Resurrectionists-Body Snatching Trade
Published on January 7, 2015 by LA Hilden | Views: 833


Removing a corpse from its resting place was done for the advancement of science and seen as a necessity for medical students to learn the anatomy correctly.  Since the 15th century, British anatomists have used corpses for the purpose of study.  By law, only executed criminals were available for dissection and learning, which limited the number of bodies available.  During the early 19th century in England, capital crimes were continually reduced, which lessened the number of criminals executed, in turn making the growing medical institutions desperate for cadavers.   Low supply and high demand brought about the new trade of body snatching.  Due to this high demand, authorities often looked the other way when body snatching occurred.  Body snatching was kept quiet from the public to prevent riots, which were known to occur when such a crime was publicized.  The men that stole the corpses were known as resurrection-men.  Unlike grave robbers looking for personal treasures, the resurrectionists snatched bodies to sell.

Body snatching was not considered a felony.  The punishment consisted of a fine and imprisonment, whereas, grave robbing, taking personal items from the corpse, was a felony and punishable by hanging.  So taking the body wasn’t as bad as taking the body’s socks.  Body snatching was considered lucrative enough that resurrectionists were willing to take their chances with the law.  The institution of St. Bartholemew’s purchased corpses for four guineas apiece, which was a great sum.

Trade in corpses led to family members watching vigilantly over the deceased to assure themselves that the would-be-surgeons stayed far away.  Some decided to “mortsafe” their deceased.  This is where the corpse would be placed in a vault and allowed to putrefy before burial, thus rendering the corpse of no value to the robbers who sold them to the colleges.  Mortsafes were iron contraptions that protected the coffin from robbers.  They were usually removed after six weeks and reused elsewhere; for a special charge, of course.  Mortsafes were often weighted with stone, making exhumation of the deceased difficult.  The lack of refrigeration at the time meant the bodies decayed quickly, so stealing them had to happen with haste if the corpse was to be useful for dissection.

In part due to the scare from the Burke and Hare murders in 1828, where two Irish immigrants murdered 16 people and sold their corpses to a doctor for his anatomy lectures, vaults and watch houses began to pop up in cemeteries.  People with loved ones in the cemetery often took shifts in the watchtower overlooking the cemetery, remaining vigilant for any resurrectionists.  People were also known to set traps like spring guns to deter the robbers.

Of course these methods of safeguarding the deceased worked for many, but resurrection-men were tenacious and would dig further away from the mortsafe, and tunnel their way to the corpse, making the grave still appear undisturbed.  Nothing was foolproof.  With the Anatomy Act of 1832, unclaimed bodies and those donated by families were now allowed to be dissected in the pursuit of knowledge.  This left the medical institution with enough corpses to dissect, and body snatching lost its lucrative incentive.  The deceased were relatively left in peace, with the exception of the occasional grave robber.

My book Born Reckless delves into the hardships and upset caused by body snatching, when the Earl of Camden’s brother refuses to mortsafe his deceased wife, and her body goes missinghttp://www.amazon.com/Born-Reckless-Alter-Ego-Book-ebook/dp/B006V5820I/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1420308908&sr=8-6&keywords=born+reckless

A special thank you to: http://www.kuriositas.com/2013/05/the-mortsafe-or-how-to-protect-your.html http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/body-snatching-a-most-ghoulish-19th-century-affair/


History of the Mistletoe
Published on December 16, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 1723

Mistletoe is a hemiparasitic plant, meaning it is the kind of plant that attaches itself to a tree or shrub with its roots and absorbs its nutrients from its host.  There are different varieties of mistletoe around the world, and a heavy infestation can kill the host.  Mistletoe can be found growing on its own, but that isn’t common.  The European mistletoe is a green shrub, with yellow flowers, and white berries that are poisonous.  The North American mistletoe grows along the east coast, from New Jersey to Florida, it has green, oval-shaped leaves with white flowers, its berries can be red, orange, yellow or white, which are poisonous.  Both of these types of mistletoe are commercially harvested for Christmas decorations.

So if mistletoe is a parasitic plant with poisonous berries, why do we carry the tradition of kissing beneath it?

