28.6.13

Izrada vrećice za rune

Ovim postom započinjem ciklus postova koji će biti posvećeni runama. O samim runama ću govoriti dodano u kasnijim postovima, ali mislim da je barem potrebno reći što su one. 

Rune su sistem pisma koje su se koristile ujedno i za proricanje. Pismo se koristilo zapravo u svim germanskim zemljama u zapadnoj Europi. Sama riječ "runa" znači misterij ili tajna i vuče korijene od germanske riječi raunen (rezati, oblikovati, dubiti; rune su se prvotno ugravirale u drvo ili kamen).

One se obično drže u vrećici koja služi da zadrži njihovu energiju, ali može poslužiti i tijekom proricanja (o tome ću u kasnijim postovima). Ova vrećica je obično napravljena od nekakvog baršunastog materijala i najčešće crne boje. Zapravo može biti bilo koji fini neprozirni tamni materijal makar ćete sada viđati okolo vrećice svakakvih boja i dezena, a primjećujem da su u zadnje vrijeme jako popularne pletene vrećice pa ako znate plesti, zašto ne? Vjerojatno se pitate zbog čega neprozirna i zašto baš mora biti crna/tamna? Obje ove karakteristike imaju veze sa slabom propustljivošću energije (sjetite se samo kako crna boja i neprozirni materijali ne propuštaju svjetlo). Prije nego što se rune počnu koristiti, obično ih se posveti i pročisti, a neki i meditiraju na njima tj. programiraju ih (kao što se radi sa kristalima kada se meditira nad njima imajući na umu cilj koji se želi postići pomoću tog objekta). Sve ovo uvjetuje stvaranje posebne energije oko svake rune koja će, na neki način, imati svoju osobnost. Ta energija se može izgubiti ako ih držite van vrećice, ili se pak može "kontaminirati" drugom energijom koja ne mora nužno biti pozitivna. Svakako, što više meditirate nad runama i što ih više koristite, to će njihova energija biti jača, a rezultati proricanja precizniji (makar veliki faktor svakako igra i vaše znanje i vještina tumačenja runa). Pošto ovaj post nije posvećen ovoj temi, vratila bih se na vrećicu koja će vam biti važna. Napravila sam dvije takve za svoja dva seta runa pa sam htjela s vama podijeliti proces jer sam zadovoljna rezultatom.

Ali zbog čega uopće raditi vrećicu sami kada je možete naprosto naručiti s e-baya za male novce? Sjetite se da uvijek ponavljam kako je nešto jače ako unesete svoju energiju u to. Sigurno ćete više energije uložiti ako sami izradite vrećicu nego ako samo pritisnute dva gumba i ako vam je netko drugi dostavi. :)

Evo kako moje vrećice izgledaju. Znam da nije glamurozno, ali vi možete svoje ukrasiti kako god želite. Možete zaštiti sliku, ušiti neki natpis ili simbol, a česta je praksa ušivanja nekog simbola zaštite kao dodatna "sigurnosna mjera". :)


No krenimo na samu izradu. Opisati ću vam kako sam je ja radila, iako vam nitko ne brani izmijeniti ono što vam ne odgovara. 

Potrebno je: 

  • baršun ili sličan materijal (2 komada dimenzija 15x30cm)
  • nešto čime ćete označavati (kreda/konac)
  • škarice (oštre!)
  • crni konac (pošto je moja crna, ali možete sami odabrati boju prema svom dizajnu)
  • igle (2)
  • konop (boje po želji, duljine cca. 40cm)
  • ravnalo
Ja sam potrošila 1h i 15 minuta radeći veću vrećicu od one dvije koja je dimenzija kao navedeno poviše i zaista nisam potrošila puno novaca (oko 40kn ili čak i manje). Materijale možete nabaviti u bilo kojem dućanu tekstila ili papirnici.

Postupak:

1.  Skupite sav potreban materijal.

2.  Presavijte materijal kojeg ste kupili (jer ga nećete nigdje moći kupiti u ovim dimenzijama nego ćete morati ovo sami skrojiti) i uzmite škare, ravnalo i nešto čime ćete označavati (neka bude dobro vidljivo). Ja sam ga presavila kako bi baršun bio izvani i iznutra pošto je moj materijal bio takav, ali i kako bi vrećica bila čvršća.











3.  Uzmite širinu od 15cm. Dobro izmjerite na više točaka, označite ih kredom te povucite ravnalom ravnu liniju po kojoj ćete rezati. Za visinu uzmite 30cm. Opet označite na više mjesta i povucite liniju. Po dvjema linijama (koje sada čine pravokutnik) režite. Ja sam označavala bijelim koncem (koji se jako dobro vidi na crnoj podlozi) jer nisam imala krede pri ruci.

4.  Dobit ćete 2 pravokutnika dimenzija 15x30cm.











5.  Uzmite iglu i konac i zašijte rubove. Ne brinite ako nije savršeno jer će ovo ionako biti s unutrašnje strane vrećice. Ne zaboravite kada dođete do kraja konca na jednom mjestu više puta proći iglom kako biste učvrstili kraj da se konac ne izvlači. Sada ćete imati jedan pravokutnik.


6.  Presavijte na pola tkaninu (na dužoj strani). Jedan rub do pola zašijte i ostavite tu iglu i konac! Uzmite konop i postavite ga uz jedan gornji rub i presavijte taj rub prema vanka (zapamtite, kasnije ćete vrećicu okrenuti naopako!). Koncem zašijte rub tako da ostane presavijen pritom pazeći da ne zašijete i konop (važno je da tu i tamo provjerite da li konop bez problema prolazi kroz rupu koju radite).


7.  Isto napravite i s drugom stranom.








8.  Vratite se na dopola sašivenu bočnu stranu vrećice i zašijte je do vrha (tj. do spoja gornjeg presavijenog ruba). Isto to napravite s drugom bočnom stranom. Sada će vrećica zapravo biti u potpunosti sašivena.










9.  Izokrenite vrećicu naopako. Na slici lijevo je vidljiv proštep izbliza kada je okrenut naopako.




10.  Zavežite konop tako da zatvorite vrećicu. 

11.  Spremite ju na sigurno mjesto i pripremite se na skorašnje punjenje vrećice runama i posvećivanje :D

Napomena: 
Ako želite manje ili veće dimenzije, prilagodite to ovim instrukcijama, ali uzmite u obzir da ćete presavijati materijal kako biste zašili bočne rubove vrećice i da treba bit cca. 2cm viška na gornjem rubu za presavijanje materijala preko konopa. 

Nadam se da ćete uživati u izradi vaše vrećice, a ako vam nešto možda nije jasno, možete me slobodno pitati.

Sljedeći post će biti o samoj izradi runa i njihovim značenjima pa se pripremite! :D
vaša Witch's Cat

How to Make a Rune Bag

With this post, I begin a new series of posts which will be dedicated to runes. I will talk about the runes themselves in later posts, but I believe it is necessary to at least say what they even are in this first post.

Runes are a writing system which were also used for divination. As a writing system, they were actually used in all the Germanic lands of Western Europe. The word "rune" would, in translation, mean mystery or secret and its roots come from the Germanic word raunen (to cut, to shape, to carve; runes were first carved into wood or stone). 

