Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sources Of Ancient Gnostic Information

Sources Of Ancient Gnostic Information Cover Until recently, only a few pieces of Gnostic literature were known to exist. These included Shepherd of Men, Asclepius, Codex Askewianus, Codex Brucianus, Gospel of Mary, Secret Gospel of John, Odes of Solomon and the Hymn of the Pearl. Knowledge about this movement had been inferred mainly from extensive attacks that were made on Gnosticism by Christian heresiologists (writers against heresy) of the second and early third century. These included Irenaeus (130? - 200? CE), Clement of Alexandria (145? - 213?), Tertullian (160? - 225?) and Hippolytus (170? - 236). Unfortunately, the heresy hunters were not particularly accurate or objective in their analysis of Gnosticism

In 1945, Mohammed Ali es_Samman, a camel driver from El Qasr in Egypt, went with his brother to a cliff near Nag Hummadi, a village in Northern Egypt. They were digging for nitrate-rich earth that they could use for fertilizer. They came across a large clay jar buried in the ground. They were undecided whether to open it. They feared that it might contain an evil spirit; but they also suspected that it might contain gold or other material of great value. It turns out that their second guess was closer to the truth: the jar contained a library of Gnostic material of unmeasurable value. 13 volumes survive, comprising 51 different works on 1153 pages. 6 were copies of works that were already known; 6 others were duplicated within the library, and 41 were new, previously unknown works. Included were The Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Truth, Treatise on the Resurrection, Gospel of Philip, Wisdom of Jesus Christ, Revelation of James, Letter of Peter to Philip, On the Origin of the World and other writings. Of these, the Gospel of Thomas is considered the most important. It was a collection of the sayings of Jesus which were recorded very early in the Christian era. A later Gnostic author edited the Gospel. Some liberal theologians rank it equal in importance to the 4 Gospels of the Christian Scriptures.

The works had originally been written in Greek during the second and third centuries CE. The Nag Hummadi copies had been translated into the Coptic language during the early 4th century CE, and apparently buried circa 365 CE. Some Gnostic texts were non-Christian; others were originally non-Christian but had Christian elements added; others were entirely Christian documents. Some recycled paper was used to reinforce the leather bindings of the books. They were found to contain dated letters and business documents from the middle of the 4th century. The books may have been hidden for save-keeping during a religious purge.

The texts passed through the hands of a number of mysterious middlemen, and finally were consolidated and stored in the Coptic Museum of Cairo. Publication was delayed by the Suez Crisis, the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, and petty debates among scholars. The most important book, the Gospel of Thomas, was finally translated into English during the late 1960's; the remaining books were translated during the following ten years. In many ways, this find reveals more about the early history of Christianity than do the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Thomas Moore - Candle Magick For Love
Max Heindel - Ancient And Modern Initiation
Franceska De Grandis - Goddess Initiation

Separation Of Magick From Religion

Separation Of Magick From Religion Cover 1. Prayer is Energy work. Modern day clergy of many religions provide their flock, parishioners, congregation, whatever it is called, with access to divinity. Although each person is admonished to lead a “Godly” life, the primary focus of worship tends to be through large group ceremonies where a leader, priest, channels the prayers and energy of that congregation through themselves and off to whatever the focus of the prayer was. I personally feel that this channeling through a third party, as a required step and mindset, dilutes the efficacy of that energy somewhat. However, it does not differ substantially from the Wiccan coven practice of channeling or focusing energy through a high priest/ess. And even though many are not aware of it, there is strong, statistical, scientific proof that prayer is incredibly effective when used for healing the ill. This study simply looked at the survival rate, and healing speed among people who had been prayed for, all other factors being the same, and those who had not been prayed for. The energy is the same in prayer, or healing spells, which is a strong indicator that Wiccan magick provides the same power - a power that is effective and measurable by contemporary science.

2. Spells are Energy Work. Such energy was always amongst us. It is only in the last few hundred years that we have had the technology to document and examine these energies and their effects. In the past there tended to be an individual who was more gifted than others in interpreting and understanding such things. These folks probably devoted time to things such as herbal remedies, and as their healing skills improved, they were able to devote more time and thought to it. People were willing to trade these healers, treatment for food, and over time these people became specialists in their discipline - whatever that entailed. Perhaps reading omens, herbal preventatives, cures, etc. And these folks also had the knack of knowing what would happen. Whether it was early psychology or a good guess, their reputation made them into the Village Wise Woman - the Country Sage. Sometimes these folks skills combined with an inheritance of knowledge from their ancestors, provided them with a powerful knowledge of people, healing, and energy use. These were truly the witches of renown. Powerful people, but without today's communication ability, their influence tended to stay local, only effecting their village or county. Their skills also included various forms of divination, but not usually religion as such. That was left to the Church which was a powerful and distant force. And religion was best left to the priests and ministers of that church, since it was punishable by death for commoners to have read the bible.

1. Even the Christian church, which condemned magic as a devilish art, was also filled with magical beliefs and practices. Magic was legal in Roman times, and this tolerance continued on for many centuries. Sir Walter Raleigh praised said magic, “bringeth to light the inmost virtues, and draweth them out of Nature's hidden bosom to human use.”. The nobility - including princes of the church - supported court magicians, astrologers, and diviners who helped them conduct their affairs. Scholars carefully classified different types of magicians, as if to distinguish the heretical from the acceptable. (The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, p 566) Although the Christians had the most documentation, almost all cultures had their version of magician or magic workers.

3. Shaman/ka - Other cultures less effected by the power of the formal Church included the interpretation of the god's will among their skills. These indigenous cultures labeled their healing and magick specialists Shaman or Shamanka. In tribal cultures almost everyone had a specialty that made up their part of the entire survival of the tribe. It tended to be those persons who were marked special who became the voice of the Gods for the tribe. Again, these persons had the time to learn, or just think a lot about, the nature of reality, illness and the Gods. In shamanic experience, when one is in non-ordinary reality things will seem quite as material as they are here. ….. All the phenomena that just as real as they do here if it is an extremely clear shamanic journey. But the shaman does not view these non-ordinary phenomena as mental in the sense that they are regarded as a projections of one's own mind. Rather, the mind is being used in order to gain access, to pass through a door into another reality which exists independently of that mind. Usually, the shaman views the universe itself of the ultimate reality. In many shamanic cultures there is preoccupation with the idea that there is some spiritual being who is either in charge of the whole show, or who once was but is now permanent vacation. Most shamans seem to believe that this universe is “just the way things are.” We are given the fact that there is a universe where everything is alive, that there is an interconnectedness of all things, and that there are hidden purposes which we can attempt to investigate to some extent through shamanic methods. So, as one gets involved in shamanism and thus keeps seeing, interacting, and talking with spirits, one quite naturally tends to believe in their existence. And those who continue doing shamanism will most likely also start to believe in the existence of spirits. Of course, more supposedly “sophisticated”: religions may then be built upon that base. I think it is noteworthy that modern physics seem to have elements of animism. Some physicists today are like animists in that they believe everything which exists is alive. It is the sense of our unity with a living universe, the feeling that we are all just parts of that greater life, which is basic to animism.” (Shamanism, compiled by Shirley Nicholson, pp4-5). In some cultures being crippled, having seizures, having mental problems, etc. marked one as being closer to the gods or perhaps having been called by the spirits, and thus a good candidate for the shamanic path. These people freely mixed together the concepts of both the Gods and magick. Their mythology made their gods a part of their everyday world, and allowed for a rich mix of customs, responsive to the tribe's situation and needs. The shamanic tradition focuses of the strengths and aspects of various natural forces within our world, and uses inner journeys of the shaman to bring those truths for use by the shaman's social group.

