The Bad Bathroom Guardian: The Imdugud

Article by Rebecca
Image by Will Hobbs (www.sirwilliamwesley.com)

Ah, the confusion. For some reason there are always creatures of myth that appear to be impossible to pin down. Just when I think I know what it’s all about, I turn the page and realize that no one knows. Case in point, this month’s creature imdugud.

The first difficulty I encountered was is imdugud actually called imdugud? Sometimes it’s referred to as Imdugud, like it’s an individual’s name. Other times it’s imdugud, like it’s just a species name, like how you would call a dog a dog. But wait! Occasionally it is referred to by the name Anzu, but other times it’s anzu, like that’s its race. After all I’ve read, I’m taking this stance. There are anzu. Then there is Imdugud, who is an anzu. It’s like how Lassie is called Lassie, but Lassie is a dog. Got it? Good.

Next issue is its appearance. At first I was certain that Imdugud is a winged lion with the head of an eagle. Then I started finding sources describing Imdugud as an eagle with a lion’s head. When Imdugud has an eagle’s head, the beak is said to able to cut through anything. Its feathers form an impenetrable armor.

Everyone seems to agree that Imdugud brought rain and storms. When it would flap its wings, violent windstorms would occur. Thunder was its roar.

One of the most common tales of Imdugud involve it being tasked with guarding the bathroom of a god. Sometimes Imdugud was tasked to be the door keeper to Enki’s (a Sumerian deity) bath. Of course, you guessed it, other times Imdugud guarded Ellil’s (a different Sumerian deity) bath chamber. No matter who was in the tub, that deity was the possessor of the Tablets of Destiny. A powerful artifact that allows anything spoken to become manifest in reality. Well, while the deity in question was soaking, Imdugud stole the Tablets. Don’t worry kids, our world isn’t designed by Imdugud talking. Imdugud got his feathered (or furred) butt kicked and the Tablets were restored.

Magical Buffet Mythology: Nemesis

Article by Rebecca
Image by Will Hobbs (www.sirwilliamwesley.com)

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” ~ William Congreve

That fury, in the form of divine justice, gets meted out by Nemesis. Nemesis is the goddess of retributive justice. She relentlessly doles out just punishment to those who break the law and to the proud and snobbish.
A perfect example is the role Nemesis played in the life of Narcissus. In “Myths of the Greeks and Romans” by Michael Grant, he recounts the tale of Narcissus, a beautiful young man that was far too good for any lady. Echo wasted away to just a voice while pining for him. Another spurned female admirer made a plea to heaven that Narcissus would know the pain of falling in love with someone he could not have. Well, Nemesis heard the woman and set her justice mojo to work. That is when Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection. Unable to tear himself away from gazing at his reflection, Narcissus perished. That’s Nemesis.

She is where the Greeks get justice. Nemesis is generally described as very beautiful, seated in a chariot drawn by griffons. Her beauty caught the eye of Zeus, who being the horny god, eventually coupled with her. Nemesis was in the form of a goose, and Zeus was a swan. Therefore, Nemesis, to put it bluntly, laid an egg. The individual hatched from that egg grew up to be Helen of Troy (of thousand ship launching fame).

Article by Rebecca
Image by Will Hobbs (www.sirwilliamwesley.com)

As we’ve been learning, sometimes the seemly simple symbols can have the most diverse and profound meanings. When Jim asked me what I was writing about his month and I told him the dot, well, he gave me that look that says, “Oh really?” Well, yes, yes I am.


The dot, with its insanely simple design plays host to a myriad of interpretations. It can be viewed as a seed, not yet taken to budding. In this way you can view the dot as a symbol of new life, hope, or the promise of the future.

Obviously a dot can represent the end of things; ala the period at the end of a sentence, but with the end comes the assumption of a new beginning, such as the next sentence. Even more thought provoking is that the dot in the form of dots in a line (…) is a sign that something was left out or is going unsaid. Not only that, but divination and games that started with the use of stones, nuts, or seeds, eventually transformed into dots on dice and dominoes.

The dot can also be viewed as the center. The center of our eye is the pupil and the navel is the middle of our body. In the yantra, the point where the two triangles representing Shiva and Shakti meet form the bindu. The bindu, which is Sanskrit for drop, is the dot that is often seen worn or painted onto the faces of some Hindus and Buddhists. The bindu is worn in the position of the third eye. It represents the point at which creation begins and the point at which the unity becomes the many. It is also said to be the sacred symbol of the cosmos in its unmanifested state. It is the center at which all experience is compacted into the total concentration before imploding back to its origin. Got that? Good, now will someone explain all that to me?

