Tag Archives: magic

‘Thirty Seals & The Seal of Seals’ by Giordano Bruno – review

Thirty Seals & The Seal Of Seals (Giordano Bruno Collected Works Book 4)Thirty Seals & The Seal Of Seals by Giordano Bruno
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The art of memory has been a popular subject for occultism and academicism throughout the centuries. The subject deals with our incredibly flexible human intelligence with its general multipurpose learning strategies that can work wonders if the doors of imagination are opened to the mystery of the knowledge without constraints of religiosity and fears of the unknown territories of human possibilities. Of the intellectual trailblazers of the craft of memory, none other than the figure of Giordano Bruno stood out blazingly even at the burning stake as an accused wizard. For it was akin to a witchcraft of perfect knowledge as expounded in his Thirty Seals & the Seal of Seals, the book banned by the Church in fear of losing the faithful to the Power of Knowledge.

The book illustrates a set of “basic” rules that reads more like Euclid’s Elements or Pythagorean Theorem, which means it is not written for general readers. This is because the book was part of a job application for a teaching post at the Oxford in the Elizabethan England, demonstrating his admirable erudition, superb command of the English language as a foreigner, and naked flattery to the academics at the university. Bruno got a few lecturing opportunities at the Oxford, but his cerebral mind devoid of wit in addition to his short, unprepossessing appearance was regarded as far-fetched and unfavorable to the attainment of the sought-after position at the Oxford. In fact, this book does not provide the reader with special spells for obtaining perfect memory but gives the method of encoding letters or syllables of the name of the thing into a set of predetermined images. It is magic in the sense that if this method is perfected, it works wonders. It’s a psychological mind game, the magic of psychology per se.

This magical book, this banned book will betray anyone who expects it to be something of magical Rosetta Stone for obtaining the secrets of perfect or better memorization. But that doesn’t mean the book is entirely abstruse to enjoy; the idea of the intellectual trinity comprised of Pallas Athena (The Senses), Vulcan (Imaginations), and Mars (Judgment/Reason), all of whom are overseen by Jove (the Soul) is quite intriguing and related to Socrates’s idea of reasoning. As a matter of fact, this book is not so much an esoteric book as deeply psychological literature that boasts Bruno’s indomitable intelligence and recalcitrant individualism that stigmatized him as a renegade. Maybe that’s the reason this illustrious intellect was burned at the stake as a dangerous pagan.

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Fairy summoning in the Florentine Renaissance period

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A supernaturally pretty fairy deludes men’s hearts.

There are magical elements in religion, and there are religious facets to the practice of magic, as succinctly summed up by Sir Walter Raleigh: “The art of magic is the art of worshiping God.” That’s how I feel and what I see during my Dutiful Sunday Morning Masses, the ancient rite of the Church, a perennial panoply of syncretism with its splendid paraphernalia of prayers and the liturgical ceremony of rites and mechanical recitation of prayers; it is the melding of religions or beliefs of the similar elements but of different origins. Hence, to come upon an article in the recent issue of BBC History Magazine about an academic study by a certain British scholar of the existence of fairies in the context of regarding the validity of cultural and historical artifacts gave me an uncanny pleasure.

Dr-Faustus

The famous Dr. Faust, summoning Mephistopheles for his service

In fact, Religion (that is, Christianity) and Magic (in the forms of divination and sorcery) are not to be seen as polar opposites and antithetical systems of belief because they are interdisciplinary agencies of attempting to seeking and offering panacea to our dilemmas – physical, metaphysical – competing for a supremacy in propitiation. Such mysteriously syncretic elements of the two different agencies of beliefs became the academic subjects of intellectuals, such as Francis Bacon and John Aubrey who accepted the potentialities of physiognomy as an infallible guide to predict one’s character and argued for the validity of non-Christian practice based on certain intellectual bases therein. With this in mind, you would not be surprised to learn that fairy summoning rituals were all the rage in the Renaissance period (15th~17th centuries), indiscriminately practiced by all strata of society, learned or ignorant, rich or poor, Christian or pagan. The author of the article informed the reader that the early Renaissance idea of fairies was pretty nebulous and varied with a wide arc of wonder and trepidation, and that the dainty image of ever famous “Tinker-bell” was a Victorian construction of the whole fairy race.

Then, how did the “real” fairies look? Although there is no magisterial, definitive version of the physiognomy of a fairy, a collective description gleaned from various records boil down to it as a supernaturally attractive man/woman imperiling the souls of whomever it was summoned to, which is reminded of incubus/succubus, consecutively. Notwithstanding the dubious nature of fairies, the invocation of a fairies half way between angels and devils was widely used in hope to (1) acquire medical knowledge, such as whereabouts of herbs and their properties; (2) delight in the highest degree of sensual ecstasy; and (3) reveal the future and prevent from misfortune in advance. Be it as it may seem wholly pagan, the summon ritual was surprisingly required for God’s intervention because it included periods of purification through abstinence, fasting and prayer in preparation, all of which would testify to the sanctity of the performer ministering to the moral and ethical character. God willing, a fairy at request manifested to the summoner, but he should not come out of the circle he had drawn because it protected from sudden maleficence of the ambiguous fairy.

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Delphic Sibyl from the Sistine Chapel fresco by Michelangelo

In sum, the article was an elegant primer for a further interdisciplinary study of literature, religion, and folklore from the medieval times to the Reformation period and possible stretching to this date. The exemplary texts that spring to my mind are Religion and The Decline of Magic by Keith Thomas and Christopher Malowe’s version of the legend of Dr. Faust, both of which are excellent testaments to the contextualization of the esoteric knowledge on the grounds of intellectual bases into academic studies of social, cultural, and historical facets of different zeitgeists, which also serve as invaluable literary artifacts to epochal changes. But for all what is worth, this relation between religion and magic is commensal, exhibiting a mesmerizing consilience of gods and God, profane and holy, pagan and ecclesiastical, forbidden and disciplined, as superbly unfolded in the Sistine Chapel fresco, prodigiously expressed by Michelangelo.

 

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Magic and the Law of Attraction by Lisa Chamberlain

Magic and the Law of Attraction: A Witch's Guide to the Magic of Intention, Raising Your Frequency, and Building Your RealityMagic and the Law of Attraction: A Witch’s Guide to the Magic of Intention, Raising Your Frequency, and Building Your Reality by Lisa Chamberlain

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this book while searching for an effective read on constructing a new model of reality in which I can find my real hidden self and thrive thereon. It’s said that nothing happens by coincidence, so I like to believe that my finding this magical book is fateful. This book pinpoints out the dilemma you will find yourself in when your new positive mantra clashes with the real world and tells you how to overcome it with some simple magical methods. I have been using one of the simplest forms of the magic since I read this book whenever the hands of darkness are about to grip me. It makes a big difference when you actually act out your volition in voice and gesture. You should try it too.