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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pagan Ritual Alive And Well On Halloween

Perhaps "Happy New Year" ought to replace "trick or treat" as the token phrase for Oct. 31.

After all, it is Samhain, the Celtic new year, which lives on today both through neopagan ritual and, well, trick-or-treating.

Halloween, though now considered a secular holiday, owes its origins to the centuries-old ritual where Celts left food offerings to their ancestors and wore masks to mimic and please the spirits, according to pagan lore.

As 29-year-old Laura Wilson puts it, Samhain occurs "when the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is the thinnest. It's the time that having an interaction with the other world is easiest." Full Story

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Local Businesswoman Opens Witch-Themed Store At The Bayshore Mall

A new store has opened at the Bayshore Mall just in time for Halloween — The Good Witch, located next door to Borders, and it carries an eclectic assortment of witch-related merchandise, most of which is manufactured in Fortuna.

Though the timing of its debut might imply the store carries children’s costumes, The Good Witch actually specializes in items oriented toward people interested in the Wiccan religion and New Age movement.

Handmade brooms, cloaks and wizard staffs made in Thailand complement the locally made items: spell and ritual kits, sage wands, alignment cards, quill and ink sets, and more.

Owner Zera Starchild said she wanted to open a business focusing on “good magic.” Full Story

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Monday, October 29, 2007

I'll Turn This Holiday Around Right Now!

From: The principal of Paris Hilton Country Day School

To: Our esteemed parents

Re: Canceling Halloween forever. And ever.

With the pungent memory (and extensive smoke damage) of last year's Halloween uppermost in our minds, it is our considered opinion (and our legal counsel's expressed wish) that we forgo the holiday's celebration this and all subsequent years.

First off, we want to apologize to our pagan parents for the third grade's impromptu - and illegal - re-creation of the Salem witch trials.

That little Tiffany Pug pinched a nerve in her neck while being held in stocks and pummeled with tomatoes and Spanish textbooks was regrettable.

The curse she placed on the school, although imaginative, appears to be winding down. The last of the frogs and locusts should be out of the gym soon. Next time, the Pug family might consider a simple lawsuit. Full Story

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Druid Reading for Samhain

Color of the day: Gold
Incense of the day: Poplar

The celebrations on the eve of All Souls Day, called Halloween, stem from the Celtic New Year celebration called Samhain. When the Sun goes down on this eve, there is a time between the old year and the creation of the new. Specifically, this occurs at sunrise. In this twilight of the years, the veil between this world and the world of the spirit is thin. It is a time when ghosts and spirits can interact with the living, and a time when divination is most effective. This is a sacred time when all warriors were to keep their swords sheathed. Samhain literally means “end of the summer.” This day marked the last harvest of the summer, and so it is a harvest celebration. But, because there were only three months in the ancient Celtic calendar, and no autumn, it is also the beginning of the winter death that will lead to next year’s regeneration. On this night, the lord of death reigns, and the Celts protect themselves from this threat with bonfires and animal sacrifice. Animal sacrifice is closely associated with divination. In most ancient cultures, the remains of the sacrificed animal were examined to discover the will of the gods and to predict the future. The Druid priests would take advantage of this auspicious time to look into the events of the upcoming year—at least up until Beltane, which marked the year’s midpoint. Although predicting the future is not necessarily the best use of the tarot, this is a good time to try reading the future. You can do this by laying out three cards for each of the six months from Samhain to Beltane (you should have eighteen total cards). Read each set of three cards as a story that will pertain to that month.

By: Robert Place

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Real Witches Don't Ride Brooms

About a fifth of the people who wander into Practical Magick are just curious.

The other 80 percent are "hard-core into Wicca," said Mark Eadicicco, owner of the Port Richmond store that caters to pagans and others with an interest in alternative spirituality.

His clients at the store decorated to look like a Victorian cottage are lawyers, nurses and other professionals -- many of whom keep quiet about their witchcraft because it is ofen misconstrued as devil worship.

"We don't have a Satan or any kind of evil deity in our structure," said the Westerleigh resident. "We have a god and a goddess. We do not practice animal sacrifice. We're not Gothic. We're not green and we don't ride on broomsticks. We're not just people on the off-beat side." Full Story

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Psychics' Clients Get Just What They Pay For

I'll call her Crystal. She's 19, dark-featured and really concerned about my aura.

