Friday, November 14, 2014

8 Celebrities who practice Chaos Magick & Die Antwoord's incredible new video directed by Ninja with references to Chaos Magick recently published a fantastic article recently about celebrities known to practice   chaos magick which mentions the duo Die Antwoord and their fantastic new video.  The South African rave rap group consists of Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek.  Ninja has done an incredible job of directing this video - enjoy )O( Elspeth.

Desired Home XXII

The Tower of Peretti
See more images of the space via the link above

Mosaics revealed at ancient Greek city of Zeugma

The Muses uncovered in such detail - see more here...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It is appropriate to call a contemporary witch ‘rebellious’?

I have thought to myself often lately: 'It feels strange calling any contemporary witch a rebel because, in essence, the ‘cunning folk,’ shamans, hedge witches, druids and other pagans of a similar path in days of old were once integrated and played a part in everyday society, yet they now stand so far out on the fringe: misunderstood, misinterpreted and often scoffed at.'  The healers, midwives and medicine people of the past (perhaps not midwives, though witches often played this role), unless ‘homely’ of nature have now fallen into the category of the rebel or misrepresented as a ‘new ager’ – the new age movement being entirely separate to the Wiccan tradition.  It feels strange to be living an existence that merely seeks to work with nature and seek truth of our inner and outer realities which once was accepted but now is very hard for a lot of the population to deal with.  What exactly took our world and turned it upside down?  What now makes it seem a rebellious lifestyle choice rather than a follower of the old ways?

Occasionally I will admit: I enjoy it.  I enjoy wearing my little black heeled ‘witchy’ boots, tight black jeans, Turkish coin necklace and a black top or a long black dress and my pentagram.  I enjoy fluffing my feathers, smelling of the deeper tones of essential oils and putting lots of eyeliner around my eyes.  It’s fun and harmless.  Sometimes I admit, I do enjoy looking like a rebellious witch and breathe in the incense, blare some White Zombie or Patti Smith into my ears as I ride the train to fuel this romantic image for the internal and external experience.  A lot of older witches see this as a stage and at this point I figure that If I’m going to bother being a witch I may as well have fun with it on every level.  It’s a part of the journey and one of my aspects.  'How many selves have I?' we ask ourselves.  We change and morph in this mystery system.  

Is it rebellious to be a witch though?

The point of this blog article is: is it helpful for the contemporary witch to consider themselves or to be rebellious or is it not?  Does that make things in any way easier for the prejudices against us?  Why are we now seen as being ‘out there’ at all and how are we perceived within current society?  We probably always have been out on the fringes as the stereotypical hermit in the mountain who are only approached when help is very much needed, but our contribution to society was once more accessible and far less frightening to those in our community.  We are people who help and guide.  When there is a war, we are found through the walk in the forest to the open stebbing offering sanctuary and healing.

Of course I consider the influence of Christianity demonizing witchcraft, what witchcraft actually looked like in days of old depending on the culture and indeed the influence of the Enlightenment – this will all be addressed.  This is essentially an opinion piece where I admit that one idea will bounce off of another – so bear with me!

#1: We do not rebel against science, nor are we in any way ‘anti science’
For the record, Wiccans are not unhappy that the Enlightenment had drawn the public’s attention to the importance of science in our lives, for a start. Wiccans don’t seek to separate The Craft from science at all but as we are seen as spiritual people we are put in the same category as anyone else who is interested in metaphysics, mistaken for people trying to separate the spiritual and arcane knowledge from science and doctors from remedies.  A 20th to 21st century ‘Pagan Renaissance’ does not imply that we are attempting to dumb down society by discrediting the work of science, we’re only disappointed that after years of experimentation that some scientists have put certain ideas aside because to explore them further is preposterous.  We see all activities as a part of science and would love to see more of the ‘arcane’ explored, understood and celebrated as a part of science.  Not for our own moment of smug, self-congratulatory triumph, but to liberate all of mankind.

