Friday, May 27, 2011
Raven Grimassi,Llewellyn World Wide
Since Gerald Gardner revealed Wicca to the world in the early 1950's the religion has been at the center of controversy ever since. Is Wicca something that Gerald Gardner came up with? Or is it a surviving religion from the Ancient past. Raven Grimassi in this books shows that he believe it is an Ancient Religion based a fertility cult. He does a good job laying out the origins of the religion and supports his contentions with scholarly works. Himself mastered in several Wiccan tradition including Stregheria Italian witch craft, Raven has a passion for his heritage which contains Italian witchcraft.
Back in the Neolithic times in Southern Europe stretching all the way up to southern Poland was a matrifocal society that had women as their center. Women were deified because procreation was a mystery. Woman was the head of house and the main deity. Their menstrual blood was considered magical and holy not something to be despised and derided.
With the coming of the Kurgans from the Indo-European lands things changed. They were warriors were as the matrifocal society was peaceful. The Kurgans were also patrifocal. The cult of putting the woman at center stage began to fade and the remnants of that went into Italy and Greece. There amongst the Latins, Etruscan and Greeks the Old Religion was allowed to thrive. When the Romans went out on their conquest and Roman farmers started settling Europe they brought with them the old religion.
Many people thought that the Celts and their Druidic philosophy were the basis for Wicca. Raven goes on to thoroughly prove this theory wrong. The Celts arrived on the seen much after the Kurgans destroyed the matrifocal society. They were also head hunter and believe in human sacrifice. Something which Wicca detests. The Celts were warriors and they were not the first people to arrive in Britan. when the Celts came there the Cult of the Dead was established. They buried their people in mounds. It was believed that the souls of these dead could come back and that they had wings like faeiries, hence the birth of the fairy legend. The "Cult of the Dead" would later morph into the Druids and be absorbed into Celtic society. The first mention of faeries though is after the Anglo Saxons arrived. Faeries were not a Celtic invention.
In Italy the fertility cult was represented by a moon goddess called Diana and sometimes Artemis and Hekate. She was a triple moon goddess representing the moon phases and the phases of a woman's life.Maiden, mother and crone. The horned god was a fertitlity god who perished around the time of October. This is all to familiar for Wiccans of course in Italy the God was called Dionysus. He was a horned fertility god.
Raven provides ample evidence through similar rituals and legends that the Roman fertility cult is the basis for both Wicca and that it was a major influence on Celtic religion and life. There is a great similarity of legend and religious practice that cannot be ignored. Wicca is based on an ancient fertility cult with bits and pieces of other systems thrown in. His viewpoint is different from that of Ronald Hutton, who contends that Wicca is a modern invention.
after reading this book I am convinced that the truth falls some where in between. there are other theories out there attesting to the ancientness of witchcraft that are equally convincing. Of course the mists of time have a way of enshrouding things in mystery.
No less this is an excellent book that deserves a 4.5 out of five. Half stars are difficult on the Amazon rating system. I leave half a point for improvement. The map which shows the influence of the Matrifocal society is rather poor quality and hard to read. Modern Wicca also has many outside influences ranging from Indian religion all the way to Kabbalah and ceremonial magick. Those could have been covered a little bit more in depth. My next comment maybe beyond the scope of this book but Italian and Greek religion was strongly influenced by current coming from the Middle East. Although Raven touched upon it I think it would have been nice to be able to read more in depth about.
Excellent book and this author is highly recommended.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
A Shepherd's Journey
Ishmael Khaldi, Ishmael Khaldi Publisher
Ishmael Khaldi is an Israeli Bedouin from the Bedouin village of Khawaldi. Khawaldi was a spontaneous village thrown together and at first it was made of tents. The tents were divided into two room. One room for the men and the other for women. Later on the village adopted Barakias or rather wooden shacks with hot tin rooves. The village was unrecognized and had no running water or road. For water they were dependent on the nearby kibbutz and their generosity. Khawaldi is located in the north just outside of Haifa.
