Category Archives: Paganism & Magic

Storm Chasing: Wind, me and the Willow

Here’s some exhilarating news  about last night!

Parts of UK have been battered about by high winds last night (early hours of 5th Jan’12) and half of the following day.   There have been gusts of winds reaching 60-70mph.

I was bust doing work on the laptop – and part of me kept wanting to go out in the garden and experience the stormy weather – cos I like doing that, and ave done so before (once went out by the coast at midnight to see the sea front in midst of  70+mph winds. Then promptly went back to the B&B I was staying, got April out of bed, wrapped up carefully, and got her out too … just for few minutes! Wow)

Back to last night – well, the winds hadn’t ceased, and by 4.45am, I fully succumbed to the temptation – got out of pyjamas, put on proper outdoor cloths, coat, scarf, hat – promptly carried my magical Sword – and went out to the Willow tree in the garden!   And climbed the long ladder that’s been kept there… to mid-section of the tree (to branches above height of a 1st floor roof, but big enough to carry my weight without snapping).

It was fantastic!   I stayed up there for a good 20 minutes, experiencing each wave of gusts – doing various visual and magical works , of clearing the cobwebs from my mind.   (I had not been up the tree since the Neighbours had cut parts of it one afternoon, without our permission, and against our express instructions! And of course, I have been suffering bad back-pains and getting treatment – and it creates a slow-settling fear that itself can be debilitating).    So it was good to be up there – to reconnect, and let go of that trauma, for me, and no doubt for the Willow tree too!

It must have been some sight – if anyone had seen me – standing up a tree at such night time, holding and waving a sword about, facing the winds!

At some points, I closed my eyes (after ensuring my foothold was secure and I wasn’t going to slip on damp tree-trunk or branches)- and just felt the tree sections move me about.   It truly felt – if at all possible – like I was riding a Dragon in the sky!!

After such an experience – life looks different!  And all of today, I have been working fiercely, as if there is a storm-force inside me.

There probably is one!

Stellar Event of 2012 – Transit of Venus

TRANSIT of VENUS    (6th June 2012)

The biggest astronomical event of 2012 – that both Scientists and Astrologers are talking about – is the Venus transit of the Sun!   This is where the planet Venus is going to be `seen’ passing in front of the Sun.  (It’s like a Solar Eclipse – where the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun and blocks out the Sun temporarily..  But because of the stellar distances involved, Venus will be seen as a little spot moving across the width of the Sun.  (Warning: do not look at this with naked eyes or any optical devices. It will blind you). It happens every 100+ years or so, and so is very unique.  It happens in pairs – and what we are about to see in 2012 is the 2nd of the pair (first of this pair was in 2004, and lasted 6 hrs!).  Next one will be in the year 2117 – and none of us alive today will see it again!!

“Transits of Venus are among the rarest of predictable astronomical phenomena. They occur in a pattern that repeats every 243 years, with pairs of transits eight years apart separated by long gaps of 121.5 years and 105.5 years .”  Says the Wikipedia article.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transit_of_Venus

I am in the process of writing about the astrological symbology of this, as well as the Eclipse-Magic that can be done centered around the Transit of Venus.  The `Eclipse-Magic e-workbook‘ will be published in early 2012.   Keep an eye on my website  http://www.craftandmagic.org/ for details of this in January.

-Mani

ps. Reminder:   BBC Tv’s  Astronomy show  `Stargazing Live!’    returns in January 2012  – for 3 nights – 16th, 17th & 18th January (8pm on BBC2). It covers the surface of the Moon, our galaxy the Milky Way, and Planets beyond Solar system (is here life out there?!)   I’ll do a reminder nearer the time.

Ghosts of the past – aiding the dead

On the eve of New Year.. and there is one thing I have been meaning to write about – before I can move on into the future!

