Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Humanistic Judaism

Humanistic Judaism Cover "Secular Humanism" is a non-religiously based philosophy promoting man as the measure of all things. They value knowledge based on reason and hard evidence rather than on faith. They generally reject the concept of a personal God. 1 The movement can be traced directly back to the rationalism of the 18th Century and the free thought movement of the 19th Century. Its roots are in the system of rational philosophy created in ancient Greece.

"Religious Humanism" is similar to secular Humanism, except that it is practiced within a religious setting with community, fellowship and rituals. Its various forms are seen in Ethical Culture Societies, some groups affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association, and in congregations associated with the Society for Humanistic Judaism.

Humanistic Judaism, then, is a group within Judaism which follows religious Humanism. According to an article in the Washington Post, "Stephen P. Weldon, a historian of humanism at Cornell University, said that Jewish humanists reflect an emerging pattern of religious humanism as distinct from secular humanism. 'A lot of humanists have decided that religion is a natural human impulse and...that there needs to be some kind of ritual and socializing aspect and that going to church or going to temple can help us do that,' Weldon said."

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Quotations About Atheism

Quotations About Atheism Cover Woody Allen (attributed): "To you, I'm an atheist; to God, I'm the Loyal Opposition"

- Anon: "Almost every American denies the existence of Artemis, Baal, Cybele, Fergus, Thor, Wotan, Zeus, and thousands of other gods and goddesses. The difference between a Christian and an Atheist is that an Atheist either actively denies the existence of the Trinity or has no belief in the Trinity. The difference is truly insignificant. It is only one part in many thousands."

- Isaac Asimov, from the article "On Religiosity" in Free Inquiry magazine: "Although the time of death is approaching me, I am not afraid of dying and going to Hell or (what would be considerably worse) going to the popularized version of Heaven. I expect death to be nothingness and, for removing me from all possible fears of death, I am thankful to atheism."

- Dan Barker, Author of "Losing Faith in Faith:" "I have something to say to the religionist who feels atheists never say anything positive: You are an intelligent human being. Your life is valuable for its own sake. You are not second-class in the universe, deriving meaning and purpose from some other mind. You are not inherently evil -- you are inherently human, possessing the positive rational potential to help make this a world of morality, peace and joy. Trust yourself."

- Annie Wood Besant: "No philosophy, no religion, has ever brought so glad a message to the world as this good news of Atheism."

- George H.W. Bush, as presidential nominee for the Republican party; 1987-AUG-27: "No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God." 1

- H. Havelock Ellis: "And it is in his own image, let us remember, that Man creates God."

- Guy P. Harrison: "...atheism is not a conscious act of turning away from all gods. It is simply the final destination for those who think. ...you will be pleased to discover that the sky does not fall down on your head. ... if you still want to pray, you can (the success rate of your prayers is unlikely to change)."

- Doug Jesseph: "As an atheist, I deny the existence of all Gods: those of the Mayans, the Hindu, the ancient Egyptians, and the God of the Old and New Testaments. If I am right, all of these are fictional constructs invented by clever humans for ... a variety of purposes, ranging from psychological comfort to entertainment."

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Pow Wow Tradition Of Witchcraft

Pow Wow Tradition Of Witchcraft Cover Pow-Wow Tradition: (from the Algonquin word “pauwau", which means literally "vision seeker") Its principles encompass shamanic like rituals of healing through visions and the application of traditional medicines, which are often accompanied by prayers, incantations, songs, and dances. The word pauwau (pow-wow) was came to be used for Native American ceremonies and councils because of the important role played by the pauwau in both. The Pow Wow Tradition places great significance on the vision seeker as the nexus of group (coven) activites and rituals. Though some claim that the Pow-Wow Tradition is German in origin, it is more of an amalgamation of local Native American Traditions with those Traditions of the German/Dutch immigrants of pagan heritage who settled in the Pennsylvania region of the United States.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sufism Love And Wisdom

Sufism Love And Wisdom Cover

Book: Sufism Love And Wisdom by Jean Louis Michon

The present work is one of the most valuable anthologies devoted to Sufism in a Western language and is in fact unique in its authenticity combined with diversity. In order to understand the value of this work, it is necessary to turn briefly to the history of the study of Sufism in the Occident. In contrast to the fields of theology, philosophy, and the sciences, there were no translations of Sufi texts into Latin during the Middle Ages. The knowledge received about Sufism in the West by such men as Dante and, somewhat later, St. John of the Cross came from vernacular languages, oral transmission, and personal contact. The first work to use the term "Sufism," as ta'awwuf has come to be known in the West, was in fact written in 1821 by a German scholar by the name of August Tholuck, who wrote a study of the subject entitled Sufismus: sive Theosophia Persarum pantheistica. The later eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries were also witness to the translations of Sufi texts from both Persian and Arabic into English, German, French, and some other European languages. The works of such translators as Sir William Jones, von Hammer Purgstall, and Ruckert began to be read in literary and even philosophical circles and attracted major figures such as Goethe and Emerson. But the influence of Sufism during the Romantic Movement remained for the most part literary, and not philosophical and metaphysical, at least not as these terms are understood in a traditional context.

