Posts Tagged ‘rituals’

Hump Day Herbal Magic – Thyme

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Folk Names: Common Thyme, Garden

Powers: Health, Healing, Sleep, Psychic Powers, Love, Purification, Courage

Thyme is a perennial shrub, and a member of the mint family. With over a hundred varieties, the most common being garden and lemon thyme.

The Greeks used Thyme “to make a burnt offering.”  In the Middle Ages, Europeans placed it under pillows to promote sleep and ward off nightmares. Women would also give the leaves to knights to bring courage. Thyme was also placed on coffins and burned as incense during funerals to send one into the next life.

Deities: Ares, Fairies, Mars

Gender: Feminine

Element: Water (Dreams, Fidelity, Friendships, Healing, Love, Meditation, Prophetic Dreams, Purification, Sleep)

Planet: Venus (Beauty, Fidelity, Friendships, Good Fortune, Love, Money, youth)

Magical and Ritual Uses:

  • To stop nightmares or have prophetic dreams: Place beneath your pillow, or burn on charcoal and take in the aroma. (it is also great for meditation)
  • For Money: Plant THYME in the garden. Fold a dollar bill around THYME leaves, then fold again to make a packet, tie it up, and bury it on a full moon at the middle of a crossroads.
  • Growing various types of THYME: Encourages the devas to be lively.
  • To see Fairies: Carry in a amulet or sachet.
  • Money-Protection: Combine THYME, MINT, and BAYBERRY.
  • For purification: Burn prior to a ritual to cleanse the area. In spring, make a cleansing bath composed of MARJORAM and THYME to ensure all the sorrows and ills of the past are removed.
  • THYME is also carried and smelled to give courage and energy.
  • For good health: Thyme is burned or worn in an amulet. It is excellent in healing spells.
  • It is also used to communicate with friends and relatives who have passed.  THYME can be a most useful on SAMHAIN.
References:

  • Catherine Yronwode: Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic
  • Paul Beyerl: A Compendium of Herbal Magick
  • Paul Huson: Mastering Herbalism: A Practical Guide
  • Scott Cunningham: Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of magical herbs
Note: Consult with a Physician or certified herbologist if you are seeking medical remedies. The information is not intended as medical advice. PagansWorld.org is not liable for the misuse of the herb listed above.

Thanks for stopping by!

Lisa

Hump Day Herb Magic – Patchouli

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Patchouli (Botanical Name: Pogostemon Cablin)
Folk Names:
Kablin, Pucha-Pot

Powers: Fertility, Jinx-Breaking, Lust, Money

Patchouli is a species from the genus Pogostemon and an herb of the mint family. It is cultivated extensively in India, Madagascar, Sumatra and the Seychelles for steam distillation of oil and used to manufacture perfumes, incense, soaps, hair tonic, tobacco and cosmetics. The essential oil has a lusty, earthy scent and may be used during the Great Rite, as a candle dressing, or mixed into sexual lubricants.

Deities: Aphrodite, Pan, Osain

Element: Earth (Employment, Fertility, Healing, Money, Prosperity)

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Pluto (Control, Elimination, Money, Power, Sex, )

Magical & Ritual Uses:

  • Make a love bath: Mix Patchouli with rose petals, orange flowers and chips of Queen of Elizabeth root. Blend into a tea and use in a love bath. Air dry to keep the fragrance on you when you go on a date. Throw the bath water out the front door to attract love
  • To sex up love: Blend equal amounts of Patchouli leaves, Damiana leaves, and Myrrh, then mix on charcoal.
  • To attract money: In equal amounts, blend Patchouli leaves with Sandlewood and Quassia, carry in a green flannel conjure bag dressed with money drawing oil. You can also use this in the corners of the your house or place of employment.  For a stonger incense, add equal parts of Bayberry root chips, Cinnamon chips, Bensoin and Cloves. Burn on a bed of charcoal.  It can also be sprinkled onto money, added to a purse or wallet, and placed around candles.
  • Break a Jinx or return a spell: Mix Patchouli roots with graveyard dirt and Agrimony, and carry the mixture in a mojo bag.

Medicinal Uses:
The oil is very strong and can be tempered down by adding 10-20 drops of oil to 2 tablesp. of almond oil and 5 drops of wheatgerm oil to preserve freshness.

  • Stimulates the nervous system
  • Lifts moods
  • Relieves stress and gives the feeling of well being
  • Balances endocrine system (which balances hormones)
  • Stimulates pituitary glands (which secrete endorphins)
  • Relaxes the body
  • Relieves pain
  • Cools inflamed, cracked  and rough skin
  • Add several drops to bath water
  • Rub on pulse points, temples or as a massage oil
  • Aromatherapy to clear lethargy and sharpen wits

References:

  • Catherine Yronwode: Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic
  • Paul Beyerl: A Compendium of Herbal Magick
  • Scott Cunningham: Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of magical herbs
Note: Consult with a Physician or certified herbologist if you are seeking medical remedies. The information is not intended as medical advice. PagansWorld.org is not liable for the misuse of the herb listed above.

Thanks for stopping by! Well wishes to you all, have a great day!

Lisa

News & Submissions 3/10/2011

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Dalai Lama to retire from political life
The Dalai Lama has announced he will retire from political life within days.

In a speech posted on the internet and delivered in the northern Indian hilltown of Dharamasala, the veteran Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader said that he would ask the Tibetan parliament in exile to make the necessary constitutional changes to relieve him of his “formal authority” as head of the Tibetan community outside China.

The assembly, which meets early next week, is expected to approve his request. Though long-anticipated, the move away from the limelight by one of the world’s best known political figures signals a dramatic change. Read full story from guardian.co.uk

Chillicothe looks to add diversity to invocations
CHILLICOTHE — Chillicothe City Council has no intention of removing prayer from its formal meetings, but it likely will draft formal plans to make prayers more diverse and keep them separate from official business.

At a community affairs committee meeting Wednesday, council members met with Columbus attorney Matthew Burkhart, a member of the Alliance Defense Fund, a group that has helped communities across the country adopt policies to keep invocations as part of their meetings.

“This policy would see those invocations continuing and formalizing the procedures,” Burkhart said. Read fulls story from chillicothgazette.com

Pagan holidays in modern Ukraine
For the most flavourful celebration of pagan rituals, visit Ukraine in the summer for the Ivana Kupala festival of making wreaths, jumping over bonfires and peeking into the future. In December, Saint Andrew’s Day is another chance for some quality palm reading while saying goodbye to the sun for the winter. Epiphany, celebrated in January, helps wash sins away – in icy rivers and lakes – but not before another healthy dose of fortunetelling. And when decadent parades sweep European and American streets for Mardi Gras, Ukrainians stand by their forefathers munching on pancakes during the Pancake Week celebrations.

The easiest way to experience the supernatural is booking a trip to Kiev in July. Celebrated after the summer solstice on 6 July, Ivana Kupala refers to the god of the fruits of the earth. Legend has it that if you venture into the forest and find a fern in bloom – although it is nearly a botanical impossibility – start digging. This magic fern allegedly indicates a hidden treasure. The rite has found its way into films, cartoons and children’s books, all contributing to its mass popularity across the country. Read fulls tory from bbc.com

The deity by any other name: Army resilience program gets a thumbs down from atheists
The best thing about writing a story as a journalist is that you get to interact with astute readers who are never reticient about telling you what you missed in your reporting. My story, “The Neuroscience of True Grit,” the cover in the current issue, talks about what we know, and what we’re still trying to find out, about psychological resilience: the thing that  allows you to slog through when S**T happens.

Even though there’s a lot that we still don’t know, the U.S. Army has launched a gargantuan program to teach resilience to soldiers and their families, an effort that encompasses more than one million people. There is a software training module in one segment of the program to teach “spiritual” fitness. The Army is smart and they emphasize that the program is oriented toward the “human” side of spirituality. Translation: we are not violating separation of church and state. Secular, secular, secularissimo.