No matter how you approach it, the dot is much more than, well, a dot. Not only is it all of that stuff, but it’s also a wonderful pattern on clothing. No one can talk about dots without mentioning, however briefly, the song “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” as performed by Brian Hyland. Now that I’ve mentioned that, I can call this column complete.

Product Profile: The Goddess Inspiration Oracle


Draw strength from Diana, the beloved Roman huntress. Channel your anger wisely with help from the Hawaiian fire goddess Pele. Consult Anuket for prosperity. The Goddess Inspiration Oracle makes it easy for women to tap into the sacred wisdom of these powerful deities.

Renowned for her superb goddess-themed artwork, Kris Waldherr has created a simple, visually stunning oracle deck for accessing the divine feminine. From Abeona to Zhinu, eighty goddesses from across the globe are represented in this classically ornate deck. Each card features a striking watercolor portrait of a deity, her attributes, and a message inspired by her unique story. It’s an ideal instrument for creating affirmations, sparking creativity, gaining fresh perspectives, and uncovering insights related to health, love, creativity, motherhood, and other issues specific to women.

The enclosed guide offers in-depth descriptions of each goddess, keywords associated with her, and practical suggestions for working with the cards.

To learn more, visit: www.llewellyn.com.

Ten Questions with Rapid Freeman

1. How did “The Witchin’ Hour” come into existence?
The truth is, about 7 years ago in my home area of Norwich, CT I got pissed off watching someone on a public access show bash witchcraft and lie about what the symbol of my faith meant and so having got to the point of my give a damn being busted I marched down to the studio and demanded equal time to clear up the lies I had heard and (gasp) they gave it to me. I had to go thru training first but that’s how The Witchin’ Hour was born….you can’t make this kind of stuff up fact is stranger than fiction!!!!

2. If our readers would like to see “The Witchin’ Hour” where they live, what can they do?
E-mail me at rapidfreeman@yahoo.com. If you are willing to go to your access studio I’m willing to send them tapes .

3. You follow the Cabot Tradition. Can you tell our readers a little bit about it?
Yes, the Cabot tradition was founded by Dame Laurie E. Cabot. It is a no nonsense approach to witchcraft, breaking the craft into three parts: the science, the art, and the religion of witchcraft it can be traced back to Kent, England and it just works for me!!! (RAPID ADDS TWO SHAMELESS PLUGS) If you want to learn more you should buy Power of the Witch by Laurie Cabot and watch Witchin’ Hour tv.

4. What made it the right path for you?
Laurie herself. At first she is the kind of person you can’t help but love and the way the teachings of the Cabot tradition are just make perfect sense to me. The people of the temple have over many years have become my family. The Cabot temple is now and will always be my home.

5. Who has been your favorite interview and why?
I’ve interviewed about every known witch on earth at this point so its hard to pick just one, and i love these people for all kinds of different reason. So I’ll have to say all of them !!!! Maxine Sanders gave me hope that one day craft unity could happen as a life long witch i want to see that more than words. Raymond Buckland was an honor for me because as a male witch he was always one of my heroes in the craft and he carries himself with a pride that the horned god is given glory with his every word or laugh. I love Ray. Laurie Cabot of course is my heart. She has become like a mother to me, her teachings have helped me beat alcohol (I’ve been sober for over 8 years now) she is my guiding light and my true north. I love her more than words but everyone’s time and knowledge has meant so much to me.

6. Who would you like to interview that you haven’t gotten to yet?
I’ve interviewed almost all the elders of the craft, some of them more than once. This is going to shock most people but G.W. Bush Jr. because I would not let that man off the hook. I’d call him on the carpet about the war, the treatment of my pagan brothers and sisters both at home and in the service. 2nd choice Sully of godsmack or I’d like to get Stevie Nicks to admit she’s a pagan and get it over with!!!!! It’s not like we don’t all know it Stevie!!!!!

7. This has become kind of a standard question, but I’m always interested in the varied and sometimes similar answers. What challenges do you feel face the Wiccan/Pagan community, and how do you suggest overcoming those challenges?
My goddess? How many pages does your webpage have? I think the number 1 challenge is ourselves. We need to keep our standards high when it comes to personal honor. We need to know when to speak up as well if something is a truth it’s a truth if it’s a lie than it’s a lie and we can not let others define us we must define us! And stand up for the truth.

8. Our readers may not realize, but you’re also a tattoo artist. What is your favorite tattoo on you, and what is your favorite that you have done on someone else?
On myself that’s a two way tie. My 3rd degree mark on my forehead for my commitment to the temple and the gods and the name Cabot on my neck that has the spiral off Laurie’s face for the O in Cabot. It is the first thing anyone sees when they look me in the face, it underlines my deep love for Laurie and in my mind it really says mom!!!

On someone else anything that “outs someone as a witch by choice”. It is a great thing to be part of it’s an honor to be part of that choice. Then its not really a tattoo anymore its a birthmark!

9. If someone made your life into a movie, who would be cast as Rapid?
Sully from godsmack. He’s a Cabot. He acts and he would understand the choices I’ve made in my life. Yes sully would be the one!!!!

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question?
Do you need a 3rd degree priest on your staff? I believe in what you’re doing and i want to help. Also because I’m a pushy TV Host. What was in the bread you had at the covenstead? The c.o.c. loved it!!!!

The Magical Buffet doesn’t currently have a staff. We’re still at the very beginnings of our quest for eventual global domination. However, we are always looking for new and interesting content for our readers. If anyone, including you Rapid, is interested in submitting an article, take a look here.

It’s funny that you guys liked that bread so much. To Jim and myself it tasted essentially like chocolate and sugar (perhaps not too bad after all). It was a zucchini orange chocolate chip loaf. I would share the recipe, but Jim and I were so under whelmed that we threw it out. Don’t worry, if you invite us over we have plenty of other yummy recipes to share!

About Rapid Freeman
Rapid Freeman is a Witchcraft Activist of Cherokee decent. He is the son of award winning photographer Rex “Big Bear” Freeman. Rapid is the producer and co-host of “The Witchin’ Hour” a Wiccan/Pagan TV Show that airs in parts of CT, MA, AND NOW NY!!!! The show is in its seventh year of broadcasting. For many years Rapid was an active I.R.P. for the CT chapter of the Witches Public Awareness League. He is now with Laurie Cabot’s Project Witches Protection. His magickal practices are based mostly on the writings of Dame Laurie Cabot from whom he is very proud to hold his third degree. He lives openly as a Witch and was previously seated on his town’s wetland commission as a” public witch” to protect his town’s wildlife and waterways. He also has helped local police understand matters involving witchcraft. A gifted tattoo artist, he is skilled in every aspect of ritual body modification. In Sept. 2007 He will be starting the Cabots of Connecticut Coven in Wallingford CT with a sister coven of the C.O.C. in Schenectady NY as well. His Goddess is Scathach. His heart first and foremost belongs to Laurie Cabot and the Cabot Tradition of Witchcraft and that is where his loyality is totally, forever and without any apologies. When he’s not working Rapid enjoys playing with his cat Cricket! P.S. I love my cat Cricket more than words, black cats rule!!!

To learn more about Rapid, The Witchin’ Hour, and Laurie Cabot, visit www.lauriecabot.com and www.myspace.com/loyal2cabot.

Profile: Avalonia.co.uk

Text provided by Avalonia.co.uk

Avalonia.co.uk was founded by the author and priestess Sorita d’Este in 1997 as a resource for everyone interested in the magickal, with a particular emphasis on subjects related to the Wiccan Tradition. In the ten years since first going online the website has grown and undergone many changes and today there are around 200 pages of information available on subjects ranging from Astral Projection, Ceremonial Magick, Crystals, Heka (Egyptian Magick) through to the Gods and Goddesses of the ancient Celts, Greeks, Romans and Egyptians and their mythologies. Avalonia has featured as a recommended resource in both press and other media coverage of Witchcraft and Wicca in the UK over the years, including The Guardian, The Times, Time Out, BBC (Radio & TV) and Channel IV to name but a few.

The website was named after the mythical island of “Avalon” which many today believe to be Glastonbury, Somerset, a small town with a plethora of new age, pagan and crystal shops in its high street, overlooked by the mystical “Tor” with the healing waters of the “Chalice Well” and gardens at its base. Some people actually refer to Glastonbury as “Avalon” in the belief that it was the final resting place of the legendary King Arthur after a grave, which supposedly bore the inscription “Here Lies Arthur, King” was found there in the late 12th century. A reference to Arthur’s final burial place at Avalon can be found in the Mabinogion:

“…After witnessing the destruction of his army in that fatal conflict, Arthur, finding himself mortally wounded, delivered his sword to Caliburn one of his knights, with a request that he would cast it into a certain lake. The knight, thus commissioned, proceeded to the appointed spot, and, standing upon the bank, flung the sword forward with all his might. As it was descending, a hand and arm came out of the lake, and seizing it by the hilt brandished it three times, and disappeared with it in the water. Arthur was afterwards conducted by the Knight to the border of the lake, where he found a little bark moored, in which were Viviane, the Lady of the Lake, and Morgan le Fay, and other ladies, who carried him off to the Island of Avalon, in Fairy-laud, where it was affirmed that he was healed of his wounds, and continued to live in all the splendour of that luxurious country, waiting for the time when he should return once more to take possession of his ancient dominions..”
(Lady Charlotte Guest, 1877)

In fact the grave which was supposedly found at the Abbey in Glastonbury has long been shown to have been an extensive hoax which was intended to encourage pilgrims and raise funds. All the same, today the town is a haven for spiritual seekers of all traditions and paths. Here the enduring legends of Avalon, Morgan Le Fay, Viviane of the Lake and King Arthur lives on, as it does in the many places in the UK and Europe which has been suggested as the “real” Avalon over the years!

