Wednesday, December 29, 2010

30 Days of Paganism [Day 9: Beliefs - Dance]

Dance is a relatively new feat for me as a Pagan.  Up until late December this year I took bellydance classes learning how to dance in the traditional Egyptian style - wonderful for my particular pantheon.  It was a wonderful way of helping to balance my chakras.  I found that good old fashioned cardio was great for reducing my stress levels and helping to promote my general wellbeing, but bellydance was moving me around every chakra beautifully, especially from the root, sexual, solar plexus to the heart chakra.  Towards the end I was particularly connecting with the chakras in my hands and (bare) feet as a solid posture made sure that my chakras were aligned and strong.

Several girls from my former coven and a few who had left that coven have taken up dancing together as sisters, where we will soon start experimenting with choreography together as an all Pagan troupe.  It's certainly a very interesting exploration as there are varying forms of bellydance.  I hadn't danced since I was eight and nine years old when I took on contemporary dance, and initially I was finding it hard.  Thankfully one of the girls recorded our teacher dancing so that I could memorise our routine and I've found it much easier since!  There is still so much to learn - and more painting to do alongside it, otherwise I would do more than just one teacher's lessons.

I'm very much in love with Sadie's style below and with Rachel Brice (view previous vid here) - hopefully I will combine these styles in some fashion to use my strength like Brice and cute choreography like Sadie.

Witchy Outfit of the Week XVII continued - the dress to match the hat

Evangeline feather dress by Whistles

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Witchy Outfit of the Week XVII

Anyone know of the designer?
Cup of tea with that hat?

Going home - 13 days on the island

Tasmania, the grand Van Diemen's Land where a certain pride of place and beauty resides.  Every year I come here for Christmas and New Year celebrations, soaking up the clearer air and softer water which compared to Old Melbourne Town is so much more pure and soothing.  Every time I come here there is a recharge of energy, as some Wiccans might describe a different 'frequency' to Launceston as there is to Melbourne.  There is a great temptation to move back here, but then we've just signed a new lease for a beautiful flat we're about to have a house clearing for.  The majesty of Tasmania is shining at the moment in her full glory with the recent rains with growth of all kinds everywhere: so many ferns, Tasmanian violets and plants of every variety - Australian and European amongst colonial homes. 

You walk into stores with Tasmanian produce like natural soaps, huon pine products that make the room smell divine, cheeses, honey and candles from the local lavendar farms.  Every time I come here I seem to have interesting and prophetic dreams and wonderful magickal energies around nature itself which surrounds you as people grace their backyards with pride, established trees lining the streets.

In a township of only 80,000, the place is small enough to regularly bump into others and most places only take ten minutes to drive to.  Being a cheap and eurocentric place to live though, you see a lot of conservative types and very bad taste when it comes to fashion, so it's not all amazing here.  Whilst it's wonderful to be a part of a small and friendly creative community, the numbers aren't great and the pagan community is very small.  It's a marvellous place for pagans to live, but more so if you're a solitary practitioner who keeps to themselves.

The love of design, particularly in local architecture is apparent wherever you go, with very little built since 1950.  As one of the first cities to be established in Australia, coming across something like the house below is not unusual:

This house is currently for sale here

I doubt very much that I will ever move back here, but its magick cannot be denied.  I hope to take more pictures or at least show you some pictures at some point of this wonderful part of the world.

Blessed Be,
)O( E

Monday, December 20, 2010

30 Days of Paganism [Day 8: Beliefs - Holidays]

When they issued the list and added 'Holidays' I assume that they mean the Sabbats.  Every Sabbat, or Wiccan holy day is a part of our Wheel of the Year, and depending on which hemisphere you live in, it will come at different times.  We're about to come up to Litha in the southern hemisphere and Yule in the northern hemisphere.

There are Sabbats - the main celebrations below - and Esbats which are usually full moons and new moons, though some covens only focus on the full moon.  The Sabbat provides a time of reflection, to gather your strength and see how you can strengthen your character from each celebration to the next as the seasons change.

For more information on the Sabbats, go to Spheres of Light for your 2011 southern hemisphere exact dates and times.

Southern Hemisphere Wheel of the Year

Northern Hemisphere Wheel of the Year

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bird of the Week I

An Australian beauty - the crested pigeon.  This punk pigeon even wears eyeliner 0_0

Photo by Charlie Moores
for 10,000 birds

This Tuesday - get ready. It's a full moon, lunar eclipse and Litha (southern hemisphere)/Yule (northern hemisphere)

Never has such a big time been coming up in the astrological calendar that I can remember.  This is the big one!  Some people are even saying that this is bigger and more influential than the 12/12/12 date that so many people rave about - which I'm not into myself.

This particular combination of a full moon and lunar eclipse on the solstice has not happened since 1703!

Have a look here to see when the eclipse will pass by you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Desired Home VIII

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

A community taught not to be superstitious

This is very interesting.  I take my 'healing' with a grain of salt.  I don't go to a healing session for a sinus infection - I go to the doctor!  What healing I do get done is for psychological benefit, and it's rare that I part with money to receive it, spending $10-$25 at a time for such thing.  If I choose to pay money for someone else to heal me it's more for the learning experience & to see whether something like Reiki really has a different effect to Pranic healing or the Egyptian Emotional Clearing Technique.  It's all relative.

It's hard to see people paying money for this sort of thing when they live in a third world country and I'm glad that there are people actively educating these communities in such a way.

Enjoy, it's quite funny in parts!

Desired Homes VII

Witchy Outfit of the Week XVI

Who said that sequins weren't for the circle?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

30 Days of Paganism [Day 7: Beliefs - The Power of Prayer]

Prayer would have to be one of the purest forms of magick as it asks directly of the 'listener.'  So far we've looked at spellcraft and wishcraft, and prayers come into their own category.  I have found that regular prayer connects and grounds me to the world and what I am grateful for.  It helps me to look at all aspects of my life during the week and also shortly before I go to bed, wishing well on those who have taught me an important lesson during my waking hours.

The following are prayers for each day of the week, which helps to build both your knowledge and rhythym.  I'm not sure where these have come from, so apologies for no references.  I wrote them down when I was about 16/17.  Don't feel that you need to have every tea, crystal and candle - it's rarely possible to have all of them available to you at once!

Sunday is for: Success, ambition, fortune, money, career, sport, healing, hope, friends and outdoor fun!
Incense: Frankincense
Colour candle: Yellow
Stone: Tiger's Eye
Tea: Chamomile
Flower: Marigolds
Meditate on: The divine light and the true nature of nobility and power.
During the day, make magickal charms for friends and plant seeds.  Pursue pleasures and fun in the wilderness.

