Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why my baby really is magic: Woman claims fertility spell helped her conceive after six years of trying

Why my baby really is magic: Woman claims fertility spell helped her conceive after six years of trying 

By Daily Mail Reporter

The daughter of a 'white witch' has claimed she gave birth after six years of trying because her mother cast a fertility spell on her.

Hayley Byrne, 25, had been on an NHS waiting list for a treatment similar to IVF when her mother, Karen Tomlinson, offered to help out.

She agreed to don a fertility bracelet, specially woven in the red and white May-pole colours while Karen recited a white witch's chant.

Just four weeks later Hayley was amazed to discover she was pregnant.

Now she and bricklayer boyfriend Daniel Shaw, 28, are the proud parents of baby boy, Daniel.
The happy couple even believe they will be able to fulfil their dreams of having a large family with the help of Karen's neo-pagan 'interventions'.

Hayley, of Burnage, Greater Manchester, said: 'I've always been desperate for a child and so has Daniel. We were devastated to think we may not be able to have any of our own.

'Still, I only put the bracelet on to humour my mum - I didn't really put much stock into it.

'Then four weeks later I found out I was pregnant. We were over the moon.' 

Hayley added: 'I had tried everything under the sun - we'd undergone all the tests, some of which were quite painful.'

After seeking medical advice, the couple were advised to sign up for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment, where Hayley's eggs would be taken and fertilised with Daniel's sperm before being reinserted to grow in the womb.

Unable to afford to go private, the couple faced a wait of several years on the NHS waiting list for their one chance at ICSI, which only has a 30 per cent success rate.  

In May last year, Ms Tomlinson presented her daughter with a unique gift - a fertility bracelet which she had spent weeks preparing and had left 'charging' in the sun on her pentagram for over a month.

Rory Reynolds: Even Paganism isn't beyond belief

Rory Reynolds: Even Paganism isn't beyond belief


IT'S perhaps the most iconic scene in Scottish film history. God-fearing highland cop Edward Woodward cowers, praying in his pyjamas, while pagan temptress Britt Ekland cavorts naked in the next bedroom, seducing him with distinctly un-Christian song and dance.

It worked in the movie, but Willow's seduction would have been utterly wasted on the group of police outed by the decision of the Home Office this week to allow pagan officers in the UK eight days off to observe their special holidays.

The judgement was taken as a recognition that paganism, once an illegal act, is an increasingly common form of belief, with its own holiday and, naturally, it's own entitlements under modern law.

While naked dancing, fire juggling, worshipping lactating sheep and feeding the wandering dead might sound like something from the classic horror flick The Wicker Man, events like the Capital's Beltane Fire Festival draw in whole families, and thousands flock to Scotland's wicca gatherings.

The ruling effectively means paganism is now being treated no differently to any other religion in the UK, and that claim is expected to be backed up when this year's census shows around 250,000 faithful followers.

The controversial decision to allow pagans the right to have their own representative group for police officers recognised by the Home Office, alongside black, Muslim and gay associations has thrust the faith to the fore.

So should pagans be afforded the same rights as other, more mainstream faiths, and if so, what will be next?

It's doubtful that you could fit the entire pagan police group in Stonehenge – or perhaps even fill an archway at the famous site. After all, how many men and woman in blue will be wearing purple velvet robes at the weekend?

Despite this, they will be able to take official religious holidays, leading many to ask whether this new PC – pagan consideration – could lead to groupings of Jedi cops also demanding "sacred" days off.

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, claims that the current faith and orientation groups already highlight divisions between officers in the police force.

He said: "We have already raised concerns over the number of groups that we have within the police now. To encourage the growth of these groups is very dangerous because you get the situation we saw recently where a Muslim police officer refused to stand guard outside the Israeli embassy.

"That said, the pagan association cannot be blocked now because of diversity and equality rules that the police forces follow.

"The only way to deal with this issue is if all groups are scrapped to prevent any kind of division in the police force."

