Monday, December 29, 2014

Erecting A Mirror Shield To Protect Against Negativity And Evil

Venturing out in the real world with out a shield to protect you is like unprotected sex, if you are real lucky, you won't catch anything, but there are all kinds of "goodies" you may catch if you aren't lucky! And nothing is so tempting to a psychic vampire as an unprotected person. So how do you go about shielding yourself? Well, here is how to build a mirror shield that will send back any negativity sent to you, and also allow you to remain hidden if you wish.

Sit in a comfortable chair for this exercise, and allow your arms to hang. Do not cross your legs, or your arms. Crossing either short circuits your energy, and while an effective method of keeping someone from influencing your energy temporarily, is not an effective method of control on a long term basis. Now visualize yourself surrounded by a ball of pure energy, this ball surrounds you but remains further out than you can touch, and no matter what is in your hands, the ball expands so it is never pierced from within. If you were to look from the outside at this ball, you would see yourself, for it is a highly polished, reflective mirror. Now this mirror is just like the one in a police station, the kind that is a window on one side and a mirror on the other. So you can see out, but remain hidden. I want you to program this ball of energy to "hide" you so your energies do not give you away - all you do is visualize such "programming" being fed into the ball. Now you are surrounded and hidden.

Now lets add the defensive capabilities beyond hiding. Visualize the ball now having the capability to reflect anything thrown against it back at the sender, a "return to sender" function you can also program, and initially make it 3 times as hard and strong, and 3 times as fast as sent. You can use any factor of protection you like, I call this the "bounce back factor" - think of it as 10 to the nth power, so 10 to the 3rd power is 10 times 10 times 10, or 1000 times as hard and fast. Now, if that doesn't do it for you, just keep increasing the power!!! Your only limit is your own visualization power, so the sky is the limit! Make your shield as hard, strong, and fast as you like.

One further point - what good is such a shield if it isn't around you all the time, and does it go into the earth when you walk, or around the bed when you sleep? Of course it does, merely "see" it doing so, and it will. And if you see it up all the time, it will be! You may have to reinforce the visualization in the beginning, but soon it will be second nature for your shield to be there, then just check occasionally to see if it needs any bolstering. Presto, now you may go anywhere and be safe!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Ancient Healing Chants and Spell

Some simple chants for healing are available in an old book by Ray Buckland. They come from old Etruscan magic according to him. They can be done on any day of the week and you should light candles and incense while you chant.

You should use your regular ritual candles (just do your circle as you normally would, if you do it at all) and add to the set-up a royal blue candle. Carve into the candle the healer's tree symbol (you'll find that in either of Scott Cunningham's Wicca books: Guide for the Solitary or Living Wicca).

As for the herbs/incense which would be appropriate, I'll list some common kitchen and wild/garden type ones after the chants. While you chant, use the candle to focus yourself and visualize the sick person vigorous and healthy, doing whatever it is s/he likes to do most. If you have a picture of the sick person, it's a good idea to have it on the altar, too. You can either chant the phrases 9 times or until you feel satisfied. You can do this daily whenever you have the time and it doesn't take a terrible lot of prep time except to grab the components, clear your mind and get your focus.

Here are several chants you can use.  Pick the one that seems to fit you best.  These five are intended to help bring about full recovery.

  1. Per il bene che ti ho voluto 
  2. A folletta di Norcia va ti a raccomodare 
  3. Che la fortuna mi voglia ridare 
  4. Sarei sempre il padrone 
  5. Mezzo di questa vada avral

Now the list of common healing herbs. You'll be able to get a lot of these from your kitchen, a garden or wild place or from a health food store in the form of teas or oils.

  • Allspice (not the blended stuff; you can usually get the whole seeds at the grocery store) 
  • Apple ( a couple on the altar, perhaps; and bonus if you can get them in for the sick person to eat afterward ;-)) 
  • Bay - take a whole leaf and mark it with the healer's tree; tuck it somewhere in the sick person's room, under his/her pillow if you can or put it in a little blue mojo bag for him/her to wear over his/her heart) 
  • Blackberry - you might even consider doing a spell paper with the juice for ink 
  • Carnations (on the altar and maybe you can take them after blessing and have them in his/her room?) 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Eucalyptus (you can get this dried in the floral department of a lot of stores) 
  • Fennel 
  • Flax (you can get the seeds at most health food stores or whole foods places) 
  • Gardenia 
  • Garlic 
  • Ginseng 
  • Golden Seal (very available in a lot of "herbal vitamin" sections at places like Wal-Mart and K-Mart) 
  • Ivy (would be good as an altar dressing if you want to go that far or maybe 
  • get a potted one to perk up his/her room?) 
  • Lime (check around; the grocery store might have the dried peels in the spice section) 
  • Mint (peppermint especially) (dried flakes in the grocery store) 
  • Oak 
  • Pine 
  • Rose 
  • Thyme 
  • Tobacco 
  • Violet 
  • Willow 
  • Wintergreen

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Indoor Pagan and Witch Celebrations

One of the obstacles city pagans face is the want of outdoor space for workings and rituals. One way to get around such problems is to hold workings indoors.

For indoor locations you have the option of using your regular ritual room/altar space. Or of clearing a room, such as living room, just for the occasion. Which you choose will depend on your circumstances.

If you share living space with someone that is non-pagan then perhaps keeping it simple and working in the privacy of your own room would be best.

However, if you can move out into a larger space it is always nice to do so. If it is a room that is used for other things this may mean cleaning up before and after. First, move any furniture out of the way. Then put everything back when done. It can mean a bit more work, but if you host a grove/coven/group you may need the extra space. *Don't be afraid to ask grove/coven/group members to help with the set up and take down in such situations. It will save you on both time and energy.

Indoors you may want to cut down by half the amount of incense you burn, unless it is warm enough to have windows open for smoke reasons and the overdone effect of scent in a small place. Remember you can always add more if needed, but you can't undo it if you get too much.

