March, 2009

Welcome to the March Issue of PaganPages

March, 2009

Merry Meet Readers!

I’d like to welcome you to our Ostara issue which you will find packed with information and  fun.

We have two helpful reviews this month you should be sure to read.

crossroads

charm

We hope everyone has a safe and happy Holiday!

We would like to thank you for your continued support and love. Without our loyal readers, PaganPages would cease to exist.

We appreciate all donations and remember you can donate by purchasing something from our PaganPages Shop on Etsy. Some of our products are below and our stock is always changing.

ostarablessed

HAPPY READING!!

PaganDad

March, 2009

Spring is nearly here, the cold weather is beginning to wane and the showers of Spring will soon begin to fall. A short time after all that the plants will begin to bloom and the trees to turn green again. The animals will awaken and go out to forage and look for new food to fill their bellies empty from a long winter hibernating.

For me and my family this month has also been a time of rest and renewal. With nearly two months between Sabbats, we can take a break and turn our focus onto resting and preparing for the work of the coming season.

Soon we will be planting our garden and we will take this opportunity to teach our children about the importance of hard work, perseverance and patience.

Hard work because planting and digging is not always easy to do. Although my youngest seems to enjoy it. I think it is the playing in the dirt thing.

Perseverance because they have to take it on faith that the work that they are doing now will show rewards in the coming months. Plus, here in Florida, the heat comes early so they get hot quick and tend to want to quit almost as soon as they started.

The final lesson is patience. There is a process to gardening. From preparing the soil and planting the seeds. To the waiting for sprouting and then the cutting back. My children want to do it all right away and at the same time. So I have to hold them back and make them wait for the right time. They get tired of hearing the words, ‘Seeds don’t sprout overnight’.

These lessons are important and are sorely lacking from the rest of the world. We rush and rush in our society. We want it all and we want it yesterday. If we were a little more hardworking and patience and stuck it out to the end, than we would all be better off.

This is also the season of burgeoning fertility. We celebrate, like so many others, by painting eggs. In our Family Coven’s tradition this small act is an act of magick that will aid the Goddess and God in their bringing back the warmth and growth of the Spring. I also tell my kids that Coyote, the trickster steals the eggs and hides them. And so the egg hunt begins.

Of course the hunt also helps to spread the magick around. So my children learn from this that even though things may not always go according to plan and that bad things happen, that in the end they will work out for the best.

So as we go forward from here into Spring and the warmer weather comes take some time to go outside with your children and watch the world begin to waken from their long Winter slumber. Here in Florida one of the most common animals we see are cows with horses being a close second, and I know that in the next few months I will be able to point out the foals and calfs to my children.

And maybe you can pass on some of these lessons of Spring to your kids as well.

Ostara – Northern Hemisphere

March, 2009

(Oh-star-ah) – Lesser Sabbat – Spring/Vernal Equinox, March 20-21st – when the Sun enters Ares

Other Names: Ostre, Oestre, Eostre, Rites of Spring, Eostra’s Day, Lady Day, First Day of Spring, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Alban Eiler, Bacchanalia, Mean Earraigh, Pasch, Caisg, Pess

Date: Spring Equinox (March 20-22 in Northern Hemisphere) or when the Sun is 1 degree Aries.

Symbolism: The beginning of spring, new life and rebirth, the God and Goddess in Their youth, balance, fertility

Goddesses: all love, virgin, and fertility Goddesses; Anna Perenna (Roman), Aphrodite (Greek), Astarte (Canaanite, Persia, GrecoRoman), Athena (Greek), Cybele (Greco-Roman), Blodeuwedd, Eostre (Saxon Goddess of Fertility), Flidais (Irish), Gaia (Greek), Hera, Ishtar (Assyro-Babylonian), Isis (Egyptian), Libera (Roman), Minerva (Roman), The Muses (Greek), Persephone (Greek), Renpet (Egyptian), Venus (Roman), Ostara (the German Goddess of Fertility), Kore, Maiden, Isis, Youthful Goddesses. Faerie Queen, Lady of the Lake(Welsh-Cornish), the Green Goddess

Gods: all love, song & dance, and fertility Gods; Adonis (Greek), Attis (Greco-Roman), Cernunnos (Celtic), The Great Horned God (European), Liber (Roman), Mars (Roman), Mithras (Persian), Odin (Norse), Osiris (Egyptian), Thoth, Pan (Greek), the Green Man, Hare, Youthful Gods, Warrior Gods, Taliesin, Lord of the Greenwood (English), Dagda(Irish),Adonis (Greek)

Symbols: Eggs, rabbits, similar to easter symbols.

Purpose: Plant and animal fertility, sowing

Meaning: The God comes of age, sexual union of the Lord & Lady, sprouting, greening, balance of light and dark

Essence: Strength, birthing, completion, power, love, sexuality, embodiment of spirit, fertility, opening, beginning

Customs: Wearing green, new clothes, celtic bird festival, egg baskets coloring eggs, collecting birds eggs, bird watching, egg hunts, starting new projects, spring planting

Foods: Hard-boiled eggs, honey cakes, fresh seasonal fruits, milk punch, leafy green vegetables, dairy foods, apples, nuts, flower dishes, sprouts, fish, maple sugar candies, hot cross buns, sweet breads, milk, punch, egg drinks

Plants & Herbs: Acorn, celandine, cinquefoil, crocus, daffodil, dogwood, Easter lily, Irish Moss, ginger, hyssop, linden, strawberry, gorse, honeysuckle, iris, jasmine, jonquils, narcissus, olive, peony, rose, tansy, violets, woodruff and all spring flowers

Incense and oils: African violet, jasmine, rose, strawberry, lotus, magnolia, ginger, sage lavender, narcissus, broom

Colors: Light green, lemon yellow, pale pink, pastels, gold, grass green, robin’s egg blue, lemon yellow.

