This will be a short post, as I am about to leave for today’s Mabon gathering at the Covenstead. I have made a delightful looking cake for the festivities, and if it’s as yummy as it looks, I’ll be sure to post the recipe! ;D
I just wanted to pop in and wish you all, as the picture says *points to the left*, an Abundance of Blessings. May you enjoy all that is beautiful and loving and full of nourishment in your lives and relationships.
Take a moment today, and every day really, to be thankful for the good things in your life…as well as the things that may be a bit rough, for they have lessons to teach you, and we should always be thankful for wisdom.
That’s it for now my lovelies. Have a bountifully blessed day!
This is a very special day for me. I know, I know, it’s a very special day for pretty much all of those who are of a Witchy/Pagan persuasion…but for ME it’s is also the anniversary of my dedication to the God & Goddess. Not just any anniversary either. It was 9 years ago today that I knelt before my meager altar and dedicated my life to serving the Mighty Ones and all that that entails.
That may not seem super duper special to some, you may be thinking that #10 should be the one I get all excited about, but NINE is a very special number. It is a Sacred number. A number that represents Selflessness, Fulfillment, Universal Understanding, Interrelatedness, Compassion, Tolerance, Forgiveness, Creative Energy, Generosity, Humanitarianism, a Profound Appreciation & Love of Life and Justice…you get the idea. So, I’m thinking this may be a very good year for me, spiritually speaking.
The years since my dedication have been filled with many ups and downs (as is probably the case with most, if not all of you), but I am grateful even for the low spots. I have learned to learn…or at least TRY to learn from every experience whether good or ill. Overall, my life has grown so much richer. I have learned to find Joy and Wonderment in the littlest of things. I have learned to be tolerant of those I do not agree with…although, admittedly, some still get under my skin…it’s an ongoing transformation.
I am looking forward to my 9th year of Witchdom (yeah, I said ‘Witchdom’…I like the sound of it, lol). I will strive to make it a year filled with the best aspects of the number 9, and I will continue to live the values of 9 in the years that follow.
Interesting tidbit that I read recently about what the Apostle Paul had to say about the “Nine Fruits of the Spirit”. Paul and I disagree on the whole “Spirit vs. Sinful Nature” portion of Galations (along with some of the things he says are sinful, ie: witchcraft & sex), however, I believe the Nine Fruits are something we should all attempt to incorporate into our daily lives and Spiritual Practice.
The Nine Fruits of the Spirit are:
May your Harvest of these Nine Fruits be Abundant on This and All Days.
Blessed Be )O(
Embracing Change…Sounds like a reasonable thing to do, right? After all, the only true constant in life is change. I have to tell you though, it is much easier said than done.
I’ve personally struggled with change throughout my life. You see, I’m a Cancer with a moon in Scorpio…this tends to make me relate to situations with a great depth of emotion. Letting go and moving on when change occurs?? Not so easy, lol. Over the years I have come to realize that some people and some situations are only meant to be with us temporarily. We have lessons to learn from everyone and every situation, whether pleasant or not.
“Meet this transient world with neither grasping nor fear; trust the unfolding of life, and you will attain true serenity”. ~ Bhagavad Gita
I’ve learned that whenever a change occurs, it’s best to feel the feelings, reflect and then look to the future. Whether it’s loss of a friendship, a job, a coven member striking out on their own, a death (friend, family, pet, beloved celebrity, etc…), or finding out you’re rather unexpectedly about to be a Grandmother [Yes, Dear readers, this Pixie is going to be a Grandma come the end of June!], take some time to breathe and focus on the change(s) and no matter how many negative thoughts come flooding at you, search until you find a nugget of positivity. Cling to this nugget, or “Happy Thought” and let it fill you up and help you to fly out of the doldrums and into the next exciting phase of your life.
How does this relate to us as Pagans? That’s simple…it relates to EVERYTHING. Life is Change, and we spend our little Pagan lives celebrating it. The Wheel of the Year, The Cycles of The Moon, Maiden/Mother/Crone, Life/Death/Rebirth, all of these are things we learn about and can talk to people about, and mark on our calendars (mostly). We don’t truly “get it” though, until we can apply the same reverence to the changes we can’t plan for.
A prime example is the loss of a job. As difficult as it can be to be out of work, it can also be an enormous gift! It can wake you up to the fact that you needed some “down time” to save your sanity, or the “wake up call” to get you to pursue your dreams that you were to chicken to go after while you were stuck in the safety of your day job.
