Here’s a recent Q&A at AllExperts.com about ghosts. Seems I’ve been getting a lot of these lately…
- Top 10 Ghost Ships (uniquedaily.com)
- We Need Your Help! (purestrange.wordpress.com)
- Henrik the Ghost (sporeflections.wordpress.com)
- Our New Site ‘Ghost Vids’ (purestrange.wordpress.com)
- Ghost Encounters (mysteryofiniquity.wordpress.com)
- Are Ghosts Real? (socyberty.com)
- “Ghost Rider 2″ will beat the flaming ass of “Ghost Rider” [Rumors] (io9.com)
- The Ghostly Hauntings of the City of Chester (epages.wordpress.com)
- Exorcism and Social Combat: from Unofficial Games (zzarchov.blogspot.com)
- Paranormal Activities and Ghosts. Do You Believe? (socyberty.com)
This review also appears at Earthpages.org
Do you believe in magic? Miracles? Is there a difference?
The answer to these questions will most likely depend on one’s beliefs and experiences.
The Magick of Solomon: Lemegeton Secrets Revealed is an engaging instructional video by Carroll “Poke” Runyon of the Church of the Hermetic Sciences.
The film attempts to integrate a variety of religious and esoteric traditions by demonstrating an elaborate pagan ritual accompanied with a learned commentary.
For Runyon, it seems there’s no clash between his style of magic and genuine miracles, although he and his fellow Church members would probably make a distinction between their form of soul magick (with a “k”) and stage magic (without a “k”).
The DVD is a remastered and enhanced version of the original VHS of 1996, to include some older material from the 1970s and a commentary from 2003.
Runyon holds a Masters Degree in anthropology and begins the video with a disclaimer, warning of the inherent dangers of causally meddling with the potent forces that might be evoked by watching it.
And rightly so.
C. G. Jung, whom Runyon refers to, speaks to the power of the archetypes and cautions that delving into the collective unconscious without the appropriate psychological preparedness to integrate it within ego consciousness could result in mental disruption, perhaps even psychosis.
At the beginning of this movie I, a believing Christian, felt slightly uneasy. I’ve had minimal experience with paganism, only dabbling in Tarot cards in my youth and, years later, watching slick TV programs like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural.
After the first 25 minutes, however, my unease turned to fatigue. The DVD wasn’t dull by any stretch of the imagination but I probably had to enter the dream state to better understand why it was impinging on my comfort zone.
So I paused the disc and had a nap. On waking I was ready to go and, the second time around, found The Magick of Solomon absorbing but not uncomfortable.
This DVD may not be quite as slick as Buffy or Supernatural, but it does provide viewers with a penetrating look inside an alternative religion.
The temple, itself, is devoted to Astarte, a deity with a long list of analogues, to include the Greek Aphrodite and the Roman Venus.
Its rites are premised on the belief that wisdom may be gained by first invoking heavenly angels, and then evoking lower, possibly demonic powers. The rationale, in keeping with Jung’s model, is that higher angels protect and help the aspirant to integrate the lower demons, which essentially reside within the self.
At this stage Runyon differentiates the terms invoke and evoke. To invoke is to call on heavenly agencies from above and outside oneself, while to evoke is to activate the dark powers of the collective unconscious within the self.
From this we see that Runyon believes in heavenly beings – in particular, the four traditional archangels and their legendary mediators – while proposing that some demons are merely the result of mankind’s subjugation of pagan deities to the collective unconscious.
I found this cosmology a bit confusing because Runyon also treats the lower realm entities with all the awe and respect one would accord a real, independent deity.
Again, this brings to mind Carl Jung’s schema which raises the same question: Do the archetypes of the collective unconscious enjoy an independent existence or do they simply exist as a repressed part of ourselves?
Let’s also not forget that the “unconscious” is just an idea, a point which this video might have more thoroughly explained.
Runyon, himself, is articulate and charismatic. He seems to have a good grasp of the scholarly aspects of magic and esoterica. Moreover, his prior vocation as a salesman serves him well.
I don’t mean this disrespectfully. We live in a predominantly consumer-driven culture and it would be naïve to suppose that most organized religions don’t engage in some kind of promotional activity geared toward the twofold agenda of fund-raising and facilitating conversions.
There’s nothing wrong with fund-raising strategies provided that a house of worship believes in the goods, services and overall message it’s promoting and, more important, it’s not willfully deceiving, harming or manipulating vulnerable individuals.
After all, in liberal democracies we are free to choose.
Another similarity between The Church of the Hermetic Sciences and some traditional Churches becomes evident when Runyon suggests that his magickal synthesis is authentic and safe while a rival sect of former disciples is apparently proliferating dangerous doctrines and engaging in equally hazardous activities.
Runyon then says these former disciples have opened a “Pandora’s Box” of evil that his methods can effectively quell.
Shades of the old Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation?
Whether or not one envisions Runyon’s techniques as a key to psycho-spiritual insight, The Magick of Solomon: Lemegeton Secrets Revealed is certainly different and informative. It should be of considerable interest to those wanting to learn about a new Church that blends ancient legend, belief and practice with some recent concepts from Carl Jung’s analytical psychology.
