Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Apothecaries of the Week III & IV

originally from Sara Carl

by Maggi Massimo - Italian Cabinet Maker

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Visualisation tips (from my entry on

I thought I'd put this here because I put this advice on TWICE having lost the first entry and have had a fantastic time visualisation sequences and meeting interesting characters which I may paint one day.  To paint them though would feel sacriligeous in a sense, but they are only my personal interpretations also.

PRACTISING VISUALISATION - derived from Scott Cunningham's techniques

Close your eyes and imagine an object, for example an eggplant (aubergine!). Consider the detail: the pores, the colour, the texture, the beads of water rolling down its sides and hold that image as your eyes are closed. You might even get an idea of what it feels like. Hold that image strongly and then attempt to hold the image with your eyes open. Never at any point will you literally 'see' this object as though it's ltierally in front of you - it will be see-through and imaginary - because if it were really literally there like someone sitting across from you, you would have to go to the doctor if you didn't have a heart attack first! Practice this type of visualisation on a regular basis, inventing scenarios involving the object to help get that 'muscle' working. You could also do this on public transport: when someone gets off the train/tram (without having scared them by staring!) imagine that they are still there and refill that space.


TEA: MUGWORT. I love this stuff. I end up in a calm, warm glow for prophetic visions - grand stuff!
SCENT: Jasmine


Mugwort tea, a silver candle and your confident yet relaxed self.
Asperge the sacred area and build the energy, preferably with a luscious mantra to help you concentrate on the 'dome' and light coming into your crown. Drink the mugwort tea during this mantra and before you do the 'ball of light'.

Set up your space, placing the feathers, snail shells and a clear quartz or moonstone on the altar.

- Another technique that Cunningham uses is moulding a ball of light. You can physically 'feel' this as well as sense the light that you are creating. After having cast the circle, imagine the circle's energy forming a dome above your head (otherwise known as the 'cone of power') where the crown of your head aligns with its centre. Feel the dome protect you, keeping you in a graceful, peaceful state whilst imagining the dome spinning its energy like soft white flames in deosil. The image of the dome is one of the first, and most helpful forms of visualisation because it strengthens your space and keeps a rhythm: you must continually visualise this. When you have a handle on this, imagine a beam of light coming from the heavens and through the crown of your head. The idea here is that you're not using too much of your own energy, and instead you are literally drawing energy from the universe which you will 'ground' later. Let this light flow from the crown of your head through to your hands. After some time, you should feel a warm 'buzz' in your palms - or others describe it as a spinning. Once you feel confidence with the visualisation of the dome and the sensation in your hands, face your hands towards each other to make a ball of light with the 'buzzing' energy. Shape it: pull it out, then push it in, moulding it softly. When the hands get closer and closer together, there will be a force between them much like two negatives of a magnet, forcing each other to stay at a certain distance until the ball of light is firmly formed.

- The first time I did it, my heartbeat beat distinctly and strongly through and around this ball of energy and it was incredible! Take this ball of energy, then place your hands over your eyes. From here all you need do is maintain your energy and faith, letting yourself go into guided fantasy where visualisations will lead to hidden clues and answers.

- Make sure at the end of the ritual to 'ground' the excess energy or you will tire yourself out! I forgot to do that the first time and I went to bed with the centre of my palms feeling as though they'd been slightly burnt.

House clearing...

SO I intend to do a house clearing on the new place that we've just found and haven't come across anything thus far.  It's a serious shame that we can't burn smoke incense inside the house because of ultra-sensitive smoke alarms, which in turn, set off sprinklers in our home and would ruin everything - no more dragon's blood resin burning its glorious fumes in my room until it's practically full of smoke... sigh...

The last two places we've been in have definitely affected people, particularly the 'halfway house' that we're staying in after some disputes with the previous housies.  This half-renovated space - yet to become a gallery - has been interesting for us.  To get to the toilet, we have to go down several flights of stairs and out the back which is honestly creepy as we live in one room on the second floor out of an empty two storey building.  One night I could feel a presence downstairs, and as I was about to restock the altar with salt anyway, I put a line of salt at the middle of the first flight of steps, said something to banish any negativity coming over that line, then proceeded confidently over the line...  Had I only just seen the movie Paranormal Activity that night I would not have been as confident!  That was a few weeks ago now.

Two days ago my boyfriend called me to say that he was sure he could hear someone downstairs as three distinct creeking sounds (of the creakiest place in the world!) followed one another in short succession.  I'd mentioned that some nights after laying the salt on the steps that I was home alone in our upstairs room and had heard light, preternatural footsteps patting their way up to where the line of salt would be and then they disappeared, as though the spirit was taking a good run up and was defeated... unfortunately I freaked my boyfriend out!

It is henceforth that I will be doing some investigations into a serious house clearing where my Buddhist oriented (though not officially dedicated) boyfriend will perform Reiki on the premises for a smooth start.

If anyone has any ideas, please do let me know!  I'll be making a besom and casting away any leftover dross, that's for sure!

)O( Elspeth.

