Monday, October 26, 2009

Witchy outfit/s of the week

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via Morbid Anatomy

By Yinka Shonibare (Brooklyn Museum up until September 2009)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Stardust

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.

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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.

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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...?

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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

www.druidicdawn.org

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

Synopsis:

WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE DURING THIS TIME?

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

Days
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.

Nights
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
*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.

Birds
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

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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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
"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.
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A witch, oil painting. Date unknown
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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.
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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.

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Underground spell conjurer

This is from the New York Public Library Collection - I'd posted one picture from their collection several months ago but hadn't seen this beauty (they're all amazing etchings). See more here

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Des Todes schwarze K├╝che. (1896)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Paris Fashion week looks awfully Pagan to me - how beautiful!

The top two are by Karl Lagerfeld and the bottom images are by Alexander McQueen... which of the two on the top shall be the sabbat outfit for me? Wow...

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Oh yes and I do intend to get back to the whole educational part very soon - too much marking to do at the moment!

Blessed be,
xo E

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Church in the forest

I don't know where this is or what kind of Christian church it is, but can I have it anyway?.... Please?!

Little church in a forest

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Want...

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www.theneworacle.com.au

Aesthetics, the arts and Wicca

You know, I really believe that a great deal of the magick involved in Wicca comes from our own personal aesthetic take on it. You may call that materialistic, but I call it wonderful, powerful and potent with possibilities. You don't have to be creative, just let your imagination take you over with the positive energy that flows through you. Wherever you are, you can transport yourself as the Queen of the Universe, huge brass key in hand (like the girl two blog posts below), surrounded by huge flowers which grow above you as though you're as small as a bee and bless you with the warmth in your soul which you know to be connected with the ancients and the true essence of the Old Religion.

Your lustful imagination flirts with the images which reside deep in your subconscious and become lush with possibilities. Let the visceral energy flow through you, connecting you to the universe and all of your potential to make the world a better place by not judging others at first sight, by loving your friends and family and taking care of nature... and take care of yourself.

I feel that by cultivating positivity and a powerful imagination that I'm able to have the serene experience of being nine years old again when I didn't worry about how I looked as a beast of the Deity. None of that matters, in fact, I feel more tribal and want to connect to my visceral energy through exercise, amazing food and watching plants grow (still to do more there!). I keep a beautiful room full of scents and colours, and dress well to celebrate every day without worrying about a 'label' (although I often look witchy) as I am a woman of nature, Gaia and the universal consciousness.

I know I have more to say about this, soon....
Blessed Be
xo

Another great blog

Again, purely for aesthetic reasons (and the boobs) this site rocks:

http://kaliyuga.org/

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