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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Why Can’t Johnny Meditate?

Or Meditation–Not Just for Enlightenment Anymore

“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to
experience their world in the way they have been told to.”
~ Alan Keightley

Children are taught to read and write. Why aren’t they more often taught
to meditate? Most of us in the West who have learned to meditate
stumbled upon the practice somehow in adulthood. Meditation, not too
long ago, was strictly an esoteric practice. In the 1970s, people in the
US would have to pay money to learn to meditate using their special guru
approved personal mantra. There were a few Buddhist and Hindu centers in
major population centers where you could get instruction, but the
average American was not likely to go there. Meditation was generally
considered an odd thing to do. There were jokes about people
contemplating their navel, which just made it seem silly. Gradually
though, meditation has caught on. Even doctors recommend it now.
Scientists have found it helpful for managing stress, which in turn
helps people to stay healthy. If you receive care for cancer or a
cardiac condition in a major medical center in the US, you should not be
surprised if you are taught mindfulness and meditation. If you are not
offered the opportunity, you should ask why.
Roman Catholic monks discovered that meditation in the style of Zen
deepened their Christian spirituality, and now many Christians practice
meditation along with their prayers.
Athletes learned that their performances could be enhanced by quiet
contemplation and visualization before their events. Now some forms of
meditation are common at the Olympics.
The Internet has been a great resource for students of meditation. In
recent years the net has blossomed with websites promoting and
explaining meditation. This Interlude website was created, in part, out
of the idea that meditation need not be an esoteric practice hidden away
behind temple walls. While the forms of meditation are many, the
technology of meditation is quite simple. You need your mind and your
body. That’s all. You don’t need gongs, incense, special pillows or
ceremonial robes. You can do it sitting on a tree stump, or on a bus, or
sitting on the cold cement floor of your prison cell.
We teach children in school to think. At least we try. Why not, to round
out the picture, teach them how to not think. With anxiety and
depression rampant in the world, people need the tools to manage their
thinking. So many of us become the victims of our repetitive anxious and
negative thoughts, we need to be able to turn off those thoughts, or
turn them around to something more constructive.
Every one of us breathes, yet so few know how to use the breath. Unless
we are taught to use it, and unless we practice its use, it seems no
more significant than blinking or sweating. The untrained person sees
breath as a side effect of life. He might say, “My heart beats, I
breathe, I scratch an itch, so what?” The what is that how we breathe is
related to how we feel and how we think. Why doesn’t everyone know this?
How can we let people grow up not knowing that they can calm themselves
through the simple act of consciously slowing and deepening their
breath?
Meditation can be very complex and sophisticated or it can be very
simple. Here is a simple meditation exercise that anyone can do.
Practice:
Sit up straight. Get comfortable with it. You are steady as a mountain.
Pay attention to your breathing.
Let it happen by itself.
Notice what moves when you breathe.
Does your chest move?
Does your belly move?
Invite your belly to make room for the air in your lungs. Let it expand
a little more when you breathe in.
When you breathe out, give the air a little push. Let it go out a little
more than usual.
Don’t force the air in. Just let it come in on its own.
It’s OK to pause a little between breaths. See if this wants to happen.
Breathe like this for a little while, and then just let your breath be
very natural.
Don’t push it in or out. Just let your breath happen on its own.
As you breathe in, say to yourself, “In.”
As you breathe out, say to yourself, “Out.”
Just pay attention to breathing in and breathing out.
If any other thoughts come into your mind, let them go.
You don’t have to do anything with them, except notice them and let them
go.
You don’t need to force your thoughts to stop, and you don’t need to
hang on to them.
You are just sitting and noticing what is happening with your breath and
with your thoughts.
Do this for five or ten minutes, then get up, but try it again tomorrow
once or twice. Keep practicing. See what happens.

POTIONCRAFT

Caution: All herbal potions will have an effect on you in the mundane. A
catnip potion for love will make you sleepy. A mugwort potion for astral
travel will stimulate menstrual flow and calm nerves. A St. John’s Wort
potion for protection will also lift your mood. You should be aware of the
medicinal properties of every herb you ingest. And if you have a medical
condition, proceed with caution. When in doubt about the effects of an herb,
ask your health practitioner. Also remember more is not necessarily better.
People think that just because herbs are sold over the counter that there is
no limit to what they can consume. Not so.
Herbalists kick around a lot of terms, so let’s define a few of them:

Potion — Well, witchy herbalists kick this one around. 😉 It’s an herbal
tea prepared during the appropriate lunar phase and made with herbal
ingredients possessing the correct magickal properties. Potions concocted
for love magick are called philtres.

