airwolf

~*~ Airwolf LoP Ministry Founder/Owner~*~

Administrator | Last logged in at

Merry Meet Legionnaires~
I am sixth generation Native Blackfoot and Scottish Celt. My Grandmother was one of my mentors her being a shaman, and my other mentor was my Druid Celtic Aunt. I was raised pagan and my education started at the age
of seven and formally after my first moon lodge ritual at 12. I am also trained as a voodoo priestess
I have one son now coming into his native shaman training and 4 beautiful grandchildren.

Dream Weaver Spell

Dream Weaver Spell

To bring informative and helpful dreams.

Items You Will Need:

Purple candle
Piece of Amethyst
Piece of paper or picture
Mugwort
Small muslin or silk bag/piece of cloth with ribbon

Spell:

Place stone, mugwort, and slip of paper on which is written the issue you want answers to in the bag or cloth. When done with the spell, put the bag under your pillow. (You don’t need to use all of these if you don’t have them, and you can just put a slip of paper under your pillow instead of the bag.)

Chant the following:

“Spirits of sleep and intuition
I call on you to lend a hand
As I slumber, send me visions
So I might know and understand.”
 
“Send me answers to my questions
Clarify confusion’s mist
Send me knowledge as I’m sleeping
Which awake I might resist.”
 
“Let my dreams be strong and true
Containing knowledge that I need
Intuition rules at night
So for wise dreams I plant the seed.”

Daily Forecast for October 26th, 2013

Saturday 26th October 2013

Moon enters Leo 4:11pm GMT - 6:11pm Europe

Moon 3° Leo squares Sun 3° Scorpio

Moon waning in the third quarter at 49% full. Age 75%

MOON SCOPE

The Moon's Emotional Energies during Sun in Scorpio...

I've mentioned this important fact here on Moon Astrology - because the Moon creates emotional energies - for good and bad. If you remember during Summer when Sun was in Leo - you're in an OPEN MOOD - in fact TOO OPEN - so that you're receiving and sensing much more emotional energies than you should be. In sharp contrast Sun in Scorpio will be making your CLOSED - in fact VERY CLOSED - and it will ONLY allow into your life - the absolutely vitally necessary emotional energies that you need. Everything else - won't even be felt.

Thus and therefore Sun in Scorpio will actually be a very successful and stable time of your life - for you'll instinctively REFUSE to be distracted by anything or anyone that your DESTINY doesn't want you to connected to.

The only downside of the lack of "feeling" of external emotional energies is actually a very big blessing - because during Sun in Scorpio all the "self-centred selfish parasites" who LIVE-off receiving energy from others - they will be feeling EMPTY, DEAD and VOID - because no-one will want to give them any energy. No-one will waste time talking to them nor interacting with them - which will make them frustrated and empty. Whereas you're in tune with the astrological energies - and understand that it's the time of the year to be QUIET and PEACEFUL.

Ironically "they" will try harder to find people to talk to - and even attempt to contact you. So if you suddenly hear from people you've not heard from - BE WARNED - they might be searching for someone to "take" energy from. Use your inner feelings and you'll know who you can trust.

Saturday Night 26th/27th October 2013 - Moon in Leo

From midnight until 4am Saturday - in your local time zone

Moon in Leo & Jupiter in Cancer - "almost" Dancing together in the sky

Although Moon rises at 11pm in your local time zone - it will be strongest from 12 midnight until 4am - when Moon and Jupiter will seen fairly close-by together in the East. Tonight's "Jupiter in Cancer & Moon in Leo" - will be like two different dance partners dancing together tonight - not quite out of step - but might even be quite mesmerizing to see in the sky - close and yet there's a difference as Moon will be glowing radiantly in Leo.

 

Saturday 26th October - Moon enters Leo

"Sun in Scorpio" - Nothing will bother nor disturb you ...

The overwhelmingly strong energy of Sun in Scorpio is actually PROTECTING you - it's ensuring that NOTHING will bother nor disturb you. For readers who usually find Moon in Leo - as being "too much" because it disturbs your inner serenity and inner peace - then you're going to be pleasantly surprised as you'll see how Sun in Scorpio is going to protect you from "Moon in Leo".

In fact NOTHING negative will be disturbing you - at least until 9th/10th November - and even then it will only be minor glitch. This fact that NOTHING negative will be disturbing your aura - will in fact WORRY some people - because negative-thinking people always NEED something to WORRY about - and the fact they'll have nothing to WORRY about - might make them go looking for trouble OR they'll feel like they're dead autumn leaves on the ground - restful, useless and without purpose.

That's the intrinsic reason why "DESTINY" during Sun in Scorpio will be able to make positive things happen as people will be ready to allow "destiny" to fill the void. In the meantime if you FEEL NOTHING - appreciate and enjoy being protected by Sun in Scorpio - even so Moon in Leo - will be making a few "nice" unexpected things happen.

 

Moon enters Leo 4:11pm GMT - 6:11pm Europe - 9:41pm India - 3:11am Sydney Australia - 12:11 noon USA EST - shifts a lazy, calm feeling to become slightly more lively and enlivened - but will not be felt until after sunset in your local time zone - as Sun in Scorpio will activating the aura of calmness. Thereafter Moon 3° Leo squares Sun 3° Scorpio but this DOES "almost" NOTHING - because it's like the daytime shift workers and the nighttime shift workers - although they're working at the same factory - neither gets involved with each other - except for a moment when they leave/begin their shifts.

This is how Moon 3° Leo squares Sun 3° Scorpio will make you feel - some facet of your life - has nothing to do with another - for some people this will make them feel dizzy - others not - and the bottom line is no one will careless - as neither has anything to do with the other. This will apply to other aspects during Moon in Leo - and unless the energies RELATE to each other - then you'll ignore them as if they don't exist.

Your Daily Horoscopes for Friday, October 25th

We are in tune with our feelings today, even if we don’t say anything about them. The cautious Cancer Moon raises concerns about placing someone else in an awkward position with our disclosure. Or, we may be worried about being rejected for saying too much. Fortunately, the radiant Sun’s sweet trine to imaginative Neptune replaces fear with optimism. Hopeful fantasy rules over harsh reality now and trusting our dreams leads to spiritual growth.

Aries Horoscope
(Mar 21 – Apr 19)

Speaking with authority doesn’t make your message true, but you might still try this ploy as a defensive strategy today. You may actually think you can talk someone into seeing the world through your eyes. But overpowering others by insisting you are right only makes you sound foolish, since your rationalizations are probably more transparent than you realize. Don’t pretend to be in control when you’re not. Those who know you love you simply for being yourself.

Taurus Horoscope
(Apr 20 – May 20)

Your future looks bright today, but you may not be heading in exactly the right direction to realize your dreams. It’s not your goals are unrealistic; rather, it’s that you might underestimate the resources needed to reach your destination. Thankfully, you can see possibilities that others miss if you let your imagination wander. Just remember to separate fact from fancy or you could be rudely surprised by the outcome.

Gemini Horoscope
(May 21 – Jun 20)

Your most vivid dreams are ripe for harvesting now, but don’t let your confidence run away with the show. Although you may think that you can be successful without working harder, this false illusion will dissipate as circumstances continue to change. If an unrealistic fantasy fades as you approach it, it’s probably best to let it go and move on to another idea. But don’t give up; your imagination holds the keys to your success.

Cancer Horoscope
(Jun 21 – Jul 22)

It may seem as if you can describe your hopeful feelings today, but it’s still challenging to start a conversation about your future dreams. Instead of wasting energy by being self-critical now, keep your visions to yourself until you have a good reason to share them. It isn’t useful to reveal your plans prematurely or you could create an awkward impasse. Be patient and remain quiet just a little bit longer. Trust your intuition to tell you when it’s time to open up.

Leo Horoscope
(Jul 23 – Aug 22)

You may feel as if you’re in an ideal social environment today because everyone seems to enthusiastically support your decisions. You don’t even have to think about what to do next; you’re part of the flow and everything seems to happen naturally. Unfortunately, your current spontaneity doesn’t play well with your desire to establish deeper connections. Thankfully, you can have the best of both worlds by letting others participate in your success.

Virgo Horoscope
(Aug 23 – Sep 22)

Relaxing is a challenge today because you’re afraid of what may occur if you don’t resist the prevailing emotional currents. You prefer rational behavior and like to be in control all of the time — but unfortunately you’re not. Therefore, your most logical strategy now is to avoid getting hooked by your own desires. Nevertheless, attempting to ignore your needs just gives power to whatever you fear most. Escape your regular routine by leading with your creative imagination rather than your analytical thoughts.

Libra Horoscope
(Sep 23 – Oct 22)

Beginning your daily tasks at work early in the day might sound like a smart idea, but nothing seems to go quite as planned. Your unflappable positive attitude is the most significant factor today in deciding whether or not you can put your schedule back on track. Don’t be overly rigid in your thinking if you run into an obstacle; being flexible now actually enables you to regain control later on.

Scorpio Horoscope
(Oct 23 – Nov 21)

You might be willing to take the easy way out of a problem today. Typically, your determination inspires you to achieve your goals, even if your non-negotiable approach complicates your life. But keeping your dreams alive may be more important now than accomplishing anything specific. Although your current productivity could suffer, you’re likely to be happier in the long run by following your heart’s desire.

Sagittarius Horoscope
(Nov 22 – Dec 21)

Your imagination is extremely vivid today, encouraging you to mix up your daydreams with reality. You might even believe that you can accomplish more than is possible because everything flows effortlessly in your mind. Unfortunately, each task you begin takes more time to complete than you expect. You may create trouble for yourself if you race through a chore, assuming you will make up for lost time. Instead, promise less and deliver more.

Capricorn Horoscope
(Dec 22 – Jan 19)

You can fool your workmates today by appearing to be busier than you actually are. However, if you want to be fully recognized for your contribution to a project, don’t try so hard to steal the spotlight. If you take your little song and dance too far, you might inadvertently overstep your bounds. You are better off if you just work hard and then let the chips fall where they may. Ultimately, your efforts won’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.

Aquarius Horoscope
(Jan 20 – Feb 18)

Your current lack of a concrete plan won’t necessarily get in your way today. Ironically, making it up as you go might just be your key to success now. Expressing your creativity brings recognition, and can even lead to some extra income. However, you could feel as if you’re wasting time managing unexpected interruptions, but it’s wise to simply handle them as they occur. Paradoxically, the current distractions may even inspire you to reach greater heights.

Pisces Horoscope
(Feb 19 – Mar 20)

It’s tempting to shut out your problems by withdrawing into your imagination today. But escaping into your own personal fantasyland works best only for brief moments of time. Sooner or later you must return to the real world issues you tried to leave behind. Working on tangible solutions preemptively, rather than after the fact, is the most productive strategy now, even if you would prefer to take a less ambitious path.

DAILY TAROT: JUDGEMENT

What has traditionally been known as the Judgement card, sometimes entitled Resurrection, represents the great reunion that the ancients believed would happen once in every age. This was the time when souls are harvested and taken Home to their place of origin, outside the solar system. Then the World is seeded with a batch of new souls and the process starts over. 

From a modern point of view, this great reunion -- which includes every personality that you have ever been and every soul that you have done deep work with -- reunites to consciously complete the process. In a way, we symbolically celebrate this returning to center every year on our birthday. 

In personal terms, the Judgment cards points to freedom from inner conflicts, and so clear a channel, that the buried talents and gifts of past incarnations can come through an individual in this lifetime. This card counsels you to trust the process of opening yourself, because what emerges is of consistently high quality. You can effortlessly manifest as a multi-dimensional being, and assist in evoking that response from others.

DAILY RUNE: INGWAZ

The Earth
Ingwaz represents both the home and the greater world:  Our oneness with the universe.  Common sense is indicated here, as well as social consciousness.  Love, caring, human warmth.   A time of rest, or period of time spent at home.  Reflect on the relationship of your personal existence to the world at large.  Are there larger issues at play?

DAILY TOTEM SPIRIT ANIMAL ORACLE

That Which is Behind You
  Lizard 
Are you dreaming a dream that's big enough? If Lizard has appeared before you today, the gauntlet has been thrown down, the challenge made. Stop hiding your light beneath a rock—be willing to be bigger than life, to dream bigger than your imagination, to throw caution to the wind, and aim for the target you've spent a lifetime avoiding. 