Candles can also be a hazard in small spaces with folks moving about. So always make sure that candles are set in sturdy holders that are on level non-moving surfaces. Make sure you have a little extra water on hand just in case one gets bumped over. I have found a medium plastic measuring cup works great for this. You can fill it with tap water and set it in a corner for emergencies. It has a handle and a pour spout which makes it easy to grab and pour where needed.

Whether you use a rug to denote the circle or a rope, or another item is up to you. I have seen some lovely rugs that are circular with Celtic knot work patterns. They come in a variety of sizes, smalls are about 5', mediums are about 8-9', large ones can be huge. The small ones are nice when working alone as it gives you a visual boundary when calling quarters. One could also use several rugs together to get the same effect. Rugs are a nice option that you might not want to use outdoors due to cleaning of rugs.

Also a nice thing about working indoors if you can leave you altar up overnight is being able to leave your nice silver out without worrying about it disappearing. Plus you can use a nice coffee table for your altar.

I hope these ideas help.

Note: For instructions on forming a pagan circle for rites & rituals visit my blog post:

Friday, November 21, 2014

IcyBoards and Free MyBB Forum Hosting!

My MyBB Forum

MyBB Forum Platform With Free Hosting

Many folks have followed me in forum activity on Delphi forums for over a decade.  However, Delphi has many limitations and keeps wanting more and more money to allow you to have a decent forum there.

Another problem with Delphi is that you have to log in to participate in the forums.  This appears to block the Google bot that roams around looking for content to place into search engine results.  So, most of the material shared on the Delphi platform never makes it to the general public via a Google search.

After doing some research, I ran across a decent forum platform called MyBB.  I then searched for a hosting company this forum platform.  I found IcyBoards that supplies the latest MyBB platform and will host it for free.  (Update 8/24/2019) IcyBoards is no longer up and running.  I have not researched to find another hosting company. That being said, the review below is rather mute. I had not checked my forum in some is no longer being hosted there.

IcyBoards had some outstanding up time documented and a lot of wonderful reviews.  In fact, I could not find much that was said negatively about them.  Below are some highlights of IcyBoards and their MyBB forum platform.
  • 99.9% Up-time
  • Always Backed Up
  • Great Community
  • Fully Customizable
  • Rapid Support
  • #1 Forum Host!
  • Editable Template Files
  • Plugins/Mods
  • Your Own Domain!
So with all of this in mind I created my newest forum on IcyBoards using the MyBB forum platform. I then, of course, browsed around to find a custom theme for my new forum as I always like "unique" and a custom look.

So far I love the ability to do what all is offered and am still exploring a lot of options with the various plug ins as well and forum settings.

Some will ask how can they provide the great servers, great support and all with no cost to the user.  It is actually rather simple and is a concept used by many successful online sites and businesses today.  They run an ad on your forum.  From the ad is where they get revenue to keep things up and running. Quite a profitable venture.  I do the same on my blog, as well as YouTube, raking in some cash here and there all via Google Adsense ads.

During the set up process and getting familiar with the new forum, I have found some answers to some questions   Feel free to ask questions in comment below and I will get back with you on how I resolved some of the leading questions.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Marking Your Territory

Why Territory Marking?

In life we have boundaries and territories in which we can identify as being owned by something or someone else. Animals frequently will mark their territory with their urine or scent in order to show dominance to trespassers who intentionally or unwittingly fall into their domain.
Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Animals that intentionally wander into these domains will also mark this territory with their own urine. This way to challenge or acknowledge in some respect the ownership of the original territory. If they acknowledge the territory as not theirs, usually they will leave. If they wish to challenge they will wander farther into it.

Humans are also animals, and we still mark our territories but a little differently of course. We see this game of marking the territory clearly and in abundance within the depths of the internet. Two groups of opposition seek to gain as much ground as they can in reference to forums or online communities that are friendly towards them.

This marks a chess game of sorts where piece position matters. Territory of more important value is fought over in order to control more of the board. It must be remembered however that chess is a two dimensional game. Political intrigue with its aspect of board position and marking is much more advanced.

Territory Marking In Action

Let me give an example of political marking in regards to two internet forum environments. Lets say that Group A and Group B are in direct opposition to each other. Lets not worry about the why these two are at each other's throats just take into account there is no love lost between them. Also understand that these two forums hold similar goals or standpoints. Therefore those forums they might frequent hold a similar interest for each of them.

What this all means is each of them will be wanting to participate and be well known in any other outside forums that they see of value. The fact that these two groups cannot co-exist means that only one group may have the opportunity to be involved with individuals outside forums. This presents an interesting race. One of which I have enjoyed observing in some manner, but I will get to that later.
In one scenario Group A has come into a forum and posts fairly regularly. They have become friends with the management, and even might have been given a staff position. This would be a most formidable way to mark a forum. If Group B comes in poking around it would be very hard to remain, for Group A has the power to defend its position with both its staff placement and loyal friends in the staff beside them. Group B would have to retreat, else be locked out, or even both.

Now lets switch things up a bit. Lets say that Group A was a frequent visitor but had no staff position, and no real friends in the territory. This would mean more or less the position they occupy though perhaps better dug in would still be more or less a neutral position. Group B could come in and participate in order to refute the marking that Group A had already stuck on this particular forum. Depending on the administration in this particular forum either side would either have to behave or one of them would get thrown out. Thus by default the remaining Group would be the victor. We need to also take into account that one side may just willing give up ground that is not important or essential for any real victory. No campaign is worth fighting unless there is a distinct advantage in winning it. Remember we want advantageous board position. We want decent favorable contacts. If these things cannot be with this said forum and its management gained then there is no sense in fighting for them.  Let the other Group waste its time.
As we can see there can be thousands if not an infinite number of scenarios which can be made up or in actual play. I think you all get the idea though. This aspect of territory marking makes up an interesting and fun game in which I have done quite a bit of work with. As I am sure others of you have as well though perhaps you haven't seen it exactly in the way that I have presented this. I know it might upset some of you and I wouldn't want that, well honestly I don't care any longer, but I have to say that I have seen no real gains in winning. Truly there has been no advantage in having the upper hand over Group B other than a little satisfaction that if I put my mind to it I can and have outplayed them every time. The forum I have in mind has not had people in which courting them completely has made any real difference over a long space of time. There is truly no defeat because anyone can pick up a new name and start over. This makes it all the more interesting because it proves to serve as an ideal training grounds.