Witchy interior of the day

via Kaliyuga Blues/Cousas

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My interview with artist Erik Heynick

I'm very excited about this interview for - relatively unrelated to witchcraft, however it is a great read thanks to his wonderful enthusiasm.

Many thanks to Jon Beinart for asking me to contribute and to Meg for putting up the interview.


Click here to read the article - check out the website!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Witchdoctors in Africa murdering albinos

I've read a lot of wiccan texts that state - almost every time at the beginning that we do not worship satan and why on earth would anyone think that?  There are plenty of reasons that we become confused for other kinds of worship because of the unfortunate associations which can easily be mistaken.

Take a satanic 'witch' for example - if they go around saying they're witches it's no wonder that non-Wiccans are confused!  Also taking into account the strange history of witchcraft and the accusations of all of the nasty hexing we're apparently constantly doing - which is not true.  The threefold law serves every Wiccan, and if they choose to send out negativity they know that they will get it back threefold.  The Wiccan Rede also states 'do as ye will but harm ye none' so that we are constantly sending out positivity and constructive energy.

I feel terribly sorry for those in Africa whose friends and family members have been taken away from witchdoctors.  Witchdoctors are in no way associated with Wicca... not that I'd need to tell you, but this is another area of confusion.  You may have read recently that a sickening amount of African albinos are being killed by witchdoctors - and by their own hands!  Their body parts are used for black magick, and are reduced to specimens piece by piece.  The truth is that some people choose to take black magick into their own hands.  I personally call myself a White Witch because I am proud to only be producing positive energies and sending out only love and light into the world without working against anyone's will.  As we've discussed before, some people don't want to give themselves a label apart from Witch because that may indicate that every thought and action is completely pure and untainted... though I get angry and cuss people in my head - not without always considering their side and trying to gain the most peaceful, mature and graceful approach that is available: we are always learning and evolving.

I honestly don't know how this could be changed if the government does not do a thing - would human rights organisations be able to jump in - surely if it's so sporadic it would be so hard to control. 

Let us send out our love to those families who are suffering and pray that this will soon end - somehow.

Blessed Be

)O( Elspeth 

Belief in Witchcraft Leads to Murders in Africa

By Benjamin Radford, LiveScience's Bad Science Columnist
posted: 09 December 2009 09:42 am ET

While many Westerners think of witches and witchcraft as being relics of the Middle Ages (or relegated to modern tourist traps in Salem, Massachusetts), in many countries belief in witches is common, and black magic is considered part of everyday life.

In Africa, witch doctors are consulted not only for healing diseases, but also for placing curses on rivals (or removing curses placed by rivals). Magic (or at least the belief in magic) is used for personal, political and financial gain.

America, of course, has its own version of witch doctors: the thousands of independent fortunetellers and psychic soothsayers with hole-in-the-wall shops occasionally arrested for scamming desperate or gullible customers. (Their victims are often led to believe that a curse has been placed upon them and that it can be removed with a generous "donation.") While fortunetellers usually do only financial and emotional harm, belief in black magic has led to dozens of murders.

In Tanzania, East Africa, at least 50 albinos (people with a rare genetic disorder that leaves the skin, hair, and eyes without pigment) were murdered for their body parts last year, according to the Red Cross. An albino's arms, fingers, genitals, ears, and blood are highly prized on the black market, believed to contain magical powers. People with albinism anywhere often stand out because of their distinctive features; in a continent of dark-skinned Africans, albinos are often the subject of fear, hatred, and ridicule.

The belief and practice of using body parts for magical ritual or benefit is called muti. (Science fiction fans may recall that muti was featured in the hit South African film "District 9," in which the hero's body parts were sought after by a local warlord who believed that the limbs would give him magical powers. That horrific scene was based in fact, not the screenwriter's imagination.)

The muti murders are particularly brutal, with knives and machetes used to cut and hack off limbs, breasts, and other body parts from their screaming victims—including children. Many of the albinos were beheaded, their heads carefully collected and preserved as gruesome good luck charms or for use in rituals.
While many suspects have been arrested for carrying out the albino murders, so far the persons who commissioned the killings (or offered huge sums for human body parts) have not been arrested. Some believe that because belief in witchcraft and muti is so accepted and widespread in East Africa, police, politicians, and judges are hesitant to pursue the criminals too vigorously. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of African albinos live in fear of their lives, shunned and hated because of the color of their skin. To those who believe in science, albinism is merely a rare medical condition; to those who believe in witchcraft and magic, it is a reason to murder and mutilate the innocent.

From LiveScience

Monday, December 7, 2009

Image I've considered putting above my altar

As a huge fan of Frida Kahlo and because the image speaks so well to Wiccans, I may consider hanging this, amongst other things such as my familiar - the moth - above my altar, however it's also nice to keep a simple altar... what am I talking about, I love drama!

Frida was taught about the solar system in kindergarten and was so alarmed by the enormity of the solar system and its power that she pissed herself! An obliging girl in her class offered to give Frida her something to put over herself, and so keen to befriend Kahlo, she followed Frida home which only made her angrier over the situation. The girl annoyed Kahlo so much that Kahlo started strangling the girl until the girl's tongue was hanging out the side of her mouth and was only saved thanks to a postman walking by... and so started our mad artist!


