Sunday, July 31, 2011

Salute!

This is a bonus blog, mostly because it's a quickie and I feel like it might make up a bit for the past 2 days with nothing much to share:

When someone sneezes, the typical response is "bless you!" In Italian, they say "Salute!" meaning "to your health." Take a gander here:



The name on the coin: Salus Publica. The Goddess of personal and public health. She was oft conflated with Hygeia and had various temples in Rome and sanctuaries in which she was honored. You may consult a variety of sources on this for more information, including this page of numismatic niftyness (Roman coins!).

So when I say "Salute," I'm saying "Goddess Bless you!" Italians continue to invoke the old ways as a matter of course, even when they don't even know they're doing it ;)

Mercury going retrograde again

My thoughts on Mercury Retrograde:

Mercury is the mover. His aspects to the other planets affect our day to day lives more so than the outer planets which are more generational and global minded (not that global events don't effect us, but how has your daily life really changed since the Egyptian revolution?*). They take so long to change position that the instability of their current transitions are more akin to general sea sickness on a cruise ship while Mercury slowing down into a retrograde is like riding the rapids in a canoe: They both have their effects, but the latter is much more keen.

There are some interesting Jupiter aspects which have just passed and a few more to come, including a trine to Pluto in October. It might very well help some to take their passion/obsession and expand it into something fruitful, like a new business. It's important to know where the planets are transiting your chart right now.

*The current "debt crisis" in the USA is perfect astrological timing: Default would be August 2nd, I think, the day of the Mercury storm. I just found this article on the Political Astrology Blog. Score! Check it out, lots of interesting stuff!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Linka-a-dink-a-doo

Tonight I've decided to post some links and websites I currently enjoy. It's been a day and a half and I'm getting ready for tonight's Dark moon festivities!


I really liked the Love, Hermes entry http://argeiphontes.com/

Love crunchy bloggers! http://hecatedemetersdatter.blogspot.com/

Meridian tapping to help clear your energy/habits/etc. http://www.eftuniverse.com/

Homage to Pythagoras http://users.ucom.net/~vegan/

Theoi, The wiki of the Gods. http://www.theoi.com/

Mountain Astrologer Magazine http://mountainastrologer.com/tma/

Astro Grrl http://www.astrogrrl.com/

Who else wants some?!?!

I came across an article a few days ago and I don't recall where it was first posted or when it caught my attention. In brief: There is a plan to put a high speed train from France to Turin through Val di Susa. In Italian the acronym for "high speed train" is "TAV" hence the "NO TAV" signs in the pictures. The people in the countryside are completely against the train, by all reports, and have been protesting big time, especially throughout July. None of the locals want this train. I duno, would like to hear from someone who actually knows what's happening there and can speak enough English as to not tax my still limited Italian.

Protests aren't working, marches aren't working, and there are lawsuits against the police for brutality against protesters. So what's a down on their luck, oppressed Italian people to do? Turn to la Strega! I ran the link through Google translate, which is decent and will give you the gist, but it leaves a lot to be desired.

Just days after "The Witches Sabbath" a 4.8 magnitude earthquake struck the valley in Turin and was felt in France, Switzerland and Monaco.The great part is, they're taking credit for it ;) Who knows what effect it will have on the struggle to keep their Valley, their land, and their homes in tact. At the moment I'm ridiculously proud that they're owning it.

These Italians are not only holding demonstrations and using lawyers and doing what they can in the mundane world, they are backing it up with magickal action. That is what I want to see us do. We can come together to work as a community and still retain our traditions and individuality. Thousands of dollars were raised for Doctors without Borders by the Pagan community, and quickly at that. Why can't all of these people donate magical effort toward a specific intention? Do it in your own way, but let's all work on the same thing.

I'm tired of Pagans whining about the bad guys praying against us or trying to convert us. Haters gonna hate. Part of this path is owning your power. I'm not saying we all get together and conjure earthquakes, but ferfuxsake, stop begging and pleading for acceptance by dumbing down what we do. I'm all for putting our best foot forward; I run a Pagan Pride Day and I'm the Queen of promoting what we have in common with the religions of the world. In general I prefer to promote the mundane common threads of humanity as well. However, the more we present ourselves as a fluffy-bunny-tree-hugging-hippy-froo-froo-nature religion, the more of these fluffy bunnies we will attract. Like attracts like.

Now... who's up for conjuring the forces?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blah blah blah blah blah (aka Word to your Great Mother)

I posted a rant a while back about the 5-fold Kiss. The crux of the rant is that the language is sexist ("breast formed in beauty" for a woman vs "formed in strength" for a man). Janet Farrar pointed out that Doreen Valiente wrote it. My first thought was that I was right, someone who never thought of a woman's breasts as anything but "beautiful" wrote the language. Next thought: She wrote it in a time when women were thought of as sluts for wearing pants and smoking cigarettes and were expected to be at home with the children and not have a career. I don't know how correct the second thought is, but if she was writing in the late 1950s - early 1960's, I might be in the ballpark. To differentiate between "beauty" and "strength" like that is sexism plain and simple. Tonight I was treated to a wonderful rant by Deborah Lipp who was responding to a Huffington Post article about a survey reporting 50% of men saying they would leave their wife if she gained weight:
"In the patriarchy, we women are the "sex class;" we are the object, not the subject, of desire. No matter how aware or how feminist a person is, we've still internalized the values of the patriarchy, and that means both men and women care about women maintaining our appearance (and therefore our value as sex objects) but neither men nor women care as much about men maintaining their appearance (because they are the consumers of, not the objects of, sexuality).

Quick quiz: In your mind's eye, illustrate the word "sexy." Most of the time, even a straight woman is going to see a sexy woman, not a sexy man. Because women are the "sexy" thing, men are the "aroused" thing.

The patriarchy: You're soaking in it."
So when do we say "these words no longer reflect our values" and move on to language which fits the current zeitgeist, or at least the one we want? Why is it that when someone objects to certain language used the response is "it's only words" and therefore shouldn't matter? Well, if it's "only words" then why are they clinging so hard to the old words? Most no longer use animal sacrifice. Most only use a symbolic Great Rite. If those things are taboo, why can't sexism be taboo too? Is it because sexism is still rampant in society at large? Are you defining or restricting your Pagan practice according to the judeo-christian mores of your family? Heh, the later is something Gavin Bone mentioned at the Trance workshop. 

Since repetition is invocation, when is it ok to change the words? It's ok when you understand and have experienced the concept behind it. Intention, I believe, is more important than the words used. Yes, words have vibration and energy, but your voice, which gives birth to those words, is the source of that energy. The voice demands, the voice supplicates. The word is the body of the intent, but the tone is the mind and the voice is the soul. If you can embody the spirit of the intention in a different word, if different words will get you there, go ahead. However, if you're just starting out, or have never done a certain spell or rite, do it as written, even if the words written bother you, and do it with an open mind and heart. This will give you the information you need to make it your own. I titled this post "blah blah blah blah" because I believe you can do an effective ritual or spell just with the word "Blah" because it's all about how you intone it.

There are spells and incantations and rites which require precise words to access their power. Grimoires do because you're tapping in to a specific stream of energy and the words are keys to that energy. Novenas mostly do, if you want them to work quickly, and for the same reason. You can also create your own novena prayer to an entity/saint but when you do that you're almost starting from scratch with building a relationship. That's perfectly valid, but perhaps not as quick as another set of words or recognized method. As with anything, you have to find the balance. Don't go throwing out the spell book because you've written everything from scratch yourself!

We should honor those who have helped to revive The Craft including Doreen Valiente who is falsely credited with writing The Charge of the Goddess. She just turned the information Leland received from Italian Witch Maddalena into a poem. She changed the words. What? Uh huh. She took something that actually had been handed down and changed the words! So if anyone takes issue with my changing her words to better fit the current zeitgeist, I will point you to the original Italian Charge of the Goddess and her english alterations!

