Archive for December, 2006

Happy Yule and Season’s Greetings!

Friday, December 29th, 2006

MM,

The winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year and called Yule for most pagans and Wiccans, has come and gone. Usually about this time, I spend time to myself and tend to be a bit “hermity”. Hence, the lack of blog posts for two weeks! Plus, I needed to de-stress myself. According to my horoscope, I have a transit that suggests I need time to meditate in the next few months. It’s a funny coincidence because I’ve been wanting to find a Buddhist temple or center where I can go just to meditate whenever. Strange too how things tend to return full circle. I think I’ve always been Buddhist just like I’ve always been a pagan. I guess if I really have to put a label on it, I’m a Buddhist Wiccan. :S

Since last I wrote, I did a pre-Yule ritual for my coven, and I finally made it out to the women’s group again. The ritual for the women’s group was an anniversary ritual for Tamarra and Richard James, HPS and HP of WCC. They have been married for thirty years and handfasted for ten. We did a small ritual similar to the handfasting ritual where we all put our blessings for them on ribbons and then tied their hands together with them. It was quite a lovely ritual.

Public ritual on the 17th was an Egyptian style Yule ritual. It was a ritual play where Hathor leaves Ra, and Ra sends Thoth to find her and bring her back. Ra, being the Egyptian sun god is a little depressed about her leaving, and the sun disappears. The ritual symbolically represented the sun disappearing during this time of year, and we lit candles to encourage Hathor to return to Ra, thereby encouraging the sun to return.

The week of winter solstice, I spent hibernating and trying to de-stress myself. Somehow I managed to get a little sick. I probably should have gotten some exercise, but as I mentioned I tend to hibernate around this time of year – at least until the days get brighter and longer again. It’s just pretty hard to be motivated when the sunlight is hardly out and it’s dark out for most of the day. I’m glad it’s almost January. Cold it may be, but dark it isn’t quite so much. I can deal with the cold, but I just need the sun.

Public ritual on the 24th was the Rite of Mithras. Mithras is a Persian sun god who was born on December 25th. The Rite of Mithras is a ritual play that depicts his myth. For more information on Mithras, see “Mithras and Mithraism”.

Christmas day was stressful. I had to go to my mom’s place. Although I don’t mind visiting my mother, my sister, and my nephews for Christmas, I’m not particularly fond of visiting with my brother-in-law and my brother. My other two sisters are annoyed with our brother-in-law and didn’t show up this year for Christmas. My brother is generally unsocial (him and I don’t get along), and he just hides in the basement with his dinner.

After dinner at my mom’s we headed to Tamarra’s place for her “Orphan Night Dinner”. Although as pagans/Wiccans, we don’t celebrate Christmas, she realizes that Christmas is a hard time for some people. Thus, she has a free dinner set up on Christmas for those who don’t have family (and also for those who may wish to avoid family at that time).

Such was my holiday season so far. New Year’s eve is a Sunday, and being Summoner I have to be at public ritual on Sunday. We are having a pig roast for the ritual, which should be interesting. The ritual is based on the Compitalia from Roman religion. Afterwards, we will be bringing in the New Year with fireworks at a private location.

To conclude this blog entry, I’ll end with a little tidbit. January is named for the Roman god, Janus, who is a god of gateways, doorways, and looking forwards and backwards simultaneously. This may be perhaps one reason why January 1st is the New Year in the Gregorian calendar. At this time, the god Janus gives us time to reflect on the past and to look forward to the future. Blessings to Janus!

MP,
Cassandrah
Your local webmistress
Brigid’s Flame

Gym Day – December 13, 2006

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

MM,

I went to the gym again, as I didn’t have time to make it to the do jang in time for class.

