Message from the High Priest
I am the Lost Bearded White Brother and was born a long time ago in a cold faraway land. Though I was born in a Catholic family and was baptized such, at home we never really had a spiritual life. I even had an uncle who was a Catholic priest who passed away when I was still a child, and the only thing I really remember from him was his love of the good things in life like good wine and good food. It must have impressed me a lot, because that too has been a lifelong quest, but I digress…
I started reading early, even before starting school. A few years later I was reading at least 6 books a week, and since that tender age I have been a voracious reader. Since I was very young I have always been interested in all things occult. The lack of any spiritual life at home, and my parent’s lack of response to my many questions launched me into a lifelong quest to learn about the mysteries of life. My mother had some interests in the subject and I borrowed some of her numerous books on the subject, as I inherited my thirst for reading from her, and I started to search all of the resources that were available to me at the time. I read about the various organized religions, and became disenchanted with all of them. More and more I became interested in the core philosophies of most religions and how they can be applied to the way we act and live, and to magic that can be used to better mankind.
Though I still consider myself a Catholic by indoctrination, for year I have been practicing my own form of religion or better worded, my own beliefs based on all of those philosophies and religions I studied and on magic. It involves at its core a great respect for others and for nature, and the prime goal to live my life to its fullest and to better myself and mankind daily.
Another interest passed on to my by my mother was that of archeology. She always says that if she could redo her life, she would study this subject. When I was growing up there was a lot of interest in mysticism and in the ancient civilizations, especially the ones from Latin America. I remember reading about the great archeological sites of those faraway warm climes, and dreaming about visiting there a day. As I always say “If there is a wish, there is a way”; I ended up moving to Mexico over 20 years ago after meeting a wonderful Mexican woman and marrying her. I always believed in the duality of the universe, for every Ying there is a Yang, for every Man there is a Woman, and for every cold place there is a warm one.
I brought to this warm country my kind of magic that is rooted in the cold climes of Northern Europe, and have been avidly studying the local brand of magic that has its roots in indigenous spiritualism, in Spanish magic, and various other imported influences, especially the heavy one of the Catholic Church. I have taken from all of those influences the aspects that work with my beliefs and have been using this potent blend of magic to better myself and those next to me. I have also read a lot of indigenous legends pervasive in all of the old southern civilizations about the long lost learned foreigner that will return in times of turmoil to bring spiritual help to the lands of the south.
These current times are nothing but tumultuous and I assume the mantle of High Priest to those who wish to follow me. I only promote goodness and harmony, and thus will only offer help to those seeking such. I plan to offer my magical powers to help those in need. To those who wish to do harm to others, to force others to do things against their will, or to gain things that are not theirs to get, please look somewhere else because I will never do that kind of work.
To those in search of some spiritual direction, if you would please have a look at what my beliefs are. It is not a religion, and I do not want to organize it as such, as with every organized religion comes dogma, and with dogma comes prejudice, and with prejudice comes lack of respect, and so on… Those basic principles are my beliefs, and if all passing through here can live a little more along those lines daily, the world would become a much better place to live in. I hope from the deepest part of my soul that such changes will happen and that the world will be better for it, even if only more one person follow parts of those simple beliefs.
The Lost Bearded White Brother
Writer Sci-Fi => The Sass, 1989-1990
Two months had passed since the attack on the Gates of Doom. Summer was soon approaching. The kingdom was slowly recovering from twenty years of war. Magic was once again flowing through the land. The rumours of unrest in the Empire across the Sea of Dreams, were soon forgotten in the elation that followed the victory. The dark races had been banished, deep into the Howling Mountains. The only dark spot was that Magdar’s body had disappeared during the commotion that followed the attack. It was said to have been taken by trolls, deep into the mountains. They could dispose of it as well as the King.
Ludger was laying in bed, at home, thinking. Nathalia’s hair formed a dark metallic cloud around her head, resting on the crisp percale pillowcase. His future, in this world, looked bright. In a few weeks a double ceremony would give him the title of Duke of the Mist of Dreams, as well as wed him to Nathalia.