Since 2000, Sorita and her partner, the author David Rankine, have also been facilitating a number of events through Avalonia. These have included everything from a very successful pub moot (London, 2001-2004) and the Lapis Companions Open Circle (London, 2003-2006); to a number of picnics in the park, social events and workshops. These events in turn have launched many friendships and successful partnerships over the years! Since swapping their London home for the green rolling hills of the Brecon Beacons in Wales in the summer of 2006 they were unable to continue facilitating the public events in London, but still support serious seekers through the various groups they help facilitate. Information on these can be found at www.avalonia.co.uk/covens_groups

Likewise Avalonia has hosted a lively and intelligent online community for many years, and continues to do so today. Here you will find people from a assortment of magickal and spiritual backgrounds, many levels of experience and from all parts of the world. For more information on the Community Discussion Forums visit: www.avalonia.co.uk/forums. It is an ideal place to network with other likeminded people, whilst exchanging ideas on an extensive variety of subjects.

In early 2001 the “Free 101 Wicca Lessons” was made available on Avalonia, through popular demand for more in depth material Sorita and David embarked on writing a Wicca Homestudy course based on the training program they used within their own Coven at the time. Today introductory correspondence courses on both the Wiccan Tradition and The Tree of Life (Qabalah) are available to students from around the world who wishes to undertake structured training in these subjects. The courses are offered with full support from a mentor and at the lowest possible cost to students. More information on Avalonia Homestudy Courses visit: www.avalonia.co.uk/homestudy.

The section on Wicca remains one of the most popular on Avalonia and is visited by thousands of people every month. Probably not a surprise when considering that one of the reasons the website came into being was to make accurate information available on the tradition, which Sorita and David describe as: “an experiential spiritual system of magick and ceremony that works with the divine as both Goddess and God, and emphasises growth through balance and discipline. This balance, be it of light and dark, feminine and masculine, or active and passive, acts as a dynamic tension to create harmony and enable the individual to progress in their development through understanding their relationship with themselves and the world around them…” in their book “Circle of Fire”. Some articles from this section, such as “Finding a Coven” and “Self-Dedication” has been reproduced dozens of times on other websites over the years, but as articles on Avalonia are revised and updated on a regular basis you will find the latest version in the “Wiccan Tradition” section, so its worth a visit if you enjoyed these articles elsewhere.

Amongst the many pages of information on Avalonia the visitor will also find information on many of the books written by Sorita and David, including extracts from “The Guises of the Morrígan”; “Artemis – Virgin Goddess of the Sun & Moon”; “Climbing the Tree of Life” and “The Isles of the Many Gods” to name but a few. For the very curious you will also find a full listing of their books, as well as books they have contributed to over the years by looking at their biographies. Copies of some of these titles are available through the “Avalonia Bookshop” which can be found at www.avalonia.co.uk/shop

Monthly newsletters, with news and reviews, are available free to subscribers and sent out on a more or less monthly basis. Information on events and new books are also included. If you would like to receive the Avalonia newsletter you will find subscription information at www.avalonia.co.uk/newsletter

Amongst the many resources available on Avalonia you will also find interviews with a number of well known authors, including Kate West, Kala Trobe, Janet Farrar, Stephen Skinner and the lovely Christopher Penczak. Additionally there is also a growing “Book Review” section with books covering a wide range of magickal and spiritual related books every month. The reviewers are all magickal practitioners and they are encouraged to express their opinions and experiences of the books they review with unequivocal honesty.

In 2005 Sorita also launched her own small publishing company, which not surprisingly she named “Avalonia Books”. More information on current titles available from Avalonia, forthcoming titles, as well as submission guidelines for budding authors, can be found at www.avaloniabooks.co.uk

Spirituality and Magick are intertwined, life is a mystery and all of life a ceremony to enjoy and cherish everyday. There is no one “right” path and the diversity on Avalonia.co.uk reflects this vision, there are many paths through the labyrinth and it is up to each of us to find our own way(s) through the mysteries.

Luck

by Bob Makransky; Excerpted from Magical Almanac Ezine, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MagicalAlmanac. Copyright © 2007 by Bob Makransky. All rights reserved

Magic can be defined as the intentional manipulation of the force which most people term “luck”, by means of the deliberate cultivation of the faculty which most people term “intuition”. Luck is not a subjective state, but rather is a force out there in the world at large. As is the case also with vitality and physical strength, some people are just born with lots of luck (make the choice to be lucky in this incarnation), whereas others are born with very little luck. However, there are things we can do to increase our luck, since ultimately luck – albeit an outside force – is controlled by our attitude.

