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Monthly Archives: March 2010

Balsam of Gilead

Botanical: Commiphora Opobalsamum
Family: N.O. Burseraceae
—Synonyms—Balsamum Meccae var. Judiacum. Balsamum Gileadense. Baume de la Mecque. Balsamodendrum Opobalsamum. Balessan. Bechan. Balsam Tree. Amyris Gileadensis. Amyris Opobalsamum. Balsumodendron Gileadensis. Protium Gileadense. Dossémo.
—Part Used—The resinous juice.
—Habitat—The countries on both sides of the Red Sea.

——————————————————————————–
—Description—This small tree, the source of the genuine Balm of Gilead around which so many mystical associations have gathered stands from 10 to 12 feet high, with wandlike, spreading branches. The bark is of a rich brown colour, the leaves, trifoliate, are small and scanty, the flowers unisexual small, and reddish in colour, while the seeds are solitary, yellow, and grooved down one side. It is both rare, and difficult to rear, and is so much valued by the Turks that its importation is prohibited. They have grown the trees in guarded gardens at Matarie, near Cairo, from the days of Prosper Alpin, who wrote the Dialogue of Balm, and the balsam is valued as a cosmetic by the royal ladies. In the Bible, and in the works of Bruce Theophrastes, Galen, and Dioscorides, it is lauded.
—History—Balm, Baulm or Bawm, contracted from Balsam, may be derived from the Hebrew bot smin, ‘chief of oils,’ or bâsâm, ‘balm,’ and besem, ‘a sweet smell.’ Opobalsamum is used by Dioscorides to mean ‘the juice flowing from the balsam-tree.’

Pliny states that the tree was first brought to Rome by the generals of Vespasian, while Josephus relates that it was taken from Arabia to Judea by the Queen of Sheba as a present to Solomon. There, being cultivated for its juice, particularly on Mount Gilead, it acquired its popular name. Later, it was called Opobalsamum, its dried twigs Xylobalsamum, and its dried fruit Carpobalsamum.

Its rarity, combined with the magic of its name, have caused the latter to be adopted for several other species.

Abd-Allatif, a Damascan physician of the twelfth century, noted that it had two barks the outer reddish and thin, the inner green and thick, and a very aromatic odour.

The juice exudes spontaneously during the heat of summer, in resinous drops, the process being helped by incisions in the bark. The more humid the air, the greater the quantity collected. When the oil is separated, it is prepared with great secrecy, and taken to the stores of the ruler, where it is carefully guarded. The quantity of oil obtained is roughly one-tenth the amount of juice. It is probable that an inferior kind of oil is obtained after boiling the leaves and wood with water.

The wood is found in small pieces, several kinds being known commercially, but it rapidly loses its odour.

The fruit is reddish grey, and the size of a small pea, with an agreeable and aromatic taste.

In Europe and America it is so seldom found in a pure state that its use is entirely discontinued .

—Constituents—The liquid balm is turbid whitish, thick, grey and odorous, and becomes solid by exposure. It contains a resin soluble in alcohol, and a principle resembling Bassorin.

—Medicinal Action and Uses—It has been used in diseases of the urinary tracts, but is said to possess no medicinal properties not found in other balsams.

—–Other Species—-
Abies Balsamea, Balm of Gilead Fir, orAmerican Silver Fir. The name is applied to this Canadian species, in Europe, because of the supposed resemblance of its product, an oleoresinous fluid obtained from punctured blisters in the bark, which is really a true turpentine, known as Canada Balsam or Canada Turpentine. Its odour distinguishes it from Strassburg Turpentine, which is sometimes substituted for it. It is diuretic, and stimulates mucous tissues in small doses. In large doses it is purgative, and may cause nausea.

Populus Candicans is called Balm of Gilead in America. The buds are used, and called Balm of Gilead Buds, as are those of P. Nigra and P. balsamifera, the product of the last being imported into Europe under the name of Tacomahaca. They are covered with a fragrant, resinous matter, which may be separated in boiling water, the odour being like incense, and the taste bitter and rather unpleasant. They are stimulant, tonic, diuretic, and antiscorbutic. A tincture of them is useful for complaints of the chest, stomach, and kidneys, and for rheumatism and scurvy. With lard or oil they are useful as an external application in bruises, swellings, and some cutaneous diseases. In ointments they are a little inferior to paraffin as a preventive of rancidity.

