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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.

Why Souls Get Stuck and Become Earthbound

 by David Furlong

Whilst there can be many reasons why Souls fail to make a proper transition into the spirit world they generally fall into a number basic categories.

Fear
Over the years there have been many souls that I have released that have been terrified of going to hell! This makes one realise that religious beliefs can cause individuals considerable suffering simply by planting the fear of damnation into their minds. The mind, at the moment of death, leaves a powerful imprint in the consciousness of the Soul. Such Souls need to be re-assured that these realms are illusory. They will generally willingly pass over fully into the spirit world if a proper link is made to their loves ones or guides and helpers. Once they become aware of these presences the fear goes and they can then make their full transition.

Beliefs
Into this category comes a number of different situations. The first of which is 'No belief in an afterlife'. On occasions I have had to re-awaken Souls that were literally lying comatose in the place where they died fully believing in the extinction of consciousness. And that was what they had become - unconscious. Re-awakening them was a pleasant surprise and they could then be helped into the next world.

Another group is those Souls that do not realise they are dead but go on acting out the drama of their lives. They are often aware of the presence of living people and may try to make contact with them in some form or another; although a level of confusion often exists on why someone else is in their home. One of the early cases I dealt with involved the Soul of a man, who was really upset that the present occupants were carrying out building works in 'his' home and did everything in his power to stop them. They were experiencing all sorts of delays and problems with the work in hand. After the individual was made aware that he was in fact dead and his wife, who was in spirit, contacted to come and help him he left quite happily with her. The building work then proceeded without further problems.

It is worth mentioning that that those that die in hospital, whilst under heavy sedation, or those that pass-over who are suffering some form of psychosis, will often become stuck. In these cases the incarnate spirits are only loosely linked into their bodies and they are just not aware that they have died. I have been called in, on a number of occasions, to clean up homes converted from old mental hospitals, which were awash with Souls wandering around all over the place.

[Edinburgh Mausoleum] Another strange set of beliefs came to my attention when visiting Edinburgh for the first time and happened to walk through one of the graveyard areas. I was very aware of many Souls still hovering around their mausoleums. When I spoke to them telepathically they told me that they were waiting for the "Resurrection of their bodies at the day of Judgement". This was the first time that I perceived that some individuals had taken this statement literally. The matter was made worse because at the time of their demise, body snatchers were secretly digging up bodies and taking them into the university for medical experimentation. The mortal fear of this was such that these Souls were clutching onto their bodies, in some cases, with grim determination. Helping these situations has been a process that has now gone on for some time. Release some Souls and others will eventually follow. Clearly the literal Calvinistic interpretation must have chained large numbers of Souls in Scotland and elsewhere.

Perhaps the last group that comes under the broad heading of 'Beliefs' are those spirits that feel so angry about their demise that they are hell bent on revenge at whatever level. Frequently when sending healing into Middle East situations this dynamic figures very highly particularly in what is happening in Israel and Palestine. The sad fact is that every individual unjustly killed only adds to the pool of mental angst that further fuels thoughts of revenge and hatred. It is a challenge helping 'earthbound' spirits caught up in these mindsets to move into a better space to make a full transition into the spirit world.

Accidents
One of the big changes within today's society is that death can sometimes come almost instantly through vehicle accidents. In times past there was often a chance for an individual to prepare for their passing, either through knowing that this might happen in battle or when contracting an illness and then having time to process the transition period. Heart attacks are slightly different in that the unconscious mind will always know that this is going to occur and, in these cases, some form of unconscious preparation takes place. This is why individuals who have heart attacks will sometimes experience a 'near death experience' or NDE.

The car accident though is something different for in these cases almost no chance is given to the spirit to prepare before they are catapulted out of their bodies often in a state of complete confusion. This is made even worse when the body is blown apart through explosions and those suicide bombers who reek such vengeance cause immense suffering to the Souls of those that they kill and in turn heap considerable karma upon themselves.

Ritual slaying
Into this category comes both capital punishment as well as ritual slaying. Interestingly enough I have had to deal with a number of cases in the UK, of such rituals dating back to Celtic times, when individuals were both ritually killed then bound through a form of negative curse to the place where they were executed. Something similar to this approach was adopted in the Middle Ages when witches were hanged at cross-roads, or in some cases buried alive or entombed. Such spirits are almost always in a state of complete torment and need considerable healing before their final release.

Murder and Suicides
Both murders and suicides can cause spirits to become trapped close to the 'earth' plane. In the former case it is often anger that ties the spirit to where they were killed and in the latter the realisation that despite taking their own lives they are still conscious and aware but without any sense of how to get out of their situation. Such spirits can attach themselves to individuals who are passing or will sometimes seek out old friends.

Addictions
The final grouping relates to those individuals who have strong physical addictions, generally to drugs or alcohol. In such cases at the death of the physical body, experience of the narcotic is so powerful that these Souls seek out those who are similarly addicted, in order to have a form of vicarious experience through a fellow sufferer. This is why addicts need a lot of help on many levels to assist them breaking their habit. Freeing any attachments is an important part of the healing process.

♥♥♥

Helping Trapped Spirits Cross

This topic has recently taken on a life of its own – no pun intended. With specific reference to my Sharon Tate videos, associated public comments and private messages, I believe this may help to enlighten some as to what is actually involved when trying to help a trapped spirit, cross.

I will begin with some fundamental considerations that need to be examined, prior to the procedure that I use for releasing a trapped spirit. The first would be the manner of death for the spirit.

Manner of Death

Most often, traumatic, horrific and untimely deaths such as murder, suicide and accidental death, can result in a spirit becoming entrapped in the environment surrounding their state of death. Let it also be made known that at times, someone who may have died of natural causes, may have unfinished business to take care of, also rendering restlessness and inability to cross. I did discuss these varying factors in another post. You can refer to it here. (Scroll down towards the middle section of the post).

Home & Property

It is pretty surprising how many people will inhabit a location that has at one time or another, been the location of a death, without cleansing and blessing the home and/or property prior to moving-in. This also applies to people who continue to reside in a location after a death, regardless of cause.

Emotions become imprinted in the environment, especially when impacted by brutality, crime, suicide and murder. Regardless of someone’s reason for staying, or leaving a home and/or property that has been imprinted with that negativity, a cleansing and blessing should always be conducted to help ‘clear the air’ and lift any spirit energy, upward and out. This is one of the most overlooked issues, as well as best-kept secrets with Real Estate Agents and Sellers.

Disclosure

Some states have developed a Disclosure clause, to inform prospective Buyers of deaths having transpired in the home and/or on the property. Depending upon the state, there may associated time periods for the Seller/Agent to identify and disclose the property’s history, meaning that the state-specific clause may only have to disclose death on or in the property, for a period of up to three years prior. Even then, most do not divulge that information for periods prior, if at all.

The issue of Disclosure can be quite uncomfortable. I have first-hand experience renting a flat that had a history, unbeknown to me, until it was … too late. Again, that situation will be incorporated into another post, at a later date. Some Disclosure laws simply state that the Seller/Agent has to make the prospective Buyer aware of a property that may be “psychologically impacted”. The term “psychologically impacted” refers to illness, death and certain types of crime, yet does not state, nor mean that a property is “haunted”.

As I often suggest, it is wise to learn about your state-specific Disclosure Laws relative to purchasing or renting property. By all means, just ask! If there is not an applicable clause, and you have a Seller/Agent who gives you abbreviated information, or states they do not know of a history, my best advice is to do some leg work. Believe me, as much of a bother that it may seem, you will be much better off knowing this information prior to your purchase or rental, rather than finding out after the fact – and facing a crisis due to undisclosed, or undiscovered drama.

Timing

Fast-forward to finding out that your property of interest, be it the home or land, has been the setting to a tragic death. In essence, that home and/or property is stigmatized. Unseen negativity may indeed, influence your life, should you decide to purchase, or lease it.

Buyers  and Renters need to make informed decisions on how best to proceed. For some, the thought of paranormal activity in conjunction to a murder, suicide or tragedy is no big deal, while for others, it is. As a rule of thumb, if a property has been stigmatized, and the Buyer/Renter wants to go ahead with the purchase and move, they should take the following steps prior to moving into or onto, the property. This includes tear-downs and rebuilds, or new construction on properties that have been impacted by a tragic death and/or event.

For existing structures, a House Cleansing and House Blessing needs to be conducted before moving possessions and residents into the affected structure. This will help to rid any negative energy BEFORE you find yourself impacted by a trapped spirit.

For new builds, or rebuilds onto property that has been adversely impacted by a tragedy, the ground or property itself, needs to be cleansed and blessed. This will help raise the energy vibration of any trapped soul prior to building a structure that could actually help anchor it to Earth. Newly built structures can and will, absorb the negative energies.