I would warn anyone however in the same tactics offline. Offline is where it counts. You may not ever get any kind of second chance, indeed your first chance may prove have put you in a position that given your limitations you may never be able to conquer anything more than delusions of self worth. Those that are capable of gaining offline will end up being the victors. However once again online forums can prove to be a most amusing game.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tactical Foresight: Planning And Thinking Ahead

Tactician Practices

Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
A good tactician generally can see or map out events which are in a possible future.  Much to the chagrin and embarrassment of whom it is used against when the tactician is proven right these events usually have a high probability of occurring when most of the facts of the situation are known.

For instance, in a chess game, master players usually see and calculate a number of moves ahead.  Thus they have an advantage over those that only see the one they are in or perhaps a couple of their next turns. The board is set up in a way that often is able to give a decent prediction of what can happen if one knows the game well enough.

There are those of us that can do the same thing in our lives and often treat every day living as a giant chessboard.  This is not to trivialize how we or others live but give them a working strategy that they can employ with some success on how things are going now and how they can be positioned for a better future.

A number of things can be picked apart in those that play around us. There are many more I am sure that could be given but I will give a few that I think cover the majority of things you ought to understand if you intend to use this type of thinking.


What is it that the players, opponents, or allies want or need?  What drives them to obtain these things.  How badly do they want or need them?  Do they understand or know these needs or wants?


What aspects about these people allow them in some way to obtain their needs and wants?  What gifts do they have known or unknown that can be of help to them.  Can they sustain the actions they are involved in?  Do they have the resources to allow them to continue carrying on?

Gain to Risk Factor

In everything there is risk, There is no action in which any of us participate in that there isn't any risk of failure.  The probability of failure however for most of our mundane things we do is very low.  Most large ventures however have a larger risk factor as the gain from it increases.  How much of a risk will these people take will usually show how much gain there is to be gotten.  Are these people gamblers?  How far will they go?  Can they bluff well?  Can they afford to lose?  All of these questions should be looked at in order to pursue a more accurate prediction.

Insight and Cautions

Knowing the people around you will allow you to better make judgements on the different decisions they will be making, thus increasing your awareness of the decisions you will make and perhaps decreasing the risks involved.

I would warn you though in using these techniques and being too vocal you may end up upsetting those around you with the tactical predictions that you make.  I myself made vocal to someone  that I saw as weak and would falter in time in the hopes that they would be able to improve their situation and thus correct their position.  However it only angered them and they detached perhaps faster than they would have I hadn't of said anything at all.  They then fell directly into the pit that I had foreseen through my tactical foresight.  However perhaps if they had been stronger in some respects or valued my judgement a little more without being enslaved by their pride, they could have become something more and shown me how fallible my foresight was.  Once again we look at the aspect of gain to risk.

However in accounting for their lack of strength we were able to safeguard ourselves from any larger risk later on.  For instance we could have given them more power or control only to have it lost or used against us later.  Therefore trust is given to those that not only have a common interest but to those that are tactically in the right perspective and place on the board we are playing on, never forgetting though once again there will always be risk in everything we do.

Some people may find this way of thinking too structured and too ordered for them to pursue.  Calculating every move and every position that you are in can become tedious.  However once a practiced mind starts doing so patterns usually develop in various situations.  These patterns can become shortcuts and allow a less focussed mind to actively pursue different options in order to gain benefit from.  When a more difficult scenario shows itself on the board an accomplished tactician may then wish to go over every small detail in order to gather as much information as they can as to see every movement that would make up the similar pattern that you have seen before.  As everything isn't always the same, just using the pattern could possibly be a huge mistake if the risk you are involved in is great.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Opening The Floodgates

Emotions Flowing

It is in these times of weariness that I allow my senses to more fully open.  The inhibitions that I carry fade out just a bit to allow me to feel and sense in ways that I normally would close myself to.
Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

It is my belief that in most cases a steady case of detachment must be adhered to.  That our emotions must not rule our actions.  While this is an effective and efficient way of moving and practicing your craft at times it disallows a more full understanding of the people and creatures that you are dealing with on a consistent basis.

Opening the floodgates slowly once in a while keeps the emotional connections strong and allows you to remember important parts of yourself and see in others those same qualities that may not be getting enough clock time.  It helps to appreciate how deep our feelings might end up being and to reflect what we have been dealing with while merging those memories with the passions that have been held back.

Once I have had my feel of the passions that I let overwhelm me, the gates are shut once more and only a trickle of them is once again allowed to come forth in my interactions with most of those that I deal with.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Full Moon God or Goddess Meditation and Spell for Protection, Banishing and More

A Goddess Or God Meditation To Use or Build Upon For Spell Work and Magic

Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
Full moons are good times for protection magic, banishing negativity from ones life, etc.
Step one: Make sure you have prepared the area you plan to use including your altar. Have all your tools handy. I take a cleansing bath before I begin.

Step two: Decide your intent and cast your circle.

Step three: .Sit or lay in a comfortable position within your circle. Slowly breathe in and out until you accomplish a steady rhyme . Let your mind clear and become still with each breath. When you are clear raise your hand or athame - pointing at the moon. Say...

I draw down the power of the Moon(insert name of Goddess of choice) into myself. 
I merge with Her power and wisdom, and the eternal essence of the Goddess.

Remember to intone the words and let them resonate with intent and power.

You will feel the energy fill your hand/athame. Bring the energy into your chest/heart and feel it glow blue and silvery. Its power and energy filling you with every breath. Just let yourself feel the energy for several breaths as you relax and let it cleanse, heal, and fill you.

Step four: You are ready to begin your meditation/ritual at this point. You may use the energy for other workings--healings, protection, banishing, etc. Remember that full moon magic may take one full moon cycle to complete itself.

