Saturday, October 29, 2011

Apothecary of the Week VII

A few stories not dated in the mirror book - Story I

The astral accordion - not just heard by me
Aug/Sept 2011

A very cute yet bizarre story from work.: At my work I sit in a hallway.  Just to my right is a meeting room and behind that wall was one of our employees Heather - so as she was talking from two walls away, naturally I couldn't hear the conversation taking place as I worked at my desk.  Two walls away, Heather was talking about a new acquisition of hers: a second hand piano accordion.  As she talked she gestured playing a chord on this accordion with her hands (i.e: with no actual piano accordion in her hands) and a loud, beautiful piano accordion sound blared from directly behind her head - not only did the sound come from behind her head but also behind my head - two rooms away.  I heard this majestic, beautiful sound from behind me where Heather would often stand and chat to make a coffee but nothing was there - at exactly the same time she heard this sound, I also heard this sound behind my head in another room....

Style and Sustainability

Read more on how to reduce your carbon footprint from the clothes that you wear...


If fashion's eco-warriors had their way, we'd all be wearing our environmentally aware hearts on our organic-fibre, ethically made sleeves. But in between hankering for the latest fad and worrying about its ugly carbon footprint, the conscientious consumer wonders why going green costs the earth...

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/fashion/style-and-sustainability-20111028-1mnks.html#ixzz1c9jjtvgF

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Desired Home XV


My final letter to the coven I used to attend (sent this time last year)


It's quite funny to look back on my past in this way.  A part of the reason I am posting this is because it was 

(a) Deleted from the forum shortly after and hardly anyone got to read it, including many people I'd spent a great deal of loving and spiritual time with;
(b) Those who did not get to read it were told that it was nasty - when it's anything but;
(c) To show those who are still within that coven my true intentions from that time as I seem to have this odd reputation with them; and
(d) In my own way I'd rather like this to be permanently available on the internet so that others can read this and understand what it's like to be a constrained coven experience.

The background to this forum post
The high priestess had, on many occasions, made me feel as though I knew what I was doing throughout my time with her and a callout had been made to coven members for apprentice high priestesses whereby I didn't require any experience to be one.  Having had many years of magickal practice behind me, I thought I'd be a very suitable candidate.  Sadly, I had bought into this hierarchical system and yearned for so much more from the coven and saw this as a great opportunity to fill that gap...  But I think that that gap would have still existed no matter what.  I had spent some time trying to unite members by suggesting events and rites which would harmonise the coven but those suggestions weren't really taken on.  I had also seen this hierarchy become tighter and tighter, with one girl assisting the 'inner circle' to organise events to be told that she was 'lucky to be this close to the inner circle' - egos started to form.  The energy of the coven was no longer particularly friendly.  Apparently, as I wasn't permitted to become an apprentice high priestess I could take the first degree course - when I was in my personal second degree already and knew exactly how to set up my own ritual space and write a ritual already - which is mostly what the course consisted of.  This course went (from memory) for about 6-8 weeks and cost about $120.....  Yep, it costed money to 'cover the expense of materials.'  Something which this Irish witch I had posted earlier this year is dead against, as am I.  

I was certainly glad to have left when I did.  People who are there now are being told that they are not 'allowed' to practice magick with anyone outside of the coven and are being discouraged from performing traditional Wicca.  Some of those who have left have been terribly harassed by the "high" priestess to the point where it's becoming ridiculous - and I'd have to say that without having stated her name on here whatsoever I am very happy to share this information freely and to the public.  I've become sick and tired of seeing people within that coven being treated badly and actually feeling surprised that it's happening to them.

The forum post
It seems contradictory to say that we didn’t need to have any experience, yet now I’ve been asked to go through the first degree course.  I realise I had agreed to do the first degree course and why you’re trying to assimilate what you’ve learnt about running a coven into that.  I just feel that if I “didn’t need experience” to become an apprentice high priestess that I would at least be recognised as having had great life experience from my teaching, lecturing and (on & off) 12 years of experience as a Wiccan.  I thought I would be taught as an apprentice rather than via a first degree course, if you know what I mean.   It’s hard for me to reconcile that in my solitary practice I’m now at the 2nd degree and I think I’ve realised that I want to concentrate on just that, because it’s a lot of hard work.

Perhaps I came here for the wrong reasons.  I had been yearning to learn from others, teach others, grow, and have a more intimate experience and I’ve wanted that since the minute I walked into the coven, and that energy has not changed.

I’m not doing this to have a go at anyone, it’s just that I have to comply to a system which I don’t naturally work with and therefore I shouldn’t hang around and contribute an ounce of negativity which works against the family feel of this coven which could throw it out of balance.  My negativity could hence be felt by others and if anyone wants to view that as my ego, I don’t mind.  Some things just don’t work for some people.

I had put up ‘ideas’ on the website to bring our coven closer socially and spiritually because I felt that we were fragmented, and to be frank: we have been kept that way.  They were, also, just ideas too, and were in mind for the betterment of the coven and not necessarily for me to perform. I have always been passionate about making sure that everyone feels equal – I’m wildly passionate about that in fact, and have been all of my life.  Whilst I understand that you can’t just let some stranger immediately into the ‘inner circle’ I come back to my first point: if I didn’t need a great deal of experience to become an apprentice high priestess then why am I being asked to do the first degree course?

If we are to be teaching one another, why can we not allow for a format which encourages that, or am I getting the wrong end of the stick?  Perhaps my expectations are wildly unrealistic and idyllic to the point of ridiculous.  That ideal seems to be what I want, and perhaps that is best achieved as a solitary witch or within a very small coven.

You're all beautiful, marvellous and remarkable people, but I think it's important to emphasise that I don't want to ruin the energy of the group with my negativity and thus am obliged to step back for the sake of others more so than myself as to not ruin the enjoyment, love and light that this coven provides for others.  I would be a coward if I were to just walk away from the coven without saying a word.  I think, too, that this coven suffers because no-one feels that they can be open and honest about the structure and the system which is handed down to them.  By keeping our mouths shut we’re spreading a very strange, restrained energy that I believe works against the magickal energy that the coven is trying to achieve.  I don’t particularly enjoy writing this, but I’m an honest person and I respect honest people.

Love and light.  In perfect love and perfect trust.  May your paths be fecund, bountiful and radiant with the power of the Goddess.  Keep on being creative and powerful darlings.

)O( Elspeth.

Remember to be grateful

Being conscious of what you ought to be grateful for without attachment
I realise that for some people this post won't apply to them - life can be hard and we all go through periods of our lives we'd rather forget.  I feel that for every good piece of fortune that is thrown my way or I have manifested through the Craft ought to have a moment dedicated to its arrival.  That may mean thanking the diety called upon to manifest the support or needs that I had at the time or just being grateful for coincidences which turn your life around.  I feel that I really ought to gather my sisters soon and have a rite especially dedicated to this.  I think that I feel more like this the more that I meditate - my mind is clearer and sharper and I tend to be more grateful about the positive things that happen in my life.  It's too easy to look at the downside of life and accumulate a list of 'if only' statements from one day to the next.

As you will know, I am very fond of Buddhist thought and have learnt a great deal about their concept of attachment.  My attachment to 'if only' thoughts and my attachment to 'I should feel grateful for' thoughts should in no way define who I am, I just feel as though some more conscious thought towards what we ought to be grateful for will provide a better balance for a calm mind & way of being.

Contributing in hard times - more on ethical living and how I'm changing my lifestyle
A very sharp change of subject here, but I am wanting to air these concerns all the same.  At the same time as making sure I am aware of what I ought to be grateful for, I do feel that I have more work to contribute to Gaia by trying to live the most ethical life that a meat eater can possibly live in this day and age.  There is so much information out there to take in!  With every step I am coming closer to living a more biocentric lifestyle rather than one which is anthropocentric.  I have put some extra cash forward to buy some cloth pads from Wise Woman Pads which I've tried and tested, and they wash incredibly well.  They don't make your menstrual flow smell either, it just smells like blood.  They're also the most reasonably priced ones on the market and come in the best patterns.  Whilst the economy is also suffering a major blow - yet again - it's a great time to set aside money especially to support local businesses if you can manage.  The smaller, locally owned organic stores who are more likely to sell ethical, wholesome and natural products ought to be sustained during this time if only for the cosmetics that they sell if you are to buy everything else from the supermarket.  That way we are supporting locally owned businesses and will be helping to keep our local community members employed, selling products which are often hard to find otherwise.  As you know I'm a non-materialistic witch and have been cutting down on buying new candles, props or any oils which are not ethically sourced.  Instead of buying a variety of coloured candles I'm buying Australian made plain beeswax candles which have a beautiful natural smell and feel to them.  If I buy furniture in the near future I aim to buy second hand furniture to avoid cutting down more trees, and have considered buying more second hand clothing to cut down on carbon emissions created from the manufacturing of new clothes - the more second hand, the better in many ways!  Fewer new trees will get cut down and less energy is put towards the product.

Show your gratitude to your deity by thanking them for their support & give Gaia as much of your support as you can for everything that she has ever given you.

Really do check out Wise Woman Pads - Judith does an amazing job.

Blessed Be,
)O( E.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Desired Home XIV

Reblogged from Drawing Down the Moon

The Ethical Consumer Guide (Global)

"Keep pure your highest ideals, strive ever toward them." - Charge of the Goddess

Since having started working in environmental conservation, I feel much more inspired to take on more ethical challenges to make sure that I take care of Gaia and honor the concept of the Gaia Hypothesis.

  • General Groceries/ Supermarket Shopping: For an all-round guide go to the Ethical Consumer Guide which you can view online - it really is wonderful for all kinds of consumerism as to whether each product is ethically sound environmentally, in regards to animal cruelty, fair trade and how they treat their workers.
  • Animal cruelty - a concise list of information: The above is more helpful because it talks about ethical consumerism in general, and if for some reason you are more passionate about/want to know more about which products test on animals go to PETA's Caring Consumer website.
  • Aromatherapy products - as mentioned in this previous article, it's incredible what goes on when you're not paying close attention!  I'm letting quite a few of my aromatherapy oils and resins run out because they are unethical to have in my home.  For more info, go to Crop Watch and I will post updates on here for new information/discoveries.
Great companies to purchase from:
  • Sanitary products - Wise Woman Pads (Victoria, Australia) and Moon Pads (Tasmania, Australia) - The wonderful makers of cloth sanitary pads to help save the environment.  So long as you wash your moon pads well by soaking them overnight in a bucket then putting them in a laundry bag to wash, they will last up to five years.  Also, if you buy yourself a rubber menstrual cup to replace tampons you'll save even more money over the years from buying additional packets of tampons which absorb moisture away from your body and can cause toxic shock syndrome.  Put your soaking water back onto the garden so that the garden can benefit from your blood.
  • Skin and Hair Care Sukin (Australia) -Skin and Hair Care with no animal testing, a carbon neutral product range and recyclable packaging.  They smell beautiful and provide products that really last.

Friday, August 12, 2011

August 13 - the day of Aradia, Diana and Hecate - the maiden, mother and crone

Aah the 13th of August and on the full moon at that! It was said that Aradia, in the form of a physical woman on earth was born on the 13th of August, the day of Diana in the year 1313 who then roamed the earth teaching Witchcraft, aptly named 'La Bella Pellegrina' or 'The Beautiful Pilgrim.'  A great deal more detail on Aradia can be read in my previous post here.  You can also read a brief description about Hecate here.

In the northern hemisphere, Hecate is honored by leaving an offering at the crossroad - the roads between life and death which she represents.  Take a plate you won't mind 'losing' to the crossroads with goods such as honey (lavendar honey is the best), eggs and garlic out once darkness has fallen -  say your invocation to the Goddess of Witchcraft and leave the plate there and do not go back for it - in fact, once you turn around and journey back home, don't look back to that crossroad.  In the home, burn patchouli incense, a black candle and performing divination at midnight.  Hecate observes all activity & assists at night, so perform all of the above at night time.

Seeing as it's a full moon you may feel inspired upon drawing down the moon to repeat the charge of the goddess in its original form from Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches by Charles Leland below (before it was changed by Doreen Valiente and Aleister  Crowley before her) to honor both Aradia and Diana:

Aradia:
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

Sunday, August 7, 2011

... I am still alive...

I have no idea when people are looking at this blog, I think the most attention it has received has been from the article on Baphomet - so I do wonder about why people come here!  I've had many new and interesting discoveries with my practice that I would like to share with you soon.  I seem to be forging my own particular path and can't wait to supply the blog with more book reviews, notes on herbology and looking into the science of poltergeists.

Blessed Be,
)O( E.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cropwatch.org

For more independent research on buying ethical aromatherapy products please go to
www.cropwatch.org


Cropwatch...
  • Is an Independent Watchdog for Natural Aromatic Products used in the aroma (: fragrance/cosmetics, flavour, aromatherapy), traditional herbal medicine & phytochemical industries. Many of these natural commodities are under threat via their over-exploitation in the wild (see articles inCropwatch Files section), or their continued use & availability faces uncertainty via the imposition of restrictive & over-precautionary legislation.
     
  • Cropwatch's independent stance & expressed opinions can counter-balance information about natural aromatic products obtained from commercial sources, trade magazines & (even) learned journals. The reports & policies of governmental/non-governmental bodies & authorities can often show bias towards corporate concerns, against the wider public interest.
     
  • Information provided to Cropwatch is derived from a number of sources e.g. from academics, researchers, aroma industry employees, health industry professionals, ethnobotanists, ethnic peoples and others, all of whom  have primary concerns for natural products & the environment.

Endangered species of plants and their essential oils & resins to boycott - Rosewood, Sandalwood and Frankincense

Yet again I provide another update for the New Age industry to pay serious attention to, and I sadly look at these oils in my collection and feel a sense of sadness over my materialism - another reason not to worry about buying products to affirm your faith.


ROSEWOOD - An endangered species with a violent & corrupt industry history
Apparently rosewood has been an endangered species for decades now, and some articles I've read on the internet state that due to the demand from aromatherapists, this product is still being supplied.  Dalbergia nigra or Brazilian Rosewood, is listed as an endangered species which has a strong, sweet and long lasting smell.


The following information is from a website which begins to talk about the blind demand for Rosewood oil and the roots of its corrupt industry in Brazil:



In mid December 2003 the body of a 27 year old Greenpeace activist was found floating in the Amazon. Emily Craddock was investigating the activities of the illegal loggers operating throughout the Amazon basin. It is believed that she may have fallen overboard. However, as it is believed that loggers had threatened this expedition, investigations are ongoing. It is known that Brazilian campaigners against illegal logging have been threatened with their lives. My respects to Emily and her family, a sad loss to the world at such a young age.

I would just ask those who insist on selling and using rosewood oil to consider this: What you have done is indirectly contribute to the death of the young lady mentioned above. All the excuses the trade come up with about "we only use the sawdust" "we only use the leaves" "we are only tiny users compared to other trades" etc. are hogwash to cover them continuing to trade in endangered species and helping support criminals.

SANDALWOOD AND FRANKINCENSE
Rather than copy and paste the information about the over-harvesting of these plants, I'll direct you straight to the source: 
Aromatherapy School

Please: if you find any articles like this to alert other members of the Wiccan and New Age community, please respond with a link in my comments so that I can do further research.  I'll continue to dig through to see whether there are any more products we ought to look out for.


Love, light & responsibility,
)O( Elspeth.

Rosewood information sources:
Scientific Rosewood names from Wikipedia
Article on Greenpeace activist from Aroma Medical

Friday, July 1, 2011

Occult Shop of the Week II - The New Oracle (AUS/NZ)

If you really need to be materialistic (oh, go on!) then this website has a wonderful range and great prices.

I one day would love to have a wooden book of shadows and their wooden book stand... One day...

Go to the website here.

Healing is a psychological journey, not a physiological cure-all - a great video about the money maker called Theta healing



So I'm not really typical as a Wiccan when it comes to these sorts of things.  Sometimes I find there are grey areas, and then there are moments like these where I see things as being much more black and white.

My position on any form of healing is that, whilst it can physically make the endorphins run wild, it is best reserved for psychological work rather than physiological.  Even then, when you feel that unwell by the activity of your mind and you can't bear it any longer, see a psychologist: that is what they are for.  New Age healing, which I have experienced myself, is wonderful for the psychology and can be incredibly uplifting and invigorating, and if you receive images or feelings from it, you still have to be proactive about what you have discovered.  I am saddened to see people attempting to use it to physically heal people with their hands or their minds, particularly when they are terminally ill.  It is sad to see that the potential for healing is abused by people who:

  • Charge a lot of money for it 
  • Are so convinced that their healing works that they may disregard crucial symptoms of a serious illness (not that they're trained to really detect them)
  • Have no actual scientific qualifications of any kind yet charge more than a doctor and probably as much as a psychologist.
  • Make claims that HIV can be reversed when it's impossible, which is completely revolting and misguiding and again, draws in people to believe that if they spend their money with these people that they will be healed
This kind of thing racks my brain, like healers who claim that their practice will alter your DNA... which as we all know is impossible.  At this particular event that I went to, it was proposed to me that I would be so fortunate as to have my DNA altered - but what for was not clear.  It was thrown out there just to make the event seem incredible when all we were ultimately doing was allowing ourselves a group psychological healing - is that not enough?  Is it not joyous enough to share that moment with others at the end of a working week by letting go together, singing together and just having a nice time?


Meditation, however, can help to prevent a range of things happening to your body by reducing stress and the chemicals your body then produces which can affect your mind, heart and general wellbeing.  It reduces your risk of heart disease by half if you meditate two times a day for twenty minutes and there is certainly no harm in connecting with your truth.  Go here to read my article on how to achieve a sincere balance from your practice, which is really common sense for any lay person (well, except for the more religious parts anyway!).

It is interesting to see how people cross the line within spirituality like this, like those who practice cold reading if you remember the post I put up about that featuring the fantastic episode of Bullshit by Penn and Teller.  Don't you think it is interesting how when that line is crossed, there is a lot of money to be found on the other side?

)O(
E

video via Derren Brown Blog

Monday, June 27, 2011

Desired Home XIII - Snail House by Javier Senosiain (Mexico)


The interior
The lounge

Image 1 from Fashion Fandangle
Image 2 from Interior House Design

Wonderful documentary on the life of an Irish witch

This is such a marvellously honest interview from such a good woman whom I believe is a great role model for other Wiccans. Particularly when she says:

'One of the rules about witchcraft is you do not prosthetise your craft.  You must never say "I want you to be a witch, I think you would be a great witch." They need to say "This is something I've been exploring and I would like you to tell me more about it."'

Another cardinal rule of hers is to not charge others to learn the craft.  It is wonderful to hear that someone truly believes in this.  I get tired of seeing pagans charging 'to cover the cost of the materials' when you don't even need the materials - magick comes from the heart.

I also admire her ability to enjoy worship outside of Wicca and her clear respect for other faiths.

To her I send my love and I hope you learn a lot from her,
)O( E






Monday, June 20, 2011

Desired Home (Door) XII

Witchy Outfit of the Week XXIV

by Free People Clothing

Marianne Faithfull the Witch

Aah so this is the blogging I do now that I've finally finished putting my exhibition up.  I found it incredibly hard to find out whether Marianne is still a practicing witch, having only just found out from an article 'Rock's Sympathy for the Devil' in New Dawn Magazine (July - August 2010).

In it, it mentions that on the set of Lucifer Rising in Egypt she 'managed to fall off a mountain.  She somersaulted and landed on her feet without sustaining any injury.  This convinced her that her magic was stronger than (Kenneth) Anger's.'  The article also mentions her studying the Craft with Anita Pallenberg for hours on end reading The White Goddess and studying the ancient Celtic tree alphabet.  Both Faithfull and Mick Jagger were to feature in Lucifer Rising together but he got cold feet and was replaced.

It's not his best film, I managed to drift away with it for a while.  There is very little in this film which I would consider 'evil' whatsoever and Lucifer - whether intended as the light bringer and husband of Diana or as the Christian version is unclear, which I find frustrating.

I'm not sure what to make of how she talks about herself in her video.  The imagery in her music video was taken directly from Haxan Witchcraft Through The Ages (1922). 



Sunday, June 19, 2011

You can now view my entire exhibition The Sacred and Profane online






The exhibition is up until (and including) the 29th of June at Hogan Gallery, 310 Smith Street,  Collingwood.  See the whole exhibition online here.

Images from top to bottom:
Aset (Isis) - oil on canvas 
Chaos - Mixed media on paper
Double Matterhorn - Oil on canvas
The Great Rite - mixed media on paper

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Eclectic Triad of eclipses is now underway - the 2nd falling on the night of my exhibition

Between 1st June and 1st July 2011 there are three eclipses, the mid-year ‘Eclipse Triad:’ 1 June, 15 June and 1 July. Plus an extremely powerful Solstice on 21 June.
Please do take the time if you wish, even if your are dubious about such stated increases in energies during these days, to spend some time alone in contemplation, or in meditation with others, or carry out a spiritual practice. Inner contemplation, as opposed to outer, since the inner is the doorway to the outer, and to All else, and to the expansion of the domain of Love and Light, rather than t’other way round. And the expansion of the direct understanding of Oneness.
Read more here

Monday, May 30, 2011

Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking on SBS1 tomorrow night (8.30pm)

Time Travel - The promise of time travel has long been one of the world's favourite scientific 'what-ifs?'. With the aid of stunning CGI, Stephen Hawking explores all the possibilities, warping the very fabric of time and space as he goes. From killing your grandfather to riding a black hole, we learn the pitfalls and the prospects for a technology that could quite literally, change everything we have ever known. (From the UK) (Documentary Series) (Part 2 of 4) G CC


I believe you can still watch the episode several days after it has aired here

Come to my exhibition on June 15 in Melbourne


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Witchy Outfit of the Week XXIII

Another masterpiece by Alexander McQueen

Monday, May 23, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Witchy Outfit of the Week XXII


Sisters of the Black Moon are having another amazing sale tonight.  Keep an eye on their products here.

To add to Bird of the Week II - The Hummingbird & How they Feed (new discovery)

 


New high-speed videos of hummingbirds overturn nearly two centuries of conventional wisdom on how they drink.
Researchers previously thought tube-like channels in their tongues sucked up fluid by capillary action. But the new analysis shows that their tongues actually trap nectar by curling around it.
Via Derren Brown Blog
Original Source: Wired

Recent thoughts & things I believe that Wiccans ought to consider

A lot of people might not like this particular post, but I am constantly questioning Wicca.  Whilst there are parts of Wicca which I love, I think I have become particularly jaded of late from having experienced a variety of circles where it only takes one character to mess with everyone else's heads in what usually turns out to be a petty power game.  I do have close sisters whom I cherish and love, and I wouldn't take any of it back.

Within every religion I've found that there are several kinds of people: the empowered who actually want to create positive change rather than being obsessed with power over others; the cowards who stand behind their religion to excuse their messed up games and bizarre actions and of course the pathetic power-hungry people who are compensating for the hole in their heart, never satisfied with healthy empowerment alone - they are greedy for more, more and more power and love to play with your sense of self worth.  Then often when you have problems with one another you can either choose to talk about them partly in Wiccan/New Age terms or like normal people - and the conversations are rarely 'normal' and as mentioned before, some people love to stand behind their faith & twist their intentions.  It's a difficult game.

You might have previously read my post about why a hierarchy doesn't work & why you ought to avoid it at all costs.   If you do choose to enter a circle, I'd highly recommend that you read up on the Buddhist concept of attachment so that you are able to retain a sense of reality & realistic distance from any situations which arise.  I'd highly recommend that - if you can all manage to be organised enough - that you have a mediation process set up in advance for when things start to fall apart.

Issues I believe that other Wiccans ought to consider:
  • Materialism, altruism and true spirituality: Other religions are setting up charities such as The Salvation Army & The Red Cross - are you donating to a cause or (if you have no money) actively making a difference within society?  Being spiritual ought to always inherently involve some altruism outside of its own faith.  Put back to the earth, clean up your streets and get involved in your community.  I get sick of seeing neophytes feeling like they can't practice magick and hence be a spiritual person because they need to buy 'stuff' for their altar - props which are beautiful (and I can't talk, I own so many!) but you can do without.  Do you think that the gods will punish you for not buying the $50 bottle of liquor to put on your altar as an offering?  Isn't your love and dedication enough?  This is something I fail to understand - it's beautiful when someone gives an offering, but it's hard when you judge others because they can't afford it or just don't really see that it's that necessary.  I like to offer incense, fruit & prayers if I can (depending on who it is) but would I get hit by lightning & have the Threefold Law beat me down with an iron hammer if I didn't do that?  I don't think so.  Clearly not everyone would agree with me on that.  It's more important to make a contribution to society than it is to make sure that you can somehow obtain a rare ornament/talisman within two weeks of an upcoming ritual then feel like a failure for not having obtained it.  I have started to meet gods and goddesses during deep meditations, see whether I can work with them (upon asking their name), work with them and then have another ritual especially to thank them.  
  • Honesty gains respect:  Reassess your values regularly and be honest about them - so many people hide behind their faith & its dogma.  What do you truly believe and what would you like the world to be like?  They are often two separate things.  What can you do as a Wiccan to obtain the world that you desire?  Remember that light & darkness, negativity & positivity and the rest make up for the natural balance of life - so would you really change all that much?  Just as Thelemites attempt to find their True Will by being completely and unabashedly honest about who they are - who are you outside of your faith?  Would you have more respect for a bluntly spoken Thelemite or the Wiccan who insists that everything is beautiful and amazing 100% of the time?  There needs to be a balance of who you are along with your beliefs or you have lost yourself.
I hope that wasn't too painful for anyone - it was almost like me venting some things which get on my nerves!

)O( Elspeth

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Please help to fund Artnerd



I have been a fan of Suzanne Gerber's Wurzeltod for many years now. So much inspiration has come from the website to fuel my art, particularly during my undergrad in fine art - without which, my aesthetic and same bad taste would never be the same. Suzanne is now venturing to open a gallery in London with the memberships contributing to the setup of the space - with maaaany benefits to be had. 


Follow the link and scroll down to see what is in it for you. Wurzeltod was set up to advocate unusual fine art which often slipped through the cracks because the artists weren't friends with the 'right people' or the highbrow art scene didn't support them - even though they were brilliant. Wurzeltod also has a forum based on alternative culture, art, design, fashion and aesthetics which has been inspirational for artists across the globe. ArtNerd is Suzanne's official gallery whereby you can purchase artwork - and she has always advocated to make art affordable so it's a win win in so many ways. You don't have to have a membership, you can just donate.


It's going to be an amazing venture, so get involved.


)O( Elspeth

Friday, April 22, 2011

Bird of the Week II - The Hummingbird

Living in the Americas, including the Caribbean, the hummingbird was worshipped by the Aztecs and were used as fetishes to represent vigour (sexual and in battle) for their speed which may also have something to do with the fact that for their size they live for quite some time due to their strong metabolism (3-5 years).

Dan Pancamo Photography - via Wikipedia
Top moving image via Psychoticrecreation

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Desired Home XI


via Black Lung

Achieving a sincere balance by combining methods

Lately I am really dedicating myself to Scott Cunningham's thirteen methods to push myself in my craft and to achieve general balance for my overall wellbeing which is working out really well.  The Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path is also mentioned in my post where it is compared to the Threefold Law which I believe helps to strengthen the Threefold Law and our understanding of it - especially if you are only just beginning to learn the craft which you can read here.


This entry is really a regurgitation of previous entries and I like to emphasise them to see whether the reader is also keeping on track and also to push myself further.  I've joined the gym again and meditate every morning for half an hour which is proving to be wonderful before I go to work for a clear mind.  I have found a job working for a environmental conservation society to achieve the 'Right Livelihood' as mentioned in the Buddhist Eightfold Path and also am dedicating myself to right mindfulness and concentration.  I feel that the Wiccan version need to emphasise more in regards to kindness towards others, yourself and your planet.  Naturally by Celebrating Life, Honoring the Goddess and God & Keeping Your Words in Good Order you could achieve this somewhere amongst it but I feel that it needs to be explicitly outlined.  I feel that Achieving Balance could also hint towards treating people equally and advocating equality amongst society rather than just your own personal balance.


Concentrating on Mindfulness has been great, as noted in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying when you eat you eat & when you sleep you sleep - without any distracting thoughts which could carry you away from the now so that you can experience the enjoyment of being completely present in whatever it is you are doing.


I am now also finding ways to assimilate my artistic practice into my craft to challenge reoccurring nightmares and retain my mindfulness.  Some works as like charged talismans and others are more like antidotes or spells to things which I want challenged in my life.


I feel that all of this is really helping to relieve a lot of anger, frustration and stress in my life by walking a much more careful and considerate path so that my energy is purely kind & gentle rather than creating energy which can be negatively absorbed by others.  I do feel a lovely sense of wellness, balance and happiness thanks to this dedication which I know I can keep up.


Blessed Be,
)O( E


SCOTT CUNNINGHAM'S THIRTEEN GOALS OF A WITCH

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

THE BUDDHIST NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH
1. Right View. The right way to think about life is to see the world through the eyes of the Buddha--with wisdom and compassion.
2. Right Thought. We are what we think. Clear and kind thoughts build good, strong characters.
3. Right Speech. By speaking kind and helpful words, we are respected and trusted by everyone.
4. Right Conduct. No matter what we say, others know us from the way we behave. Before we criticize others, we should first see what we do ourselves.
5. Right Livelihood. This means choosing a job that does not hurt others. The Buddha said, "Do not earn your living by harming others. Do not seek happiness by making others unhappy."
6. Right Effort. A worthwhile life means doing our best at all times and having good will toward others. This also means not wasting effort on things that harm ourselves and others.
7. Right Mindfulness. This means being aware of our thoughts, words, and deeds.
8. Right Concentration. Focus on one thought or object at a time. By doing this, we can be quiet and attain true peace of mind.

The Pentagram by Aleister Crowley




In the Years of the Primal Course, in the dawn of terrestrial birth,
Man mastered the mammoth and horse, and Man was the Lord of the Earth.

He made him an hollow skin from the heart of an holy tree,
He compassed the earth therien, and Man was the Lord of the Sea.

He controlled the vigour of steam, he harnessed the lightning for hire;
He drove the celestial team, and man was the Lord of the Fire.

Deep-mouthed from their thrones deep-seated, the choirs of the ├Žeons declare
The last of the demons defeated, for Man is the Lord of the Air.

Arise, O Man, in thy strength! the kingdom is thine to inherit,
Till the high gods witness at length that Man is the Lord of his spirit. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Attempt to find the oldest witch image #1

I am fascinated to know what is the oldest image of witchcraft ever found in history - especially in a sincerely figurative form rather than cave drawings of stick people raising their hands to the sky... or something!

What I'm really trying to capture are images of witches when the term 'witch' came into existence, rather than images of the goddess Inanna or Isis, but actual witches who roamed the earth.

This seems to be one of the oldest images that I have found thus far, and I won't stop searching in order to find one that is truly ancient.  The oldest general witch-related thing I could find was a 12,000 year old shaman's grave in northern Israel - which doesn't count as a picture just as the oldest 'wise woman' documented which you can read about here.

I am interested to see how witches are depicted over time and most importantly: how that started and did it change?  Were images of witchcraft only created to justify the witch burnings by showing people the actions they would undertake by doing bad and naughty things?  Was it all fiction or were any of them real people, were any of them real stories?

I simply adore these images, they are the eldest that I have found so far.  I have no idea why the women in the image below are beating the devil - if it is meant to be the devil.

© The Trustees of the British Museum
Print made by Agostino Veneziano
After Raphael (suggested by Bartsch)
Date
1510-1536
Schools /Styles: Italian
Description: Two naked men drag the carcass of a monstrous creature, a witch rides above and two other naked men bring up the rear
Engraving





© The Trustees of the British Museum
Print made by Daniel Hopfer
Date: 1505-1536
Schools /Styles: German
Description: Three haggard-looking old women, possibly witches, beating the devil to the ground, devilish creatures in the sky, landscape background; another impression; large section at lower right made up.
Etching



Both images sourced from Varnamarafevanfel

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rosemary for the mind


For concentration, focus, sleep, youth, love, protection, banishing, purification and mental powers.

Origins in witchcraft: Rosemary was associated with love, friendship, and remembrance in Medieval times hence being used for memory. It was used in weddings as a symbol of love, and was tossed into graves to signify that the deceased would be remembered.  Try burning it as an incense for these purposes.  Burning also is believed to help with healing, especially if burned with Juniper.
Used in witchcraft today for: Study, memory at work, for youthful vigour, used to attract Fairies, love, lust, cleansing & exorcism.  Blend two drops of neroli (to calm nerves) and 1 of rosemary oil (for concentration) before an examination & anoint yourself around the temples, throat and wherever with whatever you have left!
Growth: Perennial
Naturally grows in: France, Spain, Portugal, Tunisia
Planet: Sun - masculine
Day of the week: Sunday or Saturday to banish
Therapeutic Properties: Analgesic, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, astringent, carminative, digestive, diuretic,  hepatic, hypertensor, rebefacient, stimulant, tonic

Image source: Mermaid's Garden
Info source: Medieval info from Mystical Blaze

Pluto in retrograde - 9 April to 16 September

It's time to wake up and shake up.  A few of my friends on Facebook have suddenly had to change their entire lives since all but yesterday.  Whatever you consider holds your values, ideals and sense of identity together could be shaken up.  It's a time for moving forward and challenging the parts of yourself which need a desperate Spring (Autumn down here!) clean.  Have you got any hangups that you need to address?  Do you think you could benefit from doing a cord cutting once the waning moon comes around?  Start to plan this and leave it open and flexible so that you can become stronger and ready for any challenges that come ahead. 

The truth will set you free, no matter how hard it can be to face.  I have personally taken on the challenge to meditate every morning for 20 minutes to half an hour and my world is sincerely changed.  In this time, depending on the goals and prayers of each individual day.  Every day, each meditation presents a challenge for me to overcome the ego and find ways to clear my mind from bad thought (possibly about others) which are putting up barriers in my life.  What do you really believe and why have you made yourself stop at that point to believe it?

It's time for Mr. Intensity's retrograde cycle. This year Pluto retrogrades from April 9 to September 16 and will go over the road he's already traveled from 8 degrees back to 5 degrees in Capricorn. Do you have natal planets/house angles between those degrees? If yes, then Pluto has been hanging around agitating that part of your chart/life. Just when he moves past the degree of your natal planet/house angle, he switches gears and heads for it again. But it's not personal. It's his job. And it's each of our jobs to endure with whatever transformative change he is helping us make. The more we resist, consciously or not, the more difficult his transit on our charts/in our lives will be...

For more go to Astrogrrrl's page for how this will affect you over the majority of the year.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Witchy Outfit XXII


New Moon in Aries (Mars) Reflection

As a witch, I am aware that I am going through many changes, alterations and maturing into the path.  My abilities are stronger than what they once were and the responsibility that walks hand-in-hand with it is becoming more apparent over time.  I'm more able to take a step back and inspect my beliefs from an outer perspective to the point where I feel like I can provide stable advice to others and be a more receptive learner.  I'm more fond of wearing black and have started to balance with my dark goddess energy who knows when to keep silent.  I certainly feel that I have been very inward and could do with taking this new moon energy in order to flip that around a bit.


I really feel that I have benefitted from reading The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, and was about 150 pages in when my boyfriend accidentally left it on the plane on the way to Tasmania.  Once I've read that I can give you all a full review, but it would take a while!  I'd still highly recommend it even though I'm only part way through.


The new moon is a time of reflection - looking back on the last moon phase and looking forward to the rising, waxing moon energy, setting your own personal goals towards the full moon.  I feel like I can be more honest and relaxed with people and possibly with myself.


I have been so inwardly silent that I haven't even written here for quite some time!  Not to mention that I have also been very busy.


I really felt Mars entering Aries on the 1st of April all but two days ago as I am more driven, clear-thinking and charged for all of the challenges lying ahead with this Arien energy!  It is a time to take charge & proclaim in the new moon what kind of elements of your character need strengthening from the Mars energy that is coming to the fore.  You need to understand your motivations in order to strengthen your character, so inspect those motivations in order to move forward to strengthen yourself as the moon's energy waxes.



"Mars enters Aries on April 1 at 9:51 p.m. PDT (April 2 at 12:51 a.m. EDT) and will stay through May 11th. While in Aries, Mars will align with the following celestial bodies (all dates reflect North America Pacific time zone; allow +/-2 days for life span of influence):
§ April 3 ~ Mars conjunct Uranus. Nothing is as it seems. Openness to unconventional solutions, even to the most common problems. Pushing for one's desires. Aggressiveness. Unpredictable behavior. Be extra careful when traveling, even short distances. Also today, the New Moon in Aries with both Sun and Moon oppose Saturn-rx.
§ April 11 ~ Mars square Pluto. Power struggles. Everyone wants to be the boss/everyone seems bossy. No one seems to want to listen or reason or discuss. Tempers fly. No one wants to budge. Standstill. Agreeing to disagree. Elsewhere in the sky, Mercury-rx conjunct Jupiter and conversations/ideas can easily be blown out of proportion.
§ April 18 & 19 ~ Mars oppose Saturn-rx and Mercury-rx conjunct Mars. A chance to get things accomplished. Commitment and hard work are required, though. Simply starting something without a good plan will most likely fail when obstacles present themselves. Think first before acting.
§ April 30 to May 1 ~ Mars conjunct Jupiter. A little braver to try out something new. More optimistic of succeeding or arriving at desired results. Believing in the dream coming true. Making a go of things. Elsewhere in the sky, Venus oppose Saturn-rx."
Information via Astrogrrl - thanks Honor!