Every great adventure begins with a thought~ The Magician.
A journey can be both physical and metaphysical, the Necrocamper came to us as a vehicle for both and therefore has offered us a chance to explore the realms of the unknown, as well as to seek out new destinations of the strange and wondrous.
Like its eclectic keepers, the Necrocamper is anything but predictable, it holds the charm of a 1960’s Boler but provides an escape to the everyday as tarot card fortunes, palm reading and tasseomancy are a few of the inner offerings.
I would love a beautiful tear drop onyx dripping from a silver chain, or a black lava stone skull as my talisman, but instead my charm came in the form of a nobbled, pointy witches finger found at a carnival one hot summer evening.
They say a witches finger is good for releasing the binds that haunt you. They are also beneficial for healing and protection. For me, I just can’t help but notice an extra spring in my step when I carry it. In fact, a lucky encounter is almost always eminent and serendipity becomes the word of the day.
Balance seems to be a word that strikes panic in me.
Sweat lines my brow as my mind instantly goes to a vision of Anubis weighing the heart of my deceased body and Thoth recording the outcome. If my heart (the centre of will, intellect, emotions and morality) is heavier than a feather my soul would not receive an afterlife and be banished to oblivion. Do I measure up? Who holds the scales on earth?
Spring Equinox, on which the day and night are of equal length, beckons those with a practice magic to look deep within ourselves and observe whether we are in balance. Again, for myself, I see this as a challenge, since balance conjures up visions of a “balanced diet”, without considering socio-economic factors, or in worst case scenarios a perfect home in the suburbs with 2.5 children. Balance requires judgement and I am always leery about who holds the scales and what I should be judging myself against.
For this year, I’ve decided to define the term ‘balance’ in a different way. I am looking at balance as a dividend, what is remaining from the year before. Ok, it may sound like a stretch, but I see this as a culminating period and can’t we say that the winter is a time to work on your inner self and reflect on our path and who we are? So, I believe that at Spring Equinox we could say we are looking at what we’ve learned and deciding what we would like to bring forward and have flourish in Spring. As well as, what supplies (mental, emotional and physical) we have used over the winter and contemplating what we want to bring with us into spring. Have our seeds lasted over the winter, or are there some seeds we want to let go of, or pass on?
As someone who has flowed through dark storms of life and then ebbed with a tidal pull into peaceful retreat I can think of few times that I felt completely balanced. But I can think of the work I have done on myself over winter and what I would like to bring forward into the spring. I try to do this kindly and without judgment upon myself or the people around me. In saying that, I wish you peace and harmony this Spring Equinox.
There is magic to be found within the dilapidated ruins of the once prosperous and flourishing city of Havana. Even though this city has endured an unfair amount of hardships and economic misfortunes, its streets thrive and pulse with passion, creativity, faith and hidden histories. And if you are very lucky, you may catch a glimpse, or hear the rhythmic beat, of an ever-present magic from beyond a crumbling wall or etched into the bark of a coconut tree that beckons you to follow its cryptic footprints.
The story of magic in Cuba is very much the story of survival. The people of Cuba may have lost everything they had, they may be the subjects of cultural assimilation and abusive domination, but the power and energy that survive in the spirit of these people is evident and will continue to provide salvation and hope. Whether this magic chooses to morph into the accepted appearances of saints or pops out to shock the holy ghost out of patriarchal spiritualists this magic is still present on every street corner.
Wandering through the maze like streets of Old Town Havana is fascinating, you never know what you will find ,as there are many open doors but shop signs are unlikely. Are you walking into someones house, or a shop, or maybe even a local watering hole?
Some stores were more obvious than others as they’d have a front counter or an old freezer humming in the corner with a few cans of Tukola on its shelves. A rare entrance would boast an actual counter with a glass display at the front of the store. All this considered, I was very lucky to find a Santeria supply shop. True, it had no official sign, but there was this unique piece of art displayed on a stone wall by door.
Upon entering the small room the store owner grabbed my arm and planted a large kiss on my skull tattoo. This is not a new experience, I have had this happen in Mexico before, and I figured it was the Santa Muerte connection, who resides in Cuba as well, even though I do have to admit the tattoo is of the Crimson ghost (perhaps the added halo helps). Although a bold introduction, I was willing to accept the cultural differences in rules of first introductions and I soon made a new friend. We pieced together some words between my broken spanish and his fragmented english. I can’t tell you what it was exactly, but this was the first time on this trip I had felt at home.
