Just have to share this...

    For those of you who don't know, my mother is a Jehovah's Witness. I was raised to be, but the Great Goddess was in my heart from day one, so that didn't work out so well! Anyways, we were talking the other day and she was telling me about a conversation I just have to share with all of you.

    Apparently, she and a group from her Kingdom Hall (their church) were doing their door to door work when one of the women in the group noticed a Pentacle on the property or door or something of one of the houses and said she was afraid to go to the door. The woman said she hated going to door like that because the people were scary. My mom said, and I quote: "I'll take a Pagan over a Born Again any day!" and happily took the door for her.

    She said when she got back in the car the lady asked her why she was so happy to take that door knowing their could be a witch behind it. And my mother said "Because Pagans know the Christian faith better than Christians do." She said she went on to tell the woman that while Christians claim to know what their bible says that most of them have rarely read it beyond the popular scriptures or readings done in church. Pagans on the other hand not only know what is in the Bible, but know the history behind it and behind the Church and Religion which came out of it.

    As a Pagan, I would have to agree with her. I have gotten in to many a biblical debates with Christians, and known the Bible better than they do. That said, I have to give credit to my mother for that - Although not so happily. There is a great deal of religious contention between my family and I but compliments like that one show me that at least someone is opening their eyes to the fact that Pagans aren't Cat Sacrificing, Devil Worshipers who will beat up old ladies and rape children - as I've been told in some forums... Even if that person does still believe her Pagan daughter is doomed - at least she knows we aren't all crazy!

Top 25 Faith Blogs by Moms

    Hey all, for those of you who haven't seen this yet, Circle of Mom's is building a list of the top 25 Faith based Mommy Blogs. And amidst all the mainstream moms there are those of us who walk different paths, Pagan Paths.

   Now, here's my selfish and rather arrogant wish, that we could ALL be in that top 25! Now, voting runs through Jun 8, 2011 at 5pm PST and you are able to vote and re-vote daily for as many blogs as you wish. (One vote per blog per day.)  So, please support us Pagan Mommy Bloggers and vote us up!!!

   So, why are you still here? Go Vote!

A Pagan Timeline

 Pagan history is hard to really sum up. Because All pre-Christian religions with the exception of Judism are technically Pagan, it's hard to say this is what was believed... Because they all held different beliefs. But, we know some basics and that's where I will really focus. 

Below you will find a basic time-line of paganism and see how it progresses through the years... 

2000 BC Babylon's Code of Hammurabi instructs, "If a man has laid a charge of witchcraft and has not justified it, he upon whom the witchcraft is laid shall go to the holy river; he shall plunge into the holy river and if the holy river overcome him, he who accused him shall take to himself his house." 
3rd cent. AD Under the pre-Christian Roman Empire, punishment of burning alive was enacted by the State against witches who brought about another person's death through their enchantments.
306 AD The Christian Council of Elvira (Canon 6) refuses last rites to those who had killed a man by a magical spell because such a crime could not be effected "without idolatry" (i.e. the help of the devil).
313 Conversion of Emperor Constantine; Christianity is granted official toleration by the Roman Empire.
314 Canon 24 of the Council of Ancyra imposes five years of penance upon those who consult magicians. Here, the offense lies in participation in paganism.
785 The Council of Paderborn rules that sorcerers are to be reduced to serfdom and made over to the service of the Church.
906 The document De ecclesiasticis disciplinis ascribed to Regino of Prüm describes popular notions of witchcraft and states it is the duty of priests to "instruct the people that these things are absolutely untrue and that such imaginings are planted in the minds of mis-believing folk, not by a Divine spirit, but by the spirit of evil."
1080 Pope Gregory VII writes a letter to King Harold of Denmark forbidding witches to be put to death upon presumption of their having caused storms, failure of crops or pestilence.
1225 In Germany, the secular law code "Sachsenspiegel" designated death by fire as the proper punishment for witchcraft.
1258 Pope Alexander IV instructs, "The Inquisitors, deputed to investigate heresy, must not intrude into investigations of divination or sorcery without knowledge of manifest heresy involved." "Manifest heresy" is defined as: "praying at the altars of idols, to offer sacrifices, to consult demons, to elicit responses from them... or associate themselves publicly with heretics."
1275 The first "witch" is burned to death after judicial sentence of an inquisitor, in Toulouse, France. Her name was Hugues de Baniol and she "confessed" to having given birth to a monster after intercourse with an evil spirit and to having nourished it with babies' flesh which she procured in her nocturnal expeditions.
1300-30 Beginning of the witch trials in Europe.
1334 Large-scale witch trial in Toulouse, France, in which 63 persons were accused. Of these, eight were handed over to the state to be burned and the rest were imprisoned.
1374 Pope Gregory XI declares that all magic is done with the aid of demons and thus is open to prosecution for heresy.
1400 Peter de Gruyères, a secular judge, carries out large-scale witch trials in Bern, Switzerland.
1435-50 Number of witch trails rises sharply.
1484 Pope Innocent VIII publishes the bull Summis desiderantes affectibus ("Desiring with the Greatest Ardor") condemning witchcraft as Satanism, the worst of all possible heresies. The bull also officially grants Heinrich Krämer and James Sprenger, Dominican inquisitors, the right to prosecute persons of any class or any form of crime.
1486 Heinrich Krämer and Jacob Sprenger publish Malleus maleficarum ("The Hammer of Witches"), a learned but misogynistic book blaming witchcraft chiefly on women. It was reprinted many times thanks to the newly-invented printing press and was a major influence on the witch-hunt hysteria of the next two centuries. It was regarded as the standard handbook on witchcraft until well into the 18th century.
1530s Prosecutions for witchcraft begin in Mexico.
1532 The penal code Carolina decrees that sorcery throughout the German empire should be treated as a criminal offense, and if it injured any person, the witch was to be burned at the stake.
1572 The Protestant ruler of Saxony imposes the penalty of burning for witchcraft of every kind, including fortune-telling.
1580-1630 Period in which witch-hunts are most severe.
1583 121 persons are burned as witches over three months in Osnabruck, Germany.
1590 Witch trials in North Berwick, Scotland.
1609 In response to a witch panic in the Basque region, La Suprema (the ruling body of the Spanish Inquisition) issues an "Edict of Silence" forbidding all discussion of witchcraft. For, as one inquisitor noted, "There were neither witches nor bewitched until they were talked and written about."
1631 The Jesuit Friedrich von Spee publishes Cautio criminalis against the witch craze.
1647 First hanging for witchcraft in New England.
1668-76 Outbreak of witch-hunts in Sweden.
1692 Between May and October, 19 people are tried and hanged as witches in Salem, Massachusetts.
1749 The last trial for witchcraft in Germany is carried out at Würzburg.
1754 Torture is abolished in Prussia.
1782 Last known execution for witchcraft takes place in Switzerland, in the Protestant canton of Glarus.
1807 Torture is abolished in Bavaria.
1822 Torture is abolished in Hanover.
1875 Birth of Aleister Crowley, occultist who influenced Gerald Gardner.
1885 Birth of Gerald Gardner, founder of Wicca.
1890s Aleister Crowley joins the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, of which William Butler Yeats was also a member.
1899 Charles Godfrey Leland publishes Aradia or the Goddess of the Witches.
1910 Crowley meets a leader of German Masonic order called the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), a combination of Masonic rites and the traditions of the Rosicrucians, the Templars, the Illuminists, and Bengali Tantrism. Crowley was soon initiated into the order and progressing through the degrees of the order.
1912 Crowley is named Grand Master of the O.T.O. for Great Britain and Ireland.
1921 Margaret Murray published The Witch-Cult in Western Europe.
1926 Birth of Alexander Sanders, founder of Alexandrian Wicca.
1929 Margaret Murray published her article “Witchcraft” in the 14th edition of Encyclopædia Britannica.
1939 The O.T.O. in Germany is effectively dissolved by the Nazis.
1939 Gardner joins the Folklore Society and presents a paper on witchcraft.
1939 The year Gerald Gardner claims he was initiated into a witch cult called the New Forest Coven, led by Dorothy Clutterbuck.
1940 Zsuzsanna Budapest, feminist writer and leader of Dianic Wicca, is born on January 30.
1940s Gardner joins the nudist group The Fiveacres Country Club.
1946 Gardner begins work on High Magic's Aid, a fictional novel partially based on those of his Southern Coven. The witches of his coven opposed making their rituals public, which is why it was presented as fiction and filled out with rituals from other sources.
1947 Gardner and Edith Woodford-Grimes start a company called Ancient Crafts Ltd.
1947 Gardner meets Crowley at Crowley's home in Hastings for the first time on May 1, and visits him again several times during May.
1947 Gardner becomes a member of the O.T.O. in May and is authorized by Crowley to found an O.T.O. encampment and initiate new members.
1947 Crowley dies on December 1.
1947 On December 27, Gardner writes a letter claiming to have been designated as successor to Crowley as leader of the O.T.O. Karl Germer assumed leadership instead, and held it until his death in 1962.
1949 Gerald Gardner publishes High Magic's Aid under the pseudonym Scire.
1950 Gardner begins distancing himself from Crowley and the O.T.O. in favor of Wicca.
1950 Gardner states in a letter that Crowley had participated in the witch cult but left in disgust due to the leadership of the High Priestess and the nudity.
1951 Gardner founds the "Northern Coven" in London and holds a small rite at his home near the British Museum on May Eve.
1953 Doreen Valiente is initated by Gardner, and soon became High Priestess.
1954 Gardner publishes Witchcraft Today, an event which many regard as the founding of Wicca.
1957 Wicca splits into two factions, one that supports Gardner's growing publicity of the religion (led by Gardner) and one that opposes it (led by Doreen Valiente).
1959 Gardner publishes The Meaning of Witchcraft, in which he first uses the term "Wicca."
1963-64 Gardner winters in Lebanon to help his failing health.
1964 Gardner dies of heart failure on the SS Scottish Prince in the Mediterranean. His body is buried at the next port of call, Tunis.
1989 Valiente publishes The Rebirth of Witchcraft, a first-hand account of the history and development of Wicca.

