Saturday, April 30, 2011

Maypoles are Italian too!

But we don't cover it up with the pretense of ribbons and children. We plant the pole in the ground. There it is. piantarmaggio. ("planting May") Lots of bawdy double entendres about "planting" happen all month long! There are various legends about how this festival came to be, but it's so old that it has been recorded for over one thousand years. More about that on Sunday. Why wait? Because before May is planted, it is rung in with door to door singing, aka cantamaggio. It's like christmas carols, but in this case, the song are bawdy!

"...groups of local maggiaioli (lit. “men of May”) make their way from farmhouse to farmhouse, singing folk songs and playing simple contadino (peasant) instruments... The lyrics of these songs ostensibly speak of nature and the seasons, but veil lighthearted double entendres... As the serenade ends the singers invite their audience, with much raucous laughter, to return to bed and “seed May.”

Before that happens, the singers are given breakfast foods to enjoy when their night of singing is done in the morning.  More on that from the original post

May festivals are celebrated throughout Italy. Here's a description of one in Umbria. Here is a link to a thesis done on the cantamaggio. It will download a pdf when you click the link. I like it! It's even in English! LOL It's a quick read and worth it. They even get into the origins of the festival, tho they attribute the popularity in Italy to celebrations of May 1st in Rome. It's the Times Square ball drop again. Yeah NYC does it biggest (and best! Hey, I'm a New Yorker), but other cities and towns celebrate New Year's Eve too.

Yeah! Who wants to come over tomorrow night to sing in May? \o/

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What have you done for me lately?

I've been asking a lot of the Universe lately and aside from a personal daily ritual, when it comes to offerings I have been focusing mostly on this blog and my studies. I feel like I've been cruising these past few weeks. Since the next few days are especially celebratory in relation to my Patrons, I'm going to make a serious effort to put my magic where my... well that saying doesn't really work here, but I think you follow. Literal, physical offerings are on the agenda this weekend. A Hekate supper is chief on my list: garlic bread and wine ;) Also on the agenda: offerings to not just my land, but to the water that runs near it and at the boundary of the town. I have another list item or two, but those are for another time.

I apologize for the quickie fluff this week. I'm Spring Cleaning here on all levels and it's a lot of work. Think it'll turn into summer sweeping?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Hermes.... Hermetically sealed. Woah.

So... I was on a sleep deprivation high (oh wait, that's now), and this came up. Well, its been coming up a lot lately. So I looked up the etymology to see where it would lead me. Thus spake the sacred wiki:

The word hermetic comes from the name of the Greek god Hermes. The concept of hermeticism comes from a syncretism of Hermes and the Egyptian Thoth, personified as a mythological alchemist known as Hermes Trismegistus. The latter has two books attributed to him, the Emerald Tablet and the Corpus Hermeticum. He was believed to possess a magic ability to seal treasure chests so that nothing could access their contents.

No judging about wiki usage, dammit LOL It's ok to use as a springboard. Bizarre wiki guilt aside... the Emerald Tablet has been coming up as a theme for me this past month. Usually when that happens it means it's time to dive into that pool. Want to dive into my ocean?


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Working The Land

I was out there today, doing just that. I was cleaning up whatever leaves were left over from autumn, under shrubs, etc. I was picking up branches, scooping out dandelions (seriously I have a hundred: Anyone want dandelion tea?) and literally saying "hello" and "welcome back" to all of the blooming trees. Pagans, especially urban Pagans, barely have a relationship with their land. I'm trying to cultivate mine.

In working with my family and my ancestors I learned that the actual soil and rocks and trees are important. Talk about earth energy! Where do you think you're calling it up from? Are "earth" "air" "fire" and "water" just abstract concepts to you, or are they a part of your reality? Don't be sarcastic, I know you breathe air. But do you recognize your breath? Do you stop to appreciate it? Does the wind answer your call? Have you connected with the spirits and creatures of this element?

Today I was connecting with earth. Literal and metaphysical earth. I felt the hum of the trees. I knew which ones needed help and where. I felt them shake off the past seasons as I cleaned around them. I communed with nature. As the keeper of this land it's my responsibility and my pleasure to do it.

Stuck in an apartment? I bet there's land somewhere near you: community gardens, public gardens, public parks, nature preserves... You can volunteer to help maintain it. You can help work the land and make more of a connection with the earth. It's one thing to learn about or meditate on the concept of an element, it's another to hold it in your hands, to feel the energy, to exchange energy and become a part of it, and it become a part of you.

No, having a little potted thing in your house doesn't count for this. Sure, it counts in some respects, but dirt in a pot isn't really part of the web of earth in the same way as a tree in the ground. It doesn't renew itself in the same way. Go ahead and keep plants inside, plant familiars are awesome. But go and find land you can connect with.

A valued friend of mine asked if I've read The Earth Path by Starhawk. My response: I can either spend 2 hours reading it, or two hours actually doing it :-)

Reading it, thinking about it, meditating about it, isn't the same thing as going out there and getting your hands dirty. Both literally and metaphysically.

I'm done preaching now lol

Monday, April 25, 2011

Get Bent!

Today it's about the funny. I'm pretty tired today, so I duno if I can bring the funny now, but I did last night. A friend and I were joking around. Some stodgy bloke, as my Brit pals would say, entered the conversation all serious-like and took one of my replies to heart when it wasn't aimed at him, or really at any specific person. We had been talking about giant purple lemuruan chicken ancestors and the admonishment to not eat their barely related modern chicken descendants. Soon after, I was charged with explaining the proper way to eat a chocolate bunny. To wit:

I learned the proper way of eating a chocolate bunny from a vision I had of Madame Blavatsky who knew that the Atlanteans were really ancient aliens. They didn't have to consume food, but they ritually partook of chocolate for the same reasons we do and in fact were actually the Mayans who teleported back to Altantis after seeding their story, and chocolate here. A fragment of one of their ancient tablets, found in Sumeria, speaks to the very subject: "Thou must consume the [bunny] from crown to lucky hoof lest ye be deemed perv and made a [son of] derision."

The folks intended as the recipients of the funny got it. Stodgy bloke told me to not make fun of other people's visions because I wouldn't like it if it was done to me. Srsly? I had to explain, despite Mercury being Direct (Hail Mercury!) that I was making fun of those who claim that every random-ass thought in their head is a "vision" of immense proportions when they couldn't quiet their minds long enough to hear anything besides their own internal money chatter. Nothing I wrote could be remotely taken as serious by anyone with a sense of humor. So that's my theme for tonight: lighten the fuck up! We are supposed to find joy in the Gods and delight in them. There is a time to be serious, sure, but if we take ourselves too seriously we become a mockery of what we want to be.

I ADORE the comic strip Oh My Gods and think he should still be cranking them out! Thankfully, he's published the strips in an anthology and still has the archive up on the website. Why do I adore it? He spears everyone in the Pagan community. Everyone. Equal opportunity, and the muggles too. 

For your further amusement:

How to recognize Humor!

Lightbulb Jokes!
How many Druids does it take to screw in a light bulb?
They don't screw in light bulbs, they screw in stone circles.

How many Witches does it take to change a light bulb?
Depends on what you want to change it into.