Kissing under the mistletoe was first associated with the Greeks when they celebrated the festival of Saturnalia.  Since the mistletoe was believed to bestow fertility, and the dung of it was said to have “life-giving” power, people would kiss beneath them.  The Greeks believed mistletoe held mystical powers, likely due to its sudden appearance in trees, which was done by birds distributing the seeds from their beaks or droppings.  Mistletoe also remains green throughout the winter, making it a wonder to the ancients, since its roots were not in the ground.  Mistletoe was said to bestow life and fertility, used as a protection against poisons, and also used as an aphrodisiac.  The practice of kissing beneath the mistletoe eventually extended to Greek wedding ceremonies.

Mistletoe was considered sacred in pre-Christian Europe.  Ancient Celts and Germans used the rare oak mistletoe as a ceremonial plant.  Using mistletoe to decorate at Christmas is a custom carried over from the ancient Celtic Druids, who welcomed the New Year by bringing branches of mistletoe indoors.  In the Middle Ages, these branches were also hung from the ceiling to ward off evil spirits.  In Europe, they were hung over doorways to prevent the entrance of witches.

In Scandinavia, the mistletoe represents peace, so feuding married couples would kiss beneath the mistletoe.  Norse myth claims if you came upon your enemy in the woods, and found yourself standing under mistletoe, a truce would be declared and weapons disengaged until the next day.  Thus, kissing beneath the mistletoe became a sign of goodwill and friendship.


There is even said to be proper etiquette for kissing under the mistletoe.  Men can only kiss the woman or girl on the cheek, once the kiss is complete, he removes a berry from the plant.  When the berries are gone, the kissing ends.  So make sure your mistletoe has lots of berries, because kissing is known to reduce stress.

Remember, the BERRIES of all mistletoe are TOXIC.  Keep them away from children, pets, and people who don’t know better.

http://www.theholidayspot.com/christmas/history/mistletoe.htm http://www.thewhitegoddess.co.uk/articles/mythology_folklore/mistletoe.asp http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/WRG_mistletoe.html


What I’m Currently Working On
Published on November 29, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 899

I’ve finished the final draft of book one in my Witches of Griffin series.  I planned to title the book Isis’s Order, since the sisters are following the orders of the goddess Isis.  But after my endless research, I realized you can no longer type in the goddess’s name without getting pages and pages about the terrorist group.  That being said, a title change was definitely in order.  It’s now called Divine Legacy, which I like better.

Here’s the intro to the story.

Descendants of the first supreme witch, the great Queen, Cleopatra of Egypt, have returned to the earth plane.  Possessing illuminating wisdom and the ability to manipulate energy in various spiritual planes and dimensions, the sisters are new to their craft and under the guidance of the goddess Isis.

Great care was taken to bring about the triplet birth of the enlightened ones.  Enormous foresight and collaboration was necessary to make the three of them balanced and powerful when united.  Their looks, personality, and magical abilities differ, allowing them to become powerful conduits of universal energy.

Kira Griffin was gifted with hair as red as the fires that destroyed the great Library of Alexandria, where the most complete collection of ancient literature ever assembled, including the sacred scrolls of Isis, were destroyed by fiery flames.  Skye’s hair was black as a raven’s wing, representing the life-giving silt left by the river Nile, symbolizing fertility, new life, and resurrection.  And Regina was given golden blond hair to represent the flesh of the gods and goddesses, symbolizing eternity and indestructibility.  Their blue eyes represent the color of the heavens and hold true to the supreme Cleopatra’s eyes.  The higher realms hold great hope for the Griffin.

There is a lot of symbolism in this story as it delves into the nature of energy, how to utilize it, and how to overcome tragedies and pitfalls that occur on the earthly plane.  Life is a journey of learning and the sisters, like the majority of us, have much to learn.  The afterlife is referred to often in the story and is taken from years of personal research.  The descriptions and details of the afterlife are based upon people who have experienced past life regressions or near death experiences.  The information regarding the healing light of Reiki, healing crystals, tinctures, etc. is based upon my own experience and knowledge, as I am a Reiki practitioner.

Throughout the book, the Griffin sisters strive to maintain a positive mindset, to manifest what they need, and to accept things they can’t change.  Through the universal life force of energy that surrounds us, the sisters set out to make great changes in the world around them.  Of course they have some whacky relatives to assist them on their journey, as well as spiritual friends guiding their way.  Their life seems a constant battle against evil and yet the Griffin sisters always find time for the most powerful energy in the universe…love.

***

I have two books I want to get to the editor and many more in the works.  I want to make sure book two of the Witches of Griffin series, blends in seamlessly to book one, so I will probably work on book two, before sending book one to the editor.

My next release is a Regency Historical Cinderella story, which I love.  It’s called The Wallflower’s Godmother.

Here’s the blurb:

In any Cinderella story, the damsel must find Prince Charming, but what if the man destined to be yours is not the least bit charming?

Working like a scullery maid in her family’s home is no picnic for Johanna Cavanagh.  When her godmother sails into her life to remove her from such hardship, Johanna sees this as a gift from heaven. She’s immediately swept into a new life filled with lessons in husband catching.  She assumes her godmother’s quirky behavior of speaking to heavenly spirits can only aid her in this endeavor, but…

When the angels encourage Johanna to find favor with the rude and off-putting Earl of Dunford, Johanna believes her future bleak.

Eli Benton, the Earl of Dunford, who nearly drowned in quicksand, is now considering it time to reassess his plans for a future and finds himself beset by a pretty guest of his neighbor’s.  Miss Johanna Cavanagh furiously accuses him of allowing his staff to abuse animals, but if that isn’t enough, this same woman returns back into his life when his daughter is returned to him, causing Miss Johanna to somehow feel it her duty to make sure he treats his child correctly.  Eli finds her meddlesome.

If this is a match made in heaven, why is everyone getting in the way, including Eli and Johanna's own awkward efforts at understanding relationship building.  Amidst Eli’s brother possibly being suspected for murder and kidnapping, a sister whose ice princess image must be melted, and a grief stricken five-year-old, Johanna and Eli keep pursuing love.

The Wallflower’s Godmother is a Regency Historical Romance with spiritual elements.  It is Book One in the Surrounded by Angels series.

I will let you know when this one nears release.  I’m thinking March of 2015.


Symbolism of the Pentacle
Published on November 11, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 3845

I finished an edit on book one in my Witches of Griffin series and decided to blog about a positive symbol that is often misunderstood today.  The pentacle as evil is a relatively modern concept, but when viewing the image, some associate it with Satanists or the dark arts.  In actuality, this ancient sign is considered a potent and powerful symbol of love and light. Throughout history, this five-pointed star encased in a circle, was incorporated by many religions as a positive emblem.  The earliest known use for the pentacle dates back to 3000 BC.  The Sumerians and Babylonians are believed to have used it to depict angles and provide direction.  Some historians believe the pentacle was used for astrological purposes, with the five points representing Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus.

Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician, studied the geometry of the pentacle and recognized that the division of lines resulted in the “Golden Ratio” making it an emblem of perfection, since it is in perfect harmony and balance with the cosmos.  Pythagoras’s followers embraced the mystical concept that the soul was eternal through the process of transmigration.  His followers attributed the points of the pentacle to the elements of earth, air, water, fire, and ideas.

In Egypt, the five-pointed star was known as the star of Isis.  Isis was one of the earliest and most important goddesses in Egypt.  She was the goddess of magic and life.

The Holy Roman Emperor, Constantine used the pentacle as a seal and amulet.  When the church was formed, many Christians associated the pentacle with the five wounds of Christ, or the five joys of the Virgin Mary.  The pentacle was also said to represent the five virtues, while others associated it with the five human senses.

In medieval times, the pentacle was associated with the legends of King Arthur and said to represent the five primary religions.  According to Sir Gawain, a poet, King Solomon designed the five-pointed star as his own magic seal.  It was seen as a symbol of truth, with five points that link and lock with each other, forming what is called the endless knot.  The pentacle was said to represent the five virtues of knighthood: chastity, purity, courtesy, piety, and generosity.  Knights would often have a small pentacle painted on their armor or garb during pilgrimages and battles.  It was common for knights to utilize pagan symbols and allot them religious and spiritual meaning.

The pentacle represented a variety of positive attributes throughout history with the stars point reaching toward the heavens.  The symbol is often linked with the occult for it is a main symbol used by Wiccans.  The sacred nature of the number five was amplified in Celtic traditions from which modern Paganism is derived.

Wiccans see the pentacle as the symbol of Divine knowledge.  The five points represent the directions or elements with the fifth point representing the realm of spirit.  The circle around the pentagram represents unity as a whole.  Thus symbolizing the connectedness that we are all one.

It wasn’t until the 1800’s when the pentacle was inverted so the two points faced upward that a negative association was made and the pentacle became a symbol of darkness. The inverted pentacle is called the Sigil of Baphomet.  It is said to represent the goat head of Baphomet.