 

Your Current Place
  Turtle 
Turtle carries his home on his back, and his question to you today is whether your life is weighed down with “things” that serve no purpose. Everyone loves buying stuff, but do you use shopping, spending, and the acquisition of “things” as a substitute for passion, conviction, commitment? It’s worth thinking about, isn’t it? 

 

That Which is before You
  Wolf 
Wolf can survive either as a loner or as part of a pack, and he howls to remind you that you have to balance the needs of others with the needs of the self. If you’re giving yourself away to your own detriment, you are living in opposition to Wolf medicine. Return to balance—and begin feeding your emotions, your mind, and your body. 

~*~AIRWOLF~*~

Samhain: The Lowering of the Veil

Samhain, from the more ancient Irish form Samhuinn, was the most widely celebrated of the ancient Celtic festivals. It was a celebration of the harvest, of the closing of the year, and the beginning of the new year. Agriculturally, it was the time when the last fruits of the harvest were collected and stored, and the livestock were culled and quartered for the winter ahead.

The dark time of the year had many magical and mythical associations as well. Samhain was also the time when the gates of the Otherworld were thrown open, allowing the spirits of the ancestors and the Sidhe folk to mingle with the living. It was at this time that the fabled Wild Hunt, a procession of animals, fairies, and spirits, was most often said to occur.

The History of Samhain

The Gauls marked the year into just two halves, the dark or winter half being Sam or Samonios, and the light half Gam or its Latinized form, Gamonios. Like other ancient cultures, the Celts marked the beginning of a day at sunset; likewise, the year was counted as beginning in its dark half.

Caesar remarked on the practice in his writings on the Gallic Wars:

All the Gauls assert that they are descended from the god Dis, and say that this tradition has been handed down by the druids. For that reason they compute the divisions of every season, not by the number of days, but of nights; they keep birthdays and the beginnings of months and years in such an order that the day follows the night.

Samonios, the dark half of the year, was reckoned first in the Celtic calendar. The festival marking the beginning of Samonios was Samhuinn (Samhain), a three-day feast celebrated on the new moon closest to the autumnal equinox. As Beltaine marked the beginning of the summer season, Samhain marked its end. In fact, the word Samhain most likely means “summer's end” and is the current Gaelic name for the month of November. In the first-century Celtic Coligny calendar, a similar three-day festival ushered in the new year in the late autumn.

The festival now commonly referred to as Samhain has had numerous names. In Wales, it was known as Calan Gaeaf, “Winter's Eve.” In Ireland, it was Oiche Shamra, “Samhain Night,” sometimes “Pooka Night.”In Manx, it is Sauin.

The Samhain festival marked the transition between two very different seasons. The growth season was at an end, with the majority of crops long harvested. The time for festivals and tribal gatherings was coming to an end, and warfare and trade would be largely suspended until warmer weather returned. This was a last opportunity for merrymaking and celebration before a long winter confinement.

Samhain was celebrated at the cusp of the seasons, marking the end of the light and the beginning of the dark of the year. In mythical terms, the youthful aspect of the goddess Sovereignty gave way to the withered hag of winter, and the fruits and flowers of the warm season were replaced with the barren cold of winter. It was marked at Tara with a great feast, the Feis Teamrach, or “Mating of Tara,” at which the high king was symbolically mated with the goddess of sovereignty, a celebration that marked the Samhain night coupling of the Morrigan and the Dagda on the eve of the battle of Mag Tuiread.

Indeed, the Samhain was a favorite time for tribal assemblies, during which all of a tuath would gather together for feasting, games, and amusements but also to settle debts and disputes. In ancient times, great offerings would have been made at lakes, shafts, and at the entrances to the Sidhe mounds, as the denizens of the Otherworld would be particularly receptive. Horse races and other feats of strength were not uncommon at this time, a tradition going back to the earliest days of the Celtic peoples.

In the Ulster Cycle story “The Wooing of Emer,” the heroine refers to the festival of Samhain as “when summer goes to its rest.”

Samhain was considered a time of great change; it was also a time of great transparency between the world of man and the Otherworld. Samhain was a traditional time for divination and prophecy, an auspicious time for sacrifice. The transformation of the world brought about other transformations, and it was at this time one could enter the Otherworld. Celtic myth tales involving Otherworld magic often take place during Samhain, and it is at this time when Otherworld denizens made benevolent journeys or even warfare against the living. Samhain was the preferred day for beginning an adventure or setting out on a quest, especially a divine one. Many important events in Celtic mythology take place or begin at the time of Samhain. For example, it is at Samhain that Aenghus seeks to recognize his lover Caer in her swan form.

A common urban legend claims that the Samhain celebration was in honor of a ghastly god of death by the same name. Although a few minor Celtic gods have similar names, none has any connection to the Samhain festivals.

Sacred Bonfires

Samhain was celebrated all over Ireland and Great Britain with the lighting of sacred bonfires. As in similar rituals in the north, the Samhain fires were the first fires of the season. In a ritual that would repeat at Beltaine, all other fires would be extinguished and ritually relit from the sacred bonfires.

The bonfires themselves were inaugurated by the druids, the first according to some accounts on the hilltop of Tlachtga, where it would be easily visible from Tara. The bonfires were not the only fire rituals associated with Samhain. A popular ritual called “lating the witches” involved a solemn candlelit procession, the purpose of which was the discovery of dark magic. If a candle flickered or died out during the procession, it meant that the person carrying it was a certain victim of witches, and special precautions would be taken to protect him or her.

Other precautions would be taken as well. As the Tuatha Dé Danann were well known to roam the countryside, it was customary to leave gifts of milk and bread for them, not just on Samhain but on the other festival days as well. This customary offering was sometimes referred to as the fairy tax, honoring the ancient agreement between the Milesian Celts and the denizens of the Otherworld.

Even after the demise of the pagan Celtic culture, Samhain remained a popular holiday, and in early Ireland, it was the most important of the four great festivals. There is a common theory that floats about that the institution of Halloween by the Catholic Church was intentionally begun as an answer to the reluctance of the people to give up pagan revelries or the remembrance of the dead.

The truth is actually much less clear cut. The various churches in the first centuries instituted celebrations of their saints and martyrs, which varied according to location, but were celebrated mostly in the spring. By the year 800, German and English churches were commemorating the saints on the first of November, and by 835, most of the rest had followed suit at the urging of Pope Gregory IV. Before this time, however, the Celtic observance was held in the springtime, near the Easter feast.

Also, although there was a definite connection with death and passages, there isn't a lot of evidence that Samhain was held to honor the dead. Most such claims come much too late to be of any use, and the idea is never mentioned in the surviving mythological tales. It is a fair assumption, however, that in this traditional time of tribal gathering, some commemoration would have been made on behalf of the ancestors. It is known that it was sometimes customary to light torches at the entrances of the ancient tombs, to make clearer the passage from the Otherworld.

Christian Practices Rise

From the earliest days of the Church, it was customary to observe a day in memorial to the saints; later, this expanded to include all of the dead. The saints of the church were celebrated on November 1 with a solemn mass and singing.

As it was already customary to honor one's ancestors during the Samhain period, it was only natural that the Church's own observances followed suit. It became customary to visit cemeteries on this day, to sweep and clean the graves, and echoing the older custom, lights were lit outside of homes and in cemeteries. Water and other provisions would be left out, and the doors left unlocked. The ancient tombs were not neglected, either; the old custom of walking in deasil procession three times about the ancient monuments carried well into medieval times.

The November celebrations were eventually worn away as the popularity of the All Saints festival increased. Within a few hundred years, the commemoration of the dead also moved from an earlier date to coincide with the November observation, so that eventually, the two would be held back to back. In any case, the Christian observations were quite unlike their pagan predecessor, and by the medieval period, the feasts became solemn reminders of mortality and the grisly fates awaiting the sinner.

In medieval times, as during other feast days, it became customary to spend Samhain night going door to door collecting food and other offerings for the poor, often in exchange for prayers said for the homeowner.

However, the Samhain ritual often involved a costumed masquerade, some say in imitation of the fairy procession. If a homeowner gave generously to these masked visitors, the visitors would make a solemn procession around the kitchen fire — a tradition that clearly echoes the ancient Samhain rituals. Were the hosts less than generous, they would be cursed in a similar manner.

Neopagans, especially Wiccans, have embraced Samhain as their most sacred holiday, an adoption based on Samhain's importance as a celebration of endings and beginnings. The modern pagan take on Samhain is more of a composite holiday, often mingling traditions of the ancient Celts with later European practices. Samhain is generally viewed by modern pagans as a time for reflection and meditation and a time to commune with the spirits of dead loved ones, honor one's ancestors, and prepare for prosperity or good fortune in the coming year.

A typical Wiccan or neopagan celebration of Samhain may include memorials for the departed, visits to cemeteries, and rituals to honor ancestors. Traditional harvest goods like pumpkins, apples, and mead are often featured.

Feast for the Ancestors: The Dumb Supper

A later custom that bears mentioning is the medieval practice of the “dumb supper,” still celebrated in many rural areas in Europe and popular as well with modern neopagans. In a typical dumb supper (the word dumb having its ancient meaning of “silent”), a banquet is prepared, with places set at the table for both the living and the dead. Prayers are recited, and candles or other sources of light are passed around the table and around each participant. The places set for the ancestors and loved ones are filled with their favorite foods, and the meal progresses in silent communion with the dead.

The Corn Spirit

An autumn tradition that almost certainly carries over from ancient pagan practices is the creation of the so-called corn dolly. While today's corn dolly is a simple harvest craft, it was once imbued with deep spiritual significance. In Celtic territories and elsewhere in Europe, it was customary to leave a small portion of grain unharvested, in the belief that removing all of the stalks would leave the spirit of the grain homeless and unable to return. The reserved grain would be shaped into the form of a man or woman or other symbolic shape and was often treated to lavish ceremonial processions and feedings. The bundle was sometimes dressed in clothing, and would be reverently displayed — sometimes on a pole, or kept in a cradle or bed.

The word corn in this case refers to its oldest use, as a generic term for grain. Today corn is used almost exclusively to refer to the Native American maize plant, a grain unheard of in Europe until brought back by New World explorers.

The resulting “doll” represented the essence of the grain, the god of vegetation who would be “born” at the beginning of winter, and ritually sacrificed in the spring by burning or plowing under before the sowing of new crops. There is some speculation that the corn dolly tradition replaced an earlier blood sacrifice.

The earliest reference to this tradition can be found in accounts of St. Eligius (or Eloi) of Flanders, who castigates his countrymen for following local druid customs, among them the creation of the vetula, or old woman of the corn.

John Barleycorn

Although the corn dolly represented a mother figure as often as a male figure, the best-known incarnation of the grain spirit is John Barleycorn, immortalized in verse by the beloved Scottish poet Robert Burns.

Burns sets out the story of the grain spirit as an homage to the barley harvest, and the brutal sacrifice of the barley, which results in his resurrection as another sort of “spirit”:

There were three kings into the east,Three kings both great and high, An' they hae sworn solemn oath John Barleycorn should die. They took a plough and plough'd him down, Put clods upon his head, And they hae sworn a solemn oath John Barleycorn was dead.But the cheerfu' spring came kindly on,And show'rs began to fall; John Barleycorn got up again, And sore surprised them all. The sultry suns of summer came, And he grew thick and strong, His head weel arm'd wi' pointed spears, That no-one should him wrong.The sober autumn enter'd mild, When he grew wan and pale; His bending joints and drooping head Show'd he began to fail. His colour sicken'd more and more,He faded into age; And then his enemies began To show their deadly rage.They've ta'en a weapon long and sharp,And cut him by the knee; Then tied him fast upon a cart, Like a rogue for forgerie. They laid him down upon his back, And cudgel'd him full sore; They hung him up before the storm, And turn'd him oe'r and o'er. They filled up a darksome pit With water to the brim;They heaved in John Barleycorn, There let him sink or swim. They laid him out upon the floor, To work him farther woe,And still as signs of life appear'd they tossed him to and fro. They wasted, o'er a scorching flame, The marrow of his bones; But a miller us'd him worst of all,For he crushed him between two stones.And they had tae'n his very heart's blood, And drunk it round and round; And still the more and more they drank, Their joy did more abound.

