Beginner Witchcraft

Beginner Witchcraft

Beginner Witchcraft – Western vs. Eastern Mystery Traditions
One of the first things you need to conceptualize, if you’re interested in witchcraft, is that it’s a WESTERN mystery tradition. The important dichotomy here is outer-vs.-inner. In the Eastern traditions, the adept commonly seeks some sort of mystical union with the great Oneness, which implies a withdrawal from the common, everyday life of human beings, and a focus on one’s internal processes. In the Western traditions, the adept is very much a part of the activities and community of humankind. A witch does indeed have a special awareness of their inner world and their connection with the all-permeating Oneness (Goddess), but a witch is also a member of society–a farmer, a healer, a parent, a warrior, a writer, a scientist, an artist, a computer programmer, etc. In becoming a witch, you don’t dissociate your spiritual life from the rest of your life–rather, you apply the principles of the Craft in everything you do. You seek to take what you have learned on an inner level and MANIFEST that awareness on an outer level. This is not to be confused with the Christian dichotomy of works vs. faith. Witches don’t have to BELIEVE in anything–they are much too concrete, too practical for such notions. The rituals of the Craft all get down to the same thing: sanctifying the everyday activities of your life. When a witch makes love, writes a program, cooks a meal, rides a bike, these are all the rituals of the Goddess.

NASA Image of the Day for Feb. 6th

 Remnant of a Supernova

Remnant of a Supernova

Vital clues about the devastating ends to the lives of massive stars can be found by studying the aftermath of their explosions. In its more than twelve years of science operations, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has studied many of these supernova remnants sprinkled across the galaxy.

The latest example of this important investigation is Chandra’s new image of the supernova remnant known as G350.1-0.3. This stellar debris field is located some 14,700 light years from the Earth toward the center of the Milky Way.

Evidence from Chandra and from ESA’s XMM-Newton telescope suggest that a compact object within G350.1+0.3 may be the dense core of the star that exploded. The position of this likely neutron star, seen by the arrow pointing to “neutron star” in the inset image, is well away from the center of the X-ray emission. If the supernova explosion occurred near the center of the X-ray emission then the neutron star must have received a powerful kick in the supernova explosion.

Data suggest this supernova remnant, as it appears in the image, is 600 and 1,200 years old. If the estimated location of the explosion is correct, this means the neutron star has been moving at a speed of at least 3 million miles per hour since the explosion.

Another intriguing aspect of G350.1-0.3 is its unusual shape. Many supernova remnants are nearly circular, but G350.1-0.3 is strikingly asymmetrical as seen in the Chandra data in this image (gold). Infrared data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope (light blue) also trace the morphology found by Chandra. Astronomers think that this bizarre shape is due to stellar debris field expanding into a nearby cloud of cold molecular gas.

The age of 600-1,200 years puts the explosion that created G350.1-0.3 in the same time frame as other famous supernovas that formed the Crab and SN 1006 supernova remnants. However, it is unlikely that anyone on Earth would have seen the explosion because of the obscuring gas and dust that lies along our line of sight to the remnant.

These results appeared in the April 10, 2011 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

Image Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/I. Lovchinsky et al; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Astronomy Picture of the Day for Feb. 6th

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2012 February 6
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Dust of the Orion Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Nicolás Villegas 

Explanation: What surrounds a hotbed of star formation? In the case of the Orion Nebula — dust. The entire Orion field, located about 1600 light years away, is inundated with intricate and picturesque filaments of dust. Opaque to visible light, dust is created in the outer atmosphere of massive cool stars and expelled by a strong outer wind of particles. The Trapezium and other forming star clusters are embedded in the nebula. The intricate filaments of dust surrounding M42 and M43 appear brown in the above image, while central glowing gas is highlighted in red. Over the next few million years much of Orion’s dust will be slowly destroyed by the very stars now being formed, or dispersed into the Galaxy.

