Helping humankind live with the earth not against it

Category: blog (Page 1 of 3)

The Island of a God is Awake.

Vulcano is Awake. Does that name sound vaguely familiar? Vulcano, an island and volcano in Italy is where we get the name “volcano”. It is also the traditional home of the God Hephaestus in the Greek pantheon and Vulcan in the Roman pantheon. 

In volcanology we often name phenomena and processes after a “type volcano”. Hawaii has given its name to a whole style of eruption along with the name of several flow types and other phenomena. Vulcanian eruptions are named for the style of eruption common at Vulcano, just as Stromboli is the type location for Strombolian eruptions. Plinian eruptions are named for Pliny the Elder a famous intelectual from Rome whose death in the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius outside of Pompeii was importazlied by his nephew Pliny the Younger. Pliny the Elder is in fact a common source for information on the use and thinking of crystals in the Roman world. 

But back to Vulcano. (Volcano specific information provided by the GVP see Resources at the end of the post 1.)

Vulcano is an island and volcano and one of Italy’s Aeolian islands north of the east coast of Sicily. It is in between Mt Etna on Sicily and Stromboli, another island just to its north. 

Vulcano island circled in red. Map modified from (2).

The island itself is made up of several overlapping volcanic features including the two main eruption centers Caldera del Piano (to the SE) and the current center of activity Caldera della Fossa (NW). The island is 136,000 years old and the volcanism has migrated north over time. Vulcanello is a low lava platform that wasn’t connected to the main island until around 1550 CE and was therefore a separate island in the Classical Era. 

Map of the island and volcano of Vulcano including the local infrastructure. Note La Fossa the main crater in the upper central part of the island and Vulcanello in the north. (3). 

The last known eruption of Vulcano was in the late 1890s and took place at the La Fossa cone. There are numerous historical eruptions known from the historical record as well as from the rock record previous to that eruption. Since then the only activity recorded in the GVP was in the 1980s and 90s and consists of small earthquake swarms on the island and changes in the intensity, temperature, and composition of the gasses escaping via the fumaroles on the island. 

Historic photo of eruption from La Fossa in 1888 (1).

Current activity and unrest on the island began in July 2021. 

Let’s take a moment to define that term “unrest”. It basically means a deviation from background levels of activity. Some volcanoes always have some earthquakes and degassing, and others don’t. What is considered unrest at a volcano is specific to that volcano. It basically just means the volcano is doing something different than its normal. So any change in any number of monitored types of activity is considered unrest. Unrest CAN lead to an eruption but it doesn’t always. The activity in the 80s and 90s was unrest but then nothing happened. So we will have to wait and see what this episode of unrest brings. 

Since July 2021 the monitoring agency has noted an increase in the temperature of the gasses escaping the volcano at the crater as well as a change in the composition of the gasses. This particular change in gas composition is one that is often linked to the presence of magma in the system. The temperature has increased to 340°C (644°F) and the area where gasses are escaping has increased. In September there was an increase in very small earthquakes (ones that can’t be felt) at the summit as well. Due to all of this the authorities responsible for the volcano closed the summit area on 14 October and there have been some evacuations and reports of animals dying from gases that had made their way into one of the villages on the island. 

Image from newsicilia

In an article posted on November 20, 2021 the level of toxic gasses was at an unprecedented level and the civil defense raised the alert level from yellow to orange. There was also talk about evacuating a further 250 inhabitants. The situation has started to rapidly evolve. (4) In a quote from the regional president Musumeci in the article on VolcanoDiscovery (5) he said that “the continued increase in toxic gas emissions recorded by the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in recent days requires the adoption of urgent precautions in order to protect public and private safety, close monitoring of the volcanic phenomena, access restrictions to endangered areas, and the possible evacuation of the population from their homes.” He added that “the government is close to the community and committed to working with the mayor and all other national structures in dealing with the emergency”.

Timeline of gas measurements at the volcano. You can see a sharp uptick in the amount of CO2 starting in July 2021 (5).

This island is more than the home to the volcano that gave volcanoes their name. It is also traditionally the home of a God. Italian volcanos I find fascinating because they are seen as the “home of” someone rather than an entity on their own (common in more animistic mythos). Italy has a “big four” of volcanoes: Stromboli, Etna, Vesuvius, and Vulcan. Of these, Vulcan is the only one with no eruption in the 20th century onward. Stromboli and Etna are constantly vying for attention and Vesuvius last erupted during WWII. However, it is still Vulcano that is the home to Hephaestus/Vulcan. I thought it would therefore be interesting to take a look at some of the mythology surrounding this island. 

Hephaestus is the Olympian god of fire, smiths, craftsmen, metalworking, stonemasonry and sculpture with Vulcan often cited as his Roman counterpart. To me it makes sense that a God of smithing would be associated with volcanoes but I also wanted to talk to some actual blacksmiths about this as well. (6)

According to the theoi.com (6) article on Hephaestus his association with volcanoes comes later in history as the Greeks tended to associate volcanic activity with the Gigante-sons of Gaia instead. It was through his association with the Roman volcano-god Adranus-Volcanus that we get the association with the island of Vulcano. In fact he was originally associated with the Greek island of Lemnos. Later he was associated with the neighboring volcano of Etna on the island of Sicily where his workshop was believed to be located. Etna is also thought to be the prison of Typhoeus (and the activity is thought to be related to the great monster moving and trying to escape). The Vulcano association seems to have happened in the late Roman era when the Romans were culturally integrating the Greek mythic history with attributes of local Gods like Vulcan being associated with Hephastus whose stories would have been told by the Greek settlers on Sicily. So if we were to separate out the two Vulcan has his forge at Vulcano, and Hephaestus seems to have moved around and could be at either volcano (Etna or Vulcao). 

However, that is the common association today and is in fact pretty widely known among volcanologists as well. The current myth-understanding is that Vulcano is the forge for Hephaestus/Vulcan. 


I spoke with Traci (MythicalMagpie) who is a practitioner who works with Hephaestus in her practice. She was drawn to working with him as a creator, not especially as a smith (although she is interested in trying it). “There was something about […] that he was imperfect. And in his imperfection, he had the strength where he could entrap even the mighty Gods themselves. “ We also spoke about the current activity at the volcano and she said that it got her thinking about what that could have meant to our predecessors. Then we got distracted by this idea of “what is he making”? We looked at the temperature of the gasses coming off the volcano and started looking up melting temperatures of metals. 

I also reached out to several smiths. I personally didn’t know any and was interested to hear what they thought. 

In chatting with Chris H. of the youtube channel Blood Sweat and Steel we discovered an interesting similarity between volcanoes and forges. I often use the phrase “volcanoes have a personality” to describe how we generally know how volcanoes work but each one really is its own individual. He said forges are similar in that each one has its own personality you have to learn when you start working with it. We ended up speaking about a thead similar to what Traci said drew her to work with Hapheastus. When we were talking about raw materials he said “You’d be amazed at how boring [looking] very valuable things come from.” He also pointed out that while we may have this image in our head of what a forge looks like, those tend to be the older forges and modern forges look “Very disappointing” if that is what you are assuming. I guess that can go hand in hand with volcanoes too. You may picture a nice conical mountain but very rarely are they that perfect, and some are so low angle they just look like lumps or a hill.  

I also spoke with Kedrik, who specifically is a goldsmith (winterwolfritualis). He had a traditional master apprentice path into smithing and was also a member of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). He described being in the forge as “Hot, dirty, and gritty. The smithy is a place where earth and fire meet. We organize it and structure it so we can navigate but it is truly a place where a person can plant their feet in the earth and their hands in the flames of creation. There’s a real sense of power but also purpose. And in front of that forge you feel the flame that fuels the relationship.” Which to me sounds a lot like working on volcanoes. When I am working near the summit of a volcano usually there is little to no vegetation and in the tropics that means it is hot and sweaty work. Usually there is still ash on the ground that can easily get kicked up, also making it gritty work. He also sees the symmetry between volcanoes and forge as a place of creation stating “ […] I can see that as the volcano is the vent of the heat that allows life and creation on this planet, and after reading some of Bruce Damer’s work suggesting life came from volcanic vents and hot springs, I can appreciate the parallel of each as a cradle of creation.”

So as this volcano is waking up it may continue towards an eruption or it may just be some heat moving through the system. Hephaestus/Vulcan might just be firing up his forge and getting ready to make something in the crucible of heat that is his forge in a volcano. 

