Friday, May 26, 2006

Supposed Origin Of Religious Satanism

Supposed Origin Of Religious Satanism Cover
Modern Satanism is generally (though mistakenly) regarded as a creation of Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). Aleister was in fact a very prominent ceremonial magician who based his rituals partly upon Judeo-Christian principles. He was raised in a Plymouth Brethren family, but developed an early dislike of organized conservative Christianity. After university, he joined the Order of the Golden Dawn, which practiced ceremonial magic based on:

- the Kaballah (a.k.a. Cabbalah, Cabala), a Jewish mystical tradition,
- Rosicrucianism (a mystical blend of alchemy, Judaism, etc.),
- Freemasonry (a men's fraternal organization), and
- Theosophy (a Gnostic tradition believing in a common thread that links all religions).

He resigned from the Golden Dawn and later was appointed chief of the British section of the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), which blended ceremonial magic, sex Magic and Freemasonry. He remained the Outer Head of the Order from 1922 to 1947. He created a religion, called Thelema. Crowley's story was picked up by two tabloid newspapers, which called him the Wickedest Man in the World and the Great Beast 666 of Revelation. It is mainly from these "yellow press" articles that opponents of Crowley have assembled his present-day reputation. He is alleged to have committed at least one animal sacrifice, experimented with many illegal drugs and engaged in some sexual orgies. It is not known how much of this actually happened, and how much is imaginary -- created to satisfy his insatiable desire for publicity. Nor is it known how much of the time he was serious, and when he was behaving with tongue-in-cheek. Crowley has been accused of many criminal activities; however, he was never arrested, charged, tried or convicted of any crime. His prime aim was to contact his Holy Guardian Angel Aiwaz. The religion The Law of Thelema is largely derived from his work. He is known to have practiced a great deal of consensual sex magic with a single partner in private. His goal was to recapture the ancient pagan and Gnostic Christian mysteries of the Middle and Near East, which, he believed, incorporated sexual activity as part of their religious rituals. He was a prolific writer on Magick, a term that he created. (The term refers to ceremonial magic, and is used to differentiate that form of magick from performances by professional magicians.) Although Crowley did not consider himself a Satanist, many Satanists have incorporated elements from his writings into their own rituals. Many authors and TV personalities have stated that Crowley was the first Satanist, even though evidence points to the contrary. He passed through a Satanic phase, and did identify his guardian angel with Satan. But a number of 19th century literary greats such as Baudelaire, Byron, Shelley, etc. should more properly be regarded as the first Satanists,

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Biographia Antiqua Or Magi Cabalists And Philosophers

Biographia Antiqua Or Magi Cabalists And Philosophers Cover

Book: Biographia Antiqua Or Magi Cabalists And Philosophers by Francis Barrett

A SHORT ESSAY, Proving that the First Christians were Magicians, who foretold, acknowledged, and worshipped THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD, AND FIRST FOUNDER OF THE Christian RELIGION. Converted into Adobe format by Andy Zwierzyna 2004.

Download Francis Barrett's eBook: Biographia Antiqua Or Magi Cabalists And Philosophers

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Inner Gods

Inner Gods Cover Besides the celestial Gods and goddesses who reside in heaven, a veritable pantheon of Taoist deities also exists within the human being. These deities fulfill various related functions: they personify abstract notions such as the Dao, Yin and Yang, or the Five Agents (wuxing); they allow the human being to communicate with the major — and in several cases corresponding — gods of the outer pantheon; they act as officers in the bureaucratic system that manages the whole body; they perform healing tasks by supporting the balance of the body's functions; and they are objects of meditation. The basic purpose of visualizing them is to "maintain" them (cun) in their proper locations, nourish them with one's inner breaths and essences, and invoke them so that in turn they provide protection and sustenance. This is said to ensure health, longevity, or immortality, and to defend one from calamities caused by demons and other noxious entities.

Gods of the head and viscera. The Taiping jing (Scripture of Great Peace) is the earliest text containing references to the gods of the five viscera (wuzang, i.e., heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and spleen). Each god is represented wearing a single garment the color of the current season, or three layers of clothing related to the "breath" (or "energy," qi) of the current season and the next two seasons. Systematic descriptions of the inner gods are first found in the "Inner" ("Nei") version of the Huangting jing (Scripture of the Yellow Court). In particular, this source mentions the gods of the head and the inner organs. The deities of the head reside in the hair, brain, eyes, nose, ears, tongue, and teeth. Their actions are governed by the Muddy Pellet (niwan, the upper Cinnabar Field) which in turn hosts nine more gods, the Nine True Men (jiuzhen), in its nine rooms.

The gods of the inner organs include those of the five viscera and of the gallbladder, an organ that represents all "six receptacles" (liufu) in the Huangting jing and other texts. Each of these organs is called a "department" or a "ministry" (bu) and is managed by a god who resides in a palace within that organ. The various gods are identified by their names and the colors of their garments (for instance, the god of the liver wears "a wrapping gown of green brocade," the god of the spleen "a yellow gown," and so forth, based on the associations with the Five Agents); by the function that they supervise in the body (regulating breath, digesting food, etc.); and by the corresponding part of the face on which they rule (eyes, nose, etc.). Other prominent gods mentioned in the Huangting jing are the Great One, who resides in the upper Cinnabar Field; Blossomless (Wuying) and White Prime (Baiyuan), in the upper Cinnabar Field; and the Peach Child (Taohai, also known as Peach Vigor or Taokang), in the lower Cinnabar Field.

