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Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Inner Journey

 

Imagine that you are standing on a white sandy beach.

It’s early in the morning, and a light, hazy mist surrounds you.

The sun is rising slowly. You can feel the warm, orange light on your face and your body.

You are feeling content. At ease. Relaxed.

The sand beneath your bare feet is soft and warm.

A light breeze caresses your face.

This beach is deserted. You have it all to yourself, and you have all the time in the world.

Listen to the relaxing sound of the ocean. Its waves are breaking gently on the shore.

Begin to walk slowly through the mist towards the water.

A small boat is waiting for you. The boat is comfortable and steady. Notice that it is tied to the shore with a strong rope.

Walk to the water’s edge and step into the boat.

You are feeling completely at peace, completely safe, and completely relaxed.

When you are ready, untie the rope…and let it go.

Relax, and allow the natural currents of the ocean to guide you away from the beach.

Your boat drifts smoothly. It rocks ever so gently in the water. This rocking motion relaxes you even more deeply.

The sun is now higher in the sky. Its light has gathered strength.

Notice that the mist that surrounds you is beginning to evaporate.

You can see the air becoming clearer and clearer.

Watch as the sun’s rays dissolve all of the mist. Now you can see clearly in all directions. It’s as though a veil has been lifted.

Sparkling ocean water surrounds you on all sides, and in front of you, a small island comes into view.

Your boat moves closer and closer to the island, gliding slowly and effortlessly through the water.

The island is drenched in sunlight. It is covered in tropical palm trees that sway gently in the breeze.

Your boat glides slowly forward, and comes to rest on the shore.

You have arrived.

Step out of the boat and take a moment to appreciate this place of sublime beauty.

Exotic birds dance from tree to tree, and brilliantly coloured flowers grow in abundance.

The air itself seems to shimmer and vibrate with pure, luminous energy.

You can hear the soothing sound of the wind as it passes through the trees.

In this place, you are free from all memories of the past. You are free from all concerns about the future. You are free from all responsibilities.

This is a place of total peace, and it is all yours.

You notice an opening between the palm trees. In the centre of this opening, there is a narrow path that leads deep into a rich green forest.

Begin your journey into the heart of the forest. Follow the path as it meanders between columns of ancient trees.

This forest seems familiar to you, like the memory of a pleasant dream, or a place you visited as a child.

Walk deeper into the forest. You are guided by a force that you trust, and that makes you feel safe, nurtured and still.

You have reached the very heart of the forest. Before you is a shimmering pond of crystal clear water. A pond of perfect stillness.

The pond is round, and it brims with pure spring water.

Notice that the water is perfectly still, like a mirror, free from even the slightest ripple.

A ladder with three steps leads down into the water.

You decide to bathe in this magical pond, and you undress.

As you take the first step down into the pond, you notice that the wind has eased. All the trees have become motionless.

As each moment passes, the world around you becomes more and more calm, and you yourself become more and more still.

As you lower yourself onto the second step, all the birds in the forest become quiet. Their silence is deep and reverent.

Now lower yourself onto the third and final step and glide into the water.

Feel yourself sliding into a deep state of relaxation. In this pond, your thoughts simply melt away.

All is still and silent. The only sound that remains is the sound of waves, far off in the distance.

Your mind seems to expand. You feel timeless…vast…empty…relaxed.

For the next few minutes, enjoy this experience of solitude and inner silence. When thoughts arise, simply let them go and return your awareness to the sound of the waves. When it’s time to return I will guide you home.

The guided meditation now pauses to allow for
approximately 5 minutes of inner silence.

Stimulant for Fatigue

15 drops Lemon oil
4 drops Eucalyptus oil
1 drop each Cinnamon oil
1 drop Peppermint oil
1 drop Benzoin oil
Combine all the essential oil’s and mix with 4 ounces Sweet Almond oil
for massage oil or 2 ounces of Sweet Almond oil for bath oil or may also
may be used neat in a diffuser.

from Herbs for Health and Healing
by Kethi Keville & Peter Korn

Rosemary Potatoes

1 1/2 pounds Small new potatoes

2 Tablespoons Olive oil

1/2 teaspoon Salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh rosemary, chopped

Cover new potatoes with water and bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes. Drain and toss potatoes in pan over heat until outside of potatoes are dry. Add olive oil, salt, garlic, and fresh rosemary. Place potatoes in a pan, in one layer, and bake in a 350~ oven until crispy and browned, about 15-20 minutes. Serve with roasted and grilled meats or poultry.