“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.” ~ Buddha
I’ve plopped two quotes in this post, and I urge you to jot them down and keep them somewhere they are easily seen. I think they are both fabulous reminders that it is in our best interest to do just as the title of this post says, and Embrace Change.
Alrighty, in my last post I went over the basics of what divination is, as well as some fairly standard divination practices. This week, I’m going to share some less than commonly practiced forms…just for fun.
Amniomancy is divining the future life of a child by examining the caul (membrane material from the amniotic sac) covering their head at birth. The diviner examines the color and condition of the caul to interpret the baby’s future. If the color is vibrant it suggests the child will have a vibrant life, the opposite is predicted if the color is muted.
Ailuromancy is predicting future events, such as the weather, by observing a cats’ movements and/or jumps.
I’d love to find more info on this one that explains what certain movements are said to mean…my cats have been known to do some pretty odd movements. It’d be nice to know what they predict! lol
Cromniomancy is the art of divining with onions, and is known to have been performed throughout Europe, Africa and northern Asia. Why onions? Well, the whole “sphere within a sphere” composition of the onion was seen as a symbol of eternity and spirituality, so much so that the ancient Egyptians sacred oaths by placing their right hand on an onion, much like many place their hands on a Bible.
Trying to choose between lovers? Try carving their names on separate onions, and see which suitor’s onion sprouts first…the first to sprout is said to be the one most worthy of your affection.
Answers to Yes or No questions can be attained by carving the words “yes” and “no” on two separate onions and planting them. The one that sprouts first is your answer.
Gyromancy is a method in which a circle is drawn on the ground with letters of the alphabet drawn around the perimeter. The diviner then either spins around inside of or walks the circumference the circle until they stumble or fall across the edge, and takes note of the letter at that location. This is repeated until an intelligible message is formed, or till they are stopped by madness or death. The dizziness experienced by spinning/circling is ensure randomness as well as induce an altered state of consciousness.
Kumalak is a method involving, of all things, sheep poo (“kumalak” means sheep dung in the Turkic languages). 41 dried pellets of sheep poo are put on a cloth on the ground, and touched to the readers forehead one after another to open their Third Eye. The reader then chants incantations repeatedly to coax a spirit to present itself, and to give them insight by orchestrating the division of the pellets into various positions on a grid for the reader to interpret. This method has been used for centuries in the regions of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Siberia. (I don’t know about you, but I won’t be using trying this one anytime soon.)
Oinomancy sends shivers down my spine! This kind of divination conducted by examining wine (What can I say, I like wine). Oinomancy was once performed by a priestess of Bacchus known as a Bacchante.
Various Techniques of Oinomancy:
- Wine is spilled on cloth/paper (Nooooo!!!!) and predictions are made by studying the stains.
- Boil or soak cloth/paper in wine, and then study the appearance/condition of it.
- Studying the sediment at the bottom of a glass or bottle of wine.
- Studying the wine itself (ie: color, taste, body, etc.)
Annnd I’ll leave you with this one, which I admit, made me giggle a bit. And yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like…Rumpology!
Rumpology or “Bottom Reading” (Yup…Bottom Reading) is done by examining the various nooks, crannies, crevices, dimples, moles etc. of a the querent’s bum. Much like one would examine and read the palm of the hand.
I also don’t think I’ll be starting a Rumpology practice anytime soon. Believe me, if you lived with my husband, you’d learn to keep your face away from that particular region. Unless, of course, you happen to own a gas mask.
Divination…what is it exactly? If you ask someone who either doesn’t know much about it or believe in it, they may call it “fortune telling” or “hocus pocus”. If you check the dictionary, you’ll get: “the practice of attempting to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge by occult or supernatural means”, which I like better. But to get to the best definition, in my opinion, we need to examine the etymology of the word and derive our own from that.
The online etymology dictionary has the word origins of divination listed as: “late 14c., from O.Fr. divination (13c.), from L. divinationem (nom. divinatio) “the power of foreseeing, prediction,” from divinatus, pp. of divinare, lit. “to be inspired by a god“.
Combine that with the etymology of the both the adjective AND verb divine: [adj] “c.1300, from O.Fr. devin, from L. divinus “of a god,” from divus “a god,” related to deus “god, deity” .
