Webshare Wait-It’s-Monday: Enochic and Enochian Galore

2011/06/20

Baraquiel- The Hanged Man

Baraquiel- The Hanged Man

Sorry for the lack of posting recently, I decided to run for an unplanned holiday on the family farm. I was going to share these links/stories later, but as one of them is time sensitive I’ll do so a little early and with that said it might as well be the link I start with.

My friends Michelle and Jackie have been working on a tarot deck. Michelle’s been scheming it for about a decade and if I remember my timelines right Jackie’s been painting for about five years. The Watcher Angel Tarot is a reinterpretation of the themes of the tarot through the legend of the Watcher Angels as told in the Book of Enoch. The deck is finally done and presales start this Tuesday (June 21st). Currently you can pre-order the deck as collector and supporter decks on Jackie’s art site to help foot the start-up cost, and the deck will be released October 21st, just in time for the end of the world, and that’s not a coincidence. On Monday and Tuesday at 1830 (EST) Michelle and Jackie will be doing a twitter to youtube question answer session about the deck, so if you’re interesting and/or want to learn more go to Jackie’s site or participate in the chat to hear about the deck from the people driving it.

Damon Albarn (Gorillaz) has written an opera ‘Doctor Dee’ on the life of the historic occultist John Dee, founder of Enochian magick. I’m actually really amused and intrigued with the idea. He says he will focus on the occult practices of the good doctor, as he feels that part of his life has been hidden from history. No mention if wife-swapping for YHWH will be in the opera as of yet.

While totally different, this just couldn’t help but remind me of The Enochian Keys Opera by Valentin Dubovskoy from several years back, which I had interesting results with.

Next month sees the release of El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, a video game loosely based on the Book of Enoch (I’m seeing a theme in my links, this wasn’t planned). The game has you taking the role of Enoch the Prophet trying to stop seven fallen angels and the flood that will destroy mankind if they are not stopped. I have neither of the platforms it is on (PS3 or 360) but I’ve been debating a PS3 for a while (I don’t really play video games) and I think this might be a good inspiration. A PS3 for my spiritual research, that’s reasonable, right?

Edit: I just found a video trailer of the game. It looks good to me, and has an interesting artistic style.

An Orthodox Jewish Court has condemned a dog to death by stoning. The belief is the dog that invaded the court room was the reincarnation of a secular lawyer the judges had previously cursed to be reborn as a dog for insulting them. What I found most interesting is that it is a public admission of the belief in reincarnation (which while it has some historical basis in Judaism is a fringe belief currently) but also the belief that the judges have the capacity to use a curse to direct someone’s next incarnation and that it could include animals such a dogs. I was under the impression that Jewish beliefs in reincarnation was limited to humans, but animals and cursing incarnations, both are new tricks to me.

Lastly, and really really not least is Rob’s Basic Laws, Rules, and Rights of Magic an absolutely brilliant article on…well just that, the laws, rules, and rights of magick. It’s a long read, and you definitely need to take some time to work through it but it is worth it. I probably only disagreed with one or two points, and not in horribly strong ways, I really recommend you give it a read if you haven’t seen it yet. It matched up with some of my own conceptions on the laws/rules and made me question and debate others.

That being said I leave these links with you, and hopefully return to blogging proper soon.

Advertisements

Review: The Dictionary of Demons – Michelle Belanger

2011/06/02

The Dictionary of Demons: Names of the Damned – Michelle Belanger
Llewellyn. 2010. 362 pp. with appendices. 9780738723068.

For the sake of transparency before I start this review I will admit to two reasons why I could be biased toward the book.
1. Michelle is a friend of mine.
2. Jackie, the very talented artist who did the alphabet art and several seals and pieces of art within the book, is also a friend or lab partner.
Of course people who know me, know I’m not exactly easy on most of my friends…

From Aariel to Zynextyur (is he next to your what?) this book has a listing of over 1,500 demons from the grimoiric tradition. This book is an amazing wealth of information on the entities within. Michelle worked strictly from an academic perspective; personal experiences and ideas do not enter into the text, only what information Michelle could dig up from the grimoires. Dig up is a great way to put it, Michelle went through an extensive process of several years of cataloguing these demons and searching for more information, other translations, older manuscripts. The common and popular texts like the Lemegaton and the Book of Abramelin were used, as well as more obscure texts like Liber Juratus Honorii, Caelestis Hierarchia, and Liber de Angelis.

