January 2010
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Yearly Archives: 2010

Bee Balm

Bee Balm, both Monarda fistulosa and Monarda didyma, is an herb grown
for it’s scent, it’s color and it’s usefulness. M. fistulosa is the
lavender colored wild bergamot which grows often in open airy fields,
has flowers that attract bees and it’s flavor is sharper and a little
more minty than M. didyma. This is the variety known as bee balm and
it’s scarlet blooms are a little longer and do attract hummingbirds, but
the bees have trouble getting nectar from the tubular blooms. Wild
bergamot is also known as horse-mint and Oswego tea. It was used by the
Native Americans as a tea, as a flavoring and also medicinally for
stomach and bronchial ailments. You’ll also find other varieties of
Monarda available now, and all are edible.

Monarda needs good air circulation and doesn’t generally do well when
crowded. If it is allowed to dry out and is in a crowded bed it will
most likely come down with mildew. When choosing a location make sure it
has its own space that will be kept fairly moist. My first year planting
it I grew it with Bachelor Buttons, which overcrowded it and the entire
plant contracted mildew. I cut all the infected stems off and the next
year it came back and doubled in size.

Deadhead the first blooms and you’ll get another bloom out it towards
autumn. This is easy to do since the blooms and leaves can be used for
tea either fresh or dried. Tear apart the blooms, removing any green
parts, and use these and the small leaves to salad. Save the older,
larger leaves for tea. Hang in bunches to dry or place on screens out of
the sun. Add a leaf to a cup of black tea when brewing for a nice

Bee Balm can be added to fruit salads, pork recipes, punches and other
beverage recipes plus it can be substituted for mint.
Summer Punch
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup Bee balm leaves
1/2 cup raspberries
2 cups cranberry juice
1/2 cup mint leaves (any variety)
1 47 ounce can chilled pineapple juice
3 liters of ginger ale
In a sauce pan dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice, over low heat. Add
the bee balm and raspberries. Bring to a simmer, stir to break up the
raspberries. When the sugar is dissolved, strain leaves and berries out
of the liquid. Add cranberry juice and mint, stirring well. Chill up to
24 hours. When ready to serve, pour into a punch bowl and add pineapple
juice, ice and ginger ale.

Bee Balm Iced Tea
1/2 cup Bee Balm flowers and leaves
8 cups boiling water
Pour the boiling water over the Bee Balm. Cover and steep until cool,
about an hour. Strain and discard flowers. You can sweeten with sugar if
desired. Chill until ready to use and serve over ice.
Bee Balm Tea: Pour one cup of boiling water over 1/4 cup fresh leaves
and allow to brew for 5 minutes. Strain and sweeten if you wish before
serving. To use dried bee balm pour one cup of boiling water over two
teaspoons of the dried leaves. Brew the same and strain.

Summer Tea Blend
3 tbsp. dried chamomile flowers
1 tbsp. dried bee balm leaves
2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tbsp. apple or pineapple mint leaves
Mix all the dried herbs together in a jar. Use 2 tsp. of the mix per cup
of tea. Steep for 5 minutes and strain. Sweeten with honey or sugar if
you wish.

More on Bee Balm:
More tips on growing and drying bee balm:



Themes: Sexual prowess, playfulness, wishes
Symbols: Braided or knotted items

About Maia: This Roman Goddess, whose name means “mother”, offers all
who seek it fulfillment and renewed zest. Maia gave her name to the
month of May. She’s the Queen of the Flowers, and today was one of Her
festival days, celebrated suitably with an abundance of blossoms. In
later times, Maia became strongly associated with Bona Dea, whose name
literally translates as “good Goddess.”

To Do Today: As a child, on this day I left bundles of wildflowers
anonymously at neighbors’ homes. As a random act of beauty and
kindness, this still holds merit today and certainly honours Maia.

In magickal circles people customarily braid wishes into the ribbons of
the Maypole and leave them there to germinate and grow until fall. To
do this yourself, find three strands of blue ribbon and braid them
together so they meet five times, saying,

“Tis the month of May, for _______
( health, love, money, or whatever ) I wish today.
Ribbons of blue, help my wish come true.
Braided within, the spell begins.
Bound to and fro, the magick grows.
When in Fall untied, this wish is mine!”

