Archive for July, 2012

When I think of spooky or truly authentic sounding places I have to admit New Orlean’s is one of them. I see regular pictures and video’s on the internet. It really needs to be on my list of places to aim for.

Manchac Swamp is near New Orleans and has another nickname, the Swamp of the Ghosts. The swamp was cursed by a an adept of the voodoo cult (not the nice side either) in the 20’s when locals imprisoned her on charges of witchcraft. Three small villages nearby were taken down by a hurricane that came shortly after, adding weight to the theory as far as they were concerned.

Another victim of the weather at the swamp was a cemetery, halfway between Frenier and Ruddock there was St. John the Baptist Parish which had roughly 100 souls buried there.

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A pretty famous name but why? And really is he that interesting? Yes… however you see it, good or bad the man has proven to be very influential.

“So what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”

Born in 1875 on 12 October, Edward Alexander Crowley and died 1st December 1947.  For many his Magick comes to them as a form of modern urban high magic mixed with neo-paganism. The actual facts of the matter are far more complex and I think if you are interested it would be better to look into it on your own (it would be posts and posts long!)

One thing he did his life was to pretty much travel around the world in search of gnosis. He went from deep jungles to high mountains, and it’s a shame he didn’t share more of those experiences as I am sure his outdoor adventures would have been interesting reading.

In 1925 he took leadership of the Fraternitas Saturni on a walk up the garden and into the forest. He noticed a plant or tree that was remarkable to him and lifted his hat in greeting. When the novices asked what he was doing one of the other members explained he was greeting the elemental spirits of nature who had come to see their master.

Towards the end of his life he began to lose interest in the Ordo Templi Orientis and the other organisations he had fashioned for his vision of the Great Works. He met Gerald Gardner and it seems at this point the plan was made to transform the OTO into a more popular witchcraft cult.  Gardner brought a charter and rose rapidly through the grades, even travelling to America to meet other initiates.

Fred Lamond, one of Gardner’s first acolytes wrote about an American adept known as Jack Parsons who looked favourably on the idea of the new witch cult. Perhaps if Crowley had lived long enough to finish Gardner’s training modern paganism may have looked very difficult.

Today his influence is still notable. Crowley’s word was Thelema which meant Free Will, those who choose to follow the path of his magical teachings aim to de-condition themselves to  be independent and have their own sense of self. The popularity of this is the idea of not  following a priest or judge in order to be able to work out how to act for yourself.

Part of the process of developing this self knowledge is by Magick, which he highly advocated. “the science and art of causing change in conformity with will.” many things now known as cultural were part of the fundamental parts of Magick such as drama, music, art, dance, philosophy and poetry etc…

M6

The motorway is the longest in the UK and so I would guess if it was going to harbour ghosts it had plenty of places under which it could produce a creepy experience. A reported sighting that came in was a ghostly hitchhiking lady, this seems to relay well into many of the classic hitching ghostly folk around the area of Urban legends but again there’s nothing to say it couldn’t happen.

If that isn’t enough to worry you pay attention on the long travel down the M6 as there has been a phantom lorry that was travelling along the wrong side of the carriageway.

Even the toll section’s had a rather intriguing claim where ghostly sightings of Roman Troops have been seen. A lady, Sue Cowley, from Warwickshire filled in a survey about the sightings saying that she had witnessed upright shadows of man walking through the tarmac like it was water. Not surprisingly with a road that goes through so much of the country that a few spooks would find their way on to it.

High Street and Suffield Road, Great Yarmouth.
I’d say some sightings could be put down to sun exposure on the beach but this is England and I am realistic. Ghosts are more likely than heat mirages here!
On both of these roads a phantom dog-like thing with long legs has been spotted running along at a fair speed only to end up with it disappearing into thin air. (sounds like my old greyhound).

B4293
This twisted and windy road in Wales seems to have a Guardian Angel. A lady was driving home late one night and heard a voice to advise her to pull over. She pulled over in shock to the grass verge and then only a short space after a car came the wrong side of the road with no lights. Had she not have stopped she would have been in a serious accident.

Highlands A9

A more serene spotting on the ghostly roads of England appears to be one drivers report often too. Lock Bhuie has been reported to sport a Victorian Coach with very ornate detail driven by white horses. Apparently the coach is accompanied by bewigged footmen in the full period attire.

Of course the whole carriage seems a little too flamboyant for one of the Victorian ghosts, shoe has been spotted riding a white horse along the road, then suddenly he’s appeared further down it far too quickly to have been natural.

