Saturday, November 29, 2008

De Vermis Mysteriis

De Vermis Mysteriis Cover

Book: De Vermis Mysteriis by Roman Tertius Sibellius

It is supposed that the authorship of “De Vermis Misteriis” belongs to Roman Tertius Sibellius (280 B.C. - ?). In youth he served in the armed forces in Egypt. He was especially known by his smart intellect and passion to collect some artifacts. He bought several statuettes, amulets, papyrus scrolls of religious and philosophical content. More often he just took it in power from inhabitants. As the most of sensible people of that time, he was strongly against Christianity. But, it might be that he saw no reason to worship Roman Gods. It was mentioned in secrete documents, written by the order of Julian and kept in present time in some short fragments, that Sibellius was joined to these horrible cults by Ethiopian black sorcerer Talim. The same documents let us see the date of writing of “De Vermis Misteriis”. It is 331 A. D. As we can know, in this time Sibellius was dismissed from the forces and living in his house in Roma.

So, there was some writing in latin mentioned the names of the Elder Ones four century before Necronomicon. The book was spread very often among the adepts of black magic and forbidden by christian emperors. In the time of Feodosios II the Great almost all copies were destroyed. But the “Misteriis” survived in hands of the adepts of Black art, who found the shelter among barbarians near the far borders of empire. In some sense, Dark wisdom came forward due to persecution and exiling from well developed countries, and it was more attractive, than a holy bliss. So barbarians knew and accepted it first before they were baptized.

Abbot Bartholomew found this Book in the dense woods of the North England. It was in some lost settlement that is not pointed on the map and surrounded by the swamps. Only inhabitants knew the paths through the deadly swamps. Invisible watchers guarded the village. In civilized world that place was known as a cursed one, for some traveler lost in those woods were often found dead at the swamp, and some people disappeared there without leaving a trace. Abbot, consecrated in tradition of Sorcery, was able to not only to reach the village alive, but also to come back with the latin text of the Book. Some parts of this one, Black Tablet par example, were written in the dead language. Abbot translated them in latin, as he might have had a key. The Book consisted also two special alphabets, the Old of 22 and the Young of 17 symbols. That is the history of the ancient writings, called “De Vermis Misteriis” (in latin). From the middle of past century “De Vermis...” were often met on the counters of book sellers. We offer you the translated version (from russian to english) of the Book printed in some private printing-house in Leiptzig.

Download Roman Tertius Sibellius's eBook: De Vermis Mysteriis

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Confucianism Development History

Confucianism Development History Cover Confucianism was further developed by Mencius (372B.C.-289B.C.) and Xun Zi. It was in the reign of Emperor Wu during the Han Dynasty that Confucianism was promoted to being the state ideology. Since then, Confucianism became the orthodox doctrine of Chinese society. And Confucius was glorified as a Saint instead of an ordinary man.

In the coming Wei and Jin Dynasties, Confucianism coexisted with Buddhism and Taoism. Up to the Sui and Tang Dynasties, the struggle for dominance between the three became heated. The Song Dynasty witnessed a vital period of the development of Confucianism. Featuring Confucian school of idealist philosophy of the Song and Ming dynasties, Confucianism restored its orthodox role for the following 700 years.

Waving the banner of science and democracy, the New Cultural Movement from 1915 attacked the feudal system, including its core ideological system of Confucianism. During the Cultural Revolution, Confucianism was once again under violent attack.

In recent years people can look at Confucianism with a more rational state of mind, some even suggest returning to Confucianism for wisdom while opponents hold that Confucianism should be held responsible for the backwardness of China's development and for that reason its dominance should not be revived. In any event, that would not be possible.

To our delight, many scholars devote themselves to the study of Confucianism and its application to modern society. Such study is important as the Chinese language has experienced considerable changes over the centuries and the lack of any punctuation in the ancient classics has made it difficult for us to fully comprehend Confucius' ideology.

