From the Editor...
There is no place like home
I have just touched down from my overseas trip to Hong Kong & Beijing and although I was only away for two weeks I feel like I have been away for months. Being a Sagittarian I am always yearning for the great adventure and in a strange way on this particular journey I could relate to Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, caught up in a whirlwind and transported to an unfamiliar world.
Although I had visited Hong Kong on a few occasions I had never been to Beijing and it became a journey of paradoxes; a journey that pushed my boundaries and made me realize how lucky I was to be born in a wonderful country like Australia. It was a journey where I felt the after effects of a major earthquake and I saw the hourly updates of the awful scenes of human death and suffering.
I have never worried about being a woman alone in a foreign country before, even when I was in Paris a few years back with my limited knowledge of French I seemed to blend in with the locals. On this journey with my pale skin and red hair shining like a beacon I became a target for every hawker and con artist walking the streets. It became so constant and uncomfortable I gave up trying to go out alone; instead I kept to the guided sight seeing tours.
I have seen some wondrous sights, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and my favourite place, the Summer Palace. All truly magnificent sights but I had no concept of the magnitude of the population. I knew the statistics but it is not until you are there experiencing the scale of people that you understand the problems that it creates.
The pollution is horrendous and creates a grey-like mist that constantly blurs the visual impressions of this large ever expanding city. Cars move swiftly through the streets, giving no consideration to traffic lights or pedestrians, horns constantly beeping as they erratically move from lane to lane, and trying to cross a road is like playing Russian roulette.
The only solitude you get is when you are safely secured in your hotel room, where you can contemplate this cacophony of sights and sounds looking across the skyline from your window. There were so many times that I pondered over my life's journey from this vantage point and at times I felt like a bird in a cage.
I managed to meet so many interesting people on my tours; four Australian men were on my first tour, and it was a pleasant surprise after feeling so vulnerable the day before. I smiled at the way spirit moves in mysterious ways especially after having an in-depth conversation with my guides about providing extra protection and a bit more familiarity. The kind hearted German tourists I bumped into when I became horribly lost, I was certainly amazed at the camaraderie that tourists show to one another when they are visiting a foreign land. The last tour was spent with two guys from Virginia. They were lovely gentle people and we shared a few laughs at some of the English translations.
I brought back with me hundreds of photos and souvenirs, but more than that I brought back a new appreciation of my fortunate life. I realized how much I missed my family and my friends and when I looked out over the red centre of Australia from the window in the plane I gave thanks that I was finally home. Yes indeed there is no place like home.
Janine Donnellan - Editor
Click on each image for a larger view.
Samhain Ball Review ~ Oh What a Night!
After over 6 months of planning, the night of the 2nd Annual Samhain Ball had finally arrived, and what a night it was!! The Harry Potter theme was well received and people went to a lot of trouble with their costumes! The room was organised to give a feel of being in the Hogwarts Great Hall with the four houses represented. Each 'student' went through the sorting hat ceremony and was welcomed into their houses. Shortly after everyone was seated, dinner was ready to be served (we had to do this ourselves as the 'house elves' had the night off!). We enjoyed our meals and then it was trivia time! A lot of fun was had with this by all!! By now many people's feet were itching to hit the dance floor! Some people's (like mine) were glued there for most of the night, bopping away to our awesome DJ! Yummy cakes were eaten for dessert and in between all of this, many prizes were given away! There were the lucky winners of the 'find the golden snitch' as well as Best Costumes voted by all the guests. There was a Bertie Botts Every Flavour Bean guessing competition as well as lucky door prizes which included Spellcraft subscriptions (proudly donated by Joanne Lock from Spellcraft Magazine). The night was a great success and much fun was had by everyone who attended!
What will be in store for next year's Ball? Well, you'll have to come along and see!!
2008 Samhain Ball Committee
SOL's Dark Moon Circle and Samhain Ritual - Friday 2nd May
Samhain is the time when the boundary is thinnest between the worlds of living and dead; the powers of divination, the Sight, and supernatural communication are strengthened on Samhain night, and it is considered a powerful time to communicate with lost loved ones. Pagans celebrate Samhain as an acknowledgment that without death, there can be no rebirth. At Samhain the darkness increases and the Goddess reigns in her powerful aspect of the Crone. It is a time to honour and to call on those who have gone before in order to gain insight about our life.
