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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Happy Whatever!

It's that time of year again! As I type this snow is falling outside, the local robin red-breast is puffing out his feathers and I'm merrily munching cold cuts of ham.

We're anticipating Yule, we have friends coming over (I think I am cooking for 14 at last count) there will be much revelry and traditional Yule customs. However, we are also preparing for Christmas. Our family, like so many others, is a little... erm... extended. There are step parents, half siblings, etc, etc, and as we are all aware this is a time for family to gather... all family. So whilst everyone in our little nuclear unit is Pagan, those outside of it are mostly not.

Now around this time of year there are some fairly sarcastic battle lines drawn, usually between Pagans and Christians about how the christian faith "stole christmas" from Pagans... well no not exactly. I mean yes, they commandeered a fair few traditions, but as any Pagan will tell you: It's all about intent.

So they may be celebrating the birth of Jesus, and we might be celebrating the return of the Sun... but surely if we're doing it at the same time, with very similar customs... doesn't that make life easier?

We're all off work around the same time, we all make that extra effort to see each other around this time, we all think about the year past at the same time, we all embrace the spiritual aspects of our lives at the same time... lets just enjoy that!

Friday, 8 August 2014

UPDATE - The PCC came good!

Amendment that appeared
in The Sunday People.
As some of you may recall on the 9th June I posted this open response to a very negative article that appeared on The Daily Mirror website, and in print in The Sunday People.

As well as writing the response I also filed a formal complaint with The Press Complaints Commission. Now in matters like this in the past, we've had a tricky relationship with the PCC, and not always got the results we wanted, however this time they really came through.

After many emails back and forth, the PCC forwarded me an offer from the media company's legal team to print a correction, which I accepted. On  the 6th July 2014, The Sunday People published a correction on page 2, and The Mirror added the same to the bottom of the article on their website.

I have to thank the PCC for all of their help and excellent handling of this matter. It may be a small victory, but hopefully it will, in some small way, discourage these types of articles from appearing in the future.

Friday, 13 June 2014


Yep... I said it... and in big shouty caps lock with 3 exclamation points so you know I'm serious.

This has now been a personal bugbear of mine for at least a decade of tarot reading, so I've finally decided to get the rant out there. I do re-iterate at this point this that this is a personal bugbear and I'm not trying to slam other psychic professionals that use this term... just put across an alternative point of view.

The term "soulmate" originates with Plato who told us of a time when there were no "men" and "women", but when humans had 4 arms, 4 legs, 2 heads and both sets of genitalia. At this point humans started to get a bit unruly so Zeus stepped in, split them in half and doomed them to spend the rest of their existence seeking out their "other half".

That's right. The term actually started life as a curse upon all humanity, that actually excludes LGBT couples. Believe it or not, over the last millennia or so since then, it's evolved into meaning something different, but that in my opinion is just as bad.

"Soulmate", along with the more recent "Twin Flame" have become buzzwords in the psychic community. For more unscrupulous psychic professionals it's become a power play to draw in less confident  people for readings they wouldn't otherwise get.

You've all seen the, "Are they your true soulmate?" type advertising. Well unless you both used to be a two headed monster, no, you aren't!

I may be being a little unfair as the term has now evolved. It is now generally accepted to mean something along the lines of: The person you were destined to be with. It is used this way by many very good psychics and readers... However, I still hate it!

My first major issue with terms like this is that they imply a non-controllable destiny to be with this other person.  The problem here is what happens if over the course of a relationship someones partner turns into an absolute nightmare? If they've been having readings telling them they have a pre-ordained fate to be with this person forever, are they going to address those issues, or leave if things get really bad? The whole point of having a reading, (again this is my opinion, I'm not stating it as fact), is to get insight into situations to help you make decisions about your future, not to tell you X, Y & Z is destined to happen whether you like it or not.

The term also implies that there is one person out there to complete you as a person. Sorry, I just outright don't buy it! Human energy is such a diverse adaptable thing, that the thought you could only be happy with this one special person just seems ridiculous to me... plus what if they got hit by a bus before you met? Are you destined to wander the earth alone?