The store contained an interesting assortment of supplies….shells, horse hair whips, baby dolls, herbs and charms. My friend pointed out two crowns hanging from the ceiling, she obviously knows me too well (I love to dress up and I’m also a sucker for tiaras). The crowns were made of metal and each had charms hanging off of them. I asked what they were and all I could make out was Yemaya. Yemaya is the Santeria Orisha who rules over the ocean. I was thrilled, as I have quite the collection of different mer-lore so this was a perfect fit. Thinking both crowns were the same I chose the crown on the left and my new friend wrapped it in news print. I left the shop giddily carrying my new purchase.
It wasn’t until after I returned to Canada that I realized there was something odd about this crown. Why would Yemaya’s crown have charms in the shape of a machete, a lightning bolt, an animal trap and even a little mask on her crown? Where’s the shells, etc?
Upon further investigation I discovered that this was actually an Oya crown! Oya is a warrior goddess, and the guardian of the cemetery gates, who uses lightning to strike down her opponents, and in worse cases she can call upon an army of the dead. Oya rules storms and wind bringing change through monumental weather events. She is known to guide those that have passed through the cemetery gates to their eternal resting place. For further info on Oya check out Original Botanica.
Offerings to Oya include black hens, chocolate, eggplant, brown or purple candles. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the dead black hen in a bag outside the gates of the large central Havana cemetery, Colon Cemetery, which I had thought little of (or tried not to) at the time.
There was also this beside the hen:
Well at that moment it was as if a large bolt of Oya’s lightning struck me when I read that she is sometimes related to St. Brigid, a timely discovery as we were entering the Imbolc season ruled by Brigid in the Celtic tradition.
So, here’s what I could make out on the connection, and I write humbly on the subject as I know there’s very much more to learn and something I will continue to study.
Santeria, is the mix of the Catholic religion and the Yeruba religion, which was brought through slaves in the new colonies to Cuba and other areas. In Santeria the orishas are spirits, they could even be called demi-gods of this faith. Offerings are made to the Orishas in return for favours; they can also bring lessons and blessings and often work through possession. A similar incarnation happened in Haiti with Voudon~ the loa, or lwa, are the spirits, or demi-gods, of this religion, each spirit represents a part of life which can be honoured and called upon for favours. The sister Loa to Santeria’s Oya is Maman Brigitte, a death loa and the wife of Baron Samedi. Maman Brigitte and Baron Samedi are responsible for guiding the spirits of the living into the afterlife and they protect the graves in the cemetery.
Here’s where it connects to Brigid. People of Ireland were brought to Haiti to work along side slaves through “indentured servitude” (essentially slavery, except they were given a promise that they would be free after a certain amount of time). Maman Brigitte is a mix of the spirit of Oya and the goddess Brigid and is often depicted with red hair, like the goddess. The theory is that when sickness took hold of the colonies, the Irish brought St. Brigid (or goddess Brigid) to the bedside of the sick to help heal. She would also bring peace to a dying soul and comfort them while guiding them into the afterlife. An assignment often procured by Maman Brigitte or Oya.
After doing some research I still felt that the spirits represented were still so far removed from the Goddess Brigid I am aware of. The Brigid I am familiar with is the goddess of the home and hearth, bringing warmth and the promise of the return of spring. She is a bringer of change in a slower, benevolent way, warming our hearts with hope. Whereas Oya brings change in a swift and sometimes painful manner (for example; hurricanes and their devastation have been blamed on Oya) ~even if these situations bring regrowth and renewal they seem more destructive in nature than my reins knowledge of the goddess Brigid.
It was in the pages of Brigid: Mystery and Magic of the Celtic Goddess by Courtney Webber that I found the warrior side of Brigid and although she is a caring and nurturing goddess she can be a fierce protector of her people. The Celts had woman warriors and many of these warriors were priestesses who would bring the protection of Brigid with them into the battlefield. Webber describes “Brigid was known to scream and fly across the battlefield in the province of Leinster”and she was also seen handing warriors her staff. Another unusual ability of Goddess Brigid was her ability to call upon an army of animals to aid in battle, not quite the army of the dead that Oya commands, but this command of nature is still a common thread.
Brigid would also be called upon to shed light upon the truth, similarly Oya can bring justice when called upon. As with the wind, Brigid is seen as carrying a white rod that she uses to bring warm winds and change, Oya brings the winds of change too, although she prefers to carry a lightning bolt. There are many more connections, such as the tools both use, tools of agriculture, Oya carries hers in respect for a past relationship, Brigid uses hers in regards to fertile soil, etc. No matter what each goddess offers to her worshippers, the one common thread seems to be that they give us deeper ways to look at nature, change and the wheel of life that can often catapult us forward into change, whether we like it or not. With spring a few floods are likely to come.
This Imbolc I added a new tradition to my own practice and aside from making an altar for Brigid I made a special place in my house for Oya’s crown and made an offering of a deep purple coloured candle and some dark spiced rum.
May you harness the energy you need to endure the last weeks of winter through whatever warms your soul and sparks the fire of your passion.
It happened! The biggest manifestation I have conjured to date. It has been exactly one full moon since I won the lottery!
Well, it’s not your a-typical lottery where you are awarded a large cash sum. I won Cash for Life, where a sweet sum of $1000 is delivered to you weekly for life. Here’s the article published in the Hamilton Spectator. Stars Align for Hamilton lottery winner
Here’s the rest of the story, not included in the article.
They say that people who win the lottery know they are going to win the lottery. Well I did, even though I didn’t buy tickets that often, I told my husband I was going to win cash for life frequently. As someone who had little security in my life, this seemed like the one thing that was utterly attractive to me, a decent amount of money doled out for the rest of my life. I had struggled as a child and this continues into my adult years. I was in the contract work circuit or taking low wage jobs working in the arts. Even though the hours were often unsteady and low wage, I always felt comfort in knowing I was supporting the arts~ even when I had given up my own arts practice to be the support person for a multitude of artists.
When I had a stable job in the arts, without benefits and on the lower pay scale. I was happy! Who had a stable job in the arts? With full time hours, and for what I thought was decent pay, even if my family didn’t agree. My mother’s gnawing voice would constantly ask me about RRSPs,
“What are you going to do when you retire?” she would enquire In a voice that sounded similar to a frustrated Don Knotts
I would consistently reply “win the lottery”.
Well here I am 44 and planning retirement at 45, my mother and I will be retiring at the same time and I can’t wait for the party we are going to have!
Here is an account of the events leading up to that fateful day. We could honestly go back 10 years to when I moved to Hamilton, but truthfully the synchronicities that led to that moment could fill a novel. Nevertheless, I can say I am now positive that we are in the exact right spot in the exact right time, and there are simply no wrong moves.
It was Friday, July 7th and the artist run centre that I work at was quite busy, but I was spending some time in the front window of the shop pondering the display, when I spotted a monarch lying in the middle of the road. It’s wings gently lifting and lowering, it’s body remaining still. The street I work on is busy with a lot of traffic, so it was a wonder it hadn’t been hit by a car. I ran in to the road (also a wonder that I wasn’t hit) and put out my hand, my heart stopped when the great winged creature stepped onto my palm and let me pick it up. After a few pics I put him in a flower bed beside the shop and hoped for the best.
When I checked on the Monarch an hour later it was listless. I concocted a mixture of sugar water and sure enough he drank it and livened right up. After another couple of hours the butterfly was motionless again and the sky was threatening to rain. I knew what I had to do, take the monarch home. Whatever plans I had for the weekend were quickly kyboshed, as I was completely mesmerized by this creature and quite obviously under its spell.
I am sure I had never been close to anything as beautiful before in my life. Why had I not gone to a butterfly sanctuary before?
I made a home for him in a garden candle-holder, and gave him a name Labyris, after a Minoan butterfly goddess. It was soon revealed that Labyris was missing a leg, I secretly hoped there was some new form of 3D printed butterfly crutch, but alas, no google search provided an answer on that.
On our first morning together he seemed stronger, I took him out of his cage and he could fly, for brief moments at a time, he would cling to a branch in the garden, but soon loose his grip falling below the leaves. Once on the ground he would just wait for me to put my hand down and step up onto his human elevator and we would try again.
That afternoon I searched Hamilton for some butterfly food, I could only find one milkweed plant in bloom. I brought it home and I don’t think I could ever say this or even imagine it before, but this butterfly was filled with joy when I fed it to him!! He feasted like a king and later that night went to sleep while clenching onto the tiny buds.
After Labyris had drifted off into a milkweed coma I gathered the supplies necessary for the full moon as is customary in my home. Without going into too much detail, I was feeling very elated from my experience with the creature and set my intentions for the full moon with a heart that was the widest I had felt in a long time. Once my moon ritual was over my husband and I sat in the moonlight, listening to music. It was one of those warm nights where the air had a honey quality to it with everything in bloom. As we watched the moon make its way across the sky I saw a falling star. I looked to my husband…
“Did you see that falling star?”
He didn’t catch it, but asked “what did you wish for”
I thought about it for a moment and I felt so fulfilled at that very moment that there was nothing to wish for, “I have everything I want” I told him.
The next day I found Labyris, dead, still clinging to his milkweed. I was devastated, but we carried on running errands, as we usually would on a Sunday, but I know that I had a little less bounce in my step. Somehow we ended up at a store we don’t usually go to and the woman in front of me bought some scratch and win tickets, I thought “what the heck” and bought one too. I won the grand prize, Cash for Life. There was nothing left to do but thank the universe, as well as giving a silent nod to Labyris.
