From the Editor...
The Authentic Self
How often do we find ourselves being pulled in a multitude of directions, and we do the things we do because we believe we have a responsibility to live up to other people's expectations? Problems arise however, when we don't live authentic lives for our self. We spend so much time striving to put the pieces of our lives into place, striving to be that perfect employee, the perfect wife/husband, the perfect parent and before we know it, we find ourselves completely lost to a life that represents who we truly are.
This week I had a situation where I became totally exhausted, and I had to take a day off from work to recover. I realized I had run myself ragged, trying to meet my ever increasing list of responsibilities. At the last full moon circle, I had opportunity to look into the depths of my soul and assess if I was being true to my authentic self. Over the past few days, I have come to realize that I had fallen into a rut and that I was not being true to myself.
Our physical time is limited on this earth, so we should live from the heart, without the shackles of regret. What we believe about ourselves is what we will become. Rather than going through life pursuing the person you think you "should be" or are "supposed to be", you should stop - breathe - reflect, and then reconnect with the true self that lies within.
Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.
~ Tao Te Ching
SOL's Full Moon Circle
by Janine Donnellan
~ Friday October 2, 2009
The night of the last Full Moon circle started out uncharacteristically subdued and there was a pronounced aura of indeterminate expectation in the air. The Aries/Libra Full Moon marked the beginning of Spring, the start of a new cycle of birth, growth and regeneration. On this night we connected to the energy of the Aries Egyptian Ram headed God Amun Ra and the Goddess of Justice, Maat. The polarity of the Aries and Libran energy gave us the opportunity on this night to assess if we were being true to our higher purpose.
A mirror was shown to each person in the circle and each was asked if his or her authentic self was being reflected back. With the sounds of Egyptian music and the beat of the djembe drums, we then joined hands and slowly circled the flaming cauldron. With each song played, we danced faster and faster and the fire flared and spiraled in synchronization to our dancing. When the fire had expired, we moved into our seats to prepare ourselves for the meditation.
During the meditation, we were taken to the Hall of Knowledge, where the God Amun Ra and the regal Maat greeted us. Maat used the scales and a feather to measure our life in order to see if we were leading a just and useful life. It was a time of deep contemplation and reflection on our authentic self.
At the conclusion of the meditation, we were given a feather to remind us to be true to who we really are. Afterward we shared our experiences, then the circle was closed and the residual energy was then grounded back into the earth and forwarded to individuals for healing. We all finished the evening with our usual feast.
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, October 30. Please contact us for further details if you would like to attend.
Photograph/digital artwork by Janine Donnellan
On Saturday night October 3rd the Pagan Awareness Network hosted their Witches Ball at the Flinders Hotel, Darlinghurst, Sydney. People were asked to "put on your best outfit, be it a witch, vampire or fairy, dress as fancifully as you wish. Come and join in the fun and dress to impress. Maybe wear a fancy mask and be mysterious - 'witch-ever' you prefer." Spiral Dance made a much anticipated return to Sydney for the event, and there were lucky door prizes and prizes for the best dressed. The fun continued on into the early morning hours in the downstairs area of the venue which was open exclusively to ticket holders. Click on the image below to see some of the many photos taken on the night...
There's that Pan again!
by Janine Donnellan
There is one thing that you can be sure about when you work with the Greek God Pan, you can expect the unexpected. During last year's Spring Workshop the group had an interesting encounter with the rambunctious Pan; we experienced first hand his destabilizing role that encapsulates the words panic and pandemonium.
This hoofed, hairy and horny deity represents the symbol of the universe and personification of Nature. As the Greek deity of pastures, flocks and herds, Pan was half man and half goat. He was the offspring of Hermes, but his mother's lineage was in question. His cult was centered around Arcadia where he was reported to spend his time idly dancing through woodlands, hills and mountains playing his panpipes and chasing nymphs.
Over time, Pan's somewhat base and promiscuous lifestyle began to upset the early Christians, who saw their arch enemy the Devil as a caricature of the Great God Pan and consequently he became the scapegoat for all of their earthly sins.
Pan is one of many Horned Gods that are evoked in springtime to ensure the fertility of both the crops and the people. Pan often plays a part in the Beltane spring fertility festival where there is much feasting and frivolity.
