Nebula Stone

Nebula Stone – Removes Fear, Boosts memory

nebula-stone-

Nebula Stone removes fear, and helps one let go of the old to make room for the new. It is a very grounding stone, and increases vitality. It is sometimes called a cosmic window, and is excellent for meditation. In the physical realm, Nebula Stone is used to to cleanse the kidneys.

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Christmas Tree

Search for the roots of today’s Christmas traditions and you will find your way back to the ancient Celtic festival of Alban Arthuan, held during the Winter Solstice on December 21. One of the principle reasons for the rapid propagation of Christianity throughout Europe during the first millennium was the willingness of Christian leaders to incorporate the rituals, beliefs and customs of other religions. Few of the ancient displaced religions were more assimilated than the Druids, Wiccans and Pagans.

The custom of burning the Yule Log, the Yule-associated tradition that is most familiar to people today, was performed to honor the Great Mother Goddess. The log would be lit on the eve of the solstice, using the remains of the log from the previous year, and would be burned for twelve hours for good luck.

Decorating the Yule tree was also originally a Pagan custom; brightly colored decorations would be hung on the tree, usually a pine, to symbolize the various stellar objects which were of significance to the Pagans – the sun, moon, and stars – and also to represent the souls of those who had died in the previous year. The modern practice of gift giving evolved from the Pagan tradition of hanging gifts on the Yule tree as offerings to the various Pagan Gods and Goddesses.

The Christmas tree is said to have originated in Germany with the decoration of pine trees with fancy ornaments.

However, there are alternate theories that suggest otherwise. In fact, there are many legends about the Christmas tree that led to the widespread belief that the Christmas tree is an essential part of the Christmas season and its celebration. There is the legend of St. Boniface, an English monk, who is said to have saved a child from being sacrificed by pagans. When they were gathered around an oak tree to sacrifice the child, the Saint flattened the tree with one blow of his fist. A small fir sprang up in its place and St. Boniface told the pagans that it was the “tree of life,” and represented the life of Christ.

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The Nordic pagans and the Celtic Druids revered the evergreen tree as a symbol of everlasting life and hope for the return of spring. While other plants and trees died, the evergreen trees remained alive continually; hence, they were revered as manifestations of deity. As a symbol of prosperity, the Druids decorated the evergreen outdoors. It was the Scandinavian pagans who were the pioneers in bringing the decorated trees indoors; and the Saxons, a Germanic pagan tribe, who were the first to use candles to illuminate the tree. In addition to these pagan rituals, the tree is also linked to the celebration of the Winter Solstice. Pagans would celebrate the Winter Solstice, and as a part of that celebration, they would decorate trees. This celebration represented the end of the long, dark winter days and the beginning of the spring and its connection to life. The triumph over the winter darkness was the reason for the celebration. There are many other theories about the origin of the Christmas tree. Researchers have failed to accurately pinpoint a single origin, but it is correct to state that it evolved from pagan traditions. Understanding how the tree was used in the past will shed light on its meaning in the Christmas celebration. Many Christians unwittingly partake in tree decorating without knowing the cryptic meanings behind the adoration/decorating of a tree. The fact that the evergreen tree was considered in pagan religions to symbolize everlasting life, robs us of the reality of Jesus’ supreme sacrifice that enables us to have true eternal life. The evergreen tree is believed by some pagans to hold continual life, and as such, is commonly used in pagan worship and celebrations.

A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as spruce, fir or an artificial tree of similiar appearance.

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The tree was traditionally decorated with edibles such as apples, nuts, or other foods. In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles which were ultimately replaced by Christmas lights after the invention of electrification. Today there is a wide variety of traditional ornaments, garlands, tinsel and candy canes. An angel or star is often placed at the top of the tree normally represents the archangel Gabriel or the star of Bethlehem (from the Nativity).

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The Christmas tree has also been known as the “Yule-tree”, especially in discussions of it’s folklore.

Although the tradition of decorating the home with evergreens was long established, the custom of decorating an entire small tree was unknown in Britain until some two centuries ago. At the time of the personal union with Hanover, George III’s German wife, Charlotte, introduced a Christmas tree at a party she gave for children in 1800. The custom didn’t spread much beyond the royal family to begin with.
Queen Victoria was familiar with them and even as a child had one in her bedroom. after she married Prince Albert (her German cousin) the custom became more widespread as wealthier families began to follow the tradition.