COMPLETE LIST OF WEIGHT TRAINING EXERCISES:
Machine/apparatus Exercises:
Leg lifts
Pull-ups/chin-ups
-military
-parallel
Dips
Leg press
Hamstring flexor/seated leg curls
Hip adductors
Hip abductors
Seated row
Seated chest press
Lateral pull-downs
Pectoral fly (sometimes done using free weights)
Shoulder fly
Shoulder lift/press
Back extensor
Tricep extensor
Bicep curls (usually done using free weights now)
Weighted squat machine (they got some new equipment; the new machine for this is not as good as the old one :()

Free weights:
Two additional shoulder exercises
– lift weight in front using shoulder muscles
– bending at waist lift weight out to the side using muscles along the scapulae
– wrist strengthening

Other exercises:
Pushups
Situps
Cycling
Elliptical (Since I didn’t go for a run, I decided to do ten minutes on the elliptical before my weight training exercises to warm up.)

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Survivor: Cook Islands – Recap and Prediction

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

MM,

Survivor: Cook Islands started out this season with an interesting premise. Would tribes divided by race work better than a mixed tribe? Interesting premise, I thought, even though some people thought this was somewhat a racist idea. Not really, because the show wasn’t making any assumptions about the races, but was performing a sociological experiment.

In a way too, it was a good thing Survivor decided to make tribes based on race – now we get to see more ethnic groups represented in the show. Before this season, Survivor seemed primarily Caucasian with a few splatterings of other ethnic groups. Perhaps after this season, the producers of Survivor will be casting more ethnic people in the future seasons. For one thing, early on this season the top three favourite Survivors this season according to the website poll are Asian – Yul, Cao Boi, and Becky. They also seem to have gained some popularity among the former Survivor players. (Read the Survivors Strike Back Blog). Flying under the radar these three aren’t! They’ve made an impression so far.

But did division based on race make a difference this season? Not really. People were still making alliances based on who they personally felt like they could trust, such as Cao Boi and Jessica (“Flica”). Even the Yul and Becky duo was based on personal feelings of mutual trust. They see each other as surrogate brother and sister. Overall though, the cast of this season’s Survivor couldn’t wait to shed their racial identity and mix it up with the others.

Now, it’s down to the final six with Yul as the ring-leader and Becky as his side-kick (or is she the brains behind it all?). Tagging along and pulling his own weight, we have Ozzy (“Monkey Boy”). Being rewarded for her loyalty in not deserting her tribe like Candice and Jonathan did, we have Sundra. Finally, we have Parvati and Adam, the last ones standing from their original Raro tribe. Who will win the million dollars?

Before I get to my prediction, here’s a run-down of the tribes and the cast of Survivor this season.

The season started with four tribes – Hiki (African-American), Puka (Asian-American), Aitu (Hispanic-American), and Raro (Caucasian). Below is the list of Survivors by their original tribe along with some early comments (based on episodes one and two):

Hiki (African-American)
Sekou
Sekou, we didn’t have enough time with you. You seemed like an interesting fellow though. Too bad you got voted off just because it was a gender thing. I was sorely disappointed that the ladies felt they had to do this.
Sundra
Stephannie
Rebecca
Nathan
Nathan seems like a cool guy. I can’t believe he caught an octopus! Damn. That’s almost as good a killing that pig or spearing that shark in the other seasons. You rock! Strangely, I have noticed that you have the same name as my better half, and he rocks too. Nate the Great meet Nate the Great.

Puka (Asian-American)
Becky
Brad
Cao Boi
I like Cao Boi. Yeah, his jokes could get old, but he’s damn entertaining, and a fairly lovable guy.
Jenny
Yul
Yul is a favourite too. He’s well-mannered, handsome, and has “adopted” Becky. He was also smart enough to find the hidden immunity idol. I would definitely want to team up with him if I was on this season of Survivor. (BTW, this is the second time someone’s found the hidden immunity idol after only one night on Exile Island. Last season, Terry found it the first night out there as well. Either these guys are brilliant at solving clues or the crew of Survivor needs to be more creative.)

