Posts Tagged ‘Spells’

News & Submissions – 8/8/2013

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Entertainment:

Coven Season Three: ‘American Horror Story’
Details About ‘Coven’ Season Three: ‘American Horror Story’

Ryan Murphy revealed the set up for the next installment of “American Horror Story” during a Friday night event for Emmy voters. Coven will be a massive witch-off: Salem versus voodoo.

“The witches of Salem, the smart ones, got out very early and they were none of the ones who were burned,” Murphy explained. “They all gravitated toward New Orleans, where they now live, and every generation has a great witch who has the most powers of them all, and that’s called the Supreme. Ms. Jessica Lange is the Supreme.” Read full story – au.ibtimes.com

Books:

Out of the Broom Closet, into the Rave: ‘Pop Pagans: Paganism and Popular Music’
Paganism and popular music share a love of physicality. Rooting this scholarly anthology not in beliefs constructed by modern society referring to nature, but arising rather from earth’s own manifestations by cultural contexts, co-editor Donna Weston introduces 13 contributions to the study of Pagans and music now. (The capitalization is significant: convention prefers a “P” for modern followers and a “p” for pre-Christian adherents.) Read full story – popmatters.com

News:

Witchcraft-accused force-fed human excreta
PARSA, AUG 07 – A single woman in Bishrampur-1 in the district was allegedly thrashed and force-fed human excreta on the charge of practising witchcraft , police said.

According to police, Devmati Chaurasiya, Lalchuni Chaurasiya and the latter’s son Manjaya, who beat 65-year-old Saraswoti Devi Chaurasiya on Tuesday evening, are arrested for necessary investigation.

However, local resident Bijaya Chaurasiya, who was also reportedly involved in the incident, is at large. Read full story – ekantipur.com

My Mother the Witch
what if your mother were a witch? Do you think she would have done things a bit differently from other mothers? Based on my experience, you would be right…

My mother Maggie, as she likes to be called, has referred to herself as a witch for a couple of decades now — at least since she was in her early 70s. That was around the time she started adding 8,000 years to the date: She would date her letters to me 9989 instead of 1989 and 9992 instead of 1992, to signal that she was reckoning time from the estimated beginning of Goddess worship. Nowadays, at 92 years young, she talks about the Goddess often, keeps an altar with a Goddess statue from Malta, and regularly wears a large pentacle around her neck. Read full storyhuffingtonpost.com

Slippery Spells: Gay-Inclusive Curriculum Leads To Witchcraft Says South Carolina Teacher
A South Carolina teacher is making the rounds on the anti-gay circuit for his wild claims about homosexuality in the classroom. Last week the infamous Fox News contributor and American Family Association radio host Sandy Rios — who last week compared the love two gay men feel to the “love” kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro felt for the women he kept captive as slaves in his home — talked with Ira Thomas, a South Carolina teacher.

Thomas told Rios that a gay-inclusive curriculum is harmful to children, and said “it’s like teaching people about how to use crack.” Read full story -thenewcivilrightsmovement.com

Mother told she can’t pray on grounds of Concord High School
CONCORD, N.H. —A mother has been told she can no longer pray on the grounds of Concord High School.

During the school year, Lizarda Urena, the mother of two students, prayed out loud on the steps of the school as students walked in.

Urena said she had a calling in 2011 to fight school violence with prayer, so she started praying on the steps of the auditorium between 7 and 7:15 a.m. as students filtered in. Read full story - wcvb.com

Woman charged in Globe crash threatened voodoo hex, police say
BOSTON —A police report says an Everett woman accused of being drunk when her car rammed a newspaper delivery truck on a Boston highway, sending it plummeting 40 feet to the ramp below, threatened to put a voodoo hex on the arresting officer.

Police say 25-year-old Vivencia Bellegarde struck the Boston Globe truck on Interstate 93 at about 3:15 a.m. Monday. The driver, Paul Healy Jr. of Brockton, was listed in fair condition at a hospital on Tuesday. Read full story - wcvb.com

Paranormal:

Couple says app lets the iPhone communicate with ghosts
INDIANAPOLIS STAR – Those thumps and bumps in the night, or the item that mysteriously falls from a shelf, are more than coincidence and may be signs the spirit world is trying to communicate. At least that’s what a Greenwood, Ind., couple is banking on.

Ghost hunters Roger Pingleton and Jill Beitz, founders of StreamSide Software, have developed an iPhone app they say gives the dead a voice.

In developing the Spirit Story Box app (99 cents to download at the Apple app store; there is no Android version), Pingleton said his goal was to improve on other paranormal apps for the iPhone. Read full story – KSDK.com

Blogspot:

Thanks for stopping by!

Lisa

News & Submissions 3/21/2011

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Eastpointe fortune tellers to tell all … about themselves
Psychics or fortune tellers who want to predict the future in Eastpointe will first have to share their past with police under conditions spelled out in a new city ordinance.

The Eastpointe City Council recently finalized a fortune telling ordinance that requires anyone who works in the city as a medium, clairvoyant, mind reader or similar craft to obtain a license and provide any information on past criminal convictions.

Councilwoman Veronica Klinefelt said the new regulations were largely in response to newspaper articles detailing how people — in particular, seniors — were being financially victimized by unscrupulous psychics.

“We were concerned about certain individuals who say ‘You have a bad aura, for $1,000 I can remove it.’ We want them to post their charges up front to make sure they are legitimate,” she said. Read full story from macombdaily.com

Minorities feel rising tide of bigotry
DISTRUST of Muslims and hostility towards homosexuals and pagans remain widespread in Australia, a new Australian Human Rights Commission report to be published today says.

The biggest snapshot of Australian attitudes about religion in more than a decade, the report also suggests rising political involvement by religious groups, tension between religious and secularist groups and great wariness about rights legislation.

The report, Freedom of Religion and Belief in 21st Century Australia, reveals a vastly more complex religious landscape than 1998, when the last similar survey was done.

The research involved community consultations with 274 religious and secularist groups, and with governments, human rights groups, ethnic and city councils, plus more than 2000 public submissions. Read full story from smh.com

Centuries old Nepal banishment ritual endangers girls and women
The centuries old practice of chhaupadi in Nepal can cause prolonged depression in girls and women. In extreme cases it can also cause death.

Chhaupadi pratha, or ritual practice, places Nepali women and girls in a limbo of isolation. In history it is a practice that has been largely accepted. The word chhaupadi, translates in the Achham local Raute dialect as ‘chhau’ which means menstruation and ‘padi’ – woman.

Today the ritual of banishment surrounding chhaupadi still affects girls and women on all levels of Nepali society.

This dangerous practice also isolates woman during and after childbirth as they are banished for up to eleven days away from family members, causing critical danger and increasing complications that can, and do, lead to maternal and child mortality due to the possibility of excessive bleeding and asepsis following labour. Read full sotry from womennewsnetwork.net

‘Myth Makers’ tells a historical tale about the Cherokee Tribe
Isaac Smoke could neither read nor write but when he heard the white man’s creation story, he closed his eyes and stuck out his tongue.

“Paper talks,” the medicine man hissed. He had other uses for the Indian newspaper that cost all of $2.50 a year.

Above is an excerpt from the book “The Myth Makers” by author J. Houston-Emerson.

The Fort Smith Museum of History held a reading and book signing with Judith Houston-Emerson on Saturday (Mar. 19). Guests arrived early and mingled before Emerson discussed her family heritage and her book.

After discussing her Cherokee heritage, Emerson read from her book, which is a work of historical fiction but based on facts. The book took Emerson more than four years to write and publish. She has already started to work on the sequel.

“The Myth Makers” starts in the early 1800s and ends in 1838 with the arrival of her ancestors in Tahlequah. It deals with witchcraft, missionaries, and white intrusion of every kind. Emerson weaves a historical tale about her Cherokee forbearers, their lives and belief systems and the wondrous world of mythic animals before their removal. Read full story from thecitywire.com

Do You Believe in Vampires, Witch’s and Ghosts?
Vampires and Witch’s have been around forever, including ghosts. I met a ghost once and she was murdered and she talked to me. I solved the murder case, found her mother walking one day and spoke to her softly and asked the mother of the deceased daughter, if she was the mother, name withheld, and she told me yes, that indeed she was.