Caraway

Botanical: Carum Carvi (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
—Synonym—Caraway Seed.
—Part Used—Fruit.
—Habitat—The plant is distributed throughout the northern and central parts of Europe and Asia, though where it occurs in this country it is only considered a naturalized species, having apparently escaped from cultivation.
Caraway is another member of the group of aromatic, umbelliferous plants characterized by carminative properties, like Anise, Cumin, Dill and Fennel. It is grown, however, less for the medicinal properties of the fruits, or so-called ‘seeds,’ than for their use as a flavouring in cookery, confectionery and liqueurs .

——————————————————————————–
—Description—It is a biennial, with smooth, furrowed stems growing 1 1/2 to 2 feet high, hearing finely cut leaves, and umbels of white flowers which blossom in June. The fruitswhich are popularly and incorrectly called seeds – and which correspond in general character to those of the other plants of this large family, are laterally compressed, somewhat horny and translucent, slightly curved, and marked with five distinct, pale ridges. They evolve a pleasant, aromatic odour when bruised, and have an agreeable taste.
The leaves possess similar properties and afford an oil identical with that of the fruit. The tender leaves in spring have been boiled in soup, to give it an aromatic flavour.

—History—The roots are thick and tapering, like a parsnip, though much smaller and are edible. Parkinson declared them, when young, to be superior in flavour to Parsnips. Mixed with milk and made into bread, they are said to have formed the ‘Chara’ of Julius Ceasar, eaten by the soldiers of Valerius.

Caraway was well known in classic days, and it is believed that its use originated with the ancient Arabs, who called the ‘seeds’ Karawya, a name they still bear in the East, and clearly the origin of our word Caraway and the Latin name Carvi, although Pliny would have us believe that the name Carvi was derived from Caria, in Asia Minor, where according to him the plant was originally found. In old Spanish the name occurs as Alcaravea.

Caraway is frequently mentioned by the old writers. Dioscorides advised the oil to be taken by pale-faced girls. In the Middle Ages and in Shakespeare’s times it was very popular.
‘The seed,’ says Parkinson, ‘is much used to be put among baked fruit, or into bread, cakes, etc., to give them a rellish. It is also made into comfites and taken for cold or wind in the body, which also are served to the table with fruit.’
In Henry IV, Squire Shallow invites Falstaff to ‘a pippin and a dish of caraways.’ The custom of serving roast apples with a little saucerful of Caraway is still kept up at Trinity College, Cambridge, and at some of the old-fashioned London Livery Dinners, just as in Shakespeare’s days – and in Scotland to this day a saucerful is put down at tea to dip the buttered side of bread into and called ‘salt water jelly.’
The scattering of the seed over cakes has long been practised, and Caraway-seed cake was formerly a standing institution at the feasts given by farmers to their labourers at the end of the wheat-sowing. The little Caraway comfits consist of the seeds encrusted with white sugar. In Germany, the peasants flavour their cheese, cabbage, soups, and household bread with Caraway, and in Norway and Sweden, polenta-like, black, Caraway bread is largely eaten in country districts.

The oil extracted from the fruits is used as an ingredient of alcoholic liquors: both the Russians and the Germans make from Caraway a liqueur, ‘Kummel,’ and Caraway enters into the composition of l’huile de Venus and other cordials.

A curious superstition was held in olden times about the Caraway. It was deemed to confer the gift of retention, preventing the theft of any object which contained it, and holding the thief in custody within the invaded house. In like manner it was thought to keep lovers from proving fickle (forming an ingredient of love potions), and also to prevent fowls and pigeons from straying. It is an undoubted fact that tame pigeons, who are particularly fond of the seeds, will never stray if they are given a piece of baked Caraway dough in their cote.

—Cultivation—Preparation for Market—Caraway does best when the seeds are sown inthe autumn, as soon as ripe, though they may be sown in March. Sow in drills, 1 foot apart, the plants when strong enough, being thinned out to about 8 inches in the rows. The ground will require an occasional hoeing to keep it clean and assist the growth of the plants. From an autumn-sown crop, seeds will be produced in the following summer, ripening about August.

When the fruit ripens, the plant is cut and the Caraways are separated by threshing. They can be dried either on trays in the sun, or by very gentle heat over a stove, shaking occasionally.