For hundreds of years, the inner spiritual core of Islam has been the focus of Sufi practitioners and thinkers. Those initiated into its mysteries have sometimes expressed them in ecstatic poetry, in a symbolic language of love, or in reasoned prose. These essays by such contemporary writers on Sufism as Seyyed Hossein Nasr, William Chittick, Titus Burckhardt, Martin Lings, Rene Guenon, and Frithjof Schuon, allow the reader to understand the language, the wisdom, and the beautiful history of classical Sufism. Covering a wide range of topics related to the mystical aspect of Islam, Sufism, this book includes essays on spiritual thought and knowledge, many of which have been translated into English for the first time. Several of the contributions are from a new generation of interpreters and wisdom seekers of Sufism.

This volume comes at a point when Muslims in the West, fatigued by an ideological and sacreligious fanaticism parading itself as Islam, have begun turning in droves back to its spiritual tradition. It is hoped that this volume will assist these Muslims, and non-Muslims who find themselves sensitive to Sufi discourse, in finding their way to the Path. Some of the most important essays contained in this collection are Burckhardt's "Sufi Doctrine and Method", Nasr's "The Spiritual Needs of Western Man and the Message of Sufism", Schuon's "The Quintessential Esoterism of Islam", Kazemi's "Jesus in the Qur'an: Selfhood and Compassion--An Akbari Perspective", Schaya's "On the Name Allah", and Chodkiewicz's "The Vision of God according to Ibn 'Arabi". All in all this is a feast for those inquiring into Islamic spirituality. To quote the back of the book: "These essays go beyond the endless fascination with forms: they always orient and re-orient themselves to the intrinsic Beauty of the Truth, the Truth that lives within the forms of Sufism and within the saints who have lived it."

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Tibetan Buddhism Celebrates 900 Years Of The Karmapa Lama

Tibetan Buddhism Celebrates 900 Years Of The Karmapa Lama Image
Both Tibetans and the Chinese government recognize Trinley Thaye Dorje, 17th Karmapa. He occupies the third highest post in Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or "lightning vehicle") after the Dalai and the Panchen Lama. He lives under Indian "protection."

A two-day celebration will be in Bodh Gaya, India (the place thought to be where the Buddha gained enlightenment, but it is not certain even if people take it for granted and a related Bodhi tree has been planted there now), starting this Wednesday.DHARAMSALA, India (AsiaNews) - "The 17th Karmapa is the oldest and the most revered reincarnate lineage in Tibetan Buddhism," Samdhong Rinpoche told AsiaNews. The Kalon Tripa or prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile spoke a few days before the 900th anniversary of the Karmapa, the third highest spiritual office in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama.

The current incarnation (since each person who fills the post is thought to be the same person reborn and returning on purpose to continue the work) has lived in India since 2000, free from Chinese control. He is viewed as the "natural" successor to the Dalai Lama.

Born in 1983, the current Karmapa Lama (Trinley Thaye Dorje) fled from Tsurphu Temple in central Tibet. And after an overland winter trek across the Himalayas, he reached India where he was given asylum.

He has lived in Dharamsala (the seat of the government in exile) since he went into exile. He is free to travel but requires official permission to receive visitors.

For Rinpoche, 900 years "of Karma tradition are significant because it is an occasion to strengthen and reinforce the Tibetan religious and cultural identity."

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Buddhist Extraterrestrials In Space Sutra

Buddhist Extraterrestrials In Space Sutra Image
The following is an elaborate discourse that takes place in space. Benevolent beings well aware of the Buddha regularly gather in "Spaceport 33" ("Tavatimsa", Sanskrit, "Tratyastrimsa"). Meetings are conducted with FOUR SPACE COMMANDERS (named in the sutra) entrusted with ruling the skies of Earth and particular kinds of nonhuman beings under their purview.

Walshe's translation is excellent although obscured by British-English and the common portrayal of these characters as heavenly, which leads to assumption that it is myth. But this takes place in space within our solar system. The "heavens" (skies, spheres, zones in space) and devas ("shining ones," angels, godlings, demigods, sky-kings, lords, protectors) are always plural in Buddhism (as they originally were in Christianity). This sutra names and describes some of the most relevant to earthly affairs.

THE GREAT STEWARD (DN 19)1. Thus have I heard. Once the Buddha was staying at Rajagaha, on Vultures' Peak. And when the night was nearly over, Pa~ncasikha of the messenger-devas ("angels" or GANDHARVAS) alighted on Vultures' Peak.

[A "brahma" named Brahma Sanankumara materialized in the form of the youth Pa~ncasikha (literally, "Five Knots") to appear in person; he was wearing his hair tied in five top knots or ringlets as the youth Panchasikkha had worn his hair when he passed away as a young boy].

He lit up the entire Vultures' Peak with a splendid radiance [as would a spacecraft, but DEVAS (literally, "shining ones") emit a radiance, as science has shown humans do, and "brahmas" are even brighter].

He approached the Buddha, saluted him, stood respectfully to one side, and said: "Venerable sir, I wish to report to you what I have personally seen and observed when I was in the presence of the Thirty-Three Devas."

"Tell me then, Pa~ncasikha," replied the Buddha.

2. "Venerable sir, in earlier days, long ago, on the lunar observance day of the fifteenth at the end of the rainy season, on the full moon night, all the THIRTY-THREE DEVAS were seated in the Hall of Truth -- a great congregation of celestial beings, and the Four Great Sky Kings from the four quarters [eastern, southern, western, and northern skies] were there. There were these great sky kings:

* Dhatarattha from the east at the head of his followers sat facing west;
* Virulhaka from the south...facing north;
* Virupakkha from the west...facing east;
* Vessavana from the north...facing south.