It began with a dream on the morning of 25th December – in which April and I visited a hospital, where I met her mother – who was dying! To cut a long dream short, in the dream, many things got resolved between all 3 of us. And then I saw the elderly lady (Jean) free of all the needles and tubes, glow and float, and fall! Bearing in mind, I once came very close to meeting her (who would be my mother-on-law) in a hospital few years ago – but never actually met her, and since then had only seen 1 photo of her – I think this was a remarkable dream. It had elements of magic – of aiding a suffering person to pass through the veil.   Half a day later, when my back-pain issues started, I pushed this dream aside. But it was worth mentioning.

It wasn’t just in that dream that I had `performed’ a passing-through magical work. Few years ago, my sister and I did a very similar – albeit slightly Hindu version – ceremony for my uncle Sathyamoorthy who was suffering from cancer, and in a nursing home in Kent. That night he passed away.  And going back about 7-8 years, the first time I did that sort of a ceremony was for Maureen Brown  on Christmas Day  (Wiccan High Priestess and Psychologist, who had taught me so much of magic and psychology). That evening, she passed away. Previously she and I had discussed portals and the voids..   and it suddenly came to the forefront of my mind that afternoon. A fellow coven member and HPS  was part of the ceremony.

Some 20+ years ago, a few days after New Year, my father Navasothy (that was his first name, which in Tamil custom, become my Surname!) met with a road accident while crossing the road and died. It was a singular event that set me off – initially into a faithless spin- and brought me into the world of Paganism & Magical spirituality.   And reaching further back, to when I was 5 years, I saw my paternal grandfather die, at home, in his bed, surrounded by family. I was in my father’s arms that moment, and I remember crying because I had seen my father cry!

To this day, even such things as very old bones I find on the banks of river Thames (in London) tend to have a strong psychic effect on me – anything from tingles in the head, a burning sensation of the face, heaviness of the chest area, or head-ache that takes half  day to fade.  All I have to do is touch an old bone!   (This is a huge subject matter that I will write about another time).

My one regret is – I could not go and attend to a person who was pagan-hindu and dying – just about the time I was getting ready for my Handfasting / pagan wedding ceremony 2 years ago.  Weddings are so hectic to organise, and I just could not bring my self to give up half a day that week. I am sorry that I did not. The guilt plagues me still- that I may have been able to help that Soul pass over easily and that I didn’t.

As I stand on the eve of the next year – 2012 – I shall remember the loved ones I have aided, other nameless dead-Souls , both human and animals, I have touched. I don’t only need to remember them on Samhain (pagan festival of honoring the ancestors), or on the day of their deaths, or on some special religious day (such as tomorrow when it is the day to do a special `moksha-pooja’ for my deceased father). I can remember them whenever I wish.

I once wrote a story titled, `Yesterdays’ Fathers..’.  Time I dusted it, scanned it, and published it.

Winter Rites: Coven Yule Vs Church Service

On the night of 23rd of December, I celebrated the Winter Solstice in a private coven (withchy) Yule ritual in south London.  Then on the night of 24th of December, I attended a small local Church service in north London. Quite a bizarre one for many pagans and Witches, am sure.  Many pagans have woken up to it, and have been previously unfulfilled or unsatisfied Christians. So when they hear about an initiated Wiccan / pagan going to a Christmas service ..it must raise questions such as – has he started to waver? is he going over to the other side?

Unusually for our coven, especially at Yule, we had 5 guys (Priests or male Witches) and 1 gal (High Priestess). Almost 5-6 of the other Priestesses had not turned up due to one or other personal circumstances.  Initially, when I turned up, the other 4 guys were almost at a point of giving the Yule ritual a miss and going straight on to the celebrations, feasting and sipping of the wines!  But after some discussions, we decided to do a rather informal ritual.. (which ended up having almost all the ritual components anyway, albeit in different order at places!).  Yule is about the birth of the Sun-child, so considering the numbers present, I suggested the Priestess holding a Cauldron, and the 5 Priests lighting (in turn) candles inside the Cauldron. That seemed a good symbolic ritual..  where the Cauldron is the birthplace of light!