There are several varieties, the English, the Dutch and the German (obtained from plants extensively cultivated in Moravia and Prussia), and other varieties imported from Norway, Finland, Russia and the Morocco ports.

—Habitat—One marked peculiarity about Caraway is that it is indigenous to all parts of Europe, Siberia, Turkey in Asia, Persia, India and North Africa, and yet it is cultivated only in a few comparatively restricted areas. It grows wild in many parts of Canada and the United States, but is nowhere grown there as a field or garden crop. Its cultivation is restricted to relatively small areas in England, Holland, Germany, Finland, Russia, Norway and Morocco, where it constitutes one of the chief agricultural industries within its narrow confines. It has so far received comparatively little attention in England, where it is grown only in Essex, Kent and Suffolk, upon old grassland broken up for the purpose. Holland cultivates the main crop, producing and exporting far larger quantities than any other country. It is cultivated most extensively there in the provinces of Groningen and North Holland, in which more than half the acreage is found. In the whole country about 20,000 acres are devoted to this crop, each acre yielding about 1,000 lb., whereas while Caraway is grown commercially throughout Germany, Austria, France and parts of Spain, the character and amounts produced are very variable, and the yield per acre varies only from 400 to 700 lb., and these countries do not produce much more than they require for home consumption. Morocco produces a grade of Caraway that comes regularly into the English and American markets, but is somewhat inferior in quality. Dutch Caraway is preferred among consumers in the United States, and the bulk used there comes from Holland.

During the last year or two there has been a scarcity of Caraway, owing partly to the fact that the extensive area of land in Holland usually employed for the cultivation of the plant was devastated by floods towards the close of 1915. Much Dill seed is now being sold in its place. Quite lately, a small grower reported that she had netted L. 5 (pounds sterling) from growing Caraway on a corner of what otherwise would have been waste ground.

—Constituents—The seeds contain from 4 to 7 per cent of volatile oil, according to the variety of Caraway fruit from which obtained that distilled from home-grown fruits being considered the best. Caraway grown in more northerly latitudes is richer in essential oil than that grown in southern regions, and if grown in full sun a greater percentage and a richer oil is obtained.

The oil is distilled chiefly from Dutch, Norwegian and Russian fruits. The Dutch are small and dark brown in colour. English fruits, of which only a small quantity is produced, are of a brighter tint.

The chief constituent of the oil is a hydrocarbon termed Carvene, also found in oils of Dill and Cumin, and an oxygenated oil Carvol, a mobile liquid (isomeric with the menthol of Spearmint).

From 6 lb. of the unbruised seeds, 4 oz. of the pure essential oil can be expressed.

The exhausted seed, after the distillation of the oil, contains a high percentage of protein and fat, and is used as a cattle food.

—Medicinal Action and Uses—Both fruit and oil possess aromatic, stimulant and carminative properties. Caraway was widely employed at one time as a carminative cordial, and was recommended in dyspepsia and symptoms attending hysteria and other disorders. It possesses some tonic property and forms a pleasant stomachic. Its former extensive employment in medicine has much decreased in recent years, and the oil and fruit are now principally employed as adjuncts to other medicines as corrective or flavouring agents, combined with purgatives. For flatulent indigestion, however, from 1 to 4 drops of the essential oil of Caraway given on a lump of sugar, or in a teaspoonful of water, will be found efficacious. Distilled Caraway water is considered a useful remedy in the flatulent colic of infants, and is an excellent vehicle for children’s medicine. When sweetened, its flavour is agreeable.

One ounce of the bruised seeds infused for 6 hours in a pint of cold water makes a good Caraway julep for infants, from 1 to 3 teaspoonsful being given for a dose.

The bruised seeds, pounded with the crumb of a hot new loaf and a little spirit to moisten, was an old-fashioned remedy for bad earache. The powder of the seeds, made into a poultice, will also take away bruises.

The Dark Mother

 

The Dark Mother is the most misunderstood of the triple aspects of the Goddess. Her color is Black and she absorbs everything, including light and life. The dark of the Moon is Her time, the Abyss and darkness of space Her home. Her number is nine, symbolizing wisdom and sacred magick. Nine is also the number of completion and the completion of beginnings is the Crone’s place in the cycle of birth-life-death.

