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Tempestas (England, UK)

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The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream
The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream
by Paulo Coelho
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

48 of 59 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time or money, 22 May 2008
This book offers its readers the kind of pseudo-spirituality that appeals to fairly well heeled westerners.

Try telling the starving millions in the Third World that "when a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person realise their dream". Try telling them (and those in oppressive regimes where you can get tortured for reading the wrong book, or expressing the wrong opinion) that "most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place." Try telling the families dying of starvation that "no matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world."

This shallow nonsense is fine for the thirty somethings sitting over their Starbucks coffee during their lunch break who feel that There Is Something Missing from their life. Oh, wow, the universe really is proceeding as it should. I'm important, although I don't know it. Maybe I should listen to the Language of the World (whatever the heck that's supposed to mean) and buy a few more self-help books, thus helping those smiling self-help writers make an even larger annual profit.

There's nothing special or valuable in this book. Even the punchline has been lifted from older stories. It had sold over a million and a half copies, which is sad or funny, depending on how you look at it.

I don't recommend that you make it a million and a half plus one.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 11, 2012 8:56 PM GMT

Ogdoadic Magick: Initiation in a Modern Mystical Order
Ogdoadic Magick: Initiation in a Modern Mystical Order
by Norman R. Kraft
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.91

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long overdue introduction to Ogdoadic magick, 29 April 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The previous reviewer (Pieter "Toypom") has already covered the contents of this book. I would like to add that it is a readable, sensible, modern introduction to the Aurum Solis path, in itself a viable alternative to the Golden Dawn. It is also a more accessible starting point than the works of Aurum Solis authors Melita Denning and Osborne Phillips.

There is obviously going to be an overlap in all western magickal systems, but the Aurum Solis offers a streamlined version of a path towards Self Transformation. It is pleasantly undogmatic (suggested magickal reading includes Crowley, Fortune, Gray, and Kraig), Greek replaces Hebrew in many of the rituals, and some of the more complicated Golden Dawn luggage (the innumerable grades, for example) are replaced by the much simpler structure of three Halls.

Apart from Denning and Phillips no other author has, to my knowledge, provided an introductory study course for the Aurum Solis. This book is long overdue, and if you still haven't decided on a path, it is well worth reading. Even if you are already on your Way it is still a worthwhile addition to any magickal library.

The Occult: The Ultimate Book for Those Who Would Walk with the Gods
The Occult: The Ultimate Book for Those Who Would Walk with the Gods
by Colin Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.24

7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ..... but treat with caution, 23 April 2008
I opened this book at random in the library and there were two glaring mistakes on the first page I looked at ..... the date of Aleister Crowley's death (although to be fair it was reported correctly elsewhere) and a sweeping comment to the effect that "all magicians are exhibitionists". No, Mr Wilson, it's simply that the self-publicisers are the only ones you hear about.

So don't believe all you read here. Mr Wilson has some very strange ideas, and puts them over as if they were facts. He believes in something called "Faculty X". He believes that a medieval monk could fly about and land on the high altar. He believes that stage mentalist Peter Hurkos really could read minds and so-called "medium" D D Home (because he was never caught out) was "genuine".

The book was first written in the 1950s, and since then it has been repeatedly shown that intelligence is no bar to believing nonsense, when that nonsense somehow appeals to your imagination. Just check out the scientists who endorsed Uri Geller.

Sadly no-one can levitate, read minds, or speak with the dead, and I would question whether people who believe these things are facts are really qualified to write an impartial book. "The Occult" is articulate and, when Wilson is dealing with historical figures, interesting ..... although I find it odd that he deals with Doctor Dee and doesn't mention the Enochian language, and with Crowley and doesn't mention the Thoth tarot.

So, read with caution, and remember that there are better surveys of the magical world out there.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 21, 2010 6:42 PM GMT

The Punisher [DVD] [2004] [2005]
The Punisher [DVD] [2004] [2005]
Dvd ~ Thomas Jane
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.62

4.0 out of 5 stars Violent fun!, 7 Mar 2008
If you accept this film for what it is -- the cinematic adaptation of a violent comic book -- it's great fun to watch. Tom Jane makes a believable revenge-seeking Punisher, and villain John Travolta does his impression of every Godfather figure you've ever seen.

You're not supposed to take it seriously, it's just a blood thirsty romp, with some nicely quirky supporting characters thrown in. Who wouldn't like to be as indestructible as the hero, not to mention having his spectacular abs? Sit back and enjoy!

Kabbalah, Magic and the Great Work of Self-transformation
Kabbalah, Magic and the Great Work of Self-transformation
by Lyam Thomas Christopher
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.90

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Serious Students Only, 29 Feb 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you want to mutter spells in order to get a lover, or raise a demon to chastise your errant spouse or the local school bully, look elsewhere. There's none of that nonsense here. This is a sensible, clearly written, modern exposition of the Golden Dawn system. It's described as a complete course, but if you want to use it seriously as your only training manual you will need to buy a copy of Regardie's "Golden Dawn" as well.