Wear a flowery shirt, skirt, or tie today to welcome Maia and brighten
your day.

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

Goddess Affirmations

O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the angels, Queen of May.
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the angels, Queen of May.
~ Catholic Song To The Virgin on May Day

Through hundreds of years, this day was celebrated by the ancient Celts
as the feast of Beltane, the renewal of Earth’s reproductive energy in
springtime. Revelers danced around trees that represented the phallic
energy of the season, and everywhere lovers enjoyed dalliances to
encourage and participate in the Earth’s renewal.

With the coming of Christianity, the old festival was discouraged,
especially in light of its highly sexual content. In its place, the
church offered a chaste processional to honour the virgin mother of god,
with girls singing songs like that above. But the ancient symbolism held
fast, though hidden: the virgin was crowned with wreaths of flowers, the
sexual organs of plants. Thus, even when the outer meaning was changed,
the inner meaning of the season remained a celebration of nature’s
fertility and fecundity.

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

Releasing Baggage

People who care about other people often carry the weight of the world with
them. When we hear about other beings suffering, we suffer along with them.
As we keep informed of events in the news, new layers of sadness and
frustration pile on to those already accumulated. Add to this personal
problems and
the day-to-day stress of family, work and life in the 21st century and we
have a heavy load to bear.

Some of us live under the illusion that there is merit in carrying the
burdens of the world. We may have been taught that by carrying our crosses
emulate Jesus in his suffering. We come to feel that the more we labor under
burden of pain and stress, the more redemptive value our suffering has. Or
may carry our compassionate suffering as a sign that we do care. “How can I
be happy,” we might ask, “when so many others are in pain?”

We need to decide, however, if the emotional burdens we cling to are useful,

or are they just excess baggage that makes us less effective human beings?
If we carry too much of the pain and negativity of the world, our emotional
health may be damaged. In time, our physical health may deteriorate. Our
relationships, rather than being enhanced, are likely to be strained when we
in chronic stress.

An alternative to becoming overburdened is to remain compassionate, but
willing to let go of suffering. We can practice being empathic,
understanding and
kind without letting our own or other people’s suffering wear us down.
Suffering is inevitable, but it is not the purpose of life. If we get to
our purpose in life, the relief of suffering might be worth considering.

As we strive to reduce suffering, we cannot run away from it. We need to be
able to understand the nature of suffering. We need to foster our own
empathy. We also need to be able to balance the bad with the good. While bad
happen and there is much cruelty in the hearts of humans, good happens too
and love is all around us. We must not forget the good. We must not forget
love. Though there is bad, there is good. Though there is hate, there is
love. Light and dark both exist. The yin and the yang both exist and are
interdependent. Together they make a whole.

Our lives include pain and hardship. They also contain good fortune and
opportunities for joy. How can we deal with the pain and yet be open to the
We must be able to accept what is, do what we can to change things for the
better, and be willing to release our grip on emotional baggage that draws
back into suffering.


As we consciously release the emotional burdens we carry, it can be helpful
to use visualizations to assist in the release. By creating mental pictures
of the release, we may reach parts of our brains that are far removed from
verbal faculties. We want to affect the limbic system of our brains where
emotions are primarily processed.
While in a meditative state, or just when you become aware of holding on to
negative thoughts or emotions, create any of these pictures in your mind.
Imagine you can stuff your negative thoughts and emotions into a black
velvet bag. Get a clear image of the issue you want to release. Imagine
placing it
in the bag and tie the bag up tight. Now get rid of the bag. You don’t need
it. You can:
Shoot it into space.
Toss it into an imaginary garbage can.
Extending your chi, send the unwanted bag of junk to the far reaches of the
Vaporize it.
Dissolve it in the infinite sea of loving-kindness.
Alternatively, put your negative thoughts and emotions in a box you create
in your imagination. Seal it shut. Place the box behind you. Imagine it
shrinking. Let it shrink so much that ultimately it disappears.
In your mind, write your troubles on a blackboard. Next, imagine you are
erasing the blackboard. As the words or images are erased, you release their

hold on you.
In a similar vein, see your problem thoughts and emotions on a video screen.

