Thursday, March 31, 2011

Welcome to the party!

Funny how people noticed right when Mercury stationed retrograde today. I mean even the people who are otherwise energetic nulls were all alight. I think I explained retrograde about 20 times today. My Mom was on the road today and said that at 4:30 pm the traffic ground to a halt. Hahaha. I really don't have much for today beside the advice to "grab your orange umbrella." I got out the orange candle, the Mercury oil, the incense and my heartfelt gratitude for this time of reflection.

I'm pondering posting my tarot explorations here. It might motivate me to be more consistent in my practice.

More tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Good riddance to bad rubbish

That's my theme for this Mercury Retrograde. I don't know what His agenda is, but now you know mine.

Time to release that which does not serve.

It's time to cut people loose who do nothing but bring me down and cause drama. Unfortunately, there are drama creators and instigators I can't get rid of so easily, so I am being the adult, despite so0o0o0o not wanting to be the adult. The only satisfaction from doing the right thing is knowing you're there better person. You're even better when you don't need everyone to know the extent of your awesome. The ones who count already know.

It's time to finish up those projects I've been working on. Seriously, I made a short film 10 years ago and still haven't finished the editing.

It's time to review where I've been in regards to my way of thinking. What is my typical thought process? Am I as open-minded as I believe I am? Where do I stand on certain things? What are my common reactions? What is the monkey chatter? Time to start a proper daily meditation ritual.

Here are two articles to help you navigate this retrograde:

Mercury Transiting the Houses

Mars in Aries and what it means for you

“The ancestor of every action is a thought.” -Emerson.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Riders on the Storm

We're in the midst of a Mercury storm right now. Mercury is in Aries. Mars is about to enter Aries. Feeling a bit aggressive? Yeah, me too. I'm ready to burn bridges (not the literal ones, the relationship ones). I'm ready to make rash decisions and be aggressive, B-E aggressive. I'm trying to work on the bigger picture. So tonight I'm going to talk a little bit about Minerva (Athena) and Mars (Aries). He is about the NOW, the instant gratification. She is about strategy and the long term goals. Ain't that just like men and women? Heh.

In addition to their governance over fighting/war/destruction, they also share dominion over crafting and creation (see previous post on Mars being a pre-Roman, possibly Sabine fertility Deity). Are they a divine pair? Looking at the more popular lore (Mars paired with Venus and Minerva eschewing men), you might not see it. I was about to say you might not see the forest for the trees. That's exactly what I'm talking about here: Minerva sees the forest. Mars sees the trees. Together they are one in truth, as some Wiccans might say lol But seriously, if Mars is the fertility of the land, Minerva is how to best use the land to provide.

I might add more tonight, I might just take my thoughts and go all introspecty until tomorrow.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I hate cheat-sheets in ritual. I really do. People get so worried about the words and "getting it right" that you lose any power and the whole endeavor is worthless. I don't think quarter calls should be written and read off an index card. You should know the qualities of that quarter well enough that you can bring up that energy and the words are almost secondary. Actually, words are secondary. You could do a silent circle and still rock out an amazing amount of power if you focused correctly. Words are merely tools. What happens when you have to do something secret in public? Oops. I don't fault those who fall into the trap of feeling like every word chosen must be uttered perfectly. I fault their teachers for making it so important when it's so not.

Someone at the ritual today (not my ritual, not my tradition, did it for community and my good friend) complained that they don't have a certain tool so they can't do something magically that they wanted to. Poppycock. Tools are nice, but not necessary. It's great to have that well-worn wand, and tools can store up energy to help you later, like a magical shortcut, but nothing is "necessary."

I'm going to do a ritual with no tools at all. No candles, no incense, no script, just us. Too bad the people who need it most would be too scared to do it.

I wish everyone, especially those who don't have a specific part in the ritual script, would stop reading along with the ritual like its the Sunday missal. The difference in what we do, or at least what should be a difference, is that we actually participate intimately with the ceremony, we don't just receive passively. We create the ritual together with our energy, we make it happen. No one should be standing around mumbling chants for fear they're not on pitch. We should give ourselves over to The Work with the goal of ecstasy and gnosis and union with the divine in mind.

Have I used cheat sheets before? Sure, when someone has asked me to recite the words they have chosen to have read aloud. If I get it early enough I'll memorize it, but usually it's show up n do it. Is there as much oomph? Of course not, I'm using someone else's words. I never carry the printed out ritual into circle otherwise.

My perfect devotional/celebratory ritual: Everyone fully present, no BS personal agendas, literally giving devotion, giving their energy, building it, making the sum greater than its parts. Otherwise, what's the point?

Playing with the Queen of Hearts...

Knowing it ain't really smart...

True nuff. Don't mess with the Queen of Hearts. Ms. Newton was right on about that. Yesterday's post about angels led to an Angel of the Morning quote which of course was responded to with her only other hit that matters, Queen of Hearts.  Tonight is a bit about cartomancy.

Before tarot became a popular new age must-have, playing cards were the thing most often used for cartomancy, particularly in the Italian neighborhoods. The same woman who everyone went to to get rid of "the eyes" was the same one they'd go to to read the cards. The playing cards. The kind you could play poker with. I know many people whose first cartomancy deck was a standard poker deck. I learned this way too, tho it was through many games of solitaire and rummy that the meanings and layouts were imparted. I didn't know I knew until I Knew. It was set up that way. Like a time-release capsule lol

This isn't the most authentic site available, but it gives the basics.

My favorite reading is a 3 card deal with the center card as the meat of the matter and the ones on either side showing the immediate past and future prospects. It's not terribly different from the center of the celtic cross tarot spread.

Some say The Joker represents chaos or the unexpected if he comes up in a reading. Others liken him to The Fool card of the tarot. I take it to mean forces outside of your control, kind of the way the Major Arcana indicates the same. Destiny more than anything else. Tho the unexpected interpretation is certainly valid, depending on where it comes up in the series.

The other "deck" I like to discuss in terms of Italian influence on cartomancy is the Tarrocchi of Mantegna. Here is an excellent article on the origin of the modern tarot being born of the Platonic Mysteries, and not of the kabbalah. I know there are people who will plotz when they read it, but as this article points out, this is some of the earliest depictions, corresponds almost perfectly to the modern tarot (despite the difference in card numbers) and works with Pythagorean principles for readings. The site also has the pictures of the cards and they are well worth viewing.

There are 50 cards, divided into 5 groups of 10:
1 The archetypal social stations
2 The nine Muses and Apollo
3 The Liberal Arts
4 The Cardinal Virtues
5 The Heavenly Spheres

If anyone wants to get me a copy, my half birthday is coming up soon ;)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Book Lust!!! Oh, and Angels too.

Yesterday I mentioned on Facebook that it was Gabrielmas. I couldn't expand on it because of my injured finger. So let's talk a bit about Gabriel today and Angels in general. Gabriel is a winged messenger. He is a psychopomp. His chaplet color is blue, as in the throat chakra. Maybe that's why I like him so much; He shares the description with Mercury.

As I like to point out at every turn, there is nothing original in Christianity. This also includes the concept of Angels. The idea of winged human-like beings who are go-betweens for humanity and deity, goes back many thousands of years before the current era. There are statues, reliefs and carvings from ancient Sumeria depicting said winged beings. Here is a link to The Legends of the Garden of Eden and The Angels Alfred Hamori

Those of Royal Blood, the Anunnaki, are Sumeriean deities who seem to fit the category as well. The wiki entry I linked is paltry, but it's fine for a quick overview and has links to the Sumerian creaton story, Enuma Elish.

