Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Emerald Tablet Of Hermes

The Emerald Tablet Of Hermes Cover

Book: The Emerald Tablet Of Hermes by Anonymous

The Tablet probably first appeared in the West in editions of the psuedo Aristotlean Secretum Secretorum which was actually a translation of the Kitab Sirr al Asar, a book of advice to kings which was translated into latin by Johannes Hispalensis c. 1140 and by Philip of Tripoli c.1243. Other translations of the Tablet may have been made during the same period by Plato of Tivoli and Hugh of Santalla, perhaps from different sources.

The date of the Kitab Sirr al Asar is uncertain, though c.800 has been suggested and it is not clear when the tablet became part of this work. Holmyard was the first to find another early arabic version (Ruska found a 12th centruy recension claiming to have been dictated by Sergius of Nablus) in the Kitab Ustuqus al Uss al Thani (Second Book of the Elements of Foundation) attributed to Jabir. Shortly after Ruska found another version appended to the Kitab Sirr al Khaliqa wa San`at al Tabia (Book of the Secret of Creation and the Art of Nature), which is also known as the Kitab Balaniyus al Hakim fil Ilal (book of Balinas the wise on the Causes). It has been proposed that this book was written may have been written as early as 650, and was definitely finished by the Caliphate of al Mamun.

Scholars have seen similarities between this book and the Syriac Book of Treasures written by Job of Odessa (9th century) and more interestingly the Greek writings of the bishop Nemesius of Emesa in Syria from the mid fourth century. However though this suggests a possible Syriac source, non of these writings contain the tablet.Balinas is usually identified with Apollonius of Tyna, but there is little evidence to connect him with the Kitab Balabiyus, and even if there was,the story implies that Balinas found the tablet rather than wrote it, and the recent discoveries of the dead sea scrolls and the nag hamamdi Texts suggest that hiding texts in caves is not impossible, even if we did not have the pyramids before us.

Ruska has suggested an origin further east, and Needham has proposed an origin in China. Holmyard, Davis and Anon all consider that this Tablet may be one of the earliest of all alchemical works we have that survives. It should be remarked that apparantly the Greeks and Egyptians used the termtranslated as `emerald' for emeralds, green granites, "and perhaps green jasper". In medieval times the emerald table of the Gothic kings of Spain, and the Sacro catino a dish said to have belonged to the Queen of Sheba, to have been used at the last supper, and to be made of emerald, were made of green glass.


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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Darklore

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Book: Darklore by Michael Prescott

Darklore is an anthology of exceptional observations, hidden history and esoteric science, featuring some of the best writers and researchers covering these topics. Royalties from the sales of Darklore are returned back to the writers, to enable further research into these fascinating areas. This PDF is a sampler made up of six articles taken from Darklore Volumes 1 and 2, preserved in their original formatting.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Enochian Initiatory Workings

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Book: Enochian Initiatory Workings by Anonymous

This ritual invokes all the Enochian powers that relate to the realms in Tiphereth and above, and focuses them into a pattern centered on the magician. It doesn't deal directly with the issue of the H.G.A., but it can definitely open one's awareness to the levels of existence where the H.G.A. becomes known. I imagine that, having invoked all these powers, one could devise a ritual to focus them to the task of Contacting the H.G.A.

As far as I know, no one has as yet devised a set of Initiation or self-initiation rituals based solely on the Enochian powers - unless Jerry Schueler's recent effort counts as such; I would say it does, despite its faults. The task can definitely be done, and I'm going to start thinking about it now that you've put the idea into my head.

But the form of these rituals would likely be somewhat different from a method of working based on the Tree of Life. There is no direct correlation between the structure of the Tablets and that of the Tree; they divide the magickal universe up according to different maps. Better to work with the magick on its own terms than to try and force it into an inappropriate vessel. Let's consider the necessary parts of the Initiatory process below Tiphereth, and see what we can come up with.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Book Concerning The Tincture Of The Philosophers

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Book: The Book Concerning The Tincture Of The Philosophers by Paracelsus

The Book Concerning The Tincture Of The Philosophers by Paracelsus WRITTEN AGAINST THOSE SOPHISTS BORN SINCE THE DELUGE, IN THE AGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD; By PH. THEOPHRASTUS BOMBAST, of HOHENHEIM, Philosopher of the Monarchia, Prince of Spagyrists, Chief Astronomer, Surpassing Physician, and Trismegistus of Mechanical Arcana.

