Béaltaine Féis: Bilé’s Fire Festival/Feast

Introduction:

Reality™ consists of multiple worlds, or as some today say, a “Multiverse of Realities”. At a very minimum, Gaelic Traditionalists believe there is a World of the Stars (the Sky), a Middle World (the Earth, or the Land) and an Underworld (the Sea). All of these worlds are connected in some way, with events and magicks from one affecting events occurring in a different world. These Worlds, separated by what some call The Veils, are closer at certain times called the “In-Between Times”. It should also be no surprise that the Ancestors practiced Their most important Magicks during such In-Between Times as the sunrise, the sunset, the moonrise, the moonset, and during the transitions of the seasons (Béaltaine and Samhain), as well as the extremes of the Sun (Mid-Winter and Mid-Summer), or the great “Fire Festivals”. The period from Samhain to Béaltaine is called “An Ghrian beag” or the “little Sun”. The period from Béaltaine to Samhain is called “An Ghrian mór” or the “greater Sun”. Great fires are kindled during the fire festivals. The thought behind this is that “like attracts like”, so that the Power of the flames will also attract the Magickal Power of the Sun. The fires also encourage and enhance the energies of the Sun and help to create conditions favorable to transmutation of magickal power.

Béaltaine is the first day of the summer season and begins the light half of the year, and Samhain is the start of the Celtic new year and begins the winter season, the dark half of the year. Béaltaine roughly translates to “Bel’s fire”, the Irish word for fire is “tinne”, and it refers to the bonfires lit on hilltops in honor of the Ancestor variously known as Bel, Beli, Bilé, Belenos, or Belenus. Bel, who is called Bilé (BEE-luh) in Ireland, is the Ancestor of light and fire, the life-giver, represented by the sun. Bilé is also called the “god of death” and He is associated with the Underworld. Why the apparent dichotomy? He is the Ancestor of both Life and Death. Bilé is often symbolically represented as the Tree of Life, connecting the three Worlds of Sky, Land, and Sea, so He is in many ways the transition and connection between Worlds. When we think of the three Worlds of Sky, Land, and Sea, and the elements associated with each (air, earth, and water), we might ask “What about fire? Where does that fit in?” Fire is that which connects every thing to every other thing… it runs through and is a part of everything. It is the connection and the Source of all things, it is also the “fire in the head”.

    “I am a wind on the sea,
    I am a wave of the ocean,
    I am the roar of the sea,
    I am a powerful ox,
    I am a hawk on a cliff,
    I am a dewdrop in sunshine,
    I am a boar for valor,
    I am a salmon in pools,
    I am a lake on a plain,
    I am the strength of art,
    I am a spear with spoils that wages battle,
    I am the one who shapes fire for a head…”

    -Amairgin, upon stepping foot on shore at Inber Colptha, Éire

“Fire for a head” means thought, and probably also refers to the magick inherent in thought… so it is fire that both creates and destroys, fire that runs through all things. Life and Death were very much a part of the ongoing process of Being to the ancient Celts. Death was considered to be a doorway between lives and not an ending. Life and Death are natural parts of the circle of time, which is eternal. The Sun spends part of the day (darkness) within the Depths. It spends the other part of the day in the vault of the Sky.

Béaltaine:

One of two Celtic fire festivals, Béaltaine is a celebration of the return of life and fertility to the world which takes place from sunset on April 30 to sunset on May 1. It is sometimes referred to as Cetsamhain which means “opposite Samhain.” In the various Celtic countries the festival is known by other names, such as Shenn do Boaldyn on the Isle of Man and Galan Mae in Wales. The Saxons called this day Walpurgisnacht, the night of Walpurga, goddess of May. Like Brigid, the Christian Church changed this goddess into St. Walpurga and attached a similar legend to her origin.

On Béaltaine, the entire tribe, village or clan traditionally leads the cattle to the Summer buailte (BOOa-ltuh) or pastures, until Samhain. Béaltaine is traditionally a fertility festival, an encouragement for the crops to begin growing and the cattle to give birth to the next generation. Sometimes, a procession is made around the fields with a burning torch of wood in order to obtain a blessing on the crops. On this day, all hearth-fires are extinguished to be rekindled at dawn the following morning from the sacred “bale-fire”. Traditionally, the hearth fire is kept burning all year, since its lighting on Samhain, until May Eve when the fire is extinguished. At this time, the hearth and chimney are thoroughly cleaned. It is also at this time that people give a thorough “spring cleaning” to their houses.

Two bonfires are kindled, probably from tein-eigin (need-fire), a fire made from the friction of two pieces of sacred wood, likely the oak. This fire originally symbolized the sacrifice of Bilé, the sacred Tree of Life. The Druids, would drive the cattle between these two bonfires to protect them from disease, to keep them magickally safe, and to ensure a high milk yield and fertility. In ancient Ireland, no one could light a Bel-fire until the Ard Ri, High King, had lit the first on Tara Hill. In 433 A.D., St. Patrick showed his deep understanding of this festival’s symbolism when he lit a fire on Slane Hill, ten miles from Tara, before King Laoghaire lit his. He could not have made a stronger symbolic usurpation of the people’s pagan faith. St. David made a similar gesture in Wales in the following century. These bonfires are kept burning all day and night, and people carry home torches from the Béaltaine fire to rekindle their own hearth, which is lit the next morning. The new flames symbolize a fresh start. The Maypole Dance, jumping through the Béaltaine bonfire, and the May Day games all celebrate the rebirth of Bilé.

