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Saturday, 31 January 2015

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We Must Stand Together On This
"Get up weekend 2,000 cohorts of the English Defence Association (EDL) invaded Leicester. They claimed to stand up for Englishness v Islamic intolerance, but in truth they came for in tears. All but as candidly as they featuring in they began case with order, putting four in rest home, and in the grip throwing air force pencil case smoke grenades, fire crackers and slug bearings at order stash and dogsOver one charge, which resulted in a order certified personality repeatedly pressed on, others in the huddle against chanted "LET HIM DIE". As the get-together reach the summit of hundreds of EDL cohorts rampaged depressed chummy streets arbitrarily disgusting chummy Asians. These were not acts of xenophobia but the downbeat hard work of racist thugs and football hooligans.On October 24 the EDL coordinate to root to the spot a joint effort nervousness uninvolved the Israeli deputation to which they have the benefit of invited a little-known American rabbi, in a debatable dodge invented at cultivating hatred in the company of Jews and Muslims.Nevertheless numerous in the Jewish community have the benefit of comprehensible concerns about the in detail of Islamic fundamentalism, it is remarkable to revive that the EDL are not our friends. Searchlight has been honest chummy campaigns v the EDL, in the same way that we work to hit the politics of hatred espoused by the BNP. We feed to mobilise communities to stand together forcibly usual main beliefs which cling to us. In Leicester this said glossed 6,000 chummy populace standing together v the hatred of the EDL. One Leicester, Associated Unruffled. Flanking week it is the turn of the Jewish community to stand dual v this hatred.Extremism is intolerance, anything form it comes in, and the EDL is a firm menace to extroverted commonality and quiet communities. And intolerance impartial breeds intolerance. The EDL set out to thrash up in tears and tensions, on tenterhooks to ultimatum a burdensome sensitivity from organic Muslims. In the fleeting label this divides communities, in the longer label it impartial pushes people to supervisor unbalanced groups.But with the menace comes an leg up and we essential use the heed glossed the EDL to bring people together. One of the upper limit moving aerobics of our pact vigil in Leicester arise weekend was in the past the chief officer of the Muslim community read out a tone of deposit from the chummy Jewish community. "A SUPPORT PERPLEXED AT A MOSQUE IS A SUPPORT PERPLEXED AT A SYNAGOGUE," the tone read. This created a colossal jollity and things to see what is voluntary in the past we stand together v hatred.Cut down Lowles is editor of Searchlight magazineJewish Release

Reference: new-generation-witch.blogspot.com


Thursday, 29 January 2015

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Concise Guide To Egyptian Magick And Spirituality
Heka: The Practices of Ancient Egyptian Ritual and Magic by David Rankine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Heka


Heka by Ceremonial Magician David Rankine is a very special book. Slender yet packed with information that will enlighten you of the Egyptian world view and magick. It is scholarly yet easy to read for the common lay man. In the Babylonian Talmud it is stated that God gave 10 measures of magic to the world 9 of those went to Egypt.

Heka is the magical power that is inherent in every being, human, animal and plant. There are some being that have more Heka then others. It is said the dead have a very powerful Heka even more of it then the living. Gods have the most. In the earthly physical realm it is said that dwarves and people with red hair have very strong heka.

The magical power of Heka is executed through the power of the spoken word. Incantations and spells had as their most powerful component the spoken word. Words that were spoken had the power top shape reality. Heka was also the name of the God of Magic. Magic was Heka's main thing.

Heka was not the only magical God. Thoth who was also a god of learning and wisdom as well as a lunar god was a god of magic. Isis, who learned Re's name stole magic from Re and thus had the power of creation. Having someone's name meant that you had power over them. There were three of four gods that are supposedly creator Gods depending on which part of Egypt you are talking about. Some parts say it was Re, others Amun and yet others say it was Ptah. It was said that Ptah created the world and universe with the utterances of his mouth.

The God Heka is considered to be the soul or Ka or Ra. Heka is sometime said to be the BA or Re as well. Heka thus uis the seeming magical and creative soul aspect of Re. Another possible sould or Re was the Goddess Maat. Pharoahs, priests and common citizens had a vested interest in maitianing the concept of Maat. Maat is then seen as the goddess of truth and the universal order over chaos. In may depictions she is called the Daughter of Re and stands directly behind him. As the religion evolved she too becamke part of his soul.

The book give a thorough over view of the creation story. Nuit was the sky and Geb was the earth. The creator god was jealous and so he command the sky called Shu to separate them. Thoth then a moon god somehjow created a five day gap where in they were able to birth out 5 children. One of them was Horus the Elder, Isis, Osiris and Set. The earth was also a primeval sea called Nun. From it came the Ben Ben or ann island. The five gods including Re was on a Solar Baque and ended up fighting Apohis the serpent.

Kheper is the beetle god who pushes Re across the sky in his sun chariot. He is also a guardian for the dead and is considered a protective god along with Sekhmet, Bes and Bastet. Scarabs were worn by the dead to protect them. In this life people wore then as well. In order to accom[pany Re the worshipper can light Frenakinscence in the morning, Myrrh in the afternoon and Kyphi at night.

The book is loaded. It has incense recipes that are simple and easy to make. There are table for all the god and day that are good for doing magic. The God table inform the reader what the God did and what things are associated with the god. There is a table of hours holy to the deities based on a twelve hour rotation and a chapter on the meaning of the colors. I can and will say that this book has all that and more.

Once you read this you will see how Egyptian Magic gave birth to Ceremonial Magic and Witch craft. Ideas like dietary restraction, cleanliness and circumcision were mentioned first in Egyptian scripture. Religions like Islam, Judaism and Christianity learned a lot from the Egyptians.

My one criticism is that the book could have been bit longer and delved into some of the numerous holidays the Egyptians had for their deities. But then perhaps that is a subject for another book..

View all my reviewsEnjoy the blog



Credit: pagan-wiccan.blogspot.com

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

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The Psychic Role On A Paranormal Team
The hardest thing for most psychics to understand is that they are not the center of their paranormal research team. When they do a read, it's not about them being on stage and the center of attention and the one who sees all and knows all.

"ONCE EGOS ARE SET ASIDE, THE ROLE OF A PSYCHIC ON A TEAM CAN BE VERY BENEFICIAL, BUT IT IS ALSO VERY HUMBLING."

"PREFERABLY, DO NOT TELL CLIENTS YOU ARE A PSYCHIC." Knowing you are psychic creates all sorts of issues including them probing you about what the content of their home is and if it's threatening. There also develops a dependence on you for advice on just about everything. They will want to know from you if the home is haunted or not rather than the team's collective conclusion. During the interview process, they might also be self conscious of your ability to read them and take them totally out of the emotional mileu in their home that supports the haunting experience. You want to observe them as joe schmo off the street and not someone with deeper insight into motives and honesty, background and insight.

"YOU SHOULD BE A SILENT WITNESS". Walk the property. Take notes of everything you encounter. Do not pull others into your reading, do not point to a place and say someone is there, or any other dramatics. Simply note the reads. Keep this in a notebook. When the team is done with the investigation, they may review your reads to see if it verifies what they got. The problem with telling them what is happening, is that you are now creating belief in these people and they will act on those beliefs. You are coloring their choices and affecting their assumption that, if a door just closed and you said there was a spirit in the hallway, it must be the spirit.

"BEING A PSYCHIC IS A BEING A BLOODHOUND, NOT A LEADER." The power a psychic has on a team can be heady stuff for people who need attention, validation, or a feeling of being needed. Check the ego at the door. Be stealthy. Be observant. Take notes. And, if your team asks, should we set up audio in this room? Be available to answer that, yes or no, without elaboration. If your team relies too much on your interpretations, guide them back to the study of the building and let them probe their own intuition. The team I'm on, keeps notes. They all walk the property without foreknowledge and write down everything they sense, feel, or don't like about the feel of the place. They seal it in an envelope and it's held until the end of the investigation when we pull them out and see how close we were to intuitively knowing the hot spots.

"MEDIUMS NEED TO REMEMBER NOT EVERYONE IS PSYCHIC". To the average homeowner, a psychic holds all the secrets in their home. They know what's there. They can talk to it. They cast it off. The entire process, when witnessed by homeowners can seem a bit ritualistic, magical, and even dark. That a medium is seeing the invisible souls in their private home is very unsettling. Those images do not leave the homeowner and they are left afterwards with imagery, fears, and wondering what else they don't know or see. Their home is no longer full of good memories, but filled with banishings and entities they have no ability to see, control, or know about. So, I would advise psychics to keep any of their methods and descriptions to themselves and banish as you see fit, but there is no need to drag the homeowners through the process. In other words, no theatrics.