Turn down the brightness until the image is gone. Then shrink down the
screen until it is nothing.
Remember, joy is a side effect of living compassionately and with

© 2004 Tom Barrett


2 Tab. Cinnamon 2 Tab. vanilla extract 1 Tab. Rosemary 1 Tab. thyme
1 Teas. Clove 1 Teas. Ginger 1 Teas. Allspice 1 Pinch. salt


3/4 c. brown sugar (or 3/4 c. white sugar and 2T. molasses)

2/3 c. oil

2/3c honey

Heat to dissolve the sugar.

5 c. Old fashioned oatmeal

1/2 c. quick oats

1/2c. dry milk powder

3/4t cinnamon

pinch of salt

Mix well and then mix the sugar liquid into the dry mixture. Mix thoroughly. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets at 375 for 10-15 min. Let sit for 5 minutes to cool and then put in an airtight container.

Doggie Shampoo Bar

•    8oz  coconut oil
•    6oz  olive oil
•    1.5oz   castor oil
•    3.54oz  lye
•    .25oz  jojoba oil
•    .5oz  aloe vera gel
•    .25ox  eucalyptus eo
•    .125oz  peppermint eo
•    .125oz   citronella eo
•    .25oz  T-50 Tocopherol
•    6.5oz  palm oil
•    3oz  canola oil
•    8.5oz  water
•    .25oz   neem oil
•    .25oz  lavender 40/42 eo
•    .125oz  lemongrass eo
•    .125oz  tea tree oil
•    .125oz  cedarwood eo
I make this in my 6qt crockpot. Add lye to water & set safely aside. Heat coconut, palm, olive, canola & castor oils till completely melted. Add lye water & stir till light trace. Put the lid on the crockpot. I stir every ten minutes till Vaseline stage, keeping an eye out for volcanos in between. After the cook, dump the soap in glass bowl. Stir every 5 minutes to assist in a quick cool down. Make sure to keep the sides of the bowl scraped clean. When my soap has cooled down to approximately 160 degrees (I never check!), add the remaining ingredients, stirring very well. Glop the soap into your log mold & press the air bubbles out for a uniform soap.

Folk Stag

Author: Laurel Reufner.
Copyright: February 2000

Stitch Count: 80 H  x  80 W
Cloth Count: 14
Design Size: 5.71″ H  x  5.71″ W
Color Key
DMC           Color
White       white
mocha beige – dk
mocha beige – lt
mocha brown – ul vy lt
mocha beige – md
christmas red – md

Click to Enlarge!

Protective Blessing For Cats

“Bast of beauty and of grace,
Protectress of the feline race,
Shield  (name of pet) from all hurt and harm,
And keep him / her always safe and warm.
Watch over  (Pets name) from day to day,
And guide him / her home, if he / she should stray.
And grant him / her much happiness,
And a good life free of strife and stress


Botanical: Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi
Family: N.O. Ericaceae
—Synonyms—Arbutus Uva-Ursi. Uva-Ursi.
—Part Used—Leaves.
—Habitat—The Bearberry (Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi, Sprengel), a small shrub, with decumbent, much branched, irregular stems and evergreen leaves, is distributed over the greater part of the Northern Hemisphere, being found in the northern latitudes and high mountains of Europe, Asia and America. In the British Isles, it is common in Scotland, on heaths and barren places in hilly districts, especially in the Highlands, and extends south as far as Yorkshire; it grows also on the hills of the north-west of Ireland. In America it is distributed throughout Canada and the United States as far south as New Jersey and Wisconsin.
It is very nearly related to the Arbutus, and was formerly assigned to the same genus – in Green’s Universal Herbal, 1832, it will be found under the name Arbutus Uva- Ursi – but it differs from Arbutus in having a smooth berry with five one-seeded stones, whereas the Arbutus has a rough fruit, each cell of the ovary being four to five seeded.

The only other British species assigned to the genus, Arctostaphylos, the Black Bearberry (A. alpina), with black berries, found on barren mountains in northern Scotland, and not at all in England, is the badge of the clan of Ross.

The generic name, derived from the Greek, and the Latin specific name, UvaUrsi, mean the same: the Bear’s grape, and may have been given to the plant, either from the notion that bears eat the fruit with relish, or from its very rough, unpleasant flavour, which might have been considered only fit for bears.