Following day, I went to be with my partner for the Christmas / festive 3-4 days..  and we went to a local church for a short service.  Some bus-driver talked about Jesus, sin, loving God,  following the rule of the God (people who sinned can;t go to heaven) and Gods’s love and own sacrifice (God sent his only Son into mankind to take on all of our sins, so mankind can be free to enter heaven).    Now this `sin’ part was not something neither my partner nor I ever accept or agree.  Needless to say, we believe we are all born free and pure – no sin – full stop!   It’s what we do there after that creates a sort of `good/ bad’ person.   Sadly, seeing that this sin-issue is at the heart of Christianity makes it impossible for any pagan to digest.

We were not there to infiltrate, nor recruit, spy, disrupt or anything of the sort.  We were looking for a bit of rejoicing..  festive experience. Singing..!

To give it perspective, I must mention –  few weeks back, we had both unexpectedly went to a Service at St.Paul’s Cathedral in Central London, and it had been hea

venly..the ethereal singing that echoed through that Cathedral.  I guess we wanted a re-experience of that.   It could also be that after many years of being practicing Witches/ pagans, we are feeling certain elements to be lacking.  Christianity may have come only 2000 years ago, in contrast to Paganism that has existed for many thousand years, but at least in modern times – pagan celebrations of Yule does not seem to nearly even match the festive atmosphere and celebrations of Christmas, it’s choir and carol singing, the lights and decorations.  And it is that festive element that we seem to miss, and sought in that Church service.

Another factor to add –  one of my friend- a Christian – came to a pagan open ritual recently.. only few days prior to this – to see what it’s like.  So I guess we were just completing the exchange – not that it was some contrived exchange. Truth is – we all seem to have did it for our own personal genuine reasons.

In the case of my partner and me, (despite my bad-back experience which started on Christmas day)..  we had a quiet and personal few days together – sipping wine, watching period dramas on TV, Xmas films on old videos  (Scrooged, Miracle of 34th street..) and having the Christmas meal for 2 evenings in a row – with a X’mas / yule tree and plenty of candles around us. That in the end gave us what we had been searching for – which neither coven nor church seem to provide for us.

This all reminds me of the old pagan principle –  “If that which you seek you do not find within, you will never find it without!”

Poison under Altar (aka Return of the Mouse)

Exactly 2 years 1 month and 2 day ago..  I woke up on my 40th birthday, with the running of a small mouse over my naked back!  There had been the odd sounds..but until that very moment, I had had no actual proof that a rodent had infested my room.. and I sleep on the floor on a futon-mattress (due to my bad back).   For the next few weeks it was a disturbed time..  sleeping downstairs in the sitting room, on the sofa etc.   Eventually the mouse went away (probably due to the ..ahem poison we carefully placed in corners of my bedroom).

Until the day before Christmas eve..  5 days ago, that is!

Yeap, while I was doing this very blog (one about neighbours?) I heard scratching sounds by the wall..near the room’s fireplace (where my pagan altar is).   I was disturbed several times that night…and around 5am while I watched in full room light, a mouse peeped out from just behind a potted plant next to the altar!    Needless to say, irritably, I packed my beddings and went to sleep on the single bed in the spare room.   Next day I went to stay with my partner for Christmas of course…(followed by the events of bad back injury etc).   Today I returned, and while checking …the same mouse  ran out from under one cupboard ..across the floor (2 meters) and under my altar!

There were 3 sets of plastic containers on various parts of the room floor..  with mouse-poison (you know the stuff..   greenish coloured grains)..  which had been placed there few days ago by my mother and sister..   But obviously, it hadn’t worked! The mouse was still there, having left evidence of chewing bits of news paper and carpet in corners!