A psychic ultimately is a depth of intuition that can truly benefit a paranormal team, but at the same time, they can completely misguide the team. Tears, freaking out, and dramatics are not proper use of skills and also shows a psychic who has not yet learned to observe a history of a site without becoming the history. If it is overwhelming for the psychic emotionally, then it is time to work the skills to a more professional level before going public with the talents.

I believe a psychic can be a sensitive counselor, a wonderful bloodhound, but should never be the focus tool for the team. They are a member, like any other member with a skill set that, along with others, helps come to valid conclusions.

Origin: magick-keys.blogspot.com
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Alumni Profile Shreena Gandhi 09
"What have you been doing since graduation?"

Since graduation, I have been on the faculty at Kalamazoo College as an Assistant Professor of Religion.

"What are your plans?"

Well, in terms of my scholarship, first I have to do the last minute indexing and editing of my book on yoga in the U.S. Beyond that I am working on a short chapter on Ram Dev and Ayurveda, as well as a short article of on a mainline Protestant Church on one of the main streets in Kalamazoo, which is handing over it's property to a prominent African-American Church on the other side of town. I've also got a couple chapters on yoga in the U.S. and yoga and capitalism that are in the works for various anthologies.

However, I'm ready to leave the world of yoga, and actually have quite an exciting fellowship opportunity in the works. At Kalamazoo College, we have the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership (ACSJL), and they give two-year fellowships for faculty to teach half-time and hire a full time replacement to work on a project involving social justice. My project is on the city of Detroit and civic engagement. The project is in its early stages, but basically, I'm attempting to excavate the religious roots of government failure. Beyond spending time in Detroit and getting a field for what and is not working, this will involved a genealogy of civil society's religious roots. I hope for this to be a project that adds to the discourse on U.S. American notions of agency and secularism.

In terms of teaching, I'm would like to really to rethink how I teach my classes and move from U.S. based models to hemispheric models. Hilit Surowitz and I have been working on this together for a while now, and this past AAR we were able to convene a panel with David Hackett and Manuel Vasquez on the Americas in the study of religion. It was really thought provoking. I'm not sure how I'm going to move forward with this project in terms of scholarship, but I'm trying to think through that. This is not a short-term project, but rather one that, I hope, will span a lifetime. Even my upcoming project on Detroit will employ the methodologies I learned as an Americas student - that there are levels to understanding the processes of society and modernity, and that at times one has to work at the local level, but always keeping in mind, the state, regional, national, hemispheric and even global movements that effect these processes.

Beyond that, I'm pretty active in the American Academy of Religion. I'm co-chair of the North American Hinduism Group, and recently, I was elected to the Program Committee.

"What challenges have you faced, and what do you consider to be the most significant challenges facing the academic study of religion?"

I think like many academic fields, the study of religion has a race/ethnicity problem and a canon problem, and in my mind those two are heavily intertwined and entangled. In some ways we are forging ahead in wonderful and innovative and more inclusive directions, and in other ways we are still married to notions of content, rather than questioning why particular contents are important. I think being in the Americas track really prepared me for challenging the knowledge that is deemed most important. When looking at the subjects that scholars anoint as most important or canonical, we have to also examine the person or group of people making these decisions. The more the discipline diversifies, the more opportunities will arise to challenge the canon, but until then there will only be pockets of this - one of these pockets is the University of Florida Religious Studies Department. And it's pockets, small movements of academics that can wield enough influence to create ripples and institute real change in the academy.

Right now, as a member of the AAR Program Committee, one thing that is of concern and that I plan to address is the disparity of representation between the different groups. The North American Religions Section has six or seven panels that they get to put on the AAR Program each year, whereas Religions of Latin America and the Caribbean has one panel that they put on the program with co-sponsorship. Having benefited from being trained in both North and Latin American Religious History (because UF is an Americas program), I've come to value the two fields as equally important. And I've also come to realize how the very structure of our larger field of religious studies favors one over the other, which results in more scholars of North American religion, than scholars of Latin American Religion. In reality, the two fields and more importantly, the lives of all Americans intersect in many ways, so this structure is not reflective of the way people lead their religious lives, but rather reflective of the power dynamics that operate within the larger discipline of religious studies, which is still Euro- U.S.- and Christo- centric. What we have to do is challenge these centers and start having more of a nodal outlook towards sub-fields. This will be a life-long struggle, but one that started while I was at UF and that I plan to continue through scholarship, service to the field and teaching.

"How has studying at UF prepared you for dealing with these challenges; in the job market, in the classroom, and in academia?"

Well, I think just being at UF, among scholars doing cutting edge work who are really pushing the boundaries, both geographically and metaphorically, of religion in the U.S. into the Americas, has made me a better scholar. More than that, however, I've had wonderful mentors at UF - David Hackett and Vasudha Narayanan have been indispensible as mentors and people I look up to, and they still go to bat for me even now. I had so many memorable classes and conversations with them, along with Manuel Vasquez, Gwen Kessler, Anna Peterson and Whitney Sanford - I learned so many things, and all of them, in their own ways, challenged me and forced me to think about approaching religion in creative ways. I really struggled while I was at UF - I was young and really unsure of myself, but nobody gave up on me. Now I'm less young, with a lot more to learn but a lot more sure of myself, and because of my time at UF, I'm able to stand a bit taller and I have slowly begun to assert my own voice as an academic, which has made me a better teacher.

I'm currently teaching a senior seminar on secularity, and I'm teaching Dr. Vasquez's book, Beyond Belief, but I also find myself referring to independent studies I did with Dr. Hackett and bringing up tidbits from various seminars I took with Dr. Narayanan and Dr. Peterson. In this same seminar, the students are required to write intellectual genealogies, and we mapped them out as a class. My genealogy goes right through Anderson Hall, and it's funny how at different times we refer back to or remember different moments as we go forward... I'm sure in another ten years, I'll come to understand something else about my time at UF and probably while lecturing or in a seminar!

I would not have been successful in the job market without these mentors/teachers/gurus. But I also think, I would not have been successful as a member of the AAR without them either, which is an important part of networking and collaborating with others. I still remember Dr. Hackett making me go to the AAR, and then telling me to sit in the North American Religions Section Business Meeting. During the entire meeting, he gave me all the gossip and showed me how to observe the various dynamics among the various players. I'm still inspired by Dr. Narayanan's (and Robert Orsi's) fight to free the AAR from the SBL, and every year I go to the Program Chair's Breakfast, and my co-chair and I anger someone with a little rant when the Program Committee Chair encourages us to partner with groups from the SBL. My rant usually is along the lines of how is the North American Hinduism group supposed to partner with the SBL when the word "Hindu" does not even appear anywhere in their CFPs. This year I angered the co-chairs of the Wesleyan Studies Group (this group has three panels every year on the AAR program). More importantly, however, this goes back to the inclusivity/race/ethnicity problem that our field has - we are still married to a certain way of doing things. Divorce has been taken of the table (for now), and this particular alliance/academic orientation leaves out many voices in implicit and explicit ways. This is the terrain we have to navigate, but in order to change the environment of our field, we have to get to know it and understand why it is the way it is. This is not always an obvious part of getting a PhD, and a lot of my peers from other institutions are not as engaged with the AAR, often to their detriment. But at UF, it was a requirement, and over time, I've come to realize that one's scholarship and teaching are braided/enhanced with this engagement.

Being successful in this current job market does not mean just being a successful scholar, or just a great teacher or just a savvy networker - it require a combination of all three. I think the Religious Studies department at UF is very good a preparing students to engage all these parts of academia. And I'm so thankful they took a chance on me 11 years ago.

Friday, 23 January 2015

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The Pillars Of Tubal Cain By Nigel Jackson
Western esoteric mysticism and/or angel magick comes primarily from the Middle East. Most European ideas were brought over via the old testament. But the Hebrews who wrote the old testament were influenced by a variety of systems. The systems came from Sumeria, Babylon, Egypt, Persia and Arabia. Each of these countries had a system of gods numbering seven, one for each off the known planets including the sun and the moon.

According to biblical legend Lucifer was God's lead angel, who lead a rebellion and was ultimately cast down into the earthly realms along with his cohort of angels. These Angels took on human form and were thus called watchers. Eventually these watchers fell in love with human women and mated with them giving rise to a race of people called the nephilim. These were giant people with magical powers. Eventually the Flood would come and wash them all away.

According to the Yezidis of Northern Iraq Satan who is called Melek Taus was redeemed. Supposedly he cried out tears of repentance and he was the angel in charge of all the other angels. He is worshiped as a peacock. Interesting that the throne in Iran was called the peacock throne.

According to Luciferian witch craft Lucifer the light bringer ascended for the reason of bringing mankind, who at the time were savages, into enlightenment. When Lucifer and his angles descended they taught human kind religion, civilization, magick and metal working. Now remember that Tubal Cain was a metal worker and metal workers had magical abilities. Of course Christianity turned Lucifer into a boogey man called Satan.

