An astronomer explains why, no, NASA hasn't changed your astrological sign. Chimps may be more cognitively advanced than we thought. And a look at some of the amazing, weird life that lives in our oceans. It's Earthy Thursday, our weekly segment about science and Earth-related news. It's all this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
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Even by pagan standards, it's an incredible story.
On February 3, 2016, Dr. Yevgeny Botkin (1865-1918), personal physician to Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia, was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church, 98 years after he was executed by the Bolsheviks along with the tsar, and the tsar's wife and children.
Known as “Righteous Passion-Bearer Yevgeny the Physician,” his son Gleb Botkin (1900-1969) was later to become the founder of the Long Island Church of Aphrodite, which in 1938 became America's first legally-recognized new pagan organization.
“It's better than worshiping Mary Baker Eddy [founder of Christian Science],” quipped the New York judge who granted legal recognition.
The Griffin (Gryphon) has had a long association with humans. For example, She is a part of people’s last names and featured in their coats of arms. Since the time of Sumner, the Griffin has stood for majesty and nobility.
Various myths depict the Griffin as the combination of the lion and the eagle. Since both of these earthy animals are monarchs of their own domains, the Griffin is considered the Ruler of Heaven and Earth. This mythic animal, with her offspring Hippogriff, are the only members of the Tribes of the Cosmos. While the Griffin protects the Tree of Life with its Golden Apples, the Hippogriff carries the worthy traveler between the worlds. Because of this, the Griffin is also the Sentinel of the Throne of Heaven and Earth....
You don't have to be an tarot expert to realize that numerology is very strong in both the major and the minor arcana. All the cards are numbered—and every tarot card resonates along with the number that is ascribed to it. Every number has its own frequency, its own vibration. Just ask a musician about the notes and timing of the score.
The major arcana is numbered 0 - 21, and of course 0 is just a placeholder. It's a pause, the place where anything is possible. It's the potential of an idea before that idea comes to mind....
Learning how to follow your intuition is one of magick’s most fundamental skills. For many practitioners messages from spirits, allies, and deities are often delivered through gut feelings and intuitions. In a perfect world it would be easy to discern whether an intuition is a genuine message from the powers that be, a reasoned deduction, or a flight of fancy; making it easy to decide whether to follow it. Of course things are rarely so simple. Even if you can tell that an intuition is a message from your guides it doesn’t guarantee that you can fully grasp their meaning. It can often be excruciatingly difficult to figure out whether an intuition is worth following. This last week my powers of discernment were put to the test. A friend and I made our annual pilgrimage to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival down in Ashland. Grab a cup of tea, sit down, and let me tell you a story about travel, allies, intuition, and magick.
For me, our trip began when I left the house for work at 5am Tuesday morning. As I packed my last minute gear I took a moment to stop at my altar and ask if any of my usual allies wanted to be specially present on the trip or if there were any last messages I needed to hear. I did not expect the resounding “You need to be careful and take me with you!” from my favorite pop culture protector - the Winter Soldier. While I had intended to bring him along, I had imagined him riding in the back of the car and napping rather than riding on top of the car braced for action at any given moment. It’s always a little unsettling when my protectors tell me I’m not being cautious enough because I’m a *wee* bit insane when it comes to protections. I decided I would spend the day on full alert.
About an hour before I was set to meet up with my travel companion she sent me a text saying that our plan to hit Crater Lake on our way south might need to change. Overnight the forecast for that area changed from 50 degrees and damp (totally acceptable to a Seattlite) to freezing and snowing (significantly less acceptable). I figured that this was the subject of the warning I’d gotten that morning, but when I checked in with my allies I got a resounding, “Oh no, there’s more.” At that point I couldn’t decide if I was more trepidatious or curious to find out what had me allies so on edge.
