Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:02 pm

Give me a Head with Hair

Hypertrichosis (also called Ambras Syndrome) describes hair growth on the body in an amount considered abnormal. Extensive cases of hypertrichosis have informally been called werewolf syndrome. There are two distinct types of hypertrichosis: generalized hypertrichosis, which occurs over the entire body, and localized hypertrichosis, which is restricted to a certain area. Hypertrichosis can be either congenital (present at birth) or acquired later in life. Several circus sideshow performers in the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Julia Pastrana, had hypertrichosis. Many of them worked as freaks and were promoted as having distinct human and animal traits.

This is a very rare syndrome with only about 50 cases reported worldwide since the Middle Ages. The condition is characterised by excessive hair growth on a child at birth. Most of the body is covered with lanugo hair, which is an unpigmented, fine, soft and silky hair that covers the foetus and which is usually shed at around 8 months gestation and replaced with fine vellus hair and terminal scalp hair in preparation for birth. In congenital hypertrichosis, lanugo hair continues to grow and this excessively long fine hair persists throughout life.

The condition is also associated with porphyria, a disease thought of as the scientific explanation for sympotoms of Vampirism. Porphyria is due to a defective enzyme in the liver (uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase). This is involved in synthesis of the red pigment in blood cells (haem).

There is a genetic predisposition to PCT. PCT generally begins in mid-adult life after exposure to certain chemicals that increase the production of porphyrins (precursors of haem) in the liver. These include:

• alcohol
• oestrogen e.g. oral contraceptive, hormone replacement or liver disease
• polychlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons (e.g. dioxins, when PCT is associated with chloracne).
• iron overload, due to excessive intake (orally or by blood transfusion), viral infections (hepatitis, especially hepatitis C) or chronic blood disorders such as thalassaemia (acquired haemochromatosis), or hereditary haemochromatosis
Congenital terminal hypertrichosis is characterized by the presence of fully pigmented terminal hair that covers the entire body. This condition is usually accompanied by gingival hyperplasia. This form is most responsible for the term "Werewolf Syndrome" because of the thick dark hair that appears.

People with hypertrichosis often found jobs as circus performers due to their unique appearance. Fedor Jeftichew ("Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Man"), Stephan Bibrowski ("Lionel the Lion-Faced Man"), Jesus "Chuy" Aceves ("Wolfman"), and Annie Jones ("the bearded woman"), are or were all notable people with hypertrichosis. Extensive hypertrichosis carries an emotional burden and can cause cosmetic embarrassment; however, some people attempt no treatments because they say it defines who they are.

Werewolves were said in European folklore to bear tell-tale physical traits even in their human form. These included the meeting of both eyebrows at the bridge of the nose, curved fingernails, low set ears and a swinging stride. One method of identifying a werewolf in its human form was to cut the flesh of the accused, under the pretense that fur would be seen within the wound. A Russian superstition recalls a werewolf can be recognized by bristles under the tongue.

Some modern researchers have tried to explain the reports of werewolf behavior with recognized medical conditions. Dr Lee Illis of Guy's Hospital in London wrote a paper in 1963 entitled On Porphyria and the Aetiology of Werewolves, in which he argues that historical accounts on werewolves could have in fact been referring to victims of congenital porphyria, stating how the symptoms of photo-sensitivity, reddish teeth and psychosis could have been grounds for accusing a sufferer of being a werewolf. This is however argued against by Woodward, who points out how mythological werewolves were almost invariably portrayed as resembling true wolves, and that their human forms were rarely physically conspicuous as porphyria victims. Others have pointed out the possibility of historical werewolves having been sufferers of hypertrichosis, a hereditary condition manifesting itself in excessive hair growth. However, Woodward dismissed the possibility, as the rarity of the disease ruled it out from happening on a large scale, as werewolf cases were in medieval Europe. Woodward suggested rabies as the origin of werewolf beliefs, claiming remarkable similarities between the symptoms of that disease and some of the legends. Woodward focused on the idea that being bitten by a werewolf could result in the victim turning into one, which suggested the idea of a transmittable disease like rabies.

Freaks: The Stories of the Carnival Folk by John Samuels, Jo Jo the Dog Faced Man by Thomas Lawrence, Themes of Beauty and the Beast by Dolores Franks and Herbert Willington, Folks Like Us: Living in the Freak Show by Jerry Smithson, The Merck Manual of Medical Conditions
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Devil's Brood

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:05 pm



Devil's Brood

Post Aslinn Dhan on March 11th 2011, 1:16 am
Now there have been many stories of women who give birth to demons. Most of them seem to be an attempt to either indict women who are accused of "coupling" with the Lord of Darkness or to explain the births of malformed children. Whatever it is, it is another facet of Christian traditions that Satan, being God's opposite number, imitates God and since God has a begotten Son, so does the Devil.

Where do we get this idea? Well mainly it is a misconception the Beast as written of by the Apocalyptic Prophet John in the Book of Revelation, a man born under a bad sign with a number on his head or hand, and those with understanding will identify the number for the number is 666.... The Beast is not the son of the Devil. He is merely a follower.

No one really knows what the number means. Some eschatologists, that is students of Apocalyptic literature, have theories that it has to do with Nero, others believe it has to do with Hitler, and some even say Ronald Reagan was the Beast...But is the beast the son of the Devil? Actually no...Unless you go to Hollywood where the child of Satan has been bred up multiple times.

One of the first movies about the devil's child was Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby. Mia Farrow plays a young woman who is married to an out of work actor. They move into an apartment building with some very strange neighbors. Eventually there comes a night when she gets a little tipsy and she is raped by her husband...but was she? Or was she raped by something else...

Of course it was the devil. Satan is played by the former carnival barker and self proclaimed Satanist Anton LaVey, and Rosemary finally has the baby and learns it is the son of the devil.

The Second most famous was Damien from The Omen. An omen is a sign or prediction of upcoming events, and this child's birth is predicted. Now, in The Omen, there is a bit which begins:

When the Jews return to Zion
And a comet rips the sky
And the Holy Roman Empire rises,
Then you and I must die.
From the eternal sea he rises,
Creating armies on either shore,
Turning man against his brother
'Til man exists no more.

When the movie came out, arm chair theologians ran for their Bibles to find that bit, but it isn't in there. It was written to sound biblical or like it came from Nostradamus....but it echoes the basic premise of the biblical prophesy. This movie launched three more movies, the last being a real failure.

Now, there are other stories about just bad seeds....children born with no empathy:

The Good Son: Cauley MacCulkin is a bad seed who tries to kill his family by the end of the movie....
The Bad Seed: This little girl is a killing machine
The Unborn: Stupid movie, but you get the premise.
The Children of the Corn
The Other: One of my personal faves

But I think some of these tales are from ancient times when babies were born with physical deformities. Of course there was no science so metaphysical explanations had be made. Deformities like gargoylism, dwarfism, and even conditions like cleft pallet was considered signs of being cursed or of being the child of something unholy.

There is also the cultural belief in many religious systems that a child can be born evil because the father is evil. For example, the child of rape might be born under a cloud because it is gotten out of violence. Or illegitimacy which give the child a ben sinister. Or the child of criminals were often thought to be doomed to a life a criminality.

http://filmgordon.wordpress.com/2009/07/24/demon-children/
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Something About Covens

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:07 pm

So what is a Coven anyway?

A coven is a group of witches who have an older, more experienced witch as the head of the coven. It is witch school before Hogwarts. This group would meet for all the pagan holidays and would invoke spirits and make potions and do spells together. In history, the coven has been given the sinister appellation as being the time when the devil and all his minions come to feast and engage in sex with witches and to make others witches.

Thing is, covens are fairly new in principle and the stories of covens come from the times of the Inquisition and the Salem witch trials, but where did they get the notion of women coming together at all? The old fashioned hen party, of course. Thus began a legend of the coven.

Back in the day, older wives and granny women and young women, perhaps about to get married or are married, would get together and gossip and work on their sewing and generally socialize and the older women would teach the younger women things that would be useful for married life or how to catch a husband if they hadn't already been successful. The main things they would discuss is the conception and birthing of babies and how to tend to sickness in the house. And of course, medicine being what it was, it involved herbal treatments and religious practices that would bring out a good result. These prayers were usually Christian, but some had their foundations in the Old Religion, just dressed up in their Sunday go to meeting clothes.

But, like all ages of time there was an avid interest in how to not be pregnant. Back in those days, birth control was a dodgy affair and women often got pregnant because there was simply no way to keep from it. And child birth was a very dangerous undertaking. And usually, it was up to the man to decide when he was going to have a son, and not when the women said she she was ready. So there were some whispers about ways to keep a man from either performing sexually by feeding him something or doing a little "prayer" to make him subpar. Then there were the herbals that would bring on miscarriages and the like, and like all things in primitive medicine, some things worked, some things didn't.

But of all the groups that got accused of witchery, the midwife was public enemy number one. They were accused of all sorts of things, including killing babies. This most usually involved smothering the baby, or running a hat pin through the heart or the soft places in the skull and before you knew it, if the midwife had a streak of bad luck...she would be accused of witchery.

Traditionally a coven had 13 women, no more or less. It was a mockery of the Last Supper, and they used the ill fated 13, the devil's number. They would be seen during the full moon and they would strip naked and dance in a circle and sacrifice things to the devil and would curse people in the village. At least that is what they would have you to believe.

Actually witches were generally solitary practitioners who lived on their own either by choice or because they were ostracized. They learned their craft alone and practiced it alone. But believe me, there was a well worn path beaten to their back door.

Modern covenry begins it's life in the sixties. Gerald Gardner has written his book: The Meaning of Witchcraft and describes being initiated by Old Dot the high priestess of a local coven. He is the first public witch and he details the basics of Covenry and how to worship the Old Religion in a group and the circle of feasts. Most modern Pagan Witches get their cue from him.

Modern Covens can have many members but are under the auspices of a Grove. A grove is a collection of covens in any one area. Sort of like having many Baptist Churches in one small town with a superintendent over the whole gang to make sure the churches practice basically the same way. There are times a coven feels too big and depending sometimes on the trad, there is a set number your coven can hold (and it is way more than 13) and the coven hives off to create a new coven with their own head. Hiving off is when your coven splits. Most of the time this is pretty amicable, but some times it is a troubling affair. But that happens with all human institutions on time or another.

Most covens have a focused tradition. There are Norse covens, Celtic covens, Greek and Roman covens, Christian and Christo-Pagan covens, Faerie Covens and some covens who follow particular teachers, like Gardenarian Covens, who follow the concepts set down by Gerald Garner. Then there are some who are Alexandrian Covens, and they follow the teachings of Alexander Sanders, who was a disciple of Gerald Gardner. The differences from coven to coven seem to be one of pantheon and basic rules about initiation, but all follow the Wiccan Rede and the wheel of the year.

Not all witches like the constraints of a coven. This may be because they are eclectic and follow several pantheons and mix the practices of several trads or traditions, or they may follow a family tradition of Craft, or they may follow a non-traditional tradition, like Christian Witchery.

Modern Covens can establish themselves now as tax exempt religious denominations. They can be made 501 c3's and they can collect dues and tithes. Some have actual temples or church buildings to hold their major and minor sabbats. But most are simply like minded people who meet in people's houses or in parks or forests and perform their feasts and rites together and study together.

So here it is, in a nut shell. It will be interesting to know what Eric knows about covens and how this plays into the story this season.

Source: Spellworking for Covens by Edain McCoy and Covensense by Patricia Crowther.

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Magikal Properties of Salt

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:09 pm

Without exception, every civilization on Earth has very similar ideas about the magical properties of salt - namely that it absorbs psychic energy and binds it into its own structure. Salt was a valuable commodity for many centuries. People made wars over salt, formed and destroyed the state. Salt was a commodity, which is carried by the “salt roads” in the center of the Germanic tribes in the end of era of the Roman Empire and throughout the Middle Ages. Cities, states and principalities, “salt road” passed through which, levied huge taxes on traders for transporting salt through their territory. This marked the beginning of the war, and even caused the base of some cities such as Munich in 1158. Salt is a valuable product also now.

From the Roman Catholic rite of preparing holy water, which contains both water and salt to the Indian custom of using salt on wounds to draw away unhealthy spirits, and with evidence that salt has been used in just that way for as long as humans have employed magic, there is clearly a strong consensus and that tends to be simply based on truth, fact, and experience.


Protection Against Psychic Phenomena
Salt has always been used as protection against psychic attacks, and to disable unwanted psychic phenomena.

Ordinary salt may be sprinkled across thresholds and around the perimeter of dwellings, inside and out;

Salt mixed with sand is used for forming magic circles;

Rock salt crystals can be added to "medicine pouches", carried in pockets or worn in a small bag about the neck.

Sprinkling salt around someone's bed protects from unwanted night time visitors and reduces the likelihood of unwanted spontaneous out of body experiences.


Salt For Purification

With salt's extreme ability to draw away remnants of psychic energy, including "ghost manifestations" of many different kinds, salt has always been used for psychic clearing and for purification. Magicians and priests routinely prepare for ceremonies by taking a bath which contains salt as one of the main ingredients; Magical objects and crystals are cleansed by immersing them in salt water; Bowls of salt may be placed into a room to absorb negative energy or psychic energy disturbances; Food and objects can be purified by adding a small amount of salt, or placing a small amount of salt nearby;
Throwing salt is generally regarded as a device to clear the aura of a person or an environment of leftover psychic energy.
A box containing salt can be used to purify anything that is placed upon it; Crystals placed on a bed of salt or on a salt box require less, or no clearing at all.


Salt, Water & Fire Spells

As salt absorbs psychic energy, it can be used to transfer or transmute a wish or spell to the higher powers by first making the spell, then throwing the salt into the fire where it burns up and in doing so, releases the psychic charge into the higher dimensions.

The most basic form of this type of spell is to hold a little salt in the hand, make a wish, and then throw the salt into the fire.

In the same vein, salt can be thrown into water - a well, a river and into the sea and can be used to carry wishes, or take away burdens, clear attachments from the aura. It is an immensely flexible system with a hundred and one uses.


Salt & Healing
Just a small amount of salt added to healing brews, potions and lotions of any kind will serve to "take care of the other realms" and extend the effectiveness of said brew, potion or lotion into the psychic dimensions - something that modern medicine and medications lack altogether.

Salt is of course a major practical part of our bodies and our health; too much salt however can reduce psychic activity and make it harder to perform psychic tasks. This is one of the reasons why in the olden days, magicians and priests used to fast and drink only pure water prior to major ceremonies. It is interesting to note that having a good flow of salt in and out of the body is extremely important to the full functioning of a magician or priest, both on the physical levels as well as on the metaphysical levels.

Regular bathing in salt water is a first class prophylactic to all manner of psychic disturbances as well as being good for the physical body; in this way, salt is a simple introduction and a bridge between the physical and metaphysical realms for beginners.

Salt in other traditions:

The natives of Morocco regard salt as a talisman against evil, and a common amulet among the Neapolitan poor is a bit of rock-salt suspended from the neck. The peasants of the Hartz Mountain region in Germany believe that three grains of salt in a milk-pot will keep witches away from the milk; and to preserve butter from their uncanny influences, it was a custom in the county of Aberdeen, Scotland, some years ago, to put salt on the lid of a churn. In Normandy, also, the peasants are wont to throw a little salt into a vessel containing milk, in order to protect the cow who gave the milk from the influences of witchcraft.

Peculiar notions about the magical properties of salt are common among American negroes. Thus in some regions a new tenant will not move into a furnished house until all objects therein have been thoroughly salted, with a view to the destruction of witch-germs. Another example of the supernatural attributes ascribed to salt is the opinion current among uneducated people in some communities of its potency in casting a spell over obnoxious individuals. For this purpose it is sufficient either to sprinkle salt over the sleeping form of an enemy, or on the grave of one of his ancestors. Another kind of salt-spell in vogue in the south of England consists in throwing a little salt into the fire on three successive Friday nights, while saying these words:

It is not this salt I wish to burn,
It is my lover's heart to turn;
That be may neither rest nor happy be,
Until he comes and speaks to me.

On the third Friday night the disconsolate damsel expects her lover to appear. Every one is familiar with the old saying, "You can catch a bird with your hand, if you first put some salt on its tail." This quaint expression has been thought to imply that, if one can get near enough to a bird to place salt on its tail, its capture is an easy matter. The phrase, however, may be more properly attributed to a belief in the magical properties of salt in casting a spell over the bird. Otherwise any substance mioht be equally effective for the purpose of catching it. The writer remembers having read somewhere an old legend about a young man who playfully threw some salt on the back of a witch sitting next to him at table, and the witch thereupon acquired such an increase of avoirdupois that she was unable to move until the young man obligingly brushed away the salt.

The ancient Teutons believed that the swift flight of birds was caused by certain powerful spirits of the air. Now salt is a foe to ghostly might, imparts weight to bodies, and impedes their motion; therefore the rationale of its operation when placed upon a bird's tail is easily intelligible.

In the Province of Quebec French Canadians sometimes scatter salt about the doors of their stables to prevent those mischievous little imps called lutins from entering and teasing the horses by sticking burrs in their manes and tails. The lutin or gobelin is akin to the Scandinavian household spirit, who is fond of children and horses, and who whips and pinches the former when they are naughty, but caresses them when good. In Marsala, west Sicily, a horse, mule, or donkey, on entering a new stall, is thought to be liable to molestation by fairies. As a precautionary measure, therefore, a little salt is placed on the animal's back, and this is believed to insure freedom from lameness, or other evil resulting from fairy spite. Common salt has long enjoyed a reputation as a means of procuring disenchantment. It was an ingredient of a salve "against nocturnal goblin visitors" used by the Saxons in England, and described in one of their ancient leech-books; while in the annals of folk-medicine are to be found numerous references to its reputed virtues as a magical therapeutic agent. In Scotland, when a person is ailing of some affection whose nature is not apparent, as much salt as can be placed on a sixpence is dissolved in water, and the solution is then applied three times to the soles of the patient's feet, to the palms of his hands, and to his forehead. He is then expected to taste the mixture, a portion of which is thrown over the fire while saying, "Lord, preserve us frae a' skaith."

The Germans of Buffalo valley in central Pennsylvania believe that a boy may be cured of homesickness by placing salt in the hems of his trousers and making him look up the chimney.

In India the natives rub salt and wine on the affected part of the body as a cure for scorpion bites, believing that the success of this treatment is due to the supernatural virtue of the salt in searing away the fiends who caused the pain. An ancient Irish charm of great repute in cases of suspected "fairy-stroke" consisted in placing on a table three equal portions of salt in three parallel rows. The would-be magician then encircles the salt with his arm and repeats the Lord's Prayer thrice over each row. Then, taking the hand of the fairy-struck person, he says over it, "By the power of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, let this disease depart and the spell of evil spirits be broken." Then follows a solemn adjuration and command addressed to the supposed demon, and the charm is complete.

In Bavaria and the Ukraine, in order to ascertain whether a child has been the victim of bewitchment, the mother licks its forehead; and if her sense of taste reveals thereby a marked saline flavor, she is convinced that her child has been under the influence of an evil eye.

In the Swiss canton of Bern a person is believed to be amply fortified against all kinds of spiritual enemies by the simple expedient of carrying a piece of fresh bread and a psalm-book in the right and left coat pockets respectively, provided one is careful to have some rock-salt either in each vest pocket, or inside a briarwood cane upon which three crosses have been cut. In Bohemia a mother seeks to protect her daughter from evil glances by placing a little bread and salt in her pocket; and when a young girl goes out for a walk the mother sprinkles salt on the ground behind her, so that she may not lose her way.

Holy water has been employed in the religious ceremonies of many peoples as a means of purifying both persons and things, and also to keep away demons. Sprinkling and washing with it were important features of the Greek ritual.

