Magicians on Stage and Off: Part 2 Luna Shimada

Click here for Part 1 Jeff McBride.

Luna Shimada

“Luna has been performing in top venues across four continents from Europe to Japan to America, and the showrooms of Las Vegas. Luna has also been featured in countless American network TV specials such as, the PBS series “Art of Magic” and “Mystery’s of Magic”, “Magic’s Greatest Illusions” on TLC and “Grand Illusions, The Story of Magic” for Discovery and most recently also featured in two new documentaries, “Women in Boxes” and “A Magical Vision” by Montrose Productions about the great magical philosophers. Luna was also the recipient of the prestigious “World Magic Award” as “Best Female Magician” of 2007 which aired nationwwide on prime time Fox network.

Luna is a philosopher and a teacher of magic and her many talents encompass music, writing, dance, performance art and poetry. She is an innovator and an entreprenuer, she is in a catagory of her own.”

Luna started on her path when she was fourteen. She grew from an interest in different religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Wicca, Alchemy and much more. She takes what she learned about magic as a transformative and healing art and incorporates it into her shows.

Luna is one of several female clairvoyants in her family. She believes everyone comes into the world with a specific gift. She hopes by using her gifts she can help others come closer to theirs. From lunashimada.com

Besides stage magic, Luna performs as lead singer of Lunarox a rock band. Click here to listen.


VIDEO: Promotional for Luna Shimada’s 2011 show.


VIDEO: Luna floats a glowing sphere of light. Part of The Learning Channel special.

Quality Captioning and Transcriptions Open Up Clearer Communication for Members of the Entire Pagan Community

When someone who is visually impaired uses a computer, they will either have the images enlarged or they use a reader program. How can a picture, graphic, or other image be read? It can’t unless the web designer is a great coder. There are programs and more tech savy ways to embed images with descriptions that will work with readers. For those of us running organizational websites on a donation budget or blogging, we need to create vivid captions. Instead of no caption or a simple word or two such as “sun on an oak” or “people gathered for the Solstice” we need to create several sentences describing any motion, colors, and physical location of objects in the picture. We included the image on our page to enhance it for readers so let’s enhance it for all of our readers.

Ocean, of the Deaf Pagan Crossroads blog, has written a wonderful post about the importance of captioning videos. Dear Pagan Community: Please Help Transcribe Videos!

As part of the Community Linkage news on June 12, I mentioned the Deaf Pagan Network. This organization offers a place for “where individuals of Like Mind can come together to discuss the Pagan Path, to share our traditions, learn about our spirituality, participate in rituals, and develop our own personal relationship with Goddess and God.”

I found out from Ocean that Kim is the woman in the video. They took the time to write a transcript so that everyone could get a peek at the important work going on to educate members of the Deaf community about Paganism.

http://youtu.be/gV5

(TRANSCRIPT)

Hello

This video relates to my previous video about Paganism and Christianity; this time I
focus on Paganism. I want to clarify that I am not an expert (brain-wiz) on Paganism; I
do not seriously practice Paganism, interact with the Pagan Community, or am deeply
involved with it. I am just reading about and learning about it. I hope that those of you
who have been practicing Paganism for many years will come and make vlogs too…I
hope so.

Here is the book I’ve read. The book has increased my understanding of Paganism.
Becoming a Pagan does not require you to know many facts, develop super smart deep
knowledge, study and memorize holy texts, and/or study in order to follow one certain
system of belief. Paganism is all about the “letting go of the attachment – the dogma”.
Dogma is a specific belief. Pagans approach a variety of belief systems and ethics,
then ask questions, take time to think carefully, and feel right with the belief. Being
responsible of what I am comfortable with after choosing to adopt, and then accept full
responsibility of the outcomes of my beliefs.

How can one practice Paganism? Let’s compare – you know that some religions require
the person to show their commitment to a specific dogma by attending the church/temple
services every week faithfully. In Paganism, your journey in the spiritual life can be
measured by your own daily actions everyday, and life itself always.