That concludes some of the basic steps that should be considered prior to residing on a potentially active hot-spot for paranormal activity. Once more, it is very important for prospective Buyers and Renters to research on their future property, in order to avoid a very bad encounter with spirit energy that is stuck.

Trapped Souls

As a Spiritual Medium, I am accustomed to being sought for help to cross, by a trapped spirit(s). This can happen when they come to me through meditation in the privacy of home, or while embarking on a House Reading or investigation. Since every situation is different from the next, it is somewhat difficult to explain via a single posting, the steps that I follow when trying to show them the way out. For sake of time, I will summarize as best as I can given this venue and remember: A spirit may have crossed after death, yet may come back and forth, depending on unique circumstances that directly pertain to the person whom has passed.

Quite frequently, it is relatively easy to help a spirit cross and be released from a property if they are already accepting of their death and/or want to cross. Other times it may take more patience, (obviously time) and trust. From time-to-time, there may also be the need for intervention by means of an Exorcism by a Priest or Clergy member, or guidance from a Demonologist. It just depends on the situation.

People tend to be surprised when I mention trust. Specifically, that trust needs to take place between myself as a Medium, and the spirit energy. An initial contact with a spirit may not be for message of help to cross over, but may be more of an introduction. Little by little, details will emerge which will indicate what the particular problem or situation may be, warranting their communication.

For on-site contact, a quieter setting is very beneficial to deduct the reasoning behind the communication. While conducting a preliminary assessment (House Reading) alone, or with an Assistant, inclusive of the Client, I can better concentrate on the specific needs of the spirit energy. On the other hand, it may take a return trip to the property without a group of investigators, to determine what needs to be done.

In circumstances surrounding murder and/or suicide, a spirit energy may actually be angry and lash-out at the Client, other Residents, or facilitator of an investigation, myself included. This is why understanding and carrying out proper conduct for an assessment and/or investigation is crucial, in order to prevent any harm (i.e. a psychic attack). Preparation is key for all members present. Common sense will show that nobody should be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, or in a foul mood. Foul moods can be triggered by prior fighting (physically and/or emotional), or a bought with depression.

Once a spirit has gained trust, they will be more apt to listen to the fact that they need to be released from the ‘memory weight’ that bogs them down and prevents them from crossing. At this point my focus is being able to facilitate a crossing; to show them the way upward and out. I also strongly recommend that a person never attempts to do this without being comfortable, or having practice unless they are helping in prayer alone. It can be a very tricky issue to deal with and inexperience can lead to a bad outcome, which only tethers the spirit to Earth, instead of helping to set it free.

The Crossing

To begin a release, I prefer to be on premise my Client’s home. This is the most direct way to handle the situation. In addition to my normal preparation, I will begin by saying a prayer of protection and then a prayer stating the name(s) of the spirits whom need to be released. I ask God to bring white light and goodness, to usher the soul(s) to cross. I also ask for all Angel Guides of the spirit(s) to help raise the spirit energy upward, through the white light, in addition to family and/or friends of the spirit(s) whom have crossed, to welcome the trapped spirit(s) with light and love.

Note: White light acts a channel or tunnel, to foster a spiritually safe crossing. It helps lead the spirit upward, with the help of their Angel Guides. Think of it as a secure tunnel of passage.

Things can become pretty intense at times. That is why it in cases where a negative, or surrounding negative energy is present, it is best to have a carefully constructed plan of action, prior to asking the spirit(s) to cross.

Naturally, an off-site crossing can be performed however, dependent upon the spirit energy and the situation, may not be successful on the first try. Continued prayer for the soul(s) will help raise their energy and hopefully guide them to cross. In certain cases, regardless of the number of times I can pray or ask them to cross, even with the help of prayer from others, a direct on-site crossing ceremony may need to take place – and this is exactly what I feel is what needs to be done relative to the Tate murders on Cielo Drive.

Complications

Complicating a successful crossing of a trapped spirit, is a problem that is often caused by extenuating or unrelated dark and evil energy forces that get sucked onto an existing, stigmatized property. As explained in several of my posts, this occurs through the use of Ouija Boards and seance. Those darker energies can act as concrete to anchor a soul that is already trapped, preventing energy of the soul(s) to elevate and be released.

Having been frequently asked about the property and area on Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, I have to say that this is exactly what has transpired. Factoring into the equation is the problem that the new house has absorbed that energy, and negative energy continues to be pulled into and onto, the property from the surrounding area.

This is why I do not condone behavior by individuals who continue to do things that cause the spirit and energies on that property, to be in a constant state of unrest. To investigate a nearby home/property that has activity is one thing, but why make it a circus by conducting frequent seance and Ouija, or allowing curiosity seekers to come over and ‘play’? It is not doing anything positive for the poor, trapped souls of the murder victims. It complicates their release and has trapped them.

I do know that the negative energy on the actual property wafts throughout the neighborhood. That alone, will need some mighty intervention. Sadly, I do not see it as being addressed at present. It’s going to have to be a collaborative effort to rid the property and new structure of it, as well as to release the victims.

Ironically, I did receive a message last night as I was meditating just before bed, relative to the victims who perished on Cielo Drive and communicated that information to my son, who happened to be home. Upon further investigation, I was able to identify some critical information which is causing such unrest on, and around the property. It is extremely unsettling. Again, I will continue to pray for these souls and for something POSITIVE to be done on and around the property, to put an end to their unrest and spiritual torment.

I hope that this has helped shed some light on the subject of helping trapped spirits cross. The best thing that you can do to help, is to pray for them and surround them (visualize), with white light.

Posted: May 17, 2011 | Author: Jill Marie

FAIRIES: Women and Fairies in Life and Literature

FAIRIES: Women and Fairies in Life and Literature

Seeing Fairies

Over the centuries there have been thousands of fairy sightings. Women and girls have reported by far the majority that I have collected in my own research that began twelve years ago with investigation into children’s psychic experiences. This may be because women have traditionally been more open to psychic phenomena and also because they are more willing to talk about their experiences.

 

For example Lilian, now a healer and clairvoyant in her sixties, told me that when she was a child:

‘I used to see fairies in our garden in Cheshire, but especially in the woods. They were semi-transparent and tiny with wings. I found myself looking at the little people in shadowy forms. They all looked different according to whether they belonged to a tree, a flower or a bush. Each species were the same colour and even the same texture and would merge into the tree or flower.’

Lilian still sees nature essences in the lovely gardens she creates as does Julie, a medium who described a particular place in Devon, where as an adult she shared her fairy visions with her own children:

‘They (fairies) are very fleeting, like butterflies, but not as small, about the size of squirrels’

What is more, fairies have come into the cities. Layla who is in her early twenties and as a child lived in a council house in a northern industrial town, explained what she saw in her back garden:

‘Faces and forms would appear at the sides of my vision. They would appear only for a fraction of a second, and when I looked again they wouldn’t be there.-----The Tree Men ----were very strange indeed. For a second it would look as if somebody was entering or leaving through an invisible door on a tree trunk The somebody would be very indistinct and transparent but definitely there. On one occasion a head poked out of a tree, saw me and promptly disappeared back inside.’

Fairies in Folk Lore

As well as sightings, accounts of interactions with fairies (some very frightening) are found in folklore spanning hundreds of years, from the Celtic world, from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Many are remarkably consistent in content over the centuries and thousands of miles. Some recent Alien abduction accounts by women bear remarkable similarities to these earlier tales of fey kidnappings. But for now I will concentrate on the folk tales that form the background.

Women who act as midwives to the fairies

Midwives were themselves surrounded by magical and mystical associations and were in Greek and Roman times regarded as seers; these wise women/healers were usually requested to attend fairy births rather than being taken against their will. Though they were frequently accused of witchcraft from the fifteenth century onwards, in remote places especially those where Celtic peoples predominated, some of these wise women did continue practising in secret, which may account for them being fetched in the dead of night.

But the myths may be even older and the fairy people the midwives ministered to may have been descendants of the tiny dark Neolithic peoples, who lived in remote forest, marshland or mountain communities. According to Gillian Tyndall, author of a Handbook of Witches a number of these might have existed in the United Kingdom until the end of the Middle Ages when the forests were cut down and the marshlands drained. Others were undoubtedly communities of outlaws or dispossessed peasants living in the forests.

There are still vast tracts of Northern Scandinavia and the Slavic lands that are deeply forested or mountainous and largely unexplored and here the legends persist. In these cases where there was a difficult birth one of the settlers might come into a town or large village to seek the help of a midwife who would be taken in the dead of night perhaps blindfolded to a secret destination. Secrecy is major feature of the legends, but locals would have known of these settlements.

But in the case of inexperienced women who agreed to assist a fairy delivery or who became curious about the fairy folk came salutary tales of the human midwife rubbing one of her own eyes accidentally or deliberately with the oil with which the fairy baby was washed. Afterwards she could see fairy people in the everyday world, a gift that normally resulted in the brutal putting out of the offending eye, when she acknowledged the fairy mother or relatives at market, days or weeks later. This again may be a folk memory of women who revealed the location of the outlaw community to which they had ministered. Of course the stories may be true.

