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?