Daily Archives: November 14, 2011

You finally know you are a witch when…….

Witchy Comments
You finally know you are a witch when:

1. Your BOS has spots on the pages from spilled brews.

 

2. When cleaning house you have to specify. “Where is the broom? No, not THE broom, where is the one to clean the floor with?”

 

3. Candle wax has dripped on your keyboard.

 

4. Neighbourhood cats commune in your front yard.

 

5. There are more jars of strange smelling plants in your cupboards than there are cereal boxes.

 

6. Friends know they can always give you candles and incense as a gift.

 

7. When watching old re-runs of Bewitched, you find you side with Samantha’ s mother Endora.

 

8. You’ve actually tried to twitch your nose to add emphasis to your spellwork.

 

9. When travelling, stranger and stranger strangers tell you their problems.

 

10. You swear in the plural.

 

11. You find yourself making corn dollies in the checkout line at the grocery store.

 

12. Whenever someone sneezes you say “Goddess Bless.”

 

13. You ask for Halloween off, because it’s a religious holiday.

 

14. You start answering the phone with “Merry Meet”.

 

 
~Magickal Graphics~

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The Survival of Ancient Ways in Today’s World

The Survival of Ancient Ways in Today’s World

Author: wolf witch

Witchcraft, Wicca, and Pagan belief systems in general are more popular now than since the advent of Christianity in the West. As society gradually moves away from the group and toward individuality with respect to spiritual development, people seek alternatives to “organized” religion in order to more thoroughly immerse themselves in that sense of inner spirituality that, in the East, comes from meditation and a closely controlled lifestyle and in the West has its roots in the ancient Western Mystery Tradition in part or in whole surrounding the teaching founded upon Hermetic philosophy.

Wicca is, depending on which “expert’ you read, either very ancient or extremely new and linked to Neo-Paganism. Still, its practices demand individual dedication and action, and, even in its most basic form, stirs the inner workings further toward the sort of self-realization equated with spiritual enlightenment. Whether this enlightenment is as thorough as that of the Buddhists or is that a devoted Christian attains through constant prayer is unimportant. What is truly a key factor here is that Wicca, in whatever form, requires the individual to ultimately take responsibility for his own spiritual development, as must the Buddhist or the Christian or any other person of faith.

The claim for the Craft being a part of the spiritual movement of modern times collapses in the face of archeological and anthropological evidence to the contrary. The Internet and the ready availability of books from a wide range of authors resulted in an incredible number of “traditions” birthing literally overnight, each of which possesses their adherents and, in the case of many founding members, zealots, a rather surprising response from a religion that is by no means evangelical. The point of this text is not to criticize new or old traditions. Each finds its place in spiritual development. Those with more parochial views may learn something here but will find no further argument with any modern path.

If no other law holds true in the Craft, “Each to his own” certainly applies.

In order to understand Western occult philosophy, one must grasp the words of the Emerald Tablet, the essence of which is the statement, “As above, so below, ” and its reverse. There is no dictum of control implied here, so the phrase does not lose, as suggested by some authors, its validity in reverse. It merely explains that the nature of things is best discovered in any one thing within the set; that is, if something exists in this universe, then its structure and function resulting from that physical existence resembles in kind all other things in this universe.

The axiom applies equally to Man and Spirit. The whole reason for its existence is to tell man that the universe he sees and the Universe his spirit knows is hardly imaginary but very, very real. The stone is the Almighty’s message to Man that what he cannot see has no reality whosoever in relation to the greater Universe of gods, angels, demons, and the like. Man is part of that magnificent continuum.

Thus is the Creator known to Man.

There are as many paths to spiritual awakening as there are people on the planet. Some folks are so convinced their method is right that they insist on bringing it to others which in some cases is a truly positive gesture. However, when that new system comes into place through the annihilation of what went before, then the result proves destructive and dangerous.

In the time of Charlemagne, Paganism died in Europe at the hands of Christians bent on destroying every other belief system but their own. St. Patrick did not drive the snakes out of Ireland (there were none to begin with) , but he did burn every piece of literature concerning the religious history of the Celts, a close equivalent to the burning of the great library at Alexandria by the Romans who simply knew no better. Patrick knew exactly what he was doing, and the Church made a practice of eliminating all but their own warped view of religion as a source of power and authority.

The Craft has few written records that cover events from the Dark Ages. All such literature became personal as each witch kept a Book of Shadows though few would have called it that. The books held recipes and formulae for everything from herbal remedies to dynamic rituals, most of which these days are drawn from a single surviving grimier, the Key of Solomon. From this text, Gardner drew the rituals in his book.

