Welcome

Merry Meet, all. This blog is the humble writings of a (college-bound) teen Pagan who merely wants a place to share with others of like mind. All are welcome here, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation. Have a wonderful day, readers, and blessed be! )O(

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 28th, 2014

I love pottery! Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go over to a craft fair which was also selling raku pots that you could glaze and fire yourself. After picking up some organic soap, I got a little mini pot which I thought looked like a Japanese tea ceremony cup. I glazed it purple on the outside and green on the inside, and then sat and made friends with a really nice family there visiting their daughter. We got coffee together, and then I headed back to the courtyard where they were doing the firing.


This is my pot after I glazed it, but before it got fired.


This is the kiln. The pottery gets heated to 1800⁰ F.


After about an hour, the pottery is removed from the kiln while it's still red-hot.


The ceramic pieces get put inside garbage cans full of wood shavings. The lids are clamped on, and the heat of the ceramic sets the shavings on fire, generating a ton of smoke, The smoke finishes the chemical reactions in the glaze, giving the pieces their signature blend of colors, crackle, and iridescence.


My finished pot. These are not food safe, but can be used to hold water.


One woman, a craft shop regular, had numerous pieces she had made that she was glazing. This one came out rather black on the other side, and she wasn't happy with it, so she gave it to me because I thought it was gorgeous. Just look at the butterflies! So pretty.

I've added my bowl/cup/pot(?) to my altar, and to be honest, I'm super happy with how it looks. I hadn't been sure when I moved into my dorm if I'd be able to have anything really like a permanent altar since I didn't know what my roommate's attitude would be, but I think she's just accepted that I like shiny things and hasn't even questioned why half of my dresser is covered in crystals and has a chalice and a picture of pretty fairies.


It's so cute! Not sure yet how much seasonal decoration I'll be doing. I had to leave most of my usual things at home, so it'll require some ingenuity, certainly, but at least for Samhain, I'm sure there's plenty of places to get gourds or pumpkins around here.


My other vase I set on top of my microwave with my mask, because I'm a designer in training. Even microwaves need to look attractive, and if they have something vaguely theatrical or occult about them, well, so much the better.

If you've never done raku and you get the chance, I really recommend it. It's an ancient Japanese art form that combines all the elements in a manner which is really primal in its nature. The earthy clay, airy smoke, blazing fire, and water to cleanse the finished product are all united by human creative spirit. It's truly a serene art form, and the results are as unpredictable as the elements which go into its creation.

Friday, September 26, 2014

September 26th, 2014

I was reading through some things on Tumblr earlier this evening, and I noticed a few things. We are all constantly bombarded online, on TV, in newspapers, and in nearly every other form of media with a constant stream of stories about war, poverty, abuse, and environmental degradation, so much so that we begin to be afflicted by this miasma of anxiety and a sense of paralysis where the future of our society is concerned. At times, the daily injustices feel truly overwhelming. What these articles too often gloss over is the fact that we are not powerless. We do not have to wait for an ineffective government entity to get their adjectives together to make a difference.
There is a line which crops up with relative frequency in Pagan circles, whether it be in music or literature or ritual. "We are the people. We are the power. And we are the change."
Pagans and all the multifarious derivatives thereof are in a unique position to advocate and to manifest change in our lives.
We are the people.
If not us, then who? Pagans represent people of all genders, sexual and romantic orientations, socioeconomic backgrounds, races, levels of physical and mental ability, religious upbringings, and geographic locations; we are quite probably members of one of the most diverse collections of religion in the world. If we will not advocate for equality between people, then who will? We all have suffered from prejudice in one way or another, and all too often we face many kinds of intolerance, for Pagans rarely fit the square peg of the traditional American (or European or Asian or African or etc.) lifestyle. It is in our hands to lessen that prejudice and to break down barriers. We may not always be able to alter people's minds where we ourselves are concerned, but we can absolutely stand up for the rights of others in our communities. If someone makes an offensive joke, call them out. If a person is getting picked on for who they are, help. You, you personally, as you are reading this, have that power.
We are the power.
Go back and reread that as many times as you need to. We are the power, and power is us. We work magick and enact rituals all the time. Who says rituals must be small? Who says that our power is finite, that we cannot stretch ourselves to the ends of the universe and back? I do not expect to do one spell and solve global warming. But I do expect that I can do a spell to solve global warming and know that my energies are going to further that cause. And if everyone does a similar spell of their own, think how much energy could be raised! Do big spells. Do little spells. Change the world one enchantment at a time. Bind and banish perpetrators of sexual assault and domestic abuse. Protect the victims. Do a finding spell to call home your neighbor's lost kitten. Enact a ritual to draw abundance into your whole community.
We are the change.
End of story. Remember that, when the negativity seems too dense. Through our efforts, magickal and mundane, we will and do change the world around us every day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September 16th, 2014

