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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

420 the Magical Number

Liber 420: Cannabis, Magickal Herbs and the OccultLiber 420: Cannabis, Magickal Herbs and the Occult by Chris Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Liber 420

Ah the magic of THC and it’s effect on the body, mind and soul. Throughout the ages ethneogen or psychedelic herbs have been used in a variety of spiritual and magical streams in ways we are unfamiliar with. Chris Bennet does more than an awesome job of explaining the role of cannabis in the evolution of the human spirit. But this book delivers so much more. It gives you a very thorough history of magic.

Starting with the Scythian’s use of cannabis opium and ephedra in their elixir called Soma. They also used to burn cannabis seeds in their rites for the dead . The spiritual use of cannabis spread to Iran and India. In India the mixture was called Haoma. It was sacred to Shiva and Kali. In Iran the early Zoroastrianists would melt hashish into the wine and drink it. This produced visions of holiness. The usage of cannabis would proceed to used by the sufis and from the Sufis it spread to the Assassins of Alamut.

The crusades brought on an era of cultural exchane between Europe and the Middle East. One of the things that was brought back was the use of marijuana.the Templars learned a lot from the assassins, almost their entire spirituality may have been taught to the Templars via the assassins.

Cannabis usage was used by the ancient Israelites during the temple times and even during the early era of Christianity. It was an ingredient in their incences and may have been used in the annointing oil. There is evidence that it may have been used in healing potions.

From the Middle East the use would spread to Europe where in it was used by witches , alchemists and mystics.
The book is long and packed with information. If you want to learn more read the book. This tome is a classic and no review could give it proper justice.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Assassins vs Templars

Last Descendants (Assassin's Creed: Last Descendants #1)Last Descendants by Matthew J. Kirby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Part of the Assassins Creed series which is based on the ever successful video games. The Templars and Assassins have been going at it since the beginning of time. Both want peace and the overall benefit of mankind. However, their means of achieving this are 180 degrees different . The assassins wish to achieve this by giving freewill to all of mankind, with each person making their own choices. The Templars want a strong, almost dictator type leader who sets the rules of right and wrong.

Owen lost his father in a bank robbery gone wrong. Believing that his father was framed he goes about trying to find the truth. Tired of dealing with all the negative comments his grandparents have to say about his father , Owen enlists the aid of Javier one of his old chums. Together they go to. A man named Monroe who has a machine that can read memory from DNA.

Turns out Owen and Javier have ancestors that met when Cortez caramel to conquer Mexico. Owen gets more than he bargained for as he and a whole bunch of other kids access their ancestors memory at the same time. All of them had ancestors that were templars or assassins. Together they go back to the Civil War era to find a lost relic that could grant the holder certain powers. The Templars want it and the Assassins want it. Monroe is determined that neither shall have it. It is an ascendancy event with a prelude to more adventure.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

The Magic Carpet Over Alaska And Israel.