The day to day affairs of this world, now that the excitement of the war was gone, left him wanting for more. He was planning to explore this world in the company of Nathalia. His fiancée stirred on the bed beside him. Thinking of her always brought a smile to his face.
She turned to him, coiling her naked body against his. She rested her cheek on his shoulder and blew a stream of air in his ear. She looked at him with sleepy eyes. With a yawn she said.
“Are you still bored? Does life as to be boring to you if there is no quest to follow or damsel-in-distress to rescue?”
“I am not bored. My hands are full, as it is, of a particular damsel-in-distress that I have rescued. I am no longer in that business. I don’t think that I could handle more.”
She playfully bit one of his nipples and said.
“Do you still plan to go exploring the world? We should stay in Talenthar. The nightlife is much better.”
“How do you know that? When we are out there, we never go out. You always keep me locked up in the bedroom.”
“Do you complain?”
“No…, but I am not getting any younger. You will drain me of all my energy. You still have not told me, how you know about the nightlife.”
“Maria told me. She says it is fantastic. She also showed me many other tricks.” She looked around the room and continued, whispering in his ear. “You would not have, by any chance, any soft butter laying around the room? I would like to show you one of those tricks.”
Ludger thought that he definitively had a lot to look forward to, whether he decided to travel or not.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
From 1990: One Way Ticket To Talenthar
Beliefs and Practices
Ethics and Afterlife
According to Hanegraaff, the question of death and afterlife is not a “pressing problem requiring an answer” in the New Age movement. A belief in reincarnation is very common, being viewed as part of humanity’s “progressive spiritual evolution”. In New Age literature the reality of reincarnation is usually treated as self-evident, with no explanation as to why practitioners embrace this afterlife belief over others, although New Agers endorse it in the belief that it ensures cosmic justice. Many New Agers adopt a belief in karma, treating it as a law of cause and effect which assures cosmic balance, although in some cases they stress that it is not a system that enforces punishment for past actions. In much New Age literature discussing reincarnation, there is the claim that part of the human soil, that which carries the personality, perishes with the death of the body, while the Higher Self – that which connects with divinity – survives in order to be reborn into another body. It is believed that the Higher Self chooses the body and circumstances into which it will be born, in order to use it as a vessel through which to learn new lessons and thus advance its own spiritual evolution. Some prominent New Age writers such as Shakti Gawain and Louise Hay have thus expressed the view that humans are therefore totally responsible for the events that happen to them during their life, an idea that many New Agers characterise as empowering. At times, past life regression are employed within the New Age movement in order to reveal a Higher Soul’s previous incarnations, usually with an explicit healing purpose.
Samhain is considered by Wiccans to be one of the four Greater Sabbats. Samhain is considered by some as a time to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets, and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the departed are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the festival of Beltane, which is celebrated as a festival of light and fertility.
Many Pagans believe that at Samhain the veil between this world and the afterlife is at its thinnest point of the whole year, making it easier to communicate with those who have left this world.
Wheel of the Year
Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. Traditionally, Samhain is celebrated from sunset on 31 October to sunset on 1 November, which is about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, along with Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Similar festivals are held at the same time of year in other Celtic lands; for example the Brythonic Calan Gaeaf (in Wales), Kalan Gwav (in Cornwall), and Kalan Goañv (in Brittany).
Samhain is believed to have pagan origins and there is evidence it has been an important date since ancient times. The Mound of the Hostages, a Neolithic passage tomb at the Hill of Tara, is aligned with the Samhain sunrise. It is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and many important events in Irish mythology happen or begin on Samhain. It was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures and when livestock were slaughtered for the winter. As at Beltane, special bonfires were lit. These were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers and there were rituals involving them. Like Beltane, Samhain was seen as a liminal time, when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld could more easily be crossed. This meant the Aos Sí, the ‘spirits’ or ‘fairies’, could more easily come into our world. Most scholars see the Aos Sí as remnants of the pagan gods and nature spirits. At Samhain, it was believed that the Aos Sí needed to be propitiated to ensure that the people and their livestock survived the winter. Offerings of food and drink were left outside for them. The souls of the dead were also thought to revisit their homes seeking hospitality. Feasts were had, at which the souls of dead kin were beckoned to attend and a place set at the table for them. Mumming and guising were part of the festival, and involved people going door-to-door in costume (or in disguise), often reciting verses in exchange for food. The costumes may have been a way of imitating, and disguising oneself from, the Aos Sí. Divination rituals and games were also a big part of the festival and often involved nuts and apples. In the late 19th century, Sir John Rhys and Sir James Frazer suggested that it was the “Celtic New Year”, and this view has been repeated by some other scholars.