The Bedouin of the north early on forged good relations with the incoming Jews. There were many reason for this. One was that since bedouin were nomad and constantly on the go they never really formed any roots. The Felahin or village Arabs are rooted and settled. Hence they are children of the Earth. The Bedouin have never really gotten on with them. Being constantly on the move has caused the Bedouin to be less devout and to cherish their coffee and cigarettes. They never really got along with he fellahin. Having met some Israeli Bedouin I can attest that from their testimony this seems to be a truth.
Ishmael Khaldi was the third son, who recognized for his brilliance was taped in the shoulder to pursue a University Education. His brothers went on to serve in the Israeli border patrol. Something for which the Bedouin is an honor and an obligation. Ishmael Khaldi went to elementary school in an Arab Village. The teachers were praised as dedicated and went through a lot to get there. However, there were constant scuffles with the fellahin children. In Israel the Bedouin that I knew from Arab E Shibli had similar problems with the neighboring fellahin.
Later on he went to a Christian Arab High School. He did well academically in an academically high achieving school. However, he was surprised by how his fellow Arabs looked down upon him. They considered him a traitor when he stood the moment of silence for the fallen Israeli soldiers. After graduating from high school he went on to work in a glue factory and from their he would travel to America. Coming to America lost and alone he had no one else to turn to in order to help him, except for the local Israeli and Jewish community. Many of whom were well aware of his Bedouin identity. He would later major in political science with a masters. He served for two years in the Israeli border patrol. Later he would serve Israel diplomatically by defending Israel on college campuses across the United States.
Ishmael Khaldi ended up becoming the vice consul for Israel. In his short autobigoraphy, that sounds a bit like a propaganda piece for Israel, Ishmael Khaldi tells of his experiences defending Israel in front of a hostile leftist community in Berkley and apathetic Jewish community. During his stint though he made great friendships with Chabad and evangelical Christians.
Ishmael Khaldi feels strongly about his bedouin identity and his Israeli identity. He praises life in Israel and yet is ready to admit that things are not perfect. Much bridge building has to be done. Ishmael is quick to point out that cultural differences are the main factor.
Having been to Israel and seen things first hand I must say that most o what he says is correct. I think he does go out of his way to aggrandize Israel. His view in to the conflict also does not dig deep enough. He is right in saying that Israel is not apartheid yet there is discrimination. There are Israeli Arabs in high places of authority and Arab and Jewish worker do work side by side. Jews and Arabs ride the same bussess and live in the same apartment buildings. They also eat in the same restaurants. Yet I have met Israeli Bedouin who have been harrassed by local police, told to stand against the wall with their hands us while they are frisked and have their identities checked. Land is also confiscated from Arab villages leaving them no room to grow and accomodate their growing accomdations.
Ishmael Khaldi does have a vision for a brighter future. Using brotherhood and friendship is definitely the smarter way to resolved the situation then the use of condemnation and hate. This book gets a 4/5.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
The Wizard’s Way to Wealth
Ian Edwards, Capall Bann Publishing
Ian Edwards begins his magical journey in Mexico learning from a brujo or wizard named Jim. Jim by day is a shoe shine person one that you would never suspect of being wealthy. Yet he is wealthy. Jim spent many hours talking with him before being invited to his nice home. Ian learns from him. It seems Ian has experience in many magical systems or at least has been exposed to them. His book is filled with anecdotes that make for very entertaining reading.
Despite his knowledge the book comes off as being scant. Yet even in it’s scantiness there are a few gems worth looking into. The author starts off with the most valuable skill of all creative visualization. The most potent visualization is total immersion where in you find your self totally inside the picture. You see, touch, smell and here everything. The author does use Tarot cards in his visualizations. He immerses himself into the 9 and 10 of pentacles which are wealth cards. For those that cannot visualize all that well one can start their meditations with hearing things or smelling things in their mind and moving into visualization from there. Mantras are also use ful chanting a phrase or words over and over again can produce much the same effect. One such mantra might be “more money –less hours” or writing out your phrase and then crossing out the duplicate letters to get a mantra. I tried his example but my resulting phrase did not turn out to be the same as his. Trying it over and over again he just became frustrated. He seems to have changed the order of the letters around and failed to inform the reader of his doing so or why he did it. Strike one.