There was documents of giant races documented through out thee world in places like Shamabalah, Atlantis, Arabia and even Amorites. They were big and supposedly had magical abilities. Later on they would be wiped out by the flood. Many mythologies talk about a race of giants being wiped out by newer gods or being wiped out by some cataclysm. Check out the titans in Greek mythology and the Jotuns in Norse mythology.

Many symbols have been perverted in Judeo Christian Europe. The snake was typically a symbol of wisdom. Recall that it was the snake who told Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge to help open her eyes so she could grow up. In the bible the snake wass turned into something evil. The Tower of Babylon which Nimrod, another giant, tried to ascend was not a tower to challenge god but rather it was representative of the Watcher trying to reach godliness and redemption. The Tree had a similar meaning and in fact old religions worshipped the tree or by a tree.

Lilith in Babylonian mytholgy used to live in a tree until Inanna told Gilgamesh to cut it down. In this tree there dweelt an owl and a snake. The owl was a symbol of certain Goddesses and wisdom. Lilith later became Adams first wife and she in fact later left him because she would not submit to an inferior position. Lilith would copulate with animals and other entities and would give rise to a race of demons. Lilith was a succubus who seduced men in their sleep. It said that from man's liquids came several races of Demon. Some say that Lilith gave birth to the faery people. Women use her as model for liberation.

Queen Sheba is sometimes equated with Lilith in that some legends portray her as having owl feet or cloven feet. Sheba means seven and corresponds to the seven angels. It is surmised that Queen Sheba and Solomon were occultist and that Solomon who controlled demons to build his empire taught Sheba some of her secrets.

Occult wisdom which originated in the Middle East came to Europe via many directions. One direction was Jews bringing it over when they were enslaved by the Romans.Occult knowledge also came over when the Crusaders and Templar knights returned from fighting in Jerusalem. The founder of the rosy cross order learned Cabbalah in Damscus and the horned god came from the Middle East as well.

The Pillars of Tubal Cain is a book roughly 273 pages in length,but it is packed with information. I strongly advise reading. this stuff is definitely not WiccaEnjoy the blog

Reference: wiccancommunity.blogspot.com

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

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The Divine Personality Beyond Bliss Some Intuitions Of William Arkle
*

Edited from the Conclusion of "A Geography of Consciousness" by William Arkle, 1974.

"*"

"My own view is that God, like ourselves, is both 'personal' and 'impersonal'..."

"I also think that it is possible for our individual or personal Being to unite with God's Impersonal Being and that there is no limit to the sort of relationship we can take up with God."

"(...)"

"But I truly believe that God is a sadder God if we do not realize the basis of his deepest motivation, which is not that he should ingest our Individuality into the Blissful nature of his being, but that we should, out of the simple recognition in our Heart of Hearts, realise the unspoken longing and non-willing that lies behind the blissful aspect of Divine Love... "

"*"

"I believe that behind the Bliss of Divine Union resides a relationship which is deeper than Bliss; and that is the attitude which upholds and protects the Bliss. THIS is the attitude which has known that the Blissful qualities are 'good', and in a creative sense can be made even better..."

"I am sure I have offended many sincere and highly spiritual people by my remarks on these lines for they feel it is conceited of me to begin to define or explore the motive behind what is referred to as The Absolute, and not only conceited but simply impossible. "

"But if the 'personal' motive is felt as I have felt it, then the problem dissolves immediately. "

"(...)"

"Perhaps the value God seeks in us is not our perfect unalloyed Divine Being Bliss, but the humble and imperfect yearnings and sentiments that our soul feels in the crippling form of the human situation."

"The compression and pain breeds a simple love that does not feed on pleasure, even Divine pleasure. It feeds on a 'craggy' determination, often beyond the hope of any rewards in the form of happiness or joy, to improve the lot of those it loves..."

"To my understanding, this creates a love between persons, and the souls of these persons, which teaches them something about the nature of the heart of love which is not learned in the experience of liberated divine bliss or devotion to 'perfection' as we understand it. "

"*"

"The highest teachings we have ever received on earth seem to me to say: "Do not take any notice of miracles and powers - God can make these happen any time. SEEK TO UNDERSTAND THE NATURE OF THE LOVE THAT BROUGHT YOU FORTH."

"This teaching is not interested in power or glory or even perfect behaviour, but has something to do with the response that only you can make - because there is none other like you."

"Behind the God who is upon the Throne of Glory and Power, is the vulnerable, sweet, humble, beautiful love which is naturally more protected, secret and hidden...."

*

Credit: witch-selena.blogspot.com

Thursday, 15 January 2015

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8 Historical Figures With Unusual Work Habits
1. CHARLES DICKENS

The author of such beloved books as "A Tale of Two Cities" and "A Christmas Carol" was notoriously fussy about his working conditions. He kept to a military-strict schedule, always writing in his study between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. before striking off on three-hour walks. Dickens demanded total silence in his house during his work hours, and required that his pens, ink and a small collection of statuettes be specially arranged on his desk to help him think. The author carried these talismans with him wherever he traveled, and he would even rearrange furniture in hotels and guesthouses to recreate the layout of his home office as closely as possible. Dickens' bizarre habits also extended to his bedroom: he only slept facing north, believing that it better aligned him to the electrical currents of the Earth.

2. BEETHOVEN

Ludwig Van Beethoven did much of his work while on the move. After a daily breakfast of coffee-he often obsessively counted out 60 beans by hand-the composer would put in a few hours at his desk before heading out for long, meandering walks. These countryside jaunts supposedly helped spur his creativity, and as he walked, he often stopped to jot down a few measures of music in a large sketchbook. If the notes were slow to come, he might copy down another composer's work to study their technique. Beethoven may have also composed while bathing. According to his secretary, Anton Schindler, he would often pace around his room and repeatedly pour jugs of water over his hands while humming tunes and staring off into space in "deep meditation."

3. MARCEL PROUST

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While penning his mammoth, 3,000-page novel "In Search of Lost Time" (also known as "Remembrance of Things Past") in the early 1900s, the French writer Marcel Proust lived largely from within the confines of his bedroom. He usually didn't wake up until 3 or 4 in the afternoon, at which point he dined on coffee and croissants (often his only meal of the day) and inhaled fumes from opium-tinged tobacco powder, which he believed helped his asthma. Proust worked from the comfort of his bed, usually while propped up on several fluffy pillows. Despite the seemingly relaxed work environment, the writer still claimed that crafting his classic novel was incredibly taxing. "After ten pages," he complained, "I am shattered."

4. SALVADOR DALI

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Salvador Dali was one of the undisputed masters of surrealism, a school of art that aimed to tap into the unconscious mind and access the buried treasures of the imagination. To help produce the hallucinatory imagery of paintings such as "The Persistence of Memory" and "Swans Reflecting Elephants," Dali used mental tricks to try and blur the line between his dreams and reality. One of his tried and true techniques involved holding a metal key over a tin pan while napping. As soon as the artist began to drift away, he would drop the key and wake up, giving him a chance to record the strange images that had flashed through his mind. Dali also devised what he called the "Paranoid-Critical" method, a creative approach that required him to work himself into a paranoid state by intentionally brooding over bizarre and illogical thoughts. Once feelings of "concrete irrationality" overwhelmed him, he would paint the unusual visions they produced in his mind's eye.

5. MAYA ANGELOU

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The famed poet and author of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" was famous for doing very little of her work at home. Finding the comfort of her house too distracting, Angelou elected to write in the anonymous tranquility of what she described as "tiny, mean" hotel rooms. She typically rented the rooms for months at a time, and arrived early in the morning armed with only her writing materials and a Bible, a bottle of sherry and a deck of cards (which she claimed helped busy her "little mind"). Angelou ensured that the rooms were as spare as possible to sharpen her focus, and she often wrote while reclining on her side on the hotel bed. In an interview with the "Paris Review," she confessed that one of her elbows was "rough with callouses" from lying on it for long hours each day.

6. JONATHAN EDWARDS

The 18th century Christian preacher is perhaps best remembered for the fire and brimstone rhetoric of sermons like "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," but he was also known for his meticulous approach to work. Edwards typically rose before sunrise and spent as many as 13 hours a day poring over books and penning his sermons, often skipping meals to avoid interrupting his studies. Even when he took brief breaks to chop wood or go for walks, he carried a pen and paper so he could write along the way. If struck by a particularly valuable insight while traveling on horseback or otherwise away from his desk, Edwards resorted to using a mnemonic device. He would pin a small piece of paper to a part of his clothing that reminded him of the idea, and then remove the slips one by one and scribble down the associated thoughts as soon as he had the chance.

