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Tempestas (England, UK)

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Sun Dancing: A Medieval Vision: The Rock
Sun Dancing: A Medieval Vision: The Rock
by Geoffrey Moorhouse
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating window into the past...., 23 Oct. 2010
Using Skellig Michael (an inhospitable rocky island off the south west coast of Ireland) as his anchor, Geoffrey Moorhouse has opened a fascinating window into the past.

If you are interested in the rise (and decline) of Celtic Christianity, and discovering what it might have been like to be a medieval Celtic monk during the period from CE 588 to CE 1222 -- let this book be your guide.

This is no dry, academic tome. Using known evidence as a base, Moorhouse first gives a series of fictional vignettes spanning Skellig Michael's 800 years as a monastery, and follows it with fifty short chapters detailing a comphrehensive coverage of the historical period on which the fiction was based.

Church traditions, Irish mythology, the Viking raids, internal politics, the lives of various saints, Celtic art and Irish history, this is learning and discovery made easy. The blurb rightly describes it as a "remarkable feat of imagination and reconstruction".

It's also a very good read!


The Big Book of Tai Chi: Build Health Fast in Slow Motion
The Big Book of Tai Chi: Build Health Fast in Slow Motion
by Bruce Frantzis
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not "how to" but "all about" ...., 9 Oct. 2010
I'm slightly mystified as to why "Madge" says this book "tells you nothing". It tells you a great deal .... although it does depend on what you were expecting.

You will not find any little picture sequences showing you how to do a particular tai chi set, but you will find a mine of information (the details spelled out already by "briancookman") about what tai chi is, how you can expect to benefit from it, the difference between the styles, and the answers to a host of other questions a beginner is likely to want to ask, and even a more experienced practitioner might be curious about.

Considering the second hand price, it's a bargain for anyone "into" (or wondering whether to "get into") the world of tai chi.


Samurai Zen
Samurai Zen
by Scott Shaw
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a busy fellow!, 27 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Samurai Zen (Paperback)
As well as being "one of the pre-eminent Martial Arts masters in the Western world", returning to Asia "frequently to document obscure aspects of Asian culture", and also lecturing and giving seminars (that's what it says in the blurb) Mr Shaw seems to have spent much of his time (although it doesn't mention this in the book) acting in, and become generally involved in, a host of fascinating (and no doubt very cultural) films with titles like Vampires in Vienna, Naked Avenger, Rock n' Roll Cops, Pocket Ninjas and (one of my favourites) Max Hell - Frog Warrior. You'll find a lot more titles (TV, too) on the Internet Movie Database.

This varied career path doesn't sound to me as if it would allow too much time to put in the years of dedication and practise required to become a "pre-eminent Western Master". Neither does the book give the names, or any information, about the teachers ("some of the greatest of our time") that Mr Shaw has apparently studied with. Most martial artists are usually proud and even honoured to acknowledge their sensei. Claiming to have been "initiated into Yogic and Buddhist sects", again without any details, is another favourite (and useless) attempt to sound qualified and mystical.

All of the "pro" reviews are from "a customer", an anonymous title that allowed anyone (including the author) to write as many reviews as they pleased, a practise that Amazon has now happily abandoned.

I was given this book by a friend who knew I was interested in iaido and Zen. I think they wasted their money.

If you're serious about these subjects, don't waste yours.


Feast of Light: Celebrations for the Seasons of Life Based on the Egyptian Goddess
Feast of Light: Celebrations for the Seasons of Life Based on the Egyptian Goddess
by Normandi Ellis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.26

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and useful, 19 Sept. 2010
This attractively designed and produced large paperback offers an Egyptian based alternative to Wicccan/Druid yearly festivals.

The sub-title "Celebrations for the Seasons of Life based on Egyptian Goddess Mysteries" gives you a hint of what to expect. There are over thirty celebrations detailed here. They can be used to give a traditional seasonal structure to your year, and also to mark the various activities and events that life throws at you -- some practical, like buying a new car (The Blessing of the Fleets by Isis) others unavoidable (The Lamentations of Isis for mourning and loss); some involving friends and family (Bast Goes Forth from Bubastis for naming ceremonies and motherhood), others for personal development (The Brilliant Festival of the Lights of Neith for creativity and divination).

Ellis does not spell out formal rituals, but tells the background story of a particular festival and the detiies involved, then suggests activities to help you discover the spirit and ambience of the celebration itself. She combines a "passion for hieroglyphs and other original sources of history, myths, and pageantry of Egypt's sacred past" with a poetic understanding of modern spiritual needs.

You could read this simply as a compendium of Egyptian information, but if you don't use it as a practical manual as well I think you will be depriving yourself of a valuable personal resource.


