From the Editor...
The Winter of My Discontent
I once was a sleeper, oblivious to the cycles and the seasons of life; I had been temporarily disconnected from my own innate intuition. I did not know how to look to the earth, the moon and the stars for the sign posts. But eventually I became awakened and began to perceive and understand the patterns and threads that merge and weave and form the tapestry I call my life. I realize now that there is no such thing as coincidence; everything happens for a reason, and over time you become conscious of the emerging pathways and how your life interchanges and connects under some surreptitious plan.
Each season brings me a deeper understanding of life; it doesn't necessarily make my life easier, in fact sometimes I believe being on this path makes my quest so much harder. I am going through a time of inner turmoil this winter; an aspect of my life is disintegrating, a necessary process to allow me more freedom. It is not so much the process that is causing my discontent but my resistance to this disintegration. This fear of the unknown, this fear of jumping into the abyss, this enveloping darkness that encompasses and fills me with such anguish. I know if I just let go and allow myself to move with the flow that the light will emerge and all will be well. This winter of my discontent will pass I know and my life will hopefully be better for it. It is just one small step at a time - there is no turning back.
I have journeyed to the abyss balanced on its rim
Swaying precariously as paper fanned by wind
Staring blindfolded into a void spectral and dim
Feeling as tense like walking on string
I am at the edge of a precipice looking down
The world a swirling vortex as my life spins around
Contemplating circles and the questions of time
Transient and eternal thoughts lay like lead on my mind
Visions of clinging to the dirt in the ground
Fingers anchored like tendrils as I quietly fall down
Voices whisper conundrums like echoes abound
And moves as a mist caressing with sound
Eons suspended like the hanged man with nails
Time passes by me as a breeze in the sails
My soul's eternal quest from journeys present and old
I am now poised on the brink as the answers unfold
by Janine Donnellan
Winter is a time of deep reflection, a time of descending into the darkness. Winter is a time when what lies underneath, what has been buried becomes exposed. Winter is a time to tap into your own psyche; to connect to your emotional and spiritual bodies and those aspects of your life which makes up your present and past. It is in this time of hibernation when you can review the path you have taken and the lessons you have learned. Winter with its cold hash reality can assist you to face the inevitable decisions that spring boards you on to new aspirations.
Winter is a time of clearing out old growth and that which is weak or no longer serves a meaningful purpose. As the wheel turns we need to acknowledge our own mortality, the line between death & life is thin, death is always close at hand, whether it is death of a situation, or our own inevitable death.
Winter with its icy coldness brings us into a state of inner consultation. It has the effect of stagnation, of time standing still. This time of contemplation can create the catalyst that crystallizes our inner turmoil. It is in the very midst of this cold time, that our mind turns to the light, to the warmth that the tide turns and the sun is reborn.
Hindu Temple Visit with Quaker Interfaith Team
~ Saturday May 31, 2008
After receiving an invitation from the Wahroonga Quaker Interfaith Team to visit the Sri Venkateswara Hindu Temple at Helensburgh, five members of SOL (Janine, Jenny, Sam, Maria and Heather) happily accepted and attended the event. But why, you ask, were the Quakers (Christians) inviting the Pagans to visit the Hindus? The Wahroonga Quaker Interfaith Team upholds a tradition of asking little-known faith groups to talk about themselves, and organises Interfaith events, which are designed to provide an opportunity for people of all faiths and backgrounds to find out about the faith and practice of other groups in a spirit of goodwill.
History shows that Quakers emerged from the turmoil of religious, social and political thought in 17th Century England. They survived the persecutions of the Restoration, probably because, unlike other movements, Quakers had no leadership to destroy. Nevertheless 13,000 Quakers were imprisoned for refusal to swear oaths of allegiance or pay tithes for the established church, 338 died in prison and more than 100 were transported to America before the Act of Tolerance in 1689 gave them some protection. Quakers abide by the testimonies of integrity, equality, simplicity and peace, although it should be emphasised that the testimonies are ideals to strive for, not a creed. Quakers believe that there is that which is of God in all people, each of us can experience that of God, and Divine guidance will lead to realisation of a single shared truth.
Quakers practise silent worship; an opportunity to listen not to speak, a provision of space in which God can act. This perspective is contrasted to anthropomorphic styles of worship which can centre on praising God as if God needed it, telling God how to go about running creation, and petitioning God as if God had favorites and we deserved the privilege. The Quaker viewpoint is that in silent worship there is opportunity for awe and wonder, for a leading to right action, for strength in times of difficulty and a leading to sensitivity to the needs of others and the environment.
