Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Virtual "Thank You"

Greetings to all of our readers and supporters,

As 2006 approaches we all at the InnerLink Metaphysical Journal, wish to thank you for reading some or all of the machinations, thoughts, musings, and whatever else presented here.

Since we never wish to slight anyone or any organization with open-minds worked with and helped us during 2005, we will just give a huge THANK YOU!

And we at the ILMJ look forward to working with y'all in the coming year of fruitful harvest, positivity, open-mindedness, progressiveness, purposefulness, and most of all equality toward all humanity, animals, and nature!

We're outta here!

See ya, in 2006!

Happy New Year! : )

Em hotep & Blesséd Be from,

Rev. Dr. Kheti A. Sahure
Rev. Sifu H.A. Diop
Rev. DM Raven

InnerLink Metaphysical Journal,
The Temple of Kheti Ministry,
The Temple of,
Kheti Metaphysical Institute,
The Earthly Herbalist,
Mystik Forest eGroup,
African American Witches Cauldron,
Rocky Mountain Pagans Web Ring,
Herbal Health Alternatives Web Ring

~ In the spiritual light of our Ancient Egyptian pantheon, our pantheon of the Craft, in reverence of our very spiritual ancestors, and our Lady & Lord of our Dianic Witchcraft Tradition ~

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Poetry by Bronwen


It hurts me to see you cry, I feel your pain
Everytime you are sad
All I ever want to do is just comfort you
And make you smile

I put my own needs aside when you are down
Do my best to make sure I am there for you
Listen when you need it
Talk when you want to
I always seem to know what you want even before you do
I help you see things with a clearer mind
When you are confused

I act like a nut just so that I can see you smile
Even when I know it is only for a brief moment

I only ever see the best in you
I never see the bad even when I know it is there


WRITTEN 7/5/2000

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Today in History 12.27.05

Born on this day in 1822:

"Imagination should give wings to our thoughts but we always need decisive experimental proof, and when the moment comes to draw conclusions and to interpret the gathered observations, imagination must be checked and documented by the factual results of the experiment."

Louis Pasteur

Social Ministry

One of the major aspects of my ministry (via the Temple of Kheti) has always emphasized the reaching out to those in the community.

Since I felt physically able to walk a bit better earlier yesterday, I went back to doing what I have always done and missed even before becoming a minister--I hobbled around and talked with some of our beloved human beings who dwell on the streets. In talking with these fellow human beings, I have always tried to help them with food, money, and shelter in no certain order; but most of all, I try to share some semblance of hope for a better second, minute, hour, and day without evangelism and/or an attempt to convert anyone to Kemeticism or Wicca for that matter. I had parked my auto illegally because there was nowhere else to park and I had forgotten to post my "Minister On Duty" placard in my auto's window. That placard cracks me up because I'm a clergy on duty 24-7-365.

Anywho, I talked with a gentleman who was sitting at one of the off-ramps in downtown Colorado Springs. The nearby policeman, sitting inside his squad car and in full view of us, was busy scanning for speeders to pay any attention to us.

The gentleman was sitting in a lotus pose which made me think about how one can be very comfy while sitting on a cold ground. I made no judgments about who he is other than he is a fellow human being. Was I afraid to approach him or anyone else for that matter? Nay! Never! Why? Because those of us who have been relegated into poverty, starvation, homelessness, and eventually an untimely demise are not generally violent psychopaths as many people have labeled those human beings who have become homeless. Poverty, starvation, and homelessness are generally caused by the cruelty and inhumanity of other humans and our so-called governments which are empowered to help and prevent homelessness, starvation, and poverty.

Anywho again, the gentleman politely asked me, as we held hands in a mutual and positive sharing of Qi energies, "Have I been sitting here too long?" We both smiled. I then replied, "Well, no . . . but you know what I mean." I asked if I could pray a little for him. He said, "Yes, and I will pray for you thank you." I said "thank you" too.

We prayed together . . . at the Bijou off-ramp of I-25 in sorry-ass America-- and only in America, the so-called wealthiest country in the world! Yes, I am very aware that poverty, starvation, homelessness, and inhumanity pervades our global community!

The ending of poverty, starvation, homelessness, and inhumanity is everyone's problem and should be your major concern too.

Brightest Blessings,

~Rev. Kheti

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Musings of Sifu H.A. Diop 12.25.05

As I transform myself into a Divine Golden Falcon,

I shall dwell in the Divine Sunshine

Brought forth by Re

As a Divine Spirit

Who shall go

To and fro

Within the confine

Of the Divine Sky.


"Motivation is the first movement of knowledge. The ability to care comes from being motivated. when feelings are acknowledged, respected, honored and worked with, their energy is clearly transformed into motivation. There is a strong connection between motivation and the creative force.

For many activities, pure survival is the motivation. Creativity, however, requires a spiritual or philosophical belief, whatever it may be, that provides a foundation for the experience. Without this foundation, the experience of creativity is and void, for there must be an avenue by which once reaches within the spiritual realm to tap energy needed to achieve the finished creative product.

The second movement of knowledge is the wisdom that comes from pure experience, which begins as desire. A watercolor painter, for example, has the desire to enjoy watercolors as an art form. Desire takes you within the experience of the medium itself, stimulating your perception. This in turn feeds your ability to visualize creativity.

Visualize the finished product and enjoy it. Do this before you begin, so that you can see the result. In this way, creativity is a spiralling flow, a cycle, with no beginning and no end.

Responsibility is the closing movement of knowledge. The best way to understand creative responsibility is to think of a mother and father giving birth to a baby. The baby will be a facet of their existence. Each thing that you create is a piece of what and who you are."

▪ Wolf Moondance

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Musings of Sifu H.A. Diop 12.22.05

Often times
YOUR LIFE depends on how one wants to be defended even if
YOUR LIFE depends on this, even if
YOUR LIFE is no longer your own, and even if
YOUR LIFE is not owned by YOU!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Yule or the Winter Solstice is scientifically based on the standing still position of the Sun; this has been practiced for over 10,000 years by many cultures (especially Native Americans, Spanish and Mexican Indians) around the globe with ceremonies and festivals over 12 days). Yule is a kind of spiritual, psychic, and physiological renewal of mind, body, and soul involving the 4 elements (Earth or North, Air or East, Fire or South, and Water or West) and the 5th element being the Spirit Guide at the top of a right side up pentacle and pentagram (which are mathematically based on geometry). The winter solstice is unique among days of the year--the shortest day and the longest night. Darkness rules but only briefly; from now until the summer solstice, the nights will grow shorter and the days longer even in Alaska.

The Winter Solstice's turning point was carefully monitored in many ancient cultures. The stones in the circle at Stonehenge were aligned to ascertain the dates of midsummer and midwinter, as well as the positions of the moon throughout the year. Even older than Stonehenge is the tumulus at Newgrange in the Boyne River Valley in Ireland. It was built in approximately 4500 B.C.E. On the morning of the winter solstice, a shaft of sunlight enters the mound, travels down a stone corridor, and illuminates the spiral designs on the back wall of the cave.

Yule is one of four Lesser Pagan Sabbats (with the religious festivals or holidays being Ostara, Midsummer or Litha, and Mabon) within the symbolically and constantly turning wheel of the year. Yule has long been celebrated as the rebirth of the sun (the Sun God Ra/Re), of sunlight, and the continual existence of life itself. According to Celtic folklore, the Oak King and the Holly King represent the two sides of the Greenman or the Horned God (Cernunnos); the Oak King oversees the lighter part of the year (at Litha) while the Holly King oversees the darker part of the year at Yule.

In the northern hemisphere, Yule is generally celebrated on or around December 21st depending upon the day of arrival of the full moon prior to this Sabbat. Yule festivals, ceremonies, and rituals can consist of a simple solitary prayer all the way through an elaborate social and spiritual gathering of men, women, and children. Depending upon their spiritual path, some folks observe Yule for 1 day or from 3, 7, or up to 12 days.

~ Merry Yule, Winter Solstice & Blesséd Be ~

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Musings of Sifu H.A. Diop 12.20.05

As your life prevails onward from this point in chronology,
it is very important to envision
your mental and spiritual potential
from your aura's frame of reference,
thus learning from
attuning yourself to the revelation
your emanating energy.

Monday, December 19, 2005

An Unhappy Tyrant

As we can all see, M. TVLLI CICERONIS postulated that virtue was a sufficient or adequate basis for one's happiness in life.

The following and very brief selection is excerpted from the philosophia Tusculan Disputations (liber quintus):

Duodequadraginta annos tyrannus Syracusanorum fuit Dionysius, cum quinque et viginti natus annos dominatum occupavisset. Qua pulchritudine urbem, quibus autem opibus praeditam servitute oppressam tenuit civitatem! Atqui de hoc homine a bonis auctoribus sic scriptum accepimus, summam fuisse eius in victu temperantiam in rebusque gerundis virum acrem et industrium, eundem tamen maleficum natura et iniustum; ex quo omnibus bene veritatem intuentibus videri necesse est miserrimum. Ea enim ipsa, quae concupierat, ne tum quidem, cum omnia se posse censebat, consequebatur.

Today in History 12.19.05

1966: The United Nations General Assembly endorsed the Outer Space Treaty, an international treaty binding the parties to use outer space only for peaceful purposes.