Confucianism is succinct as well as intensive. Strictly speaking, it is not a religion but more a doctrine than belief, while the meaning behind the beautiful words renders wordy post-modernism pale and dull. Confucianism is part of world cultural heritage and an integral part of Chinese life.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Enochian Temples A Ritual Of The Consecration Of The Temple Of The Fire Tablet

Enochian Temples A Ritual Of The Consecration Of The Temple Of The Fire Tablet Cover

Book: Enochian Temples A Ritual Of The Consecration Of The Temple Of The Fire Tablet by Benjamin Rowe

This ritual consecration is to be used with an astral Temple built according to the plan described in the chapbook Enochian Temples and the supplemental paper titled The Lower Temple. Readers unfamiliar with the Temple system and its symbolism should obtain and study those documents before making use of the ritual presented here.

This current ritual is divided into five parts, the first including a general invocation of the aspect of God ruling the Enochian system, a general invocation of the element of Fire, and an invocation and consecration of those parts of the Temple derived from the Great Cross of the Fire Tablet. This is followed by four sections for consecration of the parts of the Temple built from the Lesser Angles. Once the Temple has been built and fully charged, each section can be used independently for invocation of the forces it refers to. Further details will be mentioned in the "Symbols and Visualizations" section.

In any ritual of this length, ninety percent of its effectiveness is in the preparation beforehand. At the least, the magician should be thoroughly familiar with the design of the Temple, and able to maintain an unwavering image of it in his astral vision throughout the work. The power of the work will increase greatly if the magician takes the time to memorize the Keys and the other words, gestures, and visualizations and rehearses them several times before using the ritual with full invocatory intent. One can not expect the Enochian entities to appreciate a poorly-rehearsed ritual; no more than actors can expect an audience to appreciate a play if they must continually stop to look up their lines.

Since the work makes use of the powerful Enochian names, it is to be expected that some response may be produced even during rehearsals. These effects should be neither rejected nor encouraged, but simply disregarded until the practice session is concluded.

Download Benjamin Rowe's eBook: Enochian Temples A Ritual Of The Consecration Of The Temple Of The Fire Tablet

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Benjamin Rowe - Enochian Temples A Ritual Of The Consecration Of The Temple Of The Fire Tablet

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Concept Of Ihsan

Concept Of Ihsan Image
In islamic teminology, the term IHSAN holds great significance. Literally ihsan means "perfection" or "excellence." But it has deeper meaning attached to it. There is an event recorded from the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when Angel Gabriel came to him in human figure and had some conversation with the Prophet about the religion. in the recorded tradition of the Prophet, at one point Angel Gabriel asked the Prophet about the term, asking WHAT IS IHSAN?


On the surface the statement may seem very plain, but in it holds the greatest sincerity for the part of a person. This is because it talks about the ultimate sincerity in every action, in the living and in life. It is the highest to attain. if you just ponder on the fact that the quality of Ihsan means one lives a life with the ultimate consciousness and mindfulness of the Divine, the Most Perfect One in such a manner that the person can feel the presence of the Divine as if he or she is seeing the Face.

This the highest form of enlightenment in a sense that one can feel the presence of the Divine all the time here on earth, right now, all the moment. it was generally thought that the righteous will see the Face of God only in Heaven. But this idea of Ihsan transcend even that. it is the direct and sustained state of realization of God, right here, right now, all the moment.

a person's behaviour changes according to the company with whom he or she is. if the person is with the most beloved/ liked person on earth, his or her behavior becomes the most sweet. offcourse it depends on the state of the inner heart. thus when one understand the Most Beautiful, the Most Perfect Divine's attribute and know the fact that all gratefulness should direct to the Divine, then imagine how his or her behavior will transform when one is in a STATE OF IHSAN. This is when the action, thoughts, behavior of a person becomes perfect and excellent in all aspects. (the persian poet Hafez has a beautiful poem on this. the recitation with english is here)

The concept of Ihsan has been explained by various Islamic scholars. Some scholars explain Ihsan as being the "inner-dimension" of islam, very much connected to the soul of "the way of life".

