Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A new group in the area

Today I'm sharing an email interview I did with former council member and friend of the group, Paul.  Many of us have enjoyed Paul's meditation and energy work classes, and have met him at rituals over the past year and a half.   He is starting up a new group of his own, The Elementals, which will be a sort of sister group to Ancient Oaks.  

The basics - Who are you? - name, age (if you want to share), where are you from, etc.

My name is Paul Holsinger, I’m 34 years old, and I’m from a lot of different places.  I was born here in Boise and lived in Emmett, Idaho, The Philippines, and Okinawa Japan as a child.  I came back to the treasure valley when I was 19 and have been a resident here ever since.

Describe your path, how you got started with it, and how that impacted your decision to start The Elementals.

I grew up in an intensely Mormon family and left that path when I was 18 when I was finally forced to confront the problems that belief system was causing me.  I was drawn almost immediately to Witchcraft.  I found that its methods and openness were a much better fit for me and became initiated as a solitary practitioner.  I cast my first spell when I was 19 and have been fine tuning my craft ever since.

While I was in Okinawa, I began practicing martial arts and I have always been intrigued by eastern energy and health sciences.  Three and a half years ago I had a very intense experience while meditating with someone who had a unique and powerful energy.  This sparked my interest and I began to research energy cultivation methods.  In my studies, I eventually came across the science of internal alchemy in ancient Taoism.  I have since put these learnings into practice and have had some very interesting experiences.

I am also a 3rd degree Reiki instructor and I have been practicing energy healing arts almost as long as I have magickal arts.  I learned to read auras about the same time.  By nature I’m a fairly intuitive person, and I’m always looking for ways to refine these abilities and gain new skills.

What is the philosophy of your group?  What can members expect from it, what is its main focus, etc.

The group’s philosophy is centered around openness.   At its core we are magick practitioners, and energy workers.  Every spiritual path has these things in one form or another and there is a lot of value not just in finding the right fit for a path, but also in understanding the methods other paths use.  This involves finding common ground among diverse views and to do this we have to spend a bit less time on the religious side of various paths and more time understanding the philosophies and sciences underneath.

As a group we have two objectives: to share information regarding spiritual practices, and to get a chance to work with others in putting these practices into use.  To do this we are looking at having monthly presentations on various subjects ranging from working with ghosts to applying yin/yang theory to magick.  We are also going to have spell casting and energy healing workshops as well as more traditional classes such as a meditation class and hopefully more.  We are just now getting started so many of the details are still open for discussion and change.

In terms of what to expect, even I can’t answer that question just yet.  I intend on encouraging an open, ego free learning environment where people feel comfortable sharing their views and practicing with others.  I’m hoping we get to spend at least as much time doing things as we do talking about them.  Being an open group means you can’t really know quite what to expect though.  You just have to come and see.

How can people get more information and contact you or your group?

Go to http://www.meetup.com/The_Elementals/ and sign up.  It’s free.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me anytime at sauzin at gmail dot com.

Anything else you'd like to share with readers?

There are many solitary practitioners of one path or another in the valley.  Many people find that their own unique path doesn’t fit perfectly in a more structured religion or group.  Many of these people practice on their own, but find that with everyday stresses and complications it’s very easy to go months without practicing.  This group is for those kinds of people.  The kinds of people who’d rather make up their own minds then to just be told what to do.   The kinds of people who have a wide range of views, or maybe haven’t made up their minds and just want to stay open to possibilities.  This group is open to everyone with the intent of equality and acceptance while getting a chance to put ideas and practices to use. 

We are having an opening meeting around the first of June, please come by and share your ideas of what spiritual adventures you are interested in pursuing. 

Thank you and Blessed Be!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Two Free Ebooks!

Today I have two free ebooks to share with you.

The first is called From a Drop of Water, a collection by various authors on the element Water and its uses and symbolism.

The second is called Towards the Wiccan Circle, by Sortia D'Este.  It is a beginner's guide to Wiccan and Pagan paths.

As always, no kindle is needed to read, so grab them today while they're freebies!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Around the Web

Recently I discovered an amazing resource with tons of free content.  The website is called Pagan by Design.  It is a sort of online book of shadows and blog by Green Witch Polly Taskey.  This site really defies description and I know I could spend hours, or probably days, reading through it all.  Have you used this site's resources before?  Do you have favorite posts?  Check it out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Herbalism - Rosemary

"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts." - Ophelia, Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5.