Evidence of the ‘paranormal’ fills bookshelves.  The book ‘Supernature’ gives examples of telekinesis where a woman in a chair above a perspex box of water separates the egg white from the yolk within the water beneath her using her mind.  In the book ‘Far Journeys’ by Robert A. Monroe he talks about setting up a special facility to test and monitor the results of astral travel.  When Robert and his team decide to see what could be happening outside of the facility at the time that the astral travel takes place they don’t see any results at first until one of the participants said “Look up!” and a colourful light above the facility floated over the top, and when the astral travel was finished it immediately went away. (My apologies for not providing quotes, I don’t have these books on me at the moment).  We are provided with films such as ‘The Men Who Stare at Goats’ focusing on the true story of the Psy (psychic) unit in the United States army showing the scientific developments of psychic research to be used in a military setting.  It would be so exciting to find a scientific basis for events such as Jung’s catalytic exteriorization phenomena (2) – where your roused, passionate emotions can result in sounds within objects or objects moving about the room – something which in his time he would have so passionately loved to have seen been proven, but was instantly dismissed by so many.  You can read more about catalytic exteriorization phenomena here.

Equally as passionate to have science meet the ‘esoteric’ head long was Helena Blavatsky, the founder of the Theosophical Society.  Helena noted in her work ‘Isis Unveiled’:

‘Is it too much to believe that man should be developing new sensibilities and a closer relation with nature?  The logic of evolution must teach as much, if carried to its legitimate conclusions.  If, somewhere, in the line of ascent from vegetable to ascidian to the nobles man a soul was evolved, gifted with intellectual qualities, it cannot be unreasonable to infer and believe that a faculty of perception is also growing in man, enabling him to descry facts and truths even beyond our ordinary ken.  Yet we do not hesitate to accept the assertion of Biffé, that “the essential is forever the same.  Whether we cut away the marble inward that hides the statue in the block, or pile stone upon stone outward till the temple is completed, our NEW result is only an old idea.”’  (1)

Every attempt to separate the occult from science will only bring us back time and time again: to want to include it and perhaps one day to have to include it in our field of knowledge when it has been waiting to be accepted all along and toyed with by so few scientists. 

The Theosophical Society’s great work focuses on the three following areas (3):

1.        To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour.
2.             To encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science.
3.        To investigate the unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in the human being.

As mentioned before, is clearly accepted by the military for their use in order to put warring countries to their best advantage, allowing them to quietly lead the way as well while they fail to share any developments with the rest of the world to understand the true human potential and how humankind can work with the genius of life.  Could that show us the truth of our path and our nature?

It is Truth we seek.  There is nothing higher than Truth and this is at the centre of the entire science vs spiritualism debate: put all egos aside and simply record the truth of your findings and do not be afraid of searching.

Are we just treated like a minority and shouldn’t be considered rebellious at all?
A family member was recently concerned over the fact that I couldn’t travel to certain countries where witches are killed such as Papua New Guinea, areas of South America and Africa (a New York Times’ recent article is provided in the references – see reference #4).  It’s fair enough to be warned, but apart from knowing that already, it is also a consideration for our queer community – they can’t travel everywhere either or at least they cannot own their sexual identity in areas like Uganda or Russia just as I travel without wearing my pentagram necklace.  Having said that, the people often persecuted of witchcraft or sorcery in the aforementioned areas of the world are not Wiccans – they are people accused of magick out of superstition and the ignorant violence that can arise from that, though no doubt it makes the contemporary pagan less likely to step over their borders.   The irrational fear of our queer community is equally as strange and incredibly sad, though entirely different in nature considering the superstitious nature of the crimes against witches and sorcerers there are equally irrational steps to eradicate the queer community in Russia. 

Are some minorities treated in similar ways to one another? I had had an interesting conversation with a queer woman recently who said that a lot of the negative reactions to my Wiccan path were similar to the negative reactions she had for being queer such as ‘it’s just a stage’ or ‘you identify too much with the label’ etc.  All of the concerns of my previous partners and some close to me were eerily similar to what people said to her about being gay by those close to her: simply a sign of people being uncomfortable with their close one just plain being different to ‘the mainstream’ or ‘normal’ -whatever that is.  It was a strangely comforting conversation in one respect and a sad reflection on how far society still has to go.

It is not rebellious to be homosexual and it is not rebellious to be pagan, but the irrational fear around those minorities only separates our society.  From this perspective - labelling these minority groups as 'rebellious' is very patronising and puts its people in a position of not being taken seriously.  I hear members of the community cry out about how both pagans and homosexuals are a danger to society and its children quite regularly which is both sad and ridiculous.  

It is Understanding we hope for and Respect we expect. 

What is the etymology of the ‘rebel’ anyway and does it even apply to contemporary pagans given the above?
As mentioned before it is strange to think that we’re ever ‘going against the grain’ when we only seek to become one with the universe, to be with nature and understand our nature and absolute Truth.  If that’s rebellion, then could we call the Enlightenment rebellious and not worthy of attention?  Of course not.  We’re better off for it.

