Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Other fun things

I did some really wonderful, necessary, Mercury-is-direct-and-we're-retreading-ground type work tonight for the new moon, and I'm just wiped out from the energetic output. I'm going to take a mulligan on this post and hope to be up n at em again tomorrow! In the meanwhile, here are some fun articles to read and videos to watch:

An article by James Jacob Pierri on Hypatia of Alexandria and Aradia. A good, quick read!

Nemesis is recommending Tubelo's Green Fire by Shani Oates. I've always had an interest in the Clan of Tubal Cain and the way Nemesis is gushing about this book, I plan to read it too. Bibliophiles unite!!!

The movie Anonymous, about Edward De Vere as the real writer behind "Shakespeare." Why do I care so much? Because I love a good conspiracy, Shakespeare moves me, and Edward De Vere was a contemporary of Giordano Bruno and John Dee and wrote about both in Hamlet and The Tempest respectively. He also included Pagan deities in every play, including Diana, Apollo, Mercury, and Hecate. Also, everything in the plays matches up to events in De Vere's life. I also love a well costumed period piece and I need folks to go see this with with me. Check out the trailer!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


What's the big deal about writing things down? Typing is faster! Neater! With typing, you can get the words out almost as quickly as they come to mind. Imagine what "Shakespeare" could have done with a computer!

Yet, a certain something missing: Unless you know the author, you won't always be able to understand the tone in which something is typed. Sometimes when you have heard the author you can still misinterpret their meaning or project a tone of your own invention onto their words. It's happened to me, and recently too.

There is magic in a page that is handwritten. Your tone can be read in the stroke of the pen. A whole science has risen up around the art of writing, called graphology. Curiously, Leo Martello was a graphologist and wrote books and lectured on the subject. It's called a "pseudoscience" by some, which I don't understand, because it has been and continues to be used to identify people legally. Funny how most things which require the art of interpretation are called "pseudoscience."

Depending on your personality or mood, or thoughts of the moment, your handwriting changes. I know that when I'm in a rush my penship is particularly illegible. It looks rushed. Here is a page which defines the different traits of penship. It has examples, and really involved explanations and a few profiles too. But I digress...

You are putting yourself, your energy, into the words. It takes time and thought and a deliberate act of committing something to the page. Here, I just delete typos or a turn of phrase I don't like. When writing, you simply take more care in what you say and how you say it. There is a reason magical rites, if written, are copied by hand. It's an investment of energy, another literal passing of the torch between student and teacher.

I will endeavor to write by hand much more often. My penship is awful when I don't stay in practice!

I'm going to leave off here tonight with a promise to explore automatic writing, history, practice and techniques some time soon!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Weathering the Storm

I hope everyone is safe and well, with power and supplies! We had a tense night here. The power was out for about 6 hours, but that was just before sunrise. To prep kiddo for possible emergency conditions, I put things in the context of Little House on the Prairie: No electricity, depending on their stock of food and water, working with the land, depending on the sun and moon for light, and finding fun things to do that didn't involve electronics! As an aside, I had a total crush on Almonzo when I watched the Little House tv series. I felt old when he showed up as Buffy's dad. >.<

I was thinking about how our ancestors lived in the moment, with the seasons, by the land and by the moon. Kiddo watched a tv show where the group went out at night on a full moon and they were scared- they said it was "spooky." We talked about how the full moon was an awesome time because it was bright at night and you could actually see. The Dark Moon was more worrisome because there really was no light by which to find your way after sunset.

Makes me think about ancient dark moon rites. I don't think too many folks were gathering outside. This celebration was done in the family home, at the hearth, or on a sacred spot on the family property. Well, at least in my family. I don't want to assume what others did.

This isn't a deep diary tonight. It's been a tense day. We'll pick back up tomorrow. Thank you to everyone who sent prayers, energy and offerings to protect and support us and everyone in the path of the hurricane!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Thanks to Dusio for bringing up Tempesta and the Tempestates. There isn't much out there about Her or Them unless you really look. I am grateful for Google Books! I was able to take my research over there and came across the book Rome and Carthage at peace by Robert E. A. Palmer. In it there are a few references to the Tempestates. I went there because I knew that Scipio was the one who dedicated the temple. Turns out he did it because he was on his way to wage war with the Carthaginians.

I'm of two minds on this: The Aeneid starts out with Juno calling upon Aeolus to loose the storm winds to decimate Aeneis' ships. So is Scipio's offering, which was the same as the one made in The Aeneid, plus his promise to build a temple in honor of Juno? Is Tempesta one of Her epithets? One of Her Aspects? The temple dedication/celebration was done on June first, the celebration of Juno Moneta.

Other theory: He felt like Juno was after him (She was the Patroness of Carthage!), so he made offerings and promises to the Tempestes to spare him. His dedication on one of Juno's festival dates could be taken as trying to overwrite her.

More theories abound! In the book I mentioned above, the author theorizes that the storm deities were Punic in origin. In a play written hundreds of years after the temple was dedicated, a seafaring merchant delivers this speech:

quom bene re gesta salvos convortor domum
Neptuno grates habeo et Tempestatibus
simul Mercurio qui me in mercimoniis
iuvit lucris que quadrupli cavit rem meam

Here's my crappy amateur translation:

When the house (domain? boat?) was saved from veering
I thanked Neptune and The Tempests
At the same time, Mercury in some way gained me four times the worth of my merchandise.

I tried using google translate to help, but it was a clunker. It doesn't really work with idioms. Anyway, that's what the basic gist sounds like to me. Thanks to Neptune, to The Tempests, and to Mercury for successful seafaring.

Add another book to my virtual list, I'm enjoying the preview of this one!

I hope all are safe and well. Please continue to dissipate the storm and push it far out to sea!

Tempestas Roman Goddess of storms.

Dear Goddess Tempestas,

I realize that this is the 1st time we have conversed together. For that I am sorry. I have a rather unique request of you. With Irene on the way, my basement is sure to flood dangerously high. It always does at such times. I have two sump pumps standing guard just ready and waiting to pump out the onslaught of water. The last time the heavy snows of winter melted and we had a long hard driving rain, I woke up to a foot of water in the basement. It almost killed my furnace and it did snuff out the pilot on my hot water heater. Luckily my plumber was able to save the hot water heater.

My worry this time is that if we lose power, my sump pumps will not be able to do their jobs. Thereby killing my hot water heater, furnace, and quite possibly my artesian well pump. This would in turn cost me thousands of dollars which I do not currently have. I have home owners insurance but I believe they like to call these mishaps an act of God, which God I'm not quite sure, but in any event they don't care and they just refuse to replace these much needed items in my home.

So now that Hurricane Irene is barreling up the coast it looks like I am in perfect alignment with her path. I pray that you can either give her a little nudge out to sea or somehow let my little house please not lose it's power. I do have one particularly huge tree in my front yard that I also asked be spared. It is a beautiful old maple that has supplied years of protection to the house. Should that get uprooted, it surely will take out all of the power lines leading into my house. So as you can see, I certainly am in quite a predicament here. I promise to leave the light on for you, I pray that you will leave them on as well. Hail Tempestas!

Your humble servant,

Mom Blog Hop!

Some light reading for everyone! Each blog listed itself on this blog hop, so I can't tell you what each one is about or personally recommend all of them, but I'm glad to have new blog sites to check out! Most of them re Mom Blogs and the ones I've read are really funny! 

Hurricane Irene Magical Preparedness plan

It's true: I picked this title just to freak out the people who are looking for mundane plans. (sarcasm!) If that's you, have a nice day, and be prepared and safe! If you're here for some magical advice, read on!

What can we as a community of magical practitioners do to help fix this? There are those who don't believe weather magic is the right thing to do. Some might think that the weather has to do its thing because we don't know how what we do will impact others. I disagree. Aren't you shocked? For something as major as this hurricane is purported to be, let's make an exception. We need to focus on peace, on calming the storm and dissipating the force, on putting up a barrier, and sending it out to sea.

You can't do the work when you're freaked the f*k out. Breathe, ground, center, and get on it.

Pledge to donate all leftover non perishable food supplies procured for this emergency to a food pantry or food drive.

I've felt called to offer something to a deity I am not familiar with, Oya. I don't have a whole lot of time to get familiar right now, so I treated it like a cold call. I have a friend who works with Her, so I introduced myself, pledged an offering She is reputed to like (eggplant, red wine, plums, red grapes... Purple colors!) and asked that it be received in support of the work my friend is doing, which I agree with and support as well. I believe it will be well received.

It might sound silly, but enchant your duct tape, cardboard wood and rope. When you tie something down, make it an actual binding magically as well.

If you're forced to evacuate, you can still lay down the work on your home and ask your Patrons or the land itself to keep vigil for you and protect the place.

For those who work with saints: Ask Saint Irene to take her namesake out to sea! Saint Christopher is supposed to help protect against hurricanes too.

Whenever you have a moment, center, tap into your power, calm yourself and the storm and and push this storm far out to sea.

Let us be kind to each other and helpful; Any kindness upholds the Pax Deorum, the Peace of the Gods, and benefits us all. And don't fight over the last jar of jelly in the store. It's just grapes and sugar!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Kindred Spirits

I've been having the best time catching up on the blog Wandering Woman Wandering. I first came across the blog when searching for a picture of Mercury to use on here. I found one of her posts about Mercury and I loved the way she described him as The God of Exchange. Perfect! I've been going back through her previous posts and between that and our limited email conversations with each other, I have realized something- Not only are we are both devotees of the same deity, but we have had similar experiences with Him. She and I share many of the same opinions on several topics, and gravitate towards similar deities aside from Mercury. I haven't seen a picture yet, but I'm betting that she has a mischievious grin and sparkle in her eyes!

I've taken a look tonight, and an informal poll about the qualities of the followers of different deities. Shall we start with Mercury? I've already mentioned the smile and sparkle, but right there on a devotee's brow, you'll find the trace of his sigil- that is just a little more angular than the crescent moon, tho both dovetail nicely together. You might be marked by Mercury if... are are quick-witted, investigative, snarky, sarcastic, and at times irreverent. ten to ask why and don't just take an answer at face value vacillate between order and disorder feel called to several other deities at once! I don't think he minds sharing, as long as he gets his due.

Don't mistake being called by/to several deities at once for indecision. Mercury is The Opener of The Ways and when He opens things for you, they can be Wide open. You get attention from others. I think Mercury calls those who can multitask on many levels!

The children of Apollo, for another example, are sun-kissed, or just sunburned. They play with fire, literally, and are golden in some way physically, be it their hair or skin or a physical warmth which radiates from them.

Those stamped by The Queens of Heaven - Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna, Hera and others, share a quality of carriage- these are women and men who stand straight. There is a regal posture, a sense of dignity which flows from them. This dignity isn't about being better than, or stuck up, or overconfident, it's literally about having The Goddess inside of you and walking with you. Why would The Regal Queen of Heaven ever slouch? ;)

These are just a few scant examples and involve the Deities and Devotees I work with most often. I really would appreciate community feedback on this one!

I really like this topic. It's something to research and pursue! More questions keep coming up: Would the Mercury traits apply to devotees of Hermes? Or to any of the other deities He is syncretized with? We can also get into the chicken or the egg debate: Is the Deity attracted because the devotee already has the qualities, or does the devotee develop the qualities after they are "stamped" by the Deity?

While you're thinking about that, I recommend you surf over to Wandering Woman Wandering to read the advice on working with multiple deities!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

True Blood (the ties, not the show)

Is it important? Is it necessary? I've been asked these questions often lately. Yes it is important. No, it's not necessary. How can both be correct?

Generally speaking, and never speaking for everyone,  a magical family is exactly that- a family. No matter what issues come between family members, blood is blood. You are literally tied together through your dna despite how you feel about each other. This is also true for in-laws to a lesser extent; It's easier to ignore your in-laws because you don't directly share dna, but you can share descendants. Two grandmothers can't stand each other? Too bad- they still have to deal with each other because of their combined dna, embodied in their grandchild. In adoptive families, you share everything but direct dna. You still share the family obligations and the family "karma" by virtue of having the Ancestors and Patrons of the family conferred upon them. You still share the family ties. Even if you can't stand Aunt So-n-so, you still have an obligation to deal with her, at least minimally. 

When working with la famiglia, you've known them your whole life- you know what you can trust them with, you know what they bring to the table and you know that no matter how you feel about each other, if some straniero comes along and starts something, your annoying ball-breaker of a cousin has your back in both the mundane and magical realms.

There are politics in every group and families are no exception. Family politics can last through generations, and get deeper and dirtier than the backrooms of the US Capitol. It's up to us as descendants to untangle what we can. I've talked before about "the black book" I've inherited- it's not just the accounting of who gave what gift and showed up where, it's also everyone who has ever called vendetta and who responded to the call, who slighted whom and in what way, and so on. Sometimes it feels like the burden of what it really is- the family karma- decisions and their consequences. But I don't have to carry all of them out. Some of it is obligation, but you can discern between the petty bullshit which has outlasted its use/relevance and the grudges which rightfully need to be upheld.

In a magical group that is not family based, it is the work, or the path, which brings people together and the social and emotional ties that keep them together. If you don't enjoy each other's company, why be there? If you don't trust each other outside of sacred space, how can you trust each other inside of it? What happens when the social ties lead to petty politics and the emotional ties are merely cliques of people jockeying for position? There's nothing to fall back on, nothing to tie the group together. It's a risk to take. Is it worth it? Ask the creators of the Golden Dawn. These people came together to work, something came between them, and it imploded (exploded?). Was that a bad thing? I'm sure for them it wasn't fun to go through, but as a forest fire releases new seeds, the end of the Golden Dawn (as it was first formed) planted the seeds of several other organizations which are still around today. Of course it's worth the risk. It won't always be fun, but it will surely be memorable.

When I look at bringing someone into my magical family, it isn't just about folks I'd like to work with, tho that's definitely part of the equation. It's as serious as who I want to adopt into my family with all of the rite and obligations thereof. Many of us have those friends who are so close that they're considered family; That is the kind of relationship I'm talking about and it doesn't develop overnight (unless They tell you it's a nownownow imperative, which has happened too! lol)

I've rambled a bit and I'm going to leave it here and call this a part 1. I'm sure you'll forgive me since Mercury will be stationing direct soon! We're in a mercury storm and I want to save part 2 until after we're back in the swing of things.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Earth done quaketh!

I've always loved this Lewis Black line, but today... not so funny. Colorado in the morning and most of the eastern seaboard in the afternoon! NYC was shaking! WTF!?!

Time to show some love and appreciation for Neptune, the Earth shaker! His domain is more than the sea, it's the crust of the earth itself which lies beneath the seas. I'm posting several different hymns to Him below. I say we start paying attention now and skip the overturned-plastic-chair-ha-ha-look-at-the-"destruction"-neener-neener meme.

Let's also give a nod to Nethuns, the Etruscan (Latin?) predecessor of Neptune. According to various sources, he was originally a God of wells and later came to rule all water. He has much in common with Poseidon and Neptune including the trident, the anchor, the sea horse, and the dolphin. (Thanks to!) According to Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria:
Neptune is of rare occurrence in Etruscan monuments, which is singular, considering the maritime character of the people. The name "Nethuns" occurs on a mirror in the Gregorian Museum (Vol. II. p520). Gerhard (Gottheit. pp2, 19) regards this as the Latin name, and doubts if Neptune were an Etruscan deity, though he is said to have been one of the Penates (Arnob. adv. Nat. III.40; Serv. ad Aen. II.325), but Müller (III.3, 4) says justly, if the name be not Etruscan, that people must have had a god of the sea.

XVI. To Neptune
The Fumigation from Myrrh
Hear, Neptune [Poseidon], ruler of the sea profound,
whose liquid grasp begirts the solid ground;
Who, at the bottom of the stormy main,
dark and deep-bosom'd, hold'st thy wat'ry reign;
Thy awful hand the brazen trident bears,
and ocean's utmost bound, thy will reveres:
Thee I invoke, whose steeds the foam divide,
from whose dark locks the briny waters glide;
Whose voice loud founding thro' the roaring deep,
drives all its billows, in a raging heap;
When fiercely riding thro' the boiling sea,
thy hoarse command the trembling waves obey.
Earth shaking, dark-hair'd God,
the liquid plains (the third division) Fate to thee ordains,
'Tis thine, cærulian dæmon, to survey well pleas'd the monsters of the ocean play,
Confirm earth's basis, and with prosp'rous gales waft ships along, and swell the spacious sails;
Add gentle Peace, and fair-hair'd Health beside,
and pour abundance in a blameless tide.

