Candles and Incense Pose Health Risks


The altar table in Gustaf Vasa church, Stockholm, Sweden by Håkan Svensson (Xauxa) is licensed under CC BY- SA 3.0

Every ritual has candles and incense at its crux. It seems a time- honored and universal practice. The act of using flames and burning herbs, resins, plants, and woods for the unique smells emitted to accompany religious rituals likely go back before written records and before material culture had advanced enough to do it with competence. However, both ritual accessories can be major health risks due to the toxic fumes they release. In fact, I recently looked up the dangers of incense and candles, and it had a devastating effect on my burgeoning spiritual practice. I want to share my thoughts upon giving up my candle and incense burning, and make suggestions for how to move forward after understanding the risks involved. Continue reading “Candles and Incense Pose Health Risks”

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Meditation on the Irrational


A wolf in the wild by Gary Kramer via Wikimedia Commons

The irrational impulse is inevitable. Humans are not created in a world of perfection. Every move is littered with hypocrisies, falsehoods, contradictions, and the irrational. Irrationality drives us all.

There are impulses that consciousness rides on like a piece of driftwood on the waves. Desirous impulses overcome the soul. Sometimes, in our own bodies, we witness the body behaving in a way that our rational minds can’t fathom. Drives and behaviors occur now and then, and we are helpless against them, regardless of the strength of our rational side. It’s inevitable. Being okay with falling, being okay with the darkness, that’s an important lesson for the conscious mind.

Driftwood on the shore by kajikawa is licensed under CC BY 3.0


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Prayer to Hermes


Hermes Chiaramonti at the Vatican, by the Vatican Museums

With every ritual, there should be an accompanying hymn and a prayer. The hymn gets the attention of the god, and the prayer, though of a private nature and entirely up to the worshipper, may contain statements, offerings, and requests. The Orphic Hymns in particular are a good group to work with, though there are others that have survived the ravages of history. I am sharing a prayer I wrote for Mercury, based on some research I did on ancient ritual and the guidance of astrological magic practitioners. The characteristics of Hermes in the prayer reflect Graeco- Egyptian attributes. Namely, they are a combination of the traditional astrological archetype, Thoth, Hermes, and Mercury. I have included various names of Hermes that were used at his temples.  Continue reading “Prayer to Hermes”

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Rituals to Venus and Jupiter


An altar to Venus resides in a bookshelf.
A statue of Zeus rests atop the Jupiter altar, after it received many of its pieces.

The Greek dark ages left one particular piece of wisdom to posterity: worship the gods. The Delphic maxims were a collection of one hundred and forty seven sayings that were attributed to the Seven Sages and paying due attention to the traditional deities was the third maxim. “Honor the gods; revere the gods,“ it read as translated by Melissa Gold.[1] As it was over two millennia ago, worship of the Olympian gods is not exactly popular anymore. So you might be surprised to learn that recently I’ve begun experimenting doing just that. Even a few months ago, if someone had told me I’d end 2018 building altars and performing rituals for Venus and Jupiter, I would have laughed in disbelief. It is the last thing I would’ve expected. But here I am, and I’ve got seven weeks of rituals worshipping the ancient deities under my belt. I’ll tell you how I got involved, my first experiences with altars and rituals, and my observations as a beginner. Continue reading “Rituals to Venus and Jupiter”

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