Bubbling

It’s always important to protect yourself when you’re preforming spells or around draining people.  Whether they’re people from work or family, we all have that one person who seems to take all of your energy when you’re hanging out.  A simple way to help retain your energy is to bubble yourself.

Bubbling is very similar to how it sounds, you create an energy bubble around yourself that keeps your energy inside and the bad energy out.  Close your eyes and visualize your energy forming a layer of protection around yourself.  You can create as many layers are you need and can change the color of the energy depending on the circumstance.  It’s also really easy to practice and a great way to get better at visualization.

~Elyce

Headache Salve

I had a migraine today, so decided to share one of my remedies with you guys today.  While it shouldn’t be the sole replacement for medicine, it really does help with your headaches.

Ingredients

½ Tsp of Pine (you can gather it from the ground)

½ Tsp of Peppermint

½ Tsp of Lemon Balm

2 cups of Olive, Almond, or Sunflower Oil

⅓ cup Beeswax

Peppermint Essential Oil

Jar/Tin

Instructions

  1. Put the oil in a pan and set the stove on low; you want it warm but not simmering (if simmering it’ll cause the oil to go bad faster)
  2. Add the herbs in.  If you have an empty tea bag or muslin bag to put them in, then do so as then you won’t have to strain the oil.
  3. Let this mixture sit for three hours on low heat
  4. Strain herbs out of oil (or remove the tea/muslin bag)
  5. Add beeswax to pot and add oil back in
  6. Wait for the wax to melt, then pour concoction into the jar or tin
  7. Add essential oil
  8. Let cool/harden (putting it into the fridge speeds up the process)
  9. Rub on temples (side of the head) when your head hurts

~Elyce

Mayan and Aztec Masks

Both the Mayans and the Aztecs also had masks they used in traditional ceremonies and some of which are still found in sites today.  For the Aztecs, the masks were mainly for display, not for actual use.  Many were inlaid with precious stones, especially turquoise which was used in a lot of Aztec art.  The shards of turquoise were placed on bases that were made of wood, stone, or sometimes even a real skull. Other decorative items used were obsidian, pyrite, coral and shell.  Archeologists have also found masks with inlaid teeth and eyes.  Mayans commonly used jade to decorate their traditional masks which were sometimes used to adorn the faces of the dead.  While it is not known the significance of the masks on the deceased, there are some scholars who believe that they were either used to scare off potential grave robbers or for ceremonies in the afterlife.  Mayan warriors would also wear masks into battle to channel the ferocity of a certain animal.  There were many other uses for the masks, such as births, weddings, and funerals.  Sadly, most of the lore for the two tribes has been lost over time due to Western influence and the destruction of cultural artifacts by the Spanish.

~Elyce

General Use Sigils

So sigils are a HUGE part of my magic.  Between them and herbs, they make up most of my craft.  I’ll be doing a big post of what sigils are and how to make them tomorrow, but wanted to share with you guys some I made recently.  These were created using Nordic Runes (though with some liberties for design).  I hope you enjoy.

~Elyce

Human Sacrifice Among the Inca

The Inca had a different way of going about sacrifices than many other cultures. First of all, the Inca rarely, if ever, sacrificed prisoners, or even adults in general. All Incan sacrifices were children between the ages of six and fifteen. These children went through a process called capacocha, a process which ended with their inevitable sacrifice. Children were sacrificed to the gods because they were considered the purest of all beings, and so much more worthy than any adult could ever be. Those chosen were always the healthiest, and the closest to the Inca idea of perfection. To be chosen was considered quite the honor. Chosen children were given clothes and food that were quite similar to those of the highest-ranking people in Incan culture. They also were taken to Cuzco to meet the emperor. Then, they were taken to live high in the mountains. Until the time of their sacrifice, they’d be given increasingly high amounts of coca, which is the type of plant used in cocaine production and the production of the soft drink, Coke. Although, Coke has started removing the cocaine from the leaves before using them. The children would chew the leaves and several of the mummies have been found with chewed leaves still inside their mouths. A few weeks before the sacrifice took place, the children’s dose of coca would increase dramatically and they would also start consuming large quantities of alcohol. These would have made them very incoherent by the time of the sacrifice, if not unconscious. At that point, the children were killed in one of three ways: strangulation, one quick blow to the head, or left in a secluded cave to die of hypothermia in their sleep. Strangulation was the least common, with the quick blow to the head being the most. Usually, the children were killed quite quickly while as incoherent as possible, in an effort to make the child’s death not quite as traumatic.