7. B.F. SKINNER

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In the mid-20th century, B.F. Skinner was the world's leading proponent of behaviorism, a school of psychology centered on the idea that human beings are blank slates whose behavior can be controlled by external circumstances. Skinner was famous for putting his ideas into practice-he raised his second daughter in a specially-designed, temperature controlled environment called an "Air Crib"-so it comes as little surprise that he also applied them to his own work life. He operated on a regimented schedule and made use of a timer to remind him when to start and stop writing. For "every twelve hours recorded on it," he wrote in his personal journal, "I plot a point on a cumulative curve, the slope of which shows my overall productivity." Along with precisely timing and analyzing his workday, Skinner was also a proponent of what is known as "segmented sleep." Rather than snoozing through the whole night, the psychologist often woke after midnight and returned to work for an hour before going back to sleep until morning.

8. DEMOSTHENES

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The ancient Greek statesman Demosthenes was known for his stirring and seemingly effortless speaking ability, but his oratory prowess was the result of a rigorous and often outlandish work regime. He spent long hours studying rhetoric and law in a specially made underground study, and trained with an actor to learn how to properly control his body movements. To defeat a lisp and shortness of breath, Demosthenes practiced speaking with pebbles in his mouth, shouted his speeches aloud while running uphill and even belted them out over the sound of crashing waves at the beach. Strangest of all was his strategy for fighting procrastination. As a young man, Demosthenes shaved off all the hair on one side of his head in the hope that if he made himself look ridiculous, he would be more inclined to stay at home and concentrate on his studies.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

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Jeremiah The Prophet

MAY 1

READING: This great Prophet of God, Jeremiah, who loved his brethren and lamented for them greatly, who prayed much for the people and the Holy City, was the son of Helkias of the tribe of Levi, from the city of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. He was sanctified from his mother's womb, as the Lord Himself said concerning him: "Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth from the womb, I sanctified thee; I appointed thee a prophet to the nations" (Jer. 1:5). He prophesied for thirty years, from 613 to 583 B.C. During the last captivity of the people in the reign of Sedekias, when only a few were left behind to cultivate the land, this Prophet remained with them by the permission of Nabuzardan, the captain of the guard under Nabuchodonosor. He wept and lamented inconsolably over the desolation of Jerusalem and the enslavement of his people. But even the few that remained behind transgressed again, and fearing the vengeance of the Chaldeans, they fled into Egypt, forcibly taking with them Jeremiah and Baruch his disciple and scribe. There he prophesied concerning Egypt and other nations, and he was stoned to death in Taphnas by his own people about the year 583 B.C., since they would not endure to hear the truth of his words and his just rebukes. His book of prophecy is divided into fifty-one chapters, and his book of lamentation into five; he is ranked second among the greater Prophets. His name means "Yah is exalted."

APOLYTIKION IN THE SECOND TONE As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Jeremiah, O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.

KONTAKION IN THE PLAGAL OF THE FOURTH TONE O blessed Jeremiah, being chosen of God from thy mother's womb, in thy compassion, thou sorely didst mourn for the falling away of Israel. And in Egypt, O Prophet, thou wast murdered by stoning for thy most just rebukes by them that understood not to cry with thee: Alleluia.

SOURCE:


"SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!"

Sunday, 11 January 2015

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Implicitum Votum
"NOR DOES DIVINE PROVIDENCE DENY THE HELPS NECESSARY FOR SALVATION TO THOSE WHO, WITHOUT BLAME ON THEIR PART, HAVE NOT YET ARRIVED AT AN EXPLICIT KNOWLEDGE OF GOD AND WITH HIS GRACE STRIVE TO LIVE A GOOD LIFE. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life." (Lumen Gentium, No. 16).Followers of the late Fr. Leonard Feeney have initiated a discussion thread at the Holy Cross Cardinal Newman Society website with an article written by Fr. Brian W. Harrison, O.S., and entitled "Can an 'implicit faith' in Christ be sufficient for salvation?"*The answer is: yes. Let's hear from Avery Cardinal Dulles on the subject: "The Magisterium of the Church has gradually clarified its position regarding the possibilities of salvific faith for the unevangelized. From patristic times until our own century the axiom 'Outside the Church no salvation' was often stated in terms that "seemed to make" explicitly Christian and Catholic faith an absolute condition for salvation. For example, the Council of Florence in its Decree for the Jacobites (1442) asserted: '[The Holy Roman Church] firmly believes, professes, and preaches that none of those who exist outside of the Catholic Church - not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics - can become sharers of eternal life; rather, they will go into the eternal fire 'that was prepared for the devil and his angels' [Mt 25: 41] unless, before the end of their lives, they are joined to that same Church.' (DS 1351).This position was nuanced in the mid-nineteenth century. In an allocution given on the occasion of the definition of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin in 1854, Pope Pius IX reminded the assembled bishops of the error of thinking that Catholics 'can well hope for the eternal salvation of all those who have in no way lived in the true Church of Christ.' BUT THEN HE ADDED THAT GOD IN HIS JUSTICE AND MERCY WILL NEVER IMPUTE GUILT TO THOSE WHO INNOCENTLY ERR. WE MUST NOT PRESUME TO JUDGE THE LIMITS OF INVINCIBLE IGNORANCE, 'TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE GREAT VARIETY OF PEOPLES, LANDS, NATIVE TALENTS, AND SO MANY OTHER FACTORS.' In an encyclical of 1863 the same pope again repudiated the extremes of rigorism and latitudinarianism. He wrote:'It is once again necessary to recall and censure the very serious error in which some Catholics are unfortunately involved, that of believing that it is possible to attain eternal life although living in error and in a state of alienation from the true faith and from Catholic unity. This view is utterly contrary to Catholic teaching. You know also that people who are invincibly ignorant of our holy religion, provided that they sincerely keep the precepts of the natural law, who are prepared to obey God, and who live honorable and upright lives, can, by the efficacious power of the light and grace of God, attain eternal life; for God, who fully beholds, scrutinizes, and knows the minds, hearts, thoughts, and dispositions of all, in his supreme mercy will by no means permit anyone who is not guilty of voluntary fault to suffer eternal punishments.'Under Pius XII the salvation of 'nonbelievers' was discussed in connection with the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to be saved. THE ENCYCLICAL MYSTICI CORPORIS (1943), AFTER DECLARING THAT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ALONE IS THE MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST, SPOKE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF BELONGING TO IT NOT BY FORMAL MEMBERSHIP BUT 'BY A KIND OF UNCONSCIOUS DESIRE AND INTENT' (INSCIO QUODAM DESIDERIO AC VOTO, DS 3821). THE POPE SEEMED TO IMPLY THAT THIS LATTER TYPE OF BELONGING, EVEN THOUGH IT DID NOT GIVE THE FULL BENEFITS OF INCORPORATION IN THE VISIBLE ORGANIZATION OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD, MIGHT SUFFICE FOR SALVATION IN THE CASE OF PERSONS INCULPABLY IGNORANT OF THE TRUE FAITH.IN 1949 THE HOLY OFFICE, IN A LETTER TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF BOSTON, DECLARED THAT AN 'IMPLICIT INTENT' (IMPLICITUM VOTUM) COULD SUFFICE, PROVIDED THAT IT WAS ACCOMPANIED BY SUPERNATURAL FAITH AND PERFECT CHARITY (DS 3870-72). These texts, while not dealing directly with the kind of faith required for salvation, implied that explicit faith in Christ and the Church would not be necessary in the case of the unevangelized....As late as the mid-twentieth century Leonard Feeney, S.J., and his followers at St. Benedict Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, proclaimed that no one could be saved without joining, or explicitly intending to join, the Roman Catholic Church. FEENEY'S PESSIMISTIC POSITION WAS, HOWEVER, REJECTED BY THE ROMAN CONGREGATION OF THE HOLY OFFICE, WHICH ASSERTED, AS ALREADY MENTIONED, THAT A MERELY IMPLICIT DESIRE TO JOIN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, IF ACCOMPANIED BY FAITH AND INFORMED BY PERFECT CHARITY, COULD SUFFICE." (The Assurance of Things Hoped For: A Theology of Christian Faith, pp. 259-260, 262).Fr. Brian W. Harrison has no authority to contradict the Teaching Magisterium of the Church. Neither do the followers of the late Fr. Leonard Feeney. As Richard B [a Catholic apologist from the Worcester Diocese] explained at the Holy Cross Cardinal Newman Society website:"Theologians are not in any way the Teaching Magisterium. Fr. Feeney or any of his followers are in error to think that they can, in any measure, take on the charism of the Teaching Magisterium and thereby proclaim what the dogma [Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus] is all about...Only Peter, by himself alone, or with the Bishops, who are one with Peter, have the charism to proclaim the content of this dogma."Well said Richard. This situation is very serious. Followers of the late Fr. Leonard Feeney who are defending his rejected interpretation of the dogma are continuing to sow the seeds of dissent from the Church's authentic teaching on the subject. This situation needs to be addressed in a meaningful way by Church authorities.Related reading here and here.* The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its 1990 Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian, distinguishes clearly between questions which theologians may raise about authoritative but noninfallible teachings (nos. 24-31) and dissent from such teachings (nos. 32-41). The document judges that questioning can be compatible with the "religious submission" required (see Lumen Gentium, No. 25), but it firmly and unequivocally rejects dissent from such teachings as incompatible with this "religious submission" and irreconcilable with the theologian's vocation. Dissent from infallibly proposed teachings (such as the Church's understanding of the dogma "Outside the Church no salvation") is a fortiori excluded. This teaching is outlined quite clearly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which Pope John Paul II says, "..is a statement of the Church's faith and of Catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, and the Church's Magisterium." (Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, No. 3). In this same Apostolic Constitution, Pope John Paul II states that the Catechism "..is the result of the collaboration of the whole Episcopate of the Catholic Church." (No. 2).Theologians such as Fr. Brian Harrison are not "pastors" within the Church. They have not been given the mission from the Lord Jesus to instruct the faithful in "all that serves to make the People of God live their lives in holiness and increase their faith" (Dei Verbum, No. 8). This mission has been entrusted exclusively to the Magisterium of the Church, i.e., the Pope and those Bishops who remain united with him.Dei Verbum of the Second Vatican Council teaches that, "the task of "authentically interpreting" the word of God, whether written or handed on, HAS BEEN ENTRUSTED EXCLUSIVELY TO THE LIVING TEACHING OFFICE OF THE CHURCH, WHOSE AUTHORITY IS EXERCISED IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed." (No. 10).
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The Unbelievers What Happens When A Minister Decides There No God
http://www.boston.com

