September, 2011

Welcome

September, 2011

Welcome to the September Issue of PaganPages.  Fall is upon us and we are all getting ready here at the Magazine.  How is your preparations coming along?

We have a fantastic issue for you this month.

In This Issue:

A review of The Weiser Field Guide to Ghosts by Raymond Buckland

Morrigan – FLYING QUEEN

We are also introducing a few new columnists, we hope you enjoy them.

We are currently looking for new writers for the following columns:

Meditation

Oils & Incense

divination & Oracles

Contest:

This month’s contest is brought to you by:

http://www.betterhagsandgargoyles.com/

Who donated this month’s prize.

Esbat Oil and Incense

For this month’s challenge we are asking you to send in pictures of your homemade altars.  They can not be ones you have purchased.  We are looking for the set up and all the homemade items you include.

To enter the contest email your submission to [email protected]

All entries must be received by Sept 20th.  The winner will be notified on Sept 21st. Good luck everyone!

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Moon Owl Observations

September, 2011

Anubis

Anubis is one of those that most people would recognize but may not know who he is or what he stands for.  He is an ancient God who was widely worshipped in Egypt. He is the guardian of magical secrets and is the patron of embalmers, mummification and the dead on their path through the underworld. He has the body of man and the head of a jackal. It is believed that the reason he is portrayed with the head of a jackal is that jackals are scavengers who prowl along edges of desert and in cemeteries. He also has a host of messenger ‘demons’ that would carry knowledge and other things to help humanity, but these messengers could be used for good or evil.

Since he is so ancient, the story of his origin has changed numerous times but the most widely believed is that Nephthys is his mother and Osiris his father. Osiris, Nephthys and Seth are siblings, with Seth and Nephthys being husband and wife as well. Seth was jealous of all of Osiris popularity and power and plotted to kill him, however Nephthys and Osiris ended up sleeping together before this could happen and when Seth found out he cursed the child- who turned out to be Anubis.

When Osiris did die, Anubis was very upset and decided to wrap the dead Osiris in bandages, thus making him the first mummy. He wrapped Osiris so the air would not corrupt the body. Egyptians believed that if this process was good enough for the gods, it was good enough for them. Anubis then became known as ‘the lord of the mummy wrappings’ and it was believed that if a body was not properly embalmed of mummified he would dig up the body and eat it.

Anubis ended up joining Osiris in Tuat ( the underworld) and joined him in the ceremony of weighing the heart.  Anubis would escort the recently deceased into the underworld and he would take their heart and measure it on the ‘Scales of Truth’. The heart would be weighed against the feather of Ma’at. If the heart was as light as a feather that meant the soul was pure and Anubis would escort the soul to Osiris. If the heart was heavier, the soul would be declared as wicked and it would be fed to Ammit.  A very popular picture of this happening is shown below:

The cult centers for Anubis were Cynopolis ‘ city of the dog’ and Heliopolis ‘city of the sun’.  Both places are long gone but there is still the Temple of Re-Atum obelisk from Heliopolis. The symbols for him are embalming equipment, a hide hanging from a pole and of course, the jackal. By worshipping Anubis, people hoped to invoke him to protect their deceased from natural decay. Also, when mummification was popular, priests who supervised the preparation of the mummy would wear a jackal-headed Anubis mask.  Anubis may not be as popular as he used to be, but he should still be well respected and honoured.

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Mabon

September, 2011

MAY-bon, MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon or MAH-bawn, – Lesser Sabbat – Fall/Autumn Equinox, September 21-23

Michaelmas (September 25th, Christian), Second Harvest Festival, Witches’ Thanksgiving, Harvest Home (Anglo-Celtic), Feast of Avalon, Wine Harvest, Festival of Dionysus, Cornucopia, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), Chung Chiu (China), Night of the Hunter, Alban Elfed “The Light of the Water”(Caledonii/ Druidic-celebrates Lord of the Mysteries), Winter Finding (Teutonic, from Equinox ’til Winter Night or Nordic New Year, Oct 15th.)

Mabon is considered a time of the Mysteries. It is a time to honor Aging Deities and the Spirit World. Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life. May your Mabon be memorable, and your hearts and spirits be filled to overflowing!

