How many Gardnerians does it take to change a lightbulb? 13 consistng entirely of man-woman working couples
How many Rad fems does it take? 7: one to do it, 2 to organize the creche and 4 to debate the meaning of the word unscrew
How man Crowleyites does it take? They can’t. Uncle Aleister didn’t leave any instructions.
How many Chaos magicians does it take? They don’t need to–they are used to working in the dark.
How many Zen Buddhists does it take to change a light bulb? Two. One to change it, one not to change it.
How many Zen Masters does it take to change a light bulb? None. The universe changes the light bulb and the Zen Master gets the hell out of the way!
How many Gardnerians does it take to change a light bulb? 1. I can’t say. It’s oathbound. 2. I can’t tell you–you’re not a third-circle initiate!
How many Alexandrians does it take to change a light bulb? 1. Same number as Gardnerians. 2. What do the Gardnerians do?
How many Dianic women does it take to screw in a light bulb? That’s W-I-M-M-I-N, and that’s not funny!
How many Solitaries does it take to change a light bulb? Who cares!
How many Dianics does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but that bulb has really got to want to change.
How many witches does it take to change a light bulb? 1. None… they call the electrician who’s also pagan and keeps the money in their community. 2. None — if a candle was good enough for Gramma it’s good enough for me!
How may light bulbs does it take to change a Gardnerian? None, they can do it all by themselves, thank you very much!!
How many Asatruar does it take to change a light bulb? None. The light from the burning monastery is sufficient, thank you.
How many Druids does it take to screw in a light bulb? They don’t screw in light bulbs, they screw in stone circles.
How many Druids does it take to change a light bulb? Thirteen; one to hold the bulb, and twelve to drink enough to make the room spin.
How many ceremonial magicians does it take to change a light bulb? One; he stands still with the bulb, and the universe revolves around him.
How many Witches does it take to change a light bulb? Depends on what you want to change it into.
How many Thelemites does it take to change a light bulb? None. Crowley never wrote a book about it.
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler
Have you heard how dreadful the neighbors are these days to ignore another’s plight, and how the world has gone to the dogs because people don’t care? Have you heard how hardened hearts are and how callous and unfeeling the human race has become?
It may be true such things do happen….for we hear about it daily. But it likely is that we hear more about the unusual than the usual.
For have you heard about the builder who laid his own plans aside to help another build his house….and the lady who gave her home and nursing care to someone who had no other place to go. Or the child who found its needs fulfilled in the love of a foster mother.
We may ignore, but we can never erase the love of the human race. The world may abound with sordid happenings; it may revel in senseless activities. But called to help, the greater number will respond without thought of the cost to themselves.
Of these things we hear so little. With these we come in contact every day and accept it as the normal pattern of life….which it is….for each unthinking, infantile mind there are two great thoughtful ones. And the second great Commandment still works its wonders in all our lives.
Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.
Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet:
Elder’s Meditation of the Day
By White Bison, Inc., an American Indian-owned nonprofit organization. Order their many products from their web site: http://www.whitebison.org
“We need to save those Elders who cannot speak for themselves — the trees.”
–Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
The trees are the Elders of the Earth. Go to the forest or to the mountains and find a young tree. Then find and old tree. Spend time with each. Sit by the young tree and listen to your thoughts. Then move to an old tree and listen to your thoughts again. Just being in the presence of an old tree, you will feel more calm. Your thoughts will contain wisdom and your answers will be deeper. Why is this so? These old trees know more, have heard more and are the Elders of the Earth. We must ensure these trees live so we can learn from them.
My Creator, help me to protect the trees and listen to them.
The mind is like a bag with a drawstring. When the string is pulled so tight that nothing can go into the bag or come out – that is nervous tension. The problem is held in and the solution is kept out. At these times it helps to walk – at least far enough to detach from everything that reminds a worrier that he is hemmed in. While the feet are busy, the mind relaxes – maybe not to the point of being tranquil but at least to be able to adanv tesgv, think clearly or work things out mentally. And during the walk, deliberately turn thoughts to vision – seeing every detail, every sunflower. Look at the shape of a leaf, the spider’s web, and look for color, and be grateful for the ears to hear and the eyes to see. Nothing heals the spirit and opens the way like turning loose of a problem.
~ Neither anger not fear shall find lodging in your mind. ~
‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler
Go beyond merely being curious about how it would be to live your dream. Commit to it, and experience the satisfaction of making it happen.
Do more than just talk about what you’d like to do, or what you should be doing, or what you plan to do. Take the persistent actions that will actually get it done.
Within your vision of how life can be, there is great value, ready and waiting to be expressed. Bring that vision to life, and bring that value into being.
Give your dreams the power of focused attention and committed, disciplined effort. Feel how great it feels to make a meaningful difference in your life and in your world.
Achievement is not only something you can do, it is something you have a deep and abiding longing to do. So make your days truly rich by using them to achieve.
Achievement is essential to the great and wonderful experience of being alive, of being you. Give yourself the gift of fulfillment by keeping yourself working to make a real and positive impact on life.