Infusion — a strong tea. Many recipes will call for a full oz. of herb to
one pint of water. Some think that’s too much. I think Cunningham called
for one teaspoon dried herb for every cup of water. I just throw in the
amount that feels right. This is simply the process of soaking the herb in
water. Heat water until just boiling, pour it over the herb, cover the cup,
let sit undisturbed for 15-30 minutes. Drink it. Wash with it. Pour it in
your bath or anoint yourself with it.

Solar infusions — put fresh or dried herbs in a jar with cool water. Place
in the sun for 1-2 days. Solar infusions seem to have more plant spirit.
It’s good to work with the astrological signs here if possible — an
appropriate sun sign or other aspect.

Lunar infusions — same as solar infusions, but placed under the moonlight.
Choose the best moon signs and phases here.

Decoction — a decoction is made like an infusion, but here it is OK to boil
the herb. Usually decoctions are made from roots or other herbs with
constituents that are not easily extracted. Roots, seeds, and stems make
good decoctions. Begin with cold water, and add the toughest roots, etc.,
first. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes covered. Then let
cool completely. If adding leaves or dried herbs to a decoction, you can
take the decoction off the stove and steep your less hardy herbs as you
would an infusion. Be sure to cover throughout the process so your volatile
oils don’t boil away. Strain. Some recommend one oz. of herb to one pint
water. Others use one part herb to 20 parts water.

Tincture — if long term storage is required, you will probably want to make
a tincture. A tincture contains alcohol. Into a mason jar with lid, place 4
oz. of herb and 8 oz. of alcohol. (I use brandy). Seal the jar and keep it
out of sunlight for two weeks. Begin this process on the new moon and finish
on the full moon. Be sure to swish the herbs around in the jar daily. Strain
and store in dark bottles.

Wash — a weak tea or infusion that is used externally. A mild wash — 1/4
oz. herb to one pint boiling water — can be used to cleanse magickal tools,
crystals, or other magickal uses.

Aspurger — a weak tea (wash) put in a watering can or spray bottle used for
spraying an area or thing. Many witches like to use the more natural tree
limb with leaves still attached. Dip it in the wash and shake it through the
area. Especially good for cleansing spells or exorcism when working with
rooms, houses, or large areas.

Ointments/Balms — I include balms in these definitions because the oils
used in balms are heated to a liquid state during preparation. Simply melt
lard/vegetable shortening/or any fatty substance to a liquid form over low
heat. Pour in herbs and let them simmer for about nine minutes. Strain out
the herbs and store in an airtight jar. One cup fatty substance to three
tablespoons powdered herb. For external use.

Perfumes — are made by blending essential oils together to create a
fragrance. Choose oils to match your magickal intention, then add them to
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 1/4 cup witch hazel tincture, and 1/2 cup water.
Shake well, then dab on pulse points. Aromatic herbs work best here.

Oils –many of the essential oils you find in herbal shops have been
distilled with steam. You can make oils at home by crushing herbs and
placing them in a jar. Cover them with warmed oil (virgin olive, safflower,
and almond are all good). Steep for 48 hours in sunlight. Strain and repeat,
adding fresh herbs. You might do this several times until the oil smells
good and strong like the herb. Store in dark bottles. I use oils to anoint
candles and other magickal tools, myself, just about everything. I love
them.

Flower essences — these work on energetic and psychic levels. Pick the
flower and place them in fresh spring water — just let them float on the
top of the water. Place flowers and/or gems in your crystal bowl full of
water in full sunlight for several hours. This process will extract the life
essence and energy matrix from the materials. This is known as your Mother
Essence. Add brandy as a preservative. From this essence will come your
stock bottles.