After arriving at the Hindu temple and the initial introductions were made, we retired to a sunny spot in the gardens to discuss the morning's activities and a little about Hindu beliefs. Acey, the co-ordinator of the interfaith team, began to tell us of what she learned on a previous visit to the temple. As we did not have an official temple guide assigned to our group we took the opportunity to ask a couple of Hindu men, who were nearby in the garden, if they wouldn't mind explaining to us something about their beliefs. They were more than happy to oblige and this proved to be most enlightening, as in the course of the conversations we discovered many similarities between Hindu, Pagan and Quaker beliefs.
||The word "Hinduism" refers to a spectrum of religious beliefs and practices that developed, largely on the Indian sub-continent, over the past four thousand years. Rather than a single theology there are actually three viewpoints within Hinduism concerning the understanding of God. The first and most prevalent says that there is One Reality who can be worshipped through various forms and representations: as Vishnu, as Shiva, as Ganesha etc. The second view, on the other hand, considers Vishnu as the sole supreme Being to whom all other deities are subordinate. The third view venerates Shiva as the supreme Reality to whom all others are subordinate.
The Sri Venkateswara Temple complex at Helensburgh is the site of the first Hindu temple in Australia to be built along tradtional lines, and is also the largest Hindu temple complex in Australia. The five ancient principles of Hindu temple construction are: it is on an island, of virgin land, surrounded by forest, with a water source and an ocean nearby. There are two temples on this site; one is dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Venkateswara) and the other is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
|Unfortunately, because of ongoing repairs to the roof due to recent hail damage the Shiva temple was closed to the public for safety reasons, and we were only able to enter the temple dedicated to Vishnu. However, it was still a thoroughly worthwhile and enjoyable experience to be able to go inside just the one temple and see the beautiful statues of the Hindu deities, many of them painted in vibrant colours and with great attention to detail. Cameras were not allowed inside the temple so the photo to the right is from the pamphlets supplied on the day.
We all stood in respectful silence, near the Shrine of Garuda, while we observed the ritual and blessings being given to the devotees in front of the inner sanctum of the central shrines - those of Sri Venkateswara, Sri Maha Lakshmi and Sri Aandal. When a Hindu worships at home, God is invoked into an image or symbol for the duration of the worship, whereas in the temple, God has been invoked to reside permanently within the consecrated image in the inner sanctum. When the image has been consecrated in accordance with the proper rites it is believed to embody the presence of the Divine, which is then maintained by the priests who conduct the daily rituals at fixed times and in a prescribed manner.
These rituals, along with other devotional practices, enhance the sanctity of the temple. An awareness of this sanctity was evident on the day even to non-Hindu visitors such as ourselves, and I personally found the smell of incense and the intermittent ringing of a large ritual bell (rung to produce the auspicious sound Om, the universal name of the Lord, thereby indicating the invocation of divinity) to be familiar and comforting.
After viewing the Temple, we took the opportunity to enjoy a delicious lunch at the Temple canteen, which served a selection of Indian cuisine.
Working With the Seasons ~ Winter
Sunday June 1, 2008
by Janine Donnellan
The day of the winter workshop was bleak, cold, grey and wet and in sharp contrast to the day before which one could describe as an 'Indian Summer'. The sky was a cloudless blue and I had pealed off my winter clothing to embrace the warmth of the sun. But on this day the Gods had decided to synchronise the weather to the intent of the workshop or so it seemed, but then Spirit does move in mysterious ways.
Winter is the season of death and rebirth, and on our first meditation we were taken on a journey into the cave. The concept of death and rebirth is what cave magic most fundamentally addresses. What frightens us most about the dark is the unknown. Entering the cave is a journey both to the cold, earthen tomb and to the fertile womb of the mother. When you enter the cave you are facing your shadow self, and through the process of overcoming yours fears you free yourself from the entrapments of mortality.
The Goddess that we connected to on the day was the Medusa. Medusa has historically been seen as the archetype of the nasty mother; the Gorgon with a perpetual bad hair day that would turn one to stone if one should stare upon her face. However what we realized through the process of our meditation is that she is a Goddess that is far more complex than portrayed. Medusa is a recluse, not accustomed to be called upon. A no nonsense woman that tells things as they are; this in itself can be very confronting.
