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Monthly Archives: January 2013

A Short Meditation on the Dark Goddess

 

By: Keitha (FireWind)

Who is the Dark Goddess? She is the wild one, the crazed bloodthirsty one who will gladly feast on the bones of the dead.

She rides on the night winds, her shadow sending forest creatures scurrying for shelter. In the dark She comes: grinning death mask, teeth bared, eyes glowing red with destructive glee.

Who is this terrible death?

She is the dark one… the one who brings death and disease. The one we put out of our minds with a disquieted shrug. The one we frighten our children with… the one we cannot name.

And yet the Dark Goddess is not to be feared; she is to be faced. She is the strength you feel when you take control of your life, She is the anger you taste when you know you deserve better than this. She brings rest to the tired, she draws the hot bath water at the end of the long, dusty journey. No, she is not evil.

When pain beyond all tolerance comes, she is the bringer of peace. When the unthinkable happens, she is there with open arms, comforting and soothing the wounds. When life has gone on too long, and friends are all gone, she is there to take us home. She is not unfeeling.

But she is not a coddling mother, either. She expects us to be strong. She expects us to take ownership for our lives… she expects us to be able to stand; alone if necessary. And when the test comes, she expects us to be able to look in Her eyes.

Without Darkness, there can be no Light.

The Dark Mother can be feared only as long as we fear ourselves. We cannot fear something we are truly prepared for. We cannot fear that which is laid bare and plain before us. We may fear our instincts, but we cannot fear our true selves.

She is not be twisted to satisfy inner fears. She is not the reason you lash out because you hurt. She is not the one who wrenches you with guilt. She is not the one who gives up just before the unseen moment of victory. She is not the one who drinks just one more.

She is the cold wind that how’s through the cracks in your door. She is the darkness that seeps into your bones before dawn. She is the lonely scream on the battlefield where the dead lay silently. She is the gossamer caress of death when the time has come at last. She is the one who dares you to Stand, with hair flying in the wind and the flames burning around you.

And She is beautiful.

All Purpose Spray

   
You can use this all purpose spray, which includes Peppermint,
throughout your entire house. Spritz the room to lighten the mugginess.

Add a few drops to the laundry to freshen your clothes. In both cases,
you’ll feel your droopy feelings brighten.

All-Purpose Spray

4 drops Lavender oil
2 drops Peppermint oil
2 drops Tea-Tree oil
Mix essential oil’s into 2 cups of water.

from Seasons of Aromatherapy
by Judith Fitzsimmons and Paula M. Bousquet

Peach Butter

2qts. peach pulp (about 1-1/2 dozen medium ripe peaches)
4c sugar

Wash, scald, pit, peel and chop peaches; cook until soft, adding only enough
water to prevent sticking. Press through a food mill. Measure pulp.

Add sugar; cook until thick, about 30 minutes. As mixture thickens, stir
frequently to prevent sticking. Pour hot into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch
head space. Adjust caps. Process  for 10 minutes in boiling water bath.

Yield: about 4 pints

Calabar Bean

POISON!

Botanical: Physostigma venenosum (EALF.)
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
—Synonyms—Ordeal Bean. Chop Nut.
—Part Used—The seeds.
—Habitat—West Africa, Old Calabar. Has been introduced into India and Brazil.

——————————————————————————–
—Description—The plant came into notice in 1846 and was planted in the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens, where it grew into a strong perennial creeper. It is a great twining climber, pinnately trifoliate leaves, pendulous racemes of purplish bean-like flowers; seeds are two or three together in dark brown pods about 6 inches long and kidney-shaped thick, about 1 inch long, rounded ends, roughish but a little polished, and have a long scar on the edge where adherent to the placenta. The seeds ripen at all seasons, but are best and most abundant during the rainy season in Africa, June till September. The natives of Africa employ the bean as an ordeal owing to its very poisonous qualities. They call it esere, and it is given to an accused person to eat. If the prisoner vomits within half an hour he is accounted innocent, but if he succumbs he is found guilty. A draught of the pounded seeds infused in water is said to have been fatal to a man within an hour.
—Constituents—The chief constituent is the alkaloid physostigmine (eserine), with which are calabarines, eseridine, and eseramine. Eseridine is not employed medicinally.

—Medicinal Action and Uses—Chiefly used for diseases of the eye; it causes rapid contraction of the pupil and disturbed vision.Also used as a stimulant to the unstriped muscles of the intestines in chronic constipation. Its action on the circulation is to slow the pulse and raise blood-pressure; it depresses the central nervous system, causingmuscular weakness; it has been employed internally for its depressant action in epilepsy, cholera, etc., and given hypodermically in acute tetanus. Physostigmine Salicylas is preferred for the preparation of eyedrops.

—Preparation of Doses—Extract of Calabar Bean, B.P.: dose, 1/4 to 1 grain. Extract of Physostigma, U.S.P.: dose, 1/8 grain. Tincture of Calabar Bean, B.P.C.: dose, 5 to 15 minims. Tincture of Physostigma, U.S.P.: dose, 15 minims. Physostigmine Eyedrops, B.P.C. Physostigmine eye ointment, B.P.C. Fluid extract, 1 to 3 drops.

—Poisons and Antidotes—In case of poisoning by the beans the stomach should be evacuated and atropine injected until the pulse quickens. With poisoning by physostigmine the stomach should be washed out with 0.2 per cent of potassium permanganate and atropine and strychnine administered hypodermically.

Tamayorihime

Themes: Cleansing, health, children & water.
Symbol: Water ( especially moving water or saltwater ).
 
About Tamayorihime: An ancient Japanese sea goddess, Tamayorihime
rules not only moving water sources but also all matters of
health. She also watches over birth waters to ensure a speedy, safe
delivery for pregnant women.
 
To Do Today: This festival began in 949 C.E. as a way to get rid of
summer maladies. If you’ve had a cold, the flue, or some other
ailment, try an adaptation of Japanese custom. Take a piece of paper
that you’ve left on your altar for a while and rub it on the area of
your body that’s afflicted. Drop the paper into moving water ( like
the toilet ) to carry away sickness in Tamayorihime’s power.
Alternatively, burn the paper to purge the problem. Mingle the ashes
with a few drops saltwater and carry them in a sealed container as a
Tamayorihime amulet for health.
 
For personal cleansing and healing, soak in an Epsom-salt bath
today. As you lie in the tub, stir the water clockwise with your hand
to draw Tamayorihime’s health to you, or counterclockwise so she can
banish a malady. If time doesn’t allow for this, add a very small
pinch of salt to your beverages and stir them similarly throughout the
day, while mentally or verbally reciting this invocation:
 
“Health be quick, health be kind,
within this cup the magick bind!”
 
Drink the beverage to internalize Tamayorihime’s energy.

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

Goddess Meditation
 
How happy I am
running through the hills,
the skin of a fawn
my only cloak, eating
only the meat I kill –
this is such sweetness!
Come with me to the mountains,
sister! Come with me there!
We’ll find honey there, and milk
and nectar and incense,
and women reveling, singing
euoi! euoi!
Join me and follow him,
follow the god of ecstasy,
that raucous boy –
euoi! euoi! euoi!
~ Greek Dramatist Euripdes
 
All humans long for ecstasy, for experiences that lift us beyond the
mundane and into a direct connection with the divine. In ages past,
religions made room for the ecstatic, whether through drumming, shamanic
journeying, vision questing, or other means. today, ecstasy has been
sent forth from the churches into the world. And, without the
sanctification of ritual, people’s search for ecstasy often leads them
to addictive or self-destructive behaviors. Behind such behaviors is,
often, a truly divine search. To attempt to end addictive behaviors
without understanding the urge is ineffective, for the human spirit will
resist living in a world without ecstasy. It is one of the great gifts
of humanity that we can feel so alive, so unified with the cosmos. Do
not deny your urge toward ecstasy. Welcome the gift, and use it wisely.

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

Family Prayer for Grace

God, Goddess, Divine Spirit of all there is, we thank you for this opportunity to gather together in one another’s company. We thank you for the light you bring to this family gathering.

Please grant us the vision to see the highest in one another, and grant us the opportunity to continue to be there for each other in good times, as well as not-so-great-times.

