Archive for February, 2007

Gung hoy fat choi! Happy New Year!

Monday, February 26th, 2007

Happy Pig Year!!!

Yes, I realize this blog entry is a little late, but better late than never.

Chinese New Year’s was on February 18, which brought in the year of the pig. Pig years are 1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, and 2007. The next pig year is 2019.

Some people are already familiar with the Chinese zodiac and know that each year is represented by a different animal or sign (in order, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig). What people may not know is that the month, day, and hour of birth is also represented by one of the twelve animals as well. In order to determine your luck in life, the Chinese would take your full birth date and time, then look at different variables in your chart.

As with modern Western astrology, each sign is associated with a different element. However, there are five elements in traditional Chinese philosophy – earth, fire, water, wood, and metal/gold – instead of the four commonly known air, fire, water, and earth (which come from Greek philosophy). (Note also that the Chinese elements are different from the Buddhist elements. The Buddhist elements consist of the four elements from Greek philosophy plus aether or void, which tends to be more commonly used in Western occult practices than the traditional Chinese ones.) Also just like modern Western astrology, the Chinese signs get along better with some signs than others. Signs four signs apart get along best, basically a trine aspect like modern Western astrology. For example, oxen, snakes, and roosters will get along with each other.

Now, I did mention that your birth month, day, and time are represented by an animal as well. This needs to be calculated (I have yet to find a Chinese astrology program that does calculations for you.), but can be done with the correct tables. For example, my Chinese signs are ox (year), sheep (month), dog (day), and ox (time). This provides more insight into my personality as well as my “fortune”. The year represents heritage (what you have inherited from your ancestors and family), the month represents supporters (people who were part of your upbringing and influence you), the day represents self (your personality, basically – you!), and the time represents production (your life accomplishments including whether or not you will raise a family). Putting this all together, Chinese astrology is more complex than how it is currently used.

A good book to help you determine your Chinese astrological chart is The Traditional Art of Chinese Fortune Reading by Peter Shen. The book uses tables and charts to help you draw up your own chart, but it is well worth working through to find out your “fortune”. In my chart, it says I have seven “fortune stars” of “major income” and two “fortune stars” of “lucky money”. Guess that means I have to keep working for my fortune!

May the stars shine on you!
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Gym day – February 19, 2007

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

I made it to the gym on Monday. 😀

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

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 (20 minutes)
Elliptical

Blood Diamonds

Monday, February 19th, 2007

Okay, I’ve already seen the movie, Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio and I thought it was an excellent movie. The movie touches on a subject hard core and pulls no punches.

Then of course, Valentine’s Day rolls around (and I won’t even get into my rant on how Valentine’s Day is a Christian pervertion of a pagan tradition and how morbid it actually is since it’s on the day Valentine died) and there’s a bulletin on myspace.com about why you shouldn’t buy a synthetic diamond, although there is an extremely good reason why you should. Here’s my response to that bulletin:

In actuality, synthetic diamonds are marked synthetic so buyers can tell the difference. This was imposed by the major diamond corporations, so that people can get a “real” diamond. In fact, a synthetic diamond looks as good as any “real” diamond. Contrary to what people may say, it does cost to make a synthetic diamond because you still need a diamond piece to begin with. Though once you make one diamond you keep one piece out of a batch to keep making more.

Is the cost of a diamond what really matters? Is the value of a diamond worth more than life itself. See Leonardo’s new film, Blood Diamond, and then do some more research. The actor has stated in interviews that he will not buy a “blood diamond” (also known as a “conflict diamond”. (Kudos to Leonardo for standing up for something important! Note that obviously the movie would alienate many movie-goers and not pull in as much profit, yet he took the role anyway.)