At SOL's upcoming celebration of Beltane we will be again calling upon the ego magnetic Pan, the Lord of Earth, of Forest and Field, the Goat-footed God of Arcady lore. We will erect the phallic Maypole in anticipation of that glorious dance to signify the emerging energies of eternal Spring and it's fertile delights and once again will be allowing ourselves to expect the unexpected pandemonium of Pan.
Photograph/digital artwork by Janine Donnellan
by Craig PhoenixWolf
Before I found my way to Paganism I was drawn to stories of magick and epic tales. The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks and The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien were my first introductions to the world of Magick. George Lucas took the epic adventure and brought it back with his telling of the story of a farm hand turned warrior with the aid of a wise old man who guide him to grow. Ben Kenobi, like Allanon the Druid and Gandalf the Magician before him, takes the somewhat hapless youth, one who's life before meeting the older man seemed to be destined to the mediocre life. Like Merlin guiding a young Arthur to be a great King, The Youth is taught to think about things in a new way. In all cases The Youth is changed by the wise old man. He is taken from student to warrior; the hero of the adventure.
Throughout literature the same theme runs. The innocent fool, unaware of things outside his small piece of the world is taken on an adventure that not only broadens his perspective but the journey is usually traumatic; a trial by fire so to speak. The Youth must face his fears and some challenge but in doing so he is forever changed. The Elder is both the cause and the instrument of the Youth's adventure into Manhood.
Shamanism - Emugirl and Land Spirits
I first met a solo emugirl by a stand of sheoaks or casuarina trees. She was hiding in one of the lower branches, and materialised wild and shaggy. Her eyes were bright, large and lucid. Her mane of hair continued down her back and flared out at her hips, like that of the actual emu. And like the emu, her feathers were doubled onto one shaft.
She didn't say anything, but smiled with her impossibly wide mouth. The smile widened and I saw she had no teeth. I smiled back, and she nodded, and I nodded, and we went our separate ways. I felt warmed. I had never read about emugirls anywhere and to this day I don't know if they exist, and I don't claim that they are real to anyone but me. I often wonder what would happen if someone else tried to contact them in the otherworlds.
"Emugirl" - original artwork by Ravenari.
Recently, in the semi-rural suburb I find myself living in now, I travelled in a journey-state across the lands and came to a plain of kanya, balga, lechenaultia and grey sands. There, I saw 9 to 10 emugirls, slight and frail, but shaggy and wild all the same, come together in a circle under the stars, and begin singing to the stars. It was the strangest song I had ever heard, filled with the bass 'OOM' sounds that emus make, but also high-pitched girl's voices in unison and harmony. They didn't sing any song I knew, but the melody was simple and soaring. I wanted to know what they were doing, but out of respect I left them alone and cherished that I had witnessed this event.
I don't know if there are emuboys, I don't know if there are emuwomen and men. I don't know much at all. I only know that when I communed with the land-wights of Koondoola and they suggested I honour them through my gift of artwork, emugirl was the second spirit who immediately came to mind.
I hope to meet her, and others, again some day.
It's very easy to assume that the only spirits that exist are the ones that are already documented. And certainly, the ones that already have a wealth of mythology and imagery associated with them are probably the easiest to work with. This might be why, even in beautiful Australia, so many pagans default to working with or acknowledging European-style faery spirits over perhaps contacting the spirits that live around us, attached to the native trees and plants, the lakes and rocks, the land and the animals. I certainly believe we have European-style faery spirits here with us, how could some not have come over when we did? But I also believe there is a wealth of stories and lore within the land that is worth exploring, respecting, knowing.
A good way of starting to acknowledge the spirits around you, is to start researching the trees and animals around you. Do you know the wildflowers in your region? Can you name them? Or is it easier for you to pick out a rose than a cowslip orchid, or a banksia? When you see a tiny bird sipping nectar from a blossom, do you just lump it into the 'tiny bird / honeyeater' category? Or could you actually discern what kind of honey eater it is? And when you walk the land (if you take the time to do it), do you know what kind of land it is? Wetland? Forest? Sclerophyll scrubland?