The holy water of the Roman Catholic Church is prepared by exorcising and blessing salt and water separately, after which the salt is dissolved in the water and a benediction pronounced upon the mixture. In the Hawaiian ritual, sea-water was sometimes preferred.

A Magyar house-mistress will not give any salt to a woman who may come to the door and ask for it in the early morning, believing that any such would-be borrower is surely a witch; but in order to keep away all witches and hags, she strews salt on the threshold. On St. Lucien's Day neither salt nor fire must be taken out of the house.

Among the Japanese, the mysterious preservative qualities of salt are the source of various superstitions. The mistress of a household will not buy it at night and when purchased in the daytime a small quantity is thrown into the fire in order to prevent discord in the family, and to avert misfortune generally.

In Scotland salt was formerly in high repute as a charm, and the salt-box was the first chattel to be removed to a new dwelling. When Robert Burns, in the year 1789, was about to occupy a new house at Ellisland, he was escorted on his route thither along the banks of the river Nith by a procession of relatives, and in their midst was borne a bowl of salt resting on the family Bible.

In some places in the north of England the giving away of salt is a dangerous procedure; for if the salt thus given comes into the possession of an evil-wisher, it places the donor entirely in the power of such a person.

In upper Egypt, previous to the setting out of a caravan, it is customary for the native women to throw salt on burning coals, which are carried in earthen vessels and set down before the different loads. While so doing they exclaim, "May you be blessed in going and coming," and such incantations they believe render inert all the machinations of evil spirits.

Sources: Scott Cunningham's Magickal Herbs, Raymond Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft, Paul Beyers the Complete Herbal
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Magikal Circles

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:11 pm

Creating a magic circle is known as casting a circle, circle casting, and various other names.

There are many published techniques for casting a circle, and many groups and individuals have their own unique methods. The common feature of these practices is that a boundary is traced around the working area. Some witchcraft traditions say that one must trace around the circle deosil three times. There is variation over which direction one should start in. In Wicca a circle is typically nine feet in diameter, though the size can vary depending on the purpose of the circle, and the preference of the caster.

Circles may or may not be physically marked out on the ground, and a variety of elaborate patterns for circle markings can be found in grimoires and magical manuals, often involving angelic and divine names. Such markings, or a simple unadorned circle, may be drawn in chalk or salt, or indicated by other means such as with a cord.

The four cardinal directions are often prominently marked, such as with four candles. In ceremonial magic traditions the four directions are commonly related to the four archangels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel (or Auriel), or the four classical elements, and also have four associated names of God. Some varieties of Wicca use the common ceremonial colour attributions for their "quarter candles": yellow for Air in the east, red for Fire in the south, blue for Water in the west and green for Earth in the north (though these attributions differ according to geographical location and individual philosophy). Other ceremonial traditions have candles between the quarters, i.e. in the north-east, north-west and so on.

Generally, as with most magical practices, an incantation is recited stating the purpose and nature of the circle, often repeating an assortment of divine and angelic names.

The magic circle is a sacred and purified space where all rites, magical work, and ceremonials are conducted. It serves as a boundary for a reservoir of concentrated power and is the doorway from this world to the spirits and gods. The circle is symbolic of wholeness, perfection and unity; the creation of the cosmos; the womb of Mother Earth; and the cycle of the seasons and birth-death-regeneration. Within the circle it is believed possible to transcend the physical, to expose the mind to deeper and higher levels of consciousness.

The magician enters the circle expecting to unite the spirits or gods with the forces of nature in a harmonious relationship. Positive or desired deities are invoked, invited, and not commanded, evoked, to witness and participate in the rites. The circle also serves to protect those within it from negative spirits and energies. The circle is been thoroughly cleansed of all unfriendly spirits and negative energies, witches frequently symbolize this by sweeping the space with a boom.

Circles since ancient times have been reputed for magical properties. They were drawn around beds of the sick and mothers who recently bore children to protect them from demons. Their remnants which are seen in the stone circles of Britain give credence to the importance of the circle.

Circles were frequently cast for protection in order to ward off psychic attacks or physical intrusion of a home. They must be recast because their protective and magical powers are not permanent, but must be renewed with ceremonies.

Sources: Raymond Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft and Scott Cunningham Solitary Witchcraft.
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Farie Food

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:13 pm

Faeries are pretty tricky and as a rule it truly a brave human who cultivates a relationship with the fae. One of the only acceptable ways to thank a faery who shares your hearth and home is to offer food and drink. They love a bit of milk, a crumb of cake and a sup of wine or whiskey or a piece of fruit.

Why do they like human treats? And they have their own recipes? Faeries like human food because it is an act of sharing one's self. It is a symbol of family and togetherness and companionship. And the fae do have their own special treats but humans should be wary and even avoid faery food. Faery food cannot help but be enchanted and thus troubling for those humans who consume it. It can cause entrapment and intense longing for the world it came from. There are only a few ways to uncharm a person who is enchanted by faery food.

Mortals who are kidnapped and taken to faery and returned must be fed things like yarrow tea and special foods blessed by holy water (and this can be the Christian notion of holy water or it can be sea water or stump water, the water that collects in hollow logs) Rowan and yew barks are used to cure the intense melancholy and longing experienced by the former prisoners of the fae.

There was one account about two sisters who were magikally drawn to an elvish market and one of the sisters ate the fruit of the market and was stricken with longing for the world of the fae. He sister returned to the market and the elves smeared the fruit of the elvish market on her face and lips to try and get her to eat and she could not be compelled to eat it. She did go home and kiss her sister with her fruit smeared mouth to stop the enchantment.

In the Mabigon, St. Collen is invited into a faery rade (rath) and and given faery food. He refused saying he could not eat food unless it was offered to the Christian God.

The most intoxicating of the faery drinks is Elderberry wine. Since the Elder is dedicated to the Lady of Pagan ways it is sacred and guarded. The intoxication makes the drinker happier, more willing to dance and make love with zeal and is drunken in a way they never want to sober up from....

Sources:

Faeries by Brian Froud, Good Faeries and Bad Faeries by Brian Froud, Irish Cures, Mystic Charms and Superstitions by Lady Wilde, The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures by John and Caitlin Matthews, A Complete Guide to Faeries and Magical Beings by Cassandra Easson, Fairies and Elves by the Editors of Time Life Books
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Luna's Tale: A Conflict of Mythologies

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:14 pm

Shape Shifting is a well known occurrence in Native American story telling. Shamans often called upon and were possessed by the spirits of animal spirits who spoke to the people and told them things they needed to know. Various times, shape shifters were the messengers of the Great Spirit (this is a generic term to describe the creator among Native American people, the creator actually has various names) and guides from one place to another, one plane from another and were loved and respected, not seen as objects of derision and fear.

So, why is Luna's story so negative about skin walkers and shape shifters?

I had to do some real research, and though I did find stories that seemed to jive with Luna's claim, I also found a multitude of stories from the Navajo which said otherwise. This conflict troubled me. Sunbear, in his book Animals Speak, says shapeshifting/skinwalkers are a group of specially blessed people who are in touch with the dualities of men and animals, that there is some of both in each creature. The books, Legends of the Indians and Voices of the Winds tells both positive and negative stories, often one right after the other, particularly among the Navajo. This of course confused me. Why particularly the Navajo do we find such conflict. For this, I made a few phone calls.

Denise Bearwoman is a shaman and traditional healer of the Navajo in Indian County on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. I met her years ago at a ten tribe pow wow in Tennessee. I told her about the show and the character of Luna Garza and our forum and our Mythology thread. I then asked her why the Navajo have such a conflicted feeling about the Shapeshifters/Skinwalkers.

Denise says this conflict goes back to the time Christian missionaries were sent into the reservations by the American government to set up state schools. The Missionaries main goal as far as the government was concerned, was to kill the Indian out of the Native Americans. They took the various and most popular stories of the Navajo, the shapeshifter/skinwalker stories and virtually demonized them, just as Christians did in pagan lands in Europe. The shape shifters/skinwalkers were associated with witches.

Now, witches are well known and feared in Native American cultures, even before the Europeans came. She said, it is the Shaman was cast as a witch, though Shamans were nothing of a sort. Sort of like the difference between a witch and sorcerer in European traditions. Witches are good, who use their talents and abilities to do good and sorcerers were evil and selfish and used magik for their own gain and to hurt people. Of course the Missionaries did not draw such distinctions.

As Navajos went to these schools and came home again, they began to tell new versions of the old stories that soon, unfortunately over took the old stories, casting shapeshifters/skinwalkers as benevolent servants of the Great Spirit. Now they were evil monsters and the products of witches and intent on harming the good....So I asked her, which was the true story of the shapeshifter/skinwalker. She said all and none...the only one who can truly tell us that is the shapeshifter/skinwalker themselves and they prefer to make no comment...Perhaps they are waiting for wisdom to catch up with us.....

But, here is a twist. Len, our own Body Guard, explains the there is a difference between Shapeshifters and Skinwalkers. He says, Shapeshifters are good people or shamans who do shift into animals and are helpful and wise and well repsected among the people.

Skinwalkers, on the other hand, are people and shamans who start out as Shapeshifters but become evil. They become evil when they take the extra step of becoming another person. They have a conscious desire to shift into a human and once they shift back, they are Skinwalkers and thus, they are witches, and considered evil. The act of shifting into another person is something of a contract, consciously accepted and freely done to become a Skinwalker and now a feared and hated creature.

Shamans, like European pagans, use the pelt of an animal to shift into that animal. Conversely, the Skinwalker uses the skin of a human being to shift into that person.....

Sources: Denise Bearwoman, Navajo Shaman, Indian Co. Arizona, The Animals Speak by Sun Bear, Voices in the Winds by Ella E Clark and American Indian Myths and Legends by Erdoze and Ortiz and Len Parraz, from his own Hispanic and Lakota Sioux background....Thank you Len
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Marnie's Spell

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:16 pm

Jam tibi impero et præcipio maligne spiritus! ut confestim allata et circulo discedas, absque omni strepito, terrore, clamore et foetore, asque sine omni damno mei tam animæ quam corporis.


"Now I command and charge you, O evil spirit! that you immediately depart from the circle, abstaining from all noise, terror, tumult, and stench, and if you refuse I will damn you both in body and soul. ...And abstain from harming any creature or thing, and depart immediately to the place which justice has appointed for you. Depart from my sight and flee from here. He should return to the beginning, to a time before evil/wickedness, fly with wings of ashes, the soul and the body."

And then, Body Guard and I worked over it, and this is what he came up with by way of translation into two other languages...I add the language progression to show you how the spell was translated

To control the evil spirits in you, Now! Immediately leave the circle and City, without any noise, terror, screams and dirt, without any damage to my mind, body and soul.

Spanish..
Para controlar a los espíritus malignos para usted, y ahora! de la ciudad y de inmediato salir del círculo, sin ningún tipo de ruido, es el terror, los gritos y la suciedad, mi Asque sin ningún tipo de daños tanto en el alma y el cuerpo.

English..
To control the evil spirits in you, Now! Immediately leave the circle and City, without any noise, terror, screams and dirt, without any damage to my mind, body and soul.

Spanish 2 normal speach…

Para controlar a los malos espíritus en ti, ahora! Inmediatamente salir del círculo y la ciudad, sin ningún tipo de ruido, el terror, los gritos y la suciedad, sin ningún tipo de daño a mi mente, cuerpo y alma.

Proper Spanish

Para controlar a los malos espíritus en ti, ahora! Dejar inmediatamente de la circunferencia y la ciudad, sin ningún tipo deruido, el terror, los gritos y la suciedad sin dañar a mi mente, cuerpo y alma.

French..

Pour contrôler les esprits du mal en vous, maintenant! Quittez immédiatement du cercle et de la ville, sans aucun bruit, la terreur,cris et la saleté sans aucun dommage à mon esprit, corps et âme.

Then in the interest of completeness, I googled the first line in Latin and came up with this:

Jam tibi impero et præcipio maligne spiritus! ut confestim hinc a me et summa illa pecuniarum allata et circulo discedas, absque omni strepito, terrore, clamore et foetore, asque sine omni damno mei tam animæ quam corporis, absque omni læsione cujuscunque creaturæ vel rei; et ad locum a justissimo Deo tibi deputatum in momento et ictu oculi abeas; et hinc proripias. Hoc tibi praecipio in nomine et virtute, potentia ac potestate sanctissimae Trinitatis, Patris +, et Filiis +, et Spiritus sancti +. Ecce crucem Domini! Fugite partes adversae!

Now I command and charge you, O evil spirit! that you immediately bring to me all that money, and then depart from the circle, abstaining from all noise, terror, tumult, and stench, and if you refuse I will damn you both in body and soul. And abstain from harming any creature or thing, and depart immediately to the place which God’s justice has appointed for you. Depart from my sight and flee from here. This I command in the name and virtue, potency and power, of the most Holy Trinity, the Father +, and the Son +, and the Holy Spirit +. Behold the cross of Lord! Fly away to other parts!

It is from a Jesuit book of casting out, basically an exorcism....The only thing they left out was the Christian references. to the Trinity.

So the question for us is, would the spell work?

Well, it would not work on his memory, but it would send him away, in the way of a ward or repelling spell. It would also rob Eric of his wealth and power, which I suppose you could interpret as his mind, being as he is a thousand years old and highly intelligent.

So there you have it, the most complete translation and transliteration we can come up with....

Thank you to Barrister and Aolani and Body Guard for the time put in....
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Wiccan Etiquette

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:17 pm

We are three episodes in to season four so this would be a good time to discuss what proper etiquette in a true Wiccan Circle might consist of. It generally is considered to be very bad form to show up without a specific invitation and if you are invited, you should never bring guests. Some Circles welcome new people, but generally there is no real magick performed at these Circles, just celebrations of Esbats or Sabbats.


General Wiccan Etiquette

• It's a huge no-no to identify anyone as participating in Wicca. Wiccans are still subject to persecution and prejudice. It may seriously harm someone to share this information with even one person.
• Don't assume that since some people know Jane Doe is a Witch, everyone does. A Witch may "come out of the broom closet" to only certain people.
• If by accident, something you say may have tipped people off, tell the Witch involved as soon as possible exactly what was said. She may want to do damage-control. Or she may laugh it off. But she deserves the opportunity to choose.
• Don't proselytize. You can tell people about it if they ask. But no religion benefits by being forced down people's throats. This is basic Wiccan etiquette, that all religions would be smart to follow.
• Be aware of the "space" you are taking up.
For most men, this can mean moderating the volume and intensity of your voice, leaving equal time for other people to speak, not interrupting or ridiculing, using gentle body-language, and sharing leadership and decision-making.
For most women, this can mean taking the risk to speak out, to stand up for what you believe, to honour your needs, to meet the challenge of owning your power.

Wicca Altar Etiquette

Wiccan etiquette around altars is especially important. A Wiccan altar is sacred space, and ritual tools are highly attuned to the person using them.

So there are some basic guidelines for good conduct that you need to be aware of.

• You don't need to let anyone touch your sacred items. If you trust them, and if you are confident that they have positive energy and won't put yucky things into your rituals tools, you may let them if you wish.
• Just because you've said yes once, doesn't apply to any other time or place. You are under no obligation to let them handle it again.
• Never touch someone's altar or ritual items. If you are close to them, or you Circle together, it's okay to ask if you can hold it.
• Interpret any hesitation as a "no."
• And gracefully accept a "no." It may not be anything personal. Some things are simply too private to share.
• Ask before placing things on a group altar. Usually for group work, you will know ahead of time the kinds of things that might be appropriate. But sometimes very specific energy is being raised, and other items may not serve the ritual.
• Avoid talking about your sacred items and spiritual practices with "outsiders." People who don't use them don't understand, and it dilutes your Power to share sacred things with them. Especially if they turn out to be judgmental about it.

Wiccan Etiquette For Magick Spells

These magick tips are good Wiccan etiquette . . . but not because they are taboo. These are safety guidelines for spell casting. To ignore them is to harm yourself and others.

• Never do a magick spell that seeks to control anyone else. That includes spells you think are for their own good. (This puts a damper on most love spells.)
• Only cast a spell for another person if they have asked you to do so. And then only the spell they've asked for. • The exception to the prior 2 tips is when you have spiritual authority for another's well-being. For example, animals or children under 12 who are under your care. But even so, check carefully to make sure what you are planning is aligned with Divine will.
• Remember the Wiccan Rede . . . "Do as you will, and harm none."
• Think through the repercussions. Don't do large-scale magick recklessly. Whether magick will change the natural pattern . . . You could be responsible for far-off droughts or floods, or serious disruption of local weather patterns.
• Be respectful of others; don't do magick in public. Your magick-making should take place somewhere other people are not likely to interrupt you, and your spells are best kept out of sight. This is partly a matter of respect for others' space. And partly to keep your magick spells strong and on-focus.
• Clean up your magickal residue. Release the directions and deities, erase signs and symbols, and open the circle before you leave.
If you follow these Wiccan etiquette tips, you will be a respectful and responsible Witch that people will be happy to have around!

WHAT NOT TO DO:

- Don't talk, giggle, sing or snore during invocations. It's not respectful, and it makes it difficult for other people to hear the words.

- Don't smoke. At all, at any point (unless you've been invited to a Native American ceremony held by Native Americans who revere tobacco, and even then it's use will be highly controlled and formalized). If you can't survive a couple of hours without a cigarette, try asking one of the ritual leaders to let you out of the circle during the feasting, or get some nicotine patches.

- DON'T LEAVE THE CIRCLE UNLESS YOU HAVE A GOOD REASON AND ONE OF THE LEADERS LETS YOU OUT.

- Don't eat or chew, except during the cakes and wine ceremony (and then only eat the cake), and during the feasting. If you are diabetic or hypoglycemic and you think you may need sugar, bring some sweets or dried fruit in your pocket, and sneak them as discreetly as possible when necessary.

- Don't criticize the ritual while it's in progress.

- Don't turn up, or get, drunk. Don't turn up under the influence of psychoactive drugs, (except modest amounts of tea and coffee), and certainly don't use them at any point in the circle, unless you have received a clear message from the ritual leaders that this is acceptable. It is NEVER acceptable at public rituals.
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Through A Glass Darkly

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:20 pm

Magic Mirrors - They enabled, it was said, to see the present, the past and the future. They are of great variety, and of great antiquity.

"Then from his secret Art the Sage Vizier,
A Magic Mirror made; a Mirror like
The bosom of All-wise Intelligence,
Reflecting in its mystic compass all
Within the sevenfold volume of the World
Invol'd; and looking in that Mirror's face
The Shah beheld the face of his Desire."


St. Augustine (in De Civitate Dei, Ch. VII, 35) says that they were used by the witches of Thessaly who wrote their oracles on them in human blood.

Varron claims that they are of Persian origin, the Magi having used them for a method of divination called Catoptromancy. Spartianus says that Didius Julianus used them to know the result of the battle which Tullius Crispinius fought with Septirnus Severus, his rival for the throne. The persons who, in Rome, read these mirrors were called Specularii.

In the East these instruments were called Stellar Mirrors. Pica della Mirandola had faith in them, provided they were made under a favorable constellation, and that they should only be consulted when one felt comfortably warm, for the cold harms the lucidity of their oracle. Reinaud speaks of them in his Description of the Blacas Cabinet. He adds that the operators perfume them, fast for seven days before using them, and recite sacramental prayers at the moment of consulting them. The Chinese and the Hindus made theirs of metal, concave or convex.

Muratori tells us of a Bishop of Verona who was put to death because under his pillow a
magic mirror was found bearing on the reverse the word flore which means flower, and
proves collaboration with the devil, since, according to St. Cyprian, Satan sometimes appeared in the shape of a flower. A mirror of this kind was also found in the house of Calas de Rienzi. Catherine de Medici had one.

The shape of these mirrors was, as we have said, very varied. Some bore the name of
their inventor (Cagliostro, Swedenborg, etc.) More recently they have been used to fix the
eye of clairvoyants or mediums so as to put them into a state of hypnosis.