Recite the below mantra and envision as described:

"Divine Light"* Meditation Mantra.

I am created by Divine Light. 
I am sustained by Divine Light. 
I am protected by Divine Light. 
I am surrounded by Divine Light. 
I am ever growing into Divine Light.

Picture the light of the Divine Light encompassing you. It will heal, nourish and awaken you. Also, you can picture this light and repeat this mantra when you want to help someone else. Picture the light passing from you into the person you are healing.

Meditate for as long as you feel necessary. You can also add a vision quest, or do a working at this time.

Step five: When you feel done/ready you may end the meditation. Have some food and drink. Thank the Guides for their presence. Close the circle. Ground the any residual energy. Clean up the area.**


  • 1 White candle 
  • Incense of choice--cinnamon or sandalwood
  • Besom/broom 
  • Athame/wand, or use hand 
  • Spring water 
  • Small hand fan

*Note: "Divine Light" Meditation is taken from the book Divine Light Invocation by Swami Sivananda Radha which I recommend for everyone's library.

**You may leave candle and incense burning. Just be certain that they are in a place where they can't start a fire, especially out of reach of pets and children, and don't leave the candle unattended. Accidents can happen.

As with any spell or magic that I share, it can be used "as is" or modified to fit your specific needs or methods.

Note: For instructions on forming a pagan circle for rites & rituals visit my blog post:

The Internet Forum Troll Effect

Three Kinds Of Trolls 

Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
In every online community there comes to be what we call as Trolls.  These are people who have an agenda to disrupt a forum.  However there are many kinds of trolls.  I am sure there are a fair number few sites that people have seen that have given names to trolls that work in various ways.

I have however placed them into a few categories:

The first is the Basic Troll.

This is a troll that has no real interest in the forum they are trying to disrupt.  This person or people are only there to get a few quick laughs or to occupy them while they are bored.  They feel no general hatred or malevolence towards any individual within the group they just want to have a little fun and piss some people off.

These trolls generally get bored with their behavior or if there is a defense against them they will run off and find easier pickings.  They won't be around much at least in any kind of regular pattern as they are doing other things that interest them more or they just lose interest altogether.

The next kind of troll is what I deem as the Angry Troll.

This is a troll that maybe have started out in your forum or community and was upset about something.  Their motive is vengeance and they will do what they can to get that.  This troll is pissed off and most of the tactics it uses are much like the Basic Trolls however, it has a regular pattern and is driven to keep to that until either it runs out of steam or its demands are met in some form or another.

The attacks that this troll brings to a forum are more directed as it knows the people in it better.  This troll knows certain things about the forum they are attacking to get a better result than the Basic Troll can.  They may cool off and go to other things however this forum is still on the list to attack when they are upset again or they just want to rile things up a bit.

My third and last classification of the Trolls is what I call The Mastermind Troll.

This troll might be someone you don't even think of as being a troll.  It could be your best friend online or a trusted and fellow staff member in a particular forum.  You could eventually find out that the background of this person of whom you thought you knew was just a story in order to gain your trust.

The mastermind has it in for your forum and will use whatever tactics they can in order to either shut it down or take control of it altogether. The mastermind particularly likes to employ others for their handiwork.  Thus they either incorporate others of like minds or they trick and or employ the uses of the inferior trolls upon the other forum.

Options Available In Some Forums:

Some forums have put an option on their forums which is called Full Forum Moderation or similar. This easily bypasses if used correctly the tactics of the first two trolls.  It is in this aspect that our forums can be troll proof.  However the defense against the mastermind can only come at a good and knowing relationship out of all the staff.  Finding out that you are being lied to in many ways makes trust impossible even if the person doing the lying is the forum owner themself.  If they can't be straight with someone that they are online with for hours and hours a day, how can you be sure if their intentions and motivations are in effect in your best benefit at all?  How can you trust these people in little things if they have been lying about other little things?

So I again state a good trusting relationship is needed with you/your staff if you are the forum owner.  I am sure there are many past histories when all was not as it seemed.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

What is Tsu, The New Social Site That Pays Revenue?

New Social Site Launches With Promises Of Revenue For Members

Update 8/24/2019: Tsu is no longer online.  Another bites the dust. I am leaving the article up for reference purposes.

On October 21, 2014 a new social platform was launched called Tsu. Many will say there are enough social networks out there already with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., and this is true.  What makes Tsu different is that it is classified not only as a social network, but a payment platform as well.  In other words you get paid for the content you post on Tsu based on views, shares, comments, etc.

The business platform seems to be one of the best in recent years.  The site launched with a $7,000,000.00 investment push by investors.  So there certainly appears to be some interest and confidence in Tsu and the platform it is offering.

The profits that are shared are paid with ad revenue from the various views.  The payment breakdown is pretty nice as well.  Tsu retains only 10 percent for themselves and the rest is passed on to the members.  Of the remaining balance fifty percent goes to the owner of the profile and content creator and the other fifty percent goes the member that brought the new member into the network. Further earnings and payout information is available on the site and can be viewed upon joining the site.

Some of the launch partners are LeAnn Rimes, 50 Cent, DJ Afrojack, Luol Deng from the Miami Heat, along with Olympian Doc Patton.  Some organizations also are launch partners such as EMA (Environmental Media Association and SBE Entertainment.  Sancus Capital Prive, a funding firm, supported Tsu's $7,000,000.00 funding round.

Of course with this new launch come the spammers which are slowly being weeded out and were anticipated by the creators of the site.  As with any public site, the spammers will come.  One of the BEST ways to get your account deleted from Tsu is to start spamming content about how well the site allows you to make money, and "please share this or that to make revenue."

I personally have joined Tsu (view my profile by clicking) and will write a review on this site after being there for some time and experiencing fully all of the various aspects.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Working with Animal Totems

Learning From Your Animal Spirit Guide And Ally

To begin to work with animal totem, all I've found that you need to have is respect for your animal.  Do not judge it if it is not as glamorous as you would like; each animal has its own unique gifts to share. Also, don't use your animal to boost your ego; the animal has come to you to aid you in your personal growth and should not be abused in this or any other way. Generally, I suggest you only tell people who can understand and who you trust. Negative reactions from others only serves make it more difficult to connect and build a relationship with your animal totem. Once you can respect your animal totem, you are ready to work with it.

