Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Making a Peace Mala

I've made a small instructional video on how to make a Peace Mala. Mostly, it was to test out my new webcam (which works wonderfully), but this seems good enough.



Tuesday, 26 August 2008

For Susan

Susan, just made this for you, because we all love you, and this is something to show all people who love you and the things that make you wonderful, loved, and the amazing person you are.


Monday, 25 August 2008

Poetic joy!

After a year of not being able to listen to DruidCast (for the OBOD by Dave the Bard), it now seems to be working so I've been listening to the old ones that I missed. The third podcast, I was surprised to hear, had one of my poems read out! I totally forgot I sent it in, so it was indeed a wonderful surprise!

Here's the text of it:

An Invocation of Awen
Flow through me O Sacred Awen
You the muse to Poets, Bards and Artists.

Let my tongue weave golden ribbons of Words
To wrap around mesmerised crowds like silk.
Let my stories inspire the emptiest of minds
And bring joy to the bottom pits of the saddest heart.

Whilst ordinary verse may make move a lady to tears
You, the Fires of Arousal, will make them Burn!
You are the spirit that enlightens and inspires
And yours is the essence of insight and wisdom.

So allow me but a glimpse of the texts of the Fferyllt,
The great Alchemists of high Dinas Affaraon,
From which Ceridwen read to brew the Cauldron of Wisdom
That blessed the fair Taliesin with his golden tongue.

Grant me this day wisdom and inspiration, sacred Awen
Flow with Nwyfre in my blood and burst my heart a-flame!
Paul Rousselle Feb'07

Thursday, 21 August 2008

8 Things

8 Reasons To Love Wales:

  1. A rich a diverse history, from the druids to the kingdoms that once were part of these islands.
  2. The establishment of the modern Eisteddfod!
  3. The Mabinogion - a series of wonderful and beautiful tales to enchant any mind.
  4. Dylan Thomas!
  5. Carmarthen - a town steeped in such history (the historical roman town of Moridunum) and mythology (Merlin is linked deeply with Carmarthen) that it's rather hard not to fall in love with this wonderful town.
  6. Susan's cooking! Every time she writes about her cordials and cooking I can just about taste it :)
  7. Pobi Caws. There's cheese-on-toast, and then there's Pobi Caws (or welsh rarebit). Who could think that cheese-on-toast could be made into such a divine national dish!
  8. Rain. Yes, I've said it. I love the rain...

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Consuming plants versus animals

I have a dilemma.

vegetarianism manifested itself fully early in the year. There were quite a few reasons for this.
I totally abhorred the thought of killing a life in order to sustain myself. At the end of the day, how can I justify the 'sacrifice' of one order to allow myself to live? I'd kill (or 'allow' the killing) for my own sake, in itself an arrogant gesture assuming that my life is of more importance than theirs; that I have the right to take that life and not them.

Then there was the very idea of eating flesh. Even as a child I never really enjoyed the idea of it. You ate meat. Meat was meat. When meat is flesh then... it suddenly has a new perspective on you.

Now for the typical reason. Animals are reared for the sole purpose of serving us. This is another way that I see the human arrogance of assuming we are dominant over them. Higher brain function doesn't mean you are better than them. Husbandry was around a long time before the advent of the Abrahamic religions, but lines such as the Bible's
Genesis 1:27-29:

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them,
"Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the
fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that
moves on the ground."

29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing
plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in
it. They will be yours for food.

30 And to all the beasts of the earth
and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the
ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for
food." And it was so.

are taught regularly without question to children, that we are masters of the earth and were first commanded by Yahweh to "fill the earth and subdue it". Scientism also gives an ethic of near superiority over anything we find. Animals can be tested on for the benefit of humans. Plants genetically engineered for the benefit of humans. Forests felled for the benefit of humans. Cruelty to animals is a daily and 'normal' occurrence. And many scientists consider the point of cruelty to some animals null until they've proved they can feel pain. Fish were only recently scientifically proven to be able to feel pain! What a horrible philosophy. It's not the point of whether or not they can feel pain, but in the way they're treated. If you have the ability to treat a living being with such regard as to consider them as nothing but objects of use without any regard, then what does that reflect on you as a person?