Frida Kahlo
The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Diego, Me, and Senor Xolotl.
Oil on canvas
69.8 x 60.6 cm
Private collection.

The sound of planets singing

I'm technically challenged and can't get this particular kind of video up!

“This music was recorded by Voyager I and II as they crossed paths with Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune. They weren’t captured with a microphone: Audible sound can’t travel through space, so Voyager was listening to the electromagnetic waves around the planets and moons. Waves produced by space phenomena, like the planet’s magnetospheres interacting with the Sun’s radiation.”

It makes for the most beautiful meditation music I've ever heard.

Listen to it by clicking here

Via Witch Child

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Goddess Sophia - 'Lady Wisdom' and Goddess of the occult

A bit of education for a change, considering how slack I've been!

I'll also have more on visualisation once I have my book of shadows back from my old house as I'm halfway from one place to the other to the other again.

Funnily enough, Sophia is not mentioned very often and sits on the fence between Christian and Pagan religions. Originally as a Gnostic goddess, the 'Lady of Divine Wisdom' takes her name from the Hebrew 'Hochma' or 'Wisdom.' In Greek, Sophia literally translates to 'Wisdom.' She appeared in 'The Wisdom of Solomon' by an Alexandrian Jew in approx 30BC, was present at creation and was God's bride... certainly not something which is well known as she is seen in the image below from the Sistine Chapel holding up God's arm and supporting his work. The Seal of Solomon itself is said to go back to the Bronze Age which is a part of Kabbalistic magickal tradition and has been used in Hermetics (alchemy), containing the Star of David.

The Seal of Solomon which contains a great deal of astrological and Hermetic symbols, including Ourobouros

She is venerated as the goddess of truth, wisdom and the occult mysteries... or apparently the occult mysteries according to Fiona Horne. She is depicted with a book in her left arm and a dove coming out of her heart. So how at the end of this can we connect her to the 'occult mysteries'? Is it because of her links to the book of Solomon which leads us to the Kabbalah and Hermetic traditions, or because she is so relatively unknown except for in Eastern Europe?

Another source leads us to some interesting information (via Northernway):
First, Sophia is developed from the context of modern life and real people, but in conversation with the historical and mythological. Second, the dark side is confronted through analysis of Sophia's "Other" faces, Lilith and Hecate, locating it as the source of individual power and knowledge. Third, it provides modern women with an image of female power that is not based solely on reproduction and mothering but on another aspect of the feminine archetype rarely discussed--the intelligence and cosmic power of the life force. Finally, it introduces the "path of crumbs" which encourages women to direct their own life through recognition of the guidance present in circumstances.

So perhaps she was another Goddess to be omitted from the majority of Western Christian tradition like Lillith? How and why she is linked to Hecate is unclear but certainly interesting.

Sophia and her three daughters: Faith, Hope and Love (other sources say they are 'Faith, Hope and Charity')

Mark Ryden's contemporary depiction in 'Sophia's Mercurial Waters'

The woman under God's arm is said to be Sophia (from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel)

Alex Grey's interpreration of Sophia

Literary sources:

The Encyclopedia of Spirits by Judika Illes
The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Monday, November 30, 2009

Witchy outfit of the day

From Victoria's Secret, 23rd of November 2009


Via The Age

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ye olde moon


via Bewitching

Flying witch seen in Mexico, February 2009 - Christian hoax?

Well, THIS is strange!

They even have members of the police talking about the 'humanoid creatures' as they got a close look at them... just wish they had the ability to draw or draw out a camera as quickly as they would do a gun!

It's certainly interesting. I expect that everyone will be sceptical, and of course we have to be, but with police eye witness accounts it does make you wonder what on earth they could have been...

A forum on the matter indicates that the cops were lying and that the 'flying object' was a remote helicopter with some cloth over it... but why would they lie? What kind of propaganda would that be? Mexico is a very Christian and Catholic country so perhaps this was a setup - but what for? To defame paganism? To make people fear witches?

Yes, I do feel gullible! I think a part of me actually wanted to believe that there were ancient, preternatural creatures flying around which were their own species to compare against the New Age Witch... two worlds colliding! What a thought!

I'm sick to death of paranormal videos which are blurry as hell - you can't see anything! How is it that with such good technology of late, so many people can't get it right? And they're not even making any money out of it because all of this stuff ends up on youtube or sites dedicated to the paranormal... why am I so gullible?!

Click here to see the video - I couldn't get it on here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Green renters

Aah finally something for someone like me wanting to do something from a rental property:

Connect with the environment

Okay, so we need to have something which is actually educational on here. Whilst the woman in the previous article I blasted was not necessarily the worst, most pitiful ambassador for the practice of Wicca she did bring up one very important issue: the environment.

If you're wanting to make a difference, please do some further reading and become proactive about climate change.

One million women
This website is aimed towards Australian women, however why not still join? It aims to help calculate the amount of carbon emissions you make per year so that you can reduce it by one tonne - the aim is to get 1 million women involved to bring down 1 million tonnes of carbon emissions. So far the campaign has 11,083 women behind it and we need more!

Green magazine - free pdf files
The Australian Greens Party releases their own publication, keeping readers informed about climate change and policy implementation to tackle carbon emissions head on.

One million women - Climate Change FAQs
This provides you with the background on the history of climate change and why we need to proactively contribute to cutting it back NOW

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cape of the week


via BohemianPunk

Old article that I'm UNhappy about

There is the possibility that all of the wrong statements have been taken by this witch, but I don't like what's been published... Perhaps it was actually a long conversation and they've chosen all of the wrong parts for publication, which the media is notorious for. I've highlighted the two statements which misrepresent Wicca ridiculously. It's a badly researched piece and I don't know why on earth this woman is saying that Wicca is 'largely a protest movement' in relation to the environment... since when was spell-casting a form of protest?! Whilst many witches are Green party members, you can hardly confuse religion with protest. That's like saying that my artwork is a form of protest - even though it's not vaguely political in nature!

'Witchcraft is for the weak and oppressed?' Did I actually read that? Let me just do a double take... oh she did too... Witchcraft has a history of oppression but it has never been designed FOR the weak and oppressed. I have never picked up a book and read that anywhere. You could say that it strengthens souls and replenishes our perspective on life... I understand that she is trying to make it sound like a welcoming religion for the oppressed, but I feel that it has the opposite affect and puts down Wicca. Again, she needs to separate the practice from the issues that come with it: protest is separate to religion, as is the statistic of how many weak and oppressed people come into the Wiccan faith is again separate to the practice itself. The entire section on pagans walks around what we do rather than addressing it.

And I can't help but think: does she believe that ALL women are WEAK and OPPRESSED?

Am I alone here? I find this article to be incredibly badly researched and gives the wrong impression on Wicca.

Blessed Be,

)O( Elspeth


The Sun-Herald

0ctober 16 2005

by Barney Zwartz


Witches and charismatic Christians are leading religious growth in Australia with many women turning to witchcraft or paganism as a reaction against the patriarchal nature of traditional Christianity.

Dr Philip Hughes of the Christian Research Association said the numbers of people participating in nature religions - mostly witchcraft and paganism - rose by 140 per cent between 1996 and 2001. Agnostics were on the rise too, he said.

For many, nature religions were seen as environmentally friendly.

But Dr Hughes said their numbers remained small, with fewer than 25,000 adherents in Australia.

"They are never going to be really numerous as it is largely a protest movement."

Leading witch Caroline Tully says witchcraft is a religion for the weak and oppressed, especially women.

"Actually, I'm surprised the guys haven't taken advantage because there are so many single women," she said.

"There aren't many men, and a lot of them aren't particularly appealing."

Dr Hughes said growth among Pentecostals (such as Sydney's Hillsong Church) had been remarkable, along with ethnically based religions. For example, the Coptic Orthodox Church grew by 83 per cent between 1991 and 2001.

"Immigrants head to the churches in large numbers, even if they did not attend in their homelands," Dr Hughes said. However, he said he discounted fears in some church circles of mass conversions to Islam.

"The number of converts is very small, probably in the realm of less than a thousand or two. Only 2.5 per cent of all Muslims in Australia were born of Australian-born parents and some of these would be grandchildren of immigrants."

About 25,000 Australians identified themselves as Buddhist at the last census. Dr Hughes said young people liked its simplicity and ethics.

He said changes in immigration meant religion was now more diverse. Between 1996 and 2001, Buddhist numbers grew by 79 per cent, Hindus by 42 per cent and Muslims 40 per cent.

But all these groups together were still less than 5 per cent of the population.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Witchy outfits of the week #2

Alexander McQueen, Fall 2008
via Grace Magazine">Grace Magazine

Vivienne Westwood, 1993 (Nylon lace, organdy, tulles)
via Amulette

also via Amulette">Amulette

On Aura Tout Vous 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Altar of the week

How VERY decadent...

via Pumpkin Rot

The good old days...

The Virginia Woolf of Witches
via Kat's Hallowe'en Page

Very old image of two boys in bat costume "HAZA!"
via Pumpkin Rot

Doreen Valiente 1962
"And after this I'll make some LOVELY scones!" Mmm... scones...
via 7 deadly sinners

Oh, she looks so lonely and sad
via Season of Shadows

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bjork the Witch

There was a great deal of talk on Witch Mountain about Bjork's quiet Wiccan associations having been in a band called Kukl which is Icelandic for 'Witch' and also featured in a movie about Witchcraft called The Juniper Tree.... then I find this video with her tattoo on her left arm of the Gardnerian tradition (have to look it up in one of my books and do a repost!) for the eight practices to conjure a spell... Someone's been quiet about her faith, or has she?


I'll have the symbol on here soon...

Two rooms I want when I have a witchy house #1

Oooh, black was never so appealing. Forget aubergine, I want some black walls!

Sourced from Habitually Chic

This first image is my study - imagine the books on Wicca I could have lying around with my altar in a separate room.

.... and of course: The Apothecary

Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair - a warning to not hex nor conjure love spells


I'd seen this on Witch Mountain weeks ago and have thought about the phrase 'Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair' for some time now, especially given that I'd come across a quote (I believe also from Witch Mountain) which said something like "Those who cannot hex cannot heal." Of course I can't take the latter seriously, it sounds like a whimsical passing statement but at the same time I don't encourage anyone to hex just as I don't encourage anyone to conjure love spells - they are at both ends of a person's will as love and hate are just as strong as the other. All of the love spells I have performed have turned out incredibly badly, almost into hexing myself. I went down each stage, from taking an image of someone I wanted, to the next time where I drew my ideal man without giving him any of the personality traits which would make him a great love... I ended up briefly with this person who loooked exactly like my drawing, even the badly drawn long torso and long jade pendant - and it was a disaster for my soul... he floated from woman to woman anyway! I warn anyone who practices magick: do not hex or cast a love spell as it's essentially Black Magick, commanding the will of the other to be overtaken by your power which you have no right in doing. I am adamant about this for a reason: to help others and to prevent the negative outcomes that they will have placed themselves in.

'Fair is foul and foul is fair' comes close to the dualities in life which Wicca encapsulates: light vs. dark, negative vs. positive, man and woman which create the balance of life itself. These witches state that fair play is as powerful and justified as foul play and are in themselves an inherent part of witchcraft... and yes I realise they're fictional characters - I don't completely live on the web!

Those who feel the need to hex justify in doing so when the other person has done something so bad that they need to be taught a lesson, but why wouldn't karma take care of that for you? If we believe that whatever we sends out comes back times three, why would we need to control the punishment of others?

I am sincere in my warnings... and will only say it once! And watch the clip too, it is fantastic.

)0( Elspeth

Compassion across religions

Karen Armstrong warms my heart with her well-researched talk about how we ought to share compassion and understanding for each other across religions as "compassion - the ability to feel with the other [...] is not only the test of any true religiosity it is also what will bring us into the prescence of the divine." She emphasises the mantras of 'Love your enemies,' 'Honor the stranger' and aims to unite everyone in one world consciousness and share our compassion for the sake of harmony, progress and to share the basic golden rule of 'treat others how you would treat yourself' that all religions have at the heart of their dogma. As she puts it so beautifully: we have to move beyond toleration and move to appreciation.

She also mentions that religion is empirical, and the holiness and transcendent experience is only obtained through practice and only then can you understand the power of what you are undertaking.

I'm personally fascinated with other religions and love listening to Sunday Night Safran (you can download their podcasts there) to learn about all of the different religions that are available and how they are affecting contemporary society within and outside of their own culture. Back to the previous point, I am always interested in talking to others about their religion - particularly Indian taxi drivers who could be Buddhist, Islamic, Seek or Hindi... but I don't do anything in particular to deliberately make myself stand out as a Witch. I don't wear a pentagram around my neck nor do I have any symbols which make me stand out although I intend to at one point - though the whole 'career' thing gets in the way. I don't feel a need to put myself out there as a Witch but my dedication will most likely lead me there. I was on a train the other day, reading the book I recommended a few posts back on witches throughout history and a small meditteranean woman crossed her chest for her own 'protection'. I felt the need to assure her that I was a White Witch and wouldn't hurt anyone, but I decided to just leave it. I do hate that I feel somewhat tied back from being as obvious as an Islamic woman in her garb and in another sense I do want people to just accept me for who I am without the label being there immediately. I don't expect others to be immediately as fascinated and understanding as I am - am I holding back the opportunity for compassion to thrive?

Back to Karen above, she is really trying to have a document or understanding of sorts between major religious leaders to be pushing for positive change so that religions are not 'hijacked' by excuses to justify nasty deeds which end up tarnishing religion in the media.

And to finish it all off nicely: a cute video of the Dalai Llama on 'Happiness, Compassion and Mosquitos'!

New Moon image

via Wurzeltod

It reads:
'Fritz Zuber-Buhler is one of those itinerant dancing-girls common in portions of Southern Europe still, who reclines by the roadside in the forest to doze and dream away the summer noonday. Jules Lefebvre represents in "Salome," the daughter of Herodias, an essentially Semitic type of the antique period, with the sensuous and soulless beauty of the tigress rather than the woman, bearing the charger which is to receive the head of John the Baptist, and the sword which is to decapitate him, as indifferently as it if were a dish of fruit.'

From what I can read it's an illustration by Albert Audley - the surname is hard to make out.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Witchy outfit/s of the week


via Morbid Anatomy

By Yinka Shonibare (Brooklyn Museum up until September 2009)

Friday, October 23, 2009


Michelle Pfeiffer looks amazing in this - how had I not heard about this movie?! (2007) Apparently she plays a 5,000 year old witch desperately trying to recover her youth and beauty.




Anyone know who this painting is by?

I'm in love! I can't make out the name, and like so many blogs they leave no information on who the artist is/was.


Via Reckless Abandon

Monday, October 19, 2009

Facebook for Witches + Witchvox and Wren's news updates

I have no idea whether this will be worth it, but I've just joined a Wiccan Online Community here. They are in the process of pending me for approval which is a good sign that this is a reliable and well protected/administered website... more soon once I know what it's like and whether Wiccans in the Southern Hemisphere can really get something out of it.

Witchvox is also a very thorough website, however Wren's Nest Spirit News is very interesting for news updates.

Beltane is only 11 days away for those in the Southern Hemisphere - I'm pretty sure of what I will do, and I'll post something on here soon.

Blessed be,
xo Elspeth.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bizarre hexing in Canberra...?


When I had heard about this only about an hour ago on Sunday Night Safran, I was appalled at the very idea of Australian Wiccans (or any Wiccans for that matter) hexing parliament by killing animals............... yet once you read the articles below there is now evidence to prove that this is true and the media is far from interested about the validity of the statements made by Danny Nalliah that witches had sacrificed animals on Mount Ainslie. As we can see in the image above, the Wiccan holding the sign obviously does not support the idea of Wiccans having hexed the government. It honestly sounds like a joke which Nalliah has taken far too seriously as he has already been highlighted in the media for similar theatrics in the past and is most likely the victim of a practical joke. Either way, the Australian minorities were there in a flash defending themselves - not just Wiccans, but also the gay community. Does this smell of a set up? Was this some strange tactic to attract media attention to the minorities who are fighting for their rights? If this was a set up then I am deeply ashamed of the person/s who could be tarnishing the reputation of Wiccans who have struggled for so long to convince the public that we are not

(a) people who kill animals in ritualistic sacrifice
(b) people who hex the government - whatever you send out you get back times three, and sending out any negativity is not only going to come back to those witches but also to the reputation of all witches
(c) in any way associated with the devil/beezlebub/lucifer/satan as he is a Christian manifestation

This is not to be said of white witches anyway. These could be black witches at work, and I certainly hope that this is not the case. Having said this, I don't believe that the Australian public cares all that much given that there are only two articles available on the entire internet about it (at least today).

From the Sydney Morning Herald here

'What the hex is going on in Canberra?'

If you happened to be in Canberra for the weekend but limited yourself to the usual tourist circuit, you missed out on quite the exorcism. Danny Nalliah, the head of Catch the Fire ministries - convinced that Canberra witches' covens had cursed our federal government with blood sacrifices on Mount Ainslie - gathered some 50 Christians to the North Canberra mountain to drive Beelzebub out.

By 2009 we might be done with these kinds of ideas but there are still people desperate for answers no matter how ridiculous they sound. Meanwhile the mainstream sits on a secular high horse poking fun at such bizarre behaviour. But Nalliah has developed a presence in Australian public life, not only in the Christian evangelical world but also links in the political world (see here and Peter Costello's message to a ministry gathering on Australia day, here).

Media reports of this "prayer offensive" have become the darling of the off-beat section, ridiculing the event and its prayer vs. black spells premise. But this being the age where you can be believe in spells and be totally in touch with media and the interwebs, Catch the Fire has cottoned on to the rest of Australia's mocking pretty quickly (see here). In response, Pastor Danny went on radio to explain this act of "spiritual warfare". He said witches have cast spells on our politicians to make more liberal laws about homosexuals and abortions and if we don't do something soon (like a mass prayer to ask God to get back on our side) we're going to have more natural disasters, including bush fires.

Witches of course do exist, although the more PC way to describe the group these days is Wiccans or Pagans and according to the Pagan Awareness Network, the pagan religion is one of the fastest growing religions in Australia. In the 2006 census, 1000 declared themselves Druidists, 15,000 belonged to the pagan religion and 8,000 were Wiccans. The total of all of these rivalled the amount of declared atheists (although fence-sitting agnostics totaled 20,000 and those that chose to declare no religion or did not state were around 6 million). It seems more people believe in Magick than emphatically believe there isn't a God.

Fiona Patten of the Australian Sex Party issued a statement prior to Saturday's event pointing out further strange statistics. She said since Kevin Rudd became PM, the number of MPs in the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship had risen from 75 to 84 which is "way out of proportion to the 9 per cent of the Australian public who claim to be committed weekly worshippers". The Australian Sex Party said it would protest at the event, just to add to the bizarreness, and the Pagan Network also intended to show up - but not in protest. They would have people on the ground listening "very carefully", presumably in case anything was incited against witches and the pagan community by Nalliah who has already landed himself in hot water for similar incidents (see here).

Apart from a protest and pious people gathered on a hill, what does one expect of an exorcism? It was very easy to conjure up Hollywood associations, spinning heads and all. The reality was the weirdest festival you've ever been to. The crowd of 200 divided neatly into about a third Catch the Fire followers, another third gay and atheist activists, Wiccans and metal t-shirt wearing young people and the remainder were a bewildered group of observers in the circus. These three groups, I wager, will never likely be seen together again.

Entering into the crowd of Nalliah devotees, Christian and Australian flags waving, was akin to going to a pokies venue on Christmas eve - people desperate, alienated and confused participating in something that gives them hope. Nalliah at the centre of it dressed in white suit jacket, shades and a small mega phone permanently in front of his face spoke much of forgiveness and healing of the nation, interjected only with the odd "hallelujah" and "praise Jesus". Many in the crowd spoke in tongues or mumbled prayers, the first of a series of communions on different parts of the hill, the relocation of the prayers perhaps to do with the spiritual mapping (which would be?).

In the background near the "black altar" - a communication tower further up the hill - were protesters singing It's Raining Men and waving placards. Into the middle of the Catch the Fire group walked a young gay man who stripped down to his underwear and threw his arms in the air, facing off with Nalliah and his entourage. Other protesters adorned themselves in rainbow flags, witches' hats and t-shirts with slogans: "I am what you are afraid of".

Pre-exorcism, Nalliah explained to his followers "If the Muslims can go all the way to Mecca, are we willing to sacrifice a bit to save our nation?" Well apparently yes, many are willing to sacrifice their time and energy to go to a car park at the top of a Canberra hill to fight invisible spirits affecting our policy makers. Among the reasons for being there given by observers, one man expressed concern about Nalliah's influence (he was relieved the "sane people" had outnumbered Nalliah's group). And one witch/Wiccan repeated the truism that there's not usually much on in Canberra.

- by Bella Counihan

The Australian

'Canberra Saved from Satan'

Canberra is even duller than usual on a Saturday and the family is away, so House Rules really only had two choices today: drive up to Sydney or go to the exorcism. That’s right. The exorcism.

Pastor Danny Nahlia of Catch the Fires Ministries – you must remember him, Peter Costello’s friend – decided recently that some rust stains at the base of an air safety beacon on Mt Ainslie, the hill at the end of the avenue that stretches from Parliament House across Lake Burley Griffin to the War Memorial, were the remains of “blood sacrifices” by witches designed to hex the nation’s leaders (he was also worried about pooftas, too). So Pastor Danny and some of his flock travelled to Mt Ainslie this afternoon to exorcise the place.

House Rules had never been to an exorcism before. And House Rules, the truth be told, is always actually a little self-conscious and shy. House Rules didn’t want to turn up alone, so cadged a lift from Fiona Patten and Robbie Swan of the Australian Sex Party, who were holding a counter demo of their own.

Mt Ainslie, of course, was deserted, other than for a minibus of Chinese tourists and a Salvadorian bloke selling ice creams and chips and some truly awful souvenirs from a tatty old caravan behind his car.

But soon people began to come – like a daggily-dressed bloke wearing a home made witches hat. Some young gay guys. Big butch dykes in purples. A couple on a Harley. And the curious.

A fair mob was already on Mt Ainslie when the Catch the Fires bus arrived. It disgorged its load, most of who asked anyone who looked like a civilian if there were toilets nearby (answer, no).

They tended to be older, but were a diverse band too; Asians, Africans and one voluble guy with an American accent who turned out to be a Jew for Jesus.

They produced a guitar, a drum, a tambourine and a trumpet; pulled out banners and flags; had a bit of a sing-song in the car park, and then Pastor Danny anointed them.

Pastor Danny, by the way, is a short and slight youngish Sri Lankan guy. He was wearing black trousers and a white self-striping Nehru suit jacket and looked for all the world like a busboy at the Park Hyatt Resort Colombo.

There was more music and some talking in tongues – some sounded like an old fashioned racing call to House Rules – then the Catch the Fire crew got down to the serious business of the day. They set out to walk up the short string of stairs to the beacon. Unfortunately, the godless and the gay had got there before.

Pastor Danny probably had close to a hundred of his flock present. They were outnumbered, two to one. Canberra’s gay community had turned out (they have no where else to go). Some young metal heads were there, representing Satan. The ANU Atheist Club were present. So were the only two ravers in the ACT. A Ford full of bogans playing doof-doof music had arrived. There were wiccans – and people out for a laugh, wearing joke shop witches hats and carrying old fashioned besom brooms. And one gorgeous burlesque performer, Heidi Von Hottentot, in a black and pink guepiere, fishnets and the highest of high heels.

This lot had got to the base of the beacon first. The police hadn’t bothered to show. There were only two park rangers there. Still, the Catch the Fire crew pressed on. And the gay and the godless let them. Most of the crowd headed up the stairs. Even Heidi came along.

The two groups stood there, Pastor Danny and Co singing their hymn; the gay and the godless singing We Are Australia (and, sometimes, YMCA). A car-load of young lesbians circled the car park, a Lilly Allen song with lyrics not fit for a family newspaper (let alone its website) blaring out. There was a little bit of shouting – cries of “Heathen! Heathen!” were responded to with “Homo! Homo!” – and a few efforts at conversion from both sides, but everything was peaceful. There were smiles from both sides.

Now, if only the Coalition party room meeting to decide a position on the ETS can go so smoothly…

- Author unknown, sourced from The Australian blog

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Druidic Dawn - what is happening to the land with each Sabbat?

