Posts Tagged ‘Bernadette Montana’
Get outside this Tuesday and witness one of the most marvelous, magickal astronomical events of your lifetime!
Every eighty or so years, the orbits of the earth, the sun, and the planet Venus line up so that those of us here can view Venus sailing across the fiery depths of our central star. It happens as a paired event, so eight years ago you had a chance to watch the first half and over the 5th and 6th of June this week(depending on your location) you have a chance to watch this second, final half. Sadly, given the length of time between the sets, it is unlikely that the majority of the current world population alive to see the event today will live to see the next one in 2117 CE.
But why is this magickally significant? As a major, visible alignment of some very unlikely celestial orbits: transits are remarkable for the beauty of their phenomena and for the implications of the movement of their solar dance, both culturally and astrologically. And in this case, where it is a confluence between the sun, Venus, and the earth, there are a plethora of positive magickal symbolisms which can be extracted from their opportune meeting. And in 2012, the so-called year of the apocalypse: the more positive meanings that can be extruded to counterbalance the negative, the better!
‘Men are from Mars, Woman are from Venus.’
Popularized as a book title in the late twentieth century, this phrase already explicitly explained something most people inherently recognized about Venus: its femininity. From time immemorial, man and womankind has looked up at the planet Venus, burning brightly as the morning ‘star’ and associated it with womanhood and with love. The ancient Mesopotamians associated it with Inanna and Ishtar, their queenly goddesses of fertility and feminine wiles. The Greeks and Romans associated it with their goddesses Aphrodite and Venus, the latter of whom it gets its name directly of. The planet Venus is, indeed, the only feminine planet in our solar system ~ the rest of the planets are named after male mythological figures. Other than the singular stunning exception of Venus, only the moons of our planets reference female figures. Later associations between the morning ‘star’, a.k.a Venus rising and the association with dark forces like the Christian devil, were later attempts to villanize the sanctity of the brightly lit planet for earlier pagan cultures.
As a representative of feminine ideas of fertility and growth, its transit across the sun, as viewable from earth, has widespread implications of abundance and innovation for those on earth. Indeed, many of the previous known transits of Venus have occurred at peak times during the late Renaissance and Enlightenment. The last series of transits occurred just around the time various marvelous things were being invented, like the telephone. Unfortunately, the phenomena has only been seriously noted for its last four transits (i.e. since the invention of the telescope), though it has been passing us by all along and would have been potentially noticeable under certain circumstances. Any earlier mentions of it have yet to be reconciled with the historic event. However a lack of a historic record does not mean that the superstition and mythical meaning of the event went unremarked upon. It merely means that the modern world has not been able to hold on to this information.
It may also signal a high point in lovability. And may represent the need for mankind to focus in on preserving the own environment and womb of our friendly mother earth.
Whether you watch to support its myriad of magickal messages, or merely just to witness this most astounding of natural events (carefully though! Don’t ever look directly at the sun!): do try to catch a glimpse of this rare celestial phenomena!
For more general information, as well as where and when to try to catch the transit, and how best to watch it, check out the Transit of Venus website devoted to the event.
For more information on the astrological meaning of the transit and its historical confluences, check astrologist Alison Chester-Lambert’s excellent blog out on the topic.
For more information on the science of the transit, including an explanation of the orbits which results in its rarity, check out the BBC’s video on the topic and look forward to the eventual digital premiere of their documentary Horizon: The Transit of Venus.
Caption for top photo: Botticelli’s 1486 painting The Birth of Venus depicts Venus rising fully grown from the sea, just as the morning star, the planet Venus, rises from the sea at the distant horizon.
Next in out series of interviews is the very prolific author, Judika Illes! In today’s interview, Judika talks about her love of magic, her many books and her diverse background.
We would love to hear a little bit about your background Judika! Many of your books deal with magic from many different backgrounds and cultures, so I’d love to hear about your background and influences!
Well, I’m from Queens, one of New York City’s outer boroughs, which partially explains my comfort and familiarity with different cultures. Queens is reputedly the most ethnically-diverse place on Earth. I come from a fairly international family—I have relatives all over the place. I was the first person in my family to be born in the United States. I grew up with people from lots of different backgrounds, cultures, religions, and spiritual traditions, so I was raised to be tolerant and not make assumptions about people.