On such occasions that is the order in which they are seated, and after that came our seats. And those devas who, having lived the supreme life under the Buddha [now reborn as a result in these celestial worlds as beautifully radiant], had recently appeared in the space world of the Thirty-Three, outshone the other devas in in brightness and glory. And for that reason the Thirty-Three Devas were pleased, happy, filled with delight and joy, rejoicing: 'The devas' hosts [defensive army] are growing, the titans' (ASURAS) legions [offensive army] are declining!'

Then Sakka [King of Kings and Lord of Lords, referring to the Four Great Sky Kings already mentioned and the 33 ruling lords of the Realm of the Thirty-Three], seeing the satisfaction of the Thirty-Three, uttered these verses of rejoicing:

"The devas of the Thirty-Three rejoice, their leader too,

Praising the Tathagata [Buddha], and Dharma's truth,

Seeing new-come devas, fair and gloriousWho've lived the supreme life, now well reborn.Outshining all the rest in fame and splendor, The mighty Sage's pupils singled out. Seeing this, the Thirty-Three rejoice, their leader too,Praising the Tathagata, and Dharma's truth."At this, venerable sir, the Thirty-Three Devas rejoiced still more, saying: "The devas' hosts are growing, the asuras' legions are declining!"

4. [Pa~ncasikha continued:] "Then Sakka, seeing their satisfaction, said to the Thirty-Three Devas: "'Would you like, gentlemen, to hear eight truthful statements in praise of the Buddha?" Receiving their assent, he declared:

5. "'What do you think, my lords of the Thirty-Three? As regards the way in which the Buddha has striven for the welfare of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare and happiness of devas and human beings -- we can find no teacher endowed with such qualities, whether we consider the past or the present, other than the Buddha.

6. "'Well-proclaimed, truly, is this Buddha's Teaching, visible here and now, timeless [immediately beneficial], inviting inspection, leading onward, to be realized by the wise each one for oneself -- and we can find no proclaimer of such an onward-leading doctrine, either in the past or in the present, other than the Buddha.

7. "'The Buddha has well explained what is right and what is wrong, what is blameworthy and what is blameless, what is to be followed and what is not to be followed, what is base and what is noble, what is foul, fair, and mixed in quality. And we can find none who is a proclaimer of such things... other than the Buddha.

8. "'Again, the Buddha has well explained to his disciples the path [The "path" here is really the practice ("patipada"). The Noble Eightfold Path is the "Middle Way" or better the "Middle Practice, majjhima-patipada"] leading to nirvana. And they coalesce, nirvana and the path, just as the waters of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers coalesce and flow on together. And we can find no proclaimer of the path leading to nirvana... other than the Buddha.

9. "'And the Buddha has gained companions, both learners [those in training who have attained one of the three preliminary stages of enlightenment but not yet the fourth and final stage] and those who, having lived the supreme spiritual life, have abolished the corruptions [arhats, or fully enlightened followers], and the Buddha dwells together with them, all rejoicing in the one thing [liberation from suffering]. And we can find no such teacher... other than the Buddha.

10. "'The gifts given to the Buddha are well-bestowed, his fame is well established, so much so that, I think, the warrior-caste nobles in India will continue to be attached to him. Yet the Buddha accepts food-offerings without conceit. And we can find no teacher who does this... other than the Buddha.

11. "'And the Buddha acts as he speaks, and speaks as he acts. And we can find no teacher who does likewise, in every detail of Dharma... other than the Buddha.

12. "'The Buddha has transcended doubt, passed beyond all 'how' and 'why,' accomplished his aim in regard to his goal and the goal of the supreme way of life. And we can find no teacher who has done likewise, whether we consider the past or the present, other than the Buddha.'"

"And when Sakka had thus proclaimed these eight truthful statements in praise of the Buddha, the Thirty-Three Devas were even more pleased, overjoyed, and filled with delight and happiness at what they had heard in the Buddha's praise.

13. "Then certain devas exclaimed: "Oh, if only four supremely-enlightened-teaching-"buddhas" were to arise in the world and teach Dharma just like the Blessed One! That would be for the benefit and happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit and happiness of devas and human beings!"

"And some said: 'Never mind four supremely-enlightened-teaching-"buddhas" -- three would suffice!' And others said: 'Never mind three -- two would suffice!'"

14. "At this Sakka said: 'It is impossible, gentlemen, it cannot happen that two supremely-enlightened-"buddhas" should arise simultaneously in a single world-system. That cannot be. May this Blessed One continue to live long, for many years to come, free from illness and disease! That would be for the benefit and happiness of the many. Out of compassion for the world, it would be for the benefit and happiness of devas and human beings!'"

Then the Thirty-Three Devas consulted and deliberated about the matter concerning which they had assembled in the Hall of Truth. And the Four Great Sky Kings were advised and admonished on this matter as they stood by their seats unmoving:

The sky kings, instructed, marked the words they spoke, Standing calm, serene, beside their seats.

15-16. "A great radiance was seen, heralding the approach of Brahma [a higher class of beings more powerful and better endowed than devas]. All took their proper seats... each hoping Brahma would sit on his couch.