Aitu (Hispanic-American)
Cristina
J.P.
Billy
There is only one way to describe Billy – TEDDY BEAR! Yeah, he’s a bit of a sap, and maybe a little naive, but hey, if he felt something for Candice, so be it. He probably thought she was an angel since he knew he was going to be voted out. Besides, he is cute. Granted, I like a man with a fit body like any other girl, but I could tell that Billy is a sweet heart. If he lost a little bit of the bulge, he’d be a girl’s dream.
Ozzy
Ozzy annoys me so far. I just thought there wasn’t a good reason to throw a challenge to vote Billy off. This was so not the same situation as when Ethan’s tribe threw the challenge to vote someone off. They had gotten to know the person for a while. In this case, Ozzy just didn’t give Billy a chance. Billy was clearly an outcast in his group, even if he was part of the same ethnic background. He just didn’t feel as if he fit. Pretty much like Cao Boi. I sympathize because I know how it feels not fitting in with “your own kind”.
Cecilia

Raro (Caucasian)
Adam
Adam is just plain idiotic. You don’t want to be sleeping on a wet, cold floor for thirty-nine days. I haven’t even been on Survivor and I agree with the former Survivor Stephenie, you just don’t want to do that. So just get off your lazy butt, quit sulking about not being the alpha male, and just build the damn shelter.
Candice
Candice is just a nice girl. Another sweet heart. I see why Billy likes her. I also see why he could mistake her sweetness for actual love. Hopefully, she doesn’t feel too weirded out to be his friend later on during the reunion episode. In my experience, guys like Billy make wonderful friends even if he doesn’t get the girl.
Jessica
I really like Jessica like I like Cao Boi. Those two are great companions. Two hippies, but from different generations – I love it!
Jonathan
Jonathan is clearly the alpha male. The younger Adam just can’t deal with it. Oh well.
Parvati
Not sure what to make of Parvati yet. She reminds me of some of the other former female Survivors who just used their “feminine wiles” to get what they wanted instead of being who they are. Then again, maybe they were being who they are, now that is sad. Women feeling like they had to act the way men expected them to act. I liked Stephenie much better – at least she had strength and didn’t rely on batting her eye lashes at every man on the island.

After episode two, the Survivors finally got a chance to mix it up when Jeff merged the four tribes into two tribes – Aitu and Raro. In Aitu, we now have Sundra, Yul, Becky, Cao Boi, Cecilia, Ozzy, Candice, Jessica, and Jonathan. In Raro, we now have Stephannie, Rebecca, Nathan, Jenny, Brad, Cristina, J.P., Adam, and Parvati.

In episode three, Cecilia was voted out by her new tribe based on her performance in challenges. Jonathan has now teamed up with the Becky-Yul duo – smart move. Cao Boi and Jessica team up; however, Jonathan expects Jessica to be loyal to their original Caucasian tribe. Cao Boi targets Becky to vote off, but in the end he’s convinced to keep Becky around and vote off Cecilia. Candice was saved from potentially being voted out by Raro sending her to Exile Island. Remaining are Sundra, Yul, Becky, Cao Boi, Ozzy, Candice, Jessica, and Jonathan.

In episode four, Candice is questioned about her loyalties based on Raro sending her to Exile Island. Ozzy is feeling vulnerable as he is the only original member of Aitu left. Adam is sent to Exile Island. At Raro, Stephannie becomes frustrated and blames herself for losing the immunity challenge. However, the other women of her tribe convince her to stay around longer and to vote out J.P., who has been annoying the women with his lying around and giving commands. In the end, J.P. is voted out, and the women of Raro now out-number the men. Remaining are Stephannie, Rebecca, Nathan, Jenny, Brad, Cristina, Adam, and Parvati.

In episode five, the men at Raro work harder now that they are out-numbered by the women. At Aitu, Cao Boi becomes annoyed at Candice, Sundra, and Becky for taking it easy. Later, Cao Boi, Jessica, and Ozzy take a little trip and end up at Raro’s camp. Jonathan is once again sent to Exile Island. He can’t find the immunity idol, though he searches hard for it. Cristina at Raro starts to annoy her tribe mates. Now, that J.P. isn’t barking orders, she seems to have taken over. Meanwhile, Stephannie’s comments about home to Nathan indicates she has no heart for the game anymore. In the end, her tribe votes her out keeping Cristina around a little longer. However, her tribe hurts her feelings when at tribal council, they say she’s too bossy. Remaining members are Rebecca, Nathan, Jenny, Brad, Cristina, Adam, and Parvati.

In episode six, we get to know Cao Boi a little more as he expresses a spiritual connection to the immunity idol after winning the last two immunity challenges. He decides to bring the idol to every challenge because he believes it will then bestow victory on his tribe each time. Unfortunately, this time there was no immunity challenge – both tribes had to vote out a member. The tribe that wins the challenge wins a big dinner and a chance to sit in on the other tribe’s tribal council. Aitu puts in a strong performance and wins the challenge. Aitu heads to tribal council and unfortunately, the luck of the immunity idol can’t save Cao Boi and his tribe votes him out. Then, Aitu moves to the other side of the council while Raro enters. As Raro sits down, Aitu feasts on their reward dinner. Aitu listens to the issues of Raro tribe and before Raro can cast any votes, Jeff surprises everyone by telling them that as part of their reward Aitu can “kidnap” a member of Raro until after the next challenge. The person kidnapped is safe from being voted out. Aitu decides to kidnap Nathan, and he is given a dinner while his tribe mates cast their votes. In the end, Cristina is voted out for her bossy ways. Remaining Aitu members are Sundra, Yul, Becky, Ozzy, Candice, Jessica, and Jonathan. Remaining Raro members are Rebecca, Nathan, Jenny, Brad, Adam, and Parvati.

In episode seven, Nathan sits helplessly by while watching his tribe lose the reward challenge. On returning to Raro, he blames Brad for not physically competing, but instead sitting by to do the puzzle part of the challenge. Adam is once again sent to Exile Island for a rainy night. Feeling miserable and tired of losing, he comes back with more determination to win the next immunity challenge. Amazingly, this does help as Jenny, Rebecca, and Adam work together to win the immunity challenge and they send Aitu to tribal council. At Aitu, Ozzy tries to form an alliance with Jessica and Candice, but this falls apart as Jonathan convinces his tribe to vote out Jessica (who is now lost without her buddy, Cao Boi). In the end, Jessica is sent home. Remaining members are Sundra, Yul, Becky, Ozzy, Candice, and Jonathan.

In episode eight, all the Survivors are expecting a merge as we are now down to twelve Survivors. Jonathan and Candice discuss switching their alliance back to their former Raro members, Parvati and Adam, when they do merge. A merge though did not happen, and the Survivors were given another twist to the game when they met up for the reward challenge. Before beginning the challenge, Jeff gave everyone the opportunity to “change their fate in the game” by leaving their current tribe and joining the other tribe – in effect, mutinying. Given only ten seconds to decide, Candice steps forward soon followed by Jonathan to the surprise of their former alliance of Yul and Becky. After joining Raro, Aitu has four remaining members – Sundra, Yul, Becky, and Ozzy – who vow to be work even harder at the challenges. This determination pays off as Aitu wins the reward challenge. Given the chance to send someone to Exile Island after winning the challenge, the small Aitu tribe of four unanimously agree to send Candice to Exile Island and exact their revenge for being abandoned. While enjoying their reward, the four remaining Aitu tribe mates solidify their bond to make it to the final four. Candice meanwhile is sulking on Exile Island because she hasn’t had any time to bond with her new tribe mates (in particular, Adam). Jonathan is feeling vulnerable at Raro and confesses on camera (not to his tribe mates) that he feels vulnerable. He followed Candice’s decision without thinking things through. At the next immunity challenge, Aitu once again pulls through and wins. At Raro, Candice tells her tribe she wouldn’t mind voting out Jonathan (and specifically tells Adam Jonathan wants to vote him out), but they decide that Brad’s earlier comment of “every man for himself” was enough to warrant voting him out. In the end, the spared Jonathan and voted Brad out and surprisingly making him the first member of the jury. The remaining Raro members are Rebecca, Nathan, Jenny, Adam, Parvati, Jonathan, and Candice.