There is no quality work of the Annunaki on the internet, or at least I haven't found it yet. Honestly, much of what I've found is in the vein of "ancient aliens?" and "illuminati/zionist" stuff. Argh. Anyone have something not related to conspiracy theories? Some liken them to the Grigori, the Watchers or Guardians. I have seen them called the Serpent Race.

What is accessible is the Book of Enoch, a Jewish text which is at least a few hundred years older than the current era, placed somewhere are 300 BCE as is the Book of Giants found as part of the Dead Sea Scrolls. To summarize: There are heavenly beings, they teach all manner of magic and craft to humans, mate with the women and defile animals and generally piss of the creator who smotes em good with the now famous flood. I don't want to get into a whole big thing about Enochian Magic and John Dee, so I'll leave you to that and google if that's where your interest are. (Any OTO folks out there wish to comment on Crowley's use and propogation of this system?)

So why the fuck do some Pagans, when casting a circle, call watchTOWERS. That's like me yelling at the lighthouse when I need to sail my ship. Seriously, why aren't you calling the WATCHER? I'd call the person manning the lighthouse, not the building itself. Pardon, Pagan Pet Peeve there.

In some magical systems, archangels are invoked at the quarters. Gabriel is invoked in the West. Fitting for a psychopomp messenger, I think.

Then there's the bedtime and wake up Prayer, the Kriat Shma: To my right Michael and to my left Gabriel, in front of me Uriel and behind me Raphael, and over my head God's Shekhinah ["the presence of God"]." I find it funny that it's used in the lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram. It just tickles me that way. I've always heard that recited like a nursery rhyme, so to have it be a big ritual strikes me as odd. Anyway.

The book lust... There's a book which just came out called Ancient Angels: Conceptualizing Angeloi in the Roman Empire. WANT!!!!!!! The tiny description: "This text brings together the evidence for popular beliefs about angels in Roman religion, demonstrating the widespread nature of speculation about, and veneration of, angels in the Roman Empire. " Hubby works at a university which has a big library and an ancient studies school. I get to read some kick ass books that would otherwise cost a ton to buy. But this one isn't available yet. Ah well. It's not like I don't have 10 other books on my reading list and 3 I'm currently into.

That's it for tonight. Please feel free to share your Angel stories and theories, but please, no fluffy bunny chatter on my blog. I'm trying to keep it clean. Fluffy bunnies lead to dust bunnies! lol

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I burned my finger earlier so typing kinda sucks right now. I'm going to post a few links of interest:

Not the best written, but it introduces the topic of the Bee Goddess in Crete

Say what you want about Berlusconi's politics, this is the one thing he did that I agree with LOL

A fun page about the caduceus and the staff of Asklepios.

Start reading The Aeneid with me!

More posts to add to the list:

Sacred Prostitutes and the origin of "porn."

Cult of Divine Birth in Ancient Greece. Were the Olympics originally a sacred virgin footrace to restore virginity and see who was the most worthy of immaculate conception?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The gospel according to Homer

In an interesting email exchange earlier today, someone mentioned Homer's bluff being called. I didn't know what was meant by "bluff." He went on to explain his comment by point out how many take Homer to be the Pagan Gospel when it comes to describing deities of the time when it's only one writer's point of view. I completely agree. The same goes for Ovid and Pliny and Varro and all of the ancient writers, even the ones who called themselves historians. Everyone has an agenda. Ovid would write favorable things about the patron deities of people he was trying to impress, or to get out of hot water. The Aeneid was written for Caesar, to literally write him into the history of Italy.

As I've said before on this blog, Rome was just one of many states unto itself. There was no unified Italy. Even when Rome did take over, they didn't replace the religion in the area, they just added their triumvirate, whichever it was at the time. They left the local religions and practices alone for the most part and in some cases, adopted the local deity and brought the cult to Rome too. I'd go as far as saying Rome was changed more by the contact than the other states they absorbed. There are examples like the Etruscans and the Sabines who were subsumed entirely. But places like Aricia, which was a major center of Diana's worship were left alone, it seems. It was only when the political power there started to rival Rome's that the latter stepped in, moved the sacred bones and created the "official" temple of Diana in Rome.

Here's an interesting question: Do you believe in syncretism? ie: Diana and Artemis are just different names for the same Goddess? Rome vs Greece? Is Mercury the same as Hermes as Turms as Toth? Are each distinct entities? Local manifestations of the same energy construct? The same exact entity only with different names in different languages?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's frickin Hilarious

Today is the Hilaria. It's mentioned in some places, but not in others. Ovid makes no mention, it was never on the Roman calendar officially, but other writers have made mention of the festivities held on this day. The Hilaria was held in Honor of Cybele and Attis. It was a day of joy at his resurrection following his death. A man who died at the foot of a tree around the spring equinox and is resurrected? Hmm sounds familiar. heh. Anyway... This is a holiday the Greeks and Romans passed back and forth. The greeks celebrated it, Romans adopted it, the Greeks adopted the name, back n forth n back again.

Cybele plays a big part in the Aeneid, and indeed was "brought" to Italy during the second punic war thanks to a reading from the oracle at delphi. The wiki entry on this needs more sources and isn't really worth posting here unless you're in need of the basics. She is Magna Mater, mother of the Gods, protector of Aeneas and first Troy, then Italy.

I'm pretty wiped out tonight, so I'm going to leave you will a commercial that always makes me laugh! I find it hilarious ;)

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Goddess of a thousand works

I was too busy rebutting bad sources and enjoying my revels in the past week to pay homage to the feast of Minerva. It was held on the fifth day after the ides and honestly who knows when the F that is anymore. Technically, we're not at 5 days post-ides yet. But onto the Goddess known as Minerva.

There is little known about the Italic Goddess, Meneswā 'She who measures' as per wiki. There is nothing on the intertubes about her nor have I found any references to her in a book, so I'm not sure where this information came from. Here's the full wiki passage:

"Her name is indigenous to Italy and might even be of Etruscan origin, stemming from an Italic moon goddess *Meneswā 'She who measures', the Etruscans adopted the inherited Old Latin name, *Menerwā, thereby calling her Menrva. This has been disputed, however.Carl Becker noted that her name appears to contain the PIE root *men-, which he notes was linked in Greek primarily to memory words (cf. Greek "mnestis"/μνῆστις 'memory, remembrance, recollection'), but which more generally referred to 'mind' in most Indo-European languages... Menrva was part of a holy triad with Tinia and Uni, later reflected in the Roman Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva."

She is said to have been worshiped throughout Italy, with her war aspect/association used in Rome proper. War-like Romans? Shocked, I am. Ha. "She who measures" certainly sounds like a Moon Goddess to me. I prefer this notion to the one that she was born from the head of her father. Riiight. Wisdom is a Maiden born from the head of a man. Patriarchalization much? (I just love using that word)

She measures, remembers, heals (time heals all wounds?), wields lightning and is wisdom personified. Waining moon aspect? Quadruple Goddess? Dark, waxing, full and waining? Hekate, Diana, Juno, Meneswa?

