Saturday, December 21, 2013

'Valhalla Rising' movie review

'Valhalla Rising' Wikipedia page (2009 film)

Valhalla Rising is a 2009 English-language film directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, starring Mads Mikkelsen. The film takes place in 1000 AD and follows a Norse warrior named One-Eye and a boy as they travel with a band of Christian Crusaders in pursuit of a Crusade. Instead, they find themselves in an unknown and unfamiliar land. The film was shot entirely in Scotland. Title is derived from the combination of Kenneth Anger's 'Scorpio Rising' and 'Lucifer Rising' with a Viking-theme.

At the beginning of the movie, there is the following text:




This text suggests an Odinic theme. The "fringes of the Earth" meant Scandinavia. Recent Viking depictions on film look more Gaulish to me; maybe that's just how I perceive it. Anyway, according to Norse mythology, Odin sacrificed one of his eyes in order to gain the "Wisdom of the Ages." In addition, In a sacrifice to himself, the highest of the gods, he was hanged from the world tree Yggdrasil for nine days and nights, pierced by his own spear, in order to learn the wisdom that would give him power in the nine worlds (from the Odin Wikipedia page). The main character, One-Eye, was missing this left eye which is the same eye that Odin is depicted as missing. Also, at the beginning of the film, One-Eye is in chains or tied with rope. This suggests that One-Eye is an allegory for Odin; and he is consistently shown as having visions of future happenings.

Throughout the movie, a clear but subtle "Christian vs. Heathen" theme plays itself out. One Heathen early on says about Christians "They eat their own god, eat his flesh, drink his blood, abominable." The landscape of Scandinavia is shown to be very harsh, dark, misty, and foreboding. After achieving his freedom, he and his followers hook up with Norse Christian warriors who had just slaughtered a clan of Heathens. They are on their way to the Holy Land, Jerusalem, to fight for the Crusades. Although One-Eye does not speak, he seems to be a Heathen who slowly takes everyone to "Hell," which to me meant back to Heathen-style "evolutionary struggle."

According to the book 'Creed of Iron': The Aryan God Wotan is known to have sacrificed his left eye in the Well of Mimir to attain great knowledge, to split the veil of light into the knowledge of the infinite dark. This is all highly arcane and symbolic. The left eye represents the circular moon, the right eye, the circular sun. In the movie, One-Eye is so brutal and ruthless at times that I'm almost thinking that with his left eye gone (feminine energy), he is--symbolically-speaking--out of balance with only his right eye (masculine energy). Christianity, if you study it's Astrotheologic origins, is heavily "male energy," yet they are up against the Heathen One-Eye with perhaps the same energy unbalance.


Spoiler alert beyond this point!




When they finally make it out of a long, dark, foggy abyss, they find themselves in fresh inland waters; amid a land of mountains, lakes, and forests. They now believe that they're in Jerusalem; and I can't help but think that One-Eye, the symbolic "Odin," has somehow lured them to this place to teach them once-and-for-all about real evolutionary struggle... Heathen style! One-Eye symbolically marks this place by stacking stones by the waters. The new land seems to have some strange affects upon all of them. The ruthless leader of this band of Christian Crusaders stabs his longtime friend when he feels that he has betrayed him by following One-Eye... then proclaims "Only men of faith deserve the riches of my new Jerusalem."

At the end, after facing off against the Christians, One-Eye sacrifices himself to a tribe of Mongol warriors in order to save the young boy who has served him throughout the movie. Now, could that be symbolic of a "Christ-like figure?" Finally, there appears to be symbolism of One-Eye moving on to Valhalla. I found it interesting to try to pick up on the movie's symbolism; then later read narrative of the "five parts" or acts of the film to see how close I was or wasn't.

3-4-14 Addition: It has come to my attention that they had sailed--not eastward--but westward to North America. So then the final part of the movie was probably somewhere in what is today Canada, and the Mongol warriors were actually Amerindians.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"Keep close to Nature's heart"

"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean."

--John Muir


Thursday, December 12, 2013

"Yule walk" - an individual tradition

Last evening, I engaged in what I have come to call my annual "Yule walk" after the defacto Winter and the approaching Yule. I started it some years ago without even thinking of it as a "thing" in of itself, or any type of annual "tradition." It can be whatever someone wants it to be, but for me it's a very individual tradition. It's an opportunity--two or three weeks before the chaos of Christmas and New Years--to take a reflective walk on a cold night by yourself. It should be a personal spiritual endeavor to connect with the past, present, and future at this dramatic weather-shifting time of the year. A time of the year that strongly feels like an "ending"... with a new "beginning" intuitively "visible" in the distance.

Several years ago, amidst some very negative issues for me, I took this reflective walk which resulted in a powerful spiritual experience... which then cemented the concept for me of actually naming it and making it an annual tradition. Last evening I had somewhat of an upset stomach... and somehow the spiritual sparks didn't happen for me. You cannot force it. I did enjoy it, and I did reflect on some of the things that I wanted to. Of course I could just go again, but somehow once in December feels right.

I hike all the time, but there's a difference here in that.. you should feel free to just stop at certain points when you see something that you would like to gaze at or when you want to complete an important thought. It isn't a walk in the woods, the foothills, or at the beach. You should be able to see some homes in the distance, which are lit up against the cold dark sky... and which may remind one of holiday seasons past. For me, I see some old homes in the distance, against the mountain slope. I have roots here, so I feel the full connection to the past; but that specific geographical element isn't entirely necessary as I will explain.