17. Then Brahma Sanankumara, having descended from his space world, and seeing their pleasure, uttered these verses:

"The devas of the Thirty-Three rejoice, their leader too..." (as above).

18. "Brahma Sanankumara's voice had eight qualities. (It is distinct, intelligible, pleasant, attractive, compact, concise, deep, and resonant).

19. "Then the Thirty-Three Devas said to Brahma Sanankumara: 'It is well, Brahma! We rejoice at what we have heard. Sakka, Lord of the Devas, has also declared eight truthful statements to us about the Buddha, at which we also rejoice.'"

"Then Brahma said to Sakka: 'It is well, Lord of the Devas. And we too would like to hear those eight truthful statements about the Buddha.'"

"'Very well, Great Brahma,'" said Sakka as he repeated those eight statements.

20-27. "'What do you think, Lord Brahma...?'" And Brahma Sanankumara was pleased, overjoyed, filled with delight and happiness at what he had heard in the Buddha's praise.

28. "Brahma Sanankumara assumed a grosser form and appeared to the Thirty-Three Devas in the shape of the youth Pa~ncasikha ("Five Knots").... Rising up in the air, he appeared floating cross-legged. And sitting thus cross-legged, he said to the Thirty-Three Devas: "For how long has the Blessed One [the Buddha] been one of mighty wisdom?

29. "'Once upon a time there was a king called Disampati. His court chaplain ["purohita", brahmin priest who serves the king as a kind of prime minister] was a brahmin called the Steward.

[Govinda. Rhys Davids notes: "It is evident...that Govinda, literally "Lord of the Herds," was a title, not a name, and means Treasurer or Steward." But people were often known by some designation other than their proper names, probably for taboo reasons. Note how in Scotland the royal house of Stuart derived their name from the Steward who was originally the "sty-ward"].

"The king's son was a youth called Renu, and the Steward's son was called Jotipala. Prince Renu and Jotipala, together with six other nobles, formed a band of eight friends.

"In the course of time the Steward died, and King Disampati mourned him, saying: 'Alas, at the very moment when we had entrusted all our responsibilities to the Steward and were abandoning ourselves to the pleasures of the five senses, the Steward has passed away!'

"Hearing this, Prince Renu said: 'Sire, do not mourn the Steward's death too much! His son Jotipala [a name that means "Guardian of the Light"] is cleverer than his father was and has a better eye for what is advantageous.

"'You should let Jotipala manage all the business you entrusted to his father. Is that so, my boy? Yes, sire.'

30. "Then the king called a man and said: 'Come here, my good man. Go to the youth Jotipala and say: "May the reverend Jotipala be well! King Disampati sends for you. He would like to see you.'

"'Very good, your majesty,' replied the man who then delivered the message.

On receiving the message, Jotipala responded: 'Very good, sir' and went to see the king. On entering the royal presence, he exchanged courtesies with the king, then sat respectfully to one side.

The king said: "We wish the reverend Jotipala to manage our affairs. Do not refuse. I will install you in your father's place and consecrate ["anoint," suggesting that the office is a royal rank] you as Steward.'

"'Very good, lord,' replied Jotipala. MORE (full Walshe translation at Palicanon.org)

WHO IS BRAHMa SANAKUMaRA? Brahma Sanakumara (Sanskrit, "Sanat-kumara," the "Ever-young") appears in various sutras in the Long Discourses (such as DN 18) where he creates an illusionary presence to make himself perceptible to the coarser senses of AKKA and the devas of THIRTY-THREE. He addressed these deities in such a way that each of them thought that he was being spoken to alone. He advised them to follow the precepts and practices of the Buddha. And he explained the profitable karmic results that would come from doing so. Commentators explain the epithet of "Ever-young" by saying that he had chosen the appearance of a very young male whose hair was still tied in the adolescent style of "Five Knots" ("pancha-sikkha"). (See also FOUR KUMARAS. For video, search "Sanatkumara").

BRAHMA is depicted as having four faces, which is presumed to be symbolic, as if possessing the four qualities necessary for creation or the ability to see in all directions simultaneously. But as a LIVE BIRTH IN INDIA IN 2008 SHOWS (see VIDEO), it is within the range of our genetic makeup to literally have multiple faces.

IS THIS YOUR BRAIN ON GOD? (NPR)

by Maurice Walshe



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Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Wicca Cult

The Wicca Cult Cover
The WICCA cult came to the surface early during the post-war period, as a legalized association for the promotion of witchcraft. It is the leading publicly known international association of witches in the world today.

In the United States, WICCA's outstanding sponsor is the New York Anglican (Episcopal) diocese, under Bishop Paul Moore. Officially, New York's Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Divine has promoted the spread of WICCA witchery through its Lindisfarne center. The late Gregory Bateson conducted such an operation out of the Lindisfarne center during the 1970s.

No later than the 1970s, and perhaps still today, the crypt of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, is the headquarters for solemn ceremonies of the British (Venerable) Order of Malta. Key figures, such as Gregory Bateson's former spouse, Dame Margaret Mead, associated with that British order, have been associated with projects in support of the Satanist "Age of Aquarius" cause.

