Crescent Moon

The moon is in her Waning Crescent phase 37% of full in the sign of Aquarius and is 24 days old.

Moon Rise ~2.55am ~ Moon sets ~ 13.19pm (BST)

The Last Quarter can be a stressful and unsettled period. Your ambitions are being stirred up and there is a desire to do something very important and show everyone how cool you are. However, the best way forward is to think thoroughly before doing anything and to direct your energy towards jobs planned earlier, rather than ideas which have just sprung into your head now.

There is a lot of tension in the air today as Mars clashes with the mad planet of revolution and disobedience, aka Uranus. This is a part of the Grand Cross that astrologers everywhere have been talking about. The energy today is abrupt and erratic. If you have been fighting for something, what happens now can be a wonderful thing – it releases you in some way so that you can do your own thing and do it with a lot of gusto. This is a time to get really clear on what you want and to let other people know. It’s a chance to live really consciously. The more you act with integrity, the better the outcome. The more you embrace change, the better the outcome. The more you focus on solutions, the better the outcome. Yes, it’s an exciting time!

Mars opposes Uranus and squares Pluto early today. This can be a time of much restlessness, rebellion, and impatience. We have a tendency to take risks and to act on sudden impulses without considering consequences. There may be changes in work schedules, or life’s circumstances could challenge us in such a way that we need to change our goals or actions. This can also be a time when we tend to resist others and challenge them if they are trying to hold us back. Anger can erupt seemingly from nowhere. Our desires are intense and difficult to satisfy. A tendency to bully and confront may dominate. Efforts to make changes could be thwarted, or power struggles emerge. The trick is to remain flexible and to develop strategies for achieving our goals. It would be wise to observe whatever powerful feelings that confrontations or conflicts arouse, as these influences have a way of pulling out suppressed matter, or emotional “slush”. Mercury enters Taurus, where it will transit until May 7th. During this cycle, our thinking is down to earth, solid, and grounded. Common sense reigns over more fanciful thinking. We communicate more deliberately, and our minds are oriented to the world of the five senses. We prefer the tried and true rather than new ways of thinking. Attention to one thing at a time can simplify our lives, but we may be in danger of narrow, overly conservative, or rigid thinking. With today’s Mercury-Chiron semi-square, there can be impatience with rules, worry or guilty feelings, and conflicting viewpoints. The Moon is in Aquarius all day.

A void of course Moon occurs from 17:12 PM BST, with the Moon’s last aspect before changing signs (a square to Saturn), until the Moon enters Pisces tomorrow, Thursday, April 24th, at 7:56 AM BST.

Correspondences for Wednesdays are:

Colour: Purple

Planet: Mercury

Metal: Mercury (Quicksilver)

Deities: Odin, Hermes, Mercury, Athena, Lugh

Gemstones: Adventurine, agate

Herbs & Plants: Aspen trees, lilies, lavender, ferns

Associations: Business and job-related issues, communication, loss and debt, travelling and journeys

Wednesdays are represented by the Archangels Raphael and Michael

 

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Egyptian God, Bes

Egyptian God Bes

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My favorite of all the Ancient Egyptian deities is Bes.

He began as protector of the pharaoh, but gained popularity when he started to be known as protector of households, but specifically of mothers and children and childbirth.

A common depiction of Bes is where he is pictured protecting a young Horus.

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If a baby laughed for no reason, the explanation of the time was that Bes was shaking his rattle, or making funny faces to make them laugh.

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As his popularity increased, so did his coverage. He soon became known as the defender of everything good and the enemy of everything bad.

Bes was against all that was bad, so he then became the symbol of all that is good, including anything regarding music, dance, art, as well as sexual pleasure.

Bes was thought to come from the Great Lakes Region of Africa, and very specifically, from the Twa people, a pygmy group in what is now considered modern-day Rwanda

The original image of Bes was thought to be a Lion roaring back on his hind legs, but now is what appears to be a shorter looking man.

Bes isn’t considered by Western standards to be an attractive image at all, so that has been something to think about before I slap this image on my body.

Interestingly, I am not the only one who has thought of tattooing Bes on their body. In the New Kingdom dancers, musicians and servant girls could be found with tattoos of Bes (and possibly prostitutes to ward off STDs)….

The Phonecians also worshipped Bes, and Saint Bessus (of the Theban Legion) and was associated with the Egyptian god-demon of protection Bes, and was thought to represent the Christianization of the Egyptian deity.