Add another to the list to interview using the tarot! Who wants to join me in this exercise? We'll agree on questions, read separately and compare notes.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Saw them a lot of them while driving today, including one perched on a meridian on the side of the road. It makes me want to augur. I'm pretty spent from my long day of driving down to meet up with the Wiccans and celebrate the equinox. I thought it was curious that at the time of balance, only a goddess was invoked.

What I really want to post about is the myriad of slain and reborn deities who pop up at this time of year, but that will have to wait for another day.

I'm off to work on my dream incubation. Hubby and I had the same dream last night using different imagery. Cool! Will post more about my work as it progresses.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Supermoon doesn't mean dropping your pants.

Sorry about the title, I had no idea what to make tonight's subject. It's a potpourri.

Last night I worked on dreaming. I don't mean consciously directed dreaming, but observing my dreams with greater clarity and better recall. Thankfully I had a few minutes to muse about my dreams and to write down and draw some of the things I saw. After I got that written down, I prepped for Opening the Grove! \o/

I was out there at 1 PM starting the work, officially marking the opening as the moon waxed full. Afterward I fried up a batch of zeppole. Since I'm vegan I don't use honey. I used vegan powdered sugar instead. If I need to use a honey-like substance, I use agave. Friends arrived, we set up the space, bring out the columns, tools, chairs and food. I did something simple, something spontaneous and from the heart. It wasn't terribly "ceremonial" or even high energy, but it was intense and persistent, just like my space.

I created 5 altars, one for each direction and one in the center. I work with 4 patrons and had representations and offerings for each. Mercury and Air in the North, Diana and Earth in the east, Dianus and Fire in the South, and Hekate, Water in the West, and a family chalice and a fire pit for my Ancestors. I've posted before about why I associate Air with North.

The offerings: Mercury: Red Bull and chocolate coins, Diana: Roses, Dianus: A golden bough, Hekate, Star Anise and Strega liquore. There was much incense for all, and libating, especially to the land and Ancestors. We even had the Fairies join us. A hawk circled us too!

It wasn't a Strega specific ceremony, I didn't break out in Italian and tarantella around the place. It was about the land and the people who joined me. It was exactly what it should have been. We all went inside after we were done and enjoyed each other's company until the moon rose over the grove. A few of us went back out there to enjoy the moonlight. If it had been warmer we would've been out there all night! I'm still high on the energy and can't wait to carry it into Spring tomorrow!

Friday, March 18, 2011

When the moon hits your eye....

Wow! The Moon is beautiful! I'm Opening my Grove tomorrow and I can't wait! I want to do it tonight! I want to be out there under the moonlight and soak it all in! I'm incredibly high on the energy already. Too bad I need to get to sleep early tonight to prep for tomorrow's festivities. I was going to do something simple, energy based. But Now I'm ready to rock out and deck the grove's boughs of holly. falalalala... ack. Anyway, I'm going to create 4 altars, one for each of my patrons and the directions.

Mercury is one of them. I went shopping today and found the perfect offerings for Him! If one of the local Red-tailed Hawks would be kind enough to gift me a feather they no longer need, I'd happily place that on the altar. For now, I have silver chocolate coins and.... wait for it... RedBull. It gives you wings! The idea was not my own and I'm grateful to the folks who posted their offerings.

I hope everyone is able to get out and enjoy the moon this weekend. Oh, and the sun too!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bring back the Snakes!

Today's post is a quickie about the Irish Heritage Celebration. On The Wild Hunt, which I usually love and is one of the few blogs I have on my blogroll here, has posted a story today about how Pagans shouldn't hate on Patrick. Take a read if you like. I responded there and I will here too:

I usually love the articles on The Wild Hunt but today's relies on bad research and christianized opinions. Do I think Patrick led a slaughter? Literally? No. Do I think he helped cause the destruction of a way of life? Yes. His story, as another poster mentioned, is about the patriarchalization of Ireland (I got to use my word again! \o/)

In response to the article and the random web site it gives as supporting "evidence:"

The idea that "Catholic saints' stories, by and large, do not truck in allegory" is ridiculous. The reassignment of one deity's attributes to another was not uncommon in pre-christian Rome, or in the christian era where saints took on the properties and roles of various deities. Druids = Snakes might not have been the original story but it certainly has come to mean that, and not just in recent times. Surely by the 10th century CE when the snake part of the story was added we can take it as allegory? The church equates snakes with Pagans. Witness the snake iconography of Mary stepping on the serpent (Isis/Apophis origins aside, the church has interpreted the snake to mean sorcery/evil). The article briefly mentions the showdowns between Patrick and the Druids. Christian writings take pride in this, that there were holy magic battles and Patrick was victorious against the Druids because the christian god was on his side. How are we not supposed to see that as Patrick driving out the snakes? Just because "paganism continued for another century" just means it hadn't been stamped out officially. Even the Eleusinian Mysteries carried on into the 4th century CE

This is the week of Bacchinalia the the festival of Liber Pater, both bread and wine/mead festivals. No coincidence here, huh? Enjoy your mead and irish soda bread.

I will celebrate Irish Heritage Day in the same spirit as my Family and other Italians we knew in Brooklyn: I'm wearing Red. The opposite of Green. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy Irish Heritage Day

Argh, I want to post 10 other things right now, but instead I'm going to say what I've said every year for the past 2 decades:

Unless you're going to pitch as much of a fit over this day as the one in October, please STFU and let us Italians have a day of Pride in our heritage too. At least we don't get shit-faced at our parades. And the food is better. Rename them "Irish Heritage Day" and in October "Italian Heritage Day" and everyone can be happy. There, my rant is done.

Speaking of getting shit-faced, here is another entry in my ongoing series of saintly veneers put over Pagan celebrations: This week is the Bacchinalia, the festival of Bacchus! Time to drink and dance. No wonder it's a tradition to get drunk at this time of year! After this long-ass Winter I'm ready to tie one on for the start of Spring too!

The Bacchanalia were wild and mystic festivals of the Roman god Bacchus. Introduced into Rome from lower Italy by way of Etruria (c. 200 BC), the bacchanalia were originally held in secret and attended by women only. The festivals occurred on three days of the year in the grove of Simila near the Aventine Hill, on March 16 and March 17.

Wiki has a lengthy article on this which is actually worth reading. It touches on Crete as a wine source, and a center of the mysteries. Here is where Ariadne enters the picture. Funny, I just started following another blog that discusses Crete, Ariadne and the labyrinth (I found it while looking for Minoan labyrinth and Ariadne resources). So thanks to Debra for sharing more of Ariadne's story. I happen to agree that much of Greek mythology is the patriarchalization of earlier mysteries. Did I just make up a word? Awesome!

What was involved in a Bacchinalia? Did True Blood get it right? Wine and drugs and sex (and shape shifter sacrifice and a gigantic egg)? Sounds like a rave. Bacchinalias were the first raves! \o/ lol I don't drink, so I don't know why this appeals to me. Perhaps because my name is of Thracian origin and so are these mysteries? There is also a record of trance dancing and possession by Deity.

