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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Baneberry

POISON!

Botanical: Actaea spicata (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Ranunculacea
—Synonyms—Herb Christopher. Bugbane. Toadroot.
—Part Used—Root.
—Habitat—It is to be found in copses on limestone in Yorkshire and the Lake District, but is so uncommon as to be regarded by some botanists as almost a doubtful native.

The Baneberry, or Herb Christopher, is a rather rare British plant belonging (like the Paeony) to the Buttercup order, but distinguished from all other species in the order by its berry-like fruit. It is considered to have similar anti-spasmodic properties to the Paeony.

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—Description—The black, creeping root-stock is perennial, sending up each year erect stems, growing 1 to 2 feet high, which are triangular and either not branched, or very sparingly so. The foot-stalks of the leaves are long and arise from the root. These divide into three smaller foot-stalks, and are so divided or re-divided that each leaf is composed of eighteen, or even twenty-seven, lobes or leaflets.
The flower-stem arises from the roots and has leaves of the same form, but smaller. The flowers grow in spikes and are of a pure white.

The whole plant is dark green and glabrous (without hairs), or only very slightly downy. It flowers in June and in autumn ripens its fruits, which are egg-shaped berries, 1/2 inch long, black and shining, many-seeded and very poisonous, well justifying the popular name of Baneberry.

The plant is of an acrid, poisonous nature throughout, and though the root has been used in some nervous cases, and is said to be a remedy for catarrh, it must be administered with great caution.

—Medicinal Action and Uses—Antispasmodic. The juice of the berries, mixed with alum, yields a black dye.

There are two varieties of this species, one of British origin, only distinguished from the rest of the species by its berries being red, instead of black and the other an American plant (Actaea alba, or White Cohosh) with white berries. Both varieties grow in the writer’s garden.

The American species is considered by the natives a valuable remedy against snake-bite, especially of the rattlesnake, hence it is – with several other plants – sometimes known as one of the ‘Rattlesnake herbs.’

It is said the name ‘Herb Christopher’ was also formerly applied to the flowering fern, Osmunda regalis.

The name of the genus is from the Greek acte, the elder, which these plants resemble as regards the leaves and berries.

Toads seem to be attracted by the smell of the Baneberry, which causes it also to be termed Toadroot, the name arising possibly also from its preference for the damp shady situations in which the toad is found.

It is also called Bugbane, because of its offensive smell, which is said to drive away vermin.

Closely allied to this plant, and at one time assigned to the same genus, is the plant known as Black Cohosh.

See (BLACK) COHOSH.

Laka

Themes: Tradition, heritage, weather & arts
Symbols: Lei Flowers, dance & yellow

About Laka: Laka is the Hawaiian Goddess of Hula, through which the
myths, legends, and histories of the Hawaiian people are kept intact.
Today she charges us with the sacred duty of collecting the treasures of
our personal legacies and recording them for sharing with future
generations.

In stories, Laka is the sister of Pele ( The Volcano Goddess ) and a
Nature Goddess who can be invoked for rain. Artistic renditions show her
wearing yellow garments, bedecked with flowers, and always dancing.

To Do Today: The cherry blossoms of this festival in Hawaii are
spiritual, not real, symbolizing the power of tradition among the
predominantly Japanese community. On this day people gather together and
honour their heritage by participating in martial arts, Japanese dances,
weaving, and arts competitions. So, if there’s any art or craft you
learned from an elder in your family, take the time to display that
craft or work on it today to commemorate Laka’s attributes.

If possible, get together with members of your family and begin creating
a family journal that will record all the important events in your
lives. Cover the journal with yellow paper dabbed with fragrant oil to
invoke Laka’s tending care on the sacred documents

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

Goddess Meditation
Strong warriors pray to Anahita
for strong horses. Strong women
pray to Anahita for strong babes.
Priests pray to Anahita for wisdom,
and girls pray for easy births, vigorous
husbands, and the richest fields.
Ardvi Sura Anahita flows
like a river through our lives.
We do not wish her waters
ever to stand still. We pray
always for the waters of the Goddess
to flow freely. And we pray too
that what should be dry, remains dry,
that everything stays in its place,
that everything is as it should be.

~ Prayer to Persian Goddess Anahita

One of the most important roles of the Goddess, in many cultures
including the ancient Persian, is to make order out of disorder. She
is the one who invents measurement, so that we can articulate the
order she invents for us to discover. She is the source of the division
of time into days and hours, of space into miles and inches, of life
into youth and age.

Otherness

Who sees all beings in his own Self, and his own Self in all beings,
loses all fear.
~ The Isa Upanishad

“When you make the two into one, you will become children of humanity,
and when you say ‘Mountain, move!’ it will move.”
~ The Gospel of Thomas, saying 104

Only that in you which is me can hear what I’m saying.
~ Ram Dass

We live in a world of differentiation. We learn early in life to judge
that which is “me” and “not me,” “mine” and “not mine.” We have a
natural affinity for that which is a part of us or close to us. If we
develop according to plan, we learn very young that we are separate
beings. We develop an ego that is our collection of thoughts,
perceptions, and behaviors that we identify as our “self.” We develop
boundaries between ourselves and everything that is outside of us. This
is good. Were it not so we would drool much more.

Having a stable ego is a sign of health and maturity. It is necessary
for developing a healthy personality. It allows us to focus our
attention on our own needs and desires. With that focus we are able to
accomplish things. It enables us to avoid engulfment by the emotional
behavior of others. Ego is a tool for stability and growth.

It is helpful as a social being to know that this is my food, that is
your food–this is my thing, that is yours. And it is useful to develop
an affinity for people and things that are close by and familiar. If all
goes well, we develop an affection for our parents and family, our
neighbors, the people we spend time with, our town, the home team, and
so on.

None of this is bad, but it can lead to trouble. Just as one must trim
one’s fingernails to keep them from becoming a burden, one should trim
the ego to keep it from creating divisiveness.

We might think of hate as devaluing what we judge to be “the other.” It
is impossible to experience hate and compassion at the same time. When
we hate someone or something, we cut ourselves off from it and we assign
it a negative value.

Racism, religious intolerance, gay bashing, and extreme nationalism all
arise from a sense of separateness. They depend on a belief that the
in-group is good and the out-group is bad.

Each of us must struggle with these tendencies to create separation from
others. Once we have established a viable ego structure, our
developmental task becomes transcending the ego. It behooves us to seek
commonality, to develop greater empathy and compassion. Spiritual
mastery inevitably includes the ability to see beyond the differences
and to realize the unity among people and the unity of all things. When
we reach this stage, we see ourselves in the other and the other in
ourselves. At that point we lose all fear and much that seemed
impossible becomes possible.

Meditation:
Quietly focus on your breathing. Gently bring the air in and let it go
out. Do this for several minutes and notice that what was outside comes
in, and what was inside goes out. The air comes in and fuels your blood
with oxygen. The oxygen moves into your cells and becomes you. The
carbon dioxide your cells release passes to your lungs. You exhale, and
it is released to be used by other organisms. As you breathe, let this
idea sink in. Appreciate the wonder of it.

Think of this:  the food you have eaten has formed your body. That
food contained the atoms of those who have lived in the past. Your body
is made of atoms that once formed plants and animals, fools and sages,
sinners and saints. We are all the of same stuff.
Remember:  As a baby you did not distinguish between outside and
inside. You pooped and drooled and spat up as unselfconsciously as you
sucked and licked and put things in your mouth that you would not put
there now. Sense the difference between how you were then and the way
you are now. How have you learned to create barriers between yourself
and the world?

Acknowledge that your barriers are your own creation. They may serve a
purpose. They may be indispensable, but they are your construction.

Which of your barriers are emotional? Do these still serve their
purpose?
You have the power to lower your shields if you want to. You can open
your heart to the world.

Feel your breath carrying compassion to your heart. Breathe in the love
that is shared willingly by those who know love. Let it fill your heart.
Feel your own kindness in your heart and let that feeling fill you up.
Breathe in love from the world. Breathe out love to the world. Sit
quietly for a time with this love in your heart.

© 2001 Tom Barrett
http://www.InterludeRetreat.com

INCENSE FOR PROTECTING THE HOUSE FROM EVIL

4 oz. Valerian
2 oz. Rue
2 oz. Bay Leaves
3 tbsp. Dill
2 oz. Caraway
4 Parts Lavender
6 tsp. Sandalwood

Hot and Spicy Chex Party Mix

3 cups Corn Chex® cereal

3 cups Wheat Chex® cereal

1 cup pretzels

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 to 3 teaspoons red pepper sauce

3 cups Rice Chex® cereal

1 cup mixed nuts

1 cup bite-size cheese crackers

1/4 cup margarine or butter

1 1/4 teaspoons seasoned salt

Heat oven to 250°. Melt margarine in large roasting pan in oven. Stir in seasonings. Gradually stir in remaining ingredients until evenly coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container. 11 cups snack.

Herbal Bath Bags

In a bowl, mix: 1 1/2 oz. dried marjoram, 1 1/2 oz. dried rosemary, 2 tbsp. oatmeal and 1 tbsp. dried chopped orange peel.

Cut out several 9 inch circles of calico and place about 2 teaspoons of the herb mixture in the centre of each one. Gather up the material to make a bag and secure each with a small elastic band.
Tie long pieces of ribbon around the neck of each bundle, both to decorate and to attach the bag to the bath taps. The bag should be fixed to the taps before you run your bath, so the water runs through the herbal mixture.

Goddess Cauldron

Designed by Laurel Reufner.
Copyrighted February 2000

Stitch Count: 52 H  x  52 W
Cloth Count: 14
Design Size: 3.71″ H  x  3.71″ W

Color Key
Description        DMC      Anchor         Coates         Strands
black                     310         403                 8403                 2
topaz – vy lt         727         293                 2289                 2

Click to Enlarge!

Scottish Blessing

May the blessing of light be on you
Light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
So that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
Like a candle set in the window of a house,
Bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
May the blessing of the rain be on you,
May it beat upon your Spirit
And wash it fair and clean,
And leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,
And sometimes a star.
May the blessing of the earth be on you,
Soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
Soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
And may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you
That your soul may be out from under it quickly;
Up and off and on its way to God.
Source:  care2.com
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