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