I started this post in regard to a comment from Jannet Farrar, so let's conclude with one from Stewart Farrar. He wrote the forward for Mario Pazzaglini's Aradia or the Gospel of Witches A New Translation (which corrects Leland's translations of the Italian from the original papers):

"The Book of Shadows, which every Gardnerian copies out by hand, was alleged to have been thus passed down over the centuries; but although it certainly includes ancient traditional material, only the most naive would deny that in its present form it was compiled by Gardner himself. Proof that it is a recent compilation can be drawn from the fact that it includes at least one passage from Aleister Crowley's Gnostic Mass, a slightly altered Kipling poem, some identifiable Masonic phraseology, and elements from Aradia, Gospel of Witches.

The most clear example of this is the Charge, a beautiful and moving declamation by the High Priestess as representative of the Goddess, which is used by every Gardnerian and Gardnerian-derived coven, and which begins: "Whenever you are in need of anything, once in the month, and better it be when the moon is full, then ye shall assemble in some secret place, and adore the spirit of me, who am Queen of all Witches..."

This, and about the first third of the Charge, is almost a literal translation of the passage... in chapter 1 of Aradia...

Leland's gifted research into a "dying" tradition has made a significant contribution to a living and growing one... the particular forms he discovered were part local, part universal. They expressed something that is as old as humanity itself. Something, in his own words, of "a kind of vitality and of independence which indicated great power." Otherwise they would not have survived the Etruscan, Roman and Christian times. If some of their seeds have taken healthy root in British and American soil, it is because they find an echo there, merging naturally with the native stream because that stream ultimately has the same source.

So a Witch in London or New York or Yorkshire or Idaho can use without strangeness the words which Maddalena learned from her Tuscan forebears: "Whenever ye have need of any thing, once in the month and better it be when the moon is full..."

So there we have Stewart Farrar not only acknowledging the origins of The Charge, we have him lauding the survival of La Vecchia in Italy. It survived for thousands of years, from the Etruscans through the 1890's when Leland wrote about it, but didn't manage to make it through those that last 65 years before Gardner came along and used material from it? Or the 60 years since? I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn to sell you...

I started out with a mature rebuttal to an emotional rant, and found myself in the middle of new emotional rant. Two for the price of one. Perhaps it's more appropriate to say I'm up on my favorite soap box (I didn't copy and paste the quote, I typed it while reading it out of my Pazzaglini book. That's dedication!) So let's bring this back around to the start with another quote from Stewart Farrar's forward in the Pazzaglini book:
"[No coven] but the most unimaginative (and therefore most sterile) confine themselves to the Book of Shadows as though it were holy writ."

Word.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Streghe video summary

Luce di Strega is a Streghe summary video. I find it to be a proud piece for all of us of the blood. I know Beth finds it a bit tedious due to the many flashing images, but if you can get past that aspect, I think there is still quite some value to any followers of Stregheria. Especially to some of the newer folk just beginning your journey.

The background music is by German composer Carl Orff in which he took a medieval Latin poem written in the early 13th century named: "O Fortuna". It is part of the collection known as the Carmina Burana. It is a complaint about fate, and the Roman Goddess Fortuna. I also have an awesome video of "O Fortuna" which I would glady post if anyone is interested.

I truly hope that at least some of you enjoy this short journey.

Blessings all around,
Dusio

Speaking of Italian Americans.

Frank Sinatra was the only child of Italian Immigrants. He was born in Hoboken, New Jersey. His father was Anthony Sinatra, a New York fireman of Sicilian origin, and his mother was Natalie Garavanta. Sinatra's parents had both emigrated from mainland Italy to America in the 1890's. His mother had political connections with the democratic party in Hoboken.

He made a handful of movies with his friends Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. The three actors-performers were well known as "The Rat Pack".

Frank was also known for his stormy love life. His first marriage was to Nancy Barbato, with whom he had 3 children, Nancy, Frank Sinatra Jr, and Christina. That marriage ended when he had an affair with Ava Gardner. She became his 2nd wife when he married her in 1951. They split up in 1953. He then had a romance with Lauren Bacall. His next wife Mia Farrow was some 30 years younger then him. They were divorced 2 years later. Finally in 1976 he married his last wife Barbara Marx who remained with him until the day he died.

Frank's public life became rumored with allegations that he had associations with organized crime and the Mafia. During the 1940s he visited Havana with the Fischetti family who were known mobsters. Sinatra was also friends with Sam Giancana, a Mafioso with associations to the Kennedy family. Despite J Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, suspecting Sinatra of Mafia involvement, nothing was ever proved against him. The character named Johnny Fontaine in "The Godfather" was also believed to be based on Frank Sinatra and his mafia connections.

I have always been a huge fan of Frank Sinatra and thought the following song of Frank's may also be of particular interest to our followers.

Learn something old every day

Tonight I attended another of Alessandra Belloni's Italian drum and dance classes. She is an amazing artist and a wonderful teacher. I can't gush enough about her, but I will stop it there for now. Tonight we worked on the tarantella drumming rhythm. I used to be able to do it fast, or at least at full tarantella speed, but when I tried to follow along with a dvd a few years ago, I was incredibly rusty. Tonight she broke it down into steps and I was mostly able to put it back together. I could follow her drumming and kept up as she went faster and faster but couldn't rock the speed on my own lol Ah well, I need to practice!

As we were putting our drums away and moving into the dancing part of the class, I was transported back to my Grandparent's kitchen. My Grandfather was sitting at the head of the table and I was sitting to his left. I was maybe 3 years old (and when older, he would show me this a lot...). He would drum out a beat on the table using his fist and his hand, which would flip back and forth to make the rhythm. It was almost the exact same thing we were drumming tonight. When I was little, I thought it was an army thing. he was incredibly proud of having served in WWII. And in all the years I've been doing tarantella, I never put that together. I was just good at that kind of dancing and drumming and never gave it a thought. Then again, I've never taken my study and work with it as seriously before.

This is a perfect example of how it works in my Family: You are taught without realizing it, without having to put together the connections because it's just there, a part of your life, part of the family games and the stories and "the things we do."

Thank you, Grandpa, for teaching me something I didn't know I had learned!


On deck for posting (which doesn't actually mean it will appear here):

Why words are important and when and how they should evolve (pt 2 of  "formed in strength" vs "formed in beauty")
Witches in Turin cause earthquake (on purpose, in protest!)
The difference between "tolerance," "acceptance" and "understanding."
Commedia dell'arte

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Charon the Ferryman.

Let me start by saying the passing of Amy Winehouse took me on this search. I wouldn't call myself a fan, I never really knew much about her, other then a few of her most popular songs. It was her fighting the demons of alcohol, bulimia, self cutting, and drug abuse, that really made me feel so sorry for her. A life with so much talent was being so tormented on this side that she finally decided she had had enough. I only pray that she finally finds the peace on the other side that obviously she could not find on this plane. Rest in Peace Amy Winehouse.

Charon was believed to be the ancient son of Erebus and Nyx (the goddess of night). His symbol was the double headed hammer. He was the ferryman to the Titans delivering the souls of mortals to the underworld. His job was to ferry the dead across the River Styx to the entrance of Hades. A coin was placed in the mouth of the dead person as payment for Charon. If there was no payment, the soul was forced to wander the shores for 100 years. Cerberus is the three headed dog that guards the entrance to Hades allowing souls to enter but none to leave.

So while doing my research on Charon I found this very interesting site. It is a voyage with Charon the ferryman. It took me almost an hour but I did complete the journey. May you enjoy your journey with the boatman. Collect as many coins as possible. You will need them to complete your journey.

Charon and Psyche

Monday, July 25, 2011

Early bird special - Hermes & Hecate


Thanks to Angela at The Pagan Mom Blog for posting my article on Hermes a& Hekate. It's a brief look at the possible associations of the pair.


I wrote it as a food-for-thought piece and hope to follow it up here with more information and more research. However, I'm concentrating on Diana at the moment and have no idea where my daily devotions will lead and how it will appear here on this blog!

Here's the link to the article. Have a great day!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bird's Eye View

Raven Grimassi blogged today. I suggest reading his take, and questions, about the current community.

I tried to post a reply, but wasn't successful, so it looks like I have my blog of the day!


I've enjoyed reading this post and the discussion in comments as well.

