moderation, moral courage, self-denial, self-discipline
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent and comes 46 days before Easter. Since Easter itself is a movable feast, Ash Wednesday can happen on any Wednesday from February 4th to March 10th. Ash Wednesday is really a Pagan festival, having only been adopted by the Christian Church in 325 AD by Constantine the Great. (Although almost all Christians will deny it, most, if not all Christian Festivals are built on the back of festivals from other and older religions, civilisations, and cultures.)
Lent and Easter is a long festival of Spring ~ in fact the modern English words Lent and Lenten derive from the Old English word Lencten, which means Spring. As it happens, even the English word Easter derives from the Goddess Oestar / Ostara / Éostre, the Pagan Goddess of Spring, (one of them).
Which begs a couple of questions. Firstly, when does spring begin? Conventionally, in the Northern Hemisphere, in England in particular, Spring starts at the vernal equinox, or on the night of March 20th / 21st. Stonehenge and similar ancient monuments were set up to predict and confirm these astronomical events. And secondly, what does Lent have to do with Spring? And I believe the answer to that is in ancient times the end of winter, coming up to Springtime at the vernal equinox, was a time of hunger, starvation, and hard work preparing the land for spring planting. Ergo, in ancient times people would fast during what is modern Lent, not out of choice, but of absolute necessity.
The deeper one goes into the rituals, superstitions, and deities of these old cultures the more connected to the seasons everything seems to be. Persephone, the beautiful Greek Goddess of Spring, (Roman Proserpina), was also the Goddess of Death and the Underworld. That makes perfect sense because the end of winter, when the food was running out and the weather was bad, would be when the old, young, and infirm were very likely to die.
So, Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, the time leading up to Spring, makes perfect sense when looked at from the point of view of our ancestors. It’s not really time for a festival, carnival, or feasting ~ it’s more a time of self-denial and self-discipline.
It all makes sense in terms of the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha too. The end of winter is a time of pain and suffering. Indulging our wants, desires, and lusts just makes everything worse. The road to freedom from suffering is through self-discipline in body, mind, and spirit. The way to get through those hard days at the end of winter would have been through self-discipline in body, mind, and spirit.
So starting today, what am I giving up for the 46 days of Lent? It’s going to be something difficult. Starting today I will not take impulsive and negative actions when I have negative thoughts and feelings like; anger, jealousy, insecurity, anxiety, or fears of abandonment ~ all those old symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. I know that I will have those negative feelings, I just won’t let them get to me.
Maybe I should have decided to give up chocolate instead ~ I’ve already given up booze.
Maybe I’ll just lock myself in the garret for Lent.
every flower is a soul blossoming in nature
rest peacefully with a kiss from a bloom
exquisite soft petals hides her sharp thorns
a sweet opium scent presages dreaming doom
and her softest moon-shadows hide not the loss
female sexual predator in elegantly pastel costume
brings willing soul ultimately false blissful happiness
here’s the mystery of it all, for in the end, even bliss palls
words and pictures by jack collier
Our Scientific Power has Outrun Our Spiritual Power.
Among the things with which I will have nothing to do with whatsoever are; God, Gods, Goddesses, Angels, Cherubs, Seraphs, Spirits, Ghosts, Flying Saucers, the channeling of mystical beings and spirit guides, people who are believed to have peculiar psychic abilities…, and sushi.
However, I do believe in the existence and efficacy of some very strange things indeed.
There are more things in heaven and earth, [Horatio], Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. ~ Shakespeare, Hamlet.
I have no real faith in astrology, despite the fact that I was born on March 23rd and I am a very typical Ares male. Anyone who knows me will agree that I am a crazy mixture of the fearless warrior and undisciplined schoolboy ~assertive, bold, egotistical, extrovert, independent, macho, stubborn, but very in touch with my inner child. Also, if I don’t have real faith in European astrology, why should I believe anything about Chinese astrology? That, even though I am an archetypal Horse male ~ independent, generous, globetrotting, restless, revolutionary, wandering, driven by an irresistible force. Add Ares to Horse to Man, and you get a real maverick ~ I am indeed an iconoclast.