"I want to help you," Crystal says as she looks up from my hands. "I want you to let me help you."

From this point on, my $60 palm reading in a Westside storefront becomes a prolonged sales pitch for a $575 "psychic cleansing," which Crystal insists is needed to restore my gloomy aura to its previously golden hue.

Most people making plans to shuffle off this mortal coil consult estate lawyers or financial advisors. But many others -- from celebrities to civilians -- turn to psychics, astrologers and others who claim special insights into what the future may bring.

Since the Biz section is preoccupied today with matters of mortality, I figured I'd take a look at those who employ otherworldly means to help people prepare for the inevitable. It's an industry that, by some estimates, runs into the billions of dollars annually. Full Story

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

How Do You Reconcile Your Faith And Halloween?

Tonya and Karl Douglass have so far managed to avoid major conflict when they keep their 7-year-old daughter Temple away from Halloween celebrations. Members of Fourth Street Baptist Church, the Douglasses have explained to Temple that Halloween has "connections to witchcraft," Tonya said, and Temple therefore doesn't trick-or-treat or dress up in a costume.

They did, however, attend Temple's Fall Festival at Clubview Elementary School about a week ago. Tonya Douglass said she was pleased with the event, and that she saw only one child wearing a costume. She said she's not against kids dressing up but in her family, Temple doesn't. Full Story

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Costume Ban Angers Platt Students

Katherine Rodriguez wanted to dress up as a referee when she goes to school on Halloween, but Platt High School's administrative team has overturned her decision.

Platt administrators are telling students they cannot wear Halloween costumes to school this year, and students are not happy. Students feel they should be able to wear costumes, especially because students are allowed to at Maloney High School.

Platt students showed their displeasure Thursday by circulating a petition and planning a walkout.

Principal Timothy Gaffney said he is standing by the school district's dress code, which bans items such as short skirts and flip-flops.

The dress code does not mention Halloween costumes, but Gaffney has made it clear that students should not wear costumes to school. Full Story

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Belief in Witchcraft, Magic Serves 'Basic Human Need,' Professor Says

Halloween is a time for children to dress up as witches, ghouls and goblins, but historically witchcraft was serious business, according to a Duke University professor.

Though people today might view witchcraft as mere superstition, it’s evident from anthropological literature that, for some people, the practice has served a basic human need, said Anne-Maria Makhulu, an assistant professor of cultural anthropology who studies the ongoing practice of witchcraft in Africa.

"We live in a bewildering world where we don’t have a lot of control. And we can imagine doing things through magic that we can’t do as ordinary human beings," said Makhulu, who is teaching a course this semester on magic and capitalism. Full Story

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Witch Has Voodoo Doll For Arpaio

A Las Vegas witch plans to travel to the Valley to deliver a special Halloween package to Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

"We call it a voodoo-doo-doo doll," said "Magical Marissa," a self-proclaimed high priestess who's heading out from Sin City to drop the doll on Sheriff Joe's doorstep. Full Story

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Cinnamon Coffee Money Spell

Color of the day: Green
Incense of the day: Neroli

Brew a special blend this morning and attract abundant money to you all day long. In an electric coffeemaker, fill the filter with your usual amount of favorite ground coffee. Then add a touch of cinnamon, about a quarter teaspoon per cup. Smell deeply of the mix and allow the delicious aroma to fill your senses.

Coffee dark and
coffee rich,
Bless this humble
Kitchen Witch.
Cinnamon, sweet wood from across the sea,
Bring free and abundant money to me.

Turn on the coffeemaker and get ready for your day. As the heat releases the flavors, it fills the water with your intent. The steam carries this energy to the God and Goddess and, as you drink, your energy field attunes to the manifestation of this spell.

By: Kristin Madden

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Christian Parents: Stop Trusting Harry Potter

A major character in the Harry Potter series is supposedly "gay," revealed author J.K. Rowling in a recent Carnegie Hall appearance. At the risk of giving the Potter books more publicity, which may be exactly what the author wants, I cannot resist the opportunity to comment. Actually, pardon me while I scream at the top of my lungs, just a little.

