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Monthly Archives: January 2010

Balm

Botanical: Melissa officinalis (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Labiatae
—Synonyms—Sweet Balm. Lemon Balm.
—Part Used—Herb.
—Habitat—A native of South Europe, especially in mountainous situations, but is naturalized in the south of England, and was introduced into our gardens at a very early period.

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—Description—The root-stock is short, the stem square and branching, grows 1 to 2 feet high, and has at each joint pairs of broadly ovate or heart-shaped, crenate or toothed leaves which emit a fragrant lemon odour when bruised. They also have a distinct lemon taste. The flowers, white or yellowish, are in loose, small bunches from the axils of the leaves and bloom from June to October. The plant dies down in winter, but the root is perennial.
The genus Melissa is widely diffused, having representatives in Europe, Middle Asia and North America. The name is from the Greek word signifying ‘bee,’ indicative of the attraction the flowers have for those insects, on account of the honey they produce.

—History—The word Balm is an abbreviation of Balsam, the chief of sweet-smelling oils. It is so called from its honeyed sweetness It was highly esteemed by Paracelsus, who believed it would completely revivify a man. It was formerly esteemed of great use in all complaints supposed to proceed from a disordered state of the nervous system. The London Dispensary (1696) says: ‘An essence of Balm, given in Canary wine, every morning will renew youth, strengthen the brain, relieve languishing nature and prevent baldness.’ John Evelyn wrote: ‘Balm is sovereign for the brain, strengthening the memory and powerfully chasing away melancholy.’ Balm steeped in wine we are told again, ‘comforts the heart and driveth away melancholy and sadness.’ Formerly a spirit of Balm, combined with lemon-peel, nutmeg and angelica root, enjoyed a great reputation under the name of Carmelite water, being deemed highly useful against nervous headache and neuralgic affections.

Many virtues were formerly ascribed to this plant. Gerard says: ‘It is profitably planted where bees are kept. The hives of bees being rubbed with the leaves of bawme, causeth the bees to keep together, and causeth others to come with them.’ And again quoting Pliny, ‘When they are strayed away, they do find their way home by it.’ Pliny says: ‘It is of so great virtue that though it be but tied to his sword that hath given the wound it stauncheth the blood.’ Gerard also tells us: ‘The juice of Balm glueth together greene wounds,’ and gives the opinion of Pliny and Dioscorides that ‘Balm, being leaves steeped in wine, and the wine drunk, and the leaves applied externally, were considered to be a certain cure for the bites of venomous beasts and the stings of scorpions. It is now recognized as a scientific fact that the balsamic oils of aromatic plants make excellent surgical dressings: they give off ozone and thus exercise anti-putrescent effects. Being chemical hydrocarbons, they contain so little oxygen that in wounds dressed with the fixed balsamic herbal oils, the atomic germs of disease are starved out, and the resinous parts of these balsamic oils, as they dry upon the sore or wound, seal it up and effectually exclude all noxious air.

—Cultivation—Balm grows freely in any soil and can be propagated by seeds, cuttings or division of roots in spring or autumn. If in autumn, preferably not later than October, so that the offsets may be established before the frosts come on. The roots may be divided into small pieces, with three or four buds to each, and planted 2 feet apart in ordinary garden soil. The only culture required is to keep them clean from weeds and to cut off the decayed stalks in autumn, and then to stir the ground between the roots.

—Medicinal Action and Uses—Carminative, diaphoretic and febrifuge. It induces a mild perspiration and makes a pleasant and cooling tea for feverish patients in cases of catarrh and influenza. To make the tea, pour 1 pint of boiling water upon 1 oz. of herb, infuse 15 minutes, allow to cool, then strain and drink freely. If sugar and a little lemonpeel or juice be added it makes a refreshing summer drink.

Balm is a useful herb, either alone or in combination with others. It is excellent in colds attended with fever, as it promotes perspiration .

Used with salt, it was formerly applied for the purpose of taking away wens, and had the reputation of cleansing sores and easing the pains of gout.

