Saturday, April 23, 2016

21 Pounds in 21 Days: The Martha's Vineyard Detox Diet

After hearing Robin Quivers, of Howard Stern fame, lost over 70 lbs after being on the Martha’s Vineyard Detox Dietfor over one year I had to investigate more closely. One of the authors of the book is “Doctor” Roni DeLuz, whom is not a medical doctor (although she is a registered nurse) but is a naturopathic doctor and a colonic therapist from the Clayton School of Natural Healing and the American Holistic College of Nutrition. Co-author James Hester has no professional background in medicine but he did lose 30 pounds on Dr. DeLuz’s plan and works with her presently. In addition to the diet book you may also chose to detox on-site at the Martha’s Vineyard Holistic Retreat. According to the website a typical day here includes meals of fruit smoothies and raw foods, meditation, colonic therapy, and many other typical therapies offered at medical spas. This program has been running since 1997.

If you don’t have the time and money to shell out to attend a retreat in Mass. you can purchase the drinks online and detox at home. An entire 21 day detox kit costs approximately 200 dollars and comes in vanilla or chocolate. At 10 dollars a day that isn’t very much, provided you can last the 21 days solely on these fruit smoothies. The book also suggests that you complete at least one coffee enema during the 21 days fast. However, drinking coffee is not recommended during the diet only hot herbal teas are allowed. Salt, sugar, milk, eggs, butter and alcoholic beverages, including wine, are excluded while following the detox.

On the diet book has an average of 3 out of 5 stars from a total of 115 reviewers. Common complaints includes the bad taste of the shakes, that the $200 detox kit does not includes the “enzymes” called for in the book, the lack of protein in the diet, and overall that it caters more to the millionaire than the everyday working person. As expected, many people including those who rated the book positively chose to skip out on the enemas and colonics.

People that have completed the 21 days did in fact report to have lost a great deal of weight. The diet has been compared to the raw food movement which is also very popular among the rich and famous. Even people that reportedly loosely followed the diet have lost great amounts of weight. Cutting out solid foods, sugar, salt, and caffeine is this any surprise?

Tags:21 Pounds in 21 Days: The Martha’s Vineyard Detox Diet

20th Century Musical Icons - the Greatest 3

The 20th century was full of upheaval, discovery, achievement and war, but it was also a time of great cultural life producing enormous talents who remain popular icons today.

In the area of music, the 20th century was gifted with quite a few extraordinary men and women who galvanized the public mind and inspired new ways to think of ourselves as individuals.

John Lennon, Miles Davis and Michael Jackson are three particularly outstanding examples of musicians who came to embody the spirit of their time. Through music they became famous and through fame they became icons, images, avatars of the popular spirit and the trail-blazers for the identity of millions.

These three are joined in the ranks of musical icons of the 20th century by Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and others. These figures grew to be more than musicians and more than entertainers. They became icons. They became history.

John Lennon

Famously, John Lennon once remarked that his band was bigger than Jesus. In a way, he was not even exaggerating. The Beatles’ influence on popular music was vast, global, and lasting.

As the most outspoken and political member of the group, John Lennon stood out as an exemplar of the social conscience of his age – a spiritually minded, socially engaged individual who did not hesitate to share his opinions, his solutions and his hopes with the public.

The sincerity of his music coupled with the uncompromising individuality of his bearing made John Lennon more than a celebrity. He was a mogul. He was a monument.

He will be remembered for a long, long time.

Miles Davis

In his lifetime, Miles Davis was a famous as any other musician on the planet. A maverick in his field who dressed with flair, who rarely spoke and sometimes even turned his back to the audience, Miles Davis possessed an accidental genius for preserving a fascinating aura of mystery and glamour.

Miles Davis was a jazz musician who managed to express the “cool”, the “hip” and the sophistication of the musical movement as it had only been imagined before him.

Even today, years after the peak of his fame, Miles Davis represents the distilled essence of the complex, free-form music that he played.

The man remains an icon of cool. He played acoustic jazz and brought it into new arenas. Then he took jazz electric and played for huge audiences. He re-imagined pop ballads as he re-imagined himself in the 1980’s, clad in bright leather, a perfect counter-part to the next suave figure in the line-up of 20th century musical icons – Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was more famous than anyone else has ever been. This is not meant as an exaggeration. Let me say it again. Michael Jackson was more famous, at the height of his popularity, than any living human has ever been in the history of mankind.

Think about it. And you will see that this is true.

Jackson rose to super-stardom in a media age that took branding and advertising to new levels. The late 1980’s and early 1990’s advertising culture was far more focused than the advertising culture of today. There was Coke. There was Pepsi. There was Nike.

A few companies decided that they could and would create a world market for their products. This movement toward extreme branding was parallel to Michael Jackson’s ascendancy.

Jackson was the uber-spokesman, the kind of pitch-man that is unthinkable today. In 1990, you would have been hard-pressed to find a 12 year old in Germany or Japan, Canada or Egypt who did not know about Michael Jackson.

Again, this is not meant as an exaggeration but as a statement of fact.

Can we say this about any American figure today? Is there anyone as recognizable around the world as Michael Jackson once was who is living today? Even Barack Obama and George Bush fail in comparison to Jackson’s fame and name-recognition.