To Poseidon
I begin to sing about Poseidon, the Great God, mover of the earth and fruitless sea,
God of the deep who is also lord of Helicon and wide Aegae.
A two-fold office the gods allotted you, O Shaker of the Earth,
to be a tamer of horses and a saviour of ships!
Hail, Poseidon, Holder of the Earth, dark-haired lord!
O blessed one, be kindly in heart and help those who voyage in ships!

Here is a poem written by Arion, who was rescued by a dolphin. He wrote this in thanks and praise of Neptune:

Highest of the Gods, Lord of the sea,
Poseidon of the golden trident, earth-shaker in the swelling brine, a
round thee the finny monsters (theres) in a ring swim and dance,
with nimble flingings of their feet leaping lightly, snub-nosed hounds with bristling neck, swift runners, music-loving dolphins, sea-nurslings of the Nereis (Nereid) maids divine, whom Amphitrite bore,
even they that carried me, a wanderer on the Sikelian (Sicilian) main, to the headland of Tainarion (Taenarum) in Pelops' land,mounting me upon their humped backs as they clove the furrow of Nereus' plain, a path untrodden, when deceitful men had cast me from their sea-faring hollow ship in to the purple swell of sea.

Finally, a hymn written during the late 1500s or early 1600s by Thomas Campion:

A Hymn in Praise of Neptune

Of Neptune's empire let us sing,
At whose command the waves obey;
To whom the rivers tribute pay,
Down the high mountains sliding:
To whom the scaly nation yields
Homage for the crystal fields
   Wherein they dwell:
And every sea-dog pays a gem
Yearly out of his wat'ry cell
To deck great Neptune's diadem.

The Tritons dancing in a ring
Before his palace gates do make
The water with their echoes quake,
Like the great thunder sounding:
The sea-nymphs chant their accents shrill,
And the sirens, taught to kill
   With their sweet voice,
Make ev'ry echoing rock reply
Unto their gentle murmuring noise
The praise of Neptune's empery.

Monday, August 22, 2011


I used to DJ an internet radio show and for a while I've been thinking about doing it again. I was introduced to so much diverse music thanks to my listeners sending in requests. That's part of what I miss- the adventure of discovery. I've taken a poll tonight, asking what my Pagan Friends have been listening to. I personally have Firebird's Child by SJ Tucker stuck in my head! What are you listening to, Pagan-wise? Kindly share in comments here or on the facebook page!

Songs stuck in other heads:

Calling the twelve Gods -  Daemonia Nymphe

The Magus - Cassandra Syndrome

The Burning Times - Charlie Murphy

Mind Of The Wonderful -  Blank & Jones

Hope you've had a bit of fun discovering some new songs along with me. I'll leave you tonight with the video for the number one Pagan song virus, Inkubus Sukubus and their Wytches Chant. It really is a good bedtime song! 

Canticle of the Sun

Another day we'll go into the awesomeness of Saint Francis. Tonight I'm in a mood for poetry and synchronicity led me to this. One of the best Pagan songs I've ever been acquainted with. Pagans use "Lord" too; he word isn't the province of Christians. Get past that, and it's a lovely a Pagan song as any ;)

Canticle of the Sun

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.
To you, alone, Most High, do they belong.

No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!

Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you;
through those who endure sickness and trial.

Happy those who endure in peace,
for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve him with great humility.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"I'm not a Wiccan"

*Addendum: This is one of the few posts I have ever edited for content after it was posted. I removed two paragraphs in which I lauded and defended people who have since not acted in accordance with what I lauded in the first place. I couldn't let the post stand as it was and have removed it. Back to our regularly scheduled blogging*

I have heard this phrase a dozen times in the past week, and not from my own mouth, but unsolicited from others.

I work with Wiccans and study with Wiccans and celebrate with them too. However, I am not Wiccan. I also practice yoga, celebrate puja, use henna, and on occasion wear a sari but that does not make me Hindu either. However, a friend tried to tell me that I must be Wiccan because I joined up with a coven. (She didn't say I must be Hindu because I celebrate puja.) This friend is also often mistaken for a Wiccan and argues that she is not. Curious, that.

*edited content was removed from here. The original post is saved in a file*

Whatever the origins of the word "wicca," it has come to be a substitute for the word "Witch" when dealing with the muggles. It is used as a shield from the baggage and drama associated with "Witchcraft." However, amongst our own (and by "our own" I mean Pagans), I see a rising tide of defensiveness. Those of us who are not Wiccan are speaking up more often. I made a mention today about Wiccans and the person I was talking to thought I meant that they were a Wiccan. They got defensive really quickly. This actually happened many times today. It was volunteered out of nowhere as if the universe was spurring me to finally post this post. The tone of the talk implied that Wiccans aren't "serious" or are bound by the rede and therefore won't do the dirty work when it has to be done. Again, not true about all Wiccans, but those are the exception it seems. The McWiccans are giving actual practitioners of Wicca a bad name.

Honestly, I'm glad to know others get defensive as well. Nice to know it's not just me ;) Speaking of getting defensive and about Wicca, let's turn to one of my favorite topics: Wiccans who poo-poo Leland.

On page 66 of Gypsy sorcery and fortune telling by Leland, he notes:
"As the English word, Witch, Angle-Saxon Wicca, comes from a root implying wisdom, so the pure Slavonian word, vjestica, Bulgarian, vjescirica, meant originally the one knowing or well informed, and it has preserved the same power in allied languages, as Veaa (new Slovenish), knowledge, Vedavica, a fortune-teller by cards, Viedma (Russian), a Witch and Vedwin fatidicus."
He goes on and on about the different words used in different countries. This was published in 1889. Should we onlty call Ango-Saxon Witches "Wiccans?" is it as specific as the word "Strega" is to Italian? Leland continues:
"But it enrages the Witches so much to be called by this word that when they hear that anyone has used it they come to his house by night and tear him into four pieces which they cast afar into the four quarters of the earth... so intolerable is their wrath"
It wasn't my point to dissect the word "Wicca" or to threaten dismemberment should anyone call me that.  My peeve here is that the same people who cite Leland's work as evidence of the validity of this word are the same people who argue that Aradia, and the information he gathered on Witchcraft in Italy is bunk. You can't have it both ways!

OK, the soapbox is put away. For now. I've posed a question on our Facebook Page, please feel free to answer it here in comments or on the page itself:

Poll question for the Strega and other non-wiccans out here: Does it bother you when people assume you're a Wiccan? What do you say, if anything?

Saturday, August 20, 2011


The God of sleep, and I have not been on the best terms of late, so here is an ode to Hypnos the bountiful, who could be so easily syncretized to Mercury. I will resist the temptation for the moment and save that for another day. Thanks be to Ovid for providing the words, the key to to this benevolent deity.

“O, Hypnos,
divine repose of all things!
Gentlest of the deities!
Peace to the troubled mind,
from which you drive the cares of life.
Restorer of men's strength
when wearied with the toils of day.” 

Sarpedon's  body carried by Hypnos and Thanatos while Mercury watches

The House of Somnus

Near the Cymmerians, in his dark abode,
Deep in a cavern, dwells the drowzy God;
Whose gloomy mansion nor the rising sun,
Nor setting, visits, nor the lightsome noon;
But lazy vapours round the region fly,
Perpetual twilight, and a doubtful sky:
No crowing cock does there his wings display,
Nor with his horny bill provoke the day;
Nor watchful dogs, nor the more wakeful geese,
Disturb with nightly noise the sacred peace;
Nor beast of Nature, nor the tame are nigh,
Nor trees with tempests rock'd, nor human cry;
But safe repose without an air of breath
Dwells here, and a dumb quiet next to death.

An arm of Lethe, with a gentle flow
Arising upwards from the rock below,
The palace moats, and o'er the pebbles creeps,
And with soft murmurs calls the coming sleeps.
Around its entry nodding poppies grow,
And all cool simples that sweet rest bestow;
Night from the plants their sleepy virtue drains,
And passing, sheds it on the silent plains:
No door there was th' unguarded house to keep,
On creaking hinges turn'd, to break his sleep.