The brightest "star" in the sky is actually the planet Venus
I just wanted to describe what a perfect Yule walk is to me. For me, a Yule walk is like a December Samhain, therefore choosing the right time is important. Generally--Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday--are the best nights. Friday and Saturday are "busy evenings," Sunday evenings are filled with the pressure of starting a new week, and Monday evenings have a certain pressure associated with them. Mid-week just feels right... with Wednesday or Thursday usually perfect. Unlike Samhain, I think the mid-evening, 7-9 PM is best.

I recall many years ago, of a joyful experience when we were hit with an early cold season in November; so I wouldn't rule out--for myself--of having a November Yule walk. However, mid-December really seems most appropriate. I think a nice clear cold dark evening is best! It's best to choose a place which has special significance for you. I think a place that is neither remote nor too bustling... and relatively quiet. If you don't live in a place where you have roots... then perhaps a semi-urban setting at the base of a nearby mountain or high point. The mountain can then become your antennae to the world.. and the past. Also, an industrial section or a business park should be quiet at night; and they are well-lit in case you don't like to walk in a place that is too dark.

I remember back in the 90s, a movie called 'Beautiful Girls' which really brought up the issue of people from a small town coming back home for Christmas. In other words.... the polar opposites of--on one side--the image of a warm home with all of the relatives together on a cold Winter night during the holidays... and of--on the other side--people living far away from their roots for any number of reasons, usually economic. This issue is like a question which doesn't really have an answer. I remember I worked with a young woman from South San Francisco, who moved to New York City to be with a boyfriend from there, and six months later she came back saying "there's no place like home!" South City wasn't so bad after all.. within that idea. This concept is part of the Yule walk I think. 

There are certain issues that I like to ponder during this walk, and they usually relate to "the past" in relation to the present. Perhaps even things before your time, but within the basis of a certain continuity. However, all of this is tied to the personal perspective... your place in the world, over time. Not "ego," but how you fit into larger concepts over time. I mean, if you think about it, for example, "1890" really wasn't so long ago! There are many houses from that time still around. Your great grandparents, or two or three greats, were alive then... and they probably were with many relatives by the fireplace during the holidays... some "place." That long forgotten "place" is part of you, and part of the Yule walk.

Although my Yule walk didn't pan out exactly as I had hoped, I did have one experience which is worth mentioning. As one point, as I walked along a moon-lit trail on the outskirts of the city, I came to a fork in the trail. In one direction, a trail led to an old train tunnel; beyond which there was total darkness, and a place that one would not want to walk in at night. In the other direction, the moon-lit trail continued. In some ways, it could have represented the choices of fate that we make in life. As I stood there for a moment at this remote spot, an owl came by and landed on an awning above the ramp of a loading dock of a small well-maintained old-fashioned commercial building which was nettled against the trees of a lower mountain slope.

The large fluttering wings certainly got my attention, as well as a second owl  then landing next to the first one. After about ten seconds of staring at the owls' backs, which were slightly illuminated by the moon and distant lights, the owl on the far side of me leaned over and looked directly at me. Never before has any animal looked at me with such intensity as I looked upon it's slightly illuminated face... into those burning eyes. After a moment, they suddenly took off in my direction and flew off almost directly in the sky above me. If this was an animal messenger, then what was the message? The owl is a powerful ancient symbol of wisdom; and to me, it somehow represents the character trait of "firm but fair." Perhaps it was to share the spirit-wisdom of my Yule walk with others?

This walk should be crafted to fit your individual-self. It's a time to ponder different times and places in relation to your life; and it should be at a time where you don't feel rushed. It's a time where you should feel free to conjure up creative thoughts about time and place without having to ask for some special permission. Allow your mind to run free. Think about a favorite ancestor that you never knew. Look into the dark sky--at the moon, the mountaintop, or at Venus--and say their name out loud!! That person is still alive, because they are you. They may even hear you. Maybe they even see you if they're between lives and if the spirits open the door; and you may add the title of their relation to you or vice-versa, or anything else, out loud as well. The Yule walk is about spiritual-grounding, creativity, and connecting to the best of the past.... leading to hopefully bringing out the best in you in the coming year.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Now fragmented... Comet ISON is here

I somehow managed to miss the Science Channel special on Saturday, but YouTube is on fire with ISON videos of every type. Apparently the amazing above NASA video is from the initial flyby, where it later looped around the Sun closely, and was then broken and burned up quite a bit. The now dying comet is making it's way back again, and may be visible in the coming week... especially on the fifteenth. It appears that some of the debris will be heading into our atmosphere. So if you can stand sitting out on a clear cold night for an hour or two, you may see some of them burning up in the sky. The predawn hours are thought to be the best time for viewing.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Giant horned "Cernunnos-like" stone head in central China

"Shennong (the Divine Farmer) is the legendary originator of Chinese herbal medicine" (see 'The Lessons of Shennong'). If there were any temples of this magnitude relating to the very ancient horned god of Europe, then they were destroyed long ago with the rise of Christianity. Strangely, this stone face and it's backdrop look ancient European. "Horns" were an ancient symbol of strength, virility, fertility, and the warrior spirit in many places in the northern hemisphere.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

The 13 Witches' runes

The 13 runes

There is a complete rundown of the 13 Witches' runes on the Saturness blog. However, the owner of the blog does not seem to want any infringement of the material. I wanted to simply name the runes and give links to the Saturness blog.