Ruby Aura Quartz


Physical Characteristics: These crystal points or clusters have an iridescent red sheen on the outside. If they are broken, the original Quartz coloration is visible on the interior. 

In Nature: All of the "Aura" crystals are artificially colored and do not exist in nature. In the case of Ruby Aura, Clear Quartz crystals are bonded in a vacuum environment to vapors of gold and platinum atoms, coating them in a metallic sheath. Many of these treatments involve the application of strong heat (hundreds of degrees) and may weaken the integrity of the crystal structure, making them brittle. As such, it is better to err on the side of gentleness when handling these stones.

Chemical Composition: SiO2

Mohs Scale Hardness: 7 (middle-high)

Can be Found: Quartz crystal is one of the most abundant minerals on the planet earth and can be found worldwide. Theoretically, Ruby Aura could be produced in any laboratory, but be aware that such crystals are usually produced only in small batches, and their availability may be limited.

Healing Properties*: Ruby Aura Quartz is primarily used to heal complaints of the lower back, legs, feet, and reproductive systems. It also possesses antibiotic properties, treating fungal infections and parasites.

Magickal Properties: These scarlet stones are linked to human vitality and passion. Employ their assistance to encourage intimacy in one's relationships. They also have protective qualities, particularly in times of upheaval, providing safety and security. A powerful helpmate for healing the Root chakra, Ruby Aura can be used (in tandem with proper psychiatric care) to overcome the deep emotional scars left by violence, abuse, or neglect. The stone will help its bearer flourish in any survival situation, even those which people choose recreationally (e.g. extreme sports, backpacking, rock climbing, etc.). 

Chakra Association: First (Root) chakra

Element: Fire

Energy: Projective

Planetary Association: Mars

*Magickal healing should never take the place of seeing a doctor and following any recommended prescriptions, actions, or other advice. Magick works best in tandem with physical efforts, anyway, so don't skimp on those check-ups!

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15th, 2014

So after buying a boat-load of crystals this last weekend, I've been trying to sit down and identify them and realized that I've never done a post about Amethyst. Really? But 'tis so. I don't even have an entry in my notebook about it yet. If that isn't a glaring oversight, I don't know what is. Allow me, then, to remedy this egregious error on my part with this:

Amethyst
Physical Characteristics: Amethyst occurs in colors ranging from pink to deep purple. It may also posses red and/or blue hues. These colors are products of iron and other trace elements in the silica structure, as well as natural irradiation. Artificial irradiation may be used to turn Amethyst into false Citrine.

In Nature: This crystal can be found in numerous forms, but most typically as clusters or geodes. Some underground caverns have been opened which are totally filled with Amethyst points.

Chemical Composition: SiO2

Mohs Scale Hardness: 7 (middle-high)

Can be Found: Brazil, Uruguay, South Korea, Austria, Zambia, USA

Healing Properties*: This stone may be employed as a pain reliever for conditions like arthritis. It also addresses diabetes, circulation, and fatigue, as well as asthma. Pregnant mothers may wear it to ensure a safe childbirth and to prevent miscarriage. Those who suffer strong premenstrual symptoms can get relief from an Amethyst. Although Amethyst can be used to accelerate the healing of illness and injury, its primary powers are focused on substance abuse. In fact, the name "Amethyst" comes from the Greek "Amethustos", "a-" being a prefix used still in modern English to mean "not" and "methustos" being "intoxicated". One myth describes how the titan Rhea gave Dionysus (Greek god of wine, theatre, and revelry) an Amethyst to preserve the wine drinker's sanity. In the 1500s, a French poet expanded on this theme by describing how Bacchus (the Roman version of Dionysus) pursued a woman named Amethyste, who refused his advances. The girl prayed for chastity, and Diana answered her, turning her into a beautiful white crystal, because this was how the Greek and Roman deities dealt with mortal problems. Remorseful, Bacchus poured an offering of wine over the stone, staining it purple. Whatever the origin of the crystal's association with liquor, it is a significant one which went so far as to influence some Christians - Western bishops may wear a ring set with Amethyst, alluding to Acts 2:15 wherein the Apostals manage to be sober at 9:00 in the morning for Pentacost. If overcoming alcoholism is one's goal, Amethyst is a tool which will work to your benefit. 

