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Jewish Magic from Greece to Galicia

Join My Jewish Learning to learn about, compare, and contrast Jewish magical traditions among Ashkenazi and Ottoman Sephardi Jews, including amulets, magical creatures, and secret names.

This video joins Dr. Devin E. Naar, the Isaac Alhadeff Professor in Sephardic Studies at the University of Washington, and Olivia Devorah Tucker, Talmudist, demonologist, and Program Coordinator at SVAR in revealing some of the secrets of avoiding the evil eye:

 


Word of the Day - Pythoness

PythonessI am always trying to improve my new age vocabulary and just found a new word - Pythoness!

A Pythoness is a woman who practices divination, a female soothsayer or conjuror of spirits. The word comes from the late 14c., phitonesse, Phitonissa, "woman with the power of soothsaying," from Old French phitonise (13c.) and Medieval Latin phitonissa, from Late Latin pythonissa, used in Vulgate of the Witch of Endor (I Samuel xxviii. 7), and often treated as her proper name. It is the female version of of pytho "familiar spirit;" which ultimately is connected with the title of the prophetess of the Delphic Oracle, Greek pythia hiereia, from Pythios, an epithet of Apollo, from Pythō, an older name of the region of Delphi (see python). 


How to Bring Good Luck into Your Home

IMG_0298_3Maybe you’re the type of person who knocks on wood to stop yourself from jinxing. Or you keep an amethyst crystal on your nightstand in hopes of absorbing anxiety to help you nod off. In one way or another, these behaviors are linked to capturing positive energy.

"Superstitions give one a sense of control in a complex, apparently impersonal, and largely unpredictable world," says Phillips Stevens, Ph.D., professor of Anthropology Emeritus, State University of New York at Buffalo and author of forthcoming book Rethinking the Anthropology of Magic and Witchcraft (Routledge). The idea that an action or an object can prevent something bad from happening is a type of magical thinking. When it comes to the home, certain cultural do's and don'ts are tied to the idea of universal order—balance and harmony, the yin and the yang. The inside of a home should be peaceful and comfortable, to counteract the potentially risky and unpredictable outside world. As a result, each culture has created rituals, ways that capture the transition and transformation from outside to inside.

Take the ubiquitous superstition: opening an umbrella inside. Everyone knows it’s bad luck, right? But why? Stevens explains that, since an umbrella is an object related to bad weather, bringing it inside is akin to inviting the storm in. Better leave it in the foyer, closed, until it's needed.

In addition to magic superstitions, there are also sign superstitions that believers interpret as messages from the universe, such as seeing a black cat cross one’s path. "Some prefer the term 'folk beliefs', as superstitions can be a pejorative term," says Tok Thompson, PhD, professor of anthropology and communications at University of Southern California in Los Angeles and author of Posthuman Folklore. "Some superstitions are later proven by science to be true, and then are no longer superstitions but scientific belief. Likewise, science can change its mind, and what is scientific belief at one point can become superstitious belief later. In general, superstitions are beliefs about the world, and about what causes what, that are not approved by science."

One of the reasons people still believe in superstitions today is habit and routine. Think of it this way, if you always get up on the same side of the bed and get coffee but one day you crawl out on the opposite side and skip your coffee, your day might feel a bit off. Or if your favorite team wins the playoffs when you're wearing a particular t-shirt, you might feel inclined to wear it again the next time they play. "Persistent behaviors give you a sense of control and that’s terrifically important when processing the world at large," Stevens continues. That's why if you do something out of turn and the day isn’t great, it can be attributed to the anomaly, especially one that is dubbed a taboo. "Superstitions are a part of folklore, and have been around for a long, long time. Way longer than writing," Thompson continues. "But they change, die out, and new ones emerge."

The bottom line in our view: Better safe than sorry! To keep your household running smoothly, read on for 11 things to try so that your house is full of good juju.