On this night, instead of holding our usual closed Dark Moon circle for members only, we celebrated with an open circle and invited members of SOuL Searchers (our paranormal investigation team) as well as other interested guests who were not part of the regular Dark Moon group (called the Inner Realm Of Ynys Witrin). The participants numbered thirteen in all.
The ritual began and by the power of the Dragons the circle was cast. Eight Goddesses - the Keepers of Avalon - were evoked to protect and charge the circle, and our hostess Hecate, Queen of the Underworld, was welcomed in. We honoured and acknowledged the presence of our ancestors and went on a meditative journey to meet with them and with Hecate. We then conducted a séance to communicate with any spirits present, and also as an exercise to learn about the different methods of channelling. Two groups of people took turns at using the Ouija board. Most of the people in the room were very aware of otherworldy presences, some experiencing it more intensely than others. We gave any grounded spirits an opportunity to cross over on the night if that was their wish.
We thanked our ancestors, Hecate and the Keepers for their presence and guidance and the residual energy was then grounded back into the earth and forwarded to individuals for healing. The circle was closed and those who wanted to take photos for our orb experiment did so (see article below) before we all finished the evening with our usual feast.
More information about our Dark Moon circles (which are usually "closed", with membership being by invitation only) can be found here. However our Full Moon circles (see article further below) are always "open" and any interested pagans may attend. Please contact us for details.
Orb Photography Experiment
On the night of SOL's Samhain ritual the SOuL Searchers team also conducted an experiment with orbs where we photographed the room before the ritual, and then again immediately afterwards to see if there was any visible increase in orb activity. We also called on the orbs to appear in certain areas of the room as we photographed, based on the premise that if they are intelligent entities and not just random dust particles etc, that we may be able to influence their appearance in our photographs. Unfortunately the results of our orb experiment were far from conclusive, so we may try to refine our techniques and repeat this experiment. Go here to the SOuL Searchers website, to see the outcome of this first attempt.
Anyone interested in Spirit/Orb Photography may find this book useful...
"The Orb Project", by Miceal Ledwith & Klaus Heinemann
From the back cover of the book... "In recent years, people have wondered if the spherical objects that sometimes appear in their photographs are simply dust particles - or something more. In The Orb Project, Miceal Ledwith and Klaus Heinemann, two leading experts in the field of the orb phenomenon, combine their years of knowledge to examine these ghostly apparitions. Featuring full-colour photographs of different types of orbs, fascinating research findings, practical tips to guide the amateur photographers in capturing images of orbs, as well as comprehensive guidelines on orb visual patterns, characteristics, and habits, The Orb Project demonstrates that our conventional physical reality is merely an extension of the limitless spiritual dimension, and that orbs are connected with realities outside of our normal human perception."
For more information go to The Orb Project Book website. The book is available in Australia from Booktopia and other bookstores.
SOL's Full Moon Circle - Friday 16th May
by Janine Donnellan
At this upcoming Blue Full Moon, which will be the second full moon in the same star sign, we are given another chance to connect deeply to the Scorpion energy. Incidentally during our last dark moon circle we had a visit from a scorpion and perhaps it was preempting the energy of our recent full moon circle. There are indeed some very powerful energies pulling at us at the moment, especially as the Sun and Moon are opposite. The Scorpio full moon is about transformation and with the second release of this powerful energy it is raising our vibrations to the planes of our higher selves and higher dimensional worlds. This energy will no doubt take us outside our comfort zones in order to change our perceptions and make us aware of our higher purpose.
At our last Scorpio Full Moon circle we connected to the Greek Fire Gods Hestia & Hephaestus and went through a process of transmutation; processes to enable us to arise like a phoenix from the ashes of our fears. At this second Scorpio full moon circle we connected to another fire Goddess - the three Brigids. And again at our circle we faced another process of change and even as I write this today I can see the evidence of Brigid in her magical workings.
Friday the 16th May was the night that Simon Goodey conducted his inaugural circle and it turned out to be a highly charged and insightful evening. Our circle was cast with the athame, which was passed around the circle anticlockwise as we all chanted:
"Sword cuts a circle round about, a world within a world without
Sword has cast a circle round about, power stay in world stay out"
The elements were introduced by four people who gave a personal account of the element assigned to them. Each representation of the element was passed around the circle and each person was able to tap into each element.