Those who struggle for Us - We shall guide them on Our paths, and God is with those who do what is beautiful. (The Quran 29:69)

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

America Was Blessed With Men

America Was Blessed With Men Image
A Revolution of Sentiments
The American Revolution was more of an accelerated evolution than a revolution.
However, the exodus of some 80,000 Loyalists left a great lack of conservatives.
This weakening of the aristocratic "upper crust" let Patriot elites emerge.
The fight for separation of church and state resulted in notable gains.
The Congregational church continued to be legally established by some New England states, but the Anglican Church was humbled and reformed as the Protestant Episcopal Church.
Slavery was a big, problematic issue, as the Continental Congress of 1774 had called for the abolition of slavery, and in 1775, the Philadelphia Quakers founded the world's first antislavery society.
This new spirit of "all men are created equal" even inspired a few slave owners to free their slaves.
Another issue was women: they still were unequal to men, even though some had served (disguised as men) in the Revolutionary War.
There were some achievements: New Jersey's 1776 constitution allowed women to vote (for a time).
Mothers devoted to their families were developed as an idea of "republican motherhood" and elevated women to higher statuses as keepers of the nation's conscience.

Constitution Making in the States
The Continental Congress of 1776 called upon colonies to draft new constitutions (thus began the formation of the Articles of the Confederation).
Massachusetts contributed one innovation when it called a special convention to draft its constitution and made it so that the constitution could only be changed through another specially called constitutional convention.
Many states had written documents that represented a fundamental law.
Many had a bill of rights and also required annual election of legislators.
All of them deliberately created weak executive and judicial branches (they distrusted power due to Britain's abusing it).
In most states, the legislative branch was given sweeping powers, though some people, like Thomas Jefferson, warned that "173 despots [in legislation] would surely be as oppressive as one.
Many states moved westward, like New Hampshire, New York, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia.

Economic Crosscurrents
After the Revolution, Loyalist land was seized, but people didn't chop heads off (France...).
Goods formerly imported from England were cut off, forcing Americans to make their own.
Still, America remained agriculturalist by a lot.
While, with Britain, Americans had great trade, and now they didn't, they could now trade with foreign countries, and with any nation they wanted to, a privilege they didn't have before.
Yankee shippers like the Empress of China (1784) boldly ventured into far off places.
However, inflation was rampant, and taxes were hated; the rich had become poor, and the new rich were viewed with suspicion; disrespect of private property became shocking.

A Shaky Start Toward Union
While the U.S. had to create a new government, the people were far from united.
In 1786, after the war, Britain flooded America with cheap goods, greatly hurting American industries.
However, the states all did share similar constitutions, had a rich political inheritance form Britain, and America was blessed with men like Washington, Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton, and John Adams, great political leaders of high order.
#note:APUSH Ch9 B,APUSH/Chapter 9,A.P. U.S. History Notes

Chapter 9: "The Confederation and the Constitution"
~ 1776 - 1790 ~

Creating a Confederation
Even during the war, the states had created their individual currencies and tax barriers.
The Articles of the Confederation was finished in 1777, but in was finally completely ratified (that was needed) by the last state, Maryland, on March 1, 1781.
A major dispute was that states like New York and Virginia had huge tracts of land west of the Alleghenies that they could sell off to pay off their debts while other states could not do so.
As a compromise, these lands were ceded to the federal government, which pledged to dispense them for the common good of the union (states would be made).
The Northwest Ordinance later confirmed this.

The Articles of the Confederation: America's First Constitution
The Articles had no executive branch (hence, no single leader), a weak Congress in which each state had only one vote, required 2/3 majority on any subject of importance, and a fully unanimous vote for amendments.
Also, Congress was pitifully weak, and could not regulate commerce or enforce tax collection.
Congress could only call up soldiers from the states, which weren't going to help each other.
Example: in 1783, a group of Pennsylvanian soldiers harassed the government in Philadelphia, demanding back pay. When it pleaded for help from the state, and didn't receive any, it had to shamefully move to Princeton College in New Jersey.
However, it was a model of what a loose confederation should be, and was a significant stepping-stone towards the establishment of the U.S. Constitution.
Still, the states wielded an alarmingly too great amount of power.