Cahagnet, in his Magnetic Magic, quotes the principal mirrors as follows:

• The Theurgic Mirror - a bottle of clear water looked at by a child and in which the
Archangel Gabriel replies by pictures to his questions.
• The Mirror of the Sorcerers - any kind of mirror or pail of water. The country sorcerer,
standing near the consultant, recites a spell and shows him the reflection of the picture
wanted.
• The Mirror of Cagliostro - the bottle of clear water is on a piece of furniture, and
before it a child, on whose head the operator places one hand and tells him the questions
to ask, to which replies are given in allegorical pictures.
• The Mirror of du Polet - a piece of cardboard having pasted on one side a sheet of tin and
on the other a piece of black cloth. The operator magnetizes it strongly and places it a
foot away from the eye of the consultant who, having fixed his eyes on it, soon sees in it
the desired object.
• The Swedenborgian Mirror - a paste of graphite mixed with olive oil is poured on an
ordinary mirror and allowed to dry for a few days. The consultant, whose image must not be
reflected (he stands at some distance for this reason) looks into it, whilst the operator
stares magnetically at the back of his head, and vision takes place.
• The Magnetic Mirror - a round crystal globe filled with magnetized water at which the
consultant looks carefully until the desired vision appears.
• The Narcotic Mirror - similar globe but a narcotic powder made of
belladonna, henbane, mandragora, hemp, poppy, etc., is dissolved in the water.
• The Galvanic Mirror - it is made of two discs, one of copper and concave, the other of
zinc and convex, both magnetized nine times in nine days. The center of the concave is
looked at.
• Cabalistic Mirrors - there are seven, being seven globes each representing one of the
seven planets of Astrology, made of the corresponding metal and consulted on the appropriate astrological day. They are:-

o The globe of the Sun, made of gold and consulted on Sundays as to superior beings and
the great persons of the earth.
o The globe of Mercury, made of a glass globe filled with mercury and consulted on
Wednesdays as to questions of money.
o The globe of Jupiter, made of tin and consulted on Thursdays as to the probability of
success and as to the devotion of domestics.
o The globe of Mars, made of iron and consulted on Tuesdays as to quarrels, lawsuits,
enmities.
o The globe of Venus, made of copper and consulted on Fridays as to questions of love.
o The globe of Saturn, made of lead and consulted on Saturdays as to secrets, lost
articles, etc.
o The globe of the Moon, made of silver and consulted on Mondays as to dreams and plans.



The first mirrors of history were nature's own, reflecting the visage of the first humans on the smooth surface of water. People must have considered these images of themselves not only magical but quite attractive, for they lead to the first mirrors made by man. The first ones constructed were of polished metal; brass, bronze, silver and even gold. There were also ones made from the glass-like mineral obsidian. Highly polished metal mirrors are mentioned in The Old Testament of the Bible. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used polished metal mirrors, most hand mirrors with a handle and some very ornately decorated.

After the discovery of glass making, mirrors were also made from a sheet of glass that had a polished metal backing. The first example of this kind of mirror, a small rectangular one made from glass with gold attached to the back and sealed with shellac, was found in Roman tombs of the 1st century A.D. The method of attaching a thin sheet of reflecting metal to glass was not perfected until the 16th century when widespread production of this kind began. Venice and Nuremburg were renown for glass mirror making, with some very ornate examples being made.

The art of glass mirror making spread, and in the later years of the 16th century London and Paris became famous for mirror manufacture. The mirrors of this time were extremely expensive, especially the larger ones. They were objects that only the wealthy could afford, and were very often highly decorated. Glass mirrors remained an item of the nobility and the rich for many years due to their expense. In its day, the Hall of Mirrors of the Castle of Versailles in Paris, France was not only known for its beauty but for the tremendous expense of the 357 mirrors that are in it.

In the late 17th century, around the same time the Hall of Mirrors was built, mirrors started to be used for more than looking glasses. Highly ornate ones had frames of tortoiseshell, mother of pearl, wood veneers, silver or gold. The tradition of hanging a mirror with a decorative frame over the mantelpiece of a fireplace was begun at this time. The frames of these items would be changed to reflect current tastes and styles of the times, as it was cheaper to change the frame than to purchase a new mirror.

When the chemical process of coating a piece of glass with reflective metals began in the early 19th century, mirrors became less expensive and more widespread. Every household had at least a hand mirror, if not one or two hanging on a wall. They became more of a décor item, as they were used in decorative schemes for the home and public places.But a mirror is far from being only an item used for gazing at oneself or for home décor. Think of the many ways they have been and are still being used.

Mirror scrying is an evolved form of water scrying. When it became possible to build mirrors they were regarded as being like water that was fixed into one place. The early mirrors were made of polished copper, brass, marcasite, tin foil or mercury behind glass, polished silver and obsidian. All types of mirrors may be used for scrying and the size is not important.

Because mirrors are linked to the moon mirrors should be backed with silver. Try and use a round or oval mirror instead of a square mirror. For the frame try and use a mirror that has a silver frame. Old mirrors also seem to work better than new mirrors.

Most seers prefer to use a black mirror. Because this is difficult to buy you may have to make one. Just simply take out the glass and paint it black. You may have to give it a few coats of paint though. When you put it back in the frame make sure the glass part is to the front.

The use of black mirrors may be traced back over the centuries. Alchemists Edward Kelley and John Dee used a black mirror of shewstone - a piece of polished obsidian.

Catoxtromancy is a form of divination by means of looking glasses. In ancient Rome, special diviners known as "blindfolded boys" were known to gaze into mirrors in order to experience visions of the future or of the unknown, and according to the 4th century 'Scriptores Historiae Augustae' the death of Julian the Apostate was accurately predicted by diviners using this method.


When using the black mirror for scrying you do not want to see your reflection. The best is to leave the mirror on a table and look at it from an angle. Look into the depths of the mirror as though you were looking into a bowl of water. At first it may appear gray than colors will come and go. With time and practice you will be able to see sacred images like still photographs or moving film images. Spirits may sometimes look at the scryer, talk to the scryer or even touch the scryer. The visions may even exist outside the mirror and surround the scryer on all sides.

Superstitions & Mirrors

There are many superstitions surrounding mirrors. Breaking a mirror seems to have been regarded as especially inauspicious and a broken mirror to this day is said to bring seven years bad luck. This is believed to go back to Roman times when they thought that seven years was the time period it took for a soul to renew itself. One of the ways that you could overcome the bad luck of a shattered mirror was to bury all the pieces very deeply in the ground. It is also said that a broken mirror or a mirror falling from a wall is a sign that someone was going to die. It used to be a common practice that when somebody in a house died that all the mirrors would be covered up. This was to prevent the soul’s deceased being trapped in one of the mirrors by the devil.

There is also a superstition that if you want know who you are going to marry, you sit in front of a mirror and eat an apple. When you then start brushing your hair a picture of your future beloved will appear behind you in the mirror’s reflection. If the first time that a couple locks gazes it is in the reflection of a mirror, this is supposed to be a sign that they will have a long and happy marriage. Vampires are not supposed to have a reflection when they look in a mirror. This is supposedly because that when you look into a mirror you are looking at your soul; vampires have no soul, hence they have no reflection! Bad luck follows if you see your reflection in a mirror in candlelight, actors will not look at their reflection in a mirror while looking over another’s shoulder and it is believed that infant’s should not be allowed to look at themselves in a mirror for the first year of their lives. Clearly a person’s reflection is something that has been regarded as mystical and magical since earliest times.


Mirrors in Myths, Fairy Tales and Literature

Mirrors are also used for fortune telling or scrying, where the fortune teller would gaze into a mirror to divine the future. John Dee, the astrologer and court magician of Elizabeth I of England was reputed to be an expert scryer. The theme of mirrors and reflections has also seeped into myth, fairy tales and literature. In Greek mythology Narcissus was a youth who was exceptionally handsome. He was also vain and heartless and he spurned all the local maidens until one day he was pursued by the nymph Echo. He cruelly pushed her away also and told her to leave him alone. She pined away in the forest until all that remained of her was her voice. As a punishment, when Narcissus caught sight of his own reflection in a pool he became so deeply entranced with himself that he remained gazing at the image not realising that he was gazing at
himself. When he eventually realised that he had fallen in love with himself and so could not pursue this love, he beat himself and died. The voice that was Echo found his body and took pity on him and a narcissus flower grew on the spot where he died.

In the fairytale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the Wicked Queen gazes into a magic mirror and asks ‘Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?’ and is decidedly not amused when a reflection that is not her own floats into view!

Lewis Carroll’s ‘Through the Looking Glass’ is probably one of the more famous books to use mirrors as a central theme, but there are many novels, plays an films with ‘mirror’ in the title.




Working with Mirrors in Magic and Psychic Development

Mirrors are one of the simplest and yet most effective tools for developing psychic skills for divination and magic. Mirror work trains the inner eye to perceive the unseenThroughout history, mirror gazing, or scrying, has been used to look into the future, answer questions, solve problems, find lost objects and people, and identify or find thieves and criminals.

“Scrying” comes from the English word descry, which means “to succeed in discerning” or “to make out dimly.” The tool of scryers, called a speculum, can be any object with a reflective surface. Scryers stare into the reflective surface until they are in light trances, and they see
visions or otherwise “know” the unseen.

The oldest and most common speculum is still water in a lake, pond or dark bowl. Ink, blood and other dark liquids were used by Egyptian scryers. Medieval European adepts used mirrors,
bowls of water, polished stones and crystals.

Nostradamus scryed with a bowl of water set upon a brass tripod. The inside of the bowl was painted black. He would dip a wand into the water and anoint himself with a few drops, then
gaze into the bowl until he saw visions.

Other specula are glass fishing floats, polished metals and stones, crystal balls and precious gems. John Dee, the royal magician to Queen Elizabeth I, used a crystal egg and a black obsidian mirror; his mirror is on exhibit today at the British Museum in London. Early Arab scryers used their own polished thumbnails.

In folklore, mirrors have a dark power – they are held to be a soul stealer. A widespread folk belief calls for turning over the mirrors in a house when someone dies. If a dead person
sees himself in a mirror, his soul will become lost or have no rest, or he will become a vampire. The power of mirrors to suck out souls is illustrated in the Greek myth of Narcissus, who sees his reflection in water and then pines and dies.

In Russian folklore, mirrors are the invention of the devil because they have the power to draw souls out of bodies. In other lore, seeing a corpse reflected in a mirror puts the living at risk for having one’s soul carried off by the ghost of the dead. Seeing one’s own reflection in a mirror in a room where someone has died means one’s own impending death.

Folklore also has it that mirrors should be removed from a sick room because the soul is more vulnerable in times of illness. It is considered unlucky for the sick to see their reflections, which puts them at risk of dying. Breaking a mirror is bad luck; since it holds the soul, a broken mirror will damage the soul.

It is also considered unlucky to look into a mirror at night or by candlelight, for one will see ghosts, the devil or a portent of one’s own death. In Persian lore, ghosts may be seen in a
mirror by standing in front of it and combing the hair without thinking, speaking or moving.

The inability of vampires to cast a reflection in mirrors, and their desire to avoid them, is an invention of fiction, and is attributed first to Bram Stoker in his 1897 novel, Dracula. Count Dracula avoids mirrors, calling them objects of human vanity. Jonathan Harker notices that there are no mirrors in the count’s castle, and he accidentally observes that Dracula casts no reflection in his mirror while he shaves. The count, seeing Harker watching, breaks the mirror. Later in Stoker’s novel, Professor Abraham Van Hesling forces unpleasant confrontation with the count by shoving a mirror in front of him; the vampire recoils violently.

Stoker was aware of superstitions about mirrors and adapted them to suit his fictional purposes. Dracula, as a soulless creature, also casts no shadow and cannot be painted or photographed; his likeness cannot be captured.

Just don’t tell it to the True Blood Vampires.

Rosemary Ellen Guiley- Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and Wicca, Deborah Lipp- Divinations, Lewis Spence- The Encyclopedia of the Occult, Lewis Spence- The Book of Superstitions, Judika Illes- The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft.
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Aegir and Ran

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:22 pm

Aegir is the god of the sea in Norse mythology. He was both worshipped and feared by sailors, for they believed that Aegir would occasionally appear on the surface to take ships, men and cargo alike, with him to his hall at the bottom of the ocean. Sacrifices were made to appease him, particularly prisoners before setting sail.

Aegir was often considered the overall personification of the ocean, be it both good or bad. Aegir's residence was none other than the waters under the island of Hlesey. He was also associated with the brewing of ale and was often known to do so for Thor. Because of this he was also known as a hospitable god, and frequently had quests in his halls. These guests were always mystified by the magical cups he had in his halls; they always magically refilled themselves upon being empty. His two faithful servants are Eldir and Fimafeng. The latter was killed by the treacherous god Loki during a banquet the gods held at Aegir’s undersea hall near the island of Hler (or Hlesey). Aegir was known for the lavish entertainment he gave to the other gods.

His wife is the sea goddess Ran. The giantess was the sister/wife of Aegir, the Giant Lord of the Sea, with whom he has nine daughters (the billow maidens), who wore white robes and veils. She is terribly randy and fancies mortals. The snag is, she lives at the bottom of the sea, so has to snatch suitors from the surface in a net. She doesn't have a lot of luck with her infidelities as drowning seems to render them incapable. Ran (pronounced rawn) is the Norse Goddess of storms. Her name means “robbery”, due to her penchant for sinking ships and collecting the drowned sailors in her nets. The Norse believed that drowning victims were not admitted to Valhalla or Helheim (their versions of heaven and hell), but went instead to Ran’s realm of the dead at the bottom of the ocean.

The Immortal Gods and Goddesses of the Norse- Stahl Nordshiem
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Books of Witchcraft

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:23 pm

This is something I wrote for my Christian Witch Blog about Books of Shadows, no reason to rewrite something that I have already...Tee Hee

A grimiore is a fairly high level piece of magical writing and should be used only by experienced people. This is a book that calls upon the secrets names of gods and spirits to ask them do you a service. There are several Grimiores out there. They are very difficult to follow and call upon someone who has a very indept study of symbolism, astrology, and the occult. For the beginner I suggest that they leave grimiores alone or use them as study only. Not many witches are ready to practice the rituals set down in grimiores. For those interested in seeing what a grimiore is, look up Key of Solomon, it is a very good grimiore with excellent notes and original charts for consideration. But remember, use it for study only until you are of sufficient level to use it.

A Book of Shadows on the other hand is a wonderful thing to have. It is your magik book, where you write rituals, copy rituals from other people and record results of your magikal work. Every witch has one. It is a dedicated book, meant for only one thing and that is to preserve a witches's personal learning. When you come to certain level and have recorded successes then you can share your BOS with other learners. But as in all things, remember that ours is an esoteric practice and you should be careful who you share your BOS with. Teens should keep their BOS to themselves until they find others who are of their faith. It is not something to show around and impress people with.

Now, there are a lot of commercially published Books of Shadows on the market, in any mainstream book store you can go into the metaphysical department and buy a book of shadows. There are a lot of people who do not believe you should buy a BOS. I myself, do not mind buying them and reading them and then altering them to fit my needs and I still have a lot of success with it though I do alter it to fit my discipline. A good BOS can also help you learn to think about your Craft and familiarize yourself ritual formats and to learn about ingredients and significant symbols and colors and the times of the lunar calendar and seasons. But eventually, you should seek to write your own spells and rituals.

Many BOS are written for the coven in mind but increasingly you can see BOS written for the solitary witch. There are plusses to covenry, which is that you have the opportunity to work with others, to call upon the more experienced for help and you can share what you know. But in a coven, as with all organized human groups there can be a tendency to be fixed in one system of belief and some form of jealousy and a slight disdain for people who do it a different way. This is not an indictment, it simply is the way of human kind. So, in a lot of ways, being a solitary is much better because then you can practice the Craft on your own terms and within the limits of your own discipline.

http://aslinndhan.blogspot.com/2005/11/grimiores-books-of-shadows-and.html

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Blessed Be

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:24 pm

Blessed Be: An expression used by some Witches and Wiccans. In ritual, it is used to mean “let this be blessed.” Sometimes it is used with an officiating member stating it followed by the participants repeating it in a call-and-response fashion. Also used in farewell statements similar to the Hawaiian “Aloha” or Hebrew “Shalom.” Derived from part of the Gardnerian Witchcraft Initiation ritual’s “Five-fold Kiss.” Abbreviated BB.

Witches may also greet and part from each other with the words Merry Meet or Merry Part....

Llewellyn Worldwide http://www.llewellyn.com/index.php
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Lethe

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:26 pm

In Greek mythology, Lethe (Λήθη; Classical Greek [ˈlɛːtʰɛː], modern Greek: [ˈliθi]) was one of the five rivers of Hades. Also known as the Ameles potamos (river of unmindfulness), the Lethe flowed around the cave of Hypnos and through the Underworld, where all those who drank from it experienced complete forgetfulness. Lethe was also the name of the Greek spirit of forgetfulness and oblivion, with whom the river was often identified.

In Classical Greek, the word Lethe literally means "oblivion", "forgetfulness," or "concealment". It is related to the Greek word for "truth", aletheia (ἀλήθεια), meaning "un-forgetfulness" or "un-concealment".

Lethe (lee-thee), the river of forgetfulness, was one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld, the other four being Styx (the river of hate), Akheron (the river of sorrow), Kokytos (the river of lamentation) and Phlegethon (the river of fire). According to Statius, it bordered Elysium, the final resting place of the virtuous. Ovid wrote that the river flowed through the cave of Hypnos, god of sleep, where its murmuring would induce drowsiness.

The shades of the dead were required to drink the waters of the Lethe in order to forget their earthly life. In the Aeneid, Virgil writes that it is only when the dead have had their memories erased by the Lethe that they may be reincarnated.

Lethe was also the name of the personification of forgetfulness and oblivion, with whom the river was often associated. Hesiod's Theogony identifies her as the daughter of Eris ("strife") and sister of Ponos ("toil"), Limos ("starvation"), the Algea ("pains"), the Hysminai ("fightings"), the Makhai ("battles"), the Phonoi ("murders"), the Androktasiai ("man-slaughters"), the Neikea ("quarrels"), the Pseudologoi ("lies"), the Amphilogiai ("disputes"), Dysnomia ("lawlessness"), Atë ("ruin"), and Horkos ("oath").

Role in religion and philosophy

Some ancient Greeks believed that souls were made to drink from the river before being reincarnated, so they would not remember their past lives. The Myth of Er at the end of Plato's Republic tells of the dead arriving at the "plain of Lethe", through which the river Ameles ("careless") runs. A few mystery religions taught the existence of another river, the Mnemosyne; those who drank from the Mnemosyne would remember everything and attain omniscience. Initiates were taught that they would receive a choice of rivers to drink from after death, and to drink from Mnemosyne instead of Lethe. These two rivers are attested in several verse inscriptions on gold plates dating to the 4th century BC and onward, found at Thurii in Southern Italy and elsewhere throughout the Greek world. There were rivers of Lethe and Mnemosyne at the oracular shrine of Trophonius in Boeotia, from which worshippers would drink before making oracular consultations with the god. More recently, Martin Heidegger used "lēthē" to symbolize the "concealment of Being" or "forgetting of Being" that he saw as a major problem of modern philosophy. Examples are found in his books on Nietzsche

Amongst authors in Antiquity, the tiny Limia River between Northern Portugal and Galicia (Spain) was said to have the same properties of memory loss as the legendary Lethe River. In 138 BC, the Roman general Decimus Junius Brutus sought to dispose of the myth, as it impeded his military campaigns in the area. He was said to have crossed the Limia and then called his soldiers on the other side, one by one, by name. The soldiers, astonished that their general remembered their names, crossed the river as well without fear. This act proved that the Limia was not as dangerous as the local myths described. In Alaska, a river which runs through the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes is called River Lethe.

From- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lethe
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Essay on the Burning Times

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:27 pm

Okay, so here is something I sometimes do in this thread and that is write a little essay instead of really researching because I have mentioned a topic many times in some way or another, but this is about a period in human history many Witches call the Burning Times. There are two camps about this period, so bear with me as I pick through them.

It might be useful if you go back and peruse my article on The Inquisition, so you get some background info.


Okay, here goes:

The period of the Inquisition is probably one of the most horrendous times in the history of the Christian Church, especially for the Roman Catholic Church, but not limited to the Catholic Church. There were many examples of Protestant Churches who did the same thing but the Catholic Church did it on a far grander and more devastating scale.

The people who were accused of witchery and set up on pyre's were often just unfortunate people who ran afoul of the Church because they were either Jews or Muslim or they were free thinkers or women.

Yeah, women bore the brunt of the Church's ire. Church traditions saw women as lesser people and inherently evil because they tempted Adam and caused the downfall of man. Whatever right?

But there was a period when if you were the squeaky wheel of the Church, you were taken in and put to the question and if you didn't "confess" they did horrendous things to you. That is simply a fact. I don't deny it. I don't cover it up with a lot of frilly excuses...to forget history is to be doomed to repeat it.

Now, if they could not find any hard and fast charges against you, they could accuse you of witchcraft. It happened all the time. Nostradamus was so cognizant of that fact, he wrote his prophecies in a mixture of languages and in short poetic quatrains to protect his visions. Let he has wisdom understand, right?

But, as heinous as those times were, where all of those people really witches? Depends on who you ask.

Many Witches do believe that most if not all the people accused of witchcraft were witches of some sort. They see it as the Witches' Holocaust. They use it as the standard to eschew all forms of Christian Craft and Mysticism and they use it it to historically charge the Church with crimes against humanity. Which I totally get behind. I think personally as a Christian and a Catholic the Church has a lot to answer for. And while we may never get all the answers we want or get the confessions and apologies we want, I am more than certain they will experience comeuppance, in this world or the next.

But can they say every single person they accused of witchery was a witch? I don't think so. Let's take a look at a terrible period in America called the Salem Witch Trials. 20 people were executed for witchery. 19 were hanged and one was pressed to death. Many others were accused. Were they witches? No. As Nan Flanagan said, much of it was hysteria and sexual repression. I also agree that they needed laid in the worst way. It would have improved their disposition.

So it is reasonable to say, there were probably a lot of honest to God witches in the some 9 million people who were executed by the Inquisition all over the world, but not all of them were witches. Some were just unlucky souls who came in conflict with the Church. This does not negate the crimes of the Church, because whether you were really a witch or not, you were likely innocent of such things as hurting others, worshiping the devil, and child murder, which were some of the things witches are said to do.
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Re: The Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:30 pm

I came across this article/Essay and I thought you guys would enjoy reading it....

Hellhounds, Werewolves and the Germanic Underworld

Alby Stone

There is a curious connection between dogs and travel to the realm of the dead. It can be found particularly in Indo-European mythologies, although it also occurs in Egypt, Siberia, and north America. According to the Vedic mythology of ancient India, for instance, the deceased must pass by the four-eyed dogs of Yama, king of the dead; and Greek mythology tells of the dog Kerberos, popularly endowed with three heads, who watches the entrance to Hades. Mention must also be made of the white, red-eared hounds of Celtic myth. But the idea of the underworld watchdog appears to have reached its fullest, and most complex expression among the Germanic peoples.

In Scandinavia, hounds are associated with Niflheimr, the mortuary land ruled by the grim queen Hel. The Eddic poem Baldrs draumar (Balder's Dreams) tells how Odin rides to Niflheimr to ascertain the meaning of the dreams that have been troubling his son. On the way,

He met a hound that came from Hel.
That one had blood upon his breast,
and long did he bark at Baldrs father.
Onward rode Odin - the earth-way roared -
till he came to the high hall of Hel. [1]

Also in the Poetic Edda, in the Fjolsvinnsmal section of the poem Svipdagsmal, two dogs guard Lyfjaberg ('Mount of Healing') the otherworld dwelling of the maiden Mengloth, which is surrounded by a wall of fire, and a clay wall called Gastropnir. H.R. Ellis Davidson [2] has convincingly identified Mengloth with the goddess Hel, on the grounds that there are enough significant parallels between Niflheimr and Lyfjaberg to suggest that the rulers of the two places were also probably meant to be one and the same. The two dogs are worth a closer look:

One is called Gifr, Geri is the other,
if you wish to know:
they are strong watchdogs, and they keep watch until the doom of the gods. [3]

Gifr means 'Greedy'; as does Geri. The latter is also the name of one of Odin's two wolves - the other is Freki, whose name has the same meaning. As Bruce Lincoln has shown, these names are all derived from the same Proto-Indo-European root, *gher-, which is thought to denote the sound made by an animal, in this case the canine variety. In essence, the names all mean 'Growler'. The same source gives rise to the name Garmr, 'Dog', the dreadful beast that is said to be fettered before Niflheimr; and to Kerberos. Lincoln also points out that the same root has given rise to a class of words that he describes as 'sub-verbal utterances: sounds commonly made by people, none of which constitute actual words'. He concludes that the Germanic words so derived refer to greed as 'that characteristic whereby a human being is reduced to the level of a hungry beast: growling, ravenous, and inarticulate', and suggests that the association of dog and underworld may be due in part to the dog's widespread reputation as a devourer of corpses; the growl denotes 'the greed of none other than all-devouring death' [4].

To Lincoln's notion we may add the simple observation that the dog's common role in human communities makes it a natural candidate for the part of guardian of the underworld. But there is much more than that to be said for it. Dogs and wolves are closely related, in traditional mythology as well as in nature. The Old English epic poem Beowulf describes the monster Grendel and his mother in terms that leave little doubt as to their lupine nature - among the words used to describe them are: werga, werhtho, heorowearh, brimwylf, grundwyrgenne, all of which contain the elements wearg/wearh or wylf. Grendel is also called a scucca (demon), from which the second element of the name of Black Shuck, the supernatural dog encountered by nocturnal travellers in East Anglian folklore, is derived. It is also said of Grendel that him of eagum stod ligge gelicost leoht unfaeger, 'from his eyes shone a fire-like, baleful light' [5].

Grendel and his mother are both haunters and guardians of a burial mound in marshland, and are given an aquatic aspect to match - brimwylf, for instance, means 'water-wolf'. This brings to mind the bodies of water - usually rivers, but sometimes a lake or sea - that are invariably supposed to surround the Indo-European underworld, and those of some non-Indo-European cultures. This brings us, strange as it may seem, to St Christopher.

In Christian popular tradition, St Christopher was a giant who carried travellers across a river. The story is well known, and does not need to be repeated here. But Old English traditions of the saint are rather unusual. According to the Old English Passion of St Christopher, se w s healf hundisces mancynnes, 'he was of the race of mankind who are half hound'. The Old English Martyrology elaborates upon this: he was thaere theode thaer men habbath hunda heafod & of thaere eorthan on theare aeton men hi selfe, 'from the nation where men have the head of a dog and from the country where men devour each other'; furthermore, he haefde hundes haefod, & his loccas waeron ofer gemet side, & his eagan scinon swa leohte swa morgensteorra, & his teth waeron swa scearpe swa eofores texas, 'he had the head of a hound, and his locks were extremely long, and his eyes shone as bright as the morning star, and his teeth were as sharp as a boar's tusks' [6].

It is plain that this is not quite the patron saint of travellers that we are told about at Sunday School. It is a peculiarly Old English view of St Christopher. He resembles the monstrous Healfhundingas, a race mentioned in two Old English texts: The Wonders of the East and The Letter of Alexander to Aristotle. More to the point, he resembles the lupine monsters of Beowulf. Like most other Indo-European traditions, the Germans seem to have conceived of an otherworldly ferryman who conducted the dead to the underworld; indeed, Odin was so pictured during the Viking Age. It seems reasonable to suppose that St Christopher's occupation and location struck a traditional chord familiar to Anglo-Saxon ears, and that the legend was consequently coloured by Germanic underworld motifs.

At this point, we must return to the Grendel family, and to Odin's wolves. Grendel and his mother are several times characterised by compounds of the word wearg or its variant wearh, which may be more familiar to readers of J.R.R. Tolkien in its continental German form warg, although it has similar forms in other Germanic tongues. This is a complex word: it is often used simply to mean 'wolf', but it also denotes an outlaw or the state of outlawry, in which case it refers to those who have committed crimes that are either unforgivable or unredeemable, and who are cast out from their communities and doomed to wander until they die. Outlaws were traditionally forest-dwellers, and could be legitimately killed.

It would be easy to assume that outlaws were called warg simply because their offences were of an especially savage kind, and that they were likened to wolves, wild, bestial, and uncivilised, as a result. Anglo-Norman law, for example, stated that the outlaw would 'be held to be a wolf and . . . be proclaimed 'wolf's-head'' [7]. Interestingly, the Frankish Lex Salica uses the phrase wargus sit ('he shall be a warg') of a despoiler of buried corpses [8]. But warg is not a straightforward word. It is derived from an Indo-European *wergh-, 'strangle', via Germanic *wargaz. It is suggested that the use of warg and its variants in Germanic legal codes, as a condemnation, 'originally was a magico-legal pronouncement which transformed the criminal into a werwolf worthy of strangulation' [9]. The Indo-European antiquity of this notion is demonstrated in Hittite texts which include the phrase zi-ik-wa UR.BAR.RA ki-sa-at, 'thou art become a wolf'; and the name LU.MES hurkilas, denoting demon-like entities who are set to capture a wolf and strangle a serpent - hurkilas being derived from the same root as warg [10]. The warg, in this analysis, is a strangler, but one who himself requires strangulation.

The Lex Salica is not alone in condemning corpse-violators as warg. Exactly the same thing can be found in the Lex Ripuaria, and in the laws decreed by Henry I of England. Medieval Scandinavian legal texts, however, tend to apply the cognate term vargr to those who kill by cowardly means, and to oath-breakers; however, the term is almost always used in compounds, which suggests that the archaic point has been lost. Ultimately, a warg is an outlaw, one who has literally become a wolf in the eyes of his fellows: a warg can become what he is by being outlawed, for murder or oath-breaking; or he can be oulawed for what he already is, a warg, a worrier of corpses.

The traditional method for disposing of outlaws was hanging, a punishment that is only a minor variation on strangulation. This was the prescribed way of sacrificing to Odin. As the poem Grimnismal says, 'Odin's hall is easy to recognise: a vargr hangs before the western door...' [11]. Odin is known as Hangaguth, 'God of the Hanged'; in Old English, Old Saxon, and Old Norse, the gallows is known as the 'warg-tree'. Strangulation is implied by a number of references to the ropes or snares of the death-goddess in Indo-European myth; and here the name Mengloth, 'necklace-glad', may be significant, especially as one of the walls that surround her Lyfjaberg is the clay wall called Gastropnir, 'Guest-Strangler'.

The situation thus far can be summarised as follows. Firstly, the land of the dead is guarded by a canine or lupine creature. Secondly, that land must be reached by crossing a body of water. Next, warg applies to men who are legally wolves - or werewolves, for that is what we are dealing with here - and are condemned to the noose. Lastly, the references to Grendel in Beowulf further suggest that the dogs or wolves who guard or bar the way to the underworld are themselves warg.

There are two more things to note before we can progress further. One is an interesting kenning in another Eddic poem, Helreith Brynhildar: this is hrot-garmr, 'howling dog', which stands for fire, and in this case refers specifically to Brynhild's funeral pyre. The other is the wall of fire that surrounds Mengloth's Lyfjaberg. This is paralleled in several other medieval Norse texts by walls of flame that surround otherworld realms. The two ideas could be linked: after all, cremation is itself a wall of fire that is a boundary between this world and the next.

This takes us, indirectly, back to warg. The Roggenwolf ('rye-wolf') of German rural folklore is a demon that lives in grainfields and ambushes peasants, strangling them. This creature, essentially a type of werewolf, is represented at harvest-time by the last sheaf, which is called 'Wolf' and tied up to nullify its malignance. Like Grendel, the Roggenwolf has a sinister mother, the Roggenmutter or Kornmutter. Another lupine connection is the fungus ergot, which is particularly associated with rye. This fungus, which gives the grain an unpleasant appearance, is sometimes known as Wolf or Wolfszahn ('Wolf-tooth'). Mary R. Gerstein [12] suggests that there is an etymological link between ergot and warg: she presents a number of examples where variants of warg are used to imply moral or physical corruption or disease, and in some they are coupled with the term represented in Old Norse by argr and ergi, and in other Germanic languages as earh, earg, arag, arug, and so on. This is basically a term used to denote passive homosexuality, and is specifically applied to the recipient in anal intercourse. It is also used to describe Odin, as a consequence of his use of the magical technique called seithr, an art appropriate to women. Gerstein's idea is that, just as warg indicates the transformation of man into wolf, arg denotes the notional change of man into woman. Arg and its cognate forms form the third corner of this etymological triangle.

Ergot contains a number of interesting substances, chief among which is lysergic acid, from which the hallucinogen LSD is made. Poisoning by ergot (ergotism) used to occur frequently in Europe. Among the symptoms of this virulent, and often lethal, condition are: disruption of motor control functions, causing tremors and writhing, wry neck, convulsions, rolling eyes, and speechlessness; dizziness, confusion, hallucinations, panic attacks, and delusions; extreme thirst, uncontrollable appetite; feelings of extreme heat, or even cold, with itching and tingling, swelling and blistering of the skin. Ergotism was known by a variety of names: St. Anthony's Fire, and - to the physicians of seventeenth-century England - 'suffocation of the mother'. In other words, the symptoms of ergotism mimic lycanthropic behaviour, and can often lead to a fairly convincing simulation of death by strangulation (wry neck) or suffocation [13]. In addition, the presence of lysergic acid is capable of taking the victim on a very bad trip indeed. From the observer's point of view, the symptoms are also superficially similar to rabies. Ergotism or rabies could explain the popular belief that lycanthropy is transmitted through the bite of a werewolf; and in this context ergotism may be the more likely candidate.

Furthermore, the itching and burning sensations caused by extreme vascular constriction - often a prelude to tisse necrosis, gangrene - could also be construed as a foretaste of the fires of hell, and the experience would augment the effects of the lysergic acid. The growth of ergot is stimulated by certain atmospheric conditions: it grows best in overcast and damp weather. Epidemics have been linked to volcanic eruptions, particularly in Scandinavia; and the presence of nearby marshland or lakes is enough to moisten the air sufficiently to facilitate the growth of ergot [14]. To this we must add the simple fact that rye has long been the traditional, staple grain of Germany and Scandinavia; although ergot is by no means exclusive to that cereal. With that in mind, it may useful to note that the most commonly accepted interpretation of the controversial name Beowulf is 'Barley-wolf', which hints at the same theme, and adds the notion of the warrior as one who can change into a ravening beast, a lycanthropic transformation that is also expressed in the Norse term berserkr, 'bear-shirt'.

It is difficult to summarise this complex argument with clarity. The basic Indo-European (or even Eurasiatic) myth, of the dog that keeps watch over the realm of the dead, has been augmented by the peculiarly Germanic idea of the outlaw as wolf, and as a foredoomed sacrificial victim. The term warg may originally have applied exclusively to those guilty of desecrating buried corpses, or perhaps even those who killed in a cowardly manner. The latter, if the etymology of warg is any indication, may have been stranglers - in other words, those who killed by a method normally reserved for human sacrifice. Like those men who are argr, 'passive' homosexuals, the warg occupies a marginal position: just as one is a man who acts like a woman, the other is a man who legally is a wolf - and is also, it must be remarked, as good as dead in the eyes of his fellows. Such people are able to travel between the worlds of life and death, like the shaman. That these ideas came to grow together is shown in the Middle High German epic Eneide by Heinrich von Veldeke, who characterises Kerberos as both arg and warg:

Cerberus der arge
und alle sine warge
die an hem hiengem.

Kerberos the arg
and all the wargs
who follow him. [15]

The phenomenon of ergotism apes both the lycanthropic state of the warg and - thanks to the lysergic acid present in the growth - the journey to the otherworld. It also gives the victim an unpleasant precognition of the flames of the funeral pyre, the wall of fire that must be crossed to reach the land of the dead. As we have seen, this fire is itself characterised in one poem as a dog, and in German folklore the fungus that causes the foretaste is called a wolf, or the tooth of a wolf.

The liminal status of the dog, and its role as guardian, has been dealt with in more detail in Bob Trubshaw's Black dogs: guardians of the corpseways. It remains only to emphasise that this analysis underscores the argument presented there.

References

1: My translation.
2: H.R. Ellis (Cambridge, 1943), The Road to Hel, ch. 7.
3: My translation.
4: Bruce Lincoln (Chicago, 1991), Death, War, and Sacrifice: Studies in Ideology and Practice, ch. 7. All quotations are from p. 100.
5: Cited by Sam Newton (Cambridge, 1993), The Origins of Beowulf and the Pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia, p. 6.
6: Cited by Sam Newton (Ibid.), pp. 5-6.
7: Quoted by Mary R. Gerstein (Berkeley, Ca., 1974), 'Germanic Warg: The Outlaw as Werwolf', in G.J. Larson (ed.), Myth in Indo-European Antiquity, p. 132.
8: Katherine Fischer Drew (Philadelphia, 1991), The Laws of the Salian Franks, p. 118.
9: Gerstein (op. cit.), pp. 133-4.
10: Ibid., p. 134.
11: My translation.
12: Gerstein (op. cit.), pp. 153-4.
13: Mary Kilbourne Matossian (New Haven, 1989), Poisons of the Past: Molds, Epidemics, and History, pp. 11-12.
14: Ibid., pp. 13-14, 94-5
15: Quoted by Gerstein (op. cit.), p. 150.
16: Bob Trubshaw (Mercian Mysteries, 1994), Black dogs: guardians of the corpseways

Originally published in Mercian Mysteries No.20 1994.

Source: http://www.primitivism.com/hellhounds.htm
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Ghoulies and Ghosties and Three Legged Beasties and Things That go Bump in the Night

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:32 pm

In True Blood, there is a lot of the supernatural and paranormal going on. WHat is the difference you might ask? No much, but here goes:

Supernatural: The supernatural takes natural elements and give them a little something extra. For example:

Humans who are technically dead but still walking around sentient beings who interact with the natural world, which is our Vampires.

Humans who change shape and identity but are still sentient beings who interact within the natural world, which is our Shifters and Weres.

Humanlike creatures who live and exist in a separate plane of existence but come and go in the natural world. That is the Fae.

People or creatures who use energies from the natural world who can cause change in this world. That is the Fae and the Witches.

Paranormal is anything that is essentially normal but in an unusual context, like Sookie and her telepathy, and non-physical phenomenon that can only effect the physical world by inhabiting someone or something as a vehicle or borrow the energy of a living thing, using someone or something as a host or vehicle is in the case of ghosts.

So what is a ghost? The term ghost refers to the lingering spirit in the realm of the living. There are three types of hauntings:

Intelligent- These ghosts interact with you. They speak, touch, or otherwise occupy space with you.
Residual- These ghosts are simply a loop in time and space. They re-enact something they did in their lives but do not acknowledge you or changes in their environment. For example, if you live in an old house and the foundation has been raised or a door removed and a wall put up in its place, they may be seen to be up to their ankles in floor and bounding effortlessly through solid walls.

Possession- When a ghost inhabits a human and suborns their personalities, and replaces it with the personality of the ghost.

There are many reasons to haunt:

Unfinished Business- If a person dies in the midst of a task they may be trying desperately to complete it.
Revenge/Justice- The person may have died a violent death or was murdered or executed unjustly and are seeking relief.
Prophetic/Protective- They may be trying to tell you something or warn you or are simply watching over you.
Inability to move on- Some ghosts either don't know they are dead, or they know and they don't want to let go of life.
Disturbed- their resting place may have been desecrated or they may have been conjured out of the land of dead into the land of the living.

Where do ghosts haunt?

Places- Ghosts are famous for haunting places: Houses, graveyards, battlefields, hospitals, prisons, churches, crime scenes, just about anywhere the drama of life and death are played out.
People- People can be haunted. Like Ebeneezer Scrooge or the poor fellow in Poe's The Black Cat.
Things- Objects can be haunted, like Robert the Doll http://www.squidoo.com/dollrobert . Other things can be haunted as well: Clocks, cars, paintings, mirrors, any personal object can become haunted.

Ghosts vs Poltergeists

Paranormalists are at odds about what a poltergeist is. Poltergeist is German for "noisy ghost". The appearance of poltergiests usually accompany dramatic change or trauma like divorce, death, or even entering puberty. They are characterized by physical phenomenon like things being thrown around, electronics being turned on and off, loud bangs and voices.

For some, the poltergeist is a mischievous ghost who enjoys tormenting the living. For others they are nonsentient bundles of energy that are created by trauma. Some even subscribe to the belief poltergeist phenomenon is a purely reasonable reaction to what is commonly called a fear cage. A fear cage is created when you have a number of appliances along with a great deal of electrical wiring that give off extremely high electro magnetic energy fields that cause:

Paranoia
Stress
Fatigue/Sleep Deprivation
Depression/Anxiety
Hallucinations (audio and visual)

Paranormalists who believe poltergeists are true ghosts and not simply bundles of energy point out these symptoms are exactly what the poltergeist feeds from.

Our Relationship with Ghosts

We have a strange and very complex relationship with ghosts across a spectrum of cultures and belief systems. For some, ghost activity is proof of an afterlife. For others, the presence of ghosts is a sign some crime has been committed or some taboo ignored. Still others point to the use of necromancy which opens up the door between the living and the dead. It is this last but that opens people up to possession by the souls of the dead.

Possessions are hauntings plus. The possessing ghost doesn't just move in with you, they move in inside you and control your mind and body. Much like demon possession, these invading spirits of the dead can use you as a conduit into the physical world. Humans often fall into ghostly possession during times of stress, the use of drugs and alcohol, or dabbling in the occult.

In the early 18th century, the Swedish mystic and Theosophist, Emmanuel Swedenborg wrote extensively of the world of ghosts, which he called "The Others". Believed there were two distinct orders of ghost:

The High Order - Helpful, protective, instructive, friendly ghosts.
The Low Order- The malicious ghost.

Symptoms of Ghost Possession:

Hearing voices that urge action
Appearances that seem at first benign and become malignant.
Losing self or sense of self or losing time
Taking on a strange or non-typical persona
Criminal or immoral behavior
Levitation
Sexual assault or uncharacteristic sexual aggression.

Ghostbusters

How do you evict ghosts from your house, your head, your what nots? You call in either your pastor or priest or witch and have an exorcism or you send in your paranomalist and have them clean your house. All faiths have a form of exorcism. They might include:

Holy objects- Crosses, Rosaries, Statues, Pictures, Bibles, Holy Water
Protective Objects- Which can include holy objects but also things like salt, sage, candles, brick dust, herbs, crystals, stones, amulets, and charms.
Prayers- Formal Prayers, Spells, Incantations, Songs and even dance.

The house, grounds and people are blessed and protected and the ghost is called out and sent into the land of the dead and the portals are closed. This is the most important thing. It does you no earthly good to banish the spirit if you don't lock the door he came through

Sources:

The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Hauntings by Brad Steiger
The Spirit Book by Raymond Buckland
The Encyclopedia of Ghosts by Rosemary Ellen Guiley
The Paranormal Encyclopedia vol 1 and 2 by Facts on File
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Yemaya and Santeria

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:35 pm

Yemanja is an orisha, originally of the Yoruba religion, who has become prominent in many Afro-American religions. Africans from what is now called Yorubaland brought Yemaya and a host of other deities/energy forces in nature with them when they were brought to the shores of the Americas as captives. She is the ocean, the essence of motherhood, and a protector of children.

Because the Afro-American religions were transmitted as part of a long oral tradition, there are many regional variations on the goddess's name. She is represented with Our lady of Regla and Stella Maris.

• Africa: Yemoja, Ymoja, Yemowo
• Brazil: Yemanjá, Iemanjá, Janaína
• Cuba: Yemaya, Yemayah, Iemanya
• Haiti: La Sirène, LaSiren (in Vodou)
• USA: Yemalla, Yemana, Yemoja
• Uruguay: Iemanjá
• Dominican Republic: Yemalla or La Diosa del mar (sea goddess)

In some places, Yemaja is syncretized with other deities:

• Diosa del Mar
• Mami Wata
• La Sirene (lit. "The Mermaid")


Note: Yemeya is the mother of all mothers of Saint Lasado, she also is the spirit of water, and her favorite number is 7.

Africa

In Yorùbá mythology, Yemoja is a mother goddess; patron deity of women, especially pregnant women; and the Ogun river. Her parents are Oduduwa and Obatala. There are many stories as to how she became the mother of all saints. She was married to Aganju and had one son, Orungan, and fifteen Orishas came forth from her. They include Ogun, Olokun, Shopona and Shango. Other stories would say that Yemaya was always there in the beginning and all life came from her, including all of the orishas.

Her name is a contraction of Yoruba words: "Yeye emo eja" that mean "Mother whose children are like fish." This represents the vastness of her motherhood, her fecundity and her reign over all living things.
Yemaya is celebrated in Ifá tradition as Yemoja. As Iemanja Nana Borocum, or Nana Burku, she is pictured as a very old woman, dressed in black and mauve, connected to mud, swamps, earth. Nana Buluku is an ancient god in Dahomey mythology.

Brazil


Offerings to Iemanjá

The goddess is known as Yemanjá, Iemanjá or Janaína in Brazilian Candomblé and Umbanda religions.
The Umbanda religion worships Iemanjá as one of the seven orixás of the African Pantheon. She is the Queen of the Ocean, the patron deity of the fishermen and the survivors of shipwrecks, the feminine principle of creation and the spirit of moonlight. A syncretism happens between the catholic Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes (Our Lady of the Seafaring) and the orixá Iemanjá of the African Mithology. Sometimes, a feast can honor both.

In Salvador, Bahia, Iemanjá is celebrated by Candomblé on the very same day consecrated by the Catholic Church to Our Lady of Seafaring (Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes). Every February 2nd, thousands of people line up at dawn to leave their offerings at her shrine in Rio Vermelho.


Offering to Iemanjá

Small boat with Iemanjá image, flowers and gifts
Gifts for Iemanjá usually include flowers and objects of female vanity (perfume, jewelry, combs, lipsticks, mirrors). These are gathered in large baskets and taken out to the sea by local fishermen. Afterwards a massive street party ensues.

Iemanjá is also celebrated every December 8 in Salvador, Bahia. The Festa da Conceição da Praia (Feast to Our Lady of Conception of the church at the beach) is a city holiday dedicated to the Catholic saint and also to Iemanjá. Another feast occurs on this day in the Pedra Furada, Monte Serrat in Salvador, Bahia, called the Gift to Iemanjá, when fishermen celebrate their devotion to the Queen of the Ocean.

Outside Bahia State, Iemanjá is celebrated mainly by followers of the Umbanda religion.

On New Year's Eve in Rio de Janeiro, millions of cariocas, of all religions, dressed in white gather on Copacabana beach to greet the New Year, watch fireworks, and throw (white) flowers and other offerings into the sea for the goddess in the hopes that she will grant them their requests for the coming year. Some send their gifts to Iemanjá in wooden toy boats. Paintings of Iemanjá are sold in Rio shops, next to paintings of Jesus and other catholic saints. They portray her as a woman rising out of the sea. Small offerings of flowers and floating candles are left in the sea on many nights at Copacabana.

In São Paulo State, Iemanjá is celebrated in the two first weekends of December on the shores of Praia Grande city. During these days many vehicles garnished with Iemanjá icons and colors (white and blue) roam from the São Paulo mountains to the sea littoral, some of them traveling hundreds of miles. Thousands of people rally near Iemanjá's statue in Praia Grande beach.

In Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul State, on February 2, the image of Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes is carried to the port of Pelotas. Before the closing of the catholic feast, the boats stop and host the Umbanda followers that carry the image of Iemanjá, in a syncretic meeting that is watched by thousands of people on the shore.
Cuba and Haiti

She is venerated in Vodou as LaSiren.

In Santería, Yemayá is seen as the mother of all living things as well as the owner of all waters. Her number is 7 (a tie into the 7 seas), her colors are blue and white (representing water), and her favorite offerings include melons, molasses ("melaço" - sugar cane syrup), whole fried fishes and pork rinds. She has been syncretized with Our Lady of Regla.

Yemaja has several caminos (paths). At the initiation ceremony known as kariocha, or simply ocha, the exact path is determined through divination. Her paths include:

These paths are in Voodoo/Candomble.

• Ogunte: In this path, she is a warrior, with a belt of iron weapons like Ogun. This path lives by the rocky coastliness. Her colors are crystal, dark blue and some red.

• Asesu: This path is very old. She is said to be deaf and answers her patrons slowly. She is associated with ducks and still or stagnant waters. Her colors are pale blue and coral.

• Okoto: This path is known as the underwater assassin. Her colors are indigo and blood red and her symbolism includes that of pirates.

• Majalewo: This path lives in the forest with the herbalist orisha, Osanyin. She is associated with the marketplace and her shrines are decorated with 21 plates. Her colors are teals and turquoises.

• Ibu Aro: This path is similar to Majalewo in that she is associated with markets, commerce and her shrines are decorated with plates. Her colors are darker; indigo, crystal and red coral. Her crown (and husband) is the orisha Oshumare, the rainbow.

• Ashaba: This path is said to be so beautiful that no human can look at her directly.
In the Congo religions, such as Palo Mayombe, Palo Monte, Kimbisa and Briumba, she is known as Kalunga, Mà Lango or Madré D'Agua—Mother of Waters.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yemaja

Santeria Defined: A combination of religious traditions or beliefs that combines a similar African traditional religion. Santeria originated in the country of Cuba and Brazil. This religion is a combination of the traditional Yoruba faith and the worship of catholic saints.
Define Yoruba: Yoruban's are members of a West African Community based in the region of southwest Nigeria.

Define Orisha: An Orisha is spiritual being or presence that is interpreted as one of the manifestations of GOD (Olofi) within the Santeria Religion or faith.

Santeria or "La Regla Lucumm" as it's also known originated in the region of west Africa. "La Regla Lucumm" is the traditional faith of the Yoruba inhabitants. This religion sprung from the traditional slave trades that occurred in early days of the religion. The Yoruban natives were abducted from their country and unwillingly transported to the Caribbean countries of Cuba, Haiti and Brazil, Trinidad, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic among other Caribbean islands.

The Yoruba people were abducted and transported to these islands without regard for the beliefs, traditions or their lives but the abductors failed to realize that the inner faith and passion that was within the hearts of these people were very powerful and no abductors had control over their faith. These people brought with them their traditions, their souls and the powerful faith in their deities

When they arrived at their Caribbean destinations they were unwillingly baptized within the Roman Catholic Faith and forced to leave behind all of their traditional beliefs and practices. These people were resourceful, intelligent, committed and appreciative to their Santeria Religion that they managed to come up with a creative way to fuse and conceal their beliefs within the Roman Catholic Church by choosing a catholic saint and associating the Saint to each of the Orisha of their traditional practices.

There a several interpretations of the association and meaning of the "Orishas" within this religious practice of Santeria and the spiritual functions or gifts attributed to each:

ELEGGUA - Is recognized as the keeper of the roads and the world. He is the gatekeeper that stands in the path of life and the celestial grounds. He is the interpreter or median between the Orishas, Humanity and "Olorum", or in other words "God". When a member of this faith wants to pray they initially call upon his presence as he is the interpreter or the gatekeeper between humanity and the "Orisha". Eleggua has strong powers, without his authority nothing can be done in the celestial grounds or in the human society. Eleggua has several associations to Roman Catholic Saints. Two of the more common associations are the image to the left ( "El Nino de Atocha" or Saint Anthony). The colors associated to this orisha or spiritual figure are Black and Red and the number associated to him is the number three.

OLORUM - Is represented as the "Father" or God of the sky he is viewed as a God of tranquility, purity and harmony. He is normally and strongly linked with the color white and has power and control over all white elements such as the brain, bones, teeth, clouds and much more. He is known to be the spiritual father of Obatala and Odudua.

OBATALA - Is known as the parent of the Orishas and all human kind. This spiritual being is known to be the creator of the world and is a strong enforcer of justice. Obatala is strongly associated with characteristics of Wisdom, Peace, Moral, Compassion, Ethics and Purity. The saint he represents is "Our lady of Mercy" (Image to the left). The colors that are associated with him are white but he is above all other colors in the spectrum and the number associated to his paths is the number eight as he is the parent or creator of the Orishas and Human Kind. Obtatala has a number of "Caminos" or "Paths", eight of them are females and eight of them are males.

Obatala is a servant of the spiritual being known as "Olofi" and under his direction Obatala became the creator of mankind and the Orisha. Legend has it that Obatala took pleasure in drinking palm wine. One day he ingested too much wine while performing his fashioning of the bodies of those to be born. Many of his creations were born with deformities due to his consumption of the palm wine. Olofi punished Obatala for his mistakes and forbade him from drinking palm wine while performing his most important task. All those who were born with deformities are considered to be children of Obatala and ridiculing them is not permitted. One common group of people that are known to be children of Obatala are the Albinos. As we mentioned earlier Obatala rules over the color white. Obatala threw a mantle of white over his children to prevent evil from touching them. In the province of Haiti Obatala is known as Damballah.


YEMAYA - In Santeria Yemaya is the spirit of motherhood and is associated with the Ocean and the moon. She is commonly associated with "The Virgin of Regla" (Image to the left) and Mary (Star of the Sea). Yemaya rules over maternity in our lives. In the practice of Santeria she is seen as the mother of all. The name YEMAYA is a short version of "Yey Omo Eja" which stands for "Mother of Fish". This representation of Yemaya stands for all of the children that she has. Modern science has a theory that life began at the sea. When we are conceived we spend the first moments of our existence in our mothers wombs inside their amniotic fluids. We develop through all of the stages of maternal youth and transform from the Fetus stage form which can be viewed as a "fish" form and develop into human babies. Yemaya displays herself as the mother of all since she is the energy or power of all manifestations. Yemaya is like the oceans and the rivers she is deep and unknown but without a doubt caring and nurturing. Yemaya embodies all of the maternal characteristics and her colors are blue and white and her number is the number seven. She is also known to be the mother of all riches and the rules over the witches and secrets. She is viewed as the Orisha of mercy because she never betrays her children.

OYA - Oya is the overseer of the winds and the gatekeeper of the cemetery. She is the governor of the dead or the "Egun". She is a powerful warrior and embodies the natural forces of the Nigerian river, lightning and thunder. In the form of an animal she is viewed as the water buffalo and unlike other Orisha the water buffalo is not her familiar but her actual self. She is a shape shifter judging from her many manifestations. She provides her children or the people who worship her with the ability to change them selves. Her colors are maroon and white and the number nine is commonly associated which recalls her title of "Yansa" which translates to "mother of nine". she is a strong warrior and rides to battle by Chango or "Shang".
Oya loves to dance and is the only orisha who has the courage to confront the spirit of the dead. Her children offer her eggplant, hens, female goats, sheep, black horsehair, copper and red wine among a few other offerings. The common day to offer servings to Oya is on a wednesday. Her children wear read beads to represent her prescenge among them and her place within the home lies in the study or the library.
BABALU AYE - Babalu is the orisha name for St.Lazarus. When the word Bablu Aye is translated it means "Father of the World" so he is commonly referred to as Father of the world.

He is the Orisha who oversees all diseases and epidemics. In today's society many of his followers pray to him for health and in many cases for the solution to a deadly disease like HIV and AIDS. The colors associated with Babalu are Brown, Black and Purple and the number associated with him is the number 17. In this religion his followers offer him white wine, sesame seeds and candy in addition to a number of other servings.

Every Orisha has a date attributed to them in which the religion members offer servings and prayers. Babalu Aye's attributed date is the 17th of December and many of the people who practice this faith will hold vigils on the night before and await for his arrival. Some of his followers will wear the beads that are attributed to him and they will normally be blue bead with small white stripes across them.

In most cases people that are homeless, hurt, diseased, or those who have not been accepted by society are identified with Babalu. He is an educator in humility and responsibility. He has compassion for those who are faithful to him but will scold those that are not humble to the needs of others with fatal or unexplained sickness. You should always think twice before ridiculing or being disrespectful to someone who is unfortunate because it may be St.Lazarus or Babalu Aye in human disguise.

OCHOSI - Ochosi is normally associated with Saint Norbert. He is huntsman and represents heavenly justice and humanity. He works closely with Oggun to represent justice stability. He is a strong enforcer of perfection and he looks for "The Perfect" creature to present to the creator. He is represented by pureness and idealism and he is against all those who are rebels of justice and morality.

He is represented as a male of unearthly beauty. His is represented through the color violet. Everything that is attributed to a huntsman lifestyle is associated with Ochosi. From a machete, to a fishing gear, cross bow or any type of hunting materials.

His followers will celebrate his birthday on the 6ht of June and he is normally offered corn, palm oil, a goat, chickens, roosters, pigeons or any other type of hunting bird.

He is associated with individuals who are smart, intelligent, alert and creative. Family oriented individuals and those who are ambitious and love taking a shot at any opportunities or chances.

OGGUN - Effort and hard work are strongly represented by Oggun. He is attributed to the characteristics of violence, force and energy. He is an older spirit and is a sibling to Eleggua, Chango and Ochosi. As in many families he has many disagreements with his brothers. He is an ironworker for the Orishas and he works around the clock without any rest.

It has been said that he is a black handsome and strong man. He wears a green camisole and a palm frond skirt. He has also been known to carry a machete. He has a black dog by his side every second of time. He is known for his strong temper and is also said that he can be dangerous. There are several tools taht are attributed and represented by this Orisha: The Knife, The anvil, The pick, The chisel, The hammer, The Rake and The Spade and. These tools are kept in a black pot or cauldron. This black pot also holds 3 horseshoes. He is strongly associated with IRON but is also associated with work, minerals and metals.

His servants or followers provide offerings for Oggun on June 29th, his numbers are three and seven and his servants or followers will normally offer cigars, rum, toy cars, weapons, and toy airplanes.

CHANGO - Chango is probably one of the most recognized Orishas. He is represented by Fire, Thunder and Lightning. He has passion and virility. He is known to be a spirit of power and magnificent beauty and wisdom. Chango is courageous and a great witch. He is also a "flirt" or womanizer but also charming and very generous. Most of his followers will pray to him on his days of the week which are Friday and Saturday but most people will pray and serve him offerings on Fridays. He is mainly honored on December 4th which is also St.Barbara day within the Roman Catholic Calendar. Most of his followers will offer sacrifices of Roosters, Baby Bulls, Sheep, Pigs, Goats, Deer's, Rabbits and the Oxen. In the event a ritual to reverse a hex or curse is being performed a Horse is normally required to remove it or to change a predicted death.

His colors are white and red and the beads are made of 6 red beads followed by 6 white beads. Then the read bead will alternate with a white bad 6 times. This will be repeated until bead chain is complete.

Most people will place an image of St.Barbara and the African representation of Chango in the same altar because both idol Images have similar tools. A sword or a machete. With his weapons he can create or destroy anything he desires.

Santeria Dictionary and Terminology

• ABORISHA: Aborisha - is a common term that is used to refer back to the worshiper and the actual worship of the Orisha's.
• La Regla Lucumi: This is another term that is used to refer to the "Santeria"
• Macubma: A Synonym that is sometimes used to refer to "santeria", but it really refers to a group of Brazilian religions.
• Lukumi is also used; it is related to a Yoruba word meaning "friend". It is used to refer to both the religion and the practitioners of Afro-Cuban worship of the Orishas.
________________________________________


Dominican Culture: The 21 Divisions or La 21 Division
The name 21 division / 21 nacion (in haiti) is another way of saying vodou. Vodoun (be it hatian or dominican) consists of 21 divisions (like families and houses) of misterios (lwas or spirits). These divisions sort of give a feel of how these misterios act and also where they come from. For example the Division Rada - (which would be the division that has Anaisa Pye ... Belie Belcan ... Candelo Cedife ... Metrezili) are very cool misterios (meaning very close to god / pure / and some might say delayed with their reflexes) Division Petwo - Would be the division of hot ancestors like (Ezili Dantor ... Gran Bwa Ile ... Ti Jean etc...) these are very fierce fast acting .... sometimes uncontrolable spirits ... you have your Division Nago - Which is the Orisha de Youruba land (like ogun shango ... etc...) Division Ghuede - Which are the spirits of the cementary who are very sexual and funny (Ghuede V ... Ghuede N'himbo, Lubana (Santa Martha La Dominadora) etc
21 DIVISION

There is a very important loa of the "21 Divsion" that is known as San Miguel, Saint Michael or Belie Belcan. His birthday is on September 29th. His colors are red and green and he is a very old Loa or spirit.
When he takes possession of a "horse" otherwise a host or medium the body seems to hunch as if an old and short man has taken over, the right leg of the medium bends back and the spirit begins to limp as he is walking in the mediums body. After Belie enters the body his general salute will be "Bonsua a la Societe!" and "Mwen Se Belie Belcan" which translates into I am belie Belcan.

ANA ISA "PIE" OR "PYE"

Anaisa is one of the most famous and loved spirits or loa of the 21 divisions. Her feast/Birthday is on July 26th. Since she is the spiritual wife or partner of Belie Belcan (San Miguel) in all Dominican Voodoo or Voodun one would normally find Images of Saint Anne, Santa Ana or Anaisa Pie (Pye) next to the image of San Miguel, (St.Michael) the arch angel.

In her spiritual form when mounting a
caballo she is a very flirtatious and feminine metresa (metreza). In the Dominican Culture she is known as the spiritual queen of Love when she takes possession and normally arrives with great laughter and routyness. Her Colors are yellow and Bright Golds. When she arrives she puts on her Fula,Panuelo or (Kerchief) which would be a yellow or bright gold color.

After she dresses herself in the gold and yellow colors she will normally request some perfume and she drenches herself from head to toe and then back up.Afterwards, she ask for beer which is her drink of choice. And then she will ask for a cigarette and after this she is ready to consult. She loves to dance, laugh, drink and smoke. She loves everything regarding happiness, her parties or "fiestas de palo" are full of color and flowers.

"La 21 Division or 21 Divicion"

The "21 Divisions" or "La 21 Division" is a very interesting spiritual aspect of the Dominican Culture, Many of the spiritualist who follow these beliefs have a different perspective on certain parts and traditions of this spiritual culture.

The 21 Divisions are compiled of Archangels, Angels, Saints, and Benefactor Spirits that are guided by the "God".

The Benefactor spirits are the spirits that are mostly channeled through a 21 division "host" or "Caballo de la 21 divicion" as it is referred to in Spanish. These spirits receive instructions from the higher line of spirits that are refered to as Superior Spirits. These superior spirits instruct the benefactors to do the spiritual works in the Earthly Plain. That's why they are broken out by division, for instance: "Division Candelo" or "Candelo Division".
Candelo is a Saint that is Known as "Saint Carlos Boromeo" or "San Carlos Borromeo" and the following benefactor spirits compile his division and report to him:

• Candelo Sedife
• Candelo Ogunpanama
• Candelo Lafrunte
• Candelo Maralla
• Candelo Mucie
• La Candelaria
• Candelo Ogunfegallo.

I have compile this list by division of spirits for your information:

Baron Del Cementerio (San Elias) y Sus Gedeses (Guedeses)

All of the spirits below are benefactor spirits that are instructed and report to San Elias otherwise known as "El Baron De Cementerio" which translates to "The Man of the Cementery or Graveyard".

• Papabaon
• Baonsamdi
• Baonlacwa
• Bansumbi
• Gedeimbo
• Gedelui
• Gedelacwa
• Pringede
• Gedecayfu
• Gedevi
• Gedesito

San Santiago (Oggun Balenyo) is known as the leader of the 21 Divisions.The following spirits make part of the Ogun Balenllo Division - Other wise known as the division of "San Santiago" or "Saint Santiago".

• Ogun Balenllo
• Ogun Balagri
• Ogun Brise
• Ogun Panama
• Ogun Petro
• Ogun Fegai
• Ogun Batala

The host or Caballo receive the spirits, or as it's referred to in Spanish "Montar" which translates to "Ride the Host". Many people pretend to be half in a trance but there is no such thing, you are either fully impacted by the spirit or you are not. If you were not born to be blessed with the 21 Divisions than you should not say that you receive the spirits of any division.

http://www.santeriareligion101.com/
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Something Fishy in the State of Logrono

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:37 pm

Logrono, Spain was the center of the Basque witch trials. Though the people of Logrono were not Basque (a tribal group of people who are partly Spanish, partly French) the Spanish Inquisition and the auto de fe had a real witch hunt going. Here is a little something from Wikipedia, and I will do more research when I get home...

The Basque witch trials of the 17th century represent the most ambitious attempt at rooting out witchcraft ever undertaken by the Spanish Inquisition. The trial of the Basque witches at Logroño, near Navarre, in northern Spain, which began in January 1609, against the background of similar persecutions conducted in Labourd by Pierre de Lancre, was almost certainly the biggest single event of its kind in history. By the end some 7,000 cases had been examined by the Inquisition.

Although Logroño is not a Basque city, it was the setting for an Inquisition tribunal responsible for the Kingdom of Navarre, Alava, Gipuzkoa, Biscay, La Rioja and the North of Burgos and Soria. Among the accused were not only women (although they predominated), but also children and men, including priests guilty of healing with nóminas, amulets with names of saints. The first phase ended in 1610, with a declaration of auto-da-fé against thirty-one of the accused, twelve or eleven of whom were burned to death (five of them symbolically, as they had died before auto-da-fé).

Thereafter proceedings were suspended until the inquisitors had a chance to gather further evidence, on what they believed to be a widespread witch cult in the Basque region. Alonso Salazar Frias, the junior inquisitor and a lawyer by training, was delegated to examine the matter at length. Armed with an Edict of Grace, promising pardon to all those who voluntarily reported themselves and denounced their accomplices, he traveled across the countryside during the year 1611, mainly in the vicinity of Zugarramurdi, near the French border, where a cave and a water stream (Olabidea or Infernuko erreka, "Hell's stream") were said to be the meeting place of the witches.

As was usual in cases of this kind, denunciations flowed in. Frías finally returned to Logroño with "confessions" from close on 2,000 people, 1,384 of whom were children between the ages of seven and fourteen, implicating a further 5,000 named individuals. Most of 1,802 people witnesses retracted their statements before Salazar, attributing their confessions to torture. The evidence gathered covered 11,000 pages in all. Only six people out of 1,802 maintained their confessions and claimed to have returned to sabbaths.

In the stir of the events, proceedings were started in Hondarribia too (1611), some 10 km away from Zugarramurdi and 5 km from St-Jean-de-Luz, main hotspots of witchcraft allegations, against presumable female witches accused of casting spells on living creatures and meeting in Jaizkibel in akelarres led by a he-goat shaped Devil. Interestingly, according to evidence given by a witness as attested in the document, "the Devil summoned in the Gascon language those from San Sebastian and Pasaia, and in Basque those from Irun and Hendaye, addressing a few words to them..."

Although the belief in Basque witches was widespread among the Spanish populace, the Spanish Inquisition of the Basque Region was more inclined to persecute Protestants, Conversos (baptized descendants of Jews and Moors), and those who illegally smuggled banned books into Spain. As far back as 1538 the Council of Inquisition had warned judges not to believe all that they read in Malleus Maleficarum, the infamous witch-finding text. In March 1610, Antonio Venegas de Figueroa, the Bishop of Pamplona, sent a letter to the Inquisition in which he claimed that the witch hunt was based "on lies and self-delusion" and that there had been little knowledge of witchcraft in the region before the outset of the trials.

Contrary to the usual picture of the Inquisition, ready to believe all and every confession of wrongdoing, Salazar, the youngest judge in a panel of three, was also skeptical about the whole thing, saying that he had found no substantive proof of witchcraft on his travels, in spite of the manifold confessions. More than that, he questioned the whole basis of the trials. Because of this disagreement on how to proceed, the matter had to be referred to the Inquisitor-General in Madrid. The senior judges, Alonso Becerra y Holquin and Juan del Valle Alvarado, even went so far as to accuse their colleague of being "in league with the Devil". Some of Salazar's objections are remarkable, considering the atmosphere of the times, and are therefore worth quoting:

The real question is: are we to believe that witchcraft occurred in a given situation simply because of what the witches claim? No: it is clear that the witches are not to be believed, and the judges should not pass sentence on anyone, unless the case can be proven with external and objective evidence sufficient to convince everyone who hears it. And who can accept the following: that a person can frequently fly through the air and travel a hundred leagues in an hour; that a woman can get through a space not big enough for a fly; that a person can make himself invisible; that he can be in a river or the open sea and not get wet; or that he can be in bed at the sabbath at the same time... and that a witch can turn herself into any shape she fancies, be it housefly or raven? Indeed, these claims go beyond all human reason and may even pass the limits permitted by the Devil.

The Inquisitor-General appeared to share his view that confession and accusation on their own were not enough. For some time the central office of the Inquisition had been sceptical about claims of magic and witchcraft, and had only sanctioned the earlier burnings with considerable reluctance, and only because of the reported mood of panic from Logroño. In August 1614 it ruled that all of the trials pending at Logroño should be dismissed. At the same time it issued new and more rigorous rules of evidence, that brought witch-burning in Spain to an end, long before the Protestant North.

The background and circumstances leading to the events unleashed are not unknown to us, dismissing for the most part esoteric and magical approaches. In a wider context of religious persecution and conflict in the whole Europe, Catholic Church aimed at suppressing old popular customs and ways that could contend and question official ideology and manners. In the Basque Country, where the language provided a stronger shelter for old semi-pagan believes and against Church's authority and control, midwives and herbalists played an important role, besides holding a social status and carrying a popular wisdom that didn't go down well with the authorities.

The so-called sabbaths and akelarres may have been meetings out of reach of the official religious and civil authorities. The attendants to the meetings would eat, drink, talk and dance, namely party, sometimes all night long in the forest or caves, at times taking to consuming mind and spirit altering herbs and ointments.

It was reported that the witches of Zugarramurdi met at the meadow of Akelarre (Basque for "meadow of the he-goat"). Even today aquelarre is the Spanish word for a black sabbath. The village of Zugarramurdi holds the Witchcraft Museum highlighting the appalling events of the early 17th century, where the memory of the victim villagers is dignified.

Akelarre was a 1984 Spanish film by Pedro Olea, about these trials. Zugarramurdi now celebrates the witches with a feast by the cave on Midsummer's eve, June 23, the folk date for the summer solstice.

The Basque witch trials are also featured as a subplot in Season 4 of the HBO series True Blood, when the spirit of a powerful witch, Antonia Gavilán, fed upon tortured and condemned to death by vampire priests in the city of Logroño in 1610 takes possession of a modern-day Wiccan in order to exact revenge on vampires.

The Victims of the Logrono Witch Hunt

María de Echachute, burnt at the stake.
María de Echalecu, died in prison. Her bones were "relaxed to the secular arm".
Joanes de Echegui, died in prison. His bones were "relaxed to the secular arm".
María de Echegui, sentenced to confiscation her belongings and life prison. Freed later.
María de Endara, sentenced to confiscation of her belongings and life prison. Freed later.
Inesa Gaxen, their belongings were returned and she was indulted. Upon her return to Hondarribia, the local administration did not accept the Inquisition decision; she and her companions were banned to Hendaye.
Joanes de Goiburu, sentenced to confiscation of his belongings and life prison.
Miguel Goiburu, died in prison. His image was burnt at the stake.
Hernando de Golarte, Jesuit. He pleaded for many of the defendants.
Joanes de Iribarren, sentenced to confiscation of his belongings and life prison.
Petri de Joangorena, burnt at the stake.
María de Jureteguia, sentenced to confiscation of her belongings and life prison. Freed later.
Beltrana de Lafarga, sentenced to confiscation of her belongings and limited prison.
Joanes de Lambert, sentenced to confiscation of his belongings and limited prison.
Joanes de Odia, died in prison. His bones were "relaxed to the secular arm".
Estefanía de Petrisancena, died in prison. Her bones were "relaxed to the secular arm".
María Presona, sentenced to confiscation of her belongings and life prison.
Alonso de Salazar y Frías, inquisitor. His reports led to the practical suppression of witch burnings in the Spanish empire one century before the rest of Europe.
Joanes de Sansin, sentenced to confiscation of her belongings and life prison.
Domingo de Subildegui, burnt at the stake.
María de Telechea, sentenced to confiscation of her belongings and life prison. Freed later.
Graciana Xarra, burnt at the stake.
María de Zozaya, died from the tortures before the auto-da-fé. Her bones were "relaxed to the secular arm". The article quotes from the confession extracted by Alonso Becerra and Juan del Valle Alvarado.

The Basque Witch Burnings

Much is known about the witch hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries. In some countries, much of the original documentation survived in archives like the "Archivo Historico National" in Madrid, and these records have been used by people from different countries to describe the witch phenomenon. Most researchers say that the brutal burnings had been a terrible mistake, many of the witch persecutors in 1610 in the town of Logroño (Euskadi) were punished and later condemned for their acts. A few of the members of the Inquisition, were somewhat responsible, honest and courageous people, who were, however, not always able to control the excesses of some of their colleagues or of the local officials once the process was out of hand.



One critic of the witch craze during those days in the Basque country, was the Bishop of Pamplona, the influential Antonio Venegas de Figueroa. His investigations led him to believe that the witch hunt was almost entirely based on lies and self-delusion, and he sent a letter to the Inquisition in March 1610. After interrogating various people the bishop established that there had been absolutely no mention or knowledge of witchcraft before the persecutions started. "Before that time, the people had known nothing about witch sects or aquelarres or evil arts" (Henningson p.127). "The bishop had learned that uneducated and lonely people or people who deviated from the norm of their society, were the first to be supposed to be members of this secret group, where all the rules of society were inverted".

Inquisitor Alonso de Salazar Frias, one of the Inquisition's own scholars, who was sent to report about witchcraft, wrote in 1612: "There were neither witches nor bewitched until they were talked and written about" (Henningson, p.ix). So why did the church killed and tortured hundreds of innocent people? The church had kept Salazar's, the bishop's and similar reports secret and it was not until three centuries later that several of Salazar's (mislabled) submissions to the Inquisition were rediscovered by the American historian Henry Charles Lea, who used them in his book "Inquisition of Spain" (Henningson, p. 211-237). What was the reason for the church to continue the witch hunt for so many years when it knew very well that there never had been any witches or aquelarres as they described it? Most of the victims of the Inquisition in the Basque Country were women. Women with certain status and influence in society and government. In the other hand, the Inquisition in Spain, persecuted mostly Jewish and Morish men whom "were unwilling to convert to Catholicism". The word "aquelarre" comes from Basque akelarre, akela-arre, Akela (Priestess, witch) or Akel (Ram, male goat) and Larre (Place, reunion) "The witches' social (gathering)". I read somewhere, when I was doing the research for this paper, that the English word "witch" is taken straight from the Basque language; the first three letters of the verb itxuraldatu (to transform, to change shape) were used; itx, pronounced "itch" with a "w" stuck onto it to mask the Basque origin, I am not sure of this interpretation, but it is interesting. Changing shape was something that some "witches" themselves had admitted to do during questioning, whether this was possible or not. Women and witches were thought to change shape, as we can see inSITE97 installation "Rowing in Eden" at the Santa Fe Depot.

In Spain the burning of heretics had been on the decline in the late 16th century, and none had taken place since the "auto de fe" (act of faith) at Logroño in 1593. At that time, twenty-three cases had been prepared: six for Judaism, one for Muhammadanism, one for Lutheranism, one for bigamy, twelve for blasphemous or heretical utterances, and two for impersonating agents of the Inquisition. There were no witches around yet. The "auto de fe" had attracted many people to witness the event, but nothing compared to what was to come. The people who had been executed in 1593 had been punished for offenses which mattered little to the local population. The "auto de fe" of 1610 was very different. Fifty three people were to be sentenced, but eleven were condemned to die for witchcraft. In reality there were only six left alive, the other five had "died" in prison and were represented by effigies carried on long poles.

The peoples' response to the announcement of the new law ("auto de fe") had been astonishing to the church. The scene was described by the inquisitorial commissioner at Vitoria, the treasurer Pedro Gamiz:
"I can assure your Grace that never before have so many people
been gathered together in this town. It is estimated that over
thirty thousand souls have assembled here from France, Aragon,
Navarra, Vizkaya and parts of Castilla. The reason for such
enthusiasm was the publication of the announcement that the vile
sect of the witches was to be revealed at this "auto de fe" "
(Henningson p.184).

But Pedro Gamiz did not realize what he had witnessed. The attraction had been something totally different. The Tribunal sent another account of the "auto de fe" to the Inquisition's "La Suprema" on November 13:
"The people observed the deepest silence during the entire ceremony
and paid the greatest attention, and no untoward incidents of any
kind occurred. The "auto de fe" has been to the great edification of
the people. For all agree that never before have they experienced
anything more solemn, more strange, and more authoritative"
(Henningson p.194).

What these Inquisition members had witnessed was the last of the human sacrifices of the goddess religion in western Europe, at least that is how the local people saw it.

It appears that the Franciscans participated in the witch trials in a supporting or facilitating function by gathering or manufacturing evidence such as for the Logroño witch tribunal (in Euskadi), for which they interrupted their preaching crusade to present a "dressed toad" and pots of "witches' salve" as evidence of witchcraft (Henningson p.345). They were deeply involved in spying out potential witches and reporting them to the authorities. The Franciscans even tortured women extracting false confessions such as the one done by the monk Fray Juan de Ladron. He took part in the witch-hunt in Alava as one of the Inquisition's special emissaries. Three women were reported by him after the priest at Larrea, Martin Lopez de Lazarraga, had tied them by the hands and neck, assisted by de Ladron, who then threatened to take the women to the Logroño showcase witch-trial if they did not confess. They did confess but later told Salazar what happened. Lazarraga had been appointed inquisitorial commissioner and put into the head of one of the women the idea of accusing six uncooperative locals priests of witchcraft. At Logroño many people were tortured into admitting anything the monks told them to say. One of the women, Mariquita de Atauri, felt so bad after denouncing so many innocent people under torture that she drowned herself in the river near her house.

The main culprit in extracting the confessions was identified as the Franciscan Fray de Ladron later in the following trials. (Henningson p.292). The existing records, tell of many such cases where the Franciscans had the power to extract confessions and to report all to the witch tribunals, complete with samples of witches' ointments and toads.

When the Inquisition was established in 1231, the Dominicans were in charge of its organization and the execution of heretics. They created schools of theology at the Universities of Paris, Bologne, Oxford and Cologne to train monks. Especially in the mountainous regions, many people still believed in ancient goddess religions, guided by their priestesses. The Inquisition and the Dominicans concentrated on the Alps of northern Italy. To destroy the followers of the old goddess religions, the use of torture had been officially authorized by Pope Innocent IV in 1252. The monks were to extract admissions of heresy, sorcery and witchcraft from the people. The witch hunt in the Alps and southern Germany killed more people than in any other region.

