Black hole at the center of our Galaxy imaged for the first time

The second-ever direct image of a black hole — Sagittarius A*, at the centre of the Milky Way.Credit: Event Horizon Telescope collaboration

The Event Horizon Telescope network has captured the second-ever direct image of a black hole — called Sagittarius A* — at the center of the Milky Way.

Radio astronomers have imaged the super massive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. It is only the second-ever direct image of a black hole, after the same team unveiled a historic picture of a more distant black hole in 2019.

The long-awaited results, presented today by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration, show an image reminiscent of the earlier one, with a ring of radiation surrounding a darker disk of precisely the size that was predicted from indirect observations and from Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity.

“Today, right this moment, we have direct evidence that this object is a black hole,” said astrophysicist Sara Issaoun of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics at a press conference in Garching, Germany.

“We’ve been working on this for so long, every once and a while you have to pinch yourself and remember that this is the black hole at the centre of our Universe,” said computational-imaging researcher and former EHT team member Katie Bouman at a press conference in Washington, DC. “I mean, what’s more cool than seeing the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way?”

Black-hole observations …

Click here to read the rest of this article about the Milk Way’s Black Hole

Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Central Milky Way from Lagoon to Pipe

Image Credit & Copyright: Gabriel Rodrigues Santos

Explanation: Dark markings and colorful clouds inhabit this stellar landscape. The deep and expansive view spans more than 30 full moons across crowded star fields toward the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Cataloged in the early 20th century by astronomer E. E. Barnard, the obscuring interstellar dust clouds seen toward the right include B59, B72, B77 and B78, part of the Ophiuchus molecular cloud complex a mere 450 light-years away. To the eye their combined shape suggests a pipe stem and bowl, and so the dark nebula’s popular name is the Pipe Nebula. Three bright nebulae gathered on the left are stellar nurseries some 5,000 light-years distant toward the constellation Sagittarius. In the 18th century astronomer Charles Messier included two of them in his catalog of bright clusters and nebulae; M8, the largest of the triplet, and colorful M20 just above. The third prominent emission region includes NGC 6559 at the far left. Itself divided by obscuring dust lanes, M20 is also known as the Trifid. M8’s popular moniker is the Lagoon Nebula.

Astronomy Picture of the Day – Milky Way with Airglow Australis

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.

2015 September 4

Milky Way with Airglow Australis
Image Credit & Copyright: Yuri Beletsky (Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory)


Explanation: After sunset on September 1, an exceptionally intense, reddish airglow flooded this Chilean winter night skyscape. Above a sea of clouds and flanking the celestial Milky Way, the airglow seems to ripple and flow across the northern horizon in atmospheric waves. Originating at an altitude similar to aurorae, the luminous airglow is instead due to chemiluminescence, the production of light through chemical excitation. Commonly captured with a greenish tinge by sensitive digital cameras, this reddish airglow emission is from OH molecules and oxygen atoms at extremely low densities and has often been present in southern hemisphere nights during the last few years. On this night it was visible to the eye, but seen without color. Antares and the central Milky Way lie near the top, with bright star Arcturus at left. Straddling the Milky Way close to the horizon are Vega, Deneb, and Altair, known in northern nights as the stars of the Summer Triangle.

Daily Feng Shui News for Feb. 18th – ‘Pluto Day’

It was on this date in 1930 that ex-planet Pluto was discovered. On this ‘Pluto Day,’ download an image of Pluto’s glyph and reproduce it in cornmeal on the threshold of your entryway door. It is said that doing so will attract the formidable attributes that Pluto is famous for. Considering that Pluto wields considerable power, you can expect to feel pretty potent after enacting this exercise. Let the cornmeal blow away or sweep it away after leaving it in place for twenty-four hours.

By Ellen Whitehurst for

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Calendar of the Sun for January 22nd

Calendar of the Sun

22 Wolfmonath

Day of the Water Bearer – Beginning of Aquarius

Colors: Purple and electric blue
Element: Air
Altar: Set with cloth of purple and electric blue, with a tall glass vase holding carbonated water, or plain water with dry ice in it, a feather from a large bird, incense, and a Uranus symbol.
Offerings: A joke that no one has heard yet. Do something differently, or in a new way.
Daily Meal: Waterfowl such as duck or goose. Or try an entirely new and preferably foreign sort of cooking or diet for the day.