The bark of P. balsamifera is tonic and cathartic.

—Dosages—Of solid extract, 5 to 10 grains. Of tincture, 1 to 4 fluid drachms. Of fluid extract, 1 to 2 drachms. Of extract of the bark, 5 to 15 grains.

Dracocephalum Canariense or Cedronella Triphylla is known as a garden plant something like Salvia, and called Balm of Gilead for no better reason than that its leaves are fragrant. It is a native of America and the Canaries.

Kwanseieun

Themes: Luck, blessings, harvest, cleansing & kindness
Symbols: Fish, willow & gold items

About Kwanseieun: This Korean Goddess of goodness, courage and fortune
listens carefully to our needs, intending to meet each with compassion.
Art sometimes shows her riding a fish, giving her associations with
fertility. In other depictions she bears a willow branch and gold
necklaces (lunar and solar symbols, respectively), indicating the
diverse powers she can use in answering our prayers.

To Do Today: In a festival similar to that held in Japan this month,
Korean farmers go about the task of ensuring an abundant rice crop
today. To draw this abundance and Kwanseieun’s blessings into your life,
follow Korean custom and wash your hair today. This cleans away ill
fortune. Change the type of rinse you use to mirror your goals. For
example, rinse in Kwanseieun’s fertile aspect by using
pine-scented-water, or increase her fortunate energies for the day by
using allspice-nutmeg scented water. Making these rinses is very easy.
Just step the desired aromatic in warm water, as you would a tea, then
refrigerate and use as desired!

Wear gold or eat fish today to commemorate Kwanseieun and activate her
positive attributes in your personality. For example, wear a gold
necklace to communicate with more kindness, or wear a gold ring to
remind you to extend a helping hand to those in need.

**Note: Taoistic-Mothergoddess, Buddhist Goddess of Love and Humility.
She is worshipped in whole China and Japan. Kannon is mostly shown as a
white figure with wide clothes. Kuan-Yin is the most well-known Asian
Goddess in the West. She is a Buddhist Deity worshipped primarily in
China, but also in India, Japan (under the name Kwannon), Korea (as
Kwanseieun) and South-East Asia. Chinese is a mother/protectress type
Goddess. She died in life but was made a Goddess, and because she saw a
lot of pain while she was living, she swore to protect all humans, and
would not rest until the suffering of man-kind ended .

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

Goddess Meditation

Here’s a story for you: there was a girl who lived
beyond the sea, one of such strength she challenged
all the heroes in the country to compete with her.
She could throw a stone across a field and then,
jumping, make it to the other side before the stone fell.
She said she’d never be with any man who could not
beat her – not once, not twice, but three times in a row.
~ Germanic Tales of the Nibelungen

In myth, women compete with men as well as with other women. Many
cultures have some variety of the Germanic myth of Brynhild, who
demanded that a man show himself to be stronger than she was before she
would agree to be his mate. And she did not hold herself back in the
competition; she did not fix the game so that a man could win. In
this, she acted more honestly than contemporary women who hide their
true strength.

Strength is not unfeminine. Strength is a fact of women’s being. Some
are strong emotionally, some intellectually, some physically. To pretend
to be less than what we are is to insult the universe that has endowed
us with gifts. And, in myth, the woman who shows her strength finally
finds a partner to match her. Had she hidden her strength, she would
always have been aware of her partner’s true weakness in comparison to
her. And that, ultimately, would have destroyed their bond.

Mind Ruts

“Suffering itself does less afflict the senses than the anticipation of
suffering.”
~ Quintilian

By the time we are adults, we can be very good at suffering. We have
figured out where the dangers are, and we anticipate them nicely. We
collect our knowledge of danger in thought forms we call worry. We can
run them often, so they don’t wear out, and so we won’t be left helpless
and clueless in the face of danger. We imagine all sorts of
catastrophes, and we stop doing anything that might cause more pain.
Eventually, if we are really good at this self-protection, we don’t do
anything. We can stay home with our thoughts and run them like a
spinning wheel, round and round.

Our nervous systems learn the dangers too. If we’ve been hurt badly, we
don’t even have to think about it to respond to danger. Any hint that we
might be hurt or humiliated will rev up the fight or flight response and
we are ready to run.

Unfortunately, we aren’t ready to do much else. The highly activated
state of fear/anger focuses energy on issues of safety, but takes away
energy from any optional activities that might make life worth living.

Thoughts and feelings wear themselves into our nervous systems like a
footpath through grass. The more often they are used, the deeper they
become. If we are not conscious of our mental and emotional processes we
can easily fall into ruts of our own making.

Meditation can be very difficult when we are chronically over activated
in our brain. The thinking won’t stop, and the nervous meditator is
inclined to think, “I can’t do this.” Physical therapists hear the same
response from people who’ve been injured when they start their new
exercise program. It seems too hard. If we are going to get better
though, we need to start and persist.

Calming the mind is a skill. Like any skill is must be learned and
practiced.

Persistent practice builds skill. If you lost the ability to walk, you
would probably be willing to do the physical therapy that would help you
to walk again. If you are beset by unpleasant emotions the situation is
the same. You can improve your emotional life by dedicated meditation.
Yes it can be hard. Here are some suggestions for working through the
strain.

If you are not an experienced meditator, or you are having trouble with
your practice, get help. Find a qualified teacher or a group to sit
with.

Breathe. The breath is the most basic and direct way to affect the
nervous system. It can tell your brain to turn off the stress response
and turn on the relaxation response. Breathe more deeply and more
slowly. Emphasize exhaling rather than inhaling to avoid
hyperventilating. Breathe slow, easy, unhurried.

Calm your body. Put your body in a position of power. Sit upright so
that your lungs can expand and your spine is elongated. Remind yourself
to relax. Scan your body for tension. Invite any specific parts of your
body that are tense to relax. You may need to repeat the invitation.
Disengage from habitual thoughts.

Thoughts that are repeated or matched with strong emotion become more
deeply ingrained. Let them go. Let grass grow in those mental ruts.
Create open mind—mind that is open, broad, spacious, well lit. When
you catch a thought with a handle, let go of it. Keep letting go of it
every time it comes back to you.

Your thought stream has limited bandwidth, so fill it up with something
untroubling, such as a mantra, a chant, a prayer, or a visual image,
such as a candle, a mandala, a statue or a sacred picture. When your
mind drifts, bring it back to the object of your intentional attention.

Come back to your breath and your posture after you’ve lost track of
them. Fill part of your mind with your attention to breath and posture.

When fear or any other unwanted emotional state comes, breathe through
it.
Resistance to the fear gives it power. Breathe, relax, endure, release.
Breathe more.

Be kind to yourself. Don’t expect instant results. Don’t berate yourself
for not being a better meditator.

Let go of your expectation of results and just do the practice.
   
© 2002 Tom Barrett
http://www.InterludeRetreat.com

Dark Lady’s Dreams Incense

1/2 palmful Cinnamon
3 whole Allspice
1/2 palmful Sweet Dittany of Crete
1 pinch Cedar
1 pinch Fennel
6 drops Hyancith Oil,
2 pinches Rosemary
6 drops Cinnamon oil
1 1/2 pinches Mullein
2 pinches Benzoin
1 palm Witchhazel
4 pinches Saltpeter — more or less to suit

Taco Dip Platter

INGREDIENTS:

1 16-ounce can refried beans

1 cup sour cream

1 packet dry taco seasoning

1 cup salsa

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 small can chopped black olives, drained

1 cup chopped green onions

1/4 cup chopped black olives

4 roma tomatoes, chopped

DIRECTIONS:
Spread refried beans on the bottom of a shallow platter. In a small bowl combine cup sour cream and taco seasoning.spread on top of the refried beans. Next, pour salsa over sour cream mixture. Sprinkle cheese, then add black olives, chopped tomatoes and green onions. Serve with plenty of tortilla chips.
Categories: Appetizers

ATHLETE’S FOOT BATH

1 small onion.
1 clove of garlic.
1/2inch fresh ginger root
1oz dried sage.
1oz dried rosemary.
6 pints of hot water.
20 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil.

