October, 2009

Blessed October!!

October, 2009

pumpkins1

In This Month’s Issue

Raven Digitalis

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Cernunnos

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New monthly Moon Phases & Moon Magick Column

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Monthly Horoscope

October Monthly horoscope 2009 for Libra and Scorpio (24 August – 22 October)

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Libra’s the month of October will be very inspirational and optimistic for you and those you interact with. Luck will also be coming your way so keep an eye out. While you are a very vigorous individual you also have strong vitality and as such are stand firm in your beliefs.

scorpio2

Scorpio’s in the month of October your powers of self expression will be strong. You are exceptionally self-regulating and very self confidant. Your urge to rule will be strong, but be mindful when wilding your power. Your health will be good and it is certain that you will have the chance to show your virtues of courage and honor.

By: Michele Burke

Monthly Prayer

Using your favorite candle color and incense (going for happiness here…)     I used yellow and frankincense because yellow is such a happy color and I love frankincense 🙂

Even though my heart cries out for more
let me be content & long no more
for silly dreams and time away
from all the hardships of my day
bother me no more with worries
work or trust or baseless furies
kill the darkness of depression
showing only a happy expression

author: I’m Skylla, a solitary wiccan from Western Maryland.  I am happily married with one teenage daughter and work full-time in the health industry.  I am a vegetarian, animal activist and feminist.  I graduated with degrees in History and Political Science and am always seeking new experiences and knowledge.  I love reading, researching, debating, computers, writing, crafts & music…and the list goes on and on!!



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Reaching Reiki

October, 2009

with ReikiAwakening.com’s Alice Langholt

Welcome to this month’s Reaching Reiki column. The theme for this month’s column is Being Present. This is a very important topic and it can change your life. I’ll also explain how Reiki can help, although it is not necessary to have Reiki in order to consciously incorporate mindful presence into your life.

First, what does it mean to be present? Being present is about living in this moment, now. Many of us, me included, worry a lot. We worry about what’s coming up, what’s due, what’s on the long list of things to do, what’s happened recently, and more. Even though we’re taking care of things right now, our minds are preoccupied with these other issues, ruminating on that argument or that deadline instead of focusing on what’s happening right now. What’s wrong with this picture?

Being preoccupied keeps us from enjoying what’s going on right now. It saps the joy from our lives because joy happens when we truly enjoy what we are doing in this moment. Sounds simple, but for so many of us, it is not simple. You might be thinking, what about all of these things? How do I stop thinking about them? You might also be thinking, what if I am doing something now that is just not fun, like cleaning or changing a flat tire, or grocery shopping? How am I supposed to find joy in that chore?

Eckhart Tolle teaches that there are three states of being present: Acceptance, Enjoyment, and Enthusiasm. All of them involve being present, which is important enough that it will improve your life. So let’s look at them in relation to our real life situations.

Say you’re doing that chore you hate. The one that makes you wish you could be anywhere else. Instead of grumping over it, try simply accepting that you need to do it. Focus on getting it done, and you may find that your acceptance of it makes it less reprehensible. A sense of peace can come over you as you complete the task.

Now imagine that you’re doing something that is just part of your day. You are at work, or you are caring for your child. Instead of thinking about something else, such as the argument you had this morning, or what you will make for dinner, focus on exactly what you are doing. Be in the moment. The simple focus of being present can bring enjoyment to what you are doing, as you are consciously present. You will breathe easier, and give your full attention to the task at hand.

Next, think of doing something you truly love. Do this, and be fully in the moment. You will find that your enjoyment will increase to enthusiasm as you truly feel how much you love doing what you are doing. You are in your element, and being truly present is the way to live richly and fully in the moment.

Now what if you are having an argument with someone? How do you be present in that situation? There is no enjoyment in that moment, right? Of course right. But if you can be fully present, you will find that you are aware of the way you are responding to the other person. Perhaps you will be able to react differently than you would if you let yourself respond in anger. Full awareness of yourself helps you be aware of responses that are purely defensive, or provoking. Perhaps cultivating a peaceful, quiet presence can give your argument less angry energy, and change the outcome. Try it.

What does this have to do with Reiki? I’ll tell you. As a part of my Reiki practice, I do a daily self healing meditation. During this time, I open myself up and allow the energy to flow where it is needed. I cultivate a presence, being in the moment, not letting my thoughts wander other than a quiet awareness of the sensations in myself. It sets the stage for the rest of my day, reminding me that I have the power to be present.

Here’s an exercise for helping to establish presence in your life:

Breathe. Slowly. Deeply. Focus on your breath and the spaces in between your breaths. Stop to do this several times each day. Mindful focus on breathing helps you cultivate an awareness of the here and now, appreciation for the way your body works without your conscious effort, and brings you to the present moment.

Give presence a try and see how it changes things.

With love and light

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Callie’s Cavern

October, 2009

Shiva Lingam Stones

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These special stones are found in only one place in the world.  Shiva stones wash up on the beaches of the sacred Narmada River, one of India’s seven holy sites.  Shiva stones are egg shaped quartz found in the shallow river beds.  These stones are hand polished to balanced proportions.  There are many amazing properties to this stone, most of which revolve around the fact that the Narmada River is sacred to the Hindu deity Shiva.

Shiva stones are revered as the embodiment of Lord Shiva.  These stones embody masculine energy, expression, and knowledge.  The shape of the stone is very masculine.  The markings on the stones are called Yoni and depict feminine energy, wisdom, and intuition.  The combination of these two things creates a dualistic male female energy.  Each stone is a combination of brown markings and each stone is unique.

The female Yoni arouses the masculine urge to create.  If the relationship is over, it can sever the sexual connection that used to be but reinstate trust in male energy.  This opens the way for new relationships.  It is the cosmic egg from which all of creation emerged.

Inner transformation is balanced and this can provide sort of a spiritual detox.  It connects to your higher self and teaches you to reach past experience when meditating.  This connects physical and the spiritual energies.  The energy is raised, but controlled, being grounded into the body.  Giving us the ability to let go of all that is outgrown it is helpful for letting go of emotional pain from childhood.  Just holding a Shiva Lingam Stone brings an overall sense of calm and well being.

In Feng Shui the Shiva Lingam Stone can direct energy flow throughout your home.  This means that you can use these stones throughout your home for many different opportunities.  If placed in the relationship area of your home increases fertility and brings you closer to your partner.  You can also use one stone to purify your entire home.  Shiva Lingam Stones contain the loftiest vibration of all stones and the energy of all of the elements.

Shiva Lingam Stones are comprised of Crypto Crystalline Quartz.  The crystal structure is so small that they cannot be seen without a microscope.  While these stones are a little more expensive then your average stone, they are worth adding to your collection.  I have seen Shiva Lingam Stones that were several feet long, but they are such a powerful stone that even those that are small enough to fit into your hand can cleanse an entire house.  They are an object of ultimate power and represent the power of transmutation that lies dormant within each of us.

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Song of a Daily Druid

October, 2009

All poetry begins in the dark. In the cave of memory, the new poet lies awake, wrapped in the simple, loose-fitting shift of a sleeper, listening to the echoes of her own breathing and the whine of her own blood in her ears, the only sounds. The close stone walls are damp with her exhalations, sighs of longing or uncertainty, muffled sobs or murmured joys. She can see nothing in the darkness, not even the low ceiling above, but in that senseless obscurity her memory moves, conjuring up fleeting images of apricots, water spigots and firelight, half-heard sounds of bare running feet or the rubbing of tree branches against brick. Sometimes the dank, unmoving air of the cave seems to bring her scents of autumn leaves rotting in the riverbed, or tangled woolen yarn, or muddy earth turned over and mixed with the smell of blossoms. These memories are in her, and they are the beginning of her art. She must seek out the language—its rhythms and articulations, the shapes of its vowels, the teeth and tongue of its consonant stops—seek out the words that evoke and mirror sensation.

In the unlit recesses of the cave, her mind works as her body lies still, remembering. The small round stone rests heavy on her belly—she can feel its weight through the soft fabric and the way it rocks gently as each breath lifts it and lets it drop again. Her mind travels the stumbling, sometimes frantic pathways of the past, aflame with inspiration; she brings it back again, turns it over and over to the weight and solidity of the stone. Fire in the head, anchored in the earth. When the night is over, the waking world will come for her. She must find a way to bring poetry into being, to carry it forward, to bring it from the empty depths of the cave into the morning sunlight. To carry it like the stone: concrete, real, substantive in her hands. Light moves behind her eyes, and the stone wobbles on her solar plexus. All poetry begins this way: an image in the mind, a feeling in the gut, a moment in the dark.

Bardic Practice, Then & Now

Those walking the path of Druidry today can learn a great deal from the practice of poetry, both ancient and modern. The two central aspects of poetic (and indeed all artistic) work, imagination and creativity, hold a significance far deeper than they are usually attributed by our contemporary society concerned primarily with the zero-sum equations of producing and consuming. Far from the mere fanciful cleverness of a child or the amusing eccentricity of a starving artist, they have a potency and power that moves deeply through every person and can unlock our sacred relationship to the larger world. Creativity and imagination—often mistaken as one and the same, but each with its own unique role to play—are the means by which we engage with and shape our world. As a spiritual tradition grounded in the sacredness of nature, the physicality of its movements and moods, Druidry locates a sense of the poetic at the very heart of its worldview. We learn this poetic sense partly from the study of ancient bardic tradition, but just as importantly from our endeavors to create meaningful work of our own.

In poetry, value is both more substantial, and more elusive, than the kind of material wealth we are taught to cultivate by modern Western society. It cannot be counted up and traded away, and yet it springs again and again from the most mundane spaces and experiences. This is an expression of the inherent creativity of life, the continuous coming-into-being that is always occurring around us and can always be rediscovered at any moment. Part of our own creative capacity is the ability to experience the present moment fully and freely, giving ourselves permission to feel passion, fury, fear and joy like tides of energy washing through us, but also allowing ourselves the silence and space we need to listen, to notice the small details hidden within the larger picture. When we engage deeply with the world, the world responds with new diversity and variation, and we in turn cultivate new ways of experiencing the world in a creative, engaged exchange. Both intense feeling and quiet observation find a place in the well-crafted verse, held together in a tension that lifts the piece beyond the literalness of prose and creates ever-new meanings for itself as a poetic work.

Because of this tension between intimacy and distance, between intensity and calm, William Wordsworth once said that poetry was “the outcome of emotions recollected in tranquility.” The ancient bards of Celtic tradition may have had a similar insight. Records of shamanic-like “caves of initiation” preserve the memory of a time when poets and storytellers learned their arts through long hours of intense study, followed by a retreat into silence and darkness. For these students, learning and memorizing the familiar lore of the tribe provided countless opportunities for creativity, as each retelling and recollection reverberated and evolved into ever more meaningful understanding. Some of these verses held within their lines unique insights into the interconnection of life and spirit; others recorded and passed on the knowledge of bloodlines, or the praise or mockery of those in power. In the dark and silent caves, students had to learn how to engage with their art creatively, allowing these meanings to develop and flow into new forms.

To do this, however, they also had to develop the strength and flexibility of their imaginative faculty. Laying quietly as they rehearsed the stories and songs they had been taught, they strived to provoke the sensations and emotions of these events and relationships, learning the patterns and limits of language and how these can be worked to stir the senses and invoke the sacred. Eventually, they would compose their own poetry in that noiseless night, working with their memories of the world, of nature and of the past (and sometimes their premonitions of the future as well). In a non-literate culture that prized oral performance and passed down tales of heroism and records of lineage through song and story, bards carried the knowledge and history of their tribes forward for future generations in a great corpus of learned verse. But a truly skilled bard was also expected to possess a mastery of language and a sharpened mind that enabled him to compose and recite new pieces without setting the sacred work to writing. Sometimes the bard retreated to the dark cave of initiation and memory to compose these. On other occasions, he would try his skills in contests against other poets, improvising as he drew spontaneously on both his experience with composition and the energies of the gathered audience and the present moment.

When we delve deeply into story and song ourselves, we too discover their vital meaingfulness: they communicate, carried across the borders between past and present, between the poet and the reader or listener, without being diminished or lost. This is part of poetry’s imaginative quality, too. An effective poem gives itself as freely as the scent of apple blossoms or the sight of a sunset to anyone willing to listen. In poetry, we capture the fleeting abstraction of thought and ideas in the concrete forms of imagery and sensory details, things that the imagination can grasp with strength and to which it responds with enthusiasm and mutual emotion. A poet who understands the nature of her own mind, the rhythms and weather of her own inner landscape, can work with this knowledge to fire the imagination of others, sharing a sensual experience through language that augments the awareness of the listener and the bond that forms between them. The meaning of poetry expands and evolves as it is shared.

Poetics of Spiritual Living

On the Druid path, we find echoes of poetry in every aspect of our spiritual lives. Imagination and creativity work together to lend vitality and relevance to our work as we seek the meaningful and sacred in everyday experiences as well as those precious moments of ritual and meditation.

When we understand the power of poetry to connect us to the universal, the realm of ideas and ideals through small particular details and carefully chosen words, we also begin to understand the role that imagination plays in our grasp of sacred Spirit dwelling within the physical, natural world. Our imagination allows us to remember and relive the experiences of our senses: the blessed fragrance of fresh cider being poured, or the color of light glinting off old grass as it bends in a wind we too can feel pressing and slipping around our bodies, or the sound of a screech owl in a dark wood. These memories are always available to us, and so we use our imaginations not only to evoke such experiences within meditation and during ritual—as we might recall them within the lines of a poem to paint a scene or provoke a certain feeling—but also to remind ourselves to watch and listen, to value our physical senses as a way of connecting to numinous spirit. Through imagination, and poetry, we learn to always anchor ourselves deeply in the present moment.

Creativity must also play a role in our spiritual lives, however, for the Druid path is not merely one of passive appreciation. In Druidry, it is not enough simply to sit quietly and lose ourselves in our own reveries. Like the poet in the cave of memory and initiation, we must find a way to bring our understanding and reverence from the darkness of dream and desire into the light of conscious day where it can be fully realized, made manifest and shared with others. We recognize this creative process occurring everywhere in the natural world, where the life-energy of the three elements expresses itself in diverse ways. We can’t help but long to participate ourselves in the active process of creativity, moving and shaping our world guided by our imaginations and our gratitude. We write poems, sing stories to each other, play our hands and breath over musical instruments, or take up the paintbrush, the knitting needle or the cook’s measuring cups and paring knives.

Sometimes we spend time in meditation, attending to the patterns of creativity and destruction in the world around us, and these teach us new ways of understanding the universe. When we struggle to express our knowledge through words or evoke a sense of sacred presence through spoken or written language, this too is an act of creativity and not one of restriction or disrespect. We do not damage or restrict the reality of Spirit when we try to speak of it through poetry and story, even if we feel we have only touched one small part of an ineffable whole. All forms of creativity are inherently limited because they require a medium, a material for their expression; yet when creativity is paired with imagination, these limits become the very means of expressing and experiencing the sacredness inherent in nature.