What are some of the origins of the word ‘rebel’ anyway?  I’ll be honest in saying that I hand picked a few that I liked the most as its meaning evolved over history:

1702, "to leave one's companions," from Latin secedere "go away, withdraw, separate; rebel, revolt" (see secession). Sense of "to withdraw from a political or religious alliance of union" is recorded from 1755, originally especially in reference to the Church of Scotland

The revolutionary concept is great in one respect when you consider Aradia di Toscano who (if she ever was a real person) became sick of the church being tied into the feudal system in Florence in the 1300s and rebelled by going about teaching Stregha witchcraft to her fellow peasant workers to rebel against the church.  You can read more about Aradia from a previous blog post here.  

late 14c., "rebel," agent noun from rise (v.). Meaning "one who rises" (from bed, in a certain manner) is mid-15c. Meaning "upright part of a step" is from 1771.  (5)

To rise up indeed, to come ‘out of the broom closet’ despite potential criticism and step out into the world.  How can we expect to have rights if we don’t claim to be who we really are to begin with?  Is it only rebellious in its early stages in history when it’s hard to have society face us?  At what point do we stop being rebels then?  In another 5,000 years?  Another 10,000 years? Is it bad to make any correlations between the queer community and the pagan community and if so, why? 

Rebellion seems to say ‘I speak and I will be heard,’ ‘I exist and I will be acknowledged’ in graffiti, protests, blogs and in our every day world.  Is that really rebellious to want to be heard and understood?  Or are we rebellious in wanting to remove fear from our label?  Does all rebellion seek to remove fear or is it only considered rebellion when it is in the act of creating fear?  Is our thirst for Truth and experiments with the powers of the universe never to be understood or left shelved and separated from science in the eyes of the mainstream?

)O( Elspeth

(1)  ‘Isis Unveiled’ by Helena Blavatsky, Vol.1 ‘Science and Theology,’ 1877.
(2)  Fortean Times, ‘The Occult World of CG Jung,’
(3)  The Theosophical Society in Australia, Home Page,
(4)  The New York Times, ‘The Persecution of Witches 21st century style,’ 5th of July 2014,

(5)           Etymology online, ‘Rebel,’

The Power of the Witch - Documentary from 1971

I'm surprised that I hadn't posted this earlier, but then I haven't been particularly active on here.

This fantastic documentary is an amazing time capsule featuring figureheads such as Doreen Valiente and Alex & Maxine Sanders.  Unfortunately I feel that they spend too much time with people who say negative things about witchcraft, but it's an amazing historical gem showing how prevalent witchcraft was at the time and how it was affecting society on so many levels.

You can watch the video here.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

New Wiccan mag online

I haven't had time to really go through this in great detail.  I think I will leave people to make up their own minds about this.  It does cite the 'seven wonders' from 'American Horror Story - Coven' but leaves no further information.  It otherwise looks quite basic.  How do we all feel about this? 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My advice as a healer - psychophysiological mindfulness is key

As the old saying goes ‘Your body is a temple.’  It is true.  Your body is a receptacle of memories, feelings and thoughts in various areas of the body.  As you experience the world, so does it flow through your chakras and meridians, affecting your aura, moods and physical presence.

It is my belief that it’s not only mindfulness but psychophysiological mindfulness that creates strong foundations for your life, your workplace, family and free time and contributes to your own healing in so many ways.  As they say: prevention is far better than cure and I always look for holistic ways to solve problems.

We usually associate mindfulness with becoming acutely aware of the patterns, of thoughts and feelings that flow through your mind every day, but we also need to treat our bodies well to help with this process and eliminate any possibilities that what you are ingesting or how much you are exercising is either assisting or burdening your psychophysiological health.

I was inspired to write this quick blog article from another article published in The Age today titled ‘How healthy is your relationship with food?’ where it’s recommended that you eat when you are hungry rather than trying to starve yourself to stay in shape, the former being far more effective for your health.  The author Paula Goodyer notes:

People often get fixated on counting kilojoules, for instance, but learning to count kilojoules doesn’t teach you to listen to your body,” she says. “One characteristic of people who have a healthy relationship with food is that they eat more intuitively and are more aware of their appetite. They rely on internal hunger and satiety cues to know when it’s time to eat and when it’s time to stop – and their reasons for eating are physical, not emotional.”  

