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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
RAINBOWS - Hope and Optimism

Continuing on with our discussion of the different named configurations in quartz crystals, Rainbows in crystals is the topic this week.

Rainbows may be present inside a crystal due to fractures or on the internal wall of two connected crystals. Some of the fractures are what I call Mirror Fractures; they look like mirrors and sometimes are called Wall crystals. I did a whole blog post on Mirror Fractures and Fairy Frost (both of which are often accompanied by Rainbows). (Click this link to revisit the blog post on Mirror Fractures and Fairy Frost. ) Following is a paraphrased portion of that blog post, describing Mirror Fractures.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The American Sabbat

Around the Fourth of July, I began to write this essay. I was inspired by the ways in which the Fourth is celebrated: by families and neighborhoods, with fireworks and games and picnics and all-day, Summery leisure. I watched movies about the American Revolution, and I thought at length about the Fourth, as a civic celebration, as an iconic moment of childhood, as an inspiration for the immigrants who come here, for artists and writers aspiring to greater depth of talent and expression. For anyone longing for liberation, this celebration of independence and freedom seems full of promise, full of encouragement to go boldly in the direction of one's heart's desire. This is an American narrative of liberty and opportunity, the one we teach school children, the one that inspires numerous people to immigrate despite hardship and challenge (not to mention a less than warm welcome once they arrive). It is based on a shared history that is inspiring and ennobling, as well as horrifically violent and racist.

The Fourth's observance, with its emotion and spectacle, is truly an American Sabbat, a day of remembrance and revelry. Its arrival soon after the beginning of Summer marks its as a time of play and pleasure. It's also a time to recall our civic Ancestors: not merely the Founding Fathers or members of the military, but everyone who died in pursuit of freedom and liberty, not all of whom were warriors. I always feel that part of this Sabbat is marking the sacrifices others have made in building this country, and how far we are from coming into our country's fullest promise of liberty and security.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Lion-love.png"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.~ Thomas Merton

The August New Moon, in fun-loving, generous, heart- (and sometimes self-) centered Leo, forms a threesome with Venus, planet of relationships. This configuration tends to turn astrologer’s minds to hearts and flowers and “Love Is in the Air” . But a closer look at the chart reveals that you won’t be able to get away with a saccharine and shallow approach to relationships this month. (Though by all means, feel free to drag out the disco music. Someday I’ll do an astrological study of the disco scene in the 70s and will, I have no doubt, find a prominent Leo signature in the charts).

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Lollus, Löhl, and Ursul din Lăloaia

Genealogical research led me to a god of which I'd never heard. My family name, Lale, was originally spelled Löhl. Lale is a phonetic spelling in English of the way Löhl would have been pronounced.

Back in the 90s when I became an initiate of the modern version of the Bersarkrgangr tradition (see my paper Bersarkrgangr: The Viking Martial Art) they told me my name was a Chatti name, and that the Chatti tribe were cat-type bersarkrs who followed Freya, just like me. The Chatti came from the area in Europe that was briefly Alsace-Lorraine, an area of mixed French and German influence. That meant I was from one of the right families, which was one of the two prerequisites to be eligible to join their group.

The internet era has enabled genealogical research with records from all over the world that have been scanned and are now available through this marvelous device right from home, without having to travel to every town and country and examine the records in person or pay someone else to do so. Family legend said the original Lale ancestor in America was kicked out of France for lycanthropy. That would have been in the 1700s, before the American Revolution. Recent genealogical research my brother did on the net turned up a kernel of truth. We did have an ancestor who was banished from a country, but it was Bavaria, not France, it was the late 1500s, and the charge was not being a werewolf but being a Protestant. That's a sobering example of how much oral transmission of information can change the story over time.

That's as far back as an unbroken line of records go, so with anything earlier than that, I'm just speculating about whether it has any connection to my family, but what I found is interesting nonetheless.

There is a river Löhle in today's Germany, near the town of Böblingen in the region of Württemberg. Württemberg is where the Lale ancestor who came to America was actually from (not France as the family legend said.) The river may have been named for Lollus, or the other way around.

Lollus was known as a god of the Franks, a Germanic tribe. There was a Saint Lollus in the 700s. Offerings of grapes and grain were given to Lullus or Lollus at the place called Löhle or Lölle. Whether these gifts were to the god Lollus or to Saint Lollus, or whether the people making the offerings drew any distinction between the two, is unclear. Did the god Lollus walk among the people in the 700s in the form of a human, Christian Saint?

Not much is written about Lollus in English. The book Barbarian Rites: The Spiritual World of the Vikings and the Germanic Tribes by Hans-Peter Hasenfratz, translated by Michael Moynihan, says Lollus was depicted as a naked young man holding his tongue. It suggests he may have been paired with Frija, a combined form of Frigga and Freya.

A name dictionary I consulted as a teenager told me the name Lale meant nothing in French, but meant "one who speaks" in German. This article on connects Lollus to speaking in tongues, and states that the opium poppy was sacred to him:

So, are people with the name Lale or Löhl descended from the people who worshipped Lollus, the people from the area bearing his name? I don't know, but I wonder.

The earliest reference my brother uncovered to a name that could be a Lale variant is a Roman soldier named Laleianus. The name is on Trajan's Column in Rome. Supposedly Laleianus helped conquer the Pannonians, a people that lived in what is today Romania and the Danube region. This did not seem to connect with Lollus the 8th century god or saint. There was however another Roman, named Marcus Lollius, a prominent political figure who was the patron of the city of Sagalassos in Turkey.

The story of Laleianus and the Romanians did not seem to connect with bersarkrs, either, until I ran across this video of a Romanian folk dance labeled Urs Laloaia:

Romanian Bear Dance Urs Laloaia:

With thanks to translator James Hoscyns: ursul din
Lăloaia means the bear from Lăloaia. Lăloaia is the name of a mountain and a village at its base in Bacău in Romania.

The music has this drum song:

Dum tek dum tek dum
Dum tek dum
Dum tek dum tek dum
Dum tek dum tek dum
Dum tek dum
Dum tek dum
(pause then repeat)

The dancers step on the dums. 

This dance has been preserved as a festival dance in parts of Romania and Moldova. Here are a couple of videos where the camera was closer to the dancers:

Parade through town:

March through a snowy street and then dancing at a house:

More videos of this dance are found by searching the keywords Tot Ursi or Ursul de la Dărmăneşti.

The bear dancers in each of these videos make a strange trilling sound. It is not really a bear-like sound. It is unlikely to be a direct imitation of the sounds that bears make. This trill has some other origin. Could it be connected to the lalling of Lollus?

So far there does not appear to be any evidence beyond similarity of names and the strange trilling sound of the dancers connecting Lollus with bears, or with the bear dance, or bersarkrs, but this is an interesting avenue for further research. Eventually I hope to turn this quest for knowledge about my ancestors into a formal paper on Lollus. I would very much appreciate being directed to more information on Lollus, or the Lale name in any of its variations, or the bear dance.

Image caption:
Ursul de la Dărmăneşti dancer, photo credit Dan Duta via Mediafax Foto.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Group Tarot Healing Ceremony

I want to share an experience that I had with my tarot group recently.

We meet once a month to play with the cards, learn from each other and share readings.  Last month, one of our members arrived with her usual supply of books, notebooks, tarot cards and snacks to share, and something else.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

It's been a busy month for the Third Wave Witch. I've been adjusting to having more structure in my life than I've had in more than a decade. With the (exciting, wonderful) new job has come the need to adapt to an actual schedule -- with a wake up time, a "get to work" time, and a "quitting" time -- as well as to make the internal adjustments that go along with not being quite as much of a free agent as I've been for the last few years. I've been very used to having near-total control over my own time, to following my whims throughout the day, to doing what I feel like doing at any given moment. (Essentially, I've lived much like a large housecat, but with opposable thumbs and a bank account.) In some ways it's been a process of taming myself. It's a strange feeling. I enjoy my job (and the financial freedom and career advancement it will provide). I am doing work I believe in, on a campus that is incredibly supportive and diverse. I even get to read more, now that I have a train commute each day. And I've also chafed at times, trying to find the sweet spot between structure and freedom.

Freedom has always been one of my core desired feelings, to borrow a phrase from the wonderful Danielle LaPorte. This desire for freedom is what kept me self-employed (and under-employed) for much of the last decade, caught on the adjunct treadmill. My only real experience with full time corporate work had been so negative and scarring that I wasn't willing to go back there. But over the last year it became clear that while I had much control over my time, the poverty wages I was earning as an adjunct actively hindered my freedom. A long and heartfelt conversation with my partner encouraged me to rethink what it mean for me to have freedom, to be free. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Assessing Visions: A Field Guide

So: someone you know has Seen or Heard Someone.

We have it from the ancestors that these things do indeed happen from time to time. Maybe they've happened to you. (I've had my share of visionary experiences over the years.) When it comes to trustworthiness, though, we're clearly talking case-by-case basis. How do you tell the real from, not-real?

Forthwith, some pointers to help guide the way along the thorny path of personal revelation.

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