You will also need a lot of self discipline and a lot of time. Lyam Christopher expects you to work, and work hard. There are excercises and check lists to help you along the way but Self Transformation -- and that's what this system is all about -- isn't a fast process, or a particularly easy one. If your idea of magical training involves a couple of months of sporadic reading and then calling yourself Practissimus Doo-Dah 7th degree, or whatever, don't bother with this book. The author believes that encouraging rapid progress through the grades was one of the reasons that the original Golden Dawn fell apart. His Neophyte Curriculum, for example, has to be practised for six months, working at it every day. And that's just the start of your journey......

What if you don't use the Golden Dawn system? What if you don't want to buy Regardie's book? There's still plenty here for you. It's an ideal text for beginners and more advanced students alike, and I found it a wonderfully useful addition to my magical library. You can extract the excercises that you need, and there's a wealth of information and sheer magical common sense to enjoy. Compared with some of the nonsense on offer today it's a real breath of fresh air

Van Helsing (2004) Single Disc Edition [DVD]
Van Helsing (2004) Single Disc Edition [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hugh Jackman
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.65

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Crash! Bang! Wallop! But not much else., 13 Feb 2008
This is a film that tries to do many things, but only really manages to be incredibly noisy. There are nods to other movies (including James Bond and M) and an attempt to marry horror with wit (not easy, but watch Buffy the equally famous Vampire Slayer to see how it's done).

Hugh Jackman plays it fairly straight in the title role, Richard Roxburgh hams it up as Dracula and Kate Beckinsale struts her stuff in ridiculous heels, a wasp waisted corset and a blouse that tries to make her look bare breasted.

Unfortunately the thin storyline (haunted vampire hunter Jackman wants to kill Dracula. So does Kate) is not helped by the thin script, and being battered by CGI effects and the sound track ended up making me feel slightly mind boggled and just plain disappointed.

If you want to turn off your brain and simply admire the clever technology, give it a go. If you want substance, character and something to get your teeth into....give it a miss.

Land of the Pharaohs [DVD] [1955] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Land of the Pharaohs [DVD] [1955] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Jack Hawkins

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful kitsch rubbish!, 21 Jan 2008
It's so awful, it's fun. Pharoah in lurex, Joan Collins in a pointy bra, thousands of extras in god knows what (freeze frame and check out their costumes) They toil to build a pyramid (we know that's all the Egyptians ever did, don't we, and that's all this film is about, really) and to start with "they sang" but a few years later the novelty apparently wore off and out came the whips (well, this is Hollywood).

The details are as unhistorical as the costumes, the dialogue is mostly wooden, and one can only speculate why Jack Hawkins agreed to play Pharoah (I hope they paid him handsomely) but despite all this it's worth watching just to see how far historical "epics" have advanced since the fifties. And Joan Collins sashays about nicely as the naughty Queen.

Sit back and enjoy, and then be thankful that they don't make 'em like this anymore.

Sin City (Collector's Edition, Recut & Extended) [DVD] [2005]
Sin City (Collector's Edition, Recut & Extended) [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Bruce Willis
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: £14.74

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, it's worth the wait, 10 Dec 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The collector's two disc DVD edition of Sin City has finally made it to PAL, and in a beautifully designed tin box, too. I never thought tin could be so sexy! The Region 2 version has all the extras the NTSC discs have, except the Sin-Chroni-City Interactive Game. The package doesn't include the graphic novels either, but real fans will have those anyway.

Are the extras worth the money? Well, I certainly think so. If you're interested in graphics you get a fascinating insight into how Sin City became the stunning, original work of modern film art that it most assuredly is. If you're interested in film making you get commentaries from director Rodriguez, and from Quentin Tarantino and Frank Miller, plus Rodriguez's specials on disc 2. If you're into props, special effects make-up and cars, there's something here for you. You even get Bruce Willis (and John Laurie!) performing at the wrap party.

Plus you get the film, of course. And that lovely tin box. Mmmmmm!

Voodoo Rituals: A User's Guide
Voodoo Rituals: A User's Guide
by Heike Owusu
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Voodoo? No do!, 7 Nov 2007
"Demystify powerful voodoo rituals" says the blurb. They should be sued under the trades descriptions act. There is nothing about real voodoo in this book, and anyone who thinks it's "informative" should check out The Idiot's Guide, which is full of good stuff. This is mainly a mish-mash of wiccan and new age, with the names of the voodoo lwa thrown in for good measure.

I borrowed it from the library, I'm happy to say. I should hate to have spent my own money on it.

Tarot for the Green Witch
Tarot for the Green Witch
by Ann Moura
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tarot by Numbers, 23 Oct 2007
This book gives the impression that it's been cobbled together in order to make money. The author uses cards from several different packs and gives her own interpretations, with a few "green" and "pagan" comments added....well,this is entitled Tarot for the GREEN Witch.

Half of the book consists of cross references : ""8W/QC News from a distance about language skills/insight/determined swift action"; "Moon/2W Earned success/fulfillment from trusting instincts/manifesting subconscious". You get the idea? Very "tarot by numbers".

If you're a reader already, you certainly won't need this. If you're thinking of learning, get a book that teaches YOU to READ, not repeat someone else's ideas by rote.

If you're looking for a good, green, earth based, British pagan tarot set, check out the Sacred Circle tarot, one of the packs this author uses. The black and white pictures given here don't do the pack justice, and neither do the small coloured pictures on the book's cover. The Major Arcana in the Sacred Circle Tarot is a work of art in it's own right. The book that comes with the pack is excellent. Check it out.

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