How many Gardnerians does it take to change a lightbulb?
Can't say.  It's oathbound.

How many Alexandrians does it take to change a lightbulb?
Same number as Gardnerians.

How many Strega does it take to change a lightbulb???
None -- if a candle was good enough for Gramma it's good enough for me!

How many Dianics does it take to change a lightbulb?
That's not funny!!!!

The Caffinated Cross!

The Charge of the Credit Card Goddess!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Birthday Bard

So yesterday was the celebration of Shakespeare's birthday but I was too busy being vexed to celebrate. Why celebrate? Because whether or not William was an actual person or a pseudonym or had a ghost writer behind him/was a front, the stuff is amazing. I am a fan. I am fluent in the language. Besides that, most of his stuff is pretty Pagan and he makes references to deities in nearly every work. Also, much of it takes place in Italy and Greece.

The Tempest? Prospero was allegedly based on John Dee. Troilus and Cressida is about the Trojan war and follows along with The Iliad. Antony and Cleopatra... obvious! A Midsummer Night's Dream takes place in a forest outside of Athens on Midsummer Eve!

The Rape of Lucrece was a poem about the fall of the last of the kings of Rome and the start of the Roman Republic. It was based on Ovid's and Livy's account of a Prince of Rome raping a Roman noblewoman, Lucretia. She kills herself after the attack and it sparks a revolt. Kings are out, elected officials are in.

Here are just a few quotes from The Bard <3

“Let us be Diana's foresters, gentlemen of the shade, minions of the moon.”  -King Henry IV. Part I.

You seem to me as Dian in her orb,
As chaste as is the bud ere it be blown;
But you are more intemperate in your blood
Than Venus, or those pampered animals
That rage in savage sensuality.

"She'll not be hit with Cupid's arrow; she hath Dian's wit...." Romeo and Juliet

“The words of Mercury are harsh after the songs of Apollo." Love's labours lost

“Now, by two-headed Janus, Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time." -The Merchant of Venice.

“And rail'd on Lady Fortune in good terms, In good set terms." -As You Like It.

“This is very midsummer madness." -Twelfth Night.

“More matter for a May morning." -Twelfth Night.

“O sleep, O gentle sleep, Nature's soft nurse! how have I frighted thee, That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down And steep my senses in forgetfulness?" -King Henry IV. Part II.

“We have heard the chimes at midnight." -King Henry IV. Part II.

"The Gordian knot of it he will unloose, Familiar as his garter" -King Henry V.

“Orpheus with his lute made trees, And the mountain-tops that freeze, Bow themselves when he did sing."  -King Henry VIII

"Did ever Dian so become a grove
As Kate this chamber with her princely gait?
O, be thou Dian, and let her be Kate;
And then let Kate be chaste and Dian sportful!" - Taming of the Shrew

"If this be magic, let it be an art lawful as eating" - Winter's Tale

Here's a cute article on the Bawdy Bard and some of the raunchy double entenres veiled only by archaic language!

Like all great writers, Shakespeare did drugs! Traces of Cannabis and Cocaine in Pipes at Shakespeare's Homes! :-o

"Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?" - Sonnet 76

Shut up and pass the chocolate bunny.

His followers wept for 40 days. They didn't eat meat during this time. They gave up an earthly pleasure each day for Him. They sacrificed a pig in His honor. They made an equal armed cross over their flaming heart when they prayed to Him.

That's right, I'm talking about Tammuz. And if you don't believe pigs are still sacrificed to this day, well, have fun eating your easter ham.

Feel free to google him but be prepared: Almost every single page is written by fundamentalist christians railing against the "satanic" or "evil" holiday. One of the web pages was actually called "evil holidays." So why aren't we Pagans out there with information about this? Is it because many Pagans look to their own family culture first and we just don't have that many middle eastern Pagans out there? Is it the call of the Celts? Is it because the Sumerians and the Babylonians are depicted as "barbaric" and no one wants to undertake the job of "redeeming" them? Feh.

So here's a video I posted on facebook. It's about the evidence that the God presented in the bible had a wife. Worth the watch!


Friday, April 22, 2011

He died for our sins. He was reborn for our brains...

I find the whole zombie celebration thing to be silly, but understandable when the muggles or atheists do it. However, I get annoyed when Pagans talk smack about the Christian version of the arisen male deity story. Sure, we did it first with Osiris and Tammuz and Dionysus, and even Apollo and then there's the Oak King and Green Man coming into his own too. So call em on the fact that there's nothing original in Christianity and that they're celebrating a month late too, but talking smack about their version of The Great Mystery is equivalent to crapping on your own.

Christianity is just another in a long line of mystery traditions: "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again" (plus the whole drink my blood eat my body thing) is exactly what most Pagans celebrate throughout the year. In the God Cycle: He is born of Goddess, he is grown to manhood, he marries the Goddess, he is sacrificed as the harvest. We eat and drink him. He retreats to the Underworld and is reborn. We know they took the main tenets of The God Cycle, tried to reduce the Goddess cycle to a mere facilitator/vessel role, and celebrate the main mystery weekly. That doesn't change their legitimacy: We know it's legit because we invented it! ("We" meaning ancient Pagans. Sheesh.)

I don't mean to go off on a rant here (thanks Dennis Miller), but I've been thinking about this a lot in the past week: April 21st is celebrated as the birth date of Rome. On facebook I said "celebrate or lament as you wish." I've lamented it. Why? Because they started a city and then went conquering everyone around them until they created an empire. Once Rome was born of strife between brothers (a recurring theme) there was no chance for the world to live in peace. I wonder what would have happened had Remus won the contest. I bet Romulus would have killed him anyway. What if the other tribes in the area, such as the Sabines and Etruscans agreed to mix with them instead of starting a war over it? Would the Romans have been absorbed into the landscape? Into another tribe? Were they always meant to violently dominate the world? They might not do it with brute force anymore, but let's not kid ourselves: The Pope, who is not nor has ever been (to my knowledge) a member of a democracy, was making public statements advising American voters who to vote for and how to vote in our elections. Yes, I know I'm romanticizing the Etruscans and Sabines and it's really easy to root for who you perceive to be the underdog. But really now, it just has to make you think: Would the world have been better off if the wolf just ate the twins? If Queen Dido had seduced Aeneas into being her King and staying in Carthage?

This weekend: underworld encounters and a bit about Tammuz and why they eat ham on this particular Sunday; It's not just to piss off the Jews.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Keep Dreaming...

I made it 2 nights in a row, before my dream novena collapsed. How did this happen so quickly? Did my reptile brain rebel to the point that I just gave up? Nope. It was my tarot cards. And really, I think they fulfilled the purpose of the week anyway...

I haven't used my cards in a long time, They've been very neglected. The last time I used them was in February at the Sacred Space conference. I'd never really used them to "talk" to deities or entities or ancestors. For me, that kind of contact was more direct: It came from whispers and especially in dreams. I never needed to do use a tool like tarot for those purposes. For some reason tho, my tarot cards have been calling me. I've felt incredibly drawn to them in the past week. I even had to take them with me when going out and about. They usually sit on the altar in my bedroom, but they wanted to be even closer. After kiddo finally got to sleep last night I sat on the floor to meditate. Newp. The cards wanted my attention. I cast a circle, called in Guardians, and opened up the pouch with the deck.

