. He travelled to Iraeland, Wales, Scotland, and Britany in France. In this book he talks with people who have stated that they have had Faery experiences. Information from the interviews is presented along with historical research. The Faery faith might not be too much alive in the city but in the country side it was being practiced more regularly.

There are several theories as to what the faeries are and what their origins are. The one the author favors is the psychological theory where in the faeries or belief in them stems from a need to explain phenomena in nature. Other theories would suggest that the faeries descends from the Tuatha De Danan, or Celtic gods. They have been reduced to small being thanks to Christianization. This theory hold weight in Ireland. They are often described at being of light and extremely tall. Driven underground by Milesian invader they dwell in underground dwellings. They come out at night sometimes riding in a crowd. People will leave offering for them on their front steps so as to placate them and avoid vengeance.

In Scotland they are viewed as fallen angels. It was said that during Satans rebellion, the renegade Angels were cast out of heaven. Some went to Hell others were trapped on Earth. In Wales they are considered the spirits of the dead who can come back at certain times. In Brittany it is more animist where they are the spirits of the trees and plants. The faeries no matter where they are or their origins seem to behave the same. They need offerings in rider to gain their favor and keep vengeance at bay. They can steal a baby and replace it with a changeling. Sometimes a Faery can possess a human being.

So not only is the lore examined but also ancient religious belief of the Celts. They believe that every living thing had a nu men or life essence. They believed in reincarnation where once someone died they would come to life in another body. The world of the fae is sometimes underneath the sea, the ground r in the land of the dead. Sometimes not much distinction is rented between the dead and the fae as they share the same characteristics.. In some places they are larger than humans and in others they have are smaller.

You want too read a good book on the fae well then right this way.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sacred Tanta forthe Modern Day: DMK Study series #4

Modern Tantra: Living One of the World's Oldest, Continuously Practiced Forms of Pagan Spirituality in the New MillenniumModern Tantra: Living One of the World's Oldest, Continuously Practiced Forms of Pagan Spirituality in the New Millennium by Donald Michael Kraig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here come a tour de force by Donald Michael Kraig, unfortunately this is also his last work and too bad for that. DMK was a luminary to the pagan world and he was every knowledgeable so that everyone learned from. I have read his book on Tarot magic and I have his book Modern Magick, which I still have to read.

Tantra is probably the oldest form of pagan spirituality that is still intact. It was an oral tradition with nothing written down till , historically speaking, quite recently. It was the practice of the Harrapan people or the Saraswati. Once the indo European took over they subsumed the spirituality of the natives and what was not useful they banned. Tantra might be what they banned. It involves free thinking and the smashing of taboos. There are many traditions within Tantra and sometime they are in agreement and sometimes at odds.

According to legend there was an enlightened group of people living in Shambala. A mad man set off a primative bomb that devastated the place. The king and queen took everyone to live underground. Eventually the brother and sister parted ways each developing separate yet related spiritual traditions. In reality there must have been a disaster that sent the people out in different directions. Their culture and influence had a profound impact on the world culture in general.

For a western pagan this is a good primer. Some kabbalistic ideas are brought in for comparison, especially in comparison to chakras and the tree of life. The main deities of Tantra are Shiva and Shakti. Shiva, the male, represents form while the goddess represents the animTing energy. A couple of terms are worthy of note. Brahman is the suprem deity. All other deities are a reflections of him. Atman is the highest spiritual nature of man. Prana is energy. Chakras connect the five bodies of man and act as a nexus for energy.

The book contains good instruction on banishing an area, summoning deity and some sound meditations. Rituals for occasions and purposes are included along with tools you might need. Mantras and bij mantras are included for given purposes. The author spent a lot of t time discussing Shri yantra. A shape representing the goddess.

This book is a great start, you can add subtract as you will. Everything is individual. Namaste


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Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Sacred Whore of Babylon

The Red GoddessThe Red Goddess by Peter Grey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It just goes to show you cannot keep a good goddess down. Much is made of Babalon, sex goddess so revered by Aleister Crowley. Outside of Crowley's work and that of his protégés you may not hear much about Babalon, but fear not she is there. Perhaps the most recent thing we hear about her is thousands of years old, the Book of Revelations, written by John Patmos in some meditative state.

The whore of Babylon is ultimately put down as the most evil thing about. She seduced men with the grail filled with her filth and polluted wine of whoredom. Of course Revelations was written during the time the Romans had control over Judea. They were not talking about Babylon but rather Rome. She was the whore of Babylon. But the whore of Babylon who makes it with a dragon and gives birth to the antichrist was in fact a pagan goddess.

So who was this pervasive goddess who hides silently in the shadows waiting for the right moment to emerge. Now many have confused her with Lilith, various Egyptian goddesses like Isis, Hathor or Sekhment. Of these she is neither. Lilith who lives in a tree and oft associated with owls , snakes and flying demons that suck the life out of men in fact may have been the niece of this goddess. Liliths were also sacred priestesses or concubines of this goddess.

This was a goddess of love and war. She is hot burning passion riding on a lion into battle. She takes any man she desires and lives for sec not necessarily to ha e kids. This goddess had temples everywhere. She challenged death and won to rescue her lover. The siburi sometimes gave men intoxicating el mental like opium,hash, shrooms and alcohol to reach that divine state of bliss.

This books does contain some tips on sex magic and using roses in the ritual. Oops did I forget to tell you who this goddess was? Guess you will ha e to read the book to find out

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Grimoire of Pope Honorious

The Complete Grimoire of Pope Honorius (Hb)The Complete Grimoire of Pope Honorius by David Rankine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Could you believe that Catholic Popes used to practice magic? Yeah that is write they summoned demons, Angels and other spirits to do their bidding. This Grimoire is one of the oust famous. It has had an impact on several other European grimoires. Most notable would be the Red Dragon Grimoire. It maybe have been influenced by the keys of Solomon and the works of Cornelius Agrippa. There were also several addition to this Grimoire.

The Grimoire has it's most value as a historical document to study. The book has several invocations including one to have the book bless the owner. There are several ways of calling quarters and casting a circle depending on how you want too do your working. There are also secrets or folk magic spells on how to win games , cure sicknesses, win over a lover and to dominate a lover. The appendices are rather lengthy and at times they seem to be space fillers. Several entries will say that the spell is mentioned elsewhere.

A big question that remains is how useful is the book. The invocations can used and adopted for those who are pagans r anything but CHristian. Some of the working call for serial days of fasting and some of them call for items that would involve the harm of animals to obtain. Such things are not useful, especially when it comes to hurting animals to get stuff. Fasting is rather difficult. The authors name various intelligences and when to work with them. This is useful.

I myself grind Grimoire magic rather complicated and hard t figure out. I prefer something a bit more on the simple side. Reading vast amounts of material and experimenting can help you figure that out.

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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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