The fairy abduction of young mothers

Nursing mothers were, according to folklore, in great demand to suckle fairy babies both because of their milk which was said to be richer than that of fairy mothers and in the hope of transmitting to the fairy baby a soul that it lacked. They also suckled mortal babies abducted to fairyland. Again there is a direct parallel with accounts by abductees of nurseries filled with extra terrestrial babies.

The time of giving birth was traditionally regarded as very magical and dangerous not only for mother and child, but all who came into contact with her, a peril that persisted from child-birth until the churching or purification ceremony of women in church forty days later.

In Europe until the nineteenth century nails were hammered into the mother’s bed and the cradle, since fairies were supposed to fear iron. A fire would be kept burning at all times and milk from a cow fed with straw from the childbed (which also increased the fertility of the cow) would be given to the mother and child. No new mother would leave home after dark before the christening for fear of being spirited away.

It was believed in a variant of the changeling myth that the fairies might substitute the mother with a block of wood disguised by glamour or illusion to resemble her human form but which would be constantly crying and moaning. Many a woman suffering from postnatal depression might have been treated harshly by superstitious relatives, believing the fairies had enchanted her. Beating was one recommended method of revealing the changeling form in wives as well as children.

Sometimes the baby was left behind when the true mother was kidnapped and if he or she failed to thrive the father might blame it on the changeling wife who was not taking care of it, rather than natural causes.

Infant mortality remained high until after the First World War. What is more infanticide, cruelty to wives  (and to a lesser extent undetected wife murder) was common until Victorian times.

A wife who consistently produced sickly boys who did not survive or girl children for a man who desperately needed an heir, might suddenly disappear, spirited away forever by the fairies was the official and often unquestioned explanation. In our own age have come horrific cases of bride burnings by husbands and relatives among the Asian community and of young women killed during exorcisms of evil spirits. There are still parts of the world where the value of a woman except as a bearer of sons is low and this is a reminder that it has not that long been otherwise in westernised society.

Brigit Cleary

Records are obviously sparse and fairy abduction as an excuse for wife murder or beating may sound pure speculation. But we do know that in Tipperary in Ireland in 1895 Brigit Cleary was tortured and burned to death by her husband Michael. He claimed that the fairies had stolen his wife and a changeling substituted. Michael insisted that by destroying the enchanted form of his wife, the true Brigit herself would return.

Seven of her neighbours and relatives, including Brigit’s father and aunt, were involved and later convicted.

A hundred years later Angela Bourke, a professor at University College, Dublin and author of The Burning of Brigit Cleary, stated, that the case demonstrated the clash between two different world views, two ways of dealing with troublesome people, two ways of accounting for the irrational, at a time of profound social, economic, and cultural change.

The case revealed that after Brigit became ill, her father Patrick and husband as well as her uncle Jack and various other extended family members decided her apparently seriously worsening bronchial condition was caused by a fairy dart and that she had been replaced by a fairy possessed body. The tragedy culminated on March 15 when after a week of torture Michael set fire to her nightgown, throwing lamp oil on it to make it burn more fiercely, insisting that the real Brigit would appear riding a white horse at a ruined hill fort the following evening. Michael was found guilty of manslaughter and imprisoned for fifteen years. Four of the co defendants were convicted of wounding.

Brides in Fairyland

A woman on her wedding day or night was also considered a great prize by the fairies as she was still a virgin but at peak fertility. For this reason until mediaeval times a woman would be accompanied to the church by identically dressed bridesmaids, so that watching fairies could not identify the true bride.

Some of these abductions may have been quite genuine, though the culprits more worldly. For in parts of Europe in the Middle Ages the local Lord was allowed the use of his serfs’  brides on their wedding night.

Rape by wealthy landowners and their sons was a real threat for country women even in Victorian times, especially among servants in big houses. It could be that the traditional return of the abducted bride from the fairies after a year and a day bearing a babe several months old, was an acceptable way for a husband not to appear cuckolded.

She might have been placed in a distant workhouse during the pregnancy, with the collusion of the husband or a father in the case of an unmarried girl.

Unlikely? In the UK during the earlier decades of the twentieth century, unmarried mothers as well as those with post natal depression were routinely assigned to mental hospitals and in some cases disappeared for the rest of their lives.

A typical bride abduction story made into a ballad was of the Scottish Colin whose wife was taken by the fairies, but whom it was said returned invisibly each day to milk to cows and do the chores. Only her singing could be heard. In other versions she returns after a year and a day with a baby. Was Colin keeping his bride locked away because he discovered on the wedding night she was pregnant by someone else, albeit by rape? Did he let her out to do her housework, but allowed no one to see her, only hear her voice? Or was she truly a bride of the fairies?

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED  © CASSANDRA EASON 2004-2012   

 

Black Madonnas

Black Madonnas are potentially the most exciting mystery and source of mysticism within the Catholic Church today. They can be frequently traced back to pre Christian mother goddess figures and have become even more than conventional Marian figures, associated with healing miracles, pilgrimages and even magical powers. For this reason they are often kept in crypts or dark corners of a church, tolerated, but often mistrusted by more conventional religious authorities.

The Black Madonna

The Black Madonna is the hidden secret in the heart of Catholicism, the old often demonised pagan goddess tradition actually thriving in churches today, though to those who worship her she is the Mother.

In some cases Black Madonnas are the oldest of statues. Often Catholic churches and cathedrals were built on top of former goddess shrines and in the case of at least some Black Madonnas, for example at Chartres Cathedral near Paris the original statues now worshipped as Black Madonnas may in fact have been originally pagan goddesses who were renamed to transfer worship of the Earth Mother to the Virgin Mary.

In France, where the majority of Black Madonnas are found, indigenous mother goddess worshipping traditions date back to the Goddess of Laussel, found in the entrance to an Ice age cave in the Dordogne region in central France. She was crafted around 23,000BCE and is important because she is the first representation of the Earth Mother as a lunar deity. She holds in her right hand a bison horn, shaped like the crescent-Moon. The horn is divided with 13 marks probably representing the 13 moons in a lunar year. Her other hand touches her womb.

Photo: Black Madonna at Meymac in the Correze department, France.

The Origins of the Black Madonna in Europe

Even today there are more than 500 known Black Madonna statues and paintings throughout the world, the majority in France, though many more that have been documented in historical records were destroyed during the French Revolution. Others too may stand unnoticed in shadowy corners of small churches and chapels, as they have done for hundreds of years, loved by the local worshippers and without any need to be rediscovered.

As the indigenous goddess worship evolved in Europe, statues of dark skinned Middle Eastern goddesses such as Inanna, Astarte, Artemis and Cybele were introduced to the European continent by Phoenician traders from 1550BC to about 300BCE. The Phoenicians came from the coastal regions of modern day Lebanon, Syria and Israel and were highly influential culturally. Indeed their phonetic alphabet is believed to be the forerunner of most modern alphabets. The Roman invasion of Gaul (France) and other parts of Europe also encouraged worship of these goddesses, to flourish.

The cult of Isis was the dominant religion of the Mediterranean during late Roman times, and had spread into Roman-occupied lands, including Gaul. Many Isis statues cradling her infant son Horus on her lap passed straight into Christianity as churches were created over the temples.

As late as 550 CE, Isis still had a temple in Soissons, just north of Paris and the Middle Eastern goddesses co-existed with the Celtic Gallic deities.

The Graeco-Roman Mother Goddess Cybele and Artemis/Diana of Ephesus, both dark skinned fertility goddesses were still worshipped in France and the Mediterranean coast from Antibes to Barcelona during the later centuries of the Roman Empire. Cybele was during the 3rd century the supreme deity of the town of Lyon that was capital of a vast area of South-eastern France, a region where many Black Madonnas are found. Marseilles was devoted to Artemis.

During the Middle Ages, the Crusaders returned from the Middle East, bringing goddess statues and some such as the mystical Knights Templar, many of whom who were wiped out as heretics,were involved in promoting the cult of the Black Madonna and her association with Mary Magdalene.

Mary Magdalene was the alter ego of the Mary virgin birth. The Merovingians identified the Black Madonna as Mary Magdalene. Through the bloodline of Mary Magdalene, the Merovingians claimed to be the rightful Kings of France, with descent from Christ’s son by Mary Magdalene, the infant depicted in her arms in the Black Madonna statues. Some legends say she married Christ at the wedding at Cana where he turned water into wine.

The Goddess beneath the Earth

Further evidence of the Black Madonna’s pagan and nature worshipping origins is the fact that Black Madonnas were frequently discovered hidden in trees or caves in France and Spain as late as the seventeenth century. Legends grew up that suggested these dark wood statues had magical powers that called the chosen finders to hiding places sometimes deep in undergrowth. Of course there were priests who perhaps were sympathetic to the old ways who may have known that a pagan goddess statue was kept in a particular cave and brought out for worship in the old nature religions that are still practiced in woodlands and groves worldwide today.

At a particular time when the local religious climate was amenable to combining paganism and Catholicism, some priests may have persuaded simple peasants they had discovered one of the Black Madonna figures in its hidden natural place and so this was a way of introducing the pre Christian statue into the mainstream religion. In churches today, Black Madonna statues may by coincidence or design, be kept in a crypt or subterranean part of a church or cathedral near a sacred spring or well.

Photo: St. Quentin-la-Chabanne (La Creuse (23) France): Notre Dame de Sous-Terre situated in the crypt. 17th century replacing the original that was destroyed by the Protestants.

Our Lady of the Trees

Many Madonnas found locally are made out of local wood, as with the linden wood Madonna of Altötting in Bavaria. In Altötting the tiny chapel is described as womb like, windowless and painted black, with the walls studded with gold and silver images and ornaments. Her shrine is surrounded by thousands of ex voto or stone tablets expressing thanks for blessings received. Some date back to the 13th century and range from healing when all hope was lost to the safe return of a traveller and crutches were also left as proof of healing.

The site of the Altötting chapel was sacred in pre Christian times and the linden tree was revered by pre Christian peoples. The Black Madonna is the oldest Christian site in Bavaria, dating back to 680 CE and the Linden Madonna was placed there. In 907CE the town was ransacked by the Hungarians and only the chapel and statue survived. The present Black Madonna dates from 1300.The ancient linden tree stood next to the chapel, but in 1674 was cut down to make room for a basilica to enclose the chapel, but it was never completed. Centuries later a new linden tree was planted. A number of miracles have been attributed to the linden tree Madonna. In 1489 when a three year old boy drowned in a local stream and her mother took her dead child to the Virgin statue, the child was revived. Not long afterwards it was reported that a farmer’s six year old son fell off a horse drawn grain-wagon and was crushed beneath the wheels. The family asked for help from the Virgin and the boy was restored to full health. The unbroken Mother tradition associated with the tree has transferred comfortably to the people who visit the Madonna and many thousands of tourists flock to the site, so making her a valuable resource to the church which may outweigh any doubts about tree worship.

The Protective Virgins

Just as the Black Madonnas became cult worship for many pilgrims, so hatred of them was also very great; especially among those who consider them an affront to the sexless conventional Mary, or fear their darkness, since darkness is quite mistakenly popularly associated with evil.

Over the centuries a number have not just been destroyed but mutilated and decapitated. But the Black Madonna, like her pagan predecessors in nature who incorporates both the creative and destructive aspects of the earth, may fight back.

A fascinating story comes from Evaux-les-Bains in the Creuse area of France; a town famed for its hot springs and was made a spa town by the Romans. This Madonna is mentioned by Ean Begg in an older version of the book, though I have not as yet been able to find other references to this event. It describes how only the head of the statue was preserved after the statue was mutilated at the Revolution and thrown into a well. Of the four profaners soon after the event, one (according to popular legend) cut his throat; One died falling from a rock; one who boasted of breaking the statue’s jaw had his tongue cut out and one was struck by lightning.

In another church, Notre Dame de la Roche, near Mayres in the Puy de Dome, the 14th century black virgin holding a naked crowned child, was apparently stolen at the end of the 18th century, but brought misfortune on the family of thieves.

Photo: In October 2007, the BM pictured above, was decapitated by vandals. She was in the Notre Dame de Marceille just outside of Limoux, near Carcassonne. This photo was taken exactly one year before.

Defending her children

Even more graphically, Our Lady of Rocamadour, 100 miles north of Toulouse in France, who was reputed to bring dead babies back to life long enough so they could be baptised and so their souls go to heaven, took revenge on the attackers of three of her faithful pilgrims. It is told how in the 12thcentury, three pilgrims were robbed and guided on impassable ways they might have perished. They called out to the lady and she took away the sight and paralysed the hands of the robbers. But the pilgrims asked Mary to restore them and so she did. A bell on the ceiling of the Madonna chapel rings when she saves someone who calls on her for example sailors at sea as a sign she has saved them and they would make pilgrimages to thank her.

The original Rocamadour site was dedicated to Cybele and to later to Venus, the Roman love and fertility goddesses. This Madonna is one of a number attributed to St Luke but the present statue is 9th - 12th century.

But it is the painting of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, Poland that is credited with the most magical powers to protect Poland from attack and is revered by Polish people throughout the world. It is a painting of the Madonna and Christ Child which legend states was originally painted by St. Luke the Evangelist, on a table top from a table built by Jesus.

The picture itself has been damaged in battle and again the Virgin took her revenge. In 1430 in the town of Czestochowa, in Poland where the painting was kept in a specially created monastery church, Hussites overran the monastery and one of the invaders slashed at the painting twice with his sword. One of the robbers drew his sword, struck the image and inflicted two deep gashes. While preparing to inflict a third gash, he fell to the ground and writhed in agony until his death. The two slashes on the cheek of the Blessed Virgin, together with a cut on her throat in an earlier attack, have always reappeared though many attempts have been made to repair them.

In 1655, Poland was overrun by the forces of the Swedish King Charles X, The monks defended the portrait against a forty day siege and, it was said, as a result of the Madonna’s intervention, Poland was able to drive out the invaders.

In 1920, the Russian army gathered the banks of the Vistula River, threatening Warsaw. The image of the Madonna was seen in the clouds over the city. The Russian troops withdrew.

Our Lady of the Snows, who takes her name from an apparent natural phenomena miracle

Like any good mother, our Lady of the Snows, the Black Virgin of Aurillac, the Cantal region of the Auvergne in France, defended her children with her life. The first Black Madonna in Aurillac was brought back from the Crusades by one of the local feudal lords. Yet though her body was destroyed by the Huguenots, it is believed she helped defeat them. On August 5th, 1581, the enemy were camped ready to storm the town by night. But the Black Madonna is credited with lighting up the sky as bright as the sun and so the cockerels began crowing. The noise and the light woke the people and the Black Madonna was seen at the chapel door holding Baby Jesus. She then sent a huge snowstorm to drive back the enemy. Freak electrical lighting? Hail? Whatever the effect the people were inspired to rally and defeat the enemy. Earth goddesses are traditionally said to have great power over the weather.

The Druids’ Black Madonna

Chartres Cathedral near Paris, home of the magnificent 11-coil labyrinth that is 40 foot (approximately 12 metres) in circumference, itself a mother goddess symbol, is home to two Black Madonnas. The pagan earth religion is never very far from the surface of this magnificent Gothic cathedral. Chartres Cathedral, built on a former Neolithic burial mound, was known to the Gauls as Carnutes and was according to Julius Caesar, the central annual meeting place for the Druids and Druidesses of Gaul and beyond.

Above the South door at Chartres Cathedral are sculpted oak twigs and tree spirits. Oak leaves are also entwined around the Black Virgin of the Pillar a statue who stands in the main church and it is believed that the wouivre, the ancient female earth power rises up through her from the well.

The Black Madonna of the crypt, Notre Dame sous terre (Our Lady Underground) made of pear wood, with her crown of Druidic oak leaves, was one of the major prayer and offering shrines on the mediaeval labyrinth pilgrimage. She is apparently a replica of an old Black Madonna, destroyed during the French Revolution when the statue was actually burned on an execution pyre during the Revolution. But this destroyed statue was itself an 11th or 12th century statue and there are earlier references to a small black image, of pagan origin, the Virgin whom it was predicted by the Druids would give birth to a saviour. What has happened to this is not known. Even today you can walk as pilgrims have for hundreds of years through the crypt past the Druidic healing well, through the centre of the labyrinth to the place in the east where the sun strikes a nail in the paving on the Summer Solstice. This is another ancient spot that has been Christianised, perhaps once the site of a monolith, a single stone aligned to the Midsummer sunrise, in both cases representing the birth into light. The Virgin Mary’s veil she wore to give birth is also kept here, so making it even more of a female fertility site, as it may have been for thousands of years albeit under a different goddess name.

Sick pilgrims would through the centuries sleep in the crypt, the womb of the mother and as they emerged, reborn, well again it was hoped and here nuns cared for them.

The 11-coil labyrinth shown here is situated in the nave of Chartres Cathedral, said to be the finest Gothic cathedral in Europe.

The Healing Madonnas of the leys, the Black Virgin of Montserrat

Great powers of healing are associated with Black Madonna statues. One explanation is that the statues conduct the powerful earth energies associated with Ley lines along which many Madonna sites are found. Montserrat near Barcelona in Spain, like Chartres is on a Ley line. Ley lines are hypothesized as invisible psychic energy tracks beneath the earth along which people from ancient times built their temples and shrines.

