From the Editor...
Over the past few years I have made a conscious effort to tap into the energies of the stars and the planets and although I am not an astrologer I am beginning to appreciate the knowledge that can be gained just through the process of observing the effects of these cosmic events.
Since becoming more 'aware', I have noticed the changes in my own life circumstances, which have coincided with these planetary transits, and in particular with the lunar and solar eclipses. I have come to realise that the energies of the eclipses have a tendency to illuminate your path and can liberate you from situations that have become far too limiting. I know that the outcomes can sometimes be painful but I do believe there are spiritual gains if you just allow yourself to move in harmony with the peaks and the troughs of these celestial currents.
As the winter gives way to spring hopefully these cosmic energies can help us clear away old patterns of behaviour and illuminate our inner journey so that we can come to a deeper understanding of our purpose and who we really are.
In the still darkness of the night
I am an emerging evolution.
My inner self dissipated into a celestial similtude.
I am nothing like, but more than absolute.
My connection transverses time and space.
Its journey becomes the Quest and the Grail eternal.
SOL's Full Moon Circle ~ Friday July 3, 2009
by Janine Donnellan
On the 3rd July, SOL members gathered on a wintry night to connect to the energy of the Capricorn full moon and the lunar eclipse. The Capricorn/Cancer polarity highlighted the need for us to pay particular attention to the structures, security, work and goals around our everyday lives. Our moods and feelings accentuated by the Cancer sun, highlighted the cycle of completion. This was a night of emotional release where we were given an opportunity to cleanse ourselves of the residual baggage and to reach deep into our well of strength in order to achieve enlightenment and inner peace.
Under the guidance of the Watchers we summoned the energy of the African Goddess of the Ocean, Yemaya, and Aganju, God of the Volcano. These Gods are known as 'the Nommos', a race of Sirian beings that takes the physical forms of dolphins, whales, mermaids/mermen.
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We connected to the sonic sounds of the dolphins through meditation, and were taken on a journey down into the ocean depths to a hidden cave, which led to an underground temple. Each person passed through rainbow light of cleansing and healing before being greeted by the dark and beautiful Yemaya and her consort Angaju. During my meditation, I was invited to plunge into the watery depths where Atlantis lay, and I swam as a mermaid through its silent streets. An ancient white haired man appeared with a crystal staff, but no words were spoken; only an inner sense of peace was perceived.
After the meditation, a bowl of water was passed around the circle, which allowed all residual heartache and pain to be released. Each person sprinkled a few drops of water into their right hand, honouring the water element in Cancer. Cupping the palms together in a gesture of prayer, each person thought about what they would like to bring into their life and gave thanks to Yemaya. We asked that the waters cleanse our soul of residual emotions and once everyone had released their energy back into the water we moved into the park where we poured our energy back into the ground, for healing of the earth.
We then thanked our ancient hosts and the Watchers for their presence and guidance, the circle was closed, the residual energy was then grounded back into the earth and forwarded to individuals for healing.
More information regarding this circle and past circles can be found in our Book Of Shadows. Our next Full Moon Circle will be held near Engadine on Friday, July 31. Please contact us for further details if you would like to attend.
SOL's Drum Making Weekend
17th - 19th July, 2009
The drum-making workshop was conducted at Camp Coutts at Waterfall which was an ideal environment to connect to nature and our spirit guides. It was a weekend of fun and laughter with the occasional moment of frustration. The process of making the drum took up the entire weekend and was an intense but deeply satisfying journey.
I've talked a bit about my thoughts on shamans and shamanists, and shamanism. Now I'm going to talk a bit about myself, and how my spirituality is such a fundamental part of my life and practices.
When I first started out, as a pagan, I was in highschool and I was one of those kids who did tarot readings for her friends, made her own Book of Shadows, was very interested in all kinds of energy work and healing (including Reiki) and basically starting to become obsessed with animal symbolism and so on. I would sit in the public library until dark, researching both new age and anthropological texts on all things 'alternative to urban culture'. By the time I was 17, I was in an Alexandrian Wiccan coven, being lucky enough to have gotten permission from both the High Priest, High Priestess and my mother.
I thought I was dedicated. I meditated every day, I ran a meditation group for friends, I did rituals and spells, I had my own huge altar, I burnt a circle of salt into the grass in the back garden (which was not so amusing for my mother). Certainly I did more than the average person - and teenager - but as I reflect back, I have come to recognise that quantity does not mean more, or impart more wisdom than quality of practice.
