Sunday, June 23, 2013

Recommended reading


I read some books on generic spirituality when I started my path, and they primed my interest in the Craft. One of the most accessible books at the time was Beloved Witch by Ipsita Roy Chakraverti.

This is a recommended list of books for your perusal, segregated by topic. I have just randomly added a few books off the top of my head for now, but as and when I can think of new subjects or new books, I will update this list. Suggestions are welcome.

1. Books on Wicca
a. Wicca by Scott Cunningham.
b. Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, Scott Cunningham
c. The spiral Dance, Starhawk
d. Beloved witch, Ipsita Roy Chakraverti
e. Witchcraft Today-Gerald Gardner

2. Tarot
a. Seventy-eight degrees of wisdom, Rachel Pollack
b. The Rider-Waite Deck

3. Runes
a. The Runecaster’s Handbook

4. Hinduism
a. The Devi Mahatmyam
b. Sri Devi Atharvasheesh
c. Srimad Devi Bhagwat Puran
d. Sri Markandeya Puran

5. General spirituality, parables and fiction
a. Conversations with God (Books 1, 2, and 3), Neale Donald Walsch
b. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
c. Brida, Paulo Coelho
d. Life after Death, Deepak Chopra

6. Astrology
a. Hindu Predictive Astrology
b. Astrology for Beginners
c. How To Judge A Horoscope (B.V. Raman)
d. Sun Signs - Linda Goodman (Basic Western Astrology)
e. Star Signs - Linda Goodman (Occult and Numerology)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spiritual Materialism

This issue has been in my mind for a very long time, but today it was inspired by a conversation with a fellow pagan. I think it's time to finally share it with you all.

Whenever people use spirituality as a moneymaking venture; their ego becomes deeply involved in this so called "spirituality". This is even true of people who like to hoard and collect "spirtual items"--crystals, tarot decks. This is called Spiritual Materialism. This term was coined by a very wise lama, Chogyam Trungpa.

We all know many such people today---In fact, many of today's spiritual gurus also like to propogate such concepts so that they can sell items. Another type of spiritual materialist is a person who likes to collect and amass spiritual knowledge. They will read scores of books, and they can tell you all the theories, but in their practices they are woefully lacking. We need to avoid becoming like this, or believing in teachers who teach us to indulge in such practices.

What do you think of spiritual materialism? Are you guilty of it? Do you know someone? How would you overcome this? Your thoughts are welcome.
Blessed be ♥

As part of this discussion on our Astralhub group on Facebook, There have been a number of inputs. Allow me to share one of these responses, which particularly struck me, over here.
Magus Soulstar says, "One of my Chinese masters had a saying about this, "talked about eating, but did not feel full". ~Master Lu Hung Bin. He made a lot of emphasis about balance between theory and practice. Sadly, many so called teachers today do not even practice. As mentioned, they are selling information, but have not even practiced the information themselves. This again shows the importance of lineage. If nothing else, if there is an authentic lineage, then we can learn whether or not the teacher actually made some effort. This may not always be the case with newer groups. These days titles and positions are given based on knowledge and logic. Even I have taken classes which only require we pass multiple choice tests to advance. This is very unfortunate because I personally know people who have been awarded titles of "High Priest/ess" yet have never or very rarely practice ritual. In magic or any discipline really, we do not get the results or experience if we do not actually make the effort. A lot could be written about this, but hopefully people will make the effort and KNOW the results for themselves. Thinking about, or comprehending ideas is just not the same. So how do we remedy this? I would say we should start slow. Learn how to shield yourself or create a circle, something not too difficult, but important. And do this often. It does not have to take a lot of time. Or maybe try some Tarot spreads and play with it often. But always push to do more. And be aware of anyone you select as a guide. Are they practicing or holding circles and rituals? Are there activities and in person meetings? All who are in this group are fortunate to know Ashtoreth SK. She has the knowledge and the experience. Go to her circles and meetings. From what I can see in her photos, it looks like they even have a lot of fun! I wish I will be there some day. We can see many smiling faces. It is important to meet in person for support and motivation. If we can not due to distance, then we just have to make effort and self discipline. So this is a way to improve. I didn't touch on the hoarding of items because we would have a long book here, lol I will surely be making use of the term, "spiritual materialism". And there is another term which I think I have coined myself, "spiritual hedonism". Another very prevalent practice which I may make a post on in the near future here. Can we guess what this sort of practice includes? Think "neo-Tantra". Yes, I did enjoy this post and thank you for the tag! Namasté"

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Wiccan Rede

Bide ye Wiccan laws ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust.
Ye must live and let live, fairly take and fairly give.
Cast the Circle thrice about, to keep unwelcome sprits out.
To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be spoken in rhyme.
Soft of eye and light of touch, speak ye little and listen much.
Deosil go by waxing moon, chanting out the Wiccan runes.
Winddershins go by waxing moon, chanting out the baneful tune.
When the Lady's moon is new, kiss the hand to Her times two.
When the moon rides at Her peak, then the hearts desire seek.
Heed the North winds mighty gale: lock the door and trim the sail.
When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss the on the mouth.
When the Moor winds blows from the West, departed spirits have no rest.
When the wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast.
Nine woods in a cauldron go, burn them quick and burn them slow.
Elder be the Lady's tree, burn it not or cursed ye'll be.
When the wheel begins to turn, let The Beltane fires burn.
Heed ye flower, bush and tree, by the Lady Blessed Be.
Where the rippling waters go, cast a stone, the truth to know.
When ye have and hold a need, harken not to others greed.
With a fool no seasons spend, or be counted as his friend.
Merry meet and merry part, bright the cheeks and warm the heart.
Mind the Threefold Law ye should, three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow, where the blue star on thy brow.
True in love ye must ever be, lest thy love be false to thee.
These words the Wiccan Rede fullfill: An ye harm none, do what ye will.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pyramids and Magick

Pyramids are considered to be spiritual technology and part of the sacred geometry that is revered worldwide. For centuries, pyramids were constructed and used significantly for various magickal practices. 

In Feng Shui:
In Feng shui, pyramids are considered to convert negative energy into positive focused energy. Negative energies are absorbed by the base, and the sharp converging tip of the pyramid is considered to release positive energy after transmutation in the pyramid body itself. Feng shui practitioners recommend many devices with miniature pyramids on them.

In food:
Fruits kept inside a pyramid stay fresh for longer and the bacterial load is reduced.

On razor blades
Shaving blades or knives can be placed under a pyramid to sharpen them. It works! Try it out.

In Meditation
This might be a funny sight, but placing a pyramid on your head improves your concentration and focus during meditation by miles! In general, if you consider that a cone is a pyramid wiht a circular base, you will realize why witches wear (and are depicted with) pointy, conical hats! If you have the room and means, try meditating inside a large pyramid. In some villages of India, pyramids are made of cowdung. They're incredibly cool inside and it is truly an experience to meditate in one!

Certain pyramids are built with specific dimensions, which is said to improve power. The Fibonacci ratio, the golden mean, is the sacred number of all metaphysicists. This ratio (1.61803...) is found everywhere in nature. The pyramids of Giza are constructed according to this ratio. There is deep power and strong esoteric meaning for this number, and combining it with the magick of pyramids means truly amplifying its energy and potential to achieve much.

Have you experimented with a pyramid? Do you have any experiences of the same? 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Creating your own Universes…

Learn how to play God in your dreaming world
So have you ever been in a 3D simulation? You know, the kind where you’re supposed to wear those technology-enriched glasses, which transport you to this world of forests, ravening monsters, and evil men with machine guns? If you haven’t, find a 3D gaming arcade that allows you to do that. Or else, lie back and sleep! Yep, I know we’re right back to my favorite topic this week—lucid dreams!
For you uninitiated dreamers, lucid dreaming occurs when you know you are in a dream and hence, have the power to control everything in it. It’s when you get to play God. This time, I’ll tell you a really easy technique you can use to induce these dreams. It’s called the MILD (Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams) technique.