Medusa reflects harmony in nature; and a primal energy that is neither good nor bad, but simply powerful. She represents the liberation of death but more than that she represents a force that can disentangle you from your own delusions. Perhaps in reality Medusa reminds us that it is our own fear that immobilizes us, and it is our own shadow that when looked upon turns us to stone.
The day ended with an activity which was the making of a clay tile for our Altar. The intent was that we would all take home a representation of the interconnectedness of the elements of life as a ritual tool, which during the making would be impregnated with our own energy and would represent the Element Earth and the power of manifestation.
Our next 'Working with the Seasons' Workshop will be on Spring and will be held in Sutherland on Sunday 28th September 2008. If you are interested in attending any of the remaining workshops and would like further information please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on 0408 025 268.
SOL's Full Moon Circle ~ Friday June 13, 2008
by Janine Donnellan
Now that the cold darkness of winter has descended upon us we all gathered with great anticipation at SOL's full moon circle on Friday the 13th June for the return of the light. On this night we conducted an Alban Arthan ritual; Alban Arthan is a Druid term which means the Light of Arthur. It is believed by some that the Light of King Arthur Pendragon is symbolically reborn as the Sun Child at the time of the Winter Solstice.
On this night dressed in all our finery we embraced the energy of Avalon aided by the Sagittarius full moon which represents the union of the physical and the spiritual in the search for knowledge. All about us was the darkness and on this night our guiding beacon was Arthur, rising forth from Avalon.
Shrouded by mist the ritual began with the beat of a drum as we entered the circle from the southern quarter. Our circle was cast by the sword, and we chanted the ancient sound of Awen. The word "awen" means "inspiration" in Middle Welsh, and represents the primal sound and light caused by "the" Supreme Being pronouncing "His" name to create the universe. Companions of Avalon were then evoked to guard and protect each of the quarters and The Lady of the Lake and Arthur were welcomed in as our hosts.
The intent of this ritual was to search for our inner truth and knowledge. We were then taken on a journey through time to the magical isle of Avalon. During our meditation Arthur and Avalon's companions imparted their guidance and knowledge; each of us were granted three wishes, one for a friend, one for the earth and one for our self. Once the meditation was completed we created a wrist band made up of a red & white cord. The red cord representing blood, the feminine and the physical plane; the white cord representing semen, the male and the spiritual plane. Both elements necessary for the attainment of balance within our lives. On the wrist band each person then placed three beads to represent the wishes that they wanted granted for this upcoming winter solstice.
The Goddess then walked the circle blessing each participant with purified and blessed water from the chalice well. The Lord of Light, Arthur offered that we should drink from the Cup which overflows with the Light drawn from the Source of Life. That we should taste, drink, and be satisfied. As we drank from the cup we all joined as one chanting "Brother to sister, heart to heart, yours in life and in death". Holding hands we then sang, "We are a circle, a living circle with no beginning and never ending", in order to raise energy for the granting of our wishes. Our wishes and energy were then sent to up into the universe in a column of light to come back to us as a reality.
We then thanked our ancient hosts and the companions for their presence and guidance, once again we chanted the ancient sound of Awen and 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 on Friday 18th July, please contact us for further details if you would like to attend.
Ingress Astrology - Part II
by Jenni Barnett
Jenni Barnett is a practising Heathen of the Celtic and Norse pantheons. She also studies Astrology through the Sirius School of Astrology.
Was Hael and welcome to the second instalment of Ingress Astrology. This instalment relates to the Sun's movement into its second ingress point on the Astrology wheel - into the first water sign of Cancer. We will note here that each ingress marker also indicates each of all the four elements represented - in this instance, it is water.
Again, from the Southern Hemisphere perspective, the Sun has been moving into its darker phase - the arc of the Sun has moved across the sky in a more narrow movement - until it finally reaches the Tropic of Cancer line to the North, plunging us into the longest night that heralds the Winter Solstice.
We may be aware now of how cold it has become, there is a sudden chill in the air which reminds us that Summer has truly left us once again. In ancient times, the harvest was completed and people moved indoors, sometimes bringing their animals inside with them as protection from the ravages of a harsh winter. It was time to sell their merchandise to the community that ensures everybody would survive, it was probably also time to undergo important repairs that needed to be done on the home, tools, clothes etc.
