Sunday

Beltane Sabbat and the Illuminati

Ah, May 1st, May Day, The Beltane Sabbat.  Originally a Druid fire festival celebrating the union of the Goddess and the Horned god, it is now a time for good wishes.  In her book "Everyday Wicca," Gerina Dunwich describes it like this:


     On the first day of May (or anytime after sunset on Beltane Eve, April 30) write your secret wishes, blessings, thanksgivings, prayers for hearings, and so forth upon small slips of green paper or leaves.  Roll them into little "scrolls" and tuck them into a wreath fashioned from braided vines or twigs.  Cast the wreath into a blazing Beltane fire, and say:
        
          Sacred fire, blazing so bring
          Accept this offering to your light. 
          Burn into ash,
          Turn into smoke,
          O Beltane fire-drakes I invoke.

In other news, May 1st also marks the first day of the Order of the Illuminati (the ancient occult sect and secret order dedicated to the study of forbidden books, Tantric mysticism, and ceremonial magic) was founded in Bavaria by Adam Weishaupt.

Can you guess what year?

1776, the same year as the USA started. 


Friday

Get your Floral Wreath On Today!

Today is the first day of the Floralia, a three-day love festival.  Flora was a Sabine goddess of youthful pleasures, whose workshop is said to have been introduced into Rome by King Titus Tatius.  For the Floralia, inaugurated in 238 B.C.E as a dictate of the Sibylline books, people decorated themselves with flowers and engaged in a feast of unrestrained love and merriment.  There were also games and lewd theatrical performances.  (And we think Mardi Gras invented bawdiness.)

Romans celebrated Floralia with the set of games and theatrical presentations known as the Ludi Florales. Classical scholar Lily Ross Taylor notes that the Ludi Floralia, Apollinares, Ceriales, and Megalenses all had days of ludi scaenici (literally, scenic games, including plays) followed by a final day devoted to circus games.

The celebration in honor of Flora included floral wreaths worn in the hair much like modern participants in May Day celebrations. After the theatrical performances, the celebration continued in the Circus Maximus, where animals were set free and beans scattered to ensure fertility.


Wednesday

It occurred in Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986.


It was the worst nuclear catastrophe the world had ever suffered, but the only ones to learn of the tragedy from the first moment were the birds that fled and the worms that dug themselves into the ground.

The Soviet government ordered silence.

Radioactive rain fell over much of Europe and the government continued denying or refusing to speak.

A quarter of a century later, in

Fukushima, several nuclear reactors exploded and the Japanese government also remained silent or denied "alarmist versions."

The veteran British journalist Claud Cockburn was right when he suggested, "Never believe anything until it has been officially denied."
(Galeano, E. "Children of the Days" pg 128)

Tuesday

So, every now-and-then I have to remind you that this is a WFS (Witch Friendly Site) because as we know, not all Pagans are Witches, but all Witches are Pagan, and in doing so I would like to remind you that on this day in 1989, Patricia Hutchins was granted religious leave by the United States Air Force to observe the eight Sabbats of the Wicca religion.  Ms. Hutchins was the first Wiccan in history to have Wiccan religious rights granted by the U.S. military.

So, lets examine exactly what did Ms. Hutchins observe:

THE FOUR MAJOR SABBATS

Candlemans Sabbat (also known as Imbolc, Oimelc, and Lady Day) is celebrated annually on February 2.  Traditional ritual herbs:  angelica, basil, bay, benzoin, celandine, heather, myrrh, and all yellow flowers.  Altar decorations traditionally include a crown of thirteen red candles, a sprig of evergreen, a besom or Witch's broom to symbolize the "sweeping out of the old," a small statue or figurine representing the Triple Goddess in Her aspect of the Maiden.  Traditional Sabbat incense:  basil, myrrh, and wisteria.  Sacred Sabbat gemstones:  amethyst, garnet, onyx, turquoise.  Sabbat deities: The Goddess in Her Maiden aspect, Brigid (Celtic goddess of fire, wisdom, poetry, and sacred wells; also a deity associated with prophecy, divination, and the arts of healing), and Aradia (the daughter of Diana, and "founder of the Witch cult on Earth").  Candle colors:  white, red, pink, brown.  The Traditional Pagan foods of this Sabbat are those that represent growth, such as seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, etc.), poppyseed breads and cakes, and herbal teas.

Beltane Sabbat (also known as May Day, Rood Day, Rudemas, and Walpurgisnacht) is celebrated annually on May Eve and/or May 1.  Traditional ritual herbs: almond, angelica, ash tree, bluebells, cinquefoil, daisy, frankincense, hawthorn, ivy, lilac, marigold, meadowsweet, primrose, roses, satyrion root, woodruff, and yellow cowslips.  Altar decorations traditionally include a small Maypole and/or a phallus-shaped candle to symbolize fertility, a daisy chain, springtime wildflowers.  Traditional Sabbat incense: frankincense, lilac, and rose.  Sacred Sabbat gemstones: emerald, orange carnelian, sapphire, rose quartz.  Sabbat deities:  Flora (Roman flower-goddess), the lunar goddesses Diana and Artemis, Pan (the Greek horned goat-god of woodlands, fields, shepherds, and fertility), Faunus (the Roman equivalent to Pan), and all gods and goddesses who preside over fertility.  Candle colors: dark green and all colors of the rainbow spectrum.  The traditional Pagan foods of this Sabbat are all red fruits (such as strawberries and cherries), green herbal salads, red or pink wine punch, and large, round oatmeal or barley cakes known as "Beltane Cakes."

Lammas Sabbat (also known as Lughnasadh, August Eve, and the First Festival of Harvest) is celbrated annually on August 1.  Traditional ritual herbs: acacia flowers, aloes, cornstalks, cyclamen, fenugreek, frankincense, heather, hollyhock, myrtle, oak leaves, sunflower, and wheat.  Altar decorations traditionally include corn dollies (small figures fashioned from braided straw) and/or kirn babies (corncob dolls) to symbolize the Mother Goddess of the Harvest.  Traditional Sabbat incense: aloes, rose, and sandalwood.  Sacred Sabbat gemstones: aventurine, citrine, peridot, sardonyx.  Sabbat deities: Lugh (a Celtic solar deity worshipped by the ancient Druids), John Barleycorn (the personifications of malt liquor), Demeter, Ceres, the Corn Mother, and other goddesses who preside over agriculture.  Candle colors:  golden yellow, oragne, green, light brown.  The traditionbal Pagan foods of this Sabbat are homemade breads (wheat, oat, and especially corn bread), barley cakes, nuts, wild berries, apples, rice, roasted lamb, berry pies, elderberry wine, ale, and meadowsweet tea.

Samhain Sabbat (also known as Halloween, Hallowmas, All Hallows' Eve, All Saints' Eve, Festival of the Dead, and the Third Festival of Harvest) is celebrated annually on October 31.  Traditional ritual herbs: acorns, apples, broom, deadly nightshade, dittany, ferns, flax, fumitory, heather, mandreake, mullein, oak leaves, sage, and straw.  Altar decorations traditionally include a jack-o'-latern, apples, cnadles in the shapes of Witches, (as well as ghosts, black cats, skulls, etc.), photographs of deceased loved ones, tools of divination, a small statue or figure representing the Triple Goddess in Her aspect of the Crone.  Traditional Sabbat incense: apple, heliotrope, mint, nutmeg, and sage.  Sacred Sabbat gemstones: all black gemstones, especially jet, obsidian, and onyx.  Sabbat deities: the Goddess in Her dark saspect of the Crone, Hecate (ancient Greek goddess of fertility and moon-magick, and the protectress of all Witches), Morrigan (the Celtic goddess who presides over death), Cernunnos (Celtic fertility god), and Osiris (aqn ancient Egyptian deity whose annual death and rebirth personified the self-renewing vitality and fertilty of Nature).  Candle colors: black and orange.  The traditional Pagan foods of this Sabbat are apples, pumpkin pie, hazelnuts, Cakes for the Dead, corn, cranberry muffins and breads, ale, cider, and herbal teas (especially mugwort).

THE FOUR MINOR SABBATS

Spring Equinox Sabbat (also known as Vernal Equinox Sabbat, Festival of the Trees, Alban Eilir, Ostara, and Rit of Eostre) is celebrated annually on the first day of Spring.  Traditional ritual herbs: acorn, celandine, cinquefoil, crocus, daffodil, dogwood, Easter lily, honeysuckle, iris, jasmine, rose, strawberry, tansy, and violets.  Altar decorations traditionally include hard-boiled eggs colored and painted with magical symbols to symbolize fertility, a lucky rabbit's foot amulet, a bowl of green and yellow jellybeans.  Sabbat incense: African violet, jasmine, rose, sage, and strawberry.  Sacred Sabbat gemstones: amethyst, aquamarine, bloodstone, red jasper.  Sabbat deities: Eostre (Saxon goddess of fertility), Ostara (German goddess of fertility), the Green Goddess, and Lord of the Greenwood.  Candle colors: green, yellow, gold, and all pastel shades.  The traditional Pagan foods of this Sabbat are hardboiled eggs, honey cakes, the first fruits of the season, waffles, and milk punch.

Summer Solstice Sabbat (also known as Midsummer, Alban Hefin, and Litha) is celebrated annually on the first day of Summer.  Traditonal ritual herbs: chamomile, cinquefoil, elder, fennel, hemp, larkspur, lavender, male fern, mugwort, pine, rose, Saint John's wort, wild thyme, wisteria, and verbena.  Altar decorations traditionally include summertime flowers, love amulets, seashells, aromatic potpourri, Summer fruits.  Traditional Sabbat incense; frankincense, lemon, myrrh, pine, rose, and wisteria.  Sacred Sabbat gemstones: all green gemstones, especially emerald and jade.  Sabbat deities: Aphrodite, Astarte, Freya, Hathor, Ishtar, Venus, and other goddesses who preside over love, passion, and beauty.  Candle colors: blue, green, yellow.  The traditional Pagan foods of this Sabbat are fresh vegetables, Summer fruits, pumpernickel bread, ale, and mead.

Autumn Equinox Sabbat (also known as the Fall Sabbat, Alban Elfed, and the Second Festival of Harvest) is celbrated annually on the first day of Fall.  Traditional ritual herbs: acorns, asters, benzoin, ferns, honeysuckle, marigold, milk, weed, mums, myrrh, oak leaves, passionflower, pine, rose, sage, Solomon's seal, and thistles.  Altar decorations traditionally include acorns, pinecones, autumn leaves, a pomegranate (which symbolizes the goddess Persephone's descent into the Underworld), a small statue or figure representing the Triple Goddess in Her aspect of the Mother.  Traditional Sabbat incense: benzoin, myrrh, and sage.  Sacred Sabbat gemstones: carnelian, lapis lazuli, sapphire, yellow agate.  Sabbat deities: The Goddess in Her Mother aspect, Persephone (Queen of the Underworld), and Thor (the Lord of Thunder in old Norse mythology).  Candle colors: orange, dare red, yellow, indigo, brown.  The traditional Pagan foods of this Sabbat are corn and wheat products, breads, nuts, vegetables, apples, roots (carrots, onions, potatoes, etc.), cider, and pomegranates.

Winter Solstice Sabbat (also known as Yule, Winter Rite, Midwinter, and Alban Arthan) is celebrated annually on the first day of Winter.  Traditional ritual herbs: bay, bayberry, blessed thistle, cedar, chamomile, evergreen, frankincense, holly , juniper, mistletoe, moss, oak, pinecones, rosemary, and sage.  Altar decorations traditionally include mistletoe, holly, a small Yule log, strings of colored lights, Yule/Christmas cards, a candle in the shipe of Kriss Kringle (Santa Claus), presents wrapped in colorful holiday paper, a homemade wreath.  Traditional Sabbat gemstones: cat's-eye and ruby.  Sabbat deities: Lucina (Roman goddess of lunar mysteries), Frey (Scandinavian god of fertility and a deity associated with peace and prosperity), Attis (Phrygian fertility god), Dionysus (Greek god of wine), Woden (the chief Teutonic god), and, of course, jolly old

Kriss Kringle (the Pagan god of Yule and personification of the Yuletide spirit).  Candle colors: red, green, white, gold, silver.  The traditional Pagan foods of this Sabbat are roasted turkey, nuts, fruitcakes, caraway rolls, eggnog, and mulled wine.




Monday

Saint Mark's Eve.


Saint Mark's Eve.

According to folklore of the English countryside, the ghosts of all men, women, and children destined to pass away in the next year can be seen floating by on this night by any person brave enough to spend the night awake on the front porch of a church.  However, if a person was unfortunate enough to fall asleep during the vigil or if he failed to repeat it annually for the remainder of his life, he would never wake up the next morning.

Oddly enough, early in the year 1818, the poet John Keats had become convinced that he had only three years left to live, the themes of death and dying becoming more prevalent in his works in the year that followed (he did pass away on the 23rd of February, 1821 of tuberculosis). Isabella Jones (who also inspired his contemporaneous work "The Eve of St. Agnes," ) was Keats' lover at this time and it has been speculated that it was she who told the poet about the folk traditions attached to Saint Mark's Eve. According to Chambers Book of Days, 1869: "St. Mark's Eve appears to have enjoyed among our simple ancestors a large share of the privileges which they assigned to All Saints' Eve (the Scottish Halloween)".  It seems equally likely that Keats would also have known of, and perhaps been deliberately alluding to, a poem published some thirteen years before he penned his own entitled "The Vigil of St. Mark".

The Vigil of St. Mark
by John Keats

Bertha was a maiden fair
Dwelling in the old Minster-square;
From her fireside she could see
Sidelong its rich antiquity—
Far as the Bishop's garden wall
Where Sycamores and elm trees tall
Full-leav'd the forest had outstript—
By no sharp north wind ever nipt
So shelter'd by the mighty pile—
Bertha arose and read awhile
With forehead 'gainst the window-pane—
Again she tried and then again
Until the dusk eve left her dark
Upon the Legend of St. Mark.
From plaited lawn-frill, fine and thin
She lifted up her soft warm chin,
With aching neck and swimming eyes
And daz'd with saintly imageries.

Sunday

World Book Day





Today, World Book Day, it wouldn't hurt to recall that the history of literature is an unceasing paradox.


What is the most popular scene in the Bible?  Adam and Eve biting the apple.  It's not there.

Plato never wrote his most famous line:  "Only the dead have seen the end of war."

Don Quijote de la Mancha never said:  "Let the dogs bark, Sancho.  It's a sign we are on track."

Voltaire's best-known line was not said or written by him:  "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel never wrote:  "All theory is gray, my friend, but green is the tree of life."

Sherlock Holmes never said:  "Elementary, my dear Watson."

In none of his books or pamphlets did Lenin write:  "The ends justify the means."

Bertolt Brecht was not the author of his most oft-cited poem:  "First they came for the Communist / and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Communist..."

And neither was Jorge Luis Borges the author of his best-known poem: "If I could live my life over / I would try to make more mistakes..."
(Galeano, E. "Children of the Days" pg 125)


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Saturday

Happy Earth Day

So it's Earth Day and what have you done?  Another Pagan year over and a new one's begun.  Or something like that. 

Last week I watched "Before The Flood" with Leonardo DiCaprio.   It's a good Earth Day film.   We all need to show some love for this planet, and in that film there are some good tips:   cut down on beef, conserve electricity, support a Carbon Tax.   Basically the same stuff Al Core wrote about in his 1992 book "Earth In Balance."   In Gore's book he likened the Global Warming satellite photos of today to the WWII aircraft photos of Nazi extermination camps back in 1940 and how we -- the USA -- ignored the facts and didn't get involved in the war until a year later; unfortunately, it has been twenty-five years since Gore's book and we're still not involved.   Not really.  Actually, with the Donald Trump Climate Change deniers running the world,  it is worse than ever.  

Einstein once said, "If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.  No more bees, no more pollination...no more men!"
     He said it to a few friends.
     The friends laughed.
     He did not.
     Now it turns out there are fewer and fewer bees in the world. 
     Today, on Earth Day, let us acknowledge that this is not happening due to God's will or the Devil's curse, but rather because of:
     the murder of natural forests and the proliferation of farmed ones;
     monocropping for export, which limits plant diversity;
     poisons that kill pests and with them everything else;
     chemical fertilizers that fertilize money and sterilize the soil;
     and radiation from the machines people buy because advertising tells us to.
     (Galeano, E. "Children of the Days" pg 124)




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Friday

Why Native Americans do not separate religion from science

Why Native Americans do not separate religion from science

By Rosalyn R. LaPier, Research Associate of Women's Studies, Environmental Studies and Native American Religion, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University. A Menominee Tribal biology class in Green Bay, Wisconsin. U.S. Department of Agriculture Follow, CC BY Last year five Native American tribes in Washington state managed to repatriate the remains of the “Ancient One,” as they…

Thursday

Straight From The Quija's Planchette.


Good morning boys and girls.  Today, we will talk to the Quija board.  Yes, that strange magic board that some consider a game and others, well, a gate to hell -- as if such things existed.  I, for one, believe the Quija board  is a place for mischievous spirits to hang out and fuck with us, you know, beggars on the side of the road holding a sign, "Please Help, Spiritual Veteran Needs Money, God Bless, Support The Napoleonic Troops."

Unfortunately, the history of the Quija board is as elusive as its "Yes" and "No" answers to serious questions like, "Will The World Ever End?"  "NO."   "Are you sure?"  "YES."

The Planchette -- French word for "little plank" -- originated in Europe in the 1850's.  Although it is not clear how it was used back then,  it wasn't the way we use it now -- most likely for automatic writing.  It wasn't until a few years later that a US company under the direction of Charles W. Kennard and sweat of William Fuld, would add the alphabet board to make the Quija as we know it. 

The word "Quija" itself is a mysterious.  (Alternately pronounced wee-JAA and wee-GEE).   It was originally defined as "good luck" by Charles W Kennard -- the money guy.  That was marketing bullshit -- some things never change.  William Fuld -- the sweat guy -- after he split working for Kennard to make millions on his own version of the Quija, said "Quija" stood for the French and German words "yes."  I personally believe somewhere along the way, the "Quija" simply named itself.  "Is That Right Quija?"  "YES."  "Really?"  "YES!"

Frank Gaynor's 1953 Dictionary of Mysticism states that primeval boards of different shapes and sizes were used in the sixth century before Christ.  This claim has been hard to trace and I tend to lean more towards the Lewis Spence's 1920 Encyclopedia of Occultism, where he says: "As an invention it is very old.  It was in use in the days of Pythagoras, about 540 B.C.  According to a French historical account of the philosopher's life, his sec theld frequesnt séances or circles at which 'a mystic table, moving on wheels, moved towards signs, which the philosopher and his pupil, Philolaus, interpreted to the audience as being revelations supposedly from the unseen world.'"

"Do you agree with that, Quija?"  "YES."

So there you have it boys and girl straight from the Quija's Planchette.

-- Oh, by the way, that William Fuld guy who made millions off of the Quija board fell off a six-story building to his death kind of freakishly on February 24th, 1927 while supervising a flag-pole replacement on his building.  Not that it matters, but it DOES!

ciao Quija






Wednesday

Lord Byron's Heart



On this date in the year 1824, Lord Byron (whose real name was George Gordon) died of a fever.  The English poet, who was known for dabbling in the occult arts, helped shape Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and gave John Polidori the idea for his novel The Vampyre.  Lord Byron's heart was removed from his corpse and buried in Greece; the rest of his remains were shipped back to England.
(Dunwich,G. "The Wicca Book of Days" pg. 50)







She Walks in Beauty
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Tuesday

Today in 1955 Albert Einstein died.

We've all heard the Donald Trump cries that he was spied on.  Unfortunately, we can't believe a word out of that guys mouth, here is something you can believe:

Today in 1955 Albert Einstein died.


For twenty-two years the FBI tapped his telephone, read his mail and went through his garbage.

They spied on Einstein because he was a spy for the Russians.  So said the bulky police file.  The file also said he had invented a death ray and a robot that could read minds.  It said Einstein was a member, collaborator or fellow traveler of thirty-four Communist front organizations between 1937 and 1954, and was honorary chair of three Communist organizations.  It concluded:  "It seems unlikely that a man of his background could, in such a short time, become a loyal American citizen."

Not even death saved him.  they continued spying on him.  Not the FBI, but his colleagues, men of science who sliced his brain into two hundred forty pieces and analyzed them to find an explanation for his genius.

They found nothing.

Einstein had already warned, "I have no special gift.  I am only passionately curious."
(Galeano, E. "Children of the Days" pg120)

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Monday

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Although he was perhaps one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the twentieth century, Jiddu Krishnamurti (Jiddu is the surname) led no school, nor did he believe in any one path to truth.  Instead, he taught that true understanding was attained only through complete awareness of the mind and its images mirrored in relationships.  This was done through the following series:

1.  Awareness:  A state of total attention, in which the mind does not struggle or concentrate, does not organize impressions, analyze, or even think.  At complete attention thought does not exist, only absorption of observations.  Such a state is true meditation.

2.  Thought:  Accumulated memories, knowledge, and experience, probably arising from conditioning or past response.  It is thought that produces each "me."  For awareness to function, thought must be silent and still.

3.  Imagination:  The preconceived images, opinions, ideas, and judgments that distort our perceptions.  These images let one compare oneself to others and create psychological and cultural barriers between oneself and others.  As with thought, images end with unconditional observation.

4.  Conditioning:  The shaping of each person by his or her past experiences and thoughts.  The only way to break through conditioning is through awareness and acceptance of "what is" without making choices.

5.  Knowledge and Learning: Past thoughts and images, which are unable to bring anything new into being, are knowledge.  Learning is an active state defined by doing, made possible through awareness without assumptions.

6.  Fear, Memory, Attachment, and Dependence:  The pleasures, pains, and bonds of past experience.  By continually seeking pleasure, the mind is inviting pain and fear of pleasure's end.  Only when thought does not interfere can fear be understood.

7.  Conflict:  The divisive nature of thought, which results in fragmentation and violence.  Krishnamurti abhorred all violent response, war, and interpersonal conflict.

8.  Relationship:  An understanding of the self coming from total unification both physically and psychologically.  Thought destroys relationship, salvaged only through awareness.

9.  Intelligence:  The seeing of what "is."  True intelligence has nothing to do with knowledge or thought, but exists only through harmony and the "stillness" of the mind, bringing freedom from thought without conflict and violence.

Among other teachings of Krishnamurti, he also taught that systems do not transform people:  people transform systems.  He believed real change -- revolution -- occurred when people moved from sense perceptions to values unencumbered by outside influences.

Peace be with you brother and sister, because if you get what I just wrote, please tell me about it.  Sometimes I really think I got it, but then others I feel as if I am just touching the sufice.

Dr. TVBoogie

Sunday

Nice Eggs.


 It's Easter, Easter, Easter, Eostar.   Nothing to do with a man dying on a cross and returning to life in three days, but the remnants of the Pagan Spring Equinox when the elements of life are being brought into a new balance, psychically, as day and night attain equal length.   Light is gaining for future days will now be longer than nights.  So a new tide of life begins.  Therefore, the main spring-equinox or Eostar symbol is an egg, which symbolizes fertility in nature.  Yes, the Gaia, the Mother Earth's special day.


Eggs, perhaps hardboiled and hand-painted, show the emergence of life from darkness.  They are the Goddess fertile, rich with promise and potential life.   Named for the ancient Teutonic Goddess Oestre, whose name connects with the root of our modern world oestrogen, the hormone stimulating ovulation.

          Breaking through and breaking out.
          Change! Sun and Earth together, 
          pledged for life, within, without,
          Sun God stretches out his hand,
          Spring Queen dances through the land.
          Spring blooms, throughout and about. 
         
                                                 -- Rae Beth  


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Saturday

Saturn's Moon Atlas Looks Like An Alien Saucer

Saturn’s Moon Atlas Looks Like An Alien Saucer [PHOTOS]

No, that’s not an alien saucer you’re seeing — it’s Atlas, one of Saturn’s many moons. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft snapped a bunch of up-close and personal images of Atlas this week during a flyby, about 7,000 miles from the UFO-looking moon. The space agency has released thousands of images of Saturn and its natural satellites, not…

Friday

A very unlucky day to travel, especially by sea.


 In the year 1588 Spain's Invincible Armada, then the largest fleet in the world, was defeated in a matter of hours.


In the year 1628 Sweden's most powerful warship, the Vasa, also known as Invincible, sank on its maiden voyage.  It never made it out of Stockholm's harbor.

And on the night of this day in 1912, the world's safest and most luxurious ocean liner, humbly named Titanic, hit an iceberg and went down.  This floating palace had few lifeboats, a uselessly small rudder, watchmen without binoculars and warning bells that were never heard.

According to superstitious belief, the fourteenth day of April is a very unlucky time for travel, especially by ship.

Oddly enough, Maryamma (or Mariamne), the Hindu goddess of the sea, is honored in India with a sacred festival which begins annually on this day.

I'm just saying.


Thursday

Sikh New Year's Festival


Today is the Sikh New Year's festival.  Although they live in India (mainly in the Punjab state), the Sikhs are not Hindu.  Their monotheistic religion, which was founded by Guru Nanak (1469 -1539), rejects the caste system, asceticism, the priesthood, and bathing in sacred rivers.  Women and men are said to be equal, and Sikh men are recognized by the five outward signs of their religion -- uncut hair, steel comb, iron bracelet, short sword, and short trousers.  The major temple of the Sikhs is the Golden Temple at Amritsar, which is surrounded by a scared lake lined with marble steps.  A white marble bridge leads to the temple, which is covered with golden sheets upon which are written words form their holy book, the original book is enshrined inside the temple and taken out on feast days.  To celebrate Vaisakhi, people travel to Amritsar and listen to teachings of the gurus.


Wednesday

Ceres and the emoticon.

Today is Cerealia, which was an eight-day Roman festival of Ceres, goddess of the earth and its

fruits, who was prayed to for peace, good government, and plenty.

We sure could use some of that now.

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On a day like today in the year 33 -- a day earlier, a day later -- Jesus of Nazareth died on the cross.

His judges had found him guilty of "inciting idolatry, blasphemy and abominable superstition."

Not many centuries later, the Indians of the Americas and the heretics of Europe were found guilty of those same crimes -- exactly the same ones -- and in the name of Jesus of Nazareth they were punished by lash, gallows, or fire.


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Kevin MacKenzie sent the very first emoticon over the Internet in a message to the MsgGroup on this day in 1979.  The emoticon he sent was "-)" which means "tongue-in-cheek."  What does this have to do with Esoteric Daily?  ;>(




Tuesday

Bake bread today, its a great moveable feast.

Whenever someone talks about Jesus' having been buried for three days and three nights, I start counting on my fingers.  It doesn't add up.  "Three days and three nights" is actually an Aramaic idiom that means an indeterminate but fairly short time.

Easter is a moveable feast.  It's left over from the lunar calendar and occurs on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.  All three of the standard-brand religions have moveable feasts.  Nearly every Jewish holy day, for example, is lunar, as are the Moslem holy days.  The feast days of Hindu gods and goddesses are likewise moveable, and so are holidays celebrated according to the old Chinese calendar.
(Ardinger, B., "Pagan Every Day." pg 102)


On this day each year, cross-inscribed loaves of bread are traditionally baked in honor of the Roman goddess Diana.  

In Greece, branches of evergreen, myrtle, or bay were worn by children on this day for protection against the venomous evil eye. 