Is Paganism itself a religion? Yes – Pagans seek answers to ultimate questions such as
the meaning of life, what happens after death, and is there a God. How is Paganism
different from other religious groups? They do not send out missionaries to places with
the goal to convert the people, nor to hold revivals to influence the audience to accept
their beliefs.

How do we become Pagans? By seeking the spiritual life ourselves and deciding that
Paganism reflects our true inner self. Are there some people who hold the higher
positions in the Paganism? Yes, there are clergy who perform weddings, funerals and
oversee the celebration of religious holidays.

Paganism’s religious holidays are “earth-centered” by falling on dates of the change
of seasons ~ Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Also, Pagans are attuned to the moon
cycles. Look at the Pagan sacred calendar.

Paganism has no central hierarchy or dogma – one way of practicing the religion. Most
Pagans enjoy spiritual diversity, and would not think it appropriate for ‘all’ Pagans to
believe the same thing, practice in the same ways, or being in certain organization of
belief system.

Pagans are so diverse in their own spiritual walks. The most important aspect of
Paganism is individuals accept seriously their own personal responsibility, practice their
belief system, walk the path, and develop their own degree of spiritual development
along with their own ethical code.

Here is the quote from the book that I really like; “Some religions are a restaurant. You
sit down and they bring you what they’re serving for dinner. Paganism is a buffet. If you
want to eat, you have to get up off your butt and serve yourself.” (In ASL, I elaborated
the quote into more of detailed information; when you walk in the restaurant, and sit
down. You wait for someone to bring you the meal, and then you have to accept what is
on your plate. However, Pagans walk into the restaurant, and go the buffet. They take
time to look at the food, and making their own decisions of what to choose and eat.)

Paganism is all about empowering yourselves by accepting your personal responsibility
– my own responsibility to practice my spiritual belief, and live everyday with a focus on
my spiritual path.

Paganism offers a different worldview. Paganism is the one of the first religions that
deliberately incorporates new perspectives from science, metaphysics, and mysticism into
its spirituality. It has nothing to do with Newtonian view of the world.

What do Pagans see in the world? They view all parts of the universe, from the smallest
atom to the largest planetary system. They find the earth very much alive, and that the
earth communicates with us everyday, actually all the times. Earth always communicates
with us. We need to stop our “busy-ness” and get in touch with our earth. We will feel
the Earth in us by listening in our mind and hearts. It is called Magick.

Paganism itself is a way of living, praying, and connecting to the flow of the universe.
It is experiencing the nature of Deity; the relationship with ourselves, others, and the
universe through the Divine. Some people do this through meditative rituals, by quiet
walks, singing, dancing, healing, ecstatic sex, working with herbs, gardening and
massage. There is diversity among Pagans in how they do so.

Now, who are Pagans? You know the umbrella concept – Christianity with multitude
of religious groups. Paganism has its own umbrella with its diverse traditions.
Some Pagans blend various spiritual paths with practices of Judeo and Paganism ~
Judeopaganism, Christian and Paganism ~ Christopagans, Buddhist and Paganism ~
Buddhistpaganism, and so forth… There’s the Jewitch ~ a person who is Jew and
practices Wicca.

The word Witch usually refers to Wicca, the largest group under the Pagan umbrella.
About 50% of Pagans practice Wicca. In the analogy, you may ask “So are you Baptist
or are you Christian?” Baptists are Christians, but not all Christians are Baptist. It is
same for Pagans, not all Pagans follow the Wiccan path.

What is Wicca? Wiccans follow an earth-centered calendar of eight festivals a year, and
believe that Deity is both male and female, the God and Goddess. They have their own
Rede “If it harm none, do what you will”

Now, who are Pagans? I don’t know nor see them around personally. However, Pagans

are one of the most diverse group of people coming from a wide variety of religious and
educational backgrounds, and work in a wide range of professions ~ doctors, lawyers,
clerks, computer programmers, teacher, mechanics, accountants, waitresses, and many
more you can name. Studies of Pagans found that Pagans are generally bright, intelligent
and well-read. In 1996, the study found there is more than half of all Pagans are college
educated, and more than half are women.