I think that personally I am a fairly good example of an urban magical practitioner. Magical practitioners from major urban centers like New York are constantly learning from each other, trading and sharing information, and evolving new traditions. The traditions I learned at home were mainly Central and Eastern European, but I was also heavily influenced by people who taught me African-American, Latin-American, Caribbean, North African, and East Asian traditions. Other influences on me include the great occult stores that flourished in New York City during my youth, before rising rents drove them out of business—great stores like Samuel Weiser’s Books and Magickal Childe, and all the botanicas and wonderful herb stores like Aphrodisia, which just closed recently. Growing up, there was also an unofficial but strong and distinct local New York style of magic, mainly an amalgamation of Western occultism and Puerto Rican traditions, especially Espiritismo—I’m very much a product of my background.
Tell us about what inspires you to write Judika. Your books are great sources of information for anyone interested in metaphysics. How do you go about compiling and researching all information that needed to complete the books that you write?
What inspires me to write is my love for my topics. I am so blessed and privileged to be able to write about subjects I love, like spells and witchcraft, saints and spirits. I enjoy the researching process- that part is fun and I would do it for myself, whether I was published or not.
Writing itself is difficult, but I feel an obligation to my material, to preserve it and also to present it in the clearest possible way, so that readers can share in my passions. I love divination, for instance, and I want other people to love it, too. My motivations aren’t entirely unselfish—I think that there’s greater safety for my community of magical practitioners and fortune-tellers if the greater public really understands what it is that we do. Historically, it has been dangerous to practice these arts, as it still is in some places today. I hope that my writing helps dispel fear and misinformation.
My research derives from a combination of personal exploration, learning from books and learning from other people. By nature, I’m a fairly shy person, but I’m a fearless researcher. I contact perfect strangers, if I perceive that they have information needed for one of my books or if I need someone to teach me something or explain something to me—I’ve made some wonderful friends this way.
Do you have “other” interests or hobbies?
Oh, yeah, lots—although whether I have time to devote to them depends on my writing schedule. I love beading and cooking. I read a lot just for my own pleasure: history, mysteries, comic books, art books. I love music. I like to watch movies. I tend to accumulate stuff- I’m an avid collector, especially of witchcraft-themed items like postcards and dolls. I love traveling. Given the opportunity, I’d do all my own field research, if I could.
What’s in the future for Judika? What projects do you have coming up?
My next book, The Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saint, and Sages will be published in November 2011. It’s another thousand-page encyclopedia, this one exploring saints, holy people, and miracle-workers from many spiritual traditions. It’s a practical work, similar to my Encyclopedia of Spirits, containing information regarding how to venerate and communicate with a wide variety of saints, as well as information on how to determine which saints are most compatible with you and helpful for your own particular problems and issues. I’m also in the process of updating my website and, hopefully, doing some more teaching. Having spent much of the last ten years alone in a room writing, I really appreciate opportunities for personal contact. I have some new classes in the works that I’m very excited about.
Is there a book that you would like to write, but haven’t done so yet?
I would actually like to write some fiction someday—I have a few novels turning around in my head that haven’t made it onto paper yet. I also have several half-completed books. The Encyclopedia of Spirits was initially going to incorporate saints and angels alongside Pagan spirits but the manuscript grew too big. The easiest way to trim it was to delete these categories with the hope that someday they would have their own books. The Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints, and Sages will be published in November and hopefully the angels will one day have their own encyclopedia, too.
I began my writing career with a large work on fertility that remains unpublished. That manuscript contains a chapter of magic spells. A publisher rejected the book, but liked that chapter, which evolved into my first published work, Pure Magic: A Complete Course in Spellcasting. I would very much like to eventually publish my fertility book.
I wanted to let people know about your musical background..can you tell us a little about that?
I know that’s something we share, Bernadette! My first true loves were music, magic spells, and divination and they remain so today. Some of my earliest memories involve listening to music on the radio and eventually I became a disc jockey. I started off hosting a blues show, but also did standard rock programs and would sometimes fill in for the country and jazz hosts. My taste is eclectic. As with the magical arts, I love and appreciate many styles of music. I was the first female music director of WRSU-FM, the radio station affiliated with Rutgers University. In terms of the craft of writing, the writers who have influenced me the most are the music journalists of the ‘70s, who wrote with clarity and humor and were not afraid to wear their passions on their respective sleeves. When I was eighteen, my career plans involved these musically-oriented paths, but free-form radio was in its death-throes, as was that sort of music journalism, so I ended up on different paths, although, who knows? Radio has evolved and I may return to it someday. The urge to share music with other people spills out of me on facebook, where I’m constantly posting music news and sharing youtube videos.
How do you feel about the pagan community today?
I try to approach people as individuals, regardless of their background. I think that we are blessed to live in a spiritual renaissance and that we should be ever-vigilant to preserve hard-won liberties. I think that it’s crucial that we cultivate tolerance for each other.
