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Monthly Archives: December 2008

Anemone Pulsatilla

Botanical: Anemone pulsatilla (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Ranunculaceae
—Synonyms—Pasque Flower. Wind Flower. Meadow Anemone. Passe Flower. Easter Flower.
—Part Used—Whole herb.
—Habitat—Anemone pulsatilla is found not in woods, but in open situations. It grows wild in the dry soils of almost every Central and Northern country of Europe, but in England is rather a local plant, abounding on high chalk downs and limestone pastures, mostly in Yorkshire, Berkshire, Oxford and Suffolk, but seldom found in other situations and other districts in this country.

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—Description—It has a thick and somewhat woody root-stock, from which arises a rosette of finely-divided, stalked leaves, covered with silky hairs, especially when young, the foot-stalk often being purplish. The flowers, which are about 1 1/2 inches across, are borne singly on stalks 5 to 8 inches in height, with an involucre of three sessile (i.e stalkless) deeply-cut leaflets or bracts. The sepals are of a dull violet-purple colour, very silky on the under surfaces. The seed- vessels are small, brown hairy achenes, with long, feathery tails, like those of the Traveller’s Joy or Wild Clematis.
The whole plant, especially the bases of the foot-stalks, is covered with silky hairs. It is odourless, but possesses at first a very acrid taste, which is less conspicuous in the dried herb and gradually diminishes on keeping. The majority of the leaves develop after the flowers; they are two to three times deeply three-parted or pinnately cleft to the base, in long, linear, acute segments.

The juice of the purple sepals gives a green stain to paper and linen, but it is not permanent. It has been used to colour the Paschal eggs in some countries, whence it has been supposed the English name of the plant is derived. Gerard, however, expressly informs us that he himself was ‘moved to name’ this the Pasque Flower, or Easter Flower, because of the time of its appearance, it being in bloom from April to June. The specific name, pulsatilla, from pulsc, I beat, is given in allusion to its downy seeds being beaten about by the wind.

Varieties of pulsatilla when cultivated in this country like a well-drained, light, but deep soil, and will flourish in a peat or leaf soil, with the addition of lime rubble.

—Part used Medicinally—The drug Pulsatilla, which is of highly valuable modern curative use as a herbal simple, is obtained not only from the whole herb of A. pulsatilla, but also from A. pratensis, the Meadow Anemone, which is closely allied to the Pasque Flower, differing chiefly in having smaller flowers with deeper purple sepals, inflexed at the top. It grows in Denmark, Germany and Italy, but not in England. It is recommended for certain diseases of the eye, like Pulsatilla, and is used in homoeopathy, but has been considered somewhat dangerous. The whole plant has a strong acrid taste, but is eaten by both sheep and goats, though cows and horses will not touch it. The leaves when bruised and applied to the skin raise blisters. A. patens, var. Nutalliana is also used for the same purpose as A. pulsatilla.

In each case, the whole herb is collected, soon after flowering, and should be carefully preserved when dried; it deteriorates if kept longer than one year.

—Constituents—The fresh plant yields by distillation with water an acrid, oily principle, with a burning, peppery taste, Oil of Anemone. A similar oil is obtained from Ranunculus bulbosus, R. flammula and R. sceleratus, which belong to the same order of plants. Its therapeutic value is not considered great. When kept for some time,this oily substance becomes decomposed into Anemonic acid and Anemonin. Anemonin is crystalline, tasteless and odourless when pure and melts at 152ø. The action of Pulsatilla is virtually that of this crystalline substance Anemonin, which is a powerful irritant, like cantharides, in overdoses causing violent gastro-enteritis. It is volatile in water vapour and is then irritative to the eyes and mouth. The Oil acts as a vescicant when applied to the skin. Anemonicacid appears to be inert. Anemonin sometimes causes local inflammation and gangrene when subcutaneously injected, vomiting and purging when given internally. It is, however, uncertain whether these symptoms are due to Anemonin itself or to some impurity in it. The chief action of pure Anemonin is a depressant one on the circulation, respiration and spinal cord, to a certain extent resembling that of Aconite. The symptoms are slow and feeble pulse, slow respiration, coldness, paralysis and death without convulsions. In poisoning by extract of Pulsatilla, convulsions are always present. Their absence in poisoning by pure Anemonin appears to be due to its paralysing action on motor centres in the brain.

—Medicinal Action and Uses—Nervine, antispasmodic, alterative and diaphoretic.The tincture of Pulsatilla is beneficial in disorders of the mucous membrane, of the respiratory and of the digestive passages. Doses of 2 to 3 drops in a spoonful of water will allay the spasmodic cough of asthma, whooping-cough and bronchitis.

For catarrhal affection of the eyes, as well as for catarrhal diarrhoea, the tincture is serviceable. It is also valuable as an emmenagogue, in the relief of headaches and neuralgia, and as a remedy for nerve exhaustion in women.

It is specially recommended for fair, blue-eyed women.

It has been employed in the form of extract in some cutaneous diseases with much success; it is included in the British Pharmacopoeia and was formerly included in the United States Pharmacopoeia.

In homoeopathy it is considered very efficacious and even a specific in measles. It is prescribed as a good remedy for nettlerash and also for neuralgic toothache and earache, and is administered in indigestion and bilious attacks.

—Preparation—Fluid extract, 5 to 10 drops. Parkinson says of this species: ‘There are five different kinds of Pulsatilla, which flower in April: they are sometimes used for tertian ague and to help obstructions.’

See:
LIVERWORT, AMERICAN
LIVERWORT, ENGLISH
HELLEBORE (FALSE)

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PULSATILLA NUTTALIANE
N.O. Ranunculaceae
—Synonym—American Pulsatilla.
—Parts Used—Whole plant.
—Habitat—The bed of the Mississippi.
—Description—Flowers pale purple; odour of flowers camphoraceous; taste sweetish; of leaves, sweetish and astringent.

—Constituents—Grape sugar, gum resin, an alkaloid and anemonic acid, sulphate of potash, carbonate of potash, chlorate of potassium, carbonate of lime, magnesia and ‘proto salt of iron.’

—Medicinal Action and Uses—Amenorrhoea; has also proved successful in warding off colds, and in rheumatism of the knees.

Gefn

Themes: Sun, Winter, Spring, protection, health, love, divination,
magick, fertility, foresight & growth
Symbols: All green or growing things

About Gefn: A Goddess whose name means simply “giver.” Gefn was
regarded by the Norse-Germanic people as a frolic-some, fertile figure
and seeress who embodied the Earth’s greenery. Gefn brings this
abundance to us today: abundant well-being, abundant companionship,
and abundant Goddess-centered magick!

To Do Today: This holiday originated with a German saint ( Saint
Walburga ), who had curative powers and taught people how to banish
curses. For our purposes, Gefn stands in, offering to heal the curse
of a broken heart by filling our lives with love and hope-filled
foresight. If someone has completely overlooked or trashed your
feelings recently, ask Gefn for help in words that you find
comfortable. She’s waiting and willing to apply a spiritual salve to
that wound.

Also try the German custom of ringing bells and banging pots to frighten
away any malicious or prankish magick ( or the people who make it )
before your Spring activities really start to rock n’ roll. Make this as
playful as possible to encourage Gefn’s participation. Burning
rosemary and juniper likewise cleanses the area, and if you can get
either of these fresh, Gefn’s presence lies within. The burning
releases her energy.

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

Goddess Affirmations

Too much love can ruin us.
But if you come with grace, dear goddess,
there is nothing so sweet and pleasing.
Let me be wise in love!
It is your best gift, mighty Goddess,
unerring archer of desire.
Let my love be gentle.
Let there be no war of words, dear one,
or relentless anger in my bed.
~ Greek Damatist Euripides, Medea

Love is one of the strongest of human emotions. Sometimes it seems to
bring us only heartache. Love can easily join with other desires – like
the desire to dominate, or to be secure, or to be applauded – to create
difficulties in our lives. Yet love itself is not to blame. Love, the
joining of one being to another, is indeed the best gift of the Goddess.

When that pure love, unmixed with other desires, is lacking, we must
hope it will return. And, like Spring, it will. When such love is
present in our lives, we feel as though Spring Sun shines upon us. We
must learn to disentangle love from the many other emotions that can so
easily bind themselves to it. When we experience love as the Goddess
intended, we find happiness indeed.

from The Goddess Companion – Daily Affirmations on the Feminine Spirit
by Patricia Monaghan

Financial Picture Meditation

  This is an auspicious day for considering your financial picture, starting a budget, or thinking about an investment plan. Why not make a mandala of money today? On a large sheet of paper, draw a large circle that goes nearly out to the edge of the paper. In the middle of the page, draw yourself or something symbolic of yourself—a stick figure or other personal symbol will do. Around it, draw the things that have brought you money in the past: your job, a business, prize winnings, inheritances, and so on. Draw a border of dollar signs or other symbols of money around these symbols. Around that, draw what you have bought with that money, and then around that draw pictures of what you would like to buy in the future. Around the outer edge of these symbols, draw more dollar signs. If you don’t feel comfortable trying to draw, you can cut out pictures from magazines and catalogs and paste them on the paper. Or you can paste on play money instead of drawing dollar signs. Use this mandala to gain a clearer understanding of the place of money in your life.

By: Magenta Griffith

Home Protection Oil

Anointed on charms designed to protect the home from evil.

Sprinkled about the home to keep evil influences away.

Use equal parts of the following: five finger grass, sandalwood, gardenia petals, and purslane herb.

Add two tablespoons of this mixture to two ounces of oil.

One pinch of blessed salt is put in each bottle of oil made.

Pasta Salad W/ Tomato & Basil

INGREDIENTS:
10 ounces small shell pasta, cooked and well drained
6 medium chopped plum tomatoes (juices reserved)
1 bunch minced scallions
4 crushed garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped olives
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
DIRECTIONS:
Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Serve
immediately at room temperature, or cover and
refrigerate for up to 24 hours before serving.
YIELD: 8 servings
Categories: Pasta, Salads, Picnics, Parties

Basic Bath Powder Recipe

1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup cornstarch
10 drops your choice of essential oil
Combine ingredients and mix together until thoroughly blended. Let dry
before storing in a container

Bottled Snowflakes

Bottled Snowflakes
from “Yule: A Celebration of Light and Warmth”
by Dorothy Morrison

You will need:
1 white pipe cleaner
length of twine
scissors
1 quart jar with a wide mouth
2 cups boiling water
6 tablespoons borax
1 pencil

Cut a white pipe cleaner into 3 equal lengths, twist them together in
the center, then arrange the six legs so that they are equidistant
from each other. Tie one end of the twine to a leg, and the other end
to the middle of a pencil. (For a more ornate flake, tie the twine
around the end of each leg in a continuous motion to make a center
wheel). Set aside. Pour boiling water into the jar, then add the
borax one tablespoon at a time, stirring to dissolve. (if a little
borax settles to the bottom, there’s no need to worry, just go on to
the next step.) Submerge the pipe cleaner form in the solution and
let the pencil rest on top of the jar. Leave the snowflake in the
solution overnight. The next morning, you’ll find it covered with
tiny, sparkling crystals. Remove it from the jar, and hang it from
the window to catch the sun

Scented Pine Cones

If you want to keep an earth-friendly theme to your Yule decorating,
one way to do so is to use the elements found in nature as part of
your decor. Simple things such as seeds, acorns, feathers, and other
found items are easy to make into ornaments and other decorations.
For this simple project, you’ll need the following:
· Pinecones, of any shape or size
· Equal amounts ginger, nutmeg and allspice, blended
· A 1:1 mixture of water and craft glue
· Glitter
· Ribbon
· A small paintbrush
To prepare the pinecones, rinse them under running water and then
spread them out on a baking sheet. Bake at 250 for about 20 minutes —
this will make them open up, and also get rid of any trace amounts
of bacteria that might remain on them. Don’t worry if there’s sap on
them – it will harden into a shiny glaze and look pretty.
Once the pinecones have cooled, use the small paintbrush to apply the
glue to the cones (I’d recommend spreading out some newspaper ahead
of time). You can either cover the entire cone, or just the outer
tips of the petals.
Add the spices and glitter to a zip-loc bag. Drop the pine cones in,
and shake until coated with spices and glitter. Allow to dry
thoroughly, and then tie a ribbon around the end so you can hang it
up. Add a few springs of greenery if you like. Use it on a holiday
tree, or place them in a bowl to scent your room.
How to Make a Yule Log
A Time-Honored Tradition
As the Wheel of the Year turns once more, the days get shorter, the
skies become gray, and it seems as though the sun is dying. In this
time of darkness, we pause on the Solstice (usually around December
21st, although not always on the same date) and realize that
something wonderful is happening.
On Yule, the sun stops its decline into the south. For a few days, it
seems as though it’s rising in exactly the same place. and then the
amazing, the wonderful, the miraculous happens. The light begins to
return.
The sun begins its journey back to the north, and once again we are
reminded that we have something worth celebrating. In families of all
different spiritual paths, the return of the light is celebrated,
with Menorahs, Kwanzaa candles, bonfires, and brightly lit Christmas
trees.
On Yule, many Pagan and Wiccan families celebrate the return of the
sun by adding light into their homes. One of our family’s favorite
traditions – and one that children can do easily – is to make a Yule
log for a family-sized celebration.
A holiday celebration that began in Norway, on the night of the
winter solstice it was common to hoist a giant log onto the hearth to
celebrate the return of the sun each year. The Norsemen believed that
the sun was a giant wheel of fire which rolled away from the earth,
and then began rolling back again on the winter solstice.
As Christianity spread through Europe, the tradition became part of
Christmas Eve festivities. The father or master of the house would
sprinkle the log with libations of mead, oil or salt. Once the log
was burned in the hearth, the ashes were scattered about the house to
protect the family within from hostile spirits