I would like to say thank you for all the kind words and happiness people have shared with me since winning, I am shocked at the love and kindness I have been receiving since.
I have started a new blog about the experience and the adventures to follow entitled 1000 moons here:
Vacations are gold, especially when there’s so few each year. That’s why Mazatlan was not on my list, it’s not that I didn’t want to go to Mexico, it’s just that I had figured if I ever went back again it would be for Day of the Dead, or to the Radish Festival, where locals in Oaxaca carve intricate statues from radishes, or even to go on an expedition in search of a Chupacabra. But sometimes, when we least expect it, we stumble over something we mistook for a lovely rock, and it turns out to contain a fossil that strikes our imagination deeply and surprises us with hidden secrets of earth and even life itself. This was Mazatlan for me.
I already had family in Mazatlan and when my mother told me she was thinking about buying a place in Mexico, being the over protective child that I am, I had to cash in my vacation time to make sure this would be a city I felt comfortable about my mother living in. What I knew about the city was that there are a lot of Ex-pats there, but there is also a thriving billabong, wearing resort scene. I was sure that I would be sticking out like a sore thumb and my worry increased when as soon as I hit the plane a couple of Canadian adventure seekers started making fun of my complexion. Ok, so my skin is a little like the under belly of a fish, white with a green tinge with slightly transparent in patches, but still, it’s not something I think people should talk about, especially at 25,000 feet above land, for all they know I could have crawled in from the wing, a passenger from a descending space craft.
However, once we had landed and were away from the high altitude fashion police, I realized that we were in paradise. Mazatlan is known as the Pearl of the Pacific and we were staying just steps from the beach in the Historic Centre of Mazatlan. The beach was magnificent, with cliffs and intricate rock formations that jut out from strips of sand. On the Malecon pathway that follows the shore stone mermaids beckon to passers by while cliff divers do daredevil acts. I also fell in love with the historic centre, its neoclassical buildings, wrought ironwork and narrow streets were reminiscent of the French Quarter in New Orleans and empty facades were covered with amazing street art, skulls peaked out from every corner and brightly painted Virgin Mary’s camouflaged into the brightly painted casitas.
But this city was more than a pretty face, it also had many activities, including surfing!! I’ve wanted to take surf lessons for most of my life; I was always looking for packages and had been saving my money to go on a women’s surf trip for quite awhile. Well, to my surprise Mazatlan is a surf mecca (ok, everyone on the west coast already knew this and I feel very naïve that I didn’t) and my mother had booked us surf lessons! It just goes to show that if you constantly visualize and see yourself doing something, you will eventually do it, even if it’s not how you expected. My mother had told me about the classes a few weeks before we left, which I’m glad she did because even though it gave me a few weeks to add some extra planks and core workouts to my day. I’m glad I did, because even though I managed to get up a few times it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.
Here are a few life lessons that I learned surfing:
If you get a bad wave you just have to ride it out:
Roberto, who runs the Surf in Mazatlan Surf shop and school told me this on our way from lesson one. I am pretty sure I got the translation right on this one and it’s a philosophy that seems to hold more truth after a good pounding by the ocean.
One of the most grueling parts of learning surfing was the energy expended on getting on the proper side of a wave. Pulling your board and paddling over a swell, swimming, holding your breath as the crest of a wave crashes over you, enveloping you in a salty grip.
All this effort and you may not even get a good wave, in my case you may not even be able to balance enough to stand up. Ok…I decided I was just going to ride it out! Because you know what…the few waves that I caught my balance for were exhilarating and enough to make up for the rest!
Let yourself fail
It’s all about the wipe out. You are supposed to fall! If you don’t you will ride into the shore….I didn’t even realize that until Lesson 2. No matter what you will inevitably fall (try telling a perfectionist this). Accept it, learn what you can from the crush and let yourself fall.
To feel better gargle your body with salt water
I got sick with a terrible cold on the third day in Mazatlan and this came from a conversation over text with Stefania and I think it works!
I haven’t been connected with the Pacific ocean in quite a few years and I was mesmerized by the sounds of the ocean, especially with it being so close. To me it was if you could hear the earth breathing and the ocean was the earth’s giant lungs. Every time I went in the ocean it was as if my whole being was being cleansed, the tide pulling the toxins from my body and the poison from my thoughts. It was beautiful and I will definitely be going back to surf again.
Besides for fulfilling a life long dream, I also came across some curiosities.
Jenny Haniver in the wild!
This is the last creature I expected to see in Mexico, as I’ve only came across them as sideshow oddities before. This one was watching over a stall in the downtown market.
Jenny Hanivers became popular in the mid 16th century. They were brought back by sailors visiting Antwerp, as the name became a slang version of jeune d’Anvers (Young Person of Antwerp).
