Hands of Kali Colorbars and the obligatory rant

Obviously, some of you have become fans of the experimental bellydance troupe "Hands of Kali". I think they are just mesmerizing; I love body paint, I love exotic costumes, especially with an ancient or rustic theme, and I love the power of human expression in music and dance. I admit that I can't dance (unless I've drank a few Captain Jacks, and even then, not well) but almost nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing talented dancers. How much more pleasing is the sight of four modern Earthbound Devi-Dakinis dancing their powerful and talented hearts out? Even the name... "Hands of Kali"... it's just awesome.

There's something about dancing styles, like belly dancing, which frightens many men. To see women completely unafraid to show sensual swaths of flesh, to sway and writhe serpent-like, the way these dancing women stare at you when they catch your eyes during their shows, the small smile that always hovers about their lips... and sometimes, the way they seem so mystically withdrawn from themselves and the world around, they are radiating a power that men have always desired, and later feared. It's ecstatic and dangerous to the forces that want to calcify human consciousness into a simple, predictable construct.

The tamed and docile women of the late patriarchal era, whether sitting unseen and silent in their homes, isolated behind clear glass walls of social convention and condescension, or walking the streets of eastern cities with yards of cloth and veils covering their natural beauty, are no threat to bloated masculine ego. But the liberated women? The ecstatic women? The women who have somehow escaped the veil of repression? They become the new Goddesses of our era, the Dakinis, the sky-flying witches, whom the Tibetans call "Khandroma"- sexually powerful and brutal divine females holding the bloody body parts and remains of social conventions in their hands, and feasting on entrails. They embody the notion of Kali dancing on the Body of Shiva, on the ruined remains of the world that has passed away, in preparation for a new era of regeneration and ecstasy. In the female, all things begin, and as ancient peoples all knew, in Her, things will end, awaiting a new birth.

The entire world has been scourged with masculine fear for the natural beauty and raw power of women. Now that this era is rapidly drawing to an end, and the birth of a new era is upon us, we see the swift decay of these threads of fear and stupidity that have stifled the human spirit. I'd say they only stifled the feminine spirit, but this is only half of the story- when men repress and imprison the female spirit, they repress and imprison themselves. If men can offer women physical fertility, the crucial gift that gives continuity to our species, women offer men the every bit as crucial spiritual and creative fertility required for them to feel at peace, and be whole. Patriarchal crimes against women are not only crimes against women, but against humankind, regardless of sex.

I've been fortunate to see many powerful women in my time, true daughters of the Aeon-Devouring Mother Goddess, in her darkest and most energetic form. But I feel fortunate to have found Hands of Kali- those friends of mine who have seen them dance speak of them in only the most glowing terms- of course, the "glow" I'm talking about here is not the bright glow of the masculine heavens, but the dark glow of the eldritch Underworld, full of inexhaustible and hidden root-potentials upon which all things depend. I myself look to the images I do have of these dancers as icons of a spirituality which is born inside women, and which emerges outside of the control of the greedy powers that hold my world in chains.

So, my anti-patriarchal rant is done. I made some Hands of Kali colorbars for you all; please, take use them. The code is placed below each one. If you click on each one, it'll take you to their site. If you can see their shows, go to them. If you can't, try to get them to come to your area. Pass the link to this page of colorbars on to others, and tell people about them. A member of their troupe is a brilliant artist who is doing her own Tarot deck- The Tarot of the Pomegranate. You can see her amazing artwork here: http://www.an-magrith.com/gallery.html

It goes without saying that you should get the deck, whenever it becomes available.

Hail the Dark Mother, and her Daughters!

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Fire Brand and Silver Thread

The Fire Brand and the Silver Thread:
A Discourse on Initiation in Traditional Craft and Claims of Lineage

Copyright © 2006 by Robin Artisson
From "The Coven Book of the Hollow Hill"
Available Soon from Owlblink Bookcrafting Company

* * *
I thought I might take some time out today to write a short discourse regarding the nature of "Initiation" in Traditional Craft currents and recensions.