Their purpose was so that they might connect with a power beyond themselves that in earlier times was associated with the power of Mother Earth. The small wooden Virgin of Montserrat called La Moreneta (the Dark Maiden) is a statue of the Virgin Mary and infant Christ that is venerated at the Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery in the Montserrat mountain near Barcelona in Catalonia.  The original statue is attributed to St. Luke, brought to Montserrat; it has been suggested by St. Peter in AD 50.

Centuries later, the statue was probably hidden from invaders, in nearby Santa Cova (now the Holy Grotto) and rediscovered in the late 9th century by shepherd children among rocks. They saw bright lights and heard singing coming from a cave in the mountain. Stories abound of how a Black Madonna chooses its own site and will either return there mysteriously if moved or become so heavy it is immovable  Legend has it that the Benedictine monks could not move the statue from its Holy Grotto to construct their monastery, choosing to instead build close to the grotto. The Benedictines are said to be the last religious order to have knowledge of ley energies and to build their abbeys and monasteries along them. The present statue is carbon dated to the 12th century. On September 11, 1844, Pope Leo XIII declared this high profile virgin of Montserrat patroness of Catalonia.

Another Black Madonna who insisted on returning to her own site again associated with ley energies is the Black Madonna of Limoux, south of Carcassone in France, The church at Limoux is called the Notre Dame de Marceille and as with Montserrat the Madonna was found in the earth like the Montserrat Madonna.

It is told, though not accurately dated that a ploughman digging a filed on the slopes of Marcellan found his ox would not go forward whatever he tried. The ploughman started to dig and found the wooden smiling Madonna, brown and dark. He took the statue home but the next morning it had disappeared and was back in the place he found it. This happened three times and when the local monks heard they built a chapel there. Other Madonnas prove too heavy to move no matter how hard people try if they are in the right place. Our Lady of Oropa, the northern Italian region of Piemonte was brought to Italy by St. Eusebius (martyred in 371 A.D.) and placed in a cave that was a pre-Christian  site sacred to Apollo and various goddesses. She had been found buried under ruins in Jerusalem. When more than a thousand years later a group of monks tried to move her to a new location, the three foot tall statue became so heavy the monks had to return her to her cave and she felt light again.

I Ching

The I Ching and Chinese Wisdom

The I Ching or Book of Changes is more than a system of divination. It is also the earliest and most profound classic of Chinese ancient literature that represents one of the first efforts of civilised humankind to understand his or her place in the world and the course and meaning of his life.

The I Ching has been described as a map and guidebook to life’s change points. The basis of its philosophy is that nothing is static. The Chinese believe that any quality or state reaches an extreme and tips over into the opposite, from joy to sorrow, love to hate, darkness to light, peace to war and back again.

While we cannot some events cannot be changed people can influence their destiny by their reactions, whether to decide to wait or act, stay or go, use emotion or logic. There must be endings or there can be no beginnings, loss so that there can be an appreciation of gain. So the future written in the I Ching is not fixed, but depends on recognising the opportunities and pitfalls highlighted by the chosen hexagram, the eight lined unit of meaning that underpins I Ching divination - and then using the wisdom to determining for oneself the direction of the nature of any change.

The Origins of the I Ching

The original inspiration for the I Ching came from the shell of the tortoise. Legends abound throughout the Eastern world of giant tortoises holding up the world and the Islands of the Blest, the earthly equivalent of paradise where immortality was assured to those who resided there.

For divination purposes the shell of the tortoise was heated until it cracked and the cracks were interpreted. This is still commemorated in the Chinese character for divination:

 This is composed of two words:   interpret and   crack.

I Ching divination in its purest form, dates back about 5,000 years to the time of the ruler Fu Hsi. This monarch was said to have first found the eight trigrams are the building blocks of the sixty-four hexagrams (two trigrams or three lines of yang and yin, put together) on the shell of a tortoise. Fu Hsi, believed to be descended from the P’au Ku, Divine Artisan, who created the mountains and earth, is credited with teaching laws, introducing fishing nets and building the first permanent dwellings.

It is thought that the I Ching was first recorded in about 1,700bc when it still retained a very simple form and was probably still centred around the basic trigrams and their natural images.

The meanings continued to evolve, but the actual recorded Ching was used mostly for predicting natural events until Lord Wen paired the trigrams to create hexagrams about 1122bc. Lord Wen was said to have been an exceedingly wise and benevolent ruler in the Chou principality in what is now the Shensi province of China. His ways were in sharp contrast to those of the last king of the Shang dynasty, Choe, who held the land in a grip of terror and squandered its wealth. There was a rebellion against him and although Lord Wen played no part in it he was thrown into prison. During his time there he was inspired by a vision to write the hexagrams on the wall of his cell. His son, the Duke of Chou, wrote commentaries and added the concept of moving or changing lines. So Confucius was a comparative newcomer when he or his followers added yet more interpretations more than five centuries later.

WHAT IS WYRD?



[What is Wyrd?]

By Arlea Æðelwyrd Hunt-Anschütz
Copyright © by A. Æ. Hunt-Anschütz 2000

Onwendeð wyrda gesceaft weoruld under heofonum.
Wyrd's shaping changes the world under the heavens.
The Wanderer (l. 107)

The most fundamental concept in heathenry is wyrd. It is also one of the most difficult to explain and hence one of the most often misunderstood. Here's my stab at an accurate yet relatively brief discussion of how wyrd works and how we can work with wyrd.

The Anglo-Saxon noun wyrd is derived from a verb, weorþan, 'to become', which, in turn, is derived from an IndoEuropean root *uert- meaning 'to turn'.[1] (If you noticed the redundant use of "turn" in the previous sentence, good. The use of the modern English phrase "in turn", illustrates wyrd in action. Watch for it throughout this article.) Wyrd literally means 'that which has turned' or 'that which has become'. It carries the idea of "turned into" in both the sense of becoming something new and the sense of turning back to an original starting point. In a metaphysical terms, wyrd embodies the concept that everything is turning into something else while both being drawn in toward and moving out from its own origins. Thus, we can think of wyrd as a process that continually works the patterns of the past into the patterns of the present.

A good metaphor for wyrd is spinning with a drop spindle. As the fibres turn round and round, they twist together and become thread. In Norse mythology three female entities called the Norns are responsible for shaping lives out of ørlög, the layers of the past. Their names are Urðr (Wyrd) 'that which has become'; Verðandi (related to the Anglo-Saxon weorþan, see above) 'that which is in the process of becoming'; and Skuld (Should) 'that which should necessarily be'. In the Eddic poem Helgakviða Hundingsbana 1, the Norns twist the strands of the infant prince's ørlög (which in this case can be seen as his heritage, since he has no personal past to speak of) to create a golden cord representing his life.[2]

Another way of understanding wyrd is through a weaving analogy. In the Anglo-Saxon Riming Poem, the narrator says of his life circumstances Me þæt wyrd gewæf, 'Wyrd wove this for me'[3]. In the Icelandic Njal's Saga, valkyries weave out the course of a battle on a loom made of weapons and threaded with human entrails.[4] Imagine a patterned piece of cloth being woven on a loom. The horizontal threads (the woof) are woven in in layers along the vertical threads (the warp). The horizontal threads represent layers of past actions. The vertical threads represent a time line. The colour of each horizontal thread as it is woven in will add to the pattern that is already established and influence the pattern that emerges. The threads already woven in cannot be changed, but the overall pattern is never fixed. Existing designs can be expanded into new forms. New designs can be added. Everything we do adds one more layer to the pattern.

One ramification of wyrd in personal human terms is that our past (both our ancestry and our personal history) affects us continually. Who we are, where we are, and what we are doing today is dependent on actions we have taken in the past and actions others have taken in the past which have affected us in some way. And every choice we make in the present builds upon choices we have previously made.

The philosopher Schopenhauer voiced the notion that "our lives are somehow irresistibly shaped into a coherent whole by forces beyond our conscious will".[5] He believed that neither chance events nor inborn character were enough to explain the consistency and direction in the life course of an individual, and so he postulated "the intention of Fate" to explain this controlling force in our lives. Many people have equated the notion of wyrd with this sort of "fate" concept, and the Norns with the Moerae or Parcae, the Greek and Roman Fates. However, to do so is to ignore the constant interplay between personal wyrd and universal wyrd and the role we each play in creating our own destiny.

The key Schopenhauer seems to have missed is that what he calls "the intention of Fate" is itself created by an interplay between the events that happen to us and our inborn character. We interact with wyrd (that which has become) to create certain personal patterns which affect and are reflected in universal patterns. Those universal patterns, in turn, exert forces which shape our lives.

For example, say I happen to find myself in a situation where someone insults me. I can "freely" choose any one of a number of immediate reactions, from ignoring the person to slapping her. But my choice at that moment is obviously going to be constrained by a number of patterns of wyrd already in place, including my inborn personality characteristics, my social conditioning, my past experiences with being insulted, my relationship with the person who has insulted me, even my hormone levels.