So last night, I didn't just meditate, I asked questions and received answers. Silly Libra me, I often doubt my interpretations when doing readings for myself, but this wasn't "for me" it was a Q and A and I recommend everyone sit down and do this. If you have any knack with the cards, if you have a patron you'd like to work with or a deity you're interested in, write up your questions and go for it.

I feel like the dream work I was trying to do was too passive. This was much more my speed. I'm a go-getter, what can I say? So last night, I did indeed meditate, I just didn't attempt the neutral channel. I didn't get to bed at a decent hour. I was still working with the cards until around 1 am and was so buzzed that I couldn't get to sleep!

We do what we can when we can. Novenas are also a once a week for 9 weeks endeavor. I think I'll do that, knowing that once a week I can sleep in late/go to bed early, and now I know I need to bring my tarot cards back into my practice.

Have a favorite deck? I learned on Rider-Waite and have a mini Rider-Waite deck that I like to use- it's easier to shuffle than the standard tarot size. I still love the Tarrocci Deck!

Tonight I will leave myself time to meditate. Otherwise, no pressure ;)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Hippie New Year

The week is catching up with me. I just got to bed at midnight last night after fitting in time for meditation. Today I started reading Volume 4 of the Anthology of Occult Wisdom which includes the writings of Dolores Ashcroft Norwicki, WE Butler, Gareth Knight and Dion Fortune. I was reading the stuff on Atlantis this morning and boy was that a mistake. It's an intense read, well beyond "interesting," but it just plain vibrates off the page. I wasn't prepared for that, but I should have been! Debbie Chapnick, the editor and owner of Datura Press warned me!

What does any of this have to do with anything? In my research on the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, I ran into several Golden Dawn references which included the names of the deities celebrated there as well as their Greek, Etruscan and Roman names as syncretized to the various areas. Golden Dawn gets us to Dion Fortune and eventually to Servants of the Light, who put out the Anthology mentioned above, which includes material on Atlantis. In the history of Samothrace, there is talk of an ancient flood, the survivors having gotten to the top of the highest mountain on the island. It was then settled by folks from Samos and Thrace which gave the island its name.

Crete, another center of Mysteries, and another site of Atlantis legend. I've seen that Caldera, I can believe it. Considering what paleontologists know about how the planet looked and where the tectonic plates used to be joined, is it surprising that many places around the world would have/be remnants of Altantis? Are the Mysteries of Italy and Greece pieces of Atlantean culture?

Today is 420. Happy Hippie New Year :) So smoke if ya got it and kick back, pondering  Atlantis, the great flood retold in every culture, and that Poseidon was not just the God of the Oceans, he was also The Earth Shaker.

Pass the dutchie. I'm feeling contemplative.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's a start

I've discussed meditation briefly in the past. Last night, after posting, I signed off my electronic devices, turned down the lights, and sat in silence. Well, except for all of the noise in my head. I found it very difficult to get to the quiet space last night, so after a while, I stopped trying. At first I tried counting my breath, varying the count, then using different chants, but I had too much in the way. I even tried literally tuning into the neutral station by visualizing a radio and turning the dial. Then I picked a station on the television in my head and tried to punch it in on the remote, but that led to a meditation on numerology and wander wander chatter chatter wander...

I need a place to brain dump. If I Just get it all down on paper or in an email to myself, then it's out of my head. I'm not going to pressure myself to do this daily, tho that is best, but one morning a week, I will get up and immediately start to write in a journal, just to get it out.

This is not to say it wasn't helpful or effective. I actually had a wonderful revelation about one of my Patrons, the nature of the universe and insight into my own patterns and conflicts. My dreams afterward were interesting and I woke up with tired feet after walking a lot!

I refuse to have this be my brain dump, so to keep it interesting, at least interesting to me, let's talk a little bit about what's on the agenda: There are several drafts of posts brewing, including a few on reincarnation, the ancient concept of energy work and the laying on of hands, and "Prayer" vs "Magic." Hopefully my compatriots will highlight their current research too! It's nearly May so look for posts on the Floralia, fertility rites, and more from Empedocles.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I've made one of those, to meditate and get enough sleep to leave time and room for dream work. I still haven't wrapped my head around the fact that this is what I'm choosing to do with the very little free time I have. Any parents out there will understand that your needs almost never come first. And any time to yourself has to be carefully carved out with sitters and late nights after the kids have finally gone to bed. Mine goes to bed late. I'm thinking about moving my start time to 11 and bed time to midnight. I'm torn between being practical and letting my reptile brain win and watching movies until I sleep.

It's not really my reptile brain wanting to just screw around, it's that I know I'm on the verge of something important and there is resistance. Have you ever felt that? You're about to go somewhere you've wanted to or meet up with someone or do something you've been planning for (especially when related to magic) and things always seem to get in the way? I honestly believe it's the universe, and perhaps other things, trying to test us to see if we'll fight for it.

Heh, that just makes me want it more and work harder to get it.  I'm going to be flexible about my start time. I do like guided meditation and hypnosis before sleep and I plan to set up a few things, magically speaking, so I will need about 30 minutes to get ready and I want to give myself a lead into that to unwind. I'm not going to sweat the start, I'm not going to try to be "perfect" because as soon as you try to be "perfect" you set yourself up to "fail." This isn't a pass/fail or win/lose situation. This is an exploration. One I've done before. So why is it daunting this time? Perhaps because I've announced it and there are expectations other than my own. Shrug. Let's see where this takes us.

Sogni d'oro!

Sunday Dinner

Earlier tonight, hubby asked me about Italians having two kitchens. A friend of his had moved into a house that had two kitchens and was told it was an Italian thing. The upsatirs one was pristine, vintage, barely used at all, and the downstairs one had seen the most use and things had to be replaced there. He was asked, because he is Italian by marriage, why do Italians have two kitchens?

I have to admit, I have no real answer. I just know that everyone in my family did. The downstairs one was where the family would gather and the upstairs one was for "company." It wasn't just a summer use kitchen where things were cooler in the basement, we had Christmas eve down there too. Upstairs was much smaller as was the formal dining room (plastic on the seats n all).

Since it's Sunday, I thought I'd post this oldie but goodie.

Sunday Dinner for Italians
"True Italians will love this, those of you who are married to
Italians will understand this, and those of you who are friends with
Italians will remember and fwd it to your Italian friends."

• Italians have a $40,000. kitchen, but use the $259 stove from Sears in the basement to cook.
• There is some sort of religious statue in the hallway, living room, front, porch and backyard;
• The living room is filled with old Bombonieri (they are too pretty to open) with poofy net bows and stale
• God forbid if anyone EVER attempted to eat Chef Boy-Ar-Dee, Franco American, Ragu, Prego or anything else in a jar or can! (Tomato paste is the exception.)

The following are Italian Holidays:
• First weekend in October - Grapes for the Wine
• 3rd weekend in August - Tomatoes for the Sauce.

• Meatballs are made with Pork, Veal and Beef. We are Italians, we don't care about cholesterol.
• Turkey is served on Thanksgiving, AFTER the manicotti, gnocchi, lasagna.
• If anyone EVER says ES-CAROLE, slap 'em in the face -- it's SHCAROLE.

• If they ever say ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP, let the idiot know that there is no wedding nor is there an Italian in the soup. Also, the tiny meatballs must be made by hand.
• No matter how hard you know you were going to get smacked, you still came home from church and stuck half a loaf of bread in the sauce pot, snuck out a fried meatball and chowed down
• It's GRAVY, not "sauce."

Sunday dinner is at 1:00.
The meal went like this...
• Table is set with everyday dishes. It doesn't matter if they don't match, they're clean!
• All the utensils go on the right side of the plate and the napkin goes on the left.
• Put a clean kitchen towel at Nonno & Papa's plate because they won't use napkins.
• Homemade wine and bottles of 7up are on the table.

• First course, Antipasto...change plates.
• Next, Macaroni (Nonna called all spaghetti Macaroni)...change plates.
• After that, Roasted Meats, Roasted Potatoes, Overcooked vegetables...change plates.
• THEN and only then (NEVER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MEAL) would you eat the salad (HOMEMADE OIL & VINEGAR DRESSING ONLY)...change plates.
• Next, Fruit & Nuts - in the shell (on paper plates because you ran out of the other ones). Coffee (Espresso for Nonno, "Merican" coffee for the rest) with the Anisettes (Hard Cookies to dip in the coffee).
• The kids go play...the men go to lay down. They slept so soundly you could perform brain surgery on them without anesthesia... the women clean the dishes.


Funny how very common this experience is to so many people. Not sure if I've posted this before, but I don't care, I'm in the mood. It's one of my kiddo's favorite songs. There's no vieo, just a picture of the singer, but it's the best recording ever!

Here's another with Luna Mezzo Mare and two women doing a tarantella and playing tamburellos!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Picture it: Italy, 500 BCE!

Vengeful, malevolent wandering spirits of the restless dead seeking to do ill to the living, their faces twisted into horrific masks... cemeteries, black dress, gory ghosts... Happy May!


Yes, May. The 9th, 11th and 13th.

Every October we hear all about Halloween, an Irish tradition, and even the Mexican Day of the Dead. Why don't we hear anything about how the Italians celebrated? Because they don't. At least not at the end of October. At least not until The Church decided it was time to bring the Celts into the fold around 700 ce.

They took the old Italian traditions, which were celebrated in February and May, and moved it to the date of the Irish "Summer's End" festival. Don't worry, this isn't a treatise on the big bad church, but it's impossible to talk about the holidays, especially the Italian ones, without looking at the church's handiwork in subsuming the existing Pagan culture and rearranging the dates to suit their political needs.

According to the sacred wiki: "On what had been the culminating day of the Lemuralia, May 13 in 609 or 610— the day being recorded as more significant than the year—, Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs, and the feast of that dedicatio Sanctae Mariae ad Martyres has been celebrated at Rome ever since. According to cultural historians,  this ancient custom was Christianized in the feast of All Saints' Day, established in Rome first on May 13, in order to de-paganize the Roman Lemuria"

Until the Romans came along, there was no "united" Pagan religion in Italy. In fact, Italy was a collection of independent city-states, each with it's own language, customs and traditions. When catholocism swept the land, many of the folk ways were folded into each other and condensed across regions. The most readily available information we have is about Roman practice, which means something only when talking about Rome, not about Naples, or Calabria, or Tuscanny, or especially Sicily, which was influenced not only by Greece, but also the Middle East and Africa.

We know of several Roman festivals which specifically dealt with remembering, venerating and making offerings to the departed: The Lemuria, the Parentalia, the Feralia, and The Mania (to narrow it down to a few).

The Parentalia was held in February to venerate Di Manes, the Divine Dead and Di Parentes, the family ancestors. The week long festival was closed with the Feralia, a more public celebration in which families would picnic at the necropolis/cemetery "with" their ancestors.

The Lemuria, held in May, was the time to ward off the spirits I mentioned earlier: The Lemures; the vengeful spirits, who were a contrast to the Lares, the helpful spirits of Ancestors and the Land.

Why May? It's the other side of the wheel of year, opposite Halloween, well, more like "paired with" than "opposite." In May, the veil is once again at it's thinnest, as it is in October. May isn't quite as scary for us northern hemisphere folks because we're coming into the time of abundance instead of preparing for a season of scarcity.

How did they trick, treat, or otherwise remove the Lemures? The paterfamilia, aka: The Man of the House was in charge of this rite. He would get up at midnight and walk through the house tossing fava beans over his shoulder onto the floor. Some sources say loud noises were made by shouting or banging pots or ringing bells to scare the lemures out of the house while they were distracted picking up the beans. Other sources say it was done in silence. Novenas (a prayer repeated 9 times) were also recited to open and close the rites.

Some sources say the fava beans were to placate the Lemures, and yet others believe the restless soul was sucked into the fava bean and housed there or transported to the underworld. Fava beans were held sacred by many in the region, famously by Pythagoras as literal or figurative representations, or houses, of the soul. To give fava beans to the departed was to give them new soul. The custom of offering fava beans was well established even before Rome was founded. It's said Romulus made such an offering to appease the spirit of Remus, the brother he murdered over the founding of the city.

Our good friend, Ovid, has a lot to say about this in his book, Fasti, (translates to "calendar") in which he discusses the origins of various public or state holidays: He talks about May 1st being the day to honor the Lares, the helpful spirits:

"The Kalends of May witnessed the foundation of an altar to the Guardian Lares, together with small images of the gods. Curius indeed had vowed them, but length of time destroys many things, and age prolonged wears out a stone. The reason for the epithet applied to them is that hey guard all things by their eyes. They also stand for us, and preside over the City walls, and they are present and bring us aid. But a dog, carved out of the same stone, used to stand before their feet. What was the reason for its standing with the Lar? Both guard the house: both are faithful to their master: cross-roads are dear to the god, cross-roads are dear to dogs: the Lar and Diana’s pack give chase to thieves; and wakeful are the Lares, and wakeful too are dogs."

He goes on to talk about the Lemures, their counterparts and how Mercury came to him to tell him how this whole feast of appeasing the restless dead began. It's pretty long, so I will sum up if you wish to skip the quoted text: It was, Ovid is told, originally called the Remuria, in honor of Remus. There is debate about who caused his death, but Romulus typically gets the blame. The ghost of Remus shows up, really angry, and feeling vengeful. He laments that he was not made king instead of Romulus (they had a contest of augury: whoever saw the largest flock of birds was the winner and Romulus saw more). Then he curses whomever killed him to the same fate.

"Why the day was called Lemuria, and what is the origin of the name, escapes me; it is for some god to discover it. Son of the Pleiad (Mercury) thou reverend master of the puissant wand, inform me: oft hast thou seen the palace of the Stygian Jove (Pluto). At my prayer the Bearer of the Herald’s Staff was come. Learn the cause of the name; the god himself made it known. When Romulus had buried his brother’s ghost in the grave, and the obsequies had been paid to the too nimble Remus, unhappy Faustulus and Acca, with streaming hair, sprinkled the burnt bones with their tears. Then at twilight’s fall they sadly took the homeward way, and flung themselves on their hard couch, just as it was.

