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Magick and Hermetics

The Kybalion

An occult classic Since its first publication in 1908, The Kybalion, Hermetic Philosophy by Three Initiates, has been in constant demand by students and investigators of the Secret Doctrines. It is a modern addition to the body of work devoted to Hermes Trismegistus, an icon of ancient teachings that reveal the path to self transformation. In this revised edition, we have corrected many editorial issues inherent within the original text, creating a clearer presentation of the book's message: The Seven Hermetic Principles, or axioms:
• Principle of Mentalism • Principle of Correspondence • Principle of Vibration • Principle of Polarity • Principle of Rhythm • Principle of Cause and Effect • Principle of Gender
These principles complement other Hermetic teachings and provide a foundation for your own spiritual awakening. As the book states, "The lips of wisdom are closed, except to the ears of understanding".

David Conway - Magic: An Occult Primer

David Conway's Magic: An Occult Primer is a seminal work that brought magical training to the every-magician in the early 70s. David is an articulate writer presenting the mysteries in a very workable manner for the serious student. Along with the updated texts on philosophy and practical magic is a plethora of graphics that have all been redrawn, promising to be another collector's edition published by The Witches' Almanac.
The book is divided into two sections: "Magical Theory" and "Magical Practice." "Magical Theory" presents a very concise accounting of the philosophy behind magic. Conway begins with a exposé of magic within the confines of natural law, taking the time to meticulously find corollary for the basis of magic. He then takes us into an exposition of the Kabbalah and broader cosmological concerns. Conway drills down into daily practice and further explores the basic training necessary for a magician in this day and age.
"Magical Practice" begins with the preparations necessary for the practice of magic. Conway begins this section with several tables of correspondences that will prove helpful to even the advanced magician. He continues with an examination of the timing of rituals as well as the place and ritual equipment necessary for rites. Conway then provides master rituals presented for both Kabbalistic and Egyptian approaches. He also presents detail on astral projection, talismanic magic, and prophecy.
Magic: An Occult Primer ends with appendices that present detailed magical recipes, an examination of magical alphabets, and an extensive occult Who's Who

Donald Tyson - Portable Magic

Say goodbye to ceremonial robes, incense, candles, and oils. Donald Tyson presents a new, easy way to perform ritual magic with only one tool: tarot. From manipulating elemental forces of nature to making potent charms, all ceremonial rituals can be performed with a standard 78-card deck.
Tyson's efficient system of tarot magic is based on the Golden Dawn tradition, which corresponds with tarot imagery. He teaches how to work magic on the astral level by projecting one's awareness into the ritual tarot layout. Learn how to set up an astral temple, build an altar, cast a magic circle, and create a triangle through which to actualize your purpose. This innovative guide to tarot magic also includes rituals related to unions, business, banishing, and evoking elementals.

Rachel Pollack - 78 Degrees of Wisdom: Book of Tarot Revised

A top tarotist's secrets to personal growth, one card at a time. The two volumes of Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom have inspired a whole generation of tarot students. It has often been described by readers, booksellers, and teachers as the "Bible of tarot readers." It is also often cited as one of the landmark books in modern tarot, and it helped to launch the "Tarot Renaissance" of the 1980s. The two texts-one for The Major Arcana and one for The Minor Arcana--appear together in this volume, which is a reissue of the 1998 edition first published by Thorsons. Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom draws on mythology and esoteric traditions and delves deeply into the symbolism and ideas of each card. It also gives the cards a modern psychological slant based on the pictures rather than a system of occult symbolism. This endlessly useful reference tool provides a concise history of tarot, introduces common spreads, and is a clear and readable book for both the beginning and advanced tarot student.

Paul Foster Case - An Introduction to the Study of Tarot

"An Introduction to the Study of Tarot" was originally published in 1920 and has been a leading introductory guide for all with an interest in the Tarot.

Aleister Crowley - The Book of Thoth

Now a classic in the field, used by students of the Golden Dawn as well as by those who want to understand Crowley's tarot. This is the definitive study of the Egyptian tarot and is used as a key to all Western mystery disciplines.
Crowley's Thoth Tarot Deck

Gerd Zeigler - Tarot: Mirror of the Soul: Handbook for the Aleister Crowley Tarot

Using the Crowley Thoth deck, you learn that the tarot cards symbolize your inner reality. Learn how this "mirror" reflects your growth, and how you can grow to your maximum with this easy-to-use system. Includes definitions of the major andminor arcana, instructions for reading the cards to clarify emotional situations, and provides several different layouts, including a chakra reading. Illustrated with the Crowley deck.

Lon Milo Duquette - Understanding Aleister Crowleys Thoth Tarot

Originally published in 2003, Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot has proved to be the essential guide to accessing the unique symbolism and meaning of Aleister Crowley's remarkable tarot deck along with the deeply textured artwork of Lady Frieda Harris. Crowley authority Lon Milo DuQuette starts by providing an insightful historical background before delving into descriptions of each card in depth, from a tarot perspective and from an expanded, magickal point of view. He first describes the tarot meaning of each card in detail and then explains all the other attributions Crowley intended.
This unique guide has been updated with a new introduction that provides information on the unicursal hexagram cards included with the deck but never explained.

Papus - The Tarot of the Bohemians

Tarot of the Bohemians, along with the Pictoral Key to the Tarot, constitute the core literature of 19th and early 20th century 'Tarotism'. However, PTK is to the TOB as arithmetic is to differential calculus. If you have no experience reading occult literature of this period, you may find yourself profoundly lost after the first couple of pages, staring at the abundant and profoundly esoteric tables, charts and diagrams, trying to get a clue as to what Papus is talking about. Papus is after a 'Theory of Everything', and finds evidence for it in the Tarot and a set of correspondences with everything from the tetragrammaton to numerology and astrology.
His claim that the Tarot preserves ancient, profound knowledge by way of the Romany/Gypsies (i.e. 'Bohemians') all the way back to Egypt, India and Atlantis is unsubstantiated. There is no evidence of any kind of playing or fortune-telling cards prior to the thirteenth century, either in literature or folklore. Note that playing cards could not have become popular until the introduction of printing in Europe. The Tarot is believed to have originated from an elaborate deck of cards invented in Italy in the fourteenth century. The Romany people probably started to use this deck for cartomancy (fortune telling by cards) about a century thereafter. As Papus notes, all of the early cards depict people dressed in the costume of this period.
Late in the book, Papus condescends to pen a section, in his words, 'for the ladies' (cue Barry White music here), which gives some basic instruction in cartomancy using the Tarot deck. However, this is by far the weakest portion of this book. Papus is at his best when he is spinning elaborate webs of correspondence between the Tarot and the Macrocosm. This book is hard work, but if you master it you will have a profound grasp of the inner life of the Tarot deck.

A.E. Waite - Pictorial Key to Tarot

Long used in telling fortunes and popular today among New Agers, Tarot cards are regarded by many as "the training wheels" on the bicycle of psychic development. Centuries of scientific progress have not diminished the irresistible attraction of gazing at picture cards to see the future and determine one's fate. This book by Arthur Edward Waite, the designer of the most widely known Tarot deck and distinguished scholar of the Kabbalah, is the essential Tarot reference. The pictorial key contains a detailed description of each card in the celebrated 78-card Rider-Waite Tarot deck, along with regular and reversed meanings. Contents describe symbols and secret tradition; the four suits of Tarot, including wands, cups, swords, and pentacles; the recurrence of cards in dealing; an ancient Celtic method of divination; as well as wonderful illustrations of Tarot cards. While the perfect complement to old-style fortune telling, The Pictorial Key to the Tarot also serves to make the Tarot entirely accessible to modern-day readers. It is also the classic guide to the Rider-Waite deck and to Tarot symbolism in general.