Invocation to Aquarius

Bearer of the heavenly waters
Of knowledge and inspiration,
The ebb and flow of the Apsu,
Dipped from the Milky Way,
Neither man nor woman,
Looking ahead in time,
Whose gift is Newness,
Bless us with the ability
To be ready for the future
And all it may bring,
And welcome rather than fear changes.
By the power of all inspiration,
You challenge us
To be open to new things,
And never to give in to stagnation.
May we all go forth in wonder.

Wearing my long wing feathers as I fly
Wearing my long wing feathers as I fly
I circle around
I circle around
The boundaries of the Earth.

(Let all present hold hands and dance a simple circle dance while chanting, hands raised high between them. One who is chosen to do the work of the ritual should stand with a great fan, and fan air at the dancers as they pass, like a great wind.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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Swan Maiden Meditation

Swan Maiden Meditation

(Wolf Moon)
Tonight you will be dreaming with the Swan Maidens. Said to have created the Milky Way they dress in feathers and wear  silver or gold necklaces and crowns. They are partial to moonstones, skylarks, butterflies, and flowers. Swan Maidens appear as white swans or beautiful and  humanlike, with large eyes and white skin scented like lilies. Only dangerous when threatened, they are graceful and enchantingly beautiful faeries known for  their powerful magick and helpful ways.
As you are drifting off to sleep, imagine your arms becoming wings. Moving them up and down, you begin to fly up in the  air. You find yourself in a flock of Swan Maidens, who take you to an enchanted place where golden chains hold up palaces hanging from a giant tree. Below is  a pool of water that contains all knowledge and wisdom.
You fly down next to the pool of water and look up at the towering tree that houses all realms of being. You think about  something you want to know and reach down to scoop up a handful of the water. As you drink, the knowledge rushes into every part of your being. Give yourself  the suggestion that you will remember what you want to know when you wake up in the morning. When you awaken, make a note of all you recall from your dreams  in your journal.
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And In The Beginning……….

Celtic & British Isles Graphics
     In the beginning there was neither matter nor energy, neither was
there  space nor  time,  force  and  form  were not.    Yet  there  was
Something.   Poised between Spirit and Void, without form or qualities,
pure potentiality,  the  first physical  manifestation  had  existence.
Scientists call it the  Primordial Singularity, occultists call  it the
Cosmic Egg.

It changed, and the first moment of time came to be.  It
expanded, and space was born.   Not the space we know, but  one of many
dimensions, and that space was filled with the first Force.  So intense
was that Force  that space  itself altered. Dimensions  folded back  on
themselves, while others expanded mightily.  The first Form came to be.
As the infant  universe expanded it changed subtly, and as naturally as
snowflakes  forming  in  the  air,  the  first  material  manifestation
precipitated out of nothingness.  Neither matter nor
energy as we know  them, but yet both.  The Element Fire was born.  The
universe continued to expand, and the one Force became two forces, then
three  and finally four.  Matter and energy became distinguishable, and
the Element  Earth was born from  Fire.  A hundred  thousand years went
by,  and the  universe  continued  to  expand  and  cool  until,  quite
suddenly, the fire died,  space became transparent to light,  and there
were great clouds of cool gas, moving freely.
The  Element Air  was born.   The clouds  began to  draw together, then
break apart into smaller clouds, and  smaller still, until a limit  was
reached,  and   a  hundred   thousand  clouds  collapsed   inward  upon
themselves, swirling and twisting,  flattening and smoothing, rippling,
and organizing themselves.  The Element Water was born.

