Sunday, February 12, 2012

Haven't been here for a while. My magical musings have been few and fleeting, but the chill winds of Yule seem to have stirred something in me. I find myself, philosophy, how to incorporate these things into life outside of doing the occasional ritual.

I've dug out my ADF books. I think I'm going to spend the year doing the Dedicant Path. Exploring the how and why of ritual, virtues in general, divinity....things I feel should be more present in my mind as opposed to an afterthought at night when I am going to bed.

There is a wonderful "book" on the ADF web site called The Dedicant Path through the Wheel of the Year. That is my project, I am starting it today. Let's see how it goes.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wicca and Suicide

Last week I was asked, "what is the Wiccan view of suicide?". I had to pause before I responded because I had never been asked the question before, nor do I recall ever having read anything on the subject. After a bit of pondering, I told the questioner that I believed it would vary depending on tradition and personal opinion. At the very heart of Wicca is the Wiccan Rede. Those 8 word that have come to be interpreted as DO NO HARM. Seems to me, suicide is definitely Wicca does not support it. However, unlike some religions, there is nothing to imply that a person who commits suicide would suffer for it in the afterworld.

Now I'm curious. What do Wiccan's think about suicide and it's effect on the soul...?

Friday, March 27, 2009


After our discussion of Sabbats and Esbats, I did a little hunting for information about the Goddess Eostre. I can see why some people may debate her existence as a deity, apparently she is very obscure. But much of what I read still lends support to several Easter traditions, even if the origins of the "Ostara" name are questioned.

Here is one article that I enjoyed. (There are a few on the net)

Englatheod (
by Swain Wodening

Eostre is a very obscure Goddess, and uniquely Anglo-Saxon Heathen. She is not mentioned at all in the Norse corpus and only fleetingly in the Old English by Bede in De Temporum Rationale. Her material is so scant that some scholars have speculated she was not a Goddess at all, but that Eostre was merely a name for the holiday. Her name is connected for words for "east" and "shining." It is therefore related to the Greek godname Eos, Goddess of the dawn in their pantheon. Finding place names indicating her worship are difficult due to this relation to the word east. Her name survived in the German name of the Christian holy tide as Ostara, therefore if she was a Goddess, she was worshipped there as well.

In order to understand anything about the Goddess Eostre (or the Goddess or Goddesses worshiped at that time) we must draw on the traditions associated with the holy tide. Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology maintained that "Ostara, Eástre, was goddess of the growing light of spring." The date of the holy tide would make this a reasonable conclusion. Holy water in the form of the dew or water collected from brooks was gathered at this time. Washing with it was said to restore youth. Beautiful maidens in sheer white were said to seen frolicking in the country side. Also according to Grimm, the white maiden of Osterrode, was said to appear with a large batch of keys at her belt, and stride to the brook to collect water on Easter morning. Cross buns were of course baked and eaten. While this could be a Christian addition, that cakes were often use in Heathen rites is apparent in any survey of the lore. And the cross may be symbolic of the rune Gebo or the buns may represent the sun wheel. Easter eggs seem to go fairly far back in both English and continental celebrations, and of course symbolize the beginning of new life. The hare also known for its fertility appears fairly early in Easter celebrations. Bonfires and vigils also seemed to play a role in many Easter rites.

Based on this Eostre would appear to be a Goddess of purity (the holy water), youth and beauty (the young maidens), as well as one of new life beginnings. Kveldulf Gundarsson feels she may be the same as the Norse Goddess Iðun. They would appear to have a lot in common, except apples do not seem to play a role in spring ritual celebrations in the lore, and are seen more often connected to Harvest. The likelihood they are the same Goddess would therefore seem to be slim, but none the less both may be a type of youthful Goddess associated with new life.

Winifred Hodge on the other hand sees Eostre as being the same as the Goddess celebrated at Walpurgisnacht (see Waelburga and the Rites of May). The problem with this is while both Walpurgis and Easter have many of the same customs associated with them, there are also many customs associated with Easter one does not see associated with Walpurgis. Eostre has shining maidens at dawn associated with her, whilst the Goddess of Walpurgis has witches in the middle of the night. If we look to German folklore, the Walpurgis Goddess seems to be Holda. Holda is a rather motherly Goddess with some darker associations. She is at times the kind and lovely mother, and other times seen as the fierce leader of the Wild Hunt. This is quite unlike the symbolism we see at Easter, which seems to be a time of virginal young maidens, or gentle young wives at least.

None the less, parts of the Scandinavian countries celebrate Easter as a time of witches much as their southern kin do Walpurgis. Witches in southern Sweden were thought to fly to the mountain Blåkulla, much like the Walpurgis witches flew to the Broken in Germany. Personally, I prefer to think that, the Swedes were celebrating Walpurgis at Easter (which they do not call the holytide) and Easter on what they referred to as Disting. It could be too that both Walpurgis and Easter were indeed once the same holytide. The shining Goddess Eostre was celebrated in the day while the dark Holda took the night before. Holda and the witches symbolizing winter would make their last assault on Mankind on Walpurgis Eve. Then at dawn Eostre and her maidens would appear to bring in the spring. In extreme ancient times this may have been seen as a battle between the the death Goddess Holda and her crones and the Eostre, Goddess of rebirth and her maidens. Grimm in Teutonic Mythology mentions several plays called ôsterspil. These plays portrayed a battle between the forces of Winter and the forces of Summer. Often they involved a sword-dance with twelve men. In other areas of Germany, an effigy of Winter was beaten or burned. Now in all probability the two Goddesses Holda and Eostre do not do battle. However, the duties of Holda, Goddess of Yule and household work (thus indoor work suited for winter) would largely be over, whilst Eostre's would just be beginning. It could be that if Walpurgis and Easter were the same holytide, the dual imagery seen is a reflection of that shift from winter work to spring work, from the weaving and spinning of winter to the sowing fields of spring. Holda as a household Goddess would be inappropriate for the spring, just as Eostre would be for the winter. Easter therefore would be seen as a holyday of transition.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Catching up.

MA 101: Practical Magic – Basic Energy work

I’ve never really done basic energy work, other than grounding and shielding. And really, I don’t consciously do those anymore either. Taking this class has given me two solid indications that I should get back into the habit. The first time was when John and Rosanne came to talk about centering and grounding. We did an exercise and I felt so much better afterwords. That should have been enough of a warning. But no, Brenda is hard headed and does not need protection, for she is INVINCIBLE! Yeah, right.

I know that I walked out of yesterday’s class feeling particularly agitated with no reason to be. I am very possessive of my time and it aggravated me that we lost our class time. But what we were doing was a good experience for people who have never done energy work before. It was fun to watch. It just took too long but it should not have bugged me as much as it did. I was totally over reacting and I’m pretty sure it was because I was poorly grounded in class. By the time my alarm bells started sounding, I was already feeling agitated. I was able to keep it from getting worse but I needed time to let go of the energy that had already come my way. Lesson learned.

NS101: General Nature Science
Journal Homework
- Play with some animals. Feed the birds and squirrels at the park. Write about your experience.

I am a difficult and opinionated student. I admit it. I try to be open minded to certain things, to find a middle ground. But some things just scream NO!

Feeding animals in the city is one of those things. Actually, feeding wild animals, in general, is a bad move. Sure, we feel all good and generous. We are so nice to make sure the poor little furry creatures don’t go hungry. We’re not doing them any favors. We teach these creatures that humans are a source for food. We teach them not to be afraid. We teach them to stay nearby. We teach them that they don’t need to hunt.

How do we feel when people hurt or kill these animals because they are pests? How do we feel when people have property damage because these animals want to stay near their source of food? How do we feel when people become sick because of animal feces, or worse, because they were bitten? There are reasons why some cities make it illegal to feed squirrels and pigeons.

Some people think that my opinion is extreme, that one person feeding the critters does no harm. And if it were one person, I may agree but it’s not. And we know it. One of the first things we discussed was that Wicca/Paganism encourages us to be aware of the consequences of our actions. So, be aware and do what you like. For me, I’ll go outside and watch the animals, marvel at their colors and grace, but I'll leave them alone.

- Walk through a much wooded park or some woodland. Sit by a pond or a river. Write about your experience.

My experience…it’s cold. I don’t like cold. The trees look pretty with the snow on them. It’s cold. What is it about the forest in winter that makes it easy to believe we have been transported to a magical land? I think I have a hole in my boot, my foot is wet. Squirrels everywhere. Oh cool, a black squirrel. It's quiet. I hear crows, lot’s of crows. It’s cold. Going home now. Where's my music thingie...

- Project: Collect things from nature and make something artistic with them.

I’m having a bit of trouble with this one. Not so much because I can’t make something. More because I don’t want to gather up a bunch of things and make a trinket only to toss it in the garbage afterwords. I have too much clutter already and I know it’s unlikely that I’ll keep what ever I make. So, I’m taking my time.

Updated. I think I’ll make a Yule log candle holder. I found a nice piece of birch and a few pine cones. I’ve got some spruce branches I would like to use, I just need to see how they look after they dry out.

Catching up on Journal stuff

HH101: Techniques of Relaxation and Meditation

Meditation. I don’t know how other people do it. I certainly don’t see this as a practice I would do regularly. I find it boring, at least the type that asks you to sit still. I guess that could be taken as a sign of being undisciplined. Being able to still your mind and bring it to focus is never a bad thing, especially in the practice of magic. I just can’t seem to master it. Actually, that’s only partially true. When it comes to magic, I can bring myself to focus fairly quickly. When it comes to meditation - most often, I fall asleep. When I meditate to actually try to sleep, I don’t. Something, I think, isn’t clicking.

I tried two exercises from the lesson. I find that if I keep them short, I’m fine and I actually feel pretty good afterwords. The “Yell, for release” part of the meditation was omitted. I don’t think my neighbors would appreciate it, at any time in the day. Oddly enough, after reflection, I realized that I don’t think I’ve ever meditated simply to relax.
Kind of funny.