Source: Britannica Online

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Today in History 12.18.05

1865: On this day in 1865, by proclamation of the U.S. Secretary of State, the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, outlawing slavery, officially entered into force, having been ratified by the requisite states on December 6.

Source: Britannica Online

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Today in History 12.17.05

1903: Near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful sustained flights in an airplane—Orville first, gliding 120 feet (36.6 meters) through the air in 12 seconds.

1992: The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed by the leaders of Mexico, Canada, and the United States.

Source: Britannica Online

If You Believe . . .

If you believe in a higher energy of spirituality then there is never any question of your faith. The problems I have always witnessed and have been bothered with are those human beings who deem themselves as personal emissaries of their monotheistic beliefs and belief systems.

What makes me laugh often as I just shake my head is that these same human beings denounce me and others who practice Alternative Spirituality.

The world wide media DOES NOT venture or seek out those who practice alternative spiritual paths. This is why there are online journals, eGroups, forums, and more that exist. We get no financial support in the United States of America from our so-called government of democracy because we do not believe in monotheism and truly oppressive, regressive, suppressive Christian religions of and by the those same human purveyors of said mainstream theologies. Any Christian clergy with whom I have talked with have always been enlightened through me because I have known more than them about their own religion from my learned background in Old and New Testament theological training and studies on and from a very severe academic level. I teach them. This is not how I wish to spend my time as an ordained minister; I have my own religion--namely Ancient Egyptian religion and theology. I was not called to ministry to battle for social and political justice. I was called to help and tend to the spiritual needs of everyone regardless of an individual's faith or non-faith. If you seek me out for help, then I will help you no matter your circumstance or situation--because this is what I do. If there is a bird with a broken wing, then I will attempt to heal the bird's broken wing. If you are someone with a broken spirit, then I will try to heal your broken spirit in a manner agreeable with you based on the universal laws of spirituality and nature. It's really simple to convey advice and begin a method of spiritual healing once you cut out all of the nonsense and malarkey.

Religious persecution comes in many forms and shapes--history has shown all of us this as pure fact.

The facts speak for themselves in the United States. The same offspring of European ancestors and eventual immigrants who voluntarily came to this land (now called the United States) have now come to the forefront in order to sanction that their religious belief system of Christianity is the only one religion which is right for all--for all American citizens who have the freedom of choice to practice their religion afforded by the Constitution. I started all of my forums and websites because I grew tired of non-mainstream religious clergy, followers, seekers, and practitioners being treated as second-class citizens in America. Keep in mind that I do firmly believe in social, economic, and political equality for EVERYONE, including animals and our ecology.

America had already been founded by the pre-existing indigenous cultures and not by Columbus, namely those who have been given the "gov'mint" name "Native Americans". It was those invading European immigrants who fled to what is now called America, the United States, the USA, etc. from the tyranny of their European homelands of the time. For the most part, their flee and/or banishment from their homelands was due to their own seeking religious freedom. As for the attack on Christmas or the so-called taking Christ out of Christmas--po-leez! Get a life! I have truly loss respect for these clergy and politicians who promote this sad right-wing, fascist agenda. Their polls claim that 90 to 96 percent of all Americans believe in Christianity--well, I beg to differ with those fictitious statistics because, I do know of many people who were not polled and who do not believe in Christianity in the United States. It's always very odd that myself and others were never polled.

The bottom line is that we all need to live, work, and help everyone together in harmony. The religious divisiveness stemming from the pulpits of certain Christian groups needs to cease because I surely doubt that the prophet named Jesus, a Hebrew (a member of or descendant from one of a group of Northern Semitic peoples including the Israelites, Semites, and Hamites) man, did not teach about the negativity purveyed by so many Christian clergy, their organizations, and their members. Even though I do not practice Christianity, I do recognize and respect everyone's religious and non-religious beliefs, opinions, etc. I call this religious tolerance. And I would like to be able to chime into the White House daily with my religious thoughts, mission, and political agenda that so many faith-based Christian organizations are and have been privy too way before the Bush Administration. Why? So that my Kemetic-Wiccan ministry can get some of those mighty dollars to help our temple, churches, covens, and spiritual organizations to fund educational projects, create grassroots economic development projects and organizations, and to further our mission of helping all who are in need without evangelizing them in the process. We are all about doing the work in service of a spiritually higher, unified goddess and god within our pantheon of deities.

There are good and bad human beings in all cultures from their religious beliefs all the way through their sociology, psychology, policy, oral and written language--and of course, their intended hurtful actions toward other fellow human beings.

There is no hell! We all are not going to hell for believing in, showing, extending, and practicing kindness toward all of our fellow human beings, animal kind, and botanical kind! Let's get real about this! I have always found it hard to believe that the Christian God, who is suppose to be a forgiving God would send anyone to hell for extending kindness to and help to anyone or anything because she/he/it didn't proclaim Jesus Christ as savior. Remember, many religions outside of Christianity have gotten along without Jesus for eons. This is not about bashing Christianity either.

War creates nothing but the failure of humans to realize how silly we all are and can be! I surely doubt that Mosaic Law originally or ever stated "Thou Shall Kill" . . . .

We have people, namely children, starving and dying all over the world. This is the true agenda--not waging war against one another. What bothers me is that many Middle Eastern peoples hate me too because of the U.S. government. when President Bush decided to go to war against Iraq, a nation of people of color, he surely didn't ask me or other citizens. Yes, I have valid issues with President Bush's decision to beat up on Iraq! I am not a patriot of bully imperialism. I am not a patriot of imperialism period since I am indeed an ancestral "product" of the African Slave Trade, African Diaspora, and Jim Crow Law.

We have so many people unemployed in America and globally. We have so many people who are homeless, hungry, and ill (because of no adequate health care) in America. If you get sick without health insurance here in America--you will die! No joke--I have plenty of proof! We have so many with so plenty--who DO NOT help any of our fellow humans named above. We have so much hatred, bigotry, prejudice, sexism, and racism (all four are different yet equate in meaning) throughout history to the here and now. When are we as humans going to cease these negative behaviors? And this is not a rhetorical question! Last but not least, do not listen to those politicians who “preach" and who ARE NOT called to ministry, ordained or trained clergy—number one!

Just keep in mind that the real hell is the true hell your friends, family, co-workers, associates, significant others, hypocrits, and strangers put upon you each and every day. And many of you foolishly call this life!

Look to those people truly do good--not those who are materialistic and bent on destruction of civilization. Look to those people who make a difference in science, health care, and education (in no certain order) because these are the folks who go unsung so often. Our teachers get such a raw deal in today's America; our school teachers are just plain disrespected by their students and the parents of the students. One more item of major importance--you just do not want to turn age 30 in America, be overweight, and be physically or mentally disabled in America at any age. You all know what I'm talking about. And this is a very sad statement of not just what America is so-called to be about but what the reality of what America truly is. Do I have all of the answers? No. But I do have many solutions to our global problems and they do not cost millions or billions of dollars. Believe me, I am not the only individual who has solutions--it's just that I am only one human being who is not fearful of speaking out, disseminating the truth, and most of all--keeping it real!

Em Hotep, Blesséd Be & Merry Christmas, and Happy Holiday(s) to all religions of our shared global community—not just during this time of the year but during every day of the year. I have no issues with Christmas, Easter, etc. because I work each and every day in service to my Goddess Aset and God Re.

This was excerpted from my upcoming book Please Don't Come Back Again.

Rev. Dr. K.A. Sahure, D.D., Msc.D. (D.Met.),
Elder Kemetic-Wiccan Minister,
Temple of Kemetic Wicca

Friday, December 16, 2005


Basic Properties & Associations

Botanical Name - Styrax benzoin

Family - N.O. Styraceae

Folk Names - Ben, Benjamen, Gum Benzoin, Siam Benzoin, Siamese Benzoin

Element - Air

Gender - Masculine

Planetary - Sun

Spiritual Energy - Purification, Healing, Prosperity

Benzoin is native to Siam, Sumatra and Java and is a fragrant balsamic resin obtained from the Styrax Benzoin Dryander (Balsamo benjui) and other species of Styrax (Faro. Styracece). The Styrax species are a group of deciduous, evergreen trees and shrubs. Normally these trees do not produce the benzoin resinous gum. The resinous secretion (balsam) has been used in incense, pomades, lotions, liniments, perfumes, tinctures, tooth powders, as an expectorant, inhalant, oil, preservative, and as a pulmonary antiseptic.

Spiritual - Magickal Uses: Add benzoin to purification incenses and burn to purify, cleanse, or banish. Benzoin is very good botanical when used in doing astral (projection) work. Add benzoin to the herb Dittany of Crete (Dictamus origanoides) to create an astral projection incense. Apply benzoin oil to candles then light them to create a peaceful space or environment. Benzoin can be burned as an incense to help with calming a space (sacred space or not) and to bring about positive flow of energy into your work space.