Dionysus/Bacchus absorbed many other deities including Liber and Zagreus. Absorbed or are they different aspects thereof? Anyway, a bit about Ariadne: Her name means "Most Holy" in both Greek and Latin. Quoth Wiki: Ariadne (Etruscan Areatha) is paired with Dionysus (Etruscan Fufluns) on engraved bronze Etruscan bronze mirrorbacks, where the Athenian culture-hero Theseus is absent, and Semele (Etruscan Semla), as mother of Dionysus, may accompany the pair, lending a particularly Etruscan air of family authority.

An inscription from Knossos (home of Ariadne, the infamous labyrinth and Minotaur) says: "to all the gods, honey... to the mistress of the labyrinth honey" Ariadne as Priestess of Knossos? Mistress of the Labyrinth? There are stories associating Dionysus and Proserpina. Is Ariadne another name for her? Certainly, if the labyrinth is the decent into and return from the Underworld, the labyrinth is her domain. Are the two Goddesses the same? Different names from different lands? Is Ariadne the Minoan Snake Goddess Herself? There are also myths involving Dionysus descending into the Underworld to retrieve Ariadne as well as his mother, Semele (Proserpina and Ceres?) It was spoofed in ancient times, by Aristophanes in his comedy, The Frogs. Instead of going to the underworld to get the women back, he complains about a lack of good writers and goes to bring back the best one. There is a contest where he decides. Stephen Sondheim updated the concept in a musical.

Note the last picture from the Villa of the Mysteries. Is this the Bacchic Cult Rites? Is it the Eleusinian Mysteries? Were they combined in Greece? Are Proserpina and Ariadne alternate names for the same Goddess? Mmmm food for thought, tastes great, less filling.

Dionysus & Ariadne at a tragedy play | Greek vase, Athenian red figure volute krater
Note the Leopards in this Waterhouse painting. They are associated with Dionysus

Dionysus with Semele or Ariadne?


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mercury Shadow

We have technically moved into the shadow of Mercury retrograde, which officially begins on March 30. Just a friendly note of warning. I've noticed that whenever we enter the slow-down phase, I actually get amped up, wanting to finish all of my pending projects nownownow! There's a distinct sense of urgency. It's time to take care of old business. Mercury turns retrograde at 24 degrees Aries this time. Take a look at which house this falls in for you and if you have any other planets around 2 degrees. He retrogrades while conjunct my moon. In my third house of communication. (The lower mind, communication, interactions in our immediate environment, siblings and early environment, neighbors, thoughts, short trips, writing and speaking, how we formulate our thoughts, language skills, media and communications.) Weeee! I've also been interested lately in finding a proper language program to further my Italian proficiency. I read it pretty well, but my listening comprehension needs work. Seems like a good time to go back and improve on past learning and education in regards to communication. Heh.

A note about Japan: I've been avoiding posting because 2 days before I had a crazy dream about 4 nuclear warheads put into a white van which was driven into the ocean. When they detonated, they caused a tidal wave. I watched the wave start up far out to sea while I was standing on a map of what I now know was Japan. In my dream it was just an island with a funky shape. The dream changed and I was elsewhere and I don't want to get into the other details. I don't know how I feel about these kind of dreams. There's never enough information for my to pinpoint exactly what it's about or to be certain it's a future event and not my mind scrambling together iconography, the info to process from the day and the food I ate. I've been reading a lot lately about dreaming and dream work and what the healers in the Aesclepions did, dream incubation. Intentional dreaming. I just don't want to do that much work. I don't find it restful. Then again, avoiding sleep because I don't want to dream deeply isn't working out either. Maybe Italian isn't the language I'm supposed to concentrate on, maybe it's learning how to speak my dreams.

Beware the Ides of March!

Well, first you have to know when that is. Here's a link explaining the calendar system if you really want to get into that. The basics: Kalends = New Moon (first crescent), Nones = Quarter moon, Ides = Full moon. Caesar was assassinated on the full moon in the month of Mars. By 60 politicians. Who had been plotting this for months.

Seriously? No one spilled the beans? Allegedly, Caesar visited with Titus Vestricius Spurinna, an Etruscan haruspex or astrologer who warned him to "beware the ides of March." The "soothsayer" of Shakespeare's play seems to be an advisor who told him that something hugely bad was about to happen to him according to the stars. Mark Antony, his second in command, allegedly found out about the plot the night before and tried to head Caesar off at the pass, but was stopped by other conspirators.

Did Caesar commit "death by senate?" Did he walk into the place knowing what was about to happen? What had been going on? Caesar had just started and won a civil war against these folks. Caesar wanted to be Dictator for Life and the Senate said no. Yeah, that worked out for them. He was appointed dictator for 10 years. He was making incredibly radical changes to the government, and consolidating it into an empire. He is said to have had plans to build a giant temple to Mars and planned a library to rival the one at Alexandria. Too bad he didn't get to those first. I guess he was too busy fixing the calendar. He also had seizures, increasing in number in the last 2 years of his life. He might have been epileptic, no one is sure. Did he know it was time to pass the torch? Had he seen his and Octavian's horoscope? Did he know how he was loved by the people and martyred himself so the senate would be abolished and his own bloodline continue to rule? It worked. Senate was out, Octavius (Augustus) was in. Later, res publica, howdy Empire.

According to historians of the time, Caesar didn't actually say anything besides "ow!" when he was stabbed. However, "Et tu, Brute" was already a cliche by the time Shakespeare wrote it down. Brutus was thought by some to be the illegitimate son of Julius Caesar. Funny that he chose to adopt and leave everything to his grand-nephew instead. Is that why Brutus joined in?

Anywhoo, my adventure tonight has brought me back around to one of the books I'm reading: Roman Religion and the Cult of Diana at Aricia. There is a chapter dedicated to the sanctuary during this time and how Caesar came by the title, refusing to be called Rex because of the fact that the moment the hunter becomes the Rex, he is then hunted. He tried to sidestep it by taking a different title. That didn't really work out either. In the chapter I was just reviewing there is much talk of the politicking and speechifying and insults thrown down between Octavian and Mark Antony. Much of it involves bringing up Octavian's parents, who were from Aricia. Why is that a big deal? Because it was filled with foreigners: Greeks, Egyptians, Africans... Basically, Mark Antony was accusing him of being born in Kenya and not legitimate enough a citizen to be their leader. Funny how the more things change the more they stay the same.

I've been enjoying the aforementioned book, but there have been even more developments in the site excavation since it was written. Have our pals Mr. Frazer, author of The Golden Bough and Virgil, author of The Aeneid, been proven right? Archaeologists have found evidence to back up their tales:

Archaeologists in Rome Link Sanctuary of Nemi to Aeneas's Golden Bough

"At the moment we're excavating, among other places, at the Sanctuary of Nemi, which is one of the most important sanctuaries of ancient Lazio. It was made famous by James Frazer's The Golden Bough series of books, which begins and ends at Nemi, because it's one of the most noteworthy ancient centres of religion and culture."

"So what has the dig at Nemi actually turned up? According to Professor Coarelli, the excavators have found a stone enclosure surrounding the remains of what appear to be a large tree, which is positioned in the middle of the religious Sanctuary of Nemi. Pottery votive offerings also indicate the importance of the site and the tree."

Yay at discovery? Boo @ wtf happened to the tree? Is Aricia connected to Avalon? A connection with other Strange Women Laying in Ponds and Distributing Swords as a Government System? Man, if we hadn't lost that hour on Sunday I'd have the time to sit here and figure out how to claim the Arthurian Legends as Ancient Italian. I bet they are too! Ha! lol I'm going to bed before I get myself into more historical trouble here!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Great Pyramids of.... Sicily!