Alaska Over Israel: Operation Magic Carpet, the Men and Women Who Made it Fly, and the Little Airline That CouldAlaska Over Israel: Operation Magic Carpet, the Men and Women Who Made it Fly, and the Little Airline That Could by Darragh Metzger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A true account of one of the most daring rescue operations in modern times. After the conclusion of World War II when Hitler was defeated and it was learned that 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust, the British Mandate of Palestine was in questionable status and Jews all over the world were clamoring to get into the British Mandate Palestine. One of those groups was the Yemenite Jews. The airlift brought 0ver some 50,000 Jews who had lived for thousands of years in primitive conditions. The story of this airlift is told by one of the daughters of a pilot and a stewardess who worked on that Operation Magic Carpet.
Told from a pilot’s point of view, the story tells the background of Warren Metzger and his wife Marian Metzger, both of whom met and married while working on Operation Magic Carpet. The story of how Alaska airline got up and running is told as well. Going from a fledgling airline trying to get more charters and flights not only in the general Alaska area but also throughout the continental US. Alaska airlines would run roughshod over the complaints of more established airlines who complained that Alaska Airlines was cutting into their territory. Mr. Wooten would smooth talk many people with liquor and cigarettes into making a deal. Then there was Mr. Marshall who was the CEO but took all the company profits and did not contribute a dime into the company.
Alaska airline accepted the offer to help Israel bring in the Yemenite Jews. Using run down transportation planes they would rip out the benches and chairs to make as much room as they could. Engines were retrofitted and fuel tanks were added on. The Yemenite Jews themselves had never flown in an airplane before nor had they ever seen one. They did not know how to use a faucet or a toilet. They ended up doing their business in the back of the plane. They even lit fires in the back of the plane to keep warm.
The journey for the Jews was hazardous. No longer safe in their villages, as Arab anger rose against them with every story of an Arab defeat in Israel/Palestine. According to the book the Arab were quite capable of killing every man woman and child in a village should their ire be raised. Jews were limited with what they could bring out and what they could sell. A long the way they were often way laid by bandits or people who would just kill Jews. Once the arduous journey by foot was over and they reached Aden they had to wait in the Hashed camp. Security was tense and the number of refugees was swelling. Once the planes took off into the sky they were often fired at by both Arab armies and Israeli armies. Rarely getting hit but very frightening. If their over worked and under maintained plane were unlucky enough to go down in Arab territory everyone would be killed.
Money was often tight both for the airline and the pilots. Often times the company did not have funds to issue paychecks or buy the fuel needed to fly the planes. This meant that pilots would buy fuel from their own pockets. They also has to pay for lodging out of their own pocket or sleep in the cockpit which they did many times. Finding a place to refuel was challenging enough as they could not land in any Arab country but had to fly long routes through Cypress and Asmara. An exciting read for those who like history of the Middle East, Israel and a gutsy Alaska Airlines.


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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Journey to Westeros

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the book that started it all. Song of ice and fire starts off with the assassination of John Aaron, Kaitlyn Starks brother and Caitlin stark is married to Ned Stark. Something is afoot in the land of Westeros, realm of the seven kingdoms. After hearing the word of the assassination kingdoms are thrown into media turmoil. Robert Baratheon in the overall king visits Winterfell the home of Ned Stark. The visit does not bode well but rather leads to a series of adventure that will culminate into a war of all the kingdoms.

Treachery is afoot as Bran, Ned Starks son is pushed from the heights of a building after observing something he was not meant to see . The king appoints Ned as his royal hand, a job that Ned does not want. Most that go down to Kings Landing do not come back. Ned find an uncomfortable truth that could cost him his life.
When Robert Baratheon dies in a hunt , that is when the game of thrones begins.

Sansa and Arya, Ned StRks daughters are trapped in kings Landing. Arya young and bratty manages to escape while Sansa is trapped in a marriage to the cruel boy King Joffrey. Robb Stark, is left in charge of Winterfell, and must fend off a vicious attack lead by the Lannister family. Meanwhile the other Baratheon brother are fighting to claim the throne. What truth did Ned Stark find out?

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

A History of Wallachia

Mircea the Old: Father of Wallachia, Grandfather of DraculaMircea the Old: Father of Wallachia, Grandfather of Dracula by A.K. Brackob
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mircea the Old