Fortunately, the worst persecution could not eliminate folkways, and many made their way to the present, especially those regarding healing. This knowledge forged an excellent foundation for modern witches to expand their knowledge of the human psyche in order to better help those in need.

All of the present day’s rites and rituals owe much to Hermes and his simple statement. Understanding the universe makes clear the path delineated by the Craft, so the study of how the universe works is definitely worth the effort. In the end, the universe unfolds itself to each in its own way.

Here is one of the great gifts of the Goddess, as claimed in Celtic tradition: the Stone, a foundation upon which all else stands.

The occult deals with those entities and forces that, in general, lie outside the bounds of what most would define as normal existence. Where the world around us takes its description from physics, the occultist studies metaphysics. Where the scientist relies on proof as determined by experimental data, the occultist speculates using intuition as an equally valid point that influences understanding the true reality of any situation. While science plods on toward a complete understanding of the universe in detail, the occultist works more as a generalist using Hermes’ statement as a guide: “As above, so below”.

Today’s trend, thanks to the rapid spread of information and its verification relying very much on popularity rather than true alacrity, creates almost as many Craft belief systems as there are individuals capable of committing those beliefs onto a web page. More than a few seek a sense of authority within the old religion earned only in their own right. Many forget the trials that shaped Wicca over the years and the powerful forces and strong enemies that sought to wipe the Craft from the planet, burning, killing, and torturing every follower and many more who were rumored to be followers of the ancient ways.

There is a common feeling among these folk and a host of other witches that the burning times are over; that the public broadcast of one’s own faith can safely travel the Internet airways without fear of any repercussion.

One careful perusal of the news will prove this merry affection dangerously incorrect. With the smallest change in today’s status quo, the burning time could come back in force. Fundamentalism favors intolerance. There is absolutely nothing wrong with stating one’s beliefs in any public forum, but the defense of those beliefs to the blood must be the heart of that statement.

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Who Else Is A Lonely Young Witch?

Who Else Is A Lonely Young Witch?

Author: Wolfmoonsinger

So many teen witches out there know what I’m talking about when I speak of the loneliness, wonder, and longing to become part of a coven. Or even just finding another witch in your community! It is very hard trying to bring up the subject of religion with people when it’s so touchy. So how do you find out who’s a pagan and who isn’t? What if the person you were talking to five minutes ago is a witch and you didn’t know because the subject of religion doesn’t come up because of beliefs?

How are you supposed to find other pagans in order to create a coven or even to talk with in person or just to talk to another witch without driving a long way to that person? All good questions. Me, myself, and I would like to know those answers as well.

My one ‘ex’ friend introduced me into Wicca three years ago. We were best friends and we shared everything. We were both interested in it; not me as much because I was a bit skeptical about it, but she was really into it because her aunt was. And now, I’m the one who is an ardent witch with a true understanding of paganism and witchcraft, and she’s addicted to booze and boys and has completely erased the love for the goddess in her life.

Through my time reading tons and tons of books and websites about Wicca, I was gaining and learning more and more information about this mysterious and attractive religion. Never would I have guessed that once I had my fill of the basic knowledge, I would have to really put it to an effort. Now, I have been very successful so far, becoming a good mediator, ritual caster and spiritual person. But doing these things alone sometimes can be very sad because if you have one of those moments where you really understand something or a spell has gone wonderful for you, you come to the sad realization that you don’t have anyone to share these things with. It’s depressing.

It’s not like you can tell your best friend who’s a Christian or your Christian parents about it because it may be scary for them because of their ignorance of what you are talking about, or they just don’t want to hear anything about it. It hurts because you go through your life hiding your religion from others who don’t understand Wicca — and don’t try to or want to — and you really wish you had someone to talk to who really understood what you were talking about and really appreciated it.

I may seem selfish to some of you who are reading this, but this is how I feel. I have always been a loner, but sometimes it is more than I can bear. Sometimes I ask the goddess for a companion (s) to celebrate her glory with, to celebrate sabbats with, to hold hands and soak up the moons glow with, to share experience with, and to share the same thoughts with…

A lot of covens are either a “look at me” coven, a “wannabe” coven, or a “one and only true way” coven. Some witches think that if you join a coven, you join it for life, but really in many paths and traditions, you just share the same path with your fellow coveners and don’t necessarily have to stay in that coven forever.