They are usually kept in a bag to keep their energy in, but it can also be used when divining (more on that later). This bag is usually made of some sort of velvety material and is most often black. It can actually be made out of any nice opaque dark-colored material although you can see rune bags of various colors and designs nowadays. I noticed that knitted bags have become popular recently too, so if you know how to knit, why not? You are probably asking yourselves what it has to be opaque and black/dark? Both of these characteristics are related to small permeability of energy (just recall how little light black or opaque materials let through). Before runes are actually used, they are consecrated and cleansed and some decide to meditate on them or you could even say program them (as is done with crystals when meditating on its purpose over it). All of this enables the forming of energy around each individual rune which will, in a way, have its own personality. This energy can be lost if you keep your runes outside of a bag or it can even get "contaminated" by some other energy which doesn't necessarily have to be good. Surely, the more you meditate on your runes and the more you use them, the stronger their energy will get and the more precise your readings will be (although a big factor is definitely your own knowledge and capability of interpreting runes). Since this post isn't dedicated to this topic, I'd like to get back to the rune bag which will be important to you. I made two of them for my two sets of runes and I just wanted to share the process with you since I'm happy with the results.

But why even make a rune bag when you can order one from e-bay for a small amount of money? Remember that I'm constantly going on about how something will be stronger if you put more energy into it. You will definitely put more energy into making the rune bag yourself than you would by pressing two buttons and waiting for someone to deliver it to you. :)

Here is how my rune bags look. I know they're not glamorous, but you can decorate them any way you like. You can sow on a picture or sew in some text of a symbol (it is very common to sew in a protection symbol for additional "security measures"). :)


Now I think it's about time we got to the actual "how" part of this post. I will describe how I made my bags, but feel free to change anything you don't like.

You Will Need:

  • velvet or any similar material (2 pieces, 15x30cm)
  • something with which you will mark with (chalk or some white thread)
  • scissors (sharp ones!)
  • black thread (since by bag is black, but you can choose any color that suits your design)
  • needles (2)
  • about 40cm of cord (the color of your choosing)
  • a ruler
It took me about an hour and fifteen minutes to make the larger bag of the two (dimensions stated above) and I really didn't spend much money (about 5-6 euros). You can find the materials you will need in any textile shop or office supplies shop.

The Procedure:


1.  Gather all the necessary material.

2.  Fold the material which you bought once (since you won't be able to buy such a small amount of the material in any shop so you'll have to cut it out on your own) and take your scissors, a ruler and something with which your can mark the material (make sure it's visible enough). I folded the material so that the velvety texture is both inside and outside the bag, but also because I wanted the bag to be thicker and firmer.










3.  Make the width 15cm. Make sure that you've got the right width by marking several points and joining them using your ruler and chalk so you get a straight line on which you will cut later. For the height, take 30cm. Again, mark this length on several parts and join them into a line. The two lines you have drawn will now make up a rectangle which you can now cut out. Since I didn't have any textile chalk, I used a needle and nice white thread which you can easily see on the black material.

4.  You will now have two rectangles each 15x30cm in size.











5.   Take your needle and thread and sew up the edges of the two rectangles together. Don't worry if it doesn't turn out perfect because these edges will be on the inside of the bag anyway. And don't forget to sew in one place several times when you get to the end of your thread because this secures the thread so it doesn't slip out. You will now have one rectangle.


6.  Fold this rectangle in half along its longer side. Sew one side together but only about half way up and leave your needle and thread in! Take your cord and put it along the upper side of the bag. Fold the edge over the cord towards the outside (don't forget that you're going to turn the bag inside out later on!). Take your other needle and thread and sew this folded edge over the cord taking care not to sew up the cord in the process (it's important to check every now and then if the cord can pass through the hole with ease). 

7.  Do the same on the other side.








8.  Return to the half-sewn-up side of the bag and finish sewing it up to the top (that is, until you reach the joint of the top folded edge). Do the same with the other half-sewn-up side. When you're done with this, your bag will bee fully sewn up.









9.  Turn it inside out. You can see what the stitch work looks like from the outside (once the bag is turn inside out).









10.  Tie the cord to close your bag up.

11.  Put it in a safe place and get ready to fill it up with your runes soon as well as consecrate it! :D

Note:
If you want your bag to be larger or smaller then simply adapt this to the instructions, but keep in mind that you're going to have to fold the material in order to sew up the sides and that you will need about 2cm more at the top of your bag since you need to fold this top part over the cord. 

I hope that you will enjoy making your rune bag and if something isn't clear don't hesitate to ask. 

The next post will be on making the runes themselves as well as their meanings so get ready! :D
Until next time. Yours,
Witch's Cat

25.6.13

The Role of Myths and Symbols

Theseus killing the
Minotaur
Inspired by the book The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell as well as Progressive Witchcraft by Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone, I decided to dedicate a post to the role of myths and symbols in Wicca and religion in general.

Myths practically make up the religious aspect of Wicca. Just so there is no misunderstanding, the word "myth" doesn't have to refer to a made-up story. Etymologically, it can be traced back to the Greek word mythos and the Latin word mythus. Both of them refer to stories, thoughts speeches or basically any sort of story which comes from either a written or oral source. Of course, symbols are an integral part of any ritual and much can be achieved by learning how to manipulate them.

Then again, myths aren't always true stories either, but it is important to differentiate the true ones from the untrue ones (although both types are equally as important in a  moral and religious sense). Myths exist for a reason - to teach. A good example of this are fairy tales which are full of symbols and are basically myths themselves. I honestly doubt that every fairy tale written down by the brothers Grimm is true (although you now the saying: there's a grain of truth in every "lie"), but in the time when most people didn't know how to read or write, the only way to convey a moral lesson was by telling stories or through pictures.

Just as every myth has its meaning, so does every symbol. Symbols exist to summarize a certain though (or sometimes even a whole story) into a picture which everyone can understand, and that includes the illiterate. It goes without saying that symbols' meanings vary from nation to nation, from individual to individual and from religion to religion. The only thing I feel bad about is that we have come to the point when we feel the need to call certain symbols ours and nobody else's. For example, the Latin cross is the holy symbol of the Christian faith while most Christians will look on a pentagram a symbol of everything evil. Or better said, if a symbol isn't "yours", then it must be evil and perverse. People often forget that symbols are a very private thing too and, according to this, it's logical to conclude that what is a bad symbol to one person can be a good symbol to another. This individuality of every symbol makes it impossible for them to be generally good or bad.

I read in a certain book that mythology is basically dramatized psychology. I agree with this statement because every myth originates from the human psyche. Myths centered around heroes, beautiful damsels, dragons, goblins and other amazing creatures...all of them decorate our psyche with a nice big red bow and wrap it into a nice little compact package which future generations can inherit. So instead of the Savior, you'll have a hero, the dragon will embody an actual physical danger of psychological problem and so on. Jesters will always be jesters, and kings will always be kings, but all of them will be based on reality.

Myths, fairy tales and other stories are special because they penetrate our subconscious. What we will consciously hear will be a nice story which is told for fun, but our subconscious will hear an intense moral lesson or perhaps a warning.

Carl Gustav Jung
At the moment, I'm reading the book Let Me Tell You a Story by Jorge Bucay. I sincerely recommend it to all fairy-tale, anecdote and myth lovers because the book is conceived so that every chapter is a story of its own with its own message. It really is a lot of fun to read, but I am aware that all of those stories will remain engraved into my brain precisely because of the messages that they convey, while a romance novel, popular novel or random short story will probably fade out of my memory much faster because it's only purpose is to entertain and kill time. Classical books and classical writers are big (as in basic and classical) because of their ability to control these messages, hide them inside the text and the ability to dramatize in addition to, of course, the amusement aspect of that piece of literature. The canon of literature is somehow made up of Shakespeare's Hamlet, the infamous Faust, the Bible with its many morals and poets such as Dante or Petrarch who, each in their own time, conveyed certain messages through their works, keeping in mind that they had to be appropriate for that period and situation. Oh, and it's worth nothing that these messages were often politically and/or religiously conditioned.