4. Ceremonial Magick is an area of study that demands much discipline of its adherents. We tend to differentiate its practice from that of the religious magicks that Witches, Pagans and Druids accomplish, primarily because of the Pagan emphasis of calling energy through the gods and the planet. Ceremonial magic has its own pantheons, and although my understanding is minimal, there is much knowledge that must be acquired, memorized, understood and properly applied. Golden Dawn is one of the best known organizations dealing with ceremonial magick.


Books You Might Enjoy:

Andrew Lang - Myth Ritual And Religion
Sir James George Frazer - The Golden Bough A Study Of Magic And Religion
Al Selden Leif - Pagan Potions Brew Magic Formula

Religion And Worship

Religion And Worship Cover Religion and Worship. “Almost from their beginnings, magic and religion have been intermingled. ” (Believing in Magic The Psychology of Superstition, Stuart A. Vyse, Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford, 1997) The root of the word religion means relinking. And as the Pagan religions are the only religions that I know of that insist that the interaction of the worshipper with their deity be direct and personal, and that the rhythms of our world are the signals and timing for most interaction, we may well be the only religion that has a primary accomplishment of relinking our people with our selves, our Gods, our world, and Nature Herself. Most of the standard definitions for religion specifically refer to the Christian God, or another monotheist deity. Our dictionaries and encyclopedias are so inherently Christian it is difficult to find a non-Christian definition of religion or worship. Raymond Buckland insists that the first call of a witch is the worship of the Gods. But there is little definition of that process of worship that is not also the process of ritual magick - it is hard to discern wherein the difference lies. I have read through many of these books looking for a concise answer. That answer seems to lie in the interactive responsibility of the Witch to focus their awareness and responsibility for the consequences of their magick on the entire system which is comprised of the Gods, Our world, our community and all the other Children of the Gods. This comprehension of their role within the entire scheme is in line with my definition of a Witch, “One who knowledgeably undertakes through their vows to their Gods the obligation to further growth and harmony.” What that definition also implies, yet does not outright state, is that that obligation also includes personal growth and development. The Witch never promotes growth and success in the system without offering themselves the same opportunities. There may be rare circumstances where a Witch will spend so much of their energy for a particular outcome, that they compromise their own success and health - but offhand, I cannot imagine what would demand such a sacred gift - sacrifice. It is not healthy or reasonable to demand things of any teacher, healer, priest/ess which lessen that person's own path and powers. We are not victims or martyrs because we have decided to enrich our entire community, we are simply responsible members of our community. And much like the goose that laid the golden egg, if you overtax those who have the gift, you will loose all that it offers. You must always prioritize your health and well-being, for if you are lost or in failing health, then what do you have left to offer.

This is also a religion, that by its very nature, would never demand you harm another. That is not the point. “I am the Mother of all things, and My loved is poured out upon the world.” And She who is the mother of all things, never demands that you harm any of her Children. (Charge of the Goddess)

Is this a Goddess religion? Do we have male Gods? Yes. I think the primary reason that we are considered a Goddess religion, is that all other religions have male gods. Thus, in explaining our differences, people take the prominent diverse feature, the female divinity, and focus on it when explaining our beliefs. But the male aspect of our world is a partner and consort of the Goddess. Without the God, we would not have the balance and creative interaction that allows for the Wheel of Life. Do we value men in this religion? Absolutely. We could not be who we are without male and female aspects to balance and provide all the parts to our Sacred World. Why is there any question about the importance of the God? “The image of the Horned God in witchcraft is radically different from any other image of masculinity in our culture. He is difficult to understand, because He does not fit into any of the expected stereotypes, neither those of the “macho” male nor the reverse-images of those who deliberately seek effeminacy. He is gentle, tender, and comforting, but He is also the Hunter. He is the Dying god - but his death is always in the service of the life force. He is untamed sexuality - but sexuality as a deep, holy, connecting power. He is the power of feeling, and the image of what men could be if they were liberated from the constraints of patriarchal culture.” (The Spiral Dance A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, Starhawk, Harper & Row, San Francisco, CA, 1979.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Robert Ambelain - Martinism History And Doctrine
Frater Fp - Sigils In Theory And Practice
Leo Ruickbie - Halloween And Samhain

Occultism

Occultism Cover Occultism is theories, practices, and rituals based on esoteric knowledge of the world of spirits and unknown forces. The wide range of occult beliefs and practices includes astrology, alchemy, divination, magic, and witchcraft and sorcery. Devotees of occultism seek to explore spiritual mysteries through what they regard as higher powers of the mind. The Western tradition of Occultism has its roots in Hellenistic magic and alchemy (especially the Hermetic writings ascribed to Thoth) and in the Jewish mysticism associated with the Kabbala.
Occultism also is belief in supernatural sciences or powers, such as magic, astrology, alchemy, theosophy, and spiritism, either for the purpose of enlarging man's powers, of protecting him from evil forces, or of predicting the future. All the so-called natural sciences were in a sense occult in their beginnings; most early scientists were considered magicians or sorcerers because of the mystery attending their investigations. In the modern world occultism has centered in small groups that seek to perpetuate secret knowledge and rites alleged to be derived from the ancients.
Related, but distinct, is telepathy, mental communication at a distance with the dead or the living. Such beliefs appeared in nineteenth-century Europe with the weakening of Christian churches, which had traditionally fought these phenomena, and as a form of resistance to rationalism, which claimed to be able to explain everything by means of logical reasoning. Occultism and telepathy are also related to an interest in mystery and the mysterious: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, devoted much his later life to the study of occultism, and a number of successful Authors have taken an interest in paranormal phenomena.
Psychology and psychiatry in the late nineteenth century were strongly influenced by spiritualism and magnetism. Belief in a "celestial fluid" was not wholly unrelated to the growing use of an invisible energy (electricity), or a new device for communicating at a distance, known as the telephone. Freud referred specifically to this last invention to characterize the relationship between conscious and unconscious, between doctor and patient ("Recommendations to Physicians Practising Psycho-Analysis," 1912e). The word telepathy was created in 1882 by the English psychologist Frederick Myers (1843-1901), who was the first British author to discuss Freud's work.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Charles Webster Leadbeater - Occult Chemistry
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky - Studies In Occultism
Anonymous - Hypnotism Spells
Baron Tschoudy - Alchemical Catechism
Sepharial - A Manual Of Occultism

Modern Hellenism

Modern Hellenism Cover Are the Hellenes Pagans?

