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Book Review – The Vision of the Pylons by J. Daniel Gunther

April, 2019

Book Review
The Visions of the Pylons
A Magical Record of Exploration in the Starry Abode
By: J. Daniel Gunther
Ibis Press

The author, Mr. Gunther follows Aleister Crowley’s method of enlightenment as put forth by Mr. Crowley in his publication: “The Equinox.” Mr. Gunther used the method labeled “Scientific Illuminism” to explore the Egyptian funerary text called “The Book of Pylons” (or Gates). It is the nocturnal journey of the deceased on the Solar Bark in the Starry Abode. What Mr. Gunther has written is a book that is a record of the meditations the author went through and his exploration of the Starry Abode. These meditations happened between 1975 in 1977.

The subject matter is interesting to read. (I think this is another rabbit hole I am getting ready to jump into.) While the subject matter is interesting the meditations are a little difficult to read.

Mr. Gunther seems to be a fan of footnotes; there are footnotes on almost every page. Sometimes the footnotes take up half the page. A lot of the footnotes contain Hebrew lettering, zodiac Glyph, and notes on Sephiroth. (I admit I am not familiar with Hebrew lettering or anything on the Sephiroth. So, I would read the book, and then look stuff up online.)

I
did find this to be an exciting book to read. I found myself reading
the passage, then going to the footnote, and then rereading the
passage in several places of this book, after looking stuff up.

I am not well versed in the Kabbalah, so this book piqued my interest in learning more about that matter. And at the same time, his book confused me with the combination of Biblical references, Egyptian references, and Jewish references. I can see how they all work together. Sometimes the way the footnotes read it made my head spin for a second or two.

There
are six different appendices in this book. The first is the name of
the Pylons; these are color pages that have a different path of the
Pylons. The second is the Sigils of the Guardians of the Pylons.
The Sigil of the Guardians can be a bit confusing, because it is a
grid of the phonetic sounds for the letters of the ancient Egyptian
alphabet, and there are 13 of those. There is a section on engraving
images into a wax disc. The last two appendices are a full ritual
complete with a recipe for saffron cakes, honey, and milk. The
appendix on the Signs of Invoking and Banishing is extensive and has
more than 30 signs.

The
researcher and student in me found this book fascinating. The student
in me also realized this is something else I need to explore more
deeply..

The Visions of the Pylons: A Magical Record of Exploration in the Starry Abode on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Dawn
Borries
 loves
reading and was thrilled to become a Reviewer for PaganPages.Org.
Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past
25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook
page. If you are interested in a reading you can reach her on
Facebook @eagleandunicorn.

Notes from the Apothecary

February, 2019

Notes from the Apothecary: Cumin

Cumin
is a fragrant spice in the apiaceae family, meaning it’s related to
carrots, parsley, and the similar looking caraway. We use the seed of
the plant in both cooking and magic.

Cumin
has been used for thousands of years, and most likely originated near
Syria, based on evidence from nearby excavation sites. Cumin was a
table spice in Ancient Greece, a tradition which continues today in
Morocco. The Romans adopted the use of cumin, and Spanish and
Portuguese colonists eventually brought the spice to the Americas,
where it is enjoyed in a range of cuisines.

The
Kitchen Garden

Cumin
is one of those mesmerising flavours that simply doesn’t taste like
anything else. When I was first learning about cooking Indian food, I
had not realised that cumin was such a commonly used ingredient.
Adding it to my store cupboard changed my life. Most curries I cook
now have whole cumin seeds fried until they pop and release their
smoky, earthy goodness into the hot oil. Every chilli con carne is
blessed with my kitchen’s holy triumvirate of cumin, coriander and
turmeric, making the house smell simply divine.

Whole
seeds and ground cumin are both readily available in grocery stores
and supermarkets. I’ve found that the best value way to buy cumin
is to visit an Indian or Mexican store or wholesaler, as shops that
don’t specialise tend to bump the price up.

The
Apothecary

Cumin
seeds are used as a natural medicine all over the world. Alleged
cumin medical properties include being an anti-inflammatory,
diuretic, antispasmodic, carminative, aromatic, digestive, and an
emmenagogue. In their book about healthy seeds, Danny Sarmiento
writes that cumin helps prevent the harmful effects of stress on the
body. That must be why I love a cumin heavy curry on a weekend after
a hard week!

Sarmiento
also states that cumin can offer relief for asthma sufferers as it
may dilate the airways. There’s also some indication that the seeds
may be effective for treating diabetes.

The
seeds are filled with nutritious vitamins and minerals including iron
and manganese, so they’re a great addition to just about anyone’s
diet.

The
Witch’s Kitchen

Cunningham
lists cumin in his encyclopaedia of magical herbs. He states the
spice is masculine, associated with Mars and fire, which makes sense
when you think of how this spice is often used in hot curries and
Mexican food! Heat is definitely linked to cumin. But I also find it
earthy, and grounding.

