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Friday, November 30, 2007

Poll Finds More Americans Believe In Devil Than Darwin

More Americans believe in a literal hell and the devil than Darwin's theory of evolution, according to a new Harris poll released on Thursday.

It is the latest survey to highlight America's deep level of religiosity, a cultural trait that sets it apart from much of the developed world.

It also helps explain many of its political battles which Europeans find bewildering, such as efforts to have "Intelligent Design" theory -- which holds life is too complex to have evolved by chance -- taught in schools alongside evolution. Full Story

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Update: Wiccan Symbol Won't Be Placed Next To Nativity

Despite getting the mayor's permission to place a pentacle at Olean's City Hall, April Garlow said she won't erect the Wiccan symbol.

Garlow made the request after being outraged that the mayor allowed a group to place a nativity scene, a Christian symbol, on the municipal building's lawn.

Garlow has said she will not place her Wiccan symbol at the building because of the possibility of lawsuits from outside organizations. Full Story

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wiccan Pentacle May Join Manger Outside Olean Building

The Nativity scene outside a municipal building near Buffalo [New York] could soon be sharing space with a Wiccan pentacle.

Olean Mayor David Carucci has given a local resident permission to set up a pentacle next to the Nativity scene outside the Olean Municipal Building. Full Story

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mayor Resigns Over 'Satanic Abduction'

What is the statute of limitations for the crime of being abducted and brainwashed by Satanists? The answer: at least three decades.

Mayor Ken Williams shocked the citizens of Centerton, Arkansas, by claiming that a recent truth-serum injection had made him realize that he was not Ken Williams, their civic leader since 2001, but in fact a New York preacher named Don LaRose who had been abducted and brainwashed by Satanists in the mid-1970s. Full Story

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Celebrating The Solstice

The winter solstice -- the shortest day and longest night of the year -- has been acknowledged in cultures around the world for thousands of years. In the 3rd Century, the Roman Emperor Aurelian marked Dec. 25 as the birthday of the "Unconquerable Sun," part of the Roman solstice festival. Shortly after, the Christian church borrowed the date for Christmas.

Perhaps it's being a gardener that makes me particularly partial to those ancient pagan celebrations that center on greens, fire and light. Full Story

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cleaning the House Herbs

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

The holidays are coming up, and this is the time of year to get your house ready for company and good times. Many pine cleaners actually contain pine oil, which is good for clearing negativity. Add some pine oil to rinse water for the bathroom and kitchen floors to draw off negativity. Use only on floors where babies will not be crawling. Add lavender to rinse water for drapes and curtains; it will leave a scent that promotes a feeling of calm and harmony. Rose oil and jasmine added sparingly to the final rinse for towels and sheets will promote a loving feeling in bath and bedroom. Continue the theme with rose soap in the bathroom. Be sure to check with your guests for allergies.

By: Boudica

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

With Witchcraft All Is Darkness

Witchcraft has existed for centuries, side by side with religion, medicine, psychiatry and psychology. Mostly, it has been associated with the Dark Side of humankind.

There are not many documents glorifying witchcraft as a way of life, in spite of the Harry Potter books and films, or the books of such authors as Dennis Wheatley and Edgar Alan Poe.

In Europe and the United States, there were periods when people alleged to be practicing witchcraft were hanged or burnt at the stake. They were seen as representing The Devil himself, merchants of death and destruction.

In Africa, the so-called Dark Continent, there has been witchcraft in almost every society. Growing up even in the urban areas of colonial Southern Africa, you were warned against witchcraft, not only by the white Christian settlers, but also even by your own elders. It dealt mostly with revenge and death, you were told, and was to be avoided like…. the plague. Full Story

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Potter Creator Tells Of Religious Fanatic's Attack

Harry Potter author JK Rowling was "stunned" when a religious fanatic accosted her in front of her children in the US.

The mum of three has long been a target for American right-wingers, who claim her novels glorify witchcraft and paganism.

"One time, I was face to face with such a person. "I was recognised by a girl who got all excited.

"The next thing, a man came up to me and said, 'Aren't you that Potter woman?' Then he brought his face close to me and said, very aggressively, 'I pray for you every evening.' " Full Story

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Federal Judge: State Can Prohibit Profanity On Public Highways

A North Carolina law prohibiting “profane” or “indecent” language on public highways does not violate the First Amendment, a federal judge ruled recently in the case of an intoxicated individual who yelled at police officers.

The statute in question provides: “If any person shall, on any public road or highway and in the hearing of two or more persons, in a loud and boisterous manner, use indecent or profane language, he shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.”