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Later on, Bes was the inspiration used by artists to craft the artistic image of the Christian Devil, just as the images of the goddess Isis and young Horus were used as inspiration for the Madonna with Child.

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Appearances can be deceiving…


CURSES Part One

CURSES

What You Need To Know Before You Begin:

Please take care to read all of the points below, then, read them again! Before you consider laying out a curse, please, know all of these points like the back of your hand.

These points will tell you if you should even be considering a curse at all. If they do tell you to go ahead, then they have the power to arm and protect you when you do.

*remember, this is my method and how I was taught. I am sure that there are many other ways of doing this.

THE RULES:

1.)  Never try out a curse for a joke. You will not like what happens!

2.)  Ignore the small harms and slights that befall you; we all have the same types of things happen. Curse when you only truly deserve a resolution, and you have tried all other means.

3.)  Never cast a curse on someone who is innocent. Never curse someone who might be innocent. Wait to see if they are truly guilty or not. If you cannot cast a curse without collateral damage, don’t curse. Wait until the enemy becomes an unobstructed target.

4.)  Curse only when your cause is just and true. Remember, you are NOT always the best judge of what is just, who has wronged you, or what you are owed.

5.)  Exhaust all other options first. Try appeals, mitigation, arbitration, assertive communication, and compromise. Should you jump right to the curse first, you will regret it.

Why put a curse on someone? Well, why not? You have tried everything else, haven’t you? You’ve asked nicely, been patient, willing to compromise. Now, from being so reasonable, you are feeling like a pushover. Now, you have been shut down and shut out altogether. So, try a curse. Much cheaper than a lawsuit and much more civilized and legal than punching someone in the face, and you won’t have to explain a curse to the police.

There are lots of paths with lots of curses out there, but in reality, there tend to be a basic four that we work with.

 

The Revenge Curse

When you’ve been stabbed in the back, nothing else will really do, now will it? But remember this: Betrayals are, unfortunately, pretty common, so pick your battles wisely. Not everything calls for a curse. You must know when to walk away.

The Warning Curse

Use this is ward off a betrayal coming down the line.

The Binding Curse

Also can be called a neutralizing curse, it ends stalemates, wears down enemies, gets you noticed, and gets your calls returned. Whenever possible, choose a binding curse over a revenge curse. In the dark art of malediction, less is usually more. Binding spells are much softer and gentler and defiantly much more idiot-proof than revenge curses, and will usually leave you feeling better about yourself the next morning.

The Repudiation Curse

This will guard you from organized harm. Use it against institutions that mislead or hurt people.

Do I need animals to sacrifice when I curse?

You don’t need goats or chickens to sacrifice, most ingredients for a curse are very commonplace, and you already own them.

Will It Work?

It will if you believe it will, and if you follow the rules that I posted above. Just like with any type of spell craft, you must believe, have the will, and be focused for the curse to manifest. Remember, however, that doing nothing can sometimes turn out to be the best thing that you can do. Not every problem can be solved, nor does every problem need to be solved. Many battles are not worth fighting, so why allow the stress poison you? Choose your battles wisely! *”One of the most time consuming things is to have an enemy,” said E.B. White, you know, the guy that wrote Charlotte’s Web. Cursing should not make you bitter, nor should you be obsessed with the outcome. If you are, you will not get the desired result. Step back, let the curse work, no fussing, no monitoring and no touchups. Like with other spell work, walk away from the cast and forget about it. Your curse will work in time.

Is Cursing Ethical?

As for me, the methods that I am sharing here are karmically and ethically sound. Yet, I did say for me. Also, what I will be sharing is not complete, so please, do your own work when cursing. Again, you will get tired of hearing me say this, make sure that you deserve the remedy that you are asking for! Have you truly been harmed by this institution or person, or have you instead been hurt by the events and not truly harmed? Is it your pride or something else that you are trying to redeem with a curse. Do some self searching as well. Often, we may thing that the harm has come from the outside, when in reality, we brought it on ourselves. Remember the bottom line, if you aim a curse at an innocent, your curse is not ethical and it will be dangerous to you!

I Have A Legitimate Complaint And A Curse Is Ethical, How Soon Can I Cast It?