The recipe:
two drops of the Mother Essence in one ounce pure water with a teaspoon of
brandy. This is your stock bottle. From these stock bottles will come your
dosage bottles. Simply combine 2 drops from your stock bottles into one
ounce pure water and a teaspoon brandy in a dropper bottle. You can take
your dose directly from the dosage bottle or drop the elixir into a glass of
water.Works like homeopathic medicines.

Gem elixirs — made like flower essences, but using crystals and gems
instead of flowers.

Fluid Condensers — you need two handfuls of herb, cold water to cover
them, a cauldron or cooking pot, and gin or vodka. Place herbs and water in
a pot with a tight fitting lid. Boil for 20 minutes. Cool for 13 minutes,
then strain out herbs. Bring to a boil again and evaporate one-half of the
liquid. Take from the heat and cover. When cool, add an equal amount of gin
or vodka. Three drops of your own blood from your thumb will personalize the
condenser and add energy. To use the condenser, put it in a cauldron or pot
and simmer to release the herbal magick. Actually, those aromatherapy
candle/ simmering potpourri holders work very well here. Place the liquid in
the top bowl and light a tea light beneath it. Let it evaporate and release
its magickal properties into the air. This liquid can be used as holy
water — sprinkle on parchment in petition spells, pour into the earth as a
libation, sprinkle tools or working area, etc. You can also make one for
each of the four elements and simmer them on your altar during workings.
These are a few methods for making magickal potions. The thing that lifts
these potions from the mundane, medicinal level to a magickal level is your
enchantment of them and magickal timing. Enchant your herbs at the
appropriate moon phases and signs (or other planetary aspects) before
preparation by running your fingers through the herb while visualizing your
need. You may want to simply enchant the finished potion. Gerina Dunwich
uses a chant that I really like:

Herbal potion, cauldron brew,
Now be charged with magick true.
With intent I speak this charm,
All be blessed and none be harmed.
Ever minding the rule of three,
As I will, so mote it be.
Or how about:
Brew of flowers, Witches’ tea,
Filled with magick powers be.

A chant you create yourself will have more power and pertain to the spell
you are casting. Remember to visualize and focus your intent into the potion
and herbs.
So how do you know which sort of potion to make? Obviously infusions are
easiest. They can be made quickly and don’t require a lot of prep time. If I
want my magick to affect my environment, I might make a magickal perfume.
These work well in harmony spells, or to attract a mate, or for glamoury
spells. I like oils for anointing myself and my tools (including poppets).
Flower essences (which are easily bought in health food stores) assist me
with inner work. I love them! I sometimes use the mugwort flower essence
before reading tarot cards. I would need to make a decoction if I wanted a
dandelion root potion for a psychic boost. The potions that use brandy, gin,
or vodka are for long term storage. So if I wanted to make a mugwort
tincture with all the fresh mugwort from my garden, I would make a tincture.
(Tinctures are also excellent for healing potions).

Speaking of healing potions, here’s another chant to use while making
(courtesy of Dunwich):
Witches’ potion, I enchant thee
By intent and thrice told verse.
Be a tool of magick for me
Work thy spell to heal and nurse.
Witches’ potion, be now blessed
By power of the universe.
In the cauldron effervesce,
Maladies and pain disperse.
Harming none I know decree
This charm is done. So mote it be!
Repeat this three times as you visualize your intent while the potion boils
or brews.

As with poppets, if I’m adding more than one herb, I like to add them in
multiples of three. For instance, for a divination potion, I might choose
mugwort, yarrow, and dandelion root. I would make a decoction of my
dandelion root, take off the burner, then steep (infuse) mugwort and yarrow
in the decoction.
For prosperity, I might make an infusion of herbs I know are safe to drink,
or I might make a wash to sprinkle my work area and wallet with the
inedible mandrake or may apple or periwinkle. The possibilities are endless,
really. What you choose is just a matter of what works best for you.
Experiment and see what you like.

Bacon Onion Pinwheels

Makes: 32 servings, 1 pinwheel each
10 slices OSCAR MAYER Center Cut Bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled  
1/2 cup finely chopped onion  
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, softened  
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley  
2 cans (8 oz. each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls  

PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Mix all ingredients except crescent rolls.  
UNROLL crescent roll dough; separate into a total of 8 rectangles.
Firmly press perforations together to seal. Spread bacon mixture
evenly onto dough; roll up, starting from one of the short ends. Cut
each roll crosswise into 4 slices; place on ungreased baking sheets.
Flatten slightly.  
BAKE 15 minutes or until golden brown.  