Invocation: Hail to you who are called Ra, who sails across the sky in your golden boat and thus brings us the day.  Also called Horus: Child of Light, Baal of the Solar Wheel, Apollo and Helios - blessings be unto you.  I dedicate this day to the faerie realms, the forest wild and all wilderness areas and wild things.  O Lord and Lady, bless me with vitality, optimism, health and happiness.

Monday is for: Psychic powers, merchandise, dreams, clairvoyance, home, childbirth, feminine qualities and theft
Incense: Jasmine
Colour candle: White
Stone: Moonstone
Tea: Mugwort - for clairvoyance.  Put some amongst your tarot deck.
Flower: White rose or daisy
Meditate on: The Fairie realms and the Holy Maiden of the Wilderness.  Contemplate the ramifications of fecundity of body, mind, spirit, your private life and the untold powers of your imagination.
Gather herbs and talismanic stones; practise astral travel, divinations, love spells, fertility spells and construct psychic shields.  Also a great night for a visualisation.

Invocation: Hail to you, Diana of the Hunt, Selene of the Moon and Hecate: Patroness of our Wiccan Way.  You who are the all-goddess Isis, blessings be unto you!  I dedicate this day to the watery realms of the oceans, lakes, lagoons, pools, streams, springs and rivers as well as to dew, rain, mist and snow.  O Lord and Lady, bless me with fertility and desire, make me receptive and empathetic to my environment.

Tuesday is for: war, men, sexual energy, courage and matrimony
Incense: Dragons Blood resin - anoint yourself with pine oil
Colour candle: Red
Stone: Garnet and ruby stones
Tea: Sarsparilla (very hard to find!)
Flower: Carnations and geraniums
Meditate on: Obstacles you need to overcome to strengthen your character.  Seek to udnerstand your motivations.  During the day, perform psychic surgery and legal aid rituals.

Invocation: Hail to you Ares and Mar, implacable Lord of war and vitality - also called Hu and Tiw - blessings be unto you.  I dedicate this day to the fields and plateaus and all grazing animals.  O Lord and lady, bless me with fruitfullness, endurance and courage.  Help me to drive home my aims.

Wednesday is for: Communication, education, travel, mental agility, writing, acting, debt, fear and loss
Incense: Sandalwood
Colour candle: Orange
Stone: Citrine/Opal
Tea: Lavendar
Flower: Lavendar
Meditate on: aspirations and goals, open your mind to inner planes.  During the day think about your plans.  After this, indulge yourself by consecrating magickal tools and perform tarot divinations.

Invocation: Hail to you who are Hermes: winged messenger, Pan the goat-footed god of the forest, Thoth the scribe and Odin the all-seeing - blessing be unto you.  I dedicate this day to the lord of the morning star, and to the process of assimilation of the raw elements as it is manifested on Earth in marshes, swamps and jungles.  May the elements be balanced.  O Lord and Lady, bless my intellect.  Help me to be adaptable, flexible, articulate and well-balanced.  Teach me the great mysteries of the Universe and enable me to speak of my acquired knowledge to others.

Thursday is for: Expansion, wealth, political power, law, business, insurance matters, honor, clothing and desire.
Incense: Cedarwood
Colour candle: Light blue
Stone: Amethyst/Jade
Tea: Peppermint
Flower: Lilacs
Meditate on: Your career and job-related ambitions as well as the importance of friendship in your life in balance with your vocation.  During the day, light fires to improve health and aid promotions in career.  Study the ecosystems in your area.

Invocation: Hail to you, all father Zeus, Amon: Lord of the sky, Kronos, ruler of the elder gods and Thor - blessings be unto you.  I walk among you in dagcliffs and weather formations.  O Lord and Lady, strengthen my sense of self-reliance.  Make me patient and steady and grant me the will to endure until I attain my goals

Friday is for: love, beauty, the arts, music, the environment, friendshop and strangers
Incense: Rose
Colour candle: Green
Stone: Rose quartz
Tea: Lemon
Flower: Rose petals
Meditate on: Partnerships, harmony and the true meaning and responsibility of love.
During the day indulge in lovemaking and dancing.  Make love talismans.  Perform spells to heal the kidneys.  Consecrate rose quartz stones. **Do not conduct love spells - you have been warned.  Only conduct self love spells and talismans to develop a more loving self.

Invocation: Hail to you Aphrodite: Queen of Nature, Freya, Astarte and Morwyn: goddesses of fertility, and Venus: supreme goddess of love, blessings be unto you.  I dedicate this day to the flowers and fruits of the land.  O Lord and Lady, bring me pleasure and passion.  O Empress of the evening star, make me merciful and sympathetic towards others and help me to express my creativity.

Saturday is for: karma, prosperity, inheritance, agriculture, life building, doctrine and protection
Incense: Myrrh
Colour candle: Black
Stone: Sodalite
Tea: Solomon's Seal tea
Flower: Dried flowers and gladioli
Meditate on: Reincarnation and the womb of the Great Mother Gaia.  Seek to attain self control and knowledge.  During the day, practice deep meditation, psychometry and perfume rituals to do with the material plane.

Invocation: Hail to you Gaia, Great Mother of us all.  Rhea, Binah, Ge: Queen of the Universe - blessings be unto you.  I dedicate this day to the stars, to the tundra, the moors and alpine peaks on this Earth.  O Lord and Lady, help me to find inner peace and a sense of totality.

by Silver Ravenwolf
In the stillness of the night,
While the world around me sleeps,
May the angels smile upon me,
and the Lady bring me peace.
Blessings upon ---.
I know that you will care for them,
And bring them what they need.
Install in me great harmony,
In thought and word and deed.

Friday, December 3, 2010

30 Days of Paganism [Day 6: Beliefs - Magick and Spellcraft]

Be careful what you wish for.  As you have been previously warned of in the article Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair - a warning not to hex nor conjure love spells, you must be careful of what you wish and cast on in this life I'm even incredibly careful about the wishes I make in my head, for even in the most simple psychological sense, you can turn those wishes into your reality by subconsciously working towards them whether they're for your greater good or not.  What you want could affect the lives of others, and that is why, when I cast spells, that I make sure that my workings not only benefit myself but others.  That is literally taking the threefold law into my own hands, and I would encourage any other magickal worker to do so.  For example, if I were to cast a spell to heal myself or a self love spell to add more self love, worth and respect to my life - that would be affecting others by making myself an example for a healthy, balanced and gracious attitude.  A happy person forgets that they can make such a difference to someone else's day by projecting their good feeling onto others, possibly complimenting others more as a give and take relationship starts, even on the most basic level. 