Rebel in the Soul: An Ancient Egyptian Dialogue Between a Man and His Destiny
Rebel in the Soul: An Ancient Egyptian Dialogue Between a Man and His Destiny
by Bika Reed
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Deep and inspiring, 19 Sept. 2010
There is a lot more in this short text than at first meets the eye. Translated from the Berlin Papyrus (thought to be over 4,000 years old) it is ostensibley the heartfelt cry of a man contemplating suicide but is believed to be (and probably is) a initiatic text, meant for students who were approaching the state that modern magical practicioners often call The Abyss.

Mine is the 1978 Inner Traditions version of the book, half being the text (beautifully set out and illustrated - although it would have been nicer in colour) and the other half a comphrehensive commentary and the author's hieroglyphic transcript of the papyrus.

Essential reading for anyone interested in Egyptian spirituality.


Awakening Osiris: Egyptian Book of the Dead
Awakening Osiris: Egyptian Book of the Dead
by E. Normandi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Egyptian spirituality, 17 Sept. 2010
As the other reviewers have mentioned, this is not a hieroglyph by hieroglyph translation, although it is interesting to compare Ellis with the often awkward and spiritually dry academic versions of the so-called Book of the Dead.

This is prose poetry, a personal and beautiful interpretation, written by someone who is clearly in tune with the spirit of ancient Egypt. You can read and enjoy it on several levels -- purely as poetry, or as a prompt for meditation and ritual. It is as relevant as any spiritual text, from any culture and age, and will inspire you, teach you, and be a companion for life.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (PS2)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (PS2)
Offered by CDandVinyl
Price: £12.92

4.0 out of 5 stars The next best thing to attending Hogwarts, 10 Sept. 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
If you're looking for button mashing combinations or puzzles that would tax a Mensa member -- this isn't the game for you. But if you're a Potter fan, and you'd like to "be" Harry at Hogwarts, you'll probably find The Order of the Phoenix is great fun. You can roam about without restrictions, do magic, exchange words with other pupils (friendly and otherwise) and complete tasks while you try and gather the members of Dumbledore's Army together for the final showdown.

Maybe it is a bit slow, and some people obviously think the duels are a let down and the final battle is disappointing, but at least you don't keep getting killed and have to go back to square one. None of the tasks are really difficult, and you can do them in any sequence. You don't have to complete anything in order to progress to another level - there aren't any levels. If you get fed up, just save your current progress and come back later. The entire game is always there, ready and waiting for you.

This is a nice trip into the Hogwarts fantasy. I enjoyed it!


Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley
Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley
by Lawrence Sutin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Thelemites and Crowley scholars, 2 Sept. 2010
Whether you think this is the best Crowley biography or not it's certainly a "must read" for anyone seriously interested in the man and/or his magick .... but be warned, if all you want is a quick tabloid style bio with a lot of "sex and satanism" you'll be bored after the first few pages.

Comphrehensive and admirably unbiased this fat book gives you as balanced a picture of Crowley's often complicated life and equally complicated magickal philosophy as is possible today when so many of the details suffer from exaggeration and hearsay -Crowley's death being a classic example.

You should certainly understand Crowley better after reading Sutin, even though you still might not like him.


Finding the Way: A Tao for Down-to-earth People
Finding the Way: A Tao for Down-to-earth People
by Susan Montag
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Desirable modern version of a classic, 26 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have to admit that I love the Tao te Ching. It contains more wisdom in its sparse epigrams than a book shop full of the cheesey self-help, cod philosophy tomes that currently flood the market. Until now my favourite version has been Timothy Freke's elegant translation, but now Finding the Way is up there in tandem with it.

Susan Sontag is not, on her own admission, "a Chinese scholar" and her relationship with the Tao te Ching is "personal rather than academic". Don't let that put you off. Finding the Way has obviously been produced as a true labour of love. It's modern without being in the least jarring. Sontag has striven for clarity. She has let the Ching speak to her, but has interpreted it in ways that she hopes will "maintain the spirit" of the original while making it more accessible to "the modern world" and a "wide range of readers".

She has succeeded. This is a great version to buy, as a gift or for yourself. It's nicely illustrated with black and white photographs and will give you food for thought and spiritual sustenance for many years to come.


The Probationer's Handbook
The Probationer's Handbook
by George T. Mortimer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.88

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for complete beginners......, 26 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This has been written by a practising Thelemite for other prospective Thelemites. It assumes that you have at least a basic knowledge of ritual magick -- genuine magick, that is, not the all too popular new-age "draw a pentagram and find your perfect lover" variety -- and that you are drawn to Crowley's philosophy and teaching.

If you fulfil these requirements, it delivers what it promises. As Mortimer points out, Crowley's original 1902 syllabus "has become somewhat dated, not so much with respect to his training but more concerning its structure." Here you will find the structure refined into a practical course of instruction suitable for a 21st century neophyte.

Don't be put off by the fact that the book has only 100 pages. The print is small and it's packed with more information than you often get in much fatter, commercially printed tomes. The author is forthright, often caustic, and refreshingly honest about his own magickal achievements. He doesn't claim to be an almighty Magus who has all the answers, but a fellow practicioner, writing from personal experience.


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