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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Exercises For Meditation


In order to more easily enter and control a meditative state, it is
helpful to train your mind and senses so that you can more easily
maintain your concentration and awareness. Many people are able to
easily jump right into basic meditation practices (especially some
children). But many people have serious problems with concentration and
find their thoughts scattering quickly. The following exercises should
help to develop your mind's basic skills. They may seem a far cry from
sitting in deep meditation and solving all of our problems, but you've
got to learn to walk before you run. 

Observance: 
Many of us skate through life never really noticing anything we don't
have to. The richness of sensory input all around us goes completely
unnoticed until it offends or pleases us into noticing. Try walking down
the street without the dog or kids or any other distractions. As you
walk, notice things around you. Purposefully seek out mundane things to
look at. Notice colours, textures, and try to absorb as much detail as
you can. Do not limit this exercise to sight alone. Notice the ambient
noise around you. Try and distinguish what caused each separate sound.
Do the same with smell, touch, even taste (next time you eat, try to
really taste what you're eating.). Also, focus your attention inward.
Notice how things feel such as the sensation of warm and cool in various
parts of your body. Spend as much time as possible simply observing the
details around you and interpreting them. You'll find that this alone
can bring on a sense of calm and appreciation that you've never
experienced. 

Awareness and Control:
Lay on a bed or floor with no distractions. Close your eyes and notice
how you feel. 
Consciously scan through your body, searching for various sensations.
Sense how long your arms and legs are. Notice hot and cold sensations in
your body. Also look for areas of muscular tension or relaxation. Now
try to control them. Experiment with warming you hands or feet simply by
focusing on the effect. Seek out areas of tension and relax the muscles
in that area. Imagine your body expanding or shrinking. Focus on the
sensations that this causes. It can be highly entertaining, but don't
get distracted. (This exercise has a tendency to cause a natural sense
of euphoria. 

Balance: 
Stand in a natural, comfortable position (but don't over do it; and
slouch.). Close you eyes and begin to slowly rock back and forth very
slightly. Search for your body's center of gravity. Look the point at
which your body doesn't naturally fall forward or back. Now repeat this
process from side to side. Make your movements more and more subtle
until you are perfectly in balance. Now notice exactly how this feels.
Note the feeling well and try to achieve it at various points throughout
your day.

Active Visualisation:
When we are children, we "pretend" constantly. For this reason children
are inherently skilled at imagining and visualising. For adults, we've
got to go back to basics. Try sitting comfortably, away from
distractions, and closing your eyes. Now visualize a simple
two-dimensional shape. Try either a square or circle. Picture the shape
as vividly as possible in your mind. (if you're having trouble, stare at
a picture of one for a few moments first.) Once you can do this
consistently and can hold the image for as long as you want, try
manipulating the shape in your mind's eye. Turn the square into a circle
and back. Now turn it around. Change it size, and so on. Now find a
small, ordinary object (brush, ball, vase, whatever.). Spend several
minutes observing the object. Look at it from various different angles.
Note it's colour and any patterns on it. Now close your eyes and
visualize the object. At first you may get just a glimmer, but practice
and keep concentrating. Soon you should be able to see the object in
your mind's eye, turn it around, change it's size, etc. 

Passive Visualization: 
Try using your visualisation and attention skills to see something in
your mind's eye. Try to eliminate any pre-conceived notions of what
you'll visualise. It needn't be anything at all, as long as there's a
picture in your head. Approach the experience with a sense of curiosity.
It may take some practice. But eventually, you'll be able to allow your
subconscious to place an image into your conscious mind without any
prior idea of what it will be. A similar exercise is to stare at clouds,
cracks in a wall, or similarly abstract designs and look for familiar
images in them. 

By Ray Baars

Solar Cleansing Brew

2 parts Fern
2 parts Juniper
2 parts Rosemary
1 part Cumin
1 part Yarrow
1 part Pepper
1 part Rue

Place the ground, mixed and empowered herbs in a red bottle half-filled with water. Set this in the sun, let steep, then strain out the herbs. For a gentle cleansing, sprinkle the brew around the house at sunrise for three or four days every month.