~Victoria

Personal Cleansing

One of the most important parts of witchcraft is cleansing both yourself and the space around you.  While a lot of books talk about burning incense or sage in order to remove the negative energy, there’s an easier way to cleanse yourself personally through meditation.  All it takes is a quiet room and maybe some incense if you want (I don’t use it).  It might not work for everyone, but I’ve found it to be super helpful.

  1. Get comfortable in a quiet room.  I normally do this laying down, but as long as it’s a comfortable position to stay in for a long period of time that’s good.
  1. Close your eyes and imagine roots coming out of your feet (or the base of your spine) and into the ground.
  1. Visualize all of the negative emotions and energy in your life as black gunk inside your body.  With each breath out, push that gunk out of your body.  It might take several minutes to get all the gunk out, so take it slow and be methodical.
  1. Once you’ve degunked yourself, visualize bright energy entering your body with each breath.  Let it fill you from head to toe.
  1. Now that you’re filled with light, create a bubble of energy around yourself.  This will keep the good energy in and all the bad energy out.
  1. And with that, you’re cleansed and ready to go!  I tend to do this before I go to sleep at night and right before I do large spells, but it can also be a good way to remove the stress after a bad day.

~Elyce

Abrahamic Religions

The three most popular monotheistic religions in the world are Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.  While lately a lot of people seem to be focusing on the differences these religions have, they’re actually more similar than they are different.  All deriving from the same background, the religion of Abraham, they share very common beliefs.  In fact, many people would say that all three religions are different interpretations of the same god, since they worship the same god with different names.  Below we’ve included a list of the similarities between these religions, in hopes that, in this time of hate, people can start seeing how similar we all are.

A List of Comparisons

Holy Books: Torah (Judaism), Bible (Christianity), Quran (Islam)

Holy Book Languages: Hebrew (Judaism), Latin (Catholic Christianity), Local Language (Protestant Christianity), Arabic (Islam)

Places of Worship: Synagogue (Judaism), Church (Christianity), Mosque (Islam)

Names for God: Yahweh/God (Judaism), God (Christianity), Allah (Islam)

Names for the Devil: Satan (Judaism), the Devil/Satan (Christianity), Shaytan (Islam)

Name for Good Afterlife: Gan Eden (Judaism), Heaven/Paradise (Christianity), Jannah (Islam)

Name for Bad Afterlife: Gehenna (Judaism), Hell/Inferno (Christianity), Jahannam (Islam)

Places of Origin: Kingdom of Judah (Judaism), Jerusalem (Christianity), Mecca (Islam)

Times of Origin: c. 2000-1800 BC (Judaism), 33 AD (Christianity), 610 AD (Islam)

Holy Days: Saturday (Judaism), Sunday (Christianity), Friday (Islam)

Religious Leaders:  Rabbi (Judaism), Priest (Catholic Christianity), Preacher (many sects of Protestant Christianity), Imam (Islam)

Major Prophets: Moses (Judaism), Jesus/Twelve Disciples (Christianity), Muhammad (Islam)

~Elyce and Victoria

Myths About Celts

Were the Celts Uncultured?

No. In many works, the Celts are portrayed as uncultured barbarians. However, the Celts were very skilled, specifically in metalwork, but also in masonry and other crafting arts. The Celts themselves were skilled specifically with iron and gold, but also became capable with silver as well after it was introduced to them by the Vikings. In fact, many larger groups of people traded with the Celts to obtain their finely made iron goods, specifically their weapons. As for gold, the Celts placed a high value on the metal and often wore pieces of it on their persons. One of the most well-known pieces of jewelry worn by the Celts was the golden torque, a hoop made out of gold with one narrow opening, which would sit around the neck with the opening facing the front. The more ornate the torque was, or the more gold was in it, the higher the person stood within the group’s social ranking.

Were the Celts Unclean?

No. Another common misconception about the Celts is that they were unclean. This one is easily refuted, considering the fact that the Celts cared very much about their personal appearances and were some of the first people to invent soap.

Did the Celts Perform Human Sacrifices?