A young, unmarried woman of the village is chosen to preside over the festival as the May Queen. Often the Queen chooses a consort from among the young men of the village, or sometimes the young men compete in a race or a mock combat for the honor. Young Celtic warriors (both male and female) often compete in various games of prowess, highlighting their skills as warriors, in the hopes of impressing some member of the opposite sex. The May King and Queen represent the Bilé and Danu, as Béaltaine is the celebration of the marriage of the First Father and the First Mother of the Tuatha Dé Danaan.

The Ancestors go and make love on the bare ground on Béaltaine ­ in some ways considered a ploughing of the earth, and the spilling of semen a fertilization of the earth, helping the crops to be fertile. Another, similar rite that used to take place at Béaltaine is called the “bringing in the May.” The young unmarried folks go out into the fields and collect flowers. They often spend the night in the woods, which sometimes results in many “greenwood marriages,” or “handfastings.” In the village the next morning, they stop at each home and exchange the flowers for food and drink. Thus, they represent a renewal of the Earth. This rite also represents the need of the tribe to share their belongings, sustaining the entire population as a result. Tribal needs always have priority over individual needs.

In ancient times, it was the May Queen who lead the singing to the rising sun (singing up the sun, as it were), as all the people congregated on the appropriate hill at Béaltaine. One telling explains that the May Queen rides in on a white horse and the May King on a black one. The Goddess on a white horse has a powerful association in Celtic mythology. When Niamh (NIV) of the Golden Hair comes to take Oisín (uh-SHEEN) away to the Land of Promise, she rides a white steed. Rhian Gabhra, or Rhiannon of the Gaels, rides a white mare in the Otherworldly realms. In both Welsh and Irish traditions the white mare symbolically represents the goddess in the Otherworld.

The May Pole, a phallic symbol for Bilé, is made usually from a Yule tree, its branches stripped and then planted into the Earth. Men and women dance around the pole, holding onto the ribbons and interweaving them as they go around. The King & Queen of May are elected as stand-ins for Bilé and Danu, and led the festival. (Also see http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/6360/may.html for a detailed description of, and instructions for, the May Pole Dance.)

Beltainne rites still take place at the famous Cloutie Well in Inverness-shire in Scotland. This well is situated on Culloden moor and is known by various names, such as Tobar Ghorm (the Blue Well) and Tobar n’Oige (Well of Youth). Cloutie means a cloth or rag. These clouties are tied on the surrounding trees by visitors who want to make a wish. Wells are seen as bringers of good health, and the water is considered sacred (not only because water represents Danu, but also because the Salmon of Knowledge lived in such waters). People make visits to the sacred well, and each clan territory has a sacred well. A visitor walks three times deiseal (sunwise, or clockwise) around the well, and then they throw in a silver coin, after which while thinking of their wish, they drink from the well using their hands. When those things are done, they tie a bit of colored cloth or a piece of clothing (cloutie) to a branch of a nearby tree. All of this has to be done in complete silence as well as when the sun isn’t in sight. The final part of the procedure requires that the visiting person be out of sight of the well before sunrise, otherwise the wish will not come true. According to the lore, young women also wash their face in the dew of Béaltaine morning to preserve their youth, as it is also considered to be sacred water.

As well as the widespread lighting of Béaltaine bonfires on moors or hilltops throughout Celtic lands, a special cake or bannock is made using eggs, milk and oatmeal. (Traditionally, meals on Béaltaine itself consist of cold foods, because the hearth-fires are extinguished.) These bannocks, which are kneaded entirely by hand, should not come into contact with steel. One piece of the bannock cake is blackened with charcoal and distributed along with the other pieces. Whoever draws this piece out of the bonnet has to leap three times through the flames of the Béaltainne fire, or they will have bad luck until the following Béaltaine. Young people jumped the fire for luck in finding a spouse, sojourners jumped the fire to ensure a safe journey, and pregnant women jumped the fire to assure an easy delivery. Béaltaine was also the time when divorces were granted in ancient Ireland, though the divorce laws changed throughout the years with the coming of the Church, and such was prohibited for many years. Handfasting (marriage) ceremonies are sometimes held on Béltaine. The term “honeymoon” comes from an old Béaltaine tradition. Béaltaine and Handfasting ceremonies are mostly held on nights of the full moon, and each pair of newlyweds is given a barrel of mead (honeywine). They are ushered into the woods, and are told not to come back until the barrel is empty. All of this is done with knowing grins from all.