“This book is not intended to be a how-to book on grimoiric magick” (10) instead it is as the title says a dictionary of names that have appeared in various texts. Names, ranks, and powers are given, along with much more. The entries on a demon let the reader know what grimoire they appear in and in many cases the several grimoires they have lent their names too, as well as information like what their name may be derived and distorted from as well as showing how some demons are most likely the same figure but over the course of years scribal errors have pushed their names further apart. Michelle pieces together part of the puzzle of grimoires, by analyzing names and lack of names in different texts Michelle attempts to establish a connection and timeline between the various books. Interspersed with the different entries are small articles by Michelle and Jackie about various relevant topics to the text, such as the scribal process involved in medieval grimoires, the history of Jewish appropriation in Christian mysticism, and comparing different lists of what demon rules what directions.

While most of the book is written in a straight forward manner Michelle was not above the occasional humorous observation. “From the profusion of [love] spells in all the magickal texts, it would seem that practitioners of the black arts had a very difficult time find a date in the Middle Ages” (15) or pointing out that Pist, who helps you catch a thief, has a name that sounds like how one would feel when stolen from (247).

While reading it I only noted one thing that seemed off in that Michelle attributed Mather’s translation of The Sacred Mage of Abramelin the Mage to a 15th century manuscript, when I have always seen the French manuscript dated to the 18th century. All in all I was greatly pleased and impressed with the effort, resources, and scholarship Michelle put into this book. While not a practical how-to guide, this book is an invaluable resource of names and histories for those interested in the grimoiric tradition. I felt the plot was a bit dry, but it had a wicked cast of characters.

Also for those wanting a related, but simpler text, I recommend you check out Michelle and Jackie’s D is for Demon. It is a delightful (not for) children’s book of rhymes leading you through 26 demons. I, of course, got a copy for my two-year old niece to make sure she is brought up right.


Sex, Angels, Bones, and Books

2011/04/25

Easter Monday, time for a Judeo-Christian post I think. This is mainly more links and connecting data, but I have a few relevant articles off on the wings I thought I’d bring together.

Over at Remnant of Giants a post just went live “How Do You Know When You’re Having Sex with a Fallen Angel: Some Handy Hints from a Biblical Scholar“. The site is a mix of funny responses to relevant events and scholarly study related to the Biblical and extra-Biblical giants, and occasionally more generic Biblical/extra-Biblical study. As a fan of the Enochic literature (meaning related to the Book of Enoch, not Enochian in the Dee-Kelly sense) I find it is both an entertaining and informative site.

Of course there are a few mistakes. With number one, the Angels you could sleep with, humanoid ones, didn’t have wings Biblically it was the non-humanoid Angels that had wings. I’m actually writing a personal article on that now which may or may not make it up here in the future. Number two, should have stuck with naming fallen angels, Metatron (either one of them) is an odd choice of name for a fallen angel to assume. Other than that, it is a handy (silly) guide, of course I’d rather use guides not to avoid but to pursue, but to each their own.

The University of Wyoming shared the news that the trial/investigation of the James Ossuary box may finally be wrapping up. It’s only been about a decade. In fact since then the box has dropped off most people’s radar. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it is an ossuary box that is about 2000 years old (that part isn’t questioned) which reads “Ya’akov bar-Yosef akhui diYeshua.” For those without their Aramaic 101, that translates as “Jacob, son of Joseph, brother of Joshua.” Or when rendered out of Aramaic into Biblical English “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.” So apparently we have the bone box of James, Jesus’s younger brother. But so far most of the evidence points to it being a fraud. “Ya’akov bar-Yosef” is generally believed to be authentic, but the bit about Jesus looks like it may be a modern addition, the trial is trying to figure out how modern, as some experts say it is more recent than the box, but still from the first millennium.

Speaking of Biblical forgeries it looks like Indiana Jones’s David Elkington’s codices are not standing up will to investigation. Rather than link to any individual story I want to link to this great resource here which is both a collection of relevant links and articles and a pretty solid analysis of the flaws of the codices. Included at the bottom of the article, the very last link is a collection of all the images of the codices that have been released, for those of us who like to take a look for ourselves. Just a sidenote since I brought it up the first time I posted about it, this man actually has degrees, a BA in Near Eastern Studies and a Masters in Jewish studies, and is working on more. Credentials aren’t the end-all be-all, but by Baal they’re useful.

Now in the spirit of Easter Monday, I’m off to buy discount chocolate.


Christ Copper Codices a Curious Cache

2011/04/14

Oh, and a hoax…

Going with the flow. I have two posts that I wanted to put up this week, but I’m going to hold back because there is something I want to address.


Copper and lead books tell the most contemporaneous account of Christ’s life
!

Or so they say. This story has been getting spread about the internet the last week or so. I’ve seen it pop-up several places, everywhere from magick blogs to the facebook page of a friend who is a Catholic priest and very excited about this. So I decided to put aside some time this afternoon and rant and analyze this.