I bid you farewell…

(END TRANSCRIPT)

Community Linkage

Every week there are new press releases, articles, information, and videos popping up concerning Paganism, spirituality, health, or disabilities. Community Linkage is a collection of useful information and sometimes entertainment for you.

Deaf Pagan Community

I got an email from Luna who started the Deaf Pagan Network. Luna is a High Priestess in Nova Scotia and has been involved with the Deaf Community for many years. The Deaf Pagan Network has been around since 1998. They want “To be a place where individuals of Like Mind can come together to discuss the Pagan Path, to share our traditions, learn about our spirituality, participate in rituals, and develop our own personal relationship with Goddess and God

To be a place where individuals of Like Mind can come together to discuss issues related to deafness such as sign language, interpreting, deaf access, being Deaf in a hearing world, and similar topics.

One of their allies, who isn’t Pagan, put together a video in Sign Language explaining Paganism. I think this is a very important tool for out reach between Pagans and others in the Deaf Community.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV5fyl7Zqgs

I’m going to get a translation of the video from Luna if possible. You can also find the group on Facebook.

I am grateful for the internationally popular Wild Hunt blog for bringing up two very important news items for Pagans with disabilities and developmental challenges. I hope you’ll see from these two items that Pagans are growing stronger as a spiritual community.

Pagan ASL Interpreter List Being Compiled

Ocean at the Deaf Pagan Crossroads blog is compiling a list of Pagan American Sign Language Interpreters in the US. She wants to make it “available to Pagan organizations around the country, who can then use it to make contact with those individuals, in an attempt to enhance accessibility to their events by members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community.”

Ardantane is a pagan learning center and seminary near Albuquerque, New Mexico. They have just nine days left in their HARRE Potty campaign at indiegogo.com “One rather glaring problem with our facilities is – a lack of restrooms. We have one small toilet in the staff residence, but it’s not handicapped-accessible. Thus we created the HARRE Potty Project: “HARRE” stands for Handicapped-Accessible RestRoom, Eco-friendly.” If you’ve ever needed to go and couldn’t find a restroom, you’ll have some understanding of what it’s like having to find a usable restroom each day in town let alone in the country. Help them out even if it is just a buck or two.

In Other News

Families giving up on promised service dogs Chicago Tribune “The dog training operation, called Animals for Autism, was founded by Lea Kaydus, who with the families’ help won a $50,000 grant through the Pepsi Refresh Project to train and place the dogs. Kaydus had said the dogs would join their families by spring 2012.” However, the dogs have not been delivered and the organization has gone for long periods without communicating with the families. The Illinois Attorney General is currently investigating. Families have little hope that the dogs will become available for their children.

‘Push Girls’ Turns Spotlight On Women In Wheelchairs
The Sundance channel has a new reality TV show spotlighting women who became disabled at some point later in life. The show looks like it will have a lot of heart and great stories with moments of sorrow and triumph. Push Girl’s airs Monday’s at 10 pm on the Sundance Channel.

Web of Light

Written during the December Lunar Eclipse

In An Orphan’s Tale: In the Cities of Coin and Spice by Catherynne Valente, there’s a tale of the last Star Being of the heavens walking through a vast dark abyss until she reaches countless tiny swirling Grass Stars. Even though she walks carefully through the rivulets and marches of pooled light she breaks many. Their silver light blood splashes her face and destroys her eyes. Now all she sees is light.

But in the light I could see a kind of shape, a shape which seemed to me something like the world, and a world which seemed something like me. There were things which wove, and I could not see them. but I could see their weaving, how tiny and diamond-strung, how intricate and perfect. And I wanted to weave that way, I wanted to weave bigger things and greater things, and as this wish formed in me like a spindle gathering flax, my arms opened up into eight, and silk pooled in my belly …

The Weaver-Star finally leaves heaven to create places and events in the world.

