Mystery Thailand: Monks, Magic & the Spirit World

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By DANIEL NEIMAN What country is the most occult in the world? Lying smack dab in the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand arguably fits the bill. This is a country that truly believes in spirits and supernatural power. Thailand has it all. With sorcerers who collect oil from the chin of corpses to perform black magic, spirit mediums who channel Hindu deities, a festival to the gods involving possessed devotees sticking sharp objects through their bodies, and monks who use their supernatural … [Read more...]

The Magical Universe of William S. Burroughs

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By MATTHEW LEVI STEVENS When the American writer William S. Burroughs passed away at the ripe old age of 83 back in August 1997, the media coverage was definitely more in keeping with his status as a counter-cultural icon than it was for his literary fame – or infamy – alone. All the usual well-rehearsed lines were trotted out, about how he was the Harvard-educated product of the WASP elite and scion of the family that founded the Burroughs Corporation, who had turned his back on it all to … [Read more...]

Ritual Magic in Theory & Practice

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By RICHARD SMOLEY Several years ago I decided to do an evening-long introduction to ritual magic at the New York Open Center, one of the city’s best-known gathering places for mind, body, and spirit activities. Soon before it was about to start I told myself, with some surprise, “My God! I’m about to do ritual magic with a bunch of people who have walked in off the streets of New York!” Despite my apprehensions, the evening went off well. Power was raised, channelled in a certain direction, … [Read more...]

The Secret of the Moon & the Nature of War

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By ROBERT BLACK— What is war? It is the result of planetary influence. Somewhere up there two or three planets have approached too near each other: tension results... here, on the Earth, people begin to slaughter one another... They fail to realise to what extent they are pawns in the game... it must be understood that neither... generals, nor ministers, nor parliaments, signify anything or can do anything. – G. I. Gurdjieff War may be understood in many ways. Materialists see it simply as … [Read more...]

Magic & Mysticism in Java

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By VICTORIA LEPAGE— The recent death of ex-President Soeharto of Indonesia at the age of 86 has reminded me that I was present in Jakarta in 1967 during the bloodbath in which the Communist Party was decimated and General Soeharto rose to political power, along with the minority modernist Muslim party that supported him. At that time Indonesia was only nominally Muslim: under the charismatic President Soekarno it was animistic, feudal, steeped in an other-worldly mysticism, and was infested … [Read more...]

Monks & Magic: Buddhism and the Supernatural in Thailand

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BY GWENDOLYN TOYNTON— In August 2008 Bun Rany, the wife of the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, led Buddhist monks and soldiers to the site of the historic Hindu temple Preah Vihear to call upon their ancestors to protect the temple. The site of this temple is located on disputed land, perched atop a cliff on Cambodian soil but with the most accessible entrance to the site located on the Thai side of the border. This 11th century temple is located on the border between the two countries, … [Read more...]