Stones: Amethyst, aquamarine, rose quartz, moonstone, bloodstone, red jasper

Animals and Mythical Beasts: Rabbits/Easter bunny, snakes, pegasus, unicorns, chicks, swallows, merpeople

Decorations: Daffodils, tulips, violet, iris, narcissus, any spring flowers, eggs, butterflies, cocoons

Spell/Ritual Work: Garden/plant blessings, seed blessing, spellcrafting, balance, growth, communication, invention, new growth, new projects

Planetary Ruler: Mars

Element: Air

Gender: Male

Threshold: Dawn

Crafty Corner

March, 2009

Paper Mache Bowls!!

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OK!  Keeping in line with Recycling!!  Still gots tons of Tissue paper right?  And with Valentines Day gone, I’m sure your left with plenty of red and white. No worries!  Lets find a better use for that stuff other than cluttering up a landfill!

Things you need:

1. Cheap Plastic Bowl ( I found a set of two at the dollar tree)
2. Modge Podge (you can use any paper Mache glue formula, but for what I did, Modge Podge worked best.
3. Tissue Paper (any color), best if cut into small strips or squares
4. Scissors (Kids get help with an Adult!)
5. LOTS OF TIME

craft1

This isn’t a hard Craft, but it is a time consuming one!!

1. you have your nice plastic Bowl. I haven’t tried it yet, but try using a THIN layer of cooking oil on the inside…just to help peel out the tissue paper later.  Now then in sections paint the Modge Podge (MP) on the inside of the bowl and stick tissue paper squares down. Make about two to three layers all around the inside of the bowl and let it Dry. This takes a few hours.
2. Ok kind of tricky but peal the paper mache bowl from the inside. This was tricky even for me!! Just takes some wiggling. But if you used oil, it might not be too bad. Once you’ve peeled it free, turn the bowl bottom up and place your paper mache mold over it!  Then start gluing more Tissue paper  around it and on the bottom!!  I have around 25 layers total on my Bowl, give or take.

3. from here it’s up to you, decorate it with glitter and more. I don’t suggest using a Dip in this unless you have a bowl to Fit inside it!  But hard candy, or wrapped candy will work. If yours is sturdy enough something a bit heavier like crayons.  Use the scissors to trim the lip of your Bowl, or make fancy designs around it.   Either way!  ENJOY!!

Please feel free to leave feedback or e-mail me with your pictures of your projects to adrianne1976@hotmail.com

Elemental Perspectives

March, 2009

Not Rocket $cience

The system of categorizing the universe that’s most commonly learned by Pagans is called the Elements.  Although the four classic Elements (Air, Fire, Water, and Earth) proposed by the ancients aren’t nearly as scientific as the modern-day Periodic Table of Elements, the ideas behind both are the same and the four-element system was actually the basis for the hundred plus modern chart.  Magic dictates that we have an acute knowledge of the world(s) around us.  And that means we need some sort of system to categorize, prioritize, and organize what we are able to perceive in those worlds.  The four-element system works quite well for this because of its simplicity and flexibility.  Each Element offers a way to view the universe and provides a niche in which to put our observations and ideas.  Relationships between the four realms, though often subjective, are not too complicated to befuddle our minds and allow us to make general conclusions rapidly.  When it comes to magic-on-the-fly, this is very handy.  It is definitely to the magic-worker’s advantage to study the Elements closely and practice applying the system to the worlds around them.

This will be the beginning to a series on the Elements.  Unlike most such discussions, though, I will not be giving you long, dry lists of correspondences or how to decorate an altar for the Element.  Instead, I will briefly try to describe the properties of the Element and then go on to show how working with those properties can be applied to common, every-day situations.  Using the Elements as a guide for understanding the world is, after all, the primary reason for learning about them.  In other words, this series will be a demonstration of how our magic is applicable anywhere and everywhere.

The first Element I wish to explore is the one we all are probably most familiar with: Earth.  Before we were born, we were experiencing the Earth Element.  This Element is the realm of our five senses and what most people call ‘reality.’ Earth is the measurable manifestations of the other Elements’ activities.  In other words, this is where the rubber meets the road.

The reason I’ve chosen Earth to be the topic of my first article in this series is quite simple:  Its most prominent symbol is a really hot topic in the news lately.  That symbol is money.  Money is a symbol for the ability to make a change.  By the way, I didn’t make up that definition.  It was actually the result of a quarter’s worth of Economics 103 at the Univ. of WA when I went there back in the early ‘60’s.  The professor told us that we were to come up with a workable definition of money.  It took a lot of study and argumentation between the students to arrive at that one simple definition but I haven’t heard a more suitable one since then.  Along the way of learning a lot about the subject of economics, we found out how wrong our outlook on money had been.  Viewed from the perspective of this simple definition, almost everything else about economics can be understood.  In the Tarot, the set called Pentacles or Coins represents the Earth Element, which proves how universal it is that money is a good symbol for this Element.  And since so many Pagans seem to have a poor (pun intended) understanding about how to keep their Earth altar in order, I offer a lesson in how to un-complicate the issue that occupies so much of the news of late from the standpoint of the Earth Element:

Let’s not make this economy thing too complicated.  You turn on the news or read an article about stimulus packages, bank policies, pork earmarks, and all those other buzzwords used by the so-called experts and it’s easy to think that our economic woes are too complex to understand.  That’s wrong.  It’s as easy as a child’s summertime lemonade stand.

There are essentially only two kinds of economic activities.  You are either spending or getting money.  Savings and credit are just ways to put middlemen into the equation.  Companies, people, institutions, governments, and (who knows?) maybe even little green men from Mars can either spend money or get money to spend later.  Every other facet of this entire economic circus comes down to one or both of these activities.

