Review: ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stane’

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stane (Scots Edition)Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stane by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This buik is a joy tae read fur o’ tis inventive ‘n’ sprightly translation intae standard Scots by Scootlund leid expert Matthew Fitt. Some fowk say it’s mair fin than Rowling’s Sassenach edition. Ah gree. Th’ wurds fair jump aff th’ page. If ye dinnae speak Scots, dinnae fash yersel aboot it. Maist Sassenach speakers wull be able tae figure it oot, mibbie wi’ a bawherr o’ hulp fae an online translator. “Harry Potter ‘n’ th’ Philosopher’s Stane” is mair fin that a barrel o’ doolies (goblins. )

Thare is plenty o’ cantrip ‘ere fur Harry Potter’s mukkers.

–Malcolm

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Magic: 4 Myths about Faeries and How to Avoid Them 

“There’s a lot of curiosity out there about the beings known as Faeries. And so many of you are feeling a call in your hearts to know, understand and work with them on a REALLY deep level at this time.But you’re still struggling to really tap into this realm and access its transformative magic and healing power for yourself. It’s a kind of novelty that sits on the shelf of your consciousness, waiting for a bit of air time. And when you really stop to consider it, you might even admit you find these these beings downright baffling and elusive.So what gives? If you’re not making the Faery connection it’s probably because you’re going about it all wrong. But not to worry. Because in my experience, I’ve found four myths about the Faeries are to blame.”

 

Source: 4 Myths about Faeries and How to Avoid Them – Faery Light

From time to time, I plan to post other people’s ideas about magic. You may find them variously absurd, interesting, your cup of tea, just plain crazy, or worth wondering about. I thought I’d start with the world of faerie since, for most people (including me), it’s a difficult possibility to consider.

On the other hand, if you go outside on a quiet day, sit down and lean back against a favorite tree, and just listen imaginatively, you may be surprised at what your impressions. Or, you’ll fall asleep until your spouse comes out and wakes you up. Either way, who knows what might happen.

–Malcolm

 

Your suggested password is BDH#$%cX*%qw

When My desktop PC had to be taken back to factory settings–which was a lot of trouble–that meant my browsers had to be re-installed. The new versions didn’t know my passwords.

I’m tired of passwords. Every site has a different set of rules about length, special characters, CAPS and lowercase letters. We’re told not to write these down. Many gurus also say don’t allow your browser to remember them for you.

So, when I tried to log on to WordPress today with my new browser, I couldn’t remember my password. I tried all the usual passwords even though we’re not supposed to have usual passwords. I clicked on a link that would allow WordPress to generate and–I swear I’m not making this up–the suggestion looked like this: BDH#$%cX*%qw.

Get real. How the hell can I remember something like that? Perhaps Data on Startrek, the Next Generation can remember that, but otherwise, nobody can. So, I used something easier and wrote it down on a list of 10000000000 other passwords for everybody from my doctor’s office to Microsoft to Amazon to Facebook.

If anyone breaks into my house and finds an empty Funk’s G Hybrid sack beneath the house, they’ll discover my list of passwords. There are snakes and spiders there, so who ever needs to play like they’re me and log on to WordPress and create a fake post will have to be very determined.

I’ve seen enough TV crime shows to know that even if I didn’t need a password and could access my accounts through a fingertip reader, somebody would kill me and use my finger to log on. So, there’s no sure thing, password-wise. The only plus to forgetting and constantly changing my passwords is the fact that we’re told to constantly change our passwords. That means we’ll forget them more often and change them more frequently. Maybe that’s how the whole password thing works.

Now, if I could only remember the danged user names (other than my e-mail address) which a lot of sites require.

Malcolm

 

 

Magic: Guided Visualizations and Meditations

If you search Google for either “Guided Visualization” or “Guided Meditation,” you’ll get a lot of hits. I first encountered these mental field trips in the 1970s when I was taking a relaxation/intuition seminar.

Briefly, a leader–in person or in a recording–leads individuals and groups through an imaginative (or recalled from memory) landscape, sets of affirmations, suggested visualizations, and other relaxing audio experiences that, faith-based or secular, are intended to help you experience deep relaxation and self-affirming statements/goals that are often accompanied by music.

In a group, people often lie on mats on the floor while the l leader reads from a prepared or spontaneous script; leaders also use pre-recorded visualizations or meditations. One beauty of the pre-recorded format is that it’s often available for purchase, so you can use it at home when it presents an experience that resonates with you.

Many visualizations begin with a relaxation method that’s akin to self-hypnosis. Some have you count down numbers, affirming that while you are doing this you are becoming more and more relaxed. Others ask you to pretend that you are doing down a stairway or an escalator or a trail to the valley floor.