I read this passage while sipping my morning coffee with a splash of eggnog and relaxing in my favorite chair by the picture window. The rising sun painted the sky pink and its warmth melted the night frost into a glimmering fog. The world was filled with light. I can still feel the flow of energy moving through my body fresh and bright from my morning meditation where I visualize light from the Divine flowing to the world and then through me and into the earth. Then I cleanse my various energy bodies with this light. When I am done, the remainder is put into the harmony or safety of my home. Variations of meditations that include visualizing and working with energy or light are found in many religions and Pagan traditions.

As a panentheist, I believe that a Consciousness resides outside of space and time. Part of it is in a meditative state of existence. Part of it is dreaming the material universe or universes. It also experiences it’s creation by being in it. The Being, The Dreaming, The Experience. This can be visualized as never ending threads connecting all places, things, and events. It is one reason the Spider is a totem of mine. Stories and myths about gods and sky or cloud people coming to the earth remind me of Divinity experimenting with new limitations and surroundings.

During the Winter Solstice, a time for contemplation, I experience different trials on my Path. some years I’m holding a candle against the dark of humanity’s sorrow. Other years I’m like the Tarot card of the Hermit wondering on a winding path in the dark feeling lost and alone with no destination wondering where the Yuletide Joy is. In the worst times I’m searching in the dark to find a spark of who I am so I can reignite my will to keep living. This year I feel a fuller connection with my Divine self and I am the light. It is the light of Divinity being, dreaming and experiencing all there is with my five senses to fully embrace my place in the Weaving. We all continuously spin through the emotions of sadness, ambivalence or joy. Changes in the world are as constant as the changes in how we perceive it. The difference for me this year is that my health and spiritual practices are becoming aligned. I continuously return to my Center and breath. I’m more conscious of what I’m eating and how I communicate with my heathcare team.

Where ever you are on your Path during the Winter Solstice, take time to contemplate your needs and desires. When you feel overwhelmed, find your Center and observe.

Summer Solstice 2011

Each day is a new opportunity to bring into balance our spiritual, physical, and intellectual being. The full lunar eclipse on the Winter Solstice of 2010 was an exceptional opportunity to start mastering the three worlds: spiritual, physical, and mental. (Staff of Asclepius “Winter Solstice 2010: A complete picture of three worlds.”)

Six months later, our world enters a tilt where the northern hemisphere receives maximum hours of sunlight during the Summer Solstice. There is a saying that life is change. How can something be truly alive if it stagnates? Finding a spiritual and mental center helps us flow with our ever shifting health, relationships, and circumstances.

The Sign Cancer

Summer’s Three Astrological Signs & Their Significance Esoterically
The three signs of summer – Cancer, Leo & Virgo – have esoteric significance:

Cancer – water – Baptism by water (later by fire)– cleansing of emotional body
Leo – fire – new creative fires leading to new spiritual identity
Virgo – earth – new state of consciousness gestating within form and matter – nine months from Virgo (counting backward through the signs to Capricorn {Virgo, Leo, Cancer, Gemini, Taurus, Aries, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn} this new state is birthed at winter solstice.

As summer begins, we enter first into the influence of Cancer, sign of mother, family, home, the embryonic waters nurturing new life. Cancer, with Moon as its ruler, nurtures the masses of humanity. In our very earliest incarnations on Earth everyone entered the planet through Cancer. Cancer is concerned with humanity’s food supply. During Cancer we investigate how humanity will be adequately fed in times to come. New ways must be found to feed Earth’s growing population. Assisting in this task is Mercury entering Cancer (communicate, think, study, ponder the feeding of humanity) Thursday with Mars (focus) entering, and Venus already in, Gemini (right use of resources). by Risa at Night Light News

Today is my birthday. Since childhood I’ve had a connection with water and earth. I consider the outdoors and my garden to be my temple. My connection with mud (water and earth) has been my favorite. My initiation/dedication to a mystical path took place during a thunderstorm next to a lake when I was covered head to toe in mud. I am unbalanced the most when I am swept away by or drowning in emotion. Other times I become like a hard bolder unmovable and unsympathetic to other’s needs.

I want to try a new visualization and I hope you’ll join me. We can visual this time of year as putting our hands in the primordial mud of creation. (Virgo – Earth and Cancer – Water). Bringing out clay molding and shaping it. Baking it in a kiln (Leo – Fire) and filling it with all that we need. This Summer Solstice we’ll envision how we’ll nourish our three worlds to sustain you through all the changes to come on a daily, local, and global level.

Interview with Drake Spaeth, PsyD.: Pagan Minister, Psychologist, and Professor (Part 2)

You can read part one here. www.patheos.com/community/paganswithdisabilities/2011/02/28/interview-with-drake-spaeth-psyd-pagan-minister-psychologist-and-professor/

(Update: I just discovered that today, March 1st, is Drake Spaeth’s birthday.)

Drake Spaeth
Image: Drake Spaeth photo courtesy of www.spiritoftheearth.org

Masery: You recently attended The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Cultural Impact Conference. How often is this conference held and about how many people attended this year?

Drake: It is an annual conference, attended by students an faculty at The Chicago School.  I would estimate that 1500-1600 people attend yearly.

Masery: You presented “Magic as Psychotherapy: Honoring the Frameworks of Contemporary Pagans”. Your presentation touched on the conflicting attitudes that many Pagans have toward mental health professionals. What are their opinions and concerns?

Drake: Pagans have traditionally avoided psychotherapy for fear of being misunderstood.  They tend to prefer alternative medicine or holistic healers from their own or a related spiritual context.  Their wariness is understandable when their children have been lost in custody battles where psychological evaluations slanted negatively toward their religious practices have been instrumental in the loss of their children. How does a polyamorous Pagan triad find a “couples counselor” who will be able to help them address relationship issues without seeing the polyamory as a pathological, problematic component of the problems? How does someone who is having a psychological crisis (e.g., depression, panic attacks, extreme anxiety, and personality changes) in association with a spiritual awakening or transformation in the Pagan context fid competent counseling support? How will a conventional therapist regard a belief that they are the target of psychic attack or someone’s negative magic?

Masery: Do you have any advice for Pagans seeking therapy or mental health services?

Drake: Remember that a counseling or therapy relationship entails a commitment that in its own way is as substantive and important as any other relationship in your life.  It is okay to be careful and to not go with the first therapist you find through Google. It is important to ask a potential therapist how open–and in what ways are they open–to spirituality issues.  In general, therapists who profess a humanistic-existential (e.g. person-centered, gestalt, emotion-focused, or experiential), transpersonal, Jungian approach will tend to be very Pagan-friendly. If the therapist is cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, or integrative, it is okay to ask more probing questions. Most therapists today are more willing to explain in detail what these perspectives mean so that you can make an informed choice. There is also a Pagan Professional Counseling yahoo group, managed by Michael Reeder.  As this group gows over the years, it has become increasingly successful in matching Pagan clients to Pagan or Pagan friendly therapists.

Masery: The intent of the presentation was to facilitate awareness among therapists who may encounter Pagan clients. What were some of the cultural aspects of Paganism you shared with the attendees?

Drake: As you say, the presentation was primarily geared toward mental health professionals in terms of fostering competency to work with contemporary Pagans.  My hope is that the tendency among mental health professionals to pathologize belief in magic as “schizotypal” or even “psychotic” and Pagan lifestyles as “unhealthy” or “dysfunctional”–already thankfully on the wane–will soon be an artifact of the past. Thankfully, a rapidly increasing number of us are aware of the importance of increasing cultural competence in working with those who are members of unfamiliar cultural contexts.