One cloud, like many of its siblings, took on structure like a
great pinwheel, with  spiral arms stretching out  from its center.   It
was  Galaxias, our Milky Way.   Within its  turbulent swirling, smaller
eddies formed and contracted,  tighter and tighter.   At the center  of
one a spark grew bright then another and another.  The first stars were
lighted,  and shown  in a  universe grown  dark.   Many of  them burned
prodigally for  a time and  then exploded,  hurling the ashes  of their
burning outward, ashes such as oxygen and carbon and
nitrogen; star  stuff, life stuff.  Generations  of stars came and went
over the billions of years, and  out in one of the spiral arms  a cloud
of  gas and  dust began  to collapse like  so many  others before.   It
contracted, and  a  new star  lighted,  with a  disc  of dust  and  gas
circling it.  The disc became lumpy  as grains of dust and crystals  of
ice collided  and stuck together.   The lumps touched  and merged, ever
growing in the light of  the young star.  Finally, nine  bodies circled
the new star,  which would one day be  called Sol, or simply,  the Sun.
Third out from the  sun a rare event  had happened.  Two young  planets
had collided  and merged violently,  forming a  single planet.   In the
violence of  that  collision, part  of the  surfaces of  both had  been
ripped off and hurled  out to form a ring of  molten rock which quickly
drew together  to form a giant satellite.   The Earth and  the Moon had
been born in a passionate joining.

As the young Earth cooled, great volcanos belched forth gases from
its still  hot interior.   An atmosphere  of steam  and carbon  dioxide
formed and then  clouds appeared.  The first  rains began, pouring down
on the rocks and  washing down into  the low places.   The oceans  were
born.    Water  evaporated from  the  oceans  and fell  again  as rain,
dissolving minerals from the rocks and carrying them into the sea.  The
early ocean became richer  and richer in dissolved minerals  and gases.
Lightning in the young atmosphere formed new substances
which added to the complexity of  the mix.  The dissolved substances in
the  oceans became  more and  more  complex, until  one  day a  complex
molecule attracted simpler  compounds to  itself, and  then there  were
two, then four.  Life was born.

From its simple origins, Life grew in complexity, until one day a patch
of green appeared,  drawing energy  from the Sun,  and exuding  oxygen.
Within  a short time the atmosphere changed  radically.  The sky became
blue, the air  clear and rich in oxygen.  As the Earth had shaped Life,
so  Life began  to shape  the Earth.     Delicately balancing  and ever
re-balancing between the furnace heat of her sister Venus, and  the icy
cold of her brother Mars, Gaia, the Living Earth, had come to be.

The  first animals  appeared  and swam  in  the oceans.    Then
venturesome  ones  crawled onto  the  land.   The forms  taken  by life
changed.   Fish appeared, and  dragons walked  the land.   Tiny  furred
creatures  supplanted the  great  dragons, whose  descendants now  flew
through the skies, clothed in  feathers.  By and by some  of the furred
creatures came  down from the  trees and began  to walk about  on their
hind legs, and then they started picking things up.  Soon they were
using the things  they picked up.   Then they  started talking to  each
other.  After they had been talking for a while, they started thinking.
Some of them even started  thinking about where they had come  from and
where they were  going.  And  they began to  wonder how everything  had
come to be – and why.

