Buddhist prayer wheel is an inseparable part of the Buddhist and Tibetan tradition. The prayer wheel is actually a hollow metal cylinder, beautifully embossed and mounted on top of a rod. The inner portion of the hollow cylinder contains a tightly scrolled paper or other material full of printed or hand-written mantra. Mainly used in the Tibetan culture than other cultures of Buddhism , the Buddhist prayer wheels are used as an aid to meditation and as a means of accumulating wisdom, good karma and a means of putting bad karmas and negative energy aside. Ancient records tell us that the Buddhist prayer wheels were introduced to our world by a famous Indian Buddhist scholar, a philosopher and a saint; Nagarjuna . Saint Nagarjuna is credited with the rise of the Mahayana Buddhism during the first century BC. He is also famous for founding the Middle Way school of Buddhist philosophy. Buddhist prayer wheels have been made in Tibet for many centuries, and they range highly in size and styles. These Buddhist prayer wheels range from simple hand-held prayer wheel and table top prayer wheels to enormous size of eight to twelve feet tall and with diameter of five to six feet. It is not only the size or magnitude of a prayer wheel that defines its types. There are many types of Buddhist/Tibetan prayer wheels like Mani wheel (a hand prayer wheel), Water wheels (turned by flowing water), Fire wheel (turned by the heat of a candle or electric light), Wind wheel ( a type of prayer wheel is turned by wind), Stationary prayer wheels etc.
Most often built in the periphery of stupas and monasteries, the number of Tibetan prayer wheels might range from a few to hundreds for people to spin them as they walk past or when they rotate around the temple or stupa in clockwise fashion. Rotating these prayer wheels and reciting is considered one of the most thoughtful and beneficial act. A fine example of huge numbers of prayer wheels in one place can be the famous Soyambhunath stupa, where numerous Buddhist prayer wheels are installed around the huge stupa of Soyambhunath. The mantra to recite while one is turning the Buddhist prayer wheels is: "OM MANI PADME HUM" or "OM MANI PEME HUNG"
RITUALS AND SACRIFICES
A ritual "is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and performed according to set sequence." Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community. A religious ritual is an established ceremony prescribed by a religion. divine service, religious service, service. the act of public worship following prescribed rules. sacrament. ... anointing as part of a religious ceremony or healing ritual. A cultural ritual is a ceremony or action performed in a customary way. ... As an adjective, ritual means "conforming to religious rites," which are the sacred, customary ways of celebrating a religion or culture. Different communities have different ritual practices, like meditation in Buddhism, or baptism in Christianity. It is very common that rituals are used to symbolize transitions. Through these rituals, people take up new responsibilities and new roles that are acknowledged by the society. For instance, the funeral takote rituals (as mentioned earlier) are conducted for those who have passed on. Even though it is used as a means to communicate with the dead, it is also a means to recognize the transition from living to deceased. The Tuareg (Rasmussen, 2000) elders also conduct other rites of passage such as naming rituals. Babies are only named on the eighth day after birth and this symbolizes their transition into the living world. This is similar to the Mt. Yagaw Hanunóo people from the Philippines (Conklin, 2011) where grandparents play important roles in choosing the name of the newborn, which can possibly be seen as a ritual to symbolize the baby’s transition into the living world. To the Tuareg elders, who conduct most of the rituals, Tuareg takote rituals offer an opportunity to strengthen personal sociopolitical networks and to be recognized as proto-ancestors or pre-ancestral in their lifetime (Rasmussen, 2000). By conducting the rituals, the elders undergo their own personal transition into becoming a ‘new’ person. In South India (Nishimura, 1996), rituals are used to mark transitions between social statuses. For example, wedding rituals are used to acknowledge the transition of the bride and groom into their new social status of ‘married’. It is also used as a means to legitimize offspring. Wedding rituals will allow confirmation of whose bloodline a child belongs to. South Indian wedding rituals not only symbolize transitions from the social status of singlehood to married-hood, but also marks the change of status of the individuals involved in the ritual. The bride and groom, after the wedding ritual, will assume a new status within their own families. They are no longer son and brother, or daughter and sister, but also husband and son-in-law, or wife and daughter-in-law. Even between husband and wife, there would be new statuses based on certain gender hierarchies that are maintained in that culture or society.
