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Monday, September 17, 2018

The Way of the CIA

The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA's Clandestine ServiceThe Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA's Clandestine Service by Henry A. Crumpton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book gives you an insiders view of how the CIA works. Starting off the author explains to the reader the ultimate value of intelligence. Without intelligence you can not win a war and if you are not winning wars then you cannot defend your country. The founding fathers knew the value of great intelligence and espionage.

Today’s policy makers have forgotten the value of good intelligence and espionage. The public does not understand the value,. Oft times the CIA has their budget cut or they are overly scrutinized for what they do. Their are constraints as to what they can do all based on the current politics .

Hank entered the service after three tries and he had no military experience. He had lots of travel experience and had gotten into several fights while abroad. He was lucky to get in.

After training on th farm he was stationed in Africa. Most agents there are very independently and kind of knowledgeable eccentric. Working in Africa he learns what it means to be a case manager and run contacts. He discusses how he vets and grooms people to get info about their government. He talks about the difference between handling a case and be a liaison with different government where in the share information.

Hanks biggest claim to fame was taking down Al Quaida. After Al Quaida bombed two US Embassies. Hank to work with the FBI on investigating Al Quaida and who bombed the Embassy. Hank would end up working for the FBI and he explains the different operating procedure between the two organizations. Later in his career he would lead the CIA against Al Quaida. Ultimately it was another unit the brought down Bin Laden.

The book will open your eyes to the flawed view of our politicians who underestimate the threat that Al Quaida posed. The CIA understood it and had they been listened to it might have been avoided. The Department of Defence is locked in a rigid mentality of state to state war. Now things are much different. If you want the truth about espionage this book is it.

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Friday, September 7, 2018

Stalking the Werewolf

Devil in the CountrysideDevil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are looking for the devil in these pages of historical fiction you won’t find him. What you will find is people acting on base instincts. After all it is people who make the worst monsters.

Set in Germany in the town of Bedburhg there is growing tension between to religious communities. Germany was beset by a civil war between the Catholics and the Lutherans . This civil war lasted from around 1866 to the 1880’s . It was a time when both communities were hounding each other and hurling accusation of satanism and the practice of witchcraft. Some were even accused of being a werewolf. This lead to persecution and unfair imprisonment.

Bed burg had been terrorized by a so called werewolf for decades. The murder of a local girl named Dorothea prompts an investigation. Hans, an investigator goes their to find the werewolf or the killer depending on who that might be. Upon finding the body our investigators question a local farmer named Achterberg about things. The investigation leads to him investigating several farming families and what uncovers is a very complicated web of intrigue

There are broken promises of marriage, false accusations and suspicions. The catholics run the country and it is a crime to be a Protestant. Many Protestant hide under the guise of being Catholic to avoid persecution. Fathers sell their daughters up for personal gain and political ambition. Clergy men engage in the worst of crimes and heinous behavior.

Then there is the mystery of who is the werewolf. The body count racks up. It is mostly Protestant who are disguised as Ca holiest who end up dead. Hans meets a hunter named George who helps kill a wolf and assisted in the investigation. In the end we do not really know who the werewolf really is or even if he exists. Read the end carefully though and I may give you a clue.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Summoning Jinn Made Simple