For obvious reasons, U.S. witches have chosen Salem, Massachusetts, as their national center. One of the most important operations of these witches is their coordination of the hardcore of U.S. astrology rackets.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Papyri Graecae Magicae Or Greek Magical Papyri Texts

Papyri Graecae Magicae Or Greek Magical Papyri Texts Cover

Book: Papyri Graecae Magicae Or Greek Magical Papyri Texts by Karl Preisendanz

The Greek Magical Papyri (papyri is plural of papyrus) (commonly abbreviated to PGM from the Latin title Papyri Graecae Magicae) is a collective term for a collection of texts, written mostly in Ancient Greek (but also in Coptic, Demotic Egyptian, etc.), found in the deserts of Egypt, which cast light in some way on the magico-religious syncretistic world of Greco-Roman Egypt and the surrounding area. Giovanni Anastasi bought the papyri in Egypt about 1827. The "Thebes Cache" also contained the Stockholm papyrus and Leinden X papyrus (alchemical writings). His collection was dispersed in the 1840s and 1850's.

Many of these pieces of papyrus are pages or fragmentary extracts from spell books, repositories of arcane knowledge and mystical secrets. As far as they have been reconstructed, these books appear to fall into two broad categories: some are compilations of spells and magical writings, gathered by scholarly collectors either out of academic interest or for some kind of study of magic; others may have been the working manuals of travelling magicians, containing their repertoire of spells, formulae for all occasions. These often poorly educated magic-users were more like showmen than the traditional Egyptian wizards, who were a highly educated and respected priestly elite. The pages contain spells, recipes, formulae and prayers, interspersed with magic words and often in shorthand, with abbreviations for the more common formulae. These spells range from impressive and mystical summonings of dark gods and daemons, to folk remedies and even parlour tricks; from portentous, fatal curses, to love charms, cures for impotence and minor medical complaints.

In many cases the formulaic words and phrases are strikingly similar to those found in defixiones, such as those we find inscribed on ostraka, amulets and lead tablets. Since some of these defixiones date from as early as the sixth century BCE, and have been found as far afield as Athens, Asia Minor, Rome and Sicily (as well as Egypt), this provides a degree of continuity and suggests that some observations based on the PGM will not be altogether inapplicable to the study of the wider Greco-Roman world.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Beliefs And Practices Of Religious Satanists

Beliefs And Practices Of Religious Satanists Cover There is one main Satanic denominations, many smaller traditions, and many solitary practitioners who are unaffiliated with any Satanic organization. They total perhaps ten to twenty thousand adult followers in North America. They differ somewhat in beliefs. The following list is valid for most religious Satanic groups:

- Satan in his original pre-Christian Pagan forms is respected, as a principle rather than a deity. Satanists do not worship Satan just as most Buddhists do not worship Buddha." As Vexen Crabtree has written:

"Satanism is Satanism not due to our worship of any deity, but for the philosophy that we stand for. We recognize ourselves as gods, and we hold our own perspective on life as holy and revere our own experiences as the only truth we can ever know. "

"Satanism is the utter rejection of the spiritual way of theistic religions, and the honest admittence [sic] that we are just animals who evolve as any other complex system." 1

- Major emphasis is placed on the power and authority of the individual Satanist, rather than on a God or Goddess.
- They believe that "no redeemer liveth" - that each person is their own redeemer, fully responsible for their own life.
- "Satanism respects and exalts life. Children and animals are the purest expressions of that life force, and as such are held sacred and precious..." 2 Children and animals are not abused or killed.
- Those Satanists who believe in Satan or Set as a living entity do not worship or demonstrate their faith in him (as, for example, Christians worship and pray to their God).
- They believe that one should live out their lusts and desires, and enthusiastically explore the "seven deadly sins" with other consenting adults.
- They follow many beliefs, practices and rules of behavior which are in conflict with traditional Christianity, and essentially all other religions.
- Uniqueness and creativity are encouraged.
- Many Satanists use as their main symbol the Sigil of Baphomet. It is a goat's head, drawn within an inverted pentacle (5-pointed star with one point downward and two up, enclosed by a circle). Although elements within the Sigil have been in use since the 19th century, the version as shown has been a registered trademark of the Church of Satan since 1983.
- A second Satanic symbol appears above the Nine Satanic Statements in LaVey's book: The Satanic Bible, page 25. It is an infinity sign (a figure 8 on its side). A shortened Lorraine Cross is placed on top. [A Lorraine cross is a Roman '†' cross, with a second, longer cross piece added below the main cross piece.] This is an ancient symbol which alchemists -- many of whom were Satanists -- used to represent brimstone. 2 Brimstone is the element sulfur, and was long associated with Satan by the Christian church. LaVey might have adopted a brimstone symbol as a humorous gesture to poke fun at Christianity.

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Religion And Magick

Religion And Magick Image
There is a wonderful book called When Santa was a Shaman (1995 Llewellyn Publications) Tony van Renterghem makes a basic and fascinating distinction between types of religions. He breaks down the major religions into either supplication or celebration. The rituals and ceremonies associated with these religions, also divides up into those categories.

If one is a member of a religion that is supplicatory, you would appeal to this God for assistance, you would bargain with them - perhaps appropriate behavior for benediction of some sort. However, the overall character of the relationship is that this God, good or bad, is completely in charge of the relationship and must be deferred to and placated in order to achieve happiness and success - perhaps even ongoing life. This is not an equitable relationship, the God is totally in charge. Typically, they are not bound by any rules of behavior, either. So, it is a somewhat perilous relationship.

