Category Archives: Folklore

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

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Bring back the snakes (i.e. the ancient Celtic religions) to Ireland. Let today be a celebration of the snakes returning 🙂

From Niall O’Riordan:
“I believe St Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland is an allegory. In many cultures the snake is a symbol of wisdom. Therefore, this could be interpreted as him driving out the ancient wisdom of the Celts. And you know where that got us…
Ireland is a holy land, it has a rich heritage, wisdom and magic waiting to be reclaimed. My beautiful country is slowly recovering from the abuse, oppression and superstition the Roman Catholic church has inflicted for hundreds of years.
So, today I will be celebrating all that is good about Ireland and dedicating my magical work towards Ireland rediscovering those snakes!
May she awaken!
Have a great Paddy’s Day!”

Fairy tree

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Fairy Tree, Dingle, Co Kerry. Usually a lone Hawthorn, treated with great respect. People leave gifts in the hope of good fortune, receiving healing, or for prayers to be answered. Fairy trees were often seen as doorways to another realm, and offerings were a form of appeasement. With later Christianization, trees often became dedicated to the local saint and offerings continued.

Miyazaki’s Shinto spirits

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Excellent article on one of my favorite filmmakers.

The Gods and Spirits (and Totoros) of Miyazaki’s Fantasy Worlds

“There’s a moment in Hayao Miyazaki’s film My Neighbor Totoro that’s stuck with me since I first watched it a decade ago. Satsuki Kusakabe is searching for her missing sister, Mei. Looking for help, she sprints towards the huge camphor tree where the magical creature Totoro lives. She pauses for a moment at the entrance to a Shinto shrine that houses Totoro’s tree, as if considering praying there for Totoro’s help. But then she runs back to her house and finds her way to Totoro’s abode through the tunnel of bushes where Mei first encountered him. Totoro summons the Catbus, which whisks Satsuki away to where Mei is sitting, beside a lonely country road lined with small statues of Jizo, the patron bodhisattva of children.

It’s Satsuki’s hesitation in front of the shrine’s entrance that sticks with me, and what it says about the nature of spirits and religion in the film. We don’t really think of the movies of Hayao Miyazaki as religious or even spiritual, despite their abundant magic, but some of his most famous works are full of Shinto and Buddhist iconography—like those Jizo statues, or the sacred Shimenawa ropes shown tied around Totoro’s tree and marking off the river god’s bath in Spirited Away. Miyazaki is no evangelist: the gods and spirits in his movies don’t follow or abide by the rituals of religion. But the relationship between humans and gods remains paramount.”

Miyazaki’s gods and spirits aren’t explicitly based on any recognizable Japanese “kami” (a word that designates a range of supernatural beings, from the sun goddess Amaterasu to the minor spirits of sacred rocks and trees). In fact, whether Totoro is a Shinto spirit or not is a mystery. He lives in a sacred tree on the grounds of a Shinto shrine. The girls’ father even takes them there to thank Totoro for watching over Mei early in the film. But Satsuki calls Totoro an “obake,” a word usually translated as “ghost” or “monster.” Miyazaki himself has insisted that Totoro is a woodland creature who eats acorns. Is he a Shinto spirit? A monster? An animal? A figment of the girls’ imaginations? The film—delightfully—not only doesn’t answer the question, it doesn’t particularly care to even ask it.”

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“… Miyazaki’s films don’t invite us to any particular faith or even belief in the supernatural, but they do invite us to see the unexpected, and to respect the spirits of trees and woods, rivers and seas. Like Totoro and Gran Mamare, their true nature and reasoning are beyond our comprehension. Call them kami, or gods, or spirits, or woodland creatures, or Mother Nature, or the environment. They are there if we know where to look, and their gifts for us are ready if we know how to ask. We have only to approach them as a child would—like Satsuki, Mei, Chihiro, and Sosuke—with open eyes and open hearts.”

Three Kings

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dream of the three kings ‘Salzburg Missal’, Regensburg ca. 1478-1489 (München, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 15708 I, fol. 63r)

 

Article from Rudolph Steiner:

The Festivals and Their Meaning:
I
Christmas

Schmidt Number: S-0994

On-line since: 23rd December, 1999

VI

On The Three Magi

(Extract from a lecture)

Berlin, 30th December, 1904

You will remember that I have spoken of the meaning of the Christmas Festival in its connection with the evolution of races, or, better said, the epochs of civilisation, and indeed the significance of the Festival lies in this very connection both in respect of the past and of the future.

I want to speak to-day about a Festival to which in modern times less importance is attached than to the Christmas Festival itself, namely, the Festival of the Three Kings, of the Magi who came from the East to greet the newly born Jesus. This Festival of the Epiphany (celebrated on the 6th of January) will assume greater and greater significance when its symbolism is understood.

It will be obvious to you that very profound symbolism is contained in the Festival of the Three Magi from the East. Until the 15th century, this symbolism was kept very secret and no definite indications were available. But since that century some light has been thrown on the Festival of the Magi by exoteric presentations. One of the Three Kings — Caspar — is portrayed as a Moor, an inhabitant of Africa; one as a white man, a European — Melchior; and one — Balthasar — as an Asiatic; the colour of his skin is that of an inhabitant of India. They bring Myrrh, Gold and Frankincense as offerings to the Child Jesus in Bethlehem.

These three offerings are full of meaning and in keeping with the whole symbolism of the Festival celebrated on the 6th of January. Exoterically, the date itself throws some light; esoterically, the Festival is pregnant with meaning. The 6th of January is the same date as that on which, in ancient Egypt, the Festival of Osiris was celebrated, the Festival of the re-finding of Osiris. As you know, Osiris was overcome by his enemy Typhon: Isis seeks and eventually finds him. This re-finding of Osiris, the Son of God, is represented in the Festival of the 6th of January. The Festival of the Three Kings is the same Festival, but in its Christian form. This Festival was also celebrated among the Assyrians, the Armenians and the Phoenicians. Everywhere it is a Festival connected with a kind of universal baptism — a rebirth from out of the water. This in itself points to the connection with the re-finding of Osiris.

What does the disappearance of Osiris signify? It signifies the transition from the epoch before the middle of the Lemurian race to the epoch after the middle of that race. Before the middle of the Lemurian race, no human being was endowed with Manas. It was not until the middle of the race that Manas came down as a fertile seed into men. Manas (Spirit-Self) was now disseminated among men and in each single individual a grave was created for Manas — for the dismembered Osiris. The Divine Manas was disseminated and thereafter dwelt in men. In the Egyptian Mystery-language, the bodies of men were called the ‘graves of Osiris’ Manas was fettered until it was freed by the new revelation of Love.

What is the new revelation, the new manifestation of Love? The descent of Manas somewhere around the middle of the Lemurian epoch, was accompanied by the penetration into mankind of the principle of desire, or passion. Before that time there had been no desire-principle in the real sense. The animals of the preceding epochs were cold-blooded; even man himself at that time, had no warm blood. In the Old Moon period and, correspondingly, in the Third Earth-Round, men may be likened to fishes, in the sense that their own warmth and the warmth of their environment were equal in degree. Of this epoch the Bible says: ‘The Spirit of God brooded over the waters.’ The principle of Love was not within the beings, but outside, manifesting as earthly Kama (that is to say, earthly passion or desire). Kama is egotistic love. The first bringer of Love free of all egoism is Christ Who appeared in the body of Jesus of Nazareth.

Who are the Magi? They represent the Initiates of the three preceding races or epochs of culture, the Initiates of mankind up to the time of the coming of Christ, the Bringer of the Love that is free of egoism — the resurrected Osiris. The Initiates — and so too the Three Magi — were endowed with Manas. They bring gold, frankincense and myrrh as their offerings. And why are their skins of three colours: white, yellow and black? One is European — his skin is white; one is Indian — his skin is yellow; one is African — his skin is black. This indicates the connection with the so-called Root Races. The remaining survivors of the Lemurian race are black; those of the Atlantean race are yellow; and the representatives of the Fifth Root Race, the Post-Atlantean or Aryan race, are white.

