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THE BADGER The badger is a fierce animal, very much respected and honored both in Northern American Native traditions and in European Celtic ones. A badger will not let go and will continue tenaciously to look for another way to tackle his/her goal, just like a good healer will not let go his/her search until the best solution is found for the person in need. Badgers have their homes underground, so that they can go to the roots of things, the good healer does the same and keeps looking until she/he can find the most profound reason for a dis-ease or a psychological issue. We use the term healer in the very broad sense of somebody who takes care of a another person, be it a MD, a nurse, a psychotherapist, a physiotherapist, a masseuse, a spiritual healer. Whenever there is a person in need and somebody who takes care of her/him, that is a healer. Sometimes the need is subtler and more profound than a simple medical intervention, the human touch is needed and it really is the Panacea that cures all diseases. We believe that the arts in all their beauty, science for everyday life, spirituality, philosophy, food and the healing arts are beneficial to restoring that balance, health and sense of worth that each and every human being deserves. We offer you THE BADGER, the persistent healer, all the articles come from experts in different fields, each person has his/her own idea of what a balanced life is, they are here to pass on information, give inspiration, receive your comments, suggestions, contributions. Each human being holds in his/her hands at least one of the keys, let's continue our quest!

THE BADGER Year 2 Volume 3 June 2016 Dear Readers, Summer beckons us with its alluring time of leisure, let's make a difference in this season, let's honor what is highest in each being: the divine light of awareness. Its sparkle will make our steps easier and richer in experiences. Wherever your paths will lead you in the summer heat, allow it to “cook” you well, so that the old “skin” can be shed, giving space to the new you. I wish you all a summer of joy in this awareness. THE BADGER accompanies you in this time with new articles and new voices, alongside those you have already met, happy readings

Antonella Vicini THE BADGER Editor Front and back cover photo Luis Vasconcelos Graphic Lay out

Antonella Vicini

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CONTENTS The Sea Into the Matter Badger Medicine Taming Waves Poetry Readers' Corner Voices from the Stars Magic!

Antonella Vicini Andrea Exo Fredric Lehrman Paolo Benda Catullus Adrian Rooke Laura Bottagisio Adrian Rooke

Healing with words

Antonella Vicini


Renato Tittarelli

CONTENTS Food is our Ally and our Pleasure Photo-graphy Travelling and remembering Travelling East

Daniele Sampalmieri Fabio Segato Luis Vasconcelos Judy Hayes Raffaella Vicini


Nilsa Marlin Tellez

Warrior Goddess

Gabriella Campione

Quilting Away Breathing Nomads

Lida Perry Milena Screm Giorgio Milanetti


Giosie Colagrossi


Samantha Fumagalli Flavio Gandini


Hagal Renato Mancini

The Nature of Druidry Witnessing

The Authors

Philip Carr Gomm Yurii Ostafiichuk

short bios and photos


and links to previous volumes


products and services we believe in

If you want to become one of our authors, send us your ideas for articles and columns, contacting us via FB https://www.facebook.com/THEBADGERQuarterlyMagazine

THE SEA Antonella Vicini

With its eternal movement the sea beckons us and reminds us of change. Since antiquity the sea has been the perfect metaphor for different aspects of reality: the site of powerful Poseidon, lord of waters as well as earthquakes that can destroy the lands close to the sea. It is the place of birth of the magnificent and alluring Aphrodite, who could change mens' destinies with her enigmatic and inescapable smile. For science the sea was the beginning of all life, not by chance in many traditions the ocean was the only alive element on Earth, since its task was to support the golden egg, floating there for millennia before creation. From the Hiranyagarbha ह रण गर all beings descend: those who swim and those who fly, the creepy crawlers, the stones and the trees, the four leggeds and even us the two leggeds beings. Yes, we are the last arrived beings on earth and we do so much in our hybris to destroy the very waters of our birth.

HYMN CXXI. Ka. 1 In the beginning rose Hiranyagarbha, born Only Lord of all created beings. He fixed and held up this earth and heaven. What God shall we adore with our oblation? 2 Giver of vital breath, of power and vigour, he whose commandments all the Gods acknowledge. The Lord of death, whose shade is life immortal. What God shall we adore with our oblation? 3 Who by his grandeur has become Sole Ruler of all the moving world that breathes and slumbers. He who is Lord of men and Lord of cattle. What God shall we adore with our oblation? 4 His, through his might, are these snow-covered mountains, and men call sea and Rasā his possession. His arms are these, his are these heavenly regions. What God shall we adore with our oblation? 5 By him the heavens are strong and earth is stedfast, by him light's realm and skyvault are supported. By him the regions in mid-air were measured. What God shall we adore with our oblation? 6 To him, supported by his help, two armies embattled look while trembling in their spirit. When over them the risen Sun is shining. What God shall we adore with our oblation? 7 What time the mighty waters came, containing the universal germ, producing Agni. Thence sprang the Gods’ one spirit into being. What God shall we adore with our oblation? 8 He in his might surveyed the floods containing productive force and generating Worship. He is the God of gods, and none beside him. What God shall we adore with our oblation? 9 Never may he harm us who is earth's Begetter, nor he whose laws are sure, the heavens' Creator. He who brought forth the great and lucid waters. What God shall we adore with our oblation? 10 Prajāpati! thou only comprehend all these created things, and none beside thee. Grant us our hearts' desire when we invoke thee: may we have store of riches in possession.

Ṛgveda (RV 10.121) Hiraṇyagarbha Sūkta

Looking at the sea I am transported into the water world of our own being. All the liquids of our bodies converge into the sea. The great waves are made of infinitesimal droplets eventually joining the ocean. This incessant movement, more than other aspects of nature, reminds me of unity beyond the apparent differences and, once more, I can recall the primeval waves crashing on the lands emerged so far back. Going to the sea is a constant reminder of change, of how nothing remains the same, how each moment in life is continuously stirred towards the next one and the following one, forever moving forward towards the centre of ourselves. The sea, with its immense depths and mysteries, its treasures and possibilities, its immense reservoire of dreams and stories, is always there pushing me onwards towards the next step, the next challenge, giving me the courage and the reassurance that I can make it through yet another transformation. Just like the waves model the shore with their incessant caresses over a long period of time, in the same way a big storm can transform the coast line in a day. Instead of seeing/judging it a disaster, I can choose to look at it as a new opportunity: it is time for a change.

Antonella Vicini The cover photos, as well as those in this article and in the video come from the eyes and the artistic ability of Luis Vasconcelos from Portugal. Thank you Luis. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqryGJzr_ZI&feature=youtu.be

INTO THE MATTER The Enemy Andrea Exo Our human desire to find solace or a plausible explanation to the great questions about our destiny, both in this or in future lives, oftentimes pushes us to follow whoever seems able to lead us beyond the veil of mistery. There are countless, more or less secret, organizations that, over time, have written in their statute a lofty goal: keeping alive the flame of ancient wisdom and occult knowledge. This could be achieved through the ancient rituals, ceremonies, or misteries that can elevate people towards enlightenment. In my short article, I will not analize if any of these organizations owns the answers to the subtlest and most intimate soul questions, but I will try to understand what we need to defend ourselves from, and what are the alarm signals that should steer us away from certain people or organizations. The only enemy is ourselves The first alarm should ring in our minds when, once we approach a spiritual group, the main idea is to fight against the enemy, whether this is a religion, a group of people, or another organization. Think how many times the evil in the world has been ascribed to a party, a religion, a movement, we all know it is false! The only real enemy is inside ourselves: our habits, our packaged truths that have become so ingrained in us to make them indisputable even within ourselves, listening to whoever tells us to love somebody when we do not know how to love ourselves.

What does it mean to be Buddhist or Muslim, or belonging to any other cult? Nothing, it is only a label, it doesn't tell us what is below the surface. We are behind those labels, with our complex and unique world. Do we know how much we can love, just by being a man or a woman? Are we more or less fair if we are called Andrew or Philip? Therefore, if we notice in our group a tendency of hatred or contempt towards those people who have chosen a different path, whatever the explanations the group may give, it is time to move on. The universe was united before splitting. The opposites cannot include war.

re conciliation of the

The person who reaches freedom is not conditioned by others, he/she does not pick up a gun in the name of some future promise. He/she will work with wisdom, sharing ideas that open the heart to Love, this is the goal and the path.

Beware of Money Gods The second alarm should ring when there is a request for money. We can certainly contribute with expenses, we can buy materials or other goods connected to the spiritual work we are going to do, sometimes we will need to contribute to the rent for a meeting place. However, spirituality as a source of income generates problems. We find our realization in our work, in our loved ones, through love itself. But a "guru" who needs his/her followers in order to survive will be tied to them by a double unhealthy cord. If the "teacher" has 20 followers and 10 of them are unworthy, will he/she be able to send them away knowing there will be no money left for food or bills? I do not want to discredit here people who train students in meditation techniques, or massage or similar paths. It is obvious that any activity, just like writing books, needs to generate an income. Here I am talking about organizations that offer initiations into some ancient traditions, since they often lie about their real intentions, mostly connected to making money, just like a person who reads tarot cards in a fair without knowing any of the archetypes.

Red Magic The third alarm rings when our love life or sexuality are touched. We should be wary of whoever wants us far from our families, whoever keeps us away from our friends in order to be the only one in that empty space, whoever says the strongest magic is linked to sex and offers such a path (under different names) as an excuse for all kinds of abuse that are hidden behind a consent based on the weaknesses of the other person. Clearly there is no greater and more magical force of the power that allows a seed to become a fruit, there are entire sections of Oriental texts on this subject that deserve our study and respect. However, each person is an instrument and the melodies vary: some need rock, some need soft music. It is the same for those paths based on sexual energies: it is not for everybody and not everybody receives something valuable from these paths. An ascetic can often realize a lot more than people practicing Red Magic, besides in a group there could be preferences, thus inducing unfair behaviours. Let's remember that Troy fell for Helen. Is generating a sin or an opportunity? The fourth and last alarm should ring when somebody sees a new born child as evil or as a selfish action. From a merely biological point of view, we come into this world only to generate, thus evolving our species, then we die. Any biologist can tell us that, once we are not able to generate anymore, every year we have in front of us is a gift. Some groups invite their followers to procreate like rabbits, in order to have as many future followers as possible; others think that women who have already generated are useless for the spiritual task and have no energy left. Nobody should ever touch this subtle key of our most intimate and very divine capacity to become Sun or Moon.

We are perception, something remains, something is lost. We have long and short term memory. We need to get some information out of our heads in order to become realized beings, but when we walk on our path we are the only ones to choose what is flower and what is weed, no one else can tell us that. The road towards ascension is the Heart: Love is acceptance, not ego.

Andrea Exo Edited and Translated by Antonella Vicini

BADGER MEDICINE Dragon Farming continued Fredric Lehrman DRAGON ETIQUETTE

The French aquanaut, Jacques Cousteau, was asked by an interviewer whether he was ever afraid of the creatures that he would meet while diving, and how he would engage with something under the sea that was bigger than he was. Cousteau replied with the briefest of answers: “I say, ‘Allo, Fish!’.”

Dragons may be looking at you right now… they see you before you see them. They haven’t hurt you yet, so why worry? As I have said, only the Western European cultures regard the dragon as a hostile creature. The rest of the world thinks of them as magnificent allies and beneficial influencers on the air and the land and the waters that are all part of their territory. They have been around much longer than clocks and are generally experienced as harmonious intelligent powerful entities who enjoy life in a seriously playful way.

I assure you, you have seen them, but your linear mind may have denied you the awareness that they are actually there. That’s why it has become necessary for the ICDFF (Intergalactic Community of Dragon Friends and Farmers) to begin to bring this matter to your attention. Sometimes it’s just because they are hiding in plain sight, and one of their tricks is just to be so big that you don’t notice them. Here is one of many in Hawaii that most visitors drive right past without realizing what their peripheral vision is picking up. This is along a road south of Haleiwa on Oahu.

We know that clouds can appear out of a blue sky, and that they can change shape. They travel on the wind, and do not crash to the ground. They sometimes roar and breathe fire. Start your dragon-mind practice with clouds. Eventually, you will notice more. Soon, the denizens of the clouds will start to reveal themselves directly.

Try changing a cloud with your mind. It’s easy, so don’t try hard. Just look calmly into a cloud and telepathically ask it to change its shape, or to open a hole so that you can see through it. It may work the first time, and that will surprise you. Then when you try to show off your new power to a friend, nothing may happen. Let go of all reward, and continue.

Two young dragons playing tag above the tree line beneath a cirrus cloud of cheering Elves:

(Here, borrow my dragon glasses):

Clouds are not made of cotton, but of water vapor that begins to accumulate around concentrated energy in specific areas of the sky. When the energy is coherent, well-formed cumulus clouds reveal where a region of highly charged atmospheric energy is attracted and assembled. The energy comes first, then that energy attracts water vapor to it. When the mind is stressed or tired, concentration is lost and the mind is overcast and gray, sluggish and shapeless, eventually depressed, stuck, unresponsive. When the sky of the mind is healthy, thoughts appear with clarity, floating white with room to move among other thoughts, and we say, “What a beautiful day!� A period of drought is the result of a dysfunction of pulsation in the atmosphere, a reaction to toxic substances, radiation, or some other disturbance in the force. This can begin gradually and then stay stuck for years. When the built up static energy finally discharges it can be quite violent and unpredictable, as erratic patterns of weather in the recent years have shown all over the world. The sky is cleansing itself, and it is a powerful process, but at least the air is starting to breathe again. Who better to turn to at times like these than the dragons? The skies and the oceans are their playgrounds, and they practice their dragon skills in the clouds, winds, and waves.

This is where dragon etiquette comes in.

Dragons seem to prefer that you be with them, not over or beneath them. They will not waste their time with you in polite chitchat or other social conventions. They will neither validate your insecurities by disapproving of you, nor defer to your arrogance by flattering you. They will simply wait in silence for you to get it together. Honesty is their policy, and wisdom is their watchword.

Dragons are not lizards. But they are shape shifters, and can assume even very convincing human form when necessary.

As you gain converse with them, they will teach you from within, at your place of meeting. In our next encounter, we will begin to explore the partnership potential between humans and dragons. In the meantime, keep moving, keep practicing.

Fredric Lehrman

TAMING WAVES Geopathic Stress Paolo Benda There is a law of resonance between human beings and the world. Differences in intensity and vital vibrations are clearly evident around our planet, so much so that they directly influence the energy of the people who live there. In most cases of diseases connected to geography (geopathy), instead of swallowing chemical remedies, it is much better to become active towards our own disease. When our health problems are not really understood by medicine, it could be useful to realize quickly what is the real problem, before it becomes chronic and irreversible. In most cases of disorder due to the location, it is enough to move the bed a little, the chair at work (sometimes as little as 40 centimeters are enough to make the difference) in order to solve the problem, without any costs or need for lengthy and costly medical examinations. There are still some places that do not allow for a healthier organization of space, but they are a few. Therefore, listening to the messages our body sends us, becomes an essential attitude if we want to maintain our energy in top shape, since we know that good health depends on our energy level. By considering life as an energetic process, we can remember how any disease, before manifesting itself in the body, needs us to lower our energy levels.

The cause for this poorer energy level has often to do with magnetic alterations that, over time, interact with our cellular metabolism, a resonance is thus produced which lowers our immune defenses. Electrical and electromagnetic fields together form an oscillating wave that travels in empty space at light speed and go beyond matter. Therefore, the electromagnetic wave is an energy irradiation in close relation with light and has a frequency and length discovered by Heinrich Hertz in 1888. Some oscillating frequencies of this wave are positive for the well being of living organisms, therefore they are necessary for a good cellular metabolism. Other waves may be shorter or higher than necessary for the correct cell working, these waves are aggressive for the biological processes in animals and plants. Many aspects of life depend, even without us knowing it, from the length and height of the wave in the electromagnetic spectrum. Our human bodies, when we are in good health also emit an electromagnetic wave, defined harmonic, that is about 8 meters in length. As noticed by Tourenne at the beginning of the XX century, any factor altering the length of the physiologic wave leads to organic imbalances, which in time will become more serious according to the state of the internal organs, depending on genetic legacy.

Daily we become aware of the damages provoked by electromagnetic radiations from mobile phones, but are we aware also of the effects produced by natural radiations, these effects are called Geopathic stress. In Austria a building licence is not granted before controlling the level of geopathic stress in the area. In Germany the government has funded researches on the link between cancer and Geopathic stress; more than 4000 German doctors ask to check the level of geopathic stress in their cancer patients'houses.

There are many reasearches around the world on geopathic stress and its negative effects on human beings: Hartmann, Curry, Depris, Aveline, Konig, Rochard, Debelizar, Chaumerj, Turenne, Veret, Audisi, Mancin and others.

How can we discover geopathic stress: There are many ways available in order to discover negative earth energies: if they are very intense they can produce damages to the structure of the building (like cracks in the walls, humidity), bulbs fulminate frequently and without reason, the atmosphere in the house is depressing, gloomy, an unplesant sensation can be perceived without a logical explanation. Some animals and plants like the presence of these lines or nodes, cats – for example- ants, bees, parasites, owls, snakes, ivy, willows, oaks, cherry and peach trees. While other animals and human beings suffer: dogs, horses, cows, pigs, swallows, storks, hens, pear and apple trees, maples, birch and beech trees, some medical herbs. Observing our animals can help us identify the lines or high intensity nodes, since our cats often like to spend time in those places. Dogs will show us instead where to rest, since that place will have no geopathic stress. The most sophisticated and the most sensitive tool is the human body that has used dowsing for thousands of years in order to detect precisely the lines on earth that are "negative". A partial feedback can also be given by some technical instruments such as the magnetometer, the scintillator, the psychical sensor and detector,

Paolo Benda Edited and Translated by Antonella Vicini (The following videos will give you an idea of how to recognize geopathic stress and what we can do to counteract it. Editor's note) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Wprr9TYUwo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yMWH_UAT0g

POETRY CATULLUS IV. de phasello Phaselus ille, quem videtis, hospites, ait fuisse navium celerrimus, neque ullius natantis impetum trabis nequisse praeterire, sive palmulis opus foret volare sive linteo. et hoc negat minacis Hadriatici negare litus insulasve Cycladas Rhodumque nobilem horridamque Thraciam Propontida trucemve Ponticum sinum, ubi iste post phaselus antea fuit comata silva; nam Cytorio in iugo loquente saepe sibilum edidit coma. Amastri Pontica et Cytore buxifer, tibi haec fuisse et esse cognitissima ait phaselus: ultima ex origine tuo stetisse dicit in cacumine, tuo imbuisse palmulas in aequore, et inde tot per impotentia freta erum tulisse, laeva sive dextera vocaret aura, sive utrumque Iuppiter simul secundus incidisset in pedem; neque ulla vota litoralibus deis sibi esse facta, cum veniret a mari novissimo hunc ad usque limpidum lacum. sed haec prius fuere: nunc recondita senet quiete seque dedicat tibi, gemelle Castor et gemelle Castoris.

His Boat This boat you see, friends, will tell you that she was the fastest of craft, not to be challenged for speed by any vessel afloat, whether driven by sail or the labour of oars. The threatening Adriatic coast won’t deny it, nor the isles of the Cyclades, nor noble Rhodes, nor fearful Bosphorus, nor the grim bay of the Black Sea where, before becoming a boat, she was leafy wood: for on the heights of Cytorus she often hissed to the whispering leaves. The boat says these things are and were well known to you, Amastris and box-wood clad Cytorus: she says from the very beginning she stood on your slope, that she dipped her oars in your water, and carried her owner from there over so many wild seas, whether the wind cried from starboard or portside, or whether Jupiter struck at the sails on one side and the other, together: and no prayers to the gods of the shore were offered for her, when she came from a foreign sea here, as far as this limpid lake. But that’s past: now hidden away here she ages quietly and offers herself to you, Castor and his brother Pollux, heavenly Twins.

Catullus I BCE

READERS CORNER Beltane Twin fires burning leaves on trees returning Blackbirds, Sunrise singing . The horned one and his lady dancing. Speckled woods in flight romancing. My heart beats in rhythm with the tree sap rising. A kaleidoscope of color my eyes embracing. Oh, How I long to make love on the warm soft earth, loosing body and soul in the never ending spiral of Death and life. I thank you Goddess, Oh how I thank you for this life, Pain and Pleasure in equal Measure.

Adrian Rooke

May 2016

VOICES FROM THE STARS The Archetypes are changing: Saturn Second Part Laura Bottagisio When Saturn entered Sagittarius in September 2015 it marked the end of an era where the “original sin� had priority, thus deeply influencing the Emotional aspect of entire generations, wounding its most delicate and vulnerable nature. As a result we have lost our skills in perceving energies directly, both those around and inside us, since we have worked mainly with our mind that cannot contain all of life. Dreaming is therefore a fundamental need in order to listen to that part of us already working on creative and vital channels, following its intuition. Saturn, as the archeytpe of time and matter, has given us forms and moulds that could support and contain the mind as queen of the ego, so sometimes Saturn was censor, judge inflicting us penalties. On a psycological level the emotional wounds have appeared as deep guilt and recurring omissions. Saturn's cycle lasts almost 30 years. In 2012, a year of passage, it was in Scorpio the sign of rebirth. Entering Sagittarius from September 2015 to December 2016, Saturn marks a new season for the soul, because we can now establish a constant and direct contact with the inner dimensions, we become travelleres within, venturing into unknown lands, treading new paths by land and by sea.

This is happening because Saturn has entered a territory governed by Neptun, the planet that dissolves all forms, by transforming them back into pure energy, Neptun then introduces it back in the flow of invisible forces. The Saturn Archetype (which is connected to the element of Earth through its own nature and function) gathers Light and covers it with the thick blanket of matter. How can this planet feel in the unpredictable movements of the first waves of the Neptunian sea that, little by little, can become huge billows? Saturn is connected to lead, it is heavy and needs to lighten up in order to float, instead of drowning in the inner waters of our Emotional world. Realizing that our Emotions can keep us in check, unless we shed light into them and make them self enlightening is the first step in order to create a map of our inner paths. We now need to travel on them, using Saturn's power in giving form to our ideas, thus becoming co-creators in the magic flow of Cosmic Energy, represented by the Neptune Archetype. During its path around the Zodiac, Saturn meets each sign every 30 years, but it had not met Neptun in Pisces for the last 160 years. This position creates a further sense of unease in the “non-form”! What transformation does our inner Saturn need to undergo in order to reach a new level of awareness? So far we may have interpreted its influence as a limit, sometimes even an injustice, but this understanding is due to our world limited by form. When energy takes on any physical form it enters in the three dimensional spacetime continuum, therefore it automatically has a specific time for its decay. The form ages, decays and “dies”. In actual fact it is dissolved and the energy that has animated it up until that time returns to its origin, flowing without material limitations. This is what we call “Death” and consider it the end of everything. From this perspective, Saturn is the limit, beyond it there is only annihilation, if we don't surrender to the Neptunian waves.

The squaring between Saturn and Neptune started in December 2015 and will be complete in September 2016. During these months we have time to examine the situation in which we live and choose what best suits the opening of our inner archives. There we can find all the information about life in the galactic multidimensional space. Along this process of self knowledge, we will learn how to see ourselves both in our present role on earth as well as (opening the horizons of our emotional and creative aspects) from the standpoint of our soul, thus we can let go of many burdens accumulated by our saturnian part. In such a way Saturn will help us to walk on different dimensional paths. In astronomy Saturn has an extended and a large system of rings that, symbolically, can be extended to form a wormhole, a dimensional tunnel, where we can go across the different space-time levels. Like a celestial lift that will carry us from daily normality into the cosmic depths of our inner space.

THE TWELWE SENSES and THE TWELWE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC During their orbits, the planets draw figures and shapes, sometimes there are squares and triangles. Square represents matter, while the triangle represents the divine in its mystery as one and three, these polarities feed and permeate each other. Our houses here on planet Earth have a square shape in our walls and a triangle in our roofs, from the roots of the Earth all the way to the heart of the Sky. Our homes have not always been like these and the history of our abodes describes also the evolution of human beings. The official history of humanity starts with the cavemen, who really lived in caves, natural shelters offered by nature. These first human beings were unaware of themselves and lived as one with the Great Mother and her cave-womb where they found refuge. Later on the first huts can be considered as a symbolic expulsion out of the womb of Mother Earth and the first steps of humanity in its childhood. Everything was done following instinct, guided by the original matrix of life that permeated men and nature and was made manifest through symbolic forms and symbols that we keep using to this day. The first huts were circular, the circle – a fundamental archetype – represents the One, unity, perfection. As astrologers know so well: fully actualizing one's own potential described within the zodiac means being in sync with heaven and earth, energy and matter, light and darkness, as well as accepting these polarities. The roof of those huts was cuneiform and resembled a triangle, this form is still present almost everywhere on earth. The triangle with its peak towards the sky its the symbol of human drive towards the Sky. In astrology the triangle is the shape derived by connecting in sequence three signs of the same element. It is called the great trine, it is considered a form of protection and help in difficult situations.

The more at ease human beings felt with themselves as separated from the other elements of nature, the more frequently we find square houses, as a way of being well rooted into the ground. The square represents matter, inside it a cross can be inscribed, which divides the 4 points of the compass, points of reference for all the space/time coordinates. In astrology the cross formed by the axis of the rising sign and medio cielo gives a specific orientation to the zodiac. Connecting the 4 points of intersection of the 2 axis with the zodiac circle a square is formed, it is called the big square and it is interpreted as a source of obstacles, hindrances, an element of immobility which needs to “breathe”. In the same way the walls of our house give us a stable home, a fixed place from which we can travel in order to “breathe” life. Capricorn, an earth sign, is connected to the square; while Acquarius, an air sign, is connected to the triangle. We complete thus our tour of the Zodiac and the 12 senses with these two signs.

(Laura Bottagisio has described all the signs in context with one of the 12 senses, you can find all her descriptions in Year 1 Volume 2, 3, 4 and Year 2 Volume 1, 2, 3 Editor's note)

CAPRICORN SENSE OF CONSCIOUS THOUGHT Capricorn is an earth sign, it accompanies us in the central part of the cold season and it shows us what is the most luminous and inexhaustible in us: our Light Centre. At the winter solstice, when the days are short, there is the passage from Sagittarius to Capricorn, right at the time when a special child's birth is celebrated: the son of divine light, newly incarnated on Earth. This event refers us back to our inner light that lives in our deep essence, thanks to it we can be co-creators of our reality, magician alchemists who can operate in order to transform lead into the purest gold, the weight of ego into the luminous lightness of self. The three kings well represent this symbology. The sense connected to Capricorn is Conscious thought because only through awareness and the focussing of mental energy we become “magicians�, thus able to transform our reality. When the light of our heart is aligned with the activity of our mind, everything can happen according to our desires, so that our life can evolve in ways that will improve the quality of our actions. Capricorn helps us to focus on ourselves and allows us to open a passage trough the mind to reach our centre, where our Truth vibrates. When heart and mind are united, our Soul glides on this golden carpet and we are guided by her, at last. From that moment onwards our thoughts can only be conscious, because they are consciously built and guided.



Acquarius is an Air sign, it can share energy expanding it in love waves from the heart. In this way Acquarius builds the path on which the conscious thought can travel in order to reach its destination. The sense of Heat is connected to this sign that so generously gives desire for freedom infusing the certainty that... nothing is certain! Only with the heat of an open heart we can accept the invitation to live here and now, jousting our life cycle according to kindness, this grace is acquired after many incarnations and life experiences. Without heat there is no chance for real sharing, nor participation in common projects. In front of Acquarius there is Leo, an active fire sign, the place of the heart that, with its constant rythm, pumps energy in our cardiovascular system in order to give us the strength and caloric energy we need for life. The sense of heat puts us in active and soul communication with the external world: people, animals, all of nature, as well as those objects we call inanimate, since they also produce waveforms that can be perceived by our electromagnetic field connected to Acquarius. Capricorn and Acquarius are governed by the same two planets Saturn and Uranus that work together in order to facilitate our realization as well as our desire for the expansion of our perception. In this time Uranus, since it is passing through Aries, shatters and breaks up what so far has prevented us to open our sight onto wider horizons, thus calling our subtle bodies to become active. Saturn, passing through Sagittarius and Scorpio during spring and summer of 2016, aggregates the matter (previously shattered by Uranus) in new levels, which are an evolution of our DNA, that will allow us to appreciate and welcome the new offerings from the Wave of Life.

Laura Bottagisio Edited and Translated by Antonella Vicini

MAGIC at the White Horse Camp with ADRIAN ROOKE

What follows is the tale of the Beltane spring camp as seen, experienced and told in truly story telling style by Adrian Rooke. In the Druid Tradition there are camps to celebrate all points in the compass, all seasons and times of the year: Imbolc at the beginning of February, which marks the ending of winter, Beltane, in spring, to celebrate the greening of the land, respecting and honoring the beauty of the land and enjoying its abundance, smelling the life force coming back to us all, Lughnasad is the summer harvest festival with entire families celebrating life, Samhain, at the beginning of darkness and at the end of harvest, reminds us of the thin line between alive and dead, so this is a time for ancestral worship. Besides celebrating the moment in time around the wheel of seasons, we celebrate at the camps as a reconnection to the earth and to each other. Sometimes we live far apart, so meeting makes a difference, these are times for feeding and honoring each other. Feeling that we belong to a shared community is an integral part of the Druidic path. I will take you through the camp day by day in order to share with you the progression of events and the feelings we shared there.

Journey Every journey starts with packing a suitcase, this one is special because it is for the White Horse Beltane Druid Camp, its contents are important and somewhat different from normal luggage: waterproof and layered clothes for English weather, body paints, horns, ritual tools, and any clothes and/or items I can think of for a week of celebration in the woods. I arrived at Wild Ways in Shropshire, this magical land of 200 acres of beautiful unspsoilt woodland where we can play around, walking on a blue bejeweled carpet of bluebells covering all the fields. There is a stone circle that we built on the land several years ago, by the side of the Borle brook. Hidden in the woodland there is also a reconstructed exact replica of an iron age thatched house, this is a very beautiful and mystical place constructed and loved with drumming, meditation, magic over many years. At the Beltane camp there were about 60 people from various organizations and paths in Druidry, as well as participants from different spiritual traditions.