In terms of the cultural aspects that I shared, here are some excerpts from my PowerPoint:

Paganism (sometimes called Neo-Paganism) derives from the Latin word “paganus”- “country dweller” (Adler, 2006)

Umbrella term that includes a very large number of earth or nature –

  based spiritual traditions that

  1) are typically non-monotheistic,

  2) may or may not recognize male and/or female deities,

  3) tend to honor natural cycles (solar, lunar, seasonal)

  4) derive from and celebrate the spirit of pre-Christian, largely European ancestors,

  5) Commonly (though admittedly not universally) utilize magic as a tool of personal change in one’s life and/or physical change in the world

Types of Pagans (not an exhaustive list!)

  –Wicca*: Gardnerian, Seax, Alexandrian, Greencraft, Dianic, Eclectic, and many more.

  –Druidism (many types and groups)

  –Asatru

  –Shamanic practitioners/Neo-Shamanism

  –Goddess-Worshippers

  –Celtic, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian Reconstructionists

  –Family tradition Pagans

  –Solitary Pagans

As you see, I presented a fairly standard and simplistic overview of Pagan culture to give some background, enough to spark interest (judging form office visits and email I am receiving) among some of the mental health professionals and psychology graduate students who attended to pursue a deeper level of cultural competence.

Masery: I am a fan of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. Part of your presentation that really intrigued me was the correlation between core Pagan beliefs, values, and practices and key concepts from major psychological theories. Could you summarize what those similarities are?

Drake: I showed correspondences between Pagan beliefs and conceptions about magic and cognitive-behavioral and humanistic-existential psychotherapy, between spellwork and personal empowerment, between the ritual circle and the therapy office, and between soul retrieval and psychological integration.

Masery: Did you have a chance to speak with participants after the presentation? What sort of responses or questions did they have?

Drake: A number of students came up to me and instantly identified themselves as Pagans–I enjoyed that.  Others asked for references where they could explore this context more deeply. Many faculty and mental health professionals who were present stated that they were working with Pagan clients in their practices and very much appreciated the information.  Others admitted that this presentation was the first time they had heard about any of this but were also thankful for the information!

Masery: Drake, besides all of your work as an assistant professor, you’ve also been a staff member, presenter, and ritual facilitator at the annual Pagan Spirit Gathering for the past 16 years. Festivals can be an intense mystical experience for people. Attendees often mention needing time to return to the real world, come down from a magical high. Has anyone ever had a serious mental health crisis at a festival? If so, how did the staff handle it?

Drake: I was coordinator of Psyche’s Grotto, the psychospiritual support center at PSG from 1997-2005–nine years.  Kim Long Ewing (aka Windwalker) took over for a couple years, and Paul Larson (aka Chiron)–another faculty member at The Chicago School– has been the coordinator ever since.

Yes, crises are frequent. Many Pagans who have been prescribed psychotropic medication decide to use PSG as a time to wean themselves from the meds, or simply leave the meds at home altogether.  Others have panic attacks as some novel stimuli at PSG triggers some aspect of the issues with which they struggle.  Most who come to the Grotto simply need some mild support for deep emotions experienced in rituals or workshops, or they want some help in grounding and centering from abundant ritual stimulation.  In all cases, staff (who are currently trained mental health professionals), are empathic and supportive. The instances where a given individual had to have been referred out of the gathering for more intensive support have been thankfully rare.

Masery: How is a mental health crisis different or similar to a spiritual one?

Drake: To a large extent these are convenient categories of description that an increasing umber of mental health professionals are realizing may be of limited usefulness in a postmodern world. Classic mental health crises occur when panic attacks, suicidal ideas or attempts, hallucinations (i.e., seeing, hearing, and feeling things that are not there), delusions (having very strange beliefs or convictions that seem unique to the individual and are not shared by anyone else), violence or aggression come to forefront, usually due to some precipitating stressful incident but based on a history that has supported the likelihood of such crises.

