A Wild Cat May Be A Bad Omen

According to Atlas Obscura, there are quite a few superstitions concerning animals.

The animal world is full of harbingers of doom—at least, according to superstitions. From the Tower of London’s ravens (whose departure would signal the fall of an entire nation) to the average black cat crossing your unlucky path, plenty of critters warn of woe. In Ominous Animals, we explore the lore—and the science—behind these finned, furry, and feathered messengers of impending calamity.

A tiny spotted feline, often smaller than the average house cat, with a bushy tail and big eyes, moves through temperate forest and farmland in southern Chile. Despite its adorable appearance, a mere glimpse of the animal—the kodkod—may cause a farmer to fear for their livelihood, or even their life. According to some Indigenous Mapuche stories in Chile, seeing the pocket-sized predator could spell famine, disease, or death. The kodkod is notorious for raiding chicken coops.

According to a 2013 paper in the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, superstitions about the kodkod are common in rural areas. Interviews with local students and Mapuche community members in southern Chile revealed that some people believed the cat had supernatural abilities, such as being impervious to bullets, or ripping off the heads of chickens to drink their blood—an exaggeration likely rooted in the tiny feline’s preference for eating only the neck and head of its poultry prey.

But the kodkod offers benefits as well: The tiny cats hunt the rodents that carry hantaviruses, which can cause potentially fatal infections in humans. If conservation campaigns are successful, the cat may one day be known as the cutest pest controller, rather than an omen of catastrophe.


Centre for Psychological Astrology Webinars are Back

I just received this announcement from the Centre for Psychological Astrology, based in London.They just announced that their webinars are back so no matter where you live, you can participate:

CPA/MISPA Autumn 2023 Webinars
Our Autumn 2023 webinars start on 29th October - take a look at the full details and book now at https://cpalondon.com/book/webinars/.
Our webinars are real-time, online seminars in psychological astrology. You are able to interact with the tutor and other students as the session happens via a chat box. Experience a CPA/MISPA seminar live from anywhere in the world through your computer browser or app. If you can't make it live you can still book and receive four weeks access to the recording of the event afterwards.

Safron Rossi
Soul Making and the Sky Within: James Hillman and the Archetypal Psyche
Sunday 29th Oct 2023 - 15.30-18.00 GMT

James Hillman’s writings provide an invaluable foundation for understanding the bridge between psychology and astrology. His theoretical frame and mythopoetic perspective grounds us in the archetypal psyche, offering rich roots for our astrological art. In this webinar we will explore the fertile possibilities by introducing the four movements--personifying, psychologizing, pathologizing, dehumanizing--of Hillman’s groundbreaking opus Re-Visioning Psychology (1974) and their significance to an archetypal and psychological astrology. In this webinar we will wed ideas to experience and engage in contemplative writing exercises so to explore these soul movements in our charts and lives. 
(Parts of this talk were presented at UAC 2018 entitled “Planetary Interiority: Hillman and the Archetypal Psyche.”)

Shawn Nygaard
Another Look at Chiron & the Archetypal Wound
Sunday 5th Nov 2022 - 15.30-18.00 GMT

Late in his life, Carl Jung noted that, “The decisive question for man is: Is he related to something infinite or not?”
From the vantage point of this question and the backdrop of the infinite, this webinar looks at the mythology and astrology of the centaur Chiron – the Wounded Healer – with fresh eyes. Chiron’s placement in our charts by sign, by house, and by aspect with other planets reveals a specific kind of wounding felt on deeply personal and individual levels. Yet, as a mythic figure, Chiron represents something archetypal in nature. His story is an archetypal story. His wound is an archetypal wound. What is the nature of this archetypal wound?
The first part of this webinar looks at the mythology of Chiron, from his role as a teacher of the Heroes and his famous wounding, to his quest to heal and his final resting place among the stars – all from an archetypal perspective. The second part uses chart examples to explore Chiron’s wound further, and to speculate on why Jung placed such importance on our relationship with the infinite.

Darby Costello
When there are two sign rulers: What to do?
Sunday 12th Nov 2023 - 15.30-18.00 GMT

Scorpio, Aquarius and Pisces are each dual-ruled signs. How do we describe the energy of planets in these signs to our clients and ourselves? We shall explore how to help ourselves and others to navigate the worlds reflected by these signs, considering the very different dimensions each sign must attend.

John Green
Pluto in Aquarius – Utopia or Dystopia?
Sunday 3rd Dec 2023 - 15.30-16.45 GMT

Much has been written recently regarding the time Pluto will spend in Aquarius some profoundly positive, some very negative. In this talk John looks into the black mirror at the very nature of Pluto and the sign Aquarius to try and unpick what we can realistically expect of its time there.

One hour talk followed by short Q&A session.

See all the full details and book at: https://cpalondon.com/book/webinars/.

Previous webinars are available to view on demand here: https://www.mercuryinternetschool.com/video/.