Before I get into tonight's topic, I wanted to dish a bit about Atlantis. I'm sort of half watching the NatGeo special on Atlantis being discovered. Again. This time, off the coast of Spain. I'm not really impressed. It feels like they've taken a similar city and decided that since it was a port city and was sunk, it must be Atlantis. It's really cool that they've found this site, but the "evidence" is underwhelming. Do I believe Atlantis existed? Yep. Do I believe it still exists/can be reached/contacted? Yep. I'd like to talk more about Avalon and Atlantis being the same place. Why not? There are similar stories of underworld, afterlife, and alternate realms in the various traditions around the world. There are Fairy realms described in many different cultures. There are in-between places. How about Avalon and Atlantis, both dealing with water and islands and magic.... why not? I don't really care right now, I'm just wondering out loud again. I'm already involved with learning about a magickal island: Sicily!

Here is a nifty site which talk about the origins of the Sicilians. It includes the Pyramids of Sicily - a ring of at least 27 pyramids around Mount Etna, makes mention of the language origins (there are Sanskrit words in the language? srsly?), the possible migrations of different peoples to the island, and the connection between ancient Sicily and ancient Egypt. It's a fascinating read and I am about to go read it again and try to dream the answers to all of the questions I have about them.

If you're not in the mood to click over there, I'll leave you with this: Below is an old map of Sicily. There is a snake drawn around Mount Etna. That is the circle of pyramids. :-o There's also evidence of ancient temples in the area and places of worship. Italian Stonehenge? Did the Egyptians copy the Italians? man-made pyramids surround a natural pyramid. I don't know of any volcanoes in Egypt or natural mountains shaped like that. Do you? Makes sense to me that early people would copy a Natural design they see every day.

I've come back to edit this almost immediately because I just realized that one thing I had mentioned earlier, "There are also aligned pyramids and  a "pierced stone" which lines up with the sunlight at a certain time of year" turns out to be by Lake Enna, which I have posted about previously as the original site of the Mysteries of Proserpina (and later of Eleusis). In the past 3 years researchers have finally started to take note of them and investigate them. My first reaction was sadness. They're only interested in things that are lost that they can find. I've always believed the lack of major research into Italy's, specifically Sicily's ancient history and practices is because the ways are still alive enough that folks don't want these things to be noticed. Now that they're noticing them, does it mean they're lost? Mussolini discovered Caligula's ships from Lake Nemi and the retreating German army destroyed it. Do we really want to make our history known and have it destroyed? Hmph! However, my sadness (and irritation) was fleeting. It's time. More and more Italians are coming out. And not as Pagans or Wiccans, but as Italians, as keepers of The Old Ways. We are claiming what is ours, taking long overdue credit. Wicca would not exist without La Vecchia. There would be no Charge of the Goddess. There would be no spiral dancing, there wouldn't be so many things that Pagans today take for granted as part of "their" tradition. I'm also very tired of people poo-pooing the idea of unbroken lines of heritage. We might not have it all, but we have a living, ancient tradition. Yes it has changed, but what tradition hasn't? Ours might have been genetically modified, but it has never stopped, most have just gone with the flow and dealt with the name changes. I want to dream about this tonight, but I don't know that I'll be able to sleep. I might be awake with my various divination tools. You want to help too? Great! Thanks!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring Fwd!

I've talked about time and timing before but I wanted to bring it up again now because we're about to "lose" an hour. Daylight savings is kicking in early again. We are springing forward before Spring actually arrives. So how did they actually keep time back in the ancient day? Sundial? landmarks? Birds and other animals?

How about the water clock! I first learned about this when I read Lysistrata. There is a scene in which a husband is trying to entice his wife into a semi-public quickie and says they can ritually bathe after using the water clock. :-o Water clocks have been found around the world, with the oldest surviving one found in Egypt. Wiki, as usual, covers the basics.

Ever hear of the Antikythera Mechanism? It doesn't seem to be a clock,  but is an eclipse predictor, calendar, times the olympic games, shows planetary positions. It's the worlds first analog computer and dates back to around 100 bce. It's incredibly fascinating and it just might have come from Sicily. Syracuse was a Greek colony on the island and the home of Archimedes. He was said to have invented several devices to predict celestial positions and events. Here's a video of the modern research done and computer models of what they believe it looked like. It more interesting than the official paper but might be a bit long for those with limited attention spans!

Speaking of attention spans.... squirrel! That's all for tonight. Time to unwind from the week. That wasn't intended to be a clock pun, but there you have it.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Rue the day

Rue, magickally speaking is an herb of defense. As mentioned in a recent post, Italians, knowing what can be done, make sure they know how to defend. The first things I learned were defense oriented and this is no exception. Rue is purifying, breaks hexes, cleanses, defends and fortifies. It's no surprise that the sprig of rue, aka Cimaruta, is the other symbol of Italian Witchcraft.

Cimarutas differ per family tradition. Not every family uses the same symbols. Rue is the basis of the amulet, for defense, with three distinct branches making up the charm. This is said to be for the triplicity of the Goddess. There is typically a key, sometimes a snake, sometimes another flower or mano fica or other hand shaped warding. Sometimes a crescent moon is pictured.

A Cimaruta, at least before they went commercial, is like a Witch Family Crest. It included the symbols important to and used most by a particular family. In my Family, we use less symbols than the commercial ones and they include the ones most meaningful to us. It isn't just a piece of jewelry you wear, it is an amulet- a spell of protection made manifest and a representation of The Mysteries as our Family has come to know it and pass it along.

I had zero intention of posting this. I was led to do this tonight. I wasn't just given the spiritual high-5, the topic was requested. I have never shown my Cimaruta to anyone outside of Family and I have no intention of doing so any time soon. It's not just a shiny to don when doing circle. I have no idea why it's ok to post this tonight when anyone on the internet can read it but it wasn't ok to share certain defensive measure with close friends who I would like to have the ability to defend themselves. Sorry, just thinking out loud. As soon as I typed it, I got my answer: The knowledge I'm putting out here isn't terribly specific whereas what I would have liked to share was in the Trade Secret™ section.

I have been meditating on my Cimaruta symbols recently, but I didn't even realize I was doing it, rather, I wasn't purposefully picking my Cimaruta symbols because they're part of it. It's put away in a special place and I don't often look at it. However, I've been finding myself drawn to different pieces of jewelry and art and imagery during my "neutral channel" mind clearing meditative practice. It came to me today that these things were all related. I'm glad I've had the opportunity to discover each symbol anew, to really think about it independently. Now I can once again meditate on the incorporated symbol as a whole with new information and new perspective. This whole experience was born of meditating on The Mysteries in the past few months. Part of the Mystery is the work that's done after. Knowledge or information being imparted or revealed is one thing, but incorporating it into your life is a whole other thing.

For those who have been following this blog and my posts on the nature of the Triple Goddess and Dual God and which ones I associate each with aspect, will be able to figure out some of the specific symbols included. I'm not going to name them and I'm not saying guess in comments. This isn't a guess how many jelly beans are in the jar contest! I know a few of my readers will see it one day.

