Archive for February, 2006

Training update – February 19 to 26, 2006

Monday, February 27th, 2006

MM,

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Last Sunday, I wend to the do jang. I actually woke up at 7:30 a.m.! So, I went to the do jang for the 10:30 taekwondo class. Since I hadn’t been in for awhile, I stayed to practice gumdo and TKD forms. After, I went to gym too.

Leg press
Hamstring flexor
Hip abductors
Pull-ups (again military and parallel)
Dips
Bar pulls (works the muscles next to the scapulae on the back)
Pectoral press
Shoulder fly
Shoulder lift
Leg lifts
Back extensor
Bicep curl (using free weights)

I also did some free weights – two shoulder exercises and wrist strengthening which I hadn’t done for awhile. I did some pushups. Then of course I did some stretching before I headed home.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Finally, made it in for gumdo class! Hehe… had such a long break from it. Turns out the gumdo test was this month on Friday, but I decided not to test anyway. Apparently, need the gumdo uniform to test. So, I’m going to wait two more months. It’ll just give me more time to make some techniques better.

I took taekwondo class after. It was good cardio kicking class again. The Master had adapted our schedule a bit so that Monday and Wednesday is more traditional (hand strike techniques as well as other kicking techniques and not so competition focused). Right after class on Monday and Wednesday, we also do half hour of crazy kicking. Tuesday and Thursday is cardio kicking, which means lots of bouncing on our and speed kicking. I still feel so slow. Slower than I used to be before my knee injury, but it’s finally coming back without much complaint from my poor knee.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I went to the do jang for taekwondo. I took the 7 p.m. class and then the next half hour. Total: an hour and a half of training. Good stuff for me though. Traditional style training is more power focused and trains more isometrically while the modern style (cardio) trains the speed. Anyway, I like this schedule better. Works for me.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

I woke up early again… hehe… starting to be a regular thing. I’m starting to like exercising earlier. I must be getting older. Hehe… the martial arts keep me young though. Weekend classes are fun because we get to do different things. This time we practiced some advanced combination kicks. Not so much focused on speed, but just trying out the combinations. Some were familiar to me, but I hadn’t done in awhile (e.g., hop-step roundhouse, roundhouse, tornado roundhouse, spinning hook kick). Hehe… fun stuff. I even had enough sleep and had something to eat in the morning, so was doing fairly well. Still slower than I used to be though. I really need to be training more often, but just haven’t had the time yet. I promised the Master I’d be in more often in March and April. (Though I’m still in the middle of writing my reiki manuals. I’m on the second one. Hoping to have all three done by April and then have to review it all.)

After the class, I stayed to practice my spinning hook kick a bit more. I could feel it coming back to me. I hadn’t practiced it in a long time in class so it was starting to get sloppy. Yesterday, it felt better, so I stayed afterwards to practice some more. I need to practice that kick often. It’s the kind of kick that if you don’t do often, it’s easy to lose because it relies on loose hips among other things.

Then, I went to the gym.

Leg press
Hamstring flexor
Hip abductors
Pull-ups (again military and parallel)
Dips
Bar pulls (works the muscles next to the scapulae on the back)
Pectoral press
Shoulder fly
Shoulder lift
Leg lifts
Bicep curl (using free weights)

I also did some free weights – two shoulder exercises and wrist strengthening.

I headed home and then went for a run. I ran to Yonge from home and then back (total 2 km). Nathan came with me this time. We took a short break at Yonge (to do some errands), then ran towards home and the grocery store. (We ended up stocking up our freezer again. 😀 Oh, happy, full freezer of meat!) My time for the run yesterday was 5 minutes 17 seconds to Yonge and 5 minutes 54 seconds going to Sherbourne. Eek… slow times for 1 km each way, but in all fairness I worked out all morning. Already lots of cardio and muscle training then a run. Still needed to do it though. I felt like I need to do some more cardio. It is still hard to run in the cold, but I put on another sweatshirt that had a better hood, so my ears and head are kept warm now.

Okay, time to get back to work.

BB,
Cassandrah
Your local webmistress
Brigid’s Flame

It’s Called Yin, NOT Ying!

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

MM,

Here’s my annoyance of the week, http://www.yingyangmusic.com/, which is a website for some rap music artist by the name “Ying Yang Twins”. Their name is possibly a play on the words “yin yang”, but I wonder if they even know what yin and yang mean.