Starting from the upper left (see above image):

Column 1 - Scythe, Flight, and Star

Column 2 - Man, Woman, and Sun

Column 3 - Eye, Rings, and Waves

Column 4 - Crossroads and Romance

Column 5 - Moon and Harvest

The 13 Witches Runes

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Comet ISON now upon us

Comet ISON

C/2012 S1 (Wikipedia)

C/2012 S1, also known as Comet ISON or Comet Nevski–Novichonok, is a sungrazing comet discovered on 21 September 2012 by Vitali Nevski (Виталий Невский, Vitebsk, Belarus) and Artyom Novichonok (Артём Новичонок, Kondopoga, Russia). The discovery was made using the 0.4-meter (16 in) reflector of the International Scientific Optical Network near Kislovodsk, Russia and the automated asteroid-discovery program CoLiTec. Precovery images by the Mount Lemmon Survey from 28 December 2011 and by Pan-STARRS from 28 January 2012 were quickly located. Follow-up observations were made on 22 September by a team from Remanzacco Observatory in Italy using the iTelescope network. The discovery was announced by the Minor Planet Center on 24 September. Observations by Swift in January 2013 suggested that C/2012 S1's nucleus was around 5 kilometers (3 mi) in diameter.

Comet ISON is apparently a previously unknown comet that will be orbiting around--and very close to--the Sun; after which it will be be visible to the naked eye as it continues its orbit past the Earth. I have heard that it possibly may appear as large as the Moon. YouTube is on fire with Comet ISON videos, from many different perspectives. For the casual seeker, looking up news articles may be better. What is rather creepy is that this is the one, and probably only orbit of this comet into the solar system. For all we know, it could crash into the Sun. The Sun will at least break it up somewhat, possibly leading to it's demise before our very eyes. There is an element of the unknown here. Some small debris has been hitting the Earth for several weeks now.

The comet will apparently be visible to the naked eye in a few days at predawn. I have heard the date of November 28 as the beginning of the faze where it will be easy to spot in the night sky. I have also heard that we may need binoculars to spot it. The "experts" seem to be at odds about how this will unfold. December 14 seems to be the date where it will be the most visible. Naturally it will be best observed away from the urban lights. Even a small distance away from urban centers make a big difference.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Methuselah: The world's oldest living tree

At 4,841 years old, this ancient bristlecone pine is the oldest known non-clonal organism on Earth. Located in the White Mountains of California, in Inyo National Forest, Methuselah's exact location is kept a close secret in order to protect it from the public. (An older specimen named Prometheus, which was about 4,900 years old, was cut down by a researcher in 1964 with the U.S. Forest Service's permission.) Today you can visit the grove where Methuselah hides, but you'll have to guess at which tree it is. Could this one be it?

The world's 10 oldest living trees (Mother Natural Network)


Saturday, November 16, 2013

‘The Conjuring’ (movie review) - Ghost programs and the metaphysical issue: Part 11

From The Conjuring Wikipedia page:

The Conjuring is a 2013 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wan. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star as Ed and Lorraine Warren who were American paranormal investigators and authors associated with prominent cases of haunting. Their reports inspired the Amityville Horror. The Warrens come to the assistance of the Perron family (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor), who are experiencing increasingly disturbing events in their farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island in 1971.

The Conjuring was released in the United States and Canada on July 19, 2013, and in the United Kingdom and India on August 6, 2013. The film has received positive reviews from film critics, and has also been praised by audiences. The film was also a box-office success, grossing over $313 million worldwide from its $20 million budget.

A Google-search shows that this movie has been reviewed many times in its four-month life. However, the point here.. is the study of the metaphysical world. Mainstream science studies 1) Earth, 2) Air, 3) Fire, 4) Water…. but never 5) Spirit. The mostly-false perception is that "they (scientists) must not be too quick to draw conclusions." NO.. they never study it, period! The Hegelian dialectic is more and more often now: Abrahamic religion vs. Atheism. Now what do these two competing concepts have in common? With very few exceptions, they simply will not study this subject objectively. Perhaps they were set up for just this very purpose?

I wasn’t very familiar with James Wan, but he did a good job with this. He let it be what it was, without overdoing it. It was a very scary movie; for me, partly because it was based on a real story. This was an entirely different type of movie than say the recent ‘Evil Dead’ remake. The basement from ‘The Conjuring’ was maybe the most frightening “horror movie cellar” ever seen on film.

Ed and Lorraine Warren are probably the most well-known paranormal investigators of all time. The book and movie ‘The Amityville Horror’ were based on one of their investigations. I wasn’t familiar with the actors here, but they were all good in their roles. Lili Taylor is popular because she brings a certain spirit and integrity to her characters. One of the early episodes of ‘A Haunting’ may have been based on this case, but I’m not certain.

‘The Conjuring’ starts out with the Warrens investigating a 1968 case, and debunking it. I think it was to show that most investigations don’t lead to anything paranormal, and in part.. to present both families’ lives prior to them coming together. Carolyn Perron was portrayed as having asked the Warrens to investigate their house after one of their public presentations, which was very proactive of her.

At the end of ‘The Conjuring’, a quote of the late Ed Warren was shown on the screen:

“Diabolical forces are formidable. These forces are eternal, and they exist today. The fairy tale is true. The devil exists. God exists. And for us, as people, our very destiny hinges upon which one we elect to follow.”

Although the Warrens have done a great service, both personal and scientific, to humanity with their investigations… I don’t think that their conclusions are automatically “gold.” To say that this must be--or that everything must be--God vs. the Devil, is like saying that Democrats or Republicans are the only choices in political science. They’re not; but the masses are herded into that mentality on many important subjects.