Here’s where it gets interesting, though. The atheists don’t really buy the official interpretation as handed down by the Army. “Spiritual,” to them, can’t be construed as anything but the sotto voce mouthing of the letters “G-O-D.” I got several e-mails about my uncritical mention of the spiritual fitness module, one of which contained a press release from The Freedom From Religion Foundation , the nation’s largest atheist organization (actually, they call themselves ‘nontheists’ because they also have agnostic members) that stated: Read full story from scientificamerican.com

The True Language of a Pow Wow Drum
The pow wow season is under way, and the sound of drums—the universal “heartbeat of the nation”—will reverberate in dance arenas around the country.

But in Denver, a major crossroads in Indian country, surprisingly few pow wow-goers may actually understand the words that accompany some drum songs—veterans’ songs, for example– rather than just hearing the vocables, or syllabic sounds, that accompany others. The same gap is likely true at other pow wows.

Doug Goodfeather, Lakota, leads a drum group that carries his grandfather’s drum’s name, Rock Creek Drum, from the South Dakota side of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. His name, Goodfeather (“Wiyaka Waste’”), was derived from both who he is as a Hunkpapa Lakota and also from who he is in terms of his personal character. It was given him as a small boy in ceremony by his grandmother after an eagle flew at him in attack mode and then shot skyward, leaving a feather behind.

The values of his Hunkpapa band are embodied in Sitting Bull, to whom Goodfeather’s grandmother always referred to as “Grandpa Sitting Bull” not “Chief Sitting Bull,” he said, adding he has not done the genealogy that might describe lineal descent.

He estimates that only a very small percentage of the 40,000-some Native residents along the Rocky Mountains’ Front Range are regular pow wow attendees or participants who really know and understand the songs. Read full story from indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com

Human remains found in Bronze Age pots
wo Bronze Age burial pots containing human remains have been found at the base of a standing stone in Angus.

Archaeologists excavated the ground around the Carlinwell Stone at Airlie, near Kirriemuir, after it fell over earlier in the winter.

Both pots – known as collared urns – could be up to 4,000 years old and were typically used in early Bronze age cremation burials.

The 7ft (2.1m) high monolith will be re-erected on Friday.

One of the pots is about 4in (10cm) in diameter, and the other is about 8in, the archaeologists said.

Melanie Johnson, from CFA Archaeology of Musselburgh, said: “The pots are typical of early Bronze Age cremation burials. Read full story from bbc.co.uk

Satanic sex cult paedophile guilty
AN “EVIL” paedophile and three women are facing years in jail today for establishing a satanic sex cult to abuse children and young adults in a quiet Welsh town.

Former Tesco security guard Colin Batley, 48, presided over the depraved “quasi-religious” sect which indulged in occult Egyptology-inspired rites from his home in Kidwelly.

A jury at Swansea Crown Court found him guilty of carrying out a series of perverted sexual acts on children and adults, including 11 rapes. Read full story from walesonline.co.uk

Dalai Lama ready to give up political power (soiurce cnn)

Al Qaeda trying to radicalize U.S. Muslims, congressman claims (source cnn)

Students walk out of high school to bring Ten Commandments back in (source wdbj7)

Hump Day Herbs – Echinacea

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

ECHINACEA

Botanical Name: Echinacea Augustifolia

Folk Names: Black Sampson, Coneflower, Rudbeckia

Echinacea is a Perennial plant from the the daisy family, Asteraceae. Native to North America, it grows to a height of 2-3 feet.

It was widely used by the Plains Indians for its medicinal qualities as a treatment for symptoms caused by the common cold. In the 1930s it became popular in both Europe and America as a herbal medicine.

Deities: Athena, Venus, Cerridwen

Element: Earth (Employment, Fertility, Healing, Money, Prosperity)

Gender: Male

Planet: Mars (Courage, Exorcism, Hex-Breaking, Lust, Protection, Sexual Potency)

Powers: Healing, Strengthening Spells

Medicianl Uses: Studies suggest that Echinacea contains active substances that enhance the activity of the immune system, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and have hormonal, antiviral, and antioxidant effects. Professional herbalists may recommend Echinacea to treat urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, ear infections, athlete’s foot, sinusitis, hay fever, as well as slow-healing wounds.

Magical Uses: Echinacea is often used to strengthen the power of spells. It was also used by the Native Americans not only to strengthen their spells, but as an offering to spirits.