By Drake Bennett


Walk into a church on a Sunday and you might find that a few of the people in the pews are atheists - there because they like the old hymns or the comforting murmur of the liturgy or because their spouses insist. Or because, at some level, they're still pretending they believe. They are spectators, in other words, not participants.

But what about the person leading the service? How likely is it that a member of the clergy might be an atheist as well - delivering the sermon and choosing the Bible passages, and afterward paying house calls to offer spiritual counsel to those in trouble and doubt, all without believing in God?

Daniel Dennett decided to find out. A leading philosopher of consciousness, a Tufts University professor, and a famously outspoken atheist, Dennett has for years been curious about the phenomenon of nonbelieving clergy. And now, working with a researcher and clinical social worker named Linda LaScola, he has embarked on a project to find and publicize their stories.

He doesn't yet have data on how common the phenomenon is, but last month Dennett and LaScola published their first anecdotal results, a paper that appeared both in a scholarly journal, Evolutionary Psychology, and on The Washington Post's website. The paper is an annotated set of excerpts from interviews with five ministers whom Dennett and LaScola found through personal contacts in the clergy, seminaries, and progressive Christian and atheist organizations. Unlike most of the clergy members the researchers contacted, these five agreed to tell their stories publicly, albeit under pseudonyms and with personal details changed.

What emerges is a portrait of men (the one woman interviewed backed out at the last minute) grappling earnestly and incisively with the sort of theological quandaries familiar to anyone who has studied and doubted Christian doctrine. Just as strong, though, is the sense of secrecy and evasion that pervades their lives: having to hide their lack of belief from parishioners, friends, even family members. Some spoke of feeling trapped: questioning their fitness for the pulpit but unable to leave because of a mix of personal, cultural, and even financial reasons.

"She doesn't need to hear this right now," one says of his wife. "It's not going to serve any of us. I feel like when the time's right, I can talk to her about it. She won't like it, but I will share it with her. And after I share it with her, I will start sharing it with other people."

Dennett says his ultimate goal is a far larger study to give a true sense of how prevalent nonbelief is among the clergy. In the meanwhile, Dennett and LaScola are collecting stories one by one.

Ideas reached Dennett by phone at the Santa Fe Institute, where he is currently a fellow this semester.

IDEAS: How did this project come about?

DENNETT: When I was working on [my book] "Breaking the Spell," I went out of my way to interview deeply religious people, including ministers, so I could learn more about how they think and how they talk. What stunned me was how many told me, in deep confidence, that they really didn't believe any of the creed.

IDEAS: What was the point of doing the study?

DENNETT: The point is that this is a dirty little secret that many people in the church know but the general public doesn't, and we think it's important and we think it's interesting.

IDEAS: What sort of response have you gotten?

DENNETT: Some of the response that we're getting is that this can be the spearhead of a new movement to open up the churches to more liberal thinking so that really good people who don't happen to share the creed can participate and lead the churches. We're also getting feedback that is incredibly hostile to the clergy - not to us but to the clergy. I think that's not surprising, but I think it shows an incredible anxiety.

IDEAS: Anxiety about what?

DENNETT: About the fact that our preachers are right, that they are the tip of the iceberg and we're letting the cat out of the bag. The argument is that these pastors should have buttoned their lips...like [Mother] Teresa.

IDEAS: Mother Teresa didn't believe in God?

DENNETT: When her letters were published three years ago, it revealed that for 50 years she had no sense of faith in God at all. She was in private agony, meeting with spiritual advisers, and it was "the dark night of the soul" for her for all those years.

IDEAS: How did you actually carry out the interviews?

DENNETT: Linda did them. She traveled and met with them discreetly and quietly wherever they thought it would be safe to meet.

IDEAS: In the conclusion to the study, you compare the dilemma of the nonbelieving clergy member to that of a closeted gay person.

DENNETT: It's striking, though they don't have any "gaydar." They suspect that lots of their friends and fellow clergy have exactly the same beliefs they have, but they don't know how to test that. It's dangerous, and the ploys that they fall back on are just exactly the same stuff: "I have an uncle who..., One of my parishioners says...." They need to maintain credible deniability and so they're very careful about that.

IDEAS: One theme that emerges in the interviews is that it's a seminary education itself that seemed to start these ministers on the road to nonbelief, because what they learned there about how the Bible was actually put together makes it harder to see it as a holy book.

DENNETT: It's true, here are these young people in seminary, they have come with the purest of hearts and the noblest of intentions and they're going to devote their lives to God. And one of the first things they learn is textual criticism. They're looking at all the existing papyruses and scrolls and so forth and learning about the recension of the texts - the tortuous and often controversial historical path from Hebrew, Greek, and Latin versions of the books of the Bible - and all the Apocryphal books that got rejected - to the King James Version and all the later English translations. And that's not what they taught you in Sunday school.

That's the joke that we often provoke from people when we talk about this: Anybody who goes through seminary and comes out believing in God hasn't been paying attention.

IDEAS: Did you yourself have a moment when you lost your faith?

DENNETT: Nothing dramatic, no...it just sort of dawned on me gradually I didn't believe any of it. I loved the services in many regards. I sang in a lot of choirs, I memorized some psalms. I read not all of the Bible, but a lot of it.

IDEAS: You're a high-profile critic of religion. Do you think that's going to make this study seem like a tactic to try to weaken people's religious belief?

DENNETT: In a way it's better that I have that reputation, because if I didn't, people would be suspicious that I was secretly pushing some atheist agenda. I'm quite outspoken about my atheism, but I'm also outspoken about my belief that we don't want to encourage the extinction of religion. We want to encourage its evolution into more benign forms.

IDEAS: And what would those more benign forms look like?

DENNETT: Simply an opportunity to join with people in a morally meaningful activity. I think that we can take a lot of lessons from religions, which are brilliantly designed to bring people together in just that way, with art and music and ritual, a beautiful building, induction ceremonies.

We should do with secular organizations what Bach did, he took these great old chorale melodies, that were deeply ingrained into bones of audiences, then he built on them.

IDEAS: Though Bach was a church organist composing for actual church services.

