Tarot and the Death card around Samhain.
What is “dark fluff?”
This question came in via our newsletter, where we ask, what’s the one thing you’re struggling with in your practice?
I have a keen mind for occult studies and my biggest hang up is lack of a teacher. I have read many books in numerology, astrology and yoga, and I very much desire a teacher in these areas.
In ancient times, yoga was disseminated person to person, this was the study of yoga. I have had many wonderful teachers, especially during kundalini teacher training, but I long for the intimate interaction of a teacher.
When it comes to numerology and astrology, I have basic tenets but I long for the next step in learning. I’ve asked the universe for a teacher and guide both in my writing and my meditations.
Finding a teacher can be tough, especially finding the right teacher. You’ve taken the first step and put your intention out there, and now it’s time to take action.
You can always Google for books, blogs, and people, but personal recommendations tried and tested from people who have already walked the path are always strongest. Continue reading
Swami Panchadasi’s Clairvoyance & Occult Powers, by William Walker Atkinson, ed. Clint Marsh
Weiser Books, 9781578635009, 187 pp., 1916, 2011
Swami Panchadasi reminds me a bit of Professor X, if only for the fact they’re both fictional psychics. Swami Panchadasi is one of ten known alias of William Walker Atkinson who as this legion of authors wrote over one hundred psychic and magickal texts, probably the best known being The Kybalion.
Clint Marsh, the editor of this book, and author of The Mentalist’s Handbook, raises a good point in the introduction. “Does it matter that all these Hindu mystics and other exotic psychic practitioners never existed?” I agree with Clint that when it comes to practical working systems this doesn’t necessarily matter, but representing yourself as from a tradition you seem to have little understanding of is something I’d disagree with. Continue reading
Yoga Morality: Ancient Teachings at a Time of Global Crisis, by Georg Feuerstein
Hohm Press, 1890772666, 292 pp. (incl. bibliography and index), 2007
“The idea current in some circles that spirituality has nothing to do with morality is an unproductive and even dangerous will-o’-the-wisp. If spirituality is not embodied here and now, it is nothing at all.”
In the preface Feuerstein writes that “Yoga is not to be measured by the glamour of its spectacular physical postures or fabulous states of meditation.” Instead he notes that yoga is a spiritual tradition “concerned with personal growth and the goal of self-transcendence to the point of perfect inner freedom.” As such, this book as little to do with the yoga we’ve become familiar with, no postures, no exercises. Instead, Yoga Morality focuses on the ethical side of things, as Feurerstein sees it. Continue reading
Traditional Thai Medicine: Buddhism, Animism, Ayurveda, by C. Pierce Salguero
Hohm Press, 9781890772673, 134 pp. (incl. index and appendices), 2007
Thai Medicine is a tradition that began to form in the 13th Century in Thailand, a combination of beliefs and theories taken from the animistic indigenous religion, Buddhism, and medical theories from ayurveda and yoga. It remains a popular practice, existing alongside western medicine in 83% of hospitals in Thailand, but Salguero fears that it is a dying practice, mainly supported by the elderly and tourists, and practiced by the older generations.
As the older generations Continue reading
Yin Yoga, by Paul Grilley
White Cloud Press, 1883391439, 118 pp. (incl. bibliography.), 2002
Admittedly, my study of yoga has been mostly superficial: I’ve read a few books, but never studied with a professional teacher. However, I do enjoy the few asanas (poses/postures) that I do practice regularly, and was glad to receive an opportunity to expand on them.
Grilley combines Chinese mysticism with Indian philosophy to create yin yoga, incorporating the Modern Meridian Theory of Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama and Dr. James Oschman. This theory postulates that the meridians run through the connective tissue of the body, representing the yin energy, whereas the muscle tissue represents the yang. Included are several colour diagrams of the body and connective tissue to illustrate this point. The main difference between what Grilley calls ‘yang yoga’ and ‘yin yoga’ is that the postures in the latter are held longer, with the muscles relaxed, rather than the straining of ‘yang yoga’.
A large variety of poses are illustrated with photographs and detailed explanations on the benefit and suggestions for the novice and more advanced student, giving a range in the degree of difficulty. Three sample routines are included with various emphasis on spine, hips and legs and then a combination. The sample routines are arranged in such a way that the transition between them feels smooth and natural
Several sitting postures are detailed as well, with brief descriptions of the chakras, and a variety of pranayama and meditation techniques, including Sushumna Purification, chakra and kundalini meditation, Bija or “seed” mantras, etc.
Regarding chakras, Grilley brings up an excellent point often overlooked:
‘When trying to describe where a chakra “is” one is in a dilemma. Common language suggests that they are physically located in the spine but the reader should bear in mind that this is both true and false. A “broken heart” is a real experience that indeed seems cantered in the heart but that is not where the feelings “are”. The chakras have a physical correspondence but they are more than physical. Bear this in mind when reading about “where” a chakra “is”. Don’t be limited by only physical conceptions.’
I found the practical section to be effective and the theory is as sound as any. This is definitely a book I value, and suggest it to anyone looking for a different perspective on yoga.