We went to her home, and good thang I had my tarot card with me in my large sized purse made of wooden handle and straw, that look tattered and old, as bought it at a yard sale long time ago, way before the birth of my two sons, whom are into wiccan religion and magick such as I am. They used to attend church but decided my religon of Wiccan is much better to grasph the concept of. Now back to my true story. I dealt the cards and amazed at what I saw in the cards. I felt a strong presence too, and then I told the mother of the deceased woman, the names of the murderers and told her to write the wicked ones names down on a pad of paper. So she did accordingly, to my instructions. She did not hesitate to telephone the police about all this and two days later they found the evidence in his closet and he was arrested for the murder. Now this is a true tale, not fiction at all.

I have found lost things, items so to speak for many folks. I used to own and operate my own Witchy sites, and no longer do as is quite costly. I do accept reqeusts from friends to cast magical spells for them as well as strangers, that write me and desire a spell to be granted. I do invoke the spirit guides as they help me with psychic powers and spell craft.Read full story from modernghana.com

News & Submissions 3/16/2011

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS – Japan Disaster Relief (Click to Donate)

Deja Vu: What Does the Gulf Oil Spill Tell Us About the Japanese Nuclear Crisis?
For the second time in under a year, a large-scale energy disaster is unfolding before our eyes. Two different industries. Two different crises. Can we apply any lessons from the Gulf Oil Spill, and what can we expect for the nuclear industry moving forward?

It was just over a year ago that the Macondo well erupted in a ball of flames in the Gulf of Mexico. For many of us, this disaster was a poignant reminder of the tradeoffs we make every day for energy resources. Oil production is a dirty industry that has been artfully hidden away halfway around the world along the coastlines of Nigeria or deserts of the Middle East. For decades, Americans have been largely disconnected from the consequences of oil production until a blowout preventer failed to prevent a blowout and sent millions of gallons of petroleum into the ocean and onto our shores.

Fast forward to March 2011 and it seems to be an eerie repeat of recent history where explosions rock a major energy facility and safety and backup systems fail to contain a disaster while we watch as the events unfold over the Internet and Twitter. As of 5pm Tuesday (Texas time), a small team of Japanese technicians is wrestling the nuclear plant back under control. Details are still scarce and the situation is still developing. It really is too early to tell how long the plants will out of control. Read full story from scientificamereican.com

Lesson From Japan: There’s No Avoiding Nature
Japan is a country lauded for its emergency preparedness, and yet, as the world has seen in terrifying and scary images since the 8.9 earthquake struck last Friday, there are limits to what us humans can do in the face of Nature.

The Damage Could Have Been Much Worse

There a couple of provisos here: the damage could have been much worse, like that we saw recently in China and Haiti; also the Japanese emphasis on preparedness has been in the southern part of Honshu island, after the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake that burned down more than sixty percent of Tokyo and killed 145,000 people. This quake struck of the coast of north-east Japan. Read full story from care2.com

Soapbox Mike Lake: Why are some schools still promoting Christianity over all other beliefs?
EVEN an evangelical atheist like me supports religious education in schools – as long as children are taught about different beliefs.

I represent Humanism on the Derby Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education and, as an ex-teacher myself, I helped with the latest revision of the RE syllabus followed by all schools in the city.

I am pleased to say that non-belief, atheist Humanism, is represented on that syllabus and on the syllabus for all county schools.

I am also pleased that things have come a long way from the days when Christianity was promoted, no matter what you believed.

It came as a shock, therefore, to find that some local schools seemed to promote one religion over others. Read full story from thisisderbyshire.co.uk

Tibetan monk burns himself to death in protest against Chinese rule
A Tibetan Buddhist monk has burned himself to death in western China, triggering a street protest against government controls, according to a group campaigning for Tibetan self-rule.

Phuntsog, 21, was a monk in Aba, a mainly ethnic Tibetan part of Sichuan province that erupted in defiance against Chinese control three years ago. The monk “immolated himself in protest against the crackdown”, said Kate Saunders of the International Campaign for Tibet, a London-based organisation.

The self-immolation and subsequent demonstrations mirror the protests that gripped Tibetan areas of China in March 2008 when Buddhist monks and other Tibetans loyal to the exiled Dalai Lama confronted police and troops. Read full story from guardian.uk.co

Police chase nets suspected thief of pagan sign from Santa Cruz shop
SANTA CRUZ – A man who stole a shop sign with a pentagram on it was arrested about 4:30 p.m. near Morrissey Boulevard and Fairmount Avenue after a 20-minute car chase, Capitola police reported.

About 4 p.m. in front of The Sacred Grove, a metaphysical bookstore and pagan community center at 924 Soquel Ave., a black Isuzu Trooper screeched to a stop, book shop representatives said. A man got out and took a sign – which said “Witchcraft wares and magical supplies, potion brews and unique gifts” with a pentagram on the back, said Sacred Grove owner Michael Correll. Read full story from mercurynews.com

Magick Spells Can Be Fun to Cast!
I am a Wiccan witch and go by the Wiccan Crede. I believe it is safe to cast lovers spells, money spells and what have you, s long as it is not harming another person. I have been casting spells all my life, so it seems, since I was fourteen years and now in my early 40s’: I have learned to appreciate casting magick spells even more.

I believe in many gods and goddesses and all my magick spells have come true for myself and others. I cast a spell for all my poems to become published ans within a month tops, they wore published. I know magick works splendidly for myself as well as my family and friends. Many people write me asking for a spell and I usually cast spells for free and all that is required is a witch book sent to me, if they wish to do so, as payment. Yes, magick can be so much fun!

I enjoy casting spells during the daytime as well as the night time. You may wish to cast some of your own magick as well. Here are some free spells of mine you may wish to try! Read full story from modernghana.com

Witch shop opens in downtown Amesbury
AMESBURY — You won’t find bat blood, unicorn horns or an eye of a newt inside this witch’s cauldron.

After all, Forest Rangel is a white witch — think Glinda in “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”

While witch shops may seem more appropriate in Salem, one has come to downtown Amesbury with the opening of The Witches Cauldron.

Why Amesbury?

“You have lots of different people of different denominations,” Rangel said.

Rangel opened up her store at 19 Main St., where you’ll find candles, oils, books, tarot cards and even fairies, in the form of figurines. Read full story from newburyportnews.com

Man tells police he set fire because of Satan
LYNNWOOD — Convinced that he was sharing a motel room with Satan, a man set his blankets ablaze in Lynnwood on Friday, according to what he told police.

The man, 52, of Redmond, had been staying at the Days Inn on 196th Street SW for about a month, according to a police affidavit filed in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Fire crews were called about 8:30 a.m. Friday when smoke began pouring out of the second floor room where the man was staying.

The fire was contained to one room because of fire sprinklers, officials said. About six rooms were damaged in all, as well as guests’ personal property.

The man told police that he set the room on fire because Satan was in there, according to the affidavit. He reportedly said he wanted to protect “the good people” by setting the fire. Read full story from heraldnet.com

ACLU Defense of Religious Freedom Lost on Virginia Students
Here’s a fascinating story for people who struggle to understand the difference between individual expression and government-endorsed displays of religion – and why the two are not the same.

The Giles County School District in Floyd, Va. has been embroiled in a back-and-forth battle over the religious displays in all its schools of the Ten Commandments. In the latest controversy over the issue, 200 students walked out in protest Monday over the school board’s latest decision to ban them.

The whole brouhaha started in December when the school board voted to remove the displays after the Freedom from Religion Foundation sent the district a letter notifying it that it was in violation of the Constitution. In response, the board voted to take down them down. Read full story from religiondispatches.org

Skulls found during Utah drug raid
(NBC) — Utah police involved in a drug investigation came across human skulls and animal bones allegedly used as part of a religious shrine.

