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