When I was younger, I used to call them sea fairies, but early beliefs of these mythical creatures had them as more nefarious characters than that, they were often thought of as mini dragons and were commonly mistaken for Basilisks, a creature that could kill by merely glancing your way. It ends up that they are dried ray fish, which makes sense since Mazatlan is known for its rays.
I asked the stall owner about the sea creature she told me that it brought her luck. Upon researching I’ve found that Curandero’s (shamen) use these dried fish in their rituals, as they are renowned for their magical powers. They would be ground into powder for drinking or worn as amulets. I know it was lucky for me as well as the shop keeper since I found some very cheap lotteria cards at her booth.
And then there’s always Skeletons
This burial urn is at the Museo Arqueológico and was made by the Totorames, who were the first people of Mazatlan. The customs and spiritual practices of the Totorames are not known, but archaeologists suspect that they were a peaceful society, as there is no evidence of human sacrifice in their artifacts which was common practice in the surrounding Sinaloa communities of the time. The Totorames were highly skilled in tool making and pottery, and even though the Totorames had a highly advanced agriculture systems and were successful in the fishing trade industry they disappeared 200 years before the Spanish conquest.
The fact that the Totorames built these ceramic egg tombs as part of their funerary rites is fascinating. Soft tissue would be removed from the deceased and then their bones would be carefully arranged in the egg with the skull set on top of the remains. The museum states that the egg is to represent a return to the womb of the mother goddess. Whether this is in relation to Tonantzin, the mother goddess of the Aztecs, it is not clear, but I can’t help acknowledging the reference to nature and the life-death- life cycle prevalent in early polytheistic societies and maybe something we are coming full circle to. Check out these modern egg pods.
With the Spring Equinox and Ostara coming, I will be holding these urns in my thoughts and inviting them into my meditation on rebirth.
All good things come to an end..or do they?
Mazatlan is a wonderful place, which I’m sure holds much more magic to discover. Luckily I will be back sooner rather than later, as my mother is going to go ahead with her plan to buy a place and we will be back in May to shop for her dream casita.
It was years ago that I found a vintage style paper prophecy board on a trip to San Diego. I have kept it within reach recently putting it to good use~ well what I think is good use. It’s very convenient that I work at a print studio as it was easy enough to screen print these one of a kind Fate and Fortune cards using the Prophecy Board images, some of my favorite iconic symbols.
If you have received a Fate and Fortune card from me you will find the meaning you seek below! (please note that meanings written are from the original game).
Jeweled Ring– A very Lucky Symbol. It means that someone cares for you very much and you will get a gift very soon-most probably of jewelry. For the unattached, it foretells a happy love affair.
Flag– Success of some kind lies before you. If you have been having a bad spell, cheer up, for a better time is coming.
Letter– A visit from the postman is going to make a very bug difference in your life. You will probably have to make an important decision before very long. Don’t decide in a hurry, but once you have made up your mind, stick with it.
Sun– Someone at present, a stranger to you, will come very soon into your life. It may mean anxiety and disappointment for a time, buyt it will lead in the end to sunshine. For the unmarried, wedding happiness is indicated.
Black Cat– You’ll be lucky either in love or money—perhaps in both. But the witch has a warning for you. Though a cat purrs it can also scratch. A jealous woman may try to poison your mind against one you care for. Pay no heed!
Idol– Your life will be connected in some ways with a far-off land. It is possible that you yourself will go abroad. In any case, someone from a foreign land will hold a big part of your heart.
Lucky 7– This number will be a lucky one for you, especially if your first name or your surname has seven letters. Take note of the 7th day of each month. You’ll see that it never fails to hold some bit of happiness for you, big or little.
Dagger– Look out for a shock, but it will be, as likely or not, a pleasant one—perhaps an unexpected proposal or marriage, or news of a legacy.
Fan– You’re a bit of a flirt, aren’t you? But don’t overdo it, or you may be sorry in the end>it is sometimes better to wear your heart on your sleeve than to act as if you don’t have one at all.
Doll– This is a very lucky symbol in regard to your work. Whatever your job is, whether at home or in a shop, or office, or factory, things are going to be very much easier for you in your future.
True Lovers Knot– For the unmarried this means a happy love affair ending in tying the knot. For the married, it foretells a long and happy life with the one they love.
Old Shoe– This is a warning not to go always in the same old rut. You want new ways sometimes as well as new shoes. Do something different tomorrow, even if it’s just trying a new pudding or arranging your hair in a different way. It’ll cheer you to no end, and other folks, too.
Toadstool– There’s a little bit of bother coming to you through someone who talks too much about folk’s affairs. After this, you will be more careful to whom you tell your secrets.
Wheel– Fortune’s wheel is going to turn for you soon and bring you a piece of very good luck. This will probably entail a journey, not a long one.
Triangle– What’s called ‘The Eternal Triangle” is going to affect your life, or that of someone known to you. It may be the case of two women and a man, or two men and a woman. Anyhow, it will cause a bit of upset, but in the end will be smoothed out.
Bell- This means interesting news of some sort coming to you. It may be news of a birth, marriage, or of a death: of money coming, or a new job: or it may be a change for you to another place.
Kettle– The witch has a message here for the woman in the home. Though your work may sometimes seem hard and unending and thankless, yet, as surely as the kettle boils every day, so surely will love and happiness be yours to the end of your life.
Stamp– Yours will never be a dull life. There will be something interesting and exciting happening, even if you’re a stay-at-home. But it’s more likely that you will have many changes in your life.
Anchor– This is a very good symbol promising safety and security, both as regards to material things, and affairs of the heart. You will win love, and you will hold it always. Though you may not be rich, you will have enough for all of your needs.
Lighthouse– Never give up hope that someday you will get something you have longed for. There’s a good chance of your hopes being fulfilled.
Hare– Soon you will meet an unexpected and surprising new friend who will show great kindness to you, and will make you happy.
Shell– There is a change of plans indicated for you. At the last moment you will be turned from something you mean to do. The disappointment will not last long for you will later consider yourself lucky.
Bat– This is a warning to you. In the near future you may be tempted to do something you shouldn’t. Don’t do it-and you will be jolly thankful.
Candle– A worry dispelled and great joy promised. This will be chiefly due to a man friend (whom you may not have met yet!) He is going to make a big difference in your life.
Crescent Moon– There is a great new interest coming into your life. You’ll wonder how you survived before. But you are warned to beware of a jealous woman. She is fair and poses as a friend. You will find her out in time.
Umbrella– A quarrel. After the first bitterness is over, you’ll be anxious to make it up, for you will dearly want the other person’s friendship.
Lightning– News, swift and unexpected. This will be followed by a series of events which will make life very exciting for you. Also some very special benefit or gift is coming to one of your family.
Snake– Although you may not be aware of it, you have made an enemy. This person will try to harm you by saying spiteful things, but you have no need to fear. Your friends will realize your true worth.
Caravan– For married folks this indicates a bit of a “stir” in the home. Something that has never happened before will upset the usual serenity. But don’t worry, for it will be for good. To young folks this promises new joy.
Frog– A gift from an unexpected source. The giver will have other surprises for you. Also, an old friendship, which has been allowed to drop, will be renewed.
Ivy Leaf– This is a very happy omen for lovers, provided they don’t let jealousy creep their romance. A wonderful future is assured to them. For others, new and true friends are promised.
Eye– Beware of being too critical of others and repeating gossip. This may lead you into saying words you may afterwards regret. Pay heed to this warning.
Suitcase– A stranger will come to your door with news for you. The stranger will be welcomed and warmly received under your roof. There is also a gift foretold.
Crown– Honor or reward is coming either to you or one of your family. It will come at a time when you are a little worried, and will make the skies bright again.
Milestone– Something new and entirely different is about to happen in your life. This will give you an opportunity to change your life- or leave it as it is.
Witch– The most important omen; This indicates great good luck for you, and not very far off. There is an indication, too, of money coming to you.
Tree– The tree has always been a sign of prosperity, but only for those who take advantage of their opportunities. Your opportunity is coming; be on the look-out for it.
Swan– If you are unmarried you are advised to disregard this omen and try again. For married folks, a quarrel is forecast (not necessarily between husband and wife). Happily, it will not last long, and will lead to better understanding.
Thimble– Your future will be influenced to a certain extent by a woman you will shortly meet. You will find her strange at first, until you get to know her better.
Lamp– You’ve been puzzled lately, and in doubt as to what you should do. Presently you’re going to see things in a different light, and the way will be clear.
Rainbow– Things may look black for a time, and one or two little worries will crop up. But you’ve no need to be anxious. The rainbow brings promise that all will be well.
Drum– Soon you’ll have news you’ll want to tell the whole world. Real exciting good news! You haven’t any idea of it in the meantime.
Horseshoe– Lucky you! You’ve picked a good fortune. There’s more than one kind of good luck coming to you, love luck, and money luck as well. Keep a horseshoe hanging up in your home, it’s especially lucky for you.
Gate– Something is barring your way just now. You are longing for something to happen, but there’s an obstacle. Well, there is a way of opening every gate.
Four Leaf Clover– This is a good omen for all-young and old. Married folks will know great contentment and joy in the home. Single ones will have an especially happy time, and success at work.
