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Monthly Archives: November 2008

Anemone (Wood)

Botanical: Anemone nemorosa (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Ranunculaceae
—Synonyms—Crowfoot. Windflower. Smell Fox.
—Parts Used—Root, leaves, juice.
The Wood Anemone is one of the earliest spring flowers.

—Description—It has a long, tough, creeping root-stock, running just below the surface; it is the quick growth of this root-stock that causes the plant to spread so rapidly, forming large colonies in the moist soil of wood and thicket. The deeply-cut leaves and star-like flowers rise directly from it on separate unbranched stems. Some distance below the flower are the three leaflets, often so deeply divided as to appear more than three in number and very similar to the true leaves. They wrap round and protect the flower-bud before it unfolds, but as it opens, its stalk lengthens and it is carried far above them.
The flower has no honey and little scent, and apparently relies little on the visits of insects for the fertilization of its one-celled seed-vessels, which are in form like those of the butter-cup, arranged in a mass in the centre of the many stamens, and are termed achenes. As in all the Anemones, there are no true petals, what seem so are really the sepals, which have assumed the colouring and characteristics of petals. They are six in number, pure white on the upper surfaces and pale rose-coloured beneath.

In sunshine, the flower is expanded wide, but at the approach of night, it closes and droops its graceful head so that the dew may not settle on it and injure it. If rain threatens in the daytime, it does the same, receiving the drops upon its back, whence they trickle of harmlessly from the sepal tips. The way the sepals then fold over the mass of stamens and undeveloped seed-vessels in their centre has been likened to a tent, in which, as used fancifully to be said by country-folk, the fairies nestled for protection, having first pulled the curtains round them.

The plant is very liable to attack from certain fungi: at times, a species of Puccinia settles on it, the result being that the stalks of infected leaves grow rapidly, high above the others, though the leaves themselves dwindle and lose their divisions. A species of Sclerotinia attacks the swollen tubers of the root, doing still more harm, for in the spring there arise not the delicate white flowers, but the ugly fructifications of the fungus.

Though so innocent in appearance, the Wood Anemone possesses all the acrid nature of its tribe and is bitter to the tongue and poisonous. Cattle have been poisoned, Linnaeus tells us, by eating it in the fresh state after having been underfed and kept on dry food during the winter, so that they were ready to browse on the first leaves they saw. A vinegar made from the leaves retains all the more acrid properties of the plant, and is put in France to many domestic purposes: its rubifacient effects have caused it to be used externally in the same way as mustard.

The Egyptians held the Anemone as the emblem of sickness, perhaps from the flush of colour upon the backs of the white sepals. The Chinese call it the ‘Flower of Death.’ In some European countries it is looked on by the peasants as a flower of ill-omen, though the reason of the superstition is obscure. The Romans plucked the first Anemones as a charm against fever, and in some remote districts this practice long survived, it being considered a certain cure to gather an Anemone saying, ‘I gather this against all diseases,’ and to tie it round the invalid’s neck.

Greek legends say that Anemos, the Wind, sends his namesakes the Anemones, in the earliest spring days as the heralds of his coming. Pliny affirmed that they only open when the wind blows, hence their name of Windflower, and the unfolding of the blossoms in the rough, windy days of March has been the theme of many poets:
‘Coy anemone that ne’er uncloses
Her lips until they’re blown on by the wind.’
Culpepper also uses the word ‘windflower.’ In Greek mythology it sprang from the tears of Venus, as she wandered through the woodlands weeping for the death of Adonis –
‘Where streams his blood there blushing springs a rose
And where a tear has dropped, a wind-flower blows.’
The old herbalists called the Wood Anemone the Wood Crowfoot, because its leaves resemble in shape those of some species of Crowfoot. We also find it called Smell Fox. The specific name of nemorosa refers to its woodland habits.