A spiritual crisis might refer to anxiety or worry about a new religious path or belief, an intense fear of death or non-being, intense questioning of life purpose or identity, or a feeling of strong instability associated with a spiritual awakening, rite of passage or transformation experience.

When a spiritual crisis also entails phenomena usually classified as a mental health crisis, mental health professionals have not always responded competently. Strong directives were issued by the American Psychological Association and other professional governing bodies during the late 1990s and early 2000s that graduate training programs address this gap in their educational structure.  Schools have been slow to respond, due to the fact that spirituality is such a broad category.  Chicago seems to be a strong center for emerging sensitivity to client spiritual issues in graduate training.

If you are a Pagan with a health concern or a health care professional, please share your story with the Staff of Asclepius as a guest author or by interview. Please email me. masery@rocketmail.com

Other Sites and Articles of Interest:

Staff of Asclepius posts
“American Pagans Want to Change Health Care Legislation to Do More” www.patheos.com/community/paganswithdisabilities/2011/02/23/american-pagans-want-to-change-health-care-legislation-to-do-more/

“Interview with Kimberly Hendrick, PhD about the groundbreaking Pagan Health Survey” www.patheos.com/community/paganswithdisabilities/2011/01/16/interview-with-kimberly-hendrick-phd-about-the-groundbreaking-pagan-health-survey/

“Interview with Charlton Hall, therapist and Chief Druid of the UOD”
Part 1
www.patheos.com/community/paganswithdisabilities/2011/02/01/interview-with-charlton-hall-therapist-and-chief-druid-of-the-uod/

Part 2
www.patheos.com/community/paganswithdisabilities/2011/02/01/interview-with-charlton-hall-therapist-and-chief-druid-of-the-uod-part-2/

When Big Women Go BAD: Body Awareness Divas Part 1

My Winter Solstice and Lunar Eclipse ritual included a promise to myself and a prayer to the Goddess and the Universal Divine asking for assistance in keeping that promise. That promise was to love myself. To love and accept myself for who I am and by doing so I would be empowered to live my life to the fullest. For me that includes caring for my health, making new friends, and getting beyond fear of failure to do what I love.

How did I spend Imbolc, that time of year where we light candles to see the hope in the darkness of Winter on the cusp of Spring? I joined almost three hundred women via the phone and Skype for “Fat Positive Art & The Fat Body Beautiful with Substantia Jones and Her Models.” As someone who’s struggled with body image all of my life, it was a relief to laugh and listen to Substantia and the models share their stories about getting comfortable in their own skin. There was a fifteen minute Q&A at the end for callers. If you listen to the call, once you register, you’ll hear me use my birth name, Tara, instead of my spiritual dedication name, Masery.

Body Love Revolutionary Badge
Image: A drawing of a woman dressed as a WWII factory worker, showing off her arm muscle. Captioned “Body Love Revolutionary” www.bodyloverevolution.com

The call was part of a Body Love Telesummit that began in January and continues until March 1st. This Body Love Revolution is lead by Golda of bodylovewellness.com. She is an author, personal coach and has a degree in health counseling and integrative nutrition. Golda has taken on the challenging and controversial role of being a Fat Activist. It’s controversial because when people hear about Fat Activism they assume it’s a battle cry of “It’s okay to be lazy and stuff yourself with food all day.” In reality, that is a stereotype. As a Pagan woman with large curves, I’m familiar with stereotypes. Fat is used as an insult and since Wicca, a new religion and branch of Paganism consisting mainly of women, gets a lot of flack. There is a Youtube video entitled “100% of Wiccans are Fat, Ugly, Fake Bisexuals.” People lash out when they don’t feel good about themselves, don’t they.

Women with big curves are just as spiritually and emotionally complex as anyone else. Fat Activism is about walking away from self hate and spending money on fad diets and dangerous weight loss pills, to embrace self-confidence, love for our mind, soul, and body so healing can begin. Be it healing their confidence to a healthier and realistic view of nutrition and exercise.