Mouni Sadhu - The Tarot: A Contemporary Course of the Quintessence of Hermetic Occultism

• A complete training in the Magical Philosophy • Divided into easy-to-learn lessons • Secrets of the Astral Plane revealed
This is by no means simply a theoretical treatise accessible only to specialists. Any discerning reader can cope with the initiatory contents of The Tarot, perceiving completely new horizons of thought, activity, psychology, cosmogony and practical magic in this traditional form of Hermetic Occultism.
An enormous number of questions that occur to the earnest seeker are answered in new and fascinating ways. The attentive reader is offered the opportunity to understand the true meaning of one’s own life and destiny, as well as that of the epoch in which we live.
This scholarly work creates a new epoch in traditional occult philosophy. It is the first contemporary encyclopedic exposition of the great Western Tradition since the basic books by Eliphas Levi and Papus, and it also has full practical utility. The Philosophical Tarot has always been recognized as a universal key to all wisdom attainable by human beings. This text will be of particular interest, because of its kindred approach, to the many readers of the extraordinary contemporary masterpiece Meditations on the Tarot, by an anonymous writer much valued in esoteric circles throughout the world. The present work is by no means just a theoretical treatise accessible only to specialists, for anyone can understand the initiatory concepts of Mouni Sadhu's Tarot, perceiving completely new horizons of thought, activity, psychology, cosmology, and practical esotericism. In this text a great number of questions which occur to the earnest seeker are answered in a new and fascinating way, and the solution of the philosophical equations arising from the Arcana opens new vistas in every field of life. The book is suitably subdivided into 100 separate lessons, allowing for systematic study.

Anonymous - Meditations on The Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism

Published for the first time with an index and Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar’s afterword, this new English publication of Meditations on the Tarot is the landmark edition of one of the most important works of esoteric Christianity.
Written anonymously and published posthumously, as was the author’s wish, the intention of this work is for the reader to find a relationship with the author in the spiritual dimensions of existence. The author wanted not to be thought of as a personality who lived from 1900 to 1973, but as a friend who is communicating with us from beyond the boundaries of ordinary life.
Using the 22 major arcana of the tarot deck as a means to explore some of humanity’s most penetrating spiritual questions, Meditations on the Tarot has attracted an unprecedented range of praise from across the spiritual spectrum.
Written anonymously and published posthumously in 1980 at the wishes of its author, Meditations on the Tarot has been translated from the original French by writer and esotericist Robert Powell, who lives in Germany. Widely considered one of the greatest Catholic theologians of the twentieth century, the Swiss-born Hans Urs von Balthasar, who wrote the afterword in this new edition, was nominated by Pope John Paul II as a cardinal in 1988, and died in June of that year, two days before his inauguration.
Book T (Reference)
Tarot Worksheets Thoth For Beginners Tarot Spread How to Read the Tarot in 7 Easy Steps

Alan Chapman - Advanced Magick for Beginners

A new paradigm that delivers a genuine transformation of occultism. The author assumes no previous knowledge, only a willingness to explore what magick offers, yet its apparent to anyone with a background in the subject that Alan Chapman is drawing on a wide range of experience, from classical Crowleyean Magick, to eastern metaphysics, and back again to Discordianism and Chaos Magick. Chapmans writing-style is humorous, direct, seductively logical, and his enthusiasm for the benefits of magick is both tangible and infectious. The novice magician will indeed find themselves equipped to commence all sorts of magickal operations: trance work, enchantment, divination, and even some of the higher forms of spiritual development. To experienced magicians, Chapman offers a subtler challenge: he revitalises magick by cutting it free from the extreme relativism Chaos Magick bequeathed, provocatively redefining it as: the art, science and culture of experiencing truth.

Frater U.'.D.'. - Practical Sigil Magic

Practical Sigil Magic is widely regarded as the definitive guide to the topic. Unavailable for a number of years and long sought-after by magicians, this classic work is now available once again.
Sigil magic is one of the most efficient and economical of magical disciplines. It can be performed without complicated rituals or paraphernalia, is independent of philosophical and dogmatic premises, and can be learned easily and quickly. Most important, it will give even beginning magicians the chance to work with the power of the Will and enhance their own abilities. This classic reference work will provide magicians―from novice to adept― with instruction that will empower and advance their magical practice.

Damon Brand - Magickal Servitors

With servitor magick you create a spirit, using your mind, heart and soul, to serve your deepest needs.
The magick is designed to be easy for beginners as well as experienced occultists. All you need is an open mind and the willingness to work with the instructions.
You will be pleasantly surprised by the way reality yields to the power of your magick.
You will discover:
  • How to create spirits that are easy to contact and effortless to command.
  • Servitors that grow and change with your needs.
  • Magick for long-term, repeating results.
  • Servitors for Self-Development, that help you enhance or subdue a personality trait.
  • Perception Servitors, to see people and situations clearly.
  • Servitors of Influence, to stir thoughts and feelings in others.
  • Manifestation Servitors for material rewards and real-world change.
  • The secret process of Vision, Creation and Life that gives birth to a loyal, powerful spirit.
This book presents a system for creating a spirit that will act on your behalf, manipulating matter, time and the patterns of reality to bring the results you desire.

Donald Michael Kraig - Modern Magick

For over two decades, Donald Michael Kraig's Modern Magick has been the world's most popular step-by-step guide to working real magick. Tens of thousands of individuals and groups have used this course as their primary instruction manual. Now, greatly revised and expanded, this set of lessons is more complete and relevant to your life than ever.
Written with respect for the student, Modern Magick will safely guide you―even if you know little or nothing―through a progressive series of practical exercises and rituals, complemented by the knowledge, history, insights, and theory you need to become a successful ceremonial magician. Firmly rooted in the Western magickal tradition yet designed to be fully compatible with your contemporary practice, this book will help you attain full mastery of all core topics in magick:
  • The inner mysteries of the Kabalah
  • The most powerful rituals of magick
  • How to create and perform your own rituals
  • True meditation
  • Magickal ethics
  • Astral projection
  • Tools of magick
  • Evocation of spirits
  • Pathworking
  • Tantra and sex magick
  • The importance of the Tarot
  • Talismans and amulets
  • Secrets of visualization
  • Alchemy
  • Psychic self-defense
  • Healing rituals
Filled with personal stories and helpful illustrations, along with updated and brand-new material, this new edition of Modern Magick features a completely new lesson that reveals the concepts, techniques, and rituals of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Chaos Magick, and Postmodern Magick. Ideal for beginning, intermediate, or advanced students, and perfect as a manual for magickal temples, this is essential reading for every true magician.

King & Skinner - Techniques of High Magick: A Manual of Self-Initiation

Self-initiation into practical magic with clear instructions on how to perform invocation and evocations, achieve astral projection, make effective talismans, or practice divination using either geomancy, tarot or I Ching. Useful for a complete beginner or those further along the path.

Georg Lomer - 7 Hermetic Letters

Develop your soul and spirit with Seven Hermetic Letters. A spiritual course of instructions for the higher development of the spirit and the mysterious powers of the soul. Basic preliminary exercises for controling one's self are provided in a simple way to ensure understanding and personal growth and progress without the need of a teacher. An excellent precursor to the Franz Bardon books on Hermetics.

Franz Bardon - Initiation into Hermetics

Self-initiation into the Holy Mysteries with the need of a guru or master. Initiation into Hermetics provides step by step instruction in the form of practical exercises. These exercises lead to the development of body, soul and spirit. The result of the practical exercises is the development of occult abilities which can be of benefit to the student, in as far as he can change his existence for the better.
The great mystery of the Tetragrammaton, the key to the tetrapolar magnet, is explained. By reading the theoretical section many secrets are unveiled which were once only known to very few. The reader will receive first-hand knowledge about the principles of fire, air, water and earth, the positive and negative attributes of these elements, and how these elements affect the human body. The immutable law of cause and effect is explained, not only as it applies to human beings, but also how it applies to the elements. Detailed information is also given about the soul or the astral body, and how the four elements determine the temperament in a person.
The astral plane is considered to be "the beyond" by most religions. This plane does have its inhabitants, most of which are departed human beings from earth. Besides that you find elementaries, beings with one or only a few attributes. It is very advantageous to learn about these beings and how they affect a human being's life. There is also another kind of being, which is a being of the pure elements. The reader will find that many myths or even fairy tales are based on truth. But mankind has lost the ability to stay in contact with reality and has chosen to live in a completely transitory world which they consider to be their reality.
The third plain, the mental plain, is also explained; it is the sphere of thought which has its origin in the world of ideas.
Each step of the practical part of this book is divided into three parts: the magical spiritual or mental schooling, soul or astral schooling, and physical schooling. This allows the student to maintain a complete equilibrium. The student learns how to control all his mental faculties even to the point that he can control every thought. He will learn self-introspection, clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, astral and mental travel, control of the electric and magnetic fluids, and communication with the beings of the astral plain.
With 10 Add-Ons?
Rawn Clark Companion Expanded and updated second edition of Rawn Clark's practical commentaries on Franz Bardon's three books: "Initiation Into Hermetics", "Practice of Magical Evocation" and "Key to the True Kabbalah". Includes a new, more in-depth commentary on IIH.

Jason Augustus Newcomb - The New Hermetics

The New Hermetics is a powerful spiritual technology of the mind. It is a course of study and practice that teaches the science of illumination and the ability to alter reality. The ancient Egyptian form of Hermetic philosophy was that the mind shapes reality. The New Hermetics extends that philosophy - the universe is a great mind or consciousness, and we are a part of that consciousness; therefore by learning to control the mind, we learn to control our part of the universe. With updated versions of the ancient Rosicrucian brotherhood's 10 levels of initiation, combined with ancient and modern mind-expanding techniques such as visualization and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), The New Hermetics progressively gives initiates power over their minds and world. Practicing these elements simultaneously makes it possible to undergo initiation into the mysteries of consciousness in a fraction of the time it was ever before possible. The course offered in the book lets practitioners master their minds in such a way that they will be able to achieve anything and everything they want in life, spiritually and physically. The New Hermetics offers 10 levels of instruction to control the mind and control reality: Level 1-The Initiate teaches mastery over behavior and visualization in the Ether. Level 2-The Zealot bestows mastery over emotions, breathing, and Etheric energy. Level 3-The Practitioner gives mastery over mind, beliefs, and the ability to project Etheric energy. Level 4-The Philosopher masters creativity,values, and the ability to direct Etheric energy. Level 5-The Adept develops relationship with cosmic consciousness. Level 6-The Advanced Adept offers the power to direct the forces of cosmic consciousness. Level 7-The Perfect Adept gives wisdom and the ability to share these forces with others. Level 8-The Master bestows mastery of cosmic consciousness. Level 9-The Mage gains mastery of universal power. Level 10-The Ultimate Master obtains mastery over the universal self.
The New Hermetics is a powerful course of instruction that can help anyone master themselves to rule their world.

Chic Cicero - Self-Initiation Into the Golden Dawn Tradition: A Complete Curriculum of Study for Both the Solitary Magician and the Working Magical Group

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn has been considered one of the most important Western magical systems for over a century. Although much of their knowledge has been published, to really enter the system required initiation within a Golden Dawn temple ― until now.
Regardless of your magical knowledge or background, you can learn and live the Golden Dawn tradition with the first practical guide to Golden Dawn initiation. Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition by Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero offers self-paced instruction by two senior adepts of this magical order.
For the first time, the esoteric rituals of the Golden Dawn are clearly laid out in step-by-step guidance that's clear and easy-to-follow. Studying the Knowledge Lectures, practicing daily rituals, doing meditations, and taking self-graded exams will enhance your learning. Initiation rituals have been correctly reinterpreted so you can perform them yourself. Upon completion of this workbook, you can truly say that you are practicing the Golden Dawn tradition with an in-depth knowledge of qabalah, astrology, Tarot, geomancy, spiritual alchemy, and more, all of which you will learn from Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition.
·No need for group membership ·Instructions are free of jargon and complex language ·Lessons don't require familiarity with magical traditions ·Grade rituals from Neophyte to Portal ·Link with your Higher Self
If you have ever wondered what it would be like to learn the Golden Dawn system, Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition explains it all. The lessons follow a structured plan, adding more and more information with each section of the book. Did you really learn the material? Find out by using the written tests and checking them with the included answers. Here is a chance to find out if the Golden Dawn system is the right path for you or to add any part of their wisdom and techniques to the system you follow. Start with this book now.

Lyam Thomas Christopher - Kabbalah Magic The Great Work of Self Transformation

Advancing to higher levels of ritual magic with purpose and power requires an exaltation of consciousness-a spiritual transformation that can serve as an antitode to the seeming banality of modern life.
Based on Kabbalistic techniques, the teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and an Hermetic tradition spanning nearly two thousand years, this innovative new work introduces the history of the Golden Dawn and its mythology, the Tree of Life, Deities, demons, rules for practicing magic, and components of effective ritual.
A comprehensive course of self-initiation using Israel Regardie's seminal Golden Dawn as a key reference point, Kabbalah, Magic and the Great Work of Self-Transformation guides you through the levels of the Golden Dawn system of ritual magic. Each grade in this system corresponds with a sphere in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life and includes daily rituals, required reading, written assignments, projects, and additional exercises.
Knowledgeable and true to tradition, author Lyam Thomas Christopher presents a well-grounded and modern step-by-step program toward spiritual attainment, providing a lucid gateway toward a more awakened state.
Finalist for the Coalition of Visionary Resources Award for Best Magick/Shamanism Book

Israel Regardie - The Golden Dawn: The Original Account of the Teachings, Rites, and Ceremonies of the Hermetic Order

The Golden Dawn by Israel Regardie is considered by many to be the book that started the modern occult movement. The original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which started in the late 1800s, borrowed from a wide variety of occult traditions ? Kabalah, Tarot, Geomancy, Enochian Magic, Theosophy, Freemasonry, Paganism, Astrology, and many more ? and created a unique and viable system of magic that is still being practiced today. Almost every contemporary occult writer and modern group has been influenced, directly or indirectly, by the Order or its members, making The Golden Dawn one of the most influential occult books of the past 100 years. The book is divided into several basic sections. First are the knowledge lectures, where you will learn the basics of the Kabalah, symbolism, meditation, geomancy and more. This is followed by the rituals of the Outer Order, consisting of five initiation rituals into the degrees of the Golden Dawn. The next section covers the rituals of the Inner Order including two initiation rituals, equinox ceremonies, and more. Then you will learn the basic rituals of magic and the construction, consecration, and means of using the magical tools. Once you have these you can go on to evocation rituals, talismans, and invocations. The book gives explanations for how to design talismans, do skrying and travel on the astral plane. You will also learn geomancy, the Tarot, and Enochian magic. Filled with numerous illustrations, lists, and tables, The Golden Dawn provides guidance for a lifetime of magic and life-changing transformation. First published in 1937, Israel Regardie’s The Golden Dawn has become the most influential modern handbook of magical theory and practice. In this new, definitive edition, noted scholar John Michael Greer has taken this essential resource back to its original, authentic form. With added illustrations, a twenty-page color insert, additional original material, and refreshed design and typography, this powerful work returns to its true stature as a modern masterpiece.
An essential textbook for students of the occult, The Golden Dawn includes occult symbolism and Qabalistic philosophy, training methods for developing magical and clairvoyant powers, rituals that summon and banish spiritual potencies, secrets of making and consecrating magical tools, and much more.

Francis Barrett - The Magus

An excellent work which encompasses much of the occult lore to have emerged over the preceding centuries, The Magus unites and presents occultist and alchemical wisdom in an organized and exhaustive manner. Francis Barrett designed this book to guide and imbue aspiring practitioners of the occult arts with a working knowledge of the rituals and materials required.
Commencing with Magic, we are offered a comprehensive accounts of its capabilities and the tools needed for its use. Natural magic is defined, as are the many philters and potions which may be created and imbued with its essence. Various historical examples of magicians who had, for good or ill, gained public notice for their practices are given. The later chapters meanwhile concern the properties of magical stones such as the legendary Philosophers Stone, and the arcane arts of combining creatures of nature, and the sometimes monstrous results.
The Magus itself is termed the Celestial Intelligencer; beginning with a basic account of the four elements, we traverse each in more detail before delving into the more esoteric practices. The symbolism of numbers and of the astronomical bodies of the heavens are detailed, sometimes with the help of charts.
The second book offers an occultist account of the Magnetism - distinct from the magnetism of physics, the occult magnetism is instead defined by an attraction of two or more people to one another. The various potions, incantations and other practices used to draw people together (or apart) are listed, with some consideration given to witchcraft.
The second book's later portions concern 'ceremonial magic', whereby practitioners may call upon spirits for insight or other purposes. Much of the book is concerned with the traits necessary of the magician, and the preparatory environs necessary to summon such spirits. Illustrations of these beings, who are various in appearance, are appended to these pages.
Working in the occult for most of his life, Francis Barrett ambitiously aimed to collect, translate and arrange the occult books of the previous centuries. He hoped that occultism would regain great popularity, much as it had enjoyed in the past, and offered lessons and tutoring in the practices from his apartment in London. Although The Magus escaped recognition and faded to obscurity, it later came to the attention of French magician Eliphas Levi, who brought it to renewed prominence decades after its author perished.

David Allen Hulse - Eastern Mysteries: An Encyclopedic Guide to the Sacred Languages & Magickal Systems of the World

In scope and clarity, there is no book that can compare to The Eastern Mysteries. This reissue of David Allen Hulse’s landmark work is the one book all students of the occult must own. It catalogs and distills, in hundreds of tables of secret symbolism, the true import of each ancient Eastern magickal tradition. Each chapter is a key that unlocks the meaning behind one of the magickal languages. Through painstaking research and analysis, Hulse has accomplished an unprecedented feat―that of reconstructing the basic underlying systems that form the vast legacy of mystery traditions.
The real genius of this accomplishment is that it is presented in a way that is immediately understandable and usable. Although the book deals with many foreign scripts, ancient tongues, and lost symbols, it is designed for the beginning student. Included is a wealth of cross-references, excellent introductory material and overviews, an extensive annotated bibliography, and―new to this edition―a complete index.

David Allen Hulse - The Western Mysteries: An Encyclopedic Guide to the Sacred Languages & Magickal Systems of the World - The Key of It All, Book 2

(Desperately need this PDF, can you help me?)

The Western Mysteries (previously published as The Key of It All, Book II: The Western Mysteries), by David Allen Hulse, is perhaps the most comprehensive, in-depth description of various aspects of the Western magickal tradition ever published.
The uniting factor of this book is language. It begins with a discussion of the mysteries of the Greek alphabet, followed by the different forms of the Runes, and goes on to describe the mystical secrets of Latin. and then Enochian, where you will discover, for the first time ever, the correctly constructed Watchtower system.
The book also includes the mysteries of the Tarot, a pictorial language, and it describes the development of the esoteric Tarot, how to do readings, and the significance of the symbolism on the Tarot cards. It concludes with the English language and its relationship to the Tarot, Enochian, and more.
The introduction to The Western Mysteries serves as a complete introduction to the magickal tradition of the West. You will learn about the evolution of thought concerning the Elements, astrology, magick squares, geomancy, words of power, and more.
You will find that each section of this book is a key that unlocks the meaning behind another of the magickal languages that you can relate to your own spiritual system. It is ideal for a beginning student to explore the mysteries of Western magick. It is a necessary tool for more advanced students, as it has collected hundreds of charts and lists which clarify and identify the similarities and differences between various systems.
This is a reference book you will study over and over. The volume of information revealed makes The Western Mysteries an instant classic and a necessity for any spiritual practitioner.

A.E. Waite - The Book of Ceremonial Magic: Including the Rites and Mysteries of Goetic Theurgy, Sorcery, and Infernal Necromancy

2011 Reprint of 1911 Edition. Arthur Edward Waite (1857-1942) was a scholarly mystic who wrote extensively on occult and esoteric matters, and was the co-creator of the Rider-Waite Tarot deck. As his biographer, R.A. Gilbert described him, "Waite's name has survived because he was the first to attempt a systematic study of the history of western occultism - viewed as a spiritual tradition rather than as aspects of proto-science or as the pathology of religion." "The Book of Ceremonial Magic" is the second edition of a work which in its first edition was titled, more provocatively, "The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts." It is an attempt to synthesize the procedures of all of the famous Grimoires. It draws on the "Key of Solomon", the "Grimorium Verum", the apocryphal Fourth Book of Cornelius Agrippa, and many others, including the famous "Black Pullet", or "Poulet Noir". The result is an unparalleled look at the details of ceremonial magic.

Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki - The Ritual Magic Workbook: A Practical Course of Self-Initiation

This is a carefully conceived course of instruction for anyone who wants to practice ceremonial magic, and has been written for students who are not part of a working group. Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki takes the student, month-by-month, through a full year of magical training. She imparts her years of hard-earned experience in the clear, accessible, and often humorous style for which she is internationally known. Each month's work is concluded with practical exercises designed to give the student a sound working knowledge of ritual magic. Among the many topics covered are: Constructing and consecrating a temple Meditation and visualization techniques Working in an elemental temple Exploring the Inner World Pathworking the Tree of Life
submitted by _Dangma_Dzyu_ to magick

6

[OC] The HEL Jumper [Chapter 18]

