Sunday, November 29, 2009

Deities Of Taoism

Deities Of Taoism Cover n Taoism the system of deities is very complicated and becomes larger and larger. So it is important to find appropriate ranks for this big growing group.

Ranking standards are in accordance with the degree of Taoism study and contribution. The more profound one's Taoist knowledge is the higher rank he will attain. The most important Gods are the San Qing (Three Pure Gods). They are Yu Qing (Jade Pure), Shang Qing (Upper Pure) and Tai Qing (Great Pure). Below the Three Pure Gods, there exist the four holy emperors among whom Yu Huang (Jade Emperor) comes first. 'Houtu Mother', is a female God who dominates child bearing affairs is also included. Some Taoist temples have been specially set up as Houtu temples to worship her. A number of deities come next to them and are in charge of different affairs. Among them, ordinary people may be familiar with God of Wind, God of Rain, God of Fire, God of Town and God of Earth, all closely related to their daily life.

The eight immortals are adored by the Chinese people. Their trumps or cimelia are called the 'Eight Treasures'. You can find a lot of pictures describing how they use these treasures to cross the sea. The San Guan (the Three Officials), are the Official of Heaven who blesses people, Official of Earth who gives absolution, and Official of Water who wards off disasters.

Like Taoism itself, the system of Taoism deities is close to people. Once you know the rank rules, it is not too difficult to understand.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Enochian Magick Reference

Enochian Magick Reference Cover

Book: Enochian Magick Reference by Benjamin Rowe

The systems of magick now known as Enochian magick derive from the work of the Elizabethan scholar Dr. John Dee and seer Edward Kelly. Dee had a passion for discovering lost knowledge and spiritual truths; in particular he wanted to recover the wisdom he believed to be in the lost books of earlier times. Among these was the then-fabled Book of Enoch, which he apparently conceived as being a book describing the magick system used by that patriarch. Having come to the conclusion that worldly efforts would not lead to the wisdom he desired, he decided to apply himself to contacting divine sources. During the years from 1581 to 1585, Dee performed a long series of magickal operations to that intent. Kelly joined him in March of 1582, and was his sole assistant during the remainder of the work.

The method employed for these works was fairly standard for the time. Dee would act as the orator, directing fervent prayers to God and the archangels for 15 minutes to an hour. Then a scrying stone would be placed on a prepared table, and the angels were called to manifest a visible appearance therein. Kelly would watch the stone and report everything he saw and heard; Dee would sit at another table nearby and record everything that occurred. Dee made multiple copies of these records. A portion of them, concerning the Angelic Calls, Tablets and Liber Scientiae, were acquired with Dee’s library by Robert Cotton. This part was published in Casaubon’s A True and Faithful Relation. The earlier portions concerning the Heptarchy and Liber Loagaeth came to light by a more roundabout means. In later years, Dee apparently decided to conceal his magickal records in a hidden compartment of a large cedar chest he possessed. After his death the chest was purchased from his estate and passed through several owners. The hidden documents were not discovered until around 1662, and found their way into the hands of Elias Ashmole in 1672. Mr. Ashmole’s collection passed eventually to the British Library. According to Ashmole, about half of the hidden records were mistakenly destroyed by the discoverer’s maid before efforts were made to preserve the rest. Despite this, the records for the 1581-1585 operations appear almost entirely intact.

The record of these operations is very detailed; so much so that it takes careful study to separate the spiritual "wheat" from the chaff. Much of the communication was important within the context of the operations, but has no direct bearing on the systems of magick being presented. Of the rest, there are long periods of communications that, in retrospect, seem to have no purpose but to hold the magicians’ attention on continuing the operations. During these periods the angels would present colorful visions, portentous prophesies, and angelic gossip, but very little in the way of solid information. Additionally, the reader must deal with side-excursions into apocalyptic religion, politics, Dee and Kelly’s personal problems, and various irrelevant queries that Dee insisted on inserting into the work.

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The Mahatma Letters To Ap Sinnett From 1 To 25

The Mahatma Letters To Ap Sinnett From 1 To 25 Cover

Book: The Mahatma Letters To Ap Sinnett From 1 To 25 by Koot Hoomi Lal Singh

The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett is a book published in 1923 by A. Trevor Barker. According to Theosophical teachings, the letters were written between 1880 and 1884 by Kuthumi and Morya to A.P. Sinnett. The letters were previously quoted in several theosophical books (e.g. The Occult World by Sinnett), but not published in full.