□ Kheti Metaphysical Institute

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Musings of Sifu H.A. Diop 12.15.05

Always revisit that supportive core of your spiritual being as you set
the purpose,
the intent,
the vision
your life.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Musings of Sifu H.A. Diop 12.14.05

In order to further the value of life,
one must commit to examining her or his own values
of life first.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Today in History 12.13.05b

Nova Herculis

In 1934 on this day, British astronomer J.P.M. Prentice discovered Nova Herculis (a classical slow nova), one of the brightest novae of the 20th century. Several astronomical sources note that this nova was discovered on December 12th.

Today in History 12.13.05a

Moses Maimonides

born March 30, 1135, Córdoba [Spain]
died Dec. 13, 1204, Egypt

"original name Moses Ben Maimon, also called Rambam, Arabic name Abu 'Imran Musa ibn Maymun ibn 'Ubayd Allah Jewish philosopher, jurist, and physician, the foremost intellectual figure of medieval Judaism. His first major work, begun at age 23 and completed 10 years later, was a commentary on the Mishna, the collected Jewish oral laws. A monumental code of Jewish law followed in Hebrew, The Guide for the Perplexed in Arabic, and numerous other works, many of major importance. His contributions in religion, philosophy, and medicine have influenced Jewish and non-Jewish scholars alike..."

Full Essay:
"Maimonides, Moses." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2005. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. 13 Dec. 2005 [].

Monday, December 12, 2005

GMO Food Ingredients

"Health Hazards of Genetically-Manipulated Foods"
"How to Avoid Genetically-Manipulated (GMO) Food Ingredients"

"In North America, all soy that is labeled 'organic soy' is guaranteed to not be genetically-manipulated and not be treated with herbicides. Look for soy products and ingredients (e.g., tofu, tempeh, miso, soy sauce, soy milk, etc.) which are organic. All other soy ingredients are almost always genetically-manipulated and herbicide-treated. The same is true for canola, corn, dairy products and potatoes. Look for organic corn, potato and dairy ingredients at your local health food store. Check the ingredients labels carefully..."

Full Essay:
Soy Info Online!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

"Witchcraft and Sorcery"

"Witchcraft and Sorcery"

Terms like "witchcraft," "sorcery," and sorcellerie are now generally used throughout Africa to indicate occult forms of aggression. The adoption of these Western terms has specific consequences. Especially important is the strong pejorative tenor of these terms, while the local terms which they are supposed to translate are often much more ambivalent: the latter refer to forces that in many situations are viewed as evil but that also may be used constructively. The general use of Western terms like "sorcery" and "witchcraft" therefore risks reducing a rich cosmology, in which the whole of the human environment is animated, to a negative, ugly core. Often a more neutral translation, such as "occult forces," would be preferable. However, terms like "sorcery" and "witchcraft" are now so generally used--by "Radio Trottoir" (i.e., gossip) and in newspaper accounts and discussions of development and politics as much as in local affairs--that it is difficult for social scientists to avoid them.

Another disadvantage of these Western terms is that they gloss over all sorts of local variations. There are important differences between local discourses, for instance, on the description of witches and their abilities and on how "witchcraft" is transmitted. Sometimes it is believed to be inherited; sometimes it is thought to be acquired later in life. Yet, there is a common core to these representations. A basic theme is that misfortune--and often also spectacular success--are attributed to hidden human agency. Witches and sorcerers are believed to use secret forces to hurt other people or to enforce their own success.

Witchcraft and sorcery are therefore closely related to jealousy, inequality, and the illicit search for power. Such ideas are, of course, not special to African societies; rather, they seem to reflect a basic fear that may be universal. Indeed, the strong popular reactions triggered by rumors of sexual child abuse in the West, or the recourse to esoteric expertise--be it of astrologers or public-relations experts--in the politics of modern democracies, show intriguing parallels with the responses to and reliance upon witchcraft in present-day Africa. The same applies to the flowering of all sorts of spiritualist cults, for instance, in the newly industrialized countries of East Asia. However, some traits seem to be particular to witchcraft in Africa. One is the heavy stress on the link between witchcraft and kinship in many African societies; another is the equation of witchcraft with eating. A basic image that haunts people in many parts of Africa is that of witches--both men and women--leaving their bodies at night and flying off to meet with others of their kind. At such meetings they deliver their kin, whose vital parts are often supposed to be consumed during cannibalistic banquets. In many African societies, the basic urge of witches is thought to be the eating of kin.

Since these discourses emphasize the use of hidden forces, there is always a close connection between witchcraft, sorcery, and divination. If one fears becoming the victim of a hidden attack, one has to look for the help of a specialist who is able to "see" what the witches have done and can force them to lift their spell. The diviner who "sees" and the counter-sorcerer who attacks the witches may be one and the same person or can be two different people. The conceptual triangle of bewitching/divination/countersorcery highlights the circular character of most witchcraft discourses. Only specialists can offer help, since they alone know their way in the world of the occult. The diviners must be able to "see" the witches, which means that they are themselves implicated. In many Bantu societies, acquiring "a second pair of eyes" is seen as the first step in one's initiation into the world of the witches.

Similarly, the power of the witch doctor to vanquish witches and force them to lift their spells is believed to derive from his or her own exceptionally developed witchcraft. Witch doctors are often described by the population as "superwitches." This makes them highly ambivalent figures. In the case of southern Cameroon, for instance, authors like Lluis Mallart and Elizabeth Copet-Rougier refer to a vague but widespread belief that one can become a nganga (healer, witch doctor) only by sacrificing a parent. Nganga themselves always emphasize that their "professor" has made them swear to use their power only in order to heal, never to kill. But the population is never sure of this: there is always the danger that the basic urge of the witch to kill his or her kin will break through. It is especially this circular reasoning characteristic of witchcraft discourses--the main protection against the witches is to be found in the world of witchcraft--that makes it so difficult to break out of these conceptions. This can also explain why these ideas seem to retain their relevance despite modern changes.

The inherent circularity of witchcraft discourses can also explain why the scientific distinctions that anthropologists and other social scientists have sought to apply in this field remain highly precarious. A good example is E. E. Evans-Pritchard's classic distinction between witchcraft, which he defined as an innate quality often unconsciously activated, and sorcery, which he understood to be the conscious use of an acquired technique. He deduced this distinction from his study among the Azande of the southern Sudan. Some later anthropologists have sought to generalize it, whereas others have insisted that this distinction simply does not fit their ethnographic data. One can doubt especially whether it is of much use to understand the modern transitions of these representations. It is, rather, the circularity of these discourses and the ease with which all sorts of possible conceptual distinctions are glossed over that make them so all-pervasive in present-day African society.

The Modernity of Witchcraft

One of the most striking aspects of social interactions in contemporary Africa is the omnipresence of witchcraft and sorcery discourses in modern settings. Rumors about the use of these hidden forces abound in politics as much as in sport or in the churches; at school as well as in relation to modern forms of entrepreneurship; in urban contexts as much as (or even more than) in the village. An often implicit assumption of many Western observers was, and still is, that witchcraft would necessarily disappear under the impact of modernization. In the 1970s European priests in Cameroon stated that "there is no sorcellerie where there is electricity." Since then, Cameroon has witnessed an intensive campaign of electrification, but nobody would repeat this statement now. On the contrary, one is struck--in Cameroon as in other African countries--by the dynamic and innovative character of the discourses on witchcraft. Rumors integrate, apparently without much difficulty, all sorts of borrowings: notions from other ethnic groups as easily as Christian or Islamic elements; "magical objects" sold by mail-order firms in Europe as well as medical knowledge or notions from books on Oriental wisdom. Witchcraft conspiracies are now supposed to be reproduced on a truly global scale: the witches are thought to have their professors in Europe, or to be linked to the Mafia. This gives notions of the occult a fairly unsystematic character--inconsistencies seem to abound--but it is precisely this elasticity that makes them retain their relevance in the face of new developments. A growing fear of the proliferation of witchcraft--of witchcraft "running wild"--is expressed especially in new social settings, where people are confronted with new and baffling inequalities.

This is especially clear in the rumors about novel forms of witchcraft that are explicitly related to new forms of wealth. In many parts of Africa, the newly rich are presumed to accumulate wealth by exploiting the labor of their witchcraft victims. An explicit opposition is often made between old forms of witchcraft, in which the victims are eaten, and new forms, by which victims are transformed into zombies who are put to work on "invisible plantations." In western Africa, whites are still believed to play a mediating role in this. Other elements of these beliefs suggest that they reflect the traumas of the slave trade and forced labor during colonial times. But they are now closely linked with the emergence of new entrepreneurs among the African population. Eric de Rosny suggests that these beliefs have such a hold over people's minds because they offer at least some explanation of the mysteries of the market: the spectacular successes of the few and the poverty and unemployment of the many. What is striking is that in some areas these beliefs seem to inspire determined attacks on the new rich, while elsewhere they seem to affirm or even legitimize their distance from the poor.

The role of these conceptions in politics and in relations to the state is equally filled with ambiguities. On the one hand, the representatives of the state seem determined to intervene against the proliferation of witchcraft. Postcolonial civil servants regularly admonish villagers to stop trying to sabotage government projects with their witchcraft. Indeed, in the official propaganda of many African regimes, witchcraft is branded as a particularly dangerous form of subversion. It is also seen as one of the major obstacles to realizing "development." At the end of the 1970s, such ideas inspired the Marxist-Leninist regime of Mathieu Kérékou in Bénin to instigate a true witch-hunt through radio broadcasts. The results of such propaganda were, and are, often contradictory. It evokes an image, as Jean-François Bayart emphasized in his earlier publications, of witchcraft as some sort of "popular mode of political action" against the authoritarian state and its hegemonic pretensions. Yet, in practice, it is often not clear that people try to use these beliefs in such a sense. It is, rather, the government's insistence on witchcraft as an omnipresent form of subversion that serves to politicize it.