Rosemary is one of the most well-loved and frequently-used herbs in the western world.  It is frequently used in cooking, herbal medicine, beauty regimes, and magic.  Rosemary is a woody perennial herb native to the Mediterranean region.  Its name comes from the latin words ros (dew) and marinus (sea), thus its literal name is "dew of the sea," possibly because it needs nothing other than the spray and dew from the ocean to live.  Its purple flowers are adored by bees, and its association with memory and the brain goes back many centuries.

According to Greek mythology, Aphrodite emerged from the sea draped in rosemary.  There is also a legend that the Virgin Mary draped her blue cloak over a white-blooming rosemary bush, turning its blossoms their current blue/purple color.

Rosemary is great for cooking.  One of my favorite uses in cooking is to cut up potatoes into bite size cubes or steak fries then toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper, minced garlic, and chopped rosemary leaves.  I then spread them on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan and bake for about half an hour at 350 degrees, turning once or twice.  Rosemary is high in antioxidants and has been shown to slow spoilage of omega-3 oils.  It is a wonderful flavoring for meats and can be used in grilling.

A popular cure for gout and paralysis as early as the 14th century was to steep fresh rosemary tips in brandy.  This was known as Hungary Water, named for the Hungarian Queen Elizabeth of Poland.

Rosemary has often been associated with memory, hence its traditional planting at the gates of cemeteries.  Studies have shown that the scent of rosemary in an office setting did help improve memory performance among employees.

Rosemary is a symbol of love and remembrance.  In the middle ages at weddings brides would wear a headpiece of rosemary, and the groom and guests would wear sprigs of it.  Couples would plant a rosemary branch on their wedding day, and if it took root it was said to be a sign of a long and happy marriage.  Rosemary has been used to divine potential lovers or attract new love.  It is said that rosemary under the pillow will repel nightmares.

Rosemary grows well from cuttings.  Simply cut a branch at a diagonal where it attaches to the main plant.  Strip off the lower leaves, dip the cut end in honey (which acts as a disinfectant) and place in a vase of water until roots begin to grow.  Make sure no leaves are below the water line, as they can attract mold and algae.

Rosemary is also known to promote hair growth.  One study showed that participants who massaged their scalps with rosemary oil daily for 7 months experienced significant regrowth of lost hair due to alopecia.  A massage with rosemary oil is also said to help joint and muscle pain.



Monday, May 6, 2013

Sounds of Paganism

For many of us, music is a great way to elevate consciousness, ground and center, or otherwise find guidance in practice and ritual.  There are many great resources out there for Pagans who enjoy music.  Here are a few of my favorites!

One of the first Pagan podcasts I found was the A Darker Shade of Pagan podcast.  This podcast focuses on goth and darker sounds.  The weekly podcast is an hour long with a nice assortment of tunes.  This is a fun way to find new bands to add to your rotation.

The Pagan Radio Network is another great resource.  With a variety of talk and music programs, it's sure to have something for everyone.

Locals might recognize the Celtic group Beltane, who perform in a variety of venues around the Treasure Valley.

Though not strictly a Hindu, I really enjoy Kirtan a type of call and response chanting of simple mantras.  It is amazing how quickly I can fall into a trance with this type of music (and often dancing) to aid me.  Two very popular Kirtan practitioners are Jai Uttal and Krishna Das.  Give it a try!

There are also many streaming services online such as Pandora, Spotify, and Last.fm which are useful as well.  Finding folk and traditional music related to your pantheon or area of interest is a great place to start.

What is your favorite type of Pagan music?  Do you like to incorporate sound into your practice?

Friday, May 3, 2013


Here is a kindle book free today on amazon - AyaMayA by Ayam Yogi Abraxis.  It's apparently an exploration of many different mystic traditions and how they connect.  I haven't read this one yet, but if any of our readers have, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.  No kindle needed to read this book for free!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Blessed Beltane!

Just a quick post to wish everyone the best on this special day.  Our group will be meeting tonight to celebrate with food, fire, and friends.  Here is a photo that I took today.  I think it sums up the spirit of the day - bright sun, clear water, and new life.  The goose has always been a special animal for me, and to see this pair with their brand new babies felt just right.