[‘Anemone nemorosa, Varieties in,’ by E. J. Salisbury (Ann. Bot., October 1916, Vol. XXXX, No. CXX: figs.) – Two varieties distinct from the common form are mentioned as being fairly numerous in some of the Hertfordshire woodlands, and for which the author has proposed the names A. nemorosa, var. robusta and A. nemorosa, var. apetala. The former differs from the normal type in the lighter green colour and larger size of the vegetative organs and in the perianth segments, which are broadest above the middle and rounded towards the apex. The latter bears inconspicuous flowers, which are small purplish-green structures, and it is noted that these plants are usually associated with the more deeply shaded situations, but as this character is maintained when the coppice in which the variety grows is felled, it is not considered a mere effect of inadequate illumination. – G.D.L.]

—Medicinal Action and Uses—Though this species of Anemone has practically fallen out of use, the older herbalists recommended application of various parts of the plant for headaches, tertian agues and rheumatic gout. Culpepper practically copies verbatim the some half-dozen uses of the Anemone that Gerard gives, saying:

‘The body being bathed with the decoction of the leaves cures the leprosy: the leaves being stamped and the juice snuffed up the nose purgeth the head mightily; so doth the root, being chewed in the mouth, for it procureth much spitting and bringeth away many watery and phlegmatic humours, and is therefore excellent for the lethargy…. Being made into an ointment and the eyelids annointed with it, it helps inflammation of the eyes. The same ointment is excellent good to cleanse malignant and corroding ulcers.’

Culpepper also advises the roots to be chewed because it ‘purgeth the head mightily’; he adds, ‘And when all is done let physicians prate what they please, all the pills in the dispensary purge not the head like to hot things held in the mouth.’

Parkinson writes:
‘there is little use of these (the Anemones) in physic in our days, either for inward or outward diseases; only the leaves are used in the ointment called Marciatum, which is composed of many other hot herbs…. The root by reason of the sharpness is apt to draw down rheum if it be tasted or chewed in the mouth.’
Modern authorities would, however, hesitate to recommend the chewing of the root on account of the acrid, irritant poison known to be present in it.

Linnaeus noticed that in Sweden the Wood Anemone flowered at the same time as the return of the swallow, and that the Marsh Marigold was contemporaneous with the cuckoo. A British naturalist in this country has also remarked this. Another naturalist who took an annual account of the days on which various flowers came into bloom in spring, found that the Wood Anemone never blossomed earlier than March 16, and never later than April 22. His observations were made each spring during thirty years.

The English name is derived from its Greek signification (wind) and is due to the fact that so many of its species grow on elevated places exposed to high winds; other writers attribute the name to the trembling of the flower before the blasts of spring.

Fuji, Mother Mountain

“Mother Mountain”: Fuji the mountain is well-known in the West, often being pictured in travel guides and on post cards. But Fuji (or Fujiyama) is also an ancient fire Goddess of the Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan. Following the arrival of modern Japanese people, the Ainu were decimated and driven north; they now reside on the northern island of Hokkaido.

In the myths of many cultures volcanoes have been seen as female forces (Aetna in Italy, Pele in Hawaii, and Chuginadak in the Aleutians). The aboriginal Japanese Ainus saw volcanic fire as female also, naming their chief divinity Fuji, goddess of the famous mountain that now bears her name.

I give you life

I give you death

it is all one

You travel the spiral path

the eternal path

that is existence

ever becoming

ever growing

ever changing

Nothing dies that is not reborn

nothing is born that does not die

When you come to me

I welcome you home

then I take you into my womb

my cauldron of transformation

where you are stirred and sifted

blended and boiled

melted and mashed

reconstituted then recycled

You always come back to me

you always go forth renewed

Death and Rebirth are but points of transition

along the Eternal Path

The Lessons of this Goddess

FUJI’s appearance in your life heralds a time of death and rebirth. Something is dying and needs to be let go of, so something new can be born. We know the earth’s dance of death and rebirth as the seasons. Matter cannot be created or destroyed, but undergoes transformation. So do we. To live fully and in wholeness we need to accept life in all that it is, which includes death and rebirth. Let go of what does not serve you and your wholeness.