Now investigators and attorneys are trying to decide if the animal carcasses and remains constitute religious freedom or if it is against the law.

The Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force served a warrant Sunday to search in Clearfield as part of an ongoing drug distribution investigation.

While there, narcotics detectives discovered at least two human skulls and several hundred pounds of animal bones and flesh in a shed in back. Read full story from wcsh6.com

The Buzzards return to Hinckley
HINCKLEY TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Whether you believe the legend of a massive critter kill that turned into a buzzard buffet, or the one about the dying curse of an Indian woman, the Cleveland Metroparks marked the annual Return of the Buzzards Tuesday. Read full story from cleveland.com

Teen creator of ‘Note to God’ app in coma (source cnn)

News & Submissions 3/15/2011

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Split family blamed on maid’s sorcery
A Saudi family who suffered from a series of problems has accused its Indonesian housemaid of causing them by using witchcraft to punish them for bad treatment of her, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The maid had confessed to the police that she did cast a malicious spell on the family but later retracted her confession after colleagues warned her she could be executed for sorcery in the conservative Gulf Kingdom. Yet the court sentenced her to five years in prison.
Just a few weeks after she was jailed, police told her she would be released under a pardon of thousands of prisoners announced by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia following his return from a treatment trip abroad. Read full story from emirates247.com

Aiding Children Accused of Witchcraft
Over a year ago, Selene’s 9-year-old daughter Emma began waking up every morning and saying that witches were taking her to the woods at night to teach her witchcraft. Selene, a gentle farmer in rural Malawi and fiercely protective mother, soon noticed that Emma was also experiencing weight loss, mood swings and chronic morning fatigue. Determined to help her daughter, Selene tried to save enough money to bring Emma to a powerful witchdoctor, despite her nagging suspicion that many are charlatans. And then Selene heard about our mobile legal-aid clinic, which was offering free legal services for witchcraft cases in her rural community. She came to us for help.

My law students and I were in southern Malawi partnering with a Malawian N.G.O., the Center for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance, to run the mobile legal-aid clinic. In the months before our arrival, the students researched the legal and social contours of witchcraft accusations in Malawi and other African countries, guided by our Malawian partners who work on witchcraft cases year-round. Read full story from huffingtonpost.com

Gearing up for the Gathering of Nations
One of the largest pow wows in the world, the Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, New Mexico, draws over 100,000 visitors a year.  Last year’s Gathering also brought an address from President Obama, the first sitting president ever to do so. President Obama’s visage was visible via satellite connection to the jumbotron at the University of New Mexico’s football field. Last year’s Gathering also featured in this year’s Grammys – the winning album for Best Native American Music Album was 2010 Gathering of Nations Pow Wow: A Spirit’s Dance. This album was the work of many talented artists who recorded live during the weekend event.

This kind of momentum means this year’s Gathering could be even bigger then usual.  And that’s saying something considering more than 500 tribes from all over the country and Canada converge on Albuquerque in late April (this year’s Gathering is on April 28, 29 and 30).  With the 2010 census putting Albuquerque’s population at roughly 870,000, each year’s Gathering balloons the population by roughly ten percent. This means if you want to take in this legendary pow wow, you need to plan ahead and know what you’re doing before you get down there. Read full story from indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com

Becoming a Witch and Learning Magick!
One does not have to know magick to become a witch or even be initiated into a coven or secret coven to become a witch whether it be a wiccan or even a pagan witch. I used to own and operate six wiccan sites and offered free spells to other individuals. I know that I have been practicing witchcraft at the tender age of 14. Although I was baptised and my grandmother wanted this for me, still…I took the Wiccan Crede, and ”harm ye none” and live by this golden rules. I do not like to cast black magick on other people, even though..in the past, I have to those I thought or felt wore deserving of it. I know of folks that stole jewels and a good sum of money from me, but still..I do not wish anything bad to befall them, or bad luck of any kind. I wish them well and hope that one day, they will come forth and admit to me they stole from me. I can only guess whom did these dasterdly deeds to me.

All and all, becoming a wiccan witch or even a pagan witch, to back track here for a moment, does not require a lot of effort, you may worship gods or goddesses during all your ritual magic. If you prefer to not worship a deity, then this is entirely up to the individual. I much more prefer to worship Isis and Aphrodite, as they both are kind and good Goddesses or so I feel they are. Read full story from modernghana.com

Exiled lawmakers to debate Dalai Lama’s devolution plan
New Delhi, India (CNN) — Exiled Tibetan lawmakers are set to hold a historic debate on the Dalai Lama’s offer to shed his political role, the speaker of their parliament said Monday.

The statement came after the speaker read to the legislators the spiritual leader’s proposals to accord greater powers to their elected representatives.

“The essence of a democratic system is, in short, the assumption of political responsibility by elected leaders for the popular good. In order for our process of democratization to be complete, the time has come for me to devolve my formal authority to such an elected leadership,” the Dalai Lama said in his message to Tibet’s parliament-in-exile, which is meeting at Dharamsala, India. Read full story from cnn.com

Traditional medicine a source of shame?
The use of traditional ‘muti’ today, unlike in the past, has been made a secret such that many people would not even admit to using it. Many people are ashamed of using traditional medicine and would rather go for consultations at the coven late at nights or early in the morning so as not to be seen by other people. They will not even talk openly about it for fear of being stigmatised by the society.

Research from the Traditional Health Organisation website indicates that the use of traditional medicine is confused with witchcraft, citing the abuse of the gifts of God has given to cause harm or influence another’s life to their own benefit with traditional healers. A true healer could not take part in any action that can harm another person. According to Head Mountain Church preacher, Goitseone Mperi Chidubi, people would rather apply traditional medicine in things like Vaseline, food, and lotions, and face powders and creams which other people would not be suspicious about. Read full story from mmegi.bw

So-called ‘vampire’ in Chandler gets 3 years probation in stabbing
PHOENIX – A man that police say stabbed his roommate who refused to let him suck his blood in Chandler was sentenced to three years probation Monday morning.

Aaron Homer was arrested in October after Chandler police found him and his girlfriend Amanda Williamson at an apartment near Alma School and Ray roads with a large amount of blood inside.

Homer reportedly told police a man had attacked Williamson, who stabbed the man in self defense. Read full story from abc15.com

‘I need to carry knife for my religion’ says Llangollen warlock
A SELF-PROCLAIMED warlock has told why he carries a five-inch knife for his moonlit rituals.

Llangollen’s Cerwyn Jones last week had a night-time curfew lifted so he can go out when there is a full moon.

The 52-year-old dad-of-three was in court because his blade was seen as an offensive weapon.

Sympathetic magistrates accepted he was a genuine follower of the religion of Wicca – or white witchcraft. Read full story from dailypost.co.uk

How Japan’s religions confront tragedy
Proud of their secular society, most Japanese aren’t religious in the way Americans are: They tend not to identify with a single tradition nor study religious texts.

“The average Japanese person doesn’t consciously turn to Buddhism until there’s a funeral,” says Brian Bocking, an expert in Japanese religions at Ireland’s University College Cork.

When there is a funeral, though, Japanese religious engagement tends to be pretty intense.

“A very large number of Japanese people believe that what they do for their ancestors after death matters, which might not be what we expect from a secular society,” says Bocking. “There’s widespread belief in the presence of ancestors’ spirits.” Read full story from cnn.com

News & Submissions 3/3/2011

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

‘Witch’ killings described in book
A 350-year-old notebook which describes the execution of innocent women in East Anglia for consorting with the devil has been published online.

Puritan writer Nehemiah Wallington wrote passages on his attitudes to life, religion, the civil war as well as the witchcraft trials of the period.

By 1654 Wallington had catalogued 50 notebooks, of which only seven are known to have survived. Four are in the British Library, one in the Guildhall Library, one in the Folger Library in Washington DC, and one at Tatton Park in Cheshire.

