Sunday, December 16, 2012

An Amulet and a Magic Potion for Oggún

A friend gifted me with a macuto, which is an odd-looking amulet connecting with the powers of a specific orisha. The one that I got of course is a macuto of Oggún, one my favorite great spirits.

 I love the smell of witchcraft in the morning. 
(The macuto is the green and black object with a cowrie shell.)

Amulets need to feed to be alive. So as food for the amulet I made a potion from herbs related to Oggún to anoint it with every Tuesday, Oggún's sacred day. I also reserved a bottle for anointing the altar image in my devotionals.

It's really been quite a while since I made some herbal stuff, I forgot how fun and delightfully messy it is. I was expecting the tincture to smell horribly because of the cumin and pepper, but I like how it turned out actually. Very strong yet very sweet smelling. I'm writing down the recipe for posterity's sake:

375 ml(lapad) Tanduay Rhum Dark
1 pack Fortune Menthol (20's)
10g bay leaves
25g anise seeds
20g black pepper (whole)
20g cloves (whole)
15g cumin powder
10g dried rosemary
A few drops of dragon's blood oil in each 75ml bottle

This kind of looks artsy.

Filtering, bottling and labeling. I had to buy these expensive (50 pesos) 15ml bottles from 
Beabi, due to time constraints and unwillingness to brave the Christmas shoppers at Divisoria.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Finding Fairies

The sea-serpent Bakunawa rises from the sea. 
Ink and colored pencil on Moleskine.

A block away from our house, there used to be an abandoned lot overgrown with grasses and bushes where there was a small hollow mound of shrubs that I could fit just right into. As a little kid, it was my secret sanctuary where I spend the early afternoons before my mother comes out to call me home for my siesta.

I believed my little sanctuary was a doorway between the magic fairy kingdom and our world. I never saw the fairies, but I knew they were there, protecting me from the evil monster (that stray mongrel that roams the bushes) and watching over me while I have my moments of sweet, silent, childhood happiness.

There is a garment factory standing over there now. And I now spend most of my waking hours in an office building - drowned in the electronic buzzes and drones of corporate machines, the bleep-bleep of telephones, the clackety-clack of keyboards, the voices of people around me muttering obscure business language.

The world seemed to become smaller as I grew older, and magic fairy mounds gradually got lost to concrete, glass and steel. It's the sad way of these times.

But once in a while, just when you get absorbed in the mechanical lifestyle, nature gives you those things: a butterfly fluttering happily through the rush hour traffic, a flower falling on you from a tree while you're waiting for the bus, a beautiful stray cat approaching you as you rest your legs by the sidewalk, a rare pink and yellow sunset that just commands attention through the double-glazed office windows.

Insignificant things, many a city dweller would think. But they make a "silly" pagan like me smile in silent delight and wonder. It's the kind of wondrous joy that slaps me back to my senses: 
Hey idiot, stop fussing about little stuff. You're so much bigger than that.

The fairies have not gone. The magic of this world is not lost to those who see with pagan eyes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tiocobrextio: An Autumnal Equinox Feast

The spirit of the north wind.

This is my first high-day ritual incorporating the Gaul hearth culture. One of the great challenges was to find the Gaulish equivalent for Mabon.

There is no clear evidence as to whether the Gauls celebrate the Automnal Equinox. In fact, it isn't very clear either whether there's a Gaulish word for "autumn". Scholars suggest the words uogiamos ("before winter"), or messus ("harvest"), but being in the Pacific tropics I wanted a less season-related word. I may be worshiping Gaulish gods but I'd like to keep my rituals relevant to the spirit of the land.

In the ADF dedicant manual, the Gaulish fall equinox festival is called Diocomrextios. I could hardly find any resources as to the origin of this word though, and it seems that the more correct, or at least the more popular reconstruction of the word is Tiocobrextio. However, far from what the manual says, this is not a festival specific to the fall equinox. In the Coligny calendar, an ancient artifact that has preserved the time keeping method of the Gauls, Tiocobrextio appears a few times throughout the Gaulish year, notably in the months of Simiuissonā (around May) and Ēdrini (around August). The word can either mean a "day of justice" (rextu, "law", "justice") or a "day of magic" (brixto, "magic", "incantation"). It works for me either way. A day for doing magic and for making things right.