—Description—The much-branched trailing stems are short and woody, covered with a pale brown bark, scaling off in patches, and form thick masses, 1 to 2 feet long. The long shoots rise obliquely upward from the stems for a few inches and are covered with soft hairs
The evergreen leaves are of a leathery texture, from 1/2 inch to an inch long, like a spatula in form, being rounded at the apex and tapering gradually towards the base to a very short stalk or petiole. The margin is entire and slightly rolled back and the young leaves fringed with short hairs. The upper surface of the leaf is dark, shining green, the veins deeply impressed, the lower side is of a paler green, with the veins prominent and forming a coarse network. The leaves have no distinctive odour, but they have a very astringent and somewhat bitter taste.

The pretty waxy-looking flowers are in small, closely-crowded, drooping clusters, three to fifteen flowers together, at the ends of the branches of the preceding year, appearing in early summer, May – June, before the young leaves. The corolla, about two-thirds inch across, is urn-shaped, reddish white or white with a red lip, transparent at the base, contracted at the mouth, which is divided into four to five short reflexed, blunt teeth, which are hairy within. There are ten stamens, with chocolate-brown, awned anthers. The berry, which ripens in autumn, is about the size of a small currant, very bright red, smooth and glossy, with a tough skin enclosing an insipid mealy pulp, with five one-seeded stones.

—Parts Used Medicinally—The dried leaves are the only part of the plant used in medicine. The British Pharmacopceia directs that the leaves should be obtained only from indigenous plants. They should be collected in September and October, only green leaves being selected and dried by exposure to gentle heat.

Leaves must be gathered only in fine weather, in the morning, after the dew has dried, any stained and insect-eaten leaves being rejected. Drying may be done in warm, sunny weather out-of-doors, but in half-shade, as leaves dried in the shade retain their colour better than those dried in direct sun. They may be placed on wire sieves, or frames covered with wire or garden netting, at a height of 3 or 4 feet from the ground to ensure a current of air, and must be taken indoors to a dry room, or shed, before there is any risk of damp from dew or showers. The leaves should be spread in a single layer, preferably not touching, and may be turned during drying.

Failing sun, which in the case of leaves collected like the Bearberry in September and October cannot be relied on, any ordinary shed, fitted with racks and shelves can be used, provided it is ventilated near the roof and has a warm current of air, caused by a coke or anthracite stove. Empty glasshouses can readily be adapted into dryingsheds, especially if heated by pipes and the glass is shaded; ventilation is essential, and there must be no open tank in the house to cause steaming. For drying indoors, a warm sunny attic or loft may be employed, the window being left open by day, so that there is a current of air and the moist, hot air may escape: the door may also be left open. The leaves can be placed on coarse butter-cloth stented, i.e. if hooks are placed beneath the window and on the opposite wall, the buttercloth can be attached by rings sewn on each side of it, and hooked on so that it is stretched taut. The drying temperature should be from 70 to 100 degrees F.

All dried leaves should be packed away at once in wooden or tin boxes, in a dry place as otherwise they re-absorb moisture from the air.

Dried Bearberry leaves are usually quite smooth, and entirely free from the hairs that are present on the margins of the growing leaves and on the foot-stalks, which drop off during the drying process.

The commercial drug frequently consists of the entire plants, and therefore contains a large quantity of stems, but the latter should not be present, according to the official definition of the United States Pharmacopoeia, in greater amount than 5 per cent.

The leaves of other plants have been mistaken for Bearberry leaves, notably those of the Cowberry (Vaccinium Vitis-idaea) and of the Box (Buxus sempervirens), and have occasionally been used to adulterate the drug, but Bearberry leaves are readily distinguished by the characteristics given, viz. the spatulate outline, entire margin and rounded apex. Those of the Box have a notch cut out at the apex (emarginate) and have the epidermis loose and separable on the under surface of the leaf, and are, moreover, quite devoid of astringency. The leaves of the Cowberry may be distinguished by the glandular brown dots scattered over their under surface and the minute teeth on their margins. They have only a very slight astringent taste.