Rituals are conducted by many and in different contexts. Each ritual has a specific meaning and symbolism that is unique to each culture and/or society. For rituals that are conducted for communication, the people engage in such rituals due to the beliefs that their lives are controlled and/or affected by spiritual beings or higher powers. The rituals serve as a means to communicate with spiritual beings or higher powers in order for the living to feel as if they have some control over their own lives. Thus, providing an intangible effect that may not necessarily be physically visible to the naked eye. For rituals that are conducted to mark transitions, the rituals have a more tangible effect whereby people in the society acknowledge the transition. For example, wedding rituals (as mentioned earlier) allow the society to acknowledge the transition of the bride and groom from singlehood into married-hood and the new social statuses and responsibilities that come with married-hood. Most, if not all, rituals lie in the center of the core belief systems of the people who practice them. Holy Communion in the Catholic Church evokes the Last Supper through the ingestion of bread and wine. Catholics believe that consecrated bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. Communion ceremonies often involve the recitation of prayers and scripture. Performances of liturgical music may also take place, especially in the Anglican and Episcopalian traditions. Baby-naming and circumcision are Jewish rituals derived from the Old Testament. A baby receives a name in Hebrew; Jews believe Hebrew to be a holy language and the spiritual essence of all creation. The ceremony, called a Simchat Bat in Hebrew, often occurs in a synagogue but occasionally takes place at the parents' home and may entail a reading from Torah. Jews also believe that circumcision connects each male Jewish child to God's covenant with Abraham and with all of Abraham's descendants. Ritual circumcision represents each male child's obedience to God's authority and his faithfulness to God's plan for the Jews. The ceremony is known as the brit milah in Hebrew and typically takes place when the boy is eight days old. Rituals bring about a sense of group identity, and therefore strengthen and build community. Regardless of whether or not such rituals are conducted in public or in private, or if the rituals produce tangible or intangible effects, most rituals (such as healing rituals) are conducted to feed the spiritual and psychological beings of people. It is in the belief that such rituals serve a purpose that they bring about physical effects.
Prayer is a form of communication with a deity or other spiritual being. Words addressed to a deity usually offer praise or seek guidance, blessing, forgiveness, fertility, victory, or protection. Like prayer, sacrifice is a form of communication with a deity for similar purposes. The word itself means "to make holy." As distinct from prayer, sacrificial offerings include objects of value and symbolic significance that are given to the gods to earn their favor. The gifts can take many forms, becoming sacred themselves through ritual consecration. The gods might be offered the most desirable foods or provided with the finest vessels, carvings, tools, and weapons. Historians, however, have often regarded blood sacrifice as the most powerful way to appease the gods. It was not unusual for societies to engage in both animal and human sacrifice, although the historical trend has been toward a sharp reduction in the latter. Participants in blood sacrifice rituals experience a sense of awe, danger, or exaltation because they are daring to approach the gods who create, sustain, and destroy life. The buildup of tension prior to the blood sacrifice gives way to a festive sense of triumph and relief. Morale is strengthened by the ritual killing because the group has itself performed the godlike act of destruction and is now capable of renewing its own existence. The underlying philosophical assumption is that life must pass through death. According to ancient rites of sacrifice, the sacrificial animal or human should be of high value. The gods would be offended by a sickly or inferior offering. In Old Testament tradition, Abel was obeying what was already an ancient tradition when he sacrificed the firstborn of his herds to God. Bulls were sacred to Egyptians more than 5,000 years ago, being associated with Taurus, a god with both animal and human features. For the Egyptians, then, the sacrifice of a bull was the gift of a demigod to the gods. In the years immediately preceding the emergence of Christianity some mystery cults switched from bull to human sacrifices, using the same ceremonies in which the victim was first honored as a god, then put to bloody death. Osiris, the legendary Egyptian ruler who, murdered, became the god of fertility, cast a long shadow over these proceedings. Biblical scholars have often commented that the death of Jesus had been prefigured by other events in which a person was raised to the status of a god and then sacrificed for the good of the people. The significance of blood as a link between Jesus and his followers is consistent with that tradition.