While you are there, you might repeat scripted affirmations, imagine that you are meeting gurus or totem animals with messages for you, or simply listening to the music while pretending you are in a relaxing place. Leaders often give you a chance to say your own affirmations or think about your own psychological/spiritual journey.

(Note: Many experts say that affirmations–which often sound like New Year’s resolutions–are most effective when you do more than repeat them while relaxed or meditating. You need to do things in your waking world that support them. For example, if your affirmation is that you are getting more and more healthy every day, you need to tie this to doing healthy things–exercise, nutritious foods, etc.)

At the end of the visualization, the leader will usually end with a phrase such as, “Now I’m going to count from one to three. Then I say ‘three,’ you will be wide awake, feeling much better than before.”

If you use this process often, you will find that in time you can instantly “go” to your imagined relaxation status without having to count down. You know what it feels like to “be there,” so simply intend to feel that way as easily as you decide to raise your hand or sing a song.

The beauty of these visualizations/meditations is that you can listen to them often, learn how to replicate them, and–while you’re learning new skills–you’re having an enjoyable experience akin to listening to a favorite piece of music. If you listen to one at home, you’ll discover that you’ll often fall asleep. So, make sure you won’t be disturbed and that you really have time to fall asleep.

I haven’t listened to a guided meditation or visualization for a long time because I heard so many of them, that I can make up my own and/or reach the desired level of relaxation or active imagination without needing a series of steps. For most of us, this is the end result we want–a way to relax without medication, a way to handle stressful days, a way to discover the benefits of meditation, and a way of developing the so-called intuitive abilities that are latent in all of us.

–Malcolm

P.S. My thanks to Melinda for mentioning this subject in a comment in an earlier post. That reminded me it might be helpful to others.

The slavery war before the civil war

I have for years felt misled by my junior high school and high school history teachers in Florida. The focus of our state history lessons was typically the five flags that flew over Florida: Spain, France, Great Britain, the United States, and the Confederacy. We heard about early explorers and about the early struggles between the Spanish and the French for control of the territory. But we weren’t told the whole story.

Two old books, The Exiles of  Florida written in 1858 by Joshua R. Giddings and The Origin, Progress, and Conclusion of the Florida War written by John T. Sprague in 1848 (both of which are available in reprint form on Amazon) tell the rest of the story through the viewpoints of authors who were there. These books were either unknown to our junior high and high school history teachers or the subject matter wasn’t allowed in the course curricula.

Giddings, a lawyer who served in Congress during the three Seminole wars saw much of the documentation first hand and quotes liberally from it in his book. Sprague served in the army in Florida at the time of the Indian removals and offers a his first-hand accounts, many of which were mentioned by Giddings.

In school in Florida, we were taught, of course, that General Jackson–who would later become the architect of the Trail of Tears–brought troops into Spanish Florida to take care of “the Indian problem.” We were never told the real reason behind Jackson’s war against Creeks, Seminoles, and other tribes. It was slavery.

Soon after the revolutionary war, slave-holding colonies petitioned the Federal government for indemnification for slaves that were lost either by escape into Florida or capture by the British. This carried forward into complaints that slaves were continuing to escape into Florida after the revolution where they were sheltered by the Seminoles and assisted (and sometimes enslaved) by the Creeks. Later they would ask to be reimbursed for the slaves who would have been sired by owners and other slaves on the plantations had they not fled to Florida.

The three wars (1816-19, 1835-42, 1855-58) were carried out for the express purpose of re-capturing Negroes who had fled into Florida for sanctuary under Spanish laws. Immigrant Negroes from the Caribbean were also captured. The federal government’s solution was primarily to capture and return the slaves (or Negroes who were claimed often without proof to have been slaves) to their owners and to remove the Indians to Oklahoma. The public, for the most part, was unaware of slavery part of the campaign. In the process, the government hid the truth from the voters and lied to the Seminoles, the Creeks, and the Exiles (or Maroons, as they were often called). Many of those Negroes had never been enslaved and others had intermarried with the Seminole tribe, but the law of the land pre-supposed that every Negro was owned by somebody.

Spain could not defend its colony from repeated incursions by U.S. federal troops, militias from adjoining states, or ad hock bands of slave trackers, so it ceded Florida by treaty in 1819 in exchange for the United States paying some $5 million worth of Spanish debt. At this time, most of the panhandle was already controlled by U.S. forces.

The Federal government fought the Seminole wars on behalf of the slave holders in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas while keeping very quiet about the war as much as possible, and about the controversial practice of paying for slave reimbursements from the treasury of a country composed of norther residents who would not approve. The loss of life, the expense, and the tearing a part of slave and slave/Indian families was based goals that a large number of the U.S. residents didn’t subscribe to. It was a slavery war before the Civil War.