The other issue is that the terms have acquired a compulsory-requirement status. I've done countless readings that have started something along the lines of: "I've met this wonderful person, so I need to know if they're my soulmate."

I can not count the times this has made me want to slam my head into the table! All I want to do is tell them how awesome it is, that they should embrace this as a big adventure, that I hope that it grows into that magical point when you decide to love each other, let your lives and beings combine and spend your lives together. That I'll happily do a reading to give them insight into areas they naturally have in common, areas they need to work on and forewarning of any hiccups along the way... but if you've found someone that there's a chance of having that wonderful life changing relationship with you do not need to have a random buzzword applied to validate it!

I met my husband 3 years ago and we've been married for just under 2 months. There is no doubt in my mind he is the love of my life. I can't imagine how we would exist apart, and being together has changed us both, irrevocably, and in the most fantastic of ways. So I'm afraid the die-hard believers in "soulmates" will not be able to play the "oh you don't believe because you haven't met them" card.

I have met the person I'm going to be in love with for the rest of my existence... and I wouldn't cheapen that by referring to him with what has essentially become a marketing term.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Here we go again! This time: The Metro & The Mirror...

So as we know the media occasionally likes to make a cheap buck out of pointing at Pagans and shouting, "Oooooh look at the weirdos!". Now when they do that to the whole community it's bad enough. However when they single out those Pagans who are putting their lives on the line and serving our country, it's damn right despicable.

Yesterday a story by Jimmy Nsubuga, a journalist - (and I use the term "journalist" loosely) - for Metro appeared on their website entitled "Witches and Druids among new recruits for army according to MoD data". Hmmmm... let's take a closer look at it shall we.

"Figures released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) showed almost 1,000 new staff had declared themselves members of the niche faiths, according the Sunday People."

It becomes clear at this point the rest of the article is a quick rehash of another article that appeared in the Mirror on Saturday, written by Sean Rayment. Well done Mr Nsubuga & the Metro, not only do you pass on bigoted drivel, you pass on bigoted drivel you ripped-off from someone else!

So to the Mirror article.

"Witches, pagans, ­druids and spiritualists have joined our armed forces in the past two years, recruitment figures reveal."

Yes I remember that big advertising campaign the armed forces did to welcome us freaks, letting us know we could all go and serve our country... oh... no... wait... the other thing! What actually happened was that after having many people of minority faiths serving in the armed forces for years, they eventually got acknowledged and their numbers recorded on some statistics.

The rest of the article continues in derogatory style, making shoddy jokes about "Witches and warlocks [finding] their broomsticks handy in the RAF" and "HMS Hogwarts".

From here Mr Rayment makes an hilarious attempt to give his article some sort of credibility.

"...sources claim the MoD has been forced to widen its recruiting base after sacking thousands of sailors, soldiers and airmen."

Really? What sources would they be? People working for the MoD? An advertising professional who worked on this recruitment drive? A bloke you met in the pub? Someone you made-up?

"Another explanation is a fear of discrimination accusations if applicants are rejected on grounds of faith."

WHAT!? You're not allowed to discriminate on grounds of faith anymore!? Next you'll be telling me you can't be birched for disobeying your husband!

"An insider said: “They’re obliged to accept any religion, however inappropriate. Do we really want soldiers who believe they can cast spells on the enemy? This is about being ‘on ­message’ and has nothing to do with being combat-effective.

An insider in the MoD? An insider of your local chippy? An insider inside your own head? You can't just give the statements of one bigoted moron credence by attributing them to "an insider"

At least they actually bothered to get a statement from the MoD, which was as we'd all expect.

"We want to create a workforce which is drawn from the breadth of the society we defend. We give the opportunity to practise religious observances, provided it does not conflict with core values and standards."
Everyone associated with the publication of these articles should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. If you're as disgusted by this as I am, you may wish to complain the PCC.
You can also complain to those involved directly:
The Metro, can be contacted via Facebook and Twitter.
The Mirror, can be contacted via Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Let's clear up some myths about Psychics...