*************
This footbath treats fungal infections of the foot and is also
invigorating for feet that are sore and tired from strenuous exercise
such as step aerobics, running or skiing.

1. Chop the onion and garlic and finely grate the ginger root. In a
large saucepan, make a herbal infusion by adding the onion, garlic
ginger root and herbs to the hot water.

2. Gently simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool
for 10 minutes, this will allow all of the beneficial properties to be
infused. Strain the liquid. Allow to cool a little more.

3. Add the Tea Tree Essential Oil and pour in to a large bowl. Soak the
feet for 20 minutes; cover your feet in the bowl with a towel to keep
any warmth in the bowl.

4. Pat every part of the feet dry, especially between the toes!!!!!
Finish with a light dusting of a medicated talcum powder or arrowroot
that has been infused with the scent from a few Juniper Berries.

Herbal Altar Pentacle –

Herbal Altar Pentacle –

You will need: 4-5 blocks bakeable clay in
color of your choice, 3-4 tbsp. dried herbs of choice (sage,
wormwood, patchouli, basil, and mugwort are good), round piece of
wood or cork in your choice of size, cookie sheet, hot glue sticks or
hot glue gun. Using your fingers, mix the herbs into the clay. Divide
the clay into five equal portions, then form them into long rolls by
rubbing them between your palms. Position them on the wood or cork to
form a five pointed star; join the smooth ends together, trimming if
necessary. Remove the star from the round piece and place it on the
baking sheet. Bake the star according to the package directions.
After it cools, hot glue it to the wood or cork.

Temple Blessing

The foundation is the most important part of the temple. Its foundation has
to rise out of the earth just as the mound rose out of the primordial ocean of
Nun. Originally it was the king’s responsibility to excavate the site, but
today this isn’t necessary. But you can do the following:

Do not invoke any God here. No Gods are directly involved in the initial
stages making of the temple.

Take some watery mud and mix with straw and form four mud bricks. Now you can
either make them part of the temple foundation itself or just place them in
the four corners once it is finished. Either way it is to symbolize strength
and protection as the “cornerstones” of the building.

Next sprinkle sand on the foundation of the temple to symbolize the
primordial virgin soil. (It can be later swept away once the purification is done.)

Now place objects of protection in the four corners of the foundation to
symbolize protection against all those who would wish to tear the building down or
have it harmed in any way.

The final act of this rite is to tamp down the foundation to symbolize the
firmness of the foundation.

Now for the purification and preparation of the temple or altar….

First you need to prepare some natron (which is a combination of baking soda
and salt) and incense (pine resin being the most appropriate). Go through each
room of the temple (or around the altar) sprinkling natron and censing
visualizing the all negative energies leaving the temple/altar.

Once that is completed you need to “bring to life” the statues and wall
paintings with an Opening of the Mouth ceremony. You can either have two priests
impersonate the Gods involved or do this alone. You can also invoke the deities
into you if you know how.

The “opener” is Ptah, the “openie” is all the other god images of the
temple/altar. You need an various sculptors tools for this rite. Touch the tool to
the part that needs to be open. Say the following:

Ptah/opener: Ptah takes his blade to open the eyes. Sokar/openie:
Sokar/openie opens his/her/ eyes. Ptah/opener: Ptah takes his pick to open the nose.
Sokar/openie: Sokar/openie breathes deeply. Ptah/opener: Ptah takes his chisel to
open the mouth. Sokar/openie: Sokar/openie opens his/her mouth.

Now this time as Anubis the opener touches the openie with the adze and
repeats the opening.

Next offerings are presented around the altar with a prayer in hopes that all
that has been done has been done to the satisfaction of the Gods.

Finally the opening is done again. This time to the temple/altar as a whole
unit. From now on the temple/altar is a living, active being as the embodiment
of the Netjer’s vital energy.

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