The easiest way to begin working with animal totems is to first study your animal -- its natural abilities and ways -- then metaphorically apply them to your life situations. For example, because of its good vision, the hawk could help you to keep sight of your true goals. The image of a hawk swooping down to capture its prey is a powerful tool for helping you achieve these goals. Such images serve to give you strength when you need to keep sight of your goals. Studying the natural ways of your animal also helps to create a more powerful bond between you and your animal, thereby allowing it to aid you even more in your life.

When looking for information about your animal totem, be sure to try to study some of the most recent material published concerning your animal, as much of what biologists believed about certain animals has changed, even in the last couple of years.

One thing to consider when applying an animal's lessons in your life is "human medicine". Just as all animals have certain spiritual traits ("medicines") associated with them, so do we. Human medicine refers to free will. While animals generally stay true to their original instructions, those given by the Great Spirit (God, Goddess, etc.), we humans have an overwhelming ability to make decisions. This doesn't mean that animals have no decision-making abilities -- many do -- but of all animals, humans have this trait in greatest abundance. Before applying any medicine of an animal in your life, it is important to consider and respect human medicine. In short, we must never violate the free will of another, human or otherwise.

Free will is very important when applying the lessons of animals into your life. For instance, did you know that chimpanzees sometimes murder other chimps, or that weasel males "rape" females? Obviously, these are not meant to be applied directly into human life! Despite this, I feel it is important not to judge the animal kingdoms. (Too often I see people focused on either the "violence" or the "cuteness" of animals. The animal world is much more than either of these simple stereotypes.) After all, the animals are only following their original instructions. Besides, these images can still be put to a good purpose. For example, the chimpanzee could help remove obstacles to our well-being, while the weasel could remind us to take the chances we are given; both of these things in accordance with free will, of course! In the end, however, it is your decision to the images you wish to work with. Whether or not you use them, just be sure to accept them as a part of the animal world.

In addition to studying the natural ways of the animals, it is also important to study the mythology of the animals. Around the globe, different cultures (especially shamanic cultures) have applied many mythical aspects to the animals. Some examples: the bear represents introspection, the hummingbird represents joy, and the leopard represents inner power. We can use these myths to aid us in connecting with our animal allies and as a focus to understanding the place the animal has in our lives; what it has come to teach us.

Before you study the myths of animals, however, I personally feel that you should study their natural habits first, in order to forge a powerful connection to begin with. Besides, sometimes myths, rather than creating a sense of wonder about the natural world, simply serve to confuse the truth.

Meditation and Journeying

In addition to using simple animal imagery to effect changes in your life, you can also meditate or journey to speak with your animal. You can modify the same meditation from the last issue to talk with your totem and ask any questions you would like. But beware! I have found that animal totems never lie, so be sure you really want the question answered before you ask. Also be aware that sometimes, certain animals (especially trickster animals) speak in riddles. Further, some animals don't speak at all. In general, it seems that the attitude you have when you enter meditation determines what you receive, so always try to enter meditation peacefully and without expectations.

You can also use guided meditations, in which you plan out what is basically going to happen before you meditate. One of the more powerful guided meditations to do when you are in need concerning predator and prey animals. Imagine your need as the prey animal of your predatory animal totem. Now imagine the predator animal chasing the prey, eventually catching it and devouring it. Try to imagine it as real as possible, using all your senses. Performing this meditation regularly can very empowering. Just be patient... even predators must run the chase several times before it is successful.

A similar guided meditation can be used to help kick old habits, to banish negativity, and to remove disease. In this case, the prey animal represents what you want to get rid of. Imagine your predator animal chasing, catching, and eventually devouring the prey. The part of the prey that is needed (the lesson you needed to learn from it) becomes a part of the predator animal totem and helps it (and you) to grow strong; the rest is excreted. Repeat this meditation regularly as before.

Using a Focus

Another shamanic way that you can use to connect with your animal totems is to utilize a focus (a physical object to represent the animal) for connecting with your animal spirit. Although a focus is not necessary for working with animal totems, it can be useful on occasion. For example, if you don't feel you have the proper attitude when you need to connect with your animal totem through meditation or journeying (you're in a terrible mood and need some guidance), and when you are unable to visualize the animal clearly in your mind (such as when you are stressed or depressed).

In these cases, it better to use an object that represents your connection with your animal totem. This focus could be a carving of your animal, a part of the animal's body, a crystal (representing your connection), a plush animal (teddy bears, etc.), a picture of your animal, or whatever. From experience, I've learned that no focus is necessarily better than any other, so an actual part of the animal is not necessary. Your intention is what really matters. Because I personally don't wish to harm my animal totems, I would never kill one merely for a focus.

Before using a focus, I usually prepare it in advance using simple ritual. Hold it in both hands and present it to Mother Earth and Father Sky, and ask that it serve to connect you with your animal totem, in peace, respect, understanding, et al. Then imagine energy flowing into it from you, then back to you. You can be elaborate or as simple as you like. (Again, intention is the key!)

When you want to use the focus, simply hold it in your hand. Usually, I hold a focus in both hands. You could also lie down and place it upon your body (such as over your heart to represent the heartfelt connection). Feel the animal sending you the energy you need. You may speak to it if you need to release in that way. Sometimes, you may even "hear" the animal speaking back to you, just as if you were in meditation.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons Licensing

Friday, October 17, 2014

What Are The Actual Origins Of Scottish Bagpipes?

Bagpipe History and Facts

There is a term called "logic of structure" which suggests that if enough common elements come together, the same thing will be invented or spread from one invention.

