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Birch, Common

Botanical: Betula alba (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Betulaceae
—Synonyms—White Birch. Bouleau. Berke. Bereza. Monoecia triandria. B. pubescens. B. verrucosa.
—Parts Used—The bark and the leaves.
—Habitat—Europe, from Sicily to Iceland. Northern Asia.

—History—The name is a very ancient one, probably derived from the Sanscrit bhurga, ‘a tree whose bark is used for writing upon.’ From its uses in boat-building and roofing it is also connected with the A.S. beorgan, ‘to protect or shelter.’
Coleridge speaks of it as the ‘Lady of the Woods.’ It is remarkable for its lightness, grace, and elegance, and after rain it has a fragrant odour.

The young branches are of a rich red brown or orange brown, and the trunks usually white, especially in the second species of B. alba, B. verrucosa. B. pubescens is darker, and has downy instead of warted twigs.

The wood is soft and not very durable, but being cheap, and the tree being able to thrive in any situation and soil, growing all over Europe, is used for many humble purposes, such as bobbins for thread mills, herring-barrel staves, broom handles, and various fancy articles. In country districts the Birch has very many uses, the lighter twigs being employed for thatching and wattles. The twigs are also used in broom making and in the manufacture of cloth. The tree has also been one of the sources from which asphyxiating gases have been manufactured, and its charcoal is much used for gunpowder.

The white epidermis of the bark is separable into thin layers, which may be employed as a substitute for oiled paper and applied to various economical uses. It yields oil of Birch Tar, and the peculiar, well-known odour of russia leather is due to the use of this oil in the process of dressing. It likewise imparts durability to leather, and it isowing to its presence that books bound in russia leather are not liable to become mouldy. The production of Birch Tar oil is a Russian industry of considerable importance. It is also distilled in Holland and Germany, but these oils are appreciably different from the Russian oil. It has the property of keeping away insects and preventing gnatbites when smeared on the hands. It is likewise employed in photography.

When the stem of the tree is wounded, a saccharine juice flows out which is susceptible, with yeast, of vinous fermentation. A beer, wine, spirit and vinegar are prepared from it in some parts of Europe. Birch Wine, concocted from this thin, sugary sap of the tree, collected from incisions made in the trees in March, honey, cloves and lemon peel being added and then the whole fermented with yeast, makes a very pleasant cordial, formerly much appreciated. From 16 to 18 gallons of sap may be drawn from one large tree, and a moderate tapping does no harm.

—Constituents—Birch bark only contains about 3 per cent. of tannic acid, but is extensively used for tanning, wherever there are large birch forests, throughout Northern Europe. As it gives a pale colour to the skin, it is used for the preliminary and the final stages of tanning. It contains betulin and betuls camphor.

The leaves contain betulorentic acid.

By destructive distillation, the white epidermis of the bark yields an empyreumatic oil, known variously in commerce as oil of Birch Tar, Oleum Rusci, Oleum Betulinum or Dagget. This is a thick, bituminous, brownish-black liquid, with a pungent, balsamic odour. It contains a high percentage of methylsalicylate, and also creosol and guaiacol. The Rectified Oil (Oleum Rusci Rectificatum) is sometimes substituted for oil of Cade.

Birch Tar oil is almost identical with Wintergreen oil. It is not completely soluble in 95 per cent. acetic acid, nor in aniline, but Turpentine oil dissolves it completely.

—Medicinal Action and Uses—Various parts of the tree have been applied to medicinal uses. The young shoots and leaves secrete a resinous substance having acid properties, which, combined with alkalies, is said to be a tonic laxative. The leaves have a peculiar, aromatic, agreeable odour and a bitter taste, and have been employed in the form of infusion (Birch Tea) in gout, rheumatism and dropsy, and recommended as a reliable solvent of stone in the kidneys. With the bark they resolve and resist putrefaction. A decoction of them is good for bathing skin eruptions, and is serviceable in dropsy.

The oil is astringent, and is mainly employed for its curative effects in skin affections, especially eczema, but is also used for some Internal maladies.

The inner bark is bitter and astringent, and has been used in intermittent fevers.

The vernal sap is diuretic.

Moxa is made from the yellow, fungous excrescences of the wood, which sometimes swell out from the fissures.

—Dosage—Of alcoholic extract of the leaves, 25 to 30 grains daily.

—Other Species—
B. benta (Cherry Birch, Black Birch, Sweet Birch, Mahogany Birch, or Mountain Mahogany) is an American variety, with richlymarked wood suitable for the use of cabinet and pianoforte makers. The liquor is used in Kamschatka without previous fermentation. The cambium, or the layer between the wood and the bast, is eaten in the spring, cut into strips like vermicelli, and the bark is stimulant, diaphoretic, and astringent, in a warm infusion. In decoction or syrup it forms an excellent tonic for dysentery, and is said to be useful in gravel and female obstructions.

