February, 2013

Merry Meet and Welcome

February, 2013

Welcome Welcome to the the February Issue of PaganPages.

 

We have a very exciting issue this month.  With recipes, ideas, and thoughts on Imbolc…

2 Great Book reviews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Currently We are looking for the following columnists:

Oils & Incense

Thrifty Witching

Crafting

Reviewer for the following: Websites, shops, schools, podcasts, etc…

If you are interested email [email protected]

This month we are offering our readers free shipping off all orders from our etsy shop! Coupon Code: FreeShipping

http://www.etsy.com/shop/PaganPagesOrg

 

 

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Moon Owl Observations

February, 2013

Romi Kumu

 

            This Goddess is not an overly well known one. But I think sometimes I need to broaden my horizons and look into some Gods and Goddesses that may conflict with my beliefs and knowledge of gods and goddesses. There are many branches of Paganism and I will be touching on one I personally have not looked into too much. I’m hoping that maybe someone else will find her interesting.

 

Romi Kumu is the Goddess of willpower and was a major goddess to the Baransama people. Her main following would be people from South America. It is believed that she is the Great Mother and that she created the world and everything in it. This includes the Underworld.

 

Legend has it that Romi Kumu had a gourd that the Baransama people coveted. They chased her and she fled into the East. She tried fending them off but they wanted to kill her when they found out she had the wrong gourd. They were so angry that she ended up climbing into the sky to become the Pleides. Now, this might conflict with your beliefs as it did mine. I still love the story and love this interpretation. Because of this legend the gourd is clearly a huge symbol for her.

 

This South American Goddess of Creation is strongly connected to the Rainforest and Tigers. Her sacred stone is the bloodstone, which is the symbol of the warrior. Which suits her well considering she is a strong, powerful and aggressive goddess.

 

To call to Romi Kumu, and to try and connect to this Goddess, you should light a red candle and some incense to help carry your words. Make a fan from red paper and upon the folds write:

 

Strength of heart,

Strength of Will

Can my dearest

Dreams fulfill

 

Fasten the fan and wave the fan through the incense smoke to spread it around. Say the words for each fold.

When you have done this you should place the fan under your pillow and before you sleep attempt to remember that you can will your dreams. Reinforce that you have the power to control your own life. Romi Kumu will help with your willpower.

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Across the Great Divide

February, 2013

“What does science have to fear from parapsychology?”

Last month we discussed some interesting points about science and the unanswered questions raised by parapsychology; a noted professor even attempted to explain some of the principles studied by researchers through the application of mathematical reasoning.

However, the underlying question remains: just why, more than 100 years later, does mainstream science still laugh off members of the field as one would their wacky uncle at Thanksgiving dinner?

The clichéd question many skeptics like to use is that if psychics are real, why do none of them ever win the lottery?

In “Science & Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics,” Chris Carter contends that psychic powers have not been conclusively proven because scientists are either blissfully ignorant of the available research or they simply refuse to take what is published seriously.

Why? Just what do they have to fear from opening their minds to new possibilities? Isn’t that what science is supposed to be all about?

The hardline opponents most often refuse to acknowledge the existence of paranormal phenomenon because to do otherwise would cause a paradigm shift in how the universe is viewed through the collective mind of humanity’s adolescent intellectual level.

Skeptics and scientists are as deeply committed to maintaining the status quo of their belief structure as anyone else is. There’s a psychological defense- a certain comfort level- involved in the avoidance of a possibility, however improbable, that they could be wrong.

This belief results in closed minds, but this adherence to the status quo only applies to theories presented by members of the study of parapsychology; in mainstream scientific circles a theory that could shatter long-standing laws of physics isn’t laughed off so readily.

In September 2011, news shot around the world that Italian physicists had measured particles traveling faster than light. If validated, it would have violated the fundamental laws of physics and completely change our understanding of the Universe.

The reaction from the scientific community to the news was not one of ignorance- they didn’t brand the scientists hoaxers and quacks; they didn’t shout, “Blasphemy, ye witch! Burn!”

Instead, they did what any reputable scientists does when confronted with such a challenge: they took a closer look and tried to replicate the research. As it turned out, the anomaly was caused by measurement and mechanical errors in the original experiment.

Such scientific brotherhood is not generally the case when it comes to theories presented by psychical research; every now and then, though, an exception is made.

A study published in a 2011 edition of The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by Cornell professor Daryl J. Bem claimed to have found strong evidence for the existence of psychic powers such as ESP; it quickly made headlines around the academic world for its implication that psychic powers had been- finally- scientifically proven.

Bem’s claim wasn’t ridiculed or ignored; instead it was taken seriously and tested by scientific researchers; replication, being the benchmark of any valid scientific research, should be able to replicate the findings. If not, then the findings could be summarily written off as random variations and errors.

So, a team of researchers set out to replicate Bem’s experiment and found no evidence for psychic powers. Their results were published and Bem publicly acknowledged that the findings did not support his claims and wrote that the researchers had “made a competent, good-faith effort to replicate the results of one of my experiments on precognition.”

While this was a heartwarming exception to the “black-sheep-of-the-family rule,” the reason that research looking into psychic powers and hauntings are rejected by the scientific community is simply because there hasn’t been that jaw-dropping discovery to make the world scream in unison, “Holy crap! Sorry, dude, we were wrong. Our bad.” (Yes, some major players in the scientific community do talk like that- they aren’t all stiffs with accents and bow ties)

The evidence for psychical phenomenon, like anything else, rests solely on its own merits. Better research follows with better evidence; and as technology readily catches up with the theories that began over a century ago, the answers may finally come. So we patiently await that Nobel prize moment that changes the course of human understanding. It may not be tomorrow, next week, or next year, but the possibility, however slight, should not rule out the quest for it as absurd or wasteful.

There’s no reason that science should fear or dismiss the study of the unknown. That’s the one thing that unites us all- our insatiable desire to question everything and the adventure essential to the quest.

 

© 2013 R. Wolf Baldassarro/Deep Forest Productions

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Gems of the Goddess

February, 2013

Bastet – Egyptian Cat Goddess

The Egyptian goddess Bastet, also known as Bast, Ubasti and Baset, has been worshipped since the Second Dynasty. In the third millenium BC, she was depicted as a priestess with the head of a lion. Later, in the first millenium BC, with the popularity of the house cat, her lion’s head often transformed into that of a cat. Though her physical image differed, her demeanor did not. She remained both tame and wild, gentle and fierce.

Daughter of the sun god Ra, she is also known as Lady of Flame and Eye of Ra. She is wife to Ptah, god of carpenters and shipbuilders, and mother to Nefertum, who it is said was called forth from a lotus flower to help raise the sun into the sky.

Unlike other goddesses, Bastet has a very unique duality. When her head is that of a cat, she is a moon goddess, and when a lion, she is a sun goddess.  It is in these very powerful aspects of nature that she reminds us that to be true to oneself requires the acceptance of our own opposite natures.

With her feline mystique she is associated with playfulness, grace, sexuality, and affection, though none can deny her predatory nature. Contradictorily, it is this very predatory aspect that made her a protection goddess, much in the same way a domestic cat protects the crops and food stores by killing vermin.

Priests of Bastet’s temples were known to keep sacred cats who, when they passed over, were mummified and presented as offerings to the great goddess. To do harm to any cat would not only bring her wrath, but also that of the community and justice systems, as the penalty was death.

Bastet shows us the eternal sacred quality of the feminine, along with the beauty of a feral protectress. She reminds us that solitude and independence shows strength, but also that unity in relations binds our souls.

You can honor her with offerings of sweet liquids and foods, mint, honey, statues of cats, items of silver or gold, or a bowl of cool water placed on your altar.

 
correspondences –
Color: green, gold, red
Stones: Agate, cat’s eye, jasper, Sunstone
Planet: Sun
Herbs: catnip, cinnamon, vervain
Incense: Musk, cinnamon, frankincense, myrrh, hemp, sandalwood
Aspects: protector from contagious disease and evil spirits, as well as the home, cats and women

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Ask Your Mama

February, 2013

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.

 

                                *Ask Your Mama                         

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™

 

by

©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

 

 

A Question of Cleansing Personal Pollution

 

Dear Mama Donna,

 

I am looking for a fresh start in my life. Everything around me has gotten messy and confusing and completely disgusting. This is on every level in my life — body, mind, spirit, and home. I am sure that this is all a reflection of some pollution within myself. I feel like I need a deep spiritual cleansing, so that I can put the things that surround me in order. How can I purify myself?

 

A total mess in Maine

 

Dear Ms. Mess

 

Purification by water is by far the most widespread cleansing technique. How about bathing in a salt bath to wash away any memories, emotions, blockages, or resistances that might interfere with your most positive motives and stand in the way of your moving forward? Once you are free from any impurities of heart and mind, you can then anoint yourself with fragrant oils to enhance your intentions of freshness and order.

 

There are innumerable other scouring agents besides water. Fire is frequently used, combined with water as in the Inipi, the traditional Native American sweat lodge, or a banya, or, the steam sauna used in Russia and Scandinavia. During the annual Hindu Festival of Agni, worshippers pass their hands over flames to obtain a state of purity. Peasants in Northern Europe still leap over bonfires to ceremonially cleanse themselves.

 

Clay, adobe, sand, silica, soil, loam, loess, mud, peat, dirt, dust, terra cotta the multi-palletted, richly-hued flesh of Mother Earth Herself, has long been considered to be a sacred substance, a sacrament to be used in blessings and prayers. The ancient Greeks used to place a lump of dirt on their head to seal an oath, rather like placing their hand on a bible and swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God. Russian farmers continued this practice into the twentieth century, making any promise in the honored name of Mati-Syra-Zemlya, “Moist Mother Earth.” Try taking a mud bath. Wallow in the slime, then feel all your cares and troubles wash away with the rinse water.

 

Incense, smudge, tobacco, and other highly scented herbs and resins are often burnt to produce fragrant smoke to blow away any impurities. You can “wash” from head to toe in the holy smoke of camphor, frankincense, myrrh, sage, cedar, or copal, which are all used for their purification powers. Afterward, you can “rinse” in the smoke of sweet grass, which invites the sweet spirits into your life.

 

Ashes, charcoal, dirt, sap, sandalwood paste, pigment, paint, peppers, sagebrush, oil, and dung are among the cleansers commonly applied to the skin; employed as a dry bath. The Nubians of Africa rub themselves with the sacred ash of burnt leaves from an acacia tree before every rite of passage in their lives. Similarly, Catholics are anointed on Ash Wednesday with ash obtained from burning the palm fronds that had decorated the Church on the previous Palm Sunday. This ritual begins Lent, the 40-day cleansing period preceding the annual vernal Passion of death and resurrection.

 

Why not make a list of all of the parts of your life that you feel have grown stale — your beliefs, habits, orientation, and practices? All the parts you describe as “messy and confusing and completely disgusting.”

It is these qualities that you want to release and transform. Burn the list in a pot. Use the ash to bless your intention for a new beginning, cleansed  of all that has slowed your spiritual growth. Mix the ash with water to create ink and inscribe your affirmation to be open to change.

 

There is a wonderful Mayan shamanic ceremony that does much the same thing. You will need an Uncrossing Ball. (These are made from copal and other natural bits and pieces and are available through Mama Donna’s Spirit Shop.) Hold it in your hand and put into it with your intentions all that crosses you, blocks you, stands in the way of your best self.  You then wrap it in cloth and smash it to bits with a stone or hammer. Burn all the pieces one by one with the clear intention to release them. When the final piece is burned, you are completely cleansed and free of any negativity.

 

In addition to cleansing our selves, people have always taken special care to clean and maintain the temples, churches, synagogues, cemeteries, groves, and shrines, in which our prayers are said and our spirits fed. Don’t forget to cleanse and bless the sanctuary where you will live a more tidy life. If a man’s home is his castle, surely it is a woman’s shrine.

 

Best blessings on your new world order,

 

xxMama Donna

 

*Send your questions about seasons, cycles, celebrations, ceremonies and spirit to Mama Donna at: [email protected]

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Book Review: The Candle & The Crossroads by Orion Foxwood

February, 2013

The Candle and the Crossroads

Orion Foxwood

Weiser Books

Paperback/ $19.95

ISBN: 978-1-57863-508-5

I enjoyed reading this book very much.  I found the glimpse at the beliefs and practices of the Appalachian people extremely interesting.  It appears that it is a belief system that has been verbally passed on, and then continued by each successive generation.  I really enjoyed his mother’s wisdom in simple words that he shared with the reader, it really brings her character to life.

I also found it interesting that Mr. Foxwood has great reverance for the contribution made to “Southern Conjure” by both the African peoples, who were brought here as slaves, and by the Native Americans. I would also like to mention that the information he shares on different herbs and botanicals form that area of the country is super informative.

Having followed a strictly Wiccan path for over 25 years I was surprised at some of the similarities, but amazed at the number of ways  “Conjure” is done.  I was surprised also to see a mix of biblical and elemental energy used in the types and techniques.

This is not a book one can read once and sum up, it has been a lifetime of experience accumulated by the author, who fortunately is a very nice, approachable guy who was kind enough to provide me with a Q&A e-mail that will give an opportunity to have the author address the book in his own words.  I appreciate Orion Foxwood and Kat Salazar providing this to be included.

All in all if you are wishing to expand your spiritual knowledge in general this is a great place to start.

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Imbolc Correspondences

February, 2013

February 1, 2

Other Names: Imbolg (im-molc)(em-bowl’g) (Celtic), Candlemas (Christian), Brigantia (Caledonii), Oimelc, Festival of Light, Brigid’s (Brid, Bride) Day, La Fheill, An Fheille Bride, Candelaria (Mexico), Chinese New Year, Disting-tid (Feb 14th, Teutonic), DisaBlot, Anagantios, Lupercalia/Lupercus (Strega), Groundhog Day, Valentines Day.

Animals & Mythical Beings: Firebird, dragon, groundhog, deer, burrowing animals, ewes, robin, sheep, lamb, other creatures waking from hibernation.

Gemstones: Amethyst, garnet, onyx, turquoise.
Incense/Oil: Jasmine, rosemary, frankincense, cinnamon, neroli, musk, olive, sweet pea, basil, myrrh, and wisteria, apricot, carnation.
Colors/Candles: Brown, pink, red, orange, white, lavender, pale yellow, silver.
Tools,Symbols, & Decorations: White flowers, marigolds, plum blossoms, daffodils, Brigid wheel, Brigid’s cross, candles, grain/seed for blessing, red candle in a cauldron full of earth, doll, Bride’s Bed; the Bride, broom, milk, birchwood, snowflakes, snow in a crystal container,evergreens, homemade besom of dried broom, orange candle annointed in oil (see above)can be used to sybolize the renewing energy of the Sun’s rebirth.
Goddesses: Virgin Goddess, Venus, Diana, Februa, Maiden, Child Goddess, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Vesta, Gaia, Brigid, Selene(Greek), Branwen(Manx-Welsh).
Gods: Young Sun Gods, Pan, Cupid/Eros(Greco-Roman), Dumuzi(Sumerian).
Essence: Conception, initiation, insight, inspiration, creativity, mirth, renewal, dedication, breath of life, life-path, wise counsel, plan, prepare.
Meaning: First stirring of Mother Earth, lambing, growth of the Sun God, the middle of winter.
Purpose: Honoring the Virgin Goddess, festival of the Maiden/Light.
Rituals & Magicks: Cleansing; purification, renewal, creative inspiration, purification, initiation, candle work, house & temple blessings, welcoming Brigid, feast of milk & bread.
Customs: Lighting candles, seeking omens of Spring, storytelling, cleaning house, bonfires, indoor planting, stone collecting, candle kept burning dusk till dawn; hearth re-lighting.
Foods: Dairy, spicy foods, raisins, pumpkin, sesame & sunflower seeds, poppyseed bread/cake, honey cake, pancakes, waffles, herbal tea.
Herbs: Angelica, basil, bay, benzoin, celandine, clover, heather, myrrh, all yellow flowers, willow.
Element: Earth
Gender: Female
Threshold: Midnight