You may find that if you get to know the land and its inhabitants, they become curious enough to get to know you back. And in the case of emugirl, this can be a blessing.
Click on the banner below to go to Ravenari's website...
A Raven's Story
Ravens are supposedly unlucky; they have been used by the movies, media and some religions to depict doom, darkness and death - the Three D's.
Legend has is it that ravens stop the Tower of London from falling down and the kingdom from collapse. (Their wings are clipped so they don't fly away.)
But where did this potent symbolism come from, and why do so many Pagans/Wiccans still have a strong affinity with theses birds?
The Corvid genus includes Jays, Rooks, Crows, Magpies and Ravens. Certain traits are common within this species.
Intelligence and cunning of the Raven has been recently backed up by scientific texts. Ravens can count, communicate on a more sophisticated level than most birds and they use tools to gain access to food. Our ancestors associated the clever Raven with the wise and fearless Bran the Blessed. One legend says Bran's head is buried beneath the Tower of London. The Ravens are the living embodiment of Bran.
It is interesting to note that Vladimir Putin visited the Tower one day and a Raven hopped up on a fence and wished him a cheery "Good Morning". The Raven's name was Thor; in Nordic myth Thor, the thundering son of Odin, was known to have two Ravens who sat upon his shoulders and whispered advice.
Symbols such as wise kings, solid towers and black birds resonate with the unconscious mind.
Ravens keep in touch over great distances. They can hunt in packs, with one Raven taking their prey's attention while the others attack from the side or rear (I have witnessed this myself).
As Modern Pagans we have to assimilate a lot of knowledge, filling in the gaps of inner wisdom with research, reading, the internet and by listening to our elders. Is it surprising that we associate ourselves with intellect, cunning and the ability to adapt and survive (the Raven)?
Another association with the Raven is Death and War. One face of war is the triple natured Morrigan, who was said to hover over battlefields in the form of a Raven or flock of Ravens. The birds knew if there was a battle there would be rich pickings for carrion eaters.
The idea of being eaten is closely related to re-birth. The Raven is the perfect vehicle for the souls of the battle slain to be reborn through the Goddess.
Death is what comes to us all at some point, but we are at the tail-end of centuries of propaganda that tells us to avoid and flee from the face of the Goddess. Sexuality has been liberated to some extent, but death is still quite sanitised. We don't seem to be able to handle it as our ancestors did.
Is that why the movies depict death as a Raven, or do some of us see them as something else altogether different?
Note:The photos above are of a Raven called Baldric, photographed last year by Rayvensclaw at the Tower of London.
Reference: Witchcraft & Wicca 2008, by Layla
Psychic Protection & Shielding ~ Part 2
by Janine Donnellan
Paranormal investigations can be an exciting experience, however, every time you conduct an investigation you are venturing into unknown territory so practicing psychic protection is an important precaution that all investigators should be undertaking.
Good shielding techniques should be one of the first few essential lessons for those seeking to learn how to sense energy and use their own personal energies and the energies present in the world around them. Most good shielding requires the person to have some aptitude and knowledge of visualization techniques.
Psychic protection acts as an energy or barrier that wraps completely around you. The purpose of this energy is ultimately to block out all intrusive or malicious vibrations that come from unexpected and unknown sources.
Here are a few types of shields that can be adapted to your own personal requirements:
Bubble Shields are easy to make and can hold up against minor annoyances. Bubble Shields are also useful against humans who subconsciously leach energy from others. You can create this shield through a simple visualisation of seeing a bubble materialize before you and then simply step into the bubble. You can also create a shell, similar to a shape of an egg, building it from the ground to up, around your body, and finally meeting up over your head. Eggshells and bubbles are typical visualizations to block unwanted low-level attacks.
You can create this shield as you would any other shield. Imagine a highly reflective mirror ball surrounding you. The purpose of this shield is to reflect whatever energy/magic is sent at you right back to the sender. This can be set up as a secondary shield that exists outside of your regular shields. The inclusion of an affirmation adds extra power. Here is an example of what your affirmation could be:
What comes to me
Goes back to thee
No more no less
The Marshmallow Shield is a thick, sticky type of shield. Its primary purpose is to absorb attacks and hold them for later disposal. It can be programmed to de-patternize the simple attack or just spit it back out. When you are visualizing this shield, you want to picture a thick wall of goo, if you construct it in layers you will want to make sure the layers melt into each other completely.