Magickal Properties: When I think "Amethyst", I think "calming". This stone is one of the most powerful emotional soothers in the mineral kingdom. Practically sedative in nature, it promotes calm, happiness, and contentment, easing anxiety and fear. It builds inner fortitude as well as flexibility, changing how its bearer responds to mental and geopathic stressors. With its extremely high vibration, expect Amethyst to clear negativity from the aura. A cluster set in a room will affect the energy of the entire space (I never put mine away!). Not only does this crystal soothe, but it also guards against danger, helping its bearer feel even more at-ease. Worn by travelers, it wards off those who may seek to take them at their advantage, while soldiers wear it to remain clear-headed in the heat of battle. If psychic attack in any form is a concern, Amethyst will divert the negativity. Powerful also in other psychic endeavors, use the stone to open the Third Eye, to meditate, and to lucid dream. Further prescribed uses include telepathy, past-life regression, clairaudience, and communing with spirits, angels in particular. The stone prevents insomnia, and is one of the best stones with which to banish nightmares, especially those which are recurrent. Dionysus was not just the god of alcohol - he was also the patron of the theatre and other visual and performance arts. His connection to the Amethyst therefore makes it an artist's stone, engendering creativity. 

Chakra Association: Sixth (Third Eye) and Seventh (Crown) chakras

Element: Water

Energy: Receptive

Planetary Association: Saturn

*Magickal healing should never take the place of seeing a doctor and following any recommended prescriptions, actions, or other advice. Magick works best in tandem with physical efforts, anyway, so don't skimp on those check-ups!

A side note:
There are other forms of Amethyst. For one example, check out the Ametrine tag. Another kind, which came in the box of assorted crystals I just purchased, is called Chevron Amethyst.

  • Physical: Alternating bands of white Quartz and Amethyst in a chevron (V) pattern.
  • Magickal: A powerful spiritual stone, and one of the best for working with the Third Eye. It deepens meditative states and opens access to higher realms. Any psychic venture will benefit from a Chevron Amethyst.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Crystal Shapes

Crystals come in all shapes and sizes, Clear Quartz in particular. In fact, there are so many varieties available that sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. Moreover, some crystals may exhibit multiple attributes. Hopefully, this post will clarify some of that.