For fun:

From The Evil Eye, by Frederick Thomas Elworthy:

Pliny says the ancients held rue in peculiar esteem; that the plant has a great liking for the fig-tree and for that tree only, and that it thrives better under it than anywhere else. He says it is one of the most active of all medicinal plants, and one of the principal ingredients used in antidotes. "Every species of rue, employed by itself, has the effect of an antidote if the leaves are bruised and taken in wine." It is good for the stings of serpents--"so much so, in fact, that weasels when about to attack them, take the precaution first of protecting themselves by eating rue." It is good too for "stings by scorpions, spiders, bees, hornets and wasps, the noxious effects produced by cantharides and salamanders, and the bites of mad dogs." He quotes Pythagoras, Harpocrates, and Diocles, as to the value of rue in a great number of diseases, and in his last paragraph says that "of all the plants that are grown, rue is the one most employed for the maladies of cattle"; altogether he cites it as being a remedy for eighty-four diseases or ailments

...the "sprig of rue" is one of the very oldest of existing amulets. We may safely give it an Etruscan or early Phœnician origin; for we must always remember that the objects among which it appears are labelled by experts, as found in tombs, "della prima età di ferro." (the first age of iron)

I highly recommend reading the page! It has pictures too.

Counting Sheep

Blah blah blah enter and delete 4 paragraphs about various subjects that mean nothing more than the contents of a babbling brain dump. That's not what this space is for, so I will sum up my ramblings of the day: I need more sleep. I haven't been getting enough rest all week long. I've been running on fumes today and that's what has taken me so log to get to tonight's blog. This entry is not some new perception-shattering piece of information, the magickal spell which will make you rich, or the missing link of Paganism. Not tonight anyway. I'm tired. So I'm thinking about sleep. And about dreams. And about astral travel, dream messages, astral travel, astral temples and too many other things. I can't seem to focus tonight. I was going to go with something fun from Ovid, but instead I was lead to a Roman poet (by way of Greece?) He was from Campagnia, and lived in Naples too. Statius. There's a way too dry wiki entry on him. He wasn't as salacious or scandalous as Ovid, but there weren't many who were. Here is a translation of one of his poems, about tonight's subject, sleep:

"To Sleep"
translation by Kathleen Coleman, Prof. of Classics, Harvard Univ.

What is the charge, young God, what have I done
Alone to be denied, in desperate straits,
Epitome of Calm, your treasure, Sleep?
Hush holds enmeshed each herd, fowl, prowling beast;
The trees, capitulating, nod to aching sleep:
The raging floods relinquish their frim roar;
The heavy sea has ceased and oceans curl
Upon the lap of land to sink in rest.
The moon has now in seven visits seen
My wild eyes staring; seven stars of dawn
And twilight have returned to me
And sunrise, transient witness of distress,
Has in compassion sprayed dew from her whip.
Where is the strength I need? It would defeat
The consecrated Argus, thousand-eyed,
Despite the watch which one part of him keeps,
Nerves taut, on guard relentlessly.
On Sleep, some couple, bodies interlocked,
Must shut you from their night-long ecstasy;
So come to me. I issue no demand
that you enfold my eyes' gaze with your wings --
Let all the world, more fortunate, beg that.
Your wand-tip's mere caress, your hovering form
Poised lightly on tiptoe; that is enough.

The original latin names Phoebe specifically, translated here to mean the Moon. Phoebe and Phoebus. Phoebus Apollo... I'll let you extrapolate the rest of that while I extrapolate some rest.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Surely Ash Wednesday is an original Christian practice?

It's not, and don't call me Shirley.

Ashes were in common usage by vastly different pre christian cultures. It seems to be one of those universal things. Some examples:

Let's start with the most famous unbroken Pagan lineage, Hinduism: Bhasma is holy ash of wood burned in a sacred fire. It's worn on the third eye and dedicated to Shiva. According to wiki: "The word bhasma means “that by which our sins are destroyed and the Lord is remembered". ”Bha” implies Bhartsana (“to destroy”) and “sma” implies smaranam (“to remember”)."

And don't forget Agni, the God of Fire! Fire and ash belong to him. It was also in his power to forgive sins. :-o

This blogger believes it's a Norse petition to Odin to purify and protect Viking warriors. Wednesday = Odin's day and that's why it's done on Wednesday. It's a nice thought, but let's not forget that the real celebration is on Tuesday: Martes! and it's in March! The month of Mars! Mardi Gras is the celebration on the eve when the dawn brings the holiday. The purification ritual before the Pagan New Year of Spring. Others have said it better:

"At Rome’s New Year Feast of Atonement in March, people wore sackcloth and bathed in ashes to atone for their sins. Then as now, New Year’s Eve was a festival for eating, drinking, and sinning, on the theory that all sins would be wiped out the following day. As the dying god of March, Mars took his worshippers’ sins in with him into death. Therefore the carnival fell on dies martis, the Day of Mars." (Walker B. The woman’s encyclopedia of myths and secrets. HarperCollins, 1983, pp. 66-67).

I find it interesting that: a) Mars is depicted with red hair (the red planet!) and b) as I posted previously, was originally a fertility god. c) Egyptians would sacrifice read heads and spread their ashes on the land for fertility. Or perhaps as a sacrifice to Osiris since Set was alleged to have red hair? Any Egyptian fans out there want to school me on this bit of lore?

And my favorite example of burning things and ashes and debauchery: Carnevale ended yesterday. In Calabria, and other parts of Italy, an elaborate funeral is held for the spirit of Carnevale itself and burned in a large funeral pyre. Interesting timing, dontchathink?

In my reading today, I've come across another blog on this very subject which includes nifty information on Tammuz and Ishtar (Ash-tar?) and his springtime resurrection. In Mithraism, initiates would wear the "Egyptian Sun Cross" on their forehead.

I'm not writing these things to offend anyone. Why should anyone be offended by fact? I'm tired of people besmirching Paganism when what they practice IS Paganism, but with different names.


I never really talk about my "training" with people. It's just childish to say "haha I have a secret and I can't tell you and you don't know it neener, neener neener!" Those kind of people annoy the crap out of me. So do the ones who want me to talk about my "training" because they don't know what I know. I don't mean that they don't have the body of knowledge, I mean that they can't go look it up, I can't give them the name of an author, they don't know my lineage. I could give them names, but it wold mean nothing because they have never met these people and can't verify for themselves. I would completely understand if I were making a claim to teach something, sure you have a right to ask if I was taught this and how or if I pulled it out of my ass, or gleaned it from books or what. Tonight I was asked about my training by a good friend and teacher. We were talking about energetic defense and what could be done and how we do it. I joked that Italian babies are born wearing a horn. The first thing I "learned" was defense. It was important to know how to protect yourself because once you start shining that light, you will attract attention. It wasn't told to me that way, and really I wasn't told at all. It was just what we did. "This thing we do." I was also taught that you only talk about these things with the initiated, those who already know, unless they're your students, then you're actively teaching it. There were 3 of us tonight, and my teacher is an initiate of another tradition. I didn't feel comfortable talking about what I do. It was more than that good ol' Italian paranoia, it was that there was someone uninitiated in the room. Sure, she was being taught, but it wasn't by me. She hadn't been signed off on as far as my tradition goes. It just so happens that two of the things the teacher discussed are almost exactly how I work and what I do. I mentioned something more on the topic, a bit closer to one of the specific things I learned and use, but literally couldn't go further than that. I was told not to, that it would be crossing a line.