According
to Cunningham, the spice is used for protection magic, to ensure
fidelity, for exorcism and to prevent theft. Bread baked with cumin
seeds won’t be stolen by spirits, so if you follow this
superstition, don’t leave cumin-spiced bread out for the fair folk!
Cumin can be burnt with frankincense to create a powerful protective
incense. Scatter cumin and salt to create a protective boundary.
Carry in a pouch at handfastings to drive negative thoughts or
energies away from the happy couple. Or add some to the wine later
on, for an exciting wedding night!

Home
and Hearth

Mix
cumin seeds with fine salt. Walk the boundary of your home at Imbolc
or the Spring Equinox. Sprinkle the protective mix while you
visualise your home as a safe and special place. Imagine the sun’s
returning light suffusing your home with a warm, comforting glow. The
salt and spice mix will keep negativity at bay, whilst allowing love
entry, and encouraging loyalty.

I
Never Knew…

There’s
an old superstition that you should curse and shout as you sow cumin
seeds, to ensure a good crop.

All images via
Wikipedia or Wikimedia commons.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is
a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestorsand Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Notes from the Apothecary

November, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Fenugreek

Hailing from Western Asia, Fenugreek is an odd tasting herb with some interesting history. Seeds have been found in archaeological digs dating back to 4000 BC and were even found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. Called Greek Hay, Bird’s Foot and Sickly Fruit, the herb is considered to be a bit of a panacea, being a tonic for everything from abscesses to kidney problems.

 

The Kitchen Garden

Fenugreek is an annual herb which means it grows, flowers and seeds all in the same year and does not return the following season. The plants can grow to two feet tall and has little white or yellow flowers. It’s a pretty but unassuming addition to any herb garden

You will find Fenugreek in Indian shops under the name Methi in either seed or leaf form. It’s widely used in cooking, particularly in Eastern dishes. By itself it has a bitter taste, particularly the seeds, but within a dish it adds levels of depth which can’t readily be described. The seeds are high in protein, calcium, fiber, iron and various other essential minerals so make a great addition to your diet. It is possible that if you have a nut allergy, you may also be allergic to fenugreek so approach with caution if that is the case.

The greens are highly nutritious and can be eaten fresh or used dried as an herb. The seeds can be sprouted in a little water and the sprouts are tasty and very good for you.

 

The Apothecary

One of the most common uses of fenugreek is as a galactagogue. This sci-fi sounding word means an herb that promotes and boosts breast milk production. When my own milk supply was depleting due to my youngest weaning, I took a couple of teaspoons of fenugreek seeds every day and it seemed to help. It’s most palatable to make a tea out of them, which you can sweeten or add other herbs into in order to make it taste a little better. I ate the seeds straight down and they are bitter!

Other modern-day uses for fenugreek include relief for digestive issues, increasing libido and even fighting baldness.

Recent research has shown that fenugreek may be useful in sufferers of diabetes, but this research is ongoing. It may also be useful for relieving menstrual cramps and the symptoms of menopause.

 

The Witch’s Kitchen

Cunningham tells us fenugreek is a masculine herb, but look at all the medical uses that relate specifically to women’s issues such as breastfeeding and the menopause. If the plant is indeed masculine, then it’s a great example of how men and women need to help each other out, rather than bemoaning our differences. This male plant is definitely a feminist!

The plant is associated with Mercury which links it to communication, and also wealth and commerce. Fenugreek is therefore useful when crafting spells to do with business, jobs and joint ventures.

In Judaism, fenugreek is eaten during Rosh Hashana and is associated with increase. This is more about increasing our own talents and skills rather than the increase of wealth, but they can be closely linked depending on how you look at it.

Fenugreek is known as a ‘lucky legume’, as it is a member of the bean family and provides protection and attracts luck.

 

Home and Hearth

Scatter fenugreek seeds around the threshold to your home to ensure any who enter can only speak the truth.

Carry a pouch of fenugreek seeds in your pocket when attending an interview or important meeting to ensure you speak your mind. Just be sure you have nothing to hide, as you may be compelled to be honest about things you didn’t want to reveal!

Steep Fenugreek seeds in boiling water then add this water to whatever you use to clean your house with. This will attract material wealth into your home.

Combine fenugreek with alfalfa to craft oil or powder which will attract money. Just be on the look out for mischief, as Mercury is known to play pranks and cause messages to be mixed or muddled.

 

I Never Knew…

In ancient Egypt, a paste made of fenugreek seeds was used in the embalming process of dead bodies.