The good thing about joining a coven is that it provides you with some discipline while practicing your craft. You will celebrate the Sabbat without fail every year and do your daily devotions. Meeting other like-minded people can be an extremely rewarding experience and then you have the High priest and High priestess to guide you. Most agree with me that a lot of witches want a coven to share a subconscious connection with, and a coven does that with the “mind connection”. The only bad thing about this ‘mind connection’ is that if someone leaves, the connection is broken and has to be healed.

If I could openly ask people what religion they were and where I could find a coven, I would, but that would be rude, inappropriate, startling, strange, not fair, and a bit bold. So how do you find other witches? Talk to people long enough to find out what their religion is? So few people are witches in small areas like where I live. It would be very difficult to find one, let alone a coven. I keep hope that, one day, I will come across someone and the topic will pop up, but that seems very unlikely.

I am a teenage witch of age 17. I don’t know any other witches my age. Most of the teens who are pagans are either fluffy bunnies or they live in towns far away from where I live. A big factor in the difficulty of connecting with other witches could be that most witches don’t come out of the broom closet out of fear of public bias. But you honestly shouldn’t fear what other people think (unless they are crazy) and if people don’t want to be grown ups and try to understand what it is, then that’s their choice. But the chance still remains that if you openly tell people flat out that you are a pagan, it could cause positive changes in your life, including someone listening in and chasing you down later to tell you that they are also of the same faith.

Lucky for me, I’ve met people who were curious about Wicca and didn’t judge me for being a witch, but none of them were interested in it THAT much. You will always find people who will understand what it’s about, but to find someone who really UNDERSTANDS it and knows what you’re talking about is harder than finding a needle in a haystack…

So to me, making a coven or finding others in the same faith and beliefs is important because they could end up being like your family. When you have a close connection of friends like that, you become really connected and it’s hard to imagine life without them… well, at least I would think.

I will still keep hope that finding a coven won’t be as difficult as I think it will. It would be easier to just start one myself, but with whom? The problem of finding others of the same beliefs still remains.

So if you’re a lone wolf out there reading this, know that your not alone and that there ARE witches out there who feel the same way you do. They’re just too afraid to come out of the closet. And I know that coming out may be a bit brave and dangerous for some, but sometimes such risks must be taken if you ever want to find others like you.

Be bold, be brave, and be honest.

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Grow Your Own Lunar Calendar

Grow Your Own Lunar Calendar

Author: Bran th’ Blessed

The earliest lunar calendars were small sticks into which some Neolithic hunter carved notches to count the days between full moons. This hi-tech device required no battery replacement and was accurate within plus or minus three days of the actual lunar cycle from new moon to new moon. Depending on the hunter, of course.

By such means, it eventually became clear that the full moon occurred every 29 or 30 days. Rather than leave the one finger uncounted on the third go-round, the length of the lunar cycle was set at 30 days (three hands of days) . This length worked well with the estimated duration of the *Celestial Calendar* year, which was 360 days. You may think that the year-counting stick was not as accurate as the month counting stick, but there is always with us humans the expectation of symmetry, and even today it doesn’t set well with us that our year should not end at the end of the twelfth month—as our 12-month Gregorian calendars so clearly attest.

It is because our years were set to 360 days—in order to match precisely with twelve 30-day months—that the circle is ascribed with 360 degrees. The zodiacal path is set to 360 degrees for the 360 days the Sun takes to encompass that circuit, one degree per day.

The Moon, too, encircles the zodiacal path, but it takes only 30 days to do so. In those 30 days the Sun moves 30 degrees, so the Moon must move 360 + 30 = 390 degrees to catch up to the Sun again. While the Sun moves one degree each day, the Moon moves 13 degrees each day. At the end of 30 days, they are united again, but at the beginning of a different zodiacal sign: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer; Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio; Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces…the signs (constellations) of the zodiac. (I have excluded the zodiacal signs, Doris and Butch, as these have grown into disuse over the ages. Pity.)

The Celestial Calendar provides further symmetries with 24 fifteen-day *Esbats* in each year, corresponding with the risings and settings of the zodiacal signs. There are three esbats (45 days) in each of the eight *Sabbats* of the year: The Solstices (Yule and Litha) , Equinoxes (Ostara and Harvest) , and four Cross-Quarter Sabbats (Winterwatch, or Imbolc; Beltane, Lughnasa, and Samhain) , and there are two sabbats (90 days) in each of the four seasons of the year.