The crucible was lit and information on the Goddess was read out. We all joined hands and started to slowly circle the flame while we chanted "we all come from the goddess...". As we moved around the circle the flames danced and spiraled and as the energy heightened we chanted eko, eko azarak; eko, eko, zamilak; when the energy peaked we all twirled on the spot feeling totally intoxicated.
Next we were taken on a meditation to meet Brigid; in my meditation Brigid took me to the stars where I danced in an out of the astrological signs. I saw large groups of people congregating from different times and different places. I stopped by a river of stars guarded by an image of the water bearer and then my hand was cut by an athame and my blood was offered to the earth.
At the end of the meditation everyone had an opportunity to share their experiences. Some circle members connected to snakes during the mediation. There were visions of cornfields and water and sexual encounters. We were all amazed that we had all shared similar experiences and had connected deeply to the Goddess Brigid.
We then thanked the Goddess Brigid for her presence and guidance and the residual energy was then grounded back into the earth and forwarded to individuals for healing. The circle was closed and then 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 on Friday 13th June, please contact us for further details if you would like to attend.
Symbolic Meaning of Scorpion
The symbol meaning of Scorpion, much like its appearance, is a little foreboding. Below are a few facts on the symbol meaning for Scorpion along with some cultural history and background.
A summary of symbol meaning/associations for the Scorpion are as follows:
- Solitary/Being Alone
A potent message the Scorpion chooses to express is that of protection and/or isolation. In fact, they themselves are quite solitary - part of the reason why they symbolize. In fact, many people with the Scorpion as their totem tend to have brief spells of passion with a partner only to end the relationship and spend long periods content to be alone.
The Scorpion will mate in an exotic, dance of passion and control. The Scorpion sex dance is one of beauty, control, and calculation.
The female allows her new offspring to ride on her back until they shed their first exoskeleton - then her offspring leaves her - all of them going off to their lone, solitary lives - another example of intensity in relationship followed by isolation.
Defensiveness/control/protection is evident in the Scorpion's appearance - which seems to say "Do not trifle with me." One look at this magnificent creature says "back off!" does it not?
As another symbol of protection - we can consider the poisonous tip of the scorpion which numbs its prey as well as makes its prey chemically digestible for the Scorpion. Whether the Scorpion intends to eat the victim of its sting is irrelevant because its sting will most certainly protect the Scorpion in order for it to live another day.
In Samaria, the Scorpion is associated with the Sun, and ancient writings depict Scorpion-men guarding (protecting) sacred gateways leading to ascension, pleasure and enlightenment.
Treachery and death symbolism comes into play in Greco-Roman mythology where Artemis (Diana) used the Scorpion to sting Orion's foot, which caused his death. Afterwards, Zeus (Jupiter) made the Scorpion a zodiac sign among the stars.
There are some species where the venom is actually the antidote for its sting (like cobras). In Egypt and Tibet this is seen as an omen, and the Scorpion is made into an amulet - signifying protection and warding off evil. In Africa, the Scorpion is also seen as a healing sign - its venomous oil used for medicinal purposes.
When we consider the message this incredible creature has for us, we must first consider its outstanding features, which are the Scorpion's natural protective/defensive mechanisms. For example, consider the Scorpion's hard exoskeleton as a line of defense. Also consider its sharp potentially damaging pinchers - not to mention its poisonous stinger.
Therefore, as a symbol meaning, the Scorpion represents protection. When the Scorpion makes an appearance in our lives, it is beckoning us to consider the following:
- What needs protecting in my life?
- Am I being overprotective?
- Am I being defensive? Why?
- Am I afraid of being vulnerable?
- How do I feel about control in my life? (too much, too little)
Although the symbol meaning for Scorpion can appear a little harsh at first glance, when we really contemplate the Scorpion in all its wonder - then compare these meanings against the events in our own lives, we will inevitably find a common ground and learn some timely lessons from the Scorpion too.
I don't know about you, but I find it a little daunting being a Pagan Parent! My main struggle is, how do I pass on my knowledge to my children, but translate it into 'kids language'! I didn't feel like there was too much support out there for us parents who want to bring their kids up Pagan, especially here in Australia. It would be my dream to see Pagan Playgroups and Fellowship type groups for the older 'kids'! Well anyway, I thought, why sit there complaining, do something about it! So I am! What I've set out to achieve may only be a tiny drop in the ocean, but it's a start! Through SOL's newsletter I will pass on ideas for things like craft, colouring pages, family Sabbat celebration ideas etc that I have managed to source through the internet and/or books, that will relate to the Season/Sabbat we are celebrating at the time. All references will be listed; credit will be given where credit is due. I am open to ideas, suggestions and contributions, to be added to this section of the newsletter, so please feel free to contact me!