Purpose:
Second harvest festival, new wine pressing/making preparation for winter and Samhain, rest after labor, Pagan day of Thanksgiving, honoring the spirit world, celebration of wine.

Dynamics/Meaning:
death of the God, assumption of the Crone, balance of light and dark; increase of darkness, grape harvest, completion of the harvest.

Essence:
Beauty, joy; fullness of life, harvest of the year’s desires, strength; laughter; power; prosperity, equality, balance, appreciation, harvest, protection, wealth,
security, self-confidence, reincarnation.

Symbolism of Mabon:
Second Harvest, the Mysteries, Equality and Balance.

Symbols of Mabon:
wine, gourds, pine cones, acorns, grains, corn, apples, pomegranates, vines such as ivy, dried seeds, and horns of plenty.

Tools, Symbols & Decorations:
Indian corn, red fruits, autumn flowers, red poppies, hazelnuts, garlands, grains especially wheat stalks, and colorful, fallen leaves, acorns, pine & cypress cones, oak sprigs, pomegranate, statue/or figure to represent the Mother Goddess, mabon wreath, vine, grapes, gourd, cornucopia/horns of plenty, burial cairns, apples, marigolds, harvested crops, burial cairns, rattles, the Mysteries, sun wheel, all harvest symbols.

Herbs & Plants of Maybon:
Acorn, aster, benzoin, cedar, ferns, grains, hazel, honeysuckle, hops, ivy, marigold, milkweed, mums, myrrh, oak leaf, passionflower, pine, rose, sage, solomon’s seal, tobacco, thistle, and vegetables.

Foods of Mabon:
Breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates, cornbread, wheat products, grains, berries, grapes, acorns, seeds, dried fruits, corn, beans, squash, roots (ie onions, carrots, potatoes, etc), hops, sasssafras, roast goose or mutton, wine, ale, & cider.

Incense & Oils of Mabon:
Pine, sweetgrass, apple blossom, benzoin, myrrh, frankincense, jasmine, sage wood aloes, black pepper, patchouly, cinnamon, clove, oak moss, & sage.

Colors/Candles of Mabon:
Red, orange, russet, maroon, brown, gold, deep gold, green, orange, scarlet, all autumn colors, purple, blue, violet, & indigo.

Stones of Mabon:
Sapphire, lapis lazuli, yellow agates, carnelian, yellow topaz, & amethyst.

Customs:
Offerings to land, preparing for cold weather, bringing in harvest, cutting willow wands (Druidic), eating seasonal fruit, leaving apples upon burial cairns & graves as a token of honor, walk wild places & forests, gather seed pods & dried plants, fermenting grapes to make wine,picking ripe produce, stalk bundling; fishing,. on the closest full moon (Harvest Moon) harvesting corps by moonlight.

Activities of Mabon:
Making wine, gathering dried herbs, plants, seeds and seed pods, walking in the woods, scattering offerings in harvested fields, offering libations to trees, adorning burial sites with leaves, acorns, and pine cones to honor those who have passed over.

Spellworkings and Rituals of Mabon:
Protection, security, and self-confidence. Also those of harmony and balance. Celtic Festival of the Vine, prosperity rituals, introspection, rituals which enact the elderly aspects of both Goddess & God, past life recall.

Animals/Mythical beings:
Dogs, wolves, stag, blackbird, owl, eagle, birds of prey, salmon & goat, Gnomes, Sphinx, Minotaur, Cyclops, Andamans and Gulons.

Goddesses:
Modron (Welsh), Bona Dea, Land Mother, Aging & Harvest Dieties: the Triple Goddess-Mother aspect, Persephone, Demeter/Ceres, Morgan (Welsh- Cornish), Snake Woman (aboriginal), Epona (Celtic-Gaulish), Pamona (roman), the Muses (greek)

Gods:
Mabon ap Modron (Welsh), Sky Father, The Green Man, Wine Gods, Aging Gods, John Barley Corn , the Wicker-Man, the Corn Man, Thoth (Egyptian), Hermes, Hotei (Japanese), Thor, Dionysus (Roman), Bacchus (Greek) & all wine Deities

Element/Gender:
Water

Threshold:
Evening

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My Walk

September, 2011

All my life I’ve walked alone
down thorny paths of broken stone.
No one to hear my silent screams.
No one to see my broken dreams.