— Ralph Marston
Keeping Your Energy Strong
by Madisyn Taylor
Keeping our energy strong and pure throughout the day is vital to somebody that is sensitive.
Being a sensitive person in this world can sometimes feel very draining due to the fact that we are very receptive to the energy of the people and environment around us. Still, we want to be part of situations that involve small or large groups of people, and we would like to do it without becoming overwhelmed or exhausted. With a few simple strategies we can entertain at home and socialize in the world without running the risk of losing ourselves in someone else’s energy or giving our energy away. All this takes is a little time and practice, and the result—being part of social events without ending up depleted—is well worth the effort.
The whole purpose of this self-care ritual is to help keep yourself strong energetically when you are in a situation that could potentially be draining. For example, if you are having a party, you might take some time to prepare beforehand. Just as you spend time cleaning your home and preparing food, it is essential to prepare your inner home for the event. This can be as simple as taking a mindful walk or a cleansing bath, or engaging in any other activity that gives you energy. You can even just sit alone for a set period of time, tuning in to your energy and connecting to yourself so that you are less easily carried away by the energy outside of yourself. You may employ a mantra such as “I am centered and safe in the home of myself.” You can also charge a crystal or gemstone or any piece of jewelry with protective energy and wear it or carry it with you. This can be helpful during the event when just seeing it or touching it can remind you that you are centered and safe.
Keep in mind that it is always acceptable to excuse yourself for a bathroom break or to step outside for a moment. This can give you the time and space you need to check in with yourself and correct any energetic imbalances you detect. Whether you are at home or out in the world, taking care of yourself in this way enables you to keep your energy strong, even as you open yourself to others.
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.
2012 June 6
Eclipsed Moon Over Wyoming
Credit & Copyright: Mack H. Frost
Explanation: A setting full moon rarely looks like this. Monday morning just before a fully lit Strawberry Moon dropped behind the Absaroka Mountain Range near Cody, Wyoming, USA, the shadow of the Earth got in the way. A similarly setting partial lunar eclipse was visible throughout most of North and South America, while simultaneously the same partially darkened moon was visible throughout eastern Asia. Pictured in the foreground is a snowbank formation known as the Horse’s Head off a tributary of the Shoshone River. Lunar eclipses occur about twice a year, and the next one — a penumbral eclipse — will occur in late November.
by Miriam Harline
Though most serious scryers prefer to use either a black mirror or crystal ball, there are other tools with which you can try out scrying, if you’re curious.
Scrying tools include bowls of water. You can scry in water in a black-painted bowl; alternatively, you can take a china bowl of any color and hold it above a candle so its inner surface becomes covered with black carbonization, fill the bowl carefully and slowly with water so as not to disturb that carbonization, then scry in the bowl. You also can fill a bowl with ink and scry in that, or you can scry in water floated over ink. You can scry, too, in quartz crystals, the larger and clearer the better.
Basically, the scrying tool is a point of focus. An accomplished scryer can scry in nearly anything, or without a tool at all, using only the mind’s eye.
Whatever tool you use, scrying does not come easily to most people. You will probably need to try several times to see anything at all. When you do see something, do not discount what you get, however fleeting or seemingly nonsensical. You may feel the images you see are in your mind, rather than within or on the scrying tool. That’s fine. The images are what’s important.
Once you have seen an image, you can interpret it either literally or symbolically, as you would a dream. If you get images you can make no sense of, keep trying. As with any magickal technique, scrying becomes easier and clearer with practice.
Seeing Into Darkness
by Katlyn Breene
The following excerpt comes from a book-length work on scrying and magick mirrors. Katlyn, a scrying expert, also runs Mermade Magickal Arts, manufacturing black scrying mirrors in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The black scrying mirror, or magick mirror, is a powerful psychic tool. It can bring the user hidden knowledge and clairvoyant ability and can act as a portal to other planes of existence. History shows its use in many of the traditional mystery schools and oracular temples. Today the serious student of magickal arts can rediscover the ancient rites of the magick mirror, for these techniques are again coming to light.
Scrying can be defined as the mantic art of gazing into or upon a crystal or dark mirror, allowing the physical eyes to relax, thus letting the inner psychic eyes begin to open and receive desired visions or information. The use of the black mirror is one of the best methods of achieving the state of mind required for entering trance and for scrying work. It not only acts as a focal point for visualization but can become a doorway into the astral plane. It allows communication with higher realms and the subconscious and access to Akashic records. The traditional crystal ball is also a wonderful tool, but it is more difficult to scry with and is extremely expensive. The mirror is a more efficient way to begin to learn to scry and journey in other realms. However, all techniques in this article may be used with a crystal ball as well as the black scrying mirror.
Consider the reality of the Akashic records, in which all ideas, actions, influences and vibrations are stored. The practiced scryer has the ability to “read” these records and focus on this vast source of timeless knowledge with the aid of the mirror and a strongly directed imagination. Guides from the world of spirit often lead the scryer in astral travel and mental journeying through the black mirror or crystal sphere. Scrying develops one’s clairvoyant abilities and is especially helpful in strengthening the third eye.