It might be preposterous to make associations from Western astrology, but this being the time when the Sun enters Libra (the scales of Justice) makes it even easier for me to accept Tiocobrextio. The narrative may have changed but the theme remains largely the same with Mabon: transition, equlibrium, moderation.

Wheel and lightning. Votive offerings to the thunder god.

The Wheel of Taranis

Taranis is the Gaulish god of the skies and lord of storms. His most popular symbol is the wheel, which is associated with thunder. It is said that in the olden days, the sound of thunder was thought to be made by Taranis' chariot passing through the heavens. In this age of weather satellites, I see Taranis' wheels in tropical cyclones and in the shifting currents of the monsoon winds.

In the Philippines, the weeks following the fall equinox is a period of transition from wet to dry season. The cool, northern winds begin to prevail over the rainy, southwesterly winds. This also signals the peak of the migration of birds coming from the cold north going to the warmer south. The Philippine islands, sitting smack in the middle of the Asian and Australian continents, serves as a stop-over for the migratory birds, hence earning its title, "the avian archipelago".

I think it's a wonderful synchronicity that, in the old Filipino myth about the creation of man, the north wind, Amihan, is represented by a giant bird.

The boon of the tropics (clockwise starting from the big, spiky one): 
durian, rambutan, marang, lanzones and atis.

A Tropical Harvest

I usually just have wine and bread (and the occasional chocolate bar) for the celebratory feast, but from now on I am resolved to buy local seasonal produce. It's healthy; it's a good way to attune with the land; and it's quite cheap. For just a litte more than 200 pesos, I got enough food to share with family. Therefore, it's also one way to get the rest of the non-pagan household to join in with the celebration.

We may not have the corn-and-grain type, pre-winter harvest of the temperate lands, but we still do have seasonal crops. And it just happens that the fruits in season this time of the year are the really weird-looking and funky-smelling ones. Here's what I had in the shopping list:
  • Durián - Banned in malls, hotels and train stations because of its infamous, foul odor; and occasionally bludgeoning innocent people to death passing by under it's tree, this so-called "king of fruits" in the tropics is actually more like the super-villain of fruits.
  • Rambután - Very cheap and very nutritious. Soft, furry, and sturdy. I think they would make great stress balls too.
  • Márang - Exudes a strong smell even unopen, but the scent is more pleasant than Durian's. It's one of the most delicious and addicting fruit I've ever tasted.
  • Lanzónes - The grapes of the tropics. Sour and sweet and tastes a bit like lychee. I actually find more joy popping them open than eating them. 
  • Átis - A friend told me they look like dinosaur balls - as if he'd actually seen a pair. I like the taste, but the seeds get in the way from fully enjoying it.

My dedicant shrine. The sacred fire, a lamp with a triple flame. The sacred well, a pot filled with rain water. The sacred tree, represented by the goddess Danu with a symbolic tree design on her dress and standing on a triple spiral, a symbol of the convergence of the three worlds. 

Offerings and libations. I had Korean soju for ritual drink.

The dedicant shrine, post-ritual. 
Perth-Sowilo-Dagaz denotes a bright new beginning. 

Votive offerings to Taranis by a storm drain.

Basbasan Nawa!

Update - Oct 15, 2012: I think I'm changing the name to Cantlos - the name by which the Three Cranes Grove, an ADF grove which adopts the Gaulish hearth culture, calls this High Day. Cantlos is the last month of the Gaulish year, corresponding roughly to September, and literally means "the month of songs". This, being the month of my birth day, makes better sense for me. It's also a lot less mouthful (and sounds less pretentious) than Tiocobrextio. Why haven't I discovered this sooner? 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On Praying to the Ancestors

My ancestor shrine, inspired by the colorful egun'gun tradition of West Africa and Lucumi religion. It's also my first work on clay. The nine masks represent the collective spirits of my ancestors. Nine is the number of the orisha Oya, guardian of the dead. The pattern around the frame represents the river of life force (ashé) to which our spirits are bound to return.

Having come from the Llewellyn-Wicca variant of neopaganism, the idea of ancestor worship was unfamiliar to me when I first got introduced to it via a group of friends practicing African traditional religions.