In the 9th century AD, Western Christianity shifted the date of All Saints’ Day to 1 November, while 2 November later became All Souls’ Day. Over time, Samhain and All Saints’/All Souls’ merged to create the modern Halloween. Historians have used the name ‘Samhain’ to refer to Gaelic ‘Halloween’ customs up until the 19th century.
In Modern Irish the name is Samhain, in Scottish Gaelic Samhainn/Samhuinn, and in Manx Gaelic Sauin. These are also the names of November in each language, shortened from Mí na Samhna (Irish), Mì na Samhna (Scottish Gaelic) and Mee Houney (Manx). The night of 31 October (Halloween) is Oíche Shamhna (Irish), Oidhche Shamhna (Scottish Gaelic) and Oie Houney (Manx), all meaning “Samhain night”. 1 November, or the whole festival, may be called Lá Samhna (Irish), Là Samhna (Scottish Gaelic) and Laa Houney (Manx), all meaning “Samhain day”.
These names all come from the Old Irish samain, samuin or samfuin all referring to 1 November (latha na samna: ‘samhain day’), and the festival and royal assembly held on that date in medieval Ireland (oenaig na samna: ‘samhain assembly’). Its meaning is glossed as ‘summer’s end’, and the frequent spelling with f suggests analysis by popular etymology as sam (‘summer’) and fuin (‘end’). The Old Irish sam is from Proto-Indo-European (PIE) *semo-; cognates include Welsh haf, Breton hañv, English summer and Old Norse sumar, all meaning ‘summer’, and the Sanskrit sáma (‘season’).
In 1907, Whitley Stokes suggested an etymology from Proto-Celtic *samani (‘assembly’), cognate to Sanskrit sámana, and Gothic samana. J. Vendryes concludes that samain is unrelated to *semo- (‘summer’), remarking that the Celtic ‘end of summer’ was in July, not November, as evidenced by Welsh gorffennaf (‘July’). We would therefore be dealing with an Insular Celtic word for ‘assembly’, *samani or *samoni, and a word for ‘summer’, saminos (from *samo-: ‘summer’) alongside samrad, *samo-roto-.
Samhain and Samhain-based festivals are held by some Neopagans. As there are many kinds of Neopaganism, their Samhain celebrations can be very different despite the shared name. Some try to emulate the historic festival as much as possible. Other Neopagans base their celebrations on sundry unrelated sources, Gaelic culture being only one of the sources. Folklorist Jenny Butler describes how Irish pagans pick some elements of historic Samhain celebrations and meld them with references to the Celtic past, making a new festival of Samhain that is inimitably part of neo-pagan culture.
Wiccans celebrate a variation of Samhain as one of the yearly Sabbats of the Wheel of the Year. It is deemed by most Wiccans to be the most important of the four “greater Sabbats”. Samhain is seen by some Wiccans as a time to celebrate the lives of those who have died, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the dead are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the spring festival of Beltane, which Wiccans celebrate as a festival of light and fertility.
Wiccans believe that at Samhain the veil between this world and the afterlife is at its thinnest point of the whole year, making it easier to communicate with those who have left this world.
The Lost Bearded White Brother
Beliefs and Practices
Ethics and Afterlife
The central ethical tenet of the New Age movement is to cultivate one’s own divine potential. Given that the movement’s holistic interpretation of the universe prohibits a belief in a dualistic good and evil, negative events that happen are interpreted not as the result of evil but as lessons designed to teach an individual and enable them to advance spiritually. It rejects the Christian emphasis on sin and guilt, believing that these generate fear and thus negativity, which then hinder spiritual evolution. It also typically criticises the blaming and judging of others for their actions, believing that if an individual adopts these negative attitudes it harms their own spiritual evolution. Instead the movement emphasizes positive thinking, although beliefs regarding the power behind such thoughts vary within New Age literature. Common New Age examples of how to generate such positive thinking include the repeated recitation of mantras and statements carrying positive messages, and the visualisation of a white light.