Magick is powerful, potent and not to be toyed with.  Your magick is a contribution to the world, not just a vain raising of energies for your own good.  You cannot work against someone's will or harm anyone.
My magick, now in my 2nd degree, is a mixture of both intuitive and devised magick.  The difference?  Intuituve magick is when you have a great deal of energy within you for magick and you plain and simply - with some knowledge of the moon cycle already in the back of your mind - cast circle and just go for it.  That is when you often progress as a practitioner.  Devised magick is carefully written down in your book of shadows, where you have more time to write down a blessing, what tools you will use, what star sign the moon is in etc. in order to send off your spell into the ether in a poetic and calculated manner.

Wicca is seen as a 'Mystery Religion' in that you cannot know how it works just by picking up one book from a teacher - it has to be practiced, implemented and experienced.  It opens itself up to you over time as you regularly meditate, work low magick (spells to 'get what you want' or push towards a finite outcome) and high magick (which brings you closer to your deity and what they can teach you to become a more balanced practitioner).  Magick is often read about in books, and you can spend hours upon hours reading, but unless you actually get to it and practice, you will never get anywhere.  I had spent a great deal of time in my late teens worrying about the fact that I didn't have every single essential oil, candle, resin and tool available to me.  Essentially these tools are here to help you reach an induced state, but tools are actually very unnecessary.  It is great to have an altar, but it need not be expensive nor should you really need one at all.  After time, you can practice magick anywhere - it's just nice to have the formalities of the 'right' incense or candle to push you along.  Magick is in the heart and pumps through your veins.

I am very much an urban witch and feel that I need my time out amongst nature in order to balance myself.  What is the point of worshipping nature unless you get out there and get amongst it?!  I have bought myself a tent and other bits and pieces to camp, bushwalk and protect myself in the sun.  It is amongst nature that I can really feel at peace and work with nature's gentle energy.  It is hard to plan outings with friends to camp out, and it's still on the cards!
After some time, you realise that magick starts to spread into other aspects of your life.  I've now taken up bellydancing and have left the gym to take up exercise that works with dance, which celebrates life.  I've taken up a range of things to keep myself occupied - which clearly, I couldn't all fit into one week: zumba, kundalini yoga, yoga, pilates, power walking and tribal bellydance.  Being fit is really important to keep your energies balanced, and I find that the two forms of yoga fit in beautifully with my meditation which helps to balance my mind.

The above is not particularly expressive, so I also have my artwork as well as playing music on occasion to celebrate life.  My artwork takes two routes: automatic painting & drawing as well as depictions of the images I see during trance.

I keep my eye on religious debate, crossing from the opinions of atheists such as Derren Brown & Richard Dawkins, the issues with New Age faiths & fraudulent behaviour, faith healing for psychological use, hypnotism - you name it!  If a witch's aim is to constantly learn, then it's important for them to be open-minded & consider how science merges with our beliefs.  How much of what we do is based on intention & why is it that we are able to develop this sense of transcendence?  Those questions should not be left out of our faith in the 21st century.

Just as I'd left you with Scott Cunningham's 'regular practices' in Day 1, I'd like to give you the list that Edain McCoy provides in her book 'Advanced Witchcraft':

"An advanced witch:
  • Picks his battles with care
  • Knows when to keep silent
  • Knows when to speak up
  • Lives out of the broom closet, but doesn't fly her faith in the face of others
  • Appreciates group work and its power
  • Appreciates solitude and its power
  • Has the courage of his convictions
  • Is confident of her skills, but not arrogant
  • Is confident of his skills, but knnows there is always more to learn
  • Knows she is a capable teacher, and that she must always be a willing student
  • Lives by the rede of 'harm none'
  • Observes the sabbats, esbats, and any other festivals of his chosen tradition and uses them for spiritual growth as well as for fellowshop and to honor his deities
  • Serves her community
  • Sees the divinity in all life and respects all life for the divine spark that dewlls within, even when that being's thoughts and actions are not easily respectable
  • Builds bridges and not walls
  • Asks rather than demands
  • Questions more than he anwers
There is still a lot for me to master in that list!

Blessed Be,

Beautiful article on Automatic Drawing from 1916

Out of the flesh of our mothers come dreams and memories of the Gods. Of other kind than the normal inducement of interest and increasing skill, there exists a continual pressure upon the artist of which he is sometimes partially conscious but rarely entirely aware. he learns early or late in his career that power of literal reproduction (such as that of the photographic apparatus) is not more than slightly useful to him. He is compelled to find out from his artist predecessors the existence, in representation of real form, of supersessions of immediate accuracies; he discovers within himself a selective conscience and he is satisfied, normally, in large measure by the extensive field afforded by this broadened and simplified consciousness. Yet beyond this is a region and that a much greater one, for exploration. The objective understanding, as we see, has to be attacked by the artist and a subconscious method, for correction of conscious visual accuracy, must be used. No amount of visual skill and consciousness of error will produce a good drawing. A recent book on drawing by a well-known painter is a case in point; there the examples of masters of draughtsmanship may be compared with the painter-author's own, side by side, and the futility of mere skill and interest examined. Therefore to proceed further, it is neccesary to dispose of the "subject" in art also (that is to say the subject in the illustrative or complex sense). Thus to clear the mind of inessentials permits through a clear and transparent medium, without prepossessions of any kind, the most definite and simple forms and ideas to attain expression. 


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Aradia - the mysterious 'Messiah of the Witches' and daughter of Diana

Aradia - the Messiah of the Witches
Born: As a Goddess: daughter of Diana in pre-Christian times & as the ‘second coming’: the niece of a witch
13 August 1313 (Diana’s day of worship)
Found in: Dianic witchcraft, Italian/Strega witchcraft, Gardnerian, the writings of Janet and Stewart Farrar
Setting: The town of Volterra ,Tuscany, Italy
People who write about her: Charles Leland, Raven Grimassi
Stone: Moonstone
Number: 13
Offerings: Strega liquore, walnuts, rue and tools of witchcraft and divination
Famous for: The Gospel of the Witches, from which The Charge of the Goddess derives from as well as many other rituals which feature in Wicca

Aradia ‘The Beautiful Pilgrim’
(artist unknown)

Herodias the biblical figure & Jewish princess of the Herodian dynasty
by Paul Delaroche

I first came across Aradia in Janet and Stewart Farrar’s AWitches Bible whose coven worshipped Aradia and Cernunnos. For some bizarre reason I’d never heard of her and decided to do some more research using this to find out whether there is some truth to the ‘mythological’ woman whom so few talk about. When searching through baby names and their definitions, many websites insist that Aradia is Greek for ‘Goddess of Witches’, with some believing that her name is derivative of Herodias or Erodiade, the latter being the Mediaeval Italian pronunciation of the name Herodias. Herodias, however, is a biblical character and does not replicate any characteristics of Aradia apart from the possibility that the name Aradia derives from Herodias. It is very strange that the two images above appear to almost resemble the same person – with such particular features.