Jinn Magick: How to Bind the Jinn to do Your BiddingJinn Magick: How to Bind the Jinn to do Your Bidding by Baal Kadmon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book running at 66 pages is more like a pamphlet then a book. Being such as is it the book is a concise instruction guide on how to summon the Jinn and bind them to do your will. One thing I liked about this book is that it entreats the reader to treat the Jinn with care and to be courteous with them. The Jinn are many ways like us. They have a lifespan, although their’s is longer. They have free will and they have bodies. While humans live for maybe up to 100 years the Jinn may live up to thousands. They have bodies of smoke and fire while ours are made of clay. They live in their realm and we have ours although there are times that they intersect.
The Jinn used to be masters of this world. Like us they were very warlike and almost destroyed the planet much like we are doing today. Alah’s angels came in to clean house and isolate them on certain islands. After that mankind was allowed to take over. When Allah created mankind, they were made of clay. Allah had all his angels bow down to the man and everyone did except for Iblis, who was the king of the Jinn. Iblis was allowed to hang out in heaven with the angels and that was a big honor. But he lost that honor and has vowed to vex mankind until judgment day.
The Jinn have different religions as well. Some are Muslims while others are Christians or jews . A few might be pagan and others can be evil Sometimes humans and Jinn have gotten married and produced offspring. Jinn tend to live in abandoned areas, toilets and caves. Jinn have psychic powers and can move real fast. Sometimes Jinn are shape shifter and like to appear as a black dog or cat. There are different classes of Jinn. The first type is the Efrit. These first type are quite wise and are conniving and manipulative. These were Solomon’s Jinn.
The second type of Jinn is Marid or rebellious one. They are large with an imposing presence. They like ritual that involve bodies of water. Wishfulfillers. The third type of Jinn is a ghoul which means to seize. These guys are monsters and one would not wish to deal with them. The fourth type is a Vetala, these guys possess dead people and reanimate them. The last type is a Sila, these guys like us and are quite ready to help.
The Jinn are ruled over by 7 Jinn kings each one corresponding to a day of the week and each one is asked for a different thing. For Sunday it is Al-Mudhib, For Monday it is Murrah al Abayad al Harith, For Tuesday it is Abu Mihriz, For Wednesday it is Barquan Abu al-Adyab, For Thursday it is Shamhurish, For Friday it is Abu Nuh Maimun.

Alter normally consists of at the front a mirror, closer to the operant is a black and white candle one on each side. Then comes your incense and your crystal. For these ritual you do not need a whole of stuff. At the end there are instructions for releasing the Jinn.


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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Scourge of the Blibd God

The Shadow Crucible: The Blind GodThe Shadow Crucible: The Blind God by T.M. Lakomy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gripping story that grabs you and won’t let go until you are through with it. Taking place in Europe the story serves as a crossroads to various streams of spirituality. At he heart of the story is sort of a three way spiritual war between God, Samael and Lucifer. Each one vying for their own position of kingship.

A major pawn in all of this is Estrella or Tsura. She is of twilight people, gifted with special magic abilities, they also follow the old gods. Estrella is a countess who owns a family manor. Back when she was a little girl her family was killed at the same time a certain little girl was . Estrella took her place . Up until now the ruse worked.

In comes Mikhail, a Templar night from royal birth, who acts as a guide and protector for Tsura. Love can complicate things and it sets up a sort of triangle between Mikhail, Tsura and Antariel. Antariel is a fallen angel. In the midst of this war Everyone is after her and her abilities. The church is capturing and torturing the twilight people in order to obtain their gifts, the church has been taken over by Lucifer.

Tsura goes on many adventures to escape the clutches of these demons. Plenty of action and suspense. Story line could use some Improvement and the ending was a bit flat.

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Ethneogenic Spells

Microdosing Magic: A Psychedelic SpellbookMicrodosing Magic: A Psychedelic Spellbook by TOM Hatsis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Surfing in on the movement to reinclude psychedelics into magic and spirituality comes a fun little book by Tom Hatsis that is pact with information. Ethneogenic spirituality involves the use of such substances as Cannabis,Mushroom, DMT and LSD among other such substances. Ethneogenic spirituality is nothing new but rather it is something that is being reintroduced into spiritual paths. The author in this case prefers to use psylloscibin mushroom for his spiritual work.

Carl Sagan , avid cannabis user , once said that we are all. Made of star stuff. Since we have star stuff that means we have magic. You can summon deities or you can use your own star power. The author gives a good explanation on mushrooms. He discusses their benefits, how to find then and other supplements that can further their healing impact. When it comes to how much you take the author has a table of different dose sizes . Micro doses are the smallest acting like vitamins they help to enhance our day or our ritual. Threshold hold doses allow you to stand in the proverbial doorway with one foot in this world and one foot in the other world. Psychadelic doses are larger and place you in the magical realm. But you are not so dosed out that you cannot do magical work. The Hero dose leaves you flat on your back and you are in a state of total surrender.

The first chapters discuss meditation and visualization giving both definition and when to use them in your spiritual practice. Usually you meditate first and then you visualize. Magic itself is work and it is not like the laws of attraction as preached in the “Secret” Magic is not miracle is setting the intention for an improved and better future.

The spells are unique and simple. The author has you make a chart with the days of the week. Depending on your intention you will place a design in the chart with dots. On those dots is when you dose and do your spiritual work. Many of the spells are based on self improvement like breaking addictions, increases creativity , how not to be a jerk etc.

A very fun and informative book, Tom Hatsis has knowledge and he has more books coming which I cannot wait to read. Wish this book was longer cause I want more.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Art of Fluff

The Art of Sigils: Discover Your Own Creatiivity Using Ancient Magickal SymolsThe Art of Sigils: Discover Your Own Creatiivity Using Ancient Magickal Symols by Gina Leslie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a disappointment. It was short and rather limited on content matter. Being close to only 50 pages, I am glad I did not pay to read this book. The author uses sigils in this books for opening the creativity of the individual. Sure as such sigils can increase creativity. The author is quite proud of her artwork and displays it on almost every page of her book. The sigils look nice and they are creative. Yet the book lacked substance. I did not learn anything new from this work. When it comes to sigils I would scour the tomes of Chaos Magick and Austin Osman Spare. I learned nothing from this book.
Perhaps if the author was to do a rewrite she might want to make it longer. She also might want to show her readers how she design sigils or makes them. The book would have been better if there were some techniques on how to use sigils for creativity were thrown in. Of course most people who read this book are into magic and want to manifest something in their lives . Perhaps some of those techniques should be included as well.
I started this book wanting to like it but instead I walked away feeling rather disappointed. I know her community and wanted to leave a more positive review.


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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Utred of Bebbanburg

The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories, #1)The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Made famous by the Netflix series of the same name. This great work of historical tells the story of England before it became the England as we know it today. Back in the day like in the 700's or 800's the Island of England had been divided into kingdoms, among them were Northumbria, mercia, East Anglia and finally Wessex. These were mostly Saxon kingdoms. The Danes during this time period were coming over for two purposes one for conquest and rading and other times to do business. If they were coming for conquest they put a dragon head on their prow to pacify the land spirits.
The story starts out with the Danes just arriving at Bebbanburg. Bebbanburg is a fortress set high on a hill overlooking the sea and it is almost impossible to conquer. The Danes at this point are greatly feared. Utred is the warlord of Bebbanburg, and he sends his oldest son and some warriors to check it out. The oldest son gets killed in battle and his head delivered to Utred. This leaves Osbert as the next their in line. Immediately he is baptized by father Beocca and given a new name, utred.
This idyllic scenario does not last long. The Danes attack Eofric and warlords are called in to fight.In the ensuing battle utred of Bebbanburg is killed and his son captured by Ragnar the fearless. First Utred is a slave but then becomes an adopted son. Living among the Danish Viking young Utred picks up their ways and almost becomes like them. The kingdom's one by one Get overthrown by the Danes. Whilst growing up under Ragnar , the fearless, Utred is bullied by Sven . Sven is the son of a rival warlord. Sven bullying tactics cost him an eye and this sets the stage for vendetta.
The turning point in the story happens when Khirtan, father of Sven massacred Ragnars family. Left to his own devices Utred hires himself out to different warlords and finally ends up in Wessex, the Last Kingdom. From there it is fighting Alfreds wars and commanding his growing Navy. Plenty of intrigue.

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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.