The following is a poem translated out of the Gaelic by the Dal Riadh Celtic Trust and is said to be written by Fionn Mac Cumhail himself:

    May, clad in cloth of gold,
    Cometh this way;
    The fluting of the blackbirds
    Heralds the day.
    The dust coloured cuckoo
    Cries welcome O Queen!
    For winter has vanished,
    The thickets are green.
    Soon the trampling of cattle
    where river runs low!
    The long hair of the heather,
    The canna like snow.
    Wild waters are sleeping,
    Foam of blossom is here;
    Peace, save the panic
    In the heart of the deer.
    The wild bee is busy,
    The ant honey spills,
    The wandering kine
    Are abroad on the hills.
    The harp of the forest
    Sounds low, sounds sweet;
    Soft bloom on the heights;
    On the loch, haze of heat.
    The waterfall dreams;
    Snipe, corncakes, drum
    By the pool where the talk
    Of the rushes is come.
    The swallow is swooping;
    Song swings from each brae;
    Rich harvest of mast falls;
    The swamp shimmers gay.
    Happy the heart of man,
    Eager each maid;
    Lovely the forest,
    The wild plane, the green glade.
    Truly winter is gone,
    Come the time of delight,
    The summer truce joyous,
    May, blossom-white.
    In the heart of the meadows
    The lapwings are quiet;
    A winding stream
    Makes drowsy riot.
    Race horses, sail, run,
    Rejoice and be bold!
    See, the shaft of the sun
    Makes the water-flag gold.
    Loud, clear, the blackcap;
    The lark trills his voice
    Hail May of delicate colours
    tis May-Day – rejoice!

Besides being a celebration of the fertility of the earth and the renewed growth of crops and fertility of cattle, what we must also realize is that the cycle of planting and growth does not only pertain to the physical world, but also to our Spirituality as a whole. Béaltaine should be a time to plant the seeds of spiritual growth and development within us all.

I plant this seed.

With Love,
Áine

Cryptoamnesia and Past Life Memories

[note: This article is in no way meant to debunk past life memories, so much as it is meant to address a potential problem with remembering and offer a sane and rational way of approaching and accepting the real stuff.]

Past life material is tricky stuff to deal with. First and foremost, there is always the question: is this memory something real, or is it the product of my imagination? This question is difficult enough to deal with, but there is a psychological phenomenon known as cryptoamnesia which can make nearly all past life memories suspect.

In cryptoamnesia, an individual is exposed to certain information, forgets that this was learned information, and it reappears sometime later as a constructed memory. With memories created through cryptoamnesia, the individual will have no idea that the memory is a fabrication of their own mind and that they never actually experienced the content of the memory.

How does this work exactly? Say, for example, as a child, you saw a special on ancient Ireland on the Discovery Channel. Your little mind soaked up all of that information, even if you didn’t understand it all at the time, and stored it away in the back of your brain. Years later, you have forgotten ever watching that particular show, but the information you learned from it is still hanging around in your unconscious mind. When you start thinking back to who you may have been in a past life, your mind finds the images from the Discovery Channel special and starts feeding them back to you. However, you’ve forgotten that you saw all these on a television show. And so, as you remember details of what life was like in ancient Ireland and you see images of the land, perhaps some standing stones, or some artifacts, you assume that these memories are coming to you from the long distant past.

It is nearly impossible to differentiate memories created through cryptoamnesia from real memories. In the case of created memories just from this lifetime, such as created memories of ritual abuse or childhood molestation, the psychological repercussions can be just as severe as if the individual had actually gone through the imagined trauma. This is one reason why many psychologists are largely skeptical of “repressed” memories recalled under hypnosis. It is a generally held belief that most memories dredged up in this manner are actually imaginative content fabricated by the unconscious from learned information inspired by unintentional cues from the hypnotherapist.

Where does this leave us for legitimate past life memories? On very shaky ground, I’m afraid. From my observations and personal experiences, one is often drawn to read about a particular time period or a particular country when one has a strong past life connection to it. However, the very act of reading up on these strangely fascinating times makes the legitimacy of any past life content very suspect. There is no way to prove or to guarantee that you did not digest the information from a book or a show, imaginatively fill in a few gaps, and re-present it to yourself as a past life memory. And since very few past lifetimes are such that you can actually look up people you knew or go visit the town you once lived in, there is almost no chance of proving the validity of the memories – to yourself or to anyone else.

How then, can you ever know that what you’re remembering is real or imagined? In black and white, real-world terms, you can’t. You will never know, and you will never be able to prove it. Does this mean that past life memories are a bunch of poppycock? That is another issue entirely, and it boils down to a matter of faith.

Once you stop questioning the validity of a particular memory and stop trying to prove or disprove its legitimacy to yourself, then and only then can you objectively look at the content of the memory itself. And it’s the content that matters most anyway.

I look at past life memories like this: my mind is fixating on this image or set of images for a reason. Whether you take a metaphysical point of view and say that I’m remembering these things because there are karmic issues I still have to settle from that past life, or if you take the psychological point of view and say that my unconscious mind is trying to get me to deal with repressed personal issues that are coming through in the language of dream and symbol, the result is the same. I must look carefully over these images and try to see what they’re telling me about me. And that’s the key to past lives right there. What can they tell you about your life right now? If there isn’t something you can learn from them, then they’re just useless curiosities – they might as well be idle daydreams that you’re using to waste an afternoon.

I’ve seen far too many people get caught up in their past lives and fixate on a time so long ago that it crippled their ability to interact with the reality of here and now. They were worse than the kind of elderly folk who are so busy mourning the loss of the old days that they allow the new age to pass them by. These people got themselves stuck in a time completely removed from their current life, and they just could not get past it.

Past lives in that respect are a total waste of time. You have to always remember: you are living your life here, now. You are in this age for a reason. There is a great deal for you to do, much to experience, and much to learn. If you spend all of your time looking backward along the lost corridor of years, you will not see what’s in front of you, and you are most likely going to run into something very solid and bang your head — hard.

The use of past life memories is what they can teach you about where you are now and where you may be going. A lot of us made mistakes in the past. If we lived in the past at all, we made mistakes. Mistakes are part and parcel of living. Very often, we recall the circumstances of these past mistakes as a guidepost to help us avoid those same mistakes in the present and the future. In this respect, past lives can be very useful. They can reveal to us hidden aspects of ourselves, and provide insight into dealing with our current problems.

Past life work should therefore always be an exercise in observation. If the memories come to you, explore them as fully as you can. Analyze them. Pay attention to details, especially how you feel in those remembered moments and the circumstances which stand out to you. Later, analyze those feelings and circumstances in relation to your life as it is now. Look for parallels in your current situation, in the way you relate to the people around you, in your choices of dealing with the world at large. Even if the content is some half-imagined fantasy that your unconscious brain has cooked up for you, it will still reveal a great deal of your troubles and issues in the symbols and stories that are chosen.

Above all, do not fixate on the memories. Do not try to recreate yourself as you see you in the past. Live your life now and for the future. Learn what you can, but accept that the past is in the past. The memories might linger, but who you are can always be changed.

Michelle Belanger 23 March 2001

Grigori and the Nephilim

Some of this is from the Torah, some from rabbinical commentary, some from oral tradition, and probably a number of inaccuracies caused by my fuzzy memory on the subject (PLEASE feel free to set me straight if you know this better than me). Please bear in mind that this is not necessarily my take on the whole thing, just the story as I recall it. Here’s the gist:

Following the Morningstar’s failed coup in heaven, there was quite a bit of aftermath that lasted well into the book of genesis (the fate of the neutrals, etc). It almost seems like the power structure was not quite settled into the classic good vs. evil dichotomy that we associate with judeo-christian perspectives. During this period of vagueness, there were a number of disobediences on the part of the angels, particularly in the lower choirs. One such incident involved a number of Grigori (the watchers) who became infatuated with mortal life. They decided they wanted to go down to earth and have wives and children, AND retain their divine status. Exiting heaven and becoming mortal was not unheard of, but these grigori cheated a bit on the protocol. They impregnated the women they were set to watch, and fled from heaven afterword, fearing God’s wrath at their transgression. They settled down with their wives and raised their children, who, by virtue of their mixed parentage, had incredible physical (and some say majickal) power. At this point that first sin in existence reared its head again: pride. These half-angels were far more powerful than their human counterparts, and began to run amok, killing as they saw fit, viewing humans as inferior and thus not worthy of consideration. You see, they inherited something else from the angels: a lack of conscience. Angels did not really possess a conscience as we understand it, rather a consciousness shaped around a function. With this great power and no conscience to temper it, the angel-born made life quite difficult for their human kin. Humans began to worship the angel-born as gods, willingly offering their own born as sacrifice. The grigori were proud of their children, seeing their power, and declared that they had put on the earth a race greater than that which god had created. They believed they had, with the power of their loins, surpassed God.

It seems that God was OK with letting the angels slip out and taste the domestic life, but when their children began eating humans (as we eat species of less power than us) and the grigori chirped their pride, God intervened. He sent the Metatron and a seraphim to speak to the grigori three times, each time asking the grigori to reign their children in, that they may live at peace with humanity. Each time the grigori scoffed.

The first time metatron came accompanied by Michael, who asked that the grigori do what is just and let balance and justice be restored to the earth. The grigori replied that it was only just that their descendants eat men, as man ate lamb. Why should their children act any differently?

The second time metatron came accompanied by Raphael, who asked that the grigori do what is intelligent and reasonable, pointing out that a cooperation was better for both sides. The gigori said that it was only reasonable that their children rule man as they wished.

Since the intellect of man was insufficient to save them from the angel-born, of what value could it be?

The third time metatron came accompanied by Gabriel, who asked that the grigori show mercy to humanity and withdraw their children to a separate place. The grigori laughed and said that it was a mercy to man to strike them from the face of the earth, rather than have them live as a failure. They had been intended to steward the earth by God’s command, and they had failed. How merciful is it to leave them living, spawning generation after generation that would fail in their holy task, sending generation after generation to knock at the Morningstar’s door?

The metatron came to the grigori a fourth time, and this time the seraph that came along asked no questions. The angel that came was named Uriel (uziel), and it spoke thus “You have been asked three times to control your children. You have refused to be just, to listen to reason, or to be merciful. He who is I AM has sent me to deliver a message. Because you will not be just, reasonable, or merciful, the choice has been taken from you. God has seen his children slaughtered, and will be just. God has seen his children treated as beasts, and will act according to reason. God has heard his children’s prayers, and will be merciful. Because you have refused to intervene, your children and those that follow them will be destroyed, and what remains will be scattered. They will be Nephilim, outcast and landless. Know that you have spoken with the Angel of Justice, Thought, and Mercy. Now you speak to the Angel of Death. I will bring the only justice, thought, and mercy I can.”

At this the grigori begged that their children be spared. They wept bitter tears, and seeing this Uriel said “You cared nothing for the tears that have been shed, so it will be tears that bring what I have said to pass”.

At this time, there was a righteous man named Noah….
you know the rest.

That’s it, a few literary indulgences (dialogue. I’m a sucker for dialogue) aside. Some of the Nephilim survived by sealing the mouth of a cave and waiting till the waters abated.