Ritiual Uses: Echinacea can be used to strengthen the power of charms, blends or sachets and burned as incense. It’ s also an excellent root to use in money magic.

Other Uses: It has been used as a general immune system enhancer, as well as treating various ailments (poisonous insect and snake bites, toothaches, mumps, small pox, blood purifier, measles). Research has shown that taking Echinacea at the first sign of a cold can decrease the duration and intensity.

References:

Note: Consult with a Physician or certified herbologist if you are seeking medical remedies. The information is not intended as medical advice. PagansWorld.org is not liable for the misuse of the herb listed above.

Thanks for stopping by! Well wishes to you all and have a great day!

Lisa

Sunday Morning Post

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Valentine’s Day: Love… actually?
Valentine’s Day didn’t begin with a pair of star-crossed lovers or a hallmark greeting card campaign — it started with a bunch of half-naked Romans running through the streets  whipping women with strips of goat hide to cure their infertility.

In ancient times February 15 was the Roman feast of Lupercalia, which also included one other rather interesting  tradition: a lottery in which young men would draw the names of teenage girls from a box. The lucky, or not so lucky, girl would then be the fellow’s sexual partner during the remaining year. Often the lady would receive a gift or a greeting in the name of Juno, a Roman goddess. Was this the precursor of the Valentine’s Day card?

Unsurprisingly, the church didn’t quite like all this carrying on so they did what they usually did with deeply ingrained pagan festival — they rebranded it. The date was changed from February 15 to February 14, and the lottery was expanded to allow girls to pick names as well. Now, the names were of Christian saints and the lucky ones who drew the names had to imitate the saints’ actions for the rest of the year. It didn’t catch on. Read full story from tribune.com.pk

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Imagine, for just one minute, that vampires, witches and so on really do exist. Where would they go to meet each other? What sort of jobs would they do? In her day-job, Deborah Harkness is an academic historian of science; her novel started, she says, the day she asked herself that question. The resulting opus is 600 pages long, the hit of the 2009 Frankfurt book fair, the first volume in a projected trilogy; I don’t think we need even mention Dan Brown or Stephenie Meyer, or the entire walls of our suffering local libraries given over to “urban fantasy” and “dark romance”.

It probably is worth noting, however, that as a historian, Harkness specialises in the 17th century, the time when, as her novel puts it, “astrology and witch-hunts yielded to Newton and universal laws”; and that she decided, in answer to her own question, that nowadays vampires and witches would probably work, like her, as academics. Vampires would stick to science – the long hours in chilly labs would suit them. Witches would do well in the humanities. It’s a neat concept, and easy to see why the publishers were hooked. Read full story from guardian.co.uk

Spelling victory with magic
Supermen love superstition. Or so it seems in Karnataka politics. Yeddyurappa — named after a god; benefactor of temples; pilgrim of occult exotica from the sites of donkey sacrifice to the famous Rajarajeshwari temple in Taliparamba in Kannur district, Kerala — fears black magic is afoot, to bring him to a grisly end; if not politically at least personally. His nemesis and Voldemort is none other than senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah who is so offended by what he calls “character assassination” by the Karnataka chief minister he has threatened to drag Yeddy to court.

The shadowy world of politics has always been inhabited by dubious practitioners of the occult, upon whose advice, it is whispered in the corridors of power, politicians perform nocturnal rituals and pujas, wear saris to bed (as the late NTR did), wear talismans and visit powerful temples. Remember Dhirendra Brahmachari and Chandraswamy?

These days, the action has shifted to Karnataka; the current occult calendar going back to the eve of the trust vote on October 10, 2010. Within the Vidhana Soudha premises surfaced a voodoo doll, a lemon pierced with nails, chopped chicken heads and entrails, eggs, blood, vermillion and strings of coloured thread strewn all over. Read full story from expressbuzz.com

Build respect and tolerance
A WEEK before Chinese New Year, the Prime Minister and his family sent me a Salam 1Malaysia e-mail wishing me Gong Xi Fa Cai.

For those who haven’t received the message, he said this in his e-mail: “May the Year of the Rabbit bring blessings of much happiness, good health and prosperity always. With new beginnings comes new opportunities and as we usher in the Lunar New Year, it is my sincere hope that you achieve success and satisfaction in all your undertakings. Your accomplishments are reflective of our nation’s triumphs, and may we always excel beyond expectations!”

As a Christian, I credit the many blessings in my life to God. But as one who had a multi-ethnic education at the Methodist Girls’ School in Ipoh I accept his sincere greetings and look forward to getting a Salam 1Malaysia e-mail at Christmas too.

The fuss that was made by a non-Muslim aide in the Prime Minister’s Office over a cross at the annual Christmas tea party for Najib last year has not helped his 1Malaysia campaign.

The aide later apologised but the incident led to rumblings the next time the Prime Minister or one of his Cabinet members called on Malaysians to fully embrace the philosophy of 1Malaysia. Read full story from thestar.com.my

Gay couples may soon be able to tie the knot in church
The Coalition government is considering a change in the law to allow gay people to have marriage-style ceremonies in places of worship.

Liberal Democrat Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone is expected to announce later this week that a ban on civil partnerships being conducted in religious venues is to be lifted.

The move, which could also allow hymns and readings from the Bible, is likely to be welcomed by gay rights groups but met with strong opposition from traditionalists within the Church of England, other mainstream religions and the Conservative party.

However minority religious groups such as Unitarians, Liberal Jews and Quakers, who already carry out ceremonies for gay people, will be sympathetic to the move. Read full story from guardian.co.uk

The revolution that has given Egypt new hope, pride and confidence
Akhem Hassan came so late to the revolution he thought he might have missed it, but on Saturday he discovered that it is far from over. For days, Hassan watched events unfold on television. Or rather, he fumed as the state broadcaster spewed forth a stream of lies about the protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

“They said the demonstrators were paid by foreigners and agents of Israel,” said the 41-year-old driving instructor. “They said they only went to Tahrir Square because there was free Kentucky [Fried Chicken]. But we Egyptians were afraid of the government since the day we were born and no one would go against it just for free Kentucky.”

It took Hosni Mubarak‘s television address, though, to get Hassan down to the square. Like many of his countrymen, he had been expecting the Egyptian president to quit on Thursday night. When he didn’t, it was too much.

“I decided that for my sons’ future, I too must be brave,” he said.

Hassan arrived in Tahrir Square on Friday morning as the growing crowd seethed with anger at what was widely regarded as the regime’s duplicity after the near euphoria of the day before at statements from the army and politicians that Mubarak was about to quit. Read full story from guardian.co.uk

The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief, VS Naipaul, Picador
VS Naipaul travels through Africa to gauge and gain input on the beliefs of the continent. Much of Africa has changed because of the white man’s touch and the evangelical campaign. The natives are getting farther and farther away from their ‘paganism’ to embrace the new religion, which brings them ‘prosperity.’ India has received and withstood the onslaught. Africa seems to be shriveling under it. As Naipaul, the master of words travels from Uganda, to Ghana, to Nigeria and then finally South Africa, he observes unmistakable similarities of the practices of magic.

“To believe in the traditional African religion was to be on the defensive. There was no doctrine to hold on to; there was only a sense of the rightness of old ways, the sacredness of the local earth,” says Naipaul, whereas the new religions, Islam and Christianity, offered a philosophical base, a book, one god and global connectivity. Read full story from organiser.org

The boy who ‘went to heaven’
“MANY people all over the world would love for this to be their worst day.”

It’s tough advice from your dad to contemplate when your six-year-old has been left paralysed and fighting for life after a car crash you caused.

Incredibly, father of four Kevin Malarkey has not only seen more good come out of the horrific accident that almost cost his son’s life – but if he had his time again, he would not change a thing.

The story of Alex Malarkey, The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, has not only made the New York Times’ best seller list, but has attracted interest from people around the world, particularly in Australia.

After hearing of his plight on the internet, people as far away as Afghanistan began praying for the little boy who suffered the most severe spinal injury, a broken pelvis and traumatic brain injury. Read full story from dailymercury.com

Horse owners warned plaiting could be for theft or rituals
A worried horse owner has issued a warning for people to be on their guard after she discovered one of her animals with a plait in its mane.

The owner, who lives near Shepton Mallet, but does not want to be named for fear of reprisals, fears her horse could have been targeted for theft by gypsies or travellers after similar incidents were featured in the equestrian press.

Horse owners claim the plaiting of a mane carried out by an intruder in daylight could be a signal for horse-stealers returning under covering of darkness. Feeling the plait in a mane could indicate the horse has already been checked as not being branded or micro-chipped and so is free from any identity coding that could prove it stolen when it later comes up for sale.

But other comments on websites say it could be a plague of My Little Pony fans just wanting to plait horses manes. And another correspondent states: “If they’ve got time to plait a mane they’ve got time to steal the horse.” Read full story from thisissomerset.co.uk

News & Submissions 1/19/2011

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

International Pagan Coming Out Day – May 2
Coming out to someone is a decision only you can make and it’s a decision best made when you are ready to do so. IPCOD encourages Pagans who are ready to come on out!

There are benefits, personally and for our religious community as a whole, as more Pagans come out. Some of these benefits include the reduction of anxiety caused by living a double life and creating a climate of greater acceptance for all Pagans. Read full story from pagancomingoutday.com

Bountiful a ‘cult,’ says polygamous leader’s brother
The isolated polygamous commune of Bountiful, B.C., is a “cult” where religion is used to control residents and take away their rights, says the brother of one the community’s leaders.

Truman Oler, whose brother James leads one of two divided factions within Bountiful, left the fundamentalist Mormon community in southeastern B.C. several years ago and has rarely seen his family since.

Oler, now 29, testified Tuesday at a B.C. court case examining Canada’s anti-polygamy law, describing a community where children are taught from an early age that anything less than complete obedience — including entering into polygamous marriages– would mean an eternity in hell.

“My thinking about Bountiful and the FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) has evolved the longer I have been away from the community,” Truman said in a written affidavit filed in advance of his testimony.

“I now think that the FLDS is like a cult and that it is damaging for children to grow up in that environment. The FLDS does not permit anyone free choice. You are told what to do.” Read full story from ctvbc.ctv.ca

Savannah officials reject ghost film in cemetery
The Syfy TV channel wants to shoot an epsiode in a Savannah cemetery, but city officials won’t approve the idea.

Producers want to film an episode of “Fact or Faked,” which would examine a tourist’s 2008 claim that he filmed a ghostly image of a boy running through the cemetery.

Acting City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney and Jerry Flemming, director of cemeteries, say they’re following city policy on the use of cemeteries.

“The municipal cemeteries are not for sensational or entertainment purposes. Any tours or events marketed as haunted, paranormal, or involving ghosts, spiritualists or mediums are strictly prohibited from any of the municipal cemeteries,” the policy states.

Aldermen Tony Thomas, Mary Ellen Sprague, Clifton Jones and Larry Stuber agreed the sanctity of the cemetery and the respect owed to the deceased and their families has to be considered. Read full story from ajc.com

Faith & Religion: ‘Living Library’ allows the curious to explore other faiths at Ann Arbor event
In small circles inside the Social Hall at the Temple Beth Emeth/St. Clare Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor, “patrons” leaned in close to hear “living books” like Doug Jackson talk about their religious experiences.

As part of the Interfaith Round Table of Washtenaw County’s “Living Library” program last Sunday, representatives from various religions and faiths shared their experiences and answered questions while maintaining the feel of a traditional library.

“My first patron asked about my life, the success and failures in my own practice of Christian Science,” said Jackson, representing the First Church of Christ, Scientists.

Each representative was given a call number and patrons were allowed a 20-minute checkout.

“It’s nice for me to hear the variety of paths people have taken,” said Mark Salzer of Ann Arbor Township.

Salzer, who attends a Mennonite church, was conflicted as to whether he wanted to look into the Pagan or Universalist faiths next after having heard about Science of the Mind. Read full story from annarbor.com

An act of faith, desperation or protest: Self-immolations through time
(CNN) — Night had fallen when the men heard the sounds on the mountain. First it was a chime, then a recitation of verses, followed by the crackle of wood burning. They scrambled to the summit to see what was happening.

There, seated with his palms together and facing west, was their friend. Flames leapt around the peaceful man, engulfing him. It was just as he’d intended.

The year was 527.

This story of Daodu, a Buddhist monk, is told in James Benn’s “Burning for the Buddha: Self-Immolation in Chinese Buddhism.” Benn, an associate professor of religion at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, writes that the act of setting one’s self on fire dates back in Chinese Buddhist tradition to the late fourth century.

But no matter how old, self-immolation still leaves people horrified, riveted and moved. Read full story from cnn.com

Psychotherapy and the healing power of narrating a life
An important part of the psychotherapy process, as I understand it and have practiced it, involves constructing a narrative of one’s life.

This may seem like a curious task given that we all know or should know the story of our lives. We’ve been imagining the movie to be made from that story forever, right?

Well, that may be true of some us, but a surprising number of people actually don’t have a coherent story: something that hangs together, makes sense, and has some internal consistency. The story may have large, important chunks missing. Or the narrative is fragmented and chaotic. Sometimes the story is there but it is self-condemnatory and unfair.

A woman who was raped at the age of 16 was telling herself that she consented to sex with a man much older than she was, someone she barely knew. She thought of herself as a slut. All the adults in her family would agree (if they knew the story): a 16-year-old is a grown-up and responsible for her actions. Read full story from scientificamerican.com

India must face up to Hindu terrorism
For far too long, the enduring response of the Indian establishment to Hindu nationalists has rarely surpassed mild scorn. Their organised violent eruptions across the country – slaughtering Muslims and Christians, destroying their places of worship, cutting open pregnant wombs – never seemed sufficient enough to the state to cast them as a meaningful threat to India’s national security.

But the recently leaked confession of a repentant Hindu priest, Swami Aseemanand, confirms what India’s security establishment should have uncovered: a series of blasts between 2006 and 2008 were carried out by Hindu outfits. The attacks targeted a predominantly Muslim town and places of Muslim worship elsewhere. Their victims were primarily Muslim. Yet the reflexive reaction of the police was to round up young Muslim men, torture them, extract confessions and declare the cases solved. Read full story from guardian.co.uk

Russians seek omens and foretell husbands in winter ritual
MOSCOW — On winter nights set aside for fortune telling, young Russian women drip hot wax, throw shoes out of the window and crumple newspapers, hoping to foresee their future husbands and careers.

In a ritual vividly described in 19th century literature and still alive today, Russians tell fortunes in the evenings between Russian Orthodox Christmas (January 6-7) and the festival of Epiphany on January 19.

While fortune-telling is practised between Christian holidays, it is frowned upon by the Russian Orthodox Church, which sees it as a remnant of paganism. Read full story from google.com

Church letter warns against mandatory reporting of child sex abuse
Belfast, Northern Ireland (CNN) — Irish victims of sexual abuse are “disgusted” by a newly revealed letter in which a Vatican official expresses “serious reservations” about requiring bishops to report suspected abuse by priests to police, they said Wednesday.

Abuse survivors will question the cardinal leading a special papal delegation to Ireland about the letter, they said.

“We are disgusted by details revealed in the letter. Many of our members just can’t take this in and have been deeply affected by the revelations,” Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse spokeswoman Margaret McGuckin told CNN. Read full story from cnn.com

Yoga For Unity Flash Mob (source YouTube – YogaForUnity)

Unreported World: Witches on Trial (source YouTube – TrVelocita)

News & Submissions 1/7/2010

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Human sacrifices ‘on the rise in Uganda’ as witch doctors admit to rituals
One man said he had clients who had captured children and taken their blood and body parts to his shrine, while another confessed to killing at least 70 people including his own son. Read full story from telegraph.co.uk

Man Attempts to Kill Mother Over Witchcraft
A 27 year old man is being held by the police in Lagos for attempting to kill his mother on December 30, 2009 over alleged witchcraft which he claimed had retarded the progress of the family. Read full story from allafrica.com