A Blessed Samhain to you and your family!
The Troll's Tear (A Children's Story for Samhain)
by D.J. Conway
The night was very dark, with a Full Moon hanging in the cloud-filled sky
above. The air was crisp with the feel of late Autumn and the doorway
between the worlds was wide open. Carved pumpkins sat on the porches of
the houses in the little town, and the laughter of children dressed in
costumes could be heard from the streets.
It was a sad time for Beth as she climbed the little hill behind her
house. In her arms was her cat and friend Smoky, carefully wrapped in his
favorite blanket. A little grave was already dug on the hill, waiting,
for Smoky had died that day. Continued here...
As I lay in my bed, 'tis the end of the year
And I thank the Goddess and the God
For bringing me to here.
Before I close my eyes, one more wish I make
I pray to the Goddess and the God
The next year through me take.
Take two pieces of cloth or felt in the appropriate colour and size that you want and sew up three sides (using appropriately coloured thread). Mix your herbs and/or oils together and then turn your pillow right side out and stuff it. Stitch the fourth side closed. Ta-da, a dream pillow!
Blue - for peace, calm, and wisdom
Purple - psychic power and hidden knowledge
Silver - intuition and dreams, in general
Bergamot: soothes the nerves, gives relaxing sleep.
Hyacinth: stops nightmares.
Jasmine: helps increase psychic dreams, lifts depression, quiets the nerves; is calming.
Lavender: relaxing deep sleep.
Basil: offers protection and psychic dreams
Bay Laurel: inspiration; repels negativity.
Cedar: helps to repel bad dreams.
Chamomile: for peaceful sleep
Dill: help one to fall alseep
Hops: restful sleep and healing.
Lavender: for peaceful sleep as well as clairvoyant dreams
Marjoram: relieves depression.
Mullein: repels bad dreams.
Rosemary: use just a little as it is very strongly scented. Avoid nightmares and headaches.
Rose: for peaceful, happy dreams as well as clairvoyance.
St. Johns Wort: banishes spirits.
Thyme: for peaceful sleep, psychic powers and attracting faeries
Valerian: deep rest
White sage: for attuning to the spirit world
Samhain Colouring Pages
http://wheeloftheyear.org/downloads/Downloads.html (click on the Samhain link)
"Punkincat" and "Dragolantern" (Images originally from http://www.dreslough.com)
"Pagan Parenting" by Kristin Madden More details...
"Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddess Traditions" by Starhawk, Diane Baker & Anne Hill (with thanks to Athena DreamStone for recommending this book!) More details...
See the "Circle Round" website here.
The Photo Corner
A place to showcase your artistic talents behind the lens...
A collection of photos submitted by Foxy, revealing some of the colours and wildlife of Autumn seen on the night of the SOuL Searchers paranormal investigation at Picton in April this year.
Issue 3 - AUTUMN, MAY 2008
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 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
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.
... plus much, much more!
On our Networking page you will find many links to other Australian Pagan groups and organisations, as well as Australian
Pagan (and pagan-friendly) Businesses & Services. If you would like to have a link to your group or business on the SOL website
please email firstname.lastname@example.org This service
is provided free of charge. If possible a reciprocal link to SOL would be much appreciated.
Working with the Seasons
Winter - June 1, 2008
Each season interfaces with the next one, each season brings a new discovery, a new journey. Winter is the season of death and rebirth, with the focus on rebirth. Samhain marks the Celtic New Year and winter. This is a period when we focus on death. In Samhain the birthing from the physical death into the spiritual realm takes place. At winter the spiritual rebirth occurs. At Samhain we die and leave our material form and reenter the womb, the cave, the great abyss of the great Dark Goddess. Winter the most metaphysical of the seasons, is a time when we can commune with our ancestors, a time when the veil is thin and we can move between the spiritual and the physical. At the Winter Solstice, the Dark Goddess rebirths us into the spiritual realm of light.
Come on a journey of discovery into the magic of winter and learn how to use its energy to enhance your own magic and spiritual work. Connect with Medusa, the Serpent Goddess who symbolizes the bridge between the worlds, death, and renewal.
Spheres Of Light (a subcommittee of PAN Inc.) will be presenting a series of 4 workshops each representing a season.
Where: Sutherland (southern Sydney)
Sunday 2nd March 2008 - Autumn
(See photos here)
Sunday 1st June 2008 - Winter
Sunday 28th September - Spring
Sunday 7th December - Summer
Time: 10:00am - 4.00pm
Cost: $50 per workshop
Bookings are currently being taken, numbers are limited. If you are interested in attending any of the remaining workshops and would like further information please contact Janine ...
phone: 0408 025 268
SOL Full Moon Circle
Friday 13th June, 2008
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...
(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.
Date: Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 8:30pm
PAN Full Moon Public Circle
20 May 2008 at Seven Hills, Sydney (map)
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
The following PAN Full Moon Public Circle will be held on Thursday 19th June, 2008.
ACOM Workshops & Events
(Click on the titles for further details of each event.)
~ Advertisement ~
Every season brings its special produce - something to savour and look forward to every year. Autumn is no exception, with fruits like feijoas and guavas to enjoy and new season's apples, especially cooking apples, to make the most of. Windfall apples are good for making chutneys, pickles and fruit jellies. Prolific fruit trees or gifts of produce from those with an abundant crop can often be your introduction to preserving. The making of jams, jellies, pickles and chutneys ensures that the fruits of Autumn can be enjoyed throughout the year.
1 kg guavas
5 to 6 cups water
About 1½ cups sugar
Wash fruits. Place guavas in a large saucepan. Chop apple and lemon and add water to just cover fruit. Bring to the boil and cook for about 30 minutes or until fruit is soft. Drain mixture through a jelly bag, reserving the juice. Do not squeeze. Measure the juice and allow one cup of sugar for each cup of juice. Place juice in a large saucepan and return to boil. Add sugar, stir until dissolved, then boil briskly until jelly gives a setting test. Pour into hot, clean, dry jars and seal when cold.
Makes about 3 cups.
Image and text from "Australian Quick'n'Easy Jams, Pickles, Mustards, Vinegars, Preserves & More" by Robyn Martin, Hodder Moa Beckett Publishers Ltd.
My grandma had a guava tree and used to make heaps of guava jelly for the whole family when I was a child, but unfortunately I don't have a copy of her exact recipe. She died just a few days before Samhain, 1991, so this my quiet little tribute to her. ~ Jenwytch ~
Poached Autumn Fruits with Cinnamon
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients: (serves 8)
165g (¾ cup) caster sugar
375mls (1½ cups) water
1 orange, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
3 cinnamon sticks
4 medium pears (like williams or beurre bosc)
4 medium golden delicious apples
300g black muscat (muscat Hamburg) grapes, stems removed
1. Combine the sugar, water, orange juice, lemon juice and cinnamon sticks in a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and then bring to the boil.
2. Meanwhile, peel, quarter and core the pears and apples. Cut each quarter in half lengthways.
3. Add the pears and apples to the saucepan, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes or until the fruit is just tender. (See microwave tip.)
4. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the fruit to cool for 1 hour. Stir in the grapes. Pour the fruit and poaching syrup into a large serving bowl, cover and place in the fridge until required.
5. Serve at room temperature with the maple syrup yoghurt with nuts (see below).
Notes & tips:
Microwave tip: Combine the sugar, water, orange juice, lemon juice and cinnamon sticks in a large, heat-resistant, microwave-safe bowl. Heat, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes on High/850 watts/100%, stirring well to ensure the sugar has dissolved. Add the pears and apples and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes on Medium/500watts/50% or until the fruit is just tender.
Maple Syrup Yoghurt with Nuts
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients: (serves 8)
200g cartons thick natural yoghurt (like Attiki Country Style Reduced Fat Yoghurt)
60mls (¼ cup) maple syrup, or to taste
80g (½ cup) nut mix (Naytura brand), roughly chopped
Extra maple syrup, to serve (optional)
1. Combine yoghurt and maple syrup in a medium bowl. Cover and place in the fridge until required.
2. To serve, reserve 1 tbs nuts and stir remaining nuts through the yoghurt. Spoon the yoghurt into a serving bowl, sprinkle with the reserved nuts and drizzle with a little extra maple syrup, if using.
Source: http://www.taste.com.au/ "Australian Good Taste - April 1998 , Page 100. Recipe by Annette Forrest"
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