A very astute modern occultist that I had the pleasure of corresponding with once described the act of initiating another person through formal rite as "Passing the Fire Brand of Tubal Cain" or "Passing the Fire Brand of Tubalo-Lucifer".

These are powerful words, for they sum up an important and essential strand buried in lineal initiation- passing power from one person to another. This "power" is the fire or force of the primordial awakening of mankind to its magical and mystical self-awareness, the "Great Inheritance" given by the Witch-Sire.

It is poetically referred to as a "brand" or a "flaming brand", and these are powerful metaphors- for it was a gift of fire, so goes the common mythological account, that the Great Teacher of mankind bestowed upon mankind, for good and for ill. Fire becomes the symbol for Spirit's presence in humans, just as it is a common worldwide symbol for the presence of a God or Divinity upon an altar or in a sanctuary. The "flaming brand" or the "flaming torch" is an emblem for the fiery quality of spirit, embodied in a tangible yet subtle power-presence that lives in the members of any legitimate tradition.

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Hey, all. Sorry for taking so long to post this. Better late than never, aye?

I go by Anituel in most places, though my published writing is under the name of Nicholas Graham.

I primarily practice Rosicrucian ceremonial magic and Hermetic magic, though I am presently receiving training in anticipation of initiation into an Alexandrian Wicca coven (see my short essay Wicca as a Modern Manifestation of Hermeticism for more on my interpretation of British Traditional Wicca; please read this before you make fun of me). I would describe my mystical practices as being mostly Hermetic with a little bit of Kabbalah. I tend to take Franz Bardon's interpretation of magic and mysticism: that is, magic and mysticism are not separate but rather form a coherent whole. It is not just that one without the other is incomplete, so much as one simply cannot practice one without the other. Even the most transcendentally-minded Eastern mystic will tend to produce the periodic 'miracle' even if he or she does not want to, and likewise the most materialistic chaos magician will tend to have a few 'peak experiences' which change his or her life.

I just went through a several month-long period of intensive ceremonial work, and am now following it up with increasingly intensive meditative work. For the foreseeable future, I will primarily be involved in said meditative work with only periodic important forays into ritual and ceremonial magic.
  • Current Music
    "Dreams of Jade" by Mythos
Mary Magdalene with cup


Has anyone read the following:

St John of the Cross - "Dark Night of the Soul"
Thomas Merton's books
Evelyn Underhill - "Mysticism" and "The Spiritual Life"
Jack Kornfield - "After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows
Wise on the Spiritual Path"

If so, what did you think?
Mary Magdalene with skull and book


I highly encourage people to introduce themselves on here and give them a bit of a background about themselves. I'll go first:

LJ Name: scarletmagdalen

Spiritual path: I'm a Neoplatonic Orphic. My way of life and practice is Thelema. I'm also an initiate of the Golden Dawn and OTO.

What interests you in this community: I started it because so many of the other mystical communities on LJ are closed, and I want one which is open. You can't list "free speech" as an interest and keep people out. I believe that mysticism is the Rosetta Stone for all religions, and I hope that this list embodies that. There is a companion emailing list called Hieros-Gamos that I started, mainly for the type of mysticism that is bridal/love in nature. There are many different types of mystics, however, and I'd like this place to encompase all of them.,
Mary Magdalene with egg


Welcome to the community!

For the first post, I would like to show everyone a very interesting article that I had originally posted to the Hieros-Gamos list:


It is from the Christian perspective, but this article can be applied universally to any and all religions. It's about the various types of mysticism and their characteristics. There is no single method of having a mystical experience, and people come from various different mystical styles: some contemplation, others study and practice of mystical traditions, and others from bridal or "love" mysticism in which the Divine is seen as Lover. I myself am from the bridal mystical category.