Monday, May 17, 2021
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Music Reviews

Ernest Holmes: Science of Mind

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Author: Ernest Holmes
Title: Science of Mind
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Jeremy P. Tarcher
Rated: * * * * *

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This book and philosophy by Ernest Holmes was initially used to create a spiritual institute of learning. Eventually the Science of Mind churches have formed also based on the same teachings. This I will first say is NOT the same as Religious Science and is a relatively new school of thought which is still growing. The Churches, book, and philosophy behind them are basically Christian in origin except that you will find they remain focused on the more enlightened aspects of Christian teachings combined with the teachings of the Eastern philosophers as well. What results is a school of thought not much unlike that of modern neo-paganism except that it may be much easier to follow, accept, and easier to comprehend by Christians who are so easily turned off by the views of enlightened perspectives of pagans because of the terms associated with paganism. I found a phrase in the book which to me sums up the overall teachings therein and it is something like this, "The Highest God and the innermost God are One God". Basically think of Christ as representing the divine light within our hearts that resides within each one of us. This is the same perspective as the Sun god celebrated at Yule time as well. This Christ consciousness is where we are all connected to The One God. Thus, the Science of Mind relatest to such things as healings, transformations, and other physical 'results' one wishes to obtain and how they can be achieved through thought. Holmes teaches that there is only one Mind, the Mind of God and that we are all part of that. Generally speaking I found there is much enlightened perspective of thought in this book relating to such topics. However, Holmes tends to focus much on the 'method' of achieving desired 'results' in your life utilizing what he calls 'treatments' which are actually a form of prayer. While I believe the basic philosophy and perspective of this book there are a few points which I still find a bit shaky to me. Overall I think it is a book that every Christian would do well to read if for no other reason than to have a more enlightened perspective on where all the other religions of the world are coming from. Holmes ties them in beautifully with one school of single minded thought. I do believe that there is true merit in his works and that the Science of Mind church is likely to achieve much quicker and better results than any other Christian school of thought. For those not interested or still fearful of ritual workings or the 'left-hand' path the Science of Mind is very good alternative to standard organized religion of you are seeking an alternative. There is quite a bit or repetition in the text and that is the 'only' thing that I really have difficulty with but I am one who is now use to reading philosophical, spiritual, and self-help styled texts. The repition is obviously intentional for those unfamiliar to finally reach that mental state of 'knowing' required to grasp the concepts within, for those unuse to reading such forms of written thought.


Konstantinos: Nocturnal Witchcraft

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Author: Konstantinos
Title: Nocturnal Witchcraft
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Rated: * * * * *

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Finally, a book written specifically for Dark Pagans! Nocturnal Witchcraft covers an area of modern paganism not often discussed. It is about a path that only certain types of individuals are called to and it is one that most modern pagans know little or talk little about. It is something that is most likely to attract pagans in the Gothic club/music circuit than anywhere else though it is not limited to these types. Konstantinos talks much about what Dark Paganism is and is not to clarify that this is not about anything that could be considered 'evil' as true paganism does not rightly have any evil goals. This is modern earth-based pagan spirituality for lovers of the night more than anything. While I have quite a bit of exposure to the goth scene since the mid-1980's and about 7-8 years of pagan experience as well I was at first wary of reading this book thinking it might be one those loons who is into dark metal and thinks paganism is closer to Satanism than anything. I can assure you that Konstantinos is the farthest thing from this and I was pleasantly surprised with not only his perspective alignment but also with his sound words. While much modern pagan literature either requires reading between the lines or with a constant mental filter because of all the nonsense some of them tend to write about or believe as fact which should be obvious to anyone with a grain of common sense, Konstantinos states views which I highly agree with in a very clear and concise way so that there is no confusion. He does not make any wild claims like many others do. He also touches on many ideas and practices which at one time were rather inate to me - back in goth days - but that you will not find in most if any current books on The Craft. As a simple example, I remember being able to walk into a club filled with my fellow goth friends and remain 'unseen' for as long as I desired, even walking right by people who knew me well without being noticed until I decided to 'let down my cloak' so to speak. Konstantinos touches on such methods for invisibility and other methods regarding attraction and suggestion. He also is very clear about karmic influences regarding what is right to do and what is not regarding the three-fold law of returns especially in regards to mind reading. Yes that is right. He is experienced as a stage magician, specifically in regards to mentalism, so that he could easily debunc frauds who claim to be able to mind read. From a simple exercise using mentalist techniques he helps guide you to true magick by using your own intuition to it's fullest. Combined with the last book I read The Science of Mind this all makes perfect sense to me now whereas I had initially believed in my youth but had discarded such ideas as frivolous and unreal. Anyone who has truly felt Night's embrace before in their lives will find this book very handy in tapping or possibly retapping various sources as well as new ideas and methods of ritual and meditative practices to help advance your skills. His ideas, perspectives, exercises, and thinking is much more sound to me than most but will likely only be recognized as such by those of 'night kind'. This book's main focus is on modern paganism, ritual practices, and exercises for those wishing to delve more into study of The Night, Full/Dark Moon, Protection, Descent and Rebirth, Underworld and Death. This is not for the timid and anyone with stereotypical views either expect them to be shattered or avoid these writings. If you are looking into the Dark for personal gain of power or evil then you are looking in the wrong place! This is a book about building your own psychic and intuitive strengths, personal growth, and a love of the night. Konstantinos continues his accounts in Gothic Grimoire.