Scottish Bagpipes
Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
In historical times, the pipes have been common to many areas, most of which are, or have been Celtic. These elements all involve sheep. On Mallorca, most villages have a paid town piper, and some of which have pipe bands. Local lore suggests that Galicia (Celt-Iberian) is the source. Whenever anything important is about to happen, they fire a cannon from the roof of the city hall. People gather in the pla├ža. If the mayor speaks from the balcony, he is preceded by a piper, and a pipe & taborer. If he goes anywhere, to cut a ribbon, open a festival, etc, he is preceded by these two. Two villages over, Petra, has a pipe band of two divisions pipers, and pipe & taborers. Soldiers have always had music to inspire them to battle. In Celtic countries, as others, the instruments were the same ones they already had. The Scottish pipes for dancing is relatively new outside of the military context. Dancing was performed to a fiddle, flute, or musette (chamber pipes). The pipes usually seen now in both contexts are war pipes.

Since poor rural people have always been used as mercenaries and cannon fodder, the Scots and Irish have historically always hired themselves out for "foreign" armies. The use of pipes for colonial UK forces is simply an extension of the pipes that the Scots and Irish brought with them. After the invention of public police forces, again "foreigners" were hired to do the job because they had no emotional ties with the people they were policing. So you have Scots in England (Scotland Yard), and Irish in New York. Which explains why many American police forces have pipe bands, and use a piper at the funeral of a policeman.

The only difference between the Spanish pipes and the standard Celtic ones is that they are tuned to "C" instead of "D", and the drones (bourdons) hang down in front instead being over the shoulder. One result of the drone on the shoulder phenomena is that the piper, as leader, is often the standard bearer with a "pipe" banner flying from the base drone.

For a long time, Spain and Portugal have given up the sheep´s bladder for the bag as it smells bad, is unsanitary, and does not last very long. The standard is now a rubber (Portugal used to own Brazil) bag where the only problem is that it has to be drained of moisture now and then. Also the wood is not as hard as that currently used in the UK which comes from Africa. Again "logic of structure", pipes, unlike other wind instruments cannot be "tongued" (Uilleann pipes in Ireland have a plunger to solve this problem). This means that the sound is constant and always legato. Because there are no mechanical stops as on an oboe or clarinet, going from certain notes to other´s causes "bad (unharmonic)" sounds. The solution is to play other "grace" notes in between to get over the rough spots. Because of this, the little "deedeedledeedee" trills typical of Celtic music is common to both Ireland, Scotland, and Spain, which gives the tunes a particularly Celtic sound. This has been transferred over to Celtic vocal music, where the singer often adds a harmonic grace note between two melody notes so that it sounds as if they have missed the right one for a split second before the singer "slurs" into the correct resolution of the tune.

Just as North British pipes are covered with the same material as is found on the kilt, usually tartan, the same is true in that the woolen material covering the bag in Spain is of their particular weave which is not quadratic but features rectangles instead of squares and stresses the shapes, as in Welsh "tartan" instead of the lines as in a Scottish tartan.

Although the pipe & tabour is not currently known in a North British context, there is evidence that it was common in the North well into the 1800´s.

Pipes are also common to other sheep raising countries, but are of a different style. If you travel to Arab countries, the Balkans, rural Germany, or Poland, you will see pipes of the Spanish variety except that there is usually only one drone (again pointing down, and not on the shoulder).

Combi Orchestra of Scottish Pipers and Drummers ( Army Bagpipe Music)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pagan Work Related Discrimination

The Silent Pagan In Reference To Employment

Pagan Discrimination - Flickr Creative Commons
I have been Pagan for most of my life.  I have enjoyed a large following and a wonderful and great group of friends online over the years.

Not to brag, but if I were to link to one of your articles you would get views.  That is simple fact that has been traced due to my followers on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ along with other sites.

Links and back-links will bring a site up in Google search and other search engines as well.  These links and backlinks are valued and well sought after by many as the more views you have the more successful you are online.  This applies to simply having a great following or selling something you may be offering.  The higher you rank with the search engines the more you will make from the increased views.

Now, here I am a Pagan witch who writes on various platforms including this blog. I used to link to the company I work for and provided back-links as well.  Analyses were done and it it was traceable that these such things worked to bring my employers website up in the searches.

However, about two years ago, I was told to drop all links and back-links as it may be offensive to some that I am Pagan.  I was further instructed to make sure I did not mention the company in anything I wrote about nor associate it with me at any level due to my Paganism.

What is intriguing to me is that most of the folks I know in the same business are Pagan minded on many levels and never had a problem with me being a Pagan or a witch.  I still am friends with very many work related folks.  By that I mean folks that are in the same business as I.

On Facebook I show my work as "Self-Employed" as I can not allude to the company I work for.  I had to drop all Linkedin content and links as well.  On Instagram I simply do not mention work.  It is sad that one has be in compliance with such a policy to keep one's job.

All said and done, I do not let it pull me down and I sincerely feel that the "company" has only hurt itself with such demands.  I can not and will not let anyone, nor a company tell me I can not be me or that I can not be Pagan.

Song of Anu

Goddess Anu (see note below)

He pushes, she pulls.
The Irish Goddess Anu
(Anand, Anann, Ana and Danu)
He takes, she gives.
He conquers, she mourns.
He moves, she remains.

He raises, she restores.
He thinks, she feels.
He plays, she watches.
He wounds, she reclaims.

He reasons, she knows.
He thrusts, she receives.
He acts, she waits.
He competes, she refrains.

The ebb and flow, the push and the pull
know better than us all.
The more you take to make yourself full,
the bigger the conqueror will fall.

Yet always have hope for in her heart
is the key to healing the pain.
Therein lies the mortar, the glue, a start
to fixing 'ol Dumpty again.

So if you feel her calling to you,
Do not be afraid to let go.
She'll cry her tears, the goddess Anu
and pull us all into her flow.

Stay, stay, stay with the fight
The revolution has not just begun.
But this, kind sir,'s not a battle of might.
Nor a battle of sword, nor gun.

Note: This song is a tribute to the Goddess Anu from the Irish and Celtic pantheon.  Sometimes she is also called Anand, Anann or Ana.  Some will refer to the Goddess Anu as also being Goddess Danu.

