Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Monty Python Strikes Again

Welcome to Dead Parrot Fan Club 7, also known as the Dead Parrot Society! We’re glad you could make it! Do check out the other Dead Parrot Fan Club groups on other networks. This group is for all you Monty Python enthusiasts out there. How many of you joined Netflix (or Blockbuster)so that you can get all the old Monty Python episodes and movies? Who is your favorite Monty Python member? Stephen’s favorite is John Cleese, but he also likes Eric Idle. Tegwedd finds it difficult to choose one, but if forced to choose a favorite, she would say Terry Jones because he’s Welsh, and she likes the first name Terry. John Cleese has adapted very well to Hollywood, although he and Palin play off each other very well in A Fish Called Wanda.

Which is your favorite sketch? Tegwedd is torn among three: the one where they’re asking great philosophers inane questions about sports, the Upper Class Twit games, and the Lumberjack song. Stephen’s favorite sketch is the Dead Parrot sketch. It is also Dylan Cook’s favorite sketch, and the sketch this group is names after. Another favorite vignette of Tegwedd’s is the FreeMason vignette, and another favorite sketch of hers is the “Nudge nudge wink wink” sketch. Which is your favorite Monty Python movie? Stephen’s, as you might suspect, is Monty Python & the Holy Grail, while Tagwedd’s fave is Jabberwocky. You can probably get it through Netflix if you just want to view it, and if you want to own a copy. Why do all of you love the Monty Python? Tegwedd loves it because she loves British humor. Stephen does because the Python changed social behavior and attitudes towards controversial things. It brought the concept of being gay out in the open, because of Graham Chapman being gay.

They are one group who helped create the concept of music in comedy. Across the pond, at about the same time, the Firesign Theatre did the same. South Park was influenced by both groups. There is a South Park musical about the Mormon church on Broadway right now, and even the Mormons like it. Cheech & Chong were also influenced with their “Born in East LA.”
So far as Stephen knows, and Tegwedd’s research on the subject bears this out, Yellowbeard was Graham Chapman’s last movie role. He portrayed King Arthur in Monty Python & the Holy Grail, and Brian in Life of Brian. What is your favorite Monty Python song? Ours is “The Lumberjack Song.” Stephen’s second favorite is “Every Sperm Is Sacred” from The Meaning of Life. Dylan, we haven’t heard from you in awhile. We’d love for you to post to this group. He started the Monty Python Fan Club on Yahoo. We’re trying to kill that group because it doesn’t have an owner. Dylan changed his nick, and the name cited as owner is his old nick.

Many Monty Python members besides Graham Chapman have done solo movie roles. There was A Fish Called Wanda for John Cleese and Michael Palin. Then for Palin there’s Three Men In a Boat, The Missionary, A Private Function, American Friends, Wind in the Willows, Willows in Winter, Fierce Creatures, and Not the Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy). John Cleese’s movie roles are too numerous to mention. He did Fierce Creatures with Michael Palin, and many more by himself. Eric Idle did All You Need Is Cash (the Rutles mockumentary), Hollywood Burn, the voice of Waddlesworth the parrot in 102 Dalmations, and the voice of Merlin the magician in Shrek the Third. Dylan’s favorite Monty Python movie is Monty Python & the Holy Grail. Terry Jones is known mostly for directing movies other than the Monty Python films. Wind in the Willows and Erik the Viking. Terry Gilliam is more of a director and animator than a performer. He directed several movies, among them The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Brazil. John Cleese was a star of Fawlty Towers. His character Fawlty, was based upon a real hotel manager whose rude approach to customer service was memorable for Cleese. Tegwedd didn’t care for the show, and only watched one or two episodes, but Stephen loved the show. It was cancelled after 2 seasons. Cleese is both the most prolific of the Python, and the eldest, having been born in 1939. Terry Gilliam, the only American of the Python was born in Medicine Lake, MN in 1940. His family moved to California a few years later after his sister had pneumonia. Graham Chapman didn’t die of AIDS as most people assume, but of throat cancer because he was always sucking on that infernal pipe of his. This information is from the Wikipedia.

Do any of you know of any other Monty Python groups we can hook up with. We’d like to connect with these other groups and share information, perhaps the other groups can post to our groups. Carol Cleveland was the only actual woman to play parts in the Monty Python sketches. The other women’s parts were played by members of the Monty Python themselves in women’s clothes and falsetto voices. She was in the Lumberjack sketch in the Jeanette McDonald role. Stephen believes that transvestism in the Monty Python sketches originates in the “Carry On” movies of the 50s and early 60s. Cross-dressing and transvestism are very common themes in British comedy. Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were comedic partners in Bedazzled and were great friends with Benny Hill and the Monty Python. Stephen believes they played the female parts themselves because they were on a shoestring budget and want to have to pay female actors. In Monty Python & the Holy Grail, they used coconut shells instead of horses, which was hilarious. Terry Gilliam in the movie was Patsy the devoted servant who carried everyone’s luggage, and gets killed by the Trojan chicken falling on him. He was the cartoonist in Jabberwocky being chased by the Jabberwock doing these crazy cartoons when his character has a heart attack. Gilliam was the hidden Python member. He was also the wise man in the hut telling Lancelot that he must get a shrubbery. How did Terry Gilliam wind up with the Monty Python? Neither of us can figure it out. It wasn’t in the Wikipedia article. We’re both very curious about this. Help satisfy our curiosity. If you find anything else about the Monty Python that you think we’d like to know, please post, and let us know. If you have any other tidbits about the sketches or the movies, please post them as well.

