Tag: alchemy

Initiation and Islamic gnosis

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Dusk at the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque in Brunei on the eve of Ramadan, photo by tylerdurden1“We must not consider gnosis as a religion among others, but as the heart of all religions,” said Allamah Tabataba’i, one of leading Shi’ite Muslim thinkers and clerics of the 20th century. “Gnosis is one of the paths of worship, a path based on knowledge combined with love, rather than fear. It is the path for realizing the inner truth of religion rather than remaining satisfied only with its external form and rational thought.”The sentiment was echoed not long ago, at the end of December 2014, by Iranian cleric Grand Ayatollah Alavi-Gorgani. “We should not think that unity is only for Muslims,” the he proclaimed, “God wants us to have unity with other religions as well.” What made Grand Ayatollah Alavi-Gorgani’s statement even more remarkable is that it was made in response to -- and as a criticism of -- atrocities carried out in Iraq against Yazidis and Christians by the terrorist militia calling itself ISIS. Read More

Why you should keep a magical journal

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Magical journal, photo by Barry SilverJournals are one of the most useful tools in a magician’s temple. Writing down events, ideas and progressive achievement can prove to better ones skill in any category. While memory is powerful, it would be foolish to assume that we remember everything all the time. Our journals can serve to remind us of our goals and aspirations while simultaneously serving to bring them to life.Writing is the physical manifestation of thought itself. If mind is the ultimate force of creative energy, then transcribing its contents serve to shape reality to the mold of its beholder. When we use the symbols given to us through words to align thoughts with our creative insight, something very powerful happens. That correspondence between mind and matter serves to create a resonance within an individual and the once ephemeral thought becomes a tangible substance. Where there was once nothing, there is something. Read More

Grimoire of the Thorn-Blooded Witch, by Raven Grimassi

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Grimoire of the Thorn-Blooded Witch, by Raven GrimassiGrimoire of the Thorn-Blooded Witch, by Raven GrimassiGrimoire of the Thorn-Blooded Witch: Mastering the Five Arts of Old World Witchery, by Raven Grimassi Weiser Books, 9781578635504, 240 pp. (incl. appendices and bibliography), 2014
Plant spirits appear in the most ancient practices of Witchcraft. These primal entities possess power and knowledge that aids the Witches’ Craft.
Grimoire of the Thorn-Blooded Witch offers the magickal keys to accessing the spirits of the plant kingdom. Decidedly gothic, with many allusions to roses, thorns and shadows, the book’s formal, atmospheric tone is sure to stir magickal memories in the blood of those called to read it.From the ancient practices of old world witchery springs the Rose and Thorn Path, a system Grimassi manifested after he "fell back into the brewing cauldron from which all things emerge." He continues, "When I surfaced my self-identity as a witch of any specific cultural expression of witchcraft had dissolved away’. As a grimoire (a traditional book of spells) this book does not disappoint. It presents a usable system of witchcraft based on instantly recognisable archetypes. I have read a few of Grimassi's books and feel this is his best to date.The "mastering the five arts" subtitle suggests the book is aimed primarily at serious witches with some level of magical experience. As such I would have appreciated a deeper exploration of the origins of Grimassi's chosen symbols and plants, but he writes with such authentic wisdom this hardly seems to matter. Central themes are natural divinity and spiritualism -- the book deals not so much with plants themselves but the spirits inherent in and attached to them. By showing respect for "Shadow" (the collective wisdom of the earth and ancestors) the green mysteries can be entered. Read More

As Above, So Below [spoilers]

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As Above, So BelowAs Above, So Below As Above, So Below Directed by, John Erick Dowdle, 93 minutes, 29 August 2014Scarlett, the main character, is an artifact hunter, à la Indiana Jones, driven by her pursuit for the elusive philosopher's stone. She is looking for the physical stone of alchemical myth that grants immortal life and magical powers, and it is clear from the outset that the threat of death means nothing to her.To appreciate As Above So Below, you may need to issue a few forgiveness tokens.For a start, this is a found footage film. Scarlett begins recording the journey on her own and later recruits a friend to act as videographer capturing her quest. Cameras hang on, keep ticking (even surviving rocks!), and recording without losing much in the way of continuity. Read More

A Druid’s Handbook to the Spiritual Power of Plants, by Jon G. Hughes

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A Druid's Handbook to the Spiritual Power of Plants, by Jon G HughesA Druid's Handbook to the Spiritual Power of Plants, by Jon G HughesA Druid's Handbook to the Spiritual Power of Plants: Spagyrics in Magical and Sexual Rituals, by Jon G. Hughes, illustrations by Damien Switzer Destiny Books, 9781620552650, 310 pp. (incl. index), 2014In the introduction, author Jon G. Hughes writes that he "began with the intention of comparing the plant-based preparations, rituals, and magic of the Welsh Druidic tradition with those of the broader and infinitely more documented spiritual traditions practiced all over the world." However, he continues, writing that he "came in contact with the works of ancient and modern alchemists," and his "fascination was spurred by the alchemical search for immortality and the involvement with sexual ritual, as both have their place in the Druidic tradition."In the first section, Hughes goes into detail about the history of Druidic practices and alchemy. He explains that each practice was created and spread in separate parts of the world, yet they are similar when broken down to their individual workings. Read More

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