Landmarks in Land Laws
The Land Ordinance of 1785 provided the acreage of the Old Northwest should be sold and that the proceeds be used to pay off the national debt.
This vast area would be surveyed before settlement and then divided into townships six miles square, which would then be divided into 36 square sections with one set aside for public schools.
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 made admission into the union a two stage affair: There would be two evolutionary territorial stages, during which the area would be subordinate to the federal government When a territory had 60,000 inhabitants, Congress as a state might admit it.
It worked so well to solve a problem that others had plagued many other nations.

The World's Ugly Duckling
However, Britain still refused to repeal the Navigation Laws, and closed down its trading to the U.S. (proved useless to U.S. smuggling); it also sought to annex Vermont to Britain with help from the Allen brothers and continued to hold a chain of trading posts on U.S. soil.
One excuse used was that the soldiers had to make sure the U.S. honor its treaty and pay back debts to Loyalists.
In 1784, Spain closed the Mississippi River to American commerce.
It also claimed a large area near the Gulf of Mexico that was ceded to the U.S. by Britain.
At Natchez, on disputed soil, it also held a strategic fort.
Both Spain and England, while encouraging Indian tribes to be restless, prevented the U.S. from controlling half of it territory.
Even France demanded payment of U.S. debts to France.
The pirates of the North African states, including the arrogant Dey of Algiers, ravaged U.S. ships in the area and enslaved Yankee sailors; America was too weak to stop them.
#note:APUSH Ch9 C,APUSH/Chapter 9,A.P. U.S. History Notes

Chapter 9: "The Confederation and the Constitution"
~ 1776 - 1790 ~

The Horrid Specter of Anarchy
States were refusing to pay taxes, and national debt was mounting as foreign credibility was slipping.
Boundary disputes erupted into small battles while states taxed goods from other states.
Shays' Rebellion, which flared up in western Massachusetts in 1786, attacked tax collectors, etc... and caused all sorts of violence.
Shays was convicted but later pardoned.
The fear of such violence lived on, though, and paranoia existed.
People were beginning to doubt republicanism and this Articles of the Confederation.
However, many supporters believed that the Articles merely needed to be strengthened.
Things began to look brighter, though, as prosperity was beginning to emerge, Congress was beginning to control commerce, and overseas shipping was regaining its place in the world.

A Convention of "Demigods"
An Annapolis, Maryland convention was called, but only five states were represented.
On May 25, 1787, 55 delegates from 12 states (Rhode Island wasn't there) met in Philadelphia to "revise the Articles only."
Among them were people like Jefferson, Hamilton, Franklin, and Madison.
However, people like Jefferson, John and Sam Adams, Thomas Pain, Hancock, and Patrick Henry were not there (for various purposes).

Patriots in Philadelphia
The 55 delegates were all well-off and young, and they hoped to preserve the union, protect the American democracy from abroad and preserve it at home, and curb the unrestrained democracy rampant in various states (like rebellions, etc...).

Hammering Out a Bundle of Compromises
Some people decided to totally scrap the Articles and create a new Constitution.
Virginia's large state plan called for Congressional representation based on state population, while New Jersey's small state plan called for equal representation from all states (in terms of numbers, each state got the same number of reps.)
Afterwards, the "Great Compromise" was worked out so that Congress would have TWO houses, the House of Representatives, were reps were based on population, and the Senate, where each state got two reps.
All tax bills would start in the House.
Also, there would be a strong, independent executive branch with a president who would be military commander in chief and could veto legislation.
Another compromise was the election of the president through the Electoral College, rather than by the people directly.
Also, slaves would count as 3/5 of a person in census counts.
Also, the Constitution enabled a state to shut off slave importation if it wanted after 1807.