First of all, when negative forces are subdued, it is done using any religious or spiritual belief... usually that of the residents. Wiccan paranormal investigators can get rid of negative spirits or energy too. In other words... negative entities respond to ritual, but not any specific ritual. In the movie, the dark spirit was of a woman who had hanged herself and was referred to as “a witch.” Then she was to have worshiped Satan, and tried to sacrifice her own children to Satan. Excuse me.. but that clearly means that she was a “Satanist.” What is a Satanist really? It’s very possibly a person who conjures up dark spirits. In other words, there may--possibly--not really even be any “Satan.” Just because a person is unfortunate enough to come into contact with a powerful dark entity, does not mean that it has anything to do with the Biblical Satan.

In conclusion, a Satanic woman hanged herself in 1863... and with suicides automatically preventing the soul from moving on… her soul not only remained on the property, but through circumstance she actually became like a demonic entity. Her soul may even have had assistance by the dark spirit(s) that she dabbled in during her life. In any case, ghosts can sometimes achieve great power after a certain amount of time. Usually they just fade away. Ed Warren, who was a Demonologist, conflated this circumstance with his Christian faith. I just don’t believe that this connection automatically applies to every case like this.

Lastly, it should always be factored into any metaphysical study that the positive far outweighs the negative. When great things happen to people, they just accept it; but when terrible things happen to people, they take notice. Maybe those great things occurred with the assistance of positive/good spirits? I hate to say it, but the vast majority of us are probably "spiritual ingrates." The metaphysical world is one of the last frontiers. The other being space travel.

Atheists, in reality, are acting in a highly unscientific manner when they are too smug with anti-religious politics that they dismiss metaphysical science. It's either all or nothing to them. At least a small number of Christians think that this is an area worth study. So far, this study has concluded that there is a "soul process," but not necessarily a god(s). Personally, I think that the god or gods of antiquity are actually powerful spirits... good, evil, and everything in-between. It's not necessarily a fair spirit-world either. We have to fix this world; they can merely assist us.

A sequel to 'The Conjuring' has already been announced.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

That first winter feeling – Part 2

I had stated earlier that the cold and rain season was upon us. However, with temperatures this week in the late 60s and 70s in northern California--and with no rain in sight--I was wrong. Usually there's a sharp break, with the Indian Summer quickly graduating into early November cold. Somehow we're having a strange late quasi-Indian Summer. However, with the Harvest Festival at the San Mateo County this coming weekend, this weather seems to fit the mood.

Last evening, I was hiking in my usual walk through the northern Santa Cruz Mountain chain starting at twilight. Soon it was dark, and the moon illuminated the trails. There's almost something magical in how the moonlight (about 80-85% full) lights the trail only... while the brush, shrub, and forest remains dark. Still, in the wooded trails, the moonlight shines through the treeline... creating a beautiful panorama of light and shadow. The warm air, the illuminated wood, and occasional eye shine caught at the end of my flashlight beam.

Soon I was upon a spot in the trail where about ten weeks ago a tree had fallen. Strangely, very strangely, the thick lower stem seemed to just break in half. It had shredded in half like a popsickle or toothpick would if you snapped it in half. Initially the smell of cedar was strong, just like a cedar-scented box. About two weeks later, after a wet night followed by a warm day, the cedar smell was powerful. Last night though, it was almost gone.

Finally I made my way through the darkness to what I have started to call "Raccoon grove," where the woods turn to heavy brush, and a clan of about two dozen raccoons have made their home in the last year. About five days ago, although I am aware that many will doubt me since I have no photo evidence, about fifteen racoons met me directly upon the trail. I stopped, and they stopped. Some of them stood up on two feet, perhaps in an attempt to intimidate me. Finally I scrapped my shoe against the ground a bit, and they began to part to the side of the trail. Raccoons can never be taken lightly. They can weigh up to thirty pounds, possess powerful jaws and sharp teeth, and hands that can grasp with very sharp fingernails. Once I saw one which must have been at least forty pounds.

However, on this evening, they were more scattered. There are two young raccoons who are particularly curious that I saw yet again. About a week ago, they were both on two feet as I walked down the trail. They seemed to be concerned about something... as they kept looking down the trail ahead, and back to me again. Finally, like from a segment from a nature program, a baby raccoon galloped up the trail, turned next to the two older ones, and moved quickly into their brush den. Clearly, as though they were human, they were concerned about the little one... and me, being a potential threat.

A little further down the trail, I saw a thirty-pounder on the side of the trail. Raccoons are only really dangerous if they feel threatened, but I always am wary of them. I shined my flashlight back at it as I passed. I don't know if I ever really thought of a raccoon as a "beautiful animal," but that's how it struck me as my light illuminated the big animal. As I have stated before, I see them as like "little bears." The woods would be a ghost town without them.

I have noticed that the blackberry bushes are still ripe with blackberries. I have observed more blackberry picking this past year than I have seen before. However, I was thinking, aren't those blackberries supposed to be for the animals? Humans get angry if animals raid their crops; but aren't the blackberry bushes the "animals' crops?"

It's probably pretty safe to say that by two more weeks, the cold and rain season will be in full swing. I look forward to a few of those delightfully chilly morning hikes through the foothills. Although it's about four miles from the Pacific coast, the cold breeze is of the ocean... and I enjoy those morning coastal hikes at about nine-hundred feet elevation.