The preparation and construction of the mirror is extremely important. The black scrying mirror must be created with the highest magickal standards and traditions. At the full moon, specially cut glass disks are cleansed and magnetized. They are then anointed with a powerful herbal fluid condenser to attract and hold energy, vital force and any charge given them. A tincture of gold and moonstone is then applied to the surface, and they are ritually blessed under the light of the full moon. They remain for a night and a day within a circle of protection. The black coating is then applied to seal in the energy, and a felt backing is put on to protect the mirror and absorb later applications of fluid condenser. The mirror stand is carved rosewood, ebony or teak.
Ways in which the black mirror can be used
- To contact spirit guides
- To access knowledge
- For healing and self improvement
- As a magickal transmitter and receiver
- For divining the past, present and future
- As a portal to the astral plane
- For shamanic journeying
- For ritual invocation and evocation
- To improve visualization skills
Preparing to work with the black scrying mirror
- Always keep the surface very clean using alcohol and a soft cloth.
- Never use it for anything but its intended magickal purpose.
- Do not let others look into its surface, except in ritual context. Keep it stored in a silk bag when not in use.
- Frequently recharge the mirror with vital force and fluid condenser, as explained following.
- Practice the visual exercises described following until mastered.
- Keep the working area clean and free from any disturbance.
- Generally, scry using the mirror at night, preferably during the full or new moon, depending on the operation. The mirror can be used at any time, but tends to work better at these points.
- When indoors, light two votive candles, one on each side of the mirror. Use white or colored candles appropriate to the work: blue for healing, purple for psychic work, orange for communication, and so on. (For more suggestions on candle colors, see any standard table of correspondences, for example in Scott Cunningham’s books or The Spiral Dance).
- Burn a lunar or psychic blend incense before working with the mirror.
- Place the mirror on a wooden table or altar with a clean cloth beneath it and be seated on a wooden chair in front of it, or if you prefer, assume a comfortable asana on the floor with the mirror before you.
- Extinguish all light sources except the candles and/or moonlight.
- Allow nothing to reflect in the mirror’s surface. It should appear as a dark tunnel or window.
- Before starting, always create a sacred space to work in. Cast a circle of protection or visualize the area surrounded by white light and protection from false or misleading influences – call your guides and guardians to protect the working.
- Keep a journal to record your experiences.
The rite of scrying
First, clearly decide what you seek or are trying to accomplish in the working and prepare appropriately. Then prepare the work area carefully as suggested previously.
Once you are ready, close your eyes and begin to relax; feel every part of your body releasing, relieved of all tension. Visualize your circle of protection and know you are safe and in control of all that happens within it. Begin to breath rhythmically and fully; try a count of four in, hold four, release four, four in, hold four, release four and so on. Feel yourself entering a light trance surrounded by sacred space, removed from time and the material world. Silently call your guides or guardians of the work, invoking the Goddess or calling angelic presences, spirit guides, watchtowers, astral guardians or whatever you prefer. Reaffirm your desire and the purpose of the work.
Now open your physical eyes and gaze into the mirror; remain relaxed and do not hesitate to blink when necessary. Relax the focus of your eyes but remain alert. After a while, the surface of the mirror will begin to change and fade; a dark mist will appear.
Your inner eyes will now open, and the journey into the mirror begins. Remember that the inner eye sees inside the mind, through the magickal imagination. Most people when scrying do not see the images appear with the physical eyes on the mirror’s surface but see within the mirror and in the mind’s eye. The mirror acts as a focal point, a gateway within.
When you have completed your journey or work you set out to do, begin the return to your body and ordinary senses. Breath fully and deeply, and remain still until you feel you have completely returned. Now close your eyes and remember all you saw and felt during the scrying or journey. Review your entire experience mentally.
Write it all down immediately in a journal kept for this purpose.
To begin to see
This is a very important exercise to master if you are new to scrying or are having trouble receiving images. It will aid your “visual imagination,” which allows your psychic and physical eyes to see clearly together. It gives clairvoyant strength.
Sit before your mirror and begin to imagine objects on its surface, one after another. You should try to see these images clearly in the mirror with your eyes open, just as if they were there in reality. Try simple shapes or colors first. Hold onto the image of each shape, object or color one minute before dissolving it and going on to the next. For example, use a red triangle, a yellow square, a blue circle and silver crescent; see them appear in the mirror using your firm imagination. For best results, do this exercise every day for 15 minutes until it is mastered.
This exercise is well worth the effort; it gives magickal discipline and strengthens the inner eye so visions can come with clarity and ease.
Charging the mirror with light
To charge and empower the mirror with light force is a simple but powerful process. It should be done frequently, especially just before using the mirror, so as to ensure you see correct visions, connect with positive energy and do not experience interference.
First, you must imagine that white light is collecting inside your body, being channeled down from the crown chakra. The body becomes a vessel filled with light. Remember to breathe fully, deeply and rhythmically. Now stand in front of the mirror and direct the palms of your hands toward one another. Imagine that the internal light is now moving into your hands, forming a ball of condensed white light between them. See and feel this clearly in your imagination. When ready, begin to project this ball of light into the surface of the mirror, purifying and enlivening the mirror, filling it with magickal force. See the light “soak” into the mirror. This process needs to be repeated until the mirror feels “full.”
