Friday, June 29, 2012

Totem: Cheetah

Cheetahs are felines famous for their speed and have the fastest land speed of any living animal living today. Cheetahs are known to typically hunt alone and after the smaller mammals, but are also known to hunt wildebeests and zebras in groups.

The cheetah teaches to have a flexible body as a method to keep the body healthy. This totem shall teach how to gain a flexible body or how to become even more flexible. Health is indeed important and flexibility is how the cheetah gains it.

When hunting cheetahs do not have the best time catching prey, their success rate in capturing prey is low and the cheetah knows very well to keep on trying to be able to succeed. The cheetah teaches to work hard and to keep trying to gain success.

During a time of high stress and/or effort rest should be taken as a method of making certain that one does not become worn out. The cheetah teaches to keep an eye on personal stress and effort to make sure too much stress or effort doesn’t occur.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

White Turnip

The White Turnip is known as a root vegetable, it has the botanical name of Brassica rapa subspecies rapa. Its leaves are sometimes eaten, but the roots are more popular to eat either raw or cooked. It takes two or three months to grow a white turnip, but it can take as little as a month and a half for crops to be ready to be picked.

Sowing should occur in the summer with harvesting being when the white turnip is about the size of a golf ball. When sowing, the space between plants should be about 10cm apart due to the fast growing nature of this plant and the fact that turnips do not do well when transplanted. Overcrowding will damage the roots of white turnips.

White turnips are an annual which requires full sun and rich, well-drained soils that are a sandy loam. Moisture should be kept but not waterlogged and the preference of pH is about 6.5. Onions and peas make good companion plants to the white turnip, white potatoes and tomatoes do not.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Religious Nerd

“Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?'” This quote is from John Green in the above video. This quote reminded me back to religion, as in the comments of a video I saw many months ago about a person’s religious practices, someone commented how the video creator is a “religious nerd”.

With many in the West notably being Christian, you would think many would read their religious texts. Sadly, Christian’s have a reputation for not reading the Bible, or if they have, cherry picking what is within the Bible. Surely being a “religious nerd” is a good thing if a religious belief being held. It shows understanding of one’s religious texts or of others religious beliefs.

It’s also one thing to have religious beliefs, yet it is another to understand what is within the texts of one’s own religion. In this sense, if even a single thing within a religion is not practiced regardless if a minority or majority does so, it can easily be made fun of. Laziness is likely the cause of practices being unattended to, yet it isn’t an excuse to leave religious obligations behind. Having a reason to not practice a certain thing from a religion is an excuse, where it wouldn’t be a surprise to me if there is someone out in the world who didn’t realize this.

When it comes to discussing religion it isn’t the most popular of subjects to talk about within my age demographic, yet sex itself is a lot more popular. Probably due to the fact that people in their late teens and young adulthood sex is more considered more important than religion. People in their late teens and early adulthood when talking about religion usually state their religious belief in a sentence, typically stating something along the lines of “I belong to this religion.” That would be it. A shallow conversation compared to how long people can talk to each other without stopping.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Gods And Goddesses: Yama

Yama, or Yamaaraja, is the Hindu god of the dead who is said to be the first mortal who died and gained ruler of the dead due to this. Yama is one of the Guardians of the Directions, being of the south. Yama is occasionally called Dharma.

He is depicted often riding a black buffalo with green or red skin and red clothes. In one of his hands, Yama holds a rope that he uses to pull souls from a corpse. Yama notably wears a crown and has a mace.

Yama is the son of Surya and has the twin Yami, with another deity known as Shani being Yama’s brother. Yami later came to earth as the river known as Yamuna.

Yama lives in a palace called Kalichi and has attendants help him with his work. Yama keeps a register of each person’s life span in a book called “Book of Destiny” and is maintained by attendants.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Totem: Llama

Llamas are domesticated animals used to carry loads and for their fleece, with some using llamas in modern times as guards for sheep against predators. Llamas appearance is alike the alpaca, but have a longer head and are larger of the two.