He was called the King of Pop. He danced. He sang. He made movies. He made incredible music videos.

Michael Jackson cried on Oprah for an hour in primetime and everyone watched.

Too distinct to be copied, Michael Jackson was instead venerated and loved as a far-off star-child, a talent and an entertainer.

To call him iconic is to under-emphasize his extreme popularity.

He is the most famous person of all time.

Tags:20th Century Musical Icons - the Greatest 3

21, Female and a Boss

I had put in for a higher position within the store that I was working at, knowing that someone was about to leave and the position would need filled as quickly as possible. I had been in the specific department for a little less than a year. It was a trade specific department in a major hardware chain. I was the only girl to have ever worked in the Electrical department at that particular store, and I was proud of it! I learned and absorbed as much as I could from the men who had been doing that type of work longer than I had been alive.

I landed the position with flying colors! I knew my area, and I knew my business. Most importantly, I knew my associates! If you are looking for a challenging job or career in this area, I would actually suggest it! Don’t forget to:

  • Be clear about what you expect.
  • Do not play favorites.
  • Don’t get “power happy.”
  • Ask for feedback from your associates
  • Listen to their suggestions on how to improve upon your business.
  • For your security document everything!
  • If given, take the opportunity to train more in your new position.
  • Encourage your associates! Appreciation is noticed.
  • The customer is not always right. Follow procedure and policy.
  • When dealing with an irate customer always remember, this is your job!
  • You do not know the day your customer has had.
  • Only you know what you are truly capable of. Try not to get too overwhelmed.
  • Your to-do list will still be there tomorrow.
  • Delegate wisely! (This is where knowing your associates comes in handy.)
  • It is better to be a little over-stocked than to not have an item, and lose the sale as well as the potential of a life-long customer.
  • Most importantly! Leave work at work ,and home at home. The two do not get along, and will disagree!

Remember, someone believed in you enough to promote you. Don’t let them or yourself down. You were chosen because you are the best at what your do! Leadership roles can be fun and rewarding if you let it.

Tags:21, Female and a Boss

21 Polo Horses Die from Mystery Illness in Florida

The mystery is getting even bigger has as the news that more polo horses have died in Florida begins to grow. As of Monday morning, 21 horses have died from an unknown cause, and while necropsies are being performed on the stricken horses, the number has just continued to grow as the weekend comes to an end. This whole mystery is unraveling in Wellington, Florida, were a polo match was set to take place on Sunday afternoon. Suddenly two horses collapsed, and while veterinarians were working on those horses, more began to fall.

As a polo match between a Venezuelan-based Lechuza Caracas team and a Florida team prepared to take place in Wellington, Florida, two horses became dizzy and collapsed. Veterinarians were immediately on the scenes, and while they and team officials were trying to revive them, five other horses also became dizzy. Several of the horses died almost immediately according to a CNN correspondent on the scene, but others lingered for a while, and a total of seven horses died on the spot. At the time, seven others also became sick and were being transported to animal hospitals when they also died in transit.

Through the night, the number of horses that died grew from an original 14 up to a total of 21 so far, as several more horses that had been in the same trailer died during the night. All of the deceased horses have been taken to the Kissimmee Diagnostic clinic near Orlando to try and figure out exactly what is going on and how this could have possibly happened. Losing a total of 21 horses in such a short amount of time is definitely a shocking event, and this was without the polo match ever taking place. An immediate investigation was opened by the U.S. Polo Association to try and determine what was taking place, but it is sure to be a concern to more agencies than just the Polo Association.

The thought that so many horses were killed in such a short time by an unknown entity is pretty scary, and breeds many rumors about what might have happened. Some theories that have already been presented are that the horses all ate something that was tainted, that something lethal was ingested, that an airborne pathogen took them down, and even that someone injected the animals with something that may have killed them. These are all rumors though, as of Monday morning, as the investigation is on-going, and the scramble is on to figure out what happened to cause these deaths.

Source: Live CNN Broadcast

Tags:21 Polo Horses Die from Mystery Illness in Florida

2037: the Democrats' New Social Security Lock Box

In American politics, we hold these certain truths to be self-evident: that President George Bush will be blamed for everything done by the democrats before he became president as well as after his administration until such time as the next Republican president is elected and that we as conservatives must accept the miserable fact that we must hear, until the return of Jesus, ad nauseum, that Bill Clinton handed President Bush a budget surplus.

In his 1995 State of the Union Address ( see clip ), Bill Clinton said, “…now if we balance the budget for next year, it is projected that we will then have a sizable surplus in the years that immediately follow…”

It really depends, doesn’t it, on what the real meaning of “if”-is

In his State of the Union Address video , Bill went on to explain to America his proposed earmark for the assumed surplus in “four words”: “Fix social security NOW!” The democrat experts in music, pop culture and sports believe he did just that.

In 1995, the Republican majority congress under the leadership of Speaker Newt Gingrich proposed a plan to eliminate the deficit in seven years. After five or six heated budget battles with Clinton who constantly fought against them during which he made statements such as that he was not that committed to balancing the budget, congress finally balanced the budget during his last term; but instead of handing President Bush a budget surplus, the failed policies of the Clinton administration such as NAFTA, The Community Reinvestment Act (which caused the housing bubble), his war against Serbia in Bosnia and Kosovo and his missile attacks on aspirin factories in Sudan and Afghanistan, resulted in a 2002 national debt increase of $281 billion.