This process can also be used to give a special or programmed charge to the mirror. Follow the steps preceding and create the ball of light between your hands, then mentally project your desire into the light before projecting the light into the mirror. This technique can be used for healing works and self-improvement. You can also charge the light with a specific color or vibration – whatever can be felt or imagined can be put into the mirror to aid the magickal energy. The empowering exercise can be used for other magickal operations as well, such as charging other magickal tools and the giving of healing light to another person. All it takes is a strong desire and powerful imagination.
Locking the charge into the mirror is accomplished by willpower. When the light has been absorbed into the mirror, state in your mind and with all the faith you can muster that the charge will remain as long as you require it. To release or remove a special charge, simply reverse the procedure, pulling the light out of the mirror into the space between your hands. Then disperse the energy into the atmosphere through the imagination. Do not draw it back into the body – see it return to the universe.
Creation and use of the fluid condenser
A fluid condenser is an infusion of herbs with tinctures, essences and gold added. It serves to hold the mirror’s magickal charge and attract elemental force. The condenser can be used not only on mirrors but also on all other ritual tools you want to charge for ceremonial use. The use of certain herbs, stones and metals in small quantities attracts etheric energy of a like kind. These fluids can be made individually to represent each of the elements or to enhance a particular work. I recommend making a universal fluid condenser that will work for all purposes, having all elements represented along with tincture of gold, representing solar and God energy, and essence of moonstone, representing lunar and Goddess energy.
The fluid is applied to recharge the mirror and to draw magickal symbols upon it for use in ritual. When the mirror is not in use, it is wise to anoint its surface with the fluid before putting it away. The fluid can be cleaned off with alcohol or distilled water later.
To make the fluid, you must first gather the herbs you need. They can be fresh or dried, but the more life force they contain, the better. The list of herbs following includes some suggestions, but you need not use all the herbs to make a good condenser. Use the ones you can find of good quality.
Once gathered, the herbs are placed in a pot with distilled water or rainwater. There should be about an ounce of each herb and enough water in the pot to cover the contents completely. Bring this mixture to a boil, and then turn down the flame and let it simmer for an hour with the pot lid on. When this is done, let the mixture cool and strain it through a muslin cloth. Put the liquid back into the pot and simmer without the lid until only a quarter of the original amount is left. When this is cool, add the gold tincture, about 13 drops to each pint of liquid. Then add the essence of moonstone. If gold tincture and essence of moonstone are not available, gold chloride or gold salts can be used and whole moonstones and crystals added to the mixture as a vibrational additive. Gold tincture can also be made at home with fairly good results.
To make gold tincture, take a pure piece of gold and holding it with a pair of pliers heat it over a flame until red hot. The red-hot gold is then dunked into a container of about half a quart of distilled water or rainwater. The heat and rapid cooling causes gold molecules to remain in the liquid. This process should be repeated nine times in the same water. Be careful of the rising steam, and try not to get the hot pliers into the water!
When you have combined all the fluid condenser ingredients together in a sterilized glass container, then add an equal amount of wood or isopropyl alcohol to act as a preservative. Store the condenser in an air-tight glass container in a dark place, and it will last for years.
For a very powerful and personalized condenser, add a few drops of your own blood to the mixture. Quartz crystals can be left in the fluid while it is stored to keep it clear.
Herbs for the fluid condenser
- For the water element: elder flowers, water lily, orris root, white rose, willow, cucumber seeds, jasmine
- For the fire element: red poppy, cinnamon bark, bay leaves, orange peel, rosemary, marigold, galangal, damiana, tobacco, nutmeg
- For the earth element: oak, ivy, cypress, mugwort, vervain, patchouli herb, wheat, primrose
- For the air element: mistletoe, acacia, clover, pine, sage, lavender, verbena
- For spirit: gold, blood, crystal
- For healing: juniper, thyme, mandrake, tansy, elder, coriander, lavender, life-everlasting, sage, cypress
- For universal fluid condenser: chamomile, dittany of Crete, ivy, oak leaves, bay leaves, almonds, cypress, clover, grape leaves, rose petals, mugwort, jasmine, vervain, mandrake root
Incense for psychic work
The best incense to use when working with the mirror or any scrying device is lunar or psychic in nature, representing the sphere of Yesod. These types of blends may be purchased or created by yourself and must be burned on self-igniting charcoal disks. Here are some excellent recipes for fine-quality magickal incense to be used for the rites of scrying.
Lunar blend incense:
- A base of white sandalwood powder
- Orris root and myrrh in equal parts
- Oil of jasmine and jasmine flowers
- Oil of lotus and synthetic ambergris
- A small pinch of refined camphor
- Poppy and cucumber seeds
Blend together sandalwood, myrrh, and orris root, and crush them together into a powder. True refined camphor is hard to come by, but if you should have some available, add a pinch to the powdered base. Also add at this time the poppy and/or dried cucumber seeds. Put this mixture aside in an air-tight jar.