Many animals are held in squalid conditions, abnormally injected with chemicals and water, and whatever else. I can't stomach that a living, sentient being is forced to live like this for the purpose of food.
I'll say now though, not all animals are held like so. Some are decently cared for and loved in optimum ways, but they're still trapped beings for the sake of food

So those are my reasons.

I have a problem, however. I'm vegetarian - not
vegan. I still drink milk and eat eggs and other products derived from living beings. Though I aspire to the transition to a vegan lifestyle, I'm not there yet - as such the hypocrisy of my words are transparent. I'm still supporting animals exploitation and dominance. I wear leather. Again, as above.

For now, I do my best to source products from compassionate origins - organic free range eggs, local organic milk etc. I use leather as little as I possibly can and try to use faux leather where I can - but still, I'm not vegan. In a way, I still consider myself as bad as the exploiters. I soon will be.

I found another problem again, and this is directly linked to the consumption of plants. In an animistic philosophy, the plant is a living, vibrating being, which is something we know already. They are organisms capable of eating, reproducing, breathing. Can they feel pain? Does it matter if they can or can't?

The problem rises again. Agriculture is geared towards the mass propagation of matter for our own use and consumption. We're using cutting down and using plants in much the same way as we're using animals. One way this doesn't occur is with fruit. A fruit is designed to be eaten by animals in order to allow the seeds to germinate in the intestines, then to grow with the faeces later excreted. We're meant to eat them. Which is fine - but with that, we've geared a means to cultivate and grow plants for their fruit on a massive scale. They're grown solely for our own use.

Taking out meat from my diet means that I'm increasing my consumption of plant matter by a greater margin. I'm forsaking ten for one, essentially. Killing more, presuming we can hold plants in the same box animals.

And that is my little problem of the now. Hope this wasn't too long winded.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Meme: 8 Things

I found this wonderful meme from Magpie Girl, while randomly browsing the net.

I think the general idea if you find a theme every 8odd days and make a list, such as "8 things I believe" or "8 things to love about marzipan" haha. A funny one I found was:

8 Reasons to Be Gay

  1. When you have a boyfriend, your wardrobe doubles!
  2. Two penises are better then one.
  3. Glitter!!
  4. Tits...
  5. You get this nifty free membership card, and these glasses.
  6. Because you get to use words like Fierce and Fabulous.
  7. You get to enjoy the joys of discrimination in 48 states and most coutries around the world.
  8. You don't have to worry about getting anyone pregnant.

You do some :)

Monday, 4 August 2008

Ritual in Star of Venus

I think the Lammas ritual went pretty well. I must remember to that Susan properly next time I see her. And Pinky as well! On a personal basis the ritual helped clarify some of the meanings of Lammas itself, though the next task shall be to experience Mabon properly. Though as an equinox, it should be rooted in the equality of night and day and possibly in the waning of the day to the night. Maybe.

The main meaning that I understood was as the first of the harvests, it's truly the first time that we can appreciate the efforts and the toils that went into the planting of the seeds, plants and other items. It's the time to properly give thanks to those who have worked and also to taste of the first fruits of the labours. Importantly so, however, it is the time to really think about those whose harvests were not fields were not plentiful - the Third World, places with drought and political disharmony. Some harvest may well have been full but the majority of the crop taken to give to the leaders rather than distributed fairly among all. I think this was the main motive for the bowl of grains I brought. It was a mandala of Quinoa and Rice - the grains of the Americas and of the Orient. In lands like Central and South America, they were wealthy and prosperous yet the people lie sick and in pain through the lack of bounty. It is from the Aztec and Inca that we have Quinoa, known as a Mother Grain, so I took it as symbolic of there. Rice is the staple food of the majority of Asia. It's practically what the impoverished have to rely on even if there is nothing left - but rising food prices means it's becoming scarce. So that was my symbol.

It's interesting however that we were able to bring so much to the ritual in terms of fruit and jams and grains and baked goods, that as it was time to leave much of the harvest had been left. The welsh cakes were hardly touched. The fruit were still in abundance. No matter, I took some and those that cleared up took the rest where I'm sure they were well enjoyed afterwards. Speaking of which, I'll need to give Karen her Tupperware back if she comes to the moot - something I hope she will do. Karen had previous experience of a local coven, but one that turned quite negative, so some of the group (especially Pinky, the wonderful woman) to make her feel welcome and safe from the negative attacks. I noticed little things that Pinky said to her that made me smile quietly.

The Basket of Abundance was one of the main items of the ritual. It was a point during the ritual where a basket was passed around the circle filled with homemade (or bought) items that the group had brought along. Other attendees then picked something they fancied, sharing crafts and gifts. Compared to some of the items given, my God's Eye (or Brigid's Cross?) seemed quite pathetic in comparison. This only reinforced the realisation that I need to learn a lot of craft skills and put them to good practice. What I took out were rather pleasing. One was a Calendula Flower Essence homemade by Louisa. She described it's properties thusly:

A hug from a good friend when you feel alone in the middle of a crowd.

It's meant to give you that inner happiness you get with contentment and the like, so this is something I'll cherish and use much of. If only I could get a dropper for it. I also to out a green tea home fragrance oil, bought from The Body Shop by Mel, that revealed a wonderful flowery fragrance that I love so much of green tea. Quite useful.

Pinky also gave me one of her Hag Stones, one of an unusual type. Along with the usual hole through the middle, it had another connecting to the main tunnel from what became the top. I don't fully know if this has any significance, however. The folklore behind the hag stone if that as an item you hold to your eye, it helps protect against diseases of the eye and generally protect the home of sickness. If one were to look through the middle, the Shining Ones and Earth Beings may be seen. I've hung this one on the holder of the chain on the front door and give it a hold or touch before leaving.

One of the final parts of the ritual before the closing was a guided visualisation by Susan which involved a meeting with the Corn Goddess. This meeting, with me, involved a talk by her explaining that I cannot consider things happening without first planting the seeds and making manifest what I wish to. Every outcome requires effort and sacrifices, and most importantly, time and patience. She then gave a gift of three braided stalks of wheat. I wasn't too sure of the meaning, however.

After the visualisation, we were invited to pick a disk of holly or blackthorn (kindly provided by Pinky's husband) and drawn o it something meaningful of the journey, or something to keep as an amulet. I took blackthorn drawing on one side the gift (badly) on a background of a setting sun and on the other side a bindrune of Kenaz, Uruz and Thurisaz to represent Will, Effort and Work to Manifest. That is, what I need help to increase in myself to manifest what I require rather than procrastinating. Afterwards, I excused myself, and went downstairs to buy some drawstring bags from the Star of Venus downstairs. I then invited them to put the disk in the bag and then fill it with a choice of the grains that had been brought. Or fill the bag with grain and keep the disk. Or... whatever they felt was best! I did the former, but I've since taken out the disk and placed it at my altar and hung the bag at my bedroom door.

Talking of Star of Venus, is seems the shop is now closing. They can't afford the rent for the shop at all. They've barely been open a year and now it shall be no more at the end of August. However, Bev and Dave may be able to open the shop in the downstairs of their house as they may not have the foster children from much longer and all their children are going to university. Though how they'll be able to afford the rent with the shop, I'll never know. They're contracted for a few more years, so they still need to pay it somehow.

I don't think I'll write much more - dawn's just broken and I think the cat's waiting for me to sleep.