B. trophylla is a syn. of Rhus Aromatica, or Fragrant Sumach.

B. papyracea, or Paper Birch, is largely used for canoe-making in America.

B. nana, or Smooth Dwarf Birch, rarely grows above 3 feet in height. The leaves are said to dye a better yellow than the Common Birch; the seeds are a principal food of ptarmigan in Lapland; Moxa is prepared from it and regarded as an effective remedy in all painful diseases.


Themes: Spring, cycles, health, energy, peace & prosperity
Symbols: Fire, chariot & soil

About Nerthus: This Germanic Earth Goddess welcomes the season with Her
presence. She was so important in Danish regions that no weapons or iron
tools could be left out during Her festivals, because that was thought
to invoke Her displeasure. During spring rites, Her statue was covered
on a chariot until the priest determined She had arrived to oversee the

To Do Today: Traditionally, today is spent before a bonfire that greets
the Sun and banishes the last vestiges of Winter. So, take down your
heavy winter curtains, and let some light into the house! This restores
Nerthus’s positive energy and expels any lingering sicknesses. If it’s
cloudy out, turn on some lights, don dazzling-coloured clothing, and
find ways to brighten up your living space with flowers and decorations
that speak of Earth ( Nerthus ) and Spring’s beauty.

Another customary activity is turning the soil, mixing it with an
offering of milk, flour, and water. Even if you don’t have a garden,
turn a little dirt near your apartment or home and leave a similar gift.
This action rejoices in Nerthus’s awakening and draws the goddess’s
peace and prosperity to your residence. To take a little of that same
blessing with you, just collect a bit of the soil-milk mixture in a
container and put it wherever you need peace or prosperity the most.

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

Goddess Meditation
Winter unclenches its fists, stroked by Spring breezes from the west.
The Ocean opens itself to the keels of ships.
Cattle grow restless in the stable, we grow restless at our firesides,
and the white frost melts away from the grass.
At night the Moon hovers over a sacred dance, which Aphrodite leads as
Graces and light nymphs follow Her.
Now is the season for garlanding our hair with myrtle and flowers,
now is the time to rejoice with the happy Earth.
~ Horace

The Spring Sun shines on the wakening Earth, and our hearts stir, too,
released from Winter’s grip. The heart has its seasons, just as the
world around us does. There are times when we are closed to others,
times when we hold back from connecting to those we love or could love.
But finally we must ripen into a new opening, a new Spring, a new

When we find ourselves closed and alone, we can easily grow fearful that
life will never smile upon us again. Yet in the cycle of the year,
Spring always follows Winter. In the same way, new openings appear when
the heart’s needed rest is over. Accept your own inner seasons; they
are as natural as those of the world around us.

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

Sun Meditations

It is believed that the Sun Meditations were originally a practise that
was reserved for only priests and priestesses and selected initiates. It
is a powerful practise that should be performed with conscious
participation. The meditations ground energy through the individual into
the Earth. It is recommended to begin with one meditation every seven
days and gradually build up as you integrate the energies. Increase the
frequency of the meditations according to your intuition. The Sun
Meditations are to be performed as listed below:

*Fifteen minutes before sunrise or sunset, stand with your feet firmly
planted on the ground, preferably with bare feet. This is indeed a
magickal time when the light from the Sun creates magnificent colours.

*Breathe long and deep, at first with your eyes closed. Begin by
focussing your attention at your feet and as you deeply inhale, draw
energy from the earth below you, through the back of your legs, to meet
at the base of the spine.

*Continue inhaling, feeling the energy rise up the spine, through the
crown of your head and out to greet the Universe. Hold the breath for a
moment and then slowly begin to exhale as the energy is brought back
through your body, to meet the Earth again.

*Visualise the energy moving in golden beams as the Golden rays of the
Great Central Sun are infused into every fiber of your being. Continue
breathing in this circular manner as the energy of the Earth and Sun
make acquaintance with you.

*While breathing, raise your arms with the palms facing towards the Sun.

Keep your arms straight and allow solar energy to enter into your palms
and pulse through your arms. Keep your breathing steady and well

*Open your eyes, lower your arms and allow yourself to absorb the Sun’s
rays while you enjoy the beauty of dawn or dusk.

*Focus your gaze directly into the center of the Sun for a moment or
two, but not for too long as it can damage your eyes. If you find this
creates eye strain or excessive squinting, close your eyes and rest
them, and do not try it again.

*As a powerful connection is made with the Sun, continue circular
breathing and feel the warmth and light circulating through your body.

Feel the connection between the Earth and the sun. Establish your
relationship to and with the Sun. Do this for as long as you wish.