This Celestial Calendar, however, is poorly matched by the realities of our astronomy. The Earth takes 365¼ days (not 360 days) to move from Winter Solstice to Winter Solstice. The Moon takes 29½ days (not 30) to move from full moon to full moon, and twelve months is actually only about 354 days. Alas, for a more perfect world, eh?

My *Pagan Seasonal Calendar* corrects the Celestial Calendar’s error in the measure of the year by adding five intercalary days to every year, four midseason, cross-quarter sabbat days and one end-of-the-year day. Winterwatch is added between the third and fourth Esbats (my calendar begins and ends at Yule/Midwinter) . Beltane is added between the ninth and tenth Esbats. Lughnasa is added between the fifteenth and sixteenth Esbats. And Samhain is added between the 21st and 22nd Esbats. Year’s End is added at calendar’s end. At the end of every fourth year (called a Span) , a sixth intercalary day called Span’s End is added, equivalent to our “leap year’s day”. The Span’s End day is not added to the 32nd and final Span of a Gaian Era (which is 128 years) . These few adjustments make my Pagan Seasonal Calendar, incorporating the Celestial Calendar, more accurate than the Gregorian Calendar we use with respect to the length of the year. But of course, it does nothing to resolve the problem with the month.

Real lunar months cannot be conveniently aligned with real seasonal years. Various cultures have tried to devise methods for utilizing a lunar calendar, but the two cycles don’t dance the same dance. The Julian Calendar of the Romans and the Gregorian Calendar of the Catholic Church both follow the lead of the Celestial Calendar in making months as long as desired, 28 or 29 days, 30 or 31 days. Lunar calendar systems make each year twelve of thirteen moons in duration, but the systems are either complex or set by visual observations. For my calendar system, I decided to look for a lunar calendar system that is accurate and works well on its own, and then fret the details of coordination later. This isn’t rocket science after all. The lunar period data available today is accurate to ten decimal places and more, and a handy pocket calculator (batteries included) is all I needed for the simple division problems. So here we go.

The period from one full moon to the next is very close to 29½ days. Two moons are twice that, or 59 days. This 59 day lunar cycle is called a *Doublet*. The *Morning Moon* of any doublet begins at midnight opening the 1st day of the doublet and ends at midday of the 30th day of the doublet; the *Evening Moon* begins at midday of the 30th day and ends at midnight closing the 59th and final day of the doublet. Morning moons begin and end in the morning, between midnight and midday; evening moons begin and end in the evening, between midday and midnight. Both moons go halfsies on the 30th day of the doublet.

The degree of error in a 59-day doublet is such that one day must be added after sixteen such doublets (32 moons) . This period of 32 moons is called a *Cynthiad*. The sixteenth and final doublet of each cynthiad has 60 days instead of 59 days. That makes each cynthiad 945 days, or precisely 135 weeks. The degree of error in a cynthiad is much smaller and in the opposite direction, requiring us to eventually remove one day after 47 cynthiads. This period of 47 cynthiads is called a *Lunar Age*, and it’s about 121 years and pocket change. The last doublet of the last cynthiad in each lunar age does not have a day 60. This last modification keeps the calendar within one day of accuracy for about 66 lunar ages—which is eight millennia and pocket change.

Every cynthiad in this age begins on Sunday; it’s the 7th Age of Balder (or some other Sun God/dess of your choice?) in this *Lunar Epoch*. Because of the dropped day at the end of each age, the cynthiads of succeeding Ages begin one day earlier than those before them. Thus the next Age will be the 7th Age of Saturn, in which all the cynthiads will begin on Saturdays…then Fridays (Freya) , Thursdays (Thor) , Wednesdays (Woden) , and so on. (The Age of Woden, with its Wednesday cynthiads, will begin the 8th cycle of ages.)

As I write this, the upcoming new moon of October 26th, 2011, will be: the 1st day of the Elder Moon, the 16th Morning Moon of the 41st Cynthiad in the 7th Age of Balder, and the 1311th moon in that 46th full Age of the Lunar Epoch. This is the first day of the 16th doublet in the 41st cynthiad of this age.

I associate the 32 moons of a cynthiad with various totem creatures, although I’m not settled on any but the 28th moon (Crow Moon) at this time (and that of course only because it is the moon of my birth, so I name it for my own totem animal, the Crow) . Here are the sixteen doublets of a cynthiad and the names of their morning and evening moons. You should change these totems where you feel it appropriate, but I hope you’ll leave the 28th (Crow Moon) as it is.

Doublet – Morning Moon and Evening Moon
01 – Oak and Owl
02 – Redwood and Bear
03 – Ash and Fox
04 – Walnut and Deer
05 – Hawthorn and Rabbit
06 – Willow and Dove
07 – Pine and Coyote
08 – Cedar and Snake
09 – Holly and Otter
10 – Maple and Mouse
11 – Cottonwood and Buffalo
12 – Hickory and Hawk
13 – Cypress and Spider
14 – Sycamore and Crow
15 – Birch and Badger
16 – Elder and Wolf

There are only six and a fraction doublets in any given year. The doublets of this year (2011) have begun or will begin on the following dates.

(0) – November 6, 2010
(1) – January 4, 2011
(2) – March 4, 2011
(3) – May 2, 2011
(4) – June 30, 2011
(5) – August 28, 2011
(6) – October 26, 2011
(7) – December 24, 2011

(To find later dates, simply count down eight weeks and over three days on your calendar from the last known beginning doublet date.)

On the smaller scale of time, each moon (month) is viewed differently in this lunar calendar system. Three days make a *Lunar House* (or *Temple*) . Three houses belong to the *Maiden Goddess*, three more to the *Mother Goddess*, and three to the *Crone Goddess*. These nine houses mark the visible days of each moon. The other days of each moon belong to the dark moon House of Kore/Persephone. The days of each doublet are as follows:

Day 01 – (Morning Moon Begins) – Dark Moon – House of Kore/Persephone

Day 02-04 – Early Waxing Crescent Moon – House of Selene/Luna (Maiden)
Day 05-07 – Late Waxing Crescent Moon – House of Artemis/Diana (Maiden)
Day 08-10 – Early Waxing Ovate Moon – House of Hanwi (Maiden)

Day 11-13 – Late Waxing Ovate Moon – House of Ngame (Mother)
Day 14-16 – Full Moon – House of Ishtar/Isis (Mother)
Day 17-19 – Early Waning Ovate Moon – House of Nana (Mother)

Day 20-22 – Late Waning Ovate Moon – House of Mawu (Crone)
Day 23-25 – Early Waning Crescent Moon – House of Cereddwyn (Crone)
Day 26-28 – Late Waning Crescent Moon – House of Hecate (Crone)

Day 29-30 – (Morning Moon Ends) at Midday 30 – Dark Moon – House of Kore
Day 30-31 – (Evening Moon Begins) at Midday 30 – Dark Moon – House of Kore

Day 32-34 – Early Waxing Crescent Moon – House of Selene/Luna (Maiden)
Day 35-37 – Late Waxing Crescent Moon – House of Artemis/Diana (Maiden)
Day 38-40 – Early Waxing Ovate Moon – House of Hanwi (Maiden)

Day 41-43 – Late Waxing Ovate Moon – House of Ngame (Mother)
Day 44-46 – Full Moon – House of Ishtar/Isis (Mother)
Day 47-49 – Early Waning Ovate Moon – House of Nana (Mother)

Day 50-52 – Late Waning Ovate Moon – House of Mawu (Crone)
Day 53-55 – Early Waning Crescent Moon – House of Cereddwyn (Crone)
Day 56-58 – Late Waning Crescent Moon – House of Hecate (Crone)

Day 59 – (Evening Moon Ends) – Dark Moon – House of Kore/Persephone

I hope this lunar calendar will be useful to those who hate to wait for the Farmer’s Almanac to come out each year in order to know the new and full moon dates, which is what I used to do back in the age of dinosaurs when there were no computers. I have found this doublet system quite reliable for well over a decade. Sometimes the moon dates may be off about a day due to astronomical variations or when an intercalary day is coming due or has just been added. But I have noted very little such inaccuracy actually. I hope I have provided enough information for you to take it from here should you so choose. – Bran th’ Blessed


Footnotes:
None

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The Nine Virtues

The Nine Virtues

Author: Kalynn Osburn

In some way or another throughout the ages, there have been sets of attributes that have been deemed by both society and individuals to define the quality of a person’s character. From the Ten Commandments to Sanatana Dharma, from the Noble Eightfold Path to the Wiccan Rede, each comprises cultural appreciation of upright action and thought. Many of these hold the same tenants as one another, with values such as honesty, kindness, generosity and honor at the top of the lists. It is in this line that I have comprised what I feel to be the Nine Virtues, a series of considerations to which I think one should aspire in their life time.