In Christian times, corn dollies evolved into a rural household practice, featuring elaborate symbolic figures crafted from straw left over from the harvest. These were usually placed over doorways or in barns as good luck charms; they were typically burnt at Christmastime possibly in mimicry of the old mistletoe traditions. Even today, it is not unusual to see elaborately braided corn dollies given pride of place in winter decorations, and there are literally hundreds of specialized designs that vary from region to region.

Guy Fawkes

Vestiges of the sacrificial vegetation god may survive today in the British celebrations of Guy Fawkes Day. Fawkes was a seventeenth century Catholic revolutionary implicated in the infamous November 5 Gunpowder Plot, in which he attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament and end Protestant rule in England. Fawkes was caught in the act and swiftly executed. Within a hundred years, an effigy of Fawkes had become a proxy for the ancient corn effigy. The harvest deity was replaced with a figure of the infamous traitor, which would be paraded from house to house by children who would beg coins or sweets in return. Afterward, the effigy would be burned in a great bonfire.

BLYSSFUL FREYA'S DAY PAGANS

The Thinning Veil by Copperlion

To the ancient Celts, the year had two “hinges”. These were Beltaine (the first of May) and Samhain, (the first of November), which is also the traditional Celtic New Year. And these two days were the most magical, and often frightening times of the whole year.

The Celtic people were in superstitious awe of times and places “in between”. Holy sites were any border places – the shore between land and water (seas, lakes, and rivers), bridges, boundaries between territories (especially when marked by bodies of water), crossroads, thresholds, etc. Holy times were also border times – twilight and dawn marking the transitions of night and day; Beltaine and Samhain marking the transitions of summer and winter. Read your myths and fairytales – many of the stories occur in such places, and at such times.

At Samhain (which corresponds to modern Halloween), time lost all meaning and the past, present, and future were one. The dead, and the denizens of the Other World, walked among the living. It was a time of fairies, ghosts, demons, and witches. Winter itself was the Season of Ghosts, and Samhain is the night of their release from the Underworld. Many people lit bonfires to keep the evil spirits at bay. Often a torch was lit and carried around the boundaries of the home and farm, to protect the property and residents against the spirits throughout the winter.

Many Irish and Scottish Celts appeased their dead with a traditional Dumb Supper. On Samhain Eve, supper was served in absolute silence, and one place was set at the head of the table “for the ancestors”. This place was served food and drink without looking directly at the seat, for to see the dead would bring misfortune. Afterwards, the untouched plate and cup were taken outside “for the pookas”, and left in the woods. In other traditions, this is the night to remember, honor, and toast our beloved departed, for the veil between the living and the dead is thin, and communication is possible on Samhain Eve

Animals and food supplies needed special protection during this time, too. Samhain marked the time cattle, on which the Scottish Highland economy depended, were brought in from their summer grazing to their winter fold. The Gods were petitioned to protect the cattle during the long, hard winter. By now, the winter store of food had been harvested and stored.

Sir Walter Scott wrote:

On Hallowmas Eve, ere ye boune to rest,
Ever beware that your couch be blest;
Sign it with cross and sain it with bread,
Sing the Ave and the Creed.
For on Hallowmas Eve, the Night Hag shall ride
And all her nine-fold sweeping on by Her side,
Whether the wind sing lowly or loud,
Stealing through moonshine or swathed in cloud.
He that dare sit in St. Swithin’s Chair,
When the Night Hag wings the troubled air,
Questions three, when he speaks the spell,
He must ask and She must tell.

Samhain is also the night of the Great Sabbat for the witches (Ban-Druidh, in Scots Gaelic). On Hallowmas, all the witches of Scotland gather together to celebrate, prophesy, and cast their spells. Tradition has it that on this night, they can be seen flying through the air on broomsticks and eggshells, or riding black cats, ravens, or horses on their wild Hallowmas Ride. The rural people did not dare step outside their doors for fear this night. Some say the Queen of Witches is the Irish Morrigan (also called Morgan le Fay). In other traditions, the Blue Faced Hag of Winter – the Calleach – rules this night.

A good example of a Scottish Highland ghost story (as told to me by Clan Donald member, Kenneth Wiepert), is about Clan Donald’s own witch. He told me the following tale:

” The MacDonald’s of Glen Coe have their own witch. Her name was Sidiethe, and she was a Water Witch with fair skin and red hair. She was always seen in a white robe with a black cape. Sidiethe often sings along the banks of Loche Linhe, near Glen Coe and sometimes she is weeping. Shortly before the massacre at Glen Coe in 1692, she was seen washing clothes at the ford of the river while she wept. (Ed. Note: often the bean sidhe (banshee), attached to a great household is seen washing clothes or shrouds while she weeps, prior to a tragic death or catastrophe.)

Sightings of this ghost go back as far as the 1100′s. She is also known as the White Witch of Glen Coe. Loche Linhe is reported to have a kelpie, as well!”

Faeries migrated from the summer hillocks to the winter barrows on Samhain night. If you had families that were captured by fairies that year, this was the one night you could win them back, be snatching them off their faerie mounts as they rode by. The famous Scottish legend, Tam Lin, is the story of a faithful young maiden that rescued her lover from the faeries on this fateful night.

Many of the traditions of Halloween derive from Pagan and Druid customs. It is a time of prophesies, of disguising oneself to avert evil, of performing rites of protection from the dead and Otherworldly spirits. The ancient Druid practice was to circle the tribal Samhain bonfire with the skulls of their ancestors, who would protect the tribe from demons that night.

In modern Scotland, children have inherited the ancient custom of disguising themselves in costumes. These “guisers” wear masks, or blacken their faces. They carve turnips in the shape of skulls and place a candle within, creating an eerie effect. The children travel from door to door, performing or singing for their treats. When they are not rewarded for their antics, they resort to tricks.

Those with the Second Sight (Taibhsear, in Scots Gaelic) were often sought this night for traditional Halloween fortune telling. These persons were invited to gatherings to entertain guests with their arcane arts. One method was to prick an egg and let the contents drip into a glass of clear water. The Taibhsear could read the shapes, much like a crystal ball, and predict the supplicant’s future.

Apples were the fruit of the Other World, a land sometimes called Avalon or Avallach – the Isle of Apples. They are often used for magic and fortune telling. A young woman would peel an apple all in one paring, and throw it over her shoulder on Samhain Eve. The peeling would take the shape of the first initial of the man she would marry. Eating an apple in front of a mirror while combing your hair will conjure your true love’s image in the mirror. Another tradition is “dunking for apples”. Apples are placed in a tub or barrel of water, and dunkers will try to retrieve these apples with their teeth. Those who succeed will have good fortune the following year.

Hazel nuts were also used in matrimonial divination. Two groups of “Sweetheart” hazel nuts were placed within the hearth fire; one group was marked with the names of the village’s eligible maidens, and the other with the eligible bachelors. As the nuts popped, the names of the pairs were romantically linked. On a more somber note, people sometimes placed a hazelnut with their initials on them in the hearth fire. If the nuts were missing the next morning, the unlucky person would not survive the year. Hazel is a sacred tree in Irish and Scottish mythology. In Ireland, nine hazel trees grew around the Well of Segais, where the sacred Salmon lived. This was the source of all wisdom. Using hazel nuts at Samhain availed seers of that sacred wisdom.

Tha gliocas an ceann an fhitich!

Halloween Dreams

Guest Author - Aisling Ireland

Halloween is coming soon and many people young and older will be celebrating by throwing parties, dressing up or going trick-or-treating. Even the unconscious may get in on the festivities and send some scary dream symbols into your dreams. Even if dreams don't get scary, Halloween may be a time when the unconscious may go into overtime, producing more dreams than usual. Why should this be so? Below are some ideas.

Halloween was originally known as Samhain, a Gaelic word for 'November'. It is believed that Samhain marked the Celtic New Year; a time for recognizing summer's end and celebrating the end of the harvest season. It was also a time for honoring the dead, a tradition that has held on in some Catholic church under the name "All Souls' Day". Even some Protestant churches recognize the dead sometime during the first week of November in "All Saints' Day" services. Pagans still celebrate and call the day Samhain. 

It was believed that during the time of Samhain, the veil that separates the living world from the Otherworld was particularly thin. This meant that it was a potent time for divination, contacting ancestors who had passed through the veil and for paying homage to those ancestors. Offerings were left out for the spirits of these ancestors and in some parts of modern Scotland and Ireland this practice is still observed.

Since the veil between this world and the other is thin, it may also be a time when the veil between the conscious and unconscious may be thin. Also this is a time when our thoughts shift to the realm of the Otherworld and dreams are somewhat other-worldly so this might be another reason for increased dream recall. When a person enters Jungian analysis, their dream life almost always gains momentum because Jungian analysis relies so heavily on dream and dream symbolism. When the conscious mind begins focusing on the unconscious, the reward is better dream recall. The conscious mind decides that its dreams are relevant and important and assists the unconscious in getting its messages through to the waking brain. The same may happen during Halloween time. Dream recall may increase due to the added waking life focus on all things Otherwordly. 

But what kinds of dreams is one rewarded with during Halloween? Is it a non-stop horror movie? A preponderance of nightmares? Not necessarily. The content of the dreams recalled may not match the "spookiness" of the season. In fact, quite the opposite might be true. One might be rewarded with wisdom inaccessible at other times of the year. 

However, given the traditional focus of remembering those who have crossed, it might be that those inhabit that Otherworld might choose to show up in dreams. If so, pay attention to what they say. Remember, during this time the Celts actively sought out this kind of occurrence either via divination or dreams. They sought out their ancestors, they hoped for visitations from them, especially at this time of year. They would consider such a dream a gift, not a scary or spooky thing. If you have any control over your dreams and a loved one who has crossed appears in a dream, see if you can ask them questions--they may have the answer to a vexing problem or some golden wisdom. 

Until next time, sleep well and dream out loud!

So pagans remember to make it true, make it real, and always make it magickal everyday!

Airwolf-humbly serving my Goddess (O)

The Crone

The Crone

 

 

If the Maiden talks to us about beginnings, and the Mother of maturity, the Crone makes us think of endings. This is maybe the less understood aspect of the Triple Goddess, one that usually causes fear because it makes us unavoidably to face death

The Crone was revered in ancient cultures as a regent of the Underworld, seen in those times as a place where souls went to rest between incarnations, before coming back to the earthly plane. The later associations this place got with the hell of the revelled religions was the reason why this aspect of the Goddess was equaled to something evil or demonic, forgetting the fact that we all must die as we all are born, and the duty of this Goddess was generally to guide us during this last phase in our lives, getting us ready for the big leap, reigning afterwards over the souls of the dead while they waited for their re birth.

As in the previous cases, there are many examples from all over the world on this aspect of the Goddess

HecateAmong the Greeks, called during the Middle Ages the Witches' Queen, a deity of the Underworld and the Moon, worshiped in cross roads where she received sacrifices during the Full Moon.

HelGermanic goddess of the Underworld, is recognized as having her origins in the Indoeuropean period (prehistory). All mortals returned to Her when finishing their physical existence.

MorriganGoddess of the Dead, known in Britain, Wales and Ireland, who also reigned over battles. She had a Triple aspect in herself, and sometimes was also called the Three Morrigans.

TiamatIn Sumerian mythology, Goddess of the primeval abyss, both creatrix and destroyer, represented as a snake. In one of the combats typical in ancient mythology where descendants rebel against their fathers and primitive gods, Marduk kills Tiamat, building then the sky and earth with halves of Her body.

Kali MaFor the Hindu's, known in her aspect of Destroyer and Terrible Mother, has, nonetheless, among her attributes a skull necklace, each of them bearing a character from the sanscript alphabet, which She uses to create words or mantras.

NephthysIn Egypt, wife of Seth and regent of the Underworld, mother of Anubis, the jackal-headed god that guides the spirits in their journey after they die.