The Order of the Dominican Mendicant friars collected old stories of the peoples' belief in magic. When the time was right for the witch hunt to begin, some of this stories were collected into the "Malleus Maleficarum", the witch hunter's handbook. The Dominicans trained and guided the judges of the Inquisition and wrote justifications why people should be so very cruelly put to death, in spite of the commandment: "Thou shalt not kill". They laid the entire blame for the existence of witches on the pre-Christian goddess religion where the specific purpose was the elimination of the last signs of women's power and control over a "male institution"

Pope Gregory IX instituted the papal Inquisition in 1231 for the apprehension and trial of heretics. In 1478 Pope Sixtus IV authorized the Spanish Inquisition to combat apostate former Jews and Muslins, and the heretic Alumbrados. This inquisition was so severe that Sixtus IV tried to interfere but the Spanish crown forced the pope to give up his efforts. In 1483 he authorized a grand-inquisitor for Castile, a few months later one for Aragon, Valencia and Catalonia. The person responsible for organizing the Inquisition in Spain, the Dominican Tomas de Torquemada, is regarded as the most effective and cruel witch hunter:

Open hunting season was declared on women, especially herb gatherers, midwives, widows and spinsters. Women who had no man to supervise them were of course highly suspicious. It has been estimated by Dr. Marija Gimbutas, professor of archaeology at the University of California, that as many as 9 million people, overwhelmingly women, were burned or hanged during the witch-craze. "For nearly 250 years the Witches' Hammer was the guidebook for the witch hunters, but again some of the inquisitors had misgivings about this book. In a letter dated November 27, 1538 Salazar advised the inquisitors not to believe everything they read in Malleus Maleficarum, even if the authors write about it as something they themselves have seen and investigated (Henningson p.347)".

The Jesuits were the educators and confessors of the leading men of France and Spain and were highly respected. Many of them were of Basque origin, which made them ideally suited to communicate with the thousands of Basque refugees who had fled the brutal French witch hunt and trials, ordered by King Henry IV of France. They had fled across the border to Spain because at least half of the women had been accused by witch-hunter de Lancre of being witches. The Jesuits do not appear to have had any part in the witch-hunt, but instead they mediated, interviewed, observed, reported, translated, helped and advised where this was necessary. It appears that their good services were mainly responsible for the fact that the Basque language is still spoken today, one of the targets of the Inquisition was the Basque culture and the language, just like it was for Francisco Franco in the 1930's. My farther and grand-father witnessed the bombing of Gernika by Franco and the German army, the German army and Franco are gone, and we still have our culture.

http://www.dametzdesign.com/logrono.html

The Witches of Zugarramurdi: The Basque Witch Trials

In the 1600s, this Basque village's population was terrorized by the Inquisition, hysteria and charges of witchcraft. Pierre de Lancre presided over the persecution.

The Reign of Tyranny

Rosemary Ellen Guiley, The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, (Checkmark Books 1993) wrote about the persecution of alleged witches in a small European village. The Supreme Inquisition, a Roman Catholic council dedicated to finding and persecuting heretics including witches, appointed Dom Juan Valle Alvarado in charge of the investigation of witchcraft in Zugarramurdi. It took him several months to suspect almost 300 adults as being witches. He decided that forty of them were guilty and sent them to Logrono for trials. No one, not even children, were safe from being under suspicion.
The Trials of the Accused

There was testimony that the witches had a hierarchy. At the head of this were the senior witches. These were followed by second grade initiates who mentored novices. The first grade initiates cast spells and made poisons. Children who were recruits were forcibly taken to Sabbats which included tykes who were less than five years old. Those older than five were told they would get treats or given false promises. Older novices were getting ready to renounce Christ. Initiates had done so. All of the witches were said to have worshipped an ugly repulsive looking devil.

During the renunciation rite, novices were presented to devils and renounced God, Virgin Mary, the saints, rites of baptism and confirmation, parents and grandparents. Then, they kissed the devil’s posterior and he put a mark on the novice, allowing the blood to be gathered in a bowl. A toad’s shape was branded into the pupil of an eye.
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Initiates were given, as slaves, to a master. The devil gave masters silver that had to be spent in twenty-four hours. It disappeared if not spent. The initiates were given toads as familiars and told how to use them for evil purposes. After completing a trial period, the initiate has complete control of the animal and was allowed to make poison.

Children who were recruits were given many toads and were, in turn, given to instructors.

The witches allegedly gathered in a huge underground cave that had a river, the stream of Hell, flowing through it. They met on Friday nights and held special services on nights before Christian holidays. The devil gave sermons at these.
Read This Next

Conceptions of Witchcraft
Malleus Maleficarum: How to Torture a Witch
The Hanging of George Burroughs

The accused witches turned themselves into animals to scare and hurt other people. They poisoned crops while chanting. Generally this was done during the autumn south winds that were called the wind of the witches. They raised storms. They poisoned people and animals. They kidnapped children at night and ate them. Some were accused of being vampires.
The Outcome

Of the forty originally accused witches, eighteen confessed and were given salvation. Six were burned at the stake. Five had died during the trials and were burned in effigy along with those put to death. There was no mention of what happened to the rest.

Accounts vary about how many Basque deaths Pierre de Lancre was responsible. Estimates range from 400 to over 600. He did not spare children.

Rosemary Ellen Guiley Witches Wicca and Witchcraft

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Sookie's Take on the Supernatural World

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:39 pm

From the Sookie Companion

VAMPIRES, TWO-NATURED AND FAIRIES, OH MY!
SOOKIE DISCUSSES THE CREATURES SHE’S MET

The last couple of years have been one big learning curve. I got nothing against
change. Considering I wasn’t a happy camper before I met my first vampire, I have
to say that change is a good thing. Some days I just feel like I have learned as much
new stuff about the world as I can handle. However, so far I’m coping.

There is one real positive thing about my hometown of Bon Temps, Louisiana:
Though it isn’t all that big, it can sure adapt.

Back in high school we were studying Shakespeare, and there was this quote in
Hamlet that seems to describe the last few years: “There are more things in heaven
and on earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Everyone trots that
out in bad horror movies, but there’s a reason for that. It really does say it all.

I always thought that life, and society, wouldn’t change in my little corner of
Louisiana. That was before the whole world got shocked one evening when we
found out that vampires were real and not just something that you saw in cheesy
late-night movies.

Two years later, a real vampire walked into my life one night in Merlotte’s and
pulled me smack-dab into the middle of his world. There are times that I wish I had
not been working that night, but I know it would have happened one way or
another.

THE VAMPIRES

I love the sun. I felt so sorry for vampires when I really considered what it
would mean to live your life in the darkness—to never see the blue sky, watch
butterflies, see a hummingbird at a feeder . . . just enjoy the day. And some
vampires haven’t seen the light of day for over a thousand years. A thousand years
of night! It’s hard to wrap my mind around.

And all the time they kept their existence as secret as they could. They’d still be
skulking around picking off humans if some Japanese scientists hadn’t managed to
create a form of synthetic blood that was just like the real stuff; in fact, in English
they named one brand TrueBlood. I figure there were probably stories in the
newspaper or on television about this product when it was getting approved for
the market, though I don’t remember seeing any.

But the vamps were all over it. It gave them the impetus they needed to start
networking, trying to form a plan to coordinate their entrance into the modern
world. After a lot of palaver, they decided to, as they say, “come out of the coffin”
to let us know they are here and have been here for a long time. The vamps were
very anxious to present themselves as no threat to the normal human population.

They wanted everyone to know that they were the person next door—except for
the “not going out in the day” thing, the fangs problem, and the blood addiction.
They downplayed that part, emphasized the “not Eurotrash in a tuxedo” aspect.

A lot of vampires, like my ex-boyfriend Bill Compton, wanted to
“mainstream,” to live as much like humans as possible. That presented a few
problems ; when you can only go out at night, you can’t exactly be running a Main
Street shop. But they all seem to manage to make a dollar or two; that’s the
American way, isn’t it? Bill invests in real estate and does computer programming;
my current love interest, Eric Northman, owns the vampire bar Fangtasia over in
Shreveport. I know there are vampire strippers and builders, and it wouldn’t
surprise me in the least if there’s a vampire private detective or electrician. There
are a lot of tandem partnerships—someone does the job during the day; someone of
the fanged persuasion takes over at night.

A few of the countries around the world went wacky and killed all the vamps
they could get their hands on. But the good old U.S. of A. was always a melting pot,
so we figured they were just another minority wanting a new home, a dangerous
minority if pressed the wrong way, but still one that wanted the same freedoms as
the rest of the people in this nation. There’s been a lot of arguing about whether
vampires should have equal rights with humans; even if they get them, there will
always be people opposed to the idea.

Oh, things weren’t all just hunky-dory once the vamps had stood up and said,
“We’re here.” It didn’t take folks too long to find out that vampires’ blood is almost
a narcotic for humans plus helps injured people heal faster. (I know that last part
from personal experience.) Since America’s the land of free enterprise, before much
time had passed scumbags were lining up to make money pushing vampire blood.
And the vampires weren’t willing donors. Teams developed methods to subdue
vamps and drain them. And if you drain too much blood from vampires and leave
them out in the open, they die, usually from exposure to the sun. That first night
that Bill came into Merlotte’s, I had to save him from a couple of Drainers who had
trapped him outside the bar.

The humans who prey on vampires don’t care who they sell the blood to or
how diluted or old it is. The addicts or recreational vamp-blood users can go stark
raving mad when they drink the stuff dealers sell. And blood dealers have a short
shelf life. Both the mainstream vamps and the rogues love to pick off the dealers.
I’m not sure what’s worse: knowing that there are Drainers out there or
knowing about the rogue vampires. A rogue is a vamp who refuses to live by the
rules that the human population has laid down. When the other vamps find out
about one, it’s up to the sheriff of the area to deal with him. Eric is very thorough
and isn’t bothered all that much if he has to put an end to a rogue. Rogues are bad
for business.

Of course, since there are humans who live off preying on vampires, there are
humans who live to be preyed on by vampires—fangbangers. They get off sexually
from letting vampires feed on them. I’ve heard that some of them get off erotically
from just being in the same room as a vampire. But loving to have your own blood
taken is just as dangerous as taking vampire blood yourself. Even if you’re in a
committed relationship, like I was with Bill and am now with Eric, the vampire has
to be very, very careful about how much blood he takes.

The big problem with the fangbangers is that they can get really addicted to the
bite and will keep coming back for more and more frequent feedings with any
vamp they can attract. If the vampire isn’t careful, and some of them aren’t, the
fangbanger ends up being accidentally drained or even turned.

You can’t be born a vampire. There’s only one way to become one. A human
being has to be “turned” by a vampire, the way Bill was by that bitch Lorena.
Bill told me it isn’t easy to make a new vampire. The victim has to be drained of
blood at a single sitting or over a period of no more than three days, till he’s almost
at the point of the true death. Then the sire has to donate most of his or her own
blood to the prospective vampire. After that, it can take up to three days in the dark
for the whole change to occur, and it doesn’t always turn out right. Sometimes the
vampire-to-be doesn’t make it. Sometimes they have to be destroyed, they’re so
damaged. If the baby vampire survives, it’s the obligation of the sire to teach the
child how to be a good vampire.

Just like a newborn child, the newborn vampire is hungry and doesn’t have a
lot of control over his or her baser instincts. Amelia and I had firsthand experience
with this when a shapeshifter named Jake Purifoy turned into a vampire and rose
in a closet in my cousin Hadley’s apartment. We got lucky. We were able to call the
vampire cops, who could control him during his hunger pangs.

That’s another reason the accidentally flipped fangbangers usually don’t
survive. Not many older vampires are willing to take responsibility for controlling
and educating the new vamp.

I’m always astonished when I read about someone who wants to become a
vampire. There are actually people who are willing to give up the daylight for the
night, who have no problem with the idea of watching all their loved ones wither
and grow old. I guess they want the enhanced speed and strength and the glamour
ability more than they want their human life. Are they just scared of dying? I don’t
understand it. A wooden stake through the heart will take them out in a jiffy.
They’re not stake-proof, and a beheading will end anyone’s existence, vamp or
human.

It’s true that a vampire cannot cross the threshold of a private home uninvited
—the resident has to say the express words to allow the vamp to enter. Even more
interesting, that permission can be revoked, rendering a home safe from vampire
intrusion. I’ve had a little fun with that rule myself in the past, and it’s good to
know that it works.

All in all, there are times that I regret ever setting eyes on a vampire, or even
seeing a six-pack of TrueBlood at the convenience store, but in the end you have to
adapt to the world around you. I’ve become pretty good at adapting.

THE TWO-NATURED

When the vampires let people know that they were real, everyone thought that
the world had been turned upside down. Heck, the first time I met an actual
vampire, my universe did turn upside down. Of course, I fell in love with him. If I
hadn’t, my life might have stayed on more of a predictable path.

Finding out shortly thereafter that some people can change themselves into
other creatures was another serious shock. My favorite boss, Sam Merlotte, was the
first person I saw in both forms.

There are apparently two kinds of the two-natured: shifters, who can change
into any type of animal, and weres, who change into only one animal. By far the
most numerous clan is the werewolves, and they’re so proud of that that they just
refer to themselves as Weres, with a capital W. Of course, in the strictest sense,
they’re all shapeshifters. They can change their physical form. But you wouldn’t
ever hear a Were refer to himself as a shapeshifter, and Sam would never call
himself a were-anything.

Within those two big divisions, there’s a caste. You’re either bitten or born. If
you’re born, you’re the child of two pure-blooded two-natured humans. And
you’re the first child of that particular pair. Your little brother or sister won’t be
able to change. If you’re bitten, you had an unfortunate encounter with a twonatured
individual when he or she was in animal form, and you got (of course)
bitten. Most often, that won’t take, and you’ll be fine. But if it does take, you’ll start
feeling weird at the full moon. You’ll assume a half-human, half-animal form when
the moon is up. (Think Lon Chaney Jr. in The Wolf Man.) You’ll maintain your
health and vitality longer than your regular human buddies, but sad to say you
probably won’t live as long.

Sam’s a pureblood shifter, so he can change into any kind of animal form,
though he prefers that of a dog. Most shifters tend to stick to a form they’ve become
comfortable with, like a favorite shirt or a pair of shoes that fits just right. But Sam
makes a great lion, let me tell you.

The wolves are a lot more secretive than the vampires. Let’s face it—not having
to sleep in a coffin and remain unseen during the day lets them blend in a lot easier.
I know a lot of Weres, and I’m still finding out things about them. If someone had
told me there is a hidden shapeshifter bar in Shreveport, I would have thought they
were nuts, which is probably the pot calling the kettle black, if you stop and think
about it. Quinn took me to a drinking establishment called the Hair of the Dog, and
it’s not a place for the fainthearted.

Most wolves group together in packs, with the strongest taking the role of
packleader, a position that must be defended against challengers. I’ve been around
Shreveport’s Long Tooth pack mostly, and it certainly isn’t a democracy. What the
packmaster says goes. And if the packmaster needs backing up, the pack enforcer
steps in.

There are some negatives to dating one of the two-natured, though the facts
that they can go out in the sun and are physically warm are huge plusses as far as
I’m concerned. But the icky part is that the necessity to keep breeding true can
dominate mating choices. And if you’re a rare breed, like a weretiger or a
werepanther, you’re kind of obliged to seek out a same-breed mate of the opposite
sex and try to have a baby. Take Hotshot, for example. It’s a tiny enclave way out in
the boondocks, and the werepanthers who live there form a nearly closed society.
Breeding true is all the more important because the two-natured have a high
mortality rate. So the leader of a pack is required to have children with as many of
the pureblood women in his group as possible. I found this out from Calvin Norris
when we were semiromantically involved for a while. As much as I thought I might
care for him, this secret breeding program was something I couldn’t handle. I’m the
sort of woman who wants her husband home in bed with her, not out having kids
with the nice lady down the street.

The two-natured young start manifesting their abilities when they hit puberty,
as if teenagers don’t have enough problems already. According to what I’ve been
told, the kids are mentored and taught how to handle both the physical and
emotional changes that their condition entails.

Sometimes, though, shapeshifters will find that they have to mentor a nonchild.
That’s what happened with my brother, Jason, though there are times when (with
the way he acts) you’d think he was a prepubescent kid. After he got involved with
Calvin’s niece Crystal, one of her werepanther ex-boyfriends took it into his head
that the only thing that attracted her to Jason was that he was a full human. So he
decided to turn Jason into a werepanther and win Crystal back that way—which,
by the way, didn’t work. This transformation is not an easy thing to go through, but
my big brother survived. In fact, after the first time he changed, Jason described it
as “the most incredible experience” of his life.

Go figure.

THE FAIRIES

Just when I thought I had things figured out, with the vampires and the
shapeshifters and all, I ended up having everything turned upside down again.

I found out that fairies are real; and no, I’m not talking trash about gay guys. I
am talking about fairies—you know, those guys with the pointed ears? They’re
actually a lot like the elves in The Lord of the Rings. I’m sorry, but Tolkien got them
wrong. You don’t want to meet a real elf. They can take off your hand with one
bite.

Unlike vampires and shapeshifters, fairies aren’t actually from the world we
know. They come from a world that is pretty darn close to ours but is separated by
some kind of magical barrier; at least, that’s the way I understand it. This world is
called Faery, and all the . . . well, the creatures that live in it are the fae. Fairies are
only one branch of the fae, but they’re the most populous and the most humanlike
in form.

I’ve met elves, demons, and goblins. You don’t want to know them, though Mr.
Cataliades, the mostly demon lawyer, is an okay guy.

Why am I interested in the fairies? I found out that my brother and I are part
fairy. Out of nowhere my great-grandfather Niall Brigant invited me to dinner in
Shreveport. He explained that his half-human son had been my grandfather and
that he wanted to get to know me better; after all, we were family. Now I’m pretty
sure that explains my being able to read minds.

He wasn’t the first fairy I met. That was Claudine Crane, six feet tall and dropdead
gorgeous, who turned out to be my fairy godmother. She definitely was not
one of those fairies in a kid’s story; you know the kind I’m talking about, small,
winged things that giggle and dart around like a demented firefly? No, Claudine
wasn’t one of those; she knew magic, but she knew sex appeal as well and didn’t
hesitate to use it. There wasn’t an eye, male or female, that didn’t look up and
notice her when she walked into the room. Though she didn’t tell me so, Niall had
sent her. Claudine was a full fairy, and she was also my cousin.

Magic is part of the very nature of the fae, and although they might all have the
ability, it can manifest differently in each branch. Kind of like the way we humans
have the same basic bodies but wildly different talents and capacities. I wonder if I
should even be saying “we” anymore. Can I include myself with humans, since I’m
part fairy? That’s something I’ve got to give some thought to.

Claudine said that the fae live a very long time, but they’re not immortal; they
just don’t age at the same rate that humans do. I don’t think that fact really sank in
until I met my great-grandfather. He doesn’t look much older than late fifties or
early sixties, and he’s been alive for centuries, maybe even millennia. The fairies
don’t keep track of time very well.

Not all that many of the fae actually live in our world for any extended period.
Most of them prefer to stay away because of iron. That stuff is to them like
Kryptonite is to Superman; oddly enough, so is lemon juice. I’m not a scientist, but
that allergy seems a little weird to me. However, I went to school with people who
were allergic to things like eggs and peanuts, so why not? Of course, that also
means that a squirt gun full of lemon juice is an effective weapon against them.

I wonder if I could go to the world of the fae for a visit? I doubt I would be very
well received. Most of those who reside in Faery look at humans as if we were an
insult to their own wonderfulness. But a few fae choose to live on earth because
humans are full of energy and emotions of a type that they can’t enjoy anywhere
else. Claudine’s twin Claude lives among us, and Claudine did until her death.