I wanted to end with a thought about the importance of place. I asked Traci if it mattered that while the idea that Hepheastus makes his forge at Vulcano is a more modern idea. She said it didn’t bother her that much which volcano it was. “I think there is a part of me that thinks that, […] his home Forge is sacred. This is where a guy goes to find safety, to find purpose, to do the thing that they were created to do. And, and to me, that’s sacred. […] For you know, ancient Greeks it just must have been so incredibly humbling [to see an eruption]. And so the fact that it may or may not have been him himself versus his home, it would still be just as inspiring and humbling to be present.” 

I will be keeping an eye on this volcano and updating as more information is available. If you want to keep an eye on the volcano there are two webcams 

Visual light camera. You can check the live image here
Thermal Camera. You can check the live image here

Thank you to everyone I spoke to for this little project. I wish I could put everything we talked about in here but this is just a blog post. Thank you also to Cory of New World Witchery for peer reviewing the mythology for me and translation help from an amazing Italian volcanologist and friend. 


Guests

Traci – Practicing pagan who works with Hephaestus
Twitter: MythicalMagpie
Instagram: mythicalmagpie
Tiktok: @mythicalmagpie
Website
Patreon: mythicalmagpie
Etsy: MythicalMagpie

Chris H. – Polytheist, animist, Celtic Pagan Witch, Devote of Brigid and the Morrigan, and a novice occultist Blacksmith
Youtube: Blood, Sweat and Steel.
Instagram: byhammerandbyanvil

Kedrik – goldsmith, guide, mentor, coach, consultant, and facilitator for personal development practices, esoteric exploration and study, and the creation of totemic relics and jewelry
Store: winter wolf ritualis
Custom work
Wielders Way project
Instagram: cedricwinterwolf , winterwolfritualis
Twitter: metaphystwolf , thewieldersway

Resources

Volcano Information – Global Volcanism Program
Volcano Information from local agency – Here and Here
Mythology Information – Theoi.com

Citations

  1. Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Vulcano (Italy). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 October-19 October 2021. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey. https://volcano.si.edu/volcano.cfm?vn=211050
  2. Aeolian Islands, worldatlas.com https://www.worldatlas.com/islands/aeolian-islands.html
  3. Bonadonna C, Frischknecht C, Menoni S, Romerio F, Gregg C E, Rosi M, Biass S, Asgary A, Pistolesi M, Guobadia D, Gattuso A, Ricciardi A and Cristiani C 2021 Integrating hazard, exposure, vulnerability and resilience for risk and emergency management in a volcanic context: the ADVISE model Journal of Applied Volcanology 10 7 https://link.springer.com/epdf/10.1186/s13617-021-00108-5
  4. Vulcano, ora è stato di emergenza per gas tossici. “La situazione è inedita”, cresce l’allerta sull’isola, newsicillia.it https://newsicilia.it/messina/cronaca/vulcano-ora-e-stato-di-emergenza-per-gas-tossici-la-situazione-e-inedita-cresce-lallerta-sullisola/729395
  5. VolcanoDiscovery Updates https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/vulcano/news/148026/Vulcano-volcano-Eolian-Islands-Italy-alert-level-raised-as-gas-concentrations-in-port-reach-critical.html
  6. Theoi.com https://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Hephaistos.html#Index
    https://www.theoi.com/Olympios/HephaistosGod.html#Volcano

Hungry Ghost Month – 7th Lunar Month

The 7th lunar month (beginning on the New Moon) in Asia is known as “Hungry Ghost Month”. During this time it is believed that the gates of Hell are open and spirits and ghosts roam the human world for the duration of the month.

There are a number of different traditional practices during this time as well as some superstitions surrounding different actions.

(image on the left is by artist Jim Benton)

This year Hungry Ghost month runs from August 19th through September 16th. The gates are believed to be open from the 1st through 30th day of the month with offerings made on the first, second, fifteenth, and last day of the month. It is common on the first day to offer a meal usually with fruits and deserts to show respect and as an exchange for the ghosts not bringing you any trouble, along with the burning of incense, paper money, and candles. During non-COVID years there are usually lots of cultural activities like community Chinese Opera performances known as getai’ performances.

In addition to all the activities normally carried out there are a number of things to be avoided.