The llama teaches to relax about a situation when worried, to not rush into anything and to take time to do so. If time is taken instead of rushing, safety shall be secured over taking a wrong step that could easily create severe pains.

Hard work and responsibility is required in life eventually, the llama teaches to do both and to keep perseverance through even the toughest of times. It shall be the hard work and perseverance that shall lead to an eventual accomplishment.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stinking Hellebore

Helleborus foetidus is called more commonly Stinking Hellebore, Dungwort and Bear’s Foot. It has black-green and fine-fingered leaves throughout the year and in winter grows bell shaped flowers that can have a number of shades of colour but are generally green. The flowers can smell sweet despite its common name of stinking hellebore. Stinking hellebore shouldn’t be consumed as it is a poisonous plant.

Stinking hellebore is a hardy plant that prefers clay soils that are fertile, moist and well-drained, growing in either full sun or partial shade. 

Monday, June 18, 2012


One aspect of religion that I have personally found interesting is growing out hair, regardless if the hair is on the top of the head or on the face. Many people grow their hair due to religious reasons, yet when I look at the pagan community I seem to be unable to find anyone growing their hair for a religious reason.

Looking at the various pagan beliefs, it is rather diverse. It could easily be expected for some pagan women to cover their hair as a way to show modesty, others could let their hair grow to keep naturalistic, or do neither and hold a completely different view when it comes to their hair. It may simply be that people within the pagan community who grow their hair, beards and moustaches for religious reasons are a minority.

In a way this reminds me of the various interpretations of the Bible, where people can believe similar things but have differing interpretations of it. The obvious difference is that despite there being many Christians there is a diversity of beliefs and when compared to other religions, an even larger diversity of not only beliefs but also practices.

However, while a large number of people follow the teachings of the Bible, many seem to forget what is in it, one of the best known examples are obviously is the rule against consuming anything from the ocean besides fish. Interestingly, it is Leviticus that speaks against this which also speaks against shaving beards at 19:27. It shows a lack of seriousness and dedication to one’s religion by many. Perhaps today people care more about having a basic belief system rather dedicating themselves to religious texts or their particular philosophy. Admittedly, when it comes down to dealing with hair there are some rules regarding it in some schools and workforces, with the same applying even more so to beards and moustaches. In this age, people seem to be mostly free to do what they want with their locks.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Gods And Goddesses: Ehecatl

Ehecatl is the god of the winds and is an aspect of Quetzalcoatl, for this reason he is also called Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl. As the god of the winds, Ehecatl is associated with all directions. As the god Tlaloc cannot carry the rain clouds, Ehecatl blows the clouds to signify the end of the dry season.

In the creation myth of the Aztec’s it tells how a fourth sun was destroyed and the gods gathered. It was the deities Nanahuatzin and Tecciztecatl who jumped into a sacrificial fire becoming the sun and moon. Ehecatl who blew on the two, causing them to start moving.

It was later that the goddess Itzpapalotl was stealing daylight and keeping it until paid with human sacrifice. While this occurred, Ehecatl came across a mortal female called Mayahuel, the granddaughter of Itzpapalotl. The two fell in love and went to earth to share it, with a tree blossoming the exact spot they landed. When Itzpapalotl arrived home to find Mayahuel was no longer there.

A search for Mayahuel began, with Ehecatl and Mayahuel disguising themselves as branches of the tree they caused to blossom. The Tzitzimime were not fooled and stuck lightning at the tree, causing Mayahuel to fall to the ground in several pieces. Ehecatl buried the remains, and from the rotting body of Mayahuel the maguey plant grew.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Totem: Ocelot/Margay/Dwarf Leopard

The ocelot, called also the dwarf leopard and margay is a wild cat found in South and Central Americas along with Mexico, being seen as far north as Texas. It is as large as a domestic cat and its fur alike to a jaguar.

This feline teaches to be adaptable, regardless of the environment one is in. It is the ocelot who goes to the trees and the waters, being about to look at the surroundings from above. It is the ocelot who teaches not to fear to do such things, as there are times when it will be needed to be done.

By solitude and quiet meditation, the ocelot teaches how to regenerate.  There are benefits to such a form of regeneration and the ocelot knows it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Onions are known as the Bulb Onion, Common Onion and Garden Onion. They are botanically called Allium cepa and well known to cause crying when being prepared, with many people attempting to find a way to prevent this.

Onions are grown from seed, where in colder areas it is best to sow them in early spring and in warmer areas late autumn to early winter. This is due to how onions take prefers cool weather to establish and warm weather to mature. They will need to be planted in full sun as the onion needs plenty of sun to be able to mature. Onions are easy to grow and it is advised to not grow them with peas and beans.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Gods And Goddesses: Hoori

Hoori is the god of hunting, the great-grandson of Amaterasu, the son of Ninigi and Konohanasakuya-hime and younger brother of Hoderi. Hoori is also called Fire Fade, Hohodemi, Yamasachihiko and Hikohohodemi.

Hoori once exchanged his hunting tools with his brother Hoderi, going to the sea to fish. Due to his inexperience fishing Hoori lost his brothers hook after spending a day by the seashore fishing. Hoori feared the reaction of Hoderi and asked an old man nearby for help. The old man guided Hoori, leading him to the palace under the sea.

Hoderi learnt of how Hoori lost his hook, promising not to forgive his brother until he brings back his hook. Hoori however met the daughter of Ryujin, Otohime, at the sea palace, staying with Otohime by her side for three years.

Due to waiting for so long Hoderi confronted the sea god Ryujin asking for the hook. Ryujin summoned his fish and found it. The hook was given to Hoori to guarantee that Hoderi would forgive Hoori. Hoori gave the hook back to Hoderi and despite the time it took to do so, Hoderi forgave Hoori.

Hoori eventually went on to marry Otohime and the two had a son. This caused Otohime to take on the form of a dragon.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Totem: Jellyfish

Jellyfish are creatures of the oceans with unusual anatomy, almost like an alien. There are many species of jellyfish; some which can be very small while other species large.

When the jellyfish comes to teach, it asks if there are feelings of floating and drifting along. There are ways to deal with such matters, addressing with such things is the beginning of dealing with it.

Living a simple life seems to becoming more difficult in modern day Western culture, but jellyfish tells that simplifying is a good idea. The jellyfish also gives messages to allow life to take its course, to trust it to happen and to not rush in life.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Curved-Leaf Grevillea

Grevillea curviloba is the botanical name of the Curved-Leaf Grevillea, which has two subspecies, Graevillea curviloba subsp. curviloba and subsp. incurva. It is a prostrate to erect shrub native to Western Australia, growing up to 3m in width and 2.5 in height. Its flowers are white to cream and grow from late winter to mid-spring.

When grown in moist, well-drained soil and with full sun its growth can be rapid. It has some tolerance to frost.  It can grow in sandy and sandy-loam soils.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Gods And Goddesses: Amida

Amida, the Buddha of Infinite Light, is referred to as the Japanese Amitabha, is who people turn to near death.  Amida Buddha, Amida Nyorai and Amida Butsu are also names to refer to Amida. He is often depicted meditating with his hands position in a manner where his thumbs are touching and fingers are together, sometimes depicts is of Amida holding a lotus. Depictions also show two attendants known as the Amida Sanzon.

People pray to Amida when someone they know is about to die as it is said Amida has the power to change death is life.  Chanting “Namu Amida Butsu” is said to help gain rebirth in what is known as the Pure Land Paradise and to reject anything which prevents obtaining Buddhahood.

Before Amida attained Buddhahood he was known as Hozo and made forty-eight vows, which is now the basis for the vows taken by followers, monks and nuns today.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Totem: African Painted Dog

The African painted dog, also known as the painted dog, hunting dog, Cape hunting dog, spotted wolf and spotted dog, is a pack animal recognizable by its fur. Its fur also helps differing between individuals.

The animal teaches to bring success through perseverance, to keep trying despite hardships and succeed at what is wished to be done.

Learning how to have a strong family bond can be difficult if communication is poor, yet the African painted dog teaches to form strong bonds with family and to work together. A family will not succeed if one does all the work.