The tai ji tu symbol is commonly referred to as yin-yang symbol by many. There are apparently a few websites that call it the “ying-yang symbol” instead. Talk about your fluff bunnies at it again, instead of researching carefully, people have just assumed that the symbol refers to “ying” and yang. (Though, I have noted that sometimes when typing “yin” it is easy to mistakenly type “ying”, but please people if you know it’s not correct, fix it!)

“Ying” does not mean the same as “yin”. “Yin” translates as “hill’s shady side” or as is commonly known “feminine or negative principle in” Taoism. “Ying” is not a complete word by itself, though it is a Chinese name. In this online Chinese dictionary, you can see that “ying” is used in combination with other characters to make a complete word. This character for “ying” contains the idea of “scene” and “suggestive of shape”. When combined with another character, we get a word. For example, from the link for “ying”, “yingpian” means film or movie. “Yingyin” means photocopy while “yinying” means “shadow”. “Yingyang” has no meaning in Chinese nor does “yangying”. You should also note that the pronunciation of “in” is slightly different for yin and ying. Also note that “ying” (or any sound in the Chinese language), depending on the tone when pronouncing it, can have other meanings.

As a side note, “yang” translates as “hill’s bright side” and of course the “masculine or positive principle in” Taoism. And yes, “yinyang” translates to “yin and yang”.

For more information about yin and yang:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yin_Yang

http://www.friesian.com/yinyang.htm

BB,
Cassandrah
Your local webmistress
Brigid’s Flame

Picture of the goddess Morrigan that kind of looks like me?!

Friday, February 17th, 2006

MM,

I was browsing Google for some pictures of the Celtic goddess Morrigan and came across this picture.

The picture doesn’t quite capture Morrigan the way I envision her, but funny enough she looks a little oriental in the picture. Now, the more I look at the picture, it almost seems to look like me! Well, it might if I had green eyes (can be remedied by wearing green contacts) and paler skin. It’s actually the shape of the face that seems very asian. The strange thing is that when I was in my teens and early 20s, I wore red lipstick and loved wearing red. I don’t wear red lipstick much anymore and wear darker shades (not so much into the bright reds), but this picture does remind me of myself.

Let’s try a comparison, here is a picture of me on myspace.com (I recently created a myspace.com account just because Nathan was on there) wearing a reddish top (closer to maroon). Now, look at both pictures. Huh? The picture almost looks like me. I’m just missing a braid in my hair and a crescent on my forehead. I am wearing necklaces.

This is just interesting to me because Morrigan is a goddess I’m quite close to, me being a martial artist for one thing. I’m still reeling at the fact that someone made this picture supposedly of Morrigan or Morgaine in Mists of Avalon and it looks like me. Is this a sign from Morrigan trying to tell me something???

I guess I’ll find out.

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

What Celtic Goddess are You?

Friday, February 17th, 2006

MM,

I saw this quiz while I was looking for pictures of different goddesses – What Celtic Goddess Are You?

Anyway, here are my results.

I am Medb. (This was not really a surprise. Medb is often considered to be an aspect of Morrigan. See the next post to understand why this is not a surprise for me.)

You are Medb, an Irish war goddess who's name means
brought to you by Quizilla

Commentary on the term “Dark Witchcraft”

Wednesday, February 15th, 2006

MM,

Awhile back, I was reading through some messages on yahoogroups and came across one entitled “What is dark witchcraft – explanation” written by someone with the handle “Nyx Wolfwalker.” In that message, which is produced in its entirety below, some things were written that I personally felt would be misleading to many people who are unfamiliar with witchcraft and Wicca and I decided to clarify by responding to the message (in, of course, a suitably courteous manner). Below is the full text of my commentary on Nyx Wolfwalker’s “dark witchcraft”. (Please note that since the message from Nyx Wolfwalker was from a digest with multiple messages I have “snipped” out the other unrelated messages.)

From: Cassandrah Lynn
Date: Tue Mar 9, 2004 6:27 pm
Subject: Re: What is dark witchcraft – explanation

MM,

I have finally gotten around to reading the message below and thought it warranted some comments that will provide a different perspective on the topic broached below.

My response to the below message is not in any way meant to belittle someone else’s spiritual path. To each his/her own I believe and hold to. As I said though, I wish to provide a different perspective and viewpoint being a practicing witch/Wiccan myself.