The gory ghost of Remus seemed to stand at the bedside and to speak these words in a faint murmur: “Look on me, who shared the half, the full half of your tender care, behold what I am come to, and what I was of late! A little while ago I might have been the foremost of my people, if but the birds had assigned the throne to me. Now I am an empty wrath, escaped from the flames of the pyre; that is all that remains of the once great Remus.... [M]ayest thou yield up thy cruel soul through wounds, and pass like me all bloody underneath the earth! My brother willed not this: his love’s a match for mine: he let fall upon my death – ‘twas all he could – his tears. Pray him by your tears, by your fosterage, that he would celebrate a day by single honour done to me.”

As the ghost gave this charge, they yearned to embrace him and stretched forth their arms; the slippery shade escaped the clasping hands. When the vision fled and carried slumber with it, the pair reported to the king his brother’s words. Romulus complied, and gave the name Remuria to the day on which due worship is paid to buried ancestors. In the course of ages the rough letter, which stood at the beginning of the name, was changed into the smooth; and soon the souls of the silent multitude were also called Lemures:

That is the meaning of the word, that is the force of the expression. But the ancients shut the temples on these days, as even now you see them closed at the season sacred to the dead. The times are unsuitable for the marriage both of a widow and a maid: she who marries then, will not live long. For the same reason, if you give weight to proverbs, the people say bad women wed in May. But these three festivals fall about the same time, though not on three consecutive days."

So great. We know all of this now, wtf do we do with it? This is a step beyond psychic spring cleaning. This is a straight up exorcism of any funky spirits hanging around your house. You can't approach this in jest. You need to step up with real and true authority as the master of the space to exorcise anything, let alone pissed off spirits.

It is a time when the veil is thin, so divination is appropriate. If you have already established a relationship with ancestors or those who have crossed over, this is a great time to communicate with them through dreams, pendulums, tarot, clairaudience or whatever psychic abilities you possess. 

If I wanted to go ceremonial, I would find a crossroads where I won't be bothered by other people outside of whomever joined me. I'd cast a circle and inside of it include offerings of garlic and wine for both Nykteria (epithet of Hekate) and Nykterios (epithet of Dionysus) to join the festivities and keep any of their restless hordes from doing something untoward; I would also bring offerings for someone specific I would like to contact, something they enjoyed in life. I don't go around talking to strangers on this plane and I don't do it on other planes either. If someone I don't know wants to come talk to me, they can do it from right outside the edge of my circle.

But that's me. What would you do? Plan to celebrate? I'm picking up the fava beans next week ;)

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I'm finishing up 3 new workshops about my Family 'Craft. I'm a collaborator. I like to work with others. I also don't know the level I'm going to be teaching to. Do there need to be pre-reqs for any of these? Well, actually only one. I've got the makings of two 101 classes and another class that I'd call 202, where you need to have some level of knowledge and practice under your belt to participate in the class, or, really to make the class worth your time.

When I read a series, I start with book number 1. If I jumped ahead I wouldn't know the characters or the history and would spend most of the time catching up. So yeah, there's a 202 class in there.

I don't want to write this one in a bubble. I think I'm going to invite a few people over, of different backgrounds and magickal abilities, and name the topic. I'll talk about the subject a bit, going through what I think are the obvious questions, but then I want the group to ask me questions. From there I can see where things go and what other material I need to include. A beta test lol!

I like interview formats more than "barf out what you know" type classes. I also like classes where you do something. Asking questions is a start, but I prefer to do, so I suppose this class will include what is now commonly known as a "pathworking" even tho I detest calling it that! I don't like the word and I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's overused? Used incorrectly?

Anyway, an evening in May, if you're in the vicinity of NJ, you might just be a beta tester. No "yes wo/men" please. I don't need people who drink the kool-aid or who are there just to be a pal and build my self-esteem with empty praise. My self-esteem is fine. I need honest folks who will challenge me. If you aren't challenged, how do you grow? Oh, that's right: You don't! lol

Speaking of challenges, I'm going to further define the parameters of my Dream Project, because some funny, funny jokers (you know who you are) started harassing me yesterday about being awake after midnight. So here they are:

It starts Monday night, April 18th, and will go for 9 nights to start. There, a dream novena! LOL After those 9 nights, I will assess my progress and move on to another set. This way I get a break if I need it, hopefully I won't but the option will be there. I don't want to put insane pressure on the whole thing because then I might just stop because I was too stressed out to sleep. That's the opposite of what I'm trying to do here.

In Saint Anthony news: I have found the missing items! Hooray! I've also figured out why he was on my mind, but that's a whole other story for a whole other post! Tune in next time; Same Witch station, same Witch channel!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Dream Project

It's time to get serious about sleep. I've always been a night owl. I've always liked staying up late. And honestly, sometimes I just don't want to deal with the dreams. I'm going in on my own terms! Yeah, right. heh.

There's a difference between dreaming and "doing dream work." The former is passive, where most of what comes up is just your brain filing away the details of the day and perhaps someone contacting you, or getting a glimpse ; The later is when you have a plan of travel, a destination and a goal, aka lucid dreaming.

I'm going to buckle down and get disciplined about this. I'm going to be in bed by 10 pm, unwinding, meditating, and planning, and asleep by 11 pm. I will be up by 7 am. Any of you who have friended me on facebook are invited to harass me if you see me on line after 10 pm!

So what's my plan? Instead of hanging out waiting for contact to come my way, I will be calling in certain contacts, including ancestors. When I can, I'll use appropriate incense to set the mood, offerings made during the day, and meditation/hypnosis before sleep to induce a state conducive to dreaming. Sleeping in various energetic constructs is not off the table.

I'm also going to try to be up before the rest of the house so I have a chance to record my dreams as soon as I wake up. So... I'm taking bets on how long that's gonna last...

PS: Saint Anthony was on my mind because I can't find something today. Blah!

Saint Anthony

"Saint Anthony come down, something has to be found!"

I have no idea why I'm supposed to be writing about him tonight, so please pardon the ramble... Tonight's post is a stream of consciousness. He's the patron of lost things, a "thaumaturgist" and performed many a miracle, including a few involving wine. A ship he was traveling on was blown off course to Sicily, but as they arrived safely, he is the patron of sailors and anyone making a living on a boat, which is half of Italy lol

He was also real big on Mary. As in wrote about and promoted the ideas of her being born without sin and about her assumption. Cool, huh? He was called the "Hammer of the Heretics" not because he went around killing people, but because he was so inspiring he brought people back to the church. Patron of the lost... communication... am I going somewhere? Too easy.

He carries a lily, which is a sign of fertility and motherhood. In one legend the flower was said to be created from the breast milk of Hera, in another, it was the envy of Venus. Yet another ties it to Minoan Crete and the Goddess Britomartis, who is syncretized to Artemis (and therefore Diana? heh).

Funny that Saint Anthony is supposed to be the protector of marriage, as was Hera. Why is he the patron of marriage and procreation and protector of young brides?
Saint Anthony's Fire is caused by ergot, which is  alleged to be the main ingredient in the drink used in the Eleusinian Mysteries.