But in the gloomy court was rais'd a bed,
Stuff'd with black plumes, and on an ebon-sted:
Black was the cov'ring too, where lay the God,
And slept supine, his limbs display'd abroad:
About his head fantastick visions fly,
Which various images of things supply,
And mock their forms; the leaves on trees not more,
Nor bearded ears in fields, nor sands upon the shore.

-- Ovid, Metamorphoses

Friday, August 19, 2011

Rediscovering Cakes and Wine

In the Scriptures of the Abrahamic traditions, we find a curious verse. Essentially, it describes an “order of service” as would have been used by the worshippers of the old Gods in the land of Israel. It reads:

“And your children gather wood, and your men build a fire thereof. Your women bake cakes for the Queen of Heaven, and the people pour out libations to the other Gods, which causes me to vent my wrath to them.” (Jeremiah 7:18)

Leaving aside the Hebraic deity’s expression of wrath, we find the sharing of food and drink as the basis of this domestic cult. From contemporary sources, we find agreement that the Gods were celebrated throughout many cultures through this means. And, save in certain specific instances (such as to avert plague or beg pardon for a severe misdeed), the bulk of the offering was ingested by the faithful.

At its most basic level, this stems from the concepts of hospitality. Indeed, that was the entire premise behind the ancient sacrifices i.e. the maintenance of reciprocal relationships with the Gods. The Divine Powers had shared food at the table of Humanity, and received myriad gifts for deigning to attend the gathering. Hence, They were obligated to return the giving through abundance, fertility, good fortune, and felicity.

This premise is often unspoken in today’s Pagan and Craft environments. Indeed, the concept of giving in libation a portion of the Cakes and Wine is frequently stated as an after thought. Many books purport that this portion of the ceremony is (variously) a thanksgiving to the Gods, an interlude between the “magical work” versus “social time” of the group, and a grounding or earthing of the rite. If any inkling is mentioned regarding the “give and take” attitude of antiquity, it is frequently brushed aside as superstition.

This flippant attitude naturally arouses an urge to scream at such people on my part. Yes, Cakes and Wine IS an offering of gratitude. However, social time happens AFTER the magical work and ceremonial details are attended to. Likewise, one does NOT ground or earth energy in the MIDDLE of the ritual.

Part of the problem is because of the knee-jerk reaction most in the popular Pagan and watered-down Wiccan communities have with two related concepts. The first is sacrifice. The second is any possible resemblance between their rituals and the Christian Eucharist. (Presumably, the fact that at least 80% of Wiccan ceremony was derived from a Abrahamic framework inspired by such grimoires as the Clavicula Solomonis… is lost on these people).

The Christian Eucharist, especially in the forms practiced by the Roman Catholic Church and Greek Orthodox Church, are directly indebted to both the sacrificial cults that supported the Roman State. They are also directly linked … nay, adopted from… certain features of the Mystery religions. Indeed, the early Church fathers were aghast that these pre-Christian sects had practices and teachings that sounded Christian!

Some went so far as to preach a curious doctrine of diabolic imitation i.e. their quaint Devil-figure became aware of the importance of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, so presumably went BACK IN TIME and sowed counterfeits to confuse and seduce people. While some Christian cults, notably the Seventh Day Adventist, Assembly of God, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as several independent churches, teach this still …most intelligent individuals will see how ridiculous this is. But I digress…

The State Cults of our Pagan past (of which the Roman Empire’s is one example) sought to maintain a collective relationship with the Divine. On the immediate level, if the Gods were happy, the community would prosper. However, on a more sublime level, it also sought to maintain the whole cosmos. This divine order was phrased by the Latins as the Pax Deorum (the Peace of the Gods). The ancient Egyptians knew it as Maat. The Norse saw in it the postponing of Ragnarok. In the Americas, the Aztecs practiced their sacrifices to feed the Earth and keep it alive. To the Celts, each sacrifice recreated – whether of human, animal, food, or material goods – on some level, the primal sacrifice which created the worlds.

Our English word, blessing, derives from the old German word bletsian. Bletsian can be translated as smeared or sprinkled in blood. As Bram Stoker’s Reinfeild notes in Dracula “the blood is the life.”

No, I am not advocating we return to butchering animals (or people) in our recreations of our mythic past. But we should recapture the mindset of giving our best to receive the best. And, if we join that mindset to our simple feast of bread and drink, they become equivalents of the same.

To avoid charges of “black masses”, many in the Wiccan Revival made unclarified statements that their rites have NO resemblances to Christian rites. Had they clarified that they were drawing upon the Pagan roots which also happened to inform the modern Christian liturgy… I do not think the mindless hordes of McWiccans and PopPagans would be able to do cultural violence against their own ancestors!

THANKFULLY, representatives of the Traditionalist Craft outside of the Wiccan Revival have refused to white wash the virtues and vices of their forebears. (And, thankfully, many of the older lineages of British Traditional Wicca are now embracing that mindset.)

If we simultaneously offer up food (or any item) and bless it to our Gods… and THEN either ingest or put it to use in our service of Them… that rite is one of communion. The practice of “God-eating” is incredibly ancient, and the sacred meal of the Mysteries has always been shared amongst the Elect.

But there is another aspect that many don’t recognize. Not even the Lord’s Supper of the Christian Churches recognize this. The eucharist also becomes a theurgic talisman and an aid to all treading the Path of Return. Before the Gods pour their essence into the Gifts, we must become aware that the Gifts represent our Selves. Bread of our Body, Wine of our Blood, Mead (or Cider) of our Spirit, Incense of our Highest Ideals, Salt of our Worth, and so on (depending on what the offering is).

We offer our Selves with the meal to the most high, that all be put to the service thereof. And, once that freely-given gift is accepted, and the reversion of the offerings to the use of the people offers a seal of sanctity.

In closing, I would like to share some ancient words, found carved upon a shrine to Dionysos recently (i.e. 10 past years) in catacombs underneath Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. These words are:

“Those who eat of my Body and drink of my Blood,
they shall be my brothers, and they shall not taste Death.”

Resources for Further Research and Contemplation

Anderson, Cora. 50 Years in the Feri Tradition.
Anderson, Victor. Thorns of the Blood Rose.
Artisson, Robin. Witching Way of the Hollow Hill.
Artisson, Robin. The Resurrection of the Meadow.
D’Este, Sorita & Rankine, David. Wicca Magickal Beginnings.
Evans, John. Roebuck in the Thicket.
Fortune, Dion. The Winged Bull.
Foxwood, Orion. The Faery Teachings.
Frazer, Sir James. The Golden Bough.
Gray, William. By Standing Stone & Elder Tree (AKA Rollright Ritual)
Gray, William. Western Inner Workings.
Gray, William. The Sangreal Sacrament.
Greer, Jonathan Michael. The New Encyclopedia of the Occult.
Gwynn. Light From the Shadows: A Mythos of Modern Traditional Witchcraft.
Jackson, Nigel. Masks of Misrule.
Kingsley, Peter. Ancient Philosophy, Mysticism, and Magic.
Kirsche, Jonathan. God Against the Gods.
Kondetreiv, Alexei. The Apple Branch.
Leek, Sybil. The Complete Art of Witchcraft.
Leland, Charles Godfrey. Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches of Italy.
Martello, Leo. Black Magic, Satanism, and Voodoo.
Paddon, Peter. The Crooked Path (transcripts of show).
Reed, Ellen Cannon. Heart of Wicca.
Regardie, Israel. Ceremonial Magic.
Sanders, Maxine. Firechild.
Shadwynn. The Crafted Cup.
Thorrson, Edred. The Book of Troth.
Valiente, Doreen. ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present
Valiente, Doreen. The Rebirth of Witchcraft.

Nemesis (Jonathan Sousa) is a devotee of the Goddess Diana, whom he serves primarily through the initiatory framework of the Sicilian-Continental Traditionalist Craft. An artist and author, some of his works are available through .

Dream On

Last night I asked for a dream through the gates of horn, meaning a true dream. I don't remember all of it because I was yanked out way too soon by the early risers. I remember part of it involved a bull with eye-catching horns, so I think whatever I had been dreaming was true. Or at least I've been dreaming about the gates. I've been pondering dream work today. I enjoy several different kinds, from lucid to directed to passively receiving messages.