Let me turn to Carl Gustav Jung's psychology for a moment who has, of late, become an important figure in the world of Paganism and Witchcraft. He analyzed both the conscious and unconscious human psyche in great detail and divided it the following way:
  • The Ego (the conscious aspect)
  • The Shadow (an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not recognize)
  • The Anima (the hidden female aspect in every man)
  • The Animus (the hidden male aspect in every woman)
  • The Personal Unconscious (where the desires, urges, frustrations etc. or an individual are hidden) 
  • The Collective Unconscious (a collection of the unconscious things on a global scale which developed in time. This term is often connected with phenomenons such as telepathy, divination and magical works in general)
  • The Persona (the mask which the Ego wears)
  • The Self (our basis as well as the basis of our psychological personality)
With this, I return back to the aforementioned conscious and unconscious parts of the mind which perceive myths and symbols in different ways. The Ego will look at myths as mere stories, while the Unconscious will recognize everything hidden in them. People have gotten a bit too used to communicating only through the Ego, talking in a rational way and in the process have forgotten to satisfy their unconscious needs. The Unconscious hides all our wants, fears, doubts and our hopes. By separating ourselves from all this, we have become less spiritual, less in tune with ourselves because every person needs both the conscious and unconscious to be complete.

It is necessary to attune these two aspects for us to understand ourselves. For example, if the Ego tells us that we consciously have to lose weight (I chose this simply because it is a  common problem in modern society) and if we constantly repeat this then we will develop a complex in the Unconscious, especially if we unconsciously believe that we can't do this, or if we simply repeat it too much. Complexes don't appear willfully, but unconsciously. I hope I managed to explain the roles of consciousness and unconsciousness more clearly with this example.

Anyway, when we become aware that we have to balance these two aspects out, we need to actually do it. It is necessary to let the Ego listen to the Unconscious, which communicates through symbols, every now and then. It is the understanding of these symbols that will help us on our spiritual/religious paths. I believe (and I emphasize that this is my opinion) that religious people are much more in tune with their Unconscious self that non-religious people. For example, religious people will often take notice of the meanings of their dreams (which are one way the Unconscious communicates), while the non-religious people will more likely laugh at this and cast dreams aside as something completely unimportant.

In the same manner, religious people will, in my opinion, understand myths and symbols on a more personal and deeper level. And since rituals are made up of both (as I explained at the beginning of this post), they will also be attracted to rituals. In this sense, rituals are a way of connecting with the Unconscious. Tom Chetwynd defined rituals as "the dramatic enactment of myth, designed to make a sufficiently deep impression on the individual to reach his subconscious". 

For the example of a ritual, I'll take the Christian mass and the role the Eucharist plays in it. Some people find it hard to understand that mass and rituals are the same thing. The word "ritual" or "rite" come from the latin word ritus (early 14th century) which refers to any sort of religious tradition or ceremony. Remember that people often use the word ritual in contexts such as "my morning ritual includes taking a shower and brushing my teeth". Therefore, this word can also be used to refer to mundane situations, but it is always closely related to some sort of tradition (something that you usually do!). We can say that a tradition/ritual or holding mass exists in Christianity. The word "mass", on the other hand, has a slightly different meaning. This word probably came to be used because of the sentence "Ite, missa est" (which is usually translated as "Go, the Mass has ended"). This was spoken at the end of every ceremony sending the message that the people may now go once the prayere has been "sent". It is clear from this that the Latin word missa can be the root of the English word mass, but its worth noting that its direct translation would be dismissal.

To go back to the role of the Eucharist (Gr. εὐχαριστία i.e. eucharistia or thanks); it actually serves as a symbolical "thank you" to Jesus Christ for his sacrifice and through drama (the playing out of a certain part of the Last Supper, the eating of the bread and wine) reaches our subconscious. The Last Supper itself is a myth (by this I don't want to say that it's true nor that is not true but merely that it has become a story through time - look at the definition of the word "myth" above) in which Jesus used the symbols of bread and wine to convey his message. These symbols are used to this day in masses to convey that same message. It is clear that myth and symbolism play a big role in rituals of other faiths, and not only in Wicca.

In conformity with this, myths as extended symbols/sets of symbols play the same role as rituals. The only difference is that the individual can directly take part in rituals but cannot do so with myths. While listening to the story of the Last Supper, people stand aside as observers, but during mass, they actually take on the role of the Apostles and physically take part in the Eucharist thus becoming part of the myth. THIS is ritual. This is precisely the whole point of mass; becoming a part of the myth, enter through it your own subconscious and become connected to it.

For what reason would and Pagan ritual be less worthy or any different from a Christian one? It's like comparing two fairy tales, or two myths. They may be differently written, but their goal is the same - convey a certain message and reach the Unconscious.

You're familiar with the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words", but pictures don't speak with words; the communicate through symbols. It is because of this that you will find churches full of statues, pictures and other pieces of artwork. This is why visual depictions are kept on altars, both Pagan and those belonging to other faiths. According symbols, tools and robes are also used for this purpose. Everything around us is full of symbolism which we unconsciously pick up. You don't need iconological knowledge to unconsciously understand the point of the whole story. It's enough to feel something inside you, to hear that quiet voice in the back of your mind.

Symbols are ambivalent! That's why they tell us so much more than words.

We may come across many apparently different things that have the same symbolic meaning and vice versa - one thing that may have many different meanings. All of this depends on one's culture, tradition, gender, religion, social background, bringing up etc.

I will take as an example the color green and its many meanings and the symbol of the lion, which also has many meanings.


Voltaire once said "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.". God is just another archetype (lat. archetypum, the first idea/model/type, another Jungian idea) without which the human consciousness would be completely altered. Some go so far as to say that our consciousness would simply collapse if we didn't perceive a higher power, the primeval.

I'll leave it to you to think about this quote a bit more. This is, after all, a very broad topic which is very hard to cover in such a short post as this so I'll take this as an excuse for jumping from subject to subject like this (all with the intention of covering as much ground as possible).

If you are interested in going a bit deeper into all of this, I recommend you read something by Carl Jung, the books which I mentioned at the beginning of the post and perhaps the book entitled A Witches' Bible by Janet and Stewart Farrar (this is actually a longer version of their book Eight Sabbats for Witches) which also served as a great basis for this post.

Until next time. Yours,
Witch's Cat

20.6.13

Limun kuglice


Ova mala poslastica je pravo ljetno osvježenje...vrlo je prhka, a limunova kora i sok joj daje upravo ono što vam treba za ljeto :) Evo ja upravo jedem jednu kuglicu uz malo mlijeka :D 

Uz to što je osvježavajuće je jako lagan recept, ali to možete i sami prosuditi ;)

Potrebno je:

  • 340 g oštrog brašna
  • 6 žlica šećera u prahu (ja sam smanjila na 5)
  • 2 limuna (sok od jednog limuna+izribana kora od dva)
  • 1 prašak za pecivo
  • 120 g maslaca
  • 2 istučena jaja
  • malo ulja
  • malo mlijeka
Napomena: od ove količine mi je ispalo nešto više od 50 keksića iako nisu previše sitni. Ukratko, saaaasvim dovoljno za najesti se! 