Konstantinos: Gothic Grimoire

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Author: Konstantinos
Title: Gothic Grimoire
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Rated: * * * * *

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This book continues where Nocturnal Witchcraft left off. It begins with a self-initiation to the Nocturnal "Tradition" as well as some notes on choosing a solitary practice or a coven. By most of this his suggestion seems to be that the hopes are that his accounts and records of his own inspiration in Dark Paganism will likely raise a new style of Craft and while similar practices have always been with us like Wicca it will continue to be a 'living' tradition based on personal experiences and growth as there is no 'true' historical accounts of witchcraft that we can use to go by strictly by the book so to speak. I believe that overall this is a good thing and it is nice to see Dark Pagans come 'out of the shadows' as it were and into the open as many modern witches have. The dark broom closet seems to be a bit deeper than the typical one and it's not always easy for Dark Pagans to be understood by their own 'witchy' kind let alone the rest of the world. He also continues the first section with an account of the Nocturnal perspective of the pagan sabbats. In continuing from the first book, Nocturnal Witchcraft, we get an expanded version of Mind Dowsing. I must say I've practices some of this myself and I've so far noted that amazing as it may seem it is rather easy to 'pick' certain thoughts from a small group of variables from someone that you are already in tune with such as a spouse or close friend and it is easier at night (the later the better) because of the lessened psychic activity of society in general. I was amazed that you really can 'read thought' as if it were nearly a tangible thing and this has given me new perspective of The Craft and magick in general. Anyone who learns these basics and gets in deeper touch with thier own intuition will find that they will likely have more effective spiritual and magickal practices. Another point of interest in section two is the Nocturnal Tarot spread which I also like very much. It somehow seems more natural than the standard methods such as the Celtic Cross though that one is good too. In part three we begin discussing such things as Astral Travel and his techniques seem very sound to me. Guess I need to put those into practice and reclaim some of my own magick as well. In the previous book under the section Dark Mystique, Magnetism and Suggestion Konstantinos introduces things that you can do to influence how others perceive you and even touched on psychic invisibility (as I call it). In this book he actually explains his technique to achieving this as well as other effects in Master of Mystique, Mistress of Illusion. In the fourth part he instructs us on mastering our thoughts and these are basicly advanced meditation techniques similar to cleansing meditations with more focus and purpose. We learn how to construct a Nocturnal Servant which is very similar to Poppet magick only with more detail and purpose as well as a much better focus on using intellect, will, and control to not let something like this get 'out of hand'. I like Konstantinos' version of this much better than the standard methods and his are more sound and logical as well. Now the only section in this entire book that did not sit well with me was that on exorcism. However, he does make clear that this is really a banishment of negativity and for that purpose it does seem like it could be effective for the practitioner but I do not honestly see how this could be done to benefit another - especially if they believe themselves to actually be possessed. However, he does say that some would probably only benefit from the actions of a priest from their own faith but the simple association of this type of banishment with exorcisms just didn't bode well with me personally. You may have other opinions. Next is what Konstantinos calls the Nocturnicon which is sort of a codex of Nocturnal magick from his own book of shadows, well actually most of this book is from his own book of shadows. Anyway, it includes such spells that are useful especially for those of us of nightkind who suffer from things like depression or addiction. Of course as the author suggests some may still require professional help but for those of us capable of going it alone and overcoming our own dark shadow this can be a useful tool. Next is the Bag of Night spell which is used to create an item of power for those who require night energy during the day. Useful for some but possibly silly to most but the spell itself sounds very interesting and fun. Maybe I'll just have to try it once and see what I think about it then. Lastly there is a section on Strange Powers such as increasing night vision and sex magick followed by an Inanna ritual for opening the gates of the Underworld. For anyone unfamiliar with such symbolic rituals these are used for recognizing your own traits and characteristics to help enhance your own personal growth and is not anything done with evil intent. It is like meeting your own shadow or dark half and encountering your true self so that you can alter your actions/reactions and better yourself. There is also information on communing with the dead and the ritual is excellent in incorporating information directly from the Inanna myths to create a very strong sense of symbolic ritualism. While I like Konstantinos writings on Nocturnal Witchcraft I think that there are a few areas of the Gothic Grimoire where it gets a bit hokey but overall I think the foundation is set in the first book and the second is just his personal elaborations. As with any book on magick or witchcraft the reader is always encouraged to do their own explorations, modifications, or even complete rewritings of rituals and practices to what suits them best and follows thier own intuition. With this in mind I think there are some excellent ideas and creative/logical thinking in both books that will drastically aide anyone interested in the Nocturnal path either in full or in part.


