Sunday, March 31, 2013

Working With Crystals and Gemstones in Healing and Magic

The Wonderful World of Crystals and Gemstones

Readers have asked for information on crystals and gemstones. What you will find here is a condensed version from my notes over the years on crystals and gemstones.

Crystals and gemstones are living, vibrating pieces of our Mother Earth. They can survive in all the physical elements, and so, contain much knowledge. I heard somewhere years ago, that crystals, rocks, etc, all move and speak, but they do it so slowly that we never hear, because we won't slow down. I believe this to be true, my bond with the crystals that I use did not happen overnight. Incidentally, for the sake of brevity, I will just refer to everything as "crystals" from now on.

It doesn't take long to cleanse, consecrate, and charge your crystals, but truly gaining insight into the wisdom of the spirits within is a lifelong journey. I have read many books that speak of gaining "instant health, wealth, and whatever..." by using crystals -- this is not the case (shaking head sadly). Such things rarely manifest overnight, and putting a green crystal in your pocket is not going to cause it to become brimming with cash. Were that the case I would be shopping right now instead of typing this.

There are many positive uses for crystals. Yes, they do affect change, but it is subtle, not usually drastic and rapid. Of course, for every rule there is the exception, and I have had some dramatic things happen to me just as I'm sure that others have as well.

There will be crystals that you are really drawn to. Understand what their energies are, and why you are attracted to them before you start to use them. The easiest one to start off with is a clear quartz crystal since it is considered to contain all properties within itself. Another one to try working with is your birthstone.

Divination

The method that I started using is taken from DJ Conway's book "Celtic Magic", Llewellyn Publishing, 1990. This is not exactly the system that I use now, but what I do evolved from this.

Another method is the pendulum. This can be a quartz point, although I have seen seashells, pine cones, among other things used as well. The crystal is suspended from a length of string or chain, and its movement is used to interpret an answer. Generally, back and forth is yes, side to side is no, and twirling in circles means that an answer is not determined -- or that your hand is not steady.

Healing

Let me say first, that I think that crystal healing is great. Secondly, let me also say that I don't think that it will ever cure cancer; not the way that we use it at home, anyway.
Before anyone jumps on me, let me say that while I am a great fan of alternative healing, I am also a great fan of Western medicine also. Alternative healing is fabulous for small ailments and preventive or complimentary medicine. Western medicine is great for emergencies, infectious diseases and chronic acute conditions. Neither way is perfect, but together they make a good combination.

The easiest way to heal with crystals is to form a crystal circle around the person being treated, and then perform whatever other healing you had in mind, within the circle. Another way is using crystal massage, which is taking a smooth piece of quartz and running it in small strokes on someone's body, much the same way as you would if you were massaging with your hands. Another simple method is to have a person hold two single terminating crystals, one in each hand, one pointed inward, and one pointed outwards. Have them focus on positive energy entering the point that is toward them, and have them visualize the ailment (such as a headache) flowing out of the crystal facing away from them.

Cleansing

Crystals must be cleaned after each use. There are many different ways to do this, my favorite is to pass it through some incense and see the excess energy being carried away on the smoke. Cleaning a crystal removes any buildup of energy that may not be beneficial to your work. This should be done after purchasing them, especially, since you don't know how many people had their mitts all over them at the store.

Another way is letting the crystal "sleep" on a bed of salt overnight, preferably sea salt.

Programming/Charging

This is the same thing as dedicating and charging. The minute you pick something up, you are charging it with your energy. The type of energy depends on what your mood, state of health, etc are like at the time, so be careful, and don't use anything if you are having a truly rotten day. Most Wicca 101 books contain at least one ritual format for charging/dedicating tools, so I won't print one here. If there is anything that anyone would like me to expand on, though, ask in comment, and I will be happy to do so.

Uses of Crystals and Gemstones in Magic

  • Directing energy, as in the proverbial magic wand. The type of stone used will modify the energy sent through it. 
  • To concentrate power prior to its release. 
  • To concentrate power, and act like a beacon for attraction, as in talismans. 
  • To open up and conduct user's own innate psychic abilities, as in pendulums. 
  • To alter the energy vibrations in a room, to facilitate a harmonious environment; feng shui masters often employ amethyst for this purpose. 
  • Placed on a pillow, or on the head, to affect neural energy fields and thus, dreaming. 
  • Placing in spring water, to leave an energy signature, producing a gem elixir. 
  • To potentize oils, sachets, perfumes, baths, etc., similar to the previous use. 
  • To carve sigils and scripts into candles, clay, etc. This embeds crystal energy into an object.

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, this is a condensed version. However, you can take the information here and mix it with further insight from your own journey as well as from the vast variety of books out there.

Crystals and Gemstones
courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Importance of A Book Of Shadows - Video Included

Book Of Shadows For Wiccans, Pagans and Witches

Over the years I have offered many explanations about the importance to a witch of keeping a Book of Shadows.  In my online travels tonight, as I was checking email, I noticed that a friend of mine had uploaded his video to YouTube in regards to the importance of a Book of Shadows.  Merlin Raven Song did this very well, and the information contained is most informative.  So here I am sharing it with those of you who may be interested in the magical and spiritual aspects associated with a Book of Shadows.

Many of us Pagans, Wiccans and witches keep a Book of Shadows.  In earlier times, all Books of Shadows were hand-written and many were kept secret.

In the modern era, the majority of us will keep a written Book of Shadows as well as on created on our computers in a Word file or similar.  Many of us in recent times have created our Book of Shadows as a CD of Shadows.  The abbreviation would be CDoS versus BoS.

Please enjoy and feel free to comment!

Book of Shadows - MerlinRavenSong


Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Amazing Blackberry! Food and Herbal Medicine

Blackberries are tasty food as well as herbal medicine

It is a wonderful time of year when the blackberries ripen, full of great flavor! Don't tell anyone but they are good for you too.

The blackberry bushes offer a trinity of benefits to the sensitive gardener, such as a luscious fruit, alluring white blossoms, and a healing herb.

That's right that tasty fruit is an herbal medicine. It has been respected in Chinese herbal medicine where it is known as Piao, and in the European tradition as well. The ancient Greeks used the blackberries as a remedy for gout. In England its leaves were applied directly to the skin to soothe burns and scalds. Blackberry bushes grow wild throughout the United states and in many other temperate zones thought North America. The long, thorny stems, serrated leaves are produced in a stellate pattern, loosely clustered blossoms, and shiny dark berries characterize the blackberry bush. The purplish blue berries are composed of numerous small druplets, each containing a tiny seed. They grow in meadows, coppices, forest boarders, waste areas and pastures.

It is a vigorous, expansive plant, as any gardener that has tried to thin, confine, or eradicate it knows. One the blackberry is established, the vines arrange themselves in a dense, thorny mass. Rooting them out is difficult, since their root fragments and will continue to send up runners. It is better just to make sure that your blackberry patch has enough room to grow and prosper without becoming intrusive into any other part of the garden or yard. They can be trained to grow on supports, as raspberries do. This is most easily done with young starts. There is also a thornless variety available but some to think this lacks some of the flavor of the wild berries. I tend to agree with them.

Blackberries are propagated by layering branches, or by root cuttings. Take a root cutting about 1/2 inch long in the autumn and store it in sand over the winter. In the early spring when the ground has begun to loosen from the winter cold, set the cuttings into the soil. place them erotically, about 1-3 inches apart and cover them with about 3 inches of soil.

Blackberries will grow in many types of environments, but do best in loose moist soils. The addition of well-rotted compost and manure to the base of the bushes in the spring and autumn will insure you of maximum development and health.

The berries, roots and bark have all been used for healing purposes. the berries are said to have a stringent quality. both the berries and the root have been used in Native American, European, and Chinese medicine to treat diarrhea, and dysentery. The root is much more potent than the berries, and it is the part used most often for these purposes, as a simple decoction, or a decoction mixed with milk.



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

At Night The Rabbits Will Play

Lessons learned can come from the most unexpected places!

For a long time, I was lost and I wandered all along the countryside looking to find my way. I knew that I had to go North, but I had gotten all turned around and did not know which direction was North.

One morning I saw that the birds were singing and one group of beautiful birds in particular caught my attention with all their song and flew up over a hillside near some fragrant evergreens. As the sun rose brighter and warmer, I saw the path. It was a clay covered road and it smelled that good strong earthy smell.

It took me half the day to arrive at the red road and the sun was high in the sky by now. My stomach growled from the day's journey so I sat down on a large boulder, yellowish in color, and ate the sandwich that I had packed. I looked up and saw a large bird circling above me. Its head was a light color, maybe even white. It may have been Eagle, but I was not sure.

I looked at the road at my feet. I wanted to do a celebration dance for having found this place because I knew it was exactly what I had been searching for. This road led North and I knew in my heart that there would be many treasures here along my journey.

After lunch, leaving a few bites for Boulder and the critters who might happen to come here and feel the hunger that I had, I straightened my clothing and tied back my hair and walked. One foot in front of the other, sometimes skipping, sometimes inching along. By evening, with the sunset glowing in its deepest shades of reds and oranges and some streaks of pinks, the path led me alongside a thickly wooded grove.

I could hear a stream gurgling up ahead, yet to my left, my attention was distracted by the sweet call of berries. I knew that if I stayed on my path, I would find fresh water to quench my undeniable thirst and maybe even a fish for my dinner.

Against my better judgment I left the path and found the berries. I tasted one at first and finding them so delicious, I grabbed handfuls and stuffed them in my mouth. So sweet, so tasty! Satisfying my sweet cravings, I was ready to once again walk on the path. Yet, as I was so involved with finding the ripest, most delicious berries, I had weaved and intertwined myself so deeply into the thicket that I had once again lost my way back to the path.

I began walking in circles, panicking and afraid of never finding the path. I even thought "what if it actually never existed, what if it was all just a dream?" Then of all horrid things, I doubled over in pain as my belly heaved and bloated in the worst case of gas ever and finally exhorted itself from me with the worst smelling trail of stench ever! I tried jogging to avoid the smell of those gas-producing berries and yet the wind always seemed to change direction and blow it right in my face.

All at once, I froze in utter fear. Just ahead, I could hear a rustling in the tall grasses and the threatening growl of Bear. I suddenly realized that I was trampling all over Bear's territory and that I had been emitting a smell that would make any animal want to get rid of me. I started running when Bear saw me and I kept running until I was nearly all out of breath. Lo and behold, that Bear had chased right back to my path. While I had feared never finding it again, Bear showed me the way.

Once again on the trail that would lead me to the waters gurgling up ahead, I contemplated the lesson I had learned. First, I knew that my goal was to stay on my path. Second, I now knew that some temptations are sweet and delicious but will cause a big pain in the belly. Sometimes those temptations are quite deceptive and other times, you can tell right away by the thorns to just stay away. Third, I learned that Bear will always show me the way back to the path.

By the time I reached the fresh water, I had an unquenchable thirst and drank until my body flowed with liquid once again. I laid out my gear to rest here awhile as I could tell by the sky that it was almost midnight. I was ready for a good long sleep and dream-time after my exciting journey of lessons.

I took out my tobacco and offered it to the directions and thanked Bear in the West for helping me find my way back to the trail. As I laid on the ground and watched the stars, I noticed some movement near me. I sat up halfway, very slowly to see what it was. There, only a few feet from me, were two rabbits. They were chasing one another in circles. First, one would chase the other and then they would turn and the one who had been chased became the one chasing. It was delightful to watch the rabbits play this night. As I laid back down and closed my eyes, I thought "at night the rabbits will play". In the morning, the birds will sing. It is good.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Simple Easy Steps To Help Heal The Earth

Healing Gaia - Mother Earth

We live in a world of pollution from various areas. Air pollutionnoise pollutionmedia/news pollution, water pollution, trash pollution, political pollution, etc.
Many of us would like to help but feel overwhelmed. We look at the large issues and the large amounts of pollution and simply feel discouraged with thoughts along the lines of, "What could I do that would possibly help as an individual with things so far gone?" In reality, that is what the majority feel. I know that I thought that way for several decades myself.
During a meditation one night, many years ago, it came to me from a Divine source that it was possible for every human on the earth to take a part in the cleansing of the Mother Earth (Gaia), no matter where they may be at, and have an impact on the health of the Mother Earth in a positive manner. Now this would be something that a human may not get credit or praise from other humans, but would get credit and acknowledgment from the Mother Earth and all the Deities associated with Her, no matter what Path you may find yourself on.
It is not a big secret, nor is it a complicated matter or large undertaking. It is easy for each and everyone of us to implement and feel well about at the same time.
If you would like to help heal the Mother Earth, the solution is basic. Next time you are out and about doing whatever you may be doing and see trash laying there on the sidewalk, grass, street, etc., well, stop, stoop down, pick up the "offending" piece and simply place it in a trash receptacle or take it with you and dispose of it when you can.
There you go! You, an individual, small in comparison to the world population, have just helped in a big manner to enhance the healing of the Mother Earth. You will be smiled on by the Deities for doing this one simple action. Multiply it over the years, and then you have become a major player. Remember the Law of Karma. Karma comes back to us in the manner of our actions, good for good, bad for bad. Helping with the healing of the Mother Earth is definitely GOOD!
I hope this hub will inspire you to take action...simple, easy action... Not so simple in the eyes and heart of the Mother Earth and those Deities you work with.
Please Help This World


Monday, March 25, 2013

The Use Of Incense: Ancient Practice and Modern Practice - Custom Incense Recipes

How To Make Incense and The History of Incense Use
In most ancient pagan religions and paths it was tradition to use resins with the burning of good smelling woods and herbs to summon the Gods and Goddesses.
In some of the feminine based pagan paths who adored the Goddesses, it was common practice to send the smell to the sky to honor the Goddess or Goddesses. (Note: Many patriarchal religions took up this pagan practice and it is still in use today such as with the Roman Catholic Church.)
The use of resins and wood burning (incense) was used to not only honor the Goddesses and Gods, but to give thanks to Them as well as summon Them. Petitions for the present and the future time were stated at the time of using such incenses.
In Old Mesopotamia many such smoke gifts were sent up to the sky. These gifts and offerings were sacred, ceremonial and also used for ritual purposes. Incense was used to cleanse living spaces and purify a sickbed adding healing powers to it. Many times the smoke from incense was used to cure many various illnesses. Incense was used to perfume clothing as well.
Today we enjoy the use of such offerings to the Gods and Goddesses by using a fire-proof vessel such as a cauldron or an incense burner/holder designed to hold charcoal on which to place our resins, herbs and woods and various other types of incenses. Many use the pre-fashioned charcoal rounds that are easy to light. These can also be used in a dish that has sufficient sand or salt in the bottom to keep it burning safely without harming the surface under the dish.
There is an abundance of commercial made incenses available. Some are not “pure” and have chemicals in them that I would not recommend. When doing any kind of sacred work you want to avoid chemicals that could hamper the work you are attempting.
Many choose to make their own incenses from a single herb/resin or from a formula/recipe designed for specific purposes. Whether ground finely or coarsely is up to the practitioner. Either will work well on charcoal.
Some formulas/recipes for incense that I am familiar with:
General Conjurations:
  • In equal parts, Almond, Frankincense, Lemon Verbena, Mandrake, and Wormwood
Protection For Women:
  • 1 part Rowan Wood, 1/2 part Lemon Verbena, 1 part Rosemary, 1 part Basil and 1 part Chamomile.
Earth and Water - Elemental Spirits:
  • Equal parts Basil, Damiana and Rosemary
For Samhain:
  • Equal parts of the following - Anise seed, Marjoram, Myrrh, Laurel and Patchouli oil.
Mental Ability Improvement:
  • Equal parts Celery seed and Wormwood
Visions and Dreams:
  • Equal parts Aloe and Dragon’s Blood(a resin)
Safety On A Journey:
  • 1 part each of Cinnamon, and Saffron - to this 1 pinch of Dragon’s Blood (a resin)
Protection - General:
  • Equal parts Dragon’s Blood, Mandrake and Mistletoe
Spells/Ban:
  • Equal parts Dragon’s Blood, Garlic, Pine, Chamomile, and Blue Mallows. When dealing with bad vibrations add in equal parts of Rosemary and Camphor.
Beltain:
  • Equal parts Basil, Damiana, Immortelle (Evergreen), Rosemary and flower oil of your choice (Geranium-ecstasy; Pink or Red Rose Petals-admiration, etc.)
Concentration:
  • Equal parts Cinnamon, and Frankincense
Full Moon Ritual:
  • Equal parts Anise seed, Basil, Damiana, Evergreen(Immortelle) and Rosemary
Cleansing of Sacred Space and Altar:
  • Equal parts Benzoin (Benjamin), Frankincense, Myrrh, and Rowan Wood
New Moon Ritual:
  • Equal parts Anise seed, Camphor, Wormwood and Lavender.
You can use just about any herb, resin or wood in various combinations for your own specific needs and purposes. Some will simple use what resonates with them…not some “guide-line” set out by another. Whenever something resonates with a being on a spiritual level, you can rest assured that it is quite appropriate for the one using it.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Goddesses and Gods of the Ancient Greeks

Getting to know the Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses

In the past, the ancient Greeks interpreted and understood the world through their myths.  In order to come up with a set of supreme beings to worship, the Greeks combined the moral concepts with their mythological tradition.
The life of these gods laid out the foundations for the understanding of how to live a virtuous life. These myths were passed down through their society’s storytellers like Homer, who wrote the epic poems the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey.” These works of art are the source of much of our knowledge of the Greek gods, and the beliefs surrounding them.
The twelve Olympian gods (they are named after their dwelling place, Mount Olympus) were the best known gods. They ruled after the overthrow of the Titans. 
The relationship between the ancient Greeks and their gods was based on a simple concept: if men worshipped and made sacrifices to the gods, then the gods would look favourably upon them in return.
The Olympians:
  • Aphrodite - Goddess of love and beauty. Her son was Eros, the god of love. She is also believed to have kept a watchful eye over sailors.
  • Apollo - Beautiful god of the light, medicine and music. Apollo represents order, harmony, and civilization
  • Ares - God of war. He had an affair with Aphrodite, and was father to many children.
  • Artemis - Goddess moon, forest, childbirth and the hunt. Although she was associated with childbirth and children, Artemis was a virgin.
  • Athena - (Athene) Daughter of Zeus and goddess of wisdom and war and the patron goddess of Athens. Like Artemis, she was a virgin goddess too.
  • Hades - God of the Underworld.
  • Hephaestus - God of fire and the forge. Mated to Aphrodite.
  • Hera - Queen of the Gods, wife of Zeus, protector of marriage.
  • Hermes - The messenger of the gods, god of business. He was a very smart child, inventing the lyre by using a tortoise’s shell when he was only a newborn baby.
  • Hestia - Goddess of home, symbolized by the hearth which holds the ever-burning flame.
  • Poseidon - God of the sea and earthquakes. As god of the seas Poseidon held great power, and could calm the waves or create terrible storms. He had an unreliable temper, and used his powers to generate fear and punishment on people as revenge.
  • Zeus - King of the Gods, god of the sky, symbolized by the thunderbolt. As the ruler of the Olympian gods, Zeus held enormous power and almost absolute authority. His role was primarily to watch over the activities of the other gods, and make sure they weren’t exceeding their powers.
 The Titans, also known as the elder gods, ruled the earth before the Olympians overthrew them. 
The ruler of the Titans was Cronus who was de-throned by his son Zeus.
  • Prometheus - He stole the sacred fire from Zeus and the gods.
  • Atlas - Zeus punished him to forever bear the heavens upon his shoulders.
  • Dione - The mother of Aphrodite.
  • Gaea - was the Earth goddess. She mated with her son Uranus and gave birth to the remaining Titans. Often misspelled “Ghea.”
  • Uranus - was the sky god and first ruler, the son of Ghea.
  • Cronus - Son of Uranus. His wife was Rhea (his sister). He was the father of Zeus.
  • Rhea - was the wife of Cronus.
  • Oceanus - is the unending stream of water encircling the world.
  • Mnemosyne - was the goddess of memory and the inventor of words.
  • Tethys - was the wife of Oceanus.
  • Themis - was the god of justice and order.
  • Iapetus - was the father of Epimetheus, Menoetius, Prometheus and Atlas.
  • Coeus - was the Titan of Intelligence.
  • Phoebe - the Titan of the Moon.
  • Crius - He represented the tremendous power of the sea.
  • Hyperion - means “he who goes before the sun.”
  • Thea - Hyperion’s wife and sister.
  • Epimetheus - means “afterthought” is the opposite of his brother Prometheus (“forethought”).
  • Metis - was the first wife of Zeus. She ruled over all wisdom and knowledge.
Other gods
Asclepius, Dionysus, Eros, Demeter, Persephone, Hebe, Eris, Helius, Thanatos, Pan, The Muses, The Erinyes, The Fates, Nemesis, The Graces


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Casting a Circle With a Broom

For Pagans and Wiccans

The below is an example of how to cast a pagan and/or Wiccan circle utilizing a broom. The use the broom in this manner will certainly created the needed actions. Always remember that these types of things will work without any doubt as long as you do not have any doubt. As with any type of spiritual crafting/magic and spellwork, it is based on intent.
(Say this rhyme while sweeping the circle.)
  •  Here flies the Broom to a Place not a place,
  • While the light of the Moon shines down on my face. (night)
                                  or
  • While the light of the Sun shines down on my face. (daylight)
  • I Journey by Broom to a Time not a Time.
  • The Mystery dwells in the words of my rhyme.
 (Starting in the East, sweep sunwise and scribe out the circumference of the circle, repeating the rhyme if need be until the starting point is reached.)
  • Then say:  “The circle is cast. Let no one leave the Circle unless there be urgent need.
  • Should such need arise, cut a gate, leave, and close the gate after you.”
Then begin your ritual. 
 To open the Circle:
 (Take the Broom and, starting at the East, sweep widdershins to banish the energy.)
Say:
  • “As I sweep this Circle round, magic vanish in the ground.”
(Repeat until you return to the starting Point. ) Then say your customary closing.
I use the old traditional closing:
“May the love of the Goddess be ever in your heart.
Merry Meet and Merry Part, and Merry Meet Again.”
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Gorgons

Who were the Gorgons?

The Gorgons were three daughters of the sea god Phorcys. They were Stheno, Euryale and the most famous Medusa.

Stheno and Euryale were hideous deformed creatures. They had large brass claws, poisonous tongues and saliva and large wings and dragon like bodies.

Medusa was born beautiful. She was a priestess in the temple of Athene. She brought the wrath of the goddess down on her when she had an affair with Poseidon in Athene’s temple. Athene was so offended and angered by the defilement of her temple that she punished Medusa.

Medusa was transformed from a great beauty to something horrible. Her body became snake like and covered in scales. She grew long fangs and her hair became serpents. These serpents were almost as deadly has her look.

No man could look upon the gorgon for to do so would bring about their end. They would be forever turned into a stone statue.

She was finally killed by Perseus. He located the gorgon’s island and while they slept he, with the aid of the gods, found Medusa. She was the only one of the sisters that was mortal. While she slept Perseus cut off her head and put it in a sack.

The fate of the other two sisters is unclear.



Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Sex-Saturated Internet and Google Ads

Google ads have a mind of their own!

I have nothing against sex at all. Without sex none of us would be here!

There used to be times that I could not do a search or click a link without something sexual in context coming up, be it porn or a dating site and such. Again, nothing against either if that is your "choice" to view such things at a time that you want to view it, not when someone or something else deems it is time for you to view it.

I have side-stepped that issue with control over my searches by setting my Google search parameters to exclude what I don't want to see. Easy to do, safe search or not. Use the filter provided by Google.

The ads have been killed overall by using various versions of AdBlock or similar depending on which browser I am using. Again, I was able to take control.

Now there are those pesky pop up floaters, or at least what I call them. Those critters that just hop out of nowhere and appear on your page from the site you are viewing. Those I have yet to control or figure out how to do away with. Somehow they get around any of the versions of plug ins I used to block pop up ads. Yes, and they may well be sexual or very close to porn, or just related to the page you are viewing. I would like to learn how to block them, but my research has not given me a good solution to that so far.

What really amazes me is on my Pagan News Site, Pagan Reports, I have Google Adsense up and running and have adjusted my settings on that site via Google Adsense to exclude certain categories from appearing on my site in the Google ads. For instance I have excluded school, vocational, education as well as "adult" which includes dating and porn to the best of my knowledge. (Example shown below.)

At the moment, and for the last week or so, the main page of my site displays a dating site in the Google ad. There is nothing on the site dealing with dating at all, so that should exclude the ad from appearing, plus, as mentioned, I have excluded that category on Google Adsense. Yet it appears. It is my contention that somehow, the folks who create these ads are "cheating" and listing their ads as something that they are not so that the ads slip past my exclusions. That is my theory and I could be wrong. But the same thing is happening with educational Google ads. I have excluded educational and still get them. I don't mind the Pagan educational ads, which do show, but I get those universities or vocational schools most often.

As for "hard" porn, those have not popped up so far, however those "Get Laid Tonight" ones have appeared from time to time, especially on pages that may talk about ritual sex magick and such. Even though the article may be about sex magick, one would think that setting the exclusions in Google Adsense would prevent the solicitation to get laid from viewing a spiritual article.

Of course the biggest money maker on the internet is sex and anything to do with sex. With that in mind, for every way we manage to filter or block such things, there will be those out there, typing away, to come up with a code that somehow will defeat your means of blocking and slip sex at you. After all, it has to be out of love and compassion as they think that they are doing me a service advertising a healthy pastime I am sure.

The photo below was taken while in the middle of writing this hub. It gives you and actual view of what I am talking about. You can view the page, part of the article as well as the title. As you will see, it is amazing! None of the "porn" or "close to porn" came up with my running through these pages.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Free Stuff On Listia!

Listia - Saving Our Family Money!

Here you will find a sharing of something that can save your household money. This is a way that my wife saves our budget from being drained too much. She manages to "win" items that we would normally spend cash on. The expenditure is none, as most of these auctions offer free shipping. Some do charge a nominal shipping fee.
The site I am referring to is Listia. There you can list your household items as well as numerous other items, that you no longer need or use, for free. You can charge shipping or offer free shipping. You can also purchase items for free that you use around the home, or would like to have as gifts for others.

How Listia Works

How it works is when you register on the site, you gain some "credits". This gets you started and allows you to be able to start bidding on some smaller auctions using the credits. You can do some free offers to gain additional credits. This also helps you get established on the site.
You can list items you have around the home that you feel you can part with. When they "sell" for those credits, the credits go to your account and you build up credits that can be used for your additional purchases.
I will not go into the many items that are available there to purchase, nor the items that are allowed to be listed. All of that is on the site. At the time of this writing, Listia has listings of over 20,000 free items.
My wife has sold over 300 items there so far, and is selling and buying daily. At times our living room looks like a shipping office! Her trips to the Post Office is interesting, as she is carrying more and more items as she continues to build a good reputation and moves a lot of items.
It is like Christmas each day when the mail person arrives, as normally there are several packages if not a dozen or so arriving.
Overall, I have been amazed at what all we have gained for use around the house. Everything from computer tools and accessories, books, office supplies, paper, ink for the printer, cat toys, herbs, oils, collectibles, and the list goes on and on. All of these items would have cost us cash out of pocket, but were free using the "credit" based system on Listia.
Our Christmas shopping for the whole family was done on Listia this past year. Great gifts for all family members at no cost. Saved us hundreds of dollars! I am sold on how well my wife does there. It takes time to do it in volume as she does, but it works out for her as she is disabled and has the time to work at the computer and make this enjoyable and profitable for us.
I would recommend you check Listia out if you are interested in saving money. To me, money saved in this manner is the same as money earned for the household.
A Great Tutorial


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What Is Patronage?

Patronage Guidelines To Contemplate

From my experiences on this path I have seen many followers decide to request patronage. Since I only serve one patron I cannot comment on the many countless others that can be chosen.

Patronage generally becomes a consideration when an individual has come to a point that she or he cannot do something effectively by themselves. Patronage is not always accessible, and is something agreed upon to the mutual (it is to be hoped) benefit of patron and seeker. No one can determine the viability of patronage for you, other than you - it will be your agreement, your benefits and your cost.

My experiences with the Patron I serve is that I give to gain. There is nothing free in the exchange. I have never been asked to do something in a way that I haven't wanted to do myself. I have never been asked to make my life into a hellish misery in order to keep my patronage. Going by the experiences of others I have spoken to and their thoughts on this subject our thinking seems to be in accordance for the most part.

Many have heard my analogy about the loaf of bread. Please just bear with me I do think that it is important for me to reinforce it.

In this scenario you are told by your boss, or whomever has the control to require you to do something to bring back a loaf of bread. In this you have many options to pursue all which have their own consequences. This leads into the theory of "Cause and Effect." Here are just some of the major simplified options you could choose.

  • Stealing the Bread
  • Manipulating Someone to Steal the Bread
  • Tricking Someone into Giving You the Bread
  • Buying the Bread
  • Making the Bread

As we see all of these options have their own plus and minus effects. My patronage leaves the 'how', these ways of dealing, up to the individual and they may then use, to the best of their ability, the talents they have to accomplish the deed asked of them.

It is highly unlikely that anyone can blame their deeds or misdeeds as a result of their service to their patron. I have yet to see an order issued by a patron that if given a little thought, cannot be fulfilled in a way that is positive to the seeker. Furthermore, I would also say that it is equally as unlikely that anyone could be tricked, or forced into patronage against their own will. This would not be beneficial to either patron or seeker.

Punishment comes from trying to bypass the will of the patron you serve and act in a way that is contrary to the agreement you have made. If this is commonplace and you are punished frequently it might be best that you void your contract and go your own way. How this would be accomplished is beyond my level of understanding, or interest, as I have not met with dissatisfaction with the agreements or tasks I have undertaken with my patron.


Patronage: Will he cast his sword into the balance?

Monday, March 18, 2013

How to Season and Care For Your Cast Iron Cookware

The wonderful world of Cast Iron Cookware!

Over the years I have been fortunate enough to own a lot of cast iron cookware. Some I have bought new, others I have picked up and are over 100 years old!

I love cast iron cookware simply because of the way it cooks and flavors things. The more you use
such cookware, the better the foods taste that you prepare in them.

Cast iron will last many generations if taken care of properly. The main thing to remember is that this type of cookware has to be "seasoned" to hold up for years of use as well as being a pleasure to cook with. Properly seasoned, it is as stick free as Teflon cookware!

If you own new cast iron cookware you will first need to season it. Most new cookware comes with the instructions on how to season properly. However, I use my own method.

  • You want to preheat the oven to about 300 degrees to start with.
  • While the oven is preheating, take some lard or bacon grease and wipe the pan down, inside, outside and the handle. Do not use vegetable oil as it will only create a mess, a sticky mess at that!
  • Now, you have the oven preheated and a greased up piece of cast iron cookware... Pop it into the oven for about 15 minutes. Then take it out and pour off any grease that may be sitting in it. Place the cookware back into the oven and let it "cook" for about two hours at the same temperature.

Normally, I do this three to four times as it helps to do it more than once. I can tell the difference in how well it cooks after the three to four bakes when compared to the few times I tried the one bake method.

You can help maintain the "seasoning" of your cast iron cookware by cooking greasy and fatty foods in it. This actually strengthens the seasoning, especially over the years.

There will be times your cookware may develop a place where the seasoning has worn off and even rust will develop. To re-season the cookware, simply remove any food from the pan using hot water and a good scouring pad. I usually will heat the pan up just a tad, not too hot, as you will want to be able to handle it, as this will open the pores in the iron and makes it much simpler to clean. Then, dry the cookware out with a paper towel and follow the steps above to season the cookware again.

By doing this "seasoning" you will create cookware that is simply non-stick by nature. With that said, you want to avoid scratching the cookware as if it were the coated non-stick type of cookware.

As for the actually caring of the cast iron cookware, it is much different from any other kind of cookware out there. You want to clean your cookware while it is still hot, rinsing in hot water and scraping if needed. Never use detergent, just hot water and a cloth or sponge, not a scouring pad, as that will break down the seasoning. The seasoned cookware cleans up very easily.

Never store food in cast iron cookware. If you make a pot of beans, like I do, with several days worth of beans cooked up in the Dutch Oven, take the beans out and store in another container and clean up your cast iron cookware. If you store food in the cookware it will soak up a metal taste from the iron.

Never store your cast iron cookware with the lids on as you do not want any moisture to remain in the cookware. Moisture equals rust and that is something you certainly do not want! Of course if this happens, you have the instructions on how to deal with that above. Simple instructions actually. We store our cast iron cookware in the oven and in the storage drawer under the over or broiler if you have one. Of course you have to remember it is in there when you warm up the oven to cook something! We take it out and place it on top of the stove, where it will continue to stay dry. Should you forget, which I have a time or two, the cast iron cookware will not be damaged from being in the oven. Just use extreme caution when removing it.

As you use cast iron cookware, it will turn darker and darker... New, it is somewhat gray in color, but as you season it, and use it, it will eventually turn black and this is a very normal process.

Enjoy your cast iron cookware!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What Are Universal Laws?

Various Universal Laws

Though my ideas have changed over the years there have been fundamental laws that have shaped my thinking and helped define the approach that I now follow. Many have asked me over the years, "What is Universal Law?" This article should give some insight to those seeking such.

Since then my views on some of these theories have changed. Make a note that I will be using Laws and Theories as interchangeable terms that are synonymous with each other. It is very difficult to prove the existence and infallibility of metaphysical laws or theories and there are many of these things with varied differences in accordance to the infinite number of paths that seem to have been made or are being made.

I feel as we progress we should inevitably change the theories we are using to better explain how the specific effects we are creating are being made. We will use our own ever evolving calculations and equations to improve what it is we seek to do. Our understanding should grow and we should be able to more finely tune everything we do.

I feel in the start it is best to have somewhat of a game plan. this way you aren't just shooting in the dark. So with that said I will put up the basic foundation of the universal laws as I learned them. Many of these will look familiar as many other styles will have similar rules or laws in place which have helped mold their foundations.

All Is One

The universe in essence though one thing it is composed of two.

That which we call manifest and unmanifest. The Unmanifest is where we start getting into problems. We can only hypothesize about it. But there is one thing that we do understand from the unmanifest came forth the manifest.

That which we understand and live through we call manifest as we exist within it. The mysteries of the manifest may elude us but they can be on some level understood. Within it there are immutable laws that govern all that we do. We can directly liken these rules to some scientific understanding that we have. Laws of Gravity, Laws of Motion. These laws are accurate in the experiences that we have with them and the understanding we are in at the time.

It must be stressed however that these are still working models of which are due to evolution throughout the ever advancing experiences we have with them. So true is this approach with the rest of the laws given on what many would call the metaphysical level. These laws change and adapt. I am reminded of Heraclitus and his famous quote:

"No-one can step twice into the same river, nor touch mortal substance twice in the same condition. By the speed of its change, it scatters and gathers again."

We must account that the universe is an ever evolving substance such as we as thinking sentient beings ought to be if we are to survive. It is not known if this shift comes forth from the manifest or of the unmanifest spitting out an ever changing dualistic energy.

Duality** and Reflection

From the Unmanifest two energies came forth. These energies are often called by various names, however, in this text they will be understood as Light and Dark. These two energies that came forth from the Unmanifest began at once a struggle with each other that created the existence that we enjoy. It is only with the duality of these two energies and the push-pull antagonization of their interplay with each other that keeps what we know as manifest existence established.

It is the Light side of this dualistic energy that seeks to impose unity. The Dark half looks for a constant separation. In all other ways these energies work the same. Neither energy is more powerful than the other. Neither energy has certain other characteristics that the other cannot accomplish in some way. These are equally powerful energies of which neither will ever be victorious over the other in. This is what is known as Reflection.

Many modern healers insist that this ability is only governed through the Light energies they employ. Reflection however insists that the Dark half is equally capable of healing. The same response goes into the arts of attack, defense, and any other applicable use of energy.

Once again the only defining qualities of Dark and Light of which differ from each other is the struggle of Unity and Separation. Thus this begs the questions many supposed gray mages ask. Can one be unified with something yet at the same time be separated? When I first became familiar with these laws I was told that it was an impossibility. Currently I am open to the other possibility but I cannot see a plausible equation for it. So I am left with using though perhaps a less modern approach for the workings I do in regards to this law, I feel the outcomes are more practical, defined, and efficient as the solution feeds from a purer set of calculations on working material.

** Working theories with Duality sometimes involve in one dualistic energy in that it is capable of going into positive and negative such as how we view electrical energy. Other views insist on an infinite number of energies yet each operating in a pattern of which could be classified as Light and Dark.

Symmetry

Symmetrical in every direction in regards to the energic properties of the Universe.

Existence works because there an equal amount of opposing energy on each side. This is not to say that there is exactly the same amount of Dark energy versus Light energy. There is an ever shifting lack of energy that the universe goes through. I feel it is cyclical in nature but I cannot of course prove this theory.

If at one time however there is not enough of one energy to combat the ever vigilant opposing force the universe will right itself. Right itself in sometimes even drastic measures. Much like when man interferes with nature's ability to burn out dead wood in the forests, nature will often impose on the forest and everything around it such a fire of extreme conditions that it will catch up to where it was balanced from before.

Any majority influx of Light or Dark energies are controlled by the universe in righting itself by integrating into the system such a concentration of energy in order for it's universal will to rebalance itself.

On a side note it is this that I believe is happening at this day and age. The Darkness is once again being allowed to be concentrated in means to right itself against the majority that the Light has enjoyed and enjoyed for some time.

Whether this imbalance is created by the beings that exist in this manifest existence or it goes through natural cycles are irrelevant. Once imbalance is achieved the Universe's natural law is to right itself using any means possible. How this is dictated to me currently remains unknown and I can only speculate on a few possibilities which are unnecessary to go over on this text.

Cause and Effect

Every event has a cause every action produces effects in an endless chain.

This sounds very much like the idea of Karma. While the two holds properties similar to each other it is better to not make the mistake of thinking them the same. While Karma in most approaches dictates that we are accountable for each action there is also a system of judgment that often the theory insists takes place. With cause and effect there is a bit of a different approach. Throwing a stone into a pond can indeed create ripples. However those ripples have a patterned approach, rules governing how they move. Cause and effect allows one to understand this governance and if understood well one can move to an angle that will not be so much affected by this rippled backlash.

Throw a larger stone into a pond and you will find that the ripples are more intense and fiercer than if you threw a smaller stone into the pond. Throwing a stone to a greater distance may allow that you don't even see the ripples come back to your location at all. Though of course on a very minute scale that wouldn't be measured well they still come back.

With this idea you have Cause and Effect. I do not allow morality to come into the bias this law. Morality holds no place in the rules that regulate this universal system. By sticking it in on Karma like so many other paths do these paths suggest to you the outcomes that they would see you put forth. Emotional wants and needs mean nothing to these calculations in play.

Interpretation

Everything is intimately linked with everything else.

Out of the all the laws this one perhaps is the hardest to grasp. That because everything is linked with everything else there is really no distance between anything, just that on a physical level that is how we operate.

This law also comes under fire on the aspect if there are two or a multiple of energies how is it that they can be linked? Particularly when with the dichotomy of duality in play. Once again I have to theorize. As everything has come from the same source of which we call in this text the unmanifest there is an underlying code or resonance which carries that universal quality. In the fact that each person, each being, and of course each item of any substance has its own unique resonance all one has to do is be able to isolate it to find it.