This shield can take a while to make, but it is not meant to be used as the only line of defense. Combine it with other defensive shields to provide better protection.
The Blanket Technique - Protecting Others Psychically
As you become more comfortable and skilled in protecting yourself, there will be times when you may want to shield another person or loved one. You can extend the protection skills you have honed for yourself to help others as long as it is their free choice and will to accept your protection.
Visualize a dot of pure blue light, increase this light's intensity until it burns very bright. Take this dot and trace out a square twice as big as the person you are going to shield. When you trace the outline of the blanket, its lines should stay visible in your mind's eye. Once the outline is complete, begin to pour universal protective energy into the square shape. While you are filling the square with energy, be sure to program the protective powers you want to be inherent within. Think of the specific circumstance that they are seeking protection from and instill this energy with the power to resist and repel it. Hold this image in your minds eye for a good minute before letting it go. Keep in mind without being connected to any replenishing energy source, this shield is not going to last as long unless you program a period for the energy to last.
The psychic shield can be varied to suit your own personal experiences, depending on the type of visualization techniques that you use. Please note that energy for these shields can be drawn from different sources, including the earth itself. Proper shielding techniques should be one of the cornerstones of any magical or psychic training. The techniques are so simple almost any beginner can perform them and are they can be easily mastered with a little practice. Please don't be afraid to experiment with the techniques until you find one that works well for you.
(See Psychic Protection & Shielding ~ Part 1)
As the wheel turns we come to the next major Sabbat of Beltane, which marks the beginning of the summer season with it's traditional representation of bonfires, maypole dancing and the hope of a good harvest. Well in today's society with the close proximity of one's neighbours the bonfires and dancing around a maypole can be quite difficult (unless your fence is very high and you are on good terms with the fire brigade) and our crops are mainly harvested from Coles, Woolworths or Aldi.
The stone of unconditional love and infinite peace. Used for the heart and the heart chakra, can bring deep inner healing and self love. Also it is calming, reassuring and good for times of crises. Let it open your heart and become receptive for all that love can bring. Wear over your heart, or in a position of trust in your house.
The stone of wisdom. It focuses the mind and releases unwanted thoughts and tensions. It can restore balance within the body and calms overactive body systems. Different coloured sapphires have there own attributes and qualities. Worn touching the body. (Throat chakra)
The stone of inspiration and patience. This can eliminate negativity and brings about some positive action. Is very helpful for working within a group situation (understanding). To be worn over the heart or on a finger (but do not wear continuously as it could trigger negative feelings).
This stone grounds and anchors you. Use this stone to help trust your judgment and perceptions, overcomes negative conditioning. Calms anger and brings a love of life to your attitude. Wear as a pendent or in contact with your skin, can also be placed near the front door to protect and invites in abundance.
We have covered a number of crystals in this issue but as you can see there are many advantages in using the power of the crystals, however, the advantages gained by these crystals will be limited if you don't work with them and feel their energy and how they relate to you.
P.S. Rose quartz would be my choice, as we all need a little bit more love and cuddles in our lives and with the cost of a piece of Rose Quartz you don't need to take out a second mortgage on the house.
The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall
The Crystals handbook by Denise Whichello Brown.
Beltane, oh sweet Beltane, I welcome you into my life. It's that time of year again, warm wafting scents, the sun shining brightly & it's getting warmer. I've written about Frankincense Essential Oil before and now it's the right time to write about the herbe.
Botanical: Boswellia thurifera
Planetary associations: Sun
Zodiac associations: Leo, Aries, Sagittarius, Virgo
Magickal classifications: Herbe of Consecration, Herbe of Protection, Herbe of Purification, Religious Herbe
Invocatory: Adonis, Apollo, Baal, Demeter, Ra
Part Used: Gum Resin
Synonyms: Olibanum, Indian Frankincense, Arabic Frankincense, and Salai guggal
With strong associations with the Sun, frankincense has been used to give honour to solar deities. It was a powerful and valued herbe of the ancients. Its use during the times of the Old Testament is well documented by ancient Hebrew. The ceremonial incense of the Jews was compounded of four 'sweet scents', of which pure Frankincense was one, pounded together in equal proportion. It is frequently mentioned in the Pentateuch. Pure Frankincense formed part of the meet offering and was also presented with the shew-bread every Sabbath day. With other spices, it was stored in a great chamber of the House of God at Jerusalem.
Little Purple is still with me and growing up quite nicely, so
here’s another piece of his life for all the world to read. (See Part 1 here.)
What’s a little fellow to do?
My brothers and sisters are so big and scary
If I move they’ll squash me
If I don’t move they’ll squish me
Oh dear, oh dear, what am I to do.
Before I cracked my shell
I was knocked and bashed about
So now as I look around
I see their bodies so huge
I’m just aquiver with terror and fright
At what they might do
I just daren’t leave my shell
Oh dear, oh dear, what’s going to happen to me!
With a thunder so huge I was deafened
With a rumble so large it shook my shell
My brothers and sisters charged off
And left me behind in the fragments of their shells
Eek, ouch, ooh, argh; eek, ouch, ooh argh,
It hurts it hurts,
The pain, the pain
How am I going to get through
These shells so huge
And where oh where am I going
When I can’t see where I’ve been.
My tummy’s rumbling
My throat’s so dry
I’ll never get out of these shells
Perhaps I’ll die!
With a swish and a whoosh
His father’s arm so large
Grabbed Little Purple out of the rubble
Setting him down
On a bed so soft and large
He fell straight through.
Little Purple illustration by Rayvensclaw
Beltane Cream Pie
Prepare and pre-bake a pie shell and have it ready in the pie dish. The pie filling will be warmed but not baked.
1 cup whole milk
1 cup rich cream
1/2 cup or one stick of real butter
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/14 teaspoon vanilla
Melt the butter in a wide cooking pan. In a separate bowl slowly add the milk to the cornstarch making sure it is fully dissolved and absorbed before adding more milk. When the cornstarch is fully blended add this and all the other ingredients, except the vanilla, to the cooking pan. Stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture becomes thick like a pudding. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture into the waiting pie shell and sprinkle with nutmeg. Chill the pie to set.
From: Witta: An Irish Pagan Tradition, by Edain McCoy
Beltane Marigold Custard
2 cups milk
1 cup unsprayed marigold petals
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 to 2-inch piece vanilla bean
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. rose water
Using a clean mortar and pestle reserved for cooking purposes, pound marigold petals. Or, crush with a spoon. Mix the salt, sugar and spices together. Scald milk with the marigolds and the vanilla bean. Remove the vanilla bean and add the slightly beaten yolks and dry ingredients. Cook on low heat. When the mixture coats the spoon, add rose water and cool. Top with whipped cream, garnish with fresh marigold petals.
From: Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, by Scott Cunningham
Issue 20 - SPRING, OCTOBER 2009
SPHERES OF LIGHT (SOL)
ABN 46 385 794 818
We are based in Australia, in the Sydney-Illawarra area of NSW.
More about us...
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.
If you want to know about current topics check out the forum pages. This is a place where you can discuss ideas and catch up on general news. So if you want to participate please become a member as we would love to hear from you.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org for times and meet up details.
Join us on a magical journey to rediscover the ancient rite of scrying. Scrying can be defined as the mantic art of gazing upon reflective surfaces, allowing the inner psychic eyes to see through the mist and receive desired visions or information.
(Please Note: you must be over 18 years of age to attend any SOL gatherings, events, classes & workshops.)
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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
November 3, 2009 at Seven Hills, Sydney (map)
Date: Tuesday November 3, 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 and contact details here.
For those ready to continue their magickal work or wanting greater depth, this workshop series offers you a psychological understanding of the transformative power of working in covens, as well as a hands-on practical experience. Contact: email@example.com
3 tsp. Frankincense
2 tsp. Sandalwood
1 tsp. Benzoin
1 tsp. Cinnamon
a few drops Patchouli essential oil
5 drops rose oil
2 drops Dragon's blood
3 drops coriander oil
Use almond oil as a base
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