  • Don’t wear closes with your name
  • Don’t pat other people on the shoulder
  • Don’t whistle
  • Don’t go out at night (Children and Senior Citizens especially)

(source, source)

  • Don’t stab your chopsticks into a bowl of rice (the ghosts will think it is an offering and may try to possess the person eating the rice).
  • Don’t open your umbrella inside the house (if you used the umbrella at night shots might have taken shelter and if you open it at home the spirits will enter your home).
  • Don’t leave your front door open at night (this invites negative energy in)
  • Don’t kill rare insects in your home (moths, grasshoppers and butterflies might be your ancestors paying a visit)
  • Don’t pee on trees (it offends the spirits in the area)
  • Don’t swim at night (ghosts of drowning victims might try to pull you down)
  • Leave the front row open at cultural events (it is reserved for the spirits)
  • Don’t kick the offerings left for the ghosts
  • Don’t play games that involve summoning spirits they are more powerful during 7th month
  • If someone calls your name from behind at night don’t turn around.
  • Do not gossip about ghosts they may try to put you in your place
  • Don’t get married or move house during 7th month (the spirits might try to join in when they aren’t welcome.

What are these offerings? The main type of offering is “joss paper” which is paper money as offerings. There is a belief that in order to send gifts to ancestors they must be burned so along with paper, things like paper houses, cars, watches etc. are burned as well.

This massive amount of burning paper also results in a lowering of air quality during this time.

This year of course the usual cultural festivals like traditional Chinese opera are not happening. As another sign of the times a shop in Hong Kong was seen to be selling joss paper masks to send to those in the afterlife. (source)

Photo of offerings being left posted on r/singapore by user u/loosejaws taken on the first night of 7th month. (source)
variety of offerings beyond money that are for sale. You can explore all these options here

How to pick a price?

One of the things I have always been a little uncomfortable with is the exchange of money for my work. Not that I am against the exchange of money for my work, but what to charge. I don’t want to undervalue practitioners who do it for a living, but I also don’t want to charge too much. See I have a full time job, and I am big on gifting. When I make things I like to share, and I have never been able to find the Goldilocks price range.

But I also find making small batches isn’t as easy as a medium size batch of spray, soap… etc. So how to price what I have been making recently? Some are my own recipes and some are based on recipes I found in New Orleans, and if I charge too little it devalues it, but if I charge too much that feels like taking advantage.

So I was stuck until the other day I had an idea. What if I convert the prices on the notebook from the Pharmacy Museum into modern day prices! I wonder what that would be.

My thinking is this: the formulations are in a notebook from a early half of the last century. They are written in pharmacist shorthand. Documentary evidence exists that hoodoo formulations were sold by white male pharmacists, who may or may not have worked with hoodoo practitioners. But this is the actual physical ingredients with a price so it is possible that the pharmacist was just mixing them and selling them on his own. So if you consider the price of the item to be physical object + intangible value added we can think of these prices as the physical object +/- intangible. So, this was considered a fair price at the time so let’s see how this all works out with the numbers! Math time!

The price listed range from $0.1/oz to $ 0.25/oz

Now the actual date of the artifact but the displays on the ground floor of the museum that opened in 1950 are referred to as “mid 19th century” but there is also a sign in that section that mentioned someone who was convicted for selling hoodoo wares in the 1930’s. Googling around it and looking at old pharmacist notebook pictures the sheets look on the early side and not 1930’s maybe closer to 1900. (finding the actual date range will require more research) So we have a range from 1850 – 1930 a pretty wide range, so I went wit 1910.

  • What cost $1 in 1913 (earliest year in the inflation calculator) would cost $25.90 (I like rounding so lets make it $26) in 2019 so $0.10 becomes $2.60 per oz. and $0.25 becomes $6.50 per oz
  • Everything is in metric where I am now so lets round to 30mL per oz (glass bottles are sold as 30mL or 1 ounce)
  • so the price per mL would be $0.09 per mL – $0.21 so lets be nice and change it to $0.10 /mL and $0.20/mL
  • Now we have the price in adjusted for inflation as $0.10 /mL – $0.20/mL Doesn’t that work out nice?
  • This is based on the prices being from ~1913 (but we don’t know if they are earlier or late). Also we don’t know if the original prices I found were sold with or without the “intangible value added” so 3 to 6 dollars for a 30 mL bottle of my sprays would be the range.
  • Essential oils here are on the expensive side here and mine come with the intangible value added part, so I think I am comfortable with the $6 price. But is this reasonable?
  • Lucky Mojo sells Fast Luck oil for $7.50 USD and my Lucky Mojo bottles look like they are 1/2 ounce. This sounds like around the same range as what I got other oils in New Orleans when I was there for, so for someone who uses a different cheaper base (sprays not oils) I think I am in the right range.
  • If I add on a $1.5 bottle charge then I also get $7.50 USD or ~ $10 SGD.

I hope that was an interesting discussion for you. It’s a little bit into my brain and how I use tools from my research work in science in my practice. I also think this type of research/thought experiment can help decisions like “how much should I charge for this” be based in historical precedent.

We should never devalue our work, even if money makes you uncomfortable. But we also shouldn’t take financial advantage of customers by over charging. I think that having a range like $3-6 in mind allows for a range of different price teirs from gifts (close friends and family) to a lower price (friends and lower income) and average customers, that doesn’t devalue the effort I put in. Also I think it shows that the current range of prices out there from whole sellers like Lucky Mojo who know what they are doing, and small individuals like Candle Smoke Chapel (they are awesome check them out), are actually very reasonable based on historic price data we have.

So if you are in Singapore right now you will soon be able to get my sprays for $10 in the bottle or 0.30 SGD/mL with your own bottle. I am also a big fan of making things yourself so when I have a formulation I am happy with feel free to ask.

Also remember the difference is in the “intangible value added” of each maker and how much that is worth to you should be considered when you are assessing the reasonableness of a price.

Make things! Support each other!

Peer Reviewed Magic: Moringa

Moringa is everywhere in Singapore it is THE superfood right now. Moringa also known as drumstick tree is native to northern India up into the foothills of the Himalaya. It is widely cultivated in the tropics where the young seed pods and leaves are eaten. Benzoil is derived from its seeds, a powder of its leaves is seen as a super supplement, used as herbal medicine and water purification.
Wait what? Water purification? No…..

That was my reaction when I was reading a description at Bollywood Veggies this weekend. It can be used to make dirty water drinkable? You have got to be kidding me. So when we got home we looked it up. Crushed moringa seeds are put in cloudy water, reduce bacteria and other impurities and within hours it is drinkable.

 

Dirty water + Moringa seed = clean water?????

That is a pretty impressive claim. That is the idea but does it work and if yes… how?

Moringa in action!

I found a press release on a study at Penn State. On the use of Moringa seeds to purify water the article says:

“That has been known for some time,” says Stephanie Butler Velegol, environmental engineering instructor at Penn State. Women in ancient Egypt reportedly rubbed Moringa seeds on their clay water pots, and dried powder from crushed seeds has been used as a handwash for many years.”

So how does it work? It appears that when you crush the seeds a positively charged protein called Moringa Oleifera Cationic Protein (that is the scientific name of the plant, cation means positively charged ion, and protein pretty descriptive) MOCP from in the seeds is introduced to the water. This protein kills some of the microbial organism and causes them to clump together and settle to the bottom of the container. You can’t however then store this water, the organic matter from the seeds will remain and become a food source for bacterial that haven’t been killed.
So. The protein in the seeds causes clumping and kills bacteria (but maybe not all of it) and then settles to the bottom leaving clear water at the top. Wanna see it in action? I did!

How cool is that!? Sounds like that is some serious magic that actually is backed up by peer review and now we know a little more how it works.

Here is the Penn State article

Here is the paper it is talking about (if you are interested in the PDF of this and can’t get a copy just contact me and I will download one and pass it along!)

The divination tool

“Meditations on the Path of Knowledge”

I was having a hard time figuring out where to start this discussion. Maybe the best place to start is what I think divination is not. I use runes and tarot for my divination work and I do not think I am psychic, I do not think I can see or predict the future, and I don’t think I can glean anything I didn’t already know. What I think I am doing is changing the context of my question.

Your brain and my brain are wonderful problem solving machines. However, sometimes they get stuck on a problem, and need a jump start to start churning away again. For me, this is where divination comes in. When I am feeling like I am thinking in circles I will pull out the cards or runes and do some readings. Usually the subjects of the cards and runes will start me thinking from another direction. In this way, divination helps change the context of my problem by adding other elements or ideas I hadn’t considered. Another way I use divination is to break the “haze”. I write code/scripts for work and after a day of nothing but trying to communicate with computers sometimes I feel like my whole brain is frozen. The act of casting runes and then trying to make sense of them wakes my brain up a bit.

Tarot is a tool I have used for many years. I am a fan of the Celtic cross layout. Usually I start with my problem or the general “context” in my head but unclear. Either I don’t know what to do next, or I have a problem and I am stuck on it, or just this area of my life has been causing a lot of stress. Normally the cross section of the spread helps bring my problem more into focus for me. The addition of the meaning of the cards as a parameter in the problem equation generally serves to clarify my thinking. Those last 4 cards generally leave me with a more firm understanding of my issue. All this new information helps my epic problem solving machine chug away. Sometimes by the time I get to the end of the reading, I know the solution. The cards didn’t tell me. The cards helped guide my own natural problem solving ability.

My usual layout

This doesn’t mean that there is no “magic” when I read cards. I think on the contrary, the fact that the cards always seem to tell me exactly what I need to know is magic. It is uncanny, too how one deck is always positive and the other always negative (like having an optimistic and pessimistic friend to talk your problems through). Because I “know” I am just using cards with different meanings to help clear my brain and solve my own problems, and I don’t “believe” there is a guiding hand, I am always left with a feeling of awe. What controls how the cards fall is the shuffle, and I control the shuffle. What always astonishes me is how no matter how stuck I am, the cards have a way of clarifying my thinking.

Pessimistic deck on the left and cheerful one on the right. 
I use the booklet for interpretations. 

I guess what you could say is that the runes and cards don’t tell me anything I don’t already know… its just finding where it is hiding in my brain, and that is magic.

I am reading a book on traditional runes, which I will need to make a new set of. My old set I made in high school with pebbles and a sharpie. I have a set of “witches runes” that were made when I first moved to Hawaii. I like them. Simple. These because they are so simple have far less instruction on how to interpret them and work best when my brain is not all muddy.

These are my runes I currently use. I find it much more challenging with so few,
 and I love a good challenge!

I am out of writing time for today, so I guess I will have to revisit this topic! I am already enjoying sharing my views and exploring them myself. I think this blog series will be good for me!

Just remember, my views are my own, subject to change at any time and without notice and in no way an attack on your own.

November Meditations: Intro

This November I am challenging myself. I want to blog more and write more so why not challenge myself to write every day? Obviously I am a day behind, already…. I waffled about if I would have time to do this yesterday, and you know what? If I don’t make time, I won’t have time, and if I make time, I will have time. Enough with the excuses!

This month for my writing challenge I am going to examine my Path. The idea is that, in writing my thoughts on different topics I can take a census of what I believe, and where my path is headed. I am calling this series:

“Meditations on the Path of Knowledge”

At first I thought that name was too pretentious. Who am I to say I am knowledgeable? But then I realized it is a path about knowledge, a quest for knowledge, and an appreciation of knowledge that drives my life. I will not claim to be wise, but I will own striving for more knowledge at all times.

I think it is healthy sometimes to take out our beliefs and roll them around in our hands, examine and question them. That is how we learn and grow. You are free to disagree with me at all times, and I am free to change my mind. That is what makes life so much fun! Things always change (and I guess that is also terrifying).

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change -” ― Heraclitus

If you have followed me for a while you will no doubt have learned that I have considered myself on this path my whole life. I started using the name “pagan” to describe myself over 15 years ago, and I still consider myself a beginner. I am beyond the “101” books (I never cared for them much in truth) but haven’t found my next step. Maybe in a month of exploring what makes up my path, my next step will be more clear to me.

We all have our own unique paths, and our own truths. I truly feel that each of us are enriched by exploring our similarities and differences. We can always stand to learn something new, and embrace the ever changing world around us!

Peace Love and Knowledge,

~ Kathleen

School magic

I have been cleaning my office today and I noticed something I guess I have noticed before but not given voice to. The energies of my different classes. Before every class starts I buy a notebook to take notes. Binders come later when I get a feel for the paper load and therefore size of binder required for the class. These notebooks I have only ever used for 1 class. Occasionally, I will pick one up for some random notes but it just feels wrong. I also stopped taking the note pages out and putting them in the binders because that also feels wrong.

So I started thinking about this. Why is there such a repulsion of other notes by these notebooks? I think its because of the energy I put into my studies. I am a lifelong student. I love my classes. I pour my heart and soul into my work. So these notebooks embody the energies of the class I took them too. When I pick up the volcanology notebook for my undergrad it is still filled with the energy of that specific class.

So I guess you could say I have charged notebooks. I change them with energy specific to the class I used them in. Does anyone else have a similar experience?

Kathleen
Student

Back from the ocean!

It feels like the next episode should be on water since that’s what I spent my week in… but its not, it is the second “earth” episode! My life should take on a semi-regular rhythm for the next few months so hopefully I can crank some episodes out! I have a large to do list for the next one though!

First up please look back at the contest for this episode: here

We are going to be discussing earthquakes in the geology 101 and I am going to go over some of the new information that has come out about the Japan earthquake. I was only sort of in touch with the world this last week so I need to catch up before I write that segment.

For the earth segment: please send me lists of correspondences and associations for the element earth! I am going to take all the ideas from the two earth episodes and write something up for the blog so its all in one place!

Spring may have come to Alaska finally! I can hear the snow melt and it’s a wonderful time of mud and sun! I am going to collect a last batch of snow water from north of me and it should be for sale on the etsy shop soon! 🙂

I am looking forward to some regular blogging and podcasting so keep your eyes and ears open!

I will leave you with the signature from my work email, a quote that has rung true this last week.

“Civilization exists by geologic consent, subject to change without notice.”
– William James Durant (1885–1981)
American philosopher, historian, and writer

Re-inventing the holidays

Before you say I can’t reinvent the holidays, that’s sacrilege let me remind you I am pagan, not wiccan or any specific path that has its own outline of rules. Also known as the I’m a “I DO WHAT I WANT” pagan. I like it that way. I’m also a scientists, I in general hate being told how to do things or what something means. I want to do it myself, explore myself, try myself. This is what I think but please, think for yourself. Ok disclaimer over.

Living in Alaska I have found that the traditional association of seasons presented with the wheel of the year does not fit. For example, this week is Imbolc, yay spring? No. Its still winter. VERY winter. There are no little flowers poking their heads up nor will they until May maybe April at the earliest. We don’t have “spring” where I live, we have break-up. Break-up is when the ice on the rivers break up, everything melts, and everything is wet and muddy. For about 2 weeks and then BAM its summer! Ok maybe not 2 weeks but it seems like you blink and break-up is over, the snow is gone and summer is here.

Until then it is most definitely winter. So for me Imbolc is not the coming of spring. It has nothing to do with spring. Spring is very far off. However, I live in the land of the midnight sun, or no sun in the winter. The days are getting longer. They are everywhere but when you live somewhere that the minutes gained a day is 6 or 7 it is very noticeable.

Today the sun rose at 9:40am. It was beautiful and I snapped a photo from work. The sun set today at 4:30pm. That is almost normal hours for most places! We are starting to have a civilized amount of sun. That is what Imbolc is for me this year. Fortunately the return of the sun is one of the big parts of Imbolc, so my change is not that different.

My advice for anyone struggling with celebrating the holidays is: if it feels stale or wrong or something is just not right, think about how the holiday corresponds with the seasons where it comes from, and then what your seasons are locally. That might be where the conflict is. I’ve historically had a lot of trouble getting into the holidays and once I decided to calibrate them to my local environment I feel much better about them.

So yes, I change the holidays, but the “letter of the law” regarding holidays is not important to me, it’s the marking of time as the earth goes through its annual cycles.

And that is the beautiful thing about being a pagan. If something doesn’t feel right, well find some way to change it so it does! Not like more strict religious… for an example as a kid it always bugged me the obvious fact that Jesus was not born in the dead of winter. It just doesn’t fit. That part of Christmas never felt right. I would have preferred to figure out when his real birthday was and celebrate that, and leave Christmas to its self. To me those were always separate. I guess that’s why I still don’t have a problem with Christmas. To me its not a Christian holiday.

So to wrap things up, and summarize: The holidays are for marking the passage of time, if the seasonal associations don’t match your local seasons think about what is happening locally and review your definition of the holiday. Revisit, revise, edit. I think you will be much happier when you are celebrating the changes around you.

I will be sure to write about all future holidays and how I celebrate them in the land of the midnight sun.

~Kathleen

Egypt

“Egyptian Christians said they will guard the Muslims from the police while they on Friday Pray.” Amazing solidarity. #Egypt #Jan25
I saw this tweet by @edsetiadi that was retweeted by @JosephMagnuson

A very cinematic and moving image came to mind, Muslim bothers and sisters praying with Christen brothers and sisters standing watch glaring a distant police in riot gear.

Just an amazing show of unity and respect! It warms my heart. Suck love and understanding in an uncertain time. This is how it could be, if we put aside our differences and embraced out similarities!

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