This is not in reference to the Sky-God Anu from the Sumerian pantheon.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Halloween and Samhain Story: Just A Quiet Walk

A Halloween Happening

Courtesy Of Flickr Creative Commons
I heard the sounds again behind me in the dark as I reached the middle of the cemetery.  I stopped and listened for a moment and then continued when I heard nothing.

It had been a nice evening of beer and hot wings at a little sports bar close to home.  I had some flirtatious conversation with a very well built young lady who had flaming red hair.  It must have come out of a bottle to have been that red.  Still, it had its effect on me.  She was a newbie to the bar and talked my ear off while I was trying to talk her clothes off.  No luck there but still a pleasant interlude.  She helped me finish my last pitcher of draught and we parted with promises to do it again soon.

There it was again.  Definitely a sound that didn't belong here.  Dead is dead and no amount of overactive imagination is going to bring them back to life.  I never had a case of the heebie jeebies as a child and it was too late to start now.

One of the advantages to living in a smaller city is being able to live downtown where most of the places I need or want to go are within walking distance.  I own a car but am older and wiser when it comes to driving after I had a few or more than a few mugs of beer.  When I left the bar I walked to the cemetery entrance and entered through the iron gates that were always open.  As I said I don't suffer from the heebie jeebies and it cut off about three blocks by not walking around it.

I had reached the center of the cemetery where most of the crypts were located and while I don't put any stock in spirits and ghouls I do believe in muggers and weirdos and, "The Ghost," as they were calling him.  I stepped behind a crypt into the night shadows and waited.

One of the topics of conversation around the tables tonight was the, "Ghost."  Not the spook kind, the crazy kind.  In the last three months some nut had hacked up three people with what they deduced was a large butcher knife and had covered the bodies with a sheet prior to his handiwork.  Thus the name, "The Ghost." Theory was it kept the killer from being splattered with the victims DNA. Another case for educational television.

I only had to wait a couple of minutes until I could make out a figure coming down the path in the moonlight.  Staying in the shadows I watched as the figure shuffled past, that was the sound I had been hearing.  Just another night person taking the same shortcut I was.  I might even have known them but I refrained from hailing them for fear of giving them a heart attack.

Common sense tells you that in a city this big there will be nuts of all kinds and occasionally one that is really off the deep end.  The odds of having contact with a person like this in the wrong place at wrong time are probably higher than hitting the lottery.  Someone always wins though or loses in this train of thought.

Well here I am skulking around in the shadows under a full moon in a cemetery at midnight.  If the cops were to see me I would only have to have as much as a fingernail file and a white handkerchief on me and they would swear they had captured, "The Ghost."  I would have laughed out loud had it not been for the arm that came around my neck.

Sometimes you wonder if maybe there is a reason for things that happen in your life that just don't make sense at the time.  Several years ago I had taken a fall from a second story window, no jealous husbands or anything like that, I was painting the trim and the ladder collapsed.  Since the day that happened I have had a pinched nerve in my neck that goes nuclear when my neck is put in a strain.  I have cursed that nerve every day since it happened...........until now.

When my neck was pulled forcefully back I saw an unspeakable white pain behind my eyes. Screaming I grabbed the wrist with my left hand and snaked my right up to the bicep and gave it an adrenalin rush yank that could have moved a car.  I slung them into a family plot of tombstones to my right and heard a thud.  I ran for my life.

Well I don't walk through cemeteries or even drink anymore.  I flagged a police car down two blocks from the cemetery while I was having my third heart attack and the whole area came alive with blue lights.  The neighborhood was sealed off but they never caught anyone.  They did find a large carving knife where we had our encounter and I feel that if I were a cat I had one less life to lose.  I'm not a fatalist but it just wasn't my time.  The scariest part of the night was yet to come.

When I got home I went to wash up and found some strands of flaming red hair around my fingers.......the kind that has to come out of a bottle to be that red.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

How To Ward Off Evil Or Negative Energies Using A Witch Bottle And Other Pagan Practices

Why Use A Witch Bottle?

A Witch Bottle "Guarding" Our Door
Recently I was asked how and why does one make a Witch Bottle to be used to ward off evil and/or negative energies from neighbors. Well, there are a few ways of making one and what the bottle contains deals with the working of the bottle. But basically you fill a vessel, a bottle or a jar or whatever with things to trap and repel malignant and negative intentions that are coming toward you.

Traditional witch bottles made for use with this problem used urine (one's own), blood (one's own), nails and screws to impale and drown the evil. You can use salt water, pins, red wine and rosemary if you're not quite up to the nastier version, however.

You place all of these items into the container. Also you can use almost anything that feels right to you. You basically want something to trap the energies (the vessel), to impale them (needles, pins, nails, thorns, etc.), drown them (wine, water, urine, etc.) and something of your own because you're the intended target (blood, hair, etc.). Add something that's repellent, like herbs (rosemary, sage, etc.) to keep evil away.

Then bury in the farthest place in your yard or in a place where it's not likely to be found or bothered. Incantations aren't necessary but you can either make one up or find some online.

There are some additional steps that can be taken as well that work in conjunction with the witch bottles for the problem mentioned above with neighbors. Below is my  preferred order of the various steps. These can be done in any order, some or all of them.
  • Then create an energy barrier (however you choose to do it. I cast a permanent circle but if that's not your way, do it how you feel comfortable) around the entire perimeter of your home. Concentrate on making it strong enough to repel anything negative coming at you while allowing good in.
  • Then make some witch bottles, as described above, and bury them in your yard, especially on the side where they live.
  • Then you can place some copper pennies in your window sills and doorjambs, along with sprinkling some cayenne pepper and sea salt across all entry ways.
Doing the above will certainly have you putting up some good wards to begin with to protect you from such negative energies traveling your way from neighbors.

Examining Pagan Spirituality: Is Your Religious Or Spiritual Path The Only "Right" Path?