Safeguards for Conservatism
The delegates at the Convention all believed in a system with checks and balances, and the more conservative people deliberately erected safeguards against excesses of mobs.
Federal chief justices were appointed for life.
However, the people still had power, and government was based on the people.
By the end of the Convention, on Sept. 17, 1787, only 42 of the original 55 were still there to sign the Constitution
#note:APUSH Ch9 D,APUSH/Chapter 9,A.P. U.S. History Notes

Chapter 9: "The Confederation and the Constitution"
~ 1776 - 1790 ~

The Clash of Federalists and Antifederalists
Knowing that state legislatures were certainly veto the new Constitution, the Founding Fathers sent copies of it out to state conventions, where it could be debated and voted upon.
The people could judge it themselves.
The American people were shocked, because they had expected a patched up Articles of the Confederation and had received a whole new Constitution (the Convention had been VERY well concealed and kept secret).
The federalists, who favored the proposed stronger government, were against the antifederalists, who were opposed.
The antifederalists were mostly the poor farmers, the illiterate, and states' rights devotees; it was basically the poorer classes.
The federalists were more respectable and generally embraced the cultured and propertied groups, and many were former Loyalists.
Antifederalists truthfully cried that it was drawn up by aristocratic elements and was therefore antidemocratic.
They decried the dropping of annual elections of congressional reps and the erecting of what would become Washington D.C., and the creation of a standing army.

The Great Debate in the States
Elections were run to elect people into the state conventions.
Four small states quickly ratified the Constitution, and Pennsylvania was the first large state to act.
In Massachusetts, a hard fought race between the supporters and detractors (including Samuel Adams, the "Engineer of Revolution" who now resisted change), and Massachusetts finally ratified it after a promise of a bill of rights to be added later.
Had this state not ratified, it would have brought the whole thing down.
Three more states ratified, and on June 21, 1788, the Constitution was officially adopted after nine states (all but Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island) had ratified.

The Four Laggard States
Virginia, knowing that it could not be an independent state (the Constitution was about to be ratified by the 9th state, New Hampshire, anyway), so it finally ratified by a vote of 89 to 79.
New York was swayed by The Federalist Papers, written by John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton, and finally yielded after realizing that it could prosper apart from the union.
North Carolina and Rhode Island finally ratified after intense pressure from the government.

A Conservative Triumph
The minority had triumphed again, and the transition had been peaceful.
Only about 1/4 of the adult white males in the country (mainly those with land) had voted for the ratifying delegates.
Conservationism was victorious, as the safeguards had been erected against mob-rule excesses.
Revolutionaries against Britain had been upended by revolutionaries against the Articles.
It was a type of counterrevolution.
Federalists believed that every branch of government effectively represented the people, unlike antifederalists who believed that only the legislative branch did so.
In the United States, conservatives and radicals alike have championed the heritage of democratic revolution.
ImportName,InvadersRealm Chapter 2

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Women Place In Buddhism

Women Place In Buddhism Image
Reflections on J. Abeygunawardhana's letter (The Island Online, Sri Lanka)

(WQ) It's an unfortunate truth that Buddhism has sexist elements. It was certainly progressive in its day. According to the Buddha, as a dispensation ("sasana"), Buddhism would not be complete or perfect without -- four kinds of followers: male and female ordained and lay followers.

However, at some point sexism asserted itself. The India of that time pushed back progressive gains, and the texts were interpreted more according to custom and habit. Commentators had one view of women in spite of the histories of many enlightened nuns in the sutras. and things added. The subtraction (of discourses originally memorized and preserved by nuns) were not then memorized by monks when the Order of Nuns declined and disappeared. Indeed, they had their own sutras addressed to them to keep track of. (The "Therigatha, "Psalms of the Sisters" or "Enlightened Verses of the Nuns," and the "Vinaya" rules for nuns are two examples of scriptures specifically aimed at nuns that survive).