The Tatton notebook describes battles and skirmishes of the English Civil War period and the disturbing violence of the 1640s in which dozens of East Anglian women were killed. Read full story from newsletter.co.uk

Government releases UFO sighting and policy files
(Reuters) – The government Thursday released 35 previously classified files documenting sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) by the military and members of the public dating back to the 1950s.

The files contain around 8,500 pages which mainly cover the period from 1997 to 2005 and include photographs, drawings and descriptions of flying saucer sightings, as well as letters the Ministry of Defence sent eyewitnesses in response to their accounts.

Policemen, a soldier, a RAF officer and members of the public report sightings of objects including a “chewy mint shaped solid craft” and aerial objects resembling a “ring,” a “jellyfish” and a “silver voile spin top.”

In one account a man said he believed he had been “abducted” by aliens in October 1998 after seeing an unidentified craft hover over his London home and finding he had gained an hour of time in the process. Read full story from reuters.com

My Take: The Bible really does condemn homosexuality
In her recent CNN Belief Blog post “The Bible’s surprisingly mixed messages on sexuality,” Jennifer Wright Knust claims that Christians can’t appeal to the Bible to justify opposition to homosexual practice because the Bible provides no clear witness on the subject and is too flawed to serve as a moral guide.

As a scholar who has written books and articles on the Bible and homosexual practice, I can say that the reality is the opposite of her claim. It’s shocking that in her editorial and even her book,  Unprotected Texts, Knust ignores a mountain of evidence against her positions.

It raises a serious question: does the Left read significant works that disagree with pro-gay interpretations of Scripture and choose to simply ignore them?

Owing to space limitations I will focus on her two key arguments: the ideal of gender-neutral humanity and slavery arguments. Read full story from cnn.com

Spiritual panel explores ideals
The Nordic Lounge was host to the Anthropology Student Association and Pagan club’s Spirituality Panel on Thursday Feb. 24, where leaders and teachers from different faiths shared their personal stories and discussed the main aspects of their respective faiths.

Hinduism; Spirituality of Recovery Programs, also known as the 12 -Step Program; Asatru, a Norse/Germanic Paganism; Soka Gakkai, a form of Buddhism; and Wicca were represented.

The speakers talked about their faiths and shared with the audience their gods, myths and history.

Dennis Price, an undecided major, said, “I really am grateful that the Anthropology and Pagan Clubs make this possible for us. I think it is essential for us to know about the spiritual paths that they took. It’s like putting on different glasses to see different effects.” Read full story from lbcvikingnews.com

US declares eastern cougar extinct
WASHINGTON – The US Fish and Wildlife Service declared the eastern cougar officially extinct Wednesday, even though the big cat is believe to have first disappeared in the 1930s.

The eastern cougar is often called the “ghost cat” because it has been so rarely glimpsed in northeastern states in recent decades. It was first placed on the endangered species list in 1973. Read full story from rawstory.com

13 face charges of arson
THERE was pandemonium at the Naphuno magistrate’s court in Limpopo when 13 people appeared in court for allegedly burning the houses of people they accused of practising witchcraft.

The accused, all aged between 19 and 50 years, were arrested on Monday and appeared on Tuesday on charges of public violence.

Their appearance follows an incident at Santeng village outside Hoedspruit on Sunday when a group of angry villagers allegedly set alight seven houses belonging to people accused of practising witchcraft.

This followed allegations that a 13-year-old girl was caught naked casting a spell over a neighbour’s house just after midnight.

The girl was allegedly arrested and forced to appear before the village’s kangaroo court where she was grilled by the villagers. Read full story from sowetanlive.co.za

Grandmothers get support from safe
In most rural areas in Malawi, elderly people, who are not longer active and need the support of canes to walk, are always suspected of being witches.

One such victim of old age is Daitoni Wala of Nyanu Village, T/A Malemia in Zomba. He lost his wife and two children in 1954 due to a flood that hit Mulanje in the year. Since then, his life has been a misery. Wala says he used to live a good life until he lost his family. And as he grew older, he says, society became hostile towards him.

He says people in the community always suspect elderly people of witchcraft and blame them for any bad thing that happens in the community. Wala says he has no one to assist him and he lives alone in a house which is in a bad state.

However, his dream to live a better life may one day be realised even though he is old. The Sub-Saharan Family Enrichement (Safe), a non-governmental organisation working in Malawi, introduced a group called goo Grandmothers, to provide a support system for the elderly. Read full story from nationnw.net

Sweat lodge trial fuels Native American frustrations
Growing up on a reservation in lower Saskatchewan, Alvin Manitopyes learned early to respect the sweat lodge. He was 10 when he attended his first sweat ceremony, and for more than 15 years tribe elders instructed him in his people’s ways.

He understands the spiritual mandate he was given as a healer to serve as an intermediary between people and the spirit world. He carries with him the ancient ceremonial songs, passed on through generations.

He knows how the natural elements – earth, fire, water and air – work together to cleanse people, inside and out, and create balance. At 55, he has spent more than 20 years conducting ceremonies in sweat lodges, where water is poured over hot lava rocks as part of a purifying ritual.

“If you have the right to do it, then the environment you’re creating is a safe place,” says Manitopyes, a public health consultant in Calgary, Alberta, who is Plains Cree and Anishnawbe. “But today we have all kinds of people who observe what’s going on and think they can do it themselves. … And that’s not a safe place to be.” Read full story from cnn.com

Funeral protest ruling painful but right
(CNN) — The Supreme Court ruled that a Kansas church whose members travel the country to protest at military funerals, holding signs that say “Thank God for dead soldiers” and “God blew up the troops,” has a right to continue such demonstrations.

The case was brought by Albert Snyder, whose 20-year-old son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, was killed in Iraq in 2006. The family-dominated Westboro Baptist Church, run by Fred Phelps, protested at Matthew Snyder’s funeral to spread their opinion that American deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are God’s punishment for U.S. immorality and tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.

CNN.com talked to CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin about Snyder v. Phelps, which pitted the right of families to grieve in privacy against the First Amendment right to free expression. Read full story from cnn.com

Cracked Mayan Code May Pave Way to Lost Gold
Led by Joachim Rittsteig, an expert in Mayan writing, a group of scientists and journalists left Germany Tuesday, on a mission to Guatemala in search of a lost Maya treasure allegedly submerged under Lake Izabal.

According to the German newspaper Bild, which sponsored the expedition, the expedition includes two reporters from the publication, a photographer, a television camera, and a professional diver who will submerge into Lake Izabal in an attempt to find eight tons of gold said to have been lost there. Read full story from foxnews.com

Charlie Sheen, you are sooo hexed!
A trio of Salem witches, offended by Hollywood hell-raiser Charlie Sheen’s proclamation that he is a “warlock,” are planning a spiritual housecleaning for the “Two and a Half Men” train wreck in the Witch City on Sunday.

“If he doesn’t get some spiritual help, he could end up dead,” said a witch who goes by the name of Lorelei. Just Lorelei. She’s hosting the Sheen-orcism at her witchcraft emporium Crow Haven Corner.

So what will you do Sunday, Loreliei?

“Sacrifice him,” deadpanned the witch, who was immediately chastised by her conjuring colleague Christian Day.

“We’re going to use high ritual and high magic to give him all the help he needs,” declared Christian.

Salem’s sorcerers have their cloaks in a twist ever since Sheen, in an interview with “Today,” said CBS had “picked a fight with a warlock.” Day, a self-proclaimed warlock and the owner of Hex, an “Olde World Witchery” shop, said Charlie seems to be confusing warlocks with warlords. Read full story from bostonherald.com

The Great Debate – What is Life? (source The Science Network)

Richard Dawkins on his book The God Delusion – full show (souirce Youtube – AllenGregg)

Tarot and spell work (Guest Post by Bernadette Montana)

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Many people are interested in learning how to make their spell work more effective.  One way to do this, is to incorporate the tarot into your spells.

Have you ever thought of using the tarot in spells or magic? If you are already working with the tarot (and if you are reading this), then spells are great for manifesting whatever it is that you feel you need in your life. The only requirement is that you always concentrate on your goal. Simply direct your own energy into each of the cards to charge them. If you already work with the tarot, then you will already have a “psychic link” with your cards. I also recommend having an item that belongs or is related to the issue at hand. An example of this might be a photograph of a person, or a piece of jewelry. For money, use a piece of silver or gold etc.

To do almost any spell, pick out the one card (or cards) that most closely represent your intention, light a candle, burn the appropriate incense and say out loud what it is that you need in rhyme. Say this spell three times, let the candle and incense burn out and the spell is done!

Example: Money is what I need, may no harm come to none, so mote it be!

What is the purpose of your working?  Is it for money, love, or protection?  Having the correct implements will help you to achieve the results that you are looking for.

If you’re intention is to have more money in your life, then I would use the Pentacles/Discs as the suit of Pentacles is associated with money.  If your spell is about love, then I would use the suit of cups.  Cups is associated with love and emotions. A legal matter?  I would then use the suit of Swords.  I would use wands if I needed help with school, inspiration, projects or career.

Here is a chart that might help you pick the right cards for any given spell:

The suit of Cups: The element of water. Take a look at a cup. It is very feminine looking. A cup is meant to be filled with some kind of liquid such as water. We shed tears when we are emotional. Tears are made of water. Cups are associated with love, emotions and the feminine. This suit also represents issues of love and/or friendship.

The suit of Swords: The element of fire. If I were to put a sword in your hand, what would you do with it? Would you lay it down? Would you use for self defense? Would you stab someone with it? That says a lot about this particular suit. It is also associated with legal issues. A legal issue can be a battle of some sort. What are you battling? Are you fighting someone, or fighting for your rights? What kind of garbage are you trying to “cut” through?

The suit of Wands: This suit is associated with the element of Air. Wands can indicate a need to return to your “Artsy” side. You have creative, intellectual and artistic tendencies. Try to be rational and think logically.

The suit of Pentacles: The element of Earth. Pentacles are associated with money, but all money around the world is backed up by gold or silver. Where is that metal mined from? It all comes from the earth. You need to be grounded. Your family and traditions that make you feel grounded and more in touch with reality. What makes you feel grounded? Substance and Earth

Intentions Tarot Card
Peace, intuition and beauty The Moon, The High Priestess
For patience and overcoming limitations Strength
Love spells The Lovers, The two of Cups
Self confidence, new ideas, new travels The World
For self acceptance The Hanged man, Strength
To Enhance a Telepathic Link Strength, The High Priestess, The Magician, And The Hanged Man
Magical Ability Strength, The High Priestess, The Magician, The Star
Concentration and Meditation Strength , The High Priestess , The Magician , The Star , The Hanged Man , The Wheel of Fortune , The Hermit , The World
Creativity Strength, The High Priestess, The Magician, The Star and The Fool
Dreams Strength, The High Priestess, The Magician, The Star, The Sun
To Banish Negativity From a Place Strength, The High Priestess, The Magician, The Star, The Sun, And The World
Psychic Attack Strength, The High Priestess, The Magician, Justice
For Protection Strength, The High Priestess, The Magician, The Hanged Man, The Wheel of Fortune, The Tower
Luck Strength, The High Priestess, The Magician, The Star, The Wheel of Fortune
To Overcome a Fear Strength, The High Priestess, The Magician, The Hanged Man, The Devil, And The Sun
To Banish Obsession Strength, The High Priestess, The Magician, The Hanged Man, Temperance, The Moon, The Sun, And The Chariot
To Strengthen Spirit The High Priestess, The Magician, The Hanged Man, The Chariot, Temperance, And The Sun
To Strengthen Love Strength, The High Priestess, The Magician, The Star, The Moon, And The Sun
To Find New Love Strength, The High Priestess, The Magician, The Star, The Moon, And The Sun

As you can see, that the choices are almost endless.  I hope that this helps you in using the tarot in your magickal spells.

http://www.bridscloset.com


Bio: I am a mom to 3 sons, a dog, 2 parrots and a bunny. I own a metaphysical shop named Brid’s Closet in Cornwall, NY. A 3rd degree priestess in the Alexandrian tradition of Wicca, a 3rd degree Reiki practitioner, a professional tarot reader and I teach the tarot at various stores in NY State, I taught the tarot at the Starwood Festival in 2007, 2009 and 2010. A pipe carrier in the Sun Bear tribe. I’ve also written articles for The Witches Voice in the past called What Does It Mean To Be A Pagan In Today’s World and The Good, the Bad and the Tarot reader. I also write for the Sacred Mists blog, and run The Newburgh and Cornwall Witches Meetup, and facilitate two festivals in Cornwall, The Winter Solstice/Yule Ball and The Beltaine festival.

Thanks for a great read Bernadette!

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

Lisa

News & Submissions 2/17/2011

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Demand for uranium threatens Grand Canyon biodiversity
The natural beauty and unique species of the Grand Canyon are “in the crosshairs” because of renewed interest in the region’s uranium reserves. That is the warning from critics of the mines, ahead of the release of a government report on Friday on the potential impact of fresh mining.

Mining has been banned within the Grand Canyon national park since President Roosevelt declared it a national monument in 1908. But since 2003, foreign companies have submitted 2,215 claims to prospect on the edge of the canyon.

Ken Salazar, the secretary of the interior, temporarily withdrew 1m acres of land from exploration in 2009 to allow time for an environmental assessment. Salazar must decide by July whether to ban “mineral entry” for two-thirds of the claims for the next 20 years.

Uranium deposits mineralise in 2,000-feet deep “breccia” pipes, a geological feature common to the world-famous golden brown sedimentary rock in the canyon. When left alone, the uranium is not harmful. But once dissolved in water, it can leach into springs and aquifers that then feed into the Colorado river, which ultimately supplies 18 million people in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The water can remain contaminated for decades after a mine shuts. Read full story from guardian.co.uk

How a ‘teen witch’ found the Church
My parents bought me a cauldron for my 16th birthday. Providing no explanation, I had asked for that and a chalice. At a loss, mum suggested it would look nice outside with the geraniums.My interest in Wicca began as I entered my teens. Wicca and Witchcraft: Understanding the Danger, the booklet I wrote recently as part of the Catholic Truth Society’s Explanations series, condenses – after some factual basics about the philosophy and practice of “white” witchcraft – the conversations I had with a Catholic friend and her family that eventually led to my conversion to the Catholic faith. The booklet has caused controversy on the blogosphere: it sold out on Amazon.com and cropped up on the websites of the Telegraph and Daily Mail. What began as a small document to inform Catholics about the realities of Wicca – eg that it isn’t Satanism – appears to have re-ignited the persecution complex among Wiccans that I was hoping to diffuse.

I am concerned that as a culture, perhaps as a Church, we can too easily dismiss the spiritual needs of young people. In my family, religion was something to explore and debate. Both my parents are Oxford graduates and historians, my father a Doctor of Maths and Philosophy. His atheism prevailed over my mother’s Anglicanism, and neither I nor my sister were baptised. Read full story from catholicherald.com

Ancient druid tradition workshops to be held this weekend
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Druidry means following a spiritual path rooted in the green earth, according to www.druidry.org.

It’s also known as a “mysterious school of the ancient Celts, one that has been successfully revived by modern practitioners,” say organizers of a Druid workshop and ceremony series happening this weekend.

Its connection with nature is part of what drew Annie Caskey of Grand Junction to study the ancient tradition for the past three years.

She and her husband are “ovates” the second level of study, between a bard and a druid. Read full story from gjfreepress.com

Statue of Akhenaton, Other Stolen Egyptian Antiquities Recovered
CAIRO –  A Cairo teenager found a priceless statue of Pharaoh Akhenaton near a garbage bin after it was stolen from the Egyptian Museum during anti-regime protests, Egypt’s antiquities chief said Thursday.

The museum’s world-renowned collection was burgled and several artifacts went missing last month, including statues of King Tutankhamun and Pharaoh Akhenaton — and many of the looted antiquities have been returned or discovered, the Supreme Council of Antiquities said.

