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Monthly Archives: July 2007

Astarte

Suggested Mantra: RESILIENCE
Astarte in her aspect as Warrior Queen exemplifies the independence
and spirit that drives us to success, both in achieving goals and
surviving life’s battles.

Suggested Affirmations:
~ I am letting go of anger
~ I am healthy and happy
~ I am welcoming peace
~ I am determined to succeed
~ I feel absolutely supercharged
~ I see my course of action clearly
~ My vital energy resurfaces naturally

Related essences: Patchouli, sandalwood, geranium, lavender

Related gemstones: Rose Quartz, Garnet, Smoky Quartz, Fire Agate,
(red and white stones)

Babylonian, Assyrian and Phoenician goddess Astarte is honoured as
the strong and wise Queen of Heaven. In her warrior queen aspect, she
wore the horns of a bull and rode into battle behind her horses and
chariots. She was also the Greek goddess of love and fertility, fire
and productivity, war and victory and sexual prowess.

Astarte was at once maiden and mother goddess whose energy is
greatest at the time of a crescent moon. In her temples, her sacred
prostitutes co-resided with her priestesses, symbolising the sanctity
of women in all walks of life. Her priestesses were famous
astrologers who entered into sacred marriages with kings.

In times of crisis, when our creativity and self-confidence is
threatened, Astarte’s energy resonates to marshal our
resourcefulness. Astarte-inspired women have an uncanny knack to make
the most of a limited amount of resources.

Astarte used her inner strength and wisdom to fight her battles, but
as with all goddess deities, she has a dark side. Taking the warrior
image too far through hostility and violence only leads to self-
destruction.

If you are feeling threatened by a situation outside of you, be
careful before brandishing your sword to avenge a wrong done against
you. Explosive anger may satisfy the short-term need for revenge, but
Astarte calls on you to exercise wisdom. Examine other ways you can
achieve “victory” without hurting others. For example, achieve
success in an area that your adversary would never expect – get that
promotion, pay off that debt, or make peace with a warring family
member. Do it in a dignified manner, with patience, respect and
wisdom and all these attributes will come back to you threefold in
the way other people treat you.

Car and Airplane Blessings

FOR THE WEEKEND TRAVELERS:

CAR BLESSING

Take a protective aromatic with you to your car before driving, like
garlic oil, onion juice, or dilll pickle juice. Trace an invoking pentagram
on the car’s hod with the index finger of your strong hand (starting at the
upper left and ending at the upper right of the star) while saying,

“Epona, hear my prayer and bless
the North and South, East and West.
Whether I travel near or far,
keep me safe within this car.”

Repeat this as often as desired. If no aromatics are available, use
saliva, which has long been regarded as containing personal power

–Patricia Telesco

………………………………………………………………….

AIRPLANE AMULET

Since we don’t have wings or feathers, some people are very queasy and
nervous in airplanes. Even those of us who enjoy flying can feel safer when
we carry a little bit of the Goddess with us. For this amulet you will need
a small moonstone (which promotes protection and composure), a feather
(which represents flight), and something to bind the two together. Take
these in your hand, saying,

“Inari, answer this behest;
security is my request.
When I travel ‘cross the skies
keep me safe where’er I fly.”

Bind the feather to the stone and keep it with you whenever you travel by
airplane. Once a year make a new amulet, returning the old feather and
stone to the earth with thankfulness.

–Patricia Telesco

………………………………………………………………….

CHANT FOR SAFE TRAVELING (author unknown)

Chant this spell over a vehicle before going on a trip.

“Lady Light, be our guide.

Where’er we are,

stand by our side.

Keep us by will and might,

keep us always in your sight.”

Brighid’s Cross

Items needed:

  • a handfull of wheat stalks
  • warm water
  • clothespins
  • clear or red thread and needle
  • perserverance

Directions:

  1. Soak wheat stalks in warm water until pliable
  2. Fold one stalk of wheat in half, leaving the kernels sticking out
  3. Fold another one the same way, and thread through the first one. It now looks like a long “L”
  4. Fold the third the same way, and insert through the second wheat stalk. It now looks like an L with a tail
  5. Fold and insert the fourth stalk through the third
  6. Use the clothes pins to help keep the shape as you weave more wheat
  7. Continue folding and threading the wheat stalks until you have several wheat woven through each “arm”
  8. Allow to dry with the clothespins in place
  9. Using the thread and needle, sew the stalks together – this is cheating, but I find that it’s necessary!
  10. Hang over the fireplace or stove