Journal Homework
List the things that relax you, and why they relax you.

Almost anything that will let me shut off my brain for a bit will relax me. TV, movies, being out with good friends, dancing, any sport. All of these will work. My favorites:

- Hiking, walking in the woods.
Why? Not really sure. Something about being with the trees recharges my batteries. The calm and quiet let me put aside, for a time, life’s little problems. Even better, from time to time, I can actually think more clearly and focus on those problems because so many other distractions are gone.

- Working out.
You can’t beat physical activity to relieve stress and frustration. Working out demands the attention of your mind as well as your body. It helps loosen the muscles, it gets the heart pumping and the blood moving. It makes you breathe. If I need to relax or blow off steam, the gym will probably be my first choice.

- Getting a good Massage.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Are the pyramids radioactive?

Apparently some of them are. Unfortunately, I didn't want to spent $32.00 to review the actual study, but in brief:

Titre du document / Document title

Radiation measurements in Egyptian pyramids and tombs : Occupational exposure of workers and the public

Auteur(s) / Author(s)
BIGU J. (1) ; HUSSEIN M. I. (2) ; HUSSEIN A. Z. (2) ;

Affiliation(s) du ou des auteurs / Author(s) Affiliation(s)
(1) Department of Physics and Astronomy, Laurentian University, Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury (ON), P3E 2C6, CANADA

(2) National Centre for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Control, Atomic Energy Authority of Egypt, P.O. Box 7551, Nasr City, Cairo, EGYPTE

Résumé / Abstract
A radiation survey of seven archaeological sites within Egyptian pyramids and tombs has been conducted in the Saggara area. Measurements were made of radon (222Rn) and its short-lived decay products (progeny), as well as thoron (220Rn) progeny and γ-radiation. The results of these measurements have been used to calculate the maximum annual effective dose (MAD) and other important occupational radiation exposure variables. It was found that for the limited time to which occupational workers and visitors were exposed, their respective MAD values were lower than that recommended by the regulatory agency (i.e., 20 mSv per year for occupational workers and 1 mSv in a year for the public). However, it is shown that if the exposure times for occupational workers were to increase to normal working schedules their MAD would be exceeded at three archaeological sites. Implementation of improved ventilation practices is recommended in those sites to reduce the exposure to occupational workers were their working schedules to be significantly increased. It is also recommended that further monitoring be conducted in the future to verify these results.

Revue / Journal Title
Journal of environmental radioactivity ISSN 0265-931X CODEN JERAEE

TE Tomb, Meriroka Tomb, Ankh-Mahor Tomb and Serapeum Tomb, the pyramids of Teti and Sakhm Khat, ...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bide the Wiccan Law ye must
In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust
Eight words the Rede fulfill
An it harm none, do what ye will
Lest in thy self defense it be
Ever mind the rule of three
Follow this with mind and heart,
And merry ye meet, and merry ye part.

I think I first read this version of the rede in one of Amber K’s books on Wicca. It was also the version taught to me when I first started on my path. I prefer it to other versions simply because of the part about defense. I think it’s important for people to understand, even in Wicca, that it’s ok to stop someone from hurting you.

In the end, I believe most of the classic poems in Wicca were written to help us understand and follow certain basic philosophies of life. Don’t hurt other people. Don’t let other people hurt you. Try to live in harmony with the world. Be aware of your actions and their consequences. There are certainly more, but these are the ones that leap to mind.

In the earlier years of Wicca, it seems that you heard more about the ethics surrounding it’s practice. Maybe, because I’m not much involved in the community, I don’t hear it anymore. In the middle 80’s there was a “Pagan Code of Chivalry” floating around. I don’t remember it precisely, but I do remember thinking it was a good guide…and many of us in the community didn’t live by it.
Is it a good thing that the Wiccan Rede seems to be our only outline for ethics? I dunno.

CMS Journal Homework Class 2

What do you think Warlock means? And why do you think there is a discrepancy in the meaning?

Had I been asked this question 20 years ago, I would have given the popular TV answer: A warlock is a male witch who uses his powers for selfish and nefarious goals. During the class, we explored some of the history around the word and the idea that the word originally meant ‘Oath Breaker’. Most etymology seems to date the word around the 14th century. I could speculate the reason the word became associated with men is because, during the times, only men practiced arts like Alchemy or Astrology. (I acknowledge there may have been a very rare few women who learned these arts as well) These disciplines may have been highly respected but eventually were condemned by the church.

So, any man who continued to practice these condemned sciences might have been perceived as one who had broken faith with God. An Oath Breaker.

Personally, I think I like this definition best:
In the North East of England there is another definition, "taken from Old Norse rather than Old English, and comes from 'varth-lokkr' meaning (essentially) 'one who locks (something) in' or 'one who encloses'." As a term of honour, it is used to describe "an exorcist or a magician who traps and disposes of unwanted entities".