Magick to appease the gods is not uncommon. Folks try to figure out what precisely it is they have to do in order to avoid a bad storm, too much rain, too little rain, etc., etc. The one thing we don't seem to have a good handle on is that we are a part of Nature, and that the ultimate confluence of many, many events bring into concert those components which make it rain. There is much evidence which shows that we can influence and encourage these situations, but in general, we are part of the entire system and cannot create nor beg for Nature to turn on Her head for our benefit. Always keep in mind that when one intervenes for somebody, then there are other places which may now be lacking in those things you have called to you. Be certain to do all workings for the good of all - otherwise you may find you have created strife and hardship for others to satisfy a minor whim. Besides, appeasing and placating gods is a loosing battle for control over one's life. Because we cannot see the larger whole, and there is no way to grasp all the intricacies and complexities of a situation, we cannot foresee all the detail that would allow us to forecast success in providing whatever ritual, ceremony, sacrifice, or other action that would make a God/dess smile on us, and bring good fortune. To be honest, one would have to be incredibly confident, or deluded, to ever be comfortable in a religion that required you to constantly attempt to reading the changing will of the deity.

In the instance of placating the Gods, it is in our interest to invest our energy only in those areas we wish to encourage development in, rather than to spend a lot of energy trying to avoid the ill effects from a trickster God/dess or a God/dess of destruction. Do not devote a lot of time to a God/dess of chaos, or other poor behaviors. You would concentrate instead on the God/dess you prefer prevail. Lots of energy to justice, to success, etc. Just be very careful what you ask for. As far as praying or performing magick to a God/dess for prosperity, we do far better to bend our will and make as many of the arrangements as we can through our own efforts.

Magick for luck and good fortune is always considered fair, if you back it up by contributing as much of your daily efforts as possible to your goals. If you want a good job, you must read the papers, respond to inquiries, be prepared to interview, go to work on time each day, etc. All the spells in the world will not work, if your personal actions work in opposition, i.e. you do a love spell, but you never bathe, or go out to places where you might meet someone, or, you do a spell for success, but all you ever do is whine and make excuses, rather than put effort into attaining the type of lifestyle you say you desire. If you actions and stated desires are not in concert, then your internal focus and will are not working on your goals, and the magick or energy working is too diffuse to have any effect. Magick is not simple, not easy, not a panacea for the lazy person.

You also may enjoy this free books:

Tommie Eriksson - Tree Cults In Northern Magic
William Alexander Craigie - Religion Of Ancient Scandinavia
Aleister Crowley - Intro Magick

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

New Year Day And The Importance Of Light In Zoroastrianism

New Year Day And The Importance Of Light In Zoroastrianism Cover
Zoroastrian rituals are conducted before a sacred fire. Some outsiders believe that they actually worship fire. This is not true. They regard fire as a symbol of their God, and they cherish the light that it produces. Light is seen as energy, a natural force that is powerful and necessary for survival.

Hannah M.G. Shapero "...a visual artist deeply devoted to Zoroastrian scholarly studies" writes:

"Noruz is the Iranian New Year, which is celebrated each year at the Spring Equinox, around March 21. It is the most important holiday in the Zoroastrian calendar, and brings with it a wealth of symbolism, history, myth, and joyous festivities. There are many layers of meaning to Noruz: astronomical, mythical, historical, ritual, and spiritual."

"The word Noruz, in Persian, means "New Day," and the primal origin of the festival is in the universal rhythms of Earth and nature. In the "temperate" zones of the Northern Hemisphere, including Iran, the spring equinox signals the beginning of warmer weather and the growing season. In ancient Iran, it was the time to begin plowing fields and sowing seeds for crops. The equinox also marks the moment when, in the twenty-four hour round of the day, daylight begins to be longer than night."

"From its earliest origins Zoroastrianism has honored these natural rhythms and cycles, both with agricultural festivals and with cosmic commemorations of yearly astronomical events. The world, fashioned by the Wise Lord, shows forth the divine in all aspects of nature, and that divine Immanence is honored in festivals like Noruz, in which divine symbolism is joined with a celebration of the renewal of the earth in spring."

"In Zoroastrianism, light is the great symbol of God and Goodness, whether in the light of the sun or in the sacred fire. The Spring Equinox and the lengthening of the days is thus a symbol of the victory of Light over the cold and darkness of winter."

You also may enjoy this free books:

Stephanie Du Barry - The Witch And The Demoniac In Tudor And Stuart England
Abner Cheney Goodell - Further Notes On The History Of Witchcraft In Massachusetts
Franz Hartmann - Paracelsus And The Substance Of His Teachings

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British Or Traditional Wicca

British Or Traditional Wicca Cover British "Traditional" Wicca (BTW): A term used to describe the Wiccan Movement, the most prominent of which are Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca. Not to be confused with those who practice witchcraft in the British traditions of ancient Celtic and Druidic origins, Wiccans practice a modern pagan religion, more in line with the new age, humanist movement.