The author covers the role of hermeticism in the rise of the Renaissance age in Europe. As above so below. Energy can be drawn from natural objects to create miracle down here. Hermetics was unearthed in Egypt and it’s study came to Europe. This along with the expulsion of Jews from Spain caused a total revolution in European magic. Jewish kabballah brought the tree of life, Sephirot and Gematria numerology som of which is explained reasonably well. The importance of numbers and shapes and planetary associations is important to magic.
Going back to chants the gypsies used one called “Trinka Five” and thanks to the blending of culture and multicultural exposure one can also chant mantras to deities such as Laxshmi or the angel Zadkiel. This is nice to know perhaps some examples of chants to these entities would be nice or some concrete spells would even be better coupled with candle and herb workl. The author should have also included deities that are money or prosperity deities.
Through a clever use of stories and a bit of explanation the author discusses spheres of availability. Getting what you can given your current situation. You may want a big house and a job that pays 200 grand a year but you may not be able to get it now. Rather you may have to focus on achieving the steps needed to reach your goal. Take it one step at a time.
The author gives good directions on how to make “accumulators” witch are like witch bottle mean to attract wealth. One example is too make a decoction with chamomile flowers. After an effective tea is made you boil the tea until only 1/8 is left. Add that to your jar or bottle. Then you can enhance it with your own blood or by blowtorching gold 8-10 times getting it super hot and then plunging it into the tincture, The witch bottle is then buried on the property.
Another talisman is Rico Da Frog. A talisman that sits by your door after it is properly charged. Three coins are placed in it’s mouth and monthly it is rinsed down with lemon. Every time you enter the house you place a coin inside. There is extensive work on pendulums along with good explanations. The author also explains the need for prudent money management skill and a clean living space and environments. This book gets a 3.5 out of five. It could use more details on deities and concrete spells and needs a better explanation on the mantra creation.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Kerr Kuhulain, Lewellyn
This is one of those books that can be read in under a day. An easy read and not too hard to comprehend. Wiccan Warrior is a perfect book for beginners. Kerr Cuhulain has had a warriors background as an airforce pilot and an officer in law enforcement. He became a Wiccan at age 15 with his first craft name being Conan, representative of what he wanted to become. He was openly Wiccan and openly a law enforcement officer something which would cause problems and lots of public scrutiny. This was not something Mr. Cuhulain really minded. As a warrior he jumped to the challenge with relish. He has tried to explain Wicca to law enforcement officials.
Kerr Cuhulain has managed to connect sources such as Carlos Castenada’s Don Juan series, Samurai warrior ethics and Bruce Lee’s philosophy to Wicca while still keeping in tact “Do what thou wilt but harm ye none” The path of a Wiccan Warrior demands discipline and the main aim of the path is not to over power other people rather it is to gain power over ourself. The warrior does not condone violence but uses it as a last resort. It only when all other avenues have failed that the warrior can use physical means to thwart aggression. One who conquers himself is mightier than someone who over comes a thousand.
Chi is the energy or life force found within each of us. This chi is also a familiar concept to the martial artist. To the Wiccan raising energy and projecting it is more familiar to them then the concept of Chi. To raise energy Kerr Cuhulain teaches the use of mantras and dancing around the altar as ways of raising energy. To project it one points their hands at the person in need of healing. To connect the concepts the use of the kiai shout in Karate at the moment of impact is used as a metaphor.
The warrior embraces change and is not a slave to patterns or dogma. Religion is constantly undergoing change and Wicans like anybody else must be open to that change and be able to go with it. Athames , wands and other tools are not mandatory but can be helpful. Kerr Cuhulain is an advocate of innovations and individuality. This is needed so the practitioner can design magical practices that are most beneficial to them. Kerr Cuhulain is against strict authority giving full equality to self made rituals as to the standard established rituals. Covens are on equal footing with solitary practitioners. Kerr is against the Wiccan faith becoming rigid and authoritarian.
