Candlemas: The Light Returns

Candlemas: The Light Returns

by Mike Nichols

It seems quite impossible that the holiday of Candlemas should be considered the beginning of Spring. Here in the Heartland, February 2nd may see a blanket of snow mantling the Mother. Or, if the snows have gone, you may be sure the days are filled with drizzle, slush and steel-grey skies — the dreariest weather of the year. In short, the perfect time for a Pagan Festival of Lights. And as for Spring, although this may seem a tenuous beginning, all the little buds, flowers and leaves will have arrived on schedule before Spring runs its course to Beltane.

‘Candlemas’ is the Christianized name for the holiday, of course. The older Pagan names were Imbolc and Oimelc. ‘Imbolc’ means, literally, ‘in the belly’ (of the Mother). For in the womb of Mother Earth, hidden from our mundane sight but sensed by a keener vision, there are stirrings. The seed that was planted in her womb at the solstice is quickening and the new year grows. ‘Oimelc’ means ‘milk of ewes’, for it is also lambing season.

The holiday is also called ‘Brigit’s Day’, in honor of the great Irish Goddess Brigit. At her shrine, the ancient Irish capitol of Kildare, a group of 19 priestesses (no men allowed) kept a perpetual flame burning in her honor. She was considered a goddess of fire, patroness of smithcraft, poetry and healing (especially the healing touch of midwifery). This tripartite symbolism was occasionally expressed by saying that Brigit had two sisters, also named Brigit. (Incidentally, another form of the name Brigit is Bride, and it is thus She bestows her special patronage on any woman about to be married or handfasted, the woman being called ‘bride’ in her honor.)

The Roman Catholic Church could not very easily call the Great Goddess of Ireland a demon, so they canonized her instead. Henceforth, she would be ‘Saint’ Brigit, Patron Saint of smithcraft, poetry and healing. They ‘explained’ this by telling the Irish peasants that Brigit was ‘really’ an early Christian missionary sent to the Emerald Isle, and that the miracles she performed there ‘misled’ the common people into believing that she was a goddess. For some reason, the Irish swallowed this. (There is no limit to what the Irish imagination can convince itself of. For example, they also came to believe that Brigit was the ‘foster-mother’ of Jesus, giving no thought to the implausibility of Jesus having spent his boyhood in Ireland!)

Brigit’s holiday was chiefly marked by the kindling of sacred fires, since she symbolized the fire of birth and healing, the fire of the forge, and the fire of poetic inspiration. Bonfires were lighted on the beacon tors, and chandlers celebrated their special holiday. The Roman Church was quick to confiscate this symbolism as well, using ‘Candlemas’ as the day to bless all the church candles that would be used for the coming liturgical year. (Catholics will be reminded that the following day, St. Blaise’s Day, is remembered for using the newly blessed candles to bless the throats of parishioners, keeping them from colds, flu, sore throats, etc.)

The Catholic Church, never one to refrain from piling holiday upon holiday, also called it the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (It is surprising how many of the old Pagan holidays were converted to Maryan Feasts.) The symbol of the Purification may seem a little obscure to modern readers, but it has to do with the old custom of ‘churching women’. It was believed that women were impure for six weeks after giving birth. And since Mary gave birth at the winter solstice, she wouldn’t be purified until February 2nd. In Pagan symbolism, this might be re-translated as when the Great Mother once again becomes the Young Maiden Goddess.

Today, this holiday is chiefly connected to weather lore. Even our American folk-calendar keeps the tradition of ‘Groundhog’s Day’, a day to predict the coming weather, telling us that if the Groundhog sees his shadow, there will be ‘six more weeks’ of bad weather (i.e., until the next old holiday, Lady Day). This custom is ancient. An old British rhyme tells us that ‘If Candlemas Day be bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.’ Actually, all of the cross-quarter days can be used as ‘inverse’ weather predictors, whereas the quarter-days are used as ‘direct’ weather predictors.

