We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience

Friday, April 30, 2021

A Special Beltane post ...

Blessed Beltane all! For my Beltane post this year, I decided to share some bits 'n' pieces from a couple of previous posts through the years ...

The Green Man: The Magnificent God of the Forest

Of all the many forms in which our Lord God takes, I must say that I love His Green Man aspect the most! He is both lover and consort to our Lady Goddess, the Earth Mother, and our Father always -The Oak King and Holly King respectively.

Historically speaking, the Green Man goes all the way back to pre-Christian Europe, Ireland, Scotland and Russia. He represents our kinship with the trees and the woods and the cycle of renewal and rebirth. He is known by many different names as He is recognized in almost every tradition. For example, he is heavily associated with Cernunnos (Celtic god of the forest), Dionysus (Greek god of Wine) and Bacchus (Roman god of wine), to name a few.

Our former Wiccan group, "Old Path Enlightener’s Circle", used to honor The Green Man or “The Oak King” at our Beltane celebrations. This is the time when our Lord God and Lady Goddess unite in the “sacred rite of holy marriage.” We re-enact this sacred marriage ceremony during the symbolic Great Rite. This is one of the many reasons why I love Beltane so much and why it is amongst my favorite of our Wiccan celebrations. Lady Sabrina Rhiannon’s group, The Coven of the Silver Moon Circle, chooses a May King and Queen during their Beltane ritual. Everyone inside the circle walks in between two balefire cauldrons for a total of 9 times while making one wish each. Typically, the Celtic Fire god Bel or Belinus is honored at this particular sabbat, as the word Beltane literally means, “Bel-Fire,” but we much prefer to honor The Green Man.

Draco & Rhiannon lighting the Spirit candle during the symbolic Great Rite - Beltane 2008.

AS I HAVE DONE FOR YOU.”  ~  Sal Ranieri


The Great Rite: Symbolic vs. Actual

So what is the difference between the "Actual" Great Rite and the "Symbolic" version? Well to start with, the Actual Great Rite is exactly that - the "actual" act of the sacred joining of the Goddess and God through a coven's Wiccan High Priestess and High Priest. This can either be enacted inside the sacred circle in front of the rest of the coven members or it can be performed in a more private setting.

 The Symbolic Great Rite holds much the same meaning as the Actual in that it still symbolizes the sacred union of the Goddess and God, but it is done through the use of a consecrated athame (representing the "phallas of the God") and the chalice of wine or juice (which represents the "womb of the Mother").  

As a Solitary practitioner, I naturally incorporate the Symbolic version into my rituals and I much prefer it to the Actual with regards to my Wiccan group as well. Although it usually depends upon an individual's comfortability, I, myself, hesitate to participate in an Actual Great Rite (sacred or otherwise) with anyone other than my spouse and only if he were a member of the Pagan clergy (a High Priest or the like) albeit not in the company of others.

The Great Rite in itself is a very sacred act and I can tell you from my own personal experience that, sometimes even when only performed Symbolically with another individual, the sexual energy raised during this particular act can be quite intense and overwhelming! It is certainly nothing to fool around with and most especially not in the hands of anyone who does not understand its' true purpose in ritual.

Of course, depending upon the persons who are performing the Symbolic Great Rite, the energy may not necessarily be the same every time for everyone. For example, if both individuals happen to be female (or male) and have no natural attraction to the same sex, the experience may not tend to be as intimate as perhaps a male and female bonding in this way.

Personally speaking, I view The Great Rite as a very beautiful, sacred gift from the Goddess and God which should always be respected and thought through thoroughly before using in any ritual ceremony.

(A pic from my hubby and my Legal Handfasting ~ 2001)


Thursday, April 29, 2021

Throwback Thursday - Of Beltane Past ...

Our group of friends celebrating with us on Beltane back in 2002 (me, Naomi, & Rhiannon) ... πŸ‘ͺ

The symbolic "Great Rite" - the sacred marriage/uniting of the Goddess and God ...

A little snapshot of my sister Aurora Skye and I from 2004 ... πŸ’—

An old pic of my sweetest beloved Mr. Midnight taken years back on Beltane. He was helping me decorate the house "festively" ... πŸ’š
A fantastic performance of one of my favorite romantic rock songs of all time, "Thank You" recorded live on May Eve - 2017. And THANK YOU Jimmy Sakurai for keeping the music alive! ... Enjoy!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Sunday odds 'n' ends

Blessed Sunday everyone! Nothing too exciting to speak of, except yesterday my husband surprised me with this little pot of pretty flowers ...