So if you don’t want to read the link above, let me summarize it. A British couple are currently hiding out in Gloucestershire (but don’t tell the Jordanian hitmen) after recovering a collection 70 books believed to contain an early account of Christ’s life written sometime in the first century by early Christians who fled to Jordan in the 70s.

A lot of people are getting into this story, but there a lot of little problems with it that add up to bigger questions. I’ll start with a reading of the news story before I expand my discussion. Yes, I could just link all the data and other people doing the work, but part of my issue with this is that anyone can pick up some of the concerns with the text with reading and googling.

First thing I noticed is the couple are described as archaeologists and David, the hero of the story is also an author. Yet there are no credentials. Granted this could be an oversight, but in pretty much any news story when you mention an expert you put their credentials, where they studied, where they work, what they degrees are, etc. Every expert the Elkingtons consulted within the article have their credentials mentioned yet the Elkingtons are left blank. Where did they study, what is their area of focus, and who is sponsoring this dig? Why is he sometimes called Dr. but often not? Archaeologists, despite the media image of Croft and Jones, don’t fund their own digs, they don’t decide to pack up, go to some random dirt pile and start digging. No, a museum, university, or government branch has a location site, permissions, equipment and hires people to excavate and analyze the findings. The article mentions none of this, and quite frankly if this were real what museum or university wouldn’t fight to get that information included in the press release that they just uncovered the real story of Christ? Suspicious point.

David (who gets all the press, despite the idea that it is a husband/wife team) is also an author. Of what? Well two books, first is In the Name of the Gods, a book about Templars and an energy-sound-spirit connection, and an upcoming book based on how awesomely exciting and dangerous his current quest for these early Christian books have been (this will link up to Feather later). Not only is he writing a book on it, because it is so much like Indiana Jones (his own admission) but Robert Watts, producer of Raiders of the Lost Ark has contacted them about making it into a movie. Amazing how this story is just coming to light and already a book deal and a movie proposal. Don’t worry folks, it gets more suspicious. (Also the constant reference by Elkington to how much like a movie it is seems odd. The researcher was like Ms. Marple, the owner is like a mafia boss, then he’s like Gollum…) But suspicious point two.

The books are written in ancient Hebrew, a fact we’ll touch more on later, which is odd. Aramaic was more commonly used (and probably Jesus’s mother tongue) though Hebrew and Greek were both widely used in that area and time frame in different circumstances.

The article lacks anything primary. All the research that is done is relayed by David, not cross-referenced to the experts; he’s talking for them, they’re often unnamed, who tested the metals? So that’s the issues with the news story just as it is, time to go down the rabbit hole?

Dr. David (or Paul?) Elkington. An archaeologist, author, real-life Indiana Jones, curious where did he study and get his credentials? Turns out he studied as an artist at the Bath Academy of Arts. Nothing against artists, trained or otherwise, but I prefer my archaeologists making ground breaking discoveries to have some relevant degree in history or archaeology. So not an archaeologist, historian, or anyone qualified for such a dig. Suspicious points abound.

When investigating the source of the books, where they were found and by who, two stories emerge, sometimes on the same website or paper. Five years ago they were uncovered in a flash flood in Jordan, or they were uncovered in a flash flood and in the Jordanian trucker’s family for a hundred years. New stories once you branch past the telegraph (which I’m dealing with because it was the first I came across and the most widespread) don’t always agree. The language it is written in is is often mentioned as Hebrew as well as an unidentified Phoenician language, and then rare occasions in Greek. The name of the man who owns the books changes, not drastically, but enough to be suspicious, then again David Elkington is sometimes Paul Elkington, so many everyone on this adventure have multiple names. Whether there were found in Jordan or Egypt changes. The story shifts more than the sand it was apparently buried under. Now just because news papers disagree on stories doesn’t mean they’re wrong, but it does start to make the story questionable as we have to wonder why are these mistakes present, why aren’t they corrected? 5 years, 100 years, big difference. Jordan, Egypt, big difference. Hebrew, Greek, Unidentified, big difference.

Now one Peter Thonemann, MA, DPhil, lecturer on Ancient History at Wadham and Keble Colleges (look credentials!) was an expert that Elkington asked to help with the translation of the texts a year ago, yet he isn’t mentioned in the news articles generally for some reason. He translated the Greek on the cover (wait, wasn’t this written in Hebrew, or an unidentified Phoenician language?) and came up with an odd sentence fragment that made no sense, but mentioning a name Abgar. A bit of research on Thonemann’s behalf turned up not just the name Abgar, but the entire fragmented sentence on the cover of the book. What profound Judeo-Christian source did he uncover? A Roman tombstone for Abgar from Madaba Jordan c. 108 CE and on display in the Archeological Museum in Amman. Thonemann let Elkington know this, but Elkington, with the academic insight of his art degree, went public anyways.