Perhaps, you have reahed the end of a cycle, a realationship, a job, and you fear letting it go. Or feel that you are dying, when only a piece of you needs to give way to the new. Perhaps the idea that there is death and only death is too painful for you to accept. Living in a partiarchal culture has deprived most of us of the Goddess’s way of death and rebirth. Wholeness is nurtured whe we say yes and do our dance with death and rebirth. The Goddess says you will always get back what you give to me. It will be changed, it will be transformed, but you will get it back.

Power Breathing

Power often manifests in the chakras, or energy centers, of the body. By unlocking some of the lower base chakras through breathing exercises Power can be built up and channeled throughout the body.

Please be aware that if you are not in good physical health, or are unaccustomed to deep breathing exercises it is good to have a partner with you when practicing this exercise for the first few times. The energy it produces can be very overwhelming, and you may become light-headed.

Begin by sitting comfortably and taking deep, powerful breaths. Bring the breath deep into your body. Focus first on filling your lungs. Expand your chest on the intake of breath. Exhale fully. Note how energized this breath can make you feel. Repeat this breath several times.

Now focus of bringing the breath down into your abdomen, just above the belly button. Let your stomach expand with the breath. Exhale fully. Notice how centered this breath can make you feel. Repeat this breath several times.

Continue to take the breath downward, this time into the base of your spine, near the tailbone. This area of your body houses your root chakra. This breath should begin to activate a great deal of energy throughout your body. You may choose to visualize the energy in your spine as a flame, a red glow, or a warming sensation. Sense each breath stoking this energy. Continue this breath until you feel activated. You may find that tensing your pelvic muscles, as in kegel exercises, (yes, guys can kegal, too) assists in building this energy.

Visualize yourself bringing this energy up from the base of your spine and into your abdomen with each breath. Feel the breath activating both the base of your spine and your abdomen. The fiery warming energy is transformed in this area. Visualize it swirling around in your abdomen, golden and glowing. This area of your body is the Hara. It is the mid-point of the body and is said to mix the energies of the higher and lower realms. Many Magicians find that they can direct energy from their Hara.

You may choose to end the exercise here, if you desire to store the energy that you have built up in your Hara for Magick at a later time. If you are prepared to perform Magick after this exercise, simply visualize drawing the Power you have raised up from the Hara and into your hand(s)/tool(s).

Should you experience dizziness during this exercise, decrease your breath intake, and practice some grounding techniques.

Herbal Strain and Sprain Oil

2 oz essential oil of St. John’s wort
1/8 tsp essential oil of lavender
8 drops essential oil of marjoram
2 drops essential oil of chamomile
Combine ingredients in a sterile bottle. Apply to affected areas with
gentle massage about every 20 minutes until there is some relief.

Soy Cheese and Macaroni

1 tablespoon of soy margarine
1/8 cup of flour
  1½ – 2 cups soy milk
your favorite soy cheeses
your favorite cooked pasta
Melt margarine and add flour, stirring and cooking until almost brown.
Stir in milk and continue stirring until thick. Add cheeses to taste.
Continue cooking until cheese has melted; add to cooked pasta.

Creamy Sun-Tan Lotion

3/4 cup water
3 tea bags (do not use instant tea)
1/4 cup lanolin
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon perfume (optional)

Heat the water to boiling, add tea bags. Leave them to brew for 20 minutes and squeeze them occasionally before removing. Put lanolin, sesame oil and 1/4 cup strong tea into blender. Cover and process at low speed. Remove cap immediately and pour in the remaining tea in a steady stream. Use a rubber spatula to keep ingredients a rend the processing blades. Add perfume and give fragrance to the sun-tan lotion. This recipe makes about 1 cup of a soft, tan-colored cream which spreads smoothly on the skin, and gives a sensation of moistness. It dries without feeling sticky. This cream actually repels water and will stay on though swimming. Creamy Sun-Tan Lotion will screen out about half of the burning sun rays while allowing a large percentage of the tanning rays to get through. However, if you burn after 5 minutes of exposure, do not rely on this cream to protect you.