SINCE you, O Sophist, everywhere abuse me with such fatuous and mendacious words, on the ground that being sprung from rude Helvetia I can understand and know nothing: and also because being a duly qualified physician I still wander from one district to another; therefore I have proposed by means of this treatise to disclose to the ignorant and inexperienced: what good arts existed in the first age; what my art avails against you and yours against me; what should be thought of each, and how my posterity in this age of grace will imitate me. Look at Hermes, Archelaus, and others in the first age: see what Spagyrists and what Philosophers then existed. By this they testify that their enemies, who are your patrons, O Sophist, at the present time are but mere empty forms and idols. Although this would not be attested by those who are falsely considered your authentic fathers and saints, yet the ancient Emerald Table shews more art and experience in Philosophy, Alchemy, Magic, and the like, than could ever be taught by you and your crowd of followers. If you do not yet understand, from the aforesaid facts, what and how great treasures these are, tell me why no prince or king was ever able to subdue the Egyptians. Then tell me why the Emperor Diocletian ordered all the Spagyric books to be burnt (so far as he could lay his hands upon them). Unless the contents of those books had been known, they would have been obliged to bear still his intolerable yoke, - a yoke, O Sophist, which shall one day be put upon the neck of yourself and your colleagues.

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Sunday, April 9, 2006

The Sorceries Of Zos From Cults Of The Shadow

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Book: The Sorceries Of Zos From Cults Of The Shadow by Austin Osman Spare

Austin Spare claimed to have had direct experience of the existence of extra-terrestrial intelligences, and Crowley- as his autobiography makes abundantly clear- devoted a lifetime to proving that extra-terrestrial and superhuman consciousness can and does exist independently of the human organism.

As explained in Images and Oracles of Austin Osman Spare, Spare was initiated into the vital current of ancient and creative sorcery by an aged woman named Paterson, who claimed decent form a line of Salem witches. The formation of Spare's Cult of the Zos and the Kia owes much to his contact with Witch Paterson who provides the model for many of his 'sabbatic' drawings and paintings. Much of the occult lore that she transmitted to him suffuses two of his books- The Book of Pleasure and the
Focus of Life. In the last years of his life he embodied further esoteric researches in a grimoire which he had intended publishing as a sequel to his two other books. Although death prevented its publication, the manuscript survives, and the substance of the grimoire forms the basis of this chapter.

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The Sorceries Of Zos From Cults Of The Shadow

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Monday, April 3, 2006

Simple Taoism A Guide To Living In Balance

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Book: Simple Taoism A Guide To Living In Balance by Alexander Simpkins

Simple Taoism is designed to help the reader understand what Taoism is about and to help apply its best aspects to everyday living. Divided into three parts, the book outlines the background and development of the philosophy, illustrated with stories to bring history to life. It explains key concepts and shows ways to incorporate the insights fo Taoism into one's life through such activities as meditation, breathing exercises, and exploring the natural world.

Simple Taoism is clearly and beautifully explains the important concepts and people in straightforward language so that modern readers can not only understand it, but apply it! I heartily recommend this book to anyone who is interested in knowing more about Taoism. Deceptively brief, it explains in plain language the basics of Taoism and builds on these with simple exercises to help you put the theory into practice. It gently persuades you to look at your life again. Stand back and let things take their course - let your true nature emerge. A book that was meant to find its way onto my shelf. Feet on the ground stuff, but providing spiritual insight.

Taoism is a complex vast collection of customs, rituals, and beliefs that have never been codified into doctrine. This ancient Chinese path emphasizes attunement to the natural rhythms of life, the wisdom of intuition, and the value of inaction or wu-wei. C. Alexander and Annellen Simpkins, authors of "Zen Around the World," discuss the importance of chi (life force or energy), yin and yang, the five elements, and simplicity in Taoism.

The movement from Lao-Tzu's writing about the Tao to the contemporary search for methods of enhancing and prolonging life is a zigzag course rather than one of logical progression. "Wisdom lies in not contending," write the Simpkins. "Sensitive to the inner nature of self and others, Lao-Tzu''s Way leads through mystery by returning to the core of life."
Those who are interested in living in balance will find plenty of helpful resources in Taoism including meditation, Eastern medicine, the martial arts of tai chi and aikido, feng shui, and techniques for working with dreams.

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