I think the flooded market is a good thing, or at least a natural thing/just another part of the cycle. Back in the day a new seeker literally had to seek out others with time and effort and a personal dedication to gaining the knowledge and experience they sought. It kept things in check, the secrets were shared amongst a few who were (hopefully) responsible in how to use this knowledge and power. Today, with a flooded market, a new seeker doesn't have to look hard to find "a way in" their task is to discern what is true and what is false. This is also a safeguard that the people who are supposed to find the real knowledge will, and those who shouldn't will be too wrapped up in watered down material to do any real damage. Of course, both of these have their drawbacks: The old way, many naturally gifted people lost out on the opportunity to develop and use their skills. The current way, people are more easily misled and more people are out there giving us a bad name. With the later, who cares, we've always had a bad name! We need to work together, wether you consider yourself hard-core or traditionalist and consider anyone who hasn't ready the necronomicon a fluffy bunny. We are all threads of the same tapestry.

I do agree that the separation between Wicca-as-religion and Witchcraft as practice is splitting the hair too fine. As one whose Sicilian ancestors called to Diana and Proserpina and Hecate, I embrace the word "Witch" and know it is my religion without any other buffer words needed to make it pretty for others. However, when I was 16 and coming out to friends, I made the distinction. It was easier to use a new word that didn't have so many negative connotations associated with it. Once I was mature enough to be secure in who and what I am, I embraced the word Witch. I think that culturally, we're at a point where we can all start doing this. We're mainstream now and while that opens us up to a flood of band-wagon jumpers and people with little life experience or magical experience calling themselves "Priest" or "Priestess" I think we can use the momentum to our collective advantage. But first, we have to be a collective. Trash talking those who have gained popularity in a way you might not agree with isn't the way to make things happen. We don't need to worry about other groups trying to tear us apart when we do a fine job of it on our own. (I'm referring to one of the "anonymous" comments here, not the original post.)

The post started out about books: Book sales of *all* kinds are down. Borders just closed their remaining stores. Aside from the contracting economy, people seem to prefer downloading free books on kindle and google. Warning! Generalization Ahead: It's a sound-bite kind of world where the current generation, who has grown up with the internet, feel entitled to have all information and experiences at their fingertips without having to leave the comfort of their own home to get what they want. This doesn't mean we stop creating options for the community to connect or stop facilitating learning opportunities. Others have talked about the economy and the gulf between traditionalists and do-what-you-feels, so I'll close by pointing out the current astrology aspects:

Pluto, the generational planet has just changed signs. It just left Sagg, the sign of instant gratification and hedonism. It's not surprising that these themes have been reflected in the community in the past decade. Now, with Pluto moving into Capricorn, we're in a position to take a more disciplined look at our recent past. Capricorn is the sea-goat ascending the mountain and diving back down into the waters again. Are we at the point where we find ourselves about to climb the mountain once more? Are we plunging into the sea? Heading down into the depths before we can reemerge?

Thanks to Raven for the thought-provoking post!

Poetic interlude

I adore Edna St. Vincent Millay. She has written some of my favorite poetry ever and tonight I'm sharing a few, just because we need a poetic interlude. It's been a while since the last one! Her poems also reference Persephone, ancient temples, bergamot, rosemary, Euclid, The Muses, and others.

An Ancient Gesture
I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron:
Penelope did this too.
And more than once: you can't keep weaving all day
And undoing it all through the night;
Your arms get tired, and the back of your neck gets tight;
And along towards morning, when you think it will never be light,
And your husband has been gone, and you don't know where, for years.
Suddenly you burst into tears;
There is simply nothing else to do.

And I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron:
This is an ancient gesture, authentic, antique,
In the very best tradition, classic, Greek;
Ulysses did this too.
But only as a gesture,—a gesture which implied
To the assembled throng that he was much too moved to speak.
He learned it from Penelope...
Penelope, who really cried.

Daphne
Why do you follow me?—
Any moment I can be
Nothing but a laurel-tree.

Any moment of the chase
I can leave you in my place
A pink bough for your embrace.

Yet if over hill and hollow
Still it is your will to follow,
I am off;—to heel, Apollo!    

Witch-Wife
She is neither pink nor pale,
And she never will be all mine;
She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,
And her mouth on a valentine.

She has more hair than she needs;
In the sun 'tis a woe to me!
And her voice is a string of coloured beads,
Or steps leading into the sea.

She loves me all that she can,
And her ways to my ways resign;
But she was not made for any man,
And she never will be all mine.


Not with libations, but with shouts and laughter
Not with libations, but with shouts and laughter
We drenched the altars of Love's sacred grove,
Shaking to earth green fruits, impatient after
The launching of the colored moths of Love.
Love's proper myrtle and his mother's zone
We bound about our irreligious brows,
And fettered him with garlands of our own,
And spread a banquet in his frugal house.
Not yet the god has spoken; but I fear
Though we should break our bodies in his flame,
And pour our blood upon his altar, here
Henceforward is a grove without a name,
A pasture to the shaggy goats of Pan,
Whence flee forever a woman and a man. 


Here is my favorite poem of hers, which isn't very "Pagan" tho I suppose being a feminist during that era was pretty darn Pagan:

Oh, oh, you will be sorry for that word!

Oh, oh, you will be sorry for that word!
Give me back my book and take my kiss instead.
Was it my enemy or my friend I heard,
"What a big book for such a little head!"
Come, I will show you now my newest hat,
And you may watch me purse my mouth and prink!
Oh, I shall love you still, and all of that.
I never again shall tell you what I think.
I shall be sweet and crafty, soft and sly;
You will not catch me reading any more:
I shall be called a wife to pattern by;
And some day when you knock and push the door,
Some sane day, not too bright and not too stormy,
I shall be gone, and you may whistle for me. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Astro-turf

I've been reacquainting myself with the body-astrology and came across this quote:
"Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners. So that if we will plant nettles or sow lettuce, set hyssop and weed up thyme, supply it with one gender of herbs or distract it with many—either to have it sterile with idleness, or manured with industry—why, the power and corrigible authority of this lies in our wills." --Shakespeare, Othello.

The astrological signs govern parts of the body (ie Capricorn = skin)
When the moon is in a certain sign (ie: we just had a full moon in Capricorn),
doing something to improve that part of the body will yield greater results (ie: have a facial at the spa when the moon is in capricorn and your skill will improve more dramatically than when having a facial at any other time).

This works the opposite way as well: You might not want to go out drinking when the moon is in Cancer which rules the liver! The alcohol is said to have an even more detrimental effect on the liver at that time. However, if you drink Milk Thistle tea when the moon is in Cancer, it will benefit your liver even more than usual.

Do you try to work with the lunar rhythms? I have my astrology calendar up which has moon phases, signs, aspects and when it' void of course. I do my best to keep an eye out for the most beneficial times to do things, but if something has to happen at a certain time despite lunar position, I'm ok with going for it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Gift

There are red tailed hawks who live near my home. They circle around hither and thither and they are mesmerizing! I've seen over a dozen traveling together. I've asked them to leave a feather for me, if they happen to be done with one. Hubby spotted one today near the labyrinth and I got to hold it today and identify it using some of the wonderful resources on the internets. I've been given lots of advice on how to clean it, both physically and metaphysically. I'm going to steam it and then let it sit in the sun before I take it inside.

I've read about the legalities of possessing feathers, eggs, nests, etc.
Migratory birds may seek respite within trees or on buildings considered private property. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 prohibits the removal of all listed species or their parts (feathers, eggs, nests, etc.) from such property.
As long as I don't remove it from my property, I'm not violating any laws. Since I never plan to remove it or sell it, we're fine :) I'm enjoying learning more about this creature and how to work with them. I need to find an appropriate thank you as well!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Practicality

I promised something practical the other night but then I was distracted by The Apollo. I'm still doing a touchdown dance over that and I'm planning a tour through Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn. And come to think of it, there's some work I need to do there too. hrmmm!  What I really want to do tonight is go off on a tear about the Aeneid and how it's basically political propaganda BS and tries to fold everything into the Roman pantheon and tie it to Caesar. Argh! But I digress! Let's conjure the forces:

This is a quickie, but also a goodie. It's fun to use for scrying. We combine the fire scrying with a focus: A key. I've talked about each of these before, but not put together. Light a candle. It can be any kind of taper, you don't have to get fancy, but if you want to dress it for scrying purposes, why not? Take a key, preferable a skeleton key and preferably one that no longer goes to a specific door. It's best if this key is one of your tools and set aside for a magical purpose. Keys are so in fashion these days, that I honestly don't know if this would work with an ornamental key, or an actual key. I suppose it's something to experiment with and test the difference.