So, on the outside, I was a dedicated young spiritual pagan. But there was a problem. A big problem. There was a large divide between my spiritual work and my actual real life as a teenager when I stopped the spells, the credos, the meditations. The person I was spiritually was more ethical than the person I was on a day to day basis. A lot of what I learnt in meditation, I didn't apply to my 'real life.' The animals I worked with taught and said interesting things, but I didn't really know how to bridge the gap. How did I take the problem solving skills of raven and apply them anywhere? I didn't. There was a big divide between what I did, who I was, the lives I was leading.
It wasn't until much later, when I embraced shamanism and animism, that I started to see very clear ways that my spirituality could assist my 'real life.' And around that time I started realising that there's no point to a spirituality that doesn't assist your real life. And - I cannot say this strongly enough - there is absolutely no point in any spirituality that lowers your quality of life. If you're in any spirituality or belief system, no matter WHAT it is, that lowers your quality of life; get out!!!
These days, I don't meditate every day. I don't have a great big altar (though I'd like to, I have some small shrines instead). I have no circles of salt burnt into the grass behind our house (as we have no grass), and I don't run a meditation group. But it doesn't matter, because I live my spirituality. I live it in my work as a spiritual artist who draws animal totems, gods, and aspects of shamanism. I live it in my therapy in order to overcome severe and challenging mental disorders; with alternative therapists who embrace concepts of soul healing, shamanism, and my own guides as assistants in my self-healing.
I feel an excellent example of living my spirituality as a shamanist can be related in a story. Recently I experienced a great deal of anger over a serious betrayal. I am not used to processing anger in a healthy way, and part of the challenges of life, and of my totems and the spirits who guide me, is to learn healthier ways to be myself. Yet, I had no idea what to do. So I reached out while shamanising to my journey helpers, the spirits, and I said, 'What do I do? Help me.'
One of my spirit helpers, a grumpy old man named Aka Oslo, who is partial to becoming a wolverine, came forward and brought another one of my helpers, a water-horse who has a mane and tail of fire, and lives in the sea. He took a jar and said 'pour your anger into this jar.' I poured it through my hands as burning, colourful energy, and the jar filled up quickly. He grabbed another jar, and said 'pour your anger into this jar.' And so we went, on and on, pouring out white, and then red, and then blue and purple and green shades of anger, until my water-horse was covered in clinking jars of anger that shone with energy. I was grounded and more calm, and I had a stockpile of ferocious, motivating energy to use for later.
In 'real life' it gave me the ability to respond to the person who had betrayed me from a rational and honest place. I stood up for myself, made healthy decisions for myself, and essentially got out of a very toxic situation with my soul intact. I had a gratefulness to my spirit helpers and the connectivity I felt for the world when I was working with them, and pride in myself for being able to manage what appeared to be - at first glance - almost overwhelming anger.
Those anger jars came in handy. I use them in energy work, to protect myself, to energise myself, to simply process the anger while I'm in a safe space, or as offerings to other spirits (including local land spirits). It wasn't a psychological technique I was using, taught to me by a therapist; but a spiritual one with psychological and real life implications. It was taught to me by grumpy old spirit, who lives in a house, on a rock that reaches out of a rough sea, that smells of salt and fur...who may or may not be a figment of my imagination. It doesn't matter if he is; because any figment of your imagination that teaches you spiritual and therapeutic tools that keep you safe and true to yourself, is a wonderful, helpful figment. Of course, I think he is real.
Not only that, but a few other people who heard the original telling of this story are now using anger jars themselves with great success. One is using jars in this world, others are using it in meditation or visualisation. You can try it yourself, it doesn't matter what spirituality you practice, it's versatile! This is a technique that can be very helpful. It reached into other 'real lives,' because of its practical implications. It allows you to keep your anger, which means you're not 'getting rid of it' (don't get rid of your emotions, they're valuable!); but it also allows you to take a step back and see exactly what you have, what the energy looks like, and how beautiful it is. Anger can be overwhelming, but when you step back and see how brilliant, how colourful and how pure it can be, it is possible to see how it might be a practical and useful energy.
So how does your spirituality translate to your every day functioning? Do you have problems making connections between your spiritual practices and your 'mundane' life? When you work with animal totems, where are the real life results of that? When you walk or commune with the land, what do you take back to your workplace or your other environments? When you are in crisis, how does your spirituality assist you? It is important to frequently ask yourself how your spirituality makes your real life a healthier and more enriched place for you; it is just one of the many ways we walk more closely to the spirits and the earth in our lives.