The Lock box

Vice President Albert Gore, in his August 18, 2000 presidential candidate nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, said, as recorded by The New York Times,

“…Putting both Social Security and Medicare in an ironcladlock box where the politicians can’t touch them — to me, that kind of common sense is a family value.”

The democrats keep trying to tell us, we would still have the Social Security Trust Fund in the lock box if it hadn’t been for Jeb Bush and that electoral college thing down in Florida; instead, “George Bush and Dick Cheney took every dollar and spent it in Iraq on the war for oil”.

Conservatives must also hear to the point of hurling that President Obama inherited our our national debt from the Bush administration. The hope and change electorate will never accept that Obama’s addition to the national debt is greater than that of all the other presidents in U.S. history combined. President Bush was in his final year in office when Bill Clinton’s housing bubble burst. Near to that time, President Bush signed for $17-18 billion to bail out the automobile manufacturers. In Obama’s first nineteen months in office alone, he increased the national debt $2.5 trillion dollars .

Now in 2011, such as it happened during Bill Clinton’s presidency, the Republicans have gained control of the House of Representatives. Pledges such as to “repeal and replace”, cut spending, defund programs, vote against raising the debt ceiling and privatize Social Security have been coming from the new Republican legislators. New directors and staff have been placed in agencies such as the Social Security Administration and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Within a few weeks of the election, new reports of the insolvency of Social Security and Medicare and other subjects were submitted to Congress.

2037: The New Lock box

On Thursday, January 27, 2011, Douglas W. Elmendorf, Director of the CBO testified before the Senate Budget Committee of the insolvency of Social Security and the current projections indicate $600 billion in deficits in the next decade as the economy struggles and millions of baby boomers stand at the brink of retirement. This year alone, Elmendorf said that Social Security is projected to collect $45 billion less in payroll taxes than it pays in retirement, disability and survivor benefits, and by 2037, using the current information, Social Security funds will be exhausted.

As William Galston said in his January 28, 2011 article on the The New Republic website, “… it’s not as bad as you’ve read; it’s worse… the headlines understate the gravity of our situation. CBO is required to use current law as the basis for its estimates-to assume, for example, that all the Bush tax cuts will expire at the end of 2012, that Medicare payments to physicians will be cut sharply, and that the alternative minimum tax will be allowed to affect millions more Americans.”

The democrat Senators, up in arms to protect their “sacred cow” in the Senate Defend Social Security Caucus, came running out of the hearing ready to make statements for the press (see video) :

Bernie Sanders, D Vermont, said, “Social Security has been the most successful social program in the history of this country. We are getting sick and tired of the Republicans telling us that Social Security is collapsing when the reality is that there is a $2.6 trillion dollar surplus in Social Security and it can pay every benefit to every eligible beneficiary for the next 27 years!”

Perhaps Senator Sanders has forgotten it is 2011. Perhaps he meant 26 years which would be 2037.

Barbara Boxer, D California, said, We are going to stand up and we are going to be heard. We are going to stand up to those who would destroy Social Security but we are going to call them out on it!”

…and WE ARE GOING to hurl.

Chuck Schumer, D New York, said, “There is a move — not to preserve Social Security from those on the other side of the aisle — but to END it. They want to do the same for Medicare. What they’ve done is create a panic that Social Security is about to end in the next few years, then saying “Let’s END it!”. They want to privatize Social Security. Privatize equals END!”

What we want to do is privatize Chuck Schumer.

A few minutes later that day, the democrat-controlled, government, left-wing, propagandist media went into damage control mode. Charles Osgood used a sound clip from Andrew Biggs , former deputy Social Security commissioner:

“The Social Security Trust Fund has several trillion dollars’ worth of Treasury bonds in it. And even if the system is running deficits through payroll taxes, it can redeem the bonds to pay full benefits.”

See? There’s no reason to worry. Social Security is safe. The democrats told us “…there is a $2.7 trillion dollar surplus…”– “…in treasury bonds they can cash in. It will be fine until at least 2037.”

The truth is, at the time of this writing, our national debit was $14,067,018,492,708.17 and is presently increasing at the rate of $4.15 billion per day . States such as Illinois, California, New Jersey, Illinois and others can’t pay out promises such as trillions of dollars in state government pensions, they can’t pay their vendors, and are facing bankruptcy. Since the states are sovereign, they are trying to get that “little” problem worked out so they can come under the control of the federal bankruptcy courts. Those states would lose their sovereignty to the control of the federal government. On a national level, the Republican legislators are faced with a choice of raising the national debt ceiling even higher to pay the federal obligations, or to to cut federal programs and default on others.

2037 is not the reality. 2037 is the new lock box. When Social Security and Medicare collapses much sooner, in a few months, or within a couple of years, in the music, pop culture and sports filled minds of the American electorate, the Republicans will have spent the surplus, and they will be blamed, and George Bush will be blamed, until the next Republican president is elected.