I'm just rambling on here. Thanks for coming on the journey. If you have something to add about Saint Anthony, please do. There are more details, but instead of typing them out, I'm taking them into my dream with me. Nighty night!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gods of the Crossroads

I started this post 15 hours ago. It's been a long day since...

We've discussed Hekate and Diana here, as well as Janus as liminal and crossroads deities. We haven't really discussed Mercury in this capacity.

Mercury is also a God of the Crossroads. His aspect as a liminal deity seems to have been poured into Janus as a guardian of doorways, at least in Rome. Are the two the same? Was Janus a provincial representation of Mercury? Speaking of conflating deities, let's look at some deities who share the following aspects:

Trickster, communication, psychopomp, magic, commerce, crossroads.

Mercury, Hermes, Papa Legba, Thoth, Janus/Dianus. How many others fit into here?

Janus was also known as Pater, and first amongst the Gods, to be honored first in everything. Papa Legba as well- he is invoked first: he knows every language, can send every message and is allegedly frisky too! I think the "trickster" epithet should really be translated to "cunning." The type who will give you exactly what you want, despite the consequences to you. ie: never say: "Make me a sandwich." Erf.........................

This post, as many others before it, has taken me to the far reaches of the ancient world. I've gone from the Orishas of West Africa to the Berbers of East Africa, back to Samothrace and the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. Somehow, except for Djehuti, managed to avoid Egypt. Well, I really didn't manage it, I just didn't want to go into Egyptian influence on the Berbers lol

My Facebook status earlier was "too much information!" and sometimes it's true. Sometimes I just want to go outside and spin and let the information settle where it needs to go. Sometimes I don't like doing this daily post business because I want to take my time to go deeper.

I think that on the kalends I will read over the posts from the previous month and pick a thread to pursue.

Apologies for the start of a thread, it's one of many I hope to continue soon!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Magic Math

I've never enjoyed math class, except for algebra. Since that was philosophy, it doesn't count. Maybe I just never had the right teacher. I hated geometry so much that I haven't gone near sacred geometry. I will admit, however, that I have a thing for Pythagoras. I just do and I can't explain it. Again, likely more philosophy than math. The only geometry I was ever willing to do was cast a chart. Back in the day we didn't have computers to do it for us, we did it by hand! Uphill in both directions and through snowstorms! Argh, who let out the cranky old folks? lol Seriously, it's why I know there are 1440 minutes in a day without having to think about it.

Tonight I was drawn to explore the math-y side of things which lead me to a cute web site which reminded me of Magic Squares. I don't mean the numbers ones. The only magic number math I can do is sudoku. I was reading tonight about Pythagorean numerical magic squares, the harmonics of the universe, Chinese numerology and how it is similar to Pythagorean numerology and how a Chinese author believes Pythagoras came by a lot of his knowledge from India and China and just happened to bring it back to Greece. Looks like I have a Chinese counterpart! Just don't get me started on that who invented pasta thing (and ffs don't call them noodles when talking to me!).

I have a headache tonight and don't want a mathematically induced headache on top of that, so I moved on to magic palindrome squares, specifically the Sator-Rotas square The earliest version of this square was found in the ruins of Pompeii. Other versions have been found in Europe. I was meditating on the square tonight and found myself getting a bit of the vertigo. Don't meditate on anything used for thousands of years as a magickal charm when you are not feeling your best. Seriously, just turn away now. I'm not even posting the image of the square here because I can't stand to look at it again. So to let you in on the fun, go take a peek at the pictures up on wiki as well as the cute website I mentioned earlier. It has all sorts of ancient Greek and Roman math games including a click through picture labyrinth and a few ancient jokes of which I will leave you with one:

Ἀφυὴς γραμματικὸς ἐρωτηθείς· ἡ μήτηρ Πριάμου τίς ἐκαλεῖτο; ἀπορῶν ἔφη· ἡμεῖς κατὰ τιμὴν κυρίαν αὐτὴν καλοῦμεν. 
An incompetent schoolteacher was asked who the mother of Priam was. Not knowing the answer, he said: "It's polite to call her Ma'am".


I've been working on the NYC Pagan Pride website today as well as creating (over and over and over again, thanks to retrograde) web applications for all of the participants and for our scholarship.

One thing that I noted about NYC in comparison to other places, was that it all seemed like everyone kept to themselves, everyone had their group and it wasn't often that everyone got together. Then again, that's kinda how NYC is in general: You don't talk to people on the subway either. Heh. I wish I could get out to more events, to see what other groups are like, how they work, what the practice, etc. Unfortunately, it's a matter of making the time to do it. We're working on more PNOs and hopefully folks will respond in a positive way.

I'm very excited to be diving back into planning for this really cool event which brings people out not just from NYC, but from the tri-state area. It's wonderful to network with so many interesting people, not to mention hang out for the day in direct sight of the Statue of Liberty. I know I've posted about this before, but this is what I'm consumed with today.

Yes, I'm crazy for doing all of this technical stuff during retrograde, but it really is time. I'm considering it cleaning out my html closet.

Hmm something dall'Italia? ok. I was chatting with Karen, the lovely proprietor of Mystic Spirit in Montclair. She asked me if I have a cimaruta. I have a modern version hanging out in the house, but there's also a private one too. The family crest isn't something you show off. I wonder if my being so very closed-mouthed about these things was nature or nurture. For my astrology-minded compatriots out there: When I was 4.5 my sun progressed to Scorpio. Think that has something to do with it? LOL

Speaking of astrology, check out the wiki for Luca Gaurico, a famous Italian astrologer from the time of the Italian Renaissance!

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Today I saw:

• A baby bluebird taking it's first flight. At first I thought it was a butterfly, it was so small, but then I noticed the round body in addition to the flapping wings and realized that it wasn't a swirly butterfly, but a baby taking off!

• Three deer, 2 of which were very young youngins!

• Cherry Blossoms

•  Bluebirds

• A Crow

And this article. There is a pair of red-tailed Hawks who have made a nest on the 12th floor of NYU's library. There are 3 eggs in the nest and they're predicted to hatch around April 22nd. 

So a hawk family, sacred to Mercury, is perched on the 12th floor of a massive library (from which I get my awesomely cool occult books). Yeah, that just works. I'm gonna watch for the hatchlings!

Enjoy Spring!

Friday, April 8, 2011

101 202 303.... hike!

A blog reader sent me an e-mail today asking where to start reading. I realize that I've posted a lot of books and articles and authors and it's hard to figure out where to begin. For someone interested in Witchcraft dall'Italia, I'd have to say start with the Mario Pazzaglini expaded edition of Aradia: Gospel of Witches. This is what Italians were practicing right as they started emigrating to America. So for those of us who are only a few generations away from The Motherland, it can really resonate with what you were surrounded with as a kid. Leland didn't get any deep secrets, but what he was shown of the every day practices are much of what our families carried over on the boat.

I need to reread the Peter Kingsley books I posted last night to honestly rank them as beginner or advanced. I know that I looooved them, but I've always had a philosopher's heart. I'm a Libra, what can I say, we like to debate the nature of things. I was already loving Pythagoreas and Empedocles and Parmenides from back in the day. So if you have the disposition of a philosopher and like lots of educated chat that isn't today's spoon-fed lowest common denominator drivel, go find Peter Kingsley's books.

