Editress Ginger Strivelli This year we canceled our Annual Yule gathering. Amber was in and out of the hospital, and with Ginger’s grandmother being in and out of the hospital, and Beth being sick and changing jobs, all this month it just was too chaotic. It was just too hard to get everyone well enough and available a day in the middle of the holiday season to plan it this year. From Our Book Of Shadows: On a Sunday night wearing white sit facing North First take a gold colored metal plate (copper bronze, gold plated, brass will all work) and smear black soot over it. Then with your wand draw a picture of Goddess Lakshmi on it. with her name… Prepare four cookies with sesame seed oil and sesame seed toping. Place them on the four corners of the plate. Then with a Coral or Pearl or shell rosary chant 31 rounds of the following Mantra. Om Hreem Hreem Shreem Shreem Hreem Hreem Phat Lakshmi After the chanting, sleep at this ritual site. In the night you shall hear the tinkling sound of Lakshmi’s gold. This is a sign of The Goddess Lakshmi blessing your home and family. Sacred Sites Section Submitted by Phoebe Keys Linville Gorge Wilderness
One of the most revered sites in Western North Carolina lies squarely in the middle of a triangle formed between the village of Linville Falls (just off the Blue Ridge Parkway on the edge of McDowell County), and the towns of Marion and Morganton. If you look carefully as you drive east on Interstate 40, you will see one of the landmarks that forms one ridge of the gorge: Table Rock. The gorge runs along the length of the Linville River and includes one of the most treacherous water falls in the state. A wild and unsetteled area, the Linville Gorge Wilderness area is completely protected by the US Forest Service. While a person or group may hike the many trails throughout the gorge, camping is allowed in designated spots with a permit only. There are no roads leading into the Wilderness, only along the rim on one side. The gorge has long been held as a sacred spot by every culture known to have encountered it. It is, in part because of the rugged nature of the spot and in part because of the presence of the Brown Mountain Lights. The Brown Mountain Lights are one of group of phenomena seen worldwide known as Earth Lights. They are noted to be found at the ends of fault lines marking tectonic plates in areas where there are significant deposits of quartz crystals. The Lights themselves are at best, hard to describe because they are not the same each time you see them. They can be any color, large or small, fast moving or absolutely stationary; but if you ever see them, they are one of the most impressive sites you will ever behold. Popularized by Scotty Wiseman in the 1950's, the song he wrote recounts that the lights are the spirit of a Civil War era slave searching for his master. But the legend of the Lights is much older than the Civil War. Cherokee and Catawba Indians who inhabited the area long before the arrival of European Settlers in the mid-1700's had an oral tradition that included stories of the Lights in that region. They held the area to be sacred and never lived in the gorge for any extended period of time, but rather they spent time in the gorge in initiation rites or in some form of what we now call a vision quest. Having seen these Lights on approximately a dozen different occasions, I can say that the experience is one that would cause me to make sacred the ground where such phenomena occur. As a footnote, the rangers in the gorge area say the lights are visible for some period of time almost every night throughout the year. However, the best vantage point is at Wiseman's View along the western rim of the gorge which has an elevation of about 4000 feet. This means that at that point, even in the summertime, the nighttime temperatures can be quite cool. The Wiseman's View parking lot is a short distance by paved path to the actual viewpoint itself and camping is not allowed at the viewpoint, although there are a number of designated camping spots along the road that runs along the rim of the gorge. Park Rangers also state that increased seismic activity seems to increase either the frequency or the intensity of the Lights activity or display.