I like this far more than any of the other fad diet ideas.  It's so important to listen to your body.   Are you eating a range of holistic foods that are a variety of colours and textures?  Have you become aware of how some foods affect you which you could live without?  A personal trainer recently told me that about 80% of maintaining your shape/wellbeing/health is by eating well.  What you ingest can affect your moods, but your moods can then affect what you ingest with 'reward' foods or substances.  If you're not getting enough water or exercise your moods will be affected.  Pay attention to those needs just as you would with your own child who eats too much sugar or colouring. 

Many people are not accepting of their moods being affected by how tired they are - like a toddler losing their grip because they're just plain tired, so tune in.  Sometimes our moods are affected by how our bodies feel or the reverse: stress can have dramatic affects on the body too which can cause psychic blockages and/or contribute to stress or trauma already existing in the body.   
[For the record, I am not, however, going to make any claims leading off from this point about cancer caused by psychic blockages in the body – I believe in holistic prevention and would never try to take a client away from the doctor’s surgery].

Adults are affecting their bodies all of the time by not realising that they have a reliance on certain substances to lift their moods nor are they watching their moods after a big night out or considering what they ingest as a part of a cycle whether short term or as a part of an old habit that needs to be altered.  As with all things (especially any strange herbs you're incorporating) - doing some research is always a good idea.

That’s not to say ‘Don’t ever eat sugary foods’ – you need to enjoy your life.

What about exercise?  If you don't like the gym, change your routine to incorporate more outdoorsy things to get out in the fresh air - do what you enjoy then you'll get more out of it.  I don’t do a great deal of hardcore cardio and weights because I’d rather have the energy the next day to go for a 30-40 minute walk and silently take in the sun and that works really well for me.   Keep it lively too – what are the many variations you could do of the one thing with or without weights?

Consider this: What is your body's 'true will'?  Are you meant to have shape to your body but are perfectly healthy in that form?  How do you express yourself through your body?  It's all key to a healthy image of yourself outside and in.

)O( Elspeth.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Happy Yuletide! My interview with the ABC for the Solstice & some more facts about Yule

I had a lovely interview with the ABC two days ago which was aired on ABC774 yesterday which you can read all about here.

Winter solstice - Yule
One of the eight sabbats (sun cycles), Yuletide is a time to provide one another with gifts and coax the sun back into shining down into our lives for the harvest while we feast with abandon over the winter stores as the sun returns - but to make sure that the sun did return, ancient pagans would make sure to have their Winter Solstice rite.

The Holly King (God of the Waning Year) is overtaken by the Oak King (God of the Waxing Year) – a tree who is about to regrow its leaves into the warmer months and strengthen as the holly plant is at its weakest point and is ‘overtaken’ by the oak.   The Goddess gives birth to the Child of Promise and Pagans celebrate the Sun (Son)’s return.  Yule celebrates the birth of the child of promise whose birth signifies the renewal of the land so that we may all feast again on the harvest of the coming year - also our psychological harvest.  

Though Samhain is really a time to put the last year behind you, it's time to consider your harvest of the last year which you are now using up and how you will chose to sew the seeds of the next year until Yule.  Consider planting seeds around this time to see through the following year.

In Mythos Osiris (of Harvest) is killed by his brother Set (of night) and ripped into pieces.  Isis, wife of Osiris, finds all of the body parts of her husband, binds them together with magick and revives him for long enough to mate with him and produce their child Horus 'The Lamb' or 'The Light' which are also used to describe Jesus as the Mother Mary and Jesus are also archetypes for Isis and Horus.  The keening of Isis with her sistrum is incorporated into the Winter Solstice ritual in 'A Witches' Bible' as she encircles Osiris' body seven times.

Yule is one of the lesser sabbats, as the lesser sabbats fall on equinoxes or solstices and mark the changes of the four seasons and the greater sabbats are Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lammas which represent that season at its highest point.
Solstice means ‘the sun stands still’ and sabbat means 'repose' or 'to rest' so this particular sabbat is a time to rest, feast and enjoy but also to let go of what is holding you back.

More on this Sabbat...

Etymology of 'Yule'
From the Norse “Iul” meaning ‘wheel’ to represent the turning of the sun at solstice where the people would feast on the last of their winter stores with abandon with ale & slaughtered livestock, leaving some for the nisse.  The nisse are the little people or gnome/troll-like creatures that demanded food on that eve, or else there could be trouble, particularly from the Julenisse...

"...the Julenisse is a kind of cross between Father Christmas and a nisse. The most characteristic features of Norway's answer to Santa Claus are his red stocking cap and long white beard. The Julenisse wears knee breeches, hand-knitted stockings, a Norwegian sweater and a homespun jacket. On top he wears a heavy fur coat — it can get cold in Norway in the winter. He is jolly and happy, but can also be stern and even a jerk. If you don't stay in good with him through bribes, he can sabotage your happiness in any number of ways."

The Wild Hunt
Rather than re-hash this information on The Wild Hunt I thought I'd send you to a very well written and researched article by Cassandra Eason which you can find here on The Wild Hunt which is celebrated/marked at this time of year.

Symbology in the current Christian Church.  From 'The Witches' Bible':
At Dewsbury in Yorkshire, for nearly seven centuries, church bells have tolled ‘the Devil’s Knell’ or ‘the Old Lad’s Passing’ for the last hour of Christmas Eve, warning the Prince of Evil (Holly King/Winter) that the Prince of Peace (Oak King/coming spring and grain) is coming to destroy him.  Then, from midnight on, they peal out a welcome to the Birth (the Sun/Son/Jesus/Horus archetype).

Worship in Ancient Britain
‘Wooden pillars throughout Europe were aligned with the rising of the sun of winter solstice have been recently dated to 3200 – 3000 BC. (Newgrange in Ireland, Maes Howe in Scotland, Stonehenge and the Dorset Cursus in Britain), enabling us to currently calculate this holiday to be at least 5,000 years old.’
(Source: Solitary Witch [listed below])

Welsh winter solstice (‘Alban Arthan’)
The chief Druid would cut mistletoe from the oak tree as a protection against fire and lightning

In Italy a witch Befana (Epiphany) would fly on the Twelfth Night and put gifts for children down chimneys
(Source: 'A Witches' Bible')

The Witches Bible (1984) by Janet and Stewart Farrar,Phoenix Publishing Inc
Solitary Witch - The Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation (2009) by Silver Ravenwolf, Llewellyn Publications.
The Witches Bible (1984) by Janet and Stewart Farrar,Phoenix Publishing Inc

Thursday, June 19, 2014

More eco products for the home on a low budget

Hello fellow pagans!

Normally living off of the smell of an oily rag means that how you spend your money is better for the environment (a) because you are consuming less in general and (b) because often the products that you do use can be used in various ways.  What may be missing from the general household are products that are also biodegradable and are grey water safe for your garden.

Here are a few tips and tricks to keep you going...

What's in the image below

Poppy Seeds: An amazing exfoliant which means that you won't be using horrible products with plastic beads in them which are terrible for the environment.  Great to use on the face once a week.
Face washer: I wet the face and polish it in the morning only with a face washer, then use my face wash after that.
Bi Carb soda: A very fine exfoliant to use once daily if you need finer work done on the face.  Also great in combination with vinegar to clean areas of the house.
Lavender oil: Pure 100% is great for blemishes.
Apple cider vinegar: can be used as a toner for the face
Dr Bronner's Castile Soap: An incredible cleaner for the house (one part soap to 40 parts water), it's three times more effective than soap.  Great to use once a week on your hair before putting a treatment through, but don't use much, it's very drying.  It has fair trade ingredients, is biodegradable, vegetable based and can also be used about the home in your washing machine (1/4 cup to 1/3 cup for a regular load) and even to brush your teeth with.
Enviro Care Sensitive Body and Hair Cleanser + Enviro Care Hair Conditioner and Treatment: this stuff is fantastic.  You can use the body & hair cleanser for bubble bath and it's safe for babies.  Both products are biodegradable and grey water safe.  You can grab them from Eco Office Supplies online.

What's not in the above image - unpackaged products from Lush:
Lush sell solid shampoo bars which are free of packaging and great for travelling.  They also have 'toothy tabs' which are solid pills of toothpaste - also free of packaging.

Remember that stationery energy makes up for the majority of carbon emissions in the home - get onto it!

)O( Elspeth

Monday, June 16, 2014

Great links for studying the Gardnerian path

This wonderful thesis 'Text A: Teasing Out the Influences on Early Gardnerian Witchcraft as Evidenced in the Personal Writings of Gerald Brosseau Gardner' by Lisa Crandell has been passed around from witch to witch - and as I'm already only seventeen pages in I'm feeling a great deal of the knowledge I've been taking in forming into the one marvellous piece of work - all 501 pages of it in total! also walks you through various elements already found within the above thesis as well as more detail around the life of Gerald Gardner.