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Modern Magick

Erin

by Donald Michael Kraig
Llewellyn, 2002 $17.95 US
ISBN 0-87542-324-8 (republication)

Review by Daven

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Many would find the sheer size of this book to be daunting. I mean it’s 10 inches tall and 6 inches wide and better than two inches thick. It would put anyone off who realized just what those numbers translate into in real dimensions. There are almost 600 pages of information sitting there on the shelf of your bookstore. Waiting for you to pick it up. It’s not surprising that many would shudder and pass it by.

That would be an inexcusable mistake. This is one of those rare books that is a seminal work of magick. I understand that when this book was first published, tens of thousands of people bought it and learned about magick for the first time. With its reissue, I think this phenomenon could easily repeat itself.

Normally when I review a book, I skim it. I may not read every word; I may read a sentence per paragraph to try to get a feel for the content of that paragraph. Then I read bulleted lists, I go back through it and I generally finish a book in a night. This book breaks all the rules. I want to read and absorb every word on the page, and read it two or three more times.

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Sacrifice

Erin

From time to time the topic of Pagans and Sacrifice comes up in various forums online. Unfortunately, the majority of people (including pagans) who talk about Sacrifice don’t seem to understand about sacrifice. Most think of sacrifice (in the connotation of Pagan religions) as dealing with human sacrifice or animal sacrifice. While those are ancient practices and valid forms of sacrifice, they are not all that is.

First we need to understand the definition of sacrifice. Sacrifice means simply “to make sacred”. It is from the Latin root and in modern times it is defined as giving up something of value to gain something you wish.

Pretty cut and dried, but when it is translated into Pagan Religion, all anyone can see is things like the Wicker Men of legend, bog drownings, burning bodies and cattle dropping dead.

Because of this persistent vision of what sacrifice is, the act of sacrificing something to the Gods has a VERY bad reputation.

But let’s think about this for a few moments. Sacrifice does not have to be bad, since it’s done all the time by most Pagans.

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So You Want to be a Hero

Erin

A few thoughts to provoke your cognitive faculties.

At one time or another in everyone’s life, they have fantasies of becoming a hero.

Visions of Cu Chulainn, Sir Galahad, King Arthur, Beowulf, Perseus, Ramses, Hercules, Sigfried or Paarsifal dance through the minds of most boys. Little girls may dream of Boudicca, Cleopatra, Sacajawea, Sally Ride, Pocahontas, Molly Pitcher, or Florence Nightingale. We wish to change the face of the world, to live forever in song and story.

We want to leave a legacy for wonder and triumph behind us for future generations. To be able to say, “See that? I did that!” We want to leave a permanent legacy in a very transient world.

Others may be more pragmatic. They want to protect people from the bad guys. They want to help those in need, to “fight the good fight”. They need to feel the sense of accomplishment at winning against overwhelming odds.

There are a few people in each generation who are picked to be classical heroes in the largest sense by circumstance or accident. It is my belief that EVERYONE is “picked” to be a minor hero.

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This will deal with Druidic Powers

Erin

The old Druid looked out on the assembled people that he was sworn to take care of. He knew that this was his moment. He would be shining in the eyes of all the people.

He picked up his staff. Waving it over his head, he chanted in nonsense that he learned at the school “Boon kwoert franden… Sumanet frewknot potemn!” while he looked for the sure sign that the storm was about to start. To them, he knew it looked as though he were summoning the rain. But it was just mummery. He was actually doing nothing.


Many of you have read at one time or another about the supposed powers of the Druids. If you notice, in the RP threads, I limit myself to something less than what the old Druids were rumored to be able to do. This has many reasons. The primary among these is because I want my character Daven to be somewhat believable. The other reasons don’t matter now, only this one.

I do this in an attempt to portray the Druids as real people, not personages out of the Mabinogion or the Irish myth cycles. Gwydion may have been a wonder as a magician, but I believe that his powers, while not fake, were probably significantly less than what we are led to believe.

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An Open Letter to the President of the United States

Erin

This is a letter I wrote to the President of the United States, the day after his January 20th State of the Union Address to Congress.  I was so ticked off and upset by the general tone of the State of the Union that I felt I couldn’t hold this in.  I copied my Senators and my Representative of the area I live in.  I’m hoping ONE of them could help, that ONE of them would pay attention.
I have deleted some personal information that, frankly, is no one’s business but mine.  Other than that little amount of information, this is unchanged.  Please note, this is written out of anger and fear, frustration and sadness.  I AM sending this to everyone I know, and I’m also sending it to a few political groups and organizations.  Maybe someone will listen if I shout down enough wells.

If you want to talk to me about this, please feel free to email me.  If you wish to share this with others, please do so with my blessing.  The link to this page is http://erinsjournal.com/?p=1267

If you would like to see my response to various emails I have received on this page, please go to Feedback.