Next, blend the jasmine, ambergris and lotus oils together in equal parts. Coat the dried jasmine flowers with the blended oil and set them aside in an air-tight jar. Let these sit until the next full moon. On the evening of the full moon, mix together (in a silver or crystal bowl if possible) the oil-soaked flowers and the powder base with your hands, meditating as you mix on the beauty and wisdom of Mother Moon. Ask her to bless this incense with Her magick.
Scrying incense (psychic blend):
- A base of mastic gum, myrrh, galangal powder and frankincense
- Mugwort and wormwood herbs
- Rose petals and lavender buds
- Green cardamom pods and star anise
- Bay leaves
- Oils of mimosa and lotus, and dark musk
Blend together mastic, myrrh, galangal and frankincense in equal parts and grind to a powder base. Add a few cardamom and star anise seeds to the base and put aside in an air-tight jar. Now mix equal parts of ground mugwort, wormwood and bay, about half the amount used in the powder base. Coat this mixture with dark musk oil, and put it aside in a sealed jar. Mix the lavender and rose petals together, coat them with mimosa and lotus oil and put them aside in a sealed jar. Let the ingredients stand for nine days during the waxing of the moon.
Then blend all ingredients together by hand. As you mix, meditate upon your spirit guide and developing your psychic abilities. Know that when the incense is burned, your inner eyes will open and a link will be formed between you and world of spirit. (It is best to remove anise and cardamom seeds from the incense before burning; their scent will have been absorbed by the incense base.)
by Efun Moyiwa
This article can also be found on Efun Moyiwa’s World Wide Web page, OrishaNet (http://www.seanet.com/~efunmoyiwa/welcome.html).
Animal sacrifice is just a small part of the much larger definition of ebó (sacrifice or offering) in the Santería religion. There are many categories of ebó. There are offerings such as addimú, which can include candles, fruits, candy or any number of items or actions that may be appreciated by the deities or orishas in the religion. In divination, the orishas may ask for a favorite fruit or dish, or they may call for the person to heed advice given. At times, they may ask that a person give up drinking or other practices that are unwise for that individual. They may request a person to wear certain jewelry, receive initiations or any number of other things. Or they may request an animal, usually a chicken or a dove, so the orisha will come to that person’s aid. As a rule, animal sacrifice is called for only in major situations such as sickness or serious misfortune. Animals are also offered when a new priest is consecrated in service of her or his orisha during the birthing process of initiation. In every birth, there is blood.
In our modern society, we have become separated from the concept of death. Even our dead are embalmed and made up to appear living. When we purchase meat to eat or leather to wear, it is preprocessed to remove the shopper from the fact that a life was taken in order that another may live. Meat is wrapped in plastic with a little paper towel to soak up any blood that might remind the buyer of the fact of the animal’s death. The buyer is also kept unaware of the circumstances surrounding the poor animal’s life and, of course, its death. When animals are killed in the slaughterhouse, there is little respect or regard for that animal, the only matter of importance being that the animals are killed cheaply and in great quantity to supply an ever-growing market. In other words, these animals too are sacrificed, though the only deity revered here is greed. We should also take into account that the poultry industry alone kills more animals in one day than Santería has sacrificed worldwide in the last several hundred years!
On the other hand, when an animal is sacrificed in La Regla Lucumí it is first and foremost done with respect: respect for the orisha being offered this life and respect for the little bird whose life is taken in order that we may live better. The animal must be well-cared-for, because it is the property of the orisha. In fact, sometimes the orisha will state that the animal must not die but live with the person, and the orisha expects that animal to be well-cared-for and pampered as theirs.
At the beginning of the sacrifice, when the animal is brought forward, there is a song and action that we perform in acknowledgment that one day our lives will be taken suddenly in much the same way as the animal’s. In this way, our religion differs little from the beliefs of the Native Americans. Here there is a respect for all life, and a respect for the death that must come to all, including ourselves.
Afterwards, if the animal wasn’t used to cleanse a person of illness or misfortune, it is eaten by all the participants. If, on the other hand, it was used for a cleansing, the animal is taken to the place requested by the orisha to complete the offering. These animals cannot be eaten, as we would be eating the sickness or misfortune that was removed from that person.
Whether the ebó is a simple apple or a little chicken, it should always be offered with both hands and an open heart.
She Moves in Mysterious Ways
My relationship with Yemayá
by Iris WaterStar
The first time that I saw an image of Yemayá, two thoughts ran through my head; the first one was “Oh, that’s me,” quickly followed by the second one, which ran along the lines of “What an odd thing to be thinking about a picture on a candle.” This was about two and a half years ago; the candle was one that I saw in a shop on Capitol Hill called Three Furies. I was there looking around with a friend, and this picture seemed to jump out at me. I had absolutely no idea who in the world this was, but I knew that she was wonderful, and so familiar.