The ring that my beloved gave to me does not cost as much as a diamond, but is worth much more than the dollar value attached to it (it cost around $350). My ring is an iolite stone set in silver with gold embedded in the silver (not gold-plated, but solid gold pieces). The stone itself is a beautiful indigo stone that tends to change colour according to the lighting. Sometimes it’s violet, sometimes it’s black. On top of this, the ring was completely hand-carved and shaped. They didn’t use a mold to make it. Because they didn’t use a mold, no one else will have this ring. It’s one of a kind and over time will probably be worth more, especially when the jewellery who made this isn’t around anymore.

A diamond is a diamond – you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. I’d rather have the ring I have than any blood/conflict diamond – I value human life and my conscience more than any over-rated mass-marketed product (that is used to help a major corporation get richer while the rest of us struggle just to have a decent life) . If you really must buy a diamond, do the opposite of what De Beer’s intended and buy the synthetic one, the one labelled “conflict-free”. Your conscience will thank you.

Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Recent rituals

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

MM,

Public Imbolc ritual was on February 4th. It was based on the three faces of Brighid. Each of the different Brighids were found in different locations throughout the building. The participants were to find one of them to receive a blessing.

Group ritual last week was a ritual dedicated to Dionysus. Interesting since I’ve not had many rituals with Dionysus.

The women’s group celebrated its 25th anniversary. It is the longest running women’s spirituality group in Canada. We ended up having a big party instead of a ritual.

This past Sunday’s public ritual was based on the Parentalia and dedicated to Juno and Jupiter. The Roman festival, Parentalia, was a special ritual honouring one’s parents, relatives, and ancestors.

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Gym and do jang days

Monday, February 12th, 2007

Last Tuesday and Thursday, I went to the do jang in the afternoon. I get a good workout on my own. I find it helps to go there when there’s no one there to distract me. I can focus on what I need to do and work on most.

After the do jang on Thursday, I went to the gym for some much needed weight training.

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

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 (7 minutes, had just enough time to do some cardio as I had to leave to meet Nathan)
Elliptical

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Last Few Rituals for January

Friday, February 2nd, 2007

MM,

Last week, my group did a house blessing for one of the coven members. House blessings are very simple in theory, but pretty tiring to do. I was quite tired when I got home.

Public ritual on the 28th was a ritual for change and transformation dedicated to Brighid and Lugh. It involved melting down candle stubs left over from previous public rituals in the cauldron. We had a nice fire going. For me a controlled fire is always uplifting. I thought the ritual was nicely performed and I enjoyed it very much, although being Summoner I didn’t participate.

This week is Imbolc. In fact, today is the traditional day to celebrate Imbolc. At first, I was thinking of doing something at home tonight (it’s also a full moon), but instead Nathan and I decided to go see Pan’s Labyrinth. We thought the preview looked interesting and so far, I’ve heard good reviews from friends. So, it’s a movie date tonight. 😀

Public ritual this Sunday will be celebrating Imbolc. (It is also the first day of spring according to the Chinese calendar, as on that day, the sun will be at 15 degrees Aquarius. See my previous blog entry.). It will be Celtic-focused and is dedicated to the three faces of Brighid, the patron of my website. I’m looking forward to the ritual. In fact, Imbolc was the first ritual I attended at WCC.

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Do jang day and gym days – January 27 and 31, 2007

Friday, February 2nd, 2007

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I went to the do jang to help out with the colour belt test. After, we had a black belt meeting, then I headed to the gym for a workout.

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 (machine was broken :( )
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 (20 minutes)
Elliptical

I did some stretching and decided to leave the pushups for home. My arms were considerably worked out. I did some candle begi at home earlier in the week, something I hadn’t done for a while since I stopped taking gumdo class (I’ve just been too busy, and the gumdo horse stance aggravates my previous knee injury). Glad to say that I was able to snuff out one candle, then two. 😀 I will have to do candle begi every so often. It is remarkably good for helping me to calm my mind.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I went to the gym for a short workout.

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

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 (5 minutes)
Elliptical

The gym was closing so I didn’t have time for much cardio. I tried out one of the newer bicycles though.

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame