sabato 15 giugno 2019

Aquae Sulis - The Celtic heart of Roman Britain



In Southern England we can find a real historical and architectural jewel, set in the green English countryside: the town of Bath. We are in Somerset - a region that, as we have already seen speaking of Glastonbury, stands out for the number of sites of esoteric interest on its territory.

The name of Bath derives, of course, from "baths", in fact this place was an important thermal establishment during the Roman occupation. But it would be simplistic to classify it only as such, as it was also a place of worship for the Celts in the first place and for the Romans later.

The sacred waters, considered miraculous, originate from the subsoil: the millenary rains, poured over the centuries on the Mendip Hills, penetrated into the calcareous layers of the soil where, in depth, they reached a temperature of about 96 ° C. The water pressure, overheated, brought the underground watercourse back to the surface, giving rise to its famous source: a natural pool, emerald in color and with crimson grinding of iron, wrapped in the fumes of steam raised in the icy winter air ... There is no doubt as to why the people of that time considered this wonder to be the work of the Gods.

Studies show that the source has been in use for at least 10,000 years, but we have the first concrete evidence with the arrival of the Celts in Britain in 700 BC, who circumscribed the perimeter with wooden structures for ritual purposes.

They believed that this magical place, with its healing properties, was the work of the Goddess Sul - a Celtic goddess patron of medicine, healing and fertility. Coins were found on the bottom of the spring, proving the theory that the population used the body of water as a channel of communication with the divine, leaving offers in the hope of gaining her favour.

THE GODDESS SULIS-MINERVA

Sul or Sulis was a deity worshiped in the neighboring areas of this magical source. Unlike today's widespread neo-pagan concept of female lunar deity, she is a solar goddess.

The etymology of her name is not entirely clear, the most accepted theory is that the word comes from the Proto-Celtic sūli: one of the many suffixes for the word "sun", of Indo-European derivation (see ηέλιος "elios" in Greek, "sūryah" in Sanskrit, "suhlio" in Proto-Indo-European). From this root, the word "súil" (eye) in Irish Archaic and "licat" would also derive, meaning both "eye" and "source" in Archaic Welsh.

As mentioned above, she is mainly associated with healing and fertility but also with clairvoyance; like many other goddesses she has an ambivalent nature.

Sulis was often invoked to protect those who suffered wrong and to curse the perpretants, as a guarantor of justice.

In the museum of Roman baths we can admire 130 pewter tablets, on which there are inscriptions of curses and invocations to the goddess to get personal vendettas. Normally it was a question of profit for small thefts, often occurring inside the establishment: small sums of money, clothes or personal items. These tablets, moreover, have an inestimable historical value, being probably among the only written examples of the Celtic language.

The Romans, who arrived in Somerset in 43 AD during their British occupation campaign, immediately recognized the sacredness of the place. Despite their frenzied thirst for expanding the Empire, they used to respect local deities - often syncretizing them with their gods (Interpretatio romana).

Learning soon about the benevolent nature and the strong sense of justice of Sulis, it was not difficult to associate her with Minerva - the beloved goddess patron of reason, wisdom and heroic virtues, as well as protector of artisans. Her cult was widespread in the Empire, testimonies of her devotion were found in all the Roman provinces and was often assimilated to other deities such as the Celtic Brigantia or the kemetic Neith.

Sulis-Minerva, with her miraculous healing qualities, also became popular among Roman soldiers: many veterans of war, afflicted by old wounds and aches, relied on her care and her spring to receive the benefits. During the military campaign, artisans and merchants moved to expand their businesses in these new provinces, while some aoldiers decided to start a new life at Aquae Sulis - thus turning this natural temple into a thriving merchant centre.

The fervent economy and the growing popularity of the cult of the goddess, led to the decision to honour the sacred source by building one of the most important spas and places of worship in the British provinces.

THE TEMPLE AND THE BATHS

To transform a wonderful natural source into an equally astonishing architectural work, it took the expert Roman engineering. It was an ambitious project: the source was the realm of the severe goddess Sulis and also a fragile environment, being a geothermal location and therefore required a more complex hydraulics.

Wood and stone were transported along the banks of the Avon river, while clay tiles were imported from Wiltshire, experts rushed from the imperial provinces to watch the work; finished in 75 d.c. By the year 100 AD Bath was a lively commercial, recreational and religious centre - considered one of the "most sophisticated cities of Roman Britain".

The baths became so popular that pilgrims regularly visited the town to honour Sulis Minerva and take advantage of the thermal waters; the constant flow of wayfarers led to a fervent building expansion, further transforming the thermal complex.

The original woodland clearing, venerated by the Celts, was then enclosed in a barrel-faced structure, dimly lit by candlelight and surrounded by columns and statues - enriching the mystical atmosphere.

The Temple, built adjacent to the spring, was built in a classical style (unusual, in Roman Britain): inside was the statue of the goddess, illuminated by the sacred fire. The complex stood on a podium two meters high from the mosaic paved area; to surround the whole, there was a colonnaded ambulatory in Corinthian style.

With the spreading of Christianity in Europe, this imposing place of pray fell into disuse - until the eventual collapse of the building. Fortunately, in addition to traces of  the original structure, invaluable archaeological finds were found: silent witnesses of a distant, forgotten era.

THE GODDESS STATUE

The bronze head of Sulis Minerva is one of the most famous finds in Roman Britain: its discovery, in 1727, suggested that Bath was not an archaeological site like any other.


Probably it was part of the statue that resided inside the Temple, towering above the sacrificial altar.
Considering the size of the head, we can only imagine the authority that could inspire Sulis Minerva, illuminated only by the meandering flames of the sacred brazier. Small holes in the hair reveal that there was probably a Corinthian helmet fixed on the head, unfortunately lost in the mists of time.




THE GORGON’S HEAD

The temple had numerous unusual features for Roman architecture: among these, the elaborate pediment with a Gorgon's head in the center, supported by two winged creatures in a clipeus, was prominent. Supported by four, 15-meter tall columns, it must have been a very powerful vision for those approaching the temple.


The pediment boasts several symbols: in the corners there are tritons, half-fish creatures and half-men servants of the god Neptune. At the bottom left there is a dolphin-shaped helmet, while in the right corner we have an owl (symbol of Minerva).

Various controversies have arisen to determine the identity of the Gorgon: in fact, despite having wings over the ears and snakes entwined in the beard, the depicted face is masculine, while, according to tradition, the Gorgon was a female creature killed by the hero Perseus with the help of Athena (the Greek counterpart of Minerva). Once defeated, Perseus gave her head to the goddess, who exposed her on her breastplate - what better symbolism, for a temple dedicated to the Roman Minerva?

Another theory suggests that the Gorgon is instead a representation of the god Oceanus,
the titan master of the waters. The cult of the Ocean was widespread in Roman Britain: legionaries obviously had to cross the English Channel to land in the present-day United Kingdom, so it was in their interest to grace the god. Emperor Severus even minted coins with the head of Oceanus on one side, the head of Neptune on the other; while on the bridges there were sometimes sacrificial altars dedicated to these two deities - to pay a pledge, in exchange for their protection near bodies of water.

One of the symbols associated with the Titan was in fact the dolphins, found also on the pediment.

Another theory instead associates this mysterious figure with a solar Celtic divinity, Belenos: however unlikely it may seem that the Romans funded a similar work, the pediment author was a Gaul and could have created a tribute to his patron deity.

We will probably never know the truth behind this enigmatic figure, we can only limit ourselves to immerse in the sacred atmosphere of Aquae Sulis, marveling at this architectural masterpiece, reverberations of time and space that reached us over the centuries.


♃Ludna
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giovedì 13 giugno 2019

The Tarots Universe: Psychology, Intuition and Magic - Part I

The most famous and less understood instrument of the Witch is certainly the tarot deck.
This series of articles is not intended to be an absolute guide to the use of this tool, as many esotericists have already written about it and, despite I’m using the tarot since I can remember, I still believe however that the best teachers in this practice are the experience and intuition.

In these articles, in fact, I intend to tell you about my personal reflections, my knowledge and my experiences with this ancient and effective tool, with the hope of being useful both for those who have just started studying this divination method, and for the most experts as well, perhaps offering you an additional point of view.



TAROT ORIGINS

The first historical documentation we have on the Tarot deck dates back to the fourteenth century, in an italian document entitled "Cronaca di Viterbo" we can read:

"Year 1379 the card game coming from Saracinia and called Naib was brought to Viterbo".

mamluk tarot deckThe origin of the term Naib is uncertain, but it is thought to refer to the Egyptian Mamluke deck called Mulûk wa-Nuwwâb. The deck consisted of 52 cards divided into 4 sections: Polo Sticks, Coins, Swords and Cups. Each section had 10 cards numbered from 1 to 10 and three court cards, depicting high ranks in civil or military hierarchies: Malik (King), Nā'ib Malik (Viceroy) and Thānī Na'ib (Under deputy).
It is also thought that the deck was not invented by the Mamluks themselves, but that it came to them from China, through the people of Mongolia with whom the Mamluks had frequent contacts.
In addition, while the King and the Viceroy represented two authentic charges of the Mameluke hierarchy, no trace is found instead of the charge of Under Deputy, it is therefore assumed that originally the deck only had two figures and that the third had been added later by the influence given by another deck of cards of Persian origin, the Ganjifa, which also contained three court cards.

Tarot cards were originally used as a board game, a common pastime that quickly spread among the people, from royal courts to country taverns; they were used both for educational purposes and for becoming a real game for gambling, for this reason they were later banned from precise statutes, as immoral.
They acquired a divinatory character thanks to the nomadic peoples of the Gypsies, who spread this tradition during their wanderings in Europe.

Little is known about the origin of the 22 additional cards, although there are many speculations about it, but considering the iconography very similar to that of the period, it is assumed that they originate from the Middle Ages.
These cards were called Triumphs to distinguish them from the others. The main historical sources believe that the triumphs were introduced in the deck to make the card game more complex and attractive.

The etymology of the word "tarot" remains as well a mystery, although many have tried to give a hypothetical explanation.

According to some, the word derives from the Greek etarohoi, which means "friends who play in the banquets", but according to others, it refers to the fine decorative geometric designs on the back of the cards, this art was called "Taroccato".

But it is at the end of the 1700s, with the spread of various esoteric currents, that the most daring speculations began to emerge.

Court de Gebelin associated the Tarots with Thoth's book or Tarot's book, an ancient philosophical text in which the Egyptian divinity of wisdom and sciences would have condensed human knowledge. Moreover, in ancient Egyptian the word tarosh would mean "royal way"; the tarot images would then represent the allegorical synthesis of hieroglyphics.

Alphons L. Constant, better known as Eliphas Levi, philosopher, occultist and symbolism scholar, combined the 22 images of the Triumphs with the 22 paths that unite the 10 Sephirot of the tree of life of the Kabbalah, assuming that the word Tarot derived from Torah.

The hypotheses on the origin of the Tarots are infinite and each of them opens up to new ideas, inviting scholars to investigate new interpretations, but no one has ever been able to establish an origin with certainty; perhaps this also makes this method of divination as enigmatic as interesting.

THE TAROT DECK

The classic version of the tarot deck includes 78 cards, divided respectively into 22 Major Arcana, which as we have already said are also called Triumphs, and 56 Minor Arcana, in turn divided into 4 seeds (sticks, cups, coins, swords), each of them represented on 14 cards including numbers and figures.
The subdivision of the 4 seeds of the Minor Arcana suggests an easy approach to the allegorical representation of the 4 elements: 

Sticks - Fire,
Cups - Water,
Swords - Air,
Coins - Earth.

Generally, especially in a psychological reading, the Major Arcana have a stronger value regards the response, while the Minor Arcana, as the term suggests, indicate more of the collateral responses, other factors that can positively or negatively influence the general response.

Usually, especially in the more recent decks, the Major Arcana are associated with numbers from 0 to 21; in this way the figures are more easily identified and moreover, if observed disposed in progressive numbering, we can see how they perfectly describe the various phases of the life of the human being.
Excluding the zero card, the Fool, which represents the primordial chaos where everything ends and everything starts, the other 21 cards can be divided into 3 series of 7, which represent the three evolutionary paths of life: youth, adulthood, old age.

To represent them schematically at their best, we should arrange the Major Arcana in a circle, starting and closing with the Fool. We can thus note that the deck is evenly divisible in half, each containing 11 Arcana.

I MAGICIAN 0 FOOL
II HIGH PRIESTESS XXI WORLD
III EMPERESS XX JUDGEMENT
IV EMPEROR XIX SUN
V HIEROPHANT XVIII MOON
VI LOVERS XVII STAR
VII CHARIOT XVI TOWER
VII JUSTICE XV DEVIL
IX HERMIT XIV TEMPERANCE
X WHEEL OF FORTUNE XIII DEATH
XI STRENGHTH XII HANGED MAN

The first half represents a true evolutionary path of earthly life, these Arcana are linked to tangible and rational concepts, with which any of us can recognize himself.

The second half instead represents a sort of initiatory journey, punctuated by allegories, esoteric figures in which the human being has a marginal and passive role.

While the first half of the deck is linked to purely physical concepts, the second half is decidedly linked to metaphysical figures: two roads that at first glance seem to be opposite, which are not an alternative to the other, but rather to be traveled simultaneously and in balance the one with the other.
These are the two opposing energies that allow the great tarot wheel to continue turning, all representing the cycle of life.


Unornya
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lunedì 3 giugno 2019

3rd of June, New Moon in Gemini

luna nuova gemelli fasi lunari

Today, at noon, the Moon becomes new under the sign of Gemini.
A sign governed by the element of Air par excellence, these days we could experience sudden changes, both in our mood and in the weather.

It’s the ideal time to use a tool that is very often taken for granted: our breath.
Breathing allows us to assimilate the energy of the environment that surrounds us and to cleanse ourselves of negativity. Do exercises with your eyes closed, focusing on your breathing and visualizing the air that enters your lungs as pure golden energy and the air that comes out, instead, like a black exhalation, negative energy that leaves your body.

In these days both the Moon and the Sun are dominated by the energies of Mercury, messenger of the Gods, therefore all modes of communication and travels are favored.

The sign of Gemini is also characterized by lightness, it is time to play down and put aside all our worries for a while, treat yourself to a little respite, get distracted and recharge your energy; in this way you will be able to face problems with a different perspective, after all the new Moon represents the beginning of a new cycle, a change.


This new moon represents the most prosperous time to visualize and manifest what we really want to be, do not be afraid to ask the universe for what you want.

The divinity that best represents this lunation is Kore, the eternal girl, the daughter almost indistinct from her mother Demeter, the lightest, most innocent and carefree aspect of Persephone, terrible and silent queen of the dead.

Unornya

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sabato 18 maggio 2019

18th of May, Full Moon in Scorpio

luna piena scorpione fasi lunari

Tonight, at 11.11pm, the moon becomes full under the sign of Scorpio.
This lunation, combined with the Sun under the sign of Taurus, allows us to see clearly our stability, which could be based on love for ourselves, on understanding our true worth or on the resources we have always had but which we have never noticed. We need to go deeper and analyze the details of our existence, while keeping an eye on the big picture. Reflect on the last period and celebrate your growth!

The work with the abundance that we started with the last new moon in Taurus will culminate tonight, showing us the results in all their glory.
Abundance is everywhere, We need to know how to welcome it and it will flow to us in an unlimited way!

The moon in Scorpio encourages us to believe more in ourselves, to understand our value, to let go all those anchors that don’t allow us take flight and, why not, even to lose a little that control we always try to have on the our life.

The sign of Scorpio dominates the emotional and unconscious side, the energy of the full moon is useful to take a moment and meditate on our emotions, find a focal point around which to rotate everything and untie all the knots, those blocks that very often don’t allow us to solve even the most trivial problems.

A perfect symbol to represent this lunation would be "The Death" of the Tarots: Scorpio is linked to Pluto, god of the underworld and therefore of the cycle of death and rebirth, of transformation. We therefore allow what was sown and blessed by the Gods during the Imbolc festival to sprout and grow with a new splendor.

The deity that best represents this lunation is Osiris, the Egyptian god of vegetation and the dead.
Osiris taught humans the secrets of cultivation, but he was the victim of Seth's envy. Killed and torn to pieces, he was thrown into the waters of the Nile. Isis, his wife, in despair, found her husband's limbs and with the magic made him rise again, making him become the ruler of the underworld. He represented for his followers hope in an eternal and happy life, in a new world.

Unornya
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sabato 4 maggio 2019

5th of May, New Moon in Taurus

luna nuova toro fasi lunari

At 00:45 on May 5th the Moon becomes new under the sign of Taurus.
The energy of this lunation leads us to introspection and self-analysis, let's jump right in this opportunity to isolate ourselves a little from the outside world to focus instead on us, on our body, on what makes us happy.
It is time to pay attention to what we possess, what the universe has allowed us to obtain; we need to show gratitude for all that has been given to us and that we have earned, rather than focusing on what we lack!

Often it’s our own negative attitude towards the outside that prevents us from getting what we want.
The question we must ask ourselves is: do we believe enough in abundance? What must we correct in our lives to make it flow to us without obstacles?

Right now all the rituals linked to self-esteem and to increasing our assets are favored. We need to visualize the lush abundance of Mother Nature and tune ourselves to this type of vibration.
The mighty, stable and earthly energy of Taurus, can help us achieve our goals and see our worth clearly, helping us with the change that the recently entered Uranus in Taurus is forcing us to face.

The sign of Taurus is dominated by the planet Venus, a planet that in these days is under the sign of Aries, therefore particularly active, impulsive and lively; consequently all the love rituals are favored during this lunation (even those aimed at ourselves!) and the results will not be long in coming!

The deity that best represents this lunation is Pachamama, the great Mother Goddess.
Pachamama means in Quechua language "mother space time" or "mother universe", it is the generous Goddess of fertility and rural life, mother who gives life and nourishes all her children, but can also show her destructive side when she produces earthquakes to remind her children that they must always honor her.

Unornya

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giovedì 18 aprile 2019

19th of April, Full Moon in Libra

luna piena bilancia fasi lunari

This Friday the Moon becomes full under the sign of Libra.
The last full moon of March 21st was under the sign of Libra at 0º, this time instead, will be under the same sign but at 29º.
It immediately sticks out that this period represents the beginning and the end of something; if the last lunation indicated the conception of something new, this one is equivalent to the last labors before the birth.
The most important thing we need to focus on is: what is coming to light?

The last moon in Libra brought indecision and slowness, along with a retrograde mercury in Pisces that still makes us suffer its shadow, and made this last period not easy to deal with, many of us would have had the feeling of trudging with our own life, to make great effort to obtain what is normally easy.
The good news is that soon the situation will improve, a last effort before reaching the goal and then we will finally be ready to accept this new gift of the universe.

To get out of this stagnant period we will probably need to face some discussion with loved ones, it is not pleasant but it is essential to overcome this momentary crisis; keep yourself as lucid as possible, express your feelings calmly and without drama, you will come out as winners.

In numerology, the number 29 indicates that we are about to receive a message: our spiritual path is about to take a positive turn, this indicates that we have all the necessary tools to accomplish our purpose.

Furthermore, this Libra lunation will increase our confidence in ourselves and gives us the desire to take situations in our hands, helped also by the last energies of the Sun in Aries; just reflect on all the things you have accomplished in the last period: if there is a possibility of growth and improvement do not hesitate!

The divinity that best represents this lunation is Mitra, divinity of Hinduism and Persian religion.
In the Zoroastrian religion, Mitra is the greatest of the beings created by Ahura Mazdā, with the aim of helping him to administer the world. He is the god of air and light, an enemy of the spirits of evil and darkness, a god who rewarded good with prosperity and lush growth of vegetation. Furthermore, Mitra acted as a psychopomp deity, judging the souls and accompanying them to the underworld.

Unornya
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giovedì 4 aprile 2019

5th of April, New Moon in Aries

luna nuova ariete fasi lunari


Tomorrow morning the Moon becomes new under the sign of Aries.
The Aries season takes us into a new astrological year, with this new moon we can definitely get rid of our old skin and be finally reborn!
The fiery energy of Aries makes us believe more in ourselves, it’s time to deal with all those stagnant situations that have been causing us problems for some time.

Set your intentions and ambitions for the year ahead, taking advantage of all this confidence you will perceive, act impulsively!
Be the first to speak during a meeting, don’t be afraid to express your ideas to others, be sincere and manifest your thoughts.

With Mercury that has recently left the retrograde motion, the last few days have been characterized by slowing down and introspection; synchronize now with the rebirth of nature and press your foot on gas.
There is a strong smell of change in the air, but now the ideas will become clearer about it.

Furthermore, Mercury is now in conjunction with Neptune and Venus under the sign of Pisces:

The energy of Neptune is greatly amplified, great emphasis is given to what concerns spirituality and the mystical imaginary, combined with Mercury will make us lose a bit of rationality, we will find ourselves more often in daydreaming and idealizing what we are doing, but a little lightness won’t harm us!

Pay attention to the dreams, they will be more vivid in this period.
All artistic activities involving the right hemisphere of our brain are favored.
Venus in Pisces completes the picture, making us more romantic, more idealistic and compassionate, we will be able to see beyond the flaws of our other half.

The divinity that best represents this lunation is Artemis.
Greek goddess of hunting, Lady of wild animals and unexplored lands. Artemis is the archer goddess who lives with the nymphs in the forest, a symbol of freedom, sisterhood and ability to achieve her goals.
Unornya
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