From the Body Love Revolution main site:

“We are bombarded with messages about our bodies and our health every day. We’re told to diet, no matter what that might do to our bodies … We’re told to wait to be thinner before we do what we want, no matter what that might do to our lives.

And yet, there are lots of us who are working to change the status quo. Whether we do it through activism, or art, or medical research, or just finding ways to live our lives outside the boundaries that we’re supposed to accept, we are part of something bigger than ourselves. It is a revolution in the truest sense.”

Golda has assembled a group of intelligent and creative women to discuss various topics on health, fashion, and art during the free telesummit. By registering you’ll get information on how to connect via phone or Skype and have access to recording of all of the calls. www.bodyloverevolution.com/#Register

In part two, I’ll share more about the beautiful models and photographer, Substantia Jones, of the Adipositivity Project. www.adipositivity.com

Winter Solstice 2010: A complete picture of three worlds.

The Winter Solstice this year includes not only a full moon, but a full lunar eclipse over North America peaking on December 20/21 around midnight about fifteen hours before the actual Solstice. This is a very auspicious time according to numerology and astrology. It will be spectacular since dust from volcanic eruptions may cause the moon to have a red or orange hue and the dark moon will make it easier to see the remnants of last weekends meteor shower.

Ocean at deafpagancrossroads.com beat me to the punch and has a wonderful post called “Solstice Eclipse and Its Symbology” along with a series on the symbolism and traditions of the Winter Solstice and Yule. So this blog will focus on numerological significance of this rare event and how you can participate in and view the eclipse without leaving your warm home.

The Winter Solstice Eclipse will peek around midnight on December 21 so let’s look at that date. 12/21/2010 Please note that I am not a professional numerologist though I regularly use it for divination and to plan rituals.

(12) 1 +2 = 3 (21) 2 + 1 = 3 (2010) 2 + 1 = 3 or 20 + 10 = 30 or 3

3 + 3 + 3 = 9

Nine (9) is the triple three, the complete picture of three worlds: spiritual, physical, intellectual. Its planetary correspondence is the moon.

Zeros (0) usually represent overcoming the material world or infinity so they aren’t necessarily calculated in numerology. However; some variations do.

There you have it. On the Wheel of the Year we are turning to the season of light. We faced mortality at Samhain, now we seek to strengthen our spirit. During an eclipse, what is hidden is then revealed. Out of the darkness comes the eternal light. This is a powerful opportunity to bring into balance our spiritual, physical, and intellectual being.

If you have the opportunity to go out and see the eclipse do so or you can watch it at NASA’s website. The moon will be straight up in the sky so it may be difficult to see from a window. A live video feed of the lunar eclipse will be streamed online on Dec. 20. The camera is mounted at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. For those who consider themselves to be tech and science lovers, lunar experts from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center will be hosting two live Web chats to discuss the eclipse. On Monday, Dec. 20 from 3-4 p.m. EST, Dr. Rob Suggs will answer your questions. Later on Dec. 20, make plans to stay “Up All Night” with astronomer Mitzi Adams at she answers your questions from midnight to 5:00 a.m. EST. The video and chat will be available at http://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/lunar_eclipse.html a few minutes before each chat and the eclipse. Join the conversation on Twitter by including #eclipse and @NASAJPL in your lunar eclipse tweets, and you may even see them show up among our live comment stream on NASA JPL’s “I’m There: Lunar Eclipse” program. Get an “I Am There” Facebook badge to show others you’re watching the eclipse at www.jpl.nasa.gov/imthere/map.php?id=32693&c_id=32662&c=41

Blessed Solstice,
Masery

References:
deafpagancrossroads.com/

NPR http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=132182929

NASA http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/watchtheskies/index.html

Rodurago Cypheron http://www.rodurago.net/en/index.php?site=details&link=9#details


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