One should not doubt that the sexism that pervades the world outside of shamanistic and Pagan traditions also touched Buddhism. The social reality is that sexism is still very much alive. Even as this lay Buddhist writer sending in a letter to the editor in defense of women at The Island reveals, a great deal of ignorance still surrounds women. Moreover, Sri Lanka, which is where The Island is based, was a British colony and took on a great deal of the bias inherent in the English educational system.

Nevertheless, the letter brings up some good points. There is indeed a text that claims that women -- who are fully capable of becoming enlightened, seeing nirvana, being liberated in this very life, and even teaching the Dharma -- cannot become "buddhas" unless they were to first be reborn as men. Is this true? It would seem not. Is it true that it is written and believed? There can be no doubt about that. Assuming it is true, one must always bear in mind that living beings are neither male nor female. Rebirth from one sex to the other is common. And beyond the level of "brahmas" (divinities), there is no sexual dimorphism, no male and female, no sexual distinction. Therefore, men cannot claim to be "men" except that they temporarily manifest a type of body which is predominantly masculine and less feminine.

G.A.D. Sirimal's letter on "Tragic discrimination against women" in the columns of "The Island" (11/07/09) prompts me to reply to correct his misinterpretation of buddhahood and womanhood. These are his words: "What about Buddhism? Can any woman become a Buddha? From what I have heard in [sermon] preaching by Buddhist monks, a woman could become a "buddha", if during her journey through "Samsara", she accrues sufficient merit [for buddhahood], be born as a man, and then attain buddhahood."

A "buddha"-aspirant has to be born as a male in his last birth, not because man is superior to woman. A "bodhisattva's" journey to buddhahood or enlightenment in his last birth, is a trying experience, a woman is not equal to. [This is where the writer falls off a cliff trying to defend equality]. For instance, the [superfluous] six year period of austerity Prince Siddhartha practiced, prior to attaining buddhahood or [perfect] enlightenment, is not something that a woman, tender and physically weaker than a man, could withstand. According to the Buddha's Teachings, gender is not considered a [disqualifier] to attain nirvana (deathlessness/bliss).

The Buddha's retinue ("parivara") consists of four divisions -- monks and nuns as well as male and female lay disciples. Anyone who belongs to one of these divisions can attain the supreme bliss of nirvana in this very life, if one follows the Teachings (Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path) diligently. There is no discrimination whatsoever against a female. (Except apparently in the imagination or social conception of the writer).

All beings are equal. One is not superior to another by birth, race, caste, creed, or gender. That is the Buddha's Teaching. Of the three compendiums ("Tripitaka, "the three divisions of the Teaching), the Book of Discipline was recited by the enlightened monk Upali, a great elder ("maha thera") of the Buddha who was born to a so-called low caste (scavenger) family. There was no discrimination in the Buddha's dispensation ("Sasana").

Limited space here does not permit me to further elucidate my point that there is no discrimination against women in the Teachings of Gautama Buddha. The nuns Patachara and Kisagotami are two famous women who were ordained by the Buddha before attaining enlightenment. The nuns Sujata and Visakha are great names associated with Gautama Buddha's lifetime. One should not rush to hasty conclusions and pass judgment on anything without knowing the facts.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Gerald Massey Lectures

Gerald Massey Lectures Cover

Book: Gerald Massey Lectures by Gerald Massey

Gerald Massey became increasingly interested in Egyptology. He studied the extensive Egyptian records housed in the British Museum. He eventually taught himself to decipher the hieroglyphics. Finally after many years of study he wrote a series of scholarly works on the Religion and Mythology of Ancient Egypt. In 1881 he published in two volumes "A Book of the Beginnings," in 1883 "The Natural Genesis" followed, and finally in 1907 he published in two volumes "Ancient Egypt: The Light of the World,".