Priprema:

  1. Kuhačom pomiješajte brašno, šećer, limunovu koru i prašak za pecivo.
  2. Dodajte omeškali maslac (možete kuhačom ili rukama ovo izmiješati).
  3. Dodajte izmučeno jaje i limunov sok. Ja sam sada miješala mikserom. U originalnom receptu nije bilo ni ulja ni mlijeka, ali sam dodala 3-4 žlice oboje kako bi smjesa bila kompaktnija (prhko je tijesto i ponekad ga je teže umijesiti jer se počne mrviti).
  4. Ako želite, možete staviti tijesto u hladnjak na sat vremena (ja nisam jer nisam imala previše vremena, ali to može tijesto učiniti još finijim...makar sam ja i s ovim rezultatima jako zadovoljna).
  5. Postavite papir za pečenje na plitku tepsiju i zagrijte pećnicu na 180°C (ja sam smanjila na 170°C pošto mi je malo jača pećnica).
  6. Oblikujte tijesto u malene kuglice i posložite na papir za pečenje (ostavite centimetar-dva prostora između njih).
  7. Pecite od 10-15 minuta. Keksi će biti jako svijetli od gore, ali otvorite peć nakon 10-12 minuta i provjerite kekse na dnu. Ne bi smjeli biti previše tamni već rumeni.
  8. Izvadite ih da se ohlade i onda pospite šećerom u prahu (ako želite, naravno). 
To bi bilo to :D vrlo jednostavno, zar ne?
Zaista vam neće trebati predugo da ispećete ovo...znam da se nikome ne sviđa usred ljeta, za kada je ovaj kolač i namijenjen, stati u vrućoj kuhinji :)

Sretna vam Litha i uživajte! :D
vaša Witch's Cat

Lemon balls


This little desert is a real summer refreshment...it's very crumbly and the lemon juice and zest give it exactly what you need for summer :) I'm actually eating one of them at the moment with a glass of milk :D

Apart from the fact that this recipe's refreshing, it's also very easy, but you can be the judge of that :)

You will need:

  • 340g of pastry flour
  • 6 spoons of powdered sugar
  • 2 lemons (juice from one lemon+zest from both lemons)
  • 1 packet of baking powder (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 120g of butter
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • a bit of sunflower oil
  • a bit of milk
Note: I ended up with slightly more than 50 cookies out of this quantity of ingredients, although I didn't make them too small so don't worry, you definitely won't go hungry ;)

How to prepare:

  1. Mix together flour, sugar, lemon zest and baking powder.
  2. Add softened butter (you can mix it in with your hands or a wooden spoon, whichever your prefer).
  3. Add beaten eggs and lemon juice. I started using a mixer at this point. Also, there was no milk or sunflower oil in the original recipe but I added just 3-4 tablespoons of both to make the mixture more compact (since these cookies are crumbly, it can be tricky to make the dough into balls).
  4. If you want to, you can leave the dough in the fridge for about an hour, though I didn't do this because I didn't really have the time. This is supposed to make the dough finer, but I'm pretty happy with the results even without this step :)
  5. Put some baking paper on your baking pan and heat up your oven to 180°C (since my oven is a bit stronger, I put it at 170°C).
  6. Make the dough into small balls and place them on the pan making sure to leave a centimeter or two between each one.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes. The cookies will be quite pale on the top, but take care to check what their bottom looks like after 10-12 minutes of baking (it should be slightly rosy).
  8. Leave them out to cool down a bit and sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like.
And that would be it :D pretty simple, isn't it?
It really won't take too long for you to bake these cookies...I know that no one feels like staying in a hot kitchen, especially not at summer time for which these cookies are intended.

Anyway, merry Litha and enjoy! :D
Yours,
Witch's Cat

Zakoni o vještičarstvu i kraj progona

Za koji dan (tj. 22. lipnja) će biti šezdeset i druga godišnjica kraja službenih progona vještica! :D mislila sam da će biti prikladno reći nešto o događajima koji su doveli do ovoga jer, kao što znate, vještice su bile proganjane stoljećima. Za službeni početak progona se može uzeti 1484.g. kada je Papa Inocent VIII izdao svoju bulu kojom se izjasnio da podržava progone vještica. Dvije godine kasnije je napisana poznata knjiga Malleus Maleficarum koja će poslužiti kao vrsta priručnika za lovce na vještice. 

U ovom bih se postu ipak htjela bazirati na Englesku pošto se Zakoni o vještičarstvu prvenstveno odnose na ono što se zbivalo u njoj, a ne toliko na kontinentu. Oni su za wiccu važni jer je njihovo povlačenje omogućilo "javno" tj. slobodnije prakticiranje vještičarstva u dvadesetom stoljeću. Među ljudima kojima je ovo olakšalo život je svakako spadao Gerald Gardner (osnivač wicce) koji je do tada morao svoja vjerovanja držati u tajnosti i objavljivati knjige pod pseudonimima, ili pak pod krinkom romana.

Portret kraljice Elizabete I
Godina s kojom bih započela ovu priču je 1547. kada je engleski kralj Edvard VI (vlada 1547.-53.g.) povukao Zakon o vješticama iz 1541.g. kojeg je uveo njegov otac, Hernik VIII (vladao od 1509.-47.g.). Ovo je, dakle, bio prvi Zakon o vješticama.

Godine 1562./63. (ovisno o izvorima), ovaj je zakon ponovno uveden "zahvaljujući" kraljici Elizabeti I, kćeri Henrika VIII (1558.-1603.g.). Odnosno, sada već pričamo o drugom Zakonu o vješticama. On je bio dosta blag naspram prijašnjim kaznama. Za osobu kojoj je to bio prvi prestup, kazna je bila postavljanje na stup srama, ako bi osoba bila optužena tri puta za isto krivično djelo, onda bi bila smaknuta. Progoni su u Engleskoj bili najokrutniji za vrijeme njezine vladavine, iako nikada nisu bili toliko oštri kao na kontinentu jer je mučenje bilo zabranjeno u Engleskoj. Na kontinentu je mučenje bilo sastavni dio svakog priznanja za praktički bilo koje krivično djelo, a pogotovo za bavljenje vještičarstvom. 

No, jedna knjiga smiruje situaciju - The Discoverie of Witchcraft (prevedeno Otkrivanje vještičarstva) čiji je autor bio Reginald Scot. Ona je bila među prvim djelima koja je zauzela racionalni stav i ljude navela da posumnjaju u svoja praznovjerna poimanja vještičarstva. Ona ipak nije zaživjela dugo jer je njezino spaljivanje naredio Jakov VI, kralj Škotske koji je postao engleskim kraljem 1603.g. i imenovao se kraljem Jakovom I od Engleske. Njegova majka, Marija I, kraljica Škotske, je zagovarala smrtne kazne vješticama i provodila svoje ideje u djelo ubijajući oko 200 vještica godišnje u Škotskoj. On je majčine zamisli očito preuzeo i imao ih na umu kada je dao spaliti sve kopije ove knjige. Isti taj Jakov je objavio traktat o demonologiji i vještičarstvu, nakon čega je postao pokrovitelj lovcima na vještice.

Portret kralja Jakova I
engleskog
Sljedeći tj. treći Zakon o vješticama je stupio na snagu već 1604.g. (samo godinu dana nakon što je Jakov I. došao na vlast). Smatra se da je godišnji broj ubijenih vještica bio 500 tijekom prvih osamdeset godina sedamnaestog stoljeća. Uzmite u obzir da i dalje govorimo samo o Engleskoj, što znači da ova brojka ne uključuje broj ubijenih na kontinentu!

