Old Teen Essays
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Article ID: 4496
Age Group: Adult
Posted: January 1st. 2001
January Arrives Wearing A White Coat
The squirrels sure knew that something was up. As Wren pattered down the steps to the backyard, she caught sight of one with his snout full of dried grasses and small twigs. All that Old Ty needed was some mustache wax to complete his 'new look'. (Ty is also the only squirrel around here with a name. He has a v-notch cut out of one ear that distinguishes him from all of other little gray beasties sharing our living spaces. A certain incident involving boxer Mike Tyson provided the inspiration for that particular nomenclature.) "Uh-oh, " thought Wren. "Cold weather is on the way." And sure enough, it was. January in the Northern Hemisphere has arrived. For many folks this week, He arrived wearing a thick opaline coat.
The various Native American names for the monthly moons sum it up very well. Apparently not ones to mince words, the observant Algonquin tribe called the January moon, Squochee Kesos or "Sun Has Not Strength to Thaw" while the Northern Arapaho waxed poetic with, " When The Snow Blows Likes Spirits In The Wind." Wren's favorite comes from the obviously pragmatic Omaha Nation: "The Moon When Snow Drifts Into Tipis".
The word January, according to friends at A Witch's Cauldron, "comes from the Roman name for this month; it was named after the god Janus, who had two faces. This deity ruled over beginnings and endings, the past and the future. Since January is reckoned as the first month of a new year, this connection the god Janus is appropriate. It is an excellent time to work on putting aside the old and outdated in one's personal life and making plans for new and better conditions." Anyone digging out from under a foot or more of the heavy white stuff this weekend is probably blowing on frozen fingers and fervently hoping for "new and better conditions" indeed! And speaking of fingers...
Photo credit: The "snowhenge" image to your upper right was taken by Nicodemus... "This photo was taken at our Yule Party. I wanted the replica to be 3 or 4 feet high, but the snow just wouldn't pack so each stone is only about 2 feet high, the height of a pickle bucket ;). It's kind of ironic, we've had over 60" of snow around here and none of it packs. I think we'll build the Great Pyramids next Yule. The Yule Party was sponsored by the Grand Rapids, MI Pagans mailing list" -- Nicodemus
Magick On Your Fingers...
Some Pagans may have received-or bought for themselves-a new ring or two. Did you know that the placement of a ring on certain fingers might be interpreted as an insight into your personality? Some people think so. According to Katy in An Evaluation of Rings and Fingers: "The first major factor to consider when analyzing a person's hands is the concept of left and right being reflections of the subconscious and conscious mind, respectively. The left hand is a reflection of man's instinct and those beliefs and attitudes that are buried deep within the subconscious mind. The right hand is a reflection of man's logical mind and those personal thoughts and preferences that are consciously known even though they are not always discussed openly. The second concept of major significance is that of wearing rings on any fingers. The wearing of rings will reveal areas of inhibitions, restrictions, or emphasis in the social realms governed by that finger. And what if a person happens to not wear any rings? Although it is more difficult, it is possible to obtain the same analysis by noting those fingers that are the most prominent, those that are hidden, or those either permanently or temporarily marred."
Believe in this theory or not, after reading the article you probably did check out your own ring-wearing habits. While you may have not been aware of what 'banding' a finger might mean-if you ever gave any thought to it all!-the correspondences of planetary or elemental energies to the various fingers is a very old occult practice. If you are interested in Palmistry, you will have learned that the index finger is ruled by Jupiter, the middle finger by Saturn, the third finger by Apollo and the pinky by Mercury. It is the mounds (the soft fleshy 'bumps' at the roots of the digits) that are actually said to be ruled by these influences and the energy then flows into the fingers which spring from those mounds. Most of the esoteric ideas that we Western Pagans have about 'finger energies' come from the studies of palmistry.
Photo credit: The image to your upper left is from Randy Higgins's (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) and is of his snowbound magic circle in November. -- Lookin' good Randy, thank you for sharing your magick with us all.
Magick IN Your Fingers...
However there is also a lesser-known magickal correspondence guide based upon old occult practice. This 'plan' ascribes elemental rather than planetary energies to each finger and includes the thumb that most palmists ignore energy-wise. It is one proposed and taught by a man whom many just-recently-Pagans probably have not heard of. Franz Bardon was not a Pagan, Witch or Wiccan, but he was a good occultist and a very practical man besides. In fact, many Pagans will recognize, if not the author himself, certainly the theories that Bardon put forth in his four books. Bardon's theories of the origin and practice of Hermetic Principles is taught under many other guises and guidebooks. His work in Initiations Into Hermetics should be as well known as any other author in general Pagan circles. The fact that if one reads "Initiations" one can readily recall teachings eerily similar points to a speculative, but reasonably certain conclusion: Bardon has been seriously ripped off. The good news is that this book has recently been republished. The bad news is that as far as Wren knows, the others are still only found-if you are very, very lucky-in used book stores or at a very steep price. If you should find one in good shape and at a reasonable price tag, grab it!
The Bardon method ascribes the following elemental energies to the various fingers: The thumb is the water finger, the index finger corresponds to the fire element, the third (middle) finger to ether or Spirit, the ring finger to earth and the little finger to air. Thinking about this 'system' brings up some very interesting little ideas. Many Wiccans are taught that they can cast a circle using their index finger (and we've noticed more than a few lying their index finger alongside the blade of their athame as well). As most are also taught to 'visualize a blue or white flame" as the circle is cast, this use of the 'fire finger' makes one wonder if it is purely instinctive or the result of actual occult teaching. Alternatively, babies come out from Mom's watery womb and promptly learn to suck on their 'water finger' or thumb for consolation. Anyone who extends their pinky while sipping coffee or tea may be perceived as 'putting on airs'. Holding up the middle finger as an act of abuse or disdain could be likened to performing an anti-divinity (anti-Spirit) action-and indeed in American culture, this is exactly what it is meant to do!
Carrying the concept even further, Bardon proposes that by making certain gestures or movements, magickal rituals or spells can be produced at any time and anywhere with no one else being the wiser for it. ("Is that a finger spell in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?") In the Silva Mind Control Method, the Laurie Cabot, "Witchcraft as a Science" courses and other systems that use Alpha brain wave meditation techniques, pressing the middle finger (Spirit/Inspiration) against the thumb (water/intuition) is used to recall the Alpha state or jog the memory. Coincidence or genuine Occult Knowledge?
Whether you find the concept of finger magick intriguing or not, this is the sort of musing that one seems prone to do on a snowy January day. Many Pagans, we are sure, have begun a book only to come back an hour or so later from some flight of imagination launched from a single sentence or idea contained therein. And why not? After the drive has been shoveled, the birdfeeder filled and the mittens are drying by the stove, what else is there to do as January winds rap on the window and the Earth Herself lies dreaming?
Photo credit: The image to your upper left is from the handfasting of Travis and Rowan Phoenixheart on October 28, 2000. The couple were joined by Adara Blue, Quill Enparchment, Celstria Crimson, Jeweled Raven, April and Robert. Rowan is high priestess for the Coven of Celtic Mysteries in Sacramento, California. Adara acts as her maiden and Quill assumes the role of scribe/pursewarden. All three can be found under TWV Pagan contacts."
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