The Intimacy of Death and Dying

Baby Boomers invented 'the lifestyle choice' but now they're choosing a death style, the natural way of death. Zenith Virago, co-author of The Intimacy of Death and Dying, has established the Natural Death Centre in Byron Bay based on an English model,  . . .

Yesterday's "The Spirit of Things" ABC radio show - discussed this topic in detail

click here to listen to the Podcast
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Manba Madness - or cool new style?


An underground youth culture in Japan which makes a rebellious fashion statement against traditional rules on eastern beauty, is taking hold on Britain's youth.

By Nina Robinson
BBC World Service, London

Manba involves devotees wearing dark tans, white make-up around their eyes and hair that is often a combination of neon colours.

British teenagers like 18-year-olds Eilish and Declan got caught up in manba after an interest in Japanese culture led them to start researching on the internet, where they came across the style.

Manba in Japan is also known as ganguro, gonguro, yamamba and mamba.

Yama-uba in Japanese is the name of a mountain hag in Japanese folklore whom the fashion is thought to resemble.

It has been around for nearly a decade and is an eye-catching statement against conformity.

When the practitioners began darkening their skin, widening their eyes and wearing blue contact lenses, they were making a rebellious statement against the traditions of fair-skinned beauty.

The rebellion has now, perhaps somewhat ironically, been taken up by Britain's naturally fair-skinned youth.

. . . . . . read the full story
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Fangs for the Memory

A long article on Vampire lovers and goths etc appeared in yesterdays New Zealand Herald;


At risk of stating the bleeding obvious, it's very hard to be a vampire devotee these days. They may be hot on screen and page, but it's not so easy to keep the faith when you have to hold down a 21st century day job and give a nod to modern-day necessities as well.

To picture the vampire is to imagine matters Gothic. But true devotion touches regions far deeper than first impressions of members of the black-clad, high hair, gloomy music movement might suggest.

It's not just the unending stares that you have to endure. Or the rejections of both the personal and career kind. It's not even the abuse and misunderstanding; that all goes with the territory.

The modern-day vampire lover's lot is much more tough. There are the pretenders who demean the status of the truly, deeply dedicated. It costs a lot. And there are health and safety implications to consider that could generate a whole new chapter in an OSH manual.



Consider the case of one Wellington vampire lover. . . . . . .


read the full story

see the Uncle Festers vampire collection

 see the Uncle Festers Twilight Collection

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The Pagan Activist

A great Pagan online resource is closing down in a weeks time, after four years of service.  The owner Edain sites financial (the site was funded by donations) and personal reasons (the amount of time it takes to upkeep) for the closure.  So before the pages disappear all together I suggest you spent an hour or two browsing sections that take your fancy. (The previous blog article was sourced on a readers' articles page).  My favourite bits however were always the news stories and indeed I took the inspiration from there to include such interesting news stories in our own Magickal Moments daily newsletters.

view Edain's site here

then view our
magickal moments news archives

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Making Ritual REAL by Juniper

Making Ritual Real

A lot of pagans and witches, especially those new to their path can become frustrated when they feel that the rituals they are preforming are  simply not "real" or have any deep meaning or feeling to them. We all want that special spiritual experience. But how can we set ourselves up for the mysteries?
Here's a few tips:
Decorate your altar, shrine and ritual space with items that relate (in your mind) to the ritual purpose. Use colors, scent, images, and tools to their best effect. If you are doing a very masculine working, do not put pink flowers on your altar. Put images and items that have a masculine feel and meaning to you. If you are doing a hearth and home related ritual, put a dollhouse in the room, cut out images of fireplaces from a magazine and tack them on the wall.

Do not bother with placing items that will not be used or useful during the ritual, only use what is going to be really helpful. If there is a print on the wall that does not relate to your ritual, take it down, or hang a piece of fabric over it. Cut out the distractions as much as possible.

Do not worry about the proper correspondences as written in a book; think about what gives you the right impressions, thoughts and feelings. It is all about your mind connecting your surroundings with the ritual purpose.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Do not allow yourself to become distracted by silly little things, like almost tripping, almost spilling, slipping up a few words, and the clock ticking in the next room. Do not worry about making a fool of yourself, if your makeup is getting smeared, if your
deodorant is holding up. These are all distractions. They do not matter.
Don’t rush! Slow down and take your time. Rushing through a ritual will not give it that deep meaning; you will gain nothing from it. If your rituals are too long, cut the fat. Trim it down to only what is really important, so that you can spend the proper amount of time focusing on
Move! Dance, clap, stomp, sway, and wave your arms around. Just standing there shuffling your feet does not help to build energy, it also does not help you to feel the ritual. It may seem a tad silly, but if you are finding a lack of emotion, a lack of meaning in your ritual, try doing an interpretive dance, act out your ritual. Tap your foot in time to the words you are speaking.

Do your own personal sign language. If you are saying something about the moon, draw a circle or crescent in the air with your hand or ritual tool. If you are trying to connect with the feminine divine, touch your breasts (if you are a woman), draw the shape of a woman in the air, hold you arms as if stroking a pregnant belly or as if you are holding a baby. When contacting a god, touch your crouch (if you are a man), or draw a hammer, a phallus or horns or oak leaf in the air in front of you.

Stand up straight, lie down, sit up, lean to one side and then the other, hop on one foot, and use those hand signs and body postures found in Paganism 101 books.
Say it like you mean it. One of my best teachers was into drama and acting. She used to shout at us during ritual “Emote dammit! Say it like you mean it!” don’t just read off of some page in a monotone, say it with feeling, drama, and meaning.

When you are inviting entities into your ritual, speak with welcome in your voice, say it as if you were inviting a friend in to your home.  Do not rush through a prayer, chant or poem as quickly as possible. Take the time to carefully speak each line, with feeling. Repeat if necessary. Pretend you are an actor on a stage where your audience is hard of hearing and far away. Emote and project. Speak from the heart and use your belly voice, as acting and singing instructors would say.

Singing and chanting rather than speaking can also help you to inject emotion into your words. So try it, even if you do not have a great voice.
Use your imagination. That’s what visualizing is all about. Using your imagination will help you to connect with your creative side, the right side of your brain, the part of you that does not worry about logic, but that relies on feelings and intuition.
Practice, practice, practice. Do not give up if things just don’t feel like they are working the first time. Try it again; try everything at least three times before moving on to something else. The first couple of times you perform a new ritual, you will feel rather awkward, that’s perfectly natural. You cannot truly find that spiritual connection until you have become somewhat comfortable with what you are doing. Do not expect results right away, the very first time. This rarely happens for people.

Also it can be a good idea to practice at home, alone a couple of times before you go and join in a group ritual.
Feel it, really feel it. Don’t just go through the motions. If you feel that you are, stop! Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself what you are doing and why. Find your motivation. Say it out loud, think it, picture it in your mind, and really feel it. Draw it, paint it, and write poetry about it.

Do whatever you need to do before a ritual to make sure the purpose of the ritual is fresh in your mind and filling your heart. At each step along they way during a ritual, stop for a second and reaffirm what you are doing and why.

Keep the ritual purpose in the forefront of your mind and heart. A good ritual, a really truly good ritual should bring you to the brink of tears, happy or sad. People have often made fun of me for getting choked up or actually crying during ritual. They don’t get it, not at all.  If you really want results, you need to bring your heart fully into it. If you want a ritual to have meaning, you must give it meaning. You must really feel it, you must put that feeling into it.  

Laugh, cry, shout, sing, dance, smile, and do it like you mean it! If you do not mean it, you shouldn’t be doing it. If you do not mean it deep in your mind, heart and soul, you will never have that special spiritual experience you seek.
Good luck!
by  Juniper of Walking the Hedge 2009
(feel free to share, just add this disclaimer)


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Macabre Mourning Jewellery

Everyone mourns differently. Some will keep a loved one’s ashes in an urn. Some will use a loved one’s ashes to make a diamond. Some will even turn a loved one’s ashes into an artificial coral reef.

 Thanks to design student Anna Schwamborn, some will now have the option to wear a loved one’s ashes as jewelry.

Not your typical accessory, Schwamborn’s “Mourning Objects” allows a person to wear the hair and cremated ashes of the deceased in different forms of necklaces and bracelets, Deezen reports.

Schwaborn, who is currently studying at Central St. Martins in London and previously worked with Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood, combines real human hair and cremated ashes mixed with black bone china to create wearable memorials.

“The objects are supposed to be worn close to the body of the mourner symbolizing a lasting physical connection between two individuals even after death,” Schwamborn told Deezen.

 While the prices of these unique trinkets have not yet been specified, Schwamborn has announced that her “Mourning Objects” come in several different designs, including a necklace, a watch chain tear catcher and a rosary.



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Top Ten Reasons to Adopt a Black Cat


 Top Ten Reasons to Adopt a Black Cat
according to the "Tails of Hope Sanctuary" in the USA


10. You'll save $$ on their Halloween costumes.
9. You can always find them in the snow.
8. Holding a black cat is very slimming.
7. Black cats will match any decor.
6. A lint brush isn't required for a black-tie affair.
5. When you love a black cat, luck is on your side.
4. Black cats are like onyx, a beautiful gem.
3. Hey, they don't care what color you are!
2. Love knows no color.

And the number one reason to adopt a black cat...

1. They are the least likely to be adopted.



Other Reasons found elsewhere: 

*  Black animals absorb heat and are therefore perfect for cuddling with.

* Black animals never look dirty.

* Black goes with everything, so you will always match your pet.

* Black animals always look presentable on formal occasions.

* Black animals look more distinguished as they age because their grey hair is more visible.

* It's easier to see black fur in your food, so you'll never end up swallowing it. 

* Black is beautiful.




Winter Solstice Festival next weekend

  Winter Solstice 2009

Sunday 21st June 3 - 9pm

Celebrate the return of the light from the darkest night at CERES Winter Solstice.

Brighten up your winter’s night and discover the beauty of darkness and light with shadow puppetry - a traditional Yule ritual - fire sculpture, poetry and a stellar musical line up.
Renowned shadow puppeteers “Stories from the Ground” have created a special solstice piece;
The Longest Shadow.
The audience will create a spiral dance, at the precise moment of the solstice, mimicking the movement of the sun and the completion of the cycle of the seasons as part of the Yule (wheel) ritual.

“In many cultures fire is thought of as the little brother to the sun, and on the darkest night we honor fire and light.  Let your creative sparks fly and join in the celebration, whilst you warm up with delicious organic food, mulled wine and merriment at CERES Café.”
Deborah Hatton Event Producer

Yule Celebration Program:

· From 3pm – activities including wreath making for kids

· Solstice ritual and spiral dance – led by Seline (Celebrant & Ritualist)

· Lighting of Fires and fire sculpture behind the Café marquee

· Jayden Lillyist – Indigenous singer songwriter

· Stories from the Ground – “The Longest Shadow”

· Broni – acoustic pop artist

· Poetry by Jill Sutton – Melbourne writer

· Rosie Burgess Trio – "Burgess gave off more energy than an illegally sparked firecracker. Her band was awesome, the violin was go-faster red, and the polka she finished on was enough to make the artists preceding her eat humble pie" - Donne Restom, Drum Media, Sydney, June 2008.

· Mladen will play the Ud – a traditional Arabic lute

· DJ

$15 full $10 members /concession $ 5 kids
$20 passionate - $5 of ticket price is donated to CERES Environment Fund
Tickets at the gate -
CERES Community Environment Park crn Roberts and Stewart Streets Brunswick East, Victoria 

Melways Reference: Map 30 B7

Look out for the Uncle Festers Stall and stop by to say hello to Margaret and Hayden!


more information on CERES here
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A passing prayer

You waited for birth
and you were born
You found your springtime
and grew tall
You walked the summer of fulfillment
You neared the gateway in your fall
and now you are taken by the hand
through the gateway that is death
upon a further path
a further gathering
of the spirit's breath

Be easy on your journey
good is with you
Here is strength to help you on your journey
Feel love in your journey
my love is in you
I send my love with you through the gate
You are released from the fetters of this time
released and free, to make your journey
You have my happiness, in your release
Look forward, forward
and step out apon, your new bright path
I bless your every footstep
In an through the power of our Lady
who is life perpetual and who leads
hand in hand with the christian god you believed in
you onwards and way from us, our time

God and Goddess be with you
as will I

Fare Well

I was recently directed to this ritual poem and others like it by the readers of our Magickal Moments newsletter following the death of my mother last week (to a mercifully short and painless battle with cancer).  I'm not sure who wrote it but I am grateful.

RIP Mary Elizabeth Copland 16/07/39 - 29/05/09 

Goth Car and Bike Cruise

How cool would this be? Sounds like the UK Whitby Goth weekends are getting bigger and better each time:



Hayden's brother is an ex mechanic and as Hayden and I are totally unmechanical we leave it to David to buy our cars for us (usually cheapies we run down and replace a few years later).  One time he came across an old caddy  hearse and asked Hayden was he interested, Hayden said no because he thought I would not want it.  They both couldn't believe I would love it, but by the time they worked that out, the car was sold.

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