In episode nine, Candice’s reason for mutinying against her tribe becomes clear as she and Adam snuggle together. After her tribe loses once again to the strong Aitu tribe of four, she is again sent to Exile Island. Apparently, there is no punishment strong enough for her abandonment of her former alliance. Clearly, she was using them. At camp, Jonathan makes himself useful by catching more than enough fish for everyone to eat. Hopefully, this is enough for his tribe to keep him around. At the next immunity challenge, Jeff tells the Survivors that the losing tribe will receive a bottle with a message inside not to be revealed until tribal council. Aitu wins the challenge making it their fourth straight win as a tribe of only four. At tribal council, Rebecca is voted out based on her poor performance in challenges. Then, Parvati is instructed to read the message in the bottle. Everyone hopes it’s something good, a merge maybe? However, Candice points out if it was good, wouldn’t it be given to the winning tribe, not the losing. Opening the bottle, Parvati reads, ““You’ve just voted out one member of your tribe, you will now vote out another.” She follows that with her amusing comment, “That’s not fun.” With no room for discussion, the Raro tribe ends up voting out Jenny. Rebecca and Jenny now join the jury. In one night, Raro is now down to five members – Nathan, Adam, Parvati, Jonathan, and Candice.

Episode ten finally brings the waited for merge. As the Survivors meet for what they thought would be their next challenge, Jeff announces that two members were voted out of Raro the night before. Aitu realizes how very fortunate the won the last challenge, otherwise, they’d be down to two members. Jeff shows the Survivors a basket of food and announces the merge. The newly merged tribe has a celebration and later paints their new tribe flag for “Aitutonga”. Realizing that the Aitu members are down by one when it comes to votes, Yul discusses with Becky his plan to use the immunity idol to convince Jonathan to flip alliances again. He informs Ozzy and Sundra too of his plan, finally revealing that he has the immunity idol to them as well (Yul had earlier shown Becky the immunity idol). At the immunity challenge, Ozzy (“Monkey Boy”) wins by hanging onto a poll longer than the other Survivors. Yul is convinced Jonathan will flip if he sees Yul has the immunity idol. After seeing Yul’s immunity idol, Jonathan tries to convince his Raro alliance not to vote for Yul, but they don’t believe Yul has the idol. Realizing that they are going to vote for Yul anyway, Jonathan decides to vote with his former alliance in an effort to prevent them from voting him off. In the end, the former Raro tribe except Jonathan votes for Yul and the former Aitu tribe plus Jonathan votes for Nate. In a five to four vote, the newly merged tribe makes Nate the fourth member of the jury. Remaining Survivors are
Sundra, Yul, Becky, Ozzy, Candice, Jonathan, Adam, and Parvati.

In episode eleven, Jonathan is confronted by Candice and Parvati for flipping on his alliance. He tells them straight out now that Yul has the immunity idol and would have used it. Either way someone from the former Raro tribe was going home. Meanwhile, the former Aitu tribe is ecstatic that they have turned the game around on the former Raro tribe. At the Survivor auction, Becky bids and wins an important sealed note. She has to read it immediately and it says to send one person to Exile Island immediately and take all of their money for the auction. She decides to send Candice again and take her $500, which hasn’t been spent yet. Jeff says that the immunity idol could still be found on Exile Island, but Yul decides to end the suspense and openly tells everyone he has the idol. Pulling it out, he shows it to Parvati (who bidded on and won a bubble bath and chocolate cake) and the rest of the Survivors. Parvati comments that the idol looks authentic and then bats her lashes at Yul. Jonathan ends up the big winner at the auction as he won a hot dog, fries, and a cold beer (though he spilled some before he had a chance to drink it all), and then later wins a pepperoni pizza. He also wins a toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash to clean up after eating so much. At camp, Jonathan burbs in front of this tribe mates annoying them. Meanwhile, on Exile Island, Candice is crying about needing a hug (especially from Adam). She mets up with her tribe at the next immunity challenge, which requires everyone to recall the past challenges. Adam, because of his determination to win and beat Jonathan, wins the immunity challenge. Later, Adam, Candice, and Parvati relax in the shelter while their other tribe mates make and then have dinner. Candice, still overly emotional about being sent to Exile Island so many times, confronts the other tribe mates, especially Jonathan who caught the fish that comprised their dinner. “Since when do you guys not share food?” she whines. Apparently, since she decided that snuggling up with Adam was more important than helping out at camp. Did she expect to be served dinner after having betrayed her former alliance? Candice takes things out on Jonathan saying that no one likes him and that even Yul doesn’t like him, to which Yul comments that he can speak for himself and “please don’t speak on my behalf”. At tribal council later, Candice is finally spared from ever going to Exile Island as she is finally voted out becoming the fifth jury member. Candice and Adam share a passionate kiss good-bye. Just before snuffing out her torch Jeff comments, “A kiss is nice… Maybe if it were love he would have given you the Immunity necklace.” Remaining Survivors are Sundra, Yul, Becky, Ozzy, Jonathan, Adam, and Parvati.