The land of Dracula has always been an area of turbulence both politically and miliatraily. The name of this land has been mistakenly called Transylvania, but it's real name was Wallachia. At times this land was called Dacia, Cumania and other names. Now it is part of Romania. The orignal inhabitants were called Vlach which may have meant shepherd. Which would make sense because most areas were small villages with wood huts and the forts were also made of wood. When invader came the inhabitatnt would hide in the forests and hide keeping them sage from dangers. Many people came through this land over the centuries. Ethnic groups like saxon, and slavs came in and blended with the locals and of course leaving their imprint. The Saxon helped and in fact built some of the first major cities like Brasov
The area also housed renegade and schismatics from other realms of Europe. Such groups woud have included political exiles, religious renegades and some of the Knights Templar. At times other Knightly groups from Europe would arrive there for various military purposes. Political exiles from Hungary would end up in Wallachia which would troubles between the two realms. A little bit later for that.
The first founder of the Basarb Dynasty was called the Black voivode. There is speculation tht he was of Turkish or Tatar in origin. The name of the Black voivode was Thocomer, his some was Basarab. It is storngly believed that the black voivode was an ousider not native to the Wallachian realm.
During this time period the Christian powers such as Hungary, Byzantium, and Transyvania were at odds with each other. The tatars or the Golden Horde arrived and they conquered lots of territory. These tatars on certain occasions converted to Christianity. They were a turkic mongolian people. A combination of them and the Slavs helped form the Nation of Bulgaria. Basarab for his part had several alliances with these Turkik people. Yet there was also a treaty with Hungary which went pretty well save that Wllachia was harboring undesirables. By an large Basarab was catholic. He married a women of French origin named Margaret. Religion to him/was for political expediency as was marriage back in those times.
Relations began to change between Hungaray and Wallachia after an illfated military venture with Bulgaria. Bulgrai attacked Serbia and the Serbians won. This left Basaab week and the Hungarians moved in. Basarab made several overtures to the Hungarian king which were rebuffed. After some nobles encouraged the Hungarian king to accept he did so. In the end as the Hungairain troops were leaving Basarab ambushed them killed them. This was the battle of Posada.
Bssarabs son Nicholas Alexander ruled alongside him for a bit. Nicholas Alexander was also Catholic. During his tenure Tatar power was in decline and the Bulgarians were weakened. Teodora Nicholas Alexander's sister was divorced from Bulgarias leader. This ended a political alliance. Nicholas Alexander realined with Hungary. While accepting Hungarian overlordship , in order to guaruntee his autonomy he made alliances with the Orthodox Church. After a revolt from a Romanian viovode , Nicholas Alexander broke away from Hungary for the rest of his reign.
vladislav was Nicholas Alexanders son who took over after he died. During Vladislav`s tenure the Ottomans gained a foothold in southern Europe. the Ottomans were intent on seizing Christian Europe. Europe at this time was very divided as their were schisms in the church. The Turks on the other hand were unified. After Nocholas's death, Hungary wanted to attack wallachia, but instead of attacking wallachia they veered to Bulagaria and made conquest there. This altered the balance of power. THe Byzantines in vain sought European support against Turkish agression. Wallachia seems to have gotten back in alignment with Hungary. Bulgrai and Turkey attacked Hungary and Wallachia proved to be a valuable ally for Hungary. Wallachia and Hungry would have religious diferences later on.
The rest of Mircea's reign was a balance of various powers agaist one another in an arena of shifting alliances. At times Mircea would side with Hungary and at other times he would side wit the Ottommans. His strategies included pacification, interfering with Ottoman politics and breaking his word and siding with the stronger in a conflcit if it benefited him. Once he helped place an Ottoman leader on the throne in a conflcit with his brother. It was a fruitful plan but ultimatley that leader would be deposed and Mircea would submit bak to the Ottoman`s rule. Once he did this his rule was quiet until the end of his days. Being a wise politician he supported the Orthodox church by funding monasteries and churches. He also suppported the Catholic church and made sure the religious leader he backed reported strictly to Rome and not hungary. Despite the fact that Christendom was under threat by the Ottoman peril, they were very disunited. France and England were at war. There were schisms in the church and the countries had their own internal issues to face.
At the end of the day Wallachia stood on it`s own. Shrewed ledership kept the area safe from attack and allowed them independence. After Mircea passed other powers would interfere with Wallachian politics by backing one or some other pretender to the throne. No room for honest politicians in this realm. Shrewed ones only.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Let the Devil Speak