The book was both praised and criticized by theosophists. Dr H.N. Stokes called the book "the most authoritative work of a theosophical nature ever made accessible to the public. It is simply transcendent in its importance."

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Friday, November 27, 2009

The Divinization Of The Cosmos

The Divinization Of The Cosmos Cover

Book: The Divinization Of The Cosmos by Brian Swimme On Chardin

An interview with Brian Swimme on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin by Susan Bridle. In our reading and wide-ranging research for this issue of What Is Enlightenment?, we found the name of the mid-century French Jesuit priest and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin popping up again and again.

His visionary writings, we discovered, have been an important source of revelation and inspiration for many scientists, ecologists, futurists, and theologians who are now grappling with critical questions about the state of the earth and the human being's place within it. When we read excerpts from Teilhard's The Human Phenomenon, The Divine Milieu, and The Future of Man, we immediately understood why.

Brian Swimme has been a student of Teilhard's work for many years. Himself a scientist with an abiding interest in the interface of science and spirituality, Swimme's own passion and understanding have been deeply influenced by Teilhard's ideas.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

The Art Of True Healing

The Art Of True Healing Cover

Book: The Art Of True Healing by Israel Regardie

Within every man and woman is a force which directs and controls the entire course of life. Properly used, it can heal every affliction and ailment to which mankind is heir. Every single religion affirms this fact. All forms of mental or spiritual healing, no matter under what name they travel, promise the same thing. Even psychoanalysis employs this power, though indirectly, using the now popular word libido. For the critical insight and understanding which it brings to bear upon the psyche releases tensions of various kinds, and through this release the healing power latent within and natural to the human system operates more freely. Each of these systems undertakes to teach its devotees technical methods of thinking or contemplation or prayer such as will, according to the a priori terms of their own philosophies, renew their bodies and transform their whole environment.

None or few of them, however, actually fulfil in a complete way the high promise made at the outset. There seems but little understanding of the practical means whereby the spiritual forces underlying the universe and permeating the entire nature of man may be utilised and directed towards the creation of a new heaven and a new earth. Naturally, without universal co-operation, such an ideal is impossible for all mankind. Nevertheless, each one for himself may commence the task of reconstruction. The crucial question, then, is how are we to become aware of this force? What are its nature and properties? What is the mechanism whereby we can use it?

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Logomachy Of Zos

The Logomachy Of Zos Cover

Book: The Logomachy Of Zos by Austin Osman Spare

Wisdom is a stasis: Knowledge is like the 'snake of eternity', constantly eating itself and never finishing.

More bathos: connexity of all our bloody selves to Ego is a nightmare commanded by the overlooked, unobeyed latencies of return, essential
for re-union. Ego expands by that which evokes mutual effluxes; therefore look for the Theocentric in the Egocentric.

If God personalizes our deficiencies, then, we thus personify his?

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Fasting As A Natural Nutrition Therapy

Fasting As A Natural Nutrition Therapy Image
The month of Ramadan: the month of Atonement, the month of Divine mercy and blessings for mankind is coming pretty soon. Depending on the lunar calendar this month is starting on Sunday (24th Sept, 06) in most parts of the world. This is the month when the Final Testament - The Quran was revealed to mankind from Lord. In this month the 1.79 billion and more faithful Muslims across the globe will be fasting in the name of Lord, for the sake of Lord to attain rightousness, to attain closeness to God.

Fasting has its spiritual and religious merits and dimensions. At the same time this practice of fasting which recommended in all faiths and religious tradition also have great scientific and medical benefits that are revealed as advanced medical science is researching on it. A short compilation of the Science of Fasting is what follows:

Fasting - an "operation without surgery"


"Fasting is, without any doubt, the most effective biological method of treatment... it is the 'operation without surgery'... it is a cure involving exudation, reattunement, redirection, loosening up and purified relaxation. While fasting, the patient improves her or his physical health and gains much. But he or she will have neglected the most important thing if the hunger for spiritual nourishment that manifests itself during fasting is not satisfied." -Otto Buchinger, Sr., M.D., Germany's great, self-described "fasting therapist". 'Why Fasting' that focuses on medical benefit of fasting here.

Fasting As a Natural Nutrition Therapy


Dr. Elson M. Haas, M.D., offers some very beneficial information about fasting, addressing preventive and integrated medicines, natural nutrition therapies and detoxification (fasting). Read here.

Fasting and your Biological Rythms is a beautiful article by Doctor E. Kazim where he describes how fasting release special types of tranquilizing natural chemicals that not only tranquil our mind but also elate the mind. Also how fasting positively affects our sleep is discussed from scientific research. full article.

Miracle of Fasting is a very religion independent investigation on the benefits of Fasting. It talsk about how fasting is necessary for the internal purification, how fasting conserves vital force and how it cleanses toxins out. read here.

Healthier Living through Fasting is an article by Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph.D. who is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at University of Louisville School of Medicine. The article focuses on how Science Favors Fasting interms of longevity, effect on weight, lipid metabolism etc. full article here.

Fasting enhances mental acuity


Not only internal digestive organs and others, fasting also enhances the mental faculty.

Perhaps the most instructive testimony as to the acuteness of mental powers during fasting comes from Dr. Herbert Shelton who supervised the fasting of more than 40,000 people over a period of fifty years. His message is that the freer the body is of toxic materials flowing through the blood and lymphatic system, the clearer is the ability to think. continue reading here.

Fasting decreases triiodothyronine receptor capacity by GC Schussler and J Orlando (Science, Vol 199, Issue 4329, 686-688).

Fasting for Health and Spiritual Development


Yoga magazine has an article by Swami Satyananda Saraswati that talks about not only spiritual but also physical development relating to fasting. Along with other issues it talks about fasting and its relation with Somo-psychic or psychosomatic, balancing of the hormones and concentration of mind. (continue here)

A Healthy Fast Is as Good as a Fresh Start


The article published in Buddhist Channel gives an outline how fasting can be seen as a healing treatment that purifies our bodies. Fasting restores the body's innate self-healing ability that we have forgotten- mentions the article. "Hunger is perhaps the most intense discomfort people can feel. Our bodies recognize fasting as an emergency state. Autonomic nerves that were hibernating become alive, and react very sensitively and violently. They begin to throw away all the unnecessary things, leaving only the minimum needed for survival. In this process, all the waste and toxins are being eliminated," say Prof. Shin Hyun-dae at Kyung Hee Medical Center.

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Astrology And Marriage

Astrology And Marriage Cover

Book: Astrology And Marriage by Sepharial

This handbook deals with the subject of marriage from the point of view of the ancient science of the Chaldeans, and shows the secret of happiness or unhappiness in the marital state to be revealed in the reactions caused by planetary influence. The author deals with the broad question of marriage, harmonising factors, signs of happiness, signs of discord, the misogynist, the domestic circle, multiple marriages, existing evils and the remedy, and gives Illustrated cases of assorted marriages showing the close agreement of Experience With horoscopical indications. Needless to say the subject is one of perennial and Universal interest, but is here approached from an angle that is entirely new to all who have not an extensive knowledge of the science of the stars and the influence of planetary action in human life.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Impressions Of Taoism And The Tao Te Ching

Impressions Of Taoism And The Tao Te Ching Image
Of all of the Eastern systems of mysticism, the one that I find most akin to my own beliefs is Chinese Taoism. There is something natural, earthy and simplistic about Taoism, and also something that explains the mysteries of life and magick in a concise and profound manner. Unfortunately, my source for Taoism isn't some faraway monastery in China, or even Boulder Colorado. It's from the Gia-Fu Feng translation of the "Tao Te Ching" that I have gained a personal connection with Taoism, and I see it as one of the ways of describing the very spiritual core of natural paganism and ritual magick. I realize that Taoism would seem to be far removed from Western occultism and quite foreign to the practice of ritual magick, but I found that it speaks volumes to me about the very core of the universal spiritual essence in a manner that is superior to any other book that I have found. To me, the Tao Te Ching is a most splendid counterpoint to the hustle bustle and frantic activity of a modern life - or even a modern practice of paganism and magick. For some reason, the Tao Te Ching cuts through all pretensions, revealing to me (and others) the source of all being-ness and its silent, dark and mysterious pathway as it effortlessly threads itself throughout all Life and Spirit.

Unlike other spiritual movements, the actual author of the Tao Te Ching and his history is unknown. He is called Lao Tzu, the Ancient Teacher, but nothing is really known about him, where he was born and when he lived, who was his teacher or point of inspiration. How long did it take him to write this book, and what were his intentions for writing it? Lao Tzu's name is obviously an honorific, since his real name has remained unknown. All of these questions are never satisfactorily answered, so the author, his mission and intentions are a mystery. All we have is the book itself.