 

Image credit: Fenugreek from the Vienna Dioscurides, public domain; Freshly Sprouted Qasuri Methi by Miansari66; Junge Pflanzen des Bockshornklees by Yak

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Learning Lenormand

August, 2018

Notes from My Lenormand Journal

Thirty years ago, when I received my first set of Tarot cards, I read the cards nearly every day. I didn’t have a separate journal for my Tarot readings in those days – I just put the readings into my regular day-to-day diary. My life was very melodramatic in those days and the various readings reflected the histrionics of my daily life. Mostly I used the Celtic Cross spread but I would try out any spread that I discovered in my study of the Tarot. I was sure that I would eventually find the answer.

Well, here we are all these years later and I am still looking for the answer – or maybe it would be more correct to say that I am looking for answers in general. Naturally some of the questions have changed radically in the past thirty years. But some questions – really, the most important and vital ones – have not changed at all. They have only become more critical and far-reaching.

In the mid-1990’s, a very dear friend gave me a beautiful bound journal with a marbled cover of a glorious royal blue. That was the start of the separation of my Tarot journal and my day-to-day journal. There are pros and cons to this. I like being able to see the divinatory reading in regards to what happened that very day – having the two posts side by side can be very instructive. But having all those Tarot readings – or any kind of reading – broke up the diary’s natural prosaic flow. I have maintained two journals to this day.

These days, I do a three-card Tarot reading and then a five-card Lenormand reading. While I am focusing on the Lenormand in this essay, I must say that I am constantly amazed at how the two systems reinforce the same message. Sometimes I pull a Rune from my bag and nine times out of ten, whatever Rune I pull has the same divinatory message! Somedays I go through all my various means of divination to see if I am getting the same vibes from all the sources! And sometimes they all add up to the same one message. BUT – sometimes it’s just a big fucking jumble of nothing. It’s really tempting to say, the hell with all of this, and not write it down in the journal. I mean – that all takes time and time is not something I have a whole lot of nowadays. The thing is – just because you can’t see the message today doesn’t mean you won’t see the message tomorrow or next week or next year. Or even five or ten years from now. It can be argued that being able to “see” a divination five years after the reading is dubious at best but on the other hand, it’s all a learning experience, isn’t it? And sometimes the cards are talking about events far in the future. It’s human nature to see everything in the here and now.

The past several weeks, I have been pulling these cards over and over again:

Of course, these five cards were pulled with other cards. These cards are just showing up more often in the daily 5-card spread than the rest of the cards in the pack. And given that in the Lenormand, card relationship – the combination of cards to create a single meaning – is more important that a card landing on a certain point, just looking at these cards in and of themselves really doesn’t say very much. For instance, the 5 Tree 7 of Hearts card has come up fifteen times in the last twenty-two days, which is a pretty good percentage. But that doesn’t say anymore than I have been concerned with family and health issues, which are paramount right now. It’s the combination of the tree card with the surrounding cards that enhance and define its meaning. On July 5, the 5 Tree 7 of Hearts card was winged by 8 Coffin 9 of Diamonds and 36 Cross 6 of Clubs. Given the state of my father’s health on that day, this was a totally apt reading – his bad health and the feeling that no matter what happened, it was going to be difficult for all of us in the family.

26 Book 10 of Diamonds has been paired with 21 Mountain 8 of Clubs seven times in the last two weeks. I think this is pointing to the various problems I’m having with my writing – not a writer’s block per se – although that would be the obvious idea. But in my case, it’s not so much that I have writer’s block but I am so horrendously busy that I don’t have the time to write – the mountain is keeping me from my book. Again – the tree is another modifier – it’s family issues that are pressing on me. My father’s ill health – my son, who recently moved back home and now I have triple the housework that I used to have – and sibling drama that doesn’t really concern me but is nonetheless part of my life.

Isn’t 32 Moon 8 of Hearts a beautiful card? Caitlín Matthews says that this card is a “false friend” from the “Tarot World”. She writes,

“In Tarot, the Moon means illusions, mutability, or anxiety – words that are better expressed in Lenormand by Clouds. Stork, and Birds,

respectively. Lenormand Moon is about work, honor, recognition, and creativity. This is because Moon governs the sublunary regions

and is symbiotic with the life of our planet. Everything that the Moon shines upon is under its influence. Beware of assigning disordered

emotions to the Moon, which has more to do with the emotional satisfaction arising from the act of our hands.” (Matthews, 83-84)

But again, in context of my personal life right now, the Moon card in its Lenormand aspect is perfectly apt. I am concerned with issues of work – writing, specifically – but also my collage work – and of course the additional housework with my son now living here!

Naturally, of course, 25 Ring Ace of Clubs represents my commitment to all of the above – my son, my family, my work and my divinatory studies. This card has been paired with each of these cards more than once in every way imaginable.

Do keep a Divinatory Journal? What methods do you use the most? Do you use the Lenormand Oracle? What cards show up the most often? What relationship do you have with those cards?

Until next month, Brightest Blessings!

The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards

References

Matthews, Caitlín. The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books, 2014.

***

About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.