In the early 14th century, during the Inquisition, when the Roman Catholic Church interrogated the Knights Templar, Baphomet made its first appearance in history.  At that time, Baphomet was the term used to describe the idol the Templars were accused of worshipping.  Many assume the inverted pentacle’s description was a byproduct of the torture methods used, rather than an actual statue idolized by the knights.  Of the 231 knights examined by the Pope’s commissioners in Paris, only twelve, while under torture, admitted to recognizing the idol, there was also little agreement among the knights descriptions of Baphomet.  It wasn’t until 1856, when the inverted pentacle was associated with the Sabbatic goat image, drawn by French occult leader Eliphas Levi.

Today the Sigil of Baphomet is widely used by the Church of Satan, which was founded in 1966.  The inverted symbol is said to attract evil forces because it has been overturned, harming the proper order of things.  It is a sign of antagonism and fatality, with the three downward points symbolizing rejection of the holy trinity.

The pentacle has deep roots in history, as it is an extension to the potent and powerful pentagram.  The pentacle is a positive symbol of Divine knowledge and connection.  It is used as an amulet of protection.  They are often used in magical rituals, invocations, and spells.  A pentacle made of silver is said to bind the energy of the Moon, while one made of gold binds the energy to the Sun.

A special thank you to http://www.religioustolerance.org/wic_pent.htm http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usma&c=basics&id=2875 http://www.gothwitch.co.uk/Symbols.htm




Staying Clean in Regency England
Published on October 17, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 2387

Bathing in Regency England is sketchy in regards to historical information, since people didn’t often write in journals the daily habits of their toilette, likely they felt such information boring and mundane for their literary genius.  This makes bathing habits speculative at best, but we do know some facts.

Soap was a luxury and not all were able to enjoy its benefits.  Soap was usually spherical in shape and could fit in the palm of your hand.  Soft soaps were made of mutton fat, wood ash, and natural soda; herb oils could be added for scent, but they were more expensive.  Soap was sometimes referred to as a wash ball and was kept in a wash ball holder next to a basin.  Pear’s Soap was sold in 1807; it was an oval bar, transparent, and said to carry the scent of an English garden.  Hard soaps were made with olive oil, soda, lime, herbs, and flowers.  People in rural areas were known to make their own soap.

The majority of Regency folk did not bathe their entire bodies, they spot cleaned body parts, which is still common in many parts of the world.  There was an old belief that washing could bring about illness and water could carry disease into the body through the skin.  Nevertheless, Beau Brummel, who was said to bathe everyday, advocated for frequent washing.  (To read more on Brummell follow link: http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=91)  Many folks visited public medicinal baths believed to bring about health and even cure skin ailments.  These people were not actually bathing to get clean, although this would occur.  My Regency Historical, The Vengeful Earl has scenes that take place in the public spas, in Bath, England.  http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=1&p2_articleid=124

The most common form of bathing was done with a basin, which was usually placed in the bedroom.  The basin was filled with water from a jug and then a cloth or sponge was used to get the job done.  It was rare to have a full bathtub where you could submerge your entire body, and showers were uncommon, thus workers utilized rivers, streams, and lakes.  It was not unusual to only bathe once a week, and many went much longer.  Perfumes and colognes worked wonders to try and hide body odor.  Swimming for fun also brought about clean bodies, but people were more likely to swim in the sea to improve their health than to have fun, since seawater was believed to have medicinal purposes.  Upper and middle classes did not swim together, and men and women were isolated from each other.  Bathing machines became popular.

A Bathing machine was a wheeled buggy that carried the bather into the sea, the bather would then return to the machine to dry and dress before being wheeled back onto the beach.  There were fees to use the bathing machine, but let’s move away from swimming.

The assumption is the lower classes were cleaning themselves in the rivers and half barrels, while the middle and upper classes were sending for moveable tubs.  These small tubs were usually placed behind a dressing screen in front of the fire in a bedroom.  Often they were lined with linens, perhaps to ward off the cold metal of the tub or to prevent splinters from a wooden one.  Footmen would carry buckets from the well to the kitchen to be boiled and then carried to fill the tub.  Sometimes a servant would leave a bucket on the fire to add as the water cooled.  This same water would then need to be carried away again.  Woven linen was used to dry off.  The hauling of water was labor intensive, and water was shared when necessary, especially by the poor.  This is why the basin and pitcher method was utilized by the majority, and even found in bedchambers in respectable inns.

The idea to have a room devoted to bathing can be traced to the 17th century to Samuel Pepys, an English navel officer.  Wimpole Hall had a bathhouse with a shower, but it was unusual for the era.  Until plumbing with warm water was introduced in the mid 19th century, showers remained rare.  The third Earl of Hardwicke had a plunge pool installed that heated the water from a basement boiler.  Toward the end of the 18th century, attitudes toward bathing were changing and bathing became associated with good health.

Shower




A special thank you to Jane Austen’s England, by Roy and Leslie Adkins, https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/category/personal-hygiene/ http://wordwenches.typepad.com/word_wenches/2011/08/bathing-customs.html


Rainbows Through the Ages
Published on October 3, 2014 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 1754


Rainbows are caused by reflection and refractions of sunlight with water droplets in the atmosphere, resulting in a spectrum of seven colors.  The water droplets act as a prism and when met with sunlight, they disperse the light into a rainbow.  Rainbows caused by sunlight appear in the section of the sky, opposite of the sun.  The double rainbow has a second arc where the colors are reversed, the reds face towards each other when this occurs.  Rainbows can be full circles, but we usually only see the arc from our viewpoint.  The rainbow effect can be seen around waterfalls.  A rainbow’s spectrum of color goes from red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and then violet.  These seven colors also represent the seven spheres of heaven, and are associated with the seven main Chakras.  In turn, the colors represent the Divine in all of us.

Rainbows have been around since the dawn of man.  They have been studied by great scholars, mentioned in the bible, used in numerous mythologies, displayed in works of art, and written about in epic Babylonia poems.  One of the earliest references to the rainbow is mentioned in the Bible’s Book of Genesis 9, in the story of Noah after the great flood.  Christians view the rainbow as a symbol of promise.  Greek philosopher, Aristotle, devoted great attention to rainbows in his studies.  Roman philosopher, Seneca the Younger, wrote a book of his observations and hypotheses.  Hindu and Buddhist Tantra followers try to reach the highest meditative state available so to experience the “rainbow body.”  In Hindu mythology, Indra, the goddess of thunder and war, shoots rainbow arrows of light.



In Norse mythology, the rainbow symbolized a burning bridge connecting earth with Asgard, the home of the gods.  In ancient Greece, the virgin rainbow goddess, Iris communicated with the mortals on behalf of Zeus and Hera.  The Egyptians also believed the rainbow a bridge to the heavens.  The degree of a rainbow is similar to the outer slope of the Great Pyramid, intermingling the symbolism of the rainbow with the pyramid.  The Irish leprechaun hiding gold at the end of rainbow comes from the ancient Celts, who saw the rainbow and the cauldron as feminine symbols, while the gold was symbolic of offspring.  So to the Celts, the rainbow represented a promise of new life provided by the divine feminine.  The pot of gold in the end is the manifestation of your dreams coming true.  The ancient Japanese believed the rainbows served as bridges to their ancestors, while the Navajo Indians believed the rainbow to be the path of the holy spirit.

For thousand of years, rainbows have inspired awe and wonder with their beauty.  Rainbows remind us to take a moment and thank the Divine for the gifts in our lives.

A special thank you to http://www.whats-your-sign.com/symbolic-meaning-of-rainbows.html http://www.aseekersthoughts.com/2012/03/rainbow-as-symbol.html and http://www.datalyse.dk/Rainbow/history.htm


Calling Card Etiquette  Regency England
Published on September 25, 2014 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 1602


Like the modern day business card, calling cards were a necessary accessory carried by both gentlemen and ladies during Regency England.  If a person visited friends or acquaintances, they would present their calling card to the butler, who would then announce their arrival to the head of the household.  A person would not be received in a good household without a calling card being presented first.

Calling cards were made from a high quality paper and engraved with the gentleman’s name and address.  A lady’s calling card did not have an address, but it did carry the woman’s married name.  Decorating the card was considered taboo and in poor taste, but the cards did become available in more colors in later years.  The engraving was simple and people were labeled with Mr. or Mrs., of course titles of rank were included on the calling card.


Lady’s calling cards were larger than the male counterpart, since the males needed to fit theirs in a breast pocket.  Women’s calling cards may be glazed and engraved with simple type, but like the colors, the script became more elaborate as the years past.

Calling cards were a great way to recall who visited and to know if a return call was necessary.  A lady returning to town may make the rounds, allowing her groom to pass out her cards while she waits in the vehicle.  A dog-eared card meant the card was delivered in person by the caller, and not from a servant.

Once a card was received, the head of the household would decide on whether to receive the caller.  To be informed by the butler that “the mistress is not home” is a rejection and code for the mistress does not wish to make your acquaintance.  If the caller receives a reciprocal card not presented formally, than this meant there was no interest to continue the acquaintance.  A formal returned visit meant a friendship was possible.  Callers unsure of the reaction they’d receive, usually left a card and didn’t ask if the mistress was home.  In turn, the mistress would feel obligated to return the call, if only done by leaving her card.  An unreciprocated call meant the person was rejected.



Cards were often placed on a silver salver in the entry hall, with the most influential names purposely placed on top of the pile.  This allowed guests to glimpse lofty visitors.  The less affluent used a bowl to hold the cards.

Of course there were special guidelines and even a timetable for paying a call upon someone.  Morning calls, which were less formal, were made between eleven and three.  These calls usually lasted fifteen minutes, and children and pets were not allowed.  Formal ceremonial calls (congratulations or condolences, which was seen as a duty) were made between three and four in the afternoon and typically took place a week after the event.  Semi-ceremonial (after a ball or formal dinner) calls were conducted between four and five, and typically made a day after the event.  Intimate calls were made between five and six.  Sunday was a day reserved for family and friends, no acquaintances or strangers paid calls on the Sabbath.



Calling cards were also a way to let people know you’ve arrived in town or that you were preparing to depart.  Generally the caller left more than one card, one for the mistress of the house, one for the gentleman, and one for the butler.  Calling cards were carried in decorative cases, often made of silver, ivory or paper-mache.  The lids of the cases were artistically detailed later in the century, but during the Regency they were primarily filigree, leather, or tortoiseshell.  Only the wealthy could afford cases made from pure metals like gold.

 

A special thank you to http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2007/05/21/the-etiquette-of-using-calling-cards/ and http://www.literary-liaisons.com/article026.html and Visiting Cards and Cases by Edwin Banfield, Baros Books, Wiltshire, 1989.


The Hamsa
Published on August 30, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 1270


The hamsa is a palm shaped symbol used in many parts of the world as a protection amulet against the evil eye.  The evil eye is a destructive energy given by others that arises from envy, hatred, or jealousy.  The evil eye is believed to cause illness, death, or unluckiness, which is why the hamsa often carries the symbol of the eye upon its palm.  The amulet is shaped like the hand with three fingers in the middle.  The curved thumb and pinky are bilateral and symmetrical in form.  The word hamsa means five and refers to the five fingers.  The number five is a powerful number symbolizing defense, strength, and fortune.  The origin of the hamsa dates back to ancient Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) and predates Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  It evolved to become a sacred and respected symbol in many religions.  The hand serves as protection against evil and danger, but it also represents femininity and is referred to as the woman’s holy hand.  This sign of protection is believed to hold a powerful energy as it represents blessings, power, and strength.


The hamsa carries different connotations in various religions.  To the Muslims the hamsa represents the hand of Fatima (Prophet Muhammad’s daughter) with the five fingers representing the Five Pillars of Islam for Sunnis and the Five People of the Cloak for Shi’ites.  The hamsa represents the hand of Mary to the Christians and those of the Jewish faith refer to it as the hand of Miriam (Sister of Moses with the fingers representing the five books of Moses).  The hamsa hands are not always symmetrical and hamsa’s shaped like actual hands are also used. 

The symbol can be worn with the fingers pointing up or down, both ways are believed to bring happiness, peace, and protection.

The Hamsa Prayer

Let no Sadness come to this heart

Let no trouble come to these arms

Let no conflict come to these eyes

Let my soul be filledwith the blessing of joy and peace.


Since I’m working on the Witches of Griffin series, which focuses on Ancient Egypt, I found that the Sky God Horus, claimed men could never escape the eye of conscience, because the eye is always open and the eye monitors all life.  The eye of Horus is a symbol that represents God in mathematical form.  Essentially, the whole is divided and then divided continually, making the sum of the numbers 63/64.  The sequence can continue into infinity and the number one will never be reached.  The determination is that God is one.  Metaphorically, the hamsa is the Hand of God and the ultimate defense against all evil.  If you draw the Eye of Horus, the cross section of the mid-brain takes you to the thalamus, where the pineal and pituitary glands are located.  The pineal gland is also known as the third eye or a person’s spiritual center.  The third eye, if opened, is believed to connect you with spiritual dimensions and provide perceptions beyond ordinary sight.