However, Dave Taylor, spokesman for the Children of Artemis group – a witchcraft membership group that organises Witchfests, popular celebrations of witchery – denies the claims that paganism is not a proper religion, and he estimates that there are at least a quarter of a million people practising the pagan and wicca faith in the UK.

He said: "We are very much a religion because we are defined by the people who believe in this faith.

"People who practice pagan and wicca hold these beliefs like you find in any other religion.

"A lot of people have had to think very carefully before they speak out about their beliefs because of the attitudes towards wicca and paganism.

"With regards to films like The Wicker Man, there is no such community like that anywhere, and what is practiced in the film is based on historic events rather than modern paganism.

"The coming to prominence of ecological issues over the past few years has struck a chord with many young people and we have seen a big increase in the number of people contacting us."

Mr Taylor added that the prominence of pagan police officers may even help forces deal with their duty to prevent discrimination.

He said: "One of the reasons that the police force has recognised paganism is that because there are now so many people in this country practising it, it helps to have an officer on hand to deal with these issues.

"This is in the same way that a Muslim officer might be assigned to a particular case to help to perhaps give an insight to a particular issue.

"Wiccas in particular have been discriminated against terribly over the last 100 years, and indeed until the 1950s it was illegal to practice the faith under the Witchcraft Act.

"But government legislation is beginning to cater for people of our faiths, ensuring they are protected from discrimination, while companies are ensuring that their equality pledges include us."

Prior to the precedent set this week, the faith – comprised of wiccans, druids, shamans, sacred ecologists, odinists and heathens – has attracted some high profile coverage in the past.

In 2002 Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, was inducted as a druid in the Welsh Gorsedd of Bards, a literary group, using a Christian-based ceremony, and pagan characters have been popularised in teen drama series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and hit movies including The Craft.

Despite paganists' experiences in the past this, new validation of their religion could bring around something of a revival not seen since its decriminalisation.

So perhaps this week's announcement could provide the impetus for paganists to finally shake off that Wicker Man image and seize their magic moment.

Original Article

Monday, May 10, 2010

Author Gregory Branson-Trent’s Latest Release Takes on the World of the Paranormal, in Haunted Houses Around the World

Author Gregory Branson-Trent’s Latest Release Takes on the World of the Paranormal, in Haunted Houses Around the World

With a wide range of information contained within 398 pages in 6x9 format, Haunted Houses Around The World, presents an indispensable guide to haunted locations and paranormal activity worldwide.

New York, NY, May 07, 2010 --(PR.com)-- Branson-Trent returns with his fifth in a series of paranormal themed books. In this book you will find all the information needed to take a trip into the world of ghost inhabited homes. Included in this collection are: the Borley Rectory, the Tower of London, Glamis Castle, Raynham Hall, Roosevelt Hotel, Myrtles Plantation, and hundreds more.

Haunted houses are often seen as being inhabited by spirits of deceased who may have been former residents or were familiar with the property.

Supernatural activity inside homes is said to be mainly associated with violent or tragic events in the building's past such as murder, accidental death, or suicide—sometimes in the recent or ancient past.

Are you living with ghosts? Most people who've lived in older homes, or stayed in a vintage hotel or inn, have encountered a ghost or two. Whether real or not, the fact is these events do exist and so do paranormal phenomena. In this book is a collection of four hundred Haunted Houses, Castles, Inns, Estates, Pubs, and more. The question is, do you believe?

For further information, and orders, visit Gregory Branson-Trent’s web site www.gregorybranson-trent.com. Click on the cover of the book for information and ordering. Also check out his four blog sites, the links are on the main page.

Gregory Branson-Trent currently resides in New York. He has been a published author for sixteen years. His releases include: “Vampires Among Us: The Children Of The Night”, “Haunted Hollywood: Ghosts Of The Dead Famous”, “The Unexplained: Amelia Earhart, Bermuda Triangle, Atlantis, Aliens, And Ghosts”, “Return To The Cemetery: More Ghosts And Hauntings”, “An Encyclopedia Of Paranormal Events: Ghosts, Hauntings And More”, “Magick: Wicca, Witchcraft, And The Book Of Shadows”, “Haunted Houses Around The World”, and more.