A great book for beginners. For the more advanced this stuff might seem too basic. The author does subscribe to a philosophy of simplicity rather then complicated rituals. I give it a four out of five stars.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Roebuck in the Thicket
Evaan John Hones, Capall Bann
This book is an awesome little book. Every page is chock filled with information. The book covers everything about the Clan of Tubal Caine and Robert Cochrane. Starting with a brief biography of Cochrane's life it goes all the way through philosophy,history and rituals.
Born in 1931, Robert Cochranewas born and he grew up in the slums of London. By his pown admission to William Grey, a ceremonial magician, Robert Cochrane had a violent temper. He ran through a variety of careers. He started off as a blacksmith then went on to run barges on the river. The river folks used many craft motifs such as the rose. Cochrane would later become a type face setter. While leading his clan or coven Robert Cochrane always believed that pagans and witches were not necessarily the same. Cochrane also made the controversial statement that he was descended from witches. It was his grandparents converted from the witch religion to Methodist christianity. They would be cursed by the great grandfather. This was on his father's side. after his father passed on his mother let him in on the family secret. He as trained by his aunt Lucy. Before starting the Clan of Tubal Caine he was trained in other Family Traditions. He would write for the publication belong to Witchcraft Research association under the pen name , John Math. Cochrane had a major Feud with Gerald Gardner, the founder of Wicca. He claimed tht Gardner was a charlatan and a fraud. Cochrane also made other claimss. Such claims were that pagan season festivals went out in the 12th to 13th century. it was also in the 12 century that Middle Eastern influences became prevalent. Before this time Catholicism and paganism were able to live side by side. After that the Catholics persecuted the pagan and witches.
The 1734 movement was based on correspondences between Cochrane and Joe Wilson. The tradition was brought to the United States. In 1989 the Finnins started the ancient keltic church which recieved tax exempt status. There was a lot of curiosity as to what 1734 meant. It pertained to the nature and attributes of the Goddess. Many of Cochrane's groups did not believe many of the claims that Cochrane made. one of the most famous instances revolves around a copper plate that he recieved from Doreeen Valiente. In the news he claimed it was an ancient keepsake from his family. This deception clearly annoyed Doreen Valiente. She made a good record of Cohrane's rituals. Often times they had a big fire and would dance around it chanting.
His clans theology was different from Wicca. At the head of his pantheon was a great mother goddess who was totally unknowable. She would give birth to the witch goddess and the horned god. The witch goddess was known ass the maiden, mother and crone. she was also linked to the three sisters of fate or wyrd. The witch goddess could go by three different names ; Hecate, Diana and Artemis. The male or horned god was the god of fire, magic and the underworld. He was associated with Bran,Wayland and Herne. In Cochrane's tradition he was called Tubal Cain. When these two coupled they ended up giving birth to seven god and goddesses,they corresponded to the seven planetery bodies. Each one was in charge of his or her own world. Four of them had control over the four elements.
Cochrane was often vague and his statement were difficult to prove whether they were true or false. This is what Cochrane believed in and it was called Grey Magic. The idea behind this was to never let someone be able to confirm their opinion about him. He also believed that what started out as deceit or illusion would eventually become real.
Cochrane's system of witchcraft had a unique way of casting a circle. The altar faced north and the stang which also was in the north represented the horn god. This was the gateway to the spirit world. The stang was garlanded with different flowers pending on the season. it was also crossed with arrows and libations could be left at it's base. Circle casting was done in a deosil direction going North to North. The Northern Direction was governed by the old hag, the east by the young horned god, the south by the maiden, and the west by the old horned god. These were invoked when casting the circle.
The author Evan John Jones believes that there is no unbroken or true tradition of witchcraft. There is no purity just pieces left over from the past and reconstructed. If a group or individual learned up on enough knowledge and was dedicated to finding the truth could forge their own system and initiation and it would be valid to the goddess. The system also believed that mankind were active agents of creation. After death each group of people and religion created their own after life which member of the clan went to after they passed on. After the after life the people would reincarnate. Rituals gave form to worship. When active in the craft there were several form of vision; poetic vision- inward access to dream images and symbol, vision of memory- Past life remembrance, magic was vision of the triad. Religious vision gave one access to godhead.Mystical vision was unification with godhead.