In modern times, not a lot has changed for us - at least on an instinctive level. Despite the hectic lives that we all lead these days, a welcoming fire (or heater) on our arrival home, a hot meal and other creature comforts allows for us to bond with those who are closest to us. So long as the day spent outside is done, there is an enjoyable time to be had by staying indoors - regardless of the weather outside.
So is the time for the longest night of the year, the Winter Solstice. On 21st June this year, the Sun will move out of the Mercurial sign of Gemini and into the lunar sign of Cancer. So what does this all mean? As I already mentioned, the Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year. The Sun (from its appearance in the sky) has reached its lowest point and comes to a standstill. Solstice derives from two words - Sol means the Sun, and stice means to be still.
This Solstice is symbolic of death, not necessarily of a physical nature, but we are in a period of darkness. When we talk about death from a metaphorical - and perhaps metaphysical - perspective, we talk about change, a period in our lives that has reached its course and must come to an end. We await a rebirth that will surely take place with the returning light and warmth that marks the coming seasons of Spring and Summer.
This second ingress point moves into the rulership of the Moon. The Moon governs the ebb and flow of the tides, a woman's monthly cycle, our emotions and earliest memories. It represents the Mother, also of darkness - the Moon comes out at night in its waxing phase, and in the early hours of the morning in its waning phase - salmon and other marine life spawn at a particular time which is governed by the lunar phase.
For those of us who are born around the other Ingress points of the Astrology wheel, Aries, Libra and Capricorn - the Ingress point of Cancer is most pronounced from an instinctive and emotional level. For example, as an Aries person, the Sun will form a square aspect at 17 degrees Cancer to my natal sun, along with my other planets in this sign, but I will focus on the Sun in this instance. It could be a time when I feel overwhelmed by my emotions, I may be at odds with others on a certain level and emotional blackmail could be prevalent. A square aspect is probably the most challenging, as they are the times when current issues need to be dealt with. A detached view is important to undertake, because it allows you to transit through a difficult process, and be the stronger for it.
The other square aspect to Cancer affects those born under the sign of Libra. The normally diplomatic and easy-going could find themselves in some hot water, by either too much fence sitting - or not enough! It could manifest itself in personal and business relationships. The Libra person needs to make things very clear from the outset, this is not the time for evading anything in the form of cross-fire coming their way. It would feel to them like walking on a tightrope more than usual, but by the same token, situations can be easily diffused with the right words and actions - expressing clearly and concisely in a manner that keeps everything on an even keel. These people know all about balance, and they will have to work harder at this time to maintain it.
Coming to the opposition of Capricorn, it could unfold in a way that compromises their ambitions, and puts them in a position of vulnerability that they would otherwise rather not express. It would probably be unfair to describe Capricorn people as just the stoic, hard-working, ambitious lot, because I know of a few who can be very warm, witty and have a good sense of fun. They are emotional beings in their own right. It is easier for them, however, to put a restraint which hides that side of themselves from the rest of the world. Here is where the opposition would play itself out, to the point that it could force these people to address that side most vulnerable - that side of themselves that they would rather not show, even to those closest to them. By allowing that side to be expressed, it actually brings in a deeper feeling of security - for themselves and others around them.
It's good for us to know that when the Sun reaches any point of the year in the calendar, there is usually a predictable underlying pattern that we can all observe in ourselves. It is particularly prevalent around the time of the seasonal markers - coincident with the Ingress points, as well as the Sun's movement over the Equator and to the tropical markers of Cancer and Capricorn. There is a shift in the air, a change with the seasons. With the season of Winter, it is a time for rest and reflection. In many ancient cultures, a celebration of the dying Sun is held in its commemoration - along with the promise of its rebirth.
Whatever any of you do, and however you make the most of this time, just enjoy it. There is beauty to be seen, even from the trees that have shed all its leaves, the shorter days and the longer nights have their own unique hue about them as well.
Till the next Ingress, I will bid you a fond farewell.
Read this and other articles by Jenni Barnett on Spheres Of Light's website in Astrology Corner
by Samantha Springall
Certificate IV Aromatherapy ~ completed with Distinction at Loftus TAFE 2003
NSW State Medal Award Winner
I had always been drawn to Complimentary Therapies since childhood. It was at the end of high school that I realised this was the career path that I wanted to pursue. Aromatherapy appealed to me because of the way you could utilise those beautiful aromas/essences for the benefit of one's mind, body and spirit.