I’ve always held my head up high
without a thought of days gone by.
My tears contained within a cage,
my soul poured out upon a page.

These words you read explain my life.
I’ve cut myself open with a knife.
I’ve bled for you to feel the pain.
I’ve bled for me to keep me sane.

So take these words into your heart.
Trust that I won’t fall apart.
I’ll stand up tall without a crack
because Ive beat those demons back.

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Madame Mora’s Herbal, Lesson 11

September, 2011

Relaxing Summer Tonic

You will need 1tsp. of each of the following herbs:

Lavender, Chamomile, and Jasmine

You will also need about 1 cup of lemon juice.

Bring approximately ¾ of a gallon of water to a boil and add the herbs.  Remove the pot from the heat and steep the herbs for a minimum of 5 minutes (longer if you want a stronger flavor).  Strain the mixture and place in a pitcher, add the lemon juice and ½ to 1 cup of sugar or other desired sweetener and stir.  Place in the refrigerator to cool.

Serve over ice and enjoy.

Madame Mora’s herbal

This class is designed to show the practical application of herbs to assist with everyday needs.  The lessons printed will not outline “magical” uses for the herbs, but, if questions on this topic rise, please feel free to ask.

Also, please remember, the information in this class is a look at herbal therapies that may show promise as adjunctive treatments to conventional medical approaches, and is not meant to give specific recommendations or advise for the treatment of a specific illness, nor is it intended to be a replacement for good medical diagnosis and treatment.

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Meditation Moment

September, 2011

Meditation Moment: A Practical and Magical Skill

I’ve spent the last few months discussing different ways to meditate; this month I’d like to focus on why meditation is such an important skill for both practical and magical purposes. Research is revealing more and more health benefits to a regular meditation practice, but the ability to direct your own attention and shift your focus as you wish is incredibly valuable in everyday life, not just while actively meditating, and also an essential part of working magic.

As a practical skill, meditation can help us deal with difficult times in our lives. Many people who have depression experience being stuck in negative thoughts, going around and around the same issue or problem over and over again. This “spin cycle” can produce feelings of helplessness and despair. Meditative practice at redirecting your attention can help you break free of these traps.

This “thought stopping” is a difficult skill to develop. It requires a kind of self-awareness that allows you to monitor your own internal monologue so you can recognize when you’re getting stuck in repetitive thoughts and feelings. It’s very difficult to develop this ability while you’re in the midst of a stressful or painful time. Meditation practice gives you a chance to cultivate that skill so you will be able to use it when you need it most. Exercise helps you develop and maintain the physical skills and strength you need for other activities; meditation is mental and emotional exercise.

It is a bit misleading to talk about “thought stopping,” though, because it’s not so much stopping as redirection. Just as in meditation, you don’t so much stop thinking about one thing as choose to direct your attention elsewhere. And like in meditation, you have to be gentle with yourself when you do this. It’s counterproductive to blame yourself for thinking or feeling the way you do; what matters is moving your focus to something else of your choosing. If you’re spending time and energy blaming yourself, worrying, or suppressing those thoughts or feelings, you’re still focusing on them. You can acknowledge them, then refuse to let them occupy center stage in your mind. Gently let them go and redirect.

The same advice applies when you’re trying to change a mental habit. If you identify a negative idea about yourself that you’re trying to change, maybe by replacing it with an affirmation, you need to redirect your attention away from the negative idea, not suppress it. Many admonitions to just “Think positive!” make people feel like it’s their fault if they think negatively, which makes them feel worse, which gives them even more negative thoughts and feelings to try to ignore. I call this the backlash of positive thinking, because the harder you push down those negatives, the more energy you give them to throw back at you, often subconsciously or from an unexpected direction.

To avoid that backlash, don’t treat an affirmation as a magical incantation that will banish your hurts, fears, and doubts all by itself. Acknowledge those feelings or your negative beliefs about yourself and gently redirect yourself away from them towards the new mental habit you want to cultivate instead.

Where this becomes a magical skill is when you use the same techniques to improve your visualization and focus on your intent for a spell. We do magic because we want something to change, but in visualization, we need to concentrate on our desired outcome rather than the current state of affairs.