Any advice for aspiring pagan writers?
People are constantly writing to me, telling me what book they think I should write next—sometimes describing these books in great detail. And what I always tell them is that if you can “see” a book that doesn’t yet exist, then maybe you’re meant to be the one that writes it. That’s how I began my career—I perceived a need for a book and I could “see” the book that would fulfill that need. If you can see it, then you can write it. This is a good time for spiritual publishing, so don’t wait. If you have a book in your head, put it down on paper. Just write it— it’s easier to fix or embellish something that already exists, rather than agonize over words in your head. My other word of advice is to consider the format in which you would like to present your work. If you hope to actually publish something in book form—whether in a traditional book or an e-book—then don’t post too much of the actual work on the internet: save it for the book itself.
This interview was such a pleasure to do! Judika’s books have become the”mainstay” of anyone who is interested in the study of spells and magic. I refer to her books on a daily basis!
Here are just some of her many books:
Many of the celebrations of the Wheel of the Year were originally created and celebrated by a culture that were no longer a hunter-gatherer society but were an agricultural society.
Many of us today are not following an agricultural lifestyle, though we receive the benefits of such.
Does this cultural change of today’s times warrant today’s pagans to reassess our magical celebrations?
While we’re not involved in an agricultural lifestyle, one could argue in terms of food, we still an agricultural society. Even when you don’t live on a farm, the markers of the season are important touchstones to the cycle of life in the course of a single year. The outer signs, such as the first flowers, the changing of the leaves or the rise and fall in sunlight indicate tides of life force that flow in our world, and its important as magickal people to be in touch with those tides. They influence our health, mood and magick. I think they are particularly important for those of us who are not living on a farm, to keep in touch with the lifetides that feed and support us.
Lets take a look at today’s card-The World:
We see a woman who is surrounded by a wreath made of Laurel which is a symbol of protection, peace and purification. Her legs are crossed which represents overcoming obstacles (the crossroads). The figures in the four corners of The World card represent the four fixed signs of the zodiac, Leo, Taurus, Scorpio and Aquarius. This is symbolic of all the stars coming into alignment for me. Today, my focus should be on world issues or world events, encounters, and gatherings; travel, change, or physical concerns; organizations, risks, and new opportunities; but also any restrictions, walls, or blocks that I may have.
Eventually I’ll surmount any limitations or obstacles that I may have and come out on top. It’s time to realize what my goals really are and to start to count my blessings. My obsession (or preoccupation) with the past is hindering my ability to see what is really going on, but no matter how bound you’re feeling now, you can still break free. Things can change for me. Lessons of the past should help me- NOT hinder me, if I have learned my lesson well!
Let’s take a look at today’s tarot card-The Tower. I am using the Rider-Waite/Smith deck today. There is a tower that is being struck by lightning from above. Flames are shooting out from the top of the tower as well as coming out from it’s windows. There are two people falling down from the tower with a look of fright on their faces. At the very top of this card, there is a crown that looks as if the lightning bolt knocked it off the tower and is in the process of falling down.
How does this card apply to me today? What can I learn from it’s messages?
I look at the bolt of lightning, and I think “ego”. Sometimes ones ego needs to be knocked down a notch or two. Lets look at the fire that is so prevalent in this card. Fire is about transformation and cleansing. When a forest burns down, the growth is cleared away for new growth! What needs to cleared out of your life? What changes do you need to make now, not later?
Maybe your in a relationship that really needs to end now. Is it really fulfilling to you? Do you find that you or your partner tend to be volatile? Do you tend to argue all the time?
Today’s Tarot card-The Wheel of Fortune
Look at the imagery of this card. I am using the Rider-Waite deck today, so I see an orange wheel with Hebrew and English letters on it. The word “Taro” is spelled out. There are four “beings” surrounding the wheel at each of the four directions. An angel, a dragon, a bull with wings, and a lion with wings. Note that all four images here, all have wings. There is also an image of a devil, a sphinx and a snake hugging this wheel. Take notice of the fact that all four of the “guardians” are taking notes.
The main thing that comes to mind here, with The Wheel of Fortune, is CHANGE! This can be a good thing or bad. What I mean here is this: If things are great for you now, make sure that that you prepare for anything possible. Don’t get too comfortable because you should be prepared for any issue that may come around. Change is inevitable. Life is cyclical and is always changing. If things are a bit rough for you now, know that things will get better for you! If you have a problem with change, then this card’s lessons may be hard for you to swallow, but will happen non the less. Remember, what goes around, comes around. If you are prepared, then you should be able to meet all of life’s changes and challenges. Read the rest of this entry »