The civil servants' denouncement of witchcraft seems to reflect their private fears of leveling attacks to undermine their new and highly enviable position. In several parts of Africa, members of the national elite say they are afraid of being "eaten" by their former fellow villagers; in such expressions there is a clear reference to the threat of witchcraft. This is hardly surprising. Ever since the 1950s, anthropologists have emphasized that in many African societies, witchcraft conceptions have a strong leveling effect on relations within the local community. The new elites' accumulation of wealth and power dearly surpasses traditional boundaries: it is no wonder that they fear leveling attacks coming from inside their own community. Yet here again, witchcraft appears to wear two faces. There are many examples of members of the new elite using the same witchcraft conceptions to protect and affirm the new inequalities. This is facilitated by the commodification of witchcraft and sorcery practices. In many settings, "medicaments," jujus, and other "charged objects" are literally for sale. Witch doctors offer their services to the highest bidder, who is generally a member of the new elite. Thus, witchcraft discourses, instead of having a leveling impact, can serve to affirm the new inequalities and make them seem self-evident. The continuing involvement of the elites with the occult makes the state offensive against witchcraft highly ambiguous in its effects.

A striking aspect of witchcraft rumors in new settings is the relative absence of women. In the older version of witchcraft, both women and men are thought to participate in hidden conspiracies. Indeed, many myths about the origin of witchcraft have women leading the way (although it is often added that the men soon followed). However, in speculations about the links between witchcraft and the new forms of wealth or the new power struggles, women are mostly absent. This may reflect the predominance of men in the new political and economic arenas. It may also relate to a tendency in many discourses on witchcraft to relegate women's activity primarily to the domestic sphere.

The Search for New Protection: Anti-Witchcraft Movements, the Church, and the State

The general fear of witchcraft running wild and the rumors about novel forms of occult aggression have encouraged an unremitting search for new forms of protection. The first reports on new, experimental anti-witchcraft movements date from before the colonial period. But the colonial period in particular saw a proliferation of such movements. They invoked a rich variety of forces and procedures in their struggle against witchcraft: poison ordeals, "traditional" jujus, Christian symbols. In the extensive literature on this topic, such anti-witchcraft "medicine" is often set apart from the occult forces of witchcraft itself. The supporters of such movements, of course, strongly emphasize this separation. However, if looked at over a period of time, such distinctions prove, again, to be quite unreliable. In a fascinating study on the northwestern Congo, Georges Dupré shows how an anti-witchcraft movement, initially directed against the witchcraft of the elders, has been appropriated by the latter, who use its shrine to extort heavy fines from young men and wage laborers in the village.

In postcolonial times, the struggle against witchcraft has notably been waged by Christian movements: Independent Churches, Jehovah's Witnesses, more recently by Pentecostal movements, and also by the mainstream churches. Especially within the Roman Catholic Church, a lively discussion is going on about how far its priests can go in this. Several black priests and even bishops have run into difficulties with the Catholic Church because they went beyond orthodox exorcism rites and tried to follow too clearly in the footsteps of the nganga, as in the case of the Zambian archbishop Emmanuel Milingo.

Of special importance is the growing pressure on the state to intervene. Ever since the establishment of the colonial state, people have reproached the state for protecting the witches because it forbade the use of poison ordeals and the execution of witches by chiefs or witch doctors. The postcolonial state elites seem to be more inclined to intervene against the witches--or at least have more difficulty in withstanding popular pressure in this respect. Kérékou's witch-hunt in Bénin was certainly not an isolated example. Isak A. Niehaus shows, for instance, that the African National Congress (ANC) has considerable difficulty keeping its younger members from becoming involved in witch-hunts in Lebowa as in other former "Bantustans."

An example of the state becoming directly involved comes from Cameroon. At the end of the 1970s, the state courts, especially in the Earl Province, suddenly started to convict witches, mainly on the basis of the expertise of witch doctors. This official recognition of the witch doctor constitutes a spectacular reversal of earlier jurisprudence. In colonial times and in the first decades after independence, witch doctors were always in danger of being prosecuted by the state courts (for defamation and breach of the peace). Now, they appear as witnesses for the prosecution. This reversal is clearly related to the state's campaigns against witchcraft. But there also seems to be strong popular pressure in this region--where local societies have long been highly segmentary in character--for the state to intervene. In this respect, it is noteworthy that such processes seldom occur in other parts of the country, such as in the west, where the chiefs' authority still has strong roots in local societies, or in the Islamized parts of northern Cameroon.

Direct interventions by the state seem to go together with the emergence of a new, more modern type of nganga. The witch doctors who work with the state are often intent on seeking publicity. They make ostentatious use of all sorts of modern symbols: sunglasses, books on Oriental wisdom, Christian elements, and medical knowledge. And they boast of their membership in new organizations, such as the more or less official national associations of "traditional healers," as well as elite societies like the Rosicrucians. Most important, they have a highly aggressive style in recruiting clients and unmasking witches. Often they approach people on their own initiative, warning them about dangers in their close surroundings and insisting that they should have their courtyard "purified." Thus, they play an important role in reinforcing the popular fear of a proliferation of witchcraft, all the more so because by so doing they may gain official recognition.

Analytic Approaches: Witchcraft and Morality

Even though witchcraft and sorcery have always been central themes in anthropological discourse, anthropologists have had surprisingly little to say--at least until very recently--about the modern transformations of these phenomena on the African continent. One reason for the long delay in confronting the modern dynamics of this old anthropological theme may have been the problems of the discipline's dominant paradigms.

In 1970 Mary Douglas noted some surprising shifts in the anthropological study of witchcraft and sorcery. Of course, she takes as her point of departure the undisputed classic in this field, Evans-Pritchard's Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic Among the Azande (1937), which studied the witchcraft beliefs of this southern Sudanese people in relation to questions of cognition and the social restraints upon perception. This work had a profound influence on later anthropologists but, as Douglas notes, in "directions not foreseen or even blessed by its author." For instance, in the series of monographs on central Africa by British anthropologists of the 1950s and 1960s, which profoundly influenced the study of sorcery and witchcraft (especially those by Victor Turner, James C. Mitchell, and Max G. Marwick, and the collection edited by John Middleton and E. H. Winter), Evans-Pritchard's problematic was refocused in a special sense. These authors concentrated not on issues of cognition but rather--in accordance with then-current functionalist theories--on the relation between witchcraft and the preservation of social order, and on micropolitics. They focused on witchcraft accusations, which were to be studied as a kind of "social strain gauge" (the term is Marwick's)--that is, as indicators of social tensions, especially in relations within the local kin groups where aggression could not be expressed in more direct ways.

Thus, witchcraft came to be seen as a "homeostatic control system": accusations of witchcraft were thought to be crucial to the reproduction of social order because they permitted hidden tensions to be expressed and dealt with, so that the local community could be reconstituted. This view of witchcraft, which dominated anthropological studies until the 1980s, had remarkable consequences. In her 1970 piece (an introduction to a set of conference papers by anthropologists and historians studying European societies), Mary Douglas notes with some irony a striking difference:

The anthropologists of the 1950s developed insights into the functioning of witch beliefs which seemed about as relevant to the European experience as if they came from another planet. Dangerous in Europe, the same beliefs in Melanesia and Africa appeared to be tame, even domesticated; they served useful functions and were not expected to run amuck. (p. xiii)

This anthropological view of witchcraft, as something "domesticated," seems to be of limited relevance for dealing with the increasing popular fears about its proliferation. In many parts of Africa, people today are convinced that witchcraft does indeed "run amuck."

Another problem with this "micropolitical" perspective is that the contents of the witchcraft accusations are neglected; the accusations are analyzed only as expressions of something else: hidden sociopolitical tensions. In his 1993 analysis of witch-hunts in Lebowa, South Africa, Isak Niehaus emphasizes instead the need "to take the perceptions informants themselves have of witches seriously." His "Comrades"--young rebels vaguely related to the United Democratic Front or even the ANC--made a clear distinction in their witch-hunts between witches and political opponents: the latter might be attacked but were not accused of witchcraft. In his view, the accusations had a specific aim: by denouncing witchcraft, the young men sought to affirm the legitimacy of their role in "the politics of public morality."

But the strong moralist tenor of the functionalist view on witchcraft also creates problems if one wants to understand the resilience of these notions in modern contexts. In the functionalist view, it was necessary to make a rigorous separation between the positive and negative expressions of occult forces. Often, this forced the anthropologist to impose a Manichaean distinction on more open local concepts. (A good example is Middleton's 1963 study of Lugbara witchcraft.) Only by isolating "witchcraft" as an unequivocally evil force could these beliefs be thought to function as a "homeostatic control system"--a kind of safety valve that permitted the expression of social tension without endangering the social order as such. But it is precisely the fundamental ambiguity of notions about the occult that allows them to remain relevant in modern contexts. Although "witchcraft" as such is certainly seen as evil, people often believe that the same forces can be used constructively, in order to accumulate wealth and power. It is the possibility of many interpretations that makes notions of witchcraft and sorcery such seductive tools for trying to understand the vicissitudes of life in the modern sectors. It is also why the use of a pejorative term like "witchcraft" poses serious difficulties.