Due to the renewed interest in Kabbalah and mystical Judaism, the hamsa pendant is making a comeback.  The hamsa can be found in art, clothing, and jewelry.  Unfortunately, the symbol is sometimes misunderstood today, with people tying it to the Illuminati to represent control and surveillance by the elites.  Nevertheless, the hamsa represents God and it has a positive, uplifting spiritual message.

 














A special thanks to www.hamsameaning.com www.goood.co.il and www.luckymojo.com


Sweets and Confections of Regency England
Published on August 9, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 3162

Although the people in Regency England couldn’t enjoy one of those yummy caramel and milk chocolate squares made from Ghirardelli, there were other sweets available at the time.


Ice Cream

Making ice cream was an expensive process, since hauling and storing giant blocks of ice was an arduous chore that began in the freezing winter months.  Cut ice was stored in an icehouse, which was dug deeply enough underground to allow the ice to remain frozen during the summer months.  Since ice cutting, transporting, and storing were laborious, this made the cost of ice very high.  So only the affluent with icehouses consumed ice cream.

In the 19th century, Italian Swiss entrepreneur, Carlo Gatti, began to import great quantities of ice into London from Norway, in turn making ice more affordable.  He is credited as the first to make ice cream available to the general public.  In turn, confectioner shops in London began offering ices and ice cream to their customers.  Ices were often flavored with flowers, like violets, orange flowers, roses, etc.  One of the most famous confectioners, and the one mentioned in my books, is Gunter’s Tea Shop (Originally established in 1757 and called The Pot and Pineapple).  Gunter’s was considered a fashionable light eatery in Mayfair, and known for its ices and sorbets.  Located on the east side of Berkeley Square, Gunter’s became a trendy place for a gentleman to take the lady he was courting.  Gunter’s was the only establishment where a lady could visit alone, without a chaperone or relative, and no harm would come to her reputation.

Chocolate

Chocolate was introduced to Europe from Central America in the 16th century.

A Frenchman established the first chocolate house in London in 1657, but the chocolate was made into a beverage.  During Regency England, the higher classes often enjoyed hot chocolate in the morning with breakfast.

There were some chocolate candies available at the time, like the conserve of chocolate, which is like fudge.  They also had flat discs of bitter chocolate that were covered with nonpareils.  Due to the bitterness of chocolate, new techniques were used to improve the texture and taste.  Chocolate was used in baking chocolate rolls and cakes, but it wasn’t until revolutionized approaches to better the quality, did companies like Cadbury begin to sell boxed chocolates in England in 1868.  The first chocolate bar was made in 1847, but milk chocolate wasn’t made until 1875.

Sweetmeats (which simply means sweet food.)

Marzipan candies were introduced to England in the late Middle Ages.  Marzipan is made from ground almonds, sugar, and usually rose water.  They were often served at the end of a meal and were displayed as centerpieces at a gathering or upon the dessert table.  Marzipan could be sculpted to make animals, people, castles, etc., nowadays it’s often molded to resemble fruit.

Licorice was used as a medicinal plant for centuries, until in 1760 when Englishman, George Dunhill, added some sugar and turned it into a sweet.  Made by hand, this treat was expensive until after the Industrial Revolution.

Chewy caramels were available in the 18th century, along with toffee, taffy, spun sugar, and butterscotch.  These were not necessarily made the way they are made today, and taffy pulls weren’t invented until the 1840’s.

Dried fruits, gingerbread, sugared almonds, and jellied fruits were enjoyed in England since the Middle Ages.

A special thank you to https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/category/regency-food/, englishhistorianauthors.com, and http://www.localhistories.org/sweets.html


Reincarnation and the Griffin Sisters Beliefs
Published on July 25, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 1505

In my Griffin Witches series, my main characters are triplet sisters who have the ability to manipulate energy.  They are very spiritual beings.  Due to the loss of loved ones close to them, these stories delve into the afterlife and reincarnation.

According to data released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a quarter of American’s believe in reincarnation.  The research also claims that women are more likely to believe than men, and Democrats are more likely to believe than Republicans.  Being stuck in religious dogma can hinder the mind to be open for learning, but I believe it is always important to look outside the box.  Many in the West believe the soul’s order is birth, life, death, and rebirth.  Where after your life you die, you’re judged, and you’re sent to heaven or hell with no appeals allowed for eternity.  In the East, there are nearly a billion Hindu’s and a half billion Buddhists, not to mention the ancient civilizations, who have a cyclical view.  They believe the soul’s order is birth, life, death, and because no one is perfect, the soul is reborn on earth to begin anew.

The concept of reincarnation dates back 3,000 years to India and Greece, although it has largely been rejected by the Jewish and Christian traditions.  The idea of reincarnation has been stepping to the forefront in the West due to pass life regression hypnotherapy and the fascination American’s have with the idea of living before.  I’ve read dozens of books regarding these past life regressions and life between life regressions.  Although it cannot be proven with certainty that what these people experience is true, it has been proven that experiencing these kinds of regressions have been known to help the therapist’s client heal.  In Lifetimes new series, Reincarnated: Past Lives, the clients’ stories often contain historic names and places.  This information is then traced through history to be found factual.  Could these people just be making up tribal signs and places they never heard of from imagination?  Is this information stored in some energy grid and pulled from the ether?  Or are they in essence experiencing a life they had once lived?  I definitely find these theories fascinating and I hope to one day participate in my own Life Between Life session.  And when I do, I will be sure to blog about it.


The people who undergo this type of therapy believe what they imagine under deep hypnosis has happened to them and they seem to have intense feelings and often cry while undergoing a past life death.  If you are interested in learning more I suggest researching Michael Newton.  And since I feel it essential to examine concepts from various angles, it’s important to note that skeptics believe these hypnotic journeys into past lives is due to a construction of the brain to project itself into a future state that doesn’t exist.  Many scientists point to cryptomnesia (the emergence of forgotten memories), suggestibility by the hypnotherapist, fantasy and imagination, hysterical dissociation, wishful thinking, or self-delusion.  Science has not proven life after death to be true or untrue, making reincarnation and past life regression therapy, controversial theories.

Jim Tucker, a professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia claims, “there are good reasons to think that consciousness can be considered a separate entity from the physical realty.”  To read more on this, http://www.npr.org/2014/01/05/259886077/searching-for-science-behind-reincarnation And according to Dr. Ian Stevenson, Ph.D., former Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, who spent 40 years researching reincarnation stories with children states, “About 35% of children who claim to remember previous lives have birthmarks and/or birth defects that they (or adult informants) attribute to wounds on a person whose life the child remembers.”

Spiritualist, like my characters, believe we are here on earth to learn and love, that we are all connected, and when we harm another, we harm our eternal soul which then needs to make an amends in this life or in another life.  As Dr. Weiss states, “We are souls having a human experience.”  We are always connected to the higher power, our angels, and our deceased loved ones, and thus we are never truly alone.  Our higher self still exists on the higher plane, learning and teaching younger souls, as a portion of our soul on earth is also busy learning.  We learn through love, compassion, and giving, as we try to raise our vibration and energy levels higher so to become closer to God.  The trials and tribulations we face on earth are in place to teach us empathy toward others.  Once our spiritual energy is wise enough, we no longer find it necessary to incarnate, unless we wish to.  We tend to become guides to younger souls, sharing with them the wisdom we learned through our own soul’s journeys.  Thus, the Griffin sisters do not believe in coincidences, and know there is much more being manipulated and arranged by our guides and angels than we realize.  Perhaps there’s a reason why you feel you’ve known someone forever, it could be because you have.  The Griffin sisters see the signs before them, but they do not always read them correctly, which in essence, is part of life.


It is easy to learn about reincarnation, as the Eastern traditions are making their way West in the form of Yoga studios, Reiki, acupuncture, movies, and much more. The eternal soul is not a new concept, but not all believers in eternity believe we return to begin life anew, as a new person, likely in a different culture, and with many of the same souls we’ve journeyed with before.  It’s little wonder the concept is so fascinating to ponder.

A special thank you to: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/fashion/29PastLives.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 and http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/the-scientific-evidence-for-reincarnation-fact-or-fantasy/#sthash.Yfz0pZTi.dpuf Also special thanks to Michael Newton and Brian Weiss.