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I have not been doing well
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I have been doing very well for at least a year or so until this month. I have been in and out of the hospital because of my diabetes, lack of sleep and my medications. Please send my positive blessings...

Today is Vampyrian TempleUVUP's anniversary
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Today is Vampyrian TempleUVUP's anniversary since 2003 - It is now 15 years old...

ARE CHRISTMAS TREES PAGAN? INSIDE THE ORIGINS OF THE EVERGREEN TRADITION BY KELLY WYNNE
Category: WebSite News

Original Link: https://www.newsweek.com/christmas-tree-origin-story-pagan-tradition-1254178

 

BY  

 

Christmas trees are widely associated with the Christian holiday, but their origins are far from the Christ-worshipping standards they represent today. Evergreens, plants that stay green year-round, have been celebrated in many cultures for hundreds of years but Americans were not always accepting of the tradition.

Christmas trees did begin as a pagan tradition as early as the fourth century C.E., according to ABC News. European pagans were largely responsible for dressing their homes with the branches of evergreen fir trees in order to bring color and light into their dull winters. But pagans weren’t the only people to do this. Romans also used the branches for decoration during the festival of Saturnalia, which took place from December 17 to December 23 in honor of the God Saturn.

Because of their pagan roots, American settlers were not quick to jump on the Christmas tree trend. German settlers were the first to introduce the indoor evergreen to the new country, but it didn’t go over smoothly, according to the History Channel.

The newly-settled Puritans were big supporters of Christmas, and wildly oppose the pagan influence. Early government officials, including William Bradford and Oliver Cromwell, tried to destroy new Christmas traditions of decorating, dismissing them as “heathen” and “pagan mockery." In 1659, the General Court of Massachusetts even made a law that celebrating Christmas was illegal. The only thing allowed was church attendance: no decorations, especially trees, should be seen.

 

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Whether or not that’s the real reason for the spark of religious interest in the evergreens, the German community began to accept both trees and formal Christmas decorations in the 17th century. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century Americans found acceptance for the once pagan symbol in the Christmas holiday.So how did Americans evolve into Christmas tree fanatics? There’s no clear answer, but a few theories stand. One claims an evergreen was chopped down in anger in the eighth century C.E. by English Benedictine monk Boniface when he saw an evergreen being used in a pagan ritual. This version claims the tree’s fall as a pagan symbol turned it into a declaration of Christianity. The tree was then seen as a triangular symbol of the Holy Trinity.

Now, many argue the Christmas tree has even lost its roots in Christianity, much like it has lost its roots in pagan celebration. The Christmas holiday has evolved to include other religions and retail celebrations.

 

Pagan parallels of Jesus Christ By Jaime Licauco
Category: WebSite News

Original Link: https://www.pressreader.com/philippines/philippine-daily-inquirer/20181211/282084867888439 

 

By: Jaime Licauco

 

Most Christians do not bother to trace the origins of their religion, much less their beliefs and rituals. If they do, they might be in for the shock of their lives. This column is not for people who are satisfied with what Church officials tell them. As the saying goes, “Let sleeping dogs lie.” Rather, this is for those who are intellectually curious and discontented. The central event in the celebration of Christmas is, of course, the birth and life of Jesus Christ, considered a great prophet by Muslims, but as God by his followers.

 

Christians, especially Catholics, perhaps, have been led to believe that the story of Jesus, his birth, death and resurrection is unique, and that there is no other like him. I believed so myself, since I grew up in a Catholic family and studied in a Catholic school from elementary to college. I read only books with the imprimatur or approval of the church, until my hunger for knowledge emboldened me to venture outside my intellectual comfort zone, and discover how shortsighted my religious education had been. One of the things I discovered is that the story of Jesus Christ is not at all unique, that it could have been copied from some much older accounts of dying and resurrection of gods in ancient pagan religions. In fact, there are more than a dozen pagan gods whose stories seem to parallel Jesus’ life and death, although they preceded Christ by hundreds, or even thousands, of years.

 

Myths

 

At the heart of these teachings were myths concerning a dying and resurrecting god-man or demigod, who was known by many different names. In Egypt he was Osiris; in Greece, Dionysus; in Asia Minor, Attis; in Syria, Adonis; in Italy, Bacchus; in Persia, Mithras.

Let us take a closer look at the parallelisms.

 

1) Tammuz (2,000 B.C.) was a Mesopotamian god of fertility. His father was the Sumerian God Enki and his consort the goddess Inanna (Ishtar). March and April mark the death of Tammuz. Tammuz died at the hands of Inanna, but she eventually brought him back to life. He died to save people from starvation and death. Like Jesus, Tammuz was called a shepherd. He died during the summer solstice but lived again in winter. He spent half a year in the underworld and the other half among the living. 

2) Osiris (2,500 B.C.) was the most important god of ancient Egypt. His father was God and his mother a mortal virgin. He was born in a cave on Dec. 25, before three shepherds. He died at Easter time for the sins of the world. He descended into the underworld, and on the third day rose from the dead. His followers await his return as judge during the Last Days. According to noted Egyptologist E.A. Wallis Budge in “Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection”: “The central figure of the ancient Egyptian religion was Osiris, and the chief fundamentals of his cult is the belief in his divinity, death, resurrection and absolute control of the bodies and souls of men.”

3) Attis (1,200 B.C.) was born on Dec. 25. His mother was the virgin Nana. He was slain by a boar, but other stories say he was crucified on a tree from which his blood ran down “to redeem the earth.” His grave was found empty. He resurrected on March 25. 

4) Mithra (or Mithras, 1,200 B.C.) was born of a virgin on Dec. 25, had 12 disciples and performed miracles. He died and then resurrected after three days. His day of worship is Sunday. The cult held many secret rituals. The cult of Mithra was widespread in ancient times.

 

God and man

 

5) Jesus Christ (325 A.D., the date of the First Council of Nicea, where the Christian church declared him to be both God and man). Jesus’ father was God and his mother a mortal virgin. He was born on Dec. 25 in a cowshed before three shepherds. He performed miracles and was crucified, and then descended into the underworld. On the third day he rose from the dead. His death and resurrection are celebrated by bread and wine. His followers await his promised return.

When the early Church fathers learned of the much earlier stories of the pagan dying and resurrecting gods, which were similar to that of Jesus Christ, they blamed the devil for the “deception.” Tertullian, a prominent Christian historian and apologist, declared that “the devil had plagiarized Christianity by anticipation in order to lead people astray.” The devil simply copied his life in advance and created the myth of Osiris, Mithras, etc. What could be more absurd than that? Present-day Christian apologists argue that the similarities between the story of Jesus Christ and the pagan gods are superficial. They maintain the uniqueness of the story of the Christ, so the controversy continues to this day.

 

The controversy has revived the old question of whether Jesus really lived on earth, or was merely a myth, because there is hardly any mention of his existence outside the four canonical gospels. Another view is that Jesus was really just a creation of the Flavian Emperors Titus Vespasian and Domitian to counter Jewish militarism. How could such a man of miracles be ignored by ancient contemporary historians?

 

In contrast, Buddha, who lived some 500 years before Jesus, had a complete personal biography attested to by historians. Was Jesus just a myth created by early Christian gospel writers, or was he a real historical individual who lived among us 2,000 years ago? I believe what the spirit entity called Seth, whom Jane Roberts channeled in the ’70s, said: “Jesus was really a myth who became a reality in your world.” Egyptian god Osiris was born in a cave on Dec. 25, before three shepherds

Dark Witch: Working in the Shadows
Category: WebSite News

Original Link: https://moodymoons.com/2015/11/10/dark-witch-working-in-the-shadows/ 

 

 

The theme this week is light and darkness.

First, let’s discuss what “dark” or “black” means in the craft, and what it doesn’t.

We’ll start by talking about what it isn’t, or what misconceptions are often associated with it, and why it sometimes makes even the most seasoned practitioner uncomfortable.

What it isn’t, is evil.

Or at least, not the way most people think of evil.

Evil is a Western monotheistic concept. In Judaeo-Christian philosophy, there is good, and there is evil. One is “right” and one is “wrong.” One is wicked, one is pure. There is no gray. Things or concepts are either one, or they are the other.

Let me stress that there’s nothing wrong with seeing the world this way—–but it isn’t the only way.

Broadly speaking, in the craft, and most especially in the realm of Wiccan philosophy, there isn’t so much “evil” and “good” as there are opposites. In the world of opposites, one opposing force does not exist without the other.

Without darkness, there cannot be light.

From a purely scientific perspective, “coldness” does not exist at all—–it only describes the absence of heat.

There is no need to qualify these things with morality. They are simply forces of nature.

Fire is a force of nature. It can be utterly wicked, blindly destroying anything in its path. But it also sustains life, providing warmth in the bitter cold of an otherwise absolute-zero universe.

From this perspective, “light” and “dark” don’t have moral qualities any more than “wet” and “dry.”

This does not mean we go around willy-nilly behaving any way our emotions pull us just because we feel like it.

It simply means we are guided by the effect we have on reality rather than instructed directly by the laws of religious doctrine.

For the practitioner of witchcraft, there aren’t so much “punishments” and “rewards” as there are natural consequences. Everything you do, mundane or magical, sets these natural consequences into motion. They will come to fruition one way or the other. No amount of prayer or forgiveness will help you escape them anymore than prayer and forgiveness halts ripples on the water after you skip a rock across a still lake.

Newton’s famous Third Law eloquently states: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

This concept is both scientific, and spiritual.

(This might be a good time to point out that far from being in contrast with religion, all scientific concepts are also spiritual. And by “science,” I don’t mean kooky fluff bunny soft science, I mean real-deal hard science you’d find in any college biology, physics or chemistry textbook. If those things don’t make you believe in a higher order, I’m not sure what will.)

If you hex someone, you essentially hex yourself along with them. This is sometimes called “the boomerang effect.” It’s why most people decide to approach this form of ritual with extraordinary caution. A sensible person rarely finds the consequences worth the satisfaction of revenge.

We tend to think of our “magical” lives as somehow separate from our “mundane” lives, but really, all aspects of life are spiritual, and these principles apply equally.