Nevertheless I have made it a part of my practice as well. I felt that there is something important to it other than the obvious purpose of giving respect to the elders, which is very much a part of Asian culture, and other than redeeming myself from the guilt arising from worshipping the pagan gods of the Western world.

Over the years I have developed a peculiar posture whenever I say a prayer to the ancestors. I pray to the honored dead kneeling on the earth or on the floor while touching my head to the ground. I think this comes naturally being that the underground is the archetypal realm of the dead - just as people tend to look to the sky when praying to the gods.

What I notice about it is that it brings me to the safe and comfort of the fetal position. I have come to think of it as a little performance art of me returning to the womb and as a gesture of acknowledgement of my roots.

In this position I see nowhere but down and inward, and I am somehow compelled to give a deep, hard, inner look at myself:
This is me. This what I and my ancestors of blood and spirit have made. To honor my ancestors is to honor myself.

It's so easy to get lost in the clouds in this so-called spiritual journey. I pray to the ancestors to remind me of what I was and to become realistically aware of what I have become. While it is my love and faith to the gods that lift my hopes and ideals to heavenly heights, it is the honored spirits of the dead, powers beneath the earth that they are, that keep my feet on the ground.

Basbasan Nawa!

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Four Rules of a Magician

Because photo quotes are so in these days...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Holy Death

I have given up on the idea of karma, heaven, and a glorified afterlife a long time ago. I don't think I have any need of those in order to live righteously. I would rather that I do good things in this world simply for the sake of being human or for the pleasure of being kind, and not for the sake of some cosmic reward.

Religion doesn't have to sugarcoat death for me anymore. I've already seen her behind that make-up - and she doesn't  look very pretty. I have seen her for what she is and I embrace her existence. And it is precisely my pagan understanding of death that inspires me to live this life to the full and as virtuously as possible.

I think life has felt more meaningful once I got free from those wishful thoughts of immortality. Heaven can take its dangling carrot elsewhere. There already is a lush orchard around me.

Santa Muerte (ink & color pencils on Moleskine). Death as the mother of God. (Mater Theou). Death happens before life begins. The 3 Hebrew letters spell AIN ("nothingness"), which is the beginning of existence according to the Qabala. Read in another direction, it spells INA ("mother", in Tagalog). 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

On Saturday Afternoons

One of my favorite hangout spots is that branch of Bo's Café inside the Powerbooks store in Greenbelt 4. Surrounded by books and the smell of coffee, it becomes my own little slice of paradise on many Saturday afternoons.

With a book on one hand and a warm porcelain mug on the other - that, or an oatmeal cookie - I let myself get lost into my inner worlds for many hours as I cozily sit on the wooden chair. (When I'm lucky, I get the sofa). 

On some occasions I would bring my notebook and a pencil to leisurely work on some artful sketches. I'm not very good in drawing, but nonetheless I find a special joy in it - as I always had since I was a wee little toddler. I think everybody loved making art when they were little, most people just forget about it as they grow older.

Once in awhile I would take a pause from reading or drawing to get absorbed into a particularly goosebumpy song playing on my iPod. Visual art and literature should always go together with music I believe, just as there should always be biscuits with your afternoon tea.

By late afternoon, that magical hour arrives when the golden rays of the sun glaringly shine through the glass panes of the café. My fellow coffee-lovers would then move their chairs to scurry away from the heat. I, however, enjoy the warmth on my skin, contrasting with the artificial coldness of the air inside the mall.

In these times where I spend most of my late afternoons in the prison of air-conditioned buildings, walled from the outside world by tinted glass and plastic curtains, to see and feel the sunset again is a most welcomed boon.

Basbasan Nawa!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Nihil SIgil

Speaking of paper talismans, here is one that has been particularly useful for me these days. Well, techically it's not a sigil but heck, the name's got a nice ring to it.

I also call it the Triangle of Negation, or the "pigil" sigil ("pigil" being Tagalog for the word "prevent"). It's based on the classic ABRACADABRA charm. Unlike my other talismans, the words written on it are pretty obvious and straightforward. It's three sides nicely accentuates its correspondence to Saturn, whose number is three. In classical Western magic, Saturn is the planetary sphere to work with for purposes of banishment and destruction.

I admit, this was originally designed for 'evil' purposes, but actually it's doing me more good than harm.

Want to control your diet? Place it on the fridge.
Prevent yourself from impulsive spending? Put it on your wallet.
Fight your addiction to Facebook? Stick it onto the computer monitor.

The paper was stained in a potion of black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, rust, bone dust and god knows what else (I forgot the rest). To make the most of Saturnian energies, it is to be made and charged on a Saturday, during the hours of Saturn, and preferably when the moon is in Scorpio.

Basbasan Nawa!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Three Other Things a Witch Can Do with Herbs

As a modern (and lazy) witch, I just buy my magical herbs from the magical grocery store. The problem I get with this is that I end up buying about a cupful of herbs, use a teaspoonful or two for oils, tinctures, and gris-gris bags, and then the remaining herbs would be left on stock for seemingly eternity.

It's probably just me being O.C. but I couldn't stand seeing jars of spices and herbs sitting around doing nothing, so I had to think of other stuff to use them for.

1. Herb-Powered Paper talismans.

While I don't make herbal oils and charms that often, I do make talismans a lot.

To prepare the paper to be used in making talismans, I simply make an infusion or tea of the appropriate herb(s) and soak the paper in it for some time. The color of herb infusions take a while to get into the paper so I usually let the paper soak into the infusion overnight. Sometimes I would mix the remaining infusion with acrylic paint to make magical ink for writing the symbols with.

I'm happier using tea-stained papers for making talisman than cardboard and metal. That aged parchment color just make them look especially arcane.

A Mercurian-Jupiterian talisman on tea-stained paper being prepared for consecration.

2. Let Them Simmer.

Herbs and spices are often used to make raw incenses, but I honestly don't like making my own. It's fairly easy to do, but it's tough to use. For some reason, I couldn't keep a charcoal burning long enough, and putting incense periodically into the censer sometimes ruin the ritual mood for me.

I find that simmering the herbs on water in an aromatherapy oil diffuser is a useful alternative. I don't have to tend to the candle flame and it doesn't suffocate me with smoke. However, compared to incenses, the smell is very subtle so I find it more useful for meditation than magical rituals.

Actually I don't use an oil diffuser anymore. I use a glass bowl on a metal tripod, which I received as a birthday gift from a friend. I find it so fun mixing herbs on hot water that sometimes I get carried away and forget the meditation entirely.

Though I haven't tried it yet, I figure this sort of thing can be used for divination too. I might give it a go sometime. I've always wanted to feel like one of those evil witches in Disney cartoons skrying into the boiling liquid of a sinister-looking cauldron.

Cinnamon. Smells like Christmas.

3. Protect Your Altar from Vermin.

I once offered a bowlful of rice grains to Ganesh and noticed thereafter that it was dwindling day by day. I have almost come into believing that the Lord Ganesh had been miraculously consuming my offerings. But to my utter shock (and regret) I woke up one night to find a pair of mice having dinner on my offering bowl! It's as if my altar have become a romantic Asian restaurant, with candles and flowers and all.

Eventually I learned that spice repels mice - especially the strong-smelling ones. So on my altar I placed a small woven box filled with bay leaves, cloves, ginger root and some pepper, and thankfully there has no longer been any dinner-dating mice on my altar ever since.

Herbs and spices apparently also repel other types of vermin - like moth and silverfish, which tend to make a snack of our beloved books. Making a sachet of strong-smelling herbs and putting it somewhere within the bookshelves would help keeping these little demons out of the way.

Basbasan Nawa!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Iroko: The Serpent Oshumare Climbs the Tree of Orishas

This is what happens when you put your hands into too many mystical systems.

This is simply my attempt to place the orishas into the cosmic file cabinet of the Kabbalistic tree of life. I'm sure there are kabbalists and orisha worshippers who'd get sick of the idea, but this my personal belief. I study and practice both traditions on their own but sometimes I find it interesting to mix things up a bit, like making fusion food.

Olodumare is Kether, which is depicted here as the sun that gives life to the tree. His sphere is separate from the rest to illustrate that he can only be felt but not known. The 24 sun drops is an allusion to the pre-genesis story of the Philippine folk magic tradition ("lihim na karunungan"). It is implied here that Olorun, "owner of the heavens", is the sky itself.

Orunmila, who is "Igbakeji Olodumare" (second in command to Olodumare) occupies the second sphere. As the lord of wisdom it is only apt that he is "Chokmah", meaning understanding. In Hermeticism, the sphere of Chokmah corresponds the domain of the fixed stars. In Yoruba, the "Orun" in orunmila means "heaven".

Oya, "Ayaba Nikua", the queen of death, occupies the sphere of Binah, which is attributed to Saturn, the planet whose color is black, and whose domain is death and destruction.

For me, these three represent the cosmic triad of creation, maintenance and destruction.

Olofin, the lowest manifestation of Olodumare, represents the sphere of Daath. The abyss through which one shall pass to reach the domain of Olorun and Olodumare.

Shango, god king and lord of thunder, occupies the sphere of Chesed, ruled by the planet Jupiter, whose name comes from the Roman god king and lord of thunder.

Oggun, warrior god and lord of iron, occupies the sphere of Geburah, ruled by the planet Mars, whose name comes from the Roman god of war and iron.

Shango for me represents the force of inspiration, which comes to the psyche like a bolt of lightning. Whereas Oggun represents putting inspiration into action. Shango's fire gives shape to the iron of Oggun.

Obatala, the father of orishas, owner of the white cloth, occupies Tipareth, the center of the tree. Like the Sun to which this sphere corresponds, his radiance shines upon all as "Orishanla", lord of all orishas. Tipareth is also to the sphere of Yeheshuah (YHShVH) who, like Obatala, is a dying and rising god.

The beauteous Oshun is Netzach, attributed to Venus, whose domain is beauty and love. Her son, the trickster child Elegua, messenger of the gods, is Hod, attributed to Mercury, whose domain is wit and communication. Beauty and trickery for me are representative of the polarities of order and chaos.

Yemaya, the mother of orishas, sits below Obatala, in the sphere of Yesod. She is the foundation of the tree, where all the other branches sprung forth.

Buried in the earth itself is the root of the tree: Babalu-Aye, father and lord of the earth, occupying the sphere of Malkuth.

Oshumare, the rainbow serpent, is the kundalini serpent uncoiling through the rainbow of colors of the seven chakras as one journeys through the states of consciousness that each sphere represents - from the earthly and humble realm of Babalu-Aye in Malkuth to the ultimate and divine realm of Olodumare in Kether.

Basbasan Nawa!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kabbalistic Correspondences of the 16 Geomantic Signs

I made these diagrams as reference cards for my Geomantic divination flash program, Geomania. I unfortunately lost the code before completing it due to a stupid hard drive problem. The unfinished program was working already working well enough when I was able to release the executable on the net for a short period. If, for some reason, you have a copy of the compiled program, please be so kind to send a copy to me, and I would happily sell my soul to you.

Anyway, I figure these images might be of use for those who are using the geomantic signs in magic. 

The design is made in the 2008 Murmur style, which is modernly simple, colorful and cutesy. These days I'm more into the traditional occutlish look.



The Tetragrammaton of the Illuminati

In reading Peter Carroll's "Psyber Magic", I came across an interesting diagram in which he divides psychopolitical programmes into four interesting groups. For some reason, this has stuck with me for years. I was trying to come up with a design on the lid of a wooden box for keeping my tarot cards in, and what I end up with is a 'sigilized' version of said diagram.

I'm not sure how this relates to the tarot but I'm gonna go with it.

The tridents represent chaotic while the crosses represent lawful. Hebrew letters above are YHSVH ("Jesus"), and below are YHVH ("Jehova"), which are the nice and naughty polarity of the lawful alignment. On the left is the Hebrew STN ("Satan"), and on the right is the Latin LVX ("Lucifer"), which are the naughty and nice polarity of the chaotic alignment. I wanted to emphasize the Luciferic programme as the path of illumination, hence Lux, meaning light, which the word Lucifer itself came from.

The Latin letters in red are simply a mish-mash of the words XAOS and ORDO. The words written in the Alphabet of the Magic are the words from the diagram itself. See below.

From "Psyber Magick: Advanced Ideas in Chaos Magick", Peter J. Carroll

The Jehovic programme of lawful nastiness dominates most psychopolitical systems from the nation sate down the self-similar fractal ladder to the selfs within a person. Such systems tend to maintain their stasis quo at the expense of surrounding systems or sub-systems.

The Christic and Satanic programmes have little overall effect, as they expend themselves against the Jehovic programme and each other; and few systems manage to display either permanent beastliness or saintliness...

Only the Luciferic programme allows evolution, as the Illuminati well know. In recent centuries the dominant psychopolitical Jehovic forces have come to realize that a limited amount of Luciferic creative chaos can give them an edge over systems which do not possess it.

Basbasan Nawa!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Greeting the Year of the Dragon in Hong Kong

What better place to greet the year of the dragon than in the land of the dragon itself?

The Chinese New Year's celebrations actually take a week long, but the main events happen around the first three days. It's actually a very quiet and solemn period, and many of the shops in the cities are closed - much like the Holy Week period in the Philippines. The only firecrackers I ever heard and saw was the fireworks display at Victoria Harbor at the second day of the New Year - and what a display it was! I had to camp by harbor at the Tsim Sha Tsui side for more than 4 hours, despite heavy rain and cold, just to get a nice view of the fireworks. The fireworks start at 8PM, but both sides of Victoria Bay were already jam-packed early in the afternoon.

It was my first time to experience winter (without snow, that is). I knew it was going to be cold, but I had no idea it would drop as far as 7 degrees. My polyester jacket didn't do much so I had to buy some winter accessories at the Ngong Ping village. For $200, I got a scarf, a pair of mittens and a winter cap. But despite that my fingers have become so frozen it was difficult for me to take photos on many occasions.

I decided to go to the less visited areas this time, since the touristy areas would most likely be very crowded during these holidays. I actually made a research about how Chinese New Year are celebrated in Hong Kong a few weeks before I arrived, so I already get have an idea which places I needed to visit for the cultural stuff. Many of these locations are quite far from the city center, requiring a bus ride or two, and many times I end up being the only tourist in the area. Thankfully I have finally put my knowledge of Chinese characters in practical use by writing down the names of places and asking for directions.

I unexpectedly fell in love with HK when I came here last year to watch the Riverdance show. At first I thought that it was just a bunch of concrete and steel, and Disneyland and Ocean Park which holds no appeal for me. Well, it is, though it is more than that. There are also gorgeous mountains and seas and raw nature. And that lovely, chaotic Cantonese noise of the streets, and that smell of cured meat and Chinese medicine and temple incenses, and the hot, delicious food at the dai pai dongs. All of which I dream about  once in a while, especially when I'm stuck sitting in my office cubicle.

Lion dancers at the Tin Hau temple at Fong Ma Po.

A 20-minute long fireworks display at the Victoria Harbor.

The serene and glorious beauty of the Yuen Yuen temple complex, 
home of the ruling deity of the Dragon Year.

A little boy tries his luck on the wishing tree with the help of his daddy at the Lam Tsuen well-wishing festival.

By the entrance of the ancient walled village of Kat Hing Wai.

Lanterns on display at the Well-Wishing festival at Lam Tsuen.

Lucky charms in auspicious colors of red and gold.

A huge brass dragon guards the gates of the Wong Tai Sin temple, crowded with pilgrims at the first day of the Lunar New Year. 

Illuminated display depicting the Chinese zodiac signs at the Hong Kong culural center.

Riding a cable car with a see-through floor didn't help with my fear of heights.

 Taking a break from the chaos of the city.

Scary dolls I met on the trail.

I like this place. It's very zen.

By the entrance of a Chinese restaurant.

 The crowd prepares for the Chinese New Year parade.

Dragon float from the Chinese New Year parade on display at Lam Tsuen.

The garden of Guan Yin at the Yuen Yuen temple institute.

Thousands line up along the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui in anticipation of the Chinese New Year Parade. 

More crazy fireworks.

The crowd disperses after the fireworks.

A very misty morning at Ngong Ping.

The very quaint fishing village of Tai O.

My wishes: wisdom and happiness. (Although the Chinese characters have nothing to do with 'wisdom and happiness'.)

Worshippers at the Tin Hau temple at Fong Ma Po.

Mong Kok district, known for its huge bustling crowd, was very quiet at the first day of the New Year.

Scenes at the Victoria Park flower market.

Lunar New Year display at the IFC mall. 

Lanterns underneath a dragon's belly. 

The scenic train ride to Lo Wu. 

I met a pair of bulls while hiking in a misty mountain, of all things.

The festival at Lam Tsuen. 

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