Ask the key to unlock the information you wish to know and to show it to you. Look through the key towards the candle flame. This literally focuses your scrying. You can also do this without the candle to see around you.

I see that it's time for me to go to bed. Tomorrow, a possible discussion on what JK Rowling got right.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Showtime at the Apollo



I walked by the Apollo theatre today on my way to Tarantella Class with Alessandra Belloni. Are you tired of me posting about her yet? Haha sorry. She's a wonderful teacher and I'm happy to have had the opportunity to take up studying with her once again. It's been about 8 years since I last took her classes. Was nice to know that I'm not all that rusty! The moves we did tonight were some of the same ones I used to trance on Saturday. I was very, very careful to keep the locks closed: There was no way I wanted to trance when I had to take public transit home right after!

So again, on the walk to the train, I was pondering the name of the famous theatre and who named it that? And why? Turning to the holy wiki:
Apollo Hall was founded in the mid-19th century by former Civil War General Edward Ferrero as a dance hall and ballroom. Upon the expiration of his lease in 1872, the building was converted to a theater, which closed shortly before the turn of the 20th century... However, the name "Apollo Theater" lived on.
Paisan! He was an Italian whose parent's had paused in Spain when he was born and moved to NYC a year later. In addition to being a soldier, he was the most famous dance instructor of his time.
He educated the wealthy and elite of New York society in the art of dance, and originated many dances that spread in popularity throughout the country. Ferrero became renowned as one of America's leading experts in dance. He worked part-time as a dance instructor at the United States Military Academy and was the author of The Art of Dancing in 1859.
He's from Italy, was a Freemason, and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn; I've hit the trifecta of this blog's mission statement! Italian! Magical! Brooklyn! lol My husband has been looking at me like I'm crazier than usual, especially since I was just doing a little touchdown dance. Dancing for the trifecta? I was at first, but forget that, I've hit the jackpot! books.google.com has a free copy of the book, The Art of Dancing !

Why is it a jackpot? Aside from the intro being almost entirely about him debunking "the church" on how dancing is the province of "the devil" there is a large section devoted entirely to ancient dances. Make no mistake, it's no "yay for Pagans!" tome: He's as judgmental as expected when it comes to the rites of Bacchus, but he cites ancient writers as sources and so far, backs up his theories with evidence. Sections include titles such as: "Dance among ancient Hebrews," "The Bacchic dances," "the Kybeslesis," "the Memphitic dance," "the Festinalia" and others, including one called "Cabalistic Hat" :-o He also includes various theories on who invested dance, naming candidates such as Castor and Pollux, or Rhea, communicated to her Priests and Priestesses in Crete.

I'm stopping the blog here so I can actually sit down and read the book! So far I'm enjoying it! Care to read along with me? The link will take you right to the book!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Tragic Women of the Greco-Roman world...

I hate the term Greco-Roman, but alas, that pretty much describes what we have here. Tonight, Nemesis and I were talking about Dido's lament (aka her suicide speech). I remarked about that being the moment opera was born. We waxed poetic once again about Medea and Jason and how Medea has been much maligned over the years. This lead to a chat about Jeff Mach's play, Seeds, a bdsm take on the relationship between Hades and Persephone. I think fans of Ann Rice's The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty‎ will like it. It's slated to premiere at The Geeky Kink event in NJ, Nov 4th - 6th. This got me to thinking about all of the "wronged women" in Greek and Roman lore:

Ariadne: Abandoned by Theseus, "rescued" by Dionysus.
Demeter: Daughter stolen, gets to see her for half the year..
Hera: Cheated on left n right by Zeus.
Diana: Tricked into killing her lover, Orion!
Medussa: Get's it on with Neptune on Aphrodite's altar and is turned into a stone-turning, snake headed monster. And what happens to Neptune? Jack and shit. Nice.
Khione: Date-raped by two Gods, gives birth to their twins.
Helen: The face that launched a thousand ships. Nevermind that it was her husband who went after her when he could have just given her a divorce. Sheesh.
Pasiphaë: Minos' wife who winds up mating with a bull because Minos wouldn't sacrifice the best one to Neptune. That's where we got the minataur! She was an innocent bystander, yet she's the one who's blamed for doing it with a bull! And check out Neptune's involvement in yet another debasing of a Goddess... how did he come to be associated with these stories?
Athena: Hephaestus tries to rape her and his spunk lands on the earth which impregnates Gaia who then gives birth to Erichthonius!

I'm writing the Wronged Goddess version of the Vagina Monologues. What should I call it?

I don't take these stories literally, but I, and I'm sure many of you who bother to read this blog have looked beyond the surface of the stories and into the deeper themes. There is some evidence that Hephaestus and Athena were considered a divine pair and that Erichthonius is their son (Shhh! Don't tell Marguerite Rigoglioso!)

Likewise, Pasiphaë, Europa and Ariadne are linked with the Moon Goddess in ancient Crete, the theory being that "Ariadne" is a Greek epithet for the Goddess the same way "Lucina" is in Italy. I also like to note that Pasiphaë is the sister of Circe, Aunt of Medea and both are from Thessaly. I don't always appreciate wiki articles, but this one is a wonderful starting place. Note the mention of Pasiphaë as an oracular Goddess!


That's all for tonight. Tomorrow, something practical!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Italian-American vs Italian

I have family in Italy. I have family from Italy who came to America. I call myself Italian, but I am, in reality an American, not an Italian. I do not live on that land, I am not involved in the daily life of the country, I am not aware of the political or economical issues or struggles and I don't live them, they aren't my own. I carry that land with me in my DNA. It helped to shape me, but so has this land and that's something native Italians can't say.

New York - Italian immigrants at Little Italy © De Agostini / SuperStock
I've talked before about pregnancy and motherhood being initiations and mysteries; So was immigrating from Italy to America: The journey, Ellis Island (and other ports of entry), the neighborhoods... the customs that developed from keeping the old ways and marrying them to the New World. I think Italian-Americans are more united as a culture than Italians themselves. Over there, it's family first, then town, then region then country.  In America, when the first great waves of immigrants came through, they still kept to their own, as per my cousin's story of the 3 butchers. Nowadays, most Italian-Americans no longer care about differences in region: Many of the old regional conflicts are now lost, even though my Mom swears that "all Calabrians are capadosts!" I have no idea why Calabrians are hard-headed or stubborn and pay little attention to that. Italian-Americans share common experiences that Italians just don't have. Now that we're into the 3rd and 4th generations since the great wave of Italian immigrants, we can see this more clearly.

Here's an article from an Italian-American growing up in the 1950s which illustrates this, as well as dealing with cultural stereotypes. And another link which even brings up that fact that Italians, along with Germans and Japanese were interred during WWII. We all know about the Japanese, and they received an apology at least, but what about the Italians? My Grandfather and all of his brothers fought in WWII and I'm wondering if, for some immigrants, this was done as a way to prove their loyalty and save their families from being put in prison for the crime of being at war with their native country? Something to ponder.

Family trad Witches in Italy and Family trad Witches of Italian descent in America are different too. We are more open here. We can claim the word Strega the same way we can claim the word Witch, the same way Christian Day can claim the word Warlock. If you talk to the older Italians and use the word Strega, they might poo-poo it as an insult. That doesn't mean the term is invalid. After all, that's what many Witches did here in America (over the past 20 years that I've been involved anyway), hiding behind the word "Wicca." The word "Witch" evokes all kinds of imagery and connotations, but using a softer word, a word that was less well known, like "Wicca" was ok. The same thing is happening in Italy: There is less need to hide behind the Saints and other Catholic trappings and Italian Pagans and Witches can start coming out of the closet.

