Monday, February 28, 2011

Sweet Love Hangover

Eh, not quite. More like burned out from the past week. I thought I had an energetic hangover from the conference, but no, it was more from dealing with my in-laws who were about an hour away from the conference. Visiting them was the price I paid to go. I might start a conference up here just so I don't have to go down there again LOL j/k I have enough on my plate.

Like what, you ask? I'm hosting/facilitating a 202 series this Spring and Summer. I'm tired of the plethora of 101 classes out there and think more advanced classes need to be made available. Call it Grad School for Pagans. I will be bringing in speakers, teachers, experts and teaching a class or two myself. Most will be practical, some will be Italian focused, and a few will be specific to Society of Diana and required knowledge for those who wish to practice with us. There will be chakra work, advanced tarot, energy work, a full reiki series, color therapy, tarantella, communicating with Patrons and Ancestors, and lots of other fun stuff. Need some 101 to catch up? No worries, there will be a few of those too or a way to catch up, just contact me for more info once I have the series set up. I will post here and on Facebook.

So what to do for an energy hangover? Meditation. Tune into the neutral channel and let your mind rest. Dreaming is not restful- you're dreaming! Close your eyes and enjoy as much darkness and silence as possible. Also, do what you would normally do for a hangover: hydrate. Drink lots of water, take care of your physical body too. Shower to clean off your aura as well as your body. Keep the food light and sweet. Avoid heavy foods or things that grow from the ground. Choose fruit instead of veggies. The opposite is true when you're as high as a kite on energy. In that case you want salt instead of sweet, earthy instead of light. When I was flying on energy over a week ago, I ate a baked potato when I got home and it instantly grounded me. If I'd had one in the fridge I would have eaten a beet. A raw beet is the perfect food for grounding. It grows under ground, is the color of the root chakra and supports your blood with its high iron content. I've had a nice glass of apple-carrot-beet juice to come down from ritual on days when I'm juice fasting. mmmmm red earth energy drink. For this hangover? Water, pears, lemons, oranges, blueberries. Look at that, in one paragraph I've combined food magick and color therapy, two topics we'll get into this season! Can't wait!


According to the intertubes, the definition is: "An inappropriately strong negative emotional response from a perceived personal insult." That fits. If you explore the concept a bit more, the perceived personal insult comes from the overinflated ego of the perceiver. People with big egos, who feel entitled for no good reason other than the fact that they believe their own hype, will often be disappointed, especially when it comes to the magickal meeting the mundane. Example: Today I thought I had been offered a part in a ritual (That's the mundate and magickal meeting. You need to pick people to do the work). When I'd called to talk about what I'd need to do for the offered role I found out that I missed an e-mail where the offer was made as an oops and I was actually being considered for a different role. There was a tense moment on the phone; I felt like I had to declare that I was willing to do whatever was needed. It's true. I'll go where I'm needed and if I'm not needed, I'm not offended. Everyone has different energies and different abilities and some energies are not required, or sometimes detrimental, to a magickal. That one moment of tension, before I said I'd be happy to do anything, made me very sad for this person I really respect. They must have had to deal with ego conflicts and folks getting butthurt about roles for that kind of tension to automatically come up. The Work is often Personal work and we're all supposed to grow as individuals. Growing as a group is a whole different matter. This isn't the high school play where if you don't get the lead role it's the big tragedy of your life. Unfortunately for some it is. Perspective for sale 5¢

Apologies for the quickie, just got back from Sacred Spaces and I'm wiped out! Back tomorrow to see if I typed anything coherent just now.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Trance is trance is trance?

I participated in a trance dance last night. More specifically, a conjure dance. Everyone was asked to wear white. There were altars to all manner of deities and offerings of alcohol, cakes, chocolates, coffee, and beads. I had a great time, except for the 3 guardians who were harshing my buzz! to explain:

There was drumming and an awesome singer and everyone was dancing, inviting deity to possess or fill them. That was interesting. Since Tarantella is a type of trance dance, I figured I'd see how compatible both forms were. I found there were many things in common, many of the same moves and techniques I could use to invite in my patrons, but there were a few things that I honestly just could not make my body do; For example: There were hand gestures I couldn't use. My fingers and wrists just wouldn't go that way. While my Patrons were invited by those running the dance, and invited by me personally into me, They were not the ones guarding or running or venerated for the group.

I mentioned Guardians above. To explain: There were 3 people who didn't dance to go into trance. They were armed with Florida water and watching the crowd both energetically and actually. They were there to catch those who fell and help those who were possessed. Several people were, including me.

The entire experience is like surfing. Starting the dance is like paddling out to find a wave. The Spirit who enters you is that wave. You either crash and fall, or you work together, reading each other and you ride the wave to shore. All of them came over the several times I was riding the wave gently. I'm glad they could tell, but I was annoyed a few times that they basically pulled me out of it just with the smell of the florida water on their hands and whatever they were doing energetically. They were putting a damper on it. There was one time that I used a technique from Tarantella and when I felt I was about to be completely taken over, as in black out or lose myself to the dance, I stopped and steadied myself. I'm glad there was a guardian nearby to catch me (more glad I didn't need it) and went on with the dance.

It was a fun, interesting experience and I give thanks to those who coordinated it, the singers, drummers and even the buzz-harshing Guardians :-D

Friday, February 25, 2011


I'm posting much earlier than usual, so it might seem to some like I'm doing 2 posts in a single day. Nah, I just want to go to a party tonight and am being a grown up and taking care of business first.

I went to a workshop today at the Sacred Space Conference called "Interviewing the Divine: Using Tarot to investigate obscure deities." about using tarot to learn more about obscure deities. WOW! What an awesome idea and I'm angry at myself for not thinking of this and grateful to Dawn Footer for presenting this wonderful workshop and a space in which to explore using this tool and its efficacy.

I have always used tarot to look into my immediate future, to consult about a spell-working or specific ritual, or to look into the future for friends. I used to read tarot cards for my friends in high school. In my school we'd get 2 free periods a day and kids would routinely sit in the halls with each other and hang out, have lunch, socialize, etc. I'd often be found sitting against the wall with a cloth on the floor and the cards spread. I remember the Principal coming by and watching me do a reading with interest. I asked if he wanted his cards read but he politely declined lol Back then I was brash and bold and very Page of Wands. I'm at a point where I don't want to go looking for trouble, so to speak. If I need to know something, I'd rather get the information through a dream. I have put away my cards for a long time. I've taken them up again in recent weeks to check on some spellwork because I wasn't doing it for me and I wanted to know if my lending help would be for the best, or if the type of help I could provide would be useful.

There are many deities of whom we have no record, but who still call to us or try to speak to us. In today's workshop we were given the name of a deity, their country and basic gender. Aka, a Mother Goddess from Turkey. We broke out into 4 groups of 4 and each of us answered, using our tarot decks, a series of questions. Then each group of 4 internally compared their findings, then the whole group compared notes. It was amazing how much overlap there was between the cards that were pulled and the cohesive imagery and story that wove together with all of us answering these questions.

There were 8 on the sheet, but rebel that I am, I plan to use some of them and modify others. I noticed that when I changed one of the questions, I got a different answer than the others, but one which was consistent. The original question was "How would you like me to work with you?" I had a problem with this question because to me, it felt like it would be an invitation to work together, and since this was only supposed to be an interview for practice, I wasn't comfortable asking that. Instead I asked "What do you need done for you?" The answer I received fit in perfectly with the narrative. I was very impressed. This is a wonderful, visual, practical way of directly communicating with those you wish to know better.

I want to learn more about the little known pre-Roman deities, especially the Sabine and Etruscan and the ones from the neolithic age in Sicily before the Sicels and Sikels. Now I have a tool to do it! Dawn counseled us to not work with too many too quickly because the messages could get muddled. Makes sense! After all, it's an interview, not a party. You only want to hear one voice at a time.

Gratitude to Dawn for helping me reconnect with my Tarot and hopefully connect with those I seek to know.

Sex, Death and Violence. Again.

Have I used this title before? Either way its a redux. Just a bit of a warning, I'm in ranty-mcranterson mode at the moment. I've tried to get out of it. I really and truly have. There is so much I could post about tonight, including the wonderful Debbie Chapnick tarot class I just attended on the Court Cards-- Are they a happy family? I could also go on and on about the Cyprus exhibit I visited today at the National Museum of History. Beautiful votive Goddess Figures, Mother and Daughter statuary... some of the things were amazing. I especially enjoyed the small section they had which included cipriot-minoan pieces. I visited Crete many years ago and still feel a special connection to the area. There was also a 3,000 year old invocation to Aphrodite. But no. I can't post about any of this cool stuff because I've got something stuck in my craw. And I'm too tired to go back to polish this up, so just for now please deal with my typos and disjointed trains of thought, kthx!

