Category Archives: Muses

Magic Transistor

(Uknown). Nagarjuna and Aryadeva as Two Great Indian Buddhist Scholastics. 1800s.

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Tea at Trianon: Catherine of Braganza

Thank you profusely to Tea at Trianon. You have provided quite a morsel of antiquity which delves into the unknown life of our Queen of tea!  She is after all credited with popularizing tea in the Western domain. I put my pinky up to this Saint of tea indeed.

No matter what they say about our Queen?  She is noble and auspicious. She being the pioneer of tea and teacups!  Never mind the bawdy and the unbearable, she brought calm and  the fortissimo of teas, their  bright light of medicinal and celestial botany.

I spoke with Guido Cattolica, of  the only Tuscan tea gardens and his family brought the earliest camellias to Italy. We wondered about those delightful antique camellias in his garden.  Had Queen Catharine cried a few tears into those blushing blossoms?  Her life seems very much as I feel today.  A stranger drinking tea inside of a lack luster mad whale!

Alas?  Keep Calm! Drink tea.  I say, she is the embodiment of long-suffering with the diamond heart which grew from her tea tears. Thanks for this article reposting.  A cup of tea to cheer us on amongst the doldrums of  chicanery.

Queen Catharine Braganza.

I cannot help but being filled with pity when I think of Catherine of Braganza (1638-1705), the young Portuguese princess who became the bride of the profligate Charles II. She was a stranger in a strange land where she could barely speak the language and where her religion was outlawed. Raised in a convent and in a pious, loving family, Catherinesuddenly found herself in the midst of a bawdy and dissolute court, where she was the target for anti-Catholic bigotry. Her greatest misfortune was that she fell in love with her husband during the first halcyon weeks of their marriage. He appeared to be drawn to her as well. After Charles met Catherine he wrote to his sister Minette:

Her face is not so exactly as to be called a beauty, though her eyes are excellent good, and nothing in her face that in the least degree can disgust one. On the contrary, she hath as much agreeableness in her looks as I ever saw, and if I have any skill in physiognomy, which I think I have, she must be as good a woman as ever was born. You will wonder to see how well we are acquainted already; in a word, I think myself very happy, for I am confident our two humours will agree very well together.

How extremely painful it must have been for Catherine to discover that there were other women in her husband’s life. How difficult to have to see Charles with Barbara Castlemaine, with whom the king was besotted, and who was carrying his child when he married Catherine. She could not go home, or to a convent or anywhere. She had to stay and learn to live with it.

Catherine was also deprived of motherhood, with three miscarriages. She found consolation in her faith. Although Charles continued to be unfaithful, having children with other women, he respected Catherine’s unwavering religious convictions, and defended her whenever she was attacked.

As one article says:

Of course life was not all bleakness and misery for Catherine. Although her difficulties with the language persisted, as time went on the once rigidly formal Portuguese Infanta mellowed and began to enjoy some of the more innocent pleasures of the court. She loved to play cards and shocked devout Protestants by playing on Sundays. She enjoyed dancing and took great delight in organising masques. She had a great love for the countryside and picnics, fishing and archery were also favourite pastimes. In a far cry from her convent-days the newly liberated Catherine displayed a fondness for the recent trend of court ladies wearing men’s clothing, which we are told, ‘showed off her pretty, neat legs and ankles’; and she was even reported to have considered leading the way in wearing shorter dresses, which would show off her feet. In 1670, on a trip to Audley End with her ladies-in-waiting, the once chronically shy Catherine attended a country fair disguised as a village maiden, but was soon discovered and, due to the large crowds, forced to make a hasty retreat. Although she was never to wield much influence at court the poet Edmund Waller credited her with making tea a fashionable drink amongst courtiers. And when in 1664 her favourite painter, Jacob Huysmans a Dutch Catholic, painted her as St Catherine, it promptly set a trend among court ladies.

Tea had already been introduced to England but Catherine helped to make it popular.

Although [Catherine] adopted English fashions, she continued to prefer the cuisine of her native Portugal – including tea. Soon her taste for tea had caused a fad at the royal court. This then spread to aristocratic circles and then to the wealthier classes. In 1663 the poet and politician Edmund Waller wrote a poem in honour of the queen for her birthday:

  • Venus her Myrtle, Phoebus has his bays;
  • Tea both excels, which she vouchsafes to praise.
  • The best of Queens, the best of herbs, we owe
  • To that bold nation which the way did show
  • To the fair region where the sun doth rise,
  • Whose rich productions we so justly prize.
  • The Muse’s friend, tea does our fancy aid,
  • Regress those vapours which the head invade,
  • And keep the palace of the soul serene,
  • Fit on her birthday to salute the Queen.

Catherine had the consolation of seeing her husband become a Catholic on his deathbed. After the overthrow of her brother-in-law James II, she returned to Portugal in 1692. She was active in politics, becoming the regent for her brother Peter II in the years before her death in 1705.

She who was often overlooked in life continues to be neglected by historians. According to writer Heidi Murphy:

  • In contrast to Charles II’s mistresses there are precious few biographies devoted to his wife. Little of her private correspondence remains but an examination of those letters that are available show her to have been, in contrast to her public image, a pragmatic and astute woman, keenly aware of the difficulties of her position. Her husband’s mistresses caused her endless grief and humiliation, but as her friendship with Monmouth shows she bore no grudges against his numerous children, and to some she proved a kind and loving friend (up until the time of Catherine’s death Nell Gwyn’s son, the Duke of St Albans, is reported to have received an allowance from her own income).
  • It was on her return to Portugal amongst people who valued and supported her that she finally flourished. An exploration of her regency reveals her to have been a strong leader, capable and firm, a figure that her once dismissive courtiers would scarcely have recognised. In 1687, with the benefit of hindsight Catherine described her role as Queen of England, as being a sacrifice, ‘solely for the advantage of Portugal’. It is fitting then that in contrast to England, where the Merry Monarch and his numerous mistresses continue to capture the imagination, in Portugal the name Catherine of Braganza ‘is held in the highest veneration to the present day’.


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Tea at Trianon: Catherine of Braganza.

Godammit, I’m Mad! » Religion and the Yoruba according to Sister Wolf.

I can’t wait for my hate fans to eat up my new passion, which is reading the angry Sister Wolf’s blog called Godammit I’m Mad! I am so entertained, refreshed and my soul is strangely exfoliated and the epidermal existence of my everlasting “CAUL”  is nourished.

The Caul, I was so-called born with, according to my father, Voodoo Daddy. 

Is there a “Cauler-ID” for mystical face veils.  What the hell is she talking about!  Well, A caul is a thin membrane of transparent skin that is shimmering like star stuff.   So-called, once in a blue moon babies are born with.  The birth of a child with a caul is a sigil that your child might be able to possess psychic abilities :according to local legends in New Orleans and others.  A folk legend, that just might  originate in Africa and the threads of voodoo practices, brought to America by the earliest Africans.

A right-wing henchman might call it an ET jelly you put, when you put those “Please behave and act normal electrodes on your temples!  What I find so interesting about right-wing angry people is that ?  They have a sort of “imagination cloud computing”  domain which incorporates and encompasses all issues which just don’t fit into their allopathic search and destroy algorhymes.  This category is the Science Fiction anything goes, as long as it’s kept in outer space.  It’s ok if it’s wierd and kinky because it’s just Science Fiction and I can keep all my “don’t make sense” emotions and universal questions about life there!   The lovely banished untouchable deliciousness of that icloud chocolate space box!   Just like I need to work out my abs?  They need to work out their imaginations, and take a whorl on the magical mystery tour of the Yoruba’s!  It opens of my mind and thank you Sister Wolf!

But, for us magically romantic sods?  A mystical caul, is in olden New Orleans’ days: A sign that your child will be touched by the spiritual realms and just know shit for no reason, without any particular social skills.  It’s kind of like a pesticide for warding off paranoid smiling people!  The smiling people that fear, you might say something knowing and make them VERY uncomfortable.  My former boss, she once said to me.  ” You know Fumiko?  You scare people, you know?  You don’t realize it but you seem to just know things that you don’t realize that you know or what they are connected to and this scares people”  I promptly said that “As long as it scares you and keeps you as far away from me as possible and that I get a bigger pay check?  You can call me a Voodoo baby” 

She laughed and believe me, you needed a magical potion to keep this women from beginning to chomp on your elbow or eat your eyeballs.  There is no scarier revenge of the bitten, as my once upon a time Lady Mobster Boss!  All, I can say is that Terrence Stamp said that perhaps’ he would visit us and have a spot’ of tea…. when he had a bit more courage and some black widow repellant” !  I have to admit, I was always a bit jealous of her power to incinerate everyone’s egos.  But, Sister Wolf might hunt me down and scourge me, but it will be worth it!  Her blog is so great and I love her mind. She is amazing.  I could never articulate the ideology of international “ancestor worship” as she is able to here.  Her blog in general is capital “R” for Ranting, galloping marvelous. You know when people tell “their” truths?  It is so very necessary and cosmic. It has a cathartic omnipotent Zen potion beyond compare.  So Thank you Sister Wolf!  A great compliment to my at times messy soul blog which rambles in no amoeba direction as of late.  I know she at heart is a deeply romantic soul with very thick armor!  She will need it, in her blazing trails into the bullshit of life that she reports, nothing but her truths and that takes a lot of guts. Thank you Sister Wolf for “not allowing” me to reprint this great piece on the Yoruba religion. 

© Jack Bell GalleryIn the ever-changing world of the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria, one thing that remains consistent is a close connection with their ancestors. The ancestral spirits of the Yoruba are much more than just dead relatives, they play an active role in the daily life of the living. They are sought out for protection and guidance, and are believed to possess the ability to punish those who have forgotten their familial ties. While there are numerous ways the ancestors communicate with the living, one of the most unique is their manifestation on earth in the form of masked spirits known as Egungun.The Yoruba believe that the transition from the realm of the living to the abode of the dead is not finite. It is just part of what African author Wole Soyinka describes as the “cyclical reality” of the “Yoruba world-view”. Each person comes to this life from the world of the unborn, through the “abyss of transition.” And each will leave again through this archetypal realm, as they make they way to the world of the ancestors.When a child comes into this world, he or she is said to carry with them aspects of a former ancestor who is reborn in the child. This is not to say they are the ancestor reincarnate, but that there are certain features of their personality and elements of inborn knowledge that come from a previous relative. When the time comes to leave this earth, it is not the end of their existence either. Yoruba scholar Bòlaji Idowu explains: “Death is not the end of life. It is only a means whereby the present earthly existence is changed for another. After death, therefore, man passes into a ‘life beyond’ which is called Èhìn-ÃŒwà —‘After-Life’”To be remembered is to be kept alive; to remain within the Sasa period, which is the realm of the living, the unborn and the ancestors.Once an ancestor has been forgotten, they simply slip into the vast expanse of the Zamani, where the gods, divinities and spirits dwell. As long as an ancestor remains within the Sasa period, they have the ability to help those here on earth, because the living-dead are bilingual: they speak the language of men, with whom they lived until ‘recently’; and they speak the language of the spirits and of God, to Whom they are drawing nearer ontologically. In exchange for being ritually remembered, the living-dead watch over the family and can be contacted for advice and guidance.

via Godammit, I’m Mad! » Religion.


Mardi: Herbal-WiseMugwort has a long standing history as an enhancer of psychic powers.  It also has other properties that can be helpful when one is in need of strength, stamina and healing.  Unlike many other herbs, mugwort’s uses seem to be relatively well agreed upon by the different magickal disciplines.In Europe old wives, who were often the wise women of their towns and villages, used mugwort to aid their psychic abilities.  A weak tisane made from the leaves was sweetened with honey and drunk before reading cards, scrying or casting lots.  Note that mugwort is not recommended for ingestion when one is pregnant or nursing.  The same infusion, without honey, was used to “wash” cards, crystal balls, mirrors and runes.  A pillow stuffed with dried mugwort was thought to improve psychic power.Mugwort is said to improve stamina and strength if sprinkled in a person’s shoes.  While this is done in hoodoo with no particular ritual, Scott Cunningham tells us that the best results will be achieved if the mugwort is picked before sunrise while uttering the words tollam te Artemisia, ne lassus sim in via.In hoodoo, root workers burn mugwort on charcoal with frankincense or copal to encourage the aid of benevolent spirits.  Similarly, Wiccans burn mugwort with sandalwood to increase the efficacy of vision quests and psychic readings.Catherine Yronwode of the Lucky Mojo Curio Co. says that a red flannel mojo bag filled with mugwort, comfrey root and a St. Christopher medal will protect long-distance travelers not only from injury and illness but also from pesky annoyances like cancelled flights and lost luggage.In eastern countries, particularly China and Japan, mugwort is considered curative.  Incense made with mugwort was used by the Ainu people to expel disease, as the spirits who caused illness were repulsed by the smell.  Carrying mugwort on one’s person was also a balm for a myriad of ills, from headaches to insanity.  Bonne chance ~Header: Untitled illustration by Olaf Hajek

via HoodooQ: February 2012.

Ivy on the Path: Rosmertas Altar


Bronzed flowers on the vine
harvest soaking in the brine
Rosmerta of mead and heather wine
Abundance feast upon the shrine
Great Provider, oh divine
Little Rhyme for Rosmerta, by Angelina Nelson-J

Ivy on the Path: Rosmertas Altar.


Trias Thaumaturga: January 2012

Saint Brigids Eve: The Threshold RitualThe popular customs for Saint Brigids Eve seem to have varied a great deal between different parts of the country. Another ritual which took place throughout Ireland was the threshold rite in which Saint Brigid would be symbolically admitted to bless the family home. In the early 1940s, the Irish Folklore Commission undertook a survey of popular traditions practiced in honour of Saint Brigid. An t-Athair Sean O Duinn, OSB, has collected and translated a number of the IFC transcripts in his book The Rites of Brigid – Goddess and Saint. The basic elements of the threshold rite were that the family would gather together to make a special meal of mashed potatoes, rushes would be gathered to make Saint Brigids crosses, and then someone would symbolically take the role of Saint Brigid, knocking at the door and asking 3 times to be admitted. The door dialogue usually included the phrases Go down on your knees and let Holy Brigid enter to which those inside would reply She is welcome; she is welcome. There was a link between the food and the rushes in that the rushes had to be brought in by the person playing the role of Brigid and placed under the pot of potatoes. After the supper the family would then make crosses from the rushes. An t-Athair O Duinn draws parallels between this threshold ritual and some of the liturgical rites found in the great cathedrals of Europe and the Roman rite of dedication of a church.He ends the accounts of the threshold rite with a report from County Leitrim where the door dialogue had fallen into disuse but where the elements of the rushes and the food were retained. The respondent to the Folklore Commission survey in 1942 described the making of the crosses in exclusively Christian terms:On the evening of the feast, a bunch of rushes is cut, and placed under the table. After the supper, the cross is made. The cross I always make is the rush cross, and to make this properly you require 49 rushes. One of these is unbroken and the other 48 bent and form the 4 sides of the cross. The unbroken rush represents Jesus Christ and the twelve on each side represent the 12 Apostles. St Brigid always had great devotion to Jesus Christ and the 12 Apostles and hence the number of rushes…When the cross was made, the head of the house went round the house with it and placed it in every window and door round the house and said at each entrance or window: St Brigid, save us from all fever, famine and fireSean O Duinn, OSB, The Rites of Brigid – Goddess and Saint, Columba Press, 2005 119-120.

via Trias Thaumaturga: January 2012.

Brigits Sparkling Flame: CD: Medieval Office for St. Brigit: Plainsong Chant

2, 2008CD: Medieval Office for St. Brigit: Plainsong ChantFlame of Ireland: Medieval Irish Plainchant, An Office for St. Brigit, by Canty.Canty is the female half of Scotlands Capella Nova, a “professional vocal ensemble specialising in early medieval and renaissance and contemporary music”. Canty was founded in 1998 by Rebecca Tavener to celebrate the 900th anniversary of Hildegard of Bingen. from the Capella Nova website:Our programme mostly consists of material for the Office of Matins for the Feast of St Brigit. Matins was the longest and most entertaining of the Offices including a series of nine lections and responsories focussing on the life and attributes of the saint. The full Office would probably be more than two hours in length, so we present a formal, but truncated, version which includes the original lections, but cuts nine of the ten Psalms which would have been sung. The one remaining Psalm is the Venite which forms a delightful structure with its antiphon Invitatory, alternately whole or in part, appearing between each verse…The date of the manuscript might have tempted us to perform this material using late-Medieval techniques such as applied measures and improvised harmonies. We have steadfastly resisted doing this, wishing to present the Office in a much more archaic manner, befitting the great antiquity of the sources of the Brigit legends……Manuscript 80, from the library of Trinity College Dublin, is the main source relied upon for this recording. It is a fifteenth-century noted breviary, i.e., one which includes notation for the chant melodies. Although we do not know the details of its provenance, it was compiled probably in the fifteenth century and is believed to have been used in the parish of Kilmoone, Co- Meath, from at least 1470 until 1604…

via Brigits Sparkling Flame: CD: Medieval Office for St. Brigit: Plainsong Chant.

Edgar Allen Poe

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