Thus the Three Kings or Magi are representatives of the Lemurians, the Atlanteans and the Aryans. They bring the three offerings. The European (Melchior) brings gold, the symbol of wisdom, of intelligence which comes to expression paramountly in the Fifth Root Race. The offering of the Initiate representing the Fourth Root Race (Balthasar) is frankincense, connected with what was intrinsically characteristic of the Atlanteans. They were united more directly with the Godhead, a union which took effect as a suggestive influence, a kind of universal hypnosis. This union with the Godhead is betokened by the offering. Feeling must be sublimated in order that God may fertilise it. This is expressed symbolically by the frankincense, which is the universal symbol for an offering that has something to do with Intuition.

In the language of esotericism, myrrh is the symbol of dying, of death. What is the meaning of dying and of resurrection, as exemplified in the resurrected Osiris? I refer you here to words of Goethe: “So long as thou hast it not, this dying and becoming, thou’rt but a dull guest on the dark earth.” Jacob Boehme expresses the same thought in the words: “He who dies not ere he dies, perishes when he dies.” Myrrh is the symbol of the dying of the lower life and the resurrection of the higher life. It is offered by the Initiate representing the Third Root Race (Lemurian). A deep meaning lies in this. Jesus of Nazareth is a very highly developed individuality. In the thirtieth year of his life he gives up his own life to the descending Christ, the descending Logos. All this the Magi foresaw. The great sacrifice made by Jesus of Nazareth is that he gave up his ‘ I ’ to make way for the Second Logos. There is a definite reason for this sacrifice. Not until the Sixth Root Race will it become possible, and then only gradually, for the human body to receive into itself the Christ Principle from childhood onwards. Only then, in the Sixth Root Race, will mankind have reached such maturity that the body will not need years of preparation but will be able from the beginning, to receive the Christ Principle. In the fourth sub-race of the Fifth Root Race it was necessary for a body to be prepared for thirty years. (In the Northern regions we find something similar, in that the personality of Sig was so prepared that he could place his body at the disposal of a higher Being, and, in fact, did so). In the Sixth Root Race it will be possible for a man to place his body at the disposal of a sublime Being, as did Jesus of Nazareth when Christianity was founded. At the time of the founding of Christianity it was still necessary for an advanced individuality to sacrifice his own ‘ I ’ and send it into the astral realm, in order that the Logos might dwell in the body. This is an act upon which light is shed by the last words on the Cross. What other meaning could these words contain: “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” These words give expression to the mystical fact then consummated. At the moment of Christ’s death, the Divine Being had departed from the body, and it is the body of Jesus of Nazareth that utters these words — a body so highly developed that it could voice the reality. And so these words give expression to an event of untold significance. All this is represented by the myrrh. Myrrh is the symbol of sacrifice, of death, the sacrifice of the earthly in order that the Higher may come to life. In the middle of the Lemurian epoch, Osiris came to his grave; Manas drew into human beings. Men were educated under the guidance of the Initiates until the principle of Love (Budhi) could shine forth in Christ Jesus. Budhi is the heavenly Love. The lower, sexual principle is ennobled through the Christ Love. Kama is purified in the fire of the Divine Love.

Melchior is the representative of the principle of wisdom, of intelligence — the task of the Fifth Root Race. This is symbolised by his offering — gold.

The principle of sacramental offering is represented by the frankincense. This offering symbolises the principle that was dominant in the Fourth Root Race, the Atlantean. The task of Christianity is fulfilled in the Sixth Root Race, when material existence will be fraught with sacramentalism and sacramental deeds. Sacraments have very largely lost their meaning to-day; the feeling of their significance has disappeared. But this feeling will be kindled to life again when the higher man is born. It is this that is symbolised by the frankincense.

In the Lemurian Race, Osiris meets his death, in the Sixth Root Race, Osiris is resurrected.

Thus the offerings made by the Three Kings indicate the connection of the Festival with the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Root Races. By what are the Three Holy Kings guided, and whither are they led? They are guided by a Star to a grotto, a cave in Bethlehem. This is something that can be understood only by one who has knowledge of the so-called lower, or astral mysteries. To be led by a Star means nothing else than to see the soul itself as a Star. But when is the soul seen as a Star? When a man can behold the soul as a radiant aura. But what kind of aura is so radiant that it can be a guide? There is the aura that glimmers with only a feeble light; such an aura cannot guide. There is a higher aura, that of the intelligence, which has, it is true, a flowing, up-surging light, but is not yet able to guide. But the bright aura, aglow with Budhi, is in very truth a Star, is a radiant guide. In Christ, the Star of Budhi lights up — the Star which accompanies the evolution of mankind. The Light that shines before the Magi is the soul of Christ Himself. The Second Logos Himself shines before the Magi and over the cave in Bethlehem.

The grotto or cave is the body wherein dwells the soul. The seer beholds the body from within. In astral vision, everything is reversed — for example, 365 instead of 563. The human body is seen as a cave, a hollow. In the body of Jesus shines the Christ Star, the soul of Christ. This must be conceived as a reality, taking place in the astral world. It is an enactment of the Lesser Mysteries. There, in very truth, the Christ Soul shines as an auric Star, and it is by this Star that the Initiates of the three Root Races are led to Jesus in Bethlehem.

The Festival of the Three Kings is celebrated every year on the 6th of January, and its significance will steadily increase. Men will understand more and more what a Magi is, and what the great Magi, the Masters, are. And then understanding of Christianity will lead to understanding of spiritual science.

Rebirth of the sacrificed King

Pythagoreans

Pythagoreans celebrate sunrise by Fyodor Bronnikov

Every year at Christmas, I think about the ancient traditions that usher in the winter season. These folk beliefs form the foundation of how we celebrate the holidays in modern times. Why do we bring an evergreen tree into our livingrooms? Who is St. Nicholas? Why is Christmas red and green?

If you take a step back, keep an open mind and do some research, it’s easy to see that many of these traditions are symbols for winter survival. An evergreen tree stays green despite being blanketed by snow. The Christmas lights we hang are a representation of the fire of life going strong through the winter darkness. The gathering together of family to feast and exchange gifts comes from our interdependent, tribal origins. And the celebration of the birth of Jesus comes from the Winter Solstice.

December 21st is the longest night and the shortest day of the year. It is brought about by the turning of the Earth and happens every year without fail, just as the Sun rises and sets everyday.  At the Winter Solstice, the Sun is “reborn” for the coming year and the days literally become longer. The light increases. Not surprising that Jesus’s birthday is celebrated near the solstice, because it is synonymous with the birth of light.

There is no solid evidence that Jesus ever existed on earth, but the story of his life mirrors many ancient myths from cultures all over the world. It is the story of the sacrificed King, who’s death brings about the bounty of crops and the survival of the people.

From the “Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets” by Barbara Walker: “It seems Jesus was not one person but a composite of many… He was eaten in the form of bread as were Adonis, Osiris, Dionysus and others… Like Attis, Jesus was sacrificed at the Spring Equinox and rose again from the dead on the third day, when he became God and ascended to heaven. Like Orpheus and Heracles, he ‘harrowed hell’ and brought a secret of eternal life, promising to draw all men with him up to glory (John 12:32). Like Mithra and all the other solar gods, he celebrated a birthday nine months later at the Winter Solstice… ”

It’s more than interesting, it’s important. It’s vital to our sense of humanity – to be open to learning how our social structures developed. It’s more important than ever this Christmas to love our fellow man and respect his path. I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas holiday. The article below is a bit of fun too 🙂

First Historical Record of the Real Jesus Describes Him as a ‘Magician’

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bowl from the late 2nd century B.C. which reads: “DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS,” which has been interpreted to mean either, “by Christ the magician” or, “the magician by Christ.”

The artifact, dated to between the late 2nd century BC and the early 1st century AD was discovered by a team of scientists led by renowned French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio, during an excavation of the underwater ruins of Alexandria’s ancient great harbor.

The discovery could also provide evidence that the early Christians and Pagans shared many rituals and practices, and Christianity and paganism at times intertwined in the ancient world.

 

Via NBC News:

A team of scientists led by renowned French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio recently announced that they have found a bowl, dating to between the late 2nd century B.C. and the early 1st century A.D., that is engraved with what they believe could be the world’s first known reference to Christ.

If the word “Christ” refers to the Biblical Jesus Christ, as is speculated, then the discovery may provide evidence that Christianity and paganism at times intertwined in the ancient world.

Team leader Frank Goddio of the Oxford Center for Maritime Archaeology, said that “It could very well be a reference to Jesus Christ, in that he was once the primary exponent of white magic.”

The jury’s still out on whether the bowl is actually referring to the real Jesus Christ, but there’s no hiding the fact that even the prophet’s contemporaries compared his abilities to sorcery (Jesus was often accused of using demons to do his bidding).

Similar to the Jewish mystic Elijah (the undisputed patron of Lurianic Kabbalah and rider of fire chariots), the real Jesus was a wonder-worker who could freely go in and out of Super-Saiyan-mode. After his death, he was often linked with the Roman cult-hero Mithras and the magician Apollonius of Tyana, both pagan figures. Jesus’ “magical” side certainly wasn’t always unknown to modern thinkers. It was the 16th century philosopher Giordano Bruno who was one of the first to suggest that the real Jesus was just an extremely talented mage.

The engraving ‘could very well be a reference to Jesus Christ, in that he was once the primary exponent of white magic.’
Was Jesus Christ the magician? Times of Jesus Christ were imbued with magic and in the Hellenistic period of time, the lands around the Mediterranean have mixed different religions, traditions, philosophies and superstitions.

The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Jews were convinced that it is possible to possess the power of the gods, demons and spirits, and use it for your own purposes.

“The important thing was his power to do miracles,” writes Morton Smith in “Jesus, the Magician” and adds that “even the stories that seem to deny Jesus’ power to do miracles take for granted his reputation as a miracle worker…”

The ‘Book of Matthew’ refers to “wisemen,” or Magi, believed to have been prevalent in the ancient world. Egyptologist David Fabre, a member of the European Institute of Submarine Archaeology says the bowl is also very similar to one depicted in two early Egyptian earthenware statuettes depicting a soothsaying ritual.

“It has been known in Mesopotamia probably since the 3rd millennium B.C.,” Fabre said. “The soothsayer interprets the forms taken by the oil poured into a cup of water in an interpretation guided by manuals. The “magus” could have practiced fortune telling rituals using the bowl to legitimize his supernatural powers by invoking the name of Christ,” according to Goddio and Fabre.

“It is very probable that in Alexandria they were aware of the existence of Jesus” and of his associated legendary miracles, such as transforming water into wine, multiplying loaves of bread, conducting miraculous health cures, and the story of the resurrection itself,” according to Goddio.

The Bible reports that Jesus was accused of practicing magic, and the second century Roman philosopher Celus is quoted in the writings of the early Christian apologist Origen as saying that Jesus learned the arts of magic on Egypt, and then returned to his own country with these acquired skills.”

 

Happy Halloween!

This scared the heck outta me when I was a little girl 🙂

The video below is one of my favorite illustrations of Earth elementals, the spirit world, and how our ancestors might have seen them. Ancient humans lived in a world of myth and folklore that was as real as the physical world. I believe these old ways of viewing the world are seeing a resurgence today.

I like how this film shows the mystery of a mountain, and the wildness of nature outside of the village. How his shadow over the land is what causes the dead to rise, and they fly up to him on the winds, then dance in the fires. And I love how he starts doing magick with fire and energy.

Halloween is such a special day. It’s a very old festival, and marks one of the many yearly connection points where we can rise above the physical world and connect with the ephemeral. We connect in a primal way to our planet and what it means to be human.

If you’ve never seen this footage of the demon on the mountain, check it out!

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…and here’s the second part where the spirits go back to their graves and wait for the next Halloween…