March 2007
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Monthly Archives: March 2007

Sage Tea Bread

1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage or 2 teaspoons dried sage
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
In a small saucepan, heat milk and sage just until warm. Set aside to cool. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk mixture. Pour into a greased 9x5x3″ loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Easy Shea Baby Butter

1oz mango butter
1oz shea butter
2oz aloe butter
1oz beeswax
Heat all ingredients in a glass measuring cup and pour into sterilized
containers. You can increase or decrease the beeswax to the consistency you
prefer. You may leave this unscented or add a few drops of Lavender
essential oil.


*Southern Hemisphere Date: September 23rd
*Northern Hemisphere Date: March 21st

*Origins: Pronounced Oh-star-ah, and named after an ancient virgin Germanic Goddess of Spring, it is also called Alban Eiler in Caledonii and falls on the Spring Equinox.

As the God walks across the face of the Earth, the Goddess finally shrugs of her sleep. The days and nights are now of equal length, the light blanketing the Earth with fertility. It is now a time to sow spells for your future. Symbols of Ostara include eggs and rabbits.

Carrier Oils

Carrier Oils

The following is a list of some oils that can be used as a carrier
oil, and some of their uses, depending on which particular problem
you are trying to address:

Sweet Almond: good for all skin types. Helps relieve itching,
soreness dryness and inflammation.
Apricot kernel: all skins types, especially prematurely aged,
sensitive, inflamed and dry
Carrot: premature aging, itching, dryness, psoriasis, eczema.
Reduces scarring.
Corn: soothing on all skins
Evening Primrose: multiple sclerosis, menopausal problems, heart
disease. Excellent for treating psoriasis and eczema. Helps prevent
premature aging.
Grapeseed: all skins types
Hazelnut: slight astringent action; good for all skin types
Jojoba: inflamed skin, psoriasis, eczema, acne, hair care, all skin
types; highly penetrative
Olive: rheumatic conditions, hair care, cosmetics; soothing
Peanut: all skin types
Safflower: all skin types
Sesame: psoriasis, eczema, rheumatism, arthritis; all skin types
Sunflower: all skin types
Wheat germ: eczema, psoriasis, prematurely aging skin; all skin types
I realize that several of the oils I have listed above are useful for
a lot of the same things, but not all oils are available in all
places, so I wanted to make sure you had a lot to choose from.
However, most of these shouldn’t be too hard to find, with some of
them being available in most grocery stores.

When shopping for essential oils, look for shops that cater to
natural and health concerns like a health food store or a shop that
deals strictly in essential oils. Stay away from stores that are
only concerned with perfuming the air and body. Essential oils are
PURE plant oils; perfume oils are primarily man-made and contain
little to no natural oils at all.

Always make sure when you are buying oils, that you are getting the
actual oil and not just a cheap imitation. Price is usually a good
indicator………… REAL oils aren’t cheap. However, don’t let
yourself be ripped off by some unscrupulous dealer who is only
interested in one thing, which is parting you from large sums of your

Familiarize yourself with your local vendors. Ask questions…. lots
of them! Anyone who truly knows their oils will gladly answer
them. Shop around. Buy several different brands and experiment to
see which ones give you the best results.

There are different “grades” of oils. The finest quality being more
expensive than a much lesser quality. The rarest oils will
undoubtedly fetch a handsome price. Keep in mind that no reputable
dealer will sell all essential oils for the same price.
Unfortunately, I can’t really give you a reliable price guide since
prices fluctuate with the availability of the oils, but be sure to
check our plentiful selection of oils here at The Celtic Connection
for the most current market prices. We carry one of the best grades
of essential oils that you can find.

A Meditation on Magick

A Meditation on Magick
by Bestia Mortale

I’d like to examine three levels of magick, the world, the will and the
spirit, from a particular perspective I shall describe.

Like most things, magick looks different from different sides. The word
“magick” normally conjures up spells, unseen forces, strange worlds and
mysterious beings. This is the “supernatural” point of view. This is the
vantage from which we see sorcerers pursuing arcane knowledge to gain
amazing power.

Take the skeptical version of this point of view, and magick signifies
self-delusion, wish-fulfillment fantasy, unconscious deception and
intentional fraud.
But then stroll around to another viewpoint, where you assume knowledge
rather than ignorance. Assume for a moment that you can understand
everything (not that anyone can). From this perspective, much of what we
think of as magick vanishes, becoming just another technology, just another
way to get what you want.
When you want something, you use your understanding of the world combined
with your intelligence to identify a course of action that might achieve it.
Then you use your will and determination to follow that course of action. As
you go, you use intermediate results to modify your course of action. Are
you a sorcerer or an engineer?

Both historians of science and historians of magick are well aware that
until relatively recently, the two were more or less indistinguishable. In
the last several centuries, the techniques of modern science and engineering
have emerged as by far the most powerful and effective means of doing magick
in the world. The spells of physics almost always work reliably, and when
they don’t, physicists are delighted – there are always reputations to be
made in perfecting them.

The magick of getting what we want in the world is fascinating and
impressive but not necessarily deeply moving. Take doing the dishes, for
example. Some people still eat with their hands from food that lies in their
laps. Others have pursued centuries of dogged experimentation to produce
specialized eating surfaces and utensils. Some people clean such surfaces
and utensils in streambeds, while others have devoted amazing ingenuity to
channeling and heating water and devising special chemicals that make
cleaning these surfaces and utensils easier. Some people wash their own
dishes, while others have devised complex social transactions that result in
“servants” of various sorts doing the cleanup. There are even electric
dishwashing machines, and if that’s not supernatural, nothing is.

At the same time, who cares? We eat. If we do it right, we are nourished, we
don’t get sick, and we don’t have to devote too much of our energy to doing
it. Fine china, beautiful silverware, exotic spices, gourmet recipes, all
these are lovely if they don’t cost us too much.

>From a perspective of understanding, the magick of getting what we want
tends to merge disappointingly into what we like to call “technology,” our
ancillary crafts, and its appeal seems less bright, if no less useful, from
this point of view.

There is also magick of the will – the art of being able to decide cleanly.
Each of us is full of ambivalence. We want a thousand contradictory things,
consciously, semi-consciously, entirely unconsciously. Magick of the will
aligns and balances all those conflicting desires so that you can choose
consistently and effectively to achieve a given end.

Will is an elusive magick that varies radically from person to person. Like
music, painting or writing, it can be taught, but like any art, it is based
on talent and taste. It is practiced by every successful person in the
world, although few would regard it as magick. The ability to choose
consistently and well, at least within a narrow focus, is essential to
success in almost every undertaking.

There are easy ways to achieve will. Some of the peskiest and most
disruptive of our desires are ethical and emotional. Simply by suppressing
these, you can become much more effectively decisive. Fortunately, few
people want to pay that price. Indeed, it may be that no one has the
resources to pay that price, except by foolish borrowing.

Will is like health. Many of us are blessed with it initially, but to keep
it takes luck, attention and good habits. Many of the disciplines of what we
narrowly refer to these days as “magick” can be helpful, but plenty of
people who have never used the word are masters of will magick.

Finally, there is magick of the spirit, the magick of listening to the quiet
voices. This is a magick that is easy to lose in modern life. Plenty of
atheist engineers and salesmen may be better sorcerers or better at will
magick than you or I, but few of them have found a way to meet their
spiritual needs.

Following Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, many of us have come to see the
roots of our spiritual yearnings sinking deep into our unconscious minds,
down among primal cultural artifacts and almost universal archetypes.
Whether they re-emerge on the other side of the unconscious into an astral
reality is a philosophical question, not a practical one. After all,
satisfying the deep yearnings of your unconscious mind is important whether
or not you want to believe that the spiritual world is “real.” Lots of
people know that it is, and lots of other people know it isn’t, but I don’t
like the question.

I’m very clear that something really happens when I give myself over to
magick of the spirit. It happens often, particularly if I make the effort to
let it. It happens in loving sex just about every time. It happens at the
oddest moments. It happens in meditation, speaking with a goddess or a god.
But particularly, it happens when I connect to the spirits of place, of the

Sitting on the ragged stones at the edge of the sea watching patterns in the
water, crouched with my back to a rock high in the mountains, listening to
the songs of the wind, standing among the old trees in a forest glade
feeling rain on my face, I find myself lost in wonder. Minutes pass when I
am far, far away. I come back changed. My yearning is answered and affirmed.
These are moments of pure magick for me. I don’t know what happens, but I
know it’s important. It doesn’t have to do with getting some specific thing
I want or honing my will; it has to do with receiving some kind of deep
This magick of spirit goes well beyond our wisdom.

Copyright © 2004 by the article’s author



Poisons & Antidotes

Symptoms: Tingling of the mouth and numbness, soon extending to the entire surface of the body; strangling sensation in the throat and difficult swallowing; sense of sinking and pain in the epigastrium; nausea and salivation followed by violent vomiting; great prostration, cold extremities, staring eyes.

Treatment: Lavage with water containing iodine; or potassium iodide, artificial respiration; warmth to surface of the body; stimulants, ammonia, brandy by enema or hypodermically.

Botanical: Aconitum napellus (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Ranunculaciae
—Synonyms—Monkshood. Blue Rocket. Friar’s Cap. Auld Wife’s Huid.
—Part Used—The whole plant.
—Habitat—Lower mountain slopes of North portion of Eastern Hemisphere. From Himalayas through Europe to Great Britain.
Aconite is now found wild in a few parts of England, mainly in the western counties and also in South Wales, but can hardly be considered truly indigenous. It was very early introduced into England, being mentioned in all the English vocabularies of plants from the tenth century downwards, and in Early English medical recipes.

—Description—The plant is a hardy perennial, with a fleshy, spindle-shaped root, palecoloured when young, but subsequently acquiring a dark brown skin. The stem is about 3 feet high, with dark green, glossy leaves, deeply divided in palmate manner and flowers in erect clusters of a dark blue colour. The shape of the flower is specially designed to attract and utilize bee visitors, especially the humble bee. The sepals are purple – purple being specially attractive to bees – and are fancifully shaped, one of them being in the form of a hood. The petals are only represented by the two very curious nectaries within the hood, somewhat in the form of a hammer; the stamens are numerous and lie depressed in a bunch at the mouth of the flower. They are pendulous at first, but rise in succession and place their anthers forward in such a way that a bee visiting the flower for nectar is dusted with the pollen, which he then carries to the next flower he visits and thereby fertilizes the undeveloped fruits, which are in a tuft in the centre of the stamens, each carpel containing a single seed.
In the Anglo-Saxon vocabularies it is called thung, which seems to have been a general name for any very poisonous plant. It was then called Aconite (the English form of its Greek and Latin name), later Wolf’s Bane, the direct translation of the Greek Iycotonum, derived from the idea that arrows tipped with the juice, or baits anointed with it, would kill wolves – the species mentioned by Dioscorides seems to have been Aconitum lycotonum. In the Middle Ages it became Monkshood and Helmet-flower, from the curious shape of the upper sepal overtopping the rest of the flower. This was the ordinary name in Shakespeare’s days.

The generic name is said to have been derived from < >, a dart, because it was used by barbarous races to poison their arrows, or from akone, cliffy or rocky, because the species grow in rocky glens. Theophrastus, like Pliny, derived the name from Aconae, the supposed place of its origin. The specific name, Napellus, signifies a little turnip, in allusion to the shape of the roots.

—Cultivation—The chief collecting centres for foreign Aconite root have been the Swiss Alps, Salzburg, North Tyrol and Vorarlberg. Much was also formerly collected in Germany. Supplies from Spain and Japan are imported, so that the demand for English Aconite is somewhat restricted. The official Aconite is directed by the British Pharmacopceia to be derived only from plants cultivated in England, and a certain amount of home-grown Aconite has been regularly produced by the principal drug-farms, though good crops are grown with some difficulty in England, and cultivation of Aconite has not paid very well in recent years.

Aconite prefers a soil slightly retentive of moisture, such as a moist loam, and flourishes best in shade. It would probably grow luxuriantly in a moist, open wood, and would yield returns with little further trouble than weeding, digging up and drying.

In preparing beds for growing Aconite, the soil should be well dug and pulverized by early winter frosts – the digging in of rotten leaves or stable manure is advantageous.

It can be raised from seed, sown 1/2 inch deep in a cold frame in March, or in a warm position outside in April, but great care must be exercised that the right kind is obtained, as there are many varieties of Aconite- about twenty-four have been distinguished – and they have not all the same active medicinal properties. It takes two or three years to flower from seed.

Propagation is usually by division of roots in the autumn. The underground portion of the plants are dug up after the stem has died down, and the smaller of the ‘daughter’ roots that have developed at the side of the old roots are selected for replanting in December or January to form new stock, the young roots being planted about a foot apart each way. The young shoots appear above ground in February. Although the plants are perennial, each distinct root lasts only one year, the plant being continued by ‘daughter’ roots.

This official Aconite is also the species generally cultivated in gardens, though nearly all the species are worth growing as ornamental garden flowers, the best perhaps being A. Napellus, both white and blue, A. paniculatum, A. Japonicum and A. autumnale. All grow well in shade and under trees. Gerard grew four species in his garden: A. lyocotonum, A. variegatum, A. Napellus and A. Pyrenaicum.

—Part Used—Collection and Drying. The leaves, stem, flowering tops and root: the leaves and tops fresh, the root dried. The leaves and flowering tops are of less importance, they are employed for preparing Extract of Aconitum, and for this purpose are cut when the flowers are just breaking into blossom and the leaves are in their best condition, which is in June.

The roots should be collected in the autumn, after the stem dies down, but before the bud that is to produce the next year’s stem has begun to develop. As this bud grows and forms a flowering stem, in the spring, some of the lateral buds develop into short shoots, each of which produces a long, slender, descending root, crowned with a bud. These roots rapidly thicken, filled with reserve material produced by the parent plant, the root of which dies as the ‘daughter’ roots increase in size. Towards the autumn, the parent plant dies down and the daughter roots which have then reached their maximum development are now full of starch. If allowed to remain in the soil, the buds that crown the daughter roots begin to grow, in the late winter, and this growth exhausts the strength of the root, and the proportion of both starch and alkaloid it contains is lessened.

On account of the extremely poisonous properties of the root, it is considered desirable that the root should be grown and collected under the same conditions, so that uniformity in the drug is maintained. The British Pharmacopceia specifies, therefore, that the roots should be collected in the autumn from plants cultivated in Britain and should consist of the dried, full-grown ‘daughter’ roots: much of the Aconite root that used to come in large quantities from Germany was the exhausted parent root of the wild-flowering plants.

When the roots are dug up, they are sorted over, the smallest laid aside for replanting and the plumper ones reserved for drying. They are first well washed in cold water and trimmed of all rootlets, and then dried, either entire, or longitudinally sliced to hasten drying.

Drying may at first be done in the open air, spread thinly, the roots not touching. Or they may be spread on clean floors or on shelves in a warm place for about ten days, turning frequently. When somewhat shrunken, they must be finished more quickly by artificial heat in a drying room or shed near a stove or gas fire, care being taken that the heated air can escape at the top of the room. Drying in an even temperature will probably take about a fortnight or more. It is not complete till the roots are dry to the core and brittle, snapping when bent.

Dried Aconite root at its upper extremity, when crowned with an undeveloped bud, enclosed by scaly leaves, is about 3/4 inch in diameter, tapering quickly downwards. It is dark brown in colour and marked with the scars of rootlets. The surface is usually longitudinally wrinkled, especially if it has been dried entire. The root breaks with a short fracture and should be whitish and starchy within. A transverse section shows a thick bark, separated from the inner portion by a well-marked darker line, which often assumes a stellate appearance. Aconite root as found in commerce is, however, often yellowish or brownish internally with the stellate markings not clearly shown, probably from having been collected too early. It should be lifted in the autumn of the second year.

Aconite root is liable to attack by insects, and after being well dried should be kept in securely closed vessels.

—Chemical Constituents—Aconite root contains from 0.3 to 1 per cent alkaloidal matter, consisting of Aconitine – crystalline, acrid and highly toxic – with the alkaloids Benzaconine (Picraconitine) and Aconine.

Aconitine, the only crystallizable alkaloid, is present to the extent of not more than 0.2 per cent, but to it is due the characteristic activity of the root. Aconite acid, starch, etc., are also present. On incineration, the root yields about 3 per cent ash.

The Aconitines are a group of highly toxic alkaloids derived from various species of Aconite, and whilst possessing many properties in common are chemically distinguishable according to the source from which they are obtained. The Aconitines are divided into two groups: (1) the Aconitines proper, including Aconitine, Japaconitine and Indaconitine, and (2) the Pseudaconitines – Pseudaconitine and Bikhaconitine.

This disparity between Aconites is a very important matter for investigation, though perhaps not so serious from a pharmaceutical point of view as might at first appear, since in the roots of several different species the alkaloid is found to possess similar physiological action; but this action varies in degree and the amount of alkaloid may be found to vary considerably. It is considered that the only reliable method of standardizing the potency of any of the Aconite preparations is by a physiological method: the lethal dose for the guinea-pig being considered to be the most convenient and satisfactory standard. Tinctures vary enormously as to strength, some proving seven times as powerful as others.

The Aconite which contains the best alkaloid, A. Napellus, is the old-fashioned, familiar garden variety, which may be easily recognized by its very much cut-up leaves, which are wide in the shoulder of the leaf – that part nearest the stem – and also by the purplish-blue flowers, which have the ‘helmet’ closely fitting over the rest of the flower, not standing up as a tall hood. All varieties of Aconite are useful, but this kind with the close set in helmet to the flower is the most valuable.

The Aconite derived from German root of A. Napellus appears to possess somewhat different properties to that prepared from English roots. The German roots may be recognized by the remains of the stem which crown the root. They are also generally less starchy, darker externally and more shrivelled than the English root and considered to be less active, probably because they are generally the exhausted parent roots.

—Medicinal Action and Uses—Anodyne, diuretic and diaphoretic. The value of Aconite as a medicine has been more fully realized in modern times, and it now rank as one of our most useful drugs. It is much used in homoeopathy. On account of its very poisonous nature, all medicines obtained from it come, however, under Table 1 of the poison schedule: Aconite is a deadly poison.

Both tincture and liniment of Aconite are in general use, and Aconite is also used in ointment and sometimes given as hypodermic injection. Preparations of Aconitc are employed for outward application locally to the skin to diminish the pain of neuralgia, lumbago and rheumatism.

The official tincture taken internelly diminishes the rate and force of the pulse in the early stages of fevers and slight local inflammations, such as feverish cold, larnyngitis, first stages of pneumonia and erysipelas; it relieves the pain of neuralgia, pleurisy and aneurism. In cardiac failure or to prevent same it has been used with success, in acute tonsilitis children have been well treated by a dose of 1 to 2 minims for a child 5 to 10 years old; the dose for adults is 2 to 5 minims, three times a day.
—Note—The tincture of Aconite of the British Pharmacopoeia 1914 is nearly double the strength of that in the old Pharmacopoeia of 1898.

Externally the linament as such or mixed with chloroform or belladonna liniment is useful in neuralgia or rheumatism.

—Poisoning from, and Antidotes—The symptons of poisoning are tingling and numbness of tongue and mouth and a sensation of ants crawling over the body, nausea and vomiting with epigastric pain, laboured breathing, pulse irregular and weak, skin cold and clammy, features bloodless, giddiness, staggering, mind remains clear. A stomach tube or emetic should be used at once, 20 minims of Tincture of Digitalis given if available, stimulants should be given and if not retained diluted brandy injected per rectum, artificial respiration and friction, patient to be kept lying down.

All the species contain an active poison Aconitine, one of the most formidable poisons which have yet been discovered: it exists in all parts of the plant, but especially in the root. The smallest portion of either root or leaves, when first put into the mouth, occasions burning and tingling, and a sense of numbness immediately follows its continuance. One-fiftieth grain of Aconitine will kill a sparrow in a few seconds; one-tenth grain a rabbit in five minutes. It is more powerful than prussic acid and acts with tremendous rapidity. One hundredth grain will act locally, so as to produce a well-marked sensation in any part of the body for a whole day. So acrid is the poison, that the juice applied to a wounded finger affects the whole system, not only causing pains in the limbs, but a sense of suffocation and syncope.

Some species of Aconite were well known to the ancients as deadly poisons. It was said to be the invention of Hecate from the foam of Cerberus, and it was a species of Aconite that entered into the poison which the old men of the island of Ceos were condemned to drink when they became infirm and no longer of use to the State. Aconite is also supposed to have been the poison that formed the cup which Medea prepared for Theseus. (Note—Aconite and Belladonna were said to be the ingredients in the witches’ ‘Flying ointments.’ Aconite causes irregular action of the heart, and Belladonna produces delirium. These combined symptoms might give a sensation of ‘flying.’—EDITOR)

Various species of Aconite possess the same narcotic properties as A. Napellus, but none of them equal in energy the A. ferox of the East Indies, the root of which is used there as an energetic poison under the name of Bikh or Nabee. Aconite poisoning of wells by A. ferox has been carried out by native Indians to stop the progress of an army. They also use it for poisoning spears, darts and arrows, and for destroying tigers.

All children should be warned against Aconite in gardens. It is wiser not to grow Aconite among kitchen herbs of any sort. The root has occasionally been mistaken for horse-radish, with fatal results – it is, however, shorter, darker and more fibrous – and the leaves have produced similar fatal results. In Ireland a poor woman once sprinkled powdered Aconite root over a dish of greens, and one man was killed and another seriously affected by it.

In 1524 and 1526 it is recorded that two criminals, to whom the root was given as an experiment, quickly died.

The older herbalists described it as venomous and deadly. Gerard says: ‘There hath beene little heretofore set down concerning the virtues of the Aconite, but much might be saide of the hurts that have come thereby.’ It was supposed to be an antidote against other poisons. Gerard tells us that its power was ‘So forcible that the herb only thrown before the scorpion or any other venomous beast, causeth them to be without force or strength to hurt, insomuch that they cannot moove or stirre untill the herbe be taken away.’ Ben Jonson, in his tragedy Sejanus, says:
‘I have heard that Aconite
Being timely taken hath a healing might
Against the scorpion’s stroke.’
Linnaeus reports Aconite to be fatal to cattle and goats when they eat it fresh, but when dried it does no harm to horses, a peculiarity in common with the buttercups, to which the Aconites are related. Field-mice are well aware of its evil nature, and in hard times, when they will attack almost any plant that offers them food, they leave this severely alone.
—Other Varieties—Japanese Aconite – syn. Aconitum Chinense – is regularly imported in considerable quantities. It used formerly to be ascribed to A. Fischer (Reichb.), but is now considered to be derived from A. uncinatum, var. Faponicum (Regel.) and possibly also from A. volubile (Pallas). It has conical or top-shaped, gradually tapering tuberous roots, 1 to 2 inches long, 1/3 to 1 inch in thickness at the top, externally covered with a brown, closely adhering skin internally white. Dried roots do not contain much alkaloid, if steeped when fresh in a mixture of common salt, vinegar and water. The poisonous alkaloid present is called Japaconitine, to distinguish it from the official Aconitine and the Pseudaconitine of A. laciniatum. Japaconitine is similar in constituents and properties with the Aconitine of A. Napellus.

Indian Aconite root or Nepal Aconite consists of the root of A. laciniatum (Staph.). It is also called Bikh or Bish, and is collected in Nepal. It is much larger than the English variety, being a conical, not suddenly tapering root, 2 to 4 inches long and an inch or more at the top, of a lighter brown than the official variety, the rootlet scars much fewer than the official root. Internally it is hard and almost resinous, the taste intensely acrid and is much shriveiled longitudinally. This root yields a very active alkaloid, Pseudoaconitine, which is allied to Aconitine and resembles it in many of its properties; it is about twice as active as Aconitine. Indian Aconite root was formerly attributed to A. ferox (Wall). Their large size and less tapering character sufficiently distinguish these from the official drug.

Other varieties of Aconite are A. chasmanthum (Staph.), known in India as Mohri, which contains Indaconitine, and A. spicatum, another Indian species containing Bikhaconitine, resembling Pseudaconitine.

Russian Aconite, A. orientale, grows abundantly in the Crimea and Bessarabia. It has a small, compact, greyish-black root with a transverse section similar to that of A. Napellus. Its taste is hot and acrid. When treated by a process which gave 0.0526 per cent of crystalline Aconitine from a sample of powdered root of A. Napellus, the dried root of A. orientale yielded 2.207 per cent of total alkaloids, which were, however, amorphous. The total alkaloid has not yet been investigated further.

A. heterophyllum (Wall), Atis root, is a plant growing in the Western temperate Himalayas. This species does not contain Aconitine and is said to be non-poisonous. Its chief constituent is an intensely bitter alkaloid – Atisine – possessing tonic and antiperiodic principles. A. palmatum, of Indian origin, yields a similar alkaloid, Palmatisine.

The province of Szechwen in West China grows large quantities of medicinal plants, among them A. Wilsoni, which is worth about 4s. per cwt., of which 55,000 lb. a year can be produced in this province; A. Fischeri, about four times the price, of which rather less are yearly available, and A. Hemsleyan, about the same price as the latter, of which about 27,000 lb. are available in an average year.

—Other Species—The Anthora, or Wholesome Aconite described by Culpepper, is a small plant about a foot high, with pale, divided green leaves, and yellow flowers – a native of the Alps. Its stem is erect, firm, angular and hairy; the leaves alternate and much cut into. The flowers are large, hooded with fragrant scent, growing on top of the branches in spikes of a pale yellow colour, smaller than the ordinary Monkshood and succeeded by five horn-like, pointed pods, or achenes, containing five angular seeds. It flowers in July and the seeds ripen at the end of August. The root is tuberous.

Culpepper tells us that the herb was used in his time, but not often. It was reputed to be very serviceable against vegetable poisons and ‘a decoction of the root is a good lotion to wash the parts bitten by venomous creatures.’ . . . ‘The leaves, if rubbed on the skin will irritate and cause soreness and the pollen is also dangerous if blown in the eyes .’

As a matter of fact, this species of Aconite by no means deserves its reputation of harmlessness, for it is only poisonous in a less degree than the rest of the same genus, and the theory that it is a remedy against poison, particularly that of the other Aconites, is now an exploded one.

Parkinson, speaking of the Yellow Monkshood, calls it:
‘The “counter-poison monkeshood” – the roots of which are effectual, not only against the poison of the poisonful Helmet Flower and all others of that kind, but also against the poison of all venomous beasts, the plague or pestilence and other infectious diseases, which raise spots, pockes, or markes in the outward skin, by expelling the poison from within and defending the heart as a most sovereign cordial.’
The so-called Winter Aconite, Aeranthis hyemalis, is not a true Aconite, though closely allied, being also a member of the Buttercup family, whose blossoms it more nearly resembles.



Themes: Sun, tradition, unity, blessings, community, kinship
Symbols: Mirror, gold or yellow items

About Amaterasu: Amaterasu is unique among Goddesses, being one of the
few women to personify the Sun. In Japan she rules over cultural
unity, kinship, and the blessings that someone with the name,
“Illuminating Heaven” might be expected to bestow. It’s Amaterasu’s
Sun that nudges the greenery to reach toward Her light, just as Her
gentle energy prods us toward reestablishing harmony in all our

To Do Today: The first week of May in Japan is called Golden Week, and
it’s a time when Amaterasu’s solar beauty really shines. The Hakata
festival is a national holiday that includes celebrations for children
and a special parade depicting Japan’s legendary deities. Take a
moment to join the festivities long-distance. Remember Amaterasu by
wearing gold-coloured items today and opening as many curtains as
possible to let in Her glorious light.

Once the curtains are opened, take a hand mirror and reflect the light
into every corner of your home. This draws Amaterasu’s unifying energy
into your living space and guards against discord among all who dwell
therein. Also, to ensure that no malevolence enters from outside the
home, put a mirror facing outward in an eastern winder ( where Amaterasu
rises ). This is a Buddhist custom for turning away negativity and
evil influences.

from 365 Goddess – A Daily Guide of the Magick and Inspiration of the
by Patricia Telesco

The advent of spring cries out for the Goddesses of fertility,
growth, plants and flowers. Traditionally, planting is also done by
the Moon’s phases. Many farmers, gardeners and horticulturists today
will still use the almanac faithfully. In principle, honouring this
special female role of fertility and growth would seem natural. But
we know that at night under the silver moonlight flowers close their
eyes and sleep only to wait for the morning light to awaken. The
Sun’s gentle dawn rays warm and tease the delicate blooms to open
and make our world so colourful.
Finding a Goddess who could represent this awakening was not so
difficult and most appropriate. Amaterasu is the Japanese Goddess
of the Sun. To explain her disapperance at night the myth grew that
she had a quarel with her brother. He was an unsavoury character
named Susano. Amaterasu was afraid of him and disappointed by his
behaviour. She went into a cave and rolled a large boulder behind
her to completely separate her from the world.
Things were already bad on the land because of the quarrel but when
Amaterasu went into the cave the plants, and flowers withered and
died. Darkness reined and many evil things happened led by her
wicked brother. The council of Gods and Goddesses became fearful and
devised a plan to trick Amaterasu out of her cave so that happiness
and light would be restored.
They asked the Goddess of Dawn, Amo No Uzume, to do a funny dance.
As she danced the Gods and Goddesses laughed. Amaterasu heard the
sound and became very curious. She moved the boulder and peeked
outside. As she did so, her reflection was beamed back to her
through a mirror the Gods and Goddesses were holding. She was
dazzled by her own beauty. The cave was sealed and light was
restored to the land.
The Sun’s beauty and power is healing but can be harmful when not
used properly or enjoyed with respect. Without it we would be lost.
Amaterasu gave her light and warmth to her world. Within each of us
lies that ability to shine and in doing so we can light the way for
others. Smile and the world smiles with you. Find your own Sun
this month and let it out, so that it will be reflected back to you
in peace and harmony.

Sow a thought: reap an action
Sow an action: reap a habit
Sow a habit: reap a character
Sow a character: reap a destiny

Book Blessing

Book Blessing

Here is a blessing that you can say over your Book of Shadows that I
used in mine. Of course, as any good blessing or spell that works,
you can customize or say words the way you wish to:

“In the realm of magick this book shall reside
No one but the chosen shall see what’s inside.
If breath be to Air as passion to Fire,
Let harm come to none, this is my desire.
If life be to Earth as Water to emotions,
This book be filled with magical potions.
May the God’s protect it, keep it from harm,
And upon it bestow power, magick, and charm.
No one without wisdom shall peer at its pages,
Or the knowledge inside handed down from the ages.
This book be it mine, it harbors no fears.
The knowledge obtained through blood, sweat, and tears.
My magick’s my passion, the spirit’s my guide.
The love for the Goddess I hold deep inside.
The book may she bless it with spiritual light.
And let only her children read of its rite.
For those of the Wicca truly can see,
That this is my will, so mote it be.”

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