Aradia was brought to our attention in recent history by Charles Leland who published Aradia: Gospel of the Witches in 1899. This text is meant to detail a true picture of Tuscan Witchcraft from this ‘messiah of the Witches.’ Many dispute the antiquity of Leland’s knowledge of Aradia, however his research also crosses over to other closely related topics in his other publications Etruscan Roman Remains, Legends of Florence and The Gypsies and Gypsy Sorcery (1) which would make him an expert on the area. Aradia has become the source of great inspiration for the Pagan Renaissance as one of the only true witches to be named openly in her era thanks to this scholar and folklorist writer. The Gospel of the Witches doesn’t give anything away about the personality of Aradia, and only implies to worship her and for her followers to work against their oppressors and to free themselves from slavery – in quite literal terms. Leland says that women of her day were often poor workers in a low wage who ultimately wanted to be freed from slavery. The Gospel also asks of their followers to work against Christianity and it isn’t clear whether the Inquisitors ever knew this, and it certainly didn’t stop them from slaughtering witches regardless.

Tis true indeed that thou a spirit art,
But thou wert born to become again
A mortal; thou must go to earth below
To be a teacher unto women and men
Who fain would study withcraft in thy school

- Gospel of the Witches

The writer Raven Grimassi states that Aradia was a worshipped Goddess and also walked the earth as a person called Aradia di Toscano, who adopted the Goddess’ name and taught Witchcraft. In Goddess form it is told that Diana sent Aradia to Earth to teach others the magickal arts as taught by Diana. The living Aradia is rumoured to have been born in 1313 in Tuscany in the town of Volterra, forming the grounds of Italian Witchcraft which in approximately 150 years’ time would fall into the hands of the Inquisition which famously imprisoned and killed heretics for ‘the public good’(2). In 1508, ‘Italian Inquisitor Bernando Rategno noted that a rapid expansion of witchcraft had occurred one hundred and fifty years earlier, corresponding in time with Aradia’s second coming’ (3). The living Aradia was said to have been burnt at the stake having made sure that her manuscript, the Gospel was both written in detail and kept away from the Inquisitors. It is from The Gospel of the Witches that we derive a great deal of our rites: mooncakes, the feast after the ritual, consecrating salt and being skyclad during ritual.

Nicknamed ‘The Beautiful Pilgrim’, Aradia "travelled far and wide, teaching and preaching the religion of old times, the religion of Diana, the Queen of the Fairies and of the Moon, the goddess of the poor and the oppressed. And the fame of her wisdom and beauty went forth over all the land, and people worshipped her, calling her La Bella Pellegrina (the beautiful pilgrim)(4).”

Leland’s text tells the story of Diana and her brother/lover Lucifer who bore Aradia. Indeed, this is where the Roman Catholics found their source of ‘devil worship’ in The Craft, but Lucifer was not always a Biblical figure. Lucifer is Latin for “Light Bringer” as the ‘Sun’ to balance with Diana of the Moon – the archetypal dark and light, yin and yang, with Lucifer formed from Diana herself. Diana is said to have changed herself into Lucifer’s cat and seduced Lucifer to produce Aradia. The Christians also replaced Diana of Ephesus: ‘Ephesus became a place of Mary, Mother of God’ (5) as Christian groups often quashed Pagan sites quite literally by either building over what were Pagan sites of worship or rewriting over the top of Pagan stories. The bible states that Lucifer was an angel in heaven and had been banished from Paradise for being too vain which could be seen as a way of Christian society criticising Pagans for their “vanity” or in truth for the love of their bodies in comparison to the Christians’ conservative approach to the body as a vessel of ‘sin’.

Doreen Valiente took the following verse from this text as well as Aleister Crowley’s version – which was much darker. This became The Charge of the Goddess with this original version urging you to continue until the ‘last of your oppressors shall be dead’ which we could relate in a metaphorical sense to The Ordeal we face in our first degree initiation.

When I have departed from this world
Whenever ye have need of anything
Once in the month, and when the moon is full
Ye shall assemble in some desert place,
Or in a forest all together join
To adore the potent spirit of your Queen,
My mother, great Diana. She who fain
Would learn all sorcery yet has not won
Its deepest secrets, them my mother will
Teach her, in truth all things yet unknown.
And ye shall all be freed from slavery,
And so ye shall be free in everything;
And as a sign that ye are truly free,
Ye shall be naked in your rites, both men
And women also: this shall last until
The last of your oppressors shall be dead;
And ye shall make the game of Benevento,
Extinguishing the lights, and after that
Shall hold your supper thus

Text sources:
(1) http://www.controvers...
(2) http://en.wikipedia.o...
(3) Judika Illes, ‘Encyclopedia of Spirits’ Aradia
(4) Grimassi, Raven: http://www.stregheria...
(5) http://www.covenofthe...
(6) Leland, Charles, 1899 ‘Aradia: Gospel of the Witches’

Image Sources:

Desired Home VI

I tried to trace who designed this and where it is and I couldn't find anything, and I'm scared that the tree trunks will grow more and sssquash this house like a big hand and turn it into match sticks!
via Sun in Scorpio

Witchy Outfit of the Week XV

The rules?  There are no rules.
Image via Wurzeltod

30 Days of Paganism [Day 5: Beliefs - Sacred Sexuality]

I had been deliberately putting off this Day for for ooh, about a month now!  Before you know it, I'm behind in a lot of writing.  My torturously long hours at work are now over and I finally have time to write some more and a whole month to very carefully about Sacred Sexuality.

How we perceive ourselves as sexual beings can change and alter slightly with ebbs and flows just like in any other area of our lives.  How I view my sexuality could depend on how I feel that day and my looking in the mirror on different days I'm viewing someone constantly evolving, changing, maturing and learning.

I just switched the television on to an old 1940s film where the woman runs into the arms of her lover, head tilted back in awe, covered in makeup and hair set into place almost in a pose of submission as he holds her wrists.  How women are portrayed in the media as the seductee, is very different today and different again amongst various cultures.  Separate societies are constantly changing and evolving to work around values, depending on where you live and also - just as importantly - the way we view our sexuality is affected by the media.  How are we supposed to feel about our bodies?

The way we think is often affected by where we live and when, for example: during the 1800s, women would react to bad news by fainting whereby they would have to have smelling salts put underneath their nose to 'wake up' from their state of shock.  Women then carried out learnt behaviour taught to them by society in the age of 'hysteria' which in the 1900s turned into 'schitzoid' behaviour (I'm not using my words there) which had women reacting to actions in a very different way.  Anorexia in one side of the world is created for very different reasons - for example, in the Western world, women are usually anorexic because they are abhorred by their bodies and don't ever feel that they will ever be thin enough.  However, in parts of Eastern Asia, the majority of women who become anorexic do so because they're simply unhappy - and rather than being thin all over have distended stomachs, much like the images we see of children starving in Africa.  This has changed again thanks (or no thanks) to their access to Western media which now sees young women in Asian countries taking up eating disorders in order to actually be thin, rather than out of self-destructive sadness.

