Moon Phases


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"The Pagan Man" by Isaac Bonewits

When people think of Paganism often times the word Wicca comes to mind and of course Wicca which worships the Goddess is considered a woman's religion. Hence most people think of Paganism as a woman's thing. However Pagan men are very involved both inside of Wicca and out. There is Druidism, Astruar, Kemetics, Santeria, Voodoo and a slew of other Pagan religions out there still being followed.

The fact of the matter is Paganism was birthed thanks to the efforts of some very strong men. Several notables would be Alister Crowley called the "Great Beast". He was an alumni of the "Golden Dawn" system and went on to found the "Order of Theleme" which is based on Egyptian Paganism. Alister would have strong impact of Gerald Gardener who founded Wicca. He borrowed several concepts from Crowley and employed them into Wicca. Charles Leland did a study on Italian witches or Streghas in the Northern part of Italy. His scholarship maybe shakey by today's standards but he made an impact. Sir James George Frazier wrote the Golden Bough which would be helpful in identifying trends in Paganism or patterns. Raymond Buckland founded Seax Wicca where in a man could act as a priest instead of using a priestess in drawing down the moon. Several other Pagan men are discussed in this chapter like Ober Dell and Scott Cunningham.

Bonewits is a scholar par excellence. He discussed several types of Pagan trends if you will. The first being Paleopaganism this is following the original pagan religions as they were practiced in ancient times. Such pure Paganism really does not exist anymore as time and religious coercion have lead to them not being practiced. Very common now a days is MesopaGANISM THIS IS WHEN different religions influence each other and start soe thing of a blend. Hinduism and Buddhism would be such. The Native AMericans, African slave and Irish servant worked together. Their ideas cross pollinated. In this day Neo-Paganism is a new trend. Resurrecting an old faith based on todays standards or modifying a Mesopagan faith. One example of a new Religion would be the Church of all Worlds found by Ober Zell. It is based on the story "Stranger in a Strange Land" Finally there is re constructionist which uses scholarship to find out about ancient ritual and practice them that way. this guys tend to frown on organized clergy or leadership.

Bonewits then goes to examine the different religion out there. The variety caan be astounding along with their denominations. If Wicca does not cut if for you with it's female centeredness then you can be a Druid, Astruar or Kemetic follower. Bonwits does say that there is an undercurrent of eroticism in Wicca where as the Modern Druids open thee gateway andd focus an thee deity. Santeria and some of the West African religions may not be too open to Caucasians due to past racial discrimination. Astruar or Norse religion has some follower that feel only Northern European should be admitted. There is some homophobia in their ranks.

More important than the history is the analysis of role played by men in the Pagan movement. Priest and wizard are the first chapter. Priests are everything to the congregants : leaders, advisors and counselors. Bonewits laays claim that being aa priest is a calling or something you are born to do. Wizard are those who study the arcane arts sometimes in solitaire. They use magic and herbs.

In every society there has been a conflict between clergy and warriors. In the North and in Roman society the Warriors won out. In England and Ireland there was a balance. When the Romans came they could not conquer the Northern Europeans. They conquered the brits and Celts by wiping out the Druids. Islam helped to wipe out the Ancient Egyptian Religion.

Warriors and Artist are also discussed. The author gives a run down of names of the various artist that are inspired by their faith. Warriors while not violent believe it is an obligation to defend someone whoo is weaker or in trouble even at risk to their own life. a couple pagan faiths even have warrior codes. Hunting is done only for food and reverence is given to the spirit for providing the food. All the animal is used.

With regards to homosexuality let us say it is highly tolerated in the pagan community in general andd that ancient societies were very tolerant of certain forms of homosexuality. In fact eveen some of the ancient Gods practiced it.

Pagan men and women must respect each other as the God and Goddess incarnate There is also discussion on child rearing and there are spell in the final chapters. Excellent book I look forward to reading more of this author's work.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Book of Shadows by Phyllis Currot

Back in the 70’s at age 25 Phyllis Currot was in her last year of law school. At age 25 she begin having prophetic visions and dreams that start coming true. In her dreams she hears the chanting dedicated to the Goddess. Isis, Astarte, Hecate, Diana, Demeter, Kali Inanna. She meets with Isis and starts doing research. Later she will move to Washington DC to fight organized crime for a labor union. The firm she works for eventually closes it’s doors and Phyllis returns to New York. While in Washington she works hard and soon loses her prophetic vision.

Back in New York Phyllis links up with a friend who introduces her to a coven of Wiccan follower. Her friend is a solitary witch. The coven is an al female coven dedicated to the Goddess that meets in the back of an occult shop. Phyllis decide to join. Along the way she is instructed by three people. Maia, Nonna and Belonna.

Phyllis also lands a new job at a record company doing contracts. Her boss Mr. Hadus is a typical powerful executive with inferiority issues underneath his macho exterior. He is demanding, verbally abusive and predatorial. The job is stressfull.

While in the circle Phyllis learns about meditation, casting spells and the philosophy of the Goddess. The true aim of magick is control over oneself not over others or the universe. Phyllises introduction into the coven prompts her on a journey into the history of witchcraft and how witches were persecuted.. She also learns how the world once worshipped the Goddess and women were Shaman and leadership. The world was peaceful until the male dominated religions took over and degraded the woman’s position

As her life progresses Phyllis discovers along with her friend Jeanette the need to do a banishing spell against Jeanette’s ex husband. They do a spell invoking a West African Goddess. They make a poppet and put it in a icebox. The man later gets arrested in a drug deal by federal agents. She does a banishing ritual against her boss by imagining pentagrams on his door. It works an he leaves her alone. She trains for a year with her mentors and during that year she does find the strengths to leave her job.

At the end she must find a magical name for herself.. She finds it in Central park and at first thinks it is prosperina but later calls herself Aradia. Excellent book filled with anecdote for newcomer to the craft.. Several useful techniques as well.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sabbatarian Prayer

"Arise messianic king [Sabbatai Zevi], and behold the congregation of the of the Lord like unto a flock without a shepherd . . . . [Implore thy heavenly father, O king messiah, saying:]

"I am today a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief , smitten of God and afflicted, brought as a lamb to the slaughter: What have I achieved bearing these griefs and sorrows and atoning for Thy children, since they are all bound in chains and in the fetters of exile. O Lord, turn not away the face of Thine anointed, and let Thy hand be established with him; and in Thy name shall his horn be exalted and be open manifest to Israel Thy holy people, to save them that are sunk in the deep abyss and to bring out of the darkness them that have been lost and polluted among the nations, to perfect the world in the kingdom of the Almighty, and the Lord shall be king over all the earth [and in that day, the Lord shall be One and His name shall be One]. -- Hemdath Yamim


This prayer, from the Sabbatian Prayer Book Hemdath Yamim, was written and recited by the 17th century Donmeh after Sabbatai Zevi's "conversion" to Islam. It is based on Nathan of Gaza's Kabbalistic interpretation of that act in which it is apostrophized into a Tikkun -- a mystical "repair" -- by which the messiah, namely Sabbatai Zevi, has entered the abyss of the qelippah to save the Holy Sparks which have fallen into it, and thereby "repair the face of God," once again making Him One and His name One. Note also how messiah Sabbatai Zevi is compared in this prayer to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, just as Christians make the same comparison with Christ -- and whereas the latter's ultimate sacrifice of himself was by crucifixion on the cross, the former's was by the Tikkun of holy apostasy to Islam for which he, like Jesus before him, became "a thing despised and rejected by men." (Isaiah 53:3)


Where Fairies Live

Author: Christopher Aldridge
Posted: February 14th. 2010
Times Viewed: 1,199

I think it’s a shame that we live in a society that makes fun of adults who believe in Faeries or who tell of an encounter they have had with them. I am a Wizard, A Hellenist and a practitioner of Witchcraft, and most who know me know that I believe in Faeries and other magickal creatures very strongly.

