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Find Your Astrological Demon

Hakim Bashara writes in Hyperallergic about a book on Persian Mysticism located in Princeton’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. It is an illustrated manuscript on magic and astrology from Iran that includes 56 painted illustrations of demons and angels.

Demons, genies, and evil spirits permeate ancient occult traditions in Iran and neighboring countries. An early 20th-century Persian manuscript on magic and astrology held at Princeton’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections provides a glimpse into this mystical world with dozens of watercolor illustrations of demonic, otherworldly creatures.

Dated to 1921, Kitāb-i ʻAjāʾib-i makhlūqāt (Wonders of Creation) includes an illustrated manuscript on magic and astrology, a book of spells listing incantation and talismans, and 56 painted illustrations of demons and angels. Several texts accompanying the illustrations in Arabic and Farsi are dated from 1911 to 1921.

A closing line at the end of the book suggests that it is composed of two main texts. It reads, “The book of the ‘Wonders of Creation’ and ‘The Seventy Two Demons’ have been completed.” It is not entirely clear which text is which, but Ali Karjoo-Ravary, an assistant professor at the Department of Religious Studies at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, tells Hyperallergic that the illustrated book of demons is most likely the second.

An early 20-century depiction of a demon from the Persian manuscript Kitāb-i ʻAjāʾib-i makhlūqāt (Images courtesy of Princeton’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections; all images are from Princeton Islamic MSS 3rd. Series No. 349)

Demons, genies, and evil spirits permeate ancient occult traditions in Iran and neighboring countries. An early 20th-century Persian manuscript on magic and astrology held at Princeton’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections provides a glimpse into this mystical world with dozens of watercolor illustrations of demonic, otherworldly creatures.

Dated to 1921, Kitāb-i ʻAjāʾib-i makhlūqāt (Wonders of Creation) includes an illustrated manuscript on magic and astrology, a book of spells listing incantation and talismans, and 56 painted illustrations of demons and angels. Several texts accompanying the illustrations in Arabic and Farsi are dated from 1911 to 1921.

A closing line at the end of the book suggests that it is composed of two main texts. It reads, “The book of the ‘Wonders of Creation’ and ‘The Seventy Two Demons’ have been completed.” It is not entirely clear which text is which, but Ali Karjoo-Ravary, an assistant professor at the Department of Religious Studies at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, tells Hyperallergic that the illustrated book of demons is most likely the second.

Aries
Taurus

“This text describes the different demons associated with each zodiac sign and the ailments associated with each and some remedies,” Karjoo-Ravary, who published a blog post about the manuscript in 2017, says.

The zodiac demons are introduced as a series of menacing (although somewhat endearing) beasts, some multi-headed. Each is depicted with cuffs on its clawed or hoofed limbs, suggesting that these creatures had been bound or confined.

Other illustrations show the monstrous demons in action, attempting to inflict harm on humans with inscriptions of spells and incantations in Farsi. These latter drawings, according to Karjoo-Ravary, describe ailments and the demons associated with them, together with instructions on how to exorcise them. For instance, one inscription instructs sorcerers to take a handful of soil from underneath the feet of the possessed person and repeat the following sentence seven times: “God of the heavens and the earth, hurry, hurry, bring back, bring back, bring back the love for virtue.”

By contrast, the manuscript also includes illustrations of winged angels like Michael and Gabriel, who are summoned to expel demons and malign spirits.

The author of the demonology book attributes his knowledge to the court of Biblical King Solomon, who was believed to possess power over demons and spirits. However, the author’s identity remains a mystery. “We don’t know much about this figure other than the fact that he wrote this book, that he had some artistic skill,” Karjoo-Ravary says.

The author signs the book as “Rammālbāshī, the son of Ja’far.” However, “Rammālbāshī” is not a name, but rather a profession derived from the Farsi word rammāl (healer, sorcerer).