Tags:2037: the Democrats’ New Social Security Lock Box

$210,000 Rewarded to Owners of Pitbull Who was Shot 11 Times

A Richmond, Virginia couple, Cynthia Peters and Mark Parr have been awarded $210,000 after they filed a civil rights lawsuit. Peters and Parr accused Richmond police officers of “reckless and callous disregard”, in the shooting death of their pit bull in July 2005. Another 15,000 was paid to a passerby Genevia Walker, who stated her neck had been burned after bullet casings flew and hit her neck as reported by the Chronicle.

The whole incident occurred on July 27, 2005 when Richmond police officers had been chasing a suspect in the area that Peters and Parr had resided. The police then opened the gate where the dog was at and continued to pursue the suspect. The dog was then shot 11 times with a handgun and a shotgun. Parr who was inside of the house at the time ran outside and confronted officers “Why’d you shoot my dog?”. According to the lawsuit papers filed with the United States District Court in San Fransisco, the police officers then turned towards Parr and pointed their guns at him, allegedly kick and punched Parr, and threw him to the ground, as reported by the Chronicle.

No charges were filed against Mark Parr, however during the incident he was arrested on suspicion of obstructing police officers. After the incident occurred an internal investigation by the Richmond Police Department was underway. The police department found that no fault was done with the officers in question. Peters and Parr appealed that decision immediately. By February 2006, the Police Commission ruled in favor of Peters and Parr, stating that Blu’s death was insufficient departmental guidelines for handling such situations as reported by the Chronicle.

Court papers also revealed that the city of Richmond said “the destruction” of Blu was necessary and therefore reasonable, that the force used against Mark Parr was reasonable and that his arrest was lawful as reported by the Chronicle.

Richmond Chief Chris Magnus did however apologize to Cynthia Peters and Mark Parr for what had happened with their dog. Even though an unusual move by the police, Chief Magnus told the Chronicle“that his apology doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t support his officers, but that owning up to Blu’s death is the right thing to do”. Magnus also added, ” Being sorry that something happened doesn’t mean that your people acted in the wrong way.”

This is not the first incident where the city had to pay a large sum for an unnecessary shooting of an animal. In 1991, officers shot and killed James Fuller’s dog “Champ” after police had entered his yard to talk to him. Fuller was awarded $500,000 as reported by the Chronicle.

Since the shooting of “Blu”, Police Chief Magnus has made a few changes that bars officers from shooting a dog if there are nonlethal alternatives.

In a statement made to the Chronicle by Richmond City Councilman Tom Butt, he went on to say “previous chiefs did not learn. Magnus made the correction to the policy. I think he did the right thing by apologizing”.

SOURCE : Richmond pays $210k to owners of dog shot dead by cops – Henry K. Lee – Chronicle

SOURCE : Richmond Police Department

Tags:$210,000 Rewarded to Owners of Pitbull Who was Shot 11 Times

21st Century American Pagan Witches

A Pagan is defined by The American Heritage Concise Dictionary as “ who is not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew…” (Pagan 597). This does not seem to be an adequate definition of Pagans in any century, least of all today. It only describes what a Pagan is not, without explaining what a Pagan is. Pagans are a diverse group of people with a variety of religious beliefs, spanning from polytheism to pantheism and everywhere in between, as are American Pagan Witches. However, more to the point, American Pagan Witches generally have certain basic characteristics. Most believe in many gods and/or goddesses, in the divine spark, in karma, in reincarnation, attuning oneself to nature, and magic. There are several different types of witches and combinations there of. Finally, American Pagan Witches have a history which has been called true, fictitious, and a little of both.

American Pagan Witches are generally polytheistic, usually believing in more than one god or goddess, sometimes whole pantheons, and sometimes various gods from different pantheons indiscriminately (Kraig 39). A great many are dualistic and believe in a Supreme Goddess and God, usually referred to as the Lord and Lady much like the ancient Babylonians Bel and Beltu, of which all other goddesses and gods are merely aspects (Pinches). American Pagan Witches usually practice Wicca, a dualistic type of Paganism. There are some Monotheistic Pagan Witches who claim to practice Wicca, but do not in the traditional sense of the religion. These American Pagan Witches refer to themselves as the Dianic Tradition of Wicca and consider the Goddess to be all encompassing (Adler 35). This sect of American Pagan Witches have become the feminist movement within Wicca that has been, cautiously accepted by Wiccans as a Tradition (RavenWolf 12). Technically speaking, the Dianic Tradition is more of a New Age religion, than that of a Wiccan Tradition because Dianic witches only worship the female part of the divine (Bearden). Most American Pagan Witches have a special reverence for nature as divine, and believe that most living and growing things have a divine spark, that is from and of nature or the the divine (Adler 4). This is an animistic life view that complements the various other religious views of the American Pagan Witch.

American Pagan Witches hold a life affirming view and seek to remedy any ills through attunement with nature, repaying owed karma, and seeking balance through magic. Karma to American Pagan Witches is a natural force which keeps the universe balanced. When the balance is upset, one incurs karma, good or bad. However, American Pagan Witches do not seek to escape karma, only to learn from the effects and live harmoniously with it. American Pagan Witches seek to be one with nature and by extension the divine, by way of ritual on high holy days called Sabbats, solar holy days, and Esbats, lunar holy days. According to Silver RavenWolf in To Ride A Silver Broomstick there are eight Sabbats of varying names which are considered Solar and of the male deity, or The God, within Wicca and thirteen Esbats that correspond with specific moons of varying names and are considered Lunar and of the female deity, or Goddess, within Wicca (Ravenwolf 2002, 31-39).