The first comment I have to make regarding the message below is that I have to object to the term “dark witchcraft” for witchcraft is both dark and light. While there is such a thing as “dark magic”, it is has been my experience through both practice and studies that witchcraft consists of both dark and light. Separating it into two separate paths is not as effective for spiritual growth, for without the dark, how are we to understand light, and without the light, how are we to understand dark. Contrary to what is implied in the message below, Wicca is not all about light. It is a path that accepts both darkness and light and this is reflected in liturgy. Consider the words from the liturgy of the tradition I am studying “blend the day with peaceful night, blend the darkness with the light”. As well, it is not only “dark witchcraft” where one must confront their “inner demons”, this is done in Wicca as well. One term for this is “the dark night of the soul”. It is to my knowledge that almost anyone on any spiritual path will have to go through this or something similar to this. In the message below, it reads “One aspect of Dark Witchcraft requires the witch to face his or her demons (undesirable traits, habits, etc.). A dark witch must reach deep into his or her conscious and subconscious and face those things that they despise, such as undesirable traits, pain, bad habits, and painful past events. Once a dark witch has acknowledged these things they must then begin to understand where they came from. This requires digging back to where the problem first surfaced and looking at the events at that time that brought that demon to life.” Frankly, it is not only in “dark witchcraft” where one must do this. This IS done in witchcraft because witchcraft is about dark and light. It is also done in Wicca. I myself have done this. I have travelled through my dark fears. I am Wiccan. (All this being said, yes going through the dark night of the soul is a painful experience, but the rewards of having survived it are great. You feel much better about yourself in the end.) If Wiccans did not know how to go through the darkness, there would not be the phrase “to learn, you must suffer” in my tradition’s liturgy.

The next words after “to learn you must suffer” are “to live you must be born and to be born you must die, the beginning, the continuation and the end over and over”. These words are used in my tradition’s rituals. It is a part of our liturgy. It was written because as Wiccans we acknowledge and realize “the utter importance and sacredness of death and destruction” (to quote from the message below). It is not only “dark witches” who view death as a transition. This in inherent in the study of Wicca and was taught from Gerald Gardner’s time and likely from before then as well. The concept of birth, death, and rebirth is not a new concept and is NOT only found in “dark witchcraft”, it is a part of witchcraft, Wicca, and even Buddhism.

Dark witches are not the only ones who may work widdershins. It may be used when the purpose suits it. I have been to Wiccan rituals where we worked widdershins, one happened to be a ritual dedicated to Eris/Discordia.

The Wiccan law of three does not imply that we do not believe that there is a universal balance. The use of the number three is likely used for the significance of that number, not because we believe that every action has a response equivalent to three times what we put out. It does not work that way. The Wiccan law of three IS about Karma and balance and we learn to trust that the universe will balance things out. It is really combining the law of three with the “harm none” rule in which better understanding occurs of Wiccan ethics and beliefs regarding karma. “The universe seeks balance and when an imbalance has been made by someone, the universe will seek to balance itself out by whatever means necessary. This causes a dark witch to consider their actions before acting and accept the responsibility or payment due for their actions. Dark witches do not see this as an inhibitor to doing what they wish to do, but more of an acknowledgement of responsibility.” The same can easily be said about Wiccans considering the law of three and the “harm none” rule as well as other witches who do not necessarily follow only dark path. (BTW, Wiccan ethics and beliefs in karma can be discussed in more depth, but I will not go into it on here. I will suggest reading A Wiches’ Bible by Janet and Stewart Farrar if one has not already done so. There are some good chapters in that book about ethics and karma.)

Regarding dark goddesses, they are revered in Wicca and other witchcraft traditions that are not necessarily “dark witchcraft”. There are MANY Wiccans who have Hecate as their personal deity. I, myself, have Morrigan (the Celtic goddess of war and death), to work with. I have also been to a Hecate Invocation, a Wiccan ritual where the goddess is called forth into the Priestess. There is no denying that both dark and light are revered in Wicca and witchcraft, at least that is my experience.

There are many “fluff bunnies” out there who would practice Wicca and witchcraft and ignore the dark side of its nature and at the same time there are those who would only practice the dark side. (I do believe that they will one day realize they need both light and dark, and if not, it’s not for me to worry.) From my persepctive, both are witchcraft/Wicca and those that practice in this way are perfectly free to call their practices so. However, I do object to calling something “dark witchcraft” with the implications that no other form of witchcraft, especially Wicca, accepts and works with the dark side. On another level, I object to the idea of calling something “dark witchcraft” because it is subscribing to society’s idea that we need to put the necessary label on something that would be considered taboo or out of the mainstream. It also subscribes to the Christian theological idea that dark and light can be so easily separated when they CANNOT. From my perspective, witchcraft and Wicca are neither dark nor light, they just ARE.