TlazolteotlRiding on a broom, was associated for the Aztec with the moon, the snake and the bat. Her worship was held at cross roads just like european Hecate, and her priestess were known as capable of cleansing whoever asked of every sin, but that grace could only be asked once in their lifetime.

All these images, except maybe Nephtys, invoke a darker aspect of the Goddess, what in analytical psychology is called "The Terrible Mother". A clear example of this can be seen in a famous image of the Goddess Kali Ma, that shows her copulating with Her consort Shiva, with a dented vagina and feeding on His entrails. At first sight, this is almost a repulsive image; but is not so from a symbolic point of view. We can see it as a reminder that life needs to feed on life to subsist, and a representation of the aspects of Creatrix-Preserver-Destroyer of the Goddess

Pagans see life as an ever-flowing circle. Contemplating this darker aspect of the Goddess teaches us that as well as everything Nature moves in circles, we as individuals also must do it, accepting death as a passage into another state, as valid and as much part of our lives as our own birth.

The Crone can be associated with the Waning Moon, and the colours black, deep blue and the deepest purple. Her corresponding season is Winter, and her usual animals are the owl, wolf, crow and raven. Her festival is that of the dead, that is, Samhain.

We should call on this aspect of the Goddess when we must deal with work or emotional relationships that come to an end, menopausia, rest and calm before starting new plans, deaths, retribution of abuses, protection stronger that usual both psychic and physical, and if we want to develop communication with guide-spirits.

 

Daily Forecast for October 24th, 2013

 

Thursday 24th October 2013

Moon waning gibbous 67% full, age 69%

Moon enters Cancer

Moon 1° Cancer trines Sun 1° Scorpio

Moon 2° Cancer trines Neptune [in retrograde] 2° Pisces

Moon 5° Cancer sextiles Mars 5° Virgo

Moon 9° Cancer opposes Pluto 9° Capricorn

Moon 9° Cancer squares Uranus [in retrograde] 9° Aries

Thursday 24th October 2013

The most harmonious refined and in many ways the most enjoyable time of the year has beguna - Sun in Scorpio - makes things CHANGE - and will FORCE transformation upon everyone - except it does it in the best way possible. By allowing a person to see, sense and enjoy the idea of CHANGE - and then make changes in the easiest way possible.

Many times people get ANGRY and ANNOYED because nothing is changing or things are changing that they don't want to change - Sun in Scorpio - will both ensure many changes will happen and they'll be changes that you WANT.

Sun in Scorpio is about "change, transformation and destiny" - remarkably you won't be forced to do anything that's not your destiny and that's not RIGHT for you - everything that happens will be in harmony with your destiny and will make you feel wholesome. You're about to be surprised that INSTEAD of fighting and battling for changes to happen - how easily "everything" coincidentally happens.

 

Today's - Moon in Cancer will be perfect for it's in it's natural star sign and will be in harmony with Sun in Scorpio . You'll feel the strength from WITHIN as Sun in Scorpio closely works on your DEEPEST feelings and emotions - and the Moon in Cancer will help you become "sensitive" to your own truthful emotions as Moon in Cancer will combine with Sun in Scorpio.

 

Mars in Virgo - due to the harmonious aspects it will make with Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn in Scorpio - you will get to see the RESULTS of effort, building, planning and hard-work of the past few months - but the one aspect you're instinctively waiting for and sensing coming is Sun in Scorpio - for as soon as Sun enters Scorpio - your life will change for the better

 

I'm assuming you're enjoying the energy of an inner planet Venus in Sagittarius which is creating the need for good friendships in your life. Indeed Venus in Sagittarius is the cohesive energy of friendships - it's also the LUCKY energy of the "flow of money" - as it will encourage you spend money on your friends and share what you have with other people for the socially friendly Sagittarian values friendships more than money !

 

Additionally today - you'll be feeling the protection of Neptune - as it allows you see the world full of peace, love and harmony - and will inspire you with brilliant ideas - as moves closer to 25th October: Sun 2° Scorpio trines Neptune [retrograde] 2° Pisces.

Your Daily Horoscopes for 

The power of positive thinking helps us start the day with a heightened sense of confidence. Nevertheless, we are overly sensitive to anything that might go wrong since the emotional Moon slipped into contemplative Cancer last night at 11:35 pm EDT. Although we may try to keep up appearances, there is trouble brewing beneath the surface as revolutionary Uranus inches toward its dynamic square to evolutionary Pluto that’s exact on November 1.

Aries Horoscope
(Mar 21 – Apr 19)

There may be a lot of positive movement in your life and you’re probably quite enthusiastic about what’s happening. You appear to be forthcoming with your feelings, yet you’re so smooth now that you might even fool yourself. Step back from the fun and games long enough to look beyond all the distractions. Once you get past the noise, you can reconnect with your emotions and speak directly from your heart.

Taurus Horoscope
(Apr 20 – May 20)

Responsibility is calling your name, even if you’re visiting an amusement park. You want to jump off the ride before it ends in order to get back to your obligations. Unfortunately, you may have to wait since the controls are out of reach — so you might as well relax and just enjoy yourself. Being open to pleasure today is a challenge surely worth pursuing.

Gemini Horoscope
(May 21 – Jun 20)

You can’t help but be thrilled if someone tempts you with a wonderful invitation. However, you aren’t sure if you can say yes now. Normally, you would have to pass on the fun if your previous commitments were not yet fulfilled. Luckily, the cosmos has given you the gift of gab, enabling you to talk your way around most obstacles and to pursue the adventure you seek. Proceed with caution because you may feel the stress later on if you don’t deliver what you promised today.

Cancer Horoscope
(Jun 21 – Jul 22)

Your ever-changing moods might make others impatient with you now that the evocative Moon is back in your sign. But you are in charge of your own destiny, and you can choose to keep your more serious feelings to yourself. This behavior is not dishonest; it simply creates a temporary boundary that allows you to work on your self-esteem. You don’t have to share every thought with everyone. Wait until your emotions settle down and then disclose whatever seems right.

Leo Horoscope
(Jul 23 – Aug 22)

You aren’t operating under any false illusions now, yet you may be even more optimistic than before. Part of your exuberance comes from the fact that you know what you are worth and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t lose faith, even if it’s been a long, hard haul. Your destination really could be within reach if you just keep believing in yourself.

Virgo Horoscope
(Aug 23 – Sep 22)

A family member or close friend may come through for you now in a way that touches you deeply. You’re more aware of what others say today, especially if they inspire you with their words. But even if it feels like you’ve taken a step backward, there’s no need for major concern at this time. Although you still might need to practice patience for a while longer, your momentum is building and the rewards will follow.

Libra Horoscope
(Sep 23 – Oct 22)

It feels good to be needed at work and you are more than eager to go out of your way today to help others. This sense of camaraderie can be a wonderful opportunity to give even more than is expected, but be careful about committing to so much now that you can’t deliver on your promises. Good intentions are not enough if you spread yourself too thin; true success comes from knowing your limits

Scorpio Horoscope
(Oct 23 – Nov 21)

You want to maintain a positive attitude, but it’s challenging to trust logic today if you’re not in touch with your feelings. Speaking from your heart can be a tricky maneuver, but you are better off acknowledging your emotions at work, even if they are not directly connected with your performance. Don’t try to make anyone else responsible for your reactions; just respond authentically and then move on.

Sagittarius Horoscope
(Nov 22 – Dec 21)

Everything appears to be coming up roses today. Nevertheless, you can’t seem to shake off a bad feeling about something that’s just below your radar. You think you’re missing an important piece of the puzzle but you don’t know where to search for it yet. For now, consciously let go of your attachment to the mystery and simply enjoy yourself in the present moment.

Capricorn Horoscope
(Dec 22 – Jan 19)

Someone may ask for your help today, but there really is nothing you have to do other than listen. The greatest gift you can give another person is to accept him or her as is, without any further demands. Ultimately, your unconditional support could turn into a spiritual gift that returns to you as you learn something special about yourself. Although your altruistic intention is to be of assistance, surprisingly, you stand to benefit the most from the process.

Aquarius Horoscope
(Jan 20 – Feb 18)

Although relationship dynamics may be a bit confusing these days, a new wave of clarity is on the horizon. Instead of putting a relationship into a box by defining it with your specific goals, try being more open-minded in your approach. You can bring out the best in others now if you engage them without too many expectations. True love is an unchained melody.

Pisces Horoscope
(Feb 19 – Mar 20)

You may be ready to put extra time into a romance during the days ahead. However, your creativity might also be channeled toward playing with children. Either way, your current tenderness leads you to be extra-protective of those closest to you. Remember, however, that fostering freedom can also be an empowering way to demonstrate your love. Balancing supervision with independence enables you to nurture all of your relationships now.

Tarot: Sun

What has traditionally been known as the Sun card is about the self — who you are and how you cultivate your personality and character. The earth revolves around the sun to make up one year of a person’s life, a fact we celebrate on our birthday.

The Sun card could also be titled “Back to Eden.” The Sun’s radiance is where one’s original nature or unconditioned Being can be encountered in health and safety. The limitations of time and space are stripped away; the soul is refreshed and temporarily protected from the chaos outside the garden walls.

Under the light of the Sun, Life reclaims its primordial goodness, truth and beauty. If one person is shown on this card, it is usually signifying a human incarnation of the Divine. When two humans are shown, the image is portraying a resolution of the tension between opposites at all levels. It’s as if this card is saying “You can do no wrong — it’s all to the good!”

Rune: Tiwaz

Tiwaz is the Warrior Rune. It represents pure, masculine power and the ability to successfully fight to meet your goals. However, you must be careful that costs of attaining your goals overshadow their values.

Faery Oracle: Sage

The Sage

The Sage is saying that it is important to take a step back and simplify your thoughts right now. 

Spend some time alone in quiet contemplation, meditate and above all, keep away from chaotic energies and people. Do not allow yourself to be pulled into other people's dramas. This can be quite tricky, as it can appear that you are being remote, or cold...but The Sage reassures you that this course of action is, in actual fact, the most beneficial for everyone concerned.

By doing this, you will deepen your understanding of the situation, see things more clearly and this deep consideration will lead to refined judgment, rather than emotion-based reactions. You will then know how best to handle the situation, or even if it is time to let go and move on.

Totem Spirit Animan Oracle:

That Which is Behind You
  Mockingbird 
Mockingbirds are master imitators, and can mimic the calls of many other birds. They’re also fearless protectors of their nest, and will attack any bird (no matter how large) to protect their young. Mockingbird’s lesson for you today is twofold: to listen to how you might be mimicking others—instead of listening to your own true voice; and to examine the value of what you defend. Hmmm? 

 

Your Current Place
  Owl 
Many cultures associate Owl with death, while others see Owl as the “night eagle”—the bird that embodies shamanism. Owl has exceptional hearing, and his medicine is one of clairaudience—the ability to hear spirit. If Owl has silently glided into your life today, he is asking you to face your own fears, and listen to the messages spirit is sending you. 

 

That Which is before You
  The Crow 
Crow is always on the alert for trouble—and their loud caws! warn each other of impending danger, Very little escapes Crow’s keen vision—which is why many cultures associate Crow with the keeper of knowledge. Crow has flapped his way into your life today to bring a message of watchfulness—have you built your nest high enough to really understand what’s going on around you? 

~*~Airwolf~*~

BLYSSFUL THOR'S DAY PAGANS!

WHO WAS DRACUL?

Origin of the name "Dracula"

King Sigismund of Hungary, who became the Holy Roman Emperor in 1410, founded a secret fraternal order of knights called the Order of the Dragon to uphold Christianity and defend the Empire against the Ottoman Turks. Its emblem was a dragon, wings extended, hanging on a cross. Vlad III’s father (Vlad II) was admitted to the Order around 1431 because of his bravery in fighting the Turks. From 1431 onward Vlad II wore the emblem of the order and later, as ruler of Wallachia, his coinage bore the dragon symbol.

[Dragon Emblem]
Order of the 
Dragon Emblem
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The word for dragon in Romanian is "drac" and "ul" is the definitive article. Vlad III’s father thus came to be known as "Vlad Dracul," or "Vlad the dragon." In Romanian the ending "ulea" means "the son of". Under this interpretation, Vlad III thus became Vlad Dracula, or "the son of the dragon." (The word "drac" also means "devil" in Romanian. The sobriquet thus took on a double meaning for enemies of Vlad Tepes and his father.)

Historical Background

To appreciate the story of Vlad III it is essential to understand the social and political forces of the region during the 15thcentury. In broad terms this is a story of the struggle to obtain control of Wallachia, a region of the Balkans (in present-day southern Romania) which lay directly between the two powerful forces of Hungary and the Ottoman Empire.

[Europe 1560]
Europe, circa 1560
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For nearly one thousand years Constantinople had stood as the protecting outpost of the Byzantine or East Roman Empire, and blocked Islam’s access to Europe. The Ottomans nonetheless succeeded in penetrating deep into the Balkans during this time. With the fall of Constantinople in 1453 under Sultan Mohammed the Conqueror, all of Christendom was suddenly threatened by the armed might of the Ottoman Turks. The Hungarian Kingdom to the north and west of Wallachia, which reached its zenith during this same time, assumed the ancient mantle as defender of Christendom.

The rulers of Wallachia were thus forced to appease these two empires to maintain their survival, often forging alliances with one or the other, depending upon what served their self-interest at the time. Vlad III is best known by the Romanian people for his success in standing up to the encroaching Ottoman Turks and establishing relative independence and sovereignty (albeit for a relatively brief time).

Another factor influencing political life was the means of succession to the Wallachian throne. The throne was hereditary, but not by the law of primogeniture. The boyars (wealthy land-owning nobles) had the right to elect the voivode (prince) from among various eligible members of the royal family. This allowed for succession to the throne through violent means. Assassinations and other violent overthrows of reigning parties were thus rampant. In fact, both Vlad III and his father assassinated competitors to attain the throne of Wallachia.

History of Wallachia Prior to Vlad III

[Fortress of Belgrade]
Fortress of Belgrade
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Wallachia was founded in 1290 by Radu Negru (Rudolph the Black). It was dominated by Hungary until 1330, when it became independent. The first ruler of the new country was Prince Basarab the Great, an ancestor of Dracula. Dracula’s grandfather, Prince Mircea the Old, reigned from 1386 to 1418. Eventually, the House of Basarab was split into two factions—Mircea’s descendant’s, and the descendants of another prince named Dan (called the Danesti). Much of the struggles to assume the throne during Dracula’s time were between these two competing factions.

In 1431 King Sigismund made Vlad Dracul the military governor of Transylvania, a region directly northwest of Wallachia. (Vlad III was born during this time, in the latter part of 1431.) Vlad was not content to serve as mere governor, and so gathered supporters for his plan to seize Wallachia from its current occupant, Alexandru I, a Danesti prince. In 1436 he succeeded in his plan, killing Alexandru and becoming Vlad II. (Presumably there was an earlier prince also named Vlad.)

For six years Vlad Dracul attempted to follow a middle ground between his two powerful neighbors. The prince of Wallachia was officially a vassal of the King of Hungary and Vlad was still a member of the Order of the Dragon and sworn to fight the infidel. At the same time the power of the Ottomans seemed unstoppable. Vlad was forced to pay tribute to the Sultan, just as his father, Mircea the Old, had been forced to do.

In 1442 Vlad attempted to remain neutral when the Turks invaded Transylvania. The Turks were defeated, and the vengeful Hungarians under John Hunyadi—the White Knight of Hungary--forced Vlad Dracul and his family to flee Wallachia. In 1443 Vlad regained the Wallachian throne with Turkish support, but on the condition that Vlad send a yearly contingent of Wallachian boys to join the Sultan’s Janissaries. In 1444, to further assure to the Sultan his good faith, Vlad sent his two younger sons--Vlad III and Radu the Handsome--to Adrianople as hostages. Vlad III remained a hostage in Adrianople until 1448.

In 1444 Hungary broke the peace and launched the Varna Campaign, led by John Hunyadi, in an effort to drive the Turks out of Europe. Hunyadi demanded that Vlad Dracul fulfill his oath as a member of the Order of the Dragon and a vassal of Hungary and join the crusade against the Turks, yet the wily politician still attempted to steer a middle course. Rather than join the Christian forces himself, he sent his oldest son, Mircea. Perhaps he hoped the Sultan would spare his younger sons if he himself did not join the crusade.

The results of the Varna Crusade are well known. The Christian army was utterly destroyed in the Battle of Varna. John Hunyadi managed to escape the battle under inglorious conditions. From this moment forth John Hunyadi was bitterly hostile toward Vlad Dracul and his eldest son. In 1447 Vlad Dracul was assassinated along with his son Mircea. Mircea was apparently buried alive by the boyars and merchants of Tirgoviste. (Vlad III later exacted revenge upon these boyars and merchants.) Hunyadi placed his own candidate, a member of the Danesti clan, on the throne of Wallachia.

On receiving news of Vlad Dracul’s death the Turks released Vlad III and supported him as their own candidate for the Wallachian throne. In 1448, at the age of seventeen, Vlad III managed to briefly seize the Wallachian throne. Yet within two months Hunyadi forced him to surrender the throne and flee to his cousin, the Prince of Moldavia. Vlad III’s successor to the throne, however—Vladislov II—unexpectedly instituted a pro-Turkish policy, which Hunyadi found to be unacceptable. He then turned to Vlad III, the son of his old enemy, as a more reliable candidate for the throne, and forged an allegiance with him to retake the throne by force. Vlad III received the Transylvanian duchies formerly governed by his father and remained there, under the protection of Hunyadi, waitng for an opportunity to retake Wallachia from his rival.

In 1453, however, the Christian world was shocked by the final fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans. Hunyadi thus broadened the scope of his campaign against the insurgent Turks. In 1456 Hunyadi invaded Turkish Serbia while Vlad III simultaneously invaded Wallachia. In the Battle of Belgrade Hunyadi was killed and his army defeated. Meanwhile, Vlad III succeeded in killing Vladislav II and taking the Wallachian throne.

Vlad III then began his main reign of Wallachia, which stretched from 1456-1462. It was during this period that he instituted his strict policies, stood up against the Turks and began his reign of terror by impalement.

 

The Life of Vlad III (1431-1476)

Vlad III was born in November or December of 1431 in the Transylvanian city of Sighisoara. At the time his father, Vlad II (Vlad Dracul), was living in exile in Transylvania. The house where he was born is still standing. It was located in a prosperous neighborhood surrounded by the homes of Saxon and Magyar merchants and the townhouses of the nobility.
Click to Enlarge

Little is known about the early years of Vlad III’s life. He had an older brother, Mircea, and a younger brother, Radu the Handsome. His early education was left in the hands of his mother, a Transylvanian noblewoman, and her family. His real education began in 1436 after his father succeeded in claiming the Wallachian throne by killing his Danesti rival. His training was typical to that of the sons of nobility throughout Europe. His first tutor in his apprenticeship to knighthood was an elderly boyar who had fought against the Turks at the battle of Nicolopolis. Vlad learned all the skills of war and peace that were deemed necessary for a Christian knight.

In 1444, at the age of thirteen, young Vlad and his brother Radu were sent to Adrianople as hostages, to appease the Sultan. He remained there until 1448, at which time he was released by the Turks, who supported him as their candidate for the Wallachian throne. Vlad’s younger brother apparently chose to remain in Turkey, where he had grown up. (Radu is later supported by the Turks as a candidate for the Wallachian throne, in opposition to his own brother, Vlad.)

As previously noted, Vlad III’s initial reign was quite short (two months), and it was not until 1456, under the support of Hunyadi and the Kingdom of Hungary that he returned to the throne. He established Tirgoviste as his capitol city, and began to build his castle some distance away in the mountains near the Arges River. Most of the atrocities associated with Vlad III took place during this time.

Atrocities of Vlad Tepes

More than anything else the historical Dracula is known for his inhuman cruelty. Impalement was Vlad III’s preferred method of torture and execution. Impalement was and is one of the most gruesome ways of dying imaginable, as it was typically slow and painful.


Click to Enlarge

Vlad usually had a horse attached to each of the victim’s legs and a sharpened stake was gradually forced into the body. The end of the stake was usually oiled and care was taken that the stake not be too sharp, else the victim might die too rapidly from shock. Normally the stake was inserted into the body through the buttocks and was often forced through the body until it emerged from the mouth. However, there were many instances where victims were impaled through other body orifices or through the abdomen or chest. Infants were sometimes impaled on the stake forced through their mother’s chests. The records indicate that victims were sometimes impaled so that they hung upside down on the stake.

Vlad Tepes often had the stakes arranged in various geometric patterns. The most common pattern was a ring of concentric circles in the outskirts of a city that was his target. The height of the spear indicated the rank of the victim. The decaying corpses were often left up for months. It was once reported that an invading Turkish army turned back in fright when it encountered thousands of rotting corpses impaled on the banks of the Danube. In 1461 Mohammed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, a man not noted for his squeamishness, returned to Constantinople after being sickened by the sight of twenty thousand impaled Turkish prisoners outside of the city of Tirgoviste. This gruesome sight is remembered in history as "the Forest of the Impaled."

Thousands were often impaled at a single time. Ten thousand were impaled in the Transylvanian city of Sibiu in 1460. In 1459, on St. Bartholomew’s Day, Vlad III had thirty thousand of the merchants and boyars of the Transylvanian city of Brasov impaled. One of the most famous woodcuts of the period shows Vlad Dracula feasting amongst a forest of stakes and their grisly burdens outside Brasov while a nearby executioner cuts apart other victims.

Although impalement was Vlad Dracula’s favorite method of torture, it was by no means his only method. The list of tortures employed by this cruel prince reads like an inventory of hell’s tools: nails in heads, cutting off of limbs, blinding, strangulation, burning, cutting off of noses and ears, mutilation of sexual organs (especially in the case of women), scalping, skinning, exposure to the elements or to wild animals, and burning alive.

No one was immune to Vlad’s attentions. His victims included women and children, peasants and great lords, ambassadors from foreign powers and merchants. However, the vast majority of his victims came from the merchants and boyars of Transylvania and his own Wallachia.

Many have attempted to justify Vlad Dracula’s actions on the basis of nascent nationalism and political necessity. Many of the merchants in Transylvania and Wallachia were German Saxons who were seen as parasites, preying upon Romanian natives of Wallachia. The wealthy land owning boyars exerted their own often capricious and unfaithful influence over the reigning princes. Vlad’s own father and older brother were murdered by unfaithful boyars. However, many of Vlad Dracula’s victims were also Wallachians, and few deny that he derived a perverted pleasure from his actions.

Vlad Dracula began his reign of terror almost as soon as he came to power. His first significant act of cruelty may have been motivated by a desire for revenge as well as a need to solidify his power. Early in his main reign he gave a feast for his boyars and their families to celebrate Easter. Vlad was well aware that many of these same nobles were part of the conspiracy that led to his father’s assassination and the burying alive of his elder brother, Mircea. Many had also played a role in the overthrow of numerous Wallachian princes. During the feast Vlad asked his noble guests how many princes had ruled during their lifetimes. All of the nobles present had outlived several princes. None had seen less then seven reigns. Vlad immediately had all the assembled nobles arrested. The older boyars and their families were impaled on the spot. The younger and healthier nobles and their families were marched north from Tirgoviste to the ruins of his castle in the mountains above the Arges River. The enslaved boyars and their families were forced to labor for months rebuilding the old castle with materials from a nearby ruin. According to the reports they labored until the clothes fell off their bodies and then were forced to continue working naked. Very few survived this ordeal.

Throughout his reign Vlad continued to systematically eradicate the old boyar class of Wallachia. Apparently Vlad was determined that his own power be on a modern and thoroughly secure footing. In the place of the executed boyars Vlad promoted new men from among the free peasantry and middle class; men who would be loyal only to their prince.

Vlad Tepes’ atrocities against the people of Wallachia were usually attempts to enforce his own moral code upon his country. He appears to have been particularly concerned with female chastity. Maidens who lost their virginity, adulterous wives and unchaste widows were all targets of Vlad’s cruelty. Such women often had their sexual organs cut out or their breasts cut off, and were often impaled through the vagina on red-hot stakes. One report tells of the execution of an unfaithful wife. Vlad had the woman’s breasts cut off, then she was skinned and impaled in a square in Tirgoviste with her skin lying on a nearby table. Vlad also insisted that his people be honest and hard working. Merchants who cheated their customers were likely to find themselves mounted on a stake beside common thieves.