Depends on who you ask, and how you define "Pagan". If you are referring to people that are not part of an Abrahamic faith, then Hellenismos would be Pagan. On the other hand, if you're referring to the Goddess-worshipping earth-based form of Paganism, the Hellenes wouldn't fit that definition. Some Hellenes object to being described as "Pagan" at all, simply because many people assume that all Pagans are Wiccans, which Hellenistic Polytheism definitely isn't. There's also a theory that the Greeks themselves would never have used the word "Pagan" to describe themselves in the ancient world.
Worship Today

Hellenic revivalist groups are found all over the world, not just in Greece, and they use a variety of different names. A Greek organization is called the Supreme Council of Ethnikoi Hellenes, and its pracitioners are "Ethnikoi Hellenes". The group Dodekatheon is also in Greece. In North America, there is an organization known as Hellenion.

Traditionally, members of these groups perform their own rites and learn through self-study of primary materials about the ancient Greek religion and through personal experience with the gods. There is usually no central clergy or degree system as found in Wicca.
Holidays of the Hellenes

The ancient Greeks celebrated all kinds of festivals and holidays in the different city-states. In addition to public holidays, local groups often held celebrations, and it wasn't uncommon for families to make offerings to household deities. As such, Hellenic Pagans today often celerbate a wide variety of major festivals.

During the course of a year, celebrations are held to honor most of the Olympic gods. There are also agricultural holidays based upon harvest and planting cycles. Some Hellenes also follow a ritual described in the works of Hesiod, in which they privately offer devotions in their home on designated days of the month.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Robert Wang - The Qabalistic Tarot
Melita Denning - The Aurum Solis
John Dee - The Calls Of Enoch
Morwyn - 3 Green Books

Islam And Sufism

Islam And Sufism Cover Islam is a monotheistic religion based upon the teachings of Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. It is the second-largest religion in the world today, with an estimated 1.4 billion adherents, known as Muslims.

Muslims believe that God revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad and that Muhammad is God's final prophet. Muslims consider the Qur'an and the traditions of Muhammad in the Sunnah to be the basic sources of Islam. Like Judaism and Christianity, Islam is an Abrahamic religion.

Sufism is a mystic tradition of Islam encompassing a diverse range of beliefs and practices dedicated to Allah/God, divine love and sometimes to help a fellow man. Tariqas (Sufi orders) may be associated with Shi'a Islam, Sunni Islam, other currents of Islam, or a combination of multiple traditions. It has been suggested that Sufi thought emerged from the Middle East in the eighth century, but adherents are now found around the world. Some Sufis have also claimed that Sufism pre-dates Islam and some groups operate with only very tenuous links to Islam.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Aristotle - On The Soul
Sri Swami Sivananda - Brahma Sutras
Ro Winstedt - Shaman Saiva And Sufi

Golden Dawn

Golden Dawn Cover The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (or Golden Dawn, as it is commonly referred to) is a tradition of magical theurgy and spiritual development. It is probably the single greatest influence on twentieth century western occultism. Concepts of magic and ritual that became core elements of many other traditions, including Wicca, Thelema and other forms of magical spirituality popular today, are drawn from the Golden Dawn traditions.

The three founders, Dr. William Robert Woodman, William Wynn Westcott, and Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers were Freemasons and members of Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (S.R.I.A.), an appendant body to Freemasonry. Westcott, also a member of the Theosophical Society, appears to have been the initial driving force behind the establishment of the Golden Dawn.

Influences on Golden Dawn concepts and work include: Christian mysticism, Kabbalah, Hermeticism, paganism of Egypt, Theurgy, Freemasonry, Alchemy, Theosophy, Eliphas Levi, Papus, Enochian magic, and medieval grimoires.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Order Of The Golden Dawn - Enochian Tablet Of Union
Aristotle - On Dreams
Morwyn - The Golden Dawn

Gods And Goddesses In Hinduism

Gods And Goddesses In Hinduism Cover Hinduism is generally associated with a multiplicity of Gods, and does not advocate the worship of one particular deity. The gods and goddesses of Hinduism amount to thousands or even millions, all representing the many aspects of only one supreme Absolute called “Brahman”.

Therefore, to believe that the multiplicity of deities in Hinduism makes it polytheistic is erroneous. The Rig Veda says: "Ekam sath, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti" (The Truth is one). However, to equate “Brahman” with “God” is imprecise. It is neither the “old man in the sky” concept, nor the idea of something capable of being vengeful or fearful.

The doctrine of Spiritual Competence (‘Adhikaara’) and that of the Chosen Deity (‘Ishhta Devata’) in Hinduism recommend that the spiritual practices prescribed to a person should correspond to his or her spiritual competence and that a person should have the freedom to choose (or invent) a form of Brahman that satisfies his spiritual cravings and to make it the object of his worship.

Thus, Hindus have a multitude of gods and goddesses. Deities are represented by a complexity of images and idols symbolizing divine powers. Many of these idols are housed within ornate temples of unparalleled beauty and grandeur. Hindus also worship spirits, trees, animals and even planets.

The most fundamental of Hindu deities, is the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva - creator, preserver and destroyer respectively. Other popular deities include Ganesha, Krishna, Hanuman and a number of Goddesses.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Order Of The Golden Dawn - Lesser Invoking Ritual Of The Pentagram
Shri Gurudev Mahendranath - Notes On Pagan India
Michael Jordan - Dictionary Of Gods And Goddesses
Mira Ray - Minerals And Gems In Indian Alchemy

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gnosticism Beliefs

Gnosticism Beliefs Cover The Nag Hummadi find revealed that there was a broad range of beliefs among the various independent Gnostic systems or schools. The However, the following points are believed to be generally accurate throughout the movement:

Their Role: They believed that they alone truly understood Christ's message, and that other streams of thought within Christianity had misinterpreted Jesus' mission and sayings.

Gnosis: Knowledge to them was not an intellectual exercise; it was not a passive understanding of some aspect of spirituality. Rather, knowledge had a redeeming and liberating function that helped the individual break free of bondage to the world.

Deity: The Supreme Father God or Supreme God of Truth is remote from human affairs; he is unknowable and undetectable by human senses. She/he created a series of supernatural but finite beings called Aeons. One of these was Sophia, a virgin, who in turn gave birth to an defective, inferior Creator-God, also known as the Demiurge. (Demiurge means "public craftsman" in Greek.) This lower God created the earth and its life forms. This is the God of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), a deity who was viewed as fundamentally evil, jealous, rigid, lacking in compassion and prone to genocide. The Demiurge "thinks that he is supreme. His pride and incompetence have resulted in the sorry state of the world as we know it, and in the blind and ignorant condition of most of mankind."