Luck has nothing to do with morality, or how nice we are. If a selfish, nasty, manipulative S.O.B. believes that he is lucky, he’ll be lucky. It’s the belief that we are lucky that makes us lucky, not how virtuous we are. If we expect luck to happen, it will tend to happen; whereas if we expect failure, that’s what we’ll get. People who tend to be lucky also tend to expect luck to happen; and the reverse. So the state of being lucky or unlucky tends to perpetuate itself.

Luck is not the same thing as getting what we think we want. How often has it happened that there was something that we desperately wanted; and we didn’t get it and were disappointed; and later on we discovered that it was a darn good thing we didn’t get it – it was lucky we didn’t get it – because if we had gotten it we would have been sorry, or else we wouldn’t have gotten this better thing instead; but at the time of our disappointment we considered ourselves unlucky.

What luck is, is the sense that the world is sustaining, protecting, and nourishing us. It’s the feeling that we are being taken care of and provided for, that the impersonal forces of the universe are watching out for us and helping us. Although luck is not the same thing as getting what we think we want, it nonetheless leads to it: getting what we want is a byproduct of the attitude that we are being helped and cared for; that we are deserving and worthy of happiness.

Luck operates as quick little flashes every now and again. Lucky people (those with a lucky attitude) are attuned to their lucky chances when they occur. They have the patience to wait before acting until the moment is ripe; and then, when a lucky chance pops up, they see it and grab it. Conversely, when a lucky chance pops up before unlucky people, they reject it automatically. They don’t see or understand that that opportunity was their lucky chance, so either they don’t notice it at all, or else they notice it but reject it.

Thus there’s the same amount of luck going on for everybody all the time, but lucky people, by their attitude, are positioned to make use of it, whereas unlucky people aren’t. They are too hung up in their own preconceived expectations of what they think they want; they’re like spoiled children trying to order the Spirit around. Instead of receiving gratefully what the Spirit chooses to give them, they angrily reject the Spirit’s gifts because they don’t conform to their precise images of what they think they want. As an example, more than once I’ve seen the Spirit bring a person a true soul mate when they were on the rebound from a break-up, and still too filled with self-pity to see that this person they met “accidentally” was the one they were praying for all along. How many times have I seen the Spirit bring someone their true heart’s desire on a silver platter, yet the person rejected it because they still had too much self-hatred to permit themselves to feel happiness. What keeps us from seeing and grasping the Spirit’s gifts is our own self-pity, which blinds us to everything except how much we’re suffering

Luck and doubt work inversely – each one serves to vanquish the other. The absence of doubt is responsible for the phenomenon known as “beginner’s luck”. Beginners don’t have doubts about what they are doing – it looks easy, so they try it and find that it is easy. They don’t know enough to grasp all the pitfalls and complexities in what they are doing instinctively (by intuition).

Therefore, to increase luck, it is necessary to banish doubt. The hard part is, that just as it takes money to make money, it takes luck to believe that we are lucky. That’s what makes it so hard to break out of a bad luck streak. The reason why people get into bad luck streaks in the first place is because our society encourages doubt, not luck. Society wants people to believe that their best chance for luck is to play the game by society’s rules, rather than to follow their own dreams and feelings and hunches. Those who try to strike on their own are met with great resistance and doubt by their fellows: by banks, government and business institutions, their own family and friends.

Therefore, a truly lucky attitude also requires being close-mouthed about oneself and one’s affairs, so as not to become a target for other people’s jealousy, which is the same thing as their doubt, which they can hurl to arouse one’s own doubt.

What unlucky people are really striving for – which unlucky people must learn to see within themselves if they are to change their luck – is self-pity. And unlucky people get it. They are as lucky at getting what they want (excuses to pity themselves) as lucky people are at getting what they want. Self-pity is a drain on the energy needed to bring luck. We each have only a finite amount of energy, which we can spend on either luck or self-pity, but not both. It is our society which teaches us to pity ourselves – which stands to gain from our collective self-pity and “helplessness”.

Changing from an unlucky to a lucky attitude is hard to do – no bones about it. Although there is indeed a Law of Abundance, to make that one work requires the utmost will and discipline. To arbitrarily adopt an attitude of carefree abundance when we’re flat broke and being pressed by creditors; or an attitude of radiant good health when we’re dying of AIDS; isn’t easy to do. The only motivation we have is that there is no choice – it’s either change, or self-pity. It’s a true triumph of the will to be able to arrive at an attitude of being nourished and protected even though nothing is going right. True luck is being able to maintain our equanimity, our cool, our belief that we’re in good shape, even in the midst of a maelstrom.

So now we come down to the question of how we can change our luck. Astrology (propitious times to act or not act), charms, talismans, etc. can help us to focus our energy on our intent to become lucky. They work to the extent that we have faith in them and believe that they work. They are vehicles of intent, not the important thing, although they can be useful, just as a car can be useful to take us to our destination once we decide where we want to go. But the important thing is the decision, the irrevocable decision, to change our luck – not the vehicle we use to implement it.

Changing our luck basically involves two things: visualization and appreciation. Much has been written about visualization (see e.g. Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization), so only a few points will be mentioned here. Visualization is similar to normal daydreaming, except the latter is done with thinking, and the former is done with feeling. Daydreaming is done in the third person and the future tense, whereas visualization is done in the first person and the present tense. In visualization you imagine yourself to be actually in the middle of the scene as if it were unfolding around you here and now; and you let yourself feel all the joy you would feel if that scene were actually happening. The secret of visualization is to convince yourself that what you are wishing for is already true, and to allow yourself to feel the feelings you would feel if that were in fact the case. When we are depressed, our tendency is to dwell upon our unhappiness, and to play that tape over and over in our heads all day long. The idea of creative visualization is to create a space for happiness to exist in the midst of our suffering; to dethrone the preeminence our self-pity; and then to slowly expand that feeling until it becomes dominant.

Also, visualization should not be overly specific. For example, “winning the lottery” is a silly thing to wish for or to visualize. It’s too specific, too confining to the Spirit – as if one were trying to dictate to it. “Wealth” or better yet, “Freedom from money worries” is a better thing to visualize because it gives the Spirit more free play, more liberty to send us suggestions on how to achieve wealth. Similarly, to wish that Mary or John would fall in love with us is too specific, and verges on black magic. It’s better to just visualize love from some unnamed person, since if all we want specifically is John’s love or Mary’s love, then we’ll reject Sam’s love or Judy’s love when it is offered to us – perfectly good love, but not our specific image of what we thought we wanted. In other words, the chief difference between normal daydreaming and visualization is that the former is pegged to specific expectations, whereas the latter is pinned to a feeling of general happiness and well-being.

Luck means letting the Spirit bring us what we want in its own way, in its own time. This doesn’t mean we sit on our hands and vegetate; it just means keeping open to different possibilities as they arise, rather than clinging to some specific payoff (image of what we think it is we want).
The other thing we need to change our luck is appreciation, which means appreciating what we already have – considering ourselves to be already lucky, rather than already unlucky. This isn’t too hard to do: we live in a beautiful world, in a wealthy country, in a time of relative peace and prosperity; we have enough to eat, we are educated and have millions of opportunities at hand. If we don’t already consider ourselves to be damned lucky, then we ought to be ashamed of ourselves.

What we are aiming for in both visualization and in appreciating what we already have is a joyous, optimistic, expectant attitude. Although it takes a good attitude to have a good attitude, it doesn’t necessarily take a good attitude to want a good attitude. When our desire to have a good attitude, no matter what is happening to us, exceeds our desire for some certain thing to happen, THEN our luck will start to change.

If we just keep plugging away, at a certain point we come to realize that what we really want isn’t health or wealth or love from other people, but rather happiness, contentment in our own hearts. We come to understand that the health or wealth or love is only a symbol for what we really want, which is to be joyous unto ourselves for no particular reason at all. The health or wealth or love we visualized so intensely for so long doesn’t have anything to do with it except as sort of a mnemonic device, like the beads on a rosary. We find we can be joyous in our visualizations and in our appreciation of what we already have – we don’t even need the visualizations to come true in order to be happy. It’s at this point that our luck will start to change, and the visualizations will come true.

About the Author
Bob Makransky is a systems analyst, programmer, and professional astrologer. For the past 30 years he has lived on a farm in highland Guatemala where he is a Mayan priest and is head of the local blueberry growers association. His website is http://www.dearbrutus.com. To subscribe to Bob’s free monthly astro-magical ezine, just send an e-mail to: MagicalAlmanac-subscribe@yahoogroups.com).

Nobel laureate William Butler Yeats’ channeled masterpiece “A Vision” explains the true nature of reincarnation – what it really is and how it really works. Starting with the December issue of Magical Almanac, Bob Makransky’s free monthly ezine of astrology and magic, will be presenting a six-article series which explains the theory of reincarnation as described in “A Vision”. This series includes complete instructions for safe and easy techniques you can use on your own to run past life regressions and probable reality progressions; and to recapitulate memories from your present lifetime (thereby releasing the pent-up emotions which you have invested in your memories).