The Roebuck in the thicket was a symbol of sacrifice. In old Britain when a roebuck was killed it's head was posted on a pole. something was placed in it's mouth. This was meant as a sacrifice to the old god. The morning and evening stars were also ways of telling time. The symbol of the Rose was symbolic of things hidden.
For such a short book this is really comprehensive. This lengthy review only covers part of it. If you read this and are serious about the craft you will refer to it many times. This book gets a 5/5
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Nigel Jackson, Capall Bann
Forget what you know about vampyres especially if you are a fan of the Twilight series. This is the real deal when it comes to Vampyres and were wolves. Author Nigel Jackson takes the vampyre myth and goes all the way back to the beginning, Pagan times when the first Indo-European tribes began conquering and settling Europe. This account of Vampyres and Werewolves ain't what you think.
When Indo-European Tribes began settling Europe they had three sorts of Gods. The first type of God was a peaceful law giver, the second was the "Terrible Sovereign" who was in charge of war and magic, the third type were fertility and good fortune deities. The shape shifters whe o became wolves and vampyres belonged to the second categories of gods. They were wandering bands of war wizards meant to fight off evil. usually they stood off to the side as outcasts. They roamed the country side in packs. To become part of this order the initiate had to experience an ordeal that caused him/her to die temporarily. The initiates spirit would then be in the other world communing with the spirits. These Shamans were shape shifter and if you believe the legend theen you would believe that these Shamans could either literally turn into a wolf or that there astral body took the form of a wolf. This is were we got our werewolf legend from. Usually these wolves were the good guys but not all the time and we must remember that even good guys can be dangerous.
The Vampyre uses the same phenomena , in fact the were wolf and the vampire are the same thing. Remember that vampyres can take many forms bats, mist, dogs etc.Legend records two types of vampyre. The first type is an astral vampyre. The astral vampyre is pure spirit that rises from the grave and attacks people in their sleep. Depending on where the legend is from the vampyre sucks your life force out or your blood. The being though is an astral body. Sometimes it even drains your energy via intimate relations. The second kind of vampyre is an actual corpse usually under a sorcerer's control. The corspe does need to drink blood in order to survive.
Vampyre legends are rampant all over Europe. now a days they have a sexy mystique and have been largely popularized. They represent death and erotic impulse. The world runs in cycles. At first there is chaos and then creation. creation starts out vital and fresh but then slowly deteriorates. The Vampyre is the predator the hunter from the other world who returns things back to chaos. For from chaos spring a new and vital creation.
The book covers many legends from all over Europe and from many different parts of the world. Throughout all these legends the vampyres and werewolves are the same thing, shape shifting sorcerers. Usually the vampyre is the astral body of a deceased and evil sorcerer. as spirit being vampyres are readily associated with witches,faeries and other spiritual forces. As they travel sometimes they assume the form of an org of light. Some like in Germany are called "alps" alps in from the word alf which means elf. Like faeries vampyres can shape shift and assume a different form. also like faeries vampyre are denizens of the otherworld and when they enter our world they travel along ley lines. One tends to see vampires at certain places ie cemeteries, caves, crossroad and other places of junction between the other world and our world. samhain and Yule are considered time between times it at thes junctures that one sees or hears of vampyre and wolves.
There are a variety of ways to fight vampyres. We all know the typical garlic routine. It is legit. In fact onions and garlic are used to fight disease and bacteria. Rose wood is also used as is white wood. Like legend documents to kill a vampyre one must find their grave drive a stake though them and then decapitate them, burn them or take out certain organs. Since vampyres travel on leylines once can frustrate their travels by putting labyrinths in their way or putting seeds or grains in their path which they have to count.
The author uses linguistic analysis to show the connection between witches and vampyres. Strigi or strigoi are vampyre names in the Central European languages. Stregha is a word for witch. Shamans and witches would put flying ointment on themselves and then wrap themselves in wolf skin before shape shifting. Bottom line any were were animals and vampyres are part of the same concepts shape shifting.