Here's my scream: "The Harry Potter books and movies are harmful to kids!"

For years now, some of us have been decrying the Harry Potter tales, saying they were not for children. They dishonor God, they glamorize sorcery, and the spirit surrounding the series is dark, sinister and anti-Christian. Teaching children positively about wizardry and witchcraft ought to have tipped off most believers, but no – there were those who went out of their way to criticize those of us who were concerned, saying we were overreacting, that it was just harmless fun. These were just lessons in "good" and evil, with Harry, of course, being "good." Full Story

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Investigators Seek Clues In Satanic Graffiti Crime

Special ritual crime investigators are looking into some disturbing graffiti of satanic symbols found spray painted on the walls and sidewalks at Ropes Park. The park is located on Ocean Drive between Cole park and Doddridge.

Crews arrived Wednesday to sandblast over the occult symbols that once covered the wall and the sidewalk. The mess was cleaned up after investigators met there Wednesday afternoon to look at the satanic taggings.

Parks, cemetaries and beaches are targeted for this type of activity because of their location. They're halfway points. In this case, the beach is a halfway point between land and water, and people involved in the occult use these halfway points to evoke spirits. Full Story

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Witchy Woman

This time of year, in the Swiss canton of Glarus, cows are herded down from snowcapped mountains to spend the winter in the valleys, their bells clanging. Sheep chew pastures with dizzying gradients. And in the pastoral villages that dot this cityless territory an hour's drive from Zurich's urbane bustle, many of the houses look like cuckoo clocks. But behind this gentle bucolic setting lies a legacy of sex, torture and ultimately political murder in the beheading of Anna Göldi, Europe's so-called last witch. Now, 225 years later, with a new museum, a best-selling book and a parliamentarian's fight to have Göldi absolved, Glarus is looking to turn its dark page of the Enlightenment.

In the hamlet of Mollis, population 3,000, a road the width of a single car was renamed Anna Göldi Way for the 225th anniversary of her death on June 13. In a mansion along the road, on a grassy gated lot, a new permanent exhibition at the local museum details Göldi's ordeal. Just as American schoolchildren read Arthur Miller's McCarthy-era parable "The Crucible," about 17th-century superstition and persecution in Salem, Mass., Swiss children learn of Göldi. Europe too was the stage for accusations of sorcery and the burning of outcasts deemed witches by maniacal courts. The death toll is estimated to have been 50,000 in Europe. Full Story

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Halloween 'Hate Crime' Burns Real-Life Witch

In the state made famous for persecuting witches in the late 17th century, a modern day sorceress in Massachusetts is burning mad about a neighbor's Halloween decoration depicting a witch hanging from a noose, calling it a hate crime against her religion.

"I want to seem him take it down," said Kelly Lynch of Chicopee, Mass. "Look at what's going on in Louisiana. That would be the same thing. If a black family had ... crosses outside of their house or nooses hanging from their trees, it's basically the same thing."

The witch is hanging from wooden gallows in front of a home on East Street, but Lynch finds the decor offensive. Full Story

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hillside SPCA Nixes Adoptions Of Black Cats For Halloween

For centuries, these often maligned ebony felines have taken an undeserved rap as creatures of evil, mischief and mayhem, inspiring some to respond to them with fear and violence.

In fact, like many shelters around the country, the Hillside SPCA, Pottsville, prohibits adoptions of black cats now to Nov. 2, fearing the animals could be mistreated in Halloween pranks or worse, be sacrificed in sadistic or occult rituals. Full Story

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Pagan Pride Draws Crowd For Inaugural Celebration

The first Las Cruces Pagan Pride celebration gathered at Veterans Park — an entrance marked by the presence of a man with a fanny-pack, a straw hat, a sign and a huge white cross.

Garland Turner, a member of Bethel Bible Fellowship, said while he routinely paces the city's sidewalks billboarding for Jesus, it was no coincidence where he placed himself Saturday.

"The message is Jesus loves everyone," Turner said, "but he only saves those who accept him. What I think about (the Pagans) doesn't matter. They have to please God."