Am in the small room tonight..  nursing a bad back that’s been through the hands of an osteopath and quite raw..   but I’ve taken care to mix grated cheddar cheese with each of the poisoned grain-packs in my room floor.   Hopefully it will entice the rodent forward.  It’s some sort of anti-coagulant. (Interestingly, on the box it came from..there are clear instructions on what sort of treatment medical doctors should give a human.. if a human accidentally ingests the poison!)

The thing is.. I have had discussions with people…. They ask of me- how could a nature loving pagan like me think of killing a mouse?!   Such an argument can only come from a person who never had a mouse run over their back in the early hours of the morning!    My childhood was in an ordinary urban household near crowded capital in Sri Lanka- where I’ve seen dangerous snakes fall from the roof into the house (once into my sister’s cot), or very large rats run about the house (and some get entombed into the walls by my grandmother who seals their burrows!). Some keep mice as pets, yes.  But I don’t have to- and I don’t have to let them run about my back either.

Even in Hindu mythology, the mouse / rat is a demon in disguise who attacked the elephant headed god Ganesh..who promptly tamed the demon and made it his personal `vehicle’!   (That’s why you always see Lord Ganesh seated on a large mouse!)

2 years ago I had the problem, and it has returned- demon strikes back?!   But then I have poisoned grains just under the altar. Now that one is weird even for me..  an actual tool of death, right under my sacred place.  But that’s the fireplace…through which the mouse is coming out.  In some ways, I see it as my sacred space being invaded by a demon… or rather, the mouse is a symbol of an alien unwanted energy trying to permeate my inner sanctum.   So I will fight it..  in the way  best can..  and I’ll tell you when I have won!

Gaian Trinity (art)

  It was 14th March 1996- when I first did the sketch work for a painting called `Gaian Trinity’.

It featured the Horned God in a cloak in the back, Earth Goddess seated naked on a small hill, with a child on her lap..   There have been many other manifestations of that energy…  3 annual `Gaia conventions’ which I created for PF London in 2007,08,09…a new e-magazine Gaian Times launched earlier this year.

But the art work still awaits painting..  until late last night!

I did this `pin hole/ paper-cut’ mini-version of the Gaian Trinity..   scanned it and coloured it  (animated it with colours, but that’s only for my beloved wife’s eyes only.. it’s her special Yule card..online..:-)

Here’s one of the frames from that animation..

I’ll let you know when the actual art work is done..

Engagement Ring

How many rings can a wedding finger take?  Interesting question.

On 21st December, we celebrated (privately) our second year of the engagement!

Wow, that was one snow filled Yule day in London in 2009..!   Not sure what happened last year, but I wanted to mark it  this time.

Though I’d proposed to her in later part of November’09,   we didn’t get the diamond ring till 21st December 2009..   (yes, it did take up a whole month+ of my wages, as is tradition!!).    I slightly panicked when someone had suggested to April that the place neat Farringdon is the place to go…(all those upmarket ring shops!!)   After 2 days of shopping we finally got it..   (in the middle of a London lock down with snow).

Of course, just giving it would have been not good enough.. So I took her to the park opposite Buckingham Palace..  It was already dusk..  but plenty of scattered light by ground snow..  And finally I found the spot..   And being magical and all, I wanted to `cleanse’ the diamond ring..   what better way that to get a handful of snow…embed the ring in it…roll it up in a nice snow ball..and drop it to the ground ..for earth to bless it!

I didn’t quite expect the panick when I looked down to pick it up again..   a small snow ball in amongst all that snow on the ground..  at night!

It was lucky I found it..  and gave it to April..(while kneeling in the snow of course!!).

We got `Handfasted’ the following June (2010)..    in a special camping event in Epping Forest (hired out a section of the site)..with 60+ guests, in a Pagan wedding ceremony..     The `legal’ wedding is probably highly likely definitely ..in 2012 🙂

April already has the engagement ring..and a gold Handfasting ring..   and now would `like’ a wedding ring..

Just how many rings can one wedding finger take?  Answer…3!