The End of Vlad III

Although Vlad III experienced some success in fending off the Turks, his accomplishments were relatively short-lived. He received little support from his titular overlord, Matthius Corvinus, King of Hungary (son of John Hunyadi) and Wallachian resources were too limited to achieve any lasting success against the powerful Turks.

The Turks finally succeeded in forcing Vlad to flee to Transylvania in 1462. Reportedly, his first wife committed suicide by leaping from the towers of Vlad’s castle into the waters of the Arges River rather than surrender to the Turks. Vlad escaped through a secret passage and fled across the mountains into Transylvania and appealed to Matthias Corvinus for aid. The king immediately had Vlad arrested and imprisoned in a royal tower.

There is some debate as to the exact length of Vlad’s confinement. The Russian pamphlets indicate that he was a prisoner from 1462 until 1474. However, during this period he was able to gradually win his way back into the graces of Matthias Corvinus and ultimately met and married a member of the royal family (possibly the sister of Corvinus) and fathered two sons. It is unlikely that a prisoner would be allowed to marry a member of the royal family. As the eldest son was about 10 years old at the point Vlad regained the Wallachian throne in 1476, his release probably occurred around 1466.

Note: The Russian narrative, normally very favorable to Vlad, indicates that even in captivity he could not give up his favorite past-time; he often captured birds and mice and proceeded to torture and mutilate them. Some were beheaded or tarred-and-feathered and released. Most were impaled on tiny spears.

Another possible reason for Vlad’s rehabilitation was that the new successor to the Wallachian throne, Vlad’s own brother, Radu the Handsome, had instituted a very pro-Turkish policy. The Hungarian king may have viewed Dracula as a possible candidate to retake the throne. The fact that Vlad renounced the Orthodox faith and adopted Catholicism was also surely meant to appease his Hungarian captor.

In 1476 Vlad was again ready to make a bid for power. Vlad Dracula and Prince Stephen Bathory of Transylvania invaded Wallachia with a mixed contingent of forces. Vlad’s brother, Radu, had by then already died and was replaced by Basarab the Old, a member of the Danesti clan. At the approach of Vlad’s army Basarab and his cohorts fled. However, shortly after retaking the throne, Prince Bathory and most of Vlad’s forces returned to Transylvania, leaving Vlad in a vulnerable position. Before he was able to gather support, a large Turkish army entered Wallachia. Vlad was forced to march and meet the Turks with less than four thousand men.


Purported tomb
of Vlad Tepes 
Click to Enlarge Vlad Dracula was killed in battle against the Turks near the town of Bucharest in December of 1476. Some reports indicate that he was assassinated by disloyal Wallachian boyars just as he was about to sweep the Turks from the field. Other accounts have him falling in defeat, surrounded by the ranks of his loyal Moldavian bodyguard. Still other reports claim that Vlad, at the moment of victory, was accidentally struck down by one of his own men. The one undisputed fact is that ultimately his body was decapitated by the Turks and his head sent to Constantinople where the sultan had it displayed on a stake as proof that the horrible Impaler was finally dead. He was reportedly buried at Snagov, an island monastery located near Bucharest.

Historical Evidence

In evaluating the accounts of Vlad Dracula it is important to realize that much of the information comes from sources that may not be entirely accurate. With each of the three main sources there is reason to believe that the information provided may be influenced by local, mainly political, prejudices. The three main sources are as follows: (1) Pamphlets published in Germany shortly after Vlad’s death, (2) pamphlets published in Russia shortly after the German pamphlets, and (3) Romanian oral tradition.

At the time of Vlad Dracula’s death Matthias Corvinus of Hungary was seeking to bolster his own reputation in the Holy Roman Empire and may have intended the early pamphlets as justification of his less than vigorous support of his vassal. It must also be remembered that German merchants were often the victims of Vlad Dracula’s cruelty. The pamphlets thus painted Vlad Dracula as an inhuman monster who terrorized the land and butchered innocents with sadistic glee.

The pamphlets were also a form of mass entertainment in a society where the printing press was just coming into widespread use. The pamphlets were reprinted numerous times over the thirty or so years following Vlad’s death—strong proof of their popularity.

At the time of Vlad III the princes of Moscow were just beginning to build the basis of what would become the autocracy of the czars. Just like Vlad III, they were having considerable problems with the disloyal, often troublesome boyars. In Russia, Vlad Dracula was thus presented as a cruel but just prince whose actions were intended to benefit the greater good of his people.

German Pamphlets
Russian Pamphlets
Romanian Oral Tradition
Legends and tales concerning Vlad the Impaler have remained a part of folklore among the Romanian peasantry. These tales have been passed down from generation to generation for five hundred years. As one might imagine, through constant retelling they have become somewhat garbled and confused and are gradually being forgotten by the younger generations. However, they still provide valuable information about Vlad Dracula and his relationship with his people.

Vlad Dracula is remembered as a just prince who defended his people from foreigners, whether those foreigners were Turkish invaders or German merchants. He is also remembered as a champion of the common man against the oppression of the boyars. A central part of the verbal tradition is Vlad’s insistence on honesty in his effort to eliminate crime and immoral behavior from the region. However, despite the more positive interpretation of his life, Vlad Dracula is still remembered as an exceptionally cruel and often capricious ruler.

Despite the differences between these various sources, there are common strains that run among them. The German and Russian pamphlets, in particular, agree remarkably as to many specifics of Vlad Dracula’s deeds. This level of agreement has led many historians to conclude that much of the information must at least to some extent be true.

Anecdotes

There are about nine anecdotes that are almost universal in the Vlad Dracula literature. They include the following:

Vlad Dracula was known throughout his land for his fierce insistence on honesty and order. Thieves seldom dared practice their trade within his domain, for they knew that the stake awaited any who were caught. Vlad was so confident in the effectiveness of his law that he laced a golden cup on display in the central square of Tirgoviste. The cup was never stolen and remained entirely unmolested throughout Vlad Dracula’s reign.

Vlad Dracula was very concerned that all his subjects work and contribute to the common welfare. He once notice that the poor, vagrants, beggars and cripples had become very numerous in his land. Consequently, he issued an invitation to all the poor and sick in Wallachia to come to Tirgoviste for a great feast, claiming that no one should go hungry in his land. As the poor and crippled arrived in the city they were ushered into a great hall where a fabulous feast was prepared for them. The guests ate and drank late into the night. Vlad himself then made an appearance and asked them, "What else do you desire? Do you want to be without cares, lacking nothing in this world?" When they responded positively Vlad ordered the hall boarded up and set on fire. None escaped the flames. Vlad explained his action to the boyars by claiming that he did this "in order that they represent no further burden to other men, and that no one will be poor in my realm."

Although there are some discrepancies between the German and Russian pamphlets in the interpretation of this story, they agree to the following: Two ambassadors of a foreign power visited Vlad’s court at Tirgoviste. When in the presence of the prince, they refused to remove their hats. Vlad ordered that the hats be nailed to their heads, such that they should never have to remove them again.

Note: The nailing of hats to the heads of those who displeased a monarch was not an unknown act in eastern Europe and by the princes of Moscow.

A merchant from a foreign land visited Tirgoviste. Aware of the reputation of Vlad Dracula’s land for honesty, he left a treasure-laden cart unguarded in the street over night. Upon returning to his wagon in the morning, the merchant was shocked to find 160 golden ducats missing. Then the merchant complained of his loss to the prince, Vlad assured him that his money would be returned. Vlad Dracula then issued a proclamation to the city—find the thief and return the money or the city will be destroyed. During the night he ordered that 160 ducats plus one extra be taken from his own treasury and placed in the merchant’s cart. On returning to his cart the next morning and counting his money the merchant discovered the extra ducat. The merchant returned to Vlad and reported that his money had indeed been returned plus an extra ducat. Meanwhile the thief had been captured and turned over to the prince’s guards along with the stolen money. Vlad ordered the thief impaled and informed the merchant that if he had not reported the extra ducat he would have been impaled alongside the thief.

Vlad once noticed a man working in the fields while wearing a caftan (shirt) that he adjudged to be too short in length. The prince stopped and asked to see the man’s wife. When the woman was brought before him he asked her how she spent her days. The poor, frightened woman stated that she spent her days washing, baking and sewing. The prince pointed out her husband’s short caftan as evidence of her laziness and dishonesty and ordered her impaled, despite her husband’s protestations that he was well satisfied with his wife. Vlad then ordered another woman to marry the peasant but admonished her to work hard or she would suffer the same fate.

On St. Bartholomew’s Day in 1459 Vlad Dracula caused thirty thousand of the merchants and nobles of the Transylvanian city of Brasov to be impaled. In order that he might better enjoy the results of his orders, the prince commanded that his table be set up and that his boyars join him for a feast amongst the forest of impaled corpses. While dining, Vlad noticed that one of his boyars was holding his nose in an effort to alleviate the terrible smell of clotting blood and emptied bowels. Vlad then ordered the sensitive nobleman impaled on a stake higher than all the rest so that he might be above the stench.

Vlad Dracula once had a mistress that lived in a house in the back streets of Tirgoviste. This woman apparently loved the prince to distraction and was always anxious to please him. Vlad was often moody and depressed and the woman made every effort to lighten her lover’s burdens. Once, when he was particularly depressed, the woman dared tell him the lie that she was with child. Vlad had the woman examined by the bath matrons. When informed that the woman was lying, Vlad drew his knife and cut her open from the groin to her breast, leaving her to die in agony.

Benedict de Boithor, a Polish nobleman in the service of the King of Hungary, visited Vlad Dracula at Tirgoviste in September of 1458. At dinner one evening Vlad ordered a golden spear brought and set up directly in front of the royal envoy. Vlad then asked the envoy if he knew why this spear had been set up. Benedict replied that he imagined some boyar had offended the prince and that Vlad intended to honor him. Vlad responded that the spear had, in fact, been set up in honor of his noble, Polish guest. The Pole then responded that if he had done anything to deserve death that Vlad should do as he thought best. Vlad Dracula was greatly pleased by this answer, showered him with gifts, and declared that had he answered in any other manner he would have been immediately impaled.

The Golden Cup
The Burning of the Sick and Poor
The Foreign Ambassadors
The Foreign Merchant
The Lazy Woman
The Nobleman with the Keen Sense of Smell
Vlad Dracula’s Mistress
The Polish Nobleman
The Two Monks
There is some discrepancy in the telling of this anecdote. The various sources agree, however, as to the basic story. Two monks from a foreign land came to visit Vlad Dracula in his palace at Tirgoviste. Curious to see the reaction of the churchmen, Vlad showed them rows of impaled corpses in the courtyard. When asked their opinions, the first monk responded, "You are appointed by God to punish evil-doers." The other monk had the moral courage to condemn the cruel prince. In the version of the story most common in the German pamphlets, Vlad rewarded the sycophantic monk and impaled the honest one. In the version found in Russian pamphlets and in Romanian verbal tradition Vlad rewarded the honest monk for his integrity and courage and impaled the sycophant for his dishonesty.

The Origins of the Vampire Myth

 It is certainly no coincidence that Bram Stoker chose the Balkans as the home of his famous vampire. The Balkans were still basically medieval even in Stoker’s time. They had only recently shaken off the Turkish yoke when Stoker started working on his novel and the superstitions of the Dark Ages were still prevalent.

The legend of the vampire was and still is deeply rooted in the Balkan region. There have always been vampire-like creatures in the mythologies of many cultures. However, the vampire, as he became known in Europe and hence America, largely originated in the Slavic and Greek lands of Eastern Europe.

A veritable epidemic of vampirism swept through Eastern Europe beginning in the late seventeenth century and continuing through the eighteenth century. The number of reported cases rose dramatically in Hungary and the Balkans. From the Balkans the plague spread westward into Germany, Italy, France, England and Spain. Travelers returning from the Balkans brought with them tales of the undead, igniting an interest in the vampire that has continued to this day.

Philosophers in the West began to study the phenomenon. It was during this period that Dom Augustin Calmet wrote his famous treatise on vampirism in Hungary. It was also during this period that authors and playwrights first began to explore the vampire myth. Stoker’s novel was merely the culminating work of a long series of works that were inspired by the reports coming from the region.

Most of the information provided on this site was obtained from a 
document entitled "The Historical Dracula," by Ray Porter.  Seehttp://www.eskimo.com/~mwirkk/vladhist.html for more information.

Additional information was obtained from the following Web sites:

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Aegean/7545/Dracula.html

http://www.mediaport.org/~eric/dracula/history/history.html

http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~emiller/owner.htm

SO PAGANS REMEMBER TO MAKE IT TRUE, MAKE IT REAL, AND ALWAYS MAKE IT MAGICKAL EVERYDAY!

Airwolf-humbly serving my Goddess (O)

Eclectic traditions

 

What do I mean by an Eclectic tradition?

Eclectic practices are hard to define, perhaps because they are so...darn..eclectic. They can't claim a specific, ancient, tradition (like the Druids), they don't have a specific founder and liturgy (like Gardnarian Witchcraft), heck, they may change their Gods and Goddesses every time they gather for ritual.

Eclectic traditions can best be defined through their participants and the practices of those participants.

Eclecticism can mean that the participant's practice is an accumulation of different influences, ranging from Native American to Celtic to Asian, with the participant drawing from each tradition as they are inspired and comfortable. Conventionally this type of practice is called syncreticism, where many different cultural and religious paths are the inspiration for a particular path's practices.

Gardnarian Witchcraft is an example of an eclectic tradition under this definition. It incorporates elements of traditional Craft, Masonic and Ritual Magic ceremonies, and Goddess worship into its practices. While we can say its eclectic, a more appropriate term for it would be syncretistic, as it has a core set of practices, some of which are drawn from other traditions. Paganism is inherently syncretistic, but Eclecticism incorporates syncretistic into its underlying practice.

In an Eclectic practice the participants can follow different paths but the celebration, the coming together, allows for a lot of variety in how the rituals and celebrations are conducted. Sometimes celebrations and rituals are done by drawing from traditional Witchcraft, while at other times you might put on a ritual drawing from Asian or Native American traditions. Each member celebrates the other members rituals and observances, because individually it is unlikely they will find a group that would celebrate just their tradition. Some may even find the cross pollination that occurs during such rituals to be a nice way to expand and extend the experiences of following just one path.

Eclecticism provides a very concrete Pagan experience. Historically European Paganism was open to incorporating many different traditions and ritual elements into its observance. Gods and Goddesses could be transformed into local deities, or could be simply added to existing pantheons. Little or no jealousy or consequence was to be had for observing rites to a different God or Goddess. While they may not have gone so far as to have a different observance every week, in practice it is unlikely most groups would go that far with their Eclecticism anyway. In most cases a central "core" of beliefs and practices forms the baseline for an Eclectic group. This is usually Celtic/Wiccan Paganism with its wheel of the year, and Celtic Gods and Goddesses. Other practices hilite and leaven this baseline.

In Eclectic Paganism everyone's path is celebrated as unique paths, ones that speak to individuals within the group. The group itself only adheres to broader and more encompassing values such as earth-centeredness, multiplicity of deity, or immanent experience of the divine. Individuality, in belief, experience, and practice is central to Eclecticism.

Contemporary Eclectic Paganism, if done well, can provide an opportunity to grow that is very different from, but no less compelling, than the single path or coven experience. By participating in, and possibly helping construct, rituals from a variety of paths the participant is exposed to a range of styles, beliefs, and ritual practices. Because Eclecticism draws on the experiences and paths of the participant members it is inherently democratic. Everyone at one time or another can have the opportunity to lead in ritual, as all practices become woven into the overall tapestry of the group's practice.

The experience of incorporating member's practices and rituals into group experience also has consequences for initiation and teaching. Inherent equality leads to an informal progress of experience within the group. More experienced members see the advantage in mentoring and assisting less experienced members in developing and putting on rituals, both for pragmatic reasons (effort is spread around) as well as spiritual reasons (a greater variety of experiences and opportunities). While eclecticism does not immediately imply democracy, when all are capable of leading, influencing the group automatically becomes important in getting things done.

Lack of specific mentoring opportunities does limit the individual's ability to advance in more esoteric traditions. However much of the learning that occurs in group practice involves managing people, developing group awareness, and maturing spiritually. These, and other, maturing traits cross over many different types of practices, allowing more spiritually mature members of the group to help along the less mature, regardless of their particular path.

Likewise initiation is not an inherent part of Eclectic practice. Initiation is important for three reasons: the change that occurs in the initiate, to impart hidden knowledge, and formal recognition of progress in leadership within the group. In a group that follows a variety of traditions and paths, the possibility for "hidden" knowledge is unlikely. The whole point of the eclectic group is to share experiences and ritual, and esoteric or hidden knowledge gets in the way of that. Likewise recognition of leadership in the group is taken care of by the participation in a democratic process. Since the ritual leadership is democratic, it is not far from democratic participation to democratically elected leadership. Elected, electric, get it?

The loss of the experience of initiation is a significant shortcoming for electric practices. The trade-off is that participants get to experience a wide range of traditions and practices, without being locked into one path. The multiplicity of experiences has to make up for the lack of initiation in an eclectic tradition.

No tradition is perfect. But with an Eclectic practice you can draw from the best of all the traditions, and share insights from a variety of paths. Sure, you lose some focus, but in exchange you get to participate in a wide range of traditions.

 

[1] Eclectic is defined as "selecting the best in various doctrines or styles". Of course "best" is defined as "what you like".

 

What is "Eclectic"?

Explanation, dictionary style:

Somebody who is eclectic, selects from various doctrines, methods or styles those parts she considers the best. The word also denotes a whole, constructed from pieces obtained from various sources.

Definition of a Sort

Eclectic Pagans form a large group, consisting of people with widely different religious views. This "denomination" or "group" is not easily definable and one could say that the only feature binding it together is - being eclectic.

Very simply put, Eclectic Pagans are Pagans who do not adhere to any given tradition {1} and/or religion, but build their own religious world view out of pieces they have picked from
different traditions and/or religions, adding to the mix - when they see a need - features they have developed themselves. Those Eclectics who do consider themselves as belonging to a given Pagan religion, combine features from the different traditions of that religion, often adding also features derived from elsewhere. Many "basic Pagans not belonging to any religion" are some grade of eclectics. Many of them identify themselves simply as "Pagans".

Eclectics are often solitary, but there are also eclectic Pagan groups, for example Wiccan covens. For the sake of clarity and simplicity, I will be concentrating on Solitary Eclectic Pagans here.

Mental Images on the Subject...

I played a game of word association with some fellow Pagans, asking them to tell their first thoughts on the words "Eclectic Solitary Pagan". Answers were quite interesting... Here are a few selected ones:

- "Unrestrainedly rootless free-thinking individual."

- "The 'pick and choose' mentality of consumers."

- "Potpourri. Some mixtures are great, some are awful and some that I think are eloquent, can in my sister's opinion resemble an unchanged kitty litter box."

- "Eclectic: Chooses the pieces best fitting to herself, just like everybody else does, but doesn't feel the need to attach themselves to any given religious group. Still wants to put
some sort of 'label' on herself. Solitary: Doesn't practice her religion officially with any given group of people. Primarily practices alone. Pagan: Gods only know."

- "Abundant "

- "Me."

- "Light bulb."

These comments give some kind of clues on how an Eclectic Pagan is understood and what an Eclectic Pagan is religiously speaking. Or, then again, they don't. Pick and choose yourself :)

Taking a Closer Look

Nine words the Eclectic Rede attest:
Steal what works, fix what's broke, fake the rest.

The "Eclectic Rede" above describes the basic starting point quite well. As a typical Eclectic, I grabbed it along at some point of my journey (the Eclectic Rede was originally written by Steve Storm {2}).

At best, the end result is a working and on a personal level very satisfying whole, which can in some cases even lead to the birth of a new Pagan tradition/religion, if there are others thinking the same way. At worst, the end result is a conflict-ridden mishmash of different parts glued together, which simply does not work in practice, nor on any level.

For some, the eclectics' religiosity which draws from many sources, may conjure images of a person with a full-blown fluffy-bunny attitude of the worst kind, a person who wants everything to be oh-so-wonderful and therefore chooses "all the best bits" from all religions available. Using a very simplified and somewhat made-up example: One picks angels from Christianity (believing that angels are first, foremost and only kind and wonderful guardian angels), "an it harm none" from Wicca, Karma from Buddhism ("I can't do anything remotely resembling bad, because that would mean I get bad karma"), the omnipotence of crystals from New Age ways of thinking, all "nice" gods and goddesses from different old Paganisms, cool names from the American Indians etc. At the end of the day, the only thing connecting these different pieces is that "everything has to feel good, right here and right now".

Oh well, these people do exist and a combination like this can really be the right one for some of them (at least for a while). However, Eclectic Pagans are a much more varied bunch and should not be painted with a broad brush because of how some of them are, especially as there are "bunnies" in practically every religion. In many cases, an eclectic world view requires quite a lot of studying. An Eclectic Pagan can't, in a time of need, just pick up Spiral Dance, Book of the Law, Satanic Bible, Mahabharata or the Eddas and do what the book tells you to do, but she has to take into consideration the viewpoints and approaches of the different religions and traditions influencing her religiosity and think which would fit the best for the solution of the problem at hand, or the accomplishment of the duty to be done.

For many Eclectics "how" is not the most important question, but "why". By questioning, asking, listening to other people's experiences and thoughts and constantly learning something new, one is better able to find out what fits and what does not. By studying widely (not just in depth, but not excluding in depth studies either), one can avoid the "religious cut and paste syndrome" and be able to create something new and meaningful from pieces that could otherwise seem disconnected, even if that means new and meaningful only on the level of one person. Creating something new from pieces does not mean that the Eclectic would hold herself higher or better than her sources, or that she thinks that she's actually creating something brand new and unique - as if nobody else had ever thought of combining factor A with factor B. The question is more of a made to measure mix from available sources. Many others may have made their own mixes from the same ingredients earlier on, but those are theirs.

Using a very mundane example: It depends on the skills of the cook and the time taken by her, whether the end result is a new gorgeous meal - or does it look like the cook got lazy and just mixed together the ingredients of the appetizer, main course and dessert?

On a Road to Somewhere, On a Road from Somewhere?

For some people, being eclectic is just an intermediate phase on their journey from one point to another. After giving up the faith of their parents and/or the faith they were taught when they were children, they enter a seeking period. Their process of defining their own religiosity often starts with negations, for example: "I am not a Christian". After this, they find a larger reference group to feel connection with: Pagans and Neo-Pagans.

During the course of religious search, the seeker studies several different Pagan religions, picking and choosing from each one some aspects she finds to be most important to herself. Little by little, the seeker begins to form an eclectic view of life, which reflects her. After a while, after learning more, the seeker may start to feel connection with one of the many Pagan beliefs and starts to concentrate on that. With time, the seeker realizes that she is no longer a seeker, but somebody who can call herself as being part of a given (Neo-)Pagan religion, saying: "I am ****!"

An eclectic religious view may also be the end result of traveling from one religion forward. (I am using the word "forward" here with no value-setting about forward meaning better. What I am referring to with this word here is moving to something more fitting on a personal level). Wicca, with its many traditions and varied roots can be used as a good example here.

Somebody who has this far identified herself as Wiccan, starts to research the roots of her religion closer and finds out that she has entered a phase where she can no longer truthfully (as in being truthful to herself) call herself Wiccan. She has studied for example Thelema, Celtic Paganism and other religions where Wicca - depending on the Wiccan tradition - has drawn from. With time the Pagan who has formerly identified herself as Wiccan realizes, that she has walked further and further away from the Wiccan views and has started to value more some of the aspects she has found in the "roots of Wicca". She then organizes these aspects to form a new whole. Unlike when still Wiccan, the nowadays Eclectic Pagan may emphasize quite different aspects of the religions and paths that influenced Wicca (traditional and more Neo-Wiccan) than the aspects adapted to Wicca.