A brief history of snow
The early 20th-century Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson relates a salutory technique used by the Inuit to deal with a blizzard, a common phenomenon in the Canadian north. When an Inuit becomes lost, he will make himself comfortable and conserve energy, perhaps building an igloo, perhaps sitting with his back to the wind, moving around only occasionally to keep himself from freezing, sleeping if possible. Then, when the storm has passed and he can see again, he will carry on to his destination. Read full story from gaurdian.co.uk

Death row inmates plead for second chance
Long-time death row inmate Ahmad lives in such constant fear of execution, he’s almost rotting away alive. “I’m suffering depression, sorrow and remorse. I can’t hear or see anymore, I’ve lost my strength and my teeth have fallen out.” Ahmad, which is not his real name, says he has learned from his actions and hopes the Lebanese authorities can show mercy by sparing him from the gallows. “I did what I did at a time of ignorance and I was misguided, but today I fear God and know my boundaries,” he said. Read full story from dailystar.com.lb

Winter powwow ready to build Native connections
Portland Community College and the Sylvania Campus Multicultural Center will celebrate Native American culture and ancestry in January. Read full story from beavartonvalleytimes.com

News & Submissions 11/24/2009

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Tony Alamo Gets Locked Up Forever
Tony Alamo, 74, is convinced that a demon possessed FBI and the pope are behind the plot to put him in prison, but this defense didn’t exactly impress the judge who sentenced him to nearly two centuries of hard time. Read full story from unreasonablefaith

Pagan spirituality group offers opportunity to explore beliefs, rituals
With a multitude of churches in the Whitewater area, most people don’t have a problem finding a supportive environment for their religious and spiritual beliefs. Read full story from royalpurplenews.com

Going to Extremes A&E’s new paranormal show takes different approach to investigation
Count one-time Norwalk resident Nathan Schoonover, now of Danbury, in that first group. He’s one of the stars of A&E’s new show, “Extreme Paranormal,” which the cable network says investigates haunting legends by provoking spirits. Schoonover’s job as the team’s occult specialist is to assist investigator Shaun Burris and technical expert Jason Gowin as they ferret out paranormal activity found in the nation’s well-known haunts. Read full story from wiltonvillager.com

Saudi Arabia: Witchcraft and Sorcery Cases on the Rise
(Kuwait City) – The cassation court in Mecca should overturn the death sentence imposed on Ali Sabat by a lower court in Medina on November 9 for practicing witchcraft, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch called on the Saudi government to cease its increasing use of charges of “witchcraft” which remains vaguely defined and arbitrarily used. Read full story from hrw.org

Goodness just feels good; no gods or devils need apply
Q: What do you think of the American Humanist Association’s new “Godless Holiday” campaign? The ads will say: “No God? . . . No Problem! Be good for goodness’ sake. Humanism is the idea that you can be good without a belief in God. Read full story from washingtonpost.com

Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill, radical and heinous
Uganda has taken a large step backward in the past month, with the introduction of an anti-homosexuality bill. This issue not only has stirred up controversy in international rings, but also poses the greatest threat to Uganda’s stability. As outlined in the draft bill, “aggravated homosexuality” would be punishable by death, with different tiers of punishment being allotted to homosexuals and even heterosexuals who fail to report homosexual activity. Read full story from The Manitobin

College pays fired witch $40,000 to settle discrimination charge
A former University of Nebraska employee who claimed she was fired for being a witch has agreed to settle her case for $40,000. Read full story from walletpop.com

Pet owners turn to massage, yoga to help furry friends
Keri Block and her dog Bailey take part in a class at the City Arts Factory in Orlando. She credits massage and other holistic therapies with calming Bailey’s nervous energy. (CASSI ALEXANDRA/SPECIAL TO THE SENTINEL / November 15, 2009) Read full story from orlandosentinel.com

Dalai Lama begins teaching for Russian Buddhists
Dharamsala, November 24: Hundreds of Buddhists from Russia and its neghbouring countries are currently in Dharamsala to attend His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s three-day teachings and Buddhist initiation. Read full story from phayul.com

Dalai Lama says Obama not soft on China
NEW DELHI — The Dalai Lama defended President Barack Obama from criticism that he has been too soft on China, saying Sunday that the U.S. leader just has a different approach to dealing with the Asian giant. Read full story from Google/AssociatedPress