Like the other High Holidays or Great Sabbats of the Witches’ year, Candlemas is sometimes celebrated on its alternate date, astrologically determined by the sun’s reaching 15-degrees Aquarius, or Candlemas Old Style (in 1988, February 3rd, at 9:03 am CST). Another holiday that gets mixed up in this is Valentine’s Day. Ozark folklorist Vance Randolf makes this quite clear by noting that the old-timers used to celebrate Groundhog’s Day on February 14th. This same displacement is evident in Eastern Orthodox Christianity as well. Their habit of celebrating the birth of Jesus on January 6th, with a similar post-dated shift in the six-week period that follows it, puts the Feast of the Purification of Mary on February 14th. It is amazing to think that the same confusion and lateral displacement of one of the old folk holidays can be seen from the Russian steppes to the Ozark hills, but such seems to be the case!

Incidentally, there is speculation among linguistic scholars that the very name of ‘Valentine’ has Pagan origins. It seems that it was customary for French peasants of the Middle Ages to pronounce a ‘g’ as a ‘v’. Consequently, the original term may have been the French ‘galantine’, which yields the English word ‘gallant’. The word originally refers to a dashing young man known for his ‘affaires d’amour’, a true galaunt. The usual associations of V(G)alantine’s Day make much more sense in this light than their vague connection to a legendary ‘St. Valentine’ can produce. Indeed, the Church has always found it rather difficult to explain this nebulous saint’s connection to the secular pleasures of flirtation and courtly love.

For modern Witches, Candlemas O.S. may then be seen as the Pagan version of Valentine’s Day, with a de-emphasis of ‘hearts and flowers’ and an appropriate re-emphasis of Pagan carnal frivolity. This also re-aligns the holiday with the ancient Roman Lupercalia, a fertility festival held at this time, in which the priests of Pan ran through the streets of Rome whacking young women with goatskin thongs to make them fertile. The women seemed to enjoy the attention and often stripped in order to afford better targets.

One of the nicest folk-customs still practiced in many countries, and especially by Witches in the British Isles and parts of the U.S., is to place a lighted candle in each and every window of the house, beginning at sundown on Candlemas Eve (February 1st), allowing them to continue burning until sunrise. Make sure that such candles are well seated against tipping and guarded from nearby curtains, etc. What a cheery sight it is on this cold, bleak and dreary night to see house after house with candle-lit windows! And, of course, if you are your Coven’s chandler, or if you just happen to like making candles, Candlemas Day is the day for doing it. Some Covens hold candle-making parties and try to make and bless all the candles they’ll be using for the whole year on this day.

Other customs of the holiday include weaving ‘Brigit’s crosses’ from straw or wheat to hang around the house for protection, performing rites of spiritual cleansing and purification, making ‘Brigit’s beds’ to ensure fertility of mind and spirit (and body, if desired), and making Crowns of Light (i.e. of candles) for the High Priestess to wear for the Candlemas Circle, similar to those worn on St. Lucy’s Day in Scandinavian countries. All in all, this Pagan Festival of Lights, sacred to the young Maiden Goddess, is one of the most beautiful and poetic of the year.

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A Little Humor for Your Day – How To Be A Big Success On Pagan Online Groups

How To Be A Big Success On Pagan Online Groups

  1. Never go for the simple direct honest approach. Who you really are will never impress anyone.
  2. Always favor the magickal angle over the mundane– at least where benefit to you & detriment to your opponents are concerned.
  3. Don’t accept any mainstream knowledge/beliefs except as they support your magickal beliefs.
  4. Never answer a question directly. Change the focus whenever possible.
  5. When asked for proof/evidence, demand that your claims be disproved instead.
  6. Use as much incomprehensible arcane jargon as possible. Alternately, use as much scientific sounding jargon as possible.
  7. When all else fails, change the subject. If others remain on topic, badger them & accuse them of evading the real issue.
  8. Make ad hominum attacks. Accuse others of tasteless or unethical or illegal behavior. Make tasteless jokes at their expense even if you are accusing them of tasteless behavior. If they remain on topic, up the ante. If they react, change the topic to their anger. Accuse them of provoking you or of having no sense of humor.
  9. Claim that your detractors are close-minded, intolerant, afraid.
  10. When your position seems hopeless, everyone is laughing at you & you have no credibility, threaten everyone within reach with a lawsuit.
  11. Open accounts under other names & post messages of agreement with yourself. This will help you to appear to have support.
  12. Remind your detractors that you’ve handed over all of the information you’ve collected on them to an attorney/agency of the government/whatever. Mention that their day of reckoning is just around the corner.
  13. Assert that anyone who does not immediately agree with you is intellectually            deficient/ magickally incompetent/ethically impaired.
  14. Invent impressive-sounding magickal accomplishments for yourself. Mention them often, but only in passing.
  15. Create an intellectual life. You are writing/have written an important book on the subject; you are pursuing/have completed vital research in the field. If you have an academic degree, flaunt it. If not, lie.
  16. Claim that there is no evidence that you are a fraud, liar, troll. Ignore any actual proof or insist that it was taken out of context etc.
  17. Dig out references which support your position. Complain when someone presents a counter-reference. Insist that this means that they are mindless drones incapable of independent thought. Ignore the contradiction.
  18. Remember when describing your position to start with an assumption or supposition. By the time that you get to the third or fourth point you can refer to it as a fact. Most will never notice & you win.
  19. Post more agreement from your ‘supporters’.
  20. Insist that any problem which you may experience in any communications medium, but especially on the internet, is just another example of the conspiracy to silence you & the truth.