Just as a single shaft of sunlight may be an experience of deity, our poetry and music, our art and ritual, and our lives themselves are unique particulars, beautiful and evocative in their limits, which hold within them the expression and experience of the numinous divine. Druidry recognizes and celebrates the individual, and the unique ways each of us experiences the world and responds creatively to bring life and meaning to our imaginings. No two love poems will ever be exactly alike, and no two Druids will choose to engage in the life of spirit in exactly the same way. Practicing poetry as part of our spiritual journey encourages us to explore our individuality, to value the uniqueness in ourselves and others, to seek out ways we can participate freely and fully in the world—in short, to listen closely to our own soul-song and discover how we might sing it with a voice that is sweet and true.

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Tarot Talk

October, 2009

INTERPRETING THE CARDS

The Tarot’s meanings can be personal and subjective to each of us in accordance with our unique experiences and
views of the world. For this reason there are no immutable or absolute definitions that can be applied to the cards.

The cards mean what our intuition and experience tell us they mean, and this can differ from person to person. As
you study the cards do not be afraid to allow your inner voice to suggest nuances of meaning.

When examining the Tarot, you’ll notice that the titles, illustrations, and symbols of certain cards seem to openly
convey their meaning, while the informative clues for other cards may appear more allusive at first glance. When
you encounter a card that you may not easily understand, take the extra time needed to recognize its energies.

In subsequent articles we will examine some of the more commonly accepted card meanings in great detail. For
now, simply acquaint yourself with the Major Arcana and begin to explore their surface meanings.

SURFACE MEANINGS

(0) The Fool: Entering a new phase, starting an adventure, living in the moment, being new and innocent, taking a
risk.
(1) The Magician: Experiencing movement through willpower, understanding your intentions, focusing your
energy, having singleness of purpose, utilizing your creative power.
(2) The High Priestess: Being passive, employing your intuition, experiencing spiritual enlightenment, sensing
the secret and hidden, having esoteric insight.
(3) The Empress: Showing maternal instinct, enjoying prosperity, experiencing growth and fertility, focusing on
the senses, feeling connected to the earth.
(4) The Emperor: Using masculine power, creating order out of chaos, enjoying security, dealing with authority,
leading or being led.
(5) The Hierophant: Established codes of behavior or belief, learning or teaching, honoring ritual and ceremony, participating in an organized group, giving or receiving wise counsel.
(6) The Lovers: Participating in a partnership or affiliation, experiencing physical passion and desire, confronting your own beliefs, staying true to yourself, making important moral decisions.
(7) The Chariot: Winning a victory through will, desiring to achieve, experiencing bold confidence, mastering
and curbing impulses, having a clear purpose.
(8) Strength: Showing preservation and endurance, exhibiting calm tolerance, feeling sympathy toward others,
using gentle force, having mental and moral fortitude.
(9) The Hermit: Following a personal quest, accepting or giving wise advice, spending time alone, engaging in
self examination and discovery, withdrawing from the world.
(10) The Wheel of Fortune: Experiencing fate, discovering opportunities through new developments,
undergoing rapid change, standing at a crossroad, coming full circle.
(11) Justice: Confronting equitable or impartial treatment, being accountable, choosing rightly, recognizing the
results of your actions, restoring balance.
(12) The Hanged Man: Pausing to reflect, experiencing a change of mind or circumstances, letting go,
voluntarily losing, giving up control.
(13) Death: Completing a chapter, experiencing crucial and profound change, entering the start of a new cycle,
eradicating the unnecessary, enduring an inevitable ending.
(14) Temperance: Avoiding excess, achieving a harmonious balance, blending forces together, finding peace
through compromise, experiencing good health.
(15) The Devil: Being lured or enticed, experiencing unhealthy attachments, focusing too much on the physical,
being unaware, feeling tied down against your will.
(16) The Tower: Experiencing havoc, facing annihilation, enduring painful alteration, undergoing a shocking
catastrophe, having an emotional outburst.
(17) The Star: Having faith in the future, finding motivation, experiencing renewal, having a sense of belief,
enjoying peace of mind.
(18) The Moon: Feeling apprehension, confronting the unfamiliar, seeing what is not there, having troubled
imaginings and thoughts, becoming confused.
(19) The Sun: Attaining a new level of insight, having your day in the sun, becoming radiantly energized, feeling
invigorated, experiencing a sense of confidence.
(20) Judgment: Judging or being judged, forgiving yourself or others, reaching a higher level of being, becoming
transformed, making a fresh start.
(21) The World: Realizing your goals, coming to a journeys end, experiencing success, feeling satisfied,
reaching a conclusion.

THEMES

Each Major Arcana card seems to follow a particular theme. Simply knowing a card’s basic theme can help you
explore the many other avenues of expression that a card can adopt in a reading. Take the time to study the
following themes and adapt them to your own understanding of the Tarot.

Fool: Beginnings
Magician: Will
High Priestess: Intuition
Empress: Creation
Emperor: Authority
Hierophant: Spiritual/Academic Teaching/Learning
Lovers: Relationships
Chariot: Control
Strength: Inner Strength
Hermit: Introspection
Wheel of Fortune: Change
Justice: Balance
Hanged Man: Sacrifice
Death: Endings
Temperance: Blending
Devil: Bondage
Tower: Destruction
Star: Guidance
Moon: Illusion
Sun: Realization
Judgment: Rebirth
World: Completion

It was a pleasure to once again share with you the wonders of the Tarot. Next week, we’ll take an upclose and
personal look at the ‘Fool’ card. Until then, may the Tarot be with you!

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Gems of the Goddess

October, 2009

Cerridwen – The Tiger Mother Goddess

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Cerridwen is known as the goddess of death, initiation, inspiration, magic, and regeneration. The Magical Welsh crone goddess Cerridwen (pronounced KARE 0id wen) was a shape-shifting goddess of dark prophetic powers, enchantment and divination.   She is equated with Hecate (Greek) and Balb (Irish).  She is also sometimes related to Muses (Greek) but in a dark and more violent form.

Cerridwen’s cauldron is a powerful symbol of transforming magic.  It contains all the knowledge in the world.  This is where the inspiration for the Samhain (or Halloween) Witch stirring a Caldron comes from.
The brew in the Cauldron (named Amen) is known as Greal.  This brew sits for a year and a day, which signifies the usual time for initiation.  The Cauldron represents the lessons learned through change and experience, as well as divine creative inspiration.  She is the tigress mother, dark goddess, prophetic crone, who pursues her interpretation of justice with unfailing energy.

According to the Mabinogion, Morfran (also called Afagddu), her son, was hideously ugly, so she wanted to give him something to help and decided to use her magical cauldron to make a potion granting wisdom. The mixture had to be cooked for a year and a day. Morda, a blind man and her faithful servant, tended the fire beneath the cauldron, while Gwion, a young boy, stirred the concoction. The first three drops of liquid from this cauldron gave wisdom; the rest was a fatal poison. Three hot drops spilled onto Gwion’s hand as he stirred, burning him. He instinctively put his hand in his mouth, and instantly gained great wisdom and knowledge.  Gwion knew he was in trouble and had to flee.

When Cerridwen heard of this news, she chased Gwion.   Both of them had the power to shapeshift.   He turned himself into a rabbit. She became a dog. He became a fish and jumped into a river. She turned into an otter. He turned into a bird; she became a hawk. Finally, he turned into a single grain of corn. She then became a hen and ate him.   This journey of shapeshifting is thought to be the representation of moving through the various levels of the Druid tradition.  It20can also mean the steps of transformation.   It is also similar to Merlin teachings to King arthur through inhabiting different animals to gain wisdom and knowledge.

When Cerridwen became pregnant from eating the single grain of corn, she knew it was Gwion and resolved to kill the child when he was born. However, when he was born, he was so beautiful that she couldn’t do it. She threw him in the ocean instead, sewing him inside a bag of seal-skin. The child did not die, but was rescued on a British shore by a Celtic prince named Elffin; the reborn infant grew to become the legendary bard Taliesin.

Cerridwen’s symbol is the white sow, representing the Moon.  The sow is also associated with plenty, healing and shapeshifting.  She is associated with death, fertility, regeneration, inspiration, magic, astrology, herbs, science, poetry, spells and knowledge.  She is most at home during harvest rites, spells and ritual for wisdom and knowledge and during waning moons.  She is also can help with learning about divination and journeying into past lives.

To bring Cerridwen in your life, work with her when you are trying to tap into your creative part of your feminine side and also motherhood or childbirth issues.  Her correspondences are pigs, cauldrons, vervain, the dark moon and hens.

As we move into Samhain, think about the wisdom and knowledge you would like to receive and grow during the next year.  Cerridwin’s Cauldron is waiting to help you.

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The Witch’s Cupboard

October, 2009

The Witch’s Cupboard

mint

Mint

Mint (Mentha spp) is also known as “Garden Mint”.   Other names include Menta (Spanish, Italian), Menthe (French), Minze (German), and Nahnah (Arabic).  “Mint” is a general term for herbs in the Mentha family.   There are many different types of Mint which you can research for specific qualities.  Mint is found in parts of Europe and parts of Asia.

In ancient times, Mint was considered an honored herb.  It was used as payments to the Pharisees.  It was also used by the Romans to crown themselves during celebrations and victory.   One of the Goddess myths is that Demeter turned the nymph Mintha into a Mint plant after she caught Hades’s eye in the Underworld.  Mint was also used by Solomon when creating his ritual sprinkler.

Mint can be used in amulets and spells to bring in success and protection.  The bright green mint leaves can be used to bring in prosperity by placing a few leaves in the purse or wallet.  Mint is also used in travel spells to protect the traveler.  Mint is also known to calm the nerves, clear the mind, aid with learning and knowledge.
Mint is considered a “Greene Herb” and is used in kitchen magick.  It is known to bring pleasure to all guests in the household.  Many use it when doing spells and rituals to protect the home.  Mint, along with other protection herbs as rosemary, is sprinkled within the home to keep it safe.

Mint in health is found in many common household items such as toothpaste, medicine and candy .  Mint generates heat and healing so many use it to sooth muscles and help with pain and the joints.  It is also used to battle headaches by just rubbing Mint on the head.  It helps with stomach ailments, including appetite problems, and within oils and liniments to provide healing.

Remember, this is not a substitution for medical advice so always check with a medical professional to make sure working with herbs are safe for you.

Keywords for Mint

Magickal Uses/Spells:  Healing, travel spells, provoking lust, removing evil, money and prosperity spells, success, victory, calling in good spirits, aids in magick, protection, blessing, love potions
Deities:  Pluto, Hecate
Invocatory:  Hades, Mintha
Planet:  Mercury, Venus
Gender:  Masculine
Element:  Air
Tarot Correspondence:  The Fool

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HearthBeats: Recipes from a Kitchen Witch

October, 2009

Merry Meet all… this time of year has so many possibilities. With the harvest just finished.. we have so much to choose from.. it is amazing. This month not only will I have Samhain recipes.. but some good old fashion tummy filling recipes as well.

apples


Magic Baked Apples

When you polish an apple on your shirt before taking a bite, you are
continuing an ancient tradition. The Celts rubbed apples to drive
out evil fairies hiding inside the fruit. Medieval Christians
thought the practice kept away the devil. These customs reflect the
belief that apples contain Earth energies.

Magic Apples Recipe:
4 medium-sized apples
8 tbsp brown sugar
4 tsp butter
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Rub the apples over your heart then core them. Place in a baking
dish. Fill each center with 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon butter,
and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Add 1/4 inch water to the pan. Bake 30–40
minutes at 375°F.

Hallowmas Cakes

1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups cake flour, sifted
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup confectioner’s sugar

In a mixing bowl, combine vegetable oil, chocolate, and granulated sugar.  Blend in eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition.  Add vanilla.  Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt into oil mixture.  Chill for several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Roll about a Tbsp. of dough into a ball.  Drop balls into confectioner’s sugar, and roll until coated.  Place balls about 2″ apart on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  The cakes should be  soft and the edges firm.  Do not over bake; they burn easily.  Makes about 3 doz.
Autumn Butter

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup butter, softened

Mix all ingredients until well blended. Spread onto your favorite muffins, quick bread, sweet crackers, or drop a dollop onto morning pancakes


Greenman’s Blend

This is a classic cheese blend made with fresh herbs that can be frozen to store.
2 tablespoons fresh chives
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh marjoram
1 tablespoon fresh basil
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon thyme
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Chop the herbs and garlic in a food processor; add pepper. To make spread, add 1/2 cup blend to 8 tablespoons softened butter (or margarine), 1 pound softened cream cheese (or light cream cheese), and whirl until blended. Chill in refrigerator for several hours.
Store in freezer for up to 3 months in an airtight container.
The herbs can also be stored frozen in butter; then add the cream cheese just before serving.
If frozen, thaw in refrigerator, and then re-blend with an electric mixer before serving.
Variation. Chop the herbs in a food processor and add enough olive oil to form a thick paste that can be stored in the refrigerator for a week to 10 days or can be frozen for 2 to 3 months. Pack paste in glass jars and cover with a layer of olive oil to prevent drying out. Use to make marinades or add to steamed vegetables, soups, and stews.

Suggested Use cheese spread on crackers or raw vegetables. Warm cheese spread in a saucepan and add Parmesan cheese to taste for an Alfredo sauce to serve over pasta.

herbal properties:
Chives———–protection
Parsley———Calms and protects the home. Gives added energy, and vitality.
Marjoram——–Cleansing, purification, dispels negativity.
Basil————- love, exorcism, wealth, protection.
Lemon Thyme—-cleansing, purification. Healing, strength.
Garlic———–cleansing, purification, dispels negativity. Strong protection..
Black Pepper—–protection, exorcism
Dragon’s Breath Samhain Dip

There are two heads (yes, entire heads) of garlic in this dip!
(That’s why it’s called Dragon’s Breath).
But when garlic is roasted, it becomes sweet and nutty.
2 heads garlic
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
8 oz. Brie cheese (or cream cheese if you cannot eat brie)
1/2 tsp. Seasoned salt
Cut top 1/2″ off the top of the garlic heads. Remove some of the
loose papery skin, leaving the heads intact. Place each on a square
of foil and wrap well. Bake at 350 degrees 50-60 minutes, until the
Garlic is very soft and begins to brown. Cool until easy to handle.
Squeeze each head to remove the soft roasted cloves.
In a food processor( or electric mixer), process Brie cheese with the seasoned salt and
Garlic cloves. Refrigerate several hours
to blend flavors. Serve with crackers or sliced French Bread
Blood Orange Sangria
Ingredients
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups apple juice
2/3 cup Triple Sec (orange-flavored liqueur)
1/2 cup sugar
4 whole cloves
3 seedless blood oranges, each cut into 16 wedges
2 (750-milliliter) bottles fruity red wine
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges

Preparation
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher, and stir until sugar dissolves. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight. Discard cloves and cinnamon sticks. Pour sangria into individual glasses, including the fruit.
Yield 16 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

Pentacle Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:
1 1/2lb fresh Pumpkin
4oz super fine Sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 teaspoons cinnamon
5 tablespoons evaporated milk
10oz flour
2 1/2oz hard butter
2 1/2oz crisco
3-4 tablespoons water

1) Place Pumpkin (cored, peeled and diced) into a colander over boiling water and steam for about 20 minutes (or until tender). Then mash to a pulp and set aside to cool.

2) Sift the flour and 2 tablespoons of cinnamon into a bowl. Cut in the butter and crisco until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.

3) Mix with water to form a firm dough, knead lightly and roll out onto a floured board.

4) Lightly grease and then line a round Pie pan with the pastry, reserving the pastry trimmings.

5) Bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes.

6) Whisk the eggs and sugar together adding the nutmeg, ginger and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Fold in the mashed Pumpkin and 4 tablespoons of milk, then pour into the pastry case.

7) Roll out pastry trimmings and cut into strips. Form pentacle with strips, using milk to stick down, then brush remaining milk over any visible pastry.

8) Bake at 375F for about 40 minutes or until filling has set. Sprinkle with a little sugar and serve hot or cold! Delicious hot with ice cream or whipped cream!
Baking in advance of your Samhain celebrations can enable you to add a touch of Kitchen Witchery to it, and preparing food with love and care is a great way to imbue them with that extra special energy that home cooked foods really have.

Pumpkin Pie Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick melted butter
1 egg
Beat with a spoon and set 3/4 cup aside
Pat dough into the bottom of 9×11 pan
1 large can pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup evap. Milk
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Mix and pour over cake dough

Add 1/4 cup sugar to remaining dough, mix with a fork to crumble and sprinkle over top .
Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

The end of summer is the perfect time to enjoy these savory-sweet pork chops. The combination of apples and squash will get you ready to welcome fall.

Apple Crisp

8 cups peeled, cored &thinly sliced apples(granny smith)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 or 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup regular rolled oats
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine (cut into 1/4″ chunks)
3/4 cup chopped pecans
Vanilla Ice Cream

Preheat oven to 350….

in a 9″ square baking dish or shallow 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole,
mix apples with granulated sugar,2 tbsp. cornstarch and cinnamon…

In a bowl, combine rolled oats, brown sugar, butter and 3/4 cup flour..
Rub mixture between fingers until butter pieces are no longer
distinguishable…Stir in chopped pecans.. Sprinkle topping
evenly over apples…
Bake crisp on middle rack of oven until apples are tender when
pierced and topping is brown and bubbly, about 45 minutes to 1 hour…
If topping browns first cover with foil…
Spoon apple crisp, warm or cool into bowls…
Top with scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream..

Harvest Pork Chops recipe
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
4 boneless pork loin chops, 1/2 inch thick, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
2 Granny Smith apples, washed, quartered, sliced thin
1 pound butternut squash, trimmed, peeled, seeded, diced into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon ginger

Directions:

Season the pork chops with pepper. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chops and cook for 10 minutes, turning once, until well browned. Remove from pan, transfer to paper towels to drain and keep warm.

Add the onion and garlic to the skillet. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion is soft and the garlic is golden. Stir in the broth, orange juice, apples, squash and ginger. Heat to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender. Return the chops to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
Sausage-Stuffed Squash

1 medium acorn squash
6 oz. Bulk pork sausage
1/2 cup chopped celery, optional
2 TBSP chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped peeled tart apple
1 tsp. All-purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup sour cream
1/8 tsp. Salt
1/3 cup diced process cheese (Velveeta)
Cut squash in half; remove seeds. Place cut side down in a greased 13-in.x9-in.x2-in. Baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, cook the sausage, celery if desired and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add apple; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Drain. In a bowl, combine the flour, egg and sour cream until smooth; stir into sausage mixture.
Turn squash over; sprinkle cut sides with salt. Stuff with sausage mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with cheese; bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
YIELD: 2 servings.

Butternut Squash and Apple Casserole
This butternut squash casserole includes apples and is topped with a buttery spiced crumb topping with brown sugar.

Ingredients:

* 1 small butternut squash (about 2 lbs)
* 2 apples, cored, peeled, sliced
* 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
* 4 tablespoons butter, cold
* 1 tablespoon flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preparation:

Peel, seed, and cut squash into small slices. Place squash and apple slices in a baking dish, about 11- x 7-inches Combine brown sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; cut in butter with fork or pastry cutter until crumbly. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over sliced squash and apples.
Cover and bake at 350° for 45 to 55 minutes.
Corn Bread with Honey Butter

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Combine the cornmeal, flower, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium-sized bowl.  In a small bowl, beat the buttermilk, oil, and egs.  Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients; mix thoroughly.  Pour the batter into a greased 8 x 8 x 2 inch baking dish let sit on counter 5 minutes..  Bake for 25 minutes.

While the cornbread bakes, blend the butter, honey.(with electric mixer if possible)

Serve hot or cold. With the honey butter

And here is a helpful tip for your kitchen..

Storing Apples

Buy apples on sale and store them through the winter! . There are so many varieties, and they are such a great food. Thankfully, there is always some variety available in the stores year round. To save money, you can buy them on sale and store them. Almost any kind of apple will keep for several months if properly stored., even though we do not have root cellars like our grandparents may have had to store their produce; We still can effectively store apples with just a box and some newspaper. One of the important steps in storing apples is to store them so they don’t touch each other. If one apple rots, it will spread to the others if there is not a barrier between them. That is the reason for the newspaper.

Each apple should be individually wrapped with the newspaper (use only the black and white paper). They should be carefully placed in a box, and then the box placed in a dark room. You could use your garage, a pantry, an unheated porch or your basement. Anywhere where it is dark and cool (but not freezing) will work.

Only store apples without bruises or soft spots, and with the skin in perfect condition. Apples that have thicker skins will store longer than ones with thin skins, like Red Delicious. Jonathan is an example of an apple with a thick skin. Some varieties actually taste better after a few months of storage.

Until next month

Merry Cooking and Blessed Eating

The Hearthkeeper

Yield:  12 servings

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Sexual Magick **Adult Content**

October, 2009

**Adult Content**

Chastity as Sexual Magick


Despite the interest in the other forms of sexual magick… today we are going to discuss, “Chastity”. It is important to realize that chastity is also a form of Sexual Magick and has been used for magickal purposes for untold millennia.

In the ancient Roman religion there was only one type of “Priest” who’s role was carried out exclusively by Females. These were the Vestal Virgins, who, from pre-puberty committed themselves to Chastity for 30 years.

Now, curiously enough… their primary job was to attend to the Sacred Fire. It is also of note that cross-culturally… the Sexual Energy is often called the “Sacred Fire”. Vesta was Goddess of the Hearth, the home fire. This is quite telling in itself.

In medieval magickal grimoires it is common to see rules to refrain from sexual activity for a set period of time before evoking the spirits to visible appearance or beseeching the Angels for aid.

In Taoist Internal Alchemy and some forms of Yoga, the Sexual Energy is tended to, by withholding it… and circulating it through various “Channels” and “Meridians”. This sexual energy seems to link Heaven and Earth through Humanity, which stands between them.

By withholding the Sexual Force, one is able to internalize the energies and then utilize them for other purposes… whether Mystical or Magickal.

There are even techniques where one brings their self to the very brink of orgasm and then by physical manipulation withholds the release of the energy, so that it may be re-absorbed and transmuted into something immediately and Magickally useful.

Because the individual’s Sexual Force is part of the Creative Energy of the Universe… it may be used to “Create”. This can be quite obvious, as during the conception and birth of a child. However, the retention, circulation, and release of these same energies through Magickal Rites can be extremely powerful tools for today’s practitioner of the Art.

As anyone who has restrained from sex long enough can attest… the withholding of Sexual Forces definitely builds up some energy that requires an eventual “release”. We also occasionally hear someone describe a fantastic session of sexual activity as, “there were fireworks going off”. Now, by the inner retention of these energies… one is able to re-channel them and in effect cause the same fireworks to be used as fuel for another Magickal vehicle.

Now, IMHO it is not healthy (in today’s society) to repress the sexual energies for extended periods of time. The Catholic Church which has for centuries advocated the Sexual Magick of Chastity in its Priests and Nuns… has been involved in countless cases of sexual abuse, due to the longterm effects of sexual restraint in those not psychologically prepared to handle it.

The big advantage this method (with some exceptions where actual sex is halted prior to orgasm) has over most of the other methods of Sexual Magick is its high level of safety against STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases). So, if you want to try Sexual Magick, but have fears over its safety… maybe try a period of Chastity. After all, aren’t you sacrificing a part of yourself and your own creative energies in service to the Lord and Lady?

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HearthBeats: Crafts from a Kitchen Witch

October, 2009

Here is a craft for you to welcome your family both alive a dead..

From Better Homes and Gardens 2006

Luminarias

Every guest will feel welcome when sparkling lanterns surround your door.

What You Need:

Metal cans in assorted sizes, cleaned and with paper labels removed and saved

Plain paper cut to fit the can (optional)

16-penny square nail

Awl

Hammer

Punch-style can opener

16-gauge galvanized wire

Pliers

Votive Candle

Instructions:

1. Fill the cans with water and freeze them overnight. (Freezing makes it easier to hammer a design into the can without damaging the shape of the can.) Don’t worry if the bottoms bulge slightly from the pressure of the ice.

2. To make the paper pattern, use the wrong side of the label or plain paper trimmed to fit. Fold the paper in quarters to keep the design elements evenly spaced. Unfold and draw lines, stars, chevrons, squares, Vs, or other simple geometric shapes on the paper.

3. Tape the paper over the can, and place the can on a folded towel to protect the work surface. Using the 16-penny nail (for square holes) or awl (for round holes), hammer through the design into the can and ice.

4. Let the ice melt completely. If the bottom of the can became distorted in the freezer, gently hammer it back in place. Use the punch-style can opener to make triangular holes along the top and bottom edges of the can.

5. To hang luminarias, cut a 20-inch length of wire and bend it into a U-shape. Insert the ends from the inside of the can to the outside through holes in opposite sides of the can. Curl the ends back over the top of the can. Place a votive candle in the can.

Courtesy of BHG

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