To the extent that my reaction is determined by these patterns, wyrd is shaping my life at that moment, and my reaction may feel to me as though it were predestined (if I want to deny responsibility) or the only "right" choice (if I want to claim responsibility for it). To the extent that I am aware of certain recurring patterns in my life, I might feel as though the person was fated to insult me at that moment. But no matter which way I chose to react to the insult, my reaction will add to the patterns in place and constrain my future actions (if I'm insulted a second time, my reaction will be determined in part by how I behaved when I was insulted the first time.) So, at the same time I am caught up in experiencing certain patterns of wyrd, I am creating them.

Moving from the personal to the universal, my reaction will also add to the patterns affecting the behaviour of the person who insulted me. As a result of my response, she may change her behaviour towards others which will, in turn, change her personal ørlög, and so on. Ultimately, each little choice we make affects universal forces which can come back to affect us in weird ways. The larger patterns of wyrd created by individuals in a particular time and place is the source of the zeitgeist (spirit of the age) which informs the beliefs and behaviour of everyone in a society. Thus, "that which has become", wyrd, both creates and is created by individual actions, states, and choices.

The metaphor of the "Web of Wyrd" is often used in modern popular sources to illustrate how the actions of individuals can have widespread effects.[6] If we imagine the universe as a big spider's web and imagine that each node where two strands meet represents an event (or a person or a life) we can visualise the interconnectedness of things. We can see how some things are directly connected whereas others are more distantly connected through a series of links. We can also see how nodes which are closely connected from one perspective (following a single strand from the centre outwards) can be distantly connected from another perspective (following the spiral that continually expands its radius as it moves from the centre). Furthermore, we can see that if we were to disturb any part of the web --say by blowing on it or shaking it, the entire thing would reverberate --though the parts closest to the disturbance would react the most strongly.

With an understanding of wyrd comes a great responsibility. If we know that every action we take (or fail to take, for that matter) will have implications for our own future choices and for the future choices of others, we have an ethical obligation to think carefully about the possible consequences of everything we do. But even if we manage to make all the right choices, we are bound to find ourselves facing difficult circumstances or tough decisions at various times in our lives as a result of the past choices of those connected to us through the web. Since we can't control everyone else's actions, nor can we change the past, sometimes we just have to live with what's been woven for us. In such a case we still have choices. We can ignore our problems in the hope that they will go away, we can burden other people with them, or we can boldly face up to them and do our best to overcome them. A verse from the Anglo-Saxon poem The Wanderer[7] observes:

Ne mæg werigmod wyrde wiðstondan,
ne se hreo hyge helpe gefremman.
For ðon domgeorne dreorigne oft
in hyra breostcofan bindað fæste;

A weary mood won't withstand wyrd,
nor may the troubled mind find help.
Often, therefore, the fame-yearners
bind dreariness fast in their breast-coffins.

Through the Web of Wyrd may force us into circumstances we would never have freely chosen for ourselves, we always have some choice about how we react in those situations. And how we choose to react will always make a difference, if not to the world at large, then at least to our own ørlög.

Notes

[1]For a fascinating discussion of wyrd from a linguistic viewpoint see: Bauschatz, Paul. 1982. The Well and the Tree: World and Time in Early Germanic Culture. The University of Massachusetts Press.

[2] For original references to the Norns, see The Seeress's Prophecy (verse 20) and The First Poem of Helgi Hundingsbani (verses 2-4) in Larrington, Carolyne (trans). 1996. The Poetic Edda. Oxford University Press.

[3] The Riming Poem is contained in Rodrigues, Louis (trans). 1994. Anglo-Saxon Elegiac Verse. Llanerch Publishers.

[4] Magnusson M. and Pálsson H. (trans). 1983. Njal's Saga. Penguin Books. (chapter 157, p.349)

[5] Relevant sections of Schopenhauer's paper "On the Apparent Intention in the Fate of the Individual" are quoted in Campbell, Joseph. 1968. The Masks of God: Creative Mythology. Penguin Books. (Chapter 4, section III, p.193-196)

[6] For example, Bates, Brian. 1996. The Wisdom of the Wyrd. Rider.

[7] The Wanderer is included in Rodrigues, Louis (trans). 1994. Anglo-Saxon Elegiac Verse. Llanerch Publishers. The translation of verse 15 given here is my own.

 

Druidry

Druidry is a Pagan religion. There are others who will instead call it a philosophy. Part of the joy of Druidry,  is the sheer diversity within it – annimists, polytheists, Christian Druids, atheist Druids, agnostic ancestor venerating Druids, reconstructionists, romantics, eco warriors… a glorious confusion, underpinned by spirit, passion and a love of nature.

Druidry is not just a way of marking the turn of the year or major life events, it’s an integral part of everyday life, informing how I see and interact with the world. My Druidry is all about inspiraiton and creativity, the celebration of beauty and nature, the quest for spirit, the complexities of relationship and the demands of service, honour and responsibility. My druidry is not the only kind out there, but there’s always more than one true way.

It is because I cannot hope to sum Druidry up in a few words that I am writing this blog. It’s an investigation into what it means to be a Druid. Inspired by personal experience, wandering in and out of philosophy, folklore, green living and anything else that occurs to me, it’s an ongoing, evolving expresison of what I understand Druidry to be. It’s also an opportunity to experiment, to float ideas and see how people react to them. Feedback on my posts is much appreciated.

I do not believe that Druidry can be taught. It is all about experience, and no one can place that into another’s hands. It must be lived, walked, tasted, wept, laughed, sang and celebrated. What we can do is share tales from the journey and the tools that have helped us find out way. 

 

The Druid balancing act

By Nimue Brown

Which may (as a title) conjure mental images of stacking up Druids in humorous ways… but sadly no, I am not poised to offer amusing photographs. The idea of balance as a virtue is nothing new. The Greeks had it (forgive me, I am rubbish with names, can’t tell you who). The middle way, the median, avoiding excess on both sides – it crops up in all manner of traditions and philosophies. Generally speaking, balance gives you something more viable and sustainable than the absence of balance will. Sometimes there are issues around the scale of the balance as you consider it – what may seem out of balance close up may be part of a bigger and wholly balanced picture, after all.

I’ve become increasingly conscious of the need for balance in my own life. Right amount of sleep balanced against right amount of food and right amount of activity is critical. Get it right and I can do a great deal. Get it wrong, and I plunge into bodily pain, exhaustion, depression and become more vulnerable to anxiety. I got it wrong a bit over the last few days, and am rebalancing now, in a very deliberate sort of way. I need some time with no drama, to get re-centred. I also know that too much time with nothing exciting happening also drags me down. I need a balance between stimulation and reflection. I need social time and quiet time, active time and time to be still, and I need that in ongoing cycles from one day to the next.

I can work off-balance for a while, and there are times when that is necessary, productive or interesting. Living there isn’t viable. It’s so easy though, to be sucked in to a mind-set that accepts excess. From surfeits of food and alcohol, to overwhelming noise, and excessive consumption, the opportunities for gluttony are many. The pressures towards sleep deprivation, starving yourself, not getting enough exercise, and other forms of damaging insufficiency are also many. With more people finding themselves pushed under the bread line on a daily basis, the scope for not enough is huge. People who are overweight from too much carb and cannot afford fresh fruit, veg and good proteins, who are both starving and swelling at the same time. Such is our modern culture.

Balance is so much more important than growth. Balancing the economy, balancing the personal chequebook – matters. Getting the money straight is good, but in that balancing act things like health and well-being need to be given a value and added to the scales. We are too quick to place no value on that which cannot be converted directly into cash. Mental health. Happiness. Quality of life. These are not cash issues and often cannot be sorted out by throwing money at them.

Balance is not about avoiding excess, it’s about not having too much of one kind of excess all the time. Some fasting for spiritual work is fine. Fasting all the time, isn’t viable. Some staying up all night dancing and drumming is fine. Doing it all the time takes you out of other aspects of life. Some pain, some rapture, some madness, some office banality… in balance with other things, a great many extremes are visitable. We can have wide and wild experience without burning out. It’s just a matter of knowing when to stop for a while, when to step away, when to do the other thing instead. Today, a little quietness and drawing breath, a little domestic work, a lot of resting. Tomorrow, some other thing…

Goddess Strenia-Roman

“Strenia’s themes are children and protection. Her symbols are bay, palm and fig leaves, honey and youthful images. While this Goddess’s traditional festival date in Italy was January 1, She joins in our holiday observances, Rights of the Child Day, today to extend Her protective care to children. Among the Sabines and Romans, Strenia safeguarded the youth by providing health and strength. Traditional offerings for this Goddess include burning leaves and leaving out sweet breads mixed with dates of figs.