Instead of starting from seemingly fixed conceptual distinctions, it might be more clarifying to study the different ways and means by which societies try to impose conceptual demarcations on what are basically highly diffuse and volatile notions. The ongoing struggle for reproducing conceptual distinctions in this treacherous field might be a key to a better understanding of the remarkable dynamics of notions of witchcraft in present-day Africa. This is a common theme emerging from the recent and quite sudden wave of witchcraft studies on modern Africa, such as Modernity and Its Malcontents (1993), edited by Jean and John Comaroff; Isak Niehaus's 1993 article in Africa; and the 1988 article by Michael Rowlands and Jean- Pierre Warnier in Man.

An important point of departure for understanding the pervasiveness of notions of witchcraft in modern contexts is the close conceptual link between witchcraft and kinship. Even in highly urbanized contexts, witchcraft remains the dark side of kinship: when treating a patient, witch doctors always try to bring the family together; the sources of aggression are sought primarily within the sphere of kinship and intimacy. This link can help one to understand both the continuing strength of the witchcraft discourse and the uncertainty it evokes. In many parts of Africa, kinship and the family still seem to provide the basis for social security, even for the urban elites. However, it is clear that kinship relations are under a growing strain: they have to bridge ever-wider inequalities between rich and poor, between city and village; often they seem to be stretched to the breaking point. This configuration may explain both the omnipresence of witchcraft rumors, despite the modern changes, and the desperate search for new forms of protection from witches in many parts of Africa.

-- Peter Geschiere

Source Citation:
"Witchcraft and Sorcery." Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara. 4 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1997. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group.

Document Number: BT2344200853

Friday, December 9, 2005

Musings of Sifu H.A. Diop 12.09.05

We are all interconnected appendages stemming from the cosmic, universal tree of life.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Herbal Remedies: Hypertension

Herbal Remedies For Hypertension

Agathosma betulina (buchu):
A medicinal plant (also known as Barosma betulina or round-leaf buchu) native to South Africa and is an effective diuretic and anti-inflammatory. Often times, those who suffer from hypertension also experience water, fluid retention and internal inflammation. The Early Dutch used buchu to make a brandy tincture and Boegoebrandewyn (buchu brandy). Buchu benefits:

Colds and flu symptoms
Fluid retention
Heartburn, acid reflux
High blood pressure
Inflammation of the colon, gums
Kidney and bladder infections
Prostate problems
Rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis
Stomach aches and ailments

One of the best ways to take buchu is as an herbal tea--one cup per day.

Flaxseed Oil and Fish Oil:
Both oils are high in essential fatty acids which help with good bloodstream circulation.

Both can be taken in either liquid (oil), soft gel, powder, or capsule form. Flaxseeds can be crushed to make an oil or eaten with food; drink plenty of water (approx. 1 8 oz. glass per every teaspoon of flaxseed) so that the seed do not swell up and block your throat or digestive track.

Ginkgo biloba (Maidenhair tree):
It is primarily used to promote mental alertness, improve memory, and to treat some forms of asthma. However, ginkgo biloba leaves stimulate circulation by dilating the bronchial tubes and blood vessels which reduces the amount of work the heart has to do, reducing blood pressure as well as controlling an irregular heartbeat. The leaves are also used as a blood thinner. Ginkgo (massage) oil is good for reducing varicose and spider veins.

Ginkgo is usually taken orally as a tea, soup, or herbal supplement.

Olea europea (Olive tree):
This evergreen tree is native to Mediterranean countries, South Australia, and parts of South America. The oil of the fruit, leaves, and bark all have very good medicinal properties. The oleuropein extract from the olive leaf lowers blood pressure by increasing coronary flow, improving circulatory function while balancing blood sugar levels.

Olive leaf extract is usually taken as a supplement orally in capsule form or drank as a tea by boiling the leaves. Cooking with olive oil (or canola oil) is a good way to help reduce saturated fat (not good for the heart) in one’s diet.

Passiflora incarnate (Maypop, Passion Flower):
This is a calmative herb that reduces blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels which reduces arterial pressure and increases circulation and internal respiration of the bloodstream.

One of the best ways to get the medicinal value from passion flower is to eat passion fruit (which resemble oranges or even apricots) or the berries but you would have to eat a lot of this fruit
which resembles oranges. The dried passion flower leaves and stems are used for medicinal purposes can be taken as a tincture, pill, syrup, or tea.

Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion):
The dandelion roots and leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals--Vitamin A, (some) B, C, and D, iron, lecithin, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Magnesium relaxes the muscles which control the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more freely. Dandelion’s diuretic properties help to decrease high blood pressure. Vitamin C helps widen blood vessels.

Dandelion can be taken in capsule, table, tincture, tonic, and of course as a fresh or dried herbal tea.

Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose, Rose Elder, Cramp bark):
The Vitamin C rich berries of Guelder Rose is a relative of the traditional cranberry; the berries are highly poisonous if uncooked. The bark is what is used for making a cardiac tonic and cardiovascular muscle relaxant; both help with relieving nervous tension and heart palpitation often associated with high blood pressure.

The fluid extract from the bark is generally mixed 1/2 oz. extract to 1 pint of water and taken in tablespoon doses. As an herbal tea, brew 1 teaspoon of the cramp bark per 1 cup of water, steep for 10 to 15 minutes, strain, and then drink. Do not drink more than 2 cups per day for 3 consecutive days because this herbal tea may cause nausea and/or skin rash to develop.

Please keep in mind that diet (salt intake, saturated fat, etc.), weight, smoking, and the over consumption of alcohol influence hypertension.

Do not take any of these herbs or herbal blends in combination with any prescription medicine for hypertension; the monitoring of blood pressure levels should be done on a regular basis. As with any herb and herbal supplement, consult with your health practitioner before taking them. Herbs, herbal, and herbal supplement products have much folklore and spiritualism associated with them and are not subject to the scrutiny, review, or approval of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

▪ Kheti Metaphysical Institute

America Was Not Founded . . .

"America Was Not Founded on Christian Principles"

By Mark Weldon Whitten

Mark Weldon Whitten is a college philosophy and religion instructor. In the following viewpoint, he refutes the argument that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. Whitten examines historical evidence, including the text of the Constitution, and concludes that the nation's founders intended to establish a national government based on the principle that church and state should be wholly separate.

As you read, consider the following questions:

What arguments does Whitten make to explain the absence of the words "separation of church and state" in the Constitution? What are the seven main points of evidence that the author uses to support his argument that church-state separation was fundamental constitutional principle? What does separation of church and state mean, according to Whitten?

It has often been charged that America was founded as a 'Christian nation' and that separation of church and state is a 'lie' or a 'myth,' because it is not 'in' the Constitution of the United States. How accurate are such judgments?

As a matter of fact, the words 'separation of church and state' are not contained in the text of the Constitution. Yet, the words 'separation of powers' are also not
found in the text of the Constitution--but who could competently argue that the separation of powers is not a constitutional doctrine?

Members of the Religious Right who reject church-state separation are predominantly Christian trinitarian theists, yet the word 'trinity' is not found in the Bible. Do they, therefore, wish to deny that trinitarianism is a biblical doctrine?

The real issue is not whether the words 'separation of church and state' are found in the text of the Constitution, but whether the principle of church-state separation is a constitutional assumption and principle, and what church-state separation actually means and entails.

Seven Evidences

Seven decisive evidences demonstrate that church-state separation is a constitutional assumption and principle. One such evidence consists in the fact that no theological or biblical arguments, and no prayers for divine guidance or approval, were offered during the Constitutional Convention of 1787, contrary to what contemporary myth-makers like [author and speaker] David Barton have irresponsibly asserted....

A second evidence consists of the fact that the text of the Constitution makes no appeals to religious authorities, rationales, or purposes. The Constitution is a 'Godless document,' a fact that was immediately evident to evangelical Christians of the constitutional era. Timothy Dwight, evangelical president of Yale University declared:

The nation has offended Providence. We formed our constitution without any acknowledgment of God; without any recognition of his mercies to us as a people, of his government or even of his existence. The [constitutional] convention by which it was formed, never asked, even once, his direction, or his blessings, upon their labors. Thus we commenced our national existence under the present system without God.

A third evidence that church-state separation is a constitutional principle consists of the fact that Article VI, Section III of the Constitution--the only substantive mention of religion in the Constitution--prohibits any religious tests for holding political office. It was rightly recognized by most (and wrongly objected to by many) at the time that this restriction allowed anyone of whatever religion, or none at all, to serve in the federal government....

A fourth evidence that church-state separation is a constitutional principle consists of the fact that the Federalist Papers--written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to 'sell' the new Constitution to the American people--also made no appeal to religious authorities, rationales, or purposes to legitimize the Constitution....

Madison's Views

Fifth of all, while it is true that Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the letter to Danbury Baptists which contains the phrase 'wall of separation,' was not a member of the Constitutional Convention, James Madison was. Madison was the most influential member of the Constitutional Convention and was the driving force behind the creation and adoption of the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment with its guarantees of flee exercise and non-establishment of religion. Madison as president practiced a quite strict separation of church and state. Madison wrote:

There remains ... a strong bias toward the old error, that without some sort of alliance or coalition between government and religion neither can be duly supported. Such indeed is the tendency to such a coalition, and such is its corrupting influence on the parties, that the danger cannot be too carefully guarded.... Every new and successful example of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters is of importance.... And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together....

Sixth, the debate in the First congress on the wording of the First Amendment demonstrates that it was designed and understood to disallow not only particular and preferential aid to one Christian denomination over others, but also non-preferential aid to religion in general. Wording that would have allowed non-preferential aid to Christian denominations in general was carefully considered and rejected....

Separation of Church and State

Finally, the text of the First Amendment itself refutes the idea that it does not embody the principle of church-state separation. As Justice Wiley Rutledge incisively and decisively wrote in the Supreme Court decision Zorach vs. Clauson(1947):

The amendment's purpose was not to strike merely at the official establishment of a single sect, creed, or religion.... The object was broader than separation of church and state in the narrow sense.... 'Religion' appears only once in the amendment. But the word governs two prohibitions and it governs them alike. It does not have two meanings, one narrow to forbid an 'establishment' and another, much broader, for securing 'the free exercise thereof.' Congress and now the states are as broadly restricted concerning the one as they are the other.

Government cannot make any law respecting an establishment of religion--any and all religions! Nor can government prohibit the free exercise of religion--any and all religions! And no religion can use its political influence upon government to establish itself socially in a favored position over other religions. That is separation of church and state.

Source Citation:
"America Was Not Founded on Christian Principles" by Mark Weldon Whitten. Religion in America. William Dudley, Ed. Opposing Viewpoints® Series. Greenhaven Press, 2002. Reprinted, with permission, from "Was America Founded as a 'Christian Nation'?" by Mark Weldon Whitten, Human Quest, May/June 1999. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. 06 December 2005. []
Source Database: Opposing Viewpoints: Religion in America
Document Number: X3010231206

Wednesday, December 7, 2005


The Hidden One. Amun, whose name means "the hidden one," was originally associated with the area of Thebes. When Theban families rose to prominence and became the rulers of all Egypt, first in Dynasty 12 (circa 1938-1759b.c.e.), and again in Dynasty 18 (circa 1539-1295/1292 b.c.e.), Amun's power and influence also increased. As the Dynasty 18 kings expanded Egypt's empire into Asia, they attributed their successes to Amun's blessings and rewarded his priesthood accordingly. Eventually, Amun joined with Re and rose to become the state god of Egypt, known as Amun-Re, king of the gods, lord of the thrones of the two lands. During the Third Intermediate Period (circa 1075-656b.c.e.) the priesthood of Amun at Thebes became the virtual rulers of southern Egypt, and one of the most important priestly offices was that of God's Wife of Amun.

Wind and Air. Amun was usually depicted as a human wearing a cap adorned with two tall, multicolored feathers. His skin is blue, perhaps related to Amun's association with the wind and air. His principal cult center was at Karnak, where he was worshiped in conjunction with his consort Mut (goddess representing motherhood) and their son Khonsu(the wanderer, representing the Moon). He was associated with the ram and the goose.

Progenitor. In the Hermopolitan cosmogony (so-called because it is thought to have originated in Hermopolis, before being transferred to Thebes) Amun is one of the sixteen gods representing the state of the world before creation. These gods make up an ogdoad, or group of eight pairs of deities. This group includes Nu(n) and Naunet (representing the primeval water and formlessness), Huh and Huhet (spaciousness), Kek and Keket (darkness), and Amun and Amaunet (hiddenness). Another tradition describes how Amun, in his form of Kematef (a serpent deity), fathers the ogdoad. This idea of Amun being his own progenitor and therefore having no creator is also encountered in the form of Amun Kamutef, "Amun, bull of his mother," that is to say, Amun was his own father.

Kingship. Amun was closely associated with kingship. Reliefs from New Kingdom (circa 1539-1075 b.c.e.) temples describe the divine birth of th eking. Amun was said to have fallen in love with the queen of Egypt. He visited her in the guise of her current husband, the reigning king, and fathered the next king of Egypt. When the child was born, Amun acknowledged his paternity and presented the child to the gods as the future king of Egypt.

-- Stephen Thompson

Source Citation:
"Amun." World Eras, Vol. 5: Ancient Egypt, 2615-332 B.C.E. Edward I. Bleiberg, ed. Gale Group, 2002. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group. 07 Dec. 2005.

Document Number: BT1646550153

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Ethics: Wicca & Paganism

"Ethics and Etiquette"
by Morgaine
© Morgaine 2001

"When we speak of ethics and etiquette in relation to pagansim what are we referring to? Are we speaking of outdated rules and actions that no longer have meaning and we only give lip service to? I don't believe so. Ethics and etiquette are living, breathing codes of life, shaping our actions in relation to each other, and ourselves. They are a guiding force in the way we live our lives.

Let us first look at ethics. Ethics are defined as --a set of principles; moral philosophy; rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession; human duty; a particular system of principles and rules concerning duty, whether true or false; rules of practice in respect to a single class of human actions; motivation based on ideas of right and wrong; the philosophical study of moral values and rules.

When we begin to speak of ethics, we need to realize that this can be a very touchy subject. We are human after all, and we want to think our ethics are the correct ones. While there are generally accepted community ethics, it is personal ethics that make up who we are. And these are not the same for each person.
Before we begin to discuss in depth community and person ethics let us first look at the Rede, the most common code of conduct among Wiccans.

Bide the Wiccan law ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust;
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill;
'An ye harm none, do as ye will';
Lest in self-defense it be, ever mind the rule of three;
Follow this with mind and heart;
And merry ye meet and merry ye part.

Every Wiccan knows the Rede. Our passwords into the sacred circle are in here. Our major rule of ethic is here. And the reason for breaking this ethic, as well as the consequences of breaking it foolishly. When we extract the line most popular --An ye harm none, do as ye will' and begin to dissect it, we have to wonder 'Is this an ethic we can every achieve?'

I believe the Rede is a standard of living, like all ethics, and one that is an impossibility to achieve. The goal is to live as closely to the Rede as possible. In the attempt to do this, we begin to analyze our actions. We follow the path of LEAST harm. Thus, we begin to live conscious of our actions, and how they effect the world around us. And here comes the REAL lesson of the Rede. It forces us to have personal responsibility. Once you have acknowledged that the Rede is a goal to work for and not a given situation, and have taken of the blinders that let you go around smug and happy that your religion is so sweet it makes your teeth itch, you can get down to the work of making your life an ethical one. What this involves is considering each decision in the light of the Rede before you decide upon a course of action. You do this by looking at all the possible consequences of that action and whether that will cause harm to any, choosing the path that causes the least harm and, (THIS IS THE KEY) accepting the responsibility for the consequences of your actions whether intentional or unintentional. -Lark, HPS of Tangled Moon Coven.

Wicca, as well as most Pagansim, is a religion and spiritual path of personal responsibility. We strive to live in an aware state. When we do this, we recognize our free will, and the free will of others. If we ignore the lesson of personal responsibility, we fail to realize our true spiritual potential and our true spiritual will.

As we begin our path, we must develop a set of personal ethics, while maintaining a respect for the ethics of the community we are becoming a part of. Some community ethics are very well defined.

-Don't practice black magick, or follow the left-hand path.
-Don't attempt to harm another or interfere with their free will.
-Always act in a way that will reflect well upon your path. Never do anything that will bring harm to the Craft.

Since Wicca, and pagansim, are very open paths and for the most part do not seek to make anyone follow 'ONE RIGHT WAY', most of the ethics defined by community are concerning harm to others, and harm to the Craft.

But to begin a spiritual path, and to follow it every day of your life, you must develop your own set of personal ethics that define the way you live. No one can tell you what your personal ethics should be. Your teachers, mentors, HPS, HP can all recommend both in word and deed, ethics that work for them. You may be given a 'Book of the Law' that governs your group or tradition. If you are a solitary, you may read on the net, or in a book, acceptable codes of conduct, or ideals. But you cannot take someone else's ethics and make them your own. You must do some soul searching, and decide how you feel about things. Now I am NOT suggesting that you ignore your HPS or HP, or your teachers and mentors. I am suggesting that you should always temper wisdom with personal experience. You must come to a point that you are willing to question what you are taught, to grow in your own self. Through this, your own sense of ethics and morals will come.

Now, here comes the biggie. What do you do when your personal ethics are in direct conflict with accepted community ethics? For example-it has become a phenomenon in the pagan community to love everything white and full of light, and shun everything dark and full of shadow. It has become unacceptable to speak of negative emotions like anger and envy. It has become unacceptable to feel hate towards another person, wish that a murderer would get the death penalty, which that rapist would get castrated by a bunch of angry women. Some of us fondly refer to this a fluffy, bunny Wicca, no offense to anything fluffy, or bunnies. We are taught to love unconditionally because we are all brothers and sisters, connected to each other and every living thing. We are taught that if we experience these emotions, maybe we aren't all that spiritual, and especially not as much as Miss crystal love and light. We are often looked down upon if we say something like 'I am so damn mad at my ex husband I could smack him'. The response I myself have heard to such comment is 'my my, now THAT wasn't very positive'. Well, guess what. It WASN'T. Now I am not saying that you should indulge in these emotions. They can be deterrents to developing a sound spiritual identity because they are 'negative' in the sense that they are base emotions that do not vibrate on the spiritual plane. But they also teach us lessons that can lead to spiritual epiphanies.

Life is a balance between light and dark. Nature is both beautifully creative and frighteningly destructive. Inside of a single human there is light and shadow, and to be totally balanced we must learn to face both, experience both and therefore learn from both. So back to the original question. Let's say you don't feel that you are evil if you feel anger at another person or what have you. What do you do when community ethics conflict with your personal ethics? In my opinion, as long as what you are doing does not come into direct conflict with the good of the general community, or does not manipulate or purposefully harm another person, then your personal ethics should come first. You should not do something maliciously to another person. When you do this, you are not only harming yourself, but you are harming that person, AND the whole of the community. It is very important that our community not be sullied, and the reasons are obvious. But beyond this, your personal ethics should prevail.

Do ethics change over time? Do you think that the ethics of our ancestors of 100, 200 or even 1000 or more years ago are the same as what they are now? I believe that ethics are a revolving and ever changing system. Some become outdated, and some we should always keep. For instance, it has only been in the recent resurgence of Pagansim in the last 50-60 years or so that the belief of 'An ye harm none, do as ye will came about'. In times past, a witch who could not curse, could not heal. Societies have not always believed that you should not harm another person, or that interfering with someone life was a bad thing. The old wise woman of a village was sought out for every reason from fertility, to love, to revenge. It has been in our time only, with the resurgence of beliefs and the discrimination that we face, that we have adopted some of the common ethics we now have. I am NOT saying this is wrong, or that we should go back to the 'Old Ways'. In a society that we now living in, and the information is available for spiritual purposes, there is no longer a need to seek out the crone of the village and ask her to grant you revenge on your enemy. But this is the perfect example of how ethics change with time. At one time it was ethical for old men to mate with young girls. In our culture, it is no longer ethical. So ethics change, and so they should. Change is the only constant in the universe, and without it, we grow stagnate and our lives become filled with rot and decay. Change blows in new life to help recreate our lives, our beliefs and yes, even out ethics.

The other common code of conduct that we hear of in the Pagan community is 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the Law, love under will.' This comes from Aleister Crowley, from his book entitled 'The Book of the Law'. Now knowing some of the things that we do about Crowley, it's almost humorous to think of him in a discussion of ethics, except to point to what not to do maybe! But, this is a very powerful outlook on developing your own set of personal ethics.

In my understanding 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will' does not mean you may do as you wish and that is it. It is speaking of your TRUE will, your TRUE purpose in life. And if you are following your true or higher will and purpose you will not come into conflict with another's will so therefore you do not have to worry about stepping on anyone else's toes. So you don't have to worry about harming another, because you are in touch with the divine and you are following your own spiritual path and will, which will not cause harm or conflict with another. Of course, we still have conflicts with people. One way to look at this is as a spiritual lesson for either you or the other person. But if you are seeking to control another or harm another, this is not your true will. This is based upon the belief that every person is an individual, and as an individual you should be true to your own nature or consciousness. You must find your true will and make all of your actions subservient to the one great purpose. This again leads to conscious living.

If ethics are codes of personal and community conduct, then etiquette is a code of social conduct. Etiquette is defined as --the practices and forms prescribed by social convention or by authority; forms of conduct prescribed by polite society; code of correct conduct; also decorum denotes conformity with established standards of manners or behavior; the forms required by good breeding, or prescribed by authority, to be observed in social or official life; observance of the proprieties of rank and occasion; conventional decorum; ceremonial code of polite society; rules governing acceptable behavior.

Just like Emily Post and polite society, we in the Pagan community have behavior that is expected from us in how we interact with that community. In my opinion, etiquette is something sorely lacking in many Pagans. They are not taught certain things about how we interact with each other. This could be because maybe you didn't have a teacher, or your teacher didn't know them either. Or it could be because you or those who taught you just didn't care, it wasn't important to them. But I feel that etiquette is VERY important. It keeps us civilized, it aids us in how we interact and it shows the outside world that we know how to act.

Beyond the mundane world and it's social etiquette, lets take a look at some things that are common among Pagan paths, especially the Wiccan path.

1. You should never touch someone else's magickal tools and items without their express permission. If you see something you like and want to touch, then ASK. Don't just hold out your hand for it, or just pick it up. A person leaves an imprint of their energy on what they touch, and they may not want someone else's energy on their magickal items. This includes athames all the way to stones and jewelery. And do not take offense if you ask and are told no.

2. The way you live reflects on our whole community. You should always respect others, no matter their path. Inside your own religion thee is a certain higher respect given each other, as Children of the Goddess. This comes from a basic understanding of the hardships of the path, and the process we all go through in some way to evolve. It can be equated to any secret society and it's initiation process and path of self-discovery. This path is not for everyone, and if you take it seriously, will change your life in ways you could never imagine. Any path that causes growth can be difficult. And we link with others that are going through the same thing we are and take strength from and learn from them.

3. We endeavor to hold ourselves to a high standard of living our spiritual lives that the mundane world does not. Therefor we support each other, lending a hand when the pitfalls of the world come about.

4. When someone gives of themselves to teach or guide, we recognize that person's giving, and respect it. Not all of us are called to teach, and those who are offer a valuable service that should not be taken for granted.

5. When you are called to teach or guide, you have been given a very serious part to play in your community. You should never abuse it in any way. It also does not mean that you may use it as a way to gain power over, or look down upon any other person. We are all where we should be onour path, and it does not mean a thing that you have 10 or 20 years of service and someone else has 1. We are all equal in the eyes of the Gods. And if you are a teacher, you are held to an even higher state of conduct. You must never involve yourself in anything that could cause harm to your students or to the Craft. You should never do anything that would bring a bad light on us. For instance, you should never become romantically involved with one of your students. You should not condone the use of illegal drugs, or alcohol if the person is not of age. You should not use your position to control your students, or make them dependent on you. The goal is to aid a person on this path. You supply the seed as a teacher. You cannot take them by the hand and learn from them, or be easy on them when you should be honest.

6. In that same light, those who would be considered an elder in our faith are given a large amount of respect. The wisdom that is gained from following this path for 10, 20 or 30 years is an asset to our community, and we should respect the Elders of the community for what they have learned and what they teach us.

7. Due to the advent of the internet, there is a phenomenon growing among new seekers that is very disturbing. It involves not understanding the hard work it takes to learn the Old Ways, or the dedication and self sacrifice those who follow, and especially those who teach and guide give to the path. From this lack of understanding, new seekers think they can go to any page on the net, learn what they can and be done with it. It also leads them to think that they can ask for what they want, and someone will just hand it over. For example, I have been asked to send someone a copy of my BOS. This shows me that the person requesting this has no idea of what a BOS is, what it stands for and the process that is gone through to acquire it. This is flat out rude to begin with. This person is wanting their religion hand fed to them. They want to skip the hard work, the dedication, the pitfalls and the trials, and get right to the reward. This is simply not how it's done. This person wants the secrets and mysteries handed to them on a silver platter, without having to leave the comfort of the computer chair and work for them. This isn't possible. And I am here to say STOP. Be mindful of what you are asking. You can't go to the net, read a page or two, then go ask someone for their BOS, or even ask them to teach you. There must be effort on your part. You are not an adept after reading a page, or a book, or even ten books. The mysteries cannot be handed to you on a silver platter and you are a master of the universe. This is what I call lazy Wicca, and through lazy Wicca you will never come to experience the mysteries, because they come through dedication, hard work and a personal dedication to the Gods.

8. Those who are out of the closet must NEVER give away the secrets of their brothers and sisters. You should never give any personal information. You should never tell the secrets of a coven, who it's leaders are, who the members are or any other information. We must honor our vows and protect those who for whatever reason have chosen to remain hidden from the eyes of the world.

9. For those who are out of the closet, your life and your actions must be above reproach in the eyes of the world. As an open pagan, you may be the only one that a non pagan every sees. They will see every Pagan in you. So in all things you must be truthful. You must live with dignity and honor.

In our discussion of ethics and etiquette the point I was trying to impress upon you is this. We have become a society who thinks that we may do as we please, act as we please and there are no consequences. We fight with the Christians. We complain about how they fight amongst themselves. We sneer at them when they point to another of them and say how that person is wrong and they way they practice is wrong. And yet, WE DO THE SAME THING.