We stayed over with my in-laws last night. I hate going there for many reasons, but this one has been on my mind: I don't really care how someone chooses to decorate their home, after all it's for them to look at every day, not me. I do take issue with judgmental people who think their sex death and rebirth cult is better than yours. I have my child with me in this place and honestly, I shelter him from unpleasant things, like violence. This is mostly led my him: He hates conflict. He hates when characters in a movie or tv show are mean to each other with words, let alone fisticuffs. He won't watch Night at the Museum 2, not just because it's a crappy movie, but because they argue and chase each other and are mean. I've tried to talk him through it and use it as an example of how not to solve a problem or how to defend yourself, but he wants no part of it. There, I've gotten that out of the way so you can stop judging me now for being an overprotective Mom. ;)

All over this house we stayed in last night, are crucifixes. Not just the cross, these include the guy hanging dead with blood dripping down his face and arms and feet and side. I've previously explained Jesus as the Christian version of other sacrificial kings like The Green Man, or the lord of the grain who gives his spirit to feed us, or any other number of deities who have held that role. That's a general concept, but this is very specific kind of violent imagery we're talking about now.

Of all the lore the lifted from the other cults of their day, the Christians took that particular one (the deity sacrificed for his people) and went literal with it. Seriously, do you have to have the most graphic version of this concept hanging around? (no pun intended. ok, maybe it was.). So what do I do? What do I tell my son when he sees the dead, bleeding, torture victim hanging around the house? Why should I be forced into this conversation now, especially when I know how it would upset him.

Several years ago, the last time we were at their house, he asked who the statue of the girl was. My sister in law, who has no children, immediately said "The Virgin Mary." I said "That's a version of the Mother Goddess, see she's dressed like Isis?" I took my sister in law aside and told her plainly: "We don't talk about sex, he's not old enough to understand the word 'virgin' so I will answer any questions he has, about both sex and religion." Is the word that big a deal? Maybe not, but I think any mother would get defensive if a virtual stranger started talking to their toddler about sexual terms. At least I do. That's for parents to discuss.

So this whole thing has me thinking tonight, why is this sex and death and violence cult better than all of the others to its followers? Because it's theirs? Because it was beaten into them over generations of persecution? Because they deny it's a sex and death cult? They might not be having the sex, but the fact that there is so much focus on the Virgin and Virginity-as-holy makes it sex-focused. I just remembered being told as a kid that only men are supposed to wear Jesus actually on the cross, but was never told why. Not like I asked to wear one, I was too busy asking why the crossbar was so high because it should be in the middle for balance.

These are the same people who are quick to tsk-tsk magic or Witchcraft, or freak out about a story in the paper involving alleged Santeria practitioners (which it almost never is truly about them anyway) and animal sacrifice. And yet these are the same people with a dead man mounted on a tree whose blood and flesh they ritually eat on a weekly basis. And these are the same people who, at first, refused to attend our Pagan wedding ceremony because we were invoking a Goddess and saying different words than they're used to. At least we weren't practicing cannibalism in the ceremony. Ahem. When they didn't get the attention or concessions they wanted, they showed up. They also had to stfu when my husband's Aunt, a nun and the sweetest, kindest woman you could ever hope to know, said she'd be there with bells on and with the blessing of her Priest because "we do interfaith things all the time, and this is a wedding so it's even more wonderful!" <3

I'd like to think I'm over that incident since it was more than a decade ago, but when these things happen, it comes up all over again. My Grandmother always counseled "forgive, but never forget." Is that possible? I've forgiven them for it, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to stand them for all of these years. However, when faced with these kinds of questions, I will never forget how they acted, or sheer hypocrisy of it all or their sociopath-like capacity to compartmentalize what they do and believe vs what someone else might do and believe.

So what do I do? Tonight I just made a dash for it. We're in a hotel instead of staying with them. Tomorrow? We're supposed to go visit. He hasn't asked yet. If he asks, what do I say? I'll let you know if it happens. I'll let you know of Hubby steps up to the plate. He's the ignore it and it goes away type. I've tried ignoring them for years and it hasn't worked yet! lol

To the new folks following along, hi, I've promised to keep the ranting to only as often as I need to. ;) Hopefully tomorrow I'll be back on track with actual magickal postings. I posted recently about how I am called to, or inspired to write certain posts. I had so much to pick from tonight, but the Powers That Be pointed me in this direction. You can't see the time lapse in my writing, but sometimes it takes me hours to get something posted because I stop and read something, or search for a quote or picture. Well now it makes sense. A half hour later, I have two more books on my google book list and a quote from one of them. It an atheistish tract, arguing against Christianity, but it makes every point I like to make about its origin. The christian cult is genetically modified Paganism. Looks like some folks were talking about this over 135 years ago, they just didn't have my catch-phrase ;)
"Like Christ, and like Adonis and Attis, Osiris and Dionysus also suffer and die and rise again. To become one with them is the mystical passion of their worshippers. They are all alike in that their mysteries give immortality. From Mithraism Christ takes the symbolic keys of heaven and hell and assumes the function of the virgin-born Saoshyant, the destroyer of the Evil One. Like Mithra, Merodach, and the Egyptian Khousu, he is the Mediator; like Khousu, Horus and Merodach, he is one of a trinity, like Horus he is grouped with a Divine Mother; like Khousu he is joined to the Logos; and like Merodach he is associated with the Holy Spirit, one of whose symbols is fire."
"In fundamentals, therefore, Christism is but Paganism reshaped. It is only the economic and doctrinal evolution of the system-the first determined by Jewish practice and Roman environment, the second by Greek thought-that constitutes new phenomena in religious history."
Pagan Christs by J.M. Robertson

Make that three books. Should I post an updated book list at the top of every month? I'm currently rereading The Kane Chronicles, not as good as the Percy Jackson series, but an interesting take on Egyptian lore!

PS: While in the National Museum, we entered a room that had a gigantic quartz in front of me and natural, unworked copper on the wall to my right. I felt some really nasty energy and had to dash out of that room as fast as possible. I thought it might have been the quartz (which needs a good cleansing, btw) As soon as I got out, I turned around and saw that it was the room with the Hope Diamond. I wanted to shower off that horrid energy. Bleah. Can this country please get rid of that nasty thing? kthx!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Knock, knock. Who's there? Air! Air? Hail and Welcome!

Last night was water, so I'm making tonight about Air. My favorite bit of air work involves incense. I love burning incense as an offering, to cleanse a space, or to scry. It's something like scrying with fire, but instead of listening to pops, crackles and flame colors, in this case you follow the pattern of smoke, the direction, and how fast the incense burns. It's a favorite way of mine to honor Mercury.

This past Sunday I took a long drive and noticed at least 6 different groups of birds. I tried to take note of their direction, the patterns the groups created, and how long it took for them to wing the way out of sight. Unfortunately I was driving and couldn't give them (and their messages) the attention they deserve. I had to smile tho, thinking about the augurs of old. I felt a connection and sent out a thought of appreciation for them and for the art.

We had that freak snow the next day. Maybe that's why they were whirling about! It was time to take cover!

Speaking of time to take cover, I just drove down to Sacred Spaces and I need to pass out so I can hit the workshops tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


This is a quickie, as much of the week will be...

My train of thought tonight? Water, emotion, contact.... There's a spell I Love that involves charging a glass of water. The harder the contact (someone you haven't seen in years), the more water you need and the longer it takes. Take what you feel is an appropriate amount of water, charge it in your favorite way (but no salt!) and pour it into whatever serves as your chalice/goblet/etc while imaging and intoning the name of the person you're trying to contact. You can get fancy and use planetary hours, do it on a Wednesday during the hour of Mercury, wear orange... I like to write the name of the person on a piece of paper, fold it, and place it under the chalice.

I usually have a dream that night about the person and the situation. Contact often follows before the water has evaporated. Do not keep this in a room with a humidifier, it will take a long time! lol

Oh look, it's nearly Wednesday! Have fun!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


They're thought of as Indian in origin, but the Greeks and Romans did have their knowledge and philosophy of chakras too. I enjoy the work of Anodea Judith and Barbara Brennan, tho not so much Carolyn Myss. Just a personal preference, not sure why. I know she really resonates with some people, I suppose I'm not one of them. I've recently been doing chakra work and it helps me immensely. I'll be facilitating a chakra workshop this summer. I feel very strongly about this system and its ease of use. It's not just for "balancing" yourself, it's a way to focus and channel very specific energy. It's the basis for much color healing. It's a wonderful way to be in touch with your power and as a check on how it flows. I'm trained in acupressure and it always helps me to check in with a client's chakras as a clue to where to focus my attention. If the heart chakra is blocked, I can facilitate the release of grief or fear. One system helps the other. You should be able to cross-reference, or check your energetic work. Using conflicting systems is no help to anyone and could well drive you mad (at some point you just need to decide between Chaldean numerology and Pythagorean since the two contradict each other).