Hand– Go cautiously! You are warned against being too impetuous. Think before you speak!
Apple– Beware of flirting! You can’t help liking the opposite sex. But stick to THE ONE and don’t be everybody’s sweetheart.
Bridge– Don’t worry; or try to cross bridges before you come to them! Have courage, you will find your difficulties are not really as big as you think, if you wait and meet them hopefully.
Mistletoe– A kiss just for fun! Do you remember it? Well, you’ve kindled a spark that is going to turn into the real glow of love.
Cradle– A little stranger is going to make a big difference in your life. If it’s not actually in your home, you’re sure to be at the christening. At that christening you’ll meet someone who will be important in your life.
Scissors– a parting from someone soon. At first you’ll feel hurt about it, but is is for the best.
Aeroplane– News is on the way to you. The one who is sending it is eager for an answer.
Fish– You’ll be asked to sign a paper; Before you do, make sure that you fully understand what it’s all about. If you don’t, you may regret it later on.
Key– A new home with much happiness in it. A big upheaval to begin with, but you will not mind that.
Owl– Someone is going to give you some good advice. You won’t like it, but don not try to accept the spirit in which it is given, for nit will mean a whole lot to you.
Pierced Heart– Hard words from the one you love, and how vexed you will feel! But a reconciliation will come very soon, for its real love between you.
Car– You’ll be invited to take a journey. Don’t refuse, as you may feel tempted to do. That journey will mean much to you, and you’ll miss a lot if you don’t go.
Looking Glass– People have admired you for your looks, but someone is very attracted to you by your kindliness and good nature.
Wedding Ring– A Lucky symbol. It foretells an engagement or a wedding soon. Although it may not mean yourself, you will play a big part in it.
Acorn– This year will be a very pleasant one for you. One or two changes are in store. This symbol means much to men- your plans, slow to develop, will mature to success.
Windmill– “Old friends are the best friends”. When things go wrong, other will look to you for guidance. You won’t fail them. Your life will always be a pleasant one.
Money– This actually means money. There is a happy surprise in store for you.
Dragon– Watch your step! Two persons are interested in you, but a little incident will help you decide which one to trust. A friend will help you in a rather surprising way.
Tent– You have many happy days to look forward to, especially during the present year. Don’t be overconfident; an unexpected present will delight you.
Lucky Bean– You will be lucky in money matters. In other things- not quite so lucky. However, you will always wear a smile. That is why people like you. Your smile too, will attract someone who will come to mean much to you.
Arrow– Things may not be too easy for you at first, but a chance opening will make the way clear. Go through with it, straight to the finish. Generally, there are indications of good luck, but an action of yours will be misconstrued, and hurt one dear to you. You will be able to clear this up.
Ship– You are on the crest. You will be lucky in money matters. A journey is indicated. You will meet a friend you have not seen in a very long time.
Swallow– There is good news coming to you; also a letter from abroad. You will make a new friend in whom you will be very interested. April is your lucky month!
Wishbone– Your greatest wish may not come true- but we all wish so high! Something else will please you just as much. You work hard and won’t go unrewarded.
Book– There’s a very exciting adventure in store for you. If unmarried, it may lead to romance.
Pencil– You are a real sticker! Your concentration will earn you a deserved reward. You will make many friends. Be careful not to share any secret which you do not wish to be carried further. A small present-perhaps money- will come your way very soon.
Church– Your life may not be very eventful during the next month or two, but at least you will be very happy. You are one to be envied on your choice of friends; they are so true and understanding. One will need your help soon.
Signpost– This may well be the turning point of your life. The way is clear for you. Do what you thin k is right, follow your purpose unfalteringly, and you will be glad.
Cauldron– This is a mixed brew! Your fortune will vary in a very up and down manner, and not until late autumn will you really settle down. A friendship developed at this time will help to soothe the troubled waters. The friendship will develop into something deeper!
Archway– An unusual meeting is indicated before you. It will mean a great deal to you. An important matter awaits your decision. Consider it well, but once you have decided, don’t pause- go right through with it.
Elephant– Long life and prosperity is before you. People look up to you and respect you. Your help will be needed on many occasions. Give it willingly and you will be rewarded for your trouble.
Brides Cake– What a lucky person you are! Good fortune and happiness await you at almost every turn. Some people are jealous of you. Don’t bother about them. Great happiness will soon make you forget.
House– Very soon there will be a change for the better in your life. It may be a change of address, or promotion at work- but it is coming, all right.
Star– This is an especially good omen. Someone thinks very highly of you and, before long, you will find you have a loyal staunch friend who will take up quite a lot of your thoughts. There is much happiness coming to you with this friendship.