Thus, the Western view of sexuality changes and warps: what is the ideal figure for a woman, how does she approach a man and how do we choose to seduce each other and appreciate our sexuality and form?  This afternoon I watched Faster, Pussycat!  Kill!  Kill!  from 1965 which features a triad of wild car-racing women, ready to take on the world with their huge hips, tiny waists and buxom pointed bras.  Only five years later, the rail thin hippy look is in.

I've read several articles of late on how some men have a skewed view on what to expect from women in bed which has been badly affected by watching a lot of porn.  The porn industry does not allow for the healthy, loving and rewarding experience of sharing sexuality which is instead a place of extreme fantasy, depicting an unrealistic appetite for carnal experiences which could be very out of the ordinary.

This is why I found this post so hard to write - sexuality is so changeable and interpreted by many in so many different ways.

We are born into the world skyclad (i.e: naked, or clad only by the sky) as nature intended and are most beautiful in our natural form.  Wiccans in particular are encouraged not only to perform magick amongst nature as much as possible but to also honor their diety skyclad if and when they can, particularly for Beltane.  You are beautiful without makeup, without clothes, with all but the form you were meant to be.  Pagans do not view themselves as being separate from the rest of the animal kingdom - we are one with every part of nature and recognise ourselves as being perfect as we are.  We treat our bodies well and listen to them carefully to make for the strongest energy force to contribute our positivity to the world.

Pagans respect their bodies in their natural state, and approach sex and sexuality in much the same way.  Our creativity also comes into play, thinking of how partners in arrays of pantheons would interact with one another, which is then filtered through our own personal aesthetics and particular Pagan belief system.  Pagans that I have met are much more at ease when they unexpectedly put on a few kilograms, and thanks to that attitude, they can easily find healthy and constructive ways of remedying it if they want to and if it's necessary.  One Wiccan woman that I know is close to her 40s and, having been slim her whole life, takes the approach that the Goddess is voluptuous and beautiful - so comparitively it's much easier for her to cope with.

My self image is very different to the average Western woman.  I have found that over the years I avoid women's magazines unless it's a Pagan publication or about women's health.  In general, I have become less materialistic and when I do buy something, the colour or shape resonate somehow back into my Wiccan belief system and thus have more value and meaning.  Jewellery becomes more symbolic with images of bumblebees, cats, frogs, faeries or simply for their colour or the crystal that features in them.

The Great Rite is performed at the end of a ritual, which is a metaphorical performance of the sex act, putting the athame or wand into the chalice which represents the phallus uniting with the womb.  This rite concludes the ritual to honor the balance of gender roles in the form of our chosen Goddess and God, and to generally honor the balance of life itself.  Woman and man are equal, and their energies as Mother Earth and Father Sky make for the balance of the Universe.

I almost feel like apologising for making this post more about self image than sacred sexuality, so perhaps this will be Part I....

)O( E

*My apologies for not putting sources into this article, I had an amazing article many months back on how mental disorders change and are intepreted across periods of time and cultures around the world.  I just couldn't find it so that I could add quotes to this post! 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why I'm against 'talking to the dead' psychic readings - cold reading fraud

This is a very contentious subject, especially coming from someone like myself.  I really do feel that it has to be put out there, and some people I know might not like it, but that's life.

There may be some people who can genuinely 'talk to the dead', but if you can tell it's cold reading then you know that they're a fake straight away.  If they don't ask you any questions then they're more believable.  Having said that I love my tarot, I'm free to make whatever I want out of it without someone else pulling at my heartstrings.

Traditionally there are two types of reading: cold reading & hot reading.  Cold reading is where you throw small pieces of information at the participant to 'hook' them in, and they're so enthusiastic to believe that they will start to (unintentionally) give answers from which the psychic can then add more general information to.  They feed each other energy and excitement towards a delusional experience.  Many people come away from the experience days later thinking "But they really weren't that accurate, they had very few hits."  There are usually more misses than hits.  More often than not if they don't have 30 people in a room to choose from they will have one person "I'm sensing someone in your family who's passed away, I see some letters A...N" then the readee jumps in "Allan, my uncle Allan!" then another handful of hooks are put out for the readee to latch onto.

The other type of reading is hot reading.  This is less likely as it relies on the psychic having already had straightforward information from the readee, such as recorded information of the people speaking before they enter another room or, as per an experience of my own, having the reader stand off at a distance before her next reading listening in on our conversations about our beliefs etc... that's when I turned around and saw her standing in the vestibule listening to us talking on the balcony.  I still wanted to believe too - it took me months to admit to my boyfriend that I'd caught her out in the act.

Some of these people might genuinely believe that they are capable and have had people bolster their 'talent' for many years.  One in particular amazed me - a man who met my mother and pointed out some weakness points in her body: a bad knee & shoulder... which could later become sore thanks to the power of suggestion, but I still remain dubious.  He also managed to be able to 'read' everything about her work situation at the time & how she could overcome it.  Sometimes this kind of thing can be helpful, but when it comes to 'talking to the dead' I really draw the line.  Some people are so desperate to be able to have that last chance that they will allow themselves to believe the psychic, then weeks later feel the emptiness of realising the ultimately there was too much cold reading involved for it to have been really that 'amazing.'

It has to be said aswell: why aren't these psychics able to see into the future so that we can help people?  If they're so keen on helping people be at terms with their losses, why aren't they just counsillors?  Why are they only looking back into the past and reading about people who have already gone - or do I not know enough about the nature of these kinds of abilities?

I just feel that I have a responsibility to draw the line with Wicca.  It needs to be more practical & realistic with the most healthy approaches to thinking & practice.  It is so easy for the Wiccan faith to become tied up in the fluffy arena of self help books & spiritual mumbo jumbo which gives it less gravitas.  We are in a faith which since the Pagan Renaissance in the mid 20th century needs to be more grounded.  It's great to be open-minded, to look at the possibilities and allow for the fact that science still has questions to answer as we explore the 'doors of perception' in our minds & work with Nature.

Please, if you have enjoyed what you've read so far, please advocate this cause because it is wasting people's money, time and emotions.  Also, please watch the Penn & Teller episode of 'Bullshit' below which gives you a much more detailed picture than myself & Derren Brown's video also tells you how cold reading works.