Okay it’s not ghosts or supernatural but sometimes human beings love to leave us things we could use for our own imagination. Driving along roads at night can be lonely enough however there is also a great sense of imagination when you pass a half completed road or perhaps even half over-grown ones.

For instances in Portland, Oregan there is a section of unused ramp at the western terminus. How about heading on to Interstate 189 in Burlington Vermont, there are now lanes blacked by discarded electronics.

Older areas might well have been left behind when an amendment to a highway/road has occurred and it’s not longer needed.  A good example of this appears to be the Pennsylvania Turnpike where two-lane tunnels and four-lane approaches were bypassed. The old tunnels and roadways on this one were reused as a multi-use trail. There are also some where the road might have been a ramp up to a bridge that was demolished.

Sometimes it’s due to the road never being finished, perhaps they started and ran out of cash or someone managed to put a stop to it. In London (England) the M11 motorway has two unused slips at Junction 4 (Charlie Brown’s) which would have gone into the link for the M12 motorway going to Essex.

The A47 in Rutland, near Wardley has an unused stretch of carriageway that now only sees use as access to a transmitting station. The A2 in Kent ended up with part of the road being made into a public park then it was realigned back in 2009.

1000 Islands Parkway in Eastern Ontario, this is another interesting one as it has two Ghost Lanes down it’s 40km length, these lanes are now used pretty much as a pedestrian or cycle lane on a scenic area. Originally it was going to be an alternate route to the main inland highway and be a sort of divided highway. The plans were put in motion and began sometime in the 1930’s where the unnamed route was began, when the wartime shortages affected it part of the road was left as gravel and finished in 1945 when the war ended. Highway 25 was then added to the 1948 Ontario Maps. In 1952 the entire thing was then redesigned on another route by December 1952 as Highway 401 and the route was no longer in use.

The Highway was due to become part of the freeway route but public outcry would be huge and so in the early 1960’s the plans were abandoned and the restoration on the river road but it’s fully decommissioned status as a road was eventually logged September 8th 1970, King’s Highway was to be no more.  Whilst I have really skipped over many facts that could have been put up here really I just liked the story of the scenic parkway that sits there now.

So perhaps if you are out travelling and spot somewhere as a road to nowhere you might like to hit me with a reply about them.

Mantra

Posted: July 20, 2012 in Theology
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

From ignorance, lead me to truth;
From darkness, lead me to light;
From death, lead me to immortality
Om peace, peace, peace

Mantra’s originated in the Vedic tradition of INdia, an essential part of the Hindu tradition and also a customary practise within the Buddhism, Sikh and Jainism religions. The Om Syllable is believed to be the “Sound of the Universe” and in Vedanta mysticism is a mantra in it’s own right.

Hindu tantre also came to see the letters as well as the sounds as divine representatives, the shift towards writing came when Buddhism travelled to China. The Chinese culture prized their written language far more highly then those of the Indian Buddhist Missionaries, and the writing of mantra’s became a spiritual practise in its own right.

The Brahmins had been strict on the correct pronunciation but the Chinese were more concerned with the correct text. This practise of writing the mantra’s was refined further in Japan. The writing in the Siddham script, in which the Sanskrit of many Buddhist Sutras was written, is only really seen in Japan nowadays.

Mantras were originally part of the Vedas, most follow a pattern of two line “shlokas” though they can be found in a single line, or even a word. The most basic being the Om, known as pranava mantra. Om is considered the most fundamental and powerful mantra and is suffixed to all Hindu prayers. Whilst some might invoke individual gods the most fundamental like “Om”, the “Shanti Mantra” and “Gayatri Mantra” all focus on One reality.

In the Hindu Tantrea the universe is sound, creation consists of vibrations and sounds and these ultimately create the world and the purest vibrations are the Var.nas. Each letter becomes a mantra and the language is reflected in this manner, the seed syllable Om represents the underlying unity of reality, which is Brahman.

Here are some of the forms of Mantra, I have taken the list from Wikipedia.
Bhajan: spiritual songs.
Kirtan: repetition of God’s name in songs.
Prayer: a way of communing with God.
Healing mantra
Guru mantra: the first initiation (Diksha) given by the master to the
disciple.
Bija mantra: a bija mantra represents the essence of a mantra (e.g. Om).

Mantra Japa – the concept of the Vedic sages uses the repetition of mantra. It is repeated in numbers (often multiples of three) with the most popular being 108. Hindu Malas (bead necklaves) would often contain 108 beads for this reason, and also the head beads. The fingers counts each mantra and should the devotee wish to do another 108 they would turn the mala around without crossed the head bead and repeat.