Monday, April 22, 2013

Light and Darkness

          Every human being on this planet has both light and darkness within them. All beings in nature have a light and a dark side. It is the nature of existence.

          That light and darkness is expressed in many different ways in the varying life forms on our planet. We as humans seem to be the only creatures which are out of balance with this natural duality. We seek to suppress the darker sides of our nature. We seek to deny that it is there, believing instead that it is a sinister evil that much be destroyed. This only forces them to the surface in sudden violent ways, much like a volcano erupting. 

          To be truly happy, to be truly free, we must accept and embrace all parts of ourselves, the good and the bad, the light and the dark. When we do that we will find we come whole.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Religion or Spirituality.... what's the difference?

          This was an image someone posted on Facebook the yesterday. The quote is from Deepak Chopra who is an American physician, a holistic health/New Age guru, and one of America's most notable alternative medicine practitioners. It really got me to thinking about the difference between religion and spirituality.

          The word religion has such a bad connotation for so many now days. They have been hurt or burnt so badly with whatever religion they were following that the mere thought of religion turns them away. In many cases they are right to feel this way. Religion has become about forcing others to follow a set of rules that were created by someone else, someone far detached from those trying to follow it's teachings. It is about believing in what someone else has experienced.

          While spirituality is about expanding, exploring the nature of the divine yourself, and having your own personal experiences which broaden your mind and soul. No one can teach you spirituality. No one can make you have a spiritual experience. This is something that comes from deep inside you. It is something that has to happen so you may experience the revelation it beings all on your own. But most importantly spirituality is your own personal journey.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Terrariums... great way to spruce up living spaces.

container gardening picture of three terrariums

I am always trying to find ways of bringing life and greenery in my home and work space. A friend on Facebook shared a link to a site that was about creating terrariums out of very decorative glass containers. I thought I would share this with you since plants and growing them is such a passion for me. I hope you like! I will share photos through a post as I begin to build some terrariums for the spaces in my life.

How To Make Terrariums By Kerry Michaels, Guide

Video Documentary about ADF

For those of you who are interested check out this great video on YouTube about ADF. An ADF member posted the link on Facebook. It is also great to share with family and friends that want to understand who we are and what we do.

Osmosis as power? Oh really?

I remember studying about osmosis in grade school. I thought 'what a really cool way for things in nature to create energy.' Well it appears humanity is now using it to generate green energy. Like wind and solar, it is not the end answer for our power consumption. However, with all the technologies combined we will free ourselves of oil. It is foolish to believe that ONE source of green energy will save us. It will take a culture change with many different sources of energy to do this. Take a look at the article. I think you will find it as interesting as I did.

World's first osmotic power plant opens in Norway

Monday, April 15, 2013

A nation of "wickedness"? Oh Really!?

          I saw an interesting sign on the way to work today outside a Church. ; it stated “Living in a Wicked Society.” It was most interesting because from what I have seen in the past few years the ones who have been so wicked are those that are preaching the evils of the nation. However, even that is just prospective.

          There are many definitions or the word “wicked.” The one I see being most applicable is “causing or likely to cause harm, distress, or trouble.” (Merriam-Webster) By this definition, the very people preaching the “wickedness” of American society are the ones who are creating the environment.

          Take the fight for women’s equal rights. This should have been something over and done with, yet it is not. Republicans, the majority who are radical Christians, are trying their best to deny women the right to have control over their own bodies. They are trying to prevent women from getting equal pay in the same jobs as men. This is “wicked” because it causes harm and distress for women.

          These same people are trying to deny homosexuals from having equal rights as their heterosexual counter parts. Their religion tells, according to their interpretation, that homosexuality is a sin. They deny any other possible beliefs that could see this differently. So they work to deny equal rights to tax paying Americans. This causes a great deal of harm and distress.

          And then there is the “wickedness” of this group which works very hard to shine a bad light on all other religious beliefs but their own. Muslims have been painted as evil “wicked” people who want nothing more than to destroy Americans and Christianity. Yes, there are some extremist groups who do feel this way; just like in the Christian faith. But by no means is it all Muslims. If any one takes the time to read the Koran you will find that most of it is comprised of the Old Testament of the Christ Bible, which comes from part of the Jewish holy book the Torah. Through the use of fear and slander these Christian extremists are causing a great deal of harm and distress to those of other faiths.

          So in conclusion… much of the “wickedness” of our nation is actually being generated from fanatical religious extremists bound to force their religious beliefs and morals on everyone else in the world.

The Sun state building a Sun city!


Florida is taking the effort, money and time to create the first solar-powered city. This is a huge step that could be filled with risks. But despite these potential financial risks, they are moving forward with the project. Take a look at the article.

World's first solar-powered city planned in Florida

Friday, April 12, 2013

Who knew going green would be... well GREEN!

We hear everyday about going green. We hear how this tech or that tech will help us become more green. Well this new building is taking going green to a new level. The tech and science behind it are actually GREEN. It is the first building ever to build so that it functions off algae! Read the article and flip through the gallery. This is truly an amazing step forward in saving our species.

World's first algae-powered building switches on

Thursday, April 11, 2013

An Invocation to Hermes

Oh Great One, Swift fleet footed herald of the gods,
You who are the son of the great Zeus and the blessed nymph Maia,
Smiling Lord of shepherds and merchants,
We call to you!

Master of travel, roads seen and unseen,
You who ushers the living after death into the realm of Hades,
Lord of time and space between the worlds,
We call you!

Most cunning and shrewd among the immortals,
God of balanced energies and esoteric magics,
Walker among the dreams of mortals,
We call to you!

Might Hermes,
Come to you at this time of magic,
When life is at its peak and death has waned,
We make offerings to you and ask that you be with us now!

Blessed Hermes accept our offerings!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Illness and Ritual in ADF Druidry

Here is an article I posted in OakLeaves, an ADF publication, a few years back. Hope you enjoy.

A few months back there was a thread in the ADF Dedicant's Program List that talked about people doing ritual when they were ill. There seemed to be the idea that being ill was like being unclean and therefore unfit for doing ritual. In general practice I can see that there would be some valid points to the argument when it comes to health, especially in a group setting, but at the same time I can see where this kind of thought could become a major issue within our religion.

In everyday life everyone at some point gets sick. It simply is a part of the human condition that we must all live with. If someone has a cold or the flu maybe they should abstain from being at ritual. It would not be very responsible to be there spreading it around to everyone there. Beyond the fact of spreading an illness there is also the issue of someone that is ill disrupting the ritual it self. Of course they would not be doing such a thing intentionally but someone that is coughing, sneezing and sniffing their nose every few minutes can break the flow of ritual. There can also be the danger that if the ill person has been taking cold medications they could stumble, falling into the fire and getting burned or even hitting something hard during their fall. But these are issues with passing or seasonal illnesses.  (You should also mention the possibility of the sick person being contagious and thus causing others to become sick as well.)

One concern with this train of thought is that there are other types of illness people can experience. I took the conversation on this thread pretty seriously. I do not like the idea of people with any illness being unfit for ritual or even magical workings for that matter. One of the things that most people don’t stop to think about is the fact someone with a chronic or even terminal illness could be listening to what they are saying. I know everyone has the right to their opinions. That’s what makes free will so wonderful. But we pride ourselves in ADF for our stride towards excellence. I hope that this essay will help some people out there get a little closer to that excellence.

I can not speak for others; my words speak only for myself. I am person living with a terminal illness. It is something that won’t ever go away. It can’t be cured. And in the end it will more than likely claim my life. But does it make me unclean or unfit to do ritual?

  I do not think for one moment that it does. The illness does not contaminate the tools I use. It does not taint the flow of energy that runs through my body as I do my rituals or magical workings. And it certainly doesn't taint anyone working with me that shares energy during a ritual or magic work. On the contrary, I find that it helps to fight the poisonous life that is surging through my body. Since coming to ADF and studying the Druid way, I have learned to focus the Waters of Life’s blessings into a burning light that fills my body, purging me of illness a little each time. It is a time of healing that I cannot find anywhere else.

  But there is another very important factor in doing ritual even though I have this illness. I find a connection with the Kindreds that gives me the strength and courage to continue on each day despite the fact that little by little my body is failing me. I find hope in Their presence. I find a renewal for my soul that otherwise would have aged beyond my years. I do not believe that the Kindreds feel that I shouldn't be approaching Them because of this. I actually feel the opposite is true. When I turn to the Kindreds I feel a happiness and warmth, a sense of harmony that tells me I am doing right by Them turning to Their love.

Though a passing cold or flu may make you unfit to share the Waters of Life with other members of your grove because of health and hygiene issues, having a chronic or terminal illness does not exclude you; you are not unclean nor unfit to share with those around you. Try to remember that the next time you are standing by someone new at ritual. You never know who is in need of the powers that the Kindred have to offer the fit or the ill.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

An Invocation to Hekate

O Hecate, Triple One, Moon Maiden, Mother and Crone beautiful, awesome and wise we call to you. 

Beautiful Hecate in maiden form ever watchful of all worlds traveling to the heaven, earth, sea and down below, you who stands at the crossroads Queen of mysteries, Goddess of all, we look to you for strength in all endeavors. 

We call to you!

Maternal Hecate in the mother form; lovely loving protector of pregnant women and guardian of the threshold of life we invoke you for healthy babies coming into this world, and healthy mothers giving life. Goddess of Transformation, you who holds the knife that cuts the cord from birth to life, and life to death, be with us.

We call to you!

Crone Hecate seer of all knowing, all secrets of life and death we invoke you to see deep into the past and beyond the future. Through you we may speak to the ancestors and to unborn generations, guide us.

We call to you!

O Hecate, weaver of lives, keeper of the hounds, guardian of the gate, acknowledge us, who, by our own choice have chosen to listen to your voice. Help us spread Wisdom, Truth, Love and Light.
We call to you!

Bright and Blessed Hecate, 
Come to you at this time of magic,
When life is at its peak and death has waned,
We make offerings to you and ask that you be with us now!

Glorious Hecate accept our offerings!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Another Indoor Gardening Innovation

I am so happy to see that Indoor Gardening has become so innovative in the past 10 years. Well here is a KickStarter Indoor Gardening system that is small, compact, and pretty darn easy to use. Take a look at their KickerStart site. I think this is well worth investing in! The more we grow ourselves the more we can control what goes into our foods and thus become more healthy!

Mattias Lepp's Smart Herb Garden

The question of being a vegetarian... why?

I know this is not going to be spark some anger with my vegan or vegetarian friends but it's something that has been on my mind as a Pagan.

So... first off humans beings evolved  as omnivorous. We have teeth for both rending meat and for grinding vegetables. We have to work hard to have a healthy diet if we choice a vegetarian/vegan life style. Our systems in general are not well adapted at being just herbivores.

As a Druid I believe that all things are filled with a life force. For me those things that grow are 'living' creatures. This includes plants as well as animals. I have always believed that plants, though perhaps not as nearly as 'conscious' as say more complex life, is still conscious none the less.

With that in mind I once asked a friend why he was a vegetarian (btw we were having dinner together with a bunch of our other friends). He remark was because farming practices were so cruel to animals. I thought about that for a moment weighing what he said with the fact I knew he was a Hermetic magician and Druid, which believes VERY similar to me. I very seriously asked him "OK as a Hermetic and a Druid you believe that all living things have a consciousness correct? That all life is equal?" He agreed that he believed this. I thought for another moment then said "so if farming animals is cruel what about farming fruits and vegetables? I mean really, a cow or a pig can fight back. They could try and run. But what about that broccoli and salad you are eating?" He looked at me very confused. "Well you said you agreed that all life is equal. That all living things had a consciousness. So what about that broccoli and salad you are eating? Think about it. When you farm an animal for food it's dead pretty quick. It's dead for some time, it's soul having moved on already, before you get it as food. While that poor broccoli and salad are still alive even now. They can't get up and run from the farmers. They can't get up and fight back. Hell they can't even scream out can you bite into their raw uncooked flesh. How is that less cruel than eating an animal that is farmed raised and killed for food?"

Everyone at the table looked between me and my friend. My friend looked between his plant and me. I think he was seriously wondering if I was messing with him or if I was being sincere with my question. He dropped his fork and very politely said "Oh f@*% you David."

I learned sometime later from him that he really had been moved by what I had asked. He stopped and thought about this point of view. And to this day he is no longer a vegetarian.

It wasn't my goal to change his mind. It was my goal to seriously understand the mentality of those that live as vegans and vegetarians.

As many of my friends know I work for a company that is own and based out of India. I work with about 750 Hindus on a daily basis. I decided to ask the same question to one of my co-workers on why so many Hindus are vegetarian. His answer really was one that I hadn't thought about but really was interesting. The following is what I learned from him:

In Hinduism many of the sects believe that when a person reincarnates it doesn't always have to be back into a human. They believe that if you lived a good and righteous life you will reincarnate into a human body again until you break the cycle of reincarnation. However if you weren't the greatest of persons during your life you will reincarnate into a 'lower' life form. The worse you were the lower you are on the reincarnation scale. Those that are really bad end up as plants or worse, stones and minerals.  Many believe that animals forms are for lesser issues like not following tradition or breaking with religious practice and the like. While murders and serious criminals become plants and such. So the reason for so many vegetarians is that to eat an animal is to eat something a relative or friend could reincarnate into. Many are vegan for the same reason as eggs are the source of new life.  Now it's OK for them to eat vegetables because by doing so you are helping those incarnated in this form cleanse their karma and move back through the reincarnate cycles that will one day bring them back to humans.

My thought on that is: "If that is the way of it... then why not eat the animals too cause that will help them reincarnate faster? If it works for vegetables why not animals?"

Some very different views. I know there are some people who take it up for health reasons as well. This I totally understand. As someone who is Insulin Resistant I have had to alter my diet where I am eating more protein (meat and eggs A LOT) so that I can keep my sugar levels up and my insulin production down.

I am not trying to invalidate anyone's reasons for being vegan or vegetarian but simply trying to understand why people go against the basic design of the human body and stay it's more natural. I find it most interesting that there are so many varying reasons for people giving up meat and meat products. So the next time you meet someone who says they are vegan or vegetarian don't scoff at them but try and understand their reasons. And those that are vegans and vegetarian... seriously do not pissed off if someone asks you why you choice that life style. Sometimes people really do just want to understand the why's.