Blessed Be,
)O( Elspeth.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Witchy Outfits of the Week XIV - The last of Alexander McQueen

Some of his final works shown recently at Paris Fashion Week post mortem
Alexander McQueen's Spring/Summer collection 2011
Rest in Peace McQueen

30 Days of Paganism [Day 4: Beliefs - Birth, Death & Rebirth]

My beliefs on birth, death and rebirth is that they occur during your lifetime, taking you both through phases of your life and also through the Wheel of the Year from the recognition of death at Samhain to the bursting joy of life at Beltane.  The death phases are not as drastic as they sound.  Just as when the card number XIII for Death is drawn from the Tarot (or 'Book of Thoth' to some), it simply means the end of one phase of life for another: a time of rebirth and rediscovery.  With every rebirth we face an opportunity, whether it's difficult and challenging or simply allows you to open your eyes to the splendour and good fortune at your feet.  Everything presented to you in your life allows for some opportunity to learn and develop spiritually towards becoming the wise old crone.  Where there is death in one aspect of your life, there is an opportunity for growth in another.  For example: as sad and as unsettling as it was for me to leave my coven recently, it allowed for me to explore new ideas, spend more time with my friends and become excited about going to other open Pagan events and meeting new people.

A witches relationship with death is a very healthy one.  Our association with this balance of life is difficult for others to understand.  As I've learned: witches are both dark and light - a balance, as nature itself is balanced.  Whilst we create magick 'for the good of all' it does not meant that we, as human beings, are perfectly 'pure' though we strive to make a valuable and positive contribution to society - we do not claim to be perfect.  We go by our own threefold law 'Do as thou wilt but harm ye none', understanding that whatever we send out we get back times three.  Our perfection rests with nature itself, being close to the Goddess and moving with her cycles.  The true nature of the witch is in her/his heart, and that speaks for any individual within any religion: there will always be a balance of light and dark characters within religious institutions because that is the balance of nature, it cannot be avoided.  A person is to be judged by their actions, not by their words.

As others are often escaping from death, we embrace it.  In many ways, we have no choice.  Many witches see a spectre of a person before they die, and were/are often blamed for the death of that person.  It's a difficult one to know what to do with - do you warn the person or just allow for nature to take care of itself and keep your mouth shut?  Being associated with the owl, the 'harbinger of death', witches are often seen as much more frightening if they have the ability to see what the owl sees and choose not to say anything.  Suspicion arises and doubts about the intentions of the witch are skewed with anothers' interpretation of death as something not to embrace but to run from.  So we too are often ran from, misunderstood and mistrusted.

So if you see a crow, raven or owl, don't fear - least of all don't fear.  See whether your perceptions change, whether a new door has opened or new paths have been created for you to walk if you choose.

As a generalisation, Wiccans believe that there is a place called the Summerland, where we bask skyclad (nude) for the rest of our days.  Its made to sound like a Garden of Eden, and apart from its title, no-one can specifically tell you what exactly goes on there & I love the mystery of that.  Having  said that though, I'm not the biggest fan of summer - I actually prefer spring, and a little autumn here and there.  So having summer automatically prescribed to me is hard to believe.  I'd rather think of it as the Eternal Summer Holidays rather than just the Summerland.

It could, too, also depend on which pantheon you have the strongest link to.  If I were to croak it Egyptian style, I would have to pass by the 42 gods in the final judgment where my heart is weighed up against a feather from Maat - and if it is at equal measure to my heart I will be allowed to enter the spirit world and live with the Goddess and God.  If my heart's too heavy - a big scary beast eats me!

Some Pagans and Shamans also believe in having to pass through the River Styx to the underworld with the boatman Charon.  Often, people left pennies on the eyes of the dead for the purpose of paying the boatman for the trip.

I've never heard of Wiccans being 'punished' in the afterlife for committing suicide, I don't believe that anything in particular happens - but then, it's a case of trying it out and see what happens!  I don't honestly know what will happen when I die.  If it's purely the end of it all and there's nothing else then that's fine.  Given that I have a powerful connection to the Egyptian pantheon though, I would imagine it most likely that if I did 'pass through another stage' it would be via their Hall... which is terrifying, but sounds spectacular.

)O( Elspeth.

Occult shop of the week I

House of Isis, Johannesberg.  
Click here to see more.

30 Days of Paganism [Day 3: Beliefs - Deities]

My deity are wildly bold, strong characters: Isis and Thoth.  They are marvellous examples of the woman I aim to be, reminding me of what I can contribute to the world with their shared strength, composure, wry humour, gusto and intelligence stretched over thousands of years worth of pathworking in their own right.

Isis is known as one of the first documented workers of magick, having learnt from both Thoth and Ra - who actually contribute to a 'holy trinity' as it were.  Ra is just starting to step into the picture for me, and has been calmly guiding me through moments of stress by opening my third eye which seems to deeply relax the body when I feel overwhelmed.  I had initially met Isis and Thoth in my first pathworking journey in the form of a visualisation trance in about December last year.  The trance I put myself into was of my own devising - completely off the bat & working with raw energy to start my journey into high magick.

In this trance I floated over the shoulder of Isis who was lead to Thoth.  Thoth gave her the scribe (which is meant to list the dead as he is the scribe to the Gods and in the underworld) which she took and I have been journeying with them ever since.  I would give you the whole story, but I'm bound to write about them more as I go and eventually also paint them.

My deities seem to stretch from Egypt through to India - where ironically they share a lot of the same or similar kinds of animals: hyenas, elephants and monkeys.  I find that the Egyptian diety is one of great pride, power, discipline and strength.  The Indian pantheon is vastly different: its goddesses and gods much more primal and wild, more like animals than the anthropomorphised characters of Egypt.  Many are dubious about the Egyptian pantheon, perhaps partly because of its associations with Aleister Crowley, but I find the Indian pantheon far more confronting because I'm not sure how to approach its members.

I've learnt not to approach Isis and Thoth with any feelings of fear because they are working with me to deplete all of my fear and to enjoy my time with them whereby I learn so many new things.  Isis was taught magick by both Thoth and Ra, and I do feel as though I am literally walking by her side, experiencing her teachings as a 'sister' - perhaps as Nephthys, sister of Isis and 'Mistress of the House.'  Its been an amazing experience - I hadn't heard of these characters, and I was lucky that a friend of mine had unlocked the mystery of the first visualisation for me by letting me know who Thoth was whom my friend "Hadn't seen in a long time."  From there on I was able to figure out who these characters were and I have been on an amazing journey ever since.

In ancient Egyptian times, Isis and Nephthys were embodied by priestesses:
"The goddesses were personified by two priestesses who were virgins and who were ceremonially pure; the hair of their limbs was to be shaved off, they were to wear ram's wool garlands upon their heads, and to hold tambourines in their hands; on the arm of one of them was to be a fillet inscribed "To Isis," and on the arm of the other was to be a fillet inscribed "To Nephthys." On five days during the month of December these women took their places in the temple of Abydos and, assisted by the Kher Heb, or precentor, they sang a series of groups of verses to the god."

It's hard for me to contain my enthusiasm for my Deity - which is really quite spread out, with Isis and Thoth being the two main characters, also allowing for other Gods and Goddesses to come through and share their energy with me.

It's very late so there will be more soon!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Druidry officially classified as a religion in the UK

Isn't it strange to have the concept of registering a faith in order to have it taken seriously?  They did, however, only apply 'because they were legally obliged to do so.'  Having said that, it is a great step for Pagan religions in general, to bring our beliefs into the spotlight and have hopefully bear more awareness of the Wiccan path very soon to rid any confusion about the source of our beliefs.

"Druidry is to become the first pagan practice to be given official recognition as a religion.  The Charity Commission has accepted that druids' worship of natural spirits could be seen as religious activity.  The Druid Network's charitable status entitles it to tax breaks, but the organisation says it does not earn enough to benefit from this.  The commission says the network's work in promoting druidry as a religion is in the public interest."

Read more at BBC News here

Monday, September 27, 2010

Saturn's aurora captured on film

A spectacular light show seen dancing across the atmosphere of the planet Saturn is helping scientists understand one of nature's most beautiful and mysterious phenomena on Earth – the northern lights.
See and read more at the Telegraph

Watch 'Merlin - The Legend' online

Follow the instructions below to watch the full episode thanks to SBS Australia.  Originally aired on Sunday the 26th of September 2010.

Look on the right hand side of the page at 'Videos' where Merlin is currently the fourth video down.  It may only last for 1 week.

30 days of Paganism [Day 2: Beliefs - Cosmology]

I enjoy looking at cosmology from both the very metaphysical and scientific perspectives.  I'd like to think that I blend the two to compliment one another which blends the physics and the magick.  As a follower of the Egyptian Goddess and God: Isis and Thoth, I believe that Thoth created the universe as the divine magician and scribe to the Gods.  He created the universe simply by saying his own name, which to me would be onomatopoeiac - the sound of the big bang literally sounding like "THOTH!"  His universe is constantly expanding with only 4% of that making up for what is made of 'atoms' and the rest is dark matter - the space between where the mysteries aright dwell equally amongst our other matter making up flora, fauna & stars.

These stars make up our astrological movements, the 'tides' of our galaxy within this universe that affect our magick.  Astrology originated within Egyptian culture whereby once the planets align at certain moments, our spellcasting comes to life.  Wishes are brought to fruition not only with the cycles of the moon but to correlate with the astrological alignments at particular times - I could cast a spell 5 months ago, but until the 'stars' are ready, it will not manifest itself.

The latter is what I have learnt recently as I've officially passed my first year and one day, I intend to learn more about the stars and how important they are to magick.

Love and light,
)O( Elspeth.

30 days of paganism [Day 1 - Beliefs: why paganism?]

As many Wiccans say: I was born as a witch and will always be one.  I had always been fascinated by the dark, morbid and weird since I was a child who's always adored animals and felt a strong connection between Mother Earth and Father Sky.  When I was little I had my own tree out of the back of the house where I could perch myself and soak up the favourite part of my day: the gloaming.  Why paganism then?  It has always been in me, I have always felt a connection to ‘something stronger’ and have been playing with magick since I was 8 years old, taking on Wicca when I was 14 which I’ve been practising on and off for 12 years.  When I was 8 I took my best friend Louise out into nature during playtime where we were witches: talking to trees, making elixirs, seeing faeries and shooting bolts of lightning out of our fingers.  Our imaginations were constantly alive and exploring.

Having gone to several private schools, Christianity was pushed upon me and I never really gelled with it.  The messages that the Bible taught me were not applicable to my approach to life.  I found that the messages of the Goddess helped to ground me so that I could accept myself as a woman rather than the ‘girl’ image that the media pushes.   In fact, I adore paganism because it encourages a healthy and natural lifestyle and view on the world.  Every time that I perform a ritual it is cleansing and pushes me to new levels of consciousness where I’m constantly learning about the world and her mysteries.  Paganism as a generally term for old pre-Christian religions allow for us to inspect many of the old ways – which Wicca encourages and harnesses in ritual.

I try to be a good Pagan by balancing my energies: no drink, no drugs or smoke.  I also follow Scott Cunningham’s list of regular practices to keep you in tune:

1. Know yourself
2. Know your craft
3. Learn
4. Apply knowledge with wisdom
5. Achieve balance
6. Keep your words in good order
7. Keep your thoughts in good order
8. Celebrate life
9. Attune with the cycles of the earth
10. Breathe and eat correctly
11. Exercise the body
12. Meditate
13. Honor the Goddess and God

I feel like I could explain more, but there are a whole 30 days...

)O( Elspeth

Occult Film III - Gothic Aztecs (Gotik Aztéques) by Jonathan Rosen

It feels like all of the occult films I post on here are scary!  Oh well, c'est la vie, I do love to romanticise the 'dark' side.

Many thanks again to Suzanne Gerber for putting this out into the art sphere.

Witchy Outfits of the Week XIII

the musical ensemble Rasputina

Why a hierarchical structure doesn't work in Wicca

Terminology has been changed within this article and no names have been provided to retain respect towards this coven and their members, sisters who I send my love to. 

You would think that in the 21st century that archaic heirarchical structures would go anywhere near a New Age faith.  You would be wrong.  Unfortunately, even in this day and age as there is no set way for a Wiccan coven to set up their circle of kin. You can be left in the hands of someone who doesn't leave the forum open for discussion and slowly introduces a restrictive structure which the circle do not naturally question.  It makes it harder for the leader because if they're not being open with their coven members to ascertain how the boundaries are formed and why.

I recently left a coven for this reason.  It was one of the hardest decisions I'd ever made.  We weren't all equal within a tiered system where some were left feeling left out because they weren't being accepted into the 'central ring' of witches.  This saddened me a great deal.  When you know that others aren't getting the same treatment and aren't made to feel as special as those within the 'central ring' it makes it hard to concentrate and thus the experience is dulled and the rituals aren't powerful for you.  It's stilted the whole way along.

I had read of many solitary witches who practiced on their own but attended pagan events regularly so that they would remain in the community and in a way I wish that I'd done that, but I still loved meeting everyone aswell.  Someone like Wendy Rule doesn't even like the term High Priestess (as she was made an honorary one) as it denotes simply that someone is at a higher ranking than you.  Often these people are simply left in charge as leaders, to form the coven rituals and be the social 'glue', but sometimes their sense of power becomes too much and it's destructive.  They want to become selective about who they want there as the 'central ring' which apparently had the 'priestesses with the strongest bond' which was only founded by the High Priestess. I don't regret having met these people at all, the events that I went to were wonderful, but the underlying strain caused by the politics was unfortunate to say the least.  In a sense, I can understand why the High Priestess wanted to have some control over who came so that you had the most dedicated people, but it didn't always work that way - loyalty did not equal being allowed into the 'central ring.'  The 'central ring' had remained closed for so long that the minute that someone else was let inside, the foundations of the coven started to fall apart - despite how lovely the new member was.  Other witches who wanted to be in the 'central ring' who had been in the coven for just as long started to question why they weren't permitted into the 'central ring.'  The High Priestess wanted the most dedicated women with the closest connection within the 'central ring' and 'regular attendees' to attend ('casuals' were the outer ring and were thus not always invited to events also) - but it ended up having the opposite effect.