Books by Gregory Branson-Trent are also available at Amazon.com, Target.com, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, and in major book stores.

Haunted Houses Around the World

Original Article

Wiccans gather to promote freedoms

Wiccans gather to promote freedoms

KILLIAN — Jessica Zebrine Gray, a high priestess of Spiritwheel Coven in Baton Rouge and devotee of a blend of Tibetan Buddhism and Wicca, invited members attending Saturday’s gathering at Gryphon’s Nest Campground Inc., to join in a circle.

“We honor and recognize that the elements are all around us, all the time,” Gray told followers who had traveled from as far as Shreveport to attend the private gathering.

“Take a breath and let out all of the stress, all of the anger,” Gray continued. “Let Mother Earth hold you.”
Saturday’s event, which turned from fundraiser to private gathering, was organized by a Wiccan group and offered speakers, workshops and other activities.

“We’re sharing our love and peace,” said Valli Harry, president of the Louisiana Alliance of Wiccans.
For Rhye Gray, a high priest of Spiritwheel Coven, a Wiccan for 22 years and Baton Rouge resident, the gathering aimed to raise consciousness “for our community to connect to one another and to have a positive experience with one another.”

The gathering also was designed to raise community awareness “that we are very much like others,” Rhye Gray said. “I think lack of knowledge causes fear and apprehension.”

The group, which has been persecuted in the past for members’ beliefs, must also contend with thousands of years of negative propaganda, Rhye Gray said, adding he believes that in order to educate people, members of the group have to allow area people to know they exist.

Mukunda Datta, of Baton Rouge, a practicing Hindu, decided to attend Saturday’s gathering after reading about it in the newspaper.

He said he was hoping to find “some like-minded individuals at the event.”

“When I moved here from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, everyone thought I was some kind of demon or something,” Datta said. “Now, they all love me. They know that I’m not a threat.”

His advice for others who may be skeptical of the pagan religion was simple: “Be open and don’t close your mind off before you find out. There’s a lot to offer in all of the traditions,” Datta said.

Charlotte Pipes, of New Orleans, a solitary Wiccan practitioner, said the religion is still largely misunderstood.
“Most people think, ‘Oh, it’s witchcraft,’ ” Pipes said. “For Wicca, it’s our religion. When you talk about witchcraft, you’re talking about the physical trappings that are associated with spell work.
“The spiritual part is Wicca. Wicca is a nature-based religion that goes back to the Stone Age,” the former associate professor of music at Nicholls State University said.

Jessica Zebrine Gray said she wants others to know that there’s no need to be afraid (of pagans).
“All of the scary fairy tales are just fairy tales,” she said. “We are really working for a better world.”
Wiccans have helped Quad Area Action Agency for the past 10 years by contributing to its Christmas Food Drive, and plan to help other causes, said Jim Harry, attorney for the Louisiana Alliance for Wiccans. He, too, is a Wiccan.

The Louisiana Alliance for Wiccans is a nonprofit organization that represents the rights of Wiccans and Pagans, he said.

Jim Harry wore a T-shirt imprinted with the words, “Freedom of religion means all religions.”
While Saturday’s event wasn’t a fundraiser, some attendees offered to donate to the Wiccan alliance.
“This is more about protecting the religious freedoms of everyone,” Valli Harry said.

“If a Christian would come to us to use to represent them in a case, we would do it,” Jim Harry said. “Anytime religious persecution is involved it affects all of us.”

For Valli Harry, the gathering was important to help make Christians aware of “who we are and what we do and that we’re not devil worshipers.”

“People fear what they don’t understand,” she said.

Valli Harry said she was overjoyed by the support from people attending the event, and offered a quote from the Hebrew Bible to express her feelings.

“My cup runneth over,” a smiling and happy Valli Harry said. “We’re a peaceful religion … We see the divine in everything. We are part of the divine and we are all children of the divine.”

Original Article