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Angelina and Sarah Grimke – Sisters Who Helped Change History

The world is full of families that have worked together to achieve remarkable things. Through their deeds, many of them leave this earth a better place than they found it. A small part of a large family, Angelina and Sarah Grimke went against many of their father’s beliefs, during the 19th century, to help change the course of America’s history. 

The two women were born to the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court of North Carolina during a time when slavery was rampant. Their father personally owned many slaves and believed in the subordination of women. The girls were raised on a large plantation which showed them the worst aspects of humanity, early in life. Sarah even tried to run away at the age of five, because of the horrors she witnessed on the plantation. Although it was against the law, she also taught her personal slave to read. As a young girl, Sarah showed an intense desire to excel in academics. When her father forbade her from going to college, she requested to be godmother to her youngest sister, Angelina. The girls became very close and spent the rest of their lives fighting for a cause together.

In 1835, the Grimke sisters began to personally support the Abolition Movement, making speeches throughout the country. This exposed them to how powerless women were during the era. Angelina’s first article against slavery, encouraged southern women to join the Movement to stop their husbands from cheating on them with their slaves. The tone and content of her writing sparked outrage, as this topic would not have been publicly discussed at the time.

In addition to campaigning for the abolition of slavery, the sisters supported racial acceptance. Regardless of the criticism they received after each speech, they pressed on and, in 1838, became the first women to address the Massachusetts State Legislature. Despite the scandal that ensued, they received a large female following. This increased to thousands of women, many of whom would travel over long distances to hear the sisters speak.

After Angelina got married to abolitionist and women’s right supporter, Theodore Weld, Sarah moved in with the couple and they both retired from public speaking. The sisters continued editing and writing for abolitionist newspapers, however. They also started a boarding school where those who supported abolitionism could send their children to be educated about politics and slavery, without the era’s prejudices. When the sisters found out that their deceased brother had fathered three children by a slave woman, they welcomed the two eldest into their home and provided them with education and support.

Despite the hardships that Sarah and Angelina endured, their dedication was rewarded. Both women lived long enough to witness the abolition of slavery, and the passing of the 15th Amendment. In 1870, as Sarah was approaching 80, the Grimke sisters tearfully voted for the first time. 

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Notorious Female Murderers – Otillie ‘Tillie’ Klimek

Described as a ‘squat’ woman, who only spoke broken English, Ottilie Klimek came to the United States as an infant. Her family settled in Chicago, in a Polish community, where she continued to live when she became an adult. Tillie was married to her first husband, John Mitkiewicz, for 29 years, before his death in 1919. The cause of death was determined as heart disease and Tillie, then 49, remarried shortly after. When her second husband passed away, a short while into their marriage, then a boyfriend who had ‘jilted’ her; many people began thinking that Tillie may have been cursed.

Incredibly, this did not stop her from finding another suitor, this time in Frank Kupzsyk. After their marriage, and he moved in with her, Frank became ill and Tillie started telling the neighbours that he wouldn’t be alive for much longer. She claimed to have foreseen his imminent death in a dream, bought a coffin in advance, and sat by his bedside knitting a mourning hat. Like those before him, Frank passed away and his widow went on to collect the insurance money.

Joseph Klimek became smitten with Tillie, not long after Frank’s death, and married her despite his family’s protests. He also became ill but was quickly rushed to the hospital, unlike Tillie’s previous husbands, by his relatives. Tests for arsenic poisoning came back positive, and the doctor’s notified the police. His wife was immediately taken into custody, and the bodies of her deceased husbands later exhumed. They all contained lethal doses of arsenic. Despite spending more than three months hospitalized, unable to walk, Joseph survived. He told the nurses that Tillie had encouraged him to take out extra life insurance, and he had succumbed to her wishes. 

Tillie’s cousin, Nellie, was also arrested after she told them that Nellie had provided her with a ‘goodly portion’ of ‘Rough on Rats’ poison. The investigation showed that several of the women’s neighbours, and relatives, had become seriously ill after eating food cooked by Tillie. She had also ‘predicted’ unfortunate incidents that would happen to a few of these, including foreseeing a family on the block being hit by a deadly plague. After this, three of their children died and it surfaced that Tillie had recently had an argument with the family. Police came up with a list of 20 people who had been poisoned, with 14 dying as a result. Tillie was tried for the murder of her third husband, Frank Kupzsyk, in Cook County. She was sentenced to life in prison, which was the harshest penalty ever given to a woman in the county and died there on November 20, 1936. 

Devil Worshipping vs Satanism

Devil Worshipping

Living in a predominantly Christian society results in the topic of the worshipping of the devil being avoided by most people. ‘Devil’ is derived from the Greek word diabolos meaning ‘one who throws across’ or creates an obstruction for another. Different deities are referred to as devils, but the term Devil is most often used in reference to the Christian entity known as Satan, Lucifer, The Prince of Darkness and God of this World. Devil worshipping and Satanism are also mistakenly believed to be synonymous, but most Satanists don’t consider themselves Devil worshippers, and vice versa. Devil worshipping in its truest form is the expression of ardent love and devotion towards a deity that has been claimed as slandered.

There are also different types of devil worshipping, with the most prevalent being the worshipping of Satan, the Christian deity in opposition to God. This is referred to as Theistic Satanism, and often includes ceremonial magic. The Devil is considered to be the instigator of all deviation from the word of the Lord, more accurately a ‘God of Evil.’ Most devil worshippers are not advocates of evil, however, but are rebels against the belief that the world operates under the concept of ’good against evil.’ There is no limit to their ideologies and there are many interpretations of who, or what, the ‘powers of darkness’ are and how they should be glorified.

Many conventional religious practitioners often fear, hate or misunderstand this choice of worship.

Devil worshippers consider the deities that they praise to represent intellectualism and the power of humans. They see conventional religion as a means of keeping humans gullible and controllable. The main focus of devil worshipping is the rebellion against authoritarian rule and persecution, in all forms. Devil worshippers believe in defending all people from being persecuted, even those that persecute them.

Satanism

Satanism can also take many forms, with the majority of Satanists not believing in or worshipping any deity. The Church of Satan was founded in 1966, but doesn’t have any actual church buildings as this would go against their belief in an individual approach to life. The following is based on pragmatism, and the majority of its members live by the teachings of Anton Lavey. They advocate atheism, rejecting spiritual or supernatural based hypotheses, and apply scientific scepticism to all scenarios.

Satanists place a high value on art and symbolism and have adopted Satan as a symbol of passion, pride and liberty. They use symbols associated with the deity to accentuate, what they view as, the hypocrisy of Christian symbols on government property. One example of this rebellion is the petitioning for the placement of Baphomet statues near public displays of the Ten Commandments. Satanists hold themselves in the highest possible regard, believing in their power to achieve beyond the ordinary.

 

Magic and Nature – Invoking the Spirits

Natural magic also includes another aspect, which is based on the belief that each plant, animal, rock and other natural object has a spirit. These nature spirits are also referred to as Consciousness Resonance Matrix, and can join together to create a hive mind. The spirits of nature are less abstract and controllable than the elementals used in other magic, but possess high levels of intelligence and psychic abilities. Once invoked correctly they can be powerful allies. An important part of the training for natural magicians is to sense these spirits, and their willingness to form a relationship and take part in rituals.

Nature spirits can contribute incredible amounts of power into any ritual being performed, and it is often recommend to allow them to determine the way in which the magic should be channeled. Physical manifestations produced by nature spirits can delight and surprise humans. Many ritual performers have witnessed birds, and other animals, joining in with chants and moving around in areas where the energy is being raised. There have also been reported incidents of the weather being different from other nearby places to make it harmonious for the ritual, such as a clear area in an otherwise rainy atmosphere.

Working with nature spirits creates a deeper connection with other aspects of nature, and helps people achieve new levels of tuning into the Universe. Success with spells that invoke nature spirits often results in subtle changes in consciousness that have a lasting effect. When first connecting with the spirits, it is important to approach them as equals and with the utmost respect. The areas in which rituals are going to be performed should be ‘power spots,’ where there are many spirits that are willing to take part. These places will always have good feeling, powerful energy fields.

Spirits should never be approached disrespectfully, or in a commanding manner. The same level of respect a magician has for nature should be shown to its spirits. Inappropriate methods of communication may cause the spirits to attack or flee. When nature spirits aren’t in agreement with a ritual, the immediate area becomes quiet. There have also been reports of bees, or other insects, attacking practitioners when the spirits are not in harmony with their actions. 

Once a ‘power spot’ has been located, permission to enter should be granted by the residing spiritual forces. Magicians need to prepare themselves, the nature spirits and the area for the ritual. This can be done by meditating and ‘feeling’ the earth for a few hours, or days, before it is scheduled. Many magicians also use musical instruments to connect with the spirits, by playing in harmony with natural sounds. Gratitude should always be expressed upon the completion of any ritual, so that the spirits will be willing to help in future, and tokens of appreciation may be given depending on the particular ritual and spirits. 

Magic and Nature

Western magic has two distinct divisions: ritual and natural magic. Less controversial than ritual magic, natural magic has been openly practised during times when witches were being excessively persecuted. One form of natural magic is based on the magical power of physical substances, such as herbs, metals, stones, perfumes and resins. This a demonstration of the Hermetic axiom ‘As above, so below,’ meaning that every object in the material world is a reflection of spiritual, or astrological, forces. The philosophies associated with the practise of natural magic are closely related to astrology.

Those who practise magic recognise the gifts that are in abundance on Earth, and the power that is being generated on an ongoing basis. Natural magicians are skilled at using material reflections to harvest and disperse these magical powers, at the higher levels of being. They do this by infusing objects, with the properties of heavenly bodies, most frequently the sun and the moon.

The belief that natural objects, such as rocks, plants and animals bones, are connected to the human experience is also a part of natural magic. Examples of these include: sage being connected to wisdom and purification, rose quartz as the stone of the heart and love, and oak is attributed to strength and sturdiness. This form of natural magic is also called sympathetic magic, and rituals are normally performed without prayers or invoking deities, as the magical attributes of the items are expected to power the spell.

Magicians have been tapping into the power of the Universe for centuries, using natural magic, which relies on the energy of all living beings. They learn how nature connects lifeforms and uses this to their advantage. While scientists often tap into, or mimic, the power of nature to create technological devices, magicians familiarise themselves with the secrets of nature. In ancient cultures, healers, priests and other well respected community members were trained in astrology, and the divine knowledge of the Earth.

Many natural magicians learn to control a specific aspect of nature, such as mastering the power of lightening. They are able to harvest, and channel the energy that is released prior to the discharge of a large bolt. This energy can then be used to make or break spells, create illusions and to heal others. Healers are considered one of the most powerful practitioners of natural magic. They understand the cycles of nature, and use them to create a more healing atmosphere. The elements are also connected to natural objects and can affect the well-being of humans. Tattvic Tides (present in the morning) are a representation of the elements of earth or water, and during their rule people with breathing problems suffer the most. After noon, when the tides have changed and the element of air has taken over they can breathe easier. Healers observe cycles like these, and administer their treatments accordingly.

The Day of the Dead – Mexico

Dia de Muertos, better known as The Day of the Dead, is a holiday which is celebrated throughout Mexico. The tradition began in the Central and Southern regions, and lasts from October 31st – November 2nd, each year. Festivities are held to honour the dead, and have been traced back for 3000 years. During this era, it was considered disrespectful to mourn those that have passed away. The Day of the Dead has also been linked to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl, which originally took place during the summer. The time of year was changed to coincide with All Hallow’s Eve, and other celebrations, which involve a merger of the living and the dead.

To signify the importance of the holiday, the vast majority of revellers have their faces painted to look like skulls, and both genders dress up in fancy garments. Many of them also wear, or carry, shells and other noisemakers. In addition to creating a jovial environment, these instruments are to awake and alert those that have died to the presence of their family members. Communities are decorated with items made from pierced paper, papel picado. The decorations are made by stacking layers of tissue paper together, and piercing them using a hammer and chisel. They are then draped around altars, and in the streets, as a representation of the wind and the fragility of life. Throughout the country, parties and parades are kept which include singing, dancing and making offerings to the ancestors.

It is believed that the dead make the journey back to the world of the living during this time, and everything is done in their honour. Families build altars, or ofrendas, in homes and cemeteries, meant to welcome the spirits back to this realm. The altars are loaded with food and water, to satiate the souls after their long journey. Family photos, a candle for each dead relative and marigolds are also used to decorate the altars. The marigold is the flower of the dead, and the petals are often scattered from the gravesite to the altars to guide the souls back to their resting place. To purify the air around the altar copal incense, which is made from tree resin, is burnt.

Deceased relatives need to be well fed to undertake the journey to our world and back again. Living family members make and place their favourite meals on the altars. Other foods are also made as offerings, such as pan de puerto – a sweet bread decorated with skulls and bones, which may be round to represent the circle of life, tiny teardrops made of dough to represent sorrow, sugar skulls, pulque – a sweet fermented beverage made from agave sap, and stole – a thin warm porridge consisting mainly of corn flour and hot chocolate.