Friday On the first day there was a meeting with general introductions and a drumming session to get everybody on the same wave length. The group also worked with drumming in order to find the individual animal spirits. Saturday On the second day we deepened the connection with the chosen animal. We used body paint in order to "live" our animals. Once prepared, people were unleashed into the woods. I was a wild boar and run around on all fours, just like my animal, so I could have a different perspective on life from my stance as wild boar. I felt the energy of the animal and the nature around me, enjoying all aspect of the other animals sharing the woods with me. Watching other people find their animal spirit and living them in the wild was an amazing and touching experience. Eventually all the animals met together around the roundhouse singing our animal chants, while inside there were the drummers who had been drumming for 6 hours over a broth made with chaga* mushrooms. This is an amazing plant, it grows on birch trees in the northern hemisphere, it is a powerful immune stimulator and cancer inhibitor. *(Inonotus obliquus, well known in Asia and eastern Europe for its properties. Editor's note)

Then the animals went into the round house and, after slowly letting go of the spirit animals, the participants drunk the chaga tea in a ceremonial way. The drumming and chanting continued late into the night, then people went to sleep in yurtas, or in the long house, some even went back into the woods for a night sauna.

Monday On Monday morning the daily program started, like any other day, with meditation at 7 am for whoever wanted to participate, breakfast at 8 and a general meeting at 8,45 preceded by the dance of life**, from the Cherokee tradition. **(you can see here two examples of this dance : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaUVl8nVQNU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewvJ7JJvRLw Editor's note)

At the morning meeting people volunteered to do jobs around the camp: like cleaning, gathering woods, chopping vegetables, etc. In the second part of the morning, history Professor Ronald Hutton gave a talk on the relationship between human beings and trees.

He is an authority in the field of magic and witchcraft and likes OBOD so he comes often to our gatherings. In his fascinating talk he explained how our ancestors from the savana had to adapt to the hostile environment of the trees, which impeded unobstructed views, it was a new discovery for us, since druids love trees. The lecture was followed by a lively debate. For the rest of the day we did some rituals around the main tree invoking the tree spirits with everybody participating. Later we were lucky to have two initiations into the bardic grade of OBOD in the round house, it was awesome to do them with a fire roaring away.

Tuesday The day began in the same way, but – after the morning rituals - we closed the camp to the outside world for 24 hours, creating a bubble around the entire woodlands. We had to do some deep magical work and rituals, so we could keep the energy concentrated in the group. In the afternoon we gathered around the central fire and then all the people (men or women) who wanted to be in the lodge of the wild lord stepped into the circle, those who wanted to be in the lady of the land lodge stayed outside. I was leading the lodge of the wildlord, which was going to gather in the round house.We all did a spiral dance together then separated for 24 hours. In the lord lodge we explored the archetypes of what is the lord of the woods. We discussed and every person shared why they had come to the lord's lodge. For many women who had chosen to be in the wildlord lodge it was a way of connecting to a healthy form of masculinity. We did guided visualizations riding on the wildboar to a spirit labyrinth in order to find our own interpretation of what the lord of the woods is. The experiences were different from the real ones in the woods, yet people had similar encounters in their spirit journeys. We ended our day together with more drumming and chanting in the lodge.

Wednesday After the usual beginning of the day, we stayed in our two groups in the different lodges. Through a series of processes and rituals we found the oracle and the candidates for Lord of the woods in our group. Earlier on we had prepared an altar out of the lodge based on masculinity and the wild lord, the masculinity of nature. At this point the Wildlord lodge was asked to visit ritually the altar of the Lady of the land, we went wearing our ritual clothing and headdresses, body paint and so on. We gave a gift of respect and a poetic dance to the people of the other lodge. We were met by the Lady of the lodge members, who asked us the following question: What can the Wildlord lodge do in these times of change? It felt to me like the land itself was asking this question, coming to consciousness and coming together. Later they came to visit us, singing beautifully through the woods, then the women sung to to us and the altar we had built. When they left we chose the Wildlord and the women chose the Lady of the land. In the end there was the unveiling of the Wildlord and Lady of the land, then it was time to feast and have songs and poetry. On the evening we had the Beltane celebration with a giant bonfire that was divided in two halves in order to allow us to walk through it, eventually people jumped over the fires. Thursday After the morning activities, we opened the camp to the world, so that we could share the energy of re-union with the world. The lord and lady lead us into the woods to dance the May pole dances around the trees. It was timeless to see forty people dancing around the trees. Eisteddfod (the final session) marks the abundance of joy at being together expressed by spontaneous songs and poems at the end of the celebrations.

Friday we had a talking stick meeting, so everybody could share. On the evening Neil, who is an OBOD member and 5 rythms dance instructor, helped us to enter into a trance state. Under his lead, we danced under the moon and the stars around the fire. Eventually we went to the sauna to cleanse our body/mind after all the rituals. Saturday The camp ended, we all left for our homes, carrying a life transforming experience in our hearts.

Adrian Rooke Story collected and edited by Antonella Vicini If you want to know more of the magnificent land hosting these camps and the camps themselves, you can find here the links to both: http://www.wildwaysontheborle.co.uk/ http://whitehorsecamps.co.uk/

HEALING WITH WORDS Jumping Shadows Antonella Vicini

The rules were simple we had to reach the big kitchen jumping from shadow to shadow until we could hide in the dark area closest to the brightly lit entrance. There we would listen to the grown ups talking about forbidden or exciting news that were usually avoided in our presence. Giggling and jumping we kept crossing up and down the long corridor, looking for shadows even in the full day light. Somehow we were always spotted by either our parents or grandparents and invited to join them around the rectangular table covered in food ready to be prepared or eaten by the entire family. Those were not happy meals, sometimes eating was difficult. We much preferred the thrill of jumping shadows, of seeing without being seen to the reality of food. May 2016 Antonella Vicini

Yet I had to eat, I can recall how many times I was told that without food I would not be able to stand and walk. I think that, even then, in an instinctive and natural way, I was feeding on light and its opposite, having realized how our real energy comes from spirit and not from food. Anchoring our nurturing to food alone, leaves out the many other sources we can find, eventually this attitude impoverishes us. Healthy, organic, bio dynamic food carries the real nutrients of life as well as the energy of the plants and animals from which they come from. However, sometimes, we can turn to different sources: breathing, making art, meditating, contemplating, sacred activities like walking and dancing in ceremonies. When we step on the ground in ceremonies, we honor the land beneath and around us, thus receiving its delicious energy food, so that our body/mind/emotion/spirit unity is fed in beauty and harmony. This is why the most different tribes around the world have always celebrated life with dances and sacred movements.

We receive abundantly, so that we can jump through the shadows of our lives into the light of transformation, where we are cooked in the alchemical fire in order to mutate into our real beings.

Antonella Vicini The links below will show you some of the dances around the world, many of them started as sacred ones, dedicated to the gods in the enclosure of temples, only later one they were taken out of seclusion and shared with the world, often becoming huge sensations on the stage: Bharata Natyam: https://www.youtube.com/watchv=hDnmCn9sm2Q Bali dances: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0hnblBc1YM Shinto: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bC8sSfEZqw Tibetan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hXwRe9Tx6k Botwsana: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzHtxRJN16o Dervishes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fv4K1Ja3g84 Squamish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcnA5nUNSE4 Maui: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozPQPO5r6fU


Contact and touch: two benefits from massage therapy Oftentimes we are so immersed in the instant gratification of our individual needs, by our frantic working life that we feel the unease produced by separation from ourselves and others. Alongside our constant need to communicate we also have new chances to meet people and grow spiritually, our time can be used to nurture our feelings and desire to live a simpler, yet wiser life. There are many ways for us to rediscover ourselves in times of stress, identity crisis, unease and disease, by being in contact with the world around us, perhaps just going for a walk in nature we will be able to feel and breathe the plant and animal life all around us. When we are with other people we will enjoy asking for help and giving it, just for the pleasure of being in community and real communication with others, thus protecting our lives and the life of Earth itself. There are many techniques and methods that can help us, in a holistic way, they are warm, effective and give space to the emotional aspect as well. A perfect example of this approach is Aromatherapy Massage.

History of the Aromatherapy Massage About 70 years ago in France, Dr. Jean Valnet (1920-1995) was studying plant essences creating modern Aromatherapy, while Madame Marguerite Maury (1895-1968), a nurse and wife of a well known homeopathic doctor, was developing her research connected to well being and massage. She studied in depth the effects of aromatherapy used on the skin from a physical, psychic and cosmetic point of view. She continued Gattefosse work on plant essences, published a book in 1961 “Le Capital Jeunesse�, in 1964 it was released in Britain under the title of "The Secret of Life and Youth'" where it was recognised as a great work. She won the 1962 Prix International d'Estetique et Cosmetologie, for ther contribution to natural skin care. She lectured and gave seminars throughout Europe and opened aromatherapy clinics in Paris, Switzerland and England. Marguerite Maury believed that by keeping our systems clear and functioning effectively we can continue to enjoy more of what we had in our youth even with passing years.

Madame Maury accompanied her in depth scientific studies with the research on the Egyptian, Chinese and Indian use of essential oils. She was convinced that each person needed a custom formula, in tune with a holistic view of life. I want to remind you here that aromatherapy massage and the use of essential oils have been used since antiquity, the first ones were the Egyptians who used oils, ointments, face masks. Massage was the first spontaneous medical treatment, acknowledged by many historians of medicine, it was well known by Hippocrates, from Kos V-IV BCE, who is considered the father of modern medicine. Aromatherapy massage, when combined with alchemical methods, is called aromatherapy-alchemic massage. It uses a mixture of vegetable oils and pure essential oils which are matched /Combined with the principles of individuation, re-balance and transformation of the 5 primordial elements: air, fire, water, earth, ether (already present in our body-mind, according to the ancient laws of alchemy). High quality vegetable oils facilitate the absorption of essential oils, thus making them more effective.

Physical and Energy effects of the aroma-alchemic massage it positively influences blood and lymphatic circulation, nurtures the skin making it younger and more elastic. It facilitates the natural release of toxins anxiety and stress that show as physical mental and psychic tension in the muscles, joints and internal organs. It also improves the individual energy level and the mood, thus enhancing our love and sexual life. It strenghtens the immune system, thus improving our resistance to disease. It promotes cell and tissue re generation, it helps against free radicals thus supporting longevity. Spiritual and psychological This type of massage facilitates the observation of the causes for unease or disease, it helps to integrate pleasure in everyday life by letting go of the pain and guilt patterns. It leads to natural relaxation and regeneration of vital and mental energies, so that positive attitude and love are in easier reach. The massage Here below you can find the ideal conditions for an effective aromaalchemy massage: 1 hour after a meal complete personal hygiene (bath, shower, sauna, turkish bath, brushing) an open mind towards the operator and the effects of the massage enough time to receive the massage and leisure for the following relaxation time Time The massage can vary in length which depends on the goal and the kind of essences used in the treatment. It can be very short, between 5 and 10 minutes for a self massage or one part of the body only, or it can last up to 45 minutes, followed by 15 minutes of complete relaxation. Inner and outer environment Outer is the place where people receive their massage, inner environment has to do with the physical, energetic, emotional, psychological, spiritual conditions of the receiving person.

Outer: a space, both inside or in the open, at a comfortable temperature, clean, harmonious, energetic. There will be no noises, bad smells, strong lights, people not involved in the massage. Inner: well away from meal times, without too many emotional stress, no contraindications, open to take off his/her clothes. Physical Contraindications infections transmitted via physical contact or saliva, fever, tumors, possible thrombosis or phlebitis, wounds, recent scars, burns, serious heart conditions, recent fractures, skin diseases, inflamed tissues, strong muscle pains, tendinitis, bunions, epilepsy, small children, pregnant women Equipment massage table or soft mat for the floor, cotton or paper sheet to place under the recipient, warm blankets, if the person becomes cold during or after the treatment, basic oils, oleolites, essential oils, aromatic mixtures to be prepared for the client, a soft light, music, aroma diffuser.

Warnings usually only one aroma oily mixture is used, or a carrier oil***. Vegetable/carrier oils are usually cold pressed, while the essential and pure oils come from high quality extraction processes that guarantee their excellence. Sometimes the oils can be diluted, in case of a known contraindication or excessive reaction to any of the oils. ***Carrier oil, also known as base oil or vegetable oil, is used to dilute essential oils and absolutes before they are applied to the skin in massage and aromatherapy. They are so named because they carry the essential oil onto the skin.

Renato Tittarelli, photos and article Edited and Translated by Antonella Vicini

FOOD IS OUR ALLY Ancient Proteins Tempeh

Daniele Sampalmieri Tofu, Tempeh and Seitan have a long history behind them, even if they have only just landed in the vegan section of our supermarkets. Both Tofu and Tempeh come from Soya (Glicineo Max). Soya is a legume plant originally from East Asia, it has been part of human diets for 5000 years. The properties of soya were well known to Chinese doctors: during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) Li Shih-chen 李時珍 wrote his Pen ts'ao kang mu (The Great Herbal) where soya is mentioned. (This great pharmacopoeia, which summarizes what was known of herbal medicine up to the late 16th century, describes in detail more than 1800 plants, animal substances, minerals, and metals, along with their medicinal properties and applications. Editor's note) It was imported in the west by Gesuit monks in the XVII century from north west China. For about two centuries it was planted in botanical gardens for its lilac or white flowers.

The traditional legend says that the god of agriculture Shennon or Hou Tsi, according to different versions, created Soy as one of the 5 original grains for the sustenance of Chinese people. The Classic of Rites compiled by Confucius in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE lists soybeans (豆), wheat (麦), broomcorn (黍), foxtail millet (稷), rice (稻). This month I will introduce you to Tempeh and a recipe for the summer time.

TEMPEH It comes from Indonesia, tempeh is made with whole soybeans, which are softened by soaking, and dehulled, then partly cooked. (Specialty tempeh may be made from other types of beans, wheat, or may include a mixture of beans and whole grains.) A mild acidulent, usually vinegar, may be added to lower the pH and create a selective environment that favors the growth of the tempeh mold over competitors. A fermentation starter containing the spores of fungus Rhizopus oligosporus or Rhizopus oryzae is mixed in. The beans are spread into a thin layer and are allowed to ferment for 24 to 36 hours at a temperature around 30°C. In good tempeh, the beans are knitted together by a mat of white mycelium. Traditional tempeh is often produced in Indonesia using Hibiscus tiliaceus leaves. The undersides of the leaves are covered in downy hairs known technically as trichomes to which the mold Rhizopus oligosporus can be found adhering in the wild. Soybeans are pressed into the leaf, and stored, fermentation thus occurs, resulting in tempeh. It is a balanced and complete food, since the fermentation makes the proteins of the soy very easy to digest. It reinforces the bones, alleviates the symptoms of menopause, reduces the risks of coronary troubles, it protects against intestinal diseases, it helps the antioxidant action, it improves the immune system. 100 grams of tempeh contain 179 Kcal, 21 grams of proteins, 6.5 grams of fat, 6.5 grams of carbohidrates. It is a good source of healthy fats, as well as B vitamins, mineral salts (calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese), Omega 3, Omega 6, phytoestrogens, isoflavones, saponins. Tempeh is often prepared by cutting it into pieces, soaking it in brine or salty sauce, and then frying. Cooked tempeh can be eaten alone, or used in chili, stir frys, soups, salads, sandwiches, and stews.

Tempeh's complex flavor has been described as nutty, meaty, and mushroom-like. Tempeh performs well in a cheese grater, after which it may be used in the place of ground beef. When thin-sliced and deep-fried in oil, tempeh obtains a crisp golden crust while maintaining a soft interior, since its sponge-like consistency makes it suitable for marinating. Dried tempeh (whether cooked or raw) is more portable and less perishable and may be used as a stew base.

TEMPEH WITH HERBS AND LEMON Ingredients: Tempeh 130 grams Radicchio or spinach 100 grams Sunflower seeds 10 grams Nutritional yeast flakes 3 grams Aromatic Herbs pesto (sage and rosmary) 2 spoons Lemon zest 2 coffee spoons Soya sauce 1 spoon Salsa di soia un cucchiaio Salt and olive oil to your taste (just remember that soy sauce is already salted) Preparation: Roast the seeds in a non stick pan without oil chop finely the radicchio or spinach let it cook in a pan with a little olive oil add the soy sauce and the yeast flakes, mix and turn off the heat. In a different pan stir fry the tempeh, previously chopped, with olive oil and the herb pesto after 3 minutes add the toasted sunflower seeds and mix until the tempeh becomes dark in color Turn off the heat and add the lemon zest Grease a small mould, place the radicchio leaves first, then the tempeh, pushing it down serve it with raw vegetables Herb Pesto In a mixer add sage and rosemary in equal quantities, adding oil, soy sauce, yeast flakes. For 300 grams of aromatic pesto 2 spoons of yeast are enough. This yeast is used to give flavour, it doesn't make your mix rise. It can be used in soups, pasta, salads, etc. It contains B group vitamins, iron, fibers, aminoacids, selenium, it is best used raw or cooked very little. Enjoy!


This is a summery easy dish to celebrate the joys of the sea and the land. Ingredients for 6 people: 300 gr filet of sword fish 500 ml. Tomato souce 100 grams Buffalo Mozzarella cheese 1 bunch of basil leaves 100 grams Bread crumbs 100 grams Grated parmesan cheese 2 dl. extra virgin Olive oil Procedure: In a large china tray put a little base of tomato and a thin slice of sword fish. Add again tomato souce, dices of bufalo mozzarella cheese, sprinkle a good quantity of grated parmisan and then also of grated bread, put some basil leaves, salt. Repeat the same sequence 3 times (for a total of 4 layer). Bake in the oven at a temperature under 165°C for 25 minutes. Serve with some tomato coulis and pesto sauce. Buon Appetito!

PHOTO – GRAPHY by Luis Vasconcelos Comment by Antonella Vicini The waves sing an eternal song of renewal, resilience and endurance, at the same time they model space, until it is smooth, just like the illusory – temporary curved surface of the waves in the masterful photos by our photographer Luis Vasconcelos. Watching carefully these images I was able to notice individual moments in time, just before the wave disappears back into the sea. I was born in Genova, by the Mediterranean sea, Luis was born in Lisbon facing the Atlantic Ocean. Since early childhood I have become familiar with it and the respect due to its continuous movement. Learning to float and swim was very easy, but I always remember the warning I received then: "Never turn you back to the sea, you never know what may come next". When we face a new element we need to learn its rules, its character, its vagaries and dangers. Being at sea transforms us into........ I am not really sure into what we become, it may be useful to go back in time to the origin of my love of the sea. I grew up among rowing boats, yachts, liners, commercial ships and sailing fans. I listened to the fishermen's stories, to the sailors coming back from exotic destinations. None of them was the same person who had left dry land, since their eyes had changed.

The sea continues to be for me the symbol of movement, travel, transformation, even if I have lowered my sails in the Etruscan countryside, yet the call of the sea is powerful and ever present. Perhaps its song of crashing waves is the actual sirens'call which lured sailors at sea. We cannot resist its ancient echo....

Antonella Vicini

Have a wonderful summer listening to the ancient song of the seas and enjoy our video, created with the amazing images by Luis Vasconcelos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqryGJzr_ZI&feature=youtu.be

TRAVELLING The Path of Remembrance Part 1 Judy Hayes

On a recent trip to New York City I visited the 9/11 Memorial and the Memorial Museum created at Ground Zero to reflect upon the events of September 11, 2001. An emotional journey that began for me on that September day in 2001 and has taken many shapes during the intervening years. On the day itself, in my home 800 miles away, I was emotionally overwhelmed by media images showing the pain and suffering of those most profoundly affected by the tragedy. In complete disbelief, I observed on the television the utter destruction of a whole vibrant section of New York City, a place I had visited often as a child. A few years later I saw firsthand the gaping hole that had been the financial hub of a nation. Now, almost 15 years later, I returned to see the memorial itself, as well as the glorious new buildings that had risen from the ashes. Many of the emotions that I felt at the time resurfaced on this occasion, while I felt again a sense of awe at the courage and selflessness of those who first responded to the attack and worked around the clock to rescue, care for, comfort and support all those touched by this terrible tragedy. Truly, the amount of good that derives from such evil intent cannot be measured.

In my mind, this place of remembrance in lower Manhattan serves a threefold purpose. First and foremost, there is the memorial itself, which commemorates by name each of the 2,977 victims of the attacks on 9/11. Also included are the names of the six people killed in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

As one strolls around the perimeter of the two pools with their cascading waterfalls constructed on the actual footprints of the north and south towers, one reflects that each name inscribed there brings back memories of a unique human being cherished by family, friends and colleagues. Although each name recalls an individual person, all of them are bound together by a common tragedy.

The second facet of this site is the 9/11 Memorial Museum, sculpted from the actual foundation of the original towers, housing many artifacts belonging to the iconic buildings themselves, such as the structural foundation seen in the photo below and the original stairs used that day by some of the survivors.

However, the museum’s mission is not simply to educate the world about the scope of the horrific events of that day, but more importantly to serve as a place of commemoration. To this end, the museum includes a vast array of personal items found in the debris and donated by the families willing to share the story of their loved ones with the world at large. There are items of clothing, identification cards, car keys, photographs of loved ones, to name a few. These artifacts are also a commemoration of the valiant deeds of those who tried to rescue others, both victims and survivors. Charred vehicles and tools used in the rescue effort are displayed. Clothes shredded and covered with dust are grim reminders. Recordings of some of the personal phone calls and 911 calls made that day give witness to the courage displayed in the face of unimaginable terror. The museum does a sensitive task of balancing these various aspects of its mission. This balance is captured in the magnificent wall of blue steel tiles that captures one’s attention while descending to the lowest level of the building. This wall contains 2,983 different shades of blue to represent the uniqueness of the lives sacrificed there. Blue was chosen for the tile color as an acknowledgment of the magnificent blue sky that covered much of the country that day before everything changed. The quote on the wall is from the Roman poet, Vergil. It is taken from Book IX of his magnum opus, the Aeneid. While there, I overheard visitors wondering about its context in the original Latin. The circumstances in the Aeneid are quite different from those commemorated on this wall.

In the Aeneid, two young Trojans, who epitomize friendship and valor, offer to invade the enemy camp, exact revenge on the enemy while delivering a message to the Trojan leader, Aeneas. Having become separated on this mission, Euryalus is detected and cut down by the cavalry of the enemy Latins. Witnessing his friend’s death, Nisus reveals his hidden position to the enemy and defiantly charges them to take him also. The death of these two young warriors is met with great sorrow within the Trojan encampment. Although the context is certainly different, there are several commonalities worth noting in these two tragedies. First to note is the impact of death upon the living. The mother of Euryalus has followed her son to war, living in the Trojan camp and denying herself comforts as she devotes herself to him.

Fearing her reaction, he has not disclosed to her his intent to pursue this dangerous mission. Consequently, when rumor brings the news of his death, she is taken completely by surprise and overwhelmed with grief. One of her most profound regrets is that she has not had the opportunity to say farewell to her son. Her grief is palpable. 'hunc ego te, Euryale, aspicio? tune ille senectae sera meae requies, potuisti linquere solam, crudelis? nec te sub tanta pericula missum adfari extremum miserae data copia matri?' (Aeneid, 9, ll. 481-484) (Is that you I see, Euryalus? Have you, a comfort late in my old age, chosen to leave me alone, o cruel one? Was there no opportunity given to your mother to bid you farewell before you were sent into such great danger?) Another similarity that I perceive between Vergil’s original text and the choice of this quote for the memorial wall is the notion that the artist has the power to memorialize those who have died. The artist can create a masterpiece that will remind all future generations of what has been lost. In Vergil’s case it is the power of poetry, and in the case of the 9/11 Memorial Museum it is the power of the visual arts. 'si quid mea carmina possunt, nulla dies umquam memori vos eximet aevo, dum domus Aeneae Capitoli immobile saxum accolet imperiumque pater Romanus habebit.' (Aeneid, Book IX 446-449)

(If my poetry has the power, while the house of Aeneas lives beside the Capitol’s immobile stone, and a Roman leader rules the Empire, no day will erase you from time’s memory.) As I returned to the plaza where the reflecting pools glisten, I was reminded of the resilience of the human spirit. I see the recognition of this resilience as the third facet of this memorial site. On this occasion a large crowd had gathered around a volunteer guide who was recounting the history of a very old and beautiful pear tree. This tree, the only one to survive the attack, was discovered in a horrible condition in the rubble in October 2001. Nurtured back to health by the New York Department of Parks and Recreation, it was reinstalled in 2010. In many ways it represents the rebirth of that entire area of New York City while keeping alive the memory of its past. The picture below shows the tree with the recently completed Freedom Tower shimmering between its branches. A very inspiring way to conclude this visit!

Judy Hayes, photos and article Edited by Antonella Vicini

TRAVELLING EAST Raffaella Vicini

I love the sea I feel at ease in the water, I am happy when I am near it, I love the sound of the sea in my ears when I swim and its silence when I go underwater. Whatever is above or below the sea for me is beautiful and full of attractions. The sea is a friend, I like to look at it when it is calm, as well as when it is rough because it reminds me of life that is never flat and calm. We human beings are always on the move, just like the sea, if the waters were still it would be a disaster. For this reason I respect it and love it, too many times we have forgotten that the oceans of the earth cannot be filled with any kind of substance, if we want to survive as a species. People have gone to the sea for many different reasons: the sailors and explorers have conquered their fear of the unknown in order to find new lands, the fishermen work daily in it looking for food, the merchants of all kinds have gambled their fortunes in order to sell the most precious gems, fabrics, art, etc. People go to the sea for fun, surfers, scuba divers, swimmers, sailing, etc. Each person has his/her relationship to the sea and live it in their personal way. The sea is what we are, it represents our lives, our soul in all its stages from stormy to calm and serene. The sea is inside us and we need to remember how to take care of it, since it is like taking care of ourselves.

Last year the sea has brought me a new job and a chance of many discoveries in Asia, here are my first impressions of Hong Kong: pearl of the east. With its shining buildings reflected in the sea, its hustling and bustling streets full of people and commerce, with its different cuisines and ambiance, truly this city has been the door of Asia for a long time. During its ancient history, it was inhabited possibly since 39.000 years ago, it was part of the Chinese Empire for many centuries since III BCE, later it became an independent territory under British rule until 1997, ending de facto the British Empire. Hong Kong is now an autonomous region of China.

Its skyline is famous the world over, the beautiful hills around covered in lush vegetation are in deep contrast to the many coloured buildings around. Luxury and cheap articles co exist almost side by side, like the many different communities who constitute the mixed population of this amazing cities that conqured me at first sight. I could visit only some of Hong Kong, the fragrant city, but I was so mesmerized by its exciting energy and beauty that I plan to return and learn more about its secrets and treasures. Enjoy the photos in the following pages.

Raffaella Vicini Edited and Translated by Antonella Vicini

POLIS Politics in everyday life Nilsa Téllez

I remember when I was eleven years old someone asked me what politics meant to me. My response was simple: “Politics is what politicians do and what politicians talk about”. This definition, though inaccurate showed one aspect that still applies for most of the people nowadays. It is the common belief that politics is only for politicians. My childhood happened in the nineties. I was raised in Navojoa, a city in Sonora, a Mexican northern state. By that time, presidential elections did not mean so much, because the result was quite predictable: for 71 years Mexico was ruled by the same political party. For that reason the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa called Mexico the perfect dictatorship. In the nineties, plenty of television spots were aired to promote the secrecy of the vote. They were supposed to prevent vote coercion, but I wonder how often did they truly serve that purpose and in what extent they spread the idea that discussing about politics with others was wrong. How many times have we heard in school and in our homes: “Never talk about religion and politics”? Sometimes, we do need to talk about these topics, without forgetting that freedom of expression should always be accompanied by respect. Being able to express freely your own ideas with others facilitates trust and helps to create bonds among people, building a sense of community and along with this comes the perception of a shared future.

For the Polish-American philosopher Adam Przeworski, what turns something into political is the capability to affect a community. Therefore, from this perspective, there cannot be politics without thinking in a community.

Classic political philosophy focused on who should decide what was best for the community, in other words who should have the power. At some point of the occidental history, democracy prevailed as the best considered option for deciding communities’ fate. Later on representative democracy, became the most suitable option when communities turned so big that direct democracy was not possible. So, when we say we live in a democracy, we usually imply that we have the right to choose our governors or representatives. In other words, we vote for who will decide what path should be followed by the community. But the problem is that citizens usually limit their political participation to casting a vote.

Public interest is not a monopoly, stated the Mexican academic Ricardo Uvalle. His point of view emphasizes that both politicians and citizens have the right and responsibility to look for the best for the community. This calling for taking responsibilities about common issues is frequently ignored due to different reasons, one of them is that people don’t trust their own abilities to impact the political arena. Unfortunately this lack of confidence usually comes with a lack of information of what can be done. Political participation has a whole realm of options. People do not have to wait until elections season for giving feedback to the system. For instance, other forms of conventional participation can include elaborating petitions to the authorities, overlooking and informing about authorities performance, requesting information about how taxes are spent and so on. On the other side, there are other forms of political participations that are not so conventional. By the time of the Mexican presidential campaign, in 2012, young people were considered to be politically apathetic.

What a surprise for the country when they actually went out in the streets and marched to protest against media partiality. As it was pointed out by the academic Isabela Corduneanu, who personally followed these marches , the students recognized themselves as part of a community and expressed their disenchantment about the media and the politicians, and certainly proved that they were not apathetic!

If someone asked me today what politics means to me, my answer would be: politics is all what is public. Politics is for everyone as we are part of a community. Politics is not only for politicians. If we are not satisfied with how politics is handled, we should change our approach as citizens. Citizens involvement can have good results. Let´s give it a try.

Nilsa TĂŠllez Edited by Antonella Vicini Photos taken in Monterrey by Lizbeth GutiĂŠrrez Obeso. The photograhs are from a march against female violence called: "Vivas nos queremos" (We want us alive) held last April 24th. The march was held in more than twenty different cities in Mexico as: Monterrey, Mexico City, Toluca, Hermosillo, Guadalajara, Chihuahua and Puebla.