Give us strength and fortitude to ride the tides of change, and empower us always to be nurturing and loving with one another. Open our spiritual eyes that we may see one another for who we truly are… and love one other in the same spirit.

May sadness, disappointment and anger be minimal; may happiness, positive thoughts and good experiences together be bountiful. May we always cope, and hope, with each other… with grace.

We thank the Divine for this delicious dinner, prepared with love. May all consumed here tonight fill us with health and well-being. Amen. Dig in!

– Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway
Appropriate for many faiths
source: From “A Goddess Is A Girl’s Best Friend” by Laurie Sue Brockway (Perigee Books)

Insomnia Bath

4 drops Chamomile oil
2 drops Lavender oil
4 drops Neroli oil
2 drops Marjoram oil

How to Make an Athame

Some traditions call for a specific size for the Athame, though it usually is between six and twelve inches. The size of your Athame should be of whatever length is comfortable for you.

Stop by your local hardware store and ask for a piece of untempered steel that can be tempered (also known as 10/10 steel). If they dont carry this, buy a steel file that is about three inches longer than the knife you want to make. Also buy a corse steel file and a fine steel file to file your new blade into shape. Be sure to get a hacksaw and blade capable of cutting the file once you have removed the temper from it. (Yes, files have a temper, so dont make them angry!)
I know what your first question is. “Don’t you need a forge to get the steel hot enough to remove the temper?”
Well, yes. Do you have a charcoal barbeque? Great! You have a forge! However, in a barbeque, it takes longer. So be patient. Even the shaping of your blade will take some time.
If you are making your blade out of a file, you have one advantage. The advantage is that you won’t have to cut out the tang for your handle, as a file already comes with a tang! You have to remove the temper from the file before you can do anything else. To remove the temper, stock up a large pile of charcoal in your barbeque (large enough to bury the entire file.) Once they are fully lit, bury your file halfway deep in the pile of charcoal. Cover any exposed ends with charcoal using a pare of long handled tongs. The file will need to stay in the charcoal untill the charcoal goes out. This may take all day, so start early in the morning. BE SAFE! Don’t leave the fire unattened! If you need to leave it for a short time, put the cover on your barbeque untill you get back! This should be enough to remove any temper. If the metal is still hard to work with, repeat this procedure.
You also need to do the above procedure for untempered metal, to make it soft.
If you dont have a barbeque, and no other way to do this, you can lay it on the burner of a gas or electric stove. This will take a long time, but has the advantage of being able to see the to-be-blade. Once it it becomes a dull red, it is ready. Turn off the stove and let it cool down naturally.
Mark on the steel or file with a Sharpie marker (or other permanent marker with a fine point) the shape you want your knife to be. Make sure you mark the tang as well if you are not using a file. Just trace the one from your file. Remember, an Athame is a double edged blade. With the hacksaw (or a power bandsaw if you have one) cut out your blade and tang, and file off any rough edges. Now start shaping the blade area for sharpness with a grinding wheel, if you have one. If not, then use the files, rough file first. Finish it off with two grades of wet and dry sandpaper. If your blade is being made from a file, make sure to remove the grooves from all surfaces.
Now you have to harden and temper it. You ask “but didn’t we take the temper out of it?” Yes, but your blade will not hold an edge if we dont harden and re-temper it. Heat up the blade again, this time making it red hot, not dull red. Then take hold of it with a pare of pliers (the longer the handle, the better) and immerse it into a bucket of tepid (warm) water. If the water is cold, it will crack. Let it cool, then clean it with wet and dry sandpaper. Youv’e just hardened your blade.
Now you need to temper it. Again, reheat it. Again immerse it in tepid water and clean it with wet and dry sandpaper. Next, heat up again to a dull red, this time keeping a good eye on it as it changes color. It will get a bright, light straw color, then a medium straw color.Immediatly dunk it into the tepid water and let it cool off. Do not allow it to go past the straw color, it will go blue, then purple and green. Keep an eye on the tip, as this will change color first. Keep the point furthest away from the heat to allow an even heating.
To make the handle, take two rectangular pieces of wood and trace the tang onto each of these. Chisel out the marked sections one half the thickness of the tang. After this is done, the two pieces should lay together perfectly with the tang between them. When they fit together well, roughen the inside wood and spread a good epoxy resin glue all over, including in the tang grooves. Put the tang in it’s grooves, press the two halves together, and clamp. Clamp slowly to give the glue a better spread. Leave clamped for three days.
When unclamped, draw the shape of the handle you desire, then cut or carve it out. To finish, sand it down with a coarse sandpaper, then again with a fine sandpaper. then paint or stain the handle.

