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Archive for April, 2012

Japan has all kinds of crazy  legends but none I find as adorable as the Tanuki. If you don’t know (or have seen studio Ghibli’s “Pom Poko”) A Tanuki is a type of racoons dog creature found in the forests of Japan.

The Tanuki are often depicted with large testicles. That’s right. Testicles. Sometimes they sling them over their shoulders like travelers do with packs or use them as drums. Remember that episode of South Park where Stan’s dad have himself testicular cancer so he could get medicinal marijuana and grew his balls really big by put them in the microwave? Yeah think that on a racoons. Let me remind you that the Japanese feature the Tanuki in cartoons for children.

Other then the huge balls, the Tanuki has a very distinctive look They are often depicted wearing a hat to be ready to protect against trouble or bad weather, big eyes, a big tail, big bellies and a friendly smile. They are said to be mischievous and have the power to change their appearance by placing a leave on their head.

Statues can be seen out side of restaurants and homes. Yes, because I know that when I come home from a hard bay of school and find myself hating life and everyone in it, As I turn my key in the door, I wanted to be greeted by this face…

RUN! THEY’RE MULTIPLYING!!!!!

 

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Well in Japan anyway.

Yes. Its Golden Week. For those who don’t know. Golden Week is the end of April/early May where a lot of holidays in Japan tend to clump together.  It is the busiest time for leisure activities, festivals and movies and most people take time off or companies close down altogether for the holiday. I like to take the time to watch anime in honer of the week. This year is special to me because I now honor a Japanese deity along with my Celtic God and Goddess.

So I’d like to post a little of my favorite things about Japan for the next few days. Stay tuned for more.

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I attended a Christan school from 5th grade though 12th. Sort of giving  away a lot about myself by talking about this. if anyone out there that know me, they will recognize me and blogging under a sudo-name will be for nothing.

I would like to tell you all about the horrible time I spent at that school.

When I started at that school, Pokemon was a big thing. My first week, a pastor came in telling us Pokemon was evil, that the Japanese are evil people for making Pokemon and that it was of the devil because of Lavender town and the ghosts. There were some right out lies said about the game series. Everyone gave me back the Pokemon pencils I passed out on my first day to make friends. I did not give over all of my Pokemon stuff to be burned when the pastor called for them next week and thus no one talked to me for 3 years.

In 7th grade we had to have a permission slip sighed by out parents to read The Hobbit due to the nature of magic in the book.  On my own I read Harry Potter and Stephen King. I remember my moms face when I handed that thing over to her.

I died my hair black and became a goth. I was a ragefull teenager with a metric-crap-ton of bad poetry and drawings to express my anger. At school I was asked if I worshiped Satan because I died my hair black and carried a purse made of duck tape and bumper stickers.

In 8th the time that I was called to the office over a series of comics I drew about a man in an insane asylum. After leaving me to wait for three hours and he chatted up investers to help sponcer the building of our school, the principal told me that mental illness was a subject I should think about it because it’s evil and that man needed to be prayed over. He then prayed over me and asked me if I would draw nice thinks like children playing. I drew him a picture of the three girls jumping rope, you know like from A Nightmare on Elm Street, my favorite movie at the time.

In 9th grade I got detention for wearing a shirt with faeries on it. The teacher referred to them as gargoyles on the detention slip.

In 10th grade. The principal pulling me aside while I was an aid in the office to tell me that having a seasonal Halloween job was dangerous because that’s the Devil’s Birthday. What would he have said to the fact that I dressed as Jack the Ripper that year?

Or the time I watched school officials reading over an application of a student, seeing they were Mormon and then having a good laugh and tossing out the request.

11th grade marked the arrival of a teacher that would turn me off of conservatives forever. The teacher who used the same tactics that cults use to brain wash people used them on us. He convinced a student that his father had a demon in him. Yeah, this guy taught me economics. All we did was talk about how much Hillary Clinton was a raving bitch, how gay people want to turn everyone gay and that atheists wanted us to eat aborted fetuses because that’s how stem cell research works.