In the most recent episode of Survivor: Cook Islands, episode twelve, Jonathan worries about the comments at the previous night’s tribal council, in particular he found Adam’s name-calling uncalled-for. In the morning while chopping coconuts, Parvati cuts her thumb with the machete. The good news is she doesn’t have to cut her thumb nail for a while, the bad news is she needs a few stitches. Her thumb bandaged up, Parvati shows up at the next reward challenge. Jeff asks if she can get it wet and she replies that she can a little. Then Jeff reveals that in this reward challenge, family is there to help. Unexpectedly, Parvati and her father win the challenge. Parvati can now send one Survivor to Exile Island. She picks Jonathan. Jonathan gives his wife a kiss good-bye and then heads out. Parvati’s dad is then told that he can pick two other Survivors and their loved ones to join them in the reward with no help from the Survivors. Her dad picks Sundra and her mother, and Adam and his father. With four of the Survivors gone from camp, Ozzy, Becky, and Yul enjoy the peace and quiet. Yul comments how nice it might be in the end with just the three of them. Then the three of them decided to hide some of the food they gathered from Adam, and Parvati stating that why should they give food to their competitors and help them win the challenges. Later, they change their mind as Sundra, Adam, and Parvati return with food from the reward for them. At the immunity challenge, Ozzy wins easily as it involves quick-footed feats of skill. As tribal council looms, Adam tries to convince Yul to keep him and Parvati around longer. In the previous episode, he had stated that Yul would have his vote at the final tribal council if he voted out Jonathan before him. In the end, Parvati and Adam secured their spots in the final six as the tribe finally voted out Jonathan making him the sixth member of the jury.

To sum up, we have Sundra, Yul, Becky, Ozzy, Adam, and Parvati in the final six. The jury members right now comprise of Brad, Rebecca, Jenny, Nate, Candice, and Jonathan. Yul has the immunity idol. Ozzy is doing spectacular in individual challenges and he might just pull off winning the remaining ones. Adam is determined to win and not get voted out. His determination has helped him win at least one immunity challenge. Yul is looking out for Becky, and so far it looks as though Yul will keep his word to take Ozzy and Sundra to final four. Unless Adam wins the next immunity challenge, he’s next to go. Then Parvati. I strongly suspect Ozzy will be in the final three with Yul and Becky. He may try to do something to upset that in the next episode, but I highly doubt that Adam and Parvati will make him change alliances. Sundra won’t change either. She’s been carried this far with Yul and Becky and she’s not about to trust Adam and Parvati. Thus, odds are the final three are Yul, Becky, and Ozzy. Of course, Adam and Parvati might try to convince Ozzy and Sundra to vote Becky off. In that case, Ozzy, Adam, and Parvati could then vote off Sundra. Then Adam and Parvati might turn on Ozzy and vote him off because they can’t vote for Yul. Because of that danger, I think it’s still unlikely Ozzy would switch alliances. You want to be allied with the whoever has the immunity idol. Ozzy voting out Becky is enough for Yul not to trust him anymore. I’m putting my odds on Yul, Becky, and Ozzy unless Adam wins more immunity challenges. For final three, we might be surprised at to who wins the immunity challenge. In the past Survivor seasons, the woman who survived to final three often ended up winning the last crucial immunity challenge. If indeed this happens, Becky and Yul will be in the final two. If Yul wins, Becky and Yul will be in the final two. Only if Ozzy wins the final immunity challenge will he be in final two.