My musings led me to Asclepius and the holistic wellness centers which bear his name. Said to be a son of Apollo (and to whom Apollo's healing aspects were transferred), Asclepius attended patients in their dreams. When conventional medicine of the time didn't work, people would take a pilgrimage to an Asclepion. There was a theatre, a temple, sleeping areas/rooms and a spring. Patients would bathe in the waters, drink from the spring, changed their diet... things we do today. They were also made to sleep in the temple and analyze their dreams.

It was reported that patients would dream that Asclepius himself or snakes or dogs would interact with them, either curing them or symbolically giving them the cure. Therapists who works in the sanctuary would analyze the dreams and come up with the cure. Some patients would dream of surgery being performed. They were done this service in exchange for offerings made by the patients or their families. This wasn't any ol dream, this was called "incubation." There were rites and fasting and sacrifices and a whole system designed to prepare for and induce the dreams necessary for healing. A book I mentioned the other day, Arcana Mundi, touches briefly on how divination was a cash cow and therefore concentrated to a few shrines and under the dominion of religious society aka Priests and oracles were the only ones who had people trained in the ways. Not much different today, huh? There is a mention, tho I somehow missed the source reference, of how Apollo is the one in charge of trance mediumship, Asclepius in charge of true dreams, and Hecate along with a few others were called on "to grant a glimpse into the future."

Asclepius with Telesforos and Hygeia , Roman Diptych, c. 400/430 AD Museum on Merseyside, Liverpool
In keeping with our main theme, dall'italia, here's a quick quote from Arcana Mundi:
Plutarch refers to a regular oracle of the dead (psychomanteion), probably near Cumae in southern Italy, but there is no elaborate ceremony: the procedure reminds one of the incubation rites in the temple of Asclepius at Epidaurus. The person who wished to get in touch with the dead fell asleep in the sanctuary and had a dream or vision... In a remote sense, this, too, is necromancy.
One of the cases memorialized in the Asclepion:

Ambrosia from Athens, who was blind in one eye, went to the sanctuary seeking help, but laughed at their methods and cures. She dreamed that Asclepius came to her and said he would make her well. In return she had to dedicate a silver pig to the sanctuary as a memorial to her stupidity. When she agreed, he cut open her blind eye and poured in medicine. She woke up able to see and went home cured. Apparently she donated the promised pig since the story was left behind for us.  

Tonight is a bit of a ramble, and for that I apologize. This touches on so many of my current interests and pursuits that I really wanted to start exploring it more here. I've been to the theatre at the Epidaurus and it is magnificent, if a bit tough to sit on for a 3 hour play ;)

I feel like Barbara Brennan's healing work builds on and continues the tradition of the Asclepion; The main difference is that the work is done in a conscious altered state and the healer is the one who channels the spirits or guides instead of the patient.

I'll leave off tonight with this great article on the difference between the Caduceus of Mercury and the Staff of Asclepius. It also discusses the daughters of Asclepius, Meditrine, Hygeia and Panacea. ;)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Requiem for a Mercurial Man

Most of you don't know that I'm a big gaming nerd. MMORPGs were how I spent my time for a while, as well as the wonderful worlds of Table Top games and internet RPGs. If you don't know what those letters mean, it's really ok. When my son stopped nursing I stopped having the time to play. I made so many wonderful friends, many I still keep in touch with despite no longer having the game as our anchor. A few days ago one of those friends, who I had lost touch with, sent me a message and a friend request on facebook. I accepted it and we started chatting, picking right up from wherever it was we had left off. Last night he was killed in a car crash. I'm just plain grief-stricken for his family and for his close friends. And I'm really fucking angry that we just picked up our friendship again and now... Why? Shit. I want to kick something.

Tonight I said a prayer to Mercury, asking him to escort Andy to the other side. I realized that the way in which I knew him, what our friendship was like, was very Mercurial. He was sharp-witted, quick-witted, funny, fast and industrious. Even in the silly on line game we played he was the one to go to for equipment and items and trades- a master merchant. He was also one of the fastest leveling players. He was clever and slick with words and could find a loophole in anything. He was genial, kind, funny, flirtatious without being vulgar, and come to think of it, he could be vulgar too when appropriate! He could also unleash a world of shit against his enemies or someone who had done his friends wrong. One of our first interactions was during the internet radio show he hosted. I became the host of my own show on the network as well. We traded gentle, playful barbs, and had a good time. Wonderfully fond memories of him. I'm glad we crossed paths.

So that this isn't entirely a brain dump (which I'm sure you'll forgive under the circumstances) I'm going to share my prayer to Mercury with you.

Great God Mercury, Messenger, Opener, Guide of Souls heed my prayer!
Deliver the soul of a departed dear to the other side with loving care.
Akaketa, hear my plea*
Please do this service now for we
who are left behind to wonder why.
Bring comfort now to all who cry
I pray for dreams through gates of horn
To comfort all of us who mourn
a true blue son of your design.
Let this be done
By your will and mine.

Burning frankincense, lighting a candle and offering wine. I hope to dream of Andy tonight or in the next few nights. I will look to see that he finds his way. It's all I have to offer him, along with prayers and energy for his family.

Apologies again for the brain-dump. Back to our regularly scheduled blog tomorrow.

(*Akaketa, according to Kerenyi, means gracious one, or painless one)

Witch's Hangover

I've seen this term thrown around facebook in the past few days, largely by folks who misunderstand how the term is used. It does NOT mean a Witch who drank too much around the fire after a ritual. That's just a regular hangover ;)

A Witch's Hangover is when one is energetically depleted after intense ritual, spell work or other craft related operations which require vast amounts of metaphysical energy. Did you lead a circle wherein no one sustained the energy except for you? Did you take on a particularly energy intensive part in a ritual or spellcasting? Did you engage in trance or prophecy? Did you raise a lot of energy with the group? Were you the focus for the energy? You might suffer from a Witch's Hangover the next day.

What does it feel like? For me, it's like an actual hangover: I feel very sluggish, retain water, dry mouth and throat, headache and general signs of dehydration.

What do I do? Same thing for a hangover: I drink a LOT of water. B vitamins help me too! I find myself craving potatoes after intense work, a very grounding food.

Around the time of the full moon, some Witches find themselves on what is referred to as The Wild Hunt. Sometimes you can astral travel or journey without advanced planning. When you wake up feeling more tired than when you went to sleep.... could be Witches Hangover!

It's not the same thing as having a headache from too much energy, or the moon affecting the tides of your body. It's certainly not about acting the fool or being a "lunatic" as we know it in the muggle sense of the term. It's the physical consequences of spending a great amount of magical energy.

Yet another analogy: Ever start exercising after you've been dormant for a while? Or have an intense workout despite a regular exercise routine? I'm kinda sore the next day. You too? The same thing is true when you're talking in terms of energy, both for the problem and the solution: You have to grow your magical muscles. Doing that starts with a foundation of daily practice including (at least for me) ritual, meditation, and offerings. The more work you do with energy and with spirit, the stronger you get, the more you can do, and the less likely it is you will suffer a magical hangover.

But wow that last one was a doozy. After Saturday's Nemoralia celebration I was seriously hung over on both Sunday and some of Monday. It was only this morning that I realized where my bumps and bruises are because the general feeling of walking through cotton had finally lifted!

What can I say- when we magically party, we party hard!

I am not recommending the product in the picture, I just think the name is hillarious! And Appropriate!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Righteous, Man.

I read a blog post today, which is a response to the Reuters article on how Wiccans think the characters in True Blood are "giving Witchcraft a bad name." If you haven't seen the Reuters article, you can find it here.

The blog post, also entitled "A Popular TV Show Finally Depicts Sorcerers and Witches Properly," defends the idea that the Wiccans portrayed on the show, as well as the necromancer, are accurate (if sensationalized), and also defends the idea that we need to embrace and use what some call our "dark" or "negative" side. I've addressed this topic in the past in the post "Darth Strega." The "dark side of the force" should be embraced as much as the "light" side. Luke should have used his anger instead of denying it, and accomplished his goal of saving his dad. The two could have flown off into the suns-set together and made sequels. But back to this blog post.