Duality of spirit and body: Spirit is of divine origin and good; the body is inherently earthly and evil. Gnostics were hostile to the physical world, to matter and the human body. But they believed that trapped within some people's bodies were the sparks of divinity or seeds of light that were supplied to humanity by Sophia.

Salvation: A person attains salvation by learning secret knowledge of their spiritual essence: a divine spark of light or spirit. They then have the opportunity to escape from the prison of their bodies at death. Their soul can ascend to be reunited with the Supreme God at the time of their death. Gnostics divided humanity into three groups:
the spiritual, who would be saved irrespective of their behavior while on earth
the Soulish, who could be saved if they followed the Gnostic path
the carnal who are hopelessly lost

Evil: They did not look upon the world as having been created perfectly and then having degenerated as a result of the sin of Adam and Eve. Rather the world was seen as being evil at the time of its origin, having been created by an inferior God.
Snake Symbol: Some Gnostic sects honored the snake. They did not view the snake as a seducer who led the first couple into sinful behavior. Rather, they saw him as a liberator who brought knowledge to Adam and Eve by convincing them to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and thus to become fully human.

Christ: The role of the redeemer in Gnostic belief is heavily debated at this time. Gnostics seem to have looked upon Christ as a revealer or liberator, rather than a savior or judge. His purpose was to spread knowledge which would free individuals from the Demiurge's control and allow them to return to their spiritual home with the Supreme God at death. Some Gnostic groups promoted Docetism, the belief that Christ was pure spirit and only had a phantom body; Jesus just appeared to be human to his followers. They reasoned that a true emissary from the Supreme God could not have been overcome by the evil of the world, and to have suffered and died. These beliefs were considered heresy by mainline Christians. Some Gnostics believed that Christ's resurrection occurred at or before Jesus' death on the cross. They defined his resurrection as occurring when his spirit was liberated from his body. Many Gnostics believed that Jesus had both male and female disciples.

The Universe: This is divided into three kingdoms:
The "Earthly Cosmos": The earth is the center of the universe, and is composed of the world that we know of and an underworld. It is surrounded by air and by 7 concentric heavenly spheres: one for each of the Moon, Venus, Mercury, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. (Although the planet Uranus is visible to the naked eye, it was not recognized as a planet in ancient times.) Beyond Saturn resides Leviathan, a snake coiled in a single circle, devouring its own tail. Within these spheres live demonic, tyrannical entities called Archons. Beyond them lies Paradise which contains the "Tree of Life", the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil", and the flaming, turning sword of Genesis 3:24. Beyond Paradise was the sphere of the fixed stars, divided into the 12 signs of the zodiac.
The "Intermediate Kingdom is composed of an inner blue circle of darkness and an outer yellow ring of light. Within these rings is a sphere which is the realm of Sophia.

The "Kingdom of God" consists of two spheres: an outer one of the unknowable Supreme God, and inner ring of the Son.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Dion Fortune - Psychic Self Defense
Anonymous - The Mysticism Of Masonry
Anonymous - Wicca Beliefs And Practices
Anonymous - Hypnotism Spells

Difference Between Religion And Magick

Difference Between Religion And Magick Cover The differentiating factor between religion and magick seems to be whether or not there was a specialist assigned the role as intercessor to the Gods or Elemental Energies. This is also one of the key issues in present day witchcraft - whether or not each person is a direct link to the energy and can meet their needs without assistance, or if we need those persons who have the time, talents, interest, etc. in being a full-time conduit between these energies and those who consider themselves as Pagans, Witches, Wiccans, etc.

While the jury is still out, the majority of Witches think it would be a travesty if we allowed any third party interpretation or mandatory access to that natural energy we are all heir to as humans and part of the interactive Sacred Play that is Gaia, our world and our spiritual world. Many early religions that began as a one-on-one link with the divine later came to a formal, procedurally bound, mockery of our Divine nature. The power in paganism is that we claim our power by right, and will never give or dilute it by channeling it through others. We are as much a mirror of the Gods, as they are a reflection of us.

The nature of deity is that we have created a personalized representation of those forces which are awe-inspiring and important to us, and given them characteristics and names so that we may refer to them amongst ourselves handily. Those outside this rich interactive style came to believe that these forces were indeed outside of us, and labeled them as transcendent, or other. As Luke was taught by Obi Wan and Yoda, there is a life-force which all beings naturally have. We are part of it, have need of it, and can learn to listen and use it. Only recently did we forget as a race, that it is our birthright and the nature of our being. Life, death, rebirth, creation, beauty - these are all a natural use of the energy so readily available.

Books You Might Enjoy:

William Butler Yeats - The Secret Rose And Rosa Alchemica
Henry Cornelius Agrippa - Occult Philosophy And Magick Book Iii
Peter De Abano - Heptameron Or Magical Elements
Parker Torrence - The Craft Grimoire Of Eclectic Magic
Michael Ford - Luciferian Sorcery Luciferian And Sethanic Magick

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What Does Zoroastrian Scripture Say About

What Does Zoroastrian Scripture Say About Cover

Abortion

A child is said to be formed, and a soul added to its body, after a woman has been pregnant for four months and ten days (Anquetil II, 563). In ancient times, according to the Vendidad (Vd15.9-16), abortion was known to be effected by means of certain plants. It was considered murder.

Action


"A thousand people cannot convince one by words to the extent that one person can convince a thousand by action." (Dk6.e15)

Charity


"This also is revealed in the religion, that Ohrmazd said to Zartosht, 'He who performs charity knowingly and discriminately is like me, I who am Ohrmazd. And he who performs charity ignorantly and without understanding and indiscriminately is like Ahriman'.... 'Charity is something so worthy, there are 33 ways from Garothman [Paradise] to the Chinwad Bridge, and everyone who is blessed on account of meritorious action is then able to go on one way, and he who is blessed on account of charity is able to go on all those ways'.... 'Whatever charitable men give, I give them twofold in return, and I store it up'. " (PhlRiv10, tr. based on A.V. Williams 1990.)

Education


"It is the desire of Ahura Mazda from people is this: 'Know me', for he knows: 'If they know me, everyone will follow me'. The desire of Angra Mainyu is this: 'Do not know me', for he knows: 'If they know me no one will follow me'." (Dk6.31, tr. Shaked)

Evolution


"How is existence brought about? Just as one substance is evolved out of another according to its own laws and in the finite time (fixed for it.)" (Dk4.46)

Hell


Hell is a temporary place of suffering for sinners after death. When evil is finally defeated (at Frashegird), the souls of sinners will be released from hell, and will be purified by the ordeal of molten metal. They will then join the congregation of God and the saints.