“A rammāl was a type of occult expert to whom people would frequently turn in the event that they had problems that couldn’t be solved by normal means, such as sicknesses that appeared incurable,” says Karjoo-Ravary. “They could do many things, primarily divination (which their name alludes to), types of magic, breaking spells, exorcisms, spirit summoning.”

Persian demonology has a long tradition that predates Islam. The Shahnameh (“Book of Kings”), a 50,000 verse epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi, is teeming with descriptions of battles between humans, devils, and demons.

Practicing rammāls still exist in Iran, typically performing palm-reading, faith-healing, and exorcism, but they have been outcast to the fringes of society.

“Rammāls are ridiculed by a good chunk of society,” says Karjoo-Ravary. “The official clerical establishment is mostly against them and magic, and even recently conservative critics of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [former president of Iran] accused him of associating with rammāls and magicians.”

In his book, The Iranian Metaphysicals: Explorations in Science, Islam, and the Uncanny, Islamic studies scholar Alireza Doostdar writes that secularizing officials and intellectuals in Iran of the early 20th-century disparaged rammāls as charlatans, and blamed them for Iran’s “backwardness” in comparison to the developed West on superstitious beliefs.

Sagittarius
Capricorn
Aquarius
Pisces

This negative attitude towards rammāls continued throughout the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. Shi‘i clerics found the sorcerers’ use of the Islamic notions of the “world of the unseen” (Gheyb) and of genies (Jinn) as a threat to their spiritual hegemony.

And yet, these occult practices continue to thrive not just in Iran, but also in neighboring countries, according to Karjoo-Ravary. “Magic, the world of the jinn, demons, and exorcism are still around in most Muslim and other societies, even if they’ve been pushed into the peripheries by polite society.”

Leo
Libra
Inscriptions in Farsi include instructions to cast out the demons
Occult practices continue to thrive not just in Iran, but also in other societies

 


Horoscope for the Week of March 30, 2020

Johnny deppSaturn and Mars both settle in Aquarius and rubadub and chaff. Certain problems may require direct and deliberate action while others should sit on the stove and stew for a while. The trick this week will be to know which is which based on what is what.

(Johnny Depp has Saturn in Aquarius)

Never miss your horoscope again -- free sign up here. Here is my favorite book on astrology and a "must" for anyone interested in learning more: Secrets from a Stargazer's Notebook: Making Astrology Work for You and here's a guide to the best books available this month. This column is (c) 2020 MADAM LICHTENSTEIN, LLC., All Rights Reserved. For Entertainment Purposes Only. Madam Lichtenstein is the author of the best selling astrology book “HerScopes ” now in its 10th printing and available as an eBook.

ARIES (MARCH 21 - APRIL 20)
Friends may get testy with you, Aries. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes certain relationships need a shake up or a wake up. Tackle any problems that may arise and see how it might all work out just fine. But also prepare for a fall-out if your actions step on the wrong toes. Take a good hard look, mull it over for a while and then do what you must.

TAURUS (APRIL 21 - MAY 21)
Taureans are great at breaking down barriers. This week is no exception. But things are already changing quickly and you may not be aware of where the road leads right now. There may be one or two things that can totally change your mind or set you in the wrong direction. When in doubt, wait it out as the situations continues to transform and morph.

GEMINI (MAY 22 - JUNE 21)
Nothing says fun like a grand international adventure. But not now. You are much better focusing your efforts on expanding your mind and energies in a less frenetic and more contained way. Seek truly meaningful experiences and not just mere diversions. Challenge your views, Gemini, and then take what you know and change the world order. Revolution!

CANCER (JUNE 22 - JULY 23)
Get your sexy game on, Cancer. You not only have plenty of oomph, you have the means and opportunities to oomph your way through a love scenario. There will be times this week when you should hold your feelings in and there are times to express yourself in a big way. Choose your thoughts and see what works. Then see what happens. Whoo hoo!

LEO (JULY 24 - AUGUST 23)
Certain relationships may just grate on you this week but hold off on taking any drastic action, Leo. Not only are you super sensitive, you are also a bit rash in what you say and do. Partners or would-be partners can’t seem to figure out what is on your mind. And that may be a good thing! Count to ten before you act. Heck, count to one hundred.

VIRGO (AUGUST 24 - SEPTEMBER 23)
Whatever motivates you this week may, ultimately, lead you to a dead end. But even if you wind up feeling like you wasted your time, really, nothing is a time waster if you learn something from the experience. You are efficient and pragmatic, Virgo. Use every scrap of your existence to listen to the message. Maybe that message is to relax more...

LIBRA (SEPTEMBER 24 - OCTOBER 23)
Getting into your groove may take extra effort this week, Libra. That doesn’t mean fun will be hard work but it may mean that any pastime worth doing will take more energy than you expect. So gather up your divergent forces, be more patient than usual and be sure that what you want to achieve is worth it. Saving some of your energy now leaves more of it for later.

SCORPIO (OCTOBER 24 - NOVEMBER 22)
Family issues may hit a boiling point now, Scorpio. So what will you do to turn down the temperature and restore some form of harmony? Maybe diverting their attention? Maybe just leaving the scene for a while? There is probably not much that you can do to achieve a long term fix at this time but long term is so far away anyway. Settle for a harmonious interlude.

SAGITTARIUS (NOVEMBER 23 - DECEMBER 22)
Sagittarians are known for their .. ahem ...honesty and frankness. Now not only do you go wild with your opinion, you could wind up insulting those who you want to compliment. Oops. Try as best as you can to carefully craft your thoughts and find ways of relating them to others that get them to listen and consider, When in doubt, listen more and talk less.

CAPRICORN (DECEMBER 23 - JANUARY 20)
Even careful Capricorns can get a little careless with their cash this week. Things that you simply must have may not be worth it or may prove to be less enjoyable than you thought. But the temptation to splurge may be too great to resist. My advice is to stick with a small budget for any incidentals and give yourself a tiny treat or two. But that is it.

AQUARIUS (JANUARY 21 - FEBRUARY 19)
Any opportunity to showcase your talents to others who do not know you well should be approached with care and caution. Aquarians may feel like they are on top of the world, but the world continues to spin and one big push from you could make it spin faster. For those with a sense of adventure, this could be fun. But for others, not so much...

PISCES (FEBRUARY 20 - MARCH 20)
There are so many surprises coming at you this week it may be difficult to figure out what is news and what is fake news. Welcome to my world, Pisces. Instead of sweating it or worrying about how you will handle it, find ways to flow through the crazy cosmic mist of life and settle into a zen-like operating mode. Meditate, do yoga or mellow in essential oils.

(c) 2020 MADAM LICHTENSTEIN, LLC., All Rights Reserved. For Entertainment Purposes Only.
Lichtenstein’s highly acclaimed astrology book “HerScopes” has the Stonewall horoscope.


Lucky Numbers for the Week of March 27, 2020

Lottery ads tell us you only need a dollar and a dream. But it is also helpful to have a list of lucky numbers to help spur the good fortune ... or fortunes. So with that in mind, here are some lucky numbers that can be used in any helpful way. I gazed into a pool of water, Nostradamus-like, and contemplated the cosmos. Then I mixed the tarot cards and allowed the spirits to guide me to the cards that represent the lucky numbers for this week. Nothing is guaranteed but who knows ....?

I choose eight numbers because 8 is the number of of wealth.

Here are the lucky numbers for the week of March 27-April 2, 2020:

2, 4, 8, 17, 27, 43, 59, 78

There are many ways to delve into your own consciousness to find luck and intuition. Try reading Dream Power/Improve Your Luck (Super Strength Series) and see if your dreams give you any clues and premonitions. Here's a guide to the best books available this month


Signs and Symbols: The Zodiac

If you are in New York and have an interest in astrology, you may want to check out this exhibit at The Jewish Museum;

ThumbnailThe Jewish Museum will present Signs and Symbols: The Zodiac  from November 15, 2019 through September 14, 2020, featuring works from the Museum’s collection that depict the astrological signs. Jewish communities, adapting and adopting local practices over the centuries, incorporated these symbols into ceremonial objects, synagogue architecture, and art even though rabbinic authorities reject astrology as part of Jewish practice.

TO LEARN MORE: <https://thejewishmuseum.org/press/press-release/zodiac-scenes-release>

WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION: <https://thejewishmuseum.org/exhibitions/scenes-from-the-collection#signs-and-symbols>

Signs and Symbols: The Zodiac

 



A frequently heard congratulatory expression, mazal tov literally means “good luck” or “good zodiac sign,” the Hebrew term mazal signifying both “luck” and “zodiac sign.” (Justin’s note: More accurately, “mazal” means “luck of the stars” and “tov” means “good.”) Decorated Jewish marriage contracts often include the saying, as do Torah binders fashioned from the swaddling cloth used at a male infant’s circumcision. The boy’s name, followed by the phrase “born under a good sign” and his zodiac symbol, is also painted or embroidered on the binder.

In the Bible, Israelites are forbidden to practice divination and soothsaying. The Talmud recounts that, when aged Abraham learned that he was going to have a son, he said: “I looked at my astrological [map] and I am not fit to have a son.” To this God replied “there is no constellation for Israel,” implying that Jews should not look to the stars to know their fates. In medieval Spain, where Christianity, Islam, and Judaism converged for a time, astronomical works were translated, studied, and authored by Jews who were also versed in astrology. Yet the great rabbinical authority Moses Maimonides repudiated astrology, which he viewed as falsehood and star worship.

So how do we explain the popularity of the theme of the zodiac in Jewish art? Jews adopted and adapted local practices early on. Ancient synagogue mosaics featuring the zodiac were allowed as long as they were not venerated. Divested of human representations, the cycle appeared in painted interiors of Polish wooden synagogues, which were later destroyed during the Holocaust. Depictions of the signs both display distinctive traits and emulate other traditions. The zodiac was incorporated into richly decorated works, as seen in this gallery, used to safeguard the Torah or emphasize its majesty, and to mark life-cycle events and holidays

COME SEE THIS EXHIBITION AT THE JEWISH MUSEUM TO LEARN THE WIDE-RANGING USES OF THE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC AROUND THE WORLD.

The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street
New York, NY 10128
(212) 423-3200
<https://thejewishmuseum.org/>


Horoscope for the Week of March 23, 2020

George washingtonThe optimistic Sun enters humanistic Aquarius setting us off in positive directions. What major movement will you join ... or control? Live life to the fullest and make a few great changes along the way.

(George Washington had Sun in Aquarius)

Never miss your horoscope again -- free sign up here. Here is my favorite book on astrology and a "must" for anyone interested in learning more: Secrets from a Stargazer's Notebook: Making Astrology Work for You and here's a guide to the best books available this month. This column is (c) 2020 MADAM LICHTENSTEIN, LLC., All Rights Reserved. For Entertainment Purposes Only. Madam Lichtenstein is the author of the best selling astrology book “HerScopes ” now in its 10th printing and available as an eBook.

ARIES (MARCH 21 - APRIL 20)

Now is your time to make positive changes not only in your life but in the lives of others. Share your message, Aries, and show the crowd how important the world is to save. You have the ability to sway others to your way of thinking. Do it for the good of others, the benefit of all as well as something meaningful for you. Who knows where it can all lead?

TAURUS (APRIL 21 - MAY 21)
Your long term plans may receive a great jolt as everything that you have been building towards suddenly starts to come together. What will you do with all of this good karma, Taurus? Try to use it to make your future more comfortable, stable and secure. You are able to enlist the help of those with the power to make big things happen. Shake, rattle and roll forward.

