Tag Archives: witchcraft

This I think.

EXQiN_gWkAEqnA5

“The concept of witchcraft as devil-worship by the church unleashed authoritarian control, & the denigration of women, many of whom were burnt at the stake, drowned, etc., simply for growing herbs or liking cats! For me, these are heroines & warriors.”

I happened on the above-quoted tweet, which impelled me to unravel in me a thread of complex feelings about a common popular conception of witchcraft as institutionalized persecution of women of unique professions and different opinions and canozing them as martyrs of Feminism or Paganism.

First of all, it wasn’t just that iconic ‘Men v. Women’ or ‘Christianity v. Paganism’ facade that dominated the thematics of witchcraft. Of course, religion played an important role in enforcing the authority of the church as the one absolute administrator of justice and punishing anyone who dared to defy it. However, when the Church itself incorporated paganistic esoterism in its rites of ceremony and mechanical device of prayer, it cared less about the divinity of a pagan deity that the cult worshipped, unless it openly threatened the dogmatic foundation of the teaching of the Church. Rather, it was more of a societal practice of giving a tight rein in communal harmony that allowed no misfits or outsiders or recluses. It was grudge-filled, insular-minded, and jealousy-driven vendetta against whom you wouldn’t particularly like or whom you would harbor a kind of animosity because the targeted subject looked unpleasing, unprepossessing, or simply ugly of introverted disposition.

Women were the worse. Forget Community of Sisterhood. The Daughters of Eve can be both ecstatically passionate and formidably vengeful. A single unmarried woman, both young and old, living in the bliss of solitude, minding her own business away from the vociferous melee that she didn’t feel related was likely to be a lamb savagely herded by the hateful melee to the inquisitional slaughterhouse. Modus vivendi of social norms was the armor that would protect her from the arrows and spears of the public attack on sovereign individuality that we take for granted in our time.

Witchcraft is neither synonymous with Feminism nor Liberalism, both of which as proverbial party ideology have beocme the dogmatic foundations of Arts and Huaminities. It’s not a grand unified campaign against smart women with peculiar religious belief when you contemplate the fact that greatness results from simplicity, which is the answer to all complexities. The inquisition of popular sentiment in practice overrides freedom of individuals asserted in theory. Albert Einstein knew exactly about the dualistic nature of humanity that would return to the basic animalistic instinct such as persecuting the innocent because of their individuality: “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe!” For this reason, I dare to defy the notion that the persecution of witchcraft was synonymous with the denigration of women in general.

 

 

‘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.

View all my reviews

‘Cursed Britain: A History of Witchcraft and Black Magic in Modern Times’ by Thomas Waters – review

Cursed Britain: A History of Witchcraft and Black Magic in Modern TimesCursed Britain: A History of Witchcraft and Black Magic in Modern Times by Thomas Waters

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Witchcraft as popular belief system may sound anachronistic, if not extinct, in our age of the Internet, Satellite TVs, and planned colonization of the Moon, in the same way, that people in Renaissance regarded the Medieval times culturally backward and religiously superstitious. Yet, it has survived the leaps of time and waves of persecution, withstanding like a flickering candlelight in hours of stormy dark nights and remains in modern landscapes of buildings, cars, airplanes, and people with mobile phones on their hands.

Thomas Waters in his Cursed Britain: A History of Witchcraft and Black Magic in Modern Times tells us how this ancient belief system of faith-based healing at its lightest and of maleficent bewitching at its darkest has kept its vitality from the rural areas of provinces to the bustling streets of cities in Great Britain throughout the centuries based on his extensive research of historical documents and scholarly analysis on the uncanny but very real phenomena that grips your attention on every page of this fascinating book.

If you are keen on historical facts and anthropological evidence of human nature in relation to the ancient esoteric knowledge that looks so appealing and tempting, this is an excellent book.

View all my reviews

swept away – chapter one

3334d704022e42fad10b32d8694af248It wasn’t love at first sight, really. Although one look at him would suffice to appreciate the principle of beauty incarnate in his statuesque figure, it wasn’t the tall, well-toned body that she fell for. It was the eyes that played upon her usual stoic inner world, sweeping it in the whirlwind of unquenchable longing, wanting, and yearning: big, brown, warm, passionate, soulful, and doleful, all the marbles of his spirit sparkled in the windows of his soul. The faculty of her mind worked with her imagination in the peculiar alchemy of infatuation and turned the rut of life into a theater of fanciful motion pictures about love. That was what made her go through her existential life. For she always had to be in love with someone fictional, nonfictional in the highest ether of her imagination. For that was what she subsisted on to give her a burst of zest for life. What others would think of her was not her savior vivendi because she belonged to her class of her own, her own world of dreams and wishes, which was her own only in her muliebral meditation.

Alas, poor Iris! I know her, my dear reader! She was a descendant of Dido, a human-bred fairy whose lineage belonged to Clytie, who pined away for her unrequited love for Apollo and became Sunflower. For her own person, Iris beggared all description: tall, slender, beautiful, she was something of a Cassandra whose words were regarded as hallucinated riddles in divine madness as her punishment to refuse Apollo’s love. Maybe it was Iris’s cool, reserved aura from her being that held back romantic advances from men. But she was none other than a mortal woman with none other than woman’s reason, so she always found her love interest in men whose stars were high above in the nightly skies. Hence, she was invisible to any of them and existent to none of them like a wandering spirit, traveling the boundary of this world and the Netherworld at night. But Iris was content in that surreptitious way of unrequited love without a litany of woes and pains that relationship was fated to bring.

Always searching, always dreaming, Iris now found her Aeneas in him. But this time she wanted to manifest her beautiful self before his beautiful eyes because every part of her somatic existence ached for his attention and her spirit invoked divine intervention to charm his anima. She did not want to be like Clytie whose echo was still haunting in Valley of the Lonely Hearts. That was why Iris went to a wise woman known for her witchcraft of love spells and pharmaka, the ancient Greek love potion believed to be invented by Goddess Ceres. Iris’s preferential choice would be a love spell, which she thought would fit her secret purpose in the most portent way. With this secret machination of love, Iris resolved to make a trip to Arcadia, where the witch was already waiting for her because she knew she would come to her.

Alas! poor lady! I know her, Horatio.

Loaded, not armed, she crept along with
pain and humiliation, despairing of success,
ambitious to vanish into the ether…
Fired with indignation, distracted with despair,
Amid the barbarous ranters, she flew.

Author’s Note: There she was, an alleged witch brought to the Inquisition, for no other reason than being heretically angelic.