Timothy Roderick: Dark Moon Mysteries

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Author: Timothy Roderick
Title: Dark Moon Mysteries
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Rated: * * * * *

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Dark Moon Mysteries is a guide for tapping into the subconscious energies that lurk in the dark recesses of the mind's eye. Timothy Roderick combines ideas and concepts of Wicca with those proposed by mythologist Joseph Campbell and psychologist Carl Jung (at least these are obvious influences for his work) to guide us on a mystic quest inward of our own. He has designed tools using meditation, ritual practice, magick, and crafting which can easily aide an individual to become more aware of thier own 'issues' which may require resolution and methods of obtaining inner peace with them. He makes it obvious that was this book deals mostly with are things that we may not even know are 'issues' for us as they are psychological, metaphysical, and sometimes physical tension built up from times when maybe we were not able to express our deep emotions and feelings when something happened to or around us. If not released they can built areas of tension that will eventually cause problems for the individual in which they reside. Thus a method of discovering and releasing them is required. Timothy utilizes myth and fairy tales to explain various aspects of the archetypes and energies which work in these 'dark' areas. Being a psychologist and pagan himself his ideas and thoughts are clearly laid out in easy to understand language. Since this is also a Llewellyn publication you will also find a collection of rituals, spells, crafts, and other things that you can do physically to utilize the knowledge within. He specifically uses the imagery of the mask to help us identify and name our shadows so that we can work with them more effectively. May favorite part of the book is Part II in which he clearly defines the Widdershins (counter-clockwise) Spiral and how it differs from that of a Deosil (clockwise) one in reference to use and effectiveness. I think this aspect clearly defines the difference between 'Dark' (by this I mean that referenced in Dark or Gothic Paganism) magic and standard magic. The widdershins spiral is more for use in inward journeys and changes within the self while the deosil spiral spirals outward for gaining desired results in the physical realm to put them in the most simplest of terms. You will also find a bit of information on scrying and making a scrying mirror as well as other tools like a black divination bowl. With any source book the individual spells and rituals are not always the best suited for everybody and should be modified freely to better fit your own ideas. I am not sure but this book also seems to be the main predecessor to any other books on Dark Paganism such as those written by Konstantinos. However, Roderick makes his views clear that he believes in balance and that working only with Dark powers can be just as limiting as working only with Light ones. I tend to agree though I do lean much more toward the Dark aspects. I think that anyone interested in Dark Paganism or Magick should use this as a sort of basic psychological profile guide for their work and there would be much less crazies out there doing what they are calling dark magick but is only their own evil intent. This book has many positive aspects, tools, and perspectives that are meant to be used as a guide to self-healing and renewal and a worthy addition to any pagan, witchcraft, magick, or Wiccan library.