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Paranormal Path

February, 2013

Common Banishing Tools
 
     Some people are not very welcome to the idea of a spirit in their home, especially if the spirit has shown ill or malicious intent.  If you wanted to try a banishing on your own, there are a few common tools that are used throughout many cultures and religions.  Here are a few ideas.
     The simplest technique is to ask the spirit to leave.  Many human entities do to realize their physical bodies have passed.  They do not realize what they are doing or their mere presence is frightening.  Telling the spirit to move on, giving them permission to leave and telling them they no longer belong here can work.  However, some spirits, especially if you are dealing with a non human entity, can be more stubborn and therefore more difficult to convince to evacuate your space.
     Water, the element that helps sustain life and makes up a huge part of our bodies and our planet, is a readily available tool that can also be used.  The key is to have the water blessed by a religious official.  This does not mean you have to go to a Christian or Catholic, there are officials in every religion that can bless the water and the result will be the same.  The water can act as a barrier or a transitory plane.  Wet your fingers with the water and mark all entry ways into your home.
     Another common practice is the use of sage.  Sage has been used by many cultures and is widely believed to help protect as well as cast out negative energy.  Sage sticks are lit, the flame blown out, allowing the bundle to smolder.  Allow the smoke to trail as you walk around the haunted area, it is believed the smoke will capture the negative energy and carry it away as the smoke is fanned out through open windows and doorways.
     Salt, preferably sea salt, is crucial to have in any banishing ritual.  Salt acts as a barrier that the entity cannot pass.  I like to use salt towards the end of a cleansing / banishing ritual as a way of sealing off the area, assuring unwanted spirits cannot return.
     We all know the power of the written word.  Try writing the problems you have been facing with this spirit on a piece of paper, be as specific as possible, names, dates etc.  Follow with writing your intentions, that the spirit is not welcome and you wish to reclaim your space, then proceed to burn the sheet of paper with a candle of your choice.. White candles can be used for protection and black candles can be used for banishing.  You may want to place the paper in a clean white bowl for a controlled burn.  The smoke will carry the negative energy away.
     Finally there is a method that seems to work mainly for non human entities.  These entities can be malicious and very difficult to remove.  One theory is that these spirits do not like to be challenged.  Taking a small bag of tiny grains, such as sand or rice, place it in the doorways with the contents spilling out.  There is a belief that the entity must stop and count every last grain.  This task is nearly impossible and the entity should grow frustrated at being unable to complete this challenge and will leave your space and move on.

The one thing you must remember when using any of these methods, is you must believe that what are you doing will work and put confidence behind everything you do and say. If you don’t stand beside your ritual or allow fear or skepticism to take over, you will not succeed.

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February Correspondences

February, 2013

Legends and Lore for February

February, the second month of the current Gregorian calendar and the third month of Winter’s rule, derives its name from Februa, the name of a Roman purification festival held on the fifteenth day of February in ancient times. The traditional birthstone amulet of February is the amethyst; and the primrose and the violet are the month’s traditional flowers.
February is shared by the astrological signs of Aquarius the Water-Bearer and Pisces the Two Fishes, and is sacred to the following pagan deities: Aradia, Brigid, Juno Februa, and the Wiccan Goddess in Her aspect as the Maiden. During the month of February, the Great Solar Wheel of the year is turned to Candlemas, one of the four Great Sabbats celebrated each year by Wiccans and modern Witches throughout the world.

February Moon:

Quickening Moon

Gemstones:

Rose quartz, amethyst, jaspe

Trees:

Rowan, Myrtle

Gods:

Aphrodite, Juno, Mar, Brighid

Herbs:

Hyssop, myrrh, sage

Element:

Fire

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The Men of the Mill

February, 2013

Late one night when all was still
a rumbling echoed from a distant hill
it started out softly, a gentle hum,
a melodic, soothing, encouraging strum
waking the men of the mill.

They gathered together outside the door
not one of them there who could say for sure,
what could create such a rhythm so fine
without a word they formed a line
heading off through the forest to explore.

Captured by a mystical melody
each man climbed up in a tree
to where the sound filled the air,
it’s couldn’t be seen, only felt there
with an amazing intensity.

One man leapt into the night
released the branch he’d held so tight
he gave himself up to the sky
making no attempt to fly
just doing what felt right.

The others watched, expected to see
the end of one who once was free
to walk the earth, live a life
raise a child, love a wife
but that was not to be.

Caught in cloud filled with light
he’d become part of an amazing sight
musicians appeared from everywhere
each of them sitting on a chair,
bringing to life the night.

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