During high school school, for extra credit in my American History class, the assignment was to research a religion, explain their faith and describe how to convert them to Christianity. I wrote about Wicca and got a C because I couldn’t find a reason someone would convert from it so the paper was left unfinished. I think part of me was to do more research of what I wanted. I wish I still had a copy of that paper to laugh over.

How has this school effected me? I don’t know anything about evolution other then how to debunk it using scripture. Honestly, I do believe in creationism but though a universal spirit as the origin. I think it’s because I don’t know any better.

I know I have some unresolved issues with Christianity that may attribute to me becoming pagan, but honestly I think I lucked out for the better. I am now everything that they hate. If I just slim down a few pounds, i cant wait for the 10year reunion. In high school I promised myself I’d put a bomb under everyone’s cars, but I’m thinking i just might show up and give a big old f— you middle finger to everyone. That’s the only bomb I want to drop. That thought is enough…

Thanks for reading about my so many unresolved anger issues.

-Kaida-

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Greek mythology is everywhere, Egyptian mythology is reliably available as well as Norse and Roman. To get down into the nitty-gritty of Celtic mythology, much of the mainstream does not seem concerned. What is Celtic tends to either have a Christianized touch or read in such a deep Gallic that its hard to understand the keep at it. Many of what is Wicca as we see it is based in the Celtic culture and lore but for someone with a short attention span like me it can be hard to focus on and read and…. ooo look a butter fly.

Celtic Myth PodShow, for me, for nothing else, helped me understanding pronunciations. They use music and sound effects to drive the story home the way a radio show would and simplifies some of the readings in a way for everyone to understand without sacrificing any of the content or integrity of the stories. I am not as far in the series as i would like but if nothing else the first 11 of their pod casts are worth the mention.I have not come across many people talking about this little show much on my internet travels but I must say this is one of the best tools I have used for learning about Celtic Mythology.

Give it a shot. The first episode had me hooked. find it on iTunes or at

http://celticmythpodshow.com/

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Candles are used all over the world in religious ceremonies of all kinds. My time in church as an acolyte, i started off every service by lighting the candles and extinguishing them at the end.  In Pagan and Wiccan rituals they are for the light of the Goddess and God, as beacons to the elements and for other spells and rituals of candle magic.

But for the rest of us, candles might not be an option. Candles can cost with some pillar candles can end up being $10 (US) a piece and some spells and rituals calls for more than one. I lived for a long time in a dorm where we were not allowed to have candles of any sort and they would be confiscated on sight. It is very understandable. For how many people set their apartments on fire with an electric stove or tinfoil in a microwave (I’m not kidding), it was very wise of Student Housing to restrict the use of incense and candles.

(this is candles off light on, candles on light on and candles on light off)

So I used the only thing I could, flame-less battery operated candles. These gave my rituals a light (though not a warmth) that I had been missing. I was able to put them anywhere and not be afraid of burning my alter cloth. I treated them as real candles, I anointed them and. When a spell calling for specific color candle, I could cover the body of it with a cloth or paper of the needed color and remove it afterwards. Yes, these candles don’t have that same feel of real candles but I would recommend them to anyone who may be afraid of using real candles or in the situation I was in. I currently use them on my tiny altar on a shelf due to my fear of burning down my bedroom.

After I left the dorm I felt very excited to be able to use candles openly and without restriction. The first thing I did was go out and buy tee lights and tiny candle holders. I almost forgot the lighter. I’m not a smoker so I don’t usually have them laying around and before that all I had to do was flip a switch. I was very nervous about the candle. I didn’t want to be the one to set the apartment on fire not a month after signing the lease. I anointed some candles for use and set them on my alter… but wait.

Ah yes, candles have colors. All I have are white. How do I solve the color candle problem. I don’t want to use cloth or paper around them like I had before. Those cheep glass holders were clear, but I could paint them for my purpose. These two of the candles on my alter now, silver for the light of the moon of the goddess and gold for the sun god’s warmth.

Many places I have read say that one should not use scented candles. The only reason I can see to not use one is that too many smells can be over powering. If you use any sort of incense or herbs in your rite, I would advise not using these scented candles. Now If you are using one candle for a rite and no more, then a scented candle could be permissible. Its like combining incense and candle and if the smell is appropriate for the rite, even better.

Look for candles after holidays. After Halloween i got a bunch of cheep scented candles. they are all red, orange and black and are designed to last a long time. Once I did a rite with a candle to leave burning until it goes out and it stayed lit for over 12 hours. Also party stores are a good place to look. I got a few good white votive i use all the time that are meant to be used one tables at a dinner like a wedding reception.

It is not the candle, it is the energy you put forth. If you feel most comfortable drawing up a candle or imagining it in your mind, whatever you use, its power comes from the spell caster, not the item.

-Kaida-

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With the blog relaunch, I am relaunching my old craft series. Here is an updated versions of the introduction post to the series. I hope everyone really likes it.

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Some of us are unemployed, some of us live at home or in a tiny, little dorm room. Some of us are not completely out of the broom closet. We are the people who have sat online looking at catalogs, wanting to buy a really nice alter cloth or chalice when we can’t even afford the shipping.

The most important thing to remember, the tools you use do not have the power. All of it comes from within you. The tools are just an extension of yourself, to get your mind into the mind set of creating magic, doing a ritual or worship. You don’t need a $200 athame to cast a circle when your body can do it for you.

With that being said, sometime we just want to have that altar. Sadly something’s just cost too much. This is the start of a small series of posts I will do about how to make the alter on a budget. I call it Dixie Cup Pagans, meaning that we use what we can find, be it fancy, expensive or not (like substituting a paper cup for a Chalice. This series will great for the beginners and even journals my own experiences in this area.

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This year marks the 15th anniversary of the movie that that touched my heart and instilled in my a life long love of film. A movie I know every line, every panning establishing shot, and every note of music due to the fact I watched it over and over again though my jr. and early high school years. I’m talking about Titanic.

Oh yeah, and this also marks the 100 years for the disaster. All week I have been crying on about how I neeeed to see the 3D re-release. Though I’m a big critic of anything 3D, nothing has my blood pumping like going to see titanic in theaters again. Sadly, I sort of let myself forget about the tragedy. It was only tonight that I looked up and thought about April 14th and what it means to me. There were a few years that I took the anniversary very serious and observed it with all the respect it deserves but lately, whenever that date pops up, I remark on the sinking and move on. But it’s not just some numbers written on a sketch of a naked girl in a movie. It is the night where many lost their lives.
When the realization of the date hit me, the night was nearly over. I jumped up out of my chair with the intense need to tell someone. I sent some text to a few friends and my mother when i thought “maybe I should do a small memorial rite.” I got together a few stuff on the fly and went out to the balcony.

I filled my new offering bowl with water. I found a small pink flower left over from an Ostara rite last year. Along with a small candle, I went outside. I said a few words that included thing like “I have no apparent connection to the people who died other then that I’ve been fascinated with the story since I saw the movie but I feel compelled to remember them and their lives lost.” I also ran out of thoughts of what I wanted to say so i ended it with “what can I say that hasn’t been said in 100 years?”

I lit the candle and hit play on my iPod to the song, “nearer my god to thee” the song from the Titanic sound track and commonly accepted as the last song played by the band on the ship as it went down. I placed the flower in the water to let it float and i sat in silent remembrance and as the song ended and you hear the part of the movie where the band leader says, “Gentlemen. It has been a privilege playing with you tonight.” I left the candle burning and went back inside.

All in all, it was very nice. I may do one for next year, maybe plan it out a little better, but what I did was just simple and perfect. I hope this inspires you.

-Kaida

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