All this being said, however, one can choose their own path and one may call their own path what they wish. It is only my intent to clarify to others who may have read the below message that witchcraft is not necessarily split into two different categories (dark and light) nor is Wicca solely about light. That has not been my experience, in practice and in study. I would rewrite the last sentence in the message below as “Above all, the witch/Wiccan seeks to learn the truth, understand the mysteries, gain wisdom, and truly know themselves” because frankly, that IS the truth of it. Know this, that whatever path one wishes to choose to enlightenment and to the divine is the correct path for that person, but may not necessarily be the same for all.

BB,
Cassandrah

“I tread the path of light and dark. I live in both this world and the spirit world. One day I will leave one for the other. Light and dark are complements. Chaos exists when either one is not acknowledged or accepted and balance and peace is achieved when both are accepted equally. Yin and yang must co-exist together and both contain an essence of each other…” (Copyright C.J. Chow, 2003)

_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________


Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004 17:15:46 -0500
From: Nyx Wolfwalker
Subject: What is dark witchcraft – explanation

What is dark witchcraft – explanation

Many people ask, “what is dark witchcraft?”. Dark witchcraft can have many definitions, however I will define it with the practices that most closely represent the path that I follow. A dark witch works with the energies of his or her undesirable traits and bad habits and uses that energy to produce desired outcomes. I will explain this more below. A dark witch also focuses on understanding and using the energies and concepts of death, destruction, and renewal. Dark witches work with the dark mother or crone aspects of the Goddess as a primary divine source. They do much of their work at night, when it is dark, they work with, and try to unlock the mysteries of the night. Dark witches also recognize and work with the dark moons as well as the full moons. Anything that pertains to death, mysteries, chaos, the subconscious, the unknown, divination, things with dark tones, and the taboo is well known and beloved by the Dark Witch.

Think about all the energy you use trying to keep the bad memories you have surpressed, and all the energy you lose when you are in a state of guilt or despair over something you have done. It takes a lot of energy to stuff those things into the dark recesses of your mind and keep them there. One aspect of Dark Witchcraft requires the witch to face his or her demons (undesirable traits, habits, etc.). A dark witch must reach deep into his or her conscious and subconscious and face those things that they despise, such as undesirable traits, pain, bad habits, and painful past events. Once a dark witch has acknowledged these things they must then begin to understand where they came from. This requires digging back to where the problem first surfaced and looking at the events at that time that brought that demon to life. For example, lets say the witches problem was sexual impulse, meaning that the witch was overly sexually active and participated in things that are harmful to him or her, and/or make them feel ashamed. After the witch has recognized that they have a sexual impulse problem, then they reflect on where this problem came from. To move along with the example, let’s say that the witch has determined that his or her problem developed from past sexual abuse as a child. Next, he or she will need to examine how this demon has negatively influenced their life. Continuing with the example, the witch concludes that his or her sexual impulse has led to an inability to maintain a relationship, feelings of shame (which have led to depression, and required much energy to supress and ignore), embarrassment, and sexually transmitted diseases. Next, the witch needs to figure out what circumstances take place that brings the demon to the surface. In order to do this he or she must think back to the times where they have acted out their undesirable trait and what was going on to cause this. In the example, the witch realizes that when he or she feels lonely and also when drinking or drug usage is involved, he or she acts out on the sexual impulse. By doing this, the witch now is able to bring awareness to the demon at those times, meaning that when he or she is for example drunk and feeling the need to pick up someone for the night, he or she will realize at that moment that this is his or her inner demon coming out, and make an aware decision. In our example we have now taken the impulse out of the sexual. Once the witch has acknowledged the undesirable trait, understood where it came from and when it surfaces, and how it has negatively effected his or her life, they can begin to concentrate on how to take the power away from it. The witch will determine the best ways to change these bad habits for the better. Lastly, in our example the witch has decided that he or she will drink only when they have a close friend with them who can monitor their behavior and help them make better decisions, and when he or she is lonely the witch will do an activity that they enjoy and talk with their close friend for support. Once you name a demon, that demon loses power over you. However, until you do this you are a slave to that demon and that requires much energy from you to support it. Once you have overcome the demon you will have a surplus of power (energy) that was once used to surpress thoughts, desires, guilt, and the demon itself. This energy can now be used to make positive changes in your life, be directed toward magick, or used toward learning. This whole process takes time to complete and time to reap the benefits from. It can take months or years to overcome some demons and the path along the way can be very painful, but the outcome is very powerful. One last benefit from this is that you begin to know yourself better. You begin to understand why you do the things you do, why you react to situations in a certain way, and how your feelings influence your decisions. Knowing these things will allow you to be more specific in spell casting, know what you truly want from the mystikal as well as the mundane, and help you make better choices in your magickal work and life.

A Dark Witch realizes the utter importance and sacredness of death and destruction. For example, with out death and destruction, things can not be reborn, and things become stale. Dark witches do not see death and destruction as an ending point, but more of a transition point, a journey. Much of dark witchcraft involves the end of the old and the beginning of something new. Many dark witches are obsessed with unlocking the mysteries of death and destruction, as well as the chaos that ensues around it.

Being that a dark witch has a thirst for unlocking and understanding mysteries, they are always attracted to the mysteries, and things unseen. A dark witch is shrouded in mystery and the reason for this is that to be able to understand the concepts of the mysterious, one must become part of it.

As a dark witch must face and overcome their internal fears, they likewise become attracted to those things feared by society, the taboo. A dark witch becomes fascinated by the taboo, wanting to know what it is that people fear about different things. Also, being that dark witchcraft in itself is taboo, like speaks to like. This means that a dark witch feels a certain kinship with other things labeled taboo as well.

Working Widdershins. Much dark witch work involves the widdershins movement in magick. Undoing what has been done, working from the inside to the outside, taking things to an ending point, working with endings, and dispelling things. A dark witch understands that widdershin movement is just as important as deosil movement, and works with them both to obtain the desires that he or she wishes.

A dark witch understands the implications of the universal balance, also called Karma. This is a bit different from the Wicca religion law of three however. A dark witch does not acknowledge a law of three, but understands that the universe seeks balance. This means that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The universe seeks balance and when an imbalance has been made by someone, the universe will seek to balance itself out by whatever means necessary. This causes a dark witch to consider their actions before acting and accept the responsibility or payment due for their actions. Dark witches do not see this as an inhibitor to doing what they wish to do, but more of an acknowledgement of responsibility. Thus, when a dark witch performs baneful magick they have accepted the responsibilities that come with it, instead of a sense of doom or disaster that the Wicca Law of Three dictates.

Most Dark Witches work with a darker aspect of the Goddess, the dark mother and/or crone, and Dark God. Some examples of this darker deity would be Hecate, Kali, Persephone, Shiva, and Cernonnos. A Dark Witch will learn and understand the Dark Goddess. The Dark Witch also understands the responsibility of working with the Dark Goddess. Dark Goddesses are naked truth, harsh, stern, unrelenting, strong, and severe. They are not to be taken lightly. A witch who serves a Dark Goddess must serve with complete love and uncompromising devotion. Dark Goddesses typically represent death, destruction, chaos, severity, truth, love, mystery, the void, endings, fear, and such. While many would see these as undesirable things, or even as the subjective term “evil”. A Dark Witch realizes and understands that these things are natural and necessary to the order and balance of the universe. With out death, things can not be reborn. With out pain, we cannot know and understand happiness. With out fear, we can not know security. So in essence the Dark Goddesses do the dirty work that many choose not to see, but enjoy the benefits from. The Dark Goddess and all things associated with her are part of the whole, the opposite end of the spectrum, yet necessary none the less.

These are but a few things that represent a Dark Witch. Above all, the dark witch seeks to learn the truth, understand the mysteries, gain wisdom, and truly know themselves.

Some additional comments:

The subject of deosil (clockwise) and widdershins (counter-clockwise): Note that the earth actually rotates counter-clockwise on its axis making it appear as if the sun moves clockwise around the earth. (I have read a book by a witchcraft author who says the earth rotates clockwise – this is incorrect, check any good astronomy book or website. I’m sure there is more than one author who makes this very big error.) Since the earth rotates counter-clockwise, working counter-clockwise works with the earth while working clockwise works with the sun .

Working magic by night: “They do much of their work at night, when it is dark…” (Nyx Wolfwalker) As far as I know, many Wiccan groups work at night and public Wiccan rituals are often held starting somewhere between dusk and 8 p.m. (Pagan Standard Time) or nightfall. I think Mr. Wolfwalker is a bit erroneous to think only “dark witches” work magic by night. Witches/Wiccans in fact can work magic at any time of day, though night is generally preferred (probably because it IS easier to connect with various energies at night). In addition, there are sun rituals which often require waking up early with the sun. Working with the moon and the sun is a way to balance polar energies – something I’d recommend to any witch/Wiccan.

BB,
Cassandrah
Your local webmistress
Brigid’s Flame

What I Listen to… a list of music artists

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

MM,

I know a few people are wondering what an urban pagan such as myself would choose to listen to these days. Well, first of all, I don’t listen to the radio much and I find most of my music via internet now. Nathan is constantly searching for new music artists and occasionally I hear something I like and just add it to my playlist.

Here is a quick run-down of some artists I listen to these days in alphabetical order:

A Perfect Circle

Nathan got me listening to this band, though at first I couldn’t listen to them because the album he had was a little depressing and I needed to listen to something more uplifting or peaceful. However, when the mood is right, I listen to them. What makes this band stand out is their bass guitar. Without it, the songs wouldn’t be the same. Yes, the music is a little sad and depressing, but at the same time there’s a feeling of hope – just that little glimmer. I’m amazed at the expression of emotion in the music. I really like the song “Blue” from them.

Aeone

A lovely vocalist. She has been compared to Loreena McKennitt. I like “Umbra Nihili”.

Anuna

What can be said about Anuna that hasn’t been said? In case you don’t know who Anuna is, it’s the famous Irish choir. They do some amazing chants and some contemporary pieces. Great stuff.

Arcadia

Would you believe I still listen to this? I had the album on vinyl when I was a kid and I had to have this on mp3. The singer is sexy Simon LeBon – enough said.

Balligomingo

This is nice and relaxing in an smooth tempo. Good vocals. Trance type music that’s a little bit pop. Female vocalist.

Celtic Cross

This music is similar to Dagda. Trance type music with a Celtic theme. Not bad, smooth like Balligomingo.

Conjure One.

This band is related to Balligomingo. Pretty much the same comments as Balligomingo, except not so much pop.

Claire Voyant

Good vocals. Good sound. Some interesting mixes. Their song “Mirror” is my current favourite from them. Close friends with Hungry Lucy. Note the name of the band – clairvoyant. Get it? Female vocalist.

Dagda

Apparently, some people don’t like Dagda comparing the artist to Enigma. Yes, what they are doing is similar, however, the theme is different. Enigma is more East Indian inspired while Dagda is strictly Celtic. Duh… that’s why the artist is named Dagda. Some amazon reviewers are just clueless. I like Dagda’s Underworld album and their newer one, Celtic Trance.

Duran Duran

Yes, I still listen to them. Actually, more like rediscovering them, since I missed out on much of their albums after the breakup of the original lineup. Lucky me, though, the original members got back together and I got to see their concert here last April. See my review on this blog about the concert. Anyway, can’t convince people to like them if they don’t already, so not going to try. I like the band frankly because they are strange guys and their fascination with sci-fi carries through into their music.

Entheogenic

This group is a little bit psychedelic, which I don’t normally go for. However, they are fairly smooth and I can actually fall asleep with this on, even though it’s not slow music. It’s quite relaxing.

Enya

Who has not heard Enya? Her Celtic album is one of the best.

Evanescence

Okay, Amy Lee is not that hot and she is not that good of a singer, so guys get over it already. Evanescence is for the teen goth wannabes. Victoria Lloyd of Claire Voyant, Christa Belle of Hungry Lucy, and Sharon den Adel of Within Temptation are way better goth singers. So why do I listen to Evanescence? Well, the music is good. Composition is great. Amy Lee is a good composer and pianist. I just think the band needs to get a different singer while Amy Lee concentrates on composing and playing the piano and not torturing our ears with her horrendous live performance attempts at singing her complicated vocals.

Faith and the Muse

An interesting goth/pagan band. They have a nice style and do some really good drums – I mean the African, tribal kind of drumming, not the two sticks kind. “Willow’s Song” is particularly good. Some may recall that song from The Wicker Man. Faith and the Muse does a good cover of it, though I’d like to get the original song too. Female vocalist.

Hungry Lucy

I’ve done a review of this band previously on here. Great lyrics and good trip hop music. Not many pagan bands do trip hop. “To Kill a King” is a great song and so is “In the Circle”. Lots of good songs by them actually. Just read my review. Female vocalist.

Ian Van Dahl

Okay, not a pagan-oriented band, but I love my dance music and miss the days when I used to go dancing every weekend. Ian Van Dahl is great trance/dance. The music is uplifting and good for those days when you need to lift your spirits (i.e., those cold winter days when you don’t feel like doing anything.) Female vocalist.

Inkubus Sukkubus

A pagan artist I like primarily because they do some good Wiccan chants. Check out “Aradia” on their Wild album.

Jack Off Jill

Good vocalist. A good pagan band. They have a song called “Witch Hunt”. Though I like “Strawberry Gashes” and “Star No Star” better. They also do a cover of the popular Cure “Love Song”. Female vocalist.

Kidney Thieves

For some reason, the singer’s voice reminds me of Britney Spears IF Ms. Spears could actually do goth punk rock (which I highly doubt). But this should not deter you from liking Kidney Thieves. This band is on my current listening list and I haven’t paid attention to their entirely, so I don’t have any favourites by them.