Some fairies enjoy finding humans to mate with. Though these unions seldom
result in a pregnancy, some do. The resultant kids have a compelling quality and
sometimes strange abilities. Though it makes me squeamish to think of Gran and a
fairy, I’m glad she was able to have my father and my aunt Linda.

The gateways, or portals, into Faery are hidden away in a number of places
around the world, and those locations are guarded jealously. I can take a few
guesses on general locations based on things that my great-grandfather and
Claudine have said. The fae don’t like extremes in temperature, so I doubt that
there will be any portals off in Siberia or down in Central America somewhere.
I know there’s a portal in the woods in back of my house.

The biggest danger for fairies who choose to reside in the human world—
beyond even iron or lemon juice—is vampires. They find the very presence of a
fairy intoxicating, and if they have the chance to drink the blood of a fairy, it’s an
orgy of sensation for the vamp. So it’s not always fun to see them in the same room
together. Thankfully, I’ve never been pushed into having to choose between the
vampires I know and my cousins who are fae.

God willing, I never will be.
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Re: Mythology and the Sookie Books

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:40 pm

We already have quite a bit on this thread regarding werewolves and lycanthropy but I recently ran across this bit from an old Book of Shadows. A Book of Shadows is simply where a witch would document her spells and what worked and didnt as well as any recipes for healing and the results ,ect.

It goes a little something like this:

From the Chapter in family BOS Totems and Omens

Out in the misty dark forest
by the pale full moon
comes the howl of the wild wolf
as midnight looms

It floats on the night wind
like a feather flying free
It warns of a man's transformation
by lycanthropy.

By; Lady Purrwittle


Now I dont have a date for this so I dont know how old it is, and its obviously not a charm against them or anything like that. What it is tho is an interesting foray into how the knowledge and idea of existance is brought up in such a book. The author, altho I dont know much about her is from the Louisiana area, so its quite fitting for our True Blood forum. I can easily imagine being deep in the swamp at night and hearing sounds and thinking of this. Sends bits of shivers I think.
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Vampire Forensics

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:41 pm

By Mark Collins Jenkins

So I spent the afternoon reading this book. If you were a person who did not have access to our Mythology thread, so chock full of info this book would be indispensable to you. But, as it is, there were some bits we did not have so I post these precious bits for your education and entertainment.

The Social Status of Monsters

- Vampires are Upper Class....they are the aristocrats who are rich, powerful and sexually alluring
- Werewolves are Middle Class....Simple, bestial and lacking in self control....
- Zombies are Lower Class...They are the mindless rabble the trailer trash of the monster world.

A Rose by any other Name

Nosferatu, the classical gothic name of Vampire translates from the Greek Nosophorus meaning Plague Bringer.

The Chewing Dead- or Nachzehrer- A ghoulish finding where the "body" has been evidenced to have eaten its shroud and the tips of its fingers before members of the dead person's family begin to die. To stop the chewing ghost, you must fill their mouths with dirt or a stone or brick.

Speaking of Plagues:

Rabies was known as the Vampire disease. Louis Pasteur observed rabies infected humans in his work to make a vaccine and he found that rabies afflicts the entire mental process, to include sleep cycles, sex (victims were observed having sex as often as 30 times a night) and abnormal eating and drinking behavior.

Porphyria causes light sensitivity, lesions, bloody urine, feces, semen, and tears and sweat. It cause gums to recede and make teeth appear more prominently in the mouth, grow hair in places where it is not normal and create an intolerance for garlic, which inhibits the production of heme, the stuff that makes you blood red (which porphyria is an over production of)

Consumption Lust is a period of recovery seen in patients with tuberculosis where in they regain their health and strength and appetite for food and drink and a remarkably ponderous lust before relapsing into their final illness.

In Eastern Europe, where Vampire stories were rife, the dead were often held for 40 days in a charnel house and prayed over til it showed signs of decomposition and made unsuitable for habitation by the ghost of a Vampire.

The Divine Mr. D

Dracula and Vampires are universally seen as gods (You are a Viking Vampire God!!!) demanding the lives of humans as a sign of faithfulness. (Can you give me Sookie Stackhouse? That would make a fine tribute) "The girls you love are mine already," - Dracula. He is also the first of his kind in literature: The Sexual Predator.

The Sensitive Vampire

The first good guy Vampire is the improbably named Varney the Vampire. (Bill? Your name is Bill?) and he goes through various adventures in his Edwardian serial "chap books" including killing Oliver Cromwell to free England. (Varney is very patriotic) helping Charles II avoid assassination by other Vampires, and falling in love with and accidentally making his first human true love Clare Crofton Vampire. He says of himself: "Until then I had crushed my doe eyed pity for humans until I created Clare in my own image, and once my human feelings were reborn in my breast and I feel remorse for condemning her,"

Varney is also the first Vampire to suggest you could resurrect a Vampire who has already met the true death. To avoid his own re-resurrection, Varney flings himself into Mt. Vesuvius.

It's all your fault...You are to blame

The Vampire as scapegoat is a particular role it plays, along with werewolves and witches for the ill luck villages and its people experience. Plagues and bad growing years and other troubles were often blamed on Vampires and weres and witches and these creatures were most often associated with certain groups of people or cultures or religions or any other social minority. (a characterization we still see today in stories like the Southern Vampire Mysteries and True Blood)





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Angelica Root

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:47 pm

Angelica Root


Its virtues are praised by old writers, and the name itself, as well as the folk-lore of all North European countries, testifies to the great antiquity of a belief in its merits as a protection against contagion, for purifying the blood, and for curing every conceivable malady. Angelica was associated with many Pagan festivals, and after the introduction of Christianity, the plant became linked with some angelic lore as well. According to legend Angelica was revealed in a dream by an angel to cure the plague. Another explanation for the name is that it blooms on the day of Michael the Archangel (May 8, old style) and is on that account held to be a preservative against evil spirits and witchcrafts of spells of all kinds, being also called "the root of the holy ghost".

Angelica is considered a root of magickal feminine power in the African voodun traditions. Angelica is used in a number of spells to bless newborns, protect against unruly, hurtful men, and protect and purify the home against enemies and unquiet spirits.

In America it was used by the Iroquois and other tribes as Witchcraft Medicine, an infusion of smashed roots was used as wash to remove ghosts from the house.

Use in protection and exorcism incense, and also carry the root in a pouch as a protective talisman. Add to bath to remove hexes. Smoking the leaves can cause visions. Angelica protects by both creating a barrier against negative energy, and by filling it's user with positive energy. Removes curses, hexes, or spells that have been cast against you. Enhances the aura, giving a joyful outlook. Relieves tension headache, diuretic, beneficial to the stomach and digestion. Relieves buildup of phlegm due to asthma and bronchitis. Use with caution- Large doses can negatively affect blood pressure, heart, and respiration. If pregnant, can cause miscarriage.

The majestic Angelica is a prime protector against all manner of demons and diseases, in short, a shield against all evil. It also gives courage and brings calm to those pained by fear and anxiety. Like a guardian angel, angelica provides inner strength and guidance. It promotes self-confidence and radiates a glow of health and happiness.

Marlene Ericksen Healing with Aromatherapy, (2000)
Maud Grieve Modern Herbal Vol I & II 1931
Gladstar, Rosemary Herbal Healing for Women (1993)
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail70.php
http://www.altnature.com/gallery/angelica.htm
http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/magickalherbs.htm
http://www.starchild.co.uk/products/6564_3474_angelica-root-organic.aspx
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Judaism and Kosher Laws and Vampires

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:49 pm

Published 11:29 28.09.11
Latest update 11:29 28.09.11

Love thy vampire, kosherly
Like European myths of the time, medieval Jewish tradition includes stories about bloodsuckers, but with a unique Jewish moral perspective.
By Admiel Kosman Tags: Jewish World


The TV series "True Blood" has been so successful that only "The Sopranos" rivals it. "True Blood" is about a world of imaginary creatures. Particularly strange is the vampire world parallel to human society.

The series, based on a series of novels by American writer Charlaine Harris, involves a scientific breakthrough: the Japanese invention of synthetic blood, which enables vampires to integrate into human society, since they no longer need pose a threat.

Vampire tales in general sprung from ancient Slavic myths about dead people who rose from their graves seeking "blood transfusions" from the living. These myths were the basis for Bram Stoker's 1897 novel "Dracula," which paved the way for a large number of vampire films and books, including Harris' "Southern Vampire Mysteries" series.

Many people have noted that the vampire legends could be a metaphor for spiritual energies that have not undergone sublimation and are "buried alive" in the subconscious - our dark past, which repeatedly rises "from the grave" and "sucks" away our life force.

Such legends influenced Medieval European Jews along with their neighbors. But Christian-European attitudes toward those vampires are very different than those seen in "Sefer Hasidim" (Book of the Pious ).

Many of the Christian-European stories describe vampires as evil and abusive. On the other hand, a source within "Sefer Hasidim" (which was written mostly by Rabbi Judah Hehasid in 12th and 13th-century Germany ), says: "There was one woman who was an estrie [a bloodsucker, perhaps from a word meaning 'disturbance' or 'danger'] and she was very sick and there were two women with her at night; one was sleeping and one was awake. And the sick woman stood up and loosened her hair and she was about to fly and suck the blood of the sleeping woman. And the woman who was awake screamed and woke her friend and they grabbed the sick estrie, and after this she slept. And moreover, if she had been able to grab the other woman, then she, the estrie, would have lived. Since she was not able to hurt the other woman, the estrie died, because she needs to drink the blood of living flesh" (This story, incidentally, is missing from several editions of the book ).

The above description presents the "Jewish vampire" as a very tragic figure, one who even arouses empathy, since what is described is not simply cruel bloodsucking, but a sick woman fighting for her life. Moreover, these vampires apparently suck only enough blood to keep themselves alive, and don't kill their victims.

The following passages in "Sefer Hasidim" (which are also missing from several editions ) discuss the ethics of the matter, and surprisingly show empathy toward vampires. Another passage shows how sensitive members of the Jewish community were to the estrie's distress: "One woman, an estrie, caused damage but allowed the person she harmed to take of her bread and her salt. In such a case she should treated with compassion."

In other words, the estrie used to suck community members' blood, but since she did so not out of wickedness but for lack of alternative, she tried to compensate those she attacked and allowed them to take some of her food; such a "vampire" should be pitied and included within the community, not harmed.

Of course, these are not the only records that Jews of Ashkenaz (Medieval France and Germany ) wrote at the time; other sources clearly indicate that the Jews, like their neighbors, were afraid of vampires. Therefore some records call for taking practical steps to ensure estries cannot leave their graves and cause harm after death. For example, "Sefer Harokeah," which was written by a disciple of Rabbi Judah Hehasid, Rabbi Eleazar of Worms, says: "When an estrie that has eaten children is being buried, one should observe whether her mouth is open. If it is, she will persist in her vampirish pursuits for another year unless it is stopped up with earth."

I found an interesting parallel to the European literature on "bloodsuckers" in Asian folklore. In a 1933 article in the journal of the Folklore Society in London (Folklore 44 ), Prof. Maung Htin Aung, who later became the rector of the University of Rangoon, described how Buddhist folklore depicts Burmese monks. According to his description, the zawgyi - a Burmese variation of the word yogi - lived in a forest in inner peace, without attaching himself to any object or person.

The zawgyi has a body unlike ours, so he does not face many of our physical needs and limitations. He does not contend with fatigue or pain, and has magical powers. He can live for hundreds of years, and can fly or enter the underworld with invulnerability. The zawgyi has no need of food or drink, although he can occasionally enjoy berries (which Burmese folklore strangely describes as having sexual relations with these fruits, which are considered feminine ).

The stories in Buddhist folklore are the inverse of Western vampire stories. According to Aung's description, the zawgyi is entirely cut off from human society. And why? Because he has an exceptional sense of smell (which incidentally recalls Jewish legends about the Messiah, according to Isaiah 13:3: "And he shall smell with the awe of God" [see Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 93b] ). He therefore keeps his distance from human society, whose members smell like eaters of flesh and blood. For that reason, writes Aung, the zawygi cannot have sexual relations with women, because he is repelled by the fragrance of the blood they have eaten. And in spite of that, emphasizes Aung, if the zawgyi encounters human beings in the forest, in spite of himself, he will be generous: He gives them gifts and cures the sick.

Buddhist folklore therefore created a mirror image of Western folklore: The West invented demonic creatures that we must destroy, since they are evildoers that seek to torture us and "suck our blood"; whereas Far Eastern folklore says that we, human beings, are the "vampires," since we are the ones who "suck the blood" from the creatures of nature. According to the Burmese, only a pure person who avoids us - the human beings, urban vampires - and flees to the forest (nature ) can sense our repulsive smell.

Where does Jewish tradition fit in among these worldviews? The Jewish stories don't regard vampires as Satanic, evil creatures, but rather as sick people (in this case, sick women, which requires another discussion ) who reluctantly harm others. But unlike Buddhism, they do not consider an ascetic monk to be the ideal. What is unique about the stories in "Sefer Hasidim" is that human beings can feel empathy toward the sick and follow the golden mean: neither being harmed nor causing harm and becoming insensitive to suffering, which ultimately would turn us into vampires.

http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/love-thy-vampire-kosherly-1.387182
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Seven Strange Ways Humans Act Like Vampires

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:52 pm


http://www.lifeslittlemysteries.com/7-strange-ways-humans-act-like-vampires-0893/

With the third movie installment of the "Twilight" movies, "Twilight Saga: Eclipse," based on Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling vampire-romance novels, slated to arrive in theaters on June 30, vampires have once again crept into pop culture's collective consciousness.

While true, undead vampires do not exist, some diseases and disorders show themselves in ways that are similar to vampiric characteristics. From sunlight intolerance to an aversion to garlic and mirrors, below are seven illnesses that, to some extent, cause people to act like vampires.

7. Aversion to garlic

The fear of garlic, or alliumphobia, is a neurosis that causes people to become freaked out by the mere thought of the stinky plant. In clove form or sprinkled over a pizza, garlic will send alliumphobiacs running in the other direction. Just being in proximity of garlic is enough to trigger a severe panic attack or anxiety for a person suffering from this rare phobia.

The legend that vampires are repelled by garlic stems from its use as a way to ward off evil spirits in southern Slavic countries and Romania. It was believed that those who refused to eat garlic were vampires, and cloves of garlic were placed in the mouths of the deceased prior to burial to prevent them from turning into vampires, according to "In search of Dracula: the History of Dracula and Vampires," (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994).

6. Biting mad

Rabies, or hydrophobia, is a disease that causes people to display several vampire-like symptoms, including the desire to bite others. The rabies virus attacks the nervous system and can also cause oversensitivity to sunlight and to other visual stimuli, such as mirrors. The word rabies means "rage" or "madness" in Latin, and was so named because people who contract it often become delirious, aggressive and suffer from hallucinations.

The disease can also affect portions of the brain that control sleep patterns, leading to insomnia, nocturnal sleeplessness and hypersexuality, behavior that shadows the image of a sinister Nosferatu creeping into a dreaming damsel's bed chamber in the middle of the night.

Bites from bats, which vampires are often depicted as turning into, are the most common source of a rabies infection, according to the Mayo Clinic. In fact, two strains of the rabies virus in several European countries can only be transmitted to humans by bats and are therefore known as bat rabies.

5. Hatred of mirrors

Although vampires are depicted as being invisible in mirrors, a real disases, Eisoptrophobia, also known as catoptrophobia, causes people to fear them. This can be brought on by a traumatic event, or formed as a result of deep-seated fears, such as seeing as seeing a horror movie involving mirrors as a child. For people with this disorder, the mere sight of a mirror can bring on an anxiety attack.

Some sufferers of eisoptrophobia believe that looking into a mirror will summon the supernatural, and some think they are being watched through the mirror. Others with the disorder can only stand to look at a mirror for a few seconds, and say that if they look at it for too long, they get the feeling that the person looking back at them is not really them at all, according to "An Excess of Phobias and Manias," (Senior Scribe Publications, 2003).

Vampires' legendary distaste for mirrors traces back to European myths that they don't have a reflection because they have no soul. Because being unable to stand the sight of a mirror is also one the symptoms of rabies, some believe that this vampire myth originated during a rabies epidemic that took place in Europe in the 1700s.

4. A thirst for blood?

In 1985, a scientist claimed to have found a disease that linked the myth of vampires to a very real genetic blood disorder called porphyria. People with porphyria experience the desire to drink human blood to alleviate their symptoms (the genetic disease causes abnormalities in a person's hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells), declared biochemist David Dolphin. His theory was later refuted and proven to be based on a misunderstanding of the disease.

However, one of the real symptoms of the rare disease is a sensitivity to sunlight, with blisters forming on the skin within several minutes of sun exposure. Another real symptom is red-colored urine, according to the Mayo Clinic, and may explain why historically, people may have suspected porphyria sufferers of drinking blood.

3. "Count" Dracula

Arithmomania is the obsessive need to count things, and has a little-known, but deeply rooted, presence in vampire tales. For centuries, it was believed that besides garlic and crosses, one fool-proof defense against vampires was math. To deter a vampire, one only had to throw a handful of rice or seeds and run away, as the vampire would be unable to resume the chase until he or she had counted every single grain.

During the Middle Ages, people poured poppy seeds in the coffins of loved ones before burying them in holy ground, hoping that it would distract a vampire from biting the deceased, according to "Mindsamaze," (Hodgson Press, 2008).

This explains why Count von Count, the calculator-hating, cheerfully spooky vampire-like Muppet on "Sesame Street," is obsessed with numbers and counts anything that comes his way, sometimes resorting to counting his own fingers when there is nothing else around to count. While the character is more silly than scary on the children's show, every one of the Count's counting sessions are followed by a sinister crack of thunder and a flash of lightning.

2. Flaunting fangs

Hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia is a rare genetic disorder that affects tooth development. It causes a person's teeth grow in abnormally, and at a later than average age. In some cases, many of the person's teeth are absent except for the canines, which in effect appear to be protruding, and the teeth that do grow in are pointed, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Every human has canine teeth, the sharpest, pointiest teeth in the mouth that are used for biting food rather than chewing it, which is mostly the job of the back teeth. While vampires have been depicted with eerily long fangs for centuries, it wasn't until the late 20th century that vampires began to be shown with retractable fangs.

Fans of the show "True Blood" are familiar with a vampire's tendency to swiftly sprout fangs only when they are about to feed, while hardcore "Twilight" fans, or "Twihards," are aware of the fact that Stephenie Meyer chose to portray her vampires completely without fangs.

1. Scorched by sunlight

An extremely rare genetic disorder, xeroderma pigmentosum, or XP, causes a person's DNA to be unable to effectively repair the damage caused by ultraviolet light. One in a million people have the disorder in the United States, according to the Xeroderma Pigmentosum Society (XPS). People with XP develop severe sunburns when exposed to even a small amount of sunlight. While the seriousness of the disorder varies, in extreme cases, all exposure to sunlight is strictly forbidden.

When a person with XP is exposed to direct sunlight, their skin can blister and develop oozing, raw wounds on its surface. Even some indoor lighting, such as incandescent light bulbs, emit UV rays and should be avoided, according to the XPS. Other symptoms of XP include a painful eye sensitivity to the sun, causing them to become irritated and appear bloodshot, as well as a glossy white thinning of the skin.

Sorry, Twihards, none of XP's symptoms include sparkling in the sunlight like Edward Cullen. While Edward seems to be an unusual vampire due to his ability to handle sunlight, older versions of vampires, including John Polidori's 1819 short story "The Vampyre" and James Malcolm Rymer's "Varney the Vampire," published in 1845, were able to walk in sunlight without a problem. Traditionally, vampires are nocturnal creatures because it is easier for them to stalk human prey at night.
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Renee
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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

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