Now I won’t try to force my beliefs on others, but I do wish people would stop trying to label believers like me as “delusional.” If I don’t try to force my beliefs on you, don’t try to force yours on me, or anyone else for that matter. To assume that someone is “stupid, ” “crazy, ” or “delusional, ” because they don’t believe the same as you, is arrogant. It’s all right to have debates, but don’t be disrespectful.

I think that people who do not believe in Faeries have this fallacy that because they have not experienced proof, that no one else could possibly have, and therefore Faeries cannot exist. They compare their experiences to that of all people. But the fact of the matter is that there are countless sightings by adults from all over the world who have had encounters with Faeries and little folk.

The people I have talked to who have encountered Faeries are, like myself, perfectly sane. One such website where you will find many Faerie sightings is:

However, I cannot really blame the average individual for thinking that belief in Faeries is silly or insane for someone who is an adult. After all, our society has conditioned people to certain beliefs. As humans, we tend to establish our own laws in regards to what is possible and impossible. We do this while not realizing that we did not create this universe, nor do we control it, we are but a part of it. We should not be so quick to assume that we know what is possible and impossible when we are but a link in this chain of life.

I am 25 years old, and unfortunately, some people have made fun of me for believing in Faeries, and I’m sure they even believe that I am insane or delusional. I do know other Pagans and Witches who don’t think I’m crazy for believing though, and some people have even commended me for having the courage to basically broadcast my beliefs in the Fae. The bottom line is that I am not ashamed of my beliefs. Of course, Faeries are but one part of my belief system, but I hold that belief strongly.

Many people don’t believe in Faeries because they have never seen or encountered them, which I can understand, because some people are just the type who only believes what they see. So why would people who believe in the Fae be labeled as insane or delusional for believing in something they have seen? I think that we have certainly discovered that just because you can’t see something, does not mean it’s not there. But many people have seen Faeries. There are several books published on Faeries, including how to communicate and work with them.

Throughout history, many cultures have believed in and even feared Faeries. They took the belief in the Fae and the honor and appeasement of the little folk very seriously.
You will find that there are different beliefs held by different individuals as to who or what Faeries actually are. If you’re like me, you believe that Faeries are literal beings, real magickal creatures that are either individuals on their own, or are reincarnations of the dead. I believe that they can travel to our realm and interact with humans if they choose. And I believe they have great magickal powers and abilities.

While some believe that they live on the Astral Plane, I do not believe that that is the only realm they inhabit. To me, Faeries can be guardians of certain places and things in nature and friends to humans who respect them.

Every spring and summer, I keep a Faerie garden outside my home to welcome good Faeries and their good energies into my life. Even when the garden dies in the winter, I do not remove it. Now of course I do not and would never place the Faeries on the same level or above the Gods and Goddesses, but I do believe in respecting the Fae. But I do not worship them. You can show respect without worshipping.

I also hold the belief that the Fae are but not limited to reincarnations of the dead. I think that humans can reincarnate to the Faery Realm. I believe that Faeries can also be the creations of the Gods and Goddesses as well. I also happen to hold the belief that Faeries can also be nature spirits, as in spirits of nature herself. Such as woodland Faeries, water Faeries, air Faeries, etc.

I am very careful to not offend the Faeries. I have read about times when people have paid dearly for greatly offending or angering a Faery. Now there are many types of Faeries, and probably depending on who you talk you, some would advise you to not contact certain Faeries due to their nature towards humans, that’s why when I call on them I make sure to call on the good Faeries who have only good intentions.

And then I think some people, unlike me, believe that Faeries are archetypal, symbolizations and personifications of natural things and magickal and unknown things or places in nature. Some may even believe that the names of some Faeries are the keys to unlocking universal energies, such as Faery energy. And that may very well be so.

Keep in mind that there are different kinds of Faeries. Faeries are not only little people with wings that we commonly conjure up when we think of the Fae. But there are, in fact, many types of Faeries. Some are friendly to humans; some are absolutely not. I would say that I think one of my favorite types of Faeries are the Gnomes.