If you like archaeology and practical evidence to illustrate past practices, Marguerite Rigoglioso is the way to go. She has opinions and backs them up with evidence.

For stories of how deity was viewed in pop culture, read the Aeneid or Metamorphoses. Virgil and Ovid were poets and tweaked stories to please patrons and others they were trying to impress, so keep that in mind, but they are nice, soap opera-ish narrative stories and you read deities acting in context.

All of it really is cumulative. They all add to the landscape, just in different ways.

What I've read of Leo Martello's work is a bit dated (late 60s/early 70s?) but he really put it out there in a no bullshit kind of way that I admire. (Must be the Sicilian!) Talk about a trail blazer! I will happily sit in the New York Public Library to read Curses in Verses until the estate finds a way to publish them again!

OK, Field trip to the NYPL to read Curses in Verses!


Not only does it repeat itself, if you don't have a foundation in the history of your people and your craft, how are you going to know when and how to wield whatever power or skills you have been acquiring? I want to know where my practices come from. I want to know why and how they evolved the way they did. Don't you? It might help us to avoid the mistakes of our Ancestors, or right an ancient wrong. Yeah, that last part is a little dramatic, so back to the topic:

I hate when people act like an idea is new just because it's new to them. If people waste time reinventing the wheel of the year, we're not going to move forward. You don't need to reinvent Pythagoras or Empedocles or Parmenides, you just have to read what they've left behind for us. Well, what has survived anyway. How can anyone who purports to be part of a mystery tradition, or aspire to be an initiate not read these ancient works on the very nature of The Mysteries and the Universe? Is it because no one teaches them anymore? Because no moderns teachers stress these ancient writers?

That's all I have for tonight. I'm still looking for the article I had on Persephone and Aphrodite as two sides of the same coin, tho thinking about it, and talking to a fellow bibliophile, I might be recalling Peter Kingsley's Dark Places of Wisdom, or another of his books, Reality, or maybe Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic: Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition. It's been a while and I need a refresher.

I'm always looking for more!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Owning It

Tonight I did the Dark Moon ritual I typically do every month in honor of Hekate, but this time there were two others involved. It was different and interesting and the energy flowed in a way that it hadn't when I've done it previously. Except for the first time, when I was given the ritual, I've done it on my own.

I explained to them that my rituals are mostly organic. I don't like working from a script. I work from the heart, and as directed by deity and/or what or whomever I am working with at that moment. Doing this ritual every month was a way for me to practice the skill of following a script and internalizing it enough to make it truly powerful work. Of course I still add to it and change it as I am moved to do, and I don't mean in the whimsical way. The difference this time was that I had to guide them through the inspired additions and find words to express it clearly and quickly to not lose the moment.

Before starting, the three of us agreed on the basics, what work we were doing, who to call in, and they even rolled with it when we went off script because something wanted to happen for us. I'm not going to go into all of the details, but it was a wonderful, energetic experience, at least for me, I can't speak for anyone else. For folks who wanted to read along, I was impressed with how easily they went with the flow and Owned it. The three of us left walking taller. Funny that the two incidents when the phone rang happened when invoking Hekate and then again later when saying thanks and good night. Ah, the Holy Bells LOL

I had a great night, hope all of you did too!

Work The Work!


My dream last night involved 3 of the usual 4 Archangels. Actually, all 4 were involved. It was an intense dream and I'm not really ready to put it out there yet. However, thanks to the awesomeness of the intertubes, I ran into a virtual friend who I'm sure will one day be a terraspace friend. He and I had a very interesting discussion and he recommended a whole load of books and authors for me to read. I'm going to post it here in case anyone is interested in the topic:

The Angelic Magical system of Madeline Montalbahn (I can hear the Gardenerians groaning now)
"Sacred Magic of the Angels" by David Goddard
"Book of Fallen Angels" Michael Howard
The Book of Enoch
The Chaldean Oracles

Funny, it feels like I'm avoiding sleep tonight. It was a great dream, really detailed and involved and informative and I don't know. Not sure I could do two intense dreams in a row. I'm gonna quit being a baby about it now and go to bed lol

Monday, April 4, 2011

Work It

I've had the same conversation twice today and here was my basic advice: Find your Deity, do daily devotions, weekly offerings and monthly rituals. To expand a bit:

Figure out which deity or deities you want to work with or figure out who might want to work with you. Use meditation, divination, both, whatever means you use to arrive at these conclusions. Create a dedication ritual if that's your thing. You don't have to dedicate to the deity on a permanent basis, you're dedicating your efforts to the work that is to be done. Look for the signs that your offer has been accepted. The form depends on you and the deity involved.

Commit to a daily devotional practice. Show your dedication to the work, your drive and your determination. This blog is part of my daily devotional practice and it has helped me to grow faster than any teacher I have had to date. Pick something you will do daily, for the moon cycle or the season. That way you're free to find what kinds of things really work for you and your schedule/situation.

Commit to weekly offerings: To the aforementioned deity of choice, and to those who will help you with your work. This can be as simple as a statement of gratitude and burning incense or lighting a candle.

Commit to monthly rituals: Depending on the deities involved you might want to work on the full or new moon or a certain day of the week. Use this time to work with your deity of choice, receive, meditate, visualize, pathwork, spellcast, divine, whatever work you need to do.

I mentioned my Hekate ritual last night and a few of the visions I received. Today during my daily round of research and study I made so many connections that my head started spinning. Many of the pieces of information were already there in my memory from my foundation of study, and today, it all coalesced.

I mentioned lions last night. I found them today. All of the imagery that came up... I've found where it is tho I am still looking for the paintings on the ceiling. I don't know that there are images left today. It wasn't actually the New York public library, but all of the steps, the archways, the reliefs and friezes... it all connects to my Patrons, to what I call them, to the origin of my family name and my bloodline.

Why has this part of my magickal identity only been revealed to me now? How frustrating, right? lol Some of it is timing: Deities bide their time. They have a different concept than we do. I wasn't ready. I have never worked The Work this consistently or at this level before.

Why not?

Possibly because I grew up with it. I rebelled as a teenager and didn't really work it all that much. Most teenagers think they know it all anyway! LOL Like most kids, I didn't have time to discover the mysteries of the esoteric world because I was too busy discovering the wonders of the mundane world. I wasn't ready then to make the commitment I have made now. It's not for everyone. There is a great responsibility when it comes to this work and nothing is ever revealed to you for your own edification. To borrow a few words from my Rabbi: You need to accept the responsibility and the consequences of your decision to do this work. You get out of it what you put into it. 

I am so effing excited tonight that I am giddy. I want to rush off to sleep just to see what I dream about, but I want to stay awake and do more practical research and find more things that validate my visions! I hope that my post inspires someone out there to take up what they can of The Work for the greater good and discover their Magic.

Dark Moon

I work with Hekate as the Dark Moon.