Tao means "the way," Te means the right way to live, and Ching means text, so Tao Te Ching means the "book of the correct way for humanity to find the way of nature." I think that this is a remarkable task for all those who espouse an earth-based spirituality - to find the way of nature and emulate it in one's life and practices.

To celebrant the fact that I am a closet Taoist, I would like to share some of my insights and my particular awe for one of the oldest books of earth-based intuitive wisdom. Even though this book is steeped in the Chinese mysticism of the 6th century BCE, it speaks to me in a timeless but modern and contemporary voice. I hear it clearly as if it were just recently written, and I feel its words presenting to me a reality that is at once infinitely complex and inherently simple. It is the nature of the Tao to be essential, unknowable and the mysterious path between extremes, following a course that perfectly balances the cosmic Yang (archetypal masculine) with the cosmic Yin (archetypal feminine). Perhaps the most profound chapter amongst the 81 chapters of the Tao Te Ching is found in chapter six, where we read that:

The Valley Spirit never dies;

It is the woman, primal mother.

Her gateway is the root of heaven and earth.

It is like a veil barely seen.

Use it; it will never fail.

I have interpreted this chapter as promoting a form of earth-based Goddess veneration, that it also presents to me a form of transformative magick and a kind of Tantric discipline. It has many levels of interpretation, and each time I read and meditate on it, the words grow and expand in my mind. I literally feel chills when I ponder this simple chapter of five lines, as if the words speak far more than my poor mind can grasp.

Yet the really exceptional chapter (and they are all exceptional) is the very first one, which I have memorized and periodically use in my meditations.

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.

The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.

The named is the mother of ten thousand things.

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.

Every desiring, one can see the manifestation.

These two spring from a common source but differ in name;

this appears as darkness.

Darkness within darkness.

The gate to all mystery.

The author of this chapter, like many of the following chapters, takes the point of one perspective, then looks at its opposite, rotating from Yin to Yang, and back again. This is done in a dispassionate manner, merely stating facts and observations without any judgement. The main concept is that the Tao, obliquely defined as the source or the way of nature, is inexplicable. It has no definition and no form - it's like an uncarved block or a newborn child.

To name something is to give it form, and that in turn causes it to be no longer capable of being the Source of All. Yet there is no fault associated with this perspective, since it is important to perceive reality from both the perspective of being "desireless" and also "desiring," or naming and also allowing something to be nameless. As long as we avoid attempting to classify and attribute qualities to things that are of the Spirit World or of Deity, and then attempting to not only explicitly define them, but to believe that our definition represents an absolute truth, we will not err. Mental models are useful, but they fail to truly capture the essence of anything - they are maps, but not the territory.

This brings to mind the concept of defining our gods, giving them qualities and a mythic context, and then believing that what we have derived is somehow the whole picture. What we name and define in regards to the domain of spirit does in fact become limited and detached from the true mystery of that world. When we engage in religious liturgies and give images to the aspects of our Deities, then we have pulled them away from the true reality of Spirit, which is inexplicable and completely unknowable to the rational intellect. What that means is that even as we make mental models and Deities with attributes and human likenesses, we need to leave a lot of room for variations and the unmistakable entry of mystery and spirit. This is because what we assume and believe is always far less than what the actual truth is in regards to the Spirit World. To name and identify something is important, but to believe that the name truly represents it is a falsehood. The true way of nature and spirit is beyond human conceptions and definitions, and if we can embrace that amazing insight, then we will be free to experience the mysteries whenever and wherever they might occur.

A few other chapters of the Tao Te Ching also help to make this point very clear.

Returning to the motion of the Tao.

Yielding is the way of the Tao.

The ten thousand things are born of being.

Being is born of not being. (chapter 40)

In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.

In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.

Less and less is done


Until non-action is achieved.

When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.

The world is ruled by letting things take their course.

It cannot be ruled by interfering. (chapter 48)

Empty yourself of everything.

Let the mind rest at peace.

The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.

They grow and flourish and then return to the source.

Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature.

The way of nature is unchanging.

Knowing constancy is insight.

Not knowing constancy leads to disaster.

Knowing constancy, the mind is open.

With an open mind, you will be openhearted.

Being openhearted, you will act royally.

Being royal, you will attain to the divine.

Being divine, you will be one with the Tao.

Being at one with the Tao is eternal.