Black Pepper Essential Oil
Synonyms: Piper, pepper
General Description: A perennial woody vine up to 5 metres high with heart shaped leaves and small white flowers. The berries turn from red to black as they mature - black pepper is the dried fully grown unripe fruit.
Herbal/Folk Tradition: Both black and white pepper have been used in the East for over 4000 years for medicinal and culinary purposes. In Chinese medicine, white pepper is used to treat malaria, cholera, dysentery, diarrhea, stomach ache and other digestive problems. In Greece, it is used for intermittent fever and to fortify the stomach. The mendicant monks of India, who covered considerable distances daily on foot, would swallow 7-9 grains of pepper a day; this would give them remarkable endurance.
Actions: Analgesic, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitoxic, aperitif, aphrodisiac, bactericidal, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, febrifuge, rubefacient, stimulant (nervous, circulatory, digestive), stomachic.
Extraction: Essential oil by steam distillation from the black peppercorns, dried and crushed.
Characteristics: A water, white to pale olive, liquid with a fresh dry-woody, warm spicy scent.
Blends well with: Bergamot, frankincense, sandalwood, lavender, rosemary, grapefruit, ylang ylang and marjoram.
Safety Data: Non-toxic, non-sensitising, irritant in high concentration due to rubefacient properties. Use in moderation only.
Aromatherapy/home use: This warming oil can be used to great effect to help circulation and bruising and specifically to help with muscle tone, aching limbs and rheumatoid arthritis. It further helps to promote digestion, the colon as well as the kidneys.
Burners and vapourisers: In vapour therapy, black pepper oil can be used to help add warmth to chills and colds and to create an atmosphere of 'getting things done'.
Blended massage oil or in the bath: Black pepper oil can be used in blended massage oil, or diluted in a bath, to assist with circulation, bruises, rheumatoid arthritis and muscular aches and pains.
Lotions and creams: As a constituent in a blended cream is can be used for tired aching limbs, sore muscles, rheumatoid arthritis, stimulating the appetite and to help sort out bowel problems. In small quantities it can be used to reduce high temperatures. It increases circulation to the skin and is therefore helpful in restoring proper functioning of the skin.
Metaphysical/Magickal Influences: DIRECTION - The warmth of Black Pepper assists in loosening blockages that may be holding you back. It brings warmth and confidence to yourself and helps you follow your direction in life and prosper. Black Pepper reduces fear and motivates change and can also serve as protection from negative energy. It helps to move energy from one chakra to the next. Mental alertness, physical energy, protection and courage.
Chakra: Solar Plexus
Colour Vibration: Yellow
Affinity with crystal: Bloodstone
Wear for protection against all kinds of attacks. Also anoint windows, doors and other parts of the house to guard it.
5 drops Petitgrain
5 drops Black Pepper
Aperitif: A mild laxative
Carminative: a sedative
Diaphoretic: An agent which causes sweating
Febrifuge: combats fever
Rubefacient: A substance which causes redness of the skin, possibly irritation
Stomachic: digestive aid and tonic; improving appetite
The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews by Scott Cunningham
Magical Aromatherapy by Scott Cunningham
The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless
Aromatherapy Insight Cards and Book for Intuitive Aromatherapy by Jennifer Jefferies and Karen Osborn
Herbs ~ Juniper, a Winter Fragrance.
For a Pagan winter fragrance, burn juniper incense. This was used for the 'smudging' ritual, which involved anointing the home with healing herbs to ward off evils spirits. Our ancestors burnt juniper and many other aromatic substances for this purpose.
A Druid sacred tree, Juniper (Juniperus communis) is an evergreen tree or shrub with needle-like leaves in threes and berrylike cones that ripen to blue-black in their second or third year. The berries were believed to have protective properties, and branches were burnt in Highland homes for purification; also burnt, in the Highlands, in New Year's pyres. The smoke of the leaves and wood was believed to drive away harm and pestilence. The odour of juniper is thought to defeat the hunting hound's sense of smell, and it is said that hares will hide under a juniper from a dog giving chase - this has led to the tree being regarded as a sanctuary and a symbol of aid in distress. In Italy stables are protected from thunderbolts and demons with a sprig of juniper.
Probably one of the earliest incenses used by Mediterranean Witches; its berries were used with thyme in Druid and grove incenses for visions. Juniper grown by the door discourages thieves. The mature berries can be strung in the house to attract love. Men use the berries to increase potency. Burn Juniper as incense for: Exorcism, Protection, Healing, Love. The Essential oil is useful in protection, purification and healing blends.