That will depend on that type of curse you choose to use. A warning curse should be cast just as soon as you sense a threat that is coming at you. Don’t even wait to know for sure. Yes, I know, this sounds contradictive to what I wrote above, but if you do turn out to be wrong, the warning will only glance off the intended target and will not come back on you. Do not be too hasty to cast a revenge curse. Revenge curses can really cause harm to the intended target and you don’t want to use it on someone without being absolutely sure that they deserve it. You also want to make sure you have taken every other step possible to resolve the problem. Don’t take binding or repudiation curses lightly. They have power and can have repercussions on you. Again, make sure you are not casting against an innocent. Never cast any curse casually or as a joke/experiment, or when there is plenty of time to wait and see what happens by itself.

Is There Anyone I Shouldn’t Curse?

Yes, innocent people. Never curse anyone that is not responsible for your trouble. Never cast a curse on someone near and dear to your enemy in order to hurt them vicariously. Never curse yourself, unless it is a self-help “self-curse” that will rid you of a bad habit.

Never curse a child or an animal. Do not curse anyone that is sick. If you do decide to curse a loved one that has wronged you, consider the future first. Do you want to lose that person forever? Lay that curse, and I you most assuredly will.

Can I Curse People I Don’t Know or Can I Curse Institutions Or Groups That Have Hurt Me?

Yes and Yes. Stay away from institutions like the IRS, FBI, NSA, ICE and CIA if you really know what is good for you, or unless they have really, really, really harmed your or harmed your family. (This is a good time to consider a repudiation curse if you like. You are sheltered there.) Whatever you do, DO NOT and I repeat, DO NOT curse innocent people at the institution. Focus only on who is tormenting you or your family. Find this out before you start, or curse only the people at the top. Again, do what ever it takes to NEVER curse an innocent person.

What If My Curse Comes Back On Me?

This is certainly a common worry for everyone, at one time or another. You do not need to worry. Before embarking on your journey of revenge, Confucius had this to say, dig two graves. I believe he was only partly right. To protect yourself, just follow the rules above. They are not hard to learn or to adhere to. Commit them to memory, know them as a friend. Follow them to every letter, do not vary. If you skip over them, cherry pick them, or change them, you will do so at your own peril and at your own energetic danger level.

What I have found is this, when I stick to the rules, sometimes I find a better solution to the problem at hand. In this way, I find a much more pleasant resolution to the situation. This is always better than utilizing a curse, wouldn’t you say? But when a curse truly is needed and is warranted, follow the rules!

What If Someone Is Innocent When I Curse, And I Didn’t Know? Will The Curse Boomerang?

Make every effort to insure that the person you are cursing is not innocent in the situation. This comes back to not being the best judge of your own situation. Ask others. Do not ask those that will just tell you what you want to hear, truly ask others for what they see. Remember, accidents do happen. In the case that you were honest about your endeavor of finding the guilty party, you adhered to the rules, and yet you cursed an innocent person, the curse may not ‘take’, you can hope and attempt to visualize this, but you won’t know for sure if you have been heard and more to the point, if luck was on your side.

If you have done your homework beforehand, the curse usually will not revert back to you, but you won’t know that right away either. The very best thing to do, and what has worked for others I know in the past, is to do nothing. Do not talk about it to anyone, be contrite. I will cover this little problem later on in this series.

Does A Curse Have A Statute of Limitations, How Long Does It Last?

This question truly depends on the curse you throw. Some can be short, some can last centuries, and even other’s will not end until the enemy is dead…and who knows for sure if the curse actually ends at death. Some will lose power over time, and fade away somewhere in the middle, usually closer to the short end of the spectrum. When casting, just specify the length of time you wish the curse to last. The life of the curse should specified in your incantation, just like in any other spell, be specific!

WARNING: think long and hard before laying a curse that will last forever, or even a very long time. There is some truth to you reap what you sew. Very few things in life deserve a forever curse. Think this through very very carefully.

Does My Victim Have To Hear My Curse To Make It Work? Do They At Least Have To Know About It?

No, and no. The cursee will not know that they have been hit with a curse in the first place; they will just consider it a bad case of flu, or a bad patch, or a bad life. You shouldn’t tell him either. There are exceptions to that, but we will discuss that on a curse by curse basis. You shouldn’t tell them either, resist the urge to tell anyone, actually (unless of course, this is group work when the curse is laid). Remember, you should tell no one when laying a curse, or tell anyone that you already have. Cursing is a lonely art.

What Curses Won’t I Find Here?

It has been a very long time since the dark ages, and these days, we can settle our differences with gentle versions of the ancient maledictive curses that we know of. That means, you won’t find ways to wither crops, sicken livestock, or dry up their milk ( or harm any animal at all, and remember, you should never curse an animal in the first place).