~The Complete Book Of Incense, Oils and Brews by Scott Cunningham~

KFC Potato Wedges

shortening for Frying
5 Baking potatoes cut into Wedges
1 cup Milk
1 egg
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon MSG
1/4 teaspoon Paprika
dash of garlic powder

Preheat shortening in to 375 F. Cut the potatoes into 16 to 18 equal side
wedges. Mix the egg and milk till well blended in a big bowl. Mix the dry
ingredients into a large bowl. Put some potatoes in the milk and egg then
into the flour mixture till well coated. Fry in fryer for 3 minutes remove
from the oil and allow them to sit for one minute and then cook them again
for 5 minutes or until cooked. It may take up to 6 minutes.

Buchu

Botanical: Barosma betulina (BART. and WENDL.)
Family: N.O. Rutaceae
—Synonym—Diosma betulina.
—Part Used—Leaves.
—Habitat—A small shrubby plant chiefly found in the south-west region of Cape Colony.
The standard Buchus of commerce are obtained from three species: Barosma betulina, known as ‘shorts’; B. crenulata, known ‘ovals’ and ‘shortbroads,’ and B. serratifolia, known as ‘longs.’ The leaves of the firstnamed are most valued and constitute the foliea buchu of the British Pharmacopoeia.

The Hottentots use several species, all under the common name of ‘Bucku.’ The leaves have a rue-like smell, and are used by the natives to perfume their bodies.

Buchu leaves are collected while the plant is flowering and fruiting, and are then dried and exported from Cape Town. The bulk of the Buchu exported to London from South Africa eventually finds its way to America, where it is used in certain proprietary medicines.

——————————————————————————–

—Description—The leaves of B. betulina (short Buchu) are of a pale green colour, 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, 1/2 inch or less wide, leathery and glossy, with a blunt, strongly-curved tip and finely-toothed margin, with round oil glands scattered through the leaf. Frequently the small flowers, with five whitish petals, and the brownish fruits may be found mixed with the drug. The leaves have a strongly aromatic taste and a peppermint-like odour.
—Constituents—The principal constituents of Buchu leaves are volatile oil and mucilage, also diosphenol, which has antiseptic properties, and is considered by some to be the most important constituent of Buchu its absence from the variety known as ‘Long Buchu’ has led to the exclusion of the latter leaves from the British Pharmacopoeia.

The Cape Government exercises strict control over the gathering of Buchu leaves and has lately made the terms and conditions more onerous, in order to prevent the wholesale destruction of the wild plants, no person being permitted to pick or buy Buchu without a licence. Cultivation experiments with Buchu have been made from time to time by private persons, and during the war experiments were conducted at the National Botanic Gardens, Kirstenbosch (near Cape Town), the result of which (given in the South African Journal of Industries, 1919, 2, 748) indicate that, under suitable conditions, the commercial cultivation of Buchu should prove a success, B. betulina, the most valuable kind, being the species alone to be grown. The plant is particularly adapted to dry conditions, and may be cultivated on sunny hillsides where other crops will not succeed.

It is doubtful whether the cultivation of Buehu could be conducted satisfactorily outside South Africa. B. betulina was introduced to this country in 1790, but does not appear to be in eultivation at the present time, except as a greenhouse plant. This and B. serratifolia are grown in Kew Gardens.

—Medicinal Action and Uses—In gravel, inflammation and catarrh of the bladder it is specially useful. The infusion (B.P.) of 1 OZ. of leaves to 1 pint of boiling water is taken in wineglassful doses three or four times a day.

—Other Preparations—Fluid extract: dose, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Tincture, B.P.: dose, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Solid extract: dose, 5 to 15 grains. Barosmin: dose, 2 to 3 grains.

Buchu has long been known at the Cape as a stimulant tonic and remedy for stomachic troubles, where it is infused in Brandy and known as Buchu Brandy. Its use was learnt from the Hottentots.

It was introdueed into official medicine in Great Britain in 1821 as a remedy for cystitis urethritis, nephritis and catarrh of the bladder.

Sedna

 
Themes: Thankfulness, providence, nature, abundance
Symbols: Water, an eye, fish
 
About Sedna: The mother of the sea, which is sometimes called the
“eating place: in northern climes, Sedna is a very important figure in
Alaskan mythology as the provider of nourishment for both body and
soul. In narratives, Sedna gave birth to fish, seals, polar bears and
whales, the life-sustaining animals of this region.  Artistic
renderings show her as having one eye that sees all things in her
domain.
 