Green Tip – 9 Uses for Old Jeans

9 Uses for Old Jeans

  • Chaya, selected from Networx

By Adam Verwymeren, Networx

There are few things more comfortable than a beloved, broken-in pair of jeans. But some day, when the denim’s faded, the seams have split and the cuffs have frayed, you’re going to be faced with a harsh reality: All good jeans must someday meet their end. But rather than let that precious fabric go to waste balled up in the back of your closet or, worse yet, getting tossed in the trash, you can (and should) repurpose and reuse those precious pants.

The durability, heft and stylishness of denim make it a great and versatile fabric for a variety of projects and purposes. Here are some great uses for your old jeans.

Coffee Cozy: Cut down on wasted cardboard coffee sleeves by making your very own denim coffee cozy from an old pair of pants. Simply snip the fabric to fit your favorite sized cup or mug and hem the top and bottom. [via Doctor Popular]

Knee Pads: Gardening is a great hobby, but sometimes digging around in the dirt all day can be tiring on the knees. Transform an old pair of jeans into a padded mat to spare your tired limbs while you garden. This handy guide will show you how to make a handsome knee pad, but for a quick and easy alternative that requires no sewing, simply cut off one pant leg, stuff it full of something soft and tie off each end with a zip tie. Of course, another way to save your knees is to hire a local landscaper. [via Martha Stewart]

Patching Other Jeans: Don’t let a small tear force you to toss an otherwise perfectly good pair of jeans. Cut patches from an old pair to fix up a current pair of pants. Use a bit of fabric glue to adhere the patch, and just like that, your pants have been fixed.

Sharpen a Razor: Stropping, the practice of removing microscopic burrs from a razor, is essential for getting a close, smooth shave that doesn’t leave your skin burning. Usually done with a piece of leather, stropping can also be done with a pair of old jeans. The coarse texture of denim smoothes and polishes the surface of a razor, extending the life of a disposable blade. [via Instructables]

Desk Organizer: Using the back pockets on a pair of blues, you can make a handy desk-side organizer with a board and a glue gun. The pockets are a great place to store pens, pencils and other office supplies. Or use it in the garage to store tools, nails and other hardware.

iPhone Sleeve: Cut up a pair of blue jeans and resew them to fashion a cheap, effective sleeve for your iPhone, iPad or other gadgets. Use a swatch from the jeans’ rear and the back pocket can double as a storage place for credit cards and cash. It’s an iPhone case and a wallet.

Heat Pack: Cut off a pant leg, tie off or sew up end and fill the leg with dried rice. Seal up the other end and you have a convenient hot pack to soothe achy muscles. Simply pop it into the microwave for a couple of minutes and apply wherever it hurts. A homemade heat pack would be perfect in a DIY gift basket for someone who deserves a little TLC. We’d like to give these (as well as a huge pat on the back) to the Dallas roofers who helped to rebuild several Texas churches that were lost to arson.

Make a Quilt: Anyone who has had to part with an old pair of jeans knows that it’s hard to let go of such a well-loved and well-worn piece of denim. Transform that soft, supple fabric into quilt so that you can continue loving those jeans long after they lived their last day as a pair of pants. [via HGTV]

Keep Out the Cold: Fill a pant leg with sand and sew it up. Slide it against the base of a door to insulate your home in the winter months.

Your Home is Attracting Your Future!

Your Home is Attracting Your Future!

  • Erica Sofrina

A missing component from the popular book The Secret is the important role our environment plays in manifesting the life we desire.

According to the laws of attraction, every thought radiates a signal and attracts a matching signal. Every object in our homes is a physically manifested thought-form of our conscious and unconscious belief system about what we believe we deserve to be, do and have in life. The single woman who desires a relationship but surrounds herself with single objects and pictures of single women is vibrationally anchoring into her home unconscious affirmations of the opposite future she desires.

Feng Shui is powerful because it teaches us to become conscious of the hidden messages in our physical surroundings that may not be serving us, giving us valuable insights as to why our lives may be headed in the directions they are! It provides valuable tools for getting our lives back on track and teaches that we can literally shift our future by shifting the vibration of our physical environments. As we arrange our space to reflect what we truly want, our lives follow suit. It is simply the law of attraction: like attracts like.