Make the most of mirrors

Keep hats off the bed

Bring in some horns

Give Ghosts something to read

Arrange flowers in odd numbers

Never put shoes on a table

Powerfully position your bed

Save the spiders

Sweep strategically

Don't dine in the dark

Clean the commode

 

https://www.housebeautiful.com/design-inspiration/home-makeovers/g44266174/11-ways-to-bring-good-luck-into-your-home/?fbclid=IwAR1XRDDINFFkhZUFbP9om5ORRuaSOTmzGE0WFIfnpIWik9bjgd7AhbLaR6c_aem_th_AV-jWwLCg-ELK2UGfVh-e1jkvNvk-Krrd7xgx9MUC1LIrB35aL0YhC2pHeaSX1Yt8zA&mibextid=Zxz2cZ

 


Why Connecticut is Exonerating Witches

Little-known victims of witch trials may finally receive justice

The Economist HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT

In 1642 colonial Connecticut adopted a list of 12 capital crimes, which included murder, kidnapping, treason—and witchcraft. Five years later Alse Young was the first person recorded in colonial America to be executed for the crime of witchcraft. On May 26th 1647 she was hanged on the grounds of the Hartford meeting house, now the site of Old State House. Ten other people were executed for witchcraft in Connecticut and more than 30 people were indicted for it between 1647 and 1697. More than 375 years after Young was executed, her absolution may be nigh.

Last month a judiciary committee of the state legislature agreed to consider a resolution that would exonerate those accused of witchcraft in Connecticut. At a hearing on March 1st William Schloat, a nine-year-old, testified that he wished he had a time machine so he could help the accused. John Kissel, a Republican state senator, wondered about the state’s role in any exoneration, since the trials took place before the United States existed, when Connecticut was a colony: “Once you go down that path, where does it end?” Luther Weeks, a descendant of a deacon who may have been involved in the prosecutions, countered that the state had no issue celebrating the positive aspects of colonial history; it needed to acknowledge the dark side, too.

Many accused of witchcraft were vulnerable. Unmarried pregnant woman were frequent targets. Young, a new arrival, may have been targeted because some thought she caused an outbreak of influenza. Beth Caruso, co-founder of the Connecticut Witch Trial Exoneration Project, made up of amateur historians and descendants, says her husband’s ancestor was found guilty of bewitching a gun that had accidentally killed someone three years earlier, even though she was not there. Some may have been coerced into confessing. Many met their end at the gallows. Others faced the ducking test: suspected witches were dropped into water; the innocent sank and the guilty floated.

Sarah Jack, co-host of “Thou Shalt Not Suffer”, a witch-trial podcast, discovered three years ago that she was a descendant of Winifred Benham, the last person accused of witchcraft in Connecticut. “I was confused,” she says. “I had no idea there were more witch trials in New England outside of Salem.” Schoolchildren learn about the witch trials that took place in neighbouring Massachusetts. Arthur Miller, a playwright, used the trials of 1692 as an allegory of the anti-Communist panic. Salem, the heart of the hysteria, has embraced its history and become a kitschy, witchy tourist spot, with plenty of wands for sale.

Massachusetts has made several efforts to atone. In 1702 the General Court of Massachusetts declared the trials unlawful. A decade later the state overturned the convictions. In 1957 and 2001 more alleged witches were exonerated. Thanks to the efforts of children working on a history project, the last accused witch in Massachusetts was cleared of wrongdoing last summer. Also last year Nicola Sturgeon, then Scotland’s first minister, issued a posthumous apology to the thousands of people persecuted as witches in Scotland.

But in Connecticut efforts have been successful only on the local level. The town council in Windsor, where Young lived, exonerated her in 2017. Proponents of the bill hope a history trail remembering those accused would be meaningful. Some say lawmakers have more pressing matters to deal with than exonerating those dead for nearly four centuries. Jane Garibay, who introduced the bill in the state’s House of Representatives, says exoneration has been a long time coming, and that any injustice is worth putting right. “It was a wrong,” she says. The bill is “saying we’re sorry”.


The Dos and Don'ts of Psychic Reading Preparation

Learn the essential dos and don'ts of psychic reading preparation to maximize your chances of having a fruitful conversation that yields useful insights.

 

The Do's and Don'ts of How to Prepare for a Psychic Reading

 

By Emily Hicks, Guest Columnist

 

Preparation for a psychic reading can be a thrilling and enlightening adventure in and of itself. Your psychic reading will be more fruitful if you go into it with the right state of mind, the right expectations, and an idea of psychic etiquette.And it is even more important when going for an online psychic reading session.

 

Remember, things may look a bit tricky for online psychic readings because the setting is not always that comfortable. However, it is not always true for every online psychic website, especially like https://asknebula.com/, where you can use different modes of communication and even try free psychic chat to get a feel for the whole process.

 

Nevertheless, it makes great sense to learn a bit about some dos and don'ts of psychic reading before going for your appointment.    

Do's of Psychic Reading Online

 

Before you go for your session, whether it involves tarot psychic reading or psychic mediums, here is what you should do.

 

Do Give Some Thought to Your Goals

 

Take your time and carefully consider your goals for making the appointment before proceeding. Consider the questions you have and the areas of your life where you feel most confused. Knowing what you hope to gain from your reading will help you and your psychic connect more successfully.

Do Find a Reliable Psychic

 

Choose the free psychics who focuses on your questions, whether they have to do with love, work, enlightenment, or the afterlife. Do your homework on the many types of psychic readings available so you can select one that fits your personal preferences and needs.

Do Create a Comfortable Space

 

Setting up a distraction-free space is essential, as it directly affects how receptive you are during your psychic reading. If you are taking part in a remote reading, you should ensure your internet connection is stable and eliminate any distractions like phone alerts or ambient noise.

Do Come with an Open Mind

 

Be prepared to have your previous thoughts and desires challenged throughout your psychic reading; so, it is important to keep an open mind. Remember that psychics communicate with the spiritual world, thus their responses may not always make sense. Have faith in the procedure and consider the advice you may receive.

Do Ask Targeted Questions

 

Knowing the questions to ask a psychic matters a lot. Be sure to ask direct, open-ended questions that encourage precise responses to get the most out of your reading.

 

Try rephrasing your query as "What can I do to attract a loving relationship?" as an alternative to "Will I find love soon?" Asking your psychic these types of questions can help them provide you with useful advice.

 

Don'ts of Psychic Reading Online

 

Just like knowing what you should do, it is equally important to learn what to avoid before and during your psychic reading session.

Do Not Expect Instant Responses or Resolutions

 

It is important to keep in mind that psychic readings are meant to be a guide, not a magic bullet. It is unrealistic to expect the psychic to solve your problems the minute you sit down for a session.

 

Instead, take a growth-oriented stance. It means you should welcome new information and use it as a springboard for further development. In order to have a more fruitful psychic encounter, it is important to listen carefully to the advice given rather than looking for quick fixes.

Do not Be Closed Minded and Dismissive

 

You will not get anything from your reading unless you go into it with an open mind. Your ability to communicate with the psychic will be hindered if you have a dismissive or closed attitude.

 

 It is vital that if the information you get contradicts your prior views, you accept it with an open mind and do your research.

Don't Be Shy to Ask for Clarification

 

If you do not understand anything in a psychic's reading or need further explanation, do not be afraid to ask questions.

 

It is completely fine if something does not make sense or seems to be missing. Do not end your session feeling more confused.  A genuine psychic will go into greater depth with you to make sure you thoroughly understand their readings. So, ask for clarification whenever you want.

Do Not Focus on Timeframes Only

 

While it is natural to want to know more about a given time period, doing so obsessively can cause you to miss out on the bigger picture.

 

You should keep in mind that psychics may not always be able to provide you with accurate dates and times because in the spiritual realm, time is a more complex concept. Put your attention where it needs to be: on the psychic's actual messages, insights, and recommendations.  

 

Conclusion

 

The truth is, deciding what you want out of a psychic reading will not magically make all your problems disappear. More crucial is understanding what you should and should not do before and throughout your reading. Knowing what to do and avoid can go a long way to making your session as productive and enjoyable as possible.


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