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by Stormy
This is the time of year when many interesting things happen. As we approach the Winter Solstice on December 21, the days are shorter, and the nights are longer and colder. The frosty nights make for some very interesting sky activity. More UFOs are reported at this time of year than at any other time.
The magnetic pole activity is increased around the Solstice, and there are some wonderful displays in the most northern regions. Sometimes these magnetic lights, known as the Aurora Borealis, are seen as they streak from pole to pole by those living further south.
These dark and frosty nights also enable us to see the Milky Way better. But to really see the stars well, you need to get away from the city, and visit the countryside where electric lights and streetlamps are rare. Go outside and look toward the most northern horizon. The Milky Way appears as a dense band lighting the sky with millions of stars, divided by a dark area with fewer stars. The Aborigines of Australia, refer to this dark area dividing the Milky Way as a river. Most of Europe and Western Asia say the Milky Way is spilt milk, or even rain. The Desna Indians of the Amazon called the Milky Way the ‘brain in the sky.’
There is a fascinating event that sometimes happens on the shortest day of the year if the moon is right! A year from now, on December 21, 1995, the moon will be new and it will be a very dark night. On December 22, 1995, the Winter Solstice, there will be the beginning of a thin waxing crescent moon which will not be seen at night. Either on the eve of or the day of the Solstice, go out at night between midnight and 2 a.m. to witness the sun bleeding over the North pole from the completely opposite side of this planet! The northern sky will appear rosy-red above the northern horizon.
I believe we’ll see this next year. I experienced this phenomenon on Winter Solstice, 1993, last year, and it was an awesome sight. I didn’t telephone anyone in the middle of the night to tell them about it, and I’m sure I have friends who were disappointed I didn’t wake them up from their warm beds to share the sight.
This year on the Winter Solstice, which is on December 21, the moon sets at 9:13 a.m. E.S.T. and rises at 8:03 p.m. E.S.T. This means the night will probably be too bright to see the bleed-over of the sun because the waning moon will be just six days past the full moon.
Keep an eye on the Big Dipper this year. Those in the north can see it fairly well. In the south it dropped below the northern horizon and is now rising back up, dipper first and handle last. If you can locate the Big Dipper (see previous issue, #11), you can locate the North Star, Polaris, and a star constellation known as Cassiopeia’s Chair (see diagram, this page). This time of year it changes from an ‘M’ in the fall, to an upside-down ‘B’ or Greek-looking ‘E’ in the winter, to a ‘W’ in the spring, and then a ‘B’ in the summer. Even in the most southern areas of the United States, Cassiopeia can be seen clearly throughout the entire year. In the fall, this queen sits high on her throne, only to get dumped off of it during the winter months. She certainly deserves it for what she did to her beautiful daughter, Andromeda! Cassiopeia is well-known for having chained her daughter to the rocks as a sacrifice to the ugly sea monster Cetus, which was actually a sea whale. Persus asks Andromeda to marry her and she will consent if he saves her from Cetus. Pegasus, Persus’s flying horse, saves Andromeda and she keeps her promise to Persus by marrying him.
Enjoy star-gazing this time of year. Watch for falling stars, and if you see a real UFO, keep your camera or camcorder handy!
Krupp, E.C., Ph.D. Beyond the Blue Horizon, Myths and Legends of the Sun, Moon, Stars, and Planets. 1991. Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY.
Pearce, Q. L. Stargazer’s Guide to the Galaxy. 1991. Tom Doherty Assoc., Inc., New York, NY.
Pennick, Nigel. Practical Magic in the Northern Tradition. 1989. The Aquarian Press, Hammersmith, London, England.

Raymo, Chet. 365 Starry Nights. 1982. Simon and Schuster, New York, NY.

The Hazel Nut

The Astrology of 2012: The End of Days?

The Astrology of 2012: The End of Days?

Get ready for a cosmic call to action in 2013

by Rick Levine

Are you scared? Don’t be! As we approach the infamous date of the end of the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012, fear continues to mount that it really is the end of days. But fortunately we’re here to set the record straight about that.

Countless books are now available that describe a Doomsday scenario, and of course Sony Pictures already released the John Cusack movie 2012 years ago, the major motion picture with a promotional website called   “” As Sony stated in its film promotion, “Never before has a date in history been   so significant to so many cultures, so many religions, scientists and governments. 2012 is an epic   adventure about a global cataclysm that brings an end to the world and tells the heroic struggle of the   survivors.”

The good news is that the world will not really end in 2012, although you don’t need to be an astrologer   to see how quickly things are changing. You can get key dates and prediction for the year ahead with a Big Picture Yearly Astrology Forecast, but whatever big changes are coming, you can trust we will still be here.

Civilization as we know it seems to be in a precarious situation,   with growing political unrest and financial stresses warning us that we are repeating epic mistakes from   our own cultural history. For example, we have just witnessed the sharpest economic downturn since the   Great Depression. Differences in political ideologies and spiritual beliefs continue to fuel increasingly   destructive wars and unrest across the Middle East. Environmental threats make our water and food supplies more and more scarce; meanwhile,   we are powering our world with a diminishing reserve of oil and others resources. So it’s no surprise   that so many people — experts and laymen alike — are predicting that the fabric of our entire society   is dangerously at risk.