Here is a hymn to Her from sometime during the 400's CE which includes Janus

Hymn VI: To Hekate and Janus
Hail, many-named Mother of the Gods, whose children are fair
Hail, mighty Hekate of the Threshold
And hail to you also Forefather Janus, Imperishable Zeus
Hail to you Zeus most high.
Shape the course of my life with luminous Light
And make it laden with good things,
Drive sickness and evil from my limbs.
And when my soul rages about worldly things,
Deliver me purified by your soul-stirring rituals.
Yes, give me your hand I pray
And reveal to me the pathways of divine guidance that I long for,
Then shall I gaze upon that precious Light
Whence I can flee the evil of our dark origin.
Yes, give me your hand I pray,
And when I am weary bring me to the haven of piety with your winds.
Hail, many-named mother of the Gods, whose children are fair
Hail, mighty Hekate of the Threshold
And hail to you also Forefather Janus, Imperishable Zeus,
Hail to you Zeus most high.

This was written by Proclus Diadochus, He was one of the last classical philosophers. He studied at Alexandria. He traveled abroad for a year, allegedly seeing to be initiated into all of the Mystery Traditions he could find (He lived in the 400's CE when christiatnity had already taken hold). Why? Because, quoth wiki, he was trying to become "a priest of the entire universe"

Interesting that I was led back to this hymn, to this writer, tonight after my Hekate ritual. I sat in silence for some time, letting myself be filled with visions. I opened a gate, behind it was fog. It could've been a cemetery or a library. It was the latter. An old one. Actually, it was as if the New York Public library and this ancient place were superimposed over each other. I walked up many steps, past stone lions to large, dark wooden doors. Inside both scenes were again superimposed, making me a bit dizzy. There were modern0ish book covers, that old book smell, and dark wooden shelves. One part was dark, but the center was lit up as if there were hidden fluorescent lights shining on the painted, gilded ceiling. That's all I'm going into for now. It was an interesting experience. Communing with Hekate always is.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Modern Rome

Almost every day, especially in the warmer months, a festival is celebrated in the city, most of which are yearly traditions with their particular ways, and where they take place and what happens and which group runs it. Things are done very differently in most areas of the rest of the country, including different versions of celebrations, different dialects, different lingo, etc.

Ancient Rome? Newp. Modern day NYC.

The USA is Italy. New York City is Rome. D.C. is Aricia lol  New York is unique to the rest of the country, as was Rome to Italy. Many other towns might have their local celebrations, but what's televised nationally? The NY Thanksgiving Day Parade. The NY Columbus Day Parade, and so on.

So what's this all about tonight? Just trying to put things into perspective. I have a calendar of Roman festivals. Note that it's not a calendar of ITALIAN festivals. The modern group isn't Religio Italia, it's Religio Romana.

There are smaller celebrations of various holidays in some areas around the US, or they're not observed at all, but you can make a pretty safe bet that no matter how obscure a holiday, it will be celebrated in NYC and if it's a big holiday? New Year's Eve is celebrated where? Times. Square.

I believe it was the same thing in Rome, especially if Rome had a vested interest in moving the seat of power from a city they conquered to assimilate them. This post seems a bit fluffy but, thinking about it this way, I feel like I have a deeper understanding of what the relationship of Rome to it's neighbors was like, especially in regard to being the seat of an official celebration.


Having been in, and having had close friends in various magickal groups over the years, several of which are initiatory, the subject of when and how has come up on more than one occasion. Every group has a style, some are more weighty than others, etc etc.

I was told a story tonight about someone who didn't want to accept an initiation into a newly born tradition because she wanted to see the thing whole first and then decide. She couldn't wrap her head around the idea of why she had to be initiated first. After all, if you don't have to "work" for it, what does it mean?

That's how it works for some of us. You are checked out, watched, taught without knowing it, and once given the high sign, you can be brought inside. However, first you have to be initiated. Isn't that putting the cart before the horse? Not at all. There are things you can't and won't understand until you have been hooked into that flow of energy. There is also the matter of loyalty and secrecy.

Here's an analogy: Think of it as being hired for a classified, high level government job. A background check is done. If you pass that, your current skill set is surveyed to see if you need additional specialized training. Once you're up to date, you're officially hired and given the key to the office where all of the classified files are locked away. Without that key, you're not getting anything behind that locked door.

Initiation is that key.

How do you dip into the pool of knowledge, of Ancestors, without first getting wet? You can't. Honestly, I think many do it backwards (I said many, not all). Just because you can check off a list of books does not make you an initiate of anything other than

Friday, April 1, 2011


This is post # 100!

I thought I'd celebrate a little bit. All day long I've felt like I'm standing in the middle of an insanely messy room with no idea how to start organizing. I suppose Mercury isn't quite up to speed in His current retrograde, hopefully it will pass tomorrow and I will be able to take a look at all of the old business with fresh eyes and Mars willing, the motivation to get it done.

Realizing that this is post #100 on the blog has helped me to organize my thoughts a bit. It was a pretty hectic evening and I'm just unwinding now. So let's talk about Italian celebrations, modern and ancient.

Cent'anni literally means 100 years, but is often translated as "May you live for 100 years" or at weddings, "May you have 100 years together."

Confetti: No, not the bits of paper, the sugared almonds. They go back to Ancient Rome and were given out for all manner of celebrations including births and birthdays as well as weddings as bomboniera, aka favors. The traditional number to give to each guest is 5:

Five sugared almonds for each guest to eat
To remind us that life is both bitter and sweet.
Five wishes for the new husband and wife --
Health, wealth, happiness, children, and a long life!
More wedding traditions: The Groom carries a piece of iron for good luck and to guard against bad luck. No weddings in May or August. The feast of the Manes is in May, and Nemoralia is in August.The night before the wedding, the bride-to-be wears green for prosperity.

Speaking of weddings, and presumably, love, Tomorrow, April 1st, is the Veneralia. Actually, the kalends of April, or first crescent of the new moon, was the date in the ancient calendar. So why is April the month of Venus? I personally side with the theory that the Etruscan version of her name, Aprodita, is the origin. Now the question is did the Etruscans get it from the Greeks, or did the Greeks get their Aphrodite from the Etruscans? Or is it all just from the Sumerian anyway? lol

The Veneralia, on the first day of Venus’ month, honors Venus Verticordia (Changer of Hearts) and Her companion Fortuna Virilis (Bold Fortune). In ancient times all the women, married and unmarried, went to the men's baths, as today they might go to swimming pools. Upon arriving they offer incense to Fortuna Virilis and pray that the men will not see any blemishes the women might have. They make a libation and drink the potion Venus drank on Her wedding night: pounded poppy with milk and honey. An ancient commentary (probably by Verrius) says they go to the baths to view the men's virile members. The women, crowned with myrtle wreaths, bathe and pray that Venus will bring them concord and a modest life. Ovid says, “beauty and fortune and good fame are in Her keeping.”

In addition, the women remove the jewelry and other ornaments from the statues of Venus and Fortuna so that they can be washed, after which they are redecorated and adorned with roses (Venus’s flower). [OF IV.133-64; SFR 96-7]

Poppy with milk and honey... Very interesting. Venus was wearing a myrtle wreath when Paris gave her the golden apple. That was her plant while the Rose is her flower. More about the cult of Venus in Cyprus another time!

Tonight I'll leave you with an Italian proverb, often used as a wedding toast, which in this time of the internet is especially true:

“It is around the table that friends understand best the warmth of being together.”