He throws down a lot of smack talk about Wiccans, and of course not all Wiccans are as he describes, but there is an overwhelming contingent of practitioners out there who have diluted and polluted the concept of Wicca to the point of "anything (happy) goes." It's become the new catch word for "Pagan;" It's a safe word to hide behind to make the neighbors happy. Ellen Cannon Reed writes about this in Heart of Wicca. She defends her Wiccan practice as an "initiatory mystery tradition" while acknowledging that there are those out there who call themselves Wiccan who are "crystal-hugging, air-headed veganazis who believe (at high volume) that their way is the way all pagans should be."(page viii Introduction). I believe the blog's author is talking about the later. Here are a few highlights from the article which resonated with me. I encourage you to read the entire article even if you're not a True Blood fan.

Nothing less than the truth about us will ever serve to heal what divisions slice deeply into the blood and body of this world and our cultures. New-agers help to create those divisions by continuing- ironically- the same "witch hunt" started by Christians- except now, the witches are "negative" emotions which must be "banished" or driven from the body as visualized dark clouds, and replaced with visualized "white light" that enters you and "heals" you. This isn't healing; this is amputating half of our own humanity and our natural power. 
Our experts want to be as non-threatening to their neighbors as they can, and truly, who could blame them? But I feel I must suggest that what their neighbors need to know isn't that historical witchcraft really was “all lovely”- all those neighbors need to know is that what our Wiccan friends are doing isn't historical witchcraft; it is, instead, a new-age brew of goodness, peace, pop-culture cabbalism, light, so-called "shamanism", ceremonial magic, and karma, which couldn't harm anyone, at any time, ever- unless you consider massive confusion to be "harm"
Far from misrepresenting historical necromantic sorcery, Antonia embodies it. Women (and men) like her once really existed. They commanded the shades of the dead, made them give omens, divinations, and do favors for them- they threatened them, cajoled them, offered to them, seduced them, and held power over them. It doesn't sound pretty from a Christian or white-light New Ager perspective, but it is the historical fact of the matter.

He recommends the book:  Arcana Mundi: Magic and the Occult in the Greek and Roman World. This book is full of win. It's not epic win, but win nonetheless. A last quote to ponder:

The term "witch" refers to a region of the Western/Indo-European consciousness which, for whatever historical reasons (and there are many) has survived into our modern day loaded with power. Sure, most of that power is tied into sensationalism and smacks of villainy, but there is something standing behind it- the legitimate image of hedge-crossing, boundary-crossing sorcerer/sorceress who once interacted with the underworld and other more-or-less frightening or forbidden reaches of this reality, for the purposes of power-gaining, divination, and wisdom.

Yeah, I'd agree with that. I have one last note on the idea of embracing your "dark side" or "negative emotions" to share for you Christian readers who are lurking: Jesus did it too.

Matthew 21: 12-13: And Jesus entered the temple of God and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, ‘It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer; but you make it a den of thieves.”

Righteous anger is righteous.

Tomorrow? Mercury in his many forms is a-callin once again! I'm reading Trials of the Moon! Perhaps a discussion on Arcana Mundi!

Monday, August 15, 2011


I've heard from other Witches who have called on Diana this weekend. The message is much the same:

She is frustrated. It's time to stop hating on each other and stand up, together, as Her children. Here is what came through for my cousin:
"It is time to join together and be whole in these times. It is up to us to be leaders and have faith in each other and for the goodness of mankind, because something is about to change."
Mio fratello had a more severe warning: Step up or be cut off. He was much more eloquent than that but I don't feel at liberty to share the words, just the basic sentiment. I had a similar feeling. I was told I didn't speak at all during the surprise trance portion of yesterday's ritual, that it was all movement. I'm remembering more now that a day has passed, and I hope to remember even more in another day. I remember bits and pieces, but they're only visuals- snapshots of what happened. Except for one thing:

At one point, I felt a wave of anger wash over Her/me. The anger was born of Her frustration at people hiding their gifts, afraid to use them and be out there shining their light- Her light. Knowing you have power and not using it is as bad as misusing that power.

And so we're not all maudlin here in this quickie post, I want to share that yesterday, Apollo made his presence known and he was amused! Since I don't write a script and just let things flow, he stepped in during my circle casting and I was speaking in rhyming couplets the whole way round. I couldn't stop talking like that and had to shut him out! I've talked in iambic pentameter in the past too. The cagey Apollo! heehee

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Today we walked the labyrinth, learned some basic tarantella, invoked the land, called the guardians, invoked our Patrons and had a wonderful Feast of Diana. She appeared as well. We tarantella'd as a group, went into our own spinning dance, I went towards the North where I hailed Mercury, and the next thing I knew I was looking up at the sky over in the south and wondering what happened to my thumb.

Apparently I tranced, fell back into the altar (which was a vortex of energy the entire time), did some work on everyone there, walked off towards the south and came to with someone spraying Florida Water over me. I shook it off with some help, we toasted, gave thanks and everyone had a part in dismissing the circle (as well as had a part in creating and cleansing it at the top). There was no script. There was just a general plan. Everyone who attended was wonderful, they rolled with it and brought serious energy to bear. Sometimes too serious! I tried to remind everyone of what Diana has told me time and again: Find the JOY in the work! It's not all serious and severe! Don't just come crying when you're in need, also share the love and the joy and the celebration. I laughed, I played and others followed suit. I had a great time.

Dusio is here right now (I just waved at him across the room). He invoked Diana today and when he did... woosh! There she was! I saw her face and she was wearing her diadem. <3 <3 <3 Now? We're plotting. And conjuring the forces. >;) Signing off!

Buon Ferragosto!

"In the Arician valley, there is a lake surrounded by shady forests,
Held sacred by a religion from the olden times.
On a long fence hang many pieces of woven thread,

and many tablets are placed there as grateful gifts to the Goddess.
Often does a woman whose prayers Diana answered,
With a wreath of flowers crowning her head, Walk from Rome carrying a burning torch.

There a stream flows down gurgling from its rocky bed..." --Ovid

This weekend is the Feast of Diana, Queen of Heaven! (Which Ovid was calling ancient in his day!)

And the Catholic Feast of the Assumption of Mary where she is raised bodily into the sky where she becomes... guess... that's right! Queen of Heaven!

And it was recently the Birthday of Isis...

Busy weekend, huh?

Ferragosto, what this weekend is called in Italy, is bigger than christmas- Rome is practically deserted, its residents staying down by the sea. Here's a nifty article about Ferragosto. Here's an interesting quote:
The modern dogma that the Virgin Mary was transported to Heaven on Ferragosto arose in the 18th century and was formally proclaimed by Pope Pius XII only in 1950.
Know your history or someone will try to rewrite it!

What is it about this time of year that lead people to set it aside for The Goddess? The Sun is in Leo, the Moon in Aquarius, as my evil twin pointed out earlier. This is also the time of the Perseid meteor shower! It will be hard to see because of the full moon. The peak of the Perseids is tomorrow night. I was reading about the event, which I like to observe every year, and the holy wiki and other sources believe that "most of the dust in the cloud today is around a thousand years old," with some younger bits from 1862. Wow.

Tomorrow I will be hosting a Nemoralia celebration. Tonight I was out under the Moon doing personal work and charging items for tomorrow. I was literally amazed by the Moon and connected with Diana once again, but in a different way than I'm used to. She gave me Her sign. She gave me a personal message and helped to set me back on my proper path. Ave Diana!

Have a Blessed Weekend of The Mother, by whichever name you know Her!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


And yet another form of Mercury! Today I was so happy to find the top article on The Juggler. It's a look at Romeo and Juliet from a Pagan perspective, specifically in regard to Queen Mab and to Mercury. I recommend reading the article. It illustrates several reasons why I adore "Shakespeare" plays. I like how they illustrate Mercutio, even though I don't think they went far enough, but I forgive them! ;)

 So- a Shakespearean character named for all intents and purposes “Mercury”: A noble youth (young enough to pal around with Romeo), possessed of a formidable verbal wit (one would not wish to be on the receiving end of Mercutio’s rapier-like scorn), and a sense of honor and temperament firm enough that it is Tybalt’s jeering insults regarding Romeo that cause Mercutio to take out his sword and challenge Tybalt to the duel that will end Mercutio’s life.