Gathering the Symbols of the Season
Because each type of wood is associated with various magickal and
spiritual properties, logs from different types of trees might be
burned to get a variety of effects. Aspen is the wood of choice for
spiritual understanding, while the mighty oak is symbolic of strength
and wisdom. A family hoping for a year of prosperity might burn a log
of pine, while a couple hoping to be blessed with fertility would
drag a bough of birch to their hearth.
In our house, we usually make our Yule log out of pine, but you can
make yours of any type of wood you choose. You can select one based
on its magickal properties, or you can just use whatever’s handy. To
make a basic Yule log, you will need the following:
· A log about 14 – 18″ long
· Pinecones
· Dried berries, such as cranberries
· Cuttings of mistletoe, holly, pine needles, and ivy
· Feathers and cinnamon sticks
· Some festive ribbon – use paper or cloth ribbon, not the
synthetic or wire-lined type
· A hot glue gun
Putting it All Together
Begin by wrapping the log loosely with the ribbon. Leave enough space
that you can insert your branches, cuttings and feathers under the
ribbon. In our house, we place five feathers on our Yule log – one
for each member of the family. Once you’ve gotten your branches and
cuttings in place, begin gluing on the pinecones, cinnamon sticks and
berries. Add as much or as little as you like. Remember to keep the
hot glue gun away from small children.
Once you’ve decorated your Yule log, the question arises of what to
do with it. For starters, use it as a centerpiece for your holiday
table. A Yule log looks lovely on a table surrounded by candles and
holiday greenery.
Another way to use your Yule log is to burn it as our ancestors did
so many centuries ago. In our family, before we burn our log we each
write down a wish on a piece of paper, and then insert it into the
ribbons.
It’s our wish for the upcoming year, and we keep it to ourselves in
hopes that it will come true.
If you have a fireplace, you can certainly burn your Yule log in it,
but we prefer to do ours outside. We have a fire pit in the back
yard, and on the night of the winter solstice, we gather out there
with blankets, mittens, and mugs full of warm drinks as we burn our
log. While we watch the flames consume it, we discuss how thankful we
are for the good things that have come our way this year, and how we
hope for abundance, good health, and happiness in the next.
Pine and Cranberry Candle Cradle Supplies needed: 1. pine
boughs 2. 4-inch terra-cotta pots 3. sheer burgundy ribbon 4. wire 5.
medium pinecones 6. 3 x 9″ pillar candles 7. cranberries 8. glue gun
9. wire cutters 10. scissors CREATING THE POT Hot glue pieces of pine
all the way around a terra-cotta pot, allowing the greens to extend
about 1 to 2 inches beyond the rim of the pot. Tie a piece of sheer
burgundy ribbon around the pine in a knot. CREATING A PINECONE CIRCLE
Create a string of pinecones by wrapping the end of a piece of wire
around the base of the first cone, moving over a few inches to wrap
the next cone until you have a string. Bring the two ends together,
forming a circle the same circumference as the top of the pot.
FILLING IT UP Insert the pillar candle into the terra-cotta pot.
Place the pinecone ring over the candle and let it rest on the rim of
the pot. Fill the space between the candle and the pot with loose
cranberries. Use various-sized pillars and pots to add interest to
your tabletop.

Soft ornaments of Mr & Mrs Claus

Materials Needed:

A piece of stocking ( approximately a 1 1/2 to 2″ square)
Button and Carpet Thread
A small amount of fiber fill
(2) 6mm black beads
White Curly Chennile
Red Felt Scraps
White felt scraps
Hot Glue
Small white Pom Pom
A Long Hand Sewing Needle
Small plastic holly leaves
Make a running stitch around the edge of the piece of stocking.
Rounding off the corners.

While holding our thumb in the center of the stocking, tug on the
thread to form a pouch. Stuff the pouch with fiber fill. Fill until
firm. Tug threads to close the ball and tie using tail from the other
end.

Form another tail after the knot on your thread. Insert needle in to
the ball where you tied it off. Bring needle to the position of the
first eye. Put bead on the needle. Pull thread and move the needle
over 1/8″ from where you came out. Insert needle back into “face” and
out the back of the head. Bring needle to the position of the second
eye. and repeat as you did the first eye. Tie off the thread. Knot
well.
You will now form the nose, using the diagram. Stitch from A to B,
pulling fiber fill up with the point of the needle to form the bridge
of the nose. Pull needle out of the back and Pull threads tight.
Bring needle from the back out point A and back into face, down to
point D. Bring needle back in right next to where you came out and
out again at point B. Pull tight, to form one nostril. Reapeat going
from point B to point C and out at point A. Pull thread tight, Insert
needle at point A through to the back and tie off well knoted.
Leaving a long tail, insert needle from the back out at point E.
Keeping the thread on the face of the ornament, insert needle at
point A and out the back of the ornament. Use the tip of the needle
to arrange the fiberfill to form a nose, and pull the tread tight.
tit off. Repeat going from Point D to point B to form the other side
of the nose. Use the tip of the needle to “sculpt the fiberfill into
place. .

Remove the fiber from a section of the curly Chanille. Use it to form
a mustache. Using a small dot of hot glue, anchor in place under the
center of the nostrils.

Use the curly Chanille to form a beard. Glue in to place.
To form Santa’s Hat, measure around the area of the head, from the
center of his forehead around the back ( to meet the beard) and back
around to the center of the forehead. Add 1/2”. Use a salad or desert
plate as a template for a circular edge. Measure 6″ up from the
center of the circular edge. Make a line down to both ends of the
cicular edge.

Cut a piece of white felt using the edge of your hat as a template by
1/2″ wide. Glue the white felt on to the edge of the hat. Glue the
edge of the hat in place on Santa’s head and glue the back seam of
the hat. Bend the point of the hat down to the side of the hat, glue
in place and glue the pom pom over the point of the hat. Glue a
couple of Holly leaves on the other side of the hat.

Re thread your needle, leaving a long tail as you did earlier. Insert
the needle inside the area of the hat where it is folded over. Make a
loop of thread and stitch back into the hat. Knot off well. This
gives you a thread to hang the ornament. I use a pencil to hold the
loop while I knot it off.
Tips for Your Santa Ornament:
Use very strong thread and pull tightly.
Support hose are great to work with for soft sculpture. If you know
any one who wears them, ask them to save their run ones. A button
nose can be made using a small pink pom pom before you stuff the
ball. Bring the needle in from the back, make a round running stitch
around the pom pom. Pull the pom pom into the center circle of
stitches with the tip of the needle. Pull the needle out the back and
tug the thread as you work the pom pom into place. Tie off well.
Always knot the thread a couple of times before you cut it off your
work. Be creative and use the basic face to creat other Christmas
Ornaments.
GUMDROP ORNAMENTS

MATERIALS
Toothpicks, broken in half
Gumdrops
2- to 3-inch Styrofoam ball
10-inch length of ribbon

Insert one end of a toothpick into a gumdrop and the other end into
the Styrofoam ball. Repeat until the ball is covered with gumdrops.
Tie the ribbon around the ball to hang it on the tree.

TESTER’S TIP: Use a Styrofoam cone instead of a ball and create a
tree centerpiece covered entirely with green gumdrops.

Originally published in FamilyFun magazine.
CANDY GLASS

Baking these ornaments is a job for parents, but let the kids unwrap
the candies.

MATERIALS
Holiday cookie cutters
Hard candies and sprinkles (optional)
10-inch length of ribbon

For a mold, wrap the bottom and sides of a cookie cutter with foil.
Set on a baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Fill each cookie
cutter with a single layer of candies. Bake in a 350-degree oven for
10 minutes, or until melted. Add sprinkles, cool for 2 minutes, then
use a chopstick to poke a hole near the top for hanging. Once cool,
remove from the mold and hang with a ribbon.

Cake Blessing

Follows: Wine Blessing

To consecrate cakes, HPS picks up athame again as HP kneels before her,
holding up the dish of cakes. HPS draws invoking pentagram of earth over
the cakes saying:

HPS:    “O Queen, most secret, bless this food unto our bodies;
        bestowing health, wealth, strength, joy and peace,
        and that fulfillment of love which is perfect happiness.”

All sit as the cakes are passed around as was the wine.

HP refills cup and offers it to HPS, inviting her to join them.
When done relaxing and chatting, close the Circle.

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