Book 1 of The HEL Jumper
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Previous | First | Next
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“Yes? You may enter,” Qul’Roth called with unconcealed annoyance as yet another human sought to pay him a visit. He understood the logic behind the admiral’s suggestion, but that didn’t mean he enjoyed the end result. It was in no way instructive or useful to face human after human who only spoke to him at the insistence of their superior officer. Turning to face the door of his cabin, the Ghaelen saw a young woman of average human height with black hair and brown eyes. She was thin and shapely enough for her species, he supposed. Her face was one that would be appealing to male humans according to his education, as she was symmetric and soft on the eyes. He far preferred the substantial haunches and lengthy muzzles of females of his own species, but it would be a long while before he saw such a sight again. The human stood politely just within the doorway.
“Envoy Qul’Roth of Ghaela, my name is Alice Winters of Earth. I greet you in the hopes that our meeting may further the Order.” The envoy sat slightly straighter at his desk, surprised to be greeted so formally.
“I did not know there were any of your division on this ship. Well met, Alice Winters of Earth. May our meeting further the Order,” Qul’Roth replied, waving one of his long, thin arms at the human in a customary greeting. As Ghaelen supported almost all of their body weight on their hind legs, they tended to remain in an almost seated position when not in motion. Given that the human before him was courteous enough to greet him in the way of his own people he decided it worth the effort to return the favor, taking a couple of paces on all fours before sitting back again and extending his hand to her. She took it softly and shook.
“I’m not Alpha Division if that’s what you mean, Qul’Roth. I’m a member of Beta Division,” Alice clarified, pointing to the patch on her uniform’s arm. All the humans aboard the vessel that were not military wore single piece, black jumpsuits. Qul’Roth found that desirable. It was Order, easy and neat. She was looking him over intently, taking note of his black and white striped fur as well as a couple of the native plants from Ghaela he’d brought with him to furnish his otherwise uninteresting cabin aboard the Event Horizon.
“I see. Why are you here, Alice Winters?”
“Would it surprise you if I said it was just to talk?” She asked innocently, seeming at ease in front of him. He waved her to a human chair that had sat unused in the corner of the cabin until that point. He preferred to simply sit back on his own haunches when at work at his desk.
“Given the…professional relationship between our species and your admiral’s orders, yes, that would surprise me,” Qul’Roth elaborated, not bothering to attempt to communicate in broken English. He could never achieve the fine dexterity of the tongue necessary for some of the language’s sounds. Instead he relied on the translation programs that were omnipresent on every computer within the HEL and on any Ghaelen vessel that spent any amount of time in human occupied space. Alice sat and crossed her legs politely at the knees.
“I’m a xenobiologist by training and passion, Qul’Roth,” she explained concisely.
“So you are here to satisfy your personal curiosities? Do you not have more important things to do that would benefit your species or this ship?” He replied sharply.
“You mean like learning about our partner species and its representative on one of the most advanced ships in our fleet…while we’re in jump space?” Alice shot right back, gesturing to the ‘viewport’ where the simulated exterior view of the ship showed nothing but the purest of black. “If you’re busy I can leave you be, but don’t expect me to be scared away that easily. My master’s thesis was on the species of the pacified worlds. None of your kind was willing to speak to me about them. I know rather little about our uplifters for a xenobiologist.”
“And yet you clearly managed to achieve your degree. I commend your determination in service of your species and learning.”
“Yes, Qul’Roth. I spoke with plenty of the soldiers who played God at your behest, got their hands dirty killing aliens that couldn’t fight back,” Alice challenged. The Ghaelen narrowed his black eyes at her.
“We all serve the Order. That was the condition of your species’ uplift, a situation you have more than taken advantage of.”
Alice sighed, shook her head, and bit her tongue. “Forgive my passions; I’m not here to rehash those sorts of debates. Perhaps that’s best left to Alpha and your governing council after all. I’ve had very little direct contact with your kind despite my degree, as I said. This is my first time off-world. I may not interest you, but you interest me. Do those horns make it difficult to deal with the doors?”
Qul’Roth looked down at the female human in confusion. “The continuation of my species is more important than the size of your doors. It is not a problem. Should one of my sisters find my antlers of sufficient size and quality I will have no reason to care for the inconvenience of your architecture. You picked a rather intriguing ship for your first voyage, Alice Winters. I was barely able to sort my affairs and send a message to our picket ship before your admiral had us at the warp point. The acceleration was impressive, getting from your moon to the solar warp point in but a day.”
“It’s quite the ship, I agree. So he really did leave you in the dark, did he?” Alice responded, unable to help a smile thinking about Kaczynski and his seemingly innate ability to inconvenience everyone around him while still doing the right thing.
“He did, though I do not believe this will present any issue to our council. If the Lancer did encounter something out of the ordinary, the Order compels us to discover what that is,” the Ghaelen declared solemnly, scratching at the tuft of longer fur that hung from his chin. “Though its crew could have just as easily made a mistake and gotten themselves killed.”
“You’re wrong!” Alice shouted, standing and glaring defiantly at the Ghaelen who seemed taken aback yet again by her reaction. He gestured for calm.
“If they did make a mistake we will catalog it so that others may learn from their deaths. Your species will be served well in either eventuality. There is no need to be upset,” he insisted.
“And if your brother was on that ship?!” The human fumed, feeling the hair on her neck bristle in anger.
“I have a planet of brothers and sisters. So long as something is gained, measured losses are acceptable to advance the Order,” Qul’Roth replied almost serenely, absolute in his convictions. Alice saw red, clenching her fists tightly at her side.
“I’m going to leave you be, Qul’Roth, as I’d prefer not to cause an incident so soon on our trip. But I will say this. You should be thankful that our species are allies,” she whispered, meeting his eyes with cold fury and the conviction of a human; a human who held the bonds of family near and dear to her heart. “You will never be able to fight for your planet, your billions of siblings, or your precious order the way I can fight for my brother…or the way he can fight for me. But I apologize for losing my temper. I hope our next conversation can be a bit more pleasant.” With that she bowed and left his cabin, leaving the Ghaelen to ponder her words for a brief spell before opening a new audiolog on the personal device that hung from his neck as a glittering disc.
“Personal log of Qul’Roth of Ghaela, miscellaneous entry. I just concluded the most curious conversation with a human female who insisted that their bonds of family would be the key to victory if our species ever came into armed conflict. Perhaps this is what the humans refer to as a ‘fit of passion’? She was not directly threatening and acted courteously within the dictates of the treaties between our species, so there is no harm done. I still do not believe she should be here at all given her age and profession, but I suppose that human admiral had his hand in this as well. I shall endeavor to speak with her further as the voyage continues in the hopes of convincing humanity that the Order is the one true path, a path without conflict. Young minds can be most pliant and I should make the best of this unexpected situation. End of entry.”
-----
The first jump of the Event Horizon took six days, depositing its passengers in an unremarkable star system featuring a red giant and a handful of rocky orbiting bodies. Alice had been on the bridge as they came out of warp, at Natori’s behest, but the Lancer’s comm buoy had provided them with nothing out of the ordinary. The scout ship had logged an examination of the star’s emission spectrum, and a handful of reports from the planetoids in orbit as well as the one gas giant in the system. With that done, they had leaped to the next star, leaving their destination coordinates with the buoy. Kaczynski ordered a jump along that path six days later.
With the ship in warp space yet again, Alice Winters set out from her small cabin to explore the Event Horizon. Even after three weeks it still seemed to hold plenty of secrets and wonders, from genetic sequencing and tissue culture labs to nano-manufactories larger than her berth. As the day cycle aboard the ship began, she decided to head to the rear of the vessel to take her meal in the military mess hall. There was not an enforced separation of crew during mealtimes, but with the armory, drop pod bays, barracks, and about half of the military hangars at the aft of the ship it just made sense for the majority of the military personnel aboard to eat in the smaller mess hall there. It was a bit of a journey to the vast civilian cafeteria in the front of the ship, closer to the hydroponics bays. Following a short, familiar walk along well marked passages full of bright light, sharp angles, and clean surfaces, Alice arrived at the nearest warp pipe station. The ship’s VI hailed her.