Banned Books Week

This September 29 through October 6 is “Banned Books Week”.  The American Library Association’s website tells us, “First observed in 1982, Banned Books Week reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. The event is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the National Association of College Stores.   It is endorsed by the Library of Congress Center for the Book.”
 
Most books aren’t actually banned as much as they are challenged.  When a book is challenged it is brought up for discussion within a school or library as to whether the book in question should remain on their shelves.  Many different books are banned, or challenged, for a variety of issues.  The most challenged book of 2006, according to the ALA’s website, was “’And Tango Makes Three’ by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, for homosexuality, anti-family, and unsuited to age group.”  This children’s book is based on the true story of two male penguins at New York Central Park Zoo that built a nest together and with the help of a zookeeper hatched and raised a baby penguin.
 
To celebrate this very important week, I’m going to list off several books that have been banned or challenged on religious grounds.  I’ve gotten these titles from the wonderfully interesting book, “120 Banned Books” by Nicholas J. Karolides, Margaret Bald, and Dawn B. Sova.  This is a fantastic book and I highly recommend it.
 
Now, some titles that have been suppressed on religious grounds.
 
“The Age of Reason” by Thomas Paine, this is an uncompromising attack on Christianity based on the principles of rationalism.  Um, yeah, Christians disliked this one.
 
“The Analects” by Confucius, this is a collection of sayings and short dialogues attributed to Confucius.  It’s a guide to ethics and morality in personal and political life.  Although Confucius himself was agnostic, a religion developed around his teachings.  Throughout China’s history “The Analects” have been banned in an effort to help Chinese citizens move toward the future.
 
“The Bible”  Don’t even get me started.  But yes, in oh so many places and for oh so many reasons, “The Bible” has been banned or challenged.
 
“Children of the Alley” (sometimes found as “Children of Gebelaawi”) by Naguib Mahfouz, is a history of an imaginary Cairo alley and an allegorical account of the lives of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad.  It offers a critique of religious intolerance and political and economic repression.  To sum up, Fundamentalists, particularly of an Islamic leaning, hate this book.
 
“The Koran”, see “The Bible”.
 
“Church: Charism and Power: Liberation Theology and the Institutional Church” by Leonardo Boff, is a collection of essays that argues from his experience with the poor in Brazil that the Catholic Church should transform into a “liberation Church” not simply for the poor but of the poor.  Here’s a fun fact kids, the Roman Catholic Church does not respond to criticism well.  Boff, who was a Friar, was ordered to observe an “obedient silence” for an unspecified period of time.  No writing, teaching, or lecturing.  This lasted for 10 months.
 
“Lajja (Shame)” by Taslima Nasrin, is a documentary novel about the plight of a Hindu family in Bangladesh persecuted by Muslim fundamentalists during an outbreak of anti-Hindu violence in 1992.  Nasrin is an uncompromising critic of patriarchal religious traditions that she views as oppressive to women.  Nasrin, because of her “blasphemy and conspiracy against Islam”, has a fatwa.  That’s the death decree issued by the Council of Soldiers of Islam.
 
These are merely a drop in the bucket.  Who can forget the hooplah over “The Last Temptation of Christ” by Nikos Kazantzakis or “The Satanic Verses” by Salman Rushdie?  By the way, I saw Rushdie on “The Colbert Report” recently, Rushdie is funny, who knew?
 
Remember, as the American Library Association says, “Free People Read Freely.”  Now get out there and read a banned book!

First, I’d Like to Thank Jesus for This Blog…

I love Kathy Griffin.  I always have, and I imagine I always will.  I frequently tell people that I want to be the Kathy Griffin of the spirituality set.  I shamelessly use her bits in conversations with friends and family, sometimes even giving her credit.  I love her vicious mocking of celebrity.  On the surface it all seems so simple.  Kathy makes fun of celebrities.  Perhaps, I’m reading too much into her work, but I personally feel there is so much more to it than that.
 
Yes, the bulk of Kathy’s material comes from the examination of celebrities.  She harpoons and deflates the largest stars out there, such as Oprah, Tom Cruise, and Whitney Houston.  This kind of deconstruction of icons to expose their remarkably human flaws, such as vanity and obsession, is actually reminiscent of court jesters of the past.  Those savvy Magical Buffet readers know that the court jester is just another manifestation of the trickster god archetype.  The trickster god mocks those most important members of society to keep them in check.  In those terms Kathy’s humor would be suited for tackling politicians or royalty, but in this day and age, she has chosen to tackle the nearly deific realm of celebrity.
 
That’s why it came as no surprise to me that when given the opportunity to attack the most sacred of celebrity moments, the Emmy acceptance speech, she managed to take it to task.  Much like almost any story she tells about Gwyneth Paltrow.
 
“A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award.  I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus.  Suck it Jesus, this award is my god now!”
 