WARRIOR GODDESS the Bull and the Goddess part 3 Gabriella Campioni The Labyrinth Leaving aside the scholarly disputes over the "reality" and location of the Minos Labyrinth, I would like to examine here the myth in its connection to the feminine world and the goddess. Two of the main characteristics of the Cretan labyrinth have to do with roundness and the focus on the centre, where the sparkle is ignited in order to generate life like the roundness of the pregnant belly. However, the main aspect of the Labyrinth is the path we have to walk on: once we are inside it, we need to go all the way to the centre, then exit going back the same way. If we continue the metaphor above: the seed needs to reach the centre of the womb in order to fecundate the egg, from the centre the new born will come (even if this is a modern interpretation, since the male role was not clear at the time) In order to re-generate ourselves we need to go to the centre where we can meet the "monster" living there, as in the myth of the Minotaur. If we want to live, we need to know death; if we want to know the divine, we need to let our human side die.

This is what is implied in the labyrinth in the French cathedral of Chartres, where the monks walked and prayed on the way to a crypt where there is a Black Madonna called “Notre Dame de Sous-Terre�(Our Underground Lady).

Another intepretation connects the labyrinth with the Uroboros, the snake eating its tail (as mentioned in previous articles): in its centre there is Chaos, where we can find all chances, the secret of Life, if we have enough courage to go there, since there are no known points of reference.

The path in the labyrinth wraps around (perhaps like Ariadne's ball of thread?), or it is like a snake since it changes direction so much: going right and left, inside and outside, then again towards the centre. This movement reflects the cycles of life, as well as our way of experiencing it: we take in something external, then we project it outside when we have processed it, perhaps we use it as a filter in order to interpret the new experiences and so on. But if we want to really be reborn and eventually learn to live each experience as new and not as a continuosly repeating script, then we have to go to the centre, right in our belly, our subconscious, where we can face our fears, resentments, guilt and all the obscure emotions from our experiences. Here we can find, above all, the sparkle of life, so that when we emerge from our own inner labyrinth, we are really reborn with a charisma that sheds light on us and the world.

THE BULL This animal is often represented in the Cretan paintings, sometimes as a full animal, some other times just its head is present. It is usually connected to male power, but it also has amazing connections with the Goddess.

There is a connection between the head of the bull and the moon, or better the crescent moon when it is represented open like a cup or in the shape of horns. We can even imagine a series of similarities going from the sky = the moon to the earth=the head and the bull's horns, then even deeper in the woman's body=the female reproductive system with the womb and the fallopian tubes and the earth= graves. We could also say: a divine celestial principle becomes real and is present in matter in increasing degrees in order to show its importance and helps us to comprehend it by taking it inside us.

The horns of the Bull Api in Egypts were decorated with wreaths of flowers and perhaps moons, that could represent the ovaries. The goddesses Isis and Hathor (an aspect of Isis) carry the sun disk on their heads held by bull's horns, with a snake holding the sun, this is another connection to the Uroboros, but it is also a clue that the Goddess holds the male principle in herself.

Such an idea is also present in Hesiod's myth: in the beginning there was Gea/Gaia who, from her virginal womb, extracted Uranus (the starry sky) he became her son and husband. If she took him out of herself, she must have had it inside her already... The bull's horns represent a sort of cup open to the sky, nothing more feminine and masculine at the same time, since they are receiving as well as protrudring.

Gabriella Campioni Edited and Translated by Antonella Vicini

from Hesiod's Theogony (ll. 116-138) Verily at the first Chaos came to be, but next wide-bosomed Earth, the ever-sure foundations of all (4) the deathless ones who hold the peaks of snowy Olympus, and dim Tartarus in the depth of the wide-pathed Earth, and Eros (Love), fairest among the deathless gods, who unnerves the limbs and overcomes the mind and wise counsels of all gods and all men within them. From Chaos came forth Erebus and black Night; but of Night were born Aether (5) and Day, whom she conceived and bare from union in love with Erebus. And Earth first bare starry Heaven, equal to herself, to cover her on every side, and to be an ever-sure abiding-place for the blessed gods. And she brought forth long Hills, graceful haunts of the goddessNymphs who dwell amongst the glens of the hills. She bare also the fruitless deep with his raging swell, Pontus, without sweet union of love. But afterwards she lay with Heaven and bare deep-swirling Oceanus, Coeus and Crius and Hyperion and Iapetus, Theia and Rhea, Themis and Mnemosyne and gold-crowned Phoebe and lovely Tethys. After them was born Cronos the wily, youngest and most terrible of her children, and he hated his lusty sire........

QUILTING AWAY‌ The Crazy Quilt Lida Perry

If someone asked me what is my favourite hobby, I would say, without hesitation, that’s Quilting: the art of creating very colored blankets, often they are so beautiful that they resemble works of art. They are made using small pieces of fabrics stitched together, preferably by hand , in different patterns, that are particular and often appealing. In time I have made about 30 quilts which I have given to relatives and grandchildren. Twenty years ago I began one quilt. It was a very particular time in my life. I was attending the University of Massachussets working toward a degree in Psychology, and in the meantime I was undertaking a Jungian personal analysis. Intuitively I knew that it would benefit my process if I had a project, so I started a crazy quilt ‌ just for me.. but at some point about halfway throughout this process I stopped working on it.

A Crazy Quilt is so called because one of its characteristics is not to follow a specific pattern nor a precise color scheme. The pieces of fabric are sewed together in an apparent haphazard way creating forms and patterns that are designed only by the intuition and the feelings of the moment. They are joined without an apparent order to create a composition that in chaos finds it own harmony. Often for this kind of quilt special fabrics are used, such as velvets, silks, damasks, and lace. When is time to complete the quilt they are embellished with embroidery and very refined finishing touches.

“It’s a winter day, cold, gray and foggy, I finished the book I was reading and I am feeling unsettled, I wander from room to room looking for a clue, a suggestion that could surface and inspire me and take me away from incipient boredom. My attention goes to an old chest on the stairs landing, I don’t remember what I stored in it… my restlessness has suddenly become “intent”, I have found a goal, a purpose. I open the chest and I am hit by the smell of lavender, I begin to empty it. What I found are old plaids, curtains, lacy bedspreads, hand made by my mother and on the very bottom there is something very colorful, soft, and when I take it out with much care, I find that it is my unfinished “crazy quilt.”! I hold it with some curiosity and a strange feeling, as if I had opened an old diary and was reading some of the written pages. In a flash I am back to that time in my life when I had started it. A very rich time: my studies at the University, my work that was being recognized, and I remember clearly that at the time I was undergoing my Jungian analysis… In that period I often felt that reality had a dreaming dimension and the pieces of me that I was uncovering did not seem to make sense, so that I could not perceive any useful collocation, or harmony between them. Very tenderly I spread the quilt on my bed, I find some pins that are still holding some of the pieces together. I am struck and surprised by the variety of the colors, the shapes and the preciousness of the fabrics that I have chosen. I am fascinated by the embroidering I made on the seams to hide them and embellish them. I had completly forgotten how much time, how much care I had invested in this project. As a whole, even if unfinished, the quilt is wonderful. The strong colors create a certain chromatic harmony and the diversity of the shapes and the fabrics enhance the impression of dynamism that is very intriguing. It’s a crazy quilt, and yet it has, as a whole, its own integrity and coherence. I decide that it is the time to complete it. I complete the final touches and now I can display it as a wall hanging.

The tapestry has become an image that I can observe and meditate on.

It is the reflection and metaphor of a period of my life, and also of my here and now. In this quilt made up of many small pieces and swatches of fabrics, apparently clashing and different from each others, there are my thoughts, the many parts of me that I have discovered and put together through the years, the various colors hold my feelings and my emotions, in the stitching there is my resilience, my creativity, my sensitivity, and the richness of my feminine nature. The more I look at it, the more I recognize and perceive harmony and coherence that I had never seen before. Order and balance can exist in the illusory caos of diversity‌ This achievement has been the result of a process of growth and evolution: as in our personality that develops piece by piece during our formative years. These parts of us are fitted together painstakingly by the unconscious drive of a powerful energy that works within our core, it is our vital impulse that always leads us, even when unconscious, toward harmony, beauty, and wholeness.

More often our inner beauty, our true nature has been buried, hidden, from our consciousness, our perception, but at certain times in our life, during our journey toward evolution, we become ready to rediscover it, to bring it to light and complete it with care, with love, so that as a tapestry we can be seen as a whole with all our different pieces held together by acceptance and compassion, with the awareness that we are who we are and grateful for it. The personal journey/ process does not end, rather, it is the start of a new cycle, another beginning… With great curiosity let’s see how it will reveal itself….

Lida Perry Edited by Antonella Vicini

BREATHING BreathWork at the source of spirit Milena Screm God created breath as a subtle connection between body and soul. The secret of Cosmic Consciousness is deeply linked to mastery of the breath (freely quoted from Paramahamsa Yogananda *) A simple and vital action connects us with deep resources when it becomes conscious. For millennia, human beings on Earth have known that the physiological act of breathing holds both the essence of life and many more precious resources: because we cannot survive more than a few minutes without breathing. The first breath marks the newborn's entry into this world, the last one closes this level of existance: between these two actions there are countless breaths, mostly taken automatically, without our awareness. Being present and aware, thus conscious of the flow of air entering and leaving the lungs, this is the first step in order to reach the treasure of our depths. Many techniques and disciplines, ancient and modern, both from western and eastern traditions, have consciousness in common: the awareness that transforms a habit or mechanical action into alertness, thus enabling people to become observers of thoughts and sensations, without identifying with one or the other.

Paramahansa Yogananda

The same traditions call this metaphorical point of view “the witness”, “the observer”. In this position we breath with attention and an open attitude to receive what comes to consciousness without evaluating what is observed. Yoga, Buddhism, Taoism have very ancient histories regarding this aspect, however different their paths may be, their principles and practices have reached people in the east and all over the world. In the west as well there have been important and significant traditions. In the book “Tales of a Russian Pilgrim”, an anonymous author of the XIX century wrote the Heart Prayer, still used in the monasteries on Mount Athos, where the monks gather in a quiet place, with their eyes closed and repeat mentally a short prayer, just like a mantra (Indian prayer E.N.), following their breathing rythm.

Hesychasm ** is an ascetic path practiced by monks of the Christian Orthodox tradition since IV CE. Its goal was the search for inner peace, union with God and harmony with all of creation. Therefore, it was not just a style of prayer, but an attempt to align one's vibrations with the sacred, while remaining in full contact with one's body. For its understanding of the physical aspect and the breathing in spiritual contemplation, Hesychasm is considered a bridge between the Yoga approach and western mysticism. One of the most important mystics of Philocalia *** was Nichephorus the Solitary (XIV century), he used to be a catholic priest from Italy, who later converted to the orthodox tradition and retired to Mount Athos.

Nichephorus the Solitary

In his writings he described his method of sacred attention and praying: he recommended going to a secluded and quiet place where we can concentrate, without distractions from thinking: “First of all let your life be tranquil, free from all care, and at peace with all. Then enter your room, shut yourself in, and, sitting in a corner, say what I shall tell you: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me!

You know that we only exhale our breath, the air that we inhale, because of our heart. Sit down, recollect your spirit, introduce it - I mean your breath/spirit- into your nostrils; that is the route your breath takes to reach the heart. Pull it in, forcing it to descend to your heart at the same time as the air is breathed in. When it is there, you will see the joy that follows; you will have nothing to regret. Just as the man who returns home after an absence can no longer contain his joy at being able to see his wife and children again, so the spirit when it is united to the soul overflows with joy and ineffable delight. So, my brother, accustom your spirit not to be hasty to emerge.” Not long after Nichephorus the Solitary, also Ignatius of Loyola**** offered “breathing prayers” in his Spiritual Exercises (open also to lay people). A century later, in XVI, Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi described the communication between the Holy Trinity and its creatures with metaphors that included breathing. Nichephorus' intuitions are very close to Mindfulness, since they mention emotional intelligence, the heart intelligence. “You know that our breathing is the inhaling and exhaling of air. The organ that serves for this is the lungs that lie round the heart, so that the air passing through them thereby envelops the heart. Thus breathing is a natural way to the heart. And so, having collected your mind within you, lead it into the channel of breathing through which air reaches the heart and, together with this inhaled air, force your mind to descend into the heart and to remain there.” We need to follow our breath that will lead us to our heart, as a result, when the mind is quiet, breathing creates the connection with the heart, where it can be imbued by its warm and understanding intelligence, its openness and connection, its congruency and interconnection.

Aligning heart and brain is called heart-brain concordance by Neurosciences; this is one of the most explored avenues of contemporary research. It has become clear over time that integrating inner and outer experiences is beneficial to health and well being of body, mind and spirit. Our heart has a “voice� made of electromagnetic frequencies that permeate each cell in the body, including the brain. Since the heart produces the loudest sound in the body, it gives rythm to the expansion and contraction of life movement, the entire body pulsates in the Heart. This organ has an autonomous nervous system, more than half of it is made of neurons, so that it can accelerate or slow down its beating, without any impulse from the brain. Mental powers need to be enlightened by the Heart in order to discover their own depths. Following Nicephorus heart discoveries in XIV century, we can reach and contact the Heart with the simple action of inhaling and exhaling.

Milena Screm Edited and Translated by Antonella Vicini

NOTES *Paramahansa Yogananda (5 January 1893 – 7 March 1952) was an Indian yogi and guru who introduced millions of westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his books and teachings. **Hesychasm (Greek: ἡσυχασμός, hesychasmos, from ἡσυχία, esychía, "stillness, rest, quiet, silence") is a mystical tradition of prayer in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Based on Christ's injunction in the Gospel of Matthew that "when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray", hesychasm is the process of retiring inward by restraining from the senses, in order to achieve a direct experience of divine presence. ***The Philokalia (Ancient Greek: φιλοκαλία "love of the beautiful, the good", from φιλία philia "love" and κάλλος kallos "beauty") is "a collection of texts written between the 4th and 15th centuries by spiritual masters"of the Eastern Orthodox hesychast tradition. They were originally written for the guidance and instruction of monks in "the practice of the contemplative life". The collection was compiled in the XVIII century by St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain and St. Makarios of Corinth. ****Saint Ignatius of Loyola, (1491 – 1556) was a Spanish knight from a Basque noble family, hermit, priest since 1537, and theologian, who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and, on 19 April 1541, became its first Superior General.

NOMADS Spiritual Teachings and Civilization Giorgio Milanetti Part 4 of 4

Continuing our conversation on nomadism and its connection to spirituality, it is noteworthy that disciplinary disputes brought about discrepancies and divisions among the Buddhist community at a very early stage: only «one hundred years after the Mahāparinibbāna of the Buddha» the second Buddhist council was specifically held «at Vesālī in order to examine and suppress the practices of ten un-Vinayic acts of the group of the Vajjian or Vesālian monks», who had adopted less strict rules than those observed by the orthodox side. A tendency, we may hypothesize, that later on determined or at least facilitated the passage to a monastic organization and thus to the settlement of the monks – ‘as if’, in spite of the identitarian assertions formerly conveyed by Buddhist narrative, one more battle was won by settled society against nomadism and movement (and ‘homelessness’). All of that, however, did not prevent forms of interior dynamics from being further elaborated, ‘as if’ – we might say once more – the values of movement and circulation were finding more and more specific ways to surface and survive.

Several key elements that characterized Śramana asceticism and the early Buddhist practices were in fact absorbed within the Yoga tradition, that in the last centuries BCE was given the form of an elaborated system in the Yoga sūtras, a well-known text attributed to the grammarian Patañjali. Should we take the opposition movement-immobility as a heuristic tool, the 196 aphorisms which the Yoga sūtras are composed of, would provide us with not a few significant issues. One of these concerns, the integration of immobility and dynamism as a prerequisite for correct practice: according to the author of the text, any āsana (or yogic posture) should in fact result absolutely stable or static (sthiram) so that the interior ‘movement’ leading to the further stages – such as breath control (prāṇāyāma), withdrawing of the mind (pratyāhāra), concentration (dhāraṇā) etc. – might take place.

This yogic itinerary leads in fact the practitioner to experience eight different phases, that correspond to the eight ‘limbs’ (aṣṭa-aṅga) of Patañjali’s Yoga, ranging from the precepts for social and individual discipline (yama-niyama) to the highest form of non-dualistic consciousness called samādhi. Later on, the dynamic dimension of Yoga was further enhanced by its association with the dualistic philosophical system called Sāṁkhya (‘Enumeration’), which acknowledges two eternal principles, puruṣa (‘consciousness’) – that is absolute and motionless – and prakṛti (‘nature’, or natura naturans) – that in her dynamic evolution produces all the elements of human and worldly reality. According to Sāṁkhya-Yoga – as the two systems were later to be known – human beings can regain the original condition of pureness and immobility by ‘journeying back’ to the primal point which evolution has started from – an operation which once more highlights the dialectical relation between the two terms. Propeller of this re-integration process is the knowledge (jñāna) that may be obtained through yogic practice.

In later centuries, Yoga underwent a radical evolution under the influence of local traditions of asceticism and body practices. The strongest contribution came from the Tantric tradition, that perhaps was generated by the interplay of local elements of ‘popular’ character, and a higher, more refined component, perhaps of IndoEuropean derivation. With its emphasis on male and female energies, Tantra provided Yoga with a formidable framework for furthering its intrinsically dynamic nature. It was within this male-female polarization, in fact, that the Yoga-Tantra (or Haṭha-Yoga) system was elaborated and described in Medieval texts, both in Sanskrit and in vernacular languages. Among the elements that characterize the esoteric physiology of this tradition, we find a series of channels (nāṛī), where energies flow, a set of chakras or ‘wheels of energy’, where channels meet or cross each other, and the process of awakening a sleeping energy called kuṇḍalinī, portrayed as a coiled snake lying at the base of the spinal cord.

The systematization of these concepts is traditionally attributed to Gorakh’nath – a semi-legendary figure who lived perhaps around the XII century – who is credited with the authorship of many major Haṭha-Yoga texts and is still hugely popular all over Northern India. Gorakh’nath and his guru Matsyendranath are also traditionally considered the founders of the Nath Yogi or Kan’phaṭa (‘split ears’) Yogi order, whose adepts still embody, with regard to the practices and the accessories that characterizes them, the prototype of Indian ascetics. Haṭha-Yoga tradition has produced detailed descriptions of ‘interior’ itineraries, based on the scheme of channels (nāṛī) and ‘wheels’ of energy (chakra) that we have mentioned before. These itineraries are usually comprised of alternate phases of what we may term as ‘stations’ and ‘progressions’. Āsana, or yogic postures, prāṇāyāma (breath control), mantra (mystic syllables or words), and specific meditations allow the yogi (or the yogini, a female practitioner) to attain a certain energetic dimension where he/she can bring about a purification of his/her psycho-physical powers. The latter are thenceforward progressively assimilated into the universal forces which operate at that particular chakra level. The movement towards new energetic dimensions is usually associated with the awakening and the ascent of kuṇḍalinī, a female power which is described as lying at the base of the spine in a sleeping mode, and which may be aroused by specific yogic practices. During its ‘journey’, kuṇḍalinī, that is sometimes represented as a female goddess or Śakti, crosses one after the other all the energetic centers which are positioned along the central channel, from the lowest (mūlādhāra) to the highest one (sahasrāra).

It is in this sense that we may describe this process of progressive exploration of the human psycho-physical complex as an ‘itinerary’ that ends up with the dissolution of any separation between individual and universal energies – or, in tantric terms, as the mystical union of Śiva and Śakti. This journey and the consequent merging of polarities or energies have been variously described in texts of different nature, but given their non-dialectical nature, their representation has been mainly carried out through symbols or metaphors. More specifically, it was the male-female pattern that provided a convenient basis for this process to be transformed into a powerful narrative that in Medieval times – as it might be expected – took often the form of a romance, or, more precisely, of a love tale (premākhyān). From the ancient Vedas, through the epic stories of long journeys across India, to the wandering Buddhist monks, to the inner and outer journeys of the Yoga pratictioners this exploration has lead us to understand how deeply connected spiritual ascetism and progess are with the physical movement from place to place. To this day travelling remains the most direct way of changing perspective, thus transforming the traveller's reality and possibly give rise to new ideas, theories, philosophies,etc.

Giorgio Milanetti Edited by Antonella Vicini

This article was divided in 4 parts, you can find the previous parts in THE BADGER Year 1 Volume 4, Year 2 Volume 1 and 2. BIBLIOGRAPHY Angot Michel, «Land and location: Errant Gods, Erring Asuras and the Land of Men. Place and Space in Vedic Literature», in: Berti Daniela, Tarabout Gilles (eds.), Territory, Soil and Society in South Asia, Manohar, New Delhi 2009, pp. 41-98. Banerjea Akshaya Kumar, Philosophy of Gorakhnath with Goraksha-Vacana-Sangraha, Mahant Dig Vijai Nath Trust, Gorakhpur 1962. Berriedale Keith Arthur (ed.), The Veda of the Black Yajus School, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Massachusetts) 1914. Bhatt G.C., Shah U.P. (gen. eds.), The Valmiki Ramayana: Critically Edited for the First Time, 7 vols., Oriental Institute, Baroda 19601975. Bhikku Ňanamoli, Bhikku Bodhi (eds.), The middle length discourses of the Buddha: a new translation of the Majjhima Nikāya, Wisdom, Boston 1995. Bloomfield Maurice (ed.), Hymns of the Atharva Veda, Oxford University Press (Sacred Books of the East 42), Oxford 1897. Briggs George Weston, Gorakhnāth and the Kānphaṭa Yogīs, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi 1989 (repr.). Brockington John L., Righteous Rama. The Evolution of an Epic, Oxford University Press, Delhi 1985. Cowell Edward Byles (ed.), Buddhist Mahāyāna Texts, Part I, The Buddha-carita of Aśvaghosha, Oxford University Press (Sacred Books of the East 49), Oxford 1894. Goldman Robert P. (gen. ed.), The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki. An Epic of Ancient India, 6 vols., Princeton University Press, Princeton 1984-2009. Griffith Ralph T.H. (ed.), The Texts of the White Yajur Veda, E.J. Lazarus & Co., Benares 1899. Griffith Ralph T.H. (ed.), Hymns of the Samaveda, South Asia Books, Columbia 1986 (repr.). Heesterman J.C., The Broken World of Sacrifice: an Essay in Ancient Indian Ritual, University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1993. Johansson Rune E. A., The Dynamic Psychology of Early

Buddhism, Curzon Press, London 1979. Kanai Lal Hazra, History of Theravāda Buddhism in South-East Asia: with special reference to India and Ceylon, Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi 1982. Lalwani Kastur Chand, Sramana Bhagavan Mahāvīra: life & doctrine, Minerva Associates Publications, Calcutta 1975. Lorenzen David N., Who Invented Hinduism?, in: «Comparative Studies in Society and History», vol. 41, no. 4, 1999, pp. 630-659. Maraini Fosco, Paropàmiso, Leonardo da Vinci, Bari 1963. Milanetti Giorgio, «La metropoli indiana: modelli, narrazioni, rappresentazioni », in: Antonelli Roberto, Macioti Maria Immacolata (eds.), Metamorfosi. La cultura della metropoli, Viella, Roma 2012, pp. 383-430. Müller Max F. (ed.), Vedic Hymns, Part I, Oxford University Press (Sacred Books of the East 32), Oxford 1891. Oldenberg Hermann (ed.), Vedic Hymns, Part II, Oxford University Press (Sacred Books of the East 46), Oxford 1897. Padoux André, Tantra, Einaudi, Torino 2011. Pande Govind Chandra, Sramana tradition. Its history and contribution to Indian culture, Institute of Indology, Ahmedabad 1978. Pargiter F. Eden (ed.), The Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa – Translated with notes, Asiatic Society of Bengal (Bibliotheca Indica), Calcutta 1904. Sharma Har Dutt (ed.), The Sāṁkhya-kārikā, Oriental Book Agency (Poona Oriental Series 9), Poona 1933. Staal Frits, Ritual and Mantras: Rules without Meaning, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi 1996. Thapar Romila, The Image of the Barbarian in Early India, in: «Comparative Studies in Society and History», vol. 13, no. 4, 1971, pp. 408-436. Thich Nhat Hahn, The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, Broadway Books, New York 1999. Tikoo P.N., Immortal India: An enquiry into the perennial strength behind India's enduring culture and civilization, Sagar Publications, New Delhi 1975. Woods James Haughton (ed.), The Yoga system of Pataňjali, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Massachusetts) 1914.


पण म

Prāṇāyāma, from the Sanskrit: , is a compound word from Prāṇā vital force, cosmic energy, life and Ayāma which means control. The meaning of the word is the key and the goal to inspire, infuse, control, regulate and balance vital energy in the body (Prana Shakti) Only when the posture is stable and easy, “ sthira-sukham asanam” (from The Yoga Sutra by Patanjali) a person can control the breath. Such control consists of the rythmic interruption of the inhale and exhale flows by the retention of breath between these stages and by a subsequent deep control that happens with practice of these steps. Thanks to this practice we can achieve “tatah ksiyate prakasavaranam “: the veil of revealing Light is dissolved, mind and body are thus purified “dharanasu ca yogyata manasah” are ready for deep attention, without any distractions. In such a way, whatever we direct our gaze onto becomes concentration and, from this point on, contemplation of the pure reflection of Light.

We can stay quite a few days without food, some days without drinking, but how many minutes can we resist without breathing? The primordial force of Life manifests itself through breathing, not only as a regulator of all the other vital functions, but also as a remedy in case of physical and psychic imbalances. According to the Yoga Shastra, an ancient Sanskrit Text on Yoga, the universe is made of two substacnes: Akasha (ether) and Prana (cosmic energy). Whatever has a form or is the result of combinations comes from Akasha. This Matter becomes air, liquid, solid, human body, animals, plants, everything we touch: the Power / the Energy that transform all in Universe is Prana. Where we send our attention, there goes our energy, in other words Prana accumulates where our mind concentrates and it is the first nourishement from our breath.

Even if Prana is one, it works in different ways and in different parts of the body, for this reason it is called the Pancha Prana (the 5 prana): Prana it circulates in the area around the heart to the throat, it helps with the flow of breathing energy Apana it circulates around and under the belly button and helps the evacuating functions Samana it pervades the area betwen the heart and the belly button, it stimulates the gastric fluids, facilitating digestion Udana it flows between the rib cage and the brain, it allows the intake of air and food, it controls eyes, nose, ears and brain activities Vyana it circulates in the entire body, coordinating the energy flows, maintaining the balance of activities and the movements of the body. There are more flows of Prana that help with the survival of our bodies: Naga it loosens abdominal pressure by erupting Kurma it controls the movement of eyelashes in order to avoid strong lights or extraneous material entering the eyes Krkara it provokes coughing or sneezing to prevent the absorption of harmful substances. Devadutta it helps a tired body to receive more oxygen by yawning Dhanamjaia it remains in the body even when we leave it: after the death of the physical body the first aura (etheric body) remains with the physical body, both will take some time to disappear..



Practice Pranayama is practiced on an empty stomach, the back, neck and head must be aligned, usually the breathing happens trough the nose, except in some exercises. The ideal positions for Pranayama are: Vajrāsana (the diamond, on our knees),


Padmāsana (the lotus, with the feet resting on the thighs),sitting with a straight back


Siddhāsana (the accomplished, with one foot between thigh and calf of the other leg) śavāsana

शवसन(the corpse, laying down).



Very important are also the Bandhas (or body locks), such as: Jalandhara Bandha, tucking the chin close to the chest for a certain time Uddiyana bandha, exhaling and contracting the abdomen (belly button) into the rib cage towards the spine Mula Bandha, contraction of the perineum Maha Bandha, combining all three of the above bandhas Yogic breathing is the basis of all Pranayama: breathing in by filling first the abdomen with air, then the chest, last the area of the clavicles; the exhale starts from the abdomen, then the chest, last the clavicles. The breathing exercises most suited for the summer season are : Sitali Pranayama, the cooling breathing, it refreshes mind and body, improving blood pressure, skin problems and soothing the emotions. It is practiced by folding the sides of the tongue towards the inside of the mouth, so this breathing is done with your mouth open through the channel thus formed. This exercise is done for 8 to 10 times, concentrating the mind on the Vishuddi Chakra (throat). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQUdfm0l5ug

Ujjayi Pranayama (the ocean or ocean sound breath) that frees the mind from thoughts. The tongue is rolled up towards the palate, the air comes through the nostrils and the pharynx where it meets the glottis, which we can contract softly in order to produce a light sound. With each breath we can imagine a divine current passing through us regenerating each cell of our body. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRjgaSDVwtE Since breathings is LIFE, we keep our respiratory organs free. Jay Gurudev

Giosie Colagrossi Edited and Translated by Antonella Vicini

UNDER THE SKIN DermoReflexology and the Power of Dreams Part 1

Samantha Fumagalli e Flavio Gandini When we slip into sleep, the body relaxes, the mind loosens its grip on reality, thus allowing the soul (Psyché – ψυχή in Greek) to explore new territories and experience a different level of awareness. From the dreaming world the deepest part of us can send us signals, in order to let us know which are our most authentic aspirations, inform us of issues our rational mind cannot identify, suggest creative solutions, offer us intuitions and clarity. The altered states of consciousness and the calm mind we try to achieve with years of discipline, meditation and research for inner balance, in order to achieve our own spiritual wisdom, are in fact present in a natural activity available to all of us: dreaming. The ultimate goal of a calm mind is well being, this condition cannot be separate from listening to ourselves. Most diseases and ailments come from psycological issues, whenever we underestimate or neglect some inner need. For this reason any holistic healing path considers the person in all his/her aspects, it invites the person to become aware of the requests of his/her soul.

For this reason it is important to awaken self awareness, in order to achieve it, we need to learn the subtle art of communicating with ourselves in a more complete way than what we are used to. Observing the natural course of our life, we realize that about a third of it is dedicated by nature to an altered state of consciousness, when the mind is calm, thus opening a direct contact with the soul. This stage is sleep: the body rests, the thinking activity is not intentionally directed by rationality, consciousness is free to experiment a different level of perception. In practical terms we have a precious skill which is too often undervalued. Dreaming as a treasure of information has been known to many populations the world over since very ancient times. Just to quote one example, we can remember the Bible, when Joseph's interpretation of the Pharaoh's dream enabled him to avoid the terrible consequences of famine, by deciphering the meaning of the seven fat cows and the following arrival of the seven thin cows.

Dreams come to to us through symbolic language and according to the soul's priorities, or our wise unconscious. These two aspects make it hard sometimes to understand their hidden meanings, many people don't even have recollection of their dreams. We have discovered that using Dermoreflexology we can keep awareness of our dreams during the awake state, we can also give a direction to our unconscious mind during sleep. This is achieved by a simple stimulation of the skin.

Types of dreams We can identify four main types of dreams, according to which part of us is "actively" or "passively" dreaming. Every part of a human being, according to the fourfold division in : Physical body - matter Etheric body – vital energy Astral body – soul Causal body – spiritual spark oversees specific functions, perceptions, actions and reactions. In dreaming there is a similar division: we have physical sensations, psychic events, memories processing, we perform actions, we react to conditioning. This means we can make a primary distinction among the physical, etheric, astral and causal aspects also during dreaming.

It is important to remember such information, so that we don't waste time in subtle researches of dream symbols that are the clear manifestation of physical needs or desires. For example, if we go to sleep after eating very salty food and we dream of drinking large quantities of water, we will need to pay more attention to the natural physiological consequence of our previous dinner, rather than an elaborate spiritual interpretation. Again, if we go to bed without dinner, dreaming of eating will be the natural consequence of feeling hungry. As well as elements connected to the physical body, we can find in our dreams aspects connected to our daily activities, the thinking part linked to the physical and etheric bodies. In this case we often dream people and situations directly related to our previous day. These dreams are important reinterpretations that can supply us with new keys to understand our reality. Our thinking skill in dreaming is often more observant and more capable of analysis of our awake one, in the frantic daily activities. There are also dreams that express our astral body and others when we manifest our dreaming "I". We are defining the different types in order to make them clear, however in every dream there is a combination of all these elements to be taken into account.

Samantha Fumagalli and Flavio Gandini Edited and Translated by Antonella Vicini

DRUIDISM A Philosophy for Life Introduction part 2 Hagal Who is a Druid? Where can we find the Druids? How do we approach Druidism? Druids are people who are in tune with the Earth and support people in reconnecting to it and to our ancestors, as well as people do in many other spiritual paths. Druids work in close contact with community, with the land and the divine spirit that is in every aspect of life. A Druid helps people to improve their skills, to listen to their aspirations, to take care of their body and minds. A Druid will inspire people to get to know oneself well. A Druid can listen and understand the needs of the community, so that the people in it can become more conscious and have clarity on how to face the future challenges. Druids can be found everywhere in the world, beyond national boundaries. There are no outer visible signs of who they are, these people have made a choice and have started on a spiritual and practical path of reconnection with the world of nature.

Some call themselves Druids and are acnowledged as such by society and their communities, some don't know they are Druids, since a real Druid is a person connected with the invisible, with the memory of the ancestors, of the world, of the universe. This is certainly a poetic and spiritual point of view, as such each one of us can cultivate our inner Druid in a personal way. There are various "official" organizations around the world, we can mention here two of the main Druid Orders: The OBOD = Order of Bards Ovates and Druids, one of the oldest organizations, and the BDO= British Druid Order. The history and cultural tradition of these groups date back some centuries and are now integrated in British society; they support a lifestyle of deep respect for the environment, oneself and others. The orders organize meetings, courses, public rituals. The Druid Network wants to inform, inspire and facilitate the practice of Druidry as a modern living religion, for this reason it has been recognized recently as a charitable organization.

In Europe the Druid Orders are creating bridges towards the new evolutive reality: in Italy as well, where I live and work, we have the Italian Druid Order called Il Bosco dell'Awen (the Awen Grove), we organized the first Italian Druid Camp, as well as many meetings and courses, with the celebrations connected to the solstices and the four main yearly celebrations (see the article Magic by Adrian Rooke in this volume) These celebrations are important for the connection with the agricultural aspect of the ancient communities, honoring these cyclic passages allows people to live in a balanced way both their working and resting times. Celebrating, living and sharing these festivities allows us to live the circular nature of time and find a new balance between ourselves and the world.

On a practical level, if you are interested in knowing more about Druidism, OBOD has organized a course based on experience that can be followed in any part of the world. The goal of the course is to help life to blossom, to help the soul express itself fully in every day life.

This goal is achieved going to the sources of our creative power, so that its gifts may flow freely in our hands. In the course are also taught the skills and basic techniques of Druid spirituality: the use of ritual, sacred space, the circle, the directions and the elements, as well as historic and archeological information. The course is translated from English into many languages, below you can find the websites where you can get in touch with OBOD and other organizations. Druidry brings into the present a breath of the past, however it is felt, known or experienced; it facilitates the deep encounter with our real human nature, it supports us in the search for inner and outer balance, with the elements, the different levels of reality and the beings that are present in life.

Hagal Renato Mancini Translated and edited by Antonella Vicini

Here below you can find some links to more information on Druidism: The Druids and the Queen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WUtGN2rdyw Avebury Stone Circle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCy2iJxOhCo OBOD: OBOD Italy:

http://www.druidry.org/ www.druidry.it, http://www.sacrobosco.org/ , info@boscodellawen.org BDO : http://www.druidry.co.uk/ Druid Network: https://druidnetwork.org/

THE NATURE OF DRUIDISM Elves, Fairies, Elementals Philip Carr Gomm Do fairies, elves and the likes actually exist? Years ago I might have doubted the possibility of such beings existing, were it not for an experience I had in Ireland, which I will never forget. Olivia Durdin-Robertson, who founded the Fellowship of Isis with her brother Lawrence, had developed a method of exploring the Otherworld, which she called by the unassuming term ‘guided meditation’. I have since discovered that two researchers, one in Australia, and another in America, had been simultaneously developing a similar method. Steven Glaskin in Australia called it the ‘Christos’ technique – and wrote about it in a number of books, including ‘Windows of the Mind’. Olivia’s method involved an ‘operator’ and a ‘percipient’. The operator performed a simple ceremony at the beginning and end of the experience, applied spiritual healing, and acted as a guide to the percipient, who was sent on a voyage into the Otherworld – into other states of Being. I was lucky enough to spend six months or more at Olivia’s home, Huntington Castle, and during this time she sent me on many voyages into the Otherworld, and taught me how to send others on such voyages too. Helped by an initial session of spiritual healing and an opening ceremony that created a strong feeling of blessing and protection, I would lie for hours at a time, several evenings a week, on a couch in the old library of the castle. Olivia would then guide me on a meditation, leading me on a journey which would begin in the realm of the imagination, or creative visualisation, but which would change – at a certain moment – to become a journey through an entirely different realm: an Otherworldly land peopled by other intelligences.

Sometimes we seemed to travel into the past to converse with beings from other times or to enter past lives. Other times we seemed to travel into the future, and to other levels of Reality hard to describe in words. Once I was taken to meet a Being who was a fire elemental, deva or salamander: he rose out of an ancient temple-tomb and was vast – maybe a hundred feet high. He was made of shining gold and red fire-light, which shimmered and radiated. We communicated, but not with words, and I can understand fully why not many people write about these experiences of communication with beings who, like this nature-spirit, have such a different consciousness to humans. It would make it even harder to believe in faeries, if we had to accept that they had somehow learned human languages. This experience convinced me that there are indeed beings that we call by such names as elementals, elves, and fairies. And it showed me that we can communicate with them, as long as we let go of our need to use external conversation as our medium. For years afterwards, though, I was entranced by the thought that such beings existed, and it took a while to come to the realisation expressed so clearly by Vivienne Manouge, when she says: ‘We humans tend to think of ourselves as great lumps of materiality, slowwitted, dull-sensed, unmagical, and powerless, at least compared with faeries and elementals and their ilk. In fact, we are every bit as magical as they are, if only we could wake up to it.’* In some exciting, and hardly comprehensible way, it seems that we as humans are destined to work together with such beings – and the first stage in this process requires us to recognise that they actually exist, and that we can communicate with them. To do this, we must use the web of life itself. We must learn to trust the fact that in some amazing, and as yet inexplicable way the natural world of trees, plants, flowers and crystals are able to transmit messages, signals, and even the faeries themselves:

‘Eventually she could reach any individual flower in the biome reasonably rapidly from any other flower anywhere on Earth, scrolling through till she found the location you wanted. Since distance is no object, what about other planets? Theoretically, she could locate, scroll her way through to, and emerge from, any flower on any plant anywhere in the universe as easily as you can now make a phone call, except it’s not just your voice you would transmit, it’s yourself.’*

Any doubt of mine that such a web existed was removed for me one day in Holland. I was leading a workshop on the tree-lore of the Druids, and we were about to enter a forest to commune with the trees, when a woman collapsed in tears. She explained that it was her granddaughter’s birthday, but that she had become estranged from her daughter, who would not let her communicate with her grandchild. This caused her immense pain, and it had suddenly overwhelmed her. I talked to her about the idea of the web of life, and about the way Druids and indigenous peoples believe that we can use trees as telephones to talk to each other at great distances. ‘It seems crazy,’ I told her, ‘but try it! See if you can send a message to your granddaughter through a tree.’ We then fanned out into the forest – each of us picking a tree which seemed right for us, to perform our meditative exercise. An hour later we gathered together to compare notes.

The grandmother began crying again. But this time she was crying for joy. She explained that she hadn’t been able to find a tree that really felt right, so picked instead a strong, handsome looking tree to lean against. As she began the exercise she seemed to feel the tree saying ‘It’s not me you need’ and then she started to sense a nearby tree communicating with her, saying: ‘Come here. Sit by me. I can help you.’ Her rational mind thought this absurd, and the tree itself was unattractive to her – small and scrawny. But in the end the call was so insistent, she moved, and began the exercise again with this new tree. She entered into a feeling of deep communion with the tree – somehow she knew she was meant to be with it. She then sent a message to her granddaughter: ‘Happy Birthday! I love you!’ In a while, she sensed the tree telling her that it had a gift for her: ‘Open your eyes and look down’ it said. She did so, and found herself looking at what she thought was a bright red autumn leaf. She stretched out her hand to accept the gift, only to find that it was a red balloon – with HAPPY BIRTHDAY printed on it. I don’t know whether she posted the balloon to her granddaughter or whether she kept it, to hand it to her one day while telling her the story of how she found it.

Truly the world is far more miraculous than we can understand, and such experiences show that we can indeed communicate with and through the natural world. In the end, the deciding factor becomes belief: as the poet Aidan Dun says ‘Nothing here is real without belief’. The psychologist Wayne Dyer echoes this when he says ‘You’ll see it when you believe it’, summarising decades of research by psychologists that show the primacy of conceptions, beliefs, in the perceptual process. Maybe to see fairies we have to believe in them first.

Philip Carr-Gomm Edited by Antonella Vicini * Quotes from Entering Faerie by Vivianne Manouge.

WITNESSING The Shamanic Journey Yurii Ostafiichuk I am pleased to introduce Yurii's experience in THE BADGER, his fresh way of living his journey into shamanic tradition is a great gift to us all. This article is a shorter version of his school dissertation, an unusual topic indeed. I have chosen to discuss a topic that I feel is absent from schools: spirituality. I would like to share with you the experience I have lived myself, the moment that has deeply changed me in a few short months and has allowed me to face my fears and make very important decision for my life. Shamanism has given me the tool to grow, to train my willpower and live my life with determination. I don't want to consider my experience as an absolute truth, there are many paths and each one of us can find his/her own. I only want to share how I face mine, I hope I cam show there is another way to live our daily existance, a more relaxed, happy and complete path. “Only as a warrior can one withstand the path of knowledge. A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge, and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges.” “The aim is to balance the terror of being alive with the wonder of being alive.” Carlos Castaneda

What can shamanistic tribal cultures give to our global society? The answer is a new, wider form of consciousness that can lead us back to our integrity, the sense of wholeness that cannot survive in separation. When human beings are separated from the forces of Nature, they lose their natural contact with their source of energy, since they cannot nurture themselves from the cosmos, they become dependant and start feeding off other people's energy using manipulation. In such a context the main sensations are depression, addictions, powerlessness, excessive neediness. The shamans have given us knowledge of how to connect to the energy flowing in the universe, how to bring it inside ourselves, how to transform it in love and personal power. This reborn Shamanism, in its different forms, shows us one common matrix: re-establishing a relationship/connection of peace and harmony between human beings and the entire universe. The shamanic experience is hunting for your soul, the integration of all the previously refused parts. This is a path that pushes us to doubt everything, including ourselves: it forces us to transform our ego and destroy the sense of personal importance. Shamanism teaches us to take full responsability of our being here, of listening to the silence and facing our fear of emptiness. If we really want to change something, we must start by changing ourselves and the .... suicide apparatus we have all cooperated in bulding.

Shamanic Journey, my experience Some time ago, I had the chance to participate in a workshop led by an Andinian/Andes shaman. I had never heard about this path, the few information I had came from internet, old western movies and my imagination. I was not sure, I almost didn't go, but my curiosity and the desire to discover a different world from the one I knew pushed me to make my final decision. The workshop lasted 3 days, we talked about the history of Andes shamanism and its carachteristics. On the last day, the shaman (who doesn't like to be called such, but I have no other word to define him) decided to complete our work with a healing teachnique that belongs to all the traditions in the world: the shamanic journey. In the shamanic vision of the world, human beings live on the earth in the middle world, between a lower and a higher world, sometimes these worlds are associated with the underground and the sky.

These three worlds are connected by a vertical axis, the axis mundi, it is also sometimes called the tree of the world/ tree of life. Towards the higher part and the lower part this axis goes through some "holes" in the cosmic vault, these openings can lead to the lower or upper world, through these passages the shaman can go from one level of existance to the next and return as well. For a person who "travels for the first time" there are 2 important tasks to perform: the first one is to find and establish a connection with his/her power animal that will be with us for the rest of our life, it will protect us and helps us overcome the obstacles along the way. The second task is to establish a solid connection with the tree of life that will act as a link among the worlds. During the shamanic journey the shaman drums or uses any other shamanic tool (like a rattle). This is a repetitive and constant sound that make us enter into a trance state, where we can use our imagination or simply letting go, thus allowing us to travel. What people see during these journeys is very subjective, since perceptions change widely among people.

What follows is my own journey:

After a brief explanation I was laying down on the floor, with my eyes covered, so that light would not disturb me. At the beginning the sound of the drum bothered me, but after a few minutes I got used to it and the chant of the drum fascinated me. At first I tried to imagine the tree of life and the landscape around it. I spent some minutes to focus on the tree alone, trying to perceive something with my senses. Eventually some animals appeared, at that point I started to ask myself: "Am I controlling my imagination, or is it the other way round?". At that point I was very scared, so I moved one hand, just to make sure I was still in control. I didn't have any trouble doing this, I had the clear perception that my mind was detached from the body, but I was still in control and I was aware I could open my eyes at any time thus ending my journey, if anything went wrong. This awareness defeated any lingering fear, so that I could dedicate myself entirely to the images coming to me. I concentrated my attention on the animals I saw near the tree: there were a deer, a rabbit, some horses far away, but none of them felt right as my totem animal. So I followed the shaman's suggestion to continue my journey looking for an opening in order to go into the lower world. Walking around the gigantic tree, I noticed what looked like a small cave near its roots, so I decided to enter it. The cave was very long and it seemed to me that I had been walking for at least half an hour. Eventually I reached an opening and, once I was outside, with my great surprise I found a sunny, green world full of trees and animals, not the dark place I had feared. I kept walking, after a few meters, a magnificent wolf with silvery fur came close to me. After just one look, I knew he was my totem animal. I asked him to become my power animal, the wolf nodded and bent down, so that I could ride him. I didn't hesitate, it felt as if I had found a part of myself, strong and full of energy. The wolf started to run with such a jump, that I believe could be felt in the physical world.

The landscape kept changing, we went from a pine grove, to the Sahara desert, from the misty shores of Scotland to the Grand Canyon, to the tropical jungle. The journey was full of sensations: I felt hot and cold, according to where we were; the wind caressed my face, in my hands I had the clear feeling of the wolf fur I was tightly holding onto, to avoid falling. I felt only happiness. Then we were in front of a house I had never seen before. I was really surprised when I saw my father's face at the window. I used to hate him, since he had made me suffer so much. My father noticed me and our eyes met. My heart was beating really fast and anger filled my thoughts. As soon as I was about to forget I was on my "Journey", the wolf growled, reminding me where I was and what I was doing, then he came closer and we became one thing: man/animal. We turned towards the window and, with a very long jump, we clawed my father's chest. I don't think I had ever felt such strong sensations in all my life, yet I noticed at the same time how my anger towards my father was less and less. After looking at my father's body for a while, I understood I had become entirely indifferent to him. A moment later the drum changed rythm, letting me know it was time to return. After the shaman stopped drumming I started crying, not in pain, but for my new freedom. A few weeks after my journey, I decided to look for my father on an Ukranian social network, since then we have started to write to each other. Obviously we have not recuperated the relationship as father and son, but certainly the experiences during my journey have given us another chance.

For the shamans the "spirit world" is the place where both disease and healing come from. It is important to walk in these regions in order to eradicate the roots of disease, as well as activate the forces of healing, change and growth. My main ambition in life is starting my maritime carreer. It is a well known fact that people on board may have big difficulties in facing a lonely and psycologically heavy life, living far away from families and friends. I am not afraid, since I am conviced I will be able to overcome any issue with shamanism, as I have done so far. It doesn't matter to me if not all these practices can be validated scientifically, since they work for me.

Yurii Ostafiichuk Edited and Translated by Antonella Vicini (You can find a video on Shamanic Journey by Sandra Ingerman at this link http://www.sandraingerman.com/ )


Antonella Vicini http://badgermedicinespirit.wix.com/tirthayatra Writer and editor of THE BADGER, author of Talking with Gods, Sages, Fairies.... (a novel published in 2014). Steeped in classical and indological studies, I have spent all my life learning from people as well as from the ancient texts that keep revealing their immortal, thus contemporary teachings. A teacher at heart, be it in school or workshops, I am happy when I can share new visions and face new challenges. I am a professional rebirther and trainer (since 1987), Reiki master since 1991, stress management and leadership trainer, writer and visionary. I am deeply grateful to all my teachers and elders. Badger Medicine Spirit

Adrian Rooke I am a person centered therapist specializing in addiction and the consequences to family, I counsel the bereaved, and supervise other counselors. I am also a massage therapist and Reiki practitioner. I am a member of the spiritual companions and practice as a celebrant conducting Handfastings and funerals. I have been a member of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids for over 20 years, where I have served as the press officer for 12 years, I have also been a Tutor for many years . I also have an interest in Wicca.

Composer, pianist, Italian teacher. Andrea "EXO" Garella began studying piano at 9 years old under the guidance of Walter Ferrato who shared with him the art of improvisation and composition. Between 16 and 20 he reaped the fruits of his studies with long concert tours. In everyday life he works in education and training in the field of safety. He is also a licensed designer for mechanical and thermotechnical projects. He has always been interested in occultism and esoterism. He is about to publish a book where he will delve into these studies connecting such Masters as H.P. Blavatsky, Wolfgang Pauli, C.G. Jung, A. Einstein, Jeremy Narby, C. Castaneda,Rick Strassman, Jean Dubuis and more. Here you can find some of his musical pieces: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FmaMRyjF6o https://www.youtube.com/watch

Daniele Sampalmieri born in Ancona, Italy. After his technical studies, he spent several years studying Yoga, Integrative Rebirthing, Meditation, Shamanism, Ayurveda, Nutrition and Cooking. He has lived in many countries because of his work in the food and beverage field. His home is in Kenya, he has been exposed to many cultures and even had the chance of living with some tribes. In the last 2 years he has devoted his attention to the Alkaline nutrition and Vegan cooking.

Fredric Lehrman http://www.nomaduniversity.com/ is one of the original “Wealth Psychologists” who looked deeply into the subconscious habit patterns that may either support or thwart personal financial success. He began teaching these insights in the early 1970’s, and his seminars, articles, and coaching have been the launch point for many of today’s best known experts and authors ever since. Fredric’s personal career has included intensive study with master teachers in many disciplines, and professional success in music, psychology, martial arts, photography, and global entrepreneurship, networking and innovation. He founded Nomad University in 1974 as a way to expand the concept of education as a life-long individual path of self-directed learning. The ideas he articulated then are now starting to appear in new schools all around the internet-connected world of the 21st century.

Gabriella Campioni www.deaguerriera.it is a counselor with 30 years experience in symbology, mythology, psychosomatic approaches and healing techniques. Her favorite fields are the study of the ancient civilization of the Goddess and the functioning of our minds. She gives classes and public lectures, she is also a volunteer at Humaniter, Adult University Foundation in Milan. She translates and writes articles and books, her latest one is La Dea Guerriera (The Warrior Goddess), a symbol of the union of male and female energies, a much needed synthesis of tradition and innovation.

Giorgio Milanetti Giorgio Milanetti is professor of Hindi language and literature in the 'Italian Institute of Oriental Studies' (IISO), at the Sapienza University in Rome. He has published numerous books and articles on Bhakti, Indian poetry, literature and history. He has won prizes for his translations into Italian of Hindi poems, he works closely with several European and Indian universities on didactic projects, as well as many scientific journals. He is a keen mountaineer, curious about the world and its many traditions. He also wrote and directed a movie (“Agnes” with Valeria Bruni Tedeschi).

Giosie Colagrossi after some years in England and Germany, she discovered India, where she lived and worked for 6 years. In 1988 she became a Yoga teacher in India with the Master Svamiji Ravi Shankar, there she taught in various schools and universities such as Sholapur - Bangalore – Gulbarga – Trivandrum – Simla –New Dehli -Calcutta – Puna. Upon her return in Italy, she continued her studies with a degree in naturopathy and iridology (2003 Rudy Lanza Free University). She currently lives and works in the province of Viterbo, so rich in natural and artistic beauty.

Hagal Renato Mancini http://www.keltoiradio.org/ http://www.sacrobosco.org/ is a physiotherapist with a long experience in the study and care of the body. He has worked with doctors and institutions to develop massage original techniques, as well as pursuing his spiritual path that lead him around the world back to his roots in Celtic culture. He is the founder of a publishing house and KeltoiRadio, he is also the leader of the Italian Druidic Order, closely connected to the OBOD in Britain.

Judith Hayes has both her undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Latin and has taught for her entire career at the secondary level, and briefly at university, in the United States. She also has taught Latin for two years in Viterbo, Italy as faculty of the School Year Abroad program. She made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2013 and last summer joined an archaeological excavation in the Galilee region of Israel.

Laura Bottagisio www.laurabottagisio.com is an astrologer and seeker. She started studying astrology at the beginnings of the 80's with Lisa Morpurgo, she later worked with the Cosmos Institute of Milan, where she learnt about the theory and practice of Vibrational Waters. She has attended seminars with gerard Athias and Jp Brebion on new medicine and bio analogy. She shares her discoveries in her blog. She also creates tableaux with recycled materials, in this way she creates images out of emotions and inner worlds.

Lida Lodi Perry https://www.facebook.com/lidaperry?ref=profile Lida was born in the North East of Italy (Vicenza) after graduating from a teacher Institute she came to the USA, where she continued her education at the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Psychology and later a Master in Social Work. She worked for many years at a drug clinic in the local hospital. In 1984 she went back to Italy to work with abused children as a director of a residential facility. She moved on to work as a supervisor and Psychologist at Milan Cancer Institute where she is still consulting, while having a successful private practice as psychotherapist. She was also cofounder of the Rebirthing Institute with Antonella Vicini, she became a Reiki Master in 1992, she is still active with the local and international Reiki community.

Luis.M.Vasconcelos https://500px.com/lmvasconcelos I was born for Life in 1952, and in 1974 I was born for Photography, when my country, Portugal, was born for Democracy. I began my career as a professional photographer and photojournalist, in April 25, 1974, when our democratic revolution took place after 40 years of a dark fascist regim. Freedom was born for us, and my photographic dream was born for me. Since then I have been working as a professional photographer and photojournalist. In 2004, I also followed the call for a deepest journey into my personal discovery and growth, learning meditation and Reiki. I got the degree of Reiki Master in 2006, in the traditional Reiki Usui System. Now, after 40 years of work, Ienjoy my (active) retirement, I am in love with Life !

Milena Screm http://www.insightformazione.it/ Supervisor Counselor & BreathWorker. Founder and president of INSIGHT School of BreathWork Counseling, in Milan (Italy) Author of fourteen books in psychology, published in Italy, France and Spain, among which: “BreathWork” (1998), “Autogenic Training” (1989,2012), “Rebirthing & Water” (1994), “The history of Rebirthing” ( 1992 ), “Rebirthing, breath for renewal”, this was the first book published in Italy on rebirthing (1989, 1993, 2011).

Nilsa Marlen Téllez Morales is studying for her Ph.D. in Political Science at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Mexico. She received her Master’s degree in Communications and her Bachelor in Journalism and Media Studies from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. Her research interests lie in political communication and media effects. In her spare time, Nilsa enjoys reading and going to the movies.

Paolo Benda www.laradionica.it www.paolobenda.it Born in Perugia in 1953, he has experiences in electronics, home automation, informatics, he is webmaster, web designer, researcher, writer and publicist. He is an independent researcher with specific interests and specialization in radionics, biology, biotechnology. He is the inventor and builder of machinery for radionics applied to non conventional medicine.

Philip Carr Gomm http://www.philipcarr-gomm.com/ Philip lives in the wide open landscape of the South Downs in Sussex, England, with his wife Stephanie. In his teens, he began studying Druidry as a spiritual path with Ross Nichols, the founder of The Order of Bards Ovates and Druids. Later he took a degree in psychology from University College London, and trained in psychotherapy for adults at The Institute of Psychosynthesis, and in play therapy for children with Dr Rachel Pinney. He also trained in Montessori education with the London Montessori Centre, and founded the Lewes Montessori School. In 1988 Philip was asked to lead The Order of Bards Ovates and Druids, and he combines this role in the Order with writing and giving talks and workshops.

Raffaella Vicini Born a double Scorpio, she has a degree in Law and has been working as lawyer for about 20 years. Her rational side has lead her to the law, while the deep, profound and mysterious side of her soul has guided her towards a path of personal growth (Rebirthing, Reiki, Yoga and other techniques). She loves to travel and learn about different cultures, she has met people of all colours, creeds, languages, learning and sharing their experiences.

Renato Tittarelli www.risoessenza.it www.renatotittarelli.it is a spiritual seeker and holistic practitioner. He has been teaching and sharing about non conventional medicines for the last 30 years: integral yoga, shiatsu, meditation, spiritual healing, numerology, alchemy, naturopathy, aromatherapy and massage. From 2000 has started to divulge more of his work in Italy and abroad working on the scientific as well as alchemical and hermetical aspects. He is the founder of SOAM (School of Holistic Aromatherapy and Massage), Didactic director or the Professional School of Aromatherapy in Livorno.

Samantha Fumagalli and Flavio Gandini http://www.vega2000.it/ http://www.dermoriflessologia.it have been researching for over 20 years in the field of psyco-alchemy. They are the creators of DermoReflexology and DermoAlchemy. In 2000 they founded the Association Vega for the study and publication of the new discoveries. Their professional course in DermoReflexology has been acknowledged by ASI/CON since 2012 as part of the natural and holistic arts.

Yurii Ostafiichuk born in Ukraine in an Orthodox family, since early on I was looking for real spirituality and connection to the divine. At 16 I moved to Italy with my mother and my brother, here I have met people who have opened the path to my personal and spiritual growth. I am a Reiki practitioner, I also follow Andean Shamanism, especially shamanic journeying that has given me so many gifts.

Fabio Segato Executive chef at Costa crociere, he has an international experience in Micheline stars restaurants, as well as tutors for the new on board chefs. He has a bakery and catering service near Turin.

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THANK YOU! Thank you for reading our magazine, our tribe of committed Badgers is growing steadily, as I am writing this piece we have reached 50.000 contacts! Thank you! I want to thank the new and old authors who have added their voices and experiences to this great new adventure, so that we can be better heard and received.

Our next issue will be online in October 2016. If you want to keep in touch with THE BADGER, please send your questions, comments and creative contributions to

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RENATO TITTARELLI Rome October 2016 This 2 plus 3 year course will give you the complete methodology, the theory and practice of aromatherapy massage, as well as the use of essential oils. The course will start in October 2016, two preparatory workshops will be held in May and September, please contact us for details. At the end of the course the succesful participants will become legally recognized pratictioners in Aromatherapy.


www.risoessenza.it www.renatotittarelli.it info@risoessenza.it


Every Breath You Take The T’ai Chi Factors & Their Application in Everyday Life with Fredric Lehrman Senior Student of Master Cheng Man-Ch’ing

Mastery of the ancient Chinese practice of T’ai Chi is a life-long and life lengthening study. Yet one can benefit immediately from even a single introduction to the principles behind this ancient practice. Who should take this class? Any adult. There is no upper age limit. Even if you have a physical challenge, you can always use these practical insights. What should I wear? This is not a strenuous class; wear what is relaxed and comfortable. Flat shoes are fine. Beginners through advanced are welcome.

You can learn these “T’ai ChiFactors” and make them part of your daily life. If you blend them into your normal activities, you will become progressively more relaxed and more aware. As stress unwinds, your energy will increase; you will see improvement in your health, your mood, and your productivity.

Contact Fredric Lehrman directly if you are interested in sponsoring an event in your area.

Quilting is the art of creating very colorful quilts, using small pieces of fabrics stitched together preferably by hand, in different colorful and amazing patterns. My Quilts are stitched and quilted by hand to assure a more precise assembly and even thickness. It takes time to create a quilt: for a single bed at least 3 months are needed. A quilt can be a very precious gift for a wedding, a special occasion, or for a significant person. Visit my Facebook Page


Many of my quilts can be reproduced but not copied.

See you for our next issue of


October 2016

Profile for Antonella Vicini

THE BADGER June 2016  

THE BADGER June 2016 THE BADGER Year 2 Volume 3 June 2016. We believe that the arts in all their beauty, science for everyday life, spiritu...

THE BADGER June 2016  

THE BADGER June 2016 THE BADGER Year 2 Volume 3 June 2016. We believe that the arts in all their beauty, science for everyday life, spiritu...