It felt like seeing myself, or some part of myself, a part that I wanted to unfold somehow. This candle was one of the tall cylindrical kind; it was green and had a color painting on it. The picture is of a beautiful woman, standing on the waves of a green ocean surrounded by white blossoms. The stars are out in the twilight sky above her; the crescent moon is off to one side. She has long, dark flowing hair and is wearing a long white gown with her arms outstretched. From her hands, golden stars are falling. She has a thin aura above her head and another bright five-pointed star above her head. She is neither smiling or frowning, she simply is as she is.
I had never experienced a candle calling to me like this one did. I picked it up and put it down several times. Each time, I put it down I was aware of the feeling she was meant to go with me. I finally asked the man who ran the store “Who is this?” He wasn’t sure; he said he thought that it was some ocean-type goddess or something, but that some people had come in recently and told him her name. He couldn’t remember it but it was something like… and he pronounced something that I promptly forgot.
He also told me that these people who knew of her said that he had the candle color all wrong, and that it should be blue and not green. I bought the green candle anyway because I didn’t want to wait the couple of weeks it would take to make another candle.
I took the candle home and promptly set up an altar, with the candle as a centerpiece. I had always had shrines but never one that was dedicated to a specific persona. I had some cobalt-blue glass that I put around it, and shells (I am a Pisces so these weren’t hard to come by ); I had an incense burner, and I bought some moon incense. I had seawater and flowers and white candles.
These things just seemed right and felt like what would be appropriate for an ocean goddess. I remember looking at her and being a little in awe of the energy that seemed to be somehow associated with her. At times, I was a little afraid, but then I immediately would get this sense that she had chosen to come home to be with me and so fear wasn’t needed. I still kept a healthy respect for this energy, as well as a growing fondness.
I later went back to the store and purchased another candle with a beautiful turquoise-blue background. I added that to the altar as well. I did a winter solstice ritual in my apartment that year in solitary fashion. I am used to working with spirit guides, as I have worked as a psychic and spiritual teacher for a number of years, and so I wasn’t completely alone in my work that evening. But I was amazed just the same as I did my work and lit the incense and candles. I really felt her yet unnamed presence with me. It was a very powerful night.
It was a few months after this time that a woman came into my life who was soon to become one of my best friends. She came to visit my apartment, and in that visit, I first learned of who this goddess was who had decided to come into my life. Her name, my friend told me, was Yemayá. And I found out I had unknowingly set up my altar with many of her traditional things.
Yemayá has an amazing way of setting things up. I found myself signing up for a drumming class along with several good friends. I had never really been interested in taking a class in drumming, but my friends said that “afoshè,” the rhythm that we would be working with, was really hot. So I went to a couple of classes and found myself not only learning the afoshè beginning drumming technique. By “coincidence,” we also learned a chant in this class; it was one to call up a certain goddess in the Yoruba faith. Guess who? So I ended up learning a song/chant and a rhythm that is traditionally used to invoke Yemayá in the rituals where the orishas “ride” the participants. I had to laugh; how obvious can you get!
I have been aware of Yemayá in many different ways; she speaks to me, and I am aware of her when I meditate sometimes. She is very loving and powerful, and I have an incredible affinity for her. She also has been very respectful of my personal space. In my own private personal magic, I do things that might be considered on the edge. Sometimes my ritual journeying involves extreme sensation, and one such evening, it involved piercing. I had very clear visions and awareness of Yemayá during this session, and it was also somehow associated with my Venezuelan Indian descent. I won’t go into great detail here, since it was quite personal, but suffice it to say that she comes to me very strongly sometimes. Along with working with Yemayá, I have become very conscious of the power of my own blood time and have incorporated this into my rituals as well.
I find it a little odd that I tend to do these things and then find out later that they are already in line with traditional practices. I guess I just do things backwards sometimes. Perhaps it is just as well to not second-guess myself. But nontheless, I am finally gathering written information about her and her traditions.
I am also going through the rite of formally choosing her as the goddess to which I am dedicated. On my altar, these days I have added a lovely statue of her, a new candle with her picture on it, her name and the term “La Diosa del Mar” (the Goddess of the Sea). I even have some Yemayá oil. I also have an amulet that my good friend made for me (the one who told me Yemayá’s name in the first place) that has many of the things sacred to her on it.
One of the most recent things I read called her the “Queen of the Ocean, First Mother of the World, Queen of Waters, owner of waters both sweet and sour. Mother of the children of the fishes, deliverer of her people.” It seems appropriate from this Piscean perspective.
I have since heard on more than one occasion that an orisha (which is what Yemayá is) tends to choose people, as opposed to people choosing the orisha. This certainly was true in my case. I didn’t know at the time I went into that store on Capitol Hill that I was going in to meet my goddess. And other than my actual experiences with her, nothing means as much to me as the original candles that I bought, when I didn’t know anything about her – just the feeling/thought that “Oh, that’s me, there I am.”
by Efun Moyiwa
This article can also be found on Efun Moyiwa’s World Wide Web page, OrishaNet (http://www.seanet.com/~efunmoyiwa/welcome.html).