The Monty Python was a direct heir to the Beyond the Fringe comedy troupe of the late 50s, early 60s and the Carry On movies of the 50s going into the 90s. If anyone knows of a Carry on movie having been released in the 2000s, please let us know.

Stephen will have no computer access after today, July 22nd, until his laptop returns. When it returns, we’ll return to preparing the 3 sample chapters to Llewellyn. The Mission statement for the Abbott’s Inn International School of Magick provides a gentle nurturing environment that promotes education in both the atmosphere and specific tools of magick. As always, call 1-888-611-7982 for all your divination reading, learning class, and Pagan-magickal research needs, or go to , , and , and our Ning network .

Friday, July 22, 2011

What is Hedgecraft?

Sorry to have been away for so long, but we had computer issues, and also forming new groups. We have a whole bunch of vampire groups on H15 now. Stephen is still having computer issues, and this Friday the library will be closes for 2 ½ months for renovations. Tegwedd has a new computer, but she has noticed that Stephen has a field around him that is harmful to computers, so she won’t let him near it. He kills computers. He has killed at least 5 so far. Even the library computers have fallen prey to some kind of anti-technology field around him. The computers there worked just fine for Tegwedd, but they slow down and stop for him.

What is Hedgecraft anyway? A lot of people are slinging it around, it’s like the new buzzword in the Pagan community. Hedgecraft is an admixture, a witch’s brew, if you will, of herbalism, an understanding of trees, herbs, plants, and natural healing that encompass naturalism and natural magick, it also encompasses natural crafts, handiwork with materials drawn from nature, also kitchen witchery and cottage witchery. Witches’ brews and potions are hedgecraft, as are the formulation of oils, incenses, and brews. So is the crafting of magickal tools, amulets, and talismans out of materials found in nature. The last ten years hedgecraft has enjoyed a renaissance such as we haven’t seen since the rebirth of the Craft some sixty years ago. Hedgewitches are sprouting up all over. Tegwedd just found a new definition for hedgecraft. She googled it. Hedgecraft, or “riding the hedge” is the shamanic art of crossing the hedge or boundary between this world and the Otherworld. It is mostly European in character, and the practitioners often delve into their own heritage to practice this art. It is also the art of the cunning man or cunning wife of the villages and countryside. It is also adaptable. Doing a fertility spell over a neighbor’s tractor is not at all unusual for a hedgewitch.

Hedgewitch is a book by Silver RavenWolf that describes what hedgecraft is, and what a hedgewitch is. You could be a hedgewitch. Tegwedd got an idea from the book’s first chapter that she has been using ever since. Silver told the story of a man who had an old fashioned phone (one of those gold or brass and artificial ivory ones you see in European movies on TV) that he did not hook up to any phone line, dialed 911, and called the universe (or multiverse if you’d rather) with an urgent plea. The formula used for sending your petition to the multiverse is: Dial or punch in 911 Smile as you say your petition, what you need. Then say: “This always works, it always helps.” Then Tegwedd likes to add something she learned in another book by Silver RavenWolf: “I accept this mentally, I accept this spiritually, I accept this emotionally, I accept this physically.” Hedgecraft can be used for raising money because it’s a green craft, and in the USA, our money is green. In fact, one of our names for our money is greenbacks. Midwifery and potion making can also be considered hedgecraft and go back thousands of years, back to cave dwelling times. The two principal tools of a hedgewitch are a cauldron and a big wooden spoon, or perhaps even a spoon made from a spoon gourd.

A number of new books on hedgecraft and topics related to it have recently come out on the market. Some of these are: Natural Witchery, Garden Witchery, Cottage Witchery, and The Garden Witch’s Herbal. And these are from just one publisher. The hedgewitch is the picture from faery tale books we all expect to see when we hear the word hedgewitch. Of course she might not be dressed in a ragged robe and pointy hat, but a tee shirt and a pair of jeans. She might be a he and live in a suburban apartment instead of a country cottage, and hir garden might be a community garden down the block.. One such hedgewitch was Scott Cunningham. In one of his many books, he says that his surname, an old family name, comes from the cunning men who were in his ancestry. He was into magickal foods, oils, herbs, and potions. Ellen Dugan is definitely, having written several books on hedgecraft-related topics. The hedgecraft movement within the Craft is a happening thing, and shows no sign of slowing down. Stephen likes this topic because a large part of what his grandmother did, and what she taught him was hedgecraft. All you ecology freaks should become hedgewitches and go back to the magick of naturalism, of hedgecraft. Really get back to the root of the matter. Hedgewitches should be protectors of the environment and elemental politics. Put your resources where your mouth is. Anyone who calls hirself a hedgewitch should be actively concerned about the environment and ecology. Have concerns for our forests, rivers, lakes, rivers, plant like, and animals. If you call yourself a hedgewitch, you should do your utmost to support natural healing with herbal remedies such as tinctures, potions, compresses, poultices, and natural vitamins. Wean yourselves off of traditional Western medicine and reclaim your Goddess-given ability to heal both yourselves and others naturally, including the animals and livestock you are in charge of.

You could say that hedgecraft is somewhat along the lines of natural alchemy. You take herbs and transmute them into an herbal potion. This transformation is transmutation, an alchemical process. It’s vitally important to keep good records of the process by which each potion is created so that you can create a potion book of shadows which can be published, and more importantly, recreate the potion the next time it is needed. Doing this pays homage to the late great Scott Cunningham who was a real life potions master. Both of us recommend the books he wrote on the subject such as Incenses, Oils, & Brews. There are many books on this topic published by Llewellyn, and other publishing houses. Look how important the concept of potions was in the Harry Potter books and movies.

In color magick we think that we can easily say that green should be the dominant color of hedgecraft. Green is the traditional color of healing. It’s the color of Venus, Aphrodite Who lost Her nightie, the Goddess of love. Because of this, it’s also the color of love, and the anahata or heart chakra. It’s also the color of the plant world. What are your favorite herbs to use for hedgecraft? Stephen’s favorite hands down is marijuana, cannabis, ganja, dutchie, Indian hemp. He has glaucoma, and he can see better when he uses it, because it takes the pressure off his eyeballs. It’s a powerful muscle relaxant, and people who have AIDS or have to do chemotherapy for cancer can use it to quell nausea and increase their appetites for food. Stephen doesn’t recommends smoking it because of his asthma, but cannabis tea is good, and brownies are splendid as are blondies, and sandies, a kind of cookie (or biscuit, as the Brits like to call them. Tegwedd isn’t fond of having smoke in her lungs either, having never used tobacco because she’s allergic to it. Tegwedd used to like to use it when she was younger for prementrual symptoms. Many women use it as a tea for menstrual cramps. Stephen’s favorite form of Sacred Herb is hashish, but this is still illegal. To know more about cannabis, Stephen highly recommends that you join the publication High Times on the internet. You can google it and also join NORML, which Stephen joined around 1970, when it was founded. Another form of it is hemp, which Tegwedd would like to see legalized, and turned into an industrial crop to replace tobacco, which does nobody any good. Hemp can be used for everything from cloth to biofuel. It would provide thousands of jobs, it doesn’t deplete the soil the way that tobacco does, and it would bring in billions in taxable income. Read the Great Book of Hemp. Tegwedd likes taking a bath in basil water. Basil is a money herb. She takes a bunch of fresh basil, and separates out all the best leaves. She cooks the rest in spring water until it turns green. She puts it into a clean jar (an old pasta sauce jar works well for this purpose). She lets it cool enough so that she can handle the jar, and takes it and the best leaves into the bathroom, and runs a comfortably warm bath, pouring the basil water into the bath water. She soaks in it and visualizes getting money from all sources except those that would be harmful, and rubs her body with the leaves. She gets out of the bath, and lets her skin air dry so that the virtue of the basil bath stays on her skin.

Tegwedd first heard of NORML in the 80s. That was also when she saw her first issue of High Times magazine. She thought that a columnist for the magazine with the byline Lord Nose, was Stephen, because of his lifelong obsession with noses. She recently brought him a copy of Kush, another magazine about sacred herb, from the library, which didn’t want it. Stephen ate it up. “Their loss,” he said. There was an article, “The Women of NORML” about a group of women working in Washington DC to get the laws against cannabis changed. We’ll bet that you can join the magazine online. We also recommend that you google Hedgecraft, and see what you come up with. There might be groups that we can hook up with. After all, the Abbott’s Inn International School of Magick is a networking service.

Hedgecraft is is a very popular topic in the Craft. What is Hedgecraft? Hedgecraft is a species of natural magick which combines herbalism, natural crafts and kitchen witchery to form an integrated whole. It also includes natural or herbal alchemy and practical veneration of the plant world. Be sure and visit our 3 websites , , , and our network, . You can have your own page there. Donate to help us upgrade, so that your page can have music. We haven’t had the resources yet to upgrade the network. Abbott’s Inn International School of Magick provides a gentle nurturing environment in both the atmosphere and specific tools of magick. Our research arm, The Magickal Research Institute, provides an environment where research can be done in magick and and the Craft of the Wise, as well as other Pagan/magickal topics such as spiritual alchemy. One example is how lead is transmuted into gold. The answer is Path 17 the Lovers card, which leads from the 3rd Sephirah, Binah, ruled by Saturn whose metal is lead to Tiphareth, ruled by the Sun, whose metal is gold. Our new site, is an interactive site where you can leave comments, graphics, and music. If you leave graphics with your comments, please help us understand how to do it. As always, call 1-888-611-7982 for all your divination learning class, and research needs. We’ll resume work on the book The Ultimate Guide to the Tarot once Stephen gets his laptop back.