John Hussey, of Sydenham, who lived to the age of 116, breakfasted for fifty years on Balm tea sweetened with honey, and herb teas were the usual breakfasts of Llewelyn Prince of Glamorgan, who died in his 108th year. Carmelite water, of which Balm was the chief ingredient, was drunk daily by the Emperor Charles V.

Commercial oil of Balm is not a pure distillate, but is probably oil of Lemon distilled over Balm. The oil is used in perfumery.

Balm is frequently used as one of the ingredients of pot-pourri. Mrs. Bardswell, in The Herb Garden, mentions Balm as one of the bushy herbs that are invaluable for the permanence of their leaf-odours, which,
‘though ready when sought, do not force themselves upon us, but have to be coaxed out by touching, bruising or pressing. Balm with its delicious lemon scent, is by common consent one of the most sweetly smelling of all the herbs in the garden. Balm-wine was made of it and a tea which is good for feverish colds. The fresh leaves make better tea than the dry.’

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—Refreshing Drink in Fever—
‘Put two sprigs of Balm, and a little woodsorrel, into a stone-jug, having first washed and dried them; peel thin a small lemon, and clear from the white; slice it and put a bit of peel in, then pour in 3 pints of boiling water, sweeten and cover it close.’
‘Claret Cup. One bottle of claret, one pint bottle of German Seltzer-water, a small bunch of Balm, ditto of burrage, one orange cut in slices, half a cucumber sliced thick, a liqueurglass of Cognac, and one ounce of bruised sugar-candy.

‘Process: Place these ingredients in a covered jug well immersed in rough ice, stir all together with a silver spoon, and when the cup has been iced for about an hour, strain or decanter it off free from the herbs, etc.’ (Francatelli’s Cook’s Guide.)

A bunch of Balm improves nearly all cups.

Kishi – Mujin

Themes: Protection from evil, meditation, balance & banishing
Symbols: Water & pine

About Kishi-Mujin: Kishi-Mujin is a Mother Goddess figure in Japan who
wraps us in arms of warmth and safety, as welcoming as the Spring Sun.
She is a compassionate lady whose goal is to bring life into balance by
replacing sadness with joy, fear with comfort, and darkness with light.

To Do Today: Follow the Japanese custom, observe this day as a time of
reflection: a time to meditate, recite sacred verses, and present
offerings of water for blessing. Additionally, on this day, Buddhist
monks shake sparks off a pine branch for people to catch. Each ash acts
as a ward against evil influences. A safer alternative for banishing
negativity or malintended energies is simply burning pine incense or
washing your living space with a pine-scented cleaner.

To invoke Kishi-Mujin’s presence in your life, find a small-needled pine
twig and dip it in water. Sprinkle this water into your aura, saying,

“Away all negativity, darkness flee! Kishi-Mujin’s light shines within
me!”

Dry the twig and use it as incense for protection anytime you need it.

Finally, before going to bed tonight, honour Kishi-Mujin by stopping to
meditate about your life for a few minutes. Are you keeping your
spirituality and everyday duties in balance? Are your priorities in
order? If not, think of creative, uplifting ways to restore the
symmetry.

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

Goddess Meditation
Imagine this: the maiden goddess playing in a flowery
meadow, together with the full-bodied daughters of the
ocean. They were gathering flowers: just-open roses,
crocuses, and dark violets from the soft grass, and lilies and
hyacinths.
And then they saw a newer flower, voluptuous and fragrant.
It was narcissus, that wonder, sending forth a hundred
blooms from a dingle bulb, making the very earth laugh
with delight at its heady fragrance ~ the earth, and
the blue sky also, and the ocean water, all amazed and
laughing at this new creature, this marvel of a flower,
which the goddess reached out her hand to pick.
~ Homeric Hymn to Demeter

Today was the ancient Greek feast of flowers, the Anthesteria. Our own
land may be far from those Mediterranean shores. Spring may seem, as
well, to be in another country. But somewhere, flowers are blooming.
Somewhere, a soft rain falls. Somewhere, a warm breeze wafts through the
budding trees.