"Hopefully," he said, smiling, "I'm not being obnoxious." Full Story

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

If Stones Could Tell Us Stories

As I walked between the huge, crudely shaped standing stones which frame the entrance to this ancient tomb, it was a little disconcerting to see a red light flickering somewhere deep inside the dark passage which lay ahead.

There, on the dirt floor, was the source of the light, a large red candle, its flame fluttering in the slight breeze from the entrance.

I was in West Kennet Long Barrow, one of the largest and most easily accessible neolithic chambered tombs in Britain, but it had been disused for more than 4000 years, so what was the candle doing there?

The answer, apparently, is that this particular tomb is a popular place for modern pagans to carry out their bizarre rites. Full Story

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Pagan View Of Death

One of my earliest memories is watching a Sunday morning religious show when I was about four years old. When they talked about people dying and going to heaven, I remember clearly thinking, “That’s stupid, everyone know when you die you come back as another person.” Learning that neither my parents, relatives or Hebrew school teachers shared this belief didn’t shake it in the least, so I was delighted, when I grew older, to discover other religions that did, including Paganism.

Our understanding, however, is a bit more complex than my childhood certainty. Full Story

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Friday, October 12, 2007

A Dummies Guide To Salem Witches

The crystal ball hasn't been created that can answer this question: How many witches are in the Witch City?

Whatever the number, there are enough to pull off a little magic this October and a first in Salem -- two witches balls, both advertised as the "official" Salem witches ball and both at the historic Hawthorne Hotel.

The first, on Friday, Oct. 26, is run by local witch Christian Day and features Fiona Horne, an Australian rock star billed as "the world's most famous witch."

The other, on Halloween night, is being staged by Laurie Cabot, who also is "the world's most famous witch." Cabot, of course, is the official witch of Salem, a title bestowed upon her three decades ago by Gov. Michael Dukakis.

The dueling balls are also fighting it out for media attention. Cabot says British actor and comedian Stephen Fry is coming to her bash with a crew from the BBC; Day says he's got The History Channel. Full Story

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Witch Fined $249 For Disturbance

A self-avowed practicing witch was ordered to pay $249 Monday for creating a disturbance in August while listening to music beside a bonfire in her yard.

Brenna Kee Ravyn Moon Fyre was convicted after two criminal charges filed by prosecutors were reduced to a county ordinance violation. Her arrest and the case, according to her attorney, resulted from a misunderstanding by neighbors who incorrectly assumed that she was casting spells beside the bonfire when she actually was singing along with heavy metal music on her iPod.

"She was singing along to the music so, perhaps, in that sense she was creating a disturbance," defense attorney Julius Kim said. "But the fact that she is a witch had nothing to do with what she was doing that night. Full Story

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It’s Market Day For Witchy Folk

Witches will be topping up their stocks of wands and other little essentials at the Pickled Witch Market in the Corn Exchange this month.

Organiser Chris Walsh said the event followed a successful witch market in Dorchester a year ago.

"It's a bit of fun - we want people to come along and enjoy it.

"There will be stalls selling things like crystals and books and wands and others doing tarot readings, tattoo and massage." Full Story

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Harry Potter Can Make Kids Suicidal (Opinion)

Why are Americans duped into reading and admiring Harry Potter books? Harry Potter represents a male witch, or warlock, who makes curses or spells, which God condemns.

In Africa, witch doctors involved in the demonic spirit world perform curses on people.

By reading these Harry Potter books, your children could be opening themselves up to a spirit realm in which they can become depressed and suicidal. Full Story

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Rune Stone Deciphered

The stone, found under the floor at Hausken church in Rennesøy, Rogaland, was used as part of the foundation when the church was built in 1856.

Archeologists at first believed they had found a new rune stone that was nearly 1,000 years old, but they now have identified it as part of a large tombstone that was previously reported in 1639 and 1745.