In Odinic tradition, November 11 is called "Ancestors' Blot." A blot is a Heathen ritual gathering. Over the last few years, I have sort've just non-voluntarily developed a ritual that I now call my "Yule walk." On a clear cold late-fall evening, I take a walk through a place where I feel a connection to the past. I may not really be able to put the feeling into words, but it's my own "ancestors' blot" you could say. I see the "Yule walk" as being an individual ritual. Only you know what day, time, and place works best for you; and what deep-timeless connections that you wish to make.

As with the sunny weather of late winter, I come to enjoy the early cold season once I incline myself to let go of the fall weather. For some unknown reason, I can really recall some harsh weather we had in the second half of November 88. It stuck in my memory because for the first time I remember the slightly ominous feeling that our ancestors must have had with similar November weather... with the knowledge that there was still months of similar weather ahead.

Living against the mountains.. during those dark rainy winter mornings... I love to look up at that great treeline, and into it's wonderful darkness. The one trail leading into it appears dark. The tall treeline, reaching up to one hundred feet, looks like a tall wooden fence against the side of the last paved road before the mountain assent.... guarding the mysteries of the mountain.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

'Samhain Song' - Lisa Thiel

"Samhain" (pronounced "Sah-win") is actually on November 1st at midnight. Although a few days late, this is a nice song.

11-20-13 Addition: I wanted to add the excellent lyrics to this song:

'Samhain song'

Samhain, Samhain, let the ritual begin,
We call upon our sacred ancestors to come in
Samhain, Samhain, we call upon our kin,
We call upon our dear departed loved ones to come in

The Veil between the worlds is thin
Our hearts reach cross the sea of time
To bring our loved ones in
Samhain, Samhain we honor all our kin
We honor those who’ve gone before
As the Great Wheel turns again

Samhain, Samhain we call upon our kin
We call upon our Sacred Ancestors to come in
Samhain, Samhain we call them to come in
We call upon our dear departed loved ones to come in


1-16-14 Addition: I had meant to add something here earlier. Something that came to my mind that I thought captured the spirit of this song. I recall years ago, of watching a program on tv about "angels." In particular, I recall an account by a man who said that he remembers as a young boy that he climbed up a tall tree... and he fell. As he was falling, and possibly on his way to death, he felt being gripped by invisible hands. These hands broke his fall, and guided him to the ground safely and unharmed. Could the spirit(s) of his sacred ancestors have intervened on his behalf? This song reflects love for our ancestors, and could this account be a reflection of our ancestral spirits' love for us?


Monday, November 4, 2013

Northern Runes Radio

Northern Runes Radio had been a podcast, and is now an online radio station featuring the theme of Asatru and related music coming out of Canada. They are affiliated with the Asatru Folk Assembly. They have a regular weekly schedule, and the broadcast goes twenty-four hours a day via the music feed and rebroadcasts.

Northern Runes Radio site

Northern Runes Radio alternate site

Wodenson/NRR YouTube channel

Asatru Update/Steve McNallen posting regarding NRR


Saturday, November 2, 2013

'The Rules of Braucherei' by Silver RavenWolf

'The Rules of Braucherei' by Silver RavenWolf

Braucherei (Pow-Wow) actually has very few rules.  If we study the system and its practitioners over the last 300 years, we learn that the practice was often solitary, eclectic, environmentally and culturally driven.  There was no single one right way to practice and the methods and procedures used were as varied as the individuals employing them.  There are, however, two vital rules to the practice and they are:

1.  The practitioner must believe.

2.  Everything must be done in sequences of three.

[Above: Family Protection and Happiness Hex Sign designed by Silver RavenWolf]

For example, all chants charms and methods must be done at least three times, times three, multiplied by three.  I know it sounds a little confusing.   Every charm or chant must be vocalized a total of nine times, on three different occasions, which equals any charm or chant being said a total of twenty-seven times.  This can vary, for example, when mixing chants and charms, the numbers can change.  Therefore, this is only a general rule.  Let’s continue on with just a few more commonalities of the system, each representing a vital piece of the Braucherei puzzle.

The following common practices are not necessarily rules, but can be found in almost every working.  They are:

1.  The practice of stating the individual’s full name before beginning a session, whether it be for yourself or someone else.  It is common, for women, to use both married and maiden surnames.

2.  The practice of deep breathing before a session.  Three breaths are vital, nine better.

3.  The practice of telling the client to concentrate on their religious deity.  Often, it is suggested they close their eyes to focus more intently.

4.  The practice of whispering all chants or charms when there is any chance of being overheard.  This is an absolute must, especially around unbelievers or those who may not feel comfortable with some of the charm derivations.

5.  The practice of short breaths after each charm — the blowing of white spirit light or God/dess into the body. Some do it after every stanza, others wait until after all nine repetitions as they are concentrating on building the power and the inserting of breath, especially when learning, can ruin your focus.  These short breaths can turn into a magickal sound of your own.  If that occurs, do not be surprised.  Let the sound flow uninhibited (just don’t scare the heck out of the client — wailing would be unacceptable).

6.  The practice of sealing the work by drawing a sigil or equal-armed cross in the air with the right or left thumb (whichever hand is dominant).

7.  The practice of washing one’s hands after a working, some insist on doing this under running water, where others will have a bowl of clean water nearby so they don’t have to leave the client, and

8.  The practitioner cannot take the credit for the result, either way.  That’s why they call it trying. You can only try — the healing is up to the client and their belief.

If we dig deeply, we find the Braucherei system relies on the following foundation:

To Believe
To Think (Visualize)
To Take Action/Feel
To Be Silent

Sound familiar?

An integral part of the Braucherei system is the various chants and charms garnered from non-religious as well as religious sources.  Most of the chants and charms used in Pow-Wow system are not lengthy for the ease of remembrance and repetition.  Although planning is lovely in magick, Pow-Wow is meant to be a system that can be used any time, anywhere, for anyone.  Hence, you will find few tools necessary, and in many cases you are the only tool required.


Monday, October 21, 2013

'Nick Montana chases his dream'

'Nick Montana chases his dream'

Ann Killion - San Francisco Chronicle - October 20, 2013

New Orleans --

Down on the floor of the Superdome, with time ticking down, quarterback Montana coolly led his team down the field, ripping off first down after first down, making plays with his arm and his feet. When the game-winning field goal was good, Montana lifted his arms in triumph.

Up in the stands, Joe Montana also stood and cheered, along with his wife Jennifer. Their son Nick was the calm two-minute master of the Superdome this month, leading Tulane to a homecoming victory, despite playing the final part of the game with an injured shoulder.

"He was the best at that," Nick Montana said of his father's late-game heroics. "If I could be anywhere near that, it would be nice. But I felt pretty calm out there."

It's a fact of life for the 21-year old junior that, thanks to the name on the back of his jersey and the DNA in his body, he'll always be compared to arguably the greatest quarterback of all time.

"I feel bad for him, with that part of it," Joe said. "It's hard, expectations-wise."

But the Montanas, who live in San Francisco yet are in the stands for every Tulane game, feel good that Nick has found a program where he can play. And where he is, so far, having success.

After years of being at the bottom of the Division I pile, and a rebuilding project in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Tulane football is experiencing a resurgence. A new coach, a new stadium being built on campus (to open in 2014) and a quarterback named Montana have helped bring winning college football back to New Orleans.

Though Nick's shoulder injury forced him to sit out last week, Tulane won again and at 5-2 is one win from bowl eligibility for the first time since the 2002 season.

Nick's path has been roundabout. He first attended De La Salle High in Concord, but after his older brother, Nate, graduated he urged his parents to help him find a program where he would get a chance to pass the ball and have a shot of playing in college. Nick transferred to Oaks Christian in Southern California and became a four-star recruit. He chose the University of Washington, in part because he knew coach Steve Sarkisian from football camps at USC and because, with Jake Locker's pending departure, there was an opportunity at quarterback.

But in his redshirt freshman year, Nick lost the starting job to Keith Price, who has helped Washington gain a top-20 ranking.

"He saw the writing on the wall," Jennifer said. "To his own admittance, he took too much for granted. It was a big learning curve for him. A nice, humiliating experience. He understands it takes a lot more."
Once again, Nick asked his parents to help him transfer, this time to a junior college so that he could play rather than sit out a year.

"He didn't want to sit," said Joe, who never wanted to sit during his own career. "Sitting out bothered him more than playing at a JC. Our hats are off to him. He could have failed."

Joe and Jennifer, like so many parents, felt they could have done things differently for Nate, who was a backup at Notre Dame and started pursuing a chance to play too late.

"We knew not to make the same mistakes with Nick," Joe said.

Nick took the opportunity at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut (Los Angeles County) and turned it into a springboard back into Division I.

"It was definitely humbling," Nick said. "It was tough, but it was a good experience."

Nick wanted a school where he could get a chance to compete as a transfer. His parents liked Tulane because of its strong academics. Nick was also excited about the offensive philosophy at Tulane: Second-year coach Curtis Johnson was the wide receivers coach for the Saints and uses the Saints' offense.

"Drew Brees was one of my favorite quarterbacks growing up," Nick said.

Nick is too young to remember his father playing. He wasn't alive when Joe won Super Bowl XXIV in the Superdome, where Tulane plays its home games. He doesn't realize how his new town was tortured by his father's winning ways against the Saints.

In fact, for years, Nick resisted Joe's advice.

"Yeah, I went through that whole stage: 'He's my Dad, what does he know?' " Nick said. "It took me awhile before I realized I should go and ask him questions any chance I get."

Joe didn't offer too much unsolicited input.

"Still, even back in Pop Warner, the coaches had high expectations," Joe said. "Did they think I was teaching him how to take snaps in the backyard?"

The Montanas' oldest child, Alexandra, is in law school at Loyola Marymount. The second, Elizabeth, has been inspired by her brothers' pursuit of their dreams to chase her own, trying to become an actress. Nate, who had a tryout at pro day with the 49ers last spring but wasn't invited to camp, has returned to the University of Montana to finish his degree.

Nick's parents say he has always been a master of disguise, introducing himself by fake names and playing practical jokes on the phone by pretending to be someone else. When he arrived at Tulane he introduced himself to other students as simply Nick.

"He's just trying to fit in," Jennifer said.

He purposely doesn't wear No. 16. But there's no escaping the name on the back of the jersey.

Ann Killion is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. E-mail: Twitter: @annkillion


Sunday, October 20, 2013

That first winter feeling

I was hiking in the late afternoon yesterday, and as the mild wind hit me, I felt that biting cold. It was a particular type of "cold" that hinted at one thing: "winter." Although the horizon looked fall to the eyes, it's clear that winter is approaching. Sure, technically winter may be two months away; but practically-speaking, the cold and rain season start on November 1st. It depends, sometimes the "Indian summer" can even stretch into early November here; but we haven't had a particularly warm Indian summer this year. I suspect that the cold season will be in full affect at the start of the month.