*To close the meditation, bring the palms together at the centre of the
chest and pull energy down to the Earth. Ground and center yourself.
Give thanks to the Goddess and God.
from the archives of The Enchanted Garden


ANOINTING: acacia, angelica, carnation, frankincense, jasmine,
lavender, lily of the valley,
lotus, myrrh, rose, rosemary, vervain.
BALANCE: jasmine, orange, rose.
BANISHING, RELEASING: cedar, clove, cypress, patchouli, rose, violet,
betony, elder,
fern, mugwort, vervain, yarrow.
BINDING: apple, cayenne, cypress, dragon’s blood, pine, pepper,
rowan, wormwood.
BLESSING, CONSECRATION: carnation, cypress, frankincense, lotus,
rosemary, elder, rue.
BUSINESS: Benzoin, cinnamon, mint, peony
CHANGE: peppermint, dragon’s blood, woodruff
CLAIRVOYANCE, DIVINATION: acacia, cinnamon, lilac, honeysuckle,
marigold, mugwort,
nutmeg, roe, thyme, wormwood, yarrow, hazel, moonwort, rowan.
CREATIVITY: honeysuckle, dragon’s blood, lilac, lotus, vervain, wild
cherry, savory.
CURSING: blackthorn, elder, pepper.
DETERMINATION, COURAGE: allspice, dragon’s blood, musk, rosemary,
ENERGY, POWER, STRENGTH: allspice, bay, carnation, cinnamon, dragon’s
frankincense, lotus, holly, musk, thyme, oak, verbena.
EXORCISM: bay, frankincense, lavender, pine, pepper, cedar, myrrh,
mullein, basil, rue,
rosemary, vervain, yarrow, wormwood.
GOOD LUCK, JUSTICE: cedar, cinnamon, cinqefoil, chamomile, bayberry,
jasmine, honeysuckle, lotus.
HAPPINESS, PEACE: apple blossom, basil, cedar, cypress, fir, jasmine,
lavender, lotus, lilac,
orange, rose, rosemary, patchouli, purple loosestrife, lily of the
valley, valerian, vervain.
HEALING: carnation, cinnamon, cinqefoil, clove, hazel, hops,
peppermint, orange, savory, rowan,
myrrh, rose, rosemary, sandalwood, lotus, wild cherry, lavender.
INSPIRATION, KNOWLEDGE: clove, acacia, cinquefoil, cypress, reed,
rosemary, rowan, rue, moss,
oak, lily of the valley, laurel, hazel.
LOVE: acacia, apple blossom, birch, catnip, cinquefoil, elder, fern,
gardenia, heather, honeysuckle,
jasmine, juniper, lavender, marigold, marjoram, mistletoe, moonwort,
musk, patchouli, rose, savory,
valerian, vanilla, wormwood, yarrow.
LUCK: Allspice, apple blossom, Melissa, orange, nutmeg, violet.
LUST: Basil, cinnamon, ginger, neroli, ylang ylang.
MEDITATION: acacia, angelica,
NEW BEGINNINGS: birch oil.
PROTECTION: angelica, bay, bayberry, birch, cinnamon, cypress,
frankincense, jasmine, lily
of the valley, patchouli, pine, rue, vervain, basil, fern, fir,
nawthorn, hazel, heather, holly, juniper,
mistletoe, mugwort, oak, pepper, rosemary, thistle, rowan, wormwood,
PSYCHIC CENTERS, OPENING: lotus, mimosa, mugwort, nutmeg, wisteria.
PROSPERITY: Almond, bergamot, honeysuckle, mint, peony.
PURIFICATION: bay laurel, frankincense, lavender, myrrh, pine,
rosemary, vervain, basil, betony,
cedar, dragon’s blood, elder, hyssop, marjoram, oak, peppermint, rue,
salt, thyme, valerian, woodruff.
REINCARNATION: lilac, sandalwood.
SLEEP: Chamomile, lavender, peppermint, thyme.
SUCCESS: Bergamot, clove, ginger, lemon balm.
VISIONS: bay laurel, frankincense, lotus, acacia, marigold, mugwort,
WILL POWER: rosemary, St. Johnswort.

Celestial Tortilla Chips

are served at a Harry Potter, Wizard or Magic Party.

Celestial Tortilla Chips
Use 2-inch star- and moon-shaped cookie cutters and cut-out shapes using store-bought flour or corn tortillas (found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store).
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place shapes in single layer. Bake in a 350-degree F. oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until tortilla shapes are starting to harden.
Remove from oven and let cool.