‘Good morning, Alice Winters of civilian deck B-2. What is your destination?’
“Good morning, Cassia. Can you send me to the station nearest the military mess hall on deck A-8?”
‘Of course. Please step into the pod and remember to remain supine until the pod has come to a complete stop. Thank you and have a nice day.’
Mandatory safety instructions conveyed, the hatch to the tube system opened to reveal a pod sized for one person. Alice climbed inside, laid down, and hit the button to acknowledge she was secure within. The pod and the station closed before the airlocks to the front and rear opened and she was rocketed away from her deck towards the back of the ship. These journeys had still not worn thin on Alice, the young woman shrieking happily the whole way as she felt the subtle climb of the pod away from the gravity center of the ship and the twist that took her from hull section B to A. Before long she felt the pod drift back down toward the center and she arrived at her destination.
A few minutes later Alice found herself among marines and pilots, eating what she admitted were passably egg and potato-flavored nutrient blocks along with a few leaves of fresh lettuce that she was told were grown from seeds aboard the vessel itself. The food earned no accolades beyond what the civilians had access to, but the environment was relaxing and reminded her a bit of home. Invariably her thoughts drifted to her father and then to her brother, her distracted state only interrupted by a well-built soldier seating himself heavily on the bench opposite her.
“Penny for your thoughts, beautiful?” He asked confidently as Alice focused on his uniform. He was a jumper, a sergeant from the looks of it.
“Good morning, Sergeant Lipper,” she replied professionally, reading his name off his chest easily enough. “What can I do for you?”
“Care to tell me what a civilian is doing all the way down here in our neck of the woods? And such a pretty one at that, miss…Winters?” He asked undeterred, leaning an elbow on the table.
“Flattery will get you nowhere with me, Sergeant. Just figured I’d stop by and see how the other half lives,” she replied with a smirk. The jumper narrowed his eyes at her.
“And a bit of fire in you, too! Thought you civvies were all too scared to brush shoulders with the likes of us,” he bragged, puffing out his chest a bit so his jump wings were on prominent display.
“Oh would you give it a rest, Lip?” Another burly man called from the table next to theirs, his skin a dark olive color. Alice saw he was part of a group of three other jumpers, two men and a woman. “Just because you can’t land yourself a girl in the force doesn’t mean you have to go chasing after every civilian with a pretty face!”
“And maybe I just have a taste for the finer things in life!” Lipper shot back, turning to Alice with a smile and a wink. “Don’t mind private Mendes, Miss Winters. He’s still a bit salty over yours truly being chosen to lead this merry little band.”
Alice felt a cold mask play over her face as she leaned forward, enjoying Lipper’s presence less and less with each passing moment. “Oh don’t worry, Sergeant Lipper. You HEL Jumpers don’t scare me.”
Lipper chuckled and leaned forward as well. “Is that a challenge, Miss Winters,” he asked smoothly. She fixed him with as steady a look as she could manage.
“No, Sergeant. It’s just that…how can I put this?” Alice wondered, leaning back and tapping her chin. She raised her voice so his squad could all hear. “When your baby brother makes First Lieutenant in Omega’s Jumper corps, some Beta boy flashing his sergeant’s insignia just doesn’t get me going like it used to.”
Lipper looked as though he’d swallowed a frog as his squad burst into laughter, pounding the table and hooting and hollering as even a few marines and pilots within earshot joined in. Alice stood and looked to her right, receiving a wink and what seemed almost a grateful nod from private Mendes. She returned it. “Don’t worry, Sergeant. I’m sure there are plenty of ladies aboard this fine vessel who would swoon at the idea of a HEL Jumper showing interest in them. Maybe stop by our cafeteria someday?” She suggested before collecting her tray and stepping out into the aisle between tables, giving a courteous nod to the rest of Lipper’s squad. “Private Mendes, it was a pleasure to meet you.”
“The feeling is very much mutual, lady Winters,” he replied, his English colored by a thick Brazilian accent. “You have a good day now.”
“Maybe I’ll see you again, drop by one of your simulations or something,” Alice proposed to ensure there were no hard feelings, taking her tray to the receptacle next to the food service window. She watched as it was lowered out of view and shuttled off to ensure that any remaining waste was recycled properly. Before leaving she took a final look over her shoulder, seeing Lipper rejoin his squad with a sour look on his face. The other male on the team put an arm around his shoulders and went about lifting his spirits. She was sure he’d be back to his cocksure self in no time. It was satisfying to be complimented, of course, but she hadn’t enjoyed Lipper’s demeanor. He might make some girl happy, but Russell would hate his guts, she concluded, remembering the disappointment of the first comm buoy. They all knew that early buoys were unlikely to hold anything in the way of clues, but it stung all the same to feel no closer to him. Where are you?
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Winters tossed and turned as his mind was consumed by turbulent, unclear memories. Eventually he roused himself, forcing his brain back to the surface of the waking world via force of will. He brought a hand to his head and sighed deeply, unable to recall anything important. His self-reflection was halted as he realized abruptly that he was alone. “Veera?” He called loudly, happy to hear the sound of talons against earth as his wife responded to his hail. The snows of Mara had melted, leaving the grassy plains and wooded forests that characterized the river along which they traveled ready for spring. Instead of cold, biting air that would force him back under the ursae fur; the cool, moist air felt good against his bare chest.
“Are you well, Russell?” Veera’s voice came from somewhere outside the tent to his right.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just wondered where you’d gotten off to.”
“Oh…uh, no problem. Why don’t you go back to sleep for a bit and I’ll see if I can find some food?” Winters cocked a brow at her unusually evasive voice. He threw back the blanket, surprised as small clumps of gold and black fur floated into the air before being carried out of the tent on a breeze. He looked down to find more fur on the leather floor of the shelter as well as a few additional clumps stuck to his body. The human smiled devilishly as he twirled a few hairs between his fingers. It was time.
“Nonsense, Veera. It hasn’t been warm for that long, no sense in foraging yet. I’ll get dressed and we can go hunting, just give me a moment. We need to teach Fenrir anyway,” Winters insisted, throwing on his clothes and lacing up his boots before exiting into the diffuse light of early morning. He looked about but saw no sign of Veera; that was until he caught a glimpse of the tip of a familiar tail poking out from behind a tree. Winters walked towards her, not bothering to silence his footfalls. She yelped as he reached out and grabbed her tail, holding her arms across her naked body as he circled around the tree, looking her up and down. “Veera, what’s going on?”
“I…oh gods,” she said with embarrassment. “I’m sorry, Russell. I did my best this morning but it was all over. Russell, no!” Veera shrieked as he took her into a bear hug, making sure to get plenty of her shedding fur all over him. When he was done he withdrew and tilted her head up so he could look into her eyes.
“Do I look like I care about a bit of fur?” He asked. They both looked down.
“That’s…more than a bit,” she whispered, seeing herself all over his shirt and pants.
“Did you eat yet?” He asked kindly. She shook her head.
“Then come on, let’s get a bit of meat and kina in our systems and then we’ll go to the river,” he encouraged before giving her a conspiratorial look. “Io and I prepared for this occasion.”
“Meylith be merciful,” Veera moaned, nevertheless taking his offered hand and heading back to the tent where Fenrir was waiting on all fours at attention, anticipating his morning meal.
“Yes yes, buddy, I didn’t forget you!” Winters ensured the beast, scratching him under his chin. “Now let’s all eat up so we can give Veera a good brushing!” His wife stood rigid and flared her feathers indignantly.
“Excuse me?!”
-----
Winters stopped short several paces from the slowly flowing river, kneeling down and unhooking Fenrir’s collar from his leash. “You go on, boy. We’ll be here,” he encouraged. The young hyrven looked around for a moment before walking off into the trees to do his business. Winters smiled as Fenrir then promptly made for the river. The pup dipped a tentative paw into the flow, withdrawing rapidly as the water proved quite frigid. He settled for a quick drink before plopping himself down about a foot from where Veera was seated. Winters sighed deeply and tapped his bracer a couple times. “Hey, you might want to see this,” he told Io softly. The AI booted up and looked around sleepily before turning away from him and using his visor to take in the scene.