And, two delicious slices of chocolate chip cheese cake! ...

I thanked him by taking him out for a steak dinner at Flanagan's Pub last night. Needless to say, we do not get out as much as we used to so it was a bit refreshing and definitely needed!

Also, yesterday morning I had a dentist appointment for my teeth cleaning which I schedule ahead of time every six months. I would have had to cancel it and re-schedule due to my company starting up their yearly life-suppressing mandatory overtime for months at a time, but fortunately I had a 1 in 4 day saved up from all the overtime I had to work last year. A "1 in 4 day" means that you actually have to "earn" a day to be "excused" from having to work a weekend by working  3 weekends first - we are not allowed to use any PTO/vacation days to get out of working it either! One of the things that I hate about my job is the mandatory (not voluntary) overtime because I purposely try to schedule my necessary doctor appointments for a Saturday so that is does not interfere with my weekly work schedule and when they pull this stuff on us at will it is honestly just not right. That is one of many reasons why I am trying so hard to get another job - quite frankly, I have had enough. And, before anyone judges my views on the subject, I suggest that they actually do my job before commenting. 😦 My job is both physically and mentally demanding! So far, I have heard from one or two companies regarding Housekeeping positions that I have applied for. Boscov's Distribution Center called and left a message while I was at work on Friday so I will call them back tomorrow before I leave my house. 😊

Now, anyone who actually knows me knows how much I do not like to waste anything before trying to find some sort of use for it. My husband bought a Game of Thrones Limited Edition Whiskey which came in a cool tall box. I plan on using it to store my incense sticks in ...

As for the remainder of the weekend, I am just going to chill out with my fur babies as usual. 

(Gratuitous Sir Leo pic)

Have a great day all!

Saturday, April 24, 2021

The Last Illusion ~ Another Book Review

"There are two worlds of magic. One is the glittering domain of the illusionist. The other is a secret place, where magic is a terrifying reality. Here, men have the power of demons. And Death itself is an illusion."
 ~ Clive Barker, Lord of Illisions
The Last Illusion” is a short story written by none other than author and film director Clive Barker and is part of a collaboration of horror stories from Volume 6 of his book, “Books of Blood.” Barker had also written the screenplay for the movie, “Lord of Illusions” which was very loosely based on his short story.
Why do I say ‘loosely’? Well, in contrast to his novella, “The Hellbound Heart,” and his movie  “Hellraiser,” of which had such minor differences between the two that it was hardly worth mentioning, “Lord of Illusions” was very different from the short story. Aside from some of the character names remaining the same, both the story itself and the dynamic between the characters were significantly changed for the big screen.
Like “Hellraiser,” I saw the movie first before I actually read the book "The Hellbound Heart" I had thoroughly enjoyed both!  Although, I must admit that “Lord of Illusions” with its’ very different storyline, gave a better insight into the characters which actually were included in the book. For instance, the magician Philip Swann (played by Kevin J. O’Connor in the movie) was killed off within the first two pages of the story in the book, and further, did not die from an illusion gone horribly wrong as in the movie version. Furthermore, he fakes his death in order to protect his wife Dorothea (played by Famke Janssen) from Nix (Daniel Von Bergen) seeking his revenge on them for shooting, binding, then burying him "so deep that no one will ever find him." Dorothea was not the little girl who, in the beginning of the movie, was kidnapped by occult madman Nix (aka “The Puritan”) and years later married Swann ~ one of Nix’s ex-occult followers who helped saved her life. Instead, she is said to be a former prostitute in the book.
On the other hand, the troubled detective, Harry D’Amour, (as played by Scott Bakula) was taken from a recurring character of Clive Barker’s and is found in some of his other writings as well. In the book D’Amour is attracted to Dorothea (as in the movie version), but they never have a relationship other than detective-client. Another substantial difference are the characters of Nix and Butterfield, an avid follower of Nix and the movie’s catalyst in bringing back Nix from the “dead.” To start with, there is no such character named “Nix” in the book ~ only in the movie. And, Butterfield was Dorothea’s antagonist lawyer in the book version. 

