A total lunar eclipse early Tuesday morning was a "special event" for Nanaimo's Wiccan community.Daniel Van Koughnett, a minister in the city's Temple of the Green Cauldron, said eclipses are not routine cosmic occurrences like full moons and solar solstices, events regularly celebrated at communal temple festivities.He said for many Wiccans, eclipses, like last night's full lunar eclipse (visible in western Canada) represents a convergence of solar and lunar events in which followers of theancient nature-based belief system celebrate the nature of the relationship between gods and goddesses.
Wiccans, the moon is a goddess and the sun is a god and eclipses bring
them together in a very special union," Van Koughnett said.
"It's considered a very
magical time and many witches will save certain spells and learning
rituals for these powerful and special events.
While eclipses are
important to us, we don't usually celebrate them as part of our regular
temple routine, like the temple's eight annual Sabbats held on
Saturdays following full moons."
Van Koughnett said temple
members celebrate eclipses on an individual basis and he held a
personalcelebration of the event as the Earth's shadow darkened the
full moon in the early hours of the morning.
He said it's been three
years since a full lunar eclipse was visible from Nanaimo and despite
the possibility of overcast skies, the eclipse could still be observed
by the tell-tale darkening of the moon's light through the clouds.
"The colour of the moon,
which is usually pretty red during eclipses, would also be visible
through overcast skies," Van Koughnett said. "It's nice to see an
eclipse here again."
Wicca is primarily a Western movement of nature worship based on pre-Christian traditions and is recognised as an official religion in the United States. Like many pagan religions, Wicca practises magic and witchcraft.In Mumbai, there exists a meetup group of witches, they are 23 in numbers. They meet at a venue selected by the members every month. This is the place to meet witches or anyone interested in the occult arts. Among them are local witches, Wiccans and occultists from Mumbai and around.The one name that comes to mind the moment we think of the witches is Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, who proclaimed herself to be a "witch" in the 1980s, creating a storm in thecountry.
the very first image that we conjure is that of a wicked old lady, of
broomsticks, cauldrons and smelly potions.
Forget it. There is nothing
like that with the Wiccans.
Now based in Delhi, Ipsita
is the face of Wicca in India, she is a look alike of famous writer
Shoba De. Born to a diplomat and a royalty, Ipsita studied in Canada
and U S and there she came in contact with a secret group where she was
initiated into Wicca. On returning back to India, she travelled
extensively, performing witchcraft and healing people. She also wrote
two books - "Beloved Witch" and "Sacred Evil".The second one was made
into the film of the same name, in which her role was performed by
actress Sarika. But off late, Chakraverti has stopped interacting with
people, and has become a recluse. Being a witch, her attireis
typically black and silver. "Black is an important colour for witches,
it is the colour of absorption and therefore of inscrutability and
mystery, of women and of thunderclouds," she had once said. Every witch
maintains a personal diary, called "The Book of Shadows," in which she
notes her experiences, her discoveries and what she considers magical.
It is believed that Wiccans
were the first healers and counsellors in the Western society. All of
them were women, who were spiritually very strong and became "too
powerful" for the comfort of orthodox Christianity. They were accused
of practicing witchcraft or black magic and many of them were put to
stake and burnt alive.
In India too, women were
killed for being witches. Ipsita researched Dakini Vidya, which draws
its strength from goddesses Kali and Durga. Whenever Ipsitawent to
Pagans have pledged to perform "rain magic" to wash away a cartoon character painted next to their famous fertility symbol - the Cerne Abbas giant. A doughnut-brandishing Homer Simpson was painted next to the giant on the hill above Cerne Abbas, Dorset, to promote the new Simpsons film.Many believe the ancient chalk outline of the naked, sexually aroused giant to be a symbol of ancient spirituality. Many couples also believe the 180ft carving aids fertility.The painted Simpsons character has been painted with water-based biodegradable paint which willwash away as soon as it rains.
Ann Bryn-Evans, joint Wessex district manager for The Pagan Federation, said: "We were hoping for some dry weather but I think I have changed my mind.
"We'll be doing some rain magic to bring the rain and wash it away."
She added: "I'm amazed they got permission to do something so ridiculous. It's an area of scientific interest."
'Different and unusual'
It is not the first time
the giant has been used to advertise products. He has been used to
promote items as diverse as condoms, jeans and bicycles.
Mike Webb, landlord of the New Inn in Cerne Abbas, said his staff were amused by the temporary addition to the village.
"I think it is different
and unusual," he said. "We've not heard anycomplaints here so far, but
I'm not sure many of the local people will know who Homer Simpson is."
During World War II, the Cerne giant was disguised to prevent the Germans from using him as an aerial landmark.
Since then he has always been visible, receiving regular grass trimming and a full re-chalking every 25 years.
There is debate among
experts about when the giant was created varying from thousands of
years ago to as recently as the 17th Century.
Ancient Druidism is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic people. However, because Druidism is a mostly oral tradition, there is little historical record to irrefutably pin down the origins of ancient Druidism.Druidism is considered a pagan religion, whose followers put their faith in many different gods and goddesses. Druids also strongly believe in reincarnation. Druidism is still practiced today, although beliefs and practices may vary from that of their ancestors.It is a common misconception that in the ancient tradition only men could become Druids. However, this is simply untrue. In ancient Druidism women most certainly could,and did become Druids or Druidesses.
It was not
until the Druid reformation in the 17th and 18th centuries and the
coming of Christianity that Druid orders were formed banning women from
In modern Druidism women are once again seen as
equals and commonly play important roles within the religion, including
the role of Druidess.
While ancient Druidism can
most certainly not be defined as a strictly patriarchal tradition, it
cannot truthfully be defined as matriarchal either. It seems to be that
in Druidism, men and women had a fairly equilateral relationship and
that it was just as acceptable for a woman to choose to study the Druid
path as it was for her male peers.
This makes sense if we
consider the societal status of Celtic women in comparison to other
European women at the time. If you were a womanin ancient times you
would have been lucky to be born a Celt. Celtic women had far more
rights and freedom than the women of any other culture at the time.
Celtic women could participate in warfare, own and inherit land and
property and were even allowed to divorce their husbands. Such things
were unheard of in other European societies at that time.
Female Druids or Druidesses
are mentioned by both Greek and Roman historians as well as in Celtic
myth. Female Druids, known as the Bandroai (Bandruidh), are thought to
have functioned as seers and prophets. Ancient stories refer to
Druidesses who could see the future and who helped their people to
victory in battle.
If you take a look at
Celtic mythology, you will find that many of the most powerful gods
were female. In contrast to many other ancient religions, Celtic gods
and goddesses did nots......