A related but by no means identical system is reflected in the Laozi zhongjing (Central Scripture of Laozi), where the scope of the pantheon is much wider and the nomenclature of the inner gods is, with few exceptions, different. Leaving aside a host of minor spirits mentioned throughout the text, the major gods are those described in the first twelve sections. They are represented as transformations of a single sovereign deity, the Supreme Great One (Shangshang Taiyi), who is the Original Breath (yuanqi) spontaneously issued from the Dao and appears under varying names and forms, including the Lord of the Dao (Daojun) and Laojun (the deified aspect of Laozi). In several of these appearances, the Great One has as his spouse the Jade Woman of Mysterious Radiance of Great Yin (Taiyin xuanguang yunu). All these gods are said to reside both in the heavens and in the human being (and sometimes on earth as well); the usual formula that connects these different planes to each other is "human beings also have it", to introduce their placement within the body. The Dao itself resides in the human being as the Supreme Lord of the Central Ultimate (Shangshang zhongji jun); it is the individual "self" (wu), also called Zidan (Child-Cinnabar) or Red Infant (chizi).

The One as an inner god. In the Baopu zi, one of the two types of meditation defined as Guarding the One (shouyi) is also based on visualizing the One as a god residing within the human being (the other type consists in multiplying one's "form" or in hiding it to escape harm caused by demons). Drawing from an anonymous text, Ge Hong provides a short description of the features of the One and his multiple locations. According to this passage, the One alternately resides in each of the three Cinnabar Fields, and takes different names and vestments at each of these loci. Shangqing Taoism later developed this view of the One dwelling at different times in the Cinnabar Fields into the notion of the Three Ones, each of whom permanently resides in its own Field.

Later history. Visualization practices such as those described above appear to have fallen into disuse by the Tang period, replaced first by the neiguan type of meditation, based on inner contemplation and awareness of mind, and then by neidan (internal alchemy) practices, focused on the refining of one's inner essence, breath, and spirit (jing, qi, and shen). Neither practice is based on visualization of gods, although the Neiguan jing (Scripture of Inner Observation) mentions several major inner deities in its model of the "perfected body."

Visualizing the inner gods continued to play an important role in liturgy, however, where the priest summons his inner gods and dispatches them to submit petitions to Heaven. This function is attested from medieval times to the present day. Neidan has preserved visible traces of earlier practices in both of its best-known charts of the inner body, the Neijing tu (Chart of the Inner Warp) and Xiuzhen tu (Chart for the Cultivation of Reality). The Neijing tu includes several divine beings in its Representation of the "inner landscape," and the Xiuzhen tu explicates its visual map of the inner alchemical process with passages related to the Huangting jing.

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Sunday, May 7, 2006

Sufism A Beginner Guide

Sufism A Beginner Guide Cover

Book: Sufism A Beginner Guide by William Chittick

Sufism, although specific to Islam, is in reality the unifying meaning beneath all of God's religions. Chittick's introduction is a great survey of the Sufi way of looking at reality especially since he takes the perspective of the great masters and mostly lets them tell us what Sufism is all about. Translations of Rumi and Ibn 'Arabi and some lesser know masters such as Sam'ani are included. I found reading these translations very enjoyable. I also found the bibliography very helpful since it lists some excellent sources for further study of Sufism. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is interested to learn about Sufism's reality, as it was known traditionally rather than the modern misconceptions of it.

Sufism is often regarded as the mystical branch of Islam, but to Sufis it has always been considered the heart of Islam. In this brief but dense introduction, one of the foremost scholars on Sufism opens up the tradition of the Sufis themselves. While many introductions to Sufism reveal only the "intoxicated" Sufism of paradoxical parables and poets drunken with love for God, Sufism is also balanced by a sober side. William Chittick presents both sides, touching on the major beliefs and practices of Sufis through the ages. What distinguishes Chittick's work is that he draws directly from his vast knowledge of original Sufi writings. He introduces us to Arabic terms, which if merely translated into English would mislead the reader. Instead, he describes the nuances of a few key terms that deliver the reader beyond our usual understanding and into the minds and hearts of Sufi mystics, philosophers, and theologians. Chittick's writing can be difficult, tossing off words like "supererogatory" and "deracinated," but a patient reading will reward you with an understanding of the subtlety and dynamism that Sufism brings to the Islamic tradition.

A fascinating, lucid and illuminating book full of memorable quotes and images. A profound journey into the heart of Islam and a rewarding read. Merits repeated study and reflection. Contains a concise, but penetrating and constructive comparison of Ibn Arabi and Rumi leading to a deeper understanding of both. The opening chapter on the three fundamental aspects of religion: action, mind and heart, corresponding to islam, iman and ihsan, is itself worth the purchase of the book and provides an essential key to understanding and appreciating the nature of Sufism. The final chapter on the paradox and symbolism of the veil is a revelation. A book to be savoured, both educational and inspirational.

Find William Chittick's book in
Sufism A Beginner Guide

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Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Asatru Is Nature Religion What Deos That Mean

Asatru Is Nature Religion What Deos That Mean Cover We treasure the spiritual awe, the feeling of "connecting" with the Gods and Goddesses, which can come from experiencing and appreciating the beauty and majesty of Nature. Our deities act in and through natural law. By working in harmony with Nature we can become co-workers with the Gods. This attitude removes the opposition between "natural" and "supernatural" and between religion and science.

For us, following a "Nature religion" means recognizing that we are part of Nature, subject to all its laws, even when that offends our Christian-influenced misconceptions. We may be Gods-in-the-making, but we are also members of the animal kingdom - a noble heritage in its own right. Our Ancestors and their predecessors prevailed through billions of years of unimaginable challenges, a feat which must awe even the Gods themselves.

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