DENNETT: Right, this is a sort of meta-Bach move here. I know and love the Unitarians, but I don't like the words to their hymns. The words are so insipid I can't stand them. I'd rather sing the good old ripsnortin' words and then put a little flashing light over the pulpit that says "metaphor. Drake Bennett is the staff writer for Ideas. Daniel Dennett and Linda LaScola are continuing their interview project and can be reached at lindalascola@gmail.com. "

Thursday, 8 January 2015

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How Is Your Luck Cycle In The Earth Ox Year
By Marco Chong The Hideaway Ox meeting starts with authorization on 4th February,0050 hours. Having the status of does this meeting grasp in store for you? Seize it all in this piece... RAT: Uneducated 1924,1936,1948,1960,1972,1984,1996,2008 This meeting will unquestionably be a become known meeting for the Rat as compared to bind meeting. Progress meeting was a time for guidance and this meeting is the time to launch your humbling policy. You will get the drift central allies who will help you result your goals. As compared to bind meeting, this meeting, your success will come with very limited hard work on your part. Dialect of wealth luck, even if period may be bad, you will however be experienced to clasp and make more money. Penny may come from atypical sources. Condition alert, do not gorge. Example out for illnesses connecting to the kidney. Women be required to go for health checkups. Example out for illnesses connecting to the ovaries. Romance luck is cynically cheerful. You may find a lot of search suitors. But do not rebirth generally or you may get yourself now disconcert. You be required to make use of this meeting to web and develop your social circle. Ox: Uneducated 1925,1937,1949,1961,1973,1985,1997,2009 When a omnipresent meeting bind meeting, stuff start to drowsy down this meeting. You may find yourself attainment infuriated available limited stuff in simple terms. You announce to get delicate in simple terms. Many relations may not organized with your way of dictate stuff, but living thing mulish, you strike acquit yourself stuff your way. This may allow you even more annoyance. It is not compulsory that you get stuff easy and be present at to the caveat of your family and friends. Slab living thing mulish this meeting as it will not rescue you. You may find yourself working very continuous, but not attaining your pet have a fight. You will grasp troubles in your interaction this meeting as you get irritable in simple terms and get now quarrels in simple terms with relations. Example out for your crankiness. Grip the get-up-and-go to say whatever thing biting and grieve afterwards. Romance alert, no one seems to be barely for you. If you are take undue credit, your company may be weathered this meeting. Condition alert, play against out for injuries connected to knives and pointed gear. Move in and out all judicious activities. Go for healing checkups unvaryingly. Try not to travel aspiration distances and support visiting the unpleasantly or attending funerals. Progress but not least, get stuff easy. Don't be mulish and disturbance if stuff don't go your way. Some time ago you are in a good tone, you will grasp become known health. TIGER: Uneducated 1926,1938,1950,1962,1974,1986,1998 When a fast meeting, the Tiger will be smiling from ear to ear in 2009. Charge alert, stuff will start working in your have to do with. You will grasp the better to bring your job to the neighboring level. While, be down to earth and do not get to the point cuts. You may lose everything you built. This meeting is to boot the time to reap the fruits of your groundwork. Condition alert, even if the condition star is in your sign this meeting, bizarre, stuff will however be fine. You may be besieged with derisory illnesses uniform cough and flu, but your bizarre health luck will however be fine. Example out for vivid ups and downs. Romance luck is the main highlight of this meeting. Once the Nuptial Bauble in your sign this meeting, it is time to get connubial. Singles may find true love this meeting. In fact, you may find that you grasp too innumerable choices to regard from. RABBIT: Uneducated 1927,1939,1951,1963,1975,1987,1999 This meeting, the Rabbit's luck progression slides back to despicable. You may find a lot of stress and troubles on your wits. Put on may be a lot of challenges into view for you. In specifications of job, you will safe say from highly-flavored situations. Do not be nervous of the deprivation, but play against at what you grasp gained from the highly-flavored say. Have an effect that you will however post in the end. Do not limp, keep fit all your energy on attainment available the challenges. Down luck isn't too cheerful. You may find yourself losing money available atypical situations. In specifications of interaction, you will be challenged to living thing more accord towards others. Do not lose your crankiness or you strength grieve. Try to ally with as innumerable relations as you can. Do not make enemies unnecessarily. Romance alert, this is a drowsy meeting. You may find your forthcoming too high. Complain on your job sooner of romance this meeting. For health issues, survey of accidents and illnesses arising from stress. Try to slacken off and not be too continuous on yourself. DRAGON: Uneducated 1928,1940,1952,1964,1976,1988,2000 Despite the fact that bind meeting was a become known meeting, this meeting, the Dragon's luck progression is however disdainful despicable. Nevertheless the offshoot of interaction, the other areas are cheerful. In specifications of job, you will get the drift central allies who will bring your job to the neighboring level. You will find that stuff forward movement very readily and everything seems to be separation your way. As I mentioned disdainful, you requirement play against out in the offshoot of interaction. Be watchful of relations who will backstab you. Your success will invoke enmity. Backstabbing, intelligence and quarrels will be fairly notorious. Stay approach to your central allies and don't allow colonize backstabbers to bring you down. Romance alert, high forthcoming will lead to omnipresent disappointments. Singles be required to lower their forthcoming. Couples be required to be more accord towards each others. Upcoming to health, tinkle from quarrels and losing your crankiness. Move in and out nomad aspiration distances this meeting. If you grasp to travel, do a healing checkup further on you go. SNAKE: Uneducated 1929,1941,1953,1965,1977,1989,2001 The Snake's good luck from bind meeting continues now this meeting. Charge alert, you will find yourself in a powerful mail. Your superiors and peers are confused by your do its stuff. Grip the get-up-and-go of living thing over-confident. Your enemies strength be maneuverings your end. Which brings me to the neighboring oppose, your interaction. This meeting, try to make as innumerable friends as you can, as you will be needing allies when this meeting. Romance alert, present-day will be a lot of ups and downs. It is fairly a hysterical time to be looking for romance. Ladies will price list become known than the men. Condition alert, be watchful of tense breakdowns. Try to slacken off and be tidiness in everything you do. As soon as you start hastening, troubles corridor. Unlike brawl of caveat I grasp for you is not to sustain too significantly available snub matters. No topic what, restore perch unthinking. HORSE: Uneducated 1930,1942,1954,1966,1978,1990,2002 The Steeplechaser can heave a murmur of interval at the rear a highly-flavored meeting. This meeting, you can play against care for to a significantly significantly become known meeting, as everything will augment. You will be turn to get on the world once again this meeting and pull through the losses you made bind meeting. Your job, repute and mail will be on the precisely this meeting. While, do not rupture now stuff defective preparation. Complain on your goals, do not allow ruse images to anxiety you. Relationship alert, be more accord towards others. Uncover to be more tolerant and do not house grudges. You may get damage, but let stuff go and get it easy. For if you house grudges, you are harming yourself in the end. In specifications of romance, be watchful of living thing cheated. Don't come together strangers too in simple terms. Uncover about the other party further on committing to a company. Condition alert, get good flimsiness of your health. Go for persistent control ups. Do not get stuff laughingly as present-day may be in illnesses. Be watchful of accidents and natural disasters. SHEEP: Uneducated 1919,1931,1943,1955,1967,1979,1991,2003 The Pigs is in for a fast meeting. Trappings are not what they announce to be. You may find a lot of surprises waiting for you. Continuously control stuff out further on you proceed. Don't take as read. This is not the time to get a imperil. Be traditional for bind obstruct changes and shameful surprises. Do not be a guarantor or lend money to relations. You may get yourself now a immediate stigma. Your stress level strength be up to your bronze and you will not be in a fine input of wits. Continuously sit cool. Don't allow yourself to get messed up. Oblige stuff easy to block yourself from making mistakes. If you can, get friends to expose you and help you out. Don't scrap the contest yourself. Put on will be a lot of changes in your life this meeting. You may to boot learn some offensive lessons. But in the end, you will however keep your head above water and originate as a wiser rank. Romance alert, be watchful of living thing played out. Supply your forthcoming to the nominal. Trappings may not ever be what they announce. Condition alert, be watchful of tone swings, stress and unease. Move in and out all judicious activities. Don't get any imperil with your health this meeting. Go for persistent control ups. MONKEY: Uneducated 1920,1932,1944,1956,1968,1980,1992,2004 If bind meeting has been good, this meeting is separation to be become known. The Chimpanzee will be in a more often than not good tone this meeting. Many stuff will be separation your way this meeting. Put on will be tedious forward movement in all areas of your life. Let's play against at the offshoot of job highest. In specifications of job, do appraise the caveat of others. You may find yourself benefiting more from others' caveat. Weight use of this better to make more friends and produce more allies at your job. This meeting, your enemies will not be experienced to do significantly to you, due to the strong influence of the lucky stars. While, do not get revenge on everyone. Piazza end and let end. Be a friend to someone if you can. It is very central for you to sit unaffected, in any case your success this meeting. Relive, self-importance comes further on a fall. Some time ago it comes to money, your bizarre wealth luck is cheerful. You strength lose a limited money wearing and present-day. But you will however make back everything. Romance luck is however calculated very good, whilst not as incident as bind meeting. It will be a silence meeting for you in romance. This will be a good meeting to get connubial or to grasp kids. It is more of a high-speed romance somewhat than flirts and flings. Singles may find their complete junior this meeting. It may be someone who you in the past know, but never recurrent romance to develop with this rank. Condition alert, restore be watchful of stressing yourself available work. Get plenty rest and everything will be fine. ROOSTER: Uneducated 1921,1933,1945,1957,1969,1981,2005 The Rooster's good luck from bind meeting continues this meeting. This will to boot be a meeting of smiles for you. In specifications of your job, you will find yourself venturing now a choice divide. Although it is whatever thing you grasp never done further on, you announce to be experienced to find success in this new divide. This meeting, all your slight company troubles announce to secrete. This is the time for you to form new vital alliances. Romance alert, it will be a fun time for romance. You will find yourself devoting a lot of time to your company. Singles will find their complete followers as colonize take undue credit will bring the company to the neighboring level. It is to boot a good meeting to get connubial. In specifications of wealth, pay out within your rites. Do not plagiarize money unnecessarily. Condition alert, do not get in the way available snub stuff. Piazza let go and let stuff get flimsiness of themselves. The best fix for you this meeting is to regard to be unthinking and apathetic. DOG: Uneducated 1922,1934,1946,1958,1970,1982,1994,2006 The Dog is the best blessed amid all natural world. When 2 living of good luck progression, this is separation to be atypical good meeting for you. It's 3 living of even good luck. Dialect of job, this is the time to launch all your humbling policy. Piazza let your wits run chaotic and go for it. You grasp innumerable vital allies waiting to help you out. Weight use of this meeting to complete as significantly as you probably can. If you grasp understood of set to rights your own corporation, this is the time to do so. Romance alert, this will be a silence meeting. No matter which will forward movement readily. Frequently, present-day will be no hiccups or quarrels. Piazza survey of third parties harsh to discord up your company. But bizarre, stuff will however work out well. Condition alert, be watchful of operations and accidents. Condition control ups are very central. Go for blood tests and preparation unvaryingly. PIG: Uneducated 1923,1935,1947,1959,1971,1983,2007 This will be a fast meeting for the Pig. One of the best central caveat for you is not to be mulish. Try to appraise patronage and help from the others and support acquit yourself everything by yourself. Don't be a distinct ranger. Relive, ask and you shall gain. You be required to luggage compartment a low rope this meeting and not dream too significantly. Drone forthcoming will upshot in omnipresent disappointments. Charge alert, you may find forward movement very drowsy and infuriating. Weight use of this time to slacken off and get stuff easy. The best offshoot of your life this meeting is your wealth luck. You may come spanning atypical sources of wealth. You strength nightclub lottery this meeting. In specifications of interaction, you will be weathered this meeting. Move in and out losing your crankiness at all charge. Particularly just the once it comes to proving your oppose. You may win the hostility in the end, but it may spell the end of your company. So be very careful. Condition alert, restore don't get burning in simple terms. You will unquestionably guise frustrations from innumerable sources, but don't let it undertaking your well-being. Oblige good flimsiness of yourself, get stuff easy, and the neighboring meeting will be become known. I grasp come to the end of my piece. I wish you all the best in the Hideaway Ox meeting. If you can't remember no matter what in the piece, restore remember this: No topic how bad stuff announce to be, restore remember to be approving for what you grasp and cut your blessings. In that way, you can attract more good luck. Channel luck to you. Marco Chong is the inventor of "THE 58 MEANS KEYS TO HOME FENG SHUI THAT YOU NECESSITATE ACKNOWLEDGE". He practices In the air Bauble Feng Shui and specializes in home feng shui. Marco has been practicing feng shui and Chinese astrology being 1992. For more information, fall http://www.58fengshuisecretkeys.com