In no way do I mean to say that this is the definitive list of ethical behavior! Nor do I want anyone to believe that I have an infallible moral compass! Far from it, in fact. These are simply the traits which I think are lacking in this era and should be given due consideration. While they include several from what is considered both warrior and maidenly virtues, I have done all I can to remove the gender considerations herein and I advise seeing them more as human virtues rather than belonging to one gender or the other.

The goal here is to strive towards these traits and to do your best to keep them in mind as you act throughout the day. I have listed them in order or personal importance (1 being the most significant to me) but these are not really quantifiable as more or less significant.

HONOR

Honor is among the most difficult to define of the virtues, and yet to me it is one of the most important. Many define this concept as a definition of a man’s duty or loyalty to one’s betters or higher ups within a military code of conduct. For women the term was historically used in reference to their virginity or the price a mate would have to pay in order to wed them. Honor can mean loyalty to duty, but it can also mean to act in a way that conveys dignity and rightness. Refusing to be goaded into a fight or not allowing your character to be falsified. Taking the protecting and care of your family upon yourself and working for their good at all times. Not allowing your friends to hurt when you have the means to prevent it. It comes down to looking at the situation and doing everything in your power to work through it with rightness of thought and deed. Honor also ties in strongly with other constructs such as: Integrity of the self, Accountability for your actions, and Respect for yourself and others

COURAGE

Courage is often misinterpreted as a lack of cowardice or fear. In reality, Courage is being afraid, terrified even, but pushing forward anyway. There are two types of courage: physical courage, which could be defending someone from attack or pushing yourself to the limit, and moral courage, which would be keeping to your moral or ethical code despite potential ridicule and ostracized. It can be difficult to remain courageous without becoming reckless or displaying an excess of bravado. In my experience the truly courageous are quiet, steadfast people who one would never suspect of being capable of such bravery. The one who rushes into a burning building to save a child and then disappears before the news crew can get a shot of them. The truest form of courage is in those whose names will never be known, but who take it upon themselves to act in defense of others.

MERCY

Mercy is often portrayed as the powerful showing pity to the weak. This is often emphasized by the Christian concept of a merciful God, one who wields incomparable power and yet exercises with caution or consideration for those under their influence. But to put this on a more relatable level, one could compare mercy with humanitarian efforts such as giving your time so that other’s might live life with greater ease, even if only for a moment. Through acts of kindness and charity, such as donating your clothing to homeless shelters, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or being a counselor for a youth group, one hopes to achieve a human connection as well as a greater understanding of compassion. To quote the Bard: “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

HONESTY

Honesty is not always as simply as just telling the truth. In this case, the virtue has more to do with being of straightforward character. It can be difficult to weight honesty with brutal, unfeeling truth, but it is important to remember that honesty does not give one the right to be callous. You should always consider how your answer would affect the other person’s state of mind. At times a gentler hand may be called for, but sometimes we must be direct in our approach. A good thing to keep in mind is to never do anything you know you are going to have to lie about later. With this thought, Honesty is more about acting truthfully and without deceit intended than it really is about telling your friend you like her dress when it looks awful.

CUNNING-

One could find it very amusing that I chose to put the virtue of Cunning right after that of Honesty, seeing as how the two so often seem to be at odds. But in this case it is to establish a balance between the two that I include cunning among the virtues. Cunning is not about lying, but about displaying keen insight or a knowledge of something that might baffle others. You could also term this as being clever or witty about a particular subject (such as witchcraft) . It is, above all else, using your intellect to solve problems and find new solutions to old issues. Brehons might be the best example of such folk, as they had to navigate their way around the law without denying the rights of everyone involved.

ENDURANCE

Endurance is the unique ability to keep going long after others have quit. There are two kinds of endurance: physical endurance, such as a woman in labor or a man running a triathlon, and mental endurance, such as that shown during studying final exam or sensory deprivation. One could also consider life to be an endurance trial, as we face hardships and difficulties one has to show the endurance and fortitude to overcome them. Life is hard, but not without it’s joy, and sometimes weathering the hard times creates more joy in the easy times. Being tenacious and sticking to your set goals without fail shows great endurance.

SPIRIT

Spirit is the belief and understanding of an innermost self, a soul or essence, which comprises you as an incorporeal being. It is a connectedness to a larger self and an understanding that there is a pattern and weaving to existence that you are a part of. This could also be termed Piety, though I would not include religious devotion as the explanation. Rather you strive to see the big picture of life, not only in terms of you and yours but also in terms of the universe as a whole. Someone who has the virtue of Spirit is confident, but without the danger of hubris and arrogance that so often comes with the idea of a higher spiritual understanding. As Albert Einstein said “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.”