Hope can be hard to locate during the wintry seasons of our live. Yet
spring offers the greatest hope possible, for it reminds us that nothing
goes on forever. The most beautiful of days will end, but so will the
most painful. Life can be gray and dull at times, but change is
inevitable. A new day will dawn, a new spring come around, a new
generation grow up. Hope is sometimes just recognition of the
inevitability of change.

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

Meditation During Exercise

Our life is composed greatly from dreams, from the unconscious, and they
must be brought into connection with action. They must be woven
together.
~ Anais Nin

We all know that exercise is good for us, but how many of us follow
through with our exercise plans? We may have all sorts of excuses for
not exercising, and one of them may be that it is boring. Let’s say you
go to the gym to lift weights. You lift the weight up and let it down .
. . lift the weight up, and let it down. This may not be intellectually
stimulating for you. It is good for your body, but if your mind isn’t
engaged, you will eventually give up your exercise plan, because it is
your mind that decides whether you put on your workout clothes, or do
something different. Making exercise a meditation may make your exercise
routine more interesting and it works out your mind as well as your
body.
Yoga and Tai Chi are systems that exercise the body while placing the
mind in a meditative state. Why not do your favorite exercise with the
same sort of intention?

Before you begin to exercise, take a few moments to center yourself.
Take a few slow deep breaths, relax your muscles, and calm your mind.
Perhaps say a brief prayer to dedicate your workout to your physical and
spiritual development.
As you exercise, be mindful. Observe the sensations in your body and
observe your thoughts.

Especially note any discouraging thoughts you may have during the
workout that may turn you away from your discipline. As the muscles
tire, it is natural to have thoughts about stopping the activity. Notice
these thoughts. By making them conscious, you can use them as
guideposts, but you don’t need to be controlled by them.

As in any meditation, be aware of your breath. Breathe consciously. You
can use breath counting in exercise as you would in meditation.

When lifting weights, exhale while lifting. Count each time you exhale.
Count to the number of lifts you intend to do, and then stop. Focus on
the breath and the sensations in your body. Extend Chi (life force) with
each extension. Draw it back in with each flexion.

During aerobic exercise like running, cycling, or rowing, you can also
synchronize your breath with your movements, but you may have several
repetitions of the movement for each breath. For instance, while running
you can count your steps to coordinate them with your breath. Try
breathing in for about four steps and breathing out for about four
steps. Adjust the number to your own pace, but let your pace become
rhythmic, relaxed, and conscious. As you move, visualize your breath or
your Chi moving on ahead of you and drawing you on along your path.

An alternative to being totally present during exercise is to visualize
being someplace all together different. On the rowing machine, imagine
you are rowing on a river or lake. Imagine the wind blowing through your
hair and across your skin. Imagine the smell of the water. Hear the call
of birds. Perhaps you can hear a crowd of people on shore cheering you
on. Perhaps you are in a race and you can hear your inner boatswain
calling the stroke.

On a stationary bike imagine yourself wheeling through the countryside.
On a Nordic Trak imagine the cool mountain air. Smell the evergreen
forest. Visualize the snow covered forest or meadow that you slide
through so gracefully. On a stair stepper machine, imagine. . . well,
this one stumps us, but maybe you can think of something. Use all of
your senses in your imagery. Put yourself in an imagined scene that you
will enjoy. Set up a scenario that encourages you to exert yourself. Use
these images to make your workout more enjoyable and to stay motivated.

© 1998-2002 Tom Barrett
http://www.InterludeRetreat.com

Curse Breaker Incense #1

You Will Need:

1:    2 Parts of Dried Sandalwood
2:    1 Part of Dried Bay
3:    A Lighter or Matches

To prepare / Make The Incense:

It is rare to be cursed, but if you believe that you are cursed then you are.

Smoulder the Sandalwood and Bay together and visualize the smoke from it banishing all negativity from you.

Burn at an open window on a night, and repeat this for seven night during the waning moon.

Three Cheese Garlic Scalloped Potatoes

Makes 6 servings.
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 pint heavy cream
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
4 slices provolone cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

1 Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 1 1/2
quart or larger casserole dish with butter or nonstick spray.
2 Layer half of the potato slices in the bottom of the casserole
dish. Dot with half of the butter cut or pinched into small pieces.
Arrange half of the garlic slices over the potatoes, then pour half
of the heavy cream over. Sprinkle one cup of Cheddar cheese over the
layer, and season with salt and pepper. Repeat layering of potatoes,
garlic, cream and Cheddar cheese, then top with the slices of
provolone cheese. Season again with salt and pepper.
3 Bake for 1/2 hour in the preheated oven, then sprinkle the Parmesan
or Romano cheese over the top. This will create a semi-hard cheese
crust. Continue baking uncovered for another 30 minutes, or until
potatoes are tender when tested with a fork.

Earth Bath Salts

1/2 cup epsom salts
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup rock salt
1/2 tsp vitamin E
2 tsp light oil (almond, sunflower…)
20 drops Patchouli essential oil
15 drops Cypress essentail oil
5 drops Vetivert essential oil
Green Food coloring Mix all salts & baking soda together. Then combine oil,
essential oils, vitamin E & a few drops of coloring in a seperate bowl. Add
liquid to salts and mix thoroughly. You can add more green food colouring if
desired, but I find it nicer when it’s a very light green as it does not look
as artificial. To use: Add a few heaping tablespoons to bath
by Lisa Van den Boomen,

How To Make A Magick Mirror

How To Make A Magick Mirror

(c) Wystira Moonsinger

 

So, you don’t have a crystal ball, right? Well, why not use a magick mirror for your scrying?  It’s easy to do and here’s how to make one:

 

If you have an old clock that doesn’t work anymore that has a glass covering the face of the clock, you can use this glass to make your magick mirror.  If you don’t have an old clock sitting around, go to a craft store and purchase one.  It should have a concave surface.  Once you get that, paint the glass solid black (on the concave part).  Now, glue it inside a flat wooden box with a hinged cover (obtainable at a craft store).  You now have a magick mirror.

 

You can decorate your box any way you’d like.  Put astrological signs on it, runes, whatever you’d like.  Paint it….stain it.  Fix it the way you’d like it.  Now, the best time to use this is  the dark of the moon.  You’ll need a quiet place to work in and light it with only one candle.  You will be “seeing” using your Third Eye here, so relax and let the images flow.

Bless your Book of Shadows

     (Silver Toad)
Whether your BOS is a heavy-bound journal, a small personal diary, or a3-ringed notebook, this spellwill guard your book and enchant its pages.
 
On the night of the Full Moon, cast your circle and place your BOS on your alter.
Situate 5 candles (Purple, green, yellow, red, and blue) around your book in a rough pentagram shape.
If you see fit, you can place the candles in their correct positions:
Purple
Blue
Green
Red
Yellow

Light the candles, starting with the purple and ending with the blue, and say this oranother verse:
By the powers of center (north, south, east, west),
The forces of spirit (earth, air, fire, water)
I bless and protect this Book of ShadowsFrom all unwanted forces and beings.
With your power hand, athame, or wand, draw an invoking pentagram onyour BOS’s cover and say:
May no unprepared eye or hand behold thisBlessed Book of Power.
Ancient Mother, behold this book.Guard and bless its pages.
Ancient Father, behold this book.Guard and bless its pages.
By the powers of the Moon and stars above me.
So shall it be.
 
With this, the ritual is done. Some chose to bury the candles Others choose to use them for another spell. It’s your choice what you do. It is recommended that this spell is done for the 4 sabbats to mark your progress and increase in power, but italso can be done once a year on that same month’s Full Moon.

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