–Malcolm

Magic: Your Favorite Place of Relaxation

Whether you’re meditating, using affirmations to improve your outlook on life, beginning a shamanic journey, visualizing a friend’s health needs, or listening to the promptings of your inner self (AKA conscience, subconscious mind), many “systems” will suggest that you begin by going to your favorite place of relaxation.

This place can be either real or imagined. Many people choose places associated with quiet and beauty–a mountain meadow, a shimmering pool,a moonlit lake, or even an easy chair in a room filled with books and perhaps a stone fireplace. The idea here, is that over time, you will be able to imagine/visualize this setting as a place of peace and serenity.

I use an imagined mountain cabin in a real place. Once I close my eyes and pretend to be there, my blood pressure goes down, my brainwaves slow, and I find myself in a state of mind where it’s easier to “do” magic.

At the beginning, you may need to monitor your breathing as you slow yourself down and think of this place. You may find that it takes you a while to fully believe you are “in” that visualized spot where you are at one with yourself. With practice, you’ll be able to simply think of it and find yourself in a state of relaxation that facilitates meditation.

It’s difficult to focus on magic, psychic visualizations, and healing yourself and others if you are in a logical frame of mind, worse yet, worried or uptight or feeling driven. Being able to silence our mind’s constant chattering and “go” (mentally) to a real of imagined relaxing place is a signal–almost like a post-hypnotic suggestion–that you are operating at a deeper level of mind than the one you use most of the time in your waking moments.

With practice, many people can slow down their brainwaves and breathing without having to (or visualizing) a relaxing scene. For others, the relaxing scene helps. For those it helps, the place becomes something of a place of power. That is to say, while one is imagining s/he is in this place, s/he can “see” the world in a different way than we do when we’re commuting to work or sitting at a computer. At first, what we “see” may appear to be imaginary, but in time, we discover that it is a mystical connection with “the big picture” and/or psychic impressions about the problem or issue on our minds.

When I began doing magic, I found it easier to start in my imagined favorite place of relaxation. I would spend time there in idleness before doing anything else. Later, I found that I no longer needed that place, that I could feel my relaxation and attunement with my intended plans without stopping by that place.

The place we select, though, is always available to us, as a retreat from the world, as a sanctuary, and as a place of mental power. It’s a powerful spot.

Malcolm

ion

Magic: preliminary ideas

As the future unfolds, I expect much that much of what we now label as magic will no longer be regarded as superstition, wishful thinking, charlatan fabrications, occult (in the negative sense as championed by Hollywood films), or general idiocy, and will be shown to have its basis in quantum-related mental powers that can be proven and replicated and taught to others as easily as the courses in a high school curriculum.

While magic takes practice like any other natural activity–swimming, jogging, hiking–it is at it’s basis very simple. The apparent complexities arise in part because many individuals and groups that support or teach one magical approach or another and use symbols and names for their techniques that are difficult to compare with other approaches.

This is a pet peeve of mine, one that began when I was in high school and discovered–with every book or article I read–that the authors wrote about their system as though no other system existed.

What I wanted was synthesis and evolving knowledge rather than the impression that every system was unique and had no correlation with other systems. It always seemed to me that the neophyte’s life would be so much easier if, say, a book on system ABC said that our technique #1 is similar to system XYZ’s technique #2. I see many symbols and techniques that are similar in purpose and intent that it would be so easy for authors to compare and contrast in a chart in the books’ appendices.

In general, we should take a distinction between mysticism and psychic abilities and other so-called magical techniques. The intent of a mystic is usually direct attunement with the Creator so that s/he will be able to align his/her life and thoughts with the Creator’s ways, means, and intentions. Many mystics regard psychic phenomena as secondary, and sometimes an annoying byproduct, of their primary goals.

When I was young, I clashed with “church fathers” over the benefits of mysticism because–as it seemed to me–the Christian church was against mysticism for everyone but the religion’s founders. We were taught, in part, from the writings of ancient Christian mystics, but scolded if we dared to practice mysticism ourselves. Of course, if a church allows mysticism, it no longer controls the message.

Hollywood, and many occult novelists, have clouded the waters of magic by suggesting that various natural occult principles are “devil worship.” I think the organized church has been a party to this. This makes it difficult to speak of magic in a generic sense as part of every individual’s birthright because they have been brought up too think that expanding their mental capacities is evil.

I approach magic from what has often been called “esoteric Christianity” as well as the mystery schools and Kabalistic ideas about “the big picture.” This puts me at odds with the organized Christian church. If you are a firm believer within one religion or another, this may well be your starting point when you consider magic’s larger ideas. This, I think, is easier and more natural than stepping into the cultural and religious beliefs of another religion from another part of the world.

I tend to think in terms of spirituality rather than religion. This approach makes a person open to whatever enhances his/her development within a universe that is much larger than what we perceive in our day-to-day jobs, hobbies, and interactions with others.

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of contemporary fantasy, magical realism, and paranormal novels and short stories.