Hope


"There is a remedy for everything but death, a hope for everything but wickedness, and everything will lapse except righteousness." (SLS20.17, tr. West)

Joy


Angra Mainyu is best fought by joy; despondency is a symptom of his victory.

Paying attention


"As the soul is thus not all, but is in the world for a period for maintaining the body, it is necessary to walk with such circumspection as if one were without shoes, and the whole of this world were full of snakes, scorpions, noxious reptiles, and thorns, and one's fear were: 'Let not the reptiles bite me, or the thorns penetrate me.'" (Dk6.b47, tr. Shaked) In Zoroastrian theology, paying attention is personified as Sraosha ('Hearkening').

Prophets


"The creator Ahura Mazda spoke to Zarathushtra thus: 'O Zarathushtra! I have created no one better than you in the world, and I shall likewise not create one better after you are gone. You are my chosen one, and I have made this world apparent on account of you. And all these people and monarchs whom I have created have always maintained the hope that I should create you in their days, so that they should accept the religion, and their souls should attain to the supreme heaven.'" (SD81.3)

Reincarnation


The concept of reincarnation is foreign to Zoroastrianism. According to Dastur Firoze M. Kotwal, the current head priest of the Wadia fire temple, "No reincarnation as far as our religion is concerned, because if there is reincarnation, then there cannot be the idea of resurrection, you see. So these doctrines go counter to one another. Of course, there is a tendency for bringing in reincarnation from Hindu philosophies or something, because we are living among the Hindus. But no, this is all a recent development, just to placate the Hindus or something like that. But you must be faithful to our religion, because when you wish to introduce something in our religion that is foreign, then there is danger of all other doctrines going topsy-turvey."

Also, according to J. W. Sanjana,

"Faith in this dogma [i.e. reincarnation] is so incompatible with the letter and spirit of traditional Zoroastrianism that it can be said without exaggeration, and with the most perfect reason and justice, that a man who believes in reincarnation is no true Zoroastrian." (Cited in Boyce, 1984, pg 157.)

Responsibility


"When Ahura Mazda the Lord first created humanity, He gave the following order: "Be diligent to save your souls; I shall then provide for your bodily matters. For it is impossible to save your souls without you." People are deluded in the following manner: they themselves strive after material things, and as regards the things of the soul, they put their trust in the Yazads." (Dk6.291, tr. Shaked)

Suffering


"When a person stands in the religion of the Yazads, the Yazads notice the pain endured by him in the world -- even the fact that he came to pain by foot and that he lives lawfully on the work of his hands; and they carry and keep for him in the Reckoning of the Spirits (Armageddon) the discomfort, hunger, thirst, worry, and disease which affect him." (Dk6.106, tr. Shaked)

Truthfulness


"Zartosht asked Ohrmazd, 'Which is the one virtue that is best for mankind?' Ohrmazd said, 'Truthful speech is best, because in truthful speech there is good repute in the world and good life and salvation in Paradise; as regards your descendants and progeny, by doing good deeds it will be better for their families, and your soul will indeed be blessed'. For him who is condemned as regards (material) wealth for the sake of truth, it is better for him than for one who is condemned as regards the soul for falsehood, because it is possible to amass wealth again, but when people have died, their souls pass on. Then there is no remedy for it." (PhlRiv10 tr. based on A.V. Williams 1990.)

Word of God


Religion and the Sacred Word are like flesh and skin (Dk6.324, tr. Shaked)

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Charles Baize - Pagan Scriptures

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The Shambhala Guide To Taoism

The Shambhala Guide To Taoism Cover

Book: The Shambhala Guide To Taoism by Eva Wong

This is a marvellous book for those who want an insight into the nature and the mysteries of Taoism. I found this to be an enjoyable book from cover to cover. If you are new to the study of Taoism, or are a continuing student and wish to broaden your understanding in this discipline, then I recommend this book for you. By the time you have read this book you will have an understanding of the major branches of Taoism, the core philosophy and beliefs of those branches, as well as a good knowledge of the history, formation and development of Taoism from the days of the first shamans to the today. I would particularly recommend this book to college/university students who have been given assignments related to Taoism for the reasons just covered.

This guide to the spiritual landscape of Taoism not only introduces the important events in the history of Taoism, the sages who wrote the Taoist texts, and the various schools of Taoist thinking, but also gives the reader a feel for what it means to practice Taoism today. The book is divided into three parts:

1. "The History of Taoism" traces the development of the tradition from the shamans of prehistoric China through the classical period (including the teachings of the famous sage Lao-tzu), the beginnings of Taoism as a religion, the rise of mystical and alchemical Taoism, and the synthesis of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.
2. "Systems of Taoism" explores magical sects, divination practices, devotional ceremonies, internal alchemy, and the way of right action.
3. "Taoist Practices" discusses meditation, techniques of cultivating the body, and rites of purification, ceremony, and talismanic magic.

By dividing her book into three sections clearly articulates the development and varieties of Taoist thought, its key figures, texts, beliefs, concepts, principles and practices. She does this in short, well-focused chapters, and uses a very clear and concise style. Each chapter ends with a "Further Readings" section offering what I've found to be very useful pointers into the immense body of Taoist literature, sometimes even referring to specific chapters of books and pointing out which ones are more general or more academic, and which translations she prefers. Wong also includes a detailed index, a solid bibliography, and two useful appendices containing a map of China and a chronology of the dynasties.

"Eva Wong, a long-time practitioner of Taoism and a translator of Taoist texts, has written a comprehensive overview of this often misunderstood spiritual tradition. Both diverse and fascinating as a historical profile, this colorful introduction to Taoist tradition and practices, its sages, and the practical application of stillness, are often likened to the mystical Chinese landscape of mountain and mist. Part One details the history of Taoism and the rise of mystical Taoism. It also includes a discussion of the rise of Taoist alchemy and the synthesis of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Part Two discusses the various systems of Taoism that include several of the esoteric Taoist practices. Part Three covers meditation, techniques for strengthening the body, and ceremonial rites."

Buy Eva Wong's book: The Shambhala Guide To Taoism

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Secret Book Of Artephius

The Secret Book Of Artephius Cover

Book: The Secret Book Of Artephius by Anonymous

Artephius (Arthephius, Artefius) is a name to which a number of alchemical and magical texts, first extant in Latin, are ascribed.Although the origin of the texts is unclear and the identity of their author obscure, at least some of them may go back to Arabic antecedents. Roger Bacon alludes to The Secret Book of Artephius, indicating that it goes back at least to the thirteenth century. In the sixteenth century there were numerous allusions. In printed form, works attributed to Artephius became well known in the seventeenth century. A work Artefii clavis majoris sapientiae was printed in Paris in 1609. Later it would also appear within Volume IV of Theatrum Chemicum, printed originally in 1613. Then in 1624, Eirenaeus Orandus provided an English translation of the 'secret booke'. A Renaissance tradition held that Artephius had been born in the first or second century and died in the twelfth, thanks to having discovered the alchemical elixir that made it possible to prolong life. In his Secret Book, Artephius indeed claims to be more than a thousand years old. Artephius is sometimes identified with Apollonius of Tyana. There also seems to be some tendency to confuse him with Orpheus, perhaps because both figures are supposed to have had the ability to converse with birds.