Rarely. A third misconception is that the Celts were very interested in human sacrifice. The Celts did sacrifice people, but only very rarely. Most often, the sacrificed items and animals to the gods. Their religion, since it was so nature based, involved giving back to nature some of what was taken from it. So they would take some of their finished products and bury them to pay back the Gods for what they had given them.

Did the Celts Completely Lack Strategy?

No. A fourth misconception, and the final one mentioned here, is that the Celts basically ran into battle like wild morons, which would be useless against a more disciplined force. The Celts did not attack in groups of shouting morons. In fact, they came up with some of their own interesting military innovations to help combat such groups. Also, they tended to use guerilla style warfare that more suited their knowledge of the land and their small groups.

Did the Celts or their Druids Build Stonehenge?

No. Most now believe that Stonehenge was built over five thousand years ago, starting in roughly around 3100 BC. Considering that Celtic cultural traits didn’t start appearing in Britain until roughly the 6th century BC, Stonehenge could not have been built by the Celts, or their priestly and scholarly social group, the druids. It was built around two thousand five hundred years before the Celts even showed up in Britain. Archaeologists agree that the construction of Stonehenge was conducted in various stage by various groups of people, starting with a Neolithic farming culture.

~Victoria

Masks in Japanese Lore

One of the greatest fascinations humans have is that of a person’s personality.  How can people whose DNA is so close act so differently from one another?  How is it that in a set of twins, one can be a social butterfly and the other has panic attacks in large crowds?  It is because of this fascination that humans have also developed a fascination in masks.  In many cultures both ancient and modern, masks symbolize the idea of another identity.  If someone puts on a mask, then they would take on that identity.  In ancient Japanese culture, spirits are represented by masks and certain theatre masks hold huge religious significance.  In Western culture, Greek theater is at the root of many traditional images associated with masks, and death takes on a whole new meaning with both death masks and the black plague.  Masks have evolved over time from traditionally religious items to appearing in pop culture like movies, video games, TV shows, and Halloween.  Yet, while the appearances have evolved, from traditional religious masks to scary Halloween masks, the folk lore remains the same.  A mask represents a persona that is different from one’s own and by putting on that mask, one can take on that persona.

Two ancient Japanese spirits are associated with masks.  The first, known as Tengu, appear as humans with black crow wings and always wear bright red masks with long noses.  For a long time it was believed that these winged spirits would kidnap children (Tengu, 2013).  In modern day, it is believed that they punish the vain and arrogant samurai and Buddhist priests.  They also dislike people who disrespect the Dharma law and braggarts (Tengu, 2013).  The second spirit in Japanese folklore that is characterized by its mask is the Oni.  In English, its name roughly translates to ogre and, like its Western counterpart, it is a cruel and vicious creature.  The masks that depict it are usually horned and tend to have exceedingly terrifying expressions (Japanese Folklore, 2013).  Story tellers will use these masks to terrify young children and help convey the terror of these beasts.  Both of these masks are used in festivals to depict their specific creature and take on their attributes.  The masks allow the performers to take on the persona of the creature they represent and convey that personality to their audience.

Japanese theater, much like ancient Greek Theatre, uses masks in their plays to depict different characters and emotions.  These masks are called Noh masks and throughout history, the traditional sixty designs has grown to over 200 in modern day (The Noh, 2013).  Many actors who use Noh masks believe that the mask has a special spiritual power about them that allows the actor to take on another’s personality.  While preparing to perform a play, the actor chooses from many different masks, and while the director might make suggestions, it is always the actor who has a final say in which mask they are going to use (The Noh, 2013).  Historically, the Noh masks were used religiously and did not begin to be used widely in plays until about the Muromachi period which took place between 1392 and 1573.  During this time, Noh masks became less religious and started gaining more human features.  The actors used the beauty of the Noh masks to hide the unattractive parts of their own faces (The Noh, 2013).  Noh masks are considered so sacred by the actors, that they are passed down through the generations and there are even traditions concerning the donning of a Noh mask.  The actor must go into the kagami no ma, the mirror room, and put on the mask.  The tradition is so strong that the Japanese do not use their word for putting on clothes to describe the act of putting on the Noh mask, but rather their word for attach.  In this way, the actor is becoming the mask and taking on the persona it represents (The Noh, 2013).

~Elyce

Sources

http://www.the-noh.com/en/world/mask.html

//www.sarudama.com/japanese_folklore/

http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/tengu.shtml