May, 2010

Merry Meet!!

May, 2010

Welcome to the May Issue of PaganPages.

In this issue:

mate4r2

Interview with Materdea

cerr1

Up and Coming artist Cernunnos

Plus all your favorite Regular Columns.
We have started a NEW NING NETWORK for our readers to join and get to know each other.  It is free and you can get to it by clicking here.   I look forward to seeing you all there!!

Monthly Horoscope

Gemini 2010 Horoscope (May21- June 21)

gemini3


Gemini’s stronger than ever are your powers of observation, so use this time to your advantage to figure out what is going on with you romantic relationships. Soon you will be able to make more sense out of not only your personal life but career as well.

By: CelticMoon
Monthly Prayer

This is my invocation (prayer) to the God, that I speak when lighting his candle.
God of my Sun, God of my Fire
God who lives and dies, yet never tires
God whose light by which I see
God whose flame burns within me
God who shows me how to live
God who teaches how I should give
God who shows me how to die
God who teaches what matters more than I
God whose word is a promise to be
A god of truth, a god of strength, A god of responsibility
God whom by his Goddess always stands
God who makes me proud to be a pagan man

John is a contributing writer to Pagan Pages, currently sharing his thoughts in the “Rites and Ritual” section. He resides in Oregon, living outside town, within the forest near the base of Mt Hood. He hopes that his words reflect the magick and wisdom Nature offers.



Rebel Rede

May, 2010

A Rabbit of Doubt

We all have doubts. We all have those times in our lives when we are down, depressed, and just plain tired. It is during these dark times that we usually start to have doubts about our beliefs and our chosen paths. This is not only normal it is completely healthy. Paganism does not have the rules and regulations that the Judeo-Christian religions do. This aspect of Paganism is a double edge sword though and can work both for and against us. One of the reasons it is so easy for a Pagan (or Wiccan) to “lose” their faith is because we do not have any higher authority pushing us not to fall. We do not have a bible or a pastor who holds us to a strict way of life. We do not have the fear of being sent to hell or the fear of a God-sent punishment. This lack of fear is what makes it so easy for us to fall. On the plus side though, we also do not have any forced guilt when we finally do fall. There is no higher authority yelling at us for making a human mistake. We do not fall before our Gods in fear and beg them for mercy. As Pagans we do not generally believe in the concept of sin or hell. We do not believe that we have to earn the right to an afterlife. We can be human and still be Divine. We can make mistakes or have serious doubts and still be a good person! It is okay to change your spiritual beliefs. It is okay to rename or re-categorize your beliefs and path. You might go from being a Wiccan witch, to a Hoodoo practitioner, to an Atheist, and back to a Wiccan witch all in the same year. The important aspect of doubt is that is helps us to grow. It helps us to clearly define what it is we believe and why. Our belief systems and faith are not perfect. That is alright though because perfection should never be the goal. We should always be striving to grow and learn as people, as witches. Our beauty is in both our humanity and our divinity! Don’t be afraid to fall friends!  Don’t be afraid to follow the rabbit of doubt down the hole to see where it will take you! Wonderland is never far away!

Scents for your Sensibilities

May, 2010

oils

Now we are going to have a little fun with some recipes. Most of the ones we will discuss  were discovered or created by Scott Cunningham in his book titled Incense, Oils & Brews. I have always found this book to be a priceless tool when trying to figure out what to blend with what and by how much technically. Though I always go by what my intuition tells me, Mr. Cunningham gives me an excellent base to start off with.

Many of his scents or recipes for scents have worked really well for just about every person I have ever spoken with about it. They say this book is “the” book, so if you have a limited budget and would like a great book that covers almost everything, grab this one.

So okay, I didn’t receive any recipes form readers who were in love with their results, however, I have one for prosperity that I creates and love, and I will include one from the book.

The first is a ritual oil I rub on a candle for spells designed to bring prosperity.

Prosperity Ritual Oil
(Kerry A Morgan)
You really don’t need a ton of this but I do not measure things traditionally. I use my nose and intuition to know if I should add more or less of something and you should do the same when working with oils. It IS for you, whatever it is you’ve decided you need the oil for, so it should speak to you. Using your own senses for this is always best.

For me- Patchouli Oil works wonders in the money department. So I use this as my main scent. Using an amber colored bottle to keep it safe from the sun, I fill it with at least 1/3 of your basic, but good quality patchouli oil. The next scent that I add is chamomile by adding an actual little crushed budded flower. Depending on how the scent works at the time, I add 1/3. Then I top off the bottle with one of two scents. Either a mint/peppermint, or I’ll use cedar wood. Sometimes the chamomile doesn’t want to work under my nose so to speak, so I’ll use basil oil instead, but even if it squinches my nose a bit, I try to stick with chamomile. I try to do this close to a full moon so it can set overnight, then I use the oil on a green candle to ritualize it before burning it. To bring money quickly to you, rub in a twisting motion, the candle from the bottom – upwards in a clockwise motion, until it feels like it is ready. Then light and let burn until all gone in a safe environment.

The recipe for fast money inside S.C.’s book is this;

Seven drops of patchouli, 5 drops of cedar wood, four drops of vetivert, and two drops of ginger, again in a dark colored bottle. Wear, rub on your hands, on ritualize a green candle with this recipe. Also bless and anoint any money you receive to ensure its quick return.

Pagan Parenting

May, 2010

Family Values: Food

If there is one thing that attending festivals, gatherings, rituals whether private or public has taught me about the Pagan community is that: we LOVE food.   We strive to worship this earth, and consume the wonderful bounty that it graces us with.   Nurturing your child’s relationship to food is pivotal in their development.   Food weaves through almost every part of our lives our social relations, our relationship with the earth and our relationship and feelings towards our heath and body.   Eating together whether in ritual or family settings can be so rewarding and fulfilling.   It should be a high priority for every family since we have to eat in order to live and it usually happens at least three times a day.  Our culture has made eating, cooking and growing food into something that needs to be fast and convenient but as Pagans we celebrate with food, we try and be reverent of food, so should we promote this culture of frozen dinners, microwaves and drive-through consumption or should we strive to move in rhythm with the earth, eating seasonally and having a relationship with what we choose to put in our bodies?

Children emulate what they see not what they are told.  So if we tell them the earth is sacred and that the fall bounty is a gift to us and then leave them rarely seeing, let alone consuming a vegetable in its “from the ground state”  what sort of values do you think they’ll develop regarding food?  I would guess that they’d pick a burger and fries over a garden salad and chicken breast any day.  Most children go through a picky eater stage and we can indulge that with letting them only eat jello and drink soda or we can set an example and present them with ways to change their feelings, ideas and interaction with food so that they move past the picky stage with healthy and grounded eating habits.  Below you’ll find ideas for helping your kids (and yourselves) have a positive and reverent attitude towards what you eat.  I’ve included links and hope that you will challenge yourself to make this value one that is fundamental to your family’s present and future.  Don’t worry if you have hiccups or days when the family indulges in some bad habits, no one is perfect and it is hard to completely remove habits that have developed around food.  Just take small steps, introduce different foods slowly and keep trying even if there is resistance.  Habits take a while to break and the more relaxed but dedicated you are the more likely the positive results will start happening.

Grow Your Food

Whether you have a big backyard or a city balcony; grow something with your kids.  Herbs, strawberries, green beans, they are more likely to eat it if they’ve invested time and energy into planting a seed, watering it and watching it grow.

Purchase food at Farmer’s Markets

Besides having a fantastic family atmosphere farmer’s markets allow your child to meet the people growing their food.  This can open up discussions about country living versus city living, taking care of animals and plants, seasonal changes in the earth and it is also a wonderful place to meet your neighbours and participate in the community at large.

Visit Local Farms

Many farms offer a u-pick option which is often not only more economical but a great way to experience your food.  Your child sees the fields, the farmer, the plant in its living state and then gets to pull, pick and harvest the food that you will later eat.

Get Kids Cooking

The whole family should cook together when possible.  Learning to cook is an indispensable skill for your kids it will greatly affect how they think about and interact with their food.  They can set the table, fill the water jug, just get them involved in the process somehow and as they get older they can help more and more.  It is even a good idea to have them help with meal planning so that they see what is involved in the process.

Can & Preserve Foods Together

Another fun activity is to make jams, pickles, or tomato sauce together.  This can be time consuming but you can always make it a more community minded project pooling time and resources with other families.  Your kids will taste the difference in a sauce they made during the summer months and they can feel proud of their part in making food for the family to enjoy together.

Eat as Many Meals Together as Possible

The statistics prove that it makes kids happier and healthier.  And you can really enjoy each other as well as the meal you’ve created together.  Perhaps some activities need to be sacrificed to make it happen but making this a priority in your family will benefit everyone.

Bless the Food and remember its Magic

Taking a moment before you eat to honour the cycle that brought the food to your table will give your children a sense of gratefulness and reverence for the process they participated in.

During your celebrations this spring and summer and throughout the wheel of the year may you and yours eat well, feel well and honour the earth with your choices about food.  I’ve included a few more resources that you and your family may find helpful in making the myriad of decisions around what to consume, how to consume it, and where to find what you are looking for.

Food Inc. the documentary film

Deconstructing Dinner – Food podcast

HeathBeats: Notes from a Kitchen Witch

May, 2010

Merry Meet and Blessed May to you all… As I have in the past I will be writing about something that others may not be… I will be writing today about the darker side of the Goddess.

I have been researching her many faces and have become fascinated with the little understood Hecate and Kali. When you look at them they may seem vastly different from one another but in reality they are very similar. Both are feared as dark and mysterious Goddess with many fearsome attributes. But in reality they are nothing like recent history has portrayed them as.