And although the body dies, the Tao will never pass away. (chapter 16)

I could go on and on, but there is little point in doing that. The simple quotes above all point to a profound natural wisdom of the earth and its ceaseless cycles. Instead, I should contemplate this wisdom and seek to find that place of power and peace within me, and ultimately, I may know the True Way of Nature, which can't be written, spoken about, named or in any manner defined or identified. The true mysteries are inexplicable and all around us, if we can just shut off the ceaseless mental talk in our heads and really witness it for only just a moment.

As Lao Tzu has so eloquently put it - "Those who talk do not know, those who know, do not talk." May I be embraced by the silence that is deafening and the emptiness that is full. May my head be emptied of non-essential beliefs and my heart be opened to all possibilities. I hope that you have found this meager introduction to Taoism to be useful and perhaps even seductively enticing. I will be occasionally presenting more ideas like this in my articles to counterbalance the heavy orientation to mental models and definitions.

Frater Barrabbas



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Monday, November 9, 2009

Gerald Cremonensis On Astrological Geomancy

Gerald Cremonensis On Astrological Geomancy Cover

Book: Gerald Cremonensis On Astrological Geomancy by Anonymous

Gerard of Cremona (Italian: Gerardo da Cremona; Latin: Gerardus Cremonensis; c. 1114–1187), was a Lombard translator of Arabic scientific works found in the abandoned Arab libraries of Toledo, Spain. He was one of a small group of scholars who invigorated medieval Europe in the twelfth century by transmitting Greek and Arab Traditions in astronomy, medicine and other sciences, in the form of Translations into Latin, which made them available to every literate person in the West. One of his most famous translations is of Ptolemy's Almagest from Arabic texts found in Toledo. Gerard has been mistakenly credited as the translator of Avicenna's Canon of Medicine

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Seership Guide To Soul Sight

Seership Guide To Soul Sight Cover

Book: Seership Guide To Soul Sight by Paschal Beverly Randolph

Seership is the work of an Orientalist, which term is commonly understood to mean, either one who has been born in the mystic east or one who, due to the possession of a mind easily capable of comprehending the thoughts and feelings of these people, and deeply in sympathy with them, can express their thoughts and emotions as effectively as if they were native to itself.

Dr Randolph first conceived the idea of writing such a book as Seership about the year 1850, about the time of his first visit to Paris; this much he tells us himself. It is easily possible, though we have no proof of this fact, that while in France he became familiar with some of the teachings then current on the subject, for though nothing like the present book had ever been published by any writer of any nation, nevertheless the practice of occultism was well known to no few occult students as witness the many stories current connecting Dr. Dee, Cagliostro and others with mirror gazing and seership, all of whom lived and were active in occult practices before Dr. Randolph's time. One thing is certain, if we may believe but a fraction of what is written on the subject, the very air of Paris was permeated with every from of occult thought during the several periods when Dr. Randolph visited there, even the men closely associated with the affairs of the government of France, being members of the Fraternity, deeply versed and keenly interested in this subject. It is therefore small wonder that Dr. Randolph became fired with the thought of writing a text on the subject and clarifying the varius teachings relative to the practice so that all truly interested might readily understand the method of procedure and its results. R. SWINBURNE CLYMER

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Tao Of Daily Life The Mysteries Of The Orient Revealed

The Tao Of Daily Life The Mysteries Of The Orient Revealed Cover

Book: The Tao Of Daily Life The Mysteries Of The Orient Revealed by Derek Lin

The perfect book for readers who are interested in Taoism and want a little daily inspiration. This book has given me a large amount of understanding and inspiration in my own life. It is well written so that those of any religion (or lack of) can greatly benefit from its wisdom. The author even states this in the book.

I would put this book at the top of the list for anyone wanting to help move past the daily trivialities and frustrations that can inhibit our lives. This is also a perfect companion to applying the Tao Te Ching to the daily life.

The Tao of Daily Life combines ancient Eastern wisdom with practical application-perfect for busy Western readers! Derek Lin, Taoist master and expert in Eastern philosophy, brings his deep knowledge of this time-honored Chinese spiritual thought system into the twenty-first century. "There is one simple reason for the Tao to have survived through the ages intact: it works," writes Lin. "The principles of the Tao are extremely effective when applied to life. The philosophy as a whole is nothing less than a practical, useful guide to living life in a way that is smooth, peaceful, and full of energy." Using the powerful medium of stories and short dharma talks, Lin illuminates the Taoist secrets and engages the reader in their inherent wisdom. As a result, the reader of The Tao of Daily Life will notice certain changes, including:

- being more composed and more at ease in various situations; - being able to handle challenges and difficulties with less effort and achieving better results; - experiencing greater power and clarity in all areas of life.