This review also appears at Earthpages.org
Synchronicity is a hard thing to prove. Even harder is to prove an idea by citing a series of perceived synchronicities.
And this is exactly what Dan Green sets out to do in The Murder of Mary Magdalene: Genocide of the Holy Bloodline.
Offering an alternative history to the story of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, Green weaves an intricate tapestry of symbols, codes, clues and events to support his belief that Mary Magdalene was murdered to prevent word from getting out that she and Jesus Christ were much closer than the official story tells us.
This is the kind of thing that gets traditional religious persons up in arms. Similar claims made in The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (1982) led that book to be banned in strongly Catholic countries such as the Philippines.
Likewise, Dan Brown’s work of fiction The Da Vinci Code (2003) sparked heated debate and its overall content was deemed “offensive” by many Catholics.
Sociologists and professors of religion like John Gager suggest that whenever the truth claims and associated practices of a rival out-group get a bit too close for comfort to the beliefs and practices of an established in-group, members of the in-group become upset.
At this point the in-group feels the need to better define its boundaries, which may lead to exclusion, condemnation or, as we’ve seen in the often grisly march of human history, persecution.
According to this theory, it’s the similarity of the two groups that riles the in-group. Radically different out-groups lacking some kind of thematic overlap with an in-group are usually ignored. But when an out-group hits a nerve by getting too ideologically near to the in-group—that’s when sparks will fly.
This social-psychological dynamic apparently took place between the early Christians and the Gnostics. And a similar kind of dynamic has evidently continued to this day.
As for The Murder of Mary Magdalene in relation to the traditional Christian story, I found this DVD far more of a Jungian kind of treatise than a religious one. If anything, it’s a testament to the power of synchronicity.
Synchronicity is a term coined by the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung to point to the idea of meaningful coincidence. From the perspective of synchronicity, nothing really happens by chance. In fact, the idea of chance, itself, is just a human construct. From watching this film it seems that Dan Green perceived an ongoing set of synchronicities during its research and production phases.
The DVD’s special features section includes a refreshing and helpful interview of Green by the film’s director, Philip Gardiner.
This interview not only summarizes the main points of the film but gives some biographical information about Green. It also reveals how Green’s eyes light up whenever he speaks about the synchronicities encountered during the film’s production. And having one’s eyes sparkle with excitement is something very hard to fake.
What did go through my mind, however, was a question. Not the central question posed by this film – was Mary Magdalene murdered? – but another, important question regarding the interpretation of synchronistic events.
Again, I have little doubt that Green believes he encountered genuine synchronicities. But I do wonder if Green’s interpretation of those inner-outer experiences is more about his own personal journey rather than a universal truth concerning the unwritten history of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
I don’t know the answer, of course. But the question did arise.
On the cinematography side, viewers should delight at the archaic cathedral at Lincoln, England, along with other sacred treasures so very well presented in this film.
The Murder of Mary Magdalene: Genocide of the Holy Bloodline was the perfect antidote to the mid-February grind of Canadian winter. And I suggest that viewers sit back, enjoy and let this highly imaginative work take them away.
Whether or not one agrees with its conclusions, chances are the only believers who’ll get angry about this film are those who aren’t really comfortable with their beliefs in the first place.
This review also appears at Earthpages.org
Shot mostly outdoors in the United Kingdom’s beautiful West Cornwall, Hamish Miller on The Parallel Community looks at Earth energy, dowsing, near-death experiences, ancient ancestors, spiritual cleansing, alternate realities and a new global movement called the Parallel Community.
Miller, himself, appears to be a happy, likable fellow very much in tune with nature.
He tells of his former life as a successful entrepreneur where conforming to the work ethic (where work is commonly understood as getting some kind of paycheck) gave him everything… but happiness.
One day while driving along in his car he came across a stunning sunset. Miller wished he had time to enjoy it and suddenly realized that he did. So he stopped his car and got out to watch the natural beauty unfold.
This and other pivotal experiences have contributed to this intriguing man’s metamorphosis from international businessman to mellow blacksmith and unofficial leader of the Parallel Community, a group of kindred spirits interested in living in harmony with the Earth.
Among his many recollections in this film, Miller’s personal account of a near-death experience is extremely convincing. Likewise, his story about a serious illness during which time he envisioned sacred beings helping to make him well again comes off utterly natural and believable.
The only reservation I have with this DVD has to do with its claims about dowsing. I’m no expert in this field but, from what I’ve seen so far, remain unconvinced.
Although the dowsing material seems a bit too easy, this shouldn’t deter one from exploring Miller’s unconventional and far-reaching ideas. Rarely if ever do I completely agree with another person’s perspective–unless perhaps he’s Jesus Christ.
This much said, Miller is an engaging, innovative figure who just might be a herald for a better future. And The Parallel Community explores ideas that definitely need exploring in a world becoming increasingly hypnotized by the dimly lit menus of iPods, BlackBerrys and other techno-gadgets.
Oh what fun. It’s like YouTube without all the hassle. True, you only have 30 seconds, but isn’t that long enough?
If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, it’s a new application for Twitter that’s taking the web by storm. BubbleTweet. 30 second videos right on your Twitter page.
I really enjoyed this, even if some of the images morph a bit quicker than I would have liked.