This book was totally awesome. if you want a true understanding of vampyre lore that gets down to the source then this is the book to read. I have given you lots of good information but to get a real good picture you have to read the book. I give it 5/5 stars.
Monday, May 9, 2011
My Memoir As An Activist For Israel And Yemenite Jews:Volunteers For Israel, The Yemenite Aliyah Of 1992, The Disappearance Of The Yemenite Babies During The Aliyah Of 1949-1954
Sampson Giat, XLibris
Sampson Giat was born in New york to Yemenite parents who made their way through Israel. on his mothers side the family left behind acres of farmland when they went to move to Israel. His father was Yitzhak Giat an artisan who spoke German and was known for his craftsmanship. They moved to New York in the 1930's as did many other Yemeni Jews. While a teenager Israel was just coming into existence. Sampson assisted by collecting funds and assisting both the Irgun and the Stern Gang. Like others in the Yemenite community, Sampson Giat was dedicated to Israel, Jews and the Yemenites. This dedication would persist throughout his entire life.
While in High school he learned to play the Oboe and became a professional musician. He borrowed money from his brother to buy one. He had several opportunities to play with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. he met with Isaac Stern several times. While playing with the orchestra he had his first encounter with racism. One Ashkenazi member mad mention of his dark skin and made a derisive remark. This would not be his only encounter with racism.
Later on he would become involved with volunteers for Israel. Volunteers for Israel brought American Jews to Israel at their own expense so they could volunteer on Israeli Army bases. Mr. Giat became very involved with this organization and eventually became the president for the organization. his involvement let to him sharing the dais at an event with Benjamin Netanyahu, who would later on become prime minister of Israel.
in 1949 Operation Magic Carpet brought many Jews from Yemen to Israel. Unfortunately many were left behind. close to two thousand in fact. These Jews did not enjoy the same rights as other citizens of Yemen. While everyone else enjoyed unrestricted travel rights such was denied to Yemen's Jews. The Jews of Yemen lived for the most part in poverty as did other Yemenis. Most Jews did not have access to education as did other Yemenis. They did not have any official Jewish school set up unless a community member volunteered to do it for free or funds came from the outside. Mr. Giat went to Yemen and saw the problem first hand. He saw that he would need to help of another government. That government would be the government of the United States not Israel. Senator D'Amato was instrumental in getting the Jews their travel rights. One should also be mindful Iryani's cooperation in securing those rights for Jews.
Mr. Giat's major battle was with Israel. shortly after the Aliya from Yemen Yemenite Jewish babies were stolen from their parents. Often time the parent were told that babies died. of course when the parents last saw the children they were healthy. The parents were never allowed to see the body and were never given death certificate. LATER on draft notices for the Israel Defense Forces would come to the parents of the deceased children. The children were sold abroad for 5,000 dollars by a sleazy Rabbi Bergman. It was an uphill battle against coverups by the Israeli government. one child was reunited with her family and this was confirmed by DNA. Chabad was instrumental with their Television show to say the least. To this daay the government still covers it up.
Rabbi Uzi Meshullam spent twenty years collecting data. The Israeli government surrounded his house shot it up and arrested the Rabbi and several of his students. One student was killed just for starting a generator. All of Rabbi Meshullam's students served the state of Israel with distinction and this is how they were treated. Today Rabbi meshullam is a broken man who is unable to receive visitors. his prison conditions were horrendous, Shame on the Israel government.
Mr. Giat finished off his career holding a banquet which was exhausting. His message was that the Yemenite community needed to unify.
The Book of English Magick
Philip Carr-Gomm, Richard Heygate
John Murray Publishers, 2009
Philip Carr-Gomm an expert on Druidry has written a book that is a tour de force. Covering the magical history of Britain all the way from it's prehistoric Shamanistic beginning all the way up to the present. The book is comprehensive, informative and very interesting. if you are new to magic I advise you pick up a copy of this book and read it. The over view will help you get to where you want to go in the realm of magic.
Not only does the book offer a rich textured history of magic but it also comes with exercises the novice can do so they can get their feet wet. If you are a long term practitioner then this is your chance to dabble in something a bit outside of your field. For further exploration the book offers a treasure trove of web links and books for further exploration. Awesome.
Right now there are more magical practitioners in Britain then every before. The early prehistoric people began doing their Shamanistic practices in caves often times using chants, altered states of mind and visualization in order to control the world around them. Such concerns were for hunting, crops and warding off sickness.
The state of magic moved on as the landscape of Britain is filled with landmarks that at first modern Brits took no notice of. This changed with the likes of John Aubrey and William Stukely who recognized them as Pagan holy sites and worthy of attention. later on other people would find our they were connected by Ley lines. Originally they were straight line paths from one place to the next. Trade caravans and pilgrims followed these routes. in around 1925 it was theorized that these land lines were like energy routes and could be harness for magical practice. To tap into these Ley lines one could use a variety of methods but one stood out and that was dowsing.
By use of tools inclusive of pendulums and dowsing rods Ley lines could be discovered. Dowsing is also an effective means for finding water and oil. many dowsers will tell you never to use dowsing for personal gain or unearned wealth. Druids who were the philosophers among the Celts rose to prominence. Their writing was using the Ogham alphabet. Now not much is known about the Druids so we have what is called an imaginative reconstruction. The Romans obliterated any traces of Druidic culture. The reconstructions come from scratch. Druidism or neo-druidism developed in Britain growing through three stages. First group mimicking the Freemason was more like a workers club offering fraternity, friendship and union style benefits. it was a means of support. The second phase was more of a cultural celebration where in the Brits who joined still retained their Christian affiliation while practicing Celtic/druidic rites as a cultural thing. Finally the druids became a spiritual magical movement. They modeled themselves after the Mason with initiations and ceremonies and casting circles. Symbolic use if herbs, animal totems and vision quests are made use of.
No magic book on England would be complete without mentioning Merlin. Some call him Mardyn the wild one. No one knows who he really is. They know he existed; of course King Arthur is something else entirely. Merlin was an adviser to the king. In reality he may have been a chieftain who came from Ireland and Scotland. Geoffrey Monmouth spoke of him in his works. Many feel that Merlin's prophecies came to pass. Others still say they are yet to pass. The chapter continues with further talk on the legends of the Grail and their internal spiritual uses.
As the Romans were forced to flee the Anglo Saxons and the Jutes entered the scene. A system of magic and sorcery was built upon the foundation of what was left behind of the Romans and celts added to the Germanic tribes brought with them. The Anglo Saxon brought with them beliefs in elves, dwarves, gnomes and faeries. They also brought the Runic alphabet with them. The Runes branched off and took different courses in Britain then they did in Germany. The Anglo Saxon had a belief that sickness was caused by mischievous elves. The Anglo Saxon sorcerer has verbal charms and herbs that were meant to counteract such things. The Herbs were often imbued with powers bestowed up them by certain astral bodies. The Runes were used for fortune telling and Binding runes could be used for magical spells. Binding is when runes were worn as a talisman or amulet. Two runes would be combined for certain desired result.
High magic came to play with the importation of Alchemy. Alchemists in the west have always sought two things: how to turn metals into gold and how to perfect the soul. Alchemists in the East also wanted to perfect the soul but they were also searching for immortality. Eventually Alchemy would lead to chemistry but the idea of certain herbs being associated with planetary influence and perfecting the soul would find their way into High Magic. High Magic is all about Theurgist magic which is geared for perfecting the soul. The book has a few real interesting activities associated with alchemy that can be performed at home.
John Dee was very interested in both Astrology and alchemy. A gifted magician he plunged into magic whole heartedly. His interest in magic would lead to an interest in angels. He was a favorite of the Elizabethan court. He would get together with a cohort who is clairvoyant who was able to decipher the Enochian language. They would later go off treasure hunting with his cohort Edward Kelley. Their treasure hunting exploits were not as successful as hoped. Edward Kelley ended up getting arrested. John Dee retired.