In a strange way, I feel a slight sadness at the start of November and in mid-March. I become sort've accustomed to both the warm and cold seasons, and don't want to let them go. I think that from my ancestral memory, I don't want to let go of the warm season because that marks the end of the harvest season, and the start of harsh conditions... historically speaking. I think that I don't want to let the cold season go because my ancestors largely lived in similar weather, and I feel a degree of subconscious comfort in that.

As I was hiking along one side of a mountain valley in the Santa Cruz Mountain chain, and as I felt the chill of the wind, I looked towards the mountain on the other side. It looked dark and foreboding against the early twilight western sky. I felt that I understood a little how our pagan ancestors viewed the seasons, especially as it affected their lives, their harvests. Ancestral memory can manifest in a type of déjà vu.

"At the dawn of time there was man and nature." --'Valhalla Rising'


Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Grand Medicine Lodge

I am currently reading a book entitled 'Murder in Minnesota' (Trenerry; 1962). In one chapter, law enforcement authorities from the new frontier state were searching for a Chippewa Amerindian who was wanted for the murder of a settler family. This was 1872, on the frontier of eastern Minnesota.

Excerpt from page 64:

At Sandy Lake on May 20, 1872, the Pillager (a Chippewa band) were holding a ceremonial of the Grand Medicine Lodge, a complex socioreligious society of considerable importance to the Chippewa. By late afternoon the group of several hundred men and women was in a mixed state of religious exaltation and drunkenness. Into the lion's den walked three white men to arrest the principal chief's nephew; Whitehead, the special agent, and D.O. Preston and George W. Holland, Brainerd attorneys.

For some reason, when I read "the Grand Medicine Lodge, a complex socioreligious society of considerable importance to the Chippewa," I thought of various other esoteric societies... and perhaps how the cultural forerunners of those societies had existed openly like this. For example, the German Builders' Guild or the Minnesinger Order. While those esoteric societies may have focused around architecture, symbolism, and sacred geometry--and perhaps the Grand Medicine Lodge may have focused on medicine and metaphysics--ultimately various societies of native believers have a lot in common.

Freemasonic, Rosicrucian, or Kabbalistic occult orders are--while similar in some ways--different in that they're not folkish associations. Personally, this is why I admire orders like the Grand Medicine Lodge or the Minnesinger Order. I don't see much virtue in any people pushing their way into, and meddling with cultures other than their own... such as what Westerners try to do with Hawaiian or Amerindian traditions. Admiration, study, or friendship should be sufficient.

A lot of cultures, like the Chippewa tribe, still possess their native traditions; while those of the West had been driven underground, like the German Builders' Guild (Odinic/Heathen). Every person in the world descended from pagan tribes, which all had institutions of knowledge like the Grand Medicine Lodge for tens of thousands of years.

Personally, I don't see any conflict between a persons Christian beliefs and what they could see as their native spiritual-cultural pursuit! You can have all the technology in the world, but if you lose all sense of yourself and of your ancient roots... you're lost. Everything doesn't have to be a competition either (capitalism, sports, material gain, political power, etc.); or, perhaps we need a new "competition" to see who can do the most to save our environment?

Midewiwin (Wikipedia)

The Midewiwin (also spelled Midewin and Medewiwin) or the Grand Medicine Society is a secretive religion of the aboriginal groups of the Maritimes, New England and Great Lakes regions in North America. Its practitioners are called Midew and the practices of Midewiwin referred to as Mide. Occasionally, male Midew are called Midewinini, which sometimes is translated into English as "medicine man."


Friday, October 18, 2013

'Pan's Labyrinth' (movie review)

'Pan's Labyrinth' - From 'The Greatest Movies Ever' (#24):

"Goya meets Alice in Wonderland in this genre-obliterating tour de force," Kinn and Piazza write of the 2005 film directed by Guillermo del Toro. "Intermingling dark and shimmering special-effects imagery with an abiding respect for character, del Toro questions our notion of the polarity between reality and imagination." The director was next to author Stephen King at a screening of the film and saw King shifting uncomfortably at some of the gorier sections. Del Toro said it was the greatest moment of his life. Actor Doug Jones played the creepy Pale Man and the Faun that speaks with girl explorer Ofelia, and he was the only American involved with the production as well as the only person who didn't speak Spanish. He had to memorize his lines as well as those of star Ivana Baquero, who played Ofelia, so he would understand when he was supposed to speak.

The protagonist is a little girl named Ofelia, whose widowed mother has just married a high ranking Fascist officer in 1944 Spain. They are going to live with him in a remote wooded mountain location, while he administers a local effort to crush the anti-Fascist rebels. It's not clear to me as to whether or not the rebels are Communists, or merely resisting a dictatorship. Clearly, they are portrayed as the "force of good"; and the Falange-Fascists are portrayed as evil, and in particular her stepfather is shown as an amoral monster! I mean, this guy outdoes any "Nazi character" or "evil stepfather" ever portrayed on film! Personally, I don't believe that Communists--with their clear history of incredible mass murder of tens of millions--are any better than Fascists, but that's another issue for another time. Through the dark imagery of the film, there is a whole tense social situation there, with rebels on the inside, and this little girl is right in the middle of this darkness and violence.