Download Anonymous's eBook: The Secret Book Of Artephius

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A Modified Hexagram Ritual For Enochian Workings

A Modified Hexagram Ritual For Enochian Workings Cover

Book: A Modified Hexagram Ritual For Enochian Workings by Benjamin Rowe

A Modified Hexagram Ritual for Enochian Workings

Tools, costume, etc.

A. White robe for theurgic works
B. Black for thaumaturgic works
C. Wand for general use or sword
D. Elemental wand, cup, etc. as appropriate
E. Lamen of the work, or general lamen.

Concentrate the energy in the aura above the top of the head. As the letters are spoken, draw it down to activate certain chakras in turn:

I - Top-of-head and ajna chakras
N - Throat chakra
R - Heart chakra
I - Chakras below the diaphragm (excluding Solar Plexus)

Download Benjamin Rowe's eBook: A Modified Hexagram Ritual For Enochian Workings

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Benjamin Rowe - A Modified Hexagram Ritual For Enochian Workings

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Art And Meaning Of Magic

The Art And Meaning Of Magic Cover

Book: The Art And Meaning Of Magic by Israel Regardie

These essays, now revised and brought together, represent the fruit of a lifetime’s study and experience of a master of modern magic. The emphasis throughout is on practical methods of releasing the vast inner potential on which magic depends, with the aim of finding ‘the jewel of a new life’ - a life full of creative possibilities based on a radical renewal of consciousness. This volume contains; The Art and Meaning of Magic, A Qabalistic Primer, Meditation, The Qabalah of Number and Meaning, and The Art of True Healing.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Mithraic Ritual

A Mithraic Ritual Cover

Book: A Mithraic Ritual by George Robert Stowe Mead

The last little volume gave the reader a brief outline of what is known of the cult of Mithra and the spread of the Mithriac Mysteries in the Western world. We have now to deal with a Mithriac Ritual of the most instructive and intensely interesting character, which introduces us to the innermost rite of the carefully guarded secrets of the Mithriaca.

This Ritual is all the more precious in that our knowledge of the Liturgies of the ancient Pagan cults of the West is of the scantiest nature. A few fragments only remain, mostly in the form of hymns; whereas the Ritual before us is complete, and the only complete one so far discovered. Dieterich calls it a {9} Liturgy; but a Liturgy is a service in which several take part, whereas it is plain that our Ritual was a secret and solemn inner rite for one person only.
The credit of unearthing it from the obscurity in which it was buried, and of conclusively demonstrating its parent-age, is due to Dieterich; for though Cumont in his great work quotes several passages from the unrevised text, he does so only to reject it as a genuine Mithriac document.

We will now give a Translation of the Ritual and then proceed to comment on it. The prayers and utterances are printed in italics, and the rubrics or Instructions in Roman type.

Download George Robert Stowe Mead's eBook: A Mithraic Ritual

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George Robert Stowe Mead - A Mithraic Ritual

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Mysticism Of Masonry

The Mysticism Of Masonry Cover

Book: The Mysticism Of Masonry by Anonymous

In placing this volume, which is the revised edition of the book first issued under the title, Ancient Mystic Oriental Masonry, I do so without the thought of an apology, owing to the fact that the first edition was received by the earnest students of Masonry and the Occult not because it was an expose, but because it was an interpretation of Masonic symbolism as handed down to us through the ages from the Mysteries of the Ancients.

As a Masonic work, the book must stand unchallenged for the reason that the basis of its symbolism is from the highest and universally accepted Masonic writers. The interpretation is also Masonic, with an additional Mystic interpretation appearing within brackets. For this I am personally responsible, though these explanations are based on and entirely harmonious with the inculcations of the Ancient Mysteries as received by myself through my various journeys in the realm of the mystic. It is therefore entirely lawful for me to offer them to the aspiring neophyte.

Download Anonymous's eBook: The Mysticism Of Masonry

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

When Religion Becomes Evil Five Warning Signs

When Religion Becomes Evil Five Warning Signs Cover

Book: When Religion Becomes Evil Five Warning Signs by Charles Kimball

This is a magnificent book. There are some typos and minor errors, such as the repeated misspelling of Hal Lindsey's name, but that is understandable for a first edition. There is quite a lot to ponder and savor within its relatively brief length (213 mid-sized pages) and it makes its points and justifies them while remaining easy-to-read. It explains the core tendencies that corrupt religion and provides a clarion call for more inclusive, honest, and dynamic religion in this new century.

By now it's commonplace to remark that more violence than good has been committed in the name of religion. The terrorist attacks of September 11 and the continuing Israeli-Palestinian strife confirm this age-old aphorism. Wake Forest religion professor Kimball has made something of a career out of speaking about the ways in which religion becomes evil. Every religion has the capacity to work either for good or evil, and he contends that there are five warning signs that we can recognize when religion moves toward the latter. Whenever a religion emphasizes that it holds the absolute truth-the one path to God or the only correct way of reading a sacred text-to the exclusion of the truth claims of all other religions and cultures, that religion is becoming evil. Other warning signs include blind obedience to religious leaders, apocalyptic belief that the end time will occur through a particular religion, the use of malevolent ends to achieve religious goals (e.g., the Crusades) and the declaration of holy war. Kimball focuses primarily on the three major Western monotheistic religions, although his examples also include new religious movements such as the People's Temple, Aum Shinrikyo and the Branch Davidians. Religion can resist becoming evil by practicing an inclusiveness that allows each tradition to retain its distinctiveness while it works for the common good. Kimball's clear and steady voice provides a helpful guide for those trying to understand why evil is perpetrated in the name of religion.

A valid criticism that was raised by another reader is Dr. Kimball's use of the term "authentic" (which means genuine, real, true, undoubted, unquestionable, factual, verifiable) for his sort of religion. That assumes that all religious expression that he disagrees with is "inauthentic." One may argue that one type of religion is better than another in certain specific ways, as the author has, but that does not mean that bad religion is inauthentic. Bad religion is as real as good religion, just as bad politics are as real as good politics. Using the term authentic provides a temptation to use it as a copout. When someone criticizes the bad use of religion, an apologist could reply, "Well, that is not 'authentic' religion. Only good religion is true religion," thus making criticism of religion impossible, because any ills will be brushed aside as "inauthentic" and not due to religion at all. I prefer Dr. Kimball's other adjectives for good religion: healthy, dynamic, honest, etc.

A second valid criticism that was raised is, that while it is true that Jews, Christians, and Muslims all stem from the same root, Kimball goes overboard when he says on page 50 that "There is simply no ambiguity here. Jews, Christians, and Muslims are talking about the same deity." That is an oversimplification. While clerics in these religions are fond of saying they worship the same Abrahamic God, their conceptions of that God are different.

A third criticism that has been raised is that Kimball does not address the issue of the possibility that a religion's "authentic sources" themselves may contain moral and Theological errors that encourage evils. I think this ommission is understandable given the focus of the book. Kimball's book is not a comprehensive discussion of religion, but rather a discussion of the corruptions of mainline religion.

Kimball states that religion is arguably the Most Powerful and persuasive force on earth and that yes, it is the problem. It is the problem because each seems to hold that it alone has the absolute truth, demands blind obedience, and justifies the means used by the end goal (presumably salvation or "right living.") Somehow, Kimball has reinvigorated the often used argument that the basic teaching of the world faith traditions (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist) have been used for corrupt ends, yet are in themselves the seeds for healing. "The complicity of religious persuasions in global conflicts today is undeniable, but Understanding this complicity requires that we clearly grasp the difference between what we have called corrupt forms of religious commitment and the authentic forms that offer hope."

The message of this book, so eloquently and convincingly written, is one that all lay people should embrace. We must hold ourselves and our faith institutions accountable for our actions in the world. For "a segregated group in which the thinking and critical decisions reside with one or a few people, particularly where there is apocalyptic teaching involved, is a disaster waiting to happen."



Buy Charles Kimball's book: When Religion Becomes Evil Five Warning Signs

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Notes On Geomancy

Notes On Geomancy Cover

Book: Notes On Geomancy by Nick Farrell

What follows are instructions on Geomancy within the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn structure. This book was written because, face it, Geomancy is considered a chore by most students. On one hand it seems complicated and on the other it is so deterministic that it makes it unattractive to anyone who likes to think about their divination.

The Golden Dawn system of Geomancy was based on Agrippa's fourth book, although it included a lot of very simple additional material which was not familiar to the medieval users of Geomancy. Some of this was good, such as the astrological system of placing the sigils in the houses, other sides of it were bad, such as the meanings of the planets in the houses.

While holding to most of the GD tradition, this book simplifies the system and attempts to modernise it using more recent interpretations of the planetary aspects. It also plays down a lot of the doom that is associated with some of the sigils. Unlike the medieval system which gave birth to Geomancy, we no longer see Saturn and Scorpio as the great malefics and regard them as teachers or even positive forces. This little book is mostly my notes. It was designed to bring together a lot of different teachings under one banner to make it easier for Paola to study. It is not complete, particularly when it comes to the method of interpretation which requires skill and reading on astrological interpretation. However it does give an idea which should improve most people's Geomancy readings.

Another thing that people should be aware of is that Geomancy readings get faster and more accurate with practice. Performing a reading a day on a different subject for a month will be enough. While it is still not as quick as a tarot divination, it is a lot more accurate and provides a great deal of detail. - Nick Farrell Rome August 2009

Download Nick Farrell's eBook: Notes On Geomancy

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Beliefs Of Jainism

Beliefs Of Jainism Cover 1. I believe in the spiritual lineage of the 24 Tirthankaras ("ford-makers") of whom the ascetic sage Mahavira was the last -- that they should be revered and worshiped above all else.
2. I believe in the Sacredness of all life, that one must cease injury to sentient creatures, large and small, and that even unintentional killing creates karma.
3. I believe that God is neither Creator, Father nor Friend. Such human conceptions are limited. All that may be said of Him is: He is.
4. I believe that each man's soul is eternal and individual and that each must conquer himself by his own efforts and subordinate the worldly to the heavenly in order to attain moksha, or release.
5. I believe the conquest of oneself can only be achieved in ascetic discipline and strict religious observance, and that nonascetics and women will have their salvation in another life (Digambara sect).
6. I believe that the principle governing the successions of life is karma, that our actions, both good and bad, bind us and that karma may only be consumed by purification, penance and austerity.
7. I believe in the Jain Agamas and Siddhantas as the sacred Scriptures that guide man's moral and spiritual life.
8. I believe in the Three Jewels: right knowledge, right faith and right conduct.
9. I believe the ultimate goal of moksha is eternal release from samsara, the "wheel of birth and death," and the concomitant attainment of Supreme Knowledge.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Aurum Solis

The Aurum Solis Cover

Book: The Aurum Solis by Melita Denning

Aurum Solis, Gold of the Sun, is a magical order founded in England in 1897 by George Stanton and Charles Kingold which claims descent from the Ogdoadic Tradition of the Western Mystery Tradition[1]. It is best known through the published works of two of its leaders, Vivian Godfrey and Leon Barcynski. Better known by their pseudonyms, Melita Denning and Osborne Phillips, the husband and wife team together authored many books on different aspects of magical practice, such as Astral Projection and Creative Visualization, as well as their seminal work outlining the corpus of the Aurum Solis and the Ogdoadic Tradition, The Magical Philosophy.

Melita Denning and Osborne Phillips are the pen-names of Vivian Godfrey and Leon Barcynski, who together authored many books in the early days of Llewellyn Publications, chief among which is the formal presentation of the Order Aurum Solis' philosophy and praxis: The Magical Philosophy. Phillips began to receive magical training at the age of 16 from Ernest Page. For some time in the early 1970s, he was the head of the Aurum Solis psychic investigation team. Phillips was also a pupil of U Maung Maung Ji, a lecturer in Eastern philosophies, who worked with the UN Secretary-General U Thant.

Melita Denning was the first female Grand Master of the Aurum Solis, from 1976 to 1997. At one point Denning spent about six years traveling throughout and gathering occult knowledge, chiefly from the Middle East and the Mediterranean. These studies led her to discover the work of the Aurum Solis on kindred matters. She studied Jungian psychology under Buntie Wills, herself a student of C. G. Jung's friend Toni Sussman. Denning was invested Dame d'Honneur, OMCT, in 1968 by the Geneva Grand Priory of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple. She was also friends with Olivia Robertson, the founder of the Fellowship of Isis, since they were young women. Denning spoke English, French, Italian and Latin.Around 1971, Denning and Phillips began working with Carl Llewellyn Weschcke. Around 1979 they moved to the United States. In June 1982 they were consecrated Autocephalous Bishops of the Paracletian Church by Herman Adrian Spruit, the founder of the Church of Antioch. In 1983, they both consecrated Carl Weschcke into the same bishopric. Around 1984, they began working with William Stoltz and initiated him into the First Hall. On 8 July 1987, Denning and Phillips retired from the Aurum Solis, and Weschcke became the Grand Master. Yet on 23 June 1988 both resumed office at the unanimous request of the members; Denning as Grand Master and Phillips as Administrator-General.