Danial A. Flowers was convicted under this law and convicted as well of public intoxication and resisting or obstructing a police officer. Full Story

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Right Brain vs. Left Brain Test

Right Brain vs Left Brain test ... do you see the dancer turning clockwise or anti-clockwise?

If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.

Most of us would see the dancer turning anti-clockwise though you can try to focus and change the direction; see if you can do it. Full Story

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Religious Scholars To Discuss 'Flying Spaghetti Monster'

When some of the world's leading religious scholars gather in San Diego this weekend, pasta will be on the intellectual menu.

They'll be talking about a satirical pseudo-deity called the Flying Spaghetti Monster, whose growing pop-culture fame gets laughs but also raises serious questions about the essence of religion.

The appearance of the Flying Spaghetti Monster on the agenda of the American Academy of Religion's annual meeting gives a kind of scholarly imprimatur to a phenomenon that first emerged in 2005, during the debate in Kansas over whether intelligent design should be taught in public school sciences classes.

Supporters of intelligent design hold that the order and complexity of the universe is so great that science alone cannot explain it. The concept's critics see it as faith masquerading as science. Full Story

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Monday, November 19, 2007

State Barred From Enforcing Moment Of Silence In Schools

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction today blocking the state superintendent from enforcing a new law requiring a moment of silence in Illinois schools.

Judge Robert Gettleman's ruling came after atheist activist and talk-show host Rob Sherman filed a lawsuit against Township High School District 214 in suburban Chicago, where his daughter attends school.

Sherman, whose daughter is a freshman at Buffalo Grove High School, claims the new state law violates the U.S. Constitution. He says the injunction proves the law that went into effect last month "doesn't have a prayer."

Yesterday, Gettleman blocked the Township district from enforcing the state law, calling the statute "likely unconstitutional" and vague. Full Story

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Stone Spell for Safe Travel

Color of the day: Brown
Incense of the day: Pine

Many people travel during this time of year. Take a stone with you from home—it can be from your garden or driveway. Think of it as a link to your home, connecting you in order to guide you safely back again. Cleanse the stone under running water and charge it with the following chant. As you do so, visualize your safe journey and return. When you do return, replace the stone where you found it.

From the earth you came to me,
Guide me on my way.
To the earth I’ll bring you back,
Guide me on my way.
Safe journey, safe return,
Guide me on my way.

By: Ember

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Doomsday Vault Begins Deep Freeze

Engineers have begun the two-month process of cooling down a "doomsday vault", which will house seeds from all known varieties of key food crops.

The temperature inside the Svalbard Global Seed Vault will drop to -18C (0F) in order to preserve the seeds.

Built deep inside a mountain, it aims to safeguard the world's crops from future disasters, such as nuclear wars, asteroids or dangerous climate change.

The first seeds are scheduled to arrive at the Arctic site in mid-February.

The collection and maintenance of the seeds is being co-ordinated by the Global Crop Diversity Trust, which has responsibility of ensuring the "conservation of crop diversity in perpetuity". Full Story

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Friday, November 16, 2007

School's In For Real-Life Wizards

A British primary school has caught the Hogwarts bug and is teaching wizardry to its students, The Times reports.

Children are taught herbology in science, chant formulas with wands in maths classes and practice broomstick balancing techniques in physical education at Robert Mellors Primary School in Nottingham.

Head teacher Donna Chambers said the scheme has had a "phenomenal impact on behaviour and on the whole school". Full Story

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Conspiracy Of Oaks Makes Acorn Showers

I’ve been thinking about acorns. I’ve noticed many more of them on the ground in our neighborhood this fall than I can remember ever seeing before.

They literally carpet the east side of our backyard, dominated by a big white oak tree. They’re also all over our driveway. Up the hill, where Pelham Heights Road intersects with Firethorn Drive, cars have squashed so many acorns that the intersection is splotched yellow.

Acorns are in all the gutters, too. They crackle agreeably underfoot when I walk our corgi up that way.

During the infrequent times when I’m outside doing yard work, I hear acorns dropping elsewhere as well. I’ve never seen or heard so many.
At first, I attributed this deduction to years of training as an editorialist and investigative reporter. However, my wife told me recently that she’d noticed the same thing — a bumper crop of acorns this fall.

I decided I’d better call Mary Jo Modica over at the Arboretum — which is not far from our house, as the crow flies — to find out what was happening. Full Story

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Noose Found At Spiritual Bookstore

A hangman's noose was found outside a spiritual bookstore in Bakersfield run by a self-proclaimed witch.