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CREATING RITUALS: SACRED ACTS IN SACRED SPACE

Other Author

The following lessons first appeared as an online study class on the subject of rituals. This particular section covers, among other things, ritual space, cleansing rites, shielding, centering, tools, gestures, movements, words, the basic steps and what to do when something goes wrong. This section also covers how to create rituals.

LESSON 1: WHAT THE HECK *IS* A RITUAL????

Glad you asked! Bottom line: a ritual is a “routine” that puts you in certain frame of mind.

For example, the preparations you make prior to going to bed are a ritual! Brushing your teeth, removing your clothes, putting things away, adjusting lights, checking the locks or letting out the cats, etc. Some of you may, in fact, be so locked into this ritual that if you miss, forget, or do any of your routine actions wrong, you find yourself unable to go to sleep!

What makes this “ritual” rather than just “routine”? The purpose of a routine is to get a job/chores done. To get the kids off to school, the bills paid, the paperwork done. The purpose of a ritual is, as I’ve said, to put you in a frame of mind; the tasks you do prior to bed get a job done, but they also cue your brain and body for sleep. They ready you for something that most people look forward to–the safety of bed, the delight of sleep, a trip to the dream plane.

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BLOOD SACRIFICE

Other Author

(Note from Daven:  This piece I cam across in AOL once again (can you tell I used to be addicted to AOheLl too?  LOL) and I thought it was a really moving piece.  I pulled it down, and now I share it with you.)

by Althea Whitebirch

We have all moved through periods of crisis in our lives; things ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the death of someone close to us to final exams. Events which are extremely stressful–which threaten our lives, home, future or security–would seem to call for strong measures of assistance. There have been many times that I have felt that the course of events required swift and strong intervention of a deity. Blood sacrifice is, to my mind, one of the more powerful magicks one could perform, and so seemed particularly suitable for this. But it’s rather ethically sticky.

I may feel that the kind of energy contained in the outpouring of blood would be most efficacious in a serious situation, but I’m dead-set against the use of an unwilling victim for the purpose. So, in the past I’ve spilled my own blood with an athame, at the same time offering up prayers; it just didn’t seem to work as well as I thought it would. Perhaps, I thought, one needs lots of blood to generate any appreciable amount of energy.

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Samhain Sabbat

Erin

October 31

[Pronounced Sow-wane. The outer edge of the Circle may be decorated with flowers, branches, pinecones, small pumpkins, etc. There may also be flowers on the Altar. On the Altar rests the Priest’s Horned Helm. Erecting the Temple is performed in the normal manner. If the Full Moon is on Samhain, then it is performed before the Sabbat.]

Priestess: As Goddess-Summer draws to a close, So begin the dark months of the God-Winter. All praise to Freya and to Woden her consort.

All: All praise!

Priestess: [raising Seax] Gracious Goddess, we thank you
For the joys of summer;
For the crops, the harvest;
For life, for love
We love you, as we know you love us.
Return again next year, when your time is come.
When your companion-love, our Lord,
Has led us safely through the dark.
We love you and honor you.
Freya, most beautiful.

All: Love!

[Priestess sheathes her Seax and holds the Horned Helm high.]

Priestess: Here do I hold the symbol
Of Woden, the Mighty One,
Lord of Life and of Death.
As He will guard and guide us
Through the months to come,
So will his Servant, our Priest, here.

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On the necessity of keeping oaths

Erin

(Note from Daven:  This is a true story.  It happened to me.  I have tried to be fair in my recitation of this, but I am afraid that some of my resentment may have leaked over.  It’s up to you to tell me how I did.  Keep in mind that this is ancient history for my wife and I, and thankfully my daughter no longer remembers this time.  I am not trying to stir up ghosts here, but just to bring some mindsets to light.  Think before you promise someone something.  I had hoped this article would have gotten out into the Pagan Community, but so far it has not.  So I present it here.  I leave the conclusions up to your own conscience.)

(Update 1-16-04: I’m updating this because I don’t want it misunderstood why this page is here.  I have written this because I HATE B&B and what they stand for at this time.  I cannot stand what they think of as “good pagan relations” with other groups.  I have had contact with them from time to time on other lists, and so far, none of them have been positive.

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To walk with the Goddess

Other Author

By Taarna of the Unicorn Glade

We sit or lay upon the ground and close our mortal eyes, and gaze out upon the mythic realm of our spiritual eye, seeing only darkness. We float freely and gently without care. As we gaze about the darkness, we feel no fear, for we are protected by our Lady the Goddess. It gives us comfort to know this, and we can relax.

We are at peace with ourselves, in our own hearts and in our own minds. Our mundane worries and concerns placed into the suitcases of our meditation and placed away from us for the time being. There is no need to carry the mundane with us.

As we float, here in the darkness, we see in the distance a bright light. It is a curious light. It is a warm light. It is a pleasant light. It is a light that beckons us closer. There is something unknown, and yet familiar about this light. Something that makes us want to go there. It draws our spirit with goodness and happiness.

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