  • The most basic form of crystal is the classic single termination. This is a crystal with one point. It can be used to direct energy, either toward an object or away from it. For example, one might point a crystal at an object to empower it, or do a protection ritual where one sits in a circle of Smoky Quartz, points facing outward, to direct negativity away from the caster.
    • A long point crystal (which may also be double terminated - see below) is simply a long crystal with a point at at least one end. These can be natural or artificially sculpted, but the end result is a crystal wand, used frequently in both ritual and healing. They are quick and efficient, moving energy on the spot.
  • A double terminated crystal is exactly what it sounds like - a crystal which is pointed on both ends. This formation is less common in nature and may be artificially shaped. This stone directs energy in two directions at once and is a stone of balance, integrating spirit and matter. They absorb negativity and break old habits, making them helpful for overcoming addiction. Double terminations assist with integrating blocked parts of the body or psyche, and placing one over the third eye enhances telepathy.
  • A cluster, or crystal matrix, is a group of multiple points fixed to a single base. These radiate energy outward, and may also absorb negative energies. These are most often programmed and then set in place to do their work, making them useful primarily for affecting the energy of a space. Clusters can also cleanse single crystals, if said crystal is left next to a cluster overnight.
    • An abundance crystal is a cluster where one point is significantly longer than the others. These stones are thought to draw abundance and prosperity.
  • A geode is a geological phenomenon where a rock, hollowed by erosion, is infiltrated with crystals such that when the rock is broken open, the crystals glitter on the inside of the formation. These can be very small or many feet across. Geodes hold and amplify energy within themselves, allowing for a slow, steady release of power. They have many associations with the Divine Mother, the Cosmic Egg, and creative power. They were called Thunderstones by some Native American tribes, and were believed to be the eggs of Thunderbirds.
  • Phantom Quartz occur when, over millions of years, a crystal grows entirely around another crystal, creating the "phantom" image of a crystal within a crystal. They have absorbed millions of years' worth of learning which can be accessed through meditation. Phantoms put the past into perspective, allowing for growth and personal evolution.
  • Spheres (your classic crystal ball) are nearly always sculpted by man. They emit energy in all directions, and act as a focus for meditation. If one's intent is to view the future, staring at a crystal sphere (this need not be Clear Quartz - many, many varieties are available) will relax the mind and allow visions to enter the mind.
  • Think of a square crystal as acting like a battery. They consolidate energy and provide a grounding influence. Salt is the most common square crystal.
  • Pyramidal crystals will typically have a square base and four faces meeting in a single point. These are your manifestation stones, drawing energy up from the base, focusing it, and projecting one's intent from the point. A simple manifestation spell is to set a picture of your desire under a pyramid crystal.
  • Egg shapes are less common in crystals than spheres, but they actually tend to be less expensive. These project a very gentle healing energy, and are ideal for finding and repairing energy imbalances in the body. The narrower end can be used as a reflexology or acupuncture tool. They can also be employed as worry stone in times of stress.
  • Some stones have no definite structure, and may be referred to as amorphous solids. If you hear "amorphous", think "glass". Natural glasses - Obsidian, Apache Tear, Tektite, etc. - all have amorphous structures. Energy flows quickly through them, making them fast-acting stones. 
  • All crystals with many layers, like Lepidolite or Desert Rose, act sympathetically, such that one can see the "many layers" of a situation and act accordingly.
  • Tabular crystals are kind of like slices of bread, in that you have two opposite, flat sides which are much wider than the other two sides. Many of them have grooves usually running perpendicular to the length of the stone. These can be rubbed to activate stores of information. The stone itself offers little resistance to energy and directs it easily. They are tools of communication, preventing confusion and misunderstanding. 
  • Elestial stones have many terminations folding over another multilayered crystal. Their energy is very gentle, soothing emotions and removing fear. These are stones of past life regression and karma work.
  • Occlusions can occur within any sort of crystal, and are essentially where one stone has another, separate mineral inside it. Tourmalated Quartz, for example, is Clear Quartz with Tourmaline occlusions. These stones amplify the energy of the inner crystal and direct it. 
  • True generator crystals have six sides all meeting equally in a single point. Large or small, these stones are ideal for producing energy and provide a powerful kick start to any magickal endeavor. In other formations, such as the one I purchased, multiple smaller crystals may be combined to create a formation favorable to energy genesis.
    • A generator cluster is one in which many individual, long points are all fixed at the same base. Each point can be programmed for a different purpose, unlike in traditional clusters.
  • A so-called "manifestation crystal" is one where several larger crystals totally enclose a smaller crystal. They are very powerful for getting what one wants, but to make a bad pun, one's intentions must be crystal clear, without any ambivalence. Generally, they work best when one's desires are not selfish. These stones can also stimulate creativity, promote visualization, and improve the effectiveness of group work.
  • Cathedral Quartz are usually very large specimens with one bigger point and at least one other medium-sized termination, joined at the base. They plug directly into the universal unconscious and Akashic Records, making them the metaphorical Google of information-retrieving stones. At least one source suggests that these stones seem initially to posses no vibration whatsoever, but which after careful examination proves to have "an eerie inner glow". Having never seen one, I can neither confirm nor deny this observation.
  • Record Keeper crystals are recognized by the triangle shapes etched on their sides. Some may also have a chevron pattern of etching. They represent the total harmony of body, mind, and spirit, and are portals of spiritual wisdom. Placed on the Third Eye, one can access one's past, personal or collective. Activate them by gently rubbing the pyramid shape.
  • An "etched" crystal may appear to be covered in hieroglyphics, cuneiform, or other forms of ancient writing. These stones provide a direct link to the past. Use them to access your past lives as well as the esoteric knowledge of our ancient ancestors. They can be especially helpful with connecting to ancient rituals and initiations.
  • Scepter Quartz looks rather like a club, in that the main, thicker crystal has grown out of a shorter, stubbier crystal. They generate and amplify energy, and are excellent healing stones, fixing the cause of a problem rather than just its symptoms. According to legend, these were symbols of power in Atlantis and Lemuria. Use them to solve infertility or to balance male and female energies in the body. 
    • A reversed scepter has an additional small crystal projecting from the base of the primary stone. These transmit healing energy, cleanse it, and return it to the healer. They soothe the mind and remove illusions.
  • Windows occur in crystals that have two pentagonal faces. The small, triangular face between them is the window. These provide a doorway into the self, and can help one balance the material and the spiritual. They can also help to find missing persons if one projects a strong enough visualization into the window.
  • A self-healed crystal has many small points where it was broken from its base and then laid down fresh crystals. As one might suspect, these are healing stones and teachers of the healing arts.
  • Quartz specimens with an indentation or aperture in it are called key crystals; the indentation is often three or six sided. Meditating with these crystals unlocks the hidden parts of the self, as well as information you may not otherwise be able to access.
  • Tantric Twins (aka Soulmate crystals) are two stones of approximately equal size joined along one side, which also have clearly distinct and separate terminations. They enable the bearer to find someone with whom they truly connect and form a harmonious relationship. This could mean a romantic partnership. but could also be a lifelong friend.
    • A twinned stone where one crystal is smaller than the other may be used to strengthen parent-child or employer-employee relationships.

Take Two

Well, I did it. I went back to the mall. I'm not buying anything else for a while, because I probably spent more than I should have, but it was worth it.


These little guys were $1.50 and also part of the buy-one-get-one-free deal. I'm not sure what actual purpose they're supposed to serve, but to me they look like a pair of antlers, and I plan to use them for a subtle Horned God representation on my altar. Also, since they have a little dish at the base, I have a place now to set offerings and the like.
I also bought the Generator Crystal set I wanted!


For the record, it's all Clear Quartz and just looks dark because I set it on top of its box. It's got a central pyramid, and each single-terminated Quartz projecting off is joined to the central piece with a small band of metal. I saw it yesterday and was drawn to it immediately. When I didn't take it home, it just kept wearing on my mind. Clearly, the crystal liked me and wasn't keen on letting me go.


And then there was this. I couldn't possibly look at this box jam-packed with different kinds of Quartz and walk away from it. I think it warrants an epic length post, which I'd better go start researching if I want it done by dinnertime.

September 14th, 2014

Tektite

Physical Characteristics: These gravel-sized stones occur in shades of black, green, brown, and grey, and are generally opaque. They are essentially pure glass, because they are created so quickly that even microcrystals do not have time to form within the structure. Also, they contain almost no water, unlike other natural glasses, such as Obsidian. Tektites are found in huge numbers spread across meteoric "strewnfields" - one such field stretches halfway across the United States!

In Nature: Tektites are often confused with meteorites, but please note that there is a distinction. Tektites are made wholly from terrestrial matter, forming when an extraterrestrial object hits the ground and melts or vaporizes earthly debris. To translate that into English: when a meteorite hits the earth, the impact melts the surrounding rock, and it is this which solidifies as Tektites, not the meteor itself. 

Chemical Composition: SiO2, nominally, but the composition is largely determined by the location of the impact crater.

Mohs Scale Hardness: 6 - 7 (middle to middle-high)

Can be Found: Australia, Czech Republic, Germany, Ghana, USA, China, Belize

Healing Properties*: Use Tektites to speed recovery from injury and illness. The stone may also help those with depression lift their spirits. Tektites improves blood circulation and capillary health.

Magickal Properties: Tektites are a stone of psychism, especially telepathy. The longer they stay in one's energy field, the stronger the effects become. They raise one's personal vibratory energy and strengthen the aura, while additionally allowing you to expand your consciousness during meditation. Tektites ward off negative entities - keep one in your pillowcase and it may also encourage lucid dreaming and astral travel. When working a manifestation spell, include a Tektite to encourage synchronicities (i.e. beneficial "coincidences"). The stone clears blockages in the lower chakras and links them energetically with the higher ones. The stone's connection to the extraterrestrial enhances communication with other worlds and allows access to higher knowledge. Tektite helps one release undesirable experiences, retaining lessons learned, but also allowing one to move on. Traditionally, the stone encourages fertility, which may also be taken to mean creativity. It balances male and female energies in the body and is considered a stone of good fortune in numerous cultures. 

Chakra Association: First (Root) through Third (Solar Plexus)

Element: Fire

Energy: Projective

Planetary Association: Tektites do not have a planetary association that I could find. Given the nature of their formation, it makes most sense to associate them with meteors and asteroids. 

*Magickal healing should never take the place of seeing a doctor and following any recommended prescriptions, actions, or other advice. Magick works best in tandem with physical efforts, anyway, so don't skimp on those check-ups!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

September 13th, 2014

Today has been an interesting day. It started off a little slowly, as cold Saturdays have a tendency to do, and I was more than comfortable staying in bed for a while. However, I'll be going home next weekend for my little brother's birthday and still needed to find him a present, so I decided to figure out the bus system and get myself to the mall. Mission "read a bus schedule" having been accomplished, I let myself wander for a while, checking out the different stores. Nothing really caught my eye until I found a toy store wherein I got a big set of child's art supplies for him.
Coming out of the toy store, my eyes lighted on a shop with a very eclectic assortment of goods in the display window, along with a couple of Himalayan salt lamps. Anyone who goes to enough of these places comes to recognize such salt lamps as the staple product of a new age store, so I walked in. I was not disappointed. The energy was fantastic, and as for the products... Suffice it to say that if I had had the money, I would have emptied the place.
There were masks, dresses, skirts, shawls, jewelry, art pieces, instruments, an entire table of gemstones, and if that weren't enough, the back half of the store was both clearance and buy-one-get-one-free. I could have cried with happiness. In the end, I ended up with several things for myself, as well as for a friend who also has a birthday party next weekend.
The first thing I discovered was the crystal table. It shouldn't surprise anyone that I was drawn to it like a moth to a candle flame. While I already posses a majority of the crystals on display, they had some stunning generator crystals that I had to tear myself away from. The picture at left is more or less what they looked like, and they came in Clear Quartz, Amethyst, and Rose Quartz. I really wanted to get one, and I was surprised by how reasonable the price was - I had been expecting $30, but these were about $15. Still, with everything else I was buying, I didn't know if I wanted to spend another $15 just then. I may go back tomorrow, though, because I really was drawn to them. It was immediately apparent why they were considered generators - all I had to do was hold my hand over them, and I could feel like a rush of cool air the energy spiraling around the central point.
I discovered the mask collection in the back; they were all excellent quality, and right up my alley where costuming is concerned. I bought this one:


Perhaps I'll wear it for Samhain. They had boxes of large white taper candles on sale for a dollar, so you know I snapped some of those up, and then I looked up and noticed these, tucked on a little shelf.


They're Tektites! I've been looking for these for ages - who knew you had to go to a mall in the middle of nowhere to find them? What are Tektites? If you don't already know, you'll just have to wait for me to post about them. Mwahahaha....

Museum Reception

Last night, the campus museum hosted a reception to celebrate the opening of its new exhibits. I think I was the only freshman who went, but there were a lot of faculty and older students in attendance. I bring it up because as I was walking through the exhibits, I noticed this Japanese tsuba, a decorative hand guard for a samurai's katana.