John Barrymore as Mercutio
A fascinating conflict-of-philosophy is uncovered when Mercutio and Romeo make their entrance (I.iv) in the company of various other guys, intent upon the Capulets’ ball. Romeo reveals himself as a Romantic, longing for the ecstasy of romantic love and complaining (in kind of masochistic tones) about how horribly painful it is to be “out of love.” Mercutio does not seem to share or understand this attitude at all- unlike Romeo, who interprets love in emotional (and heterosexual) terms, Mercutio consistently speaks in terms of erections (“pricks”/ “beating love [one's erect penis] down”), and is never seen outside the companionship of other men. Whereas Romeo is in an agony over the pangs of unrequited love (but soon to be moved to the heights of ecstatic love), Mercutio is a sexually graphic individual, possessed of a kind of masturbatory personality, and apparently very penis-oriented.


I've been working with Him often, especially during this retrograde. I had some idle time between clients today and began to meditate on Mercury. When I was done with my meditation, I checked the time which lead to my checking facebook. That is where I saw the title of this article at the top of my newsfeed.

Two of my loves, Mercury and Shakespeare, together in a moment of synchronicity!

Dear Mercury,

Thanks for the love note!

Yours Always,



Another name! Ack! Yeah. This one comes to us from, allegedly, the Etruscans, as recorded by Leland. It's another name for our favorite information dealing, thief aiding, merchant loving deity, Mercury! Hermes! Turms! It seems to be a regional name. The same exact lore was attached regarding stealing the cattle of Apollo. Here is a spell Leland recorded in Etruscan Magic and Occult Remedies:

"Teramo, Teramo, as it is true,
That you are my friend I pray to you,
And may this message which I send,
Quickly and safely reach its end!"
Then the one praying takes a pigeon, and fastens his note to its wing, or neck, and says:
"Go fly afar for me ! And Teramo keep you company !"

This brought to mind a picture of a rooftop pigeon coop in Brooklyn and an old Italian man shuffling over to the coop to take care of business. Ever hear about the Brooklyn pigeon wars?

In other news tonight, a friend jollied me out of a foul mood by reminding me of an old Italian saying straight outta Brooklyn: What do you you do when the haters start hatin'?

"Tell em to go scratch their ass in Macy's window!"

If you don't understand what that means, I can't really explain it. Don't think about it too long, just enjoy it. Unless you're one of the haters then, well, see you on 34th street.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A traditional Native American Incense.

I realize this has nothing to do with Italian, but it is still a Pagan sacred incense combination that the traditional Native Americans do burn on a regular basis. While I had a New Age type store in upstate NY I met pagans and New Age people of a very diverse background. One particular person I became very close friends with was a Native American feather healer. He did take me under his wing and taught me quite a bit about the Good Red Road. I eventually brought in Native American drummers, flutists, healers, jewelry designers, and begun attending many Native American Pow Wows.

He eventually took me to his home and introduced me to this  traditional sacred herb blend of incense. He had large containers of these sacred herbs in his basement. I will never forget the aroma as he walked me down into his basement. It was something I had never experienced.

He took equal amounts of each herb and blended them together. The burning of sage was to represent the spirits of the west. It was used to drive away any negative thoughts or spirits. Cedar was used to represent the spirits of the south. It was used as a purifier and to attract good energy. Sweet grass was used to represent the spirits of the north. The triple braid of sweet grass was used to represent mind, body, and spirit. The last herb tobacco represented the spirits of the east and was the most holy of plants and was the most sacred ceremonial herb for hundreds of years.

It is a very different incense blend that most New Age, Wiccan, or Crafters have never experienced. For me it is a very sacred Native American blend that very few non traditional Native Americans will ever know.

May all of you who gather these herbs, enjoy this very powerful Pagan blend.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beach Day

(NY Driver, you should skip this blog post, you might be allergic to it!)
This morning I packed the folks into the car and we drove to the beach. Chairs, umbrella, towels and all. And enough sand castle building toys to put Castel dell'ovo to shame! What's that? Egg castle? Yeah. It's in Naples. It was allegedly built on the ruins of a Roman fort.

It was named egg castle because, as legend has it, Virgil buried an egg somewhere in the foundation of the original building and as long as the egg remained unbroken, Naples would be safe.

When we got there, the tide was... hmmm I couldn't tell if it was going out or coming in. The waves were very rough, coming one after another a few times. We originally decided to go because my mom hurt her leg and wanted to take a dip in the ocean to heal it. That's something I was always told, from when I was young: Anything that hurts or is ailing you, go into the ocean, if at all possible. Ask Her to take away. I did the very spell I mentioned here before, only this time it was an offering, not a request. Tho the tide looked like it was going out when I was making it, the offering was taken instantly. I was removing my finger from the last sigil when a wave came up unexpectedly and took it out to sea. Then I saw a crab walking around under the wave. I'll take that as confirmation of message received!

I like to use ocean water in my rituals. Why bother adding salt to water when it's already there? Silly Wiccans ;) Why do you think the salt water is such a big deal? Why is salt water sacred? Rhetorical questions. It's all about the ocean. Then again, My People were from coastal cities, with strong attachments to the ocean.

I've barely been to the beach this year and I can feel the difference in my energy. Love the smell of the sand and being in between the worlds where water, earth air and fire all meet in the natural world. Who's up for a beach trip? I'll bring the beach toys!

The Source

Know the source!

I don't mean "The Source Of All Things." Just the source of information you cite. Today on facebook, a friend posted something about a festival of Venus being celebrated tonight and tomorrow, August 9th. He didn't cite his source. He usually doesn't, but most often I recognize the information's source, like a Gardnerian calendar or Dunwich's Wiccan Book of Days. For this post? No clue. I asked for the source of the information, haven't gotten a reply. Will update in comments if/when I do. (I think I found it. I only scanned through a few of the listings on the page, but I noticed at least 5 mistakes.)

The only Venus celebrations I know of in August is on the 19th, the Vinalia Rustica, which celebrates the founding of Her oldest known temple in Rome. She was also honored at a festival of Jupiter in late August. The only Roman celebration I know of tomorrow is the Opalia, in honor of Ops, and even that date is questioned. Let's remember that what is now August used to be sextillus, the sixth month. The ancient calendar was screwed six ways till nones and has been rectified over and over and over again through the ages. We still tinker with the calendar- 2012 is leap year!
"A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." --Mark Twain
Posting misinformation about an ancient festival date isn't immediately or terribly damaging to our society, but in the long run, it undermines who we are and ultimately what we do. There was a huge outcry years ago about how Pagans should "own" that Wicca is made up. Sure it is. But it's made up of pieces of indigenous, pre-christian traditions. Some of the methods are new, but the ideas are the same, ie: We drive cars now instead of use wagons to get around. Several authors and teachers felt the need to make up a lineage and grand claims, so much so that I sometimes get eye rolls when I tell people I practice my family tradition. Because people have made up information in the past, I currently get shit for it, and so do many Strega. It's one of the reasons why I started this blog. So I get sensitive about misinformation. Especially on my home turf.

If there is new information to be had, something I didn't know before, I want to learn it! So please give me the source of your information because if it is true, then I have a new source and reference and I am the better for it. This is why I respect Nova Roma: They do their work and their research and eek out new sources in the ancient record and in current archaeology finds. If it's about Venus and the Nova Roma folks don't know about it and your source isn't new, it's probably not true. This isn't to say I object to people posting information on topics when they aren't experts, just cite your sources, even if it's Personal Gnosis (especially when it's personal gnosis!)

If we are to be taken seriously, and by "we" I mean Pagans, then we have to know from whence we came: including what we celebrate and why we celebrate it, or why we choose to not celebrate something anymore. If you, as a teacher, or initiate, or general disseminator of information are to be taken seriously, you should cite your sources, or at least make them available to others. If you, as a student, take yourself seriously, don't believe everything people say without investigating the sources for yourself.

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's true! This goes for me too! Call me on my bs if you see any, ask me to cite missing sources if you find any lacking. This just makes me a better blogger, a better expert and a better person.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Grand Mercury


I drove by here while taking a trip to NYC. It's Grand Central Station. And there's Mercury overseeing it all: Commerce! Travel! Communication! All in the heart of New York City! Flanking him are Minerva and Hercules. Behind him is the eagle of Zeus. I love how commanding he is in this portrayal. In many cases you see him standing around, or preparing to take off. Often he is depicted as a youth- so young, in fact, that it's hard to take him seriously as cunning. He looks incredibly innocent, nothing reflecting the experience beneath the surface. Perhaps that's the best deception of all?