Gnomes are dwarfs and Faeries. They tend to live deep within forests. Legend has it that they live under old oak trees, and are known to be helpful to humans and animals. They are also guardians of the gardens. They can also protect you and are intelligent beings. The common depiction of the Gnome that is short little people with pointy hats, many believe that that depiction is actually correct.

To me, the Gnomes are very charming and lovable. I know people who have seen Faeries and some tell spectacular tales as to their encounters, and sightings continue to come in from all over the world. I would say that one of the most spectacular stories of a Faerie encounter has come from Herbie Brennan, who is a very successful author from Ireland. His video where he tells about his experiences can be found here:

I also constructed a Faery Garden Blog a long time ago to post Faery encounters from people I know or anyone who is willing to send one in to me. There are not many there, but the ones that are will be charming and interesting to you, I think.

Will we as the human race not even consider the possibility that Faeries exist? Is it so insane to believe in something that so many people have seen? At the least, we should stop ridiculing people who do believe in the Fae. We should always keep an open mind. And if you believe, don't be afraid to express it.

Hail the Olympians!
And may everyone be blessed!

Copyright: 2009 by Christopher Aldrid...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Yemeni Families of Jewish Descent


The family Bahasuan or Ba-Hashwan (Ba-Hashwan meaned from Aaly Hashwan or Hashwan’s descendant in Hadramout ,its used to say “Bin/Ben” or with the Hadrami’s style “Ba”, its meaned as “descendant” ).Because Ba-Hashwan can not written with “Al” in front of it, because the word’s root is “masdar” (not origin Arab word) but its Ta’rib (Arabised by Arabian).
According most of the sources (oral historical sources) “Ba-Hashwan” meaned from Hashwaien / Hashwaan ( the second month in Jewish calendar), but there is another opinion that mentioned it as the month light from their hometown in Kufah, Iraq and their month light too when they arrived in Hadramaut.
According to Prof Dr.Abdulrahman al-Amoudy from Georgetown University, America he is prefer to regard “Ba-Hashwan” as a family who used two calendars ( Jewish and Arab calendar).

According to Habib Thahir Alhaddad Singapura (ex-Mufti Singapore) Ba-Hashwan’name only recoignized when they just arrived in Hadramaut, so before they came to Hadramout they had a different name. Before Ba-Hashwan arrived in Hadramaut, the others jewish family was already lived there since long time but they were still in Judaism. (read Tarikh Hadramauth by Sayyid Salim Ashatiry and Jewish Emigration from the Yemen 1951-98: Carpet Without Magic (SOAS Centre for Near & Middle Eastern Studies) by Reuben Ahroni).
The Bahasuan/Bahashwan Jewish family came to Yemen together with Imam Ahmad Almuhaajir (the leader of Arab sayyid) because the Jewish got intimidated from barbarism Abbasiyah’s dynasty.

Wikipedia site, free encyclopedia. “History of the Jews in Iraq”,:
“…..The government meanwhile accomplished all it could toward the complete humiliation of the Jews. All non-believers—Magi, Jews, and Christians—were compelled by Al-Mutawakkil to wear a badge; their places of worship were confiscated and turned into mosques; they were excluded from public offices, and compelled to pay to the calif a tax of one-tenth of the value of their houses. An utterance of the calif Al-Mu'tadhel (892-902) ranks the Jews, as state servants, after Christians

We don’t find yet the exact year of the coming this Jewish family (Bahasuan/Bahashwan) to Yemen, but its around of 62 H, Muharrom when Sayidina Husein bin Ali bin Abi Thalib slaughtered.

The Jewish merchants ( Bahasuan-Bahashwan) came to Karbala in the next day after the massacre of Karbala happened. They were so shocked when they saw a group of soldier was showing a man head on a spear, and it made them so curious and they ask to the soldiers “is that a robber’s leader head??” but one of the soldier answered it easily “No..its my prophet’s grandson head!!”
The Jewish merchants (Bahasuan-Bahashwan) shocked with the answer, so they asked again ”are you still in his grandfather religion?”, the soldier said “ Yes,we are ”
One of Jewish merchant said”Now, we are understand that there are two cursed creatures in the world!!..the first is the devil who deny God’s order…and the second is you!!..the Arabs!”.
“You are the worst creature after the respect your prophet, but destroy his family in the same time.
In our home town in Yerussalem, there is a tenth descendant of Yoriakh the Yesua’s donkey helper, and we always ask his prays and advices to us,…so we cannot imagine if Yesua got a child or descendant….how big our respect to him?.
(IT'S of bene anusim family ??)
It mentioned in some old Arab’s history books that the leader of Jewish merchants (Bahasuan-Bahashwan) was Sameer ben Amran ben Yarkhud.,

In the book of Tarikh Karbala by Dr. Jawad Mughniah, it meantioned that more than 1000 soldiers went home soon to Iraq and regretting to what they have done to Hussein, after their meeting with Bahasuan-Bahashwan.
And the Jewish merchants converted to Moslem and became the followers of Ahlul Bait for centuries until they moved to Yemen together with Imam Ahmad Al-Muhajir!. And there is no proof that Bahasuan-Bahashwan came from a single it meaned they have many ancestors. And from Bahasuan-Bahashwan influences, the sayyid family could be accepted in Yemen.

A source said :
© William Gervase CLARENCE-SMITH,
SOAS, University of London,, “Middle Eastern entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia c1750-c1940”: said:

“…..Not all major Hadhrami ship-owners in Java were Sayyid, for the Ba Hashwan also
possessed several European rigged ships in Gresik and Batavia by 1850 (Broeze 1979: 266). In the
1860s, Muhammad b. c Uthman Ba Hashwan did a flourishing trade in horses, transported from
Sumba to Java in one of his ships (Parimartha 1995: 214). This family was drawn from the Maskin
social stratum, the most lowly in Hadhramaut's free population. That said, the Ba Hashwan
belonged to a 'bourgeois' group, who claimed to have immigrated from Iraq together with the
founder ancestor of Hadhrami Sayyid families (Berg 1886: 49-50).”

There is something that I have to say, in Al-Qur’an and Bible..its said that Jewish people is a choosen people (nahnu syi’ibillah al-mukhtar), that’s why we can see that Bahasuan-Bahashwan family control many business and most of them are the hard workers and intelligent in their job, not like the Arabs.

This is the Society-stratum in Yemenite Moslem since centuries ago:

1). Al-Kathiryah (Noble family) : the family are :
bin Thalib, Al-Katiri, etc.

2). Sayyid (brahmana) Mohammed’s family, from Al-Husein(Husainy) Imam Ahmad Al-Muhajir’s descendant and Al-Hasan(al-Hasny) Hasan Mutsanna’s descendant.: the family are :
Al-Attas, Al-bar, Assegaf, etc.

3). Shuyukh or Mashaa’eh or Mashaayekh (religion’s scholars : the family area :
Al_Baraaja, Al-Abdad, Ba’abad, Albajber, Albawaazier, Albasmeleh, Baaisa , Bafadhal ,etc .

4). Dha’if shared of four groups :
a- Qabily / Qabilah, many of small Arab families: the family are:
Bawazier, Bin Mahfud, etc.

b- Qibsy / Gibsy (nomaden families) many of them came from India such as :Assanaakir ( Bin Sungkar) is sugar Merchants (sukkar) from Hindustan .their tribes are Dahman, Al-Urmie, Hourah, Al-Ghurfie etc.

Persian Love Odyssey

Was the story of Tristan and Iseult, famous in the West as a tale of doomed passion, actually borrowed from a Persian love poem? Kanishk Tharoor wanders the strange forest where stories travel across cultures.

Vis and Ramin
Fakhraddin Gorgani (translated from the Persian by Dick Davis)
Penguin Classics

We are very familiar today with the transmission and appropriation of stories around the globe. From the films of Akira Kurosawa (like Ran, which recasts Shakespeare’s King Lear in feudal Japan) to Opera Jawa (an Indonesian musical version of the Indian epic the Ramayana), recent decades have witnessed the accelerating migration of narrative across cultural borders. But in this globalised age, it is far too easy to forget the links and exchanges that have bound the world since antiquity. This older movement of stories is far more difficult to track.

In the deep past, trails of parchment and ink plunge into strange forests or disappear altogether, abandoning the lonely scholar in a wilderness of unknowing. How does one, for example, understand the gluttonous Cyclops, whose swollen eye appeared famously in Homer’s Odyssey, in the adventures of Sindbad in the Arabian Nights, and in disparate places across the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Central Asia? Did the story of the Cyclops spread from Homeric myth to the world at large? Or did Odysseus’s Cyclops stalk the imaginations of Mediterranean Greeks at the same time as a similar beast lurked in the shadows and nightmares beyond the campfires of the Central Asian steppes?

Such uncertainties make all the more intriguing the fresh translation of Vis and Ramin, a love poem originally composed in the 11th century by the Persian poet Fakhraddin Gorgani. While very much rooted in the world of its composition, Vis and Ramin bears striking similarities to Tristan and Iseult, the chivalric tale of doomed romance thought to have been first written by the French poet Beroul in the 12th century. Tristan and Iseult remains influential in western culture, having inspired many re-imaginings, an opera by Wagner and a handful of films, most recently an unfortunate and utterly abject Hollywood flop produced by Ridley Scott.

Since the turn of the 19th century, some European scholars have mooted a possible direct connection between Beroul’s tale and Vis and Ramin, arguing that they bear too many resemblances to be merely coincidental. Speculation persists despite the lack of evidence of textual transmission. Dick Davis, the translator and editor of the new edition of Vis and Ramin, suggests a novel etymological connection, arguing that the name “Iseult” could have been a natural growth of the name “Vis” after a journey through the Persian, Arabic and French pronunciations.

Both Vis and Ramin and Tristan and Iseult are poems of courtly love under duress. They feature love triangles involving a curmudgeonly monarch (Mobad in the former, Mark in the latter), his young and beautiful wife (Vis and Iseult), and her strapping lover (Ramin and Tristan) who happens to be the monarch’s brother or close relative. The poems evoke parallel worlds of princely activity, where nobles spend their days in utopian decadence, scouring the hills and woods on the hunt, gorging on a universe of flesh in daily banquets, and drinking gurgling rivers of wine, all under the benign gaze of fawning doe-eyed ladies. This idyll is disrupted by illicit romance. The hero falls for the heroine; the feudal principle of loyalty to one’s liege is trumped by transcendent love. Readers may be surprised by the suggestion that this familiar European milieu of opulence and passion could be traced to Iran, a country more associated today with austere religiosity than sensual luxury.

The two tales also emerged in and engaged with similar historical contexts. Gorgani wrote his poem three centuries after the conquest of Iran by Muslim forces. The intervening period witnessed the conversion of most of the Persian-speaking world to Islam and the interweaving of Arab and Persian literary and poetic traditions. Yet Gorgani made a very conscious turn to the past, with the repeated invocation of pre-Muslim Zoroastrian deities and demons, of fire temples, and of other aspects of pagan worship and tradition. Alongside Ferdousi’s Shahnameh (the famous Persian “Book of Kings” written around the turn of the 11th century), Vis and Ramin projected a growing sense of Iranian identity in the Muslim era.

In Britain, Tristan and Iseult also facilitated a turn to the mythic past at the behest of a groping idea of nationhood. The poem takes place in Cornwall in southwest England and Brittany in northwest France, realms of pagan fantasy and adventure. It occupies the same legendary landscape as the tales of King Arthur and Merlin. After the Norman invasion of England in 1066, the Anglo-French rulers of their newly conquered land appealed to the myth and magic of such tales, which rooted a distinctive sense of identity in the indigenous, pre-conquest past.

While still a celebrated and fairly well-known tale, Vis and Ramin occupies a peculiar position in the Persian canon. Gorgani’s lovers are small figures in a pantheon of giants. From Turkey to India, it is couples of poetic renown like Shirin and Khusrau or Laila and Majnun who embody the joy and anguish of love. Davis, an accomplished and well-respected scholar of Persian poetry, argues that what sets Vis and Ramin apart from its more illustrious rivals is its lack of spiritual timbre, its paucity of religious metaphors. The most well-known versions of the tales of Shirin and Khusrau and Laila and Majnun reach mystical heights, where the love between woman and man becomes allegorical for the love of God. This is unimaginable for Vis and Ramin, whose love is mired in the luxuries, jealousies and carnal longings of the mortal world, ensconced in unimaginable wealth, buffeted by the most extreme emotions. Theirs is a poem encumbered by human excess.

Davis’s fluent translation plunges the reader into the tenor and texture of the world of the poem. By reproducing its rhyming couplets – the hallmark of much Persian poetry – he retains the driving rhythm of the original. One can almost hear the drumbeat behind this description of a battle:

Some men were lions seeking out their prey,

And some wild asses as they ran away,

Some were like mountain sheep that tried to flee,

And some like cheetahs in their savagery

Even in English, the language remains lush, especially in Gorgani’s descriptions of beauty and the experience of love. Woman long for men “whose curls were like black grapes, and whose complexion / Was grape juice that’s fermented to perfection.” Vis’s beauty encompasses the world:

Like some pale Western king, her face was white;

Her braids were guards, dressed blackly as the night,

And, like a royal African’s, her hair

Glowed from her cheeks bright torches, burning there

These sorts of analogies come and thick and fast, and at times may try the patience of modern readers. Little in our era of psychological austerity prepares us for Gorgani’s ornamental, “jewelled” style, which Davis faithfully reproduces. Ramin weeps so much that his tears turn the earth into mud. Vis claws at her face and breasts in frenzies of longing, mingling blood with the water of her tears. Gorgani thrusts us into a world of musky emotions and secret smells, a world as saturated with poetry as his poem is saturated with the world.

This worldliness distances Vis and Ramin from Tristan and Iseult. Though versions of the latter can reach lofty heights of emotion and tragedy, it is still far more clipped, balancing the passions of courtly romance with an intrinsic Christian moderation. The tragic demise of Tristan and Iseult (versions vary in the manner of their death, but they always die) suggests a kind of conservative truth – that feudal loyalty cannot be tested, that the world cannot accommodate true love.

The opposite occurs in Vis and Ramin. After they suffer greatly, Gorgani puts an end to the misery of the lovers by killing off King Mobad in a freak hunting accident. The couple takes power and lives happily ever after. Not only has love won the day, but the overflowing language of the poem sustains – rather than rebukes – the aspirations of the lovers.

Whatever the real connections between the two texts, Vis and Ramin’s logic of joy may well have been incommunicable. One can imagine a version of the Iranian tale wending its way to a dark and drafty English monastery, where the cassocked monk – overwhelmed by the emotions, the desolation of longing, the euphoria of love – shook his head and thought to himself: Only in Iran.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Whisper of Stone by Tess Dawson

Before the bible came about with the religion of Judaism which was the Genesis of Western Monotheism there was the Canaanite Deities. They are mentioned in the Bible and the descriptions of them are not too flattering. THe bible was wrong. THe Canaanites were highly developed and highly sophisticated people. THe author Tess Dawson has done her research well. THe beginning of the book describes Canaanite life and talks at length about the religion and the myths. Sadly for us much has been lost over time. Natib Quadish is a movement that seeks the revival of the Canaanite Deities.

Reconstructing an ancient religion that has not been practiced in a long time, like 2-3 thousand years is a daunting challenge. Yet she does pull it off with a modern flair. Tess Dawson give throrough instruction on how to create a worship space and how tro cleanse your area. She mentiones stones and herbs and incesnces and tell the reader what they mean to the different deities. Many of her holidays and celebratory practices are pulled from ancioent sources. Others are modern. Over all great book for someone intersted in following the Canaanite Gods. Tess herself came from a Wiccan background but she felt that something was still missing until something called out to her. That voice said Ashirah. Like Wicca the Natib Kadish is still relatively decentralized this allows for the development of different tradition and for the practitioner to develope practices that he or she is comfortable with. Most follwers of Natib Quadish are solitary practitioners who worship the deities alone. There are groups forming.

In the back of the book there is glossary that offers vocabulary words in Canaanite and tells who the different Deities are. There is also an appendix on the different herbs, stones and animals and what their symbolism was. An over all excellent book.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Century of Spells by Draja Mickaharic

An interesting compendium of over a hundred simple to use spell. Draja Mickaharic was born in Bosnia and ended up immigrating to America back in 1939. It seems that he has picked up his spell for a variety of sources. Some sources are books while other seem to be from his travel. Most of the magical practices are not from any organized form of Witchcraft but seem to be folk remedies used by the common folk. THe author seems to have a good sound knowledge of how to make incenses,oils and baths. Most of what is collected in here in my book is not spells per se but rather simple remedies for problems.

The author at the outset of the book cautions the reader not to use black magic. What is black magic? Black Magic is the use of magic to influence or control somebody else's will. It is bad and it has bad karmic consequences. Our main purpose for living is to serve the divine and praise the divine. Whatever helps us towards that end should be encourage and what ever takes away from that end should be thrown away.

The author recommends a daily regimen of prayer as a way as a way of spiritually purifying yourself. He advises to keep our center and warns that we are under constant spiritual influence from outside forces both overtly and covertly.

I give the book an over all four. There are many useful things in this book andd there are no complicated rituals. He has a good knowledge of herbs and how to make incenses and oils. He has reversal spells,protection spells, spoken and written spells and spells using herbs, incenses and oils. This is real good for someone who likes working with herbs.

Friday, February 5, 2010

First Jew to win "Arab Nobel Prize

If one waits long enough..Miracles Can Happen!

By Natasha Mozgovaya
Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service

An American professor has become the first Jew to win the King Faisal International Prize in Medicine, popularly known as the "Arab Nobel Prize."

Stanford professor Ronald Levy, who heads of the university's Oncology department, told Haaretz that as an American Jew married to an Israeli it never crossed his mind that he might win the Saudi-financed competition.

After he was informed of his victory, Levy rushed to check the contest Web site, where he found his picture and biography already on the homepage. The prize committee had posted Levy's biography exactly as he submitted it, with one glaring exception: the line showing his post-doctoral work at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot had been deleted.

The prize, which included $200,000, a medal, and a certificate in English and Arabic, also came with a dinner with Saudi King Abdullah.

Levy told Haaretz he was certain his wife and daughters would not be able to attend the ceremony, as their passports are full of visas from Israel and his wife and one of his daughters were born in Israel. To his surprise, when he went to the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles, the attendants stamped their passports, and no one asked any questions.

In spite of their fears before the trip, Levy said his family was treated to royal hospitality during their entire stay in Saudi Arabia. He said that even when people were aware of his religion and his family's background, he was treated no different than anyone else. Also, Levy said Saudis were fascinated with hearing what he and other visitors think of their country, and if their expectations were proved wrong or not.

Levy's victory is the first time in the award's 30 years that a Jew has won, which Levy says he took as a sign that Saudi Arabia is becoming more open.

Levy won the prize for his part in the development of a drug used in the treatment of many types of cancer that is being widely viewed as revolutionary.

For over 30 years, Levy has researched methods of using the body's immune system to fight cancer. His research led to the development of the concept that a drug made from antibody could be used to fight cancer.


Holy Morroccan Sage engaged in Prayer

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One blond hair blue eyed Calfornian who totally digs the Middle East.