On this day in 1959, Strenia was likely standing by and applauding as the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child to encourage proper treatment of our youth and inspire their future.

So, take time with the children in your life today. Teach them in the ‘way they should grow’ and revel in their innocent trust and love. Invoke Strenia’s blessings and health for that young one by sharing fig cookies (heck, eat a few yourself for strength!).

 

Or, make the child a small power pouch that includes a bay leaf and a dried crumb of sweet bread. This way they can carry the Goddess with them even when you’re not around.

For those without children, try volunteering at a youth shelter or orphanage today. Take one of those kids out for lunch or to the zoo. Through your efforts, Strenia can gather that child in arms of warmth and comfort.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Sabine” by `Foxfires

“In ancient Roman religion, Strenua or Strenia was a Goddess of the new year, purification, and wellbeing.  She had a shrine (sacellum) and grove (lucus) at the top of the Via Sacra.  Varro said She was a Sabine Goddess. W.H. Roscher includes Her among the indigitamenta, the lists of Roman deities maintained by priests to assure that the correct divinity was invoked in public rituals.  The procession of the Argei began at Her shrine.

On January 1, twigs from Strenua’s grove were carried in a procession to the citadel (arx) .  The rite is first noted as occurring on New Year’s Day in 153 BCE, the year when consuls first began assuming their office at the beginning of the year. It is unclear whether it had always been held on that date or had been transferred that year from another place on the calendar, perhaps the original New Year’s Day on March 1.

The name Strenia was said to be the origin of the word strenae (preserved in French étrennes), the new-year gifts Romans exchanged as good omens in an extension of the public rite:

From almost the beginning of Mars‘ city the custom of New Year’s gifts (strenae) prevailed on account of the precedent of king Tatius who was the first to reckon the holy branches (verbenae) of a fertile tree (arbor felix) in Strenia’s grove as the auspicious signs of the new year.”

During the Principate, these strenae often took the form of money.

Johannes Lydus says that strenae was a Sabine word for wellbeing or welfare (hygieia, Latin salus). The supposed Sabine etymology may or may not be factual, but expresses the Sabine ethnicity of Tatius.  St. Augustine says that Strenia was the Goddess who made a person strenuus, ’vigorous, strong.’

According to some scholars the Befana tradition is derived by the Strenua cult.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Strenua“.

 

 

Being your own Fairy Godmother - making wishes come true

 

Surround a crystal or glass bowl with silver candles and for your wish pebbles use small crystals or glass nuggets, green for love, orange for clear identity, yellow for logic and matters of the mind, blue for success and wisdom, purple for psychic development and spirituality, brown for the home, family and security, grey for secrets, pink for babies, children and reconciliation, white for energy and new beginnings, red for change and passion and black for acceptance and nurturing.

Light each of the candles in turn, naming a power or quality you already possess that will help you fulfil your dream. If you allow the words to come without conscious effort, you may be surprised at hidden talents you had never considered developing.

Next in true fairy godmother style you require a wand. You may already have a long pointed clear quartz crystal or another favourite sparkling crystal. However you can make a true magic wand with a long straight twig from a hazel, an ash or a willow tree, that you can rub smooth. Some people split the twig and secure a tiny crystal in the top but this is not essential.

Place a crystal for each of the wishes you are going to make (as many as you like) in a smaller glass bowl.

Draw, in the air, nine ever increasing clockwise circles with your wand over the dish of crystals, saying out loud each of your wishes beginning with the most important.

Alternatively you can recite the age old magical chant, while visualising a brilliant star moving closer and closer as you speak: Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, wish the wish I wish tonight.

Cast your first wish crystal into the bowl of water, this time making the wish silently and continue until you have dropped them all into the magic pool.

Leave the candles to burn through and if the stars are bright, go outside and repeat the star chant, choosing your special star and reciting your wishes once more.

I believe we all have a spiritual guardian, whether we visualise him/her as an angel, a fairy godmother or spirit helper. In carrying out wish rituals we can tap into this source of power and encouragement.

But most important is the inner fairy godmother, the power of those personal strengths you named, that can make almost anything possible with belief and sheer determination.

So take the first steps in the real world, however, small and let the magic follow.

 

Black Salt


Black Salt, not to be confused with the one used in Indian cuisine, is a very famousHoodoo and Santeriamagical tool. It is an invaluable product in any witch’s cupboard as it can remove negative energyfrom your property, remove unwanted guests and preventthem from returningback to you, protectyou from the influences of third parties (relatives, colleagues, neighbors etc).
Black Salt exists in a ready-to-use form in the market but I will reveal its recipe to you if you prefer to make it yourself. Traditionally, the recipe demands to add saltalong with scrapings from culinary pots (if you have an old cooking pot with enough black metal to scrap then this can be used). Alternatively, you can mix salt with charcoal, crushed black pepper, ash from your fireplace, or even betterash of protective herbs that you have previously burned in your cauldron. For every three spoons of salt add one spoon of the material of your choice.
Now how to use black salt:
 

Create a circle around the perimeter of your house for protection
Sprinkle in your place to banish evil and to cleanse from negativity
Open your door and sprinkle some salt outside of your door naming the person you don’t wish to visit your property again and the reasons behind this
Sprinkle some, salt with caution, behind the person you wish to remove from your place and then some outside of your door

 

Black Salt

Black Salt can be added to Water of Mars (recipe that will be posted on Tuesday) for improved protective and jinx removing effects. Please note that Black Saltis a very powerful tool so I want you to think twice before you cast a spell to remove someone from your house. From personal experience I know that its effects are long-lasting.

Disclaimer: I would like you to be aware that as with many other magical recipes the same materials that are used for protection and good can be used for hexing and evil as well. All it matters it is not the material but your will and consciousness. Every spell you cast with a good will and a pure heart will return its benefit to you, every spell you cast to cause harm can, and eventually will, turn back to you. My intent is not to scare you but to make you aware of your intentions.

Rune Protection of Animals

We Love our Pets and want to protect them
Runes can be used on protection of Animals 
When we work with Nature we are often called upon to protect her creatures. These would range from our own pets to animals in the wild and also those animals which have become our totem animals

you need basic understanding of the runes
Algiz (rune of protection)
Ansuz ( rune of balance )
Teiwaz ( rune of healing )
Sowilo/Sigel ( Rune of strength)

if you want to know what they look like Look at the Photo above

Leash or Collar or favorite toy of the Pet
Fur or nail clippings and/or name tag (vaccination tags will also do)
Picture or figurine of the animal ( to represent them )
Two green candles
One white candle
Protection oil see below

Protection Oil:
1 tsp Sandalwood oil
1 tsp Lavender petals or oil
1 tsp Rosemary dried
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp Dragon’s Blood resin
2 teaspoons of catnip (even if you have a dog or other kind of pet!)
2 teaspoons of dried cedar
One bay leaf
4 ounces of Grape Seed oil or Almond oil or any carrier oil
mix together and keep in a airtight container

Open your Circle invoke your Deities

Carve the Runes into the candles
Anoint the candle with protection oil Light the candle
now say In the name of the Lord and Lady ( insert name )
this circle is open and protected

Place the Leash/ Fur/ Nail Clipping next to the Candles
Carve the Runes into the Leash / Collar ( a Wood burning tool works good) and Tags and photograph of the pet.
Anoint the objects with the protection oil

Put the Collar/ Leash/ Fur/ Nail clippings and photograph under the white candle or the figurine next to it and say:

Lord and Lady ( insert name )
Protectors of mankind I your child ask
All Father ( insert name ) I ask your Strength and Protection
All Mother ( insert name ) I ask your Wisdom and Love
Give your protection here this night.
Guard ( pets name ) with every step ( he/she ) Takes
help me to protect and strengthen
the connection of love between us
let this charm be blessed with protection and health
So let this spell be done
so mote it be.

Allow the Candles to burn out on their own
the Objects are now infused with protection and healing energy
recharge the protection oil at every full moon.

Before any Spell or ritual is performed the magic spell should be read and understood completely. All items needed for the ritual should be on hand. Rituals should not be taken lightly. Rituals should always be done with respect. you are invoking real deities who will not be amused you conjured them for selfish requests.
you have been warned. 

Consecrate Your Runes

Before you Start using Runes you have to Consecrate them
this is simple and easy to do 

Ingredients:

A Crystal
Some Spring Water
A Few Pinches of Salt
Set of Runes

2 white candles
Chalice or mug
Mead


Set up your Sacred place
Place your 2 Candles and place the bowl of water between the candles Place the Crystal in the water sprinkle the water with salt
Light the Candles

By the ancient powers, from the mists of time,
Hail Odin, Father and wise one , Master of the Runes
I ( insert your name ) welcome You, May Your Valkyries find me worthy
When the web of my life is cut.
Through Your Gift we glimpse the web of Wyrd
So do i seek the knowledge Your Staves reveal.
I mark these Runes, with your powerful sign,
Hold up Runes ( have them in a muslin bag or mojo bag )
Wherever I travel, wherever I roam,
Protect me well, and bring me home'.
May I sit in Valhalla, with ever flowing honey mead
( Raise bowl )
Patron to the skalds,Spear Shaker
Bringer of the mead of inspiration
May my words be pleasing to Your ears.
( Raise the mead )
Accept my offering, O Father and bless me with your Wisdom.
Bring forth that which is good, and sustaining
For every living thing
Hail Odin
I thank you.