Hecate

Hecate… Greek goddess of the three paths, guardian of the household, protector of everything newly born, as well as the goddess of witchcraft — once a widely revered and influential goddess, the reputation of Hecate has been tarnished over the centuries.

She has been portrayed as the Goddess of Death, the Old Hag, sometimes pictures with three animal heads,  one with a snake’s head, one with a horse’s and the third a boar’s head. When in reality she was a beauty in her own right. As well as being the only God or Goddess that Zeus allowed equal power. While she never joined the Olympian pantheon, Zeus honored her above all other deities by giving her a special place and granting her dominion over heaven, earth, and the underworld, as well as the power to give or take from humanity anything she wished.

She has been seen walking the roads at night often in the company of her Hounds, sometimes traveling with a following of”ghosts”. She was know to help the dying make a smooth and painless passage into the next life and staying with them, if need be, in the otherworld to help prepare them for their eventual return to the earth in their next life.

The Goddess of death and dying as well as that of new birth and new life, the Hecate was wise in all of the earth’s mysteries. She is often called the liberator because She manifests in our deepest issues and emotions, and reminds us that we need to release the past, especially those things that are hindering our growth, and to accept change and transitions. She sometimes asks us to let go of the familiar and to travel to the dark and scary places of the soul. Making changes, whether spiritual or mundane, is rarely easy. But She is there show you the way.

Hecate became a wardress and conveyor of souls through the underworld. Like Kali, in India, Hecate, as a funerary priestess, conducted her rites in charnel or burial grounds, assisting in liberating the souls of the newly dead.

As a triple Goddess, she represents The Maiden, standing for new beginnings.  You turn to the Maiden when the moon is waxing, The Mother who you to turn to when you need nurturing and protection… Turn to the Mother when the Moon is Full, And the Crone who you turn to at the end of our turn on the wheel. Look to the Crone now when the moon is dark. She represents mind, body and spirit; and birth, life and death. Her smiles are the radiance of the moon, whether it is full or dark, her power is everywhere and in everything.

She has mistakenly been called the destroyer, but She is not. She is the Goddess of death and rebirth, so to destroy would mean that something is forever gone.  You cannot bring something back that has been destroyed. It is through Her that all things live or die.

She was also worshipped as a goddess of fertility, whose torch was carried over freshly sown fields to symbolize the fertilizing power of moonlight.

kali


Kali is the most misunderstood of the Hindu goddesses. Kali is a goddess of death and destruction but She destroys only to recreate, and what she destroys is sin, ignorance and decay. Nowhere in the Hindu stories is she seen killing anything but demons nor is she associated specifically with actual human dying.

Kali is not always thought of as a Dark Goddess; rather, she is also referred to as a great and loving primordial Mother Goddess in the Hindu tantric tradition. In this aspect, as Mother Goddess, she is referred to as Kali Ma, meaning Kali Mother, because of her creative, nurturing and devouring aspects…

Her three forms are manifested in many ways: the three phases of the moon, the three sections of the cosmos (heaven, earth, and the underworld), the three stages of life, the three trimesters of pregnancy, and so on. Women represent her spirit in mortal flesh. Kali’s three forms are also sacred colors: white for the Virgin, red for the Mother, black for the Crone, the three together symbolizing birth, life, and death. To her worshippers in both Hinduism and Tantra she represents a multi-faceted Great Goddess responsible for all of life from conception to death.
Kali is represented as a Black woman with four arms that represent the complete circle of creation and destruction. In one hand she has a Sword, in another the head of the demon she has slain the bloodied sword and severed head symbolize the destruction of ignorance and the dawning of knowledge. The sword is the Sword of knowledge, which cuts the knots of ignorance and destroys false consciousness (the severed head); with the other two she is encouraging her worshippers while representing the creative aspect of Kali.
Her garland of fifty human heads, each representing one of the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, symbolizes the repository of knowledge and wisdom. Her only clothing is a girdle made of dead men’s hands, hands that are the principal instruments of work and so
Signify the action of karma. Thus the binding effects of this karma have
severed, as it were, by devotion to Kali, and her tongue protrudes from her mouth depicting the fact that she consumes all things and denotes the act of tasting or enjoying what society regards as forbidden.
Kali’s fierce appearances have been the subject of extensive descriptions in several earlier and modern works. Though her fierce form is filled with awe-inspiring symbols, their real meaning is not what it first appears.

Her black skin represents the womb of the chaos from which all of creation arises and into which all of creation will eventually dissolve. Kali’s blackness symbolizes her all-embracing, comprehensive nature, because black is the color in which all other colors merge; black absorbs and dissolves them. Or black is said to represent the total absence of color, again signifying the nature of Kali as ultimate reality. Either way, Kali’s black color symbolizes her transcendence of all form….
Kali’s nudity has a similar meaning. Her nudity is said to represent that. Kali is the bright fire of truth, which cannot be hidden by the clothes of ignorance.

Kali is Mother to her devotees not because she protects them from the way
things really are but because she reveals to them their mortality and thus
releases them to act fully and freely, releases them from the incredible,
binding web of “adult” pretense, practicality, and rationality

I could go on and on as there is much research both for and against these Goddesses. But what I basically want to show is that both Hecate and Kali are multi faceted Goddesses. And that to look at only one facet is not only disrespectful to the Goddess herself but also limiting to yourself.

Just as we are more than we sometimes seem to be so are these Goddesses. And we do her a disservice if we only accept the version of her that hundreds of years of fear, hatred, and ignorance have left us. Do not judge this book by the cover it has been given. Open it and look deeper inside and you may surprise yourself by finding a connection that will fulfill you.


Until next time
Blessed Home and Hearth
the Hearthkeeper

PS. If there is anything you would like to see here… Please email me at
theheartkeeper@gmail.com

WiseWoman Traditions

May, 2010

An Abundance of Greens

I didn’t lose it all with Bernie Madoff, but, like many others, I watched my material wealth shrink this past year. Am I worthless because I’m worth less? Of course not. I’m worthwhile, no matter what I’m worth financially. Having less money doesn’t have to mean having less joy or less abundance. I didn’t lose my job – since I am self-employed, I know I won’t be laid off – but work has slowed down, giving me time to appreciate the many ways abundance pops up in my life.

An abundance of things is not fulfilling or satisfying. Having many things can be a burden. It takes time to care for them, leaving less time to enjoy them. Things can be lost, stolen, or broken, giving rise to anxiety about loss. To find abundance, give something away. Trust that the empty hand will be filled.

Abundance is nurtured by sharing. Abundance is not wasteful. Keeping it all for myself is not abundant. Abundance is not proud. Abundance is open and flowing. Abundance loosens my grip on life and reminds me that every breath is a give-away dance. I am surrounded by abundance. Abundance is free. Abundance is a gift. Where is your life abundant?

My goats give me an abundance of milk. So much milk, I have to make cheese every other day. Abundance is hard work. Abundance is usually the result of effort.

My friend fed a stray cat. Now my friend has an abundance of cats to feed. Abundance can appear unexpectedly. Feed abundance and it will multiply.

My peach tree ripened an abundance of fruit last year. One branch, loaded with a hundred pounds of peaches, broke – even though we propped it up in an effort to prevent breakage. Abundance pushes boundaries, it breaks through the levees, it is not orderly or tame. Abundance is demanding.

There are an abundance of weeds in my garden. If I let them grow, my tomatoes would suffer. I must remove one abundance in order to cultivate another. Abundance requires attention. One abundance may prevent another abundance.

I don’t really weed my garden, though; I harvest the weeds for food and medicine.

Some weeds – such as purslane, garlic mustard, catnip, chickweed, wild oregano, oxalis, and chives – are delicious in salads. Others – such as lamb’s quarter, amaranth, dandelion, chicory, and sorrel – are better cooked.

And many are superb medicines. Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is a prolific weed that I harvest and tincture when in flower. A dose of 5-25 drops can be used to ease and eliminate menstrual cramps, relieve even extreme anxiety, lower blood pressure, strengthen the heart, counter blood vessel inflammation, and moderate menopausal flashes.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a generous and abundant plant who offers her roots, leaves, stalks, and flowers as food and medicine. Dandelion wine, cooked dandelion greens with fresh garlic and olive oil, and dandelion root tincture and vinegar are a few of our favorite ways of using this weed. A few drops of the root tincture just before a meal aids digestion and prevents heartburn.

Yellow dock (Rumex crispus) also offers an abundance of food and medicine. We add her leaves to salads, make a vinegar of her red seeds, and dig the root early in the spring or late in the fall to tincture. A dose of a dropperful of the tincture (or a teaspoon of a vinegar) of the roots, taken two or three times a day, is one of the best ways to increase the amount of iron in the blood. Yellow dock tincture is considered to be the very best agent for helping those who need an aid to maintain regularity. Since it is not a laxative, it’s safe to use daily, if you wish.

Garlic mustard (Alliaria officinalis) is the essence of abundance. It covers roadsides as well as blanketing the garden. This biennial plant gives her roots for horseradishy condiments – just blend the spring-dug roots with vinegar – and her leaves for salads and cooked greens. Being in the cabbage family, garlic mustard is part of an important and established means to prevent cancer. (Four servings of cabbage family plants a week reduces overall cancer risk by fifty percent.)

Some weeds – such as grasses, wild geraniums, ragweed, clear weed, smartweed, knotweed, and beggar ticks – are too tough or too bitter for me to eat. I feed them to the rabbits, whose droppings enrich the garden soil and nurture the weeds.

Using my weeds gives me abundance in abundant ways. I save about $500 a year by eating my weeds instead of buying greens and vegetables. I save more than $2000 a year by eating my weeds instead of buying vitamin and mineral supplements. And I can’t even guess at how much I save by using weeds as my primary health care. My entire health care expense is about $100 a year. That buys me all the vodka, vinegar, oil, and honey I need to make the tinctures, vinegars, ointments, and honeys I use to maintain and regain health.

Harvesting and drying the herbs I use for teas and infusions not only saves me money on health care, it saves me money on entertainment. Instead of going to a movie or the mall, my family spends time together picking anti-cancer red clover, hanging memory-boosting comfrey to dry, harvesting St. Joan’s wort for muscle-easing oil and anti-viral tincture, gathering wild grapes and elderberries for heart-healthy wines, and preserving the abundance around us for winter.

Material, physical things are finite and limited. Feelings and thoughts and weeds are not. I may have less money and less ability to buy things, but there’s no price on joy. Smiling creates brain chemicals that make us happy. Cultivate an inner smile. Look for the silver lining. An abundance of love is always available, if we avail ourselves of it. Accept and make use of the earth‘s green blessings.

Abundance is free.

Abundance is a gift.

Abundance is open and flowing.

Abundance can appear unexpectedly.

Feed abundance and it will multiply.

Abundance is demanding.

Abundance is wild.

Abundance is hard work.

Abundance is not proud.

Musings of a Massachusetts Witch

May, 2010

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill:

An’ it harm none,
Do what ye will.

What exactly does the Wiccan Rede advise with those words? Let’s look first at the definition of harm. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as; physical or mental damage. I would not hasten to add spiritual damage to that definition as well. Okay. Got it. What about the word – none? The same dictionary goes on to define that as; not any, not one, nobody, not any such thing or person, no part, nothing. Huh. Now really, if you think about it, that’s a pretty broad spectrum. But what is the ‘it’ in the Rede’s phrasing? What is meant by the word it? Well, I understand the ‘it’ to be circumstances; our actions, words, behaviors and thoughts. So when we put all these definitions together we have – if your actions cause no one or nothing physical, mental damage, emotional damage or spiritual damage then do what you will (or desire).

Yeah. That sounds about right. But if we literally take what the Rede states then it doesn’t leave us the ability to do much; does it? I mean, if I am bond to not cause any mental, physical or spiritual damage to anyone or anything then how can I survive? I need to eat in order to survive, don’t I? Maybe you’re thinking that the Rede doesn’t stop me from eating but, as I said, if I were to take what the Rede states as literal instructions and follow it exactly, well, then it certainly does imply that I can’t eat.

“How?” you ask. Well, in order to eat … let’s not even consider eating meat … let’s mull over eating vegetables or fruit. If I were to eat an apple I would have to harvest it from the tree. Wouldn’t picking it cause physical damage to that tree? Perhaps not. What about chewing the apple and ingesting it? Wouldn’t that cause physical damage to the apple? What about harvesting vegetables from our gardens? How about herbs? Grains? Doesn’t the Rede state that as long as we don’t cause physical damage to anything then do as I desire? I desire to eat. I desire to live. Should I just expect manna to drop from the sky so that I might ingest it so I might live? No. Wait. I couldn’t ingest that either because that would be causing damage to the manna.

Is the Rede meant to be taken literally? Does the Rede truly state that we should not harm anything … ever? Honestly, it is my belief that it speaks to individual intent, motivation and perception. My understanding and feeling about the word “harm” and yours may differ greatly. What I view as causing harm, you may not and what you view as causing harm, I may not. Our perceptions differ because our life experiences have shaped us into unique sacred beings that are connected in a most intimate way – to and through The Divine (God and Goddess). What harm actually encompasses is a convoluted concept which requires serious thought and meditation. A witch must weigh all possible consequences to see if harm would result from his or her words, actions and behavior. This idea is difficult for many to grasp especially those just starting on their path and there will most certainly always be disagreements within the Wiccan community. Yet I believe it is the most important tenet and one of the cornerstones of Wicca as it requires every witch to be responsible for his or her own actions and the results of such.

Across the Great Divide

May, 2010

divide

Spiritual Work and Paranormal Investigations (Part 3 of 3)

leight-fljune


Everyone dreams.  Humans and other animals require sleep, and yes, they all dream.  Our mental and physical health is dependant on how we sleep and how we dream.  A common belief is that gods speak to us through dreams.  For example, according to Islamic belief, Muhammad talked to the angel Gabriel several times through his dreams.  As a result dreams are very important to followers of Islam and a person’s dreams are highly respected and private between the individual and the divine.  Some cultures believe we are nothing more than someone else’s dream.  Some shamanic cultures even say that what we perceive as the physical world is the dream and reality exists while we sleep.  Many of the higher levels of mediation and trance-states of altered consciousness allow us to communicate with our animal spirits, spirit guides, and divine entities.

But what if we can communicate with spirits through our dreams the way we do while awake?  Many cultures believe that this is a matter of fact, and stories of this type of phenomenon are not few and far between.  We’ve seen that communicating with spirits on the physical plane can be difficult.  Factors such as the observer’s level of awareness and the entity’s ability to affect the physical world come into play.  But what about the world of dreams?  If we are all energy; if we can understand and communicate with spirits verbally through the collective unconscious; and the fluidic reality of the dreamscape can lead to premonitions, then would it not make perfect sense that spirits can utilize the thinning of the veil between our conscious and subconscious minds in order to communicate in real time and one to one?

Anthropological studies suggest that a belief in life after death originated from dreams of deceased relatives and friends. The research of Dr. Carla Willis Brandon argues that it is indicative of the survival of consciousness in her article Death Bed Visions.

Edgar Cayce once said, “Dreams, visions, and impressions to the entity in the normal sleeping state are the presentations of the experiences necessary for development, if the entity would apply them in the physical life. These may be taken as warnings, as advice, as conditions to be met, conditions to be viewed in a way and manner as lessons, as truths, as they are presented in the various ways and manners.”
However, Carl Jung said dreams are “the main source of all of our knowledge about symbolism.”  This means that the messages you receive from your dreams are expressed symbolically and must be interpreted to find their true meanings.

There are different levels and types of dreams.  Many are just random images and thoughts from our subconscious thrown into a big mixing bowl.  I like to think of general dream states as the mind’s version of defragmenting a hard drive.  It sorts all the data that is collected, deletes broken or corrupted data, and frees up space by rearranging things.  The random images that flash across our eyes during this process are the basis of the majority of our dreams.  That’s why they range from the hilarious to the downright bizarre.  Lucid dreams are those in which the dreamer is consciously aware that they are dreaming and can interact, change, and direct the course of dream events.  What we call “vision dreams” and “spirit communication” dreams cross the boundaries of the physical universe… as we know them. These include the telepathic dream, the shared dream, the clairvoyant dream, the astral dream, the psychokinetic dream, and the precognitive dream.
The average person spends approximately ninety minutes a night in a dream state. Some of us can remember all, or many, of our dreams; others have trouble remembering that we dreamt at all.

The subconscious mind is very powerful and when we are asleep we are in an alpha state of being.  The body is relaxed, and the conscious mind is at rest and usually peaceful.  This allows the boundary between our conscious self and our subconscious mind to be more open, thus allowing the dreams to be experienced.  Our friends and family that have passed over can and do come back to visit us in our dreams.   These spirits will find a way to communicate with us, whether to just let us know they are alright, or to give us a message.  I’ve got several stories in my family of these encounters.

Some of us are fortunate enough to have developed our natural abilities to the point that we can see and hear them through psychic awareness; others will sense them around them.  Sometimes these spirits will manufacture a scent we associate them with.  I was told a story of a woman who communicated with her father and whenever he was around she would smell Electroshave.  Whether or not this is evidence of his presence is subject to debate.  Smell is the strongest sense tied to memory.  If she smelled that or a similar scent then her subconscious mind would think about her father, thus implanting the suggestion in her dreams.  Similarly, she could be thinking of her father and her olfactory sense misfires and tricks her into thinking the scent is in the room.  Still, there are many cases where s particular scent correlates to paranormal activity.

While we are sleeping they can enter our state of consciousness to communicate with us.  Time and time again we have heard stories of those who passed on visiting and talking with their loved ones while they were sleeping.

The death bed vision that Dr. Carla Willis Brandon discusses is “an otherworldly experience the dying and their family members encounter just before death. The dying will report visions of angels, deceased loved ones, or religious figures mere moments, hours, days, or even weeks before actual death occurs.”

One spine-chilling story I can think of involved my grandfather.  This was many years ago in Florida and they didn’t have a phone in the house, the closest one was down the street.  He had a dream in which his brother came to him and was calling out his name.  He awoke very startled from the dream and in the commotion he wrote the time, 3:30 am, on the wall.  The next day he received a call that his brother had died during the night at that very time; in another incident, my grandfather came to my uncle in a dream and told him if he didn’t stop smoking he would die.  My uncle quit cold turkey the next day.

Usually when someone visits you in a dream it will be very vivid, often in living color, you will have total recall of the dream, and it appears to be happening to you in real time.  You will wake up knowing that you indeed had a visit from beyond.

There are several techniques you can use to increase your level of awareness and recall of these types of dreams.

First, test reality.  Whenever anything in the waking state looks out of place or unusual, ask yourself whether or not you are dreaming.  Habitual practice of this technique will make questioning come naturally and to occur automatically while dreaming.
Use dream incentives.  Outside stimuli can induce consciousness in the dream but are not strong enough to awaken the dreamer (such as lights, perfumes, and music). Incentives work differently on everyone, but the most powerful incentives are those that are tied to something of importance to the dreamer or the spirit you wish to contact.

Before you go to sleep say a simple prayer of protection and ask the person with whom you wish to communicate to appear in your dreams.  Communication can occur through conversation or through images and symbols.
Interpret your dreams on a personal level.  The plethora of “dream dictionaries” available is nice, but they’ll often have different interpretations for the same symbols.  When interpreting the symbology of your dreams take into account cultural and societal references and what different objects and places mean to you through your personal experiences.

And, of course, use a dream log to write down all that you remember from the dreams so that you can go back and decipher the meanings and messages later.  If you start to focus your analytical skills on every detail at the same time you’re trying to recall it things will get lost in translation.  Write it down first THEN go back and explore the meanings.

This could take several days to produce results so don’t give up if you don’t succeed the first night.  Try it for at least four nights then stop for a day or two and try again.  If after two weeks you still have no results then take a break and try to communicate with someone else.  Perhaps the person you are trying to contact is not able or willing to communicate at that time.  Perhaps they are not responding because that particular individual has moved on to their next level of existence elsewhere.  Keep positive, stay alert, and be persistent and you will succeed.

We now see that speaking with those who have passed can take many forms and levels of skill.  Whether you communicate with the other side through the lens of a camera and a recorder, through the use of clairsentient skills and psychic abilities, performing a soul cleansing, or using the power of the subconscious mind to reach those who have crossed over through dreams, a vast array of options now exist to aid in your paranormal investigations.

May your dreams be peaceful, plentiful, and productive.  May you continue to expand the boundaries of your personal and spiritual journey.  Until next month… J

For further reading, Raymond Moody wrote several best-selling books on life after death.  I personally suggest Reunions: Visionary Encounters with Departed Loved Ones and Induced After-Death Communication: A New Therapy for Healing Grief and Trauma

The article, Death Bed Visions, by Dr. Carla Wills-Brandon can be read in its entirety at http://www.pararesearchers.org/Psychic/dbv/dbv.html

**Author’s Note: I’m asking for submissions of personal accounts of paranormal encounters to be featured in a collection for a future article.  Please email submissions directly to me at wolf@deepforestproductions.com and put “Ghost Story” in the subject line.  Should be fun and interesting!!

HearthBeats: Recipes from a Kitchen Witch

May, 2010

Basic herbs

We all need to have some basic herbs in our pantries. Not for magickal uses only. But for flavoring our foods as well… I have chosen the following herbs that I feel are Basics that I MUST have in my kitchen, and I will give the food and the magickal info on them, as I know it and can research it. This may be incomplete as some do not have traditional correspondences. You will also remember that you will use this as YOU see fit.. not as I do or someone else does. If what I have written here does not suit you, feel right, or sounds crazy. Disregard it and research for yourself to get what does feel right.

BasilYour browser may not support display of this image. (mundane) The strong, clove like flavor is essential to many Italian recipes and is most often paired with tomatoes. Basil is primarily used in sauces, pizzas, salads and pasta dishes. It is also the main ingredient used in pesto.

(magickal) it’s element is fire, use for clairvoyance, commanding, divination, harmony, honesty, love, protection, psychic development, purification, wealth. Use in love and prosperity spells. Carry to attract wealth. Sprinkle basil over your sleeping lover to assure fidelity. Use it in a ritual bath to bring new love in, or to free yourself of an old love. Also used for purification baths. Sprinkle on the floor for protection, and burn as an exorcism incense.

DillYour browser may not support display of this image. (mundane) a totally unique spicy green taste. Add whole seeds to potato salad, pickles, bean soups and salmon dishes. Ground seed can flavor herb butter, mayonnaise and mustard. The leaves go well with fish, cream cheese and cucumber.

(magickal) it’s element is fire use for Love, lust, money, protects children. Hang in the doorway to protect your home, or carry to protect your person. Can be used in money spells. Add to a ritual bath to become irresistible to the one you desire. Use in love and lust spells.

LavenderYour browser may not support display of this image. (mundane) Flowers and leaves can be used fresh, and both buds and stems can be used dried. Lavender is a member of the mint family and is close to rosemary, sage, and thyme. It is best used with fennel, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, and savory. To use in cooking, use 1/3 the quantity of dried flowers to fresh. Because of the strong flavor of lavender, a little goes a long way. Wonderful in cookies.

(magickal)it’s element is air, use for chastity, love, peace, happiness, clairvoyance, longevity, sleep, protection

MarjoramYour browser may not support display of this image. (mundane) While fresh marjoram is excellent with salads and mild flavored foods, it has is better tasting when dried. Marjoram has a slightly more delicate flavor than Oregano. Marjoram because it is more delicate should be added toward the end of cooking so its flavor is not lost. Marjoram goes well with pork and veal and complements stuffing for poultry, dumplings and herb scones or breads.

(magickal) protection, love, happiness, health, money

OreganoYour browser may not support display of this image. (mundane) Oregano goes well with vegetables, roast beef, lamb, chicken and pork. It is generally used to season Mexican, Italian, Greek and Spanish dishes. Oregano has a warm, aromatic scent and robust taste. It’s uses include seasoning soups, stews, meat pies, pasta sauces and shellfish.

(magickal)

ParsleyYour browser may not support display of this image. (mundane) Parsley has a delicate favor that combines well with other herbs like basil, bay leaves, chives, dill weed, garlic, marjoram, mint, oregano and thyme. Flat leaf or Italian is used primarily in cooking because of its more robust flavor and curly parsley is used primarily for garnish. Add at the end of cooking for better flavor.

(magickal) purification, protection, lust

RosemaryYour browser may not support display of this image. (mundane) Rosemary’s aromatic flavor blends well with garlic and thyme to season lamb roasts, meat stews, and marinades. Rosemary also enlivens lighter fish and poultry dishes, tomato sauces, and vegetables. Dress fresh steamed red potatoes and peas or a stir fried mixture of zucchini and summer squash. Rosemary has a tea like aroma and a piney flavor. Crush leaves by hand or with a mortar and pestle before using. Also wonderful in bread.

(magickal) it’s element is fire, use for good memory, friendship, fidelity, youth, protection, love, lust, purification, sleep. Burn to purify and cleanse. Use in love and lust incenses and potions. Use for healing of all kinds. A tea of rosemary causes the mind to be alert.

SageYour browser may not support display of this image. (mundane) Sage enhances pork, lamb, meats, and sausages. Chopped leaves flavor salads, pickles, and cheese. Crumble leaves for full fragrance. Use ground Sage sparingly as foods absorb its flavor more quickly. Sage is a wonderful flavor enhancement for seafood, vegetables, stuffing, and savory breads. Rub sage, cracked pepper, and garlic into pork tenderloin or chops before cooking.

(magickal) it’s elements are Earth and air, use for Longevity, prosperity, Spirituality, protection, wishes, healing, Use in healing and money spells, purifying, use as incense during sacred rituals-walk the smoke to the four corners of the room to repel and rid negative energies and influences. Especially good when moving into a new home. Heals wounds, aids digestion, eases muscle and joint pain

ThymeYour browser may not support display of this image. (mundane)- Thyme is included in seasoning blends for poultry and stuffing and also commonly used in fish sauces, chowders, and soups. It goes well with lamb and veal as well as in eggs and croquettes. Thyme if often paired with tomatoes.

(magickal) it’s element is water, use for health, courage, purification, attracting faeries relives giddiness and nightmares. Burn for good health and use in healing spells. Burn as purification incense. Wear to increase psychic powers.

Until next month

Merry Cooking and Blessed Eating

The Hearthkeeper

PS. If there is anything you would like to see here.. please email me at thehearthkeeper@gmail.com

Blessed be…

Beltaine Correspondences

May, 2010

Also known as: May Day, Bealtaine, Beltane, Bhealtainn, Bealtinne, Festival of Tana (Strega), Giamonios, Rudemass, and Walburga (Teutonic), Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain),Fairy Day ,Sacred Thorn Day, Rood Day, Roodmas (the Christian term for Rood Day, Old Beltane, Beltain, Baltane, Walpurgis Night, Floriala (Roman feast of flowers from April 29 to May 1), Walpurgisnacht (Germanic-feast of St. Walpurga), Thrimilce (Anglo-saxon), Bloumaand (Old Dutch)

Date: May 1

Animals: Swallow, dove, swan, Cats, lynx, leopard

Deities: Flower Goddesses, Divine Couples, Deities of the Hunt, Aphrodite,

artemis, Bast, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Maia, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, and all Gods and Goddesses who preside over fertility.Tools: broom, May Pole, cauldronStones/Gems: emerald, malachite, amber, orange carnelian, sapphire, rose quartz

Colors: green, soft pink, blue, yellow, red, brown

Herbs and Flowers: almond tree/shrub, ash, broom, cinquefoil, clover, Dittany of Crete, elder, foxglove, frankincense, honeysuckle, rowan, sorrel, hawthorn, ivy, lily of the valley, marigold, meadowsweet, mint, mugwort, thyme, woodruff may be burned; angelica, bluebells, daisy, hawthorn, ivy, lilac, primrose, and rose may be decorations, st. john’s wort, yarrow, basically all flowers.

Incense: frankincense, lilac, rose.

Symbols and Decorations: maypole, strings of beads or flowers, ribbons, spring flowers, fires, fertility, growing things, ploughs, cauldrons of flowers, butterchurn, baskets, eggs

Food: dairy, bread, cereals, oatmeal cakes, cherries, strawberries, wine, green salads.

Activities and Rituals: fertilize, nurture and boost existing goals, games, activities of pleasure, leaping bonfires, making garlands, May Pole dance, planting seeds, walking one’s property, feasting

Wiccan mythology: sexual union and/or marriage of the Goddess and God

It’s association with fire also makes Beltaine a holiday of purification.

Wiccan weddings are frequently held on or around Beltaine.

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