What is the shadow?
The parts of ourselves that we may try to hide or deny. According to Carl Jung, it can be said to consist of energy patterns, known as selvesor sub-personalities that were disowned — pushed down into our unconscious in childhood, as part of our coping strategies.
What is the goal of working with the shadow?
The goal of working with the shadow is to integrate and come to know and accept all of those parts that we have attempted to hide or run from. To find treasure, or make that which has been operating at the unconscious level conscious. Some may not be aware that these aspects exist. It is instinctive work which asks us to follow our own soul’s call and inward response.
Why work with the shadow?
Through this work one is able to slowly deepen and include all of the many interior aspects and to be loving and kind to that which was previously rejected. This eventually allows us to be more compassionate to both ourselves and to others. It asks us to change our views, perspectives and beliefs. It asks us to invite the other in and to embrace our weaknesses and turn them into strengths.
When we work with the shadow we begin to reclaim the projections we put on others. We turn inward and begin to gently listen and heal those aspects within ourselves instead.
Origin of Witchcraft
Witchcraft originated with the human civilization itself. The fear of the unknown and its imagined role in making our day to day life easy or difficult, created witches and their craft. Even though witchcraft as such was practiced mainly by experienced and old women, men also practiced it. Witches were the mediators between the human beings and the mysterious super powers such as spirits and angels. When a witch succeeded in resolving the apparently mysterious problem of someone, the performance was termed as magic, a process that could not be easily explained away through any logical analysis. The witches prayed to the higher powers or the spirits for help and guidance in resolving the problem by performing certain rituals and the whole process was called witchcraft. Witchcraft, an earth based religion, was practiced in almost all the societies and cultures across the world according to local beliefs and traditions. According to scholars of witchcraft, it was a belief system whose origin predates the majority of well known religions on this earth. It dates 40,000 years back to Paleolithic period. It has been evolving since then and its present form is quite different from what it was a thousand or five thousand years back. It did not probably have this name as well. Even different covens perform the witchcraft differently.
A Craft of the Wise
In the ancient times, Witchcraft was known as ‘craft of the wise’ as the wise persons were those who followed the path of nature and were in tune with its forces, had the knowledge of herbs and medicines, gave wise counsel and were held in high esteem as Shamanic healers and leaders in the village and community. They understood that nature was superior to human beings and that human beings were simply one of the many parts of nature, both seen and unseen that combine to form one whole. As Chief Seattle said, “We do not own the earth; we are a part of it.” They understood that what we take from nature or use, we must return in kind to maintain the balance and equilibrium. The modern man has, however, forgotten this and has paid the price in form of many ecological and environmental disasters.
Modern day Witchcraft
Unfortunately for the past several hundred years the image of the witch has been associated with the evil, heathenism and unrighteousness due to prejudices created by the Christian church. Of late people have started understanding and practicing witchcraft as the true religion of God and Nature. There is renewed interest in witchcraft and witches profess to believe and practice the witchcraft with a sense of pride and confidence. The believers in New Age movement have understood witchcraft in its true perspective.
Modern witchcraft attracts believers from all walks of life and positions in society all over the world. They come together to understand the life, nature, evolution and mysteries of the universe through witchcraft. Witchcraft is the most democratic religion in the world. There is no rigid dogma and no hard-line regime except for a simple premise that we should not sow the seeds of evil if we want to reap the evil fruit multifold and secondly that we should not misuse the munificence of nature by disturbing its balance.
Crystal Healing Spell
You will need the following items for this spell:
Some fresh spring water
Casting Instructions for 'Crystal Healing Spell'
First purify the crystal by washing it in salt water then rinsing it in pure spring water.
Hold it in both hands, close your eyes.
Imagine yourself with the healing energy of the crystal.
The same time, imagine yourself bathed in a stream of pure energy which runs from the crystal through your hands and into your body.
When you have done this make sure you sleep with the crystal under your pillow at night or on a bed stand near your head.