Logically and scientifically, why and how could when you were born have any effect whatsoever on your character, your personality, your life, your luck, your past, present, and your future?
Well, I think when you were conceived, when and where you were developing in the womb, and when you were born does have a major effect on your entire life, and I partly base this on the theory of the interconnectedness of all things. Also I believe the perfectly respectable Jungian philosophy of the collective unconscious, and that other perfectly respectable theory that there is a collective consciousness. Over and above all this psychology, I believe that the seasons of our conception and earliest development have an overriding effect on which human archetype we become.
That begins to explain a lot of European astrology and its monthly cycles, but what about Chinese astrology and it’s 12 year cycle? Our sun operates on just about an 11 year cycle, and everything on this planet and far beyond is influenced, driven, and controlled by our sun. Astronomy is a very ancient science, dating back to at least 35,000 years BC. There is no doubt that our ancient ancestors knew all about the cycles of the moon and sun, and that astronomy and astrology were one in the same thing until as recently as the 17th century in Europe. There is no doubt in my mind that about 5,000 years ago Stonehenge was built as an astronomical / astrological / religious / political clock and calendar.
Why is it then that both European and Chinese Astrology actually has it all wrong? There should be 13 star signs in European astrology to agree with the lunar cycle, and 11 animals in Chinese astrology to agree with the solar cycle. Turns out there are 13 astrological star signs, the 13th being Ophiucus, also turns out that the normally accepted dates for which star sign you were born under are wrong as well. Who knows why the ancient Chinese did anything.
Never underestimate The Power of 12. If man can make something add up to the very symbolic number 12, he is much happier than with, say 13, or 11. Thirteen is an ‘unlucky’ number, and the number 11 symbolises male and female equality, and that was an anathema to our ‘civilised’ ancestors.
Numerology is another very ancient mystical belief. Face it, back in the day when no ordinary person could read, write, or do arithmetic, anyone who could count had to be half way to being a powerful sorcerer or wizard. I believe in both unlucky 13, and even unluckier Friday 13th. Who at NASA thought it was a good idea to have an Apollo 13? (It made a great Tom Hanks movie.)
What scientific or logical basis is there for believing in the power of numbers? How and why does numerology work? Anything to do with numbers and mysticism is almost always laid at the door of Pythagoras, who, if the stories are to be believed was a genuine genius. Most genuine geniuses have weird cults built up around them and Pythagoras was no exception with Pythagoreanism, and that’s close enough to ‘cults’ like Satanism, the Knights Templar, Illuminati, and Freemasonry for me. These guys are all very into the power of geometry, (as am I ~ 3,4,5). And why is the Eye of Providence on the US one dollar bill?
Number rules the universe. ~ Pythagoras.
According to the theories of the collective unconscious and collective consciousness, and the fact that numbers do rule the universe, numerology just has to work, (in one form or another).
Some are deemed to have psychic powers, the capacity to supernaturally see things and do things which is denied to ‘ordinary’ people. Mostly I believe that real psychic abilities do not exist. However, I do believe that some people have greater faculties than most. For example, I know when people are lying. My ability to tell when someone is passing off ‘alternative facts’, or being ‘économique avec la actualité’ or especially ‘not telling the whole truth‘ is not something that I learned on purpose. My ability to be an almost infallible lie detector grew in me by accident, probably from childhood. I can’t ever turn this ability off, although more often than not I choose to ignore it ~ people don’t like it if you point out to them that you know they’re lying.
Something else some people have is ‘inherent omniscience‘ ~ if they want to some people can know everything there is to know about someone they’re with, or have met, and have talked with for a while. It seems very spooky, very mystical, and evidence of real psychic abilities ~ it isn’t.
So how does this work? It turns out that some people allow themselves to see and feel much more than others. Some people have a natural gift for this. If you want to know how to do this for yourself, then I suggest you spend a few years diligently studying Neuro Linguistic Programming. If you are of above average intelligence, quick of mind, and have an excellent memory, eventually you will be able to astound others with your own ‘psychic abilities’.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. ~ Arthur C. Clarke
There is more in this universe than mankind knows, or respectable scientists will admit. But I don’t believe any of it is given to us by the Gods, or is sorcery, or magic, or from the spirit realm. I firmly believe that what some see as magic is actually the application of advanced knowledge. In which case almost everyone and anyone can become a witch, sorcerer, psychic… All it takes is the desire, time, intelligence, and a hell of a lot of hard work.