Now your Runes are ready to be use.

Dragon Dust

Dragon Dust is magical Incense Designed to Draw Dragon magic and Dragons to You.

Dragons are Powerful Ancient Beings Unlike Fairies or Fae or Elves or Gnomes Dragons  Pick who they follow. 

Like Fae or Faires once  a Dragon Picks you  that Dragon is bound to you Forever even follow you when you are reincarnated or Reborn.

The main ingredient of Dragon Dust is the Herb Dragons Blood.

Dragon's blood is a bright red resin that is obtained from different species of a number of distinct plant genera: Croton, Dracaena, Daemonorops, Calamus rotang and Pterocarpus. However, the most common species to obtain the resin from is Dracaena cinnabari, otherwise known as the Dragon's Blood Tree.

The therapeutic properties of Dragon's blood includes the following: anesthetic, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-dysenteric, antifungal, anti-hemorrhagic (reduce bleeding), anti-leukemia, antioxidant, antiseptic, anti-tumor, antiviral, neurasthenic (reduce nerve pain) and wound healer and also includes analgesic (pain-reliever), anti-cancerous, anti-itch, anti-ulcerous and astringent properties.

1 ounce  Dragon’s blood  Resin  ( important )

1/2 teaspoon frankincense powder

1/2 teaspoon  benzoin  powder

1 teaspoon  sandalwood powder

1/4 teaspoon myrrh powder

1 tiny Seashell

A pinch of Sea Salt or dead sea salt

1/4 teaspoon  cinnamon  Fresh grated is best 

1/4 teaspoon  dried Marigold petals

1/4 teaspoon  dried Mugwort 
1/4 teaspoon dried pennyroyal petals or mint works just fine too

1/4 teaspoon dried  Yarrow petals

  

 1 or 2  small pieces of Jade  or Agate or Quartz Crystal Lapis works great too  

 

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the  ingredients together.

To this base add  the crystals and seashell for your specific need. you can also add any essential oil  you wish.  When done place the dust  in a small glass jar or bottle. If possible, find a bottle colored the same  as the dust's purpose. Light a white candle before mixing the dust, drip the candle wax to seal the bottle.

brought to you by,

~Elder Airwolf~
 

 

 

How to Set up a Kitchen Witch Altar

How to Set up a Kitchen Witch Altar:

What is a kitchen witchery?
A kitchen witch who is focused on the kitchen, using mostly edible ingredients and kitchen tools to practice magick.

A kitchen witch poppet, sometimes called a cottage witch  is a poppet or homemade doll resembling a stereotypical witch or crone displayed in residential kitchens as a means to provide good luck and ward off bad spirits, promotes love and  good health. 
what do you need to set up a Kitchen Witch Altar 

Wooden spoons   
Box or Shelf   
a Kitchen Witch Doll ( this can be a statue or a doll or anything to resemble or symbolize your kitchen witch
3 Clay Offering bowls   
a candle  symbolic of fire so red and orange are appropriate 
spices  
A miniature cauldron
Crystals and seashells.
 Stones that are particularly useful in the kitchen include clusters of clear or smoky quartz to combat radiation given off by electrical appliances, citrine in the eating area to aid digestion, and rose quartz or amethyst to promote harmony. Rose quartz also brings blessings to food preparation and inspires extra creativity when cooking
plants ( herbs ) 
Photos of loved ones such as grandmother or someone who taught you how to cook

(I personally grow many fresh herbs in my kitchen and love the freshness the aroma when clipped for use. There is no wrong way to do this so let your imagination run wild with ideas )

an altar can be anything from the corner of a shelf, to a dedicated table. A witch does not want an altar where spillages or accidents can occur, but at the same time needs it to be within easy reach and view.

Perishable  offerings like seeds or spices or bread etc will need to be changed regularly to avoid going stale

The kitchen witch’s altar provides a focus for intent. It gives thanks to the goddess in the form of offerings, serves as a sacred space for working ritual magic,

what deities are the kitchen

Goddesses Associated with Hearth and Home
•Brighid (Celtic)
•Chantico (Aztec)
•Dugnai (Slavic)
•Hestia (Greek)
•Vesta (Roman)

Goddesses Associated with Grain and Harvest

•Ashnan (Babylonian)
•Ceres (Roman)
•Chicomecoatz (Aztec)
•Corn Mother
•Demeter (Greek)
•Pirua (Peruvian)
Goddesses Associated with Fire
•Agnayi (Hindu)
•Ida (Hindu)
•Kamui-Fuchi (Japanese)
•Li (Chinese)
•Pele (Hawaiian)
•Sekhmet (Egyptian)

Goddesses Associated with Kitchens, Cooking, Food & Domesticity

•Annapurna (Hindu)
•Baba Yaga (Slavic)
•Cerridwen (Celtic)
•Fornax (Roman)
•Freya (Norse)
•Frigg (Norse)
•Hehsui-no-kami (Japanese)
•Huixtocihuatl (Aztec goddess of salt)
•Ivenopae (Indonesian goddess of rice)
•Mama Occlo (Inca)
•Okitsu-hime (Japanese)
•Pomona (Roman goddess of orchards and fruit)

Other Goddesses Associated with Kitchen Witchery

•Athena (Greek goddess of weaving)
•Gaia (Mother Earth)
•Lakshmi (Hindu goddess of plenty)
•Nehallennia (Norse goddess of abundance)
•Ops (Roman goddess of earth)
•Sarasvati (Hindu goddess of creativity)
•Vasudhara (Hindu goddess of abundance)

Kitchen Gods for the Kitchen Witch
Some witches might like to have a kitchen god as well as goddess. Some appropriate ones would include:
•Bes (Egyptian god of household protection)
•Hyang kehen (Indonesian god of hearth fire)
•Oki-Tsu-Hiko-no-Kami (Japanese child of the Harvest God)
•Oki-Tsi-Hime-no-Kami (Japanese child of the Harvest God)
•Tsao Wang (Japanese god of hearth and kitchen)
•Sanpo Kojin (Japanese god of hearth and kitchen)
•Saule (Slavic god of hearth fire)
•Zao Jun (Chinese kitchen god)
In Chinese folk religion, Chinese mythology and Taoism; The Kitchen God also known as the Stove God, named Zao Jun, Zao Shen, or Zhang Lang, is the most important of a plethora of Chinese domestic gods that protect the hearth and family. The Kitchen God is celebrated in Vietnamese culture as well.
You can change your alter depending on season there is no wrong way no matter who tells you you're doing it wrong there is no rules no wrong way to set up an altar so have fun.  

Faery Lust Balm

Faery Lust Balm:

Fairies are full of sexual energy and mischief so who better to call on for sexual energy than a nymphomaniac Fairy? Well a Succubus but thats not a good idea lets stick to fairies. 

you need Fairy lust what this does is Draws the fairies to you who then fill you with lust and desire and sexual energy. and makes you more desirable toward others 

Ingredients:

6 ounces Beeswax Pellets or Carnauba Wax (vegan alternative)
1/2 cup Jojoba Oil (or other carrier oil)
2 drops Rosehip Essential oil
3 drops Rosemary Essential oil
3 drops Cinnamon Essential oil
3 drops Lavender Essential oil
2 drops musk Essential oil
2 drops sandalwood Essential oil
1 teaspoon honey ( this is important and can not be substituted Raw Organic honey is best ) 

Melt beeswax, into the oil using a double boiler. 
Remove from heat. Stir in essential oils and honey keep stirring
for about a minute. 

Pour into containers and let cool
completely until solid

Next you need 
1 Red Candle 
a rose quartz crystal

Anoint the candle with the fairy lust now apply some to yourself 
Light the candle and place the rose quartz next to it 

Remove your clothes and masterbate and apply the fairy lust all over you
while masterbating say the following

In this night,and in this hour, I call upon the Ancient Power.I draw out the feelings you hide so well, These feelings you keep a secret, to me you will tell. The Hidden Desires, The Lusty Fantasies, The Sexual Secrets, will be revealed to me.With Harm to none, so shall it be."
repeat as many times until you climax 

wear the fairy lust any time you need sexual energy and appeal toward others 

Before any Spell or ritual is performed the magic spell should be read and understood completely. All items needed for the ritual should be on hand. Rituals should not be taken lightly. Rituals should always be done with respect. you are invoking real deities who will not be amused you conjured them for selfish requests.