    — © 1999, R. A. Vosburg

 

Turok’s Cabana

http://turoks.net/Cabana/

Your What Was Suppose To Happen Horoscopes for January 29th

We may feel overloaded with facts today as we sift through the incoming data. The intellectually discriminating Virgo Moon raises the bar of acceptability now as we dismiss information that doesn’t stand up to our highest standards. However, concentration is challenged this morning as the emotional Moon squares boundless Jupiter in scattered Gemini. Thankfully, it’s easier to focus when the Moon harmonizes with perceptive Pluto later in the day.

Aries Horoscope

(Mar 21 – Apr 19)

Even the unimportant things can be annoying today, especially if they are the result of careless thinking. Unfortunately, you may be in a hurry and judge others harshly if they can’t keep up with your pace. However, practicing patience helps your day flow smoothly and makes everything run more efficiently in the long run. Remember, not everyone is as fast as you.

Taurus Horoscope

(Apr 20 – May 20)

There isn’t a lot of room for frivolous activities today; however, a bit of fun isn’t out of the question. You are eager to temporarily set aside your responsibilities, especially if you believe that you can learn something from an extracurricular experience. Find out in advance how much time you need to allow for play so you can finish up your chores later. It will be easier to escape for a while if you already know that you have your bases covered.

Gemini Horoscope

(May 21 – Jun 20)

You might not be the most meticulous worker in the world, yet you can move very quickly once you start a job. However, you may put extra attention toward the details today if you are trying to impress someone, especially your boss. But your work could still fall short of other people’s expectations, even if your intentions are honorable. Nevertheless, don’t be too self-critical; just do the best you can and move on to what’s next.

Cancer Horoscope

(Jun 21 – Jul 22)

You may do better today if you schedule your activities in advance, rather than flying by the seat of your pants. Attend to your commitments early on so you can also make time to get in touch with your inner self through prayer, meditation, or meaningful conversations with friends. Meeting your obligations is important, but don’t be so focused on the clock that you miss a truly wonderful opportunity to connect with your heart.

Leo Horoscope

(Jul 23 – Aug 22)

Make time to catch up on financial matters today since your mental acuity is even sharper than usual. However, the best application of your skills isn’t just to pay bills or balance your accounts. The issues are currently bigger, so sit back and reassess what’s of most value to you. If you must make a choice about allocating funds now, use your resources in the most practical way possible.

Virgo Horoscope

(Aug 23 – Sep 22)

You might feel somewhat uncomfortable with your irrational mood swings today as the emotional Moon visits your analytical sign. Avoid any tasks that require high levels of concentration, for you may not be able to prevent your mind from wandering now. Even if you want to take the day off, you’re unwilling to disappoint those who depend on you. However, scheduling short breaks throughout the day improves your ability to focus on the work at hand.

Libra Horoscope

(Sep 23 – Oct 22)

It’s becoming harder every day to contain yourself, but you’re probably not quite ready to let others know your feelings yet. Ironically, keeping your emotions to yourself now can heighten your spiritual awareness — as long as you don’t slip into denial about what’s occurring. Try not to succumb to external pressures; you’ll know exactly when to act if you trust your own intuition more than anyone else’s advice.