‘I daresay, sir. Is this what they refer to as the beauty of the wilds?’ She asked, almost reverentially. Her partner nodded.
“Yeah…yeah it is,” Winters confirmed, taking in another breath of rejuvenating air. The abundant moisture carried all the scents of budding life, filling his head and lungs with air that was so clean and pure that it alone seemed to set him at peace. The dawning rays of sunlight from the west filtered through the trees along the banks and scattered off the thin mist rising from the river, dyeing all before him in tones of bright morning gold. The silence of winter had left them behind, replaced by the calls and cries of native Maran fauna, emerging from the snow to begin life anew. There in the center of it all sat Veera’s naked form, her back, tail, and the curvature of her body on full display as all of Winters’ senses demanded that he take in the panorama before him. After scratching Fenrir gently on the head, Veera turned and fixed him with a curious look.
“Darling?” She beckoned softly, watching as Winters made his way to her and knelt at her side. They shared a simple, lingering kiss. “Are you alright?”
“I was taking it all in, thinking about how lucky I am,” he replied softly, looking out at the shards of Seil’s light that reflected off the river’s surface. “Not sure how many people ever get to see anything as naturally striking as all of this. Don’t know exactly what, but something about being in the middle of nature gets me thinking about that sort of stuff; not to mention you, my striped beauty,” he winked, rubbing Veera’s back as her crest shook subtly.
“You’re such a flatterer,” she teased, leaning against him. “But you’re right. Even having lived my entire life in the village and surrounded by the forest, I’m not sure how many times I just sat around like this and watched the world go by. I’m glad you’re here with me.”
“Quite the honeymoon, isn’t it?” Winters asked kindly, blowing his palm clean of Veera’s fur and holding up a large brush in his right hand. “Shall we?”
“It will all come off eventually,” Veera tried, though her protest lacked any sort of conviction. Winters held the object up for her inspection.
“Io designed it, so I think you’ll find this to be rather enjoyable,” he said, showing her that the brush consisted of two sets of bristles. The longer ones were rounded at the tip and larger in diameter, meant to be in direct contact with the skin. Interspersed among them were many finer and sharper curved bristles that would catch and hold her hair. She thought they almost resembled teeth. “But hey, if you don’t like it we can stop, alright? It’s not like anyone’s going to mind you getting the floor dirty,” Winters joked, quieting his light laughter as Veera gave him a hesitant look.
“It’s just embarrassing,” she whispered.
“Why?” Winters questioned curiously.
“Oh…I don’t know,” Veera admitted, throwing her claws up for emphasis as a fish leapt from the river to snatch at something in the air, sending a shower of droplets and ripples along the sheen of the water’s surface. “I know it doesn’t make any sense given how intimate the two of us have been but it’s like…it’s like if you were to clean the dirt from under my claws or something.”
“Well, did you know that humans have places called spas where you can go and hire someone to do just that?” Winters asked, continuing as Veera gave him an unbelieving expression. “It’s true. You can have your fingernails or toenails tended to, or get a massage, or take some time to rejuvenate your skin.”
“I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised, given that your kind pays people to create all that sex stuff,” Veera admitted. “Have you ever been to a spa?”
“No, can’t say I have. It’s more of a female thing. Just let me give this a shot, alright? It’s not like I’m doing it because you need it or anything, I just want to. We’ve been making good time for more than a cycle. Don’t you think a morning of relaxation sounds pretty nice?”
Veera huffed and shrugged her shoulders, though she eventually held out her right arm for him. “I guess it is very peaceful here,” she whispered. Winters smiled and shifted to face her, taking her arm in his left hand and running the brush gently from her shoulder down to her elbow. He took great care as he repeated the motion a couple more times, dodging the tips of her feathers before pausing to remove the accumulated hair from the brush and send it on its way down the river.
“You think they’ll find it?” He asked with a chuckle, one that Veera shared with him.
“I wonder if they’ll imagine I’ve been eaten. Ratha might enjoy that,” she joked, rolling her head slightly to the side as the sensations against her skin and fur proved most relaxing. By the time Winters moved to her left arm Veera was quite comfortable, her protests long forgotten. “Russell, what’s a honeymoon?”
“What we’re doing right now!” He replied jovially, rotating her arm so that her palm faced upward, allowing him to get at the fur on the underside of her forearm.
“Russell!”
“It’s something exactly like this that most couples do after they get married,” he explained, moving to her shoulders. Veera instinctively lowered her head and exposed the back of her neck to him. She felt protected. “It’s a special kind of vacation. It just means going somewhere away from where you live, somewhere new or fun or exotic. A honeymoon is a trip that couples go on to be alone together, to grow closer to one another before returning to the ‘real world’, so to speak.”
“I’m not sure I understand what you mean by the real world,” Veera replied, drawing out the vowels as Winters began running the brush in long, pleasing strokes down her back. “But the concept sounds rather lovely. Not many in the village have time for such things…though I suppose in a way most newlyweds get the winter months to relax. Oh that’s nice…” She trailed off as Winters reached the small of her back and took her tail in hand, being delicate with what he knew to be a sensitive part of Veera’s anatomy. “Alright I cave; this feels amazing! It’s a lot better when someone else does it for you!”
“Yeah that’s a pretty universal concept,” Winters quipped, earning him a light swat from Veera.
“You know what I mean, Russell!”
“Which is precisely why I take some amount of joy in twisting your words,” he replied, laying himself gently against her back and reaching up so the brush hovered just above the top of her sternum. “May I?”
“Please do,” Veera purred, relaxing into his warmth as he brushed the downy fur of her chest. With him doing all the work she took it upon herself to keep their conversation moving. “Russell, would you tell me more of your family? I feel like I have a basic idea of the people your parents are but I don’t know much about your brother and sisters. What’s it like to have siblings?” Veera reached up and took his hand in hers as the brushing stopped momentarily. She could envision the contemplative look on his face even without turning her head.
“I was going to say it’s wonderful,” Winters began in a conflicted tone of voice. “But it wasn’t always. That doesn’t mean it was their fault I just…”
“Shh, Russell. It’s alright, start from the beginning,” Veera encouraged, moving his hand with hers to keep him at least partially occupied with her grooming. “Whatever happened in the past turned you into the man I know and love today. I’m sorry if I’m prying, I just-”
“It’s fine,” Winters affirmed, nipping her ear gently just because he could. “I just didn’t get along very well with my older siblings when I was a teenager. My brother Adam is almost a decade older than me, he’s thirty two. My elder sister, Emily, is thirty. I watched them grow up; saw all the attention they got from my parents for their accomplishments. My brother took his role as the eldest very seriously. He still does to this day. When I hit high school and didn’t measure up I lashed out. Told you about some of this already,” Winters sighed, shaking his head as he reflected on what seemed a distant past. “My brother was too mature, too old to understand what I was going through and unable to empathize with feelings of failure and inadequacy. I thought it was his fault. It wasn’t. My older sister didn’t understand the inner workings of a teenage boy’s mind. They were both on to the next stage in their lives. Turns out even family will grow distant when you keep pushing them away.”
“Russell?” Veera called to him as her heart sank at the regret in his voice.
“I’m just getting the bad stuff out of the way, Veera. You know how things went from there; how my father got me into Omega and gave me far too much responsibility for me to wallow in whatever it was that dominated me in high school. My last full family memory is all of us together at my parents’ house. It was a celebration for my promotion to first lieutenant. We all prepared and ate dinner together, talked for hours. My father, brother, and I had a good smoke on the porch.” Winters laughed in remembrance. “Alice was put out that she couldn’t join us. I’m sure she swiped one of my dad’s cigars as revenge. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that whatever else happened growing up my parents kept us all together, made sure we understood that friendships and relationships might come and go but you’ll only ever have one family. Blood is thicker than water, they’d always say. Adam and Emily never said anything about it, but the way they acted I knew that everything was forgiven. It’s funny. I’m the tallest and strongest in the family but to them I’m still their baby brother. There’s…something comforting in that, actually,” Winters admitted as he moved to brush Veera’s legs.