This past Saturday, Janet Farrar (who was kind enough to post here on the blog, both correcting and confirming my rant at the same time!) said that, in Italy, "Strega" is thought of as a term of insult by the Italians who took their workshops. Yes, it has been for a long time, but that's the same as "Witch" being used as an insult. It still is today in America. However, there are many of us, on both sides of the Atlantic, reclaiming the terms. It will take a long time, and in both cases, other, softer words are being used to ease the muggles and bigots into the transition.

I'm on different Italian Stregoneria groups on Facebook and the internet. I don't mean "Italian Witchcraft" where everyone is American and interested in what the Italians do, I mean groups of Italians, speaking in Italian living in Italy. It's giving me a chance to practice my skills. I'll write up more conclusions, as well as the answers to the questions I posed on the groups, if anyone does indeed answer and I didn't completely mess up the Italian!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Trance/Possession/Prophecy

Today was the Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone workshop on Trance-Prophecy. It was very interesting. I've used tarantella and pizzica as trance inductors and also Drawing Down the Moon, which is Italian, by the way. Etruscan, if you want to get specific about it. I was surprised that they've done work in Italy, but I guess I shouldn't be.

I volunteered to let Gavin take me down the path and let myself be possessed. I decided to trust him and let go of my ego and my own way of doing things. In a meditation earlier in the day, I saw Diana walking in front of me down the path, so when I volunteered, I suspected it would be Her. It was, and she didn't want to wait for Gavin to get through the entire pathworking. She started coming through me and he told me to pull back and wait, to have more control. She and I were confused, not understanding why we couldn't do this right away. Since I had put my trust in him as my guide, I said let's do it his way, and we did. I can see how it opened up more choice for me. I could have picked any of several who wanted to come through. Diana, however, was most present. She came through, and as he described, it was like relaxing into a warm bath. Everything sounded "underwater" to me. I didn't have a care. I was completely relaxed. When I came back up, it was like a dream that was floating away.  Funny, I had to let go of my hard-won control to gain some.

I do remember that she told the group to "Find the joy in the Work." It's not all dark n mysterious all the time. There is Joy here too. Otherwise, why bother?

There was a ritual for Dionysus afterward in the vineyard. One of my favorite cohorts got to bring Hecate through and rocked it like a Trance-Diva! Part of the ritual was ecstatic dance. I had my tamburello with me and played for both the ritual and the dance. I decided that i wanted to let go and trance MY way, just to feel the back to back comparison. I gave the tamburello to a friend and started dancing and rocking and I handed off my laurel wreath and then as I danced i threw my scarf around someone's neck (like pulling them towards me). Next thing I know I'm on the floor with Gavin's hands on my head telling me to close my chakras LOL

It was a great day. I got to meet some fabulous people learn new techniques, and had a wonderful time. If you get a chance to take this workshop, you should!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Grounding

Quickie tonight because I am prepping for a workshop tomorrow (attending, not teaching) about trance and ecstatic dance. While packing lunch and supplies, I'm keeping in mind things to bring to stay and/or return to being grounded. After all, I have to drive home at the end of the day!

Lunch will include: Grape leaves (mainly rice), baked potato, carrots, beets, avocado, tomato, lettuce, cantaloupe, pita bread and dark chocolate. All of these are grounding. Of course, the fastest grounding food is junk food: It makes your body work so hard at digesting and removing it, that your energy goes there immediately instead of out and about into the realms. Fast food is also wicked salty. I keep a packet of salt on hand if I need to ground very quickly and I'm in a pinch (ha! salt pun!).

I'm bringing a hematite necklace and hematite and obsidian stones. I will also be bringing Florida Water in a spray bottle. Here is a link to an explanation of and recipes for Florida Water. Notice they contain bergamot oil as the main ingredient ;)

Things to do: I love just plain putting my hands on the earth and letting the energy sink back down. Yes, you can let it go through your feet, but I find much of my energy collects in my upper chakras so it feels easier for me to let it back out that way rather than run the excess through my whole body. There's also a satisfaction in doing something deliberate such as bending down to touch the ground. I also like to stomp the ground- literally plant my feet- if the energy is in my lower chakras or I need to send it down that way. Again, not entirely necessary, but satisfying.

The best defense is a good offense: Before starting work, I ground and center and hook in a safety line. You can create an energetic grounding wire through which you can channel any excess. This doesn't really do you much good in a setting where you are trying to raise or send energy since anything "extra" would immediately go right back into the ground. For this workshop we're not raising energy, so much as surfing it.

I'll likely report back about the workshop tomorrow. In the meanwhile, feel free to add your quick trick grounding tips!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel!

Seriously, sometimes they barely bother to slap some veneer over the ancient practices.

Pretty crown of stars, eh? Can anyone name the big gold magic wand in her hand? Is it merely the scepter of the "Queen of Heaven and earth?" Speaking of hands, notice the baby is holding up the extremely Pagan by about 1,000 years Roman Hand of Power.

Here is Her prayer:

"Oh most beautiful flower of Mt. Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in my necessity. Oh Star of the Sea, help me and show me you are my Mother. Oh Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to succor me in necessity (make request). There are none that can withstand your power. Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee (say three times). Holy Mary, I place this prayer in your hands (say three times). Amen."

The emphasis is mine. Just pointing out some of the typical Pagan Mother Goddess titles which were reassigned to Mary. This one adds a different title: Star of the Sea. La Sirene? Yemanja? Astarte?

Mount Carmel was an important place in ancient times. Pythagoras found his way there, oracles were consulted in the caves. Zeus was worshiped there as was Baal. Early human remains have been discovered in the caves, including neanderthals and other paleolithic evidence. :-o

Pythagoras is said to have visited there "on account of its reputation for sacredness, stating that it was the most holy of all mountains, and access was forbidden to many" as per the holy wiki. It's difficult to delve into other sources on that because little of Iamblicus' work remains, so what we have here is at best third hand heresay.

Essene groups are also said to have lived in the caves there. Some claim the "lost" years of Jesus were spent with the Essenes. At this hour I can't tell if the web info I'm coming across is legit or crackpot, so I leave it to you to comence with Teh Googlez.

I also came across this group: "The Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society is an independent nonprofit Catholic Organization formed in 1875 by Italian immigrants new to Hammonton, New Jersey, who took time to celebrate their safe journey to America and a successful harvest by giving praise and thanks to the blessed Virgin Mary."

A main part of the Feast is handing out, and breaking bread with everyone. Why, hello, Demeter, virgin mother grain goddess of fertility :)

Consider this a part 1. Her feast ends on Sunday, so I hope to post more about it at some point. It's feast season, and I hope to not go overboard on the theme of Pagan origins of catholic practices, or, how Paganism survived to modern day. I couldn't possibly go overboard with that, especially not on this blog!

These feasts are uniquely Italian American. Aside from the much lauded patrick's day, I can't think of any other proper feast that isn't Italian (and Pagan!) in origin. Tonight I'll leave you with this video from a previous celebration in Williamsburg. Around minute 5 you see the boat on the left unite with the Star of the Sea on the right. This feast was started here by immigrants giving thanks. I'm happy to keep that tradition going. After all, I wouldn't be sitting here in America right now if my ancestors hadn't had the coglioni to get on a boat to a strange new country. I'm going to break bread with my family and with my friends, dance and celebrate the Star of the Sea, who, if you wear Her symbol, will personally escort you into Heaven. Pretty nifty, huh? SO much more to say about this... must sleeep!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bunnies! (Not the fluffy kind. Well, fluffy, but not the mcwiccan kind!)

When I told Dusio that I was at a loss for post topic, he suggested I post about one of my "totem" animals. After some debate, I decided to share: I've always felt a connection to the hare, even as a young child, including making them my kindergarten project and learning to draw and create them out of clay. Always loved em. And wen I moved out here, saw them all the time. I still do, when I'm quietly walking my land and in the moment.