Then things became messy: 'central ring' members were doing their own thing and not turning up to as many events with the 'regulars' and occasionally only went to exclusive 'central ring' events.  Eventually this dissapated even more, and gossip ensued from all sides... less so from those who were not in the 'central ring' who did not want to risk being kicked out. 

It just seems that if you want to organise that, you need to have everyone informed and involved every step of the way.  In the Catholic church, for example, paritioners are given the right to attend Parish meetings once a week where they can talk openly about the proceedings of their congregation and air concerns.  Many Wiccans would hate the idea of taking anything from the Catholic church, but this is definitely something that could at least help towards groups such as this.  Without unity you can only have fragmentation.

Without wanting to go into any more detail, you get the picture.  I had hoped that it would be an experience of 'let's learn from each other and grow together' but it wasn't really what ensued.  It may still happen within this coven, and I hope that it does.

It's been a very strange experience but also a great learning experience aswell.  Sadly, I had aired why I was leaving the coven openly with the rest of the coven and it was taken very well by other coven members - but not so by the High Priestess...  That is another story - too soon to tell and this is a very public forum where it will be kept this simple.

In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust
)O( Elspeth.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The moon is shrinking

Whilst the Earth is warming the moon is cooling from its interior, but this article doesn't state why that may be.  There's no need to worry, the cracks that are forming in the moon won't have it breaking into a million pieces any time soon!

'Like a deflating balloon, the satellite is contracting as its interior cools, scientists believe. The cooling has reduced the radius of the Moon by around 100m in the relatively recent lunar past, evidence indicates.'

Read more at the Telegraph

Friday, July 16, 2010

Desired Home V

Speaking of Marie Antoinette, you can't talk about her without talking about her 'country-style' home away from home, Le Petit Trianon.

C'est tres jolie n'est-ce pas?  If she wasn't already materialistic enough she ALSO got this - the French eh?

This was her quaint country-style villa where she could relax and get away from the gentrified, stuffy environment of Versailles.

It makes me love my rustic country-style hand carved and turned pine dining table all the more - just bought it the other day!

Oui, darlinkas!

Top image via Trip Advisor
Centre image via Sanfrancisco Sentinel
Bottom image from Paris Album

What to put inside of the aforementioned green cubby house

A reconstruction of the room that Marie Antoinette was to have occupied shortly before having her head lobbed off.

"One of the most moving rooms in the whole museum is this little reconstruction of how the royal rooms in the Temple Prison may have looked, using furniture that was actually used by the family during their imprisonment. It’s a lot more cheerful and colourful than you might expect but then these niceties were not to last long as one by one the family’s luxuries were withdrawn and they were parted from each other."

I would like this room in that cubby house (as an actual house) in the forest please!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The most amazing science/humanities website EVER for documentaries!

Steaming Madness have the most incredible documentaries - and the link there takes you to one about the scientific research behind the possibility of a 'divine creator' - too interesting!!!

Desired Home of the Week IV

When I was eight years old I believed I was a witch: I hugged trees and spoke to them with my friend Louise.  We shot bolts of lightning out of our fingers and each got ourselves an old perfume bottle each which we put water in as our marvellous elixir for magick.  We played with the fay and my dear friend defended animal rights adamantly - and yelled at boys who stepped on bugs!

The me of then would have ADORED this fun house - just let me design an adult one NOW!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Interesting article on ESP

There are two truths universally acknowledged about extra-sensory perception (ESP). The first is that the anecdotal evidence is often fun and fascinating to read, whereas to peruse the experimental evidence is as boring as batshit, as our antipodean cousins say, and the investigative methods generally employed would for most of us banish insomnia for all time. We can’t avoid discussing these methods and their results in these entries, but we do promise to be brief and to strive personfully not to ruin your reading experience.

The other truth, which psychical researchers do not deny, is that the term ‘extra-sensory perception’ covers a multitude of apparently paranormal manifestations that are nearly impossible to disentangle. The basic labels are telepathy (literally ‘feeling at a distance’, usually translated as ‘thought transference’); clairvoyance (sometimes called ‘remote viewing’), or psychically seeing things occurring at a distance; precognition, gaining knowledge of something that will happen in the future; and retrocognit­ion, psychically perceiving events in the past, usually revealing details otherwise known to only one or two witnesses. Or to none that are living. Psychically discerning the fate and present whereabouts (if any) of the Ark of the Covenant would count as retrocognition...
Read the rest of this article here in the Fortean Times
More on the Akashic records as mentioned in this article

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Smell of jasmine 'as calming as Valium'

"Laboratory tests found the fragrance and its chemical substitute dramatically calmed mice when their cage was filled with it, causing them to cease all activity and sit quietly in a corner. When the air was breathed in the scent molecules went from the lungs into the blood and were then transmitted to the brain.

Feeling stressed? Then go mow the lawn, claims researchBrain scans showed the effect on a chemical called GABA on nerve cells was enhanced by the fragrances and helped soothe, relieve anxiety and promote rest. Professor Hanns Hatt said the results published online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry can "be seen as evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy"."

Read the rest of the article here.

Desired Home IV - 'The Brain' by Olson Kundig Architects (2002)

The Interior

Two final images from

Desired home III - Harad's Treehouse Hotel (North Sweden)

Designed by Sweden's Tham & Videgard Hansson Arkiteckter.

To view a series of images including the interiors, click on this link to see the mastery and beauty of this project from the Telegraph.

An artist's impression of one of the rooms

from dvice

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Thought of the Day II

"I'm somehow always grateful for the "little" bad things that happen to me because they aren't "BIG" bad things...." - Dita Von Teese, July 6 2010

I adore Dita: she's intelligent, classy and has a very healthy outlook on life.  One of my other favourite quotes went something like 'I don't concentrate on how 'skinny' I am, I like to concentrate on how strong my body feels' so that she concentrates on her health and vitality before thinking about her size.  I also love that she apparently walked away from the divorce with Marilyn Manson without wanting to 'split' any of their assets in any sense: she just walked away elegantly without physically dividing their history into objects and money.

Three cheers to Dita and her gorgeous boutique aesthetic.  I especially LOVE her in these colours.

Top image from The Swelle Life
Bottom image from Glam