Determine What Pagan Structure Works Best For You

Hecate Goddess of Crossroads
Courtesy Of Esta Weiss
I think my path is the best path. For me. You can read about my path here: What Is An Eclectic Pagan.  Nobody else can possibly walk my path precisely the way I do.  A) If you've seen me walk, you'd realize that trying to follow my lead is apt to lead to no good end!  B) Forcing oneself to even attempt to follow someone else precisely just never really works out very well for anyone.  The strain to force your stride to match that of another will harm you, so don't.

If one were inclined to think I had a great notion of how to get where we're all going and decided to join my little group heading up the mountain, they're still going to have to look for their own handholds and footings.  The general notions of how to get from A-Z can be the same, obviously. That's the framework of a religion or spiritual path.  We've got that.  We have a framework of dates and basic ritual structure to work within.  

But we work with a rather large Pagan pantheon of deities as well as other path's pantheons of deities, and we acknowledge that other pantheons exist and are also valid and some of us work with deities from more than one pantheon.  So, if one were wanting to join our coven and didn't have a relationship with a certain Pagan deity, that's not a problem.  You just have to find our framework suitable to your personal path.

Some religions and paths are far more structured than ours.  For many that structure makes sense, as they're not willing or able to create their own structure, but even the most circumscribed religion still cannot be followed by any two people the same exact way.  

Best example coming to mind at the moment is the relationships of multiple siblings to their parents.  Same parents, but every child relates to them in their own way.  The basic rules of the house remain exactly the same across the board for all of the children, yet each child will develop their own unique relationship with the parents, won't they? 

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Importance Of Staying In Touch With Prospective Employers - Phone, Email and Social Media

Keep Communication Open!

Many people are looking for jobs without a doubt. I am one of those persons. Well, I was one of those persons, until I found a new job after a lengthy time of unemployment.

The routine of submitting resumes and applying for work is tedious, time consuming, and not very rewarding during these hard economic times. I had lost count of all the places I had applied for employment for a period of over six months or so. Job searching is a job within itself!
My resume was listed Craigslist and various other job boards for IT jobs as well as any job vacancies. What that accomplished for me was to fill my email inbox with those who try to prey on us, attempting to scam us with various schemes. Genuine offers are very scarce from Craigslist, and other job listing sites.
In early December of 2011, I ran across an ad on Craigslist where an Exotic Sugar Glider breeder was looking for an assistant. Of course I then had to Google "sugar glider" as I had not a clue what kind of animal they were.
I proceeded to make contact via email with the one who had posted the job. An interview was scheduled that went exceptionally well. I got a call three days later saying I had made the top three of the list, but the competition was strong. I was asked to come in a few days later for the final interview.
Then I got the email that the owner had changed their direction and the hiring was put off. At this point, most people would have been disappointed, as this would be normal. Clearly, I was disappointed and discouraged.
What I did do was stay in contact with the manager who did the interview with me, in a friendly fashion, even adding her on Facebook. We emailed back and forth on occasion, staying in touch about various things, unrelated to the job that had been put off.
On a Sunday in December of 2011, I logged into Facebook, making my routine online rounds, saw I had a message and it was from my friend, the manager. A simple message along the lines of "the job is yours if you want it, contact me". As you can imagine, I was one happy camper at that point!
I contacted the manager, and during our phone conversation, she told me that the job was mine with no follow-up interview and to come in on Tuesday to start training.
So there you have it, what reflects on the title of this hub. Never give up, and if possible, stay in touch with those you have talked to during a job interview. Keep the door open, and lines of communication open. Make sure you have their phone number and name in your phone directory as well, so if you get a call from them, they will come up on your caller ID so you do not let it roll to voice mail because you do not recognize the number.

Job Interview Tips

Monday, September 1, 2014

2014 Ford F-150 STX Crewcab Review

On August 26, 2014 we became the owners of a brand new 2014 Ford F-150 STX Crewcab, metallic black in color.  We needed something that had a larger hauling capacity than our 2011 Ford Escape SUV.

The truck had 93 miles on it when we drove it away and plenty of "new car" smell!

My first impression of the 2014 Ford F-150 STX was that it had room in the front that would equal a luxury sedan and more.  The back seat has the leg room of a limo without any doubts.

Four full size doors make it much better than the shorter based trucks that have those silly back doors that can only be opened if the front doors are open.

The first thing we did was get a heavy duty bed mat to protect the bed and a OEM Ford tailgate protector that matched the mat.

The truck came with LoJack installed and we activated that the same day of purchase.  Also it came complete with Sirius Satellite Radio for six months free.

We bought the extended warranty as well as the extended roadside assistance. We included disability insurance should I become disabled. This is a great insurance as payments are made for the duration of an illness or sickness even up to the point of paying the truck off if it is a long term ailment.

The truck came with a towing package as well.  Not sure if we will every pull a trailer, but it is nice to have the wiring and hitch all in place should we have the desire or need to do so.

Also included is the Sync With My Ford.  A wonderful thing that Ford provides.  One of the greatest things is that our phone syncs automatically and we can receive calls, respond to calls, receive text messages and respond to text messages without ever taking our phones out.  Simply speak into the cab and the Sync picks it all up.  Commands are available as well. Simply say, "Call (name)" and the system will call that person that is in your address book on your phone.

This is a very early review and will be added to with some updates as we put more miles on the truck and use many of the other available options on this great truck.

With a seating capacity for six, and a bed for cargo, we have the best of both worlds as my wife said.  All the comforts of a full sized sedan and the great advantages of a pickup truck for hauling various things we could not previously haul.  It will be a wonderful thing to be able to pick up our own firewood for our fireplace and our outdoor firepit!  Also we have the advantage of picking up a large Christmas tree that we did not have before.  The options and doors opened are far too numerous to begin to name at this point!

The Ford F-150 SXT weights in at over 6,000 pounds, so that does provide a smooth ride along with the longer wheelbase.

Gas mileage is great at 17 mpg and 23 mpg.  We opted for the V-6 versus the larger and less economical V-8.  The V-6 seems to be a powerful enough engine for this truck so far.

As mentioned previously, I will be providing more updates as time and experiences allow along with more photos.