Scorpio Horoscope

(Oct 23 – Nov 21)

Spending time with your friends and associates today offers the change of pace you seek, but don’t try to micromanage your social activities. Instead of wasting time by attempting to create a memorable event, stay flexible without assuming control of the situation. Ultimately, you have more fun and are more effective today when you are acting spontaneously, instead of working from a script.

Sagittarius Horoscope

(Nov 22 – Dec 21)

Attempts to accomplish too many things all at once today could lead to doing a poor job at all of them. Tread lightly in all of your interactions because understating your responses is the most efficient use of your energy now. Just take care of each problem as it pops up in a calm and collected manner. Your enthusiasm suddenly returns when others recognize how well you are handling a complicated situation.

Capricorn Horoscope

(Dec 22 – Jan 19)

There are powerful forces at work today, yet they may be hiding behind the scenes so you can’t see them directly. Your personal proverb du jour might be “out of sight, out of mind,” but, ultimately, this isn’t the smartest strategy. Your tendency is to overlook minor details now, but a small thing could be the catalyst that turns your day around. Instead of jumping from one task to another, stick with each one until you are sure that the energy has run its course.

Aquarius Horoscope

(Jan 20 – Feb 18)

Consider the potential benefits of working in close collaboration with a partner now, whether you’re starting a new endeavor or simply doing a project around the house. Another person can bring important information or an interesting perspective to your work. However, you may be so quick to criticize the contributions of others today that you shut them up before you hear what they have to say. Don’t be judgmental or you might miss out on a really great idea.

Pisces Horoscope

(Feb 19 – Mar 20)

You may feel as if everything you do today falls short of other people’s expectations. But if someone is highly critical of your actions, he or she might not understand you or your behavior. Rather than responding as an unappreciated victim, take time to carefully explain your intentions. Even if you’re going over familiar territory, it’s healthier to share your hurt feelings instead of hiding them. Starting an honest dialogue provides an opportunity to clear the air once and for all.

Your Love Horoscopes for the Week of January 28th

Relationship rules may shift this weekend as the planetary lovers Venus and Mars change signs on Friday. The alluring planet of amour enters Aquarius where independence and unconventionality trump tradition and sentiment. Yet energetic Mars’ move into gentle Pisces adds tender touches and a reluctance to come on strong. Volunteering for a cause or serving a higher purpose, though, is a wonderful way to connect.
Aries Horoscope
Aries Horoscope (Mar 21 – Apr 19)

Let the pleasures you seek come to you instead of pushing so hard to pursue them this weekend. Your ruling planet Mars softens on Friday upon entering spiritual Pisces, encouraging you to be more open to receiving love and affection. This emotional interlude is best spent in quiet places where you don’t have to shout to be heard above the noise of the crowd. Privacy is especially precious now because it allows you to reveal your vulnerable side and invite a companion into your heart.

Taurus Horoscope
Taurus Horoscope (Apr 20 – May 20)

A relationship can head off in a radically different direction when your magnetic ruling planet Venus dances into quirky Aquarius on Friday. Break your social habits and experiment with new ways to play. Don’t give in to pressure from someone who doesn’t want to change. You are happier spending time in the company of a less conventional person rather than trying to please a rigid individual to no avail. Freedom comes first now. It’s okay if you choose to avoid all the drama and escape to a drama-free zone.

Gemini Horoscope
Gemini Horoscope (May 21 – Jun 20)

Your taste for exotic experiences and unconventional people intensifies this weekend. Alluring Venus enters avant-garde Aquarius and your 9th House of Faraway Places on Friday, which makes foreign cultures and intellectually stimulating individuals infinitely more appealing. Learning experiences and educational settings can also provide ample opportunities to meet someone who catches your eye. Conversation is the key ingredient as your mind will lead your heart to love.

Cancer Horoscope
Cancer Horoscope (June 21 – Jul 22)

Your social life gets steamy on Saturday when the Moon slips into sultry Scorpio. This passion heats up your 5th House of Romance and emboldens you to express your desires with greater intensity. Don’t sit back and wait for someone to come to you; get out there and go after what you want. You’re sensitive enough to know how to express your needs without making others uncomfortable. A little bit of seduction goes a long way now toward creating the intimacy you seek.