I remember looking them up in Animal-Speak by Ted Andrews a few years ago and just shaking my head, laughing at how I had more in common with them than not. I'm a herbivore, as are our rabbit friends, was born in the year of the rabbit, and my patrons are linked to the hare, all of which are linked to the moon: baby bunnies are ready to be on their own after 28 days.

According to Stories rabbits tell: a natural and cultural history of a misunderstood creature by By Susan E. Davis and Margo DeMello:

The Egyptian word for hare is "Un" or "open/open to/the opener." Hares were considered sacred to the Goddess Diana in her aspect as Lucina. In Sanskrit, the word for moon "cacadharas" means "one who carries the hare.

Mercury is added to the rabbit lore mix by virtue of his virility: A legend I've remarked on in the past: Both Apollo and Mercury wanted Khione. Apollo seduced her and she became pregnant. Later that night, Mercury did the same. And also impregnated her. The rabbit has the wonderful distinction of being able to become pregnant when it's already in the middle of a pregnancy!

Thanks to theoi.com:
Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 33 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Hare [constellation Lepus]. Some say that it was put there by Mercurius, and that it had been given the faculty, beyond other kinds of quadrapeds, of being pregnant with new offspring when giving birth to others."

Rabbits aren't nocturnal, but crepuscular: they're out and about during twilight. Because of this and their ability to create tunnels underground, they're associated with Fairies and the Underworld. Down the rabbit hole, anyone? ;)

The rabbit is also known as a trickster, like some God we know? ;) Back to our friends with the bunny book. They talk about how women and rabbits are closely linked, and not just in Goddess imagery:


The word "cunning" is derived from the Latin for the word "to know," cunnan, which is related to the word for rabbit, or cuniculus. From here we can leap to the english "coney" or "dupe/one who is fooled." The When the pronunciation rhymes with "honey" it becomes slang for vulva. They way they tell it, the pronunciation of "Coney Island" was changed to suit Victorian sensibilities.

The rabbit is still linked to fertility. Here's a link to the Snopes article on the origin of the phrase "the rabbit died." Oh great, now I've got Aerosmith stuck in my head!

I'm behind a night on posting. Tonight starts the Feast of Demeter, translated into the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Over the next few days I hope to post info on both the ancient and modern feast!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gratitude

Tonight, I take a pause for pure gratitude and offer this original poem that I just wrote to show my appreciation for my Goddess, my God, my Family, and my Ancestors:

Thank you, Diana and Apollo!
By the Sun and Moon I follow
with thanks to Michael, and Raphael,
to Gabriel and Uriel:
To spread your healing fame I'll tell
of your deeds both great and small.
I praise your names to one and all!
To my Ancestors whom I hold dear:
Bless you all for being near
in those times I need you most.
Tonight, for you, I'll drink a toast!
And for my friends, I'll do my part
to thank you from my deepest heart.
Tho brought together by choice or Fate,
Our Will be Done, our Work be Great!



And so you don't think I'm totally slacking, here is a beautiful poem, appropriate for dedication rituals:

Witch Vow
By Leo Martello


Hear me, help me, Holy One.
My Witch life has just begun.
I dedicate myself to Thee.
My faith shall be fierce and free.Make me worthy, make me wise.
Liberate me from all lies.
Guide me in thy Goddess light.
Illuminate each dark night.I light the candle, I taste the wine.
I purify the air with incense fine.
I make the pentagram with my knife.
I declare my witchhood with my life.I offer myself in naked truth.
Grant me wisdom and the joy of youth.
Upon thy altar my soul is bare,
I leave myself in thine loving care.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Gabii

A new sarcophagus was unearthed by an archaeological team in Gabii. The pictures are really interesting. The articles I've seen on this are really thin at best, kinda like "oh look at the shiny" then they move on.

Gabii wasn't just some place near Rome or a mere rival. It was a member of the Latin League. It was said to be the home of the last Etruscan kings. It was also reputed to be the place where Romulus and Remus were schooled. On the edge of what used to be a lake stands a temple to Juno pictured here on the right. In the temple were shrines to Jupiter, Fortuna, and Diana.



Also found at the site was this statue of Diana, now called the Braschi Diana after the one who bought the statue from the excavators in the 1700s. 














Here's the picture of the sarcophagus, dating from Roman times:


Mercury, Apollo, and....? Who is that in the Phrygian cap top right? Attis? I wish there was a better picture. I haven't found one yet. The one above is the pic that's been attached to every article and I still can't find a proper credit for it.

If anyone has dug up more clues, please let me know!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Home

Today, for the first time in a long time, I felt like I was home...with my own kind. It was such a wonderful relief that I nearly cried. It's nice to have magical friends and teachers and people we commune with, but that's just it... it's "nice." There is a difference when you walk with people who walk your walk, and talk with people who talk your talk.

I took a class with Lori Bruno today and I heard my Grandmother's words coming out of her mouth. Word for word quotes. Walking this path on your own for so long, it makes you question if what you have is true or real. I sometimes wonder if I remember things right since my Grandmother passed when I was a kid. I sometimes wonder if the knowledge I've been gifted from across the veil is what I think it is and if I'm using it how it should be used. Everyone questions these things at times. It's almost cathartic when you find others who work the ways that you work too- it's cleansing, it purges any doubts about the path and how you've been walking it.

I feel like I've had an energy shower and I don't want to get dirty with other streams of energy again. Well, not just yet. I've always been biased against other traditions because Strega is the trad I was born with and anything else I choose to practice is a compromise for me. After a while you get tired of the compromise and just want to do it the way you were born to do it. It has nothing to do with how powerful or valid another path is: I know there are all kinds of ways and paths out there and there are many paths to the top of the mountain and yes, they're all valid, tho some get you there faster than others. But if you're a wiccan, do you want to be forced to compromise and practice OTO style? Or if you're Isian and forced to do Druid ceremonies, or a Gardenerian forced to do thing the Faery way? How about a Pagan and forced to go to church to get a dose of spirituality?  I love many of the people I work with- after all, if it wasn't for them I wouldn't compromise and celebrate a full moon calling on deities who are foreign to me. Looks like I have some pondering to do...

Ave Maria, Ave Diana!

Journeys

I've done a few today, both the esoteric kind and the actual kind.

I opened a door that I've left closed for some time, went through, and was guided by one of my Patrons. I was consciously trying to take in every detail, but I found I couldn't focus quite that clearly- I was trying to be an observer when instead I was the one being observed. I'm not ready to go into detail yet because I'm still trying to process it. I received a message and I want to incorporate that into my life nownownow! Never said I was patient! I want to go back again. I intend to do that in my dream work tonight. I'll let you know what happens ;)

I've been working on a post about other major points on Italian immigration in the US and after NYC, the number two port is Boston. I know my surname is up here! I wonder how we're related! In the meanwhile, I've decided that I'm going to have dinner here when I go back into Boston:





Would it be redundant to drink Strega liquor when I'm there? lol

Friday, July 8, 2011

Domanda per i mie paisans...

Have you noticed a surge lately? Not just in "juice" but in the number of contacts you've been making amongst other Strega? I thought it was just me, that I've become more public and others who are out there come across this blog, but it seems to be happening to others around me as well. Are you riding a wave of interconnection? For those who run, have you noticed a larger gathering when you do? I don't expect anyone to answer the later, just putting that out there. 

I've always said ,when asked why there aren't more of us around, that Strega are often few and far between because we're so incredibly potent, and often have a certain Italian temper, that too many in one place is a bad idea ;) After all, too many cooks spoil the gravy!

Speaking of connections, let's revisit the magical kind: Since it's summer, I
like to make offerings on the beach, where strand meets tide. Dawn or dusk, either twilight, is the best time to do this. You can write your spell in the sand, as if you were carving a candle, or you can form a "sigil" out of shells for what it is you want. I find personal symbols work better than something you glean from a book. Collect the shells yourself, sing a song, a chant, repeat a mantra or intone your spell as you collect them. Place them above the water line, as in don't let the waves touch it until it's complete and you have time to say a prayer of offering and gratitude. Along with your spell don't forget to set aside the best shell as an offering. You can keep your chanting and prayers going until the sea takes it, or turn and trust in the tide. If someone comes along and takes one of the offered shells, it's meant for them to have.


I've asked lots of questions tonight, and will go ponder the answers.

Ciao e grazie a tutti!

Keys to the Kingdom. And Queendom.

There are many different "keys" by which we access the different realms and planes and temples. If you don't have the keys, there are places you cannot go. If you find your way there you may knock, but you may be turned away.

There are lots of keys in Italian Witchcraft: Passwords and phrases, hand gestures, imagery/signs, markings on the body, rites through which you have passed, as well as literal keys. "They" say that a key that has no door leads to wisdom. That, I believe, comes from the practice of imbuing an actual key with the energetic one- the energy signal by which you might open the astral temple if you know how.

I wondered about posting this, but nothing is holding me back (and in the past, the phone has gone dead or the words havent come out or the computer has randomly restarted itself when I was about to reveal something that wasn't ready to be brought to light) so let's do this:

Names are also a way by which you are identified on the other planes. Sometimes you are endowed with a name by your teacher, sometimes by The Gods themselves, sometimes by your Ancestors. In turn, you will learn their true name. I know many practitioners who have more than one name, lest your true one be discovered and used against you. Two people on this plane know my magical name. I also consider my mundane given name to be magical so I am happy using that rather than turning on the fluff-bunny-name-generation-2000. My given name is Majestic. I only use my given name in rituals with others, especially when I'm communing with the Wiccans. They don't need to know that magical identity, especially since it's a different stream of magic. 

Markings: I was born with a birthmark (not telling you where :P), I have a tattoo that I dreamed in the weeks before I turned 19 and had it done on Hallows Eve. Within the tat, there are symbols which serve as keys. I've heard whisperings of another tattoo to come. I've seen the place on my body, I've seen what it's supposed to be, but it's not time yet. The timing is a whole other matter.

There are phrases and bits of songs, that were so mundane to me while growing up, that I didn't realize I had been given a key until I was in the middle of using it years later. However... I've never used the keys to test others. Well, maybe one or twice back in the day when I was about to start rebelling lol I wasn't giving them away, I was being holier than thou, feeling all puffed up because I had something that someone else didn't. What can I say, I was a kid. Today? I don't really think about it unless I'm using them to journey others who haven't been certain places before, which is rare. I haven't really thought much about it before, but I don't know how universal my keys are. Do I have the Strega skeleton key? A hex key? haha gotta love the magic puns... But seriously, I don't know from other Italian family trads, so I've never really cared to whip em out and compare. I don't have people around me who flash the same magical signs that I'm down with. I wonder if that will change soon... I hope so!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fear itself

I think fear, more than anything is what holds people back from achieving and increasing their own power. We get in our own way: The doubts, the voices of the past, the naysayers... they're all in our heads. It's up to us to ignore those things and to shout them down.

It can be especially hard to embrace "the hook-up" when that means you see more of what's coming- when your empathic abilities turn up a few notches. It's always been disconcerting to me to have bits and pieces of seemingly unrelated information coming to me in dreams or card readings or visions or "on the wind"  and not know what to do about it. It was so bad for a while that I was afraid of these instances. I call it PRE-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The idea of having a vision was so frightening to me that I tried to turn down the volume on the ability. That wasn't the answer either! I was afraid of not knowing, and afraid of knowing. So what to do?

If it's just as bad to not know as it is to know a fraction, then isn't it time to turn the volume up, to embrace that ability and nurture it so things come in loud and clear? I don't want my psychic abilities to be a cup and string, they need to be an IPhone. Not the first gen ones either, the slick new ones that have video.


Quoth Empedocles:

"And there was among them a man knowing an immense amount, who had acquired a great treasure of thoughts, master especially of all kinds of wise works; for whenever he reached out with all his thoughts, easily he saw each of the things that there are, in ten and even twenty human generations."

I'd be happy with a 4G, I duno that I need a 10G ;)

Have you ever done the exercise where you step into your power? Wrapped yourself not only in protection, but in projection? Changed your aura to suit your needs? Focused on your power center outside of ritual? Do you work magic in otherwise mundane settings? If not, why not?  If so, what's your favorite technique to use?

That's all for tonight's pep rally, but something came across my virtual desk today that I wanted to share. Looks like co-opting other religions has been popular for a very long time:


Strange hieroglyphs and representations of Egyptian gods and goddesses have been found in the middle of the Po valley in northern Italy, revealing a unique example of Egyptomania.
Found in Casalbuttano ed Uniti, a village some 10 miles north of Cremona, the Egyptian-inspired motifs materialized as restorers removed the tapestry in a room of Palazzo Turina, an 18th century building which now houses the town hall.
A blue starry ceiling emerged, while walls decorated with pink and cream colored bands revealed a wealth of hieroglyphs.

You can read the full article here. Interesting at how the iconography was changed and combined with others.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Walking the Walk

Tonight Debbie Chapnick of Datura Press and Tarot Tip Sheet fame read my tarot cards. She's a wonderful reader and teacher and I'm grateful to have her in my life. I haven't let aaaaaaaaaaanyone read cards for me in a long time, but that's a whole other story. If you're a born again tarot virgin, it's best to have an expert working with you instead of a novice practicing on you (Practice is important but inappropriate when you need to get down to business).

The cards didn't tell me anything I don't already know, however, it's one thing to know it and another thing to confront it and acknowledge it and own it. Sometimes you just need the cards to act like a mirror. You especially need a reader who not only has a relationship with the cards, but who knows which way the metaphysical winds are blowing.

I'm from the school of thought that you personally have to have the hook-up in order to read tarot (or do any form of divination). Some believe that the cards will provide the answers or guide the way or the "Spirit" attached to the cards will take care of that part of things and you just need to know the card meanings. Hooey! That's like saying as long as a golfer has the right golf club, they'll always land the ball in the hole. Pft. You need skill and practice. Not everyone is a prodigy, but you don't have to be: you just need to be able to assess your skill level honestly and know enough to ask when you need help or guidance- I mean ask actual qualified teachers. Be humble enough to admit when you don't know or need help. It's the ones who are too proud to do that who wind up falling on their face.


I got a little wake up call tonight. I know what to do, and despite sometimes feeling overwhelmed, I just have to do it. That's a general message for everyone: Get er done! Do you have goals? Long term? Short term? Do you have a mundane plan as well as a magical one?

Would you like to see something here more along the lines of classes, lectures and workshops? A message board or facebook group or page where we can discuss actual work in a more in-depth way than my nightly offerings? Have you read this far or did you get annoyed at my name dropping in the opening line? lol


If you have read this far: Dusio needs some blog-love. Please drop a comment on one of his offerings if you have a chance. He's a progressed Leo, what can I say? ;) I hope we'll hear more from him soon. He has vast experience and I'm glad to have him on the team!

I'm all about the gratitude tonight, so thank you, Loyal Horde, for following along on my year-long blog journey! Feel free to ask questions, argue with me, debate freely, and voice your own opinion and experiences. I didn't start this as a participatory adventure, but my Libra nature loves co-operation and collaboration, so I am open to it even as I move forward.

Topics on my radar* include:

Names, both magickal and mundane
Why Aeneas is a dick.
New book list!
More on tarantella and trance dance
Ancestors again
Follow up on the cult of Isis in Italy
The Italian take on journeying. At least this Italian's take.
What's the big deal about coral?

*Just because they're on my radar doesn't mean they get on my blog!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fireworks!

There is some debate over who invented fireworks, China or India, but the Italians invented the art form. In another case of "use what works," Italians incorporated fireworks into their feasts and festivals the moment they were first introduced. Here's a fun story from Italy which includes the modern fireworks as a form of harvest divination:

In Tuscany, there's a fireworks display, lit from a fire which is lit from splinters of flint from the cave in which Jesus was alleged to have been buried. If the giant cart burns to the bottom, all is well, but if it fizzles out, the harvest is screwed, I tells ya! Talk about pressure! I bet that's more pressure than the Macy's folks with their harbor display!

Tonight I watched the D.C fireworks lighting up the mall and surrounding the Washington Monument. The display was so phallic in nature that I felt like I was intruding on a "private moment." Seriously, take a look! I had a moment tonight when I thought about George Washington as Osiris and the Washington Monument as his recreated phallus which is used to impregnate Liberty. I know, it sounds bizarre, but it works perfectly with the Isis/Osiris mythology. Osiris was killed and dismembered by Set and the 14 pieces were scattered. Isis collected all of the pieces, with the help of Nephthys, except for his phallus. So Isis created a new one. Looks like we created one right here in America.
All of this got me to thinking about "The Apotheosis of Washington."




In this painting, which makes up the ceiling of the capitol rotunda, George Washington is depicted as a god, along with Ceres, Columbia, Flora, Liberty, Mercury, Minerva, Neptune, and Vulcan.




I hate to say it, but Wiki does a pretty darn good job of not only describing the general scene, but also including each of the harder to see scenes with the Roman Gods! So I'm going to direct you there!


"The day will be most memorable in the history of America. I am apt to believe
that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary
festival…It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade…bonfires and
illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore." 
 
-John Adams on July 3, 1776, in a letter to his wife

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Drink Recipes

There's a thread on a Facebook group about what to do with the leftover syrup that results from burning Strega liqueur. Raven Grimassi recommended adding Everclear since the alcohol is what is burned off and burning it again...  I completely disagree! You burn it as an offering- you don't give part of it as an offering! Would you offer cakes to your Patrons at the new moon, eat the frosting off of 'em, then put them back in the fridge and offer the same exact ones again, re-frosted, at the full moon ? That's the worst kind of regifting! I can see adding everclear to the mixture during ritual to keep it going, but not pouring the used syrup back into the bottle afterward. Sheesh. Call me a snob, I don't care, it's my opinion and practice and you're entitled to have a different one no matter how much I disagree with it.

In the same discussion I advised to not offer something you will not ingest yourself. You should always taste what you're about to offer: It's a sign of respect and faith and honor and camaraderie. It's a way to anchor the offering to this plane.

Enough waxing philosophic! Here are two recipes I hope you'll enjoy.

Liqueur? I hardly know her!

6 Cardamom Pods
3 Tsp Anise Seed
2 1/4  Tsp Chopped Angelica Root
3 Inch Stick Cinnamon
1 Clove
1/8 Tsp fennel seeds
1 small sprig of mint
1 tsp Saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp water for 1 hour
25 fl oz. Vodka OR 6oz vegetable glycerin + 20 fl oz distilled water.
1 Cup simple syrup (1 cup white sugar + 1 cup water. Combine in a saucepan, boil while stirring until sugar dissolves. Let cool completely before using)

• Remove seeds, discard pods and crush the cardamom seeds in a mortar.
• Add the anise and fennel seeds  to the mortar too, work them with the pestle until they have been ground into a fine powder.
• Combine all ingredients except the sugar syrup in a large jar.
• Shake well and steep for one week (Two weeks for the non alcoholic version), shaking twice a day.
•Strain the liquid through a coffee filter 3 times (using 3 separate filters)
• Add the syrup and let it sit for 9 days.

The non alcoholic version is extra syrupy and is not suitable for burning during ritual.

An alternate method is to take the herbs and make a decoction:
Don't crush the seeds, instead put all of the herbs in a pot, cover it with cool distilled water, then simmer gently with the lid on for about 45 minutes. The longer it simmers, the stronger it will be. Let it sit overnight.

•Add glycerin/water combo plus decoction to a jar
• Shake well and steep for two weeks, shaking twice a day.
•Strain the liquid through a coffee filter 3 times (using 3 separate filters)
• Add the syrup and let it sit for 9 days.


Limoncello
I was going to type out a recipe for this, but this person has posted a great version. It's very detailed and funny and basically what I would do anyway. I prefer the grain alcohol to the vodka too, but vodka is easier to come by.


I find it best to make this in January so it's ready by the summer. It's a perfect summer offering and a tasty drink too!

Salute!

Scenes from an Italian.... Party

Today we had our annual Independence Weekend party. All of the guests were family and close family friends- the kind who might as well be blood. I'm tired tonight and helped Dusio with some technical difficulties on his Sacred Birds post, which is very awesome so don't forget to read that one! My entry tonight is a slice o life and some stories around the table.

I explained how second cousins, and cousins once removed works- a genealogy 101 lesson. Hubby and I learned how the family tree lingo works at a reunion for his family. In an Italian family, everyone is an uncle, aunt or a cousin, whether or not you're actually an uncle, aunt or cousin! I explained this to my second cousin. He and I have the same great-grandmother. His mom and my mom are first cousins: Our moms have the same grandmother. Everyone was confused lol "Keep it simple: Aunt, Uncle or Cousin!"

The same cousin mentioned above had a turn to tell a story of his own. This one was told to him by his grandfather: Grampa C talked about how in Little Italy, back when it was more than just 3 blocks of restaurants, there used to be 3 butchers on one single block. There was Tony the butcher, Sal the butcher, and Vito the butcher. Each of them did well, none of them tried to outsell the others and none of them tried to woo away customers. Why? Each was from a different town in Sicily. Immigrants from that town would only go to that butcher. It wasn't enough to support someone from your country, it was more important to support someone from your own town. This anecdote illustrates the Italian worldview in a nutshell: Family first, then your town, then your region, then the country. Italy hadn't been "unified" as a country for very long when this story took place.

My uncle (an actual one, my Dad's brother) was there today and I showed him a picture that had been in my Dad's wallet. There were no names on the back of this black and white photo. My uncle said it was his grand parents and his uncle. Yay! And I even got 2 of the names! I thought it was them, but I wasn't sure. My uncle pointed out that the piece of furniture visible in the background is still in that same house today. So interesting to see the people who first owned the house and passed it down through the generations. I feel like I got a piece of my family back today. I got to hear stories about them as well. Since it was a picture around the dinner table, he waxed about family dinners: There was always a pitcher of wine and a pitcher of water on the table. Talking about the food, I realized that my Mom was serving the same things that had been served 60 years ago when that picture was taken.

I'm pretty flippin tired so I'm going to call it a night and regale you with more fun tomorrow, perhaps a progress report from the Statue of Liberty!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

3 Sacred Birds

Have you been noticing any swans lately in a lake or reservoir nearby? Perhaps doves have been visiting you lately at dawn or possibly dusk? Are sparrows all of a sudden showing up at your bird feeder? If so the Roman Goddess Venus could be knocking at your door.

All three of these birds are sacred to the Roman Goddess of Love, Venus. As I write this my bird feeder is loaded with sparrows and the doves are on the ground below picking up the fallen seeds. Each year on my birthday I pull a medicine card from my deck. This tells me which totem I am working with for the upcoming year. This year I pulled the swan. It ushers in a time of altered states of awareness and of development of your intuitive abilities. It is a time to honor your female intuitive side. In Shamanism, the swan is associated with love, inspiration, intuition, self transformation, gracefulness and beauty, and also with traveling to the otherworld. As a water bird, it is also connected with emotions. Swan can help you see the inner beauty of yourself and others, developing intuition, accepting transformations and balancing your emotions.

As for the dove, doves come from Cypress, the island sacred to Venus. Apuleis tells us that Venus’s chariot was pulled by snow–white doves called the "birds of Venus" because of their excessive lust. Aelianus says that doves were consecrated to Venus because on Mount Eryx in Sicily a feast was held when the Goddess passed over Libya; on that day, in all of Sicily, no doves were seen, because all had crossed the sea to go and make up the goddess’s train. But nine days later, from the Libyan shores there arrived in Trinacria a dove red as fire, as Anacreon says, it was Venus herself, who is also called Purpurea, and behind her came the throng of doves.

The sparrow was also known to pull the chariot of Venus. They are also known to multiply at a fantastic rate. During the Middle Ages it was a symbol for the peasants and lower classes throughout Europe. Peasants, at this time, were often helpless under the power of overlords. It’s ability to multiply and and assert itself in spite of predation reflects the idea that nobility of the common person is inherently strong.

So watch for Her, She comes in mysterious ways!

By the Old Ways...Dusio