If final two is Yul and Becky. The jury will consist of Brad, Rebecca, Jenny, Nate, Candice, Jonathan, Parvati, Adam, Sundra, and Ozzy. I don’t think Nate and Ozzy will vote for Becky. For the rest, I think it’s even odds on who they’ll vote for. Yul’s played a spectacular game. I think the jury will be convinced, except for maybe Candice and Jonathan. It could be a split 5-5 vote. If so, then no one’s sure what will happen.

If final two is Yul and Ozzy, Becky will vote for Yul with a certainty. Nate will vote for Ozzy. Ozzy might actually stand a chance in the final tribal council. Overall, he hasn’t deceived anyone and he’s played a strong game. The jury would feel he deserved his spot in final two. The jury could also have a split vote here.

Is there even going to be a final two? Rumour has it it’s going to be final three.

Overall though, I think Yul might be more convincing at the tribal council and win votes that way. He is not only physically strong, but mentally strong. He’s played a good game without being disloyal. His vote for Nate wasn’t personal. He voted out Candice and Jonathan because he felt they might be disloyal.

But you never know. Maybe Adam and Parvati will convince Yul to vote out Ozzy. Episode thirteen airs this Thursday, and the final episode airs this Sunday. To find out who wins, watch the reunion episode right after.

Before I end this, I would like to make another point of asking “when the heck are you going to let Canadians on the show?!” If you don’t want to mix it up with your northern neighbours, how about a Canadian version of the show? I’m sure I’m not the only Canadian interested.

Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Rituals – December 3 to 10, 2006

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

December 3, 2006

The theme for public ritual was about slavery and freedom. Are we really free? Or do we have our own little prisons? We each received a candle to burn. The candle is to represent the freedom we want or our thanks for the freedom we have or possibly both.

December 4, 2006

Nathan and I did our last moon ritual for this year. The last moon according to Graves’ calendar is elder moon. For this ritual, we burned down thirteen candles each, the candles representing the cycle of the thirteen months. Because we had a total of 26 candles, we had a large metal dish to put the candles on. After melting down, the wax on the dish looked like a “candle pizza”. 😀 I was fun though because I love looking at fire and I don’t have a fireplace living in an apartment. Twenty-six candles can heat up a room just as well as any fireplace.

December 5, 2006

I decided to go to WCC’s Tuesday night class after going to taekwondo. I hadn’t been to one of the classes in a while. I thought it would be a good idea to pop into the classes every so often – this way I can be sure that my own notes are up-to-date. Tuesday’s class was “Theology, Patrons, and Shrines”. I missed the first half since my taekwondo class finishes at 8 p.m. and the WCC class starts at that time, but that’s alright. I just wanted to see if my notes were up-to-date – and they appear to be. It doesn’t look like they’ve changed the classes much. Though, of course, I could do with another round of mythology classes. Anyway, I have good notes on most of the classes. At this point, I’m just reviewing my notes to see if I can teach from them.

December 10, 2006

Public ritual was about will and determination to accomplish goals – even those we think are unachievable. Stones were consecrated and we each received a stone as a reminder of our will and determination.

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Training Update – December 5 and 7, 2006

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

December 5, 2006

I went to the do jang for class at seven.

December 7, 2006

I went to the gym with Nathan. I’ve highlighted the exercises I did in bold.

