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Magic, Witchcraft, Pagans & Christians: A Study in the Suppression of Belief and the Rise of Christianity By Gary R. Varner
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It was perhaps the most pivotal event in the world’s history that the age old practice of magic was destroyed by a religion which would eventually dominate a large portion of the world and... More > wield an incredible amount of power. Such an event was not a sudden thing. Laws were enacted in ancient Babylon to control black witchcraft and magic. The same incantations and spells used by black witches were not only allowed but encouraged when performed by healers.This study is about the continuous practice of magic by pagans, Jews and Christians. Christians think of Jesus as the Savior of Mankind and the champion of good over evil. However, the first Christians viewed Jesus in a much different way. A bowl dating from the 1st century CE was discovered in 2008 in the underwater ruins of an ancient harbor. On the bowl was an engraving interpreted to read “by Christ the magician.” That Jesus was widely regarded as a magician during his time has been quietly and effectively swept under the carpet.< Less
Strangely Wrought Creatures of Life & Death: Ancient Symbolism in European and American Architecture By Gary R. Varner
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In his seventh book on folklore and symbolism, Gary R. Varner provides a look at strange and grotesque images we see everyday on our churches, banks and in our cemeteries. Images with origins far... More > older than the structures they adorn. What are the meanings behind these grotesque creatures, why are carvings of griffins and dragons, unicorns and Green Men found throughout the world on churches and cathedrals, government buildings and even apartment buildings? Illustrated with over 50 original photographs, Varner explores the meanings of the carvings found on both old and contemporary buildings, from France and Great Britain to New York and California. In addition, Varner explores strange images that are commonly seen in our cemeteries, engraved on grave-markers and tombs. This is a book for anyone interested in symbolism and folklore, architectural history and the development of religion. Gary R. Varner is a member of the American Folklore Society and the Foundation for Mythological Studies.< Less
Mysteries of Native American Myth and Religion By Gary R. Varner
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Folklorist Gary R. Varner takes a lengthy look at various myths, legends and beliefs of Native Americans in this book. Included are stories and archaeological finds from various lands that suggest... More > cultural contacts between explorers from China, Japan, the Mediterranean and Europe with Native Americans in pre-Columbian times. Native American folklore and myths are examined including the universal legends of the flood and stories of the mysterious god-men such as Quetzalcoatl, Votan and Chinigchinix, who brought the arts, technology and civilization to indigenous cultures. Mysteries of Native American Myth and Religion is a fact-filled, yet fascinating story of the original inhabitants of North and South America. Varner has written several books on folklore and mythology and is a member of the American Folklore Society and the Foundation for Mythological Studies.< Less
The History & Use of Amulets, Charms and Talismans By Gary R. Varner
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Amulets and charms have been used since mankind evolved from its distant origins millions of years ago. They have been used to protect and to harm, and in both the practice and avoidance of... More > witchcraft and sorcery. They are made of wood and stone, clay, metal, plants and dead animals. They are carved into crude shapes and in the most exquisite forms. They may also be composed entirely of words, which are believed to have great power and magical properties. Used by pagans, Christians, Jews and followers of every faith and tradition known across the world, they are considered direct links to the gods and local spirits. All are links to the supernatural. Regardless if they are called amulets, charms or talismans, these objects are credited with providing cures, causing evil, and bringing health and prosperity. This book, using ethnographic studies, ancient records and folklore, will explore the history and use of amulets and will show that they continue to be an important part of our modern culture.< Less
The History & Use of Amulets, Charms and Talismans By Gary R. Varner
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Amulets and charms have been used since mankind evolved from its distant origins millions of years ago. They have been used to protect and to harm, and in both the practice and avoidance of... More > witchcraft and sorcery. They are made of wood and stone, clay, metal, plants and dead animals. They are carved into crude shapes and in the most exquisite forms. They may also be composed entirely of words, which are believed to have great power and magical properties. Used by pagans, Christians, Jews and followers of every faith and tradition known across the world, they are considered direct links to the gods and local spirits. All are links to the supernatural. Regardless if they are called amulets, charms or talismans, these objects are credited with providing cures, causing evil, and bringing health and prosperity. This book, using ethnographic studies, ancient records and folklore, will explore the history and use of amulets and will show that they continue to be an important part of our modern culture.< Less
Water from the Sacred Well By Gary R. Varner
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An illustrated exploration of the folklore and mythology of sacred water found throughout the world. A companion volume to Sacred Wells, Water From the Sacred Well continues the quest for the... More > underlying sacredness associated with water and the universal themes found in folklore and religious traditions from around the world. Blending personal exploration with archaeology, folklore, and ancient traditions, Water From the Sacred Well takes the reader on a fascinating trip to surreal lakes, hot springs, and rivers in search of the spirit helpers, demons, faeries, mysterious Black Dogs, Women in White, Water Babies and the gods and goddesses that are part of this story. Water From the Sacred Well connects common themes found in water lore to sites around the world. Varner provides a glimpse into the world of spiritual development and the continuing rituals and traditions associated with life-giving waters and how these traditions continue to create a need for sacred space.< Less
The Dark Wind: Witches and the Concept of Evil By Gary R. Varner
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The Dark Wind provides a survey of witches around the world, their prehistoric origin and how society has viewed them throughout history. Folklorist Gary R. Varner explores the use of magic,... More > spells and curses among indigenous groups as well as state approved religions such as those observed in ancient Rome and Greece, and how even contemporary Christianity uses many of the same "magic" combinations. Also examined is the current "witch craze" in several countries where thousands are being killed as witches,the underlying reasons for this tragedy and the history of anti-witchcraft laws. The Dark Wind is a book for everyone interested in anthropology, archaeology, ancient history, religion and the occult. Illustrated with contemporary woodcuts and drawings. The author is a member of the American Folklore Society and the Foundation for Mythological Studies.< Less
Ancient Footprints By Gary R. Varner
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When we think of the “First Americans” we generally tend to think of the American Indian. After all, there is no doubt that the Indian has lived in North America for thousands of years,... More > descended from those original explorers who trekked across the Bering land bridge. At least this is what we are taught in school. But is this entirely correct? Were there others that came perhaps before and during the original population of North and South America by those that would later be called “Native Americans”? Were there others that embarked on expeditions to the mysterious lands to the west (or east) that brought not only trade goods but knowledge and ideas of other religions, cultures and oral traditions?< Less
Gargoyles, Grotesques & Green Men: Ancient Symbolism in European & American Architecture By Gary R. Varner
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The symbols and strange images that we find in our cemeteries, religious structures, banks and in our parks are the same symbols that have been part of the framework of the human psyche for thousands... More > of years. While contemporary man may think that they are simply decorative manifestations of a by-gone era, they represent the fears, dreams, ideas, beliefs and struggles that humankind has endured since we began to walk upright. This book surveys many of these icons and will give a meaning for them both in the context of ancient history and folklore as well as a meaning that is suitable for our contemporary times. Illustrated with dozens of photographs, this book will be of interest to anyone interested in historic preservation, ancient symbolism, the Green Man and the universal application of imagery. Gary R. Varner has written numerous books on ancient traditions, folklore, the environment and contemporary issues. He is a member of the American Folklore Society and the Foundation for Mythological Studies.< Less
Ghosts, Spirits & the Afterlife in Native American Folklore and Religion By Gary R. Varner
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Death. We deny it. We fear it. Some of us welcome it. No matter what age we live in we keep the traditional feelings for our departed. We try to ease the soul into the afterworld as best we can.... More > “Celebrations of life” provide a time for friends and loved ones to gather, share food and stories and grieve. Some who pass on are cremated to free the soul. Some are buried believing that the body will not become corrupted but will survive until the final judgment day. “Grave goods” are still commonly buried or are cremated as well with the body. While we believe we are more "advanced" than those who lived before us, we actually do the same things they did to honor and to provide for our deceased loved ones. We are not so very different after all. This book provides a brief survey of how America’s first people reacted to death, how they disposed of their dead, their thoughts about the spirit world and the possibilities of being reborn.< Less