Category Archives: Religion & Spirituality

Hour of the Ram: Cernunnos (Spring God) invocation

In this original video (words,photos, graphics, animation – all by me – save for the music) – the process of growing horns, connection to star formations and energy, and a personal invocation to the Horned God are presented.   I mean have we ever really wondered what it’s like if horns started growing on us? The weight, the itch, the pain.. the need for a scratch??!!!  And really – where do those horns go..into space? where does the energy come from?   (you know my interests in magic, astrology and science!   Am fully aware of star formation, nuclear fusion of hydrogen etc).

I began working on the materials (taking photos) 2 weeks ago, but sudden ill-health (bleeding from the stomach for 2 days non-stop) stopped the process. After visits to Hospital Accidents & emergency, and  through recovery time, this is what kept me occupied, and away from pain.

The invocation came to me in a moment of fire, and rage and power .  It took me a day to edit the  voice-over with effects.    It took me a further few days to do the animations..   And about 8 hours to edit the video together.   The Am better now, and the video is complete. It stands as probably my most personally rewarding piece of magical in-vocation of the past 15 years. I now cast it into the net for all to take what they wish from it,and use, and enjoy.

-Mani.

Year of the water Dragon: Chinese New Year 2012

Wishing all  viewers and bloggers and followers …and friends and family…and especially my chinese friends…Raymond, Yin & their 2 children,   Ping & Christine and their soon to be born Son (who is going to be a Dragon.  Wow!!  And dearest pagan friend Reggie `Loose cannon’ Kwan… a fantastic New Year.

There is a fab article about this in the latest issue of Gaian Times, `Unleashing the mighty Dragon’  by my sister!.   Here’s the quick link.  http://www.gaiantimes.com/html/5__unleashing_the_dragon.html

Chinese New year is celebrated on the New Moon in the sign of Aquarius ..every year, and today is the aquarian new moon.   The other culture who base their religious festivals around lunar stations is Hindus.

The `postcard’ below is created using photos I took of China town, London, and a dragon statue I have.    By the way, the China Town’s New Year celebration in Central London takes place next Sunday 29th January’12 from 10am on wards.   Am hoping to go with friends from Hern’s Tribe.. 🙂

-Mani


Gaian Times eco-magazine

And here it is – issue#3, just out!!

Gaian Times eco-magazine
GT issue#3 (January 2012)

The first issue of Gaian Times e-magazine – and the e stands for both electronic and ecology – came out in June 2011.

Gaian Times e-magazine explores the Science, Magic, Arts, Psychology and Social trends – among many other eco-centric subjects.  Is there such a word? Eco-centric? I have been using it for a while now.  Anyway GT offers thought-provoking articles, features, information on Eco events and initiatives, other charitable bodies and campaigns. GT also has counselling & psychology related columns- social observations and commentary really, by several regular writers (April Jonquil, Rose Dixon, Antara, Kelly).

Of course many others have already contributed articles / features – Marcus, Reggie, Hazel’O, Pete

GT magazine  was a natural progression to the 3 Gaian Conventions that I had created and managed for Pagan Federation London between 2007-1009.

Oh, almost forgot to say – Gaian Times is also a not for profit Company Ltd by Guarantee. Well, I like to call it an `organisation’ that is growing..

This year, am planning to focus quite a bit of my attention on Gaian Times. So watch this space.

-Mani Navasothy

Thai Pongal – Harvest Festival of Tamils

Thai Pongal

Happy Thai Pongal.

That’s what Tamils and other Indians who celebrate this festival say to one another at this time.

It’s the same as wishing someone `Happy New Year’ – because for farmers in Indian countries, this is actually a new year. Well, not just for farmers – it is the beginning of the new calendar for Tamils and marks the first day of the new year.  Thai is the name of the first month.

The rituals for Thai Pongal involve people clearing their homes of clutter and old unwanted items (sometimes burning them), sweeping of the whole house and washing the floors (if cement or concrete), then purifying the home with ringing of bells, incense and so on. On the day of Pongal, all household members will rise early, look to the rising Sun and make a prayer, then take a bath / shower (anointing themselves with special water blessed by priest from a nearby temple). All then wear new cloths.  The matriarch or lady of the household will cook the special milk-rice in the heart fire, and bring it on a plate to the family altar. Here everyone gathers to offer prayer, songs and worship. Then the rice and other sweet food items are shared, and offered through out the day to any arriving guests. Chewing sugar-cane  or sugar-candy is also tradition, as well as giving gifts to all – new cloths, religious statues or artefacts, furniture etc. Greeting cards are exchanged between family members, friends, relatives and work colleagues.

Here’s wishing you a fruitful year ahead. May all the seeds you plant be nurtured by the earth and rain, and energised by the Sun..

Shooting brings us closer to God??

A friend posted the following in a social network in his status-bar.

This may sound strange , but ive just come back from shooting and pleased with myself cos I shot 99 out of 100. After shooting I feel a sense of deep inner peace and Zen. I also have that blissful post orgasm feeling. Guns have given my the inner spiritual peace i search so long for. Guns have also brought me and xxxx.. closer than anything else in our somewhat strange relationship. I think taking up shooting is the ultimate relationship bonder and the way to getting closer to god.

My response:

 “I used to practice my air-pistol in back garden 20+ yrs back.. til lady next door started a panic that I may shoot her cat. The hobby never went further than a year of shooting club in Uni. But some years back, one morning when I woke up to find a Heron by my garden pond, with a goldfish in its beak, first I thought of was to shoot it from my window – to save rest of my goldfish! By the time I dug out pistol and cocked it, heron had flown. Moral of the story – I don;t trust the beast within us that is used to weapons, for in a fit of rage, one day ..it may break free of reason – no matter how clever and controlled we think we are! How can the act of practicing a sport that stems from intent to kill bring us close to God and inner peace? The psychology is all wrong there I fear.”

Someone else has commented that, “martial arts training has a spiritual side, like the Kung Fu monks – I think it has a lot to do with the attitude with which the discipline is approached”.

What do people think?   You comments welcome on this matter..

-Mani

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!

Happy Yule

Birth of the Sun-Child

Winter Solstice – when the Sun enters the sign of Capricorn..  shortest day..longest night..!

This year it’s happening on Thursday 22nd December 2011.. at 5.30am (GMT). That’s the astrology.
Pagans, Wiccans, Druids and New-Agers  celebrate this – and have done so for thousands of years – and consider the Sun-child being born.  Makes sense as after this, the days get longer…Sun gets stronger ..growing   its full force by Summer Solstice.
Of course this has been somewhat  `acquired’ by Christianity, and repackaged as celebration fo the birth of Christ (baby Jesus!).   Any decent effort at historical research will show that Christ was not born in December, but in earlier part of the year (if we can even consider the birth of Christ as `real’).
I have no problems with Christianity.  Brought up as a Hindu, I also went to the nearby Church with family – once in a  back in Ceylone in the early 70’s.   No one would deny the `magic of this time’..
These days I look forward to the annual special show of Doctor Who on Christmas day..   and yes, I have a Yule tree in my home, and it has lights…and I think about those Christmassy feelings of childhood gone by..