Aiden A. Kelly publishes Crafting the Art of Magic, Book I, which aims to show that Gardner's Book of Shadows could be entirely traced to earlier sources.
The U.S. Veterans Administration approves the Pentagram as a symbol permitted on headstones for fallen soldiers in military cemeteries.

The Wiccan Rede (full version)

Bide within the Law you must, in perfect Love and perfect Trust.
Live you must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give.

For tread the Circle thrice about to keep unwelcome spirits out.
To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be said in rhyme.

Light of eye and soft of touch, speak you little, listen much.
Honor the Old Ones in deed and name,
let love and light be our guides again.

Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out the joyful tune.
Widdershins go when the moon doth wane,
and the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane.

When the Lady's moon is new, kiss the hand to Her times two.
When the moon rides at Her peak then your heart's desire seek.

Heed the North winds mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail.
When the Wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast.

When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss you on the mouth.
When the wind whispers from the West, all hearts will find peace and rest.

Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.
Birch in the fire goes to represent what the Lady knows.

Oak in the forest towers with might, in the fire it brings the God's
insight.   Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magick to flower.

Willows at the waterside stand ready to help us to the Summerland.
Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw faerie to your eye.

Hazel-the tree of wisdom and learning adds its strength to the bright fire burning.
White are the flowers of Apple tree that brings us fruits of fertility.

Grapes grow upon the vine giving us both joy and wine.
Fir does mark the evergreen to represent immortality seen.

Elder is the Lady's tree burn it not or cursed you'll be.
Four times the Major Sabbats mark in the light and in the dark.

As the old year starts to wane the new begins, it's now Samhain.
When the time for Imbolc shows watch for flowers through the snows.

When the wheel begins to turn soon the Beltane fires will burn.
As the wheel turns to Lamas night power is brought to magick rite.

Four times the Minor Sabbats fall use the Sun to mark them all.
When the wheel has turned to Yule light the log the Horned One rules.

In the spring, when night equals day time for Ostara to come our way.
When the Sun has reached it's height time for Oak and Holly to fight.

Harvesting comes to one and all when the Autumn Equinox does fall.
Heed the flower, bush, and tree by the Lady blessed you'll be.

Where the rippling waters go cast a stone, the truth you'll know.
When you have and hold a need, harken not to others greed.

With a fool no season spend or be counted as his friend.
Merry Meet and Merry Part bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

Mind the Three-fold Laws you should three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow wear the star upon your brow.

Be true in love this you must do unless your love is false to you.

These Eight words the Rede fulfill:

"An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will"

Flower Moon

Once April's rains and winds have subsided, the sun begins to warm up the earth and we're able to get the gardens planted. Typically, May is the month we begin to sow our crops. Get out in the garden under a Flower Moon and put your hands into the soil. Spring is a time of fertility, and May is a fiery month indeed -- full of lust and passion! It's sometimes called the month of the Hare Moon -- and we all know what hares are busy doing in the spring.


Colors: Red, orange, yellow
Gemstones: Ruby, garnet, amber, Apache tear
Trees: Hawthorn, rowan
Gods: Kali, Priapus, Cernunnos, Flora
Herbs: Cinnamon, members of the mint family
Element: Fire

This is a good time to work on magic related to careers and jobs. Thinking about switching to a new position, or perhaps trying a new field altogether? Want to take a class or get your degree? Take the seeds you've planted last month, and allow them to bloom and grow in your favor. Do some fire divination this month to help guide you on your way.

Also Known As: Hare Moon

Metaphisical Monsters: Vampires: Part 3 Elizabeth Bathory

While the name Dracula was most likely inspired by the deeds of Vlad (Dracula) Tepes. It's more likely that it was the deeds of the Countess Erz'ebet (Elizabeth in English) Bathory that inspired the horror. She also holds a place in history as one of the first recorded female serial killers and sexual predators. Even in today's society the female serial killer is rare, so rare in fact that there is generally no psychological profile for them, and little to no understanding of what drives them. Even less is understood about female sexual predators. Which makes the case of Elizabeth Bathory overly rare indeed!

Today we continue to hear stories about Dracula, more and more research is always being done and the remains of his castle have been explored and excavated multiple times. However, it's rare that we so much as hear a mention of Bathory. Why is that? Well, there are a few obvious reasons. For one, Dracula was in fact working to aid his country, from his perspective and the perspective of his people, what he did was a great deed. Then there is the simple fact that Dracula is a man. As most of us today know, women in history simply didn't matter. While men litterally ruled the world, women were seen as little more than property. And just like you do not make large note of what your pets do from day to day, as a whole history tends not to record major actions of women either. The third, and most obvious reason, is simply that Bram Stoker used Dracula's name and not Bathory's. BUT, Bram Stoker was nice enough to hang on to his notes after publishing his novel. His notes have enlightened scholars as to just what he was drawing from for inspiration. MANY of these notes were research on the life and actions of a Translvanian Countess, Elizabeth Bathory. Today, she is even referred to as "Lady Dracula" as well as other things.

If ever there was a person who fit the description of vampire, it was Bathory! Among her horrid titles we can list rapist, torturer, child molester, kidnapper and most notably cannibal and blood drinker. And like many of today's more horrible offenders Bathory had a troubled childhood, adult life and marriage.

Born in to a noble family in Hungary in August 1560, Elizabeth spent her childhood with her family in Nagy-Ecsed, near the Romanian border. Her mother was sister of Stephen Bathory, King of Poland, Prince of Transylvania and counterpart of Vlad Tepes. She had a rather cruel older brother and two sisters who survived in to adulthood. In 1566 the German Emperor and the Ottomans came to a temporary truce. So while Vlad Tepe's life was ruled by the wars going on around him, Bathory's childhood would have been relatively peaceful - at least on a governmental level.

She was greatly educated, as would any young woman of nobility have been. But she was a woman, and it's fair to say abuse was a daily activity in the Bathory home. Her older brother would become known for his drunkenness and rape of young women. She would also spend a great amount of her young life with her Aunt Klara, an overly sexual woman who greatly enjoyed torturing servants, presumably for fun. When Elizabeth was a child, she had even witnessed the torture and execution of a Gypsy woman who was sewn up inside a horse carcass and left to die there.

In 1570 she was engaged to a wealthy Count Ferencz Nadasdy de Nadasd of Fogarasfold. As was customary in this time, it's acceptable to assume that Elizabeth would have had little to no say over who she would marry, instead it was most likely a political move for her father. Elizabeth was to be come a very young woman of the house as she was sent to reside with her mother-in-law to be, who would die within a year. Elizabeth even at this very young age was already known for her beauty. And in 1574 she became pregnant and gave birth to an illegitimate daughter. History says the baby was smuggled away to protect her, and most likely to save her life.

Artist Depiction of Bathory's Castle Home
On May 8th, 1575, at just age 14, Elizabeth Bathory was married to her fiance, Count Ferenc Nadasdy. The wedding celebration is said to have lasted weeks! However, unlike their celebratory wedding, their marriage was to be lonely and quite boring for young Elizabeth. Being a military man, Nadasdy was often away for weeks or months at a time, leaving Elizabeth alone in her castle high atop the Carpathian Mountains. In his absence she would amuse herself with sex toys imported from Italy. She also started to experiment with herbal brews, potions, powders and drugs. It would also have been her job to ensure the castle ran smoothly, that would include the responsibility of disciplining the servants.

While her husband was away she would also "vacation" at her aunt Klara's home. Who is credited with teaching Bathory many of the "techniques" she would use to carry out her disciplinary position in the castle. While with her aunt her sexual experimentation would become quite extensive.

Nadasy had an inflammable temper and servants would be severely punished and beaten for the tiniest mistakes at his order. This was a tradition his wife happily kept upon his leave. Elizabeth used branding irons, razors, pincers, torches and pins & needles quite consistently in her punishments. A servant girl who talked to much had her mouth sewn shut. A girl suspected of stealing money was stripped and burned repeatedly with white hot coins. And she would freeze servants who displeased her by having them striped, thrown in the snow and dumping water over them.

Three loyal female servants, Helena Jo, Dorthea Szentes (also called Dorka) and Katarina, and manservant, Ficzko, who was most likely Autistic (history records him as being "retarded") would help Elizabeth carry out her cruelties through her rein of terror.  Also, between the years of 1604 and 1610 a mysterious woman named Anna Darvulia, who was probably a lover of Elizabeth's, who taught her many new torturing techniques and was "one of the most active sadists in Elizabeth's entourage". After a severe stroke that left her blind, Darvulia left her work to Elizabeth, Helena Jo, and Dorka, content that she had taught them well. With Darvulia's death, Elizabeth only grew in cruelty. However, here downfall would be her growing recklessness.

Elizabeth was a very vain woman, and sometime around her 40th birthday she started to become obsessed with the idea of youthful beauty. However, unlike so many forty-somethings today Elizabeth wasn't content with simply lotions and potions. One day while her team of young servant girls groomed her, she struck one of them in a fit of rage so hard that the young girl's nose began to bleed. Some of this blood splashed on to Elizabeth's face and it's said that when she wiped it away she believed the skin beneath it to have a more youthful, fresher appearance. This single act of violence would lead her down the path that would eventually lead her to earn the name "Blood Countess."

Elizabeth began to bathe regularly in the blood of virgins. It's said that when she wanted to bathe she would have a servant girl fetched and held upside down over a tub with her throat slashed until all of her blood was drained. From approximately 1600 onwards, the death rates among her servants greatly increased. Her trusted help would recruit new girls from neighboring towns. They would offer poverty stricken families a small sum of money in effort to persuade them to send their daughters off to "a life of security in the service of the mighty House of Bathory." Once in the castle, they would simply never be heard from again, becoming prey either to Elizabeths never-ending quest for youth or her lust for the pain of others. The girls' bodies, bruised, cut and burned, would be buried unceremoniously outside the castle walls upon their death.

Prior to Darculia's death, Elizabeth had used young peasant women to fill her needs. But she turned to a widow of a farmer from a nearby town whom she knew to fill the void left by the loss of her love. It was apparently this woman, named Erszi Majorova, who "encouraged Elizabeth to go after girls of noble birth as well as peasants." And in 1609, she decided to listen. She started taking in aristocratic girls to "teach them social graces" but of course, they usually died as well. And rumors of the horrors going on inside the castle became more prevalent.

Elizabeth's Death Tower
In October 1610 Erzsébet took her daughter Anna, to Piestány for a bath in the warm mud. Afterwards she traveled to castle Sárvár, where her young son was living with his tutor. She took her jewels and other valueables with her, when she returned home. Meanwhile, a priest of a nearby village notified the already alarmed authorities of his suspicions.

On December 10, Elizabeth and her accomplices were arrested by Count Thurzó. The trial started in January 1611 but because of her rank, it was held in secret and the Countess never attended it. At that time in history however, servants and pesants were considered to be serfs, and the nobility of the day had the right to do with them whatever they pleased. So even though her victims most likely number in the THOUSANDS, she could only be tried on what she had done to the girls of noble birth.

Under torture her accomplices described between 36 and 50 death as a result of mistreatment. Then there were additional witnesses heard, each of which had a more horrifying story than the last. One mentioned 80 girls, another said 175, then the number 200 came out and so on. Some of these witnesses were testifying purely on what they had heard, others had more "hands on knowledge." It's said that the Countess kept journals which chronicled the torture and death of more than 650 girls. However, this was never shown in the court.

ALL of those accused were found guilty. While Darvulia had died years prior Helena Jo, Dorka and Ficzko were not so lucky. While Ficzko's fate is a little hard to track down. Helena Jo and Dorka were to be burned at the stake after having their fingers removed with hot pincers. Bathory herself, being nobility, could not be punished equally, instead she was to live out the remainder of her life walled up in a small tower room in her own castle. Three and a half years later, on August 21, 1614, Elizabeth was found dead in her room. Since there were several plates of food untouched, her actual date of death is unknown. She was buried in the church of Csejte, but due to the villagers' uproar over having "The Tigress of Csejte" buried in their cemetery, her body was moved to her birth home at Ecsed, where it is interred at the Báthory family crypt.

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