Police are calling the noose discovered at Altar Bookshoppe, which sells occult books and supplies in Old Town Kern suspicious.

Police are still investigating and said it's too early to tell if the occurrence is a hate crime. Full Story

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

So When Do You Pagans Do The Naked Dancing?

AHH, Pagans. They're the lot who dance around in the buff under a full moon, aren't they? Or don't they sacrifice a goat or something?

Well, no actually.

They may be a bit nearer Mother Nature than your average mainstream Christian, but over a cup of hot something in Worcester's Coffee Republic, Math Jones and Suz Winspear seemed pretty normal to me. Give or take the natty first names, which is anyone's prerogative anyway.

Math and Suz are both Pagans and as such are raising an ancient symbol or two as well as a glass, in celebration of a year of moots in Worcester. Full Story

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Monday, November 12, 2007

16th Century Book Shows How Vicars Abused People's Fear Of Witchcraft

A 16th century Kent housewife narrowly missed being burnt at the stake for being a witch after rebuking a vicar's son for abusing her dog, a newly-discovered book reveals.

The remarkable story of Margaret Simons, her over-exuberant pet and a superstitious clergy is detailed in a 16th century counterblast against the witch-hunting fever which was sweeping Europe at the time.

In "The Discoverie of Witchcraft", published in 1584 and found recently in the attic of a house in Nottinghamshire, author Reginald Scott goes far beyond the radical thinkers of his age by maintaining there were no witches in contemporary England and that all those executed for the "crime" were innocent. Full Story

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Remembrance and Honor Spell

Color of the day: Orange
Incense of the day: Violet

World War I was a devastating war that destroyed families and communities on all sides. The poppy fields of Flanders became soaked with the blood of thousands of dying soldiers. Red poppies became the symbol of profound grief, loss, sacrifice, and remembrance. Peace was declared on November 11 and has become a day of remembrance of all soldiers of all wars and conflicts. Gather together mementos of those who have served their country in war, disaster relief, and in peace, including photos, articles, and other sentimental items. Add to that sprigs of rosemary and lavender. Light white and silver candles. Breathe deeply and fully as you chant.

With sacrifice of
blood and bone
In love and honor
you protect us.
With all honor,
we remember
Never judging,
always loving.
Blessed be.

By: Gail Wood

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

At Witch School, Spelling Has New Meaning

When Witch School came to town, Mayor Terry Prillaman stopped in to welcome the owners, as he does whenever a new business opens. "If you don't like them, don't patronize them," he says. "It's like a tattoo parlor: You don't have to go in."

Youth pastor Andy Thomas, though, believes the arrival of witches in this town of 1,200 created a "spiritual battle" pitting "the forces of darkness against the forces of light."

Rosella Ray, who runs the Village Art and Culture Center, a shop near the school, keeps her distance from the witches. "They just do their thing, whatever their thing is," she says. Full Story

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Friday, November 09, 2007

16th Century Book Shows How Vicars Abused People's Fear Of Witchcraft

A 16th century Kent housewife narrowly missed being burnt at the stake for being a witch after rebuking a vicar's son for abusing her dog, a newly-discovered book reveals.

The remarkable story of Margaret Simons, her over-exuberant pet and a superstitious clergy is detailed in a 16th century counterblast against the witch-hunting fever which was sweeping Europe at the time.

In "The Discoverie of Witchcraft", published in 1584 and found recently in the attic of a house in Nottinghamshire, author Reginald Scott goes far beyond the radical thinkers of his age by maintaining there were no witches in contemporary England and that all those executed for the "crime" were innocent. Full Story

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Witches, Besoms And Birches

The birch tree is found throughout the country on a range of soil types from wet to dry and peaty to sandy.

It is truly a native tree, being one of the first species of tree to colonise our landscape after the ice retreated from Ireland 10,000 years ago. It also has a long association with our upland and bog landscapes and our cultural heritage.

The Gaelic for birch is Beith (pronounced 'bey') meaning 'beginning' or 'inception' perhaps because it is one of the first trees to come into leaf or possibly due to its ability to colonise open, wet, boggy ground, in the case of downy birch, or drier, sandy ground in the case of the silver birch, with quick growing seedlings. The silver birch, in particular, is considered to have sacred powers of renewal and purification and the twigs were used to drive out the spirits of the New Year. This belief persisted into the recent past when delinquents and the insane were 'birched' to expel evil spirits. Full Story

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Police In Hillsboro, N.H. Looking For Halloween Grave Robber

Someone dug up the grave of a woman who died in 1821 and stole the remains around Halloween, police say. They are investigating whether witchcraft or a satanic ritual was involved.