A-FROM in Action at the Aphasia Institute
Aura Kagan, Ph.D.
As a result of this activity, the reader will be able to (1) situate the work of aphasia centers within an outcome-driven framework for intervention that is grounded in the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health; (2) use key Living with Aphasia: Framework for Outcome Measurement (A-FROM) principles to broaden thinking about intervention and outcome; and (3) adapt illustrative A-FROM examples to his or her own setting.
Beliefs and Practices
“New Age Science”
However, most of the academic and scientific establishments dismiss “New Age science” as pseudo-science, or at best existing in part on the fringes of genuine scientific research. Hanegraaff identified “New Age science” as a form of Naturphilosophie. In this, the movement is interested in developing unified world views to discover the nature of the divine and establish a scientific basis for religious belief.
Figures in the New Age movement – most notably Fritjof Capra in his The Tao of Physics (1975) – have drawn parallels between theories in the New Physics and traditional forms of mysticism, thus arguing that ancient religious ideas are now being proven by contemporary science. Many New Agers have adopted James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis that the Earth acts akin to a single living organism, although have expanded this idea to include the idea that the Earth has consciousness and intelligence.
Although these two methods of torture were used in the west and the east, Russia implemented a system of fines payable for the crime of witchcraft during the seventeenth century. Thus, even though torture methods in Muscovy were on a similar level of harshness as Western European methods used, a more civil method was present. In the introduction of a collection of trial records pieced together by Russian scholar Nikolai Novombergsk, he argues that Muscovite authorities used the same degree of cruelty and harshness as Western European Catholic and Protestant countries in persecuting witches. By the mid-sixteenth century the manifestations of paganism, including witchcraft, and the black arts – astrology, fortune telling, and divination – became a serious concern to the Muscovite church and state.
Tsar Ivan IV (reigned 1547-1584) took this matter to the ecclesiastical court and was immediately advised that individuals practicing these forms of witchcraft should be excommunicated and given the death penalty. Ivan IV, as a true believer in witchcraft, was deeply convinced that sorcery accounted for the death of his wife, Anastasiia in 1560, which completely devastated and depressed him, leaving him heartbroken. Stemming from this belief, Ivan IV became majorly concerned with the threat of witchcraft harming his family, and feared he was in danger. So, during the Oprechnina (1565-1572), Ivan IV succeeded in accusing and charging a good number of boyars with witchcraft whom he did not wish to remain as nobles. Rulers after Ivan IV, specifically during the Time of Troubles (1598-1613), increased the fear of witchcraft among themselves and entire royal families, which then led to further preoccupation with the fear of prominent Muscovite witchcraft circles.
After the Time of Troubles, seventeenth-century Muscovite rulers held frequent investigations of witchcraft within their households, laying the ground, along with previous tsarist reforms, for widespread witchcraft trials throughout the Muscovite state. Between 1622 and 1700 ninety-one people were brought to trial in Muscovite courts for witchcraft. Although Russia did partake in the witch craze that swept across Western Europe, the Muscovite state did not persecute nearly as many people for witchcraft, let alone execute a number of individuals anywhere close to the number executed in the west during the witch hysteria.
The Lost Bearded White Brother
Beliefs and Practices
“New Age Science”
According to Drury, the New Age movement attempts to create “a worldview that includes both science and spirituality”. Although it typically rejects rationalism, the scientific method, and the academic establishment, at times those active in the movement employ terminology and concepts borrowed from science and particularly from the New Physics. Moreover, a number of prominent influences on New Age movement, such as David Bohm and Ilya Prigogine, came from backgrounds as professional scientists. Instead it typically expresses the view that its own understandings of the universe will come to replace those of the academic establishment in a paradigm shift.