Money that sits in your pocket does nothing except maybe give you some peace of mind.  While it sits there, in whatever form it might be in (cash, credit cards, gold doubloons, whatever), it serves no purpose except to wear a hole in the pocket.  Money is only a way of keeping from hauling around wagons of grain, barrels of bear, tons of steel, or shiploads of imported cars.  It’s a form of energy, energy to cause change.  If you spend X amount of dollars, you get back something valued at X.  Once you get your brand new X machine (or whatever), you can use it.  That’s a change.  You can argue about what the real value may be, but the fact that you’ve spent your hard-earned money to buy it says you are making a change and that change is valued as X amount of money.  When you spend X dollars, those dollars go to the people who make the X machine, the people who sold it to you, the folks who got the raw materials together for making it, the people who designed it, etc., etc..  But, remember, if they just let the dollars sit in their pockets, there is nothing getting done, no change, and therefore no economic activity.

When dollars fail to make changes, that is, get spent, the economy goes in the tank.  Economic stimulus means dollars change hands for goods and services.  Every other activity is just smoke and mirrors.  When politicians argue over what will or will not stimulate the economy, they’re really arguing over who gets their hands on the dollars first.  ANY dollar put into the system and used in ANY way stimulates the economy.  A dollar spent by the congressman on a high-priced call girl is just as stimulating as a dollar spent on feeding your dog.  (Okay, I’m not talking about that kind of stimulation.)

In the long run, money is useful ONLY for goods and services.  Playing with money, sometimes called investing, is a way of gambling.  Gambling that you can increase your supply of money without providing some sort of goods or services.  I know the argument that investing creates jobs, blah, blah, blah.  And it does; no doubt about it, but only after the dollar has been spent many times on its way to the factory floor.  Everybody is trying to get a bigger piece of pie and your tax dollar has been put on the table as sustenance for their hunger.  So, in the broader scope of things, investing is just a way of trying to get more money for the money you’ve decided to gamble.  And ask anyone who has been in the stock market lately, it is a gamble.

What about credit?  Credit is just another way of speculating (gambling).  In this case, it’s a gamble that the future will be as rosy as we think it will be.  Credit is a way of gambling on the future while getting paid for it in the now.  It’s a loan and it must be paid back one way or another.  Our current economic mess is a way of paying for the credit extended in the past.  Unfortunately, the gamble didn’t keep paying off as we’d hoped.  Our loan will be paid for in watered-down dollars.  And, because our banks have over-extended their loan capacity, we all are paying for the atmosphere of plenty in the recent past that made investors think the future would be even better.

This country is not alone in this.  The whole planet is having the same set of problems.  As we use up the goods of the planet (sometimes called natural resources), it becomes more expensive to get them.  And there are more mouths to feed and people who want those resources.  This means it takes more money (you know, that stuff that is supposed to represent our ability to make changes) to make the changes we need… like getting food and stuff.  The short story?  Life is getting harder.  The long story?  The politicians don’t want to say that out loud unless they’ve got some way to make it look like they’ve figured out to make your life easier.  This, of course, means somebody else’s life will be even more difficult.  But, (and you can take this to the bank) somebody will be paying big for the problem.  The argument in Washington D.C. really is over who will get to be first in line for that colossal pile of ‘stimulus’ money.

Only two factors are involved in this stimulus package that need be of any concern:  how much money is to be spent and how fast those dollars will circulate.  Now, the government is going to spend money no matter what.  After all, they’ve got a money habit that won’t quit and they can legally print it.  The number of dollars the government puts into circulation determines the price of things.  When lots of dollars get pushed into the economy, each dollar’s buying power gets diluted and it takes more of them to buy things (make changes).  This is called inflation and no matter how you look at it, that is what’s going to happen when you print money without there being an increase in goods and services.

How fast a dollar changes hands is an extremely important factor.  If a dollar circulates quickly, the overall economy is good; if it slows down, the economy is bad.  This is true regardless of the inflation rate.  Look at it this way: if one dollar gets passed around to five people today, then five people have made a dollar.  If it has only passed hands (been spent) twice, only two people made a dollar today.  The circulation rate is actually more important than the inflation rate.  If the stimulus package gets dollars circulating at a rate fast enough, how inflationary it is will matter very little.  A robust economy means the lifeblood of the economy (dollars) is circulating well.  If that circulation rate goes below a certain level, the economy collapses.

That is what’s happened at the moment; the patient (our economy) has fainted due to poor circulation.  And it appears to have gone into shock.  The usual dose of smelling salts didn’t seem to bring them around so they are being rushed to the hospital for more drastic measures.

In the mean time, until the patient returns to run the business, everyone else should stop standing around gawking and get back to what they were doing before.  Don’t worry, this happens sometimes; the patient will be fine after a little time in the hospital and probably a long time in therapy.  Of course, there’ll be one heck of a doctor’s bill.

Despite the overuse of metaphor in my example, I think you get the idea.  When you look at something and think about it as an example of one of the Elements, it becomes easier to get a handle on it and makes dealing with it easier.  Of course, nearly everything in the universe can be viewed from any of the Elements because there’s hardly anything that isn’t a mix of all of them.  But before trying to understand something as a combination of the four classics plus Spirit, practice looking at it from one Element alone.  When it becomes natural to dissect a problem into four Elements and you can bounce from one perspective to the other with ease, you will be amazed at how much more effective your magic will be.

My next article in this series will be on the Water Element.  I will pick a topic from the current news again to illustrate how using Water as the perspective point can provide useful information about the matter.

HearthBeats: Recipes from a Kitchen Witch

March, 2009

Merry meet all… This month I will be focusing this article on herbalism; recipes for health and healing. medicine is the medicine of the people. It is simple, safe, effective, and free. Our ancestors used plant medicines for healing and health maintenance. It’s easy. You can do it and you don’t need a degree or any special training.

Most of us have the ability to begin the healing process already in our homes. There are some other things we may need to stock up in order to have them when we need them. Much of what we will need can be grown and dried either over the growing season or even in our homes. If you looked at last months herbal list you will have seen that many of the herbs you use for cooking can be used for healing as well as aromatherapy.

What you can do is create your own herbal medicine cabinet, either in you ritual space or better yet in your kitchen.  It’s easy to make your own Medicine Cabinet. You can customize it to fit your needs and those of your family. Ideally you should make it your own, by putting magickal symbols on it, put pictures of herbs on the door, runes, Egyptian symbols, whatever…you can decorate it any way you like. But in reality we know that having that in our kitchen could be a problem…so what you can do is use a white birthday type candle to draw any symbols you may want on the cabinet door…so that you have magickally charges and protected it but it is not visible to the mundane eye.

You don’t need a huge assortment of herbs…only the ones that you will use most often.
Keep herbs in your medicine cabinet that your family will need.

There are a few basic items that all Medicine Cabinet’s need:

Standard ingredients for making your herbal remedies:

Oil (extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, or safflower oil) for herbal
infusions and salves.
Beeswax (a good quality beeswax) for making salves
Honey or sugar to sweeten bitter herbs and syrups
Vodka or alcohol for tinctures

Petroleum jelly or a good quality skin lotion for making ointments
Essential oils

Gauze pads
Bandages
Cotton balls

Bandage tape
Scissors

The above is just a very basic list, you can add or subtract to fit your needs.

The following are some herbal remedies and how to make them, please consult your Doctor before you use these, unless you know your families allergies and herbal reactions.

WARNING: PREGNANCY (all herbs and their essential oils should be avoided unless under the supervision of a medical professional): the list is not all inclusive, but some specific herbs to avoid are: Balsam pear, barberry root bark, black cohosh, cascara sagrada, chervil, Chinese angelica, coltsfoot, comfrey, dong quai,feverfew, ginseng, goldenseal, juniper berries, ma huang , may apple , mountain mint, mugwort, pennyroyal, pokeroot, rue, senna , southernwood, tansy, wormwood, yarrow.

Ointments/Salves can be made quickly and easily if you first prepare an oil of the herb while it is in season and keep it on the shelf for later use as an ointment. Simply strain and store the oil. Besides simple oils which employ only one herb, a combination of herbs can be used to make a compound oil of your favorite ointment recipe and used later to make the ointment itself

How to Make It

Decoction:

(Used when volatile oils are not required from the plant material as these are boiled away in the process).

GENERAL:

1 oz of herb to 1 pint water; bring water to a rolling boil, then add herbs and cover; reduce heat; let mixture simmer for 20 to 30 min over low heat.

DOUBLE DECOCTION:

1. (Based on 3 cups of water reduced to 2 cups). After making the first decoction using 3 cups water reduced to 2 cups, drain off the liquid and reserve; add two more cups of water to the original herbs and simmer down to 1 cup; add the 1 cup to the first 2 cups for a total of 3 cups.

2. 1 oz plant material to 2-1/2 cups water (makes 1 pint); soak herbs in water for 10 min then boil and simmer 10 to 15 min; leave to soak another 10 min; keep covered throughout the process; strain, cool and use.

Extract, Fresh:

First find the water content of your fresh plant specimen. Weigh 2 oz of the fresh herb and then dry it using the microwave or a dehydrator. Weigh the now dried specimen. Figure the percentage of weight lost in the drying to find the percentage of water contained in the fresh herb. Count this percentage as water when figuring the water/alcohol solvent ratio in the first oz of finished product. All remaining ounces can be figured at the usual 50/50 water/alcohol rate

Infusion:

The same as making a tea, but steeped longer. Usually 10 minutes.

Juice, Herb:

When attempting to obtain juice from dry herbs, soak in twice their weight of water for 24 hours and then press out the fluid.

Lotion:

The same as making a cream only use more water.

Lotion, Quick:

Mix 2 parts herb water with one part vegetable glycerin or combine herbal infusion with glycerin.

Do NOT store any plant material in oil since botulism can occur under these conditions.

Oil, Herb:

Infuse powdered herbs in warm olive oil in double boiler for several hours. Strain through muslin and keep straining till all bits of plant material are strained out of the oil.

Oils, Medicated: Ayurvededic method:

1 part herb to 16 parts water and 4 parts of oil (ie. 1 oz herb, 2 cups water, 1/2 cup oil); decoct until all the water is evaporated then strain OR decoct the herb in water alone, then strain and add the oil and continue with the decoction until only the oil remains..

FRESH oils: Crush and mash the whole herb (ie. grated ginger, garlic, onions, etc)

and allow to stand overnight in oil; squeeze through muslin to strain.

Ointment, Quick: Add 1/2 to 1 tsp of tincture to each ounce of commercial skin lotion.

Fresh herbs: Grind and mash.

DRY herbs: Add a little water and work into a paste; may be taken as is or mixed with honey or oil. If using oil, keep refrigerated; if honey, will keep without refrigeration.

Non-petroleum Jelly: 1 oz beeswax, 1/2 cup baby or mineral oil or sweet almond or olive oil; melt together in the top of a double boiler. Pour out into suitable container and allow to set up.

Powders:

Herbs can be powdered in a coffee mill. If you’ll be be doing much work with herbs, you should have one especially for powdering herbs.

Preserving Flowers: If you are unable to process your flowers (ie. elder, rose) immediately, you can either pack them (don’t crush) into wide-mouthed canning jars and then pour glycerine over the flowers until they’re covered. Cap the jar. Or you can pack them in 1/3 of their weight of salt. This method is usually employed when preserving flowers to use in fresh sachets or potpourris.

Salves & Ointments

1. Place about 1/2″ of water in the bottom of an electric skillet to protect its finish. Add herbs and oil to a pyrex bowl or top of double boiler and place in center of skillet. Fiddle with control of skillet until oil measures a steady 95º F on a cooking thermometer. Allow to simmer gently at this heat for about 12 hours or until the herbs look “used up”. Strain herbs out of the oil and return oil to a clean bowl or double boiler pan and set back in the skillet; raise heat to 150° F and add grated beeswax. Allow beeswax to melt, stirring well. Test by dropping a small amount on a saucer and when desired texture is reached pour into wide-mouth jar suitable for ointment/salve.

2. Boil herbs in water until sufficiently extracted; strain; add oil to the decoction and continue to simmer till all the water evaporates; add sufficient beeswax until desired consistency is reached (melt about 2 oz of wax to 5 oz of oil); to preserve you can add 1 drop tincture of benzoin per each ounce of mixture or 1 drop grapefruit seed extract per ounce of mixture.

3. Beeswax, oil, fats; Vaseline can be combined with herbs or tinctures.

Place 2 oz of dried herbs into a pint of oil then heat gently for 1 hour; strain and cool for an ointment. For a salve add 1 oz beeswax or Vaseline then stir well as it thickens and store in a jar. Store in refrigerator or preserve with tincture of benzoin or grapefruit seed extract (1 drop per oz of mixture for both)

4. Grind dried herbs to powder and cover with olive oil; steep for 2 weeks shaking gently daily; strain through muslin (at this stage it is a liniment/ointment); add beeswax to thicken (now it’s a salve). Store in refrigerator

Syrup:

1. 2 lbs sugar, 1 pint water. Dissolve sugar in water over low heat. Raise the temp to the boiling point and strain the solution while it is hot. Add enough extra water through the strainer to make the syrup measure 2-1/2 pints.

2. Dissolve 3 lbs of brown sugar in a pint of boiling water and boil until thick. Add any herbs you wish to this to make a herbal syrup.

3. : Pour 1-1/4 cups of boiling water onto 3 oz of crushed herbs and leave to get cold. Strain the infusion and then heat until it is warm and then add 1/2 cup of sugar.

When the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture to a boil and gently simmer until it is a syrup consistency. Allow to cool a bit before bottling.

A rule of thumb for making tinctures using dried herbs is a 1 to 8 ratio (ie. 1 oz powdered herbs to 8 oz of 100% proof vodka)

Tincture: Combine 1 to 4 oz of powdered or crushed herb with 8 to 12 oz of 100 proof alcohol (vodka can be obtained cheaply and works well); shake thoroughly and allow to stand in a warm place for 2 weeks; shake daily; strain and bottle in a dark container such as a dark brown dropper bottle. Take 1 to 30 drops according to the herb used.

BASIC OINTMENT

Crush fresh or dried herbs and simmer with fat of your choice (i.e. lard, olive oil, safflower oil, etc). Simmer on top of stove in top of double boiler for several hours. Or, they may be baked in the oven for several hours in the fat using a low heat. Strain and place back on heat, then melt beeswax in it. Pour into jar.

SKIN LOTION

This lotion is useful for skin inflammations and for those with possible bacterial complications.

Combine 1 tbsp each of Chamomile, Comfrey, Chickweed, and Calendula in a mason jar. Over this pour 2 cups boiling hot water; cover and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain and place in a spritzer bottle. Add 1 dropper full of Echinacea extract. Spritz as needed.

Or Comfrey, chickweed, and Calendula add   8 to 9 oz of sweet almond oil (or olive oil or combo of the two)

¼ oz (approx) of grated beeswax

800 IU vitamin E to it and make it a thick lotion.

Place all in a double boiler and melt together, pour into lotion bottle or screw top container.

CHICKWEED SALVE

Good first aid for cuts, nicks, bites and scratches, itches and rashes.

2 oz fresh chickweed

1 pint olive or sweet almond oil

½ oz beeswax

in ovenproof container combine Chickweed and oil.

Place in 150°F oven for 3 hours; strain and add ½ oz melted beeswax to oil

(Always melt waxes in top of double boiler to avoid fire); stir as mixture thickens.

COCOA BUTTER SALVE

4 oz. herbs of choice

6 oz. cocoa butter (vegetable oil can be substituted)

1 oz. beeswax

Melt cocoa butter in top of double boiler with beeswax.

Add herbs and allow to heat through in double boiler over very low heat for a minimum of 30 minutes. Strain out herbs.

EMERGENCY OINTMENT

Combine some wheat germ oil and honey and apply to sore, bruise or wound.

Tinctures of Comfrey, Calendula, St. Johnswort or Mullein can be added (between 5 and 15 drops) to the oil and honey.

EUCALYPTUS OINTMENT

Contains antiseptic and healing properties good for chapped hands, chafes, dandruff, tender feet, spots on the chest, arms, back and legs and pains in the joints and muscles, Apply a piece of clean cotton or gauzy type material to wounds after all dirt is washed away. For aches and pains rub the affected part well and then cover with cloth; repeat 2 or 3 times.

12 oz elder oil

2 oz beeswax

2 tsps eucalyptus oil

20 drops wintergreen oil

Combine elder oil and wax in top of double boiler over low heat until wax melts; remove from heat and stir in remaining 2 oils. Pour into appropriate containers.

LAVENDER OINTMENT

RECIPE #1

25 drops essential oil of lavender

10 drops essential oil of lemon

5 drops essential oil of thyme

2 tbsp oil of lavender (which is prepared by infusing flowers in olive oil)

60 g beeswax

Melt beeswax in top of double boiler, then beat in oil of lavender.

As ointment begins to cool, add the essential oils and continue to beat till cool.

Store in covered jar in refrigerator.

RECIPE #2

Good for chapped lips, skin and cold sores.

4 tbsp olive or almond oil

3 to 4 tbsp beeswax

3 tsp cocoa butter

10 drops vitamin E oil

15 drops lavender oil

15 drops sandalwood oil

Combine olive or almond oil, beeswax, cocoa butter and lanolin and heat in top of double boiler.

Remove from heat and add vitamin E (a 400 IU capsule can be opened and contents squeezed out), lavender and sandalwood oils and beat well. Pour into little jars and allow to cool before putting on lids.

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LAVENDER-TEA TREE OINTMENT

Good antiseptic properties and soothing to skin problems.

2 oz oil

½ oz beeswax

5 drops lavender oil

3 drops tea tree oil

400 IU vitamin E

Combine oil and beeswax in top of double boiler over low heat till wax melts.

Remove from heat and add lavender and tea tree oils.

Snip vitamin E capsule open and squeeze contents into oils.

