Media Astra Ac Terra Episode 27

December 21, 2010

Episode 27 of Media Astra Ac Terra is now available for download!  In this episode, we look at Pluto in the Astra segment, and the mineralogy and metaphysics of obsidian in the Terra segment.  Then in the main show I share with you the first two installments of my tarot segment from the Kakophonos podcast.

I didn’t end up seeing much of the lunar eclipse this morning, I’m afraid – the cloud cover was just too heavy for most of it.  But I did manage to see the very beginning of the eclipse, and got a fairly decent picture of the shadowed moon through a light screen of cloud.  And even though I couldn’t see it at totality, I did step outside just to feel myself standing on the earth between the two lights of the sun and moon, and drink in the combination of that alignment and the early solstice morning.  It was lovely.

As far as show notes go, although I didn’t mention it by name in the Astra segment, I thought you might be interested in this National Geographic article about some new observations of the relative size of Pluto and Eris, the two contenders for “largest dwarf planet.”

In the Terra segment, I mentioned the British Museum web page for John Dee’s obsidian mirror, and I quoted a brief (and somewhat unfortunate) passage from Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem, and Metal Magic.  I think I may have gotten parts of the book’s title out of order in the show; if so, I apologize.

Last but not least, I played promos for Standing Stone & Garden Gate and The Infinite and the Beyond.

Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy the show!
- Oraia Sphinx

P.S. – Perhaps in compensation for losing so much sleep for so little gain while trying to view the eclipse, I woke up this morning to find a sleepy solstice owl perched outside my window:

Media Astra Ac Terra Episode 26

November 21, 2010

Media Astra Ac Terra Episode 26 is now available for download!  In this episode, we look at Neptune in the Astra segment, and the mineralogy and metaphysics of aquamarine (and beryl in general) in the Terra segment.  Then in the main show I talk about some central concepts in Alfred Korzybski’s General Semantics, about the way we perceive and interpret what we quaintly like to call “reality.”

In the introduction, I mentioned National Novel Writing Month, the annual November challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel within one month.  Fun, fun, fun!  :)

I also mentioned a few books during the episode.  Once again, I quoted from Robert Hand’s Horoscope Symbols in the Astra segment; it’s really one of my favorites.  In the main show, I mentioned Robert Anton Wilson’s Quantum Psychology (which I found to be a fun and interesting book, “quantum” or not) and Drive Yourself Sane by Susan and Bruce Kodish.  And, of course, there’s Alfred Korzybski’s massive Science and Sanity.  You can find out more about Korzybski and General Semantics at the website of the Institute of General Semantics.

During the episode, I played promos for Borealis Meditation and Earth & Magick, which has recently returned with a new show!

Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy the show!
- Oraia Sphinx

Media Astra Ac Terra Episode 25

October 21, 2010

Media Astra Ac Terra Episode 25 is now available for download!  In this episode, we look at Uranus in the Astra segment, and the mineralogy and metaphysics of celestite in the Terra segment.  Then in the main show I share some of my recent adventures with mice and angels.  :)

In the introduction, I also give a brief book review of Math for Mystics by Renna Shesso, and in the main show I mention Lon Milo Duquette’s recent book, Enochian Vision Magick.  The online class he’s teaching based on that book can be found at the Maybe Logic Academy, with more details on the Course Info page.

During the episode, I played promos for The Infinite and the Beyond, New World Witchery (check out their recent folktale mini-sodes!), and a fun new show bumper from Rikki Lacoste (und Wolfgang Schtrüdelburger) of Kakophonos:)

Last but not least, I said that I would include a little more of a write-up on the things I’ve come across in my research into how to keep mice and other rodents out of your car, whether you live in the country or you’re storing your vehicle for a season. I ignored most advice about setting traps or using poison, because for one thing, I think poison is cruel and too apt to kill random other creatures, and frankly, it’s just not an option to trap or kill all of the mice around my house. Killing or removing some would just make room for more. The second most common advice I came across was to get a cat, although again, my interest was more in learning how to keep mice out of my car rather than cut down on the mouse population in general. Besides, I’m allergic to cats, although lately I’ve been considering giving one a try, since my partner loves cats and would love to have one.

So, the best options I came across that work for me involve stinking up my car. My understanding is that mice rely heavily on their sense of smell, and they don’t like going into a place where that sense is overwhelmed. That’s why things like mothballs will keep them away – but frankly, they’d keep me away, too, and I didn’t want to make my car toxic to ME. So I went with scented dryer sheets and smelly soap; the things I saw recommended most often were Bounce dryer sheets in the glove compartment and Irish Spring soap under the hood, so I went with those. I tied the soap in sections of nylon pantyhose to keep them in place, and tied those in areas that don’t get too hot from the engine – the last thing I need is a fire hazard, or soap clogging my engine – and when I park the car at home I put a cardboard box underneath that has both dryer sheets and a bar of the soap in it, to discourage them from coming in close to the car at all. I also made up a spray bottle with peppermint oil in water; mice don’t like the smell of mint, I hear, so I occasionally mist around the wheel wells, too. So far it seems to be working. I’m not thrilled with the smell of all this stuff, either, but I can deal with it.

If you’ve got any suggestions that I haven’t mentioned – especially from personal experience – feel free to share!

Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy the show!
- Oraia Sphinx

Media Astra Ac Terra Episode 24

September 21, 2010

Episode 24 of Media Astra Ac Terra is now available for download!  In this episode, we look at Saturn in the Astra segment, and the mineralogy and metaphysics of salt in the Terra segment.  Then in the main show I talk about the assignment of the elements to the points of the pentagram, and the planets to the points of the hexagram.

I mentioned a few books and articles in this show, including a short book review in the introductory segment, on The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.  In the Astra segment, I mentioned the hexagonal cloud pattern slowly swirling above the planet’s north pole, and that a group of scientists had demonstrated that they could reproduce the pattern in a spinning cylinder of water.  You can read that article here.  Also in that segment, I quoted from Robert Hand’s book Horoscope Symbols, which is one of my primary reference books every month.

I’ve got a new reference book to add to my list, as well, which I mentioned in the Terra segment – John Michael Greer’s Encyclopedia of Natural Magic.  And I should mention that my primary reference for the main segment in this show was Israel Regardie’s The Golden Dawn, although I didn’t quote from it directly.

And somewhere in the middle, I also played promos for Kakophonos and Pennies in the Well:)

Thank you for listening, and I hope you enjoy the show!
- Oraia Sphinx

Media Astra Ac Terra Episode 23

August 21, 2010

Episode 23 of Media Astra Ac Terra is now available!  In this episode, we look at Jupiter in the Astra segment, and the mineralogy and metaphysics of sodalite in the Terra segment.  Then in the main show I talk for a while about expectations.

There were many links mentioned in the introduction to the show!  First, I received some great feedback from Pombagira (aka Polly) in New Zealand, about Alan Garner’s essay on the wheel of the year in the southern hemisphere.  You can find that (and my reply) in the comments section of the show notes for Episode 21.

As I mentioned, the Pagan Podcast Index has moved over to the website of the Proud Pagan Podcasters.  You can now find the Index here – and thanks again all around, to everyone involved in providing this resource!

If you’re a writer, be sure to check out the submission guidlines for the Misanthrope Press anthology Etched Offerings: Voices from the Cauldron of Story.  Submissions are open from September 1st to October 31st.  Good luck!

In podcasting news, I mentioned (and played a promo for) the new show Borealis Meditation, aka Geology for Pagans.  If you like rocks, you’ll like this podcast!

I also announced that I will be doing a regular spot on the Kakophonos podcast, hosted by Rikki LaCoste, starting with the next episode!  Remember that they’ve recently changed hosts, and the existing iTunes feed doesn’t have all of the latest episodes.  But I’ll be sure to let you know when a new one is available.  :)

Rikki also provided the musical feature for this episode, “Of Star and Satyr” by Panthea, from the album From the Fountain of Lethe.  The CD was produced for the recent Kaleidoscope Gathering, but is available for download at that link.  I hope you’ll go check it out if you enjoyed this song!

As always, thank you very much for listening.

Bright and dark blessings,
Oraia Sphinx

Media Astra Ac Terra Episode 22

July 21, 2010

Episode 22 of Media Astra Ac Terra is now available!  In this episode, we look at the occurrence of meteor showers, as well as the mineralogy and metaphysics of meteorites and tektites.  Then in the main show I offer my musings on some of the lessons to be learned from Fire.

In the Astra segment, I mentioned the website of the American Meteor Society as a good resource for learning more about observing meteor showers, and in the Terra segment I recommended the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Meteorites, by O. Richard Norton.  It’s a big book, and very detailed.  (And, um, it appears that it has become a bit hard to find, judging by that Amazon listing.  Sorry!)

In a funny coincidence, just after I uploaded this episode last night, I came across a news article about a man whose house has been struck by meteorites six times!  He claims extraterrestrials have it in for him.  I have my doubts about that, but it’s still pretty extraordinary!

Also, in case you were interested, here is a picture of a Russian postage stamp made from the P.J. Medvedev painting depicting the Sikhote Alin meteorite fall of 1947.  :)

Last but not least, I played a promo for Lakefront Pagan Voice, as well as a show bumper courtesy of the Infinite and the Beyond:)

Bright and dark blessings,
Oraia Sphinx

Media Astra Ac Terra Episode 21

June 21, 2010

Episode 21 of Media Astra Ac Terra is now available!  In this episode, we look at the planet Mars, as well as the mineralogy and metaphysics of hematite.  Then in the main show I talk about my long-time interest in martial arts, and how it has affected my life and my magic. (I also end up getting into my opinions on the use of physical force and its relation to the use of magical force.  I’m kind of curious as to whether this will end up being a contentious issue, which I suppose would be in keeping with such a heavily Mars-themed episode.)

In the section discussing martial arts and self-defense, I made mention of the book The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker.  I’ve found it to be a helpful book about learning to trust your intuition and – yes – your sense of fear, while at the same time not falling prey to a siege mentality where you see threats everywhere.

In between segments, I played promos for Pennies in the Well and Standing Stone and Garden Gate:)

Lastly (or maybe firstly, since it seems that I’m going in reverse order here) in the introductory segment I read an essay sent to me by listener Alan Garner.  You may recall that I included his excellent Tree of Life image in the show notes for Episode 18.  This led him to the podcast, and an exchange of correspondence.  He lives in Australia, and sent me an essay he wrote regarding the translation of the Wheel of the Year to the southern hemisphere.

I mentioned as I read it that he also included a diagram showing the way in which he separated the year into two separate cycles, so here is that diagram.  You can click on it for a larger version.

I’d be curious to hear any feedback on that essay, and I’m sure Alan would as well.  :)  And, of course, if you have feedback on any other aspect of the show, I’d love to hear it.  Thank you so much for listening!

Bright and dark blessings,
Oraia Sphinx

Media Astra Ac Terra Episode 20

May 21, 2010

Episode 20 of Media Astra Ac Terra is now available!  In this episode, I take a look at the planet Venus, as well as the mineralogy and metaphysics of rose quartz.  Then in the main show I talk about working with both the emotions and the intellect.

In the Astra segment, I mentioned a site with a good explanation of both ways of deriving a pentagram from the movements of Venus (which will also give you some helpful visual aids that my audio podcast couldn’t provide.)

Speaking of visual aids, here is a nice, simple picture of the Tree of Life with the Lightning Flash drawn upon it (by Morgan Leigh, available here) to help clarify my comments in the main segment about the path of manifestation.

In between segments, I played promos for Kakophonos with Rikki LaCoste and New World Witchery with Cory and Laine, plus my fun little show bumper made by Chris Orapello of The Infinite and the Beyond.

Thank you for listening, and I hope you enjoy the episode!
– Oraia Sphinx –

Sunrise on Mercury

April 21, 2010

In Episode 19 of Media Astra Ac Terra, I mentioned that at certain points on the planet Mercury, and at a certain time of the year, you would be able to see the sun rise about halfway, set again, then rise a second time and travel across the sky. You can view a simulation of this using the free Stellarium software, if you have it installed on your computer.  Here’s how:

Start up the program, and go to the “location” setting on the left-hand side. (If there doesn’t seem to be a menu on the left side, just move your mouse over to the edge of the screen and it should appear. “Location” is at the top.)  Change the planet to Mercury, then put in a latitude of 48 degrees N and a longitude of 90 degrees W for the specific location.  Close that dialog window, then change the “date and time” setting to March 15, 2010, pretty much any time of day.  When you get that set, you should be able to see the sun just below the horizon.

Next – and this is very important – you’ll want to turn off the atmosphere in the settings down along the bottom of the screen (or just type the letter A to toggle it off.)  If you don’t, you won’t be able to see the details of the sun clearly enough to watch it change direction.  It’ll just be a big bright blob on your screen.

Now you’re ready to run the time forward.  Since a Mercury day is so long, you’ll want to accelerate the time to watch the sun rise. You can do that by clicking the “fast forward” button at the bottom; you’ll have to click it a few times to speed things up enough, but don’t click too fast – I ended up in the year 2357 before I knew it. :) I like the speed at five clicks of the button, though you might prefer four if that’s too fast to watch closely.  But if you get the right speed going, you should be able to see the sun rise just above the horizon, then stop and go backward until it dips back below the horizon, then stop and go forward.

(Yeah, ok, Mercury doesn’t have grassy hills and trees on it.  Still pretty fun to watch Earth go by in the background, though.  Click on the picture for a larger version.)

So, let me know if you check it out!  Like I said in the podcast, I spent way too much time playing with Stellarium in order to figure out what settings to use, after starting from pretty vague references to the phenomenon. :)  But it was fun!

Blessings,
Oraia

Media Astra Ac Terra Episode 19

April 21, 2010

Episode 19 of Media Astra Ac Terra is now available for download!  In this episode, I take a look at the planet Mercury, as well as the mineralogy and metaphysics of selenite! Then in the main show I talk about different approaches to sigil magick.

There are quite a few links and references to mention this time around…  In the Astra segment, I mentioned Stellarium again, which is an awesome (and free!) program that will give you an interactive view of the sky where you are, or anywhere else on earth.  It can also show you the sky from other planets, including Mercury – and as I mention in the show, there’s a funny thing that happens to the sunrise at a certain time of year on Mercury.  I’ll put the details of the Stellarium settings you can use to watch a simulation of this sunrise in the next post, if you want to check it out yourself!

In that segment, I also mentioned the Mercury Retrograde oil produced by Vajra Conjure over at Conjure Oils.  All of her oils (and, lately, soaps as well) are fabulous, but I find that particular one helpful at least three times a year.  :)

In the Terra segment, I talked about the caves in Mexico full of giant crystals of selenite.  Here is a BBC News report that includes both photos and video – and it’s really worth watching the video here, to get a sense of the massive scale of these crystals.  Wow!

Then in the main segment, I didn’t mention too many books by name, but I wanted to give you some good places to go for more detail about the different approaches to sigil magick that I talked about. First, here are some links to the two books I did mention:

The Lesser Key of Solomon the King (trans. by Aleister Crowley and Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers)
Visual Magick by Jan Fries

Also, the information about the Golden Dawn method of creating sigils from the rose came primarily from an essay titled “Sigils of the Rose” by MacGregor Mathers. This can be found here, as well as in Pat Zalewski’s Talismans & Evocations of the Golden Dawn, which provides a lot more information about how these kinds of sigils might be used.  For something starting at a more basic level, Donald Michael Kraig’s Modern Magick is a good book for learning Golden Dawn style magick, including sigil creation and use.

On the chaos magic side of things, I highly recommend the Jan Fries book mentioned above, but two more commonly referenced authors in this area are Peter Carroll (especially Liber Null and Psychonaut) and Phil Hine (I recommend Condensed Chaos as a starting point.)  It’s been a while since I’ve done any reading in chaos magic, so there are probably a zillion more books out there that I’m not aware of.  :)

And, last but not least, I played promos for Witches BrewHaHa with Velma Nightshade, Inciting a Riot with Fire Lyte, and Pennies in the Well with Saturn Darkhope.

Bright and dark blessings,
– Oraia Sphinx –


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