SICKO SPOILER ALERT!!! You will not find any information in this series of posts of how to do away with anything or anyone. Nothing that I will write to you will bring on death. We will not discuss summoning Lucifer, Devil, Dark Spirit, etc. You cannot disfigure, age your kids’ bullies and tormentors, you cannot make a pregnant woman miscarry, or make houses catch fire. Well, you can, but I won’t tell you how.

We no longer settle our differences by killing people or blighting their crops. Remember, people can be bothered by a myriad of things, not just financial or health related. If you do your homework, you will find that sore spot, the little place, that when poked, can bring on a big reaction. Remember, you aren’t trying to kill or harm for fun, this should only be done when the situation does warrant a curse.

So, What Will I Find Here?

You will find curses and incantation on how to sour and spoil milk; peel paint; shatter china; split seams, zippers, and bra straps; make pants drop; and other such things. Just because these curses do not cause death or destruction, do not underestimate their power. Remember, these curses are also ancient, existing side by side with the kind that could drop people dead in their tracks.

You will not find here anything to help you deal with getting rid of what I call ‘life’. You know, those things that you have to deal with, that require pulling up the big kid panties. You shouldn’t be cursing the guy that cuts you off in traffic, but the guy that speeds off from the scene of an accident, well, I will leave that decision up to you!

I must say one more thing about the modern adaptations of the ancient curses, the intent is the same but the punch is lighter, and often, so are the materials needed to curse. Many curses utilized blood, urine, or other bodily fluids when utilizing the elementals in their work. You have heard of blood magick, right? When ever you see wine, sherry, or stale beer for example, you may substitute with any bodily fluid that you see fit. This will make your curse more powerful and have more longevity. Think about what you are doing before you substitute with fluids,, and make sure that is where you want to go. Substitutions are always allowed, your choice!

Final word of caution: Spirits can be tricky to work with. Since you probably do not have a relationship with the spirits and entities I utilize in my work, I will limit spirit invocation here to a very few easy going type of curses. The ancients, of course, called up darker and more dazzling spirits, but that also means more dangerous as well. I am not going to cover that here. I mean, for goddess sake, how would you explain it to the ER doctor and the police?

 

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Church of Satan

CHURCH OF SATAN

Fact or Fiction: Are They Evil?

History of the Church Part Four:

 

LaVey knew the date upon which the first Church of Satan must be established. It would have to be during the traditional night of the most important demonic celebration of the year, when witches and devils roam the earth, glorifying the fruition of the spring equinox: Walpurgisnacht, the night of April 30th—May 1st.

LaVey shaved his head as part of a formalized founding ritual, in the tradition of medieval executioners, carnival strongmen, and black magicians before him, to gain personal power and enhance the forces surrounding his newly established Satanic order. It was the enactment of an allusion at the end of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Kubla Khan: an incantation rejecting the Holy Trinity and the spiritual life in favor of one devoted to Hell and material pursuits.

Shaving the head is also traditional to the Yezidi devil worshippers as a rite of passage that the emerging adept must perform. The razor for this rite is washed in the waters of Zamzam, the subterranean well of Islam said to be the point of origin for underground streams flowing under the Seven Towers of Satan. The caverns beneath the Towers are supposedly tributaries leading to the place of the Satanic Masters, known as Shamballah, or Carcosa. Thus, shorn of his locks, he leaves the world of the descendants of Adam behind him. To make the ritual complete, LaVey declared 1966 Year One, Anno Satanas—the first year of the reign of Satan.

LaVey declared 1966 Year One, Anno Satanas — the first year of the reign of Satan.”

The Council of Nine, following the dictates of the Nine Unknown, was established throughout the world. Many significant writers have obliquely referred to this mysterious cabal—Shakespeare, John Dryden, Talbot Mundy, and Richard Johnson—an archetypal formation that is reflected in the nine members appointed to sit in positions of absolute authority on the United States Supreme Court. The new Age of Fire had been inaugurated, and though the ceremony on Walpurgisnacht, 1966, was a highly personal, private one, LaVey would soon feel the tremors it was to produce.

“We blended a formula of nine parts social respectability to one part outrage,” says Anton LaVey. “We established a Church of Satan—something that would smash all concepts of what a ‘church’ was supposed to be. This was a temple of indulgence to openly defy the temples of abstinence that had been built up until then. We didn’t want it to be an unforgiving, unwelcoming place, but a place where you could go to have fun.”

And thus was initiated two revolutions which have carried over into today: 1) the integration of magic and logic, and 2) a religion based on self-indulgence, carnality (here and now instead of there and then), and pleasure instead of self-denial. Other ego-affirming, human potential programs like EST drew from the groundbreaking attitudes and techniques of the Church of Satan.

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Painting by Warlock Marcus Mayer

Sources:

Official Church of Satan Website

Church of Satan: A Historical Overview by Tina Parsons 2011

The Devil’s Avenger (1974) by Burton Wolfe

Secret Life of a Satanist (1990) by Blanche Barton

by Blanche Barton ©2003
(condensed from The Church of Satan and with supplemental material by Peter H. Gilmore)

Wedding Memories

Lindsey and Chris will have a lot to remember from their wedding. It was a wonderful fun filled event with friends and family.

Rain caused the wedding to have to move into a very small living room instead of being in a back yard. The rain was so heavy on Tuesday that there was no way to utilize the rain at all during the wedding.

The home is beautiful, but no one was prepared an hour before the ceremony to move inside. I found myself woefully lacking in what I needed to shoot in the light that the living room provided.

The wedding photos will be traditional black and white due to lighting, and the photos are much prettier and elegant in B&W vs. color.

The bride was very happy with this shot…I am glad.

Do not think I went unprepared, that isn’t the case. Since I am not rich, I rent lenses for events and the lenses were rented planning on a wide and long backyard overlooking the city. The lenses would not work in the house, so I had to improvise. This was frustrating however, the shots did work and many are beautiful!

Thank you Lindsey and Chris.

Rainy Day Wedding

Does rain ruin a wedding?

No, not necessarily. Get creative! White umbrellas, colored rain boots…you can come up with something fantastic…it is only a wedding dress! It can be cleaned.

Don’t let rain bring you down when preparing for a wedding shoot.

The cake may melt, but people will not! Use the atmosphere and the rain to your advantage…rain sleeves for your camera come in two packs for about $9. Find ways to make the rain fun for you and for your couple!

Your attitude about the rain may make the bride feel better and perk her up. Weddings are supposed to be fun, sunny events, but mother nature does not always agree!

Look at photos from rainy day weddings and make your bride’s a very special day!

Wedding Photography

Shooting weddings can be tricky. My number one tip is to communicate with the bride and the groom. This serves me well. Without that communication your shooting can be all over the place.

You are not expected to know who everyone is, so find out! Take the time to make your couple happy. Remember, your style is your style, but in editing you can make allowances for what the bride and the groom are interested in.

I shoot many weddings that are B&W only. Many people like that classic look. Sepia is also popular. What does your couple want?

Always pay attention to small details and shoot everything you can think of. You will not always know when the table clothe on the cake table was the brides Great Grandmas.

Have fun at your wedding shoot, remember that day isn’t about you, and stay as invisible as possible. You are the help, not a guest. How would you want a photographer to act at your event?

Well, that is all I have for today. Hope some of it makes sense…

Oh, spend time looking at other wedding photographers work. Find ideas and styles that compliment your style…then create some art and memories!

Memorial Day 2013

Early Observances of Memorial Day
The Civil War claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history, requiring the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. By the late 1860s Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo—which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.

Decoration Day
On May 5, 1862, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Many Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.

Evolution of Memorial Day
Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

Memorial Day Traditions
Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. On a less somber note, many people throw parties and barbecues on the holiday, perhaps because it unofficially marks the beginning of summer.

Depression Can Be Helped

Depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:

  • difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • fatigue and decreased energy
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • irritability, restlessness
  • loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • overeating or appetite loss
  • persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

How does one find a way out? What do you do when you discover that many of these symptoms have been part of your life since childhood? How does one begin to right wrongs? To find a higher path to attempt to solve depression? What does one do when the resources do not exist to be able to obtain help or medication?

Depression is scary, bringing great amounts of anxiety, fear and stress. How to move forward from the realization to do the right thing and find a way to live happy, normal and free of the ties of depression.

Where does one start to not feel worthless, undeserving and that they do not fit in? That for me is the crux of my depression…I need to start at this point…I need to figure out how to accept and like myself and I have never learned how to do this….I have never felt good enough…time to figure out how to do that…any suggestions of sites or resources that could help with this question would be appreciated.