Primarily a diuretic, the berries help digestive problems, gastrointestinal inflammations, and rheumatism. The berries are taken as a tea (simmer two teaspoons per cup of water for ten minutes, take up to one cup four times a day), or taken as jam or syrup in water, mild, or herb tea. The dry berries can be chewed, three a day is sufficient. CAUTION: Pregnant women and people with weak kidneys should not use juniper berry.
A Yule herbal blend is:
2 parts Frankincense
2 part Pine Needles
1 Part Cedar
1 Part Juniper Berries
Please be aware that many herbs have a number of different common names, some of which can also be used and confused with totally different plants that may have very different properties and also be highly toxic. For your own safety, always find out the scientific name of any herb you plan to use and check that you do in fact have the correct herb for a particular use.
Botanical illustration from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Juniperus_communis_nf.jpg
Weather and Geothermic Conditions that Affect Paranormal Activity
by Janine Donnellan
A ghost, or an astral being is a compilation of many different elements. It usually is the essence and energy of a previously living human being lacking all of it's physical senses. A ghost is a elemental being sustained by an energetically charged environment. Many elements are required to establish the formation of this elusive entity. Energy, first and foremost is essential for it's existence.
It has been documented during paranormal investigations that astral beings need energy to manifest and consequently they tap into whatever energy is available to them. This energy may be electrical sources such as appliances and batteries; also they may draw on the energy emanating from human beings and the atmosphere within the immediate area. That is why paranormal activity often coincides with vast fluctuations in temperature.
Did you know that the weather including solar and lunar activity is also known to play a role in increased paranormal activity? Geomagnetic fields and solar storms have a strong effect on astral beings and increase paranormal activity. The geomagnetic field is the magnetic field observed in and around the earth. A geomagnetic storm is a worldwide disturbance of the earth's magnetic field which has the capacity to increase ghost and spirit activity. Solar storms are caused by the sun creating solar flares that send charged particles to the earth, which causes a magnetic shift increasing the geomagnetic fields. With increased geomagnetic fields ghosts and spirits can utilise this energy and become more active and can more easily interact with our world.
Thunderstorms can also aid in the increase of paranormal activity. You certainly can appreciate the power involved in such an event, the very structure of your being shakes with the thunder claps, and you can literally see the electrical charge in the atmosphere. It is no surprise then, that this is a highly conducive time to experience paranormal phenomena. Obviously, there are drawbacks to this plan, because most of us don't want to be standing exposed in the middle of a graveyard during a raging thunderstorm, but if you ever find yourself in a position to do some indoor ghost hunting during a good storm, chances are that you will achieve at least some semblance of success in these types of conditions.
The theory with thunderstorms is that the entity is able to draw from the electrically charged surroundings thus becoming more visible or detectable to you. Even if you can't time a ghost hunt to coincide with a thunderstorm, it most definitely wouldn't hurt to drag out the compass, digital camera, and whatever other ghost hunting equipment you have next time you are sitting at home during a strong storm. You may be surprised at the results.
As far as moon phases and the question of what phases are best for paranormal sightings, some investigators suggest that the full moon is by far the most conducive time to experience ghostly phenomena. There are many theories as to why this is, from the air being more saturated with positive ions, to the added gravitational pull on the earth and the tides.
The new moon is also conducive for experiencing paranormal phenomena; from a Shamanic perspective the dark moon is a period of time when one can walk between the worlds, a time when one can face the shadow self. The Dark Moon is a time of underworld journeys and it seems logical that ghosts would be more apparent at this time.
The equinoxes and solstices every year have been known through history to be very favorable to supernatural occurrences. These events are extremely important cosmically and it is no wonder that they are considered very powerful days in supernatural terms. It's believed by many that the whole winter season is a very active time of the year for paranormal activity. The ancients believed that winter is a time when the veil between the worlds is thinner. This thinness of the veils allows the astral beings to penetrate the physical world much easier than in warmer periods. Halloween is a festival that exemplifies this belief.
In order to maximize the potential of a successful investigation all of the above 'conditions' need to be incorporated into your observations to see if there is a pattern that can be identified in increased activity of the paranormal. Cases will vary, of course, and even they may be dependent upon the susceptibility or sensitivity of given witnesses to observe a given manifestation; but such manifestations do frequently occur world wide and too much evidence is in existence to totally discredit their actual authenticity. So if you want to be a paranormal investigator, check out the weather conditions, grab your equipment and head off to a haunted location! It may prove very productive.