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

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Wushu Magic

General Thoughts on RPG Magic

Magics such a cornerstone of fantasy gaming, yet I often find it one of the most unsatisfying sections of rules. On the one hand we have systems like d20 and Rolemaster which provide a vast list of spells, nicely delineated, and usually containing within them a kind of thaumatological theory. I loved ICE's Spell Law for many years-- mostly because it had so many spells. However in play, these kinds of systems become rigid, with little way to modify or improvise. There's also the problem of overkill inherent to them-- new spells, new rule look ups and a slowing down of play. On the other end of the spectrum with have systems which have complete flexibility, like True20 or even Mage: The Ascension. However, unless outside schemas apply (as in MTA) you can end up with a kind of flavorless set of mechanics. I worry about that sometimes with my versions of magic for Action Cards sometimes, but I try to make sure I add to the narrative to make the magic feel in keeping with the campaign. Libri Vidicos borrows from Harry Potter obviously, so magic is present, potent and can be wondrous. In the Third Continent Campaign, magic in both the arcane and divine form, ought to have a little more everyday, gritty and practical feel to it-- but the echoes of older, more powerful magics exist. I think I'm happier with a flexible system-- especially if I'm creating something from scratch. It simply represents less work-- less effort for time I can spend elsewhere on the design.

The other consideration I've mentioned before is balancing the power and utility of magic against the point investment of non-magic players. I want magic to be effective, in combat and outside. As an example, let's look at a potentially great system that ends up crippling mages, Gurps. Over the years Gurps has become more and more crunchier and granular. If people think 3e+ Dungeons and Dragons is a tactical and detail contest, they really ought to look at Gurps, which has become more and more that as well. I'd hoped the new edition would go in the other direction but it didn't. I at least had hope that the new Magic book for the system would fix the problems of the old version, but they essentially imported it in wholesale with only a couple of minor changes to match new mechanics. If we look at it from a point investment standpoint, the straight warrior has the advantage. They have to buy some physical stats and really one combat skill. The mages has to buy the physical stats to survive, plus IQ for their spell-casting, plus the spells. And that usually means multiple spells to have some variety and effectiveness, since they have to buy prerequisites (setting aside One School and other options). But that's a classic investment problem in games. But when we get to combat, a fighter can swing every round, doing let us say 2X damage, without any additional cost. A mage will not be doing that every round-- they have to prepare the spell for usually at least a round, but more if they want it to do damage even comparable with that of a warrior, which of course reduces that measured over several rounds. Then they have to make a spell-casting roll, and a spell-throwing attack roll.

So the relative advantages:


Melee Fighter-

*Less point investment


*No real resource expenditure to activate attacks (unless you use advanced fatigue rules which don't come into effect until many rounds later)

*Key stats are combat effective ones


*Better damage over time

Mage-


*Higher point investment

*Resource expenditure for casting


*More point investment required

*Additional skill roll often required


*Prep time required for nearly all effective spells

*Usually ranged


*More flexibility

Gurps clearly is trying to keep mages in line-- to remove the possibility of people goobing the system. It makes sense in the context, since Gurps comes out of a tactical wargame (Melee and Wizard) but it does create problems and frustrations. I'm sure a careful GM could manage that balance, but it does take jerry-rigging the system and more work than I'd like, even leaving aside how static the spell lists feel. Of course, on the opposite end, you have old Rolemaster where eventually you hit a level point and the mages becomes seriously overpowered and dangerous, especially compared to pure melee classes.

Anyway, those are always considerations going on in my head when I think about magic systems. I have a certain admiration for things like WoW where they've been able to achieve balance or at least a kind of parity over time with the classes. But of course, that's part of the trick, they're imposing changes from above, they have a large test group to shake out problems, and they have time to make and remake those changes-- and forum complaints aren't the same as unhappy players at the same table as you.

Wushu Campign Magic


That's the long way around to talk about what I'm working on for the magic system for the Wushu campaign. In working on this, I've referenced a couple of the existing Chinese Magic systems from other rpgs. Feng Shui didn't have much-- a very generic set up eight different elements. It has some flavor to it, but definitely more of the HK Action flik variety than Chinese or Wushu magic. Qin the Warring States has some interesting stuff, but it falls into the classic DnD discrete spells with overlap between different forms, high complexity, and many rolls. Still there's flavor there I plan to borrow. Weapons of the Gods...well, once again, I find this to be the greatest RPG I can't understand...well, next to Nobilis. There's flavor there and a complex set of ideas but as a whole it is hard to follow. So instead, I'm just going to borrow themes and ideas. I want a flexible system which has limits-- those limits being to keep the magic looking and feeling like the classic or at least cinematic version of Chinese/Wushu wizardry-- I'll avoid my favorite term sorcery here, since that has some darker connotations. At the same time I want mages to have parity with warriors.

So magic is divided into Five Schools-- for want of a better term-- each School has three classes of effects.

Alchemy:


The art of making potions and ointments. Scholars who focus on this will be able to prepare some ahead of time, but will also be able to call out some effects on the fly. For this mechanic, a character will be able to claim a number of prepared potions per session equal to their rank in Alchemy. The GM reserves the right to say a particularly powerful potion would count as two towards that. Generally Alchemical arts require a lab and resources. Since such alchemy is more ritual-- with necessary alignments and feng shui-- than science, an Alchemist can only work on one potion at a time.

*Effect Potions: Mostly non-instant and non-damaging effects. Healing potions for both wounds and Chi can be created. Healing potions heal a number of wounds equal to twice the Scholar's Alchemy rank. Potions can also be made to cure disease and other ill-effects. The Alchemist may also make potions which boost a stat or a group of stats. However these require a Resistance test if more than one is consumed. At skill three or better, the Alchemist can create a vaporization potion, allowing him to make Effect and Combat potions in a gaseous form.