Mash all that together, what do we get? How about this: Using supernatural insight, inspired by the Divine, to discover a possible or foreseeable future. Yeah, I like it!
So, that’s what it is…now, why do we do it? Because either we, or whomever we are divining for, are seeking Divine Guidance. It is not about seeing what will happen, it’s about seeing what could happen. It can show us that we are on the right track…or if we see something we don’t like, it gives us the opportunity to change the course of future events, or to prepare for the things that we cannot change. Just think about Charmed. When Phoebe got a premonition that so-and-so was gonna get fried by a demonic fireball, it was not always a foregone conclusion.
Aaaand, moving on…
Some common forms of divination are Astrology, Geomancy, the Tarot, the I Ching, and direct psychic means (such as clairvoyance and clairaudience).
Astrology uses the position and movement of celestial bodies as indicators to what will/is happening in our daily lives.
Geomancy is divination by means of interpreting markings on the ground, or patterns made by handfuls of items scattered on the ground. Most definitions use soil, rocks and sand as examples of what is scattered…but all I ever think of, when I read about Geomancy, is the scene in Willow when the wizard “consults the bones” by shaking them like Yahtzee dice and scattering them on the ground to seek an answer.
The Tarot is a set of 78 cards used in divination. It is used by the reader to connect to the the subconscious mind (or Universal Consciousness) in order to to answer questions, predict future events, or to understand past and current events. The deck is divided into The Major Arcana and The Minor Arcana. There are 56 cards in the Minor Arcana which are categorized into four suits: Wands, which symbolize action; Cups, which symbolize emotions; Swords, which symbolizes intellect; and Pentacles, which symbolizes material concerns. The remaining 22 cards make up the Major Arcana, which depict archetypes and elemental forces.
The I Ching is a bibliomancy (divination using books) method using the Book of Changes (or “I Ching”). The book is organized into an 8×8 grid of 64 hexagrams – called Trigrams – representing the states and the dynamic relationships of the eight elements (each of which is represented by a hexagram). The eight elements are: Qian (Heaven); Xun (Wind); Kan (Water); Gen (Mountain); Kun (Earth), Zhen (Thunder), Li (Fire); and Dui (Lake).
Using the book as an oracle consists of the seeker asking a question, opening the text to a seemingly random page, and then reading the text associated with the hexagram on that page.
Using Direct Psychic Means for divination is different for each person who has these abilities. There are many ways in which people can gain information. A few example are: Clairvoyance (seeing/visions), Clairaudience (hearing/listening), Claircognizance (knowing), Clairsentience (feeling/touch).
True divination is more than just “going through the motions” of a divination system such as the Tarot, Runes or Astrology. True divination is when the reader interprets things, not just by what the tools of the system suggest, but by their ‘intuition’, by their connection to Divine, and the one they are divining for. And, now that I think of it…sometimes these ‘tools’ are not even used. Sometimes we receive messages without the use of tools…things just ‘come to you’. So, with or without the use of tools…
Well, I’d say “Stay tuned for next week’s post” but this was was a wee bit late. So stay tuned til this Friday when I’ll have more stuffs to share.
In September of 2004, like any other S.K. fan, I was anxiously awaiting the debut of Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital on ABC. I knew I would find a world filled with ghosts and mystery, sarcasm…and even the occasional disturbing incident, I did not, however expect to discover my Patron God. For most of the mini(?) series Anubis is portrayed as a giant anteater type creature, due to a little girls misunderstanding his name…she hears it as Antibus and thus pictures him as a creature that would fit the name. It’s a long and twisted story, but essentially I learned that Anubis dealt with the dead, afterlife and justice. I then began a search for more information.
Anubis is part of the Egyptian pantheon, however he seems to pre-date most Egyptian deities. Anubis was God of the Underworld before Osiris came into the picture. After Osiris was accepted as God of the Underworld Anubis has been seen as the God of embalming. Anubis is also the keeper of poisons and medicines, which is why Isis went to him for the proper herbs necessary to embalm Osiris after his death. Anubis was the one to perform the funeral of Osiris, which became the model for all funerals that followed.
After the dead have been placed in their tombs, it is Anubis that guides them to the afterlife and the Halls of Ma’ati. It is in the Halls of Ma’ati that he, acting as ‘He who counts the hearts’, oversees the weighing of the heart against the feather of Maat and judging of the deceased. Before the actual weighing, Anubis makes sure the scales are in proper alignment so that the heart may be weighed correctly. It is then Anubis’s job to weigh the heart and pass judgement on the deceased. Anubis would then give the guilty over to Ammut to be devoured, but would protect the innocent from her jaws of Final Death.
Anubis is most often seen as either a jackal or a man with a jackal head. This is most likely his totem because he is also the Guardian of the Necropolis (cemetery) and jackals were known to hunt the edges of the desert, near the necropolis and cemeteries throughout Egypt. He is very rarely seen in full human form, but a spectacular rendition exists in the Temple of Abydos of Ramses II. In the temple he is pictured fully human and seated in a chair next to the Goddess Heket (who I personally believe to be an incarnation of my patron Goddess Hecate).
Opening up to the male aspect of the divine was difficult for me, but he was patient with me, to a point. I have learned that, like Hecate, he will keep bugging you until you listen. Although, I do find him to be much gentler in his prodding. I believe it is he who has guided me to work with herbs in manners both magickal and medicinal, for before I knew him, I had little interest and now I seem to have a gift for them.
I do not see him in his jackal form or with the jackal head. I feel privileged to see him as a man, and was quite overjoyed when I discovered the picture of him in the Temple of Ramses II. To me he is a beautiful man with raven black hair, thin with skin the color of coffee with lots of cream. He has black eyes that are gentle and can see to your soul. I think that knowing Anubis is knowing how to judge the life you lead. If you are true to yourself, you should have no problems when it comes time to weigh your heart, for if you follow Anubis, you’ve really been weighing it all along.
Awareness, it’s a word that’s tossed around a lot these days. Usually it’s used in conjunction with the latest popular cause, but what does it mean to us as Pagans? Well, I kinda think it’s a HUGE chunk of what we’re all about.
As we go along our respective Paths, we must become “Aware” of a great many things. We must become aware of Our Surroundings, Ourselves, Universal Energies, and the Cycles of Nature.
So what does it mean exactly…to become aware? It is taking the things you know (or think you know) to a whole new level of understanding. All of those Oprah “Aha Moments”, those would be moments of gaining awareness with a nice catch phrase.
Now here’s where I ramble a bit (I know how y’all love it when the Pixie rambles, lol). Let’s break down those few broader categories I mentioned previously.
Awareness of Our Surroundings:
This goes way beyond “I’m standing on the corner of 31st & Elm ST and it’s raining.” Being aware of your surroundings includes the moods and behaviors of those you come into contact with, as well as an understanding of how your words and/or actions may effect them. It is being able to sense the overall “mood” in a room, or even an area outdoors. It also goes to practical things, like knowing which way you’re headed by being able to use the path of the sun. Paying attention to, and understanding the moods of pets and wildlife. In other words “being in tune” with the people and nature that are all around us. If you are plugged into your surroundings, things tend to go more smoothly and things are less hectic…at least in my experience. If I am feeling out of touch, well, then I truly feel lost…I become discombobulated (<= love that word!) and things just become chaotic. Once I take a moment to ground and center myself once again…things become much clearer and I am a happy Pixie once more.
Awareness of Self:
This is perhaps the most difficult for many. It involves delving into One’s history and exploring even the nasty bits, learning from every incident. Understanding why we did what we did, and hopefully to know we have grown since then. It is to be mindful of our thoughts, and our words, as well as our body language. It is knowing that every thought, word, or action we think, say, or do will send ripples through the Universe….creating some kind of change. Whether these changes are for good or ill, depends largely on the intent of the original action. Being self aware means accepting responsibility for the changes we help to create.
Awareness of Universal Energies:
As Pagans/Witches, we know that all things are connected. True awareness of this connection is where the Magick happens! Knowing which phase of the moon will give your spell the most mojo is powerful! I personally believe that you can work any magick at anytime, it’s all in the wording….you just have to be able to mold your words and intent to fit the energies of the moment. Ya just gotta tune in.
Awareness of the Cycles of Nature:
Birth, Death, Rebirth…The Wheel of The Year, these are things that we have a fairly simple time understanding on an academic level. Being aware of them, however, comes from the core of our being and is an ever evolving process (much like self awareness).
OK, so I’ve gone on and on, and have probably told you things you already knew…but who knows, maybe you (or I) simply needed to be reminded to be mindful. If that’s the case, then this was a useful post after all.