It helps if you have a familiar called Pyewacket.
these thoughts are mine and mine alone
the strongest personality
powerful sexual originality
mirrored and contradictory
within protagonist dichotomy
enchantress seductive virginity
libidinous promiscuous sexuality
lax wanton erotic elegant sensuality
bad unprincipled frustrating negativity
she’s a bitch, a slut, a harlot, a pro, a Lady
wolves so strangely silent
wind howls in the moonlight
old castle stands bleak and quiet
solitary warrior monk stands defiant
guarding alone watching for first daylight
chivalric vigil is his honour and his birthright
alluring lady, elegant, spiritual, exquisite, slight
patiently waits for his return with dawn’s early light
Not All Roses Are The Same.
Some say that one should never use garden hybrid roses for medicinal purposes. And, that there are more than 300 active compounds present in roses, of which only about 100 have been identified. All I know is that medicinal preparations from any rose can have strong and immediate effects on some people, especially women.
The good witch or experienced herbalist will try to find a true wild rose for medicinal use. There are many species of wild rose, but they are all easy to identify. Every wild rose has exactly five petals, and almost all of them are pink shading to white. They also tend to be leggy and straggling in form, extremely hardy, and likely to thrive on total neglect. There are also some ‘nearly wild’ roses which are just as good as the true wild rose for the herbalist, but are much more suitable for the average garden.
Here in England the good witch or experienced herbalist will preferentially use the true wild rose, the dog rose, rosa canina, for medicinal purposes. The thing is, unless you have a huge estate, you’re not going to plant this vigourous thing. Luckily it does grow wild all over in England, especially in mature hedgerows.
However, if one has a largish garden one can plant the Japanese wild rose, rosa rugosa instead. This is still a very strong growing shrub, but it’s more manageable than the dog rose, and you still get great hips.
Another great medicinal rose is the aptly named apothecary’s rose, rosa gallica. This is another wild rose, basically from France.
In North America there are dozens of species of wild rose, all of which have been used by Native American tribes in medicine and magic. In addition, many other species roses have naturalised into the American landscape, so sometimes it’s difficult to know which is a true American wild rose, and which is an introduction. It doesn’t really matter. If a rose has five petals and is pink or shading to white, then it’s a good medicinal plant.
However, if you are growing an apothecary’s garden, a herb garden, or a medicine garden, then perhaps the rose nearly wild in whatever variety you can find it would be your best choice. It’s compact, has a long flowering season, and is close enough to the species wild rose to be ideal as a medicinal plant. This rose is also readily available from specialist rose nurseries all over the world.
Almost every part of the rose has therapeutic uses. The petals can be used to make rose petal tea or an unusual scented jam, or rose water hydrosol, or what about a rose, cardamom, and ginger body soak? The rose hips can be added to organic cider vinegar to make a great salad dressing / tonic, and the leaves make a kind of substitute coffee. If you dry the leaves you can smoke them ~ and I have no idea what that’s like.
The main active effects of rose preparations are; laxative, opthalmic, diuretic, and linthontriptic, (removes kidney stones). There are many benefits of using the rose as a medicinal plant, and some potential downsides. Some people feel ill after ingesting rose medicines / tea, and some people feel mild hallucinogenic effects. As I have already said, there are at least 300 active compounds in the rose and we only know what about 100 of them are, let alone what they actually do ~ weird.
If in doubt of any herbal preparation, then try just a little, in a very diluted form ~ especially if you are a woman. And if you are either pregnant, or trying to get pregnant, then take specialist advice from your doctor or an expert herbalist before using any herbal / medicinal plant product.
Aphrodite’s Herbalist, jack collier
The First Full Moon Of 2017.