S vremenom su ljudi počeli sve manje i manje vjerovati u istinitost svih negativnih tvrdnji o vješticama, a pomalo i sumnjati u njihovo postojanje. Ipak su postojali neki pojedinci poput Josepha Glanvila koji su htjeli ljude uvjeriti u to da one postoje i da svima pakoste. On je te svoje ideje iznio u knjizi Sadducismus Triumphatus. Dokaz o ovoj nevjerici je suđenje Jane Wenharn iz 1711. godine. Ova je žena bila optužena za vještičarstvo, ali ju je sudac oslobodio optužbe. Ovaj se slučaj uzima za posljednje suđenje vještičarstva u Engleskoj.


Portret kralja Juraja II
Na vlast uskoro dolazi kralj Juraj II (1727.-60.g.) za čije je vlasti izdan četvrti Zakon o vješticama (1735.g.). No, ovaj je bio nešto drukčiji od prethodnih. Sva dotadašnja sumnja u postojanje vještica je akumulirala u ovom događaju jer ovaj zakon kaže da vještice zaista ne postoje i da se stoga nikoga ne može kazniti na temelju toga, ali da se sada može suditi ljudima kao varalicama jer to očito jesu ako glume da su vještice.

Ljudi su se malo po malo uozbiljili po pitanju vještičarstva. Dokaz ovoga je djelo Del Congresso Nottorno delle Lammie (O noćnim sastancima vještica) čiji je autor Girolamo Tartarotti. Ova knjiga je bila revolucionarna jer je prva sagledala vještičarstvo kao tradiciju. Tartarotti tvrdi da su vještice zapravo sljedbenice drevnog Dijaninog kulta, iako je malo pokvario dojam o vješticama povezavši ovaj kult sa nekim pravcima ceremonijalne magike koja se bavila, kako on kaže, prizivanjem demona.


Prikaz "Rogatog Boga" u spilji
Les Trois Frères u Francuskoj
Tako su se stvari nastavile razvijati da bi se do 1848. godine u potpunosti razvio moderni spiritualizam. Allan Kardec je 1857.g. upoznao zapadni svijet sa pojmom reinkarnacije, a u sljedećem stoljeću se na scenu pojavila dr. Margaret Alice Murray, koja vam je do sada vjerojatno već poznata ako ste čitali moj blog. Objavila je nekoliko knjiga 1921.g.: The Witch Cult in Western Europe (Vještičji kult u zapadnoj Europi) i The God of the Witches (Bog vještica). Ove su knjige, na neki način, naslijedile Tartarottijevu knjigu u smislu da tvrde da vještice nisu nešto novo, ali ne povezuju vještičarstvo sa demonima na ikoji način. Margaret Murray u njima tvrdi da je vještičarstvo ostatak drevnih europskih paganskih religija te da je Rogati Bog kojeg se štuje zapravo najstariji prikaz božanstva uopće u povijesti čovječanstva. To jest, ona ga poistovjećuje sa rogatim bićima prikazanima na spiljskim crtežima. Ako vas zanima više o ovoj tematici možete pogledati jedan zanimljiv članak po nazivu "Psiho-antropologijsko jedinstvo Sapiensa" koji se bavi prikazima poput ovih u spilji Les Trois Frères. 

Dakle, sve ovo vrijeme je Zakon o vješticama i dalje na snazi, makar je sve nekako pritajeno. Vještice se ne spominju baš toliko, nema nikakvih kažnjavanja ni suđenja jer je društvo postalo u potpunosti skeptično po tom pitanju i uspjelo zaboraviti na sve tragedije koje su se dogodile tijekom stoljeća. No, morao se pojaviti netko tko će ih podsjetiti, a to je bio Gerald Gardner koji je 1949.g. objavio knjigu High Magic's Aid (Pomoć visoke magije) pod pseudonimom Scire. Kako bi izbjegao kršenje ikakvih zakona i suđenje uopće, ogradio se pseudonimom i time što je knjigu zamaskirao kao roman makar se u njoj nalaze potpune instrukcije za izvođenje nekih rituala koji se i dan danas prakticiraju u wicci. Kao primjer bih uzela ovaj citat iz knjige koji opisuje dio procedure otvaranja kruga. Ne bih ga htjela prevoditi jer će samo uništiti cjelokupni dojam, pa se nadam da razumijete engleski koliko-toliko :)
"Upon the altar-table lay the athame, the magic sword, the burin and the sprinkler, also materials for their work; four iron discs, two-and-a-half inches in diameter, already purified by fire, had been prepared previously. There were writing materials, lengths of cord, some black cloths and a scourge, laid ready. Before the bench were two stools. The inner circle, seven feet in diameter ... was already drawn on the floor; surrounding it was a double circle eight feet in diameter, with names of . power between the two. Thur took the magic sword and retraced all the markings with its point, for the painted circle has no power of protection, which comes from power of the magic sword or the athame. It but serves as a guide to the latter, to ensure they draw the circle perfectly."
Gerald Gardner, isječak iz intervjua
Dvije godine nakon objavljivanja ove knjige (dakle 1951.g.) je došao trenutak kojeg su sve vještice čekale! Povučen je Zakon o vješticama iz 1735.g.! Na njegovo mjesto je došao Zakon o neovlaštenim medijima (eng. Fraudulent Mediums Act). Kada kažem "medij" mislim na osobu koja prenosi poruke između ovog i drugih svjetova. Naime, ovaj je zakon priznao mogućnost predviđanja budućnosti, duhovne komunikacije, psihičkih moći i svega što ide uz to, ali je svjestan da te "moći" ne posjeduje svatko. Smo one osobe koje su glumile da ih posjeduju su trebale biti kažnjene, a bilo bi im još gore ako su tražili novac za svoje usluge. Gardner je sada bio slobodan objavljivati knjige pod pravim imenom, što je i napravio 1954.g. sa svojim djelom Witchcraft Today (Vještičarstvo danas). Ovo je bila prva knjiga koja opisuje tko vještice zaista jesu i što rade, a ono što je rečeno u njoj je autentično jer je Gardner prepričavao svoja vlastita iskustva.

Sada znate zbog čega mi danas možemo tako slobodno prakticirati svoja uvjerenja, makar su drukčija od tuđih. Ja sam zahvalna svim nevinim dušama koje su umrle prije mnogo godina i žrtvovale se za svoja uvjerenja, a žalim za onima koji su krivo "optuženi". Nadam se da ćete uzeti barem minutu vremena 22. lipnja i razmisliti o slobodi koju imate, o svim ovim ljudima i promisliti što za vas znači sloboda mišljenja, uvjerenja i djelovanja.

Ako vas ova tematika dodatno interesira, možete pročitati sljedeće knjige u kojima ćete naći nešto više podataka:
Marion Gibson - Witchcraft and Society in England and America (Vještičarstvo i društvo u Engleskoj i Americi)
Gerald Gardner - The Meaning of Witchcraft (Značenje vještičarstva)
Raymond Buckland - The Witch Book; the Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca and Neopaganism (Vještičja knjiga; enciklopedija vještičarstva, wicce i neopaganizma)

Uživajte u sljedećih nekoliko dana! Sutra (21. lipnja) je ljetni suncostaj tj. Litha, a 22. lipnja je ne samo godišnjica kraja progona nego i noć punog mjeseca, dakle vrijeme je za ezbat! Makar je i ovaj puni Mjesec poseban jer će Mjesec biti najbliži Zemlji i stoga najveći puni Mjesec u cijeloj ovoj godini! Neki ga nazivaju "super Mjesec", makar je stručni naziv za ovu fazu perigej (eng. perigee) Mjeseca.

Pokupite energije za nadolazeće dane, a ja ću vam opet pisati uskoro. :)

Do sljedećeg posta,
vaša Witch's Cat

The Witchcraft Acts and the End of the Witch-Hunts

In a few days (or more precisely on June 22nd), it will be the sixty-second anniversary of the official end of the witch persecutions! :D I thought it would be appropriate to say a word or two about how they even came to be because, as you know, Witches were hunted down for centuries. We can take the year 1484 as the official beginning of the persecutions because it was in this year that Pope Innocent VIII delivered his bull in which he clearly stated that he supports witch hunts. Two years later, the famous book entitled Malleus Maleficarum was published. It turned out to be quite important since it was used for a long time as a sort of witch hunters' manual.

Though, in this post, I would prefer to stick to England since the Witchcraft Acts primarily tell us what happened there and no so much about what was happening on the continent. They are important to Wicca because after they were repealed, it was possible to "publically", or better said freely practice witchcraft in the twentieth century. Among the people whose life was made easier when this happened was Gerald Gardner (the founder of Wicca) who, up to that point, had to keep his beliefs a secret and publish books under pen names and under the guise of novels. 

A portrait of Queen Elizabeth I
The year with which I would like to begin our story is 1547 when King Edward VI (reigned 1547-53) repealed the Witchcraft Act from 1541 which his father, King Henry VIII (reigned 1509-47), had passed. This was, therefore, the first Witchcraft Act. 

In 1562/63 (depending on the source), this Act was reinstated "thanks to" Queen Elizabeth I (reigned 1558-1603), who just so happened to be Henry VIII's daughter. This was the second Witchcraft Act. Now, this Act was quite mild in comparison to previous regimes. For a person who was a first-time offender, the sentence was only being put on the pillar of shame. But if a person were to be accused of the same crime three times, they would have been put to death. The persecutions in England are thought to be the most gruesome during her reign, although they were, as I said, mild compared to what was going on on the continent because torture was illegal in England at that time. On the continent, torture was a normal part of any confession for practically any felony, and especially for dabbling in witchcraft.

But then came one book which calmed the situation down - The Discoverie of Witchcraft whose author is Reginald Scot. It was among the first works which took on a rational attitude lead people to question their superstitious notions of witchcraft. Though it didn't have a long reputation since King James IV of Scotland (who became the king of England in 1603 and took on the title of James I of England) ordered every copy to be burnt. His mother, Mary, Queen of Scots was all for death penalties for Witches and realized her ideas by killing about 200 Witches per year (in Scotland that is). His mother's ideas influenced him and obviously had them in mind when he gave out the aforementioned order. That same James wrote a treatise on demonology and witchcraft, after which he became the patron to witch hunters.

A portrait of King James I
The next, or rather the third Witchcraft Act already came into force in 1604 (only one year after King James I succeeded the throne). It is thought that the annual number of killed Witches was about 500 during the first eighty years of the seventeenth century. But keep in mind that we're still talking about England alone, which means that this number doesn't include the number of victims on the continent!

In time, people started believing less and less in the verity of all the negative allegations regarding Witches, but they also started doubting their existence. Though there were a few individuals such as Joseph Glanvil who tried to prove to people that Witches really did exist and that they were malicious. He wrote these ideas in his book entitled Sadducismus Triumphatus. Proof of this disbelief is the trial of Jane Wenharn from 1711. This woman was accused of witchcraft, but the judge acquitted her of all claims. This case is thought to be the last witchcraft trial in England.


A portrait of King George II
Soon enough, George II succeeded the throne (reigned 1727-60). It was during his reign that the fourth Witchcraft Act was passed (1735). But this one was different from the previous ones. All the accumulated suspicion in the existence of Witches reached its peak in this historical moment because this Act stated that Witches in fact do not exist and therefore, no one can be punished for being a Witch. Although, people could be trialed as charlatans because that's the only thing they could be if they were pretending to be a Witch.

Little by little, people got a bit more serious about witchcraft. Proof of this is the book Del Congresso Nottorno delle Lammie (On the Nocturnal Meetings of Witches) whose author is Girolamo Tartarotti. This book was revolutionary because it was the first one ever to look at witchcraft as a tradition. What Tartarotti claimed in his work was that Witches are actually descendants of an ancient cult of the goddess Diana, but he managed to ruin this compliment by connecting this cult to some branches of ceremonial magick which, as he claims, dabbled in invoking demons.

A depiction of the "Horned God" in the
cave of the Trois Frères, France
The situation continued to progress and by 1848, Modern Spiritualism was born and already on its feet. Allan Kardec introduced the western world to the concept of reincarnation in 1857 and in the next century, Dr. Margaret Alice Murray came onto the scene (who is probably familiar to you if you have read some of my previous posts on the blog). She published several books in 1921: The Witch Cult in Western Europe and The God of the Witches. In a  way, these books are the descendants of Tartarotti's work in the sense that they claim that Witches aren't something new, but they, on the other hand, don't connect Witches to demons in any way. In these two books, Margaret Murray claims that witchcraft is a remainder of ancient European Pagan religions and that the Horned God, who Witches worship, was the first God to be depicted in the history of humankind. That is, she identifies him with the horned entities depicted in cave drawings. If you want to learn more about this subject, then I recommend you read an interesting article entitled "The Psycho-Anthropological Unity of Sapiens" which deals with depictions such as those in the cave of the Trois Frères.

Don't forget that the last witchcraft Act is still effect all this time, even though it's all hush hush. Witches aren't mentioned all that much, there aren't any trials or punishments because society became much too skeptical when it came to Witches and managed to forget all about the tragedies that had happened throughout the centuries. But someone had to remind them, and that someone was Gerald Gardner who published a book entitled High Magic's Aid in 1949 under the pseudonym of Scire. In order to avoid breaking any laws or trials, he covered his real name up with this pen name and he wrote the book as if it were a novel, even though it contains complete instructions for carrying out some rituals which are practiced to this day in Wicca. As an example of this, I would like to take a quote form this book in which the procedure of opening the circle is described.
"Upon the altar-table lay the athame, the magic sword, the burin and the sprinkler, also materials for their work; four iron discs, two-and-a-half inches in diameter, already purified by fire, had been prepared previously. There were writing materials, lengths of cord, some black cloths and a scourge, laid ready. Before the bench were two stools. The inner circle, seven feet in diameter ... was already drawn on the floor; surrounding it was a double circle eight feet in diameter, with names of power between the two. Thur took the magic sword and retraced all the markings with its point, for the painted circle has no power of protection, which comes from power of the magic sword or the athame. It but serves as a guide to the latter, to ensure they draw the circle perfectly."
Gerald Gardner, a clip from an interview
Two years after this book was published (that would be 1951), the moment all Witches had been waiting for finally came! The Witchcraft Act from 1735 was repealed! In its place came the Fraudulent Mediums Act. The word "medium" in this phrase refers to a person who conveys messages between this world and other worlds. To elaborate, this law actually acknowledged the ability to see into the future, spiritual communication, psychic powers and everything else that goes with this, but it was aware that not everyone possesses these "powers". Only the people to pretended to possess them had to be punished and it was all the worse if they charged a fee for their services. Gardner was now free to publish books under his real name, and he did so in 1954 with his work Witchcraft Today. This was the first book which described who Witches really are and what they do and what is said in it is authentic because Gardner himself simply wrote down his own experiences in it.

Now you know how it is that we can practice our beliefs so freely today, even though they may be different. I for one am grateful to all those souls who died so many years ago and sacrificed themselves for their beliefs. I also mourn those that were wrongly "accused". I hope that you will take at least a minute of your time on June 22 and think about the freedom you have, about all these people and meditate on what freedom of thought, beliefs and action means to you.

It this topic has intrigued you and you want to read more, you can read the following books in which you can find more information:
Marion Gibson - Witchcraft and Society in England and America 
Gerald Gardner - The Meaning of Witchcraft 
Raymond Buckland - The Witch Book; the Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca and Neopaganism

Enjoy the next few days! Tomorrow (June 21) is the summer solstice and June 22 isn't just the anniversary of the end of the witch trials but also a night of the full moon. So, time for an Esbat! Although this full moon isn't just any full moon; on this night it will be closest to Earth and thus the largest full moon in all of 2013! Some call it a "super moon" but the official term for this moon phase would be a perigee moon.

Gather your energy for the next few days and I'll write to you again soon. :)

Until next time. Yours,
Witch's Cat

17.6.13

Britain's Wicca Man - dokumentarni film

Prije nekoliko tjedana sam naišla na najavu za dokumentarni film Britain's Wicca Man (u slobodnom prijevodu Britanski wiccan) koji govori o Geraldu Gardneru i osnovama wicce. Strašno me zaintrigirao, a još i više kada sam shvatila da ga ne mogu naći! Problem je bio to što je bio prikazan na kanalu ABC u Australiji, a time je i bio rezerviran samo za australske gledatelje. Pretražila sam cijeli internet, ali bezuspješno.....do danas! :D Izgleda da ga je netko postavio na Youtube čim je izašao u Veliku Britaniju. Mislim da moramo svi biti zahvalni na tome ;)

Odmah ispod možete pogledati najavu, ako vas to dovoljno zaintrigira, možete pogledati i cijeli film kojeg također možete naći u ovom postu.

Najavu za Britain's Wicca Man možete pogledati na Vimeu.

Dokumentarni film Britain's Wicca Man


Dokumentarni film vodi poznati prof. Ronald Hutton koji je napisao mnoštvo knjiga koje se bave povijesnim i religijskom temama, no njegov fokus je svakako povijest britanskog paganizam. U filmu se pojavljuju još neke poznate ličnost modernog okultizma poput Christine Oakley-Harrington (Visoke svećenice), Gardnerova biografa Philipa Heseltona, Johna Belhama-Paynea (Visokog svećenika) i drugih. 

Iako je prilično kratak, ovaj me film oduševio prvenstveno jer predstavlja wiccu u njenom pravom svjetlu. Čak i snimke Geralda Gardnera nisu preokrenute kako bi odale krivi dojam. Izrazito mi je drago što su stavili snimku njega kako opovrgava da su vještičji rituali orgije, što su stalno naglašavali da je u fokusu wicce priroda i što je jednostavno rečeno da se ne radi o štovanju Sotone. Makar je sve ovo do sada bezbroj puta naglašeno, nekima i dalje ne ulazi u glavu!

Simpatično mi je što su naveli i primjer slavnog filma Čovjek od pruća (eng. The Wicker Man, što je zapravo igra riječima pošto se riječi "wicker" i "wicca" isto čitaju po standardnom britanskom) koji u potpunosti odaje krivu sliku wicce. Ovo već zalazi u područje popularne vještičje kulture o kojoj također planiram pisati kad-tad na blogu. Zanimljivo je kako se vještičarstvo interpretira u medijima poput filma ili knjiga.

Također su dotaknute još neke zanimljive teme na koje ljudi obično ne obraćaju pozornost, poput odnosa vojske i policije prema paganskim vjerama. Već sam nekoliko rasprava vodila o tome kako je teško komponirati vještičji zakon (naudi nikome) sa poslom policajca, ili još teže, vojnika.

Ovo je odlična prilika za najavu mog sljedećeg posta. U filmu se spominje i slavna 1951. godina koja je označila kraj progona vještica povlačenjem Zakona o vještičarstvu (eng. Witchcraft acts). Točan datum bi bio 22. lipnja 1951. koji nam se bliži. Ovdje ne bih o tome jer ću se na tu temu raspisati uskoro. 

Sve u svemu, film preporučam svakome koga interesira vještičarstvo i wicca, a zaključak filma bih svakako svrstala među najbolje "definicije" wicce i vještičarstva uopće!
"Whereas other faiths say 'This is what you should feel about the Divine', this one says 'This is how you can feel divine'.
"Dok druge vjere kažu 'Ovako bi se trebao osjećati prema Božanskom', ova kaže 'Ovako se možeš osjećati božanstveno'." 
Nadam se da ćete uživati u filmu jednako koliko i ja! :)

Do sljedećeg posta,
vaša Witch's Cat

Britain's Wicca Man - a documentary

A few days ago, I came across the trailer for a new documentary entitled Britain's Wicca Man which talks about Gerald Gardner and the basics of Wicca. It really intrigued me and even more so when I realized that I couldn't find it anywhere! The problem was that it was shows on Australia's ABC and was automatically available only for Australian viewers. I searched all over the Internet but without success...until today! :D It looks like someone uploaded the video on Youtube as soon as it was released in Great Britain. I believe we're all very grateful for this ;)

You can have a look at the trailer just below and if that catches your attention, then I recommend you watch the whole documentary which you can also find in this post.

You can watch the trailer for Britain's Wicca Man on Vimeo.

The documentary Britain's Wicca Man



As you can see, prof. Ronald Hutton is the presenter. You may know him by his many books on various historical and religious topics, although his field of expertise is definitely history of British Paganism. Other important personas of modern occultism are in the film, for example Christina Oakley-Harrington (a High Priestess), Gardner's biographer Philip Heselton, John Belham-Payne (a High Priest) and others.

Even if it is quite short, this documentary amazed me mainly because it showed what Wicca really is like. Even the clips of Gerald Gardner weren't altered or taken out of context to make them leave the wrong impression. I am especially glad that they put the clip of him denying Wiccan rituals to be orgies, that they constantly emphasized that Wicca is nature-based and that it is very simply said that Wiccans do not worship the Devil. Even though all of this has been said a million times up to now, some people still don't seem to understand it. 

I also find it interesting that they mentioned the popular movie The Wicker Man (which is a pun since "wicker" and "wicca" have the same pronunciation in British English) saying that Wicca isn't anything like what it is depicted as in that film. This falls under the category of popular Witchcraft culture about which I plan to talk more, but all in due time. It really is interesting how Witchcraft can be (and has been) interpreted in media such as movies or books.

Some other fascinating topics were touched upon, some of which people don't normally pay any attention to like the attitude of the army and police force towards Pagan religions. I have already talked with a few people about how hard it is to incorporate the Wiccan Rede (harm none) into your everyday life if you're a policeman, or even harder if you're in the army.

This is an excellent opportunity to announce the topic of my next post. The famous year 1951 show up in the movie. This year marked the end of the prosecution of Witches since it was precisely then that the Witchcraft acts were repealed. The exact date would be June 22, 1951 and as you can see, its anniversary will be in a few days. But I won't talk about that anymore here since I'll be writing about it soon enough.

All in all, I recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in Witchcraft and Wicca, and I would also like to mention that the conclusion of the movie could easily be one of the best "definitions" of Wicca I have ever heard!
"Whereas other faiths say 'This is what you should feel about the Divine', this one says 'This is how you can feel divine'." 
I hope that you'll enjoy the movie as much as I did! :)
Until next time. Yours,
Witch's Cat

16.6.13

Litha (21.06.)

Litha je starorimski naziv koji se u wicci koristi za ljetni suncostaj koji pada najčešće na 20. ili 21. lipnja. Ove godine ćemo ovaj vrhunac ljeta doživjeti 21. lipnja. Sunce je u ovo doba godine najjače i najsjajnije, ali tada i dan traje najdulje. Logično je da će se ovo i slaviti jer tko ne voli Sunce? Radeći rituale za Lithu se pokušava produljiti još ljeto i zadržati plodnost zemlje koja će nestati čim dođe zima. 

Sunce je važno kao simbol Boga, pa bih spomenula, nadovezujući se na ovo, dva aspekta Boga na koje ste mogli naići u drugim postovima - Kralja hrasta i Kralja božikovine. Kralj hrasta vlada proljećem i ljetom, a Kralj božikovine tijekom jeseni i zime. Dva suncostaja su vrijeme preokreta kada jedan od ta dva aspekta pobjeđuje i time ostvaruje "pravo" na vladavinu tijekom te polovice godine. Tako se i na ljetnom suncostaju, po mitologiji, vodi borba između ova dva kralja. Ovaj put pobjeđuje Kralj božikovine, a Kralj hrasta sniva slatki san do Yulea (zimskog suncostaja) kada će se ista bitka ponoviti, on pobijediti, a time i Sunce dobiti na snazi.  

U vezi s ovim su nastale brojne priče u narodnoj predaji vezane uz požrtvovnost/žrtvovanje Kralja hrasta kako bi se prirodna ravnoteža uspostavila (tj. kako bi došla zima). U nekima je Kralj hrasta spaljen, u ostalima oslijepljen ili čak postavljen na T križ (Robert Graves ovaj mit uspoređuje s onim o Samsonu kojemu su oduzete moći i u kojemu je oslijepljen). Graves također smatra da je Ivan Krstitelj (koji je ubijen 24. lipnja) bio smatran ekvivalentom Kralja hrasta. Bilo je sasvim prirodno nakon njegove smrti "okruniti hrastom" Isusa Krista - osobu koja je logični Ivanov nasljednik te koju je sam Ivan krstio. 

Iako se tijekom ovog sabata treba voditi računa o ovom mitu borbe između dvaju aspekata Boga, ne smije se zaboraviti i na Božicu koja je za ovo vrijeme Majka. Kako je ovaj sabat posvećen vatri (Sunce), tako je posvećen i vodi kao njezinoj suprotnosti.  

Zamolila bih vas da ne miješate Lithu i Beltane, što ljudi često čine. Došlo je do zabune tijekom vremena tako da neki ovaj datum uzimaju za dan sjedinjenja Božice i Boga, makar je to zapravo Beltane. Lako je moguće da je za ovaj spoj tradicija i mitologije "kriv" sv. Patrik koji je premjestio Irsku "noć vatrometa" s Beltanea (01.05.) na večer uoči dana sv. Ivana Krstitelja. Ovo je sve bilo s ciljem pokušaja brisanja paganske povijesti iz Irske, no naziv Beltane je irsko ime za svibanj tako da se ova dva blagdana nisu mogla tako lako pomiješati izuzev van Irske (kao što se i dogodilo). Zbog ovoga se nemojte čuditi ako naiđete na neke sličnosti između ova dva sabata. 

Neki od zajedničkih običaja su svakako paljenje vatre (i vatrometa), preskakanje te vatre (praktičnija verzija je zapaliti dvije vatre/svijeće i proći između njih), ali i vođenje stoke kroz njezin pepeo (ili opet između dvije vatre, ali više o ovome možete pročitati u postu o Beltaneu). U nekim se zemljama čak vjerovalo da će usjev rasti onoliko visoko koliko se uspije preskočiti vatru! Neki su smatrali da će zemlja biti plodnija ako se po njoj pospe pepeo od ove vatre. Bilo je i raznih drugih običaja koje se ne može tako lako povezati s Beltaneom poput kotrljanja nizbrdo i paljenja kola (simbola Sunca).  

Očito je da je simbolika vatre od izuzetne važnosti za ovaj sabat pa je logično da će se to iskazati i u ritualu. Inače se vatra pali u kotlu, ali se za ovu priliku on koristi za držanje vode (kojom svećenica škropi ostale članove kovena). Tada poprima naziv Cerridwenin kotao (pripada božici Cerridwen) koji je u mitologiji i tijekom vremena postao poznat kao kotao mudrosti i pjesničke inspiracije. Kako bi se ovaj problem riješio, element vatre se može zastupiti postavljanjem dvaju svijeća. 

Zbog toplog vremena, ovo je jedan od najpogodnijih sabata za obavljati ritual nag (eng. skyclad) što se prije smatralo povoljnim za žene koje žele zatrudnjeti. Obično bi prošetale kroz vrt nage kako bi svoju plodnost podijelile i s biljkama koje tu uzgajaju. Naravno, ovo nije novi običaj. Smatralo se da šetnja nagih osoba kroz polje osigurava plodnost polja. Često se u ovo uvodilo jahanje konjića/metli (falusni simboli), što se s vremenom odlično uklopilo u stereotip vještica. Nemojte me shvatiti krivo, ovo nije obaveza! Vi možete raditi unutra, možete raditi i u potpunosti odjenuti...na vama je :) ja samo govorim koji su bili običaji.


Kako je ovo ipak razdoblje kada priroda buja, vrijedi istaknuti kako možete njezine plodove iskoristiti :) Prikladni mirisi za vaš oltar su limun, mirta, bor i ruža, a boje pokušajte držati što veselijima i prirodnijima (dugine boje i tamno zelena). Ovo je i prigodno razdoblje za sušenje biljaka (za čajeve ili druge pripravke). Za dodatan ukras možete upotrijebiti i kotao sa cvijećem ili čak načiniti krug od cvijeća (uz otvaranje kruga athaméom i/ili elementima). 

Za vas nadobudne, preporučila bih da pročitate poglavlje "The Fire-Festivals of Europe" u knjizi The Golden Bough od Frazera. Ima odličnih stvari u njoj općenito, ali je ovo poglavlje direktno vezano uz Lithu i njezine običaje :D 

Sabat: Litha
Izgovor: /liθa/ (jednostavnije /lita/)
Datum: 21.06.
Ostala imena: Midsummer, ljetni solsticij/suncostaj,
Aerra Litha
Faza Boga: Zeleni Bog, na vrhuncu snage,
Kralj božikovine pobjeđuje Kralja

hrasta 
Faza Božice: Majka (na vrhuncu plodnosti, trudna)
Simbolika:
Vrhunac energije (sunčeve i magijske),
održavanje i slavljenje sunčeve snage te
plodnosti
Običaji:
Preskakanje vatre/prolaženje između 
dvije vatre, paljenje kotača, sušenje
biljaka, kotrljanje nizbrdo, hodanje nag
kroz vrt/polje
Simboli & boje:
Plava, zelena, žuta, dugine boje, tamno
zelena, zrcala za hvatanje sunčeve 
svjetlosti, kotač, kotao sa cvijećem/
mačem
Prigodna hrana: Dok ne napravim vlastitu kuharicu,
preporučam vam da pogledate sljedeće
web stranice za inspiraciju :D
Svakako, hrana treba biti svježa pošto
je ljeto ^^
Raven and Crone recepti za Lithu
My Moonlit Path - recepti 1
My Moonlit Path - recepti 2
A evo i neki moji recepti:
Limun kuglice
Biškoti od meda i lavande
Prigodni mirisi: Limun, mirta, bor, ruža

Želim vam svima unaprijed sretnu Lithu i sreću sa pravljenjem kolača, valjanjem po sunem obasjanoj travi i, na kraju krajeva, u ritualu :D

Do sljedećeg puta,
vaša Witch's Cat