*Combat Potions: Potions with an antagonistic effect. They can be delivered outside of combat, in drinks or the like. Common Effects include-- noxious substances for blinding, burning liquids for damage, acids for destroying armor, painful concoctions to cause damage or irritation over time, smoke bombs and the like. Thrown potions must be dodged-- they can only be successfully parried by adding style elements to evade the splatter. At higher skill levels, the Alchemist can make unstable explosives.

*Ointments (Buffs): These can't be retroprepared. Ointments take time to apply, at least fifteen minutes, so can't be activated in combat. Ointments also tend to attract dust and so can make the user dirty. Common Ointments include ones to ward off animals, increase defense against one kind of attack-- like blades-- or at advanced levels more kinds of injuries, to resist elemental effects or just the elements, to resist disease, increase attractiveness (which isn't noticeable), and the like.

Chi Flows:


The manipulation of the flow of Chi within oneself and also of others. The classic meditative form of magic.

*Healing and Protection: While most of these techniques are self-only a few can be used on others. Characters can perform battlefield healing, but it lacks the potency of a well-prepared potion or medicine. Healing touch can be done once per target and heals a number of wounds equal to the Scholar's Chi Flows Rank. Other kinds of healing, such as Chi restoration, disease curing, and condition clearing, has a higher difficulty than for Alchemical Arts. However, the character can balance a condition, putting it into stasis until more efficacious techniques can be used. These arts can be used on the self to resist disease, harden the skin, turn away certain substances and so on. Continuing effects must be prepared in advance, but the player may spend a point of Willpower to retroactively claim preparation. Only one continuing effect from this group may be active at one time.

*Boosts: These are self-only effects, but can be quite potent. The character can boost one stat, or with more difficulty, a set of stats. He can also modify his own abilities, making himself more limber to escape bonds, silent to evade detection, able to avoid the need to sleep or eat, and so on. Purely defensive abilities which grant soak or resistance fall under the Healing and Protection class. Continuing effects must be prepared in advance, but the player may spend a point of Willpower to retroactively claim preparation. Only one continuing effect from this group may be active at one time. The player is encouraged to come up with new options. Narrow effects will be more potent than broad ones.

*Tricks and Sealing: These effects revolve around manipulating the Chi of others. Offensively, they can be used to drain chi, seal powers, reduce stats, and the like. These are mostly instant combat effects, so don't require the meditative preparation of the other arts. The character can also manipulate and even cloak his own power if he wishes. Daoists have a number of other classic techniques within this-- the sending of thoughts at a distance, creating small illusions to trick the unwary, focused gestures to distract and confuse an enemy, or even engaging in direct Chi to Chi combat with other Scholars.

Predictionism:


Not only the ability to see the future, but to also read the present situation and calculate actions for best results. Predictionism requires time and ritual, but minor effects can read read on the fly.

*Divinations: This covers the basics of sense-- being able to read the past, see at a distance, divine the nature of omens, tell something of the future. Common effects include things like danger detection, dowsing, tracking sense, intuition, object reading and the like. It also covers the ability to do formal readings of the future, a common professional skill.

*Curses: Since the PC's are good, they don't actually inflict curses, instead they detect which interrelations currently exist and explicate them. Which curses the target based on their preexisting conditions. This can be used to cause minor problems-- like detecting that a person should avoid fighting in a particular place or against a certain kind of foe. For example, Scott could say that a warrior is governed more by the cool influence of water and fighting under a hot summer sky will tire him out more quickly. It could also be used in the inverse, to uncover that a target might be weak to a particular substance or person. Essentially players are encouraged to narratively define bonuses or penalties. A target should be limited to one of these kinds of effects at a time. Characters with higher Legends may be more resistant to these kinds of effects. Characters may also apply more active curses with more preparation-- usually based around the element most strongly present in the person. For example Water curses are about the separation of two things. So a Scholar might be able to cause a rift between two people with such a curse or even prevent a particular person from finding another (useful if someone's annoying or pursuing you).

*Influences: These are the inverse of Curses, providing beneficial situations and circumstances. It can also be used to detect and balance the feng shui of an area-- making it more harmonious or auspicious for a certain kind of activity. A more active use is to push persons towards events or meeting people, as the fates decree two things coming together.

Exorcism:


Covers abilities designed to fight against the supernatural and the corrupt: hopping vampires, animated corpses, ghosts, fox spirits, demons, evil wizards and the like. The Exorcist Scholar pits his strength against that of the forces of darkness. This means lots of resistance checks. The Exorcist may also create Talismans to grant these effects to others-- though at a reduced strength.

*Detections: The ability to detect malign magic. Sensing if a person is under an active curse, seeing if something is the work of a demon, crafting a mirror which will reveal a true form, striking to shed disguises, seeing the invisible, and so on.

*Wardings: Both the creating of defensive measures (shields to parry, additional soak) and also being able to set up barriers which dark forces cannot cross or touch. Useful for keeping a house clearly of baleful influences. Can also be used to trap demons and the like.

*Banishings: Spells which directly attack these supernatural foes. As with other directed combat spells, Scholars may apply style keywords they know to an attack. Or they may generally apply modifiers, like more damaging or split or the like, by these increase the difficulty of the spell-casting. Attack Spells have a rate of two-- but a Scholar may spend two actions on casting a spell, giving them +3 dice damage.

Elementalism:


The Chinese system has five elements: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. Each of these has certain non-literal associations in Wushu magical theory. You can find some discussion of that here-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu Xing. For the purpose of Elementalism, we're talking about the literal forms of the elements: firebolts, grappling vines, ice shards and so on. Scholars who take ranks in Elementalism can create effects in all five elements. However they should choose one they're really good in-- in which they're considered to have one higher rank (for power) and a +1 to all casting effects. They should choose another one they gain just a +1 to spell-casting with. Then they pick the two they'll will be weak in-- gaining a -1 rank and -1 casting to one, and a -1 to casting in the other. The fifth element remains neutral for them, with no modifiers. Characters may want to look at the elemental associations to see how those imbalances or weaknesses might affect their personality (or vice versa). It is possible to shift those modifiers over the course of the campaign, as events shift the balance of one's internal chi types.

* Offensive: Your classic attack spells-- anything that emulates an attack. It can be done as a directed attack or else as a supplement (like calling flame to your blade). Directed attack spells do damage equal to Elementalism Rank + Wits (just as swords have a base damage + Str). Mages may apply style keywords they know to an attack. Or they may generally apply modifiers, like more damaging or split or the like, by these increase the difficulty of the spell-casting. Attack Spells have a rate of two-- but a mage may spend two actions on casting a spell, giving them +3 dice damage.

*Defensive: Used to counter offensive spells or to set up walls or shields. Continuing effects against physical attacks are modest-- adding +2 Soak or +1 DR. Continuing defensive effects against unusual or magical effects will be stronger. Scholars may use their Defensive skill as a Parry, based on [Elementalism: Defensive + Wits]. This has a rate of 3 and costs no Chi to activate. Alternately, the Scholar may spend a point of Willpower in combat to allow him to use this to Parry Unusual (typically ranged) for the duration of the combat.

*Shaping: The ability to shape or manipulate the elements in question in a non-attack way. So for fire, it might be about putting out or manipulating flames. For metal is might involve warping or shattering. For earth it could be used to bury oneself or raise a dust-storm. For water the character would breathe underwater, create a fog or freeze a pond. For wood the character to increase growth, bend branches to him, or cover tracks.

How does this all work?

The Scholar has to buy two things to cast magic--


1.Rank in a School which determines the Power of his spell-casting. This is used to calculate damage, strength, and what number things need to resist against.

2.Skill in one or more of the classes under a school. This is used for all spell-casting rolls for that school.

Each School uses a Primary Stat:


Perception for Predictionism

Wits for Chi Flow and Elementalism


Intelligence for Exorcism and Alchemy

Casting a spell takes an action. It costs one Chi to cast a spell. If the spell is an Attack or Offensive spell, it has a Rate of Two. If it is a Defensive or other Spell it has a Rate of Three.

The Scholar must roll a number of successes equal to the difficulty of the spell. The spell-casting roll is the Attack roll if the character is attacking-- the caster needs at least two successes then, one for the spell difficulty and one for hitting the target. Mages may apply their combat style keywords to their spells freely. They may also apply the classic modifiers to spells (many, selective, etc) each one increasing the difficulty by one. If a Scholar fails a spell-casting roll, they may not cast again that round.

Base damage for an Attack Spell which takes armor into account is (School Rank) + (Primary Stat). Mages may spend an extra action on Spell Prep to grant +3 damage.

That's the basics-- I'll do another pass over on the draft later in the week. Consider this a very rough draft.