For generations, the vision quest has been an extremely important part of Lakota Indian life and ritual.
Until recent times, all young men sought this experience, sometimes as young as 10 or 11 and never later than their early teens. Later in life, men would often return for another vision quest when seeking guidance in the affairs of life. Women would vision quest too, but not as regularly as men. The practice, though not as prevalent, has never been abandoned by the people and is still carried on today.
Reasons for Vision Quest
Besides the young, who vision quest at the beginning of the path to adulthood, a person might choose to cry for a vision in order to better understand another vision they already had, or to prepare for the Sundance, or ask a favor from Wakan Tanka (buffalo God), or as a thank you to Wakan Tanka for gifts received or simply to realize a closeness with the Great Spirit or to understand and solve problems in their lives.
Vision Quest Practice
When it is time for a vision quest, the seeker brings a pipe to a holy man to ask for help and counsel. If the holy man thinks this is a good idea and agrees to help, a day is set aside. Often times questors were accompanied by a holy man or guide, sometimes they went alone.
On the day of the vision quest, the holy man and assistants go into the sweatlodge with the person making the quest. The object is purification. The one seeking a vision or the holy man would have already selected a place that was rugged and remote that would lend itself to spiritual thought without distraction.
After the sweat, the holy man and assistants prepare a place while the seeker waits. A rectangular place, approximately four- to six-feet wide and six- to eight-feet long, is cleared and a pole with tobacco offerings is put at the center. Other smaller poles are placed at the four directions, with offerings and the representative colors of the four directions tied to each of them. Sage is spread near the center pole as a "bed" for the seeker rest on when tired.
When the place is readied, the other leave and the seeker arrives with pipe, buffalo robe and offering sticks, praying as he approaches. He goes to the center pole and faces west, and then walks to the pole that has been placed in the west. Here he prays again with his pipe in his hands. He then returns to the center pole and goes to the north and repeats the process. Same with the east and the south, taking as much time as needed in any or all directions. When finished with all four, he starts prayer again, all day and into the night. Sometimes he may just stand and face the Sun, other times he may sit and meditate, facing east. During these times the pipe is placed at the west end of the rectangular space as a point of focus.
The seeker may sleep on the bed of sage, with his head at the center pole, but the entire duration of the vision quest he does not eat or drink.
Length of Quest
Many vision quests last just a day and a night, but others seeking a vision may stay two, three or even four days. Rarely is a quest longer than four days and four nights.
Messages From Beyond
The idea is for the seeker to pray hard from the heart and pay attention to the world around him. If he does, messages from Wakan Tanka will come to him. Sometimes a message or instructions come through nature in the form of an animal or bird. Nothing should be discounted as the Wakan Tanka can, and does, speak through all things. And generally some physical representation of the vision or message (feather, fur, rock) is collected and placed in the seeker's medicine bag to ensure the power of the vision would stay with the individual to remind, protect or guide him.
When the time is up, the holy man and his assistants come to get the seeker and they all return to the sweatlodge. During the sweat, the seeker tells them of what he saw and heard, being careful not to leave anything out. Sometimes, a vision does not come, and that is reported too. When finished, the holy man prays and gives thanks to Wakan Tanka for all things given and for having pity on the person seeking the vision.
Vision quests are not generally discussed openly, but sometimes the details come out long after, only to amaze and astound the listener of the tale. -- courtesy of thewildwest.org
For generations, the vision quest has been an extremely important part of Lakota Indian life and ritual.
Judging by the number of hands painted in prehistoric caves it would seem the human hand held a interest for humans since the stone age.
Archaeological discoveries have discovered hands made of stone, wood and ivory by ancient civilizations. The emperor of China used his thumbprint when sealing documents in 3000 bc. Information on the laws and practice of hand reading have been found in Vedic scripts, the Bible and early Semitic writings. Aristotle (384-322 bc) discovered a treatise on palmistry on an alter to the god Hermes.
The Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen (ad 130-200) were both knowledgeable about the use of palmistry as a clinical aid. Julius Caesar (102-44bc) judged his men by palmistry.
Palmistry & The Catholic Church
The practice of palmistry was ufortunately forced underground by the Catholic Church who branded it devil worshiping. Anyone found to have an interest was quickly murdered. As the church started to lose its influence in society common sense prevailed.
Notable people such as Paracelsus (1493-1541) and Fludd (1574-1637) brought respectibility to palmistry through their writings. Later Dr. Carl Carus, physician to the king of Saxony in the 19th century matched palms to personality. Advances in genetics, psychology and forensics have propeled palmistry into the modern age.
Scotland Yard & Fingerprints
In 1901, Scotland Yard adopted the technique of fingerprinting in criminal investigation and identification. Medical researchers studying skin patterns (dermatoglyphics), have discovered a corrospondence between genetic abnormalities and unusual markings in the hand. Research has confirmed a link between specific fingerprint patterns and heart disease.
These days palmistry is well accepted throughout the world. Professional palmists can be found reading palms in every country in the world. Pick up almost any copy of a womens magazine and there is some information on palmistry. There are thousands of books written on the subject and there are palmistry clubs the worldwide.
The life line does not indicate how old you will live. What the line reveals is the quality of your life. It is an index of how much vitality, strength and energy you have. A life line running close to the thumb indicates a person of low vitality, sometimes found in the hands of people who suffer chronic fatigue syndrom.
A life line that runs a wide curve shows a person with lots of vitality, get up and go. If the head line is stronger than the life line it shows a person who is more mentally than physically active.
A chained life line indicates a delicate health. Little lines rising indicate an active personality.
Outward swinging lines indicate a love of travel. Most of the small lines on the life line refer to particular events at certain times of your life.
A branch leading to the Jupiter mount is a sign of academic achievment. A branch that leads to the Saturn mount indicates a successful property transaction.
A branch towards the Apollo mount indicates monetary gain. A branch towards the Mercury mount indicates business success.
The size of the hand can be important in in helping to judge the character and personality.
--- People with small hands have a strong desire to achieve. They usually set long range goals in their life. They sometimes have a big ego and have trouble relaxing.
--- People with medium hands are well balanced and have good judgement. They have common sense and are practical.
--- People with large hands have many capabilities. They can have many goals, all at the same time. They are friendly and very sociable.
Astral travel is often called an out-of-body experience. It is the conscious separation of the astral body from the physical body.
This results in an altered state of consciousness. There are a large amount of techniques that can be used to achieve this including meditation, trance and imagination techniques.
A large number of people who experience astral travel report that the experience happened from a vantage point such as high in the sky looking down. A number of controlled tests have taken place which support the excistence of astral travel.
Astral travel has also been reported by some people who have had a near death experience. Some people who have had this type of experience have reported watching their operation and recalling conversations among hospital staff.
The astral body is often reported as being joined to the physical body by a silver cord - an etheric umbilical cord. Some people believe that if the cord breaks while in astral travel you will not be able to return to the physical body.
How Common Is Out of Body Experience
Research indicates that between 5 to 10% of people have experienced an out of body experience. That amonuts to as much as 30 million in the USA alone. A further 85% of those people indicated that had the experience while resting or trying to sleep.
In some cases an out of body experience has occured during high speed travelling. Both aircraft pilots and motor cycle riders have reported the experience. Some pilots reported finding themselves out of the plane trying to get back in. Yet at the same time being aware that still also in the plane and flying it.
There are reported cases where the person has travelled a large distance to another place and even held a conversation which has been confirmed by those present.
Natural & Voluntary Astral Travel
There are a number of differences between deliberate and spontaneous astral travel. People who experience spontaneous out of body report a body shape that is usually an exact double of their physical body. People who experience deliberate out of body report a body shape that is altered at will. They also report a type of joining to the body such as a silver cord. There are also many similarities between the two.
- Both experiences report an increased sense of energy and vitality.
- A much higher sense of sight and hearing.
- Experiences of strange sounds such as loud bangs.
- An altered sense of vibration of the consciousness.
People who have experienced an out of body have a much stronger belief in life after death. One of the most interesting points is that people people report that the experience retains its sense of realness indefinitely.
Are We Perhaps Just Dreaming?
Characteristics of dreams are that they are unlike real life. Dreams are often vague, hard to remember in full and fade over time. The character of astral travel is that it is real. The experience is easily remembered in detail and the experience does not fade over time. Also astral travel can happen while the person is awake.
During experiments on astral travel volunteers who were able to leave their body were wired up to an Electroencephalograph machine. The EEG instruments are monitered by electrodes placed on the volunteers scalp. These electrodes record the electrical potential of the celebrial cortex. The following results were recorded :
- Alpha waves decrease.
- Beta waves increase, indicting the volunteer is awake.
- Electrodermal activity falls.
- Respiration rate increases.
- REM is absent.
- No Theta or Delta waves.
The tests show something is happening, but not exactly what that is.
Another test involved getting a person to project and getting him to reveal numbers that were written on a board in the next room. Seven numbers were used in this test. However the volunteer was at no stage able to recall the seven numbers. However he did on one occasion recall six numbers in the exact order. This in itself indicates something.
In another test a female volunteer was able to recall conversations in another room.
There is certainly a need for more testing over a long period with large groups of volunteers in a controlled situation so as to establish some sort of scientific opinion on this.
Theories of Astral Travel
Some people say we are always out. That the feeling is in fact that we become aware of the fact. That in fact nothing leaves the body because we are having the experience on a continual situation. This theory however offers no explanation as to the feeling of leaving or returning.
Some people think that astral projection is Lucid Dreaming. However when one examines the evidence from EEG readings it tends to indicate there is a clear difference.
Some people feel that Astral Travel is just an Hallucination. Physiologically the two are very similar. Both have a sense of realness. Both have heightened sense of vision of vision and hearing. There is one major difference though. A person who has experienced both Astral travel and a hallucination can easily distinguish between the two.
Some people say that Astral travel is just a Psychosis of some kind. This is a very negative approach and in fact insulting. It also does not stand up to close inspection.
Astral Travel Tips
- Be calm and relaxed.
- Do not be over full in the stomach or feeling hungry.
- Practice only when your mind is focused.
- Room temperature should be comfortable.
- Stay balanced.
People who are having relationship problems usually have difficulty in projecting. Build a support system around you on this. Talk to others about astral projection. Join a newsgroup. Do not use astral projection for the wrong reasons.
Getting Back In
Getting back in after Astral Travel is as simple as just willing yourself back in. Also you will find that any ocurrance such as a strange noise, wind or light will take you straight back in. There is no evidence to suggest you will not be able to get back in, get taken over, not find your body or any other such thing. Getting back in is simple and straight forward.
Palmistry is a method of interpreting the shape of the hand and the lines of the palm, to project the character and possible life experiences of an individual. The science is divided into two broad areas: the study of hand structure, or cheirology, and the study of the lines of the palm, or cheiromancy
TYPES OF HANDS
The essence of palmistry lies in identifying the hand type, which can be attributed to individual characteristics:
The Elementary Hand: This is characterized by stiff, heavy, short fingers and a short thumb. Other traits are a thick, hard, square palm, shapeless fingertips, and rough and leathery skin. The person with the elementary hand displays a lack of enthusiasm and imagination. They show a general indifference to life, and are concerned only with daily existence. This person is largely intolerant of a nasty situation, and can get violent when provoked.
The Spatulate Hand: As the name suggests, the fingers of this hand are flattened like a spatula. The most characteristic feature is the large thumb. It is extremely broad near the base and tapers towards the fingers. This hand belongs to the imaginative. These people have a quest for knowledge, and a restless and excitable nature. They are energetic and dexterous, and thrive on taking risks.
The Psychic Hand: This is a small and slender hand, characterized by smooth fingers. The palm is medium in size, and the nailed phalanges are long and tapering. The thumb is small and elegant. People with this hand have a visionary and dreamy nature. They are interested in occult sciences. Persons with this hand shape lead a chaotic life, characterized by a lack of discipline.
The Conical Hand: This hand has smooth fingers, the nails of which are shaped like cones, giving the hand its name. The palm is broad, thick and large, and the thumb is also unusually huge. People with this hand are usually connoisseurs of the arts with superb communication skills, and a love for the arc lights. On the flip side, this person is impulsive and has a short temper.
The Square Hand: The square hand has a square palm, a square wrist, and the fingertips are also square. While the fingers are largely knotty, this hand is characterized by a large thumb and a square finger base. People with square hands are blessed with perseverance. They are downright conventional and love general order. They are honest and reliable, and like to lead disciplined lives, with little imagination. Profession: This hand usually belongs to businessmen, executives, lawyers, doctors, scientists and engineers.
The Intellectual Hand: This is a long and angular hand, with bony fingers and knotty joints. The palm is large and bony, and the nailed phalanges are part conical and part square. The philosophic hand belongs to those who spare a thought for the less fortunate. They are blessed with the ability to understand the metaphysical aspect of life. They are gifted with analytical powers and are adept at keeping secrets.
THE HAND’S IMPORTANT LINES
The Life Line: The life line starts between the thumb and the index finger. It then touches the wrist, curving widely around the thumb. This line indicates longevity, vitality, and the quality of life. An absent life line shows a sluggish and high-strung person, with a tremendous nervous energy. A long and regular line indicates an excellent equilibrium and a healthy constitution. A faint line indicates a lack of endurance, or a dull and uneventful life. If the line is forked at its beginning, it shows the person as just, truthful, loyal and dependable. On the other hand, if the line ends in a fork, the person suffers from frail health and experiences a lack of energy. A faint line indicates a life of misery, while a clear line suggests a smooth life. A double line is typical of the security offered by a loved one of the opposite sex. It also indicates a healthy sexual life. Branches in the life line make a strong statement about the fortunes of the individual. While upward branches show achievement, glory and success, drooping branches indicate financial, social and emotional loss. A long and deep line shows an abundance of energy, and single-minded determination to reach goals.
The Heart Line: The heart line runs horizontally across the upper palm. The length of the line has a general impact on a person's health. It rules a person's emotions and relationships. An absent line is indicative of a person high on logic and reason, who could even be ruthless in order to reach the top. The length of the line plays an important role in determining a person's attitude to relationships. While a short line indicates a highly self-centred person, a long line belongs to a person who has a highly idealistic vision of love. A very long line, touching both sides of the palm, shows a person highly dependent on relationships. This could even lead to promiscuity. A deep and straight line indicates jealousy and criminal tendencies. On the flip side, if the line is clear and deep, the person is sincere, respectful and considerate. A deep line indicates a highly stressful life. Branches arising from the line suggest a strong interest in the opposite sex. If the line has drooping branches, it shows a poor relationship. The heart line can also be read in relation to other lines. A slight curve towards the head line shows a person with an intellectual bend of mind.
The Fate Line: This line rises from the base of the palm, dividing the palm into halves. An absent fate line shows a person who is self-made and diligent. These people plan their entire life with meticulous detail, and leave very little to chance. A fork in the beginning shows a traumatic childhood. This will lead to conflict, but the person will choose the right path later in life. A double line implies insecurity.
The branches of the fate line indicate the rise and fall of fortunes. A rising fate line indicates a successful career with great opportunities for prosperity. Dropping lines mean heavy losses, failure, and disappointments. A wavering line shows an indecisive and lethargic person who lives life on a totally materialistic level. An unusually deep line reveals an inheritance, and success that is handed down.
Judging by the number of hands painted in prehistoric caves it would seem the human hand held a interest for humans since the stone age. Archeologists have discovered hands made of stone, wood and ivory by ancient civilizations. The emperor of China used his thumbprint when sealing documents in 3000 BC. Aristotle (384-322 BC) discovered a treatise on palmistry on an altar to the god Hermes.
Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen (AD 130-200) knew of the use of palmistry as a clinical aid while Julius Caesar (102-44 BC) was said to have relied on palmistry to judge his men. Information on the practice of hand reading has also been found in the Bible and other religious texts. At one point, the practice of palmistry was forced underground, branded as a form of devil worshiping by the Catholic Church. Anyone found to have an interest was quickly murdered. But, as the church began to lose its influence in society, common sense prevailed.
Notable people such as Paracelsus, an alchemist, physician, astrologer, and general occultist (1493-1541) and Robert Fludd, a prominent English Rosicrucian and Paracelsian physicist, astrologer, and mystic (also, the son of Sir Thomas Fludd, a high-ranking governmental official under Queen Elizabeth I), (1574-1637) brought respectability to palmistry through their writings. Later Dr Carl Carus, physician to the king of Saxony in the 19th century matched palms to personality. Advances in genetics, psychology and forensics have propelled palmistry into the modern age.
Amulets are objects believed to be imbued with mysterious and magical powers.
From the earliest days of the caveman, amulets have been used to provide people with protection, health, luck, fertility, power, success or any other need imaginable. To ancient civilizations these needs were controlled by the forces of good and evil. Prayers, offerings and sacrifices were offered to the good spirits to grant blessings. Amulets supposedly stopped evil spirits from taking them away.
Originally amulets were only natural objects. But as civilizations progressed, amulets were fashioned into animal shapes, symbols, seals, rings and plaques. They were believed to have magical powers and were used to cast powerful spells.
Generally, an amulet is worn on the body, usually around the neck, but some amulets are used to guard homes, tombs or other buildings.
Ancient Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Arabs and Hebrews placed great importance in amulets. The frog protected fertility, Ankhs for everlasting life, udjat for health, scarab for resurrection after death. Some of the Egyptian amulets are massive such as the stone beetle mounted on a pedestal at Karnak. It measures five feet long by three feet wide and weighs more than two tons.
Babylonians and Syrians used cylinder seals which were embedded with precious stones. Hebrews wore crescent moons to ward off evil. African natives carry amulets, usually a pouch or box of medicine containing herbs or other plants.
Universal amulet symbols are eyes and phallic symbols. Eyes protect against evil spirits while phallic symbols protect against evil. In magic using the name of a deity is the equivalent of tapping into the divine power. In the old testament, Hebrews gave the personal name of god as a four letter word called the tetragrammaton, translated as YHWH and pronounced Yahweh. This name appeared in spellings on amulets to help magicians conjure demons and also to protect from attack.
Amulets in various cultures also appeared as bits of parchment with scripture quotes that were carried in pouches. Ancient pagans wore figurines of their gods as amulets. In neo-pagan witchcraft the most powerful amulet is the silver pentacle, the symbol of the craft. The sign of the pentacle, called a pentagram, is used to protect sacred sites.
The Egyptian word for amulet is mk-t which means protection. The substances used to make amulets were believed to possess magical powers that would be passed on to the wearer. The most powerful of these amulets were those that were inscribed with the names of Gods. The oldest of the Egyptian amulets dates to the Neolithic period.
Scarab: The symbol of the God of creation. It was frequently placed on the dead to effect their resurrection. The scarab itself was based on a type of dung eating beetle.
Djed: Believed to strengthen the back.
tjet: Represents the sexual organs of the God Isis. Usually this amulet is found in the hands of statues.
Urs: Headrests of pillows usually made of wood or ivory and placed under the mummy's neck.
Ab: Inscribed on the breast of the mummy to replace the heart.
Ner-T: Commemorates the wanderings of the Goddess Isis. Gives its wearer her strength.
Usekh: Tied to the mummy's head to protect the chest and neck.
Uadj: Gave the wearer youth and virility.
Udjat: Worn for good health, protection and well being.
Ahat: Made in the form of a cow wearing the solar disk with plumes between the horns.
Frog: Fertility symbol usually made of gold.
Nefer: Represented a musical instrument worn for good luck.
Ba: Made in the form of a human headed hawk, usually made of gold and placed on the breast.
Sma: Believed to give the mummy power to breathe.
Aakhu: A symbol of life after death.
Shuti: Represents the two feathers on the heads of Ra, Osiris and Amen-Ra.
Shen: Symbol of eternity.
Ren Name amulet. In some cases the name of a king was inscribed.
Menat: Amulet of virility, fertility and sexual power.
Maq-T: Provided the dead with the ability to ascend to heaven.
Uraeus: Represented the sacred cobra.
The Hebrews took most of their magic from the Babylonians, Egyptians and Summarians. But the Bible is the strongest source of Hebrew magical lore. The most powerful amulets of the Hebrews were the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each letter was believed to have cosmic energies. Here are some of the most common.
Saharon: Form of a crescent, worn by Kings, women and camels. It protected its wearer from evil forces.
Teraphim: Shaped in the form of Gods or men and used in divination.
Lehashim: Used to describe any object that was used for magical purposes.
Pomegranates: Ancient symbols of love and fertility.
Phylacyeries: Usually worn on the arm and made of leather.
Mezuzah: Small cylinder found at the entrance of the home of a Jew.
Tzitzith: A tassel commanded by God to be worn on the borders of all Jewish garments.
The Tiki is a Polynesian amulet usually worn around the neck. It is of a human figure and is usually made of wood and Mother of Pearl. Tiki depicts the first man created by the Sky God Tane.
Talisman are objects that possess magical power of their own and transmit it to its wearer. Talisman perform a single function with powerful effects. Fairy wands and even King Arthur’s sword are considered talisman. They can be any object, but their powers can only be given by the forces of nature, the gods or by being made in a ritualistic way. Precious stones have been considered as talisman because of their magical or healing powers. Talisman have been found among all cultures in history.
They were especially common in Babylonia and Egypt where they were used to alter the forces of nature. Alchemists performed elaborate rituals to make talisman, waiting for certain astrological signs, then reciting incantations to summon spirits who would imbue the talisman with power. The most sought after talisman was the Philosopher’s stone which many believed would turn metal into gold.