January 12th 2017, and the full moon is close to us today. Luna isn’t quite at perigee, (the closest she comes to the Earth), that was two days ago on January 10th, so it isn’t quite a supermoon. However tonight’s full moon will be big and bright, perfect for skywatchers, witches, and sorcerers.
It’s likely that the moon was Mankind’s first reliable calendar, the full moon perhaps measuring the months of the year, although any strictly lunar calendar will see the seasons drift. Some say that Stonehenge is also a tool to manage the lunar calendar. And, that the first powerful priests and sorcerers were really astronomers. All I know is that Stonehenge is a spooky and magical place.
The English word moon derives from the Greek and Latin for ‘measure’. Other English names for the Moon, are Luna the ancient Roman Goddess of the Moon, (from which we get the word lunatic), and Selene the ancient Greek Goddess of the Moon, (and Selene is both a given name and an adjective).
The moon affects everything on the Earth, from the behaviour of animals and birds, to our moods, the tides, even women’s menstrual cycles. In witchcraft, the full moon is the most important time for casting spells ~ magic has more potency under a full moon. This is the time for enlightenment and psychic awareness, so if you have any sixth sense or psychic abilities they will be at their strongest tonight. All witches and those with magical and psychic abilities will be acutely aware of the phases of the moon.
In relationships and love the full moon enhances a woman’s sex drive, but this is also a time for a fresh start, forgiveness, acceptance, commitment, and love. This is the perfect day for a witch to cast a spell and work her love magic . Spiritually the full moon is strong, although it’s effects are both negative and positive. Today a vulnerable man may well be moonstruck with love and desire, but he should know that somewhere out there someone has his best interests at heart.
The first full moon of the year is known as The Wolf Moon. This derives from Native American Mythology in which wolves hold a very special place. This is the time of the werewolf ~ the legend of the werewolf goes at least as far back as the ancient Greeks. Other names for this full moon are the Cold Moon, and the Hunger Moon ~ cold, bright in the darkness, and unforgiving. This is a time for self-care, reflection, and making real and realistic plans for the rest of the year.
The first full moon of 2017 carries with it mixed messages, good and evil, forgiveness and rejection, life and death, man and woman. Everything about this full moon is contradictory and complimentary, the very essence of yin and yang, of darkness and light, of balance. The Wolf Moon is what we make of it. This Full Wolf Moon a time for decision making, planning, of endings and beginnings, of intense emotional energy. A sweet smile and laughter will bring the full moon’s power of joy and happiness into your life. Approach this full moon with a dark spirit, and the rest of your year will be equally dark and gloomy.
This Full Wolf Moon is the Goddess in her Mother aspect. Create a safe space and clear your mind. Invite the true spirit of love and understanding into your life. And, let’s all be careful out there tonight.
The Healing Powers Of The Rose.
Herbalists and witches know that the rose is a very useful and powerful medicinal plant, and that one of the interesting things you can use it for at this time of year is as a remedy for coughs and colds. A very easy way to take advantage of the natural healing power of the rose is to make rose petal tea. Well, the petals do contain vitamin C, which helps combat the common cold, but the petals also hold some powerful polyphenols and antioxidants. Ideally one should use the petals of the wild dog rose, rosa canina, but I also use the petals from garden hybrid roses.
Try making rose petal tea with just a handful of fresh rose petals, and a very little sugar or honey, (don’t use a lot of sugar or honey as it will overpower the taste). Personally I just scald the petals, but some suggest simmering, (stewing), for 5 minutes. Some also suggest removing the white portion of fresh petals, although personally I wouldn’t do that. The white area does impart the tea with a slightly bitter, tannin taste, but I firmly believe that’s also where most of the good stuff is concentrated.
Scientifically, the principal qualities of rose petal tea are that it has; Laxative, Opthalmic, Diuretic, and Linthontriptic virtues. I firmly believe it’s a lot more complicated than that. For example, you should find that rose petal tea will slightly numb your mouth and ease any sore throat and cough you may be suffering from.
- anxiety, depression, and stress.
- constipation and other digestive problems.
- coughs, colds, and sore throats.
- menstrual cramps and pain.