Nothing to fear but fear itself

But if you look to the skies, you’ll see there’s nothing to fear on that notorious day in 2012. Astrologers watch the cycles of the Sun, Moon and planets to understand the changing nature of time and   to put these shifts into historical perspective. For example, we had a dose of culture-wide panic at the   threshold of this century. The start of the year 2000 — or “Y2K” — was as an apocalyptic date; some   predicted that it would be the beginning of the “end times.” But astrologers could see then that there   were no planetary alignments significant enough to warrant this kind of fear.

2012 is different — there are significant astrological factors that indicate these are truly significant   times. But let’s clear one thing up right away: there won’t be a cataclysmic event on December 21, 2012.   It’s been claimed that on this first day of winter, the Sun will line up perfectly with the center of the   Milky Way Galaxy and that this will confirm the ancient Mayan prophecies. In other words, many claim that   the Sun’s change of position will mark the end of time. But there is a scientific problem with this   reasoning: The Sun’s alignment to the galactic center on Winter Solstice moves at the rate of one degree   every 72 years! Therefore, this cosmic event is so slow-moving that it lasts more than a decade.

As astrologers track the cycles of planets, they pay special attention to the lunation cycle, which is   the monthly flow of New Moons and Full Moons. This is how they are able predict the impact these   movements will have on the personal and emotional cycles of our daily lives. Meanwhile, astrologers also   track the activities of the slower-moving outer planets (the ones with the longest orbits), which create   their own rhythms and are more closely related to large historical cycles.

For example, Uranus symbolizes sudden changes that release explosive energy, which is why astrologers   refer to it as “The Great Awakener.” Pluto symbolizes total metamorphosis. The deep transformation that’s   associated with mysterious Pluto is dramatic and complete, like a caterpillar evolving into a butterfly,   which is why the profound cultural shifts of the 1960s corresponded with a conjunction between surprising   Uranus and passionate Pluto in 1965-1966.

In the summer of 2012, these two planetary harbingers of change will come into a hard 90-degree alignment   — their first since the mid-1960s. This dynamic angle between lightning-like Uranus and intense Pluto   recurs seven times from June 24, 2012 through March 16, 2015. This is the period of upheaval we should be   looking at, rather than focusing on a single day in 2012.

A great awakening

From an astrological perspective, we don’t have to wait until 2012 for the action to begin,   because we are already in a time of profound change, not unlike the 1960s. Now, however, we communicate   in ways that are far more revolutionary, due to our constant interconnection via cell phone, email,   Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and numerous other social networks. There are new political opportunities for   disenfranchised people all over the world to connect with one another, which may explain Barack Obama’s   meteoric rise to the Whitehouse over the fearful cries of the old-school American political machine. It   is this factor — our ability to communicate more quickly and openly — that will prevent the end of the   world.

Astrology is not about predicting fated events; it’s about being aware of cosmic movements so we can get   our timing right to make positive changes. The Astrology of 2012 is not about announcing the end of the   world. Rather, it’s a call to action. Each and every one of us has a job to do, because as the great   psychologist Carl Jung said, “The salvation of the world depends upon the salvation of the individuals   living in it.”

Some of us may play larger roles in the current changes by getting involved in community, national or   global politics. But each of us adds to the total picture when we live our individual lives responsibly.   Astrology reminds us that there is no time to waste — we are each an agent of change and each of us can   impact the big picture by replacing doubt with courage, and by conquering fear with love.

In other words, this is truly the time to “think globally and act locally.”

The Properties of Gold

Alchemy Comments
The Magickal Properties of Gold


Gold is said to purify and energize the physical body, improves circulation, and strengthens the nervous system. It can balance and develop the heart chakra, along with the hemispheres of brain. It can also act as an aid to tissue regeneration, attract positive energy into aura, amplify thought forms, and aids personal illumination.

~Magickal Graphics~

Gemstone of the Day for November 23rd is Moonstone

Gemstone of the Day




Color: White to tan with a milky sheen Magical Properties: The energy is balancing, introspective and lunar. It is a stone for hoping and wishing. Alleviates emotional tension and enhances positive attributes of creativity and self expression. Stimulates confidence and composure. Brings calmness and awareness. Eliminates insomnia. Eases PMS and the change-of-life. Helps with dieting.