1 tablespoon almond oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon wheat germ oil
12 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Combine ingredients in a bottle, shake extremely well. To use just rub into the feet and heels. Store in a cool dry place.

Creating the Yule Altar

Creating the Yule Altar
Candles are crucial to this festival, since it is a celebration of
light. Use red, green and white candles. Draping evergreens of all
kinds can be used and you’ll love the fragrances. Holly with its
beautiful red berries is also a wonderful addition to your
decoration. Use a Sun symbol as a reminder of the Sun’s return. The
Druids revered the white berries of the Mistletoe as the semen of the
God, and this can also be placed on your altar, or hung in doorways
for the traditional kissing beneath it. (chances are our ancestors
did a bit more than kiss under this symbol of fertility) **remember
that the berries of the mistletoe are highly poisonous, so be sure to
keep them away from children and animals** Acorns, nuts, apples,
cinnamon sticks and pomegranates are also appropriate for decorating
your Yule altar.

Yule is a Sabbat to welcome back the Sun King. The sun is vital to
all that exist on Earth. It is the giver of light and warmth, and
causes the rebirth of this past years crops by warming and gently
coaxing the seeds that have been sleeping underground during the
winter. Traditional methods of celebrating this Sabbat are mostly
inside activities.

Yule Log Hike
Materials: Warm Clothes, Sense of Adventure.

This is an activity that can be done the weekend before Yule. On a
bright crisp morning, dress the family warmly and head for the park,
mountains, or beach. As you hike along, looking for that special Yule
log to place in your hearth, also be looking for decorations to make
it personalized by each member of the family. Select a proportionally
sized log that will fit easily into your fire place. Ash, oak, or
cedar make great Yule logs. Try to find one that has already fallen
and is on the ground. On the beach, driftwood can be found and
obtained for your log. As you are looking, or on your way back home
look for natural decorations to adorn your Yule log with. Traditional
adornments are, pine cones, leaves, holly sprigs, mistletoe sprigs,
rosebuds, winter flowers, wheat stalks, and corn husks. If you must
cut anything from a living plant, remember to ask and thank the plant
for its gift. If you don’t have a fire place, select a smaller log,
slightly flat on one side so that
it doesn’t roll. Adorning the logs will appear farther along in the
activities. (Explain how the Yule log was set ablaze on Solstice
night to help vanquish the dark and add strength to the returning

Sun Welcoming Center Pieces:
Flat or bowled wicker basket, Evergreen Boughs, Oranges and Apples,
Whole Cloves, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, Wheat Stalks, Flour, Red, Green,
and Gold Bows or String.

Children of all ages will delight in both making and giving these
delightful center pieces. Place the basket in the center of the
table. Lay a couple of evergreen boughs (can be found at most
Christmas tree lots) in bottom of basket so that the tips flow out
from all sides. Spike the oranges all the way around with several
whole cloves. Arrange the oranges and apples on top of the boughs.
Arrange in a couple of the walnuts and hazel nuts. Place a couple of
the wheat stalks standing up amidst the fruit. Lightly dust with
flour. Tie bows to the handle and outside the basket. ( Tell children
about each special part of the centerpiece. Explain that the baskets
were used during the harvests during the season before. The evergreen
boughs are symbols of immortality, reminding us that the Sun King is
not dead, but reappears at Yule each year to lengthen, brighten and
warm the days ahead. The oranges and apples are symbols of the Sun
King, The nuts symbolize the seeds as they lay
sleeping and awaiting the Sun King’s return. The wheat stalks
symbolize the yearly harvests and the flour represents the triumph of
the forces of light and life.)

Sun Bursting Ornaments
Ruler or Compass, Scissors, Thin Cardboard, Gold Foil Paper, Glue
Stick, Heavy Thread and Needle.

Help child cut out a 4″ cardboard circle. With this template, the
child can then trace and cut out 14 circles from the foil paper. One
by one, fold a circle in half, half, and half again. Unfold the
circle and cut along the fold lines, stopping about 1/2 inch from the
center. Repeat until all the circles are cut. Form the points of the
Sun Burst by wrapping each of the eight segments around the point of
a sharpened pencil. Point of pencil should face away from the center
of the circle. Secure each point with a dab of glue. Thread a needle
with 18″ length of thread. Insert the needle through all the centers
of the circles from the foil side of the first seven and the plain
side of the last seven. Gently pull the circles together, bunching
them into a ball. Tie off with a knot, and use the excess thread to
form a loop for hanging the ornament. ( Hang up in windows to reflect
the sunlight or on tree for decoration, explain to children how the
sun gets stronger, climbs higher,
and last longer in the sky each day starting at Yule.)

Welcome Sunshine Bells
Thin Cardboard, Pencil and Scissors, One Light yellow and One Bright
Yellow Felt Square (10″x10″), 7 Small Jingle Bells, 12″ Gold String
or Cord, White Glue, Buttons, Glitter, Sequins.

Help child to draw a circle 7″ in diameter, and another circle 7″ in
diameter with eight 1″ triangle rays on the cardboard. Cut out for
patterns. Place circle on the light yellow felt square, trace and cut
out. Do the same with the “rayed” circle on the bright yellow felt.
Using a drinking glass as a guide, trace a circle in the center, on
the back side of both felt cut-outs. Carefully fold each circle in
half, and make a cut from one side of center circle to the other.
Repeat 3 times for a total of 4 cuts per piece. This is how you will
get the decoration over the doorknob. Next, line up the circles and
the cuts so that the rays extend 1″ from behind the light yellow felt
circle. Glue together. Allow the child to draw designs on the front
of the ornament with glue. Sprinkle with glitter and glue on some
sequins and buttons. Cut gold string or cord into three 4″ strands.
Tie jingle bells (spaced) onto the gold string or cord. Glue
string/cord to the bottom of the Sun
decoration on the back side. Allow to dry. Place on a doorknob that
the bells will jingle as the door is opened and closed. ( Tell
children that more than just the sun brightens our lives everyday.
Explain the way to welcome the Yule sun back into their lives is to
keep the brightness in their hearts all year long. Jingle bells make
a warm and inviting sound, and therefore should jingle each time
someone enters or leaves a room.)

You Are My Sunshine Garland
Pencil, Scissors, “Rayed” Circle Pattern (above), Bright Yellow
Poster Paper, Glue, Glitter, Gold Garland, Gold Thread and Needle,

For each frame, trace and cut out 2 rayed circles from the poster
board. Cut a 2″ circle in the center of one of the cutouts. This will
be the front of the frame. Decorate the cutouts with gold glitter.
Place photo between the cutouts, with the face peering through the
center circle. Trim photo to fit frame, if necessary. Glue the frame
together. Allow to dry. Thread needle with gold thread, and poke
needle through the top ray of the frame. Pull some thread through and
tie frame to gold garland. Make enough Sunshine picture frames for
all family members, including pets. Tie each to the garland, and
place garland on tree, over a door, on the wall, or other prominent
place. (Explain to children that each family member is like a piece
of sunshine. Smiles and laughter brighten our spirits and warm our

Cup O’ Sunshine
Terra-Cotta Pot, Paints and Paintbrushes, Styrofoam Block, String,
Scissors, 1 yd 2″ wide Green Ribbon, Yellow, Red, and Orange
Lollipops and Sugar Sticks, Jelly Beans.

Clean terra-cotta pot if necessary. Allow to dry. Paint outside and
down to first lip of inside with a bright solid color. After this
base coat dries, decorate with other colors. When completely dry,
place a block of styrofoam in the bottom of the pot. Cut green leaves
out of the ribbon and tie to lollipops with string. Push the lollipop
sticks into the styrofoam block to anchor them. Add the sugar sticks
and fill rest of pot with loose jellybeans. (Explain to children that
during the dark part of the year, sometimes we need to make our own
sunshine. Let them know that bright colored gardens and flowers will
be back in the spring, and this little pot of sunshine will cheer up
a sick friend or relative.)

Dough Art Decorations
4 cups flour, 2 cups water, 1 cup salt, Cookie Cutters, Wire Ornament
Hangers, Acrylic Paints.

Combine flour, salt, and water in a large bowl. Dough should kneed
easily but not be sticky, if so, add more flour. On a flat surface,
lay down some waxed paper. Take a handful of the dough and roll out
with a rolling pin. Cut dough into shapes with the cookie cutters.
Make a hole in top of “cookie” for wire hanger. Place on ungreased
cookie sheet and put in oven at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until
*slightly* brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool thoroughly.
Paint with acrylic paints. Allow to dry, place hanger in hole and
adorn tree, packages, or hang in windows. (Allow children to make-up
Yule stories to go along with each decoration they are making.)

Adorning the Yule Log
Holly, Mistletoe, Rosebuds, Pine Cones, Evergreen Sprigs, Gold
String/Cord, Gold Bows, Apple Cider, Flour.

After cleaning off the Yule log, let the children decorate it how
ever they chose. Glue, wire, or small holes in the log will help to
adhere the decorations. Once the log is decorated, “wassail” (toast
and douse) it with a libation of apple cider. Finally, dust the log
with white flour, set in grate in fireplace, and (parents only) set
ablaze. (Explain to children how Yule logs used to smolder for 12
days before there was another ceremony to put the log out. Then apart
of the log was strapped to the plow the next spring to spread the
blessings over the land, and another piece was saved to light the
next Yule’s log, the next year.)

Sunny Disposition Wreath (For the older kids)
1-2 Large Bundles Evergreen Boughs, 1 Bundle Holly, 1 Wreath Frame
(Wire or Styrofoam), Garden Clippers, Spool of Fine Green Wire, 2
Yards Red Ribbon, Adornments.

Cut boughs into 6″ to 8″ pieces. Same with Holly. Cut about 20- 15″
pieces of the wire. Gather a bundle of boughs together, thicker at
the back and fanning out in the front. Wrap wire around the bundle
about 2/3 from the top. Hold bundle in place and wrap wire around the
bundle and the frame. Repeat this step, only adding a sprig of holly
in front. Repeat steps 1 and 2, adding holly to bundle every other
time. Make sure that all the bundles face the same direction. Where
the last bundle meets the bottom of the first bundle is usually barer
than the rest of the wreath, so that is where you can attach a large
yellow, orange, red, or gold bow to symbolize the Sun King. Now you
are ready to wire on all sorts of adornments, candies, pine cones,
rosebuds, seashells, small bells, or anything to make it more
personal. (Tell kids about how evergreen boughs and holly were hung
both inside and outside of the homes to extend and invitation to the
nature sprites to join in the Yule

Yule Chant Solstice Blessing Brightly burns the Yule log tonight
Magic dances in firelight
Hold my hand and join the song
Raise the Sun King bright and strong
Dark is giving way to light
As brightly burns the Yule log tonight!
On this night so long, My Lady
keep me in your loving care.
I await the sunrise, My Lady
And the Sun King who will bear
Light and Warmth and Love, My Lady
As he has in years before.
So guide me to the dawn, My Lady
This Solstice Night and ever more.

Car and Airplane 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



 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.”

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