To Do Today: At this time of year, fishermen in Alaska dance through
town giving out whale meat. According to custom, this dance
propitiates the spirits of the food-providing whales who have died in
the previous year. It also ensures an abundance of food in the year
ahead.  Adapting this a bit, abstain from your favorite meat product
today and ask for Sedna’s blessing on the animals who provide your food
year-round.  Vegetarians can forgo their favorite staple and ask Sedna
to bless the Earth’s greenery instead! Eating fish however is
perfectly suited to the occasion, as it will fill you with Sedna’s
nourishment.  Remember to eat thankfully!
 
To keep a small token in your home that will continually draw Sedna’s
blessing to you, get a goldfish and name it after her!  Each time you
feed the fish you’re symbolically giving an offering to the
goddess. When you have a need, whisper it to the fish so Sedna hears
you.

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

Goddess Meditation

Healing comes through forgiveness and love.
Think of a sapling growing in the morning Sun.
Think of its strength: that is the Goddess.
Think of corn silk: that is her hair.
Think of matched jewels: those are her eyes.
Think of swan’s wings: her hands.
Think of gray doves: her breasts.
Think of how sweet pigeons coo:
now you are hearing the voice of the Goddess.
~ Serbian Song To The Goddess
 
As in so many lands, we find in Serbian literature many poems praising
the beauty of the goddess. Such poems praise as well the beauty of
nature, for the goddess is part of – perhaps the sum of – the natural
world. In the birds and plants and animals and mountains and oceans that
are our planetary mother creates, we see a reflection of all that she
is. Yet nature, plentiful and prolific, is beyond all that we witness,
ceaselessly producing new creatures, inventing and creating with a power
that far exceeds our ability to comprehend it.
 
How can we not take care of the Earth? Each action we take affects the
planet that gave us life and sustains that life. If we actually look at
the world for one day, seeing its myriad beauties, how could we ever
injure her again?

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

A BOWHUNTER’S PRAYER TO DIANA

Oh Silvery Huntress of the Night!
Diana of the pale moonlight!
Oh Goddess of the Silver Bow
Smile on your humble child, below
Come now to me and be my guest,
And aid me in this hunt…my quest!

In this endeavor, grant success
Grant me patience – grant kindness
Watch over me and guide my steps –
As I walk into the forest’s depths.
Protect me from all injury
And close beside me, always be.

Aid me as I track the deer
Through brush and thickets, far and near
When it comes time to draw my bow
Grant me accuracy, here below
Guide my arrows with speed and skill
Grant painless death and swiftest kill

Silvery Huntress, I am your child…
I hunt your forests, free and wild.
Bless this hunt, I ask of thee
Oh Great Diana, hear my plea
Goddess of Wild Ones and the Night!
Bless my table with food tonight!

Citrus and Herb Bath

You will need:
3 or 4 chamomile tea bags
3 or 4 fresh oranges, sliced
Equal parts lavender and lemon rind

Place in a muslin bag or a square of muslin tied tightly with string. Add to
warm bath as the tub and filling and while bathing.

Courtesy of Brenda Hyde of OldFashionedLiving.com (http://www.oldfashionedliving.com/)

Gel Air Freshner

You can make your own great smelling gel air fresheners, using liquid potpourri, or from scratch. They make great gifts!

You will need:

* 2 cups of distilled water
* Essential oil/fragrance of your choice.
* 4 packages of knox gelatin
* Food coloring (optional)

Heat 1 cup of water almost to a boil. Add the gelatin and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat add another cup of distilled water, 10-20 drops of oil/fragrance, and food coloring if desired.

You can replace food coloring and oil/fragrance with premade liquid potpourri (available at most craft stores, candle shops, etc.). Just make sure it’s the concentrated kind or it won’t retain its smell. The procedure would be the same. Heat 1 cup of the liquid potpourri, almost to a boil. Stir in 4 packets of Knox gelatin, until dissolved. Then stir in 1 cup cool liquid potpourri.

Pour the mixture into clean baby food jars and set at room temperature overnight until “set”. You can place the jars in the refrigerator if you need them to set more quickly, but be aware that the smell will permeate the fridge.

For gift giving, you can decorate the baby food jars by wrapping with material, or glueing on wallpaper, stickers, wrapping paper, etc.

To use, place the jar on the stovetop (not directly on the burner!) while cooking, heat in a potpourri burner, or simply set out on a table and enjoy the aroma.

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