The spiritual journey, as described by Derek Lin, becomes the most worthwhile exploration anyone can take.

For anyone curious about Taoism or even for the person who has followed the way for many years, this is an excellent, well-written book that clearly illustrates the important philosophies of Taoism. There's nothing preachy or pretentious about The Tao of Daily Life. It's more like talking with an old friend - simply the best modern Taoist book I've read and is a more-than-worthy supplement to the original Tao Te Ching.

Derek Lin is the director of Tao studies at the Great Tao Foundation of America, based in El Monte, California. Lin is an active speaker and educator on the Tao Te Ching as well as Tao spirituality in general. In his spare time, he serves as the webmaster of Taoism.net, a leading resource for the Tao on the Internet. He is also the author of Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, an original translation that not only sets a new standard for accuracy, but also has been lauded by critics as the first to faithfully capture the lyrical beauty of the original.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Cunninghams Encyclopedia Of Crystal Gem And Metal Magic

Cunninghams Encyclopedia Of Crystal Gem And Metal Magic Cover

Book: Cunninghams Encyclopedia Of Crystal Gem And Metal Magic by Scott Cunningham

The magical uses described here do not require long rituals or expensive paraphernalia. Rather, they tap into the innate power of crystals, gemstones and metals! You willleam which can help improve your love life, which can help you study better, which can help improve your financial situation, and which can help you overcome a broken heart. All it takes is a few stones or crystals or metals, some of which you may have right now! This is Natural Magic at its finest, with information on over 100 magical items. Ifyou want to make positive changes in your life but don't like the idea of doing complicated rituals, this is the book for you! Here is a Complete Course in natural magic-magic you can use today; magic which has been used for thousands of years.

Whether you study at home or go outside to work, whether you go to school or teach school, whether you are a magician, a Wiccan, or have never even thought of doing magic, the information in this book can help change your life-it may even help save your life. Now is the time, no matter your age, your financial situation or your health. This is the book that will help you make the changes in your life you want and need. You won't need long periods of study,
you won't need expensive tools. All you need to improve your life and the lives of those around you is Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic.


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Sunday, November 1, 2009

All The Names Of The Lord

All The Names Of The Lord Cover

Book: All The Names Of The Lord by Valentina Izmirlieva

This book, like a baby monster, was in gestation for fifteen long years, during which it accumulated many debts. Some of the people who helped me nurse it to life are no longer here to acceptmy acknowledgments; others are probably so tired of the book that they would not want to hear anymore about it. I should know better than to list all their names in a book that regards comprehensive lists as precariously ambitious. Conforming to the rules of the game, I will mention only some. All of them-the nameless with the named-have my deepest gratitude.

Ideas that eventually found their way into this book have been presented at various scholarly centers, most notably the Osteuropa-Institut at the Free University of Berlin, the Slavic Department and the Department of religious Studies at Northwestern University, the Committee on Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Columbia University, the Seminar on Slavic history and Culture at Columbia University, and the Department of Cyrillo-Methodian Studies at Sofia University in Bulgaria. I am in debt to my receptive audiences in all these venues.

This book about thingsmagical andmystical has had its fair share of serendipity, never more conspicuous than in the final phase of its promotion (which is perhaps fitting, since it is also a book about the social promotion of texts). My entire experience with the University of Chicago Press and the Harriman Publication Series has been a blessing. The present version of the book has benefited much from the competent advice of Elizabeth Branch Dyson and Ron Meyer, and from the technical assistance of Mary Fahnestock-Thomas. To David Brent, who has championed this project through thick and thin all the way to production, I owe much more than I can possibly express. - Valentina Izmirlieva

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Paschal Beverly Randolph

Paschal Beverly Randolph Cover P.B. Randolph (Oct. 8, 1825 - July 29, 1875) was a noted medium, healer, occultist and author of his day, and counted among his personal friends Abraham Lincoln, Hargrave Jennings, Kenneth McKenzie, Eliphas Levi, Napoleon III, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, and General Ethan Allen Hitchcock. Randolph's Order claimed descent from the Rosicrucian Order (by charter of the "Supreme Grand Lodge of France"), and taught spiritual healing, western occultism and principals of race regeneration through the spirtualization of sex.

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