Driftwood Santas

Items needed:

  • pieces of driftwood that approximate the shape of santa – can be carrying a bag, tree, etc
  • acrylic paint
  • acrylic sealer
  • paintbrushes

Directions:

  1. Using your mind’s eye, determine where Santa’s head, body, etc are
  2. Paint using the acrylic paints, working with the curves of the wood to determine what is what
  3. Seal with sealer after paint has dried

Agrimony

Botanical: Agrimonia Eupatoria (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Rosaceae
—Synonyms—Common Agrimony. Church Steeples. Cockeburr. Sticklewort. Philanthropos.
—Part Used—The herb.
—Habitat—The plant is found abundantly throughout England, on hedge-banks and the sides of fields, in dry thickets and on all waste places. In Scotland it is much more local and does not penetrate very far northward.
Agrimony has an old reputation as a popular, domestic medicinal herb, being a simple well known to all country-folk. It belongs to the Rose order of plants, and its slender spikes of yellow flowers, which are in bloom from June to early September, and the singularly beautiful form of its much-cut-into leaves, make it one of the most graceful of our smaller herbs.

——————————————————————————–
—Description—From the long, black and somewhat woody perennial root, the erect cylindrical and slightly rough stem rises 1 or 2 feet, sometimes more, mostly unbranched, or very slightly branched in large specimens. The leaves are numerous and very rich in outline, those near the ground are often 7 or 8 inches long, while the upper ones are generally only about 3 inches in length. They are pinnate in form, i.e. divided up to the mid-rib into pairs of leaflets. The graduation in the size and richness of the leaves is noticeable: all are very similar in general character, but the upper leaves have far fewer leaflets than the lower, and such leaflets as there are, are less cut into segments and have altogether a simpler outline. The leaflets vary very considerably in size, as besides the six or eight large lateral leaflets and the terminal one, the mid-rib is fringed with several others that are very much smaller than these and ranged in the intervals between them. The main leaflets increase in size towards the apex of the leaf, where they are 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. They are oblong-oval in shape, toothed, downy above and more densely so beneath.
The flowers, though small, are numerous, arranged closely on slender, terminal spikes, which lengthen much when the blossoms have withered and the seed-vessels are maturing. At the base of each flower, which is placed stalkless on the long spike, is a small bract, cleft into three acute segments. The flowers, about 3/8 inch across, have five conspicuous and spreading petals, which are egg-shaped in form and somewhat narrow in proportion to their length, slightly notched at the end and of a bright yellow colour. The stamens are five to twelve in number. The flowers face boldly outwards and upwards towards the light, but after they have withered, the calyx points downwards. It becomes rather woody, thickly covered at the end with a mass of small bristly hairs, that spread and develop into a burr-like form. Its sides are furrowed and nearly straight, about 1/5 inch long, and the mouth, about as wide, is surmounted by an enlarged ring armed with spines, of which the outer ones are shorter and spreading, and the inner ones longer and erect.

The whole plant is deep green and covered with soft hairs, and has a slightly aromatic scent; even the small root is sweet scented, especially in spring. The spikes of flowers emit a most refreshing and spicy odour like that of apricots. The leaves when dry retain most of their fragrant odour, as well as the flowers, and Agrimony was once much sought after as a substitute or addition to tea, adding a peculiar delicacy and aroma to its flavour. Agrimony is one of the plants from the dried leaves of which in some country districts is brewed what is called ‘a spring drink,’ or ‘diet drink,’ a compound made by the infusion of several herbs and drunk in spring time as a purifier of the blood. In France, where herbal teas or tisanes are more employed than here, it is stated that Agrimony tea, for its fragrancy, as well as for its virtues, is often drunk as a beverage at table.

The plant is subject to a considerable amount of variation, some specimens being far larger than others, much more clothed with hairs and with other minor differences. It has, therefore, by some botanists, been divided into two species, but the division is now scarcely maintained. The larger variety, having also a greater fragrance, was named Agrimonia odorata.

The long flower-spikes of Agrimony have caused the name of ‘Church Steeples’ to be given the plant in some parts of the country. It also bears the title of ‘Cockeburr,’ ‘Sticklewort’ or ‘Stickwort,’ because its seed-vessels cling by the hooked ends of their stiff hairs to any person or animal coming into contact with the plant. It was, Gerard informs us, at one time called Philanthropos, according to some old writers, on account of its beneficent and valuable properties, others saying that the name arose from the circumstance of the seeds clinging to the garments of passers-by, as if desirous of accompanying them, and Gerard inclines to this latter interpretation of the name.