When Massey lectured in America and Canada, he found himself surrounded with able students. Miss E. Valentia Straiton, author of "The Celestial Ship of the North," and Dr. Alvin Boyd Kuhn, who wrote extensively on comparative religion. Dr. Kuhn acknowledged that in Gerald Massey had been a great inspiration to him. In fact in his posthumous work, "A Rebirth for Christianity," Dr. Kuhn called attention to the great worth of Massey's research on Christian origins

In these present lectures Gerald Massey renewed his contention that the gnosis of Christianity was primarily derived from Egypt on various lines of descent--Hebrew, Persian, Greek, Alexandrian, Essenian and Nazarene. These converged in Rome where the history was manufactured from identifiable matter recorded in the ancient Book of Wisdom.

It was during this period that he delivered the lecture on GNOSTIC AND HISTORIC CHRISTIANITY. He clearly depicts the origin of Christianity and makes it unequivocal that it was not derived from Buddhism. Jesus spoke repeatedly about the Father. Massey said, "The Buddha is the veiled God unveiled, the unmanifested made manifest, but not by the line of descent from Father to Son. Buddha was begotten by his own becoming before the time of divine paternity."

Download Gerald Massey's eBook: Gerald Massey Lectures

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Phronesis The Development Of Practical Wisdom

Phronesis The Development Of Practical Wisdom Cover

Book: Phronesis The Development Of Practical Wisdom by Terry Findlay

Terry Findlay Phronesis presents the story of how an ‘alchemy’ that our brains Perform in Making a series of life-changing transitions may be our best hope for encouraging individual and collect.

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Black Book

The Black Book Cover

Book: The Black Book by Meshafi Resh

In the beginning The Invisible One brought forth from its own precious soul a white pearl. And It created a bird upon whose back It placed the pearl, and there He dwelt for forty thousand years. Then on the first day, Sunday, It created an angel called Izrael. He is Archangel over all the Angels, he who is Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel. He is the first to be, and to know that He is; for the One can know nothing. On each of the other Days of the week the One brought forth Angels to serve Melek Taus. After this, the Invisible One retreated into Itself, and acted no more; but Melek Taus was left to act. Seeing the barrenness of the ether, He created the form of the seven heavens, the earth, sun and moon. He created mankind, animals, birds and beasts in the pockets of his cloak. Then He brought man up from the pearl accompanied by angels. He gave a great shout before the pearl, after which it split into four pieces. He made water flow from its inside, and that water became the sea.

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bits And Pieces Of Teaching Buddhism

Bits And Pieces Of Teaching Buddhism Image
"Gathering Leaves and Lifting Words: Histories of Buddhist Monastic Education in Laos and Thailand, "Justin T. McDaniel (Silkworm Books; Univ. of Washington Press)

Histories of Buddhism in Southeast Asia have imagined a clear break between pre-modern and modern practices. In the past, they claim, each Buddhist temple ("wat)" and abbot was very independent. Teaching depended heavily on moral tales, especially the Jataka birth stories. The teaching style was predominantly oral.

Beginning in the mid-19th century, there was a revolution: Printing made available standard editions of texts. Western scholars invented the idea of a "canon" of older, orthodox texts. The court in Siam and the colonial administrators in Indo-China imposed a "purified" teaching based on this canon and a more regimented organization of the Sangha.

Nun ("maechi") students, Pali grammar class, Samnak Santisuk nunnery, Nakhon Pathom.

Justin McDaniel has studied Buddhist education from past to present. Unlike most scholars, he based himself in the "Lao" periphery of Lanna, Laos, and Isan. He ordained for a time in a small "wat" beside the Mekong River and tramped all around the periphery, peering into "wat" libraries, listening to sermons, and quizzing novices. He concludes that the break between pre-modern and modern was much less clear than it seems.

He cannot find out very much about pre-modern teaching in the "wats" in either Laos or Lanna except for two things. First, abbots paid a lot of attention to collecting and copying manuscripts. Abbots who did this on a large scale became honored and famous. Often they distributed copies of manuscripts over a wide area. Second, the most common form of manuscript found in the "wat" libraries and used by the monastics and abbots are not the classical texts, but "nissaya" (and the similar "vohara" and "namasadda"). These are literally "supports" or crib-guides for a monastic delivering a sermon or homily.

by Chris Baker (7/13/09)

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