A Little Humor To Lighten Your Day – Signs That You Are Too Old For Halloween

Signs That You Are Too Old For Halloween

  1. You get winded from knocking on the door
  2. You have to have someone chew the candy for you
  3. You ask for high fiber candy only.
  4. When someone drops a candy bar in your bag, you lose your balance and fall over.
  5. People say, “Great Keith Richards mask!” and you’re not wearing a mask.
  6. When the door opens you yell, “Trick or…” and you can’t remember the rest.
  7. By the end of the night you have a bag full of restraining orders.
  8. You have to carefully choose a costume that won’t dislodge your hair piece.
  9. You’re the only Power Ranger in the neighborhood with a walker.
  10. You avoid going to houses where your ex-wives live.


    Turok’s Cabana

Daily OM for September 27 – One Day at a Time

One Day at a Time

Stepping Stones

by  Madisyn Taylor

Taking one step at a time makes life much easier to navigate rather than always looking at the big picture.

The years of our life do not arrive all at once; they greet us day by day. With the descent of each setting sun, we are able to rest our heads and let the world take care of itself for a while. We may rest assured throughout the night, knowing that the dawn will bring with it a chance to meet our lives anew, donning fresh perspectives and dream-inspired hopes. The hours that follow, before we return to sleep once more, are for us to decide how we want to live and learn, laugh and grow. Our lives are sweeter and more manageable because we must experience them this way: one day at a time.

Imagine the future stretching out before you and try to notice if you feel any tension or overwhelm at the prospect of the journey still to come. Perhaps you have recently made a lifestyle change, like beginning a new diet or quitting smoking, and the idea of continuing this healthy new behavior for years seems daunting. Maybe you have started a new job or are newly married and can feel an undercurrent of anxiety about your ability to succeed. If you can shift your focus from what may happen years down the line and return it to the day that is before you right now, you may find a measure of calm and renewed confidence in your capabilities. You may also discover an inner faith that the future will take care of itself.

The way we show up for our lives today and tomorrow has an enormous affect on who we will be and what we will be experiencing years from now. If we can remain fully engaged in the day at hand, enjoying all it has to offer and putting our energy into making the most of it, we will find that we are perfectly ready and capable to handle any future when it arrives.

Practicing With Dark Energies

Practicing With Dark Energies

Author:   Meph   

There’s too much confusion and misinformation out there regarding Dark energy workings, not helped by media portrayals from The Craft to Harry Potter’s “Protection from the Dark Arts” teachers. “Dark” does not automatically mean evil, bad, or nasty. It can just mean “Dark.” “Light” and “Dark” are just two of many dualities in the Universe – e.g., Ying/Yang, Birth/Death, Female/Male. Together, they form a natural balance – without one, the other could not exist. Learning to responsibly work with both is required by many traditions and recommended to make you a better Witch.

Energy is Energy

We believe energy is energy. There is no such thing as “good” or “bad” energy; it just is, much like electricity is neither good nor bad. What matters is the intent of the person or persons casting the spell.

Energy can be used for both creative and destructive purposes; however, “destructive” does not have to automatically mean “bad” or “evil”. As the Universe is balanced, and there must be both death and life, so both creative and destructive energies have their place.

Our standard example is healing. How would you possibly use Dark, destructive energy for healing? A friend has cancer and asks for your help; you have full consent and the person will be present in the Circles. You perform two Circles with them. During the first, at Full Moon, you raise constructive White Light energy and direct it to their entire body (less the site of the cancer). This raises their energy level, helps them overcome the side effects of the medical cancer treatments they are taking, and keeps them from developing secondary problems. Then, fourteen days later on New Moon, you have them in a New Moon Circle. This time you deliberately raise Dark energy — killing energy — and very carefully direct it at the cancer itself. An effective use of Dark energy for healing, and an excellent example of using both sides of the duality.

Another use is to remove obstacles or blocks. During Full Moon circles we’ll use each of the four elements’ positive properties to help us achieve a goal. During New Moon we’ll use each element’s destructive properties to remove or destroy what stands in our way or blocks us.

Care and Ethics

Keep in mind using Dark energy is not something to be taken lightly. It requires patience, experience, and, most of all, control and ethics.