In this portrayal, he is commanding. His cape is in motion, He is in motion. Minerva is reading over her scrolls, Hercules is ready to wield his hammer, and the eagle has his back. Don't forget the cornucopias on either side of the clock and the sheaf of wheat! What especially moves me is his face. Apologies for gushing tonight. Total crush lol

There are so many places around the country where we can still find Our Gods, and our ways, that it's a happy surprise, like a gift you didn't expect. I didn't expect that crossroad yesterday and I didn't expect to see Mercury that day, even though I knew He was there. Magic is all around us, we just have to shift our own perspective to appreciate it. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Road Rage

Don't worry, not a rant! A story came out this weekend that the NY/NJ Port Authority wants to raise tolls by 50% The toll to get across the George Washington Bridge is already $8.00. They propose raising it to $12. WTF!!!! Happily, the Governors of both NY and NJ reject the proposal. Yay for bipartisanship.

Unfortunately, tolls are nothing new. In fact, they're downright ancient. Romans were the best at road building. They created the first paved roads. They were even smart enough to raise it in the middle so water would flow away from the road and even built gutters to carry it away. There are roads which were so well built they still serve as thoroughfares today. In reading about these marvels, I wondered how quickly folks were charged to use these roads. Apparently it was right from the start. Quoth the holy wiki:
Tolls abounded, especially at bridges. Often they were collected at the city gate. Freight costs were made heavier still by import and export taxes. 
Go figure.  There are also mentions of private citizens having to pay for, or supply labor for the maintenance of a road that crossed or bordered their property. Nice. Guess we still do that today through taxes, another ancient tradition.

Today the family went for a walk down a new trail which had just been paved, connecting an already existing trail with a huge dirt hill and footpath. It was cleared out a bit, graded slightly, and paved over. As we walked along, we passed by another path which hadn't been paved. I stopped while they went on, and found myself standing at a new crossroad. Well, it wasn't exactly new, but with the road freshly graded and paved, it felt newer. The energy was different, as if it hadn't really been imprinted yet. I said a quick prayer to Hecate and Mercury and caught up to the others. I want to go back there and explore the space again and make proper offerings, perhaps on the next dark moon.

Tonight, a Mommy deer and baby deer walked up my driveway and onto my property. Hubby came to get me when he saw them and I went outside. I saw the baby and knelt down with my hands in prayer pose, mostly praying that Diana would give me the Deer equivalent of Parseltongue. Mama deer had jumped over a fence that baby couldn't clear. I waited patiently and the baby deer started to walk over to me. It made me think of a puppy. Then kiddo moved and that was it, the baby deer was back to racing around. Ah well, can't blame a kid for being curious! For all I know, hubby could have scared it. We opened another gate and it went out.

I headed to the back where the Mommy deer was and did the same thing as with the baby. She came out from her hiding place and went towards the open gate but hubby was walking around and he scared her. She ran back to her hiding place and eventually jumped over the back fence. I heard her make the Mama call 3 times, then heard rustling. I will happily believe the two dashed back home together via the path we walked today. Can't wait to see them again, nibbling the grass by my labyrinth!

Were they a response to my prayers at the crossroads? I find it odd that they picked this exact night to walk up my paved driveway instead of their usual route across the grassy front lawn and each of them take an interest in me and only back off when one of the others made a move. I've always taken a keen interest in the animals who inhabit this land (including the bunnies, raccoon and hedgehog!) and am glad it feels like they know me too. I wonder if the bear will stop by for a visit too! ;)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Talismans and Amulets.

Most muggle people carry some type of magical charm but most would laugh at the thought of it carrying any magical power. They certainly will not call any coin, ring, something they hang off their car mirror, something they keep on their desk, a talisman. Every age, culture, and religious doctrine has made up talismans and amulets. In most cases the possession of a talisman is all that is needed to receive its benefits. A money talisman draws money and a love talisman draws love. Amulets and talismans bear seals that represent deity, spirit, or other supernatural beings.

Tonight I would like to discuss a very powerful love talisman. It is a double sided amulet made up of the 2nd and 4th pentacles of Venus. The Second Pentacle of Venus is known for obtaining grace and honor, and for all things which belong to Venus including accomplishing all thy desires herein. On the flip side of this amulet is the 4th Pentacle of Venus--It is of great power, since it compels the Spirits of Venus to obey, and to force any person you wish to come to you.

At the four angles of the figure are the four letters of the name IHVA (the unpronounceable name of God). The other ancient hebrew letters form the name of the Spirits of Venus, Schii, Eli, Ayili, etc. The Latin words around the circle are: Hoc est enim os de ossibus meis et caro de carne mea et erunt duo in carne una. This means "This is now bones of my bones and flesh of my flesh...And they shall be one flesh".

As always, any references will gladly be furnished.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Reinventing the Wheel of the Year

I've posted on this concept from the learning side of the Pagan spectrum. Tonight I'm going to talk about our political side. I might just get ranty. I know, shock.

About 5 years ago, I was part of a gathering of Pagan groups. I was there on behalf of NYC Pagan Pride. This event was open to the public, but it wound up mostly being a networking session between the groups in the area (which is completely necessary in my opinion). I approached someone I had met before at PPP events and asked him about his group. He started to rattle off his groups mission statement... which I could finish. How did I know it? It was the exact same mission as NYC PPP, with barely a word changed. I was surprised so my first thought was actually spoken aloud: "Why did you start a new group instead of work with us at Pagan Pride?" I wasn't accusatory, I really wanted to know. We've always been in serious need of volunteers to help plan throughout the year and have never been shy in asking. So why the need to start a whole new group when equal say (input? power?) was being offered by an already existing group with the same mission? He stammered and said it was different, that they did different things, but couldn't name a single difference. Um, uh huh. Not so much. I thanked him for his answer and moved on.

Do people automatically think that an organization which is already established must be a large one? That there is an entrenched hierarchy? That they won't have a proverbial seat at the table? Do people just want to be in charge? I don't know. Maybe all of the above.

But that was more than 5 years ago. Something else is happening now and I blame facebook for it. 5 years ago, when an incident came up which required a response, some folks would put up a web page and/or start a mailing list. Then you had to somehow get traffic to the page or people on your list. Now? Takes 5 seconds to throw up a facebook page for a cause.

It takes a whole lot more than "liking" a page to make something happen. Yes, FB is one of the best publicity vehicles on the net, but there's a huge difference between clicking a button on a screen and actually doing something. The Hail Columbia page is interesting, and I see that they are trying to create an organization with state coordinators. Why create a whole new thing? There are organizations already out there working towards the same goals, so why not approach these groups to get together to work on it instead of reinventing the Wheel of the Year?

Covenant of the Goddess first officer, Peter Dybing, called on all Pagans to donate to Doctors without Borders, not just CoG members, and the community exceeded the goal. Why not put out a call to national groups to do something specific. I did, with my Gods Bless America event, but this was before the praying against us began. Without a noticeable threat present, only a handful of groups took up the charge.

Please don't get me wrong, I think the Hail Columbia idea is a really good one (especially since I thought of it 6 months ago, but focused on The Statue of Liberty instead. ;) What can I say, I'm a New Yorker!) What I don't like is the myriad of facebook pages out there that pop up like zits. They get a bunch of "likes" but then the momentum quickly fades when people are expected to do something. I read an article last night about a man who started a Facebook page to bring marriage equality to NY. He updated the page constantly. He would point people towards candidates to call and write and email. They backed up their clicks with real world action. Now that marriage equality has come to NY, the list is gone. He has created a new page for marriage equality across America. I wonder if the rest of the country is as tenacious.

I see many Pagans out there who are willing to take up a cause and who actually get things done burning out from taking on too much of the burden. What do you do when the cause is great but there is no backup? When will people step up? Has this generation become so comfortable in their civil rights that they need them to be stripped away in order to stand up? Is this a different kind of wheel? Do we have to reinvent the wheel of our civil rights? Do they have to first erode before we're willing to stand up for them? At this rate I'm going to sign on to be a Hail Columbia coordinator. ::headdesk::

One last note on facebook groups: Unless publicity is part of your mission, make the group a CLOSED group. Power shared is power halved. If someone knows what you're doing, they can work against you. This might just be a Strega thing, but it frosts my cupcakes to see planning information and action information accessible to someone who isn't part of the group. Take it behind virtual closed doors! Have someone make the commitment to step through your virtual threshold before they have access to who you are and what you do.