JOHANS~1

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Their use at public entertainments, charity bazaars and in hospitals made them increasingly familiar however, and in 1906 a charity was set up specifically to ensure even poor children in London slums ‘who had never seen a Christmas tree’ would enjoy one that year. In 1933 a restriction on the importation of foreign trees led to Britain growing their own Christmas trees.

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By 2013 the number of trees grown in Britain for the Christmas market was approximately 8 million.

I mean, that’s a lot!!

In some cities, a  festival of trees is organised around the decoration and display of multiple trees as charity events. 

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Pilgrims Progress – Steven Payne – Mid 14th century pilgrimage

What this guy is doing is amazing.
https://www.facebook.com/#!/14thcenturypilgrimsprogress/
Everything is traditional mid 14th century. ALL his clothing, provisions and food.
All of Steven Payne’s clothes are made in the same way they would have been in 1365.
This is going to be a hard journey but an amazing experience for him.

All of Steven Payne's clothes are made in the same way they would have been in 1365

His aim is to be the first in 500 years to walk the Pilgrims way from Southampton, to the shrine of Becket at Canterbury. He has a letter from the Pope in case anyone objects to him sleeping in their churchyard or porch way.

He has done everything from scratch, crafting what he can himself and sourcing what he can’t make and having it done as close to authentic as possible.
We know he is taking a jar of honey, a box of block salt, an apple shaped box (which he made himself) full of apple and cinnamon leaf ‘tea’. A walnut box of aromatic herbs for bathing, some bags of coin to donate to people in need, a needle case and a case for thread in case the kit needs repair and a round walnut box of beeswax. He even made his own bowls! A larger one made of chestnut which should serve for main meals and a smaller one is just right for using as a maser (drinking bowl).

He received a lot of information on medieval food ‘on the go’ and is planning on taking items such as a heavy fruit loaf almonds, cheese, dried fruit, bread, boiled eggs, salt, cinnamon, dried apple slices, oat cakes and a pork and venison pie. He is also taking some Rochester dark ginger wine which is non-alcoholic.
He is taking a wash kit that will help with hygiene, he really did his research and found so much good and interesting articles and information. His wash kit includes home made olive oil soap, salt for the teeth, a block of deodorising alum, cloves, a boxwood comb and some liquorice root sticks, all on a woollen ‘towel’.
He also made his own  Staff.
The staff is of a particular design, shown in numerous carvings and paintings…….roughly 5′ 6″ to 6′ 6″ tall it had a double ball carved into the shaft. This meant that when carried over the shoulder, a bag of possessions could be tied to the end where the balls would prevent it from slipping off, but equally importantly the double ball acted like a pommel and cross guard, allowing the staff to be used much like a double-handed waster (practice sword) if the Pilgrim should come under attack by robbers or wolves along the way.

On his travels he will be taking a copy of a 14th century Paternoster that he made for a friend in the USA, he will have it blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, as the practice of carrying an object on behalf of someone who could not make the journey themselves was common in the middle ages, and was endorsed by the Church.

 

12 Days of Christmas?

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The popular song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is usually seen as simply a nonsense song for children with secular origins. However, some have suggested that it is a song of Christian instruction, perhaps dating to the 16th century religious wars in England, with hidden references to the basic teachings of the Christian Faith. They contend that it was a mnemonic device to teach the catechism to youngsters. The “true love” mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The “me” who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the “days” represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn.

It is certainly possible that this view of the song is legendary or anecdotal. Without corroboration and in the absence of “substantive evidence,” we probably should not take rigid positions on either side. So, for historical accuracy, we need to acknowledge the likelihood that the song had secular origins.

However, on another level, this should not prevent us from using the song in celebration of Christmas. Many of the symbols of Christianity were not originally religious, including even the present date of Christmas, but were appropriated from contemporary culture by the Christian Faith as vehicles of worship and proclamation.

Whatever you believe there is no denying the popularity of the song or it’s common use in todays society. Over the following days I’ll share a little of the information about the lyrics that I’ve been able to source.

Camera Obscura. Edinburgh.

http://www.camera-obscura.co.uk/

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The Camera Obscura show is a fascinating and highly amusing way to see the city and learn about its history. This unique experience has delighted and intrigued people for over 150 years. It is a ‘must’ on any visit to Edinburgh.