COMPLETE LIST OF WEIGHT TRAINING EXERCISES:
Machine/apparatus Exercises:
Leg lifts
Pull-ups/chin-ups
-military
-parallel
Dips
Leg press (machine was broken, waiting for replacement parts)
Hamstring flexor/seated leg curls
Hip adductors
Hip abductors
Seated row
Seated chest press
Lateral pull-downs
Pectoral fly (sometimes done using free weights)
Shoulder fly
Shoulder lift/press
Back extensor
Tricep extensor
Bicep curls (usually done using free weights now)
Weighted squat machine

Free weights:
Two additional shoulder exercises
– lift weight in front using shoulder muscles
– bending at waist lift weight out to the side using muscles along the scapulae
– wrist strengthening

Other exercises:
Pushups
Situps
Cycling

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Traditional Korean Martial Arts Training

Monday, December 11th, 2006


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3UWA-yRYn4

I wonder how many laps he had to run on his hands?

In case anyone is wondering, striking a tree is less forgiving than striking a human body. The purpose of repeatedly striking a tree is to toughen up the hands (and the feet).

BB,
Cassandrah

Before There was Taekwondo… Taek Kyun!

Monday, December 11th, 2006

MM,

Taek kyun was the forerunner to taekwondo. I did not think it was still being taught until a martial arts friend of mine sent me links to the below videos. Watching you can see where taekwondo got its kicks and moves from. However, watching these videos I can see how far taekwondo is from its roots. These martial artists effectively combine hand and feet techniques, not just strikes but grappling and throws. Also amazing to me was the smooth and grace with which they move. They have the smoothness of those old tai chi Masters and the grace of dancers (hence the comparison by some to capoeira).


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrdHrNiJ5Ls


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVt-300BMmo

Hope you enjoyed the videos.

BB,
Cassandrah
Your local black belt
Brigid’s Flame

Duties of the Summoner

Monday, December 11th, 2006

MM,

A friend asked me recently about my role as Summoner at the WCC. Since I haven’t had a chance to explain my duties as Summoner on here, I thought I’d post my reply to my friend.

“The number one priority of the Summoner is the safety of the High Priestess of the coven. In this case, it is Tamarra who is High Priestess of the WCC. Next, is the safety of the High Priestess of the ritual, that is, the Priestess who is leading the ritual that night. Third is the safety of the Hand/maiden, who is responsible for the archive of the temple and for ensuring that something remains of the traditions in the case of something tragic. Fourth is the sanctity of the ritual and the ritual space. The Summoner has to ensure that no physical danger threatens the ritual and its participants. The Summoner is also known as the Gatekeeper because indoors the Summoner stands guard at the door. The Summoner’s other job is to be messenger to the community. During a ritual night, the Summoner will give notice as to the start of the ritual (such as 10 minutes to, 5 minutes to). At the start of the ritual, the Summoner will have the people line up, recite the Summoner’s Charge, and lead them to the temple (or when outdoors, the the ritual spot). On a ritual night, the Summoner is responsible for greeting new people to the community (practical as the Summoner needs to know who can be trusted in the community). The Summoner is also responsible for any medical emergencies. However, since the first priority of the Summoner is the safety of the High Priestess (Tamarra) and the High Priestess of the ritual, the Summoner will require assistants to help with medical emergencies. Basically, on top of being the guard for the High Priestess, the Summoner is essentially “head of security” for the community. It is not the Summoner’s job to be involved with any politics of the WCC, but the Summoner has to be aware of what is going on internally. The final duty of the Summoner is to find a suitable replacement at the end of the term, and to continue serving until such replacement is found.”

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

New Section on Website – Wicca

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

MM,

I have finally gotten around to starting my section on Wicca on my website, Brigid’s Flame. As with the rest of the website, I will be adding more to it over time. For now, please read the introductory page to Wicca and a Wicca-related article, “Raising Power in Group Rituals”. I am currently reviewing some books that I’ve read over the past 6 or so years that are related to Wicca, witchcraft, paganism, and the occult. I hope to have this book list available on the website soon.

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame