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Notes from the Apothecary

May 1st, 2019

Notes
from the Apothecary: Ginger

The
spice we call ginger is the root of Zingiber officinale. The
name derives from the Sanskrit for ‘Horn Body’, referring to the
knobbly, ridged shape and texture of the roots. Originating from
Asia, ginger is now found all over the world and is used widely in
cooking, magic, and medicine.

Ginger
was brought to America by Francisco de Mendosa, and it grew so
prolifically that the Spanish-Americans were able to export it in
huge amounts to Europe.

The
Kitchen Garden

Fresh
ginger is usually bought as sections of root. It’s a testament to
how hardy the plant is that with very little encouragement, it will
start growing! Many times I have gone to fetch the ginger only to
find there are little shoots of green ginger coming off the root.
With this in mind, if you wanted to cultivate your own ginger plant,
it’s not too difficult at all.

WikiHow has a step by step guide to growing ginger which is very easy to follow. Ginger is normally grown indoors. Basically, you get as the same number of pieces of ginger root (or rhizome, to give it the correct name) as the number of plants you want. Each ‘eye’ or sprouting piece will grow into a new shoot, in good quality, well-drained potting compost. Avoid frost, try not to shock the roots, and you will have little ginger plants in very little time at all!

So, what do we use ginger for in the kitchen? So many things! Ground ginger is used in baking cakes, buns, muffins, breads, and even savory bakes. The fresh root is sliced or grated and added to curries, often alongside lots of garlic. Marinating meat in a combination of garlic and ginger is delicious. Add red wine vinegar and you are part way to a vindaloo. Ginger is used in a wide variety of Asian cooking. We particularly enjoy thin but wide slices of ginger in a vegetable stir fry with fragrant rice or noodles.

The
Apothecary

Mrs Grieve tells us that ginger is a stimulant- unsurprising given its ‘zingy’ flavour and aroma. She recommends it for alcoholic gastritis (an unusually specific condition) and for aiding in diarrhea and flatulent colic.

Although
ginger is warming, it has anti-inflammatory properties and can settle
an upset stomach. Pregnant women often take ginger biscuits to ease
morning sickness. I found them useful in both my pregnancies,
especially when I was finding it difficult to keep anything more
substantial down. It may also aid in travel sickness and motion
sickness.

Ginger
is used in Ayurvedic medicine for eating disorders, cholera, and
liver problems.

In
Chinese medicine ginger is a respiratory aid and useful for coughs,
colds and flu. It’s also used as a hangover ‘cure’, thanks to
its reputation for expelling poisons from the body. As always, check
with a doctor before taking any substance for medical reasons.

The
Witch’s Kitchen

In
Hoodoo, ginger is sometimes combined with John the Conqueror root and
nutmeg to create a luck powder for gamblers. Sprinkling ginger around
the garden or yard protects from trouble.

Ginger,
probably due to its ‘hot’ nature, is associated with love and
passion, and is often used in attraction or lust spells. Cunningham
recommends using ginger in a love incense, alongside lemon balm,
cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla. A spell or mojo bag designed to
attract something to you, whether that be love or wealth, can be
enhanced with a bit of ginger root. Ginger can also accelerate the
action of other spells, acting like a catalyst for magical action.

Cunningham’s
Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs states that ginger is a fire plant (no
surprises there), masculine, and associated with Mars. This
immediately gives associations with power, control, and confidence.
He suggests eating ginger before performing magic to boost the power
of spells.

Home
and Hearth

Sometime
the greatest magic is taking time for yourself and keeping yourself
healthy. Modern, busy lives often make this very difficult! I know I
certainly relish every spare (rare!) moment I can get to simply pause
and do nothing for a while. Here’s a recipe for a ginger tea that
will help you relax, while stimulating and opening your senses for a
moment of mindfulness.

  • An
    inch of ginger root, sliced
  • An
    inch of turmeric root, sliced
  • A
    slice of fresh lime

Place all the ingredients in a teapot in boiling or just off the boil water. Let the flavours infuse for five minutes. Can be drunk warm or left to cool and served with ice. Recipe adapted from Paleo Flourish.

Turmeric
is cleansing and helps with digestion. Ginger stimulates the senses,
while the fresh aroma of lime can reduce fatigue and stimulate the
appetite.

I
Never Knew…

Dobu
Islanders have been known to chew up ginger root while sailing, and
spit it at an oncoming storm to halt it in its tracks. (Cunningham,
1985.)

All
images public domain or via Unsplash.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is
a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors & Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

DOES MY LIFE BELONG TO ME?!

 

We are on Easter Break. My 17-year old son needs to do revisions for his upcoming A Levels in Physics and Further Maths. He works best alongside someone so we divide up the kitchen table between us. I decided to write this piece because I had been pondering the question for some time. My son decides to play some music to help things along. “Is that Shakira?!” – “No Mum, it is Fat Rat! That is a DJ by the way. I doubt you know anyone I listen too…” I adore silence when I am writing but, as usual, it was not to be!

 

This may sound like a weird question with an obvious answer! Of course my life belongs to me, right?!

In theory it does yes, but being alive means making choices and choices bring commitments. The moment I choose to have children, those children are entitled to a large chunk of my time, energy and life force. The moment I choose to get married, a new unit with an overarching spirit all of its own comes into being: The Marriage (as well as two separate individuals). This is why the sum is always more than the parts combined. The dynamic multiplies again once a couple has children: there is now a Family, as well as two, three, four or five individuals…. There are now five people having relationships with four rather significant others.

The moment I choose a profession and invest in training in that profession I need to accept the demands and boundaries of that profession. Being a medical doctor, nurse or midwife will mean working night shifts in hospitals. Even a plumber will get phone calls about emergencies at all hours. An undertaker cannot so easily take time off either as people will not stop dying over major holidays.

As a shamanic practitioner I, too, used to get emergency phone calls at all hours. As a mother of young children working from home (with no hospital and no team to divide the workload) I eventually learned to take my home phone number off-line and to make an agreement with myself regarding what “opening hours” I operated and how many emergencies a week I can fit in at short notice (if any!) This is called drawing lines and operating healthy boundaries! (By now I also have a team of three people dividing up work in my practice).

So yes my life belongs to me but for my life to belong to ‘me and me alone’ I would need to stay single, not have children (or elderly parents) and perhaps embark on a life as a self-sufficient recluse in a very inaccessible area. (And when emergencies occurred I would have to deal with those on my own – or not be able deal with them and perhaps suffer serious illness or injury without receiving medical attention or loving care from another person). Yet, these are choices some people make to get away from the maddening demands of modern life. (A percentage of people have always done this, long before “modern” times, they have become trappers, sailors or “desert saints” and walked away from their communities). My own husband has one brother who went to sea at age 16 and reappeared years later with a Japanese wife (he then abandoned to raise three children completely on her own in Sweden). Today we call this commitment-phobia and yes, commitment is scary!

Yet, there is a level even beyond this web of social interactions, beyond being a member of a family and community. This is the point where people who follow a spiritual path may well see things differently from what is considered the norm in our society. Since western society embraced science as ‘our new religion’, the Church and priests have lost the control they exerted for many centuries. We no longer believe in Hell or live in sin. We don’t go to confession either. Only few people today believe that a male fearsome god will judge our souls once we die. In many ways this has liberated us and allowed a much higher level of individual expression, which can only be a good thing (to my mind). Having said, that: collectively speaking we have also lost the concept that we owe gratitude to our Maker and that we did not incarnate on this planet just to please ourselves and inflate our egos…

It is my personal belief, shared by many people following a committed spiritual path (of any description and not necessarily a religion!) that we come to Earth to be of service. That we all have unique gifts, our own unique energy, that is required at this time. This is because we all vibrate and operate in a larger Web of Life where all sentient beings are connected and together create (co-create) both reality and the future, the world our children’s children are to inherit.

Therefore I believe that I am here to serve and to evolve (meaning to learn, to grow in awareness) but I am also here to play my part in a larger whole. This means that I am currently wearing a human coat here on Earth for reasons beyond the personal level of relationships and raising children and so forth.

I have an on-going dialogue with my helping spirits about this and they say that I am here to be a spiritual teacher and teach others about living from a place of profound creativity and joyful creation. Along the way I also turned out to have a bit of a “freak talent” for healing work – but personally I see that as the journey back to creativity and living in joy. Being ill or dis-eased is the flip side of that coin. Once people re-discover their innate ability to create they can create healthy vibrant reality (as well as art, poetry or music etc.) and this will trigger the process of self-healing (activating the Inner Healer). Once I became aware of this key principle I switched my focus from offering one-to-one healing sessions to teaching larger groups.

The spirits making my life purpose crystal clear has been helpful because it has allowed me to focus and drop many things that are not my cup of tea in this lifetime. Out with dinner parties but roll on classes and powerful ceremonies!

The fly in the ointment is that “the hermit gene” runs strong in me. Before I fall asleep I fantasize about retreating to place far (FAR) from civilization and turning my back on the world. I am a profoundly solitary person, happiest alone in my studio or alone in the Forest. My idea of heaven is to be dropped in a completely inaccessible place with enough food supplies, fire wood and art materials for months – so I can immerse myself in creative process without distractions. It is when we are truly alone, without company, without internet, without external noise that we hear the voices of the spirits more clearly. So yeah, that is my dirty secret! I find it hard to always be on call. As a mother of three teenagers this is and will remain my reality – and I actively (happily!) chose it! The contradiction runs deep in me and this solitary trait runs in my family. My middle son has got a bad case of this “affliction” as well!

Having many students (and some clients) as well as children means working long hours every day again (often including weekends). I often look around me at people I perceive to have “easier lives”. Hang on! Let me rephrase this: lives with less pressure and way more leisure time. Here I am thinking of women who call themselves a “full time mother” of two teens aged 16 and 18 (with one about to leave home!) Or a woman whose children left home 20 years ago but she never returned to work (in the conventional sense). She shuttles between her garden and her yoga lessons. To my mind these are ladies of leisure. You may of course disagree.

On one level you could say: they raised their babies and their husband earns good money (so there is no financial need to work) – why not settle into a life of gardening and coffee mornings? Or another level I think: but aren’t they uniquely positioned to really make contribution to larger society? They have good health, many skills and financial security… they HAVE IT ALL! Why not use these things for the larger good of others than themselves?

Am I being judgemental here?? I know this is and remains one of my shadow aspects, (the flip side of being visionary) so it is a definite possibility. Not everyone has my driven personality and (what some have called) a supernatural energy level). Not everyone feels called to grapple with the bigger issues in our world (such as clearing family lines of centuries worth of accumulated trauma or contributing to paradigm shifts – or at least imagining that one is doing so!)

Cycling back to where I started, I think the question this article poses can only be answered by individuals in a very individual way. We all have different personalities, different star signs and different circumstances and dreams too. What I do know is that in my own life I continue to learn (fast and furiously) because I am a teacher, because I am in constant interactions with students and teens from a place of holding responsibility. It has been said that we teach what we most need to learn and probably my greatest passion in life is learning and becoming the best person I can possibly be, by the time I die. (And what I am in the process of becoming is not going to please everyone!)

I also truly believe that if everyone embraced life in this way – the world would be a better place. I am not going to apologise for thinking that! So… to answer my own question: my life force belongs to me (meaning I choose what – and whom! – I spend time and energy on) but my life ultimately belongs to Mother Earth and Spirit as much as it belongs to me personally. I am in service to Life – not the other way around. I would not have it any other way…

 

My son has decided to go on break. He says: “Mum, could you please take over as my dragon slayer for a moment because I need to nip out for a moment?!” Fat Rat has gone silent. Outside the window snow is falling upwards…

*Imelda Almqvist, Sweden, Easter Sunday 2017

***

About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of Norseshamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit : Where Art Meets Shamanism will be published in December 2018.

Click Image for Amazon Information

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  (Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

 

 

What is the Grail to you?!

The Grail stands as a beacon of hope and wholeness in the midst of the Wasteland created by modern Western materialism.  The potency of this symbol beckoning us back to living in harmony with both ourselves and the land around us is a myth very much of our time.  It speaks directly to wholeness and connection and reminds us that to bring the Wasteland back to fertility and lush abundance we must return to the Source that nourishes it.

Our modern Society and education systems gives us few really useful tools to take with us on the great journey of Life.  We need knowledge and understandings that we can directly apply to the challenges and traumas we face, that enable us to emerge empowered and strong, not weak and victimised. The Lost Wisdom of the Grail telesummit brings together a wide variety of Wisdom Keepers who are working to help humanity overcome the challenges it currently faces and envision a future where all are valued and flourish.

– Saira Salmon, https://www.sairasalmon.com/

Recently I received an invitation to be one of the speakers on a Telesummit in May 2018, titled The Lost Wisdom of the Grail, (https://www.sairasalmon.com/grail/) hosted by Saira Salmon. She has organised this summit from a strong personal connection to the Grail teachings and Grail mythology.

Saira’s question to me was: “How and where does the concept of the Grail appear in your shamanic work and classes?” This was a very exciting question to engage with!  My immediate response was to request a dream on this subject from my spirit team.


The dream that came was about “the wounded masculine” – linking it to the Arthurian tale of The Fisher King. In the dream I had to make my way to this wounded male figure (first I could not even see if it was a toddler or grown man). When I got there I realized that he was my father/son/husband/male friends all in one. The dream was asking me to reflect on where I need to heal my inner masculine (born a woman) to arrive at a healthier relationship of masculine and feminine in our world. (The external world is always an expression of our internal world!)

Over the centuries many scholars and mystics have arrived at different definitions of what the Holy Grail is or was. For me personally the crucial question is: what is the Holy Grail to you?!


For me, first and last, the Grail is a CRUCIBLE – a sacred container of transformation and transmutation – the big question is: are we willing to make ourselves a crucible (sacred chalice or Holy Grail)?!

For much of 2016 and 2017 I was working intensely with a mysterious figure who called herself The Poison Mother.  She came to me in Sweden and became one of my key allies over time. I made an art video about our work together by the same name:

The Poison Mother


As our work unfolded she told me that was familiar with her under a different name:  Norse goddess Sigyn (wife of the trickster god Loki). Her big question to me (to all of us!) is: am I willing to make myself a crucible for transmutation in the world? This means rather than avoiding “toxic situations” actually choosing to be there and using myself as a chalice (or Holy Grail) to be an agent of change in service to our collective consciousness evolving.


In ancient Sumeria this sacred marriage (or Hieros Gamos) was the central idea at the heart of their religion.  I just finished an art video exploring this mystery today:

The Sacred Marriage in The Great Below


Another Grail in Norse cosmology is the cup that the Valkyrie holds out to the warrior in the moment of death. She is also known as the “The Maiden with the Mead” and she is a supernatural being (a goddess!) and Mistress of Initiation. (I invite you to check out the work of author Maria Kvilhaug (http://freya.theladyofthelabyrinth.com/?page_id=35) who wrote a PhD dissertation on this subject!) This cup is said to hold the mead and her offering accompanies a sacred marriage between the Maiden and the “Hero” of the tale. He faces fierce trials and a descent into the Realm of the Dead to earn this privilege.

It is my belief that profound mystery rites of initiation involving women and feminine power are found at the very heart of Norse cosmology (more commonly perceived as quite a male-god dominated tradition!) The same thing is true for many other cosmologies that map an Other World. The details might be culture-specific but the concept and mystery teachings are very similar.

My personal intention is to call together groups of powerful talented people and harness the group power to retrieve those ancient mysteries and initiations! – If that works speaks to you – please check out my 2-year Seiðmaðr & Seiðkona 2-year program in Sweden (starting Summer 2019):

http://www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=224450


For the Celtic peoples this ritual was about the sacred marriage of the king to the goddess of the land (Sovereignty). Without this marriage the land becomes a barren waste land (and look at what we are doing to the Earth and her creatures – we need to revive this mystery teaching!
This is the core of the shamanic teaching I am doing – putting ancient mystery teachings back into practice in the modern world with modern groups of people working in spirit-led ways, using the process of direct revelation).

When we lose these wisdom traditions our inner world becomes barren. Our external world becomes a wasteland, dominated by conflict, pollution and a lack of respect for all sentient beings. This way of being in the world brings dis-ease and disharmony with the great Web of Life (or Web of Wyrd in Norse cosmology).

Another question Saira put to me was: what is the Grail in terms of spiritual work with young people? In this context for me The Holy Grail is the safe sacred space – container – for young people to develop their own spiritual toolkit in partnership with their spirit allies. In our culture we make sure that children are looked after in the physical/social/emotional realm but often we leave them rudderless when it comes to the spiritual dimension. I obviously wrote a whole book about this (Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit for Life) but to sum it up in just a few words… our children and young people need:

  • A viable spiritual toolkit to help them navigate the challenges life throws at them

  • Safe sacred space with kindred spirits – if their innate psychic /healing/shamanic abilities are to be nurtured

  • Rites of Passage offered by the Elders of our Communities – safe experiences of initiation and stepping through developmental portals in order to become fully-fledged adults who do not fear death.

Therefore The Grail is directly linked to a rich inner life, to sacred space held by elders and wisdom keepers, to a sacred marriage within ourselves but also between the archetypal figures of King and Sovereignty (Goddess of the Land)!


Are you willing to be a crucible for change and transmutation in our world?!

If this material speaks to you: please make sure to register for the Grail Summit and tune in. Expert speakers from all over the world will share their unique take on this material! And this summit is FREE!!

***

About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit : Where Art Meets Shamanism will be published in December 2018.

Click Image for Amazon Information

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  

(Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

Browned Butter Blondies

The first time I made “Blondies”, I was in fact making Chocolate Chip Cookies and I realized that I didn’t have enough time to bake four pans of twelve cookies on each pan, so I put the cookie dough into a lightly-greased 9×13 pan and a picnic tradition was born. This was many years ago – my son James was just a little guy. I have made many pans of “Blondies” – some with dark chocolate chips, some with white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts, some with crushed peanut M&M’s, some with walnuts or pecans or even cashews – the variations are endless.

So, I was pleasantly pleased to come across this recipe for Browned Butter Blondies at The Food Charlatan, a blog I discovered recently. I love browned butter. I love its nutty aroma and the added dimension it brings to food. I usually brown butter for my popcorn – it really rocks – especially if you add a touch of garlic salt to the butter before putting it on the popped corn.

If you don’t know how to brown butter, I suggest you go to YouTube and check out some of the tutorials on how to do it. It’s much easier once you’ve seen it done in front of you. I was lucky – I learned as a young girl from my mother. It’s quite like scalding milk – you have to keep the heat at medium and you have to keep stirring – the fun part when you’re a child. It’s very easy to burn butter – just like milk – but the technique, once you have it down, is also quite easy. Honestly, it’s like riding a bike. When you’re first learning, you fall off a lot and scrap your knees and elbows – and maybe you cry a little bit – but suddenly you just know how to do it. And then you always know how to do it.

The first thing I did was start the butter to melting.

As I slowly melted the butter, I got out the other ingredients that I needed: brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking soda, salt, and the chocolate chips. I didn’t have any nuts in my pantry except for the almonds that I snack on each day and although I personally think that all cookies and bars of this type ought to have nuts in them, I decided that I didn’t want almonds in this batch. I also decided that I didn’t feel like running to the store to buy any other nuts!

After the butter is melted, immediately pour it into your mixing bowl so that it doesn’t burn sitting in the hot pan! I let it cool for a few minutes before adding the brown sugar.

Remember to pack the brown sugar! When you add it, mix it well! But wow! This is like candy. In fact, this makes me think of making homemade butterscotch candy with my mother when I was twelve or so. That was a lot of fun. A lot of work but a lot of fun.

Add the vanilla and mix well. And then the eggs. I put the eggs into a bowl first because I’ve had too many eggs break badly and pieces of shell fall into the batter – and this is exactly what happened – there was a bad break and I had to pick pieces of shell out of the egg in the bowl before beating them. But at least the pieces of shell weren’t in the batter. It’s always easier to get pieces of shell out of the egg than out of the batter.

And then you add your dry ingredients – the flour, the baking soda and the salt. If you have a sifter like I do, add them in that fashion, but if not, just measure them into a bowl, mix well, and then add them.

Then add the all-important chocolate chips!! Yummy!!

The recipe didn’t say to grease the pan but I did anyway.

My pan was slightly smaller than 9×13 and I had to bake them longer than the 23-27 minutes that the recipe said it would take for “gooey” bars but of course, I have an electric oven and every oven is different, even the gas ovens that I prefer. Your oven might bake these faster than mine or it might bake them slower. And in a 13×9 pan, they might have been done in that time frame. But I am not complaining.

THESE THINGS ARE AWESOME. They smelled so great that I couldn’t even wait for them to cool to cut into them and try them out and of course the first one fell apart completely but then I had the most fabulous idea of putting a little ice cream on the top of it – yeah really – all it needed was some hot fudge sauce and whipped cream! But damn! Was that ever good!

(picture blurry cuz I was in a hurry to chow down)

After the pan cooled, the bars came out in perfect fashion, as shown here:

And everyone who had one of these Browned Butter Blondies raved about how good they were! Believed me! They are fabulously, magically good!

So – make this recipe! I’m not even phrasing this as a suggestion – I’m telling you to do it. Add chocolate chips, nuts, oats, even dried cranberries would be good! This is kitchen witchery at its finest!

References

The Food Charlatanhttp://thefoodcharlatan.com/browned-butter-blondies/

***

About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

Working with Shadows

With all the news about self-harm lately, I decided to write about working with shadow energies this time. As a psychotherapist and light healer for forty years, I’ve seen a whole lot of them. And there are a few basic ways of dealing with fear that I wish everyone knew. The first one is that fear has no power of its own. It wants to steal our power by getting us to believe in it, focus on it, and do fear-based things. All of these; thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and actions have creative power, which create our own personal futures and add to fear’s power. So, the first thing to remember is, fear isn’t permanent. It can be intense at times, putting a whole lot of pressure on, but as soon as you focus on something you love, instead, the fear dissipates. And as soon as you heal it inside, it will be gone from your life. This is suggestion number one. Don’t give fear power in any way. Don’t spend lots of time focusing on things you are afraid of. Don’t listen to it. It’s not truth, and it only wants its own way. So, how do you tell the difference between a real warning from the spirit world about some danger in the world and a fear trying to get you to succumb to it? By the pressure. Fear wants to take control and can be really pushy. Real inner warnings from my guides and angels have always been gentle, a simple sentence and inner direction that is spoken quietly and only once. When fears come into my life, I simply write them down to heal in my next meditation and go back to whatever I was doing. (Obviously, this isn’t enough in a life-threatening situation, when taking immediate action to protect yourself is necessary. But those don’t happen very often.)

The second thing to know is that anyone can transmute fear in seconds and become empowered and stronger as an individual. The way I do this is to call in the specific fear energy associated with some negative event from my day, still my mind, and focus on that one shadow. Let’s say someone insulted me or stood me up or pushed me around in some way. As I think about that negativity, I can feel the resonance somewhere in my body, a tension or weakness. I send my mental focus to that place of tension and wait. In moments, memories of that particular fear playing out in various lifetimes arise in my mind, many memories from the time of my descent from heaven to earth, too. (If you don’t read energy in detail, not to worry, just getting a sense of it will help.) There are usually several lifetimes attached to a single fear impulse that has come into my life, a series of past lives. I focus on the shadow energy until I can feel the belief I have inside related to this fear. For instance, I may see a memory of a life where my mother yelled at me a lot, and I took on the belief that mothers aren’t very nice or don’t love me very much. So, once I understand the belief, I imagine it moving into the diamond light in the center of the four lobes of my heart. This diamond spark is the highest vibration in the body, a drop of Creator fire. And the shadow energy looks like smoke, which moves along with my thoughts. Just thinking of it coming into my heart pulls it there. (My druid guides say the mind is strong enough to move quarks and this is what I am seeing with my inner eye.) Anyway, once the shadow is sitting in the diamond light, it simply melts away or transmutes back into light, like a little cloud disappearing in the sky.

I want to access the belief in particular because my guides tell me it is beliefs that create our own little worlds. Our so called ‘realities’ are a precise outpicturing of our inner beliefs and can be changed by inner healing work. Inner creates outer, my guides have told me many times along the way. So, when I am imaging a fear moving into my diamond light, I also release my contract to believe in it, forever and a day. And after every healing on myself or with a client, I smile as watch the spirit world remove the effects of that fear from my own or my client’s life. Once, at the very beginning of energy school, I did a healing with a very, very skeptical client, and afterwards that day, her mother happened to call her. I found out later this hadn’t happened in 50 years! That client was instantly convinced! But most outer changes are subtle, gradual shifts into a better kind of life. And the next time I am faced with some fear energy I’ve recently healed, that shadow has no effect on me anymore. I just have no reaction to it at all, since the inner connection has been dissolved.

Since I began my own spiritual path 22 years ago, thousands of fears have shown up in my life. And every one came in as an unpleasantness in my life, some quite gentle, some dramatically intense, but every one simply a message from God/Goddess that I had some attachment to or belief in that particular fear. I now believe that nothing is really meant to harm us. All our troubles are simply a message to go inside and heal something. But there are teachings along the way that are important to learn, too. Dealing with pain in a positive way is deeply empowering as well. I became a spiritual warrior over all those years, and my life has become far more peaceful, gentle, humble, and meaningful over the years. I don’t get rattled very easily anymore. And learning things the hard way helps us never, ever forget the truths being built into our hearts. Enduring pain builds compassion for others who are in the same plight, too. Just reading about others who are suffering doesn’t engage the heart very much but living in that identical difficulty certainly does! So, everyone’s challenges in life bring forth the embodiment of wisdom. And this is because humanity’s main task is to renew wisdom for the cosmos. I have soul memories of long ago, before my own fall from the Creator Sun. Wisdom had grown stale and flat across the cosmos, and some star systems were invading other star systems as a result. Wisdom is a living thing, so it can only be renewed by living it into being again. And that means descending into realms of non-love and learning the laws of love all over again, through the hard, hard lessons of our lives. This is the task humanity took on. We are highly respected by the spirit world for this very difficult task. It is very honorable work, no matter how small one sometimes feels pursuing it.

Another important thing to know about fear is that is does not shift by force. Yelling at it will only make it rise up and get stronger. I watched this happen in energy school as a fellow student tried to force a fear energy out of her friend. Telling a fear to go away will not work, nor will yelling. The more you push it, the more fear pushes back. That’s because pushing and control are fear-based, and even fear is in service to love. Only love transmutes. So, thinking positively, taking loving action, holding the shadows in the light in the heart, then and only then will they disappear from our lives. Maybe halfway along on my own path, I finally realized the fears that were showing up in my life were just as afraid of me as I was of them. I learned to speak to them gently and explain that I wished only to heal them and meant no harm. My process became far easier after that, for even a crowd of shadows would simply lie down by my side and wait until I had time to heal them all.

I’ve been doing two healing meditations a day for 22 years, about 20 fears a day. So, complete healing of all the levels of one’s descent does take time. But it’s become a way of life for me now, and I barely notice when some shadow energy opens in my mind or outer life anymore. Also, there is a single core fear that each person carries, and this fear is wrapped into all the others and will reoccur all along the way until the end of the path, when it is finally healed. And then, one’s true love at long last shows up (I am still waiting!) and that highest destiny or inner divine child is finally birthed into a living reality.

It’s really easy to shift oneself out of a fear, too, far easier than most people realize. Calming music, for instance, restructures the emotional body in moments. Doing something fun, despite the pain, does the same. Calling a friend works, too. Trees, rivers, the sea, flowers, animals, and the earth are all amazing healers, and all are waiting eagerly to help us in any way they can. And if you are really constricted in your life and can’t do any of these things, imagine yourself shrinking down small enough to sit inside the diamond spark in the middle of the four lobes of your heart to be surrounded by the diamond light (You don’t have to be able to see it in your mind’s eye, just set the intention. It will be.) This eases just everything, and often solutions that are sensible and workable, very creative ideas, come forth. If you can do nothing else, think positive thoughts and just endure. Don’t give in or give up. Don’t try to force change or send negative thoughts, which will just create a rebound on yourself and make it all worse. Do whatever you need to for yourself to stay strong. Suicidal impulses, for instance, will always shift in about three days, just wait it out and things will look quite differently. Wisdom is being built into your heart during your difficulty (and you are likely paying off some less-than-loving action of a former lifetime, too), know this, and that you will be released by the universe when it is time.

But more than just oneself, all humanity’s old unhealed fears, our collective unconscious, is creating what happens across the global stage. Lots of people are suffering here! We all have five basic parts of our inner spirits; boy (right abdomen and leg), girl (left abdomen and leg), mother (left chest and arm), father (right chest and arm), and beloveds (heart). Earth is structured the same way, with four continents and the Middle East; the boy in S. America, girl in Africa, mother in the Far East, father in N. America, and the Beloveds in the Middle East (a hologram of the Creator Sun). So, let’s say I have past lifetime fears about starvation in my left abdomen or leg, my little girl spirit inside. Until those fears are healed, they will affect the lives of people living in Africa, the little girl continent, as well as all beings in the girl quadrant of the cosmos. Healing my own fears draws a small bit of shadow off the whole earth, especially the place on earth where that fear is anchored in, as well as the entire universe. So, the really hopeful part of all this is that, if every person healed old fear energies inside themselves, their lives would turn into the true love/world service happy ending that has been written into all our inner divine children. The earth would turn into Paradise, and the cosmos would become one big heavenly playground of creative expression. All the outer fear-based creations would simply disappear: hunger, poverty, disease, crime, war, and on and on. Wahoo! So, keep walking, everyone. Keep hoping and healing. It will get very, very magical before too long, I just know it.

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About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She will be opening a school teaching light healing and the Celtic path of enlightenment in 2019. For information, please see www.CelticHeaven.com

She is author of Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to arthurian Fulfillment (her name was Jill Kelly then), and Alba RebornAlba Reborn, Book One, RevisedAlba Reborn, Book Two, and Alba Reborn, Book Three.

Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to Arthurian Fulfillment

And the Wheel of the Year turns again to Samhain. Here in the Mid-Atlantic, that means people are starting to think about pumpkin decorations while wondering if the 80-degree temperatures will turn to 60’s. Whenever this season comes back around our minds turns to the season past, and in a way that spring never really does. Spring is about the movement forward, birth and growth. Fall allows us to take stock of where we have been, and who we have been in the past. This ties in with scents so strongly because of the relationship between smell and memory. You simply cannot have one without the other.

Scent is 90% memory and only 10% recall, because in the process of understanding each smell we encounter we have to unpack the box of our experience, day by day, because each time we encounter a scent, we are encountering the last time we unpacked the memory of that scent, not the first time. We are looking at a copy, of a copy so to speak. The recent days are right there on top of the box fresh and clean because they were only placed there yesterday. Items that were put in the box five, ten or twenty years ago may take longer to find in the box, or they may be covered in dust, so it could take a minute to figure out what you’re looking at so to speak.

But we go through all of these processes because it simply could not work the other way around. Could you imagine being shocked and amazed at the smell of your own house every time you encountered it? There are hundreds of fragrances a day that we take for granted that our noses have (thankfully) written off for us as non-threatening.

With Samhain, it’s the season of taking stock, because we no longer need to take stock of our pantries and larders to make sure our families will make it through the winter, doesn’t mean we can’t take stock of our lives, our groups of friends and families. One of the easiest ways to do that is to relax our brains, our emotional centers and remind them that it is safe enough to take stock of where we are and let our sense of smell and nostalgia take over from there.

How do we do that? Call on the powers of fall. Here are some essential oils, and the magical applications you can do with them. (See ‘Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic‘ for a full list of warnings for each essential oil.)

Anise- (Pimpinella anisum) Anise is a protective plant, as well as a purifying and divining one. If you have someone in your life if you aren’t sure of their true purpose, place a drop of anise in an essential oil diffuser and use the mist created to scry or meditate on the truth of their mission. Anise will tell you the truth and help you protect your family and purify your home at the same time if needed.

 

 

Black Pepper– Improves mental alertness, physical energy and is great for protection spells. Can be used to drive away evil and as such is great for hex-breaking spells and uncrossing work of all kinds. This is perfect for Samhain as it’s this time of the year when the Veil between the worlds is thinnest that energetic nasties can be lurking outside your home. Diffuse this potent protector (again, just one drop! Don’t overdo it and cause yourself or someone else respiratory distress) to do a quick uncrossing to make sure there is nothing lurking from your latest ‘humble-brag’ at work.

 

 

Cinnamon- Boosts creativity of all kinds (artistic, linguistic and more), provides good luck, increases libido. The warming action burns away threads of negativity so is associated with protection. Is very uplifting and is associated with increased intuitive gifts. The next time you want to head into your workspace to get to the newest project consider diffusing some cinnamon essential oil 30 minutes before you are planning to get to work, so you don’t have to overcome the ‘get to know you’ part of your work day and can jump into the creative process.

 

 

Clove- The warmth of clove burns away that which doesn’t belong so its magic is dispelling that which doesn’t belong, especially people who don’t belong in your life anymore.

Ginger- This is energizing, healing and associated with love, passion, and power. What a great time to make sure that the people in your circle have your best intentions at heart. Take stock of the people who have been there for you for the past year, through phone calls, late-night PMs when you needed someone to talk to, who never had the time when you needed someone. Everyone has low times in their life, only you’ll know the difference between ‘dealing with something’ and just someone whose friendship has run its course.

Oakmoss- Not everyone is going to know this one, but I wanted to throw in a wild card. This lichen smells like leather backed with violets and is used for magic dealing with divination, grounding, hex breaking, and big-time manifestation. It also makes a great fixative for magic, so if you want to make sure that your magic is in it for the long haul, use this. (If you work with poppets, and live in a place like Florida, I’ve seen Oakmoss falling off trees, you can stuff poppets with it. Make sure to google a photo of it just because it’s on a live oak, doesn’t make it oakmoss.) I have gotten a decent price online for Oakmoss Absolute, feel free to reach out to my author page if you can’t find it.

By working with the scents of the season we can remember the times of Samhains and Halloweens past and embrace the best parts of ourselves. We can not only be the best of ourselves that we deserve, but that our friends and families deserve. By weeding and tending the garden of our hearts we keep those precious reserves for those people who truly deserve the fruits of our labor and our time, attention and devotion.

For more information on working magic with essential oils, the history of plants and their by-products, please consider ‘Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic‘ available where books are sold. Weiser Books has thoughtfully provided a generous sample of the first 50 pages at http://tinyurl.com/blackthornsbotanicalmagic

 

Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic: The Green Witch’s Guide to Essential Oils for Spellcraft, Ritual & Healing on Amazon

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About the Author

Amy Blackthorn has been described as an arcane horticulturalist for her lifelong work with plants and magic. She incorporates her past in a British Traditionalist Witchcraft coven with her horticulture studies to form one path. She has been trained as a clinical aromatherapist and is ordained.

She has appeared on HuffPostLive, YahooNews, Top10 Secrets and Mysteries, and Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. She has also appeared in print interviews for over 20 years. Her tea company Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends creates magical tea blends based on traditional formulas after 20 years of teaching, of study and of practice. She lives in Delaware.

www.amyblackthorn.com

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