Feng Shui addresses the subtle things in our environment that wear on us over time and bring our chi (energy) down. Examples might be clutter piles, the sharp-edged furniture that can injure, plants dying or limping along, objects from past relationships that bring us down, dis empowering or disturbing art, heavy objects like beams or ceiling fans overhead create a feeling of being unsafe. Beds and key pieces of furniture placed with our backs to the door will also create a feeling of dis empowerment. Highly manufactured products like plastics and synthetics not only pose health issues because of the out-gassing, but will also carry a denser vibration.

Once we clear our space of the things that are depleting our chi or energy we bring in objects that enhance it. Pictures and fabrics depicting nature and especially live plants and trees, will always raise the energy. Bring in objects you love such as shells from favorite beaches, palms and orchids that remind you of Hawaii, inspiring nature photos that uplift. The more passionately you feel about these environmental affirmations the more chi they will generate for you.

In western Feng Shui we recommend clients use symbols and objects from their own culture rather than Chinese cultures, unless of course, the client is Chinese. Things that resonate personally for you will carry a much higher vibration that those superimposed from another culture.

Strategically placing these objects in your home in accordance with the Bagua map will give it even greater energy. An example might be placing an inspiring picture of Tuscany in your Wealth area with the intention of going there every year. This strategically placed object, infused with your passion and intention, is sending a vibration into the universe that is attracting a similar vibration, literally drawing this future to you.

Feng Shui is neither about magic nor superstition. Neither is it about hanging crystals and wind chimes in strategic places that mysteriously bring us good fortune. It is a powerful teaching about how to focus and direct energy in our physical environments to produce the maximum benefit in our lives.

By creating a beautiful, organized and safe living space that is infused with the higher vibration objects from the natural world, and then strategically placing objects that reflect our deepest desires, we create a powerful energy vortex in our homes.We can become conscious co-creators of our own lives by creating homes that broadcast messages to the universe that attract our intended futures to us!

9 Feng Shui Ways to Enhance Your Wealth

9 Feng Shui Ways to Enhance Your Wealth

  • Erica Sofrina

By Erica Sofrina, Author of the book Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World.

Welcome to my series on how to locate and enhance the nine key Feng Shui energy centers of your home. In this article I will show you how to identify and activate the area that corresponds to your wealth and prosperity.

Feng Shui has many practical applications that are logical, simple and even obvious, of which I have written many articles about. The more mysterious and esoteric part of Feng Shui is the study of the Bagua. This wisdom comes from the I Ching, or The Book of Changes.

The ancient Feng Shui masters felt there were certain parts of the home that corresponded to key areas of the lives of its occupants. By working with these energy centers you could A- identify what was going on in that area of your life, and B- enhance it by putting objects there that would encourage the chi (energy) to become activated.

The I Ching is a profound and esoteric study in its self, and has been used over the centuries as a method of divining right action. It incorporates both yin and yang expressions and is used to study and contemplate the process of change and inner development.

The portion that relates to Feng Shui has to do with charting the nine energy centers of your home by using what is called the Bagua Map.

By learning how to work with and identify these energy centers in our homes, we can become conscious co-creators of our lives.

Bagua translated means eight trigrams. These trigrams refer to important areas of our lives such as wealth, health, love, career, self-cultivation, fame, creativity, helpful people, etc. In this article I will talk about how to locate and activate and enhance the wealth area of the Bagua.

Wealth and Prosperity Defined

The trigram connected to wealth and prosperity in the I Ching is called SUN. It is about the deep roots of financial stability and calm security in terms of one’s personal wealth. A key component is gratefulness; being grateful before as well as after the money comes. It is not about fast money but the slow, steady, honest accumulation of wealth, along with the things we truly value in life. It is not about making the monthly bills (this is connected to the Health and Family area) but the abundance of prosperity, such as luxury items, vacations, those seminars you have been dying to take, and anything that is a want rather than a necessity.

 

Nine Suggestions to Enhance Your Wealth Area

Once you locate the wealth area of your home (directions below), take a look at what is happening there. Is this where there is a lot of clutter, or where the junk closet resides? Perhaps it is in a dingy bathroom or missing all together from the Bagua of your home? (this is addressed in the Bagua lay-out section)

Feng Shui teaches that the outer environment will always reflect our inner environment. By cleaning it up, clearing it out, making it beautiful and adding the enhancers, you activate this area of the Bagua and thus the extra money area of your life is activated as well.