The grave of a woman named Sarah Symonds was dug up in the Bible Hill Cemetery, Lt. Darren Remillard said. The culprits dug a perfectly rectangular hole, 5 1/2 feet deep, with evenly piled mounds of dirt left on either side of the empty grave. Full Story

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Injuries At Fire Barrel Festival

Thirty-six people were treated for minor burns and injuries in a traditional Devon event where flaming barrels are carried on people's backs.

The 400-year-old Ottery St Mary Tar Barrels event on Monday night attracted more than 3,000 people.

The 17th Century tradition is thought to originate from a pagan ritual of exorcising evil spirits from the town. Full Story

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Monday, November 05, 2007

In Their Nature

That members of local Wicca and pagan groups made a point to introduce themselves as regular people during a discussion panel Sunday - "Which Witch is This?" - was noted and quickly brought up by the audience.

"I moved here from Eugene, Ore., where paganism is very accepted. When you introduced yourselves, you all said, ‘I’m a normal person,’ " a woman said, asking whether pagans experienced discrimination in the Midwest.

The five members from Ozark Avalon Church of Nature, Hearthfires and Mid-Missouri Pagan Pride took a collective breath before beginning to relate some prices pagans have paid for their beliefs in Missouri. They spoke before a crowd of about 20 people in the Friends Room of the Columbia Public Library.

The question is the main reason the witches were motivated to have the discussion at all: to increase understanding of their religion. Misconceptions about their beliefs - which are founded on the pre-Christian beliefs of Celts, Greco-Romans and Norse - abound in Columbia’s predominantly Christian community, said Rose Wise, high priestess of Ozark Avalon Church of Nature near Boonville. Full Story

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Bonfire Night Spell

Color of the day: Gray
Incense of the day: Clove

In the UK this is the traditional night for bonfires, tricks and treats for children, and fireworks. Also called Guy Fawkes night, this popular autumn festival is celebrated with fires and the burning of scarecrow-looking effigies of “Guy.” This is a great time to work magic for the removal of bad memories and to celebrate happier times to come. Take a slip of paper and write down the old pessimistic things you’d like to banish from your life. Add a pinch of dried lavender buds to remove negativity, and fold the paper up. Then tonight, carefully toss them in the flames of your local bonfire. Speak this charm as you do.

Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
A banishing of old hurts will now occur.
Add a smidgen of lavender, and all will be fine,
Making room for new memories and happier times.

By: Ellen Dugan

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pagan Holidays Added to Excused Absences

When George Fain visits a grave to mark a pagan holiday, she won't have to worry about the work she's missing in her classes at Marshall University.

That's because her absence Thursday on the Samhain holiday has been approved by the Huntington school, which for the first time is recognizing pagan students' desire to be excused from class for religious holidays and festivals.

The university with an enrollment of about 14,000 may be the only school in the country to formally protect pagan students from being penalized for missing work that falls on religious holidays, although others have catchall policies they say protect students of every religious faith. Full Story

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Energy Vampires: Cutting the Ties That Bind

My last post about family ties reminded me that I always intended to a write a post about energy vampires (interesting association!). It also reminds me that we are often drained by out of date relationships, but keep them because of the shoulds and ought tos that we have in our belief and energy system. Family ties are blood ties and as such provide fertile ground for energy vampires, although energy vampires are often not family members. But they often are people who trigger off energetic memories of family members.

I am reminded of a recent reiki session where the healer mentioned that three members of her family were visiting her and she'd given them reiki sessions. She felt very drained after giving three of them healing sessions, much more than if she'd done a full day's healing in which she'd see on average 10 - 12 clients. Full Story

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Pierson Neighbor Says Halloween Display 'Blasphemous'

A life-size Halloween decoration in a Pierson home depicting scarecrows in various poses has one neighbor angry, saying one of the straw men was made to look like Jesus Christ on the cross.

"It already was bordering on the obscene but . . . when I passed this property, I saw that these people had erected a cross and hung one of these straw men on it in mockery of Christ," said Robert Pagan, 47. "The entire front of this building is full of obscene, perverted and now blasphemous displays."

But the mother of the teenager who helped set up the project, which sits in the front lawn of her home on Emporia Road near the Emporia Baptist Church, said it wasn't done to resemble a crucifixion. Full Story

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