In Armenia, the goddess Anahit is honored annually on this day with a sacred festival.  She is a deity of both love and lunar power who dwells within the silver light of the Moon. 

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Sunday

Navy Ships and Father Tolstoy

April 9th.  In both Portugal and coastal regions of China, the Goddess A-Ma (Matzu), is honored with a religious festival in the Portuguese territory of Macao.  Yes, the guardian of the sea and protector of all fishermen and sailors is honored.  Altars are dressed with offerings of fresh seafood and flowers; candles are lit and sweets of all kind are presented.

Does it not make sense then that in today's news, the U.S. Navy is sending out a fleet of ships to the Korean peninsula “to maintain readiness” as Kim Jong Un’s regime celebrates the 105th birthday of its founding president, Kim Il Sung, and to mark the 85th anniversary of the creation of the Korean People's Army on April 25 with a similar fanfare.





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In the year 2011 the population of Iceland said no for the second time to the International Monetary Fund.


The Fund and the European Union had decided that Iceland's three hundred twenty thousand inhabitants should be liable for the bankruptcy of its bankers, for which each and every Icelander owed a foreign debt of twelve thousand euros.



Such socialism in reverse was rejected in two plebiscites.  "The debt is  not our debt.  Why should we pay it?"


In a world unhinged by the financial crisis, this small island lost in the waters of the North Atlantic offered us all a healthy lesson in common sense.
 (Galeano, Children of the Day)


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"He eats simple fare, but he is a great man."  This is a good proverb that we all should follow.


When you could have walked for a while but instead drove, your legs began to weaken.  In the same way, when we become used to luxuries and the trappings of wealth, we begin to forget simple living and lose our inner joy and peace and freedom.


-- Father Tolstoy


Saturday

In Thailand, blood sacrifice is out. Strawberry Fanta is in.

There are no official guidelines for maintaining a serene Thai home. But if there were, they might include the following rules. No wearing shoes indoors. Never, ever talk back to your mom. And don’t forget to feed the ghosts. In Thailand, it’s common to believe in paranormal spirits. This alone is not particularly extraordinary. The same…

Friday

And you thought Obamacare was bad.


In Romania today offerings are made to the Blajini, or "kindly ones."  In folklore they lived in the wilderness, on the shores where all the rivers meet, and lived under the shade of the trees.  They lived on wild fruits, and met their women once a year to share fun and laughter before returning to their devotions.

These kindly, priests, shaman, devotees or whatever you prefer to call them, are remembered as "spirits of the water," and are deemed to be beneficent if given the proper respect.

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Hammurabi's Code
Three thousand seven hundred years ago the king of Babylonia, Hammurabi, set down in law the rates dictated by the gods for medical services:

     If with his bronze lancet the physician cureth a man of a serious wound or an eye abscess, ten silver shekels shall he receive.
     If the patient be the slave of someone, two silver shekels shall his owner give the physician.
     If a physician causeth the death of a free man or the loss of an eye, his hands shall be cut off.
     If a physician causeth the death of the slave of a poor man, one of his own slaves shall the physician give him.  If a physician causeth the loss of the slave's eye, half the slave's value shall he pay.
(Galeano, E., "Children of the Days" pg. 109)

And you thought Obamacare was bad. 

Thursday

Monsters & Ghosts A to Z : The Aswang

The Aswang There are many versions of the legend, which varies slightly throughout regions and traditions. However, the basics of the Aswang, or Aswaung, stay generally similar. Many believe the beast to be a witch or sorcerer that is a master shapeshifter. It can be either a male or female. Although generally described as a bat…

Wednesday

Forgiveness, Purple Rain, and Lady Luck!


Need forgiveness?   Well, follow the ancient ritual of invoking the Chinese goddess Kuan Yin.   She
is the goddess of healing, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness.   In days-gone-by, we offer her incense and violet-colored candles on this day.  She doesn't expect much from Westerners, maybe wear something purple or burn a purple candle.  If nothing else, think of the Prince song: Purple Rain.

It's all good.

I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted to one time to see you laughing
I only wanted to see you
Laughing in the purple rain
Purple rain, purple rain
Purple rain, purple rain
Purple rain, purple rain
I only wanted to see you
Bathing in the purple rain
I never wanted to be your weekend lover
I only wanted to be some kind of friend
Baby, I could never steal you from another
It's such a shame our friendship had to end
Purple rain, purple rain
Purple rain, purple rain
Purple rain, purple rain
I only wanted to see you
Underneath the purple rain
Honey, I know, I know
I know times are changing
It's time we all reach out
For something new, that means you too
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5 April
Megalesia/Fortuna/Nones of April
Celebration for good luck, celebrating the goddess Fortuna, the Lady Luck to whom all gamblers pray. 