Gods and Goddesses ~ Gaia
"Gaia, the beautiful, rose up,
Broad blossomed, she that is the steadfast base
Of all things. And fair Gaia first bore
The starry Heaven, equal to herself,
To cover her on all sides and to be
A home forever for the blessed Gods"
~ Hesiod ~
Gaia or Gaea is known as Mother Earth (the Greek common noun for "land" is ge or ga). It is written that Gaia was born from Chaos, the great void of emptiness within the universe, and with her came Eros. She gave birth to Pontus (the Sea) and Uranus (the Sky). This was achieved parthenogenically (without male intervention). Gaia took as her husband Uranus, who was also her son, and their offspring included the Titans, six sons and six daughters. She gave birth to the Cyclopes and to three monsters that became known as the "Hecatonchires". The spirits of punishment known as the Erinyes were also offspring of Gaia and Uranus.
The Romans believed every element in the universe, whether on land, in the sea or sky, was a single living entity of Gaia. More than any other Goddess, Gaia is identified as the divine and animate Earth Mother.
She is the living, conscious planet who provides sustenance and nutrition and the wisdom inherent in the earth itself. Her values are rooted in the sacredness of all life, whether it be plant, animal or the stars in the sky - respect for others is paramount if we are to attain the deep sense of balance and completeness that a connection with Gaia brings. Gaia connects us to the universal source of "mothering" and "nurturing", leading us to a feeling of profound peace and balance.
Issue 4 - WINTER, JUNE 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
New Section in Website
- Pagan Paths - We've added a new section to our "Library" menu. Information will be added here about different pagan groups so that we can learn about their philosophies and their rituals. The first Pagan Path to be added is:
Correllian Nativist Tradition
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 email@example.com This service
is provided free of charge. If possible a reciprocal link to SOL would be much appreciated.
Working with the Seasons
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 March 2, 2008 - Autumn
(See Autumn photos here)
Sunday June 1, 2008 - Winter
(See Winter photos here)
Sunday September 28, 2008 - Spring
Sunday December 7, 2008 - 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 July 18, 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.
PAN Full Moon Public Circles
June 19 & July 18, 2008 at Seven Hills, Sydney (map)
Date: Thursday June 19, 2008 at 8:30pm
and Friday July 20, 2008 at 8:30pm
The circles are 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
Australian Wiccan Conference
September 19 - 21, 2008
Gold Coast Hinterland
The Australian Wiccan Conference 2008 will be held in Queensland for the first time in its 25 year history. The theme for the 2008 conference is "Pagans Rising - Community Creating Community" and we have some great workshops, lectures and discussions based around this theme planned, culminating in the Spring Equinox ritual. Registrations are now open, please download the form from the AWC website...
When: 19th - 21st of September 2008
Where: Gold Coast Hinterland. (More information will be provided when you register)
Early Bird $160
PAN/PA member $160
Concession $160 (Pensioner / Student / Child 4-15)
Accommodation: Bunk style rooms housing 8 - 12. Camping available for those that wish to camp.
Meals: The 2008 AWC will be fully catered from dinner Friday night till lunch time Sunday.
Alcohol: Will be available for purchase in the bar after dinner.
Who: The 2008 AWC is being presented by The Pagan Awareness Network inc Qld, supported by Pagan Alliance Qld.
Early Bird (discount) registrations close June 30th, 2008
Standard registrations close August 15th, 2008
ACOM Workshops & Events
(Click on the titles for further details of each event.)
Psychic and Lifestyle Expo
Sunday June 22, 2008 at Blacktown Worker's Club from 10am until 5pm.
~ Advertisement ~
If you stop and think about it, nature has been very clever, providing us with winter fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C at just the right time of year we need them. This is the season for citrus fruit and that means marmalade making. Use any citrus fruit or combination of citrus to make interesting marmalade for your own use or to use as a gift from your kitchen. For those with the energy and the inclination, winter is a good time to make preserves for Christmas gifts. You often have a little more time and feel more inclined to fill your kitchen with the warmth and smells preserving brings.