- skin and hair problems ~ the tea is said to relieve the symptoms severe acne.
- urinary tract infections.
If that wasn’t enough, drinking rose petal tea is supposed to help ward off cancers due to its beneficial effects on the immune system. Some say that drinking rose petal tea also promotes weight loss ~ I couldn’t promise that, other than you may use much less sugar and cream than if you were drinking coffee instead of this herbal tea.
You can make rose petal tea either with fresh petals, (make certain they are pesticide free), and you can also make a green tea with dried rose petals. You can buy dried rose petals mail order from all kinds of places, including Amazon. As far as I’m concerned, I think it’s better to collect fresh rose petals, and keep a few handfuls in the refrigerator.
There are a couple of things to be careful of. Firstly, drinking more than three or four cups of this stuff a day is likely to give you diarrhea. Secondly, most really effective herbal remedies for menstrual pain are also female aphrodisiacs as they affect the production of oestrogen~ don’t say you weren’t warned.
Aphrodite’s Herbalist, jack collier
Today is the Shortest Day of the Year
In the northern hemisphere December the 21st is the darkest day. Where I live the sun will rise today at 08:26, and it will set just over seven hours later at 15:39. As there will be some cloud today I’m not likely to see much sunshine at all. Today will not be the longest night in all history ~ most respectable scientists think that was December 21st 1912. The rotation of the earth is generally slowing down over time, but it’s speeded up a little recently due to the melting of the glaciers.
Officially today is the first day of winter. The coldest months are yet to come, normally it’s much colder in England in late January and early February.
If you are a pagan, or a witch, today is a big day for you. In ancient times December the 21st was called Yule, probably from the Anglo-Saxon word Iul, meaning wheel. This symbolises the stars and the Earth turning like a wheel, the wheel of the year, and the wheel of life. Today the Goddess once again becomes the Great Mother and gives birth to the Sun King. It’s unsurprising that Christians chose around now to be the time of the birth of Christ, even if they did get they day wrong by 4 days. Although the ancient Persian Mithraists always regarded December 25th as the time of the victory of light over darkness.
If you can get to Salisbury in Wiltshire, perhaps you should be at Stonehenge for dawn and dusk today. Nobody really knows why Stonehenge was built some 5,000 years ago, but the great stones are aligned in such a way so as to mark the rising and setting of the sun on Midsummer’s day and Midwinter’s day. A hell of a lot of work to make a clock / calendar.
Personally, I will go down to the sea today and watch the dawn. For many of us, today is the rebirth of the year and of the world.
Have a happy Yuletide.
After Black Friday ~ Black Velvet.
Black velvet is one of Life’s most sensual pleasures.
If they were starting their careers today, Rockwell and Picasso would probably both be painting on black velvet. ~ Brad Holland
There’s a drink called Black Velvet, made from half Champagne and half Guinness. Poured properly the two liquids stay separate in the glass ~ until one begins to quaff that is. (Quaffing is like drinking except you get drunker and spill more.) Allegedly first made by the bartender at Brooks’s in London in 1861, this cocktail is almost guaranteed to make any lady quite amatory. There’s something quite sorcerous about Black Velvet. To complete the evening get her a Black Velvet choker.
A very nice Canadian whisky is also called Black Velvet. Trust me, this is as smooth and dark as its name suggests. One of the nicer things about some Canadians is that they can spell whisky.
Black Velvet is also a very cool song, first recorded by Alannah Myles ~ and subsequently sung by anyone and everyone who thinks they have a voice. And sadly, anyone who has been drinking black velvet in a karaoke bar.
I’m not certain I can recommend the rock magazine Black Velvet, but at least there’s an on-line digital issue.
All women look good wearing black velvet. In fact, does the classic LBD look any better than when it’s a black velvet Little Black Dress? Is there anything sexier than Christian Louboutin Black Velvet evening shoes?
I know there are 1001 other products, stores, bars, cosmetics, girls… trading under the name Black Velvet. Some of these are better found for yourself. Some of these are better left alone.
If a guy wants to be a very cool guy, then he needs to sharpen up his urban survival skills and learn stuff like this.