So during my morning catch-up with the world I came across an article -(slightly bias, but an opinion piece so hay-ho)- about well known psychic Sally Morgan having a bit of a bad time of it at her show in Middlesbrough. Now for those of you unfamiliar with Sally Morgan, she's a fairly controversial figure, and has been the focus of many skeptics for years, despite having some of the best feedback in the industry. However, this article is not actually about Sally Morgan, it's about people's expectations and assumptions about psychics.

1) "If you're psychic you must know everything that's going to happen." Erm, no. most psychics (and there are many different kinds) are presented with certain pieces of information when they go looking for them. I don't take myself too seriously so still laugh when I get caught out by an unexpected circumstance and someone pipes up with the old "ahhhh you should have seen that coming..."  joke. But the simple retort is that I couldn't have, not unless I did do a reading for "will my car break down today?"

2) "Real psychics should be able to tell you exactly how certain situations will play out." Again, no. Ever seen The Butterfly Effect? It illustrates perfectly why this is impossible. Basically a psychic reading can give you more insight into a situation, it can tell you key influences on a situation, but it can't tell you how to react and what decisions to make. Every decision you, and everyone else involved with a given situation makes, (including the one to have a reading in the first place), will change the future outcome. The analogy I often use is that having a reading is like the map in a car journey. It can tell you what junctions you'll come to, what towns you'll pass through and how far away you are, but it's up to you to decide what route to take.

3) "If a psychic has a 'just for entertainment' disclaimer, it's because they're not really psychic." Nope, it's because we're not perfect and people will sue for just about anything these days. Let's get one thing straight, even the best psychic in the world makes mistakes. For some reason people think psychics should be bang on all the time, I have never understood this. I mean, have you never made a mistake at work? Well psychics are human too and occasionally we get stuff wrong, and that is why we have disclaimers. They are also a legal requirement for conducting readings via certain media.

Now, I'm not telling you that all psychics are great... there are some atrocious ones out there! However, the same can be said for all professions. If you've never had a reading before and are looking at getting one, your best bet is to get a personal recommendation from a friend or family member.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Magical Alphabet: "B is for Blue"

A lot of magical endeavors start with creating the right kind of environment, and colour plays a huge part in that.

Today we're going to look at the colour blue.

Elemental association: Water
Tarot association: Cups
Magical associations: Emotions and healing.
Directional association: West (usually, depending on tradition)

Blue can be incorporated into ritual and magical work via a large number of means including clothing, candles, ink and altar decorations. The colour blue can also be incorporated with the use of crystals, some of which are not only blue in colour but have a reputation to strongly resonate with healing and emotional energies. Blue Lace Agate, for example is good for emotional healing, known for calming people and providing clarity of thought.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Magical Alphabet: "A is for Apples"

Welcome to a new series of articles I'm calling "Magical Alphabet", as you can see from the title, we're starting with "Apples".

© Jekaterinavlassova | Dreamstime Stock Photos
Stock Free Images
Apples and apple trees pop-up in a variety of magical traditions and Pagan beliefs... if you slice them in half they even have a pentacle at their core! For this reason apple recipes are often included at ritual meals.

One thing apples are said to be magically linked to is eternal youth or immortality. In Irish tradition the eating of apples is what kept those in the faery realm ever young ( Connla the Fair). This has similarities with the Norse stories of the Goddess Idunn, who fed apples to the gods to maintain their youth.

Apples are also linked to love... especially divination of romantic situations. It is said that if you peel an apple in a continuous strip and then drop it on the floor, it will fall to form the initial of your true love. Another practice is to cut an apple into 9 sections, eat the first 8 standing in front of a mirror and then throw the last one over your shoulder. When the last section is thrown, the face of your intended should appear to you in the mirror.

To ensure plentiful supplies of apples, wassailing apple trees is still practiced throughout many counties of England. This is a practice designed to awaken the apple trees and scare off bad spirits to ensure a good harvest. This is a rather jolly affair which involves lots of singing and cider drinking.

Here’s to thee, old apple tree, 
Whence thou mayst bud 
And whence thou mayst blow! 
And whence thou mayst bear apples enow!

Hats full! Caps full! 
Bushel--bushel--sacks full, 
And my pockets full too! Huzza!
-Gentleman's Magazine, 1791