Leo Horoscope
Leo Horoscope (Jul 23 – Aug 22)

Romance should get a sweet boost this weekend when alluring Venus enters your 7th House of Partners on Friday. But the path to the heart goes through your head now, when being smart can make the difference between delight and disappointment. Attraction to someone who is not your usual type or doing something unexpected with your current partner could produce an extremely pleasant surprise. Explore and experiment to find the treasure you deserve.

Virgo Horoscope
Virgo Horoscope (Aug 23 – Sep 22)

Passionate Mars slips into your 7th House of Relationships on Friday to add a touch of magic to your personal life over the next six weeks. Tenderness and compassion are the keys to finding inspiration with your current partner or in connecting with someone new. Your hopes are high, which opens the door to intimacy, but your ability to assess others could be a little fuzzy. It’s fine to indulge in a fantasy romance as long as you don’t build your future on it.

Libra Horoscope
Libra Horoscope (Sep 23 – Oct 22)

You should be ready to rock out this weekend as your magnetic ruling planet Venus dances into your playful 5th House on Friday. A cool new look and an outgoing attitude are bound to attract plenty of attention your way without the appearance of searching for it. Having a cheerful disposition and being creative in your approach makes you someone others naturally want to be around. Being friendly is a plus as long as an undesirable person doesn’t misread your signals. Establishing clear boundaries avoids any misunderstandings spoiling your fun.

Scorpio Horoscope
Scorpio Horoscope (Oct 23 – Nov 21)

Action-planet Mars slides into dreamy Pisces and your 5th House of Romance on Friday, which should add some juice to your social life for the next six weeks. Let your imagination run free to play whatever kind of role you want. The evocative Moon’s presence in your sign on Saturday creates another layer of passion and intensity that is likely to bring your feelings to the surface. But learning to express those strong emotions in a lighthearted manner makes you nearly impossible to resist.

Sagittarius Horoscope
Sagittarius Horoscope (Nov 22 – Dec 21)

Your sense of humor could be wicked this weekend with flirty Venus entering brainy Aquarius on Friday. This cosmic shift occurs in your communicative 3rd House, which should make you a fascinating conversationalist over the next six weeks. A casual little chat in a coffee shop could turn into something more personal if you play your cards right. Nevertheless, knowing when to back off from the jokes is essential because the mood can be broken quickly with one inappropriate remark. Watch for the subtle clues so you don’t inadvertently scare off the person you want most.

Capricorn Horoscope
Capricorn Horoscope (Dec 22 – Jan 19)

A feeling of freedom can lift your sense of self-worth when valuable Venus enters liberating Aquarius on Friday. This confidence boost occurs in your 2nd House of Assets where you grow more desirable by taking some unusual risks. Showing a less conventional side of your personality and breaking some of your personal rules is exciting for you and appealing to others. Lighten up now and people should find you to be more irresistible than ever.

Aquarius Horoscope
Aquarius Horoscope (Jan 20 – Feb 18)

Your time to shine starts on Friday when alluring Venus enters your trendsetting sign. Your magnetism increases when you show off your originality and inventiveness. Sure, being a little different may not appeal to everyone’s taste but you’re not trying to win an election. Celebrating your personal style and unique form of beauty is a great way to have fun and pull someone who appreciates your individuality into your unconventional orbit.

Pisces Horoscope
Pisces Horoscope (Feb 19 – Mar 20)

You should feel a desire to take on new challenges this weekend as restless Mars enters your sign on Friday. This is not an invitation to behave recklessly but is a reminder to take charge of your personal life. You know how to push people in a gentle way that doesn’t appear bossy but makes your desires known. Taking initiative in relationships is a must since you’re the one with the drive, the imagination and the inspiration to make magic happen.

Nightly Cosmic Calendar for Tuesday, January 29th

Putting too much on your plate right now may be counter-productive as the Moon in Virgo squares Jupiter in Gemini (3:15AM PST). Keep in mind that 24 hours from now, Jupiter will finally station and turn direct after almost four months of retrograde motion.  While it is wise to slow your tempo in educational, business and professional matters, a Sun-Vesta trine in air signs (7:05AM PST) can spark your interest in exploring new options on the investment front. Look into what makes the stock, bond, commodity and precious-metal markets tick. Health and dietary concerns are back on center stage with the Moon in Virgo. Consider using a juicer to add vitamins and minerals to your nutritional intake.  If you are feeling the urge to pull away from the crowd, chalk it up to the combination of hermit-like Virgo Moon as well as a supportive, 60-degree tie between the lunar orb and Saturn (12:14PM PST). Learn crucial lessons from history books, almanacs and biographies as Jupiter — the largest planet in the solar system — is poised to shift gears tomorrow morning.