She is slowly guided into the spiritual milieu of "Pan," a ram-horned underworld entity. Since the director, Guillermo del Toro, has directed numerous films with Satanic-themes... I suspect that, to him, Pan represented Satan. Del Toro even said that the character is not Pan, but a "faun." He was portrayed as "firm but fair" (similar to the God of the Bible) as opposed to Captain Vidal.. who was a brutal torturer and murderer. The faun did say that Ofelia was "born from the Moon," of which she had a crescent moon birthmark that he reminded her of. This hints at the ancient Euro-pagan "horned god" and the "Moon goddess"... in other words, "European Witchcraft."

Slowly, the noble-hearted Ofelia, an avid reader of fairy tales, is drawn to the faun though an old nearby "Labyrinth." On a side note, a Labyrinth is a particularly important spiritual symbol to the ancient Camunni... as well as with a lot of other ancient peoples around the world. After awhile, amid Captain Vidal's dark heart and brutality, the faun doesn't seem like such a bad guy. The faun never confronts Captain Vidal, even though he believes that Ofelia is the soul of his long lost daughter. Despite his power, he operates and interacts with humans within the concept of "free will"... similar again to the God of the Bible. Also similar to the Biblical God, he suggests mortal violence as a means to "test an individual."

One character, who slowly grows on you during the movie, is Mercedes, Vidal's head housekeeper and sister of one of the rebel leaders. She is a good-hearted, strong, and brave character who takes a strong liking to Ofelia, and helps give her at least some kind of support system in this mess. Within this struggle for the soul of that nation, I found myself--for brief instances--thinking of Mercedes as a figure like Juana Galán.. maybe a national symbol if events had unfolded differently, if one could muse about a fictional character. There are three Spanish actors--in particular--whose great performances really make this movie. Sergi López as Captain Vidal, Maribel Verdú as Mercedes, and Ivana Bacquero as Ofelia. This movie won a lot of awards, which you can see in the 'Pan's Labyrinth' Wikipedia page. The ending of this film is very dramatic, but I don't want to spoil it.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Guido von List: Part 26 - The Mystery of the Vehme: Entry B

Barnstar (Wikipedia)

A barnstar (or barn star, primitive star, or Pennsylvania star) is a decorative painted object or image, often in the shape of a five-pointed star but occasionally in a circular "wagon wheel" style, used to adorn a barn. They have no structural purpose, but may be considered lucky, akin to a horseshoe mounted over a doorway. They are especially common in Pennsylvania and frequently seen in German-American farming communities.


Barnstars were meant to represent the mark of the builder, but became more frequently used for aesthetic purposes and were added to the building after construction was complete. Enthusiasts have traced a number of wooden barnstars to individual builders in the Pennsylvania area, where numerous examples can still be seen.

Barnstars were used in the United States during the 18th century and as late as 1870 in Pennsylvania, where their popularity increased greatly following the Civil War. Their regular use preceded that time, however, and stars were commonplace on large buildings, particularly factories, in pre-war Richmond, Virginia.[1]

Barnstars remain a very popular form of decoration and modern houses are sometimes decorated with simple, metal, five-pointed stars which the makers describe as "barn-stars". They are often deliberately distressed or rusted, alluding to the traditional decoration.


If you connected the barnstar with the hex signs within Pennsylvania Dutch culture, then you are correct. All of this has an origin in pre-Christian German magical societies and Heathenry, but later revived into Christian society... just as Guido von List described. The above link continues...

Other star-shaped plates
On older buildings in the Pennsylvania Dutch area of the United States it is still possible to find barnstar-like building adornments which are painted, rather than wooden or metal, known as hex signs. Strictly speaking, they are defined apart from barnstars and visually bear only passing resemblance, but the two are often confused and their names are even regarded as interchangeable.[1] Some hex signs incorporate star shapes, while others may take the form of a rosette or contain pictures of birds and other animals.[5]

The term barnstar has been incorrectly applied to star-shaped anchor plates that are used for structural reinforcement, particularly on masonry buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. These are made of cast iron and are used as tie plates serving as the washers for tie rods. The tie-rod-and-plate assembly serves to brace the masonry wall against tilting or lateral bowing.

Some Wiki-based communities give their users an award called a "barnstar", as a continuation of the "barn raising" metaphor. This originated on MeatballWiki. The image that is frequently used for this purpose is actually a photo of one of the structural tie plates described above, not of a barnstar proper.

Pow-wow (folk magic) [Wikipedia]

Pow-wow, called Braucherei in Deitsch, is a system of American folk religion and magic associated with the Pennsylvania Dutch.

"Hexerei" is the German magical-spiritual tradition; but "Braucherei or Speilwerk" is heavily tied to Christian practice. This sounds very suspiciously like... "permission from daddy"... to play with magic. A little modern reminder and leftover from the "burning times." There are, of course, examples of this from all Christian societies. The above link goes into much greater detail and history.

There have been many complex underground pagan traditions tied to Christian cultures, "hiding in plain sight," and not just German or European. I fully understand the power in symbolism of this.. and how it has become so habit forming over the centuries. The pagan spirit has become so institutionalized within Christianity! I recall a news article from earlier this year, of a man in another country who was released from prison after a lengthy prison sentence. He was begging the authorities to "allow him to stay." That is "institutionalized."

Still, I understand. It's a fun and creative endeavor to craft symbolism within something. It draws upon a unique individual expression. The rural tradition of "Upper Michigan folk medicine," brought there originally by women from the Italian Alps, survives within a Catholic culture. Those women would, of course, say that they're good Catholics.

Pennsylvania Dutch Pow-wow (YouTube)

Powwow: Braucherei (YouTube)