Train– A dear friend who lives at a distance is saving hard to pay you a surprise visit. This friend will have a rather important request to make to you.
Button– Things may have been a bit difficult for you, but the clouds will clear away soon, and you can look forward to cheerier times. Look out for a very special invitation.
Spiders Web– In a few days’ time, you will be present at a big gathering. Someone there will pick you out for very special attention.
Birds Cage– One day soon you will be wearing something new. That day an almost forgotten friend will turn up bringing a wonderful surprise for you.
Nine of Diamonds– There is someone who hasn’t forgotten a kind act of yours some years ago. You will soon hear from this friend who wishes to renew the friendship.
Thistle– There is a warning here for you to guard against a jealous friend. If you heed it, there is a time of great joy coming to you. You can expect a gift of jewelry soon.
Butterfly– At this moment someone is thinking of you and hoping to win your love, or at least friendship. Can you guess who it is?
Ladder– When you are on a bus or train, you will have an unexpected adventure with a happy ending. Soon after a new friend will become a welcome visitor to your home.
Clock– Wedding bells will be ringing soon-either for yourself or a near friend. You will have a most exciting time.
Necklace– Tuesday is your lucky day. One Tuesday before long you will meet someone who will mean a lot to you. Look out for a tall, dark, handsome stranger!
White Heather– Good news for you! Changes-many of them and all for the better-will unsettle you for some time. Afterwards you will agree they brought much happiness.
Telephone-You will be thrilled through and through by a most unusual message by telephone or telegram.
Pool– At a dance or party, you will have a most fascinating partner. He will be eager to continue the friendship afterwards. Your friends will be envious of you!
Hammer– This is a sign of prosperity. You have chosen well. There will be as steady improvement of your affairs and it will begin soon.
Cup and Saucer– There is somebody who likes coming to your house. This friend will have something important to tell you soon, and it will concern you too.
Fire– You will travel a long distance by train or bus before long to see an old friend who needs you. You will be glad you went.
Monkey– A very lucky symbol, the future is bright an rosy for you.
Sometimes it’s hard to grasp the goodness of this season. I, myself, being one of the many people who can’t stand the brash commercialism of Christmas, the connotations of organized religion, and the heavy push of expectations for family gatherings, which seems to emphasize the lack or loss of members, failure of living up to expectations, and the need for a poker face of steel.
When I do feel small sensations or joy from a gift, card or friendly greeting I almost feel guilty, as if I may be turning into one of them~ an upstanding citizen, baking goodies for the neighbors, matching my lipstick to my handbag and hades forbid, maybe attending church one day! It’s definitely a nightmare of mine. But there are are other guilty pleasures in this Holiday, like novelty x-mas music, Christmas crackers, houses dripping with multi coloured lights, fairy tales, tinsel and glitz.
I do partake in the usual family and work affairs, but allow myself time for reflection on the eve of the Winter Solstice with a small ritual and meditation. Through this I reflect on the past year, vanquish the feelings I no longer want to hold onto and try to ground myself for the year to come. The beautiful thing is that on this same night there are many people partaking in similar rituals and if you are very still you can feel them. It is a time when you realize your pulse beats in time with the movement of life on this earth. You are connected to those near and far in a very deep way, it is a very rejuvenating experience for me, yet I fall back into the loud festivities in drastic contrast once it ends,.
It was after this year’s Winter Solstice that I stumbled across this image of Francesco Bianchini’s Sundial. A meridian line commissioned by Pope Clement XI and completed in 1702 at The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs in Rome. Unlike a modern sundial, it is not the shadow that is cast showing the time, it is the light. Sunlight entering the church crosses the meridian line that runs along the floor. The light changes position depending on the time of year and illuminates the signs of the zodiac that are inlayed into the marble floor. The light reaches the furthest points of the room on the Summer Solstice and the Winter Solstice. Although the meridian line was built as a calendar, not unlike Stonehenge, it also holds a much deeper symbolism to me. It shows the point where we align with nature, where we are intrinsically connected to the earth and celestial bodies through intention and observation.
As we all know, Christmas was a pagan celebration co-opted by the church (in the simplest of terms) but this beautiful image makes me aware of the deep need for this celebration and very conscious of how people, no matter who they are, connect with the natural world. The spiritual is synonymous to our simultaneous existence and co-existence with each other, these sacred spaces providing grounding source for our restless minds.
Don’t get me wrong, you will never see a nativity scene on my lawn (unless it was a zombie nativity scene), and I will never forgive the atrocities committed in the name of organized religion, but I do feel reconciled in observing the holiday as Christmas, Yule and the Winter Solstice, as the Meridian line of my inner self has revealed the connectivity of collective conscious and the beauty in the return of the sun.