My teacher mentioned that if we don't share, how do we all grow. She has a point, but the knowledge I have is not to share with the world. It might be done by every other tradition out there, it might be Pagan Public Knowledge, but it's not going to cross my lips unless the person I'm talking to has been signed off on.

I've mentioned it here before, I think, but I'll post it again: My magickal "training" was done in a way that I didn't even realize it was something different. There was no Karate Kid type scene where I got angry because I was supposed to be learning but I was just waxing the floor. Wax on! Wax off! I wasn't sat down with my cousins to have magick class. I was 3 years old sitting in the backyard with my grandmother  eating snacks on a sunny day and she would tell me about the flowers in the garden, about the family stories, who made the bird bath sitting back there, why we had white and pink roses, what it mean when the cat did a certain thing or about the birds and spiders and so on and so on. The knowledge was imparted in such a natural, matter of fact way. It was just part of growing up. I knew other kids didn't learn these things and I knew not to tell anyone, the same way my son knows that we don't share certain information with those who aren't in the immediate family. There were occasions, when I was older, that I was taken aside and taught something, but that was because certain things can only be taught at certain times. Initiations can only be done in certain ways and on certain days.

I've typed another 3 paragraphs, but I deleted them. I just don't want to get further into it tonight. I prefer to do rather than to muse about it. We will be doing soon enough.  This blog is to help me frame my thoughts and see where I am right now and it has done that, so thanks :) I look forward to the doing!

Monday, March 7, 2011

More Spring Cleaning

I'm so effing excited for Spring that I may just barf glitter and sunshine.

I apologize for the slew of fluff posts. My commitment is to post, not to post a magnum opus every night. Many times I refer to posts-in-progress. Some of these will remain private. I'm not exactly going to post on the specifics of Mysteries. Hello, they wouldn't be Mysteries otherwise! Since this is a public blog, I'm not exactly going to get into oathbound stuff. I've been sorting through my notes, and my brain, and there are things that I do want to post about but they're a long time in coming. They deserve proper attention, I learn something new whenever I investigate the topic, and I have to edit myself for public posting. There are things about tarantella that lead into Women's Mysteries that I'm not at liberty to post, and have to find a way around that while still being as complete as possible.

Here is a list of what I've been working on as well as brief descriptions:

Tarantella: It's a wedding dance, it's a carnivale celebration, it's a women's mystery. It's Italian trance dancing and has roots common to the entire Mediterranean as well as Africa. I've posted on this a bit, but as I explore the topic and update my workshop, I've delved further into it than before. Doesn't hurt that I've taken up the tamburello. The drumming side is a whole other aspect!

Leland/Aradia: I've been asked my opinion on his books and his "informant" Madelena. While he didn't get anything that was secret (ie: he talks about them doing the eyes, but has no idea what was said or how it was done), that doesn't mean what he received was made up. I'm tired of those who aren't in the know harshing on the info he did get. I've said it before: My Grandmother never read Leland but I still knew almost everything in that book before I picked it up at age 20. I like the work Mario Pazzaglini did in translating the original Italian. It shows the mistakes Leland made and takes some of the christianization out of it too. There's another retranslation coming out by a different author. I look forward to reading her thoughts too. That said, there's a difference between common folk healing, spells, and a religious practice.

Grimassi: Can't swing a black cat without bumping into a question about Raven Grimassi when someone hears I practice Italian Witchcraft. My opinion on him? He gets props for putting La Vecchia on the modern Pagan map. Not so much for mixing Italian folklore with Golden Dawn and calling it Italian Witchcraft. I put him in the category with Leland: Publishing common folk healing and spells and adding ceremonial magick doesn't mean this was the Old practice. However, each Family has their own ways. What the ways of his family were are beyond me as is why he mixed his book with things straight out of Golden Dawn. Perhaps he was protecting family secrets or told as much as he was prepared to in a few books. Anyway, props for bringing it into the light and for continuing research and for taking the brunt of the skeptics re: showing that it is possible to have an unbroken lineage.

Martello: I only wish I'd met him in person before he passed. He is a hero of mine. And an anti hero all at once! He organized the first "legal" gathering of Witches in NYC and fought for the rights of Witches to gather and be treated as any other group. NYC Pagan Pride wouldn't happen without his efforts so long ago. I wonder what he'd think about the NYC Parks Department calling me up to tell me they were holding our date even before our application was in. Thank you, Leo Martello!

Aeneid: Who cares? Virgil wrote it for his pal, Caesar, to hep promote him as prophesied heir of the Gods. Virgil travelled the Republic, gathering stories of the Gods, weaving long standing folklore into his tale. I find it interesting that he wanted it burned when he died and didn't get to edit it. I wonder what he'd think of it. I still prefer The Odyssey and Ovid.

Oracle at Delphi: I've been to Delphi and it's effing amazing. Yes, there's a fissure of gasses coming up from the ground. The pythia sat over it. Skeptics claim that she inhaled the stuff and her prophecies were just chemical induced ramblings. I say they were fucking brilliant for setting her over the smoke before they understood such things and the natural gasses were like the other drugs used to achieve gnosis or oneness with deity.

Labyrinths: The snow is off my lawn and it's nearly time to resume digging and lay in the bricks. So effing excited to work on it!

Ancestor work: I don't do enough of it. I want to do it nightly, but you have to strike a balance between the magickal and mundane aspects of life as well as living for the present and living for the past. We stand on the foundation our Ancestors laid, but we must continue to discover and create and integrate and grow.

That's what I have for tonight. Thanks for following along with my ramblings. If there's a topic or question you'd like me to address, go ahead n let me know :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I've collected rain water and charged it for different purposes. I've charged with with sun, or with moon, or with a specific color.
Rain on a sunny day, from a Sunshower, I find to be specially charged and potent. This made me think about the old saying that if it's raining while sunny, the devil is beating is wife. I remember hearing that one as a child from my friend's mother. Her family was from the south.

Grandma used to say that Witches were combing and braiding their hair. There are stories of "elf locks" or keeping a few strands of hair braided as a dedication/commitment to the Folletti. There are sayings from around the world about sunshowers and many are about getting married: Jackals, monkeys, devils, leopards, hyenas, foxes... Everyone seems to have a name for this phenomenon.

Back to the rain collecting: I like collecting it in different colored glasses and letting it charge in the sun. It can be used in chakra work, to charge items with the energy, to purify, to invoke deities, for scrying, to make recipes.... Ooo we should get into some food magick soon. It's nearly time to plant out there in the garden, so add another post to the list.

I was glad to see how many folks also like JW Waterhouse! Fan club!

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Tonight I can't stop pouring over JW Waterhouse paintings. He's my favorite artist ever, not just my favorite Pre-Raphaelite. His subjects include Psyche, Echo and Narcissus, Circe, Apollo and Daphne, Adonis, Hylas, Medea, La Belle Dame sans Merci, Nymphs and Orpheus, Ariadne, Boreas, Zephyrus, Ophelia, Pandora, Odysseus, Penelope... I adore every painting he created. I'm a literalist. I melt over paintings that look like they could be photographs. The subject matter, from Greco-Roman to Shakespearean, well, that's a double bonus. Here are my favorites, likely for obvious reasons: Sorceress.
How often have I sat at my table, magic books open, with a half spilled potion spilled across my papers? Well, not often, but it could certainly happen. Makes me wonder why she's so distracted. Guess you can't dry over spilled philtre.