Then there is a third kind of people, the eternal seekers, the forever walkers of their own paths. These people may not even believe in ever getting "there", of ever becoming ready to call themselves practitioners or believers of any given religion. Their path is one of ever ongoing search. They don't feel the need to belong to any defined religion, but find it more important to build a whole that expresses their own religious needs as well as possible.

How much Can/Should One Mix Traditions/Religions Before One is an Eclectic?

Opinions on where one stops being a follower of one tradition/religion and starts being an eclectic vary. A British Traditionalist Wicca may be of an opinion that if somebody belonging to tradition A starts incorporating aspects of tradition B - never mind from a totally different religion, it's time to stop calling oneself as belonging to tradition A. At the same time, somebody else may happily define oneself as Christian Wiccan. The borderline is, as you can see, fluid. This is the case especially with individual people and their self-identification, even though for an outsider it may be rather easy to say "that person over there is actually more of an Eclectic Pagan than anything else". When it comes to my Christian Wiccan example, one can wonder if a person like this actually an Eclectic Pagan at all, or somebody with an eclectic religiosity. After all, one of the religions incorporated is anything but Pagan.

To end this short piece - jokes on Eclectics:

Q: What is the difference between an Eclectic and an ethical Eclectic?
V: References. {3}

Why did the chicken cross the road - Eclectic answer: Because it seemed right to her at the time. She used some Egyptian style corn and a Celtic sounding word for the road and incorporated some Native American elements into her Corn-name, Chicken-Who-Dances-and-Runs-with-the-Wolves

NOTES

{1} Tradition : In this connection a branch of a Pagan religion (for example Wicca), like Gardnerian and Dianic Wicca.

{2} Steve, who is himself an Eclectic, wrote the quite fitting Eclectic's reference: "Part of this may be stuff I stole from somebody somewhere at some point of my life. Part I made up myself. Part may be divine revelation (thank you, Goddess!) and I really don't know how to tell the different parts apart. Then again, I may remember everything from my past life, where I was Gerald Gardner. That, of course, would explain my Eclectic tendencies, wouldn't it."

{3} Taliesin of Earthstar

Daily Forecast for October 23rd, 2013

 

Wednesday 23rd October 2013

Moon 16° => 28° Gemini

Sun enters Scorpio - all "change"

Moon: waning gibbous 75%, age 67%

Wednesday 23rd October 2013 - Moon in Gemini

Emotional "Switch-on / Switch-off" - due to Sun in Scorpio

This is the day of "all-change" - and that's because when Sun enters Scorpio it will create a complete switch in mood - depending on your star sign - it will affect your mood dramatically. It's not just due to the fact that of Sun in Scorpio but it's the collective strength that Sun in Scorpio, Saturn in Scorpio & Mercury in Scorpio will define - as they trine Jupiter in Cancer - sextile Mars in Virgo - and sextiles Pluto in Capricorn to ensure BOUNDARIES of your life are 100% PROTECTED and CLOSED to anyone/anything that is NOT destined NOR right to be in your life.

Sun in Scorpio will overide many of the emotional lunar energies - because Sun in Scorpio closely works on your DEEPEST feelings and emotions - except instead of being OPEN to external emotional energies created by the Moon - it works by making you CLOSED to external energies so you can sense the internal emotional energy from WITHIN you.

 

The Moon's Emotional Energies during Sun in Scorpio...

I've mentioned this important fact here on Moon Astrology - because the Moon creates emotional energies - for good and bad. If you remember during Summer when Sun is in Leo - you're in an OPEN MOOD - in fact TOO OPEN - so that you're receiving and sensing much more emotional energies than you should be. In sharp contrast Sun in Scorpio will be making your CLOSED - in fact VERY CLOSED - and it will ONLY allow-in your life - the absolutely vitally necessary emotional energies that you need. Everything else - won't even be felt.

Thus and therefore Sun in Scorpio will actually be a very successful and stable time of your life - for you'll instinctively REFUSE to be distracted by anything or anyone that your DESTINY doesn't want you to connected to.

The only downside of the lack of feeling external emotional energies is actually a very big blessing - because during Sun in Scorpio all the "self-centred selfish parasites" who LIVE-off receiving energy from others - they will be feeling EMPTY, DEAD and VOID - because no-one will want to give them any energy. No-one will waste time talking to them nor interacting with them - which will make them frustrated and empty. Ironically "they" will try harder to find people to talk to - and even attempt to contact you. So if you suddenly hear from people you've not heard from - BE WARNED - they might be searching for someone to "take" energy from. Use your inner feelings and you'll know who you can trust.

 

On Wednesday, although the Moon 16° => 28° Gemini should technically continue the vibrant communicative energy as it did on Monday and Tuesday - but because Sun enters Scorpio 6:30am GMT - 8:30am Europe - 5:30pm Sydney Australis - 12 noon India - 2:30am USA EST - you will find the Sun in Scorpio more powerful than the Moon - and suddenly you'll find yourself becoming "closed" and even content to be "closed".

Daily Horoscopes for Wednesday, October 23

We can feel another layer of emotional intensity as the Sun enters passionate Scorpio at 2:09 am EDT to start a new astrological month. In the northern latitudes the leaves are falling from the trees and the cold cruel winds begin to blow. During the Sun’s passage through transformational Scorpio, we are reminded of our fleeting mortality as the apparent vegetation dies. Meanwhile, the lighthearted Gemini Moon offers distractions for the curious.

Aries Horoscope
(Mar 21 – Apr 19)

You can’t work in a vacuum all the time, independent of everyone in your life. You are tied to other people’s activities and schedules more than you wish. There’s a part of you that enjoys working alone, and, preferably, answering to no one. However, this solitude is not what the universe has in store for you today. Try to avoid others now and you won’t be able to get your ideas off the ground. Engage in the dance willingly and you can touch the heavens.

Taurus Horoscope
(Apr 20 – May 20)

Your attention is shifting toward the distant horizon, yet you may have something important to say about your current relationships. However, your message isn’t likely light and easy. You have given your predicament significant thought and now you want to present your solution in a rational and balanced manner. Nevertheless, it helps to acknowledge your specific point of view so you can better understand how your desires color your logic. Seeing your own personal bias makes it possible to change your perspective

Gemini Horoscope
(May 21 – Jun 20)

An ongoing conversation with a close friend or coworker may grow so intense today that you want to just walk away from it. However, continuing an honest dialogue could lead to resolution as long as you don’t get hung up in unimportant details. Instead of defending your position, assume a less aggressive posture that encourages the other person to speak. Taking the time to listen changes the dynamics of the discussion, making it easier to find common ground.

Cancer Horoscope
(Jun 21 – Jul 22)

When issues get emotionally complicated, you are tempted to withdraw into your private world until you figure out how best to act. Sometimes you don’t know how to reach your destination, so you wait until the tide of external events carries you along to the next place. Now is one of these times when it may be easier for you to slink quietly back to your cave and hope that no one sees you. But this self-imposed isolation isn’t in your best interest. Pick out the most important feelings and share them with someone close to you to find your answers.

Leo Horoscope
(Jul 23 – Aug 22)

In order to make the best of the circumstances around you, you must respond to your current situation with rational sensibility. Avoiding unrealistic schemes now helps you remain on track. Keep it simple; and then be like the Rock of Gibraltar. Don’t waver from your chosen path. Be open to modifications as suggested by others, but demonstrate your determination and stay focused on your goal.

Virgo Horoscope
(Aug 23 – Sep 22)

You have more accessibility to your own emotions today, and this can help you in ways that may not be obvious to anyone else. What comes to the surface now isn’t necessarily pretty, but you’re not a contestant in a beauty contest. Thankfully, you begin to feel better once you reveal your feelings and reestablish a sense of balance. Surprisingly, expressing your darkest fears can open the door to a meaningful dialogue that benefits both parties.

Libra Horoscope
(Sep 23 – Oct 22)

You may be quite loquacious today, but you’re not necessarily talking about the same things that interest others. Typically, you like to keep the chit-chat light, even when you’re being serious. You seem less afraid to shake up the status quo now and confront others with issues that concern you. Just remember to approach the most difficult subjects with your typical grace and a compassionate heart. Staying present emotionally helps the conversation go somewhere special.

Scorpio Horoscope
(Oct 23 – Nov 21)

The potential for transformation is high and you stand to gain plenty from decisions you make at this time. You begin to look back over your previous year and think about the next one now that the Sun enters your sign, marking the beginning of your astrological birthday month. Don’t let personal development fall to the wayside; the positive impact of therapy, yoga or other spiritual pursuits is greater now than ever. Living well is the best revenge.

Sagittarius Horoscope
(Nov 22 – Dec 21)

Take a deep breath before diving into a potentially intense conversation. Even if you’re riding a powerful wave of passion, it may be time to go with the flow instead of trying to control your feelings. Let go of your old assumptions; you don’t need them anymore. There’s no need to panic; you have plenty of time to soak up the magical wonders that can only be experienced when you swim in the sea of emotions.

Capricorn Horoscope
(Dec 22 – Jan 19)

Exploring your feelings in the context of a professional relationship requires your special brand of diplomacy. It’s rapidly becoming apparent that more is going on than you previously imagined. Accordingly, it’s crucial to make an extra effort to explain your preferences to your friends and associates. You stand to gain respect at work now, but you may have to go out of your way to prove that you are a valuable member of the team, rather than sitting on the sidelines watching the action.

Aquarius Horoscope
(Jan 20 – Feb 18)

You can sense a shift of the energy today into a deeper and more complex emotional space. You are beginning to understand that there may be another level to what you see and you are fascinated — and also frightened — by all the possibilities. Nevertheless, don’t ignore a new piece of information that takes you by surprise just because you weren’t prepared for it. Fate is finding a way to get your attention. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you learn once you stop resisting the unknown.

Pisces Horoscope
(Feb 19 – Mar 20)

There is something magical and mysterious about this time of year for you Fish. You don’t really mind the descent into the shadowy realms of consciousness as the Sun begins its month-long journey through the deep waters of Scorpio. You are searching for answers to some pretty serious questions about the meaning of life. Be patient; solutions to spiritual dilemmas take time to manifest.

Tarot: Star

What has traditionally been known as the Star card is about reconnecting one’s Soul with the Divine — the transcending of personality, family, community and reputation. It has to do ultimately with the freedom to be one’s Self. The Soul is responding to celestial influences — forces that can provide the personality with a stronger sense of purpose. The Star card helps us to remember our exalted origins and our attraction to a Higher Union.
This card could also be called the “Celestial Mandate” — that which refers us back to our reason for being, our mission in this lifetime. The Star reminds us that, in a sense, we are agents of Divine Will in our day-to-day lives. If we let go of the idea that we are supposed to be in control, we can more easily notice and appreciate the synchronicities that are nudging us along. In this way, we become more conscious of the invisible Helping Hand, and we better understand our place within — and value to — the larger Cosmos.

Rune: Uruz

Uruz is the Rune of harmony, order and inner strength. Often it marks endings and beginnings of periods in our lives. Uruz  also symbolizes your ability to tackle new challenges by confronting them with the powers that lie within you. Opportunities probably abound for you right now.

Spiritual Totem Animal Oracle

That Which is Behind You
  Cardinal 
Wake up! Cardinal is chirping at you—bringing a message of personal power. Stop shrinking from your destiny. Stop pretending that you are less than. If you are unsure of your path, ask Cardinal to fly with you—it’s certain he will help you focus, gain clarity, formulate a plan, become self-assured, and step out into the world with the confidence befitting a person of your power. 

 

Your Current Place
  Buffalo 
Buffalo has come snorting into your life today to bring a message of great hope. Buffalo sacrificed every part of his physical body to support those who hunted him—but he also gave his spirit. And, it's that spirit of hope, abundance, and a bright future that he brings to you today. If you are experiencing a troubled journey, help is here. 

 

That Which is before You
  The Crane 
Cranes have been revered for centuries in many Oriental cultures, symbolizing good fortune and long life. If Crane has flown into your reading today, he brings a message of good tidings. Be prepared for something special today—emotional balance, good health, a spiritual “ah-ha!”, or simply pure joy. 

~*~Airwolf~*~