The stone lay outside the door of the old stave church, and the remains of this stone have now been found under the floor, beneath the pulpit. Full Story

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Ma'at's Justice Spell

Color of the day: Orange
Incense of the day: Lilac

Today is the feast day of Ma’at, Egyptian goddess of justice and fairness, whose symbol is an ostrich feather. In mythology, Ma’at’s feather was used to weigh against mortal hearts in the Hall of Justice to determine their fate in the afterlife. Is there an issue in your life at the moment that can benefit from the attention of Ma’at, requiring more equity? For this spell you will need a feather and a blue candle. On the candle, engrave the symbol of a feather and the name of Ma’at. If you have any items that relate to the injustice, such as a letter, place them on your altar. Light the candle and say:

There is a situation that seems unfair,
I look for an outcome that harms none.
Ma’at, you have a right to effect what you deem is fair
To ensure that order and justice are done.

By: Emely Flak

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Ancient Rune Stone Found

Archeologists were very pleasantly surprised to discover an unknown rune stone under the floor of Hauskjeen church in Rennesøy, Rogaland in western Norway.

The rune stone likely stems from the 11th century, and tells of Halvard's powers or Halvard's magnificence. The stone slab has been broken off at both ends, and the text ("Mæktir haluar") is just a small part of the original inscription. Full Story

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Not Even Halloween Is Sacred These Days

The two most devastating words any red-blooded American kid is likely to hear are "Fall Festival."

It can mean only one thing: The War on Halloween is once again upon us.

No, the War on Halloween won't induce the same zealous indignation that, say, the War on Christmas can. For me, though, it's far worse.

We're still weeks from this glorious pagan celebration, but you can already hear the sound of the pinheads sucking the fun out of life. Full Story

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Bishop Claims Success At Rebranding Halloween

A Church of England bishop claimed success in his campaign to “re-brand” Halloween after fears that it has become too associated with the occult.

The Bishop of Bolton, the Rt Rev David Gillett, said that both Asda and Sainsbury’s have responded to his calls for stores to lighten up the “gloomy and scary” festival.

He also disclosed the results of a new poll that suggests that two thirds of Britons support his view that more positive products should be on sale to children.

The bishop challenged supermarkets last year to “cross-merchandise” traditional Halloween monster masks and Dracula costumes with items more suitable for those worried about the darker side of the festival. Full Story

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

It’s All In The Cards

When I first entered Sacred Source at 73 Brock St. the scent of eucalyptus was the first noticeable aroma. Filled with spiritual books and figurines, the store created a calm and tranquil atmosphere.

Entering a small room slightly to the side of this new age store, I was about to experience my first tarot card reading. Sitting across from me was Kellye Crockett, a tarot card reader at the Sacred Source. Across a black table lay 10 cards in a specific layout.

“Very interesting,” Crockett said, after a dramatic pause.

Having drawn an implausible amount of threes from the deck, Crockett explained the majority of my cards were unusually well drawn.

Unfortunately for me, these lucky threes were soon followed by a card depicting a dead man wallowing in a pool of blood and resting uncomfortably on top of 10 rather sharp swords—the card called the X of swords. Crockett said this card represents challenge, but my challenges were over and so, for me, this would signal a new phase.

A tarot reading like the one I went to is not an uncommon phenomenon in Kingston if Crockett’s full appointment book is any indication. Full Story

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Stone Head Mystery Puzzles Northern England

They've been left on unsuspecting doorsteps and outside post offices in the dead of night, but no one knows what to make of the mystery of the stone heads.

As many as 20 artfully carved faces, miniature versions of the Easter Island sculptures, have been deposited in sleepy villages across northern England in recent weeks, leaving the recipients intrigued and confused in equal measure.

Each of the stone heads, some up to 18 inches high, is slightly different, but all of them have the same riddle attached, written on a thin blue card.

"Twinkle twinkle like a star, does love blaze less from afar?" it reads, with the word "paradox" written around the points of a star. Full Story

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Woman On Mission To Slash Freddy, Jason From Burger King

Julia Meldau is a woman on a mission.

And while I admire her conviction and understand her disgust, I'm not so sure I agree with what she's trying to do.

You be the judge.

"I sat down to eat my sandwich and it just jumped out at me," Meldau said.

"And I told my husband, 'I've got to do something about this,' " Meldau said.

"This" is the tray liners at Burger King restaurants.

The chain is promoting Universal Studio's Halloween Horror Nights with pictures of Freddy Krueger, Jason, Leatherface and some kind of horror clown called Jack on the liners. Full Story

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