The Chief Exorcist of Rome

Fascinating article from Smithsonian -

GhostsBefore his death in 2016, Father Gabriele Amorth claimed to have performed over 100,000 exorcisms. Working as the official exorcist of the Vatican, he performed a service that many have never seen outside of horror films. Now, his story is the basis of such a film: The Popes Exorcist, starring Russell Crowe, which came out last week.

Born in Modena, Italy, in 1925, Amorth joined the Italian resistance during World War II. He earned a law degree and worked as a journalist before becoming a priest in 1951.

In 1986, Amorth was appointed as an assistant to Cardinal Ugo Poletti, the chief exorcist of the diocese of Rome, whom he later succeeded. He remained in the position until his death. In 1990, he wrote the book An Exorcist Tells His Story, which was translated into 30 different languages and became a bestseller. Around the same time, Amorth founded the International Association of Exorcists. The association, which still exists today, is not impressed with the new film. 

“This way of narrating Don Amorth’s experience as an exorcist, in addition to being contrary to historical reality, distorts and falsifies what is truly lived and experienced during the exorcism of truly possessed people,” says the association in a statement, per the Catholic News Agency’s Kevin J. Jones. 

Exorcism has a long history in Christianity. The practice appears in the New Testament, which depicts Jesus casting out evil spirits in the Gospel of Mark. “Jesus’ exorcisms were evidence of his authority over the devil,” Rob Haskell, a theologian specializing in the New Testament, told History.com’s Elizabeth Yuko last year. “They showed that he had spiritual power.” 

While Protestants performed exorcisms, the practice fell out of vogue around the 1600s. Today, exorcism is associated primarily with Catholicism. As recently as 2017, Pope Francis told a group of priests that they “should not hesitate” to call in exorcists when necessary. 

Exorcisms have long been a subject of fascination for Hollywood and horror fans. The Pope’s Exorcist is the latest in a long line of films pitting priests against demonic forces, the most famous of which being The Exorcist (1973). Amorth was a fan of the film: When he met with its director, William Friedkin, decades later, he explained that he was not afraid of the devil, and that, in fact, the devil feared him.

“Do you know why the Devil is afraid of me? Because I’m uglier than he is,” Amorth told Friedkin in a 2016 Vanity Fair interview. While he was known to have a surprising sense of humor, considering his line of work, Amorth believed that the work he was doing was essential. Throughout his life, he claimed to have performed tens of thousands of exorcism rituals. According to Deepa Bharath of the Associated Press (AP), Amorth has said that 98 percent of those who seek him out need a psychiatrist, not an exorcist. His focus, however, is on the 2 percent.

While some in the Catholic community are critical of The Pope’s Exorcist, one of the film’s executive producers, Edward Siebert, who is also a Jesuit priest, has maintained that his goal is to cast men like Amorth in a positive light. “It’s good to see a priest talking about prayer, forgiveness, God’s love and, on top of all that, vanquishing demons,” Siebert tells the AP. “It feels good to finally see a priest as a hero.”


Elijah Bond's Ouija Board Grave

Elijah Bond graveIn Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland, rests Elijah Bond, the man who first patented the Ouija board. He rests in peace beneath a headstone that playfully reflects that achievement. 
Atlas Obscura reports:

The concept of a Ouija board is fairly simple: ask questions into particularly haunted air, then wait to see which letters on a board your involuntary motions end up pointing to for the answer. The creepy notion of not being fully aware of where your own hands are going to point, nor why, has fascinated paranormal enthusiasts and psychologists alike for years, and it’s all thanks to one man: Elijah Bond.

Bond patented one of the world’s first commercially sold talking boards, which was trademarked as Ouija, and immediately captured people’s imaginations with his claims that it could help one speak to people from beyond the grave. One can only imagine how well the one on his own gravestone works, since it’s obviously already very close to the deceased.

However, such was not always the case. In one of the last century’s most intriguing (and perhaps intentional) ironies, the man responsible for bridging the communication gap between the living and the dead was buried in an unmarked grave, making him nearly impossible to find years later.

But in 2007, Robert Murch, a paranormal enthusiast and Ouija board collector, located the grave and Elijah Bond finally got the acclaim for his invention. Murch claims it took him 15 years to locate the precise grave in Baltimore’s Green Mount Cemetery, several of those spent working closely with the cemetery owners.

Volunteers and donation funds were pulled together to create Bond’s truly memorable headstone, which bears the traditional name, birth and death dates on one side, and a replication of a Ouija board carved into the other. The grave is now a popular destination for nostalgia fans and people interested in the supernatural. After years of resting in obscurity, Elijah Bond himself is finally being communicated with, one way or another.

Know Before You Go

Green Mount Cemetery is open from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. every day except for Sunday. Once in the cemetery, make your way toward the large building in the middle. On the north side is section P, and its located right across the street from the section P marker. The gravestone itself almost seems out of place, so its fairly easy to find once you're in the right area.


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