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When Spirit Speaks - a personal experience
Have you ever been pondering on the answer to some magical question and suddenly found that you know the answer? I mean the kind of question that you don't have the answer/info for in the first place! You're wondering where to start looking and suddenly you know all or part of the answer; perhaps what you get is the starting information.
I have had several incidents like that over the past year; each answer was something totally unexpected.
A couple of my most recent experiences have been:
Writing a ritual and being told what I was to wear, why I was to wear it, what the people in the quarters needed to wear. Also for a private reason I needed to be absent for the opening of the ritual (only found that out on the night); and low and behold when looking at what I'd written, I wasn't needed at the start at all (interesting when you are calling in the Goddess).
Another time I was not thinking of anything magickal, and suddenly in the space of a few moments had an experience of Spirit actually moving me in time and space, and then returning me to myself. I apparently needed to advance and the Dragons felt that an actual demonstration would show me what I needed to know. They moved me forward about a day and a half and then pretended to attack me. This got someone else to attack the Dragons. As I didn't know what was going on, I took the attack by this other person as an attack on me; and consequently I attacked them instinctively with a very different (to me) method. The Dragons wanted me to know that I already knew how to do this, but took this method to demonstrate to me that I did know how to use this method of attack. As you can understand I was quite dazed by this.
I asked the Dragons if I could tell anyone about this. Their answer posed as many questions as it answered. I was told that as it already happened, will happen and is happening, it doesn't matter if I tell. I got the impression that as it had already happened in my world, it didn't matter that if by telling it didn't now occur as it had already happened. Extremely confusing till you understand it (still feel that way).
The most recent download from Spirit was about another ritual I wanted to do. I only had the concept for a ritual, nothing about the Quarters or the God and Goddess, and again I was just casually thinking of what to do and the information suddenly arrived. I had been trying to think of what type of spirit for the quarters and now I knew that they were to be animals. The information was very specific; I now knew which animals were to be in which quarter and who was to portray them; also was given the information as to who the God and Goddess are to be and also who is to portray them.
So for me when Spirit speaks I receive the info in my mind, but also in my heart chakra; a very distinctive feel. So different that just feeling happy or sad; almost overwhelming.
The Pagan Path and the Modern Man
by Craig PhoenixWolf
Paganism as I see it is the worship of the God and Goddess in all their forms. It is a spiritual path that is open to all who wish to take themselves on a new journey of discovery. I am proud to call myself a pagan. I have been on my spiritual path now for over ten years. Longer really, but like many my journey began long before I was aware I was travelling. I was Christian, like many of you, and I was educated through the Catholic School System which as a protestant was an eye opening thing. I learned back then that Christianity held no meaning for me. I recognised there is a Divine and that it was everywhere but had not found my identity. My beliefs were still forming in my mind.
I was drawn to stories of the Gods of Olympus and the stories of the ancient world when man saw the divine in all things. Back then too the male roles were clearer. Man was the hunter and warrior. He defended the world as he saw it. We have lost a lot of that in modern times. The male role has been changed. Our hunting grounds are the work place and the bar and society frowns on us going to war or taking up arms to defend our beliefs and family. The only time I felt truly comfortable at school going to a Catholic service was at lent when we would go to a grove of pine trees they called the pine cathedral. The service there, while I paid little attention to the priest, felt more real. Sitting with trees all around. I always made sure I sat beside one of the great pines.
When I started my journey I learned first a simple truth. There is indeed a Divine that manifests as Male and Female energy. The Christians called the Divine God. We call its manifestations the God and Goddess. In the Bible it says Man was created in God's Image. Jokes then say, "And then she realised she made a mistake and made woman." I think the Bible writers got it wrong. God did not make man in His image. Man made God in our image.
Look back through history and prehistory. Mankind has evolved and so has the spirit of the Divine. Nature Gods, Animal Gods, these came first because early man learned to understand the cycle of nature and the animals they hunted. Early man saw the Divinity in all things and gave it the form first of Mother Earth, The Moon and The Sun. The Wind and The Rain. Then the Animals the great Cave Bear, the Mammoth Spirit, the Wolf. Man saw these things and could understand their nature. They were comfortable and familiar and each had a role in man's life.
Man moved forward and explored his own nature and as he did, the Animal Spirits started to take on human form often appearing as with the Egyptians as a cross of man and beast. The Gods still had similar roles and temperaments but were also more prone to human lusts and desires and even weaknesses. The Titans and the Gods of Greece and Rome became completely human, most of the time though often they would revert to earlier states or like the Horned God, retain some animal quality. As Gods they ruled the many aspects of life and were patrons of the different roles of man. Man made the Gods. Our artists gave them form. They were painted and sculpted and described in literature. Each took on a specific look and personality. When we look at Jesus what do we see? We all accept the vision of a fair skinned, brown haired man. But these features are what the artists have given him. Have we any evidence that he looks like that. It would have been an unusual look for the people of the region. God is seen as an old man with grey hair and robes. I do not remember the bible describing him. How did he come by this form?
The Horned God himself, in his many forms accepted by the majority of pagans, was never seen as being red with sharp teeth, short horns a pitch fork and tail. Most western views of the Horned God are of a man with stag horns. Yet he becomes the embodiment of evil as Men decided the old should be replaced with the new version. A software upgrade. Or a virus that deceives us into believing it is something it is not.
Paganism looks back at that older vision of the Gods. As a Pagan we see the multifaceted nature of the Gods. We see them change and we know they have to because they are apart of the natural world not above it. Many of you use specific names of Gods. Apollo, Diana, Thor, Loki, Isis there are many names. Each we see differently. Each we see representing a specific area of our life. There is no right or wrong to this. I have called the Gods by name too when it suits me but now days I tend to see the Horned God and the Triple Goddess. Both as triple entities. Maiden, Mother and Crone. Youth, Warrior and Elder. Each of these are phases of nature too.
As a modern pagan the first thing we need to become attuned to is the world around us. The seasons of the Gods. The Maiden and Youth rule the Spring. Life is new and alive and full of energy. There is wonder and beauty and passion. There is also an innocence of the spring. In the spring young lovers trust each other implicitly. The Summer and the Gods mature. The Maiden becomes the Mother and the Youth becomes the Warrior. The God's energy is felt in the heat while the Mother's fertility brings forth a bounty for us to eat. The seasons turn again and Autumn brings on the Crone and the Elder. Wizened and aged. A time of reflection and of thought. The Gods are still there, their strength waning as the earth itself regresses. Then comes the Winter. Is it not funny that in a world with 4 seasons we have only three phases? But there is a fourth; one we ignore, one that is just as valid and just as important to us, though it is one that man does not like to see.
Both go through this phase. The Horned God dies to be reborn. His is an endless cycle of death and rebirth that has the old renewed. The Goddess too goes through this change. It is not discussed often but she too is reborn. In Winter when the Horned God dies and before His rebirth the Goddess, like a classic tale, also dies. Her death and rebirth is far quicker for we need our Gods to be with us. Her death could be considered as grief. Grief for the loss of her lover and as the last warmth leaves the land we can feel the coldness of her heart. We can not have a time were the world is without our Gods. Death for our Gods is just a rebirth.
As a Pagan I have faced the stereotypes. It is easy to see them and not see the truth. Most pagans are seen as Goddess Worshippers. In public view there is no God, no masculine and so as a result many masculine elements have been removed from paganism by some groups and in the public consciousness. What I see often though is how many then ignore the male aspects all together. It becomes a Goddess religion with men tolerated but not a part of the spiritual life that paganism is. We forget that nature is a balance of male and female. That it takes both energies to make life. The stories of the Gods are a mix of the tales of the Masculine and Feminine together.
Many who start on the Pagan path have come from Male dominated religions that they found repressive. So when they come to paganism they go from a vengeful God who has rules and regulations to a Goddess who is empowering through giving us magic and the freedom to do what as we will as long as we harm none. This has led to many individuals and groups who have developed their own view of paganism that ignores the masculine Gods and puts the focus on the Goddess.
It is funny that the collective view of Paganism by other religions is we are either all Goddess worshippers or Satanists. The Goddess pure, good and natural. While the most common male image in the collective mind is the Devil as seen by Christians, horned, red and pitchforks.
As a Pagan Man, I believe in the Goddess and God working together. I believe that there is in our lives room for both aspects.
Lord and Lady, God and Goddess; together they watch over us and bring balance to this earth. Different aspects, different pantheons, different ways of seeing the divine. All right, wow, we have a complex belief system. One of the things I like though is the diversity. Each person working with different aspects, different Gods and Goddesses and through that bringing about different thoughts and ideas. Paganism is made richer by this acceptance.
We are not as connected to the world as we once were. We are not the hunters and gatherers we once were. Today our weapons are not knife and sword but our mobile phone and ipods. We don't spend as much time in the elements as our ancestors did instead modern man sees the world through the artificial eyes that see the world as it is without the wonder we see when we see the sky flash with lightening or the cascade of water over falls. We may be more advanced technologically than the ancients but when it comes to our humanity and our wonder and our belief in something divine, nothing has changed. We may understand why the sun rises and sets but there is magick in the fact it does. The mechanics, the logic the ipods and laptops and digital tools of our life do not take away the wonder and the emotion and the spiritual well being of being a part of the pagan community.
I recently started reading "Sacred Paths for Modern Men" by Dagonet Dewr; author, pagan and an initiated warrior of the Mankind Project. His book is about the Masculine energies. In it he points out how through our life we are one or more of these archetypes. The Divine Child, The Lover, The Warrior, The Trickster, The Greenman, The Guide, The Craftsman. The Magician, The Destroyer, The King, The Healer, The Sacrificed One. Many you find as Tarot cards. Many you will see Gods who fit these archetypes. I know as I read the book I related to some as I am now. Some I saw as how I have been in the past.
Being a pagan I felt that there was often an unbalanced view of paganism as being feminine. But these archetypes are anything but. Eros, Lugh, Thor, Loki. I delighted in reading of a child hood favorite; Sun Wukong, the Monkey King who challenged heaven and who as both a warrior and a trickster went from China to India to get the sacred scrolls to save the souls of mankind. Incidentally he eventually achieved Buddahood and became enlightened but not until after he learned to master himself.
Paganism is a religion of personal growth and just as King Monkey we seek more. We learn about the gods and nature. We learn of the divine energy of magick. We learn to see our place as a part of the world around us and we learn to be who we are. Male and female. Men can accept the feminine into our lives through the love of the Goddess. Women can become warriors through the strength of the God.
We can embrace both and be whole, as individuals and as a religion.
So while the chill of Jack Frost and the winter nips at us, as we look forward to the rebirth of the Horned God and the return of the warmth. Use this time as the old ones did. Think about the Gods and their roles in our lives. Think about the balance we need as individuals.
Lord and Lady,
Love and Light.
Guide us through the cold dark night.
To the promise of days to come,
Days of beauty,
Days of Sun.
Brightest Blessings we wish to thee
with the words
Eclipse - July 22, 2009
by Gwyneira Morgana
In seeking to understand the implications of any eclipse, it is important to first remind ourselves of just what an eclipse is and what it means in general terms. Many think that eclipses are rare or unusual events. This is because at any particular location on the Earth eclipses are rare. However, across the planet as a whole two sets occur annually, signifying the arenas of internal and external transformation that are in process. There are then two types of eclipses, a lunar eclipse during which the Earth blocks the light that the Moon normally reflects from the Sun, as is shown below:
The second type of eclipse is the Solar eclipse during which the Moon blocks the light of the Sun, as is shown below:
Symbolically then, these both describe death and rebirth, but of different aspects of people and systems. In order to understand these processes, we need to keep in mind that the Sun symbolizes the outer, that which can be seen, the true self. The Moon conversely symbolizes the inner, that which cannot be seen, the shadow self (please, don't think of the shadow as being negative). A lunar eclipse then describes the death and rebirth of the inner self while a solar eclipse describes the death and rebirth of the outer.
Eclipses can moreover be applied to a wide range of entities - the planet, nations, groups, individuals - anything really that can be described as having a start and beginning as a recognized 'thing'. For our purposes though, we can think about this eclipse in terms of how it might affect individuals. It was preceded on July 7th by a lunar eclipse which suggested an initial experience of inner transformation, preparing us in some way for the outer transformations that are to follow. The solar eclipse that is about to occur on the 22nd then tells us to be ready for external changes, these in all likelihood having some kind of relationship with the internal changes already underway.
Occurring in Cancer this eclipse then tells us to be ready for changes in our home and family environments, and more generally in those arenas where we experience strong emotional connections. To be noted however is that this eclipse occurs in the final degree of Cancer, suggesting a powerful karmic element, where circumstances will call us to deal with unfinished business in those arenas already mentioned. Adding to the karmic nature of this event is the fact that the Southern Node joins its influence with that of the Sun & Moon, telling us that not only are matters from this lifetime being brought to our attention, but also those that stretch across eons.
Mercury also adds its influence, telling us that the processes described will involve a great deal of thought, and probably conversation with others. Relationships with other astronomical entities suggest that this will not necessarily be a comfortable process, rubbing up against old spiritual and psychic wounds. However, it is a good moment to take on this challenge, as there is not only the suggestion that healing is possible at this time, but there is also described the likelihood that surprising events will help facilitate the transformations that occur.
At a more collective level, this eclipse asks us to adjust the way that we envisage the future of the planet as a whole - what are our aspirations and ambitions - are we just an economic machine that continues tirelessly in the service of market forces, or is there another way? These kinds of questions may indeed drive some of the more personal matters raised during this time, with families needing to review their strategies to better deal with a changing economic landscape. Recognizing the global implications of the decisions that may need to be taken during this time may indeed offer us all the opportunity to contribute to a positive change in consciousness that has been stewing for a long time.
Finally, for those who, like me, enjoy seeking a full experience of these moments in ceremony, we should note the deeply unconscious nature of the event. Indeed while Cancer symbolizes our birth into physical reality, it also describes the dormant nature of our higher consciousness while we live in the tomb of flesh that we fashion for ourselves. This eclipse offers moments of intense illumination within this dormant higher consciousness, this moreover having the opportunity to express itself through its connection with Mercury in Leo. Creating spaces where one connects with the deepest aspects of ones consciousness, while having handy creative tools through which you can allow these deep forces to express themselves is therefore highly appropriate. Draw, sing, write, dance - play, but not as the conscious you of everyday life, nor as some inner child, but as the soul that ordinarily is trapped within the limitations of flesh and blood.
Be aware as you decide how you will pass this eclipse that another lunar eclipse follows on August 6th, so there will be emotional adjustments to make in light of the developments that occur during the solar eclipse. For those who are particularly astrologically minded, it can even be worth looking to how this will effect your natal chart in order to understand better the implications of the solar eclipse. For those however that are not so inclined, trust yourself, your guides and the process that you are already in. There is good reason for such trust and much that lies in wait for those who dare.
Seeing as we dealt with Merlinite last issue I thought it only fair that we now proceed with another spectrum of the crystal world called Angelite.
Appearance of this crystal is opaque often veined like wings (Angel like). The stone is usually sliced open and polished to revel the angel wings.
Called the stone of Awareness it represents peace and brotherhood. It enhances telepathic communication and enables out of body journeys to take place while still maintaining contact with so called everyday reality (whatever that may be).
A powerful stone for healers, heightens perception and attunement. Can be taken as an elixir for protection of the body. Acts as a diuretic.
Beware scientific element:
Angelite is formed from Celestite that has been compressed over millions of years and it shares its properties with that stone. Colours are blue and white occasionally flecked with red. Found in Britain, Egypt, Germany, Mexico, Peru, Poland and Libya.
Beware spirituality element:
Angelite is filled with compassion; it transmutes pain and disorder into wholeness and healing. It creates a deep feeling of peace and tranquillity. Angelite facilitates the rebirthing process, stimulates healing and opens psychic channelling.
Beware healing element:
Applied to the feet clearing energetic pathways. Resonates with the throat, alleviating inflammation and balancing the thyroid. This soothing stone repairs tissue and blood vessels balancing the fluids within the physical body. It can also cool sunburn and assists with weight control.
Beware Authors note:
With the information I have read through the internet and various books, this crystal can just about heal, sooth and balance every part of the physical and the spiritual body at the same time. The Angel force is strong with this one.
Now I'm not picking on this aspect of the stone but I wonder if the scientists were Christian influenced. (Maybe I'm just nitpicking here). One final thing to ponder here; did the Angels come before or after Merlin?
The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall
See Part 2 in the next issue of Axis Mundi...
Herbs ~ Benzoin
Religious Herbe, Magickal Herbe,
Aphrodite, Mut, Venus, Ares, Freya, Hathor, Khephera
Ben, Benjamin, Gum Benzoin, Siam Benzoin, Siamese Benzoin
Benzoin is the gum resin that exudes from the bark after tapping and
the trees can apparently produce resin in this way for about 15 to 20
years. Benzoin was first known in English as benjoin
(recorded in the sixteenth century), which was popularly corrupted to
benjamin. This is an adaptation of the same word in French, Spanish and
Portuguese, which derived from the Arab luban-jawi, 'incense from
The Ancient Greeks and Romans knew benzoin, although they called it by
quite different names - 'Silphion' to the Greeks, and 'Laserpitium' to
the Romans. They would include the powdered resin in
pot-pourris because of its very powerful fixative properties.
Benzoin was highly valued by all. In 1461, for instance, the
Sultan of Egypt, Melech Elmazda, sent the Doge of Venice a gift of two
Persian carpets and 30 rotoli (100 rotoli is the equivalent of 80kg/177
lb) of benzoin. The Queen of Cyprus received a similarly
sumptuous present from the Sultan in 1476, 15 rotoli of
benzoin. The Portuguese navigator, Barboza, is thought to
have introduced the precious resin to Europe. Later, in 1623,
the resin's properties were sufficiently valued for the British to set
up a factory in Siam to produce and export it.
Nostradamus, famous for his prognostications, gave many recipes
including benzoin in a 1556 book. It was classified as an
antispasmodic and tonic for skin infections and eruptions. In
France it was called' baume pulmonaire', pulmonary balsam, and the
resin was burned near the ill person, the fumes inhaled. In
France many proprietary medicines are based on benzoin: sweets called
pastilles de serail are taken for colds and 'flu and tablets made that
are bechic and anti-asthmatic. Its properties were not
unknown in British medicine either, because friar's balsam, used as an
inhalant and application for ulcers and wounds, is a tincture of
Benzoin is considered sacred to Venus, Aphrodite and to Mut.
It makes excellent incense for use in their temples.
Benzoin has become associated with two of the Wiccan sabbats.
They are Imbolc (Candlemas) where it is a superior incense, and the
Autumn Equinox in order to help us understand the mysteries behind the
turning of the seasons. Benzoin can help you understand the
nature of transitions both in learning how to live with the Wheel of
the Year and in gaining comprehension regarding the natural cycles of
An herb of purification, burned in incense to sanctify an
area. The scent is also used to attract business when
combined with basil, peony or cinnamon. Benzoin is often used
as a base for incenses. It can be a substitute for storax, to
which it is related.
Benzoin’s best use may be found in its ability to provide
focus, to enhance concentration and to assist you when moving into the
astral. Benzoin is desirable for those who seek to journey or
to project their spirits into the astral. Magickally, benzoin
is known for its ability to promote generosity; it can open a closed
spirit, which is suffering from selfishness. It may also be
used to bring increased success to any magickal working or to attain
magickal goals. Burned as incense during meditation, it
increases the serenity of your energy and environment.
Students of the tarot may use this herbe to move beyond the everyday
symbols of the Seven card of any of the four suits. Indeed,
benzoin may be used to better understand any car of the cups suit.
Benzoin is calming, soothing, and restores confidence for the
Work. This resin is good for purification and prosperity and
works well with other scents and influences, especially as a
preservative. On the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, benzoin is the
perfume of Netzach. Stimulating and aphrodisiac, it is an
excellent ingredient in incense for love magick and was once a frequent
ingredient in Eclectic medicine.
A compendium of HERBAL MAGICK by PAUL BEYERL
Contributed by Amethyst,
Bittersweet and chamomile salve for bruising,
Mandrake for headache, marjoram for a cold stomach,
Roots and berries and leaves. I try to remember the rhymes.
'Twas easy as a child … but now
'Foul oil of Rue for the sinew's cramp,
Coltsfoot for coughing and chill of the damp'.
Centaury cools fever. Poppy brings sleep.
Foxglove the failing heart will keep.
Of burns, bugs, and skin sores,
The sovereigns are …
Aloes, and houseleeks, and juniper tar.
Salep of orchis feeds delicate bellies.
Bound ones take blackberry roots, teas or jellies.
Campion? Loosestrife? Black medic?
Asafoetida? Garlic? Rue?
I wish I'd remember what to do?
Muscular spasms, no doubt some paralysis,
Powdered do we want or oil?
What to do?
All was taught through song and rhyme,
From ages past since the dawn of time,
Why did we stop?
The children learnt by rote you see,
You passed your knowledge on to me.
But I have lost it through lack of use,
As if it meant naught, but it did you see,
And now it's gone for eternity.
Can you forgive me?
So for my melancholy I will just take Rosemary!
Issue 17 - WINTER, JULY 2009
SPHERES OF LIGHT (SOL)
ABN 46 385 794 818
We are based in Australia, in the Sydney-Illawarra area of NSW.
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For general inquiries...
Phone Janine on 0408 025 268
In addition to our regular Full Moon Circles we also run workshops and classes which are highly interactive and experiential, focusing on participation and engagement of participants. If you want to keep abreast of SOL's circles, gatherings, workshops and activities please click on the banner below to check out our Events Calendar.
SOuL Searchers is Spheres of Light's paranormal investigations subgroup. One of the many things you will find unique about the SOuL Searchers team, unlike the majority of other paranormal investigators, is that we undertake our investigations from a shamanic perspective.
The Spheres Of Light Holistic Centre has within its members practitioners who can provide Spiritual Healing in a variety of natural healing modalities. Each modality is designed to heal all levels of the body; the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. Working with ancient universal energies, healing works to restore balance, bring inner harmony and peace, to re-energise the body, to stimulate the body's own immune system and so aid recovery, as well as inducing deep relaxation. Healing is excellent for relieving modern day stresses and providing support during difficult times in your life.
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The National Pagan Directory is a Spheres Of Light initiative to help Australian Pagans connect with each other in their local area. It is a FREE listing & provides links to information about covens, groups, classes, workshops, retreats & other special Pagan events, plus Aussie Pagan businesses & services. If you would like your coven, group, regular meet-up or special event to be listed in the NPD please send us your details. We also invite Celebrants in the Pagan community to promote their services in the NPD. For further information & contact details click on the banner above.
Spheres Of Light holds regular Full Moon Circles near Engadine (Southern Sydney, Australia) on the Friday before each Full Moon. These Full Moon gatherings are Open Circles, meaning that all Pagans are welcome to come along any time and experience a Full Moon circle with us. Details here...
Come join us for meditation in the beautiful surrounds of The Royal National Park. Our meditations will be conducted every third Sunday of the month. Please email email@example.com for times and meet up details.
(Please Note: you must be over 18 years of age to attend any SOL gatherings, events, classes & workshops.)
PAGAN AND COMMUNITY EVENTS
Please email us the details of any pagan or community events, classes, workshops or regular meetings that you'd like to see promoted here in this free listing & in the National Pagan Directory.
PAN Full Moon Public Circle
August 6, 2009 at Seven Hills, Sydney (map)
Date: Thursday August 6, 2009 at 8:30pm
The circle is held on the top of Rotaract Hill on Terminus Road Seven Hills NSW, just next to the train station. Getting there is easy. If you take the train, the hill is less than five minutes walk (and easily visible from the station). If you drive, there is plenty of parking available both at the base of the hill and across Terminus Road. Full Moon info here, and Full Moon FAQ here or for other details, email Jo
NOX Ritual Workshop
29th August 2009
Our first NOX event for 1st August is booked out, so we are now promoting a second NOX workshop & ritual for Saturday 29 August.
Click here for more information...
The NOX ritual incorporates a fusion of traditional magickal techniques, including trance-dance, chanted mantra and energised ritual. In this intensive one-day workshop we will explore the use of the NOX ritual as a doorway to Self Initiation, and examine it's qabalah and the mythology of soul-journeys.
Join us on this wonderful journey to Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali, for a week of spiritual connection with yourself, each other and the local community. This island is one of the places in the world where the Goddess is part of daily life.
2 cups Flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons Shortening
1 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
Pare and core apples. Sift flour, baking powder and salt; cut in shortening, add milk and mix to smooth dough. Turn onto floured board and divide into six portions. Roll each portion large enough to cover one apple. Place an apple on each piece of dough; fill with cinnamon and sugar; wet edges of dough and fold over apple. Place on greased baking sheet, and bake at 200C until apples are tender (about 40 minutes).
Sweet Potatoes & Cranberries
6 sweet potatoes
1 cup cranberry sauce
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon orange rind
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cranberries
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Boil sweet potatoes in their skins until barely tender. Peel, slice thickly, and arrange in a buttered baking dish. In saucepan mix remaining ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, for five minutes. Pour over sweet potatoes and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until glazed and hot.
Benefits of Cranberries
- Improves the body's circulatory system.
- A daily glass of cranberry juice will treat diseases like cystitis.
- Provide relief for asthma patients.
- Condensed tannins in cranberries can inhibit the oxidation of bad cholesterol and as a result protects body against atheroscelrosis.
- Tannins are also considered an important contributor to a healthy heart.
- Acts as bactericide and affects the acidity of the urine. In effect, it disrupts the development of kidney stone formation.
The Uses of Cranberries
To overcome an asthma attack, cranberries can be used. Crush the berries, boil it in distilled water and skin. This is effective relief from an attack since the berries contain active ingredients similar to drugs prescribed by your doctors to control asthma.
Urinary Tract Infection
As known, the juice has been long known to treat this disease. This is because the juice reduce the number of bacteria adhering to the body's urinary tract lining. A study among elderly patients suggested a 50% reduction of infection among patients who drank 300 ml of cranberry juice everyday for over 6 months. A daily portion of cranberries would also help in treating the disease.
Laboratory results have also shown that cranberry extract reduces the oxidation of "bad cholesterol". This helps promote healthy heart.
New studies have shown the ability of this fruit has the ability to prevent peptic ulcer by inhibiting the adhesion of bacteria to certain parts of the stomach.
An exciting new research has shown that cranberries could help protect the brain from neurological damage.
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