That afternoon we headed to Portland to spend the evening with a good friend who lives there. We asked our Oregonian friend what she recommended travel wise so that we could get to our hotel in Klamath Falls Wednesday night without getting stuck in scary weather. We decided to head all the way down to Ashland and then head East to avoid any elevations high enough for snow. Once again I figured this change to ensure a safer drive would address the problem. Nope. That night before I fell asleep the Winter Soldier visited my in full “asset” mode to warn me that I needed to be even more cautious. I went from curious to concerned. The next morning I did a quick divination to get more information about what was going on and all I got was that I need to be extremely careful on the road. There were no huge warning bells; no Tower, Devil, or Death cards; just an emphasized “be careful.”
We set off from Portland early Wednesday morning and headed south with protections on full and
my allies on full alert. We drove south for hours through some incredible rain, wind, and squalls. While they were challenging driving conditions, nothing felt unsafe. Eventually we got all the way to Ashland and got off I5 to head East. My gut tugged at me to just stay in Ashland, but there was no logical reason to do so - only my intuition - and my allies hadn’t told me to stop driving, just that I need to exercise extreme caution. We headed East and turned onto Dead Indian Monument Road. About 10 minutes onto the road I turned right around. I had the overwhelming feeling that I did not belong on that road. We the tried to head East on Hwy 66. No luck. About 10 minutes onto that road I had a genuine panic attack. I don’t get panic attacks.
At this point I figured, between my heart beating out of my chest and my allies screaming in my ear, that I was just not meant to go to Klamath Falls that day and headed back to Ashland. As I turned around, I kid you not, the clouds parted and huge shafts of sunlight fell on Ashland, like some holy destination in a Renaissance painting. My heart rate and breathing calmed down and I felt my allies sigh in relief. It may not have been my most rational moment, but I cannot describe how right the decision to turn around felt. That our AirBnB was available a day early (the only unbooked night they had all month) just reinforced the feeling.
That evening I did a series of divinations and chats with allies to try and figure out what was going on. The divinations were fairly vague and most alluded to incompatibles energies and the likelihood of misfortune had we continued with our original plans. That night I had a dream of coming around one of those steep curves at speed to find a disabled vehicle in the middle of the road and smashing right into it. I firmly believe that if I’d continued to Klamath Falls we would have wrecked. Do I know that in any way I could concretely demonstrate to someone else? Nope.
The thing about intuition and premonitions is that they are never clear. Sadly for my logical Virgo brain, when the powers that be want to give you a message the don’t do it with clear obvious signs. I didn't see visions of car accidents or get clear “do not go there” messages. I got a nervous protector and a feeling of unease. Such vague intuitions make it very difficult to know when you’re getting an important message or if you’re just projections your own stresses outward. I know that my spiritual allies, particularly my protectors, are very in tune with my energies and it’s not impossible for them to be on edge just because I am. In the end I needed multiple messages in multiple formats before I was willing to throw out the “you’re being irrational” judgment and just trust my allies and intuition. Perhaps if I had taken more time on Tuesday morning to clarify the message I was getting I could have saved myself a panic attack and a quarter tank of gas. In the end I did what I needed to do to feel safe and I’m glad that I trusted the feelings I was given, even though it felt a bit foolish at the time. Trusting our allies and ourselves isn’t always logical, but magick hardly ever is.
Finding a deck that really connected with my personal energy became a daunting task. There were very few that allowed me to see myself in them, being a fat/black/queer woman. Dust II Onyx Tarot was created from my desire to make artwork that resonated with my soul, and now has become a work I want to share with others. I set out to create my own deck, and after months of not having a vision for what it’d look like a dream came to me. Then it came to me again. In the dream was an intensely gorgeous black portrait which has become the inspiration behind this deck. I began the work using my current knowledge of tarot and mostly my own intuition. The imagery that comes forth is as new to me as it is for the readers who will use this deck. It is coming from a place that is far beyond my conscious mind. -- Courtney Alexander, creator of the Dust II Onyx Melanated Tarot Deck
Although some would argue that this deck is for "people of color", I would maintain that it's a deck for everyone--especially those who see the world through universal archetypes, symbols and shared human experience....