About a month ago I sat in my livingroom half-watching TV when a commercial comes on. I hear a bunch of 20-somethings chanting a cheerleader like holiday themed cheer:“Go Christmas! Go Hannukah! Go Kwanzaa! Go Solstice!” …What was that??? “Go Solstice???” AWESOME!
I didn’t even know what the commercial was for…and I just didn’t care! It was the first vastly multi-cultural ad campaign I had seen since Virgin Mobile’s “Happy ChristmaHanuKwanzaakah” Campaign (circa 2004). THIS was even bigger though, as it actually mentions the Winter Solstice, thus acknowledging the Holiday that multitudes of Wiccans and Pagans celebrate.
Who was this visionary all inclusive company?? The GAP.
I was a Happy Pixie And it seems I was not the only one! A discussion popped up on Sacred Mists, and the number of comments that echoed my feelings appeared in droves.
Then…we heard that certain Christian groups had their knickers in a twist about it. Really??? Aren’t there bigger fish to fry in the world? *Ughhh* Anyway, it seems that the American Family Association feels that the commercial is undermining the ‘sanctity of Christmas’. Before the commercial even aired, the AFA called for a boycott on The GAP, along with the company’s other stores Banana Republic & Old Navy, citing “the company’s failure to use the word “Christmas” in its advertising to Christmas shoppers.” as it’s reason.
On November 11th, the AFA claimed a small victory after the ads airing because of the use of the word “Christmas”. And yet, they were less than satisfied. The following letter appears on their website:
Gap has responded to AFA’s call for a Christmas boycott of their Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic stores with a commercial that takes a cavalier approach towards Christmas.
The video entitled Ready For Holiday Cheer features a group of people dancing and chanting:
Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, Go Kwanza, Go Solstice.
Go classic tree, go plastic tree, go plant a tree, go add a tree,
You 86 the rules, you do what feels just right.
Happy do whatever you wanukkah, and to all a cheery night.
Did you notice it? Gap compares Christmas to the pagan holiday called “Solstice.” Solstice is celebrated by Wiccans who practice witchcraft!
Gap also encourages you to “86″ or “dismiss” traditions and “do what feels just right.”
Take our Poll!
It is very important that you forward this alert to your friends and family members.
Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association
I, personally am tickled that they are horrified that Christmas is compared to Solstice. It SHOULD be compared to the Solstice, since that is where many of the beliefs and traditions of Christmas are taken from.
What disappoints me, however, is that a blog by Cathleen Falsani, a religious contributor to The Chicago Sun-Times, touts Christmas as better than the other holidays mentioned.
But this year’s Gap “holiday” ad campaign just rubs me the wrong way.
In its effort, I would surmise, to be inclusive and inoffensive, the Gap has made the mortal advertising (and cultural) error of being twee. Not to mention spiritually facile.
While they all occur around the same time of the year, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa and Winter Solstice hardly carry the same spiritual weight.
While each of these holidays, for lack of a more universally applicable term, is significant to different groups of believers (and nonbelievers, for that matter) they are not spiritual equivalents.”
She repeatedly points out that Hannukah is a lesser Jewish Holiday while portraying Christmas as the ‘ultimate’ Christian holiday. This is not so. The highest of all Christian holidays is Easter, not Christmas, and Good Friday is also pretty high up on the ladder. Christmas just gets more focus by those who call themselves Christians. Yet, in the many religious discussions I have had with friends and co-workers thoughout my life, they all say that, while the Birth of the Savior is obviously important, his Crucifixion, and his Rising at Easter hold much more spiritual weight.
The Winter Solstice is MUCH more than just “…the shortest day of the year and the longest night of the year and is for many pagans and neo-pagans the symbolic and spiritual rebirth of the year.” as Falsani states.
The Winter Solstice, or Yule, celebrates the rebirth of the Sun God. The Sun God, regardless of the Pantheon, is the Bringer of Life. He is the one who warms the Earth so that she may bear fruit from the seeds that have been lying dormant in her womb throughout the Winter. It is a time for introspection, planning for the future, family togetherness, and Peace and Tolerance.
So, I would like to say to anyone that may be reading this: Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Happy Kwanzaa. I also wish many Blessings for Alban Arthuan, Saturnalia, Soyal, Rohatsu, or whatever you may be celebrating this time of year.
And last, but certainly not least…GO SOLSTICE!