This one is called The Household Gods, or,
Offerings to the Gods
It's a Lare Shrine! The girls in the painting look positively bored as they make what seem like daily offerings. It would be my favorite but the bored expression ruins it for me. Goes to show that religion isn't fun if it's forced, no matter which one it is. Magic Circle is certainly a favorite. I have a reproduction of this one in my home. This is a link to the picture. You can zoom in on a lot of the detail. While many other paintings play on themes of deities and subjects Pagans love , it's all rather ambiguous. Not this one. This is straight up, unabashed Witchcraft. I adore what she is wearing, the flowers, the sickle, the jewelry, the snake around her neck, the cave and the people inside of it, watching her... The circle is being cast and the smoke is taking shape. The circle itself is glowing. Notice the crows and frog gathered outside the circle that has been drawn, not daring to cross it, recognizing it as a boundary.The crow on the left looks like it's perched on a half buried skull. I want that dress. The detail on it is incredible. The only thing I don't like is the bleak landscape. All of his pictures are so rich in color that in comparison, I just want more of his greens, reds and blues, while at the same time I know they would be out of place here.

When you have some time, check out When we have even more time, let's make a pilgrimage the The Tate in London and see the real thing ;)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dark Moon

Tonight is the dark moon, It's not the "new" moon. The New Moon is when the first sliver of a crescent can be seen in the sky. The Dark Moon is when there is no light shining on her face. This is the in between time, the moment when potential energy becomes kinetic energy. In between times are the most magickal, when you are neither in one state nor the other and when you are both together.

This is a quickie as today has been both a literal and figurative pain in my neck.

I will leave you with something amusing, well it amuses me and sounds vaguely Italian and after an evening of listening to Tarantella and Italian folk songs (sorry, that post isn't ready yet), it tickled me:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

NYC Pagan Pride Day

I'm one of the coordinators and have worked with the group in some capacity for the past 11 years. It's been my way of giving back to the Pagan Community. It's Service to my local Pagan fellows, and to My Patrons, and to My City. I might not be located in NYC anymore but I will always be a New Yorker.

I also get a lot out of the whole experience. I get to meet new people, I get together with friends I haven't seen in ages, I get to hear new music and learn new things and save up my money to spend at the amazing vendors. Sometimes it feels like I'm throwing a party for myself with all of my favorite things and favorite people. It's an amazing time.

It's also difficult to organize an event of this magnitude. There are never enough volunteers, especially during the planning process. Lots of folks have wonderful ideas, but there are few who stick around to see them through. I'm putting it out there: I'm asking Mercury, whose planet will be retrograde twice during the planning process, to send me 5 quality, sane, volunteers who are creative and follow through to help us with the planning and realization of #11 in '11. (It's on Saturday, September 24th!)

This is also the 10th anniversary of the Twin Towers. The Festival is right by Ground Zero. Is it tacky to use an image of the towers with this being our 11th anniversary? We couldn't have it at Battery Park that first year because it was being used as barracks. We were moved to Washington Square Park. Thankfully they didn't cancel the event. My using the image would be an homage to the event and the site. Our first ritual was written by Maypole Joe and Jackie Beltane and dedicated to healing and helping with moving on. I still have the braid we created that day. It's black, white and red. I don't know if the image, minus the context of the story, would be taken the right way. I'm very sensitive to the tourists who are in the area just to gawk at ground zero. Seriously? Is their next stop a hospital where they can gawk at the people waiting in the ER? Bleh. I need to ask some New Yorkers about this.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Why does it get such a bad rap as a magickal tool? Are there too many methods? Does it suffer from New Age makeshitupitis?  There are so many systems to choose from and they rarely agree on meaning. There's Chaldean, Pythagorean, Vedic, Qabala, Chinese... Weee!

I've always favored Chaldean with Pythagorean as a cose second. After all, the guy has a mathematical theory named after him. Then again, he is purported to have been killed because he wouldn't run through a field of fava beans to escape his attackers. There's more about there somewhere in here.

In Chaldean numerology, the name you are known by is the one that counts. In Pythagorean, it's the name you're given. I think both count equally. I do believe there's something to be said for both the numerological imprint you're given by your parents and the one you put out there for yourself in the world. Hubby legally changed his name a few years ago to what was his nickname (no, not asshat). It was the vibe he was known by and he hated his given name. He hates it so much I can barely bring myself to call others by that name.

Anyway, the other "rule" in Chaldean numerology is that no individual letter ever equals 9. I believe it's because of its nature: Whatever you add to the number 9, the result is that other number. Example:

9 + 6 = 15. 1 + 5 = 6
9 + 5 = 14. 1 + 4 = 5.
9 + 4 = 13. 1 + 3 = 4.

This works with any number.

Here's a link that describes the system and basic number meanings. Not endorsing the site, just feeling lazy and don't want to plagiarize.

I use numerology and I'm tired of people being closed-minded about it. By "people" I mean Pagans who should know better than to dismiss a perfectly valid tool without cause. Seriously, it sounds like non Pagans who dismiss astrology after reading a horoscope in a newspaper.

I don't let it rule my life, but no one should let a divination tool do that because it's just a tool. The magic 8-ball can be wrong! It's a traffic report. Just because there's a delay on the interstate doesn't mean you're going to take the side streets. At least you'll be prepared to get through the slog to your destination. But if you have the opportunity to take an alternate route and get there faster with less hassle, why not?

Each number, like each tarot card, has its positive and negative aspects. I use numerology in my work for timing, to power boost, to invoke deity, to connect with deity and to represent deity or Ancestors or whatever beings I'm working with. It's an added bonus, like working under a certain planetary hour or moon phase. It's not entirely necessary, but it helps you go with the flow of universal energy.

It's Wednesday, Mercoledì in Italian, and not only have I been inspired to dash off something about numerology tonight, but I have been challenged. I'm going to put my numbers where my... well, that saying doesn't work, but anyway, I'm going to walk this walk and create a spell with incantation that is numerologically harmonious. o0o0o0o This will be fun. I will report back when I've made some progress.

Here's my favorite number song when I was a kiddie watching Sesame Street!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Women's history month

And it starts with the Matronalia! Hail Juno Lucina! This month I will be focusing on Goddesses. Well, when don't I? lol I often do. Especially since this month we have the "Lesser" Mysteries and the Return of Spring. I had promised to post an updated book list, so let's start the month with one and highlight the various women, both Goddesses and not.

Aeneid: Juno! Venus! Queen Dido!

Vestiges of ancient manners and customs, discoverable in modern Italy and Sicily By John James Blunt:

Who doesn't he talk about? Ha! He talks about Cybele, Fortuna, and especially interesting: Diana of Syracuse and Ceres of Enna! \o/

Roman religion and the cult of Diana at Aricia: Diana! Hekate!

Italian-American Folklore, By Frances M. Malpezzi

Epodes, Carmen Saeculare by Horace

The Cult of Divine Birth in Ancient Greece by Marguerite Rigoglioso

I've noticed that there's an inordinate amount of Italian books on my list, as in written in Italian. Folk songs, Tarantella, and a few other fun things.

That's all for tonight!