It always amazes me how some people self-righteously declare dark magic evil, all the while going around making their own “witchcraft” in a secular way.

You don’t have to hex someone to experience serious spiritual consequences for wishing them ill.

If you go about saying nasty things about your husband’s ex-wife, you send out a negative energy that will come back to you. Usually, this kind of behavior says more about you to others than the person you are slandering, and so you are essentially slandering yourself. Justifying this behavior by saying she’s done X, Y or Z to you will not spare you from the spiritual consequences any more than justifying a revenge spell with similar logic will spare you from the consequences of hexing someone.

Of course, hexing is not the only form of shadow magic. It’s just the most taboo. The following types of spells also fall under the category of “negative” magic. Note that by “negative,” we are not referring to the concept of “bad” or “evil.” Negative merely describes the driving away of someone or something rather than the drawing to.

*Exorcism
*Weight loss spells
*Banishing dark energy
*Banishing a person
*Protection spells
*Stop gossip spells
*Cleansing rituals

Divination also falls under this category. It is sometimes literally referred to as “peering into the darkness.”

Note that we don’t think of these things as “bad” or “evil.” But that doesn’t mean they don’t have consequences, for better or worse.

 

Now, let’s talk about “white magic,” and why it isn’t any more “good” than dark magic is evil.

While those outside the practice often associate “white magic” with “good, purity and light,” we as practitioners are often guilty of this oversimplification as well.

Just as is the case with “dark” or “black” magic, it is a fallacy to color the concept of white magic with the pen of morality.

Before we get into that, though, let’s look at the kind of spells we think of as falling under the category of “white” or “positive” magic. Again, by “positive” magic, we don’t mean “good,” we mean to draw towards us as opposed to drive away. This concept has no more moral implications than the attraction/repulsion behavior of ordinary magnets.

*healing spells
*baby blessings
*marital rites
*love spells
*beauty and attraction spells

Many new practitioners of modern witchcraft think of these types of spells as safe, good, even angelic. But those with experience (or unique wisdom—-not me, for sure!) recognize that it isn’t about “goodness” and these types of spells are equally fraught with unknown consequence.

Love spells are frequently noted for their unforeseen, unintended consequences. These spells are rarely cast in malice. On the contrary, they are usually undertaken in a desperate attempt to redirect unrequited love. In fact, learning to cast a love spell is often the very thing that draws people to witchcraft, and they are typically disappointed to be swiftly dissuaded by the wise old hand of the craft. (Or swindled by a charlatan. Either way, beware!)

Of course we want to be loved by those we are attracted to. There’s nothing wrong with this. It is not “evil” or “bad.” Even trying to force the issue with a love spell is not inherently “bad.” After all, people use all kinds of mundane tactics to attract a love interest. Makeup, false sweetness, feigning mutual interest in order to seem compatible—-none of these things are any more “dark” in nature than casting a love spell, but we can clearly see they carry with them a similar risk of fallout when the ruse becomes clear.

We may desperately want someone to be attracted to us, but we may not be so attracted to them if they turn into a clingy mess. Or worse, a psycho stalker. In the heat of the chase, most people don’t have the presence of mind to understand that the chase is really what’s driving their infatuation. Once it’s over, so is everything else.

(And although rarely funny to the direct participants, these consequences are often quite amusing to the outside onlooker. Never was the hilarity of these notorious repercussions better exemplified than by the great William Shakespeare himself in his brilliant comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.)

This tale of “be careful what you wish for” is almost folklore in witchcraft. But sometimes it doesn’t manifest that way. Maybe you cast a love spell and, by attempting to control another person’s free will, you consequently end up in a relationship with someone who is controlling you.

And it’s not the only example in what we call “white magic.”

Beauty spells often cultivate vanity.

Marriage rites and baby blessings are the staple of any pagan officiant, but any married person or parent knows that marriage and babies have serious consequences.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bless babies, or perform marriage ceremonies, or ever want to make ourselves feel beautiful in a magical way.

Sometimes, it’s all worth it. Sometimes it works out for the best. Just like life. It’s all full of risks.

I can already hear the naysayers crying, “Well, that’s just it! That’s why all magic is bad, and evil, and we should avoid it all together! Stay away from it and spare yourself!”

To that I would point out once more that magical behavior has no more serious consequences than mundane behavior. Everything you do is essentially some form of magic. If you live your life in service to others, it has the “magical” effect of drawing happiness to you, and goodwill from others. If you abuse those around you, take without giving back, and live a life that generally revolves around making others miserable, it has the “magical” effect of making you miserable.

Of course, most people, being imperfect, do a little of both.

In life, we must live our day-to-day experience with a series of actions. Appreciating that you will “be paid” for your actions, whether magical or mundane, does not stop you from falling in love, or baking a cake. To be perfectly still is to be dead. The fact that anything you do, from getting out of bed in the morning to firing an insubordinate employee, has consequences, ought not paralyze a healthy person into fearing any action at all—and it ought not to paralyze the practitioner of witchcraft, either.

Knowing that there are karmic consequences for your behavior either way guides the spiritually-minded person in mundane activities, and it guides practitioner of magic as well.

 

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