Environmental affirmations are objects we put into our space that either reflects something we want to bring into our lives, or keep there. Use these environmental affirmations to vitalize the wealth area of your home once you have taken care of the ‘splinters’ such as clutter, broken things, missing areas, etc.

Here are nine suggestions of objects you can add to your wealth area that will activate the chi:

  • Items that call in the Chi (energy)
  • Inspiring Art and other items that depict the things we want to bring into our lives in terms of wealth. An example might be a favorite picture of Tuscany if you wants to travel there, the tropical paradise picture for a much-desired Hawaiian vacation.
  • Quotes and affirmations pertaining to wealth written in present tense, as if it is true now!
  • Fountains, waterfalls and water features or pictures of flowing water. (Flowing water represents money in Feng Shui)
  • Articles you love that you might have paid a lot of money for, i.e., a favorite vase, coin collection, jewelry or artwork. (Or items that look like you paid a lot for them!)
  • Healthy plants with shiny, round coin-shaped leaves such as jade plants.
  • Personal wealth symbols reflective of your own taste and culture. (If you are not Chinese, symbols from your own culture may have a deeper meaning rather than Chinese coins, gold fish or ‘lucky bamboo’)
  • Objects in purples, reds and greens symbolizing wealth and money. Purple Amethysts and crystals are wonderful wealth chi enhancers. Add purple accessories, colors and fabrics to this area, provided you like the color purple* (Purple includes plum, lavender, lapis blues, etc.)
  • Create vision boards and collages depicting the objects you want to bring into your life in terms of wealth. * Note: never put anything into your space that you do not love just because a Feng Shui book or article told you to do so! The goal of Feng Shui is to create a living space that feeds your soul and uplifts your spirits. Objects you don’t love will have the opposite effect. The more personal the objects are to you, the more chi they will generate.

How to Put the Bagua Map onto your Home and Identify your Wealth Area

Here are step-by-step instructions for how to put the Bagua Map onto the floor plan of you home and locate your personal wealth energy center:

1. Draw a sketch of the floor plan of your space. This should be the birds-eye view as if you are looking down on it. Include all built-on decks, stairways and attached garages.

2. Draw a square or rectangle over the floor plan in the shape of the Bagua map. All of the areas of the home need to be within the square or rectangle. If your home is an irregular shape, still draw the rectangle or square around it.

3. Stand at the front door with the map perpendicular to the floor with the Entrance Quadrant touching your stomach. This will tell you the direction to overlay the Bagua map onto the floor plan of your home.

4. Now divide your home with the Bagua map overlaid on it in nine equal sections. This will identify for you where all of the key nine areas are of your home are. The wealth area will always be the far left quadrant of the home and the Love and Marriage the far right section, etc.

5. If your home is not a rectangle or square, you may be missing areas of the Bagua. If this is the case, you can do a mini-Bagua for each room of your home and enhance the wealth corner of each room. Treat the main entrance to the room like you would the front door of the home and lay the Bagua accordingly.This energetically brings back into the space the missing area.

6. If you have more than one floor of your home, what ever is below is above. You do not turn the Bagua differently for each floor. In which case you may have more than one wealth area, the same rules of enhancement apply to all areas!

Cosmic Calendar for Monday, February 6th

Love vibrations are increasing in frequency – courtesy of a Moon-Venus flowing trine in water signs (1:29AM PST). While romance appears to be promising, surprises and shock waves can easily pop up due to a frictional, 45-degree connection from the Sun to radical-change agent Uranus (2:05AM PST). Expecting the unexpected is more the rule now than the exception. A short void lunar cycle from 4:32AM PST to 5:25AM PST is a reminder to finish old projects on a high note. Once the clock strikes 5:25AM PST, the Moon enters warmhearted and outgoing Leo for a change of pace. Advances on the cutting edge of science and metaphysics can suddenly show up as the Moon trines Uranus (9:01AM PST). Become more familiar with new technological marvels entering the marketplace and be fearless about exploring the ever-expanding online universe. However, more topsy-turvy conditions are likely to spontaneously manifest around the time that Mercury makes an abrasive, 45-degree link to its higher-octave planet Uranus (12:03PM PST). When Uranus begins to throw its erratic, iconoclastic and revolutionary weight around, stability and comfort are hard to find. Instead, you need to periodically check in with your intuitive awareness and fly more by the seat of your pants. Keep preparing for tomorrow’s enlightening Full Moon energy-field and Saturn turnaround in motion.