What makes the story more amusing is that the books were previously discovered/released by Robert Feather as an early Qabalistic text with the location of the treasures of the Temple of Solomon. At that time there were only more then 20, now the number is 70. At that time the Israel Antiquities Authority said they are useless and a hoax because they contain a horrible mishmash of languages, images, and sentence fragments that really don’t match up. Letter soup that is grouped together to look intriguing until you start translation. This was denounced as a hoax, and then a month later with a much better back story Elkington arises with the same documents.

The only thing lending any credibility to this is that apparently the corrosion on the metal dates back about 2000 years (but again not properly cited who did this research, sometimes it was an “initial” test, other times seems more of a proper study) and the fact that the Jordanian government apparently wants them back.

Recently some more data came to my attention while writing this as Ananael posted on it in the process of my editing, and a friend knowing what I was doing sent a link.

The image of Jesus on the codex is considered currently to be Helios, but there is also a theory that it is The Mona Lisa of Galilee. I’m not totally convinced by this, but it makes an interesting case, and if all the data from the author is right it means this forgery is less than 30 years old.

From Ananael’s post there is a link showing how the letters themselves show the age of the books is wrong as some of them are from a form of Aramaic that is from the second and third century it also contains so far to my knowledge the only article so far pointing out that Elkington doesn’t have credentials to be involved with this sort of thing.

When I saw the title of the article I was curious, after reading it I was suspicious after some googling I realized it is a hoax. I can’t say by who or for what end, but all signs point to hoax.

Some good reading for those wanting more information on this:
Heavy metal secrets from a Mid-East cave

Peter Thonemann on the Lead Codices

Lead Codices and Leaden Minds

The Messiah Codex Decoded


Review: Magic in the Biblical World – ed. Todd E. Klutz

2011/04/12

Magic in the Biblical World: From the Rod of Aaron to the Ring of Solomon – edited by Todd E. Klutz
T & T Clark International – Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 245. 2003. 261pp. 0567083624.

“[A]lthough the increasingly recognized shortcomings of defining ‘magic’ as a primitive form of behaviour exemplifying a type of mentality different from and inferior to that of ‘religion’ had become apparent to a handful of scholars by the 1950s, the majority of authorities continued long after this to assume that such definitions were valid and useful.” (2)

This issue is central to the text, essentially every chapter –each being an essay by a different researcher– devoted some time to trying to define magic in relationship to religion. The papers originally came from the Magic in the World of the Bible colloquium in 1999, the focus was not on the validity or reality of magic, or the question of Jesus as a magician, but instead the focus was to understand the notion of magic in the social and legal world of the historical context of the Bible.

This is an academic text, not a practical or theoretical manual, within the covers of the books it is all about history, language, and politics. Only two spells, from Sefer ha-Razim, are given in the book and only so that paper may dissect the ideology behind the spells.

It is commonly believed that to Judeo-Christian-Islamic faiths the distinction between magic and miracle is that miracles are from YHWH, and magic is from other sources. The first two parts of the text, of three, grapple with this idea, is it valid and historical? To do so they provide a close reading of the mentions of magic and miracles, the Hebrew and Greek words used for them, and the names applied to the practitioners. Parts of this discussion are highly specialized, requiring an understanding of ancient Hebrew and Greek grammar to follow, but if you can work through the language (or perhaps skip it all together) the conclusions are interesting, and intimate that in the Biblical world magic and miracle weren’t as definitive of categories as many people think.

The paper “Magic and Scepticism in and around the First Christian Century” was quite intriguing. In it the author analyzed the magic/miracles of the early apostles and the reactions in the texts, and begs the question did people really believe and accept magic/miracles to the extent we believe they did, or was the population they were trying to convert sceptic not just of their faith, but of faith and miracles in general. It includes some really interesting reading of the evidence.

Part III of the book was of the most interest to me, as the title “’Magic’ in Disreputable Books from Late Antiquity” may imply. In these papers the authors dealt with Sefer ha-Razim, The Testament of Solomon, and the origins and etymology of Alchemy. The focus was largely to analyze the clearly magical tradition that existed and the source and ideology behind these practices. Here we get a close reading of the Greek artifacts left in Sefer ha-Razim and the astrological implications in The Testament of Solomon.

As I said early on, this is an academic text, this is not a practical or theoretical manual. If you’re looking to practice a Biblical form of magick, this book will be of little to no use for you. If you’re a historian with a passion for the Biblical tradition and/or Biblical magick this book may be of little practical use, but will be without a doubt fascinating and insightful.


%d bloggers like this: