Sunday, December 17, 2017

Io, Saturnalia! The Pagan Roman Winter Solstice Festival


Saturnalia, the most popular holiday on the ancient Roman calendar. Dedicated to the Roman god Saturn. In Roman mythology, Saturn was an agricultural deity who was said to have reigned over the world in the Golden Age. In the Greek myths, Kronos (Saturn) was the Roman Deity of Time and an ancient Italian Corn God known as the Sower.

The Saturnalia festival has an astronomical character, referring to the completion of the sun’s yearly course, and the commencement of a new cycle. Saturn, represented by the sun at its lowest aspect at the winter solstice. The earth is cold, most plants are dead, and it was believed that the sun might also be approaching death. 

Saturnalia celebrated the sun overcoming the power of winter, with hope of spring when life would be renewed.

Originally celebrated on December 17, Saturnalia was extended first to three and eventually to seven days. Remarkably like the Greek Kronia, it was the liveliest festival of the year. 


Saturnalia festivities began with ritual and sacrifices in the Temple of Saturn, in the Roman Forum, and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, signing, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, slaves were given temporary freedom to say and do what they liked, and certain moral restrictions were eased. A mock king was chosen (Saturnalicius princeps); the standard greeting during this period was “Io Saturnalia!”. There is a theory that Santa Claus’s ‘Ho, ho, ho’ has its origins in this cry of “Io”.

Many of the decorations involved greenery - swathes, garlands, wreaths, etc - being hung over doorways and windows, and ornamenting stairs. Ornaments in the trees included sun symbols, stars, and faces of the God Janus. Trees were not brought indoors (the Germans started that tradition), but decorated where they grew.

People were just as likely to be ornamented as the trees. Wearing greenery and jewelry of a sacred nature was apparently common, based on descriptions, drawings, and the like from the era. 


Although probably the best-known Roman holiday, Saturnalia as a whole is not described from beginning to end in any single ancient source. Modern understanding of the festival is pieced together from several accounts dealing with various aspects. 

The Saturnalia was the dramatic setting of the multivolume work of that name by Macrobius, a Latin writer from late antiquity who is the major source for information about the holiday. 

In one of the interpretations in Macrobius's work, Saturnalia is a festival of light leading to the winter solstice, with the abundant presence of candles symbolizing the quest for knowledge and truth. The renewal of light and the coming of the new year was celebrated in the later Roman Empire at the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the "Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun", on 23 December.

The popularity of Saturnalia continued into the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, and as the Roman Empire came under Christian rule, many of its customs were recast into or at least influenced the seasonal celebrations surrounding Christmas and the New Year.


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Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Folklore Of Iron


Iron has played a curious role in witchcraft, sorcery, and the supernatural. It is found mentioned in folklore around the world. Belief holds than iron is one of the best charms in providing protection against demons, ghosts, evil spirits, and other malevolent supernatural creatures.

Iron is a symbol of strength, protection, and life-giving warmth, as it is seen as a combination of the elements of Earth and Fire. Until the introduction of steel, iron was the most durable metal known to man, and this was reflected in mythology and folklore as well. Thor's hammer Mjolnir was forged of iron, and even in the Norse myths the legendary heat retention properties of iron were demonstrated: the hammer would become so hot when thrown, Thor wore iron gloves to protect his hands.

Iron has been considered sacred in some cultures. The ancient Babylonians, Egyptians and Aztecs believed it came from heaven, perhaps because the composition of meteorites is of iron and other metals.

The earliest iron artefacts were made millennia before the Iron Age, from meteoric iron that had fallen from the sky. This was when the sky was still the realm of the gods. Therefore, iron was a gift from the gods, and must be imbued with godly powers. Accordingly, these first artefacts were fit for our gods on earth. For example, the pharaoh Tutankhamen.

Being that iron is a mineral buried within the earth, once it was uncovered that you could obtain iron not only from meteorites, but deep within the earth, certain cultures regarded iron as the lifeforce of the earth. It was regarded as a magical substance because it could withstand both the elements of fire and a deep freeze of the cold, and because it was still harder than most if not all metals at the time.


Many people have heard that horseshoes are good luck, but not many sections of the lore go into depth that they are only good luck because they are made out of – you guessed it – iron.

Iron has been a popular metal for making amulets with which to ward off danger, bad luck, and the evil eye.

Ancient Saxons would not put iron rune wands in cemeteries for fear that the iron would scare away the departed spirits.

In India iron is believed to repel the Djinn and other evil spirits.

The Chinese sometimes wear outside of their clothing a piece of an old iron plough-point as a charm; and they have also a custom of driving long iron nails in certain kinds of trees to exorcise some particularly dangerous female demons which haunt them.

In Morocco it is customary to place a dagger under the patient's pillow, and in Greece a black-handled knife is similarly used to keep away the nightmare. 

In Germany iron implements laid crosswise are considered to be powerful anti-witch safeguards for infants.

Iron amulets were worn by ancient Babylonian and Assyrian men in the belief that it would enhance their virility; the women rubbed themselves with iron powder in order to attract the men.

The ancient Egyptians inserted iron amulets in the linen of mummy wrappings in order to invoke the protection of the Eye of Horus.

In certain areas of Burma, the river men still wear iron pyrite amulets for protection against crocodiles.

In Scandinavia and in northern countries generally, iron is a historic charm against the wiles of sorcerers.


Picture: A trollkors or troll cross is an amulet made of a circle of iron crossed at the bottom (possibly in the shape of an odal rune), a charm worn by early Scandinavian peoples as a protection against trolls and elves, and to ward off malevolent magic.

The legendary strength and durability of iron makes it a natural component in spells of protection. Witches and sorcerers have constantly used iron throughout history for items as cauldrons, wands, and utensils they employ in magical practices.

If magic is an energy, a physical force, then perhaps iron makes more sense as wand material. We know that iron can attract and conduct electricity, focus and release it, store it as magnetic energy, or disperse it by returning it to the earth. Iron can change form. It can be made molten, fluid, and malleable, and then set into unbending forms of our design. 

In the 18th century Franz Anton Mesmer used iron in his healing treatment (see Mesmerism). He believed iron conducted animal magnetism, a vital energy which every body had and needed.

Alchemically, iron is associated with physical strength, protection, energy, masculinity, and Mars, which makes sense considering that iron was one of the first metals used for weapons of war and has often been a display of power.

It also makes sense given that too little iron in our blood causes fatigue and weakness—anemia.


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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Krampusnacht will give you the Christmas of your nightmares


While Saint Nicholas may bring gifts to good boys and girls, ancient folklore in Europe's Alpine region also tells of Krampus, a frightening beast-like creature who emerges during the Yule season, looking for naughty children to punish in horrible ways -- or possibly to drag back to his lair in a sack. In keeping with pre-Germanic Pagan traditions, men dressed as these demons have been frightening children on Krampusnacht for centuries, chasing them and hitting them with sticks, on an (often alcohol-fueled) run through the dark streets.


Beware the Krampus!

He purportedly shows up in towns the night before December 6th. In Austria, Bavaria, South Tyrol, Slovenia, Croatia and parts of Hungary, the Feast of St. Nicholas is usually celebrated with Christmas pageants and parades. These parades include crowds of young men dressed as Krampus, which is where the term Krampusnacht (Krampus night) derives from.

Yet Austria is where Krampus celebrations evolve from village parade to full on festival. Austria is where Krampus is so popular, psychologists and schools are considering banning the creature because it's so ubiquitous and scary to children. Austria is where a Krampus Museum can be found in the town of Suetschach. And 14 miles away, in the Austrian city of Klagenfurt, about equidistant between Innsbruck and Vienna, is where you'll find the largest Krampus celebration in the world.


It’s a holiday that feels a lot more like Halloween than Christmas.

The Krampus costume is traditionally made up of a hand-carved wooden mask and a suit made from sheep or goat skin. Cowbells are worn around the wearer’s hips. Costumes can be pretty pricey in Europe, and now they’re usually made with less expensive materials, like faux fur and face paint.

Krampus was created as a counterpart to the kindly St. Nicholas, who rewarded children with sweets for their good behaviour over the year. Krampus, in contrast, would swat “wicked” children and take them away to his lair. The hairy beast threatens to hit children with birch twigs or worse, as legend has it, stores them away in sacks or drowns them. What’s totally bizarre is how there are two seemingly bipolar figures for the same festival. One, a jolly fellow who spreads happiness and cheer and the other a demon who does nothing but terrorises and terrifies!


While the men parade around dressed as creepy demons, the women get to have some fun too, wearing masks and representing Frau Perchta, a Nordic figure that may have been an aspect of Freyja, the fertility and war goddess.

Frau Perchta is either a white robed spirit or a witch, depending on the myths that you read. Old descriptions say that she has one large foot, and also appears to be ugly and elderly. Although she gives presents and coins to people who have been good, she is also known for punishing the sinful in a particularly gruesome manner.  She will rip open their stomachs, remove the internal organs, and stuff the cavity with straw or pebbles.

Interestingly, in the Pennsylvania Dutch community, there's a character called Pelsnickel or Belznickel who is an awful lot like Krampus, so it appears that the tradition migrated across the water when Germans settled in America.


Where Did “Krampus” come from?

Although the exact roots of Krampus aren't known, anthropologists generally agree that the legend probably derives from some sort of early horned god, who was then assimilated into the Christian devil figure.

His origin has always been a subject of debate because there has never been a single link that has been traced down to his origin. Krampus, whose name is derived from the German word ‘Krampen’ which means claw, is said to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology. Seems quite fitting doesn’t it?

Krampus's frightening presence was suppressed for many years—the Catholic Church forbade the raucous celebrations. But now, people have been interested in celebrating the festival by showcasing both the good as well as the bad side of a single festival.

Many people are searching for ways to celebrate the yuletide season in non-traditional ways.





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Monday, December 4, 2017

Selected quotes from Carlos Castaneda


Castaneda's first three books – The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge; A Separate Reality; and Journey to Ixtlan – were written while he was an anthropology student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He wrote these books as his research log describing his apprenticeship with a traditional "Man of Knowledge" identified as don Juan Matus, a Yaqui Indian from northern Mexico. Castaneda was awarded his bachelor's and doctoral degrees based on the work described in these books.

His 12 books have sold more than 28 million copies in 17 languages. Critics have suggested that they are works of fiction; supporters claim the books are either true or at least valuable works of philosophy and descriptions of practices which enable an increased awareness.

Quotes from The Teachings of Don Juan

“Every time a man sets himself to learn, he has to labor as hard as anyone can, and the limits of his
learning are determined by his own nature. Therefore, there is no point in talking about knowledge. Fear of knowledge is natural; all of us experience it, and there is nothing we can do about it. But no matter how frightening learning is, it is more terrible to think of a man without knowledge.”

“To be angry at people means that one considers their acts to be important. It is imperative to cease to feel that way. The acts of men cannot be important enough to offset our only viable alternative: our unchangeable encounter with infinity.”

Quotes from A Separate Reality

“When they are seen as fields of energy, human beings appear to be like fibers of light, like white cobwebs, very fine threads that circulate from the head to the toes. Thus to the eye of a seer, a man looks like an egg of circulating fibers. And his arms and legs are like luminous bristles, bursting out in all directions.”

“The seer sees that every man is in touch with everything else, not through his hands, but through a bunch of long fibers that shoot out in all directions from the center of his abdomnen. Those fibers join a man to his surroundings; they keep his balance; they give him stability.”

“An average man is too concerned with liking people or with being liked himself. A warrior likes, that’s all. He likes whatever or whomever he wants, for the hell of it.”

“When a man embarks on the warriors’ path he becomes aware, in a gradual manner, that ordinary life has been left forever behind. The means of the ordinary world are no longer a buffer for him; and he must adopt a new way of life if he is going to survive.”

“The spirit of a warrior is not geared to indulging and complaining, nor is it geared to winning or losing. The spirit of a warrior is geared only to struggle, and every struggle is a warrior’s last battle on earth. Thus the outcome matters very little to him. In his last battle on earth a warrior lets his spirit flow free and clear. And as he wages his battle, knowing that his intent is impeccable, a warrior laughs and laughs.”

“We talk to ourselves incessantly about our world. In fact we maintain our world with our internal talk. And whenever we finish talking to ourselves about ourselves and our world, the world is always as it should be. We renew it, we rekindle it with life, we uphold it with our internal talk. Not only that, but we also choose our paths as we talk to ourselves. Thus we repeat the same choices over and over until the day we die, because we keep on repeating the same internal talk over and over until the day we die. A warrior is aware of this and strives to stop his internal talk.”

“The world is all that is encased here: life, death, people, and everything else that surrounds us. The world is incomprehensible. We won’t ever understand it; we won’t ever unravel its secrets. Thus we must treat the world as it is: a sheer mystery.”

“The things that people do cannot under any conditions be more important than the world. And thus a warrior treats the world as an endless mystery and what people do as an endless folly.”

Quotes from Journey to Ixtlan

“One shouldn’t worry about taking pictures or making tape recordings. Those are superfluities of sedate lives. One should worry about the spirit, which is always receding.”

“Whenever a warrior decides to do something he must go all the way, but he must take responsibility for what he does. No matter what he does, he must know first why he is doing it, and then he must proceed with his actions without having doubts or remorse about them.”

“For a warrior, to be inaccessible means that he touches the world around him sparingly. And above all, he deliberately avoids exhausting himself and others. He doesn’t use and squeeze people until they have shriveled to nothing, especially the people he loves.”

“For an average man, the world is weird because if he’s not bored with it, he’s at odds with it. For a warrior, the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable. A warrior must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous time.”

“A man, any man, deserves everything that is a man’s lot – joy, pain, sadness, and struggle. The nature of his acts is unimportant as long as he acts as a warrior. If his spirit is distorted he should simply fix it – purge it, make it perfect – because there is no other task in our entire lives which is more worthwhile. Not to fix the spirit is to seek death, and that is the same as to seek nothing, since death is going to overtake us regardless of anything. To seek the perfection of the warrior’s spirit is the only task worthy of our temporariness, and our manhood.”

Quotes from Tales of Power

“The internal dialogue is what grounds people in the daily world. The world is such and such or so and so, only because we talk to ourselves about its being such and such or so and so. The passageway into the world of the shamans opens up after the warrior has learned to shut off his internal dialogue.”

“The humbleness of a warrior is not the humbleness of the beggar. The warrior lowers his head to no one, but at the same time, he doesn’t permit anyone to lower his head to him. The beggar, on the other hand, falls to his knees at the drop of a hat and scrapes the floor for anyone he deems to be higher; but at the same time, he demands that someone lower than him scrape the floor for him.”

“Whenever the internal dialogue stops, the world collapses, and extraordinary facets of ourselves surface, as though they had been kept heavily guarded by our words.”

“The world is unfathomable. And so are we, and so is every being that exists in this world.”

“Human beings are not objects; they have no solidity. They are round, luminous beings; they are boundless. The world of objects and solidity is only a description that was created to help them, to make their passage on earth convenient.”

“Their reason makes them forget that the description is only a description, and before they realize it, human beings have entrapped the totality of themselves in a vicious circle from which they rarely emerge in their lifetimes.”

“Human beings are perceivers, but the world that they perceive is an illusion: an illusion created by the description that was told to them from the moment they were born. So in essence, the world that their reason wants to sustain is the world created by a description and its dogmatic and inviolable rules, which their reason learns to accept and defend.”

“The concealed advantage of luminous beings is that they have something which is never used: intent. The maneuver of shamans is the same as the maneuver of the average man. Both have a description of the world. The average man upholds it with his reason; the shaman upholds it with his intent. Both descriptions have their rules; but the advantage of the shaman is that intent is more engulfing than reason.”

“When a warrior makes the decision to take action, he should be prepared to die. If he is prepared to die, there shouldn’t be any pitfalls, any unwelcome surprises, any unnessecary acts. Everything should gently fall into place because he is expecting nothing.”

“There is no way to get rid of self-pity for good; it has a definite place and character in our lives, a definite facade which is recognizable. Thus, every time the occasion arises, the facade of self-pity becomes active. It has a history. But if one changes the facade, one shifts its place of prominence. One changes facades by shifting the component elements of the facade itself. Self-pity is useful to the user because he feels important and deserving of better conditions, better treatment, or because he is unwilling to assume responsibility for the acts that brought him to the state that elicited self-pity.”

“A warrior acknowledges his pain but he doesn’t indulge in it. The mood of the warrior who enters into the unknown is not one of sadness; on the contrary, he’s joyful because he feels humbled by his great fortune, confident that his spirit is impeccable, and above all, fully aware of his efficiency. A warrior’s joyfulness comes from having accepted his fate, and from having truthfully assessed what lies ahead of him.”

Quotes from The Second Ring of Power

“When one has nothing to lose, one becomes courageous. We are timid only when there is something we can still cling to.”

“A warrior could not possibly leave anything to chance. He actually affects the outcome of events by the force of his awareness and his unbending intent.”

“If a warrior wants to pay back for all the favors he has received, and he has no one in particular to address his payment to, he can address it to the spirit of man. That’s always a very small account, and whatever one puts in it is more than enough.”

“The human form is a conglomerate of energy fields which exists in the universe, and which is related exclusively to human beings. Shamans call it the human form because those energy fields have been bent and contorted by a lifetime of habits and misuse.”

“The world of people goes up and down and people go up and down with their world; warriors have no business following the ups and downs of their fellow men.”

Quotes from The Eagle’s Gift

“The recommendation for warriors is not to have any material things on which to focus their power, not to focus it on the spirit, on the true flight into the unknown, not on trivialities. Everyone who wants to follow the warrior’s path has to rid himself of the compulsion to possess and hold onto things.”

“People’s actions no longer affect a warrior when he has no more expectations of any kind. A strange peace becomes the ruling force in his life. He has adopted one of the concepts of a warrior’s life – detachment.”

“Detachment does not automatically mean wisdom, but it is, nonetheless, an advantage because it allows the warrior to pause momentarily to reassess situations, to reconsider positions. In order to use that extra moment consistently and correctly, however, a warrior has to struggle unyieldingly for the duration of his life.”

“I am already given to the power that rules my fate. And I cling to nothing, so I will have nothing to defend. I have no thoughts, so I will see. I fear nothing, so I will remember myself. Detached and at ease, I will dart past the Eagle to be free.”

“To cross over to freedom does not mean eternal life as eternity is commonly understood – that is, as living forever. Rather, warriors can keep their awareness, which is ordinarily relinquished at the moment of dying. At the moment of crossing, the body in its entirety is kindled with knowledge. Every cell at once becomes aware of itself and also aware of the totality of the body.”

Quotes from The Fire From Within

“Self-importance is man’s greatest enemy. What weakens him is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of his fellow men. Self-importance requires that one spend most of one’s life offended by something or someone.”

“The unknown is something that is veiled from man, shrouded perhaps by a terrifying context, but which, nonetheless, is within man’s reach. The unknown becomes the known at a given time. The unknowable, on the other hand, is the indescribable, the unthinkable, the unrealizable. It is something that will never be known to us, and yet it is there, dazzling and at the same time horrifying in its vastness.”

“Warriors say that we think there is a world of objects out there only because of our awareness. But what’s really out there are the Eagle’s emanations, fluid, forever in motion, and yet unchanged, eternal.”

“The greatest flaw of human beings is to remain glued to the inventory of reason. Reason doesn’t deal with man as energy. Reason deals with instruments that create energy, but it has never seriously occured to reason that we are better than instruments: we are organisms that create energy. We are bubbles of energy.”

“Once inner silence is attained, everything is possible. The way to stop talking to ourselves is to use exactly the same method used to teach us to talk to ourselves; we were taught compulsively and unwaveringly, and this is the way we must stop it: compulsively and unwaveringly.”

“The mystery of awareness is darkness. Human beings reek of that mystery, of things which are inexplicable. To regard ourselves in any other terms is madness. So a warrior doesn’t demean the mystery of man by trying to rationalize it.”

“Warriors don’t venture into the unknown out of greed. Greed works only in the world of ordinary affairs. To venture into that terrifying loneliness of the unknown, one must have something greater than greed: love. One needs love for life, for intrigue, for mystery. One needs unquenchable curiosity and guts galore.”

Quotes from The Power of Silence

“For a warrior, the spirit is an abstract only because he knows it without words or even thoughts. It’s an abstract because he can’t conceive what the spirit is. Yet, without the slightest chance or desire to understand it, a warrior handles the spirit. He recognizes it, beckons it, entices it, becomes familiar with it, and expresses it with his acts.”

“Warriors have an ulterior purpose for their acts, which has nothing to do with personal gain. The average man acts only if there is the chance for profit. Warriors act not for profit, but for the spirit.”

“What we need to do to allow magic to get hold of us is to banish doubts from our minds. Once doubts are banished, anything is possible.”

“Man’s possibilities are so vast and mysterious that warriors, rather than thinking about them, have chosen to explore them, with no hope of ever understanding them.”

“The thrust of the warrior’s way is to dethrone self-importance. And everything warriors do is directed toward accomplishing this goal.”

“Shamans have unmasked self-importance and found that it is self-pity masquerading as something else.”

“The spirit listens only when the speaker speaks in gestures. And gestures do not mean signs or body movements, but acts of true abandon, acts of largesse, of humor. As a gesture for the spirit, warriors bring out the best of themselves and silently offer it to the abstract.”

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Embracing Your Inner Witch


Becoming a Witch isn't something we acquire. The Witch is already within us. She is someone we become ready and willing to embrace. Someone we realize we ARE.

When a woman embraces her inner witch, she finds new strength. She is overtaken by true serenity. She creates order where there was none before. Her eyes have now been opened.

Witchcraft is the magick of the Earth itself. It is the essence that can bind life together.

Witchcraft is more than just a practice, it is a way of life. A way of looking at the physical and spiritual as a collaborative source of manifestation. We are in tune with nature, in tune with ourselves and in alignment with our all-knowing inner witch.

Witchcraft involves being willing to understand and embrace your true self. It is about exploring your light and learning to celebrate your darkness.

A wise witch knows the shadows come from the light.

Witches seek the sacred knowledge the rest of the world has already forgotten.

Witches work with the truth of the Earth itself.

A Witch awakens within herself qualities of the elements and forces of nature.

Witches escape to the forest to listen to the whispers of nature itself...

Some of the best advice you will ever hear will come from the forest.

Magick is an art; using reality and the world as its canvas.

An experienced witch does not rely on karma. She relies on magickal justice.

Cursing and healing. Left Hand path and Right Hand path. Black and White. Desiring and Repelling. They are all part of the same circle. All interlocking forms of spiritual, magickal and transformational work. Human energies in the spiritual, coming into the material world through perfectly natural means.

There is no such thing as White Magick or Black Magick. If you are participating in magick, you are interfering with the natural order of how life would have developed without your hand in it. You are manipulating reality to suit your own personal needs. Regardless of whether you perceive it as "positive" or "white light", you are manipulating life. If you are afraid of this responsibly or are intimidated by this statement, I encourage you to reexamine your belief structure. Witchcraft requires confidence and courage.

There is nothing more powerful than a witch who knows how to contain her power. Standing comfortably within its mystery and allure.

Our deepest fear is NOT that we are incompetent women. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond physical measure. It is our radiated spiritual strength that most frightens us…
And empowers us!


You are the most powerful tool in your life. Use your energy, your thoughts and your magick wisely!


- Quotes by Dacha Avelin (Embracing Your Inner Witch: The Maidens Guide to Old World Witchcraft / Old World Witchcraft: Pathway To Effective Magick)

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Holiday Feasts and Lucid Dreaming


Today US celebrates Thanksgiving, the traditional harvest meal to celebrate family and friends. And most of us that sit at the Thanksgiving table will probably want a serious nap after eating. While the tryptophan in turkey is often blamed for this holiday nap effect, actually it’s more complex than that.

What is tryptophan? It’s an essential amino acid. Turkey has tryptophan. But so do the buttered biscuits, the cheese, the deviled eggs, and aunt’s famous garlic mashed potatoes.  Other meats like chicken, ham, fish and beef are high in tryptophan, too. It’s well represented in the dessert category, as well, including chocolate cake, pumpkin pie and banana fritters.

But all this tryptophan is not directly responsible for the family exodus from the dining room to the den. Actually, that’s probably due to old-fashioned carb-loading.

Here’s how it works. All those carbohydrates spike your insulin levels. This stimulates the uptake of large amino acids in the bloodstream — except for tryptophan. This gives you a suddenly high level of tryptophan in the blood, which crosses the blood-brain barrier and enters the central nervous system. From here all that excess tryptophan is synthesized into serotonin. Much of this serotonin is further transformed by the pineal gland into melatonin–and it’s the melatonin that brings on the snooze.

Bizarre Dreams and Lucid Dreaming

What really interests me about the tryptophan-melatonin partnership is that they can bring on bizarre and vivid dreams. About ten years ago, dream researcher Tracey Kahan and associates from Santa Clara University ran a two-week study looking at changes in dream content after taking 6mg of melatonin supplement, compared to placebo. The melatonin-subjects’ dreams were analyzed to contain more “transformations of objects” and “overall transformations.” Kinda trippy.

There’s also a heavily documented link between melatonin and REM latency, the time between REM sleep phases, which is the stage of sleep most remembered dreams come from. Coming full circle, Tore Nielsen and company (2010) from the Montreal-based Dream and Nightmare Laboratory have noted an association between the REM sessions that follow long latency periods and the increased level of nightmares and disturbing dream imagery in general.

This REM effect therefore could make melatonin a potential aid for inducing lucid dreaming, albeit it bizarre and nightmarish lucid dreams. More weirdness in dreams means more chances to recognize “This is creepy and weird–hey, I’m dreaming. And I can fly!”

So is this really all by random chance that traditional harvest feasts involve carb-loading and tryptophan-rich foods, served for days-on-end with the seasonal sleep-overs of close family and friends?  I argue that harvest feasts also function as dream incubation sessions. Our culture has set us up to live together, dream together, and share it all in the mornings — just like the old days, if only for a night or two, before we go back to our neolocal lives.

So when your aunt says, “More potatoes, hon?”, that’s an invitation to dream a little deeper tonight.

Yes, ma’am.



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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Subterranean Worlds of Inner Earth


According to mythological traditions, underground sites were mostly referred to as entrances to the underworld and we find such references all around the world. Although most of us think of the ‘underworld’ as a representation of ‘hell’ and therefore an imaginary or spiritual place for ‘bad’ people, in reality in ancient religions that wasn’t the case. 

The underworld was a place where the dead would go, but it was a place with physical entrances, guards, buildings and cities, and a place that a few mortals could visit and even communicate with the dead souls, gods, kings or the armies of the underworld. In a few cases though, according to the legends, they could even resurrect a dead person.


One of the most famous underground cities is the city of Agartha, a legendary city that is supposed to be in the center of the Earth. Central Asia is the origin of those legends and the race inhabiting this underground realm was called the Agharti. Theosophists refer to Agartha as a vast complex of caves and an underground network that was inhabited by the Asuras.

Shambhala (a Sanskrit word meaning ‘place of peace’) is another famous holy place that for some is supposed to be a spiritual ‘paradise’, but for others it is suggested to be a real underground city with references of people that have actually visited it. Legends mention that the King of Shambhala traveled to India to meet Buddha and listen to his teachings. One major difference with Shambhala is that it is supposed to be a holy place in comparison to Agartha, which is a place of demons. According to Helena Blavatsky, Shambhala is located in the Gobi Desert.

In Hindu mythology there are legends of a race called the Nagas, serpent like intelligent creatures with human faces that live in underground caverns. Those creatures are described as ‘children of Gods’ who got married with human kings and queens and are supposedly spiritually advanced. Similarly, in Chinese legends dragons are not the ugly flying beasts that we believe today, but wise creature that would be mentors of kings and creators of kingdoms. Many Tibetans are mentioned to have entered those caves of the Nagas that expand miles and miles inside the mountains of Asia.

The Hopi Indians maintain that their ancestors did not arrive from the north, nor by boat, but instead climbed onto the surface from the underworld. The specific place of emergence of Hopi legend lies deep inside the Grand Canyon, an enchanted opening from the mysterious recesses of the earth.

In the Mayan mythology we have the mythical underground city of Xibalba, ‘the land that the sun goes down into’ which was inhabited by superheroes and Gods, a civilization that supposedly vanished around the Middle Ages. The entrance to this world was thought to be located in Guatemala and description of the structures and locations within Xibalba are described in Popol Vuh.

In Greece, we have the myths of Hades and the Underworld, a realm where gods and heroes lived. God Pluto was the God of the Underworld which had many different sections including the Elysium and Tartarus.

In Irish legends we hear about the people named Tuatha De Danaan (People of the Goddess Danu), a race who moved underground when another race arrived on the island. According to the legends they came to Ireland in ‘dark clouds’ and landed on the mountains of Ireland. Those people in today’s myths are referred to as fairies.

In Norwegian legends we have the Dwarves, beings of the underground associated with craftsmanship. Different races of Dwarves that were the ones that supplied the Gods with weapons.

In Egypt, we have references of the historians Herodotus and Strabo of a colossal underground temple that contained 3,000 rooms full of paintings and hieroglyphs, a lost labyrinth yet to be found.

Many occult organizations, esoteric authors, and secret societies concur with these myths and legends of subterranean inhabitants, who are the remnants of antediluvian civilizations, which sought refuge in hollow caverns inside the earth. 


Assuming that the myths are true, and the Earth is partially hollow, how could life survive underground? How would organisms receive the ventilation required to breathe miles below the surface? What would provide the light needed to see, or to cause the photosynthesis necessary for the plant life that allegedly exists in these inner worlds? Are there any known sources of sustenance available that could provide for a large human population? What evidence is there that a sustainable biosphere could exist miles below the surface, totally isolated from the nourishment and the established life cycle provided by the sun? Where are the entrances to inner earth, and which races live there? 

Author and anthropologist, Robert Sepehr, explores these questions and attempts to unlock their riddles, which have eluded any serious consideration in mainstream academia. 

Numerous endevours have been undertaken to access the interior of the earth. Polar expeditions and battles, such as Operation Highjump, still remain largely classified, and have been shrouded in secrecy for decades, but scientific revelations validating the rumors surrounding these covert events, and their implications, are finally being exposed to daylight. 

What are the mysteries of inner Earth?


About the author:
Robert Sepehr is an author, producer and anthropologist living in Los Angeles, CA.
He specializes in linguistics, paleogenetics and archeology.

Find Robert Sepehr's book on the left bar of our site.


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