Great Substitute: Prepare as directed, using LOUIS RICH Turkey Bacon.

Boldo

Botanical: Peumus Boldus (MOLINA)
Family: N.O. Monimiaceae
—Synonyms—Boldu. Boldus. Boldoa Fragrans.
—Part Used—The leaves.
—Habitat—Chile.

——————————————————————————–
—Description—An evergreen shrub growing in the fields of the Andes in Chile, where its yellowish-green fruit is eaten, its bark used for tanning, and its wood utilized in charcoalmaking.
Leaves are opposite, sessile, about 2 inches long entire, and colour when dried red brown, coriaceous, prominent midrib, a number of small glands on their surface. Odour peculiar, when crushed very strongly disagreeable, not unlike oil of Chenopodium (wormseed). The leaves contain about 2 per cent on distillation of an aromatic volatile oil, chemically related to oil of Chenopodium.

A peculiar alkaloid called Boldine has been found in the leaves and when injected hyperdermically, paralyses both motor and sensory nerves, also the muscle fibres. When given internally, in toxic doses, it causes great excitement, exaggerates the reflexes and the respiratory movements, increases diuresis, causes cramp and convulsions ending in death from centric respiratory paralysis, the heart continuing to beat long after respiration ceases. Of late years Boldine has been largely used in veterinary practice for jaundice.

—Constituents—Boldo leaves contain about 2 per cent of volatile oil, in which, in addition to terpenes, terpineol has been detected. They also contain the bitter alkaloid Boldine and the glucoside Boldin or Boldoglucin.

—Medicinal Action and Uses—Tonic, antiseptic, stimulant. Useful in chronic hepatic torpor. The oil in 5-drop doses has been found useful in genito-urinary inflammation. Has long been recognized in South America as a valuable cure for gonorrhoea.

—Preparations—Tincture of Boldo, B.P.C., used as a diuretic. Dose, 10 to 40 minims. Fluid extract, 1/4 to 1/2 drachm.

—Other Species—The Australian tree Monimia rotundifolia contains an oil rather similar, which may be safely substituted for Boldo.

Rigantona

 
Themes: Sports, excellence, magick, fertility, movement & travel.
Symbols: Horse, Moon, white items & birds.
 
About Rigantona: A Roman/Italic form of Rhiannon, this Goddess travels
the Earth on a swift white horse, a lunar symbol, sweeping us up to
travel along and get everything in our lives moving!  Stories portray
Rigantona in the company of powerful magical birds, and she also
represents fertility.
 
To Do Today: In Italy, people attend the Palio Festival, a horse race
that started in the 13th century and has continued ever since as a time
to show physical skill and cunning. It’s a perfect place for Rigantona
to shine. Any type of physical activity that you excel in will please
Rigantona today and encourage her motivational energy in your
efforts. Get out and take a brisk walk, swim, rollerblade. As you
move, visualize yourself atop a white horse, the goddess’s symbol,
approaching an image of a specific goal. All the energy you expend
during this activity generates magick for attainment.
 
If birds fly into your life today, pay attention to the type of bird and
its movements, because birds are Rigantona’s messengers. Birds flying
to the right are good omens, those moving to the left act as a warning
of danger, and those flying overhead indicate productivity in whatever
you try today. If any of these birds drops a feather, keep it as a
gift from this Goddess.

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

Goddess Meditation

Beauty draws the soul out, connects to us at the soul level.
Her robe was of the finest linen: white and red and crocus yellow.
Along the hem a woven border swayed, with fruits and blooming flowers.
And around her body, from right hip to shoulder,
she had slung a mantle,
lustrous black, embroidered with the stars of heaven and the fiery Moon.
and tasseled with silk fringe, falling into innumerable glittering
folds.
~ Apuleius, The Golden Ass
 
The term “Earth Goddess” is often used to describe the great force of
creative femininity. This implies that the goddess is only connected
with the soil, the surface of the planet, the elements and the minerals
and the plants that are nourished by them.

But the ancient Goddess ruled the sky as well as the soil. Her domain
included that blanket of atmosphere surrounding and sustaining us. The
Goddess was not just something we walk upon, plow into, bulldoze. She
was as much above us as below us. We are not trodding her beneath our
feet, but are instead enveloped in her. Reorienting our vision of the
Goddess to include the entire cosmos changes how we view our relation to
her.

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

Thirteen Gifts of Aradia

    “Gifts of Aradia” is a phrase used to indicate the legendary powers of the Witch, gained through the practice of Witchcraft.

Aradia, a legendary Witch queen, taught that the traditional powers of a Witch would belong to any who followed in the ways of the Old Religion. Aradia called these powers gifts, because she stressed the point that these powers were the benefits of adhering to the Old Ways, and not the reason for becoming a Witch.

The “Gifts of Aradia” are these:

1). To bring success in love

2). To bless and consecrate

3). To speak with spirits

4). To know of hidden things

5). To call forth spirits

6). To know the Voice of the Wind

7). To possess the knowledge of transformation

8). To possess the knowledge of divination

9). To know and understand secret signs, symbols, and sigils

10). To cure disease

11). To bring forth beauty

12). To have influence over wild beasts

13). To know the secrets of the hands

 

Here is a link to a site called ‘Goddess Gift’. For more information about various Goddesses and their different symbols, click on the link and go to ‘Goddess Stories’. When creating your own personalized prayers and devotions to the Goddess of your choice, just click onto the Goddess name and click on the link for the symbols of that Goddess, to create a special sacred space or altar for that Goddess.

http://www.goddessgift.com/index.html

Bath Oils

Using essential oils in the bath is one of the nicest ways to enjoy their
therapeutic benefits. Adding them to a carrier oil help to disperse the
essential oils throughout the water and onto to your body. Lighter oils disperse more readily in the water. Heavier oils lie on the top of the bath water and will cling to your skin when leaving the bath. To use bath oils, draw your bath first, close the door and then add about two teaspoons
of bath oil to your water. Light oils suitable for bath oils that readily disperse include sunflower oil and Grapeseed oil.
Sunflower oil contains vitamins A, B, D and E, ( the principal one ) and is
high in unsaturated fatty acids.
Grapeseed Oil contains a high percentage of linoleic acid and some vitamin E.

Fairies’ Feathered Friend Feeder

Materials:
An empty milk carton, nontoxic paint, glitter, white glue, popsicle
sticks, 10″ wooden dowel w/ 1/4″ diameter, wire hanger (cut bottom
of hanger for inserting into milk carton), birdseed.

Rinse out milk carton thoroughly. Do not completely open top, rather
glue open spout back together. Cut 3″ wide by 4″ long arched
openings on “spout” side and opposite side of carton, with base of
opening approx. 3″ from bottom of carton. Let the child paint the
outside of the carton in Litha colors of red, yellow, orange, white,
green. Before the paint dries let child sprinkle colored glitter all
over the carton, (birds are attracted to shiny objects). Let carton
dry. Glue painted or non-painted popsicle stick shingles onto the
top of the carton as a roof. For the perches, poke holes in the
carton just below the openings, and slip the wooden dowel through
the holes. Poke two holes in the top of the carton just under the
roof, insert one end of the cut hanger into each hole. Fill the
bottom of the carton with wild birdseed. Hang in a spot that is easy
to view, but far enough away from fences or other objects to thwart
predators. Tell child how fairies, brownies, and sprites ride on the
backs of birds to get from one place to another if it is too far to
walk.

Summer Invocation, by Trish Telesco

For the little children to participate in the Litha ritual, have
them call quarters!

“Fireflies and summer sun
in circles round
we become as one

Singing songs at magick’s hour
we bring the winds
and timeless powers

Turning inward, hand in hand
Chant While Sun is Setting
we dance the hearth
Hail fair Sun
to heal the land
Ruler of the day;

Rise on the morn
Standing silent beneath the sky
To light my way.
We catch the fire
from our God’s eye
Chant While Moon Gazing

Hail fair Moon
Swaying breathless, beside the sea
Ruler of the night;
we call the Goddess
Guard me and mine
So mote it be!
Until the light”

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