Lacuna Coil

This band is on my “to listen” list. So far I like them, but don’t have any favourite songs yet.

Linkin Park

Would you believe this band has the same producers as Duran Duran? Somehow it doesn’t surprise me, though the two bands sound different. I love voice of the Linkin Park singer. It’s nice, mellow, and smooth. Amazing how he goes from mellow and smooth to screaming in rage. Some very good songs by them, though I first heard “My December” and it reminded me so much of some songs from high school that I had to check out the band to see what else they had. “Crawling” and “Numb” are two of my favourites from them.

Loreena McKennitt

Who cannot like Loreena McKennitt? She has a wonderful voice and great control of her vocals and she’s canadian! Would you believe she researches topics for her songs? Like when she wrote “Mummer’s Dance”, she was travelling and researching the cultural background for it. “Mummer’s Dance” is definitely a favourite of mine, so is “Mystic’s Dream” from the TV movie Mists of Avalon.

Mists of Avalon

Loved the movie and loved the soundtrack. Naturally, I had to get the soundtrack. Excellent composition. When I listen to it, I can almost see the movie in my head. “Mystic’s Dream” is on the soundtrack. The vocalist on the soundtrack is Aeone (see above).

New Order

I still listen to New Order on occasion. What can I say about them that hasn’t been said over the past 20 plus years? The music was innovative at the time and still sounds good.

Receiving End of Sirens

This band has been compared to “My Chemical Romance” though I haven’t heard “My Chemical Romance” yet. They are more popular than Receiving End of Sirens right now. Receiving End of Sirens has a strangely good grasp of varying their styles in a song. Frankly, you’ll just have to listen to them to understand what I mean. The strange thing is that their songs will unexplicably sink into your brain and you won’t be able to forget about them.

Rhea’s Obsession

This artist has a strange goth and trance feel when I listen to them. Some good songs like “Mortal Ground”.

Switchblade Symphony

This band is on my “to listen” list. I’ve listened to them a bit so far and they are quite good, though I don’t have a favourite right now.

Tapping the Vein

Another goth band. Beautiful lyrics and vocals. Check out “Butterfly” – “What am I? I wish I was butterfly. I’d fly and fly until it was my time to die. It’s creeping in again. I know what I really am. No more pretty purple peaceful butterfly.” Then listen to “Hurricane”. Female vocalist.

The Cure

I had this on cassette and listening to all this goth music lately reminded me of the Cure, especially the cover from Jack Off Jill. From the Cure, one of my favourites is “Pictures of You”.

The Gathering

On my “to listen” list. I like them so far.

Theatre of Tragedy

Liv Kristine was the singer for this band. She is now a solo artist and has another band. Some of Theatre of Tragedy’s stuff is really good though and it’s worth checking out sometime. “A Distance There Is” sometimes plays in my head when I wake up and I have to listen to the song. It’s a good piano piece. They also have a song called “Cassandra” and I actually like it. Great lyrics and excellent vocals.

Tori Amos

Tori Amos is a good artist, an original. She was able to take the tragedy in her life and use it to become stronger through her creativity. I was first introduced to her by a friend who sent me the song “One Thousand Oceans”. It so far is my favourite by her, though I haven’t heard all of her stuff yet. Her new album is decent, but it tends to be a mood thing for me. I can only take too much of it. It’s almost too mellow for me.

Within Temptation

This is an excellent goth band. Theatre of Tragedy and Within Temptation seem similar to me. I like a few songs from this band very much – “Angels”, “Memories”, “Our Farewell”, “Never Ending Story”, “In Perfect Harmony” and “Julian”.

Okay, that is my short list of what I listen to these days. I have meditation stuff and some other Wiccan/new age type music that’s pretty decent, but I’ll cover that next time. For now, this list should keep some of you people busy.

BB,
Cassandrah
Your local webmistress and music fan
Brigid’s Flame

Where you are going after you die?

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

MM,

Nathan showed me this interesting chart a few days ago and I had some amusing thoughts about it. The chart lists a few major religions and shows what followers in each religion thinks will happen to followers of the other ones. Seeing as they didn’t put Paganism or Wicca on the chart, I figure I might as well give an individual pagan’s perspective.