* Gardnerian Movement: Followers of a modern structured system based in elaborate ceremony and ritual. Wiccans practice what are a fairly fundamentalist set of rituals which are administered by a set lineage of high priests and priestesses. The Gardnerian Movement or Wicca, came out of a mass media "spiritual revival" campaign, led by founder Gerald Gardner, in Europe in the 1950s. This new religion has lost credibility amongst traditional witches who see it as promoting the idea of "weekend witchcraft" and not an absolute and unmitigated dedication to a life in "The Old Ways".
* Alexandrian Movement: A modified Gardnerian system founded by Alexander Sanders in the 1960's. Though more eclectic in practice, in most ways, the Alexandrian Movement is very close to Gardnerian with a few minor changes. As with the Gardnerian, it is not considered to be "Old Religion" by traditional witches.
* Feri Movement: A more or less modern form originated in the 1940’s by Victor Anderson and originally called the 'Vicia' tradition. It has its own theology with its own Gods, known as the Star Goddess, the Divine Twins and the Blue God. It utilizes ecstatic sexual practices which seek to raise and use “Feri energy” which is seen as a specific power that is passed between members of the movement. This movement is often confused as being Wiccan and while Feri members make no claims to a Wiccan lineage, a case could be made that Wicca is an offshoot of Feri.

Books in PDF format to read:

Michael Bailey - Historical Dictionary Of Witchcraft
Eliphas Levi - The Ritual Of Transcendental Magic
Marcus Cordey - Magical Theory And Tradition
Bylaws - Unicorn Tradition Of Wicca

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Ideal Buddhist Altar With Women

The Ideal Buddhist Altar With Women Image
Altar at Wat Traimit, Bangkok, Thailand, a Theravadan country

If an altar is intended to help one recollect the qualities of the Buddha ("see below"), it might have just a Buddha (perhaps with Kwan Yin, goddess of compassion, situated near his heart. After all, a very popular motif throughout Mahayanist Asia is Kwan Yin with a sitting Buddha at her head symbolizing wisdom).

If an altar is intended to reflect the Dharma as well, it might have a eight-spoke wheel, a line of scripture, or a book to symbolize the teachings.

If an altar is intended to bring to mind the Sangha, it might include the Buddha's four chief disciples: starting with the venerable nun Khema, foremost in wisdom among female ARHAT disciples, followed by Sariputra, chief among male disciples to the Buddha's right. To his left would stand Maha Moggallana, foremost in magical powers among male arhat disciples, followed by Uppallavana, chief among female disciples.

These seven symbols make the ideal Buddhist altar complete. But the community of "enlightened" practitioners, which is the real object of veneration for Buddhists, also had other prominent figures:

* Ven. Ananda, the attendant, whose remarkable memory preserved most of the sutras
* Maha Kassapa, founder of Buddh-"ism", who convened the First Buddhist Council to organize and the Dharma (discourses, discipline, and higher teachings) and "Sangha" into a formal "religion" -- Prior to that, it was simply the Buddha-Dharma, or "Doctrine taught by the Buddha" (designated a "karma-vada, "Doctrine of Action," by his contemporaries, which insists that it is not who we are but what we do that matters in terms of nobility, happiness, and liberation). In this original sense, people can say Buddhism is not really a religion or faith but only a very clearly defined path-of-practice.
* Maha Pajapati (the Buddha's stepmother, history's first Buddhist nun), who by being nearly ignored creates a vacuum filled with goddesses expressing the feminine ("yin")

What else comes of not recognizing Buddhism's enlightened females? In an interesting twist, throughout Asia, the Buddha himself is depicted in more and more feminine ways. His ascetic robe is made sheer, nearly transparent, and form fitting; his lips are puckered and painted; his golden features are rounded, softened, and made perfectly symmetrical; his gorgeous hair (jata) is knotted or he is given a headdress, earrings, and exquisite fingers holding mudras...

This artistic tendency is not limited to Shakyamuni. Bodhisattvas and Maitreya (the future "buddha") are done up even more elaborately on Vajrayana (Tibetan) and Mahayana (Chinese) altars. Theravada is no way immune to this art-sification and not very subtle emasculation. Ven. Buddhadasa and Zen go back to something simpler and more austere.

But Goddesses have their way. One sees them expressed everywhere in Buddhisst art as space "devas, "delightful extra-terrestrial nymphs, or their human allies.

Because women are not directly depicted -- and no such altars as described here can be found anywhere -- Buddhism is deemed patriarchal, sexist, and manipulating the progressive truth taught by the Enlightened One: he treated women better than any leader of a world religion ever has. So the ideal Buddhist altar recognizes women.

The Buddha had many noble female and male followers, disciples, and royal patrons.

Recollection of the Buddha


Itipi so bhagava arahan samma-sambuddho,
He is indeed the Blessed One, far from all defilements, who unaided attained supreme enlightenment.
vijja-carana-sampanno sugato lokavidu,
The One fully possessed of perfect wisdom and conduct, who travelled the good way, knower of worlds, anuttaro purisa-damma-sarathi sattha deva-manussanam buddho bhagavati.
the incomparable trainer of those ready to be trained, teacher of deities and human beings, the awakened and noble one....

"NAMO TASSA BHAGAVATO ARAHATO SAMMA SAMBUDDHASSA."

"Namo" = honor, "tassa "= to him, "bhagavato "= the worthy, "arahato "= without defilements, "samma-sam "= supremely/perfectly/completely, "buddhassa = "enlightened awakened to the utmost.