The Devil's BibleThe Devil's Bible by Allan Lavey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Let the devil speak it is his turn at last. This is one great book but there is nothing devilish about it. It is nothing less than a very magical tome that bespeaks of our true potential as human being. Know you this human being you are not some miniscule creature crawling on the face of the earth but rather you are a god unto yourself. If you dare to read this book and apply its life lesson you will be a liberated being who can reach your potential. Indeed this book has many messages.
Since I got from memory without referencing the book after reading it I will share some of the messages that I received but please bear in mind that this book contains so much more. Perhaps the most poignant message is reaffirming how powerful and how important we really are. Our mere presence creates such an impact on the world at large that it is almost impossible to measure. The author has called this the Nexus theory or the Chaos theory. There is also the message that fees us from the opinion of other. Worrying about others opinion of us makes us slaves to their point of view. Shall we talk about people who we think are friends, many may not be true they want to be with you not because they like or love but because they want to use you. Others will pretend to keep us down and prevent us from rising to our true potential. Those that keep us down we need to let go of them and move on….push forward. Don’t get caught up in the miniscule conflicts that bog us down leave those aside and concentrate on your own wonderful being. There are exercise contained therein to help achieve calm and relaxation.
Towards the end we do hear the devil speak although he is not the devil rather he is Lucifer the Light Bringer. He never fell from Heaven , he is still at the right hand of God. The arch angel and our guardian angels all have our best interests in mind. They protect us and they teach us. The deities exist also and are expressions of the divine. To be honest though the authors do tell us to get closer to god. He is the source of all. There are several prayers to God, angels and few for the devil.

At the books end there are instructions for a magical bath and clearing out your house. If interested let me know or better yet get the book. The instruction are simple and easy to follow. This is a blessing because many times magic books make things so complex. There are prayers for just about everything and instruction on how to charge a sigil. At the end are some example of sigils that you can use.

This is a tome of liberation. Remember that magical workers connect with the divine the force of creation and they help create the world in their own image. Remember that the devil is not the evil guys waiting around the corner to mess you up. The church fathers needed a boogey man to scapegoat all our sins. A figment of some twisted old man’s imaginations. Be free do not let guilt hold you back or down ask for forgiveness and if one has wronged you be sure to forgive as well. Society tries to keep [us down but this book will help you rise to heights of spiritual greatness. By the way my wife leafed through the book and wanted to read it when I was done. That is a first.


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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Path of the Jewish Mystic

Path of the Kabbalah (Patterns of World Spirituality/Paths)Path of the Kabbalah by David Sheinkin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This man has definitely sat on the shoulder of giants and seen far into the distance . Not a bad piece of work for a medical doctor who is not a rabbi. No less the way he writes makes sense and he relays some pretty heavy concepts down to layman terms.

Starting off it is mentioned that Jewish mysticism and the path of Torah are just one of many paths one can traverse upon to reach the pinnacle of Godhead. Systems can even be developed much like they are in New Age movement but these systems which are hodge podge of things taken from different spiritual paths. This could limit their effectiveness as they lack a proper system of checks and balances.

Judaism itself is rather deep. Most are familiar with the written Torah which consists of the five Books of Moses, Prophets and the Writings. There is more further explanation was contained in the Oral Torah. Kabbalah not mentioned in the Torah is the inner working of the Universe.

Much of Kabbalist knowledge is not contained in the Torah. FOr example take the word for God, he is called the ain sof, that without end. This epithet is not mentioned once in the Bible. The other name for god like Elokim, Adoni, Jehovah are not names of god but rather names of his attributes he created in order to work with the physical world. The top three are too holy for us humans so we only deal with the lower seven. These attributes are called the Sefirote. They are what god uses to interface with us. Ain Sof or god is beyond male and female or even the spiritual. It is unchanging. THe sefirote interact with us, change us and are in turn changed by us. Gods power is too strong for us to be near to so there has to be distance like the Earth from the sun. To get his power for our benefit we need step down stations so it is not too strong for us.

Most of existence is fillled by the Ain Sof or the light of Ain Sof. To make room for creation God had to constrict himself. It left a small dot which would fill our realm, the spiritual realm and five different universes. It gets complicated. Needless to say we are in the realm action Assiyut. Too dwell in other realms would put us too close to God which would be bad for us. Then fifth universe is Adam Kadmon or primordial man. That is in charge of everything .

In the beginning the Sephirote broke apart because the light was too intense .They were reformed as five partzufin. THe sephirote exist forever on the spiritual realm. They interact in combinations. Every Sephora contains all the other sephirote.

This short book chock full of information is only 192 pages. This book is excellent for those wishing to get their feet wet in Mysrtical Judaism.It is also. Excellent for intermediate learners. Great explanation of concepts and some cool mediation’s at the end.

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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.