GEMINI (MAY 22 - JUNE 21)
Big dreams require a global outlook, Gemini. So don’t content yourself with small steps. Keep on top of the global news cycle and see where you can make a difference. Stay safe and do your magic closer to home or via the internet. You can travel cyberspace as easily as easily as a few clicks. But it could have unanticipated major impact on you and others.

CANCER (JUNE 22 - JULY 23)
Cancers feel deeply but now you can expand the force of your love to many people and passions all at the same time. What will fill your cup to overflowing? What will ignite your yearnings? You will soon find out. Then life will not only get more interesting, it will lead you to discover new things about yourself. Plow your inner fields and see what sprouts.

LEO (JULY 24 - AUGUST 23)
Spend more time trying to figure out what will make certain relationships work better. Leos are apt to give a lot of themselves now to find greater balance and harmony. And it will be worth it in the end when you find greater satisfaction and joy from seemingly minor interactions. It all has a purpose. See if you can figure out how the puzzle pieces fit.

VIRGO (AUGUST 24 - SEPTEMBER 23)
Virgos may experience a burst of extra energy oomph now. Anything that has been sitting on your desk is now ready to complete. Let yourself go and see how much you can accomplish in a short amount of time. And you may not have to labor alone. There are a few helping hands who are waiting to be asked to virtually pitch in. On to the next big project!

LIBRA (SEPTEMBER 24 - OCTOBER 23)
There are times when you have so many great ideas that you don’t know how to best corral them. This may be one of those times, Libra. Your creativity soars and your capacity for innovation has never been better. Don’t waste it all on small projects. See how you can launch something monumental and long lasting... even if it is something for pure fun.

SCORPIO (OCTOBER 24 - NOVEMBER 22)
Scorpios may feel the need to break out of their routines and try something very new. It may result in a shift of your living conditions and involve a redecoration. Apply your design skills to redesigning your surroundings to better reflect the true you. Sometimes its just a fresh coat of paint and sometimes it is a big furntiure move around. You decide.

SAGITTARIUS (NOVEMBER 23 - DECEMBER 22)
Sagittarians will find that others are listening carefully to what they are saying. There is great wisdom in your opinions. So plant a few good ideas and see what happens. Your best plan is to focus on local issues that resonate with your neighbors and then move into larger and larger circles of influence. Large circles can soon become world encompassing. Ho ho!

CAPRICORN (DECEMBER 23 - JANUARY 20)
Careful and strategic planning for the future is one of your many talents, Capricorn. And now you are able to not only conceptualize and fortify your goals, you are also able to discern the best where the map leads you. Sometimes it is to faraway places and sometimes it is right around the corner. But the most important thing is to draw your boundaries.

AQUARIUS (JANUARY 21 - FEBRUARY 19)
The crowds are calling for you, Aquarius. Are you ready? It is time to get out of your shell and prepare for your virtual entrance. There will be plenty of opportunities now to showcase your talents and abilities as well as important people to see you in action. Check yourself out and see if you need to add a bit of extra flair and zetz so you completely dazzle them.

PISCES (FEBRUARY 20 - MARCH 20)
Pisces may turn inward and seek more spirituality in their lives now. See where your inner voice calls to you. You may find that you naturally gravitate to the higher arts such as meditation, yoga or even the esoteric arts such as astrology or tarot. Whatever helps you seek inner calm is going to be great for you.. and for others. Share your insights.

(c) 2020 MADAM LICHTENSTEIN, LLC., All Rights Reserved. For Entertainment Purposes Only.Lichtenstein’s highly acclaimed astrology book “HerScopes” has the Stonewall horoscope.

(c) 2020 MADAM LICHTENSTEIN, LLC., All Rights Reserved. For Entertainment Purposes Only.
Lichtenstein’s highly acclaimed astrology book “HerScopes” has the Stonewall horoscope.