“Meylith blesses your family,” Veera purred with surety. “Can I hear about Adam and Emily a bit?”
Winters was about to fulfill her request when something profound stalled his thoughts. He stopped brushing and moved back so that he and Veera could look one another in the eye. “Can I ask you something first?”
“Oh? Of course, what is it?” Veera wondered, eyes searching her husband’s suddenly thoughtful face.
“When Cauthan are mated in your village, how do the families of the two respond to that? Do they consider themselves united?” He asked.
“Not exactly, no,” Veera replied, her tail flicking behind her as she considered how to explain her customs. “We consider ourselves all united in a way, Russell. That’s not to say we are all brothers and sisters, but being mated means the forming of a new family, a distinct entity.”
Winters nodded his head and hummed in understanding, remembering Veera’s occasional references to him and Fenrir as her new family. He gave her a broad, genuine smile. “Did you ever want siblings, Veera?”
“I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone else,” she replied solemnly. He kissed her nose.
“Answer the question, sweetie.”
“Of course I wanted siblings, Russell,” she whispered, glancing at the river when his eyes became too piercing. “That’s just not what the gods decreed.”
“Maybe not,” Winters admitted, returning to his task and letting another clump of winter fur float away down the river. “But humans do things a bit differently. There’s so many of us, you know? That and the whole idea of letting your family go like that…I don’t know. I’m glad we don’t have to.”
“What do you mean, Russell?” Veera asked, her feathers tickling his forearms as he lifted one of her legs to get at her calves with the brush.
“I mean,” he began with a wink. “That when humans marry it’s considered to be not just a union of two individuals, but a union of families. We refer to them as ‘in-laws’. Some people get along splendidly with theirs; others choose to have minimal involvement. It’s really up to each family to figure it out. What I’m trying to say is that when you married me…you got yourself three siblings in the deal too.”
Veera took a moment of silence to absorb what her human had said. “I…what would be expected of me if I ever get to meet them?”
“Hey now, no need to sound so nervous! I was trying to make you happy,” Winters said, picking up on the hesitance in her voice. “I mean honestly there wouldn’t be any expectations as far as I’m concerned. I think for a while they’d just be adjusting to the fact that, oh you know, the baby brother went off and married an alien.” Winters couldn’t help a long, boisterous laugh, which Veera soon joined. A nagging fear clawed at her mind though, and she quieted again.
“Do you…think they’d accept me?” She asked.
“Veera, they wouldn’t even know that your stripes are unusual,” Winters insisted. “And yes, I think they would. I know my mother would love you, in no small part because you love me. And if she comes around, I doubt anyone else will…oh boy.”
“Wait, what?!” Veera asked with alarm as Winters seemed to suddenly grow nervous. She looked around them but didn’t see or hear anything. Her danger sense was dormant as well. Whatever it was that had her human worried, it was within his own mind.
“No it’s just…something tells me my younger sister might like you a little too much,” he muttered, standing and walking to her other side so he could tend to her right leg. “But let me tell you about Adam and Emily first, yeah?”
“If you insist,” Veera acquiesced, suddenly much more invested in gaining knowledge of her husband’s family. According to him it was also her family. “But I’ll not be letting you off without an explanation.”
“Heh, fair enough. Let’s see then,” Winters pondered where to start. “Adam is the oldest and, like I said, he’s always taken that very seriously. No small part thanks to my father, I’m sure. He got good marks in school, stayed on the straight and narrow, went to college, went to law school, got a job…basically the only thing he hasn’t done is find a wife. Huh…that might be awkward if we ever get back,” Winters considered. Veera cocked her head at him.
“What is law school?”
Winters paused to scratch his chin, inadvertently giving himself a face full of fur that prompted a loud sneeze, startling Fenrir. The hyrven gave him an accusatory look but protested no further, settling back down to enjoy some morning sun. Veera was giggling as she brushed a few stray hairs from his cheek. “Thanks, Veera. Anyway, law school is where one goes to become a lawyer. That’s what we call people who are in charge of settling disputes between individual humans or other entities like businesses or the government.”
“Don’t you have leaders like Antoth who can do that?” Veera inquired. Winters shook his head.
“Not exactly, no. There are so many of us that it’s impossible to know everyone well enough to do what Antoth might if there was an altercation in the village. Not to mention people lie, cheat, and steal. The truth isn’t always what it seems to be. Where I come from we have a strict set of rules on how to handle such disputes. I fear we’d be here all day if I were to explain it fully, though. In summary, my brother works for the rulers of my state. He works on cases where the state itself brings a claim against a person or a group of people. I guess the closest analog would be if someone worked for Antoth and argued that criminals were guilty before the rest of your village.”
“That seems rather extravagant. Aren’t they guilty by definition?” Veera asked in confusion. Winters bobbed his head side to side to acknowledge her point.
“Not exactly. Where I come from you’re presumed innocent until proven guilty by a group of your peers. It’s my brother’s job, as part of a team, to convince a group of people called a jury that a certain person is guilty of a crime. Other lawyers work to defend the person. At the end of the process a verdict is rendered.”
“That does sound like quite the elaborate affair,” Veera replied, not having a good sense of what Winters was talking about. She just couldn’t imagine a group of humans so large that something like lawyers would be necessary. Winters nodded in acknowledgment.
“I know I didn’t do a great job of explaining it, but that’s what he does for a living. It’s hard work and he has to read a ton, late hours. It’s probably why he’s still single.”
“How old is he again?”
“Thirty two.”
“He should have at least three or four cubs by now!” Veera stated with shock. “How is that possible?!”
Winters couldn’t help a broad smile at how simple certain things were on Mara. “We’re just…honestly I don’t even know how to explain it. We just feel like we have more time in life for those things. Many of us do…some of us don’t. But I can assure you my mother would agree with you! Shall we move on?”
Veera didn’t mind much. Their conversation was secondary to the soothing sensation of the brush on her muscles and her winter coat being stripped carefully away. She lolled her head onto his shoulder. “Well I don’t mind being on your mother’s good side. Your older sister is…Emily, you said?”
“Yeah, that’s her. She followed the same path my brother did. She got great marks in school, went to college for more education, graduated with a degree in economics and went to work for some company or another. I don’t remember. She’s moved from job to job a lot. Before I left on this mission she was at some fashion firm in the city. Honestly she might be somewhere else by now, but I hope she found a job worth keeping.”
“And does she have any cubs?” Veera inquired as Winters cupped her face in his hands and began to very gently brush her cheeks. She purred, closed her eyes, and leaned into his touch.
“She has a boyfriend. Not sure how serious they are by now. But no, no children last I checked.”
Veera gave him a pointed look. “Your mother may not like me as much as you say, then.”
“I think my mother will be happy I managed to get married at all,” Winters countered with a self-effacing grin. “Besides, she has three other children to give her grandchildren, you know? That and…well…”
“We might never get back to your home. I know, Russell.” Veera nuzzled him tenderly. “Even so, I’ve enjoyed learning about your…my new family just a bit. We can stop now if you like.”
Winters considered her offer for a moment and eventually stood, feeling a couple pins and needles in his feet. “How about we keep going for today, hmm? You feel any cooler?”
Veera took a moment and turned her face towards the sun, taking in its warmth and the cool breezes that gently floated over the water. She stood and took his hand as Fenrir rose and followed, heading for their campsite. “I really appreciate this, Russell. I feel lighter!”
“You don’t need to thank me,” he insisted, having found plenty of enjoyment in the act itself, to say nothing of the fact that he could see just a bit more of the definition in Veera’s figure. “Besides, I still owe you a bit about Alice.”
Veera gazed at him with lightly fluttering feathers, always looking carefully at her mate’s face. He had no feathers or scales but she was learning that much was there, plain for her to see. “You love her very much, don’t you?”
“Yeah…I miss her a lot.”
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