The orishas are the emissaries of Olodumare or God almighty. They rule over the forces of nature and the endeavors of humanity. They recognize themselves and are recognized through the different numbers and colors that are their marks, and each has their own favorite foods and other things that they like to receive as offerings and gifts. In this way, we make our offerings in the manner they are accustomed to, in the way they have always received them, so that they will recognize our offerings and come to our aid.
The orishas are often best understood by observing the forces of nature they rule over. For instance, you can learn much about Oshún and her children by watching the rivers and streams she rules over and observing that though she always heads toward her sister Yemayá (the Sea) she does so on her own circuitous route. Also observe how the babbling brook and the flash flood reflect her changeable moods. As you observe the orishas at work in the world and in your own lives, you will gain a better understanding of them and their ways. Yes, they are complex, but no more so than any other living being such as you or I. We are also blessed from time to time in the religion with the opportunity to meet the orishas face to face during a bembé where one or more of their priests will be mounted.
Elegba (also referred to as Eleggua or Elegguá) is the owner of the roads and doors in this world. He is the repository of ashé, the spiritual energy that makes up the universe. The colors red and black or white and black are his and codify his contradictory nature. In particular, Elegba stands at the crossroads of the human and the divine, as he is the childlike messenger between the two worlds. In this role, it is not surprising that he has a very close relationship with the orisha of divination, Orunmila. Nothing can be done in either world without his permission. Elegba is always propitiated and always called first before any other orisha as he opens the door between the worlds and opens our roads in life. He recognizes himself and is recognized by the numbers 3 and 21.
Ogún is the god of iron, war and labor. He is the owner of all technology, and because this technology shares in his nature, it is almost always used first for war. As Elegba opens the roads, it is Ogún that clears the roads with his machete. He is recognized in the numbers 7 and the colors green and black.
Oshosi is the third member of the group known as the Guerreros or Warriors and is received along with Elegba, Ogún and Osun in order to protect Guerreros initiates and to open and clear their roads. Oshosi is the hunter and the scout of the orishas and assumes the role of translator for Obatalá, with whom he has a very close relationship. His colors are blue and yellow.
Obatalá is the kindly father of all the orishas and all humanity. He is also the owner of all heads and the mind. Though it was Olorun who created the universe, it is Obatalá who is the creator of the world and humanity. Obatalá is the source of all that is pure, wise, peaceful and compassionate. He has a warrior side, though, through which he enforces justice in the world. His color is white, which is often accented with red, purple and other colors to represent different possible paths. White is most appropriate for Obatalá as it contains all the colors of the rainbow yet is above them. Obatalá is also the only orisha that has both male and female paths.
Oyá is the ruler of the winds, the whirlwind and the gates of the cemetery. Her number is nine, which recalls her title of Yansa, or “Mother of Nine,” in which she rules over the egun or dead. She is also known for the colors of maroon, flowery patterns and nine different colors. She is a fierce warrior who rides to war with Shangó (sharing lightning and fire with him) and was once the wife of Ogún.
Oshún rules over the sweet waters of the world, the brooks, streams and rivers, embodying love, fertility. She also is the one we most often approach to aid us in money matters. She is the youngest of the female orishas but retains the title of Iyalode or great queen. She heals with her sweet waters and with honey, which she also owns. She is the femme fatale of the orishas and once saved the world by luring Ogún out of the forests using her feminine wiles. And, in her path or manifestation of Ibú Ikolé, she saved the world from drought by flying up to heaven (turning into a vulture in the process). Ikolé means Messenger of the House (of Olodumare). For this reason, all who are to be initiated as priests, no matter what orisha rules their head, must go to the river and give account of what they are about to do. She recognizes herself in the colors yellow and gold, and her number is five. Peacocks and vultures are hers, and we use them often to represent her.
Yemayá lives and rules over the seas and lakes. She also rules over maternity in our lives as she is the Mother of All. Her name, a shortened version of Yeyé Omo Eja, means “Mother Whose Children are the Fish” to reflect the fact that her children are uncountable. All life started in the sea; the amniotic fluid inside the mother’s womb is a form of sea where the embryo must transform and evolve through the form of a fish before becoming a human baby. In this way, Yemayá displays herself as truly the mother of all. She, the root of all the paths or manifestations, Olokun is the source of all riches, which she freely gives to her little sister Oshún. She dresses herself in seven skirts of blue and white, and like the seas and profound lakes she is deep and unknowable. In her path of Okutti, she is the queen of witches, carrying within her deep and dark secrets. Her number is seven for the seven seas; her colors are blue and white; and she is most often represented by the fish who are her children.
Perhaps the most “popular” of the orishas, Shangó rules over lightning, thunder, fire, the drums and dance. He is a warrior orisha with quick wits and quick temper and is the epitome of virility. Shangó took the form of the fourth Alafin (supreme king) of Oyó on Earth for a time. He is married to Obba but has relations with Oyá and Oshún. He is an extremely hot-blooded and strong-willed orisha who loves all the pleasures of the world: dance, drumming, women, song and eating. He is “ocanani” with Elegba, meaning they are of one heart. When one sees the quickness with which lightning makes short work of a tree or sees a fire rage through an area, one has witnessed the temper of Shangó in action. Though he traded the Table of Ifá to Orunmila in exchange for the gift of dance, his children have an innate ability for divination. To acknowledge the greatness of this king, all in the religion raise up on the toes of our feet (or rise out our chairs if we are sitting) at the mention of his name. His colors are red and white, and he recognizes himself in the numbers four and six. He is most often represented by a double-headed ax.