The whole plant yields a yellow dye: when gathered in September, the colour given is pale, much like that called nankeen; later in the year the dye is of a darker hue and will dye wool of a deep yellow. As it gives a good dye at all times and is a common plant, easily cultivated, it seems to deserve the notice of dyers.

Sheep and goats will eat this plant, but cattle, horses and swine leave it untouched.

—History—The name Agrimony is from Argemone, a word given by the Greeks to plants which were healing to the eyes, the name Eupatoria refers to Mithridates Eupator, a king who was a renowned concoctor of herbal remedies. The magic power of Agrimony is mentioned in an old English medical manuscript:
‘If it be leyd under mann’s heed,
He shal sleepyn as he were deed;
He shal never drede ne wakyn
Till fro under his heed it be takyn.’
Agrimony was one of the most famous vulnerary herbs. The Anglo-Saxons, who called it Garclive, taught that it would heal wounds, snake bites, warts, etc. In the time of Chaucer, when we find its name appearing in the form of Egrimoyne, it was used with Mugwort and vinegar for ‘a bad back’ and ‘alle woundes’: and one of these old writers recommends it to be taken with a mixture of pounded frogs and human blood, as a remedy for all internal haemorrhages. It formed an ingredient of the famous arquebusade water as prepared against wounds inflicted by an arquebus, or hand-gun, and was mentioned by Philip de Comines, in his account of the battle of Morat in 1476. In France, the eau de arquebusade is still applied for sprains and bruises, being carefully made from many aromatic herbs. It was at one time included in the London Materia Medica as a vulnerary herb, but modern official medicine does not recognize its virtues, though it is still fully appreciated in herbal practice as a mild astringent and tonic, useful in coughs, diarrhoea and relaxed bowels. By pouring a pint of boiling water on a handful of the dried herb – stem, leaves and flowers – an excellent gargle may be made for a relaxed throat, and a teacupful of the same infusion is recommended, taken cold three or four times in the day for looseness in the bowels, also for passive losses of blood. It may be given either in infusion or decoction.

—Constituents—Agrimony contains a particular volatile oil, which may be obtained from the plant by distillation and also a bitter principle. It yields in addition 5 per cent of tannin, so that its use in cottage medicine for gargles and as an astringent applicant to indolent ulcers and wounds is well justified. Owing to this presence of tannin, its use has been recommended in dressing leather.

—Medicinal Action and Uses—Astringent tonic, diuretic. Agrimony has had a great reputation for curing jaundice and other liver complaints. Gerard believed in its efficacy. He says: ‘A decoction of the leaves is good for them that have naughty livers’: and he tells us also that Pliny called it a ‘herb of princely authoritie.’ Dioscorides stated that it was not only ‘a remedy for them that have bad livers,’ but also ‘for such as are bitten with serpents.’ Dr. Hill, who from 1751 to 1771 published several works on Herbal medicine, recommends ‘an infusion of 6 oz. of the crown of the root in a quart of boiling water, sweetened with honey and half a pint drank three times a day,’ as an effectual remedy for jaundice. It gives tone to the system and promotes assimilation of food.

Agrimony is also considered a very useful agent in skin eruptions and diseases of the blood, pimples, blotches, etc. A strong decoction of the root and leaves, sweetened with honey or sugar, has been taken successfully to cure scrofulous sores, being administered two or three times a day, in doses of a wineglassful, persistently for several months. The same decoction is also often employed in rural districts as an application to ulcers.

—Preparation—Fluid extract dose, 10 to 60 drops.

In North America, it is said to be used in fevers with great success, by the Indians and Canadians.

In former days, it was sometimes given as a vermifuge, though that use; of it is obsolete.

In the Middle Ages, it was said to have magic powers, if laid under a man’s head inducing heavy sleep till removed, but no narcotic properties are ascribed to it.

Green (Universal Herbal, 1832) tells us that ‘its root appears to possess the properties of Peruvian bark in a very considerable degree, without manifesting any of its inconvenient qualities, and if taken in pretty large doses, either in decoction or powder, seldom fails to cure the ague.’

Culpepper (1652) recommends it, in addition to the uses already enumerated, for gout, ‘either used outwardly in an oil or ointment, or inwardly, in an electuary or syrup, or concreted juice.’ He praises its use externally, stating how sores may be cured ‘by bathing and fomenting them with a decoction of this plant,’ and that it heals ‘all inward wounds, bruises, hurts and other distempers.’ He continues: ‘The decoction of the herb, made with wine and drunk, is good against the biting and stinging of serpents . . . it also helpeth the colic, cleanseth the breath and relieves the cough. A draught of the decoction taken warm before the fit first relieves and in time removes the tertian and quartian ague.’ It ‘draweth forth thorns, splinters of wood, or any such thing in the flesh. It helpeth to strengthen members that are out of joint.’

There are several other plants, not actually related botanically to the Common Agrimony, that were given the same name by the older herbalists because of their similar properties. These are the COMMON HEMP AGRIMONY, Eupatorium Cannabinum (Linn.) called by Gerard the Common Dutch Agrimony, and by Salmon, in his English Herbal (1710), Eupatorium Aquaticum mas, the Water Agrimony- also the plant now called the Trifid Bur-Marigold, Bidens tripartita (Linn.), but by older herbalists named the Water Hemp, Bastard Hemp and Bastard Agrimony. The name Bastard Agrimony has also been given to a species of true Agrimony, Agrimonium Agrimonoides, a native of Italy, growing in moist woods and among bushes.

A Karmic Blowout

“Nirvana can only arise unintentionally, spontaneously, when the
impossibility of self-grasping has been thoroughly perceived.”
~ Alan Watts in The Way of Zen

The experience of nirvana is the state of liberation from the grasping
and self-frustration that is at the root of suffering. It is the end of
the effects of karma, which move the wheel of birth and death. Nirvana
is the experience of awakening that is Buddhahood. In trying to define
nirvana in The Way of Zen, Alan Watts says, it is “a word of such
dubious etymology that a simple translation is exceedingly difficult. It
has been variously connected with Sanskrit roots which would make it
mean the blowing out of a flame, or simply blowing out (ex- or
de-spiration), or with the cessation of waves, turnings, or circlings
(vritti) of the mind.”

If we take the meaning of nirvana to suggest blowing out the ego as one
blows out a candle, we can practice a meditation that focuses on the
outbreath and reminds us of the importance of releasing our grasp on the
causes of suffering.

Sitting in meditation, assume your upright posture and focus on your
breath. Especially focus on the out-breath. Give your attention to the
outwardness of it. Breathe gently, but with a slightly stronger emphasis
on exhaling than inhaling. Sense the breath leaving the confines of your
body. Your breath goes out and you have released it. You no longer
control it, and it is no longer your concern. The molecules of air you
have sent off on a journey may wind up thousands of miles away. Other
people whom you don?t know may breathe them again. It is not your worry.

Just as you let go of your breath, let go of your mental constructs. Let
go of your ego activities. With your exhalation, breathe out your
worries, your thoughts about things, and your reflections upon yourself.
Sit in the void that is like the space between breaths. Sit empty of
unnecessary churning of the mind. Let the breath carry away distraction.
Sit in awareness, wakefulness and peace. When mental turbulence drifts
into your mind, breathe it out. Let the air take it away.   

© 2003 Tom Barrett
http://www.InterludeRetreat.com

Basic Massage Oil Recipe

 
The Ingredients
6 teaspoons carrier oil of your choice
8 drops of essential/fragrance oil of your choice

Blend ingredients well.
Warm up oil before doing any massage including your fingertip

Biscotti Di Regina

4 cups Flour, sifted
1 cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Shortening
2 Eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup Milk
1/4 pound Sesame seeds

Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets. Sift together in a bowl the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in with pastry blender or two knives until pieces are size of small peas. Add shortening and stir in eggs and milk. Make a soft dough. Mix thoroughly together. Break dough into small pieces and roll each piece between palms of hands to form rolls about 1-1/2-” in length. Flatten rolls slightly, and roll in sesame seeds. Place on cookie sheets about 3″ apart. Bake at 375~ for 12-15 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Makes 6 dozen cookies.

Jelly Jar Deodorizers


~ 2 cups of liquid potpourri
~ 4 packs of gelatin

Heat 1 cup of the liquid to a boil,
Stir in the knox gelatin and mix until dissolved.
Add the other cup of liquid at room temp.
Pour into jelly jars or decorative bowls and cover with saran wrap.
Put in the fridge until set. They will last several months.

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