The greatest fear in Western Society is the fear of death and so many have turned away from this face of our Mother. We see this in our fevered need for eternal “youth and beauty” (as defined by society) and in the medical community’s fight against aging and death. Who among us had not had a friend or family member kept “alive” on life support long after the soul has left the body to resume its journey?

We also see this turning away in the way this country treats its elderly. At a time of life in which a person should be venerated for wisdom and knowledge they could pass on to the young ones among us, the elderly are at best “taken care of” (read: loss of privacy, dignity and freedom) or at worst completely ignored. Advanced age should be a time to look forward to in our lives. We should be able to look back and remember all that has happened to us with wisdom and good humor. We should be given the chance to relax and rest and contemplate our lives in preparation of a joyful reunion with the Dark Mother, come to take us into Her starry womb once more. Instead because we don’t build a comfortable relationship with the Crone early in our lives, near the end all we feel is frustration and fear.

How do we build a relationship with the Crone, this Dark Mother who upholds the laws of life and death with a rigorous need for balance that may seem so many times harsh to us? First we must realize that Death is not the only domain of the Crone. Endings of all sorts fall under Her sway, and endings always lead to new beginnings.

You can get in touch with the Crone during many transitional periods in your life; during the ending of relationships or jobs, when you need to regroup your energies at the end of a project or problem, even when you are getting your garden ready for the winter. The Dark Mother also covers trance states, spirit communication, and prophecy. Menopause is also a time to learn about the Crone aspect of the Goddess.

Crone magick is not all that different from Her other three aspects, one must simply remember that the Crone is not a Goddess of birth, but of the harvesting and resting of all life. One may use meditation, candle burning and other general tools of magick to draw Her energies near. Her power may be called upon with dark candles such as black, dark blues or deep purples. Another of Her magickal domains is retribution, but you must be certain that you are justified in your need. Do not ask for revenge (remember the Law of Three!), do not be specific in anything that you want done. Simply lay the problem before Her and allow Her to decide whether or not there has been a true imbalance of justice.

At the Winter Solstice, you can burn white, red and black candles to be reminded that everything is born, lives and dies to be born again.

In the end, all must confront the Dark Mother, willingly, or unwillingly. How much better it would be to realize that She is not to be dreaded, a figure in black come to take us away from all we know and love, but a loving Goddess come to take us home so that we may rest and revive and begin our journey on the Wheel of Life once more.

Prayer to Isis

Isis of the moon, great Egyptian Mother Goddess, Ye who are all that ever was, all that is, and that shall be, come veiled Queen of the Night, come as the scent of the sacred lotus.

Charging my circle with love and magick, do descend upon my circle I pray of Thee.

Blessed be.

Feminine Bath

4 drops Ylang-Ylang oil
4 drops Petitgrain oil
This bath is a tension reliever that is preferred by women.

Make a Traditional Besom

(Witches Broom)
© 1996 by Edain McCoy

Besoms, or round-shaped brooms, are deeply linked to Witches and their magick, both in popular fantasy and in actual practice.  Brooms were one of the “safe” tools of Witchcraft, meaning they were a necessary household object that could not be held up as evidence of Witchcraft in the clerical courts.

Brooms are used as wands to focus and direct energy, to sweep areas clean of negativity, to ground a finished circle, and to protect hearths and kitchen magick.   Two crossed brooms were used in medieval Ireland to prevent negativity from entering homes through the fireplace or front door.

FIRST . . . you must obtain a 3 to 4 foot stick or dowel, 1 inch in diameter.  This shaft can be painted or decorated.   You will also need a small bundle of straw or broomcorn, approximately 16 to 20 inches long and some utility twine, about 2 to 3 feet.

NEXT . . . Lay the broomcorn or straw up against the bottom shaft of the stick.   Cut straw approximately 4 to 6 inches longer than desired finished length.

NEXT . . . Approximately 2 inches above the end, tie twine tightly around straw and broom handle.   You may wish to apply some craft glue to the lower 2 inches to help secure loose straw ends.

AND THEN . . . Bend the straws backwards over the tie.   Secure with twine close to where the broom handle sticks out.

Besoms are great gifts for home decoration, magical protection, or both!

The Blood Moon

October, The Blood Moon

In the past this was the time of hunting and storing. The wheel of the year turns like the cycle of life and death. At this Moon the veil is thin, make an Altar to honor your ancestors and ask them to guide and protect you. Carve pumpkins and place candles within to light their way.

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