Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sharia Law

Let's imagine we're back in 1600 CE, and let's believe for a moment that being a Witch and having a deviant view of "god" (or goddess) is legal in England--but we're in New England!, and in New England people are being murdered for holding "deviant" beliefs. Would it be reasonable to suppose that England would declare war on New England to prevent more people being murdered in the name of religion?

Now let's move forward to the present day. Let's think about a country, something like, say, Iran, where they have sharia law, where women get murdered if they are caught in public without a male member of their family to escort them (make that chaperone them). Would it be reasonable for America to go to war to enforce US ways on Iran?
We may assume consensus from our US perspective, ostensibly democratic, that sharia law is not something we can agree with. First of all, the US purports to separate church from state: That is, official enforcers (ostensibly) do not inflict one franchise's tenets and/or practices on the whole population.
Should we go to war to change it? What right does the United States have to impose its standards on another nation? We all agree--at least we Frosts hope we all agree--that the killing of people who are trying to advance women's education or to improve the health of people is not desirable. But how far are we entitled to go in forcing a whole nation to change its law system just because we don't like it?
Around 500 BCE in a time known as the Axial Age, give or take some centuries, men began to dominate women; Goddesses were universally overrun by male gods. From the Axial Age on in history, society has been subjected to laws designed for one purpose only: that is, to control women and to resist their advancement through education and even to prevent their benefitting from advances in medicine. Again: How far are we justified in going to war against those people who refuse to allow women what we perceive as their rightful place in society?
We Americans boast of how "good" our democratic law system is ... or is it? Really? Two examples come to mind.
1. Let's consider the position of pregnant women. Is a pregnant woman not a person? We attribute personhood (woo hoo) to the zygote. Does a woman give up her personhood when she becomes pregnant? If a zygote is a person and should not be "killed" through abortion, what is the pregnant woman? I guess she must have stopped being a person when the pregnancy happened.
Surely every woman has the right to govern her own uterus. She has the right, and indeed sometimes the duty, to terminate, especially if the father's DNA carries undesirable traits. Only she can decide when she wants to exercise her right. Only she can decide when she will follow through on her duty.
2. In many places in this nation, carrying a concealed weapon is legal.
      If a foreign country disagrees with our law, should its leaders go to the United Nations and get sanctions against the United States? Why, then, is it all right for us to interfere with the laws of other nations?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Circles and ?

In creating safe sacred space, it has been traditional to cast a circle of three concentric rings. These circles serve to protect the people within them from any malevolent influences that might be near.
When we founded the School of Wicca, we were puzzled by references to circles of various sizes: diameters of 9 feet and 11 feet were popular. So we decided we would ask students of the School (who by and large had not been exposed to the texts, whether ancient or contemporary) to cast circles of various sizes in order to decide which worked the best in a modern setting. The test was simple: Cast a circle. See whether you could (a) feel any negative influences while you were inside it and (b) send information to a third party from within it. We chose the idea of sending love or red roses to a friend.
After casting many circles in many different materials and of many different dimensions, we decided that the best materials were those that were electrically conducting. They could be anything from heavy copper tubing, to coal (that is, carbon), to sulfur, to salt that had been dampened, and copper sulfate. We simply chose three of them for our circles, basically because the colors of the materials seemed to match the idea behind the specific circle being cast. Thus for an outer protective circle, we used sulfur. For a circle on a higher plane we used bright blue copper sulfate, and for the healing protective circle we used salt. The sizes of the circles were difficult to pin down but finally realization came through that the outermost circle must be indivisible; i.e., the circumference must be a prime number. Working this back to the diameter, we found much to our surprise that the number had been well known when the ancients built their stone (megalithic) circles. So for many years, using only a piece of string and a pivot in the center, we could cast our triple circle with ease. We had to be careful of the copper sulfate, though; because if people had cuts on their feet, it might cause them problems: copper sulfate is a poison.
Recently we've been trying to figure out a slightly different arrangement: One of our students noted that the stone circles are not accurate circles: They are in fact closer to an ellipse. Casting ellipses is not all that difficult--and the big advantage is that they have two focal points. An elliptical shape provides a location for the priest (flamen) and for the priestess (flamenca), allowing a balance that had not been available in the single center point of a true circle.
If this was not enough, it has recently been pointed out that instead of an ellipse, it might be better to think of two parabolas facing each other. The advantage of this arrangement is that energy from the one focus would be transmitted to the other and thus could be multiplied. Casting parabolas is quite tricky. You will have to go back to your high school geometry book to figure out how to do it. We would very much like some of you more dedicated workers to try it and tell us about your experience.
For more information on casting of basic circles and ellipses, you can refer to Appendix III of the Solitary Wiccan's Bible by Frost and Frost, Samuel Weiser. York Beach, ME

Depression, Sex, and Testosterone

At this time of year many of us in the northern hemisphere are subject to fits of depression stemming essentially from SAD: seasonal affect disorder. This is especially true of people north of the Mason-Dixon Line at about Latitude 39 N. Depression based in SAD can be overcome by spending more time outdoors or in the light of a powerful light bulb or a tanning lamp.
There is another significant contributor to depression, though: it is called testosterone--that is, the lack thereof. If you talk to your physician and have your testosterone levels checked, Doc will normally say, "They're fine ... for someone your age." But that's not the full story. When testosterone is high, in your thirties, people are rarely depressed. Thus normal testosterone levels for men are said to be 270-1070 nanograms/deciliter and for women 15-70 nanograms/ deciliter.
As we mature, the body seems to like a slightly higher level of testosterone to maintain its vitality. Right now men's levels as high as 1550 ng/dl and women's as high as 250 ng/dl are considered high-normal. Such a level means that you are more vibrantly alive and enjoying life more. We were interested to learn that before Israeli fighter pilots fly a mission, they get Viagra to improve their reaction times.
We all know now that in males Viagra-type medications overcome the dread erectile-dysfunction bogey. (There seems to be no equivalent supplement available for the female--that is, we have heard of none.)
In working in Tantra, erectile dysfunction has been a problem for older men; and although medication helps, it cannot be used to maintain the serial erections that Tantra calls for. Such maintenance requires a penis pump and constricting rings. There are two main advantages in using a pump: (a) the obvious one: it always works; (b) it is very much less expensive than chemicals. By the way, most medical insurance companies will pay for such equipment. Once the initial investment is made, there is no cost and there are no chemical side effects.
Various authorities claim that high levels of testosterone lead to antisocial behavior--but in fact it turns out that low levels, where men are frustrated and depressed, cause more problems than the higher levels. Nor is it true that supplemental testosterone causes or accelerates cancer or prostate problems. We do not know whether high levels of testosterone produce a different set of pheromones; but it does seem that men with high levels are more attractive to the opposite gender.
Go ye then, and do some research. Share your findings with us if you are willing.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Accuracy in Speech

We are continually annoyed by the inaccurate use of words in describing various occult phenomena. Perhaps the most egregious error occurs in the King James Bible:
                  Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
The accurate translation of the original word is not witch; it is poisoner--and the substitution of witch for poisoner carries over into many of Scotland's trials held during the reign of that self-same King James.
At that time in western history, arsenic was a new find. People knew how to manufacture it, but they did not know how to trace it in the way we think of today as forensic detection. So if someone wanted to get rid of an inconvenient person, what better approach than to use arsenic and casually throw around the w-word to distract investigators from their own guilty activities? And I won't even lift the lid on King James' after-dark activities with pretty boys and young men ... More on him another time--if you're over 21 years of age and if you have a strong stomach..
The most famous of those Scottish trials is recorded in the ordeal of the Lady of Glamis in 1537. She was burned as a witch "for the attempted slaughter and destruction of our Sovereign Lord by poison." Most so-called "witches" in Scotland were simply people whom others desired removed for various personal reasons. Some indeed were feeble old women--but many were young and had committed no crime except those imagined by the superstitious judiciary acting under James' crazed fear of everything occult. The well-documented Scottish witchcraft trials show how the dominant central power of the king caused thousands of deaths in that nation--to such an extent that there is in the files a plea from the citizens of a village saying, "There are no females remaining except one three-year-old child."
Fortunately James finally went to England. Once he was crowned there, he seems to have lost most of his interest in dominating that specific area of his subjects' lives. Poor James (sigh). He wanted so desperately to be a scholar (see his Demonology), but he simply didn't have the horsepower.
As Shakespeare noted in Hamlet, there are many facets of life and of our world that are still unexplained, so we sloppily label them "magic" and let it go for now. It's easier than puzzling out the real cause and effect. Example: Many people have psychic experiences and are in fact able to predict what may happen in their future. Often this is no more than the mind using its idle capacity unconsciously to plot out future probabilities.
In the course offered on astral travel by the School of Wicca, many students have been able to leave their bodies and visit other realms. These are simple and straightforward experiences--but they are mis-named "occult". The dividing line between the ancient alchemist and today's chemist is very difficult to define; but we should not label alchemy what are again easily repeatable chemical experiments. It's all research; and occasionally research yields up new information. High-caliber minds tend to be inquisitive. See Isaac Newton.
When a Witch uses her/his inborn bioplasmic energy to cause something to happen, it is not magic--nor is it (gasp) witchcraft. People like the Kodak company have shown that some women cannot work in the packing of sensitive film because their energies tend to fog the film; thus when someone like Ted Serios fogs film, it should not be thought of as woo-woo magic. It's bioplasmic energy. Similarly, when Uri Geller bends keys and teaches children to do the same thing, it should not be thought of as magic. It's just the application of their inborn powers.
How did these demonstrations of what power can do get to be so vilified? The answer is too simple, really. There have been those people, and those letterheads, that sought (and seek) to control our every activity and thought. Picture a conference table surrounded by people in funny collars or smelly woolen robes. Can you hear those people saying something like the following? "We've got to keep a lid on 'em! We've got to keep 'em putting coins into the collection plate! I know! Let's label something a sin and make 'em feel guilty. Let's tell 'em they have to buy forgiveness for it. Hmm. Okay: How about if we tell 'em it's a sin to have your hands in dishwater and to come out with pruny-looking fingertips? If we can convince 'em that pruny fingertips are a sin, they'll pay and pay. Hot diggity dog. We're home free, boys. Let's never lose sight of the Eternal Trinity, eh? Guilt, shame, fear."
For centuries churchmen have denied us access to our powers and have murdered anyone who actually exhibited such powers in public.
The same lust for centralized dominant power is exhibited by the abrahamic churches of our day--and incidentally, by the alpha male baboon in any baboon troup. See the work of Robert Sapolsky. Right now it seems to be worst in the east, with the ayatollahs fomenting war against the infidels--but never assume that it doesn't exist in these United States, most especially in the south. There people are still regularly shunned for being (gasp again) different.
Our plea, then, is this: When you see or hear of phenomena that are at the edge of rational explanation, do not assume that they are the result of magic, of Witchcraft, or of other "occult" forces. Magic and Witchcraft are different: Magic is one thing; Witchcraft is another. Both ideas are valid, but the area of overlap is low. Remember your class in Geometry I? Remember dimensions--up and down, left and right, near and far? Spirituality and magic are simply in two different dimensions. Yvonne tends to think in the time-worn stereotypes: spirituality is in the up/down dimension, whereas magic is in the left/right dimension. Sort 'em out in your mind, and you won't be guilty of sloppy semantics.