It caught my attention, because its eyes, which were covered with a brighter metal (gold leaf, maybe?), shone in its display. Upon taking a closer look at it, I immediately recognized Raijin, and felt a rush of validation when I looked at the information card and saw that it was, indeed, Raijin being depicted.
Raijin is the Japanese thunder god ("rai" being thunder and "jin" an alteration of "shin", which in turn is the same "shin" in "Shinto", and means "god"). He is often shown with (or competing against) Fuujin, the wind god. According to Shinto mythology, after Izanami and Izanagi created Japan, the Buddha entrusted eight Raijin to protect the Dharma (assigned a variety of meanings, but primarily referring to natural law). This sort of syncretism between Shintoism and Buddhism was and is very common among the Japanese. When there is a storm, Raijin beats his drums (note the drumsticks he holds in the tsuba) and produces thunder. His drums are usually topped with a mitsudomoe symbol, a variant of the tomoe and a trinity figure thought to represent Man, Earth, and Sky. The mitsudomoe is also visible in the tsuba as the circles above and below the central slit for the blade - the top retains its bright metallic covering, making the three-pronged symbol easy to see. Those who are familiar with Japanese mythology might look at Raijin's iconography and assume him to be a demon, or oni. Some versions of the myth do indeed suggest that Raijin is a reformed oni, thus explaining the resemblance. One legend says that Raijin likes to eat children's bellybuttons, and so some parents may warn their children to keep their navels covered during thunderstorms. Another story, found in Judika Illes' Encyclopedia of Spirits, states that Raijin saved Japan from the 1274 Mongolian invasion by firing thunderbolts at the Mongol ships.
Raijin is never found without his loyal companion (and perhaps pet), Raijuu, the thunder beast. This spirit, often taking the form of a white or blue wolf or fox, is the source of electricity and lightning, and has the dubious honor of being the inspiration for the Pokémon, Raichu. Another explanation of the bellybutton story is that Raijuu likes to fall asleep in people's navels, and Raijin must strike him with lightning to wake him up, thus harming the sleeper. Those who believe this version of the story may sleep on their stomachs in bad weather, whereas others say that Raijuu only sleeps in the bellybuttons of people sleeping outside.
Modern practitioners wishing to honor Raijin could call upon him for protection during storms or a power outage. While I imagine there are specific rites one may do to honor the thunder god, a small monetary offering is standard fare among the Japanese kami. Unless you live in Japan, it is unlikely that you live near any sort of shrine to Raijin. If this is the case, money could be donated via the internet to help provide relief for storm victims or to help maintain Japanese shrines which honor the thunder god and associated deities.

An Update

First - an update on those activities which I mentioned in my last post! I did indeed end up doing a crystal spread and meditation. I went with chakra- themed stones, because I was feeling off energetically, and so laid the following crystals over the appropriate energy centers: Black Tourmaline for the Root chakra, Red Jasper for the Sacral chakra, Tiger's Eye for the Solar Plexus chakra, Green Calcite for the Heart chakra, Turquoise for the Throat chakra, Lepidolite for the Third Eye chakra, and Clear Quartz for the Crown chakra. I did this while laying down on my carpet, with a blanket thrown over my legs because it was chilly. There was a bit of stiffness in my lower back, but as I began the meditation, this relaxed and dissipated.


Afterwards, I walked over to the campus lake and rented a kayak. I spent about an hour paddling around, enjoying the weather and the wildlife.


There were a ton of ducks, and the turtles were also out in force, basking in the sunlight. By the time I was through, I'd counted eleven, including one itty bitty softshell turtle that was barely an inch and a half long. Moreover, there were many frogs sitting in the shallows, and I spotted a school of minnows darting just under the surface. All things told, it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon.
That evening, I had had plans to go to a meditation class at the Gaia Center, but when I got there, it looked like the class was in a different location.


I ended up just wandering around town a bit, and besides finding a little Chinese shop which sold delicious bubble tea, I also stumbled upon the Gaia Center's labyrinth, which is painted on an abandoned piece of concrete.




There's also a lot of pretty trees surrounding it, and a little waterfall.
Monday night was Esbat, and also represented my first official ritual since moving onto campus. I had located a really pretty area behind the dining hall near a creek where there was a grove of trees and several stumps. Since it was out of the way, I thought I might use it for my ritual. I don't usually get to do rituals outside, as doing so in our backyard would be more than a trifle obvious, and this seemed like the perfect place to get away from prying eyes.


I grabbed my travel altar and set up camp on one of the flatter stumps. The ritual went really well, I think, albeit a bit short, and even though I was in a pretty secluded area, there were still a few people who walked by. I'll probably do my Mabon ritual there, though, and see how it goes. Because it was a so-called "Supermoon", the moon rise was just beautiful. It was butter-yellow, and huge in the sky as it peeked up over the trees.


My cameraphone cannot begin to do the phenomenon justice, but for the record, that yellow blob in the middle of the picture is the moon (the one on the left is a street lamp).