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 [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith  has written a deeply and spiritually meaningful poem, titled "The Death Tenders", based, in part, on a prompt I gave for her current Poetry Fishbowl. This month's theme is "wild animals". Go check it out and leave a prompt!

For more of my thoughts on vultures, please read my very first LJ post.

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The candle I lit against the longest night is still going strongly. Good thing, too! I went out to greet the Sun with song for what should've been sunrise, but it was far too cloudy to see the Sun at all (still is). Regardless, I sang a few songs and shared a bit of libation, so it wasn't for naught. I checked the mailbox on the way back home and, most unexpectedly, there was a parcel for me. Yes, I got a present to open for Solstice Morn this very morning! Hee! (Thank you, [ profile] magikgypsy!)

A photo to share with you this beautiful Yule morning:

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This is a true tale, a recounting of how my skepticism regarding things of a supernatural nature, most notably revolving around the existence of an afterlife, received a very solid kick to the groin.

Witness a tale of supernatural going-ons... )

Blessed Samhain!
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In a fashion true to myself, I went from room to room with an offering of incense, thanking the spirits of the place for the welcome and shelter this apartment has provided me through three years of transitions.

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Although, I must admit it seems kind of odd celebrating first harvest just prior to a tremendous amount of change in my lifestyle to occur later this month. It's like I'm undergoing a lot of action when I should be reflecting. Ah, well. I'll just have to catch up on the reflection at Mabon.  :)
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Inspired, in part, by conversations with [info]swankivy , I've decided to put some effort into maintaining seasonal displays. I've put up displays for specific seasonal holidays such as Samhain, Yule, and Ostara before, but I've never put up anything for Midsummer. That changed not long after my Midsummer stay at the beach.

Below is my first Summer seasonal display, featuring sea shells, gathered during my Midsummer vacation, and one very cute stuffed lobster toy:

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This morning I celebrated by taking a long walk out on the marsh to greet the dawning Sun with libation and the song of my didjeridoo.

A few hours bus trip later, I arrived at the cabin on the beach. After a long walk along the beach, along with a little Kung Fu, I'm already feeling MUCH more relaxed.  :)

More details to follow when I get access to a computer.

Blessed Be!

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

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I recently purchased a lovely little 3" bronze resin statuette of Guan Yin, the Bodhisattva of Healing and Compassion. She now has a home on my primary altar. She's so beautiful and serene that I just had to share.  

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For Imbolc, my offering of inspiration was delivered in the form of a Brigid's Cross engraved onto a small, polished piece of hematite:

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I've been meaning, for a while now, to post some thoughts on an article I came across courtesy of [info]lupabitch . The article, titled "Placebos Are Getting More Effective. Drugmakers Are Desperate to Know Why," (published in Wired Magazine: 17.09), discusses how drug manufacturers are struggling to maintain the effectiveness of their drugs in tests versus the 'placebo effect', which appears to be growing in strength.

More on the placebo effect and its implications in ritual practice for healing... )
In regards to my own personal experience, whilst I've recently experienced some events that have solidified my believe in systems such at the utilization of Qi (Chi), prior to that, I've long held a belief in the power of belief itself and, as such, in the importance of ritual to assist in attaining that belief for the benefit of wellness.

Edit: I later found the article that mentions the shaman. It is "The Sorcerer and His Magic," by Claude Lévi-Strauss, which details some history of a Kwakiutl shaman by the name of Quesalid. Whilst Lévi-Strauss treats the matter rather contemptuously, it is clear, even from his account, that Quesalid comes to see the value in helping his patients believe.

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As many of you are aware, last evening's Lunar Eclipse, in occurring on the day of the Winter Solstice, is quite a rare event. Sadly, I could not participate in it as I would have liked: the weather was just too foul to see anything in the night sky (and, in actuality, I even had some difficulty seeing some of the city's taller landmarks). I did, however, shared a few words with the Goddess and laid out a number of my female aligned altar and ritual items on the windowsill to absorb a bit of the extra Female energy that was about. 

Later on today, of course, I will be having a private Yule ceremony in which I will be honoring the rebirth of the God. For me, it is a time of new beginnings, as the energies of the world shift from building potential to beginning action. As such, I've chosen this evening to consecrate my new sword, which will finally see ritual use, as well as reconsecrate a number of my other implements. 

In her article for The Washington Post, 
Out of darkness, light: Solstice and the lunar eclipse, prominent Pagan author Starhawk wrote:

More of what both Starhawk and I have written about the Solstice... )

May the promise of the returning Light fill your hearts with warmth, joy and peace this holiday season!
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This topic was brought up in AVEN. It revolves around this article (content shown below), which describes a recent conference held in Baltimore with the purpose of instructing bishops and priests in how to evaluate the need for, and perform, exorcisms. The discussion in AVEN broke immediately broke down into Catholic bashing, completely evading several possible topics that could have made for fascinating discussion.

Read more... )

Catholic Bishops: More Exorcists Needed

AOL News

NEW YORK (Nov. 12) -- Citing a shortage of priests who can perform the rite, the nation's Roman Catholic bishops are holding a conference on how to conduct exorcisms.

The two-day training, which ends Saturday in Baltimore, is to outline the scriptural basis of evil, instruct clergy on evaluating whether a person is truly possessed, and review the prayers and rituals that comprise an exorcism. Among the speakers will be Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Texas, and a priest-assistant to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

"Learning the liturgical rite is not difficult," DiNardo said in a phone interview before the conference, which is open to clergy only. "The problem is the discernment that the exorcist needs before he would ever attempt the rite."

Read more... )

Qi whiz!

Nov. 21st, 2010 11:18 pm
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As some of you already know, I've been working a lot with cultivating the use of Qi (Chi) for both peaceful and martial purposes. My study of Qi (or Ki in Japanese systems) began many years ago with my introduction to Aikido. Between that and Tai Qi, I've developed a fair amount of sensitivity and I've often, whilst practicing grappling maneuvers with partners, caught myself closing my eyes as I find the visual input distracting from the sense of my training partner's position I obtain purely through touch. I've also practiced moving Qi through the body for health benefits.

However, it's only in recent months that I've begun developing Qigong techniques for other purposes, including direct healing and for protection, among others. And, in the last few weeks, all that practice has begun to show itself in a myriad of ways, such as:

1) Feeling a force of repulsion between my palms, as if bringing the like poles of two magnets together, after spending several minutes focusing and compressing Qi between them during a Qigong exercise.

2) Preventing a bruise from forming on my forearm after accidentally falling on to the metal edge of a stair, striking hard enough to take skin off. I charged the hand of my other arm with Qi and applied it to the would be bruise, then visualized the Qi flowing through the injury and through my body in a circular motion. (Incidentally, less than a week after this occurred, I tried showing my HPS where the injury was, but had some difficulty as the skin had already healed enough that I could only find in brighter light.)

3) Doing forceful blocking practice with a training partner, whilst ignoring the pain of impact and suffering no bruising afterward.

Needless to say, I'm pretty amazed by all of this. 
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This photo shows the first Jack-O-Lantern that I've carved in YEARS. Perhaps not the most technically complicated one I've carved, but very likely the cutest. :)

Happy Samhain! May it be filled with pleasant reflection of the past year and and joyous expectations for the next!

Blessed Be!


May. 3rd, 2010 05:27 am
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A blessed (if belated) Beltaine to all celebrate it! 

My celebration of Beltaine was a simple, but very satisfying affair. The ceremony included purification followed by, as [ profile] lupabitch  calls it, 'trance dancing' in and amongst a number of lit candles in the pre-dawn darkness, summoning the fertile energy of Spring to bless myself with creativity and productivity over the coming year. This time around, I challenged myself in a very particular way, dancing 'skyclad'* for the first time ever. The experience was a very powerful and evocative event that left me quite energized for the remainder of the day.

* 'Skyclad' is the Wiccan way of saying 'naked' in the context of ceremonial purposes. (If any of you are trying to picture me dancing around naked in your mind, for the love of the Gods, STOP before you TRAUMATIZE yourself! :p )
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As my fortieth birthday approaches (currently with the speed of a freight train), I've been strongly contemplating reaffirming my committment to spiritual growth through some form of ordeal or challenge. From what I've seen challenges and ordeals, they are often utilized for a number of purposes, such as a rite of passage, a confirmation of faith, and altering one's state of consciousness, sometimes even all three at once. An ordeal, as the name implies, involves an extremely challenging trial that often features enduring pain, deprivation, physical exertion, psychological challenge, or combinations thereof. Often, the ordeal also involves extreme risk.

The rest beneath the cut. But please read 'cause I kinda need help with this. )
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Ah yes, the Spring Equinox is once again upon us, heralding an end to all this wintery blah and a return of all sorts of warm, fuzzy rebirth stuff.  :D

I think today I will celebrate with a small private ceremony and creating some artwork in acknowledgement of the season of fertility.

However you choose to celebrate the Equinox, may you have a warm and wonderful one!

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Yep, it's Samhain and, as I've promised myself, I finally broke open that bottle of Crystal Head Vodka that my brother got me for my birthday. I've thus far two shots plus something called a Toasted Almond (which has amaretto and coffee liqueuer, as well as the vodka). The amaretto lends the 'almond' part of the name, but 'toasted', methinks comes from the effect of having downed a cocktail with three ounces of liqueuer in it. *chuckle* (It may seem like I'm typing coherently, but you wouldn't believe how many times I've had to backspace and correct. LOL!) The Dead? They're still working on the first shot, the teatotallers. *chuckle*

I made a nice meal for 'em, too. Sort of a shrimp and linguine dish with a garlic, cream cheese and spinach sauce. Tried the recipe for the first time - very yummm!

And for desert? RUMBALLS!!! Imagine some highly decadent profiteroles... liberally laced with rummy goodness.  :D  (Okay, I didn't make those: they came from a family bakery that operates out of the market I went to today.)

And have the Dead touched a single bite? 'Course not! Must've spoiled their appetites before coming to dinner. Ah, well! I'll leave it out for tonight and they can pick on what they want. Whatever is left over in the morning goes out the natual world.

I lit some candles for the honored Dead. Amongst them my grandmother, though I strongly suspect she's probably already on her next turn of the Wheel. I also honored an old acquantance, Wolfie, from my Lycos Pagan Horde days. She finally lost her battle to cancer this year. Her wild tales of her life as a trucker will be missed. Keep on truckin', Wolfie!

And to the living, BLESSED SAMHAIN!!! (or HAPPY HALLOWEEN, if you are thus inclined! :D )

The wheel in the sky keeps on turning...


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