For a few minutes every day I focus on my energy flow from bottom to top and top to bottom. I do this when I wake up and before I go to bed. If I can manage it right after I wake up, I get a better picture of how my chakras really are, without the layer of the day over it. Before bed, I can see where the day has taken me energetically and try to let go of what needs to go and bring in whatever it is I need more of.

There are yoga postures, exercises, dances, songs, oils and incenses all intended to balance or cleanse your chakras. My favorite chakra cleanse? A nice hot shower.

Off to cleanse! Back again tomorrow!

PS: Buon Feralia e Caristia! "Feralia was a Roman feast honoring the "infernal powers". It typically fell on February 22 and was the last day of the Parentalia, a week-long festival that honored the dead." It's also the Caristia, which I mentioned in a previous post, the family reunion type celebration. On Saturday, the family got together "for no particular reason" other than we hadn't seen each other since the winter holidays. We visited with cousins I haven't seen in too long and had a wonderful time. Funny how the holiday is instinctual!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Mother in the Moon

As a girl, I always thought of the face I'd see shining in the night as the Mother in the Moon.  It just didn't look like a man to me. It looked like a cameo. My Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Aunts... all of the women in my family had a cameo of some sort, either as a pin, pendant, charm, earrings, ring, or bracelet and I was always incredibly enamored of them.

I was given the cameo I currently wear when I turned 18. I rarely ever remove it. It is my Goddess symbol. Some folks wear a pentacle as their symbol of spirituality, I wear a cameo. I didn't know Her name when I was little, but I now know my Patroness, Diana, as the Goddess of the Full Moon and my cameo is a vision of her. It's not like the one pictured here, or with a bow or quiver or dog or deer, but my image of The Mother shining down. It is the Moon I Draw Down when doing The Work.

She was known to me when I was a child. I thought I took up Her mantle when I received my cameo and was welcomed into my family's Circle of Women, but it wasn't until I was pregnant with my child that it all crystalised and I started working with her daily, a Mother working with the Mother of All.

The word origin of "cameo" is debatable (shocking, I know). "This modern Italian word, meaning "to engrave," is thought to have come from the ancient Hebrew/Arabic word "kamea", meaning "charm" or "amulet." Folklore relates cameos' mystic capacity to attract health and good fortune."

Health and Good Fortune? Sign me up!

One of the oldest wearable cameos come from the 3rd century BCE, and is believed to have been made in Alexandria. No one knows for sure who the two figures are, but there have been lots of guesses. They're not just of women and for women. Men are featured, Deities, people, rulers, the Three Graces, snakes... anything you can think of.

Today, the art is most popular in Italy and historically was centered in Greece and Rome.

Do you have a favorite charm or symbol you work with regularly? Something you always wear? Do you wear it for devotion, protection, to aid in your work, add energy?

Don't forget, next month, to look for the face of The Mother in the Moon. I bet you'll see it. ;)


I feel compelled to discuss Saints tonight. Many Italians work with Saints, and not just because Catholocism is genetically modified Paganism. The popular deities whose worship couldn't be suppressed, were canonized, or their attributes transferred to another name/saint. Here is a web page with a list of canonized Pagans and Pagan festivals. Here's another! For the moment, here are a few examples: Saint Brigid. Saint Dionysus, Saint Aphrodite, and a favorite example, Saint Dominic. Let's get a bit into Dominic's details...

The miracles for which he was canonized include: raising people from the dead, exorcising demons, multiplying bread and wine, curing fevers and other illnesses, and having visions of Mary and Jesus.

In a little town in Italy, Cocullo, there is a snake charmer/handler festival every May, even now. It's the feast of Saint Dominic. Snakes are collected from mid March till the first Thursday in May and wrapped around Dominic's statue. The statue is paraded through the town with a procession of chanting and singing. There are snake charmer contests, snake handling, and the reading of omens based on the snake's behavior: If the snakes move upwards toward the statue's head, it's a good sign, if they twist around the body, or are restless or move towards the feet, it's a bad sign for the harvest to come and for the town in general.

So what do all of those miracles have to do with snakes and Saint Dominic's feast? He is also credited with saving Cocullo from snakes. Funny, around 700 BCE, Apollo was credited with the very same thing and was the Patron God of the town. Dominic is the patron saint of the town.

Apollo is the Sun God.
Apollo defeated the python terrorizing Delphi (and subsequently built his oracle there)
Apollo is the Greek God most associated with the snake, not just for Delphi- the Caduceus was Apollo's originally. He gave it to Mercury.
Apollo is also known as "the healer" and invoked as such in the Hippocratic Oath.
Asclepius, the famed healer also known as the snake-bearer, was his son. I'll stop here or I'll really get off topic.

The Sun God was venerated on.... Sunday. I know, trick question. How do you say Sunday in Italian? Domenica. Yeah, Dominic. Nice, easy, transparent cover, using a Saint to legitimize and continue an ancient practice.

There are Saints I work with in my practice. Why not? Just because the Catholics like someone doesn't mean that they own them. It doesn't mean that these entities are inaccessible to those who are not Catholic. It just means the Catholics named them and energetically elevated them within their system.

Just because a nun had a vision of the Mother Goddess, with the iconography of Isis, and called Her "Mary" doesn't meant I can't invoke Her too. Again, I don't think they sweat the small stuff, like names. I think deity is beyond name. I only obsess over it on occasion because I want to know if it was the same entity being called upon, or separate ones. I find the story of the Miraculous Medal interesting. The Madonna calls for a medal to be created using specific imagery. Nowhere does the story say anything about a specific prayer or novena. The story of her vision says that those who need something have to ask for it, and wear the medal around their neck.

"Saint Anthony come down, something has to be found! I need to find _________" is a phrase I've heard my whole life. It works, so I'm sticking with it.

Saint Christopher was de-canonized, but that's not going to stop people from carrying St. Christopher medals for safe travel!

It's getting late, so I'm going to pause here and leave you with the most saintly anthem ever:

Friday, February 18, 2011


Tonight's post is a quickie, so before I get into it, here's a fun Aeneid break. I haven't interjected much of my reading into my posts so why not, it's fitting. I'm sitting here trying to compose my thoughts and wow are the winds roaring. It's been seriously distracting! Here's a quote from book 1 of the Aeneid. I'm way past book one, but it has the best description of Aeolus I've read aside from the ingenious way it was worked into the Percy Jackson series. I really enjoyed that. Yeah, it's a kid's series, but I liked it a lot!

So debating with herself, her heart inflamed, the Goddess (Juno)
came to Aeolia, to the country of storms, the place
of wild gales. Here in his vast cave, King Aeolus,
keeps the writhing winds, and the roaring tempests,
under control, curbs them with chains and imprisonment.
They moan angrily at the doors, with a mountain’s vast murmurs:
Aeolus sits, holding his sceptre, in his high stronghold,
softening their passions, tempering their rage: if not,
they’d surely carry off seas and lands and the highest heavens,
with them, in rapid flight, and sweep them through the air.
But the all-powerful Father, fearing this, hid them
in dark caves, and piled a high mountain mass over them
and gave them a king, who by fixed agreement, would know
how to give the order to tighten or slacken the reins. 

Seems like a few are running loose tonight. I hope they're back under the mountain soon enough. There's a cleansing feel to it. Like the remnants of Winter are being scattered to make way for Spring. It has been one wacky battle of the old year and the new, or as our Wiccan friends might say, between the Holly King and the Oak King.

But onto tonight: Yesterday I mused a bit about eating, tonight I'll talk about fasting. Have you ever done it? Fruit fast? Liquid fast? Water fast? Dry Fast? I've done all of them. I actually enjoy it and not just for it's weight loss benefits. I have found my Work to be that much more amped up? Powerful? Yes! Intense too! It's something even the Catholics have adopted, well, for an hour before their version of cakes and ale.

The same way you need to clear your mind, you need to clear your body. The food you eat affects the effects of your work. Food is energy. The energy you put into your body is the energy you have at your disposal when working. Do you want something slogging through your intestines for days, or do you want fresh, quick digesting fruit that makes it's way through gently, quickly and supports your level of energy? How about eating something that makes you tired because your body is so busy digesting it you can't manage anything else? When fasting, the energy otherwise used for digestion can be harnessed. This works just as well with a fast of eating only fresh fruit as it does when you abstain from everything. At least it does in my experience and the anecdotal evidence I've informally collected.

I fruit fast 24 hours before my work, especially on the Dark and Full Moons, and a few hours after. I try to do that for all of my workings, but some things can't be planned in advance. Since most of my work is done at night, it's not that big a deal to just go to sleep without eating and start fresh in the morning. My circles don't involve food and drink, so I have nothing but my grounding techniques to bring me back down from that energetic high we all love so much. If I'm really flying, I'll have some avocado when I'm done with the night's work. It's technically a fruit and it's nice and heavy. Bananas are ok, but I think the high fat content of the avo is what does the trick for me. When I'm in someone else's circle, I never eat the "cakes" offered. That started out because I'm vegan and most things offered have milk and eggs in them. I've even been to a circle where bacon was involved. >.< Now, even if it was vegan, I'd pass anyway, or take a piece and give it as an offering. I don't like to eat anything at all in circle, but I suppose if strawberries or some other fruit were part of the deal, I'd be down for it.

So what's the difference? When fasting, I feel like I have more energy available, I am more open. There is less in the way between me and deity. I'm able to raise and channel energy more easily. I am able to direct and receive energy more easily. I get results faster than I would have otherwise. My journeying is more intense, my visions are clearer, my constructs are better formed. I see more, I hear more. Intense!

Quieting the body is as helpful as quieting the mind. I know many who meditate or focus before entering sacred space. Abstaining from food (and sex) is a wonderful way to focus your physical energy, you just have to make sure to eat enough fruit and eat often enough. I never dry fast and I rarely fast with water only right out of the gate. It's easier for me to work my way up to a water fast after a few days of fruit.

Have you done it? Have you noted a difference? Are you mindful of what you eat before and after you work?



I have no idea why I'm posting about garlic tonight. I was moved. A voice whispered in my ear that I need to learn more about this, but I don't quite understand yet... In my house, garlic was important. Sure, it's important in every Italian home, but for us it was IMPORTANT.

Garlic is antibacterial, and your body doesn't get used to it they way it does to chemical antibiotics. It helps lower cholesterol, blood pressure, is an anti-oxidant, fights cancer tumors, protects the heart,

Fanfuckingtastic! But they didn't know this stuff 100 years ago. They didn't even know all of it (as per scientific research) 30 years ago. So why did my family love and use this stuff like it was Ambrosia? (another dish they liked to make!)

My grandfather would drink garlic water (an infusion of garlic and water, shaken daily for a while, and kept in the fridge once it was ready), at certain times of the year. He said it helped his blood pressure. Nice to lie to an 8 year old, huh? Arrite, he didn't lie, it's great for blood pressure, but I didn't learn what it was about until years later. I'm not going to tell you, I'll just point you in the direction: Garlic kills ergot, the psychedelic fungi found on grain (thought to be part of the Eleusinian mysteries). Ergot also grows on sorghum. Sorghum was used by Malandanti while Benandanti used fennel, another staple of my home life.

In their battles, the Malandanti had the psychedelic fungus growing plant on their side, while the Benandanti had the purifying, courage and strength building, counter-magick/protection from evil sorcery herb on their side. And garlic gave them an advantage. If ergot was the Malandanti ride to the match, the Benandanti could stop them from ever showing up and win the battle over the harvest by forfeit.  

It not only repels someone talking to you from stink breath, it's also thought to repel negativity, untoward spirits, and the evil eye, or jettatura. It was found in King Tut's tomb. Looks like it was there to help him in the afterlife. What could garlic do that a Shabti couldn't?

Garlic is offered to Hekate at crossroads and during the Nemoralia.
Odysseus uses garlic to escape Circe's pig curse.
Greek Athletes ate it before competition Soldiers ate it before battle and Roman soldiers planted it in conquered lands.
According to Pliny, garlic and onions were invoked as deities by the Egyptians at the taking of oaths.
Greek midwives would hang garlic cloves in the house with a birthing mother to keep the evil spirits away.
Dreaming that there is "garlic in the house" is supposedly lucky; to dream about eating garlic means you will discover hidden secrets.

I'm off to bed now, hopefully to dream about eating garlic ;)

If you're not into the smell, perhaps some sympathetic magic with a garlic amulet?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In the no...

There has been more attention than usual on Lupercalia this year. Honestly, it hasn't been that welcome. I can't really go back through the article from the other day to address each bit, nor do I wish to quote and counterpoint other articles, such as NPR or Wild Hunt. Instead, I'm going to talk in general about a few things, including the ancient vs modern calendar, and rituals of state vs rituals of the region vs household rituals.

The Wild Hunt mentions the fact that there are plenty of holidays and festivals to chose from this month to counter the idea that Lupercalia is the direct ancestor of valentine's day. What they neglect to point out is the difference in each of these festivals. Lupercalia is a distinctly Roman holiday. It's a combination of the celebration of the mother wolf who nursed Romulus and Remus plus an older fertility festival, likely of Etruscan or Sabine origin. One big clue: Augury was done along with the sacrifice and the Etruscans, and Sabines were known for their augury. While it was enjoyed by those who came out for it, Lupercalia was a state function, attended by the upper class. Kinda sounds like modern Memorial Day parades where military and political leaders march and speak, and those who come to line the streets and cheer them on are considered participants in the experience. If you don't show up, you don't participate, and there is no requirement to do so.

Quirinalia is another state holiday. Quirinus, possibly the Sabine God of war, was also the deified Romulus. The cult was part of the Roman State religion, and not a specific Mystery tradition such as that of Isis or Bacchus or Orpheus. Lack of popularity led this holiday to be one in name only, with only the flamen keeping up the tradition. There was no need or expectation of the people to participate.

Another holiday in this same week, Parentalia, was celebrated by each individual family, as mentioned in my other post. This can be considered a regional celebration since the dead were typically in the same area, regardless of family. After honoring your family at the burial site, it was easy enough to talk with neighbors and friends who were in the same area doing the same thing, to see and be seen, and to participate in the blessing and honoring of the burial place. There were no priests involved, it was entirely people-powered.

The Feralia, which comes at the end of the Parentalia week, is a household ritual. It was to pacify or scare away or trick away any spirits, ghosts, or otherworldly beings from the home. It is led by the man of the house. It's generally believed that there were common elements: fava beans, loud banging/crashing noise, sweeping from inside to outside... Many followed this custom of spiritual spring cleaning, but what each family did and how they did it was theirs alone. Who used a bell, who used a drum, or broom, or wood, who had a special tool or recipe passed down through the family, what song was sung, what
chant, who was invoked? It depends on who was doing it. It differed from house to house.

I'm going to pause here with the examples because I don't want to get repetitive.  If you want more examples, leave a comment ;)

Moving on, I'm going to talk a bit about the calendar and use the Matronalia to illustrate a problem in the translation from ancient calendar to modern. I posted about Mars and his role as a Fertility God. It made me remember the bible quote (and Don Henley song) about beating plowshares into swords and vice versa. Seems like two sides of the same Mars coin to me. And here we are, about to delve into his month, March. The Matronalia was held on the kalends of March, aka March 1st. Since the point of this isn't the holiday itself (which is pretty cool), here is a link to read up on this wonderful holiday and women's version of Saturnalia. Or, to summarize: Juno Lucina was celebrated as mother, wife, and midwife. Afterall, she impregnated herself with a flower and produced Mars.

The comparison between, and conversion from ancient to modern calendar is one huge clusterfuck. Some sources report that it was lunar, no it was solar... there were 304 days, no there were 355 days... the year could be changed depending on if the pontifex maximus wanted to extend the reign of a ruler or office... My head hurts when I get into this stuff. Now, to this pot of unequal years, add in moving holidays based on the harvest and planting days and now we're really fucking lost. Just ask me about intercalary months... I dare you, but only if you'd like a nice smack across the back of your head.

So are we two weeks ahead, or two weeks behind the ancient calendar? On pace? Did Lupercalia fall on the kalends, or the ides? Was it on the 15th? What happened when they'd stick an extra month between February and March and borrow a few days from each? They knew about the tropical calendar for at least a few hundred years before switching officially to the Julian calendar, so wtf? How did they keep time? Like the festivals above, there were the state, local and personal levels. 

So for the Matronalia, if the first few days of March were added to the intercalary month often put between Feb and March, when was the Matronalia celebrated? On that first part of borrowed days? On the official kalends of March? On the kalends of the intercalary month? Honestly, I have no idea. It's likely that the flamen of Juno's temple augured up something and based on their contact with deity, figured out the appropriate date for the state function. The locals? (aka outside of Rome) I'm sure whatever planting things were going on, Juno Lucina was part of it, likely with the first sowing of seed... her son petitioned for fertility and Lucina petitioned to bring the seed into the light once again.

When you're farming your land, do you really care what time it is 20 miles away in Rome? Probably not. Sunrise, sunset, full moon, dark moon. The basics. I don't think the ancients really sweated the small stuff, as a dear friend likes to say. I know my ancestors weren't watching the clock waiting for the exact cross-quarter or equinox time, like I do. Speaking of, that's a fun topic for another time: enhancing, or changing traditions and how and when to do it. But for tonight, I'll leave you with a few Italian sayings about time:

Il tempo è denaro: Time is money.
Il tempo guarisce tutti i mali: Time heals all wounds.
Il tempo viene per chi sa aspettare: All things come to those who wait.

And one appropriate for Lupercalia: in boca al lupo!


I interrupt this blog to give a big, gigantic THANK YOU! To My Patrons, My Deities, My Ancestors, My Family and My extended family of Friends. I'm now going to go pass out in my own bed on my own pillow. Tomorrow I hope to comment on recent Lupercalia posts and discuss the difference between ceremonies of State and celebrations within the Household.

"Chi trova un amico, trova un tesoro."
(Whomever finds a friend finds a treasure.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Whip My Roman Sex Gods!

They way some people read "Twas the night before Christmas" on December 24th, I like to post this article, from the SF Gate every year. I have a running commentary going for this article (he's a snarky boy, this author), but at least he tells it like it was, for the most part. I'm on the road tonight, so no telling when I'll get that commentary up, but you can start it in the comments!

Here it is, Whip my Roman Sex Gods, by Mark Morford, first published in the SF Gate on 2/14/03

Whip My Roman Sex Gods / You want the true Valentine's Day? Forget roses and candy, sweetheart, and kneel before the Lupercalia

February 14, 2003|By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist 
Hot pagan sex and lustful gods and ancient wolf goddesses and potential marriage and more sex and more than a little crazed giddy divine animal blood sacrifice.
All followed by some nice light whippings administered by nearly naked grinning boy-men, casual flagellations by goat-skin, some joyful thrashing in the name of fertility and purity and, you know, sex. Ahh, Valentine's Day.
The original, that is. Before it was called Valentine's Day, back when it was called Lupercalia, a big Roman festival in honor of the fertility god Lupercus, before the ever-scowlin' church got a hold of this ancient and rather odd and blood-pumped Roman lust-fest, co-opted it and de-sexed it stripped it of its more salacious and admittedly libertine joys, as the church is so tragically wont to do.
Because as everyone knows, the church is nothing if not all about rigid joyless dogma and romantic abstinence and mountains of little chalky candy hearts. Mmm, sanctimoniousness.
Tried to convert it into a mildly consecrated (read: bland, not naked) day, the church did, "Christianize" that naughty pagan fest, and failing that because no way are you gonna trump ancient sex and lust with uptight chastity and faux-purity, they tossed in Saint Valentine to the mix, invented some nice legend, tried to turn this most funky of pagan holidays into an homage to saccharine romantic love and cherry nougat chocolates and Hallmark schmalz. Did they succeed? Sort of.
Basically, it went something like this: In ancient Rome, on the 15th of February, in an altar called the Luperci sacred to the god Lupercus, in a cave in which the she-wolf goddess nursed founding twins Romulus and Remus, Luperci priests gathered and sacrificed goats and young dogs, the former for strength, the latter for purification and in honor of their strong sexual instinct and because it was a fertility diety and this is just what you did if you were a happy pagan citizen a couple thousand years ago.
Some hunky boys of noble birth were then led to the shrine, where the priests would dab their foreheads with a sword dipped in the animal blood, after which our baffled youths were apparently obliged to break out into a shout of purifying laughter because that's what the rite called for and no one is quite sure why and, well, wouldn't you?

 Then, a feast. Meat. Wine galore. Followed by the slicing of goat skins into pieces, some of which the priests cut into strips and dipped in the blood and then handed to the boys, who would take off and run through the streets, gently touching or lashing crops and bystanders -- especially women -- with the skins along the way to inspire fertility and harvest and because hey, half-naked laughing boys wielding bloody goat skins ?- what's not to love?
Actually, the women eagerly stepped forward to be so stroked, believing that such a blessing rendered them fertile (even if they were sterile), and procured them ease in childbearing, and made them look all gothy and cool and sexy.
"This act of running about with thongs of goat-skin was a symbolic purification of land and men," says one rather dry, scholarly website on the topic. "For the words by which this act is designated are februare and lustrare, and the goat-skin itself was called februum, the month in which it occurred Februarius, and the god himself Februus." So, you know, there you go. February. Purity and lust and sex and gods. Really, what else do you need?
Then came the sex lottery. Oh yes. Say it like you mean it. Pretty much only have to say the words, "sex lottery," and already you're like, damn, count me in, sure beats dinner and a movie.
And all the young lasses in the city would place their names in a large urn, and the city's eligible bachelors would choose a name out of the urn and become paired for the year with his chosen woman, oftening resulting in marriage. You know, sort of like the Mormons. Only with actual sex. And booze. And without the creepy undergarments.
But if there's one thing the sexless butt-clenched church really hates, it's sex lotteries. And free thinking. And good porn. Condoms. Margarita enemas. Literature. But especially sex lotteries. Go figure.
So along comes Pope Gelasius around 486 A.D. and declares, let's say, oh, February 14 to be dedicated to a saint, and we'll call him Saint Valentine, who might or might not be an actual martyr whose true history is murky at best, given how church records show at least four martyrs with the name Valentinus, whoops, oh well.
And of course, they outlawed the yummy sex lotto, the church did, changed the names in the urn from lusty single women to the names of pious saints to be emulated, whee what fun, and jammed their new holiday right up against the February 15 date of Lupercalia.
Which also had the added bonus of stomping all over the normal February 14 day of honoring Juno (Roman Goddess-queen of women and marriage), and focused it all on the makeshift Valentine, and voila, here we are: Hallmark cards and candy hearts and poisoned Ecuadorian rose workers. In a nutshell.
But of course, the modern V-Day isn't all bad. And this is not to say we should necessarily return to the old ways, a little bloodletting and lashing and animal sacrifice and random sex lotteries. Except for maybe the Mormons.
Because everyone knowns that right under the cheap veneer of Valentine's Day mega-marketing and hollow churchly romance is yet another delicious excuse to have more sex and indulge in fleshly pleasures and lick chocolate syrup off your lover's tailbone. Hopefully.
In other words, the church both succeeded in their hostile takeover, and failed miserably. Sure Valentine's Day is all romance and sentiment and Malaysian-made stuffed teddy bears on the outside, but it's all raw oysters and sly spankings and salacious romps and whipped-creamed nipples and soft divine bedroom cooing, inside.
Which is exactly as it should be. Which is exactly how we still, without even realizing it, manage to recall our delicious Lupercalia, take a big lick of ye olde pagan ways, regardless of everpresent churchly frowning and 'Be Mine' twittering and chubby Cupid chinz. Deep earthly sex and hoary gods and fertile lust and voluminous feasts of meat and wine? You're soaking in it.
Because it's always good to know where your manufactured holidays really come from. Always healthy to pay homage to the true origins, realize how much calculated deceit has happened along the way. Just like Christmas and Easter and Halloween and any major holiday worth mentioning that the church gutted and renamed and from whose moist tremulous soul they tried to suck the pithy throbbing joy, ya gotta give props to the old gods, throw a karmic kiss to Lupercus and Juno and the she-wolf. Word.
So. Buy those giant red balloons from Safeway. Nab that $29 heart-shaped diamelle necklace from the Shane Company. But don't forget to acknowledge that deep-down, gnawing, sly urge you're doubtlessly harboring to rush out into the streets and wait for the laughing naked boys and get yourself gently lashed with bloody goat skins and then go have sex. Just like the pagan lust-monkey you so wish to be. You go, Lupercus.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

WTF? Where are the Sex Gods?

Oops. I'm a day ahead of myself. Get over it! So what is today anyway? Here's a quick description:

Parentalia. Roman festival for honoring one's dead parents. Families gathered among the tombs of loved ones and made offerings or sacrifices of grain and wine to their souls. The Parentalia was the first of three Roman festivals in February for appeasing the dead which started on the Ides and lasted until the 22nd. It typically fell on February 13 or 15, and was followed by the Feralia and Caristia. During this time all temples were closed, marriages were forbidden, and public officials suspended business for the duration of the festivals.

There were a few things mentioned in there, all of them having to do with Family. Parentalia: Honoring of Parents who have crossed over. Feralia: Honor spirits of the dead in general, including the restless dead who need to be driven out of a home or tricked out. The Caristia was a time to honor your family, like a family reunion. So there it is: Departed parents, all souls, living family.

Lupercalia has nothing really to do with this, it happens to fall during this time. If you want to ret-con it, you can explain it as a celebration of the Mother wolf, who was the Mother of Rome: Without her, there wouldn't have been a Romulus and no Rome named after him. The festival does have pre-Roman roots, so how do you ret-con that? heh.

Notice that the time to honor and gather with family comes right around the time the weather is once again good enough to travel. This was likely the first time extended family got together since the winter holidays.

How will I spend this time? I will visit my father's grave and leave offerings there, I will do the same for my grandmother and great-grandmother. I will cleanse my home of any unwanted spirits with offerings and noise and I will have my family over for some celebrating. Now that I mention it, I haven't seen them since before the new year.

Tomorrow, I will be posting a commentary on the SF Gate article Whip My Roman Sex Gods. It's a funny, snarky, basic article and I hope to finally expand and expound on it!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Met!

Today I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with 2 friends. I adore the Met. The Temple of Dendur is there. The whole temple. It's a wonderful, light, energizing feeling. Especially now that they've added a statue of the Priestess who presided there. She's in there. I loooove that part of the Egyptian collection. What I do not love is the hallway you have to traverse to get there. The left wall is lined with spells for the dead. They have some serious juice in there. Walking down that hallway makes me nauseous. I went into two sections I had never visited. Both were rather narrow and had cases on either side, like a supermarket aisle. Both were filled with magickal objects including wands and knives and libation bowls. I thought I would fall down. Next time I go there, I'm bringing hematite, eating bread, and using more tricks up my sleeve which take some pre-planning and preparation.

After exploring the Egyptian wing and having a nice, grounding lunch, we went to the Greek and Roman galleries. We didn't get to explore the whole area, but we hit the highlights, including a much replicated statue of Hekate, the mosaic of Daphne, a replica of a Persephone and Demeter Eleusinian relief, someone's bedroom, amazing mirrors, jewelry, and gold crowns, scabbards, and cameos.

We didn't even try to get up to the 2nd floor lol

I'm exhausted, but promise to get some links up to my favorite pieces at The Met. Maybe one of these days I'll lead a walk through that wing and hit my favorite highlights.

2/16: Added a few links and will pick a date in the spring to hit the galleries!

Hail Vesta!

Vesta, the Goddess of Hearth, Fire and Earth. Home turf, indeed. I had imagined the fireplace in my home as the hearth, and would give offerings on the mantle. I realized not long after, that the hearth was in the kitchen. My swanky kitchen with modern stove, moreso than my brick fireplace, is the hearth. It is the center of our home. It is the first place we go in the morning. It's also the first room we enter from outside. When I get in the door, especially when it's cold outside, I'm instantly warmed and grateful to be Home. My offerings to Vesta, and the spirits of my home, now happen in the kitchen.

The position of Vestal Virgin was a sweet deal! The women were picked as children, had all the rights of men, were treated as royalty, lived in a mansion, and after 30 years could retire and marry and have kids. However, retiring meant giving up all of your freedoms. I wonder if any of them did. Some did break their vow and were buried alive for it. One Vestal, who allegedly broke her vow, Rhea Silvia, Gave birth to Romulus and Remus. I suppose if you break your vow with another deity, it doesn't count against you!

In Rome, the home of the Vestals was just reopened to the public after 20 years. I want the sacred flame rekindled. Nice timing on the reopening too, right before midwinter. Brigid's flame was rekindled in Kildare. I want Vesta's flame back!

Here's a fun video with the story on the reopening:

Friday, February 11, 2011


I was delving back into the Aeneid and thinking about Carthage and Tunisia. I was also thinking about Mercury, as I often do. The various trains of thought all converged nicely. I've been reading about, and looking at pictures of Mercury's Temple in Carthage.

Temple of Mercury, Carthage

Floor of Mercury's Temple

Thursday, February 10, 2011


You should get to know him. Unfortunately, only fragments of his work remain, but the ones that do... What can I say? They touch me. From Wiki: Parmenides describes the journey of a young man from darkness to light. Carried in a whirling chariot, and attended by the daughters of the Sun, the man reaches a temple sacred to an unnamed goddess (variously identified by the commentators with Nature, Wisdom, or Themis), by whom the rest of the proem is spoken. He must learn all things, she tells him, both truth, which is certain, and human opinions; for, though one cannot rely on human opinions, they represent an aspect of the whole truth. Fragment 1 is below. Here's a link to all of them

1        The mares that carry me as far as my (their?) spirit might reach

2        Were conducting [me]; when leading (carrying) me they put me onto a many-voiced road

3        Of a goddess (daimōn), who through all cities bears the man of understanding.

4        On this I was carried, for on this the much-indicating mares were carrying me

5        Pulling the chariot at full stretch, and maidens led the way.

6        The axle in the wheel-boxes was sending forth the sound of a surinx (panpipe), itself

7        Burning, for it was being pressed down by its two turned

8-9      Wheels at both ends, as the Sun-maidens (Hēliades) hastened to convey me, leaving behind the houses of Night,

10       Into [the] light, having pushed the veils from their heads with their hands.

11       There are the gates of the paths of Night and Day

12       And a lintel and a threshold of stone hold them together at both sides (top and bottom),

13       Themselves being filled by vast doors;

14       Of these many-penaltied Dikē (Justice) holds the keys of exchange (alternation).

15       Her indeed the maidens blandishing with gentle words

16-17    Persuaded cleverly to push the bolted bar swiftly from the gates for them; and they of the doors,

17-19    Spreading, made a yawning gap, turning the much-bronzed posts in their sockets in turn

20       Closely fixed to them with pegs and nails. Right away straight through the gates

21       Along the carriage-road the maidens guided the chariot and mares.

22-23    And the goddess (thea) received me willingly, and took my right hand in hers, and spoke to me and addressed me thus:

24       "Young man in the company of immortal charioteers

25       And mares which carry you, arriving at our house,

26       Welcome, since in no way a bad fate (moira) has sent you forth to go

27       On this road - for truly it is far from the beaten path of humans -,

28       But rather Themis (Right) and Dikē (Justice). You must hearken to (learn) everything,

29       Both the unshaking heart of well-rounded (persuasive?) Alētheiē (Truth)

30       And the opinions of mortals, in which there is no true assurance.

31       But nevertheless you shall learn these things also, how the things that are believed (OR: the things that seem)

32       Must really be altogether [going] throughout all things (OR: Must really be accepted to be continually (continuously) pervading everything).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Holding out!

One of my favorite ancient plays, Lysistrata, is about how the women are tired of the unending Peloponnesian war and decide to withhold sex until their men come home. When I learned about this play way back when, it was explained that soldiers weren't always off campaigning far away; Many could go off and fight for the day, then come home for dinner and live normally, just another day at the office. True? Not so much? Anyway... Lysistrata gets her friends together, as well as women from Sparta, aka the enemy, and they all take to the idea and swear an oath to not have sex with the menfolk until the war is called off. There are some very funny scenes of old men and old women, wives teasing husbands, and a coalition of delegates conceding to demands thanks to a hot, practically nude woman named Reconciliation.

Here's the oath the women swore on a bowl of wine (aka: I'll drink to that!)

LYSISTRATA: Put down the cup, and lay your hands
upon the sacrifice. Oh mighty Goddess, Sweet
Persuasion, and you...Giant Cup, who has given us
such joy through the years, hear our plea, and accept
our sacrifice, for our great cause!
We will all swear at once. Put your hands
on the cup, everyone, and repeat after me.
(They all put their hands on the cup.)
I will not go near my husband or my lover.
ALL: I will not go near my husband or my lover.
LYSISTRATA: Speak up—No matter how big a hard-on he has.
ALL: No matter how big a hard-on he has.
CALONICE: Oh, Lysistrata, I can’t take it.
LYSISTRATA: I will be completely celibate,
ALL: I will be completely celibate,
LYSISTRATA: And wear nothing but seductive clothing,
ALL: And wear nothing but seductive clothing,
LYSISTRATA: And get my husband as horny as possible.
ALL: And get my husband as horny as possible.
LYSISTRATA: But I will never willingly give in to him,
ALL: But I will never willingly give in to him,
LYSISTRATA: No matter how he pressures me.
ALL: No matter how he pressures me.
LYSISTRATA: And if he tries to force me,
ALL: And if he tries to force me,
LYSTRATA: I will not do the thing where I put my legs up over his head.
ALL: I will not do the thing where I put my legs up over his head.
LYSISTRATA: Nor will I pretend to be a lioness he has caught in the forest.
ALL: Nor will I pretend to be a lioness he has caught in the forest.
LYSISTRATA: If I keep my oath, let my cup be filled with nothing but wine.
ALL: If I keep my oath, let my cup be filled with nothing but wine.
LYSISTRATA: And if I break it, let it be filled with nothing but water.
ALL: And if I break it, let it be filled with nothing but water.
LYSISTRATA: Do you all solemnly swear this oath?
ALL: We do.
LYSISTRATA: Good. Then I’ll drink this wine to finalize it. (She drinks.)
CALONICE: Leave a little for us, dear...

That's it for tonight!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sex! Drugs! Rock and Roll! Yeah it's an "adult content" post.

About time, huh? I gave a nod to Dionysus last night so let's continue the theme tonight.

Pagan views on sex: I think this is the one place where the Wiccan Rede actually works: "An' it harm none, do what you will." Seriously, if it's not hurting someone (especially yourself) physically, mentally, or emotionally, it's no one's business but yours. Let us heed the words of the wise triplicity of Goddesses known as Salt n Peppa:

If I wanna take a guy home with me tonight
It's none of your business
And she wanna be a freak and sell it on the weekend
It's none of your business
Now you shouldn't even get into who I'm givin' skins to
It's none of your business
So don't try to change my mind, I'll tell you one more time
It's none of your business

Why is sex so evil to some religions? Power. Sex is power. How can an institution control that? Shame, guilt, misinformation.... Another book on my list is Sex at Dawn. Check it out if you can!

So what's this power thing? How is it powerful? It can manifest another human being. Pretty effing powerful magick if you ask me. Sex doesn't always result in pregnancy and birth, but it is still the ultimate raising and release of energy. Next time you take that particular trip, when pregnancy isn't the goal, focus on an intent. When you reach the pinnacle, send that release of energy towards your intent. Don't get so caught up that you chisel yourself out of the fun. If that happens, just work with it. You'll get the hang of it. This isn't going to be a huge treatise on sex magick. Instead, think of this as me pointing out a door. I'm Morpheus. No, not the one who causes sleep. Maybe, I don't know- do my posts put you to sleep? lol

I don't have a specific spell to share, but I have a favorite method: Consider the intent. Decide on which deities to work with. Pick appropriate sigils. Pick an appropriate oil. Pick the appropriate astrological hour. Write a rhyming couplet stating the intent. I make an offering of wine or whatever is appropriate to the deities I'm working with. At the appointed hour, I delineate sacred space, call my Guardians, call the Deities involved, and anoint my 2nd chakra with the oil. The use of the sigils are easier for women to work into this than for a man. Men may draw the sigil in oil on their 2nd chakra. Using hands only, work towards orgasm using the sigil pattern. Like I said, easier for a woman than a man. Visualize the intent and the sigil, especially at the moment of release. It's like any other spell where energy has been raised and released, but this is coming from a place in which manifestation of the physical form is possible. I find it works best with goals related to the physical plane and to healing. This also works for those who are technically infertile. If you're wondering about my incense choice, I use something appropriate to the Deities I'm working with.

Some Buddhist monks say that the drug ecstasy actually helps you to achieve ecstasy. This is one of many articles about it. I've never done E myself but I'm curious to see if it matches up with the experiences I've had.

Rock n Roll!
What, besides an actual O or, according to that article the drug ecstasy, is better for letting go of all the mental blocks than music? Some of the best music is about sex and drugs and the state of ecstasy. Here's a really interesting paper on the mosh pit as ritual! It's a pdf dowload, but a quick and interesting read!

I'll leave you with one of the greatest musical artists ever singing about tonight's topic. The brighter the flame, the faster the candle burns out.

Purple haze all around
Don't know if I'm comin' up or down
Am I happy or in misery?
Whatever it is, that girl put a spell on me

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A nod to the God of Wine

He was also the God of ecstasy and ritual madness, and for a myriad of reasons (all of which are debated), was involved in the Mysteries of Eleusis.  After a day of ritual, I thought a nod to him would be appropriate. I'll delve more into his lore at another time including his parentage, role in the Mysteries, as the origin of Jesus mythology, and the Bacchantes.

TO DIONYSOS (incense: storax)
I call upon loud-roaring and reveling Dionysos,
primeval, two-natured, thrice-born, Bacchic lord,
savage, ineffable, secretive, two-horned and two-shaped.
Ivy-covered, bull-faced, warlike, howling, pure,
you take raw flesh, you have triennial feasts, wrapt in foliage, decked
with grape clusters.
Resourceful Eubouleus, immortal god sired by Zeus
when he mated with Persephone in unspeakable union.
Hearken to my voice, O blessed one, and with your fair-girdled nurses
breathe on me in a spirit of perfect kindness.

Blo0o0o0o0o0o0o0od!!! Part 1

Thanks to Dusio for the inspiration for tonight's post. Maybe one day he'll post here too since this can be a "team blog." That enough of a hint? :-D I apologize in advance for the all over the map post. I'm very tired tonight after a long day and am having trouble organizing my thoughts. At least I refrained from posting the lyrics to "Bloodletting!"

A real, in-depth treatment about what blood meant in the ancient world is beyond the scope of a blog. I'd like to see a book dedicated to it. Are there any good resources on this topic? In the meanwhile, I'm going to throw a few ideas, facts, opinions and quotes out there regarding blood and it's awesome powerz:

Opinion: Blood is blood is blood. Menstrual blood isn't any more special than any other blood except that you don't have to cut yourself to get it. On what do I base this opinion? I have been on both sides of having menstruated and no longer menstruate. My blood is just as potent now as it was then. First-hand experience.

Facts: Blood sacrifice was practiced in the ancient world and is still practiced today, both literally and figuratively. Magic words are said to turn wine and bread into blood and flesh. Then they're eaten.

Gladiator tournaments were held to celebrate festivals and to appease deities with the blood sport.


From The Odyssey: "I made a drink-offering to all the dead, first with honey and milk, then with wine, and thirdly with water, and I sprinkled white barley meal over the whole, praying earnestly to the poor feckless ghosts, and promising them that when I got back to Ithaca I would sacrifice a barren heifer for them, the best I had, and would load the pyre with good things. I also particularly promised that Teiresias should have a black sheep to himself, the best in all my flocks.

When I had prayed sufficiently to the dead, I cut the throats of the two sheep and let the blood run into the trench, whereon the ghosts came trooping up from Erebus... they came from every quarter and flitted round the trench with a strange kind of screaming sound that made me turn pale with fear. When I saw them coming I told the men to be quick and flay the carcasses of the two dead sheep and make burnt offerings of them, and at the same time to repeat prayers to Hades and to Proserpine; but I sat where I was with my sword drawn and would not let the poor feckless ghosts come near the blood till Teiresias should have answered my questions."

"...I see my poor mother's ghost close by us; she is sitting by the blood without saying a word, and though I am her own son she does not remember me and speak to me; tell me, Sir, how I can make her know me.'

"'That,' said he, 'I can soon do Any ghost that you let taste of the blood will talk with you like a reasonable being, but if you do not let them have any blood they will go away again.'

"I sat still where I was until my mother came up and tasted the blood. Then she knew me at once and spoke fondly to me..."

Book 11 is my favorite. Perhaps because it talks about Proserpina as queen of the underworld and mentions Minos as a Magician and Diana killing another woman, Ariadne.

"Then I saw Phaedra, and Procris, and fair Ariadne daughter of the magician Minos, whom Theseus was carrying off from Crete to Athens, but he did not enjoy her, for before he could do so Diana killed her in the island of Dia on account of what Bacchus had said against her"

It's an excellent look at an ancient concept of life after death.

Moving away from The Odyssey... In Greek lore, there are the Empusae, the Mormo and the Lamia. They are said to drink blood, and are either daughters of, or companions to Hekate.

Back to more opinion again: It's the life-force, itself. To give your life for something, even if that life is easily renewed, is a huge gesture, an actual sacrifice. Back in the ancient day, no one knew about DNA or how much blood you had or where it came from. They knew that without it, you would cease to be. Speaking of DNA, I was asked about the importance of being "of the blood." Yes, it's important to a degree. At this point in history, most of us are pretty well mixed, if we know it or not. In addition to several different lines of Italians, I've traced my family to Greece, France, Africa, Russia and Poland. I'm a child of the world. I believe more of us are than not. So what's the big deal about DNA? It is an actual, literal connection with all of your predecessors and successors going back to the beginning of human-kind.

More fact: Girls are born with fully loaded ovaries. Therefore, my child has always been a part of me. I have always been a part of my mother. She has always been a part of her mother and so on back to the beginning. We have always existed, even if just in a microscopic way on a physical level.

What about adopted families? When you're adopted it's not just into a circle of people you live with, it's also into a lineage. Ancestors are conferred upon you. If you are made part of a family, you are part of that entire family, the ones who went before as well as the ones who are your immediate family. My biological Grandfather passed when my Mother was still a child. My Grandmother remarried a few years later. For all intents and purposes, he was my Grandfather. He made my mother, and me, part of his family. I loved who he loved, I venerated who he venerated.

Is there a difference when invoking one or the other? Kind of. It's more a matter of technique and level of relationship. Something things cannot be explained, only experienced.

Have you ever used your own blood in your work? If not: What do you think the effect would be? If yes, how have you done so? Did it help your work?
Part 2 of this (maybe in March?) will look more at specific uses of blood, and I don't just mean animal sacrifice, I mean personal blood letting to bind, seal, or amp up spells.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Enjoy the Silence

Silence. Neutral Mind. Meditation. I try to practice this daily. Doesn't always work out. When I get to that place, where the mundane, daily "noise" is turned off, I find I can hear farther than before, and I don't mean the traffic on main street or the kids around the corner. I can hear what the Powers that Be are telling me. Sometimes I hear my own bs, but that's not the silent place, that's in the hallway leading to it. When you find the silence, it is truly a respite from the day/week/month. The more I practice, the faster I get there (and there have been times when it's taken weeks to get there).

I actually prefer to use mantras and chants in my meditative work: It's a way to drown out all the "noise" and bypass the mental chatter on the way to the silence. I feel like that's cheating. I don't like crutches, so I'll keep that in reserve for specific times and uses.

It's scary to confront yourself and all of the mental junk you have accumulated: Old fears and regrets hanging around, old victories or notions you manage to cling to, random thoughts jumping out, your stream of consciousness not so much a stream but a series of jump-cuts all over the place... Spring cleaning means inside as well as out. I plan to spend time every day, or every night as the case will likely be, to clean up my mental desktop.

I don't know if I will journal it, will likely do it before falling asleep and won't get to writing it down unless I'm particularly moved to do that. I won't post that kind of thing here.

So what do I chant? I have a few favorite mantras from my kundalini yoga practice, family "songs," and a few modern ones. My favorite kundalini mantra:

Ra Ma Da Sa, Sa Say So Hung
"is the Siri Gaitri Mantra, and is chanted for healing. Ra is the sun, Ma is the Moon, Da is the earth, and Sa is Infinity. Say is the totality of Infinity, and So Hung is "I am Thou". "Ra Ma Da Sa" is the Earth Mantra. and "Sa Say So Hung" is the Ether Mantra.

Here is a list of mantras and a link to hear them chanted.

Do you meditate? Did you ever? Do you plan to?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Buying and Selling

A discussion came up on one of my yahoo groups. I won't post anything from the closed list, but I can share my own thoughts and response. The subject of buying and selling knowledge came up, as if sometimes does. It's just one of those topics which rears its ugly head every now and then. Since I've been given the go-ahead to bring others into The Family, the question has become personal. I've realized that there's never been a doubt about it in my mind:

There is a huge difference between reading cards for a client and offering initiation for money. Of course you should get something in return for your time and skill. You should not, however, sell the family recipe to strangers.

You should know who you're teaching. If you have established a relationship with someone, be it on line or in person (and I have made some wonderful friends thanks to the internet), then great, teach them. Perfect strangers? I totally disagree. When I was taught certain things, I was specifically told: "These are the Family's Trade Secrets." You don't teach them to just anyone, you teach them to Family. If that family is "adopted" that's fine, but it never goes outside of the Family. Would you charge family for your work other than the cost of materials? On the other side of the coin, family also takes care of each other.

Besides being a matter of trust, it's about respect for The Work, for The Magic. If you give it away to anyone who has a few dollars, or anyone who simply wants to learn it, you devalue what you have been given from previous generations. Literally, a sell-out.

I am taking a correspondence course and it's good. It's not about learning a "tradition" but instead how to incorporate various systems, styles and elements of magic into your current work to enhance it. The information is out there and available in the world, but I just don't have that kind of time to travel the world myself, so I've paid someone to do that for me and report back, so to speak. Also, I met him several times before signing up. It's one person's take on how to work the work, but it's has nothing to do with initiations or joining a tradition or exposing secrets. Selling initiation sight-unseen offends me.

There was a comment somewhere about how the Catholics charge money for children's training classes. So? They're trying to indoctrinate as many people as possible from as young an age as possible. Is that what we're trying to do as a Pagan community? Not so much. Besides, their teaching is done in person on a long term basis before the students are initiated. If you want to learn the "mysteries" of Catholicism, you have to become a nun or priest. You can't just pay to take a class on performing exorcism. You can't pay to become a nun without having to do the work involved. If someone is asking for money and no effort? They're selling you a bill of goods.

Writing a book is in a whole different category for the simple reason that reading about something and experiencing it are two different things. If we knew every detail of the Mysteries of Eleusis, it wouldn't really matter: You're not an initiate just from reading it, you have to live the experience. Even they had a few rules in place about who could and could not be an initiate.

Speaking of Eleusis, here's an excellent link detailing the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii and linking it to the Eleusinian Mysteries. It's worth the read. The first couple of paragraphs are long and detailed, but if you aren't familiar with Eleusis or Pompeii, it's a good start. Otherwise, scroll down to the first picture and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The earth, the air, the fire, the water: Return, return, return, return...

A quickie post: Today has been one where tiny pieces have fallen into place making the entire picture that much clearer. It's been a day of epiphanies and gnosis. What else would you expect on the cross-quarter new moon Proserpinalia? \o/

I give a favorite image from the lesser Eleusinian Mysteries:

Mercury and Hekate and Ceres beginning Proserpina's return. Let's get on the road to Spring!

The day dawned dark and gray here, so I'm with the groundhog here in voting for Spring's immanent return! Maybe I'm just tired of the snow?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Nice timing...

It's the kalends, the cross-quarter and the new moon! Do I sense a theme here? A triplicity of beginnings! Tonight's post is a quickie so I can go prepare for tomorrow. It's a favorite little ditty of mine. It's not quite ancient, tho if you ask some kids, 30 might as well be 3,000 ;)

Hail Lupercus!

"Dark in the city night is a wire
Steam in the subway earth is afire
Do do do do do do do dodo dododo dodo
Woman you want me give me a sign
And catch my breathing even closer behind
Do do do do do do do dodo dododo dodo

In touch with the ground
I'm on the hunt I'm after you
Smell like I sound I'm lost in a crowd.
And I'm hungry like the wolf.
Straddle the line in discord and rhyme
I'm on the hunt I'm after you.
Mouth is alive with juices like wine
And I'm hungry like the wolf

Stalked in the forest too close to hide
I'll be upon you by the moonlight side
Do do do do do do do dodo dododo dodo
High blood Drumming on your skin it's so tight
You feel my heat I'm just a moment behind
Do do do do do do do dodo dododo dodo

In touch with the ground
I'm on the hunt I'm after you
Scent and a sound. I'm lost and I'm found
And I'm hungry like the wolf.
Strut on a line it's discord and rhyme
I howl and I whine I'm after you
Mouth is alive all running inside
And I'm hungry like the wolf.

Hungry like the wolf
Hungry like the wolf
Hungry like the wolf

Burning the ground I break from the crowd
I'm on the hunt I'm after you
I smell like I sound. I'm lost and I'm found
And I'm hungry like the wolf
Strut on a line it's discord and rhyme
I'm on the hunt I'm after you
Mouth is alive with juices like wine
And I'm hungry like the wolf"

–Duran Duran

February! (feb-ROO-ary, not feb-YOU-ary)

Happy February!

Named for Februus. Sabine or Etruscan in origin, this deity is said to have been both ruler of the underworld and God of Purification. Makes sense when you think about it. The Romans liked him so much, they named a month for him. We're almost at the halfway point of winter. Time to start cleaning for Spring, aka Spring Cleaning! It's also a time for weather divination. I've always love the following poem for "groundhog day" because it explains why there are 6 more weeks of winter if the groundhog sees it's shadow: "If the day dawns fair and bright, Winter still has one more fight. If the day dawns dark and gray, winter's fight has gone it's way." I'm rooting for craptastic weather on Wednesday morning ;)

In the meantime, here are a few favorite cleansing techniques I use. They're very basic, but sometimes we need a reminder:

Magickal shower: After washing, take some time to let the water rush down and imagine any negativity washing down the drain. Slowly turn counter-clockwise if it helps you to get into the spirit. Romans used to end a bath by plunging into cold water. I don't recommend doing that before bed lol

House cleansing: Seriously, get the dirt and dust out. You don't need a fancy powder or wash, first you need to work on the mundane level. If you're still up for it, use basic florida water. I like to mix it with a homemade tincture of Rue.

Burn your preferred cleansing or smudging herbs, like sage or frankincense. Once you've covered the whole house, open the windows and picture the smoke carrying out the old and letting in the new. If it's cold in your clime, don't leave the windows open too long! When those scents are gone, fill your home with your favorite smell, be it roses, lemons, fresh baked cookies, or your favorite childhood meal.

Here is a wonderful quote regarding this month:
"The conception of the Virgin Mary is represented on the same day (the 2nd of February) as that of the miraculous conception of Juno by the ancient Romans. This, says the author of the Perennial Calendar, is a remarkable coincidence. [...] It is also a remarkable coincidence that the Romans should have had their Prosipernalia, or Feast of Candles or Candlemass in February [...] Thus we see that the Roman Catholics have been in the habit of celebrating Christian festivals upon days which were held sacred by the heathens." W. Winwoode Read, The Veil of Isis; or, The Mysteries of the Druids, 1861, 5.I.

I find it interesting that this is the only reference to it being the Prosipernalia. There is another reference to reenacting Ceres looking for her Daughter through the night using candles to search the dark, but I can't find the exact source right now. Where was she taken? Even the Greeks say it was in Sicily. Who is the Goddess of Sicily? Proserpina. The timing doesn't jive with her abduction, but the timing is perfect to anticipate her return and to start looking for her. Haven't you already seen signs? Today it was sunny here and I could smell Spring in the air. Proserpina is returning, and this search is a joyous one– not fraught with worry, but filled with hope.

My family celebrated the impending return of Spring Herself by burning old candles , making recipes which needed time to cure, spring cleaning and stocking up and preparing the votive candles used daily. We didn't call it Prosipernalia, but we did raise a glass and light a candle to The Goddess of Sicily.

Was Februus an earlier or Sabine version of Pluto? He was alleged to be ruler of the underworld. If so, veneration of Proserpina fits perfectly here.

Here's hoping for an early return of Spring!