—Constituents—The chief constituent of Bearberry leaves is a crystallizable glucoside named Arbutin. Other constituents are methyl-arbutin, ericolin (an ill-defined glucoside), ursone (a crystalline substance of resinous character), gallic acid, ellagic acid, a yellow colouring principle resembling quercetin, and probably also myricetin. Tannin is present to the extent of 6 to 7 per cent. On incineration, the leaves yield about 3 per cent. of ash.

—Medicinal Action and Uses—In consequence of the powerful astringency of theleaves, Uva-Ursi has a place not only in all the old herbals, but also in the modern Pharmacopoeias. There are records that it was used in the thirteenth century by the Welsh ‘Physicians of Myddfai.’ It was described by Clusius in 1601, and recommended for medicinal use in 1763 by Gerhard of Berlin and others. It had a place in the London Pharmacopoeia for the first time in 1788, though was probably in use long before. It is official in nearly all Pharmacopceias, some of which use the name Arbutus.

The usual form of administration is in the form of an infusion, which has a soothing as well as an astringent effect and marked diuretic action. Of great value in diseases of the bladder and kidneys, strengthening and imparting tone to the urinary passages. The diuretic action is due to the glucoside Arbutin, which is largely absorbed unchanged and is excreted by the kidneys. During its excretion, Arbutin exercises an antiseptic effect on the urinary mucous membrane: Bearberry leaves are, therefore, used in inflammatory diseases of the urinary tract, urethritis, cystisis, etc.

Besides the simple infusion (1 OZ. of the leaves to 1 pint of boiling water), the combination of 1/2 oz. each of Uva-Ursi, Poplar Bark and Marshmallow root, infused in 1 pint of water for 20 minutes is used with advantage.

The tannin in the leaves is so abundant that they have been used for tanning leather in Sweden and Russia.

An ash-coloured dye is said to be obtained from the plant in Scandinavian countries.

The berries are only of use as food for grouse. Cattle, however, avoid the plant.

—Allied Species—Manzanita, the leaves of A. glauca from California, are employed like Uva-Ursi.

The leaves of A. polifolia from Mexico and A. tomentosa (madrona) are also used in medicine.


Themes: Freedom, new beginnings, justice, morality, organization,
promises & universal law
Symbols: Ostrich feather ( or any feather )

About Maat: In Egypt, Maat is the ultimate representation of fairness,
justice, and truth. As the spirit of orderliness and legislation, she
assists us by overseeing any legal matters, hearings, promises, and
oaths to ensure harmony and honesty. In some Egyptian stories, a
person’s soul was weighed against Maat’s feather to gain entrance to

To Do Today: On June 19th in 1865, the slaves in Texas were finally told
about the Emancipation Proclamation signed three years
previously. While freedom was slow in coming, it finally arrived,
likely in part thanks to Maat’s encouragement.

For all of Maat’s spells it’s best to have a feather to use as a
component and focal point. Change the colour of your feather to suit
the goal. Pick blue for true seeing ( or to encourage honesty with
yourself ), white for pure promises, black and white for legal equity,
and pale yellow to inspire a new beginning filled with Maat’s keen
insight. Bless the feather, using the following incantation ( fill in
the blank with your goal ), then release it to the wind so the magick
begins to move!

Maat, on this feather light,
bring to me renewed insight.
To my life _____ impart;
make a home within my heart.

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

Goddess Meditation

There I was, shining and dancing,
There I was, the queen, shining,
There I was, the queen, dancing,
when my lover came to me.
My lover came to me and
knit our hands together.
My lover came to me and
put his neck against my neck.
His fields are ripe with herbs.
His loins are ripe with seed.
His fields are ripe with grain.
His ripeness brings me joy.
~ Babylonian Songs of Inanna

Every woman is endowed with the urge toward union with a loving other.
Yet the energy so simply expressed in nature is more complex for
modern people. What if only the most beautiful apple blossom drew the
attention of the bee? The world would quickly suffer a shortage of
apples. Yet that is the message that we are given today: that only the
most beautiful deserve the pleasures and delights of love.

Finding confidence to love herself is a tremendous challenge for a woman
today. Around her, products shriek their demands that she buy them,
claiming that without them she does not merit love. Yet lovers came
together to celebrate the Goddess’ greatest gift long before aerosol

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