Hey, the Current Moon Phase for January 29th: Waning Gibbous

Gibbous Moon

(waning /92% illumination)

This is a tremendous time of transmutation. All of the prior elements are coming together for a final burst of creative output. You have seen a clear view of your own needs and the posture of significant others. Now the accumulation of that input is leading to a deep, core change within you. In this phase, you will naturally be inclined to seek higher guidance so that you can emerge from this transformation successfully. The Disseminting Moon favors sharing what you have learned (and are learning) with others.

The Witches Spell for Tuesday, January 29th: Spell to Remember Your Past Life

Spell to Remember Your Past Life

 

What You’ll Need:

a white candle

a glass filled with water and flower petals

a mirror

Place the mirror inside the bowl. Light the candle and place it and the bowl beside your bed. When you are in your meditative state, surrounded by light, Imagine a television. The television should give you the sense of being in front of your physical body, and NOT in your head. If you see the television in your mind’s  eye then you are not doing this technique correctly.

See your life going back, yesterday, last year, your childhood, your birth, the safety of your Mother’s womb, go back further. Don’t think – “Oh what’s before that?” It should come to you naturally, you may be transported to a memory anytime throughout you past life, it may be a mundane moment, it may be something exciting, it may be you sleeping!

If you find yourself implanting details or trying to FILL in the blank (there probably will be some missing details the first time around) STOP and try again. You may want to listen to a past life regression hypnosis or meditation if you find it too  difficult to do on your own.

The Witches Spell for Monday, January 28th: A Spell To See The Great Spirits/Deities

Witchy Comments & Graphics
A Spell To See The Great Spirits/Deities

To see spirits, old European grimoires recommend mixing together aloe, pepper, musk, vervain and saffron, and burning this in a cemetery. We can adapt this for other locations (like those in which the spirit lived) by adding a bit of sweetgrass or tobacco to a specially prepared incense. Create the incense on the anniversary of the death of the individual you wish to contact. This is the burned at 11 am, in the safety of a magick circle that also holds symbolic items to connect you to the entity.

An incantation to encourage the spirit’s presence is:

“Guardians of the Spirit realm,

hear and guide my plea.

When the witching hour rings true,

bring my relationship, name of person to me.

Other souls who hear my call,

are not welcome in this place.

Only the one known as name of person may enter sacred space.”

Repeat the request three times, twenty minutes apart, then wait quietly for indications of a presence. Signs include the scent of flowers, or favored cologne, a cool wind, movement of curtains, and candles going out or twitching erratically. Once you feel sure the spirit is with you, do not make it tarry overly long. Take care of your business, say farewell, and thank the guardians for their assistance before closing the circle.

A Word of Caution:

Spiritual entities should not be banished or called for amusement. It is best

to contact a knowledgeable, experienced psychic for advice or assistance

before undertaking any spells of this type. It is used for communication,

and understanding the purpose of spirits. The best times are in-between

times, such as noon, midnight, dusk and dawn. Halloween. Seasons of late fall

and winter. When the Moon is in Libra. Eclipses. Wednesday.

The Witches Correspendence for Tuesday, January 29th


Dragon Comments & Graphics

The Witches Correspondence for Tuesday, January 29th

 

Magickal Intentions: Courage, Physical Strength, Revenge, Military Honors, Surgery and the Breaking of Negative Spells, Matrimony, War, Enemies, Prison, Vitality and Assertiveness
Incense: Dragon’s Blood, Patchouli
Planet: Mars
Sign: Aries and Scorpio
Angel: Samuel
Colors: Red and Orange
Herbs/Plants:Red Rose, Cock’s Comb, Pine, Daisy, Thyme and Pepper
Stones: Carnelian, Bloodstone, Ruby, Garnet and Pink Tourmaline
Oil: (Mars) Basil, Coriander, Ginger

Mars rules Tuesday. The energies of this day best harmonize with efforts of masculine vibration, such as conflict, physical endurance and strength, lust, hunting, sports, and all types of competition. Use them, too, for rituals involving surgical procedures or political ventures