Category Archives: Religions

Glastonbury Methodist Church Drinking Fountain

Glastonbury Methodist Church Drinking Fountain
~ Lambrook Street, Glastonbury, England BA6 8BY Phone 01458 442313 ~

There is not much available about this font, drinking fountain, and/or well. The Methodist chapel was built around 1843. To the left of the chapel where the well font currently sits was a pond for washing carts – this was covered over to form a brick-arched reservoir which was first mentioned in 1821 property deeds. The reservoir is underneath the lawn and contains over 31,500 gallons of water still accessed by the Fire Department when necessary and is owned by Bristol Water. The Well font is believed to connect to this and appears to be for drinking. At the time of my visit, there was a blue ribbon attached to it and a cup filled with water sitting in the font. No signs stating whether safe to drink or not but assumed such.

It is known by tourists as a “drinking fountain” and is inset into the front stone wall of the churches’ facade opening onto the street. The sign to the left of it says “commit no nuisance.” Near the apex of the ornate drinking fountain is a hand that points to the right (or south) around which is inscribed “TO THE TOR”.

This is also the Methodist church that has the “Glastonbury Thorn Trees” on its property that oddly blooms twice a year instead of once and is from whence the budded branch during Christmas is sent to the Queen.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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As an Archaeologist and Scientist I’ve had the unpleasant task of encountering these folk who dismiss science and the radicals of which think scientists plant hoaxes and misguided data for Satan. Creationism is the religious belief that all life and the universe was created specifically and only from certain acts of divine creation as opposed to the scientific conclusion that life came about through natural processes. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a scientist as well as a spiritualist but i do believe in facts, theories, as well as the supernatural. The first use of the term came from a 1856 letter of Charles Darwin describing those who objected emerging scientific theory and science of evolution from a religious standpoint. There are many different Creationists out there but this article is primarily about the Fundamentalist and Conspiracy Theorist ones. Creationism does have varying theories including evolutionary creationism which is a theological variant of theistic evolution asserting both evolutionary science and a belief in creation are true. The generic term is often used for literal creationists who reject various aspects of science and delivering their own psuedo-scientific beliefs. Literal Creationists base their beliefs on religious texts including those found in the Christian Genesis and the Islamic Quran. Pseudo-beliefs include creation science, flood geology, intelligent design, and sub-sets of pseudo-archaeology, pseudo-history, and pseudo-linquistics.

Many take the stories from Genesis verbatum: Genesis 1-2 describing how God brings the Universe into being in a series of creative acts over six days and places the first man and woman (as Adam and Eve) in a divine garden or The Garden of Eden. The Genesis Flood (Genesis 6-9) describes how God destroyed the world and all life through a great flood saving representatives of each creature through Noah’s Ark forming the Creationist geology known as “flood geology”. Elaborate systems of life-spans or generations connected to various passages of events from Greation, the Book of Daniel and other writings in the New and Old Testament.

I encountered a Christian Creationist cult compound in Fossil, Oregon and here are some of the signs they present to the public. Down the main street they passed a conspiracy-theorist house of Creationists whose fence was dotted with all types of slogans, captions, and stories. A creationist anti-scientist lives there. One caption read “Let’s move forward, past the agonized cries of scholars clinging to their unproven theories and pursue the truth which has been systematically stolen from us. I’m a scientist. Truth is irrelevant. Theories, models, assumptions, circular reasoning, innuendo, inference, agenda, lack of proof, misinterpretation of evidence, refusal to recognize contrary evidence, a great deal of faith and absurd suggestions and propositions do not constitute real science, real science is testable, observable, and repeatable. brainwashing, bullying, screaming, and threatening cannot make up for a lack of proof. Neither can citizen indoctrination thru the public school system, the news media, or the government. There is still a long standing quarter million dollar reward rready for anyone with any real proof of evolution. In addition no one has ever disproved God’s word. Wouldn’t it be wiser to believe the infallible word of God then to believe the fallibe words of men?” Sir Thomas was sickened to his stomach the idiocracy of such people like this. Especially in a town where “fossils” prove “evolution”. But then again, the Devil just buried these items to “fool” humans into not believing in God, right?

The Creationist compound

The compound was creepy with its tall hog wire fences and signs. The house had most of its windows blotted out with blankets, black paper, or curtains.

Another sign depicts two dinosaurs mocking humans for believing the lies. “Hey Fang, check THIS out. It’s unbelievable what has happened! The progeny of the humans we used to eat have taught their children that we lived millions of years ago! They’ve glorified us, made toys of us, made movies about us, and are reengineering us using DNA found in our carcasses! They are so dissociated from the truth that they think God created us like this! Only in their nightmares do they remember us because we instilled so much fear in their ancestors that it became part of their psyches. A few have started connecting the dots and realize what’s happened, but most are totally led off by the lies and desires of the few, the wicked, and the lost. Separated from the foundations of truth, most have elieved in a contrivance. Lacking understanding, they have nose-dived down the slope of the absurd! Most are unaware of the fact that we are Satans seed mixed with Gods created animals. They do not get it that we were genetically engineered and sired by the Fallen Angels written in the scripture. Because they refuse to read the many extant books that God refers to in the main canon, they waste a lot of time arguing over issues that are clearly explained. An the children, the most tender and delicious of all, adore us. How wild is that!” Fang replies “Greetings Claw. THAT IS pretty wild what you say. HMMMM … WAIT A MINUTE …. ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT IF I WANDERED INTO SOME TOWN OR CITY THAT ALL THE FOOD WOULD COMING RUNNING OUT TO GREET ME? WOW!!!”

There is a Creationist compound in Fossil, Oregon.

The Creationist compound ( in Fossil, Oregon ( Volcanic Legacy: Chronicle 25 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington, Oregon, Idaho & Wyoming. Photos taken August 1, 2016. To read the adventures, visit To read reviews, visit: All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 – by Leaf McGowan, Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions. All rights reserved.

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The German Iron Cross of Roswell

Iron Cross at Spring River
~ North bank, Spring River, Roswell, New Mexico ~

Embedded in the North bank of the Spring River by the Roswell Spring Hill Zoo is a heritage landmark that was created by German prisoners of War who were working on a flood control project that was part of their incarceration. It was in 1943 that a 50 man detail rip-rapped rocks on the Spring River banks. It was on the north bank between Pennsylvania and Kentucky Avenue that they made an “Iron Cross” on the bank. These men were prisoners of war imprisoned during World War II in a camp near Orchard Park. The camp housed more than 4800 German prisoners of war from the Afrikacorps Rommel’s men of the 8th army from 1942-1946. There were numerous residents in Roswell who were angered at this work and retaliated by pouring five yards of concrete over their landmark. The concrete over time washed away and it is said to be visible again.

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Spirits and Entities, spirituality of Alcohol

Spirits and Entities of Alcohol
by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions

It always amazes me how the world really doesn’t understand the “root” of all things, nor pay attention to the “history” of various items or substances that they use occasionally or daily in life. I strongly believe it is very important to know the “root” and “makeup” of anything one puts in their bodies. Regardless of whether one is religious, spiritual, or scientific – the role of religion and spirituality in all aspects of life has some intriguing elements that should not be ignored. The proverb “You are what you eat”; has a lot of elements of truth in that saying because what you put in your body affects it chemically, physically, mentally, emotionally, and yes, spiritually. I won’t debate between science and religion in this article and for those readers that are atheist and don’t believe in spirituality – while reading this – simply ignore the spiritual overtones of this article and focus on the chemical aspect of what is being put in your body and understanding the elements you allow into your temple. For those readers that are avid drinkers – think about the drink you are putting in your body and go for higher quality substances as one really should consider changing to “organic” and “triple distilled” spirits instead, and for the spiritual user – know the entity or “spirit” you are inviting into your being.

This is not a negative article on drugs, substances, or alcohol, but rather a spiritual understanding of why we use them, the benefits and the dangers associated with them. Alcohol use needs to be practiced responsibly, for abusing it can lead to serious consequences. There really is more to “being under the influence” than you can rationally understand. Historically and spiritually, in all world cultures and religions, in folklore and mythology, every substance, every herb, every mineral, and every plant has a “spirit” or “entity” or “deity” assigned or associated with it. Drugs – Alcohol, barbiturates, hallucinogens, chemicals, or what-not are made of compositions of plants, herbs, minerals, and living matter. Drugs are medicines as well as poisons, with positive and negative effects on a living host that ingest them. Side effects from these drugs create various moods, effects on the body, mind, spirit, and persona. Many of these effects are utilized for spiritual visions, trances, omens, oracles, prophecies, messages, or communication with the beyond in the realms of religion. When abused, they often consume the body and the soul and will create a degradation of a being. Regardless of the substance : alcohol, marijuana, psilocybin, LSD, mDMA, barbiturates, etc. – Each substance has its own entity or spirit that culture attributes certain persona and effects to. It is pretty important to understand what entities you are dealing with, and how to gain advantage from a temporary relationship with them, and how to avoid them taking advantage of you.

For this article, I’m focusing on “spirits” or “alcohol”, as it is the most common grouping of entities that the mass population deals with. Why is “Alcohol” given the name “spirits” in the annals of history? The words “alembic” and “alcohol” are metaphors for “aqua vitae” (Life Water) and “Spirit”, often refer to a distilled liquid that came from magical explorations in Middle Eastern alchemy. “Alcohol” comes from the Arabic “al-kuhl” or “al-ku??l”, which means “Body Eating Spirit”, and gives the root origin to the English term for “ghoul”. In Middle Eastern Folklore, a “ghoul” is a “evil demon thought to eat human bodies”, either as stolen corpses or as children.

Since the root of the name “alcohol” is related to the concept of “body eating spirit”, this is also one of the early roots to traditional taboos on imbibing alcohol in the beginnings of Islam and similar prohibition faiths. In Islam, consumption of any alcohol is punishable with 80 lashes. To many “Pagan” or “Heathen” faiths, the imbibing of spirits and the temporary relationship with these entities gives definition to the “aqua vita” beliefs or “life water” or “connection / communication with spirits” that can be quite beneficial. In fact, faiths that had its roots in Paganism, such as Christianity and Islam, have carried over beneficial beliefs about the consumption or imbibation of alcohol.

As Middle Eastern alchemists ingested alcohol they reported that their senses deadened and this is why they saw the elixirs produced as possessing “body taking” qualities. This is where the Europeans are believed to have derived the use of “spirits” for “alcohol”. What is ingested affects a living body spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Some believe it will affect the soul as well and that it is all about relationships. Some faiths and cultures have credible valid positive reasons to abstain from drugs and alcohol, while others have equal reasons to promote them. Many cultures see drugs and alcohol as negative, but if one looks into the history of these elementals, there exists many positive elements in their usage, especially when balanced with spirituality and religion. Many cultures and faiths traditionally ingest something in order to commune with the Divine, God/desses, and/or spirits. Whether the wine and bread of Catholic Mass, or the trance induction of peyote with South American Shamans, the use of these substances have a honored tradition throughout history. Shamanic use of trance-inducing drugs are not considered destructive, but rather gifts of the Gods that allow the body and spirit to commune with higher planes of existence. Peyote, ayahuasca, salvia divinorum, absinthe, psilocybin, and other substances are assigned to induce spirit communication, clairvoyance, and the ability to heal. Most forms of Christianity consume alcohol as part of everyday life and nearly always use “wine” (fermented grape juice) in their central rite with the Eucharist or “Lord’s Supper”. The beliefs surrounding this practice state that Christian Tradition and/or the Bible teaches that “alcohol” is a “gift from God that makes life more joyous, but that overindulgence leading to drunkenness is a sin”. The key of Christianity is “moderation”. 19th century Protestants attempted to move from this earlier position of thought and pursuing “abstention” or “prohibition” of alcohol believing its use to be a “sin” even to the extreme of a sip (i.e. Mormonism). The Bible repeatedly refers to alcohol in use and poetic expression, and while mainly ambivalent to it, still states them to be both a “blessing from God that brings merriment” and a “potential danger that can be unwisely and sinfully abused”. “Wine” is often portrayed in daily life as a symbol of abundance and physical blessing, and negatively as a “mocker” with beer being a “brawler”, and drinking a cup of strong wine to the dregs and getting drunk can be presented as a symbol of God’s judgement and wrath. As puritans often spoke in their sermons that “Drink is in itself a good creature of God, and to be received with thankfulness, but the abuse of drink is from Satan; the wine is from God, but the drunkard is from the Devil”. Bible warns that alcohol can hinder moral discretion, and that alcohol can be corrupting of the body and a substance that will impair judgement and distract one from God’s will of life.

While the Ancient Egyptians promoted beer and wine, they did warn of taverns and excessive drinking. However the Greek Dionysus cult promoted intoxication as a means to get closer to their Deity. Macedonians viewed intemperance as a sign for masculinity and were well known for their drunkenness. Alexander the Great was a proponent to the Cult of Dionysus and known for his inebriation. Ancient and Modern Roman celebrations on March 15th of Anna Parenna celebrates the Goddess of the Returning Year by crossing the Tiber River and “go abroad” into Etruria and picnic in flimsy huts made of branches, drink as much alcohol as they could, as it was thought that one would live for as many years as cups of alcohol one could drink on this date. Once finished they would return to their homes in Rome. Most Pagan religions encourage alcohol use and some pursue intoxication promoted as a means of fostering fertility. To Pagan faiths it is believed to increase sexual desire and to make it easier to approach another person for sex. Norse paganism considered alcohol to be the sap of Yggdrasil and drunkenness as an important fertility rite in this religion. Alcohol was also used for medicinal purposes in biblical times as an oral anesthetic, topical cleanser, soother, and digestive aid. Problems associated with industrialization and rapid urbanization were also attributed and blamed on alcohol including urban crime, poverty, high infant mortalities, though its likely that gross overcrowding and unemployment was the actual root cause. The modern world then started blaming personal, social, religious, and moral problems on alcohol. This led to modern movements of prohibitionism. A typical Buddhist view on Alcohol use is as a shortcut for the pursuit of happiness as it produces a short term euphoria or happiness and this is the reason millions of people drink it repeatedly every day. Buddha teaches alcohol as well as all drugs, lead to mis judgement, blocks rational thinking, and therefore preached against amongst its disciples even though in some Buddhist disciplines it is used as offerings to Deity and spirits. Islam, Jainism, the Bahai’ Faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Christ, Scientist, the United Pentecostal Church International, Theravada, most Mahayana schools of Buddhism, some Protestant denominations of Christianity, and some sects of Hinduism – forbid, discourage, or restrict the drinking of alcoholic beverages for various reasons.

Science tells us alcohol releases dopamine into the brain, stimulating the pleasure sensation. There are a lot of “expectations” with alcohol, and many of these will still operate in the absence of actual consumption of alcohol, when the individual believes they are consuming alcohol. Research in North America shows that men tend to become more sexually aroused when they think they have been drinking alcohol, even when they have not been drinking it. Women report feeling more sexually aroused when they falsely believe the beverages they have been drinking contained alcohol. Men have show to become more aggressive in laboratory studies when they are drinking only tonic water but believe it contains alcohol, they also become less aggressive when they believe they are drinking only tonic water, but are actually drinking tonic water that contains alcohol.

In Magical Views, the use of alcohol, especially in ritual and rite, is a very powerful vehicle for altering states of consciousness, communicating with spirits, Deities, Ancestors, and entities. It aids in relaxation for ritual. It frees the mind of responsibility and control, and is a great aid to those very logical individuals that have to be “in control”. However it can be detrimental to those who have a lot of natural psychic or medium-ship abilities that have been raised in families or cultures that demonized or invalidated these gifts. As alcohol and drugs impair the left brain first (logical) and enhances right brain activity (where spirit communication and psychic abilities reside), thereby increasing psychic or mystical experiences while under the influence. The affects are dependent on the individual and their type, as it can be dangerous with some people – those susceptible to possession and toying by spirits, excessive drinking is similar to “throwing open the saloon door and calling out to a crowd of alcoholics – ‘Bar is open, drinks are on (in) me’”, which will attract lower astral entities to enter the body and soul to experience the alcohol vicariously through the person. It is easier for spirits to influence one when they are intoxicated, some of which are very “low life” or “demonic” entities. (Many are good and powerful, including Deities like Dionysus, Maeve, etc. but usually associate with the particular elixir being imbibed) Mixing of “Spirits” can be dangerous and very toxic on the body and spirit, as the doorway to the soul can be an orgy of spirits that the person cannot handle, often leading to alcohol poisoning, sickness, illness, and/or death.

Historical: Ancient China had wine jars in Jiahu dating to 7,000 B.C.E. and considered a spiritual food rather than a material food with high importance in religious life. Neolithic wine making was found to date from 5400-5000 B.C.E. as archaeologists uncovered a yellowish residue at Hajji Firuz Tepe in a jar that analysis determined came from wine making. Early brewing dates in Egypt showing alcohol was presided over by the God Osiris. Chalcolithic Era Indus Valley civilizations in India date from 3000-2000 B.C.E. with Hindu Ayurvedic texts describing beneficent uses. Babylonians in 2700 B.C.E. worshiped a wine Goddess and other wine deities. Xenophon (431-351 BCE) and Plato (429-347 BCE) praised moderate use of wine as beneficial to health and happiness, but were critical of drunkenness. Hippocrates (460-370 BCE) praised it for its medicinal properties (wine). Some Native American peoples developed an alcoholic beverage called Pulque or Octli as early as 200 C.E. that was used for visions, religion, and prophecy. The first distillations of spirits came from the Medieval Period, with the School of Salerno in 12th century, and fractional distillation developed by Tadeo Alderotti in 13th century. Distillation of whiskey first performed in Scotland and Ireland for centuries, and the first written confirmation of whiskey comes from Ireland in 1405, Scotland in 1494.

Alcoholic beverages are drinks that contain “ethanol” (a.k.a. “alcohol”). They are divided into three classes: beers, wines, and spirits. “Spirits” often related to distilled beverages low in sugars and containing a minimum of 35% alcohol by volume. These are often referred to as Gin, Vodka, and Rum. Alcohol is legally consumed in most countries, though regulated by over 100 countries in terms of production, sale, and consumption. In most countries and religions, alcohol plays a major role in social events, rituals, and traditional celebrations. Alcohol is a psychoactive drug with a depressant effect that reduces attention and slows reaction speeds. It can be addictive and those addicted are considered to be under the sickness called “alcoholism”. Science shows that alcohol is beneficial in moderate amounts, especially a glass of wine drunk daily as it aids in digestion. If food is eaten before alcohol consumption, it reduces alcohol absorption, and the rate at which alcohol is eliminated from the blood is increased. The mechanism for the faster alcohol elimination appears to be related to types of food especially those with alcohol-metabolizing enzymes and liver blood flow. Consumption of alcoholic drinks during Medieval times was a method used to avoid water-borne diseases such as cholera as alcohol kills bacteria.

is the world’s oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic beverage, and the third most popular drink after water and tea. It is produced by brewing and fermenting starches derived from cereal grains – most commonly by means of malted barley, though sometimes with wheat, maize, or rice. There are two main types of beer: Lager and Ale. Ale is classified into varieties such as pale ale, stout, and brown ale. Most beer is flavored with hops adding bitterness and as a natural preservative. Beer is usually 4-6% alcohol by volume, but can be less than 1% or more than 20%. It is a stipend of the drinking culture of most nations, and has social traditions such as beer festivals, pub culture, pub crawls, and pub games. The Christian Bible refers to beer as a brawler. Medieval monks were allotted about five liters of beer per day – allowed to drink beer but not wine during fasts. Many Saints and Deities were associated with Beer, such as: St. Adrian, the patron saint of Beer; St. Amand, patron saint of brewers, barkeepers, and wine merchants; and The Ancient Egyptians believed Osiris gave their people “Beer” as he invented it and it was a necessity of life, brewed in the home on an daily basis. In Ancient Egypt, Cellars and wine presses often had a God who was associated with each of the 17 types of beer they created. These were used for pleasure, nutrition, medicine, ritual, remuneration, and funerary purposes. Babylonians often offered beer and wine to their Deities as offerings.

Wine: Alcoholic beverages distilled after fermentation of non-cereal sources like grapes, fruits, or honey. It involves a longer complete fermentation process and a long aging process (months or years) that create an alcohol content of 9-16% by volume. Sparkling wines are made by adding a small amount of sugar before bottling, creating a secondary fermentation in the bottle. The Bible refers to wine as a symbol of abundance and physical blessing, bringer and concomitant of joy, especially with nourishment and feasting; as well negatively as a mocker. It is commonly drunk with meals, as the Old Testament prescribed it for use in sacrificial rituals and festal celebrations. Jesus’ first miracle was making copious amounts of wine at the wedding feast of Cana where he instituted the ritual of the Eucharist at the Last Supper during a Passover celebration that “wine” is a “new covenant in his blood”. Under the rule of Rome, the average adult male who was a citizen drank an estimated liter (1/4 of a gallon) of wine a day. Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican monk and the “Doctor Angelicus” of the Catholic Church said that moderation in wine is sufficient for salvation but that for certain persons perfection requires abstinence and this was dependent upon their circumstance. Wine has been associated or assigned to various Saints, Deities, and Spirits such as St. Amand, patron saint of brewers, barkeepers, and wine merchants; St. Martin, the so-called patron saint of wine; St. Vincent, and patron saint of vintners. In Ancient Egypt, Cellars and wine presses often had a God who was associated with each of the 24 varieties of wine they created. These were used for pleasure, nutrition, medicine, ritual, remuneration, and funerary purposes. Babylonians in 2700 B.C.E. worshiped a wine Goddess and other wine deities. Babylonians often offered beer and wine to their Deities as offerings. In Greece the art of wine making reached the Hellenic peninsula by 2,000 B.C.E. – the first of which was Mead, and by 1700 BCE wine making was commonplace and incorporated into religious rituals. Balche’, a Mayan Honey wine, was associated with the Mayan deity Acan.

Spirits: Unsweetened, Distilled alcoholic beverages that have an alcohol content of at least 20% ABCV are called spirits. These are produced by the distillation of a fermented base product, which concentrates the alcohol, and eliminates some of the congeners. These can be added to wine to create fortified wines such as ports and sherries.
These are often Vodka, Rum, Gin, Whiskey, Whisky, Tequila, and other spirits.

Some commonly believed changes in personality with ‘types’ of alcohol:

  • Beer: Boldness, Braveness, Becoming Boisterous, Loud, Obnoxious, Lush behavior, Know-it-all attitudes, and Dumb-ness.
  • Wine: Romantic connotations, sexuality, relaxation, restfulness, tranquility, lush-ness.
  • Vodka: Bravery, Boldness, Invincibility, Strength, Attitude, Security.
  • Tequila: Boldness, wildness, sexuality, aggression, and lush behavior.
  • Absinthe: Creativity, Inspiration, Desire to do Art, Write, or Music; imaginative thought. Rumored to be psychedelic and produce hallucinations. Inspires oracles, omens, and prophetic thought.
  • Rum: Wildness, craziness, boldness, and lust.
  • Gin: Intellectual thought, healing, lethargy, and dumb-ness.
  • Whiskey: Aggression, testiness, boldness, violence, invincibility.
  • Irish Whiskey: Revitalization, Rebirth, Renewal, Invincibility, and Intellectual discussions.

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Miramont Castle (Manitou Springs)

Miramount Castle (; Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   To read reviews, visit:  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.  Manitou Springs:; Colorado:
Miramont Castle (

Miramont Castle
~ 9 Capitol Hill Avenue Manitou Springs Colorado 80829 USA – – ~

An oddity overlooking the village of Manitou Springs, Miramont castle is a manor house, museum, and tea room that was originally built in 1895. It was the private manor house for french born Catholic priest Father Jean Baptist Francolon. He later donated his home to the Sisters of Mercy for use as a sanitarium for those seeking healing from the magical waters of Manitou’s springs. The Sisters of Mercy set up the sanitarium in 1895 as a house to heal tuberculosis. They expanded the building in 1896 to take care of additional patients. The sisters were known for their motherly care, cleanliness, and excellence. They not only cared for patients, but contributed to the town’s culture, offering piano, violin, mandolin, guitar, and banjo lessons for the towns folk. The castle fell vacant from 1900 to 1904. The Sisters were urged by Dr. Geierman to purchase the castle for use with workings and healings achieved by German priest Sebatian Kneipp who initiated a water therapy system involving drinking prodigious quantities of Manitou’s healing waters as well as bathing in them several times a day. The Castle experienced a devastating fire in 1907 caused by an electrical fire, destroying part of the Montcalme sanitarium. Patients were relocated to the Castle for the next 20 years. In 1928 the Castle and sanitarium experienced financial difficulties so the sanitarium was converted to a boarding house for the wealthy and tourists, retreat for clergy, and eventually closed. It remained empty until privately purchased in 1946. The castle has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and has achieved national landmark status. Built by Father Jean Baptiste Francolon in 1895 with an eclectic style blending various architectural styles from Byzantine to Tudor styles. It today stands as a great example of Victorian Era design. The museum is fully accessible for tours and events. There is a climbing staircase as well as two chairlifts within. The castle is rumored to be haunted with numerous ghosts and poltergeists. Visitors can view all 42 furnished rooms, the gardens, and the tea room. Rated 5 stars out of 5

Miramount Castle (; Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   To read reviews, visit:  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.  Manitou Springs:; Colorado:
Miramount Castle (; Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016. To read the adventures, visit To read reviews, visit: All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. Manitou Springs:; Colorado:

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2016 Vinotok Fall Festival (Crested Butte, Colorado)

Vinotok Fall Equinox Festival ( - New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken September 24, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   To read reviews, visit:  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Vinotok Fall Equinox Festival (

Vinotok Festival”
Middle/Late September Annually
Crested Butte, Colorado

Annually around the Fall Equino or after, there is held a major free Fall Festival held by the small town of Crested Butte, Colorado in the heart of their downtown. Activities and festivities are actually held week long, with the cusp and end being the big public procession, trial, theater, and burning of the Grump – a huge bonfire held just at the end of Main Street. This year, 2016 marked its 31st year – and it was a spectacle to enjoy and be part of. Annually this multi-cultural grassroots celebration of the Crested Butte community spirit gathering, celebrating the vital energy and harvest of Crested Butte founders, citizens, and elders who settled the valley, mining and farming, homesteading and ranchers for the bounty and gifts they’ve enjoyed in their history. With a Indo-European Wicker Man harvest festival twist, the spirit of the land and valley is celebrated. Rites and rituals, feasts and events are held, with the final Saturday night involving magical Maidens and Lads led by the Green Men and Harvest mothers into the streets, mumming into each restaurant and bar, luring out the patrons into the streets for the grand trial of the Grump – a large wicker man who is processioned down the streets to the bonfire circle where he is banished and burnt with other effigies into the night – dancing, drumming, and chanting. Everyone pouring in their grumps for the magic to be actualized.

The event is free except for the feast on Friday night. Free camping options available on forestry and BLM land a short drive away.

Vinotok Fall Equinox Festival ( - New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken September 24, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   To read reviews, visit:  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Vinotok Fall Equinox Festival ( – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken September 24, 2016. To read the adventures, visit To read reviews, visit: All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Gougane Barra

Gougane Barra, Macroom, County Cork, Ireland

Gougane Barra (Gugán Barra)
* Macroom, County Cork, Ireland *
Article by Thomas Baurley, Archaeologist – Technogypsie Productions © 2013 – all rights reserved.

Gougane Barra is a enlightening niche of history nestled in the woods within a lake along Ireland’s southwestern countryside. Gougane Barra means “The Rock of Barra.” Barra refers to Saint Finbarr, the patron Saint of Cork. My first visit was at night which was magically radiant. I look forward to the opportunity to visit the site during the day. This is the home of the hallowed shrine of Saint Finbarr and his oratory. The church resides on a small island in the lake. Next to the church are the historic ruins of St. Finbarr’s monastery and contains ancient prayer cells with remarkably ancient stations of the cross. The original monastery dates to the 6th century C.E. (common era) The original monastery can no longer be found. Behind the chapel are ruins that some purport to be the original monastery, but they were built in the 17th century. They consist of four stone walls surrounding a large wooden cross dotted with a series of prayer cells within which have crosses inscribed. These cells were built in 1700 by Reverend Denis O’Mahony who retired here dedicated to God. During Cromwell’s torment of Ireland, the possession of this land fell out of the O’Leary families hands and fell into ruin. It then passed to the Townsend family and used for farmland. This is the location by Christian myth that Saint Finbarr came to and communed with God, seeing the surrounding mountains as his personal cloister, and the lake mirroring God’s grandeur. It is here he built stone cells to commemorate his hermitage and commune with Deity. It has ever since been a backdrop for art, painting, photography, poetry, and spirituality. From here Saint Finbarr traveled along the Lee River to become the first Bishop and founder of Cork and its church. Saint Finbarr passed away at Cloyne in 633 C.E. His feast day is celebrated in his honor on September 25th. On site is also a Holy Well and Wishing Tree.

Gougane Barra, Macroom, County Cork, Ireland

The church (also called the oratory) is of modern construct and design with infamous stained glass windows. Here pilgrims visit frequently, especially on September 25th, the feast day of Saint Finbarr. During Ireland’s Penal history, pilgrims came to Gougane Barra for Mass and is why there are numerous mass rounds in the area.
When we eloped in South Carolina we had plans of coming back to this church to get married at officially for our family and friends as it was always a dream wedding location for my wife. Alas though, an unexpected wee one changed our plans for that. It is however one of the most famous locations in Cork County to get married at

The Gougane Barra Lake formed in a rock basin that was carved out during the ice age with depths upward of 12 meters. The surrounding hills are made of old red sandstone. The park today is approximately 142 hectares in size. It was virtually without trees until 1938 when it was re-forested with Sitka Spruce, Lodgepole Pine, and Japanese Larch. The area now stands forested. The forested and bog areas are abundant with purple moor grass, bog mosses, cotton grasses, sedges, rushes, fox’s cabbage, butterworths, lichens, and sundews. The area is home to the otter, badgers, brown rat, fox, rabbit, field mice, pigmy shrew, pine marten, coal tit, wren, robins, wood pigeons, blackbirds, chiffchaff, willow warbler, pied wagtail, gray wagtail, dock dove, cuckoo, thrush, starlings, red buntings, cormorants, herons, moorhens, and swan.

Gougane Barra, Macroom, County Cork, Ireland

Alot of legends surround Saint Finbarr, Gougane Barra, and its lake. It was here in the lake that Saint Finbarr chased off Lú, Gougane Barra Dragon. A dragon or a sea monster like Nessie, the legends vary in their descriptions. The creature’s expulsion is believed to be the source of the large channel that is now the River Lee flowing west to the sea at Cork City. A little sea monster is memorialized in the hedge along the isle’s road. Saint Finbarr was also believed to have been led by an angel from the source of the river Lee at his monastic site to its marshy mouth where he built a monastery “out of which grew the Sea and the City of Cork”. By placing the monastery here it made the River Lee to be the symbol of Cork City and Cork County. Legends tell of him going to Rome on a Pilgrimage and upon his return met Saint David who lent him a horse that miraculously helped him cross the channel. He was aided by Saint Brendan who signaled him in navigation during his voyage east. Some say Pope Gregory was going to make Saint Finbarr pope but didn’t because he was deterred by a vision. When Finbarr returned to Ireland, God created a miraculous flow of oil from the ground, sending him up into heaven and consecrating him as a Bishop. It was also told that he was visited by Saint Laserian and two monks who sat with him under a hazel talking about religion. They asked him for a sign that God was with him, in reply of which, Saint Finbarr prayed and the spring catkins on the bush above them fell off, grew into nuts, ripened, and poured them into their laps. The day he died and his body was moved to Cloyne, the sun failed to shine for a fortnight.

The fairy tale of Morty Sullivan and the Black Steed takes place near here where he was thrown off a cliff by a Pooka. Some believe because of legends such as these, inspire other drunken pilgrims to come t the site in the dark leading to disruption, vandalism, injury, and death. According to Thomas Crofton Croker in his book “Fairy legends and traditions of the south of Ireland” that “in deed this fact was so notorious that the Catholic clergy in the south of Ireland publicly forbade the customary pilgrimage on the 24th of June to the Lake of Gougane Barra as it presented an annual scene of drunkenness, riot, and debauchery too shocking for description.

How to get here: Located 5 kilometers west of Ballingeary on the R584 roadway to Bantry just at the Pass of Keimaneigh. Follow posted signs.

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Tobar Eoin Óg: St. John’s Well, Carrigaline – County Cork, Ireland

St. John’s Well, County Cork, Ireland

Tobar Eoin Óg: St. John’s Well (Formerly St. Renogue’s Well)
Carrigaline, Co. Cork, Ireland
Official article:, archive article:
Written by Thomas Baurley, Archaeologist – Technogypsie Research (c) 2013;

Nestled into the woods between housing estates is a beehive shaped rock cairn covering a historical holy well that today is known as “St. John’s Well” or “Toberabbog”. Since Cork County has a few “St. John’s” Wells, it should be annotated as “St. John’s Well Carrigaline”. It is also called “Tobar Eoin Óg” or “St. Renogue’s” Well, an earlier dedication before St. John took over the well’s magic. The 1840 Ordinance Survey Map records the map as Saint Rinoge’s or Renogue’s Well. It is located to the northwest of Carrigaline, along a residential road and two-track between Ballinrea Road and Ballea Road (R613) and is surrounded by the Dun Eoin residential estates. Even though the well is watched over by parishioners and the local parish, many kids and trouble-makers vandalize and hang out at the site doing controversial activities.

The well is encased and protected by a bee-hive shaped stone structure that resembles a cairn with a small hole from which the water flows. Atop the cairn is a cross in disrepair with scratch etchings of crosses by pilgrims inscribed on the exterior walls. This mineral spring is for the healing of eyes and debilities. Next to the well is a large tree that is surrounded by a low circular wall upon which is a stone plaque that tells a short history of the site. Around the site are a number of benches and steps made of railroad ties. Opposite the well is a small stone altar upon which the name of the well is carved. According to local legend, the well was discovered by a blind man who upon visiting the well, had his sight restored. He was so ecstatic about this miracle, he built the corbelled stone beehive over the well to protect and honor it.

Christian/Catholic observations today at the well are celebrated here on St. John’s Eve which falls on the 23rd of June every year. This is the feast day of Saint John the Baptist. While earlier and older Pagan rites may have been held here celebrating the Summer solstice in similar practices, this well does not appear to be revered by Pagans much anymore. The Christian celebrations have been in practice since the early 19th century C.E. (common era) and consists of a gathering at the well that number in the hundreds of locals coming together to conduct prayers, hymns, and rites at this particular site. St. John’s Eve is derived of both Pagan and Celtic customs mixed with Catholic devotionals to the saints. Originally began by lighting a bonfire with attendees going to sites where Saint John is venerated. In modern day practice, the devotions at this well is organized by a small group of parishioners and Catholic parish clergy. The priest brings in the rosary and circles the well while someone scratch inscribes the cross on the stones of the beehive cairn with each mark representing a decade of the rosary. While the focus is on the clergy, a number of people individually circle the well as well and mark the crosses while praying. The Eucharist is then displayed and venerated during which the Parish choir and the Carrigaline Pipe Band accompany with music. A formal service is performed after which participants go to the well to drink of the waters, bless themselves, and collect some water to take with them for healing activities at home for themselves and loved ones. Some gather water from the flow out of the well while others will crawl on their hands and knees going into the well to get their water. To many, it is very essential to collect the water and touch it at is exact point of its source where it is the purest. To embrace the magic of the waters, it is custom for the pilgrims to say a decade of the rosary at each of the inscribed crosses found in the walls of the well stones for the miracles to be delivered.

St. John’s Well, County Cork, Ireland

St. John’s Well, County Cork, Ireland

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Pilgrim cross scratches / etchings

Catholic pilgrims to sacred monastic sites usually involving rounds, turas, or stations in southern Ireland have incorporated a practice of scratching / etching celtic and long-bodied crosses into stones at sacred positions on the sites. These are done with pebbles or small scratching stones. Good examples of this practice can be found at Tobar Eoin Óg: St. John’s Well, Carrigaline – County Cork, Ireland and Tobar Ghobnatan cross etchings.

Christian/Catholic observations today at the St. John’s well in Carrigaline are celebrated here on St. John’s Eve which falls on the 23rd of June every year. This is the feast day of Saint John the Baptist. While earlier and older Pagan rites may have been held here celebrating the Summer solstice in similar practices, this well does not appear to be revered by Pagans much anymore. The Christian celebrations have been in practice since the early 19th century C.E. (common era) and consists of a gathering at the well that number in the hundreds of locals coming together to conduct prayers, hymns, and rites at this particular site. St. John’s Eve is derived of both Pagan and Celtic customs mixed with Catholic devotionals to the saints. Originally began by lighting a bonfire with attendees going to sites where Saint John is venerated. In modern day practice, the devotions at this well is organized by a small group of parishioners and Catholic parish clergy. The priest brings in the rosary and circles the well while someone scratch inscribes the cross on the stones of the beehive cairn with each mark representing a decade of the rosary. While the focus is on the clergy, a number of people individually circle the well as well and mark the crosses while praying. The Eucharist is then displayed and venerated during which the Parish choir and the Carrigaline Pipe Band accompany with music. A formal service is performed after which participants go to the well to drink of the waters, bless themselves, and collect some water to take with them for healing activities at home for themselves and loved ones. Some gather water from the flow out of the well while others will crawl on their hands and knees going into the well to get their water. To many, it is very essential to collect the water and touch it at is exact point of its source where it is the purest. To embrace the magic of the waters, it is custom for the pilgrims to say a decade of the rosary at each of the inscribed crosses found in the walls of the well stones for the miracles to be delivered.

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Saint Ghobnatan (St. Gobnata) of Ballyvourney


Saint Gobnait (ca. 5th – 6th century C.E.)
Other names: Saint Ghobnatan, Mo Gobnat, Abigail, Gobnata, Gobnaid, Ghobhnet, Deborah, and Saint Gobnat.

Counterpart: She is associated with Father St. Abbán moccu Corbmaic who she trained under. Some of his sites, monuments, and shrines have been shared with her or taken over by her. Some claim she is similarly named with the Tuatha de Danann’s Smith, a Faerie or Deity called Goibnui.

Matron/Patron Saint of: Bees, bee keepers, iron workers, Protection, Healing, and the village of Ballyvourney.


Her name is derived from “Gobba” and ‘Gabha’ which means “Smith”. There is evidence that her monastic site may have been a metalworking site first before its Christian use. Mythology suggests that Goibnui, the Smith of the Tuatha Dé Danann that might be whom St. Gobnait replaced. Due to excavations at her house finding iron working tools and slag, she became associated with the art of metal smithing, iron working, and metal works. In addition to iron, she was associated with bees. She most likely used honey a lot in her healing practices utilizing the health and medicinal properties of it which led people to believe she was in control of bees. She has also been called “Deborah”, the anglicized version of her name that means “Honey Bee”. St. Gobnait, who, it is said, was descended from O’Connor the Great, Monarch of Ireland. Saint Ghobnatan was the matron Saint of the Irish village of Ballyvourney (Baile Bhuirne). She was born in County Clare, Ireland during the 5th (or 6th) century of the Common Era (C.E./A.D.). Folklore suggests that she left Clare when chased by enemies and sought refuge at Inisheer in the Aran Islands. She studied under Saint Enda there and because of this, the Kilgobnet Church on Inis Oirr (Inisheer) is dedicated to her. While primarily seen as the Matron/Patron saint of Ballyvourney, she is held in high tribute and honor throughout southern Ireland as well as Scotland. She was declared a Saint as she was infamous for her ability to heal and for her miraculous protection of Ballyvourney. She was reputed to have passed away from physical body on February 11th, and is thereby celebrated every February 11th as a feast day for her contributions to the world. The year of her death is unknown, but believed to have taken place during the 6th century C.E. Several churches were dedicated to her and tribute can be found in Inis Oírr (Aran Islands), Dún Chaoin in West Kerry, and Waterford. What little is known about her comes from the writings on the life of St. Abbán moccu Corbmaic, her senior companion and Priest which was published in the early 13th century C.E. The dedication to her is not without controversy as writings about Saint Finbarr’s Life suggests that St. Ghobnatan’s church belonged to Finbarr’s foundation in Cork and states it was founded by one of his disciples.

    “Mo Gobnat from Muscraige Mitaine, i.e. a sharp-beaked nun,

    Ernaide is the name of the place in which she is.

    Or Gobnat of Bairnech in Món Mór in the south of Ireland,

    and of the race of Conaire she is; a virgin of Conaire’s race”

    –Note to the Félire Óengusso, tr. Whitley Stokes, p. 73

Lore and Legends:
While she was on the Islands, an angel appeared telling her to keep walking until the day she finds 9 white deer. It was in County Cork, at Clondrohid where she found three deer and followed them. They led her to Ballymakeera where she found 6 white deer. She continued on her path and came across nine white deer grazing in the woods at Ballyvourney. It was there at Ballyvourney that Father Saint Abbán moccu Corbmaic of Kilabban, County Laois installed her as an abbess and given land to create a women’s monastery. It is in the village of Ballyvourney that her church Móin Mór (a.k.a. Bairnech) was built. It was told and known locally that one of the reasons Gobnait received Sainthood was that she saved the village of Ballyvourney from being infected by the plague. She did this by drawing a line in the sand with a stick and declared the village to be consecrated grounds’. The Celts saw bees or butterflies as the vessel in which the soul leaves the body. She was skilled at commanding bees and sent them to attack a invading chieftain and his army who was destroying crops and driving off cattle in Ballyvourney. When invaders tried to take Ballyvourney, build forts, or erect shrines without her permission, she would command bees to attack them. One legend tells of soldiers coming to Ballyvourney to steal livestock after which she swarmed them with bees making them run off leaving the livestock behind. Another version tells of a band of robbers stealing cattle after which her bees attacked them, they returned the cattle to her. These tales are believed to have influenced artisan Harry Clarke from creating the stain glass window in the Honan Chapel located at the University College Cork. It was here at Tobar Ghobnatan that the fairy tale of Morty Sullivan and the Black Steed takes place nearby as the location where he sought to atone for his sins at St. Gobnait’s shrine.

Historical/Archaeological Evidence:
Excavation of her monastic site in Ballyvourney during the 1950’s revealed iron slag, a crucible, and metal working tools/artifacts in the discoveries. It was determined her hut was used in the smithing of metal. She gained an attribute of iron working from these results. This led to rumor and lore about her being associated by the similarly named Faerie / Deity Smith for the Tuatha de Danann called Goibnui. This is because of the (a) metal working / smithing / smelting artifacts found at her home, (b) roots in her name, (c) her being a patron saint for iron working, and (d) earlier evidence of the location being a Pagan shrine and/or site. Since there is no other evidence, most likely it is simply a hypothesis or conclusion derived in an internet blog online. The round circular stone hut north of the statue is the “House of St. Gobnait” or the “St. Ghobnatan’s Kitchen”. During construction of the statue, a container that is used with the production of metalworking or glass works was found there along with post holes found during the archaeological excavation of the site. It is believed the hut was a later addition and that the site’s original first use was for iron working. It is also around this time that the well in front of the hut was believed to have been dug (called St. Gobnait’s Well). St. Gobnait’s Holy Well, of which there are two on site, was revered as a site of healing waters and magic from their early beginnings to this very date. She is also associated with the Múscraige where her church and nunnery are located, bordering Múscraige Mittine and Eóganacht Locha Léin.

A huge statue of her resides at Tobar Ghobnatan monastic site that was erected in the 1950’s CE. Here she is depicted wearing a nun’s habit and stands calmly atop a beehive surrounded by bees. The Honan Chapel’s stained glass work of her located at the University College Cork depicts her adorned in blue robes surrounded by bees with two terrified men at her feet.

Relics and Artifacts:

  • The figurine of St. Gobnait – Within the parish church of Ballyvourney is a 13th century relic of a Saint Gobnait figurine made of wood. She is brought out every February 11th during her feast day by the parish priest and brought before the parishioners and pilgrims given the opportunity to approach it with a piece of ribbon. The parishioner or pilgrim holds the ribbon up to the figurine to measure against her length and around her circumference that is then taken home to be used for healing and other prayers required.


Article by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions and Research Services: © 2013: All rights reserved.

Article on the Church, Shrine, Graveyard, and Well found at Article on the Holy Well found at Article on the Tobar Ghobnatan Wishing Trees, Saint Ghobnatan, and Tobar Ghobnatan cross etchings.

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Tobar Ghobnatan Cross Etchings


Tobar Ghobnatan Cross Etchings
* Tobar Ghobnatan * Ballyvourney (a.k.a. Baile Bhuirne), County Cork, Ireland *

An interesting custom I came across while visiting the Tobar Ghobnatan monastic site were these scratchings in the rocks of sacred sites of a Celtic Cross. They were done hundreds of times atop each other. Actually, the first time I saw this was at St. John’s Well in County Cork. I thought it was an anomoly, but that changed at Tobar Ghobnatan. Tobar Ghobnatan has an unlimited number of examples of this practice. This practice seems to have Pagan roots, but definitely absorbed by Catholicism in practice within County Cork, especially at the Stations while doing rounds or turas.

Throughout the Stations at Tobar Ghobnatan one can see that modern pilgrims have attended the stations and marked the stones around the shrine with Celtic crosses (equal armed crosses) with a stone by scratching the symbol over and over into the stone as part of their prayers. You first see this at the site when you enter the main entrance to the statue, hut, and well – the two gateway stones are marked by crosses, as are the modern cylinder shaped pillars found within the hut and church. This practice can be see at St. John’s Well outside of Cork, St. Declan’s Well at Ardmore, and many other sites around southern Ireland. The practice can be dated as early as the medieval period continuing to present day. It is unknown of how early the scratching of the cross began. Often small pebbles and rocks are left atop the stones so other pilgrims will continue the repetition and practice, each etching the sign of the cross as they say their prayers at the station shrine.

The etching in stone found at Tobar Ghobnatan are considered to be dedicated to the Matron Saint of Ballyvourney and sacred Bee-Keeping mistress, Saint Ghobnatan holy pilgrimage site and monastic settlement known as “Tobar Ghobnatan”. This is the legendary home of St. Gobnait/Ghobnatan. It is located a kilometer south of the village of Ballyvourney where her church Móin Mór (a.k.a. Bairnech) was built.


Her purported grave can be found in the church yard opposite the hut. This is marked Stations 3 and 4 on the pilgrimage stations/turas map. This is a small artificial prehistoric mound that looks like most other megalithic cists. On its south end is a large stone slab which is the location where many believe her body to rest. Atop this stone pilgrims scratch the cross into the stone slab (Station 3). The slab atop the cist (Station 4) is also covered with scratched crosses. There are said to exist three Bullaun Stones here, the third of which may be in the station 3 stone slab.

How to get here: Drive West from Macroom to Kerry on the N22. As you pass through Ballymakerry (Baile Mhic Ire), you will pass a church on your right-hand side and will take the first left hand turn after the church that has a sign post. Follow the road 400 meters and you will see the first (and main) holy well on the right. You’ll need to go up the hill a bit for parking as it is a very narrow road. Take the next right hand road (near where you can park by a graveyard) up the hill to see the other holy well, statue, hut, church ruins, and main graveyard. There is also a modernized porta-toilet in this parking lot so you don’t have to use the bushes. The GPS coordinates are: 79: W 1967 7688. Longitude: 9° 10′ 5″ W, Latitude: 51° 56′ 18″ N.


Article by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions and Research Services: © 2013: All rights reserved.

Article on the Church, Shrine, Graveyard, and Well found at Article on the Holy Well found at Article on the Tobar Ghobnatan Wishing Trees, Saint Ghobnatan, and Tobar Ghobnatan cross etchings.

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Tobar Ghobnatan Holy Wells: St. Abban’s Well and St. Gobnait’s Well


Tobar Ghobnatan Holy Wells
* Tobar Ghobnatan * Ballyvourney (a.k.a. Baile Bhuirne), County Cork, Ireland *


As you drive up to the Tobar Ghobnatan Statue, Well, Hut, Grave, Church ruins and yard, you will see on your right a wrought iron archway with the letters spelling “HOLY WELL” along its top. Another sign labels it as the “Tobar Ghobnatan Holy Well”. When I walked through this archway, I immediately spied a 3/4 large ring of mushrooms known as a Fairy Ring. I had to walk around it 9 times to see if a gateway to the land of Fae would appear. Magical as the site was, alas, no gateway appeared that I was aware of. A short walk down the path you will find the well at the base of a wishing tree. The tree is covered with rags or clouties as well as many other trinkets placed there or tied to the branches as offerings and prayers. These are often cleaned up and removed by the church occasionally some say online. The well has steps down into it, but can often be difficult to access without crawling on your knees to get at the magical waters. There are two taps nearby where one can retrieve the water. This well is believed to be a lot older than the Christian occupation and creation of this monastic site, probably as a Fairy Well or Pagan Shrine. Today visitors claim it is either St. Abban’s Well and/or St. Gobnait’s Well. From the Cult followings, I would think it has more to do with St. Gobnait than St. Abban even though technically I’ve read it is primarily called St. Abban’s Well. The Other well is up the hill by St. Gobnait’s Hut and Statue. It’s unclear which Saint claimed which Pagan well when they took the land.

In Neo-Pagan practice and visitations of the site, the well is circled either three times clockwise, or in a trio set of three times three. It is conducted clockwise to gain something, pay tribute to the well, or to weave a certain kind of magic. It is done counter-clockwise to unwind something, to banish something, or to undo a spell, curse, or action. It is common then to make an offering to the well or tree. The participant then goes to the well, collects water, offers it back to the earth, then either takes a sip of the magical waters or splashes it on their face. It is common to fill a bottle with the magic waters to take home. A bin of empty clean water bottles is located along one of the rock walls for those who forgot to bring a bottle. This well is very common location for seamen to collect water from to bring to their boats used for safe passage during their expeditions. In Christian/Catholic observation of the rounds, the “Our Father”, the “Hail Mary”, and the Glorias are spoken at each of the stations. At this station, they do a decade of the rosary and drink the water from the Well. According to the stations, the rounds, or the turas, this is station 10: St. Abban’s Well. Every year on the 11th of February, the parish priest would bring out a 13th century wooden statue of St. Gobnait upon which pilgrims would measure a ribbon against the statue and wrap it around the figure, then take the ribbon home to use for healing magic.


Next to the well is a large tree called a Wishing Tree which is part of any number of such trees found on this monastic site. Covering this particular tree are offerings to St. Gobniat (and the ancestral water spirits or Naiads of this well) in the form of rags (clouties/clooties – pieces of cloth tied around its branches), prayers, trinkets, tokens, pictures, charms, and/or a variety of personal effects from under garments, hair ties, belts, shoes, rings, jewelry, toys, prayer cards, or other effects. The belief behind pieces of cloth are that they are to get rid of an illness and once the cloth decays so will the illness. It is a concept of leaving something behind of themselves or their loved ones in need of healing.

Along the stone wall and around the well is an assortment of cups, jars, and/or bottles that someone can use to gather water from the well for drinking and/or blessing. As far as I know, the well water is not tested or certified, so drinking from such is at one’s own risk. Anything can get into these public wells and a variety of items from coins, pins, and garbage are sometime found thrown into them. When I visited there was a large bin of washed out plastic bottles for visitors to fill up with holy well water and take with them.



Again, like the well above, no one is clear on who claimed this Fairy Well, but it seems to be primarily associated with Saint Gobnait since it is located in front of her house, hut, or kitchen. Both wells are part of the pilgrimage and rounds regardless. In Christian/Catholic observation of the rounds, the “Our Father”, the “Hail Mary”, and the Glorias are spoken at each of the stations. At this station, they do a decade of the rosary and drink the water from the Well.
To complete the pilgrimage the pilgrim walks down the road to St Gobnait’s well (Station 10). The pilgrim recites 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Mary’s and 7 Gloria, one decade of the rosary and drinks the water from the well. Like many holy wells in Ireland St Gobnait’s well is associate with a rag tree and there is a tradition of leaving votive offerings at this tree. Below is a photo of the tree taken when I last visited here in 2006, as you can see is covered rags and bead and tokens left be pilgrims. I think it looks quiet lovely. Since my last visit most of these offering have been removed but a few are still to be found. This well seems a bit questionable as to the safety of the water, but is still one apparently drunken from. This well in in front of the round circular stone hut north of the statue called the “House of St. Gobnait” or the “St. Ghobnatan’s Kitchen”. Earlier evidence suggests that the site was an early pre-Medieval to Medieval bronze and iron working site which operated out of this hut. Evidence for this comes from iron slag, a crucible, and other metal working artifacts found during the excavation of the site. With evidence that the wells were Pagan shrines pre-dating Christianity combined with the metalworking has led some rumors to run wild that it could be the metal working site of the Tuatha Dé Danann’s Smith known as Goibnui who share phonetic similarities to the name of Saint Gobnait. There is no evidence found to this ‘hunch’ someone probably weaved online in a blog, but it does add a sense of urban lore to the site that would make it an exciting tidbit of mythos. (Especially since there really exists no solid evidence of any of the Tuatha Dé Danann legend site locations except folklore) In this hut, pilgrims etch a cross into the stones atop this well as well as the entrance stones in the hut during their turas.


Both of the wells are named after the Matron Saint of Ballyvourney and sacred Bee-Keeping mistress, Saint Ghobnatan (a.k.a. Saint Gobnait) of the holy pilgrimage site and monastic settlement known as “Tobar Ghobnatan“. This is the legendary home of St. Gobnait/Ghobnatan. It is located a kilometer south of the village of Ballyvourney where her church Móin Mór (a.k.a. Bairnech) was built. There are two holy wells at this site, both of which are believed to pre-date St. Abban and Gobnait’s arrival to the land, most likely Pagan shrines or Fairy wells. Today these wells are called “St. Abban’s Well” (most likely ‘FIRST WELL’) and “St. Gobnait’s Well” (most likely ‘SECOND WELL’).

There are several wells throughout Ireland (and other countries) dedicated to Saint Gobnait. There exists a dry well known as St. Debora, Deriola, or Abigails Well that is north of Ballyagran in a high field on the left of the road to Castletown which is believed to be the original Saint Gobnait’s Well. It is currently dry. Legends run wild of a white stag that can be seen at this well especially during February 11th, the Feast day of Saint Gobnait. There are other wells and shrines such as the church site in County Kerry at Dunquin that has a well near Dungarvan in Waterford.


Article by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions and Research Services: © 2013: All rights reserved.

Article on the Church, Shrine, Graveyard, and Well found at Article on the Holy Well found at Article on the Tobar Ghobnatan Wishing Trees, Saint Ghobnatan, and Tobar Ghobnatan cross etchings.

How to get here: Drive West from Macroom to Kerry on the N22. As you pass through Ballymakerry (Baile Mhic Ire), you will pass a church on your right-hand side and will take the first left hand turn after the church that has a sign post. Follow the road 400 meters and you will see the first (and main) holy well on the right. You’ll need to go up the hill a bit for parking as it is a very narrow road. Take the next right hand road (near where you can park by a graveyard) up the hill to see the other holy well, statue, hut, church ruins, and main graveyard. There is also a modernized porta-toilet in this parking lot so you don’t have to use the bushes. The GPS coordinates are: 79: W 1967 7688. Longitude: 9° 10′ 5″ W, Latitude: 51° 56′ 18″ N.

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Acoma Pueblo

Acoma Pueblo
* Acoma, New Mexico *

I’m not sure how I forgot about this mysterious and heavenly city, “City in the Clouds” as I had studied it extensively in Archaeology and Anthropology courses in University. It took a good travel mate to attract my attention to it as we were travelling across New Mexico. “Aa’ku”, “Hakukya”, “Haak’oh” and “Acoma” are various Native American language names for the Cloud City located 60 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This Mesa-top City, is three Puebloan culture villages combined into one – (1) Old Acoma or “Sky City”, (2) Acomita, and (3) McCartys. “Acoma” is a Spanish (as well as the Keresan language group Acoma) word for “the place that always was” or “People of the White Rock”. “Pueblo” is Spanish for “village”. A Federally recognized tribe, the Acoma are a Pueblo Native American group who are believed to be descendants from the Anasazi and/or Mogollon peoples of the Four Corners Region (Home to Mesa Verde, Salmon, Aztec, and Chaco Canyon culture groups) as are most of the Pueblo peoples. There are approximately just under 5,000 registered Acoma people existing today as most of their populations were decimated by the Spanish, Catholicism, and Euro-American settlers. They have occupied this area for over 800 years as of this writing making their village one of the oldest continuously inhabited villages in the United States. The Acoma believe they have been inhabiting the village for over 2,000 years. Archaeologists believe that the Mogollon/Anasazi peoples who gave birth to the Puebloans of the Four Corners region who evacuated the area due to severe droughts, and Sky City believed to be one of the locations they relocated to. This mesa that they moved to is a 365 foot high natural mesa, isolated with built-in natural fortifications. This helped the Acoma defend against Plains, Navajo, and Apache Indians because they were a peaceful non-warring society. However they suffered once falling in contact with the Spanish and Europeans. Spanish explorers in search of the 7 cities of Gold, came to them peacefull at first, trying to locate the legends of gold they were told about. The expedition’s leader, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado noted in his journals during their 1540 visit that this Pueblo was one of the strongest places they had encountered. At the time of their initial visit, the only method to access the top of the Mesa, was via an almost vertical set of stairs cut into the rock face. It took roughly 18 years for the Acoma to realize the Spanish had ulterior motives and relations between the two peoples began to disintegrate. The Acoma discovered that the Spanish had wanted to colonize their lands, so in turn ambused Juan de Onate’s men, killing 11 of them to defend their acreage. The Spanish came back to enforce penalty on the attack, burning most of their village and slaughtering over 600 of their people. They imprisoned the rest forcing them into slavery. They amputated the right foot of all men 25 years or older so they could not leave the Mesa. After the Massacre, the Acoma recovered and rebuilt their community, even though they had to pay taxes and tithing to Onate and his Catholic Missionaries. Churches were constructed and Western ways were taught to the Acoma. The Pueblo Revolt of 1680 took its toll on the Spanish, bringing in refugees from other Pueblos, and pushing many Spanish out. Those Acoma that left the Mesa, formed the Laguna Pueblo not too far away. The Acoma then suffered through Westerner diseases brought over such as smallpox and raids from the Ute, Comanche, and Apache. They had to adopt Catholic faith, although also practicing their indigenous faiths in secret.

From 1629-1641 C.E. A Catholic Priest named Father Juan Ramirez was stationed at the Acoma Pueblo constructing the San Esteven Del Rey Mission Church atop the Mesa. The Acoma was forced to build this colossal palace for God moving over 20,000 tons of stone, mud, and straw to the Mesa, making Adobe for the construction. Giant ponderosa pine timber was also hand-carried up to the Mesa from over 40 miles away as 60 foot high wooden pillars hand carved in red and white designs.

The Pueblo Lands Act of 1924 appropriate much of their stolen lands back to them. Protestant missionaries invaded the area bringing alternative faiths to Catholicism as well as Christian influenced schools. The Burea of Indian Affairs forced many of the Acoma children to attend boarding schools, taking the kids from their parents. Much of the ancient ways were lost in process since many elders passed away before the children returned. What children returned often chose Western ways and was no longer interested in ancient traditions. The Church and Acoma village was placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and by 2007 became a National Trust for Historic Preservation Site. There are roughly 300 two-three story adobe buildings atop the Mesa with exterior ladders accessing the upper levels where residents live. The Mesa is now accessed by a road built in the 1950’s for Hollywood Film sets needing to bring in studio equipment for movie productions. There are less than 30 Acoma who live atop the Mesa today. There are roughly 60,000 tourists each year visiting the site. The village is not permitted to have running water, electricity, nor sewage disposal atop the Mesa in order to preserve ancient traditions. There is a reservation that surrounds the Mesa, roughly 600 square miles, where most tribal members live while the others live in modern day local cities hosting casinos, restaurants, gas stations, and shops. Today, it is believed that many of their ancestral beliefs and traditions are still practiced in secret from Westerners while also practicing Catholicism, the faith that was forced upon them since Euro-American and Spanish contact. They believe in creating harmony between their people and nature. The sun is seen as their creator Deity. Their world is balanced by the mountains, their community, the sun above, and the earth below. Their religious ceremonies revolve around the weather. They utilize kachinas in their rituals. They would worship in their kivas. The Acoma speak both English and Acoma, while their elders may also speak Spanish. There are less than 5,000 Acoma left today. The government is managed by the cacique (head of the Pueblo) and the war captain who manage the tribe until they die. These individuals maintain strong religious connections to all the work they do as tradition dictates. There is also the All Indian Pueblo Council that began in 1598 and helps manage Indian affairs. They manage over 500,000 acres of traditional Acoma lands consisting of valleys, hills, arroyos, and mesas. Tribal councils, staff, and the governor is appointed by the cacique. Besides Government subsidies, their major income is Tourism.

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posuwaegah (outside of Taos, NM)


Posuwaegeh means “drink-water place” or “place to drink” in the Towa language. the posuwaegeh pueblo is located 16 miles north of Santa Fe and is the smallest of the six Tewa villages. There were 177 Native Americans living there in 1990. Their language is Kiowa-Tanoan. They are believed like all other Puebloan culture peoples to come from the Anasazi of the Four Corners region (Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, Salmon, and Aztec) as well as possibly Mogollon peoples around 1200 CE. This area has been occupied pretty constantly since 900 CE growing into a major political and cultural center. The Spanish occupied the area around 1598 with settlers, founding the colony of New Mexico. They forced the Indians to pay taxes in crops, cotton, and slave labor, forced them to become Catholics, and attacked their indigenous religions. The Pueblos were renamed by the Spaniards with saint’s names and began to construct churches in the area. The region took an active part in the 1680 Pueblo revolt against the Spanish. Today the Pueblo hosts a market, restaurants, casinos, resorts, and a 18 hole golf course just to the east of the over crossing. The overpass is a popular photo spot of the region, as it is decorated with symbols for mountains, clouds, and whirling logs (infinity symbol).


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Taos Pueblo


Taos Pueblo * Pueblo de Taos * ?a?opháym?p’?h??oth??olbo * *
* Taos, New Mexico * * ca. 1000 C.E./1450 C.E. to Present day *

As a southwestern Archaeologist, I have always been inspired and intrigued with the Taos Pueblo, the only living Native American community that has been designated as both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and as a National Historic Landmark. Aesthetically its a great example of adobe architecture and Puebloan culture. “Taos” was borrowed from the Spanish word “Taos” (t??o) meaning “village”, translating “Taos Pueblo” to “village in the village”. “Pueblo” means “the village” or “in the village” in the anglicized writing of the name, and given the namesake as “Taos Pueblo”, its true name however in the Taos language is “?a?opháym?p’?h??oth??olbo” meaning “at Red Willow Canyon Mouth”. These multi-storied adobe structures have been continuously inhabited for over a 1000 years. As a part of the Eight Northern Pueblos, this community is known for being one of the most conservative, secretive, and private of those in existing Puebloan culture. The village is atop a 95,000 acre sized reservation with over 4,500 inhabitants. The Red Willow Creek (Rio Pueblo de Taos) runs through the village as a small stream flowing into the middle of the community, fed by the headwaters sprung for the from spring and snow melt of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. The pueblo is noted for its multi-storied residential complex, consisting of adobe architecture with reddish-brown mud-clay construction that is divided into two parts by the Red Willow Creek. Most of the Taos buildings originally had few windows or doors and were accessed by square holes in the roof led down by long climbing wooden ladders. Roofs were supported by large cedar logs with layers of branches, grass, mud, and plaster covering it all. The Pueblo wall completely enclosed the village back in the day and much taller for protection (today they are short or missing elements). The north side of the Pueblo is the most photographed and painted buildings in North America as they are representative of the largest multi-storied Pueblo structures still in existence. The walls are several feet thick for defensive strategy, and until 1900 C.E. only accessed from ladders in the roof. Homes usually have two rooms, one for living/sleeping and the other for cooking/storage. Each house is self-contained with no passageways between the houses. In early days, they were minimal with furnishings but today have beds, chairs, tables, counters, etc. There has never been electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing permitted in the Taos Pueblo. Kivas are scattered around the Pueblo utilized for council meetings and spiritual rites.

There is controversial debate on exactly when it was built, but estimated construction is between 1000 C.E. and 1450 C.E. It was designated a National Historic Landmark on October 9, 1960 and a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992. The original Pueblo Indians (including the Taos Native Americans) settled along the Rio Grande River after migrating from the Four Corners Region as their ancestry come from the Anasazi people who built the ruins in that area (Aztec Ruins, Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, etc.) forced to move on by a devastating drought in the 13th century of the Common Era. The waters of the Rio Grande River were more dependable. This Pueblo became a trade center for most of the native Populations of the area including the Plains tribes, often hosting a trade fair every fall after the agricultural harvest. Their spirituality was very Pagan, animistic, and shamanistic in belief structure which was almost demolished by Catholicism and Christianity after contact. The first Spanish to arrive was in 1540 C.E. from the Francisco Vásquez de Coronado expedition in search of the Seven Cities of Gold. By 1620 C.E., San Geronimo de Taos Catholic church was constructed, albeit numerous resistance attempts from the local Taos Native Americans. Resistance against the Catholic faith was hardcore at this time. However, as tensions grew between the Euro-American and Spanish settlers invading the area as well as between the Plains Indians and amongst their own peoples, the 1600’s C.E. of this region was in major upheaval and change. Churches were burnt, settlers were killed, priests murdered, and the grand Pueblo Revolt of 1680 (CE) took foot. The Taos people killed all three priests and destroyed the San Geronimo church. It was rebuilt for a third time by the end of the 18th century and relations between the Spanish and Puebloan culture found a level of peace finding strength coming together to defeat another invader, the Comanche and Ute Indian Tribes from the North and East. Resistance towards Catholicism was still strong.

As New Mexico came under control of the United States away from Mexico, officially becoming a territory in 1847 C.E. the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed with a grand peace requested and cherished. This did not last long as another revolt broke out in this Pueblo, when the Taos Pueblo leader “Tomasito” teamed together with the Mexican leader “Pablo Montoya” instigated a rebellion of Native Americans and Mexicans who refused to become part of the United States. They killed the then Governor Charles Bent while marching onto Santa Fe, followed by refuge in the Geronimo Mission Church. The Church was attacked by American troops, onslaught murder of the rebels and taking the others hostage, once again demolishing the church. It was rebuilt a fourth time in 1850 C.E. near the west gate of the Pueblo wall. The ruins can be seen today in the grave yard.


In the early 20th century, President Theodore Roosevelt took 48,000 acres of land from the Pueblo designating it as the Carson National Forest. This was returned back to the Pueblo in 1970 by President Nixon, and in 1996 an additional 764 acres were given back to the Pueblo covering their sacred Blue Lake – a magical body of water integrated into early Taos Puebloan belief structure.

Today the Taos Puebloan Peoples practice two spiritual practices – the original indigenous spiritual tradition and Roman Catholicism. It is said that the majority of the Taos Indians still practice their old ways even though 90% of their members have been baptized as Roman Catholics. From my experiences however, it is very apparent that much of the old ways have been destroyed by Catholicism. When I asked many Native American vendors in the Pueblo about certain meanings of various stones, symbols, or items (many of which are common knowledge items of lore today) – the response issued that they didn’t know, said there was nothing special about it, or that there was no lore associated with them. This demonstrated to me that either they were keeping secret even that which is common mainstream knowledge, or the general populace in the Pueblo has lost their cultural mythos and lore, which was very saddening to me. In talking to some Puebloan contacts, many say the ancient traditions are still practiced, albeit in secret away from white folk, or that they are now Christian or Catholic in practice. The concept of “community” however has not changed amongst Puebloan culture. Their phrase “we are in one nest” has been the supportive cohesive glue keeping the community together. The other aspect is “family” with high tribute and respect for their ancestors, elders, and parents. Often pictures, photos, or items belonging to ancestors or parents would be found in the homes or shops – a part of ancestral worship in like. Descent is respected from both the father and mother’s side (patrilineal and matrilineal) and although each family lives in a separate dwelling, they come together for family issues, and everyone is available to help care for the children. The elderly teach the young values and traditions of the culture with hopes of securing and preserving Taos Puebloan culture for generations to come.


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Paul Koudounaris’ lecture on Heavenly Bodies : Spectacular Jeweled Skeletons


Paul Koudounaris: Heavenly Bodies
* Lecture, Slide Show, and Book Signing * The Strange Factory * Albuquerque, New Mexico * Friday, November 22, 2013 *

A race from Taos to Albuquerque to visit a friend’s lecture on his amazing discoveries about decorative skeletons was a whirlwind by itself, but would up to be an incredible night of magic, gold, jewels, and folklore. We wandered into the Strange Factory a little late as a snow storm slowed our travels on site, but were warmed with awe as we saw some of the works that Paul Koudounaris exhibited in his presentation. A astute author and photographer from Los Angeles, California; Paul K was presenting at the oddities shop called “the Strange Factory” in the University district of Albuquerque. Paul K’s charnel house and ossuary research has broken research milestones in folklore, oddities, and macabre art. This evenings lecture covered those of human skeletons found in Catholic churches adorned with gold and gemstones. He is a leading expert on bone-decorated shrines and religious structures.
Paul Koudounaris, PhD in Art History (UCLA 2004) is an author and photographer from Los Angeles that specializes in Baroque-era Northern European Art. His charnel house and ossuary research and photos have made him a well-known figure in the field of macabre art, and he is a leading expert in the history of bone-decorated shrines, human remains, religious art, and religious structures.He obtained a PhD in Art History from UCLA in 2004, with a specialty in Baroque-era Northern European Art. He began his research in 2006 studying the use of human remains in religious ritual and as a decorative element in sacred spaces, especially within the context of the Catholic Church. He began researching the existence of these pieces, photographing them, writing about them, and publishing the results in the Prague Post, Fortean Times, and other such publications. He compiled a premiere work on bone-decorated religious structures taking field trips to over 70 sites along four continents, many of which had never been seen or photographed. He released this book as “Heavenly Bodies” in 2013 through Thames and Hudson. This story told the tale of a group of skeletons removed from the Roman catacombs during the 17th century decorated with jewels by various nuns. These bones were at first mistakenly identified as Christian martyrs and shipped to Germanic churches, decorated, and placed in the altars. Through time, most of these were removed, disposed of or thrown into storage during the Enlightenment. He tracked down the corpses’ locations, documented them, and photographed them for for book. This book followed his successful masterpiece “The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses” in 2011. The presentation was well spoken and masterfully done to a full house in attendance.

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Wisteria Campground (Pomeroy, Ohio)


Wisteria Campground
* Pomeroy, Ohio * * * * 740-742-4302 *

I remember the first time I ventured into the fabled lands of Wisteria. That was for Pagan Spirit Gathering held by Circle Sanctuary back in 2002. Alas, Pagan Spirit Gathering is no longer held here. But just as Starwood was akin to Brushwood, Starwood is now held (and for quite some time) at Wisteria. Wisteria is a great place for nature lovers, naturalists, Pagans, earth spiritualists, and alternative campers. It is also a fabulous site for festivals and events as acclaimed by the infamous festivals held on its grounds. It is a great place for large gatherings or small get-togethers, weddings, music festivals, and spiritual events. They are equipt to handle small groups of just a handful upwards of several thousand participants. Wisteria is set with a grand stage, bonfire circle, hiking trails, a faerie shrine, sacred sites, stone circle, an ancestor mound, a turtle mound, sweat lodge, workshop sites, the permanent setting of Caffeina’s Cosmic Cafe Restaurant and Coffee House, The Green Man Tavern, a swimming pond, a merchant loop, a playground, shower house, and wifi. Groups can rent space in the campground or hold private camping events. Wisteria is managed by itself as well as services of the site to make it an easier place to hold events by organizers. Wisterians are open-minded, professional, and very experienced with events large or small. They will custom tailor their event services to the festival organizer’s needs.


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Starwood 33: July 9 – 14, “2013”


Starwood XXXIII: 2013
* July 9-14, 2013 * Wisteria Nature Sanctuary * Pomeroy * Ohio * *

One of my most favorite festivals, Starwood is billed as the world’s largest Pagan / Magical / Consciousness gathering in North America and potentially the world. It began for me when it was at the awesome Brushwood Folklore Center campgrounds in New York, but have moved away from that location and is now held at the Wisteria Nature Sanctuary in Ohio. I remember fondly the days when Timothy Leary, Terence McKenna, Oberon Zell, Isaac Bonewits, Louisa Tesha, and many other famed authors and writers would hold workshops. Rituals were numerous and fantastic. This year was a bit different as it was my first time at the event held at Wisteria, albeit my 7th Starwood in my life (the other 6 were in New York). Starwood holds classes and workshops by local and internationally acclaimed artists and authors. Its known for its ecclecticism and diversity, great concerts, performances, dancing, drumming, film, rituals, and poetry. It is a one stop shop for a diversity of faiths and beliefs, religions, alternative belief systems and lifestyles. I’ve been introduced to Voodoo, hoodoo, Druidism, Wicca, Shamanism, Ceremonial Magic, and the Church of All Worlds during my times at this festival (and much more). Seven days of exploring the mind, body, and spirit with over 20 various performances of music, drumming, dance and theater on its four stages. In the clothing optional nature sanctuary of Wisteria, the landscape couldn’t be better. There was over 150 different classes, workshops, and ceremonies offered. Family friendly camping event with hot showers, hiking trails, swimming, co-op child care, kid village, multimedia shows, social events, parades, jam sessions, merchants, parties, giant puppets, all-night drumming, and a giant bonfire. This year was a combination of wet and wild, hot and relaxing, humor and weather. We merchanted the event so missed many of the workshops, but those we were able to make were fantastic. Vending selection was fabulous as was the food. The end bonfire was ecstatic and fun-filled, the drum circle momentous. It was our son’s first Starwood and found him addicted to drumming. A great place for all. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.


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Brushwood Folklore Center (Sherman, New York)

Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

Brushwood Folklore Center
* * * 8881 Bailey Hill Rd. * Sherman New York * 14781 * 716-761-6750 * *

One of my favorite campsites and festival grounds is Brushwood Folklore Center, nestled in upstate New York. A rustic wooded retreat on over 180 wooded acres outside of Sherman, New York in rural Chautauqua County. A clothing optional campground and resort focused on creativity, community, and spirituality. A great place to relax, become one with nature or with others, or to be part of the fabulous festivals held year round including bonfires, drumming, dancing, swimming, and soaking in the hot tub. The grounds are full of lots of temples, sanctuaries, altars, and sacred spaces where various groups host numerous rites and rituals every year. Family and community run since 1970, Brushwood is a family and community oriented campground.

Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

The campgrounds have seasonal campground sites, co-ed showers, flush toilets, a swimming pool, and two hot tubs. There are three covered pavilions near main camping, lots of outdoor space for workshops, lectures, ceremonies, and performances. An heated indoor lodge for year-round use and heated indoor sleeping areas for over a dozen visitors. Camping fees are only $10 /night (2013 rates) with day passes at $6/day until 6 pm. The heated indoor lodging (dorm-style trailer) is $15/night – all per person. On occasion, potluck dinners are held to promote opportunities for community to meet and share meals together. Home to numerous annual festivals, some of the famous festivals like Starwood in the past, now Summerstar, Sirius Rising, Wellspring, and many other events each year. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

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Whitby Abbey

The Gothic Abbey
The Gothic Abbey, Whitby, England

The Whitby Abbey
* Abbey Lane, Whitby, North Yorkshire – YO22 4JT *

I have always been drawn to the iconography of the Gothic Abbey atop the hills of Whitby, England. It is that vaguely interwoven backdrop of the gothic culture that is drawn to this city that once was home to Bram Stoker and the concept of “Dracula”. This fabulous monastic ruins was founded in 657 of the Common Era by King Oswy of Northumbria as a “double monastery” Anglo-Saxon style masterpiece housing both men and women. Equip with a decent visitor center and museum, one can walk the majestic ruins of this Yorkshire image. The 1220 Early English Gothic style ruins belong to the church of the Benedictine abbey re-founded on its site by the Normans. Embracing the sky with high richly carved pinnacle d east and north end transepts brandishing the marks of war, nature, and history as it is slowly reclaimed by the Earth. Definitely a spectacular monument not to be missed. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.


It was this Abbey, belonging to the Benedictine order, that was left in ruin after the dis-establishment after the Dissolution of the Monasteries under the auspices of King Henry VIII. Now preserved, monitored, and cared for by the English Heritage with its museum housed inside the Cholmley House. One of North Yorkshire’s most memorable monuments, it has been used for numerous photo shoots, films, documentaries, and settings. Whitby was originally called “Streoneshalh” (named after Fort Bay or “Tower Bay”, of the Roman settlement that stood here first) and was home to the first Anglo-Saxon monastery here in 657 C.E. by Oswy (Oswiu), the King of Northumbria at the time. Lady Hilda, the abbess of Hartlepool Abbey, and grand-nieces of the first Christian King of Northumbria, Edwin, was appointed founding abbess of this “Streona’s Settlement”. This was a “double monastery”, managed and occupied by Celtic nuns and monks. It was also the home of the great poet Caedmon. By 867-870, the Danes led successive raids of the monastery, leaving it in ruins for almost 200 years. When Reinfrid, one of WIlliam the Conqueror’s soldiers travelled to this site as a monk, it was called “Prestebi” meaning “white settlement” in Old Norse. He founded a new monastery atop the ruins of St. Peters with two carucates of land, joined by the founder’s brother Serlo de Percy, they began Benedictine rule. In 1540, Henry VIII declared the Dissolution of Monasteries, thereby falling into destruction and ruin. Locals mined stones from its structures, leaving it but a crumbling ruin on the landscape. It however was still used as a landmark by sailors coming into port, and was heavy inspiration for Bram Stoker when writing “Dracula”. In 1914, it was shelled by German battle cruisers by a mis-fire giving it un-repairable considerable damage.

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The Amsterdam Miracle; Begijnhof and Chapel (Holland)

Begijnhof and Chapel
*Zandvoorterweg 78 * 2111 GZ Aerdenhout * Tel. 023-5246229 * Fax. 023-5440081 * info: * website:
Amsterdam, Holland
It was here, at the Begijnhof that a few days before Palm Sunday on March 15, 1345 a sick man in the Kalverstraat took the Sacrament of the sick from the local priest. The man vomited up the host, which was caught in a basin and thrown on the fire where it “appeared” to “float above the flames”. It was an amazing miracle. A woman then stretched out her hand into the flames to seize the host from the fire and put it in a case. She remained unburnt and unharmed from putting her hand in the fire when touching the host. The priest, who was from the Oude Kerk was sent for and took the host back to the “Old Church”. The next day a woman in the house in the Kalverstraat opened the case and saw that the host had magically transported back. She sent for the priest again, and again he took the magic host back to the Old Church. The next day for a third time, the host transported back to the case in the sick man’s room. The miracle of the bread that didn’t burn and wouldn’t leave the house became known widespread. Again, the priest took the host, but this time returning to the Old Church with a solemn procession. The next year the Bishop Jan van Arkel declared this host to be a genuine miracle. Two years later, a church was built on the very spot where the miracle took place. As people joined a procession to take the holy sacrement through the streets of Amsterdam in mid-march to celebrate the Miracle. The Holy Stead Chapel (The Ter Heylighen Stede) was consecrated by the vicar-general of Bishop Jan van Arkel, the Bishop of Utrecht in 1347.

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A common denominator amongst indigenous cultures around the globe is the use of ochre in ritual magic, painting, and funerary customs. You can find this intriguing use amongst the Australian Aborigines, the Native Americans, the Celts, the Egyptians, and even prehistoric Cro Magnon cave dwellers. In many of these societies, only certain individuals were permitted to collect ochre. It was a popular trading item amongst the Native Americans, the Australian Aborigines, the Celts, and other civilizations that has elaborate rituals. The term “Ochre” comes from the Greek “?????, ?khrós” which means “pale”. It is sometimes spelled “ocher”. It most commonly is yellow-gold, light yellow brown, or with a reddish tint for color. Red Ochre, is distinquished in use from regular ochre as it often has more ritual and burial use in various cultures. Some rare forms of brown or purple ochre are popular in ceremonial use as well. It was amongst the very first pigments to be used by humankind as it was a tinted clay embedded with mineral oxides consisting of hydrated iron oxide. The first written use of ochre appeared in 1550 BCE papyrus scrolls in Egypt. The earliest art utilizing ochre belonged to Cro-Magnon cave paintings of Southern Europe dating from 32,000-10,000 B.C.E. Some Neolithic graves suggested they used the ochre symbolically representing a return to the Earth or a form of ritual rebirth and symbolizing the blood of the Great Goddess. The Ancient Picts and the Irish were known to paint themselves “Iron Red” with red ochre. After being ground, it was often mixed with fish oil, animal fats, linseed oil, or oils to make a paint out of it.

In Australia, “The Ochre Pits”, a mine belonging to the Western Arrernte, are a popular place to visit amongst tourists in the Northern Territory, just outside of Alice Springs on the Larapinta Trail. These pits contain numerous layers of multi-colored rocks that the Australian Aborigines would grind up as pigment or paint to utilize in their ceremonies and was a common trade item between neighbouring clans and countries throughout the continent. Ochres from these mines were the choicest known to man – soft, vivid, magical. Some with sheen others without, ranging in color from crimson to gold. The Australian Aborigine would ground the ochre and mix it with Emu fat to use as a bodypaint for ceremonial body adornment.

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The Dreaming and Dreamtime

The Dreaming and “Dreamtime”

As I take a career and life journey’s “Walkabout” around Australia and Europe during the Summer of 2011, during my visit to the Australian National Museum I really for the very first time embrace the concept of the Australian Aborigine “Dreaming” and “Dreamtime” that I was first introduced to during my Anthropology of Religion class I took during my college years at Florida State University. Nevermore did the concept “sink” and “settle” in me more than at this time of my life that I could truly say in a “Stranger in a Strange Land’s” true essence of “grokking” the concept fully and spiritually. “The Dreaming” tells of the journey and actions of the Ancestral Beings when they were creating the natural world. An animistic narrative telling of a “timeless time” of formative creation and perpetual creating. This took place during a mythological era called “Dreamtime”. This is a sacred era when the ancestral Totemic Spirit Beings formed “The Creation”. The philosophy is infinite and demonstrates how the past and present is linked together to prophesize the future. The concept of “Dreaming” is often used to refer to a person’s or group’s set of beliefs and spirituality. The Australian Aborigine might refer to “Shark Dreaming”, “Kangaroo Dreaming”, or “Eucalypus Dreaming” and this would refer to particular natural items or life forms in their resident area or country, laying down patterns of life from which to follow. This creates their mythos, their creation stories, and their folklore as to why certain things have come to be. They believe that every person exists eternally in the Dreaming and represents both the spirit that existed before physical life began and is the spirit that exists after death as a “Spirit Being” or “Spirit Child”. The Spirit Being can only exist physically by being born from a mother, entering the fetus during the fifth month of pregnancy. Upon birth, that child is to become a special custodian of the land and country to which s/he was born, required to learn the stories, lore, and songlines of that particular place. Our natural world, especially that which is within one’s cultural heritage, race, and species, is what provides the link between the people and “The Dreaming”. The Act of Dreaming and the stories that are within them carry the truth from the past, blended together with the code for the Law, to operate and facilitate the present. Every story within “The Dreaming” weaved as creation through the “Milky Way” is a complete long complex tale, many of which discuss consequences and our future being. During the Dreamtime, the Australian Aborigines believed that the creators were both men and women who took on spiritual forms. These “cultural heroes and heroines” sometimes defined as spirits, other times as “God/desses”, would travel across a formless land, create sacred sites and significant places of interest during their travels weaving story and songlines that would guide the spirit beings they birthed in Creation. They joined together with various spirits to create the land, the waterways, the geographical features of the land, the skies, the seas, the plants, the animals, the stones, and all the other wo/men that exist. Every event that takes place would leave a record in the land. To the Dharawal, “Biami” the Great Spirit, went up into the skies to watch over their people and to make sure they obeyed his rules. Spirits habitating in waterholes, caves, and other spirit places to watch over or affect those people that lived near them. This was one of the reasons that another tribe would not conquer tribal lands for doing so would place them in a land full of strange and potentially hostile spirits. The Australian Aborigines believed in both good and evil spirits they called “Goonges”. Children would be warned not to go to certain areas for the “goonge will get them”. Same for the oceans, for they too contained spirits underneath the waters and explained deaths at sea, getting caught in a rip current, or attacks by various sea creatures. The Creators, or the Ancestral Spirits, were shape-changers who were half-human, both male and female, who used the powers, great wisdom, and intentions to create all of being. They lived and retired in the sky clouds. The Aborigine believed that every living creature were created by the Creators as “spirit-children” and/or “spirit animals” during the Dreamtime and were assigned to live in particular spirit places. They believed that their own birth was the result of a spirit child entering into the mother’s body and was brought into being during conception by the specific actions or designs of the creators to make spirit children in the Dreamtime. They also believed that after death their spirit would return to the spirit-place to await rebirth. It was in Dreamtime that the Creators and ancestral spirits created the world which we all live. The Australian aborigines embrace all of life and the phenemena that affects if as part of the vast and complex system of relationships that go back to the original acnestral Totemic Spirits of the Dreaming. The Dreaming establishes a culture’s and regional country’s laws, taboos, structures, and history in order to ensure the continuity of life and land in that area. Breaking these cause destruction to the areas that one’s spirit is meant to guard or caretake.

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Milky Way and the Crocodile Story

The Milky Way and Crocodile Story

Upon wandering around the Australian National Museum in Canberra of the Australian Capital Territory, I discovered this fine bark painting. This unique Aboriginal folklore masterpiece consists of a application of ochres and polymer on bark with wooden restrainers attached to its rear. It was done in the 1980’s by Galuma Wirrpanda of the Aboriginal Manggalili clan in the Baniyala lands of the Northern Territory of Australia. It is the painting that tells the story about the Milky Way and the Crocodile according to Aboriginal myth. This painting shows the “milnguya” or “Milky Way” as a river. A constellation in the Milky Way is seen as “The Crocodile” which is surrounded by stars that represent the deceased members of the Aboriginal Manggalili clan. The overturned canoe and paddles refer to the drowned ancestors of the Munuminya and Yikawanga who found their way to the Milky Way by following string made from the fur of the possum Marrngu.

This mythos was also very sacred to the Ancient Maya. Displayed is the crocodile mouth in the Milky Way, representing a dark rift called the “Xibalba” or “The Underworld”. It has similarities to that which the Aboriginal Australians and the Mayans who noticed it and embedded into their lore as well. Each night, this constellation changes its orientation causing the Milky Way to become north/south oriented on some nights and then on others it alternates to east and west. This relates to Aboriginal creation stories. It is told that the date of present creation took place on August 13, 3114 B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) On this date, the hearth was laid out – three stars from Orion were put in place by the Gods. During Mid-August each year, the Milky Way would be right overhead and this change in orientation would be highly notable. It was on February 5, 3112 B.C.E., two years after the hearth was created, that the cosmic tree of creation was lifted up to the heavens. On the 5th of February every year the Milky Way would also align directly overhead showing changes that is opposite to the mid-August alignment). Many believe that the sky is seen as a re-enactment of creation. As the constellations move, so do the cycle of stories from dusk to dawn. When the Milky Way is aligned to the north and south, it represents the world tree. As it turns to east and west, it becomes the crocodile tree that manifests as a canoe carrying the maize Gods across the sky in the Mayan Myth.

Sources cited:

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Pukamani Poles

Pukamani Poles

The Australian Aborigine “Tiwi” people of the Bathurst and Melville Islands of the Northern Territories have symbollic material cultural artifacts littering their landscape similar to the use of headstones or grave markings in Western culture. These are called “Pukamani Poles” and represent individual people who have passed away incorporating a mourning process into their state of being from their birth, life, death, and rebirth. Posts with shapes of heads are believed to be female, while those with projecting arms represent males. While they are interpreted as “mortuary poles” to Westerners, they are not called as such by the Aborigine who make them. One of the best displays of these poles can be found at the National Museum of Australia. Intricate ceremonies surround the poles in Tiwi culture especially the public “Pukumani Ceremony” or “Mortuary Ceremony” which is done for burial including singing, dancing, and the creation of these specially carved poles called tutini and tungas and arm bands. The poles are made from the trunk of ironwood trees, carved and decorated to celebrate the deceased’s life and spiritual journey. The ceremony is performed to ensure that the spirit of the deceased goes from the living world into the spirit world. It is also seen as a forum for artistic expression through song, dance, sculpture, and body painting which is held 6 months after the deceased has been buried. The Tiwi believe that the deceased’s existence in the living world is not finished until the completion of the ceremony and is seen as the climax of the series of ceremonies following the burial of the dead. The poles are placed around the burial site of the deceased during the ceremony and represent the status the deceased had while living. Participants in the ceremony are painted with natural ochres utilizing many different designs that transforms the dancers and provides protection against recognition by the spirit of the deceased. Kin of the deceased – the mother, father, siblings, and widow must dance and includes the last wailing notes of the death song, then the grave is deserted and the burial pole is allowed to deteriorate. The practice was believed to come about from the time when all things were immortal until the Goddess “Wai-ai” broke the law causing the death of her son Jinaini. The God Purakapali, his father, through mourning, created the first pukamani ceremony while he wept and decreed from then on anyone who died would follow his son into the world of the spirits. He was joined by the great bird man “Tokampini” and they sculpted the first of the great painted poles at a burial place near the sea. They created dances, songs, and symbols that were painted on this pole transmitting this to all the people around to see. This assures life after death and permits the deceased to reach the world of spirits where he will live forever.

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Military Casts Wicca in the Shadows

Saturday, August 14th, 2004

Military casts Wicca in the shadows

moved from (an area of our site being redirected here) as a historical archive on the Wiccan religion.
reprinted from:

Posted on Thu, Aug. 12, 2004

As members serve their country, they also battle the military to accept their faith

By Randy Myers


After U.S. military personnel pelted American Wiccan servicemen and servicewomen in Iraq with bottles and rocks as they worshipped in a sacred circle, the Pentagon turned to Patrick McCollum of Moraga.

The chaplain, a national expert on the earth-based Wicca religion, conjured a little Wicca 101 for the troops.

Most Americans glean their Wicca knowledge from TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “Charmed,” with their witches and curses, good and evil. Wiccan worship focuses on respect for the earth and its inhabitants with a “do no harm” credo.

“Education is the single most powerful tool,” in dealing with misunderstandings in the military, McCollum said.

Wiccans represent a small fraction of the military, roughly 1,500 among 1.4 million active personnel, but the Pentagon wants to accommodate their faith. The military trains chaplains to meet the religious needs of all service members without compromising their own religious beliefs, said Col. Richard Hum, executive director of the Armed Forces Chaplains Board at the Defense Department.

That’s where McCollum and a few other Wiccans come in as on-call Pentagon advisers. The military has sought his advice three or four times since he started after Sept. 11, 2001, he said.

An advisory team became a Pentagon priority when Wiccan military personnel reported problems while conducting rites and religious activities.

Loye Pourner, Travis Air Force Base Wiccan Lay Leader, listens to Wiccan members talk about their faith during an informational meeting while Wiccan ritual objects sit on a table in the foreground on Monday at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield. (Deborah Coleman)

Loye Pourner’s dog tags show the word “Wicca” printed on the last line. (Deborah Coleman)

The Wiccans said that some chaplains were trying to convert them and that commanding officers made it difficult to practice, McCollum said.

Wiccans also have been pressuring the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow a Wiccan emblem, most likely the pentacle, for armed forces burial headstones or markers. Mike Nacincik of Veterans Affairs, said the department authorizes 38 emblems, including one for atheists, but none for Wiccans.

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Elizabeth Bathory the Blood Countess

Elizabeth Bathory the Blood Queen

* August 7, 1560 – August 21, 1614 *

Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed was a late 16th century Hungarian countess who became legend for her mass serial murders of her servants after which she would bathe in their virgin blood in order to retain her beauty and youth. (She was also known as the “Blood Countess”, “Countess Dracula”, or the “Blood Queen” and more accurately as Báthory Erzsébet in Hungarian and Alžbeta Bátoriová in Slovak) She, along with four collaborators, were accused of killing over 650 victims who were primary young female girl servants, but was only convicted for 80 of them, involving no trial or conviction. She’s become the focus of vampire myth and legend, high in popularity with Vlad III the Impaler of Wallachia whom Bram Stoker’s Dracula is based.

She was born to George and Anna Bathory in 1560 raised at the Ecsed Castle with links to the Voivod family of Transylvania. She was also the niece of Stefan Bathory, former King of Poland and Duke of Transylvania. She was raised very literate and scholarly, having been fluent with Latin, Greek, and German as well as being obsessed with the study of science and astronomy. She was a very knowledgable woman who often intervened on behalf of destitute women. In 1575 she wed Ferenc Nadasdy, potentially as a political arrangement, in the little palace of Varanno. They then moved to Nadasdy Castle in Sarvar, spending much of her time alone while her husband studied in Vienna as well as when in 1578 he became the chief commander of the Hungaran Troops during the war against the Ottamans. Her husband gifted her the Csejte Castle that is located in the Little Carpathians near Trencsen which came with a country house and 17 adjacent villages, agricultural lands, and outcrops of the Little Carpathians. While he was away at war, she managed the castle and estate affairs which involved providing food, sustainability, and medical care for the Hungarian and Slovak peasants. She had to defend her husband’s estates that were on the route to Vienna during the height of the Long War which lasted from 1593 to 1606. This was a difficult feat as the castle and village previously had been plundered by the Ottamans. In 1585 she gave birh to her daughter Anna, then a second daughter named Ursula, and finally a son Tomas – both of whom died at a young age. In 1594 she gave birth to Katherine, then a son Paul in 1597, and finally Miklos. Her husband died in battle at the ripe age of 47 in 1604 C.E. It was shortly after his death that the local church and villagers began to complain about atrocities purportedly done by Elizabeth. Rumor had it that one of her handmaidens had accidentally cut herself and splattered blood on the countess. As the countess wiped off the blood she was impressed with the fact her skin looked younger, lighter, and rejuvenated beneath it. It was rumored then that she went on a murder spree killing her servants and bathing in their blood to become younger. It took the Hungarian authorities some time to respond and investigate the accusations. By 1610 she was under investigation of murder. Testimonies from over 300 witnesses it was proposed she had killed mainly the adolescent daughters of local peasants lured to work in the castle as maidservants, then she moved on to killing daughters of lesser gentry who were sent to the castle to learn courtly etiquette, and many others were believed to have been abducted with estimates of over 650 victims. Even with testimonials and minimal evidence, the government bypassed a trial and execution for fear of the public scandal it would cause the noble family (who at the time was ruling Transylvania) and would cause her property to become siezed by the crown. They debated sending her to a nunnery but realized she needed to be under strict house arrest and released King Matthias’ debt to her. December 1610, the authorities arrested Bathory and four of her servants who were believed to be accomplices. They reportedly only found one girl dead, one girl dying, and another girl wounded with others locked up. King Matthias requested the death sentence for her, but again, for fear of affecting the noble family’s reputation, was dismissed. Her associates were tried and punished in 1611 even though Bathory did not appear at the trial. Dorota Semtész, Ilona Jó, and János Újváry were found guilty and served the death penality by having their fingers ripped from their hands before being burnt at the stake. Janos was beheaded before burnt at the stake as he was deemed least guilty. Katarína Benická was sentenced to life imprisonment as was only accused of dominating and bullying the other women. After these trials, Elizabeth was placed under house arrest and walled up in a set of rooms in the Csejte Castle of Slovakia where she remained for four years until she died. She was discovered dead on August 21, 1614 after several plates of food were discovered untouched. She was buried in the castle’s churchyard but after villager outcry she was moved to Ecsed interred at the Bathory family crypt.


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The Eight Fold Path

© 1986-1990; 1990-2000; 2001-2010; 2011: McGowan. Edited and adapted earlier versions for use in training a magical apprentice rite/workshop on Monday, 16 August 2010. No portion of this text may be copied or reproduced without permission from author:

The Eightfold Path to Altered States of Consciousness

In Ritual or spellcraft, the ritualist/magician/witch/Druid needs to incorporate the altered states of consciousness in order to tap into a higher consciousness and the field of energy from which to do magical workings. This is also the method utilized for connecting with otherworldly entities on their levels of existence – whether that be the otherworld, the faerie world, the spirit realm, ancestral realm, or Realm of Deities. The more elements that can be implemented for altered consciousness from the 8 fold path, the stronger your altered state of consciousness will become, and the stronger, more dramatic, and serious the working will be. Including all 8 forms of the Eight Fold Path will ensure complete success with your working – however, sometimes it is not logistically possible to include all 8.

By mastering your state of consciousness at will with intent helps focalize the energy and controls the magical current, opening communication with Deity and entities, and finding successful results. Altering one’s consciousness is not always safe, so one needs to be aware of what they are doing, the process by which they are operating within, and what methodology they utilize to achieve various results. It is the means to achieving Prana, Mana, or the Magical Life Force.


“Path of Breath” – The first of the Eightfold Path is accomplished by altering state of consciousness through specific forms of breathing. This is often achieved by emptying the mind, embracing a state of stillness, encompassing a state of serenity, and inducing a state of tranquility. Implementation of visualization, focused thought, projection, intention, concentration of intention, and trance work are all elements of this path. The highest point in the first path is projection of the astral body.


The second of the the Eightfold Path is the creation of sacred space and by doing deliberate intentional activities imbued with symbology, meaning, and projection. By creating a space in which to do the sacred, you achieve altering a point in time, space, and continuum. When you utilize symbols, spells, chants, tools, amulets, talismans, and mantras – it creates focus, rhythm, rhyme, replication, and circulates the energy achieved within and without.


The third of the Eightfold Path is by incorporating rhythmic repetitive motions, dancing, drumming, or music making. Dancing repetitively or wildly, ecstatically, or frantic rhythmic moving or motion of the body, spirit, and/or soul creates trance-like states, altered states of consciousness, and chemical/physical changes in the body, mind, and spirit. Circle dances, spiral dances, cone of power raising, drum circle dances, etc. will circulate, build up, and propel energy within and without.


The fourth of the Eightfold Path is accomplished by placing the physical body into an extreme state of deprivation, deprival, or change of environment from the usual comfort zone. This can include fasting, sensory deprivation, purification ordeals, etc. Some physical environments that can induce these atmospheres are sweat lodges, saunas, hot springs, isolation tanks, and/or pure darkness. By deprivation, the physical and mental body will react with its own energy fields creating visions, omens, oracles, prophecies, and hallucinations. The mind will generate images, ideas, thoughts, and processes that will assist the body to survive or transition.


The fifth of the Eightfold Path is communing with Spirits or entities that can include a “chemical” nature that poisons or possesses the physical body and mental state of the brain. Utilizing the “Spirits” or entities of plants and substances to chemically alter the mind/body into a state of consciousness. Drugs, alcohol, ethnobotanical plants with shamanic side effects are common instruments for this alteration. This path is onne of the most notorious instant methods for altering the state of consciousness, especially when one has difficultly doing it by means of their physical body without the introduction of a separate substance/spirit into the body. One needs to have a good relationship (or develop one) with the plant or spirit in question. Every plant, alcohol, or drug has a “spirit” – this is why alcohol is often referred to as “spirits”. It has a consciousness and by blending together that spirit with yours, will alter the state to the consciousness one seeks. This can include food and drink – as anything entering into the body alters its chemical and biological state. Cakes and Ale, Waters of Life, hosts, Body & Blood of Christ, sacrements, etc are common found types of this path in most religions. This can also include incense, oils, scents, and fragrances that can alter one’s being by the senses. Read my article on “Spirits” of Alcohol here:


The sixth path is the Path of the Flesh or Sexual Magic / Tantra / Love / Lust. The utilization of “sexual energy” as a means to open one’s self to the spirits. Sexual energy, generated alone or with a partner, raises the strongest forms of magical power, contact with prana, mana, the akh, the ba, the ka, and instantly alters the state of consciousness by a natural means of chemicals with reaction in the body that can even overpower the fifth path of the plant or altergen. This is accomplished with masturbation, Sexual thought, Sexual play or stimulation, Intercourse and/or interaction with others that can introduce this state instantly. This is often accomplished in ritual with Sex Magic, The Great Rite, Tantra, etc. The rituals of love and lust can also tap this energy and be embraced to alter the state of consciousness with which to connect to spirits, Deities, the Otherworld, and prana.


The seventh path is by going through an ordeal, a tragedy, embracing or experiencing pain or physical/emotional trauma. This, like chemicals or spirits, sex or deprivation, chemically and physically alters the mind, body, and spirit and launches a state of altered consciousness. By embracing this altered state – it becomes easier to focus that manifestation of power into projected will to focus on what is willed to be achieved. The intentional or careful use of pain to place the body into an altered state of consciousness is the most common ordeal one can manifest. Pain and endurance, trials, or challenges will effect change in state sometimes as powerfully equal as the path of the flesh or sex. This is often done in ritual or ceremony by means of flagellation, BDSM, tattooing, blood-runes carved into the flesh, the Sundance, cutting, wounding, or self infliction.


The final path of the Eight is Possession, Evocation, or allowing oneself to be ridden like a horse. This is the intentional act of permitting direct spirit-possession to bring Deities or spirts into the body for a short period of time. This can also be the most dangerous form of altering one’s consciousness. Some individuals are wired to do this, others are not. Much study and focus must be achieved before embracing this method.

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Prana, Mana, The Life Force

Spirit Force, Life Force, The Force, Mana, Prana, Spiritual Energy

Many see this as the all creating and destroying eternal force in the universe from which all life – whether biological or spirit comes from or departs to. Some call it the Creator, some see it as above any Creator or God/desses. Some call it a Supreme Being, others call it the Universe. Some call it “Energy” while others call it “Magic”. Some give it a consciousness while others see it as a energy field. Every religion, cult, belief system, form of spirituality and even alternative medicinal practices embrace and address it. It is seen as a variety of phenomena that is observed or experienced by some observers in a particular faith, spirituality, or religion. It is seen as the “energy” that is the life force that flows within and between all things. It is Life. It is the “breath of life”. It is seen as the continuum that unites body with the mind and spirit. It is what makes a animal be “alive”, or a plant “grow”, or a lightning bolt scream across the sky. It is the force behind gravity, science, and magic. Some see it as “vitality” or “vitalism”, “subtle bodies”, “qi”, “prana”, “mana”, or “kundalini”. Some say you can see this energy force as “vibrations”, “rays of light”, “fields”, or “auras”. It is the web of life that connects all life together. PRANA is the Sanskrit term for “vital life”. It comes from the roots “pra” meaning “to fill” and Latin “plenus” meaning “full”. It is seen as one of the five organs of vitality or sensation, as “breath”, “speech”, “sight”, “hearing”, and “thought”. It is the notion of the vital life sustaining force of all life and vital energy. Mana as a Oceanic term for the impersonal force or quality that lives within animals and inanimate objects. It is seen as the “stuff of which magic is formed” as well as the substance from which souls are made.

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