OR….

Try to find a suitable piece of steel. If one isnt available then a file or chisel will work just as well. Whatever steel you have it is going to be hard so the first job is to soften it. Heat the steel till it is a dull red. If you have no other way then lay it on the burner of a gas or electric stove. You may have to leave it there for a few hours with the burner turned on high. It will eventually turn a dull red color. Once it has reached that color, turn off heat and let it cool down naturally. Now it will be softer and easier to work with.
Mark on the metal with a pencil the shape you want it be. With a powered bandsaw, or a simple hack saw, cut out the profile and file off any rough edges. Then start shaping the blade for sharpness. A grinding wheel would come in handy here, though you can work with roughand smooth files.The blade is going to be double edged so you are aiming for a diamond shaped cross section. Finish off the blade with two types of wet and dry paper.
Now your blade will need to be tempered. Heat it up again this time until its red hot.Then take hold of it with a pair of pliers and plunge into a bowl of TEPID water or oil, not cold or the blade will crack. Allow it to cool off then clean i with wet and dry paper.
Next, to temper it, reheat the blade to a dull red again. Again plunge it point down, into TEPID water or oil, moving it up and down in the liquid. Clean it with wet and dry paper then heat it up again. **WATCH THE BLADE CAREFULLY THIS TIME AS IT CHANGES COLORS** It will go to a bright, then light, straw color, then to a medium straw color. Immediately plunge the blade into water and let it cool off. (DON’T let it get past the straw color; it would go on to blue, purple, then green) Watch the point as it will change colors first. At the first sign or of “blueing” on the point, plunge it back into the water. **NOTE** The colors will appear quickly so keep the point furthest from the heat.
Once the blade is cold take it outside and plunge it into the ground a few times (there is a method to the madness) Now you have:
Moved the blade through the AIR,
heated it with FIRE,
plunged into WATER,
and showed to the EARTH.
For the handle, take 2 pieces of wood. Draw around the tang, the handle part of the blade, on each of the pieces of wood. Then chiselout the marked sections, each one to half the thinkness of the tang. When finished, the 2 pieces of wood should lay together perfectly with the tang inserted between them. When youare satisfied they fit well, slightly roughen the inside of the wood and then spread a good epoxy resin glue all over. Put the tang in place, press the two wooden handle halves together and clamp. When clamping, put the pressure slowly so as to give a better “spread” to the glue. Leave clamped for AT LEAST 3 days.
When removed from the clamp, draw a profile of the handle you want on the wood and start cutting and carving it to shape.
Some traditions call for certain signs to be carved on the handle. Even if yours doesn’t, you may wish to decorate it with some. I put my craft name and monogram on mine. You may also wish to etch something on the blade as well.
Melt some beeswax and cover the blade with it. Then cut into the wax with sharp inscribing tool, A nail will do the trick, in the way you want the inscription to look. Make sure that you go right through the wax to expose the blade. Then pour on either sulphuric acid, iodine, or a similar etching agent. Leave on for a few minutes then rinse off by holding under running water. The acid will eat into the metal while the wax is protecting the rest of the blade. IT WOULD BE WISE TO PRACTICE THE ETCHING ON A SCRAP PIECE OF METAL FIRST SO YOU CAN DETERMINE THE AMOUNT OF THE TIME TO LEAVE THE ACID ON BEFORE FLUSHING IT AWAY.

Wolf Moon

The first full moon is a time of silence and sitting by the home fire. As the wild winter howls, appreciate the warmth of home and family. Now is the time to go within and plan the changes you will make in the spring. Consider now what you will plant. Start a moon journal to record your lunar tides and write down your spring dreams

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