Calendar of the Sun for Monday, February 6th

Calendar of the Sun
6 Solmonath

Day of Aphrodite Genetrix

Colors: Sea green and white
Element: Water
Altar: Lay with a cloth of sea green, strings of pearls, white lace, many scallop shells, colored glass sea floats, abalone, small shells with hearts and fishes painted on them, and a large chalice of Greek wine with frothy sugared egg whites floating in it.
Offerings: Shells. Fishes. Promises to aid expectant parents.
Daily Meal: Ocean fish. Shellfish. Sweet things, especially desserts. Whipped cream.

Invocation to Aphrodite Genetrix

Lady of Sea-Foam,
Green as the ocean from which
You sprang, with pearls
Of whitest foam,
Aphrodite Genetrix
Love that creates all Life,
We thank you for the Love
That sparked our existence.
We remember that we were all born of love
Whether it was brief and poignant
As a firefly’s courtship
Or solid and lasting
For half a century,
Whether it sprang from the body
Or the heart, or the soul.
You who bind the proton to the electron
And so bind the world together,
May we never forget your gift of attraction
That makes us all human
Even as you are divine.

Chant: Amor Invictus Amor Invictus

(The ritual for this day is the Great Rite, performed by one man and one woman, as Aphrodite Genetrix is the matron of procreative sexuality. If done symbolically, the man plunges a blade into the chalice held by the woman, and then it is poured as a libation. Ideally, it should be done literally, either by members of the house or by two who have come in for this purpose. If outsiders, it would be an auspicious time to conceive a child. All sit facing outwards in a circle and chant as the couple are wrapped in a red cloth and lay together in the center, and when it is done all repair to their rooms and either contemplate love or have ritual sex, alone or together.)

The Wiccan Book of Days for Feb. 6th – Lady of Love and Magick

Lady of Love and Magick

So compelling was the cult of Isis, the greatest of the Ancient Egyptian Goddesses, that her worship spread to Greece, and thence to Rome, and indeed, she continue to be venerated today. “Isis of Ten Thousand Names” is often invoked on this day in her incarnation as the Green Goddess, a young and beautiful Goddess of nature who broadly corresponds with the Greek Aphrodite, is especially associated with love and sex, and has the blessing of fertility within her gift. In this aspect, Isis’s primary symbol is the tyet, a red talisman worn by her followers that is thought to represent her knotted girdle and menstrual blood.

 

“Tarot Teachings”

On this day, meditate on the fifth major-arcana Tarot card, the Pope, or Hierophant (V), representing spiritual authority. Revisit or explore the tenets and teachings of traditional religions to see if they could add a rewarding dimension to your life and beliefs.

Guess What? It’s Monday Again! Have A Great One!

Monday Pictures, Images, Comments, Graphics
Today’s Affirmation for Monday, February 6th

“When I look into the future, I see a vista of challenge and resolution. I venture forth with strength, hope and faith.”

 

Thought of the Day for Monday, February 6th

“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

Anonymous

 

Meditation for Monday, February 6th

A Map of Life’s Road

Perform this meditation to help you negotiate your way through various options. First, sketch a map of the paths available to you, and the potential paths these may lead to in the future. Illustrate each path with relevant images or symbols. Meditate on the map through half-closed eyes. Notice whether particular images draw your attention, or new images occur to you, suggesting alternative courses of action. Allow your inner sense of direction to speak to you.

Alternatively create a collage of your future. Leaf through magazines, holding in mind the question “Where do I start to go?” Cut out appealing images, stick them to some cardboard and use the collage as a focus for meditation.