INTROSPECTION

Introspection is being aware of your own needs, desires, flaws, virtues and state of mind. It is a conscious effort on the part of a person to fully consider their actions and thoughts and to consider the ramifications both to themselves and to others. It is the consideration of one’s own mind, or meta-cognition (thinking about thinking) . One could consider this like having a psychologist inside your own mind. You try to break down your own though process, questions yourself and answer honestly. It is not the same as doubting yourself or seeing your own advise as invalid, it is simply exploring your own motives and knowing where they come from.

TRANQUILITY

Tranquility is maintaining a state of calmness and levelheaded thinking. It is in allowing yourself to move beyond the hectic frustrations and troubles of the moment and not letting them interfere with your thought process or course of action. One could also add into this the feeling of contentment with your life as it is right now, without giving thought to the future or past. You become at ease with the reality of the world and life in general and accept your current state of being. Inherent in this is the ability to move past what may be happening at the moment and focus on what must come next.

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Dark Goddesses, Not So Dark: Understanding Hecate

Dark Goddesses, Not So Dark: Understanding Hecate

Author: Hecates Moon0013

There are many Goddesses who are considered “Dark Gods/Goddesses and who tend to be misunderstood or seen as “evil.” A few examples are Hecate, the Morrigan, Anubis, Poseidon and quite a few more, I’d wager as well. In my case, the “Dark Goddess” is my Patroness, Hecate. She has indeed a long history, and has been known in Her many different aspects, such as the three-faced crone, Goddess of Magic, Queen of the Night, Goddess of the Crossroads, and more. One culture supposedly offered dogs as a sacrifice to her out of honor and respect. (Although I personally don’t find that necessary to ever do myself!) In others, they offered feasts and left offerings at the crossroads.

The goddess Hecate is indeed widely known as a Dark Goddess and is associated with the darkness… But what exactly makes many people consider darkness as ‘evil’? Honestly, I see Her more as a mother figure. She looks after those who work with her.

Is She associated with the dark? Answer: Yes! However, She is not the darkness, but rather the light that guides people through the darkness. She watches over us all, and, in fact, helps nurture us. She is also not afraid to act. She, Hecate, Protects those that follow her like any other Goddess. Furthermore if you ask for her help, she will help and then ask simply “What’s next?” She finds ways to help Her adherents to grow both inside and out.

At this point, I would like to clear up a few misconceptions. First of all She, Hecate, is often portrayed as a Goddess Who is not fond of males, but favors female. This however is not true. As I know from personal experience, She will work with both.

Also it is thought that She is against love and marriage. However there is documentation that is not the case. She actually is all right with marriage, though She is strict on how it happens. She will not condone any form of sexual contact unless it is mutually acceptable between the two partners. She considers marriage and dating as normal things; marriage and childbirth, she considers “sacred things.”

One of the symbols that represent Her, in my opinion, is the Torch. Hecate, as I have said before, leads us through the hard times… through our anguish, through our grief, and She is there to comfort us, to warm us, and to guide us with Her light. Hecate herself is ‘The Torch’. She is the light within the eternal Darkness. One thing for sure, Hecate has seen me through many dark times, and has also helped me to learn more about myself… by helping me through those rough times she has shown me that, though sometimes life in itself can be scary, if we acknowledge it and learn to embrace ourselves for what might come, and learn to look through it, we will find ourselves at last in peace. We are able to walk through the fires, so to speak, of life and still be standing tall as we overcome the negative situations that we face.

When my first struggle with faith happened, Hecate was there. When I grieved over the loss of good friends and family, Hecate was there… When I felt lost, alone, and questioned Wicca, and religion itself, She was there. Hecate, at all of my crossroads, has brought people to help me in my time of need, and I have been brought in turn to help others in their times of need. If anything, Hecate has taught me that everyone is afraid, but we have to move on. Hecate also has taught me time and time again, that when you act with compassion, things in general are better for everyone.

I once struggled with Wicca. I had gotten myself to the point where I felt abandoned, and that I would never be able to feel energy or work with the Craft again. It was so bad, I questioned my sanity, wondering, is this even real?” Am I not supposed to be a part of this religion? Have the Gods and Goddesses abandoned me in my time of need? Why else could this possibly be happening? I prayed to Hecate to please watch over me and to help me overcome.