Wizard’s Crystal Cheese Ball
2-1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 10 ounces) 2 packages (3 ounces each) Cream Cheese, softened and divided 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/3 cup chopped pitted ripe Olives
1 to 2 tablespoons Milk
1 large red Bell Pepper (decorations)
6 whole pitted ripe Black Olives (decorations) A batch of Celestial Crackers

Beat Monterey Jack cheese, 1 package cream cheese, onion, mayonnaise and chili powder in medium bowl until smooth. Mix in chopped red pepr and chopped olivers. Shape mixture into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Beat remaining package of cream cheese in a small bowl until fluffy; beat in just enough milk to make the mixture into a good spreading consistency.
Spread mixture on and over cheese ball; refrigerate loosely covered until serving time, at least 2 more house. Cut red pepper into stars with small cutter or sharp knife. Slice olives into crescent moons. Just before serving, decorate cheese ball with stars and moon. Place cheese ball on inverted mug (pedestal) and serve with Celestial Tortillas.

Cheese Ball is the compliments of
1993 Holiday Fun Foods
A fabulous book that can be purchased at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/078530195X/thepartyworks

Doggie De’Pugh

•    10 oz  Aloe Juice/Distilled Water 50/50 Blend
•    0.15 oz  Hydrolyzed SWO Protein
•    2 oz  Polysorbate 20
•    0.5 oz  Silk Amino Acids
•    2 oz  Witch Hazel Distillate
•    1 oz  Jojoba Oil
•    0.1 oz  Neem Oil (Optional)
•    0.1 oz  Lavender EO
•    0.1 oz  Rosemary EO
•    0.5 oz  Citronella EO
Part A Polysorbate 20 Jojoba Oil Neem Oil (Optional) Lavender EO Rosemary EO Citronella EO Part B Aloe Distilled Water Mixture Witch Hazel Hydrolyzed SWO Protein Silk Amino Acids Directions: Combine Part A mix well Combine Part B and mix well Slowly pour Part B into Part A stirring constantly. add A preservative if not using within 2 months or if you plan to sell. This spray is great for Between Baths to help keep your pooch smelling pretty. 🙂 The Neem Oil is optional but does help dogs with Hot Spots or irritated skin, also has helped to prevent flea infestation. Avoid the ears and eyes (Face in general) when spraying this.

Chinese Takeout Favor Box

Nothing makes a wedding or party special like custom favors your guests can take with them. We have created a template that makes mini favor boxes shaped like Chinese takeout containers. Because it is a template, you can customize like crazy, adding coordinating ribbons, scrapbook cardstock and paper stacks, glitter, stickers, gift tags, and so much more!

For a perfect little Valentine, use this template to make your cute little treat box, then put kisses inside and attach a tag to include your Valentines message!

Here is what you will need to make a Chinese takeout style treat box:

Craft Supplies:

Chinese takeout favor box template. Here
Scissors and a stapler
Your favorite decorative cardstock (we used the DCDM Whimsy Stack for our examples)
Boning tool for making the creases and scoring board (We used Martha Stewart’s kit – comes with a scoring board and a boning tool.) If you don’t have a bone folder, you can crease the lines with the edge of a popsicle stick.

How to fold and assemble your box:

Cut your cardstock to a size that will fit in your printer. The template we used is designed to work with the standard 8.5 x 11 sized paper that fits in our printer. (tip: please check to make sure your cardstock will work with your printer. If you are using a very heavy cardstock that can’t be fed through your printer, print the template on basic white paper or cardstock and trace it onto your final paper.)
Cut around the outside of the box shape. (follow the solid yellow line)
Use a bone folding tool and scoring board to trace the dotted lines in the template. Push hard enough to make a crease you can see slightly on the other side, but not so hard you pierce the paper.
Fold to connect the dots on sections 1, 2, 3, and 4
Fold sections 5, 6, 7, and 8 toward the center
Bring the tips of the tabs you created in step 4 together behind sections 5 and 7 and secure with a staple. If you will be tying the top with a ribbon, wrap the ribbon around the bottom and up under the “tab” sections before you staple. Leave about 4 inches of ribbon slack on each site to make it easy to tie.


Variations and embellishments make these really really cute. Here are a few variations you can try:

Rather than using a staple to secure the sides, take a piece of heavy gauge wire to create a handle (this is how real Chinese food takeout boxes look.) You can poke each side of the wire through the “tab sections” two at a time and fold the wire under to secure.
Adding gift tags and dimensional stickers make these over the top cute! I like to add stickers, gems, and gift tags that coordinate with my papers.

Kitchen Blessing

“Blessed Be this kitchen of Air, Fire, Water and Earth
Be warmed by the Sacred light of the Goddess

May all that is Created here by means both Magickal and mundane bring
nourishment, healing and sustenance,
and cause harm to none.
With love and peace, with joy and Magick,
be now and always filled.
so Mote it be!”

~source unknown >>

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