Each piece of energy in the universe serves its own purpose with the Universe's natural laws. Interpretation goes hand in hand with the aspect that all truly is one.

This to me seems a plausible theory of which both works and allows me to continue thinking on a dualistic nature in regards to the Universe.

Dimensionality/Enclosure

Higher dimensions encompass lower dimensions.

If we think of the universe in an infinite onion we can better understand that every layer of this infinite layered onion leads to another layer. This works both on higher and lower planes of existence.

The higher the dimension you are able to go to the more of the picture you can see. However there is a price. The higher you go the less able you are to work in the lower dimensions and vice versa. One of the properties called harmonization has something of a solution to this.

When we think of physicality we understand that if we were to vibrate at a certain rate the objects that we call solid could be waded through as if they were water. On the opposite range on another vibration level objects that are liquid or gaseous might be able to be felt as solid.

To identify truly with another object or being you have to be equal to it. Thus true harmony only works when you are dealing with equals. What this means is though a higher level power could in theory modify their vibration level or harmonize with a lower or higher plane of existence a true understanding and fully working would only be capable with something that is equal to their prime resonance.

With this idea we start to grasp the needs that those of a much higher power level than we have. Often these higher level entities are called God, Goddess or Deities. In that they encompass a higher plane of existence than we do they can see and on some level interact on the levels we are at. However they do so with certain limitations. Therefore they often employ us to carry out the duties that they cannot without many problems on the levels that we are equal to.

Look once more to Interpretation. In that we are a small piece of the ocean or onion yet the moves we make are influential to the higher or lower realms, also we are now getting into Cause and Effect as well as All is One. As we gain in power and strength we also advance and evolve. The idea is that you move up the ladder towards the level of the higher entities that you once served. With this however once again the higher you go the less able you are going to be on the lower dimensions.

There is a theory about devolving to lower depths as well. Though I would find this process unflattering towards my needs and goals Symmetry demands that the process in reverse would hold the same. The lower the depths you go the less able you are going to be to influence the higher realms.

There are some physical theories about the universe being much like a balloon. That though we think of space as infinite, it is because that at some point you end up returning to the same place you started from. Currently though as much of a plausible solution on higher and lower planes of existence overlapping I have yet to be to the point to have a definite answer in regards to that or not.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Mystical & Mysterious - Threefold Return and Karma


How Karma And The Rule Of Three Are Connected

Rule of Three
Ever mind the Rule of Three

Three times what thou givest returns to thee

This lesson well, thou must learn

Thee only gets what thou dost earn!

Threefold Return and Karma
The Law of Threefold Return basically states that whatever you do returns to you threefold, good or ill. Karma is the manifestation of that law in action. It isn't punishment, because it is simply a balancing out of what you have earned. Similar to "as you sow, so shall you reap" or "what comes around, goes around." This Law also states that you are bound to return good with good, and ill with ill, but there are people who don't believe in that and don't practice it. There are ways to defend yourself by simply sending the negative energy back to its source.

Karma
Everyone knows about Karma but few people have really stopped to give it much thought as to how it works or why. We tend to think that Karma is something we get because of what we have done wrong and while that is correct we can also get karma for things we never did. Recently in a discussion the question was asked, "can we encounter karma because of action we have taken but did not know that it would cause something bad to happen?" The answer is YES! Karma comes from what we do and just because we were not aware of a situation totally does not absolve us of the karma from actions we take in such situations. The major responses to something that has been done and now has proven to be a bad move are statements like, "I did not know, or I did not think." A large part of this existence is to teach each of us how to think and to be better able to measure the impact of what we choose to do. If Karma was only earned when we knowingly do something that is wrong then the lessons would be limited to actions taken while we had a mindset to do wrong. Unfortunately humans have an amazing ability to take actions that can result in harm to others or to this earth without the slightest forethought. If we are not accountable for these situations then our learning is not broad enough to teach us how to think as well as what to do.

Since almost every major religion and basic personal philosophy holds that karma does exist and that part of our purpose in the physical form is to learn then it would seem obvious that the broader the lessons taught by incurring karma the more opportunity we have to make progress. Sadly the vast majority of people see the negative things that take place within there lives as just a run of bad luck. They seldom stop to examine these things to see if they are karma as a result of actions taken without thinking. This is one of the reasons so many feel out of control and that their lives are not within the realm of something that they can control. They tend to see what is not good as being some form of destiny that is intended to measure their strength and make them stronger but allowing them to have these moments of negativity. To the contrary negativity is almost always just the return of something we have done but never thought about.

There are many ways that we are both pushed and pulled toward the path that we are suppose to walk and Karma is but a small force that tries to get us there. Because Karma does what it does many people think that what we are to become is preordained or strictly a matter of destiny but such is not the case. Most of the forces that seem to attempt to direct us are involved with not what we are but now we live. Karma and the many other forces interrupt us when we have strayed from the spiritual path or allowed ourselves to become a negative force that inflicts pain and suffering, emotional or physical, on others. This does not dictate that we must be carpenters, salespeople or politicians. We have a great deal of freedom to chose what we will do with the life we have been allowed to live but we are not given as much freedom when it comes to what the rules of living that life are. In many ways what we conceive as the things that make us unhappy are often material in nature but the real cause of the unhappiness is that we can often only gain these things with total disregard for the spiritual rules that are the basis of our path through life. We want those material things and would prefer not to have to work to gain them but we can generally only gain them without work by the misuse of power and that then becomes an issue of karma. There is a link between what we are and what we want to be but there is not restriction on what we can become only on the process we seek to use to get there. Our path can lead anywhere but the path can only be walked in one way.