* PHOTOS: Shakyamuni Buddha with Sariputra and Maha Moggallana at Wat Traimit, Bangkok (Stewie1980). Kwan Yin with the Buddha on her crown at BAUS, New York (Wisdom Quarterly). Buddha altar at Namdroling Kagyu Nalanda Monastery in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India (AbhishekSundaram). Maitreya Buddha at Thiksey Monestary, Ladakh, India (Wikimedia). "Apsaras" of Angkor Wat complex, Cambodia (khmercity.net). Buddha and a larger set of disciples, a "sangha" (community) in the broadest sense (dollsofindia.com). Big outdoor white Buddha altar on a hilltop in Mahintale, Sri Lanka (BGaz/Flickr)

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Richard Johnson - The Zodiac Stellar Stories
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Witchcraft And The Inquisition

Witchcraft And The Inquisition Cover As the Inquisition proceeded through the 1400s, its focus shifted from Jews and heretics towards so-called witches. Although Pope Gregory IX had authorized the killing of witches back in the 1200s, the fad just didn't catch on. In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII issued a bull declaring that witches did indeed exist and thus it became a heresy to believe otherwise. This was quite a reversal because in 906 the Canon Episocopi, a church law, declared that belief in the existence and operation of witchcraft was heresy.

The additional persecution of anything which resembled feminine religiosity went to interesting lengths in that devotion to Mary became suspect. Today the figure of Mary is both popular and important in the Catholic church, but to the Inquisition it was a possible sign of overemphasizing the feminine aspect of Christianity. In the Canary Islands, Aldonca de Vargas was reported to the Inquisition for nothing more than smiling at hearing mention of Mary.

As a result of this, church authorities tortured and killed thousands of women, and not a few men, in an effort to get them to confess that they flew through the sky, had sexual relations with demons, turned into animals, and engaged in various sorts of black magic. The image here depicts what Christians imagined went on at a court of witches where Satan presided.

People typically fear that which they don't understand, so witches were doubly damned: they were feared because they were allegedly agents of Satan seeking to undermine Christian society and they were feared because no one really knew what witches did or how. In the place of real knowledge or Information, Christian leaders made things up and created stories which were certain to cause people to hate and fear witches even more.

People trusted their religious and political leaders to provide them with accurate information, but in reality the "information" provided was simply whatever furthered their leaders religious and political goals. Creating an enemy of out witches served the goal of increased religious and political cohesion because people would want to draw closer together in order to confront the enemy who wanted to destroy them. Isn't that ultimately more important than whether the stories were true or not?

Books in PDF format to read:

Anonymous - Witchcraft Dictionary
Jaroslav Nemec - Witchcraft And Medicine
Gordon Chavunduka - Witchcraft And The Law In Zimbabwe

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ordo Rosae Rubeae Et Aureae Crucis

Ordo Rosae Rubeae Et Aureae Crucis Cover

Book: Ordo Rosae Rubeae Et Aureae Crucis by Arthur Edward Waite

The second order or level of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, usually known by the initials R. R. et A. C. It included the grades of zelator adeptus minor, theoricus adeptus minor, adeptus major, and adeptus exemtis. The group was formed in 1892 by S. L. M. Macgregor Mathers, with William W. Westcott as Chief Adept. It was kept secret from some members of the Golden Dawn and accessible only to those who had passed through the basic four grades. The R. R. et A. C. gave instructions in ritual magic. The poet, W. B. Yeats was initiated into the 5°=6° grade January 20-21, 1893. During later controversies in 1901, Yeats privately published a pamphlet titled Is the R. R. et A. C. to Remain a Magical Order?

Download Arthur Edward Waite's eBook: Ordo Rosae Rubeae Et Aureae Crucis

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Occultism Witchcraft And Cultural Fashions Essays In Comparative Religions

Occultism Witchcraft And Cultural Fashions Essays In Comparative Religions Cover

Book: Occultism Witchcraft And Cultural Fashions Essays In Comparative Religions by Mircea Eliade

In the period domoninated by the triumphs of scientific rationalism, how do we account for the Extraordinary success of such occult movements as astrology or the revival of witchcraft? From his Perspective as a historian of religions, the eminent scholar Mircea Eliade shows that such popular trends develop from archaic roots and periodically resurface in certain myths, symbols, and rituals. In six lucid essays collected for this volume, Eliade reveals the profound religious significance that lies at the heart of many contemporary cultural vogues.

Since all of the essays except the last were originally delivered as lectures, their Introductory character and lively oral style make them particularly accessible to the intelligent nonspecialist. Rather than a popularization, Occultism, Witchcraft, and Cultural Fashions is the fulfillment of Eliade's conviction that the history of religions should be read by the widest possible audience.

Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) was the Sewell L. Avery Distinguished Service Professor in the Divinity School and professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. His books published by the University of Chicago Press include Autobiography, Volume II; the novel The Old Man and the Bureaucrats; the three-volume History of Religious Ideas; Ordeal by Labyrinth; and several other works on the history of religions.

Buy Mircea Eliade's book: Occultism Witchcraft And Cultural Fashions Essays In Comparative Religions

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Ole Wolf - Analysis Of The Church Of Satan The Emperor New Religion
Athena Gardner - Witchcraft Dictionary Of Craft Terms
John Ankerberg - Satanism And Witchcraft The Occult And The West Part Ii
John Linwood Pitts - Witchcraft And Devil Lore In The Channel Islands
Charles Wentworth Upham - Salem Witchcraft And Cotton Mather A Reply