This is the “Don’t think of a pink elephant!” problem. If you’re trying to help heal a friend, for example, it is easy to be distracted with concerns about how she was sniffling and coughing this morning. That’s the reason you’re doing the spell, after all! But you’re not raising and sending energy towards the idea of her staying sick; you want to concentrate that energy on her being well, so you have to catch those thoughts and change your focus to your visualization or affirmation of her as healthy and happy.

Working with different types of meditation can help you identify your strengths for magical practice and improve your abilities in areas where you’re weaker. If you like meditating with a physical object to focus on, then you can use the same techniques to direct your intent towards a spell component like a candle, stone, or herb. If chanting or prayer works well, make the most of that by designing spells with verbal elements. On the other hand, if you are good at concentrating when you have your eyes closed, you can work on meditating while gazing at a physical object to make it easier for you to concentrate on an object for magical purposes.

These are just a few examples of how awareness of your own thoughts and feelings and the ability to redirect your attention are both practical and magical skills. As your practice deepens, you’ll find even more ways to apply the benefits of meditation in everyday life.

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Wiccan Basics

September, 2011

The Rede- Harm None


Harm none.  Short and to the point.  That being the case, it’s a law we can live with.  Besides, it’s easy enough to follow.

Right?

Well…….

Seems like most applications should be fairly obvious…

For example, not to do bodily harm, to ourselves or anyone else.

Do not wish ill, manipulate, or deliberately hurt someone’s feelings.

We even know better than to damage as we become successful.

These things go without saying.

But what about all the things we can’t know or control?

Like how something we say might affect someone else.

What if it is taken out of context, and angers them or brings on pain.

What if they react and endanger themselves?? Does some of that responsibly come to us…? You bet it does, we started the wheel in motion.

Words have power–much more power than we could ever imagine–and the actions they evoke aren’t always what we intend.  This is the reason that we need to be extremely careful with what we say and how we say it.  And that isn’t always as easy as it seems. But we also need to be aware of what we think. As Pagans/ Wiccans/Witches we are all aware that thoughts have as much power as words. So if we wish ill against someone could be as bad as saying it outright.

Your actions come into play here as well. Not that we would ever intentionally harm another living soul.  But we need to be aware that the harm none law is very cut-and-dried, and it doesn’t allow for personal intentions.  What IS important is the end result: harm none, and that means taking control of our lives, our emotions, and our personal energy.

Now some will take this to extremes, not eat meat because it harms an animal . Or wear masks so they do not breathe in a bug and harm it.  God/dess set up this place very well. Carnivores eat other carnivores or herbivores. Herbivores eat plants and bugs. It is the cycle of life. If you chose a different cycle that works great for you, but condemning someone for not following your way is harming them. See what I mean about how difficult it can be.

Now I will not touch on the use of magick as there are way too many differing paths and arguments on the “grey” areas between what is considered Light and Dark Magick. But as long as no one gets hurt and everything is okay.  Right?

Well, not necessarily.

Think about what happens when we toss a stone into a pond.  The stone hits the surface.  Ripples appear.  They radiate in an outward and encircle areas previously unaffected by the original stone toss.  Such is the case with the ripples of magick.

What this means is that every spell we cast has the capacity to affect many lives–even the lives of people unrelated to the magical goal.  If the spell is beneficial to all, there’s no problem.  But how do you know what is beneficial for someone else??  How can we possibly know what’s good for people we haven’t even met?

Does this mean that all magic is bad?  No.  It does mean that we need to think things through…  We need to be absolutely certain of what we want and why.  We need to have a clear view of things as they really are. Why? Because in doing so, we may discover that the very thing which seemed to warrant a magical solution at the onset doesn’t need one at all, and is best left to its natural cycle.

And if you still choose to continue with your desire then you need to be aware that the ripples will also bounce back and in the end effect you. So make sure that you are prepared to take the responsibility for your action.

Blessing until next Month

S.Dunham

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Review: The Weiser Field Guide to Ghosts by Raymond Buckland

September, 2011

The Weiser Field Guide to Ghosts  by Raymond Buckland

© 2009

Weiser Books  ISBN:  978-1578634512

Paperback        192 pages

$14.95 (U.S.)

There are field guide and there are field guides.  Weiser is, apparently, planning to produce a series of field guides on a variety of topics.  This is the second one I have reviewed (see The Weiser Field Guide to Vampires previously).  My only comment on the series, so far, is that it is somewhat inconsistent.  Vampires didn’t really seem to fit the category (although it was technically well-written and interesting), whereas this volume is truer to the format.  Oh, it ranges a bit afield – monsters and vampires being technically beyond the scope of the book – but it concentrates on the various forms of ghosts and what may inspire their appearance.

The book is broken down loosely into types of ghosts, although there is a degree of overlap, as is to be expected.  There are personal anecdotes as well as “official” accounts (newspaper articles, etc.).  The types of ghosts run the gamut from Ancestral to Warning with numerous other divisions along the way.  Mr. Buckland does his best, and that is saying quite a bit, to show the differences between the various types and to explain the origins (both known and conjectured) of the spirits.

Given the current interest in “ghost hunting” (just check your local cable channels for numerous examples) it was inevitable that the author would include a section on practical ghost hunting.  In this chapter he helps you to understand the equipment which will help you in your searches as well as giving you a rough idea of the cost of such equipment.

Considering Mr. Buckland’s lengthy exposure to paranormal phenomena, and his ability to communicate information clearly and without condescension, it would be extremely difficult to do anything other than recommend this book to those interested in apparitions, ghosts, spirits, or whatever other term you would like to use to describe the apparent reappearance of those who have crossed over to the other side of the river Styx.

No doubt in my mind – if the topic of ghosts interests you and you want  more than just a collection of ghost stories, this is the book for you.

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It eludes

September, 2011

A most complex unit for any mind to comprehend,
It travels strait or can even bend.
Defining it eludes the greatest mind,
It keeps moving forward its so unkind.
It measures speed, a life, or infinity,
It is the future, the present and loves history.
By its self it cant be measured or even traveled,
Nor straddled, or smuggled or even canceled.
Its not an event… nor a thing,
But age is something that it can bring.
It can be read by by a grain of sand,
It’s Dimensions can consume the land.
It can be measured by a single candle,
It has no form that you can handle.
It knows when a star will be overhead,
Its in our dreams when we go to bed.
It gives birth, and knows when to die,
Its heard us laugh and heard us cry.
It makes us old when we feel young,
It can speak but it has no tongue.
It makes the past live in the present,
And the future  become the ancient.
I’ve realized from youth to prime…
We…don’t…exist…inside…of..time!
“we are time.”
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Rebel Rede

September, 2011

Deity Diversity

I have noticed that a recent hot topic in the Pagan community is Pagan minorities. This is an important topic and I am so glad to see it finally being discussed. Along the same lines of diversity of people within Paganism, I have also been reflecting on diversity of deities within Paganism. The other day I was writing up a yoga sequence for a Goddess Yoga class I was going to be teaching and I started thinking about this topic of diversity of deities. I was researching different Goddesses trying to come up with Goddesses from multiple cultures to match specific yoga poses.  While researching I was excited to find so many new Goddesses I had never heard of before. I discovered Goddesses like: Serket- Egyptian scorpion Goddess of magic, Al Uzza-Arabian war goddess who rides a camel, Ix Chel- Mayan moon Goddess also known as Lady Rainbow, Kapoteshi-Hindu pigeon Goddess, and Bau-Sumerian dog goddess of healing and life. It was so exciting to find so many new Goddesses to work with!

It got me thinking about mainstream Paganism and how un-diverse it can be at times. I am not saying there is anything wrong with practicing one tradition of Paganism or working with only one pantheon of deities. What I am saying is there is a whole world of different cultures and religions out there for us to work with, our options are many. As Pagans we like to honor the ancient Gods and Goddesses of past cultures, but sometimes we only focus on one or two cultures. Yes the Greek pantheon is amazing, and yes many of us Pagans (especially those of us who are of European decent) can easily relate to the Celtic, Germanic, and Druid deities, but those are not the only pantheons to choose from. There is an exciting world out there of African, Asian, Mayan, Native American, and Hindu deities to work with, just to name a few.

I personally am challenging myself to expand my Pagan practice to include more diverse deities and I want to challenge the Pagan community to do the same. Choose a pantheon you have never worked with before and get to know some of their deities and lore. You never know what you’ll discover when you open a new door! When it comes to magick and deities the possibilities are endless! Open yourself to a new experience!

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