Tuesday

The annual festival of Cybele, the Megalesia, was celebrated on this date in ancient Rome.  She was a goddess of fertility whose cult originated in Phrygia.  Her male attendants were self-castrated priests and worship of her was wild and orgiastic.

The rites of Cybele were so bloody that Roman citizens weren't allowed to participate.  "So great is the aversion of the Romans," writes Dionysus of Halicarnassus, "to all undue display...lacking in decorum" that a more sedate festival, the Megalesia, was instituted.  But by 161 B.C.E Megalesian banquets had become so extravagant that the senate decreed a limit to how much a host could not weigh more than 120 pounds.

The roman Megalesia opened with a ritual at the temple of the Magna Mater (Cybele)., where the priests offered the goddess a dish of simple herbs.  This was because, as Ovid wrote, ancient people drank only pure milk and ate only "the herbs that the earth bore of its free will."

Yes, vegetarians.




Monday

Jane Goodall

Many years ago, I saw a TV documentary on the brain.  Some animals may be as smart as human animals, the experts said, but they don't have language.  We can't understand their languages, I thought, so we don't know the extent of their intelligence.

At one point in the program, a researcher at The Famous Primate Laboratory picked up a little rhesus monkey hardly bigger than the man's hand and talked about simian intelligence.  Then, to show us its brain, he snipped its head off.  Just like that: I can still see the little monkey's eyes.  I was only marginally aware of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), so I sent out a prayer to Jane Goodall.

As a child, Goodall was inspired by Tarzan and The Jungle Book.  She later worked with Louis Leakey, the paleontologist who discovered some of the oldest human remains in Africa.  She's best known for her work with the chimpanzees in Gombe.

We know that chimpanzees differ from us in the structure of their DNA by just over one percent and that their blood chemistry and immune systems are similar to ours.  We know that animals, both domestic and wild, have intelligence.  We know they have souls.  We shouldn't cut their heads off.

In 1977, Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education and Conservation.  "Young people around the world," she writes, "can break through...the brick walls of overpopulation, deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, poverty, hunger, disease, pollution...and human greed."  When she travels, she carries a stuffed chimpanzee named Mr. H.  When people come up to talk to her, they touch Mr. H.  These people, she says, give her reason for hope.
(Ardinger, B., Pagan Ever Day,  pg94)

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Today is Jane Goodall's birthday.  




Sunday

Statue of Liberty

The old Pagan ritual of "carrying death away" is carried out in certain regions of Germany on this day.  In celebration of Winter's demise, special straw dolls are burned in sacred bonfires or are "drowned" in sacred wells.

The Sun was warm but the wind was chill,
You know how it is with an April day
When the Sun is out and the wind is still,
Your one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over a cloud lit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And your two months back in the middle of March.


-- ROBERT FROST ( 1874 - 1963 )
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Greatness sometimes takes outside inspiration as well as outside aid.  Born in Colmar, Alsace, on this day in 1834, the sculptor Fredric Auguste Bartholdi became inspired while attending a dinner at the
home of Lefebvre de Laboulaye in 1865.  His host suggested that he sculpt a symbol of liberty.  Traveling to America in 1871, Bartholdi saw that New York Harbor was the perfect place to erect his vision:  a cross between the Colossus of Rhodes and the monumental statues that lined Egypt's Nile River.  Although the French government was willing to pay for Barholdi's grand sculpture, the American government had to ask for public donations to fund the construction of the foundation and pedestal.  After six years of appeals, work began on the pedestal, but it wasn't finished until publisher Joseph Pulitzer took on the job of fundraising.  Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty was completed in 1886.  (The statue itself was finished in 1884, although its arm was not properly attached until its restoration in 1984.)






Saturday

April Fool's Day and Ali Macgraw.


The month of Venus begins with April Fool's Day (also known as All Fools' Day), an occasion for playing practical jokes on friends, family, and coworkers.  This custom dates back to olden times, when inmates of insane asylums were allowed out in the streets for one day each year for the sadistic amusement of those of those who were (supposedly) normal.

April first is ruled over by the Norse trickster god Loki.  It is also the Roman women's festival of Fortuna Virilis, seeking good relations with men and ruled over by Venus. 
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In her twenties she became famous in the 1970 film Love Story.  In that film she played Jenny Cavilleri, a dying girl who isn't told she is dying until her husband and parent have been told first.   Yes, a poor, helpless, woman. 

In her second big film, Steve McQueen's character slaps her for having cheated on him.  No charges were pressed, even though it was a film, they should have been.  Later that year the two were married.

In her 40's she was invited up to Bill Cosby's hotel-room for a drink, she refused. 

Today, Ali Macgraw  is 78 years old.  

Happy April's Fools Birthday.