I eventually came across a group of people who helped me with my problem. I was looking for a group to work with and learn from in hopes I could find some clarity. I ended up finding a group, and though things did not work out for me with the group, I made some amazing friends. The people in it taught me a lot about myself, and other things as well. To this day, my ability to feel energy is not the same as it used to be, nor is my level of energy, but it is better. Not only that, but I have gained more confidence in myself.

I owe Hecate a lot. As odd as it might sound to some of you, I feel, to an extent, that I owe Hecate my life. She also taught me a valuable lesson: just because people are helpful does not mean that mistakes are not made. I learned to expect both good and bad from people and that we are all capable of both. No matter how good we are, or how bad we are, we are still capable of both. Because of this insight, I tend to look for the good in a negative situation. For there is always something, good and/or positive that can come out of any situation. The real trick is to find it in things and in people.

Now, most people are wondering, “Aren’t Dark Goddesses vengeful?” I feel the best answer for this is: What God or Goddess can’t be vengeful? In truth, they all can be. Hecate is literally a Mother Goddess. She is the ‘Okay. Done. What’s next?’ sort of Goddess. She is only vengeful to those who would harm Her charges, or rather those that She works with if someone would Harm them.

Hecate is able to give us so much knowledge, and teach us so much, that condemning Her without even getting to truly know Her I feel is a sad thing indeed. Furthermore, she teaches us that if we learn to accept the bad things in life, we become better… for Hecate carries the key to unlock that which we keep hidden. and once we discover ourselves, and accept things as they really are, we feel relieved. She helps us not only to see, but helps us to understand things in the ‘rawness of it all’.

I write this near the time of Samhain. For me, this holiday represents Hecate very well as she is also associated with the dead. One of my favorite characteristics of Hecate is that She teaches us to respect those who have come before us. As a Goddess of the crossroads, She makes the holiday even more meaningful. Samhain is the time when we are supposed to remember those who have helped pave our way. As the Goddess of the crossroads, Hecate compels us to reflect not only over what we have done or should have done, but also to remember that while we have gone through so much, it could have been worse. We are more blessed than we realize.

Hecate is more than just a simple Goddess. Hecate is my Mother, who protects me and nurtures me as I go through life. Hecate is my Patroness whom I am grateful to. I know that She is always there willing to help me, if ever I ask. Hecate is so misunderstood that, honestly, it saddens me a bit. If anything working with Hecate has truly been a blessing. I don’t think I would have been able to do, let alone get through, a lot of the things I have if not for her help, and for that I will always be eternally grateful.

Knowing that, as the sun sets, She is all around me at night is a comfort in so many ways. At night time, She is all around me, protecting me, and watching over me…and I know that when I am at the next crossroad, at some future turning point in my life, She will be there waiting for me, always more than willing to help me through the next hurdle. And so, I will continue to worship and work with Her, for She is not ‘the darkness that is evil’, but is, in fact, a guiding Light and a help for those who feel lost. And if you call to Her, Hecate will be there to help guide you through the rough times as well.

May Hecate bless you, and watch over you always!
Blessed Be!



Footnotes:
Understanding the Warrior Goddess by the author: Stephanie Woodfield

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Earth Science Pic for Monday, November 14th

Rainbow and Eiffel Tower

November 14, 2011

French-rainbow

Photographer: Bertrand Kulik
Summary Author: Bertrand Kulik; Jim Foster
This eye-catching rainbow arching over the Eiffel Tower was snapped from my home in Paris, France on the afternoon of October 25, 2011. The width of a rainbow is approximately two degrees; for comparison, the Sun’s diameter is about 0.5 degrees across. Note that each of the primary bow’s color bands is about 0.5 degrees in width. Rainbow colors seem impure (colors overlap) because while rays of sunlight entering a prism emerge parallel to each other, the way they entered, rays emerging from a raindrop diverge.

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Astronomy Picture of the Day for November 14th

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2011 November 14
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Waterfall, Moonbow, and Aurora from Iceland
Image Credit & Copyright: Stephane Vetter (Nuits sacrees

 

Explanation: The longer you look at this image, the more you see. Perhaps your eye is first drawn to the picturesque waterfall called Skogarfoss visible on the image right. Just as prevalent, however, in this Icelandic visual extravaganza, is the colorful arc of light on the left. This chromatic bow is not a rainbow, since the water drops did not originate in rainfall nor are they reflecting light from the Sun. Rather, the drops have drifted off from the waterfall and are now illuminated by the nearly full Moon. High above are the faint green streaks of aurora. The scene, captured one night last month, also shows a beautiful starscape far in the background, including the Big Dipper, part of the constellation of the Great Bear (Ursa Major).

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