Orange Liqueur Jelly
750g sweet oranges
1 large lemon
2 litres water
1 cup diced mandarin peel
About 2½ cups sugar
¼ cup orange-flavoured liqueur
Wash and roughly slice the oranges and lemon. Place in a preserving pan with the measured water. Tie mandarin peel in a piece of muslin and add to the pan. Boil briskly for about 35 minutes or until fruit is soft. Remove and reserve mandarin peel. Strain pulp through a jelly bag and measure liquid. Return to clean preserving pan. Remove mandarin peel from muslin and add to pan. Allow ¾ cup of sugar for each 1 cup of liquid. Bring liquid to the boil and stir in sugar until dissolved. Boil briskly until the jelly gives a setting test. Stir in liqueur and leave to stand about 4 minutes before bottling in small, hot, clean, dry jars. Leaving jelly to stand before bottling helps to keep peels evenly distributed. Cover when cold. Makes about 6 cups.
Image and text from "Australian Quick'n'Easy Jams, Pickles, Mustards, Vinegars, Preserves & More" by Robyn Martin, Hodder Moa Beckett Publishers Ltd.
You can brew this up in your crockpot, ladle out a nice big mug and sit by the fire on a chilly winter evening. It's the perfect warm drink for Yule. If you leave out the rum, your kids can enjoy it too (here's a tip -- when your little one wants to have a Harry Potter party, make a rum-free pot of this recipe and call it butter beer).
2 Quarts apple juice
2 Cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 stick butter (use the real stuff, not margarine)
3 Tbs. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 Cups. your favourite rum
Refrigerated whipped dessert topping
Cinnamon sticks and nutmeg for garnish
Warm up the apple juice and brown sugar in a pot. Add the butter (dice up the stick before you put it in there, so it'll melt faster). Stir until the butter is melted. Add the spices and the rum. Cover the pot, and allow to simmer on low for 2 - 4 hours. Ladle into mugs for serving. Top each with a dollop of whipped topping and a cinnamon stick. Sprinkle with a dash of nutmeg.
Sun King Soup
The winter solstice marks the return of the sun, as it begins to make its way back towards the earth. Celebrate this festival of light with a nice rich bowl of Sun King Soup -- the bright sun colours and smooth texture are just the thing for either an appetizer, or a light meal at Yule.
3 Tbs butter (use real butter, not margarine)
1 small onion, diced
2 1/2 Cups tomatoes, diced
1 Cup vegetable broth
3/4 Orange juice, no pulp
A few sprigs rosemary
Saute the onion in the butter over low heat. Chop tomatoes and add to the onions. Allow to cook until tomatoes become soft, just a few minutes. Add broth, and allow the whole thing to simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Return to stovetop, add rosemary, and simmer for about 5 - 10 more minutes. Add paprika to taste. Serve in warm bowls with a nice loaf of soft bread, or as part of a larger feast.
Meet our first "Pagan Pet", Shelby, an 11mth old Border Collie owned by Jenwytch. As well as snuggling up in his warm, cosy doggy bed and spending time inside the house with the family, being attended to and adored, Shelby enjoys being outside playing tug-o-war, chase and fetch games, and going for walks. He loves the great outdoors - sand, dirt, water, mud - it's all one big happy adventure!
Shelby also works diligently to develop and perfect his landscape design skills. His current project, which is well under way, is the creation of a lunar landscape in his backyard by digging craters of varying sizes in strategic locations. This helps him to stay well-grounded while also serving as his unique way of performing a lunar rite to honour the Goddess.
Like a lot of other pagans, Shelby proudly wears the five pointed star, although his is in the form of a red star-shaped dog tag with his name and phone number engraved on it.
Shelby was born on July 27, 2007 so he is governed by the sign of Leo, and the description of the Leo dog fits him perfectly! ...
Leo: The Boss-Dog
The Leo Dog is the monarch dog. In short, a domineering canine ...if given half the chance. This dog sees himself as a cut above all lesser species and will expect to be treated accordingly. However, this is not so bad as it might sound, for the Leo Dog has a knack of persuading people to treat him correctly without those individuals ever realizing they have been manipulated. This canine will need to be put firmly in his place when just a puppy, or there will be the expectation that an owner will fetch and carry for this dog for the rest of his life. If this can be accomplished, then the Leo Dog will be a charming and rewarding dog, much easier to live with than might be expected. Most Leo Dogs make for affectionate and cheerful companions.
If you would like to see your "Pagan Pet" featured here, please send a photo and a short story about your pet to firstname.lastname@example.org
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