First, catholics – you will either go to heaven, purgatory, hell or are going to reincarnate depending on how nice you are to us pagans. I don’t particularly believe in hell, but since you’re so adamant about it existing, I figure you’ll end up there anyway if you don’t treat people of other spiritual backgrounds nice enough. Chances are though, most of you will reincarnate as you really don’t have a clue how life and death work. Purgatory is for those who have been toeing the line a little too often. Heaven is for those lucky few who manage to be very nice to everyone and become so enlightened you won’t reincarnate – you’ll probably see a few of us pagans there too.

Second, protestants – you almost fall into the same category as the catholics except since you don’t believe in purgatory, you’ll either go to heaven or hell or are going to reincarnate. Chances are you’ll reincarnate because you don’t have a clue either, just like the catholics. If you’re really mean to us pagans though, you’ll probably end up in hell since you believe in it so much. To get to heaven, see comment regarding catholics.

Third, mormons – you’re much nicer than the catholics and protestants and you have good hearts, though a little misguided. I think you’ll likely reincarnate because you don’t quite have the meaning of life and death yet. You’re not as clueless as the catholics or protestants though, so maybe a few of you will get to heaven this time around. Otherwise, if you heed my words, you might get to heaven in the next lifetime. As for hell, well, if you leave us pagans alone which you tend to do sometimes, you probably won’t go there.

Next, muslims – hm… thinking they’ll reincarnate like most of the mormons. Some muslims are quite enlightened though, so maybe they’ll get to heaven. Just stay away from crazy kamakazi maneouvres and you should stay away from hell.

Hindus and Buddhists will either go to heaven or reincarnate. They don’t tend to be as bad as the catholics, protestants, mormons, or muslims. They tend to relatively nice people, not shoving their beliefs at everyone else trying to convert them and they don’t tend to condemn someone just because of their spiritual background. Much more enlightened groups of people they are. Some may get to heaven this time or maybe in the next life.

Unitarians are quite nice folks. This is a toss-up. Because they are so nice, I’m hesitant to say they are going to reincarnate. They at least try to be nice to everyone and maybe they actually do have a clue. For now, I’ll say they’ll go to heaven (just to be nice back) and maybe us pagans will see them there.

Atheists and Agnostics, I hate to say this, but you’re probably going to be reincarnated in this sometimes miserable limited-dimension world that is comprised of nothing but suffering, as Buddha says “All life is suffering”. Sorry, but just because you can’t prove something exists doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You won’t get to heaven frankly because you don’t believe in it and you really don’t have a clue. So another trip around the circle of life you go. Maybe next time, you’ll take my advice and just become pagan.

As for other pagans, we’ll all just go to our respective otherworldly places that we each believe in whether it be the Summerlands or Valhalla or Hades or the Egyptian underworld or just heading into the west a la Lord of the Rings elf-style or well you get the idea. There’s the off chance some might reincarnate because they may need to learn a few more lessons, but hopefully they’ll all just come back as pagans again.

Well, there you have it. Be nice to us pagans and you can’t go wrong.

BB,
Cassandrah
Your local webmistress
Brigid’s Flame

Street Running – February 13, 2006

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

MM,

Finally went for a run. I ran a half mile to Bloor and Park Rd., then a mile back going north on Yonge to Church and then south on Church. My time was a little slow, but decent. I was feeling a little dizzy from the cold. Thinking on top of wearing a hat, I need to wear ear muffs. My ears really can’t take the cold well. The time for the half mile was 5 minutes 14 seconds and the time for the mile was 9 minutes 7 seconds. I’m hoping to get a run in tomorrow.

I did do some pushups when I got back from the run and some free weights for my arms. I felt like my arms were getting weak from not getting to the gym as much as I should lately. I also did some light stretching. I’m fairly flexible, so a short time not doing much stretching doesn’t hurt me as much as missing the running and weight training.

I didn’t get any writing done, so hoping to go for a run tomorrow and come back and do some writing.

BB,
Cassandrah
Your local webmistress
Brigid’s Flame

Training Update – Do Jang Days

Monday, February 13th, 2006

MM,

This is just a quick update. Since I’ve been so busy writing lately, I haven’t gotten much training in. :( I did get to the do jang last Monday for taekwondo. Then on Saturday was a black belt meeting, so I had to go to the do jang. We didn’t do much training and because I didn’t get enough sleep, I decided to head home. Next week, I’m hoping to get some more training in though it’s hard to do sometimes when my brain just has too much that needs to be written.

On a good note, I’m just about done writing my Reiki One manual. :) There was much to write and I still have to review it and edit it.

Tomorrow is the start of a new week and hoping I can get some writing done as well as get some exercise. Around March I have to increase the amount of training because I have my black belt test in July. Intense training starts in May and I have to get up to speed again after taking some time off of regular training.

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame