January, 2013

Merry Meet

January, 2013

 

 

Welcome to a new year and a new issue!! 

 

This year we will continue to bring you all the columns and writers you look forward to reading.  New interviews and book reviews.  New spells and rituals. And so much more…

 

Our Etsy is back up at http://www.etsy.com/shop/PaganPagesOrg?ref=seller_info_count

You will see our beautiful handmade items like: 

And so much more…

 

 

May you have a happy and healthy 2013!

 

Red Pixie – Elements of a Magical Life

January, 2013

So the Mayan’s got it Wrong!

I guess if you are reading this, then the Mayan’s got it wrong lol Oh well, everyone makes mistakes right haha!  I wonder just how many people bought into the whole end of the world debacle.  As a Pisces I can honestly say, this would normally have freaked me out, but I was right at the other end of the spectrum on this one, yeah even I shocked myself.  But with all the talk of the world actually moving into a more loving peaceful time; that resonated much more than the whole Armageddon philosophy.

I guess the one true thing we all are and come from is love, plain and simple really, yet confusing and complicated at the same time. But love is what makes the world go round; we are capable of changing a negative into a positive because of love, and the urge to change.

Speaking of change, what are your plans for 2013?  Do you have a word for the year? Are you a resolution kind of person, have you set yourself goals?  Are they realistic?  Is 2013 your year to change?  I have my word for 2013, well in fact I have two , I can never really settle on just one, Focus and Emerge are my words, and they are being implemented into every possible area of my life.  2012 was a good year, but I intend 2013 on being even better, I have been given so many wonderful opportunities this year and next year is my time to push forward and make these realities.

How many of us start the year with intentions of going to the gym, only to go once or twice in the whole of January, Gyms must really relish the amount of people who sign up come January lol; I guess we start with good intentions but somewhere life gets in the way and our intentions fall by the way side … right?  Is that worded better than we just give up at the first hurdle lol.  Let’s get real, those changes we want to make, aren’t going to happen unless we make them, millionaire business don’t happen by sitting back and wishing it, you also have to work at building them up and making them work.

Get you’re head into the right space, say affirmations to keep your focus and remember who you are doing this for, YOU!!  Do it for you, make yourself shine so brightly that the people around you the most will need sun glasses on just to be near you lol.  Affirmations keep our focus they keep us on the right track when we think we can’t take anymore, use them, they are the most powerful free tool we have at our disposal and best of all they truly work, I know, I use them daily and they have helped to change me and my business so I know how amazing they are.

So 2013 can be your year if you make a plan and follow it through with unwavering trust, hope and love, even if it gets sticky, just believe it can happen the answers will show themselves at the right moment and you can be who you dream to be.  Will you be tested along the way, absolutely, it’s where we learn our greatest lessons, but unwavering trust will get you through and out the other side.

Much love and light for 2013 to you and your families, each one of you a miracle!

We Are One Kind

January, 2013

The entertainer Garry Moore used to end his weekly television show asking his audience to “be a little kinder to each other this week.”  In the wake of the tragic killings in Connecticut a week ago, it might be worthwhile to consider this old word ‘kind’ and what it means, in a full sense, to be kinder to each other.  For surely, what is needed most of all to change a violent society is not to ban weapons or station guards in schools and other places, but to rediscover the reasons why we should act kindly towards each other.  And since one of the barriers to deeper insight into kindness is to surround it with a sentimental haze, I propose to examine this word as objectively and dispassionately as I can; for we all know by now, if we didn’t before the 14thDecember, how strongly we feel about it.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has this to say about the origin of the word kind:

Middle English kinde, from Old English cynd; akin to Old English cynn kin

First Known Use: before 12th century

 

If someone was your kin, you owed certain moral obligations towards him or her.  The two of you were akin, of one kind.  The notion of extending this consideration to people outside the family grew slowly.  In ancient China, we find the philosopher Mo Ti advising people to love all others equally.  Confucius, a more conservative thinker, taught that our consideration towards others should admit of degrees, with more being shown the sovereign and one’s parents and elder brother, less towards neighbors, and so on, ending in a general benevolence toward humanity in general.  In other words, he felt that we should prefer the welfare of those who are closely related to us over that of people more distantly related, or not related at all, so far as we can tell.  This was still an improvement over the usual ancient practice, still observable among indigenous peoples 150 years ago, of seeing their own tribe or nation as human beings, while those outside it as simply ‘enemies.’  The idea of ethical obligations towards humanity in general developed slowly in the West, through the Stoics and Cicero and others.  The concept of the world as one community gave rise anciently to the word ‘cosmopolis,’ world-city, from which we derive our word ‘cosmopolitan.’

Here and now in the 21st century, we still have a tendency to huddle together in a group and regard those outside it as ‘them.’  Bloody conflicts between different religious sects are still going on daily in the Middle East and other regions.  Just the other day a Ukrainian politician was criticized for referring to the actress Mila Kunis as a ‘Jewess.’  When we objectify someone with a label, we reduce them to a puppet following certain instincts, as though controlled by the class we are labeling.  Whether or not Ms. Kunis identifies with Judaism, or to what extent, she is first and foremost a person, an individual.  She does not go through her days “acting like a Jewess,” whatever that might be.  She freely chooses her own course in all her acts, as indeed we all do.

There is an irony here.  In America we tend to regard ourselves as different from everybody else.  This is a cultural trait common to most of us.  We see it in its most extreme form in the mind of a deranged killer like Adam Lanza, who wouldn’t even make eye contact with other people, according to his barber.  By separating himself from humanity, he went crazy from his isolation and eventually became capable of killing other people for no apparent reason.

Not all societies inculcate a sense of separation and difference from others.  I am living in retirement in Norway, where the customary way of life reinforces a sense of solidarity with others, a fact which made the killing rampage of Anders Breivik in 2011 all the more painful and incomprehensible to Norwegians.  Instead of avoiding the topics, ethics and a number of religions are taught in the schools.  Adolescents are either confirmed in the state Lutheran church or else go through a secular ceremony, after taking courses in humanistic subjects.  Yearly surveys of happy countries select Scandinavian societies again and again.  People are happy here because they have a sense of belonging with each other: they are one kind.

We are also one kind, could we but see it.  The road away from the Newtown massacre lies before us, and we can take it if we take it together, if we walk together with other people who may look different or believe or disbelieve differently from us, vote differently, or speak with a different accent, or love one another differently.  We can walk it together because, in the long run, these things do not matter; what matters is we are all ‘me,’ all persons, all one kind.  And being one kind, we can be a little kinder to each other, as Garry Moore asked us to do years ago.

 

Mugwort Chronicles

January, 2013

Echinacea

Several years ago I spotted a somewhat ragged Echinacea plant at our local nursery. It was toward the end of the summer when the nursery had deeply discounted its remaining plants to clear its inventory. This poor little soul lingered in her pot so sadly that I simply could not walk away. I brought her home and planted her in the part of my garden between Marshmallow and Rose, uncertain if I would see her next year. However, as winter warmed to spring then into summer, there was Echinacea small but making a vibrant comeback.

I had always wanted to plant Echinacea to use in making tincture.  Echinacea, more commonly known as Coneflower, is a member of the Asteraceae or aster/daisy family. It has a long history of indigenous use for treating sore throats, coughs, headaches and infection.  It is considered antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral as well as thought to stimulate the immune system. The three types of Echinacea most commonly used for medicine are Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), Echinacea angustifolia (Narrowleaf Coneflower) and Echinacea pallid (Pale Purple Coneflower). A fourth – Echinacea tennensiensis (Tennessee Coneflower), is considered an endangered plant and should never be used. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is the one most often found in gardens as it tends to be less demanding to grow.

Most of what I read about Echinacea indicated that although the seeds, flowers and leaves have some medicinal value, the plant’s roots contain more potent medicine. Purple Coneflower has small roots whereas Narrowleaf Coneflower and Pale Purple Coneflower have long taproots making them better suited when using roots for preparing medicine.

If you do not grow your own Echinacea, I very strongly caution you against wildcrafting it as Echinacea spp (spp is the botanical abbreviation for all species in a genus) is listed as an ‘At Risk’ plant by United Plant Savers. If you purchase dried Echinacea to make medicine instead of growing your own, please, please, please help protect our at-risk and endangered plants by making certain your source was grown organically for harvest and not taken from the wild.

As fall rolled around and the Echinacea plant in my garden held onto her last few summer flowers, I just did not feel right about sacrificing the entire plant to harvest her roots, so I just left her. The following summer, Echinacea was beautiful with many more flowers and obviously enjoying her garden home. Again, fall came and I chose to simply do nothing with her roots.

I began reading Henriette Kress’s wonderful book, Practical Herbs, and was fascinated by her discussion of Echinacea. Henriette noted that the above ground parts- the leaves, flowers and seeds are all effective medicinally as is the root. I began planning how I could use Echinacea without disturbing her too badly.

When Echinacea sprouted her new leaves the next spring, but before her flowers began to open, I harvested enough leaves (when chopped) to loosely fill an eight ounce jar. I added enough 65% alcohol to cover the leaves, capped it tightly and allowed it to sit in my herb cupboard for about six weeks, shaking it twice daily for the first two weeks, then every so often afterward.

I strained the tincture and returned it to the cleaned jar, this time adding several newly opened flowers (cleaned and chopped). I topped off the alcohol to cover the flowers, capped it tightly and proceeded as before, waiting another six to eight weeks.

By this time, the Echinacea seed heads were beginning to ripen. The ripe seed head of the flower has a prominent ‘cone’ shape with the petals drooping downward as opposed to the more flat center and daisy-like appearance of new flowers. I picked several of these ‘ripe’ flowers and chopped them up, attempting to crush the seeds (a little more difficult to crush than I thought). After straining my tincture, I added these chopped seed heads to the jar, again topping it off with more 65% alcohol to cover the flowers, capping it tightly, shaking it periodically and allowing it to ‘brew’ for another six weeks.

As we head into the last few weeks of December, I am convinced that my Echinacea tincture has helped ward off some of the nasty ‘bugs’ I seem to catch this time every year. I work in an office building, “The Land of the Gray Cubicles”, where colds and flues tend to spread rapidly among employees. This year, at the first sign of a scratchy throat, a dry cough or just feeling achy and tired, I took a dropperful of the Echinacea tincture in the morning, and sometimes in the evening, and continued taking it for at least a week. So far, so good-I seemed to have escaped almost all my co-workers illnesses and the one I did have, was quite minor and short-lived.

During a severe cold or flu, Echinacea can be taken with other herbal preparations, such as Elderberry ((Sambucus niagra) or Oregon Grape root (Mahonia spp) to boost its effectiveness and there are several companies which offer Echinacea tincture combinations.

There seems to be differing opinions as to how and when to use Echinacea. Some sources say it should only be used at the onset of cold or flu symptoms and for no longer than ten days. Others indicate that taking Echinacea on a daily basis can help boost the immune system, especially for those individuals who are prone to illness, preventing many colds. There is some debate as to whether Echinacea should be avoided by those with an autoimmune disorder or HIV. However, this does not appear to have been well-studied or well-supported by the current literature.  I have also read that once you have an active case of the flu, Echinacea will do little to help.  All pretty confusing, isn’t it?

As with many things in life, how you choose to use Echinacea will be up to your own unique needs.  Research the available literature and make your own well-informed decision of what is best for you. If you are allergic to ragweed, use Echinacea with caution. If you are pregnant, as with any herbal or botanical preparation, do not use without first discussing with your healthcare provider.

This information is offered for educational purposes and is not intended to take the place of personalized medical care from a trained healthcare professional. The reader assumes all risk when utilizing the above information.

Copyright© 2013 Louise Harmon

All Rights Reserved

 

References:

- Encyclopedia-Echinacea. Retrieved from

http://www.cloverleaffarmherbs.com/echinacea/#sthash.JbfXebDA.dpbs

Accessed 11/19/2012

 

-Kress, Henriette. (2011). Practical Herbs. Finland: Yrtit ja yrttiterapia Henriette Kress.

http://www.henriettesherbal.com

Accessed 11/118/2012

 

-Materia Medica Echinacea. Retrieved from

http://www.herbaltransitions.com/materiamedica/Echinacea.htm

Accessed 11/17/2012

 

-United Plant Savers. Retrieved from

http://www.unitedplantsavers.org/

Accessed 11/19/2012

 

Wikipedia. Echinacea. Retrieved from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echinacea

Accessed 11/17/2012

Musings of a Massachusetts Witch

January, 2013

Have To? I Disagree!

 

There are things we don’t want to happen, but have to accept; things we don’t want to know, but have to learn; and people we can’t live without, but have to let go.”

 

This was one of the many quotes that I read on a facebook friend’s status that at first read seemed to hold such a positive and powerful message until I contemplated the words and came to realize that I did not agree with it nor did I believe it to hold wisdom. Not one iota. In fact, I truly and wholeheartedly disagreed with it! Why? Well, let me explain my line of thinking by beginning with the first part of the quote.

 

There are things we don’t want to happen but have to accept.”

It is my belief that we experience only those events, people and circumstances that we either intentionally attract into our life or those things that we attract unintentionally or by default by allowing other sentient beings that dwell on this physical plane of existence influence our point of attraction or our focus. We are always responsible for our life experiences, as we have manifested them for ourselves for some purpose even if that purpose is as simple as being able to understand that it is something that we do not want to experience again.

 

This then leads me to question the second part of the quote. Do I truly have to accept that which I don’t want to happen (experience)? It is important to first understand what it means ‘to accept’. If we look to the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary we find that ‘to accept’ is defined as: to receive willingly, to give admittance or approval to, to recognize as true (to believe), and to agree to. Is it then possible to accept something that we have not manifested? If we have not attracted it into our life experience would we experience it at all? I don’t believe that this is even remotely possible. If I do not believe in something then I wouldn’t experience it and it would not happen to or for me so then there is no need to accept it. As I already stated, we always experience the events, people and circumstances that we focus our thoughts and emotions on whether it is an experience we would label as positive or negative. We are not powerless nor are we victims as the second part of this quote implies.

 

Things we don’t want to know but have to learn.”

It is my belief that we only know that which we desire to know. If we do not have knowledge of something then it means that we have not aligned with that specific vibrational frequency. We have not manifested it in our life experience. If we truly wish to attain knowledge of something then we will. We are not unfiltered vessels that have no control over what enters our mind or being.

 

We ‘have to learn’ only that which we desire to learn. Who dictates that which we have to know or learn? Society? The concept that there are things that I have to learn is something that I don’t resonate with. An individual student will only study topics and concepts that he or she wishes to gain knowledge of. Have you ever tried to teach a child something they have no interest in? Believe me, it is impossible. A student won’t focus nor will they comprehend a topic unless they have a desire to learn it. In other words, an individual will not know nor learn things they don’t want to. It is the old cliché, ‘You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.’

 

And people we can’t live without, but have to let go.”

Once you understand that your life is truly about you and you alone you will then come to the realization that the only person relevant to your life experience is you. You can live without any other person. I do believe that our life experiences are more enjoyable and even enhanced by interaction with other sentient human beings but they are not necessary for our survival.

 

Just as I do not believe that it is necessary ‘to accept’ I also do not believe it is necessary to ‘let go’ or release. While it is true that I cannot create for anyone else I do believe I am able to align myself with those individuals who resonate on the same vibrational frequency as I. Once our time together is complete we may attune ourselves to other vibrations, which will manifest as a separation within our relationship but this is a mutual understanding on an energetic level.

 

My explanation is centered on my understanding and alignment with The Law of Attraction. I believe that I am the co-creator of my life experience; I am empowered and responsible for every action in my life. It has led me to create a life filled with abundance, prosperity, joy and love.

 

There are things that manifest in my life and I accept each of them; things I want to know and learn; and people I choose to live with and hold on to. This is my truth.

Across the Great Divide

January, 2013

“The Unanswered Question”

If you’re reading this, then that means we’ve survived the apocalypse. *Whew…what a relief that is. I really wasn’t looking forward to poor hygiene, scavenging for food and energy, and martial law in a wasteland of zombies and Mad Max wannabes.

So now that the doomsday prophesies have failed to come true (yet again) and we chuckle at the silliness of the paranoia that has raided the airwaves over the last few years we can return to the business of science and the quest for answers to questions that have yet to be fully understood and explained.

I’m a believer in the theories and principles of parapsychology- any of the long-time readers of this column know that. What they also know is that I don’t just blindly believe anything I read on the subject, or think that trolling around cemeteries in the dark constitutes valid scientific method. I look at things with a believer’s heart, but analyze them with a skeptic’s mind.

James Stein is a Professor of Mathematics at California State University whose previous books include The Right Decision: A Mathematician Reveals the Secrets of Decision Theory and How Math Explains the World. In a book that was released last week, The Paranormal Equation, Stein provides a new scientific perspective on what many consider to not only be unscientific, but  inexplicable- the realm of supernatural phenomena.

He travels through the various definitions involved by cracking open a Merriam-Webster dictionary and describing supernatural as “of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially: of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil.”

But science doesn’t restrict to the observable or visible universe. If it did, then subatomic particles, bacteria, radio, and x-rays would all be considered supernatural phenomena.

He further explains that the supernatural “depart[s] from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature.”

Ah ha. Now this is certainly within the ability of science to explore.

Transcendent laws have been implied by mathematicians in recent decades, such as Godel’s 80 year-old Incompleteness Theorem– which establishes inherent limitations of doing arithmetic due to uncertainties.
Stein takes issue with combining words like ‘observable’ and ‘visible’ and states that once natural laws are uncovered, the events witnessed cease to be considered supernatural and lose their apparent mystery. So if science were able to adequately explain apparitions they would then cease to be seen as supernatural and henceforth be seen as natural.

Stein delves into detail in an attempt to explain that just because things which happen by chance doesn’t have to mean they should automatically be labeled as supernatural. A lot of parapsychology research, for example, points to chance when it comes to such things as ESP or clairvoyance- especially when those experiments are reproduced.

Many so-called ‘paranormal’ researchers and ghost hunters have no understanding of chance at all- or science for that matter.

Stein also explains that chance is actually incorporated into many of the cornerstone theories of physics. Given enough time, the most unlikely of things can and will happen as long as they are simply unlikely and not downright impossible- such as the ability of ice to form in warm water.

Stein is convinced, and successfully persuades the reader to believe, that paranormal phenomena must exist under the hypothesis that the Universe is infinite.

It should also stand that just because something is strange or unexplained does not mean that it is proof of the existence of paranormal activity or supernatural phenomena, either.

Gravity is an unseen force once completely misunderstood that is now accepted as scientific fact. The list of similar examples has grown exponentially in the last half century, so who’s to say what other theories studied by parapsychologists will eventually be proven and accepted by mainstream science?

**Happy New Year. Who knows what we will find in 2013 as we walk together through the veil and take a look across the Great Divide.

 

© 2013 R. Wolf Baldassarro/Deep Forest Productions

Imbolc Correspondences

January, 2013

February 1, 2

Other Names: Imbolg (im-molc)(em-bowl’g) (Celtic), Candlemas (Christian), Brigantia (Caledonii), Oimelc, Festival of Light, Brigid’s (Brid, Bride) Day, La Fheill, An Fheille Bride, Candelaria (Mexico), Chinese New Year, Disting-tid (Feb 14th, Teutonic), DisaBlot, Anagantios, Lupercalia/Lupercus (Strega), Groundhog Day, Valentines Day.

Animals & Mythical Beings: Firebird, dragon, groundhog, deer, burrowing animals, ewes, robin, sheep, lamb, other creatures waking from hibernation.

Gemstones: Amethyst, garnet, onyx, turquoise.
Incense/Oil: Jasmine, rosemary, frankincense, cinnamon, neroli, musk, olive, sweet pea, basil, myrrh, and wisteria, apricot, carnation.
Colors/Candles: Brown, pink, red, orange, white, lavender, pale yellow, silver.
Tools,Symbols, & Decorations: White flowers, marigolds, plum blossoms, daffodils, Brigid wheel, Brigid’s cross, candles, grain/seed for blessing, red candle in a cauldron full of earth, doll, Bride’s Bed; the Bride, broom, milk, birchwood, snowflakes, snow in a crystal container,evergreens, homemade besom of dried broom, orange candle annointed in oil (see above)can be used to sybolize the renewing energy of the Sun’s rebirth.
Goddesses: Virgin Goddess, Venus, Diana, Februa, Maiden, Child Goddess, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Vesta, Gaia, Brigid, Selene(Greek), Branwen(Manx-Welsh).
Gods: Young Sun Gods, Pan, Cupid/Eros(Greco-Roman), Dumuzi(Sumerian).
Essence: Conception, initiation, insight, inspiration, creativity, mirth, renewal, dedication, breath of life, life-path, wise counsel, plan, prepare.
Meaning: First stirring of Mother Earth, lambing, growth of the Sun God, the middle of winter.
Purpose: Honoring the Virgin Goddess, festival of the Maiden/Light.
Rituals & Magicks: Cleansing; purification, renewal, creative inspiration, purification, initiation, candle work, house & temple blessings, welcoming Brigid, feast of milk & bread.
Customs: Lighting candles, seeking omens of Spring, storytelling, cleaning house, bonfires, indoor planting, stone collecting, candle kept burning dusk till dawn; hearth re-lighting.
Foods: Dairy, spicy foods, raisins, pumpkin, sesame & sunflower seeds, poppy seed bread/cake, honey cake, pancakes, waffles, herbal tea.
Herbs: Angelica, basil, bay, benzoin, celandine, clover, heather, myrrh, all yellow flowers, willow.
Element: Earth
Gender: Female
Threshold: Midnight

WiseWoman Traditions

January, 2013

Healing Wise: The Spirit of Simples


What is a Simple?

A “simple” is one herb used at a time. A “simpler” is an herbalist who generally uses herbs one at a time, rather than in combinations.

Why Use Simples?

Most herbalists I have met — whether from China or Japan, Eastern or Western Europe, Australia or North America — use herbs in combinations. Simplers, like myself, don’t. Why?

Because I believe that herbal medicine is people’s medicine, I seek to make herbal medicine simple: as simple as one herb at a time. Because people worry about interactions between the drugs they take and herbs, I keep it simple: with simples, interactions are simple to observe, and simpler to avoid. Because empowerment in health care is difficult, I want to offer others easy, safe herbal remedies: and what could be easier, or safer, than a simple?

Simples Make Me Think

When I was just getting started with herbs, one thing that confounded me was the many choices I had when I began to match symptoms to the herbs that relieved them. If someone had a cough should I use garden sage or wild cherry bark or pine sap or mullein or coltsfoot (to name only a few of the many choices)? One way out of this dilemma was to use them all. I made many cough syrups that contained every anti-cough herb that I could collect. And they all worked.

As I got more sophisticated in my herbal usage, and especially after I completed a course on homeopathy, I began to see that each herb had a specific personality, a specific way of acting. I realized I couldn’t notice the individual actions of the herbs when they were combined.

It felt daring at first to use just one herb. Would wild cherry bark tincture all by itself be enough to quell that child’s cough? Yes! Would mullein infusion alone really reduce a person’s asthmatic and allergic reactions? Yes! Would sage soaked in honey for six weeks ease a sore throat? Yes! Each herb that I tried as a simple was successful. They all worked, not just together, but by themselves.

The more I used individual herbs the more I came to know them as individuals. The more I used simples, the simpler and more successful my remedies became. The more I used one herb at a time, the more I learned about how that herb worked, and didn’t work.

Simples Are Intimate

When we use one herb at a time, we come to know that herb, we become intimate with that herb. Just as we become intimate with each other by spending time one-on-one, tete-a-tete, simply together, we become closer to the herbs when we use them as simples.

Becoming intimate with an herb or a person helps us build trust. How reliable is the effect of this herb? When? How? Where does it fail? Using simples helps us build a web of green allies that we trust deeply. Simples help us feel more powerful. They help abate our fears, simply, safely.

Simples Are Subtle

Using one herb at a time gives us unparalleled opportunities to observe and make use of the subtle differences that are at the heart of herbal medicine. When we use simples we are more likely to notice the many variables that affect each herb: including where it grows, the years’s weather, how we harvest it, our preparation, and the dosage.1 The many variables within one plant insure that our simple remedy nonetheless touches many aspects of a person and heals deeply.

One apprentice tinctured motherwort flowering tops weekly through its blooming period. She reported that the tinctures made from the younger flower stalks had a stronger effect on the uterus; while those made from the older flower stalks, when the plant was going to seed, had a stronger effect on the heart.

Simples Give Me Power

Using one herb at a time helps me feel more certain that my remedy has an active value, not just a placebo value. Using one plant at a time, and local ones at that, reassures me that my herbal medicine cannot be legislated away. Using one plant at a time allows me to build trust in my remedies. Using one plant at a time is a subversive act, a reclaiming of simple health care.

Combinations erode my power, activate my “victim persona,” and lead me to believe that herbal medicine is best left to the experts.

From Complex to Simple

Take the challenge! Use simples instead of complex formulae. Let’s rework some herbal remedies and get a sense of how simple it can be.

The anti-cancer formula Essiac contains Arctium lappa (burdock), Rheum palmatum (rhubarb), Ulmus fulva (slippery elm), and Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel). Rhubarb root has no possible use against cancer; it is a purgative whose repeated use can “aggravate constipation.” Slippery elm bark also has no possible anti-cancer properties and has no doubt been added to counter some of the detrimental effects of the rhubarb. Sheep sorrel juice is so caustic that it has been used to burn off skin cancers, but it would likely do more harm to the kidneys than to any cancer if ingested regularly. Leaving us with a great anti-cancer simple: burdock root. One that I have found superbly effective in reversing dysplasias and precancerous conditions.

A John Lust formula for relief of coughs 2 contains Agropyron repens (witch grass), Pimpinella anisum (aniseed), Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice), Inula helenium (elecampane root), Pulmonaria officinalis (lungwort), Thymus species (thyme herb), (murillo bark) 3, Chondrus crispus (irish moss), Lobelia inflata (lobelia herb). Witch grass has little or no effect on coughs; it is an emollient diuretic whose dismissal from this group would leave no hole. Anise seeds are also not known to have an anti-pertussive effect; although they do taste good, we can do without them. Lobelia can bring more oxygen to the blood, but is certainly not an herb I would ever add to a cough mixture, so I will leave it out here. Licorice is a demulcent expectorant that can be most helpful for those with a dry cough; however, I do use it for a variety of reasons, among them its exotic origins and its cloyingly sweet taste. Lungwort is, as its name implies, a pectoral, but its effect is rather mild, and its place in the Boraginaceae family gives me pause.

How much pyrrolizidine alkaloid might it contain? Thyme, and its more common anti-cough cousin garden sage, contains essential oils that could both quiet a cough and counter infection in the throat. A strong tea or a tincture of either could be our simple. Irish moss is, a specific to soothe coughs and a nutritive in addition, would also make an excellent simple. But it is elecampane that I would crown. It is not only a specific to curb coughing, it counters infection well, and tonifies lung tissues. Several small doses of a tincture of elecampane root should quiet a cough in a few hours.

Simples are fun. Give them a try.

 

Footnotes:
1. Among the many variables, I have especially noticed that the tinctures that I make with fresh plants are many times more effective than tinctures made from dried plants. My elders tell me that preparations of common plants growing in uncommon places will be stronger as well. Many herbalists are aware of certain areas of their land that nurture plants that are particularly potent medicines.
2. John Lust. The Herb Book. 1974. Bantam.
3. Note that this formula, as is frequently the case, contains an “exotic” herb which Mr. Lust does not include in the 500+ herbs in his book, nor does he give us a botanical name for the plant, leaving us literally unable to prepare his formula as presented.

Moon Owl Observations

January, 2013

The Triquetra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The triquetra is a religious symbol that is Almost as well known as the Pentagram. Of course, Christians have adopted it into their belief system as well. Is it Latin for “three cornered” and is composed of there interlocking vesica piscis shapes.

It has Celtic origins and is Still widely used in Ireland. Generally, it is given in the form of jewelry and symbolizes love,honour,and protection. It is also known as a Trinity knot and some can be elaborate and complex while others are plain and simple.

The triquetra deals with the power of three, which is often seen as a divine number. This symbol that is formed from the intersection of three circles sometimes is shown with a fourth circle woven through it. When this is the case that fourth circle adds more weight to the significance.  It can connect the mind, body and soul and represents the way the three individuals are part of one whole. The circle can show spiritual unity with the divine.

Now, Christians take the triquetra to mean the father, son and holy spirit but this symbol pre-dates Christianity and has a myriad of meanings. It also shows magical, protective traits since it is one of those that can be drawn without your pen leaving the paper.

Some of turn meanings are:
life,death and rebirth
Earth, sky and sea
Physical, mental and spiritual
Mother, father and child
Power, love and intellect
Creation, preservation and destruction
Thought, Feeling and emotion
Other world, mortal world and celestial world
Past, present and future
The three bridgits ( art, healing and metalsmithing )
The most common pagan meaning is that it represents the threefold nature of the goddess- mother, maiden and crone

The requires was made popular with the TV show charmed and is actually shown in a large number of movies, shows and video games. Granted, not all representations are accurate or positive. But, because of all the power and meanings behind this symbol, it should be one you’re aware of.

Hally’s Hints

January, 2013

“Your Gut Instinct”

It is easy to overlook that sensation that sits within the pit of the stomach and becomes active when something isn’t right. Whilst it may seem an obvious reaction to pay attention to more often than not, the deciding power is given to the head; the logical (seemingly logical, which doesn’t always make it so), which is why the gut instinct can be ignored.

Another version of this is intuition. It really comes down to chosen terminology however, both work in letting the person recognise when something simply isn’t right even when there is no logic to support this sensation.

The more one aligns, evolves and connects with themselves, the more that is noticed; the louder this becomes. This means that instead of kicking oneself after the fact, the situation can be changed and avoided.

Recently I had a scenario where my gut instinct, my intuition, told me that something was off. This was with reference to a client. As a practitioner I see a lot of varying personalities and quirks within individuals but the bottom line is that I can only help the person that wants the help. When the gut instinct kicks in the extent can vary from simply not right to more dire situations.

In the past focusing on logic rather than this intuitive voice things always turned out for the worse and these ended up being the clients I couldn’t help or in some cases put me into a lot of danger.

In this particular scenario this client created a reaction in my gut (where my intuition sits with such things) where there was no logic other than it simply didn’t feel right. When it comes to business and being a practitioner as the main source of income, logic can play on the mind with such things as fabricating this sensation, being too sensitive (slight irony with that one) but ultimately I chose not to ignore it.

Gut instinct can seem inconvenient and annoying at times but over the years it has never been wrong and it has always kept me safe.

Whilst I lost a client from the logical perspective, my intuition responded by saying “did you really?”

When faced with danger, whether in healing sessions, readings, spiritual work or even something as simple as a coaching session, it is best to listen to those gifts that help conduct the sessions, because they are not only there to help the client, but also to keep the practitioner, you, safe.

Also, keeping in mind that danger isn’t always of a physical nature. There is the energetic danger which logic has a field day with, which is where hearing and recognising these warning signs can be imperative.

At the end of the day when it comes to gut instinct, intuition, the core voice that warns and is always right, it is greater than simple business logic; its purpose is to create options of safety and avoid unnecessary hurt.

If something doesn’t feel right, be it with a client with energy that makes the intuition scream or simply living life in the day to day, it is better to stop, take a breath and take heed, as this may actually save you.

 

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