*      Get into a comfortable position and relax. As you are falling asleep, say this to yourself (aloud): ‘I will wake after every dream period and remember my dream.’ By saying this, you are programming yourself to wake up after you have a dream. There are many ‘dreaming’ periods throughout a normal sleep cycle.

*      When you wake up, do any activity (such as reading, or writing down your dream) that demands your complete wakefulness. Try and remember every detail of your dream.

*      Lie down and drift back to sleep, and say ‘Next time I dream, I will remember that I am dreaming’. Imagine that you are sleeping and you are back in the dream that you just had.

Following these steps will ensure that your dream is lucid. Try it out!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What is Wicca?

Wicca is a pagan nature-based spiritual path where energy in every form is acknowledged and revered. It is based on a reconstruction of Ancient European religions, and credits for this go to Gerald Gardner. Wicca comes from Wicce or "wise," and is also very often called The Craft (you must be familiar with a well-known movie by the same name), The Old Religion, or the Craft of the Wise.

It is designated as a religion in the USA, but it is more of a spiritual path and belief system than an actual religion; there is no official "book" in Wicca. There are many, many texts and references, but yet it does not qualify to be a book religion unlike Islam and Christianity.

Followers of Wicca (both male and female) are called Wiccans or Witches. The seasons of the sun and moon are celebrated as Sabbats and esbats, and rituals often involve raising energy through dance, music, chanting, and channelizing them towards a certain purpose. Many Wiccan paths exist wth a wide range of belief systems but there is one universal rule that defines all Wiccans:

Harm none.

If you would like to share and generate interest about this path, please do share this post on your Facebook/Twitter accounts.

Understanding the pentacle in wicca

Symbols give identity to a path. A Pentacle has always been associated with the Wiccan craft. It is a fascinating symbol that many cultures have expressed since ancient times. Till today, the symbolic pentacle is confused with satanic tendencies. Perhaps, that’s why even Wiccans were herded as negative practitioners. In reality the ‘star sign’ indicates spirituality. What the Wiccans consider their symbol is the encircled five pointed star. The variations that include other elements like a goat façade actually belong to the devil! The upright pentacle used by wiccans has a divine meaning. It symbolizes the universe and the place we all humans have within it. The idea of having the elements with the ‘spirit’ means that only humans have the ability to come on earth with a ‘spirited body’. The five elements-air, water, ether, earth and fire are all required to sustain life on this planet. The circle represents the goddess. She filters the light, brings intelligence and wisdom to the beings.

The elements are arranged in the following sequence.

Fire-Fire is located on the lower right hand angle of the symbol and represents the element of fire. Metaphorically it also represents courage and daring.

Water-Water is located on the upper right hand angle of the symbol, and represents the element of water. Metaphorically it also represents emotion and intuition.

Air-Air is located on the upper left hand angle of the symbol, and represents the element of air. Metaphorically it also represents intelligence and the arts.

Earth-Earth is located on the lower left hand angle of the symbol, and represents the element of earth. Metaphorically it also represents stability and physical endurance.

Spirit-It is located at the top point of the upright pentacle, receiving the pole position as the most important factor in the sustainability of life. Metaphorically the spirit represents the All and the Divine.

During ceremonies the spirit rules over the four elements.

The pentacle is used for many rituals and ceremonies. Wiccans wear it in form of jewelry too. When magic is being performed the pentacle is drawn in the air with the athane. Hence it is an important tool that disperses negative energies of the environment. Inscription pentacles are used in alters. They help in focusing of the positive energies in the area. Silver pentacles represent moon energies and are associated with psychic elements. When the pentacle is made, wiccans ensure that the lines are straight and not broken. Broken or uneven lines attract negative energies. An upright pentacle has a positive aura around it. An inverted pentacle is now associated with the satan. But long ago, when a Wiccan moved on to the next level the inverted pentacle became her symbol. With persecution, the symbol was changed to a triangle.

Do what ye will, but do ye none harm.

Originally written by Nivedita for Astralhub