As with the novel, “The Hellbound Heart,” both the book and the movie offer us something captivating and exciting as only Barker can. And, although I do usually prefer that the two medias resemble one another as closely as possible, Barker does a wonderful job adding new characters to his changed storyline. Furthermore, he takes a 70-some page short story and turns it into a wonderfully successful and entertaining motion picture. As far as the barely recognizable storyline is concerned - hey, it is his story both on and off screen and he can do what he wants with it. But most of all,  because he knows what he is doing and how to do it so very well.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Throwback Thursday: Hellbound Heart ~ book review


The Hellbound Heart: Book Review

“Spring, if it lingers more than a week beyond its span, starts to hunger for summer to end the days of perpetual promise. Summer in its turn soon begins to sweat for something to quench its heat, and the mellowest of autumns will tire of gentility at last, and ache for a quick sharp frost to kill its fruitfulness. Even winter — the hardest season, the most implacable — dreams, as February creeps on, of the flame that will presently melt it away. Everything tires with time, and starts to seek some opposition, to save it from itself.”   ~ Clive Barker, The Hellbound Heart

"The Hellbound Heart" is a novella written by acclaimed author Clive Barker. The movie, "Hellraiser" was based on this novel and it has always been one of my favorite horror/suspense flicks of all time. Strangely enough; however,  I have never actually gotten around to reading the novel itself until this past week. Of course, there are some minor differences between the book and the movie (both of which Barker was involved with), but for the most part the movie is true to the novel. And so, I have written this post to serve as the synopsis of the book's story line and plot (with added pics from the movie as well). Here goes ...

Frank is a selfish immoral degenerate who has participated in every hedonistic pleasure, extreme experience and sexual perversion known to man, each time seeking a greater sensual pleasure higher than the last. Frank explores a rumor of a mysterious puzzle box, “Lemarchand’s Configuration,” that provides the gateway into a realm of unfathomable carnal pleasures. Through great effort and unrelenting pursuit, Frank tracks down the box and eventually solves the puzzle. A gateway does indeed open and through it the Cenobites, a race of distorted creatures who practice an extreme form of sadomasochism centered around agonizing torture and mutilation. They see little difference between extreme pleasure and extreme pain. The Cenobites offer him the experience of unimaginable pleasures; all he need do is say “yes.” Frank, unwilling to turn back after his long awaited anticipation of this moment, accepts their proposal to which bring him intolerable pain throughout all of his bodily senses and leaving him to beg his tormentors to make it all stop. The Cenobites; however, are unmoved by his screams and his pleas are hopelessly futile. They then proceed to take him to their extradimensional realm; a place where a second of "our" time lasts for what seems to be an eternity.

Frank’s brother, Rory, and his wife Julia move into their grandmother’s abandoned house. Julia, who had willingly allowed herself to be seduced by “Brother Frank” on the eve of her wedding to Rory, has been going through the motions in her life ~ beginning with her marriage to Rory and setting up a life with him. Beneath her calm facade festers self-loathing and a barely contained desire for the raw, seductive physicality she had through her one night stand with Frank of whom she cannot stop thinking about. She buries herself in the mendacity of her daily existence with Rory in order to avoid dealing with this while still yearning for the ecstasy she once reveled in with his brother; a man whom had left her with little but a memory of their mating. What she wouldn’t do to know that feeling now, to once again have him ~ and he her.

Whilst working on the floorboards, Rory manages to cut his hand deeply with a chisel, warranting a trip to the emergency room. However, not before his blood had spilt onto the floor in the room where Frank performed his ritual that summoned the cenobites; thus providing the conduit for Frank to find a way back into the real world again. Furthermore, this weakens the barrier between the Cenobites' realm and the real world, allowing Frank to escape from their clutches. His form is incomplete, manifesting as an emaciated corpse, his consciousness fading in and out of reality through a wall in the room. Julia soon discovers “monster” Frank hiding in this room on one of her “trips down memory lane” which she often took in order to get away from it all. Startled and frightened at first, even appalled, she agrees to help bring him back in the promise that they will be together again ~ forever. She brings men home while Rory is at work under the pretense of having sex with them. Julia picks them up at a local pub,  then lures them to their emanate demise. Each sacrifice of blood and nutrients causes Frank's body to become stronger and more whole again ~ his consciousness to become more stable. However, Frank knows that it would be merely a matter of time before the Cenobites realize that he had escaped them. Time was of the essence.

Meanwhile Kirsty, a good friend of Rory’s and, a woman whom has harbored romantic feelings toward him for many years, comes to the house in an attempt to speak with Julia upon Rory’s urging as he is concerned about his wife's strange behavior. Kirsty suspects that Julia is cheating on Rory and keeps vigil outside the house with the intention of confirming her suspicions before confronting Rory about them. She finally decides to sneak inside the house in the hopes of once and for all finding out what is going on.  She shows up immediately after one of Frank’s “feedings” and sees “Monster Frank”; not recognizing him until he reveals himself to her. Frank then attacks her and she barely manages to escape with her life, but not before she gets a hold of the puzzle box which she had picked up off of the floor to use as a weapon to hit Frank in the head with. Upon realizing that she has the puzzle box in her hand, he immediately stops attacking her, practically begging her to give him the box. She vehemently refuses and hurls it out of the window and into the street just before making her narrow escape from him. She runs out of the house and down the street for as far as her legs could carry her until eventually passing out where a pedestrian finds her and gets her to a nearby hospital.

While in the hospital, she is questioned by the authorities regarding the box as, not only was it found in her possession when she was brought in, but it also had “someone’s” blood on it. The box was given back to her in an attempt to jog her memory as she had lied and told them that she could not remember what had happened to her. She decided not to reveal what she had seen until she could go back to the house and acquire proof of her story in order to be taken seriously by the authorities. In the meantime, she herself begins to play with the puzzle box in hopes of perhaps getting some answers by solving it. She succeeds and “The Engineer” Cenobite appears to her. It tells her that she must return to hell with it and she bargains for her life, vying to take it to Frank who had, still unbeknownst to the Cenobites, managed to escape their realm and therefore suggesting it take him back to hell instead of her. It agrees to do so, but only if Frank himself confesses it from his own lips it to be true. Furthermore, it warns her that if she dare betray them, they will “tear her soul apart!” She then returns to the house in order to get the Cenobite its’ “confession” and to send Frank back to hell. Now, for Kirsty, the REAL terror begins!

I would also like to add that the score for the movie, "Hellraiser" written by well-renowned composer Christopher Young, is absolutely incredible! Here is a vid clip of my favorite piece from the movie's CD ... Enjoy!

"The Hellbound Heart" (music from the Hellraiser soundtrack)

 Next book I plan to read and review will be Clive Barker's novel, "Lord of Illusions."
Have a great weekend everyone!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Sunday odds 'n' ends

Happy Sunday everyone (God, is it Sunday already?). Not much new happening here except for a couple of little things. Yesterday, my sister Aurora Skye and I spent the afternoon hanging out and frequenting our usual local shopping haunts. 

We stopped at the cool little shop located right down the road from my house called, "The Mint Leaf" where - among a few other items - I picked up these pretty handmade wooden mermaid tail earrings. They are VERY light so they do not pull on your ear lobes at all ...

I also bought this Sage & Mint hand and body lotion locally made by The Stinkleberry Soap Company. It is made with extracts of Chamomile and Green Tea, olive oil, shea butter, and Jojoba oil. It smells great! ...

After we got back from shopping, I saw that a bracelet that I ordered early last week had come in the mail. It is an awesome little souvenir of my home State of Pennsylvania ...

A specially created bracelet from the "Homes Bracelets" website. My birthstone of amethyst and a bead made from the earth of the State of Pennsylvania. 

My sister Aurora Skye has three of these beauties. The one shown in the picture below is made with rose quartz gemstones and the bead is from the earth of Erie, PA ...

Also this week, I received an Alcon Recogneyes "chip" at work for producing 1,139 10K eye surgery probes in one shift by myself. Although my record still stands at 1,252 total probes in one night. The set goal rate for my particular job is 100 per hour ...

While going through some of my old pics this week, I came across two of the photos left over from our bus trip to New York City to see the musical, "Gypsy" in 2014...

This is a pic my husband took of my brother and I on Time Square before the start of the show ...
As for today, I am just staying home cleaning, performing a much needed hair coloring, and chilling out before it is back to the rat race tomorrow, 
Have a great day, friends!!