The Sabbats, known by many more names than will be listed, are generally as follows: Winter Solstice also known as Yule; February 1-2 known as Imbolic and Candlemas; Vernal Equinox also known as Ostra; May 1st known as May Day and Beltane; Summer Solstice also known as Midsummer; August 2nd also known as Lammas; Autumnal Equinox also known as Mabon; and October 31st also known as Halloween, Samhain,or more commonly The Witches New Year (Campanelli 134). The Sabbats are centered around important agricultural times. Imbolic, Ostra, and Beltane are considered important sowing dates whereas Lammas, Mabon, and Halloween are considered important harvest dates in Wicca. Yule and Midsummer serve as important references to time within the cycle of the year or wheel of the year as many American Pagan Witches call it (Campanelli 4).

The Esbats are monthly rituals that fall on the full moon. For each moon there is a different name varying by tradition. Esbats are considered to be Lunar holy days and connected with the female divine according to Wiccan tradition. It is said by some, Wiccans in particular, that female witches are attuned with nature if menses occurs during the full moon (Bearden). Lisa Bearden, advisor on Wicca to The North Arkansas Department of Corrections, “…a woman can magickally set her menses to follow the cycles of the moon to increase the power of the moon phases.” There has been no scientific evidence to date, to support this claim.

Important American Pagan Witch Rites that also help the witch attune with nature are the Naming or Birth Ritual, Coming of Age, Initiation, Ordination, Handfasting, and Crossing Over. The Naming Rite, Birth Rite, or Wiccaning is done after a child is born, usually before their tenth year. During this ritual the child is introduced to the spirit world and given their real and or spirit name (O’Gaea 26). Often handmade gifts are given at this time rather than at a baby shower (Ravenwolf 2005, 60). In some Naming Rites the child receives a secondary set of parents much like Christian God Parents, the difference being in some Pagan Traditions, this secondary set sometimes vow to care for the child as their own should the primary parents pass away (Bearden).

The Coming Of Age Rite or The Manning or Womaning occur anywhere from age 12 to 21 and are usually considered the first step into adulthood. During this rite the child is brought before the spirit world once again for blessings on their journey into adulthood (O’Gaea 30). There are large variances between groups on how and when this occurs and even the name of this event.

Initiations and or Self Dedications are done to bring a follower of the Craft before the divine to be blessed and to make a commitment to the divine to be a proper Pagan. Initiations are important rites for Covens. Self Dedication Rites are immensely important for the individual American Pagan Witch. The Initiation or Self Dedication Ritual is significant because from that time forth, the subject is a Pagan Witch (Ravenwolf 2005, 93). It can be related to Baptism within certain Protestant faiths.

Ordination is usually obtained by advancing through a degree system in a coven, via an Internet church such as The Temple of Wicca for Solitary practitioners, or a seminary. The traditional method is advancing through the degrees in the coven. More recently, many American Pagan Witches have sought ordination via the Internet, because of a lack of visible covens or seminaries. Seminaries are few and the ones that do exist are rarely accredited through any national body. According to The Cherry Hill Pagan Seminary in Vermont, there are no government accredited traditional, professional, seminaries for the American Pagan Witch as of yet, due to a lack of a Pagan Accreditation Body in general for Pagan Parochial schools.

Handfasting is akin to a Marriage Ceremony in that it binds two people together. However, a Handfasting may only be temporary, for there are three types: the Ceremonial, Legal, and Spiritual. A Ceremonial Handfasting traditionally lasts for one year and a day for Wiccans. A Legal Handfasting lasts for a lifetime, where as a Spiritual Handfasting lasts for all of eternity (Ravenwolf 2001, 238). Handfastings bring people together and create families. Most American Pagan Witches do not view having an official union necessary to have a happy, functioning family. Most Handfastings are performed after a couple has already lived together for a time and the couple wishes to make their relationship more permanent or “real” to outsiders.

Crossing Over is the only Great Rite one does not get to choose, when it will happen. Crossing over is a Rite most American Pagan Witches recognize as the final stage of this incarnation. As soon as a witch is ready to cross, whether mentally or only physically, every effort is made to comfort the crossing witch by fellow Pagan witches. Most American Pagan Witches honor this right as a part of the spiritual journey, or as a part of life. Many try hard to be at the bed side of the dying witch to comfort and reassure the one passing away that it is indeed the right course. There are various rituals and spells, wishes commonly compared to prayers, attached to dying (Simos and O’Brien 135-35).

Many American Pagan Witches believe in karma, and try very hard to keep good karma. As a general rule of thumb there is the belief that whatever is sent out will return three fold. Although it is never made clear how the amount of three fold is came to be, it is very clear that karma has a strong hold within the American Pagan Witch community at large. Even Family Tradition Witches, those taught from childhood, believe in karma. In Margot Adler’s Drawing Down The Moon a Family Tradition Witch says, ” As long as I can remember I’ve simply realized that if you do something ‘wrong’ you get ‘punished’, maybe by people, maybe by the workings of Nature, …” (Alder 75). Repaying owed karma happens in this life according to American Pagan Witches, and not in other future lives (Bearden). Therefore, most American Pagan Witches try to have plenty of good karma to negate the bad.

One thing central to being an American Pagan Witch, is the belief in magic. This is usually looked upon with much amusement by people outside the witch community. American Pagan Witches claim to do magic on a regular basis, through rituals and spells. What is magic really then? Magic is a system of using cultural cues, to set up mental triggers for and by the adherent, to help the adherent, or practitioner, do what is willed. One could argue they are psychological tricks for witches to focus their mind in a way that will favor success (Adler 8). Rituals usually consist of: making a circle by walking in a circle clock-wise three times with a tool, a small ritual knife or wand, while reciting a specific chant; calling the four quarters by going to the east, south, west, and north parts of the circle while reciting a chant specific to each direction; inviting a deity by standing in the middle of the circle and asking The God and Goddess to be in the circle; express desire by talking to the deity that was invited about the matter at hand; give thanks or offering by giving something to the deity; say thank you to the deity and good bye by verbally expressing thanks and well wishes for coming into the circle; say thank you to the quarters and goodbye by going to each direction and saying a chant for each corner; open the circle by walking widder-shins, or counter clock wise three times while saying a specific chant . This is similar to ancient Babylonia rites where in they called, or addresses verbally, the “four winds, poured libations” a type of offering, and set out offerings to the God(s) of their choice (Pinches). Spells on the other hand are much like prayers found in many religions. Spells can be done anywhere at any time, without any equipment except one’s imagination or mind. American Pagan Witches produce spells by stating what is wished as having already been done. Sometimes this occurs after meditation over the idea, or with the aid of candles and incense, but it is not necessary to have such material items. From an American Pagan Witch’s perspective, all religions have rituals and spells. Most religions do not call them by those names however.

There are several different types of witches such as hereditary, natural, traditional, and New Age. A Heredity Witch is one that was raised Pagan and taught the mysteries of witchcraft at home by mom, dad, or some other living relative (Ravenwolf 2002, 12-13). Heredity Witches are usually a little different from other witches. Margot Adler explained in her book Drawing Down the Moon, “Cybele said that in her experience most Fam-Trads [Heredity Witches] were loners who had difficulty working in covens” (73).

A Natural Witch is a witch that tries to be as close and kind to nature in all workings as possible. Natural Witches usually have a higher reverence for Nature and see it as divinity itself or a part of divinity. One way to describe this divine concept of Nature would be pantheistic. Natural Witches are drawn to Paganism from a love, understanding, and respect for Nature. Most Natural Witches personify nature as Mother Nature. Natural Witches do not always worship a Pagan “deity,” but, all revere nature as such (Adler 129).

Traditional Witches, oddly enough, have dubious historical references for their traditions. Traditional Witches are the type which go to covens, do rituals in groups, and have open circles or study groups. Traditional Witches claim their traditions come from ancient origins, however; the most ancient accounts of such behavior that can be found is in Charles Leland’s work Aradia from 1899, Alester Crowley’s works in the late 1800’s, and that of Gerald Gardener in the 1950’s (Adler 64). In fact much of modern Wicca’s ritual structure comes from Gardener. The only ancient remnants in ritual function are that of calling the quarters and pouring liberations (Pinches). The structure and function of Wicca has other similarities to the ancient religions of the civilizations of Babylon and Assyria in that the Assyrian and Babylonia religions were dualistic, animistic, and pantheistic; inscriptions are still made on items for protection much like in the ancient Babylonia religions, the crescent is still a sign of the moon as in the ancient Babylonia religions, the left hand path is still considered bane, or bad, the zodiac is still used for divination much like in Babylonia religions, and nature is still seen as a force..often separating the earth, sky, and underworld similar to Babylonia religions (Pinches).

New Age Witches are often likened to Natural Witches, but there is one obvious difference. New Age Witches usually do not have any affinity for deity and do not practice the religious aspect of it at all. New Age Witches, if they do acknowledge a deity, see it with in all people or in all living things. New Age Witches do not celebrate the holidays, or have rituals on the holidays in honor of any divine. Most New Age Witches focus on the magic aspect alone.

American Pagan Witches cite many references from the Golden Bough to Aradia as historical documentation that Witchcraft has survived as a religion. Many scholars doubt this evidence to show witchcraft as having survived from ancient times. The best indications that any semblance of Ancient Paganism has survived in any form is the comparison of ancient Pagan societies as written about by scholars before the resurgence of Paganism in the past century. The furthest record of a Pagan Society having any similar traits to modern American Paganism was found with Theophilus Pinches work. Mr. Pinches was a renowned Assyrian expert for his time, and unbiased in his views towards the religion of this Ancient society. As stated previously, there are notable likenesses with in these two religions. The most striking being the fact Babylonians referred to their main god and goddess for a time as simple “Lord” and “Lady” much like modern Wiccans do. In Semitic Bel means “Lord” and Beltu means “Lady”. Another striking resemblance being that of the left hand path, in ancient Babylon there was a ritual to rid a bad spirit from a person and in this ritual a black cord was tied to the left hand. In Wicca the left hand path is the path that the wicked travel. If one were to combine this knowledge one might surmise that the bad spirit in the Ancient Babylonian Rite, was lead out of the body and traveled down the black cord to leave the body. Of course this is all just speculation. In ancient Babylonian religion and in modern Wicca, adherents see themselves as the literal children of the gods much like Jesus is described (Pinches). The idea of Wicca being passed down as a complete religion and being revealed as such to Mr. Gerald Gardener seems to be fabricated. However, in review of ancient Babylonia religion, it seems Mr. Gardener received some sort of ancient religious knowledge even if he “filled in the gaps” with personal opinion (Adler 61).

Works Cited

Adler, Margot. Drawing Down The Moon. 3rd Ed. USA: Arkana, 1986.

Bearden, Lisa. Personal Interview. 1 April 2007.

Campanelli, Pauline. Wheel of The Year: Living the Magical Life. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 2000.

Cherry Hill Seminary. Frequently Asked Questions. 27 Jun 2005. 22 April 2007

Kraig, Donald Michael. Modern Magick: Eleven Lessons in the High Magickal Arts. St. Paul, MN:Llewellyn, 1998.

O’Gaea, Ashleen. Raising Witches: Teaching The Wiccan Faith To Children. Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press, 2002.

“Pagan” The American Heritage Concise Dictionary. 3rd ed. 1994.

Pinches, Theophilus G. The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria. Trans. John Bickers and Dagny. London: Archibald Constable and Co, 1906. 9 March 2007

RavenWolf, Silver. To Light A Sacred Flame:Practical Witchcraft For The Millennium. St. Paul, MN:Llewellyn, 2001. — To Ride A Silver Broomstick: New Generation Witchcraft. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 2002.—The Ultimate Book of Shadows For the Solitary Witch. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 2005.

Simos, Miriam and Aline O’Brien. The Pagan Book of Living and Dying. San Fransisco: HarperSanFransisco, 1997.

Tags:21st Century American Pagan Witches

21 Quotes on Faith

Why 21 Quotes? There are 21 quotes, for 21 days, the number of days it takes to create or break a habit. Do you want to motivate yourself to write, create or get healthy and loose weight? Do you want more peace, love, happiness, creativity, justice, or courage in our lives and world, we must first THINK about these things; because inevitably, we become what we think and our world is a reflection of us.

Faith Quote 1
Faith is like radar that sees through the fog. ~Corrie Ten Boom

Faith Quote 2
Reason is our soul’s left hand, Faith her right. ~John Donne

Faith Quote 3
Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. And lo, no one was there. ~Author Unknown

Faith Quote 4
Faith is spiritualized imagination. ~Henry Ward Beecher

Faith Quote 5
Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens. ~J.R.R. Tolkien

Faith Quote 6
Faith is a passionate intuition. ~William Wordsworth

Faith Quote 7
Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith. ~Author Unknown

Faith Quote 8
He who has faith has… an inward reservoir of courage, hope, confidence, calmness, and assuring trust that all will come out well – even though to the world it may appear to come out most badly. ~B.C. Forbes

Faith Quote 9
A faith of convenience is a hollow faith. ~Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H

Faith Quote 10
Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings. ~Victor Hugo

Faith Quote 11
Faith makes things possible, not easy. ~Author Unknown

Faith Quote 12
Faith… must be enforced by reason…. When faith becomes blind it dies. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Faith Quote 13
Faith and doubt both are needed – not as antagonists, but working side by side to take us around the unknown curve. ~Lillian Smith

Faith Quote 14
As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit. ~Emmanuel

Faith Quote 15
In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t. ~Blaise Pascal

Faith Quote 16
Faith enables persons to be persons because it lets God be God. ~Carter Lindberg

Faith Quote 17
A little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but a lot of faith will bring heaven to your soul. ~Author Unknown

Faith Quote 18
Faith can move mountains, but don’t be surprised if God hands you a shovel. ~Author Unknown

Faith Quote 19
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. ~Martin Luther King Jr.

Faith Quote 20
Faith makes the discords of the present the harmonies of the future. ~Robert Collyer

Faith Quote 21
Life without faith in something is too narrow a space to live. ~George Lancaster Spalding

Tags:21 Quotes on Faith

22 Things I Have Learned so Far

1.) Family is Everything. Family isn’t Everything. When someone says, “The only thing you have in life is your family,” I get annoyed. The reason for this is because not everyone is blessed with a great and supportive structure. I count my blessings every day that I have an amazing mother and brother who have guided me and helped me to reach my goals and dreams, but the other great part is, that if I didn’t want to follow my dreams anymore, they would continue to love me and support me in whatever it is I wanted to do this day of the week (I am kind of, sort of, indecisive).

2.) Travel. Travel. Travel. “Oh sorry, I can’t go on my dream destination, because I have work.” I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this. Listen up, if you put off going somewhere you’ve always wanted to go for another time, when the next times comes, chances are you’re going to put it off again.

3.) Do Something Crazy. Life is for living, so go out there and do it! Work at 9 the next morning, who cares? Go out on the town with your friend who has the peer pressure thing down to a pat. Go skydiving. Eat that bowl of ice cream even though you’re on a “diet.” I am pretty sure you are going to remember the fun things you’ve done more than that excel document you’ve been working on for a week at your job.

4.) Be Spiritual. I am not going to get all crazy, going into religion and all that stuff, but spirituality, at least to me, is on a whole different level. When I go to the beach alone in the winter, and just sit there by myself, I have the time to look around and gather my thoughts. For me, this is a spiritual moment, because I get to see the beauty that this little piece of the world has.

5.) Go to College. Even if it takes you 20 years, go to college. I understand that it may not be for everybody, but in my opinion, it enhances your overall knowledge, personality, and values.

6.) Get an Internship. So many people are enrolled in college now (see #5), but it still shocks me when I hear that they graduated without any experience in their field. I mean, do you really not know why you can’t find a job? If you are like me, and have to work, try to find a paid internship. They are few and far between, I get it, so if that is nearly impossible, try to volunteer your skills on the side.

7.) Fall in Love. This is something that happens unexpectedly, but it is wonderful none the less. Walls are built up by so many people, myself included, to protect us from that fragile thing we call a heart. Thankfully, I am here to say, get out your hammer, and knock that wall down! Love is truly spectacular, because it reminds us just how special it is to be a human, and to even have the ability to fall in love in the first place.

8.) Open a Book. Another thing that makes us humans so special is our ability to have opinions and views on every subject out there. While certain opinions can get us in trouble, the beauty of living in this country is that we can freely talk about them. Books are just one of the many outlets we have to express ourselves, and to be able to publish our thoughts and views in a place that can last forever is awesome.

9.) Volunteer. I don’t think I can stress enough how important it is to give up your free time to support a cause or organization you care about. It is important that you do care about whatever you are volunteering for, whether it be the ocean or an animal shelter, because your passion makes the work that much better.

10.) FInd the True You. Peer pressure may peak in high school, but it never ends. Throughout adulthood, we are constantly told the right way to act and think, but that can cause stress and unhappiness. Do you like acting in your local theatre on the weekends? Do you get a thrill out of collecting stamps? Do it! You only live once, and hopefully passionately, so if you are interested in something, I say give it your all.

11.) Get a Dog. Or cat. Or hamster. I’ve had my dog for six years, and I couldn’t imagine my life without her. They make you feel better on stressful days and know the meaning of true love.

12.) Say “I Love You.” Nobody knows how long we are on this earth for, though we seem to think we have all the time in the world. When someone dies, for a brief moment we tend to remember to live our life to the fullest, but as the days and weeks go on, the thought dwindles to the back of our mind. We all have special people in our life, so let them know while they are here to share it with you.

13.) Take Your Friends to the Dry Cleaners. Friends are so important, but sometimes holding on to a dwindling friendship is more harmful than helpful. People drift apart- it is something completely natural, but it can be extremely hard to let them go. As we get older, our views and hobbies change, just like everybody else. If you feel that a friendship that was once amazing, isn’t working anymore, it is okay to let go.

14.) Talk to Your Grandparents. History is so important because it shows us where we’ve been and guides us to where we are going. Many of us have a wealth of history at our fingertips, and one of the most important kinds- family history. If you’re lucky enough to still have all or one of your grandparents with you, please talk to them. A great idea is to film them on camera, so everything you are told can be shared with generations to come.

15.) Forgive, but Don’t Forget. When you hold on to a grudge, it adds stress and a big weight on your shoulders. Everyone has made, or will make, a mistake sometime in their life- after all we’re only human. So forgive them. Don’t forget though, because what has happened was a learning experience, and an opportunity for both parties to grow.

16.) Give Up Social Media. I know, I know, I’m a hypocrite. I do run a blog after all- but giving up technology, even for one night, can do a world of good. Instead of tweeting to a friend, call them up, and ask them to go get dinner with you! Social media friendships are great, but nothing beats an actual live conversation complete with real emotions.

17.) Do the Thing You Fear the Most. I am completely scared of airplanes, but that didn’t stop me from getting on one to go to Las Vegas for my 21st birthday. If I let the fear of flying get the best of me, I would have missed the epic road trip to the Grand Canyon, the suite we got upgraded to for free, and the memories I made with three of my best friends.

18.) Stand Up for What You Believe. I am constantly told that I have a short fuse. While I don’t deny this accusation, I do have a perfectly good reason for it. I DON’T TAKE GARBAGE. I am a very easy-going person, except when it comes to ethical issues. In good conscience, I cannot stand back and watch something wrong being done or said. Confrontation may scare you, but just think of how you’ll feel if you say nothing at all.

19.) Play with a Child. No matter how far away your childhood was, I am sure you can remember some of the adventures you had or imagined. Playing tag or coloring a picture with a kid brings you back down to earth, and reminds you how great the simple things in life truly are.

20.) Give Your Work Your All. Sometimes life makes us work somewhere we don’t want to. After all, bills do not pay themselves. Instead of moaning and groaning about having to go to said place, try to think positive thoughts. It isn’t easy, believe me. #17 has gotten me in trouble at quite a few jobs, but by putting your best foot forward, at the end of the day, you know you did all you can to make it okay.

21.) Get on Stage. Whether it be a beauty pageant, the debate team, or a play, being in front of an audience makes you very aware of YOU. No matter how far down your confidence is on the scale, when it is over, you always become braver, even if it’s just a tiny bit.

22.) Be Thankful. This list was meant to open your eyes, and to get you to start living your life now. Be thankful you can share it with wonderful family and friends, and appreciate all that you have. You’ve worked hard for it, but most of all, you deserve it!

Tags:22 Things I Have Learned so Far

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