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From inside this mysterious Victorian rooftop chamber, you see live moving images of Edinburgh projected onto a viewing table through a giant periscope.
The guides guide will entertain you while telling stories of Edinburgh, past and present, in an engaging and informative way. Our visitors are truly amazed at how, in this age of high technology, a simple array of mirror, lenses and daylight can produce this incredible panorama.
There is six floors of hands-on, interactive fun!
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HISTORY OF THE ATTRACTION
A brief History of Edinburgh’s oldest purpose built visitor attraction – The Camera Obscura and World of Illusion.

MARIA SHORT
In the early 18th Century the Short family were scientific instrument makers in the south side of Edinburgh. In 1776 their son Thomas leased land on Calton Hill and built a ‘Gothic House’ to house his optical instruments and very fine telescopes, charging admission to see them. He died in 1788.
In 1827, Maria Theresa Short returned to Edinburgh from the West Indies claiming to be Thomas’s daughter. She wished to claim his ‘Great Telescope’ for her inheritance. There was strong competition from other parties, but Maria received the telescope and set up a ‘Popular Observatory’ in 1835, housed in a wooden and stone building next to the National Monument on Calton Hill. She exhibited many scientific instruments and kept her Observatory open till 9pm each evening.
In a leaflet from this period, solar microscopes and achromatic telescopes were regularly included as part of optical exhibitions. One typical show at Short’s observatory in Edinburgh promised to show the eye of a fly ‘magnified into an expanse of 12 feet, each of its many hundred pupils assuming the size of a human eye’
In the early 1850’s, Maria bought a tenement which had once
been the townhouse of the old Laird of Cockpen. She then installed a camera obscura on top of it and exhibitions calling it Short’s Observatory (see image left) and Museum of Science and Art.
PATRICK GEDDES
In 1892, Patrick Geddes, a famous town planner and sociologist, bought the Tower in a public auction. He re-named it the Outlook Tower because he wanted to change people’s outlook. Geddes used the camera obscura to change the way people looked at life and the interaction between town and country.
Although best known as the founder of modern town planning, Geddes’ background was in biology and sociology. Geddes lived in the New Town, like most reasonably affluent people at the time, however he wanted to improve slum conditions in the Old Town, and so he moved to James Court near to the Camera Obscura and improved its appearance, whitewashing the dull walls and introducing plants. He created the first University ‘halls of residence’ at Milne’s Court, setting it up as an idealistic, self managing community with the mission not just to live there, but to influence those around.
Geddes and the Outlook Tower
In 1892, Geddes bought the Tower in a public auction, naming it the ‘Outlook Tower’ because he wanted to change people’s outlook. When taking tours, Geddes would first rush people up the original turnpike stair (currently our escape stair), all the way to the top. After the quick climb, with blood rushing to their heads, visitors were shown the Camera Obscura. Geddes used the Camera to show them ‘life’ as a whole and the relationship between the town and the countryside all around the town.
In the foyer outside the Camera were different coloured stained glass windows with subjects such as ‘botany’, ’zoology’ etc. Geddes wanted to stop people seeing life only through their own interest, or one colour window, but to grasp the wholeness and interdependency of life. The Camera showed the reality – all colours together. After seeing the Camera Obscura, visitors sat in a darkened meditation room – the inlook room – to internalise what they had learned, making it their own. Then visitors went down through the Tower – through the ‘Edinburgh Room’, then down through exhibitions about Scotland, Language, Europe and finally the World.
Later Geddes went to India, the Tower lost its ‘enchanter’, and the place became less of a hive of intellectual debate. However Geddes’ ideas live on and are still popular today, all around the world.
Edinburgh University owned the tower from the 1940’s to 1982 when it was sold to Visitor Centres Ltd. who also runs Landmark Centre, Carrbridge; Inveraray Jail and Landmark Press, a tourism publishing company.
The Camera Obscura has maintained many of its original characteristics; however there have been a few changes throughout the years. When it was originally built, there was only one lens, instead of three. Also, the distance between the lens and the image was much less. The same goes for the original table which was one floor higher up than the present one
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OPEN EVERY DAY! (except 25th December)

SEASONAL OPENING HOURS
July – August: Every day 09:00-21:00
September – October: Every day 09:30-19:00
November – March: Every day 10:00-18:00 (Closed 25th December)
April – June: Every day 09:30-19:00

The last Camera Obscura presentation usually begins 1 hour before closing, or earlier in winter as the Camera Obscura works with daylight. It is recommend that you allow 2 hours for the visit.

STANDARD ADMISSION PRICES
Adult: £13.95, Senior: £11.95, Child (5 – 15 years): £9.95
*under 5’s go free