Place in ointment jar and allow to setup before capping.

SAGE and SWEET VIOLET OINTMENT

Good for chapped lips, cold sores and chapped skin.

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage leaves

2 tbsp sweet violets

4 tbsp sweet almond oil

Combine ingredients in a small stoppered bottle.

Leave in a warm place for 1 month, shaking daily.

Strain into a bowl and add 4 tbsp each of almond oil and melted beeswax which

have been melted together in the top of a double boiler.

Beat until cold.

Store in an airtight jar in a cool place.

Healing Salve 1

Recipe by Mountain Rose Herbs

This all-purpose salve recipe is perfect for minor scrapes, cuts, bug bites, or other skin irritations.  The herbs may be adapted for different skin conditions and ailments as desired, and the amount of beeswax can be easily altered.  Use less beeswax if you desire a softer balm or live in a cold climate, and use more beeswax if you prefer a harder salve or reside in a warm climate.

Healing Salve 2

Yield 4 oz

1 oz Calendula infused oil
1 oz Comfrey infused oil
1 oz St. John’s Wort infused oil
1 oz Plantain infused oil
10 drops Vitamin E Oil
20 drops Lavender Essential Oil
½ oz Beeswax (Carnauba or Candelilla Wax may be used for a Vegan salve)
Glass Jars or Tin Containers

Place Infused Oils and Beeswax over a double boiler, and gently heat until the Beeswax melts.  Remove from heat and add Lavender Essential Oil and Vitamin E Oil.  Quickly pour into prepared tins or glass jars and allow to cool completely.  The salve will last for at least a year, and is best if kept in a cool and dark area such as a cupboard or cabinet.

HEALING HERB SALVE 3
1 oz dried comfrey leaves
1 oz dried calendula flowers
2 cups olive oil
1 oz pure beeswax
4 drops tea tree
4 drops lavender essential oils
1 400 vitamin E
Heat herbs in olive oil over low heat for about 5 hours. Do not let the oil boil or bubble. A Crock-Pot or the lowest temperature setting on a range should be suitable for heating this mixture. (If the lowest setting is too hot, turn off the heat once it has warmed the oil…it should keep warm for at least and hour….then repeat the process twice.)
After cooking, strain out the herbs while oil is still warm.
Place 1 1/4 cups of the herb oil in a pan, add beeswax and heat just enough to melt the wax.
Add essential oil and stir.
Finally, pour the salve into wide mouthed jars.
Store at room temperature.
Use for minor scrapes and cuts, to protect and promote healing.


Vapor Rub

¼ teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil

1/8 teaspoon each peppermint and thyme essential oils

¼ cup olive oil (or Vaseline at which opoint you would spoon blend instead of shake together)

Combine ingredients in a glass bottle. Shake well.

Gently massage onto chest and throat.

MAKE HERBAL COUGH DROPS

You must make a syrup with sugar, not honey to make cough drops, but you can use raw sugar or brown sugar instead of white sugar and it will work just as well.

Instead of pouring your boiling hot syrup into a bottle, keep boiling it. Every minute or so, drop a bit into cold water, when it forms a hard ball in the cold water, immediately turn off the fire. Pour your very thick syrup into a buttered flat dish. Cool, and then cut into small squares.
A dusting of powdered sugar will keep them from sticking.
Store airtight in a cool place.

Cough Syrup

Cover the bottom of a Crockpot with either Wild Cherry Bark or Violet leaves and flowers|
Cover entirely with honey.
Set on low heat for two days and stir occasionally.

Hyssop Cough Syrup

Licorice flavored, soothes sore throats.
2 tbsp dried hyssop (flower tops) or 1/3 cup fresh hyssop (chopped flowers)
1/4 cup water
1 cup honey
1 tsp aniseed

In a saucepan combine honey and water. Stir until the mixture is consistency
of pancake syrup. Bring slowly to a boil (over a medium heat). Skim off any
scum that rises to the surface.

Use 1-2 tbsp water to moisten the dried hyssop. Crush the aniseed. Stir both
into the honey. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Remove from
heat, uncover, and allow to cool. While the mixture is still a little warm,
strain into a jar. When completely cooled, screw on the lid. Should keep for
1 week.

Wild Cherry Cough Syrup

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar (scant)
1 tsp wild cherry bark
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 tsp chopped dried marshmallow root

Make a decoction of the cherry bark and marshmallow root. (Boil in water for
about 4 minutes. Steep the mixture with the cover on the pot for a few
minutes.) Slowly stir in the sugar and cream of tartar, simmer until the
mixture becomes thick and sugar granules completely dissolve. Transfer to a
container and allow to cool before covering tightly.
-C Syrup

6 cups water

3 tablespoons elderberries

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds or cranberries

2 tablespoons rose hips

1 tablespoon pine or cedar tree needles

1 tablespoon lemongrass

Cook this down to three cups and add:

One half cup molasses

One half cup honey

One half cup fruit concentrate

This is wonderful tasting syrup to take as a tonic during cold and flu season.

Pain Killers:
Caution: As with all herbal remedies, check to make sure they will not interfere with doctor prescribed medications. This information is to be used wisely. Do not take any herb you are allergic to, and see your doctor if problem persists.

Pain killer-
Soak 1/2 teaspoon of dried willow bark in 2 cups cold water overnight,Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
Strain, cool, and bottle.
The dosage is 1/4 cup, to be sipped slowly as needed for pain. It can be added to juices or teas if you wish.

Good Sedative –
Mix together 1 tablespoon each of bee balm, hops, peppermint, chamomile, and crushed fennel seed.
Add 1 tablespoon of the mixture to 1 cup boiling water.
Steep 10 minutes and strain. Sweeten with honey.
Drink 1/2 hour before bedtime.

Mild Sedative –
Pour 1 pint of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of dried catnip.
Cover and steep until cool. Flavor if desired. Strain and sweeten.
For children, give 1 tablespoon; adults get 2 tablespoons.

For trouble getting to sleep –
Pour 1 pint of boiling water over 1 ounce of feverfew flowers.
Cover and steep until cool.
Strain and sweeten with honey.
Drink cool.

To induce sleep –

Mix 2 tablespoons dried peppermint with 1 tablespoon each of rosemary and sage.
This really soothes the nerves and allows you to relax enough to go to sleep

Sprain and Aching Muscles Treatment –
Mix together 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup of linseed oil, and 4 tablespoons witch hazel.
Use as a massage oil.

Sedative Tincture –
Place 1-1/2 ounces of chamomile and 1-1/2 teaspoons of powdered peppermint into 1/2 quart of vodka. Allow to steep for 2 weeks, shaking daily.  Strain and bottle. Use as a sedative for adults. Dosage is 1/2 dropper full under the tongue as needed..

Well I have to say that the research for this article was amazing.. as well as adding to my recipe book of food and medications.. I certainly hope that you find it fun, usefully and tasty. Please be aware that I have shared both my own recipes and recipes borrowed from books and web pages..
Enjoy until next month.

Merry Cooking and Blessed Eating

Vampire Folklore

March, 2009

Arise From the Past!:  I Found A Vampire, Now What?

When one stumbled upon what was thought to be a vampire or living corpse, the first idea that must have run through his or her mind was quite simple.  What was one to do with such a find?  Although many people cannot agree on the correct way to dispose of a vampire, they can all agree that any technique used has to work indefinitely.  Such methods include a stake through the heart, decapitation, burning, the usage of holy items, garlic, and exposure to sunlight.

One of the most common methods for disposing of a vampire is a stake through the heart.  The idea originated in Europe before the use of coffins became widespread.  Any deceased person who was likely to come back from the grave for any reason was staked to keep that individual attached to the ground.  When the practice was first used, the stake was placed anywhere.  It could be driven into the stomach or the back if the corpse was facing downward.  When coffins were introduced, the stake was plunged specifically into the heart as a direct assault on the corpse itself (Melton 580).  The method became even more refined when Slavic stories implemented the strategy of making sure the task was done with a single blow, and any repetition of such a blow could kill the destroyer or awaken the vampire.  Such a precise set of directions came from Slavic stories that always stressed the idea of a hero who must strike a monster once and once only (Masters 107).  Furthermore, Slavic lore specified the use of aspen as the best wood to use for a stake.  Other woods such as ashwood, hawthorne, and maple could be used as well (Guiley 80).  Thus, the stake through the heart as a way of disposal could be very involved.

While a stake through the heart might suffice for some, other would-be vampire hunters would argue that more must be done to properly dispose of a vampire.  The next method of preventing a vampire’s return to the living is decapitation or mutilation.  This practice became commonplace in Germany and Eastern Europe.  When a vampire was indentified, the head was cut off to make sure the body did not receive any direction from the missing fixture.  The head could be placed between the knees or under the arm.  Some people would take the head and bury it elsewhere for greater certainty (Melton 163).  In Slavic lore, it is best to decapitate a vampire with a shovel belonging to a gravedigger or sexton.  A gravedigger’s shovel was supposed to have a supernatural power due to its association with the dead while a sexton’s shovel carried with it the powers of the Christian God.  However, regardless of the tool or placement of the head, one needed to take care to make sure none of the blood sprayed upon the executioner and helpers.  If the blood happened to hit anybody, the people affected would either go mad or die instantly (Guiley 80).

Although a stake through the heart and decapitation could stop or at least hinder a vampire, those affected by supposed vampire epidemics went a step further.  This step involved the burning of the corpse.  The practice of burning the dead started sporadically throughout the world as early as the Stone Age.  It became frowned upon when the resurrection of Jesus Christ was recognized by the Church.  Pagans challenged the resurrection and Christian faith by digging up saints and martyrs and burning them (Gregory 98).  To add to the difficulty of seeking a cremation, bonfires were the chief means of burning, and bodies did not burn well because of their high water content.  As a result, the body may have been further mutilated and cut into parts to make it easier to burn.   Stories differ as to how much of the body should be burned.  Some argue that certain parts, such as the head, need to be burned (Guiley 80).  Other cultures strongly suggest that every last scrap of bone and flesh must be destroyed.  Otherwise, the vampire could rise again (Masters 100).

Besides physically destroying or mutilating a vampire corpse, other remedies exist to assist with the process.

To be continued in April…

Works Cited

Gregory, Constantine.  The Vampire Watcher’s Handbook:  A Guide For Slayers.  New York:  St. Martin’s Griffin, 2003.

Guiley, Rosemary Ellen.  The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters.  New York:  Checkmark , 2005.

Masters, Anthony.  The Natural History of the Vampire.  London:  Rupert Hart-Davis    Ltd, 1972.

Melton, J. Gordon.  The Vampire Book.  Detroit:  Visible Ink Press, 1994.

Mabon – Southern Hemisphere

March, 2009

MAY-bon, MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon or MAH-bawn, – Lesser Sabbat – Fall/Autumn Equinox, September 21-23

Other Names: Michaelmas (September 25th, Christian), Second Harvest Festival, Witches’ Thanksgiving, Harvest Home(Anglo-Celtic), Feast of Avalon, Wine Harvest, Festival of Dionysus, Cornucopia, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), Chung Ch’iu (China), Night of the Hunter, Alban Elfed “The Light of the Water”(Caledonii/ Druidic-celebrates Lord of the Mysteries), Winter Finding (Teutonic, from Equinox ‘til Winter Night or Nordic New Year, Oct 15th.)

Animals/Mythical Beings: Dogs, wolves, stag, blackbird, owl, eagle, birds of prey, salmon & goat, Gnomes, Sphinx, Minotaur, Cyclops, Andamans and Gulons

Gemstones: Yellow agate, carnelian, yellow topaz, sapphire, lapis lazuli & amethyst

Incense/Oil: Pine, sweetgrass, apple blossom, benzoin, myrrh, frankincense, jasmine, sage wood aloes, black pepper, patchouly, cinnamon, clove, oak moss

Colors: Brown, green, orange, red, deep gold, scarlet, yellow, russet, maroon, all autumn colors, purple, blue violet & indigo

Tools, Symbols, & Decorations: Indian corn, red fruits, autumn flowers, red poppies, hazelnuts, garlands, grains especially wheat stalks, and colorful, fallen leaves, acorns, pine & cypress cones, oak sprigs, pomegranate, statue/or figure to represent the Mother Goddess, mabon wreath, vine, grapes, gourd, cornucopia/horns of plenty, burial cairns, apples, marigolds, harvested crops, burial cairns, rattles, the Mysteries, sun wheel, all harvest symbols

Goddesses: Modron(Welsj), Bona Dea, Land Mother, Aging & Harvest Dieties: the Triple Goddess-Mother aspect, Persephone, Demeter/Ceres, Morgan(Welsh- Cornish), Snake Woman(aboriginal), Epona(Celtic-Gaulish), Pamona(roman), the Muses(greek)

Gods: Mabon ap Modron(Welsh), Sky Father, Wine Gods, Aging Gods, John Barleycorn , the Wicker-Man,the Corn Man, Thoth(Egyptian), Hermes, Hotei(Japanese), Thor, Dionysus(Roman), Bacchus(Greek) & all wine Deities

Essence: Beauty, joy; fullness of life, harvest of the year’s desires, strength; laughter; power; prosperity, equality, balance, appreciation, harvest, protection, wealth, security, self-confidence, reincarnation

Meaning: Death of the God, assumption of the Crone, balance of light and dark; increase of darkness, grape harvest, completion of the harvest

Purpose: Second harvest festival, new wine pressing/making preparation for winter and Samhain, rest after labor, Pagan day of Thanksgiving, honoring the spirit world,celebration of wine

Rituals/Magick: Celtic Festival of the Vine, prosperity rituals, introspection, rituals which enact the elderly aspects of both Goddess & God, past life recall

Customs: Offerings to land, preparing for cold weather, bringing in harvest, cutting willow wands( Druidic), eating seasonal fruit, leaving apples upon burial cairns & graves as a token of honor, walk wild places & forests, gather seed pods & dried plants, fermenting grapes to make wine,picking ripe produce, stalk bundling; fishing,. on the closest full moon (Harvest Moon) harvesting corps by moonlight.

Foods:Cornbread, wheat products, bread, grains, berries, nuts, grapes, acorns, seeds, dried fruits, corn, beans, squash, roots (ie onions, carrots, potatoes, etc), hops, sasssafras, apples, pomegranates, carrots, onions, potatoes, roast goose or mutton, wine, ale, & cider

Herbs: Myrrh, thistle, tobacco, oak leaf, hazel, mums, hops, acorns, marigold, rose, sage, milkweed, solomon’s seal, aster, fern, honeysuckle, benzoin, myrrh, passionflower, pine & cedar, ivy, hazel, hops, cedar

Element: Water

Threshold: Evening

Hally’s Hints

March, 2009

It’s Personal…Psychic Attacks

We have all heard about it; we have probably experienced it at least once in our lives and yet, we somehow forget about it until it happens again – I am talking about Psychic Attacks.

I am sure this has been covered here a couple of times and for me, obviously not enough. I had often thought of psychic attacks as something that was done by a stranger; perhaps someone that was jealous or on a path of negativity for one reason or another but until recently I had never in my wildest dreams considered that it could come from someone I was very close to. It is devastating to realise the manipulation and extent to which this person had gone to, to control my life the way they believed, right down to the decisions I made to sabotaging friendships and business opportunities.

As a pagan, we all know one of the most important guidelines – to never compromise the free will of another. This is something I take very seriously and practice in all that I do. So you can imagine my absolute shock to become aware of this. It is one thing to consider continuous misfortune as a co-incidence; it is another to realise that it is being done by someone I had trusted and loved because they believed they have the right to. Frankly, no one has that right, because this form of psychic attack, in no better terms, is playing ‘god’, which is wrong on so many levels.

The first thing to know is that it can happen to anyone by anyone. Be aware of who you are in your thoughts and be aligned with your core values. Never underestimate the purpose of someone’s intentions. Just because your intentions may come from your heart with pure and loving thought doesn’t mean that it is the same for them. Be aware because you will know somewhere within when something isn’t right.

Be mindful of what to do when it happens. The burning of white sage; taking a bath in Epsom salts; closing your psychic gate behind your head (located at C4 of your vertebrae), be positive and if in doubt, seek the assistance of a healer. Never take these attacks lightly or something that will just go away. Having to witness a friend being sick and having arguments with her partner because she was helping me is difficult to take, particularly when it was happening to me at the same time.

Keep those that are likeminded close to provide you with the extra support and strength as well as the re-assurance in knowing that remaining true to yourself is the key to staying out of the darkness.

We all have incredible strength within us. We all have amazing awareness and the ability to stand true in our own white light.

We all deserve the life we were born to live and reminding yourself that the universe is there supporting you is one powerful step forward.

Today is the first day of my life that my thoughts are my own; that my desires are my own and my home is free of an energy that isn’t my own. It is liberating, empowering and I can finally see that the light that shines within that has struggled to come out all of these years finally has the opportunity to live as it always was meant – true to me.

Charm Spells By Ileana Abrev

March, 2009

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Over the years I have read a vast array of books aimed towards teaching our pagan youth the practices and principles of our craft, but I must say this is the most awe inspiring of them all.

Charm Spells is an ingenious easy to read literary guide for both young and old witches alike. Teaching the basic tools every young witch needs Ileana Abrev has created a grimoire like no other. Instructing white magick from the very start not only is the right path to take, but it sets young practitioner on the path to lifelong success in their lives as well as their practice. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to read this book and forwarded it on to my daughter; that there is just one thing left to say go out and get a copy today it is one book we all should ready regardless of our age.

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