Again, this is not necessarily a representation of my take on the whole thing. I’m just presenting the traditional story as best as I can recall.

The Septagram: One Celestial’s View On The Septagram

Magpie’s essay on the septagram is an incredible one. It was well thought out and researched. However, at her urging I decided to present another view of the septagram… this one intensely personal.

For those of you that have not met me online at some point an introduction is in order. I am Christopher Angelo. As for what I am, who I am – well that’s a little harder to grok sometimes. I refer to myself as Angelus. And it greatly sums up something that defies description.. an angel incarnated into a human body.

My view on the septagram is therefore biased by my own experiences, and my Heritage as angelus.

For the seven points of the septagram I use

  1. Earth
  2. Air
  3. Fire
  4. Water
  5. Above
  6. Below
  7. Within

The elements are the same… Earth – the power of centeredness, grounding, strong and steadfast. Air – the power of swiftness, communication, thoughtful and creative. Fire – the power of passion, intense and combustive. Water – the power of emotions, nuturing and cooling.

Above, Below, and Within all have meanings related to my angelic side…

Above – the power of the Heavens, the Song of Songs. Below – the power of the abyss, the Shadows. Within – the power of the Self, the Center of All, the core of Being.

I’m an intensely visual person so to better explain how these all tie together, let me offer you my Vision…

Picture yourself floating in a see of darkness… arms out to the side and legs slightly splayed… classic “pentacle position”… floating at waist level a small distance away are four glowing orbs… one green, one yellow, one red, one blue… surrounding you and spinning round you. Floating above you is an irridescent orb spinning in place, the barest hints of song emanating from it.. beneath you spins an orb of darkest shadows, the barest hint of whispers coming from it… and yet the whispers provide a counterpoint, a harmony, to the music above… and Within you, at your center lies the brightest orb of all with pure white strands connecting it to all the other orbs…

A bubble of light connects all the outer orbs and is in fact what you are surrounded in….

This then is my Vision of the septagram… the Circle of Power… the representation of Balance… the Seven Pointed Star.

The Septagram: an essay on the seven pointed star

Forget Schoolhouse Rock: three isn’t the magic number, seven is. Seven is one of the most widely recognized “lucky numbers”, and comes into play with a fair amount of things, both magical and mundane… for example:

7 archangels
7 colors in the rainbow
7 days of the week
7 deadly sins
7 distinct notes in diatonic musical scale
7 levels of heaven
7 major hindu chakras [1]
7 planes of existance [2]
7 planets in classical astrology [3]
7 sacraments
7 tenets of faith [4]
7 virtues

…And so on and so forth. The list really does go on; the more research i do, the more i realize that this could wind up being a thesis instead of an essay. Several sources listed the same meaning for each of the seven points; as far as i can tell, there is no particular order to these points. They are as follows:

The Sun. For the fire element it represents, as well as for the life-sustaining light and heat that the sun provides. Without the sun, we could not exist; lack of sunlight has been proven to have a detrimental effect on people. In my experience, cats (rumored to have solar panels in their bellies) will often become sick, ill, or restless if deprived of sunlight for long periods of time. The sun has effects on us that we cannot even begin to understand. It nourishes life (photosynthesis in plants is a perfect example), and can destroy life (radiation, cancer, heat stroke, etc).

The Wood. Many elvenkin have a strong connection with trees, forests and woods. There is also the elemental symbolism of the element of wood. For eons, people have used wood for shelter, fire, decoration; a great deal of food grows on trees, providing humans and otherkin alike with nourishment.

The Sea. Needless to say, this carries along with the elemental theme, providing us with the element of water. Working with the moon, the sea ebbs and flows; Bruce Lee reminded us (along with many other Taoist Masters) to Be Like Water; water flows, nourishes life, causes death… it can float a ship or sink it, it can eventually wear down stone.

The Moon. The moon is considered by many to be the opposite of the sun; it is our nighttime companion. On dark nights, a full moon lights our paths; the moon’s coming and going affects the ebb and flow of the tides, and therefore, our weather patterns. Countless lunatics have been similarly inspired, with the ebbing and flowing of their sanities. There are many who would consider otherkin to be insane for our beliefs. Perhaps this is why so many of us identify strongly with the moon: it holds its secrets, works its magic, and affects us in more ways that we can possibly imagine. Just as life could not exist without the sun, life as we know it could not be as it is without the moon.

The Wind. The wind provides us with the element of air; wind is air in motion. The wind helps sustain the forests when it helps to spread the seeds of the trees, plants and flowers of the world. It helps keep birds and other flying creatures afloat; it is the largest affecting aspect in our weather.

Now, the previous five points can just as easily be attributed to the pentagram – the five pointed star. The next two points are what make the septagram different; these two are what make it the otherkin star.

The Magic. Where would we be without magic? Our bodies function on a cellular level in scientific precision… The stars themselves have their reasons for twinkling in the night skies… The sun and moon, the seas, the wood and the wind all exist and can in some way or another be scientifically explained… But what about Life? What causes Life? Some people believe that Life could not exist without a higher power most commonly referred to as God. While otherkin do not inherently have a disbelief in God, it is far more common to believe that Life has can only be explained by Magic. The spirit, the soul, the conscience, Awareness: these things cannot all be explained by science, leaving Magic to be at their roots.

The Connection. For most otherkin, this is the most important point of the septagram; it serves as a reminder for us to remember the connection we have between what we once were, what we are now, and what we always will be. Those of us that are not fortunate enough to remember what that is are still lucky enough to at least have a sense of the Connection, to feel the Pull towards like minds and souls of a similar nature. The connection is what brings us together. The Magic and the Connection work in harmony with each other, acting as cause and effect, yin and yang.

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Footnotes:

1 – the base chakra (Muladhara), the sacral chakra (Svadisthana), the solar plexus chakra (Manipura), the heart chakra (Anahata), the throat chakra (Vishuddi), the brow chakra (Ajna) and the crown chakra (Sahasrara).]

2 – There is a belief that the soul grows in stages within each incarnation; these stages are listed as follows: infant, baby, youth, mature, old, transcendental, & infinite.

3 – In classical astrology, the seven planets (the ones then known) correllated to the days of the week and the Roman or Norse gods that each one represented: Sunday – Sun, Monday – Moon, Tuesday – Tui (aka Mars), Wednesday – Woden (aka Mercury), Thursday – Thor (aka Jupiter), Friday – Frygga (aka Venus) and Saturday – Saturn.

4 – At least one tradition of Wicca has the following tenets of faith: balance, tolerance, trust, reincarnation, harmony, humility and learning.

Taxomony of Dannan sylvanus: Sylvan Elves, a/k/a Tuatha de Dannan (Dannan sylvanus)

Full D. sylvanus taxonomy is as follows:
Species: sylvanus
Genus: Dannan
Family: Faeidae
Infraorder: Catarrhini
Order: Primates.

Genetically, Dannan sylvanus is 99.8% similar to Homo sapiens.

Appearance:
D. sylvanus tend to be shorter than H. sapiens. While individual D. sylvanus specimens have been found reaching as much as 1.9 meters in height, adult D. sylvanus tend to range from 1.4 to 1.7 meters (males and females show no significant size differential). It is believed that this is an adaptation to the dense forests native for D. sylvanus. D. sylvanus who do have not been raised in forested areas for long periods of time tend to grow taller then woodland D. sylvanus.

D. sylvanus bodies are more slender then H. sapiens and they generally weigh less than H. sapiens norm for their height. However their muscles are still strong and they are not fragile as they seem. D. sylvanus possess light body hair, less than is present in H. sapiens..

D. sylvanus generally possess narrow faces with slightly pointed ears and almond-shaped eyes with colour ranging from grey and silver through blue and green to violet. Brown eyes can be found but are rare (approx. 3%).

Hair changes according to environmental conditions. While blond and golden tend to be common, some specimens are completely black- haired. Superattenuated D. sylvanus have white hair. Reports of blue hair and greenish are unconfirmed, and may relate to other members of Family Faeidae.

Senses:
D. sylvanus ears have a different hearing range from H. sapiens. While H. sapiens adults perceive sounds from 400 to 20,000 hertz , D. sylvanus perceive sounds from 1000 to 30,000 hertz.

D. sylvanus possess excellent eyesight especially at long ranges. They have, however, a more limited perception of colour, with a spectrum beginning in the green-blue range and running through blue and violet into the ultraviolet. Reports of vision into the infrared spectrum are patently false.

Smell and taste are roughly on par with H. sapiens, though what D. sylvanus and H. sapiens like to taste and smell is not always the same.

Food:
The D. sylvanus diet is composed on less complex carbohydrates then H. sapiens and more protein from meat. This is believed to be an adaptation to life in the forest, where small game is plentiful but conditions are not conducive to farming. D. sylvanus do consume a fair amount of simple sugars from sugar-cane berries and fruit , as well as select roots, mushrooms and tree bark. D. sylvanus cook meat (contrary to legend), usually roasting it over an open fire, although not to the degree usually preferred by H. sapiens..

Active/Sleep Cycle:
The D. sylvanus biological clock works differently from that of H. sapiens one in many aspects. The active hours of D. sylvanus are different. D. sylvanus are not strictly nocturnal but their most active hours are from the afternoon to midnight. D. sylvanus prefer to begin sleep at roughly two hours before sunrise and to wake at noon. However, D. sylvanus have shown adaptability to various sleep cycles, and can adapt to a diurnal sleep cycle with no ill effect.

Life cycle:
D. sylvanus have extremely long life spans relative to H. sapiens. However, this does not mean their cycle of life is the same as H. sapiens. D. sylvanus mature slightly slower than H. sapiens and when they mature they stay that way for a very long time before they age. Elderly D. sylvanus do not suffer for the same aliments that plague elderly H. sapiens but just the different aliments they gathered through their long lives. D. sylvanus do not develop wrinkles on their skin nor do their bodies become fragile or weak.

Mating:
D. sylvanus usually develop a romantic interest in their fellows during their young adult years. D. sylvanus form strong bonds with mates, but this does not always lead to marriage. D. sylvanus are nominally monogamous, but do rarely have more than one sexual relationship at one time. D. sylvanus have learned about the formal marriage custom from H. sapiens. However, D. sylvanus couples are known to fall in love, live together raise offspring and then separate, living single lives again; marriage is optional.D. sylvanus physically perform intercourse in the same manner as H. sapiens, but treat it in a different way. D. sylvanus enjoy sex less then H. sapiens. D. sylvanus are not “slaves to their passions” and many individuals go through life without sex. D. sylvanus treat blind sexual passion as animalistic (in some researchers’ opinions, this is the most prominent difference between H. sapiens and D. sylvanus).

D. sylvanus do not have a cultural taboo regarding nudity, but sexual relations of any kind are always done in privacy.

D. sylvanus sometimes mate with partners of the same gender. D. sylvanus do not see any abnormality in this, and do not understand how can one be solely attracted to either the same or opposite gender.

Reproductivity:
This is the most puzzling aspect of D. sylvanus biology. D. sylvanus do not remain fertile throughout adulthood; rather, they maintain fertility for only a relatively short (50-year) period of young adulthood. In an evolutionary sense, D. sylvanus’ rate of reproduction is much too low to allow the continuation of the species; much speculation remains regarding how D. sylvanus has continued as a species to date. Previous theories regarding interbreeding with H. sapiens in order to maintain higher breeding rates have proven incorrect; the two species are not reproductively viable, despite their similarity in appearance.

 

 

How to Quit an Email List

It’s rather simple, actually. When the Crone is coming to fruition in the waning dark of the Moon, you must create a black waxen image of your computer with wick for lighting, or black candle if you’re not artistic. Upon it with your Burin, which can be found at various stores throughout the Internet, inscribe these words, “I desire to leave this list list”, along with the Tattwa for the Element of Fire, representing freedom, change and destruction , the Elder Futhark rune of Thurisaz, representing freedom in movement, the masculine in action and destruction of obstacles, and the Ogham symbol for Birch, representing new beginnings, purification and changes. You’ll need a banishing incense of your choice and two lodestones. Cast circle, yadda, yadda, yadda, dress waxen computer image or candle and place on pentacle, light.

Repeat the following Irish prayer three times while holding a lodestone in each extended hand, one to attract that which you desire and one to repel that which you do not:

Brighid, gold-red woman,
Brighid, flame and honeycomb,
Brighid, sun of womanhood,
Brighid, lead me home.
You are a branch in blossom,
You are a sheltering dome.
You are my bright precious freedom,
Brighid, lead me home.

All the while visualizing your E-mail box empty and free of further E-mails from the offending list. When your feel your power reach it’s peak, quickly drop the lodestones, point all ten “fingers” at the image or candle and direct all energy through your fingers and into the image, crying So Mote It Be! in a firm and powerful voice.

Let the image or candle burn until spent. Flush any remaining wax down the toilet. If you’ve done everything correctly, this *should* work.

However, if it does not you could try following the directions given on the site which hosts the list. They probably are something mundane like:

To be removed from this list send a blank message to: unsubscribe@thislist.com

You could be Elven if…

[Written by Tiernan and Robin. Taken from the TNO archives, Issue #1, October 1995. ]

  1. Are people spooked when you walked up behind them and they never heard you coming?
  2. You are always the first one to hear something in the distance (ie: aproaching car, person, storm…)
  3. You can smell a troll for miles and miles and miles…
  4. You couldn’t care less about gun control as long as they don’t outlaw bows.
  5. You think “Lord what fools these mortals be” should be in Bartletts Quotes.
  6. You are frequently offered ‘Santa’s Helper’ jobs at Christmas without an interview.
  7. Your best friends are nymphs, pixies, and fairies.
  8. You think trees are a great place to live, and holes in the ground are for worms and hobbits.
  9. Your friends cat, who hates EVERYONE including your friend, loves you.
  10. You HATE ear jokes
  11. You catch yourself referring to David Bowie as ‘cousin’
  12. The only iron you care to work with is the one that takes the wrinkles out of your clothes.
  13. You can smell what kind of mood the people around you are in.
  14. You HATE plastic.
  15. You LOVE mushrooms.
  16. You can be spun around at night with a blindfold on and you stop spinning pointing to true North every time.
  17. You find yourself arguing that Vulcans and Romulans are your long lost cousins with a Trek fan.
  18. Almost no-one understands your sense of humor
  19. Trolls stress you out.
  20. You have pet dragons.
  21. You would rather listen to bird songs than the radio.
  22. You can sleep on the floor, ground or a wood waterbed, but not a metal frame bed.
  23. Orcs are the cousins you don’t talk about.
  24. You have a fascination with edged weapons.
  25. Most of your clothing has ties and laces instead of buttons and zippers.

New Age vs Otherkin Community

Back in the very late 70’s and very early 80’s, when I was first getting into the New Age thing, it seemed to me at least with regard to the people I came in contact with that the spiritualist/new age movement was about working toward enlightenment. Methods for doing that inner work became very popular, such as TM, yoga, Zen… at least in S. Cal where I grew up (and lived most of my life). The focus seemed to me to be very much on the fact that you had to find your own inner way, that there were tools to help you do that but they were intended to be just that: tools, not crutches.

Along about the mid-80’s the whole new age thing began to really catch on out there in a major way, and all of a sudden there was an influx of these new ideas supposedly being represented by “channeled information”. Suddenly it seemed like everywhere you looked, someone was channeling the 4 or 8 or ten thousand year old spirit of someone else from Egypt/Atlantis/Lemuria with information that was supposed to make us all better in one rather expensive weekend. Or on a smaller scale all you had to do was look in the back of your local new age magazine or newsletter and there were hundreds of “psychic astrologers” or “psychic channelers” or what have you with All The Answers, for a fee ranging anywhere from very nominal to outrageously exorbitant. Among these there were a few who had good information, and the vast majority were in it for either the money or the ego trip of being viewed as an Ascended Master of some sort. (I’m thinking of people like JZ Knight or Lazarus, etc, who IMO are colossal charlatans).

The main problem with most of what was being offered was that it dangled the promise of achieving in a short period of time the level of wisdom, enlightenment and self-understanding that the more traditional paths told you would take years of work. (Yasssss, people, can you say Ashtar Command and ye are HEEEEEaled I say, I place my hand upon your forehead and say the magic name of Ashtar and you are HEEEEEaled….). The problem was that some paths don’t have shortcuts because the journey is the point. Cut out the journey, and you’ve cut out the reason for walking the path in the first place. But in this age of drive-thru and disposable and instant everything, anyone who offers you (generic you) the Answer To It All in a matter of days with no commitment of time and effort on your part is going to attract a certain amount of yous who want the result without doing any of the work. People like that are *always* going to have adherents, many of whom will absolutely swear by them at first.

What happens when you find out that your problems are still there, your life still sucks, you still get depressed and you still have no idea who and what you truly are inside, underneath all the layers and labels, and you find you have learned nothing to help you cope? Most folks end up searching for the next instant-enlightenment gimmick and never end up doing any of the work to discover their own internal framework. Disillusioned and angry, they turned away from what they had once embraced in droves and the new age community obtained a very bad name that some of it’s adherents don’t deserve. I now see “fluff bunny new age” being used as an insult, because when most people think of “new age” they think of “white light dingalings” drifting around offering fluffy and unrealistic solutions that people no longer believe in.

It didn’t work for Christianity in 1890, it didn’t work for psychology in 1920, it didn’t work for Buddhism in 1985. Why do people think it’s going to work for Otherkin in 2001?

This has a lot to do with why I’m so bitchy about the “spoonfeeding” and why I see it as pointless at best and dangerous at worst. What is going to happen to people who’ve fallen into the whole coddle-the-newbie trip when the coddler gets bored with the game, and hasn’t helped anyone do the real work of developing their own inner framework? It’s very easy to criticize me for my own critical comments about the spoonfeeders, but perhaps placed into this overall context you can at least understand my concern. I didn’t *have* anyone to coddle me when I Awakened, I was alone out there. But I worked my ass off to Become.

Later, I found the Silver Elves and they gave me support and friendship by showing me that I wasn’t alone and that what I felt and experienced wasn’t weird for who and what I was… but they didn’t tell me how to walk my walk and they didn’t tell me what the things I was thinking and feeling meant. They continued to encourage me to do my own exploring and understand who I was in my own unique way. That’s what newbies need, just not to feel like they’re alone and to be encouraged to find their own Song. That’s all they need, and if we really give a rat’s ass about their own journeys rather than feeding our egos at their expense, that’s all we’ll realistically offer. We can’t GIVE them answers because our answers may not be the right ones for them. We can tell them where *we* looked… I found many of my own answers among the philosophies of Zen … but we can’t tell them that they’ll find their answers in the same places we found ours because everybody got to march to their own drum. I strongly believe the only thing we should be doing is letting people know we understand and giving them a place to air out their own thoughts and get some intelligent feedback and good, solid critical but kind questioning to give them some objective perspective… and the occasional kick in the ass when they need it. There’s tons of websites out there, let people find their own truths among what’s presented there. We aren’t human, but we cannot discount the human philosophies as useless for our own journeys because some of the experiences humanity has are universal. There are fewer resources for kin than there are for humans, but who says kin cannot benefit from human experiences? The only way people will know what Sings to them is to just start reading and searching and looking. Telling them what will and won’t sing to them is something the coddlers are doing for themselves, not for the new kin.

I don’t want to sound boastful, but a large part of why I feel so strongly about this has to do with my own personal experiences of the past couple years. My experiences from that time period tore at the very fabric of who I was and what my life was. I feel very strongly that had I been spoonfed and coddled and handed this vision of my “trueform” those events would have destroyed me. As it was, they came very close to doing so anyway but by that point I had invested a great many years in doing a lot of slow, patient work to Know Myself, to understand who and what I was down to the bone and deeper. I have this solid, strong framework of self built on years of learning to understand myself, my feelings, my ideas, my beliefs, my reactions, etc… and when the day came that I felt entirely cut adrift from the paths I had believed in and the places I thought I was going, I still had that inner sense of self and strength to hold me through it. My “time in the Desert”, as I have come to think of it, has been a time of great personal growth and a valuable experience that has enriched me in many ways. I am still IN that time, actually. I do not really know where my path will lead me next or where to even start looking for it but =that’s okay=. Because whether I’m in the desert or walking a path, I am still Me. And what I’ve learned over the years has taught me that the best thing for =me= to do when I’m not sure which direction to walk in, is to find a nice warm rock in the sun and just sit and Be.

I could not have learned that by dint of someone doing the armwavedance over me in a weekend. That is the product of years of meditation, study, practice, methodology, magic and inner Journeying.

You can call me many negative things, but you can’t say I have a weak sense of self.

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