Orunmila is the orisha of wisdom and divination. He was the only orisha allowed to witness the creation of the universe by Olorun and bears witness to our destinies in the making as well. This is the source of his title of Eleri Ipin or “Witness to Destiny in its Creation.” His priests, the babalawos or “Fathers of the Secrets,” must devote themselves entirely to the practice of divination and the accompanying arts. Through the Table of Ifá, his priests unfold the secrets of the universe and the secrets of the unfolding of our lives. His colors are green and yellow, which reflect Orunmila’s relationship with Osayín (the secrets of the plant world) and with Oshún, who is his apeteví, with whom he has an extremely close relationship. Orunmila is wisdom and Oshún is knowledge, for wisdom without knowledge is useless, and one who has knowledge without wisdom is merely a danger to themselves and others.
by Efun Moyiwa
This article can also be found on Efun Moyiwa’s World Wide Web page, OrishaNet (http://www.seanet.com/~efunmoyiwa/welcome.html).
Santería, or La Regla Lucumí, originates in West Africa in what is now Nigeria and Benin. It is the traditional religion of the Yoruba peoples there. The slave trade brought many of these people to the shores of Cuba, Brazil, Haiti, Trinidad and Puerto Rico, among other places. But along with the bodies being brought over for sale into a life of misery, something else was being brought along. Their souls. And their religion.
First of all, Santería is not a “primitive” religion. On the contrary, the Yorubas were and are a very civilized people with a rich culture and deep sense of ethics. We believe in one god known as Olorun or Olodumare. Olorun is the source of ashé, the spiritual energy that makes up the universe, all life and all things material.
Olorun interacts with the world and humankind through emissaries. These emissaries are called orishas. The orishas rule over every force of nature and every aspect of human life. They are approachable and can be counted on to come to the aid of their followers, guiding us to a better life materially as well as spiritually.
Communication between orishas and humankind is accomplished through ritual, prayer, divination and ebó or offerings (which includes sacrifice). Song, rhythms and trance possession are also means with which we interact with the orishas and with which we are able to affect our day-to-day lives so that we may lead deeper and fuller lives during our stay in this world.
In the New World, the orishas and much of the religion was hidden behind a facade of Catholicism, with the orishas themselves represented by various saints. The slave owners would then say, “Look at how pious this slave is. She spends all of her time worshipping Saint Barbara.” Unbeknownst to them, she would actually be praying to Shangó, the lord of lightning, fire and the dance, perhaps even praying for deliverance from that very slave owner. This is how the religion came to be known as Santería. The memory of this period of our history is also why many in our religion regard the term Santería as a derogatory.
The traditions of Santería are fiercely preserved, and full knowledge of the rites, songs and language is prerequisites to any deep involvement in the religion. Initiates must follow a strict regimen and are answerable to Olorun and the orishas for their actions. As a person passes through each initiation in the tradition, this knowledge deepens and their abilities and responsibilities grow accordingly. In fact, during the entire first year of their initiation into the priesthood, the initiate or iyawó or “bride” of the orisha must dress in white. The iyawo must not look into a mirror, touch anyone or allow themselves to be touched, and they may not wear makeup or go out at night for this year.
La Santería is famous for its “magic.” This magic is based on a knowledge of the mysteries or orishas and how to interact with them to better our lives and the lives of those who come to us for the aid of the orishas. We live under the premise that this world is a magical one. This knowledge seems “supernatural” only to those who don’t understand it, but it really is quite natural.
Although the people were yanked away from their homes in Africa and enslaved in the New World, the orishas, the religion and its power could never be chained down, and the religion survives now – not as an anachronism, but ever-growing, even now in such places as France and the Netherlands.
Maferefún gbogbo orisha!
On this ‘National Tailors Day’ I want to discuss a truly powerful Feng Shui adjustment that uses red thread to bring good fortune. The ‘Four Red Strings’ cure is also activated when you need to confront problems that seem insurmountable. In each corner of the bedroom, hang a piece of red thread from ceiling to floor. These four strings symbolize the legendary columns that Feng Shui says holds up the canopy of heaven. They also represent a mystical connection linking heaven and earth while also invoking the heavens to intercede on your behalf. The object here is to remove obstacles by using the four corners of your bedroom so you can sleep soundly at night. Then fasten a nine-inch piece of red thread at the center point between the ceiling and the floor. Once the strings have been installed, say the secret ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ mantra nine times for each string while envisioning receiving the assistance you need to overcome obstacles and engage fortunate energies. If you undertake this magical Feng Shui cure, your own silver lining will be all but sewn up!
By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com