Download Melita Denning's eBook: The Aurum Solis

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Govt To Map Ancient Buddhist Routes In State

Govt To Map Ancient Buddhist Routes In State Image
PATNA, Bihar state, India - The Bihar government will soon begin mapping the lost and forgotten Buddhist pilgrimage routes in the state with an aim to revive its old glory and promote tourism.

The newly formed Bihar Virasat Vikas Samiti (BVVS) an non-governmental organization (NGO) working as a separate body under the guidance of department of culture and a deemed university Nava Nalanda Mahavihara (NNM) have jointly designed a multi-pronged project to develop these unknown sites.

Experts would be involved to develop these unknown sites spread across the districts of Nalanda, Vaishali, Bhagalpur, Saran, and East Champaran. French archeologist Yves Guichand during his recent Bihar visit took aerial photographs of some of these sites in Nalanda [the site of the world's first Buddhist university].

"The community that has preserved the heritage stands to benefit from it while devising methods to preserve it. Tourism, and more specifically religious pilgrimage, offer a unique opportunity to local people to showcase the culture and heritage and, in the process, generate new avenues of livelihood," says amateur archeologist Deepak Anand, who has been actively engaged in this project for the last few years.

"The pilgrimage routes through villages will give pride to the culture and offer them monetary support to take care of the inheritance and generate awareness," Anand told TOI. This relationship between people and their surroundings would set an example of the Buddha's teachings in the land of its origin.

The vast heritage that is inlaid in most of the villages in Bihar was once part of the pilgrimage for Buddhists all over the world; millions of followers traced these routes for over 1,800 years that saw an unexpected decline [after being targetted internally by Hindus and externally by Arabian-Islamist invasions] around the 14th century AD.

The BVVS and NNM have designed a strategy to develop these sites for the interest of the local community and their heritage. The first phase of the plan would comprise a tour route spanning Bodh Gaya [the site of the Buddha's great enlightenment, where a descendent of the Bodhi-tree he sat under still stands], Pragbodhi, Gurpa, Jethian, Nalanda, Rajgir [a city made famous in countless sutras, the site of Vulture Peak and Jetavana], Parwati, and Checher. The strategy put in place includes a community participation plan focusing on the interdependency of community and heritage termed "[Socially-] Engaged Buddhism."

The process of revitalization of the heritage has many aspects such as field study, exploration, documentation of sites, protection, preservation, excavation, promotion, and showcasing.

The travelogues of two Chinese Buddhist monk travellers, FA HSEIN and XUANZANG, were instrumental in the rediscovery of important sites associated with the life of the Buddha and the events that followed until his final passing into nirvana ("mahaparinirvana").

by Pranava K. Chaudhary



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Monday, July 12, 2010

Religion Belief Immaculate Viewers View The Maculate

Religion Belief Immaculate Viewers View The Maculate Image
Religious communities across the US have generally treated The Da Vinci Code phenomenon with hostility. Sensible, given Brown's suggesting that the biblical account of Jesus is significantly inaccurate and his painting of the Catholic Church as both suppressor and potential murderer of the Deity's ancestors. Just as "The Passion" lionized Christianity and the faithful flocked to see it, I suspected DVC's belittling of Christianity would make it a magnet for non-believers. But the inverse relationship between religiosity and the DVC index isn't statistically significant at even a lowly 80% confidence.

Maybe the index is just too crude. But a few things do relate in a meaningful way.

It's plausible to assume that Christian nations would be the most interested in going to see DVC. While "The Dozen Analects Authors and the Confucian Conspiracy "might raise an eyebrow, my counterpart in Beijing would devote a Friday night to see it long before I would. And the more nominally Christian a country (including East orthodox, all Protestantism, Catholicism), the greater the relative amount said country spent on the movie. The correlation, with a p-value of.029, is a modest.30.

Or perhaps the gullibility of a nation's population really is the best indicator of how likely they were to see DVC. The less corrupt the country, the more it spent relative to GDP on the movie, with a p-value of.008 and a correlation of.36. A clean society where people trustingly play by the rules--where better to peddle snake oil? Scamming Icelandic folks has to be easier than pulling a fast one on those filching Romanians! I wonder if an incorruptible society is less skeptical than a modern day Zozo.

Okay, that's hefty speculation for a moderate correlation lacking clear causation. Kind of interesting though.

Suspect Romanian Roma!
Trustworthy Icelanders!

(Politics and Religion)



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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Psychic Self Defense

Psychic Self Defense Cover

Book: Psychic Self Defense by Dion Fortune

This book is not intended merely to make the flesh creep, but is designed as a serious contribution to a little-understood aspect of abnormal psychology, perverted, in some instances, to the purposes of crime. It is a book intended for serious students and for those who find themselves confronted by the problems it describes, and who are trying to Understand them and find a way out. My chief aim in Speaking so frankly is to open the eyes of men and women to the nature of the forces that are at work below the surface of everyday life. It may happen to any one of us to break through the thin crust of normality and find ourselves face to face with these forces. Reading of the cases cited in this book, we may well say that there, but for the grace of God, goes any one of us. If I can give in these pages the Knowledge which protects, I shall have fulfilled my purpose.

Download Dion Fortune's eBook: Psychic Self Defense

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Effects Of Monotheism

The Effects Of Monotheism Cover
Around the world, the rise of the monotheism was accompanied by intolerance and persecution. In a world where it was accepted that there were many Gods and Goddesses, religious wars were hardly possible. It was assumed that each pantheon had a special relationship with a particular tribe, race, or nation. No single deity or collection of deities demanded the right to rule all mankind; Gods and Goddesses were not particularly transferable from one group to another.
Monotheism changed all that. If there was only one God, the Gods of the tribe across the river became demons, usurping the devotion that should go to the One True God. The followers of those Gods were now devil worshippers, and they must be killed for their heresy. Conquest, previously justified by greed, now had a new motivation - righteousness! It was the beginning of a bloody phase of human history that continues down to the present.

Anywhere monotheism met polytheism, the followers of the One God went on the offensive. Horrible things were done in the name of religion. Monotheism was accepted peacefully in only a very few cases. More typically, the confrontation of belief systems meant wars lasting for years or generations. Only after about a thousand years of conflict did the tribes of Europe officially surrender their native ways - and even then, remnants of the old faiths survived in the remote regions beyond the reach of "law and order."

Looking at this record of intolerance and outright genocide, it is hard to claim that monotheism, in and of itself, has bestowed any blessing on mankind. We cannot help but contrast this with societies where many Gods and Goddesses were known: Although polytheistic cultures waged wars of greed and conquest, at least they felt no need to convert their neighbors. Religious war was unknown in Europe until the coming of monotheism - and since that time, sectarian strife has not ceased - as the Irish can testify.

Also read this ebooks:

Aleister Crowley - The Heart Of The Master
Aleister Crowley - The Fun Of The Fair
Howard Phillips Lovecraft - The Cats Of Ulthar

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