In the above cancer example, what would happen if your control was off just a bit and your guidance in directing the killing energy was off by a few inches? Unless you can create, manipulate and direct energy very, very precisely (and know your anatomy), take great care. Otherwise you can end up doing far more harm than good. If you’re going to use magic for healing, take close note of the old medical ethics statement “Primum non nocere” – “First, do no harm”. You wouldn’t hand a scalpel to a child and tell them to operate. So don’t hand Dark workings to anyone not trained and prepared to work them.

Likewise, ethically, always differentiate between removing an obstacle or block and tromping on someone else’s will and freedom of choice. If you’re having a problem getting that cute boy to notice you, target Dark energy to destroy your shyness, not to destroy your competition.


All of life is a balancing act. Nature is full of balances; never exact but swinging back and forth. The length of day and night, equal at the Equinoxes and most out of balance at the Solstices. The Moon – going from Full to New and back again. The circle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. All of these are balances of dualities. Likewise, Light and Dark energies are merely balances of two sides of the coin of energy.

As you start to work with both Light and Dark energies (or, more precisely, constructive and destructive intents), keep in mind the balance. This doesn’t mean an exact balancing between the two all of the time, but if you find yourself getting too far one way or the other, stop and reflect and see if the rest of your life isn’t getting out of balance as well.

Practicing Light and Dark

The easiest way we’ve found to teach Light and Dark energy work is to start by doing Moon workings. Practice these on the days of the Full and New Moon. I used to have to find a Moon calendar once a year and then remember where I put it; now I just keep the U.S. Naval Observatory’s “Phases of the Moon” page bookmarked ( . Working on the actual day of is best, but we’ll go one to two days either way if necessary.

To practice, perform a Circle. After Casting, invoke each quarter and invoke the appropriate aspect of the element. For example, during Full you might call upon Water and visualize a soothing bath, or cool breezes for Air. During Dark you might call on earthslides (or mudslides, if in California) for Earth or a raging inferno for Fire (be careful of your candles if you do this latter one). Then raise a cone of energy – appropriately colored – and release it to accomplish your intent. But be very careful in your intent. It should be both specific and ethical.

Another practice takes the form of meditations.

As a Dark meditation, we teach an anger meditation. Sit in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. Center and ground, and then visualize your anger. Take your anger to each of the four quarters and use the destructive aspects of each element to destroy your anger – burn it, bury it, drown it, blow it away. If all your anger isn’t gone, run through it again. At the end, take a long time to ground very thoroughly.

As a Light meditation, we teach an encouragement meditation. Like the Dark meditation, do the same, but visualize something in your life – part of you, your kindness, getting good grades, or the ability to succeed at your job. Likewise, take what you visualized to each of the four elements, but this time use the constructive aspects of each element to help, encourage and grow what you’re trying to increase or improve.

Balanced Practicing

As you learn and continue to work both Dark and Light, hopefully your life will improve and be more balanced itself. Working with both gives you one more set of magical tools to help you in your life. It’s up to you to use them wisely.

Astronomy Picture of the Day – Spiral Galaxy in Collision

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.

2012 August 12

Spiral Galaxy NGC 4038 in Collision I

mage Credit: Data Collection: Hubble Legacy Archive;

Processing: Danny Lee Russell


Explanation: This galaxy is having a bad millennium.  In fact, the past 100 million years haven’t been so good,  and probably the next billion or so will be quite tumultuous.  Visible on the upper left, NGC 4038 used to be a normal spiral galaxy, minding its own business, until NGC 4039, toward its right,  crashed into it.  The evolving wreckage, known famously as  the Antennae, is pictured above.  As gravity  restructures each galaxy, clouds of gas slam into each other,  bright blue knots of stars form, massive stars form and  explode,  and brown filaments of dust are strewn about.  Eventually the  two galaxies will converge into one larger spiral galaxy. Such collisions are not unusual, and even our own  Milky Way Galaxy has undergone several in the past and is  predicted to collide with our neighboring  Andromeda Galaxy in a few billion years. The  frames that compose this image were taken by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope by professional astronomers to  better understand galaxy collisions. These frames — and many other deep space images from  Hubble — have since been  made public,  allowing an interested amateur to download and  process them into this visually stunning composite.