Is there a more perfect parody and take down of this holier than thou validation of celebrity?  Well hold onto your golden statuettes because the ride is about to get bumpy!
 
Responding to pressure from the Catholic League, Kathy’s acceptance speech will be censored in the taped airing of the awards ceremony.
 
“The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences reacted responsibly to our criticism of Kathy Griffin’s verbal assault on 85 percent of the U.S. population.  The ball is now in Griffin’s court.  The self-described ‘complete militant atheist’ needs to make a swift and unequivocal apology to Christians.  If she does, she will get this issue behind her.  If she does not, she will be remembered as a foul-mouthed bigot for the rest of her life,” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, from their website.
 
Now, Jim’s, my husband, first response to all of this was, “Does that mean if Atheists raise a stink, the Emmys will edit out any celebrity thanking Jesus?”
 
Funny you should ask.  A quick visit to the American Atheist website will give you this tid bit from their president, Ellen Johnson, “It’s permissible to make religious comments at the Emmy Awards and other public events as long as they do not criticize or threaten the self-appointed ‘Religion Police,’” said Johnson. “Celebrities can go on national television to ‘thank’ Jesus, or Allah, or Scientology for their success, but an Atheist cannot make an honest and forthright statement that their success came from developing their talents and working hard.”
 
In fact, if you click here you can see how American Atheist is rallying support for Kathy.  Better still, you can visit http://suckitjesus.com/. 
 
Here’s a point I want to make.  In no way is she making fun of Catholics or other Christian denominations.  Seriously.  You really have got to want it to think she is.  Kathy doesn’t roll that way.  How do I know?  Well, for all the years of making fun of Tom Cruise, not once has she made fun of his fans.

Also, as Jim pointed out to me, everyone is avoiding the real issue here.  Does Jesus really rig awards?
 
By the way, to learn more about Kathy Griffin, click here.

Osama bin Laden+Jesus=Art?

On August 29, 2007 the winner of the 2007 Blake Prize was announced.  According to the Blake Prize website, “The Blake Prize for Religious Art is one of the more prestigious art prizes in Australia. For 55 years it has been awarding a prize for works of art that explore the subject of religious awareness and spirituality.”  This year’s winner was Shirley Purdie and her piece “Stations of the Cross”.  However, the winning piece isn’t what people are talking about.

“The Fourth Secret of Fatima” by Luke Sullivan and “Bearded Orientals: Making the Empire Cross” by Priscilla Bracks are all anyone wants to discuss.  “The Fourth Secret of Fatima” is a statue of Mary wearing a burqa and “Bearded Orientals” pairs a portrait of Christ with one of terrorist Osama bin Laden looking like Jesus.  The inclusion of these two pieces are causing quite a stir in Australia.  To see these pieces click here

Australian Prime Minister John Howard was quoted in “The Daily Telegraph” saying, “The choice of such artwork is gratuitously offensive to the religious beliefs of many Australians.”  Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell, has been quite vocal with his displeasure, “Some contemporary art is tedious and trivial.  These couple of works demonstrate this.  Regrettably, attempts to insult Jesus and Mary have become common in recent years, even predictable.  Too often it seems that the only quality which makes something ‘art’ is the adolescent desire to shock.  If this is the best the Blake Prize can do, it has probably outlived its usefulness.”  (I have to point out here, that obviously these two pieces weren’t “the best the Blake Prize can do” since a totally different piece won the $15,000 prize.)
 
Enough about the Catholics, what do Australian Muslims have to say about all this hooplah?  Ikebal Patel, the President of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils offers some unique perspectives.  He is quoted in the “Sydney Morning Herald” saying, “So [Mary wearing a burqa is] no different to how our mothers and sisters are expected to be modest in their dressing.”  He explains that the statue is not at all offensive because both the Virgin Mary and Jesus are revered figures in Islam.  However, Patel was offended in many different ways by “Bearded Orientals”.  “You have a revered prophet of Islam (that would be Jesus) being equated to somebody like Osama bin Laden.  Also in Islam, we don’t have any paintings or drawings depicting any of our prophets, so I find it quite offensive,” he states.
 
Look at all this debate!  The Anglican Bishop of south Sydney, Robert Forsyth, is quoted saying, “Is the one of Mary having a go at religions for oppressing women?”  (My new friends at Roman Catholic Womenpriests, probably have something to say to that!)  According to the “Washington Post”, Bracks (the artist who did “Bearded Orientals” told Australian radio, “I’m interested in having a discussion, and asking questions about how we think about our world and what we accept, and what we don’t accept.”  Reverend Pattenden, Blake Society Chairman, says neither of the two artists had set out to offend anyone, and he was not personally affronted, “They are both works which made me stop and think.”
 
Now I ask you this, isn’t that what art is all about?