In addition to the Akhentaon statute, the missing Heart Scarab of Yuya was recovered near the museum gardens, where wooden fragments belonging to a damaged coffin were also found. A search team found one of the eleven missing shabtis of Yuya and Thuya underneath a showcase. Fragments belonging to the statue of Tutankhamun being carried by the goddess Menkaret have been found; all the located fragments belong to the figure of Menkaret. Read full story from foxnews.com

What caused the revolution in Egypt?
When interpreting something like the Egyptian upheaval, people tend to project their own passions on to the screen. The twitterati see a social media revolution, the foodies see food price hikes at its core, others see a hunger for democratisation, human rights groups see a backlash against routine torture and abuse. So I thought I’d try to pull together and categorise the full range of different “drivers of change” involved in bringing about a revolution.

First, consider the demographics: an explosive mix of high population growth, leading to a “youth bulge”, combined with urbanisation, jobless growth partly linked to structural adjustment, and the rapid expansion of university education has produced what the BBC’s Paul Mason calls “a new sociological type, the graduate with no future”. Two-thirds of Egyptians are under 30, and each year 700,000 new graduates chase 200,000 new jobs. Read full story from guardian.co.uk

Senate Passes Bill To Teach Bible In Ky. Schools (video)
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Bible classes could be taught in Kentucky public schools under a bill that’s made it halfway through the legislature.

State Senator Joe Bowen wants Kentucky public school students to have an opportunity to take classes about the bible.

“No doubt about it, the most important book ever written and obviously, it’s had so much influence on our society and all of western civilization,” Bowen said. Read full story from wlky.com

Solar flare eruptions set to reach Earth
Scientists around the world will be watching closely as three eruptions from the Sun reach the Earth over Thursday and Friday.

These “coronal mass ejections” will slam into the Earth’s magnetic shield.

The waves of charged solar particles are the result of three solar flares directed at Earth in recent days, including the most powerful since 2006.

The biggest flares can disrupt technology, including power grids, communications systems and satellites.

The northern lights (Aurora Borealis) may also be visible further south than is normally the case – including from northern parts of the UK.

“Our current view is that the effect of the solar flare is likely to reach Earth later today (Thursday GMT), possibly tomorrow morning,” said Alan Thomson, head of geomagnetism at the British Geological Survey (BGS). Read full story from bbc.co.uk

Montana governor threat: shoot wolves now, ask questions later
(Reuters) – Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer declared on Wednesday he was ready to order state game officials to kill off entire wolf packs in defiance of federal protections under the Endangered Species Act.

In a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the two-term Democrat cited his authority as governor to uphold citizens’ rights “to protect their property and to continue to enjoy Montana’s cherished wildlife heritage and traditions.”
Schweitzer said he was driven to act out of an urgent need to assist ranchers and sportsmen left unable to control wolves posing a serious threat to livestock and elk herds.

“If there is a dang wolf in your corral attacking your pregnant cow, shoot that wolf. And if its pals are in the corral, shoot them, too,” Schweitzer told Reuters in a telephone interview. Read full story from reuters.com

Delivered in a Daydream: 7 Great Achievements That Arose from a Wandering Mind
The ability to concentrate on a task is a prized skill—the secret to success, many claim. But recent research suggests that intense focus on a problem does not always usher the fastest progress or, at least, such focus is not always sufficient for the necessary brainstorm. Insights often occur subconsciously while the mind wanders, reports Josie Glausiusz in the March/April Scientific American MIND. Albert Einstein, for example, came up with his theory of relativity only after letting his thoughts stray from the mathematics itself. Read full story from scientificamerican.com

MPM brings mummies to life: Better than zombies?
The Milwaukee Public Museum is hosting what is considered the largest exhibition of mummies and related artifacts ever assembled.The purpose of the exhibition is to show viewers the various processes of mummification, and how and why today’s researchers study mummies. Throughout the exhibit, several scientific techniques are described, such as the use of MRIs, radiocarbon dating, and rapid prototyping, a process that allows three-dimensional replicated models of the specimens to be created. These tools help researcher study the dead without disturbing their natural state.

Representatives of U.S. religious, university, and medical organizations assisted in developing the exhibition. The mummies and artifacts on display are from 20 museum and university collections around the world, according to information provided in the exhibit. Read full story from thedigitalnp.com

Dr. Phil exposes suspected Chimayo cult (source krqe)

Dr. Phil exposes suspected Chimayo cult: krqe.com

News & Submissions 2/8/2011

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

On Evolution, Biology Teachers Stray From Lesson Plan
Teaching creationism in public schools has consistently been ruled unconstitutional in federal courts, but according to a national surveyof more than 900 public high school biology teachers, it continues to flourish in the nation’s classrooms.

Researchers found that only 28 percent of biology teachers consistently follow the recommendations of the National Research Council to describe straightforwardly the evidence for evolution and explain the ways in which it is a unifying theme in all of biology. At the other extreme, 13 percent explicitly advocate creationism, and spend at least an hour of class time presenting it in a positive light.

That leaves what the authors call “the cautious 60 percent,” who avoid controversy by endorsing neither evolution nor its unscientific alternatives. In various ways, they compromise.

The survey, published in the Jan. 28 issue of Science, found that some avoid intellectual commitment by explaining that they teach evolution only because state examinations require it, and that students do not need to “believe” in it. Others treat evolution as if it applied only on a molecular level, avoiding any discussion of the evolution of species. And a large number claim that students are free to choose evolution or creationism based on their own beliefs. Read full story from nytimes.com

Catholics change position on Wicca and witchcraft
London, UK – According to Elizabeth Dodd, a former Wiccan, in her pamphlet: Wicca and Witchcraft: Understanding the Danger, published by the Vatican associated publisher, the Catholic Truth Society in England, the Roman Catholic Church has changed its position on the treatment of persons who are Wiccans and witches. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1353517/Catholic-Church-issues-guide-convert-Harry-Potter-witches-Christianity.html;http://www.aolnews.com/2011/02/04/catholic-church-issues-guide-on-how-to-convert-witches. In the guide, the author says that it is important to recognize that Wiccans are on a genuine spiritual quest providing a starting point for dialog that may lead to their conversion. She goes on to say that “whether spellwork is effective or not has no bearing on the psychological damage that can be done to a young person who is convinced that they have summoned the dead, or have performed a spell that has hurt or injured another.”John Lenz, the assistant manager of the popular Kansas City religious bookstore, Aquarius Books, and a Second Degree Initiate of Wicca, commented on the statements in the article. He noted that most former Catholic witches have left the Church because they have been “bludgeoned” with the Love of Christ. He means that they have been told that to believe in a spiritual path not approved by the Church would be a sure pathway to hell and that because people love you and want to help you, you should not follow this path. He points out that true followers of the Path of Wicca do not believe in harming others as the adopt the creed of Wicca, which is “Do what thou willst, harming none.” Read full story from wwrn.org

Which witches?
A while back I watched a rather chilling history program about the occult, witchcraft and witches down through the ages. I guess the main object was to establish as undeniable fact that such things do exist.

With the plethora of horrendously violent, gory and mind-boggling computer-enhanced movies and TV productions roaring forth nowadays, a lot of it replete with magic, the occult and just plain horror, I suppose that younger folks would have thought this was pretty innocuous and boring stuff. Asked if they believe in witches, and they’d probably answer: “which ones?” But, to me, it’s rather disturbing to consider how prevalent such evil activities actually are and, apparently, have always been.

I have a rather large book that traces a branch of my ancestry about 500 years back into England from whence my English ancestor immigrated to America in 1626. I remembered even that obscure genealogical volume contained some reference to witchcraft, so I looked it up and re-read it. Read full story from thetandd.com

St Brigid, a pagan goddess turned christian saint in Ireland
Spring in Ireland officially starts on St Brigids Day which is February the 1st in our calendar? Which may not be accurate as this is a celebration that has its roots along way back in pre-christian times, some 6000 years ago actually when there was no written tradition. Like many other cultures around the world female deities ruled supreme, the similarities between Egyptian mythology and Irish mythology being quite remarkable? For example most people will be familiar with Egyptian ritual from the Book of the Dead, of Isis breathing life into the mummified corpse, well not many know that the same scene is depicted in stone at the foot of a high cross in Ireland. Read full story from irishcentral.com

Romania may get even tougher on witches
BUCHAREST, Romania — There’s more bad news in the cards for Romania’s beleaguered witches.

A month after Romanian authorities began taxing them for their trade, the country’s soothsayers and fortune tellers are cursing a new bill that threatens fines or even prison if their predictions don’t come true.

Superstition is a serious matter in the land of Dracula, and officials have turned to witches to help the recession-hit country collect more money and crack down on tax evasion.

Witches argue they shouldn’t be blamed for the failure of their tools.

“They can’t condemn witches, they should condemn the cards,” Queen Witch Bratara Buzea told The Associated Press by telephone. Read full story from washingtonpost.com

What gets on your Wiccan?
There’s no denying the appeal of witches. When I was a teenager I was dead keen on the notion of being one. Partly this is because teenage girls are mental, partly it was because I am of a generation that has been exposed to a lot of Duran Duran music videos and cinematic adaptations of Stephen King novels, hence I was of the belief that exercising witchly powers would also involve dramatic backlighting and some kind of localised wind generation that would make your hair look all supernatural and cool. So clearly, my interest was deeply spiritual.

And this interest was very superficial. I never read any books on Witchcraft or attempted any spells. Why spend time gathering ingredients, following a specific set of instructions and then crossing your fingers that it all works if you don’t get a banana cake at the end of it? Madness.

No, really any tendency toward the Wiccan crafts that I might have had was slight and probably stemmed from a love of the book The Changeover by Margaret Mahy as well as a general feeling that I was a bit of a dork and wouldn’t it be cool if you could get the upper hand with some kind of magic (because sure as eggs, I wasn’t going to get anywhere on social cachet alone, given that I didn’t have any). And then I grew up and realised that a good vocabulary, manners, and confident demeanour (faked) could be just as useful. And suddenly a desire to do magic only reared its hopeful head in the changing cubicles in women’s fashion outlets. Basically, I figured out that I don’t need so much of a helping hand as I may have thought (except with skinny jeans). But I did think it would be cool to make stuff fly across the room (Lord knows it’s sometimes a chore getting up to fetch that remote control from the coffee table). Read full story from stuff.co.nz

Jury told of ‘witch stuff’, then killing
A man accused of a stabbing death then inflicting knife wounds to himself, claimed the dead man had been calling up Maori gods and going on about “witch stuff’, a jury in the High Court at Rotorua was told today.On trial is Christopher Allan Heenan, 51, an artist, carver and tattooist, who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Raukawa Newton, 38, at Rotorua on October 11, 2007.

Opening the Crown’s case, prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch said Newton had suffered from a bi-polar illness but with medication this was under control at the time of his death, although his condition could be aggravated by alcohol. Read full story from tvnz.co.nz

Revisiting the “Moon”: An Interview with Ben Whitmore
Ben Whitmore shares what led him to author of a critique of Hutton’s Triumph of the Moon.

Editor’s Note: Ben Whitmore is an Alexandrian High Priest, Co-Freemason, Morris dancer, artist, and software engineer. He is the author of Trials of the Moon: Reopening the Case for Historical Witchcraft, a critique of Ronald Hutton’s Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. You can read an excerpt of his book on his website. He lives in rural Auckland, New Zealand, with his partner and daughter. Read full story from pantheos.com

Revisiting the “Moon”: An Interview with Ben Whitmore
Ben Whitmore shares what led him to author of a critique of Hutton’s Triumph of the Moon.

Show: Is Church of Scientology violating human rights? (source Youtube – engramBT)

Colbert: Bill O’Reilly Believes God is the Answer to Everything (source Colbert Nation)

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Crisis in Egypt – Anderson Cooper & Bill O’Reilly<a>
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> Video Archive

News & Submissions 1/6/2011

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Discovery, Catholic Church behind exorcism series
(EW.com) — Discovery Channel is teaming with the Vatican for an unprecedented new series hunting the deadliest catch of all: Demons.

“The Exorcist Files” will recreate stories of real-life hauntings and demonic possession, based on cases investigated by the Catholic Church. The project includes access into the Vatican’s case files, as well as interviews with the organization’s top exorcists — religious experts who are rarely seen on television.

“The Vatican is an extraordinarily hard place to get access to, but we explained we’re not going to try to tell people what to think,” says Discovery president and GM Clark Bunting. Read full story from cnn.com

Bhutan offers rare glimpse inside historic temples
(CNN) — The isolated kingdom of Bhutan has opened its doors to a team of art experts in order to preserve its Buddhist history.

Working for the first time in collaboration with Bhutan’s Department of Culture, conservators from The Courtauld Institute of Art in England have spent the last three years documenting some of the reclusive kingdom’s most precious wall paintings.

According to Lisa Shekede, leader of the project, the wall paintings date from around the 17th century and are some of the best surviving works in the region.

The team visited over 200 temples — sometimes trekking for an entire day to reach remote monasteries — and documented around 50 paintings in detail. Read full story from cnn.com

Romanian Witches Use Spells to Protest New Taxes
(AP) MOGOSOIA, Romania – Everyone curses the tax man, but Romanian witches angry about having to pay up for the first time are planning to use cat excrement and dead dogs to cast spells on the president and government.

Also among Romania’s newest taxpayers are fortune tellers — but they probably should have seen it coming.

Superstitions are no laughing matter in Romania — the land of the medieval ruler who inspired the “Dracula” tale — and have been part of its culture for centuries. President Traian Basescu and his aides have been known to wear purple on certain days, supposedly to ward off evil. Read full story from cbsnews.com

Egyptian police fear repeat of new year’s bombing in Alexandria
Egyptian authorities put up a heavy security cordon today around the main Coptic cathedral in Cairo hours before Christmas Eve mass, using bomb-sniffing dogs, metal detectors and officers to thwart another attack like the New Year’s suicide bombing at a church in Alexandria that killed 21 people.

Al-Qaida in Iraq had threatened Christians in Iraq and Egypt in the weeks leading up to the holidays, while militant websites have allegedlyposted online lists of churches in Egypt to target.

Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority, which makes up 10% of the 80 million population, celebrates Christmas tomorrow. Some have said they will avoid Christmas Eve services. Read full story from guardian.co.uk

Psychic’ predicted lottery syndicate win
A GROUP of work colleagues have scooped £1m on the lottery, after a ‘psychic’ co-worker predicted a win.

The syndicate of 15 workers from West London Training in Aldershot are sharing the prize, which was won on the EuroMillions Millionaire Raffle on Christmas Eve.

Each is £66,666.66 better off thanks to catering manager Ocean Kinge, whose predictions they would win spurred them to start the syndicate. Read full story from gethampshire.co.uk

Mass Animal Deaths Leading To End Times Panic
What started with reports of unusual blackbird deaths in the southern United States earlier this week has now snowballed into multiple reports of mass bird and fish deaths from around the globe, prompting some to theorize that they may be signs of the end times.

“When the term ‘dead fish’ became a top Google search Wednesday, soaring past the likes of Lindsay Lohan and leaving Justin Bieber in its scaly wake, it looked as if the end were near,” Jill Rosen of the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday. “That’s what everyone was saying, anyway.”

“After millions of tiny fish went belly up in Chesapeake Bay this week, much of the populace immediately dismissed the official scientific explanation (the water was just too darn cold),” she added. “What made more sense, they reasoned? The approaching apocalypse. Of course.” Read full story from redorbit.com

What we Muslims can learn from converts
If Muslims have a bad reputation – and they do – converts to Islam have it even worse. Among their dreadful alumni are such characters as the “shoe bomber” Richard Reid, the 7 July bomber Germaine Lindsay, and Nicky Reilly who tried to blow up a restaurant in Bristol with a nail bomb. And Lauren Booth. Yet despite these poor recruiting sergeants and in spite of the overwhelmingly negative media depiction of Islam, the number of people converting to Islam seems to be rising.

A report this week suggested the number of converts had doubled in the past 10 years from about 60,000 in 2001 to up to 100,000 with around 5,200 people converting to Islam in the UK last year. These figures come with a health warning – they are estimates derived from extrapolations – but if we accept that increasing numbers of British men and women are turning to Islam, it does lead to questions of why: why are people voluntarily signing up to a faith that is, if you believe what you read, a cesspit of misogyny, violence and hate?

The growth in conversions in the past decade is partly a reflection of social and geopolitical changes in Britain and the world during the past 10 years. Prior to 11 September 2001 there was relatively little press attention given to Islam. Following the attacks there was an understandable rise in focus on the faith, which led non-Muslims to want to find out more about the religion that was now so often in the news. Read full story from guardian.co.uk

Mainstream Pakistan religious organisations applaud killing of Salmaan Taseer
The increasing radicalisation of Pakistani society was today laid bare when mainstream religious organisations applauded the murder of Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Punjab, earlier this week and his killer was showered with rose petals as he appeared in court.

Taseer was buried in his home town of Lahore. The 66-year-old was assassinated yesterday by Mumtaz Qadri, one of his police bodyguards, after he had campaigned for reform of the law on blasphemy.

Qadri appeared in court, unrepentant, where waiting lawyers threw handfuls of rose petals over him and others in the crowd slapped his back and kissed his cheek as he was led in and out amid heavy security. Read full story from guardian.co.uk

Ancient practice: Why I’m pagan
I am pagan. I make no excuses for this. I am not ashamed of my decision to follow a spiritual path that strays from the mainstream. I would be happy to explain my beliefs to anyone who is curious. However, I find that most are not willing to know my beliefs, as though the mere mention of a pagan ritual should send them scrambling to the nearest confessional to repent for the remotest ounce of curiosity for something so evil and fiendish. Why are pagans discouraged from celebrating our faith in the open?

Upon my decision to become pagan, I did my homework in the form of purchasing books, surfing the internet, and joining online groups with like-minded individuals. One common theme was clear: Informing those you know of your new religion choice should be viewed as if you were coming out of the closet. If you wouldn’t tell someone that you were gay, you probably shouldn’t tell them that you’re pagan. Read full story from newsreview.com

Core tradition returns to Herefordshire
ONE of Herefordshire’s strangest customs will return to an orchard near Hereford this evening (Thursday).

Families and cider drinkers have been invited to join a wassail in Tillington.

The ceremony dates to Pagan times and involves greeting an apple tree on the twelfth night to promote a good harvest.

Participants often sprinkle cider around a tree, hang toast from its branches and light fires nearby to ward-off evil spirits. Read full story from herefordtimes.com

BBC Newsnight: UK Homeopathy Update 2011 (source bbc)

Sanitation Dept. Gets Earful In Wake Of Cemetery Destruction (source cbs news)

News & Submissions 12/30/2010

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Dark future for wrong psychics
There are many things to dislike about end-of-year celebrations — the pressure to make New Year’s Eve memorable, the shameful amounts of money wasted on fireworks, drunken renditions of Auld Lang Syne. But perhaps the most annoying tradition is the value placed on predictions made by psychics.

According to a 2009 Neilsen poll, 49 per cent of Australians believe in psychic powers, despite — it must be pointed out — a distinct lack of supporting evidence.

However, as 2010 draws to a close, we have a unique chance to put some of these beliefs to the test by reflecting on the accuracy of psychic predictions made at the start of the year. After all, the rest of us face performance reviews at this time of the year, so why not critically appraise clairvoyants as well? Read full story from haroldsun.com

January, New Year and the Compitalia
For many people, after the December festivities January comes as a quite a gloomy anti-climax. However, Classical Pagans (i.e. those following a Roman/Greek pantheon) perceive the world with somewhat different eyes.

Subsequent to the festivities of Yuletide and the Midwinter Solstice, or Christmas – if one subscribes to the more recent Christian ethos, we swiftly arrive at the start of another contemporary year. I accentuate the word ‘contemporary’ because calendars have so frequently changed over the centuries.

The bucolic, pre-Christian, Celtic land dwellers regarded the period we now call Halloween (originally Samhain) as the end of summer and commencement of winter. It marked the start of the New Year.

When we disregard the ‘man-made’ calendar and take a long look at nature’s moods, this old agricultural method of time calculation begins to make a great deal of sense. Read full story from ufodigest

Secular Coalition Calls for Email Campaign to Mayor-Elect Gray
December 29, 2010 (Washington, D.C.) – The Secular Coalition for America (SCA) is calling for an email campaign by all D.C. residents to let Mayor-Elect Vincent Gray know that discrimination in any form, for any reason is unacceptable.

CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO MAYOR-ELECT VINCENT GRAY.

The efforts come one day after SCA went public with the decision from the mayor-elect’s transition team to exclude a secular representative for atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other nontheistic Washington, D.C. residents at his first official inaugural event—an ecumenical service entitled “One City … Praying Together” at 8 a.m. Sunday, January 2, 2011. Read full story from richarddawkins.com

Seven arrested for killing man over witchcraft
Seven people were arrested at Thabine village outside Tzaneen on Thursday after a man accused of practising witchcraft was stoned to death, Limpopo police said. Read full story from thenewaga.co.za

Man banished from Busia village over witchcraft
RESIDENTS of Buwhera village in Buyanga sub-county in Busia district have banished a man from their village for allegedly practicing witchcraft.

Robert Barasa, 24, was banished from the village after a meeting held at Buwhera on Tuesday. Karim Sityabude, who is field operations chief of the Uganda traditional healers Busia Chapter, was present at the meeting. Read full story from newvision.co.ug

Yes, Virginia, Hellenes Have Christmas Traditions
Two decades ago, Ann Landers did a column about how various cultures celebrate Christmas. Halfway down her list was this gem: “If you are Greek Orthodox, your sect celebrates Christmas on January 7.” Several people wrote back that 1) the Orthodox church is not a sect — it is the original church from which the Catholic one split after the Schism of 1054 and 2) only the so-called Old Believers track Christmas by the Julian calendar.

I was reminded of this when I was leaving work a week ago, and a colleague asked, “Should I wish you Merry Christmas? I heard you Greeks don’t celebrate it like we do.” As those who read my posts know, I’m an atheist who misses many of my culture’s old customs, particularly those that thrum with pagan echoes. So I’m going to put my tour guide’s hat briefly on, and tell you what we Hellenes do around the time of the winter solstice. Read full story from huffingtonpost.com

Need a Job? Losing Your House? Who Says Hoodoo Can’t Help?
Jennifer Forness, a 39-year-old in Groton, Conn., felt her life falling apart earlier this year. Her husband announced he wanted a divorce. She lost her job as a store clerk. She developed health problems from the stress.

Then one night she discovered a website selling products for hoodoo—an ancient belief system based on spells, potions, balms and curses that slaves developed long ago in the Deep South. Ms. Forness ordered several items and instructions for performing certain rituals. She also had a telephone session with a hoodoo “doctor” who specializes in employment matters. Read full story from wsj.com

Forecasters keep eye on looming ‘Solar Max’
PARIS, France — The coming year will be an important one for space weather as the Sun pulls out of a trough of low activity and heads into a long-awaited and possibly destructive period of turbulence.

Many people may be surprised to learn that the Sun, rather than burn with faultless consistency, goes through moments of calm and tempest.

But two centuries of observing sunspots — dark, relatively cool marks on the solar face linked to mighty magnetic forces — have revealed that our star follows a roughly 11-year cycle of behaviour.

The latest cycle began in 1996 and for reasons which are unclear has taken longer than expected to end.

Now, though, there are more and more signs that the Sun is shaking off its torpor and building towards “Solar Max,” or the cycle’s climax, say experts. Read full story from google.com

Christ In Woman’s Chest X-ray (source abc news)