This is a really interesting website, where I made a Google search for "Melbourne Beltane" and it came up with

This website can tell you what is happening to the land and weather around this time and, well, you can read:

Beltane In Melbourne, Australia - Southern Hemisphere



According to the 6-Season Calendar proposed by Alan Reid and modified by Glen Jameson, October is classified as 'True Spring'. This classification continues throughout November, gradually becoming 'High Summer' as December approaches. On the seven-season calendar based on the observation of local wildlife, November is classified as 'Grass-Flowering Season' (see examples below*).

The Skies

Although we get the occasional downpour and some strong winds, the days are mostly mild, with soft showers and gentle breezes. The temperature can climb into the 30’s or sink as low as 10 degrees Celsius, but it’s more often in the 20’s.

We look North to see Pisces becoming increasingly clear as summer approaches. It actually looks more like a bird than a fish from our hemisphere.

Indigenous flora and fauna

*Flowering grasses include Kangaroo Grass, Wallaby Grass, Spear Grass, Tussock Grass and the Common Reed. The Narrow-leaved Peppermint (Eucalyptus radiata) flowers from October to January. This tree, which grows up to 30 metres in height, gives off a strong peppermint fragrance, hence the name. It has thin, weeping leaves, white flowers & small cup-shaped fruit. Then beginning in November the Victorian Christmas Mint Bush (Prostanthera lasianthos) exhibits its white flowers, which are spotted with orange and purple. (We have one near our Grove). Blooming through spring to late summer is the Black Wattle, with its pale yellow blossoms and also the Rainforest and Soft Crane's Bill. The Common Raspwort, Astral Brooklime, Yellow Wood-sorrel, Slender Knotweed and Water Pepper flower through to autumn. Tall Lobelias flower from November to March in damp areas. Blanket-leaf daisies flower in November & December and can be seen in cool forest gullies.

Animals and Fish
Holes appear as bandicoots dig for grubs and echidnas search for ants.
As in days of old, fishermen use the flowering of the Coast Tea-tree in early November to mark the entry of the Snapper into the Bay.

White-browed scrub-wrens with their harsh, raucous calls can be seen and heard at our local Reserve along with Rufous Whistlers and Crimson Rosellas. Baby rosellas are losing their green birth feathers, as their chests redden. Many birds are moulting. Gangs of cockatoos roam the area. Shortly after the Spring Equinox, the pair of ravens that share our part of the world, bring their babies down from the forest. Then for the remainder of the year, we are entertained with the antics of these youngsters. Powerful owls hatch around Beltane.

Reptiles & Insects
Snakes & skinks are becoming more active. Imperial white butterflies fly around the mistletoe, and scarab beetles cluster around the streetlights.

Compiled by Elkie

'The World of the Witches' a fantastic publication


I found this incredibly detailed and well-researched book in The Book Grocer the other day (available in Melbourne and Canberra for about $12, and it's available on Amazon).

I have never seen such a detailed and thoroughly researched piece on witchcraft. It slays the wish-washy writings of others who skip and jump between assumptions made by some Christian groups to New Age beliefs without any research or authority.

"Julio Caro Baroja was a Spanish Basque anthropologist and historian who was best known for his enthnographic studies of Basque and Spanish traditional cultures and folklore. He was a nephew of the well-known novelist Pio Baroja, was a member of the Spanish Academy of History, and is well-known as the author of the classic ethnography of the Basques whose activities in witchcraft inspired the present work. Dr Baroja died in 1995."

This might lead you to believe that his studies are biased towards Basque history, but his research is so extensive, covering various epochs from the antiquity of witchcraft over several cultures, to 'The Renaissance Crisis' and 'The Enlightenment' and how the Craft was viewed within those particular periods of time in accordance with specific social mores.

It is so rich with information to the point where I can see about twenty years - at least - going into this incredible book which features a bevvy of information from all parts of the world whilst giving a non-Wiccan an honest overview of what Wicca is about and how it has been misinterpreted in the past.

Interesting snippets include (p.248 from the chapter Some Modern Interpretations of Witchcraft: The Views of Psychiatrists):
"In Spain, for instance, Charles II was convinced that he was bewitched, and nearly the whole society from the highest aristocrats to the lowest plebs in Madrid, accepted the idea and spread it about. The nature of the spells and the personality of the sorcerer remained obscure and anonymous. And those who tried to relieve the unfortunate king by exorcisms and other processes were later tried and condemned by the Inquisition."

I cannot recommend this book highly enough, between research for Beltane and this I will have my head buried in Baroja's book for the next few weeks - then read it all over again! --- May have to edit this. He comes through with possible inconsistencies so I'll get back to you on whether this is truly worth it... some slightly spiteful Roman Catholic undertones are coming through in here I believe so stay tuned...

Blessed be.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Wellcome Collection (more on site)

Wellcome Library

A witch at her cauldron surrounded by beasts.
Etching by J. van de Velde II, 1626.

A witch, oil painting. Date unknown

Saul consults Samuel after the witch of Endor has conjured him from the dead; demons crowd the background. Engraving by J. Taylor after S. Rosa, 1813.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Artwork sale

I will have more pieces on sale very soon - I just don't have quite enough time to really dedicate myself at the moment.

In the mean time have a look here to see what's available so far.