When I meet a fellow priestess, I treat her with respect as a person, and doubly so as a priestess, since I know how hard that path can be, to have dedicated your life and your service to the Gods and the Old Ways. If I meet someone who has been walking the path for 20 or 30 years, I respect that person because of the knowledge they have obtained in that time. That is not to say my 10 years is less, or they are 'more spiritual' than me. It is saying that this path is not an easy one all the time, and to have lived it every day for that amount of time is deserving of respect. I was taught as a child to respect my elders, and I believe that is still a valid lesson. The elders of this path can teach us things that we have never even thought of. At the same time, as an elder, you should always remember what it was like to take your first stumbling steps on this path, and how you may have longed for some guidance. It is just as wrong to be an elder, and act as if you know everything, or someone who is only 20 or whatever age could never be a spiritual person. We all must remember our ethics and etiquette, and encourage each other every day.

We have forgotten to practice our personal ethics, and have thrown etiquette out the window. We have forgotten Emily Post and Miss Manners, and have went on about our merry little way to fight like cats and dogs, without even offering basic human respect for those with diverging views, and this troubles me. It is a plague that is infecting our community. The Witch Wars continue. We struggle to make our way the right way, even if we don't realize we are doing this. We forget the very basic teaching that we are all connected, and that all paths are valid, as long as they fulfill our spiritual needs.

Let us remember our ethics. Let us live our lives with honor, treating all of life with respect. Follow your own path, without interference into another's. Work hard, study hard and receive the blessings of a life well lived. "

Monday, December 5, 2005

Today in History 12.05.05

Witchcraft condemned by Pope Innocent VIII

1484: Innocent VIII condemned witchcraft this day in 1484 via papal bull, and subsequently he dispatched inquisitors to Germany to try witches and persecuted a chief exponent of Renaissance Platonism, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola.

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, count di Concordia
born Feb. 24, 1463, Mirandola, duchy of Ferrara [Italy]
died Nov. 17, 1494, Florence

Italian scholar and Platonist philosopher whose De hominis dignitate oratio (“Oration on the Dignity of Man”), a characteristic Renaissance work composed in 1486, reflected his syncretistic method of taking the best elements from other philosophies and combining them in his own work.

His father, Giovanni Francesco Pico, prince of the small territory of Mirandola, provided for his precocious child's thorough humanistic education at home. Pico then studied canon law at Bologna and Aristotelian philosophy at Padua and visited Paris and Florence, where he learned Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic. At Florence he met Marsilio Ficino, a leading Renaissance Platonist philosopher.

Introduced to the Hebrew Kabbala, Pico became the first Christian scholar to use Kabbalistic doctrine in support of Christian theology. In 1486, planning to defend 900 theses he had drawn from diverse Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, and Latin writers, he invited scholars from all of Europe to Rome for a public disputation. For the occasion he composed his celebrated Oratio. A papal commission, however, denounced 13 of the theses as heretical, and the assembly was prohibited by Pope Innocent VIII. Despite his ensuing Apologia for the theses, Pico thought it prudent to flee to France but was arrested there. After a brief imprisonment he settled in Florence, where he became associated with the Platonic Academy, under the protection of the Florentine prince Lorenzo de' Medici. Except for short trips to Ferrara, Pico spent the rest of his life there. He was absolved from the charge of heresy by Pope Alexander VI in 1492. Toward the end of his life he came under the influence of the strictly orthodox Girolamo Savonarola, martyr and enemy of Lorenzo.

Pico's unfinished treatise against enemies of the church includes a discussion of the deficiencies of astrology. Though this critique was religious rather than scientific in its foundation, it influenced the astronomer Johannes Kepler, whose studies of planetary movements underlie modern astronomy. Pico's other works include an exposition of Genesis under the title Heptaplus (Greek hepta, “seven”), indicating his seven points of argument, and a synoptic treatment of Plato and Aristotle, of which the completed work De ente et uno (Of Being and Unity) is a portion. Pico's works were first collected in Commentationes Joannis Pici Mirandulae (1495–96).

"Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni, Conte Di Concordia." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2005. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. 5 Dec. 2005 [].

Sunday, December 4, 2005

"Stay the course . . ."

The real course that should be focused on then "stayed" with is the nearly 36 million Americans who are barely existing in abject poverty, who are starving to death, and who are homeless at this very moment; and this figure probably does not include those Americans who may become impoverished due to downsizing, health issues, or the cost of medical attention.

Mayor Ray Nagin, on ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos, correctly summed it all up about President Bush's priority being on Iraq and not the forgotten American city of New Orleans--a city, within a state, of major historical, political, economic (oil, gas, seafood), and diverse spiritual legacy. It seems to me that Bush is dragging (not leading) all of America down that same rat hole of a war former President Johnson got us into with Southeast Asia.

Bush's multi-billion dollar, idealistic crusade in the Middle East could have be well utilized in lowering the cost of health care and pharmaceuticals, fighting poverty, and lowing taxes--just to name a few domestic ills.

Perhaps Bush, Cheney, Rice, and Rumsfeld need to consult Henry Kissinger's Does America Need a Foreign Policy?: Toward a Diplomacy for the 21st Century (2001) and Ending the Vietnam War: A History of America's Involvement in and Extrication from the Vietnam War (2003).

Now let's turn our attention to the so-called "strengthening" economy that the Fed and Wall Street economists claim to be so wonderful. What this really means is that the richer have gotten a little richer, again--and the poor have just gotten a lot poorer at exponential rates. According to recent business news reports, new jobs have sprung up all over the United States--yeah, low-wage (all work-and no pay) service jobs that seem like they require extreme amounts of indentured servitude of the days of Colonial America. It doesn't take a degree in rocket science to realize that Laissez-faire economics (synonymous with Free Market economics) isn't free (price wise) or fair at all and that it takes a lot of money to play in this arena. American capitalists become very afraid when one brings up the subjects of Marxism, Socialism, the supplanting of capitalism, and the evolution toward a classless society, hehehe. Why? The pure nature and existence of capitalism means that there always has to be a winner and a loser, an upper class and a lower class, or a bourgeois class and proletariat class. There is no true middle class in the USA--just think about it. The major business periodicals surely do not list the "best of" or the "richest of" people in the middle class.

▪ Rev. Kheti

Saturday, December 3, 2005

For the Aspiring . . .

"Becoming a Witch"
by Morgaine
© Morgaine 2001

"I am often asked how one becomes a witch. Do you find someone who is a witch and they make you one? Or are you a witch just by saying you are? Can you make yourself a witch?

The process of becoming a witch doesn't happen overnight. It is a life change, a new path upon the journey of your life. It takes consideration, study and work. If you have previously followed a mainstream religion, you may have things that take time to let go, and new things that take time to absorb. I have heard many people say it is often hard, coming from a life of Christianity, to feel comfortable praying to the Goddess. All new things take time, but if you are serious upon this path, you will find your way. The Gods call their own home to them.

No matter how you have came about finding the Old Religion, here you are. So where do you go? To the book store. For a novice, books are like the air you breathe. You must have them, or access to them in some way. If you cannot afford, or do not feel safe having books on the Craft, the internet is the next best place.

In both books and on the internet you will find a wealth of knowledge that will help guide you upon your new path. Of course, as with anything else, there is good information and bad information. Avoid any kind of book, or internet site, that speaks of controlling another person in any way, harming them, doing love spells on a specific person, or tells you to chant in latin, even though you have no idea what you are saying (yes, I have seen sites like that). These books/sites will not fulfill your need for knowledge in the Craft and will only serve to confuse you.

Once you have read a variety of books and feel called to this path, the next step is to find a teacher. If you have access to a teacher, in my opinion this is the best course of action. A teacher or a coven can often be found if there is a new age book store in your community. Also, the Witches Voice is a site that offers networking in every state. It has grown extremely large over the past few years and is a valuable resource in the Craft community. All of my coven members have found me on the Witches Voice.

Having a mentor can offer so much to you when you are beginning. There will be things you come across that you have a hard time understanding and need clarification. If you have a teacher, they are just a phone call or email away. If you do not, you must try to decifer things on your own, and may not come to the correct end on them. If you do not have a teacher, again, the internet is the next best place to look.

If you are only looking for a 'how to' on casting spells, then the Craft is not for you. Witchcraft is a serious spiritual path, in which magick is performed, but is secondary to the religion itself. I would suggest you look to ceremonial magick for that.

A couple of things need to be said about beginning this path, in light of recent attitudes about the Craft. Here lately it seems that you have a people who, after reading a few books, feel as if they can call themselves a master of the Art. They throw on a title like Lady/Lord, or HP/s, add some black clothes, a pentacle the size of a hubcap, and they are ready to go. This is not what the Craft is about. If you have spent years following a particular path, have worked hard for the spiritual lessons that have been presented to you, and through this have attained the title and rank, then by all means use it. But think of how you would feel if, after all that, you have a newbie with 6 months and 5 books unde their belt walking about calling themselves Lady Starry Ski or Lord Thunderbutt. It is very offensive. Just like your parents told you when you were growing up (or maybe you still are) 'don't rush things, it will all come to you in the end, and be sweeter for the waiting'. This is true with the Craft. Using titles, putting on airs, and in general acting high and mighty are not going to make you any more spiritual. And that is what this path is about. What it will do is alienate you from people whom you may actually want to meet and get to know!

All of this being said the way to become a witch is through study and dedication. Gather all of the information you can. Find the best teacher possible. Read whatever you can get your hands on. Go outside in nature and commune with the Goddess and God. Listen to the trees and the wind and the rush of the water, for this is the witch's world. "