Low magic is using magic to procure things like love, money and even fighting of sickness. It had much in common with Anglo Saxon sorcery. The people that come to mind are Witches, Wiccans and Cunning folk. Wicca was introduced in 1954 by Gerald Gardner. Without going into his life details Wicca has been controversial. It made the term witch a positive connotation. Their focus was on positive magic. The controversy is the actual age of whatr is called Wicca. Witch craft is not the same as Wicca in al cases.
The original witches were actually cunning folk who lived in the countryside villages. They would perform magick to protect people from the evil work of witches. They would also say their incantation invoking Jesus. The second group of witches were those accused of witch craft and burned at the stake. Many were innocent. Finally there is Wicca.
Wicca took many things of ceremonial magic including invocations from the Key of Solomon. They also took the initiation from the Masons. Combining theories from India and the far east, Gerald Gardner formulated his own brand of magic.
The history of magic continues with descriptions of Alesister Crowley, Freemason The Golden Dawn all the way through Chaos Magick. The book is too exhaustive to give a thorough summarization unless you are writing a term paper. It has interviews, places to visit, activities, book you name it. This book gets five stars out of five stars if you are any way into magic then buy the book ASAP.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Veronica Cummer, Pendraig Publsihing
Coming from Pendraig publishers comes a book that is stream of consiousness writing that delves deeply into British Witchcraft. It is supposedly about the old forest craft practiced by the EuropeaN Witches of old. I read the book through and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Read it through and you will definitly get somthing out of it, something you can use. The book is not without flaws if you could call them that.
The book has no bibliography whatsoever so this is defintely not scholarly material. Does that mean you cannot learn from it? Well of course not. While the author goes on to claim that this is the old forest craft i have found in her pantheon of deities several Egyptian Gods and Godddess. Funny I was not aware that the Europeans ever worshipped Egyptian deities in the forest. Now had the author gone on too state that this was her custom and practice, a tradition she came up with, then I would be cool with that. just call it like it is.
Pendraig Publications, mmmm I have heard some negative things about the whole outfit in genreral. having your book published by Pendraig is not a plus. Yet, there are some authorities on British Witchcraft who are getting their books publihed by Pendraig.I guess it is hard finding someone to publish good books on Witch Craft.
Now bear in mind that while the author has come up with her own paradigm there is stuff you can use. There is a good discussion on Witch blood and the origin of witches. She also gives a good discussion on invoking deities andd some of the rules of British witch craft. After all her whole thing is primarily baased on British witch craft. I found the formula for invokinng deities to be rather useful if you are willing to take things apart and use what is useful. Britsih witchcraft is a witch craft that is meant to be practiced with a magical partner. many of us do not have magical partners so the invokations may have to be modified.
Here is some stuff that others have found useful. THe talk of Witches Mountain where the witches dance and feast it is the center of all things yet the form that it it will take depends on what you bring to it, expect from it and what you want to see. Individual perception is everything and it differs from person to person. While you are in Benevento, Blockula ( names for witches mountain) the deities, fae and witches will be playing games which efffect this world and all other worlds. THe game creates a pattern which enable the witch to access the divine.
The author speaks about identity as well. It is stated that if you lose your identity, your true name then you risk becoming non existent. It is important to know who we are een from a psychological standpoint or we can disappear right beffore our own eyes. The withces identity is hidden they have hidden so well that they in effect have dissappeared. Their DNA is mixed with ours yet i order to do magic we have to remember so we can awaken the blood.
The withces main power is pure altruistic love. THe witches came down to help humanity. THe covens are meant to help societies reconnect to the land and nourish it and in turn be nurished by it.
I read this book on Amazon kindle for only $5.00. For a price like that you really cannot go wrong. if you are looking for books on British witch craft I mean authentic Traditional British Witchcrafft there are better books out there. For further reading one should refer to Capall Bann Publishers they have very authentic book. Of course to really learn Traditiona; Britsih witch craft one needs to join a coven or find a legit teacher. Remember in this book you are getting someone else's paradigm.
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